Archileus in the catacombs, Day 17
The hoblite engineer will map along the way.
We get led in by a sewer team. They say there are dozens of entrances to the catacombs, and dozens of entrances from there to the dungeons.
The most common entryway is called The Well. This was the well in the center of the old town. The architects of the new city were geniuses, using the architecture of the old city to build the sewers. A 40' diameter well.
They take us to the part that they personally know best, however.
Looking down, it goes right into the catacombs, lined with niche graves. A ladder goes downward.
They know one entrance to the dungeon from here. Looking at the ladder, go left for easily a quarter mile. There will be an entrance to the dungeons, an archway with steps going down.
The remind us the catacombs go miles in every directions, literally.
It definitely smells down here, unnatural like. We are certain undead lurk the catacombs, as rumor has it. At least one room was one giant undead creature, the team tells us, the room itself battled the workers. Some escaped to tell the tale.
We follow their direction to the archway and down the steps to a landing then opens into a room. 2 other openings lead out. We go north, and stumble immediately upon an old black reptilian tale, old, dry and crusted. Large enough it could be part of a dragon tale.
In this north direction we find a secret door down a left corridor but its locked. Bligh finds a hole in the wall, inside is a release. The door slides open into a room.
Feminine, ghostly lips hover and speak a riddle, smiles, and fades away.
Never be loud, always be still; for whispering cloud obeys master's will.
Green carpet and bookcases, circular wood table in center, massive armchair, candelabra and skull with last bit of scalp. Looking up, the air at the ceiling is cloudy; very moist and dank room
Bligh and Archileus move sneakily into the room and look around.
The books are thick accounting logs of long gone businesses, geneologies, atlases, health care, and more. Very mundane and boring until we find a history of ancient dragon wars (1000 years or so ago when they fought the Masters), though much of interest to Callimachus; sewer and mine inspection tours from a dwarven kingdom (an enthusiastic rambling account); cattle breeding record; possibly 2 spellbooks, one of scaly hide over slate covers, other of gray elephant hide over wood. Fat book of recipes; staff.
We will be taking all of this back.
Bligh "This alone is going to make the entire trip worthwile for Callimachus."
We brought sacks and packs, and we pack all that we can.
Outside, the soldiers hear booted feat nearby, from the south hall we didn't take originally and heading this way.
We all take positions to see if we pass this way. Torches out.
9 orcs make their way toward us. They look wary, like they are searching or hunting. An archer is at point.
We ready to attack, but they are strung out in a rough line. Tactically, too easy for some in lead or rear to escape so we let them be.
Archileus sends one hoplite to tail them.
We finish packing up and take it back to the stairway, setting it all down about halfway up.
Now continuing north through a door past a right turn to a T section. Our sneak left a dagger pointing the way he followed, making the left through another door. Passing a huge ancient audience chamber on the right, we follow past another room, making a right then another right past a long hall to a left turn. Further, a goblin runs from the intersection, the orc leader gathers his men and ready a plan of attack "They already know we are here." Then plan to charge down the hall, splitting into groups of 3, food stores important as "we're hungry".
The scout reports this as we are following and we move forward.
By the time we arrive, there is a quasi celebration. It's the goblins! Peeking down, there are a few dozen goblins, many beaten and bloody, dragging the last of the orcs into a pile still barely alive. A bunch of dead goblins lie around as well.
We enter, without Bligh, and greet them. It was obviously not an easy win. At first, they are ready for a fight. Archileus stops them, and the leader steps out and acts abrasive.
The orcs are part of a warbgand that settled just next to where we entered, they are relatively new to the area. Not many, probably and advanced force or survivors of a dead tribe. He says there are many, many ways into this dungeon, even from the wilds above. Plus Master gates to other parts of the world.
The orcs hit one of their foraging parties.
There are about 30 warriors here.
He claims there are another 100 warriors in their warren.
He tells us about a grate in one of the city inns far east of where we entered. ALso, when they need to get outside, there is one they use to outside the city limits via a secret door in their warrens into a cave into the hills.
They make a point not to mess with the humans. They are much happier down here anyway.
They have a trade agreement with a group of kobalds here, that also station near our entrance next to the orcs. They and the orcs have also fought, they are led by Vhue the Adventurous.
