Thursday, 26th July, 2012, 09:45 PM #131
Pringle saves the day
The abomination sends itís tentacles into the wall separating it from the party and rips the wall down raining rubble upon everyone; several bits of the rubble impact upon Zordlan and poor Nashkar causing minor damage. This does however allow the party to see more of the creature as dust settles upon it and the surrounding area but it also renders them more susceptible to the creatureís attacks. Sayuri casting a spell covers Nashkar in grease allowing him greater chance of squirming free of the creatureís tentacles; Pringle utilizing his most powerful summons starts chanting some disturbing sounding arcane words as his eyes start glowing a weird red/purple colour. Grembor continues to fire arrows past the swiftly dodging Zordlan and the prone Nashkar; each twang of his bowstring causing them both the flinch in remembered pain of arrows in the back. However he only shoots himself in the foot once and manages to keep his misses suitably away from anyone else. Zordlan continues hacking away at the creature as Nashkar finally manages to slip out of the tentacles that have been holding him; his armor has been sorely tested and found wanting as the deep gouges and punctures attest to the creatures strength; he is looking very pale and weak as if most of his blood has been sucked from him.
Tentacles strike out at Zordlan slapping him around the face several times and making his ears ring with the impact although thankfully he manages to avoid being grappled by the insidious tentacled thing. Sayuri happy that Nashkar is no longer wrapped up in the creature sidles to the side and unleashes a lightning bolt with sends shudders through the creature as itís tentacles all stand up on end ripping parts of the ceiling down. Zordlan again flinches as the bright lighting passes before him only too aware how much that can hurt as Sayuri is usually not too bothered about where her spell effects go and who they hurt as long as they effect the enemy as well. Pringle finishes his spellcasting and a glowing red portal appears behind the monster. Out steps a Babu demon covered in dripping sizzling blood whose eyes widen at the sight of the huge tentacled creature before it. It however steps up and its claws rip into the monsters flesh leaving deep foul smelling rents in its hide which the demon savors with a chuckle; Pringle grins and starts summoning another one. Grembor pulls the arrow from his foot wincing at the pain and fires that at the still invisible creature; Zordlan opens up another rent in its hide and gets covered in more foul smelling slimy blood. Nashkar retreats from combat hoping to be left alone as he channels energy though the party; healing up their ills.
The aspect of Yog-Sothoth splits its attacks between the newly arrived Babu Demon and Zordlan; after itís first hit against the Babu demon it declines to try grappling it as itís acidic blood covered body burns itís flesh. It does however cause some good hits with its tentacles. The other attacks strike at Zordlan each hit rocking him back on his feet as his armor tolls like a bell when struck by the tentacles; but it fails to succeed at a grapple. Sayuri assaults it again with a torrent of force missiles while Pringle drags another Babu Demon through another glowing portal. The pair of Babu Demons attack; each tearing into the creature with claws and bites; they reduce the once mobile and efficient killer of everything to a bubbling pile of tentacles and eyes in a few short seconds. The whole party heaves a huge sigh as the aberration dies but not too deep as the stench of the thing is still very apparent; even more so now itís insides are outside.
DM Note: Pringles Summons were the best thing he could have done; each Babu Demon gains 3 attacks, they can see inviz and they had flanking so they got sneak attack. Was very surprised that Yog-Sothoth was not immune to sneaks or criticals like most Aberrations are. The last attacks by the pair of Babu Demons caused in excess of 70 points of damage. If I recall 5 out of 6 attacks hit causing 5d6+25 damage +10d6 sneak from flanking with Zordlan. (+2d6 sneak per attack) The poor creature didnít have a chance even after factoring the +2 levels from consuming the last Keeper. But then if your higher level spells donít do much itís just frustrating.
On the Reincarnations I rolled d100 to see how much of a taint they received and how much like their old selves they would be. Grembor got 76% like his old self so he has about a quarter of his body is covered in tentacles; while Zordlan got lucky with a 96%. So he just gets the weird soulless eyes and the rippling under the skin. No idea what I would have done if they got less than 50%. Guess they would have come back more Chaos Beast than they did Ö
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Exit Stage left, Ending of a side quest.
They scout out the building; fragile though it is and discovers a dismembered corpse spread around the room; it takes some searching but they do eventually find most of the missing pieces. They assume this was the Keeper they were looking for and the creature had already killed him. They now have a problem; how to prove to the mayor that an invisible creature did all the damage and it is now dead; they mull over this problem for a while as the creature swiftly decomposes from the huge tentacled horror it was into a more jelly like substance which is becoming more liquid by the minute. Sayuri takes out a bottle and decants some of the weird invisible jelly water into here; the smell is almost overpowering in its intensity and she swiftly corks the foul smelling stuff and holds it out at arms reach in disgust. They decide that this will be sufficient for some reason and proceed to the Mayor to tell their tale of woe, death and destruction.
Upon arriving; they are escorted into the presence of the mayor; the party look decidedly battered and disheveled. Nashkarís armor is practically falling off him it has so many rents in it from the creatures tentacles; they stink to high heaven; Grembor is sporting a fancy tentacle that was not there previously and Zordlanís face seems to occasionally squirm as if something under his flesh wants to get out. The mayor is somewhat taken a back by the sight (and stink) of them he quickly asks if they are done. They state they are and present the bottle of stuff as proof to which he swiftly digs out a purse and throws it towards them. He enquires when they will be leaving and where they will go now but they donít seem to know; with a wave of his hand they are dismissed and as they exit they can hear the sound of someone vomiting noisily followed by the sound of several people vomiting. Itís been a good day and it is only mid morning.
DM Note: Here ends the Carrion Hill mini side adventure; however the after effects of this sojourn will echo through the remainder of the adventure due to the Ďminorí changes to the party members. Pringle found a forbidden book and became an Alienist; Grembor and Zordlan became Chaos Beasts were killed by the party and were reincarnated and came back more than they were previously; this will have further repercussions later in the adventure.
Wake of the Watcher
The streets are quiet, barely a soul stirs as the first rays of sunlight break through the oppressive gloom that was has been the last several days of stormy weather. The heroes of Carrion Hill appear walking out of the impressive town hall building; five figures each striding with purpose each confident in their power and the bonds of friendship; they walk in no mans shadow.
Leading the way is a lean whippet thin half elf, his eyes scanning every street, ally and rooftop for movement. His relaxed stride a cover for the perpetual tension he is in; his Ďhandí never far from his bow which looks like it has been well used with a quiver to match. He is wearing a simple cloak currently thrown over one shoulder to allow his right arms full maneuverability however this arm is sheathed in a thick skin tight leather glove strapped to his armor and does not move in the normal manner. It flexes along its length and it seems to undulate more than swing like a normal arm; his eyes are black pits with a burning halo of silver fire which would make anyone nervous to meet this deep soul searching gaze. Meeting and keeping this gaze one would see weirdly moving constellations deep within these eyes as if looking at some distant unknown galaxy. His well tooled leather belt holds a variety of weapons from a simple knife to a very nice looking longsword which he holds in check with his left hand. The remainder of his outfit looks well repaired and functional consisting of combat leathers and a dark green/grey cotton shirt. His face is pleasant enough until you notice some strange movement along the cheek bone or the faint ripple of something moving under the skin.
