The party has been commissioned to "find some money for the destitute town" with Shakun taking a 50% cut of the profits. It's ok, since Baron Taugis has bankrolled the party's training costs and taken their advice oni a number of matters. If they are going to have any influence in running the town, they also have to be responsible for it's well being.
They have decided to plumb the heights (and depths) of Mahr's Tower - a former wizard's/illusionist's tower that had fallen to some disrepair and abandonment maybe 30 years ago. It was also a waypoint and base of operations for the youths and goblin teams that have using Shakun as it's provisioning spot for Goblinwater and whatever other issues are going on.
Mahr's Tower has been run by me before - maybe 20 plus years ago, and the party at that time did not complete the sojourn. I've updated it for the 30 years of passing game time and had a blast looking at some of the hoary goodness that I had originally set up in the place.
Hope the party forgives me in time. :)
Write up follows:
Over the next 16 days we spent time taking care of ourselves as well as training (for about everyone except for Fist’al @ this time). The 87 youths captured were punished accordingly: 17 opted for 10 days in the stocks (of which 15 died), 28 opted for 10 lashes and 3 days in the stocks (of which 3 died), and the remaining 42 agreed to 6 months indentured servitude – with their first efforts being the repair and rebuild of the ransacked places in town.
The townsfolk have been very appreciative of this so far, but there is grumblings at the proposed 25% increase in tax that is due next season – and the presence of the 10 dragoons from Argosility (at the cost of just under 1,000 crowns for 30 days) is making those with shallow pockets squint in concern at how all this is going to be paid for.
As for the party, it was on Firemonth the 30th, about 2 weeks after the Summer Solstice when the group had gotten themselves ready for a trip to Mahr’s Tower. We had once again hired Urthar as our porter, the middle aged teamster happy to once again travel with us. Etterig, aka Link, joined up once more as our torchbearer and linkboy. And Ben Eiver joined our ranks once more as Shieldbearer.
We left Shakun @ 9 that morning, and it was going to be a humid and hot day. It took over 3 hours to arrive @ Mahr’s Tower, the place was just as deserted as the last time we were here. There was a caretakers cottage right next to the structure, and a surrounding half dozen buildings in various states of disrepair. Although no one was here now, we did see sign that there had been people here (horse dung) roughly a week or two ago.
There was a main door to get into the Tower but we opted not to use it, instead observing the basement entrance. It opened with little effort and Fergus, Fist’al and Link descended to its depths. A faint candle-light glow emanated from the ceiling and there was a section of stairs that went up the 7’. A 10’x10’ area was walled off, the stones not the same as the rest of the tower. A door was there, closed and locked. Along the south wall were 16 barrels, 22 crates, and a variety of stolen supplies from local homesteads.
From here we checked out the remains of the stables and smith – finding nothing of value. Then it was on to the caretaker’s cottage. Most of it was picked clean and bare, but the cellar door was still whole and the lock unpicked. We opened it and then descended. It was small and cramped, a single broken stuffed chair with the remains of a robed figure there, and other cellar sundry items. We poked about and found a silver key (tarnished!) on the person of the skeletal figure and took it with us. We covered up our trails @ the cottage and then went to the Tower itself.
It was 40’ in diameter and 120’ tall, but according to Fergus who was mapping it, the basement extended beyond the walls of the tower itself. We went to the stairs and used a knock spell to open the 5 tumbler lock. The ceiling trap door opened and revealed a 5’5 room with a door on the south wall. We opened it and found ourselves (presumably) inside Mahr’s Tower.
The main room was over 100’ in diameter – making it beyond the outside dimensions of the structure. The ceiling was 15’ tall and a set of stairs spiraled up from a central support column. There were 8 other marble columns in the chamber, a glowing white and grey light coming from them. Near the eastern section of the room were 5 goblinoid skeletal figures.
We debated what to do for a bit and then decided to “push”one of the skeletons and see what happened. Eventually a magic mouth appeared, the columns switched over to black, purple, and green lights, and some saying regarding a riddle and something called “Grongellar” sounded from the magic mouth – and then stepping from between the 8 columns, surrounding the party, were 4 large mastiff sized shadowy canines. The southern-most dog was half again larger than the others and it was this one we deduced was Grongellar. Urthar failed his morale and attempted to run, but was stopped by Link. The hirelings tried to get to the center of the room while the rest of us fanned out and got ready to receive charges. Flimflam cast a strength spell on Whosea.
Auri charged across the chamber and hit Grongellar first and hard – criticalling the damned shadow fiend and cutting its head free! It died instantly and the rest of the shadow dogs attacked. It was a brutal combat, made more difficult as when each shadow dog struck us, we found our strength slipping away one point at a time. We also noted that two of the dogs were more difficult to hit that the final one for some reason but at the end of all things we did prevail and the dogs were slain. The mouth reappeared at the end of the combat at said simply, “That’s one,” before fading.
We healed what we could and a lesser restoration was cast on Ben (who received the bulk of the shadow dog’s attacks). We then went through the skeletal goblin’s belongings and gathered a handful of silver and copper coins and what simple weapons they had before regrouping and talking about our next destination.