Dining on Ashes

In Which Our GM Attempts to Remember Events of Over A Year Ago and Dispense Them in Digestible Bits for...Reasons.
  • Our Heroes commandeer an airship and return to Ludheim.
  • The Gnolls spill it – The mysterious figure was Thunnoch Ulhar, an uncle Kothar Ulhar long thought dead. Thunnoch came to their tribe offering power for service. The Gnoll’s party had come North to check on another expedition. Thunnoch, or Thunnoch’s masters, had sent a delegation to offer an alliance with some new, mysterious power from the North. The skulls-on-pikes, and zombies, were all that was left of the delegates.
  • Rosie returns from adventures in far-off foreign lands.
  • Ludheim is abuzz with news of the Spring-Heeled Jack murders AND an increase in air piracy.
  • Thunnoch’s contact in Ludheim was the Blue Dragon Priest Dade Kintosh.
  • Henry and Rosie sneak around Kintosh’s quarters in the Blue Dragon’s tower. They find weird clay pots.
  • Kothar and Bill meet with Kintosh at the Squeaky Wheel. Violence erupts.
  • Kintosh’s thugs are wearing creepy masks. They are in fact not masks, but demonic symbiotes and the contents of the pots.
  • Under questioning Kintosh reveals that he’s in this for gold and the promise of power. He’s been a go-between for Thieves Guild smugglers and Sleeper cultists. He also knows that the Sleepers have had an artifact smuggled into the city. Grimloc puts him out of his misery.
  • Quintrell Flintwhistle, favorite son of the Flintwhistle crime family, makes the PCs an offer: he can’t go back on the deal he made with the Sleepers, but he can let the PCs know where they are – the sewers.
  • The Flintwhistle’s have hired on quicklings as extra muscle.
  • Benny Five-Points is a valued member of the Flintwhislte family.
  • Our Heroes carve their way through sewer ghouls to find crazy cultist Weeques. The artifact is a stone temple shard and is hooked up to some crazy machine. The machine gates in a Shoggti, which Weeques refers to as an “angel”. Fight!
  • Weeques is taken alive. It does not go well for him.
  • Chaska brings in Lhainil Sparrowwyck, Priestess of Ariel, to remove the demon masks and cure Bill of his Ghoul fever.
  • Henry’s research reveals a secret of the Ulhar family. (Yes, this happened. It was just not brought up in play.)
  • A key with a minotaur crest is found in Weeques’s things. The crest was a symbol of the Vencir family, a noble house that was wiped out in a sahaugin attack 100 years ago. Their abandoned keep is up the coast.
  • A crew is hired for the airship
  • Grimloc leaves Kintosh’s corpse on display in front of the Blue Dragon Church’s tower.
  • They travel to the old keep to find it guarded by orcs. Fight! The orc mercenaries and their ogre leader are killed.
  • The door to the old keep tower lies open…
An Exercise in Trust, pts I & II
So, what IS everyone's alignment?
An Appointment with Danger!
It's not my Dad!

Our Heroes recover from the battle at the Mountaintop and sift through the wreckage. Grimloc finds the charred remains of the airship’s logbook and Kothar finds a dragonstone crystal similar to the one owned by Nashton Stitch When touched to Stitch’s crystal the two merge, because it’s cool. They are escorted down the mountain by Gharrnhevaarr’s pack, who promise to return to their hunting grounds and not bother the townsfolk.

Signs of life in Hulgar’s Pass are already starting to perk up. There is a grand celebration at the Jolly Moose. Grimloc and Chaska try to keep Billfrom hurting himself. Henry studies the logbook and Kothar the crystal. Henry finds that the airship’s last stop was a logging camp about a week’s journey to the northwest. It’s off-season, so the camp would be deserted. Activating the crystal gives Kothar several images, some of familiar places, one of a stone circle in a forest clearing. Once again a dark presence notices the sorcerer and reaches for him.

The next morning the party decides to set out to the logging camp to investigate. Much speculation is made on the identity of the mysterious stranger. After an uneventful trip, they arrive at the camp. As thought, it is closed for the season, but there are signs a ship stopped at the docking tower and a party of nine traveled into the woods.

That night, six figures shamble out of the forest. Some are wearing the blue and red robes of the Ulhar and others are wearing black. They appear undead, but one attacks with a whip-like blood-drinking tongue. After the battle, Henry examines one and finds a weird creature gestating in the corpse.

