Shackled City - hWo Style

Godsday, 11th of Patchwall 592 CY (Part 2)

After the near death experience attempting to fight in the dark, the party retreated back into the invisibility room to regroup. After healing the injured members of the group, they investigated the tunnel heading to the west of the room they had just fled from. The first room that was investigated was filled with rubble, though a lever on the wall did attract some attention, before the room was left for another.

Inside this room, the party was attacked by another of the small shadowy creatures that had attacked them previously, but luckily this time they were able to dispatch the creature without too much trouble. Terolias Vestian took what Harthag convinced him was a magic cloak from the dead creature, as the creature had appeared to use the cloak during the course of battle to make himself harder to hit.

The group then retraced their steps back through the invisibility room and travelled south through the tunnels. Much to their surprise, the first room they encountered was filled with grass, trees and sunlight seemingly coming through from the sky above, yet it seemed clear that they were still well below the city of Cauldron. While some of the party were not fazed by this oddity, Terolias and Drezek Tiden at first refused to leave the tunnel to step into the grassy field. Krintanus took the lead and explored further to the south, leaving the forest behind and entering into a large room that looked to have been at one time a large dining hall. After seemingly finding nothing but more impassable doors, the group returned to the tunnel, going back through the forest.

The tunnel continued forward a ways, opening up into a web filled room that looked to have once been a kitchen. Harthag took the lead in exploring the room, and was almost immediately jumped near the fireplace by another of the small sneaky creatures. The attack was so vicious that Harthag was almost lost to the party, with only a quick stabilizing heal by Drezek possibly preventing the death of the Gnome. Daranoth Tiden waded into the battle, and engaged the creature face to face, while Terolias and Krintanus moved in to attack. Unfortunately, there was another creature hiding in the room, and the battle was soon being fought on multiple fronts. Terolias soon went down as well, and Daranoth was being attacked from all sides. Luck seemed to be with them however, as the first of the small creatures soon fell, and the second then attempted to flee, an attempt that was cut short when he was bought down by the chasing Daranoth and Krintanus.

With the danger seemingly averted, the group began to search the room. However, it was clear that even an empty room was not safe in this place, as an old cabinet had been rigged to collapse, and Drezek fell victim to the cunning trap, luckily managing to avoid the worst of it. Further searching of the room however did yield a key item, as the group found a 5 inch metal rod with the gnomish rune for ‘Z’ on it. Believing that they had found a key to some of the gear shaped doors, things seemed to be looking up for the group.

Given their depleted resources, and the near death experiences of some members of the party, they decided to return to the Church of St Cuthbert to take advantage of the healing that had been offered to them there, and to also get a nights rest before returning the next day. Their exit was without incident, and after a few hours at the Church getting cleaned up, the night was spent once again in Keygan Ghelve’s shop.

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Moonday, 10th of Patchwall (Part 3) to Godsday, 11th of Patchwall 592 CY

Upon returning to the home of Keygan Ghelve, and finding it empty, the party immediately set to work blocking up the entrance into Jzadirune to prevent any further intrusions into Cauldron while the party gathered supplies and rested. Leaving Daranoth Tiden and Harthag at Keygan’s shop, the rest of the group ventured back into the city in the hopes of securing more supplies and possibly some additional aid.

The rest of the parties first stop was at the Church of St Cuthbert, where they were hoping that Jenya Urikas would be able to provide some assistance, perhaps allowing Ruphus Laro to accompany them back into Jzadirune. Unfortunately, Jenya is not the sort to tolerate any weakness, and while she sympathised with the groups attempts to seek additional aid, she was not able to provide much beyond verbal encouragement to the party.

Leaving empty handed, the group next made their way towards Zanathor’s Provisions to gather some additional supplies. Along the way, Terolias Vestian realized that the group was being followed, and he attempted to double back in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the culprit. However, the individual seemed to always be one step ahead of him, and beyond some glimpses that identified the pursuer as a medium sized humanoid, he was unable to gather any additional information.

