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Well it doesn't get much better than that, does it?
Mikail waits until he's pretty sure the door is unguarded, timing the patrols carefully. Sneaking forward, he cracks the lock with a soft CLICK and pops open the door. Inside he can see the Garden and hear some gnoll speech from nearby, as well as the sobs of a slave in the pens on the second floor.
You're in! What now?
Mogmurch takes off after the piglet with a scream of HORSE! Poog stands his ground as the bridezilla approaches!
Chuffy Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Goblins are up!
Bjorn claws into the monster, but he can see its wounds slowly knitting shut as close as he is!
The monster tries to slip Bjorn from claw to mouth! Grapple check vs Bjorn: 1d20 + 19 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 19 + 4 = 30 He does so! Bjorn Fort: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23 Bjorn feels a tingle from the tentacles, but does not sucuumb to the paralytic effect. He does, however, take 1d8 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14 damage!
With his free claw, the beast attacks Caesare! Claw: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (16) + 14 = 30 for 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (2, 1) + 7 = 10 damage and a Grab attempt: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (4) + 19 = 23
Caesare, SOnny and Bjorn are up!
There is a sudden moment of silence as the goblins spot the cake. The wedding guests, hearing the mob of goblins, scream and scatter, racing for cover. The goblin mob explodes into the clearing, scattering with torches ablaze for the buildings. In the rush, one of the gobs knocks open the pig pen, and while three large sows cower, one small piglet, looking pink and fresh barrels into the mob of goblins, squealing and bucking for all its worth in joy!
But the true star is the cake.
Standing nearly twice as tall as the goblins and looking magnificent, neither Chuffy or Reta can resist the temptation. Reta rushes forward at the same time as Chuffy, but while Reta delicately plants her face in the sugary confection, Chuffy explodes into it, eating his way through like a shark through water!
Any goblin who indulges in cake sees a boost in their speed and reflexes, benefiting from a haste spell for 2d6 ⇒ (3, 2) = 5 minutes. However, there is always a sugary crash afterwards...
Two halflings, one dressed in fine shirt and pants and the other dressed in a long flowing white wedding dress, stand up and leap atop their table. The male seems to look a little overwhelmed, but the female, dress hiked up, looks around at the mess and screams in a clear piercing voice, "OH HELL NO!" before leaping down and stalking toward the cake with a look of murder!
Mogmurch and Poog?
Rested, healed and now thoroughly adult goblins, you are summoned by Loptop to the Chief's moot house! The moot house is stacked high with jars of strange, fuzzy creatures preserved in pickle brine, and the skinned hides of anything else too large for even the mightiest jar. The chief holds up a single hand—a human’s, by the look of it—from atop his tall chair, silencing the goblin horde. All the goblins know that His Mighty Girthness Chief Rendwattle Gutwad is a goblin of such remarkableness that the mere sound of his voice has driven goblins to madness or made heads explode. Therefore, his faithful advisor Slorb speaks on the chief ’s behalf.
“Our new goblin heroes have returned with horrible, horrible news: A stranger has brought horrible, horrible words into our swamp. Extra-horrible words! Because these words sparkle. Maybe they be magic words. Maybe even worse magic than regular words. The stranger also had a map, and Chief Gutwad knows from looking at the map that this is clearly where the longshanks MAKE their terrible sparkly words! They be planning something bad. But we be goblins! We be the baddest thing! Licktoads will march on longshanks word-makers and smash everything!"
“Light the fire! Sharpen blade!
The tribe joins in the chanting, and the howling, and the rushing toward the raid with furious abandon! Three miles of rushing and running and you finally find yourself outside a small farmstead near the tribe's land.
The light forest and overgrown field give way to a rundown little farm bustling with activity. Colorful paper and cloth hang from the barn and house, and tables loaded with food and drink are scattered around the yard. In the center of it all stands a cake that rises nearly two goblins tall and drips with icing and custard. A few slices have already been removed, revealing an interior that looks moist and delicious.
This is the culmination of the first chapter: a goblin raid! Feel free to free-form this with role-playing and we'll roll dice if/when it's appropriate! You can check out the map on the google slides site to get an idea of what you're looking at. Keep in mind that you have access to torches and that you're goblins, so go to town!
The great crabby beast steps five feet forward, claws up and clacking!
Claw vs Bjorn: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22 for 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (3, 1) + 7 = 11 damage and a grab attempt: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (18) + 19 = 37!
Bjorn, Caesare and Sonny are up!
Mikail, there is a side door that the accountants exited through. It doesn't seem to be as well guarded, but the lock is more difficult.
Soran's clockwork friend comes back and replays the conversation.
There are few pleasantries exchanged. The obese gnoll, referred to as 'Overseer' asks if everything went well. The newcomers assure him it did. The overseer agrees to the usual price and gives orders to have the new property placed in pens. The overseer does ask something about the 'Mother' but other than that, it sounds routine.
