The Sword Coast Guard, Episode 9 – Tichwillow’s Truth, Part 1

Session Date: July 30, 2017

Midsummer, 1367 DR

Following the lead Linare gave them, the Sword Coast Guard heads to Dock Ward to speak with the sea elves about the malenti they found in their midst and the remnant it had.

They arrive at the harbor master’s office, and strike up a conversation with the busy man. Instead of getting straight to the point about why they are there – they simply need him to call the sea elves so they can talk – Nigel decides to spin up a tale about being there to claim salvage from the harbor.

The harbor master naturally asks to see requisition papers, which they don’t have. There is some back and forth, during which a second lie and the true reason for their being there are put forth. However, the harbor master is not having any of it, including a substantial bribe the heroes try to give him. Finally an attempt at intimidation by Malark pushes him over the line. In short order the harbor master has a squad of Waterdeep Watch there to sort things out.

The Watch calls bullcrap on their stories, and gives the Sword Coast Guard a stern rebuke. They are warned not to engage in any more deception against city officials. The civiliar in charge tells them that only their good reputation for aiding Waterdeep is saving them from official charges being laid against them. This time.

With the heroes somewhat deflated, the Watch detachment blows a giant horn that protrudes into the water of the harbor. Soon thereafter, a handful of sea elves emerge from the water.

The heroes tell their leader, Parlanacel Fairskin, they were sent by Linare to inquire about the malenti and remnant. The sea elves take them somewhere private underwater where they may talk, giving the heroes potions so they can breath underwater.

Throughout the scenes with the sea elves, the players continue to butcher Parlanacel’s name, leading to some interesting dialogue.

The heroes learn from Parlanacel that they captured a malenti – a Sahuagin, the racial enemy of the sea elves, that looks exactly like a sea elf – in their mist and that this malenti was carrying a remnant. He tells them that over the millennia the sea elves have been gathering remnants from the sea bed, and they have a few dozen stored in their magical treasure vault. The sea elves did not know the significance of the remnants until recently.

The heroes mention that they have eight of the remnants themselves. Parlanacel tells them the remnants all have a certain marking on them, and asks to see the hero’s remnants. Nigel then opens the tube where the remnants should have been – before he lost them to Lady Nellabee Tharmar – and feigns surprise when the tube is revealed to be empty.

Nigel then goes on to say how he had a dream where Nellabee took the remnants from him, but he though it was just a dream. Now it looks like it really happened.

All the players know what really happened, but their characters don’t. So, I had Nigel roll a Deception check and the others Insight checks. Nigel’s roll was higher than everyone else’s, so I ruled all of the characters believed him.

The heroes are taken to the malenti, whom the sea elves still have captive. Thus far the creature has refused to give any information.

So, the Sword Coast Guard then interrogates the creature, using detect thoughts. They gather valuable information about where the Sahuagin live, who their leader is – a four-armed Sahuagin brute – and that the Sahuagin are mining an underground lake for more remnants.

The also get information about a cloaked figure holding a trident who appears to be related to the effort to collect the remnants.

In the end, Parlanacel beseeches the heroes to go to the Sahuagin community, destroy them and all the malenti, and reclaim as many remnants as possible. He fears that if the heroes don’t do that immediately, the Sahuagin will attack the sea elves in order to steal the remnants from their vault.

The heroes promise Parlanacel that they will take care of the Sahuagin threat, and the sea elf leader gives them a dozen potions of water breathing to aid them in their efforts.

After their meeting with the sea elves, the heroes leave Waterdeep and head to Granny Tichwillow’s cottage, figuring that settling that business is the most pressing matter.

Some promises were meant to be broken, right? Actually, the group was split on what to do next, and I had the dice settle the matter. The dice ruled they go to Tichwillow’s.

1 Eleasias, 1367 DR

As they travel along a gravel path flanked by fields of wheat, they hear the sound of children’s mischievous laughter coming from the fields. The heroes investigate – Belgarath using his flying carpet and Nigel his hippogriff – but they find nothing but solemn scarecrows in the field.

There are some jokes at the table about the scarecrows animating and attacking them, but the DM pays this no mind. Players have fanciful imaginations, after all.

