17 Nov

Quail Valley Session 10 (SW)

When we last looked in on our heroes, they had attacked Származás Keep. After a lot of success, they ran into a small–well large–snag in the shape of an ogre. Although ultimately victorious, the ogre took out Cailana and Serena as well as wounding both Raspin and Wink. Only Faelan, who remained distant and atop a wall while the others fought in the courtyard, escaped unscathed. We pick up with the aftermath of the this battle after the break.

This recap is from RJ. Claudia, Forest, and Muse were all missing. Bridgett joined us and played Raspin. RJ played Wink and Rachel played Cailana. As usual, my GM comments are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Vault of Larin Karr as well as the Crucible of Freya below the break.

Everyone is hurt or down, Faelan comes down from the wall and calls on Metsä to help heal his friends. She is listening and everyone is back on their feet and in good shape.

Raspin checks out the Ogre and it doesn’t have much on him but he does have a large water skin, Raspin smells it and smiles as a he smells alcohol…rancid wine…but he still takes a strong swig.

We decide to check out the door where the Ogre came from. Rocky, Wink, and Raspin go thru the door and come into what looks like a chapel, the benches are busted and there is an altar at the end of the room. Serena and Cailana come into the room. We are looking around and Raspin notices some scuff marks around the altar. He moves closer and pushes the altar, sliding it to one side and making quite a bit of noise. There is an opening with stairs leading down.

[It also looked as though this “chapel” had been repurposed multiple times to different religions. The alter had numerous symbols that had been defaced or overwritten. I don’t think much time was spent examining them.]

We decide to head down the stairs, Raspin leads the way. The stairs go about twenty feet down to a corridor. Near the foot of the stairs are two doors, one that is open to the right and one closed to the left. The hallway continues on and there is another door at the end. Raspin looks to the right at the open door and there is another hallway with seven doors. Three doors are on each side and one at the end. The doors are cell doors that have slides on the door to look in. We slide one of them back and it’s dark and nothing we can see.

[Six of doors were cell doors, made of metal, with slides at the bottom presumably for passing food…not for peeking in. The door at the end of this corridor was not a cell door.]

We decide to check the door at the end of the hallway, it is a stone door. Raspin opens the door and it is a torture room. It is very old and rusted, some of the devices are even taken apart. An iron maiden, a rack taken apart, and chains [with manacles] on the wall. There is dust all over the place. It doesn’t look like anything of value is in here and Raspin starts to shut the door, but as he is closing the door he hears a light moan coming from the inside the room. He opens it up again and asks, “Did you hear that?” Serena asks, “What did you hear?” Raspin says, “I don’t know.” Raspin steps into the room and kicks up some dust but doesn’t see anybody. He starts to close the door again and hears the moan. Raspin tells us about the moaning sound.

Wink is curious [as in the Curious Hindrance] and he opens the door. He comes in the room and shuts the door behind him. The moaning starts, the chains start to rattle, and the chains snap out and hit Wink in the head, stunning him. Wink starts to panic and is scared like he has never been before in his life. He wants to get out now, but, in his hurry, he gets tangled in the chains. He tries to break free of the chains but hurts himself ripping his way free. He gets to the door but can’t seem to calm down enough to open the door; instead, pounding on the door yelling, “Let me out!!! Please, Let me out!!!” Pieces of debris fly around and some of it hits him, causing him to panic even more.

[Wink was Shaken by the first attack by the chains. In addition, he failed a Fear check. He also has the Yellow Hindrance as a result of the magical ring, Stag’s Spring, that he is wearing. He had trouble unshaking and so we narrated it as the tangled in chains, unable to open the door, etc.]

Raspin tries to open the door and has to push his way through [as Wink is blocking the door in his ongoing panic]. The room is not like it was before: dust is flying around, chains are rattling and snapping, and Wink seems to be in panicked state. Raspin grabs Wink and pulls him out of the room and closes the door. Faelan comes up and lays his hand on Wink’s wounds and prays to Metsä. Wink soon calms down.

Serena asks what happened. Wink says, “It got scary, everything started moving, we should never go back in there again, ok?” The others just look at Wink and nod their heads.

We head back and open the first closed door by the stairs. It’s a room, inside is an old mattress with furs and blankets, a table and charir, a chest that is open, a desk and some papers. It looks like someone was in a hurry and just grabbed everything quickly. There is a sock on the floor, papers on the floor, and ink pot turned over.

