The City of Cauldron

Day 4 Part 1
A meeting at Town Hall

The next day came fast and our adventures were ready to head over to town hall for their much needed Guild Charter. Unfortunately their start was postponed as a certain gnome decided to sleep in. Theo attempted to wake his sleeping cousin but was only met with bodily noises from under the sheets. Knowing that his cousin eats and drinks weird concoctions Theo thought it was best not to wake the little gnome. Time passed and the sleeping gnome finally woke up, greeted by the unfriendly scowls of his party members. The party left Theo’s house and headed across the city to Town Hall. Along the way Theo debated how the city should really have a ferry system to make crossing the city easier. “Why should I have to walk all the way around the lake? This is some bullshit”. The rest of the party didn’t understand why they would need a ferry system but Theo was bent on changing the minds of his party members. The discussing continued for the duration of their walk and no conclusion was made when reaching Town Hall. Deep down in their hearts the other party members knew this subject would come up again.

Pushing open the large Town Hall doors the soon to be formed guild entered the building. Sitting behind the desk was a middle aged woman, presumably some sort of secretary. Being the shrewd businessman that Benedrad was he walked up to the secretary and pronounced who they were and why they had come to the Town Hall on this morning, he also slipped her one of his business cards. The two of them continued their conversation which slowly devolved into an unfit conversation. Some accusations of racism occur and after pointing out that the last guild charter for the month had been given out already the secretary stepped into another room to get the Deputy Mayor. The Lord Mayor himself was away on business. While the secretary was away Theo made the totally rational decision to tamper with the current list of guild charters. He attempted to remove the second to last name: “The Unhumans” and replace it with “The Unseen Hand of Justice.” It was a pretty poor job. Hopefully this was not the official list.

Theo had just finished his unskilled attempt at forgery when the Deputy Mayor came to greet the party. He introduced himself as Lord Thomas Vhalantru and asked them to follow him into his chambers. Lord_Vhalantru.jpgThe lord was not interested in the party as a whole and directed his questions to Theo. Vhalantru knew who Theo was not only because he was the only goblin in the city but also because of the work his parents had started to do. The two of them engaged in conversation speaking about the good deeds of the Glimmerwid family and how they are an asset to the city. After some noble ego stroking Theo brought out the issue of a guild charter. The Deputy Mayor stated that the last guild charter had been given to The Stormblades. With a little wit and charm Celestine and Theo tried to convince Vhalantru to make an exception in light of their recent good deeds. Being a politician and a law-abiding citizen of Cauldron, Vhalantru was hesitant, but it also became apparent through their conversation that Vhalantru had little taste for the bureaucracy that muddied Cauldron’s political waters. With the party in shock Vhalantru handed them a guild charter, it was now official. The Unseen Hand of Justice was ready for the city to learn their name, they would become the sought after guild for any problems that would arise or so they thought….
Now that the Hand was official they wanted to go free the remaining prisoners. Vhalantru told them they Stormblades had been tasked to clear the area and demolish the entrance and tunnels. Theo and Ben were shocked to hear of this. Jzadirune was a rich part of Gnomish culture and it could not just be destroyed. There were far too many artifacts to be saved thought the entrepreneur goblin. “Think of the museum, think of the children”. The half size heroes pleads fell on deaf ears, Vhalantru said there was nothing he could do but he would give the Hand forty-eight hours to clear the area before the Stormblades would enter. Knowing that their time was limited the guild headed out to find the remaining prisoners.

They arrived at Kegyan’s shop which was now over run with the town guard but a familiar face greeted them. Ruphus stood before them and greeted the hand with open arms. He had heard about them saving the children and knew they would ever since they had saved his life earlier before. The party waved to Ruphus and started to enter the depths of the dungeon looking to free the remaining prisioners. As the party was walking away Ruphus stopped Benadrad to show him Keygan’s companion, Starbrow. Knowing nothing of gnome he knew not what to do with this pet. Benadrad opened the cage and Starbrow ran away out of the shop. Ruphus was puzzeled and Benadrad gave a little shrug, “Oh well”. Loghan face-palmed, he knew that little creature would not make it in the city. It would be up to him to find that rat and bring him back to his owner.

Moving their way down the depth of the former gnomish enclave the party finally reached the area from the day before. Not much had changed since they dispensed of the half-troll and its followers. The group started to check many of the doors they had hastily passed before. There was nothing to be found in them mostly just some old beds that had an odor which could only be described as sweaty gym socks. Finally they discovered something in one of the pantries off the main dining area. The room was filled with different types of dried animal meat. Most of the party pulled back with disgust in seeing the site of these animals, but being a foodie Benadrad walked up and pulled off some of the meat. Letting the meat linger in his mouth Ben knew this was good eats but there was no time to stuff his face they had to find the prisoners. The party heard some noise coming from one of the rooms next to the pantry with their weapons drawn they opened the door.

Expecting some type of vile creature but only to see the mimic that they had encountered before but this time the mimic was sitting on the ground in what could only be called a food coma. Benadrad tried to converse with the creature in undercommon but it only drooled and spoke of food. Not to give up a free meal Benadrad tried the concoction that the mimic had created. It was an odd looking soup but for some reason it was just what Ben wanted to eat at the moment. Ben told the creature it must leave soon as the town guards were going to clear this place and to come with them. It agreed and would meet the party later on at the elevator. As they left the room the mimic told them to watch out for there was another mimic somewhere down here.

The party moved through the room where they took down the half-troll, his blood still covered most of the floor and the bodies of his minions rioted as rats took their dinners. They moved across the bridge that the dark dwarf ran across and soon found another set of hallways. Following the hallways they entered a few different rooms. There was nothing in these rooms which seemed weird. Theo took out his wand and detected a secret door, “Ah, a door” he announced. The door opened revealing a room full of treasure for all of the adventures to see. Upon seeing this mound of riches the gnome entered a gold lust and rushed into the room. The goblin rushed in after his cousin trying to restrain him but it was too late. A large tentacle like arm flew out of a large golden gong and hit Benadrad. The group had found the other mimic. Celestine and Logahn saw their guild mates were in trouble and rushed in to deal with the mimic. Benadrad brushed himself off, yelled something in undercommon and threw a bomb at the mimic. The mimic reacted and sent two tentacles at Benadrad hitting him hard and knocking him unconscious. For the first time since they started this adventure Benadrad was clinging to life. Seeing their party member in mortal danger the remaining members of the hand attacked the mimic with great force. It would not be long until they dispensed justice. The mimic was dead, Celestine healed her comrade and they all looked at the piles of loot they had just found. It was a good day to be an adventurer.