As they get nearer Tichwillow’s cottage, the gravel on the path turns supernaturally sharp and harms the hooves of two of their horses. They continue the rest of the way through the wheat fields, wheat tassels breaking off and sticking fast to their clothes as they walk along.

They finally arrive at the cottage around midnight – a fine hour for meeting someone suspected to be a witch or hag – and Granny Tichwillow invites them in.

The heroes confront her about the letter they found in the Candy Witches’ lair. Tichwillow reads the letter and then exclaims that her “evil clone” from the feywild must be working with the Candy Witches. She says that the Unseelie fey creating an evil person that looks just like her, and that it must be her that did it.

Belgarath is having none of it, though. As he eyes the stooped old woman before him, he sees through her magical disguise and and sees the grotesque form of a hag standing before him. He tells his companions what he sees, but most seem content to ignore him.

Nigel in particular wants to believe Tichwillow, and asks her where they can find her “evil clone.” Tichwillow them brings forth her divining tin and begins her ritual for consulting the bones. Blood, spit, and herbs go into the tin tray, and finally she casts in a handful of small bones. After a moment of reading the bones, she tells the heroes they can find her clone in a cave on the coast.

There is some discussion among the heroes about what to do, but Malark and Belgarath decide it by drawing their weapons and attacking.

As the battle unfolds, Granny Mathilda Tichwillow’s true form as a grotesque, large hag is revealed to all. Granny Tichwillow immediately squashes a toad on her shoulder, triggering teleportation magic that whisks her away.

Then the cottage itself comes alive: the doors and windows grow sharp protrusions that attack the heroes when they try to move through them, and the cauldron begins spewing forth toxic gas. Outside the cottage, several scarecrows, including a giant-sized one, animate, pull themselves down off the poles that hold them aloft, and swarm the cottage.

The heroes scramble to get out of the cottage – toxic gas is not good – where they then confront the scarecrows. The creatures are resistant to many of their attacks, but Elodin quickly learns that fire works quite well on them. He then drops a fireball that immolates several of them.

Granny Tichwillow's cottage turns into a death trap.

Once the heroes defeat the scarecrows, the cottage stops attacking them. With the danger passed, the heroes move back into the cottage to explore its contents.

Malark picks the lock on a chest upstairs and opens the lid to release a swarm of wasps. The insects cover him with scores of nasty stings before the ranger and Belgarath can kill them all.

In the bottom of the chest is a single copper pieces. Covered with swollen stings, Malark snarls and tries to scoop up the copper piece. A massive jolt of electricity courses through his body and tosses him away from the chest.

Just as he’s about to have Mugzy smash the chest to pieces, Elodin calmly has his mage hand retrieve the copper piece for the ranger.

Downstairs Nigel discovers a secret recipe book of Tichwillow’s that appears to contain recipes for potions and other oddities. The bard discretely pockets the book, hoping it contains a recipe for more of that delicious candy.

After taking a long rest, the heroes find several tracks made by large creatures outside the cottage. Following the tracks brings them to the Troll Holl, wherein dwell the ogres and trolls that helped them destroy the White Knights.

Things click together for Nigel at that moment. He tells the group that those ogres and trolls were probably working for Granny Tichwillow all along since it was she who sent them there to recruit them. The heroes agree and suspect they are walking into a trap.

Before going in, Belgorath and Elodin cast comprehend languages just in case they need to understand Giant, the language both trolls and ogres speak.

In the first chamber of the cave complex, they find several ogres and a troll on guard. They convince the brutes to lead them to the throne room and overhear a conversation in Giant where the ogres are talking about Tichwillow giving them orders to kill the heroes.

Ogres aren’t smart. No one else speaks their language, right? So why not talk about killing the heroes in their presence?

Elodin casts suggestion on one ogre, convincing it to leave the cave, and that ogre takes one of its buddies with him. With only a few ogres and one troll left, the heroes pounce on them. A wall of fire and some hack and slash later, the ogres and trolls are but smoking corpses on the ground.

The heroes confront ogres and a troll as they track down Granny Tichwillow.

And now they just need to find Tichwillow.

 

The Sword Coast Guard

the adventurers formerly known as the Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls

 

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