Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Episode VI: Against the Rat God III / The Smuggler's Daughter I (Junar 22-23)

Standing amidst the carnage filled hallway of the Temple of the Rat God, the company quaffs healing potions and Aelrich uses spells to restore their strength. Recharged, they press on.

They go through a disgusting room used as a rat burrow and a door with a strange, horrible symbol. They find the cleric of the temple and her wererat bodyguard in their chambers, awaiting them. They fight to the death in the name of “Abhoth”, while calling for someone named “ANDROSS” to join the fight. After the fight, a distinguishingly dressed human, Andross apparently, lets his invisibility fade and appears in the corner, he tells them to let him leave in peace or he will kill them all. Although tempted to fight the arrogant man, they agree to let him leave to avoid a fight. They then find the temple’s shrine, and find not a rat god idol, but a statue of something more alien and terrible and weird. When Dziga touches it he has sort of seizure that that leaves a gross, unsettling feeling. Aelrich strikes it with his morning star and has a similar experience that lasts longer. They also find the “machine”, some sort of gargoyle built with mysterious technology.

They take their loot, two chests. The ordinary chest contains magic items and cash, and a set of documents. The other chest is strange in appearance, and has a lock that constantly changes form. They cannot open it, but bring it with them. Leaving a trail of burning trash behind them, they get some rest at Dziga’s apartment.

The next morning they identify their loot and stock up on gear. Emeris takes some time to read the documents. He finds strange chants and esoteric religious notes, and a letter to “Glorious Keeper Overlord SHIVA” in the Dark Reliquary, asking for help. It seems something called the “vault of the kython” was found and big called the “night of dissolution” was coming. It seems ARCHANFEL (whom they learn is the leader of the demons in the Dark Reliquary, and Shiva is his wife) is slow to take action. Not sure what all that means. Other notes speak of the unopenable chest, obtained by the temple clergy from ogres who found it in ruins near Willendorf. Emeris and Aelrich determine the chest was created long ago by a priest named Neveran who specialized in fire magic. To go with them, he created something called an allkey that could open the morphing lock.

Early visits the Commissar’s office and asks some of the troops why nobody deals with the Dark Reliquary and the evils in the Necropolis. The general explanation is that the demons and undead aren’t a big problem compared to anything else, and for the most part they seem to stick to themselves. Over the years, various groups have entered but never with lasting success and always with severe losses.

The next day Dziga leaves the group to “deal with something,” but he gives no details. The others visit Castle Shard. They meet LORD ZAVERE (a former blackguard), and LADY RILL (a former paladin, now sorcerer). They also meet KADMUS, Castle Shard's gracious butler.

They also see the legendary shard itself. Zavere hires them to investigate a drug smuggler named LINECH, half-orc cousin of Toridan Cran and an enemy of theirs who is hiring adventurers. They visit Linech’s neighbourhood, where he apparently controls all the buildings. At his office, they meet the clerk SEANUS and Linech’s half-sister who looks totally addicted to shivel. Linech has a huge golden statue of a man. Turns out Linech needs someone to retrieve his daughter’s body and possessions, which went down on the Arrowhead, a ship that burned down in the harbour a few nights ago. He doesn’t think it was an accident. It turns out the Arrowhead is the same ship that that was bringing in Darusa’s shivel. They accept the mission, not letting Linech know they were actually involved in the smuggling as well. Linech sends his clerk SEANUS with them.

Reporting back to Mand Scheben and Lord Zavere, the company’s contract is extended to investigate the ship. With two groups hiring them for the same thing, the characters head to the docks immediately. There they speak with a fisherman who says he saw people with purple and gold robes with big moustaches leaving the burning ship on a dingy. With a rented boat, they find the sunken wreckage of the ship about 80 feet down. The haul has been breached by sahaugin who bring shark allies, and a dangerous underwater fight ensues. A triton named QUILLONG and his dolphin ally join the fight and the enemies are defeated. However, Aelrich suffers a terrible shark bite and has to sit out the rest of the quest on the boat with Seanus.

Quillong explains that he is a scout from an underwater city far to the south. He has been watching the sahaugin in this area as they are the enemies of his people. He says the sahaugin have been taking loot from the ship to a nearby cave. He further explains the sahuagin serve a group of vampires called the Covenant of Blood, because of an ancient pact. The vampires used an item called the Horn of Blood to summon them to do their bidding. The company prepares for pursuit.

Next: Early, Aelrich, and Emeris pursue the sahaugin and learn the horrible fate of the smuggler’s daughter!

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