Hmm, that seems to be a good plan. We should check the barn first.

Cinder, Dave, Fist of Odin, I know that this sounds strange, but I believe that I may be able to negotiate with these owlbears. Have faith, and follow my lead.

Rob, I, uh, put on my mittens of friendship and quietly follow the perimeter to the barn.

Dave, Fist of Odin, perhaps you should ready that Silence spell...
  I laughed, I cried.
Actually, I laughed so hard I cried. I had tears in my eyes when I read this:

But then Dave's all like:

Watch out my outfit's ridiculous
At the... Potion Guild! lookin' so conspicuous
These women all on the prowl
If you hold her steady I'm gonna milk the cow
Forget about game Odin spits the truth
I won't stop til I get 'em in they birthday suits!

And the guard shrugs off his blazer and starts doing this freak thing with his broadsword scabbard, all crotch pumping and yelling "Yeah Yeah!"

Holy shit is that fucking funny. Oh God. This blog needs to be a book. It will be the funniest fantasy novel ever written.
  It's my perrogative...

DM>"each of you gets 200 xp. Cinder, that puts you just a hare's ass away from leveling... you need 30 xp"

Ahh, but Rob, I believe by first edition rules, thieves with a 15 dex or higher get a 10% bonus to their xp! Not to mise, but collies have pretty good ears if you catch my drift. And maybe they bite you. That too.

Ok team. Here's what we know:

'Lord Rupert' claps Vrill hard on the shoulder and says "Now let's wrap up here and go see some of these famous collies!"
At least 2 priests, (Lord Rupert and Sarah) will be there, along with Vrill.

Vrill: "Hey, don't worry, it's not like I left it in the house itself. It's, you know, well guarded." With that, he makes a gesture back towards his poster!
P: (Sarcastically) "Great. This owlbear thing, Greg..."
The key is being gaurded by Greater Owlbears. Not in the house obviously.

You also see mention of something called the 'Arcanobear', an owlbear with rudimentary magic using abilities!
This guy could pop up too...

"Brogg. Fist of Odin. I say we find the owlbears first in order to get the key. If we have that, we won't have to worry about finding Vrill. he'll come to us. Let's ignore the house for now and scout the farm for a place large enough to house and create 'Growlbears.' What say you, friends?"

  Brogg's Got The Flow That Make Your Booty Go
Cinder, yes, Vrill Friends'd you again. As he walks off with Lord Rupert and Lady Sarah, you feel inclined to give a thorough critique of his research! C'est bon! All A's and a nice comment to boot. While you're standing there in awe of Vrill's research, a brown-robed apprentice joins you. He's got a nametag on that says "Apprentice Steve". You know how sometimes you have those 'drunk' conversations? This is definitely a 'Potion of Friends'-style conversation.

Apprentice Steve: "Uh, hey there Master Y... Master Whyve... uh, Master Meefer."
Cinder: "Hello..." (looking at nametag) "...Apprentice Steve. It's nice to meet you."
AS: "You too. So, uh... you like this kind of stuff?"
C: "Yes, I think this work is absolutely brilliant."
AS: "Hey me too! Owlbears are pretty cool huh?"
C: "Indeed they are, apprentice."
AS: "Master Vrill's a pretty cool guy huh?"
C: "He seemed quite charming. The epitomy of 'Guildmaster'."
AS: "Yeah I think so too. Okay well I gotta go. Thanks for talking to me."

Apprentice Steve has sort of brownish hair parted in the middle. He's sort of a big guy- not what you'd call fat, just a little big, 'carries some weight in the face' as they say. He trundles off leaving you to contemplate the poster and fill out the little ballot. You whistle along with Hall and Oats as you take the ballot over to the box and drop it off. Then you have a "D'oh" kind of moment as the spell wears off. Damn that Vrill, you think. Tricked again. And he's now somewhere lost in the halls... you think it's time you got out of there and told your fellow PCs what he's up to.

Meanwhile, outside, Brogg... Hey! You think you recognize that tune inside! L'esprit de la muse takes over you and you start singing along. You start out a little quiet, but then totally turn it out on the chorus. You even got a little Usher foot thing, touching your baseball hat thing going on, point at Dave, do a spin. The Chess Club thiefs start getting into it too, one of them must have a pretty high DX because he lets loose with some fat moves. Pretty soon you've got a circle of people around you and there's some nice synchronized dancing going on. Dave, Fist of Odin can't really get into it because he's in plate mail and all, but he then pulls a crazy 'robot' dance. Two guys off to the side in suits look at that with approval and nod at each other and give Dave props.

However, one of those Potion Guild guards, he doesn't look too pleased, raises an eyebrow at this nonsense and puts his hand on his broadsword. You just know he's about to step up and tell you kids to quiet down, he just don't unnastand.

But then Dave's all like:

Watch out my outfit's ridiculous
At the... Potion Guild! lookin' so conspicuous
These women all on the prowl
If you hold her steady I'm gonna milk the cow
Forget about game Odin spits the truth
I won't stop til I get 'em in they birthday suits!

And the guard shrugs off his blazer and starts doing this freak thing with his broadsword scabbard, all crotch pumping and yelling "Yeah Yeah!"

He wipes the sweat off his forehead when the song's over, still pretty excited. "Whew! Oh yeah! You guys are pretty cool! I'm 'down' if you want to go into the guild and get that party started! Yeah!"

The thieves across the way kind of smile and shrug and head on in. You head into the grounds too, but notice 'Master Meifer' on the way out. You all join up and head back to Haggi's.

Cinder, you give your report to Grimes, who's well liquored up by this time of night. "Well done Thhinder my lad! Here's 100 gps. You can keep those poshuns but you gotta give ush please back the robesh." You return the disguise.