In the light of day, the party backtracks the zombies. It’s the same direction the mystery travelers took. It leads to a clearing at the top of a hill overlooking the Danutin Forest with an ancient stone circle. It’s the same circle from Kothar’s vision. Investigating, Chaska knows circles like this are not unheard of in the area, evidence of one of the World’s many ancient civilizations. Grimloc notices signs of a fight here recently. Kothar and Henry examine marks and sigils on the stone, some in draconic similar to dialects of the Desert of the Burning Sands. On the other side of the circle, three skulls have been placed on sharpened sticks, the faces pointed up and the skin scraped off with a blade. The one in the middle has a crude symbol, like a crown gouged in the forehead. Then several strange, blue, tentacled lion-things attack! It’s clear these are grown-up versions of the things in the zombies. A vicious fight occurs and the beasts are defeated. Chaska and Kothar are bitten, but I’m sure they’ll be fine.

In the aftermath, Chaska hears the roar of an approaching airship. Our Heroes take cover in the woods. The sleek scout vessel drops anchor. A dragon-winged serpent, six black robed gnolls, and a half-dragon gnoll begin searching the area. The serpent notices he party and he next big fight starts. The gnoll leader blames the party for the deaths here earlier. The serpent, a half-dragon giant constrictor snake, battles Grimloc and Bill to the death. Chaska toasts the leader and everyone makes short work of the gnolls. The last two surrender to Henry.

Our Heroes are now in possession of an airship and more questions…

The Dark Call of the North, pt III
That's what Max Damage would do!!!

Our Heroes search Tybalt Haasenstadt’s quarters. They find:

  • A servant girl’s dead body, eyes cut out
  • A collection of black robes and fine clothes with bilious black stains
  • A chest of gold and gems
  • A makeshift alter and icons to The Sleeper
  • A jar of eyeballs
  • Papers, plans and letters similar to those owned by Nashton Stitch and Sash Fix, including the name “Mr. Last”

While inside, the station’s alchemical lights flicker and Bill is momentarily ill.

Sam Rulard informs them the lights are the result of the station’s experiment. The PCs vote to move along, quickly checking out the chapel. It’s a normal Red Dragon Church temple. For some reason no one pees on the Eternal Flame. Windows overlook the other side of the Mountain. A sharp drop-off can be seen, and an airship is docked below. The crew is bustling. It look like they are preparing to take off.

Moving downstairs, the PCs find a giant laboratory dominated by what looks to be an enormous airship engine. Some brazen bluffing on Henry’s part gets the group inside, but when they try to escort out the head scientist, Dr. Salmon Findler, the jig is up. A fight ensues with the four alchemists on staff. Many bombs are thrown and one of them turns into a monkey-man, but Our Heroes are triumphant.

Findler is interrogated. They’ve been working on an alternative fuel to dragonstone, something less toxic. When pressed, he reveals a vast storehouse stacked high with arcane glass cylinders – all containing fire elementals. The lab has been summoning up elementals from a rift deep in the volcano, caging them, and attempting to use them to power the engine. Nothing has been successful so far, and all elementals have died in the process. They had hoped Xichetalpan, a more powerful elemental from a different souce, would solve the problem. Disgusted with the amoral scientist (“It’s not like they’re people!”), the PCs leave Findler sealed up in a cylinder.

The lowest level was originally a large storeroom, but has been partially converted to a fire elemental summoning chamber. A rift to the Plane of Fire swirls on the center of the floor. A man, Tybalt, is arguing with someone, a mysterious hooded figure in blue and red. The party sneaks in; Bill, Henry, and Kothar along a catwalk, Chaska, Nakai, and Grimloc on the floor. The Mysterious Man tells Tybalt that this scheme has ended and he is leaving. He heads towards the airship dock exit, accompanied by a Cloaked Man. It is almost identical to the one in Sasha Fix’s service. Then the big fight starts.

