Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Shapechangers: Chapter 8

Hieronymous Tigana won't leave his lab and indeed has turned several mages and members of Watch sent to apprehend him into toads. Yes you read that right toads!

The Party are asked (told) by Mayor to go get the crazy Alchemist and drag his abnoxious behind to prison for a substantial commission of course.

The Party head to the Guild of Wizardry and once there are lead down underground to the Alchemy lab of Hieronymous Tigana. It doesn't look like much! Arcane equipment, supplies, alchemy gear...pretty dull. The voice of Tigana taunts the newcomers from a side room and sounds quite, quite mad...

Unfortunately the side "room" turns out to be a 4 story structure that is totally out of proportion to its underground locale. There's no way all that could possibly exist a mere 20 feet below ground.

Tigana peers down from level 4. Flights of stairs lead up and onto each level, a large, open area is adjacent to the flights of stairs and contains vast, glass vats of bubbling liquids that stretch upwards into the higher levels. The hum of machinery and arcane powers crackles around the lab.

The Party attempts to cross the open area whilst Tigana pelts them with Alchemical firebombs from above. A few dudes get splash damage.

The quick KC sets off a series of fire traps before the first flight of stairs and then gets assaulted by animated arbalaster machines situated on little platforms on the wall adjacent to the stairs.

Ulric gets busy and takes a Relentless Hammer to one of the bubbling vats, Tigana asks him (maniacally) if he knows whats inside? The Dwarf pays him no mind ... crazy mage.

KC, The Bard, Sir Kelly and Teckcos head up 1st flight of stairs dodging missiles from above.

Ulric finally smashes open one vat and a deluge of liquid (water thankfully) gushes out into the lab. It laps up against the walls before reforming into a fearsome, whirling, raging Water Elemental.

The Party on the 1st floor find a vast, cavernous room extending out into the distance which contains all manner of supplies and alchemic materials and components.

Tekcos spies a foot, then another, bigger than the first, and finally the grotesque form of a mismatched man (who has been stitched together) lying on a table is fully revealed. The Psioncist decides not to take any chances and proceeds to saw through the Flesh Golem's neck with his dagger. Nice 8-)

Ulric and his watery foe duke it out, however the Water Elemental's primary "drowning" power is completely negated by the Dwarf's SeaShimmer cloak (breathe underwater property). Ulric smiles and gives the churning watery thing a good pounding with his relentless hammer ... sonic shockwaves pummel the poor elemental pretty good.

Tekcos continues with his macabre detail, while KC, the Bard and Sir Kelly continue around and onto the 2nd flight of stairs. The team is assailed by more Arbalaster Hommunclus constructs.

More maniacal laughter erupts from above and the fire spout traps on the ground floor roar up once more, the raging inferno forms into a Fire elemental that follows the party up the stairs.

KC continues her route upwards, while the Bard attacks the arbalaster mechanisms. Brother Kelly and Teckcos fight the Fire elemental on stairs 2.

KC steps out onto the 2nd floor, or so she thinks ... a moment of confusion before comprehension, she is back on first floor! Teleporter?

The Fire Elemental burns Brother Kelly and Tekcos pretty good. The Bard pushes 1 arbalaster off it's platform and sends it down to to smash on floor and then moves closer up the stairs towards the Teleporter.

Fire Elemental smashed by KC, Brother Kelly and Teckcos. The Bard susses the Teleporter and it is bypassed. The 2nd Floor contains another Flesh Golem ... very much alive! Golem Ramage!

Ulric batters the Water Elemental into submission and then plods up the stairs to try and help his friends ... the ravaged water elemental reforms after a time and stalks the dwarf's movements from a discreet distance.

KC, Brother Kelly, Teckcos and the Bard feels the size and power of the Golem's mighty rampage! *Pelvic Thrust* HUH! 8-)

Floor 2 is another dimension defying room this time containing a vast library. Tome after tome, shelf after shelf stretch back into infinity.

The Bard minces past the Golem's grasping arms and heads up and onto the 3rd flight of stairs, moveing up he spots a trap door and halts! Just in time as a section of stairs gives way. Phew! 8-)

The feisty Flesh Golem takes big chunks outta KC, Sir Kelly and Tekcos.

