Descent into Avernus

Descent into Avernus Episode 12 – A Farmer’s Charm

TL;DW / Recap

After meeting up at the north-east gate and dividing their new loot, the Dickbags begin their 5-day trek to Candle Keep. Ser Nedir gives the guards at the gate their writ of passage from Commander Liara Porter and they are allowed to exit the city. As they make their way through the sea of refugees camped outside the city gates, they eventually make it to Little Calimshan where Falastar stops to pick up supplies from his residence.

While in Little Calimshan, Ser Nedir finds a local jeweler in hopes of acquiring platinum rings for the party. Feeling the Jeweler’s prices were a bit high, Elder Storm offers to share his epic tale of how he (and the group) managed to infultrate a cultist lair beneath a bath house and expose the Vanthamper family of their evil dealings with the cultists and demons. Although a little sketchy on some of the details, the Jeweler is still impressed and agrees to a discounted rate for the rings. Once the rings are fitted and handed out to the group, Ser Nedir explains that he needed them in order to provide everyone with some extra resistance, should things get dicey in a future encounter.

The Dickbags proceed southward along Coast Way towards Candle Keep. On the second day, they see a farmer heading northward pulling a wagon full of hay. Elder Storm greets the farmer and learns that he is heading towards Baldur’s Gate to deliver the hay to those who may need it. As the conversation continues, the farmer notices the shield that Ser Nedir is carrying. He inquires how he came to procure such an ornate shield and Ser Nedir informs him that he acquired it in Baldur’s Gate. As the farmer continues to prod about the shield, Ser Nedir grows suspicious and casts Divine Sense, picking up a fiendish presence from the farmer. The farmer asks if he could inspect the shield more closely. Ser Nedir and the farmer both get down from their horse/wagon and Ser Nedir allows the farmer to look at the shield, but from a distance. Ser Nedir inquires with the shield as to the nature of the farmer and the Hidden Lord indicates that he is “one of them” and that the individual seeks to reclaim him.

The Dickbags then hear a whistle coming from the farmer and find three men jump up from the hay, armed and ready to attack. Seeing the aggresive action being triggered by the farmer, Liam reacts by jumping off his horse and attacking the farmer. As he strikes with his bo there is a small crack of thunder and the farmer is left with an unusual aura around him. Toph follows suit and attacks the farmer with her Spice Flick, but finds the farmer is somehow resistant. The farmer then reveals himself to be a demon in disguise. He stares at Ser Nedir and commands him to hand over the shield and Ser Nedir finds himself unable to resist. The demon steps forward and as he does the mysterious aura releases another crack of thunder upon him. Determined, the demon takes the shield that Ser Nedir hands to him.

Not liking how things are playing out, Elder Storm conjures forth a storm cloud above them and uses it to call a bolt of lightning down upon the demon and one of the veterans. He hits both, but finds the demon seems to shrug off some of the damage (resistant to poison AND lightning?!). The battle continues until the Farmer looks at Ser Nedir once more and tells him to hold down Toph before flying away. Still under the demon’s charm, Ser Nedir proceeds to try and grapple Toph but is somehow unable to overpower her. As the demon flies off, Elder Storm pursues and casts a 3rd level Shatter (amplified with his Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath). A massive blast of thunder damage erupts, crippling the demon but it still manages to hang on. Liam then disengages from the two veterans that have him flanked and chases after the demon as well. As he runs, dark energy starts to coalesce arounds his hands and he launches two bolts of eldritch energy at the demon (WHAT?! Isn’t he a monk?). One of the bolts just barely manages to connect, finishing off the demon and causing it to fall to the ground.

Elder Storm retrieves the shield as Ser Nedir and Toph continue to endure the onslaught of the hired veterans. Ser Nedir, now free from the demon’s charm, is so furious that he lops the head off one of the veterans with his longsword. The two remaining veterans focus their attacks on Toph, who defends herself by casting Pebble in Water which blasts away Ser Nedir along with one of the veterans. Toph runs back to Falaster and jumps on the horse. the two ride away towards Elder Storm, leaving Ser Nedir to fend for himself. Ser Nedir holds firm,but inevitably gets overwhelmed and falls to the ground unconcious. Liam rushes over and revives him with a healing potion. Toph circles back and rejoins the fight along with Elder Storm and the Dickbags finish off the remaining veterans.

With a moment to breath and collect themselves, Ser Nedir takes a moment to cast Zone of Truth in order to get some honest answers out of his shield. The Hidden Lord is vague with his responses and dodges questions about his origins, but assures Ser Nedir that he will help the party by guiding them through Avernus in order to save Elturel. Toph takes the opportunity to ask Liam about the shadowy energy the group saw from him, but he just indicates it’s a long story.

The Dickbags continue their journey towards Candle Keep and finally arrive on the fifth day. When they arrive, they are greeted by two monks who inform them that they must provide a unique book (one they don’t already have in their archives) in order to gain entrance into the establishment. Falastar provides a cookbook of Calimshan recipes while Liam offers one of the spell books they found in the cultists lair. The group is allowed entry. Falastar leaves to report his findings while the Dickbags find the local tavern.

What will they learn from the mysterious puzzle box? Will Ser Nedir get more answers about his possessed shield? And what is going on with Liam and his new powers?