Session reports of my Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus campaign.

Xardion

Explorer
So, I figured I'd give a session-by-session synopsis of the Descent into Avernus game I'm running. I'll spare you guys some of the role-playing minutiae (my group likes to run off on tangents and are a rather funny bunch), and just give you the highlights.

To set the stage, I'll describe this motley crew that has assembled itself:

There's the de-facto "leader", Ronus Shattershield, a shield dwarf paladin of the famous Shattershields of Baldur's Gate. He likes to think of himself as a man of the people, for the people, and by the people (except that he was born into wealth so that last part definitely isn't true), so he spends more of his time slumming it in the Lower City taverns than at home in the Upper City (though he usually tries to drag himself off to bed there before he passes out somewhere... uncommendable). He's actually generally well-liked by the common folk, as he tends to be free with his coin and buys people drinks so he always has someone to drink with. If he passes out in a seedy place, they usually don't rob him... at least not so much that he's dead broke.

Then there's the ACTUAL leader, Voragine Pott, a duergar bard (!!). She and her very short half-orc husband used to run a tavern called the Shortest Straw, a cramped place that catered to short clientele. This was a must as it was the basement level of a rather cheap boarding house and only had 6' high ceilings. Her specialty was entertaining the patrons with bawdy tales and trading even bawdier insults with them... at least until she had her abusive, low-life husband killed, which we'll get to in a bit. The only thing more dangerous than her barbed tongue are her thick limbs, which she's had to use to knock around more than one rowdy patron.

The quiet one of the group, Qira, is a drow ranger whose home in the Underdark was overrun by demons (possibly during the Rage of Demons), and she has waged a bloody personal vendetta against their kind ever since. Watching her kinfolk being slaughtered and devoured changed her: their own arrogance in thinking they could truck with fiends without consequence woke her up to the vile ways of her people. She's slowly turned her rage to useful ends to help those whose lives have been ruined by evil.

The enigma: Tenshi, an aasimar monk who hails from the far-off Monastery of the Yellow Rose. She has the ultra pale complexion of the Sossrim, her parents' people, though she knows nothing of their ways. She was left at the gates of the monastery as an infant, her parents terrified by her celestial nature. She knows little of the social graces, her ascetic life among the monks mainly taught her to be fearless, inured to pain, and relentless against the forces of evil. She has a tendency to say whatever comes into her head, which will probably lead to no amount of trouble.

Finally, there's Eldon "Brightstep" Clinker, a svirfneblin warlock (Celestial). He got his nickname due to his happy-go-lucky attitude, boundless optimism, and a tendency to take people at face-value... the exact opposite of basically his entire race. This didn't lead so much to him being an outcast, and more that he decided to go into self-exile to get away from those debbie-downers. He wanted to hear birds singing, feel the wind on his scalp and the sun on his face. It's almost as if he's another creature entirely that was born in a deep gnome's body...

The group became bound by fate when Voragine had finally had enough of her husband's abuse and his criminal ways (dealing moonflower on the side and running a den elsewhere), though she couldn't bring herself to confront him. Tenshi only needed one look at her broken nose and black-and-blue face to face down the wife-beater (all 4'10" of her). She may have intended just to teach him a lesson, but he decided to take it up a notch and try to kill Tenshi, which lead to him bleeding to death on the floor, having been made short work of by her Emei daggers. He managed to crawl into the alley, where Eldon was helping Ronus not get his dinner all over himself after drinking the rest of the bar under the table. They could have saved him... but they didn't, as he truly deserved his fate. Qira witnessed the whole thing, and was questioned by the Fist. She told them a couple of toughs demanded some money from him, and stabbed him when he refused to pay up. She assumed they were from the Guild, but that she didn't know for sure. He certainly had dealings with the Guild, and they took the tavern from Voragine after his death, in lieu of money that he owed them, but they don't appreciate the rumor they heard about their involvement the murder, and that will probably come to a head at some point.

So there you are, possibly the oddest (and shortest!!! Qira is the tallest at 5'3", everyone else is under 5'.) bunch of misfits to ever get thrown together for an epic adventure!
 
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Xardion

Explorer
So after the drama at the Shortest Straw died down, and the crew had settled into doing various odd jobs around the city, the disaster at Elturel and subsequent flood of refugees resulted in the characters being conscripted by the Flaming Fist, along with basically every other able-bodied person in the city with nothing better to do. They had to seal the city to stem the tide, and tensions between commoners wanting to leave, refugees trying to get in, and the guards at the gates were reaching a fever pitch.

It's at this point that Captain Zodge sent word that the crew was wanted at the Basilisk Gate. They arrived, and after watching Zodge and his men (i.e. gang of thugs) deal with a small uprising of commoners wanting to leave the city, he waved them over and got down to business. He explained how the growing fear that Baldur's Gate might suffer the same fate as Elturel was making the common folk extra restless, and the Hellriders blaming Baldur's Gate for their troubles were only fanning the flames. They've dealt with it by arresting Hellriders on sight, but that combined with the daily riots at the gates have left them short-handed to deal with a serious problem: followers of the Dead Three had been committing murder sprees across the city, and he needed the crew to handle it.

After a bit of back-and-forth about some specifics about what their being deputized entailed (Tenshi was reluctant to accept a badge for some obscure reason, but the group convinced her it might come in handy, and besides, it was only temporary), they accepted the mission and Zodge sent them off to the Elfsong Tavern to talk to Tarina, who apparently had some information about the Dead Three followers that might be useful. So they headed off to the tavern post haste.

