Wondrous World Carnival Report
As the players arrived, they saw the finishing touches being put on the Hall of Mystery. As eager as some were to examine this, they would have to wait. Luckily, there were plenty of other attractions available to while away the time, and throughout the day they explored them all.
The tent with the ominous sign inviting the attendee to "Speak with the Dead" drew the eyes of the party members. The paladin of the party was nervous that eldritch sorcery would be unleashed, and offered his support. He was thanked for the offer, but told that it was well in hand. After offering him a private session for a 'nominal fee', he was invited to go to the regular show as well. Passing on the private session and the amount that was considered 'nominal', the group paid the standard entrance and went in the tent. When the lights went down, a beam of light was directed to the front of the tent. In came a tall, handsome elf, who proclaimed that he was there to help the people connect with those that had passed beyond.
The show was clearly well received by most, although our party has seen the dead walk and was not impressed by the parlor tricks of a carnival. They left and sought other entertainment.
Durdeg had been given a strange look by a woman walking through earlier, as she passed through to the Fortune Teller's Hut. They decided to seek a glimpse of the future, and were told that only one could enter at once. She took Durdeg first, and revealed to him a glimpse of the future. The knowledge was his to share, but the rest of the group saw that he traded a ring, a gem, and a significant amount of money for a necklace - a chain and pendent, with a closed eye scribed in the bronze.
The others got their own readings, and their own items - clear crystals that held the promise of help in their journeys. All but Mal eventually sought her council, and saw what the cards held.
The party made the acquaintance of Fizban the Magnificent, an illusionist performing at the Wondrous World Stage. They caught a part of his act, and Durdeg was able to volunteer to disappear. In the process, he discovered that the illusionist was not using arcane methods, but trap doors and mirrors, and he made a friend in Fizban. He has a standing job offer as a plant for the show. Carta also made a friend, charming the halfling assistant to the gnome. They arranged for a date that evening.
The last of the minor attractions (not including the food and drink, which is a show unto itself) was the Mentalist. The party gathered for a show, and were shocked when rising from beneath the stage was a Dwarf with a giant helmet, who immediately started focusing on members of the audience. He made some rather obvious assumptions of the shining knight, made a vague but disturbing accusation of a shifty individual that sent the man screaming, and began to divine things about Durdeg. Durdeg was skeptical, and when he demanded a better job or his money back, was chased from the show.
Hall of Mystery
Eager to experience the Hall, Durdeg, Mal, and Sif were the second group in line at the Hall. Because of the escalating costs and time penalties, Carta and Sharlot passed, and enjoyed the good food and sunshine. Once they were allowed to start, the trio tackled the entrance riddle.
After watching the first group waste over twenty minutes before walking away from the riddle, the group was worried about the time to beat for the best prize. But in a flash of insight, they answered, and went inside. The first room was filled with containers of all sorts, and a door with three locks. With none prepared to pick the locks, they set to work on answering the cypher. After the realization that the keyword was WONDROUS, they found the keys and proceeded to the next room.
There, they found a maze choked in fog. They wandered for a while, unable to find an exit by following a single wall. They ended up circling back to the start, when they took a closer look at the walls. They realized that the Carnival was cheating, and the exit was the opening at the bottom of the walls they could crawl through. They made it, and felt good about their time.
The next room had a scale and a number of coins, plus a lock on the door that promised it would open for 11 real gold coins. The scale only swung freely once a minute, and this fact nearly proved their downfall. Focusing on the word "real", the trio attempted to compare the provided coins with their own. None of the provided coins were close to the weight of a real coin, and the scale time was wasted. Eventually, they decided that dropping eleven of their own coins to beat the rapidly nearing deadline would be the best plan, and they moved on.
Now, with time running out, they entered a room with two exit doors, and a guard standing in front of each. They began to question the guards, who replied evasively. Sensing time slipping away, they told the guards to move and boldly strolled out into the sunlight. With the time penalty for a group, they beat the previous record by just under 30 seconds.
The group got the standard money from completing the Hall, and the bonus award - a gem, a ring, and a "Wizzard's Hat". Sif wears the hat with pride.
The Race Track
By the time they had finished at the Wondrous World, most of the racing was done and the track was churning into a pit of mud. Malcer was able to witness a few of the races, and put his long experience with animals to work. He picked a few horses to bet on, and didn't win a lot, but did come out ahead.
