Expeeze-online

SCAP Session 1
Game date: March 19th, 2009

The adventure began on a drizzly evening in the streets of Cauldron. The PCs were strangers headed their separate ways when a cry and the sounds of a scuffle in a dark alley grabbed their attention. Three thugs were roughing up a young cleric of St. Cuthbert named Ruphus Laro. The PCs managed to subdue two of the thugs and the third ran away. The thugs were not very cooperative, but they did explain that they were only hired to intimidate Ruphus and warn him to stay away from the Lantern Street Orphanage. They were actually town guards trying to earn some extra money on the side.

After handing over the captured thugs to a guard patrol, the PCs escorted Ruphus to the Church of St Cuthbert. A high priestess there, Jenya Urikas, thanked the PCs for their help and explained that Ruphus was at the orphanage to console the children. Three nights prior, four of the children mysteriously vanished without a trace, and Jenya believes it is related to the other kidnappings that have occurred around Cauldron. Jenya had cast a Divination spell asking the location of the children and only received a cryptic riddle in response. She promised the PCs that the church would reward them 2,500 gold pieces if they could find the children and also gave them each a Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds.

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The riddle from Jenya Urikas

The next morning, the PCs met up at the church and then went to the Lantern Street Orphanage. They questioned the headmistress, Gretchyn Tashykk, about the missing children and inspected the rooms they disappeared from. No possible escape routes were found, and the locks on the doors were found to be of good quality and working properly. Gretchyn carries the only key on her person at all times. She also explained that she routinely has the janitor, a half-orc named Patch, inspect the rooms to make sure that the children can’t get out and cause mischief. She brought Patch up to answer questions and then excused herself as the session came to a close.

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SCAP Session 2
Game date: March 26th, 2009

After questioning Patch and investigating the orphanage further, the PCs decided to find out more about the other townspeople that had disappeared and headed for the Town Guard Barracks. There they spoke with Sergeant Redgreaves, who is in charge of the investigation. He begrudgingly provided a list of all the townsfolk who had disappeared over the last 3 months:

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Armed with the list of victims, they decided to head to the locksmith who made the locks at the orphanage, Keygan Ghelve, to see if the other kidnapping victims had bought locks from him. Rori, Reddur, and Zoon went into the shop and questioned Keygan about his locks, but lacked the money to buy one. Later they returned to the orphanage to ask how they could afford such expensive locks, and Gretchyn Tashykk explained that the head priest at the Church of St. Cuthbert had contributed the money to the orphanage. The rest of the party trailed Keygan as he ate lunch at a cafe and bought a newspaper. Later, Rori returned to the shop and talked his way into Keygan’s workshop under the pretense of wanting to buy a lock for his girlfriend and being interested in their construction.

Still stumped by the riddle from Jenya Urikas, the party decided to split up and gather more information on the missing townspeople and possible entrances to secret tunnels below the city.

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SCAP Session 3
Game date: April 2nd, 2009

After Session 2, the PCs split up to gather more information before meeting up later that day outside Ghelve’s Locks. Rori and Zoon reported that the Bluecrater Academy was a waste of time. They were rebuffed by the snooty members of the Academy and denied access to the library to research the sewers. Caldir and Aion picked up some rumors at the tavern, but nothing useful. Reddur investigated the home of the two women that disappeared and spoke to their landlady. The lock on the door looked similar to one of Keygan Ghelve’s, and the landlady mentioned that she heard one of the missing children is the bastard son of the Lord Mayor Severen Navalant. Riell commented that that would explain some things, and that she hadn’t found an entry to the sewer or any info on Ghelve, except that he’s been dabbling in magic.

Rori decided to press the issue, and entered the locksmith’s shop and began accusing him of involvement in the disappearance of the children. He insisted he had nothing to do with it, but nodded fearfully over his shoulder towards the curtain behind the counter. Rori summoned the rest of the party and they began exploring the rest of the shop while Rori kept Ghelve in the front room. Reddur advanced up the stairs to the second floor balcony and was attacked by a figure that was hiding in the shadows. The rest of the party engaged and quickly defeated the creature. It was a medium-sized humanoid with gray skin that blended in with the walls and blue, pupil-less eyes. It wielded a rapier and carried a crossbow, which Aion retrieved. Reddur scouted the rest of the second floor and found no one else.

