Ah…it is taken care of then? Excellent…You’ve done a great thing for the empire here tonight. I feel awful for this subterfuge, but I deemed it necessary for the empire’s safety on a whole. I will arrange for payment in the morning, but it is very late now, perhaps you wish to retire for the night? I can point out an Inn, unless you have found one already?
Inn = The Gilded Tankard
The Gilded Tankard is a medium sized, wooden floored Inn. It is run by Mrs. Maureen Darkhammer.
“Hello travellers, I’m Maureen Darkhammer, Valgan is my husband, and welcome to the Inn. I have rooms to let, would ye like to rest up? Valgan runs his new recruits quite ragged, by the looks of ye. You’re covered in mud! The baths are free at the moment. Don’t get them too dirty mind, I just finished cleaning up.
We met in Kethend she pronounces it much better than her husband a good 30 years back, and we married no long after. I was born the daughter of a butcher, and he a son of a clan leader. Our marriage was not widely publicized nor appreciated.
Off to the baths with you now, and then off to bed!
One large room, big beds for all of the party. Small side pillow used for glasses, can be used for toad.
In the morning, Valgan is waiting by the bar.
“Ah, hello friends. I trust you slept well? Maureen runs a tight ship, even if it is technically my ship.”
“Oh, I bought this place and a few others in town for the purpose of renting them out with my inheritance money. You may have met Earl? I leased it to him about 5 years ago, and he hasn’t missed a payment yet. I’m not sure how, mind, as he spends a king’s ransom on booze in here most nights. Anyway, I tried to run this place rather than lease it and didn’t have much luck until Maureen took over, deciding it needed a “woman’s touch”. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’ve known the touch of a few dwarven women and it aint pretty.”
“Aye, she’s a fine lass. Met around 30 years back and haven’t regretted it since…much. Met her at a bar back home. She, a butcher’s kin and I the prodigal son, didn’t go down too well. Dwarves are a proud race, even if most of the dwarves back home are too blinded by Vorel’s gems to see the ends of their noses.”
Vorel: “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the Reformed. They’ve done fantastic and great things empire-wide. But they ARE still dragons, and are a primal force. Vorel is greed personified. Most think that she must have changed if she used her own hoard to renovate the city, but think of it this way: Generosity is giving without expecting anything in return. Vorel expects much in return. But never mind my political stance, I serve Maekrix willingly, and he has given me a job to do after all. And my job is to give you jobs, so be grateful, eh?
Elf: Keep your damned voices down! I don’t want anyone let alone Maureen to find out! Listen to me: You didn’t see no elf, you didn’t hear no elf, you didn’t smell no elf. Heck, you barely know what one is, you understand?
Now that that’s all cleared up, I have a job for you. One of our fledglings has a find out in the field, says it’s important. He’s a bit of an artefact freak, you see, and I’ve sent out field agents out for a bit of pottery before. I’d like you to go and see what he’d up to, maybe calm him down a little. Calls himself Lucky, one of them half-elves. Father was some Eladrin nobleman, mother a human barmaid. You know the story. Try not to pressure him on the subject, he’s a little sore about it all.
He’s currently holed up in the ruins about a mile south of the south gate. Some old stuff, don’t ask me I’m no expert, that’s where Lucky comes in. Anyway, he’s expecting someone to go down and see and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be me. Markus said he’ll set you up with a cart and some horses for the journey, they’re hitched up outside. Good luck, Lucky is prone to…talking. A lot.
As players leave the inn, a crossbow bolt will be fired at Ereshkigal, a perception of 15 will allow players to determine that it was aimed at her. A shadowy figure makes off across the roof tops, and is gone immediately.
If players remove the crossbow bolt, they will notice the thick green ooze congealed on the tip of the bolt. Valgan will have something to say if they choose to ask. If they don’t remove it, Valgan will.
V: Someone fired a crossbow at you?!…are you sure you weren’t seen last night? Any arch-nemeses? You’d be surprised how often you get those. Poisoned…hmm…could be a form of Greenblood Oil or a Bloodrot tincture…Smart idea bringing it to me, being a dwarf and all.
He takes a lick on the arrowhead, and falls over onto his back. After a few seconds, he gets up.
V: By Io, that kicks like a horse. That was Creeping Deathroot. If I weren’t a dwarf, I would have been dead before I hit the floor. Whoever fired this at you isn’t sending a message, they want you out of the picture…you sure you don’t have any nemeses? Not even an evil twin? I’ll look into any big purchases made by travellers coming out of Onureth, this stuff isn’t cheap. I need a lie down after that… he motions toward the door and goes up the stairs groaning
Markus is a little down the road with his cart and horses.