Day 4 Part 2

Day 3 Part 6
Kazmojen's bloodly body

With Kazmojen laying on the ground in a pool of his blood the party felt proud. They had ventured into the depths of the unknown and immerged as victors. The underworld would know their names and fear the Unseen Hand of Justice. As the party checked their wounds and cared to the three remaining children a sound came from the body of the defeated Kazmojen. A bloody gurgle was heard echoing in the chamber, the Half-troll abomination was not dead. Had the novice party been so ill-advised in forgetting that trolls could regenerate? This seemed so. Benadrad jumped onto the waking Kazmojen and violently jabbed his dagger into the throat of the waking troll, bring him back to deaths door step. The rest of the party acted quickly to bind Kazmojen for the long drag back to the surface. Logahn dragged the defeated troll while Benadrad sat on Kazmojen’s chest sliding his dagger into the troll’s throat every time he regained conciseness. At the smithy Sondor the dwarf women reminded them that there were still prisoners in the keep.

“Well, they’ve been there for weeks, so what’s one more day?” was the unanimous response. They decided to come back for them the next day if they could regain the ground they just lost sliding just a little bit down the slippery alignment slope.

Theodocius gathered the freed prisoners from the forge and proceeded to meet the party at the elevator towards the surface. Celestine and Keygan followed Logahn and Benadrad watching the gnome constantly stabbing the troll. Every time the blade entered Keygan squirmed a little bit, he thought to himself that this would soon all be over.

The party navigated the underground maze that had almost become a home to them over the past few days. Soon they reached the entrance that lead back into Keygan’s shop. Keygan started to look nervous and stated that he would no longer accompany the party. This was not something that Celestine wanted to hear. She told Keygan that his redemption was not yet complete and coming clean of his misdeeds was still needed. Her words fell on deaf ears as Keygan nuzzled Starbow to his nose, he breathed in deep taking the scent of his lost companion. The party turned to leave Keygan, they were to return the freed prisoners and children to Jenya. As the Unseen Hand left Benadrad hung back and decided to talk with Keygan. Ben told Keygan that he was “Fucked” and needed to get out of town as soon as possible. Keygan didn’t care what Ben had to say and ignored most of what he had been told. Ben shrugged and said “Well fucked it, you’re on your own”.

Walking through the city of Cauldron the Hand had their chests puffed out and a swagger to their step. People watched as they dragged the monstrosity, Kazmojen, through the streets and a trail of blood followed their path. It was unsure if the city folk were curious as to what type of creature was being dragged or perplexed as to why a gnome was repetitively stabbing the creature while smiling and shooting winks to them. The party reached the Church of St. Cuthbert and was greeted by Alec Tercival who was in disbelief that the party had accomplished the task that was put before them. Alec took hold of the troll with an unseen strength tinged with anger and the barely conscious Kazmojen sputtered and spit as he was manhandled by the paladin. Alec directed the party to Jenya while the church looked after the injured children.

“You saved them. I can’t believe you really did it. This is the work of St. Cuthbert.” Remarked Jenya

Celestine spoke up “We did the work of Sarenrae. Sarenrae’s Grace will help all.”

Jenya gave a little smile and ignored what Celestine had just said. They party began to tell Jenya the tale of what had happened and how they defeated any foe that they faced. This continued as the party took turns telling the different chapters of their story. Well, everyone but Benadrad who had decided to raid the St. Cuthbert kitchen. Ben did return in time to ask about payment for their services. Jenya seemed especially concerned of the mention of the beholder.

“A Beholder!?! Well What the fuck!?! This is bad news!” She paraphrased. Jenya was received by blank stares when she asked the party what the could make of this.

Jenya continued “We will pay you, let me see your guild charter.” There was confused look that came across the party. “What do you mean you don’t have a guild charter? How could you take this job without a charter? No, I’m sorry. This was my overlook. I was just so concerned with Ruphas and the children. Still, you must go to the town hall and get a charter only after that can you collect what is owed.” Jeyna also explained that she would have Captain Skellerang send a party of town guard to retrieve the locksmith and secure the area.

A collective sigh came across the party; they gathered themselves and left the Church.

It had become late in the day and the Hand had become tired from dispensing justice all day. They all decided to crash at Theo’s house for the night and head out to Town Hall in the morning.

Day 4 Part 1

Day 3 part 5
Eye of the Beholder

The Hand of Justice continued through the eastern door, knowing that the alarm had been raised. They found themselves in a large smithy. Two halflings in shackles were linking together a chainshirt, and a likewise shackled dwarven women was hammering away at a spear. There were lesser hobgoblins there (aka: goblins) that were serving as task masters over the whole situation. Quick thinking Theodocius stepped up to address one of the goblins.
“I brought some new slaves.” The goblin nodded apathetically in agreement and his cohorts shrugged disinterestedly. As the rest of the party swaggered in behind Theo, armed to the teeth, the goblins began to question their “slave-ness.” But it was much too late. Within seconds, arrows flew and blades sliced, quickly bringing down two goblins and pinning the third in the corner. He quickly surrendered.

The party tended to the slaves and used their shackles to bind the living goblin. One halfling was hell bent on escape, and quickly took off the minute the party showed no interest in personally escorting her to safety. The male halfling, looked as though he had been there a long time. His tired baggy eyes stared blankly as he cowered in the corner unsure of what to make of the situation. The dwarf, a middle aged woman was hardened by servitude but still stalwart as any typical dwarf. She said that her name was Sondor Ironfold and she had been very lonely since her husband had been sold to slavers weeks ago. She was very gracious and helpful though and revealed the location of the man in charge: Kazmojen. Though she very much want to be free she agreed to wait for the party to deal with the threat first.

It was just two doors away, and Theo deftly slipped into the second to survey the situation. A large half dwarf & half…wait…what? Half-troll? GROSS! ….Clad in black plate he stood on the raised southern section of the huge chamber. In one hand he held a chain attached to a black haired child and in the other a wicked dwarven urgrosh. He was haggling with another dwarf of underdark descent about the boy. kazmojen.png
Next to him chained to a pole were three other children and curled up asleep at his feet was a huge creature that looked something like a cross between a porcupine and a very large dog. howler.jpgOnce Theo had a good assessment of the task at hand he slipped out, again completely unnoticed. They party begin to plan their assault on the ringmaster of this operation.

The party tried to sneak into the room and failed. Benadrad stepped up to address the dwarf-troll about the possibility of purchasing the children. Kazmojen was curious as to why these surface dwellers had come in and killed all his cohorts, but he was far more interested in profits. Entertaining Ben’s offer, he asked if they were interested in buying just the boy. He had already commited to selling three of the children to the duergar and being a “man” of his word he was committing to that exchange. The duergar, however, did not like the looks of the fourth child, and the boy had become available for purchase.

One child was not good enough though. The party demanded the release of all the children. “Fuck it, you die.” was Kazmojen’s response. Immediately Kazmojen’s pet got up and howled a howl that could likely be heard in the town hall. It was so deafening it scrambled their brains. The creature and his master charged, while the durergar, having no taste for blood, made his escape. Soon the Hobgoblins started to pour in, and the whole room erupted into vicious combat. Logahn took the brunt of Kazmojen’s unwieldy urgrosh. Celestine sliced true and closed wounds when possible. Theo & Ben went after the duergar before he could make his escape, but the dark dwarf stepped through the western door and vanished in the mob of hobgoblins that was now pouring into the room. Hobgoblins were dropping but so did the party rogue. Ben scrambled to pour one of his potions down the goblins throat but almost dropped it covering his ears. A painful howl rang out through the room. The howler was down.

