The City of Cauldron

Day 22 Part 4
The Daring Escape

The Hand of Justice was at a loss for what they should do next. The city was in peril, but their resources were exhausted. They decided that they would find a place in the dungeon to rest.
Benedrad began to burn the body of the gnoll in order to remove it’s armor & weapon, which was determined to be magical. Smoke and stench filled the cavern and forced the rest of the group to go off and find a safe room to stay in. They settled for the torture chamber.

The residents of the dungeon were not comfortable with the intruders taking naps in their home so they staged an attack. I few hours into the break, hillfolk came piling into the room. The battle was quick but hard as now the heroes spells were all but nothing. No suitable rest was had.

Disenchanted, the party decided they would need to leave the dungeon for a proper nights sleep. They sent Theo to scout out another exit. The curious goblin could help but sneaking peaks into some of the rooms they had not been to yet, but his curiosity got the better of him. As he was proceeding down a long hallway, the floor opened beneath his feet and he fell into a deep pit, with no way to escape. His only option was to wait for the rest of the party to realize he was missing.

Benadrad lead the party through the empty rooms, eventually following the faintest whisper of the gnome whistle. Opening the doors to the hallway they came upon Theo at the bottom of a pit.

“Hey, guys, got a rope?”

They hauled Theo up gingerly. After a brief consultation the party decided that, despite their exteme physical wear and dwindled resources, they shouldn’t leave for fear that the wand thieves would either redouble their defensive efforts, flee with the wands, empty their lair, or some combination of the three. Theo trudged further down the hallway to ensure that it was safe for the rest of the group to continue.

As he reached the middle of the hallway a volley of arrows were loosed from arrow slits in the wall. An arrow or two struck Theo and he crumpled to the ground. Logahn and Benadrad moved forward to rescue the wounded goblin. Benadrad let a number of bombs fly, while Gavriel, using Bear for sight, helped cover the advancing party members. While Celestine left to find a way out.

“Hey, everyone! This door leads to the beach!” Celestine alerted the party as she threw open a door that gave them an exit. She ran out to make ready the little room that housed the cage controls.

Logahn scooped Theo up, loaded him onto Bear, and the party began to retreat after Celestine, through the dining Hall they had gone through to get to the hallway. Benadrad and Logahn started to throw the chairs from the dining hall into the hallway door. “We’re gonna burn ‘em out, and come back, and then they’ll all be dead!” Ben exclaimed. As the chairs began to pile up and the rest of the party approached the exit a number of thugs, who had presumably been hiding behind arrow slits only moments ago, burst into the dining hall and began to engage the party again.

Ben pulled out a literal handful of Tinder Twigs, struck them, and hurled them onto the mound of furniture while Logahn bull rushed the combatants. He hurled himself full speed, but managed to miss his targets. He went with plan B and began smashing the shit of the assailants with his sword, dealing massive damage in the name of his God. Meanwhile Gavriel, Bear and a still unconscious Theo loaded up into the cage, and Celestine began cranking them up to the far cliffside.

Realizing that they’re outnumbered Benadrad shouted to Logahn, “Let’s get the fuck out of here!” Ben threw what few bombs he had left in a mad frenzy. The enemy combatants went flying before the force of his explosions, as they continued to bring the fight out onto the beach. Celestine urged Logahn to aid her in cranking the cage, “Logahn, hep me!!” He rushed to her side and began pulling the lever with her.

As the cage reached its zenith some leather-clad men came out onto the beach to help the hillfolk. Bear dumped Theo to the ground and Gavriel stumbled out of the cage as Celestine and Logahn began cranking the cage back down…harder and faster than if Celestine were cranking it alone. As the leather men and remaining hillfolk began to close in on them Logahn chanted and his sword burst into flame. Gavriel, with the aid of Rufus began to help Celestine by cranking the cage down from the other side while Logahn and Ben fended off the crank room. Benadrad hurled a bomb at the guy leading a group of assailants. It hit him in forehead, turning him to pudding and spraying gore and shrapnel over his buddies. They stood still for a moment, mouths agape. Logahn charged in to take advantage of the situation. He sliced two of the enemies up crispy style. As their bodies dropped the cage touched down. Benadrad let another bomb fly at the remaining enemies to cover their retreat. Logahn viciously assaulted another of the remaining enemies.

Gavriel force fed Theo a potion from his pack while the rest of the party dashed to load into the cage. Ben tossed back a potion of invisibility while Theo rose from his unconscious state. Gavriel filled him in on their dire situation and he threw his shoulder to the crank to help pull the rest of the party out of the proverbial frying pan. Ben sneakily darted into the cage, unseen by his assailants, as Logahn and Celestine retreated and loaded into the cage.

As the cage jerked into motion, moving toward the high cliff the waters beneath it stirred uneasily. Realizing that the retreat was shaping up to be a success, one particularly smart guard decided to cut the rope connecting the cage to opposing side. He looked at the cage-bound captives, looked to the water, looked to his buddies, shrugged and lifted his sword. Ben climbed to the top of the cage, pulled out a scroll of Hold Person and had him forget how to move. He froze, sword in hand, eyes wide with surprise. Celestine launched a crossbow bolt at the now frozen human, and the rest of the guys rushed up and pushed him out of the way. The rest of the party rained projectiles down upon the remaining enemies. The enemies returned fire, driving an arrow deep into Logahn’s shoulder. The back and forth fire continued as the cage reached the top and everyone unloaded. Just as Benadrad was about to get out the rope was cut on the other end. He leaped out of the cage and rolled onto solid ground as the cage made a gigantic sploosh into the dark water below.

