Enter the Dragon

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GM
Karen Dransfield
Level
Bunny/new characters, no more than 3 adventures.
Plane
Orbaal
Mission
The cleaning staff in one of the Guild buildings have come to the Security department as it seems one of the cleaning storage cupboards has become a portal... and they have lost all their cleaning stuff. The Security have had the portal investigated and it seems to be reasonably stable and works both ways... but they are just not sure where it goes. They wish to send a party through the portal to investigate where it comes out and see if they can retrieve the cleaning staff's gear.
Pay
This will depend on the information brought back, but usual standard guild wages.
Party
  1. Tage Fallman fire mage - Mathhew H
  2. Brother Bo namer - Ian H
  3. Ibrihim Al Khalid air mage - Andrew W
  4. Pierre illusionist - Ian A
  5. Tristan - Peter
Venue
Auckland University Campus - America Club
When
Tuesday nights from 7pm till 10pm

Timeline

1 Fruit
At Arondale manor. Arson, Murder, Translators. To Guild.
2 Fruit
Tristan is missing. Find Snake temple, Tristan. Pirate Raid #1; seize cultist.
3 Fruit
Question prisoner. Pirate Raid #2; seize cultist baggage. Backfired/marooned/stormed.
4 Fruit
Walk to Parnas. Healed at Temple. Meet Sheriff.
5 Fruit
Ride to Arondale. Avoid Giant. Guild has released cult priest! Raid Parnas Temple.
6 Fruit
Flummoxed. Ride towards Parnas. Meet Jharn the Badger.
7 Fruit
Find secret temple and secret-secret temple. Become heroes.
8-10 Fruit
Lure main cultist. Kill her.
11-15 Fruit
Ride to another temple, search it, return to Parnas.
16 Fruit
Into hills. Find Jharn cave.
17 Fruit
To Arondale manor. The Baroness is Evil.
18 Fruit
The Seneschal is Evil. We give up on getting paid.

The Missing Cleaning Equipment

EnterTheDragon.png

Detailed Notes

The Set-up

Tage, a pyromaniac, was proclaimed party leader due to actually having been out before, and not being a dirty yellow-bellied pacifist. The other experienced member of our band, Brother Bo, was a great giant of a man, spouting anti-violence, anti-magic, anti-fun, and overflowing with compassion and harmony – he won’t last long. Pierre the Halfling was a short-order pastry cook – he could make food in ten seconds, and consume it as quickly. Finally I, Ibrihim Al Khalid prince of the desert, was a stylish & steadying presence – as the only one with a sword, I was made military leader, and as the slowest, the scribe.

We had been charged with what initially seemed to be a trivial task – but as the layers of meaning were unpicked and sorted, we soon found ourselves in a battle of wits and magic against vast political and elemental forces. We were told that some cleaning equipment had been purloined from a cupboard – hardly the stuff of legends. Some brooms and dusters had gone missing, along with a prototypical amalgam of fire and air that cleansed its surroundings. This was the item they wanted back. They were unclear as to exactly its form or function, making us suspicious about its provenance, despite the guild claiming that a cabal of its own mages were responsible for its existence.

We were escorted to the cleaning cupboard, around which were a number of black-cloaked, sinister figures lounging against the wall, as if it were their poker night. Inside the tidy room was a column of swirling mist and a few motes of dust. It appeared to be protected from our DA, but security assured us it was an inter-dimensional portal. After a few fire-armours and feather-fall spells, we stepped through the portal.

The Diversion

We were immediately confronted with thick, cloying smoke, almost zero visibility, and the sound of encroaching flame; the fire armour prevented us from knowing how hot it was, and so, after vapour breathings were applied, we stormed into the smoke, hoping to break through before we were overwhelmed or struck down by falling beams. However, it appeared that we had appeared amidst the worst of the smoke, and as visibility increased we realised that we were in a large recently-occupied manor house filled with patches and eddies of smoke, with occasional cries of alarm, and sounds of activity from outside. After briefly fortifying ourselves at a heavily-laden dining table, we pressed on to find a means of egress. Soon we found a window, and a courtyard fifty feet below. The last of my energy was used in furnishing the remainder of the party with feather-fall, and I climbed down the sheer stone wall believing myself without any protection; fortunately, one of the backfires had targeted me, and when I slipped, I too gently drifted to the ground.

