Sunday, March 30, 2014

Underdark Campaign Log #3

Cast:
  • Thomus, Human Rogue (John)
  • Kjell, Dhampir Inquisitor (Andrew)
  • Blue, Human Fighter (Jake)
  • Raven's Prey, Human Fighter (Toby)
  • Winter Wind, Half-Elf Cleric (Anna)
Last week, we left off with our heroes staring down a winding hallway. A large marble door that might normally have blocked their path swung open on its own when Thomus approached it with the signet ring Jern gave him. As they entered, Kjell spotted a concealed pressure plate on the floor, and Thomus expertly disabled the trap. They continued, finding two similar pressure plates before they came to another marble door. It opened for them just as the first one did.

On the other side of the second door, they found a pyramid of bones stacked all the way to the ceiling. With only walking room around the sides of this ten foot tower, they searched the area as best they could, finding two clues as to the nature of the room. The first was a small indention on the far wall with a serpent carved into the indention. Thomus also noticed that while the bones themselves weren't unusual, something was missing - skulls, ribs, arms, and vertebrae were plentiful... there seemed to be no legs among the bones. Unfortunately, with no discernible exits to this room, their descent had to end here, and they left the warehouse - making sure to take the charred chest they found with them.

GM's Note: I gave the hint that they probably wouldn't be able to proceed any farther with the knowledge they had at the moment. While I normally would have let them poke and prod around in the room a little longer, we had new recruits waiting to get in on the action...

Upon their exit, Kjell and Thomus discovered three other adventurers poking around the warehouse. These three had yet to discover the hidden tunnel at the back of the structure, and were still investigating the more obvious but unusable collapsed entryway. It didn't take long to realize that these were other adventurers who had also been hired by Thurbal to pursue the same task. Blue, an imposing warrior among the three newcomers, seemed very disappointed that the fighting was already over.

Our heroes headed back to Thistle. After burying the chest near the felled trees where they fought Belig the goblin, they went to Jern's home to inform him of their findings. They did leave out the fact that they found a set of books penned by Araundor of Candlekeep and the still-sealed chest that they have yet to open. On hearing that there were no legs among the bones, Jern looks as if he has an idea, and says that he needs to investigate further on his own. He thanks Kjell and Thomus, mentioning again that they are welcome to keep any treasures they may have found along their way.

Finished with their business in Thistle, the heroes started the walk back to Shadowdale. On the way, they crossed paths with a covered wagon headed toward Thistle. The wagon's driver, an older man flanked by three younger guys with swords, spoke openly with Thomus until someone inside the wagon let out a muffled scream. The wagon driver looked over his shoulder nervously, and when Thomus asked directly about the wagon's contents, he whistled loudly. Raven's Prey launched an arrow, which struck the driver in the shoulder, and the battle began.

The heroes won in the end, and rescued an elf maiden from the back of the wagon, who had been captured by these kidnappers. She went on to reveal that she served Tauster, who was himself an apprentice to Elminster, and that these kidnappers apparently hated magic. They were planning to sell her into slavery for her sorcerous ways. The heroes offered to escort her back to Shadowdale, and they went straight to Elminster's tower when they arrived.

Tauster, in an apron and holding a large spoon, finally opened the door after Jelenneth knocked several times. He initially seemed angry that someone would interrupt his cooking, but his demeanor softened when he saw that it was Jelenneth who had returned. He went on to explain that, although he was happy to see her safe, that she wasn't in any real danger despite how scared she might have been. He suspected that she would be kidnapped, and intended to scry her whereabouts after dinner to figure out where the kidnappers were taking her. He suspected that the buyers might be orcs or the drow who were beginning to show up in Cormanthor, and is clearly irritated that it will now take him longer to figure out who the slavers are. He did, however, agree to identify several potions the group found on the kidnappers, taking the time to condescendingly explain that he will have to identify all of them despite how similar they might look. He doesn't charge them anything for this service, hoping that something about the potions might help him figure out more about the kidnappers.

GM's Note: This is a younger version of the Tauster described in Night Below, who became Elminster's scribe and apprentice after Lhaeo "ran off to conquer Tethyr or some such nonsense" (Tauster's words, not Elminster's). Perhaps it is Elminster who will someday threaten to turn him into a slug and pour just a little salt on him every day... a threat that Elminster wouldn't actually carry out but that would scare any young mage into hiding.

Deciding to deal with the slavers later, the group headed to the Twisted Tower to talk to Thurbal. In a previous session, he offered Thomus and Kjell a reconnaissance job mapping tunnels beneath the Twisted Tower. He explained more this time, revealing that a previous group sent below has gone missing almost a week ago, and the town guard is short on men at the moment so only a brief rescue mission (which didn't explore very far) has been organized thus far. The group accepted the reconnaissance mission, and even convinced Thurbal to give them half their payment up front to purchase supplies.

To end the evening, they all rented rooms in the Old Skull Inn for the night.
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