Kazmojen looked over to see his only true friend lying in a puddle of blood and guts.
PRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICKLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!” He screamed and turn to Logahn with a firey hatred. Ignoring his current quarry he charged at the half-orc and proceeded to give him a royal beat down. It was at this most dramatic moment that the most dramatic thing could possibly have happened. It was almost as though the world that these characters lived in was being carefully controlled by an unseen “master” of sorts, and his sense of drama was infallible. Cue the beholder.

FOOOOOOM!” The huge, disgusting, fleshy orb appeared in the room from nowhere. It opened it’s maw to reveal a set of large dripping teeth and it spoke.

“I have come for Terrem. That boy should not have been taken from Cauldron. I intend to see that he is safely returned to his orphanage. You can keep the others. They are of no consequence.” With that, one of it’s tentically eyestalks turned toward the child and shot a beam of light at him.

“Come, Terrem, you will be safe with me.” And the boy, enchanted by the words, nodded and slowly made his way to the creature.

Kazmojen stammered desperately. “Wha? I….I…I knew nothing of that boy…I swear!”

The beholder turned toward the half troll and stared at him with contempt. “Worry not greedy humanoid, you will be compensated.” A bag of coins flew out of nowhere and landed in the middle of the floor. Kazmojen made his way over to his payment. Brave Theo, barely awake from his cousin’s potion, dashed towards the beholder with dagger in hand. His suicidal attempt to rescue the boy was brushed off like a man brushing off a pesky insect. His bladed bounced harmlessly off the creature’s blubbery skin. It was then that the Beholder sniffed out something peculiar in the air. It slowly floated it’s way towards Celestine. Shaken with fear, the priestess did nothing as the hovering orb drew itself inches from her face. It’s central eye slowly opened to get a closer look. Suddenly Celestine screamed bloody murder and quickly clutched at her neck. Smoke slithered from between the cracks of her fingers and the smell of burning flesh filled the room. The beholder cackled a maniacal laugh as the poor servant of Sarenrae fell to her knees.

“Muh huh huh. Not today human.” It whispered to her loudly in a deep throaty voice. “Not today.”

FOOOOOOOOOOM!” The creature was gone.

Celestine, fresh as a daisy and seemingly unharmed, returned to task and rushed Kazmojen who was distracted by the coin purse. Slashing furiously with her rapier Kazmojen was all for dead. Then just as the half-dwarf was about to taken on a second wind, a crossbow bolt flew and took him right in the face between his eyeslit. The party looked over and saw Benadrad, crossbow in hand, walk up to the body and drop a business card on his chest.
“Well. I guess that’s that, huh?” he grinned.

Day 3 Part 6

Day 3 part 4
The Malachite Hold

Thus the villain Yuathyub made his exit, leaving the tired party in a state of satisfied exhaustion. They had just hacked, arrowed and firebombed their way through what seemed like the worst this underworld had to offer: a diverse menagerie of foul beasts, devious traps and devolved humanoids. One realm of threats and puzzles now lay deciphered and subdued, and the party members had the strangest feeling that some unknown power had just granted them a boon. *Ding!

But there was a sense of unease too. Where had Yuathyub really gone? Had he seen the turning of the tide and fled for good, or did he merely go to some unseen redoubt in the lower levels to wait patiently alongside a host of allies?

Whatever the case, the way to go was down, as it had always been.

The party briefly got their affairs in order. As usual, the skulks didn’t have much except their standard unsound weaponry and smelly clothes. There was the matter of the “pulverizer” though. This thing was a real gem: clearly capable of tunneling through solid rock and probably able to wail pretty hard on a “soft” target (preferably one who did not know how to speak gnomish). Benadrad promptly challenged Theo to pick a nearby door lock in less time than it took for the pulverizer to pulverize a hole through the wall.

In this case, it turned out that the pulverizer’s pneumatic fist outstripped Theo’s skill with the lockpick, and the crew piled in through the breach. Jokingly, or as what passes as such from a half-orc, Logahn remarked that perhaps they no longer required the goblin’s services.

The little room turned out to be an office in a state of extreme disrepair, but not completely devoid of useful items. There was another lettered key in the desk to add to the party’s growing collection.

Many doors still stood unopened on this level, but the hour was growing late and the more the adventurers saw of this dungeon, the more keenly they felt for the plight of the poor orphans stuck down in the abyss. At least that is what they should have been thinking, but who really knows. It had been a while since any of them had seen the light of day. It was also possible Keygen was now the sanest of the lot of them! The remainder of the day would surely take them deeper into the darkness rather than up towards the light of civility.

Towards the lift they marched.

A few rooms away from the point of descent, they encountered some oddities. On the floor was a dead skulk that had not fallen by the party’s weapons. No one really cared – but in the next room, they stumbled upon a sick contraption that may or may not have been the reason the skulk wasn’t feeling so well. It was a mimic.

“Hungry! ah blahblah (etc)” issued forth from the thing’s metal chompers in the debased Undercommon tongue. The adventurers looked wearily at one another, but their attention perked up because lo and behold, there was a familiar looking rat sitting on top of the mimic’s wooden dome. Upon seeing this, Keygen went absolutely apeshit. Unphased, Bernadrad resolved to blow up the mimic by offering it an alchemists’ fire snack. Being a mimic that was very interested in snacks, this dubious stratagem had some chance of succeeding but luck was not in their favor and the bomb misfired, enraging rather than destroying the odd creature.

A lot of things proceeded to happen at once. First, theodocious decided to put his body on the line for Keygen’s rat, and tumbled fluidly across the room in order to snatch it out of harm’s way. He was then met by a stout punch from one of the mimic’s beefy pseudopods. But Theo had the rat! Keygen approved of this.

It looked like it might be fightin’ time, but the adventurers wisely held off the attack, correctly sensing some reluctance on the part of the mimic to really throw down. Sure enough, they were able to talk the creature down without much trouble, making some vague promises to bring it some gourmet food.

Now came an awkward moment: Keygen wanted to leave. After rubbing his face all over his gross rodent companion, he stated that he was done helping the party. Truth be told, the group had come to almost like the capering little guy for his quiet company and occasional colorspray emissions, but now it was clear that his cowardly tendencies would have to be dealt with. Celestine did so sternly. She reminded him that not so long ago, he had been an accomplice to a terrible crime and that although his recent deeds were tipping the balance positively, he was still a long ways from redemption. Keygen shuddered at the dangers sure to come, but in the end either his fear of the adventurers or his guilt got the better of him and he again promised loyalty to the party for a little while longer.

They descended noisily down the lift.

Glad that the ancient machinery had not given out on the trip down, the group piled out of the elevator to find themselves in a stranger, blacker environment than the level above.

It soon became clear that a party of hobgoblins had laid claim to this layer of the dungeon. Introductions were made when some one in the group opened a door to find a few of these nasties relaxing behind it, having a nice daydream and not at all expecting to see an unfamiliar face. Caught flatfooted then! Theo immediately took this opportunity to shove his rapier into the nearest one, and then helped the party finish the rest.