Outside the house there was a hubbub of activity, with many people running backwards and forwards, organising bucket chains and saving valuables. They ignored us in their panic, and we them, due to their inability to speak a tongue we could comprehend. While Tage started dousing fires through his anti-fire magics, Brother Bo lent me some of his remaining strength, so I could cast a storm-calling. From nowhere a mass of dark clouds raced across the sky, to form directly above us; then the heavens opened, and within minutes the rest of the fires were extinguished. One particular cloud hung several feet above me, like a guardian spirit.

The Body

Pierre meanwhile had worked out that it was safe to enter the manor, and, intent on raising our spirits and flagging enthusiasm, he led us back to the dining room, still piled high with good foods. When we were nearly replete, we heard screams and went to investigate. We ran into some guards leaving the area of the sounds, and they were aggressive and authoritative in their gestures and apparent request to come along quietly. After casually disarming the first one as I pressed past, I urged them to follow us and keep up. We soon arrived in an opulent bedchamber, where a beautiful and well-dressed woman was sprawled weeping over the bleeding body of her master. Bo soon assessed the man was dead, and we started spreading out through the room’s fine furnishing to look for clues. The following guards had rounded up enough courage in numbers to approach us, and insist we stop investigating and accompany them. This was one of the few times that the lack of a common language proved to be no barrier.

The Helpful Local

We were marched down from his Lordship’s bedroom, through the great house, to the courtyard, down at least a mile of gravelled driveway, through ornate iron gates, and along a country lane until we arrived at a guardhouse at the edge of a rustic village. Here we waited while they consulted with various sergeants, until a young, brightly dressed & intelligent-looking man was brought from the village proper. Recognising the risk of a Bard, I addressed him in a dialect of ancient Ellenic, and he shortly cast a magic enabling him to understand such. This left the party able to communicate amongst ourselves without his understanding – something that would prove to be essential while we found our footing over the next few hours.

In my broken Ellenic (I was never a classical scholar), I introduced the party to our translator as professional hunters of the bizarre and dangerous (dragonous?), and explained we were on a quest seeking a fire/air (fire-breathing?) self-animated (living?) cleanser of tiny motes (those beneath contempt?), about a hand-span across, and possibly red and scaled. He must not have been a master of his comprehend language magic, for he appeared confused. It was also explained to him that as mighty investigators of the quasi-normal, we were more ideally suited to investigating the murder than being framed for it. We asked if we could proceed back to the lord’s chambers to continue our perusal of his stuff, in the hope of finding a clue, or at least something interesting, and he passed this request on. To our inward surprise, it was granted. Never doubt the advantage of confidence and momentum – this approach would continue to serve us well.

The Fall Guy

We arrived back in the master chamber with our new-found translator, and proceeded to start examining for clues. The Baron had died of a single stab wound. There was no signs of a forced entry through the shutters, or marks congruent with climbing the sheet stone walls. The guards at the entryway had seen nothing. This left only the possibility of the weeping widow being responsible, or a weird magical attack – we decided not to raise the former with our hosts. When we were running out of ideas how to amuse ourselves with rummaging through the room, and watching the guards trying to work out what we had just spotted, some guards dragged in a skulking spy they had just found.

He claimed to be a fellow guild member, and could describe the hot receptionist, and the awful gruel, so we let our escort know he was one of our people. Tristan was a good-for-nothing younger son of a priest, with no useful skills or redeeming aptitudes, so he fitted straight into the team dynamic. He also didn’t speak Orbaalian, the local language of this plane Orbaal, and his briefing of the guilds closet problem was even scantier than ours. We put him to good use checking behind heavy objects and on top of the armoires.

We Find the Clues ...

Meanwhile, Tage, Bo, and Pierre had all gone off on separate quests. Tage was checking the cause(s) of the spodaric fires strewn throughout the house – there were perhaps a hundred different fires started, and most had not spread beyond a few yards, except when near vast swathes of draperies. Bo was reading Auras related to the fires, and the surviving contents nearby, to find a pattern. Pierre was securing the logistical key points – primarily the kitchen and the cellar beneath it. The summary of their findings was that a fiery spell, of a college other than fire, was used in the master bedroom, but non-colleged fire magicks appeared to be the cause of the rest of the fires. Pierre had determined that the kitchen was relatively undamaged, as was the main cellar, but that there was an under-cellar that was down crudely-cut steps beyond his range of sight.

