Students of Strixhaven EP 25 – Schools Out Part Two

The party quickly move to review Khorvus’ wounds, as he was left unconcious from the last battle. Arth (with Luke being absent, the GM takes over) casts Aid, granting Khorvus both temporary and restorative hit points. He wakes up, slightly disorientated and takes a moment to rest and heal. Trix tries to listen for other possible threats in Gondel Wing, and hears what sounds to be chittering from small creatures off in the distance. The party move off to inspect the locked display case on the other side of the main exhibit hall, finding a single gauntlet marked under the name Glove of the Aesterians. Trix attempts to use her thieving tools to open the case, but loses her focus and jams her lockpick. Edolkar elects to use force, smashing the hilt of his sword against the glass of the case. This frees up the case, but activates a glyph of warding, causing an alarm to sound throughout the room. Trix picks up and casts Identify on the item, understanding that it three charges a day, and is designed to have the hand extended with an open palm towards a target. Khorvus elects to hold onto it for now, and they proceed forward into the other parts of Gondel Wing.

Moving on, they find a locked door with a sign saying “Exhibit Storage”, and determine the sounds they heard earlier must be coming from this room. Edolkar continues his force-based approach and kicks down the door. Examining into the small storage room they realise two Rust Monsters have broken in and are eating at and corroding sets of ancient armour. They quickly move into attack, entering into initiative.

Round One: Grae starts off, shooting a Firebolt against one of the Rust Monsters and hitting it successfully. One of the Rust Monsters approaches, trying to bite Edolkar, but fails. Khorvus grabs a javellin and hurls it against one of the monsters. Edolkar has a similar mindset, using a javelin as well in a melee strike. As this strikes, the monster’s Corrode Metal ability applies, causing the javelin’s quality to decay and become corroded. Trix switches to her bow, firing off an arrow, which hits as well. One of the Rust Monsters looks toward Khorvus’ shield (made of metal), and uses its antenna to corrode the metal, causing part of it to decay.

For round two, Grae casts Burning Hands. The affected Rust Monster fails a saving throw, and is burnt by the flames. Khorvus tries to move in, but fails his attack. Edolkar tries to hurl another javelin, but misses. Trix shoots another arrow off which hits. The remaining Rust Monster tries to bite Khorvus, but he just avoids taking damage.

For round three, Grae casts another Fire Bolt, roasting the other Rust Monster, leaving them both engulfed in flame. She uses Control Flame to extinguish the flames so that the party can enter into the room. They walk in, finding a cramped and slightly singed storage space. Most of the room is dedicated to armour, but they find a crate that says “Next time this goes out on display, put out a note that says ‘DO NOT TRY TO….'”. The rest of the message has been lost to the fire. Opening up the crate they find a small pouch filled with an ash-like powder. Grae offers to take the pouch to try and examine it later. In another crate, Edolkar finds some bone dice that he pockets.

Leaving the room, they decide to check the rest of Gondel Wing for anything of interest. Walking down a hallway to the east they find a door marked ‘Administrator’s Office’. Checking it, they find it unlocked and walk in. Trix examines some papers which look to be paperwork to handle and manage upcoming exhibits in the main hall. Khorvus checks the main desk within the room, finding a Potion of Healing. Before they leave, they debate on what the glyphs they saw in the main exhibit hall were meant to describe, referring to a book they found earlier titled “Empires of Sand and Stone”. A figure appears throughout the glyphs, which they believe is a character titled Ummon, but something happens in the fifth glyh that seems to indicate a replacement or exchange of people via a ritual. The changed figure appears to have been encased in the final glyph, and was likely the Gladiator they fought that came from the sarcophagus.

