Abciximab's Shackled City

Session 1&2.
Life's Bazaar.

Session 1&2 Recap

Players Present

  • Adam J. – Gnome Sword Sage
  • Adam B. – Kobold Monk
  • Chuck – Elven Fighter
  • Seth – Human Duskblade

Having rescued the priest of St Cuthbert Ruphus Laro from a beating in a dark alley by members of the Last laugh Thieves Guild our four heroes are brought back to the Temple of St Cuthbert and meet the acting high priest Jenya Urikas. (The temple’s high priest Sarcem Delasharn is away on temple business to the west in the region’s capitol of Sasserine).

After the party receives a small reward and some healing, Jenya describes the situation; as the heroes already know, a series of disappearances that started about three months ago has culminated with the disappearance of four children from the Lantern Street Orphanage.

  • Deakon Stormshield – Male Dwarf
  • Evelyn Radevec – Female Human
  • Lucinda Aldreen – Female Human
  • Terram Kharatys – Male Human

Having used a temple artifact, a mace called The Star of Justice, to try and divine the location of the children, Jenya asked the following:

“Where are the children who were abducted from the Lantern Street Orphanage?”

And received this answer:

“The locks are the key to finding them. Look beyond the curtain, below the cauldron. Beware the doors with teeth. Descend into the malachite hold where precious life is bought with gold. Half a dwarf binds them, but not for long.”

Following the clues from the note, the group investigates the orphanage, talking with the staff, including the headmistress, a halfling named Gretchyn Tasgykk, and inspecting the structure looking for all possible entryways and inspecting the locks. Finding the locks of fine quality and apparently untampered with the group pays a visit to the locksmith, the gnome Keygan Ghelve of Ghelve’s Locks.

After initially finding nothing, the group became suspicious of the gnome’s increasingly odd behavior. Finally realizing there is something amiss within the shop, the group looks behind a red curtain the gnome keeps glancing at nervously and is attacked by a Skulk, a humanoid that has an uncanny ability to blend in with its surroundings making them very hard to spot.

Defeating this lone adversary the group finally gets a story from Keygan; a group of individuals comprised of Skulks and shorter hooved creatures called Dark Creepers kidnapped his familiar, a rat named Starbrow and thereby coerced his cooperation. He gave to them a set of skeleton keys that would open most of the locks he has made (which encompasses a significant portion of the city). This allowed them to abduct citizens from Cauldron and bring them below, into an old gnomish enclave called Jzadirune for purposes he is unaware of.

Little is known of Jzadirune except that it was abandoned by the gnomes about 75 years ago under mysterious circumstances. The term “Vanishing” is used a lot in describing the event.

Entering through the secret door found below a set of stairs within the shop, the group explores the ruins encountering and defeating more skulks and dark creepers. They also find strange runed gear doors that seem to be trapped unless opened by the appropriately runed key. They also encounter and defeat spiders, a choker and some strange metal mining construct. Overcoming these and a few gnomish tricks and traps, they eventually encounter a creature that looks like a dark creeper but is taller. He calls himself Yuathyb and seems to be suffering from some disease or ailment that is causing his body to fade away.

The group arranges for his malady to be healed by Jenya and in his gratitude, he tells them where the abductees were taken. He describes the location of an elevator that will take them below to the Malachite Hold, an old Dwarven Stronghold that was once ruled by a dwarf named Zenith Splintershield. The stronghold, now abandoned by the dwarves, has been taken over by hobgoblins that are ruled by a creature of unknown race named Kazmojen. Within the stronghold, Kazmojen sells the abductees as slaves to the many races of the underdark.

During this short break to the surface the party hears some local news; last night the town guard chased off a number of goblins who were scrawling graffiti in an alleyway.

Following Yuathyb’s directions and avoiding a strange pit trap they were warned of, they defeat the hobgoblins guarding the elevator and descend two hundred feet to the Malachite Fortress.

There they defeat a spiked elemental and an unusual “ogre”. Further exploration brings them to a room of goblins, hobgoblins and a number of slaves working in a forge. The goblinoids are quickly defeated and the slaves freed. It is decided the freed slaves will wait by the elevator until the group returns as the mechanism to raise the elevator remains unknown.

Deciding to switch tactics the group bluffs two hobgoblins guarding a door, telling them they have slaves to sell. They are told to check back later. The party decides to change tactics again and surrounding themselves with a globe of Silence they slay the creatures, but not before one of them bangs on the door and shouts a soundless warning. Realizing the silence globe will not penetrate the door they prepare for an assault. Waiting demonstrates the warning is apparently unheeded.

Inspecting some of the other doors in the hall they find some old unused bed chambers and one that is currently occupied by 2 Lemures that prove to be resilient to their attacks. They are eventually defeated. Plans are made to enter through the door that the hobgoblins were guarding.

End of session 1&2.

Session 3.
Life's Bazaar.

Session 3 Recap

  • Adam B. – Flava Flav the Kobold Monk (2nd)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (2nd)
  • Chuck – Thalian the Elven Fighter (2nd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (1st)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (2nd)

Having just defeated the Lemures, the party is joined by one of the captives seeking revenge. Mere moments later they find themselves ambushed by hobgoblins that enter from opposite doors in the narrow hall. Two of them prove to be tougher than the rest but all are eventually defeated.

