Kai S.
Germany
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Drama Llama Roleplaying Society
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Participating Players
DM - Kai
Abe 'Wave' Dover (water genasi druid lvl 2) - Fred
Luther Tideguard (aquatic half-elf sorcerer lvl 2) - Pieter
Sounds of Waves Roaring aka White Noise (tabaxi bard lvl 2) - Freddie

Date played
29 August 2019

Details
The adventurers discuss their options: they feel that their resources are very much depleted by now and therefor are reluctant to go up against a spellcaster and his minions, especially because the smugglers have had ample time to set up an ambush. The other door in the basement, the one labeled ‚Danger‘, on the other hand, might not lead to a horde of undead at all - Derek might have been lying to them and this might actually be the smugglers’ treasure chamber! They decide to check out that door, so they climb down from the attic and carefully make their way back into the basement.

Luther checks the barrier he created in front of the secret door - the one that Derek told them leads to the caves - and he can immediately tell that someone tried to move past the barrier but apparently failed - the barrier has been moved but still blocks passage from the secret door. To prevent the wizard to cast any spells through the barrier, Abe - still in bear form - grabs a blanket and drapes it over the barrier to obscure the large basement area from view.

Then the party turns to the door labeled ‚Danger‘: they can tell from the hinges that it opens outward and is secured by a heavy bar resting in two metal brackets. Abe tastes the air, but the only things he can smell are decay and the acidic hint of chemicals. Judging from the smell, Luther suggests that the dead alchemist’s laboratory might lie behind this door - after all, they haven’t been able to locate it yet. In his opinion, the wooden bar placed in front of the door, on the other hand, indicates that the smugglers wanted to prevent someone, or something, from getting out of that room. He lifts the bar and puts it out aside, with neither of his companions stopping him… and then he waits.

When nothing happens for several seconds, the sorcerer carefully pulls the door open with his Mage Hand. The door screeches on old hinges and slowly swings open, revealing a dark room that is only dimly illuminated via the light coming in from the main area. The corners are filled with shadows, while dirt and debris covers the ground, including several piles of old bones. For now, nothing seems to be moving inside the room. Luther carefully steps inside the southwestern corner of the room - and that’s when the piles of bones slowly start rattling…

Three skeletons start to assemble from the bones on the ground. The adventurers agree that they should be able to deal with these creature easily and move in to attack. The skeletons prove far more resilient than expected though: when fighting them, the party realizes that they seem to have been reinforced somehow - their bones don’t break as easily as regular bones. The undead, at first, fight really awkwardly: their movements are slow and jerky, and one creature even seems to have reassembled incorrectly - evinced by the fact that it can’t hold its weapon properly and drops it occasionally. Because they are quite exhausted though, the adventurers are having far more trouble with destroying the creatures than they initially thought.

After a short while, Luther, having just unleashed yet another Fire Bolt on the skeletons, notices a faint blue light coming from the northeastern corner of the room they’re in. It increases in intensity, outlining the shape of door - a door, that now slowly swings open. Meanwhile, the druid, in bear form, keeps the skeletons busy, but also takes a lot of damage. Then another undead creature joins the fight, when a shape floats through the secret door in the northeastern corner of the room: it is dressed in a robe and a pointy hat, looking very much like an alchemist. The new arrival starts lobbing acid at the adventurers, also focusing on the bear. Identifying the skeletal alchemist as the most dangerous target, the adventurers focus on him - and he cannot withstand their combined efforts, his body finally being incinerated by one of Luther’s spells. The remaining skeletons are quickly dispatched after this.

Abe turns back into human form and the party quickly searches through the remains of the skeletons and their leader: the weapons and armor pieces are rusted and barely usable, but they find several gold tipped rib bones and a undamaged bag that the alchemist left behind - it’s a Bag of Holding. It contains a small river stone inscribed with an arcana symbol. White Noise thinks that this is a Luckstone, even though it seems to have some additional powers.

Next they move into the room the skeletal alchemist emerged from. It is indeed a laboratory, with lots of broken alchemical equipment lying on the ground, which gives off a strong acidic smell, but the room doesn’t seem dangerous. A bench, carrying alchemical powders and apparatuses, runs down the western wall of the lab, while a large table stands at the southern wall. A open book lies on the table next to several golden items, including a skull. The party immediately assumes that the alchemist might have created a philosopher’s stone - maybe he turned these items into gold?

They examine the book first, which looks like the alchemist had been studying it for quite some time - and it, indeed, discusses the creation of a philosopher’s stone! The book, though, proves far to high-brow for the adventurers to understand its contents. Searching for an item that might be a philosopher’s stone brings up two likely candidates: a strangely-shaped item sitting on a tripod and the luckstone they found earlier. Examining the item on the tripod doesn’t go anywhere - touching it with another item doesn’t yield any results and it doesn’t seem to do anything else either. Luther next turns to the golden items on the table, which consist of an apple, a skull, a rose and a set of balance weights, each made of pure gold. White Noise dumps all of these in the Bag of Holding, as well as the book - to the right buyer it might be worth a lot of money.

Further investigation of the table and the bench reveals a hidden drawer, which contains a spellbook that they also take. The alchemical components have mostly gone bad and seem no longer usable, but they might be able to sell the apparatuses. Their attention then turns back to the philosopher’s stone, but they can’t make heads or tails of the item on the tripod - it doesn’t look like anything to them.

The party returns to the main basement area and discusses how to proceed. Luther is reluctant to investigate the mansion any further. He came here to find some treasure and he has accomplished that already - the money they got is sufficient in his opinion. Abe agrees - going up against the remaining smugglers might be far too dangerous and maybe not even worthwhile. He feels that bringing news of the smugglers’ actions back to Saltmarsh might get them a nice reward - and maybe the city council can deal with driving away the smugglers? The others agree and they leave the mansion - White Noise grabs the coat they found on the upper floor, packing it tightly and stuffing it in his backpack.

Outside it’s night already. The party is very reluctant to rest close to the mansion (and Dreadwood) so they consider wandering to the dwarven mine further down the coast. In the end, they decide to head back to Saltmarsh though - it just seems safer to them. It’s a bit of hassle getting through the city gates late at night, but once they’ve managed to get past the guards they crash in a nearby inn.

The next morning the party assembles in the common room of the inn where they discuss how to present their case to the city council. In the end they settle on only telling the council about the smugglers and leaving out the part about the skeletal alchemist (and the treasure they found). The council thanks them for bringing this to their attention and pays them a reward of 100 gold pieces. They will send someone over to the mansion to clear out the smugglers eventually and suggest that the adventurers might be a good fit for that job - but the party, for now, respectfully declines. When another adventuring party investigates the mansion a few days later, they find the caves empty - apparently the smugglers have abandoned the building after their hideout was breached and have set up their operation elsewhere on the coast.

THE END
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