Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

The Chamber of Eyes

In which the adventurers defeat the Bloodreavers

Interlude

The evening grew overly long as Rift finished the tale of the battle with the Duergar and so we all headed back to our chambers to sleep off the buzzing in our heads and the heaviness in our bellies. The next day the tale of the destruction of the Bloodreaver Gang continued.

Originally there had been five: a cleric, paladin, fighter, wizard and warlock. They had done great deeds for the Nentir Vale, including the destruction of a terrible portal that threatened to link this world with the greatest depths of evil. Upon their successful return to Winterhaven there was nary time to rest. The warlock Tira and the wizard Skamos hastily departed on a personal quest – a tale which is best suited to another chapter. Meanwhile, her high excellency Marla of Pelor arrived with news of the Bloodreavers and their abductions of innocent townsfolk of the Harkenwold. The adventuring group had been split but it was quickly reformed by the impetuous Rift and the brash young ranger Erik Stormgrund who had done the initial tracking of the Bloodreaver gang to Thunderspire Mountain.

At Marla’s bequest, and with the promise of a handsome reward from the Baron of Harkenwold, the group traveled southeast along the King’s Road to Fallcrest and then further east along the Trade Road to Thunderspire Mountain. The mission was to rescue the captives from the mysterious Bloodreaver Gang.

The story resumes with the adventurers having travelled into the very heart of Thunderspire Moutain, through the Seven Pillard Hall and mazes of the Minotaurs. My patrons have told tales that are incredible and I still cannot believe even half of it. Yet they have drawn me in, and not just with the new coins in my pocket nor the fantastic tales of alleged deeds, but with the full story that continues to unfold now, as I turn my quill back to the parchment…

9) Into the Chamber of Eyes

“Where were we? ”, asked Rift, still bleary eyed as though she had just gotten out of bed just in time for dinner. My effort to answer by scanning the prior day’s notes was interrupted – “Oh, the duergar battle, um, the flaming little creature I turned to ash as he ran from the battle for help. Yes, we then took a rest in that chamber so that we’d all be stronger for the next battle. You know, we had heard this nasty guttural breathing of a terrible beast which lay beyond those double doors.”

Listening to her out of one ear, I peered up from my notes as Z’alden and the dwarf, Barrick, joined us at the table. “Where are Felsmon and Erik?”, I inquired.

“Felsmon is out out looking for Erik. We think Erik is out in that glade of aspens meditating”, answered Z’alden.

“Erik likes to talk about, uh, what’s the word… finesse. Ha!”, rejoined Barrick, “Ain’t noth’n better than standing toe-to-toe with the enemy in full-on combat. Bash. Bash. Never had any use for dancing.”

Despite the ribbing, it was clear to me that by this point Erik and Rift had been fully accepted by the original three. All five were very different in their personalities and fighting styes, but it was these differences which made them stronger.

“So, there we were, mending out wounds from the battle with the duegar”, continued Z’alden, “We spent some time deciding what to do next. We knew that our immediate destiny lay in that double-doored room, but to try to go around the back or make a frontal assault? What say Bahamut?”

“Frontal assault!”, grinned Barrick. “Got me this scar from that one”, he said, showing it off proudly.

Z’alden continued, “We lined up in the corridor, Barrick leading the way, followed by Felsmon and then the rest of us; Erik with a bow. The plan was to have Barrick and Felsmon enter left and then right, with me in the middle and Rift and Erik laying down long range attacks. Instead, when Barrick peered around the corner, it was ‘thwap, thwap, thwap’. A hail of arrows rained down. Praise be to Bahamut that Barrick survived.”

Z’alden then described the room as long and rectangular. At one end were the double doors and at the far end was a statue and carving that formed a shrine to the evil toad god Torog. On each of the long sides were stairs that ascended to a high ledge that hugged the perimeter, giving access to the shrine to Torog. In the center of the floor were heavy chains which the adventurers surmised were used to hold the captives. Positioned in the middle of one side was a door – access which the adventurers would make use of. This was the “chamber of eyes”. More interesting were the current inhabitants of the room…

“Despite the storm of arrows, Barrick counted three hobgoblin archers, their chief and an enormous wolf-like creature”, explained Z’alden.

At this point Felsmon returned with Erik who had been fetched from his day of training. Z’alden and Barrick excused themselves to go get a pint of ale, with Barrick’s eagerness being quite noticeable. Rift sat in the corner rubbing her head, muttering about a new potion to combat intoxication as though it was some physical foe. Erik continued the story of the battle that unfolded…

“The archers had anticipated our arrival. Barrick slammed the door shut just in time, with the hot breath of dire wolf just on the other side. At first we didn’t realize it, but upon looking at Barrick, he was quite injured. So using divine healing words, Z’alden restored Barrick to good health as best he could.”

“Rift and Felsmon then quickly headed for the side door that Barrick had spotted. The plan was to try to make a less, uhh, bold entrance, and perhaps grab one of the enemies. We were all concerned about the side rooms that they had to pass along the way – those rooms had not been cleared. Luckily everything was okay, at least until they got up to the side door.”

“When Rift burst open that side door the hobgoblin chief and one of his archers were ready for her and attacked. It’s amazing, but that little Rift is quite the hard one to hit! She responded with a wicked scorching burst of fire – and then another. They paid the price. Trust me, don’t mess with this wizard!”

The mentioning of Rift’s name was enough to distract her, but instead of commenting she uncharacteristically just smiled.

“At that point, another hobgoblin archer turned to fire on Rift, but missed, as did his comrade by the door who was armed with a sword. Room had been made for our heavy armor, Felsmon, who then rushed past Rift and charged out onto the ledge. With a mighty heave, the hobgoblin guard was knocked off the ledge to the chamber’s floor.”

“Meanwhile, back at the double doors, Z’alden swung them open and immediately cast his divine powers against the dire wolf. I joined the fray along with Barrick who was still suffering from his wounds and failing to connect with the giant wolf. Only one of my two arrows found its mark.”

“Across the room we could see the hobgoblin chief raise his guard back up to the ledge. This was a disheartening sight to see! Sword and arrows Barrick and I know, but magic? Our strength here is in Rift who immediately attacked the guard, shoving it once again off the ledge. The first kill. Seeing our plight with the dire wolf, she moved along the ledge to flank it, but the hobgoblin chief got in a strike. Our wizard – in melee combat!”

“From across the room, the remaining two archers shot at Felsmon, one missing completely and the other reflecting off his mighty armor. Not even flinching at the arrows, the dragonborn concentrated a mighty blow against the hobgoblin chief, sending him reeling backwards. A turn in our favor.”

Erik’s increased hand gestures belied the calm the young ranger sought to present…

“Z’alden’s powers are amazing… from across the room he attacked the wolf while giving strength to Felsmon, who now stood alone on his side of the room. Aye, brave paladin. The hobgoblin chief leapt off the ledge rather than further face our Felsmon.”

“At this point I attempted to set a flurry of arrows upon the beast. Alas, only one struck, but it mattered little for Barrick had regained his composure from that first hail of arrows. His axe swung with brute force, striking and sinking deeply into the mangy flesh of the dire wolf. It now lay dead before us. A thrilling sense of impending victory washed over us.”

“Rift now turned her focus to the remaining two archers, who still threatened us from the floor and the far ledge. She let loose her arcane fire, burning both and making them think twice about their current motivations. Yet they still did not yield. In a flurry of chaos they moved to attack the un-armored wizard, dealing two serious blows but not before she could get in a strike of her own.”