The Party beat a quick retreat back to Cauldron from there. Arguing about money, business, the Stormbladess, and just what to do from there the whole way there.

Day 23

View
Day 22 Part 3
Ben says "NOPE."

After a short intermission, the group decided to trail the hillfolk who escaped. Gavriel used his keen elven senses to lead them to the room where they had regrouped. The enemy was ready for them, however, and bottlenecked them in a doorway. Charge after charge came and they brought down Logahn with both shield and sword. Celestine was forced to drag him out of the doorway and heal, while the rest of The Hand fell back. The hillfolk brought the fight into the hallway, but were eventually defeated by a hail of swords, arrows, whips and bombs.

Pressing forward The Hand found that the dungeon spilled into some older unfinished caverns. They sent Theo out to scout ahead. After a moment Theo came back, stammering something about a GIANT REPTILIAN SKELETON stomping around mindlessly in the room ahead. Benedrad was quick to pack it in.

NOPE. Nope. I didn’t sign up for this.” trailed off as he began to walk out back where they had come from.

Ignoring Ben’s desertion, the rest of the party decided to go down another cave, but Logahn openly expressed his lust to rid the world of such an evil monstrosity. He vowed to return to destroy the skeleton.

They came upon another room that was filled with rubble. There were arms and legs sticking out of the rubble. It was apparent some kind of accident happened here that caused a cave in. They quickly searched for clues and loot, but finding none they continued down the cave.

The next cave they found swarming with zombies. Celestine rushed into the fray and the glory of Sarenrae blasted forth from her, tearing the zombies to shreads. The others had yelled out for Benedrad’s help who reluctantly started to return to the group. Swords and arrows made short work of the zombies who were not destroyed by the Dawnflower’s grace, and Benedrad disappointedly walked into a cavern full of vanquished foes.

The caves continued and once again they had Theo scout ahead. Soon Theo was running tarkilar.jpgback into the room yelling. He had been spotted. Trailing him was a horror that made the whole party take pause: An undead gnoll with a suit of chainmail and a spiked chain wired directly into it’s rotting flesh. It was nearly skeletal with it’s dry skin stretched tight over it’s bones. Clumps of fur were torn free, leaving bald patches in his pelt and it’s eyes and saliva glowed with a nasty yellow light.

The wretched thing went straight for Logahn, who as usual put himself in the front of the group. It was as though an invisible blanket of evil had dropped down upon Lohgan and Celestine as they sensed this creature was of a wickedly divine nature. They noted a symbol of Erythnul, as well as the amulet of the Ebion Triad around his neck. Blasts of unholy energy shot from the Undead priest pealing the flesh of those in it’s wake. Celestine answered in kind with the divine might of her goddess and the gnoll hissed in agony as waves of positive energy enveloped him. Logahn clashed with the creature sword vs. chain, throwing himself against it and in front of his friends. Blow after blow was exchanged, but the strength of the beast was too much for a single orc and he was felled. Celestine tended to her holy brother while the rest of the party fought valiantly. Theo whipped at the thing’s legs and brought him down only to be countered by more blasts of evil force that rattled the souls of The Unseen Hand. Incanting a spell, the evil priest waved his hand towards Gavriel whose world suddenly had faded to black. Blinded but undeterred, the elf continued to shoot his bow with only his gut feelings to guide him. Soon the gnoll took his anger out on the second of The Hands holy warriors and Celestine felt the brunt of the creature’s chain. Whipping against her face and body, it brought her to her knees, and she too slumped to the ground. The only healer left was Benedrad with a notoriously stubborn Wand of Cure Serious Wounds. Ben just couldn’t seem to activate the device to help his companions, as the foul creature beat them down with the power of his evil god behind him. Soon the creature wearied, and Gavriel blindness did not seem to hinder him in the least. The arrow loosed and he struck down the gnoll with a satisfying “thunk” in it’s neck. The Unseen Hand of Justice had prevailed but their victory was a difficult one. Their spells were exhausted and their health was tenuous.

Day 22 Part 4

View
Day 22 Part 2
Down the tubes

The day had begun in good bloody fashion. There were now a half-dozen or so Alley Bashers that would be troubling the world no longer. But the slain thugs were just strands in the musculature of true evil, not its mind and not its heart. There was only one thing that kept goons like the Alley Bashers loyal to fiends such as Triel, Tongueeater and Artus: cold hard cash. And not a small amount of fear as well …

Times were good for the Hand of Justice and so they knew no fear. They walked out of Minuta’s splattered with gore. The crowd of wretched drunks looked on in dread, for they knew that Justice with a capital-J had just swept out another corner of the Cauldron underworld.

Or were things more complex than that? One of the people had sent a “knowing” look Theo’s way as the group walked by: did they share some shadowy connection? And for the others “fingers of the hand,” who can really say why they fought evil together? For their gods? For money, or fame, or the simple ecstasy of combat? Both the pure and the impure may choose to fight evil: what matters in the end is whether one’s courage and resourcefulness are enough to neutralize the threat of those who prey on the innocent.

As the Hand returned to the mid-day deluge outside the tavern, they knew their destination had to be the domain of Artus, who had masterminded the theft of the wands of water control. (Some men just want to see the world flood.) The Alley Basher lackeys went on to explain the extent of Artus’ prowess. He was quick, and delighted in the slicing of bungs, they said. His keep was below the city: a fortress carved out of the wondrous lava tubes that latticed the ground upon which Cauldron was built, signs of an old danger.

