Session 12: What Lurks Beneath the Golden Tankard

The Golden Tankard Cellar2

(Note: This adventure was run in April 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place contemporaneously with Session 11: The Jackdaws, the Raven, and the Rat).

While Tanin and Bao took on the mission of the Jackdaws in discovering the identity of the Raven, Kulo and Velnius were seeking to make new purchases to aid their adventuring life.  Velnius left Xerbo in the care of the potboy at the Weary Traveler.  As they walked past a rather derelict tavern near the edge of the wall that separated this poorer quarter from a merchant-lord quarter, the sign dangling outside by one remaining chain identified it as the Golden Tankard, they heard a woman crying for help.  She was sitting in the doorway of the tavern, cradling a small boy.  Kulo and Velnius moved over to the woman to investigate the commotion.  Three others–a female hill dwarf, a human woman, and a female half-orc trying to keep her identity shrouded by the hood of her cloak–also came closer from the busy street to offer assistance.  The boy appeared ashen and was delirious.  Kulo and Velnius could tell that the boy had a number of scrapes and bruises but were at a loss for what pained him so much.  A female hill dwarf who also answered the pleas for help, inspected the boy closer, noticing a puncture wound in his neck.  She believed he was poisoned from some bite.

As this was going on, a surly mountain dwarf emerged in the doorway, muttering “If I told them once, I told them a thousand times.  Stay out of the cellar!”  On seeing the state of the boy, his demeanor quickly changed and he looked about sheepishly.  The human woman from the street asked the mountain dwarf what was in the cellar.  He equivocated in his answer muttering something about a rat infestation.  The woman could tell he was hiding something.  A growing crowd was gathering at the doorway, which seemed to agitate the mountain dwarf.  The woman pressed him further about the cellar.

The dwarf grew angry, but quickly stifled his temper, and proclaimed to the gathering, “I, Martyn Fenns, proprietor of the Golden Tankard will pay . . .” he paused momentarily grimacing at the thought of having to spend money, “20 gold pieces to the stalwart ban of brave souls willing to kill the rats in my cellar that must have bitten this boy.  If any of you be brave enough!”  At this last statement, he directed his gaze on the original group that had come to assist.

Kulo and Velnius bristled at the insinuation that they lacked courage.  The original group exchanged looks of agreement and introduced themselves to each other.  Pabelle, the female hill dwarf, Mara, the human woman, and Lykopsis, the female half-orc, joined Kulo and Velnius in reassuring the woman cradling the boy in the doorway that they would find out what happened to him in the cellar.  The woman, a barmaid named Danyella, thanked the intrepid adventurers for helping her son, Theo.  In that instant, Theo came-to from his delirium and said, “They took Mallic!  They have Mallic!” before collapsing in Danyella’s arms.  A look of dismay spread over Danyella’s face and she said, her lips quivering, “Mallic!”

Pabelle gave Danyella a look filled with sympathy and said, “We’ll find Mallic too.”  So, the adventurers helped Danyella carry Theo to one of the Inn’s rooms so he could rest.  Afterwards, they were led to the cellar to take on Martyn’s claimed rats.  Martyn gave the party a lantern to light their way.  The cellar was dark, dank, and a foul odor permeated the room, a mixture of rotten foodstuffs, spilled wine, mildew, and the unmistakable smell of vermin dander and droppings.  Three barrels sat in the southwest corner and in the middle of the wall sat a large stack of crates and barrels.

The sound of scratching could be heard emanating from the large stack of crates and barrels.  The party prepared themselves for some vermin control and approached the crates.  Two giant rats emerged from behind the crates and began attacking the party.  A third giant rat emerged quietly from behind the barrels in the corner and attacked Kulo.

Golden Tankard Cellar Rat2fin

After some minor injuries, the party put the giant rats to the sword.  Not convinced their job was done, the party began searching the room.  They examined the two doors in the cellar.  One led to the street–the delivery entrance for the inn.  The other was an inner door, of substantial iron construction and seemingly out-of-place in the cellar.  Pabelle immediately thought out loud, “What is Martyn hiding in there?”  Kulo tried picking the lock, but failed.

Bothered by the stacking of the crates and barrels in mostly one location of the cellar, Velnius noticed that there were many scuff marks on the stone floor near the crates, as if they had been moved back and forth over the area many times.  Moving some of the crates aside, Velnius shouted to his companions that he’d discovered a tunnel.

Moving more of the crates and barrels to the side, the party inspected what appeared to be a very rough hewn tunnel in the wall.  The air felt cool and moist, but also carried the smell of more vermin.  Velnius, with his dark vision, could tell the corridor turned to the left, but could see no more.  Mara looked into the darkness and asked the group, “Well, shall we see what Martyn’s been up to down here?”

The party edged forward in rank, cautiously eyeballing the recesses for the beady eyes of giant rats, the beams of light from Kulo’s lantern illuminating the sides of the tunnel.  Near an opening and depression of the tunnel, their expectations were met with the yellowed fangs of five giant rats that launched forward for the attack.  Kulo’s lantern highlighted the melee, but more telling were the sounds: blades slicing the air and meeting mangy hides, the thwump of quarterstaff against skull, and the cries of pain as one of the rodent’s teeth sank into flesh.  In a moment of that flickering light, the aftermath was telling–five dead giant rats littered the corridor.

The adventurers continued down the corridor as it snaked to the right.  Pabelle suddenly realized Martyn’s intent with the tunnels.  She announced to the group, “Martyn was trying to tunnel underneath the wall into the richer quarter!”  They continued cautiously forward coming to an opening that branched in three directions, one heading back towards the cellar.  Kulo taking notice of this said, “His stonecunning has much to be desired.”  The group decided to take the branch that led away from the cellar.  It curved to a dead-end, but before the group could backtrack, beady eyes emerged from the darkness as four giant rats attacked!

Tunnels Tankard

As the sounds of struggle diminished, the giant rats lay skewered upon the stone floor.  At a dead end, the party doubled-back to the branching corridor turning to the unexplored area of the tunnels.  This corridor also led to a larger opening that branched in either direction but before the adventurers could gather their bearings, four giant spiders descended on them from the recesses of the ceiling, their fangs dripping poison.

The fight this time was more dire.  More than once poison added to the pain of wounds inflicted by the arachnids, but in mere moments the fighting ceased.  All of the spiders were dead and the doughty adventurers were tending to wounds.  Kulo needed to light a torch.  In the midst of battle he dropped the lantern provided by Martyn in order to unsheathe his rapier and the lantern shattered.

Peering down the corridor leading away from the direction of the cellar, Velnius could see a chamber covered in spiderwebs.  The party approached cautiously, cutting through the webs in order to reach the main body of the chamber.  No spiders emerged to attack , but the group noticed three forms hanging in the webs.  Cutting the first down revealed the remains of a shabbily-dressed man, clearly one of Cyr’s destitute denizens.  On the ground near his body was a crudely constructed club, seemingly made from a table leg.  Searching his body, the party found a potion of healing, a vial of what appeared to be antivenom, and a glass bottle of oil for a lantern.  A further search of the room turned up a lantern, still in good working order.  The second cocoon contained a desiccated giant rat.  The third cocoon held a boy, still alive, who came-to momentarily as they were cutting him from the webs.

Tunnels Tankard2fin

“Theo?  Where’s Theo,” he asked nervously.

Pabelle responded, “Theo is upstairs being looked after.  Do you know how many spiders there are down here?”

Mallic shook his head, but said with a shudder, “No, I don’t know how many, but there is a really big one, bigger than all the rest.  It inspected me before feeding on the giant rat.”

Looking him over, it appeared that while bruised, Mallic was not poisoned.

The adventuring party moved down the corridor from whence they came in the direction back towards the cellar.  They noticed one last branching corridor they had yet to explore.  Velnius and Kulo moved up to explore this corridor, while Mara, Lykopsis, Pabelle, and Mallic waited within earshot.

As they rounded a bend, Kulo noticed a cave-in that led to a finished room.  “The room with the iron door,” Kulo thought.  Meanwhile, Velnius peered down the final tunnel and noticed spiderwebs covering the walls, floor, and ceiling.  Velnius joined Kulo in the room, accessible through the cave-in.  Shelves lined the walls holding glass bottles.  Kulo held one of the bottles up to the light of his torch.  Inside he could see an amber liquid and at the bottom of the bottle, a dead spider.  He stashed the bottle in his pack and the two of them returned to the group and told them of their find.  Mara recognized the contents of the bottle as spider-wine, a particularly potent alcohol considered illegal in most civilized lands including Cyr.  They returned to the room via the cave-in and opened the iron door from the inside ready to reunite Mallic with his mom and brother, heal Theo from the poison coursing through his veins with the antivenom, and to confront Martyn about his contraband.

The party first found Danyella and Theo in an upstairs room.  Danyella was overcome with joy at seeing Mallic alive and well.  Pabelle cradled Theo in her arms, rousing him from his stupor, and then giving him the antivenom to drink.  She looked at Danyella and said, “This should heal him.”  Danyella smiled with tears falling from her eyes.  They left the family alone, suggesting to Danyella and Mallic to let Theo rest to give the antivenom some time to work.

Finding Martyn behind the bar counter rubbing a dirty mug with a greasy rag in some half-hearted attempt at cleaning, the party confronted him about his exploits below the Golden Tankard.  He appeared surly and defiant at the claims the group was leveling at him, bristling at the accusation that he would try to tunnel into the nearby merchant-lord district.  Instead he suggested he had widened a rat tunnel that led to his cellar in order to put a stop to his rat infestation and then questioned whether the party had even done anything about the giant rats.  He asked aloud whether they even deserved the 20 gold pieces he had promised them.

Kulo became incensed, pulled out the bottle of spider-wine, and waved it in front of Martyn’s face.  “We know about this!” he said.  Martyn’s eyes grew wide and he stammered, finally regaining his composure and asking Kulo to keep his voice down as he surveyed the two drunks staring into their mugs in the common room of the Golden Tankard.  Martyn then became compliant, dropping his sullen demeanor.  He admitted to trying to tunnel to into the wealthier quarter, but was cursed by his stone-ignorance, part of what led him to leave his dwarven clan years ago to settle among the humans of Cyr.  When that failed he concocted a plan to sell the illicit spider-wine, receiving a shipment of spiders from smugglers who claimed they had been stolen from a drow lair.  But his poor tunneling collapsed the back wall of his room where he stored the spiders and the wine.  The spiders that were still alive, escaped their cage into his tunnels.  He figured the spiders could help end his rat infestation.  After a few months, he hired a local drunk who owed him an outstanding debt to go into the tunnels and kill the spiders.

Pabelle was incredulous, “And you didn’t care whether Danyella’s boys would be harmed by these spiders?”

Martyn shrugged, “I figured as long as I was stern with them about staying out of the cellar, keeping the iron door closed and locked, and blocking the main tunnel entrance everything would be fine.”

Kulo grew irritated again.  He told Martyn that besides the 20 gold pieces he offered them, he was now going to pay them an additional 2 gold pieces for every rat and every spider carcass they brought him.  Martyn frowned and said he didn’t have it even if he was willing to pay the extortion fee.

Kulo slammed his fist on the bar counter and said, “Fine, we’ll end your spider and rat problem–there is one big spider left.  But we want 50% stake in the Golden Tankard.”

Martyn grumbled and clenched his fists.  Kulo continued, “And you’re going to pay Danyella double what you’re paying her now.”

Martyn tried to dissuade them from this venture, pointing out that the Golden Tankard hadn’t operated as an inn for some time because it had a leaky roof.  Only two of the upstairs rooms were habitable and they were for him and Danyella and her boys.  Kulo said the party would get the roof repaired.  Martyn, realizing he had no way out, reluctantly agreed.

Kulo vaulted the bar counter, pulled a dagger from his belt and poked it into Martyn’s belly.  “And your days of wild schemes like the tunnels and spider-wine are over, you understand!”

Martyn gulped and nodded deferentially, a dagger in the gut a clear attitude adjustment.

The party prepared themselves for their final fight, healing themselves with goodberries and bolstering each other’s courage.  They returned to the tunnels and the final corridor,  Kulo’s lantern lighting the way.  As they approached the final chamber, they cautiously made their way through the webs to avoid being entrapped.  But their movements gave away their approach and a giant spider emerged along the ceiling of the chamber.

Spider Queen3

As the party hacked and fought the foul beast, a swarm of newly hatched spiders crawled along the floor before enveloping Lykopsis.  Lykopsis managed to crush the last of the spider swarm just as the rest of the party slayed the giant spider.  The party searched the lair in case anything of value had been hoarded, but all they found were the bones of  giant rats.  Lykopsis noticed something glinting from the giant spider’s abdomen.  Looking more closely, the giant spider queen had what appeared to be a gem growing in her abdomen.  Lykopsis pried it out and placed it in her backpack.

Returning to the Golden Tankard, the party relaxed and had a mug of poor-quality ale or some cheap wine.  Although it wasn’t much, the adventurers felt good about this being their place.  The Weary Traveler had been good to them, but they clearly had enemies in the city and a less conspicuous home base would be good.

