GM1: Bizarre Bazaar


[sblock=Shall we kill this?]So the concept behind this game, as originally designed, is a good one, I think. The "goal" is pretty vague; come home with the Urn, or at least make sure the bad guy doesn't get away with it. You get here, and there's an obstacle: the bad guy has way more money than you. What do you do about it? There's a modestly detailed environment to explore, nearly an infinite number of ways that you could proceed towards victory, with a number of interesting things that could happen along the way. It seemed like a lot of fun, which is why I agreed to take it on.

But, it's not working. For whatever reason -- inherent limitations of the PbP medium, player loss, lack of skill on the part of your DM; it doesn't really matter -- this game really isn't going anywhere. We're nowhere near an end, as originally conceived, and to be honest, I'm not having any fun running it. I kind of doubt you guys are having much fun playing it. I'd rather be running, and I'm sure you guys would rather be playing, a game that's fun.

So, unless there are strong objections, I'd like to bring this to a close. There's two ways we can go about it. Either we can just end it quickly, handing out XP and any leftover treasure, and wrap up the plot with a few roleplaying posts. Or, we could have one more big fight and finish up that way.

What do you guys think? And who's still watching this?


((OOC: I'm still here, a little sad that Weel just came on in time for it to die, though, but such is life, I suppose.

On a completely selfish note, at least one fight for Weel might be fun, seeing as this is his first foray, though I suppose that depends on how many others are still following the thread. Probably easiest to end with RP posts, since it doesn't take as many people to complete as running a full combat.))

Scott DeWar

Prof. Emeritus-Supernatural Events/Countermeasure
[sblock=Kabitz]just to let you guys know, I have been following the story. does that cout as 'Who's still watching this'?[/sblock]


[sblock=OOC]Im sorry if Ive been kinda ghostly, but I have been watching this. In all truths, this isn't a snorefest to me, although I don't really know whats needed to be done before the auction in 3 days time. If the others want to close it out, so be it, but I figure we push it to the end of the plot at least[/sblock]


ooc: Thanks for the bump. I haven't disappeared, but neither have I regained any great enthusiasm for this. Still, it deserves a proper wrap-up. I'll try to work on that over the next few days. Bump again if you don't hear anything for a while.


After concluding your business in the market square, you retire to the Thorn and Castle. The inn is nearly deserted, the common room quiet and listless, offering little entertainment. The mood is infectious, and, after checking on the condition of your comrades Jinx and Phelan -- unchanged -- soon you seek your beds, talking quietly amongst yourselves.

Sometime in the small hours, a disturbance wakes you. Shouting and flickering bright light from the market square comes through your window, along with the alarming clash of steel on steel. Weapons are in use! This rouses you to full alertness, and you quickly arm yourselves and investigate.

Outside is a scene of chaos. Umraecyl's abode, almost just across the street, is on fire, smoke filling the cavern and making the shadows dance like a kobold capering around a stolen pig. A mob of servants hurries back and forth between the well in the center of the square, with buckets, upturned helmets, pitchers, and whatever else will hold water. A dozen guards hold a wavering line protecting them from a small horde of maggot-ridden, slavering, mindless undead that are trying to push past to get at the firefighters. The guards are holding their ground, but the zombies are distracting the servants. They stumble and hesitate as they move back and forth to the well, spilling bits of precious water.

Umraecyl stands back from the line, a motley group of strange and powerful beings rallying around him. At his right is one of the tall, emaciated guardians from chamber with the urn, its features still completely hidden by a dark hooded robe. The three succubi stand behind him, clad only in flickering shadows and amused grins, distracting the servants nearly as much as the attacking zombie horde and looking completely unruffled by the fire. Gribble is there, resplendant in shining dwarven plate that visibly glows with magic, and carrying the hammer he had threatened the skeletal mage with, not so long ago. Gribble's gaze is focused straight forward, glancing neither at the succubi nor at the derro who stands at the opposite side of the little circle, an ornate dwarven axe at his belt and a mild scowl permanently etched on his features. Between them is an elf in costly silk and leather. Faint wrinkles are visible on his face even in the firelight, marking him as extremely old, even by elven standards. Between the elf and the derro is a monster: a floating eyeball, some five feet in diameter, with several short protruding eyestalks. Two of the eyestalks are charred stumps, eyes missing, and terrible burn scars cover much of the visible side of the monster's body.

