2018-03-07 - An evil sphere made a towerful of monsters very unhappy
The guild received an urgent contract from a paladin, Sir Jeffers and has summoned a party of guild members. A powerful necromancy item, the Sphere of Grave Mists had been stolen and he has learned it's come into the possession of a local politically-connected Sage & Herbalist, Cimmaron Racenacce. He has suspicions that this Sage & Herbalist may be more evil and malevolent than his public persona suggests! (Least of all, because his name anagrams to "I am a necromancer"!). Sir Jeffers requests that the players recover this dangerous item while the Sage(?) is out of town. He would prefer to confront the man himself, but because of Cimmaron's political connections, this could be very problematic for Sir Jeffers, as Cimmaron could almost certainly create enough bureaucratic delays that he'd be able to move the item before it could be recovered.
Sir Jeffers believes the Sphere is held in Cimmaron's own tower, a squat 3-story cube of a tower, in an affluent part of town. He loans the party a Handy Haversack to grab and store the Sphere, warning them not to touch it or "bad stuff will surely happen!"
Because of the potential danger of this mission (surely an item so powerful would be well-guarded, right?), Sir Jeffers offers both a sizable reward and to heal the characters, but only if they promise not to kill any Town Guards, who have been appointed to watch the tower.
Act I: Breaking In
The party found the tower with no difficulty. It's hard to miss. It stands out as a cube of plain brick among a row of opulent and well-kept houses. As expected, the party discovers an active patrol of 6 Town Guards standing about. They look inexperienced, and are talking very casually with passers-by.
Iotas attempts to chat up one of the guards and lure him away to go grab a drink, but is unsuccessful. The guards have been well-compensated for their loyalty to the job!
While observing the Tower, the party notices 2 people exit the building -- they appear to be cleaning servants (Estella & Denkirk). Westley waits until they are down the block a bit, disguises himself very effectively, and approaches the building, trying to get in. He is very successful, but discovers the door is locked! The guards have been instructed not to open the door for anyone. Missy and Iotas tail Estella & Denkirk and manage to distract them long enough to pick-pocket the key. Westley approaches again, key in hand, and successfully makes it into the Tower.
Iotas Suggests to a guard that he suddenly has to pee badly, and the guard takes a break to go next door and use the bathroom. While there, Iotas casts Sleep, leads the guard away into a field, strips and binds him, then returns dressed in Guard gear. He is able to slip into the house on his guard rotation to the front of the building.
Westley discovers that the windows are unlocked on the first floor, and opens one on the side of the building. Lorig and Missy attempt to climb in through the window. Lorig is so successful he discovers that he was actually inside the building the whole time, already! Missy is sadly less-so, and the guards chase her off.
The three party members begin exploring the house and find that the first floor is immaculately clean and well-decorated. The first floor contained a sitting room, bathroom, and kitchen. Iotas expertly spotted a trap door under the center-rug in the Kitchen. They attempt to open it with thieve's tools, a crowbar, and shouting angrily in its direction. It is the best lock they have ever seen. Finding nothing else, they make their way up to the second floor.
On the second floor, the trio finds more unlocked windows and slightly less-clean surfaces. Iotas has Detect Magic running and notices a faintly magical pentagram carved into the wood at the top of the stairs. With the guards about to do a shift-change, Missy prepares to approach. The party opens a window, drops a rope out, and Missy quickly scales the wall and disappears into the 2nd story, unnoticed.
Act II: Who is Cimmaron, really?
The party carefully explores the rest of the second floor. They find a study, a guest room that has sadly only been visited by dustmites, and a library. Lorig examined the bookcase and discovered some books missing, though it's unclear what they were.
Before ascending the stairs to the third floor, Iotas casts Detect Thoughts to discern if there are any threats above. He does not detect anything thinking.
On the third floor, the party hears a faint "humming" sound, like the sound you might hear from a machine shop or laboratory. Iotas detects a whiff of magic coming from one side of the hallway (behind the wall) and a faint aroma of magic from the opposite side. The party heads down the hall and finds a locked door, behind which the humming seems loudest.
Missy expertly picks the lock on her second try, and the party readies themselves. Iotas opens the door and the four Lemures in the middle of the laboratory are released and immediately attack! Very slowly! With -7 to their Initiative!
The Lemures are sad looking blobs with something sort of resembles a blob-like face. The party quickly dispatches them, making them all much sadder and unhappy about being dead. Missy grabs the Last Hit on each one of them, and the rest of the party is graceful enough not to accuse her of Kill-Stealing. One Lemure did manage to form a slow-moving fist and caught Westley off-guard, punching him for a whopping 2 points of damage.