They make their way outside of Gondel Wing, and briefly discuss how to get back up to the top of the chasm and into Lorehold campus. Looking up, they decide they can climb up the rocky terrain, relying on Trix (given a head start being thrown by Edolkar successfully) to fly up in advance to place some rope for the party to use as a climbing tool. With the first footing established about halfway up the cliffside, the party make their way up. Edolkar struggles to climb due to his size, but the rest of the party continue their climb without issue, with everyone resting on a small staging area. Trix flies down and offers her pitons, which he uses as a part of his climb and makes his way up. Edolkar launches Trix into the air again, allowing her to land near a bridge next to Pillardrop, and wrap the long rope around a column. This time the entire party make their way without issue, with everyone safely making their way back to the main campus grounds. Trix offers to Grae to join the party back at their lodgings and review the book that Grae found about Tenahmir. As they regroup, they review and find the book, titled “A Study of Shared History Amongst Dwarves of the Tenahmir Mountains” is comprised of several chapters:

  • The Heart of the Tenahmir: Life Among the Mountain Dwarves
  • The Great Departure: Chronicles of the Dwarven Exodus
  • Whispers in the Depths: Unearthing Ancient Secrets
  • The Guardian of the Forgotten: The Tale of the Last Sentinel
  • Pathways Through Stone: Navigating the Tenahmir Ranges
  • Echoes of the Past: Legends and Lore of the Lost Settlements
  • Beneath the Mountain’s Shadow: Encounters and Dangers
  • The Legacy of Stone: Artifacts and Relics of the Tenahmir Dwarves
  • The Fractured Clans: Political Dynamics Post-Exodus
  • Reclaiming the Stone: Visions of a Reunited Homeland

Grae immediately expresses interest in the chapter titled: The Legacy of Stone: Artifacts and Relics of the Tenahmir Dwarves. Briefly reviewing the chapter, she finds that some key details continue to discuss a Dwarven settlement called Inkaran, a place that supposedly helped to create powerful artifacts several hundred years ago through the use of their ancient and magical forges. After some further reading, Grae feels confident that this book is what her mentor is seeking, and it might provide further glues on the artifact they have been tasked to find. The book also provides some general pointers on how one might get to Inkaran, but references landmarks and natural passages that would only be useful if already navigating the Tenahmir mountain ranges. When asked, Grae indicates that she is due to depart back home tomorrow. The party (excluding Arth who we’ll say is busy with studies) offer their help with her adventure, and agree to meet Grae at the Strixhaven teleportation chamber in the morning. Grae departs, and the party retire for the evening.

The next day the party quickly take care of some important matters, with a few members of the party visiting the student store to stock up. Grae finds herself purchasing a ‘lucky dip’ potion, unsure of its contents, and pockets it for later use, and a medical kit. Trix stocks up on arrows and pitons. Meanwhile, Khorvus walks to an open field with the Glove of the Aesterians, intending to give it a test run. He stretches out his hand, his palm facing towards the sky, and sees that the glove releases several small, spiked ball bearings that fly upwards before falling back to the ground at high speed. Grae spends time examining the ash-like powder she found in the crate, determining it is Dust of Dryness (with six uses), a powder that can absorb a great quantity of water and replace it with a small marble-sized pellet, which can be shattered at a later time to release the water contained within.

Later in the morning, the party and Grae regroup outside a large chamber which during busy periods serves as a transportation hub. They find lines going to several ‘hotspot’ worlds on the material plane, such as Toril and Kyrnn, along with multiversal hubs like Sigil, and join a line. As they queue and travel the line they speak with Darius who is travelling home to visit family and take part in what he refers to as a “Gnomish Battle Royale” with his family. As the queue is processed they make their way to the front of the queue, speaking with two designated professors providing teleportation services. The teachers, Professor Deekah, who they know quite well, and Professor Tivash, a human of the Decay school of Witherbloom, chat with them briefly before directing them to step into the middle of a circle which is embued with energy, being channeled from a location below the chamber. Deekah informs them that they can come back via asking the mage at their destination location to prepare a ritual to bring them back to the demiplane of Strixhaven. The party, now considering Grae as an addition, indicate they are travelling to Tenahmir, located on the world of Toril on the Material Plane. The professors prepare to teleport the party, choosing the largest populated city of Rutledge, and in a moment they are surrounded by an encompassing magic before disappearing from the chamber.

