Lifes Bazaar – Session 1
Session 1: Life’s Bazaar
Luke – Gegnar 1st Level Dwarven Barbarian
Damian – Vesshey 1st Level Human Barbarian
Craig – Jaela 1st Level Human Rogue
John – Xsubrok 1st Level Aasimar Cleric
The Drunken Morkoth Inn The game begins with the characters walking through the rain soaked streets of Cauldron. Cauldron is a medium sized city that is built at the top of a dormant volcano. The city roads are made up of 5 concentric circles, with the outermost being the highest and the most expensive region. The very top road is surrounded by a 40 foot high wall. Walking from the outermost ring road to the innermost is at a 15 degree angle. The very lowest ring sits just above a lake that takes up the innermost part of the volcanos cap. During heavy rains, this section floods, often taking the lowest level of houses with it. As you might expect, this section is made up of the poorest residents of Cauldron.
The characters have all made their way to the Drunken Morkoth Inn at the behest of the heads of the city. It’s a town meeting of sorts. The mayor informs all in attendance that the city is attempting to resolve a worsening situation in the city without any success. Residents of Cauldron and their property have been disappearing in the night for weeks now. Those that go missing do so during the night and without a trace. No signs of forced entry are ever found and there appears to be no pattern to the abductions.
The situation has come to crisis as in the recent days, 4 children – 2 boys and 2 girls – were abducted from the Lantern Street Orphanage. Similar to the other suspected abductions, no trace was found of the missing children and no method of egress was determined. The mayor implores all in attendance (over 100 people of all races and kind) to assist. The mayor insists that those assisting will be rewarded in the event that the children are returned however assisting in the investigation does not deputise the characters as part of the militia. They are assisting the militia only.
The characters (who do not know each other at this point) all raise their hands, indicating they would like to assist. In so doing, they introduce themselves (“You can talk to each other now” – The Dead Alewives) and become a party of adventurers.
DM: Being 1st level, it is assumed that until this point in time, the characters have not been adventurers. This call for assistance by the city of Cauldron is their motivation to seek further adventure.
The mayor is grateful to the characters and indicates that the reward for the safe return of the children and information regarding the persons responsible is being handled by the Church of St Cuthbert. The mayor instructs the characters to see Jenya at the Church of St Cuthbert for more information.
Struggle in the Alleyway The party leaves the Drunken Morkoth and on the way to the church, they relate rumours to one another regarding the disappearances. The rumours range from the sublime (one of the children that was abducted was orphaned as his parents disappeared many years ago in what appears to have been an unrelated incident) to the ridiculous (a vicious creature with tentacles takes people in the night).
As they walk, Jaela hears a noise coming from an alleyway that sounds like a person in trouble. Jaela backtracks and sees a man being attacked by 6 other men about 30 feet down the alleyway.
Jaela informs the rest of the party and they all move to the alley to engage. Given that the attack is 30 feet away, not everyone arrives immediately to assist the man being attacked.
Gegnar and Vesshe arrive first and commence their attacks by charging in. Jaela waits at the mouth of the alley and takes out her bow. Xsubrox also heads into the melee and casts Bane against the attackers which makes it harder for the attackers to hit the party characters.
The melee progresses well with some decisive hits being delivered by the party. Jalea finds it necessary to join the fracas as her bow string breaks on her second attack. Xsubrox receives an unfortunate blow which drops him and without assistance, he will soon die. To add insult to a major injury, the wound is delivered by Gegnar, who in a less than skilled moment, fumbles his attack and hits Xsubrox by mistake. A further blow to the party is that Xsubrox was the only healer in the party. Ultimately this means that if any other party member is dropped, there is no way to heal them.
Eventually all of the attackers are taken down, except for one who manages to run past Jaela and escapes into the night. Xsubrox is attended to and the flow of blood stemmed and he is stabilised. Looking at their attackers, they are all human and have their faces painted, half black and half white.
The party then turns their attention to the man being attacked. Despite his tremendous battering, he is alive. It seems the attack was not designed to kill him as the attackers had ample opportunity. He explains that he is Rufus, a cleric of St Cuthbert. He willingly heals Xsubrox using his clerical abilities and Xsubrox is able to walk.
Rufus says that the attackers had warned him not to investigate the abductions any further. He does not know why but insists that they visit his church and speak to Jenya.
The Church of St Cuthbert The trip to the Church of St Cuthbert is uneventful. The party meets with Jenya who heals them as required and provides the following information:
- The children were abducted from the orphanage on Lantern Street
- All the rooms are locked at night and there is no indication anyone tampering with locks and all the windows are barred
- Jenya used a church magical Mace to cast a Divination spell to determine where the children are. The result of the divination was a cryptic riddle:
The locks are key to finding them,
Look beyond the curtain, below the cauldron,
But beware the doors with teeth.
Descend into the malachite ‘hold,
Where precious life is bought with gold,
Half a dwarf binds them, but not for long.
Jenya gives the PC’s a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds each. The potions are in clay bottles with St Cuthbert’s symbol on the side. Given that it is late, the PCs rest at the church. Wary of nightly abductions, they lock the door with Jaela resting against it and a purse of coins resting against the door. The night passes without event.
