RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

DM log-- Gloomwrought 2

As our heroes were settling in the for night at the Three Crowns in Gloomwrought, suddenly their soul link with Bastian—and perhaps, in a very dim way, with Brad—kicked in full blast. Bastian was in a dark, murky place thudding with noise, and he seemed to be in some kind of cage. They were overwhelmed by the need to reunite with their soul brother, so wearily the party searched for their lost companions.

They roamed the streets near where the big mouth was last seen, escorted by the Crimson Sashes. They found, several blocks away, a slowly-moving lump in the street being skirted by aghast people. They got close to it and, as before, the stones fell away as the lump rose to reveal a fleshy, dark mouth-like opening which dispensed a tongue-like flap with a wet slap onto the stone. The Sashes refused to even look at it, saying there was no way they were going in there, and our heroes were sick for even considering it. But in they went, sliding down into the gloom.

It was dark, foggy, and hung with the smelly funk of many people. This journal cannot describe the details for fear of being accused of unnecessary obscenity. {In the game the DM exhorted players to fill in with their imaginations what was going on in The Murky Hole, with no details given. It was evident that much imagination was used. And let the DM hasten to say that this entire venue theme came from player suggestions.} Let’s just say that what clothes there were, were black leather; there were very many people in very close quarters; and there was no small amount of consensual violence being perpetrated among its patrons. Our heroes were regarded like pathetic tourists, accused of smelling like grass, flowers, and milk, and the mood was rapidly turning against them. As they edged toward the sides of the room, which by the way seemed to be entirely organic in nature, they bumped into a metal cage, looked up, and in it was Brad! He was apparently in pain because his shirt (at the very least) was off, his arms were above him, and he was twitching spasmodically. The noise in the room was deafening, a series of booms, pops, growls, and moans coming from a distant murky corner, and the sound seemed to be torturing Brad. But in a moment, it all resolved into a kind of crazy sense. The noise had a beat. It was music. And Brad was dancing to it. The burly town guard was shaved and oiled and having the time of his life. Brad saw his companions and greeted them, and the circle of appreciative men and women watching Brad dance in the hanging cage regarded the newcomers with a new surprised respect. As word got around that these bumpkins were friends of Brad, they felt somewhat accepted, and less threatened. {This change in fortune was thanks to Kat spending all of Brad’s Plot Points to bring about this improbable—but let’s face it, not entirely uncharacteristic—turn of events. } They soon found Bastian in a similar cage, dancing in a more fey and elegant manner, and the subject of at a few fans who bathed in the warm glow of Bastian’s eyes. Some in the Shadowfell crave the light.

Brad at this point eagerly gave a translation of what the demons had said to them in Abyssal during the fight with the gnolls in the forest {see DM log— Fallcrest 2-6}. Brad had memorised it very well {thanks to rolling a 20 in his Intelligence check} and had recited it to a helpful half-demonic man who was in a corner of the murky hole, studiously using a razor to carefully etch a sigil into the skin of squirming, but evidently willing, volunteer. The translation was something like the following argument between the two demons as they apparently disagreed about what to do to our heroes: “Don’t kill them…they are useful to us…shard…lies…no, it is true…they set the gnoll’s shard free…lost it?…they must have wanted to lose it…they will bring about the doom of Fallcrest…it will cause more destruction than you ever could…I want to kill them…if you do I will kill you…keeping them alive will help us…they are capable of much destruction…”

Now settled and Brad out of the cage to take a break, the group looked around. The music was coming from a corner that was especially crowded and stumbling away from it were people with huge horns (literally horns) full of a thick amber fluid. One patron had an extra and Amos gladly took it and drank it down. It was warm, pungent, not entirely bad tasting, and instantly intoxicating. Amos quickly became drunk and eager to find more. He found the source of this bounty: in the corner was a huge lump, about the size of a sitting elephant, of amorphous shape. It has various mouths and orifices and appendages, a kind of shapeless, morphing organic mess. On top were two eye stalks, which Brad cheerfully recognised as just like the eye stalks on Amos’ helm, and indeed, they locked gaze with each other. They learned later that this thing was called the Mugwump. It was the center of the action, again leaving details to the imagination. Many patrons crowded around and against it, some of them partially encompassed by its many folds and nooks. Everyone seemed very drunk, and frequently filled their horns by pulling on one of the Mugwump’s many udder-like appendages, which dispensed drinks of various colours, flavors, textures, and apparent mental effects. In brief, it was a one-stop party lump that met every conceivable need. Some scooped out of its recesses an apparent kind of food that had the texture of black caviar. It was referred to as “black meat”. The Mugwump emanated with noise, the beat of its music coming from its various membranes and mouth-like openings, and everyone moved to its rhythm. DTIS {spending Plot points to make his broom a convertible toothbrush as well} brushed the teeth of one of the Mugwump’s mouths, scrubbing them until they gleamed quite handsomely.

