The Shackled City Adventure Path by GM Rutseg

Game Master Balacertar

Chapter 8 - LORDS OF OBLIVION

Cauldron map
Redgorge map
Current map

Campaign Index / Campaign diary
Loot sheet
Old loot sheet (Maxim)

Group Stealth (passive): -5 (Kikinnin)
Group Stealth (active): 5 (Kikinnin)
Group Perception: 27 (Marigold)
Group Sense motives: 30 (Marigold)
Group Spellcraft: 24 (Maxim)
Group Appraise: 23 (Maxim)


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hp 90/90 | AC 19 t. 14 ff. 15 | CMD 18 | F +5 R +11 W +7 | Ini +5 |Senses +14
Skills:
Bluff, Dip, Disguise, Sense Motive, Pref. [oratory, Act, ] +20, Acro, Fly, Pref. [dance] +17, Dis Dev +14, Intimidate +17, K. all +11, Ling +7, Per +14 , Prof [guard] +6, Spell +10, Stealth +14 Conce +14
Male Human Bard | Hero Points: 1/3 Performance: 28/28

"But why would they try to the church from looking for the missing orphans?" He wonders aloud.


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin hears Marigold's suggestion, and complies. He feels his hands needing to wring something, and he'd prefer it not to be the gnome's neck. He instead procures something able to tie up the skulks, possibly the curtains, and binds the creatures' appendages, hoping they'll understand their predicament when they wake.

After he secures the skulks, he wanders over to take a look at the gnome's locks. The quality of the locks are high, and he figures something of the offer may come in handy. "Manacles, Keygan. Locks and manacles. Could use them now, if you have them." He points a thumb at the skulks.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ stands up and yawns.

"I'm not sure about you, but I'm beat. I don't think I could fight another skulk if my life depended on it. Two fights in one evening, at the end of a long day too."

He looks out the window at the pouring rain.

And a loft apartment with old thatch that's probably going to leak by morning.

"Maybe we should meet up again tomorrow morning. If we are going to find the orphans, I'd like to at least have a shield with me."

He gestures to the skulks.

"We can take them to the guard to look after."


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

teach me to not pay attention for a little while, 11 messages :)

Sense motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

Frustrated from the earlier questioning and subsequent ambush, Ryan is quiet as the gnome speaks, sounding more helpful and less belligerent than before, and he is relieved when Marigold says the gnome isn't lying.

"Sleep will be good for all of us, lets meet back at the Church in the morning. We should be prepared before entering the path to Jzadirune, it will not be a feast day lark I am afraid. Good idea Kikinnin."

Suggestions for prepared spells?

Before they split up for the night Ryan will expend a channel to finish healing those who are injured.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

"I am rarely asked about manacles, but I might have something old around" after a while searching Keygan brings a couple of old manacles "This is all I have around"

Once you have the skulks immobilized and you start discussing about resting Keygan starts to get extra uncomfortable "Oh no no! You cannot leave me here like this with this creatures. And w-what about the others? W-what if they co-come back and find I have broken my silence? What if they go out to the city and kidnap mo-more people?"

"A-and there are also the 'short ones', sinister gnomelike creatures with pallid skin, large noses, and soft black hooves for feet. They wear black cloaks and cowls that help them hide in shadows" he rejects with his head "No, you have triggered this, you cannot leave me and the city unprotected against their rage!"

Sense motives DC 6:

1d20 ⇒ 6
Keygan seems more worried about his life than the city.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ, tired and starting to get irritable snarls.

"Isn't it you that has left the city unprotected by the very locks you charge so much to manufacture."

Still, he can't help but note the valid objection.

"Look, we can put a heavy box on the trap door. If it will make you feel better, I'll go and get my stuff and come back and sleep here on top of the trapdoor."


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Keygan helps you move one heavy library to block the heavy door "I hope this stops them, at least for tonight..." the gnome feels calmer knowing you will be around.

The skulks are still unconscious after one hour. Thus, it becomes clear you will need to spend your resources to heal them if you wish to interrogate them now.

The gnome, still on desire to make amends comes from his bedroom with a map and a spellbook, then opens his strongbox and brings out a bag full of coins "This is all I have. I hope this shows my intention to help solving the problem and give you an extra opportunity of rescuing my wife and rat familiar"

The bag contains coins for a total value of 170 gold pieces.

The spellbook contains the few spells Keygan knows "I started to learn magic some ages ago in an attempt to improve my locks. Here is all I have learnt, perhaps it might be of use for any of you. I will be glad to recover it afterwards"

The map is worn out but it seems to contain a complex system of corridors and rooms depicted on it. Keygan hands the Jzadirune map to you "This map belongs to the past, when my father would take me to the prosperous gnome enclave and now old ruins. The entrance was blocked after the vanishing but these Darklands denizens have somehow reopened the entrance, so they might have also done extra tunnels not depicted in the map. Who knows. I would never dare to go below but you look stout, you managed the skulks with ease" he looks at the map with care "Be aware, Jzadirune's doors are gear-shaped and designed to roll to one side or the other. Many of them bore traps that only the gnomes could safely bypass. They used some keys to open the gates, but they were not in the shape of keys, I do not remember properly, but after so many years the gates might not work anymore"

"There is more, my father told me there were secret passages there, but I do not know where or where they lead, and my memories about those days are fading away... the contents of the rooms are... sketchy at most in my mind. I am sorry I cannot help you more on this" the gnome sits finally behind the counter looking at you with hope.

"The guard will never venture there. You are my only hope."


HP 127/127 l AC 22, T 13, FF 22 l CMD 18 l F +13, R +9, W +15; +2 bonus vs. illusions l Lucky Halfling (1/1), Spray of Shooting Stars (2/3), L1: 8/8, L2: 7/7, L3: 2/7, L4: 7/7, L5: 5/7, L6: 4/4 l Init +7 l Senses: Perception +18, Concentration +19 | Female Halfling Oracle (Heavens) 13 l Active Conditions: l Hero Points 1/3

Another auto-success on the Sense Motive.

Marigold couldn't really blame Ghelve for his priorities. Truth be told, she felt similarly and it was primarily due to her own closeness to the disappearances as well as an underlying curiosity about the whole matter that she was accompanying the others in the first place. Under normal circumstances, she would and could have named probably three or four people better-equipped to tackle this sort of problem than herself.

"J-JJ's right," she offers apologetically. "We'll have a b-better chance at succeeding if we're r-rested and p-prepared for poking around down there. S-some of us m-might have others things t-to see to b-before we can g-go, also."

Like work...I'll have to see if Zinli can cover for me for awhile. She's more likely than Losriel to do it...but then that means I'll owe her some sort of huge, ridiculous favor, too.

