RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

DM log-- Gloomwrought 5

When we last left our heroes, Brad and Zepher had gotten into a spot of trouble in a tomb. Now let’s talk about what the others were up to. As Zora, Brad, and Zepher headed toward the Fettered Ward, the others peeled off to split up the pursuing guards of the Deathless Watch. Then Bastian split off down an alley to further foil the pursuers. But Bastian never made it to the end of the alley, and here is why, as told by him:

Bastian was with the party as they left the Three Crowns under the leadership of Zora. During the first
interaction, Bastian was preoccupied with her scars, thinking that they might be similar to his own, and so Zora dismissed him and after that he prudently did not make his voice
known. He noticed as they slipped around that the party was getting a lot of second glances, but that he
in particular was getting the lions share. There was a few who seemed fascinated, whose eyes followed him
with wistfulness or with glee. However, there were many more displaying revulsion, with one shadar-kai spitting
on his boots as he passed, but luckily he was fleet footed
enough to avoid most of it. As a result of this, he decided to be more retiring than usual and attempt to stay
out of the public eye. He did the same when the party interacted with House Treyvan, and soon enough was
with the party attempting to gather clues as to the location of their quarry.
During the course of this investigation, the alley the party was walking along opened out into a wide boulevard
(wide for Gloomwrought, anyway). It seemed as if the buildings lining it were unusually static, as if standing
to attention (or being held in check). There was a long procession progressing along this boulevard, and holding
up all traffic. The citizens, however, were unusually silent in the face of this inconvenience. Each alley
was guarded by two or three burly individuals who would peel off the front, and who would rejoin the rear of the
procession. In the centre was a veiled palanquin, borne by eight muscular dragonborn. Their scales were oiled,
and they were in pairs of identical colour, ranging from sand at the front to russet at the back. A ring of
guards encircled the palanquin. They stood out for while they were polished and oiled like the rest of the procession,
their gear had obviously seen lots of hard use, and the guards wore it with the confident ease of long use. All of
these pointed to a rich and powerful figure residing in the palanquin, someone obviously respected, or feared.
The palanquin passed the party seemingly without incident, but soon after an officious scribe was escorted to the
party by a guard. The crowd parted before them, and the scribe addressed whoever was in the lead with a sneer, asking
how much they wanted for ‘That Fey Beast’. He ran a down a list, noting things such as: “Of course, it seems to
have been well-trained, so you’ll ask more for it. It is, however, quite extensively damaged, just look at the
face, so that reduces its value somewhat. I see it has a lute, so it must have at least a little ability, and
I’m sure it can be trained to play properly…” And so forth in that vein. It was quickly made clear that Bastian
was not, in fact, for sale (overriding some potential grumbling from Theren), and the clerk departed in a huff,
leaving an ominous parting message: My master Lord Norduvian always gets what he wants.
Rather unsettled, the party continued on, collecting their clues. In Carradh Keep, after catching the attention of
the guard, an officer seemed to be paying more attention to Bastian than to the rest. As they left to the acropolis,
the officer made a show of intimidating Bastian, grabbing him by his shirt and slamming him against a wall. Unbeknownst to the party, he attached a small golden clip to the back of Bastian’s collar.
The clip was inscribed with runes and set with a very small ruby, but somehow seemed… slippery to the eyes, as if
it was trying to avoid notice. In their investigations, after mounting attention from the guard, it resolved to an all-out chase. As the party
came to a cross-alley, Bastian directed them to go one way, whilst he ran another direction, using all of his
skills of projection (aided by a Shout of Triumph) and performance to make enough noise to mimic a party
trying to run away. A detachment of guards came after him, and despite his best efforts he eventually came to a
blind alley. Seeing no other option, Bastian attempted to Fey Step out of harm’s way. It was then that the pin
activated. A band of energy, the same colour blue as Bastian’s eyes, shot out from either side, forming a collar
that tightened around his neck, inhibiting his magical abilities and preventing him from teleporting. They later learned this device is called a feytamer. However, the
energy from his spell still escaped, and interacting with the binding qualities of the collar created a small
unstable portal, centered on Bastian, into the Feywild, that sucked Bastian and two guards in.
Perhaps these two guards were more resourceful than most, or perhaps the Deathless watch is just that good. They
were quite competent in terms of survival and combat, and quickly cottoned on to Bastian’s skills as a healer and
negotiator. For several hours they wandered, combining skills to survive the dangers of the Feywild.
Bastian cooperated, as he was reasonably helpless due to the collar prevented him from using most of his magic. Meanwhile, the portal around his collar
continued to be unstable, pulling in and spitting out random things (including a displacer beast into the streets of Gloomwrought), until it flared with a new dark energy, pulling Bastian and one of the guards (a monk) into the tomb.