M: Hello friends! I understand that you are in need of transportation. This is Falarn, he’s new but a mighty fine driver. You’ll be safe with him.
F: Hey guys, I’ll be your driver today! Hop aboard and we’ll get going.
The driver will make small talk on the journey.
Been with the caravan long? I’m new myself, been with it for as long as Markus has been in town. He’s a good man, very friendly and very trusting. It’s men like him that make me glad I do what I do.
Drive carts, of course! What else would I be doing?
It allows me to meet all sorts of characters! I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Players will quickly arrive at the ruins.
F: Here we are! I don’t know what this Lucky feller is like, but he sounds like a nice guy. Oh, he has a cart here. That’s good, that means I can go back home. Have a safe..whatever it is you’re doing down there!
The temple is built into a hill. Deep stairs travel down into an antechamber. It is a small temple.
The room is covered in carved texts and pictographs depicting ritual killings and other bizarre acts. In one corner is a small desk with an oil lamp burning. In the other is a bed with a large rabbit fur quilt on it.
IT IS THE BLUE ROOM WITH THE QUILTS N SHIT.
The desk is covered in papers and journals written in indecipherable handwriting. The drawer is locked, thievery check DC 20 will allow it to be unlocked. In the drawer is a small symbol on a chain. If players open the drawer:
The bundle of quilts in the corner jumps up and shouts : Don’t touch my work!
If they players instead go towards the quilts, it jumps up upon their nearing.
Under the quilts you can just make out a small half-elf
L: What are you oafs doing in here? This is all priceless! The very floor you stand on with your mud-caked boots is older than your entire family tree!
I am Lucky, the chief excavator on this project…and I suppose the only excavator on this project. Nevertheless, I am in charge (non-drawer end here). and I demand you close that drawer immediately, you are meddling with powers you do not understand.
In that drawer is an effigy of Shar, the god worshipped in this temple.
A DC 20 religion check will reveal that Shar is an ancient little worshipped god of Darkness, Knowledge, and Madness.
Look around the room…isn’t it fascinating? I’ve never seen such a well preserved dig site. Why, there was barely any digging to do at all. My luck must be changing!
Luck: I don’t have good luck thanks to these, I merely attain a balanced level of luck. But they do get awfully warm.
Do any of you know Shar? Religion check 20
Yes = Excellent, then you will know that:
No = sigh Shar is an ancient god of Darkness, Knowledge and a little bit of Madness.
Some old tribes worshipped Shar to give them the knowledge on how to undo their enemies, and that darkness would cloak them from harm. Madness was not usually worshipped as such, more that they hoped worship would ward them from it. Sadly, this was not always the case.
On luck: Ah yes, my attire might seem strange to ones such as yourselves. My family line was hexed generations ago by an old hag. Ever since we have had awful awful luck. My great-great uncle was hit by a cart. In the middle of the woods. When my Grandmother was only a child she managed to be kidnapped by bandits no less than 4 times. My mother thought her luck was changing when she fell in love with my father, but that ended…well that just ended. I wear these rabbit coats as protection. If the feet are lucky, then the entire body must be even luckier! And it does work, it’s fascinating!
Well my discovery was text here. It is an old dialect of common, and when read aloud as such “We are the first acolytes of Shar!” the door at the far end of the room slides open A door opens! Isn’t that fascinating? When the phrase is spoken again, the door closes.
Lucky grabs a fresh journal from his desk, it’s leather bound and his name has been written on the front in cursive, perhaps by his mother.
First room – Language: Giant – Monster: Orcs. = 1 Orc Sergeant, 2 Orc Freaks.
A small chamber with large lettering ground directly into the left wall, thick font.
L: Ah, what’s this? The first chamber contained only an old dialect of common, but this looks to be…Giant! Yes it’s giant! But there are no reports or tales of any Orc or Ogre tribes in this era…very odd…
Lucky steps towards the lettering and you hear a small groan. Out of disguised floor pits climb an Orc Sergeant and his 2 Orc Freaks.
L: Oh my, I’m ever so sorry!
After Combat: I have finished deciphering this text. It reads: “We came from the North, following the call of the blind god” Fascinating…I’m not sure if this reads blind or dead, but God’s are often described as blind by these primal tribes, so I’ll assume blind.
The door slides open.
Proper look about: Shelves on far right wall, pretty bare.
On the shelves is a small jar of residuum, and inside it is a hidden dagger. When a player uses any of it, they will find it amongst the dust. It’s the dagger of liquid wealth, when you hit a piece of gold of it the gold turns into residuum.
He scribbles a note down and says: Come, we must press on!