The path led a ways outside the city walls. The faces of the Hand were known now, but just to be sure, Benadrad produced the Head of Tongue-eater once more so that the sentinals along the wall would know their prowess. The sentinals seemed fine with letting the adventurers pass, and were grossed out by the head.

They arrived at their destination quickly and without any “random encounters.” That’s always good, they thought. Now it was time to decide what to do with their reluctant guides. It didn’t seem practical to try to detain them. Celestine looked into their souls and confidently sensed no attempt at deception, so it was decided to let them go as they had led them to what looked like a very secret place. Also they were snitches, so they probably would be marked for death once people found they had ratted on Artus.

They pushed aside the giant stone door, and into the mountain they went. It was warm, dank and kind of dark.

The party slowed its pace as it approached a point in the passageway that appeared to open up into a larger chamber. Theo went ahead to get the lay of the land, leaving the rest of the party wondering if he would show up when the fighting started – for Theo enjoyed a good romp behind enemy lines. But in this case it was just a quick reconnoiter. The area ahead was safe, and so everyone proceeded forward.

The first thing everyone noticed was that the space terminated at a ledge that overlooked quite a spectacular vista. Ruins of ancient tenements could be seen below, and the waters of a subterranean lake lapped at the shore, a few hundred feet in the distance. Where there might normally be sky, there was only rock.

To the left of where the Hand stood there was a small building, and to the right of that, a cage attached to a zipline that seemed to lead down to the ruins. Without hesitation, Benedrad Macguyvered a pair of harnesses for himself and Theo. They slid down the line like a couple of camp counselors at a team building ropes course. Logahn, Celestine and Gavriel watched as the two little dudes slid off into the murky distance of the cavern, and their cries of “Weeee” faded accordingly, followed by a dull sound of impact. Theo took a little bit of fall damage.

The three remaining at the top decided to find a different way down. They surmised that the building to their left might house the controls for the lift. They were right, but the wheel was locked. Before they had time to search around, a man’s voice addressed them from an opening in the door, saying “Who’s out there?” Celestine tried to befuddle them with a fake explanation but they weren’t sure what she was talking about so they just burst into the room.

They weren’t too happy to see a bunch of strangers walking around in their guardpost, so they unwisely tried to settle things with violence. Gavriel and Celestine harried them long enough for Logahn to line up a nasty strike that cleaved right through the pair, but not before one of the goons got his grimy hands on a magical alarm switch. The adventurers braced for an onslaught of reinforcements, but none came.

Meanwhile, Theo and Benedrad had taken up residence on top of one of the buildings below the overlook.

“Look, some bubbles,” shouted Bendrad.

Something was definitely alive in the water, and it appeared to be big. Neither Theo nor Benedrad knew what it was, so they decided to see what would happen if they shot it with arrows. Benedrad missed, but Theo lodged a crossbow bolt in its side. It hastily retreated into the depths.

The alarm triggered by the guards in the wheelhouse attracted no reinforcements towards Theo and Benedrad’s position. It subsided after a time.

Up above, the Hand members made preparations to descend. Gavriel cranked the elevator wheel to carry down Logahn and Celestine, and then proceeded to shimmy down the rope like a spider monkey. He made it down in one piece.

Reunited, the party briefly discussed the possibility that the monster that they saw was the famous and probably made up “Crater lake monster.” Most were skeptical, but Benedrad was pretty sure that that’s what it was.

They passed a room that contained a trap that probably would have dumped them right into the jaws of the beast had Theo not identified it and instructed the party to avoid the pressure plate. Something shiny was at the bottom, but no one wanted to jump in while the thing they had seen earlier was still alive. So on they walked.

They came to a door. And they looked inside. Or rather Theo did: he was trying to be sneaky, but it turns out that if you open a door into a room full of people, it is hard for them to not notice. Although the Hand blew its chance for a sneak attack, it looked like the enemies were in for a shellacking. Logahn and Rufus (Gavriel’s bear friend) made their stand just inside the room. Logahn’s swung his sword madly trying to hit as many of the bunched up thugs as possible, and Rufus bit and scratched the shit out of whatever was in front of him. The Hand’s strategy created a barrier in front of their ranged attackers and prevented Logahn from being flanked. Celestine pressed this advantage and bitchslapped a big group of soldiers with a Sound Blast that sent waves of unpleasantly aggressive dubstep noise ripping through their bodies. The fight was over pretty quickly.

Day 22 Part 3

View
Day 22
Infiltrating the Alley Bashers

The party headed towards Minuta’s Board in the early morning. This was the known location of The Alley Bashers hideout. There was about a handful of patrons there, all wallowing in early morning drunkenness. The bar room was not the lively fest it was during the Drink Down the Flood Competition. They could finally see it for what it really was: a total shithole.

Ben recognized one of the men from that competition night. No subtlety needed, They walked right up to the man and started grilling him. “Where are the wands?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, man.”

Benedrad let loose a slap to his face with his third arm, and Logahn puffed his chest and gave an orcish growl…“WHERE ARE THE WANDS?!?!”

“Holy shit!” The thug practically soiled himself “I swear…I swear… I don’t know!” He seemed convincing.

“This is where the Alley Bashers Hide-out Isn’t it?” They continued.

“Yeah…yeah…whatever…don’t hurt me.”

They were starting to make a scene, but Theo took action. He crept into the kitchen and into the pantry where he knew there was a secret door. Unhindered from a drunken stupor this time, he easily found it and crept inside. There was a dark stairway descending into a basement with a door at the bottom of the landing. He tried to get in but it was well locked. He made his way up back to the bar room.