Henry, Bill, and Kothar rush attempt to intercept the Mystery Man, who is now clearly wearing the robes of the Ulhar Tribe. The Cloaked Man delays them, and the Ulhar(?) tells Kothar “Go home Child. You have no business here.” Meanwhile, the group on the floor faces Tybalt, a cleric of The Sleeper, his summoned dretch, three burning skeletons, Old Sklar and his badger. An epic battle ensues, and, by skill and luck, our heroes win. Grimloc and Chaska smash the skeltons. Nakai downs the dretch. After taking out the Cloaked Man, Henry and Bill leap down to deal with Tybalt while Kothar fires magic missiles in support. They see the cleric, mad from the worship of his alien god, has black slimy drool running down his chin. Sklar engages the half-orcs in melee and dies happy. Bill lands the killing blow on Tybalt and Henry figures out the master controls for the elementals’ cages. The badger gets away.

Grimloc, not content to let anyone, except the badger, get away, makes a run for the dock. He makes a tremendous leap, clings to the side of the ship with his axe, and climbs on board. He is confronted by the Mysterious Man, whose face is now exposed. There is a distinct resemblance to Kothar. Grimloc demands the ship land, the Man insults the half-orc in return. A fight begins: Great-axe vs. lightning bolts.

Meanwhile, everyone else makes a plan to release the elementals. Sam runs to evacuate the staff. Bill calls Xichetalpan, who appears in the rift. He informs her of the situation and Henry release the elementals. The storage doors melt, and a wave of fire rushed over the party’s heads outside. Kothar gives Xi a Feather Fall potion in the hopes she can get it to Grimloc.

The fire elementals smash into the airship, tearing it apart. Grimloc gets in one last slash of his axe before he is separated from the Ulhar in the flames. He drinks an Aid potion to keep himself alive and clings to a piece of spinning, burning wreckage. A hand reached out from the flames and gives him the Feather Fall potion. He drinks it and floats down to a ledge. Burning flotsam falls down the ravine and the elementals return to the volcano.

The group reunites and the bad guys are stripped of loot.

The Dark Call of the North, pt II
Wait, what happened?

Hulgar’ Pass has apparently seen better days. Buildings have gone without maintenance and townsfolk shuffle along downtrodden. The Jolly Moose’s innkeeper, a stout old woman named Odelia Rit, confirms that it’s hard times up on the mountain. Goblins wolfriders are raiding further down-mountain than ever before, strange plumes of smoke foul the air, and most folks seem to have lost the fire in their belly. There is a rumor that the dormant volcano under the mountain is stirring. Chaska doesn’t believe this to be the case, as there are no accompanying tremors.

Our Heroes question if any strangers have been seen. Traffic through the town is common, and, through several lines of questioning, the existence of a volcanic research station at the peak is revealed. The station was built thirty years ago by the Haasenstadts and then abandoned. The PCs decide this is worth checking out.

GM’s note: I honestly can’t remember why they decided to head up the mountain, but that’s where the plot was, so it all worked out.

Odelia recommends a guide, an aged half-orc ranger named Old Sklar. He’s a gruff bastard, but no one knows these mountains better. The PCs meet Sklar and his badger companion. He is a gruff bastard, and they agree to set out in the morning.

Traveling up the mountain, the party notices they are being shadowed by the goblins and wolves. Sklar believes that they won’t attack since the PCs showed their strength earlier. Bill, at one point in the journey, sees Sklar off alone talking to a bird…

That night, Bill and Grimloc are on guard duty. Sklar vanishes and the party is attacked by skeletons. After defeating the undead, the group sets out to track Sklar. They run into the goblins, who wish to speak under a flag of truce. First, it’s clear that the worg are the brains of this partnership. The alpha worg tells the party that they’ve increased their raiding because of being pushed out of their normal hunting grounds by outlanders that have taken up at the old station. Noxious gases from the base has chased away game. The worgs and goblins agree to take the PCs to the research station if they help clear out the strangers.

Kothar chats up the pack leader, hoping to make an ally.

They reach the station, a squat stone structure mostly underground. Bill and Henry scout around, hoping to find a way to sneak in. The two city boys bumble through the woods and bump into two guards. There is a quick fight.

Hearing trouble, or just getting bored, the rest of the group storms the front door. They guards outside are killed and one in the entrance way is taken hostage. Henry and Bill return to the party, and sneaking around begins.

The guard, a young man with a strong sense of self preservation, is named Rulard. He tells them the base has about two dozen staff, most of them are not allowed on the two lower levels, are their boss is Tybalt Haasenstadt, a man that started creepy and only gotten worse.