After arriving at the tavern, Voragine and Ronus headed to the bar to talk to the proprietor about Tarina, while Tenshi proceeded to annoy the patrons by asking if they knew Tarina. Eldon found this very amusing and was trying not to laugh too much, and Qira didn't say much, as usual. Tarina was actually moderately successful, eliciting some fingers pointing at the stairs. Most of the patrons were too startled by the sudden entrance of so many short people at one time to do anything but try to not choke on their drinks with chuckles. Voragine and Ronus were also successful, with Ronus getting a drink and the proprietor telling Voragine that Tarina was upstairs playing bones with some other locals. So they all headed upstairs, and something approaching normalcy returned for the folks downstairs.

Finding Tarina was easy, she and her fellow gamblers (two of them) were occupying a large table in the back meant for eight. The group took the unoccupied seats, and after watching Tarina win a couple games (nobody noticed her cheating), Voragine and Tenshi asked if they could play too. Tarina, realizing that her pool of possible winnings just dramatically increased, happily agreed, and let them ante up. They played a round, in which Tarina didn't actually cheat, but she won fair and square. Her previous rubes realized their luck had run out, and their pockets were depressingly light, so they withdrew, much to her dismay. Tarina debated leaving the table with them but alas, it was not to be. Voragine flashed her badge, said that Zodge had sent them, and asked what she knew about the Dead Three followers. Realizing she had an opportunity here, Tarina told them about her dilemma, that some old comrades of hers were out for her blood over a disagreement over some loot, and that rumor had it they were on their way there to kill her. She'd intended to make a rooftop escape while they wasted time looking for her in the tavern, but she had a better idea. If the crew would help her handle them (they were dirty murderous pirates, so they needn't be concerned about killing them), she'd tell them what they wanted to know.

The crew somewhat reluctantly agreed, and while they discussed how they wanted to handle the pirates when they showed up, Tenshi snuck away. She went outside to lie in wait for the pirates to arrive. Meanwhile, the namesake ghost of the Elfsong Tavern made her "appearance", and instead of singing her usual song of a love lost at sea, she sang a different song about Elturel, the Hellriders, and the Companion. Qira translated the lyrics for the group, and Eldon recalled what he knew about the Hellriders and the Companion, which the crew and Tarina found interesting... but not very relevant to their current situation. Soon after the song finished, Dead-Eye and his crew showed up.

When Dead-Eye and his scabrous band sauntered into the Elfsong, Tenshi very skillfully shadowed them inside, sidling around to the booth in the southeast corner. While his crew meandered around the tables, Dead-Eye went to the bar, slapped down some coin, held up some fingers, and the tavernkeep filled four tankards. Taking two tankards in each hand, Dead-Eye bellowed, "We're here for... an old-friend. Heard she goes by 'Tarina'. She's a thief and cheats at Baldur's Bones, and I've got a tankard for anyone who points her out". Four hands shot up, pointing at the stairs, and Dead-Eye plonked the tankards on their tables. He nodded to the crew, and waved two of them toward the door. They took their position, with unconcerned bouncers on either side of them, while Dead-Eye and the rest of the crew took to the stairs, drawing weapons.

With the pirates now focused on their quarry, Tenshi decided to strike. With practiced accuracy, she hurled a dart at Dead-Eye's exposed back... only to have it bounce harmlessly off a stud in his armor. With a curse, he whipped around and returned the favor with a thrown dagger, which gave her an ugly scratch as she dove away. A few of his men started to move towards her as she flew back into the booth and dove out of the window. "Leave her!" he grunted, and they charged up the stairs. Qira let loose with arrows at the pirate captain and his men, missing some and marking others, while the patrons at the other table ducked and ran for cover. The pirates leapt onto the table, and laid into the crew with scimitars flashing, mostly causing pandemonium, but a few of the group were battered a bit and some blood was drawn. Ronus defended Tarina, fighting off two attackers, while Dead-Eye edged around the room to get at her, which he did, marking her good. Eldon laid into their captain with a brilliant blast of radiant energy, leaving him limned with golden sparks. He also sent rays of healing light to invigorate his friends and staunch their wounds.

Meanwhile, Tenshi, disappointed that nobody gave chase, climbed back into the window and made her way to the men blocking the door, eager to test her mettle. They attempted to fight her off... but the tiny slip of white fury made brutally short work of them, a blur of knees, elbows and spinning Emei daggers. Skoona, the half-ogre bouncer watching the fight from just a few feet away, nodded her head approvingly, and simply said, "Nice." Klank, the animated suit of armor that served as Skoona's counterpart, unsurprisingly said nothing.