“All the while, Felsmon was running along the ledge to get to the archer on the far side, stopping momentarily to let out a mighty roar… the fearsome attack of the dragonborn… lightening shooting forth to strike the hobgoblin chief and an archer.”

“Seeing Rift in a bad way, Z’alden said a prayer of Bahamut that sent out healing energies to Rift while striking at a hobgoblin archer. With the battle going our way, but Rift still in peril, I then moved into the chamber to attack the enemy chief. Two arrows just grazed him. I must work on my skill with the bow, for he then turned his anger toward me, dealing a fair bit of damage. Fresh off slaying the dire wolf, Barrick also joined the battle in the center of the room, which now had a second hobgoblin attacking me.”

“The thick of the battle was on. Z’alden flanked the guard and with his mace struck hard, branding the foe with glowing runes and empowering Felsmon. I dodged back from the hobgoblin chief and finally, at long last, let fly my best arrow. I could sense the arrow’s feathers guiding it to a gap in the chief’s armor. It sunk deep. A lethal blow. Krand, the hobgoblin chief, was dead!”

At this point Erik sat back in his chair with contentment. The battle was not over as Z’alden took maximum damage from one of the remaining hobgoblins. But it was a loosing battle for the two. As one tried to escape up to the ledge, it was knocked unconscious and the other was out-right captured. This hobgoblin, Argrink, was interrogated but revealed nothing of use.

Upon searching the Chamber of Eyes, the adventurers found a silver key on Krand, the hobgoblin chief, which lead to many riches when used on the chest in his personal chamber:

- 5 gems consisting of 3 amethysts and 2 peridots
- a rather large quantity of gold and silver
- a potion of healing (as identified by Rift)
- battle forged plate armor (for use by Felsmon)

Finally, the group received a clue about the whereabouts of the captives. It came in the form of a two-day old letter from one Murkelmor Grimmerzhul:

This is my written agreement of the
purchase and transfer of the prisoners
taken from Riverdown.  The sum of 1,000
gold pieces was given by me, and received
by Chief Krand.

Barrick and Z’alden had returned to our table, not only with a second round of ale but plates of food. Rift also sat close, still quiet, but becoming more of her lively self. The story of the Bloodreavers was not done. The Chamber of Eyes had not been fully searched…

10) Bloodreaver’s End?

Well, the five brave adventurers seem to have a nice tidy tale. But, being an inquisitive and bright scholar, I like to explore all angles to a story. Especially a humdinger like this one. Imagine my surprise then, when a battle-scarred human bandit (as I presume he must be), showed up in the tavern one night, long after even Barrick had lulled himself to sleep. This bandit, if he can be believed, had an interesting tale.

“Th’ name’s Bawb. Yep, that’s right. Bawb. Short and sweet, not like me.”

“So ther we wuz, me an’ my comrades. Just sittin’, shootin’ the breeze, knocking back a few. Those hobbies and gobbies may stink, but they can sure hold their ale. And the tales they tell of their womenfolk. Whew!”

At this point, the bandit, who smelled none too good himself, nearly choked on a turkey leg, before getting a hold of himself.

“Wait, where wuz I?”

“Oh yeah, just minding our own business, we wuz. Slavery’s hard business after all. Humanoid’s gotta have a chance to relax once in a while… All of a sudden, bang! Some fool kicks the door in. Don’t know what we wuz expectin, maybe a troll or something. But, noooooo. It’s a group of high-falutin’ adventurers. Ha!”

Here, Bawb spit vehemently, narrowly missing my +1 mouseskin slippers. What an uncouth fellow. Still, one must deal with all sorts.

“So, the first thing we see is like this half-pint fighter type. Guess he was a dwarf, tho’ I don’t hang around much with them rich types. Probably had tons o’ magic too, seemed like he really liked that axe of his. Anyhoo, then this guy in the back starts shoutin’ about dragons or some such nonsense. Whatever. Finally, this chick waving a stick like thinks, oh she’s so cool. And what does she do? She freezes our butts off! Unbelievable. Crank, Billie, and Buggyboo are like down for the count, like frozen fish or somethin’.”

“Then, get this. From the kitchen, we hear a cry for help. Poor Stinky and Rottentoes, just tryin’ to cook up a decent spread (so we don’t eat them instead!) Har, har! Anyway, these burly type dudes have somehow forced their way into our kitchen. Well, me, I figure they must be after our stash of ale. Why else attack our innocent band?”

Here, Bawb gets quite worked up. Evidently, the remainder of the story must be quite painful to recall. But, after I buy him a few rounds, he manages to choke down his tears and forge ahead.

“Well, we wuz no match for these types. Must’a been 10 of them, all wailin’ on us with battleaxes, swords, big dragon heads breathin’ fire, crazy women with hands ‘o flame. You name it. Man, now I’m a good fighter mind you. But once I seen poor Rottentoes go down, guts hanging on the end ‘o the sword of that stealthy ranger-type, then I just had enough. That ranger, he’s nuts. Not to mention his big scaly friend. You think to yourself, I seen it all. But no, along comes something like that, lightnin’ shooting out of every orifice. I mean, geez. It ain’t worth it.”

I quietly ask him what he did next.

“What did I do? Hummph! I did what any self-respectin’ bandit would do. I ran for it! But no, they wouldn’t let me get away, would they? Probably wanted a bandit head for a trophy or somethin’. First that daft female wizo type is breathin’ down my butt, flames comin out of her hair and such. Then, the big dragon dude stomps over and starts shoutin’ at me. Couldn’t understand a word he wuz sayin, but he wuz scary. Threw down my sword, said I surrender, like twice and all. But no, clonk me on the head, they do, then drag me around after ‘em like a sack of rocks. Head still hurts.”

At this point Barrick, who had been sleeping under a nearby table, staggered up. As soon as Bawb caught sight of him, his eyes grew wide in alarm.

“Aaaaaaa! The bearded short one with the axe! Torog blast me!”

Grabbing his mug of ale, the bandit leaped up, knocking over his chair, before running for the door.

I put down my pen, sentence unfinished. I do not know quite what to think. Was the bandit indeed describing the same group of so-called adventurers? If so, then perhaps I underestimated them. I must ponder this further…

Comments

DM: Before the party leaves the Chamber of Eyes, with prisoner Bawb in tow, is there anything you wish to do? Are you heading directly back to the Seven-Pillared Hall? Are you going via the reverse route you used to reach the Chamber or are you going to try and follow the reverse directions given to you by Rendil?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

As they pass the mysterious “mermaid” room, Z’alden turns to Bawb, “what is that room for? Did you ever go in there? Did you ever see anyone go in there?”

Regardless of his answers, Z’alden wants to check it out one more time if everyone else will aid him, for a 41 (“take 20” + 13 + (4 +2 aid another bonuses) = 41) perception check. Do they find anything?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

DM: A “take 20” search on a small room can take 2-5 minutes depending on the complexity of the room. Searching until a character rolls a 20 and everyone else also makes their aid bonus rolls in the same turn takes quite a bit longer. A “take 28” takes 20-40 minutes to search the mermaid room. Since you have time to kill right now it is not an issue. Regardless, you find nothing new in the room.

Bawb replies, “Other than walking in once every so often to look at the picture I have no idea. I’ve been told this complex is an old shrine to that squat toady statue in the chain room, but what this room could be for is above me.” He pauses, shakes his head, then continues, “It’s wierd though, supposedly minotaurs built this place, but if that were true wouldn’t you expect the serpent-wench to look more like one of them?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

I do not trust this Bawb fellow. I fear that he may spread untrue tales about us. Perhaps we should finish him off quickly? One cannot be too careful with one’s reputation.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

OOC: oh, good point on the take 20 + aid another. And still nothing? Oh well.