This marked an improvement over the old status quo in terms of “Hand of justice” door opening outcomes. Hallways and darkness met the adventurers as they walked on in silence.

Now the party had certainly faced horrors in the first level of the Undercity. Every feature of the darkness swirled in the adventurers’ respective imaginations to take the forms of Grells and skulks along with every other monster they had fought. These however were only the monsters they knew…

It is doubtful that any of them could sense the danger as they entered a particular tall, stony chamber. They did notice something further inside the room, but alarm was not raised and they decided to take a closer look.

Though adorned with crystals, the object in the room did not offer up its splendor as trinkets for the explorers to pluck. Instead, it was happy to start bludgeoning them with its long, stony arms. Celestine uttered a simple but effective blessing: everybody now felt a little bit more awesome. Together with Logahn, Celestine charged against the monster (which Theo, that venerable dungeoneer, indicated to be a stone Golum).

Swords on rock do not make a pleasant sound, but away the team hacked, shot and lobbed. Then, horrid sounds from around the corner made it clear that their weapons were about to have something more fleshy to sink into. What little light there was gave shadow to a monstrous, nightmarish form: an ogre had joined the battle.

It may have only had one head but boy was it huge. The Golum was clearly on its last legs now, but it was no longer the main attraction. Logahn, the stalwart enforcer, rushed to meet the foe and slashed its vulnerable belly, spraying a bit of awful gore on the cold stone (although not as much as he would have liked). The ogre was about to start having some fun, his idea of which was over the next few minutes alternatively cleaving Celestine and Logahn within inches of their lives. The priests did however waylay the ogre long enough for the diminuitive party-members to strike many blows. Bernadrad unleashed his signature hail of fire while Keygen and Theo contributed their steel towards bringing about the creature’s surely well deserved end.

Ogre down! What was once a terrible, hulking demon was now a pile of quivering rat-and/or-skulk meat. Of course Logahn and Celestine were not far from being in that same condition. Where it struck, the thing’s humongous axe had sank deep into the fighters’ flesh. The adventurers however cared little about the pain of their injuries because they had just defeated by far the most beastly opponent they had ever faced! Healing potions could make the hurt go away, but the glory of this victory would surely never fade!

And yet they who slay a beast like that, deep in the bowels of the earth, gain a bloody, awful glory indeed. Who could ever forget the howling, or the dim light of the ogre’s doom-promising eyes? All musings aside, Celestine was not done with this particular ogre, and she set about snatching its nutsack for a fetish item, or more charitably in terms of her standing with Sarenrae, just a bag (the ogre did have a fairly large and quite leathery nutsack). Everybody else watched, and was in general OK with this.

The party passed into the next room, which was apparently devoted to housing rotten corpses and piles of shit. Maybe this was where the ogre had once upon a time sat around munching dead bodies and pooping them out: a vicious cycle for all those involved. But no more … the party even found some treasure that had been buried in the dung and Theo had no qualms about digging it out. It was a huge box of coins and gems. They decided to leave it in place: it seemed unlikely that anyone would come to disturb so foul a hoard.

They walked on. The tension was thickening but the next room held no threat: it was occupied only by some tables and a large statue of a dwarf. Still, the party was careful and jumpy because the prophetic message had mentioned that they might encounter a “half dwarf” (although the dwarf before them seemed to legitimately just be a statue and there was nothing “half-ish” about it). As often happens with goblins, Theo’s sense of wariness dissolved completely when he realized that the dwarf statue’s eyes were gleaming like little jewels. Up he climbed until he could be seen clinging to the thing’s stern face, at which point he began chipping at its eyes. But crap! The eyes were stuck in there really well, as if the builder had anticipated that it one day would have to passively resist the molestation of a thief.

“Here, use this goo-gone!” cried Benadrad, and tossed up the Universal Solvent to the frustrated Theo. Theo spread it around the base of the jewel, and was able to pop it right out. Everyone was happy about this turn of events: even Logahn and Celestine – whose austerity normally made them less preoccupied with looting every possible thing in the environment – knew that the more resources they had, the better their chances of defeating the dark intelligence that was marshaling its the legions against the light of civilization.

Past the now-blind dwarf they went, flush with treasure.

The corridors wound about for a bit, but before long they reached a hallway that looked just suspicious enough to warrant a slower pace. Theo went ahead and discovered that sure enough, someone had laid a devious trap at their end of the hallway – but they should have taken more time in hiding it. Theo deftly rendered the snare useless and beckoned for the others to come forward. The party sauntered confidently down the hallway.

As they half expected, a welcome party had been prepared. A pair of hobgoblins archers entered and took positions at the far end of the hallway.

Logahn and Celestine grinned at one another in anticipation of cutting these two guys into pieces. Celestine was quickest to react though, and ran headlong towards the aggressors, feeling that satisfying urge of battle once again. But she was to be denied! A few steps from landing her curved blade into a squishy hobgoblin part, the floor blew out under her very feet. Losing velocity and swinging now only at air, she fell into a pit ironically identical to the one Theo had so knowingly foiled at the start of the hallway. As a counterpoint to this comedy, one of the skulk archers made a fool of himself attempting to activate this other impotent trap!

With their snares gone and spent, the trained hobgoblin duo executed steps two and three of their plan: call for help; then shoot.

[KNOCK KNOCK ON DOOR] “We need reinforcements!” Of course these were famous last words.

The other goblin though shot his longbow and dextrously lodged an arrow in Logahn’s torso at quite a high velocity. Of course at this point, the good guys immediately started sending their own potshots down the hallway, a few of which found their mark.

There was another problem: the reinforcements. Two by two, they were rushing into the hallway through a side door on the left, which put them in front of the collapsed section that separated the adventurers from the archers at the far end (and in which Celestine lay fallen in a frustrated daze). Benadrad immediately knew what he had to do though: it was time to subject the appropriate chokepoint to a hail of bomb shrapnel. Anticipating this, Logahn and Theo ran forth to contain the approaching hit squad from deploying into the main hallway section that the adventurers occupied. Thus the strategies were chosen, and then the consequences played out. On the near side, the hobgoblins were getting in a few blows against the “meat wall” but were withering under a flurry of steel and more importantly gobs of exploding projectiles being hurled by a certain grinning goblin. And on the far side, another drama played itself out: while one of the hobgoblins was trading shots with Keygen, the other strode up to the edge of the pit where Celestine had fallen in an attempt to finish her off. This second hobgoblin thought he had the drop on the poor priestess – but what ended up happening is that Celestine blasted a crossbow bolt through his face the second he came into view. No “I have high the ground, Anakin!” here – the bolt cleanly turned the hobgoblins brain and face into mush before he could make the easy shot. One does wonder about the cold intelligence motivating the fiend however: he would rather shoot the defenseless warrior in the pit than keep up the strategic offensive. Probably what your average hobgoblin would do though!

Thus one of the archers faded from life. More of his ilk still were pouring through the side door.

The adventurers concluded this bloody episode with a finale of booms and swings, littering the connecting hallway with hobgoblin entrails and splatters.

