Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tales of Saltmarsh Towne: Chapter 2--A Mysterious Threat and The Missing Mithril

Standing over the destroyed goblin corpses and mysterious enchanted cauldron of the Io-Rach tribe, the group begins to decide upon their next plans. While Brighid and Amadis are quick to push for flooding the entire cavern complex, the rest of the group shoots this idea down, as they think that it would taint the surrounding water. They decide instead to block off the cavern entrance with the wagons, light them afire, then collapse the cavern entrance.

As the group proceeds to leave, they come upon something they had no found before—three small statuettes, each of which depict a nude, demonic female in a seductive pose. Despite the group’s knowledge and skills, they do not seem to know who the figure is. The statuettes are packed up with their other newly-gained gear, and the group sets out from the cavern. Using a block and tackle that Amadis carried on his mule, the group moves the wagons into position, then light them afire.

With the cavern collapsed behind them, the quintet begins walking down the road to Saltmarsh. It is a swift journey back to the Hool Watch Tower, and the group quickly arrives in Commander Iborian’s office again. While not eating this time, the ranger’s breakfast appears to be newly finished, as it is scattered over his desk, most messily. Brighid quickly sums up the events from the caverns, making particular note of the distorted goblins, the wolf-creature, and the mystic cauldron. Iborian seems to have no knowledge of the creature, but tells the party that he will send a runner to investigate their story. Should their tale be true, they can expect payment from the bursar on the morrow.

While the majority of the group seems to be excited over their newfound wealth, all that Artorius can mutter is his desire for a warm bed, a hot bath, and a good meal. The party drops off Artorius at the Blue Frog, then heads to the Temple of Boccob, a massive pyramid-like structure rumored to deal in ensorcelled weaponry. Brighid, however, heads off to the Merchant’s Guildhall, seeking a new bow. Harvinion, Azumi, and Amadis make their way into the Boccobian Temple, and ask an apprentice to see the temple-master. Shortly thereafter, High Acolyte Mylor Orvid steps forward and inquires as to the party’s business.

Harvinion quickly shows the priest the three statuettes and inquires as to what they might symbolize. Orvid states that he can research the statuettes, but doing so might take some time, as well as a cash donation to the temple. Harvinion forks over the 50 gp.

From there, Azumi draws the dwarven waraxe, asking as to what it might be. Wittily, and with self-satisfaction, Orvid proudly proclaims that it is “An axe. In fact, a dwarven-made one, at that.” Frustrated, Azumi asks what might make it sharper. “A Whetstone, perhaps? Or a grinding wheel with some oil…perhaps you may want to ask your question a bit more…well, bluntly.” From there, Orvid tells her that a spell of magic detection and analysis would cost 75 gp. Azumi pays for this service for the waraxe, and Amadis does the same for the javelin.

Orvid points them to a mediation hall so they can wait out the research time. In the meanwhile, though, Amadis asks if they have anything to sell. It turns out the temple does craft items on site, and also deal in arcane goods for the locals. Azumi asks what they might have in stock. With a wave of his hand, Orvid opens a mystically locked cabinet to reveal the following:
- A ring that bolsters affinity and communication (Ring of Charisma +2)
- A wand that channels necromantic energy (Wand of Ghoul’s Touch)
- A wand that conjures a sticky web (Wand of Web)
- Several weapons that were salvaged from the Ironroot Mountains, including:
- A dwarven urgrosh
- A drow hand crossbow
- A longsword
- A whip.

Harvinion asks, as this last bit, how one might actually ensorcell a whip, to which Orvid replies “With magics of the most dire import…”

Amadis inquires as to the possibility of commissioning a bastard sword, but the cost and time constraint seem to be out of his league, at least for the time being. As they speak, up runs apprentice Bob, calling out, “Master Mylar, we finished with the axe and javelin!” Both weapons seem to only hold minor enchantments (+1), but are worth a fair amount to the right buyer.

