The Durgenheim Delver's Guild

The Scimitars of Silverglade, Part I

Setting out from the dismal burg of Durgenheim, our adventurers found themselves nearly 4 days out from their destination of Bridgeport before running completely out of money and nearly out of supplies. Literally without two coppers to rub together, the fledgling guild was set upon by a pack of goblins who mistakenly thought the adventurers were worth looting. With the meager coin pouch they lifted from the corpse of the goblins’ diminutive leader, they had enough money for proper lodgings in the nearby suburb of Silverglade.

Silverglade is a town known for its beer production, and is home to the legendary Silverglade Brewing Company – makers of the most popular beer in the region, Silverglade Lager. The party’s first priority was, of course, to visit this brewery and get the free samples of this wonderful liquid at the end of their tour. After the half-orc responsible for coordinating the tours committed the grave faux pas of mistaking the party’s gnomes for human children, he disappeared into the brewery to to find their best tour guide to make up for it. The party was then greeted by a human girl who introduced herself as Hilda Krakauer, the daughter of brewery’s founder and sole owner.

Hilda sensed immediately that the group of adventurers were rather down on their luck, and treated the party to her father’s private stock – the Hilda Special Hefeweizen. She commented that if they returned in the morning that she may be able to find a job for them. However, once the party returned to the brewery, the only people there were the bartender and Jan Krakauer himself, who was blubbering about how his baby had been kidnapped. He was able to tell immediately that the party had sampled the Hilda Special simply by smelling them from across the bar, and despite his hysterics dispatched the guild to retrieve her.

Luckily the culprits made no attempt to obfuscate who was responsible for the kidnapping – a scimitar with the name “Twinkle” carved on it in elvish runes pointed to the local band of mischief-makers – the Scimitars of Silverglade, led by the drow twins going by the names of “Twinkle” and “Icingdeath”. After tracking down and interrogating one of the twin’s lieutenants, they learned the location of their lair. Now, they prepare to cross blades with the Scimitars in the Caves of Kolios.

View
The Scimitars of Silverglade, Part II

The party ventured into the Scimitars’ lair in hopes of rescuing Hilda. Some quick thinking from Ross in the form of an illusion spell enabled them to get past the sentries posted outside of the cave, but inside a brutish minion of Twinkle and Icingdeath had a keener eye and a trained bear. The ursine menace and her tormentor were dispatched without incident. When they finally reached the carved stone chamber at the end of the cave, a quick bit of reconnaissance from Oda’s diminutive ally revealed another cadre of thugs behind the door. A coordinated assault of dazzling magic, flying steel, and swift arrows caught the villains by surprise, and the battle for control of the caverns was won.

Hilda sat upon her father’s keg in the corner, apparently unbound and in a cell that wasn’t even locked. After having a joke or three at the expense of her captors, she asked the party to deal with the twins while she returned home. Twinkle and Icingdeath eventually made their theatrical appearance, and the twins challenged the party with finely synced acrobatics and swordplay. Despite a fierce encounter, it wasn’t long before Twinkle finally fell on Kieran’s sword.

Icingdeath was about to succumb to rage when a primal roar echoed through the chamber. A third dark elf with a dignified bearing entered the room, calling Icingdeath’s full name – Aiyissa Joryll Do’urden – with perfect parental condescension. Apologizing for his children’t antics, he asked the party why they were there in the first place. When they revealed to the him that they were hired by Jan Krakauer to track down his “baby”, he flashed a knowing smile and wished the party good luck.

When the party returned to Silverglade to bring the missing keg back to the brewery, Jan revealed the shocking truth – Hilda had died of illness a few years prior, and that the beer he smelled on them earlier that day could not have come from the only, still-sealed keg of the Hilda Special. Writing it off as another unexplained event in a world filled with magic – but grateful beyond words at the idea that his daughter’s presence lingers in the world of mortals – Jan promises a suitable reward for their work the following morning.

The party was, therefore, surprised to find that the only reward Jan was offering them was a simple twelve-pack of Silverglade Lager. As the adventurers politely imbibed the brew, they eventually noticed the new engravings on the bottom of the familiar bottles’ caps. “The Durgenheim Delver’s Guild – official adventurers of the Silverglade Brewing Company”.