One of the eyestalks turns toward you, and the monster turns its central eye toward you as well, revealing a huge maw filled with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth. The rest of the group glance towards you as well, and Umraecyl, meeting your eyes, waves you over. There is a dangerous intensity about his face; he is not happy, and determined to do something about it. "There is bad news," he states, as you approach. "The Urn has been stolen. One of my most trusted guards is missing. I sincerely hope that he is dead, for if he has betrayed me and lives..." Umraecyl lets the rest of the threat go unvoiced. "Lyrael, the undead mage, is gone as well, with his minions. These beings here assembled are among the other prospective bidders. We go to pursue him, and recover the Urn. Will you join us?"

You acquiesce. Umraecyl turns to the group. "This is all the manpower I can spare from the firefighting. I would like more, but... if we are to catch this thief, we can wait no longer." He turns to the hooded figure. "Which way, friend?"

The hooded figure reaches a gaunt, long-fingered hand into a pocket in its robe, and pulls out a large mirror, much too big to have fit into the pocket naturally. A pair of scrolls follow. With a few whispered words, the first scroll crumbles to ash, and the mirror flares with shadowy light. The second scroll follows, and the mage points a long finger toward one corner of the cave. "Lead us," Umraecyl commands, and the figure nods, rising a few inches above the ground and floating rapidly. Umraecyl follows with a ground-devouring jog, and you have to hurry to keep up.

The path along which the gaunt mage leads is long and exhausting. After an hour, Umraecyl is forced to call for a slower pace, as some of the less hearty party members begin to fall behind. The chase continues for another hour, and a third, before Umraecyl signals a halt at the base of a toweringly high vertical shaft, hundreds of feet high. Where you stand it is wide and spacious, but tapers to only a few dozen feet wide at the apex. A steep, treacherous-looking path spirals dizzyingly up the walls, narrowing to only a few inches wide in places. Fragments of shattered bone line the floor, testifying vividly that the path is as dangerous as it looks. Several of the piles of bone are fresh, with bits of pulverized flesh still steaming in the underground chill.

It would be a very bad place to be ambushed.

Umraecyl clearly reaches the same conclusion, for he beckons the group back into the previous tunnel. At his command, one of the succubi flies up toward the ceiling and becomes invisible. After several long minutes, she reappears. She nods to Umraecyl. "Archers ringed around the top. The big ones at the top of the slope with rocks. Lyrael is performing some kind of ritual around a standing stone. I didn't recognize it. There are two lesser mages watching the ascent with arcane sight active, but they aren't looking into the walls. Fools," she snorts.

Umraecyl smiles grimly. "Very good. Here is what we will do..."

Minutes later, the whole party begins to fly or levitate up the tall shaft, thanks to a wand wielded by the thin mage. Another wand has rendered each of you invisible, so you keep together by listening to a whispered chant by Umraecyl. The succubi are not present, having taken several large rocks apiece and disappeared. Umraecyl leads you roughly halfway up before pausing. "Now quiet," he whispers. "Listen."

You don't have to wait long; soon there is a sharp crack from above, followed by another, and a howl of rage. "Now!" Umraecyl's disembodied voice calls. You rise as fast as you can, the speed that seemed dangerouly brisk seeming painfully slow now. Angry cries echo from the ceiling, far above, and arrows clatter off of stone.

At last, you rise above the lip of the shaft and can see what transpires. Half a dozen skeletal archers wrapped in ragged dark rags ring the top of the shaft, their bows trained on the stalactite-covered ceiling, some thirty feet above. Near the top of the steep spiral path, four enormous undead brutes, thick with decaying muscle, stand placid, ignoring the tumult above. A single skeletal mage fires blasts of magical energy at the ceiling; near it is a pile of shattered bone scattered around several large rocks. Near a wall, well away from the lip, a richly-robed skeleton crouches over a bizarre, pulsating circular diagram, centered on a tall stone pillar covered with whirling spiral glyphs. The pillar is familiar to Weel. At Lyrael's feet is the Urn, standing on its own and seeming much more of a piece with its surroundings here in the dark places of the deep than in a well-lit display case in Umraecyl's opulent home.