Meanwhile, Benedrad had bluffed the bartender into thinking he was a health inspector, a feat which in retrospect seems impossible considering the commotion they had just caused. Nevertheless, the bartender reluctantly led them into the kitchen and summoned his buddy over. The bartender led them through the pantry and as soon as Benedrad crossed the threshold, the man flipped some kind of switch. A large blade swang out from the molding of the door and took a chunk out of Ben’s tender gnomish flesh. The two took off for the basement and Initiatives were rolled.

The men managed to get through the door and lock it behind them. Theo tried again to jimmy the lock but was unsuccessful. Suddenly a spear came out of a hole and grazed his neck. Brute force was the only option. Logahn pummeled the door with his warhammer while Ben hit it with bombs. Soon the door was down and Logahn stepped through only to be greeted by a barrage of fire bombs. 8 Alley-bashers were waiting for them. They raised their bows and fired. The combat was quick (in game time). As mostly ranged shots took out the Alley Bashers, save one who escaped out another door and another two who surrendered.

In traditional Theo fashion he followed the one out the door leaving the party to do whatever the fuck they do. Peeking behind a few doors he found some barracks and a sparring room. He was getting the impression that the Alley Bashers were not exactly a five-star organization. Meanwhile the rest of the party had convinced the two captured men to give up some useful information. It seemed not all of the Alley Bashers were on board with the whole “Work for Triel and steal the wands” fiasco, but these two knew who was. They explained that it was Artus’s gig. He was presumably a ranking member of the Alley-Bashers and he and Triel had a secret hideout beneath the depths of Cauldron. They would take them there in exchange for there lives.

Day 22 Part 2

View
Day 21
Back to Town

The group packed up their things and headed out, but not before burying some of their valuables there was no room to bring along. Benedrad had also returned the favor of head-removal to Tongueeater. The ride was quick as they made haste to their troubled hometown.

They immediately headed for The Church St. Cuthbert to give Jenya the bad news. They were greeted by their old friend Ruphus Who was very pleased to see that the party had returned, that is until they showed him the remains of his beloved High Priest. Ruphus could do nothing but stand and stare in shock. Eventually when he regained his composure he was off to fetch Jenya.

Jenya stormed into the lobby of the church. At the sight of Sarcem she broke down and began to weep. It wasn’t for long though, as the weight of responsibility was dropped into her lap, she stood back up solemnly. She asked if the party had recovered Sarcem’s holy mace, for it would now be passed to her as the new High Priestess of St. Cuthbert. Benedrad lied to her in hopes to sell the mace for profit, saying that the Alley Bashers had taken it. Logahn was not having it. He procured the mace and handed it over to Jenya as any good brother of the cloth would do. Jenya glared at Benedrad scornfully. His reputation was beginning to precede him, and her attitude was in no way soothed by his nonchalant reveal of Sarcem’s murderer’s head.

The party and Jenya conversed on what had gone down at the Lucky Monkey and what actions to take next. The wands of water control were still missing and the city was in danger from the horrific winter rains. The Hand of Justice knew exactly where to begin looking as the hideout of the Alley Bashers was no secret to them. Loghan was very concerned with the status of St. Cuthbert. Such a blow to their leadership could be crippling to one of the great forces of good in Cauldron. He offered he services in anyway that he could and Jenya was very receptive. Discussions would be had, however, they had been awake for over 24 hours and Jenya agreed that they were in great need of rest. Off to their respective living arrangements they went.

When Logahn and Celestine arrived at their temple, they were greeted by their leader, Shebeleth. Sarcem’s death was sad news to all apparently, and Shebeleth was no exception to that sentiment. “I knew him well, we would speak every winter when he came to Sasserine.”

Logahn discussed the church situation in Cauldron with the bishop, and how Sarenrae could and SHOULD offer their guidance and support to their fellow clergy. Shebeleth agreed, though he was not optimistic. The alliance of the four Churches was once powerful, but over the years that alliance had been weakening. He warned Logahn that the churches of Kord and Wee Jas would not likely be very receptive to such an offer. Their priorities were not inline. If evil was afoot in Cauldron it may only be up to Sarenrae and St. Cuthbert to put a stop to it.

Shebeleth had also recalled from his studies, The Ebion Triad, an old cult that worships Hextor, Vecna, & Erythnul as three aspects of one greater evil god.

Doom and gloom aside, Shebeleth was grateful that the party had served the Dawnflowers justice to Sarcem’s murderer, and perhaps this justice might be served to the other one responsible for the heinous act: Triel

He also said would very much like to meet the other members of The Unseen Hand of Justice.

Day 22

View
Day 20 Part 2

After Tongue Eater gave up the ghost, there fell a silence. The inn creaked in the wind and the rain – the violent storm now merely a calming backdrop.

Tongue Eater’s ape-form had melted away to reveal the face and body of a half orc. He was dead as a door-nail. Quickly, the adventurers stripped him of the loot which he no longer needed. Theo began to chatter excitedly about the layout of the rest of the inn, and Logahn and Celestine exchanged worried glances when he described the bloody corpse in one of the rooms. Shortly afterward, Benadrad expressed the opposite sentiment upon hearing a description of the pile of loot strewn about the same room.

As was often the case, differing motivations drove the party toward a common goal. They headed towards the bloody room.

