P.W. the Halfling (1), and his slave Krogo the Fighter
Gutboy Barrellhouse the Cleric (3), his dog Rufus, and his henchman Serlo the Elf
Mongo the Fighter (2), and his henchmen Jimgar the Elf and Leroy Brown the Cleric
The party gathered around the front stoop of Mongo's apartment building, where most of them had been sleeping. Mongo had tossed the lot of them out on the street, disgusted with the mess they were making in his apartment. Thoughts soon turned to adventure, and then just as quickly turned away. Neither Justin the Dwarf or Netal the Elf and their horde of dogs were around, so the party was feeling a little vulnerable. The decision was made to search for henchmen. They looked at their street map, picked the "Street of Industrious Efforts" at random, and headed off to hire some help.
Arriving at the street, they found it was a mixture of factories, warehouses, and tenements. The streets were filled with teamsters unloading carts of goods and soot-covered factory workers. Sadly, as far as the eye could see, the street was barren of drinking establishments brimming with fresh-faced potential henchmen.
P.W. was puzzled by the notion of factories, and decided he needed to see what exactly was being made. He climbed atop Mongo's shoulders, and peered in through one of the lower windows of a nearby brick building. Inside, he saw women and children busy at the sewing machines, manufacturing various textiles. An overseer noticed them, and ran outside to confront them.
Overseer: "You there! What do you think you're doing?"
P.W.: "Mommy! My mommy! I want my mommy!"
Overseer: "Get out of here, you idiots! Or I'll call the Fist!"
The party retreated, and debated their next course of action. Mongo decided he needed a smoking jacket and a book, Gutboy wanted to attend to the booth of his beloved goddess Nisus, and P.W., tired of being rejected by potential henchmen, decided he wanted to purchase a slave.
Mongo headed off to the Bazaar Incomparable, looking purchase a fine smoking jacket. He found a tent filled with the most exquisite clothing he had ever seen, and asked the clerk within if he had a smoking jacket for sale. Presented with a grand specimen, Mongo was informed of the price: 240 gp. Sadly, Mongo was down to 13 gp, and asked for anything in that price range. Disgusted, the clerk pointed him towards a thrift-tent further in the Bazaar.
The thrift-tent proved to be a bonanza for shabby well-used smoking jackets. Presented the choice between a 1 gp jacket with 4 moth-eaten holes, and a 2 gp jacket with only 3 holes, Mongo splurged and treated himself. Feeling quite gentlemanly, he then set off to find a book.
The search was quickly successful, as he found a series of tables covered with books, and an wizened old man wearing a robe covered with strange symbols. Mongo being unable to read, he wasn't sure if they were letters or not.
Mongo: "Mongo want book!"
Shopkeeper: "Yes, yes, we have many books. What secrets are you looking for? I have books revealing the mysteries of the ancients, secrets from before the breaking of the world!"
Mongo: "You not understand. Mongo want book!"
Shopkeeper: "Of course you do. And I have the book. This is the book you want."
The shopkeeper reached under the table, and produced a massive four-inch-thick tome, bound in dusty leather and held shut with an iron lock. He pulled a key from his robes and unlocked the book, showing Mongo the secrets within. There were diagrams, but no easily understood pictures, and it was meaningless gibberish to poor illiterate Mongo.
Shopkeeper: "This book is only 2,800 gp."
Mongo: "Uhhh. Mongo not have money." Mongo then stared sadly at the book, priced so very far out of reach, and started to walk away.
Shopkeeper: "No, wait. This book is meant for you. How much money do you have?"
Mongo (pouring the contents of his pockets on the table): "11 gp"
Shopkeeper (sweeping the money into his hands): "You have bought the book. Take it, it is yours. Muahahahahahahaha."
Mongo, elated, took the book and walked away. As he walked off, he become suspicious - the laugh at the end sounded more evil than jolly.
P.W. surveyed the street map, and decided that he would hit the Street of Tormented Flesh and try to find him a buffoonish slave to obey his every whim. Arriving at the street, he saw men and women in collars, many with tattoos, and many with leashes being held by other men wearing red cloth wrapped over their heads and faces, with only eye holes.