The party conferences quickly, to decide what to do with the items. Amadis offers the suggestion that the weapons could be traded for a commissioned bastard sword, but the offer is quickly shot down by a calm, quieting voice from the far side of the meditation chamber. “If you split the wealth amongst your group, you may all be able to benefit, rather than simply one.”

A lithe man rises from where he was, rather irritatedly, attempting to meditate. He further suggests that such a discussion might be better placed over a meal at a nearby tavern. Mylor smiles at the monk, and tells the party, “"It is rare that I do such a thing, but if you were to sell both items as a set, I could give you a slightly greater amount for the items sold. Perhaps…3,000 sovereigns?”

The party accepts the offer and sells the items. Harvinion hands the monk, named Daishar, a gp for his helpful idea. Daishar quickly drops the piece in the Boccobian offertory box, and Mylor speaks to him quickly thereafter: “Daishar, it is of my belief that you may be able to offer some great wisdom to this group. Accompanying them may aid the final steps of your training. Why don’t you go with them?”

Daishar agrees, and Amadis immediately begins telling the young monk about the great battles the group will soon embark upon. While describing the group's recent exploits, Amadis describes the cauldron used by the goblins to morph one another into abominations. At this, Mylor perks up, asking if the cauldron included the symbol of a copper scourge. The group affirms this, and he scurries off to begin his research. It appears that there may be some connection.

The group then splits up, with Brighid heading towards the Merchants' Guildhall, while Amadis, Harvinion, Daishar and Amadis head towards Saltmarsh's renowned School of Blades, a two story brick building with a substantial courtyard out front.

Within the courtyard, two pairs of warriors square off--a human facing a half-elf, each with a rapier, and a rapier-wielding human facing a gnome wielding a gnomish quickblade. Watching the pairs and snapping commands at the fencers is a lanky man wearing a well-tooled sword-belt and an impressive doublet. The instructor turns to the party and introduces himself as Daryn Larsken, master of the School of Blades.

Amadis chats with the man for a moment, but Daryn seems skeptical of Amadis' adventures, particularly due to the state of Amadis' sword. Daryn even goes so far as to dismiss Amadis' skill as a swordsman, which does little to endear him to the knight-errant.

Daryn dismisses two of the students, but tells the other two to keep working. He then invites the party in to browse his collection. Amadis continues to brag, however, and Daryn begins to question aloud whether he should truly sell this man a sharpened blade. Regardless, Amadis admires a well-oiled blade handed to him by Daryn, but then swiftly draws the sword and leaps out of the nearby window, shrieking "Danger is afoot!"

Stunned, Larsken and the rest of the party run swiftly down the stairs and after Amadis, who seems to be chasing down a local farmer, who is attempting to buy fruit. Daryn screams after Amadis, "By all the Nine Hells, man, what are you doing? That sword is mine!" Amadis claims that the man, Jerimiah by name, is in danger, though Jerimiah seems to be more confused by Amadis' actions than anything else. He walks swiftly away, and fades into the crowd.

Exasperated, Daryn asks for payment for the blade, but Amadis seeks to bargain down the 400 gold crown price, by throwing in his old blade. Daryn tosses down the blade in disgust, saying that it is "not much more than a can opener." Sputtering, Amadis retorts that the blade has "at least opened the cans of half a dozen goblins" and that the master has "dishonored my sword."

Daryn looks the man straight in the eye and says, "Do you know to whom you speak? I am the fencing champion of the Free City of Greyhawk twice over!" Amadis attempts to retort, but Harvinion cuts him off by offering to pay for the master's broken window. Amadis cools down, pays Daryn the requested fee, and the group leaves.

In the meanwhile, Brighid scours the area for a bowyer. She finds a stall near the Merchant's Guildhouse with a fine sign drawn up in Elvish, labeled Jathalain's Bowyery. Inside, a long-eared, soft-spoken elf asks the young warrior if he can offer some help. Brighid shows Jathalian her bow, which he promptly examines, telling her that she needs a new bowstring--hers has frayed. He quickly reaches to his leather bracers, plucks off a newer string, then re-strings her bow.