Upon reaching Zanathor’s shop, Terolias reacquainted himself with his old friend, whom he had often visited during his tours of the city. Zanathor and the group spent some time talking about the quest the party was on, along with some general chatter about the incidents occurring in the city, before they purchased their supplies and returned to Keygan’s shop, where the rest of the group had been keeping watch.

By the time the party had reunited, it was getting late in the evening, and the group decided to spend the night in Keygan’s shop before returning down into Jzadirune.

Godsday, 11th of Patchwall 592 CY

The night passed without incident and after some time was spent preparing for the journey, the group cleared the secret doorway and returned into Jzadirune.

Deciding the try a different direction then they had the previous day, the party returned to the room where they had fought the day before so that they could investigate one of the circular tunnels that led from the room. After continuing down the tunnel for some ways, the tunnel emptied into a room. Terolias was the first into the room, with Daranoth entering right behind him…but as soon as Daranoth stepped into the room, he appeared to vanish!

At the same time, an order came from somewhere in the room, speaking Gnomish, to attack the intruders, and suddenly, appearing out of seemingly nowhere, a large mechanical creature with two large drills as hands moved to attack Terolias. After some brief confusion, Harthag attempted to shut the creature down by shouting a deactivate order to it in Gnomish, and luckily for the party it worked, causing the creature to cease its attacks.

After some investigation, it was clear that there was some sort of invisibility effect occuring in certain spots in this room, which explained the constantly vanishing party members, as well as the mechanical creature appearing from nowhere.

The group then continued to investigate the areas leading from the room, and soon found yet another of the gear doors marked with a gnomish glyph. Deciding to try to use the automaton to their advantage, Harthag reactivated the creature and set it to work making a hole in the door. After some time, a small hole was made, and Harthag was able to see into the room. While Harthag was working on the door, the rest of the party investigated one of the other tunnels leading from the invisibility room, and quickly realized that the tunnel connected into the very room Harthag was trying to drill into.

Regrouping, and then entering the room, the party found what looked to be some sort of workshop, with tables and a large unlit oven dominating much of the room. As they entered, Terolias spotted a creature hiding in the corner of the room, seemingly hoping to avoid detection by the group, and being aided by the fact that he was oddly transparent. Initial attempts to communicate with the creature failed, though Harthag was able to communicate in the creatures language briefly before the creature became hostile and a battle broke out.

Unfortunately for the party, the tall creature had a number of tricks up his sleeve, and after Krintanus engaged the creature, he cast some sort of spell on the room causing it to be filled with a thick fog, before the creature attempted to flee out of the room. With the thick fog making it almost impossible to see, the party stumbled around in an attempt to chase the creature. Both Daranoth and Krintanus were able to follow the creature for a ways, but it soon became clear that blindly attempting to follow this creature was not a good idea as Daranoth was almost slain by an attack that he never saw coming.

Realizing that retreating was likely their best option, the party pulled back out of the room, back through the tunnel they had come from, and regrouped in the invisibility room to heal their wounds and recover. If anything is clear so far, it is that the dangers in Jzadirune are many, and that one can never tell what might be lurking in the next room…

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Moonday, 10th of Patchwall, 592 CY (Part 2)

After the initial failed attempt at investigating Keygan Ghelve and his shop, the party spent a few minutes outside his shop regrouping. Almost immediately however, Daranoth Tiden made his way back into the shop in an attempt to apologize to Keygan and mend the bridges that he felt had been burned during their initial encounter. However, other members of the group used Daranoth’s apology as cover for their own secret plan.

Drezek Tiden entered Keygan’s shop shortly after his brother, and began to more or less pick a fight with him, in the hopes that it would get his brother riled up and provide a distraction for Terolias Vestian, who himself followed Drezek into the shop. Once the fake, at least to Drezek and Terolias, fight had begun, the situation escalated to the point where Drezek threw Terolias over the counter in an attempt to get past the red curtain that the party believed was the key to unlocking the riddle from the Star Of Justice. Feigning injury, and managing to rip the curtain down in the throes of fake agony, Terolias exposed the room behind the curtain, which turned out to be little more then the blacksmithing workshop of Keygan.

