As the Vardor new year begins, the opposition to the magic ban works with Ilgrind to plan their attempt to sway public opinion against the ban. They are:
- Doane Six (ByW): Level 3 Nekolyn Monk
- Lamila (BiW): Level 3 Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter
- Benquil: Level 2 Spider Monkey Animal Companion
- Lucifer “Lucy” Underfoot (RiH): Level 3 Halfling Bard
- Gelda Roughsole: Level 2 Halfling Thief Follower
- Eymen Hunyadi: Level 1 Drow Padfoot Follower
- Rav Lugulu: Level 1 Goblin Chemist Follower
- Hilderek Ferlwinkle: Level 1 Gnome Tinker Follower
After a few days rest, during which Ilgrind studies some of the Arcandidae bodies they gave him, they learn that the exoskeletons of the giant locusts can be powdered and used in fire to make it burn cold, potentially cold enough to be used in the refining process, which gnomish records imply used magical cold to separate the lighter-than-air gas from the others.
Lucy suggests that they should take Ilgrind’s compressor and a tank to the gas-filled gnomish mine to get a sample he can experiment on to perfect the refining process, but before venturing so deep with his equipment, Ilgrind suggests they gather him more locust exoskeletons and bodies to work with in their absence, as an act of good faith.
The place where they encountered the locust swarm is only 6 hours away, so they set out to go collect some of the bodies they didn’t bother with after their encounter, taking Ilgrind’s handcart with them. On the way, they see a crude, all-terrain tricycle approaching, driven by what looks like a man laying on his stomach, pedaling with his arms. He calls out for them to clear the road and as he passes they see he is no man, but a merman. They pursue him, learning that his mission is to ask the gnomes to stop attempts to contact the merfolk; they want to be left alone. Having learned from Ilgrind that the merfolk are the most likely candidates for obtaining magic veiling enchantments, they inquire what kinds of technology the merfolk would be interested in and get a few ideas Ilgrind might be able to help with.
Delayed by following the merfolk back the way they had come, night catches them still not at the swarm site and they make camp. In the morning as they continue, they are attacked by a massive wolf, which gets into the center of their line, briefly pinning Lucy and Gelda before being killed by a barrage of projectiles.
Already committed to a third day, they spend longer getting the cart completely full of locust corpses and exoskeletons before heading back to Ilgrind, who is grateful for the additional materials.
This sessions was full of dialogue and research discussion, since managing Ilgrind as an equipment resource will be a major part of their planning and play for the remainder of the campaign. For the travel, I tried something new described in Dungeon Master’s Block episode 105: Are We There Yet? The idea is to get the players engaged in the travel by allowing them to say what they encounter on the way. BiW desperately wants contact with the merfolk, so I had to consider why and how one would be on a mountain road in this world, with excellent results for fun and story. Overall, the idea worked and I’ll definitely be using it again.