Students of Strixhaven EP 9 – Calling In a Favour

This session begins as the trimester has finished, and many students and faculty have taken advantage of the break in classes to see family or travel before classes resume in a few weeks. Khorvus is unavailable for episodes 9 & 10, and we explain that he is participating in a Dragonsguard Reserve Corps endurance training weekend.

For the rest of the party, as they sit about one morning in their accommodation, a mail courier arrives with a bundle of letters. As Arth reads through the mail, he finds that one is from Zaneus which indicates he is calling in a favour as he is running low on a rare spell component, and is presently tied up with other matters at home. He instructs Arth to find a colleague on Quandrix campus, a professor named Deekah, who can explain further and help get Arth to where he needs to be, a location a few hours from Portsmouth. Trix has ongoing correspondence with her father, a carrier bird, who enquires on how her studies are going. Darius reads through a letter, where his family have gathered and require him to attend an event. Arth finds another letter, this one from his sister. As his sister’s birthday is approaching, she has indicated she has talked their father into travelling to Portsmouth, to make it easier for Arth to visit and join the birthday party.

Trix asks if she can bring the bust, gifted to her by her grandfather. She mentions to the bust that it hasn’t yet informed of its name. The bust ponders for a while, realising it doesn’t remember who it is. Trix enquires on whether it would be willing to go by a temporary name, to which it replies: Fleet, at least until it remembers.

Sometime later, Arth, Edolkar and Trix (carrying Fleet) travel to Quandrix campus, and travel through the Torus Hall, a structure of ever-changing geometric shapes and walkways. They find a hallway devoted to professors of Theory, and arrive at Deekah’s office, filled with glistening furniture. Arth introduces himself, and says he has come on behalf of a mutual friend, Zaneus. He shares the letter and indicates he needs assistance to collect the spell components, a couple of bags of rare mushrooms that emit a violet hue. The letter specifies the location of these mushrooms are in an old mining complex, which Deekah explains she knows well, having visited the location previously. Deekah clarifies she only has an availability to help transport the party on the 20th. Arth agrees, and promises to return on the 20th with the supplies needed to collect the components. As they depart, Arth informs Trix and Edolkar that this is the same day of his sister’s birthday party, and he might struggle to attend both events.

They travel to Lorehold campus, so that Arth can check in with Osgir on the status of the forging of a new rapier, made in the image of his family’s longsword. When he arrives in Osgir’s workshop, Arth finds that the new rapier’s hilt is a an almost exact copy of the longsword. Arth presses Osgir for how he did this, who shares he has learned an ability that allows him, over time, to replicate an artifact to create a duplicate. Osgir duplicated the longsword and reforged the copy into a rapier, to maintain the inscription on the hilt. When they return to their lodgings, Arth writes a letter to his sister indicating he is pressed for time due to his studies, and won’t be able to attend her birthday party.

A few days later, they travel back to Quandrix to speak with Deekah and prepare for departure. Deekah prepares a teleportation spell, and transports them all to a location just outside an old mining cavern. Deekah explains that she has matters to address while back on the Material Plane, so won’t venture with them. In the event they need help, or need to return, she informs the party that they can call out to her telepathically, as she casts Rary’s Telepathic Bond which allows for telepathic communication over any distance on the same plane of existence.

They approach the mining cavern, and find a half-broken sign over the entrance noting: “Crestfall Brothers Corporation“, appearing in both Common and Dwarven. Trix remembers reading about the company collapsing after a series of bad investments and poorly covered-up deaths on-site. They enter into the cavern, finding large webs in the corners and unused passage ways. Further into the cavern, they narrowly avoid being spotted by a group of kobolds, sitting around a fire and drinking and chattering away. In a corner near the fire, a large spider has been caught in a net trap and remains roped up. They back-track and find a side passage that would let them bypass the kobolds, but requires wading through a small river. Attempting to walk through without being noticed, Trix flutters over without issue, Edolkar traverses the small gap just fine, but Arth encounters difficulty, collapsing in the water. Thankfully, a Kobold near the passage is so drunk it doesn’t hear Arth, and he is able to recover and make it to the other side of the water.

As they proceed further into the cavern, bypassing the Kobolds, the environment shifts to hollowed out mining tunnels. Arth is able to spot a net trap ahead, blocking the passage. Trix attempts to fly up, but due to the narrow walls, she can’t fit. Instead, she jumps over the trap on the ground, and makes it to the other side. Arth gets a running start and also lands successfully on the other side of the trap. Edolkar sprints, but tumbles and causes the trap to activate. Thanks to his size he isn’t caught, but the trap setting off seems to attract the attention of the Kobolds they had previously sneaked past. Thinking quickly, Arth casts Minor Illusion, and creates the sound of a spider chittering in a side passage further away from them. The Kobolds follow the noise and disappear into the passage, giving the party time to leave and travel further into the mining cavern system.

In the distance, they begin to spot a purple hue from what can only be the mushrooms they were asked to collect. The air further into the mine also begins to fell hotter, denser, and harder to breathe. Eventually they make their way to the source of the light, finding a collection of mushrooms that wind around a corner. They begin to cut at the stem of the mushrooms to fill the two bags they were given. Edolkar recalls from some of his classes that some mushrooms are sought after for their spores, and when converting these spores into a different form of matter, like a liquid, they become the most potent. Venturing further into this side cavern, they eventually come across a statue, holding a metal bowl filled with liquid in its hands. Edolkar thinks the statue looks like a Dwarvish figure. From that, Arth and Trix surmise that this must be a statue of Sharindlar, a Dwarven god of Healing and Mercy. As Trix walks up to the figure, Fleet, still nestled on Trix’s chest in a carrier, begins to remember something, and indicates that it looks like a set of condensors near the ceiling are collecting the spores and converting them into a liquid that drips down into the bowl. Seeing that the bowl is now full and overflowing, they agree to take a small amount in a spare vial. They then continue packing the mushrooms.

Sometime through collecting the remainder of what they need, they hear a sharp pierced scream, followed by one of the net traps activating. The party begin to race back towards the middle of the mining cavern. Arth approaches first, finding his sister, Celeste, caught in a net trap, fighting to break out of it. As he tries to cut her down, he asks how she ended up here. Disgruntled, she informs him she received his letter in response, and was angry that he didn’t think he could attend her birthday party. She says that instead, they can have an adventure, in here, to which Arth expresses great concern. As Celeste is cut free, they hear the sounds of Kobolds approaching from the distance and prepare for battle (in the next episode!).