Exploring one of the rooms the hobgoblins entered through, the party finds a large chamber with iron double doors barred on their side. A statue of a dwarf is covered in chains. Removing the chains first, they try to remove the head of the statue as it holds two precious gems in its eye sockets. Disturbing the statue seems to bring about the wrath of the chains as they animate and attack. Since the enemy is made of metal and almost impossible to damage (and seems to bear little treasure) the party beats a hasty retreat.

As it is late in the day and most of their resources have been expended, the party retreats to the surface to recover. Though the mechanism to operate the elevator is still unknown, the party find the chains connected to the elevator platform provide a relatively safe way to climb out, bringing the rescued slaves along with them.

The party rests overnight and receives healing from Jenya and one of her acolytes (Ruphus) in the morning. They also purchase a Wand of Healing for their personal use.

The party hears news of more goblin raids. Once again the town guard has chased off two small groups of goblins writing graffiti on walls and generally attempting to terrorize Cauldron citizens. No injuries are reported among the people of Cauldron and no goblins were captured or killed. Nothing more seems to be known about them.

As they head out once more, Jenya expresses concern for the children as the ones holding them must surely know by now the party has been in the fortress.

Returning once more to the Malachite Fortress, the party finds a dining hall and a number of small rooms for food preparation and storage. They also find a slave being supervised by two goblins. After a brief standoff the goblins slay the slave. One goblin is killed the other is captured.

Smirnoff the goblin, fearing for his life, tells the party that all the slaves have been sold except for the children. Kazmojen is currently trying to sell the children in the Slave Bazaar.

Bursting into the room, the group finds three of the children chained together while a strange creature that looks like a cross between a troll and a dwarf seems to be haggling with a gray skinned dwarf over the fourth.

Pretending to be interested in buying the child the group is able to get close enough for a surprise attack. The Gray Dwarf disappears as Kazmojen and his pet howler engage the party. In the middle of combat a Beholder appears and lays claim to one of the children.

“I have come for Terrem Kharatys. That boy should never have been taken from Cauldron. I intend to see that he is returned safely to his orphanage. The others are of no consequence. You will of course be compensated for the loss.”

There is general disbelief until it is realized that Whisper’s magic is failing under the gaze of the creature. Many expletives follow. A bag of coins appears as if from nowhere and is dropped at Kazmojen’s feet. Kazmojen yells, “Sold!” and the boy and the beholder disappear.

A long combat follows wherein many wounds are suffered and Kazmojen is enraged by the death of his pet howler Prickles. Realizing Kazmojen is healing his wounds almost as quickly as they are dealt, the group turns to fire and acid as their weapons of choice. During the combat the other three children are (somewhat fearfully) led to safety by Flava. After a protracted battle, Kazmojen barely has time to be enraged once more as the group finally kills him, setting fire to his body to ensure he will not return. After Kazmojen’s defeat, the party decides they are once again in need of rest and return to the surface.

The children are returned (Jenya receives word that even Terrem was returned to the orphanage, though the circumstances are not yet clear) and rewards are doled out. A flurry of healing, buying and selling follows. It is also heard that news of their endeavors has not gone unnoticed. A group of nobles (The children of a few of the predominant houses) have formed an adventuring group they are calling The Stormblades.

The Stormblades are a group of noble offspring considered by some (quietly, amongst themselves so the noble’s families don’t hear) to be a bunch of spoiled, self-centered (but rich) brats.

  • Annah Taskerhill – Her parents are some of Cauldron’s most important nobles. Her father is reportedly one of the Lord Mayors close personal friends.
  • Cora Lathenmire – Her parents are well-known weapons traders and arms dealers in the region.
  • Todd Vanderboren – was adopted by one of Cauldron’s newest noble families. Though his parents are considered quite nice he is seen as a child openly rebelling against his parents.
  • Zachary Aslaxin II – His parents run a high-class inn named The Coy Nixie, near the eastern gate of Cauldron.

A trial date for Keygan Ghelve has yet to be set, though it is rumored he will be charged with Third Degree Aiding and Abetting and Third Degree Harboring of Fugitives. It is said he pleads innocent due to extenuating circumstances. (The rumor mill calls it, “The Rat Defense”.)

There is also a rumor of official recognition of the party’s heroic rescue of the children by the Captain of the Guard Terseon Skellerang or maybe even Lord Mayor Severen Navalant himself.

Shops Visited

  • Skie’s Treasury – Magical items and gear. Proprietor: Skie Aldersun, Female Gnome.
  • Zanathor’s Provisions – General Store. Proprietor: Bjellkir Zanathor, Male Human.
  • Weer’s Elixirs – Alchemical items and Potions. Propietor: Vortimax Weer, Male Human.
  • Tygot’s Old Things – Antiquities and Objects de Art. Proprietor: Tygot Mispas, Male Halfling and Lepook his Male Blink Dog companion.

End of Session 3

Session 4.
Life's Bazaar.

Session 4 Recap

  • Adam B. – Human Druid (3rd)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (3rd)
  • Chuck – Thalian the Elven Fighter (3rd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (3rd)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)

Having realized he has little taste for adventure, Flava the kobold has chosen to return to his bouncer duties at the Tipped Tankard Inn. A local druid chooses to join the party.