With a smile, Jan offered the party one last job to escort a shipment of the newly bottled beer to its ultimate destination, the city of Bridgeport…

View
Corners and Crypts

The party reached the city of Bridgeport without incident and immediately began looking for a new base of operations. Figuring that they get most of their work from local taverns anyway, they tried to find a bar for sale in an area with a lot of foot traffic in hopes of maximizing exposure to possible clients. As luck would have it, a portside pub near the Higglesturmer Alchemy College was having a literal fire sale and the guild acquired what would later be named The Shady Corner for a trivial down payment.

After extensive restoration and modifications, the guild settled into a routine of doing odd jobs for clients in the city to make ends meet. Nothing glamorous, but it pays the mortgage and keeps the Corner turning.

Just as the intrepid adventurers were beginning to become a little stir-crazy, a whopper of a job landed at their doorstep. Miriam Stillwell, chair of the Excavation Department of the Bridgeport Institute of Archaeology, contacted the party about some heretofore undiscovered ruins about 10 days out from Bridgeport. Signs pointed to a Trileukon site, which are a fairly uncommon occurrence in Western Erion. Her budget exhausted by three previous attempts to secure the ruins led her to offer the party the right of salvage in exchange for ensuring the safety of her team. Unable to pass up an opportunity to get their hands on these artifacts, the guildmates happily accepted the contract.

After questioning Garm Garmson, a local charlatan responsible for discovering the ruins, the party set out towards their target. As soon as they arrived it was clear that they were dealing with a magic-suffused artifacts of the Trileukon Dominion, as Treestar’s Detect Magic ritual discovered the vestiges of a fairly potent enchantment emanating from the recently opened entrance to the Trileukon structure. It appeared as though the Trileukon facility was sealed in the sheer face of a cliff, only recently opened by some natural phenomenon such as an earthquake or landslide. However, the party’s speculations were interrupted by the telltale groan of zombies.

It became apparent quite quickly that the ruins were infested by the undead, and the multiple excavation teams sent ahead of the guild only exacerbated the issue. The clerics used their newfound ability to turn undead to stellar effect, driving off many of the zombies without the party sustaining any major damage. Even an ogre zombie inside the structure itself fell swiftly to the party’s coordinated attacks – Kieran’s hit-and-run manuevers, Oda’s constant barrage of arrows, and Treestar and Ross’s attempts to hold back the lesser undead that accompanied the beast made short work of the undead within the ruins.

The party also came across what appeared to be some kind of arcane laboratory inside of the ruins, although its purposed proved to be too esoteric for them to comprehend. A strange electrum mechanism controlled the lock on the final chamber, and Anathul used his arcane control over the elements to disengage the contraption, using heat conducted up the electrum to boil water in attached glass vials, driving steam into some sort of mechanism that held the mechanical parts of the lock.

As soon as the door opened, however, the presence of skeletons (one of which belonged to a greataxe-wielding minotaur) led them to draw their arms once more. Luckily skeletons’ natural weakness to bludgeoning damage was easily capitalized upon by the party, and Ba’ab laid the undead low with his massive maul. As the clatter of bones against the carved stone began to fade away, the party heard a raspy voice muttering from the room beyond.

Inside the structure’s final chamber, a lone humanoid sat in a ornate wooden thrown, armed with a finely crafted heavy mace and armor crafed from dark, supernaturally hard wood inlaid with electrum. The wight stood before the adventurers, demanding their reverence in the dead language of the Trileukon. Neither understanding nor particularly caring about his utterances, they attempted to get the drop on the powerful undead. Proving to be their greatest opponent thus far, they fought fiercely even as the decrepit king sucked the very life out of them and literally shifted in and out of the shadows to harass them. Ross nearly had his head caved in by the king’s ancient and powerful magic mace, but one final deception aided by the party’s distracting blows as the wight wasted his final attack on the trickter’s magical duplicate.

The job complete, the party returned to the Shady Corner for a well-deserved round of ales.