Jathalain then pulls down a fine recurve bow, made of red maplewood with a fine bronze inlay. He then aids Brighid in demonstrating the pull. Brighid makes mention of the fact that she is not a seasoned archer yet, though Jathalian seems more than willing to give some lessons.

In the end, things come down to the price, which is none for the faint of heart: 350 gold pieces. Brighid also asks about the possibility of purchasing exotic arrows, including those made with Mithril or Cold Iron arrowheads. Jathalian educates the young warrior on the qualities of these metals and offers to throw in a "sample quiver" of each, should she choose to buy the bow. Brighid accepts, and leaves shortly thereafter.

At this point, Azumi and Harvinion pass by and continue on, into a nearly barren area filled with smoke. Towards the end of the space, a smithery churned smoke into the air. A gnome and a human pumped a massive bellows while a filthy dwarf hammered away on a piece of metal on the anvil. Azumi interrupts their work, and the dwarf waddles over. The warrior-woman asks the dwarf for something "bigger" than her halberd, to which he wittily replies, "Well, there's a big rock out back you could use! Wham!"

Frustrated, she then asks for something a bit sharper than a rock. Again, the dwarf smiles and shows her a piece of jagged iron, used for scrap. Frustrated, she falls silent to think. Harvinion, however, perks up, asking about the dwarf's ability to work with mithril. The dwarf, finally introducing himself as Jasker, tells the pair that he actually has a shipment of mithril on order, which is almost a week late. If the pair could find it for him, he might be able to offer a deal on mithril armor or weaponry. He further suggests to start with Saltmarsh Sendings, the company that he used to have the metal delivered.

After hearing all this, Azumi finally realizes how to ask her question. She asks Jasker if she could potentially requisition a new halberd. Jasker agrees, stating that he has received some Zhenish steel that he could use for the blade. She puts in the order, which will be ready in two days for 350 gp.

With a busy day behind them, the party heads back to the Lizard's Boat. Kailee, the ranger-turned-inkeep, stands ready at the bar when Amadis speaks to the patrons in a booming voice, "We have fought valiantly and conquered, so a round for everyone!" Kailee is skeptical at first, but is quick to shovel Amadis' 5 gold pieces into her skirt, when he plinks the coin onto the bar.

The next day, the party heads first to HoolWatch tower. Harvinion, eager to get after the mithril, arrives nearly half an hour ahead of the group. At the tower, Iborian confirms the PCs' statements. A pyre was created for the dead, and the bursar held their payment. The players collect it, and make a few short stops before heading out. Brighid stops at the Alchemist's Guild, picking up a few potions. Harvinion, Daishar, and Amadis head to a curio shop, where the first pair buy an armoire, and the latter merely enjoys a lemon scone.

From there, the group heads to the western gate, where two noble guards stand vigilant. The warriors ask one, with a large moustache, of banditry on the road, particularly of the Saltmarsh Sendings messengers. He claims to know nothing of the sort, and that, given their information, they may wish to start their search at the Saltmarsh Sendings office. Further, they learn that this guard, named Bob, is brother to the apprentice Bob from the Temple of Boccob. Furthermore, he is also brother to two other 'Bobs,' one of whom works as an alchemist, the other which may be in league with Ned Shakeshaft, the leader of the infamous Saltmarsh Assassin's Guild.

With a complaining Harvinion in tow, the group makes its way back across town to Saltmarsh Sendings, where Brighid inquires as to Jasker's ore. The clerk tells them that a halfling, Joshua Longstrider, was in charge of the shipment between Cauldron and Saltmarsh. Apparently Longstrider had not checked in, but the clerk marks Longstrider's potential route on the group's map and sends them on their way.

Heading out of the western gate, the group says their goodbyes to Bob, and moves on their way.

About 4 hours down the western road, Harvinion catches sight of some movement. He pulls out the lizardfolk's letter of safe passage. Amadis draws his sword and shouts out for any foes to show themselves. While Azumi hears the noise of some creatures moving, Daishar is the first to spot 4 man-sized, degenerate, scaled creatures clawing their way up the left side of the road.

