This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Meet 6, Adv 8, 1/8/22

We had a fun one shot at year end and took a few weeks off for the holidays before coming back to the midpoint/2nd half of the 1st adventure. They know what they have to do and now are on the path to try and get the kids out of the Orphanage and away from the Gorokian Mountain Dwarves.

Follows:

We had some time to come up with a plan and for the better part of an hour, we discussed various options on how to get into the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage, and do it in such a way that we would be undetected. Meanwhile Thalin reshuffled his spells a bit and the group talked about options. Go with the guards? Rappel down the wall? Go in through the sewer? Split into 2 groups? Couldn’t we just ring the front bell? How would we get the kids out? Could we find the two kids that Sybil had spoken to somehow and maybe convince them to show us the passage through the wall?

It took some time but we figured the best bet was to go to the Blue Flowers Orphanage and hopefully appeal to the Headmaster Jori to allow us to climb over the adjoining fence and make our way to the Chapel at the Sunrise Rabbits. We made sure we were outfitted with arms and armor. The thought was to bring Grin, but Eoghan eventually decided the mostly trained wolf would not accord us the “sneakiness” we were looking for, so the lupine was placed in his room for now, the Ranger sure that he would have to clean the place up when this was all over.

From here we made our way to the Gate where we had some discussion with the Wall Guard and Sergeant Barrim. We had learned what had occurred 3 days ago and also learned that the Practical had been released back to the Orphanage about a day later. So we deduced 4 Practicals, and maybe Hisvild, Ghalen, and whatever staff was on site. We implored the Sergeant to speed us on our way, the Wall Guard agreeing to have an escort bring our armed bunch through the streets and leave us at the Blue Flowers. The idea was that we’d speed through the town without having to explain to the populace our gear, and by not taking us to the Sunrise Rabbits or tarrying after delivering us, we’d attract less possible attention from the Practicals if they were watching.

The Sergeant mustered a 4 count to escort us through the street, eventually leaving us at the Blue Flowers, wishing us well, and then returning to their post at the Wall. We rang the bell and the Practical here escorted the kids playing outside into the building and hoped to get Jori for us. Feeling happy and good about what we were doing, Shim decided to flop back and make a “snow gnome” imprint, waving his arms and feet accordingly. Tidra thought it was cute and used her shield as a shovel and half buried the gnome in the melting slush from his head to his chest. Helping him up she laughed and helped him brush the worst of the snow off, but much of the wet had gotten under his layers and was soaking against his undergarments and bare skin.

Jori came out to meet us and he and Darius got into a conversation. The Fighter laid out a very simple version of what we hoped to do and our desire to get into the Sunrise Rabbit without being seen. Was it possible she could help? She mulled it over and decided to help the group, opening the gate and ushering us inside and to the building. She had us hang up our wet clothes and on seeing Shim’s state, asked one of the maids, Ingrid, to get something that would fit the gnome so he doesn’t freeze in his skin.

While all this was going on (and Shim was getting naked behind a changing screen) we asked about the two younger kids Tholding and Helga, wondering if they were here. She was loath to give up any info yes or now as the kids had been removed from the home and separated to the other 5 orphanages. We understood and then asked about possible secret ways in? She did confirm that there was an escape tunnel here at this Orphanage that ran across the main street and exited in the park, but she had no idea of any other place. Tidra and Vulwulf were once again wondering about rappelling down the wall with rope or spell but that was discarded. Along with 3 other plans that relied on invisibility as an option.

As Ingrid returned and was helping Shim get dressed, taking his wet clothes away to be laundered, we settled on the idea of climbing over the adjoining wrought iron fence near the back of the property and then crossing the Courtyard to the building proper. We would need a ladder. And that would require the aid of the Groundskeeper, Bjorn.

Damn it all to Hel. Someone has once again touched my tools. Not asking a lot, if you take a shovel. Put it back. Seventy Three winters should stand for something at the very minimum. Maybe respect? Courtesy? Baldur knows there’s precious little of it these days. If they need something done, I need to be able to get my tools without wondering if they are in poor repair or missing from where I left them.

Ingrid went off to get him for Jori, and the party once again went over their plan. They wanted to get the kids and get them out. Darius thanked the Headmaster and the two of them settled on the idea that not only was this exciting in its own way, but there should be another date, a proper one, in their future.

Bjorn arrived, the older male giving the party a once over before learning from Jori that he would need to set up the ladder at the back of the property and help this group get over the 10’ iron gate.

What in Hel’s name is this? Are we helping adventurers now? Are they going to go crazy and kill one of us with an axe or maybe set the other Orphanage on fire? Damn it Jori, you’re thinking with your nethers right now while making moon eyes at the moron in the moustache instead of saying Loki damn no to this foolhardiness. And what the hell is with this one, giving me the side stare? You got some moxie boy. Challenging me? Here? In my youth I beat panty wasted twits like yourself.

“Yes, Headmaster,” Bjorn answered and left with a gruff turn.

“Wot’s wit dat guy?” Eoghan asked, his accent getting a bit thicker. “He was givin’ me some serious stink eye.”

“Eoghan, you have to stop needlessly pissing people off,” Darius shrugged. “I don’t know what it is with you.”

“It’s not me, I swear.”

“Sure it isn’t. Sure it isn’t.”

We thanked Jori and had her lead us to the Gymnasium where we bundled up again and walked outside in the cold, heading for the back corner of the Courtyard where it shared a fence and wall with the Sunrise Rabbits, the elder Groundskeeper already had a 12’ ladder up in place and placed against the crossbar at the top of the 10’ fence. He was just putting some old blankets to use as padding in place.

“This is my ladder,” he said, addressing Eoghan as the Ranger went to move or adjust it. “Mine, ok? Something happens to it, it’s my responsibility.”

“I hear ya, I was just hoping to help out.”

“I’ll hold the bottom and adjust it, ok? Don’t want anyone to get hurt. Safety is no joke.”

Watching Bjorn go to the underside and brace it there, Eoghan shrugged and tossed out, “You got it, Buddy,” with a heavy dose of disdain.

“Damn,” Tidra, Vulwulf, and Shim all muttered.

“Not cool, Eoghan,” Darius offered.

“What?” The ranger was half way up and looked down at the frowning Bjorn and then back at the group. “What?”

“Just go,” Bjorn growled and Eoghan sighed and climbed up to the top. Once there he balanced himself, lowered himself down, and dropped to the other side. Vulwulf went next but misjudged his step and fell with a clang on the other side, groaning as he rolled to his feet. “Careful, lads.”

Thalin followed and the elf also slipped, getting lightly wounded. Shim followed next and the gnome was able to get down without injury. But Darius had his hand caught in the rope and got a back strain and Tidra decided to jump down but slipped at the top and slammed face first into the snow, Darius slowing her fall by catching 1/3 of the half orc fighter.

Once we were all situated, it was decided that rappelling down the wall was most likely a terrible idea as the 10’ fence kicked most of our asses.

Bunch of amateurs. Hope to Hel they didn’t damage my ladder. Shame that first shifty eyed looking untrustworthy fellow didn’t fall off and get hurt. That would have brought a smile to my face.

We stayed along the fence line, heading north until we drew even with the Chapel. We then ran across to the chapel wall and listened. It was mostly quiet within, nothing was definitively heard. As for getting it, we’d have to break a shutter free and that might make noise, as well as an unwelcome breeze. We decided to stay low and follow the walls around to the front. It was fairly quick going and we made it to the front of the building, no one was outside. We decided not to try the front door as we would need a key and didn’t want to chance it yet. We figured we’d go back and look for another possible way in.

We followed the wall back along until we came to the chapel again and then kept going. There were offices and then the jut out that was the dining room. It was here that a set of billco style cellar doors were situated, a chain and lock upon them. We cleared off the snow and Thalin used one..and then a second Acid  Splash spell on the lock, eventually weakening it enough for us to pop it open and loop the chain off the handles.

We looked down. Twelve steep steps, 12” high, 9” deep, let down to narrow landing and a heavy metal blast door was here. No handle on this side to open it. Ok. We guessed that this door would lead to the furnace section of the basement – the same place the kids had been last time. We came out and Vulwulf gave thought to possibly stone shaping the frame around it, but it would take time and no guarantee it would work. But an idea.

We closed the billco doors and then wrapped the chain back around it for now. We decided to enter through the shutters at the southwest window of the Chapel for now. We made our way back there and noting that it was pinned in place and firm to the wall, Vulfulf called to Idun and warped one of the shutters until it popped free and swung open. Alright. We used a knife to cut the paper over the window aside, lifted it up, and everyone one at a time, rolled into the Chapel and stayed quiet.

Once inside we used a leather thong to tie the shutter closed again, while Thalin and Darius checked the altar. Vulwulf went up and down each pew. Tidra and Eoghan split up and took each wall looking in the alcoves, and Shim was at the front exit, noting that we could hear a few dwarven voices not too close and not too far away. We hoped to find a cache or secret area under the chapel, maybe the kids were in there? But 10 minutes had us together and sure there was no such thing. “If there was one,” Darius posited, “It wouldn’t be easy to find.”