Second – Language: Goblin – Monster: Goblins = Goblin Ghost Boss and 2 Goblin Phantoms
L: Oh this room smells…dead. I dread to think of what took place in these chambers. Oh, more text, fantastic!
Lucky spots the text and bounds off towards it, kicking a goblin body on his way and tripping over. The body vibrates heavily and a spirit rises from it, summoning more as it comes. Goblin Ghost Boss and 2 Goblin Phantoms. Lucky crawls away and hides in a corner.
After combat: I’m never usually this clumsy, it must be all the excitement. I am truly sorry, it shan’t happen again. But nevermind that, there is much text to read!
This seems to be Goblin. Common, then Giant and now Goblin..I can’t contain my excitement! I wonder what is next!
Anyway, the text reads: “We serve a dead god. He is the Darkness.” There it is again, dead God…Gods don’t die, as far as I know, merely fall out of favour…this is shining brand new light onto both ancient Giant and Goblin script..
Players can now look around the room. In the centre is a grated well, with a large chain lying on the ground next to it, descending into the well. Players can choose to pull on the chain. A strength check of 15 will allow players to pull up the bucket, which now contains the festering remains of a goblin. Upon closer inspection, players will notice that he has an eye patch. Under the eye patch sits a small gem worth 5g. The eye patch is also magical, it is the Eye Patch of Swashbucklery. When worn, the user must speak with a piratical accent. It also gives a secret +100 to any swashbuckling rolls.
Third: Language: Draconic – Monsters: None.
Around the room are various kobold bodies. Upon inspection, players will notice that they are all missing their brains.
L: How strange…not many tribes used brains as sacrifice…we may have discovered an entirely new civilisation..perhaps a joined force of Orcs, Goblins and Kobolds! Fascinating…
On one of the walls is an inscription. On the far wall is a smattering of blood.
I don’t know much draconic. I can make out the inscription… “Vivex Ihk Darathrek! Thric Ghik thur Vargach thurgix yth!”…that’s.. “Victory for Kobolds! No Orc nor Battle cripples us!” but I can barely make out the…smears here. Draconic is the one known text I have yet to master. Loex Urathear Thric Pok is the first part of that, which is “Dead God’s don’t stop…”
Large and messy glyphs are pasted onto the far wall with what seems like a sickly green shade of blood. Nature check of 10 = It’s Kobold blood.
Ossalisv which is a compound of the words Ossalur meaning travel and ssifisv meaning rest. Means Dream, Dreams or Dreaming. (Travel whilst resting).
L: Good work, George. “Dead Gods don’t stop dreaming? That doesn’t sound good..I’ve never seen any culture refer to a god as dead, let alone one they still seem to worship. Wait..There is a mural under that blood and dust, let me take a note of the text and clean it off.
He wipes it away and gasps. The mural is of a huge squid like monster, tentacles and all.
L: Ah…erm…You are familiar with how most races depict their gods? Much as humans draw their gods as men, and elves depict theirs as elves…I don’t know of any squid-like races on this plane…the only other explanation is…no no, let me think…
He leans against the wall in deep thought and it falls away, sliding around Scooby-Doo style.
Upon closer inspection you see small ridges along the walls. As much as you push, it seems one way.
L: Hello? It’s me, I’m alright! I don’t have a torch or a sunrod with me, but I can feel around for a door or something. Try carrying on and seeing if we meet at some point. Just my luck…bye for now…
The next chamber is a T-junction corridor.
To the Left lies a small living quarters. It has a bed, a storage chest and a bookshelf. There is only one book on the shelf, it is written in Deep Speech, but players don’t know that. There are some brief scribbles in other texts on the table, players recognise them from their own knowledge or from earlier, imitation of earlier texts but poor.
In the right corner is a barrel of truly ancient looking liquid. A nature check will allow players to recognise the wine as an Eladrin Ruby Wine, a rare liquor. Although it has no magical effects per se, the brewing process does include magical apparatus, and as such, a glass of Eladrin Ruby Wine will allow a player to enter an Eladrin-like trance state instead of sleeping. There is enough wine in the barrel to fill a canteen and then some.
The bed is dirty, bar the pillow. It is fantastically bright. It is the Pillow of Sweet Dreams. The pillow guarantees a peaceful slumber when used.
To the Right is a large room with 3 chambers, separated by walls and doors. In the first chamber is a Kobold Spiker, a Kobold Dragonshield and 2 Kobold Cleavers. When one of the Kobolds falls, the Spiker or the Dragonshield (depending on who is still up) will immediately break combat and run into the second chamber.
