Children of Sorrow


The structural integrity of the enormous ooze gives way as Nemo's barrage of daggers disrupt its membranous surface. It explodes like a water balloon dropped from a high vantage, resulting in a puddle of sizzling blue liquid running in rills to gather in the channel, only to be swept away and over the edge into the cistern.

Glittering in the bright light of Nemo's sunrod, several somethings are visible. Scattered on the floor of the damp nexus chamber are a handful of worn, gold coins and a ring of unusual metal, set with a magnificent pearl, similar to those familiar to Mylistra as having been harvested from the shimmering bivalves of Lake Daept Myrkur (the Deep Murk).

Combat successfully completed. One Success in the SC achieved.

Blue Slime, Solo Brute (Controller), 625 XP/4 PCs= 156.25, so 155 XP/PC.

Loot: 10 GP + wolframite ring set with iridescent purple pearl (underground lake oyster) (250 GP) (Treasure Parcel 2.6)

Take a Short Rest.

- - -

Skill Challenge, Prisonbreak, L4 C2 (3 Successes/0 Failures; 1 Secondary Skill available; 0 Hard DC available).

As I noted earlier, we will elide your plunge into and through the cistern as achieved with the Hard DC of this micro-encounter. We resume on the far end of that action.

You emerge, cold and dripping wet, out of a shallow pit at the far end of the cistern, amidst a tangle of pipe outlets that drip their waste to collect into the cistern and then carried away. Surely, you are in the lowest levels of the gaol's dungeons. The corridor ahead twists, so whatever lies beyond is invisible to you other than the dim light cast your way and the muffled voices and dulled laughter just audible.

The reconnaissance made by the Children of Sorrow seems sound: the shift change of guards must be happening even now, accounting for the noise.

What remains for now is to locate Beppa's cell and evade notice by any constables during this change in duty. What do you do to go about this? For example, this might be a Group Stealth check as a Secondary Skill to aid your Dungeoneering or similar Primary Skill in locating Beppa; but that's just one possibility. (In your fiction during the combat above, you allude to the plight of other prisoners. Has this become a multiple-prisoner jailbreak? How might that complicate your actions now and in the future?)

Make your action against the Moderate DC 14, and please also include any pertinent mechanical details following the combat with the Blue Slime (Surges/APs/current HPs, and anything else that seems relevant).
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Okay: here is an accounting of offline conversation going forward:
  • first, an accounting of where our heroes stand after the skirmish with the dreaded Blue Slime, after a short rest:
    • Jendi: HP: 27/31, with 5/8 Surges remaining, All Dailies, and 2 Action Points available
    • Mylistra: HP: 25/29, with 6/8 Surges remaining, All Dailies, and 1 Action Point available (1 use of Healing Word: r1 additional HP)
    • Nemo: HP: 25/29, with 4/7 Surges remaining, All Dailies, and 1 Action Point available
    • Toriq: HP: 34/37, with 8/10 Surges remaining, All Dailies, and 1 Action Point available
  • per conversation with @darkbard, the crew do indeed want to release all prisoners. The reason is two-fold: first, some of the other prisoners are either known to a PC (see below) or are members of the beleaguered classes (e.g. goblins & halflings) and thus unfairly imprisoned (according to PCs); second) freeing everyone will hopefully produce a lovely chaos to cover our tracks!
  • In order to facilitate this change in plan, @darkbard has agreed to increase the complexity of this SC to Complexity 3.
  • per our discussion, there are now 5 additional prisoners besides Beppa: @Nephis will name/describe 3 of them, @darkbard the remaining 2. Here are my three:
    • Tryfza: a young goblin female
      • missing three fingers on right hand * scar on face: mid-cheek, through lips, ending at chin * almost always smiling * fiery red hair pulled back in a braid * member of the Children of Sorrow
      • purportedly a thief
    • Snickcha: an older goblin female
      • looks weak but actually very wirey * wears loose, very mended clothing * seldom speaks
      • purportedly owes money
    • Isadore (Izzy): a tallish, young human male
      • long black hair, loose * seems scared and angry * Jendi's acquaintance from the Black Tower with whom he met for coffee just a few days ago
      • apparent vagrancy
  • There will be use of Blades in the Dark-style flashbacks, which will cost 1 surge per PC who specifically benefits from each flashback: e.g. everyone gets to touch the live oak to gain good luck = 1 Healing Surge each; one PC gets to kiss the frog to gain a kingdom = 1 Healing Surge from that PC only
  • Make a move based on above entry.

