Bollock's Inquisitives

S02E10 - Laying The Siege
The inquisitives join up in Graywall and proceed to join the siege of Turakbar's fist. There, they run into an old foe, and face a new one.
S02E09 - Payable in Blood
Upon their return to Sharn, the inquisitives get tangled in a gang war they might be responsible for starting.
S02E08 - New Horizons
After escaping pursuit and safely returning to Graywall, the inquisitives are hired by Geor d'Orien to escort him to Shaarat Kol.
S02E07 - Rescued!
After fighting off the Turakbar ambush with the help of a gnoll of the Znir Pact, the inquisitives infiltrate the Turakbar raiders' camp with the help of their new allies.
S02E06 - Cross Country
Bollock's Inquisitives are hired to find two missing scions of House Orien lost in Droaam.

Dravago 15, 998 YK.

to be completed

S02E05 - Scar Tissue
When the Mourning Dawn threatens Sharn, Bollock's Inquisitives are hired to help stop them. As Cyre refugees themselves, members of the group have to deal with their mixed feelings about their foes.

Eyre 19, 998 YK.

to be completed

S02E04 - On The Prowl
A simple investigation aiming to catch a rabid animal attacking citizens of Sharn gets complicated by the involvement of a poisoner and the agents the Church of the Silver Flame that are on her trail.

Eyre 19, 998 YK.

Eyre 20, 998 YK.

Eyre 21, 998 YK.

to be completed

S02E03 - Small Graces
Bollock's Inquisitives are hired by the watch to look into reports of people coming back from the dead in Fallen.

Eyre 10, 998 YK. Summoned to the Black Arch garrison in Lower Tavick’s Landing, Bollock’s Inquisitives are hired by Sergeant Lional Bondle to investigate reports of disappearances and, strangely, reports of people coming back from the dead in Fallen, a slum district of Lower Dura.

When they get to the neighborhood’s access walkway, they are stopped by a group of young hoodlums headed by a female shifter with red dyed fur. The gang makes it clear they don’t want meddlesome adventurers poking around Fallen. When the inquisitives explain their purpose, the gang members burst out laughing, amazed at people putting stock in unfounded rumors. All, except for one. He looks terrified as he says the rumors are true, and that he’s seen one of the returned. The rest of the gang groans, as he starts to recount the sighting to the inquisitives. Ultimately, the inquisitives are granted access, on the promise of not being too intrusive. Introducing herself as Tuara, the gang’s leader escorts the investigators to the location where the gang’s witness claims to have seen one of the returned.

They end up in front of a bakery. The store is closed and there is no sign of life from inside. The gang member recounts how he saw the late baker’s wife through the window a few nights before, kneading some dough. She’d been dead for about a month at that point. After knocking and getting no answer, Basil picks the lock and they step into an small, empty house. Some of the clothes are gone, but nothing else seems suspect. There is no sign of struggle, the bed is made, the idol of the Sovereign Host sits, undisturbed, on the mantle. Tuara tells the inquisitives that the shop had been closed for a few days, rumor was the baker was ill.

They meet with a neighbor, the old lady who initially reported the case to the watch, at her house across the street. She recounts having seen the baker’s wife walking towards the shop from her window a week before, and how she saw her and the baker leave with baggage the night before. The baker looked weak and sick. She also tells them the baker’s wife had died from a wound sustained in a cart accident.

Back outside, they manage to find faint tracks in the mud of a couple leaving from the baker’s house and heading to the borough’s main thoroughfare, where the tracks become indistinguishable from the rest.

The inquisitives then head to a missing young man’s apartment. There they meet with his landlord who tells them about how the youth had lost his girlfriend some time before going missing. She had died from a treatable illness, for they were too poor to afford House Jorasco’s services. The apartment is humbly furbished, adorned with a small table with four chairs, an old wooden bench, an idol of the Sovereign Host and a faded painting of the unlucky couple. The landlord’s wife claims to have seen the deceased girl a few days before the young man vanished, but she says she thinks her mind was playing tricks on her.

