Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Wine Cellars: A quick delve & quicker coin!

 This was a follow-up game to the "A call to Hunt" adventure. this took place on 9/6/21.

Our players were:

Joe P. - Hagar the Sinewy Barbarian & Leonard the Mage.

Steve - Rook the Thief

Sal - El Muerte the Luchador

Two days have passed since the group returned from their jaunt in the Black Crag foothills. We find ourselves in a corner booth at the Dog-n-Bone tavern in Marqest village proper. Hagar, Leonard and Rook are sharing a pitcher of ale.

"You need to learn to pace yourself when carousing." stated Leonard flatly.

Rook slumped back into the booth, his eyes still bloodshot. "I owe Master Blaster a goodly sum for covering me during my excesses."

Hagar leaned in and poured himself another mug, "There are ways to get yourself out of debt, and one of them is within a half days walk."

The hung over thief covered his eyes with his left hand as his right clenched his own mug. "Hmm, I would suppose you mean the ruins of castle Marqest eh?" 

"We do." chimed both the Magic-user and the Barbarian.

Rook took a long swig of ale, wiped his chin and looked the pair in their eyes. "A one-armed warrior told me he had encountered frogs as large as cows up there. I'd just as soon avoid that type of thing!"

 "Well..." started Hagar leaning in towards Rook as Leonard continued. "We have some information ourselves recently gleaned from a very drunk and talkative young Short-beard about a way in. that remains yet mostly undiscovered."

The haggard thief looked at his companions a he finished his drink and then poured another. "Let me guess you'll charge me small fee for this information right, taken from what I can return with?"

The pair sat back in the bench a most offended look on their faces! "Rook! we're practically cousins, I don't charge family!" grumbled Hagar, as Leonard shook his head in the negative.

"No, we will go with you to watch.." the Barbarian elbows the Mage in the ribs, "ouch! And to help as needed of course!" finished Leonard casting a sideways glance at Hagar.

Rook looked deeply into his mug and sighed.. "Alright let's do this, but we keep it between us alone. Agreed?"

Leonard put his hand out flat on the table, followed by Hagar who put his hand atop the Mage's. Rook then placed his atop the other two, "Agreed." they all said in unison.

The next morning a good hour before dawn the trio set out from the village following the path up the coast to the ruins. They took great precaution to leave as quickly and quietly as possible.

Unknown to them a dark figure watched from the woods as the three passed and once they were just out of sight the cloaked figure rose and followed them in the pre-dawn darkness.

About an hour after the sun rose the three men found the secret they sought. They descended below the moor into a handcrafted chamber of stone no more than five by five feet. In the torchlight a natural tunnel disappeared into the darkness and by Leonard's reckoning should take them towards the ruins of the castle. As the men proceeded single file down the passage, their boots became damp and the scent of stagnant sea-water greeted their nostrils.

After about twenty minutes or so the tunnel opened into another small chamber with an iron bound door as the only exit. There was a bit of trash and detritus spread about on the floor. While Rook checked the door for traps and such, the Mage discovered a small tin pie-plate, a mason's hammer, a pouch of dwarven tobacco and a pipe. 

"Would seem our dwarf informant was correct. Their party must have indeed passed this way!" Leonard inspected the pipe and put it away with the pouch for later use.

 A slight scuffing sound caused the trio to turn and look back into the tunnel from whence they had just emerged and they saw a large figure step into their torchlight!

"Uncle!" exclaimed Hagar, loosening his grip on his sword hilt. Leonard and Rook turned to greet the Luchador who was now adorned in a savage cloak stitched from the hides of the Black Goats they had slain on the prior quest. A pair of goat heads acted as shoulder pauldrons from which the cloak hung and the whole item was fastened with a silver chain!

"What foolishness do you three embark upon?" Inquired El Muerte. He stood to his full height now that he had exited the tunnel and sniffed the air... "I scent the odor of evil, Goat to be precise!"

Leonard squinted and pointed at the wrestler's regalia, "Your wearing it aren't you, goat I mean!?"

"Eh, what's that you say el Mago?" the Luchador seemed to pose for the three men as if showing off his newest accoutrement.

In unison all three leaned forward and took in the sight of the Black Goat Cloak, as they complimented El Muerte on his most fearsome look.

Once the luchador was filled in on the scheme to get Rook out of debt, they opened the door and descended a set of rough stone steps down into a dripping puddle filled natural cavern. About another twenty minutes was spent looking around before the group found sign of a secret door in the wall of mid-sized chamber. 

Dungeon cleaner

It was El Muerte that happened upon a hidden iron ring that sprung the secret door so they could enter the dungeon proper. In the dungeon itself the group found a recently secreted trail of iridescent slime that ran between a pair of archways that were their only choices of exploring further. After some experimentation on the part of the Luchador, it was determined that taking the left hand passage was the way to go... they all hoped they were not about to run into what is sometimes referred to as the Dungeon cleaner... and fortunately they did not.  

keeping track of light!

Since arriving at the entry chamber true dungeon crawling had taken over. We were already tracking the torches life span, but now resource management came to the forefront. The Thief even used his lantern when fine work like lock-picking and trap searching actions were done. The party was also aware of time spent below ground as they were wary of the tide coming in and possibly flooding all or parts of the way they came in. No one wanted to be stuck in the dungeon overnight!

Around the midway point of the second hour in the dungeon the party came upon a pair heavy doors opposite each other in a dead end hall. Through ingenuity and Thief skills they were able to open a door to what seemed to be a sort of tomb or burial chamber. Of note was the wooden coffin bound by rusty chains, an assortment of ancient rusted weaponry, tattered banners, a pair of small chests and a rotting tapestry showing a battle between what appeared to be elves and an army of dark figures led by a Bat-winged Helmeted warrior on a black horse. Rook discovered a hidden pit trap just within the chamber by almost falling in it, but his cat-like grace saved him from plummeting into darkness.

Leonard did not let his curiosity get the better of him and retreated to the hall with Hagar, while Rook wrestled with his feelings about robbing the dead. El Muerte was kneeling by the bound coffin attempting to see if anything inside would answer his whispered questions. And the chamber grew considerably colder over the span of a few seconds.

To the surprise of no one, the coffin began to rattle and expand straining the chains around it! Rook grabbed a small chest and made for the exit, while the Luchador pondered whether he could take-on whatever was contained within!!! The upper chain snapped and the wood began to splinter as the wrestler leaped out the doorway which was quickly slammed shut by Hagar and locked by Rook with a silver key they had used to gain entry.

A terrible racket echoed from the chamber and a dreadful sense of chill and terror overtook the party who now turned back the way they had come and ran with great speed back towards the exit!  The thought that the dungeon cleaner may have wound its way back in this direction crossed the minds of all but overwhelming sense of dread and the bone-chilling cold that seemed to be following them spurred the party on to the point of recklessness!!!

Like waking from a terrible nightmare the group exploded from under the ground back into the light of day feeling very lucky to have narrowly avoided what they surmised would have been terribly horrid and soul-crushing deaths. 

Upon returning to the village, Rook discovered he had come away with enough reward to settle his debts, share with his friends & family and live to adventure another day.

THE END.....


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