Session date: November 4, 2000
Synopsis: The adventure begins where the IC tollbooth recon left off. Thorpe and Alipour were following the trail left by the retreating humanoid force from the tollbooth. Raethe was investigating the arrow trenches in the encampment while the goblins had dinner. Delezar watched from his hillside vantage. Alipour heard a something large moving through the forest as he and Thorpe returned to the camp. Moving quickly, they found it was a hill giant. The giant reaches the camp ahead of them and smells Delezar. The giant moves to grab a rock and Alipour and Thorpe attack. Raethe begins moving back to help Delezar. The goblins hear the fight and begin to spill out of the stockade. Delezar holds his cool, casting Entangle at the goblins, even while the giant was readying to throw a rock at him. Four goblins are caught in the spell and the others retreat back into the stockade. The giant holds his own against the heroes and knocks Alipour to the ground, rendering him unconscious. Thorpe and the others are hard pressed against the powerful giant.
The battle seems to be turning against them when Asher leads Lady Shera, Lord Hestean, Kenon, Alark, and Squire Avery into the battle. Asher had a vision from Savras the morning that Raethe and company left on the recon showing of danger. Leaving only an hour behind them, they are able to arrive in time to turn the tide of battle. The goblins break free of the stockade but are routed by a charge led by Lady Shera. In the end, the heroes win the day. A large stash of loot is found in the stockade and in the giant's bag. One item in particular stands out. A giant tankard found in the bag gives the Seven a name...The Fellowship of the Grand Tankard.
Returning to Thall, the rest of the loot is given over to Alark to restock his shop. The heroes prepare for the upcoming Midsummer Festival. Lady Shera is asked by Guilder Kailen to attend the Grand Feast with him. She declines because of a former commitment to Avery. Guilder convinces her to take a wager against Bert the Ogre in the archery contest. If she loses, she breaks her date with Avery and goes with Guilder.
The archery contest is a close one, but Bert wins out. The first day of the festival suffers an outbreak of pick-pocketing, even several of the fellowship fall prey to the thieves.. A young boy is apprehended by Asher near a tent but promptly breaks free from Ajantis the paladin and Deornath. Asher apprehends him again and berates Ajantis and Deornath for losing him. Ajantis responds with harsh words of his own and stalks off. Raethe looks inside the tent the boy was found outside of and opens the two chests inside. His fingers are not deft enough to dodge the poison needles. Luckily, Lady Shera gives him a dose of "sweet water" after each prick. He finds each chest full of gold. Two women approach the tent and Raethe slips out a slit in the back. He spies on them conversing and then embracing.
The next two days are relatively quiet. No one else suffers from the pickpockets. On the fourth day, the thefts continue, and a young girl is caught stealing and is taken to the town jail. Asher and Kenon, along with Alark, devise a plan to question her and hopefully find out who is behind the thievery. Using skillful illusion, they get her to reveal the two women at the tent paid her to steal. She dropped her purloined goods in a tree outside of town. The heroes go to the tree and find it full of stolen purses. Returning into Thall, they see Sharlon's Traveling Games enter the festival area and begin setting up.
The fifth day brings the open of Sharlon's gambling tent and the Grand Melee. The gambling tent does brisk business, filling its coffers quickly. Meanwhile, the heroes replace the stolen gold with rocks. Each purse contains a marked rock as well, to help in identifying the culprits.
The Melee begins in late afternoon. Kenon, Lady Shera, Asher, and Alark join in an attempt to win the 100gp purse. The fight begins with several small groups forming for mutual protection. A man in full plate attacks the heroes alone, keeping them busy. Bert the Ogre joins with a large black man and attack a group consisting of a dwarf, a petite woman, and a wizard. During the melee, betting begins. Alipour places several bets, including one with the two women (identified as Felyana and Michella). Moments later, Raethe sees the women head into the gambling tent. He and Alipour follow, finding the women in the strongbox wagon. Felyana keeps them at bay with a crossbow until the chests are loaded onto a cart. They leave the tent and load a wagon, quickly riding off. Raethe raises an alarm and Sharlon shouts that his guard is knocked out and the gold is indeed missing. Chase is given, with Alipour, Asher, and Raethe catching up with the wagon outside of town. Alipour attempts to leap onto the moving wagon, but fails and ends up dragging behind it by his fingers. Raethe and Asher jump aboard. They knock Felyana off the wagon and she is killed by the wheels. Michella fakes unconsciousness and then leaps out with boots of flying. She gets away. The gold is recovered.
The festival ends with the Seven being honored for their many heroic deeds.
Experience Award: 1650
Role-player of the Week Award: 300, Jeremy
Quote of the Week: 100, Ransom