Normally it's nice to have an adventure start and end at a high point, a natural climax. This was not the case with the last go in/down as there has been a lack of focus from my group as of late. I know it's spring and the weather is nice and frankly even I sometimes have other things I'd like to do. However we do get together only a few hours for 3 weeks out of 4 and keeping focus at the table is a job for everyone - not just myself.
So in this regard the party has entered the new adventure unbeknownst to them - a little ditty I call "City of Desperation". And with some of the new things I have planned and in store for them, there should be some perked up heads, a slight sweating on the upper lip, and a frantic grab for the "lucky 20".
They went down, gathered the goodies for a 2nd time, and are hoping for a 3rd trip in.
I truly wish them well. :)
Write up follows:
We spent as little time as possible at Cymbarton, selling what wares we could for ready coin and small travel style gems and jewels. There were a few visits to local shops and guild halls where inks and papers, weaponry and reagents, and all manner of sagery was rifled through and gathered.
Fabambus took his cut of the treasure and pocketing one of the manastones for his share of the larger treasure, needing it to further his own research, left the party to their own devices and told them when he was better able to he’d look them up in the future and aid them in whatever adventures they would be on then. Karis asked the diminutive gnome for the key to Fengarth’s tower and he gave it over readily.
Now that we were down Flarg, Asgirda, and Fabambus, the party wanted to hire a couple of sword slingers to aid them on the return trip to Dargan’s Folley. Since time was an issue as they wanted to have a turn around on the morrow, they spent only a short time interviewing at the Adventurer’s Guild, hiring two low level veterans: Geezer, a 62-year old fighter of some reknown and sporting no less than 14 charters under his belt, and the other was his grand-nephew Bellomeade who was hoping to make his own mark in the world by following in his elder relative’s footsteps.
From here we turned ourselves back to Ponyboro where a meeting with Lord Artis Daernhorse had him willing to vault some of our riches for 5%. We loaded up on wares, foodstuffs, and dungeoneering equipment and made our way back overland to Dargan’s Folley.
Upon arrival 4 days later we were surprised to find the Red Clouds nowhere about. According to Goloriana, they pulled up tent stakes a week ago and left for other parts. She does not know where. As for her continued presence in this area, she was committing to 5 more days and then she was moving on. So we readied sacks, lanterns, swords, and will and worked our way back into Dargan’s Folley. The trip down to the stairs was uneventful and the passage under the vault was long and quiet.
At the stair’s bottom we came upon the area pretty much as we had seen it before. There were still gnolls near the opening along the northern wall as evidenced by glowing light sources over there, and somehow they had dragged the large metallic item out of the room and into the hall itself. It seemed like 3 or 4 gnolls were there. With our own light source muted we crept down the steps quietly to the floor of the Grand Concourse and then made our way southward to the 1st street.
We crawled along back alleys and watched our way with dim spell light and little else. A patrol rode by at 3rd street, a 4 count of gnolls on shocker lizards. We let them pass and moved on till we arrived at the back alley of 3rd street and came to the sloping corridor to get us past the Chasm. It was here that we espied some sort of burned goop in the hall, perhaps ankle deep and charred. We figured that the gnolls had burned one of the many gelatinous cubes that make up the area and from what we could tell, it happened only a short while ago – days at most.
We made our way down to the street level and looked around. Currently the place was empty but we assumed that was a temporary thing at best. As we made our way into the roadway though, the closed and chained apartment across the way had a cacophony of noises burst from it, howls and barks and growls unlike anything anyone had heard before. It lasted less than half a minute before ending abruptly and caused the party to freeze. No one else arrived or paid the noises any mind (that we could tell) and we picked our way past, heading for the treasure chamber.
There were 2 rune locked doors before the treasure vault and the party wanted to check them both out if possible. The first one was opened and reveled the grand interior (although emptied of furnishings) of what was most likely the original Thane of Wodenvarelse. We fanned out and looked around, searching for anything of interest. On the landing to the 2nd level there was a helmet of steel and decorated with hundreds of tiny white dragon scales, a mane of some thick hair falling out of the helm’s crest. The surface was pearlescent and the party watched as scenes played across the helm’s face:
A ghostly image of the dwarven city. Trade with the hill dwarves above. A fight with elves. Dragon attacks and repulsion. Fights with goblinoids and repulsion. City expanding. Mining down. Finding a city below coming UP. Dwarves fighting dwarves. Dwarves getting sick. Becoming grey dwarves, Duergar. City sealed with grey dwarves blow. LOTS of time passing. Eventual mining back down. Major fights, something shadowy. Fighting and magic. Something sinister in the dark. Dwarves sealing up the city and abandoning it. Ghostly dwarves remaining behind to wither away.
At the end of it – there was a slowly spinning circular item made of polished steel. It showed three dwarves affixing metal orbs of red, blue, and yellow to the hooks on it. Then a red and black pulsing stone is placed at the bottom of the circle in a waiting box and the entire circle of steel glows with brilliant white light that eats away the darkness and the vision ends.
The group had no desire to take the helm and deduced that they had learned some of the history of Wodenvarelse in the revelation. Coruth’tae verified that according to elven lore, there was a massive dwarven/elven conflict lasting a few decades almost 5 ages ago (1500 years) and the scars of it still haven’t healed fully between the two races. As for the steel disk, no one had seen it or knew was it was – yet.
We left the Thane’s home, finding nothing else, Coruth’tae listening into the hall first with a well used ESP spell – no one was out there. We quickly went to the next rune locked door, a huge double 10’ tall and wide set of portals with the words Morgolian War College in dwarven over the lintel We used the Runekey an found the interior to be 4 or 5 stories tall, very sizeable, and some sort of arena in the center of it all. We didn’t want to get lost looking around the place so we backed away and Karis had the door closed behind us.
We approached the treasure vault and once sure we weren’t seen, the runelock was opened and we entered, shutting it behind us. Once inside we began loading treasures again into whatever sacks we had available. Coruth’tae spent time going over the tapestries and rugs, as well as the marble and basalt busts categorizing them by weight where able to. Just before we were ready to leave Detheron changed into a donkey and Coruth’tae called forth a Tenser’s Floating Disk. We loaded the extra goods onto both as well as took what we could and went back to the exit, noting that there was still lots of treasure still behind (statues, rugs, tapestries) – enough for another full load and then some. A final ESP spell showed the area was clear and the party went into the hall and moved fast as possible to the sloping corridor and up to the streets. From there it was along the back alleys and then the Grand Concourse.
A few of the gnolls glanced our way but in the pitch blackness and the long distance between their globe of light and us, we were invisible to them, and a few seconds later they returned to their tedium. An hour or so later, just about 6 PM, we emerged with another load of treasure and loaded it onto the wagons with claps and smiles and thumbs up.
Do we go back to Ponyboro now or return to the depths for the rest of the booty as well as finding the other treasure room that Dargan and the Phantom Blades had been plundering? The wagon was barely 1/3 loaded and the group decided to sleep under the stars tonight and return to dungeon tomorrow in the AM.