EBERRON- GAMER'S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
05 THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SEGMENT 028
ACT ONE: GET OUT OF JAIL CARD
8/09/14

SYPHEROS 26, 999

“Cornnerstone! Nailo! Come forward NOW.” Bellows a ½ orc from the hallway of the overcrowded jail cells.

Nailo can’t move up but steps behind the large warforged and easily follows his wake to the door. They are led to a small room with three chairs and a table. A brown stain on the wall suggests bloodshed. A half-orc that has a lot of Orc in him is there holding a metal studded club. Sitting at the table in one chair in a gnome dressed in silver and white.

“Hello- I am Gulem d’Sivis. I have been asked to aid you in any way I can IF- If you can help my other client. Please- have a seat and let’s talk.”

Nailo sits but the warforged doesn’t.

“I have been asked by Lady DeCurrent to help you as much as I can. Both of you accused of killing a person. However, considering the circumstances behind the deaths, there is room to wiggle. The man, Jean DeWolg is a known bandit on the run from the authorities in Eldeen. There are no witnesses to his death – only presumption based on the damaged done and location that it was from a warforged. You, Cornnerstone, were the only warforged there. But maybe a weapon was used and not seen or collected. The goblin…. Is …well a goblin. Yrlag goblins have little known honor here. I find a great deal of…. Room on that one.” The gnome is smiling ear to ear with confidence. As a lawyer, he is good and considers these hicks in the swamp to be easy to fast talk or at least buy off.

“DeCurrent….. What does she want in return?” asks the cautious elf.

“What else- for you and your friends to reenter this “Hidden” and explore it for her in her name. She is quite taken by the place. As are many from what I have seen here.”

“Will we be paid?” asks the warforged not comprehending that their payment is their freedom.

The gnome raises his eyebrows in surprise and begins to giggle. Even the ½ orc smirks at the warforged’s ignorance.

The next day the two of them are free on “technicalities” and they rejoin the rest to travel across the town to Lady DeCurrent’s home.
 

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GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
05 THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SEGMENT 029
ACT ONE: DeCURRENT’S WISHES
8/09/14

SYPHEROS 27, 999

DeCurrent’s home is located in the better section of Yrlag. The buildings are much larger and well kept. Many even have been painted. Some sort of wall surrounds most buildings. There is little mud in the streets and pathways. Much of the area is earth covered rock- the last bits of the mountain chain that separate Eldeen from Droaam.

A thin old man in servants clothes like those found in the more civilized areas of Khorvaire. He has Dranico, Rutkin, Nailo and Cornnerstone follow him outside to the back of the building. Here it over loos Yrlag bay and the River itself. A large aged tree grows here with several chimes on it and other stone sculptures there. The chime seems to be unusually soothing to Rutkin. He suspects magic. On the back porch sits a woman in her late fifties or early sixties. She is well dressed in a regal green silk and frill dress. She is sipping from a cup as they arrive. The manservant introduces them to her and waits to be dismissed.

“Sweet water? Crackers? Cheese?” she offers them.

Dranico is quick to get some of the fine food he can rarely ever purchase. As he is munching away and gulping the fruity water the druid steps up. “You have helped our friends and for that we are grateful. How may we help you in repayment? I understand you wish for a new expedition (which he wants also).”

“Yes thank you. Recently an airship flew over the outskirts of the obsidian wall. A structure was seen there that has never been seen before. I would like to be the first.” She says in a strong Brelish accent. “I have asked Azzime to once more guide you.” The others quick look to the ground or anywhere but in her eyes… except for the warforged whom motions a “What?” when they look at him.

“He is displeased by the events of the last trip but his boat has been replaced and a small bonus was found under the seat. He understands what I want and is willing to aid me again by leading you into the Waters and the Wall.”

Soon the sweet water and food is gone and the agreement made. They head out in the morning.
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
05 THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SEGMENT 030
ACT TWO: AZZIME’S CONDITIONS
8/09/14

SYPHEROS 28, 999

It will take roughly five days to reach the suspect area. First they will reach walls of The Hidden then travel alongside it for another two days to the side. Azzime refuses to have Cornnerstone ride in the boat or even touch it. So, looking like a whipped pup, he slowly follows them on foot.

