Notes from the Ledger: Things you might need to know

Gloss from the Ledger of Kronos Panoptes the Chronicler.

How it started

About 15 characters started off in the TEMPLE OF WANJO on the Blue World of CAERULEUM. They had no memories and were in the wrong bodies. Most of the adventurers have died off and/or traded their “husks” for their true bodies. Only Meldor Ironforge remains in the husk he woke up in.

What are we supposed to be doing?

The current main quest is to open the Water Portal on CAERULEUM. This is a portal connecting the Blue World of CAERULEUM to the hub world of FARRAGO through the ELDERWYLD. It’s located just outside the TEMPLE OF WANJO in a large cavern serving as the main WAR’TODE ENCAMPMENT of Big Big Boss Gilderwart. It takes a star sapphire worth 1000 GP to open the portal and it xan only be opened from the CAERULEUM side.

The current immediate quest is to steal an unpublished spell to create lesser abominations from Obscurus’ MANSION atop PEACOCK ISLAND. Joe Stufts the necromancer,  and Obscurus’ brother, placed an assassin’s mark on Nathan Garney and Odin Thunderhammer,  giving them 24 hours to locate the spell before he activated the mark and the Red Circle comes for them. The Red Circle will use Nathan to find and kill everyone else associated with the events of SMUGGLER SPEAK.

Current side quests include:

  • Deliver silver bars to Gunny Saks via a Tethered Sack of Holding in return for the chance to be sold silver weapons and a Sack of Holding. [Quest status: This quest is complete but still requires collection]
  • Bring stacks of special spell-grade parchment to Fizwick’s Fantastickals in exchange for spell scrolls based at a spell level per sheath delivered. The special parchments are necessaryfor spells above the 2nd level. [Quest status: They learned the parchment were on the office on TYRAN FIRION]
  • Collect a sackful of special bioluminescent mushrooms that grow amongst the moonstone grass in the TEMPLE MINES to Azrael the Apothecary and the still *also located in the MINES) used to brew the fungal moonshine that was key to his strongest potions of healing. In return, Davroar will receive 1 free Potion of Superior Healing and 1 standard healing potion for the distillery and the chance to buy another Potion of Superior Healing at half price (200 gold) if he brought back the sack of mushrooms. [Quest status: The still was collected but the adventurers were drawn into a faerie ring before they could harvest any mushrooms. The still has yet to be returned to Azrael]
  • Find the Staff of Summoning for the Big Big Boss in return for their freedom. [Quest status: Abandoned after the adventurers escaped War’tode captivity.]

Inns, Shops & Taverns

  • AZRAEL THE APOTHECARY [Shop] – Sky Bazaar.  Also, Saint Albans/Pig City, Caeruleum sector of Farrago [Shop quarantined]. Potions. Wears a Mask of Unusual Insight.
  • BIG MIKE’S MERCANTILE [Shop] – Saint Albans/Pig City, Caeruleum sector of Farrago. A shop of sundries,  mostly of a mundane nature. Doesn’t sell magical items or serve wizards or other magic-users due to the Infected.
  • B.O.B.’S THRIFT SHOPPE [Shop] – Middleborough,  Caeruleum sector of Farrago. B.O.B. has no use for shrines or temples but his faithful do need coin, so they sells off many of the lost items he collects to find his enterprises.
  • EXCELSIOR [Inn] – Claw Island, Caeruleum sector of Farrago. Made from the wreck of a galleon. Owner and staff suffer from an aberrant form of the Innsmouth curse. Otuk the Innkeep is described as a “toss between man-shaped coral and a bunch of tentacles.” His wait staff are less transformed than he is. He keeps two checkers-playing minotaur bouncers nearby.
  • FIZWICK’S FANTASTICKALS [Shop] – Sky Bazaar. Spell scrolls sold by Fizwick, a female tabaxi. A Star Sapphire valued at 1000 GP.
  • GUNNY SAKS [Shop] – Sky Bazaar. Halfling blacksmiths specializing in nonmagical handheld and martial weapons, silvered weapons. Bag of Holding
  • HERO’S EMPORIUM OF AWESOMENESS [Shop] – Middleborough,  Caeruleum sector of Farrago. Hero is willing to sell items Adventure Inc has scavenged. As a bard god, he mostly trades in information. Proprietor is always a marble bust of Hero.
  • HOGFEATHERS [Tavern] – Sky Bazaar. Bouncer is a minotaur named Fluffy.
  • JOE STUFTS MAGICAL TAXIDERMY & PET SHOPPE [Shop] – Middleborough, Caeruleum sector of Farrago.  Specializes in rogue necromantic taxidermy.
  • MORIARTY’S CHAOSIUM [Shop] – Middleborough,  Caeruleum sector of Farrago. Technically, a holy site of Moriarty that sells Chaos Potions.
  • OOLA [Shop] – Sky Bazaar. Fortune teller/Oracle.
  • PEACOCK SHIPPING COMPANY [Shop] – Peacock Island,  Caeruleum sector of Farrago. A front for Shettebrek’s enterprises. Currently shipping out cursed Sweet Dream Sally dolls across Farrago.
  • WOLF AND PIG [Tavern] – Saint Albans/Pig City, Caeruleum sector of Farrago. Ikzea, an Ipsimus bartender.

The Veterans

Five characters have been with us since the beginning:

  • Acindor, a human fighter who was once Bhardor Silvertongue and Bofril Greybender. The de facto leader. He is chosen as Hero’s Gotternacht champion.
  • Davroar Hollysword,  elf cleric of the Mad God Moriarty.
  • Meldor Ironforge, a dwarf wizard.
  • Nathan Garney,  human cleric of Everly
  • Weddumlir Aleshield,  dwarf shield knight and chosen Gotternacht champion of Baldnoggin

Notable NPCs

These aren’t necessarily enemies, but not all of them are friendly either.

  • Aristophanes “Aris” Majeur, also known as Tall Man. One of the few named persons within the Cult of Nobody. The Supreme leader of the Cult of Nobody
  • Big Boss Trufflegut – Leader of the War’todes of the Giant’s Footprint abd sits on the throne st Gighole Kerp
  • Big Big Boss Gilderwart – Leader of the War’tode rebels encamped outside the TEMPLE OF WANJO. His throne and loot pile sit right on front of the water portal. He is trying to gather enough “tributes” to appease War’t. Uses a Crown of Domination to force others (including Murkplop) to do his bidding.
  • Braucia Graeme, aka the Kiss of Death, the Left Hand of Thanatar – A necromancer who serves Thanatar. Currently controls TYRAN FIRION in Caeruleum.
  • Captain Gurglepuss – War’tode captain. Thinks the Big Big Boss’ plan to summon the god War’t is a bad idea. Wants to recover the Staff of Summoning instead.
  • Cuisses de Grenouille – A tidal elf disguised in a War’tode costume. The War’todes call by the mocking nickname “Froglegs” (as his elven legs always give him away under closer inspection). He is attempting to free “Murkplop” from the Big Big Boss’ thrall.
  • Eobrix Alebane – A Halfling Bard. A member of Hero Inc.
  • Fizzle the Fifth – A wizard who uses a magical door on Pevensie Island to help others magic users escape mobs of Redforges. Met Fizzle and is one of several magic users to rename themselves Fizzle in his honor.
  • Florin – A pixie who works in an unnamed gambling den in Saint Albans, Caeruleum sector of Farrago.
  • Fluffy – The scarred minotaur bodyguard who protects HOGFEATHERS.
  • Geralt “Gerry” Goldenblade – A dwarf fighter who is really the Avatar of the god Baldnoggin in disguise. Leads Hero Inc.
  • Hedd and Not-Hedd – Goblin miners in the TEMPLE MINES
  • Inkblot Tealeaf – A rogue who leaves behind simple if useful maps.
  • Joe Stufts – A necromantic taxidermist working for Braucia Graeme. Half brother of Obscurus. Owner if JOE STUFTS MAGICAL TAXIDERMY & PET SHOPPE in Middleborough, Caeruleum sector of Farrago.
  • Laris the Apostate – A former cleric of Wanjo who drunkenly frequents HOGFEATHERS
  • Magda Tod – A female Cuervos whom Nathan Garney tricked in SMUGGLER SPEAK. Now The leader of the Cult of Nobody on Caeruleum.
  • Martin Dossen – A strangely dressed human Artificer from Erythaean. A member of Hero Inc.
  • Murkplop” – A tidal elf wizard found in a bullywug costume, spying on the encampment. As a punishment, he has been enthralled by a Crown of Domination and led to believe he himself is a bullywug named Murkplop. Murkplop is a War’tode term for the sound poop makes falling into swampwater. He has transmogrified all of the statues and decorations in the Temple of Wanjo to reflect “his truth.”
  • Neutrino “Neut” Blastomere – A gnome Pig farmer. A pocket of the Elderwyld empties into his pig pen in Saint Albans, Caeruleum sector of Farrago.
  • Odin Thunderhammer – Dwarf fighter. Member of Hero Inc.
  • Otuk – Cursed human. Innkeeper at the EXCELSIOR. Claw Island, Caeruleum sector of Farrago
  • Puddle – Goblin cannoneer who lives on the beaches near SMUGGLER SPEAK. Keeps bushwackys as pets. A member of Hero Inc. Helps pilot and maintain the Luckless.
  • Quelynn Rinn – A Tidal Elf Priestess of Wanjo obsessed with the Prophecy of the Starkiller.
  • Reuben – Florin’s dwarf friend. Both frequent an unnamed gambling den in Saint Albans, Caeruleum sector of Farrago.
  • River Hopfoot – A War’tode thief. Member of Hero Inc.
  • Shady Sam – Sells good luck charms that actually mark someone ‘s location so his thieves guild can rob them later.
  • Snizzle – A War’tode cleric of Kroakatoa,  the volcano god of the War’todes who was worshipped before War’ t. He lives on a ledge above the PIT OF THE DYING. He also takes care of a frogged he calls the Avatar of Kroakatoa.
  • Sophia Pallas – Chief Priestess of Wanjo at the Temple in Farrago. Caeruleum sector. The clerics of Wanjo in Caeruleum are offering a reward for anyone who can reopen the Water Portal and get a message to Pallas in Farrago.
  • The Thanatar Brothers – Mysterious and otherwise identical siblings who appear in different places. Some think they’re former avatars of Shettebrek who are doing good deeds to pay for their past sins.
    • Balin Thanatar – Sells healing potions in the ROOM OF EIGHT in the TEMPLE OF WANJO. The items he receives for trade are telephoned to the REALM OF B.O.B. when tucked into his cape.
    • Castor Thanatar – A house mimic in the ELDERWYLD identified himself as Castor Thanatar.
    • Killian Thanatar – Acts as the Ferryman through the CATACOMBS beneath the Middleborough, Caeruleum sector of Farrago
  • Trouble on a Friday Night – A quartet of orcs who act as the house band for HOGFEATHERS.
  • Xodak – A halfling cleric. Member of Hero Inc.
  • Zaptongue Half-dragon  – A half-draconic War’tode who serves as one of Big Big Boss Gilderwart’s de facto captains.

Organizations and Movements

  • Adventure Inc – Hero’s questing guild. Originally called Hero Inc until Baldnoggin staged a coup and took control of the original organization.
  • Cult of Fizzle – Followers of the Fizzle Prime, who rename themselves as ordinal Fizzles in honor of the first one. Located in the Caeruleum sector of Farrago. Cult of Fools – New religion growing in Farrago around Agon, the new god of fools. The like to challenge people to silly games and contests because all they live for is sport and games. Beware if you see a fork in the road!
  • Cult of Nobody – A group of Cuervos who renounce their own names in the service of B.O.B. Their current leader in Caeruleum is Magda Tod. Their prime leader is Aristophanes “Aris” Majeur, also known as Tall Man.
  • The Dragonfire Five – Five elves who opposed Moriarty and paid for it with their lives.
  • Hero Inc – Adventure Inc’s chief rival guild. Led by Baldnoggin as Geralt Goldenblade.
  • The Infected – Those unlucky souls who’ve contracted the magical plague that gives them more spell power each day but quickly kills them. The Infected’s eyes glow.
  • Red Circle – A guild of assassins who utilize a magical assassin’s mark to locate their targets.
  • Redforges – A political movement amongst the dwarves of Farrago to rid the world of magic and its practitioners. They believe there was originally no magic in the world and they want to see things changed back to that way, hence their motto, “The glory restored!” They utilize a Dwarven bindrune combining the letters G and R. Started by Tinker Redforge.

