Present were Ehrandar Dawngreeter, the elf mountebank, Nalania the cleric of Rudd, Jhocamo the dwarf fighter (now with namey goodness!), Mongo the half-orc fighter, and Sorfindel the “scout”. I should once more sing the praises of Rob, one of the players, who gifted me with a half-dozen old Avalon Hill and TSR board wargames to add to the ever-regrowing collection! Thanks again, Rob. He also brought a few of his primed 15mm Old Glory figures, which already look better than my supposedly complete ones.
The night began with city guard Captain Vordalon awaiting the party after their return from the ruins, quite peeved about the lack of anything of interest at the warehouse to which the party directed him as possibly being connected with the string of murders connected to the golden frog. There was apparently nothing in the warehouse but wares… The good captain left in a snit, clearly annoyed with the party, and possibly suspecting them of holding out information.
Sorfindel attempted to poke around in the shop of the now-dead jeweler who had purchased the golden frog from the party, but unfortunately he was foiled by bars on the windows and a recalcitrant door. Later, Ehrandar used his contacts with the Beggar’s Union to get an introduction to the Thieves’ Guild, which presented its terms for working within the city, which would possibly lead to full membership, once his skills were properly evaluated.
With that, the party departed for the ruins of the Castle of the Mad Archmage, descending down the great spiral staircase in the central keep. Stopping on the first level (although the stairs themselves continued to descend), the party found themselves in a large frescoed hall. One panel had images of the gods of the Oeridian pantheon, each with their eyes gouged out. Another had a vast herd of horses, over which was scrawled “Cardefal died here pulling on a lever. Beware!” Still another showed an underwater scene; a battle between beings with legs like fish, and on the other side sharks led by scaled humanoids with gills and crests. The final scene was the oddest; it showed images of each of the faces of the party members, but the fresco itself was worn and faded with age. The dwarf, Jhocamo, chipped away one of the tesserae and kept it.
The party then left the chamber, and, having negotiated an open pit, found themselves in a chamber with a large pile of trash. Inspecting the pile disturbed a number of giant centipedes, who swarmed over the party with great speed. The dwarf was bitten more than once and survived, but alas Nalania fell to the creatures’ venom, and went to visit Rudd in person. The party had suffered their first casualty.
Somewhat deflated, the party returned to town, bearing the body of the cleric, which was returned to a shrine of Rudd (her patron deity) for proper interment. Most of the party made donations of platinum to the shrine in memoriam. Val, who was playing the slain cleric, promptly started rolling dice for a new character. Soon, she had a gnome bard (she will be play testing the new bard class from Adventures Dark and Deep™) named Vellis.
The party’s spirits did not stay low for long, as a boisterous fellow dressed in green and yellow motley and bearing a marotte– one Karo Ledbetter– soon came looking for Ehrandar, making no secret of the fact that he was there to find out whether the Guild’s offer was acceptable, and making a general fool of himself in the process. It was, and there was much rejoicing (including a brief dance upon a table). As he left, the jester flamboyantly tossed Ehrandara token that was, apparently, a credential to practice thievery within the city. Jhocamo and Mongo proceeded to drink to the memory of the dear departed cleric, and mutually collapsed after the fourth round of spirits.
The next morning, with their new-found gnome bard companion, the party returned to the dungeons. Investigating a lighted section of the halls, they came upon a couple of dwarven guards, who proceeded to take the party to the halls of Lord Bari Bloodaxe, who (with his lieutenant Hilding Ironhelm) offers explorers the opportunity to use the three gated stairways leading from the hall, which, they are assured, lead to sections of the dungeons that are positively dripping with treasure. The price is a simple 25% of all coins and gems recovered, plus they receive access to healing spells from dwarven clerics for a modest additional fee. Such a deal! Jhocamo, being of their kind, took the lead and seemed well-disposed towards the enterprising dwarves, but in the end the party decided to try on their own. They were wished well, and assured that, once they were done puttering around in the upper levels where all the treasure had already been looted, the deal would remain open to them.
The party explored more of the passages on the first level, but our time was up and we needed to call it a night. The death of the cleric naturally weighed on the group, and as I say the session seemed, at least to me, a bit disjointed; some frog-cult stuff, some thieves’ guild stuff, and two separate expeditions to the dungeons. But I still had a lot of fun, and it seems to me that some of the plot threads that the party have been pulling on might just be coming loose…