View
Dinosaur Mayhem in Hell's Kitchen

The party spent a week unwinding from their previous adventure. Miriam Stillwell got in touch with the guild to explain some of the things they’d seen in the Trileukon crypt – the enchantment Treestar detected was a strong, enduring sleep spell that dissipated when the structure was opened to the outside world, and it appeared that the facility itself had a separate door that didn’t open into anything but rock. It was almost as if the entirety of the ruins had been teleported into the rock all at once, either intentionally or through one of the many well-known mishaps that can occur with teleportation magic. In any case, the amount of magic that it would take to teleport an entire building is astronomical, and the party was ultimately left with more questions than answers.

Enjoying the positive press from the incident, the party was approached by a very well-known restaurateur in Bridgeport – Alejandro. His chef’s knives – made from extremely rare Arkhosian steel – had apparently been burgled from El Pepino, his latest restaurant venture. He offered the party a sizable sum of gold to track down and recover his most prized possessions.

After interrogating his former pastry chef (a gnome who ironically had intentions to steal the knives for himself, not knowing that they’d already been stolen), the adventurers resorted to arcane forensics to try and trace the whereabouts of the thief. The safe the knives were kept in had a magical and a mundane lock on it – one had been broken by a Knock spell, and the other had been disabled conventionally. Garm Garmson advised Anathul that they might be able to track down someone that recently purchased a scroll of Knock at an out-of-the-way magic shop called Orin’s Arcane Emporium, and after a successful attempt to intimidate the shop’s unassuming owner they bought the information in question.

The address given led them to a restaurant called “Hell’s Kitchen” in the Hell’s Gate neighborhood of Bridgeside. The tiefling owner – Kerazad the Iron Chef – of the restaurant was attempting to bring some money into the area by attracting upper-class patrons and stole the knives to sabotage his primary competition. Talking their way past the hired hoodlums at the store’s entrance, Treestar noticed the roar of a large animal – possibly a giant lizard, as they entered the premises.

Seeing through the party’s attempts at deception, the Iron Chef let loose with a flurry of food-based spells, attacking the disabled adventurers with an oversized arcane skillet. Eventually he was worn down by Maphira‘s spells and breathed his last on the kitchen floor. All that was left was to deal with the allosaurus he’d been planning on serving as an exotic dish on opening night. After a short fight, the mighty beast fell to Ba’ab’s maul.

Impressed with the considerable risk the party took in recovering the knives, Alejandro agreed to stay at The Shady Corner for a while and train the party and any hired cooks how to make acceptable food.

View
Big Nuts, Big Problems

While the party unwinded a bit from their previous job, they started to feel a little more at home in the city. Ross started looking for a way to draw heat from Baron Zygon by telling a traveling merchant to bring word of his presence in Bridgeport. Anathul spent more time in Hell’s Gate to get a better feel for tiefling society in his new city. Kieran started checking for any sign of his old crew from the Blue Bolt in the Portside docks. Maphira began researching whatever ancient entity she inadvertently made a pact with. However, the guildmates’ individual initiatives were put to a sudden stop when they were ambushed in their own bar by a rival guild – the Bridgeport chapter of the Capital Venture Exploration Syndicate. Claiming that the Durgenheim Delvers were mere upstarts who didn’t deserve their newfound publicity, they proveked the intrepid adventurers into starting a fight.

It was a quick and bloody fight, with Capital Venture delivering most of the damage. “Just” Finn downed Ross with little effort – two strokes of her longsword enabled by some careless spellcasting on the cleric’s part. Kagemaru Ishimoto struck from the shadows and disabled Anathul with a single shuriken. Kee Lo Watts enraged Ba’ab with some deeply felt insults and magically superheated his armor, causing him to recklessly charge the spoony bard, only to be cut down by Vignar Rimewalker’s massive axe.

Capital Venture did not leave without taking losses. Ulno the Oathbreaker’s greatsword failed to hit its mark, and Maphira drove him to madness before he could do any damage. Tess managed to wound Alya Shatterstar (who had just summoned a quasit to aid in the battle), and Kieran managed to drop Kagemaru with a few well-placed blows. Despite this, Capital Venture was clearly the victor, and as one final insult Finn instructed Ayla to burn down the liquor behind the bar with a flaming sphere before leaving.

