The Shackled City

What Came Before
These are the "facts" from the first eight games

These notes cover Life’s Bazaar and part of Drakthar’s Way.

1 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • A group of strangers saw what looked like a mugging in progress, and they intervened, stopping some thugs with faces painted like the Last Laugh thieves’ guild from continuing to beat on a young man named Ruphus Laro, a cleric of St Cuthbert.
  • After subduing the aggressors, they learned from Laro that the thugs were sending a warning to the church to stay away from the Lantern Street Orphanage.
  • They escorted Laro and the captured thugs back to the Church of St Cuthbert who informed them about kidnapped orphans. The captured thugs given over to the church to be delivered into the custody of the magistrate.
  • The strangers took this opportunity to introduce themselves to one another. Pheane Conste, the halfling. Chet Zanlinglehopper III, the aged human wizard. Seen Archer, the young human warrior. His childhood friend William Boccobian, the cleric of Boccob. Mizuki Gotuh, the female human Samurai warrior.
  • The party then met Jenya Urikas, Laro’s superior. She informed them of all the details that the church had on the kidnappings and that the church had publicly vowed to bring the kidnappers to justice. The attack on Laro was apparently intended to dissuade the investigation. Jenya was still adamant about pursuing the kidnappers.
  • They learned about the riddle Jenya had received from a magical mace of divination possessed by the church. The new party accepted the task of finding and returning the children safely. For accepting this role for the church, they received curative potions marked with the symbol of St. Cuthbert.
  • At the orphanage, they met Gretchyn Tashykk, the halfling headmistress. She allowed them to search the premises. Pheane discovered that all the locks were made by the same locksmith. Gretchyn identified the creator as one Keygan Ghelve, the gnome owner of Ghelve’s Locks.
  • They approached Ghelve’s Locks that night, but as there were no lights on, it was decided to pursue the matter in the morning.
  • The group parted ways, some staying at the Drunken Morkoth Inn, while others returned to their homes.

2 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • In the morning, the party spoke with Keygan in his shop. When he denied any knowledge of the kidnappings, Pheane accused him of lying. The gnome bristled at the accusation and kicked the halfling out. After Chet calmed the man down he agreed to meet with the party outside of his shop during the lunch hour.
  • During this meeting, the party discovered that Keygan had made skeleton keys for a group of skulks and dark Creepers, after they had captured his rat familiar Starbrow. They’d been using the secret door in his shop to enter Cauldron from Jzadirune, the abandoned gnome enclave in which they were holed up. The party got him to agree to let them into the back of the shop, after faking an attack, just in case any of the creatures’ spies were listening or watching.
  • They faked a robbery of Ghelve’s Locks and were attacked by a skulk in the back room after Pheane found the secret door. After defeating the creature, the group opened the locked secret door, took the rough map of Jzadirune from Keygan, and descended the stairs.
  • Pheane triggered a trap on the second landing while trying to disarm it and was hurled down the last flight of stairs into a large, noisy chamber below. He was revived by William.
  • They discovered the first two Gear Doors, one each marked with a gnomish rune for “J” and “A”. The “A” door was being held open and a faint light shone from within the room. Pheane peeked in and was narrowly missed by a pair of skulks flanking the opening. The skulks bolted immediately after their failed attacks, each into a different tunnel that seemed to have been drilled into the room. The party ollected the sunrod within, and Seen removed the stone blocking the “A” Gear Door, causing it to close.
  • Pheane disabled the trap on the “J” door in the first large chamber.
  • William triggered a magic mouth welcoming visitors and warning them of the traps.
  • Found a “Z” door at a T-intersection. Four more letter doors were along the north part of the hallway. “I”, “R”, “N”, and “E”. Another “J” door was a little south of the T-intersection. A magical trap was found on the “Z” door, and mechanical traps found on the others. A secret door was discovered in north of hallway.
  • In a half-octagonal room with smashed alchemical equipment, the party encountered a raggamoffyn construct. William was grabbed, wrapped up and brought down by the creature before it was finally dropped. Chet used a potion to heal William’s wounds and bring him back to consciousness. The party then looted room, finding a “U” key.
  • They followed a tunnel west, south, then west before it opened into another 10’ hallway. Then they turned north, entered room with strange, immobile construct with writing on it (“Start/Stop” in Gnome), covered by a sheet. Nothing else of interest was found in this chamber.
  • Entered a hallway to the east, and found strange machines attached by rope belts to fans in a couple of different rooms. Each machine had a lever in the down position.
  • Found mist-filled library, cleared the room with the rope belt fan, and then easily defeated the small monstrous spiders lurking within. They found secret doors to the north, south and east.
  • The north secret door revealed secret scroll storage with programmed image of Emirystul warning about magic items found inside Jzadirune. No creatures, traps, or treasure were discovered.
  • The south secret door connected with the fan generator corridor.
  • The east secret door revealed a classroom with an “I” gear door. No creatures, traps, or treasure were within.
  • The party returned to north-south hallway nearest the first large room. Pheane and Mizuki triggered “Tilt-a-Pit” trap. Mizuki fell into the pit, which closed on her. Pheane reopened the trap door allowing Chet to disable the mechanism by dropping his quarterstaff into the gears below. They recovered Mizuki, and then Pheane jammed the trap doors closed.
  • Found a dead end hallway where the map revealed an open room. William used a spell to find secret doors. None were revealed there, but he did find several others. Eventually, Mizuki and Pheane thought to touch the wall, which proved illusory.
  • Room beyond illusory wall had a wall map of the complex very similar to the one drawn by Keygan Ghelve. “E” and “Z” gear doors on west and east walls respectively. No creatures, traps, or treasure.
  • East secret door from the room where the raggamoffyn was encountered revealed secret potion storage. The potions later proved to have been dispelled. No creatures, traps, or treasure were found.
  • Northeast secret door from the potion storage chamber revealed sleeping quarters with an “R” gear door. No creatures, traps, or treasure were present.
  • North secret door from the large room nearest the exit revealed an apparently deadend hallway. A “Tilt-a-Pit” trap was found and disabled at the far end of the hallway. A secret door was found about midway on the west wall.
  • West secret door from hallway revealed secret armory with gnome sized arms and armor. Half-plate and three steel shields taken from here. Secret door found on west wall.
  • West secret door from armory revealed sleeping quarters with an “E” gear door on the west wall, which is presumed to lead back into the first long north-south hallway. No creatures, traps, or treasure.
  • Returned to tunnel near second “Z” gear door, which lead into a large, oddly-shaped chamber with an apparently broken or unfinished automaton and a “U” gear door on the south wall. Attacked by a clothed Skulk while searching the room. The party sustained a few injuries before the creature was dropped, although the clothing was revealed to be another Raggamoffyn, which continued to attack after the Skulk fell. It was defeated with no further injury. (I think this was the point at which you decided to return to town for the evening to rest and recover spells.)