As for the dwarves, anything real was hard to make out, but some complaint about Ghalen and Hisvild was made out. Eventually they geared up and made their way to the front door, unlocked it, and went out to patrol, locking the front door behind them.

With 2 Practicals out now, we felt it was a good time to risk entering the hall and moving with haste to Hisvild’s office at the end of the long main hall. We hoped we could convince him we were effectively on his side and maybe get some help to get out of here. So we hit the hall and moved south, keeping our pace steady and maintaining the same speed Tidra could go without the half-orc fighter needing to run and make unnecessary noise. We could hear dwarven voices UP one set of stairs and we kept on to the office in question, and then dashed in after pushing the door open.

The place had been trashed.

It was obvious that someone had thrown the office apart looking for something, actually revealing a small wall safe that had been crowbarred open. But if they had found what they were looking for, there was no sign they had done so successfully. We surmised they were looking for the keys and then thought it was worth maybe check the downstairs doors to see if Hisvild was actually down there.

We were lucky so far (great rolls!!) and no practicals had come back in yet OR gone down to this level to look around. So we left the office, crossed the hall, and went down the steps, Tidra and Vulwulf taking the back weapons out in case we were spotted.

We knocked on the door and heard the Taskmaster tell us to “Fuck off.” We had a brief back and forth until he was assured we were who we were and not the Practicals. He had the kids. They’ve been there for almost 3 days. They have food and water for maybe 2 or 3 more. Need help. He decided (another great roll) to trust us and unlocked the door letting us in. Once inside we locked it back up and cast another alarm spell on the door.

Hisvild and the 14 “saved” children were indeed here. They were dirty, tired, strung out, and worried. But the kids were very tight with the Taskmaster and stayed closed to him. We learned that some of the household staff had moved some water and food stuffs into here during the chaotic first day. As for the kids, he had used some rope and opened a dimensional pocket that could only be seen if you were right under it and looking up. The kids were hiding in there and avoided being found by the Wall Guards when they came, or the Practicals when they were looking as well.

Once the place was safe, Hisvild and Ghalen had a bit of an argument and the Taskmaster came down here, locking the door behind him, and decided to wait it out, not trusting the Practicals or the Underthane to do what was best for the kids. Stavern, the lead Practical, then started abusing and hurting the staff, Ghalen as well, hoping to get Hisvild to open the door and let the kids free. He has refused but he is running out of ideas.

There is the escape door but the billco doors are locked. Not anymore. Ok, that helps, but when that door is opened, it will alarm the entire temple as to its breach and the Practicals will come. He also does not have a key to the front gate so they would be stopped there. And he would most likely be shot.

Any spells? He’s almost out – three Alarm spells and 1 firefinger. Where’s his spellbook? In his office and he suspects the dwarves have it and most likely destroyed it and his room. We agreed. Once again we thought about using the Stone shape spell, but based upon the thickness of the foundation stones, Vulwulf suspected we would need the spell twice. And he had only one left.

The thought was to open the door, alert the dwarves, and maybe entice two of them to go out that way. Then we could run through the Orphanage and out the gymnasium door to the back and maybe find another way out. There were lots of variables and Ghalen’s name came up to rescue, but he was placed on the “if we can get to it” side of the equation for now. Kids first. And they were going to stay with and follow Hisvild – in their now shorter life experiences, he was one of the only 2 people (other than the others in this room) that they knew, knew had their best interests, and wanted to keep them safe.

By this time, Stavern had come to the door (the alarm spell alerting us, as well as how many were approaching). The dwarf was blaming Hisvild for this mess, it was time to come out. The Lesserthane was going to be here soon and it was pointless now. They’d take all the kids, and still pay top coin for them. Just open the door. It’s on you. Just do it. You like Hilda, right? She works here, you’ve been friends for years. She wants you to open the door. If you don’t, I’m going to have to break her leg. Please Hisvild, don’t make me break her leg. That would be cruel. Don’t be like that. Hisvild. Hisvild? Look what you are forcing me to do. Thanks, this is on you, I don’t want to do this, but you are making me do it.

And then Hilda gave a horrible scream, the Orphanage nurse howling as her shin was busted with a hammer and Stavern was just disappointed. So disappointed. You made this happen, Hisvild. You did. You are cruel. He then walked back up the stairs, leaving Hilda crying in agony and pain at the bottom of the steps, leg broken, her wails cutting through the door and making the children upset. Hisvild upset. The party upset.

“That’s pretty damned dark,” Tidra muttered after we were sure the Practical had gone.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Meet 5, Adv 8, 12/11/21

The party headed off to the Wall Guard and met with Sergeant Barrim where they explained who Darius actually was and what the party had been doing in regards to Shala Planters and by a larger stance, the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage. It took some time and the gruff sergeant wanted to have Darius come and explain his part as well. We were in a tenuous situation with the royal guard as we had been less than forthcoming and not exactly honest at the beginning of our interactions with him.

After making sure he had safe passage through the streets, Darius eventually left the Adventuring Guild and made his way to the Wall guard where he further expanded upon the story. We were told to return to our home for now and to avoid issues. Things in town are a bit weird since the Canaslan Streams of Mithril had gotten into the bar brawl and there was a general air of concern.

Darius and Vulwulf had some words about the half-orc’s “help” and we also wandered around, getting some information as to what had happened with Dosgbody McGuin and Devin Scrivener. Shim purchased a new cloak and Tidra grabbed a shield. We saw some shows, spoke with some people, and eventually made our way home. An important part of everything that had happened was Sergeant Barrim flat out asking us about the Sunrise Rabbits and what had been going on – and the party opted for full disclosure and honesty. We told the fantastic tale of kids being “saved” and how the former Temple of Lathandar was involved.

It was going to take some time, but a Writ of Concern was going to be sought after and eventually the watch would get involved to go in and hopefully find the kids. We suspected that we had burned the bridge we had with Hisvild just then.

Things with the Streams of Mithril came to a head over the next day or two as Dosgbody was found guilty and had a hand removed that evening. The Scrivener family had then braced the Streams of Mithril later on and the next day, the Scrivener home had burned to the ground. The Streams of Mithril had left shortly before that, checking out of the Wooly Rhino, but it was unconfirmed if they actually left through the gate given the fire and the excitement at that time. Local adventurers feel that they were being unfairly targeted and should be left alone. Scrivener family had been described on many occasions as incendiary and argumentative.

Darius had gone on his date with Jori from the Blue Flowers Orphanage and she had reported to him some of the troubles the Sunrise Rabbits had fallen to. The watch had indeed come and some 40 to 50 children were being removed and relocated to the other orphanages for now. A search was put in place and no “missing” children had been found. Hisvild, Ghalen, and the staff and Practicals seemed furious at the interruption and were barely civil or helpful. The party felt even more that we had burned our bridge there.

The days passed and we returned to what menial work was available to us. It was on the 20th, 3 days later, that we had some more information come our way. On a trip to the GRSAG, we had been given the opportunity to infiltrate the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage and if there were any children with in, get them out. The place had been locked up and the Guards no longer had legal recourse to enter the establishment. So they guild had been hired to get a group to somehow onto the property and inside.

We took the job, and at 120 gold crowns, it was well worth it to do so. It was now 9 AM on the 20th and the party was going to get together and come up with a plan to enter the grounds of the Orphanage. Who is an enemy within? Hisvild? Ghalen? The Practicals? We would need to be careful and swift.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Meet 4, Adv 8, 12/4/21

The group had a few hours to pass the time until we were to meet up with Hisvild and try and get Shala out. We went through a number of plans, settling on splitting the group in 2 parts – 1 being Darius, Thalin, and Eoghan and head in to effect a meeting to see some kids, waiting for an opportunity to head to the basement, and the other being Vulwulf, Shim, and Tidra being representatives appointed by the Adventuring guild and coming here to demand entrance and return of the girl.

However, in our talk around the town, it had been learned that a bar brawl out at the Wooly Rhino had turned deadly. A Canaslan Adventuring Band named Streams of Mithril had gotten into a fight and during it, a local scribe, Devin Scrivener, had been hurt during the conflict. The dwarf, Dogsbody McGuin, had at one point drawn his axe during the combat and even though he used the flat of it to defend himself, struck the Scrivener in the head and he died a few hours earlier. For now Dogsbody is in the stocks and a tribunal had been set up to find out the matter and decide on punishment.

We had spoken with various adventurers around town and at the guild during our morning and the feeling is that even though Streams of Mithril might be a Canasalan group, it’s still wrong what’s happening to Dogsbody. The other argument is that he drew a weapon during a bar brawl. If he used a mug, or a chair, or his fists, It would not have escalated as far as it did now to the potential removal of his hand, but it did and he did and he needs to pay the consequences.

