[Day 20, still. Again. An unlikely ally is made and Derro are hunted.]
[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game. Game sessions happen once a week. This session happened June 8, 2020.]
[SPOILERS! If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]
Marativy – female ratfolk 4th level Ninja
Roscuro – male ratfolk 4th level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 4th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male ratfolk 4th level Gunslinger
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 4th level Summoner (Synthesist)
Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston
Day 20, Later
[The GM clarified a point missed the previous session: the water and the water channels in the sewer junction are 10 feet below the level of the floor. We were envisioning a smaller gap, but it became important later. Also, I am maintaining the direction orientation we’ve been using since the start for consistency and not suddenly reversing my east-west, north-south directions.]
With three options to explore from the sewer junction, the Ratpack decided to put off exploring the east passage where the singing in Necril was coming from. The group decided to explore the western passage first. The water channel was a little over 7 feet wide, leaving a narrow walkway for the ratfolk to use. Auto [size class Medium] had to bend and twist to maneuver, but for the ratfolk [size class Small] the walkway was comfortable as long as they walked single-file.
The passage went nearly 60 feet before appearing to turn a corner with light coming around the corner. Marativy stealthily moved forward to investigate ahead of the rest of the [noisy] group. Marativy discovered the “corner” was actually a partially collapsed room. The northwest corner was collapsed, but water flowed out from underneath the debris. In the southwest corner was a passage continuing west with no water channel. Marativy could just see that the passage only went a short distance before turning south. The passage had a great deal of fungus growing on the floors and walls, getting thicker the closer to the corner. Marativy returned to the group to report what she had seen.
Not wanting to deal with the fungus, the Ratpack returned to the junction room and went down the south passage. This went 20 feet and opened up to a large room that was mostly covered in water. The narrow walkway in the passage continued halfway across the room, turned west, crossed the room, and then turned south, ending at a passageway to the south in the southwest corner of the room. Pipes stuck out of the walls but nothing was currently flowing from them. The surface of the water was still 10 feet below the walkway surface. The water was clearly sewage but where was it coming from? Magnimar? Why extend the city sewer system this deep? The ratfolk were puzzled.
Not liking the look of the walkway across the water, the ratfolk backed up again and returned to the junction room. They looked down the eastern passage, towards the singing. The passage went 20 feet, descending as it did so that when it entered the room it was just above the surface of the water. The walkway extended into the room and turned south in the center of the room. Once again, Marativy advanced ahead of the group for a stealthy reconnaissance.
The walkway widened in the room so that when it met up with a passage on the south wall it was as wide as the passage [10 feet]. The water did not seem to go past this room. The walls of the round chamber were covered with a panoramic painting of the Magnimar skyline and bay, with ships in the bay. Marativy found the source of the singing, a blue guy with “long ears and tongue and claws” [as she later described him]. She returned to report what she had seen.
The Ratpack discussed what to do and decided to go talk with “the blue guy”. The singing stopped during this discussion, suggesting the singer had heard the talking. The group decided that Templeton would be the speaker as he had the best charisma of the group [which is not actually saying much]. Once in the room with the singer, the Ratpack started talking to the singer. His name was Lockerbie B. of the Liza Jane, the sunken ship the ratfolk had seen and Templeton explored earlier. Lockerbie explained that the ship had sank, he had died, and then later woke up looking like he does. [He is clearly some kind of aquatic ghoul.] Lockerbie warned the ratfolk that there were derro to the south and they had been kidnapping townsfolk for their experiments. He was under the impression that the kidnapped people was the Ratpack’s reason for being down here. It was now.
The Ratpack and Lockerbie talked a while longer. He asked the ratfolk to deliver a locket from his sunken ship to his wife in exchange for ownership of the rest. The ratfolk easily agreed to those terms, getting the details on his wife so the locket could be delivered the next time they were on the surface. At this point, Lockerbie confided that he now occasionally ate human flesh but had no use for human things. Not being human, the ratfolk, as a group, shrugged. He beckoned the group to follow him down the south passage to a small room with human remains in it and offered the group what the bodies had. [This came out to 16 gold in various coins and a 100 gp pearl.]
After the bodies were looted, Lockerbie led the group further south to a larger room. This room was covered in water, but the walkway extended into the room, with steps climbing to a raised central platform. From that platform the walkway went east, south and west, descending back to the water level by stairs before leaving the room through passages. There were pipes extending from the walls in the corner of the room. Lockerbie told the ratfolk that the passage south went to the derro, the passage east eventually surfaces in Magnimar, and the passage west linked to “the big water room,” other hazards, and derro patrols. He then returned north to the mural room.
