Officially the group is down to 3 players at the table (1 on self-imposed hiatus, unsure if ever coming back, 1 kicked out a month ago, and 1 I opted not to replace some time ago), coupled with the really crappy attendance this summer has not made for the smoothest game playing as of late.
So I took the DM liberty, hitched the party up to the railroad tracks, and locomotived them through the rough patch for a bit and 15 minutes of plot exposition and loose end tie up or cut off. I don't like to do that but didn't want to lose half a meeting on maintenance. I cut loose a pile of NPC's which made my life much easier and slid the group not exactly subtly, but seamlessly, into the next part of the adventure.
Town adventures. I like them. Some people don't, the player who was doing Karis hated them, and I feel that the player doing Gwyn doesn't give enough thought to them. But the others around the table do and did and it was nice to do some town things. Like shake down a local business. Deal with the local mid-level town functionary. Investigate a lead with a witch. Visit a new bar. Track down a townie. And my favorite - Bar Brawl.
Had one planned, knew it was coming, but Detheron the party's druid just pretty much bee-lined towards the upcoming and potential bar brawl so definitively that I thought for a minute he had looked at my notes and opted to start it himself. I let it play out organically and just sat back, rolling where it was needed to and let the fight wear itself out.
I forgot how much fun a D&D bar brawl was to have. I have to have them more often.
Write up follows:
The pastries as had been requested were made, poorly to be sure, but more than good enough for the goblin’s palate. We were accorded a place to stay as “guests” in the lower level of King Yikzarch’s castle where we cooled our heels and thought long and hard about what had befallen us and where we were to go next. The days passed and eventually the rest of our friends made their way down to Byfortvile, the ghostly purple and yellow flaming sun set above the tall tower in the center isle testament to how far from home the party was.
Both sets of adventurers met up in the goblin king’s domicile, much back clapping and congratulations abounding. We talked of what happened and where we had gone, things we had seen and choices we had made. Roxarn of the Red Clouds was reviled and there was talk about exacting revenge. But some things had changed and not for the better. Karis had taken the party’s predicament to heart and after thinking on his actions and choices, it was time for the half-ogre to come to grips with who he was: a beast, a tough, not a knight, and not worthy to lead the Sundered Chains any more. He opted to leave the group and lend his sword to the likes of Dargis, Spax and Thad – aiding to lead those the Red Clouds had duped and take his payment against them with bestial fury and flashing blade.
Arnog though decided otherwise and the young fighter with the good heart knew that there was something larger afoot than just what he had seen and he had come to respect Gwyn and Detheron. Seeing them left without a fighter at their disposal (a fact that the good dwarf would disagree with, chuckle) opted to stand by his new friends and aid them in their similar yet different course of action.
Eventually King Yikzarch gave the Sundered Chains audience and we learned that the goblin king was pleased at our courtesy and fawning. We were set free from his dungeons and offered the entirety of Byfortvile to explore at our want and disposal. The city itself was “neutral” ground, ostensibly under the goblin tribe’s control and governance but still at the sympathetic relationship and bound up with the Duergar and Thane Kashtir Bristlestone.
In order to utilize our skills and abilities, we were given to his Burgomaster Grix, to be used where our unfettered allegiances would best support the goblins’ cause. Coruth’tae spied on the King and Grix with care, using his ESP spell to the best of his benefit and verifying that unless we made ourselves a difficult burden, the goblins would play us true and honorable.
Our first task for the Burgomaster was to go to the end of Goblin Row, there we would find a gnomish machinery called the Aquifier. According to Grix, King Yikzarch was convinced that the gnomish foreman, Thurgis Ironsprocket, was skimming off the “salt tax” that was paid to the goblin monarch. We were sent to convince the gnomes to pay up and if necessary, rough them up if they didn’t see fit to pay.