The party noted these instances, knowing that the world spun on even without their direct attention or participation, and solidified their plans.

Meanwhile….

Hisvild, Taskmaster of the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage, was idly pushing a loose stylus across his desk with an absent finger, chewing on his bottom lip.

“What has you in a tizzy?” Ghalen Artek, Headmaster of the same establishment, asked. He slid a chair back and lowered his form gingerly into it. “You’re as welcoming as a Sifian adherent who suffered a “C” on his latest temple treatise.”

The taller man frowned, eyes flicking up as one of the Practicals walked by in the hall, heading to check on the children in the main lecture hall. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”

“Didn’t you break a piece off last night with that git from Grymeria?” The half-elf gave a partial smirk and bobbed the desk once with his fist. “Let me guess, she was dead from the waist down?”

“Nothing like that or of the sort.” Hisvild let out an exasperated sigh and leaned back, eyes closed and head tilted up. “Just…have things on my mind.”

“Relax,” Ghalen’s expression softened. “I know it’s hard. I do. But we’re doing good work. We are.”

“Frigga’s Frozen Ass, Ghalen? Are we?” He pointed absently at the floor. “We have almost a score of kids that have been cut from the great skein languishing in our basement because returning them to their family means dooming them to Bedlam and madness.”

“What should we do then? Let them die?”

“No, no. We talked about this.”

The half-elf nodded his head. “Yes. We did. Exhaustingly. Through a number of candles and even more pints of oil, we burned the light to find our way.” The pointed one finger down and tapped the desk with it firmly. “This is the way. Damn it man, we save kids. Whether from starvation, slavery, abuse, abandonment, or even now, from ordination…there is no higher purpose in what we do than to save kids.”

Hisvild sighed, seeming to deflate. “I know that, you pompous prick. I know. But that’s only half of what we need to do.”

“What is the third tenant of Baldur?” Ghalen asked.

The Taskmaster frowned. “When a job is too great for one to accomplish, many hands and offered help is always welcome.” He blew out a short breath. “Seems rather self serving of you to espouse that banal claptrap when some foreign Underthane is looking to take the kids off our hands for 50 fucking crowns a piece.”

“Think I’m doing this for mammon?” The headmaster stuck up his middle finger tall and firmly. “Fuck you. Fuck your misplaced righteousness. The kids need help. There is no one within 30 fucking leagues who knows ANYTHING about Lathandar, and for a dozen years plus, how many thousands of kids images have flashed across the font as a warning and we did not have the wits to understand how important it was? How many kids did we let…die?”

“But seriously…”

Ghalen stood up, straightening his shirt, smoothing his sleeves again. “Listen. The Underthane has access to books that had been plundered from this temple. He had bankrolled 4 Practicals for us, genuinely feels horrible for the plight of the children, and is also willing to make reparations to us for the children. Once the funds come in, we keep half to improve the lot of the other children here, and use the other half to bring succor as a donation to the families whose sons and daughters they have lost.” He fixed his gaze on Hisvild’s. “And through whatever grace the Norns can give us in this, with all good luck, the Gorokian Dwarves will help correct the children and return them to us to eventually come home.”

Hisvild said nothing for a minute, eyes haunted, before looking up and asking, “And do you believe that? Really? Do you believe that is the case?”

The half elf tilted his head, slowly smiling and replied. “I have faith, my friend. That’s all we sometimes have in difficult days.” He made his way to the door, the hall teeming with running children. “It’ll work out. You’ll see,” and then he left.

Still seated, shoulders pressed against the hard back of the chair, the Taskmaster shook his head slowly and glanced out the window. “Faith doesn’t solve everything. Sometimes you need to take action.” He patted his pocket, assuring himself the keys were still in there and stood up. “Hmmph. I’ll bet that little fucker was in the room when I with Ms. Ilcinder.” He strode out of the office, head still filled with worry for what was to come.

Meanwhile…the first group had headed back to the Orphanage, just before 12, advising Shim and the other 2 to give them a 10 minute head start. Once there the Practical Stavern Shephard was surprised to see them again but let them in. Once inside the waiting room they hung up their cloaks and soon met with Ghalen and Hisvild. Darius then went into practiced speech about how he never had a chance to meet the kids and wanted to do that before any donation could be met. They were then taken to Hisvild’s office/classroom where two of the younger ones were brought in. Some light conversation followed.

Shim and the two half-orcs showed up next and demanded entrance, producing the paperwork cosigned by the watch and the GRSAG. This drew the attention of the Practicals who then went and got Ghalen. The Headmaster and Stavern went to go check out this matter, leaving Hisvild and the other 3 together for now. The Taskmaster sent the kids away, led the three men across the way, and then down to the basement.

They entered the larger chamber where the furnace was chugging away…and a good 15 count of kids were currently languishing. We were introduced to Shala, the young half-orc was pleasant and loquacious. Hisvild impressed on her that these were friends and we were going to take her out and home. The other kids wanted to know if they could go too, but were told that was not the case for now. We managed to look over the font swiftly, nothing to see for now, and then made our way out to the stairs and with the use of an Invisibility spell, snuck up and followed Hisvild slowly to the front door, pretending all was good for now.

Meanwhile the others had made some noise and Ghalen had them brought in. Cloaks were hung up and Shim tried to impress on the Headmaster and Practicals that they were looking for this girl. Was seen here. Playing outside. There was disbelief on both sides, half truths and outright lies. Some threats, veiled, did follow, and we were given a brief audience before we were soundly told that we were wrong, there was no such child here, and it was time to leave.

The other group was getting their cloaks back on, and given the snow outside and the cold, they did spy a small child sized cloak on the rack – and took it (it was Shim’s). Once outside they left and made their way sedately towards the main gate. Once safely far away, Shala was visible again and she was excited about the adventure she was on and possibly going to see her home and family, even though she had no memory or concept of them.

It was at the gate that things got a bit weird as the Wall Guard noted we were leaving with a child. Darius tried to continue his nobleman’s son routine, glossing over much of what they were doing. The girl was very talkative and some of what she was saying was raising some eye brows. So Darius did what he always did, he threw money at it; hoping that would solve the problem. They were eventually allowed to pass through and made their way north towards the Planter’s family. Not realizing that the Wall Guard had dispatched someone to follow them.

The others were ejected from the Orphanage, Shim pissed that his damned cloak was taken. Outside they hoped that the others had been successful and they had provided enough of a distraction. On seeing Hisvild at the end, the Taskmaster wizard looking pleased behind Ghalen’s back, they had high hopes. They also made their way west, heading for the gate.

Darius, Eoghan, and Thalin had made it to the Planters where they had Darca Planters, Shala’s mom, meet the child. She was overjoyed and the girl was unsure, but gave a weird warbling tale about her adventures the last 3 days – not knowing anything before. To Darca, it was presented that the girl was found wandering without memory and the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage had taken the lost waif in. And the Vanguards of Ragnarok had gotten lucky in finding her. The story held enough water to smooth over any discrepancies. We were thanked and then we took our leave, heading north some more for the Adventurer’s Guild to present our completed writ and arrange the completion of the job.

Meanwhile at the gate, they had been stopped again. Some conversation followed and talk about Shim;’s writ and our job with the watch to find lost children came up. That’s when the Gate guard had us taken to the side and joined Sergeant Barrim for a side conversation. Missing children, it was the local watch’s job to uncover. But something just passed through the gate that had them concerned. A dandy named Darius Diamondcutter just came through with a 4 or 5 year old half orc girl who had said she had been in a basement and he was taking her from the Orphanage to get her a skill. A trade. And he bribed the guards which immediately set off the protocols to release the Wall Rats.

The Wall Rats are the local royal thieves guild and they work with the Wall and Royal Guards to help track down dissenters and maintain peace and order. Sergeant Barrim is concerned that this Darius is taking the child to a whorehouse to indoctrinate her early and young to eventual work there.

It was here that Vulwulf was doing most of the talking about how we didn’t know them, that was terrible, and what a shitty thing. Sergeant Barrim wanted to hire the group to find this Darius Diamondcutter and bring him in and back for questioning. Well, sure, go to the GRSAG and we’ll look into taking the job. Great, need to get pimps and scum like that off the streets.

We made our way through after more reassurance, learning that 3…or maybe more? Wall Rats had been dispatched and were tracking Darius at this moment in time. We then went north and headed for the Adventurers Guild, hoping to catch up with the party there.

The others had gone up to see Pha-iyr Carom and presented the job as completed. It was also suggested that they forego the money the Planters family had given and wanted it returned to the family. Pha-iyr said he would do what he could and thanked the party for a job well done. We left and downstairs met up with the rest of the party who let them know that Sergeant Barrim wanted to meet with Darius as he was suspected for trafficking children and possibly running a nascent brothel. “How the hell did they get THAT idea?!” Darius wanted to know, aghast at learning this.

“It’s a mystery to me how that happened,” Vulwulf assured him. “Who knows how these things get so out of hand?”