One of the red-hooded men stopped in front of P.W.
Slaver: "Well, little fellow! You looking for a bit of entertainment, are you? Looking for a human, ey? I've got just the thing!"
P.W.: "Oh, you bet I'm looking for a human! Oh yeah!"
Slaver: "You interested in a man or a woman? What thrills you today, sir?"
P.W.: "Oh a man, or a woman. As long as they're big. And dumb. Really strong and brain-damaged."
Slaver: "Well, come with me, come with me. I've got exactly what you're looking for."
P.W. followed the slaver into a nearby building, Zornid's Discount Slaves. The slaver spoke to another red-hooded slaver, and he came back with a shirtless hairy-chested man, jaw hanging slack and tongue lolling about.
Slaver: "This is Silas! Just the thing you're looking for! Only 80 gp."
P.W.: "You need to prove that he's strong!"
Slaver: "Fine, fine. Go get Linkus!"
The other red-hooded slaver went upstairs, and came back leading an enormously fat slave. "Silas, pick up Linkus!" The imbecile-slave easily picked up the fat man, and held him awkwardly in the air for a few minutes.
P.W.: "How do I know he'll be obedient?"
Slaver: "All of our slaves have had at least three months breaking in! Of course they're obedient!"
P.W.: "I'll give you 10 gp now and then the rest when it's proven he's obedient."
Slaver: "Look, I can't just tell him to obey you before you pay. He's too literal. Look, if it'll make you happy, give me 40 gp now, and you order him around a bit, and then give me the other 40 gp."
P.W.: "OK, let's see how he does. Silas, take this short sword..."
Slaver: "What are you doing? Stop that! Are you crazy?"
P.W.: "Well, I need to know if he can fight."
Slaver: "Why did you ask for a pit-fighter if you wanted one? Of course Silas can't fight, look at him."
P.W. dithered on the merits of fighting-men versus easily-manipulated door-openers, but eventually decided to go for the pit-fighter. The slaver led him next door to a bar called The Knocking Head. The slaver walked swiftly through the crowd of red-hooded celebrants, and down the stairs to a stone corridor lined with cells. He stopped at the first one.
Slaver: "What're you looking for? First-stringer? Second-stringer? This here is Krogo, he's a fourth-stringer."
P.W.: "Can he fight?"
Slaver: "Krogo, can you fight?"
Krogo: "No. Go away."
Slaver: "Of course he can fight. He's a pit fighter."
P.W.: "Fine. How much?"
Slaver: "400 gp"
P.W. (outraged): "What? I can't afford that!"
Slaver: "You know what? I like you. I'll let him go for 200 gp."
P.W.: "100 gp and you have a deal"
Slaver: "No, 200 gp"
P.W.: "Fine, fine, I'll give you 125 gp."
Slaver: "No, 200 gp. Look, I'm giving him away at cost. I'll lose money if I go lower!"
P.W.: "All right, I'll do it."
Slaver: "Now, can I get you some accessories? Collar? Leash? Leather mask? Spiked shoulder pauldrons?"
P.W.: "Yeah! Let's do the full get-up! Leather armor too!"
Slaver: "What? Armor? You don't use armor when you're pit-fighting"
P.W.: "You mean that's not leather armor? Never mind then. Wait, I'll take the spiked shoulders."
After ringing up his purchase, P.W. headed over to the Bazaar Incomparable with Krogo on a leash, where he met up with Mongo.
Gutboy headed off to the booth of Nisus. There, he found that the offering tables and bowls were covered with dust. He cleaned everything off briefly, and as he finished a pattern of swirling colors appeared in Nisus's God's Eye.
Nisus: "Gutboy! I am unhappy! Where are my sacrifices? Why have you not been gathering me more followers?"
Gutboy: "What sacrifices?"
Nisus: "Did you flunk out of seminary? I am the Goddess of Things that Crawl Underneath! Sacrifice things that crawl underneath! They are holy to me!"
Gutboy (puzzled): "Really?"