Upstairs, things began to look grim for our stalwart band of miniature heroes. Eldon, after liberally pounding the captain with multiple bolts of pure force, had been hemmed in by a rather filthy lout who took issue with his arcane barrage, forcing him to defend himself with a dagger. Qira was equally pressed, and things may have turned very dark, if not for Voragine. Hammering back her attacker, she unleashed an invective-laced tirade at the captain, the likes of which had never been heard by anyone present, punctuating her insults with assaults on his psyche. Swinging her hammer wildly to keep the brutes at bay, she questioned his parentage, the shoddiness of his beard, his malodorous breath, his revolting stink, and even the size of his manhood. Interspersed with this unending verbal assault on Dead-Eye's person, she offered encouragement to her motley crew, and they responded with glee. Eldon and Qira were able to fend off the brigands accosting them, and Ronus scored a brutal strike on the pirate captain, slamming his axe into Dead-Eye's side while the man made wild, ineffective swings with his scimitar at Tarina and Ronus. Voragine violently crushed the skull of the man trying to silence her vicious insults against his captain, who suddenly succumbed with a shudder, unable to weather the unending barrage of truth that Voragine was inflicting upon him, though blood loss from the gaping axe wound in his side may have played a part as well. With an arrow from Qira's bow plunging through the eye of the last man standing, the fight was truly over.

After gathering themselves, Tarina and the group went downstairs to find Tenshi nonchalantly waiting at the bar, having a drink, her conquests lying in a dead heap by the door. With the party's help, the bouncers tossed the dead pirates unceremoniously into the alley (though not before the group went through all their pockets), and the tavernkeep's assistants mopped up the blood. Tarina thanked the group for their help, and gladly gave them the information they sought, informing them that Dead Three followers had been seen coming and going from a bathhouse several blocks northeast, and she'd been told there was a secret door within that lead to a dungeon that the killers were operating out of.

Highlights: Tenshi is a bad-ass, Qira is a damn good shot, Eldon is... Eldon, Ronus keeps the ladies safe, and Voragine can kill you with harsh words or a hammer to the skull, your choice.
 
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Xardion

Explorer
After wiping the floor with Dead-Eye and his gang, the crew wanted to go do a bit of shopping and also to see if they could sell Dead-Eye's jewelry (they first spent some time cleaning his blood and general body filth from it). Approaching the Black Dragon Gate to the Upper City, the Watch guards' initial eagerness at being able to collect some gate fees turned to disappointment when they realized it was Ronus Shattershield with a group of deputy Fists in tow, and let them pass with a look of chagrin. They quickly found a shop known for it's fine jewelry (a fairly popular place in the Upper City), and Ronus' simple charm and surprisingly good haggling skills netted them an excellent price for their well-earned booty. Flush with gold, they quickly found a purveyor of arms and armor, and Ronus came away with a very sturdy and well-made greataxe.

They then headed back to the Elfsong Tavern, stopping along the way to acquire a brewer's kit for Tenshi, her experiences with the "adequate" beverages in the local establishments leading her to think she could do a better job herself. Ronus encouraged her newfound interest very eagerly. Apparently word of their fight had spread among the locals, and they were treated to a raucous greeting, and decided to engage in a night of revelry and light debauchery. Voragine provided excellent entertainment (with some accompaniment provided by Tenshi with her pan flute), which brought in more customers. Alan Alyth, the proprietor, felt obliged to give them free room and board (though NOT free drinks), letting them stay in his unoccupied guest rooms while providing them dinner. Business hadn't been this good in months, and indeed, it had never been this busy. He had to hire some temporary help and bring out more ale from storage to keep up.

The night wasn't completely wasted on drink, though. They did hear some interesting news and rumors. Word got back to them that the rest of the crew of the Uncivil Serpent, Dead-Eye's ship, had heard of the fate of their captain, and holding no particular love for the man, took the first mate as their new captain, found some more men to replace their lost crew members, and set off for brighter shores. They also heard a ridiculous rumor that the Elturel refugees were some kind of scouts for a supposed army that was going to descend upon Baldur's Gate, and a more credible rumor that Thalamra Vanthampur had her eyes on the Grand Duke's seat, now that he had gone missing and may in fact be dead. Some of the group still remembered these rumors in the morning.

After shaking off any hangovers they might have had, the group headed straight to the bathhouse shortly after waking. Finding the place open, but otherwise unoccupied save for the two masseuses, they decided to take advantage of the facilities and have a bath. They definitely needed one. Ronus and Eldon used the pool between the massage rooms, while the ladies took to the pool on the north side. Some amount of searching in the pools themselves was conducted, though they found nothing of interest, aside from noting that the plumbing was excellent.

Eldon and Ronus did notice something interesting as they chatted and looked around at the bathhouse and massage rooms. Eldon commented on the symmetrical layout of the place, and Ronus noticed a single discrepancy to that symmetry. The masseuses left their doors open while they readied their tables for customers they'd likely be receiving after the group finished bathing, and Ronus noticed that the position of the windows differed between the two rooms. Wanting to investigate further, the men left their bath, and availed themselves of the massage services, Eldon took the south room served by the androgynous masseuse Jabaz, and Ronus went to the north room where Qurmilah waited.

Understanding the intent of their male counterparts (presumably), the ladies waited for a few minutes, and then decided to act. Tenshi just boldly entered the southern room with Eldon, and after he acknowledged her presence, set about looking for a hidden door. Jabaz of course asked her what she was doing, and Tenshi cleverly replied, "Um, where's your watercloset?" after she found nothing. Jabaz directed her back outside, informing her there were chamber pots under the bench in the southeast corner of bathhouse. Voragine took a... different approach. Barging into the room with Ronus, she bellowed at him and accused him of infidelity, rifling off a list of supposed character defects and berated him mercilessly. Qurmilah fled of course, taking refuge with Jabaz and Eldon.

