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GM alientude's Shackled City

Game Master Kyle Smith 700

The frontier city of Cauldron has a dark future rapidly approaching. Will a disparate band of adventurers be able to save it?


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HP 15/18 AC 18/11/17 (19/12/17 when adjacent to 2 allies) F +4, R +1, W -1 (R +2 when adjacent to 2 allies)

Adolphus attempts to stand carefully, without being struck by an attack of opportunity. If this isn't possible, he will crawl 5 feet to the east.


Dorian tries once more to hit the hobgoblin with his acid splash spell. "My apologies, I'm not much help in combat such as this..."

Acid splash vs. touch 1d20 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (15) + 2 - 4 = 13; Damage 1d3 ⇒ 2


HP 15/18 AC 18/11/17 (19/12/17 when adjacent to 2 allies) F +4, R +1, W -1 (R +2 when adjacent to 2 allies)

"You're doing better than me. I can't even hit the thing and it knocks me down its first try."


Aasimar (6/6 channel +ve, 7/7 ferocity, 7/7 adoration) Cleric 1 HP: 10/10 | CMD: 12 | AC: 18 (T: 11 / FF:17) | Fort +5 / Ref +1 / Will +8

Diurn activates adoration if attacked Will DC 14 required to attack him. He tries to shield the fallen.


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

Darthal protects Dreyguard....

aid another for Dreyguard's AC 1d20 ⇒ 20

...successfully.


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

F +2; R +4; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)
AC 14 (12 aided prone); TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 15 (19 vs bull rush and trip)
hp 10/8 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +4 (+5 traps)

"Why thanks, brother."


Diurn's flail smashes into the hobgoblin's side, followed shortly thereafter by Dorian's ball of acid. The brutish creature's hands go limp as his sword drops to the ground and he falls.


GM rolls:

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21

Without the distraction of combat, Dreygard's keen eye for stonework allows him to spot not one but two secret doors in the room, one each on the southwest and west walls.


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

Darthal helps Dreyguard to his feet and then checks to see if the hobgoblins have anything useful, informative, or (most importantly) informational about them.

take 20 on Perception checks for a 28 to search the bodies while Dreyguard is finding more secret doors.

"So many secret passages? Truly, a gnome stronghold. Clan Blackaxe would ne er build so many secret doors -- we recall from the tale of Pender that a secret way out is also a secret way in."


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

"Yes. A secret door is a lie, which is false. It in turn gives a false sense of security and a better opportunity for enemies to take advantage of that placitude." The dwarf sniffs. "Clearly we are in the wrong octagonal chamber. No kids."


retired

Valamont steps into the chamber fully, looking around with a curious arch to one eyebrow. He rattles one of the massive chains with his free hand, "What in the blazes is this? Is this - is this a lift?!"


Sorry, forgot to post this part.

Darthal's eyes go from the wooden floor to the chains, and recognition dawns. This is the room from the dream, but the children clearly aren't here.

At the same time, Mite begans barking and running in circles around the room. He looks excited but confused at the same time.


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

"Do we go down, or set up a guard here and rest up this evening. It seems a safe a place as any, with the mimic in between us and the rest of the place. The room itself seems easily defensible. I'd hate to push on our luck much more, eh."


retired

"Perhaps, but I'd rest easier if Starbrow were no longer in our care. I'd like to at least return him to Ghelve before we venture further. Lest we rescue the small fellow only to put into the path of greater harm."


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"The children were here at least one of them," Darthal says. "And ... This is the place I saw in my dream. How did I dream it? Did the stone bestir itself to speak? Let me think. It seems we might sleep here on guard, but I agree that we should return Starbrow first. If nothing else, that way the gnome will guard our back if any skulks still in the city seek to return."


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

"Good thinking. Let's just use that secret door there and not irritate the mimic anymore."


HP 15/18 AC 18/11/17 (19/12/17 when adjacent to 2 allies) F +4, R +1, W -1 (R +2 when adjacent to 2 allies)

Adolphus remains silent, most of this place was still strange to him, and the dangerous encounter with the hobgoblins still wore heavily on his mind.


"I'd rather sleep in a bed than on a stony floor... it's not like we have to travel far to return here. Still, I'll go with whatever everyone else decides."


