Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 55
|Gildree||Elf level 1||Expat from far away land with a permanent scowl. Attempts to integrate with locals by carrying halberd and blood-red plate mail adorned with little skull motifs.|
|Rashomon||Elf level 1||A dangerous looking elf.|
|Lyffed||Elf level 1||Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.|
|Brent Goose||Cleric level 3||An eccentric, but charismatic, cleric seeking the Holy Bird. White robes and black cloak conceal his tall, frail and anemic frame. His eagle-like nose is exposed for all to see.|
|Hedwig Hogwarts||Elf level 2||An always alert owl masquerading as an elf.|
Harvestime 10th, Spiritday
Another gorgeous, sunny day in the Barbarian Altanis. Our group of merry adventurers, now reinforced with Hedwig Hogwarts, an elf with huge, owl-like eyes, and equally owl-like, messy hair.
The party had been staying at the Circled Star inn, the best and most luxurious place that welcomes wary travellers in Hara. Full of coin, they could afford the exuberant price of five gold pieces per day.
Either way, few of the members laid low—no, they were enterprising, undertaking various downtime activities whilst preparing their next expedition.
Brent Goose built a small shrine to Kadrim and continued his public sermons. He was rewarded with the following vision:
Four small robbed creatures dance in a circle. One wears white robe, the other wear brown robes. They dance faster and faster and faster until they suddenly stop. The white one open his robe—revealing to be some unholy mix of standing dog, rat, and reptile—and takes out a crumpled roll of parchment. Others gather around it and marvel at the drawing of wings made from wood and metal. The white robed creature points to lines next to it and points further up the mountain. Then it looks you straight into the eyes and hisses! You wake up, surrounded by your followers, all eager to hear what vision Kadrim sent to you.
Eon joined the Fighter's Guild, and invested 77% of all his money into an amazing investment opportunity. Now all he has to do is wait two weeks to get three times his investment back. No risk!
Marston went seeking for new war dog to buy, but lo and behold, he ran into Danny, his old war dog. Yes, he was a bit scruffy and without leather harness, but healthy otherwise. Gildree sought work, and found work. Questionable disposal of two bodies in a house in a dark alleyway. There he found a bruised and cut corpse of half-naked dwarf as well female halfling. Gildree chopped them up and then dissolved their remains using the liquid given to him by his patron. Work is work, and 500 gold pieces is one heavy sack. He did the job, no questions asked, and was paid, no questions asked.
Two elven buddies, Rashomon and Lyffed, hit the regular taverns, listening attentively. Lyffed did most of the heavy work, since Rashomon's comments mostly either landed flat or outright insulting.
Whilst at the Dancing Wolf tavern, they over-heard six tough-looking men boasting of their recent success plundering “a dangerous dungeon underneath a ruined tower.”
Luckily, they were “too tough and too smart” to fall for all the traps laid within. With few well delivered compliments, several rounds of drinks, and open-ended questions, the elves weaselled out that this ruined tower should be ten miles south-west of Hara.
On the morning of this very day, the party consisting of Gildree—with his two retainers, Hawkwerth and Oldham—Rashomon, Lyffed, Brent Goose, and Hedwig Hogwarts set out to find that tower. And all the riches that lurk underneath it.
Harvestime 12th, Waterday
Finally! By the second daylight watch of the third day, the party had found an eighty feet tall ruined tower. What once was an impressive cylinder of white marble was now nothing but a dilapidated tower full of gaping wounds. Large, ornate door frames stood there, door-less, exposing the tower's insides.
Closer inspection of the tower from the outside revealed two curiosities. First, the damage seemed to be cause by siege engines or something of similar power. Second, the damage seemed to be primarily caused from the inside.
“Let's go in.”
Insides again pointed at tower's once glorious shape. The floor was perfectly smooth stone. Were it not for the rubble from the smashed ceiling, it would be a wonder to marvel at. The insides were completely illuminated by the sunlight coming in through the non-existent roof.
A dome of smooth, gray stone dominated the inside of the tower. Circling it, the party had found large stone doors. Closed, of course. Two strong members got to it, and soon they were opened doors. Just like the tower, this dome also had a broken top. There was little of interest there besides staircase leading into the darkness.
Rashomon took the lead.
The spiral staircase went on, and on, and on. The stairs, like walls, were of exceptional quality. They were incredibly smooth, with well-hidden joints. Finally, after half-an hour of descent, the party entered a round chamber with fifty foot diameter. Four fluted columns spanned the whole height of the chamber. There were doors to the north and west. Both were framed with ornamental decorations. Writing in unknown language adorned the top of both doors.
“Finally a use for Read Languages spell!” Rashomon and Lyffed approached the west door. Once the latter had cast his spell, the symbols and letters started moving around like earthworms, until they made sense.
“Door” the text said.
The duo stepped forward to listen. First then felt elevation change, then they felt arrows lodging in their backs. Luckily for them, only one manage to penetrate the armour and do some damage.
Gildree quickly compared the text above the north doors to the one just deciphered by Lyffed. They were identical.