Meanwhile, Theren, Amos, and DTIS were caught by the Deathless Watch, who knew the shifting streets far better. As with Brad and Zepher, they were knocked out, shackled, and put into a cage inside the main station, in a different semi-underground room with a wooden ramp leading up to a wide window. When the ceiling started to press down, the residents of another cage heaved their way over to the ramp and were hauled out by the panicking guards. When our heroes were similarly hauled up, they did not make it: stuck at an angle against the too-narrow opening, the ceiling continued downward, forcing the edge of their cage through the floor below. The floor broke into pieces and they fell, still in the cage, into a long-abandoned dusty room. They could escape the battered cage but had no way to go back up—the ceiling of the jail room was now the ceiling of this room they were in. After wandering through several rooms and corridors, a weak light bled up from one corner of a room that had crumbled into ruin; the smell and roar of the sea wafted in. Looking down they saw that the hole broke through the upper crust of a sea cave, its opening glowing in the twilight gloom of the Shadowfell, foaming with waves pounding their way in. Flotsam came and went. For quite some time our heroes tried to find an alternative, but then decided to jump into the sea, waiting for a particularly large chunk of ship decking to wash under them.

Holding onto the decking, they tried to swim out of the cave mouth. But the force of the waves was much stronger than they had reckoned, and even after they abandoned their float and swam full pelt, they could not prevail. After minutes of struggle they wondered if this would be their watery grave. Then, below them, a light glimmered. Deep underwater was a narrow round passage cut into the stone, and bits of sea life were flowing into it, as if pulled by a current. From the passage came a weak, dim, strange light. Their soul link switched on like a snap of the fingers, and they saw through Brad and Zepher’s eyes the tomb, Zepher’s light, and a round passage pouring sea water into the tomb. They knew this was their chance.

They dove to the passage and discovered that it was covered with a fine grating of spinning lathes, shredding anything that got sucked onto it, including our heroes’ fingers. DTIS was distracted by a small treasure chest {which he spent PP to find, and contained a standard loot roll which surprisingly rolled up an amazing item}. This he scooped up. Holding their breath in the gloom, they considered how to get through the grating. Then the shark appeared.

They fought off the shark, which became increasingly frenzied as their blood started to cloud the churning water. Some used their strength to pop the rivets holding the grating in place and some fended off the flashing teeth. The grating soon fell away and the heroes swam into the passage. The pressure of the rushing water shot them through like a cork from a bottle of bubbly and they landed with a splash in the tomb, at the feet of Brad and Zepher, who were now knee-deep in rising sea water. Then the shark popped in.

Also popping in were Bastian and the monk: after cartwheeling through space, flung into the abyss by a tentacle, they fell through a whirlpool of light and were spat out into the tomb through a similar portal.

The fight continued against the undead and the shark {a combination I reckon you might never again encounter in D&D}. The water rose until they were wading, then swimming, then fully submerged when it reached the ceiling. Zepher used his magical freezing fist to bang against one of the doors of the tomb and the others chopped at it with weapons and pummelled it with judo kicks when they were not chopping at their foes. They broke the door enough to start letting the water out, and they used a switch on the wall to stop the water from flowing in. After a hectic fight, the undead and the shark were no more, and they were left exhausted and dripping in the tomb. They chopped down the rest of the door and continued deeper into the tomb, at last reunited.

In the chest they found quite a bit of gold, and a fascinating item. It was a wide brass ring set with precise notches and gems, with screw threads on the inside edge. Theren and DTIS realised {with an impressive memory of the game and leap of reasoning, so give 1 Plot Point to each of them} that this could be screwed into place around the compass Theren had found on the ghost ship, the Blanche-Nef. The gems faintly glowed, but faded again, and they reckon they need to be outside for the compass to find its bearings and for the new addition to show its power.

{Combat foes (including trap) were 1900 XP, divided by 5 combatants (but as usual all party members get the same XP) so 380 XP for each!}

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