They know in detail much to the east of here. There is a maze of rooms south of there. The caves also to the south, and rooms tween there and our entrance. Otherwise, not far off. Lots of undead and giant bugs roam about. At least one gelatinous cube roams the halways. Packs of ogres and bugbears. They hunt outside, and down here molds and fungi to eat. There are levels below this that other beings come up from here and there. At least 4 levels.
One of the orcs has a short sword with a glowing pommel that it talks to.
The goblin leader is named Balugd
Archileus offers an agreement: if we eliminate the orcs, they and Vhue keep the humans in mind if anything truly dangerous to the outer world shows up, keep eyes and ears open, that sort of thing; start an information brokering with the surface. Archileus thinks this place, this large, is a ticking timebomb for the city.
Perhaps even get some people down here to show them how to secure more area.
Plus free reign for us to travel here, even through his and Vhue's areas.
Archileus asks for Vhue to be summoned, and goes over the whole thing with her.
She has a pet giant weasel Dorn. She is highly agreeable to the deal.
Bligh has been introduced by this point as well.
Balugd sends a guide with us to the orc area.
Vhue and 3 of her champs are joining us as well on the raid.
They lead us to a circular room The Chamber of the Well.
Goblin guide: the head orc is very foreign to this area; a metal helm comes to a rounded point at the nose with eyeholes; very fond of furs and his mail shirt; large around wood shield; goes by Klethvagi.
We find Klathvagi and the rest of his orcs in one large room. The hoplites in mini wedge then line, and our kobold allies, storm the room and massacre teh orcs. Bligh then moves in and brings Klathvagi down. His chain is mst and his short sword is magical!
5 blackened long swords of a northman style
19 small crates: bundles of fabrics, moyre, etc. Trade Goods! Old but in superb condition
66 more crates of goods: including spice and one with medicinal herbs; ceramics, statuary, etc.
20 sacks: onions, cabbages, root veggie, smoked hams, cheese wheel, mint water, whole pickels
6 metal flasks of healing elixier: after 1 hour gives 2d4+2 hp back.
3 beads of force: 5d4 each in a 10' radius
mithril mail shirt
Short Sword: does not want to leave Bligh's side, and begins speaking to him telepathically. Blade crafted of blue mithril; on each side of the hilt are cougar paws, handle of ivory with some sort of unknown hide; worth total well over 1000gp w/o magic; crystal in the pommel glows, might be a diamond, speaks to Bligh. Tells him its name is Harikkas. Of Spelekian descent. He was a woodsman and warrior, had come this way shortly after the Master's vanished and found the dungeon. He faced an evil wizard who destroyed his body and put his soul into the sword. Ideally he'd rather not be, but he'd need a wizard or holy caster to put his soul into a new body. He's picky about the body, too. Until he is out, its a plus 2 short sword (when he's gone, mst with 2 special abilities: plus 1 dam/incr crit mult), plus 4 vs trolls; DC25 use magic can act as a sword of dancing for 6 rounds.
Now, we and our new allies feast on the food winnings!!! They get whatever food is leftover, we get the rest.
Archileus congratulates his men down the line on terrific fighting. Then, we pack up all our loot and get it to the caravan. The materials that can be traded or sold will be. Archileus stays with the goblins through the night to build more relations and repore. Bligh and the hoblites stay with the caravan. They will bring a group of the new hobgoblin recruits from the castle adventure in the morning.
This is the day Duncan returns from the arcane shrine, see above.
Bligh leads the 7 new hobgoblins to Archileus with 6 of the hoblites from yesterday as well. Bligh stays for now, but will return to the surface sometime in afternoon or early evening to report to Duncan. The other 4 hpblites stay with the goblins.
We want to link this area to The Well entrance, map from one entrance to another. It lies eastward. We go up to the intersection at which the orcs turned left to go the the goblins. There is a right turn just below that intersection. That is our way.
First though, adjacent to the orcs, the goblins and kobalds say there is an ancient tomb area we should check out first. They believe it to be cursed and avoid it. A few have gone that way and never return.
Through the first door, a dwarven statue of a warrior holding a 2 handed axe greets us. A voice from it says not to disturb the servers of Barrik Whitehelm. It spoke in the Empire latin.
