The Platinum Ring (3b)

For this week half the party could not make it so I ran with three people then emailed the other three a summary of what happened to them. The story below is the other half of the story.

As you all cross the bridge over the chasm a gigantic creature rushes out of the mushroom forest right at the entire party. It is screaming and you notice over 20 small crossbow bolts sticking in it, as it crashes to the ground, dead.

Running out of the ‘trees’ right behind it is a dozen drow. Ten of them look to be standard guards but their leader is obviously important as you can tell by his fancy armour and clothing. He greets you as his men spread out all pointing handheld crossbows, keeping your party covered. He tells you he is Sor of house Sephiroth, the second house of Holoth. He mistakenly thinks you are mercenaries on your way to joining the first house, Gullion. He offers you to die or assist his house in overthrowing house Gullion as they are causing too much chaos, weakening the Holoth military forces and expanding too quickly. You all agree. They escort you to a small outpost and separate you into two teams of three, as small groups can move more unnoticed. He offers three of you to go into the guard house and wait.

You three remaining are asked to join Sor in his travelling caravan as he is heading into Holoth and can ‘smuggle’ you in as hired mercenaries. As you arrive at one of the city gates you get a very different feeling than when you were entering Embla. The great cavern is not as brightly lit here as Embla and the feeling is not so much of a bustling community but city during times of war. Most every creature is wearing armour, weapons and moving briskly with there heads down as if not wanting to be noticed. Surprisingly Drow, Dwarves, Surface Elves and many other races can be seen in the quick glance around you get while being whisked to house Sephiroth. 

Approch to Holoth
City of Holoth

As you exit the coach you get a good look at the house and grounds, while others live in squaller being one of the most powerful houses give them space, light and luxury most will never know.  Sor lavishes you with drink and food, sets you up in three of the most expensive rooms you have ever been in, the beds alone worth more than many entire inns you have stayed at during your travels. 

The next morning you are called down to discuss the upcoming missions he has for you and explains you will be covert assassins, taking out House Gullion heirs to help cripple their power base so House Sephiroth can lead an uprising to destroy the first house.  The ‘ace in the hole’ Sor has managed to procure is none other than Gal, the youngest son of House Gullion who has been studying his elder siblings to learn their habits and can provide limited support by manipulating the House Sephiroth staff schedule to minimize guards.  

Maroena
Elder Daughter of House Gullion

The first target is the eldest adopted daughter Maroena who was the second eldest of another house but as part of her pact to cripple her own house for Mother Maelora of House Gullion, she gained next in line for House Gullion. This is part of the same deal Gor now has with house Sor. Maroena is a bit of a party animal and this night she is having a soiree in Holoth’s Forest of the Gaoled uses a unique system for restraining high profile and politically valuable prisoners. Rather than just high walls and cells, many of the city’s most troublesome captives are held in the open, encased from the neck down in stalagmites that imprison them in cocoons of moss and fungi-covered stone that magically maintain them without the need for food or water. The columns transfer minerals and vitamins from the flora and rock by slowly and painfully leeching the life force from the victim, the exchange process keeping them physically alive but mentally and spiritually weak.  What better place to celebrate her latest new found lover.

The three adventures head out to make sure they arrive fashionably late hoping the crowd will hide any misgivings given by their presence.  Once there it was easy to blend into the crowd of Drow and others at the party. Siegfried being the bard and all around charmer approaches the hostess to try to get close. As soon as he speaks Maroena screams for someone to “Remove this retched male that dares to speak directly to her and separate him from his tongue while they are at it!” then laughs drunkenly. Siegfried makes a hasty retreat and is spared as the entertainment at the party distract everyone and he is soon forgotten.

Underdark Mushroom Dealer

Siegfried returns to his teammates a little disappointed but his tongue intact. It will be up to Althaea to make contact and arraign for Maroena’s accident. Right from the first eye contact, Althaea could tell she had Maroena’s attention, and that the idea of a female surface elf intrigued her. They talked, drank and danced for hours. Seigfried and Zannan got bored floating around the edge of the party and noticed a man in rather oddly clothes dealing drugs to some of the party goers. They decided to investigate and maybe make a few purchases.

In the meantime, the little diversion that is this soiree has started to wrap up. Singles, couples and multiple numbers all start leaving together. Maroena invites Althaea back to her newest after hours and residents in the Tower of Slave Mistress. A title she bears with much vigour, as the two of them along with Maroena’s entire entourage stumble to the tower, Althaea learns much from the babbling group.

  1. Maroena is just biding time to make a move of taking over the house Gullon.
  2. The matriarch Maelora has made a pact with something, she has been feeding souls in order to gain power.
  3. The entity is from another world and does not want anyone knowing it is on this plane
  4. Maroena has allies in a few minor houses that will assist her when the time is right for various costs (Of course).

When they arrive at this house of pain, Althaea is shocked to see the level of depravity that Drow are willing to go to for information from enemies and to punish the unfaithful. The lower four floors are small cells each containing one prisoner. It is explained that first, they use slave Illithids to find the prisoners’ greatest fear then, recreate it either in the cell or in the poor creature’s mind. Living unescapable torture until the sentence is up or they die. They climbed the central stairs to the fifth floor and the level of extravagance was unbelievable. In a large room gold and gem gilded, everyone flops down on pillows and cushions, nibbling on exotic fruits and drinking to their hearts desires.

Soon after arriving Althaea notices a strange female Half-elf approach both her and Maroena inviting them to Maroena’s, just the three of them. As they leave the main chamber and close the soundproof door Siegfried springs his trap, reviling himself as the female half-elf and Althaea cast silence in the area to prevent most spell casting. Maroena’s head in a moment of clarity actives her ring and a portal opens to Matriarch Maelora.

