Tales of Alentha

Negotiating with Fire

Characters: Avria, Gronja, Indus Ederix, Konang, Vondulyth Grimtoken
Game Date: 28/12/14

Plot Overview:

  • No longer employed by bishop Palimar of Trithereon to illegally smuggle stolen artefacts from the numerous archaeological dig sites around Jordan’s Crossing, a motley group of ne’re-do-wells find themselves hard pressed to make a dishonest living in the bustling metropolis.
  • Calithrar the pyromaniac drow wizard, Nix the blue-scaled draconian fighter, Randal the drunken human cleric of storms (and pirate of the seas), Shenkel the human ranger of the streets along with his panther companion, and Wiggens the deft-fingered rock gnome charlatan and thief, have all fallen on tough times after their corrupt patron was hauled off in chains.
  • Indeed, ever since Palimar was arrested, much of the underworld in Jordan’s Crossing has fallen to infighting and treachery, forcing the group of opportunistic scoundrels to dig up buried treasure intended for leaner times. As such, the brigands travel to a deserted archaeological site, long forgotten and boarded up, hoping to recover one such stash.
  • Rather than finding the cavern abandoned, however, the party of thugs spot two soldiers from Jordan’s Crossing guarding the entranceway. Randal announces his presence by drunkenly reciting a sea shanty as he openly approaches the two men. The guards tolerate the inebriated pirate long enough for him to swing his mace ineffectually at one their shields.
  • A fight seems likely until the boarded up cavern explodes open from the inside, giving way to a horde of undead creatures both large and small. The rank and file undead are commanded by minotaur skeletons, which in turn take their marching orders from a bone dragon. Calithrar wastes no time dropping a Fireball on the monstrosities, incinerating all save one, which Randal drops with his mace, and then readies himself to take on the rest.
  • The soldiers from Jordan’s Crossing, seeing the bone dragon inside the cavern along with hundreds of undead reinforcements, run for their lives. Nix and Skenkel grab Randal kicking and screaming from the melee as the party hides off to both sides of the gorge. The soldiers flee along the open causeway, only to be smothered by two shadowy creatures who turn their bodies into desiccated husks.
  • The ruffians listen as the bone dragon rasps commands to a summoned bone naga, tasking the creature to infiltrate Jordan’s Crossing with a magical sword intended for their ‘chosen one’. The bone naga is dispatched immediately with a platoon of skeletons, after which five imps emerge from the cavern and fly in five different directions, each roughly heading towards another archaeological dig site.
  • The brigands quietly retreat from the site, giving upon their stashed treasure, and collectively decide to intercept the magical sword instead, which sounds like it might be worth more than a few good coins, certainly enough to recoup their losses. Randal picks up an exhausted Calithrar as they run after their quarry. Shenkel takes the lead and tracks the bone naga and company across the recently harvested grasslands surrounding Jordan’s Crossing, catching up with the inexhaustible undead well before dawn.
  • The party of thugs attempt to surprise the skeletons, but fail as the intoxicated member of their group makes too much noise. The bone naga casts a lightning bolt through the ruffians, electrifying three of their number, but only tickles the blue-scaled draconian. The fighter returns in kind but with a breath weapon of lightning.
  • Shenkel casts Spiked Growth under all the skeletons, which the bone naga recognizes, but none of its minions do, which proceed to absently march across the impaling field. Randal channels the righteous divinity of storms down upon all of their skulls, dusting most of the skeletons in one fell swoop while also routing the bone naga across the enchanted terrain.
  • The sharpened ground gives the serpentine skeleton pause to change tactics, commanding an underling to flee with their sword and complete the mission they were assigned. Most of the brigands can’t see in the dark and lose sight of the skeletal runner. Wiggens hides among the recently shorn crops and sneak attacks the bone naga repeatedly, ending the creature for good.
  • The ruffians rest for an hour to bind their wounds and continue into Jordan’s Crossing. Shenkel tracks the skeletal runner through the streets, which leads to the Church of Trithereon, still shuttered against the outside world. The urban ranger, having formed contacts within the local orphanage, talks with a few street urchins. They direct him to a new kid in town named Franklin.
  • The brigands arrive at a villa overrun with kids. The owners, well known heroes of Jordan’s Crossing, are being honoured in Grainhollow during a Harvest Season celebration. It would appear that the mice have come out to play while the cats are away. Randal notices the gargantuan gutripper mounted on the inner courtyard wall, which looks a lot like the bone sword they are chasing down.
