Session #24: The Catacombs

A short trek through the CATACOMBS from the SEWER entrance led our adventurers to the OSSUARY OF THE MIDDLEBOROUGH INNOCENTS, where they found Killian Thanatar.

After Killian identified himself as the Ferryman, he asked Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter, Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of Moriarty, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter where they sought passage to.

After some discussion, they replied that they were looking for passage to the surface. When pressed for a more specific location, he was informed that they were trying to gain access to the MARKET, but were certainly trying to emerge anywhere outside of the SAINT ALBANS island quarantine zone. Killian warned them that several of the closest exits to the surface from the CATACOMBS and SEWERS were currently well guarded; however, he recommended an exit beneath the MIDDLEBOROUGH CHAPEL, unmarked on their sewer map, as their best bet.

They agreed and made their preparations to go.

“Before we go any further,” Killian asked, “I need to know if any of you carry silvered weapons? We are about to walk the paths of the dead and there is a necromancer who has been operating nearby. He may not be alone. A lot of the city’s magic users have been driven underground as of late. There’s a new movement at work in Farrago. You may have seen their sigil, a Dwarven bindrune combining the letters G and R. They do not like magic users, divine or arcane, largely due to the magical plague you’re trying to escape. shrugged. “This new plague is causing people to gain powers who should not have them and the Infected are creating havoc throughout Farrago. The disease only laster five days, but the power the Infected possess grows more dangerous as it runs its course. The movement whose graffiti you’ve seen was started around a rather persuasive dwarf named Tinker Redforge. The Redforges’ mantra is “The Glory Returned!” They suppose they are returning the Worlds to their former glory when, they say, magic did not yet exist. They are very dangerous.”

The Flight of the Dead

Just then they heard Nathan Garney cry out. “Guys, look out!”

They turned just in time to see the cleric being pulled into the OSSUARY wall by skeletal hands. The wall reformed itself a moment later. Before they could even register their shock, the bones lining the OSSUARY walls began to stir. In short order, the five skeletons had assembled themselves from the bones and skulls of the wall.

As the skeletons stepped toward them, Killian’s eyes narrowed. “”Which of you disturbed the shrine of Thanatar?” he accused.

“The very one they took,” Acindor replied grimly.

Killian nodded. “Follow me quickly and we may yet get out of this alive.”

As the left the OSSUARY, they came upon more traditional CATACOMB passages lined with alcoves where skeletal remains were laid in repose. As they passed by, the skeletons began rising from their resting places and reached out for them. In the next moments, they found themselves being hounded by ever-growing numbers of undead creatures.

Meldor began lagging behind, weighed down by the inconvenience of his wizardly robes. Truth be told he’d never been the most impressive physical specimen by dwarven standards and had chosen magic as a profession to compensate. Davroar stopped to say a prayer to Moriarty, then boldly raised his hand to command the undead to stop. He successfully caused several skeletons to leave off pursuit, but he was only able to buy them some more time.

Killian urged them to hurry. Meldor stumbled in his haste, allowing the skeletons to gain ground on him again. Davroar again turned the undead to buy them some more time. While they lost sight of Killian, they were able to figure out where he was by listening for his footsteps. Encouraged, Meldor dug in hard and caught up with the others.

At this point, the tunnels began descending. Unfortunately, this meant they were increasingly being submerged beneath water. Davroar cast a spell to allow the party to walk on water to prevent themselves from being slowed down by wading through it. Skeletons beneath the surface attacked them as they passed over, but only Wedd sustained any injuries. Davroar again prayed to Moriarty to turn their undead pursuers. The skeletons lead crumbled apart, their bones blocking the underwater passage and preventing further pursuit.

Their water walk enchantment made the rest of the trip through the CATACOMBS an easy stroll.

Middleborough

At last, they came to an ornate door, the MIDDLEBOROUGH CHAPEL’s basement access CATACOMBS. Killian met them at the door. Placing a finger to his lips, he handed them a note warning them not to make a the CHAPEL. He then vanished into mist, his job as Ferryman at an end.

They found the basement was bobbytrapped with an electrical trap, but they correctly figured out the trick to passing through safely. Making their way to the surface, they exited the CHAPEL and found themselves on the streets of Island of MIDDLEBOROUGH.

The cemetery they’d seen Shady Sam emerge from earlier sprawled out before them to the north.