What you see: The Garden's gates are locked and chained and guarded by two gnolls. Humans leave through a smaller side door, looking very much like accountants. Different humans haul food and water to the slave pens, which look much reduced in number since so many were sold that day. Each slave gets some thin gruel and a ladle-full of water. Gnoll patrols of two gnolls and a human move around, keeping an eye on things, but not looking terribly alert. An obese gnoll covered in scars moves around for a while after closing, barking orders.
At midnight, the mood changes. The patrols suddenly get much more alert and after a quick sweep of the Garden, assemble at the dry cistern. There is a soft rumbling and the floor of the cistern seems to move away, revealing a tunnel disappearing into the ground. From this tunnel comes a party of gnolls and humans, leading chained and bound slaves behind them. These they take back into the pens and toss in.
After the slaves are penned, the obese gnoll and the newcomers exchange words and coin and the obese gnoll closes the cistern after the newcomers head back down the tunnel by twisting a decorative torch sconce. The gnoll patrols go back to being lazy after the obese gnoll heads inside his office and the lights go out.
What do you want to do?
Loptop freezes. "Shiny WORDS?!?" She looks terrified. She snatches the page of words and peers at it, looking pale. "I gotta take this to the Chief! You go rest up. I think Chief is gonna wanna talk to you later."
You are free to rest or eat or get free healing from Nasty Grammel now that you're full members of the tribe.
You snatch and grab and roll up the horrid 'words' in your packs and head off toward the Licktoad village.
When you arrive, you find a large group of goblin elders there watching you with wide-eyed astonishment. When they see your new toads and shiny trinkets, they let out an appreciative warble of goblin shouts. Loptop pushes through the crowd and shoves the others back, making quiet gestures until the noise dies down. She scowls and examines you like a drill sergeant.
“Pssht! You?! Didn’t think you would be first back from the bog. Didn’t think you’d be back at all! Brinestump be dangerous today! Slorb saw a stranger on the road this morning, a pointy elfy one with a sparkly hat and a bright wagon and a funny horse. Get you stabby stuff—we’re off to find her and give her a good Licktoad welcome!”
10 HD; Reflex
Bjorn throws the door open to reveal a larger chamber. The hidden chamber behind the secret wall is decorated floor to ceiling with disturbing carvings of devilfish, krakens, octopuses, squid, and other bizarre sea life, as well as unsettling depictions of human women mating with strange fish-men from the sea. At the far end of the room, a semicircular pool of water stands before a large bloodstained altar. On the wall above the altar, a carving of a giant, unwinking octopoid eye gazes over the room, surrounded by sinister twisting runes.
The creature stands in front of the altar, looking toward you with malevolence. Bjorn's spear flies straight, but glances off the creature's thick armor plating with a dull thud!
Caesare drinks a potion and his arms elongate!
Sonny is up!
He used a magic trick to arcanely seal the door!
Special Attacks: constrict, paralytic tentacles, smite good!
Reflex Save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
There is a sudden howl of anger followed by a splashing crash and hissing sounds from the sudden pit! You can hear the thing thrashing below for a moment, then it's gone with a soft pop! From the other side of the door to the south you hear a corresponding POP!
Bjorn, Caesare and SOnny are up!
Reta and Chuffy notice something odd about the wagon: it looks to be a little shallow inside. They poke and prod and discover that it has a hollow bottom! It contains a potion of jump, a wand of cure light wounds (15 charges), an elixir of fire breath, and a small silk bag containing eight baby teeth and a crudely drawn crayon picture of a blonde half-elf woman and a smaller half-elf girl, adorned with hearts. They also find a map of the local area with a large, red “X” drawn on one spot—the Paddlefoot farm—as well as a gilded envelope containing a sparkly piece of paper covered in words. Words are bad enough, but shiny words? This clearly needs to go the the Chief!
Definitely don't see any heads around here!
However, there is a sudden smell of saltwater, then a soft pop as a horror of crab and tentacles appears in the corner from nowhere!
This lobster-like creature has a thick armored shell. A pair of tiny eyes gleams above a mouth full of writhing tentacles.
It snarls in a deep, watery voice. "INNNNNTRUDERS. DEFILERS. UNCLEAN." It makes a motion with a claw and the secret door slams shut with a click, cutting you off from escape!
Prof Init: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
The Prof is up!
Maggie’s wagon is filled with all sorts of things, including colorful scraps of cloth, empty bottles, a barrel of seawater, a small keg of grain alcohol, labels, two pots of glue, a well-used makeup kit, a small mirror, a stuffed raven, a makeshift alchemy lab, 7 torches, a potion of spider climb, and five more botles of “Magical Maggie’s Miracle Medicine”. Plus I need Perception checks from everyone!