Kulo spoke with Danyella about getting an estimate on the roof repairs, giving her 30 gold pieces for the undertaking and a down-payment.  He also suggested she see if she could get Mallic an apprenticeship with a local roofer.  Martyn overheard this and told Kulo that Mallic is needed for odd jobs around the Golden Tankard, like bringing in fire wood or washing dishes.  Kulo responded that it would be better for Mallic to have his own income so that he could help Danyella pay the rent on the room they occupy upstairs.  Besides, Theo was now old enough to take over many of these tasks.  Martyn, still not used to his co-ownership in the Golden Tankard, reluctantly deferred.

Pabelle, Lykopsis, and Mara advanced to 2nd level.


(Full Disclosure: Some of the following links will take you to DriveThruRPG.com where I participate in the affiliate program. Any purchases through these links provides me with a credit at One Book Shelf sites (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DMsGuild, etc.). Your support is appreciated.)

Adventure based on a module from Nord Games: Creaking in the Dark

Cavern and Cellar Tiles: Fat Dragon Copper Dragon Caverns 1 and Fat Dragon Copper Dragon Basic Dungeons 1

Barrels and Crates: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeon Deluxe Edition

Spider Webs: Fat Dragon Depths of the Drow

Giant Rat Metal Minis: Ral Partha/Iron Wind Metals Giant Rat

Original Art of the Spider Queen: Jody Monochrome

 

Advertisements

Session 11: The Jackdaws, the Raven, and the Rat

The Raven Warehouse2

(Note: This adventure was run in March 2017.  In campaign time, this adventure took place two days after Session 10: Caverns of Calamity Part III–the time it took to travel back from the goblin caves to Cyr).

Before leaving the caverns, the party finally decided to try the strange glowing mushrooms they had found here and there throughout the caverns.  Going back to the room where they killed the rust monster, Belladore sampled a small portion of one of the mushrooms found there.  It tasted delicious!  Suddenly she felt healthier as the mushroom imparted a small amount of healing to her wounds.  The party roamed to the other parts of the caves where they had seen mushrooms and harvested the lot, placing them in their packs.

The party, with rescued prisoners in tow, traveled back to Cyr.  The two-day trek was uneventful but gave the party a much needed respite after such an intense series of battles in the caverns.  Kulo was on the mend and despite being healed by magic he still had a wicked scar across his torso from the cave roper’s terrible bite.  This scar will act as a reminder of this adventure thought Kulo, much like his more visible scar across his forehead from his mysterious past.  The tissue damage across his back in particular made his trip back to Cyr uncomfortable both in the saddle and especially sleeping in camp.

On returning to Cyr, Jana said her farewells to her companions.  With Dragomir dead, she felt her life could begin anew and she would need some time to herself to figure out where she went from there.  Despite her typical stoicism, her eyes filled with tears as she said goodbye to Kulo.

The party returned to their old haunt, the Weary Traveler, as their base of operations.  Belladore, Kulo, Velnius, and Xrax decided they really could use some rest and relaxation.  Some had interest in obtaining new goods with some of the loot they acquired in the caverns.

Tanin, originally from Cyr and connected to the shady thieves’ guilds in the city, received a message from one of these guilds, the Jackdaws.  Over the last month of his adventuring life, Tanin’s reputation had grown, and the Jackdaws, with spies everywhere, know when someone with a criminal reputation is ascending in power.  The Jackdaws sent a message via the potboy of the Weary Traveler for Tanin to meet at the Smoky Ale Tavern, located in one of the more downtrodden districts of Cyr.

Tanin, joined by Bao, traveled to the tavern, a run-down building that listed to one side as if it could collapse at any moment.  The place was quiet.  Scanning the tables, Tanin and Bao saw a drunk passed out at one table, a hulking barbarian at another nursing his drink, and a dark-dressed man hiding in the shadows of the back corner, who motioned to them with a nod of his head.  As they joined him at the table, the surly barkeep placed two dirty mugs of ale in front of them and held out his hand.

Tanin, smelling the sour-stench of the ale, winced and said, “Do you have any wine?”

The barkeep shook his head and scratched his greasy smock, “Tis all we got.  Two coppers.”

Tanin paid him, pushed the mug aside, and looked at his contact across the table.  The man looked to be in his mid-20s and had dark hair and a beard.  He began to speak, paused and looked at Bao.  Tanin said, “He will help with anything you need accomplished.”  Bao looked from Tanin to their contact and nodded.

The man handed Tanin and Bao a handbill from the city watch, a wanted poster for a slight man called “The Raven.”  The contact said, “This person has been stealing from the merchant-lords of the city and quite successfully.  The city watch wants to catch him, but the Jackdaws are also interested in finding out the identity of this person and stopping him since he has no ties to any of the guilds in the city.  And his frequent burglaries of the merchant-lords have created trouble for the guilds since the nobles have put pressure on the city watch to double-down on theft in the city.  What is more is that the Raven has started to extort merchant-nobles.  In exchange for a fee, the Raven will leave a merchant-noble’s manor alone.”

Raven Wanted Poster

The Jackdaw contact continued, “We have two leads on the Raven.  We believe we know who his fence is for stolen goods.  A dealer in curiosities in the Craftsmen Quarter.  We also believe we know where the Raven takes his bribes.  A food-seller in the farmer’s market in the Merchant’s Quarter.”

Tanin asked, “What will be our reward if we locate and capture the Raven?” His eyes lingered on the 500 gold piece bounty offered by the city watch.  The contact said the Jackdaws will give 250 gold coins, but more importantly, successfully capturing the Raven would increase their stature in the eyes of the guild leadership.  There would likely be many benefits to being a Jackdaw who completed this mission.  The contact gave Tanin instructions for how to communicate with him once they had successfully completed the mission.  He advised that like the city watch the Jackdaws would take the Raven living or dead, but living would be preferred.  If dead, Tanin and Bao would have to prove that the corpse really was the Raven.  The contact then left the Smoky Ale Tavern.

Tanin and Bao began to argue over the assignment.  Bao seemed miffed that the Jackdaws were only willing to pay half of what the city watch would pay and suggested they capture the Raven and then just turn him over to the watch.  Tanin impressed upon Bao the importance of being in the Jackdaws good stead.  As they were debating, the slamming of a mug of ale at their table startled them and they turned to see the hulking barbarian take the seat across from them.  He looked at them with icy eyes and said, “Count me in.”  Tanin and Bao looked at each other in doubt.  But Tanin inquired about the Barbarian.  He told them his name was Sareph.  That he was new to Cyr, in fact, he was new to cities and found them to be disturbing.  But he was here and he needed to find purpose in his life other than at the bottom of a dirty mug of sour ale.  And he held out his hand showing a couple of silver coins amidst more copper that his days of staring at a mug were coming to an end one way or another.

Tanin shared a hard look with Bao.  But ultimately, Tanin felt they could use another hand in this undertaking, especially a strong arm like this barbarian.  So it was settled; they would split the 250 gold pieces equally.  They discussed what would be the best option: to investigate the curiosities dealer or to stake out the market to locate the seller taking bribes on the Raven’s behalf.  They decided to stake out the market.

Market Cyr2

Tanin, Bao, and Sareph arrived at the busy market at the intersection between four streets.  At the center of the market-square, a fountain sprayed water into a central pool.  The market was busy this morning. People browsed the various food carts and stalls, buying everything from fruits and vegetables, to baked breads, from cheese to meats and fish.  After making a quick round through the market, the three decided to split up and keep an eye out from three different vantage points around the square, yet all within eyesight of each other.

Sareph stayed in the vicinity of a fishmonger, Bao near the fountain, and Tanin by the fruit carts.  Sareph noticed a well-dressed woman approach the fishmonger.  Her garb looked to be of much higher quality than what most people wear in the Merchant’s Quarter, although not entirely out-of-place since most commerce at shops occurred in this quarter.  Her movements grabbed his attention too, since she appeared to be nervous and out-of-place, her eyes darted about furtively.  She reached into her satchel and pulled out a pouch which she gave the fishmonger, who nodded as he took the pouch and secreted it within his cart.  Sareph noticed that she did not receive any fish in the exchange.  Sareph signaled with a jerk of his head to Tanin and Bao that something was up in his area of the market.  Tanin and Bao started to make their way to Sareph.

While Tanin and Bao were weaving among market-goers and carts, Sareph decided to confront the fishmonger.  Noticing the hulking form of this northern barbarian heading his way, the fishmonger whistled, signaling to a group of ruffians located in one of the nearby buildings that he needed help.  Six ruffians poured out of the building wielding everything from crude clubs to swords and axes.  Bao moved up to intercept them.  Tanin caught sight of the bandits swarming Bao with Sareph nearby and found himself in a dilemma.  The well-dressed woman had walked briskly to the edge of the market and she was on the verge of disappearing for good amidst the tumult of the city.  Tanin could give chase to the woman, but that would leave his companions to face off against tough odds with the ruffians.  He sighed as he watched the well-dressed woman disappear into the city, but the sounds of battle drew his attention to his friends.  Tanin moved up to help.

Market Cyr

By the time Tanin moved closer to engage the thugs, Bao and Sareph had killed one of them.  Bao was armed with his quarterstaff, a weapon he could easily carry in the walled city of Cyr with no worry from the watch.  Sareph on the other hand carried his sword hidden within his cloak and he did not have a writ to carry a concealed weapon.  If the city watch were to find him armed as he was, he was sure to find himself in the dungeons underneath the city.

The fishmonger meanwhile had squirmed his way past the ruffians and had entered the building from where they had emerged just moments before.  As the battle continued between the thugs and the party, both sides taking injuries, sounds of the alerted city watch could be heard a few blocks over.  Bao and Sareph continued to trade blows with the ruffians as Tanin gave pursuit to the fleeing fishmonger.  As the sounds of the city watch grew closer, the thugs seemed to melt away into the recesses of the city.  Tanin ran through the building finding the back door wide open and catching a mere glimpse of the fishmonger as he weaved his way through startled common-folk in the street beyond. Bao and Sareph looked at each other and the body of the slain bandit and realized they better leave the scene too or lest they would be tried for murder in the city.  Sareph wrenched a piece of the awning from the fishmonger’s cart, tearing a sizeable piece of the canvas and wrapped his sword in it as an improvised scabbard. They took off in the direction of Tanin and the fishmonger.

Tanin found himself dodging carts and weaving around commoners, but always the fishmonger was about a block ahead, occasionally looking over his shoulder to see if Tanin was still in pursuit.  But Tanin found his big break when a passing group of festival performers and the crowd they generated produced a road block that held back the fishmonger.  While the fishmonger pushed and clawed his way through the crowd, Tanin caught up to him.  The fishmonger drew a dagger and the crowd parted with gasps.  He lunged at Tanin, missing him.  Tanin in return drew his scimitar and using the flat of the blade gave the fishmonger a great smack across his face!  Dazed by the blow, the fishmonger dropped his dagger.  Bao and Sareph arrived to witness the outcome of the melee.  Sareph moved up and grappled the fishmonger in a bear hug and carried him into a nearby alley.  There they tied his hands and led him through a number of alleys and streets to a different part of the city to avoid the investigation of the city watch.

Near the docks in the Warehouse Quarter, the party led the fishmonger to a decrepit tavern even in more disrepair than the Smoky Ale.  Its name belied its condition, the Golden Trident.  The group sat the fishmonger down at a table and ordered a round of drinks for all, a fetid swill that made them all nearly retch called Dwarven Bane.  It sounded better than Barnacle Brew and Pickled Herring Mead.  Sareph pretended to be drunk, a muscled arm draped around the fishmonger’s neck, a dagger under the table digging into his belly.  Roustabouts and lumpers filled the small common room of the tavern, holding their noses at the revolting drinks in their tankards and cups.  Despite its smell and taste, the sour and bitter beverages would get them drunk.

The fishmonger’s name was Grady.  And with a dagger point in his gut, he seemed quite persuaded to help out the party.  Tanin’s charismatic appeals appeared superfluous.  Grady told the party that he did not know the identity of the Raven and that he gave the “protection money” to his boss, Lurch, who brought it to the Raven.  He mentioned further that Lurch ran a warehouse in the district and that he would be expecting his payoff today.  The party had confiscated the bribe money of 100 gp from Grady.  The party decided to pretend to be working with Grady to gain access to the warehouse to see if they could find the Raven and perhaps some of the stolen goods.  Grady mentioned that Lurch had a number of thugs working for him in the warehouse and that there is a code word to gain entrance.  The code word was “The Rat.”

Bao, Tanin, and Sareph decided to wait until nightfall and then approach the warehouse, gain entrance, and then see if they could infiltrate Lurch’s gang in an effort to find the whereabouts of the Raven and his stolen goods.  Grady led them to the vicinity of the building in the warehouse district and then pointed it out to them from a distance.  Bao, surreptitiously surveyed the building from all sides before returning to the group without much useful information except that there appeared to be lights on in the building and movement from a number of people.  Bao couldn’t be certain how many.  With Grady bound and gagged across the street, the three approached the door.  Tanin rapped on the heavy iron door and with the sound of metal on metal, a slit opened on the door and two eyes glared out at the group.  After a careful inspection from the thug on the other side of the door, a voice asked, “Who rules the sewers below the streets?”

Tanin replied, “The Rat.”

The sound of a strong lock clicked open, and the door swung inward for the three intrepid adventurers to enter.  Tanin entered and told the ruffian who opened the door that he and his companions sought employment with the gang.  The ruffian asked how they knew the code word to open the door.  Tanin mentioned that he had connections with the underworld of Cyr and that one of these connections suggested this warehouse.  The ruffian paused and seemed to think about Tanin’s explanation and suggested he wait by the door as he spoke with one of his associates.  The ruffian walked towards a group at a table at the far end of the building.  Meanwhile, Tanin eyeballed the stack of crates to his immediate right.  Seemed strange that they would be piled so high in one corner of the building when they had so much space to store goods.