We agreed and went on our way. The Aquifier was some giant gnomish clockwork machine perched near the end of Byfortevile, up against the great deluge of water that fell from the hole 400’ overhead. Fins ran into and around the falling water, tracking fresh water into sluices that were sent through the keep-sized machine where it was boiled and purified and then the salt was extracted and sold to the fisheries and other industries in the goblin and Duergar environs.
The party spent some time looking the place over, noting the many patrons lined up to buy the fresh salt, until Thurgis was sent to us. The gnome was taciturn and unwilling to agree that he had done anything wrong, stone-walling the party. Coruth’tae dropped a Hypnotism spell, affecting the gnome and a handful of the surrounding helpers, convincing them that it would be in everyone’s best interest in helping the king by giving up any salt tax held behind.
Thurgis, his attitude changed, went and got most of a bag of silver, giving it to the party and apologizing for what he called a “gross mistake in judgment”. The party minimized it and made friendly overtures with the gnome. Thurgis recommended the party get something to eat at the “Raging Horn” which was south of here in the warehouse district. We left and worked our way back to Grix, presenting the goblin burgomaster with our silver, Detheron commenting that “next time he should give us a more difficult task”.
Grix laughed and agreed. He split about 10% of the silver off and gave it to the party as their share of the job. He then split off 30% and swept it into another bag, saying that this portion was for Kashtir Bristlestone. King Yikzarch’s grandfather in an effort to keep the peace and maintain good trade as well as the boats plying the underground sea, had made a deal with the dwarven Thane in which 30% of all collected monies would be given to the duergar. It was unpleasant but the goblin’s felt unwilling to change the deal.
We were told that we could get a room that would cater to our kind across the street at the “Rocking Table” and Grix would send for us when he would need us next. As a last, commenting on the glass sphere Coruth’tae had with Zoltan’s form in it, he had no idea about it or where it would have come from but an old goblin witch named B’lyris on the eastern side of town near the Spider Paddock would be a good place to go and ask.
The party split up, Coruth’tae going to find B’Lyris and the rest of the group (after acquiring a room at the Rocking Table) going to follow up at Thurgis and then the Raging Horn – the grey elf would meet up with them after his side trip.
Detheron led Gwyn and Arnog back to Thurgis at the Aquifier, making friends even more so with the gnome by presenting him with the 10% fee that Grix had given us, cementing good relations with the gnome. From there the party went to the Raging Horn, an ogre run and owned establishment that catered to hard working goblin fishers and salters. We were looked at strangely and an ogre named Ann (yes, he DARED us to make a comment on his name – Detheron declined to) took our order: either fish stew, rat stew, or fish and rat stew. It was thick and chunky and vile, but the group did choke it down along with what grog was available to drink. Then it was make conversation with the locals and share stories, making sure to get ourselves across as “friendly” and not let things the goblins would say disturb us (such as: when you are raiding the surface instead of killing a baker and stealing his breads and pastries, it would be better to bring him down to the underground and chop off a leg, keeping the baker alive to make more breadstuffs and now lamed unable to run away).
As for Coruth’tae, he went to find B’Lyris, her place looking like any other fisher warehouse, except there was a wizard mark upon it. He entered, made comment of the mark, and met B’Lyris. She was a wizened and wretched looking gobliness, wrinkled and crone-like. The two of them bantered a bit, Coruth’tae unsure of her skill and power and not wanting to tip his own hand to it. He presented the glass ball and she identified it as a soulsphere. Someone died under great stress and was captured within.
No she can’t make them, but there was someone who knew more of it; Undertaker Solon. Worked at the gravesite at the southern tip of Byfortevile near the bridge. The two of them parted not as friends but wary of each other and Coruth’tae went next to the grave area.
Three disgusting goblins were there, gates closed. Undertaker Solon was not in and they said they did not know when he’d be back, if at all. When pressed for a name, Coruth’tae gave “Gwynwyhvar” as the name and walked away. He illusioned himself as an Ogre and came back, trying again to find Undertaker Solon and was given the same info – not here, don’t know when he’ll be back. Go away. He grumbled and wandered toward the Raging Horn, changing his illusion to that of a goblin instead.