Keygan Ghelve collapsed into a chair with relief once he heard that the creature was dead. He explained that he’d been living the last 3 months in fear under constant surveillance. These creatures came up through the secret door under the stairs (which Riell found and opened) from the old gnomish enclave called Jzadirune, which has been empty for 75 years. A magical disease called the Vanishing caused gnomes to fade away, so they abandoned the settlement. Three months ago, some creatures emerged and kidnapped Ghelve’s familiar, a rat named Starbrow. They forced him to make a set of skeleton keys that would open any of his locks in town and began kidnapping people during the nights. Ghelve didn’t know where to turn, and when he finally confided in his friend Elethor Ashstaff, he disappeared the next night.

Ghelve doesn’t know how many of the creatures there are, but there are two types, “tall ones” and “short ones.” The usually come out in groups of 2-3. He gave the party a map of Jzadirune, but can’t remember much about the various rooms. He did warn them that some of the doors are trapped and there are some secret passageways. The party decided to buy provisions and then proceed into the dungeon right away.

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SCAP Session 4
Game date: April 16th, 2009

The PCs descended several flights of dark stairs into Jzadirune and entered a larger room with large copper masks on the walls. As Riell explored the room, one of the masks spoke out:

Welcome to Jzadirune – behold the wonder!
But beware, ye who seek to plunder.
Traps abound and guardians peer
Beyond every portal, behind every gear.

The south side of the room had two round doors, one of which was open, exposing gear teeth around the perimeter. Wary of the warning about “doors with teeth” and the mask’s mention of traps, the group decided not to mess with the door that was closed. They poked their heads through the open door and carefully entered the dusty room beyond.

Two hidden creatures suddenly attacked Zoon as he entered the room, leaving him disabled. Reddur jumped into the room and attacked the creatures while Aion pulled Zoon from the room and Caldir healed him. One of the creatures ran down the eastern tunnel out of sight, and the PCs killed the other one. It had grey skin and blue eyes like the creature that attacked them in the shop.

The PCs tracked the creature that fled through the tunnels and into another room, where an invisible construct attacked Rori. The machine knocked him below zero, but after that it began moving erratically and seemed to be malfunctioning. At that point the internet malfunctioned too, and the session was over…

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SCAP Session 5
Game date: April 23rd, 2009

The fight with the Pulverizer resumed, and it emitted a sonic blast, nearly killing the unconscious Rori. He was pulled to safety and healed while the rest of the PCs whittled away at the well-armored Pulverizer. The construct was finally destroyed, and upon searching the wreckage, Aion found a slim metal rod with a rune on one end.

No one was able to read the rune, so Rori cast Comprehend Languages and determined that it was the letter ‘A’. Before the spell ended, he also read the words “Activate” and “Deactivate” on the side of the smashed Pulverizer, and the letters ‘J’ and ‘A’ on some of the gear doors.

The group decided to rest up and spent an uneventful night on the stairs. The next morning, they headed west and explored a new section of the dungeon. Aion was very keen to head this direction, and his excitement was rewarded when he fell into a pit trap! The complex trap dropped him into a wooden room with spikes on two walls, then pitched to one side, throwing him against the spikes. He managed to avoid being impaled and was pulled to safety with a rope. The session ended there, as the group decided they should be more careful as they explore Jzadirune.

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SCAP Session 6
Game date: April 30th, 2009

[Note: The danger of the pit trap proved to be too much for Caldir. At this point he chose to leave the dungeon and pursue a safer life of service to Corellon Larethian.]

Excitement resumed in Jzadirune as the PCs attempted to cross the pit trap safely. Jamming the lid shut with a piton was ineffective, so they bravely (and clumsily) managed to jump across the pit with a rope stretched across for safety. At the south end of the hallway they found an illusory wall hiding a map room. A large map carved into the south wall matched the layout of the one given to them by Keygan Ghelve.