Gribble and the elderly elf appear near the huge, brutish zombies. Gribble's hammer falls and rises with relentless rhythm, and his glowing armor sheds blows like raindrops. The elf's blade is less effective, but he dodges and wields strong defensive magics, delaying and distracting them while the terrible floating eye picks them apart with rays from its remaining eyestalks. You and the axe-wielding Derro, following Umraecyl's plan, take on the skeletal archers one at a time, shoving them over the lip where possible and hacking them down otherwise. They are tough and agile fighters, but are spread out and isolated. The first falls quickly, but the rest turn their bows on you, and the way becomes harder. Umraecyl and his gaunt mage turn on Lyrael himself, who is forced to turn away from the standing stone and defend himself. Defend himself he does; pulling forth wands and rattling off destructive spells of tooth-jarring power and eye-searing flame, but the hooded mage deflects or absorbs them, and Umraecyl dodges with preternatural speed, slowly closing the distance to the skeletal mage.

The fight is fierce, and you all take wounds, but the advantage of surprise and tactics proves sufficient. One by one, the undead forces fall, crushed to bone, and Lyrael's spells grow more erratic, more desperate. The last archer falls, shortly followed by the last hulking zombie. Umraecyl tumbles beneath one last searing ball of flame and comes up face to face with the bone mage, mace in hand and a savage grin across his face.

Lyrael snarls hatred, his undead features somehow showing knowledge of defeat despite the lack of a face. He steps back and utters one last spell. As it completes, his finger points away from Umraecyl, stabbing out toward the Urn itself. The Urn is picked up and hurled like a child's toy, tumbling end over end, hanging in the air for a long, terrible moment before disappearing over the lip of the shaft. The silence is broken only by Lyrael's mocking laughter, which echoes and redoubles as if the enworld itself were laughing. Umraecyl lashes out, crushing Lyrael's skull like an egg. Complete silence falls. A second later it is broken by a quiet tinkle from below, as if from your bed at an inn you heard someone drop a mug of beer in the taproom below.

The return journey, slower paced, is a blur of monotonous, gloomy trudging. Umraecyl forbids anyone from collecting the fragments of the Urn, saying that if any chance exists for it to be restored, more damage will be done to that cause by careless trampling than by leaving the pieces where they lie for scholars to examine. When the party returns to the Bazaar, the fire is out and the undead defeated, but the square is still a seething, smoke-filled mess. Most guests are already packing to leave. Umraecyl makes it official by announcing that the Bazaar is closed indefinitely, sending sooty-liveried servants running to each camp and inn to spread the word, in case anyone somehow slept through it all.

Umraecyl pulls you aside for a quiet word before you go to pack your things. "My friends, before you leave, I wish to convey once more my thanks for your assistance on this ill-fated night. Without your help, even what little we have salvaged may have been destroyed." He runs his hand through soot-stained hair, exhaustion showing plainly, before beckoning a nearby servant forward, holding several large boxes. "I would like you to accept these small tokens, both as thanks and by way of apology. I can see that I have let my greed drive me places I would not willingly have gone, with consequences that could have been disastrous for many more than just myself. I should never have done business with one such as Lyrael. Please, do not offer me any recompense for these trinkets; I have more than enough for any one man, and I intend to devote myself for a while to causes other than wealth. A long while. If you could, however, there is one last favor I would ask of you. Could you convey this note to your employer, Master Zel Thanas?" He hands you a sealed metal scroll tube, and makes his farewells. The servant hands each of you one of the boxes before bowing politely and hurrying off.

ooc: Insert treasure description here.

After several more days of uneventful travel, your weary feet finally carry you back to Medibaria and the Academy of the Chromatic Order. Jinx rides in a wagon provided by Umraecyl, but after a day of travel, he wakes with a splitting headache and no memory of anything after arriving at the Bazaar, and can travel normally. When you arrive, servants carry word to Zel Thanas, who sees you immediately, ushering a delegation of plump, swarthy men out of his office with offended expressions on their faces.

Zel Thanas listens to your tale with growing dismay, though at the end he is relieved to hear that the Urn was destroyed rather than allowed to fall into evil hands. He is doubly relieved when you return to him, with some reluctance, the letter of credit. He takes the scroll case from Umraecyl and reads it immediately. "Well," he says, "It appears that some of my gold may yet be put to use in this matter. It seems Umraecyl intends to try to restore the Urn, and invites the Academy to contribute knowledge and resources. I am not entirely sure that it is not best that it remain destroyed, but I am sure the Academy will not pass up this chance, and they will need gold and a great deal of mundane assistance. Very well."

"I am in your debt, friends. You have served well as my agents, far beyond what I could have asked. I will have my agents prepare an appropriate bonus payment for you, and arrange transport wherever you wish to go, but I still consider myself in your debt. If you have need in the future, call on me and if it is a right and proper thing you ask, and within my power, it will be done."