At this point, Keygan beginning to see through the charade, attempted to force the party to remove themselves from his store, and when that didn’t work, and he was knocked from his stilts, he resorted to a non-lethal magic spell in an attempt to halt the group from exploring his shop any further.

Despite incapacitating Terolias, the party was too much for Keygan, and were about to storm through his house and shop when the group was suddenly attacked by a cloaked grey skinned humanoid that leaped down from the 2nd floor balcony. The skulk landed right next to Harthag and managed to deal him a devastating blow and left him on the bring of unconsciousness. Luckily the group managed to come to Harthag’s aid and Krintanus single handedly crushed the skulk using his supreme mastery of hand to hand combat.

With the threat neutralized, the group turned back to Keygan, who at this point had collapsed by the stairs in a heap of weeping gnome. Between his sobs he kept calling out to a Starbrow, whom the party soon learned was Keygan’s rat familiar. While it took some time, and some threats from Terolias, Keygan’s story soon came out, and the group learned that he was an unwilling participant in this kidnapping plot, forced into providing the villains with skeleton keys to the cities locks due to the ratnapping of Starbrow. Realizing that the ruse was up, and that the party likely presented Keygan with the best chance he had of seeing Starbrow alive, he decided to show the group the secret entrance to where the kidnappers had come from, a long abandoned gnomish enclave beneath the city of Cauldron known as Jzadirune. Keygan, having visited the enclave in his youth, also had a map that he provided to the group. After ensuring that the party had all the equipment they would need before their journey, Keygan then opened the secret entrance, revealing the start of a long staircase that descended down into the darkness.

After stopping to light a lantern, and with Daranoth leading the way, the group began their descent down the stairs. Upon reaching the 2nd landing, the group was ambushed by a small creature who, after failing to strike Daranoth, turned and fled down the stairs into the darkness. The party, realizing that the creature was likely long gone, continued down the stairs slowly until they reached the bottom where it opened up into a large room. Within the room were a large number of smiling gnome masks stuck onto the walls, and odd sounds emminated from the very walls. There were also 2 strange doors within the large room, shaped like large gears, with various runes burned into the front. Harthag was able to immediately recognize the runes as parts of the gnomish alphabet.

One of the two doors was wedged open with a rock, and after some investigating by Terolias, Daranoth led the group through the door, only to be ambushed on both sides by two of the same creatures that had attacked the party in Keygan’s house. A swift battle ensued, and both creatures were quickly slain, leaving the group to investigate the room, which appeared to be some sort of old sleeping chamber. Deciding to further explore the large initial room, the group, Terolias in particular, began a detailed search.

Terolias started with the two doors, and in particular, the one that was still locked. His search soon turns up what looks to be a trap, and while attempting to disarm it, he trips the trap and is exposed to a large cloud of acidic gas. The gas trap brings him to within an inch of his life, but luckily Drezek was able to save him with his magic, and after spending a few minutes recovering, the group continues their search of the room.

During the search, Terolias stepped infront of one of the masks, only to have it shout out a cryptic welcoming message to the group.

Welcome to Jzadirune—Behold the wonder!
But beware, ye who seek to plunder.
Traps abound and guardians peer
Beyond every portal, behind every gear.

The search also turns up a secret door, exposing a short passageway with seemingly no other exits, lined with various frescoes of gnomes. Harthag takes the lead, and makes his way to the end of the corridor safely until Daranoth follows him to the end and activates a trap due to his significant weight. This is no ordinary trap however, as both Harthag and Daranoth fall into what could best be described as a tilt-a-pit-trap.

With two of their comrades down, the rest of the group sprang into action, and before long, they had managed to pull Harthag out of the pit before too much damage had been done. It took a little longer to pull Daranoth out, and the gods he only somewhat honours must have been watching over him as he managed to escape the ordeal almost totally unscathed.

After managing to partially disable the trap, Harthag found another secret door at the end of the hallway, which opened up into foyer of some kind with a large set of iron double doors and 4 more gear doors, each with a different rune burned into the front.