Having finished shopping and celebrating, the party returns to Keygan’s shop to find it being boarded up by the town guard. Finding Sergeant Skylar Krewis they seek an audience with the captain of the guard. They are told to be at city hall around noon. They also hear rumors that the Stormblades have been commissioned to enter the underground complex and eliminate the threat posed by access to the underdark.

While waiting for their appointment, they do a little research at Blue Crater Academy’s library where Shade finds a general description of the disease the gnomes suffered during the downfall of Jzadirune. It seems identical to the wasting disease suffered by Yuathyb, the Dark Stalker they had arranged a cure for.

Thalian and Shade then proceed to their appointment with Captain Terseon Skellerang. They receive verification that the Stormblades have in fact been commissioned to further explore Jzadirune and eliminate any threat from the underdark. Captain Skellerang admits that politics were probably involved in the decision and he does not seem happy about it. Recognizing the service the party has preformed for the city, Captain Skellerang grants permission for the group to enter and wrap up their business below by sunrise the following morning, with the added condition that the group would look into the goblin problem that seems to be plaguing the city. They are to find out how the goblins are entering the city and stop them. They will receive a bounty of 5gp per goblin ear. When Yakoff hears of this he pulls his helmet down over his goblin ears and makes his best attempt to fade into the background.

Returning to the Malachite Fortress they continue exploring. They encounter two metal constructs hidden by illusory walls and manage to get past them to find the prison cells. The cells are empty and they return to explore other areas. A torture chamber containing a dead body is found, as well as some type of throne room/bed room/trophy room. A secret door is found to lead to a treasury. There is much rejoicing. The rumored entrance to the underdark is also noted before they return to finish exploring Jzadirune.

During a lengthy exploration where little is found, they encounter a Grell and the ghostly figure of a gnomish King (an illusion) who speaks the following –

“Betrayed are we by our own magic, one by one we fade away – Jzadirune lost! Oh how tragic! We curse the vanishing day.”

Completing the exploration of the ruins, little else is found.

Returning to the surface they look for examples of this “Goblin Graffiti” they had heard about. After asking around several examples are found –

  • “Snerk smells like dung!”
  • “Hey cage makers! This is our town Too!”
  • “Drakthar is the fog!”

They post watch in an area where the goblins seem to be active. Three goblins are spotted. Due to bad luck (bad dice) on the part of the party, one of the goblins mistakenly believes that he is, in fact, a ninja and voices this observation repeatedly, much to the annoyance of the party. Realigning their karma (swapping out dice) rectifies this problem and two of the goblins are quickly dispatched while a third escapes. Glad for the arrival of goblin ears that are not his own, Yakoff eagerly harvests them. Nothing more is discovered.

End of Session 4.

Session 5.
Drakthar's Way.

Session 5 Recap

  • Adam B. – Human Druid (3rd)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (3rd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (3rd)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)

The goblin hunt continues. More graffiti is found.

“Stupid humans! Who builds a city in a volcano?”

Everyone is rather surprised by this reasonable observation. Noting the graffiti is painted with a mixture of blood and dung, the party suspects they are looking for a tribe of goblins suffering from diverticulitis. After purchasing equipment deemed necessary to capture and interrogate a goblin, the party spends the next two nights patrolling the city with no success. On the third night they finally have another late night encounter with a band of three goblin marauders.

They quickly knock one goblin unconscious and kill the second. The third is captured and interrogated. Little is learned though the party suspects the goblin is under some type of magical influence. The goblin is released and Shade clandestinely follows the wounded goblin to a point where it hides under garbage in an alleyway. After a short time the goblin attempts to sneak off and return to its point of origin. Once again Shade is on his tail.

The goblin leads him to a business on the south side of town called Orak’s Bathhouse. Shade reports back to the rest of the group where the druid recalls that Orak Stonehaven is a retired Dwarven adventurer that wears a jeweled eye patch and apparently runs a bathhouse infested with goblins.

Noting that the normal business hours of the bathhouse are 12:00 pm to 12:00 am and it is well after 12:00 am, they move to enter. As they approach the building they also note four figures in the alleyway across the street that move to intercept them. They show themselves to be a gang of wererats and the party turns to diplomacy by other means.

After a quick combat during which the party laments the sale of two silvered weapons they had recently found they are once again ready to enter Orak’s establishment. At this point the town guard shows up.

The party explains the circumstances around the four dead bodies at their feet and shows the guards the writ issued by Captain Skellerang. The guard accepts this and sends for additional troops to help clean up the mess. Once again the party is ready to enter Orak’s Bathhouse.

The noise generated by an armed and armored party entering the establishment and throwing an unconscious goblin on the floor brings Orak the Dwarf out of his office. He gruffly explains to the group that the bathhouse is closed and to return during normal business hours. He denies any knowledge of a goblin presence within his establishment. A brief interrogation reveals Orak to be both a terrible liar and under the influence of some type of enchantment effect.

The party leaves with little fuss and plots their return. Arriving once again during normal business hours the party does a terrible job of posing as normal patrons as they attempt to use a scroll to dispel the effect that is influencing Orak’s behavior. Non-lethal dwarf bashing ensues and the unarmored Orak is soon rendered unconscious and tied up.