The Mud Race
Once the horses were done, the carnies quickly updated the mile long track to accommodate the mud race. Fifteen barriers were erected, each three feet high, spaced around the track. Immediately following the barriers were the mud pits. A giant leap would be required to keep on running. Carta, Durdeg, Malcer, and Sif all paid the entry fees to race, while Sharlot made bets. When the odds were posted, Mal bet on himself at 2 to 1 odds, Sif backed herself as a 10 to 1 long shot, and Sharlot played it safe, backing the favorite. When the runners gathered and saw the Orcan, they understood why. At nearly seven feet tall and with a wiry frame, he looked custom made for this race.
Everyone toed up to race, and in a burst of magical light, they were off. The Orcan and Mal made impressive starts, pulling away from most early. Durdeg was close behind, while Carta and Sif both slipped in the mud, joining a number of entrants faltering to start the race. But they quickly got back to their feet, and the race was on!
At the first obstacle, the Orcan leapt o the top then pushed off, easily clearing the muddy hole beyond. Mal kept pace, and it soon appeared to be a race between the two of them and a few others. It also became apparent that this was no holds barred, as tripping, grasping, and tackling became commonplace.
Carta's charm had led a couple of other racers to stick with him, and at one point he paused to help them out. This, plus an early bout of clumsiness had left him in the rear. An ongoing bout of clumsiness had seen to it that Sif was there as well, and that she remained. Every time she began to make progress, it would seem like the world was against her and she would go down again. she was eventually left behind by all of the other racers, although she was not yet done influencing the race.
Meanwhile, Durdeg was falling off of the lead, and it was increasingly coming down to the Orcan, an Elf, and Malcer. They had both slipped, but in all they had performed better than the rest. Carta was making strides in gaining on them, but it looked like he was just too far back. He passed Durdeg, and the hobgoblin realized that he couldn't win, but that he was free to try and help his friends. Casting a spell, he catapulted a large ball of mud and dirt towards the Orcan, hoping to make an opening for Mal. The Orcan was too fast and ducked out of the way. The Elf, however, never saw it coming. As the Orcan ducked, the Elf ran full speed and face first into the oncoming missile of mud. His head snapped back, while his lower body continued moving forward. Flying forward from his momentum, he nearly completed a full back flip, but ended up just shy. He went down in the mud, and stayed there.
Both Mal and the Orcer had stumbled a bit, and the lead was changing hands back and forth. As Carta came within striking distance, the Orcer pulled ahead. One obstacle to go, and the party would need help to pull out a victory. Sif was there to provide it.
Sif cast an illusion, subtly changing the appearance of the final obstacle. When the Orcan and Mal arrived, they thought it was shorter than it was. Both were tripped, and both hit the next mud hole together. Carta came from behind, seeing them fall and recognizing the problem. He planted firmly, launched, and barely cleared the Orcan trying to pull him down. He stumbled across the finish line, winning the mud race!
End of Day
The group was exhausted, and started to make their way to a dinner spot. Sif tried a few carnival games, and when she continued to have the universe against her, she lit a shooting gallery on fire and was ejected from the carnival. Carta left to change for his three dates that evening, while the other three went to eat. Sharlot tried the fabled lobstrosity claws, and found them to be as good as promised.
After signing up for the Battle of the Bards, the remianing party members left for the inn. Carta came back, finely dressed, and rounded up the ladies he had met. While the human woman was not interested in a night out, the Halfling and Elf were, and he splurged, spending a total of 60 gold on Surf and Turf meals. He acted as his God would hope he would act - with honor towards his dinner companions. He thanked them for their company, and saw them to their dwellings.
The next morning, everyone pursued they own goals for the day. Mal fished, Sharlot busked, Sif perused a bookstore, Durdeg tinkered, and Carta went to speak to the just returned judge. There he learned that the Koleran League had had the criminal from the cages - Gylas Erer - arrested. He further found that they had removed him from the cage, and according to a lawyer of Iuris, tortured him. This was disturbing to both the judge and Carta, and the judge promised to look into it. Owing the human girl a meal, Carta decided to find her for lunch while he mulled this over.
Diamond chip ring
15 gp prize for Hall
20 gp award for mud race
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