Realizing that Drezek was very low on healing magic, and that the group seemed to be inadequately equipped for the journey ahead, the group decided that it would be best for them to return to Keygan’s shop, rest up and gather supplies and barricade the entrance to Jzadirune until they could return to continue the search for the kidnappers and their victims. However, upon returning to Keyagn’s shop, they found the gnome missing from his house…

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Sunday, 9th of Patchwall to Moonday, 10th of Patchwall, 592 CY

Sunday, 9th of Patchwall, 592 CY

After arriving in Cauldron the previous night, and spending the night in the Drunken Morkoth Inn, the group of travellers decided to stick together in the hopes of finding out some information regarding the kidnappings that have been taking place in Cauldron.

Despite having had no problems sleeping since the night spent in The Lucky Monkey, Krintanus once again was haunted by nightmares, this time of his body slowly vanishing into nothingness.

The following morning, before the investigation could fully begin, the group braved the very foul and stormy weather and went to the Tiden household so that Daranoth Tiden and Drezek Tiden could report to their brother Darvik Tiden about their failed attempt at gathering new business opportunities in Sasserine. Darvik was not sympathetic to their attempts and made no attempts at hiding his anger at both his brothers and their companions. He was particularly rude to Terolias Vestian, who attempted to win Darvik over in the hopes of creating some new business opportunities for them both.

After leaving the Tiden house, went to the Town Guard Barracks to report the goblin ambush that was suffered during their trek into town. While the guard they reported it to was sympathetic, it sounded as though it was but one of a number of attacks that had taken place recently near the city.

With their personal business attended too, the group was making their way back to their inn, when they came across a fight in a nearby back alley. 3 ruffians were beating up a young priest, and the group stepped in to try and help. After a short battle, during which one of the ruffians got away, the group managed to subdue two of the thugs and save Ruphus Laro. Upon interrogating the attackers, it was learned that they had been paid by The Last Laugh, the major thieves guild in Cauldron to threaten and intimidate the Church of St Cuthbert into abandoning their investigation of the recent kidnappings. Upon the arrival of the town guard, it was also learned that these men were themselves members of the guard, who had taken this job for the extra pay and upon the promise that no one would be seriously hurt. Despite multiple attempts to persuade the town guard, one of which just so happened to be a friend of Daranoth’s, they were not willing to risk the lives of the criminals in a plan to bait out whoever in The Last Laugh was involved.

With the excitement of battle passed, Ruphus persuaded the group to return with him to the Church of St Cuthbert so that they could meet and talk with Jenya Urikas, the acting head of the St. Cuthbert order.

Upon their arrival at the church, Ruphus left to debrief Jenya, and the group was left alone for a time to clean up and refresh themselves. Soon after, Jenya came to speak to them, and put forward a proposition that the group work with the church to uncover those behind the kidnapping plot. They were offered a sizable reward to accept the quest, which they did without much hesitation. With the adventurers on board, Jenya shared with them the information that she had gathered from The Star Of Justice, a divination item owned by the church. The riddle that the item produced had Jenya stumped, but she hoped that this group might be able to track down some leads.

With these clues in hand, the group began their investigation at the scene of the last kidnapping, the Lantern Street Orphanage. Despite meeting some resistance from the headmistress of the orphanage, a halfling women named Gretchyn, the group eventually was able to investigate the premises and talk to the janitor, Patch. They learn that they are not the only folks investigating the kidnappings, as both the Cauldron Town Guard and some half-elf investigators sent by the mayor have already been to the orphanage to ask questions.

Being unable to find any real clues, the group decided to return the next day to continue their investigation when they would be able to question the rest of the staff and perhaps some of the children. They returned to their inn, had a quick dinner and a few drinks and then retired for the evening.

Moonday, 10th of Patchwall, 592 CY

By the morning, the rainstorm of the previous day had passed, and the weather was much more pleasant as the group made their way to the orphanage to continue their investigation. While they were unable to find any additional clues while searching the building, nor any information from any of the children, they did manage to find out that all the locks in the building came from a single man, one Keygan Ghelve. Realizing that they have gathered all the information they can from the orphanage, the group decides to pay a visit to Keygan.