Z’alden turns to Rift, “Bawb is now in our power. I have no intention of trusting him, I learned that from that greasy, wormrat of a goblin…” muttering and cursing to turn a green dragon red. Z’alden breathes in and regains his composure,”No, it would not be unhonorable to kill Bawb now. Our reputation will be known throughout the land for our valor. We need not fear the grumblings of this one. But, Bawb, so that my lady High Elf does not try to fry your ears, perhaps you should provide her with some assurances of your recounting only the truth of our noble quest to return a group of captives to their lawful homes?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb grimaces, “Why loose your venom on me? I have done you no wrong. I was enjoying some gaming with the only few people on this world that I might call friend, and I was winning too, or at least I was about to win my sword back plus quite a bit more, when you all busted in, wrecked the game, stole my stuff, killed my friends and rapt me on my noggin more than once!” Bawb tenderly rubbed the newly softened spot on the back of his skull. “OK, yes I worked for slavers, but that was only to make a living, it was not by my choice. Life has not been easy for me and I had to take what I could. I have no reason why I would lie to you or anyone else, I have no loyalty to Krand, not now that he is no longer paying me. If I lie may that evil Torog the Patient rend me limb from limb.” Sensing you want all the information he has Bawb continues, “I tell you I do not know where the slaves go when purchased. Sometimes I would go out with the team to gather another group from someplace within a days ride, but usually I get stuck guarding whoever is here, cleaning up after them, oiling the chains, and that type of rabble. Truth be told, I would rather stay here then go foraging for people, they use a huge mean boar to pull their cart and let me tell you that beast stinks.” Bawb looks at each of you in turn, unsure whether to expect another head conking or not, “If you let me go, I promise not to attack you and if asked, will say nothing but praise for your battle abilities.” Bawb lowers his gaze to the floor, shoulders tensed for a blow. Under his breath Z’alden can barely hear Bawb muttering, “Slaying drunking guards caught unawares takes real skill…”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Let’s have Bawb here lead us back to the Seven Pillar Hall. If he does that successfully, then we let him go. If not, then target practice!

When we get back, should we confront the Duergar, and demand to know where Murkelmor Grimmerzhul has taken the prisoners? We can do the plan where 3 characters go in to talk to them, while the other 2 watch down the corridor. Or we can all march in and demand justice.

What say you all?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Bawb, there is more to life than what you have seen, but you are no innocent to cry to us of the unfairness of your lot. What fairness did you show to those in chains that you ferried off to the duergar? Still, the dragon wings through storm and breeze. So, you will come with us to the Seven Pillar Hall.”

“There, you will clean the fireplaces of the fine Halfmoon inn, filling 2 bags with the ashes. You will do this penance for the crimes you have committed for keeping honest folk as slaves. After this, if the wise eyes of the innkeeper judge you right, I will see to it that you are restored with a chance to lead an honest, fair life, more fair than the lots of the slaves you saw pass through the Chamber of Eyes.”

Z’alden looks at Bawb, not with condemnation, but with an honest offer for a chance for change.

OOC: the bags of ashes will be spread in front of both entrances of the Duergar building to make them easier to track. Z’alden has a nice speech planned for the symbolism of the ashes when we confront the Duergar.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb bows his head, “I will come with you and do as you ask. I cannot lead you to the Hall however, we Bloodreavers …” he chuckles at the term, knowing it is now meaningless, ”... avoided the hall and I never was tasked to whatever lookout post they had.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Barrick pipes in, “Ach, we’ll find our way back to the Hall. I’ve had worse trouble finding my way home from the pub – and that was just last week – than what we had on the way here. Besides, we marked our way.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Let us be off to the Hall, onto a new life for Bawb and a new turn to our quest if the Dragon is willing,” says Z’alden. He stows his dagger and mace and draws his crossbow, “You never know when a cleric might want to tag a marauding denizen of a mountain tunnel. Would be better if they were undead, though. Tagging undead makes for a good day.” Z’alden smiles warmly remembering the vampires that the group destroyed in the fight against Kalarel.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Well let’s contiue to move along.And by the way Bawb, do you by any chance have any gold on you.Also, do you worship Torog the fat squat toadish animal. If you do let yourself renounce the Fat Beasty who is a shame to the Gods and wouldn’t even last a minute against Bahamut, the great one,” Presents Felsmon.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb looks up at Felsmon, “Seeing as I have nothing left on me other than my clothing, I figured you searched me and removed everything of value whilst I was lying on the floor out cold. No gold. No I do not worship Torog, or any god. I tried calling on a god for help once, but he did not answer, so they can all go to …,” Bawb pauses, knowing that offending a religious Bahamut nut could be a deterent to a continuing life.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

OOC: In the suprise round in the Bloodreaver party room, did everyone who attacked as their action get combat advantage? I just noticed in the description of surprised, the PHB says “grants combat advantage.” (Always trying to buff the party).

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden shoulders his crossbow. He stretches out his hand, which glows a faint silver and purple. The light radiant flames flow from his hand to Bawb’s injuries, healing them, “The gods will go where the gods go. We in this plane must do the best we can when they hear us and when they do not. Sometimes silence is an answer.”

OOC: who has the potions of healing? Does Erik have one and Rift has the other?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

OOC: Hmm, I think in the ‘one action per person’ confusion and re-do that we forgot that. In this case the outcome did not matter but it might in the future (for either side). Good catch.

Bawb is ready to begin the long trek through the labyrinth. Ready but nervous as he is unarmed and fettered.

OOC: How is Bawb secured? Hands and feet? Hands only? Tied to someone?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

OOC: Erik does not have any potions of healing. Hitpoints are at maximum; one healing surge left.

“Shall I lead and find the traps?”, inquires Erik with a wink to indicate a dual meaning of “find”.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Barrick points out that the path back is already marked: ” We won’t hit any traps if we can follow our markings. They would be some clever rockworkers who made one-way traps down here.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

OOC: Depending how battles go, Z’alden can give Erik a healing surge thanks to the new belt of sacrifice, plus a full heal that does not require a surge from Erik. Felsmon can do the same. Felsmon has one of the healing potions. I think Rift has the other.

Z’alden gestures with his crossbow, “Erik, lead on! Felsmon, how about you next? Barrick, if you would be so good as to hold onto the rope that is currently binding Bawb’s hands, Rift and I will guard our rear flank. The fireplaces of the Halfmoon Inn await Bawb’s cleaning work and my own. I have my own mistakes to atone for, and cleaning filth cleanses the heart and mind. The Seven Pillared Hall awaits!”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

As you begin the trek back Bawb walks along. Not only is Bawb not complaining about having his hands tied he is walking back and forth between all of you making idle chit-chat to kill the time.

After walking for a while, following the marks left on the way in, you enter a large cavernous room, the ceiling of which is higher than the light from the sun rod can reach. Despite unerringly following your marks you do not remember a room quite this large on your way through a few hours ago. You pause to look and listen. Near the limit of your light you can see holes in the walls all round the cavern and listening intently you can just make out what sounds like a straw broom sweeping away gravel.

Erik senses something at his waist and drops his gaze to find Bawb standing next to him, his hands on the hilt of the new magic longsword. Bawb looks Erik in the eyes, shrugs, steps back and, with a half smile, says, “Hey, you cannot blame a guy for trying to get back his sword can you?” He says he only wanted his sword and was not trying to get anything else nor to hurt you. He promises not to try that again during the trip back to the Hall.

