the Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves have renewed their ancient alliance beneath the Howling Tower;
and the secret treasury of the ancient Bronding Kings is said to lie somewhere behind the Brokenbrand Falls, haunted by enchanting naiads ...
... but for this session, the local Thieves' Guild hired Baby-Face to attempt a heist in the dungeons of Oakridge Castle ...
18 December's roster:
Baby-Face (thief 5)
with Frita (hireling) and Whesker and Wilmerand (giant weasels)
Finbar (half-Elf druid 4)
with Heisenberg (charmed wolf)
Aethelfwulf (paladin 2)
with Hauka (giant weasel)
Blackleaf (Elf 2)
with Johann Haybaler (hireling)
Koko (woman-ape 1)
Aria (Elf 1)
with Kaaraak (eagle)
Lead (cleric 3)
Baby-Face's local Thieves' Guild contact is Jaybird Jenny--I'm afraid I haven't actually told this to the players directly yet, because I almost always forget one or two things I mean to bring to the table each session, alas.
Anyway, Jabybird Jenny approached Baby-Face with a job offer: We have information about a secret entrance into the dungeons beneath Oakridge Castle, she said, and more than that we have a target. Word is that Morholt-Lord has turned to the secret worship of Chaos in the dungeons beneath the castle, and that there is a secret treasury near the shrine ... and we've heard that an item in the cache there is a rare glass serpent, for which we have a buyer, if only we can get someone brave (foolhardy) enough to sneak into the castle ... anything else you steal is yours to fence as you can, of course ...
Naturally, the party was for it, and not just because of the potential payout, but also because they hoped to free Rendorsheeg (Elf 2) who has been locked up in the dungeon for seven weeks, pending his payment of a large fine of 4000 gp after getting into serious trouble with the law while carousing--trouble like slandering Morholt, who's a bit touchy given his precarious position as lord of the demesne.
Preparation-wise, the party did several things. Baby-Face bought a bottle of Mead of Poetry from the local market, as well as 4 sprigs of wolfsbane (with the idea of poisoning folks in the castle); Finbar went into the nearby wilderness looking for poisonous plants with the same idea as Baby-Face, and found some deadly nightshade. The party gathered information about Morholt and learned that he loves to go hunting and is often riding out after game; but that this week, Morholt was planning on holding a feast (hence the poison idea). They were also reminded that Morholt is a usurper, and that he holds prisoner the widow of the former lord (Lady Sonora, widow of Albrecht III.), hoping to acquire a love potion with which to force her to marry him and thus legitimize his claim to the local lordship.
Now, the Thieves' Guild described a particular gully to the north of Oakridge Castle wherein a secret door was to be found, and the party set out in the night to seek this entrance. The moon shone, but somewhat obscured by clouds, and the guards on the castle walls did not see them ... but the party did note that the stars sing, a strange, faint, sad and nostalgic song. It is in no language that any speak, but the Elves in the party recognized vaguely Elvish phrasings in the eerie star-song. This has been going on for about two weeks now, and is a new development that nobody in town can say anything about ...
Anyway, a secret door was found at the end of the gully which led into a dead-end corridor; this corridor contained a further secret door at its end, which opened onto a room with stairs leading up into the castle, and two doors. The party went for the western door and found a long south-leading corridor with one western door. Listening at the door, they heard conversation of bored guards, and opted to follow the corridor south.
Ultimately, the corridor turned east, then north, but as the party headed north, I rolled a wandering encounter. Three guards--a sergeant and two underlings--came around the corner from the north. Finbar cast charm person or animal on the sergeant and he failed badly, and so charmedly greeted Finbar as a friend. Some fast talking and showing off of many wineskins by Blackleaf led the sergeant to note, I forgot about the wine shipment for the feast in four days, but you're clearly it. Here, let me show you to the wine cellar. Despite the strange looks from his underlings, the sergeant then showed the party through to the wine cellar (well stocked with barrels of wine and beer and fine bottled wines). They talked to him about the possibility of freeing a prisoner, but ultimately he had a task in the dungeon that he had been distracted from.
When the party felt they had used this poor fellow to the best they could, Baby-Face attempted to backstab him and failed; and before anything further could occur, Blackleaf slept the three. Baby-Face then poured some whiskey over the guards and left an empty whiskey-bottle with them, intending to frame them as drunks ...
Further exploration revealed a series of tombs of the former lords of the castle; Aethelwulf tried in vain to prevent their looting, but the rest of the party ignored him. They then went through an eastern door and found a shrine to a Chaotic god with a huge grin and torture implements, containing four Hieronymus Bosch-type tapestries depicting chaos and torture. Here, Aethelwulf toppled the clearly Chaotic and Evil idol, and then the party headed back out to the corridor and ultimately to the west, where they'd heard the guard-muttering.
Lead retreated to the door and called for help.
A chaotic melee ensued as the rest of the party came up to join the battle. Lead held the door, whacking guards with his warhammer while the rest of the party did what they could from behind or muscled in around Lead and against the guards to enter the melee. Aethelwulf decapitated one; Baby-Face's weasels humped into the room and killed another; Koko the woman-ape broke the neck of yet another guard; and the rest were killed by arrows from Blackleaf and Aria and a variety of melee attacks.
Off of this guard post, the party found two different sets of cells; the first contained a group of 12 men-at-arms and 3 former-officers, all men loyal to Albrecht III. and imprisoned by Morholt, grateful to be released and sent out of the dungeon; the second set of cells included Rendorsheeg and a number of other bums, drunks, and local criminals, again set free by the party.
The party then returned to seeking the secret treasury of the Chaos shrine and the rumored glass serpent, but going to the eastern section of the dungeon, they found only another number of tombs of the old lords, including the recently created tomb of Albrecht III. Alas, our time was running out, and in our last ten minutes, the party agreed to return to town (and the castle only looks over the town, not even a day away). In their frustration, they at least looted the shrine of its tapestries and made out with 200 gp worth of tapestries for the lot of them.
No wandering guards molested them on the way out ... so back in town, Finbar and Rendorsheeg both elected to carouse ... and Rendorsheeg rolled the very same mishap as last time, "major misunderstanding with the law," that originally landed him in jail! But as an escaped fugitive, this is clearly no mere fine, but a search by Morholt's mercenaries for escaped prisoners!
And so next session will involve some kind of trouble with the law to be played out in-game ... There will be a reckoning ...
Remembrance for the Fallen
Arrow (pack dog), Freyja (normal woman), Nameless Dog (1 hp cur), Hot Dog (mastiff), Cross (mastiff), Orion II (lion dog), Bacon (boar hound), Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1), Jimmy the Snitch (dog), Orion (lion dog), Harambe (man-ape 1)
And for those Enchanted Away
Dol (fyrdman hireling)