Dumping Orak into one of the unoccupied changing rooms, the party searches the building. They find a magical vase of indeterminate properties and some coins. They keep the vase and leave the money. Extensive experimentation with copious amount of urine, a few copper coins and a goblin’s taste buds fails to determine the vase’s properties, though Yakoff suspects Shade may be diabetic.

They also find a set of stairs leading down. Going down the stairs they find themselves in a narrow stone hall. They loudly execute the goblin they had captured the night before and withdraw to see what might occur. No one is particularly surprised when nothing occurs.

They reenter the complex, splitting up to cover more ground. A few goblins are encountered and quickly killed but not before they yell “Bree Yark”. This apparently means, “Yo man! Come take part in the beat down of some non-goblin types”, as shortly there after a lot of goblins show up and a long, difficult battle ensues. The party reunites to fight the onslaught.

Things look bleak for the heroes as the wounds start to pile up but courage, loyal henchmen, alchemists fire, Burning Hands and a prodigious amount of healing all help win the day.

Zartan is so impressed by Yakoff’s loyalty that he grant’s him his freedom. Yakoff looks at the large pile of dead goblins heaped about the victorious party and decides to stick with the winning team.

End of Session 5

Session 6.
Drakthar's Way.

Session 6 Recap

  • Adam B. – Human Druid (4th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (4th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (1st)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (4th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

More goblins.

Having defeated a swarm of the backstabbing little blighters, the party finds themselves confronting a pair of spell casting little blighters. Whisper is quickly dropped by a combination of Scorching Ray, Sleep and Burning Hands. Reaction is strong and swift and these new enemies are dispatched. In the rooms the goblins emerged from the party finds a cauldron that seems to be able to boil fluids without the need for a fire. It seems useful at first and the party considers many schemes involving its use. This quickly ends as the downside is realized. It weighs 250lbs.

Exploring a little further they come across a boy and his dog. A goblin and his warg actually and two other goblins hiding off to the side quickly join the fray as well. They don’t live long enough to regret that decision.

The party decides to explore a little more and then rest. Finding a room at the end of a long hall with only one exit and what appears to be a limitless supply of water pouring into a basin. They declare it base camp and rest a keg of pilfered oil against the door as a security measure.

They are awakened all too soon by the sound of axes hacking at the door. Everyone piles into the pool of water as Zartan tips the keg of oil over spilling the contents across the floor and unblocking the door. He quickly jumps into the water filled basin and throws a vial of alchemists fire to ignite the oil as a number of goblins spill into the chamber. They are quickly roasted. As the flames die down they hear the sound of laughter coming from down the hall.

While the group agrees that it was pretty damn funny, they are concerned that someone is apparently laughing at the death of what were, in all likelihood, his allies. Stepping through the wafting smoke and dieing flames Zartan enters the hall to see a bugbear standing on the ceiling. Make that a bugbear with rather prominent canines standing on the ceiling. The entire party expresses concern over this revelation.

Once again demonstrating how good tactics and decent fire support can overcome most any obstacle, the overconfident vampiric bugbear is pummeled down to his gaseous form. There is some debate as to whether or not to pursue the now fleeing mist as they have yet to rest for any meaningful amount of time. They finally decide to try to follow him to what is hopefully his coffin so they can stake him and end the threat.

The gaseous vampire instead leads them to a natural cavern where they are ambushed by darkmantles. The creatures are quickly slaughtered, but the vampire escapes. Realizing their resources are depleted and more combat is likely, the party goes topside to rest.

Deciding against the Druids plan to simply throw Orak Stonehaven into Crater Lake, he is instead turned over to Jenya at the church of St Cuthbert. The party tells Jenya of the presence of a vampire below the city and explains how this poor bastard is dominated by the undead abomination. She promises to help Orak and gives the party a good deal on a new healing wand.

Disappointed by the party’s rejection of his recycling plans, the Druid tells the party he has business to attend to and heads out the main gate.

After a good mornings rest they return to the underground complex. The Druid and his new animal companion, a black panther, meet them at the bathhouse. Continuing down the natural cavern they walk into a goblin ambush. Arrows and spears are launched from both parties but the main staple of this melee seems to be fire. Various spellcasters on both sides of the conflict fill the chamber with cones and rays of fire. Many goblins are left charred heaps, while the party is merely well done.

Climbing up onto a ledge, the group continues down a hall of worked stone where more goblin archers are found. They are quickly joined by another spell slinging goblin (the bane of the groups existence) and two shocker lizards. As with the other forces they have faced so far, these reinforcements are just not enough.

Everyone is especially pleased with Yakoff’s skills with a bow. There are a few suggestions that he be made a full-fledged member and Shade should be the new lackey. After a bit of good-natured ribbing, this idea is scrapped. For now.

End of Session 6

Session 7.
Drakthar's Way.

Session 7 Recap

  • Adam B. – Human Druid (4th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (4th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (3rd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (1st)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (4th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

A Dwarven cleric named Bondar Ironskull joins the party and the hunt for the vampire continues. The party encounters an animated throne made of bones and skin in the next room upon which the Druid’s Panther sharpens his claws and ruins the upholstery. During the fight Drakthar appears once more, this time in the form of a Dire Bat. He summons a swarm of bats to contribute to the melee. The creatures are all defeated and Drakthar is forced to go gaseous once more. Zartan is pleased with his new Lazy-Boy (Some reassembly required).

