The Arena Judgment, The Backwater Gambit, Campaign Diary 20

arena

The Arena Judgment 
Chapter 19

 

After two days in the Bas Eldritch holding cells, the party is ushered into a large arena. They are shackled wearing their armor and clothes but without their weapons or equipment. They’ve been told they’ll have to fight unarmed. As they are unshackled and pushed out into the arena, they see stands filled with extremely wealthy looking onlookers without a commoner in sight. Circling the floor of the arena on the edge of a ten foot wall are casters in red robes constantly casting Antimagic Field over the area. Beyond the casters and the onlookers, Nym sees a special seating area where the Pelorian inquisitor sits flanked by several well-dressed priests. A crier welcomes the noble crowd to the adjudication challenges. In the process, he identifies the inquisitor the party members endured as Archbishop Nazos Farseer.

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The party is announced as a gang responsible for murder and deception. A door across the way opens allowing a half-dragon (who the party recognize as the one they saw in their first cell) and a huge albino orgillon (half-ogre) call The Halflings by the crier accused of rampant and indiscriminate murder.

 

 

 

Then further down on the party’s side of the arena another door opens as the tabaxi and human gladiator they had met emerge. The crier announces the duo as being charged with theft and insurrection

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Again on the opposite side of the arena emerge three fierce and furious looking creatures. The crier calls out The Abominations as a minotaur, chain devil, and githyanki emerge.

 

 

It’s announced that survivors will be given their freedom and have the offenses accused of expunged. The crowd cheers as the four groups move to the center of the arena. John reminds the party they were told to stay close to ‘the catman’ by the mysterious child who had snuck into their cell. As Nym steps forward she calls out to the other groups saying they don’t have to fight each other; they can refuse. The crowd boos and hisses Nym throwing food and trash down at her. The human and tabaxi move to attack The Halfings. As the party attempts to get closer to the tabaxi, The Abominations engage them. After several rounds of fighting, hardly any progress has been made. Tired and skeptical, the party begins to turn pessimistic.

Suddenly, the ground rumbles. The shaking isn’t confined to the arena floor–the stands tremble and there’s a clear look of shock on the face of Nazos. It’s clear this is not part of the trial. Out of the center of the arena dirt and rock explodes outwards knocking Roben prone, while instantly killing the half-dragon and chain devil. A huge creature with natural armor reminiscent of an armadillo bursts from the opening unleashing a raspy, livid roar.

Burrowshark

 

The beast swings its head back and forth taking in its surroundings. The orgrillon and human, stunned like everyone else, quickly regain their composure and charge the beast. The bulette opens its maw devouring the human then smacking the orgillon with the side of its jaw sending the humanoid flying across the arena floor knocked unconscious. The tabaxi crouches retreating to the wall behind it apparently looking for something on the ground. Nym, thinking fast, uses her natural animal handling ability to momentarily calm the creature. She succeeds leaping upon its back and guiding it towards Nazos’ viewing box.

The bulette charges forward killing the remaining gladiators who are all standing in its path. As it leaps crashing into the wall, several casters are flung back while more than a few others run away in terror. The stands are in complete chaos as the onlookers are running to get out of the arena. Nym jumps down off the bulette realizing she’s caused a break in the Antimagic Field. She casts Fog Cloud when Nazos stands obscuring the entire area momentarily preventing any spellcasters from recovering.

John bolts towards them casting Wall of Fire. He succeeds now out of the Antimagic Field’s reach. The flames shoot up along the perimeter of the arena setting fire to nearly twenty casters killing them. Nym leaps down to the arena floor as the bulette continues to tear its way through the stands. City guard and casters are trying to fight their way through the crowd to the bulette and where the party is. The tabaxi stands over what appears to be a sewer grate telling the party it’s their best way out. John casts Shatter towards the fleeing Nazos. As the bishop falls momentarily taking damage, he turns looking eyes with John who just makes a gesture of a blessing of Pelor before using Mage Hand to pull the grate off the sewer passage. He succeeds and the party disappear down it as the bulette wrecks havoc in the stadium.

In what appears to be a network of tunnels meant to get rid of the bodies and blood from the floor above them, the party venture down until they come face to face with the tabaxi. He praises and thanks them for his rescue believing the party brought the bulette. The party explain they had nothing to do with it. As they are talking, the child the party had spoken to comes running up to them. The tabaxi recognizes the child, a nonbinary kid somewhere between 8 and 10, their name is Wand.

Wand

 

Wand admits they don’t know who or whom set the bulette loose in the stadium, but they can take the party to their equipment. Talking with the tabaxi, they say the Merchant’s Guild will be waiting for him. The tabaxi nods and before bolting down a narrow corridor tells Pras he’ll find his payment and the rest of the party will find an ally at the Merchant Guild safe house. Wand leads the party through the tunnels answering the party’s questions about what’s going on in Bas Eldritch.

Wand explains the Merchant’s Guild, Pelorian Monestary, and City Guard are all at odds. With the sudden influx of refugees from the county villages, tensions between the three have gotten more complicated and hostile. The city won’t admit refugees unless they’re nobles or wealthy causing First Town to be over-occupied as well as the black market rev up. 

Arriving at a barred opening, Wand shows the party a hall telling them their equipment is in one of the rooms. There are three guards and a caster standing listlessly through out the corridor. Apparently, news of the bulette hasn’t reached them yet. The party debate what to do. Suspecting the caster may be maintaining an Antimagic Field, John uses Prestidigitation and Mage Hand to test the range of the magic that can be used. It appears as though the caster hasn’t done so yet. The group decides to rush the guards.

Using Telekinesis, John grabs one of the guards pulling him down the corridor to the barred grate and slamming him unconscious against it. The other burst through as well as the remaining guards turn to face the party. John uses Telekinesis again to throw the unconscious guard into another guard, the two crumple into a pile. Pras tests doors to the cells around them discovering one open but empty having recently been used with a fecal bucket just inside the door way. He grabs the bucket and John still using Telekinesis flings at at the caster and remaining guard. The remnants of shit and piss blind the caster preventing him from completing his Antimagic spell. Nym discovers the room with their equipment as the third guard breaks away running down the hall to get help. He disappears for a moment before three new guards appear holding shields and spears. Pras takes a shortsword from the dead guards as he, Nym, Roben (who has summoned his Sun Blade to his hand), and Wand engage the guards.

Eventually the party defeat the guards but suspect the guard who got away will soon bring reinforcements. Finding their items and re-equipping, John asks if anyone as any items from the Moncrief Estate. Nym gives him a hairpin she found there. He tells everyone to grab a hold of him and as they and Wand do so, John casts Dimensional Travel whisking them in a moment to the foray of their homebase of the Moncrief mansion.

 

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