Ulric goes up to the second floor followed by the skulking Water Elemental ... Ulric finds himself on the 1st floor again, as does the Water Elemental!! A mighty hit from the relentless hammer returns the conjured creature into harmless drops of H2O.

The Bard notices a weird green aura emanating from the top of fourth floor and the sounds of machinery increasing. He notices that pipes run from the vats to the 4th floor and that 1 particular vat is slowly diminishing. He shouts down to Ulric to go smash that Vat. Ulric doesn't need to be told twice to go smash stationary glass objects. He spits on his hands, grabs his hammer in both hands and gets to work ...

Tekcos runs past the Golem and gets onto the 3rd flight of stairs (just behind the bard and the gap). KC and Sir Kelly retreat back onto the 2nd flight of steps, leaving the Golem to return to it's rest table and back to it's inert state. Hmmm ... if your not physically on the 2nd floor the golem doesn't attack. KC and the Cleric double move through floor 2 and get past the golem and onto Stairs 3.

The Bard jumps the gap on stairs 3 and then runs up onto the landing of floor 3. Tekcos and Sir Kelly blasts some more arbalasters while fit and firm buttocked KC runs, leaps and skips her way up onto the third floor.

Floor 3 is unsurprisingly massive also, a vast labyrinth of bubbling, plopping vats, cauldrons, alchemic "things" and pipes all interconnected and giving off the sounds of active operation. The Bard checks the piping and then starts smashing critical points, KC runs past him and then onto flight of stairs 4.

Meanwhile, Ulric start smashing the vat indicated by the bard ... Booom! ... small crack ... Booom! ... crack gets bigger ... BOOM! ... faults lines begin arching up the vat structure ... liquid drips out ... drip drip onto stone floor ... ssss!! hisss ... ssss!! and starts sizzling and eating it's way through the granite floor. Ulric's bushy eyebrows rise ...

KC on stairs 4 takes no chances and moves slowly, cautiously up the stairs. Checking for mechanical and arcane traps ... sensors on full wide beam alert ... the floor beneath her suddenly disappears! She flails about for any handhold, critically fumbles a saving throw to hang on ... plummets down ... 4 floors ... tries to heroically and acrobatically and vainly to slow her plunge (like all novice Thieves' Guild trainees can do) and possibly reduce some damage ... critically fails again and lands smack bang in the middle of a pool of A C I D forming by the ruptured vat ... you know the one with a large crack running up it ...

The sly sorceress suffers MASSIVE DAMAGE... 8-)

The Bard witnesses KC's plunge and also that the green light has increased in intensity and that Tigana hasn't spoken for some time. He heads to Stairs leading to floor 4 and watches what happens ... a section of the stairs disappears in a smooth interval running all the way up to the landing on fourht floor ... timing the disappearing sections, the Bard reckons he can run behind the disappearing chunks and arrive on floor 4 with ease. He gives it a go ... and suceeds.

Ulric the Mighty is running, running away from the acid, the vat, the lab and all this Thor forsaken magical death trap of a crap place ... he is flat out gone man! 8-)

Sir Kelly seeing the sorceress's rapid descent and subsequent splash down in a growing pool of acid figures that she probably could do with some help and quickly. The noble cleric leaps off the third flight of stairs, in full scale armour, in slow mo and to gasps of astonishment from the viewing audience to save the life of the stricken KC. He plunges down but expertly slows his descent by snagging handholds and arrives on the ground with nay a scratch.

The knight then rushes into the acid pool to lift the stunned form of sorceress out of the danger zone and to safety before kneeling to perform healing on the shattered form of KC. The feisty sorceress heals quick enough and still has a little fight left in her. She rushes back up the stairs once more, followed by the slower cleric.

The Bard and Teckos arrive at the top of the alchemy lab and are faced by 6 arbalasters mechanisms, luckly, these are inert. A strange artifice projects a green beam of light at an arch which forms a shimmering portal ... the machinery up here gives off showers of sparks and plumes of smoke as the portal aperture contracts and dilates at irregular intervals. No sign of the mad alchemist.

The Bard tries to comprehend the apparatus, while Tekcos moves closer to the portal and peers through ... he sees murky buildings beyond. The Bard tinkers with the apparatus and suddenly brings the portal into sharp focus, just as a series of detonations rumble up through the stone floor from level 3.