The men at the table, about 100 feet away, seemed to be in the midst of a card game.  They dropped their cards as the ruffian approached.  One of the thugs spoke closely with the ruffian and looked in the direction of Tanin.  The thug looked up to the ceiling and then seemed to nod to the corner near Tanin behind the wall of crates.  Before Tanin grasped what was going on, the pile of crates came crashing down on him!  The party’s subterfuge had failed.

Tanin’s quick reflexes saved him as he just managed to jump out of the way of the crashing crates.  All the men at the table stood up drawing weapons and ran towards the party.  Tanin moved up to engage the ruffians running his way.  Sareph and Bao witnessed the ambush from the doorway.  Sareph pulled his sword from the awning he  was still using as an improvised sheath which he threw to the floor.  He delivered a mighty blow against the thug who had knocked the pile of crates onto Tanin.  Bao scanned the room and took note of a door at the very back of the warehouse.  He dashed for it.

The battle ticked up a notch as a thug hiding in the rafters of the ceiling started to snipe at the party with a crossbow.  Tanin was hit by a bolt before he realized where the shooting was coming from. Sareph traded blows with the thug at the crates, but the thug fell to the barbarian’s sword.  Bao dashed to the back door, momentarily ignored by the ruffians who were focused on Tanin.  He pressed his shoulder into the door and tried the handle but it was locked.  Tanin severely injured one of the ruffians who had moved up to engage him.  The man dropped his weapon and fled out the door of the warehouse.  Sareph meanwhile had worked his way around the pile of crates taking cover from the crossbowman.  He decided to try a gamble.  With a mighty roar, Sareph knocked over one of the barrels in this corner of the building, gave it a shove, and leaped on top of it.  He managed to stay on top of it for about five feet as it rolled in the direction of the crossbowman but at that point he lost his footing, crashing down on his back in an spectacular fall.  His plan to somehow reach the crossbowman or at least intimidate him failed miserably.

Bao moved back towards the ruffians and threw a dart at one of them.  The crossbowman in the rafters took another shot at Tanin but missed.  Tanin, tiring of the battle, cast sleep on the ruffians near him.  Two fell to the ground in a slumber.  Sareph stood back up, thankfully only his pride wounded, and charged one of the standing ruffians, delivering a deep wound along his arm.  The sniper in the rafters hit Tanin with another bolt.

Tanin directed a beam of crackling energy at the crossbowman in the rafters.  The sniper cried out as the magical force slammed into him.  The ruffian next to Sareph looked to his fallen comrades and decided to make a run for the door.  Sareph dropped his sword and aimed his bow at the sniper, his arrow piercing the sniper’s side.  Bao threw another dart at the remaining ruffian, who followed the lead of his companion and bolted for the door.  The sniper unleashed one last desperate shot at Tanin which flew wide.  Tanin and Sareph in return brought the crossbowman down.  A blast of energy and an arrow ending his life and bringing him crashing to the floor.

The three approached the locked door at the back of the warehouse.  Tanin knocked back a potion of healing to help with the pain and blood loss from the sniper’s bolts.  Listening at the door, the three heard the sounds of a man and woman arguing.  Sareph motioned for Bao and Tanin to back away and with a mighty kick, the door was wrenched from the frame.  Light from wall sconces revealed a staircase that led down to a narrow but long room 20′ × 50′.  Tanin charged down the stairs as Bao leaped from the landing at the top of the staircase to the floor, rolling as he landed.  Bao leaped up to his feet, his quarterstaff at the ready, displaying his intimidating martial prowess.  At the back of the room stood two figures, a rat-man and a woman dressed in fine attire.

The woman cried out, “Oh please! Please help me!” She fell away from the were-rat in an exaggerated performance of distress.  The were-rat snarled and then charged Bao, his short sword nearly dealing a mortal wound.  Tanin’s scimitar, the Blade of Dark Deeds, found its mark in the were-rat’s side.  The rat-man cried out and directed pure venom in his look towards Tanin.  Sareph leaped down from the landing, this time gracefully rolling to his feet and slicing the were-rat from collarbone to hip.  The woman-in-distress pulled a dagger from a scabbard on her thigh, stabbed Tanin in the back, and made an attempt to flee up the stairs.  Tanin cried out in pain, yet delivered a serious blow to her side as she attempted to escape.  Bao brought his quarterstaff down in a mighty crack atop the were-rat’s head, who crumpled upon the floor.  Sareph chased the woman to the foot of the stairs.  She looked back, her eyes wide with fear.  Sareph steeled his jaw for the bloodletting and with a mighty swing, severed the woman’s head from her shoulders.  Her head rolled ten feet to rest at the foot of Tanin’s boot.  Tanin recoiled and jumped slightly at the sight.

The were-rat in death reverted back to human form.  The party searched the two bodies finding a lute and a silvered rapier and silvered dagger and some coins on the were-rat.  The woman had a little money, 13 gp in a pouch, an unusual double-headed coin in her pocket, and numerous copies of the wanted poster of the Raven posted by the city watch.  Tanin quickly deduced that the woman was, in fact, the Raven!

Tanin and Bao argued over what to do with the Raven’s body.  They bickered back and forth about bringing her to the watch or to the Jackdaws.  At one point, they thought about bringing the head to one and the body to the other.  Then, the head to one and then the other, in an attempt to obtain the 500 gp reward from the city watch and the 250 gp reward from the Jackdaws.  Sareph, in disgust, and with a sense of unease at striking down a poorly-armed woman grabbed her body and head, wrapped her in the fishmonger’s awning, and headed for the door of the warehouse.  In the midst of their bickering, Bao and Tanin realized what had just happened and chased after Sareph, catching him right before he exited the warehouse.  They managed to calm him down and decided that they would stick with their original plan and bring the body to the Jackdaws.  They tied and bound the sleeping ruffians too to back up their story.

Tanin made contact with the Jackdaws.  They agreed to meet at the Golden Trident in the wee-hours of the morning.  Led to a back room by the tavern keeper, three members of the Jackdaws entered. When you show them the head of The Raven, the main Jackdaw agent’s eyes grow wide.

He says, “Mistress Thea Kellergis! A merchant-noble of the Lesser House involved in thievery! We suspected she was involved in some type of criminal activity since she had been so charitable to the poor of the city without it seeming to affect her own wealth, although her alms had ceased some time ago. Maybe her taste for theft got the best of her and she became greedy? Good thing you didn’t bring her head to the watch. They’d never believe Mistress Kellergis would be involved in such behavior. And murder of a merchant-noble is punishable by execution in Cyr. But she couldn’t have been working alone given the thefts taking place across the wealthier houses in Cyr. Her spies and cohorts wouldn’t have been capable. Do you know who she was working with? And where are the stolen goods?”

Tanin explained that they only knew of the fishmonger, Grady, who somehow had escaped his bonds while they were fighting the ruffians in the warehouse.  Tanin also explained that the warehouse did not contain any of the contraband the Raven had been accused of stealing.

The Jackdaws took the captives for further interrogation. The Jackdaws handed over a nondescript sack with 350 gp as payment, giving a 100 gp bonus for the job.  They also ask Tanin, Bao, and Sareph to take them to the warehouse for further inspection.  They tell the party that they will dispose of the body–making it seem that Mistress Kellergis was murdered in one of the poor quarters of the city when she was delivering aid to the indigent. In all likelihood, the Jackdaws will use Mistress Kellergis’s death as a way of implicating some foe of the crime who will be put to death. They remind Tanin, Bao, and Sareph to keep their knowledge of the Raven quiet.

Bao and Sareph advanced to 2nd level.


(Full Disclosure: Some of the following links will take you to drivethrurpg.com where I participate in the affiliate program. Any purchases through these links provides me with a credit at One Book Shelf sites (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DMsGuild, etc.). Your support is appreciated.)

Adventure based partially on “The Raven” from the supplement, Wanted: Part of an awesome bundle of 5th Edition supplements from Assassin Games (poster used with permission.)

Adventure also based partially on “Rats in the Street” by Embers Design Studio

Warehouse Map Tiles/Terrain by Black Scrolls Games: Modular Inn – Map-Tile Set

Market Map Tiles/Terrain by Fat Dragon Games: Fantasy Village Tiles

Crates and Barrels by Fat Dragon Games: E-Z Dungeons Deluxe Edition

Bandit Paper Miniatures: Bandit Warband by One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Farmer’s Market Customers: Dryws Imperfect Crowd

Inspiration for the Jackdaws Guild: Nord Games Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery

 

Session 10: Caverns of Calamity Part III

Cavern RoperNew

(Note: This adventure was run in February 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place immediately after Session 9: Caverns of Calamity Part II).

Before heading down the chasm to explore whatever lurked below and to find the goblinoid creatures that had been taunting them, Xrax decided to relieve Velnius of his guard duties, watching over the horses and former captives.  Bao decided to accompany Xrax outside the caverns.  Velnius and Xerbo rejoined their companions in the caverns.  The party tied a rope to the remnants of the bridge that spanned the chasm, having climbed back over to the northern corridor.  The descent appeared to be about 40 feet down and all that could be discerned was the same rough stone as the current floors.

Once the party had descended to the lower caverns they immediately set about scouting the passageways east, west, and north.  No creatures were evident in the passageways to the east and north, although a rockfall appeared to block one very narrow corridor.  The cavern to the west held a significant stalagmite and stalactite wall that blocked the back end of the room.  Clicking noises could be heard from beyond the stalagmite wall.  Kulo and Velnius looked at each other and silently nodded to each other indicating their preparedness for what lurked behind the wall.  As they entered the room, one of the goblinoid creatures suddenly appeared out of thin air in the corridor outside of the room.  A glowing, magical hand appeared that pulled at a cleft in the ceiling causing a cave-in to block the passageway that Kulo, Velnius, and Xerbo had just entered, trapping them in the room.  The aberrant goblin seemed to laugh as he watched the ceiling crumble.  As the cave-in collapsed behind them, the clicking noise grew louder as a four-legged creature with probing antennae came towards them from around the stalagmite wall.

Rust MonsterNew

Jana quickly laid waste to the goblinoid that had just become visible.  At the same time, Tanin rushed over to the cave-in and began moving rocks to open up the passageway.  Belladore placed her torch down the eastern branching corridor to keep watch for other creatures heading their way given the noise of the cave-in.  She also lit a new torch and placed it in the northern corridor.  To her horror, she saw moving sluggishly in her direction what appeared to be a wall of gelatinous slime!

Meanwhile Velnius, Xerbo, and Kulo were trapped with a creature that seemed to be attracted to the metal on their bodies.  With no torches or other sources of light, Kulo was essentially blind in this room.  Velnius was able to see with darkvision and directed Kulo away from the creature to the back wall of the room.  He then engaged the creature in melee combat.  Xerbo, his trusted animal companion, stayed by his side and also lunged for the ferrous-eating monster.

As Jana and Tanin continued to clear rocks, all the while nervously looking over their shoulders at the gelatinous cube slowly lurching towards them, Belladore took off down the eastern corridor.  She picked up the burning torch she had placed on the floor. The corridor reached a bend to the north with a very narrow corridor blocked by rubble branching off to the south.  Belladore followed the corridor north.  The corridor gained elevation practically every 5 feet, almost like a series of steps.  Belladore noticed the passageway was remarkably clean and smooth as if the floor had been essentially scraped clean.

The corridor doubled back west and then south.  Belladore found herself on the other side of the gelatinous cube.  It had engulfed the other torch left on the floor, plunging Jana and Tanin in darkness.  Tanin could still see, but Jana now only had the faint glow of Belladore’s torch from the other side of the gelatinous cube.  The glow only added to it’s eerie presence since it illuminated the cube revealing the decomposing remains of a goblin within.  The cube lurched again towards them.  Jana and Tanin picked up their pace in helping to clear the rocks.  Belladore’s movement towards the gelatinous cube appeared to be sensed by the ooze.  It changed course and now slithered in her direction!

Belladore threw a dagger into the cube’s membrane and then took off down the corridor north and then east.  The cube followed in her direction.  Back in the trapped cavern, Velnius and Xerbo had wounded the rust monster, but it’s hungry tentacles had damaged Xerbo’s barding and Velnius’s sword.  Not wanting to take the time to rummage through his pack to grab and light a torch, Kulo took a blind shot with his crossbow at the rust-eating beast.

Between Kulo’s haphazard crossbow shots and Velnius and Xerbo’s melee attacks, the rust monster was killed.  Kulo and Velnius scrambled to their side of the cave-in and began tossing rocks out of the way.

Belladore circled back to the cave-in and saw that Jana and Tanin had opened up enough of a gap for Velnius, Xerbo, and Kulo to crawl through.  The light of her torch revealed that the gelatinous cube and changed its direction and now was heading back down the northern corridor.  The party unloaded ranged attacks as the ooze slowly glided towards them.