"A-and we s-still need to decide what to d-do with those things," she continues, nodding at the skulks. "S-should we t-take them to the g-guard or b-back to St. Cuthbert's? The g-guard would b-be better equipped to handle them b-but they'd also have m-more questions, t-too."


hp 90/90 | AC 19 t. 14 ff. 15 | CMD 18 | F +5 R +11 W +7 | Ini +5 |Senses +14
Skills:
Bluff, Dip, Disguise, Sense Motive, Pref. [oratory, Act, ] +20, Acro, Fly, Pref. [dance] +17, Dis Dev +14, Intimidate +17, K. all +11, Ling +7, Per +14 , Prof [guard] +6, Spell +10, Stealth +14 Conce +14
Male Human Bard | Hero Points: 1/3 Performance: 28/28

"Relax Keygan. I will spend the night here also." Dandarrion tries to comfort the gnome and begins to make a little bed on the floor.


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

Ryan looks to Kikinnian,

"We should make a report, while the church may not have manpower to aid our cause they might have other resources available.
The wrong ideas may also be made and assumed true should we disappear while the investigation is ongoing."

To the others..
"Our locksmith here has the right of it, the guard is likely unable to deal with this as they are stretched to the gills nows. I will go to find the children and in the process hopefully his wife and familiar. Know that this will not be easy, if tales of the darklands are any indication, and to go is to go at your own peril. I'll do all I can to protect you ... an ashamed look comes over his face as Maxim catches his eye, before he stands up straighter and continues. even if that means giving my own life."

Ryans not trying to be grandiose but to make sure the others know what they are getting into and he'll do what he can to put their protection ahead of his own. He truly feels he owes the others protection for what their labors provide his family, city, and church.


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin removes his shield, and accepts the old manacles from Keygan with a quick snatch from the gnome's hands, passive-aggressively reprimanding the shopkeeper wordlessly for having to ask for manacles in the first place. He locates a decent lock to go with the manacles, and cuffs one of the skulks.

With the gnome's agitation, the black-beard considers his options. With the one skulk unconscious and shackled, he lifts his axe high, and beheads the second skulk, mercifully quickly.

Coup de Grace: 3d10 + 6 ⇒ (1, 3, 3) + 6 = 13

"There. Now we can focus on just one of them, and we need less folks to outnumber them, should any others come bubbling up from below." He looks at Dandarrion with a questioning look, hoping for approval.

"We need the last one for questioning, eh? At least they speak Common." Kikinnin wipes his axe off on the separating curtain, and tries to find a comfortable spot to rest his eyes.

Hearing Ryan speak up, he nods without concern. "Speaking this problem to the Temple is a good idea, Ryan. We'll wait here, if you need to bring anyone back to look the skulk over."


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

The gnome seems glad you are there "Well I hope the situation does not extend, I do not have large beds for you, but you can sleep in the floor with some sheets." Keygan looks for some bed sheets at his bedroom and readies his better sofas so you can stay at the store.

The gnome looks to another side as Kikinnin decapitates the skulk. He needs in agreement “They are just beasts” is all he comments clearly hating the creatures. The dwarf readies the last skulk for questioning.

Marigold's dream*:

The demons come to you again this night. Demons of your childhood, demons of your past, demons of your conscience. It is almost the same nightmare you have always endured every sleepless night of your life...

You are in the Brass Trumpet again on the night when you lost your family. You see the horrific image of your mother screaming as she tears her hair from her head and her skin from her face. You see your father frantically try to restrain her, shake her to wake her from the madness caused by the filth while you and your little brother Milo weep in fear and confusion. You scream out a warning to your dad to protect him from the sickening blow that you have witnessed a thousand times. Your warning is once again in vain as you watch your crazed mother grab a water jug and knock your father to the floor.

The image quickly shifts and you now lay hiding beneath your little bed trying not to make a sound. You peek out from under it and see your little brother lying dead on the floor staring at you.

Suddenly smoke pours into the room and fire races across the ceiling. A hand reaches under the bed to save you and you look up to see a beautiful angel calmly smiling down upon you amidst the smoke and hellish glow of the burning room.

You reach out to take his hand but the smoke begins to engulf you, burning your lungs and causing yours eyes to water. You feel yourself being swept up from the floor, through the window and into the cool night air. Without opening your eyes you know that the angel has rescued you but as you look you realize it is not an angel but a horrific demon that holds you in its grasp.

You scream in uncontrollable terror in a language you had never studied before. The vile demon seems to understand you and enjoy as he slowly opens its bloody maul and begins to feast...

Marigold*:

When you visit the Bluecrater Academy, still troubled by your night's dream it calls to your attention a different cleaner is there "Jeneer Everdawn? Well she has not reported herself in a couple of days. No that weird halfling woman has said nothing just disappeared. Very irresponsible from her"

Zinli is not on place but fortunately Losriel Tanaas is there. The elf looks at you rudely at first but your explanations finally convince her to accept substituting you with the help of Zinli.

Ryan*:

Jenya and Alek receive you at the temple. They become increasingly worried as you communicate everything the party has discovered “If darklands denizens have captured the children, then this is even more troubling.” says Jenya.

Alek places his hand over the table “We have to react fast, what ill interest those creatures have on the children? They can be taking them as food or something even worst. We have to stop them soon

Ryan, you seem to be doing a good job. Can you go down those old ruins and look for the disappeared people? We will cover your tasks here back in the temple” adds Jenya.


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

After the fight

Maxim lowers his pistol with a hard scowl at the defeated skulks;

"Truth be told, they ne'er deserved the kiss of lead..."

The gun-mage holsters his firearm and replaces it with his hip-flask and a quick swig;

"Har! Good to be alive. Mistress Montajay you have my thanks and gun should you ever need it..."

The blonde-bearded dwarf flashes a wry smile and offers a tincture to any who wish it, including the rattled Locksmith;

"Water of life... Taste of victory..."

Talking to Ghelve

Despite his gruffness, Maxim visibly sides with the gnome when he describes how his wife and familiar have been held captive to strongarm the locksmith;

"To those with a perchance of the arcane, losing a familiar or bonded item is akin to losing an arm or part of one's soul... "

And a darn sight more useful than a bunch of runaway infants

The gun-mage taps the handle of his pistol with a melancholy smile toward the gnome:

"My gun... my familiar... You have my sympathy Master Ghelve... I'll likely take you up on that offer of a spell or twain.


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Splitting up the posts to avoid a wall of text :)

The Way Ahead

As the group plan their next move, with some dispersing whilst others hunker down at Ghelve's, Maxim collects all their gained loot and coin.

"Ouwith that which Master Ghelve has offered, this is what we have sequestered thus far from foes and faith..."

Loot Summary:

6 Short Swords
4 Daggers
2 Vials of Holy Water
2 Potions of Cure Light Wounds

50 Gold Suns
16 Silver Moons

+170 Gold Suns if we accept Keygan's coin - and darn shooting Maxim will want to :)

The merchant taps each item then addresses the group;

"Best we divvy up that which we keep and look to trade the rest. My forte is buying and selling in tinctures, tobacco and food most exotic... However I reckon my Uncle has contacts enough that we could offload the weapons..."