They passed into the inner courtyard. Gavriel motioned for a full stop: something was stirring across the grass, in a clump of bushes. Puzzling a moment too long, a team of crazed orangutans burst into view, chomping their ample jaws and whipping their inhumanly strong arms around in a frenzy.

It was monkey slicin’ time. The simians bit like little devils, quickly taking huge chunks out of Logahn whom they had strategically bum-rushed. But Benedrad quickly showed them the power of artifice, and everyone else held their ground long enough for the beasts to succumb to cowardice. They fled back to their arboreal redoubts on the other side of the courtyard.

Logahn and Gavriel formed a plan.

“Speak to them as you spoke to Starbrow,” urged Logahn. The goal was to get the monkeys to either a) tell them something useful about Tongue Eater and/or the whole situation or b) fight for the Unseen Hand as thralls. Benedrad proposed that Logahn should drink a Potion of Disguise in order to take on the aspect of Tongue-Eater. Logahn turned this over in his mind, but decided it was just too crazy (he wouldn’t be able to talk to his “minions” except through Gavriel and they would probably just maul him). In the end, the Hand came to a shaky truce with the beasts, who seemed content to chill in their trees and did not care if the team conducted a search of the area.

Chafing at Logahn’s outright rejection of his plan of subterfuge, Benadrad chugged the potion of concealment and turned into a mini-me version of Logahn. (Oh – by the way, Benadrad by this time had sprouted a permanent third arm as well.) Thus the tiny half-orc simulacrum followed behind Logahn and Celestine, muttering obscenities, as they entered the room that had once held Tongue Eater and now held only his spoils.

There was blood, and there was treasure. Celestine inspected the headless corpse, looking for signs that could identify it as the hostage Sarcem. Logahn gave Benadrad the Plagueborn-stink-eye as Benedrad immediately gravitated toward the pile of treasure in the corner, which certainly was composed mainly of spoils from the inn itself.

“Don’t touch that, it belongs to the villagers!” shouted Logahn, as Benedrad rummaged through it.

“Awww come on, its LOOT!” retorted Ben. He was busy grabbing whatever he could with all three hands. (He was able to scoop it up 33% faster than he would have the day before.) Logahn and Benedrad proceeded to argue for a little while, eventually Logahn expressed that he would not stop Benedrad from taking everything, but that he disapproved heartily.

Celestine could not tell whether the body was their man. There was just one more place to go: the basement. Theo had related that it was full of guys with swords. Perfect. Benedrad volunteered to go down first and bean them with a tanglefoot back. Everyone gave their assent.

Down the cellar steps went Theo and Benedrad. They stepped on a creaky board and the enemies immediately became aware of them. As quickly as possible, everybody piled into the basement to get in on the bloodbath. Feet were tangled, and flesh was sliced and immolated. Logahn bust to the front, sliced faces for a while, and then once the crowd was thinned a bit, he boomed:

“Your allies are dead! Surrender, and we will spare you a brutal death!”

The two remaining assailants disengaged. “OK we surrender. We’ll tell you anything you want to know.” The group asked them a few questions, and didn’t learn much. Benedrad, being still put off by Logahn’s attempt to enforce righteousness, decided to cause trouble.

“Let me take all the loot, or the prisoner dies,” explained Benedrad, as he lowered his crossbow sites at one of the cowering villains.

“You slimy little imp! The life of one brigand is unimportant, but stealing from good people is wrong!” returned Logahn. So Benedrad shrugged and let loose a bolt. It missed. Game on! The fighting resumed, and Logahn hacked apart another enemy. He whirled on the remaining guy, but Celestine cooly intervened:

“There has been too much blood. There is a way you can save yourself!” Again, the fighting stopped. The outlaw agreed to become their prisoner, tipping them off that there was a townsperson in the room down the hall. Benedrad agreed not to execute the prisoner, and Logahn grudgingly allowed him to take the remainder of the loot upstairs.

They found the owner of the severed head. The body gripped at a magical mace with the symbol of St. Cuthbert carved into it. This was presumably Sarcem Delasharn.

Victorious, the Hand bound their prisoner and walked down the basement corridor. “No fire beyond this point,” read a sign, beyond which lay a door that seemed to be “buckled” shut, and sealed with a layer of what Gavriel alone knew to be a kind of kinky frost-fungus. Logahn and Benedrad had resolved to do exactly what the sign forbade, at least until some one pointed out that it might be worth trying to contact who/whatever was inside. Benedrad called out in the common-tongue. No response. He tried elvish. A woman’s voice answered. Gavriel got insta-hard. The woman explained that the door could either be opened with cold or fire. The group had nothing to produce a cold effect, so they chose fire. They backed down the corridor and lit a rudimentary fuse. BOOM! The stone corridor was rocked by a great concussion, and the door blew apart.

ShensenTesseril.jpgInside they found the female half-drow named Shensen. They talked to her for a little while. Spurred on by Benedrad, Gavriel was spitting some game and got the elf to sort of like him. She told the group that the inn had been attacked by Tongue eater (a Lycan) and the Alley-bashers. Sarcem and her were driven into the basement and she locked herself in this room.

Probably around 8:00, the adventurers made the decision to go back to Cauldron to get the wands from the dread bandits – the Alleybashers.

Day 21

View
Day 20 Part 1
Saving Sarcem Delesharn

7:00am

The next morning came early for the disciples of Sarenrae. Logahn and Celestine were to meet with Archbishop Shebeleth to continue their discussion on Sarenrae’s fall within the city of Cauldron. The two clergy entered the church’s lobby to meet the awaiting Archbishop. Shebeleth told the them there was much to do in the city and they would have to work to bring Sarenrae back to its former glory. He continued his lecture and informed our two clergy that he would remain in Cauldron as the High Priest of Sarenrae. Shebeleth hinted that he would only stay in this position until he found someone worthy of taking over. It was unsure if our heroes fully understood what Shebeleth was hinting at, only time will tell.

