Felix Lutsk – Human “acquisitioner”
Hugo Underwood – Wood Elf shaman
Albrecht – Human Grey wizard
Fritz Schmidt – Human scout
Zoglug – “civilized” orc warrior
Quetzal – lizardfolk scout
Alset Alokin – High Elf magus
As it was the full moon, the New Zwicke Monthly Auction was being held at the start of the game session. Looking over the various things up for auction, five lots catch their eyes:
- A large boulder (5 ft in diameter) carved into the shape of a stone lizardfolk head. It was being offered by the Imperial Estini Logging Company. Zoglug estimated its worth at 20g.
- A short feathered cloak covered in colorful and rare bird feathers. It was being offered by The Jade Hand Explorer's Club. Zoglug estimated its worth at 100g.
- A collection of jade beads. They were being offered by The Jade Hand Explorer's Club. Zoglug estimated their worth as a group at 20g.
- A wood plank covered with lizardfolk glyphs, part of a larger whole. It was being offered by The Copper Wolves. Zoglug estimated its worth at 1g.
- A fancy blowgun, heavily carved and lacquered. It was being offered by The Jade Hand Explorer's Club. Zoglug estimated its worth at 15-20g.
The players took some time examining the items and determined the following:
- The cloak, the beads, and the blowgun are grave goods, possibly from the tomb of a famous skink hero (Quetzal couldn’t remember the name – it’s a skink).
- The Jade Hand Explorer's Club has probably looted the tomb, but might not have cleared it.
- The wood plank carvings are incomplete, but Quetzal was able to determine they were warnings about “triangles of power”.
The group decided to buy all five items of interest for the purpose of returning them to the Jicarilla. Fritz did most of the bidding with some assistance from Zoglug (mostly by staring at competing bidders) and was able to get good deals on the jade beads and the blow gun (10g each) and fair prices on the rest (18g for the stone head, 100g for the cloak, and 1g for the wood plank). Fritz decided to pay for it all out of his own funds. He gave the blowgun to Quetzal, but took the rest to the lizardfolk enclave outside the town walls and presented it all to the Jicarilla representative as a gift. The representative was generally impassive (as most lizardfolk are around colonists), but Fritz may have gained some good will, something he wants for when he establishes a colony of his own.
The next morning, the group headed out of New Zwicke, intent on investigating the hollow towers they discovered just beyond the Wedge Wood. They took the Estini Road north and then cut east, following the northern edge of the Wedge Wood. They found the site where they had seen an orc camp and stopped to look around. The orcs had left heading north east several days ago and left little of value. After poking around some more and finding little, the group moved on to the nearest Hollow Tower.
Those who had been to the Hollow Tower previously brought Quetzal and Zoglug up to date on previous learnings. Zoglug insisted on investigating the interior of the Hollow Tower himself, and they let him. Once that was done, they entered the hidden cave mouth and followed the stairs down, down, down.
The spiral of steps eventually ended at a small cavern/landing, where they found the remains of a small campsite long abandoned. Before following the only passage out, they searched around the small cavern and Alset located a well concealed secret door. He outlined it in chalk so Albrecht could locate it. After verifying that it was safe to do so, Albrecht opened the secret door. Beyond was a bedchamber with some furniture and a regular door on one wall. The group searched the room and found a cursed fountain pen in the writing table. Alset examined the magics on the fountain pen and pronounced them extremely dangerous dark magics. Everyone agreed to leave the pen alone and meant it, even the orc.
The door led to a wizard’s laboratory with some tables, a few chairs, and a set of shelves full of books. Suspecting the books were very old and probably fragile, they left them alone and investigated the rest of the room first. One of the walls was covered with slate and had chalk writings covering most of it. There were several large triangles drawn on the walls with varying symbols drawn at the corners. The symbols were arcane in nature but not recognizable to spellcasters present, suggesting either a cypher or a new type of magical symbols. Many notes were made. The triangles seemed to tie into the writing Quetzal had been able to read on the wooden plank back at the auction and she suspected there may be a link between the two.