3 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • William and Seen sold half-plate armor to (name to be determined) for 300 gp. Party regrouped and descended into Jzadirune again.
  • Returned to room with damaged automaton. Followed a tunnel south into a small, rubble-strewn chamber with three chests. Two of the chests were empty. The third contained a soft, grey bag. Chet took the bag and placed an empty vial in it. There was a lever in the “up” position in the room that was left alone. Pheane searched the chests, but found nothing extraordinary about them.
  • Used key on “U” gear door, which opened without incident.
  • “U” gear door revealed the “King’s Hall” with an illusory sleeping gnome king. Other exits were an “N” gear door to the south, an “I” gear door to the east and a tunnel on the south wall near the “I” door. Pheane found a hidden compartment in the throne with 75 gp and two more gear door keys (“N” and “E”). Pheane stepped on the ledge and triggered a magic mouth, which requested tribute for an audience with the king. Placing a gold coin in the mouth teleported it into the arm rest of the throne. Pheane placed a spring into the mouth and narrowly avoided being cursed with clumsiness.
  • Followed the tunnel south of the “I” gear door in the “King’s Hall” south and east before the tunnel opened up into a large theater. Chet acquired the four continual light lanterns from the corners of the chamber. William and Seen watched the exits. Pheane began to search for treasure. Mizuki approached the stage and triggered the illusory performance of the drama of Willowbough and Silverarrow. After the performance, Mizuki got on the stage and found a secret door.
  • Opening the trap door started a rough and almost completely one-sided fight against an uber-choker, which left most of the party heavily injured before the creature was finally slain. Beneath the stage the party found a masterwork mandolin and a small chest containing a fine cloak, a small, locked spellbook, an arcane wand of detect secret doors, and a “J” gear key.
  • Party decided to return to the surface and solicit some healing from Jenya at the Church of St. Cuthbert. Pheane sent to Skie’s Treasury to sell two of the continual light lanterns, as well as the arms and armor contact to sell the steel shields.
  • Pheane met the female gnome owner of Skie’s Treasury and stumbled through a falsified tale of the origin of the lanterns. Skie seemed interested in tales of adventure, and encouraged Pheane to return with any tales of his exploits around Cauldron. Pheane tried Tygot’s Old Things, hoping to get a better price on the shields as art objects because of the sigil of Jzadirune painted on them. Unfortunately, the wily old halfling proprietor recognized the work of amateurs, and lowballed the price. Still, Pheane received some interesting haggling advice from Tygot, met the blink dog Lepook, and perhaps made a contact for future business dealings. Sold the mandolin to Tygot for 50 gp, and took the shields to the arms and armor contact to sell.
  • Meanwhile, the wounded party members went to the Church of St. Cuthbert, spoke with Jenya who agreed to heal them gratis, and sell potions and the like at a 20% discount. Everyone’s wounds were healed and five healing potions were purchased. Pheane rejoined the group, and everyone prepared once more to descend into the “abandoned” gnome enclave.
  • Spellcasters were tapped on spells, and so the party decided to take the rest of the day off. Chet scribed a magic missile scroll after William suggested he stick to that spell for the time being.