Our Heroes hide out in the kitchen briefly, hoping to catch a glimpse of the boss. When this doesn’t pan out, Rulard leads them to Tybalt’s quarters, across the hall from the station’s chapel.

to be continued…

The Dark Call of the North, pt I
A little travelin' music, please...

Oh, it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened! – Crow T. Robot

GM’s Note: Recaps from now on are going to be simpler and more succinct. This is for both ease of use and to accommodate my own laziness. Please feel free to add anything I missed or something you think is/want to be important.

Nashton Stitch‘s vault yields much loot. Included are maps and plans for the warehouse and the tunnels under Whitthaven, vials of alchemist’s frost and a scroll of Cone of Cold. Someone was putting together a kit to capture a fire elemental…

Kothar experiments with the dragonstone crystal. Several images flash through his head – Whitthaven underground, the Creature that once was Dr. Cribbins-Whitt, schematics of the device, the plans for the warehouse, and a point on the map to the north, a town in the Oth Xhud Mountains called Hulgar’s Pass. The vision zeros in on a tavern called the Jolly Moose. Meanwhile, he unconsciously sketches out a map to Hulgar’s Pass, an unknown force controlling his hand. Then, Kothar sees a dark hand reaching for him in his mind. He breaks contact with the crystal.

The next morning, Rosie informs the group that she must leave on a secret mission for her family. There are heartfelt goodbyes. The Danderfoots remain a valuable ally for the PCs.

A meeting with Armitage Lolly lets them know the device is ready. The time to deal with the Elemental is at hand. It’s decided that the binding device would be used only as a backup; the group is willing to gamble that she won’t attack upon release. Bill spends some time regaling her with tales, hoping to soften her up for a future alliance, and then breaks the circle. The Elemental leaves in a whoosh of flame, but first grant the PCs a boon; if they every need her assistance, call her name.

Preparation is done to leave town. Our Heroes notice they are being followed, and a fight breaks out with a gang of hobgoblins and their bugbear leader. The survivors are interrogated: They were hired by a nobleman to track down his stolen binding fluid, and it was the bugbear’s bad judgment to actually attack the PCs. They were supposed to meet up with their client that evening on the Old Bridge.

The PCs fake a broken-down carriage to stake out the bridge. At the appointed hour, another carriage stops and waits on the bridge. The nobleman in question is Zelig Templesmith, and, through Kothar’s charm person spell, he becomes talkative. The binding fluid came from research he financed, hoping for a breakthrough that would alleviate his family’s money troubles. A agreement is reached that the PCs would return the fluid and Templesmith would keep them apprised of his research and business dealings. A tenuous allegiance is formed.

Off to the mountains! There are several days of overland travel by horseback and carriage. Grimloc and Chaska talk about their future with the group and Henry completes his Cloak of Elvenkind. This is the farthest Bill has ever been from home. He wants to search to woods for nymphs and dryads. He is wisely talked out of it.

One days travel outside Hulgar’s Pass, the group is attacked by goblins and wolves. Our Heroes are victorious, but not before one wolf snarls at them, saying “Outlanders, with their poison and treachery.” What looks like the goblin chieftain scowls at them over a ridge before riding off on a much larger wolf…

The next day, with fresh snow on the ground, they arrive at Hulgar’s Pass.

to be continued…

Fear Lurks in the Streets, pt II

Fleeing the warehouse with Waymil as a hostage, our heroes hole up in an abandoned building in the Rose District. They question the gnome and learn that he was a mercenary hired by Nashton Stitch, who was the thief leading the warehouse job. Not having any more information, Kothar steals his Brooch of Shielding, Bill steals his hat, and Waymil is knocked unconscious. Henry then goes to test the purple fluid, and the rest of the team rests up after a long night.

After a few hours in the lab, Henry determines the substance to be a component to facilitate a magical binding, either in a spell or magical device. That morning, the team goes to investigate Blintz’s boarding house. Rosie and Kothar check out Stitch’s room, while everyone else either stakes out the outside or goes to the Squeaky Wheel. Kothar fast talks the landlady and Rosie picks the better-than-a-cheap-boarding-should-have lock. Inside, they discover a case containing papers. These papers outline the plan to rob the warehouse, and detail schematics on some sort of device. Oddly, they both seem to be written in two different, but very similar, hands. Then, from under the bed, slithers an iron cobra. They hold off the construct, with Kothar taking a bite full of poison, until Nakai and Grimloc show up. The cobra is then smashed to bits. A key spills out of its innards, marked with the seal of the Church of the Verdant Miasma.