Erik now notices a low small tunnel off to one side, at the level of the rock on which you are standing. Bending down and shining the light into the tunnel you just see a tail disappear around a corner about 25 feet in. The tail was slender, with small armour plates, and curiously, what seems to be two small wings or propellers on the tip. The tunnel might be able to be entered by Erik, Z’alden or Rift, but there is no way either Barrick or Felsmon could climb in. The tunnel is small enough that whilst a person could crawl through it there would be no way to turn around nor swing a weapon.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Erik searches Bawb for pilfered items and with fixed jaw and squinty eyes says, “Come near me again and you’ll get you sword back in a way you don’t want, understand?” [DM: Does Erik discover any stolen items on Bawb?]

Turning his attention to the wizard, Erik asks, “Rift, can you send some kind of light up toward the ceiling or maybe around this great cavern? Maybe over there”, he points, “to where the brush sound was coming from.”

Erik continues, “As for the creature whose tail I saw, my good armored fellows best beware! I can remember seeing… where was it? Yes, somewhere seeing a picture of such a creature… a rust monster.”

Erik draws his bow with an arrow ready to be drawn back.

[OOC: Do we want to explore the “brushing” sound or move along with some haste to the Seven Pillared Hall? For the captives, the clock is ticking, but whoever is doing the brushing might have information on the comings and goings of creatures in the maze. When we do reach the hall, we should have already decided whether to take a long rest (my vote is “yes”). Maybe during that time we can talk to some of its citizens. Maybe get a proxy to interact with the duergar. Maybe do a bit of thieving in the Duergar trading post? I still like the idea of confronting them and then tracking.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

You find nothing extra on Bawb and he seems unperturbed by your comment.

Without waiting for Rift’s response I’ll give you this one: Extra light 100 feet in the air reveals only that yes there are holes or passages in the rock wall. From your vantage point you cannot see into the holes to know what they were/are. The brushing sound fades away as you contemplate.

DM: If you are going to take an extended rest back in the hall you have plenty of time to spare. You cannot start another extended rest for about 6 hours and you estimate it will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete your route back to the hall.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

From the rear, Z’alden calls to the group, “By the Claw, this sound disturbs me! Let us investigate this brushing sound. We can take 20 to 30 minutes and make our best search working together for hidden and secret doors that might carry us out of this chamber and towards the source of the sound. If we find nothing, then we proceed to the Hall and to the Inn.”

Drawing nearer to the front, Z’alden glares at Bawb pointing his crossbow at the bandit’s midsection. He pokes in the air at each emphatic point, “I have great hope that you can begin your life anew. First, no more stealing, ever. If you have no intention of turning to a new way and living an honest life, say so now. But your actions will speak as loud as your words. I must see evidence of your new ways. If you turn away from this old, selfish life and complete your penance, then through Bahamut’s care for the downtrodden, you will find your life improved with coin in your pocket and a sword in your good hand in Bahamut’s service.”

Turning to Barrick, Z’alden points decidedly at Bawb’s hands, “If he gets frisky again, I say, chop off his spare hand. A spot of precision practice might be fun for you, and blood from a lawbreaker pleases many gods. The wrenching of bone may remind Bahamut of the sound of his jaws shattering enemies and find favor with the mighty Dragon. If you would, Master Dwarf, keep a hold of Bawb for yet a while longer while we search the room?”

Z’alden steps back and checks his person for the bag of holding and the condition of his parrying dagger. He then asks Rift to aid him and suggests that Felsmon aid Erik as they go around the chamber searching for hidden and secret doors, being wary of traps.

[OOC: I also would vote for an extended rest at the earliest opportunity. I believe that we have used all of the party’s daily attack powers? With 4-5 hours still remaining before our next possible rest, most likely, when we return to the Hall, I vote for information gathering from the local cleric and others about where the Duegar might live and might have taken their slaves. Some streetwise reconnaissance at the unruly pub might also be good. I would prefer to confront the Duergar shopkeepers and be ready to track them with their feet covered in Bawb’s collection of ashes after we are fully recharged.]

[DM: Any secret or hidden doors to get to the sound? Any more sound?]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rift snorts in derision – “I fear no rust monster. Although perhaps my new-found long sword might be in peril… Ah well, easy come, easy go.” She smiles sheepishly at Erik.

“I feel that we should confront the Duergar as soon as we return. We might learn new information which would help guide our decision of whether to rest or not. Besides, we do not necessarily need to fight them. And if we do, there are probably only a few of them in the hall itself. The rest are presumably skulking elsewhere…”

“But first, let us chase this beast!”

OOC: After we quickly search this room, Rift will volunteer to crawl down the passageway, after leaving all of her metallic possessions behind.

OOC2: DM, what do we know of rust monsters? Are they intelligent? Do they speak a language?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden will not want Rift to go into the tunnel alone. Z’alden considers his training, thinking, ” Could a rust monster damage his magic Dwarven chainmail?” He struggles hard to remember anything else about this monster from his Arcana training.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

[OOC: DM, how long would it take to remove, and then later put on, the Dwarven chainmail?]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

DM: It takes about 5 minutes to remove/don armour.

Clarification: the holes/tunnels from where the sweeping sound came are 100 feet up the cavern wall.

The rust monster tunnel is only wide enough for one person to crawl through, turning around would not be possible, at least in the section you can see.

Rust monsters are small to medium creatures (depending on age), they have simple animal intelligence, do not speak any languages and are not hostile unless cornered, hungry, or attracted to metal. They move quickly through small tunnels and can burrow and they have the ability to bite. With your crawling speed you cannot catch up to a moving rust monster.

Are you sure you want to chase after one in such a small cramped tunnel? :)

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden swears, “By the Wings! My perception is off. I thought that brushing sound we heard was nearby, but now I realize it is up high in the chamber. Strange.”

Looking towards Rift with understanding, “Rift, your desire to chase the unknown is not without merit, but let this small quest pass you by.”

“Let us press on to our ashen penance and Bawb’s new life start.”

[OOC: DM, how long should it take to clean a fireplace and get two or three good half-sacks of ashes. I am thinking 20 minutes for each sack per person?]

[OOC: Z’alden’s plan is to have the group spread the ash around both entrances and then carry one bag with the remainder into the Duegar shop. He will launch into a sermon about the ash representing the “cindered” lives of the Harkenwold captives. He will empty the bag on the feet of the Duegar, flinging it a bit to get the floor and them good and ash-covered.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Let us make note of this place so that we can return to investigate it fully another day”, declares Erik confidently.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden asks, “Does anyone see our markings to exit this chamber?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rift swears at her chalk. “Correllon take this eternal chalk. I could have sworn we marked our way back.”

She looks carefully at all the exits for the telltale arrow. If we do not find the marking, then we will take the most likely exit, being sure to mark it using the usual arrow.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

DM: 20 minutes to clean a fireplace is about right, but with only one sack of ashes resulting per fireplace.

Bawb points to a passageway 15 feet away, “Isn’t that your mark over there?”

Continuing to follow your marks you find your way back to the Hall without any incidents, save for one side passageway from which came the faint scent of something best described as steamed carrots.