Divine Entanglements

  • The Aeon – Fil is a cleric of Zephyr, the missing member of the Aeon. Zephyr has broken his long silence to ask Fil for aid. Oberyx is a warlock oathbound to Fulgar, who has been implicated in Zephyr’s disappearance.
  • Baldnoggin – Weddumlir is Baldnoggin’s paragon and Gotternacht champion. He is not altogether pleased with his champion and has placed a geas on him to be the first into the fray. Wedd is also considered a member of Hero Inc, making him a rival of Hero’s guild. Baldnoggin is out to show up Adventure Inc to make sport of outsider gods. Baldnoggin holds no respect for any outsider gods
  • B.O.B. – Acindor owes the outsider god of death a star sapphire for the husk he was reanimated In after his death as Bofril Greybender. The Veterans are all on B.O.B.’s hit list for their part in bringing down the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION, but Acindor has his special ire for his active betrayal. The Cult of Nobody are his Corrupters and have developed a special hatred for Nathan Garney for tricking Magda Tod (now the leader of the Cult on Caeruleum).
  • Everly – Nathan Garney is a cleric of Everly. He has saved an avatar of Ripley and been allowed to weild a holy relic, a pitcher known as the Rain of Ridley.
  • Gilgamesh – The Veterans and Gnome Shanarock have met Gilgamesh. Wedd, Thril and Shanarock have tested their mettle against him, earning his conditional respect.
  • Hrafnagud – The Veterans encountered a band of Cuervos in the TEMPLE MINES who serve the Trickster god. They were investigating the rogue Cult of Nobody’s involvement in TYRAN FIRION. Despite helping them find the exit from ghoil-infested MINES, they made it clear to Davroar that once they met outside the MINES, the servants of Hrafnagud are honorbound to kill those who serve outsider gods.
  • Hero – The Veterans all began as volunteered members of Adventure Inc and have used Hero points that put them in Hero’s debt. Weddumlir has greatly annoyed Hero by welcoming on his promise to be Hero’s Gotternacht champion. Acindor is currently Hero’s Gotternacht champion. Davroar serves Moriarty and Hero is aware that Moriarty is now working against him.
  • Moriarty – Davroar is Moriarty’s top cleric. He has been instructed to fetch a star sapphire and open the Water Portal as his primary quest. Despite Hero’s misgivings, Davroar has the impression that Moriarty and Hero are both still working toward the same goals even if they have very different methods.
  • The Nylbolgia – Gnome Shanarock is the chosen Gotternacht champion for the Nylbolgia
  • Oxenbane – Oxenbane owes the Veterans a boon for destroying the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION. Thril Wolfsbane was chosen as her Gotternacht champion. She dies not like Moriarty or Davroar but consumers B.O.B. an abomination.
  • Shettebrek – The Veterans have found favor with Shettebrek for defeating the Fearless and restoring his operations on PEACOCK ISLAND, particularly Davroar and Meldor.
  • Thanatar – The CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION was a joint effort by B.O.B. and Thanatar. Braucia Graeme, the Left Hand of Thanatar, immediately hired the Red Circle to assassinate them, particularly Nathan Garney.

Session #30: Gotternacht Eve

Needing rest after their ordeals, the adventurers slept on the Gotternacht Eve.   Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly,  Weddumlir  Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter,  Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of Moriarty, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, and Acindor the Human Fighter, Oberyx the Half-Elf Warlock oathbound to Fulgar, Del Erenaeth the Elf Monk,  Zook Bafflestone the Gnome Artficer, and Fil the Drow Cleric of Zephyr rested at the MOUNTAINTOP TRAM STATION. Kaid the Goliath Barbarian, David the Half-Elf Wizard, and Kudac the Half-Orc Cleric of Baldnoggin holed themselves up in the DOCKYARD TRAM STATION.

The Night of Dreams

But the gods were restless. Gotternacht Eve proved a nightof dreams and portents for many.

The Lost God

First, Fil the Cleric of Zephyr received a rare gift, confirmation of his faith. Zephyr of the Aeon had been missing since the first star fell in accordance with the Prophecy of the Starkiller. Many suspected that he had perished. but Fil still felt his divine power channeling through him. On this night, Zephyr found the opportunity to speak to his cleric. The message was faint and disjointed, but unmistakable. Zephyr was pleased and bestowed upon him a spell, the Zephyr Strike, to aid him for his faithfulness. Zephyr also aked Fil to find him, free him and to “Beware… A…on.” Fil woke from the vision wondering if this meant that Fulgar of the Aeon, Zephyr’s sister, was behind his disappearance as some suspected.

The Many-Eyed One

Meldor and Davroar found themselves upon a black pool of water. They got the impression that the waters were unfathomably deep but that they were being permitted to walk on the water’s surface. Before them appeared a peacock, which unfurled its tails to reveal its many eyes. Those eyes kept erupting from its plumage until the skies were filled with malevolent eyes of every sort imaginable.

“Do you know who I am?” a a cold and slitheringly cruel voice asked. “Because I know who you are.”

The pair felt their growing dread transforming into heart-stopping terror. 

“I am Shettebrek, Lord of fear and panic, and I thank you for your aid. Meldor Ironforge, you restored the power to my operation, and Davroar Hollysword, you who ended the reign of the Fearless’ dread champion, Zorghul the Terrible, I am in your debt.”

They listened in stunned silence as the Many-eyed One related how the Fearless had sabotaged his operations on PEACOCK ISLAND, so that he was genuinely thankful for their efforts to restore the power and drive out these saboteurs. Now that everything was back on track, His factory could ship out Sweet Dream Sally dolls all over the Seven Worlds. To thank them, he granted them a resistance to fear.

When Davroar respectfully voiced reservations about accepting a gift from someone of Shettebrek’s reputation, the deity purred that there was no need for concern.  “I am not an evil God. Fear is very necessary and greatly misunderstood.”

When Davroar again demurred Shettebrek offered to make him more susceptible to fear. Davroar’s reluctance to accept the gift of fear resistance vanished instantly.

“There,  see? Fear is a gift pulling us back from danger and anarchy. It allows us to control others and deter them from actions that aren’t in their best interests. Just as I just demonstrated.”

They were most grateful when the interview ended.

The Red Circle

Nathan Garner received an urgent message from Everly informing him that his assassin’s mark, the magical tattoo given to him by Joe Stufts, was now active. The Red Circle had a well-deserved reputation for fulfilling their contracts. To aid him in survival, his deity granted him the Lucky feat.

Baldnoggin’s Geas

Weddumlir found himself standing before the Dwarf God Baldnoggin, who looked mightily displeased.

“Did you not like the song?” Baldnoggin asked.

Thee was no question as to which song the dwarf god was refering to. Baldnoggin himself had commissioned the popular ballad, Send in the Wedd, to make sure that his chosen champion’s fame went far and wide. “I liked it very much,” Weddumlir said.

“And you’re familiar with the lyrics?”

“Wedd hesitated. “I think so.”

“Were you thinking about that bit about ‘his gaze pierces the fog‘ when you were cowering behind your friends in the fog of the DOCKYARDS today? It’s bad enough that you gave the heathen a reason to blaspheme my name when you agreed to be Hero’s Champion in the Gotternacht Games. Ever since you ran into that spider in the TEMPLE MINES of CAERULEM, you’ve grown more and more timid. Do you feel that is an accurate reflection of your god?” Baldnoggin asked pointedly. “Do you feel this a proper show of gratitude for the blessings and honor I have given you?”

“I’m sorry,” Wedd said. “I didn’t let Hero bully me back into being his champion.”

“That is the only reason we’re having this conversation. I don’t want to have to choose a new Weddumlir Aleshield to go with my song.”

Weddumlir’s eyes widened. “Are you serious?”

“It would be exceedingly easy to find someone else to walk around in your husk,” Baldnoggin said. “I can think of many dwarves who would gladly trade you places. But I don’t want that. I saw your potential in the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION and you did not disappoint me.”

Baldnoggin heaved a weary sigh. “Therefore, I place my geas upon you. From this point forward, you will do as the song says. It will be your guide, especially where it says, “The first one in the battle, the last one that you’ll need.” No more taking a backseat. No more skulking about. You’ve developed an unfortunate habit of using Thril Wolfsbane as a ‘meat shield.’ Those days are over.”

“Got it,” Wedd said.

“I don’t think you do. Thril is dead. The Fearless’ ettin champion killed him in your absence.”

“What? But… why did you take me out like that? Why did you leave him to fight it alone. I could’ve helped.”

“But would you have?” Baldnoggin asked. “Thril died an honorable death. It was a death to be envied! He threw himself at his foe boldly and without fear. He sought only glory and the safety of his comrades. Once the thrall of B.O.B., now that foul outsider god has no hope of catching his soul. Oxenbane has taken him in her embrace and even now he enjoys the banquet of heroes, safe from the ravages and toils of his former life. Even so,” the dwarf god said, leveling his sober gaze at Weddumlir, “you are right that he did not need to die at the Fearless’ hands. You could have saved him if you were being half the dwarf chose you to be!” he turned his back to Wedd. “It’s better this way. Thril is with Oxenbane and you now have no choice but to follow his courageous example. No choice at all.”

Without another word, Baldnoggin returned him to PEACOCK ISALND, but not to the place and time he’d left.

The Dockyard Party

The Luckless Thief

Gnome Shanarock the Dwarf Thief had left the party to trail someone he’d spotted on the beach of the DOCKYARDS. This figure was dressed in the uniform of the Sisterhood of Shettebrek, an all-female league of assassins who served both Shettebrek and the Nylbogia. As the chosen Champion of the Nylbolgia in the imminent Gotternacht Games, Shanarock wanted to know why she was on PEACOCK ISLAND.

The trail was made difficult by a sudden fog which rolled in from the sea, seemingly to aid her. She eventually gave him the slip but just when he was about to give up, the fog dramatically dissipated and he spotted her once more. He was distracted at one point by the sounds of a skirmish nearby and then lost her again when a sudden, unnatural storm reduced his visibility to.nothingband forced him to take shelter under an awning.

With the building at his back, he closed his eyes and exhaled to vent his exhaustion, discomfort and frustration.  He felt a knife at his throat.

“Why are you following me?”

He licked his lips. “How much money do you have?”

She pressed the knife closer, drawing blood. “Be serious.”

“I am. I’d really like all of your money,” he said. “What’s the Sisterhood doing on this island?”

“I’m not with the Sisterhood anymore,” she said. “I was told that our purpose is to overthrow those who abuse their power, but now Shettebrek himself is planning something and… What Obscures is doing on this island has the potential to destroy everything. If someone doesn’t stop him, we won’t need to worry about the Starkville Prophecy anymore,, because there won’t be anything left for Shadofar to devour.”

While she talked, Shanarock quietly worked his hand toward his dagger.

She noticed the movement of his hand. She pressed the dagger harder, using the moment of pain to also disarm him. “Nice dagger. I think I’ll keep it. In fact, I think I’ll take all the coin you have too.”

To his dismay, he felt the weight of his coin pouch vanish.

“Because I know who you are and that you are the Nylbolgia’s intended Champion, I will let you live, but this is your final warning: Stop following me and stay out of my way.”

She hit him on the back of the head with the pommel of her dagger. He saw stars for a moment. When he was able to shake off the pain, she was already gone. Setting his jaw, he was about to follow her again anyway when he beheld a strange sight.

A New Adventurer Drops In

Having awakened, Kaid, Kudac and David stepped out of the TRAM STATION and got their bearings. The DOCKYARDS were busy. Automatons ran to and fro about their programmed business, hurrying to get the Peacock Island Shipping Company back on schedule. The robots didn’t seem to care about the trio of adventurers at all.