The party suggested he stay here for now and they would go off and back to the Wall guard to try and get this matter resolved.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Meet 3, Adv 8, 11/20/21

You know, for a guy who posted every day for over 500 days in a row, you think I'd be more careful with this. Sorry - real life has been all over me - real job and the like. But here if post 3, I just did 4, and am working on 5 - so although it's been a time, there are only 3 actual meetings not accounting for. We took one off for our year end game and dinner, and the other 2 are for holiday time. Thanks for the patience!

Follows:

(SHIM) The gnome did not join the group out of the gate, instead sneaking back into the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage. Once there he went looking around, hoping to find the Taskmaster and get the keys. The kids were out of class at this time and were running around the orphanage, having fun, the Practicals were laughing with them.

Eventually he made his way upstairs and looked around the dorms. He stopped at the Practical’s chamber and looking in, seeing that 4 would sleep there, dwarf in sized, and one was female. He wandered around as the housekeeping were cleaning up, making his way to the Headmaster’s room.

Here, Ghalen and Hisvild were talking, the Taskmaster availing himself to some brandy as the Headmaster was composing a letter, answering some underthane from Gorok, and stressed the saving of the children. It seemed terse. As for the two men, Ghalen didn’t believe that we would see penny one from Darius, pegging him for the rich scion of a merchant but not really having the ability to get money to the Sunrise Rabbits. The two men then talked a bit about Ms Ilcinder’s visit and the funds coming in that way. There was some vague talk about the basement and who was in there, as well as reference to the Underthane.

Eventually he stopped ,sniffing the air, and checked the hall. Shim backed up a bit and the Taskmaster thought he smelled something. The conversation over, he left and went downstairs, Shim following at a distance. Hisvild made his way to the basement and then checked on the other door. He was in there for a bit and when he came out, Shim still staying back, a Practical, Stavern, had some words with the Taskmaster from the top of the stairs. Only Hisvild seemed to have the keys and he was keeping the Practicals out and away. Something wasn’t quite adding up, as it seemed that the practicals didn’t seem to answer directly to the Taskmaster.

Shim filed this all away and then eventually joined the Taskmaster in an office/classroom, where a teacher and he went over the purchases and needs for the day, working the ledgers down and wrapping out the costs. Eventually he stayed alone, ate some fast snack, and then wrapped up his affairs, bundled up, and left. Shim followed, the gnome still getting the benefit of the Endure Elements spells but the Snowshoes spell had long worn off. He did trail him to the entertainment district where Hisvild met up with the Grymerian Findy Ilcinder and the two of them shared some drinks and dinner. They laughed, joked, flirted, and then he left with her, heading upstairs where they went to her room and proceeded to enjoy each others’ company. Carnally. Eventually they fell asleep, and Shim, who had been hiding under the bed, took the keys from the Taskmaster’s pocket, snuck out of the room, and it was 10:30 ish PM when he finally headed back to the party’s house.

(/SHIM)

As for the rest of us we had headed off to the Blue Flowers orphanage, where Taskmaster Jori took us around, duplicating the same sort of tour and tale that we had done earlier. She flirted lightly with Darius, but stayed on task, taking us around. We noted only one Practical here and again, there were no dwarvish children in the place. At this point we asked about it and were told that any dwarvish children were usually transferred to the Sons of Thunder Orphanage, the first of the retrofitted temples in this row. We left and made our way out, hitting a few short errands and then back to the house.

Meanwhile Vulwulf and Tidra wandered the southern circle of the Outerring of Erylond, wandering the lower class section of town. There were lots of areas where poverty was apparent and some places that seemed like a bad idea to walk into. They eventually came to the far gate where they entered a store called Sweet Meats. The proprietor offered them some candied fat for Grin, who wolfed (lol) it down gleefully. They also purchased some beet sugar turnip balls and Tidra nibbled on them on the way back to the house.

We were all slowly reconnecting, eating dinner, sharing our thoughts as to what was going on, and coming up with some plan for the morrow. But Shim was still not back, and we also wanted to check out the wall that would supposedly lead to the Sunrise Rabbits. It was later, later, when the gnome returned and he gave us the short version of what he had seen and discovered, as well as showing us the keys.

Alright, we tossed around lots of plans on what to do and how to get in, taking into the strange not as we expected some of the things about Ghalen and Hisvild that we had learned through Shim’s reconnoitering. We all went off to the wall and spent some time checking it out where the day time bazaar would be, and after a serious search, we did not find the pass through. It was growing late and we had the thought about bracing Hisvild in the morning at the inn he was staying at with Findy. We had the keys and figured that if we could intercept him there before he went home or to the Rabbits (according to Shim, he works from 7 to 7), we had a chance to get some answers and maybe a way to get into the basement.

We rested, Thalin promising to wake us all up early (5ish), and it was Icemonth the 17th when we left the house, lightly armed, and made our way to the inn. A fast bribe of the innkeep let us know that the man in question was actually in the Common Room right now eating breakfast. We decided that Darius and Thalin would brace him and the rest of us would take up places around the room, sitting at various tables to prevent him from getting up and/or leaving.

Hisvild at first didn’t recognize Darius, but then he grew interested in the “nobleman’s son” and why he was here. At that point we decided to deal with this person from a position of confidence, as he was not bothered at being braced by the two of us. So Darius, with Thalin filling in where needed, laid out what they had learned so far and that they had tracked the missing Shala to the Orphanage, strongly implying that they knew she was in the basement and they wanted to get her out.

The Taskmaster was nodding and then sighed. The rest of the group was motioned closer, food, porridge, bacon and the like brought over, and they sat down as Hisvild filled in the party on what was going on – and blowing a giant hole in their theory of what was happening and the Taskmaster’s place in it.

He did cast a zone of Silence around the table, allowing us to talk freely, and our voices would barely carry any distance away from us. He was also the person that had been taking the kids off the street, not the Practicals that we had suspected. The reasoning? The kids they were “saving” were going to die within 24 hours unless they were saved from whatever fate was going to befall them.

Bullshit.

He explained that the temple was to Lathandar, god of dawn, children, and elves. When the temple was sacked some century or so earlier, the last patriarch entrusted whatever finds and treasure the temple had with the Duke at that time. The funds would act as a stipend to keep the place in minimal repair and the taxes paid. The other temples had done the same. The places were kept intact, even though the dwarves had carted away anything of treasure they could at that time. No texts, no scrolls, not a single priest or holy writing was left.

When the places were retrofitted as orphanages, various groups helped through public works and further tax breaks to maintain the places. But the funds were always tight and most of them required outside donors to help out for the children. This had been the way of things for the better part of 50 years.

About 12 years ago, an old font that had been moved to storage in the basement, had flashed to life, and showed a child wandering around laughing and smiling, and then it went dark. Maybe a few days later, another child was seen. A few tower mages had been brought in but the font was not radiating any sort of magic. And only did so, divine in nature, for that brief minute when it would show a child.

It was believed that Lathandar might be weakly showing some kids in the city, as the backdrops were almost entirely seemingly in Erylond or the surrounding area. There were no identifiers for the children or any way to know who they were, so it was chalked up as an interesting phenomenon and commented on and that was it. A nice relic from a god long unworshipped but still here on some level.

About 2 or so months ago, imagine their surprise when an image showed a child that was walking with its parents right outside the Sunrise Rabbits! Hisvild and Ghalen had run out to meet the child and its parents, laughing and wishing them good fortune, promising to visit again tomorrow. They got the address and retired for the night.

And the next day when they went to visit the family, they were horrified to learn that the child had died earlier. The two men were heartbroken and returned, wondering what the image had meant. And another image had come up and they noted the area, sending out what few staff they had to check the area out. And when they eventually discovered that family and that child, they had learned that that child had also just died.

Working backwards and further study revealed the horror to them – the images that appeared in the font were warnings from Lathandar; warning of children that were going to die within the next day.

They had to do something, so when the chance came, they identified another location, worked to follow the child and pulled him off the street, bringing him back to the Orphanage to keep him safe for 1 day, intending to return him to the family immediately. But as the window came where the child passed the moment of its forseen death, it lost all concept of who exactly it was. It wasn’t struck imbecilic, but the sense of self – name, memories of family, and the like, were just not there. They returned the child but it did not know the family and there were problems. And the same thing happened with the next child they saved. Except that one the family eventually had brought to Bedlam Hospital to help her out.

The two men were frantic, there was no answer as to what was happening and how they were to use this knowledge. IF they did nothing, the kids die. If they do something, the kids live but are stripped of identity. They had been having some dealings with the Sons of Thunder during all this and the Gorokian sponsored orphanage had written to their Underthane who had sent some snippets of old texts from Lathandar that they had saved. They also sent 4 of their own Practicals to help bolster the Orphanage, paying the dwarves salary. The only thing that was asked, was that if there was no chance of the children getting their memories back and the horror the families were having could not be assuaged, that the Underthane would help the children out and have them brought to Gorok where they could be better cared for and hopefully have their identities restored.