From their perspective, the party are surrounded by a white light and instantly find themselves in a small room somewhere in Rutledge, with an elvish mage named Dorqen directing them to move away from the circle in the middle of the room to make space for others arriving. The party are ushered off and walk outside a set of doors to a chilled air, finding themselves in the coastal city of Rutledge with a small market running nearby. Trix, struggling with the cooler air, purchases a scarf for herself. Grae notices a courier shouting off in the distance, presumably searching for her, and receives a letter penned by her mentor Roman Eldrake. The letter indicates that Roman has directed Jhazaal, his hobgoblin captain of the Eldrake private security militia, to travel to Rutledge on some important matters and he will be able to provide transport back home. In the letter, Roman indicates Jhazaal is likely spending time in a tavern somewhere in the city, so the party decide to inspect the taverns, starting with the most popular, known as the Malthus Tavern.

Entering inside the party find the tavern is packed, with a rowdy crowd of mostly sailors drinking and enjoying their shore leave. Grae walks up to the half-orc bartender, ordering a round of mead and asks if he is seen Jhazaal. The bartender serves them their drinks and directs them to the ‘back’, warning them he is on a winning streak, so is likely too busy to be bothered with other matters. They find their way to the ‘backroom’, finding a dozen figures standing around a small circle. Inside the circle are two men standing apart from each other, with a third figure watching over them. Grae notices one of the figures is Jhazaal, who holds a paddle with two coins. Grae brings the party in to watch, and they try to determine how the game plays out, noticing that many watchers outside the circle are making sidebets on what might be the ‘outcome’ of the game. Jhazaal clears space around the circle and then flips the paddle, with the two coins knocking into the air. The coins clearly show two sides: One has the simple of a wolf, the other side has a large red cross (X). The crowd watches tensly before the coins land on the ground, with both faces showing the cross shape. About half of the crowd along with the figure opposing Jhazaal cheer, with Jhazaal reluctantly handing over coins to the figure who he calls Keegan. Jhazaal steps out of the room and introduces himself to the party, finding out what Grae knows about Roman’s highly-sought artifact and the book he uncovered in Strixhaven. Jhazaal offers to teach the party how to play No Chance In Howl. He asks the party for a few gold, collecting four gold pieces, and offers a quick lesson on how to play. He explains the basics in that:

  • Two people enter the circle, with a third person overseeing the transaction and bet to ensure fairplay, acting as a moderator or referee.
  • One of the figures takes and holds the paddle, and places the coins. They make a bet against the other figure, intending for the outcome of the throw to be two ‘wolf-side’ coins on the ground (or heads, if using normal coins). The opponent wants the opposite outcome, for both coins to be crosses (or tails).
    • If successful with two wolf-sides, the paddle holder win the bet from the opposing person.
    • If they fail and two cross-sides appear, they lose the bet and must pay up to their opponent.
    • If a mixed result (one wolf-side and one cross-side), the paddle holder re-throws both coins until two coins have matching faces.
    • Side bets are allowed (and encouraged), for those watching outside the circle.
  • For Australian listeners, you might know that this is a game called Two-Up! The coin sides (heads and tails) have been modified to bring a version of this game into the story and setting.

Keegan, the human figure who opposed Jhazaal, welcomes Khorvus into the circle. The third person, watching over the bet, handles Khorvus the paddle and directs him to make a strong throw upward. Khorvus throws, immediately getting two crosses, resulting in him losing the bet. Keegan laughs sharply, happily taking the gold before wandering off. Jhazaal apologizes for their loss and directs the party to join him back at the main bar so that they can discuss his findings. The party introduce themselves as the episode ends…