Nice going everyone. For the espionage and singing, each of you gets 200 xp. Cinder, that puts you just a hare's ass away from leveling... you need 30 xp. Dave, you need around 1000 xp, and Brogg, well, that multi-class thing really slows you on down.

You guys decide that hitting up the farm is probably a good idea. You're all at full health, full spells, so you get directions from Fink to Old Greyhelm Orchard Lane. He tells you it'll take about an hour down the road.

You slink off into the night, along with Mike and the two other zombies. Leaving Greyhelm, you exit the west gate. Indeed, it takes about an hour, heading mostly west into farmland and turning north for the last ten minutes or so. Even though it's a full moon, the night is only partially illuminated by the intermittant rain clouds passing overhead; there's a light drizzle.

Sure enough, you see a shingle by the road "Vrill Family Farms". It looks like Vrill has a few acres out here. You can make out two buildings... a farm house and a larger barn. There's a light on in the house, but as you're deciding what to do, you see a figure move in the window, and turn off the light.

Somewhere here, you think, is Vrill. And somewhere else, is the key to Vrill's plan B. And somewhere else else are probably a shitload of border collies.

  Cinder: Whoops. Almost Forgot....
Vrill says "Well, it's been nice chatting with you. I have to run though. Anyway, I hope you like the Grow.. the Greater Owlbear project, especially if you happen to be one of the secret judges, hah hah! Just kidding."

Cinder, make a save vs. spell.


I think I know what this means...

I take my ballot:

2nd Annual Greyhelm Potion Guild Scientific Exposition
Poster: 7.13
Please rate this poster on the following attributes (circle one):
Ingenuity: A B C D E
Clarity: A B C D E
Effort: A B C D E

For Ingenuity, Clarity, and Effort, I give this poster what it really deserves, which is straight A's across the board. I circle and underline the letters, and add a '+' next to Ingenuity.

Comments: A splendid, imaginative work of utilitarian progress! Well done!

Cinder runs through the halls screaming "Vrill is engaging Plan B!!!"

Just kidding.

But he is, so I need to get to my friends. As far as Cinder is concerned, he infiltrated and found out what the potion guild was up to with their special machine. Good enough for him and it's gonna have to be good enough for Grimes.

I clutch my nose suddenly, and heads towards the exit. As I leave the grounds, I make eye contact with Brogg and Dave, but that's it. I keep moving to the Inn, letting them follow me. I fill them in on the whole shebang. Plan B, priests of the turd, -everything.

"It appears that we need to get our hands on that key...we should head to the farm. This could be difficult to do with stealth, -what with the collies and all. God Vrill is a Dork."

Kind of quietly, "but only on the back side,
yea, dat's the Crip side..."
Hey is that Usher?!

Brogg taps his singing proficiency, looking at Dave, Fist of Odin, and nodding:

Yeah, yeah, Shorty got down, sayin come and get me!
Yeah, yeah, I got so caught up, I forgot she told me!
Yeah, yeah, cause I know if she was checking up on me!
Yeah, yeah, Next thing I knew, she was all up on me screamin':

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, Yeaah!
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, Yeaah!

Damn, I wish we could get in there... I hope Cinder hurries up.

Master Vrill's Business Card Posted by Hello
  Master Vrill Can't Go For That- No Can Do
Okay Cinder, you sneeze on Vrill. He kind of frowns, pulls out a hanky and wipes his face. A little piece of mucus- just a leeetle thin flaky one- still remains on his cheek. Your nose begins to bleed profusely. Nose blood running down the sides of your mouth, you excuse yourself. The usher helpfully points you towards the men's room.

On the way back, you notice that there seems to be a change... the demonstration of the UPM is over, and the auditorium is rapidly being prepared for the Apprentices' Social. The curtain has dropped back over that machine. Some people are filing into the room for the party, but a few others are leaving, heading back towards the posters. You head off with them towards the 'Cutting Edge' section, keeping in mind that there might be a chance once people get a bit more drunk to get back on stage and check out the device in more detail.

Section 7 has some of the craziest stuff in the whole faire. A lot of it is pretty technical and beyond you, such as Poster 7.26, "A Method for Reversing the Valence of Chtonium B". Some stuff is just out there though like Poster 7.2, "Towards the Philosopher's Ungent: New Findings on the Transmutation of Gold", Poster 7.23 "Alchemical Uses of Orphans", or Poster 7.10, "A Machine That Flies".

Then there's Poster 7.13:

Poster 7.13
Master Gregory Vrill, Grito Potion Guild
"The 'Growlbear', or Greater Owlbear"

It's Vrill's poster! You take in just a little before turning on your heel to leave. Apparently, Vrill is trying to produce "the better owlbear", a procedure that involves the standard owlbear method, whatever that is, plus a couple Potions of Heroism and a Potion of Crazy Business. You also see mention of something called the 'Arcanobear', an owlbear with rudimentary magic using abilities! You turn to split, but... right there in your face is Vrill himself!

"Oh, hello," he says. "Come to take a look at our latest research, I see." You ready another sneeze when he says "Well I'm excited about this work, and if you have a minute, I'd like to tell you about it." He smiles at you. "How's your nose, by the way? Not infectuous I hope! Heh heh."

Apparently, Vrill bought your disguise. He ignores your protests that you have to go, pointing out various aspects of his 'Growlbear' project. He tells you that a prototype has been developed, and is significantly more intelligent and versatile than previous owlbears. Also, on a successful Spot check, you'll notice that the booger is still on Vrill's cheek.

"Of course, you might be wondering 'Why would I want an owlbear in the first place?' That's a good question. Well, in these tough times, what if our peaceful, successful kingdom of Greyhelm was invaded by those jealous of our successes. There's a lot of destruction going on that's driven by jealousy and envy, both professional and personal." He says this with a lot of conviction, maybe speaking from personal experience.