Rendil spots you as soon as you enter the Hall and comes running over to you, “Ho fair adventures. I was wondering if I would ever see you again, alive.” Glancing over your shoulders we frowns, “It does not appear you found your prisoners. Were you not able to find the Bloodreavers and Krand, or perchance were you forced to flee for your lives?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden greets the halfing warmly. “Hail Rendil! The Bloody Weavers and Krand are no more. They found as much fortune against the blades of Master Dwarf and Dragonborn and our hearty Ranger as did your own captors. They stood not so well against the ice and flame of our wizard. This fellow here, Bawb, lives to tell the tale of their undoing.”

“Unfortunately, the prisoners we seek were already purchased by the Duegar. We will pursue them shortly. But first, Bawb here is planning to turn a new leaf and be a slaver’s hired hand no more. As penance for his actions, Bawb will clean the fireplaces of the Inn, assuming your mother will have him work. He shall fill this sack half-full of ashes and put the rest where your mother wills. I, too, will work in the fireplace, if your mother will have me. My own mistakes must be atoned for. There is no better way to find peace than a spot of honest work to leave the outside and inside clean. I will also fill half a sack.”

“I would ask your mother to judge Bawb and his work. If she judges him fit for an honest life, then he will need a sword and some provisions before setting off for Fallcrest where he can enter the service of my liege-lady, Marla of Pelor, who guides my development until I return to the clerics of Bahamut. Through the generosity of Bahamut, I will pay for these small needs of Bawb’s should he pass your mother’s scrutiny.”

“Also, I, myself need to procure a hand-a-half or bastard sword. Can I buy one in the Hall?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rendil smiles broadly as you recount your battles, “Well done, well done; I knew you could do it!” He looks Bawb up and down, “Mother could probably use help with the cinders, but she is not too fond of the Bloodweavers so I doubt she will allow him to work without any supervision.” Looking around Rendil points to a figure robed in deep black wearing a golden mask of an impassive, stylized human face, “There is the Ordinator Arcanis, one of the mages that control this Hall. Let me tell him of your accomplishments, I think the mages might thank you.”

Before you can object he turns and yells, “Arcanis, I have news!” The black robed figure turns slowly and proceeds to smoothly approach you. As the robe drapes to the ground it almost appears as if the figure is gliding instead of walking. The figure stops before Rendil but does not speak. Rendil starts explaining, “Arcanis, this good party, save for that one, have routed out and destroyed the Bloodweaver gang.”

The masked face inside the hood turns to face the party, you can see nothing behind the mask, but you can somehow feel that he is examining you. He speaks, a deep sonorous voice, “On behalf of all the Ordinators I thank you. For a short while consider yourselves honored guests here in our Hall.” he waves his hand and you feel just a little bit “more.” Without waiting for your response he turns and glides away, obviously finished with the interaction.

Rendil looks at you with amazement, “Wow, that was something. It’s like you have a free pass against trouble for a bit.” He pauses again and furrows his brow, “What else did you ask? Oh yeah, there are no armouries here in the Hall, unless Gendar has a magic sword you probably would have to steal one. And as to the Duergar, if they have the prisoners you have to find where they hang out. I have heard rumours of a Duergar outpost in the Labyrinth but knowing their ferocity I would wager the only ones that know the location are the Grimmerzhul, at their trading post. And good luck with that.”

“But enough chit chat out here, let us to my Inn, where food and ale await!”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Since we are now honored guests, let us make the most of it. Let’s hurry to collect the ashes, and then head over to grill the Grimmerzhul.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Aye. Murkelmor Grimmerzhul shall get his just reward”, echoes Erik. “Z’alden, here is the note from Murkelmor Grimmerzhul to Chief Krand -proof of his guilt”, says Erik as he hands Z’alden the parchment. “When we do confront the duegar, I shall wait in the shadows while the rest of you approach the foul Duegar. Once you have left, maybe they will unwittingly lead us to the prisoners. Note that there are at least two exits they can make from their trading post. Maybe sprinkle ashes there too, to better track them? Maybe enlist Rendil as a sentry in the cavern exit? What do my comrades think? What of an extended rest?”

[OOC: Erik feels fine for combat (full HP) but has only one healing surge, so the number of encounters before a full recharge would be limited. He could go into “backfield” mode again, attacking at long range with a bow. Just what do we think the mage did to us?]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

[OOC: I think we could get through 1, maybe 2, fighting encounters with Erik taking damage. We have 2 heals for him that would use none of his surges, plus Z’alden can sacrifice 2 surges and give Erik 1 with the new belt. Range mode is a good idea. No idea on the mage effect.]

As they head to the Inn, Z’alden takes the note, saying, “We will definitely want ashes on both exits. That is what the 2nd 1/2 full bag is for. Trying to enlist Rendil as a sentry is a good idea. Perhaps he can watch the front exit while you, Erik, watch the back exit? Then we will check with Rendil and catch up to you after the Grimmerzhul grilling. On to ale and penance!”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rendil listens to you as you walk toward the inn, “Wait a minute, you want to try and track the Grimmerzhul? You might have a long wait. There seem to be 4 or 5 of them stationed in the trading post at any one time and they seem to stay for weeks at a time. You might get lucky and the next team could arrive today, or it might be a month before they leave for wherever it is that they go. Plus, trying to track dwarfs underground? Not that easy. And unless you are using waist high piles of ash how long do you think they will keep leaving footprints you can follow?” He shrugs, “But what do I know, the last time I tried tracking anyone I got caught and almost sold to the Duergar myself.” Chuckling he adds, “But I suppose I would have learned their location though.”

Entering the inn Rendil calls out, “Oma, the adventures are back, and they want to clean your fireplaces!” Erra comes out from a back room and gives you a smile, albeit a confused smile. Rendil explains and, as predicted, Erra says, “I suppose so, but you are responsible if your charge there gets ash all over my beddings.”

Thirty minutes of scooping and you can procure two bags, each a little more than half full, of ashes. Of course Z’alden and Bawb now have fine ash covering their arms, chest, and are appearing to have graying hair.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden brushes off and breathes deeply, “Ahh, nothing like a little penance to lighten one’s burdens. My good Innkeeper Halfmoon, do you judge that Bawb’s work suggests that he can be an honest man? Indeed, Bawb, do you intend to live honestly from now on?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb rubs his hands together in a feeble attempt to rid himself of the ingrained ashes then bows deeply, “Of course; thank you for allowing me this chance to try my life again. May the gods smile on you.”

The halfling you rescued earlier enters the room and calls you over. He pulls up a chair. “I just heard something strange,” he says in a low voice. “The duergar of Clan Grimmerzhul have recently bought a lot of provisions from Dreskin. I don’t know if this makes any difference to your quest but I figured it best to tell you.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden coughs from the ashen dust. “Rendil, thank you for telling us this news.” “Bawb, I would like you to remain here until we can get you a sword for your journey to Fallcrest.” “Rendil, would you ask your mother if Bawb may stay here for a few days and work more? I will pay for his stay and for a reasonable wage. Also, do you know where I might find pen, ink, and wax for a message for Bawb to carry?”

Turning to the other adventurers, Z’alden says quietly, “I would like to pour one half sack of ash along the back route of the Grimmerzhul trading post, but hold onto the other for our spiritual discussion with them until we have inquired of Dreskin about these Grimmerzhul provisions and where they may be going. Perhaps we can offer to deliver them? Shall we go and speak with Dreskin?”

[OOC: If Erra Halfmoon will not let Bawb stay and work, Z’alden will want to take him along to Dreskin and see if he can work for Dreskin.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb speaks up, “I will remain here and work if allowed; however I do not need a sword, any blunt object will work fine for me, even a crowbar from a wainwright will do. As you should be able to tell, seeing as you were easily able to knock me cold, my skills with an edged weapon are about as sharp as a Norker’s nose.