By this time, the guards had finished sweeping the building, and reported to their mistress that all people were accounted for, and no strangers were found, apart from us. We repeated our story that we came through after the fires were burning, and heard the screaming almost straight away, so it couldn’t have been us. They were still a little suspicious, so to keep them occupied, we told them of our magical findings, and drew a little sketch of a possible suspect. It was supposed to be a salamander, but I messed up the spine, so needed to draw some wings for it, and the picture of a guard being burnt by it (so they would be cautious), may have come out a little small. We also thought that teleportation was a likely candidate for transport, so I drew one of the five-pointed teleport circles with locating runes you see in all the books.

We continued to plan, struggling to gain a grip on the reality of the events. A sample conversation is attached:

  • Tage: The Arsonist might be hiding in the manor.
  • Ibrihim: Let’s burn him out.

... are all Dead Ends

Bereft of any ideas, we search the cellars. The under-cellar is cold and dark and the walls kept closing in. The continual dripping and sliminess of the steps, along with the steadily descending ceiling and the bad air closing our windpipes soon had Tage and me out again. The rest of the party seemed immune to these effects, but also reported finding nothing, apart from a fine cheese that was taken by Pierre as evidence. We convinced the bard to change his spell to understand Common rather than Ellenic, and while he seemed no closer to following our convoluted reasoning, at least he could not understand any of the party with equal facility. We asked if we could speak to the Seneschal over dinner, to report our findings and present possible courses of action – it seemed the right thing to say, and Pierre was getting hungry again. It was arranged that he would be available for breakfast the next morning.

Sweeping the House

Next, we decided to continue with our original mission, which was to search for missing or strange cleaning equipment. With the reluctant help of the guards and an old man with keys, we did raids on several broom cupboards, each time treating the situation as potentially lethal until each individual broom had been checked, it’s handle broken, and the room clean. The old man seemed to get more and more distressed as the number of brooms proved to be non-magical increased – presumably realising the dangerous lottery of our situation. The last broom closet was where we had entered, and was still full of a column of mist. This proved to the guards that we weren’t unduly cautious in our earlier behaviour. Not wishing to spend the night in a foreign, murderous land, we bravely girded our loins, and headed through this mysterious portal, to our escorts’ surprise.

Conspiracies

Back at the guild, we warned the lounging security about possible dragon invasion, and checked that no one except us (and later Tristan) had come through. This made Tristan the likely culprit for the murders, but as he was a Guild Member, we needed to find someone else to pin the blame to. We also needed to know more about the cleaning devise we were searching for – particularly its offensive capabilities and primary drives. This rogue dragon/duster was the other likely cause of the conflagration and murder. Oddly, no one in the guild could find the cabal of binders and elementalists who had constructed or summoned the prototype. We went to the guild pub, and informed the regulars of a possible dragon invasion. I had to spring for a round after that. We left instructions with Guild security to find one of the Cleaning Product Specialists as soon as they could, but they too had no luck. We suspected either an institutional cover-up, or some foul mind-clouding magicks – or both. However, we dutifully raised the alert level from Dragon Invasion to Orange.

The Fall Guy Vanishes

We must have been getting too close. The next morning, when we gathered pre-breakfast for our appointment with the Seneschal, we discovered that Tristan was missing. Security claimed that he had headed back shortly after we all went to bed for the night. It was more likely that he simply knew too much, and was disposed of. Heading back through, no one in Orbaal had seen him – the inter-dimensional cover-up was now all on. We had breakfast with the Seneschal, who assured us that the Baron had no political enemies; there were few mages in the land, and no known evil mages; the Bard was just passing through, and was not a threat; and all his subjects loved and admired the Barons. We were highly conscious of the fact this was all being translated by the Bard, who was (a) the only stranger in the village/manor apart from us; (b) a powerful mage; (c) capable of ensorcelling all the key people; (d) handsome, witty and charming, and spending time with a newly widowed Baroness. He was one of the few people capable of communicating with the Guild off-plane, and controlled all our information.