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ watches in horror as Kikinnin beheads the skulk.

He frantically looks around for a container and then dashes for a window and throws up noisily down into the road below. After minute of hanging out, the cool air and rain revive him somewhat.

"What did you do that for?" he asks.

"Surely we could have just left him for the Guard to deal with. That is their job. It's one thing to accidentally kill someone in a fight for your life.. but ...."

He sits, pale and shaking.

"I'll get my stuff. Try not to kill the other. I just hope that the one you killed isn't the one with the most information. Surely one was in charge."

--- Off stage: JJ sneaking into his boarding house, trying to avoid waking the owner, creeping up the creaky stairs and getting his shield and other equipment. Then, weighted down sneaking back downstairs again and out into the wet, dark and cold streets as he returns to Ghelve's locks --

It is after midnight when JJ returns. He quietly unrolls a blanket and makes sure it is nowhere near Kikinnin. The funny rat catcher seems to now be a figure of fear to the former orphan.


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Maxim looks up from his loot gathering - first to the shocked JJ, then to Kikinnin with a curious expression;

Huh. Surabar will toughen up come time... Though it would seem my bearded brother embraces the harder edge of St Cuthbert. Good to know...

As JJ moves to leave the gruff merchant addresses him;

"Lad. We only need one to question... These skulkers are slippery curs, and should one get the jump on us - or worse escape to warn these lurkers in the deep... If it had been one of us that thing would not have hesitated... mind that thought eh?"

The dwarf rummages into his pack and produces a half bottle of whisky, placing it upon the table.

"Master Ghelve. Reckon we all need a nightcap after what has occurred and been revealed eh? Perhaps a glass or tumbler if you have any?"


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

"Sure" Ghelve's looks for something in the kitchen for a while "I think it was here... no, no, here... yes! This thirteen years old red wine from Redgorge" the gnome opens the bottle of wine and offers a couple of cups to the remaining members of the party "Let's cheer up our spirits"

After some hours and thanks to the help of the party healers, the remaining skulk recovers conscience. He fights strongly against the manacles. When he sees he has no way to escape he groars menacingly with a guttural foreigner accent "Free me! Surface dwellers, free me or you are going to die!" he looks around searching something then looks back at you eyes injected in hate "You are going to pay for this, bit a bit. FREE MEEE!"


hp 90/90 | AC 19 t. 14 ff. 15 | CMD 18 | F +5 R +11 W +7 | Ini +5 |Senses +14
Skills:
Bluff, Dip, Disguise, Sense Motive, Pref. [oratory, Act, ] +20, Acro, Fly, Pref. [dance] +17, Dis Dev +14, Intimidate +17, K. all +11, Ling +7, Per +14 , Prof [guard] +6, Spell +10, Stealth +14 Conce +14
Male Human Bard | Hero Points: 1/3 Performance: 28/28

Dandarion watches Kikinnin execute one of the Skulks and remembes his lack of mercy with the guardsmen and thinks, remind me not to get on his bad side. He gives the dwarf a weak smile and offers, "nice."

Bluff: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Bluff DC8:
You can tell that something about the slaying of the skulk bothers Dandarrion

When the skulk awakens he says, "Stop you whining or you'll end up like your companion."

Intimidate: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

The skulk stops screaming, but looks at Dandarrion with eyes injected in hate.


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M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

earlier before leaving
Ryan nods as Kikinnian executes the slurk saying nothing outloud. another cancer excised from the city

Taking a sip from the proffered flask, he ask "Master Keygan how long is the trip to Jzadirune?" Handing some gold to Maxim "make sure we have ample supply, the warmth will be welcome."


HP 127/127 l AC 22, T 13, FF 22 l CMD 18 l F +13, R +9, W +15; +2 bonus vs. illusions l Lucky Halfling (1/1), Spray of Shooting Stars (2/3), L1: 8/8, L2: 7/7, L3: 2/7, L4: 7/7, L5: 5/7, L6: 4/4 l Init +7 l Senses: Perception +18, Concentration +19 | Female Halfling Oracle (Heavens) 13 l Active Conditions: l Hero Points 1/3

Ghelve's Locks - Day One: Night

"Y-you're welcome," Marigold replies to Maxim, suddenly feeling rather shy. "I'm g-glad to know that my p-powers are good for s-something." She then blinks as something said earlier finally clicks into place. "Ohhhh, I t-thought you actually h-have a wife. You m-meant your gun! T-that makes sense t-too..."

As she prepares to head back to her lodgings for the night, Marigold's eyes widen with shock and surprise when Kikinnin quickly and efficiently beheads one of the two skulks. It's not so much the death of the creature itself that shocks her, but rather precise and unpitying manner in which it was done. She'd always known Kikinnin as the cheerful, easygoing ratcatcher - this was a side of him that she hadn't seen before.

"Oh!" she gasps. "U-um, I g-guess t-that m-makes t-things a little easier n-now..." she stammers, edging towards the exit to the shop and trying not to look at the mess on the floor. "U-um, I...I'm g-going to g-go home n-now, b-but I'll m-meet everyone b-back here tomorrow, g'bye!" she calls, giving both JJ and Dandarrion an apologetic look before scurrying out the door and into the dark night.

*********************************

GM* (Bluecrater Academy - Day Two: Morning):

When dawn breaks the next morning, Marigold rises from her bed, having slept much poorer than she would have liked. The dream had been especially vivid last night, probably the most vivid it had been in months. She'd tried to tell herself that a dream was all that it was, but she couldn't kid herself anymore.

It means something...I *know* it does. But what?

It was a small comfort that it didn't reflect actual reality, though. No, she would remember something like that. Lyssa and her parents definitely would've remembered too.

"J-just a dream...message, maybe?" she mutters as she grabs her gear and sets out towards Bluecrater Academy. "T-trying to explain this is going to be fun. 'Oh, I'm just going down into Jzadirune to hunt for missing orphans for a day or two with more orphans, fellow bookworms, the local ratcatcher, a p-priest, a-and Garthûn's Gun. Would you care to cover for me?' No...I'll have to think on h-how I want to ask..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"T-thanks, Losriel, I r-really appreciate you and Zinli b-being willing to cover m-my duties for a few d-days," Marigold smiles weakly, breathing a sigh of relief that she'd caught the elf in a good mood. "I k-know it s-sounds silly b-but I want to t-try and h-help find Anafa if I c-can. She's like my little s-sister...I h-have to try and f-find her. I know you'd f-feel the same in m-my place."

After a momentary pause, she gives her coworker a worried look. "S-so Jeneer just d-didn't show up for work t-today? That's n-not like her..." she frets. "D-did she say anything the last time she was h-here?"

Anyone is free to read the spoiler, just decided to spoiler it for length and such since it's a solo scene!