Shaken, but not stirred, the party wiped the blood from their eyes and face-masks and surveyed their handiwork.

Day 3 part 5

Day 3 Part 3
Floating Brains & other Merriment

Having defeated the cloth monsters in the lab, Theo pulled out his wand and scouted three secret doors. Benadrad and Theo found a chest with a tanglefoot bag, smokesticks and various other alchemical trinkets inside. Upon closer inspection Benadrad realized that the chest had a secret compartment, which he thought might house a trap or other such nastiness. He flung a bomb into the chest, cracking the compartment open and revealing a newly-singed wand of burning hands. It’s functionality had been hindered but a mending spell from Logahn took care of that. Many of the other rooms they now had access to were empty. They found a room with cabinets filled to the brim with potions. Benadrad’s investigations revealed that for all intent and purposes these were indeed the potions that their labels claimed them to be, but every last one of them was inert. The more they explored the dungeon the more they realized that the gnomes had left in a big hurry. After briefly investigating the rest of the rooms the party decided that they should advance on the location pointed out to them by the disappearing skulk as the the leader’s lair.

They left the lab through door they had originally entered and came up on the barrier of furniture and debris that had seemingly been built to seal something in on the other side. Carefully a hole was made in the detritus. Theo slipped through, staying in the shadows. Not finding any immediate dangers he motioned the rest of the party into what seemed to be a huge work room. Upon entering both Celestine and Logahnn felt the presence of a strange field of invisible magical energy that permeated the whole room. The force was extremely weak but noticable enough to make their skin crawl. Detect magic revealed it to be mostly Conjuration with a sprinkle of Necromancy. Celestine had questioned if this might be the source of the Vanishing curse.

At the north end of the room a large cog with an orb of glowing light was suspended by chains. In the southwest and southeast corners of the room stood two big spiral staircases. Theo and Logahnn headed for the one in the southeast corner, while Benadrad and Keygan mounted the staircase in the southwest corner. Celestine headed north to investigate the cog with the orb of light.

Theo and Logahnn didn’t make it to the staircase, as they got distracted by what seemed to be a the corpse of a dark crepper, picked to the bone. Theo poked through the backpack of the corpse and pulled out some potions, coins and a dagger with a compartment for poison. As Theo scooped up the loot there was a commotion on Celestine’s end of the room. She had heard sounds coming from the balcony on the eastern side of the room. A grumbly squawking suggested they were not alone.

Slowly making her way further north, a hideous form of a beaked brain trailing dozens of tentacles dropped off the balcony and attacked her. It grabbed Celestine, paralyzing her and holding her aloft as Logahnn and Theo ran to her aid. They set themselves on opposing sides, hoping to discombobulate the monster by attacking from two places at once. The beast managed to shrug off many of mighty Logahnn’s blows, but Theo was able to sneak in a few well-placed jabs into it’s tender brainy bits. Enraged, the freakish thing began a frenzy of blows, frantically flailing it’s tentacles at Theo, Celestine and Logahnn. By now Benadrad and Keygan had been able to take up an overlooking position and were throwing bombs and crossbow bolts down at the thing. One of the bolts shot by Keygan caused the monster to take notice of the cowardly gnome. With a sickening “bwaack” it dropped Celestine and flew up at the tiny duo on the balcony. grell.jpg

It’s frustration towards the gnome was for naught as Keygan duck away from the monster’s razor sharp beak that tried to snap at him. Without hesitation Benadrad grabbed the other gnome and heaved both of them atop the beast. Flailing uncontrollably the monster was able to snatch Benadrad in it’s tenticles and deliver it’s paralyzing shock to the pint sized daredevil, but not before their combined weight caused it to descend to the lower floor where Logahnn and Theo awaited. The monster practically fell on their waiting swords, and was soon finished off. Upon recovery Benadrad cut open the dead thing’s stomach, but found nothing of interest. While Celestine removed the beak of the hideous creature and tucked it in her pack. Without the inconvenience of grotesque aberrations whipping appendages in their face, the party was free to explore the room further. The room was most definitely a grand workshop where the gnomes of Jzadirune crafted their wonderous magical treasures. In an adjoining room they found a weaver’s workshop with spinning wheel cast in illusion.

The party was now ready to make their play against…whoever exactly it was that was running things down here. They cleared a path through a second barrier, and headed towards the chamber where their assumed nemesis was to be laying in wait. Theo scouted two open chambers along the way to be sure there wouldn’t be anyone coming up behind them when they got to the Dark Stalker’s room. He found a room with recently used cots and some treasure: coins, a gold comb and some gems. He also found the gnomes smithy. As they approached the final area they heard a humming which Benadrad recognized as another pulverizer. The Hand entered Yuathyub’s room, weapons drawn, but saw no one. The pulverizer stood, idling. Benadrad gave the command to turn it off, and when he did an eery voice broke the new silence. “Why did you turn off my machine?” Celestine approached the voice and out of the shadows appeared the Dark Stalker, sword wavering in anticipation. Theo noticed he was vanishing and warned the others. A dark creeper was spotted hiding behind the machine, and a skulk “unblended” from the wall flanking the party from behind. Theo’s scouting was not enough to spot the skulk’s supernatural camouflage. yuathyub.jpg
Yuathyub opened the door for negotiations expressing that his job was becoming far too dangerous for his likings. Adventurers with pointy sticks and firery bombs was proving to not be worth the profits. He denied the party’s accusations that he was to ringleader of this operation, claiming that he was merely an associate. Yuathyub however was unwilling to bend and negotiations were fruitless, without complaint from the skulk who was protesting Yuathyub’s attempts at diplomacy. It mattered not as Logahn was done speaking with the contemptuous kidnappers. With a grumpy “I’ve had about enough of THIS,” he impatiently initiated the attack. Two more skulks appeared behind the party and engaged. The heros attacked with brilliant tactics that only a well seasoned group could pull off. Benadrad hurled the tanglefoot bag at the stalker, cementing him in place, while Celestine and Logahnn held off the skulks with some help from Keygan. Theo and Benadrad fought the creeper for control of the pulverizer, while they threw bombs and shot arrows at Yuathyub. Knowing he was defenseless the Dark Stalker cast fog cloud and proceeded to hack himself free from the goo. Celestine and Logahn killed one skulk and ran the other two off. Even Keygan showed his value by hitting the creeper with color spray, and then coup de grace’d the unconscious villain, an act that did not sit well with Celestine. After taking several hits from the gnome and goblin cousins, Yuathyub escaped before the party could kill or capture him.

Day 3 part 4

Day 3 part 2
A pleasent walk through the city but first ...TRAPS!

The heroes knew in the back of their heads that it was time for another break, but they just couldn’t resist trying out their newly found key. They proceeded to frolic from rune door to rune door giggling with glee like a bunch of 8 year girls in a pink unicorn rainbow dream candy store during a total liquidation sale. What they were NOT doing is paying attention. Paying attention like a cautious and intelligent adventuring party that is making it’s way through a dungeon that has already been determined to be extremely dangerous.Logahn “tra-la-la’d” right down into a hidden 10’ deep pit.