Tekcos Tik, catlike, steps through the pristine portal and he finds himself in a street. Buildings stretch out in both directions, all gray and well worn. The air smells stale, musty and warm, the sky above is a uniform gray color ... through a gap in the murk he spies more buildings arching up and around the 'sky' ...

What the feck? The Psioncist keeps looking upwards, mouth agape.

The Bard steps through and he looks around quickly to try and get his bearings. He glances at Tekcos and noting the look of amazement and direction of his gaze ... the bard looks up ...

What the feck! ... the pair oblivious to their other surroundings continue to gaze upwards and backwards until they both go too far and topple over!

KC arrives on trembling level four, safely this time, and notice the portal and 2 figures beyond the shimmering aperture. Sticking a tentative hand through divide and suffering no adverse effects the sorceress takes the plunge and step across.

She looks around and immediately notices a pair of massive red feet a short distance before her ... hmm ... that can't be good ... slowly, ever so slowly KC continues looking up and eventually the sorceress gazes into the glowing, red coals that form the eyes of a Balrog!


KC grabs the 2 prone idiots and drags them back through the portal. The Bard and Teckos recover from the reverie and get to work trying to close the portal. They don't need to bother as another set of detonations from below shatters the delicate array of instruments casting the green beam and the aperture slowly shrinks into nothingness.

Through the retreating point the party members watch the Demon walk down the street, from around a corner emerge an group of angelic figures. The Balrog hisses and roars at the quartet while the glowing figures reach for weapons ... after an uneasy standoff the 2 groups walk away without a fight. The portal then blinks out.


Count Ptreides will pay for the Bard renovations on his abode. Ulric gets his warehouse at the docks.

The Bard appropriates a title ... from henceforth he shall be addressed as Lord Caerendil Egremont Beaujolais of Greyhawk.

The Party jointly buy the Nightwatch building across the street from McGloogan's (now Ulric's) warehouse. Partly to be used for Ulric's industrial endevours and partly as a barracks and billet for a small contingent of Knights of Holy Shielding lead by Sir Kelly.

KC buys the Green Dragon Inn.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Shapechangers: Chapter 7

The Lord's Tomb is one of the City of Greyhawk's many burial sites. However located as it is within the High Quarter it is the place to be interred for the high and mighty of the city. New crypts are always being dug here because of the demand.

The party arrive at the location, negotiate themselves past some bored guards and fan out into the complex. Finding nothing of note or suspicion in the first couple of tiers the group descend down to level 3 and to the area rife with builders completing and excavating new tombs.

The builders are initially interested in the new arrivals but soon lose interest as the party inform of their intentions. Several perception rolls are made to determine evil doings within the vicinity with varying degrees of sucess.

Tekcos Tik discovers a series of crates similar to the ones found in McGloogan's warehouse and with further investigation finds a cunningly crafted secret door nearby. The halfling Dirkwood, nose to the ground and sensors on full alert is somewhat less fruitful. He does manage to back himself into a Velunaun Marble statue knocking it over and into more statutes that topple to the ground and shatter into tiny pieces.

The builders are outraged, what the bloody hell do you think your doing! The Bard also verbally lambasts the halfling after remembering the rogue's inclinations to destroy ceramic sculptures (bringing up the olde wound of those priceless urns that Dirkwood destroyed in a fit of childish pique during the campaign Against the Giants many years ago).

The halfling simply shrugs and tells the mob to go get a life and send any bill to the Mayor of Greyhawk. The builders march off in disgust saying they'll take their grievances to the door of the Mayor's Office! (but probably not before grabbing an early lunch and then leching and jeering at passing women).

Anyway, back to that secret door that Tekcos the Brave had found. Before informing the other party members of his discovery, the erstwhile psioncist gives the door a once over looking for anything that might act as an opening mechanism. He suceeds and promptly opens the door.

An immediate wave of arcane energy pulses through his body and expands outwards. The other party members sense this disturbance also and come running to see what Tekcos has done. They converge at his locale to find the secret door standing ajar but knowing that some alarm has been sent to whoever resides within. There is much chastisement!