ARYTH 2, 999

In the near distance, they spot a group of figures standing around a boat. As they get closer they see one crew is human and the others are ½ Orcs. It seems they are fighting over ownership of a found boat. More trouble with adventurers in New Water.

Dranico asks the warforged to push and direct the boat to the group out of interest and looking to break up the boredom of the stark and empty waterway. Even as Azzime turns to object, the warforged pushes hard and the boat turns to the two groups. Even as they get close enough to hear them the two leaders pull their weapons. The group’s boat separates them and crashes into the standing boat. Minor damage is done but the action gets the attention of both sides and their leaders.

Suddenly they join forces and make a stand against the group. Azzime is royally annoyed and decides to let the PCs get themselves killed and he will sit back and watch. The druid tries to calm everyone but the situation is quickly getting out of control. It becomes a three-way battle. Nailo, Rutkin and the warforged vs the two groups. Dranico has decided Azzime has the right idea and sits down next to him. He gets out a snack of seasoned cheese and happily eats.

The battle is short and Cornnerstone breaks up the extra boat in the process. What a waste.

ARYTH 3, 999

They reach an area that has many obsidian shards of many sizes coming out of the water. Taller pieces form loose walls on each side that funnel them through the smaller pieces. As they go in they spot a man stumbling about. Dranico wonders if he is drunk. He appears to wearing a shell on his head. Rutkin recognizes it as a controlling creature (Incutilis) and Nailo takes it down from the distance.

A short ways up, they spot black glass shrouded skeletons hiding along the obsidian. They are very close by time they see the skeletons that attack. The six of them are destroyed quickly.

In the distance, Azzime spots a possible structure. They are getting close.
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
05 THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SEGMENT 031
ACT TWO:
11/22 /14

ARYTH 4, 999

Continuing forward the obsidian shards are becoming smaller but more numerous. The row boat will not fit anymore. The group discusses having Cornnerstone carry the boat upright in case they can use it further on but after some scouting ahead they decide this is not likely to happen. They carefully pull the rowboat onto a plot of settled earth and march onward towards the distant structure.

The druid considers getting help from animals but finds only the tracks of adventurers….. no animals. They rarely see birds in the sky and an occasional movement within the blue beads on the bottom of the blue oily water.

Come late in the day they near the structure. It appears an existing temple was here and four large and thick shards of obsidian rose up under it. They spiked into the ground and tore the temple into the air. The walls fell free but the base remains. Strange but not surprising considered the state of this place.

Azzime and Rutkin both believe they spotted someone on the raised temple looking out at them and pointing before quickly moving away from the edge.

They discuss what to do. Thoughts range from walking up and introducing themselves to an all-out assault. They decide to have Cornnerstone lift Dranico to the raised earthen area and have the halfling climb and look around.

The warforged carries the halfling under the structure as the others wait nearby. No one seems to look or address them. Dranico uses his warlock given spider climb ability and he scurries up the earth to the top.

Carefully he peaks over the edge and a guard spots him and charges to him calling out. Dranico climbs under and decides he will play a game of Marko Polo. Cornnerstone returns to the main group.

Using his increased range eldritch blasts, the halfling begins to wear down the guards by crawling under the land mass and popping out to attack once before moving back under. This continues for several minutes. In this time, he never sees the leader or what he is doing but can hear him. He is chanting or summoning something (communing with actually).

Unseen by anyone save the hired help, a cleric is within a circle of stone statues with metal pieces. In the center is a golden base with a black obsidian crystal skull. The cleric of death and destruction is communing with the skull and nears completing the process. Aware of the halflings attacks, he finishes the ritual and picks up the skull. Energy crackles around the skull and his hands. With black crackling eyes, he looks at the skull and gives a command. The stone statues crack open and skeletal guardians step out to defend him. He then castes two spells of his own that become enhanced greatly.

Nearby to the left of the group, three adventurers had died from being attacked by the obsidian skeletons. Their flesh peels away and as skeletal warriors, they rise and march to orders. To the right, there are more dead adventurers that arise from dark commands empowered by death magic. A few hundred feet away, four dead orcs dressed in robes stir. These druids were killed by a mutated crocodile weeks ago. They now rise and move quickly to protect their summoner. They summon allies- skeletal wolves- whom run ahead of them.