That’s when they heard singing from somewhere above them. Craning their necks, they covered their eyes and scanned the heavens. A fox-like figure was descending from the skies, singing a merry tune and she guided her parachute on its perilous descent. The parachute looked like it was patched together from materials that weren’t particularly suited for the task. High above the figure, a skyship sailed past the island. They thought thety could make out someone shouting, “And don’t come back!”

The parachutist landed with a flourish, disconnecting her parachute and somersaulting to break her fall and then springing to her feet. “Behold, I am Sionna the Bard!” she declared with a quick bow.  Sionna the Simic Hybrid Bard looked at them expectantly. 

The others looked at each other uncertainly and then back at her. Realizing they were almost the only living souls in the area besides the robots, they made a quick introductions. Afterward, they realized they wanted to head up the mountain after all, but they couldn’t figure out how to bring the TRAM back down. Nor did there seem to be anyone to ask. Remembering that the other adventurers had mentioned that the only other living soul in the DOCKYARDS inhabited the metal tower that stood five stories over everything and about two blocks to the south, they decided to make their way there in the hopes that he could tell them what to do.

Rogue Interview

The dramatic landing had also attracted the attention of Gnome Shanarock, who chose to introduce himself a bit differently. “How much money do you guys have?” he asked.

David politely asked his name. Kudac’s glare managed to intimidate the thief enough to make Shanarock decide that maybe he wouldn’t rob him immediately. Maybe second, but not first. Kaid’s threat to do him massive bodily harm if he even so much as looked at his coin made Shanarock adjust his assessment. Kaid would be last. Kudac would be next-to-last.

Since he joined them much against their better judgment, when they reached the tower,  decided to send Shanarock up. At first, the thief sought a bribe for his efforts, but Kaid managed to motivate him with a few choice threats to go up anyway.

When his dwarven boots first touched the metal walkways, Shanarock realized he needed to ditch the footwear. Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to look where he tossed them when he pitched them over the rail to the ground.  They hit half of the party below. Kudac was so annoyed that he ate one of Shanarock’s offending boots.

At the top of the tower, he was accosted by a hooded figure. “What are you doing up here?” the other asked. His hand rested at ready on a switch.

“I don’t know,” the thief realized aloud. “They never told me why I needed to come up here.”

The tower sentry scoffed. “You don’t know why you’re here?”

Shanarock shrugged. “How much coin do you have?”

“You’re barefoot,” the sentry said. “Do you like my boots?” They were nice thick rubber boots.

“Those seem nice but I’d rather have your coin.” Shanarock said.

The sentry threw the switch. Shanarock felt pain as electricity coursed through his veins from the metal floor.

“I ask you again: why are you up here?” the sentry asked, disarming the electrical trap.

“Guys! What was I supposed to ask this guy?” Shanarock yelled.

They quickly told him about the TRAM.

The sentry scoffed. “You just pay the fair for a ticket and the TRAM will return eventually to take you up. You came to ask me that? Are you new?”

“Very new,” Shanarock said. “Just got in yesterday.”

“Of course!” the sentry said. “How silly of me? I should have realized. You’re one of Obscurus’ new servants. In that case, you don’t need a ticket at all. Just tell the robot at the desk that you’re one of the new servants and they’ll take you up.”

Shanarock thanked him and asked his name.

“Don’t worry about it,” the sentry said, pulling back his hood to reveal that he was a Cuervos. “I’m Nobody.”

Shanarock’s eyes widened with realization. He knew about the Cuervos from his travels. He also knew from the lore surrounding the recent doings in SMUGGLER SPEAK that a Cuervos who called himself Nobody or wouldn’t give his name was probably a member of the Cult of Nobody, the villains responsible for the curse of corruption that had nearly overthrown SMUGGLER SPEAK.

Seeing the change in his demanor, “Mr. Nobody asked, “Everything alright?”

“It’s just been a weird night,” he said.

“That so? Do you need to take a seat?” Nobody asked.

Shanarock stared at the proffered chair and wondered if it was a mimic in disguise. The Cuervos were overly fond of mimics. He shook his head. “i’m fine.”

“Good,” Nobody said. “Then you have 30 seconds to get off my tower.” He placed his hand on the electrical switch meaningfully.

Shanrock scurried down the ladders and walkways as fast as he could go, but he knew he wasn’t going to make it without getting another shock. On the third landing, he tried to tie arope to the railing but got fumbled up. Abandoning the effort, he tried to leap down to the next walkway level. Unfortunately, he overshot the landing and fell the entire three stories.

Bloodied and broken at the bottom of the tower, he managed to down both of the healing potions he’d been given at the ROSE COLISEUM and was able to restore himself back to health. He quickly let the others in on what he’d learned. Kaid gave him a coin for his efforts.

At the TRAM STATION, they dutifully informed the robot that they were part of the new servant staff. To their surprise, they were immediately surrounded by several large iron golem. Their dread grew when they were escorted away from the side of the STATION the previous party had used to go up the mountain. The TRAM on the other side of the STATION, the SERVANT’S TRAM, was an iron barred cage.

Feeling they had no choice but to  play along for now, they entered the cage.

The Mansion Party

The party who’d slept at the MOUNTAINTOP TRAM STATION awoke to find that Del Erenaeth, Oberon, and Zook Bafflestone were missing. While searching about to determine whether they’d left of their own volition or not, they noticed that fish bodies littered the mountaintop.

A few of them seemed to vaguely recall a strange noise in the middle of the night, a rumbling roar that reminded them of a waterfall, and wondered if the fish and the noise were connected. But almost immediately such ruminations had to be abandoned, for they heard strange cries and the sound of beating wings on the wind. Creatures that appeared to be a cross between a giant eagle and a sharp-toothed stag began approaching from the mountain aeries.

Kobolds in the Courtyard

The adventurers hurried to find an entrance to the MANSION. They had no time or means to scale the wall, so they were forced to use the main entrance.

The main gate featured two guard booths. Both were manned by small, reptilian creatures that the party almost instantly recognized as kobolds. It seemed odd to several of them that kobolds would be out in the early morning light, given their noted preference for darkness. These kobolds each bore a symbol on their armor: a dot with a circle around it, a symbol that looked very much like an eye and gave Acindor especial misgivings. Could these creatures be in league with B.O.B?

The kobold guards were belligerent and reluctant to let them enter, despite the growing threat of the fish-eating monsters flying toward all of them. Without warning, the gates opened, seemingly of their own accord. The adventurers took another quick look at the heavens and darted through.

The open air courtyard on the other side was covered in fish. The road led to a roundabout with a fountain at the center. The roundabout led to a BARN at right or the steps to the MANSION at the north. Unfortunately, the alarm had been sounded and kobolds surrounded themm in short order.

“Wait!” one of the kobolds said, holding up a clawed hand. “Could it be? Are these the ones Percivius saw as he scried yesterday, the heroes who fought off the Fearless?” He turned to Davroar. “Are you indeed Davroar Hollysword?” He glanced behind Davroar to the dwarf wizard. “And Meldor Ironforge the Firebringer? The Beast be praised! It is them indeed! Quickly, escort them within before those foul, fish-breathed perytons are upon us!”

Inside the MANSION LOBBY was dimly lit. The cat-like eyes of kobolds were evident everywhere. The place had been ransacked. Furniture and suits of armor had been knocked over and used to barricade a door to the north. Twin stairwells curved up to a balcony level, where a more sophisticated kobold sat atop a heap of yet more furniture. A large rug – or perhaps it was a tapestry – had been roughly slung over the main floor. The LOBBY was now clearly the kobold equivalent of a throne room. The chief kobold glared down at them with suspicious eyes. The party noted many archers with their bows trained upon them.

It took several moments for the particulars about their new guests to make their way to the kobold chief. When he was finally informed who his guests were he extended a clawed hand in their direction.

“We are honored by your visit to our humble domain, good heroes,” their chief intoned. “I am Nuldo the Unwise, foe of Wanjo, Scion of the 7th clutch of Purgatorius, he who survived the 5th Emanation of the Feast of Legumes Infame, the Truth of the Spork, thrall of the Ips–“

Another kobold burst into view. This one wore a powdered wig and a belted waistcoat.”Davroar Hollysword! I am Percivius, seer and bard of the Clutch of Purgatorius.” He turned to Chief Nuldo, who looked very annoyed to be interrupted. “Begging the pardon of my liege, but it is fate that has brought this hero to us. He must be celebrated. It is he who must be honored this day!”

“The song!” the kobolds chanted. Nuldo gave his leave with a bored wave of his claws.

Before the party could properly appreciate what was happening, Percivius burst into song.

The Vengeance of Davroar

Hark! Hear my story
I swear is true word
An uncommon champion
Davroar Hollysword

Barbarian orcs
Who called themselves Fearless
Set out to slay Davroar
Who just was not impressed

For this hero proud
All hail Moriarty
He stood without fear
And spoiled their party

His warriors brave
Nathan and Meldor
And also there were
Thril and Acindor

And nobody else
Twas these heroes four
Who standing by Davroar
The power restored

For this hero proud
All hail Moriarty
With comrades stood true
And spoiled their party

The Fearless’ Champion
A brute with two heads
With his mighty weapons
Killed Thril Wolfsbane dead

From two stories high
Davroar leapt insane
With a shout to his god
Cut the ettin in twain

For this Hero proud
All hail, Moriarty
Brought chaos and vengeance
And spoiled their party


And became
The Champion
     The mighty defender

Davroar!
The Hero of Shettebrek!
Of Shettebrek!
He is the Hero
Of Shettebrek!

Davroar!
Big thanks from Shettebrek!
From Shettebrek!
All hail Moriarty
For the Hero
Of Shettebrek!

The Way Up

Stunned by the sudden tribute, they could do little but nod and stare as Percivius explained that he had witnessed the battle with the Fearless while scrying. He was so smitten with their heroics, especially Davroar’s finishing stroke, that he immediately penned a ballad in the Cleric of Moriarty’s honor.

Chief  Nuldo insisted on knowing how he could help them with their present business. When Davroar mentioned Obscurus’ tower, he heard murmuring amongst the kobolds. “The tower of the stars.” Unfortunately, they were advised that the usual way through, through the DINING HALL, was barricaded on purpose. The kobolds refused to name the horror that prevented them from going further into the MANSION.

As Chief Nuldo spoke, Nathan Garney took note of a particular kobold who was making rounds amongst his kin. The Cleric of Everly’s eyes narrowed when he began to hear more than one kobold mutter reservations about the heroes they’d just celebrated. “They look strong,” he heard the instigating kobold say. “Many of us are going to die. Me not want to be one. do you?”

Before he could bring this matter to the attention of the others, the kobold chief seemed to come up with a solution. “There is another way,” he said. “The way up is down. Yes.”

“What does that mean?” Davroar asked, raising a suspicious eyebrow.

“All will become evident,” Nuldo said. “Come closer.”

As they cautiously approached, Acindor took special note of the large carpet in the center of the room. To his horror, he realized that the floor seemed to dip down in the center of the room. “Wait, guys,” he said, holding up a hand. To confirm his suspicions, he walked over to a suit of armor while keeping carefully off the rug. Before anyone could react, he picked up the armor, display stand and all and tossed it into the center of the carpet. The weight of the metal revealed the pit trap.

Even before the rug had been fully dragged into the hole by the armor’s weight, the adventurers had their hands on their weapons. “What’s going on here?” Davroar demanded. “That was a trap!”

“Yes,” Nuldo said, raising his hands in a calming gesture, “but no. This is the way down”

“Down where?”

“The cellar. From there you can find a way up that does not risk what walks the BALLROOM.”

The adventurers assembled around the edge of the pit, surveying the room below. They could see that it was big and that it indeed seemed to be a cellar. Even from this height they could see that it contained many shelves of food stuffs, kitchen stores and other items. As they tried to determine the best way down, the conspicuous kobold Nathan Garney had spied earlier whisper something to the kobolds behind them. “Let’s show these big heroes how its done.”

