Last week on the Thursday game...
A messenger from the Merchant Guild appeared in Northreach, seeking an audience with the Baron and his knights. It appears that the party has gained some sort of a reputation, not just as a band of mercenary adventurers, but also as people who are capable of handling discreet matters and keeping their mouths shut. The reward was more than generous: 2000gp, with 10% paid upfront.
As the party set off for Islington, they ran into a roadblock caused by a felled oak tree. With the ranger Trinity leading the way, the party set off into the woods in an attempt to skirt the blockage... but no matter how much they tried to curve around the obstruction, the deeper they seemed to go into the woods. Eventually, surrounded by the near pitch-black darkness of the deep forest, Trinity gave up and admitted that she was, impossibly, lost.
The party found themselves before a ruined temple and, as was their wont, decided to investigate. With the near-blind dragonborn leading the way, Trinity and Cariel guarded the entrance to the temple while Robert and Mordai looked around outside. However, when Robert broke off a branch that was sticky and heavy with sap, the creature lairing in the ruins attacked.
Dipping swiftly between the Ethereal and Prime Material plane, the creature was alternately invisible and untouchable. Although the party managed to land a few good hits in, so did the creature, and without Borock's natural tankiness, they decided to beat a hasty retreat. This they did with reasonable efficiency, but the creature was now awake and haunting the forests around Northreach: creating yet another problem for the barony.
Three days later, they finally arrived in Islington, where they were received by Sir Gareth Oremaul, the dwarven representative of the Merchant Guild. Sir Oremaul quickly appraised them of the situation: two weeks ago, two bumbling halfling thieves tried to rob one of the Guild's secret treasury safehouses and, in the process, tripped the alarm wards. This led the Guild to perform an audit on all ten of their safehouses, whereupon they noticed that someone had be skimming small amounts of gold (ranging from about 100 to 500gp) from all of them. Given how no one person - not even the highest leaders of the Guild - knows the location of more than one safehouse within the city, this matter was a greatly troubling one, and the Guild would like to hire the Baron Northreach's knights to handle this matter with tact and discretion.
The party started off by speaking to the two halfings that were still being held in custody. They claimed to know nothing, and said that they only stumbled into the safehouse because they were following a trail of copper coins from outside their tavern. Retracing the halfling's steps, the party found themselves staring at a hole almost identical to the one in their own treasury's wall: right down to the size, rough edges, and the illusionary spell covering the hole. Cariel's Detect Magic ritual, conducted outside the safehouse, also revealed another important thing: the copper coins that the halflings were following were also magical.
The party decided to grab one of the halflings and have him lead them to the start of the trail, whereupon they found themselves before a small halfling-sized tavern that called itself the Half and Half. Given that the tavern was closed, the party decided to report back to Sir Oremaul instead about the magical coins that the thieves were using to somehow track all the safehouses.
Along the way, the party ran into a drunk dwarf who was in the process of being bodily thrown out of the tavern. "I have the coins in my room, you idiots, but I can't get to it! My coin pouch is trying to eat me!" Amused and intrigued by his claim, the party decided to help him out. While Trinity distracted the crowd by defending off an imaginary attack from a man-eating coin pouch, Mordai sneaked into the dwarf's rooms and stole his coin pouch. However, worried that the man may have given him the wrong room number, Mordai decided to loot his neighbour's room as well.
The job done, the party regrouped nearby to look over the liberated purses. Although Mordai was sure that he had three coin pouches in total - his own, the dwarf's, and the dwarf's neighbour's - when the rogue looked over the pouches on his belt and hands, there were only two, and none of them belonged to the dwarf. Putting this down to yet another mystery of the night, the party proceeded with their original plan of visiting Sir Oremaul to warn him about the magical gold.
The Merchant Guild's representative proved to be less than happy to receive the party. "Magical tracking gold? And you expect me to do what with this information? This is not a solution! Deal with the problem, find a solution, then return." Exhausted from dealing with an angry dwarf, the party decided to call it a night at a local tavern, drunk dwarf in tow.
When they next awoke, they realised that the dwarf from last night had disappeared into the night, most likely to find his man-eating coin pouch to buy more drink with. Mordai revealed that, while the rest were asleep, he had gotten in touch with his own guild, and learnt that a certain lousy thief by the name of Tommy Two-Thumbs had recently come into a great deal of gold. With few other leads to follow, the party decided to pay Tommy Two-Thumbs a visit.
Tommy Two-Thumbs lived just a few blocks away from the Half and Half, and after the party laid into him with a few thinly-veiled threats about a mysterious "they" coming for him for stealing their gold, and the party being the only ones who can save him, he eventually consented to show them the gold. Like the other gold, it was magical, and Tommy revealed that he had not in fact stolen it: instead, he had found it just lying there at the Half and Half, and that when nobody was looking, he had made off with it.
It was time to pay the halfling tavern a visit, closed or not. After paying the innkeeper a generous amount of gold for his broken-down door and drinks for everyone, the halfling owner was more than happy to let them look around his closed bar. Sure enough, the party soon found not only the dust print of where a chest used to be, but also drag marks that lead to an illusion-covered hole that was quickly becoming familiar.