Just waiting for a party consensus.


retired

"Well, before we decide to stay here or leave and return, let's check these other 2 secret doors. Perhaps then we can come to an agreement?"
where are these doors at again?


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"I'd rather not abandon ground gained," Darthal says. "If we go away and the creatures below detect our presence, we may have to fight back. Here we stop them from using the lift to move more forces up here. What is a night's mild discomfort compared to a major tactical advantage?"


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

"Sound dwarven thinking there Mr. Blackaxe. We control the lift, have a potential, if not completely cooperative guard in the form of that mimic, secret doors in and out of here. I think we should stay. Lets at least explore what is behind the secret doors to get a layout, but not open anything that they may lead to. Who wants to bring Starbrow back?"


HP 15/18 AC 18/11/17 (19/12/17 when adjacent to 2 allies) F +4, R +1, W -1 (R +2 when adjacent to 2 allies)

Adolphus agrees with Dorian.

"Aye, a chance to rest properly would be not only greatly appreciated, but an outright necessity for some of us. And to answer your question, Darthal, a night's mild discomfort could be a great tactical disadvantage. Weakened muscles and tired minds make for poor tactical weapons."


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"If we return Starbrow, which is a good idea, those of you unused to traditional dwarven stone beds may no doubt purchase pillows and blankets from the shopkeepers of Cauldron," Darthal says dismissively.


retired

"If no one else will, I'll run Starbrow back. And if we're that divided on what to do, why not let those who wish to return to Cauldron return and the remainder can hold this room against any further incursion? I doubt these mighty dwarven paragons would even need the aid of mere humans or half-elves to hold such a position." Valamont laughs heartily then, clapping Darthal jovially on the shoulder.


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

"These long beards DO make good pillows when they are all rolled up. And in Darthal's case, a blanket too!"


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"Whichever we decide, we should stick together. If this were a dwarf-built guardroom instead of a gnomish parlor, I should undertake to hold it alone, with the aid of our wellmade war engines. This place needs friends on watch. ... And it's a shawl, not a blanket, Splintershield, as should be obvious from an examination of the crossbraiding count."

I count three for staying here and two for heading up to the city. In either case we've a solid majority for returning Starbrow before sleeping. If no one changes their mind we should return to Cauldron rather than splitting the party.


Valamont Caine wrote:

"Well, before we decide to stay here or leave and return, let's check these other 2 secret doors. Perhaps then we can come to an agreement?"

where are these doors at again?

One secret door is in the western wall, and the other is in the southwestern wall.


So sounds like the party wants to return Starbrow to Ghelve, then return to this room to camp for the night. Are you going to explore the two hidden doors before returning the rat, after, or not at all?


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"Let us rest before we do much more prodding," Darthal suggests. "We are too weary to go down this lift, and therefore too weary to poke into more rooms that might have something angry in them."


Aasimar (6/6 channel +ve, 7/7 ferocity, 7/7 adoration) Cleric 1 HP: 10/10 | CMD: 12 | AC: 18 (T: 11 / FF:17) | Fort +5 / Ref +1 / Will +8

Diurn speaks up, "I have given all my healing and all my food. I contributed four days (all my rations) to make up for those that did not pack any food. We will be returning Starbrow and we will be resting so that I can recover enough resources to adequately protect this group I have decided to protect. Yes, you dwarves, I do care about children, but you are no use to them exhausted and deplenished. Get your bags packed we are returning to the surface. WHEN MY SPELLS AND HEALING ARE REPLENISHED, we will immediately return to look for the children."

Everyone has the feeling the rant is over. Challenging the famished and exhausted Diurn at this time does not seem wise.


HP 15/18 AC 18/11/17 (19/12/17 when adjacent to 2 allies) F +4, R +1, W -1 (R +2 when adjacent to 2 allies)

"I agree. Diurn is not the only one who needs to prepare his mind in a peaceful environment for spells. And this armor requires special care. I will not risk my health and sanity by being forced to remove it on the field, so to speak, when the city is not too far above us."


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)
Darthal Blackaxe wrote:
" ... And it's a shawl, not a blanket, Splintershield, as should be obvious from an examination of the crossbraiding count."

