The closest link the party has to finding the Collector (before he finds them) is the nearby city of Luskan, a democratic pirate enclave in the frigid northern coast. As a bonus, rumors have it that a rich old guy and an elf have spent obscene amounts of old money to build a massive warship — probably to get to Soros’ island.
Plus, they need to form a plan to find the Collector. Kalesis’s old friend Silvestro, the charismatic drow pirate captain, and his living dryad-ship Honeycomb agree to help get the party to Soros’ island — presuming, of course, that he gets a cut of the loot.
In order to let the Collector find him, they need to be shanghai’d. The Vampirate’s lackeys are known to frequent the seedier bars around town, where they can kidnap people who might not othrwise be missed. The party decides to visit The QUeen’s COrridor, a pit-fighting bar run by Tessie Hobbs, the saddest half-orc you’ve ever seen (but it’s just her face, we promise). The party allows themselves to be turned into animals with some residual druidic magic, and a battle royale ensues.
During the battle, the party is approached by what turns out to be vampire spawn, which they (and a local cleric of Umberlee) dispatch. Suspicions confirmed.
Deciding on the element of surprise, the party (i.e. Kalesis and Anvrik) sneak onto Soros’ men’s warship, called the Blind Sun, and sabotage it — with illusions and real fire, naturally. It’s rendered un-seaworthy, and the contracted mercenaries are terribly burned.
In Luskan, Meowser has a contact from his Order. They meet up with Turner O’Shea, a chain-smoking, twitchy werewolf who has been infiltrating the local Twn Springs Logging Company, which is suspected to have dark lycanthropic ambitions.
The party infiltrates the organization, using a transformed Meowser as bait. It turns out that this is an accidental cult of Auril, the evil goddess of winter. The supervisor of the logging camp nearly froze to death after getting lost in a particularly nasty winter, and Auril offered to intervene, granting the entire logging camp cold immunity (and a pack of Winter Wolves) in exchange for worship. Feeling as though she was acting in the best interest of her cold, starving team, the camp leader made an executive decision and accepted, forcing the whole camp to follow in Auril’s path. Growing obsessed with keeping her workers “safe,” the supervisor then decides to make them all into werewolves, as they’re nigh-indestructible, and was performing research on distilling werewolf blood for mass consumption. Thankfully, the Safety First crew manages to take out all the Winter Wolves, the reluctant cultist, and all the research on lycanthropy before it progressed any further. During the fight, Turner let his lycanthropy get the best of him, hurting his friends in the process, and he grieves to this day.
Learning More About the Shadow Dragon
Soros’ two favorite henchmen are quick to figure out who the arsonists were. The Asshole Elf and two heavily burned sailors find them out in the woods, and quickly transport everyone to the Shadowfell, giving the party a taste of what the Shadow Dragon has to offer.
Before they kill him, the party learns that Soros can enter his lair in the Shadowfell, but it’s only an empty reflection, devoid of treasure or power. Due to his shadow-curse, Soros can only physically blip in and out of the Material Plane sporadically, but can speak to (and influnce) Material Plane dwellers anytime he wishes.
Kalesis also gets some pretty cool Gloves of Thievery off the body.
With the Blind Sun crippled, the party heads out with SIlvestro and his odd crew, including “Feral” Francine, “Twitchy” Vernon, “Drop-Dead” Adelaide, and Middleton, on the hunt for Soros’ lair…