Pringle follows behind Grembor; his feet still shuffle occasionally as his eyes gaze more inwards than taking note of his surrounding. He is dressed in an easy fitting cotton shirt with woolen pants, sturdy boots cover his feet and a wide leather belt clinches his waist. Hanging from his belt is a dagger along with several other items which a scribe would find useful. His hand grips a fancifully carved staff of yew wood which taps in cadence to his footsteps on the cobbled street. Small wire rimmed spectacles sit precariously upon his nose as if he forgot they were there as he looks over them at his surroundings before returning to his own inner thoughts on the theory of magic and how it should be used. A thick cloak covers his slender shoulders wrapped around for warmth and upon his back is a heavy looking satchel out of which several square shapes suggest the presence of several books. Every now and then he gazes with longing and mild jealousy at Gremborís right arm. His eyes seem to glow with an inner silvery purple fire and there is madness hiding deep within those silvery orbs as if he knows things which would shatter a normal personís sanity like a dry twig.
Gliding gracefully behind Pringle flitting from the front of the party to the rear is Sayuri; her enhanced movement sending her leaping to the front to have a quick conversation with Grembor before her mind takes her sweeping back to her previous position. She is dressed in well made traveling attire consisting of cotton and silk in several colours. There are few weapons upon her person apart from a dagger which looks very similar to one practically everyone else is wearing; her long legs seems to eat up the distance as she strides elegantly and without effort through along the walkway. Her eyes brimming with mischief are both tinted with silver but one burns red while the other is a vivid green; her raven dark hair moves in a sudden breeze as her eyes scan the surrounding area missing little. Shadows dance around her feet and every movement is followed by the faint after image of shadowstuff in her wake. She is smiling and her cheery demeanor is infectious to the whole party although one may notice a certain coldness in the eyes behind the pleasant exterior.
Moving nimbly along with Sayuri even though he is dressed in a fanciful set of Elven full plate is Zordlan; Sayuriís protector and guardian. His job to keep her out of harms way has not been going quite to plan. His helmet is hanging from his belt and his large curved sword is currently strapped to his back which is interfering with his cloaks regular movement. His eyes are constantly on Sayuri and the environment surrounding her; they stray to the rooftops and to dark alleys to check for assassins or other persons of ill favor. His lovely plate armor is seriously dented here and there with a large welt across his breastplate which causes him some concern every now and then. The sword strapped to his back is well used and anyone observing the party would know instantly that this was someone to be concerned about in a fight. Apart from the obvious armor and large weapons his eyes also burn with a vivid silver light; the iris however is a deep black soulless holes of despair and looking for too long into them you tend to see stars and planets of unknown constellations. His skin ripples as if there was something underneath wishing to get out but it is currently trapped within the skin suit; it happens so rapidly that you donít believe it actually happened and maybe itís some trick of the light. As soon as his dead eyed gaze turns your way you know it was no trick and this elfís soul is barren to the core. He stinks to high heaven with the most disgusting aroma imaginable; you would think it was the worst smell in the world until you smell that which follows in his footsteps.
Stumping along behind everyone is Nashkar; he is armored in what was once very good Dwarven plate but it is currently looking battered and very torn; there a rents in the metal as if some great toothed maw had tried to bite him in half. There is the definite stick of something noxious about him and anyone who gets too close is soon sent vomiting into the closest side street as the choking stick of his slime covered armor mixed with vomited dwarven ale and the general stink of a dwarf who has been wearing armor all day. Even Nashkar is finding the smell overwhelming and he is chocking back on his own vomit from time to time as the wind changes. His grey eyes stare ahead in a determined fashion; jaw set and teeth clenched behind his beard still showing the lumpy after effects of being vomited into. His helmet is currently swaying alongside his marvelously fashioned axe while his shield is strapped to his back. He is not a happy dwarf but then would we even know if he was happy behind all those whiskers and dour exterior. This is one Dwarf who need a bath and hell will find whoever gets in the way of this most noble of quests.
The whole party feels dirtied beyond imagining as the aroma of some of the party members seems to have been absorbed into their own clothing. Sprits are however quite high as they are the saviors of Carrion Hill and they have just been paid for the slaying of a terrible smelly aspect of an ancient god. The payment in no way covered their expenses though but you can't have everything and they did just do some god killing so that counts for something ... Right?
Pringle gets arrested ...
They make it back to the Sloppy Rune Inn with the small amount of locals and passer byís giving them a very wide berth; upon entering the bar several of the residents get up and leave as the smell of the party precedes them. They ask for baths and the manager through a dirty cloth covering his nose and mouth suggests some soap may not go amiss; for a price he sends one of the waitresses to a local shop to obtain some sweet smelling products to set around the Inn and some soap infused with sand to help scrub away the stench. Nashkar approaches a likely looking lass working the tables and asks if they would assist in removing his battered plate armor for some monetary recompense as he is unable to get out of it on his own on a good day let alone when it has been bent and twisted like this. To everyoneís surprise she agrees and escorts him upstairs to his room; she is paid handsomely even though she vomits on Nashkar on several occasions due to a stink of the creatures slime.
Sayuri and Zordlan retire to their rooms to get him out of his exceedingly smelly armor and they all head to the bath house to scrub the armor and clothes before scrubbing themselves clean. Nashkar even manages to persuade his waitress to help with this; again for a substantial monetary contribution; upon investigation he discovers his waitress is called Charles and likes dressing as a woman; Nashkar is not one to judge as Dwarven women tend to the masculine themselves and some even have beards.
They all meet up afterwards to discuss their plans and to decide what to do next. They donít have any idea where to go or what to do until one of them remembers that they still have some documents they found with Auren Vrood which they have not as yet deciphered. Their main linguist was otherwise occupied at the time and they forgot to mention it to him then; by otherwise occupied he was quite dead (but he got better). They dig through their stuff until they find the satchel containing the various coded documents; it takes them several hours and quite a number of drinks later to work out the difficult code used in the documents and find out that the seasage effigy was dispatched to the little town of Thrushmoor to be exchanged for something of value to the Whispering Wayís plans. They decide to head out the next day to track down this lead as Thrushmoor is only a few days ride to the south.
Most of the rest of the evening is spent drinking and relaxing while Pringle lets his hair down and is quite insulting to the innkeeper before vomiting on the barroom floor grabbing some food and wine and retreating to his room where he spends the rest of the night. The rest of the party stays in the barroom and celebrates the defeat of the creature with tentacle wrapped mugs held high and buying drinks all round and putting it on Pringles bill.