"I shawl not make that mistake again."


retired

Valamont smiles at Diurn, "Well said, my friend, well said!" He laughs easily then and takes out (or asks for it if someone else has it) the map Ghelve gave the group earlier in the day. "Looking at this, it seems that either of these westerly doors could possibly lead us nearer to the stairs out of this gnomish pit. I recommend we check them both and if we don't like the look of what's beyond we can retrace our steps back through the strange underground meadow and the tunnels."



Still struggling to find a consensus, but in the interest of moving things forward...

The party retraces its steps (avoiding the mimic's room) and heads back up to the lockmaker's shop. As you ascend the stairs, Starbrow squeaks excitedly in his cage, and when you arrive in the shop, the rat is running around in circles, squeaking loudly the entire time. Ghelve bursts through the curtain, his face overcome with relief and joy. "Starbrow!" he exclaims, rushing forward and opening the cage. The rat hops out and onto Ghelve's shoulder.

Keygan looks the group and says, "I don't know how to thank you enough, my friends! If there's anything...wait, I know!" He runs upstairs, Starbrow still on his shoulder squeaking happily. You hear the sound of him rummaging around for a moment before he descends back into the room holding several scrolls. "Please, take these as a gesture of my thanks. They're not much, but I can't think of anything else I could give that would be of use to adventurers such as you."

Arcane scrolls of mage armor, detect secret doors, and reduce person.

After giving you the scrolls, Ghelve looks around for a moment and his brow furrows in concern. "I take it by their absence you have yet to find the missing children?"


retired

"Alas, your guess is right on the mark. The children have yet to be found though we do think we've found a promising lead. We decided though that rather than risk Starbrow any further, we'd return him and refill our supplies before proceeding any further." Valamont stalls for a second then, looking down at the ground. After a moment, he looks back up, smiling and making eye contact with Ghelve, "It is good to see you two reunited."


The arcane scrolls pique Dorian's interest, especially seeing that one is a transmutation spell. "Ah, Master Ghelve, arcane writings such as these are more than enough. I may not possess a familiar myself, and I hesitate to equate a mere ring with Starbrow here, but I don't know what I'd do if my bonded item were to go missing."

Turning to the only other arcane caster, Dorian speaks to Valamont, "Master Caine... you and I seem to be the only ones capable of making use of these scrolls. I'd only request that I add reduce person to my spellbook... it belongs to the school of interest to me. You would probably find mage armor to be of more use than I would. Either way, given sufficient time I'm sure we could copy them from each other's spellbooks."

Dorian finally stops talking, his usual quiet nature interrupted by matters of arcane magic.


retired

Valamont turns to Dorian, a wry smile on his face, "Actually, the spell that reveals the presence of secret doors interests me most at this juncture. Blasted gnomes!" He then looks to Ghelve and hastily adds, "Errr, present company excluded, of course. It's just that your forebears, well, they were fiendishly inventive insofar as structural engineering and architechture are concerned. It's quite infuriating down there, I must admit."

He then harshly whispers out of the corner of his mouth,
-Yes! I know! I just apologized, didn't I?


HP 15/18 AC 18/11/17 (19/12/17 when adjacent to 2 allies) F +4, R +1, W -1 (R +2 when adjacent to 2 allies)

"At last, it is good to be on top of the ground instead of under it, particularly in the dizzying maze those gnomes appear to have built."

Adolphus is grim, but resolved to continue the search as soon as he has rested to prevent his heavy armor from fatiguing him.


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"We have not yet found the children," Darthal says, "but we have some idea where they might have been taken. That is an impressive and complicated city down there. Many rooms and many levels." Diplomatically, he does not mention his concerns about its defensibility, instead watching Starbrow run around excitedly.


Aasimar (6/6 channel +ve, 7/7 ferocity, 7/7 adoration) Cleric 1 HP: 10/10 | CMD: 12 | AC: 18 (T: 11 / FF:17) | Fort +5 / Ref +1 / Will +8

Diurn planned to lead an excursion to a general store for supplies followed by a rest with watches set in a sanctuary such as an inn.

"Shall we rest a quick night in an inn and resume exploration at the crack of dawn?'


retired

"If it's all the same to you, Diurn, I'd just as soon sleep in my own bed and meet you all back at... say, Ghelve's front door at dawn."


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

"I will be with my fellow dwarves," says Darthal. "But first, some coffee. It's not yet noon."