Nodding to Ronus, but continuing her farcical rant, the two of them proceeded to investigate the room. It became quickly apparent why the window was positioned differently in this room: the outer wall in the northwest corner turned north instead of continuing west to the corner of the building, indicating the presence of some kind of space behind the wall of the room. They quickly found the secret entrance to the dungeon, and just as quickly left the room, partly because of the wretched smell that wafted out, and also to get their clothes back on. Everyone (except Eldon, who was still getting his massage), quickly dressed, and then Voragine confronted the masseuses. She was still in an apparent rage, but now she threatened them with violence if they didn't tell her about that secret passage and everything they knew about this place.

Terrified, they stumbled over each other to spill their guts to her, not wanting to be on the receiving end of either her fists or her sharp tongue. They told her that Thalamra Vanthampur owned the bathhouse, but her son Mortlock ran the place. Jabaz suspected he was having some sort of shady dealings there, because they were expressly forbidden from being there after dark, and that he was conducting some sort of dark business without his mother's knowledge. Jabaz and Qurmilah quickly fled, and Eldon got dressed, disappointed about his interrupted massage, but eager to join the rest of the crew in investigating this dark and dank passage they had discovered.

NOTE: The group did continue on, but I'll include that with the next session's report
 

Xardion

Explorer
After getting dressed and re-arming themselves, the intrepid explorers descended into the rank and odorous dark of the bathhouse dungeon. They were fairly dismayed at the amount of stagnant, putrid water waiting for them at the bottom (poor Eldon was up to his chest in it), and after disturbing the "sediment" at the bottom, they soon deduced the source of this effluence. "Displeased" is a rather poor word to describe their reaction, but being strong of stomach, they pushed on.

They fairly quickly discovered a hidden door in the large alcove in the southwest corner of the flooded entrance, made their way past an altar to Bhaal covered with hideous offering of entrails, and found themselves curiously examining the depiction of murder on a tapestry hanging in the flooded corridor south of Bhaal's altar. Tenshi was just about to grab it to tear it off the wall, when Eldon stopped her, pointing out the yellow mold creeping around the edges of the fabric. They burned it instead, and continued up the steps to the east as quickly as possible to get out of the disgusting water.

Just east of the steps they found an octagonal room, and on the north, east, and south walls were doors, each with a depiction of one of the Dead Three. They first chose to explore the door to the north, listening carefully at the door bearing Bhaal's muscular form before opening it. Entering the corridor beyond and proceeding down it for a short distance, they turned back after realizing it led back to the entrance. Their second choice was the door to the south, with its carving of Myrkul.

They noticed a faint flickering of light under the door, so Tenshi opened it as quietly as possible. Lying on the floor in a triangular pattern were three figures in black robes, and a torch laid between them, the source of the flickering light. Several members of the party noticed the robed figures breathing, so they decided to jump in the room and spring the poorly-laid trap. The outcome was predictably short. Two of them were brought low before they even had a chance to fully rise, their rallying cries cut short, becoming gurgling death rattles. The third, Tenshi intentionally knocked unconscious, wanting to question him. Tying him to his dead comrades, they proceeded to search the attached crypt, and quickly found the hidden spellbooks, which they handed over to Eldon as he was the only one interested in them.

After waking the unconscious man, Tenshi and Voragine began questioning him. At first he refused to answer any questions, making various threats against the party and proclaiming that he had no fear of death. Voragine made it clear that death wasn't what should concern him, and proceeded to snap the finger, hand, and arm bones of his dead companions like spun sugar. Under threat of pain, he did reveal that there were around a dozen followers of the Dead Three in the dungeon, and that Mortlock was also lurking somewhere within, though he didn't know where exactly. He then returned to making various threats, making sure they knew that he'd eventually get out of his bonds and hunt them down, with help. So Tenshi unceremoniously stabbed him with her daggers, quickly ending him. "He said he didn't fear death." was all she said.

Heading back out to the octagonal room, the group proceeded through the Bane-carved door to the east, trying to be quiet, but the clinking of Ronus' chain mail was making this more-or-less impossible. As they reached the mid-point of the corridor, on a small landing before more steps that lead into the odious drainage, they heard a muffled cry from somewhere around the corner at the end of the corridor, followed by hushed voices. Tenshi scouted ahead, with the rest of the group close behind, and peeked around the corner. On the west end of the flooded room, she saw wide steps leading out of the water, up to an altar flanked by a pair of torches. A helmet-less suit of armor stood in an alcove to the north of the altar, and a man in very poor condition was shackled to the west wall, clad only in a loincloth and a burlap sack on his head. Two burly humans stood at the top of the steps, a large woman wielding a longbow and an even larger man wearing a bucket helm and gripping a spear. Both were clad in chain mail, and were obviously trying to make out any movement from the group's position, which was difficult given the dim light from the torches. Tenshi backed away, and gathered a large handful of the wretched sediment from the floor under the water. She signaled to the group, and deftly hurled the blob of filth at the helmeted man, scoring a direct hit on his eye slit, blinding him as the party charged the stairs as best they could given the depth of the water.