Nisus: "Yes, really! And make them big sacrifices! Bigger than you! Maybe ankhegs, or bulettes! Do this at the Grand Temple!"
The image in the God's Eye faded away, leaving Gutboy despondent and unsure of how to meet this demand.
As he left the booth, he saw Mongo and P.W. approaching, with Krogo on a leash.
P.W.: "Look, I bought a slave!"
P.W.: "Krogo! Dance for me! Dance!"
P.W. (tugging violently on leash): "I said dance!"
Krogo danced half-heartedly, staring at his feet and sighing. Mongo joined in, trying to cheer him up, but to no avail. P.W. was pleased at the obedience, and handed Krogo a few coppers.
Krogo: "What the hell is this for? You're paying me?"
P.W.: "You earned it! Keep it up!"
Krogo once again sighed deeply, and tucked the coppers into his loincloth.
Mongo: "You read book? Mongo have bad feeling about book."
P.W. looked at the lettering, but it was in an unknown language - the letters were unrecognizable. Gutboy was likewise unable to decipher the writing. The party decided that they should head to a temple and see if a priest could figure out if the book was evil. They went to the Grand Temple, and told the attendant they were in a rush, and needed someone who could determine the nature of the book.
Priest: "So, what is this about a book?"
Mongo: "Mongo think book haunted!"
Priest: "You suspect a demonic intrusion in this book? Come, let us consult with Zimarquat"
The priest led them to a small room with a modestly sized God's Eye. Everyone kneeled, and the Priest began intoning his god: "Holy Zimarquat, Mongo has come to you with fears of demons in this tome!" The colored lights appeared in the Eye, and then cleared away to reveal an incredibly handsome green face
Zimarquat: "Thou art wise to seek help, Mongo, for thy book is indeed a tome of evil." The God's Eye then faded to black
Priest: "You have heard the words of Zimarquat. This burden is yours alone, I am afraid."
Mongo: "Mongo not understand."
Priest: "It's your book, you have to do something about it yourself. We don't want that thing around here."
A return to the Bazaar Incomparable was made, and P.W. purchased a suit of splint mail and a battle axe for Krogo. Krogo was puzzled, telling P.W. that armor wasn't allowed in the fighting pits, but P.W. mumbled something vague about it being OK in the pits they were going to. P.W., Gutboy, and Krogo rented a single room at a nearby inn, and they all slept together in the single twin bed, while Mongo retired to his apartment for the evening - he slept poorly though, his dreams filled with visions of dancing letters. Whether an evil portent or just the specter of his own illiteracy, he knew not. In the morning, they departed for the dungeon.
The party quickly sorted out their poorly-drawn map and entered the well-lit upper level of the dungeon. They made their way towards stairs leading further down, passing a group of giant earwigs who twirled in a circle as Gutboy blessed them. In the room before the long stairway down, they surprised four morlocks who were looking down the stairs, spears clutched tightly in their hands.
Gutboy shouted "Morlocks! We have come to parley!" but the morlocks spun around with murder in their eyes. "Mongos! Kill all the mongos!" the morlocks shouted as they charged. Two stabbed at Mongo, who merely laughed at his wounds - but the other two skewered Krogo. He slumped over the ends of their spears, blood running out of his mouth.
Blows were exchanged, and two morlocks were handily slaughtered - and Gutboy used his divine powers to freeze the two survivors in their tracks. Their muscles locked up, they were unable to resist as Gutboy securely tied them.
Gutboy cast a cure light wounds upon the dying slave Krogo, and while Krogo was left unconscious, his wounds sealed and the bleeding stopped. P.W. begged Gutboy to cast another healing spell, but Gutboy was reluctant. Finally, P.W. threatened to abandon the party and drag Krogo back to town himself - this was enough to convince Gutboy to revive the unconscious slave. Groggily, Krogo got up and stared at his miraculously-healed wounds.
Gutboy then dismissed the divine spell holding the morlocks still, and the interrogation began.
Gutboy: "Where's the humans with the tattoos? Where are they?"
Morlock: "Don't know! Don't know!"
Gutboy: "I said tell me! Tell me now! Where'd you take them?"
Morlock: "Don't know! Don't know!"