Raspin goes to the chest and sees a chisel, a single boot, and some pants that are for a short and stocky person, maybe a dwarf. Wink casts his reveal spell, to search for magical items but there doesn’t seem to be any in the room. Raspin recognizes the chisel as one you use to etch designs on weapons.

Wink picks up some of the papers but they all appear to be blank. He gets the idea that maybe if we spread some dust on the paper we can read it. Raspin goes back to the torture room and grabs some dust. He comes back and Wink spreads it on the paper, some of the words he can make out and some he can’t. The writing wasn’t pressed that hard but we can make out “Have…. humans… mighty… plunder” and these words are spread out over the page. There is more writing but we can’t make out any other words.

We leave the room and go down the hallway and open the door. It opens up into a room and across the room there is a large iron door, a well in the left corner of the room, two dead dwarves with their throats cut, some mining tools around them, and what looks like a tunnel was just being dug. In another corner is some big poop from some kind of large beast, says Faelan.

Raspin goes to the well and hears running water but he can’t see too far down. There are two ropes tied to the wall leading down the well. Cailana drops a torch down the well (it goes about 40 feet) and sees that the well opens up at the end before it hits running water. One of the ropes has a bucket tied to the end. The other doesn’t have anything at the end of it.

The iron door looks like it goes to a vault and there is a key hole in the door. The door is locked and it looks like whoever was trying to get into the room was having the dwarves dig to get thru. The tunnel curves around before ending in a dead end. The dwarves have their hands tied and they have no marking to let us know if they belong to any clan. It also looks like they were killed professionally. We suspect that they were prisoners and were the ones digging

There was a discussion of going down the well, but the party decides to cover the hole up and check out the cells.

The party works as a team, with Wink and Raspin breaking in the doors. Wink would manipulate a hinge and Raspin would try to bust the door. Eventually we get thru all the doors, four of them have nothing in them. Two look like someone has been staying in her, they have a blanket and a plate in them. We believe that the dwarves were being held in them. The doors are busted and won’t be able to be used again. Wink is looking at the stone door (where the torture chamber is), and seems nervous about it.

We decide to go back to the chapel and check out the last unexplored tower of Származás Keep. Raspin takes the lead and opens the door to the tower. Its dark inside. There are what looks like once fine rugs but they are soiled and dirty. There are stone stairs on the side of the wall that spiral up to the next level. The floor on the second level is intact.

We head up the stairs to the second floor, there is a trap door at the top. Raspin takes a peek and then gives it a might shove. There is a smell of strong body odor and the place is a mess. There are the same type of rugs up here but piled up into what might be a bed. There are stone stairs leading up, a bloody tree stump, and a human leg half eaten. Raspin goes rummaging through the bed and finds a water skin that looks as though it has been used as a pillow. He pops it open, takes a sniff, and smiles, taking a swig. He also finds an old blanket that has a symbol of a lyre on it, which is a symbol of the university of Bard’s gate.

We start to think that Professor Arnek was here and that the leg could be his. Raspin grabs the water skin and puts the blanket in a sack.

[I think the idea of it being the Professor’s leg was ultimately dismissed as it would have meant he had been around here for at least a year with no one spotting him. Then again, there was also some discussion that maybe he was the leader of the hobgoblins…maybe there was ultimately a falling out between them and he ended up as dinner for an ogre.]

Raspin climbs the stairs and another trapdoor and shoves it open. The rest of us come behind him. On top of the tower is a bucket with bolts and pitch. We believe that the pitch is there to light the fire signals outside the wall.

We head back down to the first floor and decide to move some of the rugs in case there is a trapdoor. Faelan stubs his foot on something, he moves the rug and sees an iron spike. We try to pull it, perhaps it is a handle for a trap door. No luck so we decide to look around some more. Cailana also stubs her toe kicking through the blankets. Pulling up a rug, she uncovers a wooden board.

We move the board and find a shaft leading down. We realize that the spike is there to tie a rope to and we can climb down. We decide to drop a torch and it lands on what looks like another trap door. The shaft opens out into a larger chamber. Faelan decides to go down first.

When he gets down there he picks up the torch and looks around. It’s a musty chamber with debris all around the edges, but it is clear around the trapdoor. [It looks like pretty much whatever had been in here had been utterly destroyed…smashed, torn, broken as appropriate.] The chamber is circular like the tower but much wider. He looks at the trap door and notices that it has been nailed shut with silver nails with silver pieces wedged in to form something of a circle.

Faelan asks the group why silver might be used in this fashion. Wink responds with the information that silver could be used to ward many different things like spirts or magical beings. If someone went to that much trouble, there must be something of significant magical nature beneath. Wink decides to come down the rope and take a closer look.

