Don’t Lose Your Head, The Backwater Gambit Campaign Diary 4

 

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Chapter 4, Don’t Lose Your Head

Having decided to rest for the night inside the Moncrief Manse, the party awakes at first light at the top of the servants’ stairs.

The party explores the second floor discovering nothing of particular note. This upper floor of the mansion seems to be made up mostly of bed chambers and baths. But upon opening the door leading to what would be the master study or drawing room and bedroom, they come face to face with Maise Pegoram, the mage they’d first encountered in the Ususer’s Tower.

Asher enters the room where Maise attempts to intimidate him demanding to know who he is and why he’s here. Asher sees Maise and steps back out of the room closing the door behind him. He informs the party she is in the room and casts Silence upon himself; the group then rolls for initiative.

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Coming back into the room, Asher attempts to sign to Maise that she should leave or surrender. Suddenly realizing she can neither speak nor hear, Maise flies into a rage twirling her quarterstaff and attempting to strike Asher. The deft tiefling monk is able to dodge Maise’s attack with ease retaliating with a melee strike of his own. Able to see Maise through the doorway but just out of range of Asher’s Silence spell, Roben casts Magic Missile sending the three bolts directly at her. Roben then used his fighter ability of Action Surge to cast it again and then moved to a closer proximity to Maise. John, Nym, and Jorg all stayed clear of the room unable to cast any spells or get an adequate enough angle for a ranged attack. Staggered by the combined attacks of Asher and Roben and unable to speak to cast any of her spells, Maise again attempts to strike out, this time at Roben, but fails to hit. Asher seeking a quick end spends a ki point striking Maise with a flurry of blows sending her flying backwards over a chair breaking her neck.

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Having defeated Maise, the rest of the party enters the drawing room. The group is concerned Maise isn’t really dead. Jorg is a vocal advocate for decapitation, while Asher advocates taking the whole body with them back to Foxon. As the group debates, Roben searches the body discovering Maise is most certainly dead. He discovers a dagger on her as well as a spell book, which he immediately hands over to John, and an onyx necklace, which is similar in style to the pendant Nym found only much smaller, Roben hands over to Nym as well. Standing over the body, the aasimar fighter asks what they want to do with the body.

Asher concedes to Jorg and before John or Nym can really say thing Roben brings his longsword down hacking Maise’s head away from her body. The spew of blood sends John bolting to one of the baths. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make it far enough fast enough and ends up vomiting in the doorway. Once done heaving, John casts Prestidigitation to clean himself, then the corpse, and every few minutes on the canvas bag Asher has placed the head and slung over his back.

After a brief rest and discussion, the party decides to finish clearing the mansion making their way to the basement via the servants’ stairway. As they descend, the find themselves in an rather open, dimly lit basement with three extremely large barrels immediately to their right. These barrels are as tall and as wide as an average human, very similar to large wine casks, and rest on their sides. Upon a slight dais roughly forty feet in front of the party, there glows a rose colored portal. On either side of the portal, the reanimated bodies of Church and Creed stand twitching and swaying. The now undead thugs, move to attack. The party rolls for initiative.

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Defeating the lumbering re-animated duo takes little effort for the party. Critical strikes from Jorg and casting from John re-dead the undead leaving them both in heaps. Inspecting the barrels, the party discovers a huge treasure cache. There are two other rooms in the basement the party also investigates–one a storage room where they find more coin and random items, the other what appears to be a strategy room. They discover a map similar to the one they found in the Usurer’s Tower only now with black, green, and blue pin flags marking various locations. The party take note of the placement of the pins and their color discussing among them what they pins may denote.

They also take an inventory of the treasure they’ve found. In each of the barrels are sacks of coin, precious stones, and some items:

In the first barrel, there is 1600 cp, 1400 sp, 80 gp, Blue quartz (10 gp), Hematite (10 gp), Obsidian (10 gp), two Rhodochrosite (10 gp), Tiger eye (10 gp), 2 x Turquoise (10 gp), two Potions of Healing. There is a silver rod engraved with arcane symbols–when thrown at a target, it does 6d6 force damage. There is only a single use.