At first the pit seemed pretty harmless: a large wooden compartment with large spikes on opposite sides of two walls. Attached the sides? …Huh? … The three party members still up out of the pit busied themselves with a rope and a rescue plan. Suddenly the entire structure that was the pit shifted quickly to the right and down, slamming Logahn into the spiked sides of the pit. OHHHHHHH…the sides. Celestine, Benadrad, and Theodocius we’re now looking down into a large gear like mechanism that was attached to the pit and had shifted it into a side compartment. For a moment they hesitated, just enough for the wooden box to come swinging back up and knocking Logahn once again off his feet, Pit_trap.jpgbut at least he was in plain sight again. Theo realized he could probably tamper with the gears to deactivate the trap. He attached the rope around his waste and readied himself to drop into the pit should the box shift again. And shift it did. This time Logahn was ready and braced him self against the wall but still taking a little more damage from a spike.

ZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPP.” Theo dropped down into the machinery of the trap and if he then realized it was a bad idea he did not make that thought known. Down there it was pointy, jaggedy, rusty, coggy and quite cramped. The device was simple enough, all he need to do was gum up the works. (DC 12) Pulling a broken pipe off the wall he stabbed with it down into the gears. The pit started to swing back up again. And a rolling cog was barreling towards Theo. Jumping, almost but not quite fast enough, the machinery bit a chunk out of Theo’s armish/shoulderish region. The pain was too much and he passed out bloodied at the bottom of the contraption. It was not without vain. The pipe was thoroughly lodged into the gears

Panic mode triggered and Benadrad jumped into the pit (that was in it’s original upright position) stubbing his toe. With the gnome punching fruitlessly and the half-orc hacking fruitfully. They were able to chop through the wooden bottom of the trap. They pulled Theo up and Sarenrae granted him the gift of positive hit points.

Undiscouraged, the party decided to explore a little bit more. The hallway they had been following was a dead-end despite the old leather map they had been using. They managed to get through a gear door marked with a gnomish “A” (I don’t remember how. Presumably some fancy finger work by Theo. Maybe the “stinky pinky” or some other crazy-ass goblin thief trick. It was your standard rubble-filled, broken furniture containing Jzadi-room, but this one featured a large lever on the east wall. It was heavy and large but Benadrad pushed it up as though he had NOT witnessed all the burning, stabbing, slashing, jostleling, crushing, and throttling of his friends for the past three days.

CLUNK!” nothing happened. But ACTUALLY…the lever was directly on the other side of the wall of the pit trap they just climbed out of and the pit was now closed. So they pulled the level back down. “CLUNK!” Still closed. They guessed it was probably some kind of reset switch and made a mental note of the location of the trap.

One more stop on the way out, opening a “J” door into a barracks type room with chests containing nothing of value but gnomish tabbards emblazoned with the symbol of Jzadirune. Benadrad was enamored with them and took one for himself.

In groups of two, so as to protect Keygan and guard the shop, the heroes went out into the city. Theo and Benadrad went to visit the famous “Skie’s Treasury”, know for it’s magical item enterprise and bubbly shop-keeper Skie Alderson. shackled7.jpg Skie’s was a humble shop filled with magical items in glass cases, on white pillows and little note cards giving the history of each item. Skie identified their wand and cloak for the cost of two identify scrolls and was very interested in knowing where the party had retrieved the items. Skeptical of her motives the party would not reveal to her that information. This was probably the cause of Skie’s refusal to accept Benadrad’s romantic advances. That and he rolled a 1. HA! They tried to sell her some of the costume masks they had brought back from Jzadirune, but she referred them to a shop known as Tygot’s Old Things. A little disappointed they did not want to sell her their magical treasures, Skie bid them good day and kindly let them know they are always welcome.

The little folk then went to sell their gems to one of Theo’s parent’s merchants for a pleasant 5% increase, and Ben went to check in at Weer’s. Weer was not pleased. This was Benadrad’s second no call/no show in a row. Termination is imminent.

Next Celestine & Logahn took the masks to the suggested antiques dealer, Tygot. Tygot was an elderly Halfling, with an large elderly dog keeping him company. The two were actually 100% unaware of the dog, until it seemingly blinked into existence before their eyes. Logahn made an offhand comment on the dog assisting the party on their adventures. Leepook, as the dog was known, looked up and gave Logahn a look that suggested it knew exactly what he was saying. He grunted, yawned, and curled back up at he friend’s warm, cozy, undangerous, trap-less, monster-free feet.Tygot.jpg
Tygot looked interested in the masks, until he found out where they came from. Not even wanting to touch the things he regaled the story of “The Vanishing” and claimed that the items from the Gnomish enclave were cursed. The Priests left the shop without a sale, but some new found information.

With the party all together again in Keygan’s shop. They all took a much needed and uneventful break. When they had awoke, Keygan gasped in horror at Theodocious. His body had became transparent overnight. He had contracted "The Vanishing.’ They decided that a pit stop at the Church of St. Cuthbert was needed.

Jenya luckily had the necessary scroll to rid Theo of his affliction, but was more concerned of the progress of the party’s mission. Celestine, noted speaker of the house, uncharacteristic sputtered and stammered. She must have been intimidated by Jenya’s overbearing press for information. Without any other recourse, Celestine spilled the beans on Keygan and Jenya insisted on his trial once the matter of the kidnappings was settled.

So back into the dungeon it was. The party made their way through a few more rooms via the tunnels as well as with some new keys they had found. There was some kind of Art Gallery in which had been emptied. They found a throne room with a Illusion of a gnomish king sleeping. On approach it sleepily chanted the following:
“Betrayed are we by our own magic,
One by one, we fade away-
Jzadirune’s lost! Oh, how tragic!
We curse the vanishing day.”

They found two rooms that both contained a strange machine. Pulverizer.jpg One was missing an arm and completely broken. The second Benadrad was able to activate using words that were engraved on the side of the machine. He was able to give the machine a few simple commands but it was horribly unreliable.

They found another series of machines that when activated seemed to operate ceiling fans that were placed in other rooms. They found a large barricade, built on their side, floor to ceiling. It prevented passage into a large room shown on their map, which they were discovering to be incomplete. Case in point: they discovered a secret room via one of the tunnels. Benadrad’s eyes became as wide as dinner plates on discovery that this was a fully equipped alchemy lab. Suddenly, from behind an overturned table came a shambling figure. A humanoid wrapped in rags was pressing towards them. Celestine and Logahn engaged. While Theo and Ben took positions for ranged combat. Arrows flew and swords slashed and they quickly shred the thing to pieces. This thing was some kind of animated rag creature that was controlling a skulk. Imeadiately they realized that another was hiding somewhere in the room had enveloped Theo. rag_skulk.JPG
The mission became to desperately yank this thing off of any creature it tried to control as it hopped from Theo to Logahn and even to Keygan. After a long battle the second whirlwind of dish towels was soon slain.

Day 3 Part 3

Day 3
Reclaiming Jzadirue

Yesterday had been a quite a day for each of the adventurers. None had really tasted of such trial and challenge ever in their adult lives, for never had they found themselves drawn by fate together with strange companions towards the completion of such a noteworthy quest – though each suspected each of having vastly different actual reasons.