4 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • Found Keygan Ghelve’s shop in disarray and a pair of half-elves (Fellian Shard and Fario Ellegoth) helping him clean up. Ghelve said the skulks had sent a replacement to watch the shop and discovered their missing agent.
  • Half-elves expressed an interest to assist with the hunt, but the party declined, asking only that they guard the passageways behind them. The half-elves agreed.
  • Party began exploring rooms for which they have keys.
  • Pheane and Mizuki “found” another tilt-a-pit trap in the hallway behind a “J” gear door. They were quickly retrieved, and Pheane jammed the trapdoor closed.
  • Found another room with a lever in the down position. William and Pheane were able to puzzle out that it probably locked the pit trap on the other side of the wall, while Mizuki toggled it up. Returned to the previous lever chamber and flipped that switch up as well.
  • Returned to the “Map Room” and went through the “E” gear door on the west wall, which opened into a hallway. Ascended the stairs to the west at the four-way intersection, to find an empty art gallery.
  • In the gallery, party found a secret door to an apparently empty room. Further exploration revealed six valuable paintings hidden by a powerful illusion on the room.
  • Returned to the four-way intersection and entered the “U” gear door on the east wall of the southern hallway, into a room lit by a torch.
  • Pheane hid, and William noticed a secret door on the east wall of this room. Chet impulsively entered the room past the secret door first. He was attacked by a slightly translucent skulk.
  • A brief combat ensued, and William instructed the party not to kill the creature. It was subdued and tied up. The party gave the skulk into the half-elves’ custody with the instruction to take it to the Bluecrater Academy for study.
  • Returning to the room where they had found the skulk, the party discovered the other side of a secret door leading back into the theater. Entered the theater and then exited through the hallway to the east.
  • Entered a large hall lit by dancing lights with a large fountain in the south wall. While the party spread out to better search this large chamber, William was attacked by a pair of skulks. These creatures were dispatched in short order, with few injuries sustained.
  • At William’s prompting, the party explored a tunnel drilled into the south wall on the west side of the large fountain. Followed the passageway east and eventually up into a small chamber housing ten suits of small chainmail, ten bucklers, and the corpse of what was identified as a carrion crawler.
  • Pheane opened a secret door on the north wall to reveal a hallway just to the east of the Hall of Dancing Lights. There was a pit trap just outside, but Pheane took care of it with no problem.
  • Back in the Hall of Dancing Lights, the party investigated an “E” gear door on the east wall, which revealed a guest chamber with human sized accomodations, but little else.
  • A “U” gear door to the north on the same wall as the “E” gear door revealed a two-level storage chamber. An assortment of mundane gear was found in the loft. The lower section contained only empty crates and barrels of spoiled ale. Pheane discovered a secret door in the east wall of the loft.
  • Secret door opened into a bath room, with a large octagonal pool. Hanging above this pool was a humanoid corpse completely shrouded in webs. As the party approached the pool, a monstrous spider leapt from the pool and attacked Mizuki. It’s fangs were unable to get through her armor, and the party quickly laid it low.
  • Mizuki entered the pool to cut down the corpse, and was attacked from above by a pair of smaller monstrous spiders. They were able to sink their fangs into her and she felt a little weaker as their poison began coursing through her veins. These, too, were slain with great efficiency.
  • The corpse was revealed to be that of a skulk. It had a pouch containing two gems and a clear spindle stone that William was able to determine was an Ioun stone, after tossing it in the air and seeing it begin to orbit his head of its own accord.
  • Party exited the bath room via a hall to the north. Entered an “N” door to find a silver cage containing Ghelve’s lost familar sitting on top of a large chest. As William approached, the chest began speaking to him. The party conversed with this strange creature which called itself “Cliche.” It was amiable for a mimic.
  • They were able to barter rations for Starbrow, and even learned the name of the slavemaster Kazmojen, whom Cliche informed them operated out of a place called the Malachite Fortress below Jzadirune.
  • Brought Cliche back up along with Starbrow to Ghelve’s where introductions were made. The mimic talked Ghelve into hiring it as a guard and general oddity to draw in customers. Cliche seemed excited to have so many beings with which to converse.
  • The party split up in the city to sell their excess loot. Tygot bought a music box that William had found in the rubble of the Hall of Dancing Lights, as well as all six paintings. Skie bought the ioun stone after hearing the “true account” of how it was acquired by Pheane’s new adventuring party, “The Longstriders.”
  • Mizuki had the damage caused by the spider poison healed at the Temple of St. Cuthbert.
  • Flush with cash, Chet decided to summon a familiar, Seen bought a masterwork composite longbow, and Pheane decided to get really drunk. Feeling good about themselves, the party prepared for sleep (with the exception of Chet, who was off performing the summoning ritual).

5 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • William discovered that his body had turned translucent. Worried, he went to the Temple of St. Cuthbert. The acolyte clerics were shocked, and quickly fetched Jenya. She, too, was stunned and agreed to speak with the Bluecrater Academy immediately to see if they knew of a cure.
  • William went to Bluecrater Academy himself and spoke with a man named Gerabaldi, who had been assigned to examine the skulk that the half-elves had deposited the day before. Gerabaldi said that there were no reports of survivors of or a cure to The Vanishing that he had found in the academy’s records. He was still looking into causes, and hadn’t been able to get any information from the skulk about its history. Took William’s history, and agreed to ask some higher level mages about the possibility of trying out dispel magic or something to that effect. Agreed to contact Ghelve at William’s request if he discovered anything.
  • Party reconvened and agreed to forego treasure hunting and focus more on finding anything that would lead to a cure for William. Chet’s owl familiar introduced, then asked to go hunting in the evening. The party re-entered Jzadirune.
  • From the “J” gear door on the east wall of the bath room, the party entered a large dining hall. quickly surmised north was their only viable path, and entered a tunnel to the north through the kitchen which was east of the dining hall through an “E” gear door.
  • Entered an illusory forest room, found nothing of any real interest and continued north in the tunnel until a western tunnel appeared. Followed that until they found the first room in Jzadirune where they had encountered skulks. Defeated a pair of the creatures in this room very rapidly.
  • Followed tunnel out of the south wall of this room then went west, and came to a room with a sleeping skulk. While Pheane investigated a chest in this room, Seen began to nudge the creature awake, but Mizuki took matters into her own hands and decapitated the sleeping creature.
  • Followed the tunnel back to the east, and after a short distance, it ascended into a small room with a single skulk inside. It was killed and a silver key was taken from around its neck. A secret door was found on the east wall, leading back to the chamber where Cliche had been guarding Starbrow the day before.
  • The party reentered the tunnel north of the forest room and were eventually deposited in a large-ish chamber. Out of nowhere, an automaton attacked William. Pheane tossed a tanglefoot bag at the construct, sticking it in place, while the others engaged it. Thinking quickly, William cried out in gnomish “Stop!” and the machine came to a standstill. Everyone stayed wary, until an invisible voicce called out “Start!” in gnomish and the automaton once again lurched to life.
  • A dark creeper appeared and attacked, but in short order, the creepy little humanoid was slain and the automaton once again sat dormant.
  • Looted the dark creeper. Some obsessed with the nonmagical cloak. Played with automaton. Learned it can follow simple commands.
  • North into another chamber. Attacked by dark stalker afflicted with The Vanishing when a secret door was found. Defeated the creature with little effort and no wounds taken. Brought its unconscioius form back to the surface to the Bluecrater Academy, after stashing the automaton in the very first “J” room.
  • Gerabaldi reported no breakthroughs except something Jenya wanted to try in the morning. Party rested the night. Questioned Yuathyb (the Dark Stalker), who spilled more info about the slaver Kazmojen (“a really strong dwarf with sharp claws and teeth”). He also pointed out a secret door shortcut to the elevator and a trap to be wary of.