Meanwhile, it sounds like the Social has started. It sounds like they've got a pretty good sound system in there:
Yeah, yeah! Yeah!
Usher Usher
I'm in the club with my homies...

Vrill rolls his eyes and continues, talking a little louder. "In case you didn't know, owlbears are powerful warriors, loyal friends, and easily trained. However, this work has, mm, unfortunately met some setbacks and I'm funding it partially out of my own pocket. Not that it doesn't have full Guild support!" he adds hastily, smiling. He points out a few more technical aspects of the work and returns to the topic of funding. "So maybe you'd be interested in purchasing, well, if not a Growlbe... excuse me, Greater Owlbear, because they're still being prototyped, we have a couple regular models for sale. Let me give you my card just in case." He pulls out a bizarre business card and hands it to you (see above).

Take that/rewind it back
Usher got the voice that make your booty go

He explains about the card. "You see, some of this work on training owlbears comes from my work training border collies. It's also to fund my research... as I'm sure you know, it can be difficult to secure funding for these more 'Cutting Edge' projects, heh heh. So just as a backup I raise and sell collies. They're great. We've got a little farm just outside town. You might be surprised, some people are just nuts for them. We used to sell homemade quivers, but mm... that didn't work out so well. Just not much of a market I guess. But those collies, I'll tell you, some people just love those guys. And I know about the typo, ha ha, don't worry, I do know how to spell 'friend', I am a Potion Guild Master you know, ha ha! It was a printer's error and they're sending me some more cards free of charge with the correction. So, collies, owlbears- I'm your guy."

The music changes up a little bit:
Do the Hustle!... do the hustle...

When things couldn't get any more awkward, your nose begins to bleed again. Vrill's about to offer you his hanky, but that's not what I wanted to tell you about. Just when things couldn't get any more awkward, you see some more people approach! It's the midget Master Guildmaster Master Parsifal Meeks! And with him are a nice man and woman- the two people that Dave and Brogg met outside. Man, banded mail, sword, tabard with a brown oval. Woman in a nice dress, also brown oval on cloak clasp.

Vrill says "Well, it's been nice chatting with you. I have to run though. Anyway, I hope you like the Grow.. the Greater Owlbear project, especially if you happen to be one of the secret judges, hah hah! Just kidding."

Cinder, make a save vs. spell.

Vrill walks off and joins the others about six paces away. You pretend to look at his poster critically, while actually using your superb thief hearing to listen in on their conversation!

Master P: "Well it looks like someone is actually interested in your work."
Vrill: "Mm, I think so. Nice to see you, Lord Rupert, Lady Sarah!"
The man and woman smile back.
Rupert: (Smiling) "We're not keeping you from any important guild business or- sales- now are we?"
All: "Ha ha!"
Vrill: (Shakes head) "Oh no, it's quite alright. As they say- the work stands alone. I simply do my part to bring it into the world."

You're about to stop listening to this rather insipid small talk, when they start to talk about something more interesting.

Master P: "So I won't be joining you tonight. Too much work and such," and that little midget voice... there's just something about it that grates on you, "but don't... Wait, you've got a little something on your cheek. No, the other cheek. Mm, not quite, there you go. Anyway, don't let me keep you from the task at hand. You are ready, right? Right Greg?"
Vrill: "Well, I thought that, because it's so late and all, we'd take a late supper at the farm and get going in the morning. Besides, I left the key there, and..."
P: "You WHAT?"
Vrill: "Hey, don't worry, it's not like I left it in the house itself. It's, you know, well guarded." With that, he makes a gesture back towards his poster!
P: (Sarcastically) "Great. This owlbear thing, Greg..." He looks at Rupert and Sarah, who look at each other and then look away uncomfortably. "Well, we'll talk about it later. Right now, it's time for 'Plan B'. Which will go off without a hitch."
Vrill: "Of course."
P: "Note that that wasn't a question. Don't screw this one up. Fetch your damn key, get to the station, do the thing."
Vrill: "That's the plan."
P: (Sighing) "I guess it won't make much difference if you leave tonight or leave in the morning." (To everyone) "Do be careful." (To Rupert and Sarah) "And I'm sure Master Vrill greatly appreciates your help with his project. Say 'hi' to Lord Antonio for me."
Rupert and Sarah, together: "The glory of God go with you." They look at each other and make cute faces: "Jinx!" Ugh, how nauseating.

Master Parsifal walks off, but first... he looks back at you, catching your eye. For just like half a second, he pauses, opens his mouth to say something... then turns and stalks off into the halls. 'Lord Rupert' claps Vrill hard on the shoulder and says "Now let's wrap up here and go see some of these famous collies!"

From the party:
But I can't go for that... noooo...
No can do...

Cinder, the game is yours. Try to get back stage to examine the machine? Leave and find your friends? Rate the poster? Clean up your nose blood? All of the above?


Meanwhile, outside, Mike shakes hands with his new zombie pal and introduces him to the other zombie. Brogg and Dave, you hear some loud sounds within the Guild! At first you get worried, but then... no, wait... it starts to sound kind of like a party. It sounds like they're probably having some fun in there. It starts to rain on you guys a little bit.

Then you notice a couple other guys, just kind of casually hanging outside like yourselves. Dave... one of those guys is the thief who tried to come in your inn room window at Drexel's! You're sure of it! (Well, 80% sure. It was dark then and dark now.)

>"Uh, I'm sorry," he says carefully, eyes narrowing, "do I... Have we met?"

The question hangs in the air for what seems like a lifetime (or at least a couple of days anyway...).