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

"Jzadirune is just below Cauldron" pointing to the hidden door Keygan answers Ryan "Taking those stairs does not take more than half an hour to reach the first chambers of the complex"

Marigold*:

The woman rejects with his head "She just did not show up. She said nothing... it is not acceptable"

"Mmm... now that you say, I think she volunteered work at the local orphanage. Coincidence? I don't think so. Perhaps that irresponsible halfling is just there enjoying his time while I have to cover her here..." grumbles the woman.

Ryan*:

You are awaken by a strong hit in the footing of your bed "Wake up sir. You are to be proven today and need to be ready for it" Alek Tercival opens the courtains of your room and throws at your bed your mace "Let's warm up those muscles"

After a little time for personal hygiene and a small breakfast Alek takes you to the courtyard and starts testing you with tentative attacks of his longsword "Those ruins below Cauldron. Do not trust what your eyes see. The gnomes were known for their like of illusions. Ultimately that Vanishment disease finished them as a last irony of the destiny" the paladin's strkes are incredibly precise and strong, you feel how he calculates so precisely your defenses, your movements, to not overpass them "I feel a terrible darkness below the caldera Ryan. I see it in my dreams. Abadar tells me about it. You need to be extra watchful there. Memorize every single detail, let me know about it"

When he is less expecting it you pass to the attack and succeed at touching him on his side "You are improving fast" he stops and looks to the clear morning sky "I feel the city is being haunted Ryan. Some old evilness is in motion and everybody seems too busy on little tasks. We have to figure out what is going on. Please, be my eyes and ears below the caldera"

"And there is JJ. Take an eye on him, please, he is a good boy but has not been always with the best of companies. I have not know how to close with him, but you might make a better influence for him" he looks a bit somber on this "I have been looking so much for the temple and the city I had left little time for him"

Ruben*:

You are alredy on your way to Ghelve's Locks when a stout man stops you in the street "Ei Ruben! Stop a second, we have to talk" it is Renn Ulrorn, whom you barely know from your short time in the militia "I would like to cross your face for what you have done with my wife" he looks at you stern "But I have heard you are looking for the disappeared. Took him back. Gabriel is lost too. My wife is desperate. So I am. I beg you, bring him back"

"I will never forgive you if you find all but him..." the man concludes very serious.


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

Ryan enjoys the morning exercise the stiffness is quickly burned from his muscles as the sparring match wears on. Listening to Aleck, he get the impression that this is something that has been building for a while.

"I will do my best, no, we will do our best to learn what has happened to the missing children and the locksmiths wife and familiar. Also any others we may find down there. I know that the cadre hear at the church are stretched thin, with everything that has happened in recent years, yet is there any help you can send with us, if not manpower then perhaps additional potions.

Each of us, I think have reason to go below and search for the missing ones. For most it is a link to the Orphanage,others have their own personal reasons. That will have to be fine, we will make it work.

As for JJ, I will keep an eye on him. From what I saw last night he is a great young person, and with time will mature into a man you can be proud of. I'm glad to see what Kikinnian did affected him, life is precious and he should remember that, however those two slurks in our city are tumors that need to be removed."

Ryan will bid goodbye to Aleck and Jenya, taking a moment to check on Ruphus before returning to the meet with the others.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

Once he returns with his equipment JJ makes himself as comfortable on the floor as he can.

I've seen more money today than I could earn in a year cramping my fingers around a pen. And met a wizard too..

He tosses and turns a bit, kept awake by the gnome and dwarf conversing into the night. Eventually he rises and moves over to join them.

"So you are a wizard? Would you be able to teach magic to me do you think?"


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

The Night @ Ghelve's

Maxim offers Marigold a wry smile at her realisation the his "wife" is his firearm.

"Like Master Ghelve touched on... we mages have indeed have an strong arcane bond betwixt familiars or focus items... rat or gun the ties run deep..."

He drains his cup of the vintage wine with relish;

"Good drop. Know plenty who would pay a pretty penny for a cup, our thanks and this is the hospitality we can all enough eh?"

The wry joke is interrupted by the bound skulk's ranting;

"Quiet that tongue you. Lest the axe drop on another rat from the deep..."

He nods to Ryan appreciatively and taps the near-empty flask, but politely refuses his coin;

"The flask will indeed be replenished Taskerhill. You and Kikinnin supply our supplication and I'll provide the libation!"

When JJ joins them, the dwarf nods toward a cup of wine;

"Have a sup Surabar. Reckon I've some skill with spells... but they are more focussed into blackpowder, crafting and such... an I ain't the teaching type to be honest... leastways as I'm learning myself. Perhaps down the line this road we all seem to be taking?"

Of course if JJ's question is directed at Ghelve then the jokes on Maxim :)


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Ryan*:

Alek retrieves a small scroll case "Indeed I asked Jenya to prepare this for you" on opening the case you find 5 scrolls with the mark of Abadar and the symbol of healing "This are scrolls of cure moderate wounds. Jenya has been working the whole night so we could hand you more off them. But I fear you will need it there where you are going." Alek nods at you and says goodbye "Be Abadar's protection with you Ryan"

Jenya is still sleeping after an extended night work, but you find Ruphus tending to the temple's garden "Hello Ryan! So you found out a solid lead to the children? I knew Abadar is with you since you were a child." the man seems almost restored from her yesterday's bruises, at least from outside "Again, thank you a lot for yesterday's. You are overpassing me very fast. But I am glad of counting you among my friends" the cleric smiles warmly "I hope they are not sacrificing the children and the other people. At least not the children... Before you came with your Darklands information I heard they were evil cultists doing it on behalf of their evil god..."

Maxim*:

"Mmm... blackpowder?" Keygan looks at you then at your pistol "I remember there was a gnome in Jzadirune that was working on something called that name. Very strong explosive useful as projectile. But it was just too dangerous and noisy... his name was Hackbus Wyrdbore or something like that. He was having a small laboratory where he was taking his experiments" he scratches his head "I wonder what had been of the old crazy gnome. I do not remember him among the few refugees that avoided the disease, so he most probably was claimed by the vanishing too"


M HP 101/101 | AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22 | Fort +13, Ref +7, Will +15 | Init +1, Perception +7, Stealth -2 | speed 30' | Channel Positive Energy 7/7 (6d6 ) | Inspiring Word 8/8 (+2 / 6 round) | Agile Feet 8/8 |Cleric Spells (0 -4/4, 1st -7/7, 2nd-6/6, 3rd-6/6, 4th-5/5, 5th-5/5, 6th-3/3)

earlier:
"Thank you Alek, and thank Jeska too, I don't want to disturb her this morning. We will use these when the need is great. the young cleric says as he straps the case to his gear.

With Ruphus. "You're welcome to old friend, we will do our best to return the children safe"

Return to the locksmith shop, "Good morning all, if any of you who stayed the night need to leave now is a great time, the church has sent along 5 scrolls to help with our journey, pray we do not need them all.