A dead guard that fell off the landmass from being blasted by Dranico also stirs. His flesh and organs melt or peel away as he rests on one knee. Then with horrifying presence, he rises to his feet and marches towards the group also.

They will shortly be surrounded by undead adventurers and druids.
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
05 THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SEGMENT 032
ACT TWO: FINAL STAND
11/22 /14

ARYTH 4, 999

Cornnerstone spots the first skeleton coming (the hired help) and intercepts it. He grabs it and begins to use his weight to crush it against shards of glass. Rutkin summons up an alligator to stop them. It merely slows the undead down. A second summoned gator lasts a shorter time.

Dranico continues his tactics but this time with skeletons rushing about. Half of the hired help look around and decide working with undead was never part of the deal and attempt to flee. They throw a rope over the edge to climb down but cannot as the undead rush back and forth by them trying to reach the very annoying and elusive halfling warlock.

Azzime figures these undead are being controlled by a cleric above them and makes for the rope. Nailo follows. The druid ½ orc is not far behind. The warforged would have joined them if not for the rush of undead below. He is surrounded being struck on high by undead druids and fighters while undead wolves attack from below.

One soldier threatens to cut the rope. Azzime pulls out his last healing potion. “Don’t. Do. It.” The soldier looks down pausing from undoing the rope. “This is a highly dangerous and powerful explosive mix. If I throw it you will die.” The man stares into the rogue’s eyes and backs off.

Azzime reaches the top but is struck down by the cleric by a spiritual weapon. He falls off the edge onto the glass below. There will be no saving him.

The druid uses the confusion to hide above. The cleric never sees him. He attempts to break the circle by knocking over a statue. His failure alerts the cleric of the danger. The next attempt tumbles one statue but the circle is more for style than function. Darkness surrounds the druid as the cleric pulls the undead away from Nailo and the halfling.

The halfling tries to blast the cleric but hired help or skeletons get in the way. Nailo attempts to flank them by running along the broken edge and the battle.

The druid attempts to grapple with the cleric even as the warlock blasts the crystal skull from his hand. The special summoned undead below stop and crumple to the ground around the very battered and just made inert (-2 HP) warforged.

The skull rolls about being kicked by the struggle above. The cleric begins to chant and attempts to grab the druid while being held. The druid loses his grip but doesn’t back away and dies from the Death Touch. Nailo picks up the skull and runs for the edge. The cleric is incensed by this and follows. The warlock blasts him once and makes his fall into glass.

Stopping at the edge, Nailo looks for a safe place to jump and does so. The cleric gets up again to charge after the elf. He stops at the edge to jump onto the elf but instead is blasted from the edge by the warlock. Already dead, the cleric falls into the glass shards below.

With the clerics death and the skull being moved out of range, the remaining skeletons collapse. Carefully they retrieve Rutkin and with a healing potion found revive the warforged (+1). There is little to do with Azzime as he has been sliced into several pieces.

It takes several days to get back to Yrlag. Without a guide they are never certain if they are going the correct way. On Aryth 12 they arrive and go to see the old woman.
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
05 THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SEGMENT 033
ACT TWO: WRAP UP
11/22 /14

ARYTH 10, 999

DeCurrent welcomes the group in but has an obviously troubled look on her face. “I heard there were losses.” She inquires.

“Yes, Rutkin and your guide both fell. Cornnerstone nearly did.” Answers a subdued Dranico.

“I had gathered as much.” She motions to some chairs on her back porch, “Please sit. I want…. I need to hear more.”

The halfling retells the misadventures there and back while Nailo keeps the warforged distracted or from interrupting. They produce the crystal skull which the old widow looks at but avoids looking directly into the eye sockets. She offers a large reward. Dranico wants one extra gift or action. He wants Rutkin reincarnated. She raises an eye brow but slowly nods. It will take time to arrange but yes, I believe I can arrange for it.

ARYTH 11, 999

Several robes humans, ½ orcs and orcs walk quietly to the DeCurrent home. Silently they nod to the Matron of the house and proceed to her basement. The way they walk there suggests they have done this before.