With the imminent threat of 4 sad-moving blobs of sadness removed, the party explores the lab. They discover a small case of potions (see below) that are well-labeled and appear to have been brewed right there. They find some Alchemist Supplies that are stolen ("Jeffers only said we couldn't kill any guards!") and stowed in the Handy Haversack. They also discover a journal, accidentally left behind! While largely banal in detail, there are some incriminating bits that clearly point to Cimmaron being, in fact, a Necromancer! They also locate a sturdy-looking key that is doing a great job, bigly, of being a key. Westley quickly runs downstairs to confirm it does, in fact, fit into that amazing lock they found earlier.
The whiff of magic that Iotas detected earlier is coming from behind a locked door. Missy and Iotas both attempt to unlock it but are unsuccessful. Iotas remembers he has a vial of acid and pours it over the lock. The lock immediately begins hallucinating and experiences some transcendental thoughts and mind expansion. The lock considers that maybe it's more than just a lock, and that it has been living a limited existence in focusing too heavily on its career in security. Its resolve, and substance, dissolves away as it contemplates a more freer society, where security isn't necessary anymore.
Behind the door, the party finds a shrine that was decorated with last year's collection from "Modern Necromancer," including demon tchotchkes, autographed glossies of various evil deities, heavy metal albums on vinyl, and a blood-stained altar for sacrificing things that contain blood. The party notes that perhaps the whiff of magic Iotas picked up on was, in fact, the smell of heme from the spilled blood. It is apparent the cleaning servants have not found this room.
Before leaving the third floor, they look at the last room on the floor, the Master Bedroom. It is similar to the shrine, in that it has four and a door that is now open. This room has luxurious high-thread count sheets and ornate woodwork, and a wooden armoire full of fine robes. The aroma of magic Iotas detected is coming from one of the robes, and Missy goes rifling through the pockets of the robes, to discover a Wand of Magic Missiles.
Having fully explored the upper floors, the party descends to the secret floor door in the kitchen.
Act III: Hobgoblins and Door Locks Trip In Very Different Ways
The un-trapped trap door opens to a rickety wooden stairway, heading into a dark basement. As the party descends the stairs, metal hooks shoot out from between the steps, attempting to grab at their feet! Westley had a flash of insight immediately before the hook appeared and was less surprised by this.
Missy, unfortunately, was distracted, thinking about all the cool stuff she's going to blow up with her new wand, and her feet were caught by a hook and she tumbled down the stairs. Lorig, unable to see in the dark, was also caught unawares and fell right after her.
At the foot of the stairs, the party now sees four Hobgoblins, wearing Chain Mail, each holding very long pike-looking-things-with-hooks-on-the-end (Guisarmes). These polearms are very long and can reach very far.
The hobgoblins form a line, covering both sides of the stairs, and look very threatening.
Lorig quickly dispatches one with a well-placed arrow, and is able to land another (less-lethal) arrow in the Hobgoblin standing next to him. The dead Hobgoblin is sad that he's not alive anymore.
Westley viciously mocks the Hobgoblin nearest him, saying some insulting things that turned out to be compliments in Hobgoblin culture. Missy pours 1,000 ball bearings onto the floor in front of she and Lorig, as the Hobgoblins advance. One Hobgoblin attempts to trip Iotas, who is still standing on the stairs, but fails.
The door bursts open and a very angry looking Hobgoblin with a Greataxe storms in, spittle flying from its mouth. Missy catches a glimpse of a shadowy humanoid form in the room behind the angry and unhappy muscular Hobgoblin.
The Hobgoblins all attempt to trip the party members again and succeed against Missy and Westley. A flaming ball of firey flame appears next to Lorig. Iotas had heard of these things before and is pretty sure that floating balls of fire are dangerous and should be avoided. Lorig manages to murder another Hobgoblin before having the flaming ball of fire slam into him from the side. Missy is pelted with magic missiles from the back room.
Westley adapts and throws better insults at the Hobgoblins, angering them with comments about their Goblinish heritage. Iotas kills a Hobgoblin by rudely spraying him in the face with poison. The barbaric Hobgoblin rushes at Iotas, and hits him very hard with the sharp side of his great axe. It hurt. A lot. (DM note: I rolled a nat 20 here. Re-rolled...another nat 20.) Iotas manages to down a Potion of Greater Healing before getting hit again (this time for much less). Missy shouts "SNEAK ATTACK!!!!" and looses an arrow into the Barbarian's back. His rage-face becomes more of a grimace as he starts giving serious consideration to whether or not he would prefer to be dead. Westley heroically approaches and viciously reminds him that he could have had a V8 -- Steelaxe the Wrathful dies with a scornful look of remorse on his face, and crumples to the ground.