In the second barrel, the party finds 2300 cp, 1400 sp, 80 gp, Bloodstone (50 gp), Carnelian (50 gp), 2 x Chalcedony (50 gp), Citrine (50 gp), 2 x Moonstone (50 gp), 2 x Onyx (50 gp), Sardonyx (50 gp), Star rose quartz (50 gp), Zircon (50 gp), a Spell Scroll of Fabricate, and a Potion of Frost Giant Strength. There is also a mangled bit of iron clearly damaged by flame that when worn and activated, makes the wearer invisible until an attack is made; it is also a one use item.

The third barrel holds 2300 cp, 900 sp, 70 gp, Carnelian (50 gp), Jasper (50 gp), 2 x Onyx (50 gp), 2 x Quartz (50 gp), a Spell Scroll of Ray of Frost and one of Sleep, two Potions of Climbing, a Potion of Healing, a Sun Blade, and a verdant branch was pruned from the world’s first tree that can be used once to resurrect a dead creature requiring a full day to do so and can only be used by a good creature.

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In the storage room, the party discovers bags holding 2100 cp, 600 sp, and 80 gp. On the shelves and in the average barrels in it, they also discover a small bag of spices, Feathered Ribbon, Painted Glass Dice (pair), Polished Stone Ring, Fine Cloth Robe, Feathered Coinpurse, a Leather Talisman, a Pewter Pendant, Painted Glass Idol of Rao, Fine Cloth Cloak, Feathered Vest, and a Ceramic Scroll Case.

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The party soon realizes there’s more coin, gems, and items than they can carry. They discuss attempting to take the loot and hide it, the likelihood of there being a wagon or horse nearby, and briefly consider having Nym turn into a pack horse to carry the loot back to Foxon. Instead, the group decides to split the gold equally among themselves and they dole out the special items. Nym takes the branch, John the silver rod, and Jorg the iron fragment. Roben takes the Sun Blade and the potions and scrolls are divvied up. Nym pockets the polished stone ring, John the idol of Rao, Jorg the dice, and Asher the scroll case, and Roben holds onto the bag of spices.

With the treasure momentarily taken care of, the party turn their attention to the portal. It hovers just above the dais so one has to step into it and is really only wide enough for a single person to pass through at a time. Asher tests it by poking his staff through it and finding no ill effects upon the weapon. He volunteers to go through and explore. The party ties two fifty foot spans of rope together and then around Asher’s waist as a lifeline. The four hold the rope as Asher disappears through the portal.

Asher isn’t gone long. When he arrives back, he explains the portal leads to another room that has a similar portal in it as well as a larger, green portal that gives off a rather menacing vibe. It was clear it Asher that the place he was in was a cavern or mine of some sort. Using his order’s monk ability, he was able to meditate and see in his mind the main path through it and that it is almost certainly Foxon Cellars, the mine that Zaghain was willing to pay them to clear of hobgoblins. 

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The manse is a half day’s walk from the town, but Foxon Cellars is only a ten minute walk north of the town. The party agrees to use the portal as a shortcut back to town and maybe as a means to move some of the treasure. Once through the portal, the rest of the party sees what Asher saw. The space is carefully carved out of the stone but is clearly underground. The floor is level and the walls are relatively smooth. However, there is an roughly cut space made at the head of the chamber. This space houses the eerie green portal that’s large enough for two humans to walk through shoulder-to-shoulder. The green of the portal is turbulent and toxic looking. Next to the portal dais where the party came through is another similar dais and portal, which Asher explains goes to a single room deeper in the mine he supposes is the end point.

The green portal is nestled in a niche that’s buttressed by four posts upholding some large oaken bars keeping the cavern from collapsing in over the portal. It’s clear that the chamber they are in is safe and stable but this niche is apparently newly cut from the stone. Roben inspects the posts and suggests to the group they pull out the buttresses with their ropes to prevent anyone or anything coming through. The party agrees, and after a couple of tries succeed in bringing the ceiling upon the portal space. They realize the portal is still there but now anyone attempting to use it will encounter a near total blockage. With that completed, the party travel through the second rose colored portal to the center of the mine. 

The party follow the path out discovering along their way the freshly dead bodies of several hobgoblins in nearly every room big enough for men to wield a weapon or pick axe. The hobgoblins were chain mail armor and are usually holding short swords and shields with their mortal wounds being of the slashing and piercing variety. The group encounter no resistance passing by nearly fifteen hobgoblin corpses. When they emerge it is early evening. They can see Foxon in the distance and being walking south to tell Celia of their deeds.

 

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