Monday, May 2, 2016

Back To Greyhawk - Shopping Day!

Your reliable scribe is back at the helm of the Greyhawk adventure...remember that our players are braving the dangers of Castle Greyhawk's ruins in search of fame and treasure. Well, maybe not the paladin so much...he's just there for the smiting.

And the players for this campaign include:

Brent: G'leric, a gnome wizard, and his familiar, G'at the bat
Spencer: Urick, a human paladin, and his mount, Zeeb 
Emily: Ember the Executioner, a human fighter
Elliot: Lance Dallas, an elf druid, and his familiar, Lionel the Lion
Dan: Fayt Vaanil, an elf rogue

If you've been following along with this particular campaign, you know that our party's adventures ended this past winter with a valiant rescue of a Boccobite cleric named Altamaic.  Upon returning this cleric to his temple, the party received a free 5th-level or lower spell.  The DM made the executive decision to make this a permanent spell...depending on what spell the player chose, of course.  The players made the following spell choices:

Lance - Tongues
G'leric - True Seeing (the DM was glad to hear someone picked this spell...will be most useful later)
Fayt - Slay Living (One utterance/usage per day)
Ember - Flame Strike (Cast on her Holy +1 greatsword)
Urick - Divine Power (Spell woven into a wristband, to be used three times a day)

After the players picked their spells, the DM handed out "While You've Been Away..." sheets, which allowed the players to catch up on their loot and happenings...useful for the DM as well, since she discovered that where the blog here left off and where the adventure really left off were two different stopping points.  Here's the fun little interludes the DM found in her notes...

Lance the Druid (Elliot), being an animal lover, received an invitation to visit Lord Henway's Magical Menagerie.  He goes and sees all types of wonderful creatures.  He is approached by Lord Henway who tells him a story about a wonderfully terrible hellhound he used to own years ago.  It had been stolen several decades ago, and was spotted in the company of a little girl named Melissa.  He was able to recapture that hellhound, but just in the last few weeks, it was kidnapped from him again.  And since he'd heard Lance Dallas has extensive hellhound knowledge, would he be willing to attempt a rescue/recovery for a handsome fee?  Naturally, Lance accepts (and with very little questioning either).

G'leric is in the middle of lunch with Ricard Damaris at the Drunken Dog Inn.  Ricard is also lunching with one Captain Gallanz, who appears to be very jovial, despite the formidable military uniform he sports about in.  This Captain is very, very eager to hear details of the cleric's adventures in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.  In the midst of all this, the doors open and a blue-clad wizard enters and strides directly over to Ricard's table.  He fixes the Captain with a very piercing gaze before reaching into his cloak and removing a small object wrapped in a blue handkerchief.  The small object is a dragonchess piece (the pawn).  The wizard sets it upright before very meaningfully tipping it over on its side, indicating capture.  Then, the wizard stalks from the Inn.  G'leric does a well-enough Knowledge Local check to know that the blue-garbed wizard was no other than the great Tenser.  G'leric is a bit goggled at this fact, and rather starstruck as he chases down Tenser and proceeds to inform him that he (G'leric) is "the other famous wizard".  No other interaction occurs on the part of Tenser and G'leric returns to his steak-and-kidney pie.

Ember (Emily) comes across an advertisement for a "sale" at a shop called the Nine of Swords.  There, she meets Cerenoc, the tightly-muscled, forty-something owner of the shop.  It would appear that Ember's just happening to find that flyer was no coincidence.  News of Ricard Damaris's rescue, not to mention the party's current exploits in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk has circulated like mad, and Cerenoc has a proposal for the swordswoman called Ember.  He tells her he will offer her a "rental" of any weapon he currently has available if she will procure for him the coveted Blade of Chaos from castle's depths.  She asks instead of a new weapon, can he put magical abilities on her current sword.  He says he can, and she does not give a definite answer.  Perhaps she must think it over, because after all, the Blade of Chaos actually belongs to Ricard Damaris and it was thefted from him when he was overtaken at Zagig's Bridge. Hmmm...