The tactic worked amazingly well. The woman was distracted by her companion's flailing, and she had just enough time to drop her bow and pull out her mace and shield as Ronus charged like an enraged bull and Tenshi adroitly tumbled off of the wall and onto the steps. Qira assailed the the flailing man with arrows, and Eldon seared him with a blast of radiance from the back of the room. As soon as he had managed to remove his helmet and clear the sickening muck from his eyes, Voragine used her bardic magic to inflict him with a fit of uncontrollable giggles. He dropped to the floor in front of Tenshi, who then leapt over him in order to flank him as Voragine quickly took up her position on the steps. Ronus kept the woman on the defensive, blows from his greataxe knocking her shield aside and winding her with the effort of simply staying alive, though she did score a glancing blow on Ronus. The large man overcame his giggles and rose from the floor with a great roar, stabbing at Tenshi (who nimbly dodged) while roaring at his companion to kill these intruders. She rallied, and valiantly attempted to fend Ronus off, but it was too late. Their assault was too effective: Qira and Eldon relentlessly rained down on their position, and Tenshi and Voragine quickly brought her flanked companion down. Ronus finished her off with a solid blow from his axe, and the fight was over almost before it began.

The captive man, Klim Jhasso, begged to be released, offering rewards and riches if he was returned to his family. Ronus knew immediately from the name he gave that he was lying, but they released him nonetheless. Tenshi took the keys from the dead man at her feet, and unlocked the captive's shackles. Immediately, the gauntlets flew from the suit of armor and began attacking Tenshi, who very capably defended herself. The rest of the group help beat them away, and Qira ultimately pinned them to the wall with a well-placed arrow. They gave the man one of the torches and told him how to get out, letting him know the way was clear. Then they proceeded down the short passage of steps south of the altar, choosing to ignore the door and passageway at the east and southeast portion of the room, having little desire to trudge through the filth again.

Quickly heading up the steps to the west, wishing to avoid as much time in the water as possible, they followed the curving passage to a door to the south. Ronus kept to the rear to keep the noise to a minimum, and Qira listened intently at the door. She could just barely hear a slight murmuring and faint skittering noises. Tenshi took a very quick peek, and informed the group of what she saw: a black robed woman, her back turned to them, working on a cadaver laid out on a table in front of her, with a swarm of skeletal rats at her feet. Realizing they probably wouldn't be able to sneak up on the rats, they used what little surprise they had, and rushed into the room. Quickly identifying Ronus as the biggest threat, the rats rushed him, while Voragine once again used her magic, this time assaulting the robed figure's mind with a painful, discordant melody. Buckling from the pain and grasping her ears, the woman fled from the source of the music to the back of the room, and retaliated with magic of her own, sending burning rays of fire at nearly everyone in the room (Ronus was still dealing with the rats, and she didn't want to hit them). Most of the rays harmlessly scorched the floor or walls, but Voragine took a direct hit. Eldon retaliated with magic of his own, blasting the woman with a bolt of force that nearly took her off her feet. Tenshi and Voragine rounded on her, raining down blows, and Qira finished the woman off with an arrow directly between her eyes. Ronus stomped the rats into the floor mercilessly.

Searching the woman for possible clues, they found only her silvered skull flail, her spellbook (a black leather affair with a tiny skull-shaped lock), and the key to the spellbook's lock in her hair. Again they gave Eldon the spellbook, which he immediately opened with the key. A wisp of black smoke rose from the pages and coalesced into a small, cackling skull, and then vanished. Whatever effect it might have had, Eldon seemed to shake it off without effect. Examining the corpse on the table, they deduced that she was likely trying to raise it from the dead to create a zombie, alerting them to the possibility of such creatures elsewhere in the dungeon. They also took a bit of a breather, with Qira and Tenshi standing guard while Ronus and Voragine rested, and Eldon helped heal Voragine's burn.

Heading back to the curving corridor, they followed it to its conclusion, ignoring a door to the south that had no noises beyond it. Opening the door to the north, they cautiously followed the now-revealed passageway to the east. This led to a partially-collapsed room with a dark altar on the south wall, topped with unlit black candles and with humanoid bones strewn about its base. They wisely chose to disregard the altar, but not after first searching the room for possible clues or hidden doors. Finding none, they pressed onward down the wide steps to the east, and up the corridor to the north. They were brought up short at the end of the corridor, by steps leading down once again into the effluence that flooded most of the dungeon, and by an eyebrow-curling stench of rotten eggs. Simultaneously identifying the cause of the smell, Ronus, Qira and Voragine all suggested not lighting a fire. They examined this room as quickly as possible, disregarding the chamber to the northeast, and headed through the small exit to the east and down the wide flooded passage beyond that lead south, wanting to get away from the wretched smell as rapidly as was prudent, given their situation.

The wide passage ended with a small corridor going east, with steps leading out of the water. The long passage going directly east ended in a door, and was punctuated by a few side doors at regular intervals. Not wishing to alert anyone within those rooms, the group sent Tenshi ahead to scout. She heard nothing at the first couple of doors, and realized that what appeared to be a door to the north was actually collapsed. The third door yielded fruit: the tell-tale moans and shuffling of zombies. Quietly digging a small hole in the rotted wood of the door with an Emei dagger and daring a quick peek, Tenshi quickly and stealthily rejoined the group, and they formed a plan. With Ronus in the lead, followed by Tenshi, Voragine, Eldon, and Qira in the rear, they very slowly and carefully reached the end of the corridor without Ronus making much noise. Tenshi stood directly in front of the short passage to the door, with Ronus and Voragine flanking the corners, preventing any sort of escape. Tenshi kicked in the door, and leapt back as Voragine dumped a flask of oil on the floor in front of it. When the first zombie staggered out, Eldon struck it with a divine blast of sacred fire, simultaneously igniting the oil on the floor.