The party pursues him into a large natural cavern where another Dire Bat attacks them. Concerns that this may be Drakthar returning once again are unfounded as this turns out to be just a regular, everyday, common Dire Bat and it is quickly defeated. A ladder brings them to a treasure filled chamber wherein lies a coffin. Within the coffin is the helpless form of Drakthar the Bloodmonger. He is staked and his body is burned. There is much rejoicing.

The party returns topside to liquidate the large amounts of equipment they have salvaged from the dungeon so far. They also rest.

Returning once more to the caverns below the bathhouse, they come across a Human male and a Tiefling female bunking together in a room. The two are quickly defeated.

Continuing on, a glob of Green Slime drops from above onto Zartan. He quickly pours a vial of alchemist fire onto himself and bathes in the cleansing fire. Further on they come across a dwarf going over some paperwork on a pile of boxes and 6 Half-Orcs playing some type of game involving oddly shaped dice. The Half-Orc at the head of the group seems to be describing a location underground and uses the term “gaping orifice”. The Half-Orcs start laughing uncontrollably and the party strikes. The Half-Orcs barely have time to organize a defense before they are all killed. The last one falls, still giggling like a schoolgirl. The Dwarf dies lamenting the absence of a worthwhile group of defenders.

The paperwork that was being reviewed by the Dwarf seems to indicate someone calling them selves the “Blue Duke” is supplying an unnamed Cauldron noble with mercenaries to augment the noble’s security forces. It would appear this noble wants the buildup of forces to occur as covertly as possible as the forces were to be smuggled into Cauldron through these very caves. The boxes of supplies are all marked with a strange rune that resembles a small black birdcage. Some within the party try to recall where else they have seen or heard a reference to cages.

This information and many goblin ears are returned to Captain Skellerang where the party receives their bounty as well as a 1000gp bonus for finding and eliminating a threat to the city.

News of the group’s exploits once again spreads throughout the city and there is much shoulder slapping and buying of drinks. During one of these visits to the Tipped Tankard, the Stormblades arrive with mischievous intentions. Various insults are exchanged with no clear victor in the war of words. The expected fisticuffs do not occur.

A few party members wait outside for the Stormblades to leave. As they do, Zartan fires an arrow into the door of the establishment. The Stormblades call for the guard, accusing the party of the Attempted Murder of a Noble.

The guard arrives, statements are taken and some members of the party are escorted to the town hall while the others make their way there on their own. They find themselves once again before Captain Skellerang.

Though the Captain is obviously not happy, given the circumstances and the statements from witnesses he doesn’t accept the charge of Attempted Murder, or even the Assault on a Noble (100 Lashes, 6 months – 100 years Imprisonment and/or Hard Labor (A wide range due to Assault vs Attempted Murder)). The charge is reduced to a more believable Disturbing the Peace (Small Fine). In light of their recent service to the city the fine is waved and they instead get a lecture. Captain Skellerang is of the opinion the Stormblades are trying to publicly disgrace the “Heroes of Cauldron” and the heroes would be well served to not rise to their provocation.

They are released with the knowledge that they have used up their one “Get Out of Jail Free” card and a warning to stay away from the Stormblades. There is much grumbling and plotting.

Weeks pass and the autumn season ends. The first heavy rains of winter finally arrive. After three days of torrential rain, it is declared the yearly Flood Festival will officially start on the 10th of Sunsebb. Work in the city grinds to a sudden stop as the citizens flock to the streets in an impromptu celebration of the rainy season. For the next several days the festival grows increasingly organized. The streets are filled with rows of Flood-Festival-Themed merchant stalls, organized games and competitions. Visitors from neighboring towns throng to the streets of Cauldron to take part in the festivities.

End of Session 7

Session 8.
Flood Season

Session 8 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (3rd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (5th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

Shade does some investigation related to the birdcage symbol and the term “cagemaker” that was found in some of the goblin graffiti. He does not find out anything useful.

The Flood Festival Begins!

The crew competes in various games and competitions throughout the week. Most notably –

  • Zartan wins the Archery and Hammer Toss competitions.
  • Whisper wins the Obstacle Course. (“Rawr!”)
  • The party defeats the Stormblades in a tug of war.
  • Bondar goes all the way in the Drink Down the Flood competition and actually wins it all on the final day.

As they gather for the first Lowering Ceremony at the end of the festival they note the religious leaders and acolytes from most of the regions temples gathered on the stage. They see Jenya who seems to be looking over the top of the crowd as if looking at, or for, something coming from that direction. Forgetting he’s a gnome in a crowd that is made up of mostly humans, Shade takes a quick look over his shoulder but only sees the groin of the person behind him. He stands on his tiptoes and sees the man’s belt buckle. He considers picking the man up and throwing him up to ten feet away, but feels little inclination to make the necessary touch attack at that moment.

Back on stage, Jenya suddenly looks frantic. She runs to the side where a scribe is recording the events and grabs the pen from his hand. She quickly writes something on the corner of his ledger and then tears it out of the book. Scanning the crowd she spots our heroes and quickly starts to make her way toward them.

