1/16/2014 Session: “I’m plugged into the FUCKING HARDLINE!”

Participants: Renaldo, Barundar, Myles, Amon and Ash.  [The whole crew!]

When we last left our heroes, Renaldo was deep in character negotiating a trade with Lord Rector Olwen inside his tent at a dig site outside of Lanmis…

Renaldo returns from Rector’s tent and informs the group of the awesome haul of goods and gold he secured.  They head back to town to find Rector’s estate.  Barundar and Myles are puzzled as to why it seems that the trade only consists of exchanging paper notes, but they decide to play along.

The group approaches a set of large buildings on the Northern side of Lanmis with an ornate courtyard and a guard house.  Assuming that the largest building in the town must be Rector’s estate, they approach the door.  Renaldo is still in character as Lord Darius McFoggle and the remainder of the party agrees [albeit begrudgingly] to pose as the esteemed Lord McFoggle’s bodyguards.

Renaldo knocks on the door and informs the Butler than answers it, Jeeves, of his recent business dealings with Rector and requests an escort to the quartermaster.  Jeeves deftly maneuvers the party through the estate.  He moves so fleet-footedly, in fact, that no one in the party is even sure that he’s actually touching the ground. [As it turns out, Jeeves has a DEX modifier of +5 for some reason.]

Jeeves' reaction when he hears a knock at the door really wears thin on the other estate staff.

Jeeves’ reaction when he hears a knock at the door really wears thin on the other estate staff.

Eventually, the party rounds a corner and finds themselves in a hallway cramped with people.  One side of the hallway contains a stairwell, at the bottom of which stand two armed guards.  The other side of the hallway has a door that Jeeves throws open with one extravagant, almost artistic, swirl of motion.  The party is then introduced to a quartermaster that looks suspiciously like Gary Busey.  Gary looks quite impatient as Renaldo goes through the introduction of Darius McFoggle and details the reason for his visit.  The quartermaster reviews the list and begins to collect the items that he can from within his stockroom, noting each item in a ledger as he goes.  He informs Darius/Renaldo that, of course, the horses are kept in the stables and that the masterwork crossbow is an item from Lord Rector’s personal cache and excuses himself as he goes upstairs to retrieve it.

Rector's estate looks bigger from the outside.

Rector’s estate looks bigger from the outside.

As Ash’s attention follows Gary Busey up the stairs, he notices a sound… the sound of a woman crying!  Ash informs the group as they huddle to whisper greedily about the collection of their mounts.  Given Rector’s treatment of the townsfolk, everyone is struck by the possibilities,..  Amon approaches one of the guards in an attempt to offer help.  Noting the sound, he offers the guard a concoction of herbs and spices, [“For that time of the month,” Cameron says in a thick Eastern accent,] but it, and his mentioning of the crying are poorly received.  Before things escalate further, the quartermaster returns with a very ornate box containing an even more ornate crossbow.  Darius/Renaldo lackadaisically takes this piece of artwork from the quartermaster and bids him farewell.

As Darius/Renaldo is thanking Gary and Jeeves, he boldly cuts between the guards at the bottom of the stairs in a feigned attempt to exit the estate.  The rest of the party pushes through the bottom-of-the-stair guards before they or Jeeves know what’s happening and Renaldo and Barundar soon find themselves facing yet another set of guards at the top of the stairs.  At the bottom of the stairs, Jeeves is taken aback by Darius/Renaldo’s actions and demands that he follow him to the exit of the estate.

Darius/Renaldo apologizes, stating that he had simply gotten lost on his way to the stables and turns to go back down the stairs.  As he does so,  he “slips” on the stair, spins round and delivers a devastating sucker punch to one of the guards at the top of the steps.  Taking him completely off-guard [heh] Renaldo easily knocks him out and sends him reeling into the other guard.  Barundar wastes no time in “accidentally” stomping on the still-conscious guard’s head as he “falls” up the stairs behind Renaldo.