We pass by it and continue on.
It is dark and smells terribly.
We come across 4 humanoids, huddled in a corner. The room has 14 stone coffins. Lids covered in dwarf runes. One corner has a pile of broken bones near the huddled creatures.
They lift their heads up as Bligh and Archileus enter. They smell the air briefly.
Bligh "Who goes there?"
They collectively screech and howl eery. All 4 sprint for us. 2 of our new hobs get their first action, 2 hoblites behind them. Arch and Bligh on the flanks just at the door.
We make short work of the undead. They have burn marks all over their body. 3 ghouls and 1 ghasts.
Each coffin are all named. Callimachus will translate later.
We open up the coffins. 14 complete sets of dwarven warrior equipment, all in great shape. Each armor is engraved with the name of who wore it. We get the goblins to collect everything under supervision of the 4 reserve hoblites.
Another room has a magically preserved tapestry of a white dragon. An altar on a dais. Either end rises in 2 armes becoming candle sticks. They radiate visible magic. Each has a white candle atop it. The dragon on the tapestry was also on the dwarf coffins.
Others more qualified will have to check out this altar. We move on.
Through a short stretch of hall with stagnant water flooding it ankle deep.
We come to a T section with another hall just left and forward. The north end turns the same direction east. Bligh and our goblin scout go south.Its a much longer hall before it turns east as well.
We take the hall to our immediate left. It makes a square connecting to the turn just beyond it (including a deadend dogleg), which we then follow further east to a 4 way intersection. To the northis a T section just ahead. To the south, stairs leading down into a possible room. North, both directions go beyond sight.
A door is straight ahead. We go south down the steps first. Our goblin scout says this is good hunting area, lots of vermin.
It leads into a sort of egg shaped room full of pillars to the ceiling. Archways go the other 3 directions as well
Among the pillars, a mettalic glint is noticed by Bligh.
A giant rat scurries in the room but it avoids us. Bligh walks to the glint of metal. It's a gold coin, unknown markings. Probably hundreds of years old. Callimachus will confirm this later. On the SE wall writtin in charcoal points to south "certain death this way". One pillar has the skeleton of a long dead serpent spiralling around it. We look down each other exit, all start with another stairway. West goest to a long corrirod of mirrors down each side. SOmething small lies on the floor partway down. South goes to a long hall with1 visible branch east with a goblin standing just ahead. East hall is doubly wide into a nother long gallery room.
2 hobgoblins see a small brass key on the floor as they go to get the gobin. The goblin is crouched on the floor. "Are you ok?" He leaps up with a spear and shield on the defense, short bow strapped to his back. We bring up or goblin scout (Barg). They talk briefly. His name is Nnesk but not from around here; just arrived, he walked into a cave, there was a flash and disorientation, and here he arrived. His riding boar was left outside the cave. He is also out of arrows. He has been wandering for a couple days; ran into some orcs and animals so far but got away. He is more of a plains goblin. He came up from further south down this hall.
He refuses to stay in such close confines, bad Agorophobia. Barg explains about our expedition and he is fully up for joining up to find his homeland.
Nnesk also says do NOT pickup the coin where he was just sitting, it burned his palms immediately, its a fire trap. That takes a real jerk.
1 of our reserve hoblites will lead him up top.
We continue east leading right to the well!!
Back around to the door, not locked. Tiny vent shafts go upward out of the walls. A suit of bright chain hangs on a rack, and a long sword. In front of it are 3 armored orcs playing dice munching on meat skewers. 1 large jug of a frothy black drink they are drinking. Having quite a good time. All 3 scramble to their feet as the door opens. One points and says "Beware human, we will defend ourselves.
He's surprised when we don't immediately attack. They have heard that the city pays guards to watch entryways. They were going to climb the well and offer their services. Gring, one of their own, did so and someone poured hot liquid downward on him. 1gp/week they supposedly offer. Just looking for an honest job.
We explain that we are exploring for ourselves and we may be able to get those jobs.
They join us for the day.