Three of the figures remain perfectly still and meditate between two tables. One table is empty but the other has the naked dead remains of Rutkin Bighands. The others begin to burn incense and chant quietly. They praise and call on Arawai, Dol Arrah, and Ollandra. Even the Keeper is mentioned in a positive way.

The empty table shudders and a glow begins. The glow takes on a green color and the chant increases. The color seems to solidify into a cocoon for a mere second or two before it melts and fades away. The head druid cannot help but smile as he looks down on a ½ orc body. The body’s eyes flicker and slowly open. “Welcome Rutkin, son of Eberron, Gatekeeper.”

Rutkin sits up and looks at his over sized hands. “Praise the Sovereigns and the Six……”

Outside, A very curious halfling had seen the group of druids walk through town and enter her home. Hoping to see his friend and ally soon he waits.

Nearly dozing off, he thought he heard the flapping of wings. He looks up and swears he saw a winged humanoid with bright red eyes lift into the air but it was gone even as his mind registered it.

“What was that?” Before he can think any further about it, a tall ½ elf walks up behind him. A very quiet and stealthy ½ elf. “Don’t ask. Its better to not and just enjoy the time with your friend.”

The halfling looks up in surprise. The glint in his eye “….. Azzime?”

“Many miracles happen here in the swamps.”
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
06 ANIMAL HOUSE
SEGMENT 033
11/29 /14

ARYTH 13, 999

The elf Nailo has returned to Grotto’s tavern. The others are spying on the old woman’s house. Something to do with Rutkin. At Grotto’s he has met two new friends, Dan the Barbarian (DB- Cathy’s boyfriend and first time EVER playing DnD  new victim) and Glyph, a warforged believer of the gods. They share adventures and thoughts over food and drink and suggest they should go on an adventure / mission themselves.

DB is not sure what to make of the bartender Goblin and the cook whom has a chicken on his shoulder. The chicken has only a few tail feathers (damned Brawl  ). Some of the furniture also shows recent signs of quick repair. They take note of the two groups of adventurers. Both look battered and beaten but one is down and the other excited. Nailo addresses the quiet ones first.

Without looking up from their untouched drinks they explain how their group of six is now a group of three. A tentacle alligator thing attacked them at night. Two were torn apart and the other swallowed whole. They live because they fled into the night.

The happier group went to the glass and found a ruin. Their party of seven became a party of two but they escaped with this- and one of them shows a large sword. It glows and will cut through anything inorganic.

“Seems like many seek Fame & Fortune but instead find Death & Destruction.” Quietly suggests the warforged repairer of flesh and steel.

Grotto comes out of his office and tacks a notice or two on the wall. He sees the elf and comes over. DB notes the well-dressed Wayfinder has seen action. He has many scars hidden under wraps on his arms and a long scar on his face.

“I have a job here that may interest you Nailo. House Vadalis is looking to explore the New Water.”

It is not long before they agree to it. Knowing they would in advance, Grotto had sent a messenger to get the Vadalis employer. Within 15 minutes, Kev ir’Vadalis arrives. The introductions are made and they agree to go out. He knows of a few “safe” places and would like to go now. The three of them look to each other and they agree…. With some uncertainty.

The mission is simple- spend one night in New Water. Collect animals for study. Find out how the water is mutating them and if the mutations could be useful by the house.
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
06 ANIMAL HOUSE
SEGMENT 034
11/29 /14

ARYTH 13, 999

The trip begins with marching into the thick grass and wet lands on the shore of Yrlag. DB suspects this dragonhouse employee is no woodsman or survivalist. He is at best a stable boy but more than likely a mere bean counter.

They reach the New Water border. Nailo, used to the sight patiently waits as the other two take it in. The Vadalis employee looks at it is in both awe, respect and fear.

Before they look further into the subject Nailo hears birds take to the sky. He watches it them and notes another burst of birds. “Something comes.”

Nailo turns back to the others… unwisely. Out bursts a Dire Boar from the brush. The boar’s large and gagged tusks strike the elf. Blood splatters onto the warforged next to him. Healing spells immediately come to his mind. Kev steps to the side and pulls out his bow as does DB.

When two arrows by DB fail to strike the beast he switches to his sword. They take down the boar but not without Glyph using most of his healing power on the elf.