Leaving the boarding house, Our Heroes notice something strange about an ale delivery. The ale smells suspiciously like alchemist’s fire and an ominous ticking is coming from one of the barrels. Rosie and Bill recognize the brewery as a Thieves Guild front. While everyone else evacuates the area, Grimloc gathers the barrels back on the cart, drives it to the docks, unlatches the horses and pushes the cart into the bay. It explodes in a gout of flame and steam, singeing Grimloc and leaving everyone thrilled by his heroics.

Kothar, Rosie, Chaska, and Bill go to Armitage Lolly to inquire about the schematics. Lolly informs recognizes the plans as a device he was hired to construct just days ago. Not naming names, the alchemist implies the client was Nashton Stitch. The PCs inform him that Stitch suffered a nasty accident involving multiple wolf bites, but offer to pay Lolly to finish the machine.

Meanwhile, Henry and Grimloc return to Henry’s shop to investigate the key. It’s identified as used by the Church for private cells withing the temples. Members would often use them for solitude. While there, a messenger knock on the door. Someone is asking to meet the group to discuss “the business of a mutual friend” at a time and place of their choosing. It is signed by a mark of the Thieves Guild.

Meanwhile, again, the city’s three Green Dragon churches are investigated. Henry, Rosie, and Kothar all lurk about in acolyte’s robes, eventually narrowing down the correct church. There, Kothar confronts the head priest, Father Tobin Janos. Janos, who, as it quickly becomes obvious, ritualistically inhales dragonstone vapor, tells the sorcerer to come back later, with his friends, to take “the Dragon’s Test.”

Our Heroes confer, deciding to meet with the Guild first, then deal with Green Dragons. A meeting is set up at the Hooded Hat, a moderately well-to-do tavern except for the still smoking hole in its roof. (That’s a story for another day…) The group arrives early, with Bill off to the side, in disguise. Not long after, a well dressed halfling enters to the warm greeting of some of the patrons. The halfling introduces himself as Benny Five-Points. Bill recognizes him as the man responsible for his old gang’s betrayal and murder. Benny offers the PCs some small talk and a meal on him, then gets down to business. Nashton Stitch was working on his own, not on any Guild business. He survived the warehouse, but is unconscious and in the Watch’s custody. Benny apologizes for the bomb attempt earlier today, it was the response of some of his more impetuous colleagues. Now that his cooler head is in charge of the matter, cleaning up Stitch’s mess will be smoother. He makes it clear that there is no ill will between the Guild and the group. Benny does not know what Stitch’s goal was, only that he was an orphan raised by the Green Dragons and that he’s seemed more distant and weird the past few months. He would appreciate any information the PCs could give him. The group is less than committal, deciding to use their own judgment on what they tell Benny in the future. Bill, fuming, follows Benny out. When Five-Points hops into is carriage, their eyes meet and Benny delivers a tip of his hat and a curt “William.” Vengeance is vowed.

The group then enters the Church. They find Janos in his office, breathing dragonestone vapors from a shallow bowl. He tells them that a convergence of fate has brought them all here, but that they needed to pass the Dragon’s Test. He would lead them to what Stitch was hiding here, but that this was all bigger than that. Fate needed to know if they were the right people in the right place at the right time.

Janos leads them to an underground chamber. Entering this large, circular room a door slams down behind Our Heroes, locking them in. Then, from a pool in the room’s center, leaps a creature, it’s maw of teeth narrowly missing Grimloc. A mighty melee then ensues with the chanber’s guardian, a giant half-dragon crocodile. The fight is bloody, the beast’s acid breath scorches Chaska, Nakai, and Grimloc. Bill scores the final blow against the monster, piercing its lung with his rapier.

Flushed with victory, the group opens Stitch’s cell. It was used by him as a supply dump and vault. In addition to various treasures, the PCs find: achemetical grenades with the draconic symbol for “ice”, a scroll of “Cone of Cold”, a collection of clay tables with the mark of The Sleeper, more writings in the two hands, a fist-sized chunk of clear crystal dragonstone wrapped in a cloth of the Ulhar Tribe, and a map with a point to the North marked…

Fear Lurks in the Streets, pt I

Our Heroes leave the ruins of Whitthaven and report back to Lord Alastair for their reward. He congratulates them, thanks them for their good work, promises that the dead workers families will be cared for, and arranges that his manservant, Jaebez Battsley, pay them. Duprey then speeds off to the opera. Rosie, Chaska, and Bill head out to celebrate. Henry begins researching The Elemental’s history, seeing if her story checks out. Kothar convinces Grimloc that it’s not necessary to sit watch on The Elemental before starting his own research on the magic items the group recovered. Grimloc spends the evening sharpening his weapons.