Before Shebeleth could continue the main door to the church flies open. Rain began rushing into the church, what had been a light to heavy rain during the week had turned into a torrential downpour. Logahn reached for his longsword and then only remembered it had been destroyed the day before. There was no enemy that entered only Ruphus of St. Cuthbert.

Jenya… Jenya you must talk with Jenya, Sarcem Delesharn is missing” said Ruphus.

Shebeleth looked at Logahn and Celestine. “Go… What are you fools waiting for, fly”.

Logahn and Celestine looked at each other and raced out the door towards Benadrad’s house.

7:30am

The two servants of Sarenrae arrived at Benadrad’s house and they noticed that it had seen better days. Most of the windows have been broken and then boarded up. Rain continued to pour down on the two as they banged on the door. There was no response at first and they began to yell through the boarded up windows. Eventually Gavriel opened the door and let the two inside. They told Benadrad and Gavriel to get up and that we needed to get Theo.

“Close the fucking door” yelled Ben as he rolled over, putting his back to the party. After a few minutes the almost assembled party made their way over the Theo’s house.

8:00am

Arriving at Theo’s house they found him nowhere to be found. Theo had been out drinking down the flood and left the bar hammered. Our group decided to get the basement of the museum which had become the guildhall. Opening the door they could hear the snoring of a passed out goblin and the rambling of their Mimic chef.

“Wake up Theo” they each said taking a turn, trying to wake the little green drunk.

A very well thought out plan to tie Theo to Gavriel’s bear Ruphus was formed. Ben started to tie Theo to the bear and everything was secure. Logahn and Celestine looked at the pint-sized heroes and thought it was best that the three of them went to see Jenya while Ben looked after Theo.

“That’s a great idea, I’ll make some potions while we wait for you” said Benadrad.

8:30am

The three taller members of our party arrived at the Church of St. Cuthbert and quickly found Jenya waiting for their arrival.

“Oh thank St. Cuthbert that you are here. Sarcem has gone missing and we just received a mental message from him. He has been captured and is hiding in the basement of the Lucky Monkey with the wands of water control. He also mentioned something about apemen, but what could that really mean?” informed Jenya.

“It is a fair journey to the Lucky Monkey, we will need horses to get there with great speed’ remarked Logahn.

“Yes, Yes, here we will cover whatever you need. Please save Sarcem.” Said Jenya.

“Right away” said Celestine.

Our adventures gathered the coins and made their way back to the museum.

9:00am

The party gathered their supplies from the guild hall and started off to get rent horses and head to the Lucky Monkey. Theo was still passed out and would have to get tied to the horse. The rain continued to come down on the party as they made their way towards the gates.

Skylar_Krewis.jpg“Hey you, you need to get off the streets. The flood fest has been canceled for now” said a member of the city guards. Celestine recognized him as Skylar Krewis, second-in-command of the town guard. He had a group of half-orc soldiers with him. This was odd because the city doesn’t have a platoon of half-orcs.

“Yes, Yes, we know we are on our way out of the city on official business” responses Celestine.

“Alright but be careful” said the man.

Mounting up the party started their eight hour journey to the Lucky Monkey. It would be a rough ride as the rain was relentless and had continued all day.

5:00pm
Arriving at the Lucky Monkey our party saw a much different scene than their previous visit only a few days ago. The tavern looked almost abandoned and in much disarray. Staying in the tree line they started to discuss their plan of action. This would be the first time they entered into combat since fighting Teriel and they all seemed a little rusty. A plan was formed; Benadrad would climb onto the roof to drop a smokebomb and thunderstone into the chimney, he would wait for a signal from Theo, Theo would sneak into the tavern and survey the area, and once he was in place the bombs would be dropped and the remaining party would come in through the front door. It was a great plan on paper.
Benadrad got into place while Theo sneaked in through the front door. The little goblin went unseen and noticed a large group of human bandits drinking in the tavern. Being a curious goblin he ignored the plan and continued to look through the tavern. He soon came to a locked door to one of the back rooms and proceeded to bang on the door.

“What do you want” responded the door.

“People are attacking us we need your help” responded Theo, tried to lower his voice.

“Arrrrwaerer” was the response.

Theo gave the signal for the attack to start. Bombs fell and the front door was opened. Gavriel started to shoot arrows while Logahn and Celestine removed debris blocking the door. Benadrad came done the chimney and readied a bomb. Instead of joining his party Theo knocked on the door again.

“People are attacking us we need your help” responded Theo, tried to lower his voice.
The door swung open and a giant ape-man came out. “Idiots” he shouted and made his way towards the front door.

tongueater.jpg

Theo decided this would be an excellent time to explore the rest of the tavern instead of regrouping with the party. Back in the entrance of the tavern the rest of the party was engaged in an intense battle. This had been the first time the Hand was in such a large battle and because of this their tactics were unsounds. Each one of them attacked a different guy and was unable to thin the enemies’ numbers for some time. In addition to the large group of enemies some dumbass agroed the boss and then left. The Boss entered the battle and our heroes continued to fight. While the rest of the group was in battle Theo continued his journey to find nothing important. After sometime Theo decided to come back to the entrance of the tavern and help his party.