At the bottom of the stairs, Myles, Ash and Amon face a number of increasingly angry guards and one irate butler.  They attempt to defuse the situation by playing dumb and block Jeeves’ attempts to go back up the stairs.

It was a lot like this, only at the bottom of the stairs...

It was actually a LOT like this…

Upstairs, Barundar and Renaldo are going door to door in search of the crying woman.  They come to a locked door, at which point Barundar tosses Renaldo his great axe and the door is soon blown into splinters.

Myles, Ash and Amon’s efforts to calm the escalating situation downstairs seemed to have been paying off until the sound of a door being smashed in reaches the guard’s ears.  In a vain attempt to cover the sounds, Myles begins screaming the Otemshire anthem, [“Come on, everybody, OH O-TEM-SHIRE, OH O-TEM-SHIRE, yea that’s it!”] The guards, obviously not hailing from Otemshire, are at best unimpressed and at worst, enraged by Myles’ antics.

Almost before anyone is even aware, Jeeves springs into action [Remember his 20 DEX?], demanding that Darius return to the bottom of the stairs.  He does a series of backflips around the room to put distance between himself and the party as three guards pass in an attempt to grapple Myles but they are unable to best Myles’ incredible strength [My crit on Myles’ STR check  elicited a hearty, “HEYOOO BITCHES!”] .  Myles pulls his sword to hold the guards at bay but does not attack.

Meanwhile, as shards of wood are still falling to the ground, Renaldo and Barundar tumble into a large and incredibly well maintained bedroom.  The woman crying at the foot of the bed quickly turns and faces the two party members, asking them if they’re “the messengers”.  Renaldo and Barundar state that they might be, but that she should probably explain a bit about their mission to refresh their memories.  At this point, both of them notice that the bed is occupied by a human child that seems to be the victim of an ailment that neither of them can recognize.  The woman explains that Rector, her husband, said that he would send a messenger when they had found a cure for their daughter Penelope. 

Renaldo informs the tearful woman that, indeed they are not the messenger she seeks and bids her a quick farewell.  Barundar and Renaldo quickly retreat and run back down the hallway and stairs, appearing behind Amon and Ash just as things downstairs were about to get ugly.

Jeeves lividly tells Darius/Renaldo that his actions are most unlordly and demands that he and his brutes leave immediately.  Amon attempts to charm the butler so that the party might leave on better terms, but Jeeves is as wise as he is nimble and plainly sees through the wizard’s spell.

Amon's attempt at a charm...

Amon’s attempt at a charm… Needless to say, it was a failure.

Boldly exclaiming that, “Lord McFoggle has no time to waste,” Renaldo leads the party back out of the building at a full on sprint.  The party hits the door and makes for the stables with Jeeves hot on their trail.  Renaldo throws the stable master a slip from Gary Busey for the requisition of five horses (which are miraculously prepared already) and the party is off.

We *almost* had to go plaid.

We *almost* had to go plaid.

Approaching the Smoking Ogre to stash their goods, the group is met by an inconsolable Kisha Greyfoot.  She explains to Barundar that her father, Gunter Greyfoot, was taken by Rector’s men to the dig site due to his experience as a miner.

Having lightened their load by stashing their new toys at the Smoking Ogre, the party quickly decides to return to Rector to aid him in his efforts to find a cure for his daughter’s illness.  As they approach, Barundar and Myles stick to the back in an attempt to avoid confrontation with the guard captain they had accosted the day before and Ash hides his new masterwork crossbow in his robes.

