Team 1 Progress
Awakening on stone tables in a rectangular room, Hogwash the Elf Bard, Pigsnout the Elf Fighter, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Lightfingers the Elf Rogue, and Rosmita Stout the Halfling Bard hastily explore the room. They find that the tables along the wall contain rusty – and bloodied – knives, saws, hooks and various other instruments consistent with a morgue or butcher’s shop. They note four exits from the EXAMINATION ROOM on compass points. All of these doors are unlocked.
Choosing the north door, they come to a diamond-shaped room. There are doors at each corner. The center of the room is dominated by a stone statue of a frogman wizard with his arms outstretched to cast a spell. After noticing faint scorch marks on the floor around the statue, the team retreat from the CHAMBER OF THE STONE WIZARD back to the EXAMINATION ROOM.
Taking the south door, they come to the CRYPT OF THE OLD GUARD. The room is lit by a soft blue light emanating from a rectangular pool of water in the center of the room. Two archways stand at either end of the pool, through which they could see double doors at the other end of the room. On either side of the pool stood four stone sarcophagi with their lids slightly askew. Above them, they could see a walkway circling the room, though it was hard to make out who might be up there due to a screen of ironworks that skirted the CATWALKS OVERLOOK.
Seeing no sign of trouble, they entered the room. The rogue Lightfingers suggested that they should pass through the arches and make their way through the water to the double doors in a straight shot. Unfortunately, they did not listen to their rogue.
Rosmita the Halfling Bard decided to check one of the stone coffins to see what treasure might lie within. It was empty. Not wanting to be left out, Pigsnout checked the next one. This one contained a tidal elf skeleton – and not just any elf: the Captain of the Old Guard!
The Captain nearly caught Pigsnout on the first swipe, but he narrowly avoided its attack. Meanwhile, more skeletons leapt out of the remaining coffins! Pigsnout dealt some damage to the Captain for the affront. Thinking quickly, Hogwash cast Ray of Frost, dealing serious cold damage to four of the skeletal forces and slowing them down in the process. Not to be outdone, Rosmita Stout cast Charm on the Captain – and it worked! The attack immediately ceased.
Furthermore, the Captain warned the team that an army of frogmen called War’todes lay in wait just beyond the double doors. Instead, he suggested that they head back the way they came and find the LIBRARY, but not to touch anything in the LIBRARY. Instead, he noted that it was said that other tributes to the frog god War’t had escaped their cages and that some had dug a tunnel that connected to the LIBRARY STORAGE ROOM. If they could find it, they might find a way to escape through the caverns.
Apologizing that he could not join them beyond the crypt they were bound to, the charmed Captain and his skeletal guards returned to their stone coffins, pulling the lids back into place.
Team 2 Progress
The second team woke up in the polar opposite circumstances the first team experienced. Rather than waking in a big empty room together with several unlocked doors, Fizzle the Elf Wizard, Kerla Chog the Human Fighter raised by dwarves, Fenris Fairweather the Human Rogue, Jotun Yggdrasil the Dwarf Cleric and Cullos Crowbane the Human Wizard found themselves locked in PRISON HOLDING CELLS. From their cells, they could see that there were two exits from the prison, both involving locked iron barred doors. At the south prison entrance they could see part of a GUARD ROOM. A War’tode jailer sat at a table with his back to them. The jail keys also sat conspicuously on the table, far out of reach.
The other cells were oddly empty, but this was explained by the jailer’s angry and in turns despairing mutterings about a possible mix-up. He was at a loss to understand why these prisoners hadn’t been sent to he CAGES with the other tributes to the great god War’t. He was reluctant to criticize the Big Big Boss and suggest an oversight, lest the Big Big Boss blame him for mistake instead.
Fenris successfully picked the lock to his own cell and managed to free Fizzle and Cullos. Unfortunately, the metallic squeal of the rusty cell door hinge alerted the jailer to their escape attempt. As the jailer unlocked the prison door and rushed in to stop them, Fizzle taunted him. The jailer stabbed into the cell angrily, whereupon the elf wizard tried to grapple with him, but ended up getting stabbed for his efforts. The War’tode jailer also stabbed into Kerla Chog’s cell for spite. She tried to stab him with a javelin but it got caught on the bars and Kerla, causing the human fighter to overreach and slash herself in the process. Fenris attempted to shoot the jailer with his bow but stumbled in his haste and shot himself in the foot instead. Cullos’ thrown dagger attack was unsuccessful but was noteworthy for not resulting in any sort of self-injury!
Thinking quickly, Yotun attacked the jailer, injuring him so badly that the cowardly War’tode retreated back down the corridor, fleeing for his life. Fizzle attempted to cast Charm on him to stop him; however, the spell backfired and Fizzle became smitten with the War’tode guard. When the guard locked them back in, Fizzle tried to reach for his new “friend,” but the War’tode bit him for his efforts. Fizzle’s heart was broken and he took out his rage on Yotun for injuring his new friend. The dagger attack on Jotun was successful but minor. Jotun healed himself but determined never to give Fizzle’s dagger back.
Panicking, Kerla Chog attempted to escape by banging the lock with her dwarven warhammer; however, on her only successful swing, the warhammer rebounded off the iron jail door and bashed her in the head. She fell flat on the ground, unconscious and bleeding out. In contrast, Cullos sat back and watched the madness, calmly looking for his next move.
Yotun finally realized that he could stabilize poor Kerla by casting his Spare the Dying cantrip, sparing her from death for the present.
At this point, they were accosted from the north exit of PRISON HOLDING CELLS by a stranger who names himself Cuisses de Grenouille. He promises them a way out in exchange for a bribe. The negotiations fell apart for a time, despite the urgency of their situation. Cuisses about to go when Jotun misspoke and accidentally named a higher price. Cuisses told them that he too had awoken in a cell like this and was the only survivor of his group. If they didn’t give him what he wanted, he would take his magical key away. In return for ALL of Yotun’s gold and gems, and several pieces of gold from the rest (Cullos and Fenris were not entirely truthful concerning the sums they had available), he tossed them the key, noting that it had exactly three uses left.
Team 3 Progress
The last team consisted of Bhardor Silvertongue the Dwarf Bard, Dishrag the Elf Cleric, Belwyn Darkhand the Halfling Fighter, and Eondul the Human Wizard. They awoke in the PIT OF THE DYING, where a rum-soaked War’tode, Snizzle the Cleric of Kroakatoa, addressed them from a high ledge and demanded that they take up his quest to slay a small wounded dragon in return for releasing them. Only two exits were evident; both the smaller and huge one were barred by portcullises. The floor was littered with the rotting limbs of past tributes. Snizzle sees the tributes that rain from above from time to time as evidence that he has the favor of Kroakatoa, a feeling further confirmed by his inebriated judgment and the fact that he has frogre captive whom he believed to be the Avatar of Kroakatoa in an adjoining chamber.
He threatens to feed them to the Avatar of Kroakatoa if they do not slay the dragon, removing him from the intended path to a showdown with Big Big Boss and the false god War’t. He gives them a closer look at the frogre, just to be sure they understand he has no qualms about feeding them to the avatar; after all, more tributes fall from Kroakatoa almost every day!
They agree, whereupon the smaller portcullis opens. He tosses Dishrag a Star Sapphire gem, which he promises them they will need. Checking the adjoining tunnel to make sure it’s safe, they exit the PIT OF THE DYING. The portcullis slams shut behind them and they hear Snizzle warn that he will be watching them.