A few days later while trying to rebuild the bar, the guild was approached by a shady-looking gentleman who introduced himself as “Sweet Tooth” Saccharo Trather. Claiming to work for “the man with very big nuts” – an undercity crime boss occasionally spoken of in allusion in Bridgeport – he tried to shake down the party for his organization’s protection racket. Reluctantly agreeing to his terms, they parted as amicably as could be expected.

A few days after that, the guild was approached by a peasant named Simon Sylphwind claiming to represent the Sylphwind Lumberworks, a lumber company that operates on the east side of Pallan’dur. He claimed that his family had an agreement with a dryad who lived in the forests near the lumber mills that allowed him to ship high-quality wood back to the city, but in the past month the trees had been stricken with some strange affliction that made them unsuitable for building. On top of that, he is unable to locate nor contact the dryad. Inspired by their bottle-cap advertisement and blissfully unaware of the drama surrounding the guild the past week, he offered the party 750 gold pieces to resolve the issue, as well as provide the guild with the escort contract for any future shipments in the city. The guild, short on work and hungry to blow off some steam, accepted the job immediately.

Unfortunately, however, on the way out of Bridgeport the party was surrounded by some thugs who also claimed to work for Mr. Big Nuts. Claiming they’d been told that they rebuffed Saccharo’s offer, they attacked the party to make an example out of those who defy their organization. The party swept up the thugs without significant effort, but interrogating their leader revealed that one of the mobsters they’d killed was actually Saccharo’s sister. Meanwhile, Simon withdrew the job offer from the guild, terrified at the idea that he may be calling down some unnecessary heat on himself for hiring them. Brimming with anger over whoever had interposed themselves between the criminals and the guild, the party immediately contacted Saccharo in order to explain the situation.

A few hours later Saccharo arrived at the Shady Corner with a few men, demanding to see his sister’s body. While visibly perturbed by the events, he indicated that he understood that someone had been deceiving both parties involved, and suggested that they meet with Mr. Big Nuts himself.

Leading the party through serpentine Bridgeside streets, they finally met Mathuk Bignutz at what was apparently his headquarters – a surprisingly upscale tavern called the Peacemaker’s Paradise. Explaining that he meant no disrespect to the guild, he expressed his consternation that a third party had been meddling in his affairs. Unfortunately he had more pressing matters to attend to, and proposed a new contract to the party in consolation for the one they’d lost from Simon – the retrieval of a long, thin parcel that had recently been shipped to Bridgeport and had hundreds of gold worth of nondetection spells cast on it. Offering an exorbitant sum of gold for its retrieval, the party happily accepted the job.

View
Down and Dirty in Dockside
Talent, information, and material acquisition

Bignutz informed the guild to meet him in the Bridgeside marketplace the following morning to discuss the finer points of the job at hand. True to form, he had no escort save for the Delvers themselves, and they hammered out the final details about the last known whereabouts of the “parcel”, how payment would be dispensed, and instructions for handling the contraband upon successful extraction (short version: DO NOT TOUCH).

However, the otherwise uneventful stroll was cut short by a small group of orcs and half-orcs (concealing their faces with bandannas) attempted to attack Bignutz. The party’s newest employer instructed them not to interfere, and welcomed their attack with the same poise and serenity he displays in his business dealings. Only one of the would-be assassins found the stomach to actually attack the man (the rest seemingly gripped by a sudden, borderline supernatural fear of Bignutz), and when the attacker’s shortsword connected with his neck, the blade shattered as though it had struck a brick of adamantine. Horrified at his failed attempt, Bignutz had a short conversation in Orcish with the man, instructing him to return to the Peacemaker’s Paradise later for some work. Thusly, the Delvers were introduced to Bignutz’s peculiar techniques for “talent acquisition”.