[FLASHBACK]: As NEMO climbs up onto the chair behind the sheriff to see if he can steal the pendant from around the Davos's neck, he pauses, seeing the ring of many keys attached at his hip. Should he? It will make their later job easier. Noticing that Davos is still shaking his head in slight confusion, the young halfling daringly reaches forward and grabs the keys, quickly wrapping them in a handkerchief to silence them. Then, he continues onward with his primary task of retrieving the pendant.

cost: 1 Healing Surge from Nemo: 3/7 remaining

[FLASHBACK]: Just before leaving, Hildy pauses, then turns back, holding out the small sack she has been carrying. "Here," she says, thrusting it at Nemo. "These may come in handy down below." Then, she disappears into the night shadows.

At her departure, Nemo cautiously opens the sack and looks inside. Brows furrowed, he pulls out a smaller black sack and examines it. Jendi's mouth opens in surprise as he recognizes the "sack" for what it actually is: a rudimentary mask. Taking it from his small friend, he opens it and puts one of his hands inside, poking fingers through the two eye holes cut into it. He remembers seeing them on the heads of fellow students - upperclassmen and -women - as they put the newcomers through various hazing rituals to put them in their place in the pecking order. The warlock smirks as he remembers that he, in particular, was not very good about "learning his place."

As Jendi is examining the mask in his hand, Nemo removes three more and hands two of them to Toriq an Mylistra. Stowing the sack that held them away for later use, he considers what Hildy said before leaving them here. "Could be useful, at that," he speculates.

cost: 1 Healing Surge from each PC: Jendi: 4/8 remaining; Mylistra: 5/8 remaining; Nemo: 2/7 remaining; Toriq: 7/10 remaining

After everyone has carefully donned the masks given to them by Hildy and has drawn up the hoods of their cloaks so that these masks are less instantly noticeable, Nemo carefully rounds the corner and signals to Mylistra when he thinks it is safe to creep forward. Mylistra then mirrors his actions, gesturing that Toriq and Jendi - <as quietly as possible!!!> Nemo murmurs in their ears - can reach her. Slowly, carefully, the sneakier of the group gets everyone into a place where Toriq can best surmise that Beppa - surely the most guarded of those imprisoned down here - is housed.

She considers the network of corridors, the close (or not-so-close) proximity of cells to each other. She listens carefully for any other sounds - where the guards are congregating (indicating where they feel most relaxed). She draws in a deep breath, allowing her to sense - and interpret - which prisoners have been here longer ... without adequate bathing facilities. The earthiness of outdoorsmanship is one thing. It is quite another thing to be forced to be surrounded by one's own sweat of loneliness, hopelessness, and despair.

Lips pressed together, the warden nods her chin down one of the corridors, the one where the most noise is, along with the most pungent odors ... not all of which are from guards with poor hygiene. The others look at her in consternation, and she shrugs and nods. Quietly, almost without sound, she murmurs, "it makes sense that she will be down there."

* The party makes a Secondary Skill Group Stealth check to evade the guards and get closer: N = +11, M = +12 vs 10 Easy DC; 2 of 4 successes = +2 SS bonus to aid

* Toriq's Primary Skill Perception check to figure out where Beppa is being housed: r9+10+2 SS = 21 vs. 14 Moderate DC. Success
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Skill Challenge, Prisonbreak (revised), L4 C3 (8 Successes before 3 Failures) (4 Successes/0 Failures; 1 Secondary Skill available; 1 Hard DC available).