Latching onto one of them she pulls them toward the temple of St Cuthbert while urgently telling them she needs their help once more. As they follow they hear the mayor announce that the Lowering Ceremony has been delayed.

Once at the temple she fills them in. It would seem the head of her order, Sarcem Delasharn, has been in the capitol city of Sasserine procuring the wands of Control Water needed for the ceremony. She had been expecting him this morning but he seemed to be running late. While on stage she received a disturbing Sending from him –

“At lucky Monkey. Have eight wands. Taverns been attacked. Bandits led by barbarian apeman. Mortally wounded. Retreated to basement. They know we’re here. Send assistance.”

To which she replied –

“Sarcem? Is that you? Hang on! Conserve your resources. I’ll send out aid immediately. Send me another message when you can but until then have…”

At which point she exceeded the capacity of the spell. She offers horses, a map to the Lucky Monkey, a map of the Lucky monkey and instructs them to find Sarcem and return with him and the wands as quickly as possible.

Four hours later they arrive at the Lucky Monkey where they see obvious signs of combat. The party splits up to enter the establishment on multiple fronts. Zartan and Yakoff are the first to run into trouble behind the Inn, where they encounter a big pile of dead bodies and two raptors that seem to have a preference for fresh meat. After being mauled to within an inch of his life, Yakoff runs to find a new master to get help. In an attempt to get away from the raptors Zartan tries to enter through a back window, but finds the room within is apparently populated with aggressive poo throwing monkeys. Zartan has faced many hardships and fears little is this world, but the poo is the last straw. He quickly follows after Yakoff to the front of the building.

Whisper, Thedruid and Mittens (Thedruid’s panther) enter through a broken window in the front of the establishment and find a frat party in full swing. They crash it. Violently. The heroes reunite in the main room of the inn and a huge melee ensues. Swords are swung, spears are thrust, spells are cast and many, many, bad guys (and a few monkeys) are killed, including one that seems to be a were-baboon. In one fell swoop the first floor is cleared.

They question a captured bandit who seems reluctant to talk. Zartan goes all agro and she spills the beans. It would seem the bandits are working for a red haired human female named Triel. She hired them from the alleys of Cauldron and the surrounding environs to support Tongue Eater’s (the were-baboon) assassination of Sarcem and the theft of something important he was carrying (presumably the wands). The prisoner tells the party Triel left just after the priest was killed and does not know where she went.

On Tongue Eater’s body the party finds a strange wooden black triangle with different symbols carved on each corner, a hand gripping an eyeball, six arrows in an x shape and a wrathful demonic face. Whisper identifies the three symbols as the unholy symbols of Vecna, Hextor and Erythnul. She also knows these three cults aren’t known to cooperate with one another. She is unsure of the significance of all three being engraved on a single emblem.

The party finds Sarcem’s decapitated head in the kitchen (minus its tongue) and then investigates the basement where they find the rest of him (except for the tongue of course). A half-drow female named Shensen Tesseril is found hiding in a cold room. She is finally convinced to come out of hiding when they mention Jenya by name and slip the note with Sarcem’s Sending under the door. The party proceeds to the second floor.

End of Session 8.

Session 9.
Flood Season

Session 9 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (4th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (5th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

Proceeding upstairs the party encounters more bandits looting the Lucky Monkey. Most of the heroes enter melee in the cramped spaces of the upper floor halls while Thedruid goes walkabout. The party prevails once more and little else is found.

Returning to Cauldron the party confers with Jenya and return Sarcem’s body. Asking around town about Triel and the missing wands produces no answers. That night Whisper receives a note left for her at her parent’s establishment.

I know you’re looking for the wands. I can help, for a price. If you’re interested come alone to the Lakeside Pavilion tonight at midnight. Bring 500 gold coins and you’ll walk away with the location of the wands. Bring backup and you’ll never find them.

Not wanting to scare away their only lead, Whisper goes to the rendezvous alone. Seeing the man skulking in the shadows fear suddenly fills Whisper’s heart. She realizes she has to pay the money out of her own pocket (so to speak). Reaching into her décolletage she produces a large pouch with the requested coinage. The man jaw drops and he is struck speechless for only a moment. Regaining his composure he directs her to a lava tube on the north side of the volcano. Triel, the redhead with the wands, is known to come and go frequently through that tunnel though he does not know what lies within.

Rejoining the party the following morning, plans are made and the party sets out for the lava tube. After hiking through the tube for about a half a mile they reach the end. They arrive at the edge of a cliff where they find a large cavern dimly lit by phosphorescent fungi and a one hundred foot drop down to an algae filled underground lake. Across the lake they see a strange looking stone structure with numerous doors. It looks like the easiest way down is to take the rickety wooden and wire gondola that is parked at the edge of the cliff. They decide to take the hard way.

Noting the gondola support rope that runs from a stone building on the cliffs edge down across the lake to an old wooden building on the beach below, the group decides to use it as a makeshift zip cord. Some bumps and bruises are suffered at the terminus and at least one character makes a water landing close to shore. The water landing attracts the attention of an unwanted aquatic visitor.

The creature bursts from the water in a flurry of claws, jaws and no less than 4 whip-like serrated tails. Though the party suffers a few bleeding wounds the creature is defeated and falls back into the water from whence it came.