At 50 crowns per child.

Ghalen decided it was worth it, Hisvild less so. The Taskmaster has been going out and saving the children, and they have 15 or so now saved in the basement. But it was getting harder to hide it, and the Practicals seem keenly interested in them. Hisvild and Ghalen have kept them out and away but this has grown larger than the two men can handle.

As for the Grimyerian issue? It is unrelated and the Taskmaster isn’t happy to be doing it, but Findy Ilcinder and Lord Hoggar have been willing to pay an exorbitant fee for the Orphans who had died, children that would be placed in a potter's grave at the cost of 3 coppers and forgotten. 175 nobles per child.

And that was the crux of it. The Grimyrians have been coming out every month and a half for the last 9 months or so and doing this and paying a heavy stipend to the Sunrise Rabbits and 2 other Orphanages that are participating. But this thing with the Gorokian Dwarves and Lathander? They dwarves are willing to pay THREE times that rate as well as funding the payment and placement of 4 dwarven Practicals. Something was going on.

And we still wanted to save Shala. We had returned the keys to Hisvild during all this (he was happy and unsettled over it) and had agreed that we would come and “see the kids” as Darius had said, and then if given the chance, get a opportunity to get down to the basement and check on the saved children and get Shala out of there. And maybe learn something else and more of what was going on.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Meet 2, Adv 8, 11/13/2021

The party was pretty happy to be back at the table. The thought was that we'd be tossing 20's and punching stuff in the face, as one player said, "I just expected less dead kids for our first adventure back." I reminded them that we had a few one shots with D20's flying and some raw combat tossed about already. This was the return to the campaign and giving them their first step back into the world as well as whatever world building was needed to get them started.

Follows:

The group sat around the eatery talking about possible plans on how to check out the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage. Many were tossed around but they ended up with one of our member acting like they wanted a tour of the place and possibly to make a donation; while Shimlagesh, invisible, would wander the place and hope to find the child, Shala. Darius was the best choice and he already had some wardrobe in place to do so. We were hoping to have a few others go with him, Thalin acting as his manservant and Eoghan going as his guard. Tidra and Vulwulf would make sure to be elsewhere and would instead hope to see what was opposite the wall from the Orphanage, as Sybil had mentioned that she and some of the kids had gotten through the wall at one point.

We had some shopping to do and we were in the right section of town to do so. First we went and visited Strandings Clothiers where we met with Goodwife Standing and arranged to get a shirt for Thalin, a sash (of the same green color) for Eoghan, and a pair of high slippers (also same color) for Shim. Prices were bandied about but it was a rush job that we wanted on the morrow, so the spend of 9 gold, 1 silver, 3 silver, and 2 silver were all accounted for. At the hatters Darius arranged to purchase a 2 crown hat; stylish and yet still commanding. Vulfulf did not get the stovepipe hat that he was assured would be perfect for him.

A detour followed to the Storm Raven’s Fighter’s guild where Darius spoke at length with High Clerk Advild about the steps needed for him to become a knight. He would have to start as an armiger and then work his way up slowly over time. But the process starts with a letter of intent and some noble patrons to add their voice concerning his character.

We returned to the house and talked about what we had been doing, getting some more info from Sybil (who was having a hard time finding her voice at first! Acidic little Halfling!) and her interactions. The Taskmaster’s name was Hisvild and she reported that he was a cruel and ghoulish sort of figure – but not actually a ghoul.

Vulwulf had checked out the area on the opposite side of the Orphanages, learning that it was the Open Market, also known as the Bazaar. He walked it carefully, looking around, checking back by the walls. At some point to avoid interest,  he stopped at the sand merchant and felt the need to buy 2 and a half lbs of coarse virgin sand. He then wandered around and purchased a number of poor and rotting food stuffs from merchants that were shutting down, pissing off another half orc named Gjulleif who was hoping to get enough to eat. Vulwulf felt bad and suggest the half-orc come to his home that night, about 8 PM.

It was sure enough later when Gjulleif showed and we listened to his tale of woe on the street, Vulwulf had purified the poor food and gave him some. We also outfitted him with some clothes and made sure that he got his original foodstuffs back. He thanked us long for the efforts made and when he left, the druid felt pretty good that he had made a good contact for the group with his efforts.

We rested and on the morrow, cold and cloudy, arranged to gather up our purchases. Then Thalin went first to the Sunrise Rabbit’s and arranged a tour at 1 PM with a possible donation to follow. Then to throw off any doubt, went next door and did the same, the Practical that came out was an attractive younger woman named Jori, and she accepted a visit for a few hours later.

Just before we were going to the place, a few spells had been cast (Endure elements on Darius and Shim, then Pass without a Trace, and Snowshoes. Followed by Invisibility on our gnome) and the group set off, leaving Grin with Vulwulf and Tidra, the two half orcs were going to the Bazaar, the area on the opposite side of the wall from the Orphanage.

We were met by a dwarven tough who identified himself as a “Practical” and said his name was Stavern Shephard. He allowed us to enter (Shim invisible and following close). There was more symbology of the Rabbits and an older saying was still visible over the entrance, “There is Always Another Dawn.”

We came to the Waiting room after hanging our cloaks up where we met a prim woman named Findy Ilcinder. She was here to see the Taskmaster Hisvild about some issues. She spoke well of the Orphanage, and some of the others nearby. Turns out she was a representative from a Lord Hoggar from Grymeria and she makes a trip out here every few months to see if the orphanages have any children that have passed on.

Eoghan had his fists balled up so tight, his palms were on the verge of bleeding.

Some small talk followed but Darius did most of the chatting and she was met with Taskmaster Hisvild, who had the look that Sybil had mentioned. They walked off to the north to go to the Hospital wing, and Shim followed along, eyes peeled and moving quietly. The rest of us were disturbed by it all but eventually we met the Headmaster; a half elf named Ghalen Artek. And he was nothing like the Taskmaster. Genial, kind, welcoming, he took Darius and the other two on a tour of the Orphanage, talking about the Sunrise Rabbits and the other Orphanages in the area a bit.

Former temples, the Randari Ympyr was more accepting of other religions and races. This temple was originally to Lathandar, also known as the Morning Lord. God of the dawn, new life, and a warm spot for the young, his symbol was the rabbit and was a fairly well respected god. We were in the Chapel, repurposed to Frigga, original stained glass long gone, but what was left was in good repair if not old.

After the burning of Erylond, many of the temples had laid fallow, but there had been stipends set up by the original patriarchs and curates. So there was still some funds stocked away to keep the place in fuel and taxes paid, but it was rough out there and the orphanages relied on support from Patrons in Erylond and further afield as well. Anything that could be given would be appreciated. There was accommodations for about 100 or so kids, but the Sunrise Rabbits had rarely ever had more that 80 odd at a given time. Currently it was about half full with mid 40’s.

Some kids are dropped off at the doors, others found by guards, some are the results of families that had died. All are loved, brought in, fed, clothed, and taught the basics to get them by in life. There were programs with various guilds that would take the kids when they came of age, getting them into programs and teaching them a skill they could apprentice to. And yes, sometimes families would come and look for children to replace those that had died in their own homes.

The kids we saw were healthy and happy(ish), working in the classroom. We did note that at least half were half-orc…and there were no dwarvish children. Who didn’t fit the racial makeup of Erylond, but for now we didn’t comment on it. He took us around the place, eventually seeing the Dorms upstairs and the nursery, before coming back around and down to an office to wrap up our talk.

Meanwhile Shimlagesh had followed Hisvild and Findy to the Hospital wing where 7 kids were currently – 5 with benign injuries, and 2 with something else. One had fallen down some stairs a few times, spiral fracture, and then the leg had gone gangrenous and had to be removed at the shin. The other was pox ridden and barely breathing. The gnome watched (invisibly) and with growing disdain as it was discussed saving time and money to finish off the worst of the two. Findy took out a travel case and used a blue potion, a few drops, to cure the diseased limb of its gangrene, and sped along the healing of the stump. That child would live. The other though, for the payment of 150 nobles, she used a different potion on the child’s lips…and it took a last breath and died.

WTF?

He then followed them as another Practical (also a dwarf) arranged to have the body brought to the cellar with the others. They went to it, and Shim followed along. Eventually coming to a set of stairs going down. Two doors at the bottom, and it was Taskmaster’s Hisvild’s keyring that had the correct key to open at least one of the two doors (the Practicals had their own keys, but they were larger and most likely for bigger locks like on the front doors, gates, and the like).

It was a storeroom, but there were 5 bodies down here in the cool. Findy checked them all out and agreed on the price of 175 nobles for each one. That was 875 nobles for 5 dead orphans, but another 150 for the one they just finished off. Making it over 1,000 nobles for this macabre situation! The other door was closed and locked and Shim followed them up and out. It was also obvious that Findy and Hisvild had some sort of date planned for later.