The next morning Pringle refuses to come out of his room till the late morning; Sayuri and Zordlan head out looking for supplies for the trip to Thrushmoor while Nashkar heads down the street after asking directions from the innkeeper. He acquires a nice looking battle trained pony for a relatively reasonable price. Grembor finds his way to a local bowyer to purchase some replacement arrows while Pringle finally decides to rouse himself at about mid morning and heads down to settle his bill. The others have already paid theirs but Pringle seems a little put out by the size of his bill as it is handed to him by a smirking innkeeper and currently sits at 100Gp. He tells him that he needs to get some more money from his room and heads back upstairs.
Packing all his stuff he manages to escape out of the window but had forgotten that they are on the 3rd floor of the inn; scouting around he spies a tree growing close to the inn and leaps for one of the closer braches. Not being an experienced tree climber by any measure he misses and plummets to the ground 40ft below where he arrives with a bone jarring impact. It appears luck is not with Pringle this day as he regains his feet with an audible groan he notices two Crows observing him from across the street; they contain their laughter and stride over towards him. Pringle in an amateur attempt to bribe the approaching officers places some gold on the ground and says loud enough for them to hear ďwhoops I seem to have dropped some goldĒ before smiling at the guards. They look at him and then at the glittering pile of gold before grinning and asking him if he will come along quietly; one (they assume) for attempting to run away from the inn without paying for his tab and the other for his pitiful attempt to bribe the city watch. Pringle had not fully thought his plan through as his horse was also stabled at the inn along with his saddle and other items.
The Crows take Pringle to the city jail where he is charged with theft and the much more serious crime of attempting to bribe a city official. He is stripped of all his worldly goods and locked in a small cell manacled hand and foot and left to his own devices. The cell is solid stone without windows with an barred gate leading to a corridor. The corridor only has the one very solid wooden door with iron straps and a single small barred window allows the only light into the cells. He tries testing the bonds and they hold firm against his meager strength; looking around the cell he find nothing to assist in getting him out of his current predicament.
Sayuri and Zordlan head back to the Inn to meet up with the rest of the party and are informed by the Innkeeper that Pringle had been arrested following his attempted run from paying his bill. Shaking her head she directs Zordlan to pay off the amount he owed to the innkeeper and requests directions to the jail so they can enquire to the condition of Pringle. They head out chuckling softly to themselves as yet again they have to save the wizard and arrive at the jailhouse shortly afterwards. The jailhouse is a solid stone structure with an imposing iron door which is currently open; there are small barred windows on all four walls. They walk inside and are greeted by a smiling fat Crow who is seated behind a solid desk; asking as to their business Sayuri asks after Pringle and they are advised that they have a judgeís appointment in the morning to discuss his case and pass judgment upon the issue. Sayuri asks what they can do as they need to leave quickly so checking through his books he advises that for a suitable fee the charges could be dropped. For the princely sum of 300 gold plus the innkeepers bill then they will release Pringle to her care as long as they leave the city. He explains that this is the most likely sum the judge will levy on them less the court costs so justice will be served and hopefully Pringle will have learnt a valuable lesson. Sayrui with a nod towards Zordlan to pay the man grins while asking in her most innocent sounding voice who his personal items will be turned over too; grinning the Crow advises, after the payment is made that Pringles items are turned over to Sayuri. She receives his items and removes 400 gold from his pouch and nods towards the Crow sergeant. He picks up some keys and unlocks a solid looking door and descends down some steep stairs (handy for prisoners to fall down) to the basement where he unlocks another very solid looking door leading to the cells. They lead Pringle up the stairs and once in the main room remove his restraints with a rune marked key; his restraints flash with a small magical discharge when they are unlocked which make Pringle start as he had no idea they would be enchanted.
They are escorted back to the Inn by a few crows where Pringle has to go into the inn and apologize to the innkeeper for trying to run without paying. After a stern lecture from the innkeeper on moral values and his responsibility to lead by example he is allowed to leave. When leaving he tells the innkeeper that he would be back to kill him thankfully for Pringle in a tongue the innkeeper does not understand. Seems Pringle did not in fact learn anything from this. They meet up with Grembor and Nashkar outside and head to the gates. Upon arriving at the gates Pringle asks the pair of Crows who arrested him their names and thanks them for putting him on the right path; He again tells them that he will rip out their still beating hearts in an obscure language before riding away with the rest of the party.
The rest of the day is spent traveling; the speed of travel is limited by the speed of the pony Nashkar is riding and as such they make it most of the way through the Stonegroves approaching the Watching Wood. They camp for the night in a dell and have a quiet night of it.
Pringle finds a new friend .. oh and beware the scythes of march ...
The next morning they set out early; about mid morning they hit the forest and start making their way though; there only seems to be game trails though the forest with the occasional remnants of a true road showing every now and then. Mid afternoon finds them roughly halfway through and in the deepest part of the wood; the surrounding foliage has been getting increasingly large as they progress and Grembor has been getting increasingly more worried as the day progresses as the fey influence of the region is of the more foreboding type; he has tried leading the party away to go around the taint but each time they try heading towards a nicer part of the forest they seem to head into the deeper wood. Resigning themselves to whatever may come they move along the trail warily expecting the worst; however what they meet is so much worse than what they were expecting.
They are riding cautiously through the forest when Sayrui and Zordlan see a flash of red along with the glint of steel in the trees; the rest of the party is however surprised when four small creatures leap from the surrounding foliage and attack. They are small in size with garishly red caps; they also wield normal sized razor sharp scythes with a disturbing competence as Pringle is soon made aware of as the first blow of the combat pierces his chest and erupts from his back in a vivid spurt of blood; the scythe is dragged sideways out of his body severing the spine and ripping through his heart and lungs. The rest of the party look on in shock as Pringle slumps from his horse and collapses upon the ground; his killer takes off itís hat and submerges it in Pringles blood refreshing the blood red of his attire before placing it again upon his head.
A pair of redcaps flank Sayuri each of them swinging their scythes as she nimbly dodges the incoming attacks; one of them connects scoring a deep cut on her thigh the other blade whisking past her face slicing off several strands of hair. The Redcap grins as the black strands drift to the ground as its companion slices its scythe into Gremborís back; the blade thankfully not catching as it skips over his rips leaving a trail of blood in its wake. Sayuri concentrates; as she is apt to loose spells when confronted by foes and sends some force missiles into the faces of the pair attacking her before stepping back from between the pair. Zordlan swinging his horse around moves up to one on Sayuri and swings his sword low trying to catch the small fey; his sword hits but most of the force is absorbed by itís tough skin. Pringle does very little other then make a bloody mess upon the ground while Grembor fires some arrows at the closest Redcap while withdrawing from combat. Nashkar guides his pony to Pringles body and slips off to the ground; casting a quick spell he breathes life back into Pringles body restoring some colour to his ashen skin. He sits up and coughs up a large amount of blood which inexplicably seems to have gathered in his lungs and throat.