The group moves on. They decide to head to the city’s crematorium to find out if any of the bodies had gone missing. Flashing the letter from the Watch authorizing their investigation, they manage to get the manager’s collaboration. After a few hours asking questions of the staff and going through their paperwork, they find no one suspicious and paperwork that confirms that both bodies were cremated. Puzzled, they return to Fallen.

While walking on its main street, they find an old, dilapidated chapel to the Sovereign Host. Remembering the prominence of the Host’s symbols in the victims’ lodgings they decide to have a look at it. Though you can hardly tell in the lower levels of Sharn, night has fallen and the chapel is closed. They knock and the door is opened by a short mousy man holding a broom, the chapel’s sexton. The inquisitives present their letter and ask to be let inside. They then begin to question the sexton. The man’s nervous demeanor betrays the fact he knows more than he lets on and, when pressed, he admits to seeing the baker and his wife enter the chapel and head down stairs where the priest has his apartments.

Heading down they find an older chapel with an elderly priest in a chainmail kneeling in front of the altar. Sitting on the benches are three couples of cadavers: two chubby middle-aged persons, two younger-looking corpses and a woman and her child.

The inquisitives confront the priest. While he admits these are the people they are looking for, he denies killing them. He claims they came and let themselves die. Basil accuses him of raising undead, a serious crime from his Flamite perspective, but the cleric also denies that, saying his “master” is the one responsible. The group demand to speak to this “master”, but the priest says he is not to be disturbed. The inquisitives question his motives, and their suspect says his master, an envoy of the gods, returned grieving faithful parishioners’ loved ones to life because of an admiration for love, the greatest of all emotions. The returned were however temporary, and the grief stricken relatives chose to let themselves die with them. The group argues with each other, some supporting the grief stricken’s right to choose and others appalled by the abuse of these people emotional state. Ultimately, the fact that one of the victims was a child settles the issue, the group decides to put a stop to these returns.

As they tell the priest to surrender, he invokes his gods and the 6 dead bodies rise from their seats. The priest hurls bolts of divine wrath at the inquisitives while the corpses charge at the invaders. The battle rages for but a minute, leaving the priest unconscious and the undead destroyed.

After the battle, the group notices that the bodies of those thought to have been returned to life seem to be made from a patchwork of mismatched parts.

Searching the chapel, the inquisitives find that the bottom of a column can be pushed down, revealing a passage beneath the floor. As they climb down, they see that the column’s base is floating in the air. In fact, the hallway they find themselves in is littered with floating pebbles and rocks of various sizes. Rampart pushes a few aside, seeing they are not fixed in the air, but simply do not seem subject to gravity. Maathezar, remembering Sharn’s special link to the plane of Syrania, theorizes that they must have found one of the manifest zone’s “hot spots”.

The tunnel ends on a mass of fallen rocks. The side of the tunnel is open and the a slope of rocks and pebbles leads down into a wide chamber. The walls and ceiling of the vault are made by partially collapsed towers of Dhakaani design. On a small hill is a chapel. The floor seems to be an old cemetery.

Hard at work among the graves are two large zombies. The pieces they recover from the graves are in turn picked up by a pair of ghosts and brought up to an altar where they are sown together.

As the inquisitives take in the grisly scene, a portal seemingly made of shadow opens in the chapel’s entrance. Through it steps what appears to be an Angel of Valor, according to Zair. However, the angel somehow looks… wrong. Habitually wreathed in flame, this one appears to be made of black, acrid smoke, with small embers drifting through his form. On every single one of the “feathers” forming his wings are tiny chains, clinking softly, like wind chimes, as he steps into the room.

He looks up at the stunned inquisitives, his featureless face unreadable, and says “Oh. We have guests… My servant would not have let you through peacefully. I hope none of you were seriously hurt. Pray tell me, is my servant alright?”
“He is”, says Maathezar, “we just knocked him out. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“My name would mean little to you.”
“Still, I would like to know who I’m addressing.”
“I am commonly called Aluriel. I am here to share the gifts I possess with mortals in need.”