But first: INT and CHA BR:7 and 14 unmodified. Made INT, missed CHA, which kind of makes sense given Cinder's plan.

As Vrill looks right at me I let out a big ol sneeze. Kind of a wet one, making sure to spray Vrill in the face a bit. "Oh! Oh! A thous- Oh! A thousand pardons!" I immediately cup my hands over my mouth and nose, pressing my tumbnail against the inside of my nose a bit as I do, digging in to give myself a good nosebleed.
Rising "Oh! Pardon me, par- I beg your pardon"

Exit stage left. I'll look for a restroom or outhouse or whatever, and return to watch the presentation, but ask the usher if I could just watch the remainder from the back enterance, explaining my embarrasing situation that just transpired with my seat-mate. If I get that far, I'll B-line it to the '7 series' poster section as soon as this talk wraps up.

Uh. Be the thief, right?
Dave, Fist of Odin, I am worried. Perhaps Cinder has been revealed for what he is. I say that we give him half of an hour, then we raze this place.
  He Gets It Now
We now return to "Solo Adventuring With Cinder"!




Outside, Mike the zombie suddenly says "Crow... in the big tree! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA". And then he makes a zombie.
  In The Meantime
Okay Dave, Brogg, and two zombies are hanging out just outside the Potion Guild fence. It looks like there are a few entrances into the main building once you get up there, but this gate is the only way to the building. Two guards keep you from entering through the gate.

Brogg, the ring is worth 1d6 x 10 gp. Subtract 4 from that for the flaming oil and there you go. Maybe I'll add some bonus spell info on the DiD ref page. I like the thief abilities there; don't forget Cinder that modifiers apply based on armor and DX.

You guys probably decided that if Cinder doesn't show up by 10 PM or a little afterwards, you'd go in for him.

So as you're waiting, you see a lot of rich people and people in robes entering the gate. Two such people catch your eye because you overhear them mention Master Vrill on the way in! They aren't obviously guildsmen... actually they look like priests. It's a man and a woman. The man is wearing banded mail, with a white tabard over it. He's got a long sword and a large shield. The woman is wearing a fancy dress, with a cloak and carrying a mace. They look like they're in their 30s, and they're holding hands. On the man's tabard is a large brown symbol... it looks kind of like a peanut? Or, maybe a... no... a turd? No that CAN'T be right. It's probably a peanut. The same ovaluar symbol is on a clasp on the woman's cloak. They're both clean, blond, and have sort of a religious look about them.

The man says "So do you remember what time Master Vrill said he would be done here?"
Woman: "The Guildmaster's declaration is at 7. I expect that good Master Gregory will be promoting his research for a couple hours afterwards. Then we'll likely dine at the ranch."
Man: "Yes, this declaration. Very interesting. Some special event that's part of the Guildmaster's Potions for the People project I believe."
Woman: "It's a nice thing for them, darling."
Man: "Hey, look over there. Some destitutes. Let us help them, my love."

Um, apparently they are referring to you guys. They walk on over. You're sort of surprised by this, and even more surprised when the woman pulls out 4 gp and hands each of you 1 gp from her purse. She smiles sweetly and says "I'm sorry for you... don't worry, things will get better." The man nods and says "Times are tough all around. But it's good you have each other. That's swell." The woman smiles at him and says "Just like us honey." They then give each other a kiss and walk into the Guild grounds. You hear the man say quietly to her "You know, that one guy looked just like a zombie."
  Dave, fist of Odin
Updated spells - check. Don't forget the 'Summon Angry Bobcat' spell - although maybe that's specific to Odin. I'll refresh my spells list a bit to reflect our continuing backward-revisioning.

Yah, Hanging outside the Potion Guild do. Did we set up something, where if we don't see Cinder by a certain time we go in looking for him? Are there any other exits/entrances our of the building where the party is?

Keep Cool, Cinder. Vrill's a fucker, but just keep cool and it'll be okay. Be the thief.
Check: Wand of Deconstruction, much more powerful. I am going to have to find a copy of Wuthering Heights and tear that puppy apart.

Alright, Dave, Fist of Odin, the Zombies and I will hang outside the Potions Guild and try to look casual.

I used my iron ring with the black stone to buy my oil. Let me know how that works out.

Note: I have updated my spells, and the DiDReference Page. Some of those spells weren't 1st Edition. That includes 'Aid' Dave, Fist of Odin. Thief skills are now up. Let me know what else you'd like to see.
  Into The Shark Tank, Or: "Let's Get Tipsy!"
Let's just skip ahead a day to the Fair. We'll clean up retroactively if need be. And, "low level operative"? He was the freaking Guildmaster of Grito! And Cinder, as you're about to see, Vrill's fully intent on living up to his promise that he's done fucking around.

But first, you disguise yourself as Yves Meifer. Roll INT and CHA to see how good it is. With the disguise kit and help from your friends, you get a +2 INT and +4 CHA to your rolls. You want some flasks, you can buy them from the Blackwall Thiefs guild shoppe. Dirk Saunders, nicknamed "G. P. Saunders", will sell them to you for 1 sp each. I'm going to assume that you'll take most of your stuff- potions, dagger, but leave the bow and arrows with your pals. Grimes would really prefer it if you didn't get yourself killed, but you do what you have to do.

You guys spend the afternoon getting "Master Yves" ready for the evening. You think he looks pretty good! For a balding monkish guy that is. Regardless of the INT rolls obviously.

You're at the door of the Potion Guild by 6 PM. There's a ton of people here, on the grounds, waiting to get in, already milling about inside. Apprentices are dressed in brown, Masters in black, and Affiliates like yourself in red. There are also some guards and dignitaries here. It's somewhat formal, but somewhat relaxed too. However, you do have to show your credentials at the door.

