Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Verden: Bounty, Crypts, and the Waystation

This session happened Wednesday, August 25, 2010.

Adventuring Group:
Artemis (half-elf rogue)
Arthus (half-elf paladin)
Book (elf rogue)
Gilgamesh (uffnik artificer)

Before setting out to collect the bounty on the orc wizard, Arthus, Gilgamesh, and I collected up Artemis at the Gnome Hill Inn. We decided to pool our monies and purchase a group membership in ICE from Richard, the paladin leader of the organization. After doing so, he invited us into the guild house for the first time. It is plush and comfortable, completely different from the more ramshackle look on the outside.

Richard provided us with guild membership tokens that indicate we are members and also grants access to the waystations. Where are the waystations? Clearly marked out on wall-mounted map of the area. We spent a few minutes updating our map to match the Wall Map, then purchased some healing potions and a tanglefoot bag – items only available to guild members.

After stocking up, we headed out towards the wizard’s hut, taking the trail north and then cutting west to the hut. Along the way, Artemis kept me from stepping into a pit trap she noticed. Good elven eyes on that woman! We lowered her into the pit to look for loot and she found a bit of gold, some minor gems, and a bear trap. Hunh. I re-hid the trap (doing an excellent job if I may say so) and arranged some stones to remind us of its location. Never know when something like that could be useful.

We got far enough the first day that we could have made it to the hut, but only if we exhausted ourselves. Not wanting to be winded when we faced the wizard, we camped early. Gil was working on a new gadget of some sort and as a result, everyone woke up with a bad case of leaves. Not like leaves were dropped on us from a tree, we were actually sprouting leaves. We all insisted that if he is going to take apart items like that, he do so at a distance from the rest of us. Artificers are more trouble than they are worth sometimes.

The following morning, after haranguing Gil about the leaves again, we made our way to the wizard’s hut. We noticed a few things different from our last time here: the strip of grass had been mowed, the naked body of the guy previously in half-plate was strung up again, and the wizard now owned a ballista. It was parked right next to his hut. Big thing too.

After formulating something like a battle plan, I hustled around to the back of the hill of war debris backing the hut and started climbing it. The entire hill was lousy with bells on wires as alarm systems. That might have stopped some, but not me. I got into position above and slightly behind the hut with the wizard noe-the-wiser and signaled to Gil. Gil hopped the fence and attempted to use detect magic to spot the hidden mines all over the wizard’s “yard”, but tripped the first ones he encountered immediately, alerting the wizard. The wizard fired two magic missiles at Gil for his troubles. Gil panicked and immediately used his obscuring mist gizmo to provide himself cover. This just made it difficult for Artemis and Arthus to get in position.

Luckily, the wizard got cocky and came out to fight again, thinking he had our number. He realized something was up when he laid eyes on Artemis for the first time, realizing there were now four of us. Then I started peppering him with my crossbow while Arthus attacked with his sword. The last straw for the wizard was Gil’s new grease/burning hands combination device. Gil used it to cover the wizard in grease and then set him on fire. The wizard tried to turn invisible and flee, but the smoke coming off him nullified that and Arthus, Artemis, and I (after a styling acrobatic slide down the pile of debris) were able to surround him and put him down. His corpse eventually became visible again, which was not an improvement.

After that, we looted the hut of 17 books, a nice rug, two potions, and some other stuff that looked good. Gil identified the potions as cure light wounds and stoneskin, which was good as I guessed wrong and the hidden chest they were in was trapped and Artemis triggered it. My fault entirely. Sadly, the ballista was an illusion. Richard probably would have given us good money for a real one. We also cut down the two adventurers from the gibbet and packed them away in the chest on the pack horse. Oddly, they didn’t stink. We then headed to the cemetery, as it was the safest place for us to camp and recuperate spells. Along the way we had to avoid a group of wights, which would have been bad news if we had had to fight them.

After a refreshing (and undisturbed) night, Gil started identifying what loot was magical and what wasn’t. One of the cloaks was a cloak of resistance [+1], which we gave to Artemis. A polished rock we pulled from the trapped chest turned out to be an elemental gem – you crush it and a large fire elemental is summoned. Gil assures us the elemental will be controlled by the person who crushed the stone. The rest of us are dubious. The rope we found turned out to be a rope of climbing, which should be handy to have.