The Hand took down the bandits and then focused their attacks on the ape-man. He was strong and took Benadrad to the brink of death. Thankfully the apeman decided to draw a card instead of doing x3 damage. Ben was healed and joined his partying in taking down their enemy. The Hand had finished off this group of bad guys but there were still more in the basement.

Day 20 Part 2

View
Day 19
The Swaggin' Dragon, or How Logahn Broke his Sword

The party had mounted the bucking bronco that was the Flood Festival and managed to stay on, with only a few near disasters caused by drunken complete lapses of reason along the way.

The day started early. For the first time in a while, Celestine was seeming a bit more “there.” It was as if her will had returned to her! In good spirits, she and Logahn met Gavriel down near the festivities on the waterfront. Celestine led a troop of downtrodden yet bright-eyed orphans to have a crack at the morning’s challenge: the Crater Lake Monster Hunt, which had just the other day overwhelmed the booze-weakened Gavriel, who was presently marching ahead of the group. Gavriel tried to encourage one of the orphans by giving them an arrow as a token of courage. He gave the arrow to Terrem, who asked him if the arrow came from a “demon from hell.” Unfamiliar with Terrem’s, slight instability, Gavriel replied “YES!” and scared the living shit out of poor little Terrem who ran off in fear.. The kids all took a crack at the swimming challenge. One of them almost succeeded. Then Gavriel tried. Though able to swim a bit better than on his last attempt, he failed to pick the right floaty thing.

Logahn wasn’t much of a swimmer, so he wandered off to pursue his pet craving, which was to find the lost rat StarBrow (“Wise one”) and reunite him with master, the redemptive inmate Keygen. Logan enlisted the naturalist Gavriel to assist him in this endeavor. He had a feeling Gavriel would be “down-for-whatever” and sure enough, the tracker was hungry for adventure to begin the day. (That was his original feeling on the topic, but by the end it was only the promise of “drinks” that would serve to keep him grinding on.)

Logahn’s plan was simple: have Gavriel talk to rats, with the assumption that Starbrow would not have blended in very well due to his being a dire rat and wise beyond his years/evolutionary potential, and thus most rats would probably know something regarding his whereabouts. The plan basically worked. The pair of adventurers followed the trail, liberally sprinkling “rations” to any rat that claimed to have something to offer, until they were pretty sure that they had found the rathole that Starbrow had made his home. Gavriel fired an arrow at the opening through a sewer grate so that they could mark where they needed to go, and then he and Logahn made their way to the nearest porthole down into the sewer. Soon, they stood on the threshold where the fetid gloom of that subterranean stone-work met with the happy festival sun. The air smelled of both cinnamon buns and poopy stench.

This might have been the moment when Gavriel started talking about “drinks.” Logahn assured him that looking for Starbrow was in fact a good use of his time, and that there would be drinks, and that in fact, it was a better use of time than attending the flood festival. Satisfied with this airtight logic, Gavriel motioned for Logahn to lead the way and in they went.

They hadn’t walked long before Gavriel paused to note a disturbance in the water ahead … something was alive down here. Logahn scratched his head for a moment, but eventually shrugged and resumed his hulking march onward toward their destination.

SNAP! Jaws surged out of nowhere and nearly took a chunk out of Gavriel. It was a good ol’ fight in the dark: poorly directed swords, arrows, tails and claws whipped up the fecal slurry. By the end, the beast (they surmised it was a Sewer Lizard), had fled, leaving Logahn with some wounds and worse, a broken longsword. Ogreballs! But they had come so far, and the rathole beckoned with its promise of Starbrow’s beautiful face.

The mini-adventured ended happily as Gavriel’s message reached Starbrow, and Logahn managed to coax him into a bag. From there, Logahn went back to the Church of Sarenrae, did some cursory rat-proofing of his room, and left Starbrow there while he joined the others back at the festival.

Logahn returned just in time for the main event of the day: Hookface’s Hoard, which was a real life dragon simulation put on by the townspeople manipulating a giant twenty-person dragon costume. And thus the Unseen Hand stepped out of of the shadows and into the public spotlight! But there was a twist! As it turned out, a not-quite-accidental doublebooking had taken place for their time slot with Hookface. It quickly became apparent that the Hand would be joined by The Stormblades and they would both have to fight for the rewards that Hookface might divulge.

The Stormblades tried to unnerve up their opponents with nasty comments about the Hand’s ancestry and general appearance. For the most part, this was all stuff they had heard before so they kept their cool, firing back with some incisive mockery of the Stormblades’ general affectation. But before things could get too heated, it was time for the challenge.

The teams jostled about for the best positions near the juiciest loot locations in the middle, while trying to avoid being the one that the dragon noticed. The mechanical beast whipped around the arena. It snapped at the contestants from points along its flanks, claiming a few victims which allowed the others to scrounge about unmolested for a time. But Hookface policed his domain well, and circled again and again to eliminate the scroungers if they had not already ran off, satisfied with their rewards.

In the end, it was a good haul for the team. Among their prizes were a good amount of money, a masterwork rapier and an invitation to the Flood Festival Ball. It was nice to see a city going out of its way to subsidize its adventurers!

In the evening, Logahn and Celestine remembered that they needed to go meet Shebeleth Regidin, Archbishop of their order. Logahn knew this guy well, for he had been Logahn’s guardian and mentor.