Asking more questions, the inquisitives get the angel’s story. He used to live in Syrania, but was banished after delving into forbidden magic, cursed to remain imprisoned in a small manifest zone. To him, love is the most powerful and noblest of all mortal emotions. He had found himself admiring its strength and wanting to preserve it. So he had studied magic in the hope of learning how to return the dead to those who loved them. Unbeknownst to his fellow angels, the place he was thrown into was also a manifest zone of Dolurrh. Seeing it as a sign of approbation from the Gods, he continued his work, ultimately discovering how to temporarily return the dead into corpses that were not their own. However, such creations had to be fueled by the life force of those who desired them, leading them to slowly deteriorate. When they could not take any more, the returned would leave, but often, their still living loved ones would come with them, preferring to die than to live without their love.

The group was torn. Sure, Aluriel was leading innocents to their deaths, but if they went willingly, who were they to interfere. Basil, however, saw no romanticism in the matter, rather the exploitation of emotionally distraught people for a madman to live his fantasy. In the end, the fact that one of the victims was a child led the group to adopt the shifter’s point of view. When they told Aluriel they could not let him continue, he simply chuckled.

“I am bound here, but the spark that gives me life is still in Syrania. If you should scatter my essence, it will eventually reform, and I will resume my work. I do not understand why you want to stand in my way.” Looking meaningfully at Karnak d’Vadalis, he says “some of you understand the pain of loss, and the loss of meaning it takes from one’s life.”

Sensing no lie in Aluriel’s words, Maathezar telepathically suggests to his allies to fall back for now while they research his claims and come back prepared. The others agree and the group takes its leave.

They spend the next few hours looking for answers at various chapels, ending up talking to a planar specialist at the Great Hall of Aureon in the University district in Upper Menthis. The scholar, Father Bertran, listens with growing interest to their tale. When they are done, he confirms that the angel’s tale is quite possible, but he tells them that it would be possible to banish him by finding the focus of his imprisonment, throwing it through the portal to Dolurrh and performing a ritual to close it permanently. He offers to perform the ritual for free, but puts down the condition that he be present to do it himself, pleading the rarity of such a hands on experience. The group agrees and head back down to Fallen with Father Bertran in tow.

They confront Aluriel. He proves a worthy foe, summoning spirits taken from Dolurrh and charging into battle with fiery blades and flanked by his large zombie minions. When they manage to vanquish him, his form dissipates, leaving behind his chainmail and the chains who bound his wings. Father Bertran identifies the binding chains as the focus item. He performs the ritual, and Aluriel binding are cast into Dolurrh, hopefully for all eternity.

When the group climb back out of the passage, they find that the Priest they had knocked out is dead. Careful examination shows that he was quite sick. Maathezar suggests that Aluriel’s presence was all that kept him alive. They report their success to Sergeant Bondle and claim their pay.

S02E02 - Diamonds in the Rough
Bollock's Inquisitives are hired by Cane to find a killer terrorizing his employees.

Therendor 28, 998 YK. A messenger shows up at Bollock’s Inquisitives asking the investigators to meet with Cane at his establishment as soon as possible. Having nothing important on their agenda, the group heads down to the Dragoneyes district to Cane’s Diamonds.

When they get there, Cane greets them warmly and takes them to his office in the nightclub’s back rooms. There he explains that three of his girls have turned up dead over the course of the last month and a half. After trying to resolve this issue through his men, he found that muscle doesn’t make a good investigator and has thus decided to hire professionals for the job. One girl, he explains, could have been a fluke, two a coincidence, but three is a spree. He wants the culprit identified, after which he says he’ll handle the rest. However distasteful this last implication is to some of the group, they agree, lives being at stake and the pay sounding right.

The first victim was a new arrival at Cane’s Diamonds. The young girl had been found stabbed to death in her room at Cane’s establishment in the morning after a shift. She had been seen after tending to her last customer, which ruled him out. The second victim was Natasha, one of Cane’s longstanding employee. The woman had taken the new arrival under her wing and had been deeply troubled by her death. She was found stabbed to death in her apartment three weeks after the first murder. The last victim, Sophia, had been found this morning in her apartment, also stabbed to death. Cane’s employees had carried the body back to his establishment and it had been kept on ice ever since.

While Karnak and Rampart search the first victim’s room, Maathezar performs an autopsy on the last victim and Basil and Zair question the bar’s staff.