The party manages to kill all the Hobgoblins. Iotas attempts to persuade the remaining...thing... in the other room to give up. He drops his dagger in a show of good faith, but the rest of the party stands around the door with readied weapons.
A fog cloud fills the room, Westley charges in and sees 4 Hobgoblin Wizards all mirroring each other. He swings and misses. Iotas casts Shatter and all three mirror images mimic the real Wizard as he doubles over in pain as they vanish. The wizard yells something about his ear drums. Iotas creates a minor illusion in the corner and the Wizard shoots a Ray of Frost at it. Missy deals the final blow and the Wizard is put out of his misery.
Searching the area, they find a small chest of silver, a key, a small armory of weapons, and a Cloak of Elvenkind.
Act IV: Wacky Wavy Un-Raiseable Chains-for-Arms Flailing Ghoul Man
As the party approaches the last door in the cellar, they feel a general feeling of "evil" as they approach the door. Like real Evil. EVIL evil. They ate the rest of their Goodberries and prepared themselves.
The door opens.
They peer in.
It's an empty, stone-floor room. An EVIL empty stone-floor room.
Iotas, the wise creates a minor illusion of a party-member walking into the room. Out of a very good hiding spot in the corner, a ghoul shambles towards the illusion and swing a chain at it. Not so much swings... more like, "flails its arm stubs, which have a chain attached where the arm should be." The ghoul also bites at the illusion. As the illusion vanishes, it flashes an expression of betrayal and disappointment at Iotas.
The party largely hangs out in the antechamber hallway. Missy used her awesome new wand and shot 15 magical darts right at the Ghoul's face, it recoiled slightly and its grimacing undead face continued to look grimacing. Iotas shouted at the Ghoul so loudly that sound itself was like "PEACE" and pushed the grimacing Chain Ghoul into the wall. Lorig fired an arrow at the ghoul but narrowly missed. Westley, saying "I want a piece of that!",bravely runs into the room, catching a chain to the face as he runs by. The chain hit him square, and Westley saw the Chain Ghoul...absorb(?)...some of his blood. The unexpected hit and extra bleeding broke Westley's concentration and he forgot the antagonizing insult he was going to hurl.
The Chain Ghoul quickly and deftly advances on the party, swinging one chain at Westley, another at Lorig, and bites at Iotas, who finds the Ghoul's breath to be so wretched he CAN'T EVEN (move). The Ghoul absorbs a small amount of blood from the party with its strikes, and feels mildly refreshed.
The party attempts to counter-attack -- Iotas manages to get over his disgust at Undead Halitosis, Lorig fires, narrowly missing, and Missy advances, only to catch a chain to the jaw. She manages to hit it one more time before falling incapacitated, as the Chain ghoul lashes out its chains at her, Westley, and biting at Lorig. The party suddenly realizes they ate all the goodberries before this fight. Iotas strikes the Chain Ghoul and it's grimacing so hard right now.
Seeing the Ghoul teetering, Westley steps up and says "HEY GHOUL MAN. I'D OFFER YOU A HIGH FIVE FOR HOW BAD YOU'RE HURTING US, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE ANY HANDS"
The Chain Ghoul, mortified that someone reminded him that he is handless and can never embrace another, or feel the warmth of a furry kitten in his arms, dies of embarassment.
ACT V: Nothing to Fear but Sphere-induced Negative Levels
The party recollects themselves and revives Missy, who is whispering "Put me in, coach... I can do it"
They use the key they found on the Hobgoblin Wizard to open the door in this room. They discover the Sphere, which Missy wisely remembers to use the Haversack to collect. They find a few other treasure items in here, and some cash and 2 scrolls.
Returning the Sphere to Sir Jeffers, they are all thanked dearly, healed, and he is so satisfied with their work that his smile opens up a portal that, by magnanimous coincidence, leads right back to a room in Purity Guild.
- 1,552 gp total
- Cloak of Protection - claimed by Lorig
- Cloak of Elvenkind - claimed by Missy
- Brooch of Shielding
- Spellbook containing: Fog Cloud, Expeditious Retreat, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Flaming Sphere, Mirror Image
- Alchemist Kit (worth 125gp if they choose to sell)
- Wand of Magic Missiles - claimed by Missy
- Potion of Growth - claimed by Westley
- Potion of Heroism - claimed by Westley
- Eversmoking Bottle
- Oil of Slipperiness
- 3 Potions of Greater Healing (from Jeffers, unused)