Recovering from their long night hunting down and capturing Vestan, the party travel back to their dorm and rest. Out of game, this presents an opportunity for the party to level up to level 4! The players discuss what this brings for each character. At level 4, players can usually choose between increasing character attributes, or taking on a feat, which can provide some benefit for certain situations, like a new spell or ability.
- Arth (College of Lore Bard) develops his Charisma (+2). As a Bard he gains access to more spells including Vicious Mockery and Aid.
- Edolkar (Path of Wild Magic Barbarian) takes the feat of Great Weapon Master. This allows him to apply a negative modifier to attack rolls (-5), but if the attack hits, apply an extra 10 points of damage.
- Khorvus (Oath of the Seas Paladin), having swung his war hammer repeatedly over the past few weeks, further develops his Strength (+2).
- Trix (Arcane Trickster Rogue) takes the feat Feytouched. This grants an increase to Charisma (+1), along with learning Misty Step, and a spell of her choice. She chooses Dissonant Whispers, a 1st-level enchantment spell.
In the early morning a student approaches and leaves a bundle of mail at the door. Trix brings this inside and finds a parcel addressed to her, with a number of postal stamps from strange places affixed on the outside. She opens the parcel to find a small box and letter, written by her father, a postman and courier. He indicates that he has just returned from the City of Brass on the Inner Plane of Fire, and has included some cookies he purchased from a bakery. He expresses caution, as they are expected to remain hot for some time. The smell intrigues the rest of the party, who one-by-one approach and try one of the cookies. This has mixed results, with Arth, Khorvus and Edolkar failing their saving throws and not digesting it well. Darius and Trix meanwhile have no difficulties, and enjoy the treat.
Sometime later they go to a security office on Quandrix campus at the request of Nils. They find Nils and Lianna chatting, with Nils informing her of the night’s events and the arrest of Vestan for his seemingly nefarious activities. Nils excuses himself, leaving the party to speak with Lianna and fill in the gaps of the story, including Edolkar encountering Rodane and his blight seeds, the missing professor robes from the student store, trying to uncover what his ‘Collective for Strixhaven Development’ club is about, and the counterfeit spell scrolls. As they detail what happened last night, Trix’s mention of a ‘purple-coloured’ side to the ‘dode door’ artifact piques her interest. She calls in a woman from a side room, and the party see a tall woman with brunette hair approach, wearing decorated armour. The woman introduces herself as Annette Dawn, a captain of the Dragonsguard, and indicates she is leading an investigation into external threats to the demiplane of Strixhaven. While early into the investigation, she has some reports of unknown agents operating from an undisclosed location on another plane or world. She believes the purple represents both the attunement colour of the plane, and their livery colours. They discuss the dode door in more detail, with Captain Dawn specifying it has been assigned to Osgir – the stone giant professor of Lorehold campus – for further analysis in his workshop. They wrap up the conversation by indicating the Dragonsguard should monitor the drop points for the spell scroll racket, and watch Elias as his motivations seem in question. Captain Dawn shows the party that both Elias and Nordon and being held for questioning in another room, but permits them to speak with Vestan to see what else they can learn. She informs them the interior of the security office is protected by a dispel magic system in the ceiling, to prevent using magic as a means of persuasion or coercion of confessions, which goes against Strixhaven regulations.
The party enter into a small holding room, consisting on one side of a large two-way mirror used for observation, along with a bed and set of furniture. Vestan, pacing up and down the room, welcomes the party with his usual confidence. Khorvus leads a round of questioning, with Vestan dodging direct questions about who is working with. He expresses concern when told he is likely going to be facing serious charges, but indicates he must be careful with what he says, as representatives of the organisation he works for are everywhere on campus. As Khorvus pushes further, Vestan shows willingness to make a deal: get him safely away from Strixhaven, and he’ll share what he knows. He says that he has kept some correspondence in a safe location, and asks the party to ‘look for a boat‘ in his rooms, which will hold the information he can trade with the Dragonsguard.
The party split up, with Khorvus remaining with Vestan. The rest of the party take a short walk to the senior-level dorms, going up to Elandra and Vestan’s shared dorm rooms. Elandra greets them before leaving shortly afterwards, leaving them with time to survey the room. Edolkar detects a faint trace of some type of magic in the room, and Arth narrows this down to a small toy pirate ship sitting on a shelf on Vestan’s side of the room. He hastily cracks it open, finding a small gem-covered chest within the interior. They find the chest is not designed to be opened directly, and too small to hold anything of importance. Collectively, they agree that the chest is likely tied to a high-level spell called Leomund’s Secret Chest, which uses conjuration magic to link two items together. They quickly depart back to the security office.
Meanwhile, Khorvus speaks briefly with Captain Dawn, who agrees they can provide certain freedoms to Vestan in exchange for the correspondence in the chest. He surveils the room again, and notices out of the window the shape of a student standing near the security office. He investigates further, seeing that is a constructed image made through magical means, and calls to Vestan to move away from it. Around the same time the rest of the party are walking back to the office. Towards the eastern side of the building, they only briefly see activity before part of the wall explodes, going up in a fireball blast. Khorvus directs Vestan to stay close to him, rushing to inspect the damaged side of the building. He finds that Elias, Nordon, Lianna and Captain Dawn were caught in the blast, but are okay aside from some minor scratches. Captain Dawn directs them to another part of the building while she reviews the damage with Khorvus just as the rest of the party arrive. Darius suggests they could put out the flames with Khorvus’ help, but would need to disable the Dispel Magic system that is blocking magic use in the building. Trix looks outside and sees two masked figures approaching, clad in mystical armour with silver and purple livery, matching what Captain Dawn had detailed earlier. In a surprising show of fury and anger, Trix shouts to the figures to stop, which causes them to hesitate, given the party a moment to prepare. As this happens, Arth promptly suggest to Vestan that they need to gag him, just to ensure he doesn’t do anything, which he reluctantly agrees to. With Vestan secured, Annette disables the device and Khorvus casts Create Water within the interior of the building, dispersing the flames and giving them visibility to see the approaching figures, and the party enters combat!