Later in the day, the guild cased the warehouse where the parcel had been shipped to. Between Kieran’s prior knowledge of the old Dockside shipping hub, Anathul‘s infiltration skills, and Tess’s penchant for investigation, they learned that the warehouse was home to some very questionable activity. Outside of the premises, a group of ostensibly drunken sailors were in fact acting as a sort of clandestine guard shift for the facility. There also appeared to be more people entering the warehouse than leaving it, and with no ships stopping by to pick any cargo or personnel up, there were far too many people inside to simply run a warehouse. What few people did leave appeared to be dressed in the telltale chainmail, shield, and spear of the Bridgeport City Watch. Also, the doors appeared to be soundproofed, which is an expensive enhancement for a building that otherwise looked rather dilapidated. Posing as a group of ne’er-do-wells (with little acting necessary, if we’re being honest), the group made contact with the facility’s apparent supervisor and were instructed to return after dusk for some “shipping” work.

Upon returning, the party immediately noticed that the “job” entailed unpacking what appeared to be counterfeit City Watch arms and armor. The supervisor, himself posing as a guard captain, noticed the party already equipped with various weapons and armor, and immediately sensed their ill intent. The ensuing fight was a short one, as aside from their captain none of the fake guards were ready or equipped to deal with a team of seasoned adventurers.

About ten minutes of investigating (read: looting) later, the door to the waterside portion of the building opened. A guard with a terminal case of curiosity noticed his dead comrades and the building’s apparent invaders, and called out to Lyra for help. The human weretiger-for-hire put on an impressive display of force, but ultimately yielded to the Delvers. The party judged that she was merely a hireling of the real menace behind whatever plot the party was in the process of uncovering, so instead of killing her they merely tied her up and stuck her in a shipping crate for the time being. She did indicate that the man who hired her was in the room beyond, and that it was unlikely that the sickly-looking old man would put up much of a fight.

Indeed Lyra’s estimation proved to be true, though in a roundabout way. The party opened the doors to see the rest of the miscreants draped in the telltale red robes of a cult of Asmodeus, Infernal Lord of the Nine. Their leader, endowed with infernal spellcasting, summoned a devil to aid with dispensing the adventurers. A bearded devil sprang forth from nothing, and told the man his price was “five years”. The particulars of devil summoning and the pacts, deals, and bargains that bind them were beyond the present party members, but the lead cultist seemed particularly perturbed by this, commenting that previous prices had been in seconds or minutes at most. When the devil commented that it was simply a matter of supply and demand, the lead cultist, exasperated by desperation, accepted the terms.

While the cultists fell in quick succession – even the leader, who attempted to harass the party with infernal magicks – the bearded devil fought on in accordance with whatever pact he made with their leader. He seemed to be focused primarily on Ross, whose chaotic radiant spells seemed to offed the devil on a very personal level. Eventually, with the party’s combined efforts, the devil was discorporated and the battle was won.

On the leader’s body, the party found a tome detailing some of the finer points of infernal summoning rituals, as well as a personal notebook with some esoteric notes making reference to an object referred to as simply “The Nail”. The destination address of the parcel was also contained in the notebook, and so the party set out to finish the job they started after untying Lyra and inviting her to work as a bouncer in the Shady Corner.

View
The Rise and Fall of Malkyr the Razor
In which the party slays a dragon

(Editor’s note: This is concatenating 2 sessions. I had intentionally avoided making one for the previous session so the fact that the party was fighting a big nasty dragon didn’t get spoiled for guildmates who were absent, but then we got prison-fucked by winter itself for like 6 weeks)

After some brief downtime, the party found themselves hungry for another adventure. Luckily, Simon Sylphwind, who previously fled the party’s assistance, begged the guild for forgiveness after being intimidated talked into hiring the Delvers by Mr. Bignutz. Capital Venture appeared to still be convalescing after the Parcel Job, and so there were no unscrupulous competitors running interference on what would later prove to be a very lucrative job.