They tell us about the secret door that goes into the long galery room from here, and one out of the well room going north. They spend most of their time on the level below. A cave complex far south has a lot of nasty stuff in it. A recluse wizard lives farther north, not very friendly. A group of brigands as well. The city does not like death penalty, so they put such people in the dungeon. They migrate around, last seen south of here, to east of caves.
Bligh "Show us to where you get to the lower level." Go back same we came, go south a ways through a maze like area to a secret door.
Bligh "Take us there." They lead us down the south turn east of the flooded hall.
Tapestry of White Dragon of Bereg Whitehelm = 400
The hoblite and new hobgoblin engineers mapping all the way. Through an old throne room with a skeleton sitting. It turns in its seat and watches our every move but otherwise does nothing. We don't get any closer either.
At the end we turn right/west then south through a door next to steps. Past another altar just like the previous with the candle holders.
Straight south into the maze area. A rippling black curtain hands ahead which we turn away from The orcs say anytime you see one of those, don't go through. Always a monster on the other end. Often in a tricky way like mimics taking advantage to ambush.
We go around, to south then west to the body of a large lizard they killed and ate at a doorway. Through the door there to a 4 way intersection. The south hall goes right to a door. In this room, they say we'll have to be careful. Some dwarves were asleep beyond it, this room has a statue in it. They gave it a wide berth as it gave off a bad vibe. Like magical, and eerie. We go in. Its huge and dark in color. Pillar base is 7' tall. Atop is a male torso, arms pointing towrds north and south doors (we just entered the north). Head and some fingers are missing.
We give it a wide berth to a secret door to a hall. In the next room lie 6 armored dwarves in a heap. Weapons beside them. They snore deeply, beards far too long.
They are called the 6 sleepers. They are a known landmark in here, longer than anyone they know has been alive. Everyone figures they are under a curse.
All their coin purses have been long stolen, as well as some other equipment.
We continue to a door east, In this large room are the steps going downward.
We continue west, to turn north back into our goblin friends' territory.
Before we get very far at all, we hear a horrified scream from behind us. Back to the Sleepers' Room. 1 has woken up!! The others are beginning to move as well.
A handful of humanoids are moving toward them, about a dozen humans ready to kill them armed with various weapons.
Orcs "Some of the brigands."
They are coming through the south door we went through to get to the steps down.
They all look like violent criminals. Only the leader looks different.
One of them at teh sight of our trained men "Tushar, uh uh, we don't get paid to fight real fighters.
He was a rebel who attempted to overthrow the lords of the city and failed, we will find out when we go above and report.
Our men rush in. Bligh sizes up the leader. He tries to deal with Bligh, who declines, walks right up to him and starts swinging. The dwarves turn to the hobgolins, their leader turns to Archileus confuses as to whether they are supposed to kill the hobs or if we are really helping dwarves. Arch confirms we're here to help. They go for their equipment.
The brigands just stand there, eyeballing.
Bligh hits Tushar again. Tushar tries to bluff Bligh, but fails miserably. Bligh hits him hard 22. Then he tumbles back and runs. The hoblites hurl spears and the hobgoblins charge. The first 2 in the room drop DEAD.
The others in the hall back up to the stairway room, forming into a V shape ready for us.
Behind their line, 3 of them guard Tushar who is getting bandaged by another.
We send the orcs in first to break up their line. Some hoblites follow behind. One of the orcs is taken down but lives.
The healer actually casts a magic healing on Tushar.
Archileus, Bligh, and 2 hobgoblins move past the line as soon as their is an opening to the leaders group.
The caster fires an eldritch dart at Archileus and barely misses. Bligh and the 2 hobs take out the 2 guards. ARchileus engages Tushar but he feels the new LS almost turn his hit into a miss.
We wipe the brigands out.
The blade also hinders Archileus blocks! Damnable thing is cursed!
Bligh finally brings him down.
Archileus "Give up, spellcaster."
He quits. He'll work for not being killed. They had an encounter with the orcs a few days ago and were looking for them.
We make him take us to their loot room. Its actually down the stairs but we go anyway, though we didn't plan on leaving the level at all today.
We weave through some halls to a 4 way intersection, huge chamber both north and south. He leads us north to a massive room with pillars allaround the perimeter and a colonade down the far end.
Double doors at teh fare end as well as 2 other archways out.