A number of shops along the street catered to adherents of various deities. An armory dedicated to Baldnoggin and a thrift shop dedicated to B.O.B., god of death and lost items caught their eye. Meldor purchased a longsword at the armory. Wedd found a berserker hammer which struck his fancy.

Moriarty’s Chaosium

Among these was a shop that stood apart from the rest: MORIARTY’S CHAOSIUM. The building appeared bloated, its walls bulging as if it were about to explode. One side of the shop had indeed been obliterated. Tentacles grew from the roof. A rather wild-haired, green-eyed hag-like creature stood in front of the shop, waving to passersby and shouting, “All hail, Moriarty! He cured my ugliness.” A priest of Moriarty sat at a table within, occasionally using a stick to beat the table whenever it tried to crawl away.

Davroar entered the CHAOSIUM, only to find that the interior of the shop seemed to be upside down compared to the rest of the world.

”Are you one of us?” the priest asked.

When Davroar replied in the affirmative, the priest ripped open his shirt and declared, “Then cast your Janusian Blessing upon me and I will cast mine upon you!”

Noting Davroar’s hesitation, he challenged, “Do you fear the chaos?”

”I serve the chaos; however, I am on a quest for Moriarty.”

”Ah, you seek the Chaos Hammer. The Chaos Hammer has not been found for many years. They say it will only be granted by Moriarty to the most chaotic of his servants. By the way, do you like the shop?”

“It’s… impressive,” Davroar said politely.

“Don’t use the lavatory. The receptacle has sprouted teeth.”

“I see.” Davroar sighed. “It’s not as impressive as some of the things I have done in Moriarty’s name. Perhaps you have heard of the deeds which were recently done at Smuggler Speak?”

“A champion of Moriarty! I have heard of these deeds. You must be the one they call Weddumlir Aleshield! Well met! It is an honor to have such a hero here in this shop!”

“Cease your prattling!”

“There is no need for false humility, Weddumlir. Such chaos you rendered in our good lord’s name! Moriarty is honored by your great deeds and renown.”

“There are many falsehoods in those tales.”

“Nonsense! The unbelievers must know! Our hero’s here! Weddumlir!”

“That’s it! Ready your Janusian Blessing, blasphemer!”

Curiously, when they cast their Janusian Blessing at each other, nothing happened for the spells cancelled one another out.

“I have been blessed by Weddumlir, the mighty hero of Moriarty!” the priest crowed.

“My name is Davroar Hollysword, servant of Moriarty.” He pulled back his sleeve to show off a tattoo which read, “All hail, Moriarty!”

“Of course,” the priest said. “How silly of me. Let it be known to all who hear that Weddumlir, hero of Moriarty, now goes by the name of Davroar, for confusion’s sake!”

Though vexed, Davroar nevertheless inquired of his wares and was offered a Potion of Chaos. The liquid in the bottle never quite settled on a color, viscosity or temperature for more than a few seconds. He was assured that when someone drank the potion, the results were completely unpredictable. The results could be extremely good or bad. After some haggling, Davroar purchased the potion.

As Davroar bid adieu, the priest cried, “Drinks are on the house!” and took a swig of a Potion of Chaos and polymorphed into a houseplant. Moments later, the CHAOSIUM imploded.

Hero’s Emporium

Next they came to a shop dedicated to Hero.

”Welcome to HERO’S EMPORIUM OF AWESOMENESS!” a golden bust of Hero announced.

Acindor asked the establishment sold any magical items, to which the golden bust informed him that they sold many wondrous items discovered amid the adventures of the members of Adventure Inc. “For example, would you be interested in a magical key of opening?”

But when Acindor said he was interested, the bust of Hero asked Davroar to produce his magical key of opening so that Acindor might inspect it for sale. He demurred.

The golden bust then offered them various other items in the possession of Adventure Inc (which is to say, items they already possessed), before admitting that the shop chiefly sold information. He did let slip that the Sword of Heroes was in the god’s possession but not yet available to his followers.

After a suitable bribe, the bust informed Acindor that B.O.B. had marked him along with Thril and Davroar for death for his betrayal in the Chamber of Corruption, informed Meldor that he’d been marked for death by the Redforges for the audacity of being both a dwarf and a wizard, and informed Wedd that no one liked his song. He also sold Acindor and Meldor daggers of return (also known as boomerang dagger). He also warned them that chosen Champions of the probable forthcoming contest at the Rose Coliseum should be on their guard for zealots looking to take competitors out of play.

They bid the surrogate proprietor good day and exited the EMPORIUM, a feeling of unease settling into their bones.