The creatures strike first, as one spits a viscous glob of bile at Amadis, sizzling his flesh beneath his armor. The battle is swiftly joined, and things look dire for the warriors. Harvinion is harmed direly, and is forced to retreat and use his crossbow, rather than his typical longsword. Azumi, too, is direly injured and her grip on her halberd begins to loosen somewhat.

The fists of Daishar, though, prove to be as strong as any steel. Caught one-on-one with one of the creatures, the monster quickly fell beneath the discipline-wrought blows of Daishar's martial power. He then joined the battle against the other creatures, aiding his new fellows with powerful strikes.

As the party's injuries seem to mount Brighid shifts her roles from warrior-woman to healer, bringing powerful healing energies to bear upon her comrades. At this moment, though, Azumi slams her halberd shaft into her foe's face, forcing it backwards into a tree and breaking its snout. As it reels, she wheels about, slicing the halberd blade into both of its legs, severing both and felling the beast.

With blows like these, the party swiftly prevails over their foes and begin to investigate the environs. A short search by Harvinion reveals the creatures' nest, within which lies the corpse of a halfling traveler and the missing mithril. Furthermore, the party finds some special rewards for their efforts:

-400 gps
-an unidentifible ring
-a divine scroll of Flaming Sphere
-a wand
-a finely made composite longbow, which is taken by Brighid
-a heavy steel shield, taken by Amadis.

With their quest completed, the party sets out back towards Saltmarsh with the mithril in hand, ready to give to Jasker.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tales of Saltmarsh Towne--Prologue

Cast of Characters:

Azumi Matsukata--Jules--Warblade. A refugee from a far-off land, Azumi flees from a force that works from the shadows. Azumi is a new citizen of Saltmarsh and has only recently come upon the others.

Amadis de la Chamna--Adam--Knight. His head full of stories and tales of classical knights and powerful warriors, Amadis seeks a return of such old ways. However, many think Amadis mad, as he believes that evil sorcerers follow him, changing reality at their whims.

Brighid--Sarah--Favored Soul. A refugee of the Flanaess, from Vecna's ascension to godhood, Brighid holds great vengeance against the Ebon Triad, a cult that seeks the unification of Vecna with two other vile deities.

Harvinion--Lionel--Scout. One of the defenders of the woodlands surrounding Saltmarsh, Harvinion has done much to aid the incoming refugees to the town. However, his greated challenges lie ahead of him...

Artorius--Nick--Dread Necromancer--The most recent arrival to Saltmarsh, Artorius claims not to know his past. However, certain events seem to line up between his memory, and several tales from nearly 1,000 years in the past. The repercussions of this may echo through the rest of his life...

Daishar--Chris--Monk--An acolyte of Boccob, lord of knowledge and Sovereign of the Unseeing Eye, Daishar stumbled across the party as they were speaking to High Acolyte Mylor within Saltmarsh's temple. However, Daishar's allies may feel great resentment towards some of the members of his new friends, and he may soon be faced with a difficult choice.

Tales of Saltmarsh Towne: Chapter 1--The Goblin Pits of Io-Rach

I found these journals while going through the last remains of a scout, supposedly from the wooded regions surrounding the burgeoning city of Saltmarsh. Considering that there are no woods around the greater Saltmarsh area....these tales are difficult, at best, to verify.

The party begins with a meeting with Ranger Iborion of the Hool Watch at 3pm, but decide to hang around The Lizard's Boat inn and tavern to eat some lunch and to get some information on the local peoples.

Amadis asks for the best calamari but instead opts for the cheaper third best. The rest order a simple dish of cheese and bread.

After finishing lunch, the group heads to the lizardfolk embassy, with the intent to find out more information about the Hool Marshes, home to several lizardfolk triebes..
Brighid, Artiorius, Azumi and Amadis decide to stop next to the embassy to purchase some swamp boots, but Harvinion mocks them for their weakness in traversing such a swamp.

At the Embassy they are directed to the Stenographer by the lizard embassy guards to get a pass of safe passage through the Hool marches.