What followed was utter brutality, the one-by-one dismemberment and incineration of zombie after zombie. Funneled into the kill zone, the zombies were relentlessly destroyed. After the fire went out, and the fourth zombie was dispatched, Tenshi tumbled into the room, and Ronus and Voragine rushed in afterwards. They made short work of the last two, though they were impressively resilient for being so thoroughly out-manned. Not a one of them managed to land a blow on any one of the crew.

Once the zombies were dealt with and the sarcophagus in the room with them fruitlessly searched, the door at the end of the corridor was watched, and a thorough search was performed of the other two rooms. The first room yielded nothing: the sarcophagus within was partially buried in rubble, and it had obviously been plundered previously. The second room appeared to have been similarly looted, but Tenshi noticed the sarcophagus had a false bottom. Breaking it away revealed a mummified human floating in red brine, its eyes replaced with glistening moonstones. She eagerly took these, once it was apparent that the body was just a corpse and not some undead horror waiting to strangle her. She also remembered from her studies at the monastery that in some cultures, when the internal organs were removed during mummification, special organs such as the heart were sometimes replaced with something of significance. Tenshi decided to further violate the corpse by shoving her fist into its chest, and was rewarded with a bag of oddly heavy beans. Eldon recognized what these were, and warned her not to dump them out, as their magic would be released violently. He told her they would need to be planted outside and watered, but the results might be... less-than-desirable. "A risky endeavor, to be sure." he informed her. The beans were securely put away.

After listening intently at the door at the end of the corridor, and hearing nothing, the group decided to proceed. They simply rushed in, having decided if anyone with hostile intent was inside, they would have already attacked them while they were dealing with the zombies. Their theory was correct, as inside this blood spattered room was a harrowing sight. Two people were shackled here and restrained, and in the center of the room sat a well-made chair. Draped over the chair was a bloody whip, and next to it, a half-filled bucket of salt. Shackled to the east wall was a female tiefling, whipped and beaten into unconsciousness, but alive. The human male on the south wall had been dead for some time, his body cold and stiff with rigor, but not yet decomposed. He had been similarly whipped and beaten, but much more severely. Tenshi used the keys she had taken from the helmeted warrior earlier to unshackle the woman, and Voragine whispered words of healing, sealing her wounds and immediately waking her.

After a few moments of disorientation and being reassured that the party was there to deal with the cultists, the woman, her name Vendetta Kress, told them what she knew. She worked for the Oathoon patriar family distributing wine and spirits, and was knocked unconscious while doing business in the Lower City. She was taken directly here, and they had been interrogating her for information about the Oathoons and their security. She had watched them similarly interrogate Effinax, the dead man, about the Jhasso family, until he finally succumbed to the torture and died in front of her. The party made ready to continue, asking her to stay here and recuperate, but she stopped them. Vendetta refused to remain behind, saying that she couldn't stay there after what had happened, insisting that she come with them. She added that she had often heard the scraping of heavy stone, accompanied by splashing footsteps, beyond the door to the north. Considering this information, the group debated on how they should proceed.
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Excellent work, keep writing it up- very much appreciated. I'm only just getting around to reading the module but I'm sure I'll get around to running it.

Thanks again for this.

Great work.

Cheers Goonalan
 

Silaqi

Visitor
After getting dressed and re-arming themselves, the intrepid explorers descended into the rank and odorous dark of the bathhouse dungeon. They were fairly dismayed at the amount of stagnant, putrid water waiting for them at the bottom (poor Eldon was up to his chest in it), and after disturbing the "sediment" at the bottom, they soon deduced the source of this effluence. "Displeased" is a rather poor word to describe their reaction, but being strong of stomach, they pushed on.

They fairly quickly discovered a hidden door in the large alcove in the southwest corner of the flooded entrance, made their way past an altar to Bhaal covered with hideous offering of entrails, and found themselves curiously examining the depiction of murder on a tapestry hanging in the flooded corridor south of Bhaal's altar. Tenshi was just about to grab it to tear it off the wall, when Eldon stopped her, pointing out the yellow mold creeping around the edges of the fabric. They burned it instead, and continued up the steps to the east as quickly as possible to get out of the disgusting water.

Just east of the steps they found an octagonal room, and on the north, east, and south walls were doors, each with a depiction of one of the Dead Three. They first chose to explore the door to the north, listening carefully at the door bearing Bhaal's muscular form before opening it. Entering the corridor beyond and proceeding down it for a short distance, they turned back after realizing it led back to the entrance. Their second choice was the door to the south, with its carving of Myrkul.

They noticed a faint flickering of light under the door, so Tenshi opened it as quietly as possible. Lying on the floor in a triangular pattern were three figures in black robes, and a torch laid between them, the source of the flickering light. Several members of the party noticed the robed figures breathing, so they decided to jump in the room and spring the poorly-laid trap. The outcome was predictably short. Two of them were brought low before they even had a chance to fully rise, their rallying cries cut short, becoming gurgling death rattles. The third, Tenshi intentionally knocked unconscious, wanting to question him. Tying him to his dead comrades, they proceeded to search the attached crypt, and quickly found the hidden spellbooks, which they handed over to Eldon as he was the only one interested in them.