A bright white sphere is suspended in midair at one end; a pile of loot lies below it. A small altar is within the pile, stone. Suits of armor are all throughout the room.
That ball, he has no idea what it is.
We make him sack up all the loot around the altar under the ball. He is not too keen on doing that at first, then grumbles the whole way over.
We get to the pile and notice 2 things. Inside the orb, about a foot across, is what looks like a person but shadowy and blurred in detail.
Suddenly, he goes for a bounding step but fails to conjure the power and hops about 2 feet.
We rush him and take him down then question him. He tries to hit Bligh with the sack but misses horribly.
Archileus "Why don't you tell us why you don't want to do this?"
One of the hoblites has to stab him in the calf to get him to start with his task. He bags it all up but for a small tiara atop the dais.
Bligh "You forgot the tiara."
"Oh, me, so I did. I have an allergy to platinum."
We gag and tie him up.
Looking closer at the sphere, the person looks like they are lying down but are upright nonetheless. Holding a staff looking thing close to it.
Looks like an elf wearing a tiara just like the one here.
600gp worth of coins et al
We go back upstairs taking the arcanist with us.
We meet the dwarves properly.
Arthan, Bahordil, Dammath, Elengi, Goruth, Khaltarr. Deep in the lower levels it reaches the upper underdark, whose tunnels stretch all across the continent. They came up from lower levels. They drank from a flask of wine the found here, which they still have. Few minutres after they all fell asleep. They describe their clan, which sounds like the dwarf kingdom in the books we found yesterday in the library amongst the healing books.
By the length of their beards, they've been asleep for a good 80 to 105 years.
"Just out of curiosity, who is tha Master in this region above."
Boy do we have news for them. Callimachus can give them a more detailed tale later.
One of them is missing his weapon Welm, a terrific magic warhammer. Another is missing mithril plate. "Hopefully the followers of Keraptis didn't get their hands on the hammer. But the odds of them getting their hands on all the artifacts is slim to none."
We explain what we are doing here, that if they stake out a claim around here we're sure they can ally with the city. Though it is surely different than the one you recall.
They are not happy about this situation.
Bligh says they should come to the surface and meet the town leaders if that's their plan.
Each as about an 8' long beard.
Things are a bit odd at first especially, dwarves with goblins and orcs.
Archileus explains his hobs are civilized et al.
We head back north to our goblin home base.
Rest time now. We lead everyone out to the surface.
As we pass the sewer level, the dwarves do recognize it as the town they remember.
Duncan returns and all report.
The dwarves say the statue with the head broken off was that of the local Master. There was a stairway back in the day that came down from above it to the floor. A close inspection reveals the old bolt markings. They say the red stone makes granite look like mica. The statue was made in pieces and sealed together via magic and alchemy. The head, after their inspection, was no doubt broken off by force, not cut or chiselled off.
We figure that stairway, if it was going to a statue of a Master, might go somewhere of previous importance in the now catacombs.
We bring them down, and the hoblite engineer begins constructing a scaffold to the ceiling.
Duncan starts his political stuff the remainder of his stay.
Dealing with goblins and orcs and dwarves with us and city starts.
Our vouching for the ors leads to the orcs getting entryway guards. They will start immediately. Outfittend and equipped by town guard.
Nnesk finds that no one here knows anything about his type of goblin or dialect. He has no clue where he is. Duncan talks to him and he joins the expedition.
The dwarves to not feel like they'd be an appropriate fit here afterall. Just too different. They ask to travel with us east for a while. They are from that direction as far as they recall.
The dwarves pass on this info:
Whitehelm was a dwarven champion of the colony underneath the city, died a generation or 2 before them. Slew a white dragon single handedly. Eventually killed in battle vs orcs and goblinoids. The equipment we have from the tombs, which they would normally consider an afront but seeing as that clan is long gone now since they aren't here anymore no harm no foul. THey woul dlike to equp themselves from that. ANything else they'd prefere we didn';t sell it off as mere loot to just anyone.
Barag himself has a long ivory coffer in the likeness of the dragon, they say; a basket hilt dirk, hilt worked into a wyvern hunting scene with gems inset as the eyes, fighting pegasi riders; a handaxe forged of everbright steel, and a crown and scepter supposedly magical.