Three of the books radiated magic. Two of the books were trapped with magical symbols, but the third was a comprehensive list of beginning spells. Gil says that that book will be very useful for him. Well, he said it after waking up from the symbol of sleep the second book hit him with.

Once Gil was awake again, we decided to go down into the mausoleum and finish clearing the rooms. Things were like we left them, which was a good sign. The room with the gold coffin also had a magical field protecting the coffin, something we had not noticed before. Not wanting to do anything we couldn’t take back, we decided to check the other crypts before messing with the magical field here.

The next crypt over was the one containing the stone coffin and a partially collapsed wall (and the spear trap I failed to notice until I tripped it, which Gil and Arthus were only to glad to tell Artemis about). We investigated the wall and discovered another room behind the first one. We cleared out more of the debris and entered the room. Chained to the far wall was a woman with a wooden stake clearly sticking out of her chest. To one side was a magical wooden box that had water continually running through it. On the ground near the woman was a stone tablet with “Oh how I loved her” written in Celestial on it. This room spooked us and we decided to leave everything as we found it.

The last room was where the ghouls attacked us. The room was exactly as we left it and there was nothing of interest in the room, so we returned to the room with the gold coffin. We discovered the field cutting off the back of the room had a round gap in it and we thought to try the “Creation’s Key” gold cylinder we found a couple weeks back. It worked and the field went down. The runes on the cylinder changed to read “Creation's most radiant treasure”. Inside we found a mummy holding a wooden box. I carefully retrieved the wooden box and opened it. Inside were four scrolls – one sealed with wax, the other three not. The unsealed scrolls allow the casting of hallow with daylight attached to it. We took all four scrolls and replaced the wooden box in the coffin. After closing the coffin and moving away, the magical field reappeared. Interesting.

We left the Mausoleum and checked our map of the area. According to our map, the nearest waystation was within a day’s travel, so we decided to go check it out. Better to know what to look for now than desperately trying to find it later when we might be running from something. Along the way we had to hide from a red dragon that was slowly flying towards the west. Those things are huge!

When we arrived at the place where the waystation was supposed to be located, a small building appeared out of thin air. Richard had told us that the guild tokens would allow us to see the waystation, but having it actually happen was something else. Inside we discovered that the waystation is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. It also contained a sitting area (with chimney and fire), four sleeping rooms (with large comfy beds), a fully stocked larder, and (best of all) hot baths! After refreshing ourselves, we discussed what we had found in the mausoleum and concluded that someone was torturing a vampire there and we wanted nothing to do with it. We kept watches through the night, but nothing bothered us.

After breakfast the next morning, Gil identified several of the magic items we had found but had not identified yet. We marched east to connect with the trail to Vestige. Along the way we had to hide from the red dragon again, this time flying east. If that dragon starts being a frequent occurrence, we’re going to have to take precautions.

We also found another pit trap. Artemis noticed it but, and I can’t prove this, she nudged me into it. I think it was a bit of payback over the trapped chest in the wizard’s hut. Personally, I’m just happy there were no spikes in the pit. I did find a magical light crossbow [+1] (which I appropriated immediately), a coin pouch with 100 gold marks in it, and a quiver of bolts, which I stuck in the bag of holding. After marching a few more hours we arrived at the head of the trail and camped.

That night we had to scramble to a new camp when a purple worm decided to burrow past. This turned out to be fortuitous as Gil and I both spotted a coin pouch at the new camp which contained a clear, unflawed gem and 20 gold marks.

In the morning Gil finally got around to using identify on the sealed scroll. It turned out to be a magical map that showed the area around the holder. It also seems to want to lead us to something in the north northeast, but we were more interested in returning to Vestige right now. The day was uneventful and we arrived at Vestige as the sun was setting.
We stopped at the guild house first and turned over the bodies and the wizard’s head to Richard, who paid us the 500 gold mark bounty. We also chatted about what we found in the Mausoleum and Richard opined that it sounded like someone was saving the vampiress for something. Neither Arthus nor I like the sound of that.

Later, over at the Gnome Hill Inn, we shared our adventure with those there. While talking with Jonathan, it suddenly occurred to me that the vampiress might be his employer’s wife. I decided to keep this insight to myself for the time being – I have no way of knowing how Jonathan would react to that observation. I find I’m still suspicious of his lack of memory about what happened to him down there.

*End Session*

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