After waking the unconscious man, Tenshi and Voragine began questioning him. At first he refused to answer any questions, making various threats against the party and proclaiming that he had no fear of death. Voragine made it clear that death wasn't what should concern him, and proceeded to snap the finger, hand, and arm bones of his dead companions like spun sugar. Under threat of pain, he did reveal that there were around a dozen followers of the Dead Three in the dungeon, and that Mortlock was also lurking somewhere within, though he didn't know where exactly. He then returned to making various threats, making sure they knew that he'd eventually get out of his bonds and hunt them down, with help. So Tenshi unceremoniously stabbed him with her daggers, quickly ending him. "He said he didn't fear death." was all she said.

Heading back out to the octagonal room, the group proceeded through the Bane-carved door to the east, trying to be quiet, but the clinking of Ronus' chain mail was making this more-or-less impossible. As they reached the mid-point of the corridor, on a small landing before more steps that lead into the odious drainage, they heard a muffled cry from somewhere around the corner at the end of the corridor, followed by hushed voices. Tenshi scouted ahead, with the rest of the group close behind, and peeked around the corner. On the west end of the flooded room, she saw wide steps leading out of the water, up to an altar flanked by a pair of torches. A helmet-less suit of armor stood in an alcove to the north of the altar, and a man in very poor condition was shackled to the west wall, clad only in a loincloth and a burlap sack on his head. Two burly humans stood at the top of the steps, a large woman wielding a longbow and an even larger man wearing a bucket helm and gripping a spear. Both were clad in chain mail, and were obviously trying to make out any movement from the group's position, which was difficult given the dim light from the torches. Tenshi backed away, and gathered a large handful of the wretched sediment from the floor under the water. She signaled to the group, and deftly hurled the blob of filth at the helmeted man, scoring a direct hit on his eye slit, blinding him as the party charged the stairs as best they could given the depth of the water.

The tactic worked amazingly well. The woman was distracted by her companion's flailing, and she had just enough time to drop her bow and pull out her mace and shield as Ronus charged like an enraged bull and Tenshi adroitly tumbled off of the wall and onto the steps. Qira assailed the the flailing man with arrows, and Eldon seared him with a blast of radiance from the back of the room. As soon as he had managed to remove his helmet and clear the sickening muck from his eyes, Voragine used her bardic magic to inflict him with a fit of uncontrollable giggles. He dropped to the floor in front of Tenshi, who then leapt over him in order to flank him as Voragine quickly took up her position on the steps. Ronus kept the woman on the defensive, blows from his greataxe knocking her shield aside and winding her with the effort of simply staying alive, though she did score a glancing blow on Ronus. The large man overcame his giggles and rose from the floor with a great roar, stabbing at Tenshi (who nimbly dodged) while roaring at his companion to kill these intruders. She rallied, and valiantly attempted to fend Ronus off, but it was too late. Their assault was too effective: Qira and Eldon relentlessly rained down on their position, and Tenshi and Voragine quickly brought her flanked companion down. Ronus finished her off with a solid blow from his axe, and the fight was over almost before it began.

The captive man, Klim Jhasso, begged to be released, offering rewards and riches if he was returned to his family. Ronus knew immediately from the name he gave that he was lying, but they released him nonetheless. Tenshi took the keys from the dead man at her feet, and unlocked the captive's shackles. Immediately, the gauntlets flew from the suit of armor and began attacking Tenshi, who very capably defended herself. The rest of the group help beat them away, and Qira ultimately pinned them to the wall with a well-placed arrow. They gave the man one of the torches and told him how to get out, letting him know the way was clear. Then they proceeded down the short passage of steps south of the altar, choosing to ignore the door and passageway at the east and southeast portion of the room, having little desire to trudge through the filth again.

Quickly heading up the steps to the west, wishing to avoid as much time in the water as possible, they followed the curving passage to a door to the south. Ronus kept to the rear to keep the noise to a minimum, and Qira listened intently at the door. She could just barely hear a slight murmuring and faint skittering noises. Tenshi took a very quick peek, and informed the group of what she saw: a black robed woman, her back turned to them, working on a cadaver laid out on a table in front of her, with a swarm of skeletal rats at her feet. Realizing they probably wouldn't be able to sneak up on the rats, they used what little surprise they had, and rushed into the room. Quickly identifying Ronus as the biggest threat, the rats rushed him, while Voragine once again used her magic, this time assaulting the robed figure's mind with a painful, discordant melody. Buckling from the pain and grasping her ears, the woman fled from the source of the music to the back of the room, and retaliated with magic of her own, sending burning rays of fire at nearly everyone in the room (Ronus was still dealing with the rats, and she didn't want to hit them). Most of the rays harmlessly scorched the floor or walls, but Voragine took a direct hit. Eldon retaliated with magic of his own, blasting the woman with a bolt of force that nearly took her off her feet. Tenshi and Voragine rounded on her, raining down blows, and Qira finished the woman off with an arrow directly between her eyes. Ronus stomped the rats into the floor mercilessly.

Searching the woman for possible clues, they found only her silvered skull flail, her spellbook (a black leather affair with a tiny skull-shaped lock), and the key to the spellbook's lock in her hair. Again they gave Eldon the spellbook, which he immediately opened with the key. A wisp of black smoke rose from the pages and coalesced into a small, cackling skull, and then vanished. Whatever effect it might have had, Eldon seemed to shake it off without effect. Examining the corpse on the table, they deduced that she was likely trying to raise it from the dead to create a zombie, alerting them to the possibility of such creatures elsewhere in the dungeon. They also took a bit of a breather, with Qira and Tenshi standing guard while Ronus and Voragine rested, and Eldon helped heal Voragine's burn.