Findy was heading off to the Blue Flowers and hoped to see Darius there. She bid the Headmaster farewell and left. The group made more small talk and eventually did the same. But at the last moment, Shim decided to stay behind and not go with the others, following the Practical back inside and waiting for the dwarf to leave before he was going to figure out where to go and where to find Shala.

As for the rest of us, as we were heading to the Blue Flowers, we all felt that the Headmaster might not be in the entire loop of everything the Taskmaster and maybe the Practicals were doing. Also, the deal with Grymeria was less than 2 years old at this time. We had some answers, and more questions, and we hoped that Shim would have some luck on solving them for us.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Meet 1, Adv 8, 11/6/2021

Blessed Frigga! It had been 20 months plus since we had the chance to be back at the table and play the campaign. I advanced time in game some 6 to 8 weeks and pulled them out of the Terror Dungeon and brought them to Erylond. With one of the players no longer here and a new player in place, I had 3 threads for the campaign bustling about - so I picked one of them and fed some power to it, came up with this 8-10 meeting adventure, and sent the party out on it. Gives them a chance to remember their characters, fill their lives again, and reengage with the world that has been waiting for their return.

Follows:

Somewhere lost in time, the party had found themselves in the Terror Dungeon, trapped between two main halls, an unknown foe wandering down a passage. The group discussed their predicament and decided that they had achieved what they needed, they had gotten the Magic Cup from the Runegate, dealt with Decron and the Bandersnatch, it was time to leave.

So they worked their way up out of the dungeon and then slept the night in Bork Keep. The following day had them fill their skins and take the 2 day trip back to Erylond, stopping briefly in Paxian, in the Stolen Kingdom of Canaslan, for a brew and a bed. By this time, there were more days with snow than not, and the group as a whole decided that heading back to the Terror Dungeon during the winter months was a bad idea.

But that led the party to discuss options for now. Most shops wanted a journeyman level personage to work there, and the group not only did not have any journeyman badges, but had no interest in apprenticing themselves to a master, tradeguild, or merchanthouse for a 2, 4, or even 6 year indenture. Because of this, they were able to get work, but at menial rates of pay…a few coppers at best. We had a crate of food stuffs arrive about once a week from Durcent province, thanks and appreciation from the Lordship and Sheriff there for work done, so we would not be starving. But the group was not making any money, and anything beyond subsistence meant that the party was losing cash.

We also had some adjustments in the group. Barb had grown weary of the fight and struggle, especially after the recent foray into the Terror Dungeon. She had made up with her father and brother and felt the call of Famyr pulling her back to Sorton. So for the next season, two maybe, she planned on heading west before the snows got too deep and reconnecting with her family and tribe once more. Not wanting the party to be without a competent fighter, she introduced us to her sparring partner, a half-orc warrior named Tidra. For about a week we all worked together and found Tidra to be a competent warrior and a good fit for us, so we felt well equipped to handle whatever situation might come our way, having a small farewell party for Barb.

The next number of weeks moved on; the snows grew deeper, the days colder, the work more numbing. Some visitors from the Canaslan Adventuring Bands would come to town and we caught them strutting their way around the Flying Pegasus or attending a night of song and revelry at the Erylond College of Performing Arts. With travel retarded, many locals had taken to asking the local Greater Rand Sellsword and Adventuring Guild for help in whatever matters were important for the locals. Missing animals, helping a sick family, raising barns, harvesting fields, and other tasks. Some were taken immediately, others we hoped to get the chance to do.

It was around the 15th of Icemonth, 3 solid weeks past the official start of winter but 5 or 6 weeks of snow on the ground, when a 6 count of us decided that going to work for 2 hots and a common or two was just not going to happen today. It was early enough, so Thalin, Vulwulf, Shimlagesh, Tidra, Darius, and Eoghan donned boots and cloaks and made their way north through the busy streets of Erylond, on their way to the Adventuring Guild to see if there was anything they could do.

On arrival they met the two Half-Ogre gate guards, were waved in, and then walked around the Fountain Chamber and the Stairway of Trophies. Hibuela Asalin, the Guild’s Esquire, lawyer, and notary, met the party and talked to them for a bit. There was a job that had come in and she was hoping that we could help out the nice family who needed the guild’s aid. She led us to the Facilitator’s office, Pha-iyr Carom and then continued on her way, cracking gum and swishing ponytail as she walked off. “Don’t let her appearance fool you,” Darius warned the group, “I hear she's rather good with a blade.”

“Yes, my friends,” Thalin agreed. “In the dark!”

The half-elf rose to meet up, ushering us into his office. As always, the desk was laden with folders and papers, bundles and scrolls spilling off to the floor. Pha-iyr was an attractive fellow, ready smile and twinkling eye. After some chit and chat, got right to the point. A Finn and Darca Planters had their youngest child, a daughter of 4 named Shala, disappear 3 days ago right outside their home. No one had seen anything and the child was with the mother and other children. The watch had been contacted but the Planters were growing concerned that time was passing and contracted the Guild to get someone to help. They put up 83 commons as a reward and the guild as usual matched the number. In addition, there was an additional 20 commons added to the reward from Pha-iyr himself, bringing the payoff to find the child and return her home to 186 common. Thalin was already looking to sign off on the job and we took it, getting a stamped letter of conduct that would allow us to deal with the watch and look for the child without crossing into any illegal lines.

We left and were going to visit the Planters when Darius suggested we head to the local tavern and get something warm to drink as well as something to eat. He spent some money on mulled ale and hot cider, getting some sausage and honey bread as well. We then went to the neighborhood, coming to the home in question. It was a 3 story affair, a different family living on each floor. Finn (half orc) and Darca (human) met us at the door and were happy that we were there. They had 3 other children (all older) who we met briefly.

3 days ago the family and the ones upstairs had gone outside to throw snowballs in the street and have a good time, Darca and the other mother watching, when there was a crump and a large swath of snow had fallen from the eaves above. The entire group of 8 were looking the snow over and it was maybe 2 minutes tops when Darca realized Shala was missing.

A search revealed nothing and the watch was summoned. The case was being handled by a Watchcorporal Mercer and he thought there was some tracks in the snow, but they ended up not showing anything. The tracks were not Shala’s and could not be confirmed by the Planters. Vulwulf had requested a pot of water and was spending some time studying over it, performing a divination. Eoghan wanted something personal of Shala’s to use to help Grin possibly track the lost child.

The half-orc druid did try to zero in on the child but was growing weary as the reflecting pool spell was fighting against him in an effort to scry on someone he’s never seen. But he did get lucky, nose bleed and all, and the party and Planters were able to see the young quarter orcish child in a dark room, on the hearth by an industrial looking chimney, wearing a set of silver wrist cuffs or manacles, having a rabbit symbol on them. Shim quickly drew the rabbit and we left, the Planters having hope on learning that their daughter was alive and somewhere lost for now.

Once outside, we searched the local area, finding nothing obvious. Eoghan had Grin sniff the doll we had been given and then try to track to the east in the direction of the wall we had been told the Watchcorporal had thought the tracks went. The mound of snow there was 9’ tall, the wall over 40’. Burrows had been dug in the snow but the local kids and we looked in and around, but saw no sign of Shala. Darius was stomping in the snow, kicking and digging down a bit.

He came upon a sewer grate where the melt and runoff had cavitated under the harder packed snow, leaving a hollow. We dug it out and the sewer grate was held on by 2 “L” pins, easily pulled out. This would allow the grate to lift, 2’ x 3’. We could look down; rungs went down 5’ to the sewer pipe below, most likely 4’ diameter. Right now though it had swiftly moving water filling it to roughly 2/3rds full, so it was nothing the party wanted to risk navigating. However, from the direction, it did run from the east under the wall.

We discussed a situation that Sybil had run into in the bazaar with street urchins from an orphanage in the 2nd Ring of the city. They were being poorly treated and abused by the taskmaster, and it something to do with rabbits. Perhaps this was the same place? And if a person, invisible?, did kidnap a child, a nice secret way to the 2nd ring would be a benefit in spiriting the child away swiftly and away from any watch issues.

Thalin was concerned that other children might be taken as well and we should learn a pattern if that was the case. The Watch for this section of the city was not too far from here in the entertainment district. Eoghan and Darius were going to go and talk to Watchcorporal Mercer and the rest of the group would keep their distance for now.

The few watchmen outside the watch were disinterested in help or conversation, giving the two men a less than happy feel for this. However we did get in and met with the Watchcorporal, a chatty half orc. We showed him our paper and we commented that the stamp was very nice (could he even read?) and then we talked about the Planters’ child. His feel was the child was abducted and they are looking for her during their normal watch. Other children had also disappeared in the area over the last 5 weeks. And he suspects that the next two watches, north and south of here, also had some missing children. Taken? Seemed to be orcish or half-orcish kids. Darius buttered him up and made him feel good about what they were doing and we left with Mercer willing to share with us anything he comes across and we do the same for him.

