Following the Poison Farm episode, the party returned to Dog Leg and relaxed for some days – which turned to months, due to lack of work. Toot had a “big score” planned and taunted the party about it. The White Tiger had some other travelling groups staying, notably one called “The Gnome Acrobats”. After deteriorating for some time, things picked up when Shaky Graham, the rogue from Barry’s party teleported into the bar as a smoking corpse. Investigating, finding clues and casting rituals, the party determined that he had been sent as an SOS from Barry. A note mentioned that Barry had gone to Rappan Athuk.
Many seemed frightened by the mention of this name, although the gang were largely ignorant of its meaning. Travelling overland to a town known as Frog Bog, far to the south, they picked up some pointers. Rappan Athuk was a legendary dungeon complex rumoured to have a huge temple of Orcus below it, and rumoured to be the most deadly in existence. Almost a tourist attraction for adventurers, Rappan Athuk had an industry built around it – the town of Frog Bog only existed to service delving parties.
Arriving in Frog Bog, the group found one of their former comrades from their hometown, maimed and destitute. He begged them for money for passage home, and explained that Toot had led them down into Rappan Athuk, although many of them were killed just getting to the Dungeon gates. Within a day, they were hopelessly lost, and most of them dead. Two made it out of a rat tunnel and made it back to Frog Bog where they managed to find Barry and his crew. Barry had earlier decided that RA was too dangerous and was only staying in town out of interest.
Barry’s gang headed down into RA as a rescue party, but clearly had run into trouble.
Travelling to RA, Chops & co found the entrance (as described) in a depressed graveyard. On the outskirts, a confrontation with some undead hounds set the scene. Upon entering the graveyard, green/purplish gargoyles animated and attacked. Within, screaming skeletons, dung beasts and other horrors set the scene.
Travelling through old school mega dungeon for some time finally put them on Barry’s trail, until a chamber labelled “Beware Purple Worms” beckoned. A huge sandy cavern set the stage for a fight with some stealthy drow explorers. Unfortunately, the noise of combat attracted the rather larger inhabitants who surfaced. The carnage was terrible and resulted in the loss of two PCs and one NPC. Barry came to the rescue upon a Tenser’s Floating Disc (so as not to alert the Purple Worms) and the party beat a hasty retreat back to the surface.
Returning to Winder as heroes, having braved several levels of Rappan Athuk, Barry used his treasure to buy the White Tiger and converted it into a gastro pub called “Barry’s Place”. Barry was always a great adventurer, but he seemed to be an even better host and quickly became very successful. Chops & Co stayed to help Barry on various quests for a few years.
Much time passed, and Drum lost the appetite for adventuring, as Chops and Squid decided to move on by taking on a mission from Barry to find a legendary Chinese cookbook so that he could expand the repertoire of his restaurant menu. Rumoured to be kept in a monastery in the mountains of the Far East, Chops, Squid, an enigmatic teleporting Warlock known as Foundling, her sister Crow and a host of mercenaries headed east to find it.
Once in the Cathay Region, Chops and the mercenaries made arrangements to find porters and travel into the mountains, Squid and Crow did some sightseeing and were involved in a probate dispute that resulted in the deaths of dozens of villagers and the discovery of a nest of demons and a demonic hydra-like beast in the oriental sewers. Strange, yes. But they did hit paragon tier before Chops.
The foray into the mountains was violent and noisy, after it was revealed that an evil curse had befallen the monastery and turned the monks evil and/or undead. Two NPCs were killed, and it was a bit touch and go with the level of damage output the party could claim. Successfully killing the grandmaster and looting the temple, the party returned home even more famous and settled down for a bit.
Three years passed, during which:
Chops battled over-indulgence problems. Drinking, smoking, eating rich food.
Squid found tabloid fame, married, fell from grace, claimed a divorce by intimidating her spouse, murdered several reporters, and determined that the only way back to positive media image was to take up adventuring again.
Getting back together with Chops, and new hire, Crow – the half-sister of Foundling, the new improved gang set off for pastures new.
Undertaking a quest to track down missing caravans, the party encountered maddened fey (and killed them – although they had the alarming habit of re-animating briefly after being slain). A portal to what was presumed to be the Feywild was located, and crossed into.
On the “other side”, things were predictably lush and green, although a large and imposing structure featuring rope bridges and waterfalls seemed to pose a challenge. A long winded riddle\poem greeted them and some animated statues briefly held up progress. A few secret doors later, and the party entered a strange shaped maze of corridors. A few more crazy fey (and subsequent re-animations) later, and the game’s afoot…..