Lizard Stenographer Silark - "This will give you safe passage through the Hool marshes. Be sure not to bring harm to my brothers and sisters in the swamp."
Amadis - "On my honor, my blade will not harm your brothern."
Silark - "Ha, Manlings have not much honor."
Amadis - Turns and walks out the door.

The party gets to the Hool Watch tower and ask about the need for a Tower for the Hool Marshes, only to find out that there is enmity between the people of Salt Marsh and the Hool
Marshes. It seems that some parties within Saltmarsh desire to see the lizardfolk eradicated...

The party is led to the 3rd floor where they are given a plate of sweetswith no chart of what is
what. Brighid bites into a coconut sweet and tosses it onto the floor, and then hides it in the corner.

10 minutes later, Ranger Iborian comes in with his cold lunch, and proceeds to chow
down on it sloppily, then lights up a big pipe. After smoking for a moment, he proceeds to explain that the High Councilmen need help with a problem of refugees being jumped by bandits of some sort. The bandits are goblins with a bleeding eye symbol on the bottom of their shields. The party is to investigate and eliminate the problem.
Amadis knows of the goblins somewhat--the goblins are those of the Io-Rach tribe, which roughly means "Bloody eye lying smashed on the ground" in Goblin.

Iborian tells us that the goblins are not typical gobbos. He then gives the party a map showing
where the raids are happening, which happens to be along a familiar road to Brighid, Artorius and Azumi. In fact, this was the very road upon which they arrived in Saltmarsh.

In return for completion of the task, Iborian says that the group would get to keep any salvage found and gives each member a pouch with 25 gps, as a down payment, with another 250 gps for after the task is accomplished.

Amadis's eyes immediately light up with thoughts of more sturdy armor, and Brighids's thoughts go to a composite bow.

After a short exchange about the cannibalistic tendencies of the native lizardfolk, during which Iborian mentions that the lizard folk like elf meat, the party heads out the door and onto the road.

The party heads down the road, led by Harvinion then Azumi, Brighid, Antonius and Amadis leading his "steed," a pack mule.

Along the way Harvinion spots something moving in the trees, has Amadis give him
the letter of safe passeage, and holds it out bravely. The rest of the party sheathes their

A lizard barbarian swings out in front of the Harvinion and, after looking over the letter of safe
passage, tells the party about a slaughter up ahead in the road. He then walks back into the marsh and the party continues on the road to the spot of the slaughter.

During the march Antonius is chatted up by Brigid about his past. Harvinion, meanwhile, spots a tree that looks like a naughty bit, but the others do not want to stop and take a look.

A few short miles later, the party comes across the scene of the slaughter which is made up of over 3 overturned wagons and lots of blood all over. The place has obvious signs of being scavenged but surprisingly enough there are only 3 bodies. Not even the bodies of the horses can be found.
Brighid notices that the bodies have been gnawed on, but only after being stabbed to death. She also notices that one of the bodies is plague ridden. A quick check reveals that the other
two bodies are plague ridden, as well, but with a disease that can't be recognized.

Harvinion looks for where the bodies have been dragged and but instead finds an arrow ridden double-sized bloated gobbo looking corpse lying in the swamp. The corpse has large tumorous growths and is holding a blood stained cleaver.

However, a sudden cry interrupts the investigation. "Rititah Cratch!" is suddenly heard by Amadis, who becomes aware of 5 gobbos rummaging about in one of the wagons.
The rest of the party is alerted to the gobbos when Amadis charges at them. The gobbos toss a few javelins at Amadis but miss him. Amadis then shouts a knights challenege to one of the
gobbos, then deftly slices into it, causing it to stagger back and then collapse.

Two goblins chuck spears at Artorius and Amadis but miss them.
Artorius chants the words to an arcane ritual, and his hand glows in crimson.

Brighid, Harvinion and Azumi join the fray, and make short work of the goblins. However, one of the creatures wounds Harvinion sorely and he requires a healing spell from Brighid.