Matriarch Maelora
Gullion

The Matriarch leaps to her feet and even though the portal 60 feet away the adventures can feel the building of heat from the largest fireball they have ever seen in their lives. Althaea turns to see Maroena dead on the floor and Zannan picking up the body while diving for the stairs down out of this place. Siegfried grabs Althaea’s arm and portals them outside the building, just in time to simultaneously watch the top floor of the building detonate in a monstrous explosion and Zannan run/fly out the front door with flames chasing behind him.

WIth the job done they return to their patron Sor of house Sephiroth to rest up for the next mission as there are still a couple more scions of Gullion to take care of before the final confrontation with Matriarch Maelora Gullion.

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The Platinum Ring (3a)

For this week half the party could not make it so I ran with three people then emailed the other three a summary of what happened to them. The story below is one half of the story the other side will be told soon.

As you all cross the bridge over the chasm a gigantic creature rushes out of the mushroom forest right at the entire party. It is screaming and you notice over 20 small crossbow bolts sticking in it, as it crashes to the ground, dead.

Running out of the ‘trees’ right behind it is a dozen drow. Ten of them look to be standard guards but their leader is obviously important as you can tell by his fancy armour and clothing. He greets you as his men spread out all pointing handheld crossbows, keeping your party covered. He tells you he is Sor of house Sephiroth, the second house of Holoth. He mistakenly thinks you are mercenaries on your way to joining the first house, Gullion. He offers you to die or assist his house in overthrowing house Gullion as they are causing too much chaos, weakening the Holoth military forces and expanding too quickly. You all agree. They escort you to a small outpost and separate you into two teams of three, as small groups can move more unnoticed. 

He comes into the room with the three of you and tells you your target will be Gyloof Eldest Son of House Gullion, Slaver Overseer. He then moves aside the door and 6 guards shoot you with darts and things go black.

Gyloof

Gyloof Eldest Son of House Gullion

The three of you wake up on a pile of dung, soil and mushroom parts. A large bugbear cracks a whip over your heads and orders you to get to work. You are dressed in nothing but a coarsely woven shirt that hangs to your knees. You see other, mostly dwarves in the same state. They are all in the process of moving similar piles of waste to a central furnace. The whip cracks again and you jump to get to work as there is no sun they ‘workday’ is as long as they can keep people working. After what seems like the longest ‘day’ of your life you collapse into the longhouse that is now home, the life of a slave is not to your liking at all. When one of the ‘masters’ come through the house waking everyone and kicking those that do not rise fast enough you see Gyloof himself standing at the doorway with a white hanky over his nose. He orders that the new members be given half rations until they produce as much as the regulars.

Two days go by and you toil at the given tasks, fortunately, you are kept together. Later that working shift you see some new slaves added to the pit you work in and one of them makes an attempt to climb the wall and escape. As he reaches the top of the wall lightning suddenly arcs from the metal fence at the top of the wall and he is cooked, well done, immediately. The Task Master on duty then turns to the other two slaves that were working with the attempted escapist and flick his whip in their direction which produces a fireball reducing both to ash instantly. He made sure everyone knows if you try to run others will also pay with their lives.

At the end of this shift, you are exhausted and want nothing more than to sleep as you all drop to the floor of your longhouse a large figure blocks the light from the doorway. He is a very old and scarred Bugbear, he limps over to the three of you and drops a large sack.

Looking very afraid he whispers to you, ‘When the fireworks start you better be over the wall directly behind here in less than 5 minutes or ZAP! The coach you will see is Gyloof’s.” Then he limps out of the house.

The three of you look at each other, muscles sore from the work you can barely move but reach the sack and find all your equipment, weapons and armour. Valuables included, surprisingly. You start to ready your gear. Before you can act two ‘team members’ grab each of one of there comrades legs, pulling him back from the doorway and cover his mouth, then sit on him until he stops struggling. One of them gives you a half thumb up as you notice all his digits have been shortened by half, either by cutting or worn down from digging with nothing but his former fingers, you do not know.

Suddenly, there is a chain of concussive booms and the dim light from outside is as bright as the noonday sun. You jump to your feet, the rush of adrenaline making you forget the long hours of work and malnourishment for the last few days. The back of the longhouse collapses to the ground revealing a portion for the wall that has devolved into a mud puddle. This is your break, you run out of the house and through the opening in the wall finding yourselves on a road with walls on both sides. The wall behind you starts to return to its former shape and looking back you can see a giant red lava creature attacking the slave compound.

Lava Elemental

As you divert your eyes from the destruction and carnage you notice a small carriage being pulled by two large spiders. Remembering the Bugbear words you assault with everything you got. Frost’s arrows flying take out the driver and one of the spiders within six seconds, while Ponto shapes into Black Bear and with the aid of Rhegnhor’s rage, they both tear the coach apart to find a stunned Gyloof laying on the ground. All three react before Gyloof can move, two arrows sprout from his chest as the bear and Barbarian tear into him causing his spell to misfire and fizzle on his fingertips. He did not have time to scream before he was dead. With the target dead and the slave camps in chaos, the adventures run off into the tunnels they were told would lead them to Holoth and a to rejoin the other half of the Platinum Ring.

You wander through the passages for about an hour following the directions given to Frost when you run into the house Sephiroth escort party that takes you a secret way under the walls and into the city proper. You are lead into a basement and given three rooms with lavish decor, provided food and drink of any kind and amount. Told to rest and recuperate as the rest of your band will be here soon. You finally fall asleep, for how long you do not know. When you wakened and asked to follow the guards upstairs you feel as good as new.

This is the side adventure I emailed the three members that could not attend the last session. This adventure lasted 4 days of game time. Hope you enjoyed reading.