3 weeks west of the city of Bridgeport lies the Sylphwind Lumberworks, premier producer of precious pieces of timber in The Kingdom of Pallan’dur. The past month or so the trees of the Aldbell forest had been producing extremely sub-par lumber, driving prices extremely high. Simon clued in the guild to the secret behind his business – a long-standing pact his family had with a dryad to allow him to remove wood from the forest without disturbance. However, he hadn’t been able to contact her ever since the wood started going rotten, and enlisted the party to get to the root of the problem. PUN INTENDED

After a long trek across the varied terrain of western Pallan’dur they finally arrived at the Aldbell Forest. It didn’t take long for the Delvers to notice the supernaturally befouled state of the forest. The enormous redwoods’ branches had fused together, keeping any meaningful amount of light from penetrating the forest’s canopy. Without a light source, terrible, unspeakable creatures had wandered up from below the earth’s surface to feed on fairer creatures. The party dispatched a group of myconids, and then fell into combat with a black ooze. It was during the fight with pernicious ebony slime that the Delvers realized, too late, what they were really dealing with – a massive black dragon, alerted to the party by his dastardly kobold worshippers. The party having been split, Malkyr the Razor should have made short work of the party, but then —

— pulled through the ground itself by ancient and primal nature magic, the Delvers were rescued and brought to the Dryad’s grove by Mama Momo herself. She explained to the party that it took all of her strength to stop the spread of Malkyr’s corrupting influence, and she pleaded with Delvers to unite and take down the draconic menace. It can be safely said that the guildmates happily obliged, as a dragon this powerful was a legitimate threat to Bridgeport itself, and famous though he was Malkyr’s presence was not yet known to anyone outside the forest.

The fractured party reunited just in time for to ready themselves for the dragon’s arrival. The arrogant monster taunted the party briefly, making it very clear that he didn’t regard them as a threat. Unfortunately for all parties involved, the only member of the party who spoke Draconic, Oda Ellywick Timbers had a particular hatred of chromatic dragons and used her linguistic proficiency to insult Malkyr’s majesty (or lack thereof). He quickly resorted to combat, but the combined might of the Delvers proved to be a larger threat than he’d estimated. Scorching blasts of arcane fire from Anathul, a complex interweave of Spiritual Weapons from Ba’ab and Ross, and a hail of arrows from Oda left their enemy wounded.

Just when it seemed as though the party had the upper hand, a potent blast of acid from the dragon’s breath weapon utterly annihilated the young tiefling sorcerer. With no time to mourn their loss, the party redoubled their efforts and seemly felled the beast after Treestar managed to distract Malkyr in her spider beast form, and Maphira cut loose with an empowered Witch Bolt to seemingly finish the dragon. Thankfully, Oda knew of black dragons’ tendencies to feign defeat, and put an arrow through his brain before he had the opportunity to unleash his breath weapon once more. Thus endeth Malkyr.

After the fierce battle, the party paused to mourn the loss of Anathul. However, by some unfathomable miracle Anathul returned to life before their eyes, wreathed in the unmistakeable scent of brimstone carried by chill Stygian winds. The implications of his ostensibly infernal ressurection aren’t yet fully understood by the Delvers or even Anathul himself, but the guild was overjoyed to have their comrade back.

The Delvers enjoyed a hero’s welcome upon returning to Bridgeport with Malkyr’s body in tow. There was much rejoicing, and even talk of audience with the King himself, despite mention of some dire recent events in the city. After enjoying a bit of a makeshift parade through Bridgeside, the party finally made their way back to the Shady Corner and enjoyed a well-deserved guild-wide with full stomachs, empty tankards, and warm beds.

The next morning, they were awakened by an uncharacteristically brusque Saccharo, who informed them of the news: Mathuk Bignutz had been arrested for murder.

View
The Trial of the Century
In which a verdict is rendered

(Again concatenating two (or three?) sessions – may be getting things out of order here thanks to taking too long to write these)

The guild decided the best course of action was to investigate the scene of the crime before talking to their incarcerated employer. Upon reaching the Peacemaker’s paradise the party immediately noticed that the place was overflowing with city guards putting the finishing touches on their investigation. After Ross used the guild’s celebrity status to their advantage, he convinced the sergeant to grant them access to the crime scene. A cursory attempt at trying to verify the official story – that Bignutz cut down Lord General Sturmacher with the large blade the guild had “acquired” for him – didn’t seem to hold up. There was the persistant aura of strong evocation magic throughout the bar, but there didn’t appear to be any indication of such phenomena in the official report.