Henry’s research essentially confirms The Elemental’s story. Her accidental burning of the ancient outpost town where Ludheim now stands was just that, and her imprisonment was intended to be a temporary punishment. What was not uncovered was her name. Henry believes it could be found in the Book of Ezzerhauden, a rare, ancient history text. He proposes that the group meet to consult with an acquaintance, alchemist and wizard Armitage Lolly. Lolly can also aid in identifying the magic items Kothar could not. They all meet up, except for Chaska, who is spending the morning with Ludheim’s downtrodden.

Armitage Lolly of the proprietor of Lolly’s Curiosities, a magic shop in Margeave’s Point. Some wheeling and dealing occurs over magic items occurs, and then they get down to business about the book. Lolly tells them a copy of the Book of Ezzerhauden is owned by Naram Seen, a rare book dealer. Seen operates a stall in Elspeth’s Market in the Mince Pie District.

The party travels to Elspeth’s Market, a dilapidated manor house that has been converted to an open air marketplace. The place is noisy and crowded as vendors of all types hock their wares. They find Naram Seen in a makeshift stall with tapestries hung for partitions and several freestanding bookcases, all full. Seen is a fastidious bully, prizing his books and schmoozing his customers while berating his kobold employees in low draconic. After some haggling, Seen agrees to sell them the book and sends a kobold to fetch it from a storage area behind a curtain. The kobold returns empty handed. A man is then spotted scaling the market’s wall and slipping through a opening in the roof. He is clutching a book-sized bundle. Grimloc and Henry climb up after him while Kothar and Bill run out to the street. Rosie is enjoying the old books far too much to run off now.

For the chase scene, I used a variation of the chase rules from the Doctor Who RPG. It was abstracted out, with a line of eight spaces representing the chase route and the thief placed two spaces in front of the pcs. I rolled an Acrobatics check for the thief, and this became the dc each chaser needed to beat in order to catch up. If a player fell more than six spaces behind he was out of the chase. Any reasonable skill could be used; Acrobatics and Climb for jumping and scrambling, Knowledge (Local) for finding shortcuts, etc. Additionally, since Grimloc’s movement is slower than the rest’s, he needed to make a Fort. save to keep up. I think this made for more drama than just a one roll skill check and much less work than actually mapping out the rooftops and streets. ___

The thief is caught and it’s Jimbo, an old cohort of Bill’s. He was hired by a man named Nashton Stitch to steal the book. Stitch told him he was a member of the Thieves Guild and this was Jimbo’s chance for an invite. Jimbo doesn’t know much more, only that it was part of a larger job happening that night in a warehouse by the docks. The group hauls off Jimbo and the book. Seen is so happy that the thief is caught he offers the pcs an even better deal and throws in some history books for Rosie. While he’s there, Kothar picks up a tome on his homeland.

Our Heroes, with Chaska now joining them, find that the book does contain the Elemental’s name: Xichetalpan. All pages with reference to the name were cut out, and the book was returned to Jimbo. He then leaves to deliver the book to Stitch, with Rosie secretly following. Everyone else goes to check out the warehouse.

The warehouse is a large structure near the docks, bustling with afternoon activity. The pcs pose as city officials and con their way inside to case the place. The warehouse has two stories, roof access for airships, and a loading crane. It isn’t used exclusively by any merchant or business, but instead rents out space. Grimloc opts to hide amongst the crates and wait out the thieves. Everyone else leaves to prepare for the ten o’clock robbery.