1st level prepared bless x2, divine favor(d), cantrips prepared detect magic, guidance, light


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision
Maxim wrote:
"Water of life... Taste of victory..."

Kikinnin perks up, and accepts more 'water', his throat slightly parched, and the adrenalin coursing through his veins with more half-life than he expected.

JJ wrote:
"What did you do that for? Surely we could have just left him for the Guard to deal with. That is their job. It's one thing to accidentally kill someone in a fight for your life.. but .... I'll get my stuff. Try not to kill the other. I just hope that the one you killed isn't the one with the most information. Surely one was in charge."

Kikinnin raises an eyebrow as JJ objects. "How do you think the guard would have dealt with a creature such as this? This ain't a Cauldron citizen, it's an invader, and should be dealt with as such. Eh, sorry I didn't give you a chance to look away first. I'll warn you next time, alright?" Kikinnin nods to Maxim as the blond-beard explains the reason for reducing their numbers.

Lucky Skulk wrote:
"Free me! Surface dwellers, free me or you are going to die! You are going to pay for this, bit a bit. FREE MEEE!"

As Maxim settles the second one down, Kikinnin turns to the newly-able talker. "Welcome back. We have questions for you. You're the only one who sucks air between you and your mate. If you don't want to answer our questions, then you're about as useful to us as your two-piece partner." The black-beard points at the dead skulk, then points at the living skulk.

"How many of you are there down there? The surface dwellers mean no harm to you all, so why are you all of a sudden interested in opening doors and taking people? Where's your keymaster? You know, the one who wears the key? How many folk have you snatched already? What do you do with them once you take them?" Kikinnin pauses, understanding that he's got a lot of questions asked that need time for answering.

Sense Motive v DC 8: 1d20 ⇒ 19

Kikinnin notes both JJ and Dandarrion for their discomfort, but chooses to wait for a better time to speak with them. He nods politely, with an awkward smile, to Marigold as she departs.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

Grabbing a glass of wine which uncle would be most unhappy to see me drink! Ha! JJ joins the elders.

"I'm not sure what the guard would do. And I'm not even sure if they are 'invaders' as such. The point is.." and here he looks at Ghelve.
"With all due respect to our host, to kill another helpless creature without any authority and on the unsubstantiated word of another... That might be the rule of the wilderness. But this is Cauldron. We have the guard so that citizens don't need to take the law into their own hands. And I for one am kind of glad of that."

The speech comes out in a bit of a rush. He pauses, trying the gauge the reaction of the rat killer.

"Just because those skulks are different from us... You didn't kill the laugher's we captured - and they were tied up in this and attacked someone. While we were fighting for our lives... I could understand it."


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

The skulk looks to his companion's rests then raises his sight slowly towards Kikinnin "A couple of hands companions are here but we are uncountable in the Darklands and you will regret this day forever. Kazmojen proposed a deal with us, we find the way to the surface, get people from there and we can get their possessions while he grants us protection and support." he looks at you full in hate "How should I know where is the one with the keys? In Jzadirune. I have not counted how many, who cares? We have been doing it for a couple of months. You do not have enough hands to count them. We take them to Kazmojen, he let's us be and provides coin"

GM:
1d6 ⇒ 2


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Earlier with Ghelve:

At the acknowledgement of blackpowder, Maxim's interest in the gnome's words pique. However when he mentions Hackbus and his potential fate the dwarf presses for more;

"You knew of old Hackbus? Probably claimed by the Vanishing? How could I know.. or find out? He was a mentor and saviour to me both Master Ghelve, and I would forfeit gold and blood to see him again and see him safe..."

As the skulk gets chatty Maxim looks up from where he is making preparations to study his own spell book before grabbing some sleep;

"Huh... Finally spilling some gold eh skulker! Smart move. First things first I reckon... You say couple of hands - where are they in Cauldron? Who are they in Cauldron?"

The blond bearded dwarf mutters an aside to his black bearded kinsman as he awaits the skulks answer (if any come);

Kikinnin/GM:

"Work this one hard. I need to study my arcane book before lights out or I'll be down a spell on the morrow. Press on this Kazmojen - root out what he, or it is if you can... but keep it alive, we may need it to guide us in the deep... shackled and gagged o' course..."

Maxim plans to study his spell book, then grab some sleep afore the morning. Once dawn comes he'll head out with our trade wares and do some hocking for coin. Afore meeting with his Uncle, and returning back to the group. Pretty much takes up the next 24 hours for him I'd say?


Attacks:
Longsword +4 (Arcane Strike) 1d8+3+1
Stats:
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +2 Dex, +1 shield) | HP 19 | Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; | Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14 | Base Atk +1; CMB 4; CMD 16
Skills:
Acro +5, Bluff +7, Dip +7, Dis +6, Intim +10, Perc +4, Perf (orat) +6, SoH +5, Scrft +5, UMD +8

That night

Whilst the others either settle in for a cosy night with skulks and stunty gnomes (Ruben still regrets not giving that little twerp a bloody nose just for being so obtuse earlier) or head back to their varying dwellings, he announces;

Well I'm going for a drink anyway. and makes his way out of the shop.

He heads along the cobbled streets toward a place he had frequented only rarely - the Tipped Tankard. He knew it was a place where off-duty guards often spent their hard earned silvers and therefore not somewhere he wanted to ply his particular trade.

Nevertheless, given what they had learned earlier that day, he thought it prudent to go and sup a few pints and more than anything, keep his ears open. That woman from knew his face now, and he meant to know hers and maybe more besides but first thing's first, let's see if alcohol has loosened any lips.

Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19

He orders a drink and takes a seat at the bar, drinking slowly whilst trying to filter out the background chatter, listening for anything related to the woman, the Last Laugh and most importantly, Skulks and missing children.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ's ears perk up as the Skulk speaks.

"Who or where is Kazmojen?"

He pulls out the map of Jzadirune and shows it to the skulk.

"Tell me of the secret passages and where on this map the entrance to the underdark is. Speak well and I'll try to get to you to Guard, rather than let my ..." he pauses for a moment, wondering how to describe his relationship with Kikinnin. After a moment he concludes "...companion have his way with you."


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision
JJ wrote:
"I'm not sure what the guard would do. And I'm not even sure if they are 'invaders' as such. The point is... with all due respect to our host, to kill another helpless creature without any authority and on the unsubstantiated word of another... That might be the rule of the wilderness. But this is Cauldron. We have the guard so that citizens don't need to take the law into their own hands. And I for one am kind of glad of that. Just because those skulks are different from us... You didn't kill the laughers we captured - and they were tied up in this and attacked someone. While we were fighting for our lives... I could understand it."

Kikinnin looks at Maxim, a light look of confusion on his face, then back to JJ. "I'm callin' the skulk an 'invader', like I'd call a rat an invader. I don't think Keygan gave the skulks permission to spend time in his house." The black-beard looks at Keygan. "You didn't invite them in, did you, gnome?" Kikinnin spends a little time looking over Ghelve, as if in a new light.

