G169: Movin' Millstones

Date: March 13, 2013
DM: Quendalon
PCs: Barnaby Flanders, "Cut" Coutelain, Ja'Tubis, Pritchard de Marais, Roland de Marais
Henchmen: None

Summary

  1. taking the lift, greeting the washerwomen
  2. a small, dingy facility for alchemy, and some surviving reagents
  3. discovering a barbershop on level 4 attended by a barber-golem
  4. destroying a nest of rust-monsters cohabitating with carrion crawlers
  5. finding a room with 6 large, runed millstones (150-200lbs each? more?)
  6. the "Danger" doors resist an attempt at forced entry (wizard locked)
  7. defeating a demon presiding over a bonfire, guarding a jail of imprisoned undead (skeletons and ghouls)
  8. the long process of moving the millstones (pritchard the troll, rope tires)
    1. more ghouls, who paralyze Ja'Tubis
    2. spiking the doors and waiting for his revival
    3. a wight with a magic sword that manages to drain Ja'Tubis before being put down

Working with contractors can be so frustrating: Just as Cut thought he would begin seeing progress on the Hole, he finds his dwarf architect canoodling with Black Dusseldorf over a basket of earthworms. He was so frustrated that he rounded up his compatriots and went to the Chateau.

The Company decided to explore a relatively unknown area of the dungeon's fourth level, in the North. Proceeding down from the lift (and after another uncomfortable negotiation with the laundry golems). They entered the grand hallway nearby. Always eager to check behind an unknown door for valuables, they paused en route to discover a small alchemy lab. They searched it thoroughly, finding no hidden caches or panels in the large stone table that dominated the room. After pocketing the intact jars of reagents as best they could, they made their way down the halls. Nearby, a room revealed overstuffed leather chairs and end tables, troughs with eternally running hot water- a barber shop for wealthy wizards. Rummaging around as is their wont, the party discovered a gleaming, valuable-looking, pearl-handled razor. I mean, this razor- it was obviously treasure. Serious treasure. Sure, you have to work through a middle-man to find the right buyer, but when you do? Cash. Big time. So it was pocketed by Ja'Tubis. While all this is going on, there's a clanking that heralds the arrival of the barber- a kind of awkward golem with razor hands that the party deftly manages not to fight. Well done, right? Treasure: check. Fight with a razor-fisted magical creature avoided: check. Dungeons and Dragons!

Back into the hallway, through a door and around a bend into a smaller hallway. Ja notes what doors the party has investigated, and points to a "new" one. Behind is a smallish room, and at one end is a stack of millstones. They're covered with runes and sigils. Cut looks them over, and determines that there are two different sets. Pritchard uses a wand, and determines that they're magical. But what to do? They're big and heavy, but possibly also fragile (at least as valuable magic artifacts and not graffitied millstones). The party decides to return later.

There's a door nearby marked "danger". Sure, the last time a door was labelled in plain language warning about opening it, a scything blade did a number on Cut Coutelain. But that was the exception that proves the rule: there is clearly a bunch of treasure on the other side of this door. Barnaby tries plantpick the lock, but no good. Using his trademarked "surprise the door" hinge-busting technique, Cut absolutely wallops the door.

CLANG

It must be wizard locked. All right, more doors to the north. What's that one? Who knows, probably not as valuable as Danger! doors, but worth a shot. Behind it, the party finds 3 rust monsters. Panic mode. Cut tries to find a place to lob missiles from; so does Barnaby. Roland puts his faith in his magic shield. Pritchard lets loose with BLOOD LIGHTNING and cooks one, injuring another. Wait, what's that noise? Carrion crawlers. Rust Monsters and Carrion Crawlers. Pants-wetting mode. The last rust monster is killed, Ja'Tubis, Cut and Roland work over the carrion crawlers. Close call. Pritchard uses his infinite daggers to harvest some rust monster parts. The party finds some gemstones in their entrails. The carrion crawler scat has some of the crude silver jewelry the night hobgoblins wear. Wait, what's that noise? The barber is freaking out down the hall. He clanks into the room and accuses the party of theft. Pritchard pretends to cast locate object to mollify it, but it runs out this golem has been around the block a few times. Ja'Tubis actually casts locate object- desperate for something to focus on, he picks goblin loincloths- and makes a show of going back to the barber room. What is he up to, you might wonder? He wants to make friends with this golem, so he figures he'll plant the razor back where we found it, and then claim to have helped him with his mighty spells. Why do we think this friendship is valuable? Ask Umberlee. Anyway, Ja is kind of a klutz, and can't really pull off the sleight of hand. Fortunately the golem doesn't attack. If you're keeping score at home, that means that we went from "treasure, no combat" to "no treasure, no combat", while changing from "suspected thieves" to "incompetent thieves" in the golem's eyes. Dungeons & Dragons!

Right! Now the party is down some treasure, so it's time for another room. The hallway terminates in a door. Pritchard detects the lingering stench of chaos. The rest of the party actually smells burning things and brimstone. The door opens, and there's a bonfire in the center of the room, with a shadowy presence lurking behind it. It hisses and cackles about the delectability of pain and suffering in the old tongue of chaos, just to establish its demonic bona fides. Pritchard reciprocates. But there's a difference in this demon encounter: Ja'Tubis can cast dispel evil. POW! The demon is banished. What game is this?

The demon is guarding a prison where the Ambrevilles would hole up their enemies after consigning them to the horrors of undeath, which seems pretty impractical when you think about the difficulties of underground construction and the space requirements of immortal prisoners. I guess they'd just zap the ones they were tired of periodically- yeah, that's a totally Ambreville thing to do. The party spends some time following Ja'Tubis around while the accursed might of Umberlee calls these damned spirits away from the material world into her service. A dutiful and thorough search of the prisons turns up a smuggled jewelry box- if you want to know, just smell- that contains a single pearl earring.

The party turns its attention to the problem of the millstones. After some debate about how spells work, Pritchard turns himself into a troll and hauls down a stone. Cut carves up some rope, and knots it around the stones making knotty "tires". He and Roland roll one out. The process is fairly labored: Move all the stones to the lift room. Move all the stones to the lift room on the second floor. Move them all to the octagonal room near the base of Alienor's tower. Move them all out. Fetch the carts. At first the biggest problem seems to be some roaming ghouls, but they obviously hadn't heard about the Ja'Tubis show in the prison. To dust you shall return! But on the second trip, an armored wight surprises the party and lands a terrible blow on Ja'Tubis. He is subsequently dispatched, but it really cast a pallor over the whole affair.

The stones are eventually extracted, and brought to the Marais who are interested in them. In a curious turn of events, Blanchfleur actually has cash- she must have made some business contact at the recent feast. Pritchard, Roland and Ja'Tubis head to the City to sell the remaining artifacts. While there, Ja spends a lot of time trying to talk up the Darokinese contingent building a temple in the City. Is he angling for a restoration from them? Only he knows!

Losses and Loot

The party defeated three rust monsters, two carrion crawlers, one hatchling demon, six skeletons, eight ghouls, two shriekers, one wight and four zombie spiders.

There were no PC deaths, but Ja'Tubis was drained by a wight before we destroyed it.

Treasures retrieved included 220gp, a handful of copper and silver coins, several jars of alchemical substances, four gems, a rust monster heart, four rust monster feelers, a spy's earring, two crude silver bracelets, a rustproof sword, a copper tree badge, and six magic millstones.

For monsters defeated, treasures retrieved and taxes paid, each PC gained 681gp and 659xp.


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