Hedwig the Owl notices something was off with the mural at the base of radial staircase down which they came. There was a large decorative section that looked like a frame—but nothing was framed! And it didn't look like something was moved...
“I press it with the tip of my sword.” Hedwig announced.
“Ha-ha, I press it with my palm then.” Hedwig followed.
The framed area depressed, and then gave in under Hedwig's relentless push. A dark, narrow passageway opened up before them.
“I go in!” Hedwig shared.
Like the surroundings, the passage was well made as well. But it had no decorations, no embellishments, nothing. Well, not nothing.
Few steps in the owl-elf's eyes widened as a silver urn, a golden urn, and four skeletal heads, each wearing a chunky gold necklace, entered his sight.
Hedwig gingerly touched one of the necklaces with the tip of his sword. Nothing happened. Rashomon joined in behind him. Hedwig took one necklace. Nothing happened. Then Rashomon took one. Nothing happened. Then Hedwig took the other two necklaces, as well as two urns. Then he heard a sound of stone scrapping against stone, followed by child-like giggle. And then both him and Rashomon nearly perished from a repeated volley of darts and stones flying at them from the darkness to their left.
“Out, get out!”
Some tried to shoot into the darkness, but with little success. Rashomon summoned an orb of purple light and hurled it down the corridor. Magic missile illuminated the secret passageway as it flew forward, revealing a horde of shin-sized humanoids. Its landing was announces with one of the small human's violent explosion. Blood and gore covered its allies, and their child-like giggles were replaced with high-pitched growls.
An burning oil flask was lobbed where the magic missile just landed. A hit! Screams of terror and cries of desperation supplanted high-pitched growls. The party was victorious. Hedwig and Rashomon were nearly dead.
“Should we head out? Look at all this treasure—that's pure profit, right there!”
“No, let's check one more room.”
“Where to, then?”
“Not the trapped doors, that's sure.”
“How about we go down the secret passage?”
“No, they might wait for us in ambush.”
“North door, then?”
“Sure. When I listened at them I haven't heard anything.”
Hedwig and Brent Goose staid behind, watching the passageway which they've just plundered. Rest of the party forced the doors open and entered a fifty by fifty foot chamber.
Twelve fluted columns formed a square pattern, essentially splitting the chamber into outer and inner square. Gildree marched on, flanked by Hawkwerth, and followed by Lyffed. Wounded Rashomon was the last, keeping an eye for any would-be ambushers.
Alas, that did not help him notice the floor giving in under the weight of four of them. The last thing Gildree witnessed in his life was perfectly polished stone floor. Hawkwerth and Lyffed suffered minor injuries. Rashomon, on the other hand, had a near death experience. He survived, but was now so badly injured— several broken bones and ribs at bare minimum—he required assistance even to move.
“Has anyone brought rope?”
In a flash of brilliance, Oldham came up with a simple plan. The pit the four adventurers fell in was merely ten feet deep. If they pass him Gildree's polearm, then he could extend it as far as possible and hold it tight, while others climb out one by one. And indeed, that's what the victims agreed to.
But there was one little complication. Rashomon couldn't really move on his own. Nothing to worry about, though! Hawkwerth and Lyffed properly manhandled him until the elf was out of the pit. Not before Lyffed noticed a bunch of small hands coming out of the walls! The hands tapped over all the adventurers, stealing gold coins wherever they could find them! And then they vanished.
Unlike Gildree's corpse, which was left to rot in the pit.
“Voices from above!”
“Quick, hide around the corner!”
“Extinguish those torches!”
Brent Goose heard a number of masculine voices descending from above, down the same staircase they cometh from. The party retreated into the room with the pit. They pressed against the south wall, and patiently waited.
The voices got louder. They were definitely in the round chamber. No one understood the language they spoke. Based on the volume, there could be anywhere between five or twelve of them. Finally, Lyffed took a big breath, stepped around the corner, and introduced himself.
Four well armed and armoured dwarves immediately turned to him.
“Who goes there?!” one of them asked in Lawful, waving his battleaxe at the elf.
“A party of adventurers. We are on our way out. Be careful, there are many traps here!”
Pleasantries were briefly exchanged. The dwarves came down here to investigate the construction, for they were really curious after seeing the tower. They were all quite impressed with the build quality, and might even spend some time mapping the place. They also managed to lob few poorly concealed jabs at the party.
“Who would expect a place like this to be unguarded and untrapped! Inconceivable!”
The party retreated out of the ruined tower, and marched straight back to Hara. Since they were hauling treasure, as well as badly injured elf, it took them three days to return.
Their first stops were money changers—all coin entering Hara must be reported, else it is confiscated—and then the jeweller. Gold urn held 200 gold pieces, while silver urn held 200 silver pieces. Four gold chains were each worth 1400 gold pieces. The party held onto significant wealth even after paying the tax and service fees.
It was a good expedition. For everybody except Gildree.
Will they return to the ruined tower?
Or seek fortune elsewhere?
Discuss at Dragonsfoot forum.
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