Wink is curious and starts to pry up the silver pieces. Faelan helps. They clear the silver and pry the nails out. They open the trap door and a dry stale air that smells of a charnel house comes wafting out. Faelan drops his torch down and it lands on another trap door about 15 feet down. Wink moves the rope to the trapdoor and starts to slide down.

The room below is a laboratory. There are candles and tubes and glassware all around, most of it is smashed and broken. There is also a thick layer of dust on everything. Wink sees a small book on one of the tables as well. As he holds up his torch higher he also sees statues in the room. There are six man-sized statues around the edges of the chamber with armor [chain] and full helms. Once he sees the statues [and, I believe, some maggots crawling out from under a helm], he starts to panic. Frantically, Wink looks for a way out but can’t find one.

Faelan calls out and Wink doesn’t answer so he slides down the rope. Wink looks nearly catatonic, gasping for breath. Faelan casts barkskin on himself and then tries to shake Wink out of it, but the mage doesn’t respond. Faelan sees the statues and moves a bit closer to it to see it better, the smell starts to get worse and maggots start to come out of the visor. Wink grabs his chest and moans in pain. Faelan goes back and checks on him. He grabs the rope and ties it to Wink, yelling at Raspin to pull him up. Wink gets up to the top and Raspin lowers the rope and Faelan jumps up and grabs it and starts to pull him up.

[Wink had to make another fear check and failed. He then rolled “poorly” and started to suffer a heart attack. He succeeded on the subsequent Vigor check and lived, but was Shaken for numerous rounds…this the near catatonic.]

They close the trap door and start to put the silver back in just in case but it doesn’t seem to fit right. Serena is putting the silver pieces back in and notices that the silver pieces are stamped with the symbol of Bard’s Gate.

[Perhaps a clue that Arnek was responsible for sealing the door or that someone used currency that he had brought.]

After some discussion, we decide that we need to handle this situation. Some of us feel that we need to prove the captain wrong and finish this, others feel that the town would be in danger if we don’t handle it, others are curious what’s down there. Wink takes a minute and takes off his new ring and puts it away. We decide to wait until Serena has gotten forgiveness for not giving shoes away from Utazás.

[Since Wink’s ring, Stag’s Spring, was largely responsible for the fear effects, RJ elected to stop using it. Serena had suffered backlash previously while casting and so would be unable to cast more spells until she spent four hours in atoning prayer…RJ likes the shoes bit 😉]

We head down the rope and form a circle with our backs to the trapdoor with each of us facing a statue. Wink brings Rocky back and Faelan places armor on Wink and Serena. There are maggots crawling under helmets of all the statues. Wink sends Rocky towards the table but nothing happens, Wink comes to the table and grabs the book and comes back to the group. He starts to skim thru the book and realizes that it is a recently written book about the undead. Wink bends down to pull open the trapdoor around which we have circles. The statues start to move…

[That, of course, is where we ended the session.

A good bit of new information was discovered but nothing conclusive, of course. The blanket from the University and the silver pieces from Bard’s Gate all suggest that Professor Arnek may have been here but in what capacity? When? Was he allied with the hobgoblins? If so, where is he now? Is he alive? Was that his leg?

Regardless, the group appears to have cleared out the keep itself. There’s been no sight of any other hobgoblins or the like, but that doesn’t that those who left won’t return…possibly with reinforcements. At least one hobgoblin is known to have escaped by going over the wall as the group took the keep. The hobgoblin and orc that entered into the chapel were not found. They could, of course, have gone down the well in the chamber below the keep.

And while the keep itself has been cleared, there is still quite a bit unexplored below it. The vault remains unopened. The mystery of the torture chamber remains, well, a mystery. What is the cavern below the well and where might it lead? Then, of course, there is whatever is in the chamber that the group is currently in and whatever lies below.

Beer Log: Beers shared this session using, as always, our hit, miss, crit, and fumble rating scale.

  • Westbrook Key Lime Pie Gose: Thanks to RJ! Westbrook does a really good gose and this was this year’s batch of the key lime pie treatment. Good stuff, especially if you like key lime pie. A hit!
  • Almanac Summer in the City: Almanac pretty much means it is good. Pretty mild tasting but good. A hit.
  • Cigar City Lactobacillus Guava Grove: This one just didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It was good, but I had high hopes. I loved some of the original batches of Guava Grove and was hoping this might be up there with them. Not the case but still a hit.

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