We didn't find any of that, none of the coffins were Barag's.
Duncan thinks he'll give them Barag's tapestry when they split off from us.
Archileus' sword is cursed, it won't let him use anything else nor get rid of it. Our researchers will try to find a remove ritual. He'll still lead his men below, though.
But back into the dungeon we go today, this time Toronaga also in tow.
All but 1 of the hoblites descends again, left to drill the new hobs. We do take the new hob engineer to map and the scout.
The priests comes to inspect the orb. That's where we head first. After staring, debating for 10 minutes they come to the agreement that they're not sure where this woman actually is, but she is not here. However, it is a form of communication. Were one to reach in, you would physically touch her. What the ramifications are to that is unknown. The all believe she is wearing a tiara just like the one here. The tiara has magic on it, likely also dealing in communication linked to the orb.
Callimachus thinks donning it may allow communication, but that's just a theory.
More study should yield more. Being here would be beneficial. Kalestos especially thinks here is the place. Callimachus goes to the surface, collecting all the tomes they may need and bring them here to start working by the afternoon. The 5 other new hobs are brought down to guard them, along with Duncan's 3; Bligh will also stay here. The hoblite drill instructor is left here with the hobs.
The others make their way back upstairs to the first level. We want to secure what is immediately adjacent to halls the orcs led us by to get to the steps down. So we first head east right from the steps area. Then we plan to cut back up the long hall they led us down to explore what is just to the east of that.
First, we map all the halls we want to hit w/o entering any rooms. Then, we go back and hit all the rooms we passed in doing so.
First, through a bronze door is the carcass of a manticore.Still a body, decomposing recently. No noise ahead, so we continue on our guard. There is a canvas sack underneath it. As we roll the body off it releases a terrible odor of decay. One of the hoblites pukes all over the place. The underside releases a bunch of goo and its belly is wiggling. Archileus orders everyone off. Maggots crawl out. Our hands and arms are covered in grubs now.
Archileus "Torches, burn them off even if we burn ourselves." One of the hoblites turning the body over has 6 crawling through him. By the time we fix him he has lost 11 con damage. We aren't boing near the bag. The belly is about to burst with probably hundreds more. We are out of here.
We put the hoblite with the dwarves and continue.
Next to room 19, the frame of a bed with a coffin within. A slithering sound within it. It smells like death. We approach, and a large snake like creature looks right at us slithering for us, closer and closer but it goes right by us. Just a snake. A tomb snake.
In the coffin is a skeleton, black warhelm now rusted to uselessness. Blackened blade longsword in his hands. We drag the coffin out of place to search thoroughly. Under in a niche is a chest. It crumbles upon touching it.
As we are digging the gold out, from the top of the canopy from an opening comes a handful of tentacles! A hideous grell follows!
It paralyzes the scout pulling out the gold and starts pulling him up.
We put the spears to work.
One round spear thrusts and a javelin bring it down.
Momentarily the scout is fine.
Scroll that is a eulogy to the fallen hero here: a paladin, holy warrior, named Grauth Mharabbath; warlord of this city in days of the Masters, the original city; known for fighting off orc and barbarian hordes, died vs servants of another Master. Gahandra was the paladin's Master.
Callimachus will have a wooden coffin made and his remains will be taken back as a relic.
Engineer "That thing probably has a lair in the ceiling."
Hoblite "Probaby bodies and loot."
Upward is a hollowed out room. Other than rodents, also humanoid bones. Also, what looks like an icycle, its even cold. Plus a carved bone covered in arcane runes. Maybe a femur once. The knee joint is sanded down to a smooth handle. Rod or Wand?
The icycle does not melt to touch. We nab them both.
Beyond we find steps down that is blocked by rubble at the bottom. We leave that alone.
We backtrack, go west to east, SE of the maze, and continue east and check out a southern block of 5 doors in a long dead end hall.
One small alcove beyond a door is a fast dead end. We assume a trap and ignore it.
Another is a room of scintillating light which almost hypnotizes Archileus, we close it.