Once arriving a Keygan’s store, they enter and begin to talk to the gnome about the kidnapping situation. Despite their attempts to convince Keygan that they are not accusing him of anything, the conversation quickly turns heated, and Daranoth leaves the store as he is unable to get any solid information from Keygan. Terolias then tries a different approach, attempting a less threatening diplomatic approach. During this conversation, Keygan seems to indicate that he is being watched, and that it is not safe for him to talk. Realizing that they are not going to be able to get any information from Keygan at this time, the group leaves his shop, and begins their plans on how to further investigate the link that Keygan seems to have with the kidnappings.

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Earthday, 6th of Patchwall to Starday, 8th of Patchwall, 592 CY

Earthday, 6th of Patchwall, 592 CY

It had been a long and tiring journey from Sasserine, but the 5 travelers had just arrived at The Lucky Monkey inn the night before.

The group had come together just recently, travelling together largely for convenience. Drezek and Daranoth had unintentionally gained the company of Terolias before leaving Sasserine, Terolias having latched onto the brothers prior to the journey back to their hometown as they looked like the sort that could both afford to buy him some drinks and keep any unfriendly attention at bay during their journey. Terolias came with his own baggage however, as the gnome Harthag had taken Terolias up on his offer to guide the gnome to the city of Cauldron, as he had never been to this part of the world before. Krintanus was the last of this motley group, and his origins are a mystery to all, as is how he came to be a part of this makeshift group. When the other 4 left Sasserine, Krintanus was not with them, and yet when they went to make camp for the evening, they realized that their group had mysteriously grown to 5. Krintanus has been by their side ever since.

And so it was that this group of 5 travelers came to be at The Lucky Monkey, having arrived late in the night on the 5th of Patchwall and being checked into the roadhouse by Tessa Marsh. A night sleep in a real bed did everyone some good, everyone other than Krintanus at least, who suffered horrifying dreams throughout the night, dreams that he did not share with the rest of the group.

After waking and packing, the group partook of breakfast in the inn, meeting and conversing with Orin Marsh throughout their meal. Orin told of the latest news out of Cauldron, that many kidnappings have happened in the city over the last few months, with no leads or suspects being found by the Cauldron Town Guard. A glimpse of the beautiful Shensen Tesseril was enough to cause Drezek and Daranoth to seek her out for a blessing, which they received before leaving the inn.

Soon after, the party took to the road, though Harthag took the time to perform a quick magic trick for a young boy, much to his delight, before the last leg of their journey began. The rest of the day was spent traveling through the jungle, until the end of the day, when the road broke out of the jungle and led out into the plains surrounding the hills and mountains near Cauldron. Camp was made near the road, the night passed without any incident.

Freeday, 7th of Patchwall, 592 CY

Camp was broken early, and the journey continued as the weather began to turn towards rain. The travel was routine, and camp was made close to the edge of the savannah before it gives way to the rougher terrain that encircles the city.

In the middle of the night, while Drezek watched over the camp, he was attacked by a roving band of goblins, led by one trained in the arcane arts. A harsh battle ensued, with Terolias being afflicted with magical sleep and almost everyone in the group suffering some kind of injury, but in the end, the goblins were defeated and the party was safe for the rest of the night.

Starday, 8th of Patchwall, 592 CY

The journey to Cauldron continued, with the road pushing first through the rugged hills around the city before making the final climb through the mountains. It was late in the evening when the party reached the city.

Drezek and Daranoth’s heritage got the party through the gates without any problems, and the group immediately made their way towards the Drunken Morkoth Inn, stopping along the way to ask a few questions about the kidnappings, hearing a rumour about how all the locks on the victims houses had been picked and their houses looted during the kidnappings, but that no trace of the suspects was ever found. The group also noticed a number of tax notices posted throughout the city that appear to indicate that a tax increase is on the horizon for the citizens and visitors of Cauldron.

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