As the party continued launching arrows and bolts into the ooze, Belladore decided to go explore the narrow opening to the south.  It wasn’t hard to move the rocks that blocked the path.  Looking down the corridor, she could see that the corridor opened to a larger room about 30 feet away.  Twenty feet in front of her sat a stalagmite.  Belladore proceeded to explore the corridor and room, but as she reached the stalagmite, it appeared to awaken before her eyes.  To her horror, a single eye blinked open and looked at her.  A sticky tendril emerged from the awful monster and grabbed hold of her.  The monster’s slavering mouth gaped open ready for the sweet treat of halfling meat.

BelladoreExplore2

The party heard Belladore’s cry as she was snagged by the roper.  Gritting their teeth they let fly a number of arrows and bolts into the cube, which had moved to within 15 feet of them.  Kulo broke off from the group and ran down the corridor towards Belladore.  Tanin, Velnius, and Jana unleashed a final volley of missiles at the ooze.  The final bolt punctured its membrane and the gelatinous cube lost its cohesion, oozing in every direction into a sickly gelatinous mess that covered the floor and the lower part of the walls on either side.

Kulo reached the tight corridor where Belladore left her torch.  Looking beyond the pile of rocks around the entranceway he saw, with horror, Belladore in the grip of one of the living stalagmite’s rope-like tendrils.  Kulo launched a bolt into the monster’s slavering maw.  The hit seemed to distract the creature and Belladore, despite her slight strength, managed to peel herself away from the grasping tendril.  She ran fleeing past Kulo.

The roper shot out a tendril that encircled Kulo and reeled him in to its ghastly mouth, the many incisors looked as if its bite would stab a hundred daggers into the flesh of its unfortunate victim.  Kulo was helpless.  The tendril pulled him into the gaping maw.  Belladore watched, her eyes transfixed on the grisly scene as the rows of sharp teeth rent Kulo’s torso.  Fortunately for Kulo he immediately lost consciousness.

Tanin made it down to the narrow corridor in time to watch Kulo bitten almost in half!  Tanin cast healing word on Kulo, reviving him to witness the horror of his situation.  Velnius and Jana both made their way to the corridor and unleashed crossbow and bow shots, respectively, into the awful monstrosity.  Xerbo and Belladore moved up to engage the cave roper.  Before Kulo had time to even consider his options and as the searing pain pierced his recent consciousness, the dagger-like teeth chomped down again ending his screams of terror.  Kulo fell unconscious again.  Tendrils shot out against the party.  Most avoided its clutches, but Velnius was pulled forward towards the roper.  He dropped his crossbow and unsheathed his short sword.

Jana dropped her bow and grabbing her glaive she had propped against the cave wall charged at the monster.  Once again Tanin cast healing word on Kulo bringing him back from the brink of death.  Belladore stabbed at the roper and Xerbo sunk his teeth into its rocky hide, twisting and tearing at the monster.  Jana’s glaive cut through the tendril holding Kulo, dropping him to the ground.  Tanin moved up and engaged the roper with his scimitar, the Blade of Dark Deeds.  At this moment a number of the corrupted goblinoid creatures appeared from deeper in the cavern opening behind the roper.  They started chucking heavy rocks at the party.

Tendrils shot out again, one enveloping Tanin and another grabbing one of the goblinoids.  Blows rained down on the slavering monster from all in the party finally killing it!

The goblinoids seemed distraught at the death of the roper, but fought on with hurled rocks and sharp claws.  But they were no match for the party.  One by one they fell to the blade.

Around the bend, Tanin, Belladore, and Velnius found a strange site.  On top of a large rock in the center of the room, rested a single bone.  From the patterns of dirt and dust on the floor, it appeared as if the goblinoids had regularly sat or kneeled in regular placements around the stone as if in worship to this bone.  On closer inspection, Tanin found the bone to be a single vertebra from some type of humanoid.  Picking it up, he could tell immediately it was suffused with magical energy.  Once attuned, Tanin would learn the vertebra granted the possessor of the bone the ability to cast invisibility once per day.

Magic Vertebra

Belladore and Velnius advanced to 4th level.


(Full Disclosure: Some of the following links will take you to drivethrurpg.com where I participate in the affiliate program.  Any purchases through these links provides me with a credit at One Book Shelf sites (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DMsGuild, etc.).  Your support is appreciated.)

Cavern Tiles: Fat Dragon Caverns 1 and Fat Dragon Caverns 2

Gelatinous Cube Paper Miniature: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeons: Expansion 11

Stalagmites: Fat Dragon Mines of the Mountain King

Rust Monster: Mayhem in Paper/One Monk Dungeon Monsters

Cave Roper: Printable Heroes

Original Art of Vertebra: Jody Monochrome

 

 

Session 9: Caverns of Calamity Part II

Caverns Full

(This adventure was run in January 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure continues immediately after Session 8: Caverns of Calamity Part I).

Having completed their mission for coming to these dastardly caverns, the party was now free to finish exploring what else lurked within these dark bends and twists.  Jana’s regular intense bearing seemed to dissolve into a calmer repose, yet no one in the party would doubt her lethality, especially with her giant glaive.  Tanin asked her what she would do now that Dragomir was dead.  She said for the time being she would be willing to follow wherever the party led.

Turning back from whence they came, the party now realized they had a group of rescued prisoners they needed to take care of.  Asking what they knew of the caverns, the prisoners said they only knew of the spurs of the cavern system that the party had already explored.  They only saw goblins and hobgoblins from the time they were captured until their recent release.  Velnius agreed to escort the prisoners back to the cave entrance and guard them near the horses until the party had finished exploring the caverns.  One of the prisoners, Knack, asked to join the party in exploring the rest of the caverns.  He explained to the party that he was a wizard and could help assist the party in facing any dangers further throughout the caverns.

The party headed back towards the central cavern that branched towards all four cardinal directions after Velnius had escorted the former prisoners away.  The party decided to drag the cage behind them to block their rear in case any foul beasts were planning on flanking them.  The cage ended up getting lodged as the corridor narrowed.

As the party reached the central cavern, a group of eight goblins attempted to surprise the party with an ambush.  Unleashing arrows on the party, archers took up areas of cover behind walls where corridors branched from the main room.  Beefier goblins armed with spears moved up to engage the party in melee.  As the battle raged, a goblin shaman appeared from behind a wall and murmured something in an arcane tongue as he lit something he was holding in his hand with a taper.  Instantly, Xrax’s plate mail turned red hot and he cooked within.

The party hacked at the goblins, reducing their number.  Xrax continued to bash heads with his maul despite the scorching pain he was enduring.  Kulo moved up to get a shot on the shaman who was still hiding behind the corridor wall.  He successfully hit the shaman causing him to lose concentration on the spell and giving Xrax some relief from the burning he endured.  Two goblin archers seeing the tide of the battle had turned bolted for the corridor leading out of the caverns.  The party decided not to pursue, instead focusing on the shaman who had now retreated to his lair.  As the party entered the cavern room, four giant rats, companions of the shaman, attacked.  The shaman unleashed a thunderous clap against the party members who were mostly in a straight line from the shaman.  But despite the mixed success of the spell, the party skewered the shaman and put the giant rats to the sword.

After searching through the goblins’ moldy bedding for loot, the party returned to the central branching cavern.  As they emerged into the room, a small goblinoid-like creature suddenly appeared out of thin air, picked up a rock from the floor, and chucked it at the nearest party member.  It sailed harmlessly over the head of Kulo.  The goblinoid laughed and then turned and ran down the southern corridor.

The party followed in pursuit.  The goblinoid jumped into a void 15 feet down the corridor.  The party came to a stop at the chasm.  Looking down they could no longer see the creature.  The chasm dropped about 40 feet down and looked to be an irregular stone floor like the rest of the cavern system they were exploring.  The remnants of a bridge jutted out into the void about 5 feet.  A corridor branched to the west and a second corridor continued south.  A stalagmite rose from the floor at the opening of the corridor to the west.

The party decided to finish exploring this floor of the cavern system before going to the lower level to find the creature that had thrown the rock at them.  Belladore, having knowledge of horrid creatures that look like stalagmites but were not, suggested to Kulo to shoot the stalagmite with his crossbow before the party head down that corridor.  Kulo’s crossbow bolt struck true and ricocheted off the stalagmite down the corridor.  The party feeling confident that this rock mound was just a stalagmite, threw a grappling hook around it and climbed over to the corridor from the broken bridge.  Kulo decided to stay and guard the rope so that no goblinoid creatures emerged to cut their rope.

Edging down the corridor as it bent sharply to the north and around to the east, the passageway became choked with thick cobwebs.  Xrax taking the lead became stuck in the webs.  His attempts to free himself from the sticky strands attracted the attention of the webs’ spinner: a giant spider emerged from the dark recesses of the ceiling to partake of the squirming meal below.

The spider bit at the restrained Xrax.  Most of the party still was behind the bend of the corridor.  Knack relayed what had happened to Xrax and then moved up to engage the spider.  The spider turned its attention on Knack.  A bite to Knack’s shoulder allowed the spider’s venom to course through his veins.  Knack keeled over dead!  Xrax, meanwhile, had extricated himself from the sticky web and dealt some blows with his maul against the spider.  Tanin, Belladore, and Jana moved up to kill the giant arachnid.  Kulo abandoned his guard post at the stalagmite to offer his crossbow in assistance.  As the attacks mounted, the spider’s eventual demise was merely a matter of time.  Whether bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing made up the final stroke, the giant spider died.

The party examined Knack more closely, his body showing the virulence of the spider’s poison.  Knack’s face was frozen in a rictus of pain.  The party dragged his body to the entryway of this spur of the cavern system near the stalagmite.  Looking at the grappling hook and rope, Kulo shook his head in disgust at finding the rope severed near where it was tied to the grappling hook.  Those little goblinoid creatures sure were a pest, he thought.

Caverns Part IInew

A couple of the party members carried the lifeless body of Knack back out of the caverns to where Velnius was guarding the horses and looking after the former captives.  The faces of the former captives looked crestfallen as they saw the slain body of their friend.  One of the former captives stepped forward and asked to join the party in further exploration of the caverns.  His name was Bao, a monk from the orient.

The party decided to explore the southern corridor next.  Using a different rope, they fastened the grappling hook to it and managed to lodge the hook into metal remnants of  the former bridge over the chasm.

Climbing over to the southern corridor, the party with torches ablaze, cautiously explored the length of the corridor.  Not wanting to make the same mistake they did before, Kulo retrieved the grappling hook and rope.  They marched nearly 50 feet before seeing a depression in the corridor about 20 feet in front of them.  The corridor turned to the east at this point as well.  Not seeing anything in the lower depression, the party continued around the bend to the west.  The corridor continued around to the north but ended in a deep chasm.  The gulf opened up into the sky–the party looking up could see the blue sky of day but it was a steep ascent.  Across the chasm was a small outcropping of stone about 15 feet long with a stalagmite at its closest edge.  A glint of metal could be seen on the landing.

Xrax landed a grappling hook around the stalagmite and began to climb over to the landing when a group of spear-beaks descended from the opening in the ceiling and began to attempt to feed on the party.  Tanin used his sleep spell to great effect again.  Four of the stirges plummeted down the chasm in a magical slumber.  The remaining three were easily sliced and diced by the party.

As the battle with the spear-beaks was coming to a close, Belladore suddenly found herself being attacked by an ooze.  The ochre jelly had followed the party as they had made their way down this corridor, waiting to attack when one of the party members was largely isolated.  Belladore happened to be hanging back as the party fought the stirges.  She cried out as a pseudopod bashed her.  The party came to her assistance once the spear-beaks were mostly slayed.  While it was a long, hard fight the party prevailed.

Climbing over to the landing, Xrax found that the glint of metal came from the old, rusted armor of the remains of a dried husk of a goblin, a victim of the spear-beaks’ blood-sucking feast.  The goblin body had just a few coins of copper, otherwise everything else was worthless.

The party decided they could use a short rest to patch up their wounds and prepare themselves for the final leg of the caverns.  They retraced their steps back to the depression which would give themselves a good defensive position should any wondering monsters come down the corridor.  As they prepared to relax, green slime fell from the ceiling onto Jana.  Luckily the party was able to assist her in scraping it off, but it’s acidic touch damaged her breast plate so as to be unusable.


Terrain and Giant Spider Webs: Fat Dragon Games

Giant Spider: Printable Heroes

Crafted Torches: DM’s Craft

 

Session 8: Caverns of Calamity Part I

Caverns 1new

(Note: This adventure was run in January 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place the day after Session 7: Drow Spider Caves).

Searching Tasha’s corpse after felling her in a dramatic chase outside the Drow spider caves, Belladore found an interesting book.  The book appeared to have information about many of the merchant-nobles and members of the different thieves’ guilds in Cyr.  After burying the doppelganger in the woods, the party made their way back to Edgewood.  Along the way, Belladore persuaded Erik, the woodsman, to foster the children, Tommen and Flower.  He was happy to take the kids in and teach them hunting and trapping skills.

Returning to the Axe and Saw Inn by the evening, Belladore, Xrax, and Velnius relayed their adventure to the bleary-eyed crew of Kulo, Jana, and Tanin.  Jana was still in high spirits despite the lingering effects of her hangover.  When Belladore mentioned the rescue of Tommen and Flower from the clutches of the goblinoids, Jana’s demeanor changed abruptly, becoming very serious and sober.  Jana asked if they found out who the goblins were working for.  Belladore told her what they had learned from the goblin captive.  When Belladore mentioned the name of Dragomir, the leader named by the goblin prisoner, Jana’s eyes widened and she slammed her fist hard against the table.  The impact was so loud that Kulo jumped at the sound.