Luckily, one of the goblins was only knocked into unconsciousness, and Brighid immediately takes to interrogating the creatures. It awakens and then spits on Brighid, who kicks it in the head knocking it out again. Brighid heals it to awaken and then spits on it, and then speaks to it
Abyssal asking it where its warren is.

The goblin is, at first, uncooperative, but soon succumbs first to Brighid's interrogation, then to sweet oblivion. The party has their goal--a small cave nearby in the depths of the swamp.

While the group discusses their next move, they search the goblins and the caravan wagons. Artorius finds a well-made dagger in amongst the the wagons, while Brighid examines the goblins for disease, finding nothing.

Harvinion slogs over to the cave enterance and sees nothing of worry, waving the party over. The others slog over as Harv enters inside a bit, as Brighid touches Amadis's belt causing it
to glow.

The rest follow Amadis in, but he promptly screams "I shall fight you in honorable combat!" As he heads in, he continues to rant challenges, and suddenly trips over a hidden trip wire that sounds a bell.
At a fork in the path, the group waits for goblins to appear in the light of a guttering
torch in a wall sconch.
At the end of the right fork, Harvinion and Artorius spot things moving around but not
coming closer.

B translates Amadis's rants and challenges into Abyssal, and Harvinion wings a rock down the right fork but nothing happens.

At least, that is until a small ball rolls into the area which lets off a loud crack, and
Harvinion, Azumi and Artorius become deafened. Amadis rants about "underhanded tricks instead of honorable combat" and heads down the right fork after the goblins.

However, that is when the goblins' ruse truly struck. From the left-hand passage, three normal sized goblins emerged, but behind them were two of the massive, bloated brutes, dripping pus and filth from their corpulent frames with each step.

The goblins open with a salvo of javelins, and one of the larger creatures steps in to focus on Azumi. Catching the warblade off-balance, the creature nearly cleaves Azumi in twain. The second attempts the same with Brighid, but its blow deflects off of her heavy armor.

The battle looks poor for the heroes immediately, with the mighty Azumi already felled and the group surrounded, but the tide swiftly begins to turn. Summoning eldritch sorceries, Artorious injures one of the goblins assailing him, and Amadis quickly steps to defend the unconscious Azumi.

Harvinion flitted from foe to foe, stabbing frantically with his dagger, but was injured direly by a thrown javelin. Brighid stepped in immediately to fell his foe, then to heal the scout.

Between the efforts of Amadis's swordplay, Brighid's archery, and Artorius's magics, the party slew all but one of the goblins, the last of which retreated down the left passage, wounded direly in the thigh.

Injured severely and, in the case of Azumi, near death, the party discusses where they will hole up for the evening, while Harv just keeps his eye down the right passage. The party heads out and arranges the 3 battered wagons into a "quasi" fort to protect themselves for the

Azumi takes first watch, Amadis takes second, while Harvinion takes third with the others sleeping through the night.

On Amadis's watch he hears some 'voices' in the trees that are a bit almost chanting noise. He awakens Azumi to tell her of the chanting, but she doesn't hear a thing.

Amadis quickly claims "Wait here I'll go and investigate!" then he sloshes off into the
marsh. He does not hear the chanting over the sloshing noise he is making, and he heads back to the"quasi-fort."

Amadis then wakes up Harvinion, who also does not hear the chant, and the young scout hands Amadis the safe passage letter to put it onto the fort. The rest of the night passes without event.

As the next day dawned, the party prepared themselves for another venture into the goblin warrens. Brighid cast a light spell on Amadis's sword giving him a "glowing sword of righteousness!!!"

The party then heads forth back into the cave with Amadis leading the way, ranting again, and this time cutting the trip wire with his glowing blade.
Amadis and Harvinion choose the right passageway this time, followed by Brighid, Artorius and Azumi, in that order.

The passage forks again, and the party takes the left passageway which heads down instead of the right way which is level which ends in a room that tapers into a steep downward passage. The party decides to go back and take the right passage instead of trying to go down the steep way.
The right passage ends in a cold and smelly room, with refugee bodies hanging from the ceiling, with the sound of rushing water in the room.
Artorius and Amadis cut down the bodies which Brighid then examines for diseases but
doesn't find anything of note. She still cautions them from touching the bodies.