"JJ, I know you mean well, but just because that skulk managed its way through the secret door here, doesn't mean it acquires the protections of Cauldron itself. The 'laughers' are men of the guard who require the attention of the Law of Cauldron, I agree with you there. These hairless chameleons are not men, JJ. They're two-legged rats with a far more evil purpose than rutting behind the walls, and carelessly spreading disease. These things are organized. You heard him yourself."

As Maxim roots for more information, Kikinnin leans in to hear what the blond-beard has to suggest.

Maxim, GM:

Maxim wrote:
"Work this one hard. I need to study my arcane book before lights out or I'll be down a spell on the morrow. Press on this Kazmojen - root out what he, or it is if you can... but keep it alive, we may need it to guide us in the deep... shackled and gagged o' course..."

Kikinnin nods slowly. "Alright, then. You gave me a reason to let the worm live. I thought I'd have to pop off his head, too. Now I don't have to worry about upsetting JJ again. I'll let the boy do some of the talking, since it sounds like he's interested in Kazmojen as well."

As JJ speaks with the skulk, Kikinnin grows quiet. He spends his time watching the skulk, while cleaning his axe of skulk blood. When JJ mentions the guard, the black-beard hics. He'll live, alright. Not sure he'd be receptive to being turned over to the guard. Perhaps he'd welcome the chance to lead us down into Jzaridune...


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Bellow. On Jzadirune.” answers the skulk to Maxim.

Maxim*:
Keygan negates with his head and shrugs his shoulders "I do not know. It has passed at least 75 years since I last saw the gnome. I have no idea what has been of his life, but it would be nice to know about him."

Later, the wizard looks for a calm environment at Keygan’s bedroom. There, he opens the old gnome’s spellbook, the smell of the pages remainding him to the old time of his training. Taking the book comfortably between his arms, he starts deciphering one if the spells contained.
With quill Maxim starts transcribing those parts he understands in his own book, taking notes and trying to memorize the most important basics of the spell.
1 h every spell, you need to succeed into a DC 16 Spellcraft check and pay the 10 gp in components

Ruben*:

1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32
The beer runs from mouth to mouth softening tongues in the Tipped Tankard during hours. Ruben patiently overhearing conversations and making away drunken men in a soft way.

"There seems to be the lord major bastard among the children kidnapped in the orphanage" he overhears.

A while later, a middle age woman with a basket full of cheese enters the inn and attempts to sell it to the people there. It does not take much for her to come next to Ruben "A piece of cheese to improve the taste of your drink? A silver piece the ball" but instead of waiting for the answer she sits comfortably next to you and takes your beer drinking a sip "One thing is you swindle a couple wenches and a loser or two. The other is you walk in my business. I am being paid for no one to place their nose where it should not be." she drinks a bit more of beer and places softly one finger on your lips "This is already on good hands. You and your friends, you better do not go deep into Cauldron or I shall..." before you even notice her movements the woman takes your balls and crush them strongly "Do not force me to do it cutie" she drinks the rest of the beer and kiss you in your lips very passionately "It would be an unnecessary lose"

With the reflexes of a cat the woman moves out of your space avoiding you with ease and stops at the door "This is for the beer" she throws a silver coin that you catch on the fly as she leaves the building. You turn the coin, and weirdly enough, instead of a monarch you find the face of a jester carved in. Your face is reflected in the empty glass of beer, rests of make up all around your lips and cheeks.

This happens before this

The skulk looks to JJ in rage “He came from the Darklands too, he is powerful and will end you with his urgosh if you try to approach him. And even if I knew where exactly he is, I am not that stupid to tell you

When JJ shows the map the creature starts to laugh maniacally “You understand nothing. The entrance is not there. You will be dead by my companions or the others before you can even get close to the Darklands entrance.” he looks then at Kikinnin and starts shouting at the dwarf “Well, so now, I answered everything, set me free. Oh, but yeah, I know, I am a hindrance, you will never set me free. YOU SURFACE TRAITOR RUBBISH FLESH!” the creature starts shouting again, trying to set himself free.


HP 127/127 l AC 22, T 13, FF 22 l CMD 18 l F +13, R +9, W +15; +2 bonus vs. illusions l Lucky Halfling (1/1), Spray of Shooting Stars (2/3), L1: 8/8, L2: 7/7, L3: 2/7, L4: 7/7, L5: 5/7, L6: 4/4 l Init +7 l Senses: Perception +18, Concentration +19 | Female Halfling Oracle (Heavens) 13 l Active Conditions: l Hero Points 1/3

*Bluecrater Academy:

To make sure I understand right, the person I'm talking to means that Jeneer supposedly ran off to work at the orphanage?

"That's strange," Marigold frowns. "D-didn't think Jeneer had much patience for children."

Not to mention if that were true, I'd have seen her there myself last night.

"B-but who knows? Stranger things have happened. At any rate, I'd better g-get going. Thanks again Losriel, I p-promise I'll make this up to you and Zinli!"

Heh, maybe I'll find a nice souvenir from Jzadirune for them both; I'm sure Zinli would *really* appreciate that. Or there's always money, most people like money...

Unable to think of any other business that needs her immediate attention, she heads back out of the Academy and glances up to check the sun's position in the sky. "G-good, it's still pretty early. Hopefully the others aren't waiting for me already," she muses to herself as she begins making her way back to Ghelve's Locks.

Unless she happens to run into anyone else on the way back to Ghelve's, I think that'll be it for her solo stuff for the moment. I'm happy to idle until everyone else finishes their business and we all meet up again :)


Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision
Hulkin' Skulk wrote:
"Well, so now, I answered everything, set me free. Oh, but yeah, I know, I am a hindrance, you will never set me free. YOU SURFACE TRAITOR RUBBISH FLESH!"

Kikinnin raises his axe, shaking his head. "You keep moving like that, I'll 'release' you, sure. You ain't answered the serious stuff, have you? Our boy here would like to know things, and you're not stupid enough to answer them, are you? You want to head back to the Darklands. So do we. You figure you'd be able to lead us into our unfortunate deaths? Otherwise, we have no use for a smart skulk, who knows how to return to the surface." He looks at JJ.

Bluff to Convey Secret Message v DC 15: 1d20 ⇒ 14

The dwarf can't seem to move his eyebrows and eyeballs clearly enough to ask JJ his intended, wordless question.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

The creature seems to not hear anymore what you are talking, he shouting and screaming in an unknown tongue, using all his strength to attempt break the manacles but just causing bruises and wounds himself.

The intimidate 1d6x10 min (20 minutes) have already past, he is now very unfriendly and angry at you


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ, eyes bleary from lack of sleep and unfamiliar wine looks angrily at the Skulk.

"I didn't say I would let you go, just that I'd not let Kikinnin at you."