Before he could discern their intent, the kobold shouted, “Show no fear!” Chanting the phrase back, the other kobolds gave the adventurers a big shove!

The Cellar

None of the party was injured too badly by the fall, but neither were they as appreciative as the kobolds clearly thought they should be if their gormless grins were any indication. Thanking them anyway, the adventurers too a better look at the CELLAR from ground zero. They noticed that spell components and lab materials were mixed in with the food stores and kitchen equipment. Remembering his deal with Fizwick’s Fantasticals, Acindor picked up a stack of  parchments, after checking with Meldor to see if they were suitable.

Three pools of light showed the way to three exits. To the north was a tunnel carved into the CELLAR wall. It was illuminated by the soft glow of a torch a few feet beyond the entrance. Small reptilian footprints around the hole made it evident that this was the kobolds’ means of entering the MANSION.

Davroar cast detect magic and immediately noted pools of liquid identical to that which floated on the waters of the DOCKYARD WAREHOUSE. The mutagenic liquid was coming from barrels near the entrance to the KOBOLD TUNNEL. To his horror, he noted tracks on the floor that ran through the substance. They were small, probably belonging to a rat. As they veered through and then away from the barrels, the footprints grew larger and much more numerous as they made their way toward the exit to the east.

After he warned the others that the foul liquid was nearby and had likely created an abomination, they reasoned that Obscurus’ spell to create lesser abominations had evidently been used to create this new substance.

A door to the west was illuminated with a paler light. A quick peak through that door revealed a chamber lit with electric lights. The walls were lined with serving carts bearing platters, goblets, knives, and silverware. The walls themselves were carved with eyes and hexagons. A metal table surrounded by chairs dominated the center of the room. There was another door to the north. They noted that the center of the table bore a depression and a drain spout. Reasoning that this was a sacrificial feast table of some sort, they decided to use the CELLAR exit to the east.

Taking the door, they emerged into the sunlight. A ramp led up to the ground level. At the top of the ramp, they realized they were in an alley between the MANSION and the BARN.

Before they could decide on a course of action, the BARN doors opened and they were greeted by familiar faces.

The Servant’s Tram

In short order, the SERVANT’S TRAM began ascending the mountain. Kaid, Kudac, David, Sionna and Gnome Shanarock surveyed the dense forests and jagged mountain peaks on their way up to Obscurus’ MANSION.  To their dismay, the cage doors didn’t open at the top. Instead, iron golem placed the entire cage on the bed of a horseless carriage. The motor carriage took them to the entrance of the MANSION. Entering the COURTYARD, the carriage veered right toward the BARN.

The trapped adventurers noticed that their entrance had garnered the attention of a band of kobolds in the courtyard, many of whom began following them.

The BARN doors opened of their own accord and the carriage stopped within. As the BARN doors closed, the cage doors opened. There was no one to receive them. They could see several animal stalls, a ladder up to the loft and work station. There was no sign of a living soul and the only robots they saw were packed in crates stuffed with straw. The whole thing was curious.

Realizing that the kobolds outside probably didn’t intend anything good for them, they made their way to another large BARN door to the north.

Both parties of adventurers were surprised to meet the other on a small cobbled roadway outside between the MANSION and the BARN. The road lead to a wide area that might have once been used as an exercise yard for the barn animals; however, now it was dominated by a large tent that reminded them of a circus tent.

While most of the fish had been already eaten, they scanned the skies for more predators as they continued onward, feeling very exposed in the open air.

Session #28: The Fearless

Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter, Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of MoriartyNathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter took a moment to determine best how to deal with the squad of orcs who had suddenly made an encampment at the base of the tower they needed to reach. There were three orcs at street level. One stood at the rear with a female figure who was shrouded in a cloak and cowl. That orc was more heavily muscled than the others. His face was painted in a crimson skull with three vertical stripes running through it. The others had only one or two such stripes. There were three more orc archers posted on the rooftops of nearby buildings.

Recalling that the tower sentry had told them about orcs who’d came and damaged the original power crystal, they easily realized that the orcs were here to stop them from undoing their handiwork.

“We are the Fearless!” the orc leader shouted. “You will surrender!”

Davroar raised his chin. “If they want a fight, let’s give them one,” he said.

The others agreed, but also decided that they should engage the orcs’ attention while Meldor took advantage of his still-active flight spell to circle around the buildings to reach the tower by a less direct route, hopefully without them noticing.

The Fearless took full advantage of the bottleneck they controlled, letting the adventurers get as close as they dated while archers got into position to rain down damage from.the second story rooftops.

Davroar cast confusion on the first orc he met, who immediately wandered off.. Acindor engaged the other but found him a tough opponent. Even with Thril moving in to back him up, the orcs seemed unfazed by their wounds. Even bloodied, the orc came at them without the slightest bit of caution, apparently unconcerned with its own persomal safety.

In closer quarters, they got a better look at the female accompanying the Fearless.  They were taken aback to realize she was a half goblin wearing the uniform of the Sisterhood of Shettebrek. They had no time to ponder why an assassin sworn to serve both the Nylbolgia and Shettebrek would choose to fight with orcs who were undermining Shettebrek’s operation here,, for she unleashed three arrows.. to their surprise and dismay, she aimed high into the air. Her arrows landed on the rooftops, where three more orc archers sprung into existence in each missile’s place.

The adventurers were forced to take whatever slim cover they could under the edges of the rooftops and behind their shields as the archers rained down arrows upon them. Once the assault ended, the clerics concentrated their efforts on the assassin. While they managed to wound her, the bloodied orc managed to prevent her death at the cost of his own.

Their leader finally stepped in to intervene with a blood-curdling war cry. He hurtled into the adventurers like a berserker of old, forcing them to take a defensive posture. The assassin took advantage of the orc barbarian’s rage-fueled chaos to draw another arrow. When this one landed, she was teleported to the rooftops with it.

Fortunately, the archers could not rain another volley down.upon them just yet. The answered too close to their leader for an effective shot. Unfortunately, Meldor had been spotted and he made a pretty tempting target.

The confused orc shook off the spell’s effects in time to be sent back to whatever gods he served by the party, who found a new wind of determination, partly because they knew Meldor needed them to be the Fearless’ primary focus right now. Their efforts caused the orc leader, severely wounded during the conflict, to step back and with sudden, unnatural calm cast a thunderwave down the street in their direction, driving a few of them back. The archers tried to take advantage of this surprise move, but when the clerics took out the half-goblin assassin, the three archers she conjured vanished. The remaining archers were momentarily taken aback by this sudden reduction of their numbers.

This allowed Meldor the window he needed to drop the replacement power crystal into the waiting hands of the tower sentry. As the sentry quickly went to work exchanging the crystals, Meldor landed on a nearby rooftop and blasted away an enemy archer.

Seeing the beginnings of their defeat, the orc leader placed a hunting horn to his lips and blew a call for reinforcements. The leader succumbed to the adventurers’ skill and might a few moments later. As he fell, Nathan, Thril and Wedd headed for the metal tower to guard it against whatever the Fearless were sending next while Acindor and Davroar took to buildings on opposite sides of the street, trying to find a way to the rooftops to help Meldor take out the last two archers. Meldor dispatched his foe before Acindir reached him but Davroar was able to take out the archer on the opposite side.

To their dismay, the orc leader’s horn had summoned an ettin champion. The two-headed giant bounded down the mountain side from the sentry ledge they’d spotted when the fog lifted. Once he’d reached the street level of the DOCKYARD, the brute quickly covered the distance to the tower.

Realizing they were too far out of position to be of use, Meldor and Acindor made their way back down through the building they were on, hoping to reach their friends in time to be of assistance. Wedd and Thril took positions in front of Nathan as they sized up their newest foe, while Davroar got into position to utilize his spiritual weapon at the giant from above.

As the ettin closed in, they felt the winds of an unnatural storm whipping through the streets. As the rain began to fall, the ettin rushed to meet them, weapons swinging.

ight the orcs known as The Fearless and manage to replace the Dockyard power crystal.

Session #27: Peacock Island Docks

The Figure in the Fog

As their ferry to PEACOCK ISLAND sailed away, Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter, Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of MoriartyNathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter watched as a thick fog rolled in from the sea. In moments, the PEACOCK ISLAND DOCKYARDS were mostly obscured. They could see the illumination of the same sort of blue electric lights they’d seen in the TEMPLE OF WANJO. The lights flickered off and on but they lent the fog a their faint color. They were also aware of a larger patch of blue light which seemed to be coming from above them somewhere, but the fog prevented them from determining how far away the larger light source might be.

Listening carefully, they heard a clicking noise. Suspecting the lights might be magical, Davroar cast a spell to confirm the presence of magic in the area. He noted that the street lights glowed also with magic, confirming that they were powered by some sort of magic, perhaps technomancy. At an intersection ahead, Davroar saw a fist-sized orb of light in the intersection ahead. Weddumlir approached and saw a figure kneeling in the intersection was the source of the clicking noise. Creeped out, Wedd retreated to his friends. Davroar confirmed that the figure was the likely associated with the blue orb of magic he was seeing.

“We didn’t come all this way to be stopped by a clicking noise,” Davroar complained. Acindor agreed. Approaching the figure, the human fighter noticed that the figure twitched and spasmed but did not move. The move was repetitive. As he drew closer, it become apparent that the figure wasn’t human. The metal man did not respond in any way to their greeting.

Looking around, they noted other metal men. All of them twitched, whether they were standing, kneeling or lying down. They moved ever so briefly in time with the flickering lights, making it apparent that the faulty lights were their power source. Obviously, there was something wrong with them. Davroar noted the same orb glowing within the chests of the metal men.

“These metal golems appear to have a power source within their breast,” Davroar said. “I believe they’re inactive but beware.”

A nearby shop showed signs of heavy damage. Its windows were shattered and its doors ripped off its hinges. Interior looked like it had been ransacked. There were obvious signs of a fight of some sort. Davroar noticed one metal figure that lacked a blue orb. He could also detect a faint trace of magic on the counter in the back. Everything there was wet. They also found traces of organic blood and a broken rapier with writing on it.

Meldor recognized the script as a form of Orcish.

Davroar sneered, not bothering to hide his hatred.

Acindor peered behind the counter but instantly recoiled when he saw a couple Sally Shettebrek dolls lying back there. Davroar noticed a pair of orcish boots elsewhere beneath a pile of cursed dolls. Given that the boots appeared to be all that was left of the orc, they decided to leave the shop and the accursed dolls behind.

The Tower

As they continued to explore, Davroar noted that the source of the robots’ magic seemed to be coming from the north. A few blocks in that direction brought them to a metal tower. Atop the tower an intermittent blue glow was coming from a massive crystal hovering atop the tower. The crystal was obviously cracked and damaged.

A ladder to the northeast provided access to a series of metal catwalks and stairs leading to the top of the tower. The path upwards was lit with the same sort of electric lights as the street lights. Wedd and Davroar opted to scale the tower to investigate.

Halfway up the TRANSMITTER TOWER, they were accosted by an unseen sentry, who was alerted to their presence by Wedd’s heavy dwarven boots on the metal walkways.

“Who is that?”

They looked at each other uncertainly, stunned to hear another living voice for the first time on PEACOCK ISLAND.

“We’re here to help,” Davroar said.

“I’ve heard that before. Are you with them?”

“No, we’re with us.”

They could hear the scowl in the stranger’s voice. “Are you with the orcs?”

Davroar spat. “Gods, no!”

Below on the ground, Acindor sighed deeply and wiped Davroar’s spittle off his face with exaggerated longsuffering.

“Well, that’s what the last group said. Imagine my surprise when they started helping the orcs trash everything and even managed to damage the power crystal before they left!”

“Just point us in the direction of these ruffians, sir,” Davroar said, “and we’ll make quick work of them.”

“What I really need is a replacement for this crystal,” the tower sentry said. “They cracked it pretty hard.”

“Will everything come back to life once it’s restored?” Nathan asked.