The party leaves Ghelve's and finds Darthal's words to be true - though it seems impossible, you have spent less than four hours exploring the confusing gnome complex.

Go ahead and post your actions for the rest of the day.


Dorian will return to the Church of Iomedae to continue his research, paying close attention to anything that might mention gnomish underground cities or metallic monster lobsters.


retired

Valamont takes Darthal up on his unspoken offer and invites himself along to accompany the dwarf in enjoying some coffee. In the afternoon, he acquires some additional equipment that he suspects will be useful having now experienced a portion of the gnomish enclave beneath the city.

He also swings by the garrison for the town guard to see if his previous service might merit some trust from his former guardsmen. If they've heard anything about the kidnappings, a "Kazmojen", or a "You-a-theeb" he'd appreciate them letting him know.

rolls:

If you'd like them, here are some rolls for his gathering information. Not sure if you'd prefer a diplomacy check or a profession check, so take whichever.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
profession (soldier): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9

EDIT: Awesome. Both 4's. Blasted dicebot.


Male Dwarf Cave Druid 2

Darthal doesn't speak of his adventure underground, at least not while anyone else could be listening. Who knows what ears those skulkers have?

Noon is coffee hour. Darthal really doesn't like noon sunlight. (He's not real good with dawn, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or dusk either, but noon is really bad.) He spends a long time savoring the cup, wondering what the inhabitants would do if they knew of the horrors beneath their feet. He asks Valamont, before the other leaves, "What do you think they want the children for? I have had horrible dreams about them. I thought they might be just nightmares till I saw the room down there, that I had dreamed of earlier. There was... something horrible in there as well. I do not know what, but we should be prepared for worse than we have seen so far."

In the afternoon, Darthal repairs to Westkey's Map Emporium and sees if any of the city's old maps mention anything about the gnomish city underground. In particular, were there every any other entrances? Even air shafts or water drains? Mining, particularly mining that moves lots of heavy rock, leaves traces and can't be executed in a vacuum. The air down there was livable, so there must be air shafts or some other means of ventilation -- water might be obtained from the lake, and sewage conduits are likely too small to crawl through, but there might be some use in knowing what and where and how many there are.

Knowledge/dungeoneering 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Knowledge/history 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21

In the evening, he returns to Clan Blackaxe's house and tells his leader what's been going on. "What are the best interests of the clan here? The city is a typically indefensible and ill-planned gnomish confusion, but it is underground and so falls in our sphere. And skulks, hobgoblins, and other such ill things are enemies of ours of old. Do you remember Orgard Blackaxe, who fought the Beardshaver band of hobgoblins and got great fame from it?"

And he takes the dog for a walk.


Aasimar (6/6 channel +ve, 7/7 ferocity, 7/7 adoration) Cleric 1 HP: 10/10 | CMD: 12 | AC: 18 (T: 11 / FF:17) | Fort +5 / Ref +1 / Will +8

Diurn reports their progress so far to their lovely sponsor at the church. If she is not available, he leaves a sealed message for her eyes only. After buying some foodstuffs and rations, Diurn will spend his evening at the church meditating.

Diurn returns the next day refreshed.


hp 17/17 Temp 0 | NL 0 perception +5 (+6 traps)(+7 or +8 stonework) AC 14; TAC 12; FFAC 12; CMD 16 (20 vs bull rush and trip) F +2; R +5; W +1 (+3 vs spells, spell-like, poison)

Dreygard will just head back to his apartment for a nap, then wash up and head out to one of the taverns for a couple drinks and hopefully some company.


Valamont:
The guardsmen seem unusually closed-lips this day. Whether it's rumors of a pay cut or just something about you, nobody seems willing to talk.

Diurn:
Jenya is not available, but an acolyte takes your note and promises to deliver it to her.

Dorian:
You find a few mentions to Jzadirune in your research, but nothing more than passing references to the one-time city.

Darthal:
As you pore over the maps, you find a surprising lack of information about Jzadirune and details of it construction. While you can't be sure, it almost seems like the information was intentionally removed.

The clan leader tells you, "Continue with your search. Not only are these missing children innocent, but finding them can only help our position with the city. If you have half the success of Orgard, then it will be a great day for both Clan Blackaxe and Cauldron."

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