Meanwhile, Rosie tracks Jimbo to Valdemarr’s, a tavern friendly to the Guild. Not long after, a man leaves carring a book-shaped bundle. Rosie follows him to Merton Blintz’s boarding house in the Rose District. After several hours, and the use of a Hat of Disguise to gain the height required to peek into a window, Rosie spots unknown man leaving the house with four others and entering a carriage. She follows the carriage to the warehouse, only to come around an ally corner to find a burly, scarred woman waiting for her. The two spar, and the woman knocks Rosie unconscious with her bare fists…

Not long after, from their various stakeout points, Our Heroes spot the five thieves entering the warehouse from the roof hatch carrying the unconscious Rosie. The unknown party makes for the crate Lot 47 and begins breaking in. The pcs spring into action and a giant fight ensues. Our Enemies include:

  • Nashton Stitch – Enterprising rogue and ringleader.
  • Tarquin Gamyr – Exiled elven ranger with a dislike for orcs
  • Daegel – Red Monk and deliverer of beatings
  • Waymil – Gnome Summoner. Creepy, mercenary, and wearer of strange hats.
  • The Moraype – Waymil’s Eidolon. Its features combine a great ape and a moray eel.

The epic battle involves many pcs at death’s door at various points, and Henry using the crane to grab Daegel and bash her around. Stitch and Gamyr and taken down. Waymil and the Moraype try to escape. The Watch shows up with a Clockwork Man and Daegel is dropped to their mercies. The Moraype is destroyed and dissolves to ectoplasm, and Waymil surrenders. The contents of Lot 47 is an iron box containing a large beaker of thick, purple fluid. That and the gnome are scooped up by Our Heroes and, with the Watch at their heels, they escape into the night…

What Doom Underground!, pts I & II
or "Brevity is the Soul of Whitthaven"

Backstory: Langley Cribbins-Whitt was a doctor, scientist, and practitioner of the healing arts. He was also steadily going insane. He opened his ancestral home, Whitthaven, in Ludheim’s Bramblemoth District, as a sanitarium. It was a place where the upper classes could commit family members with conditions that made them unsuitable for polite society. Cribbins-Whitt used the patients as pool of experimental subjects. He was obsessed with the structure of the brain and its uses in extrasensory communication. He also came to believe that an advanced, intelligent civilization existed in the Underdark, and was desperate to communicate with it. The breakthrough came with the patient Chatsworth Duprey. The sickly young man had something in his blood, a magical resonance that was perfect for Cribbins-Whitt’s experiments. The doctor constructed his communication device, attaching Chatsworth’s and several other patients’ brains to it. Something, however, was off in the experiment. Instead of a simple communicator, the machine transformed the hospital’s basement lab. Caverns from deep underground were dredged up and fused to Whitthaven’s cellars. These included Krell Empire era ruins and part of a derro city. The experiment also altered Cribbins-Whitt, fusing him with a violet fungus and making him a monstrosity. At the same time, Chatswoth’s sister, Mathilda, had learned enough of the doctor’s madness to take action. Her and a band of adventuresome friends descended on Whitthaven. They were unable to save the patients or stop Cribbins-Whitt and his new morlock minions, and the ensuing conflict burned down the sanitarium. However, they were able to seal the entrance underground. The magical wards placed on the capstone would prevent the creatures escape and alter their perception of time, hopefully enforcing docility. Over fifty years pass…

What Happened: Our Heroes are hired by Alastair Duprey to investigate the new property he has inherited from his Aunt Mathilda: Whithaven. Only one member of the team of assayers he sent returned, and that man, Cotter Mann, was insane. After some investigation, the Heroes enter the grounds of Whitthaven. They find the warded capstone and a gnawed leg. Descending, they find a series of chambers and corridors of different construction. Among them:

• An old storage room that had become a dire rat warren. • A band of morlocks feasting on the remains of the lost crew • An ancient Krell Empire temple to the Winter Queen, now home to an ochre jelly. • The violent ghosts of the sanitarium’s more vicious orderlies. • The ghosts of the murdered patients, including Chatsworth, who tells the pcs his tale. • More of the Winter Queen’s temple, now infested with giant centipedes • A strange pulse occurs, altering the tunnels. • A Krell Empire chamber guarded by three small elementals. Writings indicate it is a place of “study” and “confinement”. Entering, the heroes find a binding circle containing a fire elemental. The Elemental explains that she has been here for over three thousand years, that she made a mistake, burned down a large part of the city, was bound here as punishment, and then forgotten. There is much debate on a course of action. Ultimately, they decide to investigate more and return. • The architecture become more alien as they enter a displaced chunk of a derro city. More morlocks are fought. • A large, disk-like mechanical door blocks the way. After some tinkering, and a severe electrocution, it is opened.