You make your way silently around the corner. Toriq's nose guides you to a T-intersection. The hallway continues ahead and terminates in a staircase that rises out of sight, a heavy door off the hall before it at the right. The voices of the constables, in their mirth and grabassery, descends the stairs ... and grows closer. There won't be much time. Another hall extends to your right to complete the "T," and it's clear that's where the prisoners are held. Five reinforced wooden doors with hinged service hatches. A series of barrels and other storage vessels and another heavy door across the way. But also a second staircase that rises out of view. The voices grow closer.

Considering the circumstances, whatever you do here will be against that newly-introduced Hard DC (21). The doors to the prison cells are, of course, locked, though Nemo has procured a set of keys from Davos. You would still need to succeed at Thievery, though, to identify the key that unlocks the cells and make use of it before the guards arrive. You can take a +2 bonus (stackable), though, for your forethought. Or you can attempt something else, like creating a diversion to buy more time (the Thievery check would drop to Moderate DC), bribe the guards, etc.

I'm adding the following 2 prisoners:
  • Cassia, elderly female Human; lined, craggy face; resounding voice; incarcerated for “corrupting the youth” (political insurrection)
  • Berylis, male Elf; sullen; long, pitch-black hair; incarcerated for “poaching” on Logging Guild’s land
Since there are but 5 cells for 6 prisoners, I think it makes sense that the 2 goblins are housed together in one of the cells, should that information be necessary at any point.


Just as he has a few times before with this group, the young halfling takes charge. He first suggests to the others that freeing all the prisoners might be a sound tactic, providing not only a distraction in the escape, but freedom as well to those who dearly need it. Then, he hands the pilfered keys to Mylistra and sends her with Toriq to unlock the doors to two of the cells. His tools he hands to Jendi, hoping that the warlock, having seen him in action a few times - both in recent adventures and on the Firefly - will be able to decipher their use, pointing him to a third door. Finally, taking out one of his daggers, Nemo heads to the final two doors. After all, the halfling thinks as he quickly unlocks first one door before moving on to the second, he hasn't always had fancy tools to work with. The witch, with the aid of her dearest friend, sorts through the keys to unlock two more doors, while Jendi struggles at first but does succeed in unlocking the final door.

As they each finish their tasks, the doors are already beginning to open, with inmates cautiously stepping out of their cell. The bewildered prisoners stare with varying mixtures of fear and bewilderment at the masked figures standing there, silently watching them, at least for a moment.

Nemo grins beneath his mask at the sight of Beppa. Then he stares, slackjawed, seeing the two goblins coming out of the single cell his friend has just opened. The older goblin is unknown to him, but the second... "Tryfsza?" he whispers, and she peers at the mask for a moment before running into his arms. Beppa, also recognizing his voice, looks on with a relieved if weary smile.

Jendi is similarly astonished to recognize his friend from Blackstone. The warlock stares at him for a long moment without saying a word, unsure whether or not he wants to declare himself as his little friend has just done.

Meanwhile, Mylistra looks briefly with joyful astonishment at the elderly woman stumbling out of yet another cell. "Cassia," she murmurs before engulfing her into a strong hug. "Juniper will be so happy that you're safe!" she says quietly before letting her go.

At this point, Toriq decides that they have waited long enough. She points to the second set of stairs and says, almost under her breath, "let's head that-a-way quickly, before they get here. Quietly shut the doors first, then follow me." As she heads to the stairs, she prepares to remove her shield from where she has stashed it on her back and notices the slight figure of the older goblin step up next to her, looking alert and ready for anything. Their eyes briefly meet - mask and height differential not withstanding - before Toriq nods, the goblin following suit.

* Toriq makes a Secondary Skill Perception check to aid Mylistra in discerning which keys will unlock which doors: +10 = Autosuccess vs. 10 Easy DC for a +2 bonus to M's thievery check

* The other three make a Group Primary Skill Thievery check to unlock the doors (group changes Hard DC to a Moderate DC):
  • Jendi: r13+2+2 Thieves Tools = 17 vs 14 Moderate DC = Success
  • Mylistra: r9+4+2 Keys +2 SS = 17 vs 14 Moderate DC = Success
  • Nemo: +13 = Autosuccess vs 14 Moderate DC = Success; 3 out of 3 Successes in Group check = Success in SC

* Toriq has equipped herself with her shield.
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Skill Challenge, Prisonbreak (revised), L4 C3 (8 Successes before 3 Failures) (5 Successes/0 Failures; 0 Secondary Skills available; 0 Hard DC available).