Jana looked serious and implored the party to join her on her quest to find the goblin caverns she and her group had been looking for when they were ambushed by the orcs almost two weeks ago.  She told the party how she knew this Dragomir, a hobgoblin.  When she was a child, Jana’s village was raided by goblins.  Her family and most of the village adults were slayed.  The goblins decided not to kill her outright.  Instead, they threw her in a circle formed by the jeering crowd of their fellow goblins.  As they hooted and hollered, a rat master appeared on the side of the circle and opened a cage containing a giant rat.  Whispering some words of encouragement to the rat, the goblin released him towards the child, Jana.  She froze in fear as the rat scurried towards her.  She tried to run away but was pushed back by the crowd of goblins.  When she fell to the ground, the giant rat attacked, sinking its teeth into her arm.  The pain was intense.  In a blur of rage, Jana grabbed the giant rat and bit its neck, biting down as hard as she could until she tasted blood flowing down her chin.  She stood up and threw the dead rat at the feet of the rat master.  The crowd of goblins silenced, then the jeers and boos picked up and they signaled to the rat master.  He brought forth two giant rats this time as the goblins cheered.  This time Jana didn’t hesitate.  She grabbed the nearest rock and lunged at the just-released giant rats.  They squeaked in terror . . .

The goblins didn’t kill her.  The leader of the band, Dragomir, took her down south to the fighting pits of Yor.  There she became a gladiator.  She was sold to a slave master who brought her around the various arenas where she became a champion.  On one excursion to a distant arena, Jana killed her master and all his guards, using the one token Dragomir left her–a hobgoblin glaive that became her signature weapon in the fighting pits.  She now wanted more than anything to gain her vengeance for her family, people, and her own life against the hobgoblin bastard!

The party agreed to find the caverns and root out Dragomir.  After a night’s rest, the party departed south from Edgewood to the Hammer Fall Mountains.  The first day’s travel was uneventful, peaceful even.  Jana appeared grim the whole day, speaking little.  As they approached the mountains the second day, the party heard a magnificent cry from some large bird of prey overhead.  Crashing into Tanin’s horse a griffon attacked, lured by the succulent meat of his steed.  The force of the griffon’s assault threw Tanin from his horse.  The party reeled in their horses and set themselves for defensive positions against the griffon.  There was some talk among the party members–they were clearly reluctant to kill such a magnificent beast but the griffon attacked Tanin’s horse hungrily.  With a number of salvos, the party fended off the griffon.  Tanin’s horse bled freely from several deep wounds from the griffon’s talons.  As the griffon flew away, Kulo and Velnius brought it down with two crossbow bolts, deciding to avoid having the griffon attack again while they were in the mountains.

Griffon3

After the brief fight with the griffon, the party continued onward led by Jana.  Nearing the entrance to the caverns, the party dismounted from their horses and crept to within viewing distance of the entrance.  The cavern entrance was at least 40 feet up the mountain cliff.  The party waited to see how heavily guarded the entrance would be.  Over several hours, two goblin guards were exchanged by different goblin guards.  Kulo, Velnius, and Jana sneaked up within range and dispatched the two goblins with  crossbow and longbow shots.  The party found a good place to tie off the horses and proceeded to the cavern entrance.

Cavern Entrance3

The party made its way cautiously up the cliff face following a worn path that snaked up to the entrance of the cavern.  Listening at the entrance, the party could hear goblin voices just within.  The goblins seemed preoccupied, bickering over a game of dice.  The party rushed in catching the goblins by surprise.  Tanin and Velnius, aided by their darkvision, took out both goblins, leaving one unconscious to interrogate.  The captured goblin, once revived, revealed that there were many of his kind in the caverns, more than he had fingers and toes.  Tanin pressed him further for information.  He did mention his boss Dragomir and two other hobgoblin guards.  The party stripped him of his weapons and released him, threatening him that they would find him if he ever harmed the good people traveling along the Cyrian road.

The light from the entrance diminished considerably this short distance in the cave so Xrax lit a torch.  The party could see the cave continued for a short distance before splitting in half around a rock wall.  Moving cautiously forward, the party scanned the walls and ceiling for danger.  Passing beyond the split in the corridor, two giant rats sprung from the darkness and attacked Xrax.  As Xrax bashed their heads in with his maul, barking from up ahead grabbed the party’s attention.

The worg was chained to the wall in a crevice.  Nearby four goblins played dice on top of a crate.  They grabbed their weapons and charged forward.  Before they could get very far, Tanin cast sleep causing three of the goblins to fall to the ground in a deep slumber.  Velnius moved up and hacked at the worg.  The final goblin was slayed.

Worg and Goblins3

After looting the goblins, the party moved on turning a sharp corner that brought them to a rickety bridge over a deep, dark chasm.  The bridge was poorly made and seemed doubtful it could hold much weight.  Tanin flipped a copper piece into the chasm and the coin struck the side of the gaping hole a couple times before disappearing into the gulf.  They never heard it strike the bottom!  On two rocky outcrops about 10 feet from the bridge grew red, glowing mushrooms.  Belladore ventured onto the bridge.  It held her weight just fine despite creaking ominously in a few places.  The rest of the party crossed one by one making it to the other side of the bridge unscathed.  The bridge shifted and creaked the worst for mighty Xrax in his plate mail armor, but it held.  Xrax came close to losing his balance and falling into the gulf in a brief moment of terror.

The cave snaked around a bend before opening up into a large multi-leveled cavern with three exits.  Eight goblins that seemed to be roused and on the hunt for the noise that was coming from the last fight sprung into battle against the emerging party members.  Tanin, once again, changed the dynamics of combat with a sleep spell that immediately sent five of the goblins to their slumber.  The remaining three goblins, two that were burlier than the rest, tried to stand their ground but were quickly eviscerated.

The party quickly examined each of the branching corridors from the cavern they just fought from.  The corridor to the south continued for 15 feet before ending in a chasm to depths unknown.  A stalagmite rose from the floor right before the chasm.  The chasm spanned about 25 feet with a corridor continuing after the gulf.  A branching corridor to the west of the chasm could also be discerned with a stalagmite again rising from the floor right in front of the chasm.  Returning to the larger multi-leveled cavern, the party next investigated the corridor to the west.  After moving 10 feet down the corridor the party members could see two mounds on the floor at a bend in the corridor.  The party pulled back to the room that branched off in all four cardinal directions and decided to head down the corridor to the east.

Heading down the corridor, the party could make out metal bars of what appeared to be a cage near the far wall.  Some movement could be seen within.  The party continued down the corridor.  In a small side spur, a goblin lashed out with his spear.  The party took him on.  As they began to fight the first goblin a second one emerged from next to the cage.  As the short fight continued, loud barking began from the bend of the corridor to the south.  The party skewered and smashed the goblin guards and turned their attention to the barking and growling worgs.  They were chained to the wall but with enough length to reach the party and block their access to the part of the corridor they were housed.  Despite some nasty bites, the party slayed the two worgs and put an end to their racket that surely must have alerted anyone further within this part of the cavern system.  Belladore spoke with the captives inside the cage, a disheveled group of adult humans, telling them not to fear.  They were about to be rescued.

Worgs2

Belladore picked the lock of the cage, releasing the prisoners but suggested they wait in that part of the corridor while they finished investigating the branch of the cave.  The party continued down the corridor cautiously knowing that anything down that way would surely be aware of their presence due to the barking of the worgs.

The cave rose in elevation by 15 feet entering the final chamber of this spur.  Behind a column of stalagmites, the party viewed their final prey: a goblin, two hobgoblin guards, and their apparent captain.  As soon as Jana saw the captain, she screamed his name in anguish tinged with the sharp edge of vengeance.  “Dragomir!”  The captain inspected her and her glaive before the look of recognition crossed his face.  A smile crossed his lips as he said, “Look what you’ve become, little one.  I made you a champion.  You have a place by my side as my co-captain.  Help me slaughter these foolish adventurers.”

Jana looked at her companions and back again to the hobgoblin captain.  Her grip tightened on her glaive and with a look of grim determination she strode forward and joined into battle with the nearest hobgoblin guard.  Her mighty swing of the glaive had the intent of cleaving through the guard so that she would have an opening to Dragomir.  Her companions, her friends, came to her side to help her fulfill her quest for revenge.  The battle was intense.  The lone goblin fell quickly.  The hobgoblin guards shortly thereafter.  It was only a matter of time before Dragomir succumbed.  His dual blades whirled and sliced the party, but finally the killing blow was dealt by none other than Jana with her hobgoblin glaive.   The look of surprise intermingled with relief filled her face and Jana dropped to her knees, emotions overwhelming her sense of being.

Dragomir2


Cavern Terrain, Cliffs, and Cage: Fat Dragon Games

Goblins and Hobgoblins: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper Miniatures and Printable Heroes

Griffon: Sanity Studios Miniatures

Worgs: Brave Adventures Miniatures

Hobgoblin Captain: Kev’s Lounge/Papercraft Dungeon

Crafted Torches: DM’s Craft

 

 

 

 

Session 7: Drow Spider Caves

 

Spider Cave 1

(Note: This adventure was run in December 2016.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place the next day after Session 6: Grim Manor Part II).

The party celebrated their new heroic status in Edgewood that night after the eldritch implosion of Grim Manor.  Many rounds were quaffed at the Axe and Saw Inn and many townsfolk praised the heroes.  Jana was deep in her cups that night and she took a particular liking to Kulo, keeping him in a veritable headlock every time he tried to slink away from her.  Not one to typically overindulge, with Jana’s insistent prodding Kulo was deeply inebriated. The party continued on late into the night . . .

The next morning, Velnius, Xrax, and Belladore had breakfast and discussed their plans for what they were going to do next.  The wedding caravan they had agreed to serve as guards was still a couple of weeks away.  Tanin, Kulo, and Jana were still sleeping off their drunks.  Velnius, Xrax, and Belladore gossiped a little over seeing Kulo and Jana sharing a room last night.

As the party was chortling over Kulo’s ensnarement, a young woman ventured over to their table.

Stepping up to Xrax, she addressed the Heroes of Edgewood, “Good morn, great heroes.  I beg your pardon for interrupting your meal, but I am in need of help.”

The party listened attentively and asked her to go on.

“My name is Tasha.  My brother has recently ventured into some nearby caves thinking himself an adventurer.  The fool.  He hasn’t returned in several days and I fear for him.  Would you please investigate?  The townsfolk speak of your bravery in the Karpath Estate.  The Heroes of Edgewood, people are calling you.”

Xrax asked, “Why would he seek out these caves?”

Tasha responded, “He believed they contained treasure.  But who knows what foul things he found instead.  Please, I beg of you, I need to find my brother. I can take you to the caves.”

Xrax, Belladore, Velnius with Xerbo agreed to investigate the caves.  Tasha led the party south through the King’s Wood toward the edge of the Hammer Fall Mountain range.  Shortly on their trek, they heard the cries of a man coming from the woods.  Investigating cautiously, they came upon a man who was pinned underneath a large branch.  On hearing the party, the man called to them to help release him from the tree.  Xrax moved over and with his mighty strength moved the heavy limb from the man’s legs, freeing him.  The woodsman introduced himself as Erik.  He had been out hunting this morning.  He climbed the tree to lie in wait for a deer but the limb he was on gave way and ended up on top of him in such a way that he couldn’t get leverage to lift it off of him.

The party told Erik of their intentions to investigate the caves Tasha had described.  He’d never heard of them, but agreed to accompany them, partly out of curiosity and partly because of safety in numbers.

As they proceeded onward towards the caves, they heard gruff voices ahead of them.  The party could discern the voices were goblinoid.  Advancing stealthily, the party saw in a small opening ahead a group of goblins led by a hobgoblin.  The goblins were leading two kids by rope, their hands bound each to the length of rope.  The hobgoblin was barking orders to the goblins, keeping them in line.  Some of the goblins eyed the children with hungry looks.  All told there were seven goblins and the hobgoblin leader.

The party could not let the kids be taken off to slaughter or slavery, so they acted on their moral duty to rescue the children.  Xrax charged forward ready to engage the goblins.  Belladore crept around to the side of the goblins, flanking them.  Velnius readied his crossbow for ranged attacks.  Xerbo prepared to pounce.

The goblins moved forward to intercept the warrior Xrax as he broke through the underbrush at them.  Despite taking the brunt of the attack, Xrax’s plate mail broke most of their attacks.  In return he smashed their small skulls with his large maul.  Meanwhile Belladore engaged the goblins closest to the children from the side.  Velnius set about picking off goblins from a distance, as did Erik, the woodsman, with his bow.  Xerbo jumped on the nearest goblin and ripped his throat out.  Tasha, on the other hand, held back.

The goblins fell quickly.  An archer tried to provide some return fire to Velnius but was soon laid waste.  Two tougher goblins with spears joined with their hobgoblin leader to rally their final defense, but were no match for the party.

Goblinoids and Children

The cowering children were comforted by the party in the wake of the battle.  The two children, Flower and Tommen, were abducted by the goblins after they raided their parent’s farmstead.  They choked up on describing their parents deaths at the hands of the goblins.