We met up and shared what we learned. The thought was then for some of us to go on to the other side of the wall into the 2nd Ring and look around on that side for a sewer grate, hoping to pick up the trail there. Two of us should go to the next watch and see if the story checked out and other kids were missing. Since it was a more orcish section of town, Tidra and Vulwulf were opted to go and talk to the watch while the rest of us go and find the sewer. And we meet up on the other side.

So we split up at the queue to the 2nd ring and the party were met with some nice guards, reminding them that curfew was 9 PM and they had to be out by then. Reminder to keep weapon’s sheathed and good luck. From there we through the wall and into the 2nd ring. Streets were nicer, homes bigger, guild halls, temples, cathedrals, libraries, parks and the like. We travelled north and kept looking at the walls hoping to find the right area that would match up with the Planter’s neighborhood. Eoghan and Darius were pretty confident they were in the right spot and were looking around the residential area.

A few dwarven icemelters were working the streets here and Darius went into his “nice guy who has a lot of money” routine, getting the icemelters to warm up to him (lol) and eventually (he implied that he was part of the inspection crew for the interior and public works) they let him know that “yes! There was once sewer grate where the pins had rusted away.” They led the group to it, and if you didn’t know where to look, might have never seen it. It was in a cul-de-sac in the heart of the residential section. The pins had rusted away and the grate was propped partially open by a bit of shifted street cobble.

We wished the dwarves well, thanked them (paid them off too) and after they were gone, Eoghan and Grin tracked the area, the wolf catching the faint scent of Shala; and pulling the party slowly out of the area and to the south. They walked along, eyes peeled for any chimney that looked like the one from Vulwulf’s pool.

As for the two half-orcs, the watch here were more diligent and they were introduced to WatchSergeant Valad, a half-ogre who was painstakingly writing a report when they came to visit. He could read the charter they presented to him and they talked about the 5 kids missing. 3 orcish descended children, 1 human, and 1 dwarf. All over 6 weeks. It wasn’t outright said, but the WatchSergeant was convinced the kids were still in the city and might be in the abandoned slum section along the south walls. They thanked him and left, heading for the second ring. The guards there were less kind to the two party members, were curt, and suspicious of them, and told them they had to be out by 7 – after wanting to know EXACTLY where they were going. Vulwulf gave some story about the fighter’s guild and they were let in – but walked east after noting the guards were watching them.

The Guard and the Watch were not associated with one another – the Guard answered to the Council of Lords and ostensibly worked for the Duke. Their charge was to keep the walls manned and keep the peace should need be. The Watch was the local constabulary, and answered to the People’s Council. Think of them as a mix of public supported vigilism and low order police work.

The two friends walked east, noting that as they walked along, the south area was a mass of former and unused massive temple grounds that had been parceled out and carved off. Making a number of orphanages. And it was the 4th one that had the symbol of a rabbit on the front iron gates, named the “Sunrise Rabbits” Orphanage. They checked it over but there was no easy way to get and no way to get around, barring ringing the front gate. So they retired across the street to the park where they sat on a bench and waited a bit, watching the place and trying to think about what to do.

The rest of the group was making their way along, coming to the south section of the ring, Grim still following the scent. They two parties spied each other and we reconnected, sharing what we had learned. There was a food merchant at the east end of the park so we went over there to discuss what our next plan was and how we were going to execute it. It was Icemonth the 15th, 2:30 PM at this point.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Eoghan One Shot Post Report - Meet 2

And the second one. when I wrote it, I had no idea if the party, or any of them, would manage to survive. Dungeon is a bit stacked against them and no real healing (a few potions here and there, not nearly enough). Plus when any door out is opened, it allows the Grues to come in (there are 2 of them, mated pair). So I truly did not know if there was actually a survivor that knew what exactly happened to Eoghan's wife and child.

Happy that we have one, and the least pre-supposing of them all! Very cool. And for those who wonder about the stats for my Grue's (those who played Zork in the day...) they are:


Grue: AC: 15, HD: 4+3, HP: 35, Att @ +6(/+6), Dam: 2d6+3, Morale: 11 / 6 in Light, Speed: 30', Skills: Listen +10, Move Silent +10, Hide +10, Jump +10, Climb +10. Special: In pure darkness, Grues can get a second attack. They have superior Infravision and can see 120' in the dark. They also have Tremorsense to 60' as well and can feel movements. Standing a bit over 9 and a half feet tall, they are covered with thick dark wiry hair all over their bodies and weigh in at over 1,250 lbs.

Follows:


Closing the secret door, we listened to the two doors on the north hall, Jesse commenting that the western one had some faint goblinoid voices behind it, and Starhawk letting the group know the easterly one was silent. There was the comment that he had some melted ears and might not have heard correctly, so Jesse and he swapped and listened to the opposite doors. And this time neither person heard anything.

Right.

The group decided to open the easterly door first and avoid any problem with more goblins. A look inside showed that it was at one point a chapel to Frigga based upon the older painting on the wall. Most of the accoutrements had been pilfered but the main altar was still there. There was a statue of an orcish looking muscular person, but the head had been removed, and a misshapen round black marble looking stone was in its place. A bed had been set up near the altar and there were 4 pews still in here.

Deimos, Liam, and Rona opted to go in and look around. Rona really wanted the stone. Not the statue, just the stone head. Liam was looking over the pews, and Deimos was flipping the bed…and revealed a dead Halfling. Ew. It had been rotting for a few weeks now, putrefying here. It was also evident that someone had cut its throat. While they were looking it over, Rona managed to get the stone free and showed it to Jesse – the two of them exclaiming, “Stone Bros.”

It was pointed out they were girls and Stone Sisters might be more appropriate.

Whatever treasure the Halfling had had been cut free. So Deimos then jammed his trident into its chest and “scooped” it up, letting the juices run free and making it easier(?) for Liam to check it out. As usual though, the Half-orc barbarian got to joking around and bounced the Halfling a bit, treating it like a marionette. A rotted 3 week dead marionette. The boots fell off, one with the foot still inside. An inside pocket was discovered there, so Liam dumped out the…foot and…the juices, before going to open the pocket within. Deimos slipped up though and dropped the rotting Halfling on Liam’s back before offering, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. That was me!” and scooping it back up.

Inside the boot was a long wooden pipe and a packet of halfling’s weed – the scent of which had Jesse lift her head and look around with interest.

We left the room and then decided we were going to try the goblin room. Opening the secret door, Deimos trident stabbed a dead goblin within and told Jesse, “Talk like a goblin!” after we had opened the door and he shoved the marionetted greenskin within. The goblin’s within didn’t buy it, and a fight occurred. The goblin on the stick was hit, saving one attack for the rest of us, but there were 3 other goblins there. Crossbow bolts were fired and the one on the stair was hit. Deimos, Hawk, and Rona were the heavy front hitters, taking the fight to the goblins. One tried to escape but a hastily thrown sword, and then axe, finished it up.

Once the fight was done, we could see two orcs were here. They were badly hurt (down to 1 hp each), crippled, and thirsty and hungry. We got them up and they identified themselves as Artor and Dermus of Clan Thorfeld. They were captured maybe 3 days ago here but the goblins and their hobgoblin boss, a nasty fellow named Billy Discourage. Normally this is a good place for wandering orcs to hide out in when travelling at night, but goblins have never been here before. Seems they were hunting something big at night, assumption was that it was a wendigo.

We asked them if they wanted to come with us, but in their current shape, they opted to stay here for now. They moved to the chapel and braced the door from the other side, hoping to make it to morning. Deimos moved the dead into the secret room and we all drew up again, moving to the stairs and heading up.

We climbed, lantern held high, and looked at the main room on the 2nd floor. Originally an office, there were 2 roll top desks, long unused, and chairs on the west wall, and a large sturdy 2 seater bench on the south wall. A door was east, a door south, and 2 doors on the west wall (one at the north and south ends of that wall), fleshed out the chamber. Liam and Starhawk checked out the desks. Hawk looked at the north west door, Jesse the east door…and Deimos drew out his weapon and proceeded to beat the ever loving crap out of the bench.

Lovely.

The rolltop desks were not locked but were water logged and swelled over time, so might make noise when opened. Liam was looking at Deimos smashing the bench with his Morningstar and muttering, “I’ll risk it.” The desk was hard to open, but Liam got a part of it opened, and then forced it the rest of the way up with a clattering rattle. At some point a sandwich had been in here, but it had partially rotten before mummifying, and a cloud of fungal spores blew out, settling around the thief. Who spent the rest of the night and adventure, coughing, snotting, and clearing his throat (-1 on all rolls). Deimos tired himself out and conceded that the bench was not “going to break, so we can all feel safe to sit on it.” Good job, man!

Jesse faintly heard some goblin voices far from the eastern door, but nothing nearby. From the western door on the south, we smelled some pungent urine. And from the north west door, Hawk found the cleaning closet. He took the feather duster immediately, and there was a scramble for the bucket as well. We opted to open the second desk, Deimos doing the honors with trident and lots of rattling and banging. Inside was a silver flask with a swallow of aged whiskey, a carved turtle with a reverse design on the back shell, and a small smattering of silver and copper coins. We thought about what to do next and decided to try the door that smelled like urine.