On the way out of the bar the party was beset upon by a group of cultists, apparently worshipping Asmodeus. They were dispatched with extreme prejudice, with their eventual cause of death being ruled as “suicide by adventurer”. They did manage to capture one of the cultists, however, who would go on to reveal that the cult was behind Bignutz’ incarceration after Anathul cleverly implied that he was was an ignorant and unimportant member of the cult.

The party then decided to track down the inquisitor in charge of the case: Markus Khuvol, a tiefling obliquely referred to as the Devil’s Advocate and the highest ranking inquisitor in the king’s court. It became clear that the inquisitor had a personal (and perhaps perfectly justified) vendetta against Bignutz, and despite the shakiness of the evidence he would use this opportunity finally put him away for all of the many, many crimes he’d been unsuccessful in pinning on the half-orc. After all, if nothing else he did manage to get a confession from the alleged murderer, which should have been enough to guarantee a quick end to the trial. Over the course of this conversation the party learned that the lead investigator was still a student of the local arcane forensics college due to a devastatingly ill-timed sabbatical from her tenured superior. The party would later demonstrate that her conclusions were conclusively inconclusive.

The adventurers met with Bignutz shortly after. Apparently this was the only visitation he consented to in the weeks following his arrest. He indicated, thanks to a quickly innovated system of clandestine communication created by Ba’ab, that he was pretty much under duress but had in fact confessed to the murder. He also looked like he’d been getting beaten hourly while in custody, which is strange considering his apparent invulnerability before. He implored the party to continue their investigation despite his apparent uncooperativeness. The party, knowing that Bignutz owed them a five-figure sum of gold, reluctantly agreed to play lawyer.

Upon returning to the Shady Corner, the party was greeted by a chubby, middle-aged human who appeared to be a huge fan of the guild’s work, especially in the wake of their recent dragon-slaying. He revealed himself to be Chancellor Martin Quibley, and informed the party that the King himself sought audience with the guild’s founding members. Despite the ill timing, the party rushed off to the castle to meet the monarch.

The King seemed very pleased with the party, and even intended to knight the party on the spot for their service to the kingdom in killing Malkyr. However he seemed perplexed by the fact that the party intended to defend Bignutz, who was known all-around as a criminal mastermind. The party indicated that despite his alleged crimes he deserved a fair shake, and the King commended them for their convictions and offered to help in any way they could. The party decided to use this assistance to covertly exhume the general’s body for a proper autopsy, which revealed that the true cause of death was some kind of nonmagical poison – most likely black lotus extract.

Armed with this knowledge the party returned to the Peacemaker’s Paradise to look for traces of this posion. Eventually they found the remnants of a bottle of Iceholm Reserve – the general’s favorite whiskey – that contained traces of the poison. Narrowing their investigation, they found a secret door into the sewers, which was probably used for some of Bignutz’s criminal undertakings. Much to the party’s dismay, they discovered that Garm Garmson was waiting for him.

Interrogating the mentally deficient streetrat revealed that he saw the entire event, and had been hiding in the sewers in case the authorities were still looking for him. Although he maintained that Bignutz “totally iced that motherfucker” he also revealed that there a number of cultists involved in the actual murder – who were chanting some prophetic verse: “When the Nail of Pazuzu draws the blood of the king in the court of lies, Pandemonium shall fall on the cities of Man.” Shaken by the revelation that the sword they “acquired” months prior was indeed the aforementioned “Nail of Pazuzu”, the party decided to bide their time until the trial the next morning.

The first day of the trial was a very short one. The party managed to poke enough holes int he prosecution’s case that the judge cut it short and instructed both sides to be more thorough and more truthful in their investigations.

The party decided that they needed to go to the Peacemaker’s Paradise one more time and investigate the secret tunnel once more. When they returned they found that a group of the false guards had a similar idea, but the party dispatched them with relative ease after some clever scouting by Treestar in rat form. Delving into the secret tunnel and unperturbed by the presence of Garm Garmson, they realized that it wasn’t actually a sewer at all, but rather an underground river sending pure, fresh water outside the city. Geologically this was an impossibility, and so some powerful (and expensive) magic was at work here.