The PCs moved on to the west and unlocked a door with their ‘A’ key. Inside they found a lever that disabled the pit trap, allowing them to cross it safely next time! A secret door in this room revealed a dusty, boring closet. Moving west and north through the roughly carved tunnels, they emerged into a large room with several flights of stairs. At the far end of the room they saw what turned out to be an illusion of a gnome snoring in a throne. A gnome face on the wall spoke and said, “If you wish an audience with the king, place your finest coin in my mouth.” Riell and Rori both put a gold coin in its mouth, and the coin disappeared.

Riell searched the throne and found a secret compartment containing 77 gold coins and two more door keys. When she opened the compartment, the old gnome mumbled:

Betrayed we are by our own magic,
One by one, we fade away –
Jzadirune’s lost! Oh, how tragic!
We curse the vanishing day.

The PCs used one of the new keys to open the south door and entered a large empty room that appeared to be an abandoned art gallery. Riell discovered another secret door that opened into what looked like a small, empty room. Searching carefully, she found six framed paintings leaning against the wall that could not be seen until they were moved to the gallery room. The paintings looked valuable but were too bulky to carry, so they put them back in the small room, where they disappeared from sight again.

Moving on, the PCs descended the stairs to the east, found another entry to the map room, and continued into a large hall with black marble pillars and flickering lights dancing about the room. Riell spotted an ambush at the entrance to the room, and the group was attacked by a pair of the grey-skinned creatures they have been fighting. Two more of the creatures began firing crossbows from behind the pillars, and one of them managed to drop Riell with a bolt. Rori quickly restored her with his newfound faith in Pelor, and Zoon used his finger-waggling to incapacitate two of the creatures. One of the creatures fled towards the northeast corner of the room and out of sight, and Reddur chased one into a tunnel at the south end of the room.

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SCAP Session 7
Game date: May 28th, 2009

After a brief hiatus, our brave adventurers found themselves back in the lighted hall in Jzadirune. They proceeded to loot the corpses from their last battle and Riell discovered a music box buried in some rubble. After healing everyone up, the PCs decided to find a safe place to rest up.

They headed west and found a small theater that was apparently enchanted with illusions. They watched as some gnomes dressed as animals and faeries acted out the tale of a dryad and ranger in love, and the ranger’s nemesis who tries to destroy the dryad’s sacred tree. After the play ended, the group searched the room and discovered a trap door in the stage floor.

Bravely again, Reddur opened the trap door and spotted a wooden chest in the dusty 3-foot-deep crawlspace under the stage. He jumped down to grab the chest and was immediately snared by a tentacle and choked to unconsciousness. The creature (a choker) then pulled his body under the stage and slammed the trap door shut.

The rest of the PCs sprang into action: Riell and Zoon (ok, mostly Riell) began prying up boards at the end of the stage where the choker dragged Reddur, and Aion and Rori pried open the trap door and blasted it with a Magic Missile. A lengthy battle ensued, as the choker grappled with Aion next, and party members jumped below the stage and began attacking it. Finally Aion landed a blow with his axe on the tentacle around his neck, severing the tentacle and killing the creature. Rori rushed to Reddur’s side and healed him before he completely bled to death.

The search of the chest turned up some useful items, including a spellbook which Zoon happily took. Riell also spotted an old mandolin tucked under the stage. Licking their wounds, the group crept off to a nearby stairway and holed up for the night, sleeping in shifts. The night passed uneventfully. The next morning they resumed exploring and found some secret doors to the prop room for the theater. Aion was spotted tucking a small bear costume into his bag and blushed, explaining it was for his little brother. The PCs then made their way back to the hall with the dancing lights and followed the rough south tunnel from the room. It ended at a small room with a pile of armor and the corpse of what Aion guessed was a carrion crawler.

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SCAP Session 8
Game date: June 4th, 2009

The PCs ventured out of the room with the carrion crawler corpse through the secret door to the north and entered a web-filled room with a pool in the middle. A corpse wrapped in webs dangled from a strand above the pool. Rori rushed up to investigate and was attacked by a medium-sized spider that jumped out of the pool. The rest of the group rushed in and quickly dispatched the spider. Reddur then set fire to the webs, flushing out two small spiders in the process, which were quickly splatted. Reddur searched the cocooned corpse and found a pouch with several gems.