On opening it, we could hear the pad and whine of an approaching wolf. Deciding to back up, we shut it and let the animal bark and howl, which attracted other goblins from beyond it, to come out and berate the wolf to be silent. We waited until the goblins returned and we suspected that they were eating and resting for now, south and west.

Ok, we then went to the South door and listened and looked in. Hallway with 2 doors at the end on the east and west walls. West door had to lead back to the goblins and we snuck down and listened…sure enough, at least 4 goblin voices within. Alright. East door? Nothing heard.

Group gathered up and went down, checking out the east door. It was a guard room. The cistern on the ceiling had broken, leaking into this chamber. There was a section of the floor south and east, that had dropped and was leaking to the floor below. Alright! Figured that out. Two sets of double bunk beds and a 4 count of footlockers were in here. Decision was to avoid the weak floor and check out the lockers. There was another door on the north wall of this room. Listening to it revealed at least a half dozen goblin voices discussing with someone with a deeper voice named Bill. The Hobgoblin.

The footlockers ended up giving us assorted old orcish clothing, poor shape and threadbare. A bit over 2 dozen brass bits (as Rona said, “What the Hell is that?!”) and two small flasks with a blue liquid. Jesse and Liam helped let us know it was a Healing Draught. One was given to Starhawk, making the dwarven locksmith feel much better (healed 2), the other we saved for now. Deimos and Rona had some wounds on them, but we opted to wait and see.

This then had us in a quandary. Two rooms with goblins, ready and prepared. And the wild card of the goblin-wolf in the hall. We wanted to lure one group, hopefully Bill and his, down the stairs and used Dermus and Artor to help us out. So we went down, closing all the doors behind us, and spoke to the two orcs in the Chapel. We explained the plan was to have them lie on the floor ready and waiting, weapons (that we would supply them with) under them. Some of us would attack from behind, and the rest of us would hit them from the front. To make it more attractive, we gave them the healing draught we had found, Dermus drank it (winning with Rock smashing through Paper of course).

We went through a few plans but ended up with Jesse and Liam in the closet at the top of the stairs, the orcs in the same place as before, and the rest of us in the hall, weapons out and hot. Everyone got in position and we waited, door cracked ever so slightly from the hall to the room with the orcs.

It was a bit over 10 minutes that Bill Discourage and his troupe of three goblins came out of the east door, and went to the stairs, heading down. About half way down they stopped and were unhappy that the goblins were NOT here guarding. Bill warned the goblins to be ready and there was talk about going back up. Not wanting to miss out, we attacked, and almost immediately, Hawk got a crossbow bolt to the head! Stopped by his helmet, sticking right between his eyes. Jesse fired off a “push” spell at the gob at the top of the stairs, knocking it forward and making it stumble down the stairs to the next set. Liam was next, inching forward to ram his sword into the goblin’s back. We fired our own weapons and there was charging into the chamber. Axes went flying, more bolts were shot. Artor went down screaming and Dermus got shot – but lived!!! (Wicked scar!) Bill Discourage was beset on both flanks and the hobgoblin tried his damndest but was swiftly overrun and the battle came to an end a few scant minutes after it began.

We had some more damage and were not too happy with things. While looking them over, Bill had a key on him, and a note!. We read it:

Bill Discourage

Use the crate to capture both of them. Don’t give a Loki infested shit about anything else except cleaning up this fucking mess. Should never have trusted that orcish prick. Trank them, box them, and send them back to Paxian Shippers and Exporters as soon as fucking able. Let’s fucking hope they don’t kill anyone. Don’t fuck around, 2 teams. Cost is worth it.

Loring

Loring was the guy working for the guild that was against your guild at the Arena in Stivil. As for something to capture and trank, we hadn’t seen it yet. Mayhap that was what the wendigo’s were? They had gotten out and killed Eoghan’s family, and then chased us here. And were outside the Falcon’s Watch Keep. (To the players at the table – it explained some gaping holes in an earlier adventure we had where something didn’t make sense regarding the Paxian Shippers. But now it does!)

We loaded the dead bodies into the secret hall, Dermus taking the hobgoblin’s armor and sword (gearing up nicely dude!). We then went up the stairs to the office again and through the east door. Short hall with a door right there on the south wall, and another one north that lead to an office. We checked the south door, it was locked. So we used the new key and opened it up.

And a long armed hairy figure reached out, grabbed one of us by the head, and then smashed us in the chest, driving us back. Followed up by the same howling cry that we had run from earlier!

We looked around and some of us ran, Jesse and Dermus heading for the water room, Starhawk ran for the closet to hide. Liam backed up and that left Deimos who was getting VERY angry, Hawk, and Rona with the stalking figure. And it was strong. So very strong. Its blows were like hammer bolts (2d6+3!) and it took out strikes with wailing cries – but kept on. With Liam gone with the lantern, it was only dim light with us and infravision. Figure was a good 10’ tall, 4 and a half feet at the shoulder wide, and walked stooped over, long armed, and its eyes were brilliant, indicating it must have infravision – but the superior kind. Briefly, the word Grue was tossed around, but it did not matter as it proceeded to assault the party still standing before it.

Jesse knocked on the goblin door to the south, screaming that we were under attack and it was here. They locked the doors and barred them. Then it was hide in the bed chamber and Liam was listening and waiting. Hawk went down first and Deimos and Rona backed up into the office, the monster following. Deimos ran to the door with the wolf and ripped it open, hoping to get the animal to attack the monster! Instead, it attacked Deimos and the barbarian was howling at it, “Not me! Not me you idiot!”

The wendigo charged over and tore the wolf apart, Rona hitting it from behind and Deimos striking it from the front. Liam snuck into the office that Bill was in, and looked around, hoping to find something to “trank” it with – but nothing! This left only the roof. He waited, hoping to time his run just right.

Deimos was slain, his chest caved in, and then the monster turned its fury on Rona, beating and smashing the dwarven fighter to death. Liam took the chance and ran to the stairs and then up them to the roof. Where he found two very large crates (6’x6’x8’), double wall reinforced, a heavy crossbow mounted on a swivel (no Str penalty), a quiver of bolts with a wrapping on each one (tranked and ready), and a mound of rotting fruit – to attract them!. Hearing the monster below stalking closer on seeing the human thief run, Liam loaded up a bolt, swung the weapon around, took aim, and got ready.

It stalked closer and closer. Jesse left the room, Dermus stayed, the Halfling heading to the main room, seeing his friends dead, walked by the closet (Starhawk was still in there, hiding), and went down stairs. Was going to head out, but instead went to the secret room with the many dead bodies and reek of fecal matter, entered and shut the door, hunkering down in the dark and waited.

When Liam saw the monster storm out, charging toward him, he took aim…and fired!! And his bolt hit…but failed to penetrate! (Missed by ONE!!) The monster smashed out at him, hoping to throw him off the side, but Liam was buffeted and managed to roll a bit away, grabbing another bolt where he hoped to stab the Grue…but failed. And then he too was slain!

Dermus took the chance while all this was going on to run down the stairs, weave through the corridors, head to the front door, drag the statue aside, and then open it up, hoping to get away. And the second Grue that had been patiently waiting there most of the night, tore the orc to shreds, killing him gruesomely. (Lol)

Time passed and Starhawk was able to hear the stalking grue grow closer and closer. And then ripped the closet door open like tissue paper. He fired at it and it ignored the bolt in its chest, beating the dwarven locksmith to death. The two grue’s then stalked through the keep a bit, tried the goblin doors but failed to open them, ate some parts of the dead party members, and left long before sun rose to find whatever den that had been using to escape the day light.

The goblins fled the Falcon’s Watch in the early morning. And that left Jesse. The Halfling wizard/thief. She emerged hungry, thirsty, tired, and wired. She walked around, seeing everyone dead. In her own self interests, she did take the other half of the treasure that Liam still had on him (15 more silver and 200 more copper), added it to her half, and picked up the odd bit of treasure the rest of the party had on them (including a ring that Starhawk had taken from Eoghan’s murdered wife) and then left the orcish keep. She looked down the foothills of the Passian Hills to the Bowman homestead, then a number of others, and the distant walls some 3 miles away of Stivil. Where she was still responsible for the guilds’ loss and even after everything that had happened from Ripjack to now, she would be forced into slavery if she returned. Shaking her head she squared her shoulders and looked north instead. “Tradelands,” she muttered. “I wonder if some orcish clan could use my skills?”

And there we go! Jesse survived. And we now know as players that Eoghan’s family were killed by grues. Someone has been sneaking monsters OUT of the Terror Dungeon and selling them to the highest bidder out here. But somehow, Paxian Exporters fucked up and two were shipped to somewhere else and then escaped. And in their brief time out, took out Eoghan’s family.