6 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • William lost some more color. Party met Jenya and Gerabaldi, and Jenya cast a cure disease spell, then followed it up with lesser restoration. Yuathyb regained some of his color.
  • Descended to secret door. Forgot about way to bypass trap due to miscommunication and were attacked by hobgoblins, which were dispatched after Pheane took some javelin wounds. Finally disabled the trap and entered the elevator.
  • Descended 200’ into the Malachite Fortress.
  • Mizuki cautiously approached a stone “sculpture” and was rewarded for her caution by dispatching it before it could even land a blow.
  • Gangly ogre with a falchion found in a stinky chamber. It used its reach to great effect before Seen effectively taunted it into charging him. It was dispatched in short order once it left its chamber. Found two iron keys on its corpse.
  • Stinky room searched. Coins, gems and a dried fungus flask containing a curative potion found locked inside an iron chest. Other key unlocked cages suspended from ceiling in stone spike room.
  • Two secret doors found exiting stone spike room. Party chose eastern door first.
  • Short, L-shaped hallway ended in another secret door. Discovered secret doors were hinged and automatically closed behind them. Secret door at end of hallway opened into an armory. Some party members upgraded armor.
  • Secret door south wall of armory lead to a loud forge occupied by hobgoblins, goblins and three slaves (2 halflings and a dwarf). The goblinoids never had a chance. Only mishap was Mizuki misjudging the detriment of running headlong into Chet’s flaming sphere as she charged forward.
  • One of the halfling slaves (named Maple) fled to the elevator almost as soon as her shackles were unlocked. The other halfling was practically catatonic. The dwarf said her husband had been sold a couple of weeks before. All were returned safely to the surface, then the party came back down with the half-elves for backup (to guard the elevator).
  • From the forge, exited a door on the west wall into a large cross-shaped hallway with many doors. Party got the attention of one of the two hobgoblin guards in this chamber and dispatched him before he could even scream. The other was so surprised by this turn of events that he was unable to react before the party killed him as well.
  • Beat down some hobgoblins in a sleeping chamber. Chet used the wand found earlier to detect secret doors, but found none. (This caused him to contract The Vanishing).
  • Across the hallway, opened a bedchamber housing a pair of lemure devils. These, two were slain, and the room looted.
  • Party decided to return to the surface for the day. William cast a pair of lesser restorations on himself.
  • Next morning, Jenya cast cure disease and lesser restoration on William, who also cast another couple, restoring him to normal. Reports from Bluecrater Academy said that the dark stalker showed signs of improvement without further magical assistance.
  • Chet started to vanish. Chet and William puzzled out the link to using magical items found within Jzadirune. Some concern about the ioun stone sold to Skie’s Treasury.
  • Back down below, hobgoblins were waiting in ambush. They were slain quickly.
  • Hobgoblins in a dark room with a giant statue of a dwarf almost ended Pheane and after a long combat in this room and the hallway with a pair of lever triggered pit traps, 8 or so hobgoblins were dead, and William opened up a big can of HEAL-ASS from a wand.
  • Opened a secret door to a hallway and found a wounded hobgoblin (from the big fight) and threatened him. He said where the slavemaster could be found.
  • Followed the directions and came to a large chamber with a pair of dwarf-ish subjects haggling over a human boy. William entered the haggling, threats were levied, one of the dwarf-ish guys vanished when Chet tried to surreptitiously murder him.
  • William tried to sucker punch the slaver, but was thwarted by the heavy armor. He also sluffed a command spell.
  • Combat broke out in earnest. The slaver’s pet howler leapt into the fight, biting William. Wounds were sustained, but flaming sphere and attacks of opportunity won the fight.
  • Began talking to the children and while this interview was going on, a beholder appeared in the room, and claimed it would be taking Terrem (the human boy) back to the orphanage. Surprised, to say the least, the party “let” the beholder take the boy.
  • Returned the remaining kids to the half-elves to be returned to the surface, while they rescued the remaining slaves.
  • Almost got killed by a pair of hammerer automatons hidden by illusionary walls. Found two empty cellblocks past that.
  • Finally found the right cell block and let loose four prisoners, including an enthusiastic, if foolish human male named Krylscar, looking for some payback. He picked up a sword from a fallen hobgoblin, and broke down the door to the torture chamber. He almost got himself killed. A pileup from botched bullrush and tumbling attempts occurred, but eventually, the remaining villains were slain, and another human woman was rescued from a torture device.
  • All the slaves were returned to the surface, reward was acquired from the church. Legal arguments over the ioun stone were toyed with. Jenya went to arrest Keygan Ghelve for assisting in the kidnappings.

23 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • Skellerang asked the group to find the goblins’ lair. He offered 5 gp per (left) goblin ear. There appeared to be no pattern for the targets of vandalism and/or robbery. No citizens have been killed, and although the city guards had killed half a dozen of the menaces, they seem to be undeterred in their criminal intentions.
  • Party sought information on the graffiti, hoping to glean some information about the goblins from it. They found 4 distinct sites where the graffiti had not yet been washed away by the city guards. The messages scrawled in the crude goblin tongue read as follows:

“Murrd wrote this.” “Drakthar is the fog!” “Drakthar has bat ears.”