Moving on, the group passed through an old dining room filled with rubble and entered the kitchen, where Riell was ambushed by two small, clumsy creatures wielding daggers. Rori blasted one of them with a Magic Missile, and Aion disemboweled the other with a swing of his guisarme. The PCs inspected the corpses of these new creatures and noted that they were about gnome-sized, with pallid skin, large noses, and hooves, and they were dressed in black cloaks. While searching the room, Reddur was attacked by a collapsing cabinet, but found another door key in the wreckage.

Heading north from the dining room, the PCs found a room that was enchanted to look like a forest. A secret door lead to a hallway with two gear doors that they did not have keys to, so they decided to backtrack to the pool room with the spiders and go north from there. They opened another gear door and discovered a room with a large chest with a cage on top, which contained a rat. The rat appeared to be Keygan Ghelve’s missing familiar, Starbrow. The chest suddenly formed a mouth and spoke in Undercommon, which no one could understand. Rori cast Comprehend Languages and began a one-way conversation with the chest.

Riell found that the chest was interested in gold coins and managed to hand it a coin and grab the rat cage away. The chest became enraged and attacked her, and a long battle ensued, with the PCs playing keep-away with the cage and the chest slamming, grappling, and crushing people with its long arms. Aion also discovered that the chest was very sticky and wound up with both his guisarme and axe stuck to it. The battered chest eventually knocked Riell unconscious and lifted her body above its head, threatening to crush her unless the PCs gave it the rat and dropped their weapons. Aion and Reddur chose to keep fighting, and a well-placed arrow from Reddur finally dropped the chest, which then dropped Riell. Rori rushed to heal Riell, and Aion managed to free himself and his weapons from the chest. Aion continued to hack at the chest with his sword to make sure it was dead, and after a few blows a puddle of dark blood formed around the chest, and the chest slumped and morphed into a mound of flesh with brown skin, a large mouth, and two long arms.

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SCAP Session 9
Game date: June 11th, 2009

After destroying the chest, the PCs chose to rest up and heal. They decided to return to the surface and return Starbrow to Keygan Ghelve. On the way out, they discovered the corpses of two of the grey-skinned creatures with a note pinned to one with a dagger. The note read:

We caught these two skulks heading for the surface. They surely would have killed Keygan on the way out. We took care of them this time, but we can’t always be watching you. Please be more careful in the future. -Striders of Fharlanghn

The note caused some consternation and speculation, but no one knew who the Striders were. They continued up to Keygan’s shop and found the door blocked with a stack of chests, which Riell easily pushed aside. Keygan was thrilled to have Starbrow back, and he explained that a pair of half-elves that claimed to be friends of the group had followed them down, but no one else besides Caldir had passed through the door.

Aion departed suddenly and did not return until the next morning. Reddur also decided to visit the Church of St. Cuthbert and speak to the high priestess, Jenya Urikas. The rest of the group chatted with Keygan and rested up before diving into Jzadirune again. They headed west from the entrance and opened some more doors with their newer keys. They found a room with 3 chests and a lever that appears to control a trap somewhere. In one of the chests, Reddur found a grey bag that he was quite excited about. Moving on, they entered a larger room, and as Reddur stepped in one of the grey-skinned creatures ran for the tunnel on the other side. The session ended with the party about to give chase.

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SCAP Session 10
Game date: June 18th, 2009

After a session without any combat, the PCs did nothing but fight this time. The fleeing skulk led them on a wild game of hide and seek through the tunnels, disappearing, attacking, and running away again. Aion and Reddur wound up in a small room where they were attacked by a floating pile of rags. The rags attacked Reddur and tried to envelop him, but Aion slashed into the fray with his polearm, cutting the rags to… even smaller rags that fell to the floor.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party chased the skulk down and finally killed it, but another rag creature unwrapped itself from the skulk’s body and attacked them. It failed to envelop anyone, and Aion finally ran in and slashed those rags to pieces too.

While exploring the new room, Riell uncovered another one of the pulverizers under a gray sheet. It started to move and began making its shriek attack and swinging away with its heavy arms. Aion was pummeled into unconsciousness and nearly killed, but Rori’s healing spells managed to save him. The pulverizer retreated to a far tunnel, and Riell and Reddur finally shot it to pieces with their bows.

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