Another has a speaking skull on table asking who we are after introducing itself. Claims was once a powerful cleric, elf. His Master was Lathander Morninglord, creator of the elven race. This cleric fell afoul of an evil immoral wizard. He was slain in a bar brawl, left in an ally for almost a week. A guard, spooked by his speaking, beheaded him and tossed it in the sewer. His intellect is in this skull still. All he tried to talk to get tired of hearing him talk. Eventually taken by another wizard to the surface, but sold him to an arcanist of the city who experimented on it. Kept as a table ornament in his library. Stolen by thieves, explaining to them the folly of their immoral ways the whole time to their lair (here). Over a year ago. About 2 or 3 days ago the thieves left me here and never returned. He says he's full of knowledge and witty foibles, moral to a fault, marvelous watchman. Name Muragh Brillstagg.
Archileus "We'll tell our bosses, we may come back for you."
Another room filled with webs, we mark as potentially dangerous spiders.
The skull room has a door at the other end to a hall. We can enter the web room from there. There is an open well just inside. The water surface is visible, but clouded darkly. Looks like there may be some stuff at the bottom.
Archileus and one of his men notice 3 big spiders stalking, but waiting.
Out and further on to a storage room
14 earthen jars of olives, recent actually. 20 small kegs of brined herring; 14x 5 gallons of dry white wine; 12 metal lined crates of whole carcass smoked beef; 14 boxes each with 5lb seasoned red wine cheese; 1 basket skood, like a radish/potato; 1 keg brined oysters.
We haul all of this out to the surface.
Banquet morale booster at the caravan tonight! A local eatery will dry salt much of the smoked meat for jerky for us over the next couple days.
We set a canvas cover and smoke fire at one end of the spider room, pour oil into the other and light it up. We burn and smoke them to death. Then loot the well.
2 uncut blood stones 50ea
pair bracers increase DR 1
boots of stealth (MS unless have group, then its both) plus 5
The skull, as well, for Callimachus.
Now northward, east of the long south passages.
Find a chained up woman, who screams at the sight of us. Barefoot and unarmed, wearing only a gown of a wealthy woman from the west. Toronaga enters to calm her down. She is hysterical, sobbing. She was given to a spider cult as a sacrifice, but have not gotten to her yet. Her name is Trysta, priest in the Covenant. We free her.
We get her out.
Further this way we do find a book in some old arcanist rooms, of spells. Most involve the use of blood as material component. Then, in other rooms, more blood cult evidence. Again, obviously wiped out. Mention on a piece of parchment of Myrkal the Lord of Bones, also called Lod of Murder. One of last of the leaders of the Path before it was shut down. He was lairing here until the new cult took him and his people out. So, happened decades ago. Good, evidence of no blood cult here anymore.
Hall of the Sleeping Kings: rows of great stone seats. Voice from the air "doom, doom takes us all". Remains of kings of the north 177+ years dead. Humans.
A parchment with a riddle upon it. We leave it.
Next room a black stone idol of a spider with an altar.
A female elf is chained here! Toronaga approaches first, so the hoblites don't scare her.
She is Maith Slenderbow, fletcher and archer from the crystal wood NW. She wears only a silk shift, unarmed, blindfolded and gagged with webs. The chains are actually of spider silk!
Was taken captive by the cult of the Attercop and allied svartalf, or nifleheimers. She is to be sacrificed, how long she is not sure. She's been a prisoner easily 21 months. The dark elves are prepping for teh sacrifice somewhere around here. The leader is Esra, with an honor guard of warriors and a consort. Plus about 20 layfollowers.
We free her.
She says this place used to belong to another cult this one didn't get along with. This one cleansed their holy areas and occupied. Not sure who they were.
Must have been the blood cult, judging by the spell book we just found.
She says the cult leaves to the north.
Archileus gathers reinforcements and waits in ambush. We don't want them to find her missing and come for our goblin allies nor to the surface. All his hoblites, Bligh and Duncan's 3. The hob engineer goes with the dwarves in the hoblite engineer's place.
Before late, they arrive. We catch them in the hallway between the 2 huge rooms, attacking from front and rear.
The first approach is the spider keeper talking about someone having killed her spiders. Trailing her is an ettercap, another dark elf women leads them. Others warriors follow.
In the rear is a heavily scarred male dark elf.