The party managed to incapacitate one of the goblins and set about questioning him after he was revived.  He told the party that the goblins were bringing the children back to Dragomir, their leader.  Their lair was a series of caverns in the foothills of the mountains.  The kids were to be sold into slavery.  The party stripped the goblin of his weapons and freed him on agreement that he would no longer raid farmsteads.  The party brought Tommen and Flower with them.  They asked Erik if he would be willing to protect the children at the entrance of the cave while they investigated.  He agreed.

After a few more hours travel, the party arrived at the opening of a cave that Tasha indicated was the cave her brother said he would explore.  The opening was quite large but narrowed after about 10 feet.  Xrax could not discern much beyond the first 10 feet of the cave opening as the darkness swallowed all sight.  Velnius could see with his darkvision that the cave continued for an additional 45 feet before apparently turning.

The party entered the cave with trepidation.  Belladore cast light on her short sword so that the party members without darkvision could see in the cave.  Erik and the children waited at the cave entrance.  Examining the floor for signs of passage, Belladore noticed a number of boot prints in and out of the cave.  The party moved cautiously 20 feet down the cave passageway, noticing a spur off to the left.  Up ahead, the cave turned sharply to the right.  Along the walls, wisps of cobwebs swayed gently in the air circulating through the cave.

The party decided to examine the spur, not wanting something to stalk and attack them from behind.  The spur opened up into an irregular room 25′ × 30′ at its widest.  Against the back wall were thicker webs and what looked like large spider egg sacks.  As the party moved forward to investigate the room a little more closely, movement along the irregular ceiling caught their attention.  Descending from the ceiling, a giant spider with fangs dripping attacked!  A short, but dangerous fight ensued.  Luckily for the party no one was poisoned by the spider’s venomous bite.

Drow Spider Cave 3

As the party fought the giant spider, an egg sack within the spider’s web began to pulsate as a swarm of small spiders erupted from it’s center and attempted to envelope Xrax.  The swarm was chopped and crushed in short order.

Drow Spider Cave 6

Returning back to the main cave, the party continued forward following the cave as it narrowed and turned to the right.  Webs lined the walls and ceiling at this narrowed portion of the cave and as the party sliced their way through the web to proceed further in the cave, another giant spider descended from the ceiling and attacked!  Another short battle ensued with the spider ultimately skewered in the end.  In both of these short battles with the spiders, Tasha kept her distance and did not attack.

Squeezing single-file, through the narrow portion of the cave, the space increased significantly.  The party entered a long cavern at least 60′ in length.  Cobwebs filled the closest wall of the cave.  Hanging within the webs were numerous egg sacks.  On the floor underneath the webs was a desiccated husk of a body.

The party investigated the body with caution.  A giant spider moved to intercept them as they got closer to the body.  Xrax lit a torch and started lighting the webs on fire.  As webs burned, one of the egg sacks burst and a swarm of spiders emerged scurrying towards Xrax.  The party slayed the giant spider with little effort and squashed the spider swarm under boot.  Tasha once again held back as the party fought the spiders.

Afterwards, the party motioned for Tasha to investigate the body to see if it was her brother.  She moved forward with trepidation, a sorrowful look on her face.  They turned the body over for her, but relief came over her face and she shook her head to say it wasn’t her brother.

The party moved towards the far wall of the cave.  The cavern narrowed before opening to an irregularly shaped section of the room.  This side of the cavern was thick with webs and again egg sacks could be seen throughout.  Xrax, Velnius, and Xerbo moved forward to investigate.  Xrax started lighting the webs on fire once again, but usually only portions of the webs would burn before the fire would smolder to embers.  Belladore and Tasha held back.

As the webs were disturbed, two giant spiders emerged from the ceiling and pouring forth from the egg sacks were two swarms of spiders!

Drow Spider Cave 5

Velnius, Xerbo, and Xrax found themselves in the thick of battle.  At one point, Xrax was restrained by a web shot by one of the spiders.  But the brunt of the spider’s attacks fell on Xerbo, sustaining several bites, becoming poisoned, and falling unconscious.  Velnius rallied to his mastiff’s defense lest Xerbo became spider food.

Drow Spider Cave 7

As this battle raged, Belladore held back about 20 feet casting spells to assist the front line.  Tasha about 10 feet back from Belladore, suddenly sprung into action.  Grabbing one of her daggers she threw it.  The target wasn’t one of the spiders, however.  Her aim was leveled at Belladore!  The dagger flew wide.  As Belladore spun around to confront her attacker, Tasha took off, running towards the entrance of the cave.  Belladore followed in pursuit.

Meanwhile, Xrax, Xerbo, and Velnius had their hands full with the giant spiders and spider swarms.  They finally put the last of the arachnids to the sword and heard Belladore call out for their attention.  They too followed in pursuit.

Belladore threw one of her daggers and it struck true, injuring Tasha.  But Tasha continued to flee the tunnel making gains on Belladore whose halfling legs just couldn’t keep up.  Another dagger, another hit and Tasha suffered another wound.  Tasha burst out of  the cave opening heading for the safety of the nearby woods.  Belladore followed shortly.  Erik, the woodsman, looked perplexed as not one but two of his party came hurtling out of the cave.  Belladore threw another dagger and again her aim was true.  Tasha was bleeding badly at this point, but she put more distance between her and Belladore.  The woods were beckoning.  Tasha was sure to escape!  But Belladore had one last chance.  Throwing her last dagger, the Dagger of Venom, at long range, Belladore’s chances were low, but she wasn’t going to let Tasha escape easily.  The Dagger of Venom, hurtled end over end and struck true!  The final wound was a mortal one.  Tasha collapsed to the ground.  As Belladore caught up to her and caught her breath from the intense chase, she witnessed Tasha’s face dissolve into a smooth, indistinct form.  Tasha was a doppelganger!

Back in the cave, just as Xrax, Velnius, and Xerbo were rounding the tight corner in the cave they saw a magical portal appear and a drow priestess and two drow warriors emerged.  They looked distressed at the sight of all the slain spiders.  Xrax, Velnius, and Xerbo fled the cave before being seen.

Spider Cave Drow


Paper terrain/map: Heroic Maps

Giant Spider Paper Miniatures: Printable Heroes and Brave Adventures

Spider Swarm Paper Miniatures: from cowboyleland at Cardboard Warriors Forum

Goblins Paper Miniatures: Printable Heroes and One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Hobgoblin Paper Miniature: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Flower and Tommen Children Paper Miniatures: Dryws Imperfect Creations

Tasha Paper Miniature: Brave Adventures

Magic Portal: Fat Dragon Games

Drow Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper and Kev’s Lounge

 

 

 

Session 6: Grim Manor Part II

Vlad the Wight

(Note:  This adventure was run in November 2016.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure occured immediately following Session 5: Grim Manor Part I and is a continuation of that adventure).

Awakening from the nightmarish images of the demon-lord and his skeletal minion, Kulo, Velnius, Jana, and Tanin blinked their eyes and steadied themselves in the upstairs study.  Looking around they noticed that Belladore and Xrax were missing.  The remainder of the party gathered themselves with Xerbo in tow and proceeded to explore the rest of this haunted mansion.

Stepping outside the study through the outer door, the party found themselves in the hallway that led to the upstairs landing.  Flanking both sides of the banister stood suits of armor.  The party, ignoring caution, simply stepped up to the suits prepared for battle.  Animating once one of the party was within 5 feet, the armor bashed and slammed the party with plate mail gauntlets.  Ultimately the party reduced those ornate suits of armor to battered piles on the floor.

The party headed back to the locked door on the second floor that they had passed when they had climbed the stairs to the second floor from the dining room.  Kulo picked the lock.  As soon as the door was opened, the hearth became ablaze and two lurching zombies attacked.  The party hacked the zombies until they moved no more.  The room was smaller than the master bedroom, nicely furnished but somewhat austere.  A leather chair sat near the hearth.  A fine rug covered the floor.  A chest near the bed revealed linens, but remembering the dagger that was found in the other bedroom, Kulo looked more closely at the bottom of the chest, finding a false bottom.  Within was a book, similar to the one found in the downstairs library.  Bound in skin, this was the second volume of Abyssal Arcana.  Tanin relieved Kulo of the book, placing it next to the first one in his pack.

Proceeding to the two remaining rooms on the second floor, the party opened the first small guest bedroom next to the stairs.  A single candle ignited on a bookshelf in the room.  Other than the bookshelf, the room contained a small bed and a chest in the corner.  A door along the southern wall connected this bedroom to presumably another bedroom.  Examining the bookshelf, Tanin discovered another spell scroll.  Kulo investigated the chest only finding linens.

The party moved on to the second bedroom after Kulo picked the lock to the door.  This room was even smaller than the last with a bedroom, chest, and a small hearth.  As the party filed in, a swarm of bats erupted from the hearth and attacked the party.  In less than a minute, the party had chopped the bats to pieces, covering the floor of the bedroom with twitching remains of hacked bats.  Examining the room, Kulo found a pouch underneath linens in the chest containing 45 GP and 75 SP.

Grim Manor Swarm of Bats

Having cleared the second floor, the party made their way to the small staircase leading up to the attic-level of the house.  The stairs opened onto a hallway with two doors, north and south.  The party entered the northern room first.  Amidst the dust and cobwebs were stacks of crates and two chests.  Apparently this was a storage room.  Holes in the room let in some ambient light from outside.  The dilapidated room also allowed four giant bats, each the size of hawk in wingspan, in to attack the party rooting among the boxes in the room.  After skewering and disemboweling the bats, the party returned to their rummaging of the room.  The crates contained relatively worthless household goods (i.e., mildewed linens, plates, and utensils).  The two chests were locked, however.  Kulo went to task unlocking the chests.  The first revealed a silvered short sword as well as a pouch containing 31 GP and 143 SP.   The second chest turned out to be trapped which Kulo hadn’t noticed.  A poisoned dart shot out from the chest and punctured Kulo!  Luckily the poison on the dart had dried out and had no effect.  Inside the chest was a large, ornate key.

The party moved to the southern room in the attic.  As soon as they opened the door they were assailed by a swarm of bats that roosted on the rotten remains of the ceiling.  The swarm was reduced to bat bits and pieces in half a minute.  The small room held three beds, apparently the servant’s quarters.  Searching the beds turned up a pouch hidden in one bed containing 110 SP.

With key in hand, the party descended levels of the house, deciding to stop first on the ground floor to clear out the kitchen area they had passed before.  Entering the room they had peeked into before, the party avoided the bites of three giant rats in this small, dark storage room. Barrels filled the corner so movement was very limited.  Nonetheless, the rats were skewered fairly quickly.  Listening at the next door, the party heard similar sounds coming from what must presumably be the kitchen.  Charging in they found themselves in a spacious kitchen, a large hearth suddenly ablaze, and on a table in the corner several of those eerie red candles ignited.  Five giant rats that had been prowling the kitchen, turned to attack.  Between the bard, rogue, fighter, ranger, and hound, the rats didn’t have a chance.

Ready now for the final confrontation, the party found the stairs to the cellar and headed down into the dark depths, torches ablaze.  Turning a sharp corner at the bottom of the stairs revealed a long corridor that opened onto another hallway about halfway down.  At that junction between hallways stood a brazier that ignited as the party made their way, casting this part of the cellar in malevolent flickering light.  The party made their way down this hallway that turned to the right passing a door to a room to the right in order to see what lay beyond.

The hallway opened into a large main room in the cellar, the only light provided by the brazier at the back of the hallway and the torches held by the party.  A table and chair made up its only furnishings.  In seemingly every dark corner and shadow could be seen beady eyes.  Moving into the light eight giant rats pressed in on the party for a taste of their sweet flesh.  The party responded with sword, rapier, crossbow bolt, and glaive, leaving the room a vermin butchery.

The party doubled back to the first door they had passed.  Opening the door, they  found a storeroom containing a barrel, a crate, and two chests.  The barrel and crate were empty but both chests contained skeletal remains of a humanoid.  Tanin and Kulo searched further looking for hidden loot.  Immediately, two spectres materialized from the walls, summoned by the disturbance of their remains, and began attacking the party.  No easy vermin were these undead, giving the party a hard fight before succumbing to their attacks.

Moving on to the room opposite of the one just explored, the party discovered another storeroom, but this one held a most unusual find: Belladore and Xrax, frozen in a moment of terror, their faces contorted in fear.  Looking closely, the party saw that they appeared alive, yet immobile and waxen.  No amount of jostling or shaking woke them from their trance.

The remaining small rooms in the cellar also were storage rooms of little interest, holding moldy and useless household goods.

The party approached the last door along the far wall in the cellar with trepidation.  Kulo tried the door, finding it locked unsurprisingly.  Taking a breath, the party steeled their resolve.  Kulo inserted the key found in the attic in the lock, turned it, and heard the door click unlocked.  The party entered the room expecting the worst.  Against the back wall laid a coffin surrounded by a score of eerie red candles that ignited as soon as the party stepped inside the room.  A skeletal warrior rose from the coffin in the same instance, brandishing a mighty sword.  To the left and right of the party, stacks of crates, barrels, and sacks lined the walls.

The warrior spoke, “You have released me from this imprisonment.  I will reward you with life after death as minions in my army.”

Tanin replied with, “Perhaps we could work out a deal where we let you go in exchange for some treasure.”

The wight turned to Tanin and said, “You have my scimitar.  You met my brother and his wife in the tomb.  Now let me introduce you to my sisters.”  And with a sweeping motion of his hand, Vlad, the skeletal warrior, motioned to the corners of the room, where two ghastly forms moved into the light.