The group of you--nearly a dozen now, including prisoners--crests the circular stairwell and emerges into an antechamber, a kind of pantry, to the gaol and garrison's kitchen. The antechamber is lined with cluttered shelves and opens past a narrow door into what must be the kitchen--there is the telltale clattering of cookware and the swearing of someone whose colorful language might in another context be taken for a sailor. A long hall stretches in the opposite direction off the antechamber.

But most notable is the young Human boy, no taller than Nemo and the other smallfolk, standing a couple of paces from the kitchen doorway, a giant sack of flour wrapped in his arms. More flour smudges his face and discolors his hair, giving him an odd graying appearance that belies his youth. He blinks several times and stares at you, slackjawed. Then he glances behind him towards the kitchen doorway as if contemplating making a break for it.

What do you do? Moderate DC.


Seeing the small boy's focus firmly up at the large warden, masked and carrying shield and longsword, MYLISTRA acts quickly and quietly. First she murmurs, "stay absolutely still! Don't move until you hear me say, 'let's go,' then follow us." Then a cloud of darkness instantly descends upon the party, except for Toriq and the older goblin standing next to him. Ignoring the quiet intakes of breath that a couple of prisoners make, the witch then whispers insistently, "Tryfsza, was it? Do you know your roommate's name? Quietly, now!" Listening intently to the answer, Mylistra nods to herself unseen, committing the name to memory, and then she leaves the cloud.

From the small boy's point of view, one moment there are these two figures, the taller one staring down at him from a very great height, and then suddenly a third figure appears, not quite so tall, but definitely tall. She greets him in a kind and friendly manner - albeit still masked - and asks him to remind her of his name. "J-j-j-jasper...," he stammers. "That's right: Jasper! So glad to see you again! We've gotten a little twisted in this maze, but could you point us in the squadroom's direction? Zeljka sent us to bring this one, Sneaky? Snickcha? - something like that," she shrugs, "but we're to bring this one for more questioning: she has more information to tell us!" At Jasper's shaky pointing down the corridor, the tall woman murmurs a thanks, adding, "can we keep this between us, Jasper? Us getting lost and all? I don't need to be the butt of every joke, you know?" Jasper, the smallest worker in the kitchen does know, and he nods eagerly.

"Now, is that sack going onto the shelf, or is it coming off? Do you need a hand?" When he looks up at the shelf, far too high for him, and sighs, the woman takes the sack out of his hands and places it back onto the shelf. "There! Now, off you go, and not a word, right?" she says in a conspiratorial manner. Jasper grins and hustles back into the kitchen.

Once he has turned the corner, Mylistra quietly says, "Let's go," and the others follow them, exiting the shadows.

* Mylistra uses her encounter power Cloud of Darkness to hide most of the group for a +2 Power Bonus to

* her Primary Skill Bluff check to convince young Jasper, a susceptible child, that they are supposed to be there and that they've met some time before: r12+9+2 Power Bonus = 23 vs 14 Moderate DC. Success.


Skill Challenge, Prisonbreak (revised), L4 C3 (8 Successes before 3 Failures) (6 Successes/0 Failures; 0 Secondary Skills available; 0 Hard DC available).

As you exit the shadows and proceed down the hall, you realize that this place is familiar. All too familiar. That's when a door opens at the far end and you hear a familiar voice. A man stands in the doorway, back to you, speaking to someone still inside.

"Finish tallying those accounts and leave them there for me on my desk for the morning, Constable Zeljka. Then get some sleep.
I haven't worked this late in months--I'm exhausted!"

Davos begins to close the door...

What do you do?
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NEMO stops short, not in a panic just yet but ready to fall into one at the slightest provocation, but a tap on his shoulder from Toriq quickly turns his attention to the door they find themselves next to. The halfling makes fast work of the lock and quietly opens the door, ushering everyone inside the small room. One by one the freed prisoners hastily file in, trying as quietly as possible to make room for each other and not knock anything over. Mylistra and Jendi protectively bring up the rear, just in case they are seen before they can hide.