With no boat, the adventurers must go by foot. Nailo steps in without pause. DB and the warforged are much more cautious. The solidness of the unseen ground beneath the blue jellied pellets disturbs the barbarian.

In time they walk onto a distant structure. The remains of a very large dragon. Nailo remembers it from before. Kev points to movement on the bones. A green lizard or small dragon hisses at them. It threatens them with reaching out and more hisses and snarls.

Kev wants the lizard and fires at it. The others follow suit. The creature attempts to flee but a summoned spiritual hammer appears. The small greenish-black creature tries to swim into the shelter of the massive ribcage. The warforged cleric gets close. The creature turns and spits an acid cloud at him. It does little damage but answers whether it is a lizard or a dragon. The magically summoned hammer drops down hard on the dragon and kills it.

They look at the body more closely. Kev realizes he has made a serious mistake. The killing of a baby dragon will bring the wraith of its parents onto him and his family. He wishes to leave it alone and perhaps it will be thought the baby died from something other than a Valadis expedition. Looking closer, they see several discolored scales. Looking even closer, the scales are moving! They are not scales but little beetles. Kev insists on having some of these for study.

It is not long before they see a surviving structure. They go to find shelter there for the night when DB notes the slime on the dock. Slime covers sections of this dock with two small buildings on it. The barbarian slips and falls into the strange water. He makes a point of not swallowing any of the water and keeping his mouth shut.

Finally they climb onto the dock and while Nailo investigates a trap door, Glyph goes to lie down and begin resting to gather his thoughts and spells.
 

GAMER’S GROTTO: THE HIDDEN
06 ANIMAL HOUSE
SEGMENT 035
11/29 /14

ARYTH 13, 999

As the others look at the loading dock trap door the warforged cleric believes he hears something. As he begins to sit up he hear a clear “slop” sound. He turns to see what it is and is attacked by a very large warty and slimy saber-toothed frog-like creature (Slurk). He calls out as the tusks strike down onto his leg.

Rolling away from the creature, the cleric saves himself from further injury. DB and everyone else fire arrows or close in on the creature. DB flanks it and discovers there are two of them. The cleric charges the creature and fails miserably as he slips on the slime. The creature “hunkers” down by leaning into the attack. The cleric slides into it and tumbles over it into the barbarian. Both fall back strikes the building behind him.

Wanting no more of this, the cleric attempts to slide away using the slime and lands in the water. The first slurk spits slime at the barbarian. The slime hardens instantly but the large man easily breaks free of it. In return he kills it.

The second creature is attacked by the cleric from the water. The tusks strike hard and true and becoming inert, the warforged falls still into the water. His heavy body sinks easily to the hard bottom as beads of jelly are pushed out from under him and resettle largely covering his body.

Kev is slimed and also breaks free. The last Slurk is easily killed by the combined attacks of the archers.

Now…. How to get the warforged out of the water?

The Valadis employer (whom never cared for warforged anyway) prepares a noose and tosses it into the water. After several attempts he succeeds. The noose goes around the head and neck. He then hands the rope to the barbarian. “Pull”

The barbarian hoists him up and he slides towards the dock. His head bounces off the dock and the rope snaps. “My rope!” calls out Kev. Glyph sinks to the bottom again.

“Can’t we just use a potion to get him to climb out on his own?” asks the elf wondering why no one else has thought of this. Kev has a potion and they give it to the warforged. As an artificial but living being, the potion barely gets him moving but it is enough. Picking an area without slime, he rolls onto the deck of the place. Water and beads pour and slosh out of his mouth as he does so. Kev doesn’t look so good as the scene reminds him of drinking too much dwarven ale and eating pea soup. (ugh)

They look into the smallest building which has no windows but is missing it’s door. They set up guard rotations and sleep. Near dawn they are visited by a small pack of Dire Rats. They are mutated slightly and after defeating them, Kev insists on a body to study.

ARYTH 14, 999

They head back to Yrlag and are paid. Kev returns to his compound that is NW of the settlement. Looking to discover the secrets of the Hidden and New Water he begins to study. Unknown to him, one of his beetles has escaped and now ventures into the northern boundaries of the Shadow Marches.

The beetles are spreading.
 

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