Into round one, Darius approaches Khorvus and casts Magic Weapon, granting him a bonus to his attack and damage rolls for a short time. Trix uses Misty Step to shift behind the two figures. Lianna directs Elias and Nordon to follow her out of the room to a safe location. Unknown Figure 1 fails to see Trix, so directs an attack toward Khorvus near the building. They cast Eldritch Blast, striking him for some damage. As a bonus action, Khorvus casts Compel Duel against the figure, compelling them to fight only him. He runs forward and strikes with his war hammer, landing a solid blow. Edolkar enters rage, and is granted a Wild Magic ability to teleport up to 30 feet. He teleports, then strikes towards the figure. With his weapon mastery ability, he deals a significant chunk of damage. Arth, still inside and near Vestan, directs Vestan to stay in the cell. Around a corner he casts Minor Illusion, creating a replica image of the chest they recovered from the dorm. Still suspicious of Vestan’s motivations, he shows Vestan the false chest. Vestan motions for him to pass it, but Arth ‘puts’ the false chest in a pocket, ensuring Vestan sees this. Captain Dawn approaches closer to the two figures and casts Bless on Edolkar, Khorvus and Trix. Unknown Figure 2 casts Dimension Door, saying “Take me to Vestan” before disappearing from view. To Arth’s surprise, the figure appears in the room near Vestan.
In round two, Darius continues to try to find a way to help. This time, he casts Magic Weapon on Arth’s rapier. Trix, still unseen at this stage, lunges out of a small bush she landed in, but misses her attack. Unknown Figure 1, still compelled to duel Khorvus, casts Gust of Wind in an attempt to push Khorvus back, creating a small, focused wind channel that pushes against him. Khorvus is able to hold his ground in the wind, but fails to land a hit against the figure in retaliation. With only one figure remaining in his line of sight, Edolkar launches another aggressive attack towards Unknown Figure 1. The attack lands, dealing a significant blow. Arth, seeing Unknown Figure 2, un-gags Vestan, directing him to help and asking who these people are. He only briefly gets a chance to explain they are a group known as the “Oriq”. Arth casts Silence, which engulfs half of the security office. Captain Dawn checks in with the members of the party outside, confirming they have the situation under control, then moves back towards Arth and Vestan. Unknown Figure 2, distraught by being caught in the sudden zone of Silence, casts a spell which does not require sound. Casting Bloodlash, it strikes Arth dealing significant damage, and preventing him from regaining hit points until the figure’s next turn.
Darius starts again round three, he casts Firebolt, but misses. Trix, making use of her Bless from earlier, strikes with her rapier at the figure’s knees. Unknown Figure 1, now heavily blooded, pulls out and grabs an item in their hand, then casts the Plane Shift spell, disappearing in a haze of purple smoke. Khorvus uses expeditious retreat, while Edolkar ‘rides the wave’ of the windgust, bringing both of them closer to the interior of the building. Edolkar also makes use of his teleport ability to land into the silenced room with Arth, Vestan and the remaining Unknown Figure. Arth disengages, leaving the effect of the Silence spell. Captain Dawn tries to cast Cure Wounds, which fails due to the ongoing effect of Bloodlash. The remaining Unknown Figure smashes the two-way mirror, and attempts to grapple Vestan. Vestan fails to resist, and becomes restrained.
For round four, Darius approaches Arth and casts Healing Word, which now succeeds, healing him slightly. Trix also ‘rides the wave’ of the windgust, trying to make her way to the silenced room. Khorvus also approaches Arth, casting Lay on Hands and healing him further. Edolkar continues to strike the Unknown Figure in a blind rage, but fails to find a suitable spot with Vestan being used as a shield. Arth makes his way down to another room in the security office towards where the Figure is headed with Vestan. He draws his rapier, preparing to strike at the next opportunity. Captain Dawn casts Cure Wounds on Khorvus, encouraging him to get into the fight. The Unknown Figure continues to slow shift with Vestan out of the effect of the Silence spell. This grants an attack of opportunity for Trix and Edolkar, who both manage to land a hit. The figure, struggling with just one hand free, starts to prepare to cast Plane Shift. Vestan attempts to break free one final time to break free from their grasp, but fails. Just as the they shift away, he knocks the ‘tuning rod’ component used for the spell which clatters to the floor of the room. In a similar puff of purple smoke, both Vestan the Figure disappear.
Arth quickly moves in to inspect and pick up the rod. Captain Dawn approaches, checking on the party, before speaking with Lianna and the others. The party discuss the chest that they found earlier, with Arth indicating that Vestan took the chest from him during the battle. He reports this to Annette when she returns who expresses disappointment that they’ve lost this potential lead, but confirms she will hold onto the tuning rod to enquire more on its origins.