Renaldo cuts through the mass of indentured servants and rides his horse directly up to Rector.   Twice calling himself Rector’s “savior”, Darius graciously offers his services in finding the cure for Penelope.  Rector is visibly shaken at the mention of his daughter and demands to know how Darius/Renaldo is aware of Penelope’s condition.  Renaldo blames a loose lipped guard at the estate, [“where absolutely nothing of note happened and everyone was happy.”]  Darius/Renaldo goes on to tell a story of his younger sister, Fraggle McFoggle, who fell ill with an eerily similar illness, and how, despite Darius’ protests, his father would not pay a wizard and a cleric to help her so she died.  As Darius/Renaldo is telling this story, Amon conjures the sound of a child crying out in pain for her father inside of Rector’s head.

The recently excavated ruins, with the party approaching from the South.

The recently excavated ruins, with the party approaching from the South.

Repeatedly screaming that, “MY DAUGHTER WILL NOT BE FRAGGLE,” Rector pulls the party away from the mass of people and into his tent.  Rector explains that his daughter had fallen ill a year prior and that no one could find a cure.  He learned that there were ruins outside of town of a temple that was established by his ancestors.  It was said that inside the ruins was a golden chalice that might be able to help cure Penelope, so he called in the entire town’s debt to force them to help clear the ruins.

The party exits the tent and heads for a recently uncovered stairwell leading down into the ruins.  As they approach, the ground shakes and the sound of screams and clashing metal can be heard coming from the pit as rocks collapse in on the shaft.  The townsfolk spring into action to clear the stones and the party descends into the ruins.

Approaching from the South, they are greeted by a surprising sight.  Inside a long, vaulted chamber a number of peasants and Gunter Greyfoot are being attacked by raised skeletons as a handful of armed guards stands by in terror.  A set of sturdy, red double doors stand on a raised area to the East, and what appears to be a raised catwalk lines the Northern wall.

Myles blasts past the stunned guards and attempts to rile them into helping by decapitating the skeleton attacking Gunter.  Renaldo follows suit and downs a skeleton with barbaric fervor.  Amon sends a spear of ice across the chamber and freezes a skeleton in place [although not until AFTER the skeleton had slit a peasant’s throat…]  The guards flee and Ash calls upon his god to assist the party in clearing the foul undead from the chamber by blessing the party’s actions.

Dungeon madness!

Dungeon madness!

 

Barundar finally shakes off the shock of seeing Gunter under attack and shoots a skeleton with his crossbow as he charges across the chamber.  Myles leaps over a fallen peasant, destroys one and wounds another skeleton as, across the room, Renaldo drops his great axe (causing Barundar to face-palm) and punches the skeleton in front of him into dust, sending shards of bone flying in all directions.

Damien's falcon punch was performed by better actors.

Damien’s falcon punch was performed by better actors.

 

Amon sends another blast of ice wide and Ash demolishes one of the two remaining skeletons with his mace [scoring his first kill of the campaign!]  Barundar picks up his dropped jaw after seeing Renaldo vaporize a skeleton and kneels to stabilize Gunter as Myles finishes off the final skeleton.

Catching their breath, the party listens as Gunter explains that the skeletons came to life when the excavators had attempted to open the door to the east.   Barundar helps Gunter to his feet and escorts him out of the ruins.

Sensing ancient magic afoot, Amon goes into a frenzy and rushes for the red door.  Despite protest, he throws the doors open and runs through into a dark corridor.  As the passes the threshold of the door, a torch in the corridor magically lights itself and reveals that a hallway extends to the North, a door sits on the Southern wall and another set of large red double doors again blocks progress to the East.

"Ancient ruins where skeletons rise from the dead when you touch doors?  Better run through rooms like a maniac!" Cameron apparently thought to himself...

“Ancient ruins where skeletons rise from the dead when you touch doors? Better run through rooms like a maniac!” Cameron apparently thought to himself…

 

Amon runs to the door to the South, and, just escaping the restraining grasp of Barundar, runs into the room.  The room contains a series of descending platforms that end in a pool of water.  The water is ominous, but nowhere near as bad as the giant statue contained within it.  Amon and Barundar approach the first set of descending stairs and gaze upon an enormous statue of a minotaur frozen in battle.  Amon performs a quick check for magic, finds none and exits the room, again slipping through Barundar’s grip.