Rendil speaks with Erra and returns, “She says Bawb can stay as long as you are here, longer will depend on how things go before your next foray into the dark.”

Rendil continues, “As for the pen and stuff you need,” he smiles, “Dreskin seems to be the man of the hour. You’ll have to forgive me if I do not go along. I pretty much have to remain unsided here, at least when someone can see, or everyone will want favours.”

OOC: The lit sunrod you have been using to travel to/from the Chamber of Eyes blinks twice and goes out. Dreskin sells them if needed.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Experience points:

Two battles, one against Krand and a dire wolf, the other against a group of semi-drunken soldiers and bandits. 12 creatures, 1800xp.

Additional experience granted by the ordinator Arcanis for destroying the Bloodreavers: 2000xp.

Total for last session: 3800xp. 760xp per adventurer, brings your individual totals to 4936xp.

Less than 560xp needed for level 5!

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rift exclaims…”Let us head over to Dreskin’s, and purchase pen, ink, and a couple of additional sunrods.”

When we arrive at Dreskin’s, we make sure to greet him warmly. After we have purchased our items, we then casually mention that we heard that he needs to deliver some supplies to the Grimmerzhul.

“Good Dreskin, perhaps we could help by delivering the supplies for you. We need to discuss some business with the Grimmerzhul, and would be happy to bring the supplies with us.”

We also casually ask Dreskin the following questions…

“Where does he usually deliver supplies? To the front door of the Trading Post, or around the back entrance (assuming he knows of the back entrance)?”

“If we might inquire, so that we do not damage the supplies, is it just food and water/ale, or are there more breakable items, or weapons or armor?”

“Does you have any idea why the Grimmerzhul would need such a huge order? Has this ever happened before?”

OOC: If we get any sense that Dreskin is actually friendly with the Grimmerzhul, then we avoid the following questions. Otherwise, if he is ambivalent, then we say something like…

“We have heard disturbing rumors that the Grimmerzhul are perhaps involved in trading less savory items, such as slaves. Perhaps in connection with the Bloodreavers. Dreskin, do you have any information on this, or do you think this might be related to the larger-than-normal order?”

Anxiously awaiting Dreskin’s replies…

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Erik responds to Z’alden, agreeing that they should go to Dreskin’s shop to see what they can find out about the Grimmerzhul provisioning.

[DM: What do they discover? Erik would ask questions about: types of provisions, quantities, how the provisions will need to be transported, sizes of containers (barrels big enough for a slender elf, dwarf, man, uhh, dragonborn). If the opportunity presents itself and Dreskin seems willing, Erik would also ask about general information about the Grimmerzhul and rumors as well. Finally, he’s also interested in how the mages feel about the Grimmerzhul.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“We need to continue moving I fear that the grimmerzhul already are a days ride ahead of us”Felsmon whispers, though it is more of a grunt than a whisper.”Well cotinue with your fine talk friends. I think I will join in” continues Felsmon.Diplomacy check total:15 ( 10+5 )” Do you fine sir have any idea what the Mages think about the grimmerzhul?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

[OOC: Z’alden’s diplomacy check at Dreskin’s is a stunning 7+6 = 13]

Z’alden nods at the party’s agreement on heading to Dreskin’s, taking Barrick’s silence as consent. He leans over to Bawb, “I am pleased with your choices and the start of your new lif. Since there is no armoury, we will have to see what we can procure for a reasonable defense. We will be back in a while. Continue to impress the Innkeeper and let us see what develops.” He reaches into his pouch and pulls out 10 silver, saying, “this should be sufficient for paying for food and drink while we are gone.”

At Dreskin’s, in addition to 1 sunrod, pen, ink, parchment, and sealing wax, Z’alden asks if Dreskin could also sell a modest weapon, such as a mace, hammer, or even a wainwright’s bar, saying, “The messenger that I will use to carry this parchment, once written, has need of some defense. Almost anything that you can sell will be of more use than the small dagger with which he could currently arm himself.”

As Rift’s conversation with Dreskin moves along, before any rumor-relating, Z’alden asks if Dreskin knows where the Clan Grimmerzhul reside and do their work in the mountain.

Z’alden then waits to get a sense of Dreskin’s interest in the Grimmerzhul. As with Rift’s line of inquiry, if Dreskin is ambivalent or even expresses distaste towards the evil Dwarves, Z’alden will offer to have the party help transport the large order wherever it needs to go.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Just before leaving the Inn, Z’alden takes Rendil aside, asking, “Rendil, would you be so kind as to inform Bawb of the possible magical punishments that your mages may deliver to anyone who causes trouble in the Hall? I found the descriptions illuminating myself, and he should probably be informed of their power and rules.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Erik would like to purchase a palm-sized mirror at Dreskin’s, perhaps one made of highly polished metal so that it is durable.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

As you enter Dreskin’s you see a rotund little balding male human with sweat on his forehead. He looks at you as you enter and hops off his stool with a half-smile. “New adventurers I presume? Heading off into the labyrinth and come for supplies?” It is obvious from his manner that he is hoping for just such a scenario. When he hears you only need to purchase writing supplies and a sunrod his demeanor drops slightly. The price he first quotes you is more than triple what you know you would pay in Fallcrest. With a little bit of bargaining, and low diplomacy checks, you reduce his price to 10gp for 2 sunrods, pen, parchment, ink and low-grade sealing wax that you think might actually scorch the parchment.

As to a mirror Dreskin offers either a 3” round glass mirror for 5gp or a 4” square sheet of thick polished tin, for 7gp, that would work well as a signal mirror and reflects well enough to pick out most of your facial features.

When you mention the Grimmerzhul order he looks slightly surprised that you know of it, but does not question. “If you want to carry it over there, fine by me. But I have my rep to protect, you must sign for the supplies so I know who to go after if the supplies happen to go missing, if you know what I mean.”

Continuing he details, “I have 5 large crates of food and ale, nothing really breakable, but I wouldn’t drop the ale crate if I were you. Depriving Kedhira of his ale would not be the way to start your business.” When you ask about Kedhira he looks suspiciously at you, “The current post commander. How is it that you have business but do not know that?” Shaking his head he reaches under his desk, “No matter, I meddle not in the affairs of others and I ask they do the same for me. Why they want stuff matters not to me, so long as they pay. The front door will be fine and you can carry them.”

If you mention the possibility of Grimmerzhul slave trading he simple shrugs his shoulders.

Turning to Z’alden he answers, “I carry no weapons, save what I need to guard my little shop. If you want a wainwright’s bar why don’t you try the wainwright?”

He pulls writing supplies from under the counter. Some he sets aside for you and one other piece he writes up an agreement stating that you are collecting the Grimmerzhul order and are responsible for any and all circumstances to it. He asks for two of you to sign when you pick up the items (which two of you do so?) and then tells you he needs about 1 more hour to finish packing the crates and to come back then.

Rendil says he will tell Bawb about the mages.

OOC: The crates from Dreskin are square wooden simple crates, about 3×3x2’, nailed shut. The slats are tight enough to keep items in but not tight enough to keep water out.

OOC: Since you never mentioned stripping Bawb I assume you left him in the old leather armour he had on when the fight started. He is comfortable with that and requests only a club of some sort for the journey to Fallcrest.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rift and Erik will sign for the crates.