“Good as new,” the sentry said. “Now, just on the off that you’re serious about helping me, I’ll do you the courtesy of giving you a few seconds to get back off this tower before I electrify it again.”

“Fair enough, sir, but give us your name so that we might know who it is we are aiding.”

“My name isn’t important. I’m just a servant of Obscurus. I’m Nobody. You need to go and warn Obscurus.”

The Warehouse

Once the inquiring pair reached the ground, the sentry gave them directions toward the WAREHOUSE containing a replacement power crystal. The WAREHOUSE once stood on the beach, but something had occurred to damage much of the structure. It was now standing in water. Gaping holes in the sides of the WAREHOUSE showed them that much of the interior was also submerged. They realized they could gain entrance through the holes in the WAREHOUSE walls; however, before they attempted this Davroar detected a magical residue on the top of the water. Tracing their origin, he spied some overturned barrels coming from the other side of the WARERHOUSE. He immediately warned his friends of a possible danger, especially after he noticed shark fins patrolling the waters and that their back ends were a trail of tentacles.

Wary of the water, Davroar used a bowl to scoop up some of it. As Davroar touched his bowl to the water, he noted that three sharks immediately darted in his direction. They lost interest as soon as he was no longer touching the water. Davroar lit the top of the bowl with a torch experimentally. A fireball roared up into the sky accompanied by a loud, bloodcurdling scream like a wailing peacock. Within the flame, they saw a face with many eyes and several mouths screaming. The fog was mostly dissipated by this magical flare.

Unfortunately, they were spotted by two orcs manning a campfire on a ledge to the northeast overlooking the DOCKYARDS. Davroar was unconcerned, even when the orcs blew a hunting horn to alert others to their presence. If anything, the Cleric of Moriarty seemed eager for a potential fight with the orcs.

He was more concerned with the fact that the bowl was trying to crawl away. It had sprouted a set of crab legs and was making its way back to the water’s edge.

Davroar suggested that the water was a mutagen of some sort. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, Thril tried to fill a water flask so they could take it to someone for identification. Unfortunately, when he attempted to stopper the flask, teeth sprouted from the mouth and bit down on the cork. The flask began growing hair at a rapid pace.

“Is this thing returning to life?” Nathan asked.

Thril’s flask took a quick bite of him because he was determined to keep hold of it. Instead of releasing it, Thril emptied its contents. Emptied of the mutagenic water, the creature’s struggles became all the more frantic. Newly formed claws raked at him. Thril finally decided to let the flask go. It dutifully tried to crawl back to the water’s edge when he dropped it, but deprived of the fluid that gave it unnatural life, it shriveled up and dried up into something Thril decided he did not want to keep.

They decided not to wade into the waters.

The Peacock Shipping Company

Tracing the length of the building and an adjoining structure, they came to a door marked with a peacock. Nathan realized this was one of the better known symbols of the god of fear, SHETTEBREK. As the door was unlocked, they entered and found themselves in the lobby of the PEACOCK SHIPPING COMPANY OFFICE. Posters along the wall featured “Sweet Dream Sally” dolls. A register on a long desk . A broken robot sat on one side of the desk. The other side of the desk sported a seat for an actual living employee, but no one was present. A shipping register on the desk identified several destinations throughout FARRAGO their Sally dolls were being shipped to.

Behind the desk was a long hallway. There were also two office doors on either side of the hallway. At the end of the hallway, they could see another set of doors which they figured might lead to the WAREHOUSE.

Checking out the office to the right, Acindor found sets of black gloves, most of which were in parcel boxes. The words on the sides of the parcel boxes were unreadable. The languages and letters of the words shifted around as they tried to read them. Reasoning that the gloves allowed employees or purchasers to safely handle Sally dolls without being cursed, Acindor grabbed some for each member of the party.

They were not prepared for the other “office.” Entering the door, they found a room with an altar. Sally dolls were resting in boxes on either side. Behind the altar was a mural with many eyes staring at him. The more Acindor stared at it the more he felt a sense of dread and fear. The eyes became peacock eyes, then a spider’s eyes. The fighter felt frozen with fear. Sewers waters began bubbling up between the cracks in the floor. Unable to move, he wondered how long it would take for the sewer waters to fill the room. To fill his mouth. Suddenly the altar transformed into a ravenous wolf. As it began snapping and snarling at him, Acindor backpedaled out of the room, but he could not shake his new-found fear of dogs and wolves.

Telling the others what happened, they realized the room must be some sort of curse activation station for the Sally dolls. They decided never to enter the room again.

Proceeding down the hallway, they came to the door at the end. Opening it, they beheld the interior of the mostly flooded WAREHOUSE. Sharktopuses patrolled the waters, which Davroar confirmed was still magically charged. They were on a metal walkway that led to a flight of stairs. Many of the WAREHOUSE shelves were still standing. They spotted the replacement power crystal, but it took them a moment to figure out how to reach it. Tracing the pattern of walkways and stairs, they spotted a platform with levers and controls that likely controlled a claw and crane assembly above them.

Wary of the water and the dangers it might spit out at them, Meldor and Acindor stayed by the door to guard their exit while the others made their way up to the control platform. A section of the second story walkway was damaged, requiring them to leap across to the other side. Everyone but Weddumlir cleared the jump. Wedd missed the far edge and slipped down onto a set of shelves below. It caught his fall, but the crash threatened to tip the shelves and the commotion caught the attention of the sharktopi. Thril pulled Wedd up while Acindor tossed an unlit torch in the other direction to distract the monsters.

While his friends were bumbling around, Meldor realized he could simply cast a spell to fly up to the replacement crystal. Putting thought to action, he flew up to the crystal, retrieved it , and returned back to his post. Yelling up at the others, they dutifully made the trip back down, clapping him on the back for his effort-saving idea.

Davroar made up a song for Wedd as they made their way back through the PEACOCK SHIPPING COMPANY OFFICE and spilled out onto the street:

“When Wedd did jump, he needed help.

If it weren’t for Thril, he’d be stuck on a shelf!”

They noticed that the robots began coming back to life as they passed by, already being influenced by the power crystal.

Unfortunately, when they began making their way back to the tower, they were spotted by a troop of orcs who had made their encampment at its base.

The Vengeance of Davroar (Ballad)

The Vengeance of Davroar (or The Hero of Shettebrek)

A ballad by Percivius Knotfork the Kobold Bard

If you’d like to follow along, the acapella tune can be heard at:
https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/Lbe7N

Hark! Hear my story
I swear is true word
An uncommon champion
Davroar Hollysword

Barbarian orcs
Who called themselves Fearless
Set out to slay Davroar
Who just was not impressed

For this hero proud
All hail Moriarty
He stood without fear
And spoiled their party

His warriors brave
Nathan and Meldor
And also there were
Thril and Acindor

And nobody else
Twas these heroes four
Who standing by Davroar
The power restored

For this hero proud
All hail Moriarty
With comrades stood true
And spoiled their party

The Fearless’ Champion
A brute with two heads
With his mighty weapons
Killed Thril Wolfsbane dead

From two stories high
Davroar leapt insane
With a shout to his god
Cut the ettin in twain

For this Hero proud
All hail, Moriarty
Brought chaos and vengeance
And spoiled their party


And became
The Champion
     The mighty defender

Davroar!
The Hero of Shettebrek!
Of Shettebrek!
He is the Hero
Of Shettebrek!

Davroar!
The Hero of (Big thanks from) Shettebrek!
Of (From) Shettebrek!
All hail Moriarty
For the Hero
Of Shettebrek!

Session #29: The Castaways

The Ship in the Storm

While enroute to the forthcoming Gotternacht Games at the ROSE COLISEUM, Oberyx the Half-Elf Warlock oathbound to Fulgar, Del Erenaeth the Elf Monk, Zook Bafflestone the Gnome Artficer, Kaid the Goliath Barbarian, David the Half-Elf Wizard, Fil the Drow Cleric of Zephyr, and Kudac the Half-Orc Cleric of Baldnoggin, found their voyage by sea taking a less than comfortable turn. Things change pretty quickly. The winds begin to blow. The waters become choppy. The rain begins to fall. Soon it’s a full-fledged storm  and they could feel the waves begin to toss the ship about. Abobe the howl of the wind and the deafening roar of thunder, they could hear the sailors shouting, screaming, praying to their gods. Then those below decks heard the dreaded call to arms.

“All hands on deck!”

Dutifully, they headed upstairs to the deck. It was worse than they imagined. Most of the sailors were gone, including the captain. The steering wheel spun wildly. Oberyx took one look at this state of affairs and headed back below decks. The others raced to save the ship.

Zook took control of the ship’s wheel. Kudac began praying to Baldnoggin for protection over himself and the others. Kaid, David and Del and began working on getting the sails back up. Fil searched about for the captain but he was nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately, when the sails billowed in the wind, the pressure was too great and the masts snapped. One snapped cleanly and was snatched away by the winds. The other fell like a tree, knocking David overboard. It hung in the water, causing them to drag off-course until Del, Zook and Grogu (Zook’s small dragonish steel defender) managed to regain control of the ship’s wheel and through a mighty effort managed to steer the vessel toward an island they could see every so often as the waves rose and fell. Caught in the tumbling waves, David attempted to grab hold of the mast lying in the water, but instead it slammed into him. Despite the damage he sustained, he managed to cling to both consciousness and the mast. Blood trailed in the water from his wounds.

The goliath took his axe and cut the mast free, either unaware or unconcerned that David was clinging to it. The mast was temporarily tied to the ship by the rigging it was entangled in.  Realizing his plight, David dug into the last of his reserves and made a mad dash up the fallen mast. He made it to the deck before the mast pulled free of the lines and slipped into the billowing waves. Fil rushed to his side and prayed to Zephyr, healing his wounds.

Below decks, Oberyx managed to find a place safe from rolling barrels and other items; however, he noticed that the ship was now taking on water. After slipping on the stairs once, he managed to emerge on the deck just in time to watch the ship crack apart. Realizing that this was the end and that the ship would not make it to shore, everyone jumped overboard.

David aggravated his injuries when he landed. His blood attracted the attention of a trio of sharks. Despite his injuries, he and his comrades managed to make to shore, although Oberyx did manage to lose a boot in the mud and Fil was forced to kill a shark on the way in.

The Revenge of the Fearless

Meanwhile, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter, and Weddumlir  Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter continued their fight against the Fearless’ ettin champion. Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of Moriarty assisted them from a nearby rooftop, but Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, and Acindor the Human Fighter were too far away to be of immediate assistance. Without warning, Wedd vanished. Nathan noticed a square sigil on the ground in the place where the dwarf had been standing, which he intuitively realized meant that Baldnoggin had inconveniently called him away for some reason.

Nathan wisely placed himself behind the remaining fighter. As the clerics rained down divine power on the ettin, Thril rushed in and used his sword to hamstring the ettin, bringing it down to one knee. The ettin attempted to retaliate, but he was hampered by his sudden lack of mobility. In a moment of overconfidence, Thril rushed at the ettin and leapt up to decaptitate the left head, but missed by inches. Enfraged, the ettin swung his axe hard, knocking Thril unconscious. He followed up the attack quickly, bringing his morning star down, crushing Thril’s head and killing him instantly.

Enraged at the death of his friend, Davroar cried, “Moriarty!” and formed his spiritual weapon into a sword. Throwing the weapon toward the ettin from the top of the building, he caused the ettin to flinch.  In the next breath, Davroar leapt from the building, caught the weapon in midair and caught the ettin between its heads. Meldor and Acindor reached Nathan in time to witness the killing blow as Davroar’s weapon cleaved the ettin in twain on his way down, avenging their comrade.

An awful stillness fell upon the battlefield. Looking around for new foes, they became aware of the sounds of a shipwreck in progress back at the docks. Meldor, Acindor and Nathan went to investigate while Davroar looted the bodies of the Fearless.

The Meeting

Noticing the trio on the docks, Oberyx trudged out of the waters, looking quite disheveled. Sighing deeply, he looked at Acindor and said, “I have a very quick question for you, sir. Do you have a spare pair of boots?”

