Day 25 out of Midhaf (or Last time on The Dispensible Ten...)
Kalid the Paladin tells us that the monastery is the "Monastery of Moradin's Penitence"; and that he is one of the Penitents. It was built as penance for an ancient act (the details of which he does not go into).
We find 1280gp in gems & coin on the corpses as we're cleaning up.
Hrunthernn is given a +2 Magic Holy Symbol in gratitude for his role.
We return to the firetip caverns, collapsing some abandoned mine tunnels on the way.
History of Cragganmore's Disciples
Marilena has lunch with a number of expatriates (8 to be exact) that live in the FTC while we're gone.
"The Great Betrayal" - ancient act that Kalid was referring to. Thousands of years ago, a great temple of Pelor stood where the village of midhaf exists today. An invading empire was approaching from the west, the Dwarves of the FTC were to guard the west flank against the invasion. When the time came, they looked the other way as the invasion force marched through and razed the temple.
In the aftermath, the Orb of Pelor was sundered. Vyxxelcurisk was assigned by Pelor to guard Midhaf and the lands surrounding it.
We met with Capt Oban in the Tavern (he in disguise). He's deeply concerned about an intel leak; apparently the (giants/underworld) has been able to take advantage of shift changes and schedule force shortages in the guard of late. He has information that may be the baddies' headquarters. He gives us a crude map.
The party decides to gather some intelligence as we prepare for the remainder of the day. Marilena and Makani seek out the expatriates to ply them for information. Bruk, Hrunthernn and Kiranth head to Inchgower's shop to see if he knows anything.
At the shop, the party discovers Inchgower cleaning up after what looks like a break-in or some similar shenanigans. He says that the Mob is growing more bold in recent days, and he's none too pleased with it. We enquire if he needs assistance, he shows us the Axe to end all Axes and a box of hands, and our concerns are allayed. Apparently he may have been a paladin or at the very least a paragon-level adventurer in the past. Once again he takes Bruk's Falchion (again "no" is not an acceptable answer), and says come back tomorrow.
Meanwhile Makani and Marilena are meeting with their merchant friends.
Longmoran - head of merchant council - Longmoran Cavern - where Marilena had lunch during the monastery adventure - "Fetid Gift Shop" (? no idea)
4 pass, no fails
Enlightened, and yet less armed, the party meets back up in the marketplace. They share info and head off to the slummy area depicted on the map. Working through the disgusting streets and alleys, they come to a small, stone utilitarian-looking building in the slums. Outside, they watch the comings and goings of shabby looking folk.
The party questions one, who cooperates, and turns out to have one hand. We let him live and flee as we head into the building. I believe we use Kiranth to pick the lock in his special way.
Inside is a 15x15 room, occupying almost the entirety of the small building. Dominating the room is a stone spiral staircase leading downwards. The stairs lead into a 20x20 room which serves no other purpose than to act as a landing, leading to a straight flight of stairs, also leading downward. There are several more utilitarian rooms like this, and more stairs down. Eventually, they open into a much more opulent and decorated room, with a grand staircase leading downward into a long, wide hallway with ornately decorated walls, ending in a large pair of bronze doors.
There are 3 "Things" (constructs) in the hall. 2 of them appear to be large iron dogs; the third looks like a crossbow with (4) legs, which we discover, is called an Arbalester. As the party descends the stairs into the room, we narrowly miss avoiding a trap, and 4 crossbows drop from the walls of the room to start shooting at us. The wall crossbows have mechanical loading and firing mechanisms.
Mechanical fight ("It's like a crossbow, with legs")
Wall crossbows don't shoot at the dwarf. 3 constructs plus 1 crossbow destroyed, 3 crossbows disabled.
Loot: 280gp in misc parts
Double bronze doors lead into another landing which leads to another series of straight stairways leading downwards. This section seems more ancient in its decoration; the walls are intricately carved with many old symbols of Moradin. As the party progresses, the carvings are more and more frequently carved over in rough and primitive writing, desecrating the tales of Moradin's blessings with Vecna-related desecrations.
The desecrations tell of evil death magic, the undead, conspiracy and the keeping of secrets.
More vigilant against the impending evil, the party enters a large, 60x60 room that was once a Moradin chapel in this complex. It has been "converted" through unspeakable desecrations and abuse into a chapel of Vecna. In the center of the back wall is a raised dais, with a descrated altar upon it. To either side of the dais are statues, which may have, at one time been dwarves, but have been so horribly disfigured, they bear little resemblance to the figures they were intended to honor.
Inside the chapel are 6 wretched humanoids, a pair of humanoid skeletons with red, glowing fingers, and a troll. Party takes care of business, searches room.
There is a secret door under one of the statues, leading downwards. Hallway from bottom of stairs leads down a dark passage. Just before a 4-way intersection, there is a pit trap, which we manage to avoid.
Across the intersection, the hall curves around corner to outside of large room. 2 voices can be heard, one male and rough, the other female and haglike. The female voice is urging to flee and tell the others, the male one wants to stand and fight and defeat the invaders. The party sneaks around the corner enough to see the owners of the voices, standing across a table from one another near the center of the room.
"Marissa Shatterkai" is a female humanoid warlock who plays the dulcimer and "Tusk" is a large Orog with dreams of vaudeville.
Makani proceeds to harm the warlock to death.
The Mook pump turns on, the mooks are slightly better versions of the wretched humanoids we've been seeing throughout the slums. Some are armed with a version of the Orc Bolter, others are armed for melee. The party manages to dispatch the orog, leaving the remaining two mooks to flee. Makani dispatches one, and Bruk chases down the other, killing him with a lucky javelin shot.
After a search of the room and surrounding passages, the following loot is recovered. It is surmised that this room was the headquarters for the Vecna cult's operations in the FTC.
Papers on the Table:
The party spends a little time making sure that the cult's been either defeated or chased out, shuts any escape hatches they find, and seals the place up. We head back to the Tavern to conduct out favorite ritual.
On the way we leave a note at the dead drop for Oban: "Scratch one Vecna Cult. Love and Kisses, the Dispensable Ten."
Tormore shows up later at the tavern for a debrief. We tell him all about the adventure, with suitable embellishments and many expansive hand gestures. Perzelle hooks us up with a suite of apartments; we prepay the rent for a year (2gp/month x 12 months = 24gp from party funds).
One of the papers from the desk is a scroll written in Giant.
After a long evening of "debriefing", we move from our room at the Inn to our new digs and get a sound night's sleep, ready for our next adventure.