Passing within the threshold provided by the secret door, the party encounters a series of old musty, moss covered, stairs descending downwards. Why is it always downwards laments the claustrophobic dwarf Ulric Von Himmler. More importantly, interjects the Bard, why is this moss growing here?, where does it get it's nutrients?

Let me answer that question with another question replies the DM...

SHUT UP! 8-)

The party form some semblance of order and descend the stairs in single file. There are a few mishaps, slips, trips, falls during the descent but nothing to warrant more than a sentence of description. The stairs level off and the party then traverse a tunnel that eventually opens out into a vast and musty smelling cavernous tomb. A tomb crisscrossed with a shroud of spider webs. Dense and impenetrable. The boys get to work with fire and burn a path through.

Moving ever onwards through the spidery maze, the party come upon a series of columns, sepulchres and tombs set upon a raised dais. Adjacent to the dais are 2 stone table-like structures and upon one of these lies what looks like the eviscerated remains of a hill giant. A pile of bloody carcasses, which even from this distance are quite clearly human in shape and form, lie nearby the gutted giant. Just before the dias area there appears to a series of pits of unknown depth and crisscrossed with webbing. Roars, rattles and other bestial sounds emerge from within them.

As the party gaze upon the strange macabre scene before them and begin to wonder if they slipped down through some fissure of reality into a Call of Cthulhu session, they spy a lone figure moving furtively towards the butchered giant.

I wonder you that is, states Caerendil. 'Yeah' snort the taciturn Dirkwood in reply. 'Whoever he is he's a dead un' interjects Ulric hefting his hammer, Agreed agrees Sir Kelly unsheathing his sword. 'What is the fool doing?' asks KC in hushed whispers....

There is no expected retort to question from the sixth member of the party. The party turn their heads in unison to stare at the space they've mentally set aside for the figure of Tekcos Tik. He is not there. The party turn their heads back in unison to stare at the distant forlorn figure nearing the bloody table.

Is that who we think it is?

Tekcos Tik, brave undaunted scion of psion (10xp Sukh 8-)) approaches the scene of carnage. He carefully checks the two pits near the table to see if anything horrible resides within ... it does..one pit contains a creature that memory states is a Displacer Beast (chorus of 'Orrrrrr' and intakes of breaths from distant group), the other pit contains a massive gigantic rattlesnake. Tekcos edges away from the pits and towards the bloody table and it's morbid contents.

A green ray of light shoots out from the dais area and smite the lurking Psioncist squarely in the chest. Oof...considerable damage and ongoing poison damage. Teckos is staggered by the blast and scans the area for the origin of the attack. A voice from the dais area rumbles 'Kill the interlopers my pets' and then all hell breaks loose.

2 humanoid, rotting forms rise up from behind stone sepulchres and stagger towards Tekcos Tik. Several big, fat, well fed Blade Spiders descend from the webbed ceiling to attack isolated members of the party (KC & the Bard).

Tekcos recovered somewhat from the initial onslaught, blasts one of the shambling forms with a Telekinetic Punch. The psionic attack crushes the ribcage of the approaching creature and it collapses to the floor. Euphoria is short lived however as from within the creature's shattered body a multitude to tiny spiders emerge and angle towards the stunned psioncist.

A new figure, elven in form (in fact Drow) and clad in dark leathers stands upright upon the dais.

He raises a rod and attacks the psioncist with more arcane magics. Attacked from three sources Tekcos Tik will be hard put to stay amongst the living this day.

Ulric and Sir Kelly seeing the psioncist's predicament rush to his aid (well as fast anyone can rush to anyone's aid when moving at SPEED 5). Running past the pits they are assaulted from above by a vast net of sticky gooey strands of webbing that arrests their forward momentum and leaves the pair immobilsed. A gigantic spider descends from the ceiling and angles towards the trapped pair to begin the feasting!