Also, Rift asks Bawb whether he ever had any contact with the Grimmerzhul, and whether he thinks that any of the Duergar from the Trading Post would recognize him.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb says that he only saw a few Grimmerzhul now and then when they came to the Chamber to pick up some slaves. He has no idea if the ones here might be the same, he does not think he would recognize any of them, but he has no idea as to the memory of a Duergar.

“Why?” he asks suspiously. “If you are planning on feeding me as bait I will refuse. Now that Rendil explained to me that I have protection here I am not just your little goblin-boy anymore.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Back at the Halfmoon Inn, Erik talks to the group…

“Rift and I have been thinking. Well, she’s done most of the thinking, but we’ve come to a few conclusions. If we’re ever going to find the captives, we’re going to have get a map. Tracking the Duegar in the labyrinth just won’t work. With the huge open chambers and, uhh, lack of stealth in some cases, we’d not be able to stay close to the Duegar. When they’d enter twisty turny passages, they’d lose us. We need a map.”

“So, Rift and I propose that follow this plan…”

“One: We take the goods out of the packages so that they have to be carried one by one.”

“Two: Rendil and Bawb deliver Dreskin’s goods on a cart. They ask for all the Duegar to come out and help, since the goods are not in crates and hence require many a trip back and forth into the trading post. Also, Rendil and Bawb play the fool, slowing the Duegar down.”

Erik glances around, seeing if everyone is buying into the plan so far…

“Three: While all this nonsense is going on up front, we five sneak around to the rear entrance of the Duegar trading post. Rift picks the lock. I sneak in. The rest of you cover my back and help out if needed.”

“Four: I search for a map or some kind of clues.”

“Five: We sneak out, hopefully with a map and the Duegar never knowing we were there.”

“That’s it. No confrontation until its needed. Speaking of which, I think we should not let these Duegar reach their destination, even if we have a map. We don’t want any more of them concentrated in one spot than necessary. So, we should ambush them in the labyrinth. My apologies, Z’alden and Felsmon, for any dishonor this may bring, but they’re all bad. We maybe able to do an ambush just inside the labyrinth regardless of whether we have a map. Finally, if we don’t have a map, we should try to keep one alive, just in case he will talk. Felsmon can make him talk!”

“What say ye? This would be an excellent opportunity for Bawb to redeem his evil ways by playing a part in freeing the captives.”

Erik’s energy and excitement are palpable.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden clears his throat, “My good Ranger, Erik, you may not be aware, but the Great Dragon’s great intelligence was the spark for the original ambush, in which 3 good dragon servants of Bahamut lay in wait at a pile of gold while their evil black cousins, who were marauding a village, came to the pile. They considered it their reward for their destructiveness. Naturally, the foolish black dragons were destroyed!”

“Rift, I think that your plan is well considered. There are a few details with which I am concerned. Where will we get this cart? How will we know when the Trading Post Grimmerzhul are on the move so that we might ambush them? Why would the Grimmerzhul have a map?”

“Aside from the ambiguities of the cart, the timing of the ambush, and the existence of the map, what are we waiting for? I suggest we take some convincing silver out of the party funds, say 1 gold and 10 silver for each?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“An ambush is perfectly fine for I, but all this sneakiness it may be quite a dishonor for one as I from the great clan Dragest Kengi. I suggest a more up-front approach, but I’ll leave the planning of it up to the Wise Wizard. My job is with the blade not the head.” Says Felsmon. “But maybe if there is no other answer I will do my part in the dishonorable plan.” Concludes Felsmon.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Erik replies, “There is the wainwright, Burseck, from whom we can rent the wagon. As for when to lay our ambush, we must wait, just inside the labyrinth. Alas, I do not know if they have a map, but we can try.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Good. Let us not quibble about sneakiness. We must rescue the prisoners.”

“Also, we must make it worthwhile for Bawb and Rendil to deliver the goods. Let us offer them 5 gp each. We have the gold to spare, and if this will save us from a sticky end, so be it. We can get a cart at Bersk the Wainwright’s. Let us make sure to get a very noisy, squeaky one. Just in case the Duergar decide to take the cart and drag it thru the Labyrinth.”

“Finally, let us have Bawb and Rendil park the cart where it is still visible from the entrance to the Road of Shadows. Then, Erik (being the sneakiest) can watch from the shadows just within the entrance. The rest of us will wait at the junction with the path leading to the Duergar back door. As soon as he sees the Duergar come out to the cart and start unloading, he can run back to us, and we can begin the break-in. Or, if something else happens, like the Duergar start dragging the cart towards the Road of Shadows, he can again run over and alert us.”

OOC: DM, how much of this comes to pass?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden says, “Rift, 5 gold each is a fair idea. While at the wainwright’s getting the squeakiest cart, I must get a club for Bawb, as I promised him a weapon. Let us take all of these expenses out of our party funds.”

“I will be stationed to the right of the backdoor junction, to listen for any that might approach or otherwise try to sneak up on us.”

[OOC: Z’alden expects that the sack of gold has about ~600gp in the sack. From this sack inside the bag of holding, he’ll inconspicuously take out the payment for Rendil and Bawb and for the cart. Any club for Bawb will come out of the 100 gp share he should have gotten earlier in the Chamber of Eyes but forgot to count out for himself.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bersk has a wagon to rent (5 sp per day) and a clawed bar he will sell (5 sp).

Rendil, as he previously mentioned, will not help in any activities that might jeopardize his relationships in the Hall.

Bawb is nervous, knowing that you might be starting a fight and having met a few Duergar, he does not want to help unless armed with at least a sword, preferably his +1 longsword currently hanging at Erik’s belt. Bawb also knows he is not good at bluffing, especially bluffing a story he is not fully familiar with. Properly able to defend himself he will go along with someone for 5 gp, but he does not want a speaking role in your little game.

DM: Given these impediments how do you wish to organize yourselves?

The Chamber of Eyes
 

In the course of the cart recruitment of Rendil, Z’alden asks him, “Rendil, do you know of anyone in the Hall that might have a map of the Labyrinth?”

Silently, Z’alden ponders whether Gendar might have a map of the Labyrinth for sale, or perhaps the Cleric of Civilization. Perhaps even Dreskin. When they return for the goods, Z’alden will be sure to ask Dreskin whether he knows of map of the Labyrinth and who would have one, if he does not.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Rendil answers, “The labyrinth covers over a square mile with hundreds of chambers and passageways. The labyrinth is too convoluted to be completely mapped, probably ever. I’ve seen maps to specific locations, but have never heard of an overall map. Gendar has spent time in the labyrinth, he might be able to provide information about certain locations, but he will not do it for charity even if he does know what you need. Terrlen Darkseeker has a reputation of being a good guide, although either his party returns successful or does not return with him at all. If he is in the Hall he usually can be found in Rothar’s, but I have not seen him for over a week.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Erik has some coinage, and will contribute for the purchase Bawb’s club. [Please let Erik know his share.] Erik will not give up his +1 lifedrinker.

“Rift, I think you are right”, Erik sighs, “I will ride alone in the squeaky cart to the Grimmerzhul. Forget Bawb – he can only ruin our well crafted plans. Be there another one of you who can do the search of their chambers? I will stay with the cart and try to signal for when it is time to wrap up the show. Perhaps one of you can watch me and report to the others?”

Erik then shows the others how he plans to signal…

“If I fumble and drop their goods like a drunken fool, then it is okay to proceed. If I am very quick and dutiful in helping them carry goods then abort the mission. In either case, I will try to go into the trading post to their store room, snatching a map if possible.”