The Final Showdown: The Heroes enter a large circular chamber. The opposite side ends in a deep chasm. The ceiling is ringed with copper cables, pulsing with electricity. The cables lead down to four man sized cylinders, each topped with a glass container housing a brain. With fresh brains, the experiment has been restarted. The evil ghosts, two more morlocks, and the fungus creature that was Dr. Langley Cribbins-Whitt guard the device. A might battle ensures, and Our Heroes are victorious. The device is destroyed. The ghost’s bones are burned, sending them to their final reward and loot is recovered. That chamber then collapses in on itself, sealing access to the Underdark.

Other Points to Keep in Mind:

• At Duprey Manor, Rosie saw Anastasia Duprey meeting with Tetch Envoy Ibn Ket. • Bill stole a brass elephant from Duprey Manor. He then left it with The Elemental as a gesture of goodwill. • A photograph of a young Cribbins-Whitt was found in the ruins. The picture also features a half-elf woman and a gnome man. • Among the holy water found in the Winter Queen’s temple there was also a small clay pot containing a thick oil. • Cotter Mann was committed to St. Bartleby’s Asylum for Lunacy and Brain-Fevers. This is not the worst insane asylum in Ludheim.

Terror from the Skies!, Part II
I don't want to have to tell the Colonel, "Sorry I stabbed your baby."

The heroes descend on the Squeaky Wheel, a waterfront dive casino. They learn from the owner, cantankerous old man Mr. Blintz, that Sasha Fix rented the basement of his nearby boarding house. There, they find trash and the remnants of a lab. Hidden among the rubble they find strange opalescent paints and an alchemetical lantern. Lighting the lantern reveals Fix’s mad scrawlings all over the walls and ceiling. Deciphering them tells her tale of “dying twice” in the Colonies and the outline of a sacrificial ritual set for tomorrow at dusk at the ruins of the Lighthouse. There are also several reference to " The Sleeper " and a strange symbol. The heroes are then attacked by two spider swarms, which they bravely escape.

The night and next day are spent in rest and preparation. Kothar’s contact at the Aerodrome has secured them the use of a patrolboat to fly them out to the Lighthouse, just in time for a storm to roll in. The heroes, under the watchful, slightly drunken, eye of Captain Jim, rise above the clouds and get a rare taste of clean air. They fight through the storm to reach the Lighthouse, finding Fix’s airship moored there.

Sasha Fix, the Cloaked Man, and the Infant Sebastian are on the top deck, as are a giant bugbear and some more goblin mercs. The heroes go full swashbuckler and swing down to the deck on ropes. The villains retreat below deck, while the PCs make short work of the goblinoids. With time of the essence, Grimloc smashes the hatch and they follow.

They next deck has been converted to a swampy pit with a walkway across it. The walkway naturally breaks free, tumbling Henry and Grimloc into the muck. They are promptly attacked by giant leeches. The beasts are hacked to goo, and everyone runs to the next level.

Here, this deck has been converted to a laboratory. While investigating the lab, six zombies smash out of glass cases and attack. After a battle that’s a little too exciting for everyone, the zombies and the lab’s Frankensteinian equipment are smashed. Found in the lab is Fix’s stash of gold, potions, books and notes; all of which are snatched for examination later.

The lowest deck, the ships hold and engine room, find Fix dangling the baby over an open cargo door and chanting in Abyssal. The heroes leap into action, fighting the mad sorceress, her cloaked henchman, and the last two goblin thugs. Fix and Kothar attempt to have a sorcerer showdown, but manage only near misses. Henry horrible burns one goblin with acid before they’re finished off with crossbow bolts. Rosie and Grimloc square off against the Cloaked Man; Rosie swings off a handrail to get into flanking position for some stabbing and Grimloc gets the killing blow with his axe. The Cloaked Man lets out a hideous death scream and collapses into a pile of rags. He is simply layers of clothes; and, at the center: a dead rat(?). Meanwhile, Bill and Kothar keep Fix occupied while Nakai leaps to the attack, tearing out the sorceress’s throat before she has a chance to monologue.

Henry climbs out onto the rigging to rescue young Leopold, who is cranky but unharmed. Captain Jim returns to tug the airship back to Ludheim. The Sebastians are happy to have their son back and the heroes are handsomely rewarded.


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