The fighting ebbs and flows for some time, KC and the Bard (surely the name of a hit 80's TV programme?) tackle the blade spiders in the web maze with a good degree of sucess. Tekcos and Sir Kelly team up to blast both Tomb Spider Swarms to oblivion. Ulric trades meaty blows with the big giant Tomb Spider mama near the pits ... and Dirkwood, well the halfling doesn't sully his blades for some time before finally deciding to leap into the fray to attack the Drow Arachnomancer on the dais...after initially boasting of his unblemished status the stout halfling is soon sorely oppressed 8-)

Sometime during the battle Keemor the mage arrives with the tomb complex but there is little for him to do other that provide good feasting for the remaining Blade Spiders. The isolated mage is soon cornered, attacked and mashed up pretty goooood. 8-)

Bad DM.

Eventually the Drow Arachnomancer is beaten down and killed. Likewise the two spider swarms and after the Tomb Spider mama is dispatched the remaining spiders retreat to the sanctuary of the ceiling leaving the party to search the area unmolested.

All the pits are examined and in addition to the Displacer Beast and the Giant Rattlesnake the party discover other incarcerated beasts, namely a Norker (which Keemor spends some quality time terrorising), a Owlbear (who provided some help during the fight) and a creature that no one can identify and is simply labelled 'Fannyface' (much to it's chagrin).

What to do with these creatures?

And will someone please stop Keemor doing those things to that poor Norker!

Behind the dais is another humaniod body laid out on a stone table. A nearby pedestal holds a weighty tome lying open. Upon examination, the body on the table is revealed to be a unconscious (poisoned) but most definitely alive Elf and the book on the pedestal is found to contain an ancient Ritual of 'Polymorphing'.

Hmmm...the party piece together the many fragments of information within the crypt to gain an insight into the dealings of the 'The Shapechangers' gang.

The quartet of evil doers working in unison, would mug humans or preferably elves within the streets of Greyhawk. The victims probably selected beforehand by Imogen Gillet working under her guise as a barmaid at the Green Dragon Inn.

The gang would then take the unconscious target back to their lair in the Lord's Tomb and using the Ritual of Polymorphing, the Drow Arachnomancer (Clannair Blackshadow) would transform the unfortunate victim into the desired form. Which would then be promptly killed and then harvested for the relevant organic materials.

The bodily remains would be fed to the tomb spiders whilst the useful materials would be picked up by McGloogan after he made his regular deliveries of building supplies to the crypt complex.

He would then ship the materials to the Guild of Wizardry for there use as potion components.

Harral Shastri, the Warlock would then collect the monies for the transaction and distribute it amongst the group. Ingenious! Several party members discuss if the operation is *really* all that bad and wonder if ... the Bard and Sir Kelly say NO!


Ok we've sussed the plot but still no sign of the Viscount.

The party fan out to check every nook and cranny of the underground tomb. A weakened and beaten Viscount Kerner is soon discovered down at the bottom of a deep and narrow oubliette.

He is soon rescued and healed up somewhat by Sir Kelly.

During these travels Ulric comes upon a suspicious looking cocoon suspended from a strand of web high in the ceiling. Sending furtive glances left and right and seeing that the coast is clear, the stout dwarf heft his shield and after a few practice abdomen twists unleashes the disc at the strand holding the cocoon.

The magical shield hurtles through the musty air of the tomb and angles towards the spider strand ... which it misses ... as it's trajectory curves back and towards Ulric, Dirkwood Littlelegs arrives in front of the dwarf to see what the commotion is all about...


Dirkwood Littlelegs is knocked prone by an attack from behind. A clattering beside him reveals Ulric's shiny shield rattling to a halt. The halfling looks at the poker faced dwarf with a suspicious gleam in his eye. Ulric smiles blithely and just shrugs.

The clattering sound alerts more party members whom rush to arrive at the scene and see what Ulric has no doubt found ... eventually someone spies the airborne cocoon. They look back accusingly at the doe eyed Ulric. The dwarf shrugs again before hurling his shield once more and this time snapping the offending strand cleanly. Inside the spidery cocoon is a goodly amount of gold, gems, potions and elixirs (some now smashed!).

The items are divved up in short order. The pit creatures polymorphed back into their original forms and then the party escort these rescued souls together with Viscount Kerner from the confines of this stale and unholy tomb to the bright and god blessed streets of Greyhawk. The party head with the Viscount to the Embassy of Urnst where there is much rejoicing at his homecoming. The Ptreides family are overjoyed, as are the Greyhawk authorities including it's Mayor.