Tanin shrugged and looked to the party members and said, “Well, it was worth a shot.”

The final battle at Grim Manor began as the ghasts closed ranks around Vlad and attacked the party.  The fight was hard and brutal.  The party found their weapons did not do as much damage as they could against Vlad, except Tanin’s magical scimitar and Kulo’s silvered short sword.  Vlad’s sisters clawed at the life’s blood of each party member they could reach, at one point paralyzing Kulo, leaving only Tanin able to do significant damage against the wight.  Vlad appeared to target all of his attacks against Tanin, seemingly focused on the wielder of the Blade of Dark Deeds.

At the first significant damage against Vlad, the house was rocked by a significant tremor almost knocking people off their feet!  Tanin, Velnius, and Jana continued to press on hacking at the undead from the abyss.  Again, as more significant damage was done to Vlad, the house shook with a tremor, this time stronger than the last.  And again, people were knocked prone by the shock wave.  But the party held firm and continued to slice and pierce the enemy! Tanin slashed Vlad again with the scimitar seemingly bringing the wight to the edge of oblivion.  A much stronger quake rocked the house and most everyone was knocked off their feet!  But the tide had turned.  With one final stroke, Tanin slayed Vlad.  The sisters soon met the same fate as the party, with Kulo regaining movement, were able to target their attacks on them.

The party searched the coffin for treasure, finding a chest with gold filigree.  Inside they found an unusual dagger (later identified as a Dagger of Venom), a ring (later identified as a ring of protection), and what appeared to be a potion of healing.  In addition, there were five onyx gemstones in the chest.  But as the party was searching the room, another wave of shaking hit the house.  It appeared that the house was unstable as the quakes got stronger and stronger, knocking the party members off their feet if they weren’t prepared.  With haste, the party rushed to exit the building.  As they made their way back through the cellar, the were greeted by Belladore and Xrax who had been revived from their paralysis.  The party in full ran full tilt out the manor as the very foundation started to crumble and the house violently shook apart.  Just as they managed to escape the house, Grim Manor collapsed inwardly on itself in a great upheaval.  As the dust swirled, the party saw a faint image of Mina smiling at them before disappearing.

Outside, the mist that had shrouded everything was now gone.  The night was crystal clear.  The guards who normally watched the house, surprised by the sudden collapse of the manor, collected the party and brought them to the garrison for questioning.  After a long and thorough interrogation by the garrison commander, the party was let free to go.  The garrison commander told the party that they would now likely be regarded as heroes in the town.  Grim Manor was cursed and haunted.  The people of Edgewood would be relieved to see it gone.  But before letting the Heroes of Edgewood leave, the garrison commander told Velnius that he knew where he got Xerbo, his mastiff.  He said he would let this transgression go given their new heroic status, but warned not to do anything like that again or Velnius could expect a nice, long stay in the stockades.

Tanin and Kulo advanced to 4th level.  Velnius advanced to 3rd level.


Wight Paper Miniature: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

 

Session 5: Grim Manor Part I

Grim Manor 1

(Note: This adventure took place in October 2016.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure occurred the next day after Session 4: The Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers).

After clearing out the Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers, Kulo, Tanin, Velnius, and Jana returned to Edgewood.  To their surprise, they found Belladore at the Axe and Saw Inn.  She hinted at not being very successful in her pursuits as a bard in Valerius and was heading back to Cyr. Velnius, the ranger, successfully persuaded a Valeriun guard at the garrison to sell him a mastiff.  Velnius named his new animal companion, Xerbo (though out of earshot, some in the party simply referred to him as “the dog”).

Xerbo the dog

After getting caught up on what had transpired over the last few days, the party packed up their provisions and started to leave Edgewood bound for Cyr.

Meanwhile, Xrax who had accompanied Enna Moonwhisper back to Cyr with Okkar Ironeyes, decided to travel to Edgewood to find his fellow companions.  He was getting impatient waiting on the party in Cyr.

As the party passed the final buildings that make up Edgewood, a deep fog shrouded them.  Day turned into night.  Visibility dropped to no more than 50 feet around them.

Similarly, as Xrax traversed the gates of Cyr, a thick fog enveloped him.  He edged his horse on at a mere walk, not wanting to be surprised by anything suddenly appearing in the mist.

In less than an hour travel, the party saw a dim, yet imposing figure on a horse at the very edge of the fog bank.  Arrows were knocked and crossbow bolts loaded.  As the figure came into view, however, the party saw that the man on the horse was their old companion, Xrax! Somehow he had traveled a distance that should have taken about four days in mere minutes!  The party, now reconvened, continued on their way to Cyr.  After about a half-hour of travel as the fog grew denser and denser, a break in the murky shroud appeared.  As if congealing out of the swirling mist stood a two-story manor home, a house with a grim reputation–the Karpath Brothers estate!  The party waited right outside the gates of the manor house.  Normally, the house was under guard by the Valeriun garrison, but no soldiers could be seen.  Other than the manor house, all was swirling darkness.

Entering the grounds, the party immediately examined the small cemetery in front and to the left of the manor.  The investigation stirred the undead as five zombies attacked!  Easy to hit and cause damage the zombies sometimes returned to their feet after being felled.  Nonetheless, the party eventually hacked them enough to guarantee they would not arise again.

The party next examined the front door while Belladore sneaked around to the side finding a servant’s entrance.  Xrax, not trusting the malefic nature of this place, gave one of the gargoyle statues flanking the front steps a swift kick.  He was rewarded with a hard shock of pain as his foot connected with solid stone.  He turned to the party with a shrug as if saying, “you can’t be too sure.”  Meanwhile, Belladore, finding the side door unlocked, propped the door open with a torch before heading back to the rest of the party. Taking point, Xrax opened the door to the great manse.  As soon as the door opened, three collections of red candles ignited, illuminating the room dimly in an eerily manner.  Crossing the threshold, the party heard the squeeking and rustling of vermin as beady eyes could be seen emerging in the candlelight.  Six giant rats assaulted the party!  While no match for the party’s strength, the giant rats did inflict some injury, nearly killing Xerbo!

The party avoided the large staircase in front of them and instead entered a door on their immediate left.  The small 20′ × 20′ room was pitch black except for the slight ambient light coming from two broken windows.  In the center of the room sat a table with three chairs.  The north wall held a cold, dark hearth.  Sitting at the table were three humanoid figures who arose at the opening of the door.  Filing in, the party soon found themselves fighting zombies again, apparently battling the undead servants of the house.  Sustaining some injury, the party vanquished the zombies.

Barricading both doors, the party decided that this room would make a good place for a short rest to recover from their wounds.  However, as soon as they settled down a swarm of bats attacked from the hearth.  After slicing the bats into little bits, the party moved the table in front of the hearth to block it.  Feeling that nothing could go wrong now, they started to relax only to be attacked by a giant bat that flew in through on of the large windows.  After defeating that bat, the party abandoned the room crawling out the windows and moving to the small graveyard on the manor grounds.  What could go wrong?  Again, a swarm of bats descended on the party.  After picking bat gore out of their eyes, the party came to the realization that they would find no rest on these grounds.

Grim Manor Bat

The party returned to the manor through the side door.  They opened the door to their immediate left, peering into what appeared to be a storage area filled with barrels and seeing a number of beady eyes staring at them.  They closed the kitchen door and proceeded down the hall to the next door.  Opening the door to another storage area, a pantry, a flood of rats came pouring out.  The swarm enveloped Xrax, but the party quickly chopped, diced, and squished the vermin.

Moving on, the party retraced their steps to the foyer avoiding the stairs to the second floor in order to clear the first floor.  They entered the door closest to the right of the stairs.  Once again, as soon as the door was opened, eerie candles on a desk at the back of the room suddenly ignited.  The room appeared to be a library with bookshelves lining the walls.  No evidence of rats or undead, the party caught their breath but maintained their vigilance.  Xrax, the stalwart fighter, stepped inside, maul at the ready.  The evil that lurks within sometimes comes from underfoot!  The rug on the floor suddenly animated and began attacking Xrax, trying to smother him.  With the help from Tanin who set the rug partially on fire with a torch, Xrax finally beat the animated life out from the rug and it collapsed in a smoldering heap on the floor.  A search of the shelves turned up mostly ledgers of the Karpath Brothers lumber operations, but a more careful search by Tanin revealed, hidden among the various ledgers, a particularly interesting yet grisly find: a tome bound in flesh (perhaps human) on abyssal arcana.  Tanin placed it in his pack. On the desk was a diagram of a barrow tomb.

Karpath Barrow Tomb.jpg

Finding no other doors or items of interest in the small library, the party moved to the adjoining room through the door in the foyer.  Opening the door revealed a larger room, 30′ × 40′.  The hearth on the far wall suddenly became ablaze, giving the room a menacing appearance as the light and shadow alternated on the large, mounted stag heads on the wall and the bear rug on the floor.  Two plush leather chairs sat near the hearth with bench seats around the bear rug in the center of the room.  Three chests sat along the walls and two suits of armor stood sentry in the far corners.  Three large windows, their panes broken in pieces, brought in a little ambient light from outside into this hunter’s den.

The party, wary of the bear rug given their most recent experience in the library, entered the room cautiously.  Once all of the party members were in the room, the mounted stag head above the hearth whispered, “I’ll swallow your soul!”  Kulo examined the stag head and hearth but no more threats seemed present.  Xrax moved to the rug and gave it a kick.  The bear rug remained a bear rug.  Calming down, the party started to examine the chests.  As soon as one of them was opened, the two suits of armor animated and attacked the party.  A hard fight ensued, but the party prevailed leaving two busted and battered suits of armor on the floor.  The chests ended up holding an assortment of goblets, a jug with dark liquid, a light crossbow, and a hand crossbow with 20 bolts.  The dark liquid had a strong smell of anise and tasted like something a hunting master would drink to toast the acquisition of his recent trophies.

After scouring the den for loot, the party exited the room through the remaining unopened door.  This small room appeared to be a privy with a chamber pot in the corner.  The party filed through to the door at the back wall.

Ready for danger, the party proceeded into this large 25′ × 35′ room.  As soon as the door was opened, six red candles ignited on the long dining table in the center of the room and the hearth became ablaze with a roaring fire.  On top of the dining table sat a bowl with perfectly ripe apples.  In the southwest corner stood a suit of armor.  The windows were intact in this room, and a winding staircase connected this room to the upper floor.  Wary of another attack by animated armor, the party entered cautiously.  Tanin inspected the bowl of fruit.  The rest of the party prepared for battle with the suit of armor.  The apples looked and smelled normal and delicious.  Tanin took a bite out of one.  The apple not only tasted delicious, Tanin felt a magical palliative coursing through his blood, healing his wounds and restoring his energy.  As Tanin ate the apple, an apparition materialized in the room near the table.

The ghostly woman addressed the party, “My name is Mina.  Please eat the apples.  They will heal your wounds.” She smiled kindly as the party began to eat the apples and continued, “I’m afraid I have need of your help.”

Tanin replied, “How may we assist, my lady?”

The ghost said, “Years ago, my husband and I were murdered by my brother-in-law, Vladislav.  Gaining eldritch powers from a pact with a demon, Vlad transformed Brom and my body into ghoulish forms and sealed them in a tomb he built for himself and his brother.  The vile treachery sundered my spirit from my body so that I might gain vengeance against Vlad.  Alas, I managed to trap him in a room in the cellar, but I too am trapped in this room.  As long as he continues to exist, I am a captive to this manor, to this room.  I beg of you to please end his evil existence, and free my spirit to be reunited with my husband, Brom.”

The party agreed to help Mina, asking if she knew the dangers they had yet to face in the house.

“I’m afraid, I cannot help you there.  All I can do is offer you this room as a safe haven. You will not be harmed here.”  The ghost offered one clue to help the party complete its task, “In order for you to open his room in the cellar, you must first go to the upper floors of the house.”

The party took a short rest in the room.  Mina animated the armor in the corner and directed it to bar the door to the kitchen.

After resting, the party headed up the stairs to the second floor.  The party tried the door closest to the top of the stairs finding it locked.  Deciding to come back to this room later, the party proceeded down the hallway to the right of the stairs.  Around the corner stood another suit of armor that animated and attacked the party as soon as they came within five feet of it.  A short battle later and the armor was a pile of dented and punctured metal on the floor.

The party turned a corner and found themselves in front of a door.  Unlocked, the party entered the large, master bedroom.  On the floor near the hearth, more eerie red candles ignited, the faint light revealing a pair of ghouls who rose from the large bed in the center of the room.  The ghastly creatures seemed almost like the reanimated versions of the two undead that were found in the barrow tomb.  Returning the ghouls back to their unholy abyss with slashes, stabbings, and bludgeoning, the party examined the chest along the west wall.  Underneath linens, Belladore found a very well-made dagger (+1 magical dagger).  A second door in the bedroom led to an adjoining room.  The party rushed in to face whatever danger lurked within.

A couple of the ever-present candles lit up on a writing desk to the left.  But before the party could examine the study, shambling forms reached out to spill their blood.  Defending their life-sustaining essence, the party slew the zombies.  An examination of the room revealed two spell scrolls among books in the shelves, a potion of healing in an unlocked chest, and a letter on the desk.