The Redcap which with a single blow took out Pringle grins to see him alive again; relishing the chance to kill him another time he swings his scythe which is bathed in Pringles blood in a low arc hoping to duplicate his first blow but he inexplicably misses his mark as Pringle slumps back to the floor under the savage strike. The Redcap steps up to Sayuri and swings his scythe hoping to hook Sayuri but all he got was some of her shirt as the point catches and rips the fine cloth. Two of them turn on Zordlan; they both strike true and he sports some new wounds on his new body. Sayuri stepping back again summons the power of a newly acquired spell; the matrix for the transmutation forms in her minds eye as she forms the image of a kitten and tries to impose this image upon the Redcap before her. Its features momentarily take on a feline aspect but it is soon shaken off as the spell fails very much to Sayuriís disappointment. Zordlan with an impressive flourish of his sword manages to slice the skin open above his own eyes blinding him from the flow of blood; he staggers around for a while trying to wipe the stinging liquid from his eyes. Pringle scampers to his feet narrowly missing the Redcaps assault; and backs away; he summons his energies and fires off several force missiles which impact upon the Redcapís chest, face and shoulders causing some bruising; the fey creature grins up at Pringle through bloody teeth wincing at the pain from his bruises. Nashkar channels healing energy into the party closing up wounds and stemming the flow of blood from Zordlanís forehead and making Pringle feel a whole lot better as his remaining wounds close. Setting his shield on his forearm and extracting his axe he looks around for a suitable opponent to molest with lightning.
The assembled fey creatures assaulting them are a little taken aback; they had expected an easy victory; run in slam them a few times with their scythes and then gorge on the remains and take their loot. However after the first one killed Pringle (he got better) it all went a bit wrong. They rally and try to take out the serious threat of the warrior in their midst as without their armored wall casters tend to fall like wheat to a scythe Ö They are however somewhat nervous as someone just channeled energy throughout the group so there may be a dreaded cleric around and this is something they would not be happy about. The two on Zordlan both strike relentlessly their razor sharp blades hammering into his plate armor and finding the gaps as they slice into his newly healed flesh. One assaults Sayuri but his wild swings miss by a significant margin while the remaining one assaults Nashkar figuring another warrior in full plate armor needs taking down a notch; he is however unable to penetrate the solidly repaired dwarven plate armor as his blade bounces off.
Sayuri again retreats a way and concentrates very hard on kittens. Trying to impose her will upon the stubborn form before her; unfortunately for the Redcap he has no resistance against this kind of magic and soon finds himself looking up at a large human from a cute little kitten face; his mind however is still his own as he hisses in an exceedingly cute kitten fashion at Sayuri. The whole party grins at the evil feyís predicament as the remaining fey look around in fear as one of their number is reduced to the status of a cute kitten. Zordlan a little embarrassed about his last attack tries another tactic and attempts to skewer the Redcap upon the point of his sword. However as he attempts this his helm takes a solid blow from the shaft of the scythe and slips over his eyes rendering him blind to his surroundings; he flails about still managing to cause his opponent some harm with his wildly swung blade. Pringle casts more force missiles at the Redcap which attacked him which impact upon its back and neck but he is currently more concerned with trying to kill Nashkar than the annoying mage who he has already killed once already. Grembor closes with one attacking Zordlan and strikes it with his sword hitting it in a sweet spot but causing little to no damage due to the feyís resistance to damage while Nashkar hits the other Redcap (trying in vain to decapitate Zordlan) in the back with his axe causing it to spin around as the lightning from his axe courses through his small frail body.
The evil Fay; one of which is now an evil kitten of spitting, clawing death seem to think they can still beat this party down. They have the advantage of their natural resistance to any physical damage the party can give out plus they all hit harder than most of the party. The only one who can hit harder than them is Zordlan and he is staggering around as if drunk with his helmet over his eyes; a helmet which seems resistant to being moved presently. They decide to stay and kill these interlopers to their woods. The two seeing Zordlan staggering around direct their attacks at him; they both hit but the damage is relatively minor as most of the impact is absorbed by his armor. The Redcap who killed Pringle is still a little miffed that he got better attacks Nashkar; the blow hits but again his solid armor absorbs much of the force of the blow resulting in only a shallow wound to his arm. Sayrui again concentrates on one of them attacking poor Zordlan and pictures him as a little cute monkey; he feels Sayuriís will trying to impose a new form upon him but shakes off the effects with a grunt. Zordlan staggers around trying to remove the obstacle from his view but is unable to; he strikes out at where he thinks one of the evil little buggers is and feels his sword connect not once but twice. Pringle casts a mind altering spell and advances upon the Redcap which killed him a few seconds ago and lightly touches it; he feels the spell take hold as the evil feyís eyes dim a little as his metal faculties are drained. Grembor strikes at one on Zordlan and gets a much better hit as he sinks his sword into one of its lung causing a fountain of blood to erupt from its mouth which is closely followed by another spurt when the sword is removed with a strange sucking sound; the fey collapses to the floor with his fairy blood running from his mouth and lungs into the hungry earth. Nashkar chops at the other Redcap on Zordlan sinking his axe into his side; alas the axe does not go as deep as he hoped and the evil little bugger kicks him in his shins for his trouble.
Evil kitten gives up trying to impress Sayuri with its needlelike claws and looks around for someone else to impose its evil intellect upon; it gets a sudden urge to chase some random bit of brightly coloured cloth which had been cut from Sayuriís clothes earlier and is now fluttering attractively. The remaining two Fey are nervous, one is very low on hits and the other seeís a glint in Pringleís eye that he does not like at all. Sayuri casts again on the one which killed Pringle and has his mental faculties hampered; it finds itself growing smaller still until it looks up at the big people and has a sudden urge to eat bananaís ... whatever they are. It is now a small monkey with a monkeys mind due to Pringles insidious spell crippling itís mental fortitude. Zordlan finally manages to right his helm and sees only one remaining Redcap and a monkey. Knowing Sayuri he strikes at the remaining redcap and misses by a significant margin; Pringle kneels and offers the monkey some trial rations which it takes, consumes and starts chittering up at him, Pringle picks it up casting a quick spell to mollify him. Grembor attacks the kitten causing it to jump up into the air with its tail all fluffy as it spits at him while Nashkar heals up the party with some needed channeled energy.
The last remaining Redcap looks around at his friends; one is a kitten which is currently running into the surrounding woods fluffy tail high; the other is a monkey whose mind has also reverted to that of a primate. One other lies dead bleeding his last into the ground; he takes his chances and leaps into the woods and disappears for view. The Party look around and relax as the more foreboding aspect of the surrounding woods seems to have been lifted somewhat. They then look at Pringle who seems deliriously happy with his new pet as he feeds it some nuts and fruit from his rations.