You wait in line and step on up. Here you go, into the lion's den. You momentarily think back to Grimes' office, the painting of that thief climbing the wall. So calm and collected. Be the thief, you think. You hear Grimes' words: "disguise, infiltration, reconnaissance...". Be the thief.

You're snapped suddenly back into the present by the door apprentice calling the name on your badge for you to step forward. "Master, uh... Meef... Master Meefer?" The apprentice on the other side of the door grins and tries not to snicker. It's Meifer, damn it... MY-fer, like cypher with an M, you think, cursing these guild nerds. He looks at the scroll you have, and waves you on through. "Thanks for coming Master MEEFER." The other apprentice laughs out loud. As you walk in, your sharp thief ears hear him quietly making fun of you trying to get the door apprentice to crack up: "Master... QUEEFER? Is there a Master Queefer here? Or Master Richard Bader? Master Bader everyone... give him a hand." Real mature, you dorks, you think. But you're in. Disguise and infiltration have been achieved. Now for the rec...

"Excuse me... Meefer" you hear one of the guards inside you just passed say in a gruff guard voice. "If you'll just step over here." Shit. Already caught! Instinctively your hand grips the dagger and a potion of invisibility... the crowd could be used to your advantage. "Here you go sir. It's a secret ballot. You'll be anonymously reviewing poster 5.17. That's in the poster hall straight ahead. When you've seen enough, please deposit the slip back in the box." The guard hands you a simple white form and a small pencil:

2nd Annual Greyhelm Potion Guild Scientific Exposition
Poster: 7.13
Please rate this poster on the following attributes (circle one):
Ingenuity: A B C D E
Clarity: A B C D E
Effort: A B C D E

You ease your grip on the knife, take the form and pencil, and step into the Guild.

Holy shit, altogether there are easily a few hundred people here. There are several large halls where things have been set up. There are also some food tables. You grab a celery stick and enter the main poster hall. You've got some time before the 7 PM unveiling- why not scope the halls and look for poster 7.13? Keeping an eye out for familiar faces of course.

Well, it turns out the 7 class posters are in the 'Cutting Edge' section, which is currently blocked off until after the ceremony. However, getting over there to find that out takes a bit of time, and you see some other interesting stuff being demonstrated in the big Potion Guild science fair. There's a lot of guys talking to each other pointing at beakers, pictures taped up onto boards, writing things on chalkboards here and there, it's hectic. Here are some highlights, amongst the usual crap like better, cheaper potions of healing, longevity, philters of love, and herbal ecstacy:

1) You first head through the 'Personal Protection' section. You see an interesting poster on a new "Poison of Friends". No, not potion, poison. Blade poison in particular.
2) Another useful potion might be the Pufferfish Swords Potion. You see it demonstrated- the apprentice drinks it and huge freaking swords sprout out all over his body. Hug this, owlbear! you think.
3) From the 'Lifestyles' section: Potion of the Morning After. It's a hangover cure, fetus abortive, and 24 hr retrograde amnesia elixir all in one.
4) 'Performance Enhancement' section: Potion of the 5th Level Magic User. One fireball, please.
5) Also in Performance Enhancement, which seems to be a crowd favorite: OneUp Potion. You get +1 to everything that day.
6) Finally, it looks like there are some non-Potion Guild vendors here. Some marketing guys from the Brewer's Guild are here. You see a gorgeous babe giving out free samples of their new beer "Brewmaster's Selection: Adamantium". It looks like they're also trying out their new slogan: Let's get tipsy! and mascot: Warren the Wolfman, who looks like the kid from "Where the Wild Things Are" but 35 years old now and enjoying his drink. It's trying to cater to demi-humans maybe? You're not sure about that one. Adamantium is pretty tasty stuff though.

An announcement is made that the main demonstration is about to begin in the Meeks Auditorium. Most everyone is heading off into a large lecture hall with a stage at the back, currently obscured by a big curtain. You think fast, looking around to see if there's any way you could get in there first, but the crowd is too thick. You resign yourself to taking a seat near the back, close to the exit.

The room is packed. A tall man in black master's robes gets up on the stage and says "Ladies and gentlemen thank you all for coming. I would like to welcome you all back to the Greyhelm Potion Guild for our 2nd annual scientific exhibition!" Applause. This must be the great "Master P" himself! "It is my pleasure to introduce Master Parsifal Meeks, Master Guildmaster of our great Guild!" More applause. Okay, maybe you were wrong. Anyway, Meeks takes the stage... and it's a kid! No wait, it's another gnome... dwarf? Yes, it's a dwarf. But a human dwarf. Master Parsifal Meeks is a midget in shining gold robes. You can see one of those cheesy-ass ioun stones floating above his head. You bet he thinks that's pretty cool, "oh look at me I can survive without food or water". As the applause crescendos, you fantasize about butchering all of these Potion Guild assholes, or maybe having three Odins show up again and spear them all.

"Thank you everybody, friends and Guildsmen" he says in that annoying little midget voice, stretching out his arms like a preacher or something. "Tonight we have a marvelous new invention to share with you all. I thought our modest little science fair" polite laughter from the crowd, although you're not sure what's funny? The word 'modest' is not comedy gold. Oh wait, maybe it's a midget saying the word 'little'. You laugh at that.

"...our little science fair would be a good venue for its first public demonstration. This, my friends, is an invention that will change the course of Potion Guild business for years to come!"

With that, the curtain begins to rise. As you watch, you notice someone come in late, "excuse me, pardon me" stumbling down the row, and sits down next to you. Out of the corner of your eye... no, it can't be. You turn your head just a little. Unbelieveable. But the black master's robes and scruffy red hair are a dead give away.