Entering through a door that does not appear to be the main entrance the party finds a pit filled with what looks like a swarm of blood red jellyfish swimming around in it. The heroes move on.

They bluff their way into the mess hall where Alleybashers and Hillfolk are eating field rations. The Alleybashers are a little suspicious, but the Hillfolk accept Zartan, Thedruid, Whisper and Bondar. Shade and Yakoff hide just outside the room. They join the brigands in their repast.

The peaceful brunch is interrupted by a cone of flames from Whisper dropping two of the Alleybashers. The rest of the brigands quickly follow and the bodies are dumped into the jelly pit. One brigand that surrendered is gagged and hogtied with the seemingly endless supply of shackles the group has on hand. He is placed in the wooden outbuilding on the rocky shore and they promise not to kill him if he remains cooperative. He nods vigorously.

Trying to continue the charade, the group moves down the hall and opens a door, acting like they belong there. Triel happens to lurk behind that particular door and since she did most of the hiring (and actually recognizes the party as local heroes) combat ensues.

The party falls back and waits for the enemy to come to them, which turned out to be a bad idea. While her cronies come out to get pummeled, Triel waits and buffs. Zartan runs into the room to confront her and accepts two mighty blows that put him within a hairs breadth of death. He lies down and bleeds until Thedruid can run in and heal him back to consciousness after which he spends the rest of melee inscribing “Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati” around the hilt of his greatsword. “When all else fails, play dead.”

A timely Ray of Enfeeblement and a few catty remarks from Whisper helps turn the tide. “That’s full plate? Your half naked, there’s no way that’s full plate you crazy bitch!”

Even in her weakened state Triel dishes out some serious damage before she is finally defeated. They find three of the missing wands on her body. Much to their chagrin the group finds Bondar doesn’t look quite as sexy in Triel’s appropriated armor as she did. Yakoff throws up.

Beat up and carrying a lot of loot, the party decides to return to town. Thedruid flies back up to the lava tube to let down the gondola. There he meets two rogues hiding in the stone building that were missed the first time through. The bandits set off some sort of alarm after which Thedruid shocks the hell out of them with summoned lightning. After combat ends he lowers the gondola and it’s back to Cauldron for the party.

Somewhere in the dim chamber, the whimpering of a hogtied bandit is heard.

End of Session 9.

Session 10.
Flood Season

Session 10 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (4th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (3rd)/Rogue (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (5th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (2nd)

Returning to Cauldron, the party asks Jenya about the Unholy Symbol they found on monkey boy. She explains that it is the symbol of the Ebon Triad. The Ebon Triad is a group of heretics from the three churches of Vecna, Hextor and Erythnul who seek to merge their three malign deities into one powerful over-deity of unsurpassed malevolence. There are no known cultists of the Ebon Triad (or of Vecna, Hextor or Erythnul, for that matter) dwelling within Cauldron or its environs. If such individuals do live here, they have masked their agendas well.

The party returns to the underground cavern only to find the rope for the gondola cut. They return to town to purchase rope and a rowboat. When they return once more to the cavern they lower the boat to the lake and climb down. They decide to explore a water filled side tunnel they had noticed when they were leaving last time. There, they kill an ugly squid-fish and find nothing of value.

They return to the ruins to continue their explorations there. They find some type of mud demon hiding in a metalwork shop. After it is slain, they determine the workroom was used to make cages of some type.

Further exploration leads them to a place where a halfling mage seems to be doing some type of research. Though his summoned air elemental is quickly killed, the mage uses his spells to good effect and Thedruid and Shade are both killed in the battle. The remaining party members quickly avenge their deaths.

A brief exploration reveals one of the wands and notes that show the halfling was exploring and researching this local. It is revealed that this place was once a Kopru Stronghold.

Continuing to explore this region they find numerous spiders and an Ettercap. The creatures are slain and another of the wands is found.

They meet a stranger who insists he was sent by Jenya to help. The party accepts this and trusts him completely. He explains he is steeped in the magical arts, a Warlock to be exact.

Returning to the lava tubes on the other side of the temple they run into a skeletal Tyrannosaurus Rex. Things look sketchy at first, but once again a timely Ray of Enfeeblement helps turn the tide and the huge creature is defeated.

End of Session 10.

Session 11
Flood Season - Zenith Trajectory

Session 11 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th/Deceased)
  • Adam B. – Catfolk Swashbuckler (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th/Deceased)
  • Adam J. – Token the Catfolk Warlock (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar Ironskull the Dwarven Cleric (5th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (3rd)/Rogue (3rd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (6th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (3rd)

Joined by two Catfolk sent by Jenya to help with the recovery of the wands, the group rests on the stony beach. Once they have rested, Token, after using his powers to imbue himself with the ability to see invisible creatures, notices a strange tattoo-like mark on the faces of Bondar, Whisper and Zartan. The mark seems to be a circle around each of their left eyes with an arrow pointing up. Their reaction demonstrates that they were unaware of this fact. Many questions arise with very few answers.

Returning to the ruins, the party hacks their way through two ogre zombies and sets off a trap that injures Token.

