Here There Be Science; Here There Be Dragons!

Chapter 7: The Black Dragon

With Argon vanquished, and Elphabon in tow, the adventurers make their way back to the Capitol. However, they must again deal with the Capitol Checkpoint…and Mr. Suur. BetterBorn, Booth, Slade, and Elphabon are free to move on through to the Capitol, but according to Mr. Suur, Jerome, Arjan, and Sporck need to stay at the checkpoint for two extra days (longer than last time). The players are annoyed with this, and notice that the Capitol is becoming more prejudiced against “uncommoners.” Jerome briefly leaves, and returns successfully disguised as a crotchety, senile old man. Arjan and Sporck still have to stay behind, and Booth decides to stay with them to make some more ammunition using Arjan’s fire breath.

BetterBorn, Slade, and the disguised Jerome move into the Capitol with Elphabon, taking him once again to the Judiciary. On the way, the group encounters a thick crowd on the street, centered on two scholars about to face off in a duel. One is from Horrington Academy, where BetterBorn attended. The other hails from the Battlement Academy of Alchemy, where Elphabon attended. The representative from Horrington spoke plainly against the Battlement scholar in government court, refuting the claims that combat alchemy is the answer to cleansing the Capitol of the “filth” of the uncommon races. A half-orc named Borack has been exerting his influence in the court, which has led to the increasing prejudice against “uncommoners.” The Horrington scholar also disapproves of Borack’s ideals and influences. This disagreement led to the holding of this duel. BetterBorn bets Elphabon 50 gold that the Horrington scholar will win. Guns are drawn and raised, and they both fire. The Horrington scholar remained standing. Some of the citizens cheer, others walk away. BetterBorn gains 50 gold form Elphabon.

Before entering the Judiciary, Jerome disguises himself as Booth and tries to flirt with the female dwarf clerk. Though quite flattered, the clerk discretely exposes her left hand and Jerome/Booth sees a wedding ring there. Elphabon is turned in to be taken to jail again, and the dwarf directs the players to the treasury to collect their reward (“Go down that hallway, take the second right, then left, right, right, middle fork, then the next three lefts, and then it’s the fifth door on your right). The players have no trouble finding the room and they greet ”/characters/soveliss-the-judiciary-treasurer" class=“wiki-content-link”>a pleasant drow in the treasury office who gives them their 20,000 gold.

With this substantial new capital, BetterBorn and Jerome decide to visit several businesses in the Capitol to find some investors for their factory. They find a few, which increases their profits. They try to get Yarjerit to invest, but he is not interested. The players ask Yarjerit about the best smith in the city, as well as the best place to buy magic items. Yarjerit directs them to Pith’s smith shop and Jimgimno’s magic shop. Once Booth rejoins them in the city, the players visit Pith first.

Pith the Glossy, a halfling and a relative to Jawbreaker, proves to be quite a character, and the most skilled blacksmith anywhere. Each player asks for Pith’s finest work in crafting custom weapons and armor, telling him that money is not an object (they have collected some serious loot up to this point). Booth spends all of his gold for Pith to modify his cybernetic arm such that it can hold three different guns that he can switch at will. Jerome didn’t need much but asks for improved shotels (his primary weapons). BetterBorn asks for a razor-sharp metal top hat to replace his current one, with a way to shoot potions from the hat. Slade asks for darkvision eyes, as well as a retractable shield and a waffle maker. All players ask for improved armor.

The next day, the players returned to Pith for their new equipment. Pith was able to give them just about everything they asked for, though it did cost them most of their gold. BetterBorn gets a metal hat that flings potion bottles. Jerome gets shotels dipped in an oil of sharpness, making them more deadly. For Booth and Slade, who asked for mechanical implants and modifications, Pith had all the pieces ready to assemble. The players noticed Pith’s unorthodox way of welding and soldering metal, using his own saliva as an essential adhesive or lubricant. Booth was a bit surprised to have the halfling’s tongue touching a few of the metal joints, and Slade was a bit unnerved when Pith took out his metal eyes and licked them to implant the darkvision modifications. But he is especially grateful to have a waffle maker built into his abdomen. Everything works wonderfully and is worth every gold piece they spent. Pith, though odd, is good at his job.

Jimgimno is a middle-aged dwarf with white and a small, trim beard. His shop is impressively well stocked, and the players use the rest of their money to buy items like a cloak of displacement, a cloak of invisibility, and a bronze horn of Valhalla. Thus stocked, the players feel ready to venture to Reem‘s cave, hoping to claim the treasure trove there, but suspecting that they’ll have a black dragon in their way. Arjan and Sporck decide to remain with Yarjerit to analyze their new library acquisitions.

It is a seven days’ journey west of the Capitol to Reem’s cave, as shown on Yarjerit’s maps. The adventurers enter the large cave and soon they run into a black dragonborn. The dragonborn introduces himself as Aryan (it seems the similarities in the names of a fire giant, a black dragon, a black dragonborn, and a red dragonborn, are merely coincidences), and he graciously guides the party to the main treasure chamber where Arkan sits. Jerome, always the funny one, gives a few snarky insults to Aryan, which successfully deals psychic damage. This angers the dragonborn, and he sprays acid over the players (Booth is reminded that he is vulnerable to acid). When they arrive before Arkan, the players claim that “[they] are Argon,” explaining what happened to the Lord of the Fire Giants. Arkan is impressed, but doesn’t trust a group of adventurers that come to his ill-gotten gains. The party, weary from their travel, somehow convinces the dragon to allow them to rest before they fight, promising an epic and entertaining battle. Arkan directs Aryan to take the party to a small side chamber in the cave to rest.

Eight hours later, the players are ready to engage with the ancient black dragon. Aryan stands to the side, watching. Arkan refuses Aryan’s help as he claws and bites the dragonslayer-hopefuls. Jerome loses his sentient trident, Wave. Booth, BetterBorn, and Slade all get really good hits on the dragon. Slade calls six warriors for aid with his horn of Valhalla, and BetterBorn is able to summon three elementals (water, earth, and fire). However, Arkan’s acid breath is brutal, wiping out half of the party’s minions. Eventually, Jerome deals the final blows and Arkan falls down dead.

Aryan stares in utter amazement at the scene, and says in bewildered whisper, “You are Argon. You are Arkan!” The players turn their attention toward the immense treasure hoard. They find several useful rage items, including a portable hole and a well of many worlds. Each player collects the value of a quarter of a million gold pieces. More than making up for all the gold they spent.

However, as our heroes are distracted by the treasure and the plans they begin to make for their return to the Capitol, Aryan sneaks up behind them and creates a large portal, flinging the players to an unfamiliar place. The players end up near the edge of a huge gear the size of a city. This gear is very slowly turning with many other enormous gears in tandem with a consistent tick-tock sound that echos across the grey sky. The players notice a large red beast fly over them toward a tall spire at the center of their gear. Booth recognizes the airborne form: Reem is here.

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