The Archbishop hopped out of a sweet chariot with “tons of gold” all over it. He was pleased to meet Celestine, and Logahn explained how they had been doing good works for the city, but thought they had only just scratched the surface of what was possibly a much larger network of evil. The Archbishop was interested in this – and was taken aback to learn that they had encountered a Beholder beneath the city – but he had really come to press the matter of investigating the murdered priest of Sarenrae. He felt that the Jurgenson didn’t have the “right stuff” to handle this, as evidenced by the fact that he had made no headway on the matter. He was also quite concerned as to why Jurgenson had not shown to Sasserine for the annual crafting of the wands of water control. It was tradition of the four major churches of Cauldron to travel to Sasserine in order to obtain these wands to protect the city from the winter floods. He noted that the Churches of We Jas and Kord had not participated in the program for many years, as they no longer felt it was a matter of import. Sarenrae and St. Cuthbert had always remained diligent in this task. This year however, Sarenrae failed to show as well. This served to the Bishop as another testament of the weakening influence of The Dawnflower in Cauldron as well as the ineptitude of it’s current leadership.

They ended their conversation, and headed back into the city for whatever the night might bring.

View
Day 18
Flood Festival Day 2

The next day the party woke up with wicked hangovers. Gavriel headed over to the Crator Lake Monster Hunt, which was like a giant “duckie hunt” that takes place in the lake. The eccentric gnome known as Harper was there. She was yelling like a raving lunatic about the mythical Crater Lake monster. That if the contest continued surely someone would get eaten. The crowd just rolled their eyes at the obvious nutjob. Meanwhile Gavriel couldn’t even manage to swim. His night out was too much.

Benadrad headed off to The Bluecrater Academy to research a potion that would increase his fortitude for the drinking contest. Theo participated in some other festival games, and walked away with a nice little trophy. Logahn decided preparations should be made for potential winter floods, and spent the day bagging sand.

Another popular Flood Festival event is the “Drain the Clouds” archery game. Participants shoot at burlap bags that are painted white, stuffed with prizes, and hung from a tall scaffolding. All the party members participated, even Logahn, despite the fact that he had not wielded a bow since his Ranged Weapons 101 class back at Adventurers University. They all came out with a little extra jingle in the pockets, but it was only Benadrad who was able to shoot down the highest target winning himself a set of magical crossbow bolts.

After a nice meal of “chicken” prepared by Box. The group once again head out to Minuta’s Boardhouse for the second night of “Drinking down the Flood.” Gavriel, who had already been eliminated, spent The night drinking with the half-orc. He learned his name was Horag and that he was working with a group in the area known as “The Striders of Fharlanghn.”

The two thugs from the night before were there. But this time they had a posse with them. Benadrad drink his potion and called one of them out. The thug laughed. “Challenge someone your own size.” But Benadrad refused, “I’m challenging YOU and give me HUMAN sized drinks.” Drink for drink they went, but of course the gnome with his potion beat the man handily. As Soon as it was done, Ben high-tail it out of there because he knew as soon as the potion wore off he would be sloshed. The rest of the night continued with the usual merriment.

Day 19

View
Day 17
Flood Festival - Day 1

The Flood Festival had officially begun. But of course, everyone knows the Flood Festival hadn’t officially begun. The Flood Festival doesn’t “officially begin” until the first night of the “Drink Down the Flood” competition, and that was tonight.
A night out on the town was much needed after the beatdowns that were exchanged the night before. Of course the party chose the shittiest bar in town to participate, Minuta’s Boardhouse, also the suspected location of The Alley Bashers thieves guild.

The inn had a seedy, dank atmosphere but people were cheerful and excited for the night and the week to come. Drinks were flowing and soon competitors were calling each other out. Logahn challenged a fumanchu’d human. Theo & Ben were assigned against a pair of Halflings, and Gavriel looked around for the biggest, meanest looking fellow he could find. The Boardhouse, of course, was not to disappoint as Gav walked up to a Hulking Half-orc and issued his challenge. The orc slammed his fists on the table and gave him a toothy growl accepting the bold move by the elf.

The contest functioned as followed: One on one competitors would take a shot of cheap but strong wine (Symbolizing the citizen’s task of consuming as much of the liquids in the city as they can in order to reduce the winter waters) and then stack their glass on the table in a pyramid shape. (Symbolizing the sandbag walls citizens sometimes build to hold back the floods.) The first person to knock over their stack was the loser.

Logahn bout was competitive but HE came out victories in the end, As did Benadrads. Theo’s match was a total blowout as his competition knock down his pyramid. Before he was even drunk. But the biggest upset of the night was Gavriel vs the Half-orc. Shot for shot they went at it, until they were both three sheets to the wind, on the seventh shot Gav AND the orc fumbled with their glasses knocking over their pyramids and they were BOTH eliminated on the first night.

The night continued with more drinking and Benadrad made some not so subtle attempts to start trouble with the Alley Bashers. Two thugs approached him from behind. Harsh words were exchanged and one of the thugs took a swing at Ben. Theo rounded them to flank and unsheathed his rapier and Logahn started. Gavriel pulled out his bow but he was just too drunk to get his shit together, falling on the ground. Out of nowhere, Benadrad threw down a smoke bomb choking the area in the heavy cloud. Theo whispered and warning to one of the thugs as poked the tip of his sword into his back. The thugs knew they were outmatched and weaseled their way out of there. One went through the front door, and one out a back door that led into a kitchen. Theo tailed the one into the kitchen stealthly and watched him disappear into a pantry. He followed him in but he was gone. There must be a secret door, but Theo was too drunk to locate it. Back in the bar room tables were be flipped and havoc was being wrought, but eventually in died down and everyone was in for the night.

DAY 18

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.