  • William decided to attempt to glean information from a stray dog, using his speak with animals spell. The dog was able to lead the party to a fifth (fourth?) graffiti message, which read:

“Drakthar is dead! Long live Drakthar!”

  • That night, the party decided to patrol, hoping to encounter some of the goblins. Their efforts bore no further fruit.

24 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • It occurred to Pheane to ask Jenya to use the Star of Justice to assist in their investigation. The question they posed was “Where is the goblins’ lair?” The cryptic answer received by the priestess was “Ask the red-eyed dwarf, and he’ll lie.”
  • Asking around town, the party learned of Orak Stonehaven, a retired dwarf adventurer who had lost an eye in one of his last campaigns. The eyepatch he wore was set with a red gem. He ran Orak’s Bathhouse on the southside of the city on Lava Avenue.
  • The party entered the bathhouse that afternoon as patrons, asked a few questions (Pheane’s questions once again got him kicked out of the establishment). The remaining party members each paid for a private bath, and they searched their private bathchambers for secret doors. Unfortunately, they found none.
  • After his bath, William, noticing that Orak was not in the main room, cast a detect secret doors spell, but still turned up nothing new. He decided to try to glean some information from the dwarf’s mind next and cast detect thoughts before knocking on the office door.
  • Orak spoke with William and gave lip service to the questions and comments posed by the young Boccobian, but the thoughts on his mind were of how he couldn’t tell anyone anything about the goblins.
  • After leaving the bathhouse, Chet had Archimedes fly up to the roof and stay there the rest of the day. After feeding at dusk, the owl noticed some humans watching the building. Shortly after that, the old man’s familiar fell under attack by the same humans. He flew away, fleeing towards Chet.
  • Pheane skulked towards the bathhouse for some reconnaissance, and spotted a quartet of humans in alleyways and on rooftops around the bathhouse. Returning to the party, they convinced a guard patrol to make a sweep past the bathhouse in an attempt to magically subdue one of the men and have Seen take his place. It would have worked if not for a loose cobblestone that the young archer stepped on.
  • Alerted, the human whistled an alarm and then its form shifted to that of a rat man. A fight began in earnest. The city guards closed in providing enough light for Pheane to attack, but even his precisely placed rapier thrust did not even pierce the ratman’s hide.
  • William was able to paralyze this ratman, but there were three others to contend with. These closed on Chet and Seen. The old man was able to turn one of the assailants into a crispy critter with a true struck maximized scorching ray. (Woot!)
  • Chet and Pheane were bitten by the ratmen in the course of the fight, but all of the creatures were eventually laid low (mostly by Chet’s magic). William prevented the wounded ones from bleeding out, and the three surviving ratmen were trussed up and hauled off to the city dungeons.
  • The gaoler sent a flunky to fetch the Captain while the prisoners were placed in their cells. Given time to reflect on the nature of the ratmen, Chet determined that they were likely lycanthropes known as wererats. They were resistant to non-silver weaponry and had, perhaps passed on diseases to himself and the halfling. The two agreed to visit the church in the morning and try to get healed of any lingering afflictions.
  • The one conscious wererat was interrogated by Chet and Seen, but was still not very forthcoming with information. He said he’d been hired by a human calling himself Gaelan Trodor, a name that was recognized as matching that of one of Cauldron’s founders, a man centuries dead. The wererats had been hired to watch the bathhouse and prevent anyone from taking too much interest in it. A few snippy retorts later the interview was concluded.
  • Captain Skellerang was briefed, but concluded that there was not enough evidence linking Orak to the goblins yet.
  • Pheane watched the bathhouse for the next couple of hours, as did Archimedes. The others were nearby, but not close enough to be spotted. About 11 PM, a pair of cityguards came up to keep an eye on the bathhouse as well, but after a couple of hours, they grew bored and decided to patrol.
  • The halfling approached the door of the bathhouse in time to hear it opening. He saw four goblins emerging from within. Realizing he could not possibly keep pace with them AND move quietly, he opted for speed and was spotted. The goblins quickly surrounded him and began to attempt to beat him into unconsciousness with the pommels of their short swords. When the rest of the party emerged and Pheane was able to fell a goblin in a single blow, the others lost their courage and fled into the night. Seen started to give chase, but quickly fell behind the creatures.
  • The party tied up their latest prisoner and returned with it to the prison triumphantly. When they tried to interrogate the goblin, he was initially talkative, and then seemed to clam up unexpectedly. Chet realized the creature was under some sort of powerful enchantment, and he guessed that the dwarf Orak might also be under such influence.
  • The captain of the guard was abed, and as such the party filed a report with the desk officer and retired for the evening.