Nemo, anxiously looking back toward the doorway, sees the witch vanish from sight, only to reappear next to him. Then, the door closes firmly, but before he has a chance to remark on Jendi still being outside of the room, he senses someone suddenly next to me. "It's only me," says the voice of his friend. "I don't think he saw us."

In upping the complexity of the Skill Challenge, @darkbard neglected to give the party an advantage to use. I am using that now to reuse a previously used skill at the Moderate DC, rather than the Hard DC.

* Nemo uses a Primary Skill Thievery check to use the keys to unlock the door to gain a hiding place for the many people now escaping the Gaol: +13+2 Thieves Tools +2 Keys = +17/Autosuccess vs. 14 Moderate DC. 7 of 8 Successes


Skill Challenge, Prisonbreak (revised), L4 C3 (8 Successes before 3 Failures) (7 Successes/0 Failures; 0 Secondary Skills available; 0 Hard DC available; 0 Advantages available).

The room you have secreted yourselves in is cramped, little more than a closet, really, and it appears to be primarily a storage space. Pegs with rows of blue coats and matching tricorn felt hats. Shelves of equipment: shovels, picks, crowbars, billyclubs, lanterns. All the tools a constable might need to call upon during their work. The room's only saving grace is a small window across from the door, looking across at the brick wall of a warehouse and down two storeys to an alleyway below (15 feet or so).

"That's odd," you hear Davos mutter, almost to himself. "I thought I heard a door close."

Footsteps grow closer in the hall.

What do you do? Moderate DC. This is to seal the deal and complete the Skill Challenge, effecting the prisonbreak, should you succeed.


Once again, it is Toriq's quick thinking that moves the group along. After silently getting Nemo's attention and nodding her head toward the window, she immediately sheaths her sword and gestures to the older goblin - Snickcha, was it? - to elicit her help in reattaching her shield to her pack.

Happily, the halfling's hard-earned instincts are sound, and he moves swiftly toward the small window, waving his hands for the others to follow. The light may be dim in the small room with only the outside light to illuminate it, but like lemmings at a cliff, the movement of one of them sparks the movement of all, and very quickly the newly freed folk are crowded around Nemo and the window.

He quietly opens the window and - gesturing at himself - indicates that he will lead, followed by Jendi, then the others - the halfling holds up a single finger, then brings that hand back and pushes it forward again - are to follow one by one. Trusting that they understand his instructions, he also points at everyone, then two fingers at his own eyes, then a final finger pointed at himself: <watch what I do>. He sends a few prayers to Sehanine, the Raven Queen, and whoever else will listen that they understand these instructions as well before exiting through the window.

In an almost orderly fashion, everyone scrambles through the windows, trying to watch and follow what Nemo is doing. But he is much smaller than several of them, and a couple almost fall, caught by Nemo or - surprisingly - Jendi and Mylistra. This pair seems to have learned much over the last few adventures in how to climb and work as a team. As the warlock gently helps Nemo's goblin friend - whose lost fingers are no help in climbing, he looks up to make sure Riqqi has been able to escape as well. He is happy to see that she has.

She is, in fact, carefully climbing in tandem with Snichka, the two of them carefully leading Cassia down the brick wall, finding handholds and footholds and never letting go of the elderly woman. The tiny goblin is much stronger than she looks, Jendi thinks to himself, and the two of them are able to help her down without too many stumbles.

* The entire group makes a Group Primary Skill Athletics check vs. the Easy DC to climb down the wall. The freed prisoners are being treated as Level 2 without adjustments and will make a single roll, given the wide range of physical abilities they display:
  • Freed prisoners: r4+1=5 vs. 10 Easy DC. Fail.
  • Jendi: r17+0=17. Success.
  • Mylistra: r14+0=14. Success.
  • Nemo: r3+8=11. Success.
  • Toriq: r10+9=19. (Auto)success.
4 out of 5 Successes = 1 Success in Skill Challenge.
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