This was a fairly quiet night for the party. Lots of conversation and adventuring, much opportunity to role play. They knew they were going against Kronig, and they also know that he was not a fight to be taken lightly. They had a finite amount of time to "rescue" Tempi and needed help. That led to the Bullywugs, reasking the goblins, and then eventually the half-elves and humans found on the 2nd floor for their aid. The feeling was to use the same tactics used against Korlok - overwhelming force against a singular foe.
Write up follows:
The floor here fairly empty, both stairs leading up to a common landing. A series of arrow-slit windows dominated the south wall, while a great hall ran north toward a series of noble bedrooms. Two side corridors ran from here to the east and west, the east dominated by piles of mounded furnishings, the west open and dim looking. Finally a set of doors on the east and west side were visible as well, the western door marred by water stains all over the floor.
Not wanting to chance anyone spotting us from the main hall, we actually climbed up the railing along the last few steps and entered the 2nd floor foyer, weapons out and ready, as we made our way to the western door. Quietly we knocked, trying to get the Bullywug (we hoped!) attention without making enough noise to attract Kronig (or alert Sisspak). As a precaution, Fergus did scan around, finding that an evil snake-like presence was watching us through the furniture barricade. We attempted to communicate with it, but it back and then away, gone from the paladin’s range.
The Bullywug’s did open the door for us and we entered, meeting 4 of the amphibian creatures. Murgo, who we had befriended earlier, and his three brood-mates: Ploog, Glarp, and Golup, We were in what had one time been a barracks but had been refitted by the Bullywugs for their purposes. Very wickedly sharp spears were in abundance, and there were 3 decent sized tubs that had been brought here from somewhere else. Holes had been knocked in the ceiling and we saw the base of a cistern of some sort overhead, a few crude copper pipes shunted into place. The room had dozens of algae-filled bowls and cups placed on most of the available shelves and surfaces.
We talked for a bit. The Bullywugs once numbered over 30, down to 4 now. Been here for a few years. There were various attempts to escape but the best was through the well, supposedly it had led elsewhere but the remaining Bullywugs could not prove it since those that did not come back up either died from lack of air or escaped. The growing number of stirges and the pitched battles they had in the past with the goblins had decimated their numbers so much that they had not dared to try to use the well again.
Instead they had saved the bones of their fallen comrades (stored in the next room), found some equilibrium here, and made it their point to barter their algae-wine for whatever they needed. Composed of various fungi they allowed to ferment in a mix of their own skin secretions and algae growths they cultivate, it smells like chocolate and packs such a powerful kick that its effects can make even the most level-headed person drunk in a single quaff.
Sadly, to prove this, Bill traded the battered ship’s compass we had for a sample of the Bullywug wine, which got the hobbit completely wasted and laughing his ass off. Fist’al purchased two of the bottles and we talked about the lay of the land up here and who was around.
The crazies were just to the north of the Bullywugs, off folk who would often beat themselves. Beyond that were some rooms the Bullywugs shared with the half-elves, growing specialized fungi in the damp darkness. Then there was clearing area that overlooked the garden. Down the main hall eventual it led to Kronig’s chamber. The entire right side of the 2nd floor was property of the yuan-ti.
After some time we wished the Bullywug’s a fine good day and left, taking the northern door and finding ourselves in the narrower confines of the 2ndary halls. The corridor went north where we heard some muffled noises from the right hand side, it also continued to the west where it ended at a reinforced door. The group opted for the door first.
Mentally drawing up Fergus’ map of Candlewick, we suspected that this was a door to the parapet and as the others we had seen to date, was locked. A quick go round with the Spymaster’s key ring found us a likely choice and we used it, but first oiled the hinges. The door was stiff, but did open. Sure enough, outside. To the left, some 80 plus feet away was the south tower where the stirges were, to the right, a bit further along to another tower.
We opted NOT to use the parapet here, as it would not be a smart call with the stirges fairly close and no place else to run. Instead we closed it and thought there must be another way to get to the northern area of the parapet wall and try to find the shrine to Hestia and lower the Crimson Sanctuary.
We regrouped and travelled north, passing the doors to the right where there was rhythmic chanting, slapping, and moaning. Fucking? Who knew – we were going on. A bit further up we came upon the half-elven platoon and decided to be open and forthcoming with them.
Their leader was named Nerill and there were 6 of them. They had a priestess of Ares with them and we learned that they had been here some 2-3 years. Were over 20 at one point. They had been dispatched by Elven Keep to find out the locales of the former Guardian Keeps and discover if they were still viable. Identified as Orange Platoon, the elves of Woodhelven were often embarrassed of their half-breed cousins and would band them together and send them off on these ridiculous missions. The feeling was though that after 12 years of service, even half-elves would be allowed to own land and have a half vote in the elven council meetings, so many half elves joined the army.
Nerill and the others felt abandoned and betrayed by their full blooded kin, thinking they were sent here to die by attrition. There was no proof of this, but it was in their minds anyway. This led us to then discuss the capture of Tempi who was still alive and in Kronig’s possession. The half-elves took the gear and came here to discuss what was to happen next and talk about whether they made a mistake by having any dealings with Kronig.
We talked, begged, cajoled, swore to the gods, and used every persuasive thought we could during our prolonged conversation with Nerill until the half-elves agreed to march on Kronig with us. It was mostly due to the consensus that we can and will bring down the Crimson Sanctuary.
We even had a brief run in with the crazy’s that were to the right, a group of 5 or so humans, followers of Hestia, who were sent here (according to their own twisted belief) to honor the virginal goddess and repopulate the place by having constant sex. They offered to come with us but it was squashed as not a good thing and decidedly crappy to do to the unwashed hippies.
From that point on we talked about tactics, the layout around Kronig’s place, and what tactics we would use to take the ogre down. Flimflam did try to re-recruit the goblins as well as Tindoreg, but both rebuffed the gnome.
It was almost 6 PM and if we were going to mount a rescue for Tempi, it had to be now and soon.