Gutboy: "That's it, let's kill him..."
Morlock: "No! Wait! I show you things! Show you meat! You like meat?"
Gutboy: "What kind of meat?"
Morlock: "You like goblin meat? Give you goblin meat!"
Gutboy: "Hmmm... you know where goblins are?"
Morlock: "Yes! We take you to goblins! You can have goblins!"
Gutboy: "Ok... we'll do it. What's your name?"
Morlock: "Me Bilibub! You mongos!"
Gutboy: "No, he's Mongo..."
Morlock: "Yes, mongo Mongo!"
This cleared up, they untied the morlock's legs, but kept them on rope leashes, and followed them down the stairs into the deeper levels of the dungeon. The morlocks led them down a familiar route, and once in the long 30' wide alcove-filled corridor, tried to lead the party east down the hall.
P.W. (looking up from his map): "Wait a minute! Do you think we're stupid?"
Morlock: "Oh sorry, mean other way!"
Bilibub then led them west, and through a door on the south side of the long hall. This led to a shorter corridor, and a door on the west wall that the party had not explored yet. Bilibub told them that the goblins were behind that door - the party forced the morlocks to open the door and lead the way.
True to their word, the room beyond the door had seven goblins in it. The goblins rushed the party, and stabbed once again at Mongo, who merely laughed at these new wounds. Serlo chanted arcane words, and a magical slumber descended over the goblins. They were quickly hog-tied, and slapped awake one by one. Several interrogations occurred, using Bilibub as an interpreter, most along these lines:
Gutboy: "What's beyond the north door?"
Goblin: "Treasure! You should take it!"
Gutboy: "What's to the west?"
Goblin: "Orange goo!"
P.W.: "What's to the south?"
Goblin: "Cave! Big cave!"
Gutboy: "Where are the humans?"
Goblin: "Don't know!"
Gutboy: "Where are their heads?"
P.W.: "Where's Bob?"
Goblin: "Heads gone!"
P.W. (chopping off goblin fingers): "Where are they?"
Goblin: "Don't know! Somebody killed us and took the heads!"
Mongo: "Mongo think that was you guys"
Gutboy: "Oh, forgot about that. Where's Bob? With the tattoo on his head?"
Goblin: "Take him down to trade room!"
Gutboy: "What's that mean?"
Bilibub: "I know what trade room is. Very dangerous, is south and down. Painted men, not funny! Not funny! And tiny warlocks! You leave people in trade room, and somebody come trade other people!"
Mongo: "Painted men? What colors?"
Bilibub: "Many colors! Lots of colors! But not funny! Jokes not funny!"
Mongo: "Big red noses?"
Bilibub: "Sometimes! And big feet!"
Gutboy: "Warlocks? And they're tiny?"
Bilibub: "Yes, smaller than him! (pointing at P.W.) Do juju, like you! (pointing at Serlo) Very dangerous, have dead men with knife-eyes!"
P.W.: "We should put the goblins in the trade room"
Bilibub: "No! Very dangerous! We show you safer way! Painted men too close! Our way, you get good meat, huge bug meat, lots good meat! Much safer!"
Gutboy: "Giant bugs?"
Bilibub: "Yes! Very big!"
After several goblin deaths due to insufficiently satisfying answers, the party decided to check out the treasure supposedly to the north. Beyond the door they found a triangular room, with an elongated dome (vaguely like a beehive) in the center of the room. Jabbed into the top of the dome was a golden spike with a ruby attached to its blunt end.
The party suspected a trap, and forced a goblin into the room, with orders to remove the spike and bring it back to them. The goblin hid behind the dome, and shouted "Maybe I take spike and go through secret door!" P.W. entered the room with his bow out, and walked around the dome until he had a clear shot at the goblin. The goblin reached up and yanked the spike, getting a faceful of the green gas that began spewing out of the dome, filling the room.
P.W. immediately ran out and slammed the door shut. The party argued for a bit about how to proceed, and eventually they decided to open the door to see if the gas was gone. Mongo held his breath, and popped the door open - pushing inwards, the door was apparently under some pressure from the buildup of green gas. It instantly filled the room they were in, and everyone ran for the western door, running through and slamming it shut.