The search doesn’t turn up much until the two investigators find a hidden cubbyhole that faintly smells of ammonia. The autopsy finds that a first, precise knife strike killed the victim, and that the other stab wounds were postmortem. Also, the girl’s blood seems to contain traces of narcotics. By questioning the staff, they find out about the mentoring relationship between the newcomer and Natasha, and that Natasha and Sophia were very close friends. They also learn of Clara, another girl who was close to Sophia and Natasha. Seeing as she could be a potential fourth victim, the inquisitives decide it might be worth checking up on her, as she is not working at the time of their visit.

They walk over to Clara’s apartment. She initially refuses to let them in, but after Maathezar soothes her anxieties, she allows them inside her surprisingly cozy lodgings. She is visibly terrified by the happenings at Cane‘s and answers the inquisitives’ questions to the best of her abilities. From her, they learn of Cane’s affiliation with the Boromar Clan, a notorious criminal syndicate. She also informs them that the Dragoneyes district is controlled by the Tyrants, a rival criminal group with which the Boromar have had an uneasy truce for a few years. This new piece of information could indicate that the truce might be coming to an end. Clara also suggest they question one of the barmen who had been seen fighting with two of the victims, the newcomer and Natasha, shortly before they were killed.

As her shift is to start soon, the group escort her to Cane’s Diamonds. There, they meet with Cane and confront him about his criminal ties. He tells them he didn’t want to steer their investigation towards the gang war conclusion, but admits that it might very well end up there. They ask about the Tyrants and whether any of their agents killed in a similar manner to the victims’ wounds. Cane admits he knows of one member of the Tyrants, nicknamed Rage, who used to kill in the same way, but that he was killed during the last war between them and the Boromar.

The group moves on to questioning the suspicious barman. Though the interrogation turns up motive (he was getting close to the newcomer and wanted her to quit so they could be together), he proves to be an unlikely suspect, as he crumbles in a gibbering heap of grief when the subject of the girl’s demise is brought up.

The inquisitives move on to searching Natasha and Sophia’s apartments. Each search takes a couple of hours. Neither turns up much, except for two things. In Natasha’s apartment, they find a trunk that smells faintly of ammonia and that has scratch marks on the inside of its lid. At Sophia’s, they find a hidden crawlspace that also smells of ammonia. This leads them to the conclusion that the killer kept his victims alive for some time before disposing of them, most likely, Maathezar posits, to extract information from them.

Acting on a hunch, they decide to search Clara’s apartment in her absence. A thorough search turns up a a large hidden cupboard in which they find… an unconscious and emaciated Clara. Leaving her at the nearest Watch post, they rush back to Cane’s Diamonds.

When they get there, they ask the bouncer if Clara is still inside, but he tells them she just left. He points down the street where she is walking with another of the club’s bouncers. She spots them and, pulling a blade from seemingly nowhere, stabs the bouncer in the chest and runs off into the crowd filling the streets of Dragoneyes.

They run off after her. Rampart tries to barrel through the crowd, yelling at them to get out of the way, to little effect. Basil lithely ducks and weaves through the crowd, keeping the assassin in sight. He sees her change her appearance and informs his colleagues as he continues the chase. Karnak sends Frostbite ahead so she can use her scent to keep on the assassin’s heels. He follows behind as quickly as he can. Zair points towards the assassin and yells “thief! thief! A reward for anyone who stops her!”. A cry answers her offer ahead “she’s here! this wa-” but is cut off in a gurgle. Maathezar asks the locals about the layout and heads off to try and cut off the murderer’s escape. After a few minutes of hot pursuit, they lose sight of her, only to finally catch sight of her as she enters a small nondescript establishment guarded by two changelings.

Walking over to them, Maathezar, Rampart and Zair try to get in, but the guards tell them that their “kind” is not welcome. The establishment is for changelings only. Zair still unwilling to reveal herself to her companions, tells them she thinks she can get in, but needs to speak to the guards alone. While the others hang back, she shows part of her true face to the guards and explains to them that the group is a mark and that she doesn’t want to blow her cover. The guards believe her claims and let her in. The group is impressed by what they perceive as her skill with diplomacy, but Maathezar, ever the perceptive one, finally infers Zair’s true lineage. However, he opts to keep the information to himself.