Erik is now visibly nervous, though he tries to hide it…

“All this relies on them not recognizing me. Z’alden, here are my trusted bow, companion sword, fine ranger cloak and other unneeded items. Carry them safely. Perhaps keep the sword handy should I need to join you in a hurry…”

[Erik is now protected by his lifedrinker, dagger and leather armor. He will try to find some ratty garb to help with his disguise.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden pays ahead to rent the cart for 1 day, since they are obliged now to deliver the goods.

Z’alden pays the 5 sp for the crowbar and thanks Erik for his contribution of 2 sp.

Z’alden pens a note to Marla, and ever so carefully seals it with the cheap wax, managing to scorch it only a little. He uses his dagger to make a simple ZD on the wax.

The note reads _Your Illumination, Please accept this message from your humble servant Zenithar al Denithar, Ka Vel Bahamut. Through the might of my companions, we have succeeded in destroying the BloodReavers and ending their reign of terror. This humble messenger Bawb is the last of their band. He was a hired hand who is now undertaking a conversion to a new life of honest work and service. I ask you to employ him in as a man at arms until we return with the freed captives who have been taken by the evil Duergar. We are now in pursuit of them.

I have provided Bawb with funds for a sword, provisions, and a week’s worth of lodging. After this, I hope that the charity of Pelor can direct him to employment until our successful return.

Your servant, Zenithar_

Z’alden says to Bawb, “your service takes you to Fallscrest with this message for Marla, high priestess of Pelor. Here is the crowbar and also a dagger, 15 gp to buy a new sword once you are there, 15 gp to buy provisions for the trip from Dreskin, and 10 gp for a week’s worth of food and lodging while you are there. May Bahamut’s wings guide you to safety until we meet again.”

Z’alden turns to the others, “In the hour that we wait while Dreskin prepares the goods, I think we should see whether a map or directions to the Grimmerzhul stronghold can be procured from Gendar, or if we can find the guide Terrlen Darkseeker at Rothar’s. I suggest Rift and Felsmon see if they can find the guide while Erik, Barrick, and I see about Gendar. I think we can pay up to 30 gp for credible directions, and up to 100 gp for a guide. We should meet back here in 45 minutes.”

“If we must search the Trading Post, I will put most of Erik’s items in the bag of holding, and put my own crossbow into the bag as well. Erik, I too will go with you as the bearer of the items. I do not believe in our splitting up so much that one is separate from the rest. While valiant, strong, and quick, you should have someone to watch your side and back.”

Z’alden will put more ash on his face if they go to the Trading Post, and ask Rendil for a tattered cloak.

Z’alden says, “Rift could be the lookout watching over us during the delivery. Rift can signal Barrick and Felsmon most easily with her magic in the event of trouble. If we are successful, Rift can advance back to the junction and the three can advance in the backdoor. But how will we meet up or communicate if there is a problem?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Erik turns to Z’alden, “Err, if they recognize you, then it’s all over. You did more of the talking when we first confronted them, so there is a greater chance of you being recognized. I feel relatively safe. If I am discovered then all I need to do is run out into the hall and gain the protection of the mages. However, if you do join me, then we will need to work on a really good disguise for you my friend. Perhaps Bahamut can guide us to someone here in the hall who can cast such a ritual as to make us appear to be old women!”

Erik laughs at the thought of appearing as an old woman whom wields tremendous strength and agility.

[DM: Erik asks Rendil for advice about whom to see for a “disguise” ritual.]

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Bawb solemnly accepts Z’alden’s note and gifts, “Thank you for giving me a second chance. If our paths ever cross again I hope to be able to show that I am worthy of what you have given me. In a strange sort of way, I will miss you all. Well all except the dwarf, he scares me. I have always felt he was just looking for an excuse to split open my skull. His face might haunt my dreams for quite a while.”

Rendil responds to your ritual question, “Phaledra, in the temple, has a few scrolls she can sell. I looked at them a while back and I think she has Incognito as one of them; although I remember it being expensive, somewhere around 1,500 gp.”

DM: From the Goodman Games Book of Rituals:

Incognito

A strange guise covers you and your allies; you are no longer recognizable as yourselves.

Level: 10
Component Cost: 400 gp
Market Price: 1,000 gp
Key Skill: Arcana
Time: 1 hour
Duration: Special

You still appear as you are, but all creatures around no longer recognize you as anyone they have seen before. It is if you have become strangers.


The cost is 1,400 gp and the duration of the spell at this point in time would be 15 minutes and would affect all of you.

Note: In the past couple treasures you have obtained some gems. I will assume someone visits the Deepgem Company to have them appraised. 3 pearls, 3 amethyst and 2 peridot. Each worth 100 gp, giving you 800 gp in gems. Plus the total coin you found in the Chamber of Eyes is 522 gp and 500 sp (=50 gp).

Rendil does have a tattered cloak, in the Inn’s lost and found crate, which Z’alden can borrow.

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“I for one would rather have to slay a few Duergar than blow 1400 gp on a disguise. Z’alden, they will recognize you for sure, assuming they are the same Duergar.”

“I trust Erik to guard himself, and not do anything foolish…” Rift adds with a laugh “Unlike me!”

“Let us have Erik go it alone, while we sneak in the back door. Perhaps he can loudly sing one of his ranger shanties, so that we know where he is in the complex of rooms. Erik, what’s that favorite of yours? Yew are my Longbow?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Ahh. Yew are my Longbow Great song.”, replies Erik, breaking out into song…

“Carve thy fair maiden with care” “Hewn at the center of the graceful arc” “Curvy is her long brown hair” “Eyes to guide the arrow to the heart”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

Z’alden nods to Bawb and smiles at his kind words. He says, “kindness is like a drop of water. By itself, it is nothing. But many drops can make an ocean. Give to others as you have received and you may start your own ocean.”

Z’alden then listens attentively to Rift and Erik’s comments on his plan to join Erik. Then, at the second line of the song, Z’alden waves his arms, “Ah my father used to sing this! It brings back memories. As might my appearance at the Duegar Grimmerzhul trading post as a tattered cloaken delivery boy. I see your point.”

“Before the delivery, and the backdoor sneak, I do think we should try to get the guide or at least some information for Gendar. How about we still split up for a few minutes and see what we can find out, then we put the unknown Grimmerzhul map hunting expedition into action.”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

As everyone considers these thoughts, Z’alden asks Rendil for a private room.

“Before we sally forth, we should divide up the coins and gems we have found. From the sack of gold in the Weaver chest, you each received 50 gp. I have also taken out 50 gp. 200 gp remain. We found 500 silver pieces. We also found 3 amethysts and 2 peridot. From the sack in the party room, Rift found 72 gold pieces and 3 pearls. I will take 2 amethysts and 14 gold pieces and 100 silver pieces. Barrick, how about you take 2 peridot, 14 gp, and 100 sp. Rift, 2 pearls, 14 gp, and 100 sp. Erik, 1 amethyst, 1 pearl, 14 gp, and 100 sp. Felsmon, 214 gold pieces and 100 sp.”

“There are an extra 2 gp, which are Barrick’s, as he did not obtain did not obtain a single new magic item, not even a potion, on the journey to the chamber of eyes. Rift, Felsmon, I believe you have the potions of healing that we found. I have the two newly purchased sunrods from Dreskin’s.”

“Now, what shall we do next? Question Gendar before we pick up the supplies from Dreskin’s? Head to Rothar’s to find Darkseeker? What say you?”

The Chamber of Eyes
 

“Gendar… let’s go”, says Erik, “Maybe Rift and others to Rothar’s?”

The Chamber of Eyes
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