Letter to Brom.jpg

At that moment, each member of the party felt a searing pain in their head.  Massaging the pain out of their eyes, a daemonic image appeared in their mind’s eye. Surrounded by darkness as black as pitch a shimmering figure stood–A giant beast-man, distended belly, rotted ram’s skull, cloven hoofs, eyes glowing like fire. He pointed his wand and the image swept to a coffin surrounded by glowing red candles. A rushing sound filled each party member’s ears. Feeling paralyzed in place a skeletal warrior arose from the coffin. The fever-image ended with the sound of a harrowing, malevolent laughter piercing each person’s skull like a dark blade used to commit horrific deeds.


Terrain: Heroic Maps

Bats and Zombies Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Rug of Smothering Paper Miniature: Printable Heroes

Inspiration: Curse of Strahd and Ravenloft

 

 

 

Session 4: The Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers

Karpath Barrow Tomb

(Note: This adventure took place in October 2016.  In campaign time, this adventure took place the next day after the Steelhand Clan Redoubt).

After the night of rest, Xrax and Okkar agreed to accompany Enna Moonwhisper back to Cyr.  Her recent captivity at the hands of the orcs had troubled her deeply and she had no intention of returning to her adventuring life, at least at this point.

Kulo, Tanin, Velnius, and Jana decided to travel to Edgewood (lumber town in the King’s Wood between Cyr and Valerius).  Jana had recently acquired the location of the Barrow Tomb of the Karpath Brothers, rumored to be filled with treasure.

The Karpath Brothers, Brom and Vladislav, were wealthy noblemen from Valerius who made their fortunes in Edgewood on the burgeoning lumber trade.  Edgewood’s location along the Hyperborean River made floating lumber down the river to Cyr easy.  As a major port city, Cyr has great need for lumber for shipbuilding.  According to local lore, the Karpath Brothers’ noble heritage and wealth as lumber barons did not satisfy their desire for power.  Rumor had it that the brothers were involved in evil activities, perhaps at the behest of a demonic patron.  This bit of information helped to assuage Kulo and Velnius over the morality of raiding a gravesite.  Tanin agreed, although he didn’t seem necessarily bothered before learning about the possible demon pact.

Travel to Edgewood would take two days from the Steelhand Clan Redoubt.  During the first day of travel, the party was accosted by a group of rough looking fellows, ostensibly bandits, who demanded the party pay a toll to continue on their way.  Tanin attempted to gently persuade the leader to let them pass unmolested but his sweet tongue did little but upset the bandits, who then decided to take what they wanted by force.  The ensuing battle was short-lived.  The ruffians poor weapons and armor made them an easy obstacle to overcome.

Bandits

Arriving in Edgewood, the party sought accommodations at the Axe and Saw Inn to rest before seeking the location of the barrow tomb.  In town, the party asked around for more information about the Karpath Brothers.  They learned that the brothers were involved in a pact with Orcus, specifically.  Their abandoned manor house, called “Grim Manor,” was under constant guard by the Valeriun garrison, despite the death of the brothers for years.  Residents have reported seeing and hearing strange things from the manor house.  The house is under constant watch since the brothers were nobility of Valerius.

The next day, the party traveled to the location of the tomb according to Jana’s information.  On a grassy knoll, they found a stone staircase descending to a door.  As soon as the party crossed an invisible threshold onto the knoll, two animated skeletons emerged as if bubbling from the ground.  The party fought the skeletons but as quickly as they could dispatch the skeletons, new ones would bubble out of the ground.  Tanin quickly realized that they needed to get inside the tomb–the skeletons would continue to spawn as long as they stood near the entrance of the tomb.

Barrow Tomb Entrance

Opening the door to the tomb revealed a hallway that lead to openings both to the left and right, as well as a second entrance to a room on the right.   A suit of armor stood at the end of the hallway.  As soon as the party crossed the threshold of the room, the suit of armor animated and attacked them.  Eventually the suit of armor collapsed into a heap on the floor after the party hacked away at it for some time.

Karpath Barrow Tomb 2

The party entered the room to their immediate right and set about exploring for treasure.  Unfortunately, the room contained mostly broken shards of pottery and a pile of bones in the corner.  Tanin moved up to examine the bones, at which point the bones collectively pulled together to form a skeleton warrior.  Despite the close quarters, the skeleton was quickly reduced back to a pile of bones.

Karpath Barrow Tomb 3

After the skeleton fight, the party peered into the room that was on their left when entering the tomb.  They could see a dark figure hunkering down along the far wall.  Not taking any chances, Kulo unleashed a crossbow bolt into the creature’s back.  The attack brought the ghoul to undead life as it turned and moved to assault the party.  Hack and slash, hack and slash, the party returned the thing from the crypt back whence it came.  On a table in the tomb, the party discovered two potions.  From a taste, the PCs new one was a potion of healing.  The other potion had separate bands of brown, silver, and gray layers.

Barrow Tomb Ghoul

Turning back to the half of the tomb yet unexplored, the party proceeded single-file down a narrow corridor.  As soon as they entered the corridor, an animated scimitar came hurtling at the party.  The flying scimitar caused some damage to the party.  Eventually the scimitar’s animated magic succumbed and it clanged to the ground.  However, unlike the animated armor, the scimitar appeared to be undamaged after the fight.  In fact, it gleamed with an otherworldly shine in the dark and decrepit corridor.  Tanin grabbed the blade and put it in his belt.

Barrow Tomb Scimitar

With no further obstacle in their way, the party continued down the narrow corridor.  At the threshold to the remaining room, the party tried to peer into it and see if they could see another creature like before.  But the hard corner of the wall prevented them from seeing anything.  Rounding the corner, another ghoulish figure assaulted the party.  This walking dead appeared stronger than the other, but was ultimately vanquished by the party.

Scouring this part of the tomb for loot, the party found Boots of Elvenkind, a Helm of Telepathy, 360 GP, and an obsidian statue of a goat-headed demon.  Jana ended up taking the two potions.  Velnius grabbed the boots.  And Tanin took the Helm and the Scimitar (later learned to be the Blade of Dark Deeds).  The party returned to Edgewood with their loot and greater adventuring experience.  Tanin and Kulo advanced to 3rd-level.


Paper Terrain and Skeletons (by Kiladecus): Inked Adventures

Bandit Paper Miniatures: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Ghoul Paper Miniatures: Brave Adventures

Animated Armor and Scimitar Paper Miniatures: Printable Heroes

Paper Miniatures for Kulo and Jana: Permes

Paper Miniatures for Velnius and Tanin: Kev’s Lounge Paper Miniatures

Inspiration for Adventure: Adventure Shorts, Vol 3 by R&D Adventures

 

Session 3: Steelhand Clan Redoubt

Steelhand Clan Redoubt

(Note: This adventure was run in September 2016.  In campaign time, this adventure took place one week after the Bandit Hideout.)

A week passed since the assassination attempt at the Weary Traveler with the PCs feeling a bit stir crazy, largely hunkering down in the inn.  As far as the rest of the party knew, Belladore had left Cyr for Valerius looking for work performing as a traveling bard. Okkar Ironeyes offered the PCs some relief from feeling trapped in the Weary Traveler with an adventuring prospect.  Okkar, a dwarf who grew up as a refugee, has a life-long mission of discovering all of the old dwarven strongholds and mines. He recently received some information about the possible location of a dwarven stronghold belonging to the Steelhand Clan in the northern foothills of the Hammerfall Mountains.  Xrax, Kulo, Tanin, and a newcomer, Velnius who overheard Okkar speaking with the party, decided to accompany Okkar to the Hammer Fall Mountains.   At the least, it would give them a break from the monotony of life at the inn.  They were ready to stretch their legs and likely, bash some heads.

The journey to the reported location of the stronghold took two and a half days to get there.  The journey was mostly uneventful except for accidentally surprising a cockatrice that was feeding.  The party tried to avoid a battle, but the large bird charged them aggressively and they had no choice but to defend themselves.  They all managed to avoid being petrified by the cockatrice’s bite.

As the party approached the foothills of the Hammer Fall Mountains the party discovered a grisly sight: three spears stuck in the ground each one with a severed and rotten head attached.  A medicine check revealed two of the skulls were human and one was an elf.  The party camped without incident along the way to the redoubt.  But on the morning of the second day, they heard distant drumming.  The party’s knowledge, limited as it might be by this point in their adventuring careers, led them to suspect orcs were the source of the drumming.

Around mid-day of the third day, the party approached the reported entrance of the stronghold.  Moving stealthily, the party discovered what appeared to be a cave entrance in the foothills.  Not seeing any humanoids or other creatures enter or exit the cave, they quietly moved up to the entrance, discovering humanoid footprints around the cave opening.  From the size of the footprints and the drumming they heard that morning, they surmised the footprints to be from orcs.

Kulo skulked forward in the cave to discover a wooden door about 20 feet at the back of the cave.  Listening at the door, Kulo heard gruff voices in what sounded like an argument.  Suspecting orcs, the party planned to get the jump on them with a stealthy surprise attack.  Bursting through the door, the party had the drop on the orcs!  In the middle of a game of dice, the three orcs scrambled to grab their weapons to defend themselves.  The party made short work of the orcs, slaying them with little injury to themselves.  Examining the room by the light of a brazier in the corner, the party found weapons racks containing mostly crudely crafted pole arms and swords, except one finely made and unusual glaive and a well-made elven bow.  There were also a few standard longswords, long bows, and well-made arrows and quivers not of orc design.  The orcs had been playing dice at a table in the center of the guard room when the PCs interrupted them.

Steelhand Clan Redoubt 2

After killing off the orc guards, the PCs continued to stealthily examine the stronghold, finding a hallway on the other side of the door in the guard room.  The hallway led to two doors: one wooden and one steel.  The party could hear a number of voices coming from the room with the wooden door, all gruff orc-like voices from before.  Quietly peaking in the door, Kulo observed a large room that looked like the orcs sleeping quarters and kitchen.  A large pot simmered over hot coals in one corner, churning a pungent stew that filled the room with a sickening aroma.  The orcs were busy arguing and playing dice games so they did not notice the door opening.  Two cages sat near the far wall near the bubbling stew pot.  Each held a woman, and one of the orcs was taking pleasure poking one of the women repeatedly with a sharp stick.  The casual torture of the woman disgusted Kulo.

Like before, the party sprung into the room surprising the orcs who quickly rallied to defend their quarters.  The party now faced eight orcs, double the number in the guardroom.  Thanks to the judicious use of a sleep spell from Tanin, the number quickly dropped to six.  After a hard fought battle, the PCs emerged victorious.

Steelhand Clan Redoubt 3

Kulo and Velnius quickly worked to free the two women in the cages while Xrax and Okkar stood guard at the door.  One of the women turned out to be human, Jana, very muscular and stern, while the other was an elf named Enna Moonwhisper. Jana and Enna related to the party how they were searching for some goblin caves with their adventuring party when they were ambushed by the orcs in the foothills of the Hammerfall Mountains.  Three of their party were killed in the ensuing battle.  Their halfling companion ended up in the stewpot.  As Jana said this, the party turned to observe Tanin ladling a small taste of the stew to his lips.  He grimaced at the sickly sweet flavor and dropped the spoon into the bubbling pot as a little hand rose to the surface of the broth and as quickly sunk back into the murky liquid.

The party returned Jana (glaive) and Enna’s (well-made Elven bow) weapons before attempting to enter the metal door.  The party found this door to be locked.  Nary a sound could be heard across the threshold.  Xrax took point and attempted to force the door.  Despite being a stout, iron door, it yielded to Xrax’s mighty strength.  Within the room, three orcs stood ready for action: a guard, an apparent sorcerer, an unmistakably the leader of this band of orcs.  After dispatching the guard, the party focused on the spellcaster, quickly eviscerating him.   The leader, standing taller and burlier than the other orcs, was unrelenting, however.  Tasha’s hideous laughter, cast by Tanin, incapacitated the leader.  The leader recovered from the spell only to be felled by one of the many blows coming from the party who surrounded him on all sides.

Searching the room, the party examined the leader’s throne of bone, finding no secret compartments but realizing the throne covered another door.  Moving the throne out of the way, the party found another stout, metal door.  This one had dwarven runes inscribed on its face.  Okkar quickly translated the runes to read, “Hammer” and “Fist.”  Kulo, drawing upon some esoteric knowledge of folklore, suggested the words be spoken aloud.  Xrax enunciated the words.  The door opened!

Upon entering the room, magical light illuminated a shrine.  At the far end of this 25 × 40 foot room sat a dais flanked on either side by a statue of a dwarven warrior.  Lamps in recessed alcoves along the far wall provided the magical light.  As the PCs stepped forward, a mouth appeared on the statue to the left of the dais and proclaimed, “This shrine is dedicated to Moradin, built by the Steelhand Clan of the Hammerfall Mountains.  This stronghold was our final redoubt after the Glitterdoom.”  The second statue continued, “The Knuckle is cursed.  We are but few.  When the mountain passes are clear of winter’s snows, we head back to the Steelhand Hall.”

Dwarven Guardian Statue

The PCs elected to rest overnight in the stronghold.  Tanin took the orc sorcerer’s staff which turned out to be a Staff of Fear. Velnius advanced to 2nd-level.


Terrain and Furniture: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeons

Brazier, stew pot, and statue paper miniatures: Kev’s Lounge Paper Craft

Pewter Orcs: Ral Partha/Iron Wind Metals

Paper Mini Orcs: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper and Permes

NPCs: Nord Games