Master Gregory Vrill just sat down next to you. He catches you looking over at him, gives you a thin lipped smile. "How's it going" he says quietly to you. Clearly not a question.

Be the thief.

The curtain is lifted, revealing a huge contraption on the stage, manned by two obviously overworked and very nervous apprentices. Think "Beaker" meets Anthony Michael Hall. It's a huge, ramshackle device of wood, metal, and glass held together by chains and leather straps. All sorts of chambers and tubes go every which way. There's a large funnel on the side, and a spigot or bung in the front. The audience seems generally confused.

"This!" exclaims Guildmaster Meeks, "this... is the Universal Potion Machine!" Stunned silence. "A demonstration! Apprentice Niles, bring me the platter!"

You're only half paying attention, trying to come up with a good plan. Stab run mock? Mock stab run? Stab stab stab?

One of the sweaty apprentices runs over to a side table and picks up a large serving tray. He takes it over to Meeks. "What have we today Apprentice?" asks the Guildmaster, clearly enjoying himself. The apprentice says something quietly. "SPEAK UP!" yells someone in the back. "Uh," says Apprentice Nils, "we have, uh..." Like a deer in headlights, he's just staring out at the audience.

The Guildmaster doesn't sweat it though and takes the platter. "Thank you Apprentice. Let's see. We have here..." uncovering the platter "some fishsticks!" He walks over to the big funnel on the contraption and puts in a few fishsticks. "We have the golden hair of a beautiful maiden!" He holds up something you can't really see, and puts it in the funnel. "And finally, just for good measure, we have a bottle of 987 Gunter's Creek Brandy!" Nervous laughter from the crowd as Meeks pours the bottle in the funnel. He then turns a big crank, and the whole machine starts to shake.

You're trying to watch Vrill at the same time. Sitting calmly next to you, he is clearly up to no good. He's reaching in his robes for something... you get the dagger ready... Vrill adjusts himself, clears his throat, watching the stage intently.

"Master Nettles! Please join me on stage." The Master of the Greyhelm Guild, Master Nettles, walks up. He's the guy who introduced this other guy. Meanwhile, Meeks pulls out a flask and puts it under the spigot, collecting the thick ooze that the machine somehow produced.

"Master Nettles! I hold before me a Potion. A Potion no man, and no apprentice" more laughter "no apprentice made by hand. A Potion made by machine! Will you please tell me what this Potion does!"

Nettles takes it, smells it, tastes a little. Thinks, begins to speak... no wait, he smells it again, holds up the flask to the light. What a drama queen. "To my eye, good master guildmaster, this is... a Potion of Aquatic Control. Seemingly the same as one my own Apprentice Barry synthesized not a fortnight ago."

"A proof then! Niles, bring the shark tank!" Niles rolls out a large glass tank full of water and two small dogfish. The Guildmaster drinks the potion and commands the sharks to fight. "Fight! FIGHT!" the midget yells, pointing for no reason at the sharks. The two sharks instantly go nuts on each other, quickly turning the tank dark with blood. The Potion Guild crowd seems to love it, breaking out into cheers and applause. Guildmaster Meeks raises up his arms again beaming, shouting over the crowd "Yes my friends! Out of any materials! Any reagents! Anyone can make them! Make any potion known to man! And a countless number of potions unknown! Yes indeed!"

"Great," deadpans Vrill, next to you, apparently speaking to you! He kind of half turns and says in low tones "just what we need, to be put out of jobs. Very well done." He then looks at you smiling. You're still not sure what's going on here. "Hello," says Vrill to you. "Master Gregory Vrill, Grito. Nice to meet you." He shakes your hand, but then stares a little more intently at you. Mostly in a confused way, not really so much a gay way.

"Uh, I'm sorry," he says carefully, eyes narrowing, "do I... Have we met?"

How did you do on those checks, Meifer?

Ok guys. I'm going to the science fair! It's good that it doesn't seem to be too heavily gaurded on the outside, so why don't you two find a place to standby out there in case things get shitty (as they tend to do). I'll just do recon, and if things go nuts, I'll just concentrate on getting the fuck out, unless I can kill Vrill in the confusion, if he's even there at all. Sound good?

I give word to Grimes that I'm going ahead with the recon. I also clue him in on the fact that there is a low level guild member that may be in attendance that tried to kill my friends and I in Grito. I'll keep it professional, but if the shit hits the fan, and I get the opportunity, I'm offing him. I also have him provide me with about 4 empty flasks in case I get the opportunity to grab some of their brew.

  It Wasn't Odin
More town wrap-up. We'll be getting back to the bloodshed soon I think.

Okay Brogg, you buy some flaming oil. 1 gp per flask, thanks for shopping with us. By the way, it's not a Wand of Destruction, it's a Wand of Deconstruction. Heh heh.

Okay Cinder, you talk up Dave as Odin's hot shit. 13%, nope Odin doesn't come when you casually name-drop him in conversation. Most of the "priests" are drunk and/or comatose when you get there, but you can hang out with the High Priest and Winnifred who congratulate you on being a living witness to Odin's glory. They're pretty fun to hang out with and Father Bjorn Bjornenson knows a couple neat bar tricks with a coaster and a couple matches. He wants to know every last detail of how the great god of Valhalla speared that kobold. When Dave shows up, you steal his magic item and drink from it. Father Bjorn yells "Yes! Drink! Drink little man with ALL YOUR MIGHT!" Then Dave grabs his flask back and bitchsmacks you for all the preemptive positive shittalking.