Lantern Street Orphanage The next morning they visit the Lantern Street Orphanage. They meet Gretchyn the aged Halfling manager of the orphanage. She is crotchety and mistrustful of anyone in the orphanage. She is protective of her charges but once convinced of the parties sincerity, she admits them and reveals what she knows – which is not much more than the characters already know.
The party meets Patch – a half orc janitor for the orphanage. He is a bit dim but despite the PC’s best attempts to have a look at Patch’s room in the basement, they don’t seem to be able to convince him or even sneak away to have a look. Jaela makes a failed attempt to move silently away and they are ushered out by Gretchyn.
Jalea notices that the lock on the outside of the orphanage is excellent quality. Asking a passerby if they know of a locksmith in town, the passerby refers them to Ghelves Locks run by Keygan Ghelve.
Ghelves Locks They travel to Ghelves Locks and enter a luxurious shop containing two leather sofas, a warm open fire and a counter displaying a range of locks. Keygan Ghelve comes through a pair of red curtains behind the counter. He is an aging gnome with salt and pepper hair and a goatee. He is polite and asks if he can assist the party. He is abnormally tall for a gnome – six feet in fact – and has very long legs. When remarked upon, he explains in a matter of fact tone that he is wearing stilts.
The party attempts to question Keygan about the locks at the orphanage, but in order to maintain a good relationship with his clients he reveals nothing about the orphanage’s locks. Jaela attempts to intimidate Keygan without success. Jaela grapples Keygan and attempts to pull him over the counter. Keygan manages to repel the grapple and Keygan’s stilts become stuck, preventing Jaela from pulling Keygan over the counter.
Vesshe investigates behind the curtain and finds a storeroom and some stairs leading up. She takes the stairs and finds herself on a landing, overlooking the shops front room.
Gegnar attempts to assist in the grapple, but being dwarf does little to assist. Gegnar cannot manage the required leverage to pull Keygan over the counter. At this point, Keygan begins to yell for help. Gegnar wisely decides to cover the front door to prevent anyone from entering, now that they have accosted Keygan.
Without warning, Gegnar is attacked from behind from an unseen assailant. He takes a ferocious blow but he manages to continue standing. Vesshe jumps from the landing to the shop floor and lands poorly, taking some minor damage. However Gegnar is attacked again and poor Gegnar cannot withstand the unseen attacker. He drops where he stands and death is imminent.
Xsubrox casts detect magic and determines that a creature is in the room. Both Xsubrox and Vesshe attempt to attack the creature. The creature has pale grey skin, no body hair and looks like a withered human. They manage to attack and kill the creature. Gegnar is stabilised and then healed by Xsubrox.
Keygan is still pinned by Jaela. Jaela intimidates Keygan who eventually crumbles and begins to cry. He explains that he started practising magic several years ago and conjured a rat familiar called Starbrow. Not long after, the creature that was just killed (called a Skulk) and others like it started appearing in his shop, stepping through the wall under the stairs. They took Starbrow and are blackmailing Keygan with Starbrow. Keygan supplies the Skulks and some other creatures (that wear black clothes, capes and have hooves) with Cauldron’s master key. This allows the creatures to abduct and loot from wherever they wish in the city.
The PC’s investigate further into Keygans house and belongings and find a labyrinthine map and a list of name entitled “Abductees”. The party hog-ties Keygan and checks the street for any militia. Amazingly (I rolled a 20 on a d20!) there is one walking by.
Sadly, he isn’t the brightest match in the pack. He is shocked and gets queasy when he sees the blood from the Skulk. The PC’s manage to convince him to guard Keygan until they return. He agrees and waits patiently.
Mayors Office and Barracks The PC then visit the mayors office, however the mayor is away on business for the rest of the day and cannot be contacted. Most people are finding it hard to believe that the PC’s are actually investigating the abductions.
The party takes some directions from the information desk at the Town Hall and visits the town barracks next door. The town barracks is a more austere building than the bustling town hall. They ask to see the Captain of the Guard. They are taken to a waiting room and told to wait.
20 minutes later, 6 armed guards enter the room and are told that they can take the party to the Captain. The PC’s are immediately wary and request that the Captain come to them instead. The militia seem to have little time for banter and insist that they leave their weapons behind and accompany the party to the Captain.
DM: I gave my assurance that it the party decided to take on the militia in the barracks it would not go well for them. That was a fight I could guarantee they would not win. It would be on like Donkey Kong.
They agree that discretion is the better part of valour and have their weapons locked into a secure cupboard, and are given a tag to claim their weapons when they leave.
They are taken to the Captain who is a stern and practical man. The PC’s request to speak to him alone. A request that is denied. They reluctantly turn over their evidence of the abductees list and the Captain seems grateful.
He suggests that their next step would be to return to Keygan’s shop and investigate under the stairs.
The party is accompanied by 3 militia guards who relive the simple guard waiting with the hog-tied Keygan. The PC’s investigate under the stairs and find a secret door.
Opening the secret door they find a darkened stone landing that is at the top of stairs going down into a dark stone passage.
What lies below the stairs? What does the cryptic riddle mean? Where are the children and why is it that Xsubrox is just so darned handsome? Will the PC’s ever get to intimidate someone successfully? And where are all those critical hits?
The next session is planned for a fortnights time on the 2nd of April. Stay tuned.