[sblock=ooc]Again, many apologies for taking so long to finish this. The IC part is done; I still need to sort out treasure and XP, which I will work on as soon as I hit Submit. But if you want to move on in character, feel free to do so now.[/sblock]

[sblock=Tank's lycanthropy]You'll notice I didn't cover that here. I never really intended to cure him within this adventure. As far as I'm concerned, you can keep playing with lycanthropy if you like, or if you want to get it removed, there is a monastery somewhere in the ENWorld that is known to specialize in curing lycanthropy; you can just go there during downtime between adventures. Zel Thanas will arrange sending you there and any fees, which will use up the favor he owes you. Up to you.[/sblock]


ooc: I've spent the last few days annotating this adventure in the wiki, in preparation for final xp and treasure awards. I'm somewhat chagrined to find that you've not had an xp award since november 2008! That being the case, I'm going to split this into a couple of awards, Here's the first:

For the fight against the bone archer (CR 3) and 3 hound skeletons, Tank, Octavio, William, and Jinx each get 280 xp. That includes an extra 40 xp each for unfavorable circumstances from the terrain, as well as the raw CR.

That takes William and Jinx to level 2, and would take Tank to level 2 if he weren't ECL 4 already.


ooc: XP, continued.

Tankard: For defeating 4 duergar warriors (CR 1 each): 1200 xp

William, Octavio, and Tankard: 200 xp each for completing a quest: reaching the Bazaar.

Tankard: 2000xp for 10 months (5 Nov 2008 to 5 Sep 2009) time xp at ECL 4.
William: 1000xp for 10 months time xp at level 2
Octavio: 1500xp for 10 months at level 3game
Weel: 350 xp for 7 months at level 1 (1 Feb to 1 Sept 2009)

Weel: 200xp for completing the mission Volidar gave you, i.e. rendering what aid you could.

Tankard, William, Octavio, and Weel: 100 xp each for pretty good roleplaying in a RP-intensive game.

  • William: 1300 xp
  • Octavio: 1800 xp
  • Tankard: 3500 xp
  • Weel: 650 xp

That brings Octavio to level 4, but no other level-ups, I think.


So, according to my notes, here's the treasure that's been given out so far:

Treasure when Octavio, Tank, William, and Jinx were involved:

Sell    Face 
Value   Value   What?

500		advance payment
50		cash from wererats
67	114	2 rapiers, 2 light crossbows with 20 bolts each.
1300		corpse in the cat cave
50		coins from the wizard corspe on the ledge
650		spellbook from the wiz corpse
650	1300	magic chain shirt +1 from the bone archer
7.5	15	longsword
162.5	375	MW longbow
1200	2400	chime of opening w/8 charges
4637g total sale value
That gets divided into four shares, meaning everyone gets 1159.25. Of that, only Tank has kept any of the items that I can remember, and here's what he's kept:

650 chain shirt +1
162.5 MW longbow
812.5g worth, meaning he's due 346.75g in cash. Everyone else gets 1159.25 in cash.

In addition, Tank earned the following while adventuring by himself:
Various junk loot with a total sale value of 469.2g, plus 45g in coins, for another 514.2g in cash.

Umraecyl give each of you a gift before leaving. Here's what they are:

William: Ludkjeta's sword: +1 alchemical silver longsword.
Octavio: Gloves of Dexterity +2
Tank: cloak of resistance +1
Weel: breastplate +1

Finally, Zel Thanas gives you each a purse of 200g.

Total treasure awards, cumulative:

Tank: chain shirt +1, MW longbow, 1060.95g in cash, and cloak of resistance +1
Octavio: 1359.25g in cash, and gloves of dexterity +2
William: 1359.25g in cash, and Ludkjeta's sword (+1 silver longsword)
Weel: 200g in cash, and a +1 Breastplate
Jinx: 1159.25g in cash

I know that comes out to different total treasure rewards, but it puts all of you slightly but not ridiculously on the generous side of the wealth-by-level curve for your level.

If you absolutely hate your reward, I'm willing to listen to other suggestions.

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ooc: Right, that's everything I had in mind to take care of, so unless there's something else I've forgotten to cover, I'm calling this done.


ooc: Right, that's everything I had in mind to take care of, so unless there's something else I've forgotten to cover, I'm calling this done.
Thank you for doing all the heavy lifting and calculating. Definitely appreciate you putting everything together in a big block. :)