Cinder, you've also got the backpack from the Blackwall Thiefs. It contains a big red robe, a nametag that says "Master Yves Meifer, DMC Potion Guild Affiliate". The DMC is the Durth Mining College in case you were wondering. There's also a tophat, a shaggy Friar Tuck kind of wig, a pair of glasses and a beard, and a scroll of introduction. There's also four potions: Potion of Invisibility, Potion of Healing, Potion of Cure Poison, and Viper's Venom which is a blade poison. Lastly there's an invitation:

Second Annual Greyhelm Potion Guild Science Fair
Greyhelm Potion Guild
May 24, 10205 6-10 PM

Come: MASTER YVES MEIFER and join the fun!
Educational and evocative!
Food and drink.
Surprise event unveiling at 7 PM.

Apprentices' social afterwards.
By invitation only.

Greyhelm Potion Guild
Master Parsifal Meeks

The Potion Guild
Potions Your Way

That date is tomorrow night. It looks like you've got enough stuff for a pretty good disguise.

Dave, okay, you guys get restored, healed all that. With Brogg's gem and CUTHBERT cudgel, and Dwayne's holy symbol, plus one zombie for work detail for a week, you're all set. He'll also throw in a complementary re-blessing of the Whore of Hyannis if you want Dave, scrub it up a bit. He doesn't seem all that interested, any more than any other guy would be, in your magic flask; you guess he's probably set for ale for now. He tries to listen pretty hard to you story about Vrill and the owlbears and the weather station. He gives you a serious George W. Bush concerned look throughout your explanation, and nods a lot saying "Mm, yes, go on."

Then he says "by God Dave my son, who will let this evil sleep? NOT ODIN. Who will let monsters and... and bad weather plague Midgard? NOT ODIN! Who is the MIGHTIEST GOD WHO SMITES ALL EVIL AND LAUGHS AT DEATH AND SAVES THE DAY? NOT ODIN! No wait, I mean, no it IS ODIN WHO DOES ALL OF THAT! Or he would if he could, but these trifles are beneath our mighty lord. Instead it is you who must go in his stead and destroy all monsters and evil magic users!" He raises his mug and toasts the big statue behind him. As you guys are assembling to get out of there for the night, he stands and toasts you too, presenting his mug forcefully, ale froth going everywhere, and all yelling "ODIN BE PRAISED! Great heroes I command you to venture forth and visit Odin's blessing and wrath upon the land!" And with that, because apparently his mug happens to be his holy symbol, thus forcefully presented, he Turns Undead and destroys that zombie you left for his bar. It just sort of crumbles to dust. "Whoops" says the holy Father. Mike looks very disturbed; you guys have to help your ol' zombie pal get out of there, he keeps looking back to where the other zombie used to be standing.

Okay, 4 gp total for another night at the Great Grey Helm Tavern. Someone pay up. Anything you guys want to do around town the next day, or should we get to the Potion Guild party? If you want, you can scout out the place... the Potion Guild is in the Gold Quarter, the rich part of town near Castle Greyhelm. There's an iron fence around the grounds, which are pretty large, a couple of acres. The building itself is a massive grey granite compound, kind of like a courthouse or something, set in aways from the fence, about 30 yards or so. So they've got quite a bit of land here in town. The gate's not really guarded very heavily, but there are a couple guys up at the main building, plus a bunch of gardeners tending the grounds. You think it'd be pretty easy to wait outside for Cinder in case something goes wrong. A couple halflings on ladders are struggling to put up a giant banner over the front door that says "YE SECOND ANNUAL SCIENCE FAIRE".
  Dave, fist of Odin
Hey all,

Sorry - I was busy tending bar. You know how Odin is! Or rather, I know how Odin is, as far as you know, so I'm telling you. Odin likes his priests drunk, is how Odin is.

Yah - I see about offering a potion of polymorph, or Dwayne's holy symbol, or the Cuthbert Cudgel or something. Or rather, I talk to Odin's Chosen about any of that stuff and see what they say - I'm thinking a Cudgel from Cuthbert might be a good thing to hold onto, unless my high priest says it isn't.

And I'm down with the rest of the plans. Infiltrating the Potions Guild meeting isn't something I'm comfortable with, so I'll leave it to you. We should have a plan for if/when things go screwy - waiting outside the banquet for trouble? Coming to getcha if it's . . . I dunno, midnightish, maybe, and we haven't seen you? Something like that.

Weather station, bugbear plots, Grisbanian canon - sure, I'm down. I mean, I'm only third level, and I've already been given a direct order from my god, and carried said order out, so I'm feeling pretty up-to-date on questy bits. Hey - what does Odin's Chosen - or the other Odinian priests - think about all of that?

And Ed - I'd kinda like to keep the Everfull Ale Flask on the d-low. 'This priest is third level. I am tenth level. This priest has something that I want. Perhaps I will just take it from him.' Dig? That's kinda how Odin works...
Hmm, sounds good. Cinder, let's see what you can find out at that Potion Guild meeting. However, can your disguise keep Greg Vrill from pointing you out, should he see you? I think that Dave, Fist of Odin, the Zombies and I should stay out of sight.

I really want to hit the weather station soon. I think that there is something really screwy going on here, maybe bigger than Vrill and a few owlbears.

Hey, will Father Bjornenson take a zombie to make up for the rest of our bill? I am sure that it would be a great barback. Not Mike the Zombie, of course.

Dave, Fist of Odin, you have been quiet.

Cinder makes his way to the temple of Odin. Regardless of whether or not he sees his friends immediately or not, he immediately begins asking every alcolyte and priest he sees if they have seen Dave, Fist of Odin, who brought Odin Himself down from Mount Olympus to smite our foes, and whose providence saw fit to bestow upon David an Everfull Flask of Mead! If any of the priests are incredulous, Cinder casually mentions that any priest of Odin wise enough in His eyes could easily divine the truth of his words.