Following the tunnels as far as they could, the party came across a patrol of orcs. This was strange for several reasons – orcs were a rare and generally unwelcome sight in the kingdom, and these orcs were wearing relatively sophisticated armor instead of the primitive hide armor associated with their kind. The party decided to quickly and quietly neutralize the threat, and ventured outside.

What they saw stunned the guild – mere miles outside the city walls, hidden in a deep ravine was an entire orc encampment – a settlement of nearly a thousand orcs. The party debated several ways of handling this revelation when they were noticed by an orc child (and shortly thereafter the settlement as a whole). The tense situation was defused by the orcs’ apparent chieftain, an old (even by human standards) male orc named “NAME”.

The orc became friendly with the party once they indicated they were acting on behalf of Bignutz, who he claimed was his son. Apparently Bignutz had some kind of arrangement – likely with Sturmacher – to provide water and supplies to this settlement in exchange for not attacking everything all goddamn time. Bignutz was also referred to by the chieftain as the orcs’ king, which suddenly made the party very, very nervous about the prophecy GG had revealed to them.

Even more worrying was the fact that the chancellor was waiting for them at the Shady Corner informing them that the king was actually missing! Thinking of only one place the king would be, the party rushed to the courthouse.

The King (who had arranged for Bignutz’ pardon and eventual release) was talking over the situation with Bignutz himself. All appeared well until the Inquisitor – wielding the Nail of Pazuzu – appeared to the party. The Inquisitor revealed that he was Pazuzu incarnate on the mortal plane (the Demon Prince having used the Inquisitor’s morbid curiosity to take up the blade and be possessed), and that his victory was ensured as he would surely fulfill the prophecy. He lunged at the king with unfathomable speed, but Bignutz managed to tackle the king and take the blow himself.

The blood of a king was spilled by the Nail, on a moonless night in High Court of Pallan’dur. Pandemonium began to fall.

The confrontatation was brief but bloody. The Demon Prince, perplexed by the party’s apparent inability to understand that they had already lost, decided to finish the party himself while he waited for the barriers between the material plane and the Abyss to dissolve completely. A troupe of six Balors – The Six Wings of Pazuzu, observed as the Inquisitor sprouted black wings and engaged the party. After dispatching a shadow demon that Pazuzu had conjured, the Demon Prince redoubled his efforts and managed to mortally wound Kieran with the Nail. The party would have their vengeance, however, as the rest of the party knocked the blade out of the inquisitor’s hands, freeing him from Pazuzu’s influence.

However, the situation was deteriorating as fast as the boundary between the planes. The party tried every spell they had access to in order to buy time, but nothing they had was powerful enough to dispel the blade.

When all seemed lost, Anathul heard an icy voice, as if from a great distance. In the blink of an eye he found himself in a strangely familiar room, similar to the courtroom they’d fought Pazuzu in, or some sort of throne room. Indeed, ice-covered chamber was the infernal hall of the Duke of Stygia himself – Levistus of the Nine, He Who Is Frozen.

Levistus revealed to Anathul that Asmodeus’ stake in this demonic prophecy was to incite violence against tieflings, who unbeknownst to the race despised their creation as an affront to Hell itself. Levistus is indeed their true patron and creator, and chose to mark Anathul in hopes that he could begin to turn the tide against the Archduke and ultimately foil his schemes. To that end, he endowed Anathul with a powerful magic implement known as the Devil’s Due – an infernal badge of office imbuing the holder with the formal authority to make deals for souls, and access the cohort of souls in Hell as a source of power. Levistus bid Anathul good luck, and granted him access to a powerful cleric who made a difficult choice several millennia ago and would have the spell he needed to finish the job.

In a flash, Anathul manifested the staff and called the name of the ancient, hellbound cleric of Zeus. He cast Hallow, which freed the courtroom of the Nail’s influence and sealed off the abyssal incursion for good.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.