Friday, 6 January 2012

The Shapechangers: Chapter 4

Caerendil, Keemor and the rest of the party (bar KC) meet up and compare notes. The next port of call seems to be Mama Esher's Pastries and Boarding House at the southern extreme of the Thieves quarter. The group arrive at the establishement and Caerendil and Ulric venture inside. They are immediately struck by the smell of flour and baking which is all pervasive. Various dudes joke about setting sparks / flames within a flour infused atmosphere...ha ha ha..but what are the chances?

After a discussion with the owner (Mama Esher presumably?) Caerendil and Ulric go up to Harral Shastri room and give his door a robust knock. Just a minute, a voice from inside. Ulric replies by kicking in the door!

Harral hits the Bard and Ulric with a Fiery Bolt, then follows this up with an Avernian Eruption baking the pair upon burning coals before pulling up his robe and leaping through the window and unto a nearby roof! Undeterred and probably wanting to leave the building by the nearest available exit, Ulric and the Bard quickly follow the Sorcerer out the window and onto the adjoining roof.

The party members outside react to the commotion with Keemor lashing Harral with lightening magic. The warlock in reply skewers the Eladrin mage with an Iron Spike of Dis, a fiery spear of red hot iron which rises from the ground to impale the unsuspecting Keemor deep in his nethers. Ouch. However Harral is quickly cornered (well quicker than the DM had anticipated 8-)) by the party and they proceed to pound the living cr*p outta him.

On the ropes, the foul warlock pulls something from within his robes, points a rod at it and mutters something gutteral. A blast wave of arcane energy explodes outwards from Harral's location. All party members are flung backwards by the searing sorcerous wave.

When they regain their senses, they see that Harral in no more but instead 4 amorphous things are rapidly growing where Harral once stood...these things flop and thrash about as they continue to grow...until the Ettin, the Manticore, the Salamander and the ScytheClaw Drake walk into a Greyhawk bar.

The Party gird their loins for the start of the first real, evenly matched encounter ... good job nobodies blown their best dailies right? 8-). Ulric takes on the Salamander and is sorely pressed (due to his opponents high AC and vicious dual scimitar attacks). The Paladin trades unequals blows with the giant Ettin (probably because he's wearing no armour 8-)) Dirkwood pings and prances around combat hitting the ettin and scytheclaw drake whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Keemor unleash arcane magics at the Scytheclaw Drake whom chases him down and then rakes him pretty good in return. Caerendil from his relatively safe vantage point on the roof interdicts most of the monsters actions with wily psychic magics. It keeps the manticore from double teaming Ulric with the Salamander at any rate.

Eventually the Ettin is ground down by the Paladin, followed in rapid sucession by the Drake (Snake Nibbler proving it's worth) and then finally the Salamander. The Manticore now severely wounded flies away from the City to pastures less violent and more hospitable.

Keemor is the only one severely wounded but a bit of healing sorts him out fast. The remains of Harral Shastri and his room are thoroughly searched, revealing loads more money (bags of gems, and 3 bags of gold). A big wad of invoices are unearthed for payments made from the Guild of Wizardry to the warlock and a company trading in the River Quarter by the name of McGloogan's Import Export Company. Various dudes also pick up the ex warlock's rod and other arcane implements (can't remember whom).

Returning to the River Quarter the party find that McGloogan's Import / Export Company is based in a large warehouse, in a plump spot by the Cargo gate. Caerendil and Ulric the Entrepreneur look at each other and grin. It is also located within the area not paying Protection monies to Dirkwood's Guild and very, very close to the location of the rival thieves guild lair as indicated by KC. The Party are pretty beat up so decide to rest for a couple of hours. Their plan is to check out McGloogan's warehouse in the early morning gloom (around 4am)

Time passes. KC awakens to begin her dicey reconnoiter of the rival thieves guild lair. She dresses as a Nightwatchmen and disguises herself as a man (with obligatory big, bushy beard). After walking to the area she enters the building and makes her introductions. She plies her cover story for being there (i.e a new recruit transferring in from another part of the city) and meeting with no resistence gets to covert work.

Careful checking of the building as well as subtle questioning of nightwatchmen reveals little. It appears in all intent and purposes to be a Nighwatchmen station. All the Nightwatchmen appear to be honest and kosher. Crestfallen she returns home to ponder the situation.

There are two possibilities equally unpalatable. One, her information was wrong (but there were shadowy forms operating in that area before she is sure) or two, someone in Dirkwood's organisation spied her meeting with the halfling and tipped off the rival thieves guild ... who have now moved location.

Returning to her abode she removes her disguise and goes to report her findings to Dirkwood Littlelegs. Remarkably the halfling is still awake at this extremely early hour (3.00am...remind me to tell you about the time that natural 20s go bad) Dirkwood digests the ominous news from KC and then informs her of the events at the pastry shop. With only a few hours before the planned raid KC decides to rest at the warehouse, she is able to snooze which is more than the psyched halfling is able to do 8-)

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