Fayt (Daniel) is enjoying a leisurely drink at the DDI, when he is accosted by a lovely, dark-haired elf.  She introduced herself as Tirra, Master Thief for the Greyhawk Thieves Guild - River Quarter.  She's very open about her affiliation, because after all, The Thieves' Guild mostly works in tandem with the Greyhawk governing officials to keep the city safe and in order.  Fayt's decent Knowledge: Local check allows him to realize he is indeed speaking to someone of influence within this city.  She has a warning for the elf rogue: what lies underneath the ruins of Castle Greyhawk contain glory, riches, and magic beyond his imagining...but there are dangers beyond his comprehension and skill as well.  She makes him an offer: we can assist you in your exploration, we know you already have access to the Tower of War, but you will be unable to access entry to the other two towers.  We can help you with that.  But, of course, you must do something for us as well.  What say you?  Fayt requests Tirra buy him a mug of ale, and promptly refuses to accept her proposal.  He instead plans to undertake the search for entry on his own (whether or not he tells Tirra this, the notes do not say).

And good old Urick. Our trusty, young, foolhardy paladin.  He returns to his quarters at the Drunken Dog Inn after a hearty lunch, and notices a beautiful woman sitting primly on his bed.  She stands, and Urick notices she is modestly and elegantly dressed, perhaps in her upper 30s.  She says her name is Livashti, and she explains she has heard of the brave exploits of Urick's party so far in Greyhawk.  She then explains her hope that she may hire him for a rescue job.  Her husband, Kellan, ventured off to the castle's ruins six months ago in search of treasure and plunder.  He has not returned, and she has had no word of his status.  The paladin does a Sense Motive on the woman and can really only discern that she "is not all she seems".  The woman says her husband can be identified by his wedding band, as it matches hers, a plain silver band with a unique geometric pattern engraved into it.  She then offers Urick the use of a sword her husband had laying around the house (and why didn't he take with him? Who knows? The paladin never thinks to ask).  Turns out it is a +1 flaming longsword, and the paladin is practically vibrating with excitement at the thought of using it.  And that is indeed the clincher.  Urick says he'll do it, and he too asks no questions.

Alright, alright, alright...onto today's session.  The last few episodes have been rather dungeon-crawl heavy, so with the amazing help of a good friend, the DM planned this assemblage to be more city scouring-laced.  And so now away we go!

It's been a couple days of info-gathering, recovering, resting, rehydrating (sure?), and counting the loot for our adventurers.  Convening some time later in the afternoon in the Drunken Dog Inn, the group notices the volume of people (and their volume) has increased immensely.  There is much chatter and the pub is much much more packed than it normally is...the players' Spot checks have no trouble discerning this.  A closer Listen reveals that tomorrow is a great day in Greyhawk.  Nothing like a little multipurpose religious observance to bring the people together.  All religions within the Free City of Greyhawk, minor and major, will celebrate, parade, and work for their Deity.  And while it is a great time of feasting and praising and is also a time of unorganized chaos.  People throng and gather and crowd in nearly every street and corner.  The City Watch have their hands full with patrols all day and night.  And not only that, but all shops in Greyhawk are to be closed by noon the next day (and closed the day after as well), any buying and selling that needs to be done...should be done tonight and/or tomorrow.

And the festivities look to begin early at the Drunken Dog Inn, as Ricard announces loudly that for the next hour, drinks are free.  The barmaids scurry to and fro with tankards and steins and pints, and before long, a round of drinks are slammed on the table in front of our adventurers.  The rogue (Fayt), the druid (Lance), and the paladin (Urick) all refuse the beverages.  However, G'leric and Ember go at it quite enthusiastically.  Fayt instead pulls out his bottle of brandy, pushes his freebie away, and decides to leave the DDI.

On the way to Geeridan's General Store, Fayt bypasses a bunch of hungover-looking mercenary-type men stumbling out of a building. Upon arriving to Geeridan's, the rogue sees that the shop is CLOSED.  So, Fayt turns around and tries to hawk his wares to the hungover group of men.  Fayt's spiel is certainly energetic, but totally wasted on this group of bloodshot-eyed, hamster-mouthed professionals.  At the mention of the word "brandy" (one of the items Fayt wishes to sell), one of the men loses it and vomits all over the rogue.  Upon learning he now takes -2 to any further Charisma checks, he returns to the DDI to wash up.

Urick the paladin has cleared out for the night, ordering some cheap food before returning to his room.  Lance remains in the tavern, watching the increasingly happy shenanigans around him.  General merriment continues until late.

Moonlight passes.  Ember and G'leric make Constitution rolls and discover they are nowhere near ready to get out of bed at 8:00 am the next morning when  Fayt, Lance, Urick rise and make their way downstairs.  The three alert players see people around the tavern in various states of slumber.  Weird.  Like they never went home.  A good Heal check by the druid and paladin indicate the sleep thing is not permanent nor harmful, but probably a problem with the DDI well-water (perhaps tainted by a drug prompting Ember to refer to it as Roofie Beer).