Clueless

After breakfast, we set about finding a plan:

We have no clues about the
cleaning product we are looking for
reason or source of the murder
whereabouts of Tristan
complexity of the conspiracy in which we are ensnared

Week 3

We smoke out the basement - links to a library, a wardrobe, and a secret basement complex with prisoners, a huge temple, and multiple summoning pentacles. We recover Tristan. We find a diary of a snake cultist. Clues indicate he went downriver to meet someone.

Quick, to the ferry...

Week 4

We whip back to the guild, and get Air Flight. We fly after the barges. They have split, with half stopping at the town of Pannas for an afternoon and the rest heading up a tributary. We aren't allowed to cut the ropes and let the half at the dock drift downstream. Instead we attack the one with the alert passengers, and the guards. Duh!

Rolling Down the River

Ibrihim asked me to help him out with the note taking and I am pleased to help. It is always a pleasure to help out ones fellow traveller through the symphony of life. I Brother Bo would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow adventurers for heading the teachings of the great Jive and not succumbing to needless violence. The events of which I speak occured a couple of days after smoking out the lair of the summoners below the manor. We started by questioning the local priest of the moon god that the locals worship. Seems to be a decent god, just and wise, teaches the people to read and write. He has no memory of teaching any of the people at the manor to read and write as he has only been in in his position for a couple of years. His predecessor moved to the capital. He did help us out with the movements of the barge to the nearest city. It had left on the same day that we arrived. If the diary was correct then our dust eating dragon could well be on the boat with the summoner. With no time to loose we portalled back to the Guild and Ibrihim convinced his tutors at the Air College to give us flying.

We swiftly caught up with the barge at the small town of Pannas further down the river. Many of the barges were tied up on the bank. These contained wood and other trade goods. The main barge had headed up a fork in the river to collect further goods before reconnecting with the other barges and proceeding down river. Ibrihim wanted to raid the tied up barges but as any passengers were probably in the town this was a silly idea. Instead we followed the main barge, and again resisting suggestions that we burn the barges and question anyone that survived, we landed on the empty barge at the rear. I must apologise to Ibrihim and Pierre for dunking them in the river. My approach to the barge was a bit fast. I must get some ranks in flying for the future.

We checked out the passengers on the passenger barge while Tage and the Bard went to the front barge to talk to the captain. While we were waiting for them to sort things out we quickly discovered a suspicious passenger who had recent cast walking unseen. With the guard looking suspicious the man fiddling with a bag under his seat we sent Tristan to find out what was taking Tage so long and took the man away for questioning. I am pleased to say that I was called on to defuse the situation and with the help of Pierre we managed to make our escape with no harm to the two over eager guards who were trying to restrain me with their swords.

We left the suspicious man feather falling from a thousand feet and flew back to the barge. Landing on the front barge we quickly discovered that our companions were under guard. In the confusion caused by our landing on the roof tage made good his escape. With passive negotiation not having been effective we called their bluff and offered to exchange a captured guard for our friends. The Captain didn't care, so we escalated to a fire bolt across the bow from Tage. This got his attention and we all left the scene calmly. Pierre made me invisible so I could recover the suspicious man's bag and we flew off.

I must say I was very disappointed with the suspicious nature of the Captain and his quick resort to violence. He could so easily turned the situation into a brawl and many lives could have been lost. As part of the holy symphony of Jive it is our duty to live in harmony and peace with our fellow travellers. We are each but one note in the grand concerto of life. I am pleased that Ibrihim is seeing the wisdom of our many discussions on the pointlessness of violence. I look forward to many more peaceful encounters with the people of this plane.

Week 5

We take our prisoner back to the manor house and speak to him roughly. The party doesn't believe in persuasion - once they figured out why I wanted the bag of citrus fruit, they stopped me beating him with it. The ineffective questioning session proved to be slightly more of a gloating session. However, we decide he was going to meet with a woman, who we believe is himself shapechanged - but he doesn't know it. His stuff didn't include any cleaning products, or anything else of great interest, so we decide to return to the ferry (via the Guild for S/Wings).