"Lo there friends!" Cinder clasps Brogg and David on the back and slips the Everfull Flask from Dave's belt, taking a long pull of mead (BR:34%). "Much has transpired, and the sun is not yet wan!" Handing Dave's flask back to him, "Some good news to aid us in our quest. When ye get a moment, step aside with me and I'll fill your ear with what I know!"

Cinder relates all that happened with him at the thieves guild. I say that we take this opportunity to get more info on the potion guild before we move in on Vrill. I think that the thieves guild disguise is a great opportunity to do some recon, maybe nab some of what they're brewing, and then we can hit the weather station, or maybe find out where Vrill is directly from this potion guild gathering. What say you all?
Holy shit. I got behind on my reading.

Ok, I am a bit overwhelmed with this whole half-troll Contrarian thing. Brogg was looking to ease his mind, instead, he has some Mittens of Friendship, a Wand of Destruction, and a half-troll sworn to play his nemesis. Fuck.

Alright, Brogg looks at Arvid and the gang and says: "Cool. Yeah, no sweat. Thanks for the help. No, no, I am good..." He excuses himself, and keeping an eye out for half-troll archers, heads back to town.

Brogg buys three vials of greek fire and then heads to the Temple of Odin.

There is no way that Brogg is barbacking for this drunk. Brogg offers Mike's red gem (200gp), and a Cudgel of Cuthbert to help pay off the debt.

Dave, Fist of Odin? Cinder? I'll defer till you catch up.
  Greyhelm: Dave's Story
Just to wrap everything up and put the story back in y'all's hands.

Regardless of words and actions by Brogg and Cinder (barring of course stupid shit like challenging Crossbones to a duel RIGHT NOW), you guys all meet up at The Lodge of Yggdrasil, the temple to Odin in town. It's just outside the east gate of town up on a hill. It looks like a large wooden hunting lodge- kinda like Drexel's, but a lot bigger. The inside is basically one huge room- the Great Hall of the Greyhelm Lodge. In attendance is High Priest Father Bjorn Bjornenson of the Bjornen Fjords. He's sitting at the end of a very long table lined with benches in a huge wooden chair. Behind him is a statue of Odin that goes up to the ceiling. Actually, looking at it, it's so big that it seems they had to cut away part of the ceiling for the statue to fit- it pokes out into the sky. Between Odin's legs on the ground is a large fireplace roasting a pig or something. Father Bjornenson is enjoying food and drink with a large haunch of meat and big pewter mug. A couple buxom Swedish girls keep the plate and mug full. A few other of Odin's "priests" have fallen asleep at the table. Clearly the mead has flowed freely in this House of Bounty.

Father Bjornen stands up and yells when you push open the enormous wooden doors to the hall and enter. "FRIENDS! YES! JOIN US!" He's a jolly drunk man and laughs loudly.

You guys head on over and sit at the end of the table near him. Dave, I assume you'll explain who you are, that you're on an important quest- just look at that mace- and that you've been level drained in the process and won't he please help a fellow Fist of God?

Sure thing he says, taking a long swill of mead, a big bite of meat, and a hefty grope of lass. He casts Restoration on you Dave getting back your level. Cinder, he'll even throw in a Neutralize Poison for you. Then he stands up and tells you what Odin expects in return, because as you know, Odin doesn't do charity. Odin don't play that.

"My battle-scarred friends, brothers in Valhalla, CHILDREN OF GOD! A dire threat has fallen across the land! The dwarf Gurty Buttons, servant of the DEMON SPAWN LOKI, has stolen the fifth and sixth Acorns of Yggdrasil! The fifth Acorn was reclaimed by Hjelmer Jurgenson from the vaults of the dark elves below in their terrible city of Derzoberanzoran. His bravery was rewarded with a swift ride from the Valkyrim up to GLORIUS VALHALLA! Because he unfortunately met the pointy end of a GIANT'S HALBERD UPON RETURNING FROM THE LIVING TREE OF THE WORLD YGGDRASIL! Fortunately, brave Hjelmer carved the whereabouts of the sixth Acorn in his aleskin before being destroyed. It fell into the jaws of the fearsome WOLF OF FENRIS! SO FRIENDS!! JOURNEY TO LAKE HAATA AND WRESTLE THE ACORN OF YGGDRASIL FROM THE JAWS OF FENRIS DOOM! THEN YOU SHALL BE GREAT IN THE ALL-SEEING EYE OF ODIN! YES!"

"Heh heh, just kidding" he says, sitting back down. Dave, he claps you on the back in a manly way and says "just, ah... why don't you put 450 gp in Odin's bowl? Odin doesn't just help those who help themselves, he helps those who are rich!" If you can't afford it, you can work it off in the Father's brewery, 25 gp/day/person working. That's about a week if you all pitch in, zombies included. In case you can't figure it, Winnifred the Maid of Mead explains that it's 400 gp for the restoration, 50 gp for the neutralize poison.

So there you go. All healed up, all NPC blather taken care of. Say and do what you will. Don't forget that unless you're working in the brewery, it'll be 1 gp/day/person here in town (although Brogg can stay in the woods, Dave can stay in the lodge, and Cinder can stay at Haggi's for free if you want to split up like that). You guys still don't have any great leads as to what Vrill's up to... however, Brogg, Crossbones said he knows where Mt. Storm is, and Cinder, you've got a possible gig at the Potion Guild itself.

  Someone's Going To Put That Zombie's Face On A Milk Carton Next Week
Mike makes a zombie.

Ralph spits out the milk he was drinking. "PPTTH! Holy sh... Did anyone else see that!?"
Descent into Depths is an old school 1st Edition AD&D adventure run by the Infinity Group.

What type of dice? How many dice?

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