Fayt, Urick, Lance opt to leave their cohorts in bed and head to Geeridan's.  Right out in front of Goddess-damned shop, for Pete's sake, is a juggler...which in and of itself is not too crazy - after all, it is that kind of atmosphere right now.  But, he's juggling about six lit torches.  And doing it so incredibly poorly.  Someone could seriously get hurt. The players try to move carefully around the flaming idiot, but alas, Fayt and Urick do not make decent enough Dex checks, and are set alight. Lance is able to avoid the fire. After putting himself out easily,  Fayt castigates the inept juggler and shoves him down, crying out "Dance Monkey Dance" when the juggler's shoes catch fire.  The paladin says nothing to the rogue for this slightly mean little action.  I guess paladins have those moments too.

Inside the store, the three players are able to sell their extra equipment for extra coin.  Urick is overcome with the desire to have Zeeb with him, and Lance wishes for Lionel as well.  So, it's back to the DDI for animals. On the way back, the trio suddenly notice the closest sewer hole begins to belch up rats...and that's odd enough without Spot checks revealing that these rats are wearing little brown robes that look a lot like a priest's vestments.  With his Tongues spell, Lance asks them who they are and what they're about.  They rat-chatter back that they are worshippers of the Rat-God Splinter (later on, Sphincter).  Upon saying the name, the brown-robed rats stand on their little rat haunches and bow to the ground.  Apparently, with the Festival of the Gods so close, they have much to do and shortly after bowing down, they scurry search of cheese sacrifices, probably.

And around 10:00 GST, Ember and G'leric awake to much the same scenario in the DDI tavern - half-full of sleeping, knocked out people.  Fayt, though, has not been idle; he has spent his extra time back at the DDI relieving some of the more aristocratic-looking folk of their coin.  Urick tries to do the noble pally thing and remonstrate him, but Fayt won't be guilted into stopping.

Ember and G'leric want to go to Geeridan's.  Lance opts to stay behind and wait for a breakfast server.  Surely someone should be coming in to flip eggs soon.

En route, the four players notice they seem to be followed by City Watch (Urick and Gleric sit atride Zeeb).  And as they turn to quicken their pace, the City Watch begins a full-on run after them.  Fayt does a Hide check to fade into background, Ember "pulls over", and ol' Gleric casts Invisibility upon himself and Zeeb and Urick.  Ember's Charisma check as she talks to the guards is incredible, and the guards are soon apologizing for the confusion and offer to escort the group to wherever they are going...Urick states they are going to a shop called Gardetto's.

Inside, things are sold and gold pieces are collected by G'leric, Ember. Fayt asks about albino rats, and Geeridan directs the rogue to a shop across the way called Lore of the Lake.  Fayt pops over quick and inquires with the proprietor, Gulfor Leeds. Gulfor states that albino rats are uncommon, and are generally thought of as sinister omens.  If one puts such stock into things like that.  He does also confess that he's heard rumors of evil sorcerers shapeshifting as albino rats...but vague stories is all he's able to offer.

The party heads back to Inn, not much else to do, and it's obvious shops are closing up and the noise level in the streets is growing.  Luckily, the group finds a quiet little stretch of street...until suddenly the relative silence is rent by a man sprinting at them, screaming "Run! The Terrible Eyes are Coming!"  Upon reaching the party, the man continues to rave about a group of men just "back there" crowding about a multi-tentacledandeyed creature.  Urick Calms the man and says he will retrieve the City Watch to help him.  However, the guards on patrol here are extremely skeptical of the man.  They finally proclaim him crazy, and leave to carry on with their other patrol duties.  If there really is dangerously evil tentacled creatures floating about...then Urick the paladin is going to do something about it! The group follow the man's directions back to where he saw the Eyes.  Urick's new Flaming Longsword is at the ready.  G'leric sends Gat out on a quick recon...and the bat soon returns with this knowledge: the "Terrible Eyes" is in fact a ginormous Beholder-looking balloon (obviously for parade purposes).  Suggestions abound to pop it...but in fact, the group opts for returning to the Inn instead.

For the most part, the adventures end here.  However, there's some unfinished business in the depths of Castle Greyhawk...and the old ruins' dangerous secrets are about to burst forth like the Great Flood.  Will our brave adventurers be able to survive the torrent?

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