25 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • In the morning, upon visiting the town guard barracks, the party discovered that the watch in Cauldron CAN be useful upon occasion. Upon reading the report, Captain Skellerang had ordered the red-eyed dwarf arrested and held pending further investigation into the bathhouse by the adventurers. The bathhouse was wide open.
  • Only one door was actually locked. First, the party searched the office, but found no key within. A locked strongbox was opened by Pheane, but the group decided to leave its contents undisturbed, to the halfling’s chagrin.
  • The locked door was opened after a couple of minutes of fiddling with it, and a stone staircase was revealed which spiraled downwards to reveal filth-stained walls of an underground complex.
  • Chet cast a spell to allow Pheane to see in the darkness, and the halfling scouted the subterranean hallways alone. He discovered a tripwire, which he expertly disabled. Continuing in the direction of the voices that emanated from the east, he discovered a trio of goblins in a small room with the door slightly ajar.
  • A plan was hatched to attack stealthily and take one goblin captive for interrogation. It went MOSTLY according to plan. Two of the goblins were swiftly slain and before the third could squeak its surprise, Seen’s makeshift subdual arrows had rendered it unconscious.
  • The party decided to bring the goblin conscious within the halls, after tying it up, but before gagging it. It awoke howling in pain, but due to quick thinking and convincing intimidation, the goblin called out to its fellows assuring them that it was okay.
  • The goblin was dragged upstairs and into Orak’s office where it was interrogated. It told them that the goblins followed Drakthar, a bugbear wizard who could summon rats, wolves and other creatures to do his bidding and who could also turn into fog. The creature was gagged and left tied up in the office.
  • Once more into the dungeon, the party waded into the fray. Things got a little dicey when nearly a score of goblins poured into the fight from adjacent rooms, but in the end, the party was victorious.
  • Continuing east, the party encountered a rubble filled corridor and a large stone dwarf head. Through a door to the south, they found a small chamber half-filled by a fountain of apparently fresh water.
  • A door to the west of this chamber revealed a stench ridden sleeping chamber with no occupants. A north south hallway to the west (which the party figured connected with one they had passed earlier) was ignored in favor of a door to the south. Another pair of empty chambers were revealed in the south.
  • Pheane was attacked by a pair of flanking goblins as he stepped out into an east-west hallway south of the third chamber. He was overcome by his wounds, but the other party members killed one of the goblins, which caused the second to flee to the west and around a corner to the south. William cast healing magic to bring the halflgin back to consciousness, while the others gave chase.
  • A prolonged battle in the darkened hallways began. The party had to dodge crossbow bolts from unseen opponents as well as a goblin warrior atop a worg mount. They expended every magical and martial resource they had, but the battle was finally won. Figuring they had used up their luck for one day, they retreated to the surface before any reinforcements summoned by the worg’s howl could arrive.

26 Patchwall, 591 CY

  • The party created a flier advertising their need for a warrior. The dwarf who responded called himself Kort the Grey, and he made quite an impression upon Pheane, Chet and William.
  • Thus restaffed, the party went back down below. They explored a few more of the western chambers which all proved to be empty before returning to the rather large cavern which descended to the southwest.
  • A scant fifty or so yards away, the party was attacked from above by goblins with crossbows. Soon after, another warg rider and some goblin ground troops joined the fray. A sound burst from William put an end to the extra ground troops while Kort dealt with the warg and rider.
  • A goblin spellcaster put some fear into the party when he blasted Chet with a scorching ray from invisibility. The aged wizard dropped into unconsciousness and the goblin fled.
  • Chet was revived, and the spellcaster was pursued by Kort after he had dropped the warg and rider.
  • As the dwarf crested the ladder to the area where the spellcaster was holed up, he took a burning hands spell to the face. With his beard scorched and his ire stoked, he made short work of the goblin menace.
  • As the last of the goblins was felled, a low growl emanated from the darkness. Uncertainly, the party turned their attention there as a massive emaciated feral wolf emerged.
  • The wolf bit deeply into William’s flesh, and tripped the young cleric, who crawled behind his allies.
  • When Kort returned from killing the goblin spellcaster, he landed a solid blow on the wolf’s back. It’s thick hide seemed to turn the majority of the stroke, however, and the party got… nervous.
  • That is, until Chet reached once more into his bag of tricks and pulled out a scorching ray of his own. The wolf reacted by transforming into mist, just as they had learned Drakthar was capable of doing.
  • The mist began floating away, and the party gave chase. It led them up a natural stairway, and through a pair of doors before depositing them in a lit room inhabited by a pair of strange adversaries.
  • The man looked human, with white hair, blue tattoos on his face and luxurious robes. The woman had pointed ears, a head shaved except for a topknot, cloven hooves for feet and a halberd.
  • Things got… dicey. William got hit by an acid arrow cast by the tattooed man. Chet was slain by a critical halberd strike. Pheane used a tanglefoot bag to keep the hoofed woman from maneuvering. Kort engaged the enemy mage.
  • William dropped unconscious as the acid arrow continued to burn his flesh, leaving Kort and Pheane alone to deal with the foes. The mage failed to cast another spell because of the dwarf’s dogged pursuit. As a result, Kort dropped him with his next axe blow.
  • Pheane and Kort successfully slew the woman a few seconds later. They quickly took stock, and fed William potions to bring him back around. The cleric cast a detect magic, noticed a lot of glowing items on the bodies of their enemies which he directed the halfling and dwarf to loot. Then the group quickly wrapped up Chet’s body and carried it back to the surface, unmolested by the other denizens.

That is the extent of my summaries. Apparently, I got lazy after that. If you guys want, I will go ahead and post what journal entries I received from old characters. Probably link them from the main page.

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A Day at the Market
Saving Wayward Crusaders From Themselves

2 Readying, 592 CY

The fourth chapter of The Shackled City began with the newly renamed Silver Phoenix Adventuring Company, comprised of Kort the Grey, Asuni, and Flannigaul, meeting an invoker named Xelios Kooper and his lovely cohort Hannelora Nailo, acolyte of Spring.

3 Readying, 592 CY

A shopping foray went awry, and the heroes had to clean up the mess made by a fiendish umber hulk (not to mention confused PCs). That evening, the party received an invitation to a dinner meeting at the Cusp of Sunrise from a dazzling, mysterious beauty calling herself Celeste.

4 Readying, 592 CY

The next day, they made themselves presentable for this upscale private club and were shown right in. A little gaming, a little hobnobbing with Cauldron’s elite, and then a meeting with a cursed dwarf, the father of local legend Zenith Splintershield.

The elder Splintershield wished to hire the party to rescue his son from Bhal-Hamatugn, a kuo-toa city in the Underdark, where he had been kept prisoner for nigh a decade. They agreed to the terms and arranged to set out the next day to find a man who should be able to direct them to an entrance into the Underdark, a hermit known locally as “Crazy Jared.”