Heading back to the curving corridor, they followed it to its conclusion, ignoring a door to the south that had no noises beyond it. Opening the door to the north, they cautiously followed the now-revealed passageway to the east. This led to a partially-collapsed room with a dark altar on the south wall, topped with unlit black candles and with humanoid bones strewn about its base. They wisely chose to disregard the altar, but not after first searching the room for possible clues or hidden doors. Finding none, they pressed onward down the wide steps to the east, and up the corridor to the north. They were brought up short at the end of the corridor, by steps leading down once again into the effluence that flooded most of the dungeon, and by an eyebrow-curling stench of rotten eggs. Simultaneously identifying the cause of the smell, Ronus, Qira and Voragine all suggested not lighting a fire. They examined this room as quickly as possible, disregarding the chamber to the northeast, and headed through the small exit to the east and down the wide flooded passage beyond that lead south, wanting to get away from the wretched smell as rapidly as was prudent, given their situation.

The wide passage ended with a small corridor going east, with steps leading out of the water. The long passage going directly east ended in a door, and was punctuated by a few side doors at regular intervals. Not wishing to alert anyone within those rooms, the group sent Tenshi ahead to scout. She heard nothing at the first couple of doors, and realized that what appeared to be a door to the north was actually collapsed. The third door yielded fruit: the tell-tale moans and shuffling of zombies. Quietly digging a small hole in the rotted wood of the door with an Emei dagger and daring a quick peek, Tenshi quickly and stealthily rejoined the group, and they formed a plan. With Ronus in the lead, followed by Tenshi, Voragine, Eldon, and Qira in the rear, they very slowly and carefully reached the end of the corridor without Ronus making much noise. Tenshi stood directly in front of the short passage to the door, with Ronus and Voragine flanking the corners, preventing any sort of escape. Tenshi kicked in the door, and leapt back as Voragine dumped a flask of oil on the floor in front of it. When the first zombie staggered out, Eldon struck it with a divine blast of sacred fire, simultaneously igniting the oil on the floor.

What followed was utter brutality, the one-by-one dismemberment and incineration of zombie after zombie. Funneled into the kill zone, the zombies were relentlessly destroyed. After the fire went out, and the fourth zombie was dispatched, Tenshi tumbled into the room, and Ronus and Voragine rushed in afterwards. They made short work of the last two, though they were impressively resilient for being so thoroughly out-manned. Not a one of them managed to land a blow on any one of the crew.

Once the zombies were dealt with and the sarcophagus in the room with them fruitlessly searched, the door at the end of the corridor was watched, and a thorough search was performed of the other two rooms. The first room yielded nothing: the sarcophagus within was partially buried in rubble, and it had obviously been plundered previously. The second room appeared to have been similarly looted, but Tenshi noticed the sarcophagus had a false bottom. Breaking it away revealed a mummified human floating in red brine, its eyes replaced with glistening moonstones. She eagerly took these, once it was apparent that the body was just a corpse and not some undead horror waiting to strangle her. She also remembered from her studies at the monastery that in some cultures, when the internal organs were removed during mummification, special organs such as the heart were sometimes replaced with something of significance. Tenshi decided to further violate the corpse by shoving her fist into its chest, and was rewarded with a bag of oddly heavy beans. Eldon recognized what these were, and warned her not to dump them out, as their magic would be released violently. He told her they would need to be planted outside and watered, but the results might be... less-than-desirable. "A risky endeavor, to be sure." he informed her. The beans were securely put away.

After listening intently at the door at the end of the corridor, and hearing nothing, the group decided to proceed. They simply rushed in, having decided if anyone with hostile intent was inside, they would have already attacked them while they were dealing with the zombies. Their theory was correct, as inside this blood spattered room was a harrowing sight. Two people were shackled here and restrained, and in the center of the room sat a well-made chair. Draped over the chair was a bloody whip, and next to it, a half-filled bucket of salt. Shackled to the east wall was a female tiefling, whipped and beaten into unconsciousness, but alive. The human male on the south wall had been dead for some time, his body cold and stiff with rigor, but not yet decomposed. He had been similarly whipped and beaten, but much more severely. Tenshi used the keys she had taken from the helmeted warrior earlier to unshackle the woman, and Voragine whispered words of healing, sealing her wounds and immediately waking her.

After a few moments of disorientation and being reassured that the party was there to deal with the cultists, the woman, her name Vendetta Kress, told them what she knew. She worked for the Oathoon patriar family distributing wine and spirits, and was knocked unconscious while doing business in the Lower City. She was taken directly here, and they had been interrogating her for information about the Oathoons and their security. She had watched them similarly interrogate Effinax, the dead man, about the Jhasso family, until he finally succumbed to the torture and died in front of her. The party made ready to continue, asking her to stay here and recuperate, but she stopped them. Vendetta refused to remain behind, saying that she couldn't stay there after what had happened, insisting that she come with them. She added that she had often heard the scraping of heavy stone, accompanied by splashing footsteps, beyond the door to the north. Considering this information, the group debated on how they should proceed.
I hope you're able to keep posting your session log, this is fantastic. I'm starting my Descent Into Avernus this week and this has been really helpful so far. Great work.
 

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