Upon arrival he entered and tried to sit with his friends where they had no idea who he was and had Ann toss the strange goblin out into the street. Sigh, poor illusionists. He dropped the glamour and came back in and the party reconnected – we shared what we had learned back and forth and decided to go to the Rocking Table and await either Grix or Solon contacting us.
At the Table we drank for a bit and chatted with locals, and there was a punching contest between two goblins. Detheron tried to get in on it and the Duergar taking bets was rude but took his 10 crowns. When the druid’s choice won and he tried to collect his share he was told that bets with surfacers was not honored and to buzz off. Words were exchanged, pushing ensued and the druid was sent stumbling back into a table of dark dwarves, spilling their drinks all over the place.
The bar brawl exploded. Dark dwarves pummeled Detheron with mugs and plates. Goblins ran across the bar, piling on an ogre who tried to sweep some of the dwarves off Detheron with a sturdy chair. The party tried to make some head way over there but other Duergar stepped in and accosted Gwyn and Arnog. A drow fighter calmly sipped her brew and made herself invisible. A gnollish warrior tried to attack Detheron but was terribly nervous. Some plate mailed fighter slammed sword wildly at a goblin that foolishly attacked him.
Food and bottles were thrown and chairs were hurled. Detheron tried to roll free but was having a difficult time. Coruth’tae was slapped with a Shocking Grasp spell. The Ogre trying to help us was knocked lower as goblins assaulted his feet and knees. Arnog took the Duergar he was fighting and grappling together, hoisted him off the ground and hurled him across the bar, knocking the gnoll down at the last moment. The drow female reappeared behind a goblin stabbing a Duergar and slit his throat, making a “silence” motion with her finger and lips at Detheron and then walked out of the bar. The plate mailed fighter killed the goblin he was fighting.
The bar brawl was getting out of hand, the gnoll tried to escape but when he got to the door, the drow was hiding there on the other side and stabbed him in the throat and chest, killing him and shutting the door silently. Great. Detheron finally able to cast a spell and reeling from all the punches he was receiving, called on Frey for aid and a god damned LION appeared, tearing one of the Duergar to shreds and causing the other ones to rethink their plans. One turned invisible and two of them grabbed the druid and tried to knock him out by slamming him repeatedly against the back wall. Gwyn picked up his beer, looked at the plate mailed fighter, toasted him and sat down.
Arnog climbed onto the table and dove into the fight, taking another Duergar down. Coruth’tae wended his way across the bar to a quiet area and sat near a goblin tough who was watching the fight with a wary eye. The bar owner came out calling for the watch and pointed a staff at the ogre on the ground and the goblins beating him up – the staff shooting out a blast of webbing and ending that pocket of struggle. Detheron called on Frey again and summoned another animal – this time a wild boar! The boar and the lion tore into two more dark dwarves and cleared more of the area around Detheron free. The grey elf giving the bar owner a piercing look and remembering the crappy way he was treated earlier strode right up to the goblin and cast Fear in his face. The goblin screamed and dropped his web staff, running away. Meanwhile the two goblins who had been having the punching contest so long ago, were STILL going at it – neither party willing to concede defeat.
At this point the ogre and goblin watch came in and those still fighting were knocked on the head and their fighting came to a stop. Coruth’tae gave the web staff to Detheron (7 charges – whoo hoo!) and when the bar keep came to him looking for it, it was “no where to be found.” We decided to go to our room, which was a 12 x 12 cell with a broken 5-drawer dresser with only 3 drawers, a clay decanter for water, and a dozen stuffed sacks with hair, dirt, and fungus to be used as beds. There was a lock but we felt that it was just for show and wouldn’t keep out a drunken field mouse. With that we laid down and went to sleep, ending the meeting there – 2 miles underground in a goblin run inn after participating in a bar brawl.