Content of the article: "A Giant Assassination, dognapping, and the Circus from Hell"
>Be me, halfling barbarian/warlock
>Be not me: DM, human wizard, tabaxi ranger, triton paladin/cleric, drow bard, eladrin druid.
>Be us, in village of Parnast.
>Looks like a simple farming village… Apart from the giant flying castle hovering over one corner of the village.
>As we enter the village, we pass a barn. There are lots of footprints by the door, and my awakened dog says he can smell dragon on the other side of the door.
>We decide to talk to some of the villagers, including some guards who are leaning on the well in the middle of the village square.
>When we get to the tavern, we are pestered for stories of our adventures by the villagers.
>Eventually, we all find an excuse to leave the tavern. "Do you want the dog to do his business on the floor?"
>We head to the flying castle, using my Broom of Flying and druid summoning giant eagles.
>We are unnoticed.
>We land on the upper level. We find a white dragon, with its hoard.
>Not wanting to fight it, we give it the seven giant heads we had collected as an appetiser, promising more food to come.
>Dragon lets us leave to get it.
>Wizard uses a pinch of Dust of Disappearance to turn us invisible, and we continue up.
>We find a bedroom with a cloud giant in it, having his hair plaited by two ogre servants.
>Party hides under the bed, except me. I try to sneak up on the giant, to get a surprise attack in.
>I do not do very well on the Stealth check, and the DM says the giant has very high Perception.
>"I freeze in place and hold my breath!"
>Then the invisibility wears off.
>We fight, killing the giant, his ogre hairdressers, and some more ogres into the bargain.
>As we fight, DM asks where my awakened dog is.
>"Oh crap!" as I realise I didn't bring him to the castle (I transport him by Broom by slinging him underneath the Broom with rope), and he's still in Parnast.
>Once the fight is over, we Stealth fly back out, and return to Parnast.
>The villagers are now unfriendly for some reason, and my dog is nowhere to be seen.
>I find tracks, leading out of the village, going back the way we came.
>Eventually, his tracks join up with a group of carts.
>Knowing the carts will have to pass through the town where our airship is, we use our Sending Stone to contact them, specifically, our NPC dwarf cleric friend.
>A use of the Stone, and multiple castings of Sending later, we establish that my dog was picked up by a circus, and is being mistreated. Rescue not being likely, I instruct them to try and sabotage the circus to slow them down.
>This fails, but the airship knows where the circus is heading.
>I leave the party and fly through the night to reach the airship, suffering three levels of exhaustion as a price. Once I get there, I crash to the deck and say "Go!" before collapsing to sleep.
>Next morning, on two levels of exhaustion, I agree with NPC cleric to take the airship to collect the rest of the party, as the airship will be able to catch up with the circus.
>As we fly, we encounter a young silver dragon, and the druid barters some gold for their assistance.
>When we reach the circus, the druid polymorphs the dragon into a snake for infiltration, and we sit down to see the show, bard speaking to the ringmaster for a moment about our wish to join the circus (as a ruse).
>They have a trick rider, who stands astride two horses. They have a pair of conjoined twins, as a "freak". They have a tabaxi who juggles swords. They have a group of trained dogs, who jump through hoops of fire held by clowns. They have a giant frog. Then they bring out my dog. He has a nasty looking collar on.
>I call out, he sees me, and calls out. I rush out, but the trick rider and a bruiser type who works as a guard try to stop me.
>"The dog is mine. You stole him. There are two ways this can go – you can hand him over, my associates and I pay you for any financial loss you may incur as a result. OR, you can die, and I will simply take him back."
>The dog is yours, is he?" says the bruiser. "Well then, there's only one way to settle this."
>And he punches me. It does a lot more damage than I was expecting.
>We start fighting the circus.
>As we fight, they change. The bruiser is a doppelganger, the conjoined twins become an ettin, the horses become nightmares, the dogs are hellhounds, the tabaxi sword-juggler is a rakshasa, and the ringmaster is a succubus, flying above us.
>Druid throws the dragon-as-a-snake at one of the hound masters, and cancels the polymorph.
>Suddenly, there is a dragon on top of him.
>Something else is worse, though.
>The circus had drawn a ring on the ground.
>Shortly into the fight, it became a magical barrier, trapping some of the peasant crowd.
>One of the nightmares starts trampling the crowd.
>As they, and the ettin, die, a weird red mist comes out of their bodies and floats above the circle.
>Session ends with the ettin, a few of the hellhounds, one nightmare, and the rakshasa dead. (But I got scratched, and the DM tells me, cursed).
>I look up what a rakshasa scratch curse does. I gain no benefit from resting due to constant nightmares or visions of horrific images in my sleep, until remove curse is cast on me.
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