  • When asked about infiltrating the Church of Trithereon, Franklin suggests talking to the heroes of Jordan’s Crossing when they return, at which point Wiggens notices one of the kids slipping away suspiciously. The gnome pursues the urchin through streets and over rooftops, until cornering him thirty feet above the ground, dangling from his fingertips. Rather than helping him up, the rogue intimidates the boy at bow point, who admits to reporting anything he hears about the church to ‘Grandmother’.
  • Wiggens ties the boy up with a rope collar, changes into a wealthy merchant costume, and marches into market, where the urchin points out Grandmother hobbling among the stalls. The rock gnome speaks to the elderly woman about her ‘grandson’ who scampered away after overhearing a private conversation about the Church of Trithereon. Wiggens secures an audience with Grandmother, at which point the woman removes her disguise.
  • Grandmother is actually a fiercely beautiful human woman with a decidedly Countess-like bearing. She questions the rock gnome about the sword and the archaeological dig site outside of town until Wiggens reveals that hundreds of undead emerged from inside one such cavern and are probably headed for the city. This causes the woman to visibly pale before regaining her composure. She tells Wiggens that no good can come from recovering the sword and throws the rock gnome a hefty bag of gold before leaving.
  • Rather than soliciting the heroes of Jordan’s Crossing, the ruffians decide to keep the glory for themselves. Not only do they want to sell the bone sword for profit, but also because no good can come from healthy relations between a corrupt church and a skeletal dragon. Calithrar suggests approaching their old smuggling contacts at the local thieves’ guild.
  • The brigands meet with Surely Lightfingers, but when pressed for their purpose, Randal drunkenly tells the truth about trying to recover a valuable sword from inside the Church of Trithereon. Surely agrees to help the ruffians and sets a place and time in Jordan’s Crossing to meet at nightfall. Wiggens regroups with the motley crew, says nothing about being given a bag of gold or meeting Grandmother, and accompanies everybody to the meeting.
  • The brigands are ambushed along the way by rooftop snipers, who mortally injure Shenkel’s panther. The party of thugs quickly scale the buildings and cut down their opponents. Searching their bodies afterwards, each attacker carries a broach from a splintered faction of the thieves’ guild, identifying them to be Surely’s men. The ruffians cautiously approach the meeting place only to find Surely waiting for them by a waterfall with a brace of henchmen.
  • Calithrar drops a Fireball on their heads with no warning whatsoever, surprising everybody (including his own party). Only Surely dives into the waterfall and survives incineration. Not wasting an opportunity, Randal holds the treacherous rogue underwater as the brigands discuss what to do next, letting him up for air any time his contribution is deemed useful. They agree that recovering the sword is more important than profiteering now. “How can you make a dishonest living without an upstanding city to exploit?” the cleric pirate sagely points out.
  • Surely admits that he wanted the sword for himself, especially in light of recent upheavals within the thieves’ guild, but also reveals that he knows how to enter the Church of Trithereon through the sewers. The brigands force him to lead the way, which he does, taking them beneath a chamber from which a discordant tongue can be heard reciting an aberrant prayer. The party of thugs cut Surely loose and burst up through a grate.
  • A sickly man garbed in bishop robes sits hunched in front of a glowing archway, within which the bone sword is floating. The ruffians manage to surprise the man and Randal grabs the sword, interrupting his ritual. The ruffians are quickly surrounded by skeletal knights who appear out of the shadows from behind several rows of pillars. Having grabbed what they came for, the brigands have no intention of fighting any more than is necessary.
  • They form a defensive ring and slowly retreat back into the sewers, but not in time to save Wiggens, who is run through by a skeletal knight. The body of the rock gnome falls into the waterways and is carried off with an unshared bag of gold. Shenkel’s panther also expires during the skirmish, throwing himself in front his human friend to save his life. Randal isn’t scratched once, drunkenly dodging every attack intended to do him harm.
  • To make good on their escape, Calithrar blows out the roof with yet another Fireball, signalling to the outside world that strange doings are afoot inside the Church of Trithereon. He then ducks into the subterranean tunnels before the ceiling debris rains down in earnest. The falling mortar and stonework prevent the skeletal knights from mounting a pursuit.
  • The ruffians head back to the villa where Franklin and all the street urchins were throwing a party. They are surprised when an armour-clad paladin answers the door instead, antlers protruding skyward from his helmet. The burley half-elf demands to know where they acquired the bone gutripper in their possession. Still bruised and bloodied from their battle, the brigands reluctantly impart the whole sordid tale.

Memorable lines:

Unanswered Questions:
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Comments

The_GM_Tim Sonofapreacherman

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