Inside the establishment is a bar and double doors that leads to changing rooms staked with clothing of all sorts. Asking around, Zair finds the murderer and sits at her table. Zair asks the assassin why she did the killings. She answers that the truce has stood for long enough, and that she can say that to her employers. The inquisitives then asks who she should say the message is from. The assassin grins and simply answers “Rage”. Zair senses no deception in the other’s claims, so she leaves.

As she is about to exit the establishment, she asks the bouncers to throw her out violently, for the sake of her cover identity. The bouncers gleefully agree, and toss her out. In her usual clumsy manner, Zair ends up flipping over the small table the guards were playing on and falling flat on her face. She then gets up, walks back to her colleagues and relays what’s she learned.

The inquisitives head back to Cane’s Diamonds and tell Cane that Rage is back. The warforged nods and says “then it’s war”. He thanks them for their work and pays them their fee.

Later. A changeling walks into the back room of a small store. In the room are shelves filled with strange roots and herbs, ceramic pots, small sculptures made by clawed hands and a door on the far wall. In front of the door, four orcs are sitting at a table, playing a simple game with wooden tiles. They glance up at the new arrival, obvious dislike, but also a tinge of fear, visible on their ugly faces. One of them gets up and knocks on the door in a special, rhythmic way. The door opens, revealing part of the Troll that was standing behind it. He lets the changeling through. The large hallway on the other side of the door leads to a warehouse. In the warehouse, many orcs, some gnolls and a few humans are working at unpacking very illegal goods from crates stamped with a logo familiar to most Khorvairians. A female tiefling is supervising their work. The changeling walks straight to her.
“It’s done”, she says, “they went for it.”
The tiefling grins. “I know”, she answers, “the Boromar have already made their first move.”
“Soon, the Tyrants and the Boromar will be at each other throats, leaving you plenty of room to expand. I told you I was worth it”, adds the changeling.
“Time will tell. Though for now, I’m satisfied with your contribution, Tuss.”
The changeling smiles. Poor daughter, she thinks as she recalls the day’s events, you’re as hopeless as your father.

S02E01 - Leaders and Followers
Bollock's Inquisitives are hired to find a missing teenager. After questioning her entourage, they discover unexpected complications to their job.

Therendor 23, 998 YK. After a few weeks of painfully boring jobs, mostly chasing lost pets and cheating spouses, Bollock’s Inquisitives are hired by a couple whose teenage daughter, named Shana, didn’t come home the night before. The Watch has refused to investigate as they say the girl hasn’t been missing for long enough, but both parents are exceedingly worried. Originally from northern Breland, they moved to Sharn a few months before, after having made a fortune by finding a dragonshard deposit on their farmland. Their daughter having fallen in with a group of rebellious girls at her school, the parents suggest that avenue of investigation to the inquisitives. They also point them towards the girl’s tutor. After the parents leave, Karnak d’Vadalis says “I bet she’s been captured by a cult and we’ll find her tied to an altar somewhere.”

The talk with Shana’s friends proves unproductive. The girls are belligerent, condescending and uncooperative. However, Maathezar notices one of the girls, Ester Davilla, seems ill at ease. He informs his teammates via his telepathy and they decide to see her alone once the school day is over.

When they see her tutor, a grad student at Morgrave University named Daron, they learn Shana was hiding a boy from her parents called Josten Pendleton, nephew of the headmaster of Pendleton Academy, the school she went to. Daron suggests they should talk with him, as Shana went to a party at his place on the night she disappeared.

They find Josten with his friends in a park just outside the Academy. Watching them from afar, Rampart notices he seems to be favoring his right side and is using his hair to conceal a black eye. When they split up to go home, Zair approaches one of his friends and uses her feminine wiles to press some information out of him. The teenager tells her Josten and Shana left the party together, but that Josten came back 15 minutes later looking like he had taken a beating. He didn’t see Shana again, but he laughs off the idea that Josten had anything to do with it.

The inquisitives move on to Ester Davilla’s house where they have a talk with her alcoholic mother. When the girl comes home, she shows genuine concern at her friend’s disappearance and shares what she knows. She says Shana was flirting with two boys, Josten… and Daron, her tutor. The latter was also present at the party.