Back to Zenith Trajectory

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Road to the Underdark
It Only Gets A Lot Worse

5 Readying, 592 CY

Horses and handlers showed up at the Silver Phoenix house as promised by Celeste. The morning travels were uneventful until just before lunch. Kort spotted a hill giant just before it flung a melon-sized rock at Asuni, missing by inches. The party began to ascend the hill to the giant’s vantage point, but Xelios’ ranged spells drew the creature’s ire. The next two stones slammed into the evoker, who was kept alive by his companion Hannelora.

The ascent was slow, but Kort made it to the top first, striking the giant critically in the muscles of its thigh. The giant battered the axe out of Kort’s hands, so the dwarf keenly switched to his recently acquired punching dagger. Arrows rained on the giant, Flannigaul struck at it with his sword by virtue of one of his few attack spells, and Asuni made it to the top of the ridge just in time for Kort to make the killing blow. Flannigaul looted the giant’s small cave, and the company broke for lunch. Apart from healing the few wounds sustained by the adventurers, the rest of the day’s trip was uneventful.

6 Readying, 592 CY

Shortly after breaking camp and starting along the trail, the party had the horrible misfortune to be spotted by a roc, hunting for its morning meal. The gargantuan bird’s screech split the air seconds before it swooped in, plucking Asuni from his saddle with one of its massive talons. The party sprang into action as quickly as possible, lobbing spells, arrows and everything else at the giant bird. For its part, it seemed content with its catch, and began to fly away, slowly squeezing the life out of the incarnum in its grasp. Frantically, the party continued to launch ranged attacks at the bird, hoping to make it give up its quarry. Asuni tried desperately to shock the creature into releasing him, but the attacks were insufficient, and the party could only watch on in horror as their friend was carried away into the mountains. The party mourned the loss, and Flannigaul began to plot ways to try to recover their friend’s body.

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Into Bhal-Hamatugn
The Phoenix Reborn

13 Readying, 592 CY

After five days of nerve-wracking travel along the mountain path (keeping their eyes locked on the sky for the red dragon’s return) the survivors were relieved to see the walls of Cauldron. Kort and Xelios had spent the trip answering Karamus’ questions about the city, while he tried to describe his hometown, Sigil. After entering the city, Xelios broke off and went straight to the Bluecrater Academy to research hydras, while the other two adventurers stopped by the Silver Phoenix house before heading to the Drunken Morkoth to drink… heavily.

While he was at the library, Xelios ran into Fey Skyfall, a former student, who volunteered to help him with his research. She asked him all about his adventures so far, and he forlornly told her about the loss of Hannelora, and half of the Silver Phoenix Adventuring Company. She inadvertantly reminded the evoker about his legal situation in Cauldron, and after he mentioned that the party intended to recruit more people for another foray into the wilds, she volunteered to post a notice at the school.

For their part, Kort and Karamus went to the Drunken Morkoth, ordered a keg, and started a private party/wake for the dwarf’s lost companions. A young human man named Bransen Jacoby asked to join them and was not rebuffed. Later in the evening, two half-elf members of the Striders of Fharlanghn introduced another human called Alex and his apparent mentor, an elf named Cirudan. One of the Striders, the half-drow Shensen Tesseril handed Kort a pair of magical boots that she said her superior had intended to gift the party long ago for her rescue. Xelios joined the party last of all, after having checked in with the magistrate, who remanded him into the custody of Kort the Grey, until a public defender could be assigned to his case.

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Shrine to the Sea Mother
Wherein Things Get Worse

21 Readying, 592 CY (Continued)

The party searched the areas they’d already fought in and discovered no secret doors or treasure. Going back up the stairs that lead to the eyes of the fish building, they discovered a door in the hallway linking the two “eye” chambers, and within they found an armory. They loaded up with extra spears, a pair of hand crossbows for Karamus and all 200 of the hand crossbow arrows in the armory.

Returning downstairs Karamus took a brief look at the iron portcullis barring the western room, which appeared to be some sort of prison, but with no obvious way to open it from this side the party opted for the center path.

Unfortunately, everyone was crowded into the hallway, so when they opened the door, (to a very large room housing a 70’ statue of a fish woman with pincers for hands) they were in full view of the four armored kuo-toas standing on a platform on the opposite side of the room. These fishmen proceeded to blast the entire party with lightning. Fey and Cirudan’s wolf companion Snarl hit the floor, overcome by their wounds. Karamus quickly shut the door so the party could regroup. Healing wands were used, and Bransen cast protection from electricity on Kort as he and the uninjured Cansin stood alone in the hallway near the doors, preparing to rush forward into the room and charge the spellcasters.

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Shrine to the Sea Mother II
Better Tactics Equals Better Results

21 Readying, 592 CY (Continued)

Trapped between the devil that would not let them back in the city without paying in blood and the murky water, the remaining party members did the only thing they could think of: put their healing wands to vigorous use. Once their injuries were healed, they set their minds to the task of crossing the wide pool. Bransen kept scanning the fog in the hopes of seeing the ferryman again. He hadn’t long to wait. Fey shivered and wept silently, slumped against the steps.

As before, they heard the paddle splashing in the water before they saw the long canoe emerge from the fog. The kuo-toa ceased approaching about 30’ offshore, looked at them quizzically, and began to speak in Undercommon, “Have you seen the dark?”

“Yea, and it made us bleed!” exclaimed Karamus.

The ferryman tilted its head to the side then commented, “You have not seen the dark. You are not ready to return.” With that, it began to turn the canoe back around.

Bransen called out, “Wait!” but the kuo-toa paid him no heed. In frustration, he turned to his last remaining spell. As fate would have it, control water proved very useful. The young man created a wave that flipped the canoe and sent it back towards shore, dumping the ferryman in the water in the process. Kort began wading out to fetch the canoe. As the dwarf drew closer, the ferryman burst from the water and flung its spear at him.