Morning found them mostly well rested, and they made haste to return to the catacombs that they had discovered there in Keygen’s shop. With the now-trusty Keygen capering in their midst and the minds of the adventurers more keen to the task, the dungeons were inexplicably looking more friendly too. Surely a funhouse of loot, wonder and rescuable children awaited!

But many dangers were found to still lurk within the sombre majesty. Right off the bat, a band of chud-like assailants took advantage of a particularly un-stealthy room-entering routine that the party undertook, and soon the whir of arrows and the whoosh of swords was echoing through the great chamber. Battle was afoot. Benadrad hurled his alchemical contraptions to sew woe amongst the enemy. The priestly members charged bravely. Keygen even proved his mettle by blasting a crossbow bolt into one of the attackers from pretty far away, which feat the party members could hardly ignore as being evidence that maybe Keygen was actually dedicated to helping them.

Despite a vicious surprise attack, the detachment of bluish creatures in the great hall was completely routed. Its sole survivor tore off out of the unexplored back passage, and with little consideration, the small-statured cousins (who stated later that they believed the fugitive could lead them to its leader) set off in chase. Logahn and Celestine exchanged weary looks in anticipation of the coming foot-race in heavy armor, but they too followed the retreating skulk as fast as they could.

The chase led into the next room, down a shabby skulk-tunnel and to a fork. Theo, who had been leading the pursuit, stopped at this point mainly out of fear of being shanked by his quarry or by its more powerful friends, towards whom the party was definitely being led. So after a bit of catching up and then some head-scratching, everybody decided to proceed cautiously to the right into what looked like small room with no other entrance, at least judging by the map.

Apparently, this was where the skulks brought their garbage. Even the plagueborn Logahn found the putrid contents of this room pretty sick, and for a moment he longed to return to the pleasures of the illusory-forest-room, whose bittersweet charm he would certainly make his personal sanctum should they succeed in their goal of reclaiming these underdwellings. But a strange realization brought him back into the here-and-now: some of the trash was doing more than just stinking. It was fluctuating, and suddenly everybody realized that their quarry was standing right in front of them!

Or was it? The skulk did not look as spry or as mean as the one that they were pursuing. And more importantly, this guy didn’t seem to be “all there.” Literally. He was clearly a long ways down the path of becoming completely ethereal. But why? Surrounded by angry adventurers, it looked like he was going to have to explain a bit about himself.

Celestine came forward offering measured words, basically reminding the fading skulk of the obvious: that he stood no chance against them and his only real hope was to obtain mercy by providing information. But whether by virtue of its bestial nature or its woeful malady, the skulk decided to stick a sword into Celestine in a flagrant breach of trust.

Was it for the sake of pity that the adventurers did not then hack him to pieces? Not entirely. For though his surprise stab was vicious, it was clear the skulk had very little willpower left to resist them. Thus the party quickly coordinated to re-capture rather than dismember the wretched thing. Utterly disregarding his own relative size, Benadrad flung his tiny gnome body at the skulk and actually was able to tie him up long enough for Logahn to disarm him by spell. Celestine finally bound its arms with some rope.

“I’ll tell you everything!” cried the Skulk.

And everything it did tell. Or at least a lot. Apparently his “commander” knew about the missing children, and had set up shop in one of the chambers to the east. From what the adventurers could gather, this commander was some kind of bigger and meaner-than-average skulk. The prisoner was also eager to whine about his condition. He explained that he felt like he was fading out of existence. Logahn offered to end his suffering in exchange for more help, but this did not go over well. Still, the skulk went on to say that the fabled “malachite hold” was actually a level below them, and happily pointed out the stairway that lend further down into the second level of the under-city.

It was decided that although the skulk had stabbed Celestine, it was not right to summarily execute him since he had turned snitch for the adventurers. So Logahn just punched the daylights out of him until he became unconscious. Acknowledgements of success were shared, especially after someone found a key amongst the garbage labeled “Z”.

“Oh yes!” exclaimed Keygen, “That will open one of your doors!” Keygen was really becoming a pal.

After this excitement had concluded, the party decided to split up (always a bad idea!) and take a leisurely stroll around the rooms they had barreled through earlier while pursuing their prey. A spell had been set up to proximity-trigger the looping of some Elvish tragedy on a great big stage against the wall. Free entertainment! So a few of the party watched it, while some others rummaged around near the back of the stage for loot.

Lulled into a false sense of security, Benadrad and Logahn meandered off to the site of their earlier battle to pick through the remains of the dead skulks. They were unaware that sneaky Theo was only seconds away from making an unfortunate discovery behind the trap door.

Now on one hand there are your run-of-the mill fiends, but on the other there are the true creatures of the pit, that not only injure the body but also terrify the spirit with their very form! As soon as the stage door was opened, a ghastly appendage shot out, ensnared Theo, drew him down into the chamber and slammed the door. Astonished, Celestine tried to force the door, but it was being held fast; while beneath the floor, the trapped goblin was being combination crushed-lacerated by an arm that by all rights should have only belonged to one of the fel denizens of the deep.

Sensing her comrade’s peril, Celestine summoned the rest of the party with a mighty war cry.

dx20061110_choker.jpgPrying open the door only unleashed further doom. Another tentacle whipped out of the shadows and caught Celestine in a lethal embrace. Logahn, having embued his longsword with a blessing of fire, took this as his cue to start hacking. Whatever this thing was, its arms needed to be gone. Logahn swung for the tentacle grasping Theo.

The sword went clean through the arm and sliced it off, producing a shower of disgusting black gore. Everyone was pretty happy to see this. The tide had turned, and before long, the monster fell beneath a furious onslaught of steel and fire.

After the dust settled, the party took stock of their own limbs and wounds. All in one piece!

Day 3 part 2

Day 2
"To The Locksmith!"

Keygan_Ghelve.jpgIn the morning the party found themselves at Ghelve’s Locks. Working in the front room was a six foot tall man with only a 1 foot torso and 4 foot long legs. It was apparent that this was Keygan Ghelve wearing stilts. The party began to question him about nothing really in particular and demanded to be allowed to look through his store. Keygan rebuked their brow-beat tactics and demanded that they show him a warrant or other legal authorization.
During this exchange, Theo had deftly slipped into the back room. Not finding much more than tools and locks, he decided to make his way upstairs.

skulk1.jpgAs he made his way up a strange naked silvery blue humanoid appeared seemingly out of the woodwork and attacked him with a rapier. Blows were exchanged by both and the humanoid ran back upstairs and slipped into another room.

Meanwhile the scuffle in the front room had escalated and Keygan had cast colorspray knocking out all but Logahn. Logahn had managed to knock over and cut Keygan with his longsword, sending him scrambling into the back room. He followed and noticed Theo badly injured. Paying no heed to the flopping gnome he stepped over him and immediately healed the goblin. They both continued up the stairs to find the stranger. There were two rooms upstairs and no creature. Logahn looked down the stairs and somehow the creature had slipped past them and was making a break for it. He escaped out the front door as did Keygan, who took the time to pop off his stilts and run, hopping over the still unconscious Celestine and Benadrad.