He leans closer, much closer. "Four of my little brothers and sisters you took. I'm getting them back. Now you can either be helpful to me, or not. You're already seen what happens to those that annoy Kikinnin."

intimidate: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18

He seems pretty pleased with the attempt.

"Now an urgosh is a dwarven weapon is it not. So at least you have told me that Kazmojen is dwarven..."

He thinks back to the riddle, "half a dwarf?", "malachite hold"

"Where is the malachite hold did you last see him?"

-=-=

Out of earshot conversation with Kikinning:

"Outsiders come to Cauldron all the time. While they are in our walls, they are protected by our laws and our guard. If they break them, they are subject to our punishments - not their own. And how do you know the skulk wasn't legitimately in the city. I agree the circumstantial evidence is against it... But it is not our job to make those calls. We have the mayor and the guard to preside over such things."

A (very part time) rogue telling a paladin to follow the laws? What is the world coming to! Lets hope the boot is not on the other foot too soon. JJ has a sensitive rear end! I can just drop this line now if you want. JJ is just a bit worried about Kikinnin who is a little different than the funny man he always through him to be and is provably worried about on-the-spot penalties if Kikinning discovers some of things he has been up to.


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

"The Malachite is underground. Just below Jzadirune. And yes, I saw him there. Now let me go stupid sun flesh!" says the creature at JJ spiting each word at him in real fury.


Male HP 104/112; LoH 2/3 (6d6); Potions: CMW(3) AC 27(29 SoF), Touch 15, Flat-footed 19, Fort 15(reroll 1/day), Ref 14, Will 13; resist fire&acid/10; Perception +19 (extra from FE/FT))

JJ looks tired. JJ is tired. He goes to find a sox and stuffs it into the skulks mouth next time it opens it to yell.

"Maybe we should just give him to the guard."

Letting him go?


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Attacks:
Longsword +4 (Arcane Strike) 1d8+3+1
Stats:
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +2 Dex, +1 shield) | HP 19 | Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; | Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14 | Base Atk +1; CMB 4; CMD 16
Skills:
Acro +5, Bluff +7, Dip +7, Dis +6, Intim +10, Perc +4, Perf (orat) +6, SoH +5, Scrft +5, UMD +8

@the Tankard

When the woman sits beside him Ruben knows something is up before she even speaks, you don't get far in this game without being able to smell your own.

Still, he lets her talk and do her thing, only grunting when she grabs him down below; No need to squeeze so hard darlin' he manages with a forced grin.

@on the way home
Afterwards, he finishes his drink and heads home, only to be stopped in the street this time by a gruff looking man. In truth he looked more like a woodsman than a citizen of Cauldron and Ruben recognised him immediately. His hand rests easily on the hilt of his blade and he casts a glance back and forth, looking at once for guards and any of this man's friends. Seeing neither he engages him.

Don't believe I know you friend. he says simply, walking on. He feels the man's hand on his shoulder and the grip on the sword tightens somewhat.

When he mentions the disappearance of his son Ruben stiffens but maintain his outward demeanour.

I don't know what you're talking about mister, and you'd best unhand me now or we'll have a problem.

He trudges home back to the two rooms he rents in the cheaper part of town, his jaw working reflexively the whole way. The thought of that kid out there somewhere, under the city in those dark warrens grated on him badly. Ruben slept very poorly that night.

Back at Ghelve's

The next morning Ruben makes his way back to Ghelve's. He rarely travelled without his gear as he had learned more than once that Cauldron was a dangerous place, especially for someone like him.

As he enters he hears Kikinnin arguing with the remaining Skulk. Ruben makes no announcement of himself, only leaning on the doorframe and crunching loudly on an apple.

mmmf...<hrnch>... Where's the other one? You got tired of him snorin' or something?


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Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

GM Rutseg:

Maxim painstakingly takes his time, old skills resurfacing as he first studies the book, the begins to copy over the eldritch lettering from Keygen's pages to his own;

DC16 Spellcraft - to copy Detect Secret Doors: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14

At a crucial moment, the screeching of the skulk from distracts the gun-mage and his hours work is spoiled.

-10GP from Maxim's cut

Cursing loudly the dwarf rises and bellows loudly to the others in the house:

At Ghelve's

As the skulk kicks off, you hear Maxim cursing in dwarvish from elsewhere in the gnomes abode. Heavy footsteps and a door opening herald the gun-mage shouting to those of you questioning the skulk;

"GAG THAT GODFORSAKEN SULKER UP! I'M TRYING TO CONCENTRATE HERE! GAG IT OR BURY IT!"

The door closes firmly to more dwarvish curses.

GM Rutseg:

With the distraction deal with Maxim returns to his work. He shifts focus to another spell Reduce Person for his second attempt.

Once again the gun-mage settles to his work with diligence, taking time, effort (and the odd puff of his cigar) to copy with precision:

DC16 Spellcraft - to copy Reduce Person: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17

And his work yields results this time. Maxim smiles at the success, and muses if he should once again attempt the first spell...

Reduce Person added, a further 10GP used.

Head thumping from his arcane studies, Maxim walks through Ghelve’s abode and nods to his companions and his gnome host;

”Managed to copy a spell from your book Master Ghelve. Another attempt was stymied by the wailing of the skulker. Skinny basterd cost me 10 Suns in materials wasted…”

The gun-mage leans toward the bound skulk;

… Coin I’ll be taking back out of your pale hide or the cache of your fatherless kin in the depths.”

The blond-bearded dwarf gathers together the suits of armour and weapons, pulling them into a couple of sacks borrowed from the locksmith’s stores. He addresses any in earshot as he does so:

”I’m for heading to my Uncle’s. Need to speak with him ahead of our journey into the depths… Fix a few things by him. Then I’ll grab some needed sleep and see if I can offload these items for some further coin… Reckon we spend most of the morrow resting and preparing our journey and head down in the eve? Down there makes no difference if its night or day.”

Maxim hefts a sack with a grunt and makes his way out to the night...


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Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

That made me laugh, I can clearly see the tough dwarf wizard imposing his voice over ^_^

Maxim*:

Feel free to add a 3rd hour to the work

Back at Garthûn's Imports your uncle listens to your story attentive "So the clerics of Abadar are playing the city-guardians once again. No surprise" the dwarf with his black leather mask looks at the objects you have brought "As much as I do not like religious zealots to take the duties of guarding the city those disappearances are insidious for commerce. It is good thing you got in that group, that way we can know from first hand what are those clerics plotting"

"As about the Last Laugh thing you say, it is weird they are trying to avoid an investigation if they are not responsible of the kidnappings. I will try to pose some questions around and discover what is going out there" he takes one of the shortswords "Well, we can take all this equipment at market price. If the guard is no longer able to defend the city we will need to prepare to defend our interests ourselves" he picks a bag of coins and counts the exact number giving it to you and then adds 100 gold pieces more.