Felix decided to perform a test [I think it was Felix – I was not feeling well and hardly took any notes]. He took one of the less valuable looking books off the shelf to see if it would crumble at his touch. It did not – in fact it was in very good condition. Alset was able to detect some preservation magic on the room, so Felix stepped outside the room and observed the book. It started weakening immediately, with pages becoming loose and brittle. He immediately stepped back into the workshop and the decay stopped, but was not undone. All agreed that the books should stay in the room for now.
The group then exited the secret rooms and reclosed the secret door, erasing the chalk outline afterwards. They then followed the only passage out, descending further. The next chamber consisted of a larger cavern with a sloping passage hugging one wall. Halfway down the ramp was another passage out of the cavern. At the base of the slope they could see an ornate wooden door. At the bottom of the cavern, laying on the floor, was a very large skeleton chained to the wall below the ramp.
The group slowly moved down the ramp. They paused at the passage out to see what they could see and saw the passage continued a short ways and then split at a T-intersection. They continued to descend to the floor. Before touching the door in any way, they investigated the large skeleton. They determined it was a troll skeleton and the chain was still in good condition. One of the adventurers yanked a bit on the chain to see if they could get it off the leg bones easily. This, of course, animated the troll skeleton, which stood up and attacked.
The fight was short but potentially dangerous as even without flesh, the troll skeleton was fiercely strong. Combining their might, the adventurers put down the bones into a pile. Felix then collected the now-loosened bones in a sack and the chain was pulled out of the wall (which took some combined effort by the characters).
Beyond the door was a hallway that turned to the left after two separate bends in the path. Between the two was a door to an old storage room with three wooden crates. The adventurers took the contents (including some iron spheres the size of their heads) and moved on. [Again, I hardly took any notes as I was feeling poorly. I will update this once I work out everything that was there.]
At the end of the hallway was another room. The room was mostly empty, with a door in the far corner and a wrought iron chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The chandelier is twisted into the shapes of skulls, with each skull holding a black candle that was lit. The eyes of the skulls glowed faintly red. This did not look safe at all. Felix has Zoglug throw one of the iron spheres at the chandelier. As soon as the sphere entered the room it burst into flames, quickly burning away as it flew across the room towards the chandelier. By the time it reached the chandelier is was about the size of an apricot pit and it barely budged the chandelier. The adventurers immediately closed the door.
They then backtracked to the side passage from the troll skeleton room. They took the left branch at the T-intersection and found a series of partially completed rooms and passages. One partially finished chamber had three walls painted to give a view of a pleasant garden. Another’s floor was covered in thousands of needles standing on their points. If pushed over (by, say, an iron bowling ball rolled across the floor), the needles would immediately resume standing on their points once free to do so. A few needles were taken for later study.
Once they reached the end of the unfinished passages, they reversed course and took the right passage from the T-intersection. The next chamber had a raised platform on the left side and a passage out at the far end. On the platform was a stone statue of a man dressed in robes holding a plate out in one hand with an altar in front of the statue. On the altar was a large metal bowl full of sand. The stone plate that was part of the statue was deeply stained a dark color and had “magical splatter” that Alset could see with his magical vision spell, suggesting some sort of sacrificial offerings had been placed on the plate in the past, and often. There was gold writing around the base of the statue that no one could read.
The group decided that the statue was bad news and left it alone. The writing around its based was copied down for later investigation. Hugo decided that while the statue was likely dangerous, the metal bowl wasn’t and he took it, dumping out the sand in it. The group decided it was time to return to new Zwicke to see if they could learn more before going any farther. [It was late and they didn’t want to roll on the Table of Doom by not being back somewhere safe at the end of the session.]
They returned to the surface and immediately rode back to New Zwicke. Pushing it, they arrived at New Zwick at dusk, thoroughly exhausted.
End of Session
Thoughts: I may make the New Zwicke auctions quarterly, rather than monthly. This would make them more significant and allow them to be fairs as well. Once I have a proper calendar up and running, I’ll probably do that. The Lucan’s Clock equivalent will still be monthly as it is more of a swap meet rather than a proper auction.