DM Note: Pringle is intending to take on the monkey as a familiar. I donít have an issue with this as itís just a monkey; will be amusing if the polymorph gets dispelled however. There used to be a feat called Obtain Familiar which allowed a character to gain a familiar as a wizard does so I am considering that.
Pringle died again which seems to be a re-occurring theme; random encounters can be nasty and a critical hit with a scythe at 2d4+10 damage is very destructive with a x4 crit. Had more characters die in the last few sessions than we have had for most of the adventure; guess itís getting more dangerous the higher they go.
Zordlan had a terrible day of it; he rolled three natural 1ís in three consecutive rounds. Not so much fun for him but he survived and was the comedy relief for the night. That and the look of shock on Pringleís players face as he went from practically full hits to big negatives in one hit. Now that was funny Ö
Slithering in the night
The party gather their stuff together after the surprise assault by the evil little fey; they mount their horses and one pony and continue upon their way. The rest of the day is relatively uneventful as the experienced woodman Grembor leads them unerringly towards their goal. It is starting to get late and they find the ground getting slightly damper while the evening is approaching; they cross a small stream which has recently burst its banks flooding the surrounding region. They make their way through the waterlogged trees until they find some dry land and decide it is time to stop for the night. Their expert woodsman finds them a good campsite which looks like it has been used previously by the fire pit and generally flattened area between the trees. They set up camp and sit around discussing the recent events and how they think they are doing. They don’t know for sure what they are looking for in Thrushmoor all they know is that a pair of riders carrying the Seasage Effigy went this way so the best place to start looking would be the stables. Pringle feeds his monkey on a mixture of fresh berries and the dried fruit and nuts from his trail rations.
Hunkering down they set watches and sleep; however this wood is not quite finished with them yet. On Zordlan’s watch while he is patrolling the camp a stray branch which he never noticed previously slips underfoot sending him sprawling head first into a tree knocking him unconscious. The night progresses and it is only Sayuri’s fitful sleep which saves the party; she hears off in the distance even in her sleep the retort of a branch cracking as something heavy passes over it. Crawling from her tent that she shares with Zordlan she scurries over to him and shakes him awake noticing for the first time the welt upon his brow from the trees recent assault. He does not seem to wish to wake up so she scurries to Pringle’s tent and shakes him to consciousness before heading onto Nashkar’s tent and rousing him. Heading back to Zordlan she throws some water in his face to wake him up. Pringle ignores Sayuri and rolls back over and goes back to sleep without rousing Grembor; Nashkar crawls out of his tent in nothing but his smallclothes which is not a pleasant sight for anyone. Zordlan is awake and staggers to his feet fingers exploring the welt on his head as a huge slithering beast emerges from the trees. A massive slug undulates into the clearing and spits a volume of liquid at Sayuri; the liquid misses by a small margin and strikes a nearby boulder which starts sizzling away nicely. Sayuri screams that the slug spits acid which wakes up Pringle from a terrible dream in which he is being attacked by giant slugs and pokes Grembor who is instantly awake with dagger in hand. Pringle advises him that he thinks they are under attack and Grembor crawls out to investigate. Zordlan shoots some arrows at the slowly approaching slug; one of which hits its target and sinks into its soft hide. The slug rears back its scream sounding low as it reverberates through their bones as Sayuri casts a torrent of force missiles its way.
The slug still some feet distant coughs up some more acid and spits it unerringly towards Zordlan hitting him in the face and chest; the screams shake the trees as the powerful acid eats into his skin and starts melting his armor. Sayuri in shock very thankful that the acid it shot at her missed fires off some more force missiles which impact against it’s soft hide causing darker welts to appear in their wake. Grembor grabs his bow and circles around the tents keeping as much between himself and the slug as possible while Pringle grabs his monkey and goes to investigate the sounds and is horrified that his dream has become a reality. He wanders across the tents and shoots off a scorching hot ray of flame which impacts upon a nearby tree sending sparks flying in all directions. Nashkar exits and channels energy through the team removing some of the effects of the acid upon Zordlan and turning his melted skin into freshly healed scar tissue which will need some attention later to gain his lovely smooth complexion.
The slug spits acid over Sayuri who now screams as the acidic liquid sears her skin; she is wearing more revealing clothing than Zordlan so the acid hits more of her skin. Sayuri runs away to gain some distance from the nasty slug after sending a lightning bolt through the poor creature. Zordlan moves around the tent shooting an arrow at the slug while Grembor unleashes a trio of arrows which strike true; Pringle runs off forgetting his monkey leaving it on the ground near the tent while circling to join Grembor. Nashkar casts obscuring mist covering the campsite in sight foiling fog which he hopes will prevent the slug from hitting them little knowing that the slug can still see them as it is an experienced night hunter and a terror in the deep caves of the world.
Zordlan is unlucky as the slug lashes him with its acid dripping tongue; the lash connects with his chest driving him backwards as he doubles over from the pain. The slug slides into the fog to provide some relief from the annoying arrows that keep hitting it. Sayuri can’t see the slug anymore due to the fog but she can hear Pringle having remembered his monkey and the fact that he left it shouts at Sayuri to save it. Sayuri with a sigh moves to where she thinks the monkey is located at which the slug slaps her viciously with its tongue as she lets down her guard; the tongue catches her high on her shoulder and she rolls with the blow finding herself some distance from the creature and not too far from the monkey by the frightened whimpers; finding it in the fog she scoops it up and she carries it from the mist as she circles around the battle to a safe place some distance behind the slug. Zordlan moves away from the sounds of combat as he is seriously injured and is unable to take any more tongue lashing abuse from the giant slug. Pringle is still shouting for someone to save his new pet as he is unable to see into the fog and Sayuri is well out of his limited vision while Grembor in frustration fires into the mist and hears the solid sounds of his arrows hitting home as it appears fog is not that much of a deterrent from arrows. Pringle considers sending a fireball into the camp but is unsure where his pet monkey is plus his spellbooks are still in the tent so he decides to move up next to Grembor and wait. Nashkar moves close to Pringle and cancels his spell revealing the slug currently resting upon his tent no longer moving; Nashkar groans as his armor and everything else bar his axe currently resides underneath the acid spitting monstrosity of a slug leaving him standing in his underwear as the cold wind blows through the camp and some raindrops begin to fall.
The party gather round the corpse and poke at it with sticks for a while discussing the best way to recover his equipment as Pringle takes back his monkey feeding it some items from his supplies. Pringle and Grembor’s tent is the only survivor as the slug went right over both Sayuri’s and Nashkar’s tent.