There is a regular door in the south wall here, as well.
When Caesare examines the corpses, a piece of paper falls out of the one dressed as a merchant. It reads 'Rider on the way with effigy. Meet at Old House outside town for exchange.' The paper it's written on is from the livery in Thrushmoor, the same one where the old man tried to murder you!
Caesare is able to find the catch that opens the door and it pops open to reveal a very wet, very gory room beyond.
A pool of dark water takes up the entire northern portion of this simple room. A plain bench stands against the far wall. Neatly arranged on the stone floor are several bodies, each of which is missing its head. All in all, there are seven headless corpses here, their necks ending in gory stumps, though several of the bodies appear shriveled and shrunken. All of the bodies are dressed like normal Illmarsher townsfolk or fishermen except one, which wears clothes more fitting an urban merchant than a humble village fisherman, though they are now stained with mud and blood.
Ferabras' questions reveal much the same information, though he also discovers the Garden is run by an obese gnoll called Fat Aghurr, who oversees the place from the overseer's office on the first floor. He's constantly flanked by two human guards who are impressive fighters, but word is that he's not above a little bribe to "see the stock in advance" of the auctions.
The lock clicks open! Inside are two blue glass bottles containing elixirs of swimming, two potions of water breathing in brass vials, and a fish boat feather token (functions as a swan boat feather token, but the boat takes the form of a giant fish). In addition, the chest contains three disturbing statuettes depicting a bizarre tentacled beast, a vaguely humanoid thing with ichthyic and batrachian features, and a crouching humanoid figure with an octopoid head and dragon wings.
Perception checks please!
Perception DC 20:
A faint outline of a door can be seen in the eastern wall.
Discreet inquiries are made and you discover the slaves are kept in pens on the second story, though only buyers with a receipt are allowed up there. You discover that most slaves are brought in from the docks, but that the Garden has a reputation for getting its stock in through less conspicuous channels, though no one seems to know (or wants to share) how that channel works. You also note that the going rate for slaves ranges from 50 gold for a worker, non-skilled to upwards of 500 gold for a skilled slave or particularly pleasant looking slave. By the end of the 1d4 ⇒ 4 hours you spend talking to the locals, you're thoroughly disgusted by the process.
You also notice that you're being watched closely by the gnoll guards.
Fort Save vs DC 21: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15 With a hard WHOOMP, the sap knocks the sleeping man deeply into unconsciousness. Caesare checks him to make sure, but he's good and out!
Now that you have leisure to look, you find he has the following gear near his bed: potion of barkskin +4 (2), +1 scale mail, +1 morningstar, sling with 10 bullets, ring of protection +1, ring of swimming, gold-threaded chasuble (worth 50 gp), silver ceremonial tiara (worth 150 gp), gold unholy symbol of Dagon (worth 50 gp)
Across the hall, you open the door to discover another, nicer bedroom. Lavishly furnished, this chamber obviously houses a person of high station. A large desk and plush chair stand next to the south wall, across from an opulent bed against the north wall between two windows. The other furnishings in the room, including a large sea chest in one corner, are clearly of good quality, though an unpleasant fishy smell hangs in the air, particularly near the bed.
Okay, let's get this adventure hopping!
After a bit of shopping you head for the Garden of Chains. It turns out to be some sort of former water-garden turned slave market. An enormous dry cistern dominates the center of the pit area, where buyers mill around listening to the Barker as he calls out the attributes of each slave. The man is a vile looking sort, who ends every purchase with a barked "CLOSED!" and is constantly guarded by two hardened looking gnoll bodyguards.
The clientele of this place looks to be mostly men, but a few hard-eyed women walk among them.
What are you doing?
Chuffy slashes, but the half-elf Maggie dodges! Then Mogmurch throws an improvised explosive and while it misses, it catches Maggie in its splash! She yelps and looks between the mule and the wagon. "To hell with this nonsense!" She leaps off the wagon and is gone across into the swamp! You can spot her backside disappearing into the trees!
Reta and Poog are up!
Once again Mogmurch's bomb gets the better of him and he tosses his explosive! The mule screams in agony as the bomb hits and burns it solidly. It bucks in fear and the ropes holding it to the wagon snap with a CRACK! Magical Maggie swears in what a goblin would call a colorful fashion and snarls "The hell with this! I'll see your gourd and raise you a bomb!"
Chuffy Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Chuffy and Mogmurch are up!
Whispershade smiles. "In Katapesh, they speak the language of money, my dear. If you have it, they'll speak whatever language you speak. But be aware, many of the slavers are gnolls and gnolls are afforded all rights due to citizens here. Don't make the mistake of attacking them in public or the guards will come down on you hard. Commerce is king here. As for when, that's up to you. Obviously we'd like Othine found, but a day won't hurt and if you'd seen purchasing at the markets, that might build your reputation a bit anyway."
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