The party found themselves on a staircase, leading down to a 20' square room, the floor of which was covered with orange slime. Suspicious, P.W. tossed a torch onto the slime. It instantly flew over and dissolved the bit of wood - the same happened with a crowbar. He then tried pouring some of the green goo he had collected in the emergency generator core during hte last session onto the slime - it turned gray and died where the goo touched the slime. Emboldened, he began throwing more goo and flaming oil at the slime, and eventually burned and poisoned the stuff away.
The party performed some experiments with the poisoned mist beyond the door, holding their breaths, running in, grabbing goblin bodies and dragging them back.. eventually they tired of fooling around and searched this new 20' square room for secret doors. Lo and behold, they found a loose rock in the wall - Mongo poked it with his 10' pole, and a secret door opened.
Beyond was a large empty room, with a tunnel leading north and a door on the east wall. Opening the door to the east, they found a closet filled with shelves of clay pots, and a 4' tall statue of a forlorn looking man staring at his empty hands. Each clay pot was filled with 100 sp. The party gathered up this loot and set out to explore the northern tunnel. This tunnel ended at a dead end, with metal handles set into the wall. Pulling on the handles, they saw that it was the back-side of a secret door - their map indicated the tunnel beyond would lead to a throne room they had explored before.
The party returned to the empty room, and performed a thorough search. Once again the search was rewarded, and they found a bronze amuled cast in the shape of a crow, hanging from a bronze chain, underneath a loose stone in the floor. P.W. claimed it and put it around his neck.
The party then decided it was time to get out of the dungeon - but first, the matter of the golden spike. The gas seemed to have dissipated from the room beyond. A short discussion was held on how exactly they should get the spike.
Gutboy: "I don't know if we can hold our breath long enough to get the spike. Whoever tries it could die."
P.W.: "Let's just send the slave in to do it"
Krogo: "Hey, I'm right here."
P.W.: "So what? You're mine!"
Eventually, Mongo decided to get the spike. He held his breath and ran into the dome-room, grabbing the gold spike from the dead goblin's hand. The party retreated from the gas back down the stairs to the west, and untied the two morlocks.
Gutboy: "So, is there anything you guys would like from the surface?"
Bilibub: "Yes, people! Tasty people you don't like!"
Mongo: "We've people. Landlord people. We bring him back."
Gutboy: "Where can we find you?"
Bilibub: "In big tunnel, you go east, you find us, you meet Chief Gribnel"
Bidding adieu, the party left the morlocks and made their way up through the throne room and towards the stairs leading to the upper section of the dungeon and, eventually, outside. Along the way, they surprised a lone goblin, facing away from them - Mongo swiftly ran up and cleaved the goblin in half - the cut was so clean the goblin had time to turn around before his two halves slid away from each other.
The party camped in the wilderness on the way back to Denethix - on the second watch, P.W. and Krogo were on duty, and saw a red mist arise from the ground around the party. Serlo moaned in his sleep, becoming visibly ill as the halfling and his slave watched. In a panic, they tried to wake the party, but they couldn't be roused. P.W. and Krogo dragged the party members one by one out of the 60' diameter of the mist, but even outside the mist they could not be awoken. After a half hour, the mist disappeared, and P.W. was finally able to wake everyone up. Serlo was not feeling well, but otherwise the party was unharmed.
Returning to Denethix, Gutboy prayed for the divine intuition capable of discerning arcane powers, and was able to discern that the bronze crow amulet was enchanted. The statue and spike were sold, and the loot divided, with the party handing Krogo a half-share as the other henchmen received.
Krogo: "What? You're paying me again?"
Gutboy: "Sure, some day you'll buy your freedom! Stick with us!"
P.W.: "Hey! He's mine! Don't talk to him!"
Finally, the party retired to their various rooms and flophouses. Mongo begged Gutboy to stay in his apartment, as he was terrified of the book doing something evil. The apartment seemed unchanged, and Gutboy settled into the second bedroom...
And there our tales end, until the next session.