With a sigh Nashkar starts trying to lever the slug over but the weight is too much; he in the end resorts to his axe which chops through the creature in no time at all now it is no longer trying to eat him. However the acid has to come from somewhere and its stomach juices pour down over his tent; Nashkar only just manages to leap out of the way of the torrent avoiding getting himself covered in the viciously acidic liquid. His armor and shield plus the majority of his items are not so lucky however as the sizzling acid attacks his possessions. He finally recovers his shield and full plate armor and resigns himself to some spells come morning to repair them.
The rest of the night passes without incident as the remaining watches are ran. Zordlan is admonished for falling asleep on his watch by Sayuri with a severe case of shaking finger.
Last edited by Sic_Pixie; Friday, 10th August, 2012 at 08:36 PM.
Slow day traveling
Morning arrives to find Nashkar sitting with his shield and armor in his lap; he is softly praying while running his hands over them. Where his hand passes the metal reverts from the pitted and dented to the shiny like new. After several minutes of this Zordlan helps him don his armor; then Nashkar fixes Zordlanís armor as it also received some acid damage but no-where as badly as his own. They feed their horses and pony and set up leaving the remains Nashkarís tent hanging in a tree as they have a long way to travel today; they have their lunch in the saddle only stopping to walk the horses.
Soon they find themselves on a more functional road as they exit the forest and enter into some rolling hills; they make good time and there seems to be nothing in particular to assault them this day. The road joins with another and they find more travelers which they strike up occasional conversations with.
The party makes the settlement by nightfall and avail themselves of the local Inn; there is fish stew and beer available but Pringle for some reason regardless of what he orders can only receive milk to drink. He is not overly bothered as he tries ordering bananaís for his monkey but the innkeeper looks at him as if he was crazy; while Pringle is indeed a genius his common sense leaves a lot to be desired. Pringle makes sure they get a room with beams the monkey can use and they have a restful night with good food and comfortable beds and a screeching monkey.
Shock: Sayuri covered in horse poop
Following morning they mount up with a full belly and a packed lunch from the innís kitchen and start heading south; Thushmoor is only a short dayís ride so they take it easy. Grembor and Sayuri stike up conversations with passing travelers; mainly merchants and farmers heading to town to either buy or sell produce. About mid morning they see a troop of guards traveling the road keeping the peace and supposedly to keep any curious creatures at bay; Pringle is very offensive to the troop in one of the obscure languages he is fluent in; they wave and carry onwards. For some unknown reason Pringle seems to have become less inclined to obey the local institution and more inclined to breaking the rules. Possibly arresting him and throwing him in jail was not the best thing the guards of Carrion Crown could have done.
Anyway Pringleís abuse of the innocent guards who are just doing their hazardous job for very little pay aside; by mid afternoon they walk their horses and one pony along the cobbled streets of Thrushmoor. As they enter they ask around for a stable and are directed to one close to the road in from the north. Heeling their horses forward they thank the local and find the stable with little trouble; Grembor feeling loquacious tells the party to stay outside as he dismounts and walks inside. The stable master is currently trying in vain to lift up a wagon and slip on a new wheel; as Grembor enters he smiles up at him and asks his business. Grembor asks if he has seen any strange riders in the past few days; they might have been in a hurry and come from the north. Shaking his head he responds in the negative and asks if Grembor could help him with his wagon as its way too heavy for just one old man. Grembor ever the amicable soul agrees and bends to help with the wagon.
Thankfully the knife sliding into his back misses his vital organs as he noticed the sudden movement from the apparently slow old man an instant prior to the thrust and moved slightly to one side. The poison runs rampant through his system draining some of his vitality while the assassin twists the knife searching for the heart it missed by the smallest of margins. Grembor feels the bone blade scoring along his heart but he moved just in time to prevent it from impaling it. With a gurgling scream he slumps to one side and rolls to his feet whipping out his sword and striking at the old man who now appears to be not that old after all. He is a tall lean man who was hunched up underneath his cloak; he is now wearing a bone half mask and is wielding a vicious looking bone dagger which is dripping venom onto the floor. His sword scores a thin line along the assassinís arm and he receives an evil crooked smile for his efforts. A pair of ghoulís spring from the hay upon the cart and tumble past him blocking off his escape route and they each slash claws across his arms and shoulders. He feels the lethargy of their poison trying vainly to overcome him but he shakes it off mainly due to his Elven resistance to such things.
Our erstwhile assassin pulls another dagger from a hidden sheath and leaps for Grembor driving his knives before him like small deadly lances; Grembor feels the pain as the blades strike opening wounds along his ribs and another one close to his neck; he screams for help and Sayuri comes to his rescue. She reacts first of all the ones hanging around outside and she moves quickly to the entrance of the stables. Seeing the pair of Ghoulís she casts a minor spell which should cause them damage but the spell misses. Pringle slips from his horse monkey in hand and makes his way to the opening. Standing behind Sayuri he casts a scorching bar of flame towards one of the undead which again misses and sets the cart of hay alight which starts billowing smoke. The ghouls strike out with tooth and claw and rip holes in Gremborís clothing, armor and skin but the effects of the poison are not affecting him although the damage is taking its toll. Zordlan approaches and stands before Sayuri his movement limited by the heavy armor he is wearing while Nashkar ever a slow mover regardless of what he is wearing moves to stand beside Pringle and channels positive energy as he can tell the stink of undead from several hundred feet away. The power heals up Grembor slightly and damages the undead a little as the weak positive energy flows around him. He is unsure why his channeling is weaker here but the effects donít seem as dramatic as usual.
Our assassin tries vainly to impale Gremborís kidneys but misses while Grembor backs away pulling out his bow; he fires a trio of arrows into our assassinís chest; most are absorbed by the armor he is wearing and donít do serious damage. Sayuri in a rare show of martial ability runs past the ghouls with a display of agility; avoiding the claws of the greedy beasts and finishes up next to our assassin and punches him in the jaw; he shakes his head to disperse the ringing and looks the newcomer up and down with a smile. One of the ghouls steps up behind Sayuri and with a vicious claw drives it into her back; its teeth manage to secure a hold on her shoulder and it shakes its head as it rips some skin free and gulps it down blood running down his face; the ghoul licks itís lips and then starts sucking on one of his fingers coated in her blood. Sayuri staggers as the assault was not expected to be quite so vicious. The other Ghoul attacks Grembor causing some minor wounds. Zordlan seeing his ward is in danger runs into combat swinging his large sword; he connects to the ghoul who is still happily sucking Sayuriís blood off his fingers and leaves a long gash along its back. The ghoul spins and bares its teeth at Zordlan hissing in anger as his moment of pleasure is interrupted by a sword swinging fool. Pringle fires off some force missiles which impact upon the ghoul attacking Sayuri; the missiles leave some bruises in their wake but he is still standing. Nashkar again channels some positive energy through the party and the ghouls; again this is not as powerful as it usually is and some of Sayuriís wounds close and stop bleeding as do Gremborís. The two ghouls take some damage but not enough to hinder them as they hiss at the pain of the energyís aftermath.