Acindor looked down at the warlock’s feet, taking in the fact that one boot was indeed missing. He grimly recalled that Thril’s feet were about the same size. Knowing the elf had no further use for them, he offered to show him where Thril’s body lay.

As the parties made their introductions, Acindor noted how Fil tended to the wounds of the others. The half-elf cleric immediately earned his respect due to his dedication to his calling.

Making their way back to the tower, they compared notes. After noting that the replacement of the power crystal atop the tower had made the lift up the mountain operational, Davroar, Acindor, Meldor and Nathan explained their quest. While David, Kaid and Kudac opted to remain behind in the DOCKYARDS, the others took the tram up the mountain to OBSCURUS’ MANSION. On the way up, they noticed a forest off to their right in the direction the Fearless had come from. To the west, the saw the remains of a large AVIARY complex. It was now mostly overgrown and their were large holes in the roofs, making it apparent that whatever winged creatures the AVIARY contained were likely free now.

Coming at last to the top of the mountain, they surveyed the MANSION. After a quick conference, they decided to rest for the night while they took turns at the watch. They would enter the MANSION at first light.

Similarly, the party in the DOCKYARDS rested in the TRAM STATION, intending to explore the area in the morning.

Session #26: Claw Island

Upon awakening at the EXCELSIOR, Odin Thunderhammer the Dwarf Fighter, Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Shield Knight , Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of MoriartyNathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter  make their way back down to the bar to speak to Otuk the Innkeeper again. Otuk is making eggs. The eggs are yellow with purple spots and about the size of a gnome’s head. The tavern was mostly empty except for the two minotaur bouncers they’d noticed the night before. Davroar noticed that they weren’t really playing checkers, but were simply pretending to do so while they kept a wary eye on things.

In light of the deadline given by Joe Stufts the Necromancer Taxidermist to Nathan and Odin, they asked Otuk if he had ever heard of Obscurus.

Otuk scoffed. “Have I heard of Obscurus? Who hasn’t? He’s not nearly as obscure as his name suggests. In fact, he’s kind of rich. Owns a big mansion out of Peacock Island with one of them big telescopes. An observatory, I think it’s called. He calls it his STAR TOWER. Obscurus is an odd one. Likes gadgets and gizmos. Tries to pass himself off as an ordinary merchant but everybody knows he’s a high level wizard of some sort.”

“Do you know where we can find him?” Acindor asked.

“Probably on that island he owns. It’s just off the NORTH PINCER of CLAW ISLAND. The EXCELSIOR is on the SOUTH PINCER of the CLAW. You need to head toward the ROSE COLISEUM to reach it.”

As they made plans to leave, they noticed that Odin was missing. After a brief search, they asked Otuk if he’s seen Odin. The innkeep shrugged. “This sort of thing happens all the time. People vanish. Sometimes they’re trying to vanish. Sometimes that’s somebody else who wants it. Did he owe anybody money? Did he owe someone a debt of some sort?”

Recalling that Odin was a follower of Baldnoggin, Wedd sought guidance from the dwarf god and found that Baldnoggin was annoyed that Wedd had chosen to fight for Hero in the probable forthcoming Gotternacht Games. He was only assuaged when Wedd agreed to be Baldnoggin’s Champion instead. Wedd was also assured that Baldnoggin had sent Odin on a different mission in case Wedd failed.

This minor mystery solved, they made their way toward the ROSE COLISEUM. They were immediately recognized by the Coliseum guards, who recognized Thril and Weddumlir as chosen Champions in the forthcoming Gotternacht Games. This fact was made undeniable, as the Champions’ faces and names were emblazoned upon banners as Champions of their Gods. Fortunately, the guards only wanted their autographs. They also introduced them to Gnome Shanorock the Dwarf Rogue, the Champion of the Nylbogia. After a brief introduction, the guards convinced the adventurers to enter the COLISEUM to take advantage of combat practice and complimentary healing potions.

The Master of the Games

They were taken through a side door, partially hidden in the shadows. They noted that the guard knocked four times before entering. After threading a passage in single file long enough to suspect ambush, they emerged in the bright sun of main floor the COLISEUM.

As promised, there were cabinets filled with healing potions and racks of weapons around the sides of the arena floor. At the center of the COLISEUM, an elderly, muscular figure in golden gladiator attire was beating the living snot out of another combatant who looked to be at least half-ogre. The old man wielded a weapon that looked much like an over-sized hook, which he used to drive the other combatant’s skull into the ground with one last blow. Yelling for a medic, he turned his attention to the newcomers.

“Ah! These must be the new Champions in need of training,” he called.

Acindor pushed Wedd forward.

Unflinching, Wedd drew his war hammer and rushed forward to meet him. The old man somersaulted aside, taking a glancing blow before sweeping Wedd’s leg with his hook. Lying prone on his back, Wedd wheezed, “That was fun.” Seeing that the old man’s hook was already driving down towards his belly, Wedd sprang to his feet and dodged. The hook weapon dug into the dirt floor. “Muttering “Loser” under his breath, the dwarf stepped in to finish the old man, but then quickly backpedaled when he realized the other was already hurling a weighted net at him. The net wrapped around Wedd’s torso, cocooning him in its embraced. he dropped to the ground like a stone.

The old man retrieved his hook and leisurely walked over to Weddumlir. Bopping him lightly on the head with the hook, he asked, “Who’s next?”

As Gnome Shanarock approached, the net magically unfurled itself from Wedd’s form and flew back to the old man’s hand. “I’ll give you the first shot,” he said.

Wasting no time, Shanarock thrust with his rapier. The blade struck true.

The old man gasped and clutched the wound. Shanarock was already back in position, his rapier ready to parry whatever the old man threw at him. Grinning, he said, “You have potential.”

Thril was next. He too managed to score a hit on the old man, but the old man’s hook caught him by the throat in the very next breath, nearly separating his head from his shoulders. Yelling for a medic, the old man turned to appriase the adventurers. “The ring is an unforgiving place. You must not allow any opportunity. You have potential, either to succeed or die. This was just a bout between fighters. You need to be prepared to face wizards, warlocks, barbarians, and… well, the rogue managed to bloody me before any of the rest of you! Do not underestimate anyone. Be ready for anything! If it comes to the Contest, and Wanjo has yet to give us any indication that this will not end up being the case, you won’t just be fighting on the arena floor. The arena changes with each match. For example,” he said, clapping twice.

The flat sand-covered arena floor vanished and became a series of multi-leveled hexagonal platforms. He clapped twice again and those platforms began to move up and down as lava slowly began to rise.

Dibs

As they considered these things, a bolt of lightning struck the center of the COLISEUM. A very large, very angry Hero stood glowering at Weddumlir. He jabbed his finger at the dwarf.

“What is the meaning of this? I hear that you have betrayed me for Baldnoggin!”

Weddumlir licked his lips. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? Then you’re going to be fighting for me then?”

“No.”

“No?”

Acindor began backing away from Weddumlir.

“You would say no to a god?” Hero asked, not bothering to cover the menace in his words. “I had dibs!”

“I will talk to my god about it then,” Weddumlir offered.

Acindor backed away futher.

Hero shook his head. “Oh, no. Dibs may mean nothing where you’re from, but the dibs of a god are dibs indeed!”

Weddumlir apologized again, but refused to change his allegiance.

“Still no? Then I will make your life a misery.”

Weddumlir rubbed his head and began softly praying for divine intervention.

Hero scoffed. “I can feel you praying to the miserable little backstabbing cretin. You will stop praying this instant.”

“No, sir.”

Hero’s patience was at an end. A twenty foot square beneath Wedd’s feet erupted in black tentacles. Wedd desperately squirmed to get free while Hero taunted him.

“Are yous till praying? Are you still determined to be a Champion for that backstabbing dwarf-god?”

Wedd fought on, but the tentacles knocked him down and wrapped around him, squeezing him like a constrictor.

“You’re willing to die for Baldnoggin then?”

Wedd managed to break free from the tentacles but he was starting to take Hero seriously.

“This is your last warning,” Hero said. “Forswear, Weddumlir Aleshield: ‘I will fight for Hero and will not change sides again. May B.O.B. take my soul if I do.'”

Wedd thought quickly. “But Acindor changed sides.”

Hero considered this. “So he did.” Black tentacles erupted beneath Acindor’s feet. “I will give you the same opportunity I gave this coward. Will you fight for me as my Champion in the Gotternacht Games?”

“I will!” Acindor agreed quickly.

The tentacles vanished and posters appeared all over the arena boasting Acindor as Hero’s Champion. “Spectacular! As a sign of goodwill, I shall allow your treacherous friend to live. I hope you two do meet in the Games so that they may sing songs of how you defeated Baldnoggin’s unworthy backstabbing Champion.”

The Master of Games sighed deeply. “There has been entirely too much drama here today. I will see all of you at the appointed time.” He gestured toward the exit.

Hero offered him a nod of respect and then vanished in a bolt of lightning.

Taken aback by the god’s treatment of the Master Gladiator as an equal, Davroar walked over to him and asked, “Sir, might I ask your name? I am interested to know who Hero would bow to?”

“I’ve gone by many names. I am the master of all martial forms and, as such, I am the one god who is disqualified from this Contest.”

Davroar thanked him for the information and beat a hasty retreat, realizing he was just speaking to Gilgamesh, the deposed god of Erythaean.

Gilgamesh was deposed by Valiant Thor, the Lord of the Burning World before Noah, gnomish god of craft and industry. He was known as a mighty conqueror and had indeed gone by many names, inspiring legends of great military heroes or else inspiring such heroes to victory with his blessing. Valiant Thor was able to best him by treachery and with the aid of the Lords of the other six worlds, who feared his growing power and lust for conquest. Aided especially by Zephyr of Nubis, Valiant Thor was able to trap him in an illusion where Gilgamesh constantly found himself fighting endless foes and monsters standing in the way between himself and Valiant Thor the Dreamweaver. When he finally defeated the dreamscape, he was released from the illusion, only to find that he had been deposed as the god of Erythaean for the past 40 years. Valiant Thor allowed him to depart Erythaean to the Farrago, where he apparently took on the role of Master Gladiator at the Rose Coliseum.

Davroar quickly and quietly told the others what he’d discovered. Grabbing a couple healing potions apiece on their way out, they left the ROSE COLISEUM and continued their quest.

As they left, the guards accosted Acindor for his autograph and advised them that they were on wanted posters everywhere. As a COLISEUM guard, he could care less but he advised them to avoid the streets and stick to the beaches. Gnome Shanarock decided to join their quest.

At the northernmost point of CLAW ISLAND, they sent Gnome Shanarock to scout out information on Obscurus’ location, mostly because his face wasn’t on any wanted posters. After negotiating his fee, Shanarock questioning the locals and was able to determine that Obscurus lived on one of two islands: PEACOCK ISLAND and the ISLAND OF ABOMINATIONS. He was able to locate a boat that would take him to PEACOCK ISLAND, but no one would go near the other island.

After locating the boat, they paid the captain for passage to PEACOCK ISLAND.

There, they spotted a cloaked figure with glowing green eyes who was marked with the essence of the Nylbolgia. The figure retreated when they spotted it. Gnome Shanarock decided to track the figure down.

They also spotted a crate filled with a lot of all-too-familiar cursed dolls.

Session #25: The Flight from Middleborough

The Necromancer

Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, woke to find himself in strange surroundings. He vaguely recalled a blow to the back of the head as he was grabbed by suddenly animate skeletons through the walls of the OSSUARY OF THE MIDDLEBOROUGH INNOCENTS. Around the stone walled chamber stood a menagerie of strange creatures. A giraffe with ostrich legs. A cat with wings, horns and antlers. A goat attached to a fish. It was if a mad taxidermist had put these poor creatures together. Nathan was relieved to note that they did not appear to be animate.

Eventually, he became aware of a hooded and black-robed figure sitting on a throne made of bones. The figure cackled and pointed at him.

“Nathan Garney, you are known to us,” the figure intoned.

“Then you have the advantage of me, sir,” Nathan said.