Week 6

This time, we do it right. Middle of the night raid on the tied-up ferry - only the baggage boats were set adrift. The cries of Fire & Pirates were started deliberately, as a distraction, though maybe we shouldn't have used Tage's real name - his rep as a pirate is slowly building...

We find a crate that (apparantly) has the correct destination and is filled with some wierd cult stuff. After searching the baggage boats, we drift them to shore where they can be easily recovered. We are very tired by then. Ibrihim is backfired into continuous Agony, while Pierre's lifeforce is draining, and he goes comatose shortly after we reach land.

The rest of the night involves walking back along the riverbank in the storm, then sheltering in the remanants of a barn. We catch a lift into the town of Pannas by noon. We get Pierre & Ibrihim cured by the friendly Sun Priests at a whacking great big temple.

Week 7

We visit this temple again in the evening. The senior priests are worried by the snake cultist stuff we show them. We get them to send for cult experts from down-river. We also meet the local sheriff. He is worried by our cavalier attitude to the law, violence, and other trivialities. He assigns two guards to travel with us back to Arondale. The next day, we ride back to the manor house on the swiftest horses we can borrow from the sheriff. Small episode with a two headed giant - classic outfox by the bard. Get to the manor house. Pop to the guild. The evil snake cultist prisoner was released by the guild security, to someone disguised as Pierre and a bunch of illusions. We are a little upset. They aren't even sheepish about it. The timing of the release is while we were at the temple, after we left a badly sick Pierre with the Priests. It must be the priests. We get Air flying from the guild, and sweep downriver for a third time. Arrive outside, wreathed in lightning, and kick open the temple door.

Week 8

We secure the vast temple relatively easily. The main entrance is apparantly left clear, but Tage permanently binds the air there. Partway through the rom-by-room sweep, a priest panics, and runs. We split up and corner him in the library, where he has a librarian hostage. We pretend to care, negotiate, and back off while the invis trap is laid. We agree to let him go, if he lets the priest go. He gets almost to the main entrance, then drops the priest and flees - into the bound air and invisible Bo (& Pierre). Prisoner #2. The Sheriff uses proper questioning techniques - the rest of the party go pale. He knows squat, but was with another apprentice, who left a couple of days ago. We return back to Arondale, before our wings run out. We are stuck again. The hounds have found a trail going into the hills, but its a little cold by now.

Week 9

Next afternoon (we need to sleep sometime) we decide to return to Pannas to follow up the apprentice lead some more. We ride south with our guards, then camp overnight. Weird meeting with a badger / dragon / avatar called Jharn.

They had a message contact system with the higher ups. We question the other priests a bit. They know little. We start learning more about their history, and whether Jharn is part of their religion. Apaprantly not – he’s a good-guy trouble maker – wars and changes happen around him and his brethern – foru dragons, including one called Sorn – Jharn and Sorn had a bunch of heores working for them, fighting the shape-shifter snake people. We figure that some of the statues in the main temple don't quite fit with their religion - one matches a hero of Jharn, and one with a possible enemy of his. I tweak the enemy's tail. Click...

Week 10

Recovering the holy relics. Playing at spies with letter drops. Waiting to be ambushed.

Week 11

Ambushed by a snake in a washroom. After many grenadoes and a little chopping, she turns into a naked chick. We reveal our holy destiny to the priests. Some are impressed; most are just annoyed at us. Maybe because they still can't use the main entrance to their temple, until they work out how to remove the permanent bound air we put there for security...

Week 12

Explore the temple north of the river. 2 days travel, 1 day there, exploring, 2 days back. Start traveling back to Arondale. Stay at holy cave.

Week 13

Jharn Vision. Travel back to Arondale via horses. Discover the Baroness is missing. Discover the Baroness is evil. Charge the Seneschal with her retrieval. Sleep. Discover the Seneschal is evil. Discover the Seneschal is missing. Damn. Comfort the servants, return to the Guild.

Loot

Found in the Cellar
  • a wheel of cheese
Found in Miscellaneous Temples
  • Holy Sword
  • Holy Bow
  • Holy Brace of Daggers
  • Wierd dragon statue
  • Snake Cult Sacrificial Daggers
Lent to us from Priests
  • Wand of snake counterspells
  • Healing potions
  • Waters of Healing
Other stuff
  • clothing