Grinning the assassin sinks both of his daggers into Sayuriís chest where they remain for a short while; Sayuri does not seem to be able to draw breath as blood wells up in her throat and bursts from her moth in a fountain of gore which renders the pale mask a more disturbing look as itís now streaked with her blood. The pair of daggers are removed with a soft sucking sound as her lungs try to draw in air from the now open wounds in her chest as Sayuri slumps to the ground gasping her last breath. The ghouls now turn on Zordlan and Grembor; their claws and fangs trying vainly to rip through Zordlanís full plate and having an easier time of it separating Grembor from his vitality as his light armor is no match for their steel hard claws. Zordlan unleashes a flurry of hits against the ghoul attacking him and leaves a pair of large slices in its diseased skin. Pringle sends another torrent of force missiles at the ghoul on Zordlan and it sinks to the floor happy as it remembers the last meal it had and it was good and bloody. Nashkar channels energy through the party again sending the ghoul squealing to the floor as its skin smokes and burns from Sarenraeís power; this also has the added benefit of closing many of Sayuriís wounds and she draws in a shuddering breath spitting out blood and bits of lung onto the floor. She feels very weak from the experience and lying on the floor in all the horse excrement is a novelty to her.
The Assassin leaps for Zordlan hoping to duplicate his attack from previously but his blows bounce off his solid armor; Sayuri remains on the floor spitting up blood while Grembor looses a trio of arrows into his side which is quickly followed by a pair of hits from Zordlan which cause him to stagger back collapsing to the floor as his life blood gushes out and joins the flow of horse piss into the street.
Zordlan in an uncharacteristic lack of regard for Sayuri pounces on the body and quickly strips it of anything remotely interesting to the amazement of Grembor and Pringle. He then approaches Sayuri and helps her to her feet while throwing a small portion of the loot to Grembor and Nashkar. They head off in search of an Inn to spend the night in. Luckily for them there is one across the street which seems to be acceptable; they stagger inside and order rooms, bath and food but not in that order. Sayrui quickly heads to the bath house while Grembor and Pringle remain outside in shock at the current turn of events as Nashkar picking up the pouch of money follows them inside to make himself comfortable.
Grembor does another search of the body while Pringle looks to the three bottles Sayuri left them; Grembor finds nothing more of interest. Apparently being a genius does not also deliver a dose of common sense as Pringle sips one of the bottles and has to fight off the powerful poison it contains and he vomits the contents of his stomach into the hay. Grembor grabs a bucket and douses the smoldering hay in the cart before it startles the horses any more. He then does a search of the stables finding a desk in the back with a ledger open lying upon it. Searching through the ledger he notices that the back page has been ripped out and that recently a pair of pale horses was exchanged for a pair of piebald mares each with the stables symbol upon them. Tucking away this information they walk to the Inn and question the barkeep regarding strangers hereabouts. After spending a vast amount of money on a poor bottle of wine they soon hear that a couple of dark riders came to the stables recently; one rode off down the bay to Illmarsh while the other rode off to an unknown destination. Sayuri returning from her bath buys everyone food and a nice bottle of wine and they sit down to eat an early dinner while they sort through the items they recoverd.
The night passes uneventfully and they have a good evening of sleep.
Enter Illmarsh, a wretched hive of skum and villainy :)
Early morning and everyone is up and ready to go; they head out on the relatively short ride to Illsmarsh. They are not bothered upon the way even though the road is ill kept and descends in to swampland in parts as it follows the coast. However as they come within a few miles of Illmarsh they spy off the blustery coast a trawler which seems to be in some distress; it looks to have to canvas covered items on the deck and one very overworked sailor trying to guide the troubled ship to the one lonely wave battered quay. They decide to do a good deed and Pringle teleports himself, Grembor and Sayuri to the deck of the ship; which is a mean feat considering how much it is moving. They all split up with Sayuri and Pringle getting the sails in order while Grembor tries to guide the ship on a safer course. Over time they tie down the sails as the blustery wind was threatening to rip them from the mast; they then help Grembor fight the tiller which needs a monumental feat of strength to guide the argumentative ship to the lonely wind and wave battered quay. The Ship glides to the quay with barely a scrape along the bow; the crazy looking old sailor grins at the party before running to check his equipment.
After he has checked his equipment he returns to the party who are looking at the crazy old man as if he has lost a significant amount of marbles. His windswept spiky white hair and exotic goggles on his forehead do not help them dissuade from this initial image. He cocks his head to one side as if examining a curious insect and thanks them all for helping guide in the ship. His crew, he tells them abandoned ship and swam for shore when the squall threatened leaving him to sail the ship alone. He looks over the group with a manic eye before asking them their business in Illmarsh. When he is told they are following a dark rider that passed this was a day or so previously they are informed that he was seen but not much notice was shown apart to note its passing. As if suddenly remembering he introduces himself as Horace Croon an inventor of many items of interest. When Pringle states he does not like inventors he is given the cold shoulder and all his remaining questions directed at Horace are not answered. Pringle really needs to develop those diplomacy skills.
Grembor asks about his inventions and what is under the tarp and Horace is almost beside himself with joy to talk on the subject. He waxes on about his invention for a good few minutes before they actually get to find out what it is. He describes it as ďa subaquerous exploration and research vesselĒ which leaves the party with a bank of glazed looks which it seems Horace is used to as he explains that it allows several people to go beneath the sea to see the various wonders down there. Asking if it works he grins and taps his nose with one dirty finger leaving a dark smudge before answering; ďit needs a few minor tweaks here and there but yes in essence it works;Ē after which he does a little dance. The group hangs around for a little while longer poking around on the ship but they soon thank Horace and depart for the town of Illmarsh. Horace looks up as they talk to him as if he is only meeting them for the first time before his eyes spark with reconition; ďyes, yes go get yourselves killed and have fun;Ē is his utterance as they depart.
The small town by the name of Illmarsh is a sorry looking excuse for a town; primarily consisting of antiquated, clinked, split-log buildings with a few more modern half timbered structures scattered around. The town is dominated by the wharves from which the town gains its living. Surrounding the town on three sides are the Soddentimers; a morass of waterlogged trees festooned with fungus and other nefarious looking growths. It is this surrounding forest that invades everything in the town with itís musty odor; any one of the surrounding villages and towns can always tell someone from Illmarsh due to the musty odor that hangs around them. For this reason they are often referred to as ďmustiesĒ an aroma which the locals donít even notice and the party soon grows accustomed to. The surrounding forest has upon occasion caused virulent sickness and plague which turned the once known settlement of Baytown to its ultimate moniker of Illmarsh. Pringle surprisingly rambles on about this backwater worn for several more minutes before the actual realization of the facts before him cause his tongue to falter.
They soon enter the town and find Pringles description depressingly accurate as they ride through the aroma rich town; it looks like a town has been washed up on the shore and then people moved in not caring about the looks. Some of the buildings like the town hall, temple and inn look more planned and added later but the initial impression is of willful neglect.