“But I suspect you can guess.”

“No. I really have no idea.”

“None at all? You haven’t put the clues together?” he asked as he waved a gloved hand toward the examples of rogue taxidermy Nathan had earlier noted.

“No.”

“Well, maybe this will help!” he cried as he tossed back his hood dramatically to reveal a face covered in a mask made of a deer skull. The right half of the skull was painted red while the left side was blue. The center of the skull’s forehead bore an image of a sheaf of wheat, symbolizing the dread Harvest of Thanatar, god of the undead. The general outfit reminded Nathan a little of Braucia Graeme, whom he’d had a vision of shortly before the skeletons had attacked.’Whomever his captor was, he was certainly a necromancer. “Now do you recognize me?” the necromancer asked.

“Thanatar?” Nathan ventured.

The necromancer scoffed. “I look like a god to you? Not that I don’t like where you’re going with your thinking…”

“I don’t know. I’ve seen so few gods.”

“No. I’m not a god. But I am… Joe Stufts!”

Nathan was unimpressed.

“You’ve seriously never heard of me? Joe Stufts, necromancer taxidermist? Are you new to town or something?”

“Yes,” Nathan said. “Yes, I am.”

“Fine. You want to play funny with me. That’s OK. Braucia Graeme. You know that name thou, don’t you? The Kiss of Death. The necromancer who wants you dead.”

“Dead?” Nathan said. “What did I do?”

“Well, you recall going to this little town called SMUGGLER SPEAK, right? The place where you ruined the plans of the Cult of Nobody and destroyed their CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION? Well, that little science project was a joint venture by B.O.B. and Thanatar. Did you know that?”

“I did not know that?”

“How did you beat the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION not knowing what you don’t know?

“Ignorance is bliss!” the cleric quipped. “I’m a happy man.”

“That’s really too bad,” Joe Stufts said, clucking his tongue. “See, I thought you were this big hero who could possibly help me, not this bumbling incompetent who can barely remember how to walk.”

Nathan Garney sniffed. “I remember how to walk.”

“Well, do you remember this creature?” He pointed toward the rib cage of some nameless creature, which served as a cage for a dwarf who had remained silent during their exchange.

“He looks familiar,” Nathan said. In truth, he recognized Odin Thunderhammer instantly.

“He should,” Joe said. “He was there with you in the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION when some of the members of Heroes Inc decided to be, you know, heroes. Of course, none of them ever made it into the song. Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you heard the song?”

Nathan sighed. “I’ve heard the song. The song about Weddumlir, right?”

“Want those monsters dead? Send in the Wedd… Really inspiring stuff. OK, here’s the haggle. The Kiss of Death wants me to give you the kiss of death. She wants you very… very dead and I… I am kind of obligated to let that happen. “

“That’s because yer evil!” Odin thundered from his bone cage.

“I take it you need me for something?” Nathan said, ignoring the dwarf.

“Yes, I do. Do you want to know why I became a necromancer? I hate people. I don’t like any kind of people. I don’t like orcs, elves, or dwarves… humans. I don’t like people.People suck. I like animals. It’s no secret that I like to mix and match the bodies a little bit, but I like animals And I have a gift! People come from all over the Seven to see my everchanging menagerie.” He sighed. “This brings me to my problem. I don’t suppose you’ve at least heard of Obscurus, my happy friend? My brother? The animancer?”

“No.”

“OK, it’s like this. Everybody used to come to my shop, JOE STUFTS MAGICAL TAXIDERMY & PET SHOPPE to see my wonderful creations. But then… Then my brother goes and designs a spell that creates lesser abominations. No need to jigsaw creatures and bring them to life with necromancy. You can have the whole deal without the artistry or the work or the… the… what the’s word?”

“The ick!” Odin shouted.

“He’s going to drive me out of business!” He took a moment to calm himself. “But I made a deal with Thanatar. And Shettebrek. And I made a deal with Moriarty. And that’s coming along just fine, but then I got to thinking: They say with all this power I’ll have, no one will ever remember the name Obscurus. But I was thinking that if that spell never saw the light of day, I’d never have to compete with his fame. So what I need you to do,” he said, raising his hand and snapping his fingers, ” is to break into his tower and steal that spell before he has a chance to publish it and get famous off it.”

At this point two ogre sized skeletons stepped forward. Joe took a blowgun and a dart from them. “Now, here’s the deal. Hold very still.”

“I don’t want to hold very still.”

“It’s a part of the deal,” Joe said. Putting the blowgun to his lips, Joe sent a dart sailing across the room. It hit Nathan in the chest. “You’re now marked for assassination,” Joe said. “that’s what Braucia Graeme hired me to do. She wants you and your buddies all marked for assassination. We’ve hired the Red Circle to kill all of you. They’re really good at what they do. You won’t survive it. You’ve heard of the Red Circle at least, right?”

“No.”

“Have you been living under a rock? Do I even have the right guy? Where have you been all this time?”

“Is the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION under a rock?” Nathan asked, hiding a smirk.

“It’s inside a dagger actually. What’s that got to do with anything? Listen up. I’m going to delay the dart’s magic for 24 hours, enough time for you and your band of heroes to fetch me that spell. You bring it back to me, I’ll reverse it. Since you’re probably going to need help, I’m going to send this creature with you,” he said, thumbing towards Odin.

“I am not a creature!” Odin shouted. “I am a dwarf!”

“In fact, I would love it if you’d take him off my hands,” Joe said. “He’s been similarly marked with the Red Circle‘s blessing and should have adequate motivation to assist you. One last thing: Tell anyone about this deal and I’ll kill you myself. Do we have an accord?”

Nathan Garney and Odin Thunderhammer reluctantly agreed, upon which point the dwarf was released from his cage.

“Excellent. The first thing you two will need to do is get back to the surface, a trek which shall be much easier to accomplish with my help. He snapped his fingers. The two ogre skeletons stepped forward. Each caused its own rib cage to burst open and beckoned for the human and dwarf to climb inside these respective cages. Seeing Nathan’s reluctance to take the proffered ride, the dwarf shrugged and said, “It’s not as bad as you think.”

Wanted

Meanwhile, Weddumlir Aleshield the Dwarf Fighter, Davroar Hollysword the Elf Cleric of Moriarty, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard, Acindor the Human Fighter and Thril Wolfsbane the Elf Fighter continued their exploration of MIDDLEBOROUGH. Leaving CLERICAL ROW, they came to a small square where a gallows had recently been built. An angry mob dominated the scene. Several visible armbands and patches identified this crowd as being predominantly made up of Redforges, the group dedicated to eradicating magic and magic users from the Seven Worlds.

Skirting the edges of the crowd, they spotted a notice board papered with wanted papers. To his horror, Davroar spied his own face on the warrants; however, the name belonged to someone else. Apparently Davroar’s doppleganger, one Dudley Razorcape III, was wanted for seeding the magical plague amongst the populace, horse theft and for the “general defilement of dwarvenkind,” whatever that meant. The reward was posted at 200 gold. Another wanted poster showed the uncanny visage of Meldor Ironforge under another person’s name, charging him with the theft of “various turnips” in addition to the very charges “Dudley” was charged with. Acindor, Wedd and Thril all found their faces as well, all rendered with impossible accuracy under someone else’s name.

As they attempted to maintain a low profile and make their way along the outer edges of the mob, a guard posted in front of JOE STUFTS MAGICAL TAXIDERMY & PET SHOPPE took particular note of Davroar. “Hey there! Papers! Do you have your papers! You there! I need to see your papers.”

“You don’t need to see our papers.” Davroar said, waving his hand dramatically.

The guard frowned, waving another guard over to assist him. “Of course you do. Everybody is required to have their papers on them at all times. It’s the law. How did you even get into Farrago without papers? You can either produce your papers or you can spend the night in jail while we sort it out, funny guy.”

Davroar said a silent prayer to Moriarty and gazed upon the guards, willing them to fear him. One of the guards saw an image of his mother-in-law. The apparition scared him so badly that he ran into JOE STUFTS MAGICAL TAXIDERMY & PET SHOPPE to get away from it, in the process nearly bowling over Nathan Garney and Odin Thunderhammer who were exiting the shop. The other guard began screaming a warning as he ran, “Infected! They’re Infected! Run for your lives!”

The Redforge mob focused all of their hate and frenzied fear on the party, whom they presumed were now infected with the very magical plague which had sparked their entire movement. The adventurers began running as fast as they could, correctly reading their intent in the dread promise of the gallows behind them. The Redforges focused in particular upon the dwarves, whom they almost managed to grab. Weddumlir managed to keep out of their clutches but Odin and Meldor were forced to fight their way free for a moment.

As they approached the bridge to the next island, they spotted a red-robed wizard, who beckoned them to cross quickly. “Hurry, friends! Across the bridge!” There did not appear to be guards at the bridge and the buildings were larger and more luxurious.

For one dark moment, Davroar considered whether the bridge might not be a mimic, a reasonable concern in light of recent adventures.. The wizard urged them to duck into the first house on the left after they crossed. “You need to get out sight while you can!”

Nathan cast detect magic and noted that the door appeared to be magical, but the adventurers didn’t see where they had any choice but to follow the wizard’s advice. When they emerged on the other side, they were in a back alley, which was odd since they’d entered the front door of the building and never once saw the interior. The wizard immediately locked and warded the door.

“OK,” he said. “We should be safe for now, but you have to be more careful in the future. The Redforges do not care whether your power comes from the gods or the arcane. They want nothing less than the glory returned, by which they mean the end of all magic and its practitioners.”

“Tell us your name that we may thank you properly,” Davroar said.

“I have taken the name Fizzle,” he said. Seeing their expressions, he said, “I see the name is familiar to you. I took the upon the mantle of Fizzle upon meeting your friend. Fizzle the First spoke highly of you and of your deeds in the Temple of Wanjo. Twas the Fizzle Prime who saved me from a lynch mob when this Redforge nonsense first began. Were it not for him, I’d be feeding crows from the gallows. I am technically Fizzle the Fifth.”

“Is Fizzle still in town?” Acindor asked.

“Last I heard, he’d departed for the Green World of VIRIDI. That’s where he is now, provided he survived the passage through the ELDERWYLD.”

“Well, we appreciate your help,” Davroar said. “Where are we now?”

“You passed through a doorway from PENVENSIE ISLAND to CLAW ISLAND. This distresses you?” Fizzle the Fifth asked, noting their looks of aggravation and despair.

“We’re trying to reach the Market,” Acindor said.

“Oh. Well, you might try the ROSE COLISEUM. There is passage beneath which teleports vendors and their goods back and forth between the MARKET. You could also go back through the door here,” he said, “but I wouldn’t do that immediately. The guards will be looking for you.” He wrinkled up his nose. “one more thing: I would recommend that you check into a nearby inn and take a bath. You reek of the sewers. Any guard worth his salt knows about the shadow bridges and knows that anyone using those roads is probably up to no good. You need to keep a low profile.”

As they bid him adieu, he recommended a nearby establishment, the EXCELSIOR, but warned them against staring at the innkeep for too long.

Excelsior

Arriving at the EXCELSIOR, they were immediately struck by the fact that the establishment appeared to have been built from the shell of an old galleon. Entering the establishment, by the amber light of oil lanterns they saw that most of the clientele consisted of sailors and pirates. This includes a centaur pirate captain and a goblin cannoneer. The goblin was not Puddles. Two large minotaur played a game of checkers. One bore a wide grin while the other accused his comrade of cheating, loudly and often. A trio of highborn elves sat by themselves at a table, looking uncomfortable at their surroundings. A pair of feet stuck out from under a table. The other end snored loudly. Most of the others appeared to be locals, the sort who were there more out of habit than anything else.

They sat down at a table in the center of the room at the invitation of one of the barmaids. They could smell the smoke of pipe tobacco, the fire place and whatever tantalizing dishes were being prepared in the kitchen. Overall, it was lively but cozy nonetheless.