They head back to see Daron and catch up with him just as he’s leaving his office. He admits having been at the party and says he caught Josten being forceful with Shana. He intervened, pulling Josten off the girl and physically showing him his behavior was unacceptable. He says Shana was traumatized, so he took her to a friend’s house to recover. The inquisitives insist he bring them there and he complies.

The house is in the lower levels of Sharn. They go down into the house’s basement and emerge into a large chamber that looks like an old temple. A large crowd of robed figures and standing ahead of them, facing towards a platform on which stand five robed individuals and a dazed-looking Shana. Behind them, in the shadows is a large creature. Daron takes advantage of the inquisitives momentary surprise to run off towards the crowd yelling “we have company!”

The head priest yells “Faithful, protect the Great Mother!” And he and his acolytes fall back, taking the large creature with them. The group notices a small figure from the platform heads off in a different direction, but the crowd, grabbing knives and torches rushes at them. “Told you so”, says Karnak as he hefts his blade.

The battle with the cultists is brutal. Though they are numerous, they are not trained fighters and they fall like flies before the inquisitives. Disgusted by what they’ve seen, the inquisitives take no prisoners. After the battle, Karnak finds a dying Daron. The tutor says “she was going to be reborn, to be perfect…”, the Vadalis wastes no time and ends him.

Shana has been left behind by the cult leaders and is obviously drugged out of her mind. They cover her with a cloak and put her out of the way. They head deeper into the catacombs to pursue the leaders and this so-called “Great Mother”.

They end up in a large room with two large pools of water and offerings littering the floor. In front of them stand three of the cultists. The leader says “you may have slain the faithful, but the Great Mother will destroy you!” Behind him and out of a pool of water rises a large tentacled creature with two heads, hundreds little feet and a large abdomen. Ooze pours out of the cultists’ orifices and form weapons in their hands: a long whip for the leader and claws for the other two.

Basil Tulsi reacts first, sending an arrow that turns into a flock of bats that strikes at the crowd. One of the clawed abominations explodes in a burst of ooze. Basil heads for a side corridor, but ends up face to face with a dwarf wielding ooze katars. The fight is joined by all sides. The Great Mother exudes ooze that the leader uses as a weapon, striking his foes far away. After a brutal battle, the Great Mother is dispatched and then her dismayed followers. Out of the Mother’s abdomen crawls out a bunch of small oozes that dry up and die as they meet the open air. When the cult leaders are slain, ooze drips out of their eyes, noses and ears. After looting the room, the inquisitives head back to find the smaller humanoid that headed in a different direction.

Behind a screen in the main temple, they find a tight little passage. They squeeze through it and end up in a spacious living room. From an adjoining room, Basil makes out a muted conversation, which he relays to his comrades.
“As expected, the gestation period is still too long and led to our being discovered”, says a high pitched voice.
“Indeed”, answers a deeper one, “it seems your initial assessment was accurate. Gather your notes and report back to me, we need to take your observations into account for the next phase.”
“My notes have been transferred to a portable medium, I just need to destroy the originals. I will be by your side shortly, master. But first, I need to dispose of the guests in my parlor.”
“If it will amuse you, but don’t waste too much time, they are irrelevant.”

Having been discovered, the group moves forward to engage their enemy, but as Basil steps forward, a coat rack suddenly shifts, growing tentacles and grabbing him. A strange looking gnome appears in the doorway at the end of the room. “Greetings!” he says with a mad grin, “let’s have a bit of fun together!”

One of the couches shifts as well and from the end of the room a large translucent shape oozes forward. The creatures are identified by Karnak as two mimics and a gelatinous cube. The three aberrant creatures block the way while the gnome bombards the group with spells. However, the creatures prove no match for the inquisitives and they soon surge towards the gnome. He sends a spark along the wall to his bookcases, putting them on fire. After a brief melee, he bows to his opponents, acknowledges their strength and, with a mad laugh, teleports away. Rampart lets out a howl of frustration.

After recuperating what they can from the gnome’s library, they head back to the temple and take Shana Tuncay back to their office and, when the drugs finally wear off, to her parents.


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