Taking the time to search the building found them nothing but a Dungeon Map, and a seemingly hollow wall. Confused by the hollow wall the party recited the clue given to them by Jenya. They continued to search and eventually found a locked door beneath the staircase. All manors of force were used to open the door and they failed. It was only thanks to Theo’s lock picking skills that the door was finally opened.

The party slowly crept down the staircase following Logahn who guided them with his glowing sword.

Not knowing what to expect, they started the descent cautiously, firing illuminated arrows down the hallway to get a better picture of what lay ahead. Eventually, they all filed into a large chamber that seemed to echo with strange tittering voices whose source they could not place.

Oddly at ease, the group explored the room somewhat casually. Things took a turn for the worse when Logahn, in blatant disregard of the fairly obvious warning “beware the door with teeth,” stuck his head across the threshold of a half-open door-with-teeth. The consequences were minor but the incident would set the tone for the next chapter of their adventure.

After dodging some ineffective blows from a pair of blue humanoids, whose likeness they had seen before during the fight at Keygens shop, Logahn rejoined the group as they all searched around to pick up the scent of their objective. Strange masks, doors with gnomish letters, a spooky/taunting speaking statue; the group took it all in without understanding much, and soon the crafty Theodocius got to work in an attempt to jimmy the nearest lock.

The fortunes of Theo’s craft were not favorable though. As the trap sprang, he was nearly incapacitated by a bunch of acid to the face. So it goes. One servant of Sarenrae or the other supplied a soothing “Cure moderate wounds” potion, and Theo lived to trigger trapped locks another day.

Which he soon of course did. As promised by the prophetic omen of St. Cuthbert, there were more trapped doors for Theo and the party to encounter. It soon became clear that the best course of action was to follow the strange tunnels down which the humanoid under-dwellers had fled – if “best course of action” were to taken to be one that led the group seemingly very close to being wiped out!

As they emerged from the tunnel into a larger chamber, Celestine and Logahn were immediately shanked by a gang of awful creatures in shabby black cloaks.
Bernadrad though, with a rallying “HAHA,” unleashed a barrage of incendiary potions that killed a few of the creatures, and only one managed to escape. Healing potions were chugged, enemy cloaks were snatched up for disguise and as trophies, and the party all took a deep breath of the dank, stagnant air of the dungeon, happy to be all in one piece.

As they went on, it became clear that some trickster had rigged various rooms with whimsical illusory auras to conceal their true unpleasant nature – and perhaps also to conceal hidden dangers. For when Bernadrad cannon-balled gnomishly into what seemed to be a pool of refreshing water, the party had to pull itself together to fight a beastly hunter who had been lurking there waiting for just such prey ..

.. Except that the prey turned out to be way stronger than the hunter (a spider) and his minions (two smaller spiders). Celestine and Logahn hacked away with sword and scimitar, and Theo shot off the large spider’s head in quick order so that the foes had little time to do more than almost kill Bernadrad who had been caught by surprise.

It had been a hard but rewarding morning/afternoon. Having tested their fortunes, gathered some loot, and overall asserted tentative dominance over the beginning half of these catacombs, the party decided to return to the surface to reconnoiter. Keygen’s shop lended itself well as a base of operations for their little task force.

Celestine prepared for an uneventful watch, but perked up when an interloper began using the front door. Without hesitating, she jerked the door open away from the trembling hand of .. none other than Keygen! .. who was returning to his shop, apparently in the vain hope that the party of justice-seekers planned to leave him alone. Celestine sensed his mortal fear and dazzled the poor gnome with a one woman “good cop/bad cop” routine – to such an extent that he spilled everything and even agreed to lend them what hardened dungeoneers like to call some good ol’ fashion “lethal aid.” Keygen had spun a pathetic tale of being leveraged into assisting in the kidnap and probable enslavement of orphans all because of the threats to the well-being of his kidnapped pet rat.

During this time Benadrad went on a supply run for the party. They would mainly need additional potions if they were to advance into the depths of the gnomish enclave. Benadrad started walking down the street whistling to himself on his way to Weer’s Elixers. Suddenly a whip lashed towards Benadrad which had originated from an alleyway, without thinking he retaliated with one of his signature bombs. Out of the shadows stepped a woman wearing the same facepaint as the people who had attacked Ruphus Laro the day before. “Stay clear of the Orphanage. The children are lost”, was yelled as the woman made her escape down the alley. Continuing on his way Benadrad reached his current place of employment, walking in the back door he started to brew some new potions. Weer asked Benadrad why he was late for work and were he had been, Benadrad responded with some nonsense and convinced Weer that he was working for a new client. The two hated each other and a conflict has been slowly brewing for years. After the potions were completed Benadrad snuck out the backdoor and rejoined his fellow party members.

Tomorrow, it will be back down into the earth for the party and for their suspect-turned-helper.

Day 3

Day 1
Another Rainy Night

Benadrad Glimmerid was being forced to stay late at his job at Weer’s Elixers to clean up some graffiti someone had slopped all over the front of the store. Theodocious Grubfellow, his cousin graciously volunteered to help him. Theo had noticed that the graffiti had been written in goblin and said: “As a wolf, Drakthar hunts.”

Celestine and Logahn were in a nearby pavilion discussing the tenets of Sarenrae.

They all collectively heard a cry for help.

The priest and warpriest ran for assistance and found 3 thugs with painted faces beating on man in a robe. Before they had a chance to do anything about it, a small object came flying out of an alleyway and exploded in a ball of fire at the feet of the thugs. Not wanting to contend with exploding balls of fire the thugs quickly skadoo’ed out of there, slightly crispy.

Questioning of the robed man revealed that his name was Ruphus Laro and he was a cleric of St. Cuthbert. He was on his way back from the Lantern St. Orphanage, the location of the most recent kidnappings that have been happening in the city. Ruphus invited them to escort him back the temple of St. Cuthbert and talk to his superior. At this point Theo and Benadrad had revealed themselves to the group. Celestine, slightly suspicious in the two noobs, questioned them mostly about the source of the bomb. Benadrad admitted that it was his. The group decided that investigating the orphan kidnappings was a noble cause and agreed to escort Ruphus. Theodocious decided that he would head off to the orphanage and check it out.

At the church they had a brief encounter with Alec Tercival, Paladin of Cuthbert. He seemed rather dickish.

The party met with Jenya Urikas, acting leader of the church while High Priest Sarcem Delesharn was away.Jenya_Urikas.jpg
Jenya admitted that her personnel was not cut out for the job and asked the party if they could assist in finding the culprits involved in the kidnappings and locate the missing children. After using a clue from the divining St Cuthbert relic “The Star of justice” and investigating the orphanage the party was led to believe that the kidnappings had something to do with the fact that 99.999999% of the locks in the city are crafted by one guy: Keygan Ghelve. They decided to set out the next day to talk to him at his store known simply as “Ghelve’s Locks.”

Day 2


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