The centaur pirate captain was already arguing with the innkeep, who was hidden from view by his equine posterior. After ordering a round of drinks, they inquired about a room and a bath. As she left to get their tankards, Nathan spotted a coin on the floor. When he attempted to pick it up, but the coin sprouted teeth and attempted to bite his finger.

At this point, the snoring fellow beneath the table nearby woke up and said, “Sparky? Anybody seen my pet coin?” the Cuervos asked. Nathan grumpily pointed the avian toward his offensive pet.

As the barmaid brought the tankards back, they noticed that she had a bundle of tentacles in lieu of hands. They glanced at their drinks warily while she kept up a light banter, plying them for food and news from their journeys.

At last, the centaur left with an angry outburst. The two checker players leaped to their feet at his shouting. The pirates had the sense to calm down and leave without incident but the party heard the centaur grumble about the need to teach the innkeep a lesson in keeping his promises.

Otuk the Innkeep was a strange creature! Otuk seemed to be a toss between man-shaped coral and a bunch of tentacles. The reason for Fizzle the Fifth’s warning not to stare became immediately evident! He stroked his tentacle beard as he considered them. After a bit of haggling, they secured a room at a discount… with a catch that they must rid the room of a troll a previous tenant had brought into the establishment without telling him. The troll had murdered its master at some point in the middle of the night and Otuk was unable to rent it out until they could be rid of both the troll and its stench. Unfortunately, the troll was confidently entrenched and, as a result, Otuk had been forced to cancel the centaur pirate captain’s reservation, amongst others.

The party made quick work of the troll and settled down for the night.

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.

Session #23: The Shadow Bridges

Having surmised that Shady Sam the human thief had utilized the shadow bridges to escape the quarantine zone, 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 headed back to the QUARANTINED HOUSE to follow his escape.

The goblin couple were long gone by the time they returned.

The Quarantine House

There seemed to be no obvious way in until they decided to go around the back of the building. There, they discovered a partly open second-story window was unimpeded by quarantine ribbons.

Acindor opted to go first. After seeing no obvious signs of traps or Ambush, he entered. He immediately noted the scorch marks on the left side of the room. Across from this evidence of an apparent fireball blast, a terrified gnome was pinned to the top corner of the room, cocooned in the ice that flash froze his heart. His eyes still faintly glowed from the magical infection the adventurers had been warned about.

It was all but evident that whomever had killed the gnome was still at large, a fact confirmed when the others joined Acindor and Davroar Hollysword discovered magical footprints leading away from the scene of the crime. They further noted a relatively well-worn path through the dust from the window to the door leading downstairs.

Proceeding cautiously down the stairs, they found an abandoned gambling den in a state of disarray. A dwarf was frozen in place, encased in ice as the gnome upstairs had been. Tables were overturned, evidencing an obvious scuffle. The magical footprints ignored this preserved scene of conflict and headed out another door.

They were about to follow when they heard a moan.

Behind the bar, they found a pixie half-hidden in an ale stein. The could see that one of her wings was broken. When Acindor introduced himself and offered to assist her, she looked up to him with wide terror-filled, glowing eyes and asked, “You’re not one of them, are you?”

After assuring her that they intended her no harm, she told them that one of the Infected had come Into the establishment a few days ago and, after accusing some of the other patrons of cheating at cards, began freezing people in retaliation. Everyone fled the chaos, but she was injured, having broken her wing and leg in the fracas. She’d lain there for three days, hoping help would arrive. She introduced herself as Florin.

After a brief conversation, she noted that the access to the SEWERS from the establishment’s basement was known to her, as were the SHADOW BRIDGES. She told them that the sewers and tunnels were used to smuggle in ale and other goods during FARRAGO’s Prohibition days and that there was a secret bar in the basement that used those subterranean passages. She balked at joining them as a guide but offered up the advice that if the MARKET BRIDGE was barred by the city garrison at the first substation that a tunnel behind a manhole ladder on the way would offer them a way to access the rest of the SEWER.

After they healed her wounds, she warned that the Infected’s eyes glowed, which was why she’d cast an illusion to make her eyes appear to do so, too. The Infected were generally loyal to one another. She lamented that her dwarf friend Reuben would need a healer to cure him of his magically frozen state if she hoped to get the money he owed her.

“Well, he is frozen,” Davroar suggested. “You could just…”

“So is his wallet,” Florin huffed.

Bidding them adieu ado, she took her leave. They watched her fly up the stairs and out the window they’d entered.

Continuing on their track of the magical footprints, the adventurers, descended another flight of stair. The tracks led to a storage room and then vanished behind a wall. A revolving section of wall led them to a dusty, abandoned speakeasy. Judging from the dust and cobwebs, it hadn’t been used for more than occasional storage for many years. The footprints led to the other end of the room, where a hole had been dug into the sewer walls and a door set in place. One of the walls featured newer graffiti, the dwarven runes for G and R bound together. It’s meaning was unknown to either of the dwarves in the party.

Acindor noted a painting that was obviously hung askew, judging from the dust pattern on the wall behind it. After a brief investigation, he found a nondescript candleholder. It was inscribed with instructions to whistle once for light and twice for dark. Whistling to test the item, he was surprised to find the speakeasy transformed! Darkness was replaced by cheery light from candles and torches, The dust and cobwebs vanished, as well as the storage crates, trash and other debris. A pleasant smell replaced the pervading sewage smell that lingered near the doorway they’d spotted. They could even hear music coming from a strange magical device nearby which seemed to be of at least partially Erythaean origin. A ghostly bartender appeared, wiping a glass mug more out of habit than necessity.

The bartender raised an eyebrow as he accosted them. “You know Prohibition’s over, right?”

Acindor nodded. “I know, but it’s been a long trip. We were hopping for a sip of ale.”

After assuring the barkeep that they weren’t members of the town guard, he agreed to sell them ale, noting that they needed a ferryman to get through the CATACOMBS. At the bottom of their glasses, they each found a badge with an alligator-shaped maze inscribed on it. Detaching the badges, they thanked the bartender, who told them that the badges also acted as limited compasses and would indicate the direction they needed to go, but only once per day. He assured them that the Ferryman would find them once they reached the CATACOMBS.

In gratitude for a further tip from Davroar, he provided them with a schematic of the SEWERS.

The Sewers

Having been warned by the ghostly bartender of the magical speakeasy not to take the door the magical footsteps they’d been following had taken, lest they annoy the giant zombie alligator the speakeasy kept to get rid of unwanted visitors, the adventurers entered the SEWERS of Farrago by a door that appeared at the sound of a large mechanism grinding into brief action.

The stench of the river of refuse beneath the city was indescribable. Stone walkways on either side of the brackish waters allowed them to avoid touching a ten foot wide sewage channel. Halfway down the length of the passage, a narrow stone bridge stood to allow access to a manhole ladder on the other side.

They intended to head toward the bridge where’d they’d seen the protesters and pass under it to the Market sector of the city; however, as the pixie had warned they might, the bridge garrison had the intelligence to block that passage with an iron portcullis.

Proceeding back to a bridge to the manhole she’d directed the north to utilize, they crossed one by one. As Weddumlir attempted to cross, a strange cross between a cat and a spider scurried out from beneath and crossed his path.

The startled cat-spider coughed up webbing at him, but the dwarf fell flat on his chest to avoid the sticky substance. As it scurried back under the bridge, Nathan Garney utilized Wedd as a stepping stone to get across. Wedd too got to his feet and hastened to join his friends, but the creature did nothing further.

They found a tunnel behind the ladder that accessed the manhole. The tunnel was dug by thieves and was a dirty, less sturdy affair than the sewer tunnels. They crawled through until they found an opening in a smaller stone sewer tunnel. This tunnel didn’t have convenient walkways, being, more or less, a large pipe. Davroar cast a water walk spell to prevent them from having to wade through the swill.

In due course, they made their way to a larger tunnel with walkways. They found the adjoining tunnel which aligned with OXEBNANE LANE above but not before their presence was detected by a sewer shark. The maddened shark gave chase, forcing them to hurry along to stay ahead of it.

They were not happy to discover that the sewer channels descended into a full-blown slide. Sure-footed elves and dwarves made their way down the incline without incident, but Acindor lost his footing and tumbled down the sewer slide like a somersaulting circus bear. Worse still, he landed at the bottom prone, just as the sewer shark leaped over the top of the slide.

Even with the aid of the water walk spell to keep him above the surface, Acindor was unable to roll out of the way in time to avoid being – bitten by the shark. Fortunately, he was able to prevent being dragged beneath the waters in its unforgiving jaws.

The others yanked him to his feet and cast about for options. Realizing that the shark was probably unable to turn around until it reached the next junction, they scaled a ladder and attempted to flee through a nearby manhole, only to find it welded shut. Davroar was considering opening it with his boom stick when the others suggested a side tunnel they’d spotted at the bottom of the slide.

The tunnel led to the city’s CATACOMBS. They hid out of reach of the sewer shark and tended Acindor’s wounds, which ended up including the removal of several leeches that had attached themselves during his tumble down the slide.

After a brief exploration, they came to a chamber lined with skulls and bones, lit by flames from brass oil pans. A monument in the center of the room, inscribed with three stylized dragon heads (a symbol of Oxenbane), identified this chamber as the OSSUARY OF THE MIDDLEBOROUGH INNOCENTS. The monument noted how a flood had caused the MIDDLEBOROUGH INNOCENTS, a pauper’s graveyard above them, to overflow its walls, spilling rotting corpses and fetid earth into the streets surrounding it. Shortly after the MIDDLEBOROUGH DISASTER, the CATACOMBS were dug out and the bones of the departed were moved there as a more permanent solution.

There was also a smaller shrine in the corner of the room, covered with old blood and bits of rotting flesh. It was inscribed with a sheaf of wheat, symbolizing the dread Harvest of Thanatar, god of the undead. Realizing he could finally off-load his accursed doll, Nathan Garney placed the Sally Shettebrek at the shrine.

To his surprise, he received a vision of a female face, her face painted into the pattern of a skull. She wore a headdress which sported antlers, as if she were disguised as a wendigo. Her garb was accented with other symbols of the dead, including a necklace of fingers. The necromancer looked directly at him, giving him the undeniable impression that she was very much aware of his presence there. “Who are you?” she demanded, her voice only audible to him.

“I am Nathan Garney, priest of Ridley,” he thought in reply.

Her eyes widened, more in anger than surprise. “You’re the one who meddled in our operations at the CHAMBER OF CORRUPTION in SMUGGLER SPEAK.”

“I was among them, yes,” he thought humbly.

“You were among them? Well, perhaps you’ve heard of me. I am Braucia Graeme, called the Kiss of Death, the Left Hand of Thanatar, god of the undead… And I know who all of you are. Weddumlir Aleshield, celebrated in ballads for more than his share of the blame. Davroar Hollysword, cleric of the mad god Moriarty, whose Janusian Blessing destroyed the blessed womb where the Corrupted Jelly made its home in SMUGGLER SPEAK. Meldor Ironforge, the dwarves wizard whose infernal blade profaned the CHAMBER. Acindor, marked for death by B.O.B. himself for his betrayal in the CHAMBER at SMUGGLER SPEAK. Thril Wolfsbane, who stole back his husk when the CHAMBER was desecrated. And you, dear Nathan, who tricked dear Magda Tod and made an eternal enemy of her Cult of Nobody. I know you all and I have seen into your souls,” Braucia Graeme said.

“You are weak and you will not stop us,” the necromancer continued. ”And do you want to know why you will not stop us? Because Chaos is on our side. Because Death is on our side. Because Fear is on our side. And Cthulhu will awaken.”

“But time is on our side,” Nathan replied.

“If you say so.” She laughed telepathically. “We are coming for you.”

As the unexpected interview ended, and before Nathan could fill his comrades in on the exchange, they were accosted by a familiar figure, whom they had first encountered in the TEMPLE OF WANJO’s ROOM OF EIGHT and later as a house mimic in the EVERWYLDS.

“Do you have your badges?” Killian Thanatar asked.

When they warily presented the badges they received from the speakeasy’s ghostly barkeep, he smiled. “I am the Ferryman.”