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…