Searching a stalagmite in the middle of a dead end room they find it is covered with some type of tacky substance. Zartan also notes the top of it appears to lift open. Washing it down to remove some of the suspected poison, Zartan uses a gauntleted hand to open the top, revealing a huge cache of coins.

Heading back the other way, the group encounters two worm covered undead. Overcome with magical fear, the Swashbuckler runs away, while the others destroy the undead abominations. Once the party is reunited, they move on.

In the next room, a hoard of zombies is waiting. The party attacks. As the number of foes dwindles a new foe enters the room. An undead Gnoll orders the zombies about and attacks the group. Confronted with the most hated “Intelligent Undead”, Whisper utilizes her new favorite spell, Ray of Enfeeblement and the rest of the party converges on him. As the creature is struck down it cries out, “The Smoking Eye will consume you all!”

These ominous words seem to hang in the air as the hands of three of the party members subconsciously moves toward the mark on their faces.

With his enhanced vision, Token notices an invisible creature skulking in the shadows. After a brief scuffle the creature is captured. They note it holds two of the wands. The creature exchanges the wands for its life and it flies away.

Returning to cauldron with all but one of the wands, the party finds Jenya eagerly awaiting their return. The three wands they had already returned were being put to good use and the addition of these four would make things considerably easier. She enlists Bondar’s aid in helping control the flooding with the wands. Cauldron is saved once again.

In exchange for all their help, Jenya rewards them with a piece of church property. An old house by the lake that was donated to the church but has remained largely unused. She also agrees to research the strange mark on their faces.

Once the city has the flooding situation well in hand, the Demonskar Ball is finally held. Though Lord and Lady Aslaxin, parents to one of the Stormblades, host it, the group is received graciously and treated well. At the ball they meet a beautiful woman and well-know philanthropist named Celeste and Lord Vhalantru, a well-known noble and personal friend of the Lord Mayor. Both are friendly and express their thanks for the group’s service to the city. Both comment that it is good to have a group of true heroes in the region.

As winter passes and spring approaches, Jenya meets with the group to go over the results of her research. The strange mark is known as a Carcerian Sign, Carcerian refers to the prison plane of Carceri. It would seem every few generations a few individuals are born with this mark. It is suspected that somewhere in their ancestry there is some demonic taint that surfaces from time to time in the form of an invisible birthmark. These individuals are sometimes referred to as The Shackleborn and it is believed by some that a Shackleborn’s soul possess’ a unique link between the material plane and Carceri.

To see so many Shackleborn in one place, in one group of individuals that seem drawn together is very unusual. Jenya wonders aloud whether there may be some greater power at work here, something that draws the companions to this place and to each other at this time. She adds that she will continue to look into it for them and share any other information she comes across.

More time passes and in early spring, amid grumbles around town about the recent increases in taxes, the group learns that their good friend and ally, Flava the Kobold Monk, has gone missing. The group sets out to gather information about his disappearance. While passing by a warehouse Zartan hears a low rumble just a moment before the wall of the warehouse collapses and a fiendish umberhulk breaks through the wall collapsing much of the building on that side. Some of the group succumbs to the creatures confusing gaze, but in their confused state they decide to attack the umberhulk anyway. The others join in and the creature is quickly defeated.

A brief investigation reveals a destroyed circle of runes on the floor. Asking around the party find out the building belongs to a well know merchant named Maavu Arlintal. In the aftermath there are rumors that Mavuu was seen fleeing the city on a flying horse, with clouds where its hooves should be.

Later that day, the party once again meets Celeste who invites them to a meeting at the Cusp of Sunrise, a popular club for the elite of Cauldron. There they are introduced to Davked Splintershield, a decrepit old Dwarf who explains that he was cursed by his wife on her deathbed for driving away their three sons. He has reconciled with two of them but now he needs the group to enter the underdark and find his third son, Zenith.

He explains that Zenith left on a crusade against the evil of the underdark ten years ago, but has been captured and held prisoner in a Kuo-Toan shrine called Bhal-Hamatugn. The party accepts the mission and they are told to seek out a hermit named Crazy Jared to the north, he knows of a way into the underdark, since all local access to the underdark has been eliminated.

The party buys horses and heads out. Two days later as they near Crazy Jared’s hut, they see rising smoke from what must be a big fire. Coming over the rise they see the hut aflame and a man, who matches the description of Crazy Jared, being threatened by a large Red Dragon. After being Enfeebled, Sickened and pierced with a few arrows, the Dragon is driven off.

Crazy Jared is grateful and keeps referring to the party as Knights of Anduria. They ask if he would like help extinguishing his hut, but C.J. waves his staff and his burning hut appears to transform into a small but beautiful castle. Of course, the party can still see the rising smoke and feel the heat of the flames through the “stone” of the castle walls. The castle is clearly an illusion, though C.J. seems oblivious to these details.

Shaking their heads the party asks C.J. about where they might gain access to the underdark. C.J. mentions that the Dragon was also looking for this place, though he’s not sure why. He gladly draws the party a map and comments that he had recently sent fifty of his best knight’s to that location, which he names as The Pit of Seven Jaws. Zartan accepts the map and comments that it should be easy to find, what with the feet of an army of knights beating a path to the entrance.

At this point, the group notices the Dragon has returned.

End of Session 11.


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