The men chant an evil song, yet beautifully elven still.
Our rear hits first, Toronaga vs the scarred male. Then teh front hits as they react.
They drop a darkness and fairie fire us up!
We back off, then Archileus yells to lock shields and both front and rear charge in usison. We sandwich them, pushing them together and eliminating their casting potential.
One of the hoblites grapples the lead woman and drags her out of the darkness where Bligh lies in wait, stabbing her with Harrikas DEAD.
We hear the ettercap scoot along the ceiling and flees.
We cut them to pieces even in the dark. The last one left is Esra, high priestess, lying on the ground, screaming in horror as Archileus and 4 hoblites stab wildly into her body.
3 x drow plate
6 x drow chain
All will disintigrate in the sunlight
Esra's ornate black helm in shape of spider (any attercop cultist will become enraged at any non cultist wearing it) = freedom of movement in webs; sensitive touch/feel vibrations is blindsense 30'
The layfollowers have not arrived. WHen they do, its 20 commoners we butcher.
We retire for the day to the dwarves and academicians.
The icycle turns out to be a wand that casts a magic missile but cold damage (46).
The bone is a quasi artifact, very powerful. Rod of resurrection, however, shamanistic. It summons spirits to do the job. They will demand a price in return.
Almost positive she is in a magic jar type thing, her own demi plane. The crown holds the sphere to this plane of existence. Destroying it would make her stuck there forever. She is certainly imprisoned but don't know how to get her out.
The sphere is not mobile, either. She is not aging though, and is in a stasis almost all the time.
Communiation seems to be directly into it, when she's awake.
We report all to the city council. They are grateful at the elimination of the cult, but sorry they had to lose the commoners who were citizens.
The orcs have been positioned as watchmen of the well.
At the dwarves:
The scaffolding is completed. At the top is now a secret door. Rather than catacombs it leads to the original older stair remains. It bypasses the catacombs into the sewers of the city to a sewer grate into the city.
Day 20 and forward
Search the sewer area of the stairway for anything important today.
Over the rest of our time in the dungeon before the caravan moves on, we find the remains fo the Black Banner, a small group of adventurers who went east from our lands about 3 years back, not long after Duncan was starting to plan his own. They were never heard from again. What is strange is that they never were in teh city above us. They obviously entered from the countryside somewhere. They were certainly killed by violence, blade and bow. 3 bugbear and 7 human remains in total. First in robes, twisted, knapsack still in tact. He has abrass ring still as well. Duncan has met these guys in passeng before. He says that is and arcanist named. Thanirion Arkelt, from the isles to the north like Duncan. 2nd a big burly man, plate breast broken and hacked apart. Dried puddle of blood under him. Has belt pouch still, sword still in his side. He was Aaron Thilendor, good fighter. 3rd with long hair, face down on top of a bugbear, wearing chain. He was Andor Eothred, a saxon. 4th was slim man, black hair, broken short sword next to him, leather armor, dagger in hand. Died via spearpoint. He was Havalar Oremejo, lots of daggers stashed on him. 5th, back beared and old scar on left dried cheek, battle axe near him, twisted back and arm, split shield still strapped on. His help is near him, crushed apart. He was Barkos Oros, greek type. 6th, red haired man in studs, beneath a bugbear sack and lantern at his legs = Delbar Thorir, northman. Last, brown hair, studs, sprawling over a polearm, sack at his hand = Hortir Gundelbar, a Thorangian.
The arcanist's dagger glows faintly of magic when picked up.
dagger of returning from arcanist
silver Returnist holy symbol (on the saxon) = 15
9 perfectly weighted daggers extra 5' to range increment(from Havalar), all with a bloodstone set into pommel = 50gp each stone
Boots with hollow heels (from Havalar)
70' climbing rope, waxed cord a bit stronger then avg
Scale mail and battle axe (Oros)
Lion head gold belt buckle (ornage and snarling) from Barkos = 15
Bronze charm, in shape of sword of Imbrun (from Oros) = 5
Their journal of travel!! Were getting to outskirts of city, but investigated a cave first; encountered goblins and orcs, then later bugbears, where the entry stopped.
We bring their remains out for proper burial and warn the city of the cave entrance to the dungeon.