Here you can see two things... The giant minotaur statue and Damien playing with the new waypoint system...  Luckily, Nathan was somehow able to cancel the movement and we were spared about 15 minutes of Renaldo shuffling around in 5 foot increments.

Here you can see two things… The giant minotaur statue and Damien playing with the new waypoint system… Luckily, Nathan was somehow able to cancel the movement and we were spared about 15 minutes of Renaldo shuffling around in 5 foot increments.

Amon breezes past Myles and Ash and runs up the Northern hallway.  Again, a torch flicks into flame and Amon finds himself in a room that contains seven skeletons and a stairway that seems like it might lead to the catwalk from the previous room.  Luckily the skeletons seem to be dormant, but to be safe Amon decides to perform a spell to clear the room.  Amon repositions himself in the center of the room, but in doing so, rouses the skeletons from their slumber.  A wave of thunder and a cacophony of sound fills the room and manages to destroy six of the seven skeletons.  [Cameron has been waiting to perform a Thunderwave for about 5 weeks now, so of course that’s his spell of choice.]  Barundar finally catches up and stumbles into the room in shock just as the seventh skeleton springs for Amon and nearly kills the brazen intruder before he can put it down with his scimitar.  The sound created was almost certainly audible within the entire ruin and, sure enough, immediately after it stops echoing, Myles hears the sound of creaking bone on the other side of the red doorway to the East.

Barundar takes this opportunity to grab the wizard to prevent him running off and getting them into more trouble.  The pair finds two chests along the Eastern wall of the skeleton room and open them to find considerable loot.  Gathering their new wealth, Barundar drags Amon back to the stunned group in the hallway.

11614-6

LOOT:

Chest 1 – 4gp and 1 unidentified potion

Chest 2 – 185sp

Extended author’s note: It was at this point that Cameron began to have some computer issues.  He popped off an on the roll20 chat a few times and his webcam started acting up.  This apparently really aggravated Cameron and led to one of the greatest quotes the group has ever encountered.  It might have been in the delivery, but in one of the short spans of Cameron’s connection we heard a disembodied, “What THE FUCK…. What is wrong with this thing?  I’M PLUGGED INTO THE FUCKING HARDLINE!” before he was disconnected again.  Cameron’s ISP got its shit together a few minutes later and we were able to continue…

Myles doesn’t like the sound of creaking bones so, thinking he can get the jump on whatever baddies are on the other side, he kicks in the red doors to the East.  Again, long-unlit torches spring into life encircling a large, lofted room.  Along the walls of the room are stairs that ascend about 10′ to a raised catwalk the lead to a dais upon which rests a gleaming gold chalice.  More immediately, in the center of the room are four pillars to which are loosely chained an equal number of skeletons.  Grates cover two pits in the center of each pair of pillars.

Skeletons chained to pillars straddling metal grates covering holes in the ground?  What's the WORST that could happen?

Skeletons chained to pillars straddling metal grates covering holes in the ground in a long abandoned temple? What’s the WORST that could happen?

Myles cautiously enters the room to no ill effect.  However, as Barundar and his now captive Amon cross the threshold, a metal portcullis springs laterally from the wall, wounding Barundar and preventing Ash and Renaldo from entering.  Simultaneously, the flames from the magically lit torches begin to intensify.  The flames grow ever stronger until they pulse hot white as if fanned by an unseen bellow.  At the climax, a network of beams of flame interconnect the torches and the pillars are engulfed in flame.  As the flames die down the torches return to normal, but the once-chained skeletons are now aflame and stand facing the intruders with a smoldering fury.

Nathan didn't state specifically that they were metallic skeletons, but the visual works.

Nathan didn’t state specifically that they were metallic skeletons, but the visual works.

Myles gulps heavily and curses as he realizes that he and the party officially dun’ goofed…

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