Once rewards have been rightly accorded and the resulting joyous celebrations have died down a bit, the Mayor of Greyhawk Nerof Gasgal take Caerendil to one side and informs him of a small problem down at the Guild of Wizardry that the Bard and his party may be able to help him with...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Shapechangers: Chapter 6

News of Viscount's abduction reaches Brother Kelly in Greyhawk's refugee camps outside the city walls, he decides his friends probably need him about now.

Teckcos Tik rides back to Greyhawk with an urgent communique from Keoland ambassador for the embassy staff. He meets Brother Kelly at the city gates and they head into the city together.

The pair inquire about their friends from a passing Watch patrol and are told of an early morning disturbance in the River Quarter. The party dudes decide to tag along with the patrol and arrive at McGloogan's Warehouse just as the fight inside is reaching it's conclusion.

Several party members want to question the big man McGloogan, who in turn pleads his innocence with the Watch patrol and says the party attacked his premises without provocation.

Your going dowwwnnnn McGloogan you slag! taunts Cearendil. So you might aswell talk! The Party look ready to beat a confession outta McGloogan whilst the Paladin is conveniently sent to 'buy another rug'...

*DM staring into camera*

Only joking 8-)

Baron Quentin stands implacably in front of McGloogan and refuses to sanction any kind of heinous torturing of the captured man. Eventually the Watch patrol take McGloogan away to the City Jail leaving the Party members to conduct through searches inside the warehouse.

Brother Kelly spies a secret trapdoor in the warehouse floor leading to a subterranean secret room (near the body of Keemor by the mound of sundered sacks). The secret room is roughly 30ftx30ft in size and once investigated is found to contain more bags of platinum, 15 crates marked for delivery to the Guild of Wizardry and a stack of ledgers.

The crates are forced open and reveal dismembered body parts! Entrails, sinews, and other such bodily material.. AEUW! Amidst this dissection are many, many jars of a red liquid...which after clerical CSI type analysis is found to be Elf blood.

The stuff in the crates are all components used to make magical potions and the Elf's Blood is a prime ingredient for Potions of Longevity ( the most expensive and most coveted potion around). The insides of the crates also have a thin covering of some fine powdery substance (no, not cocaine, but dry mortar informs the halfling).

The Bard remembers that the shade of Imogen Gullet that appeared in the necromantic ritual was considerably older than the corpse would have suggested.

Several party members do the math and wonder if they can still flog the Elf Blood for cash...what? their dead already and it'll just go to waste. The Paladin, Cleric and Bard remain adamant and say NO!

Arrrrhhhhhh! 8-)

The reams of ledgers suggest deliveries to a certain Bubka, Mage of Exchange at the Guild of Wizardry. The crates are all marked for the attention of Hieronymus Tigana. Keemor the Mage relates that Bubka deals with all magical purchases within the Guild while Tigana is the Guild's Chief Alchemist. He is a small, odious man rarely seen. Spends all his time down in the basement within his Alchemy Lab conducting experiments.

There is however still no sign of the Viscount, so the party retire to the Green Dragon Inn for breakfast and a beer while the Bard and Cleric decipher the ledgers looking for additional clues. Several hours go by.

A runner from the Mayor's Office has a missive for Dirkwood informing that the Beggarmaster has a red hot tip concerning McGloogan. He, Albus 'Gaspar' Shand, Beggarmaster of the City of Greyhawk awaits the pleasure of the party at the Red Serpent Restaurant in the Foreign Quarter to exchange this pertinent infomation.

The Bard and Cleric decide to stay at the Green Dragon to finish off their ledger analysis whilst the rest of the party head to the rendezvous with the Beggarmaster.

The venue is down the main thoroughfare of the River Quarter and is an impressive 3 story building spanning the road.

The Beggarmaster looks the part, dressed in a motley of rags made from a range of expensive materials. He stands awaiting the party with 2 of his cohorts.

Dirkwood exchanges pleasantries before broaching the reason for the visit. Gaspar says he has juicy info concerning McGloogan, notably deliveries made at odd hours to odd places...for a price. Namely a massive slap up meal at the restaurant across the street (The Red Serpent).