They soon find their way to the inn and walk inside; the musty smell is still prevalent but it has serious competition from the smell of fish from the inn kitchens. Approaching the bar they ask for a room for the night and if anyone else is staying there. They are told that anyone else in none of their business and they can have a room as the fat innkeeper looks the group up and down. Grumbling about foreigners coming and disturbing his day he slops out several bowls of fish stew before pouring out a beer for each of them depositing them on their table sending much of the fish smelling substance over the tabletop. They sit around and spoon up the fish stew finding it actually fairly decent while the beer takes some getting used to as it too seems to smell of fish.
Sayuri approaches the innkeeper and requests he answer a few questions while placing some gold on the bar. Looking at the gold with a raised eyebrow he smiles at Sayuri until she adds some more to the pile. With a curt nod he scoops the money into his pocket and looks at her questioningly; asking about strangers in town he says ďyou is the only strangers here mayhap your friend went to see neighbors down bay.Ē Asking where down bay is the response is frustratingly ďdown bayĒ they come to the conclusion that the residents of this town are retarded.
They all head out checking round the small town; Sayuri heads to the wharves to see the fishing trawlers which should be returning soon while Grembor and Pringle head to the temple to take a look. Sayuri sitting on the wharf throwing pebbles into the water is momentarily distracted by a large shape rising from the water some distance off shore. For some reason this sea monster disturbs her and she drops her store of throwing pebbles and runs back to the Inn. Grembor and Pringle discover a strange looking but perfectly normal (for round here) statue to Grozah in the entranceway to the temple; they head on back to the inn but decide on their way to accost a random passerby. Pringle starts the conversation wrong by commenting on the smell which is never a good thing to do when you meet a lady for the first time (or any time for that matter) She turns on her heel and starts walking purposefully towards the town hall; Grembor makes to follow her trying to make like a shadow but the whole assassin cloak over the face thing really ruined it as everyone watches him trying to sneak. The lady looks over her shoulder and sees Grembor acting suspiciously while following her and she quickens her step and disappears into the building.
DM Note: Pringle rolls a terrible Diplomacy which annoys the lady in question while Grembor trying to follow her without looking like he is following her rolls a nat 1. I could not make this stuff up; if there is one thing I can always count on itís this party making life more difficult for themselves.
Party gets arrested. Well a job interview
Grembor circles the building looking for another entrance returns to the front of the building to see an important looking guardsman standing flanked by two others looking at him. He points at Grembor (who thought he was hidden very well so this guard must be using some kind of magic to see him Ö thatís cheating he thinks) and cocks his finger indicating that he should present himself. Grembor sheepishly approaches and says hello; the guard introduces himself as Sheriff Rill Anders and that he should assemble the rest of his motley crew of foreigners and come back here; Grembor nods and sets off towards the Inn followed by the pair of deputies.
Returning to the Inn he finds everyone there and collects them all together for a trip to the town hall; they all troop out and head back to the waiting Sheriff who escorts them not to the cells as they had been worrying about (Pringle was especially worried) but upstairs for a private meeting with the mayor of this delightful seaside town. They are shown in and the Sheriff leaves them alone with the nervous looking mayor.
The Mayor is a scrawny man with oily skin and red-splotched cheeks, dressed in a formal, though somewhat shabby, coat and top hat. He appears slightly out of breath and has a gasping manner of speaking. He introduces himself and formally welcomes the party to town. Mayor Greedle is friendly and effusive, but they have a hunch that the mayor is deeply worried about something. He offers to answer any of their questions about his quaint little town. Sayuri quickly steps forwards and asks about the rider they were following; ďNo maíam, no one like that has come to town lately. In fact, youíre the first foreigners weíve had through here in some time.Ē Sayuri suspects something is not quite right with the response so she asks him about the large serpent she saw in the lake. The other members of her party look slantways at her as this is the first they have heard on this matter. The Mayor grins apologetically before answering. ďThatís an old superstition thatís been around for years. Probably every port has one; some sea monster that lives out in the deeps and only gets seen by folks out alone at night or when theyíre drunk, never when there are witnesses around. I suppose with the downturn lately, people figure the Watcher must have something to do with it.Ē After asking them if there is any other questions he can answer they all shake their heads.
ďWellĒ he says as he leans back in his chair fingers steepled before him. ďWeíve had several people go missing recently; over a dozen so far. The sheriff and his deputies havenít found hide nor hair of any of them; not a single clue as to what might have happened to them. Itís like they just up and vanished. People say its part and parcel of the bad luck weíve had recently, but Iíve got my own suspicions.Ē Greedle looks very nervous, as if heís weighing whether or not to share more information and finally, he takes a deep breath and appeals to the group for help. ďAll right, Iím going to come clean with you. Somethingís going on in this town, and I canít sit by any longer and watch it slowly die. Youíve probably heard of the Recondite Order of the Indomitable Sea; itís our local temple, and most of the townsfolk are loyal churchgoers. Itís no secret that the Order pretty much runs this town; oh sure, Iím the duly appointed mayor, but itís the vizier who pulls the strings and I think he or someone else in the Order may be behind these disappearances. I donít have any proof, only suspicions, but I can tell you that temple is not all that it seems to be. Like I said, practically everyone in town is a loyal follower of Father Voltiaro, including the Sheriff, so thereís no one else I can trust. I need your help; normally you would be suspects as strangers in town, but Iíve had you watched since you arrived.Ē Holding up one hand to forstall and of their pending comments; ďdonít look at me like that! You can never be too careful with strange folk hereabouts! Anyway, Iím pretty sure youíre not involved, and in these troubled times thatís my only certainty. You look like professional sorts who know your way around the business end of a blade spell or other instrument of torture and I need someone from outside to look into this for me. Therefore, against my better judgment, Iím willing to deputize you to solve these disappearances and bring whoeverís responsible to justice.Ē He pauses here to look around at the group; making sure they are all listening before continuing. ďIím beseeching you on behalf of the Ďgoodí people of Illmarsh to go to the Orderís hall and take a look around. Iím sure youíll find the priests are hiding something. If theyíre behind this youíll be removing a blight from this town, and earning the gratitude of its humble citizens. I assure you that you will be well rewarded from the townís treasury. Fish isnít the only bounty we take from the sea as thereíve been enough shipwrecks and whatnot over the years that weíve got some gold amassed; surely enough to gain your services for a short while. Plus I know youíve been poking about looking for someone; a rider from the north. Well, I may know a little more about him than I let on earlier. If you help me, Iíll tell you everything.Ē
With this rather startling speech out of the way he slumps back in his chair as if exhausted by the ordeal; as the party mull over this new information. They respond in no short order as their only choice is to agree without raping his mind with spells or torture. So being a nice little group they accept this and head to the Temple to investigate.
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