Harvinion finds a mallet and the party grabs it and some of the rope and cobbles together them in an attempt to booby-trap the deep slope. The attempt fails miserably and is quickly abandoned.

The group then heads back to take the first left passage way, which splits again, and they go right. This ends in a large living cavern with goblins beds and the like.

After finding nothing they go back to the other passage. There they find a cooking room with empty pots. Harvinion makes "Knudgeon Dowledge" check to find a small cabinet that doesn't look right. Harvinion opens it up and finds a passage in the west wall after about 20 minutes of fiddling with it. Air rushes into the kitchen that is dank and gross.

Within the passage, a slope leads down. Amadis heads first down the slope until the water at the bottom reaches up to the top of his hipwaders. After raising his sword high up he spots dry land on the other side of the water.

Artorius starts to swim half way across to the other side and comes back when he can't see much more.
Brighid lights up Artorius's backpack and he swims across to the dry land. There, Artorius finds a trove which seems to have been kept by the chief goblin.

The hidy hole contains:
- 480 Gold in a small coffer
- dwarven war-axe (which glows with faint transmutation magic)
- 3 small statues of a nude succubus in various poses
- An ever burning torch

The party quickly splits the gold up amongst each other and then head back to the downward slope they passed earlier. They quickly puts some ropes together and head down the slick slope.

As the group makes their way down the slope, a few in the party notice that towards the bottom, the walls are undulating a bit. Amadis chips away at the wall with his dagger, and a
green puss leaks out of the small hole.

As the group reaches the very bottom, they encounter a stiff wooden door. With no one available to pick the lock on the door, Azumi steps forward, asking for the dwarven waraxe. With a mighty swing, she crushes the door beneath her might.

Inside, four goblins lay prostrate, praying to some sight outside a rough-hewn window. The party quickly leaps into action, slaying them without hesitation.

Outside the window, though, in a larger cavern connected by a curving stairwell, lay a hideous sight. Down within the cavern's depths, the party watches a goblin being lowered into cauldron of "liquid" flesh by two bloated goblins, while a half-wolf/goblin monster watches. The goblin
is dropped into the cauldron, and when the cauldron is tipped over, the goblin emerges, transforming into a bloated goblin.

Brighid and Harvinion sneak down the stairs in order to fire an few arrows at the wolf monster
while the rest of the party readies their attacks against the abominations. With the first shots fired, the fray is joined.

With the battle joined, moments were tense for the party. The wolf-like creature immediately chanted some obscure words, and appeared in the prayer room in the midst of the party's rear guard.

The party faces difficulties at first, as the wolf-creature proves resistant to the party's blows. However, the dwarven war-axe, found within the chamber earlier seems to penetrate the creature's thick hide with ease, and Azumi's blows strike true. However, the bloated creatures' blows prove just as strong, felling Artorius and gravely wounding Amadis. Harvinion landed several solid blows, but was taken out of the fight partway through, as a fell incantation crushed his will to fight.

It seemed, though, that the savagery of the goblins' bloated kin was their undoing. One of the bloated creatures, consumed by rage and trapped behind his compatriots, destroyed two of his injured comrades in his blind haste to enter combat. With these combatants removed, the party prevailed.

Following their victory, the party chose to investigate the lower chamber further. It seemed that the cauldron, made of black wrought iron and writhing with filth and waste, was inlaid carefully with a stylized copper scourge several times around its brim. With this in mind, the group searched the bodies, and exited the foul area, ready to research this strange symbol.

In addition to the party's earlier loot, the goblins provided:

- 600 gold pieces
- 180 Platinum
- A nice looking steel Javelin
- Half-Plate for Amadis
- Masterwork longsword taken by Harvinion

Using one of the ruined wagons as a barricade and pyre, the party barred the entrance to the Io-Rach cavern, and collapsed the way in, sealing it forever.