The restaurant owners, for want of a better description, are all foreign types judging by their accents (although no one can quite place it, a strange mishmash of Chinese, Welsh, Indian, Irish & Russian) and they don't seem to like Albus 'Gaspar' Shand.

YOU NO COME HERE! bellows one waiter as the party and the Beggarmaster pass thorough the entrance. 'ILLEGAL! I CALL WATCH!' The irate man then spies Dirkwood in the group and he abruptly falls silent.

Dirkwood relates that he and his party (including Gaspar) are here for the finest meal this restaurant has to offer. The Restaurant owners perks up and party are lead to the plushest table in the establishment (one that overlooks the bustling street below).

Gaspar accepts a menu and then orders the most bewildering array of obscure and queer sounding dishes, together with copious selection expensive wines that the party have ever heard. Dirkwood flush with cash from the Warehouse gig begins to sweat. The waiters then ask whether the party wish to eat as well. What kinda food do you do here? asks Ulric tentatively.

Spicy foods from the western lands of Ket, Tusmit and the Plains of the Paynims beyond. Renown for their exotic flavours and fiery heat. Ears perk up...fiery you say? Well Normal, Spicy or Fiery depending on the person's palate.

Ulric looks Dirkwood Littlelegs in the eye and orders a Large Fiery, Dirkwood ripostes by ordering a Large Fiery too and then adds a side order of more Fiery, Teckos familiar with the cuisine and what is to come orders a Spicy whilst the feminine and genteel KC sticks to the normal level of potency.

Ulric tries his first spoonful of Large Fiery and loses a healing surge..bloody hell this is HOT!

Dirkwood tries his first spoonful and nearly sh*ts himself...his tongue spasms uncontrollably within his mouth and his renown iron bowels begin to enter a molten state (he loses 2 healing surges and his Streetwise is -2 for 2 weeks)

Teckcos tries his dish and finds it agreeable (makes Endurance check). No problem. 8-)

KC watching the 2 boys guzzle carafe after carafe of iced water and down goblet after goblet of warm Yak's milk pokes her food around her plate for some time before finally bowing to the inevitable...she consumes her first tiny spoonful....roll Endurance..natural 20!...it's the most delicious heavenly food she's ever tasted! The Sorceress tears into her dish and quickly consumes the repast. She ends by licking the plate clean before taking the tiniest of tiny sips of chilled water to clear her palate.

The boys are agog!, the owners are agog!, what a woman! KC regains 2 healing surges and 10 temporary hit points for the first encounter and the owners will be pleased to serve her for free during any future visits. Result!

KC gives the whimpering boys her most winning smile.

Bloody foreign rubbish snarls Ulric as he forces yet another spoonful of molten lava into his blistered mouth...Endurance check...suceeds by more than 10...although, it does grow on you...Ulric regains 2 healing surges, the use of his legs, 25% discount on future visits and a +2 on Streetwise for 2 weeks.

The bloodshot and waxen looking halfling peers across the culinary battlefield and watches the doughty dwarf slowly but surely demolishing the mound of red dripping meat on his plate as sweat streams down from his brow in steady rivulets...


...I've never prayed to you before..

Dirkwood Littlelegs picks up a spoon and piles all the green things that he'd been pushing to one side of his plate during the meal ... he looks the smiling dwarf in the eye before consuming his spoonful

...crunch crunch munch...


Endurance roll ... roll ... clatter ... natural ... 20! ... you know after the pain there is a most exquisite peace and serenity with this food...the Halfling begins to pick up speed and woofs down the remaining food on his plate ... he finishes with a long draw on his Yak's milk goblet before smacking his lips and giving a contented belch.


(3 healing surges, 20 temp hits, free to eat and +1 permanent to Streetwise)

He's still got it as Ulrich grudgingly accepts that this match is a draw.

The meal concluded it is left to Dirkwood to foot the bill (1000gps!). Albus after making a point of daubing his lips with a napkin then proffers his information.

McGloogan makes a lot of deliveries at odd times. Only last week he was spotted making deliveries of building materials to the Lord's Tomb. That isn't so unusual replies Dirkwood, new crypts are always being dug at the Lord's Tomb all the time, there's always building work going on...

Yes but making deliveries *at* night and not only deliveries but also *taking* similar crates away...

Ok, ponders the halfling, that is unusual...