The player that goes through the door first, if they do not take care, will get a bucket of hot oil dropped on them for 5 damage. The room is pitch dark, players will need to spend a minor action to light a torch or crack a sunrod. If the player who got oiled lights the torch, they will go up in flames for 3 ongoing damage (save ends).
When this happens, players hear a huge uproar of laughter. Kobolds are dicks.
In the second chamber of the room is a couple Kobold Skirmishers and the remaining mob from the first encounter.
In the third chamber of the room is a trapdoor that descends into the sewers. As soon as players open the trapdoor, their minds are assaulted. A voice booms out, not audibly, but telepathically. It doesn’t use words you recognise, but you understand their meaning.
“Intruders. I do not remember opening my home to you. I will, nonetheless, overlook this, and welcome you to my abode. If you wish to meet face to face, I suggest you carry along your current path. And don’t worry about your friend, I will look after him.”
The sewers lead into a rather fancy looking area, tiled with alabaster and with a rather fresh looking fountain in the middle. Above this room is the room with the chain. If players did not pull the chain up earlier, the body in the bucket is still here, albeit trapped. The player that takes the eyepatch is bitten by a snake for 3 damage.
The fountain’s waters are not magical in nature, although the water is clean and drinkable, a nature check of 10 will allow a player to realise this. There is also a banquet table of fresh and delicious food.
If players drink any water: “That which you feast upon is NOT for your kind. Do you think yourselves at home? If you do not take care, I WILL TEACH YOU THE MEANING OF HUMILITY.”
Any player who took a drink or ate some food blacks out immediately. They awake, each having an individual dream. Players can say what dreams they had, fuck it.
After all this business, players here a faint noise coming from a grate in the wall. Through the grate you can see Lucky.
He looks a little worse for wares. He has a bloody nose and his eyes look rather tired.
“Hello again friends..I’ve not had much luck, as ironic and that may or may not be. I managed to find a set of stairs…face first. My leg is pretty busted up, and I’m missing a few teeth, but I’m able to walk at least. And I found a torch! How are you?”
Just jam about shit here, all good.
“Well…I’d better keep going…I hope to see you soon.”
The next chamber is a T-junction. When players enter this room, a horrible cry is heard from the left passage. The left Passage leads to a long corridor, and the right leads to a chamber filled with different skeletons, all missing the top section of their skulls.
Here players will find a corridor that leads to Lucky, whose legs have been shattered by a descending door. It’s pretty fucked up. He is unconscious.
Players can pull him out from under the slab, which will wake him from pain.
“AAAAAAAAAAAH WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? MY FUCKING LEGS ARE FUCKING BROKEN OH GOD DAMN IT YOU WORTHLESS SHITS”
He will calm down after a minute, and will decide to just weep for a while. A heal check of 15 will allow a player to splint Lucky’s legs and make crutches, allowing him to walk on his own. Without the crutches, Lucky will need to rest on a players shoulder as they walk, slowing the player to 3 movement speed.
In the right chamber, all along the walls are bodies sat cross-legged, their skulls bored into. There are no signs of struggle.
Lucky is in no condition to comment.
Once again a voice invades your mind. “These are the chosen. Their fate was sealed when they entered the temple. Much as yours is. However, these gave willingly to Shar.”
All the bodies but one are un-shackled. There is one LARGE skeleton away from the others. It is at least 8 foot tall. On it’s face there is a monocle, accented with gold. It is the Eyepiece of the Cultured Gentleman. It causes the user to speak in a posh english accent. He also has a cane. It is the Cane of Ballin’ Ambulation. Anyone holding this will walk like a pimp.
In the next room is a large squid like device connected to the ceiling. Also here is Raxorn, High Priest of Shar. He is a pretty cool dude.
“I must say, you have done rather well getting here. What you lack in physical aptitude, you certainly make up for with bravery. I am Raxorn, High Priest of Shar, and this is my home. My family has been living here on your plane secretly for centuries, appointing a new High Priest to tend to religious work whenever the need arose”
“We attracted worshippers and sacrifices from all around, and we have been busy, as you may have noticed from the bodies in the crypt. Humans, Kobolds, Orc, Goblins, all sorts of inferior species came willingly, and I have tasted them all. The feeble-minded are but cattle for us. You will be no different. But I must admit, I have never eaten a Wilden’s brain! I’m salivating at the mere thought of it” He smiles widely.
Raxorn slowly and deliberately raises a hand and clicks his finger. Lucky then proceeds to grab the closest player and attempt to restrain them. (This is an instant success if Lucky was leaning on that player.)
Raxorn laughs it up as you fight Lucky, and when Lucky is defeated, will enter the fray himself.