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The Dark Prophet
An Objective Achieved

23 Readying, 592 CY (Continued)

The devil’s body was disposed of, and the party holed up in the armory. Karamus decided to poke around a little more on his own, and left the others to recover from the battle. He made his way to the upper level of the Temple of Blibdoolpoolp, recovered his grappling hook, and listened at the double doors on the south wall. Hearing nothing, he inspected the doors for any traps or locking mechanism. Finding neither, he slowly pushed open the door. The scaly fist that struck out at him from beyond the door came as somewhat of a surprise.

He evaded the ferryman’s attack (for this was the first kuo-toa the party had met), and in one swift move had drawn a rapier and stuck it halfway through the creature’s side. It snarled and swung again, before stepping aside, revealing a second kuo-toa, armed with a spear. It launched the spear, which stuck into Karamus before wrenching itself out of his body and beginning to fly back to its owner’s waiting hand. Karamus could sense that he was outmatched, and began to flee. The kuo-toas gave chase.

Not wanting to lead the fish-men directly back to the party’s hiding place, he dashed for the mouth of the citadel. He tossed his grappling hook up to the right eye-socket and swung out to the side of the stairs, out of the reach of the ferryman, who was hot on his heels. Maddened, the kuo-toa tried to leap out and grab ahold of Karamus on the rope. It must have misjudged the distance, because the jump fell short, and sent the creature plummeting toward the rocks at the bottom of the stairs. Bloodied, the creature picked itself up and took ahold of the knotted rope. Karamus ascended to rest of the distance, pulled himself up into the eye-hole and cut the rope with his dagger, thwarting immediate pursuit. He then rejoined the others in the armory.

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Interlude

25 Readying, 592 CY

Having rested the night to recover spells, Bransen summoned a trio of hippogriffs to carry the party, including White-Eye and Zenith Splintershield, across the underground lake. They continued out of the Underdark passage and exited to the surface at the Pit of Seven Jaws.

27 Readying, 592 CY

The party stopped briefly to share lunch with Crazy Jared and told him of their trials down below. He invited them to stay, but Jarvyk and Ashton were anxious to shed themselves of Zenith Splintershield so they could return to deal with the black dragon and get the component needed to revive the necromancer’s fiancee.

3 Coldeven, 592 CY

About midday, the party returned to Cauldron. Karamus and White Eye went to get the magical loot identified, while the others returned to the Silver Phoenix house for some well deserved rest. Jarvyk got set up in a secluded room for a ceremony he needed to perform. Ashton went to the Bluecrater Academy to see about using their libraries. He discovered that access to the libraries required a 500 gp membership fee after passing a lengthy interview. He was rebuffed, and returned to the house, frustrated. Karamus returned with the loot, which was divided among the party. The remainder was sold to Skie’s Treasury. Kort bathed, and dressed in finery for a meeting at the Cusp of Sunrise. The response he got to his message was that Celeste was indisposed, but Lord Vhalantru would meet with him to settle up and take custody of Zenith Splintershield. The meeting was brief, pleasant, and profitable.

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Dhorlot Defeated

9 Coldeven, 592 CY (Continued)

Karamus entered the now empty hall using his new slippers of spider climbing while the others waited by the door. The cansin spotted a golden incense burner upon the altar, which he swiftly stashed in a sack. The room seemed to contain nothing else of any particular interest.

Karamus noticed a lever on the other side of the closed portcullis, but he had no real way to reach it. They idly considered having Ashton summon another skeleton for the job, but then discarded the idea. Karamus walked along the wall and ceiling until he reached the stairs. Then Jarvyk suggested that he remove the slippers, and put them in a bag with one of the dwarf’s hammers and toss them back so the others could cross as well, completely avoiding the fingerling swarms in the pool of water. This plan met with complete success, depositing the party on the stairs.

At the top of the stairs were a pair of carved stone doors. Karamus donned his goggles of minute seeing and carefully searched the area for traps. Satisfied that there was nothing there, and noting that the doors were unlocked, he opened them boldly. The smell of ozone tipped the cansin off to his mistake and he dropped flat to the floor. As a result, the lightning bolt trap only struck the rest of the party. Healing was applied to the wounded by various means.

Karamus and Ashton entered the next antechamber while the others waited on the stairs. The rogue noticed the trap about six seconds after he and the mage had set it off. Spears crisscrossed the room, flying from either side. Each of the party members was impaled, and Karamus succumbed to the poisoned tip. Ashton retreated back to the stairs for more healing, and when Karamus declared the room to be “safe,” the others warily entered to discuss what to do next.

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The Tax Riot
The Watched Pot Boils Over

Over the next few weeks after returning to Cauldron, the Silver Phoenix Adventuring Company took a well deserved rest. However, the party was not completely idle during their time off. Kort made friends with a watch sergeant by the name of Skylar Krewis. Jarvyk met and discussed theology with Jenya Urikas, the high priestess of Saint Cuthbert. They also discussed her childhood friend Alek Tercival, a paladin of the Cudgel’s faith whom had not been seen in a few months. She expressed concern over his absence, and asked the dwarf to keep an eye out for him. Bransen’s efforts on Ashton’s behalf with the Bluecrater Academy paid off, and the necromancer was accepted as a member (after paying the entrance fee). He marveled at the extensive collection of tomes covering all the subjects he could ever dream of. Karamus kept his own counsel about his actions, but they had something to do with his new hireling, White Eye, formerly a prisoner of Bhal-Hamatugn.

Kort called a company meeting about a week after their return, and they discussed a number of matters related to the organization. It was decided that Kort would remain the leader for the present time, and decisions were also made about how to divide the treasures acquired by the members. But Cauldron had not been idle in the company’s absence, and not all the changes that had been made sat well with everyone in the city…

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