Amos was enthralled by the Mugwump, both its promise of intoxication and its kinship with his helmet. Throwing caution to the wind, he refilled his horn with more fluid from a teat and drank deeply, soon becoming wildly drunk. {Give 1 Plot Point to Amos for sticking to his character despite the risks, and general grossness, of this scenario.} One patron asked Amos what his helmet did. Amos explained that it was great for running into things. The patron asked what else it did. Amos said that’s it. The patron seemed puzzled and amused: hadn’t Amos wished for something more than that? Amos shrugged and said he was very happy with his helmet.

They saw a figure waist-deep in one of the Mugwump’s openings—a human, wan in colour, fairly old or at least very worn. His face was slack and eyes unfocused as he sucked on one of the Mugwump’s appendages. He seemed kind of ignored by the boisterous crowd around him but one said, “Lee is looking a bit hungry” and another scooped some black meat into Lee’s mouth and tilted his head back until he swallowed. Amos got closer and Lee became a bit more conscious, looking fixedly at the eyes on Amos’ helm. Lee asked, “So you got one too?” and they conversed a bit as Lee recommended that Amos an especially prime teat nearby. It turned out that Lee had gotten one of those pupa long ago, and what he wanted more than anything was a nightclub of his own where he could party all the time. He got what he wanted, he slurred as the eyestalks of the Mugwump briefly looked down at him, and the Mugwump wriggled to prop Lee up. Lee looked like he was seized with panic and his fellow partygoers seemed to notice, pulling a Mugwump stalk over to him and spraying it into his mouth. They chanted his name, though soon a nickname spread through the crowd and they chanted this instead: “Shaky! Shaky!” And indeed, Lee was a shaky mess. The new round of drinks energized Lee who talked faster, making less sense. Suddenly he pulled close the nearest of our heroes and said, hoarsely and desperately, “Kill me.” He repeated this with more volume and vigour until the other patrons pulled him away, deeper into the crowd, and plied him with more drink, slapping him on the back is a way that may have been supportive, or perhaps just stimulating him. The more insightful members of the group saw something less than charitable, that the partygoers did not really care for Lee’s safety, but were intent on keeping him distracted. Brad suddenly realised: they were keeping Lee alive because if he died, the Mugwump would die, and the party would be over forever. {Give 1 Plot Point to Brad for putting the pieces together for this revelation.}

Zepher had seen enough. He decided Lee needed to be rescued, and tried everything short of outright violence (which certainly would have gone against the party given the number and strength of the patrons) to lure, cajole, and even wrestle Lee away from his companions. But in the end, he had to give up. The light of hope went out of Lee’s eyes, so he turned to one of the Mugwump’s appendages, and drank deeply into oblivion. {Give 1 Plot Point to Zepher for greatly risking the anger of the partygoers in his insistence for rescuing Lee.}

During this, Theren had caught the attention of a girl who started chatting to him. She was a young adult human, very pale, with quick eyes and short, fashionable hair. She wore a fetching black leather corset and miniskirt with awesome boots. Her name was Lena and she loved how Theren smelled. Lena revealed that she used to live in the natural world and almost missed it sometimes. But she moved to the Shadowfell because she was a writer, and the natural world was so boring. She got closer and closer, virtually pinning Theren against the wall. Theren’s log Foul Dimensions captures this scene the best, up to and including the revelation that Lena was “kind of” a vampire and wanted just a little taste, swearing that “It won’t turn you into one, you know” to which Theren replied nervously, “What, a girl??” It was not clear which aspect of Lena’s was scariest for our farm boy. She made her move, the nuzzling of his neck giving way to the first touch of small, sharp teeth. But Theren was too quick and pushed her away, the others in the party intervened, and Lena slunk off glumly without her little taste. {Give 1 Plot Point to Theren for some especially good and entertaining role-playing during this sequence.}

Meanwhile, Bastian was gathering information {doing very well with a Streetwise roll} and discovered something about Zepher’s father Malik: a human wizard who looked quite a bit like Zepher had been in this part of town a few years ago. He was intend on finding someone named Shia (the name of Zepher’s elven mother) who was in the Shadowfell, perhaps dead, perhaps travelling, perhaps captive. Malik did not reveal much. But he needed allies, money, and powerful magic to continue the search. To get those, he took on a mission to help a prominent mage in Gloomwrought. Unfortunately, Malik was not very powerful compared to the crowd he got mixed up with. Something went very wrong as Malik tried to complete this mission, and he was taken captive by the Deathless Watch as a troublemaker. He has not been seen or heard of since. The Watch sometimes keeps prisoners for a long time; sometimes they are essentially enslaved into doing dangerous work for them; sometimes they are exiled from Gloomwrought.

The Murky Hole had one last surprise: after Lee fell asleep, the Mugwump went dormant as well and the disappointed crowd dispersed. Among the few left behind were a man and woman drinking, the woman with a black eye. They were the ones our heroes had seen earlier in the streets, the man beating up the woman, the ones who deftly jumped and climbed out of sight as soon as the party intervened. Now they were talking like old friends. They offered our heroes a little job to get a lot of money and get connections to some useful people. With the quest to find Zepher’s father in mind, they accepted. A representative would meet them at the Three Crowns in a while.

To the inn our weary heroes went, and slept like the dead. Brad woke up with a rash.

{Give each in the party 250XP for general good adventuring and making progress on the quest to find Malik.}

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