“You have bested your unfortunate friend, and now you will face me. But do not think so low of me that I would attack you when you are wounded! Take your time, I want this fight to last.”
When everything is ready, Raxorn steps out of the shadows. He is a large robed humanoid, with a purple octopus-like head. He is a mind flayer, or Illithid.
“Now..COME AT ME”
Big ole fighting time!
If players win (which I hope they do) Raxorn with fall to the ground, cursing them as he does. If they lose in some way, they will lose consciousness, and when they awake Raxorn will be impaled in the centre of the room.
When they make their way outside, carrying the unconscious Lucky, they will be greeted outside by Valgann, who is suited up in plate armour and carrying a rather hefty looking fancy battleaxe.
“By Moradin’s beard, you’re a sight for sore eyes! I was just about to storm the place looking for ye. Where the in the nine hells have ye been? And why the hell does Lucky look like he’s been run over?”
“Ye don’t deem to understand!. You’ve been gone for 2 days! Never mind all this, let’s get back to the city, I think I can SEE Lucky’s shinbones..”
Back in Valgann’s office now.
“So, would ye mind going over what happened in those ruins? And handing over any sorts of clues you might have picked up? Not loot mind, you can keep that, comes with the job.”
As you speak, Valgann takes notes in on a leather-bound notebook.
“So…I guess when he put you out you must have slept for a lot longer than you suspected. Very odd. Well, that should do! Thanks for the good work, I’ll make sure Lucky gets to a good doctor soon. Now, I’ve got to write this up all proper like, can’t be sending Maekrix my dwarven shorthand, now can I? You’re free to go”
As you leave the office, Maureen catches you in the corridor.
“Hello again friends! I took the liberty of freeing up the room you stayed in the other night as a thank you. I haven’t seen Valgann in his armour for years now, gave me a bit of a pleasant surprise.” She is beaming “Did Valgann talk to you about the little…problem of his?”
If players think it’s dirty “Not like that, you pack of weasels. I mean the gambling incident? No? I swear, that man’s pride.”
“Anyway, Valgann is a bit of a gambler. I don’t mind it myself, but he’s got a big problem. He got into a bit of a fierce bidding war in a game of Liar’s Dice and ended up bidding a family heirloom of his, a platinum locket. I think he must have gotten caught up in the moment, worrying about you lot, bless him. The locket means the world to him, but he’s putting on a brave face. I’d like to ask you a favour. This was a Gambler’s Guild event, not some back alley game, so he can’t just demand it back, and the old fool wouldn’t wound his pride by offering his opponent gold for it. It needs to be won back fair and square. That’s where you come in. I need you to challenge the guild to a game and win it back. Here is 40 gold, it’s the most I can possibly afford to give you, but it should buy you all in for one match. If you lose that, you’ll have to dip into your own pockets, I’m sorry.”
“The Gambler’s Guild is in Guild row, it isn’t hard to miss, it’s the one with the big flashing dice signs. Not so subtle, I know. I suggest going in one at a time, as not to arouse suspicion.”
Guild row houses all the cities guild headquarters, such as the Messenger’s Guild, Gambler’s Guild, Enchanter’s Guild and so on.
The inside of the Gambler’s Guild is a dark, smoky casino. Carpeted wall to wall in a sickly red, and the furniture upholstered with cheesy deck and dice designs.
In one corner of the room sits a muscular human. Every finger has one ring or more on it, and he is wearing a platinum locket.
When the first player sits down, he says “Hey, welcome to the guild. We’ll need a few more players yet, but feel free to relax while you wait. I’m Rex Faulkner.
When the second player sits down, he nods at them. When the third sits down he says “Hello there, we’ve almost got a full table now”
When the forth sits down “Well now, I believe we have enough players for a game now. I’m Rex. What do you wanna bid for and what with? We can make it money or goods, whichever you feel like, but as I’m the house I say what’s worth what, okay?”
Locket: “This thing? Y’all okay with that? Why, I only just got my hands on it. Some Dwarf with more heirlooms than sense lost to me, I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. This’ll cost each of you 10 gold into the pot, deal? Winner takes all.”
Players then play Liar’s Dice, no cheating. I will attempt to slightly lose. Players cannot cheat by purposefully not calling their companions, they must sell it well.
If players lose: “Hehe, guess I cleaned up. Don’t be sad, I’m good at what I do. Care for another game?”
If they win: “Well I’ll be, I’m beat. You’re good! Here take it, I guess I was bound to lose some time.”
Returning to the pub with the locket: “Why, thank you friends! Valgann is gonna be so glad. You’ve done a good thing here today.” She smiles, and pours you all a drink.