"Hold with that group, let them know Garthûn is helping with the coin, if they succeed you will start to make a name. It is good thing Garthûn Imports get some credit on it. Maavu will be terribly jealous." he brings a bag of tobacco and two glasses of rum "Let's toast for Garthûn's gun the protector!"


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

GM Rutseg:

Maxim converses freely with the old scarred dwarf, nodding at his wisdom and wryly smiling at the mechanisations the powerful merchant is putting in place.

He raises his glass joining his Uncles toast;

”Har! The Protector! And to you Uncle!”

Maxim allows the fiery taste of the expensive Sasserine rum to warm his throat and bones.

He talked a little more, recounting to his Uncle the group’s efficiency in combat. Maxim spoke of the holy artefact’s prophesy and its cryptic wording before he finally slumped into his cups and allowed sleep to find him.

On the morrow he bade his Uncle farewell, and assured him that word would be send by whatever means he could as the group’s quest unfolded;

”Word may filter back, but I’ll send information however I can. As you have oft said Forewarned is forearmed. Rest assured I’ll do you right Uncle.”

Once breakfasted, he spent some time studying his spell-book before taking the Garthûn coin (and pouching tobacco and decanting any of that fine rum left), before taking leave of his relative and generous sponsor.

The Following Morn...

Mid morning of the next day, Maxim returns to Ghelve's lighter of a sack or two, but with several pouches of coin.

He places it on the table with a grin;

"My Uncle took the lot... and gave us full and fair coin for it. Yet his generosity did not stop there... Garthûn also sponsors our quest and gifted 100 Gold Suns to aid our endeavours..."

Looking pretty happy with himself, the gun-mage sits down;

"So what did I miss?"


Ire of the Storm: Ire of the Storm maps; Shackled City: Player's Guide - Expectations | Shackled City map

Short after dealing with the remaining skulk and having lunch, all the party gathers back together at Ghelve’s Locks. You set your equipment on place and ready yourself for the exploration in the hope you can still find all the children and the other citizens alive and unharmed.

All the best. Bring them back” says Keygan as he pushes the wooden section on the staricase side making it to spin. Below, the hollow darkness and rancid smell of a lengthily closed room welcomes you. Setting up your lights and slowly walking downstairs you are shrouded by a tense silence only broken by your steps over the stone staircase.

Turn after stair turn you start to lose the sense of direction when the steps become shrouded with cobwebs and dust.

It is easy for JJ to discover the footprints of some creatures left in the dust.

Survival 22:

Next to the footprints left by the skulks, you notice small hoof prints left by other little creatures. The tracks suggest the ascent and descent of multiple creatures, perhaps as many as a half dozen.

The staircase descends another twenty feet before opening into a room. From this landing, you can hear strange sounds emanating from the chamber below, specifically chirping birds, rustling leaves, and cheery giggles. The landing itself is bare save for an empty iron torch sconce mounted on the south wall.

Jzadirune map is up!
Feel free to modify the march order as you see fit. Please mark light sources with a red dot or something

Lantern Lodge

Sign up sheet; SFS 01-35 RR;; SFS 02-04 FF;

JJ lights a lantern and carries it in his left hand as he slowly (and very carefully) descends the stairs.

"I know the light will give us away, but without it most of us can't see at all. What will carry is noise, so we should keep our voices low."

I added two circles around JJ to show where the light will go (normal light is the middle, dim light the outer. Obviously it doesn't really go around corners.


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Dwarven Ratcatcher 13 HP 160 l AC 31, T 13, FF 30 l CMD 29 l F +20, R +14, W +18; +2 vs poison, spells/spell-like abilities l Init +1 l Senses: Perception +1, Darkvision

Kikinnin listens closely to JJ's interrogation of the skulk. He misses the connection between urgosh and Kazmojen possibly being a dwarf. He frowns on the thought, but is glad the young man catches the rat of the idea.

JJ Sidebar:

JJ wrote:
"Outsiders come to Cauldron all the time. While they are in our walls, they are protected by our laws and our guard. If they break them, they are subject to our punishments - not their own. And how do you know the skulk wasn't legitimately in the city. I agree the circumstantial evidence is against it... But it is not our job to make those calls. We have the mayor and the guard to preside over such things."

"Oh, sure, we've got a corrupt guard associated with the Last Laugh we need to worry about, and I'm not interested in letting the guard understand we've made a discovery here in Ghelve's Locks. Someone like Jil could try and hamper our investigation, don't you think?" Kikinnin leaves JJ to make his own conclusions.

Maxim wrote:
"GAG THAT GODFORSAKEN SULKER UP! I'M TRYING TO CONCENTRATE HERE! GAG IT OR BURY IT!"

Kikinnin steps away from JJ, and picks up his axe. "Alright, JJ, now's the time to look away. Can't have the Last Laugh understand we've delivered a skulk to the guard." The black-beard brings his axe down on the prone skulk, ending the discussion.

Coup de Grace: 3d10 + 6 ⇒ (3, 7, 3) + 6 = 19

Ruben wrote:
"Where's the other one? You got tired of him snorin' or something?"

"Both of 'em are done." Kikinnin explains to Ruben and the others who return the extent of their new knowledge, courtesy of the chatty skulk.

After cleaning his weapon, he makes time for sleep. The early morning will bring time to pick up a less lethal weapon to appease the boy, and a decent set of manacles, in case they need to catch someone worthy of Cauldron justice.

...

Kikinnin speaks to the gnome, before they leave. "You would do well to keep our expedition hush-hush. We have our work cut out for us for what we'll face ahead. Won't do to have pursuers harrying us from behind, you understand?"

The black-beard follows the others through the secret door, and into the depths. He tries to stay in front with the others, but understands if his scale mail armor makes too much noise, and requires him to stay back. His eyes play into and out of the light.

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 3 +2 to notice unusual stonework, er, not that it matters...


Male Dwarf Spellslinger Wizard 6/UC Rogue 4/Arcane Trickster 3 | HP 100/100 | AC 24/T18/FF19 | F+10, R+14, W+11| Perception +12; Darkvision 60ft. | Init +4 | Move: 20ft.| Hero Points: 1 | Grit: 1/1
DC5 Knowledge Local check:
Known as "Garthûn's Gun" in Cauldron.
Key Skills:
+22 Disable Device; +19 Know (Planes); +16 Know (Arcana) & Spellcraft; +15 Appraise; +14 Craft (Alchemy) & Stealth; +13 Escape Artist & Sense Motive

Maxim nods at their gnome host and claps the lock-master's shoulder reassuringly after Kikinnin has spoken;

"With the blessing o' the Cudgel and Garthûn how can we not succeed Master Ghelve. We'll bring them back..."

The gun-mage moves to the shoulder of his dwarven brother and begins the descent. As the group goes he whispers advice to any within earshot:

Onwards and downward eh? Best we stay aware... Them skulkers can lurk in plain sight..."

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