The ratfolk with Auto in tow climbed the stairs to the central platform and then descended the southern stairs, exiting the room through the south passage. This passage went a short ways and became a set of stairs that also served as a corner. Going up two short flights of steps the passage continued west. The passage ended in the corner of a balcony overlooking a large hall.
The large hall went to the limit of the ratfolk’s darkvision [60 feet] and appeared to turn southwest. Two passages could be seen on the north wall, one 30 feet along and the other just before the bend in the large hall. A spiral set of stone steps in the center of the large hall descended deeper with a railing around it to prevent people from falling into the stairs. The adventurers set up in cover on the balcony while Marativy and Roscuro stealthily climbed over the balcony banister to explore the hall.
While advancing along the southern wall of the large hall, Marativy discovered a secret door in the southern wall just as the scouts could look across the room and down the first passage on the northern wall. That passage was short and ended at a door. From this position, Marativy and Roscuro could see more of the large hall and located another set of stairs on the western wall, just past the second passage on the northern wall. [Later there was discussion as to whether these stairs went up or down. Our map, drawn as the GM described the large hall shows the stairs going down, but in a later session they are described as ascending. Not a significant point in the long run, but it happened.]
Marativy and Roscuro crept across the width of the large hall to listen at the door down the short northern passage. Both heard movement, but nothing distinct. Both moved over to the central stairs down and listened, hearing nothing but silence. Next they went back to the secret door and opened it. Beyond the secret door was a passage that turned immediately west and then south. Intrigued, the decided to investigate further, but not before using hand signals to tell the rest back on the balcony what they were doing and to give the scouts 10 minutes. Additionally, if the scouts had not returned by then, please come in shooting. Zitch gave the thumbs up indicating he understood and quietly informed Templeton and Winston of the plan. [Use of the Bluff skill to send the message and the Sense Motive skill to understand it.]
With backup arranged, Marativy and Roscuro entered the secret passage. It went a short distance and then turned back on itself before ascending as stairs. At the top of the stairs was a rectangular antechamber. Stairs on the opposite side went up to a fancy door. The stairs were flanked by two large statues of Alaznist, holding her ranseur at the ready. Suspecting another fireball trap or something similar, Marativy and Roscuro decided to leap across the distance to the stairs. Marativy gracefully and elegantly made the leap. Roscuro stepped on his tail during the run up to the leap and stumbling across the floor to the stairs [rolled a 1 on the Acrobatics roll]. Luckily, there was no trap for Roscuro to trigger.
Marativy and Roscuro ascended the steps to the fancy door. Roscuro opened the door and looked inside – it was the room Marativy described from her visions when holding the shard! Roscuro also observed two large spider-like creatures in the room animate. He immediately pulled the door closed and explained what he saw to Marativy. As Roscuro was the faster of the two [monk Fast Movement class feature], they decided he would run to get the others while Marativy held the door closed. Marativy immediately scampered to get the others.
As 10 minutes had passed by this point, the rest of the Ratpack was already starting to move. Templeton and Zitch had no issues climbing down from the balcony, using a rope prepped earlier. Winston instead fell on his face and discharged his musket with a loud CRACK! Roscuro appeared at the secret door just after the shot went off and hurriedly waved the group over to the secret door. They all scuttled into the secret door area, Roscuro closing it behind them just as the door across the large hall was opening. The ratfolk hoped that the derro had not noticed the secret door closing but had no way of knowing either way.
Roscuro quickly explained that he and Marativy had found the shard room, but large spider creatures activated and Marativy was trying to hold the door closed on them. The ratfolk [and Auto] advanced as fast as they could. The fastest [Roscuro and Templeton] arrived at the antechamber just as the spider creatures ripped the door off the hinges and out of Marativy’s hands!
End of Session
[We finally found the shard room! Making friends with Lockerbie was unexpected on our part, but I feel the writer had planned for it as the backstory was ready. I like adventures where “kill everything” is not the only way to go, even with the undead. The fact that none of the PCs were the ghoul’s preferred food type probably helped a great deal.]
[Side Note: the antechamber and the shard room were drawn on the map 45 degrees off the grid. Diagonal maps are very difficult to adjudicate on a square grid, half squares especially. I’ll have more to say about this in a later post.]