SecondDarkness

Drow and the Devil's Elbow

This session resumed where the last left off – the group had just arrived at the entry to the workshop of the drow Depora Azrinae. Visible at the back of the cave was part of the Cyphergate. Several of the runes had been chiselled off the surface of the Cyphergate. Just inside the entrance to the cave were a pair of Dretches. In the middle of the cavern, Saul was on his knees before the drow, asking for forgiveness.

 The group was quick off the mark, and John Dalton moved in past the dretches to engage Depora and Saul. Depora reacted quickly, and stabbed the alchemist with her hand crossbow bayonet, glistening with poison. John's training held, and he resisted its effects.

 Segnar the dwarf moved in to engage the dretches, and slashed the first in a vital spot. Vanessada followed Sengar's example, and moved in to engage the second dretch, but failed to hurt it. The sorcerer threw a magic missile at Depora, and was able to pierce her mystical defences. The dretches wer finally able to act, and tried to scratch at the party, causing some damage to the lightly armoured among them. Saul attacked Segnar, but failed to hurt him. Arras moved in and shot one of the dretches dead, despite his lack of magical weaponry.

John Dalton once again tried to smash the drow, but could not penetrate her defences. Depora punished his impudence by stabbing at him and the Elven ninja beside him. The venom in John's system told, and he crashed unconscious to the floor. Segnar slashed at Saul, wounding him badly. Reacting quickly, Vanessada stepped over his John's unconscious form, and slashed Depora with her blade. The remaining dretch tried to cause fear in Segnar, but the stout dwarf was merely shaken briefly. Saul returned Segnar's attack, and was able to find a chink in his armour, but luckily it was in a non-vital place. (i.e. Saul rolled 4d6 for damage, and managed a total of 7…) The sorcerer moved in front of Arras and threw a splash of acid at Depora, now wary of her innate resistances. Arras had to take more than a step to get around the sorcerer, and shot at the dretch again, not seriously hurting it.

Depora continued to stab at Vanessada, hurting her, but no longer having any venom on her blades. Segnar duelled with Saul. Vanessada tumbled into position on the other side of Depora, providing Segnar with a future flank, and wounding Depora mildly. The sorcerer continued to splash Depora with acid. The dretch, now fearing it might suffer the same fate as its companion, lost control of itself, loosing a foul stench in the cavern. The sorcerer immediately began retching, as did Saul. Arras, resisting the stink, finished off the dretch.

Depora stabbed at the opponents surrounding her, manging small wounds. Seizing the opportunity, Segnar finished off Saul with a quick thrust. The sorcerer continued to void his stomach violently, but had managed to move out of the stench. Arras tried to hit Depora, but failed to penetrate her shieldwork. Depora, finally sensing things were going against her, activated her cloud of darkness, and made for the ladder to the surface.

The two dwarves, unhindered by the sudden dark, tried to give chase. Vanessada, more nimble than her short companions, leapt up the ladder after Depora. However, Depora's slippers of spider climb allowed her to quickly exit the shaft. Seeing an approaching ship, she began walking up onto the Cyphergate. As the party emerged from the darkness, they could see Depora up above, and began pelting her with as many missiles as possible. For a moment, it looked like the drow might escape. But then a might shot from the dwarven archer felled her, and her body drifted slowly down to the habour.

Collecting itself, the group retreated back to the Gold Goblin to recover from their ordeal. After a short ransacking session, and the beginnings of negotiation to sell the Goblin, the group handed the drow workbook over to Kwava, along with details of Saul's operation. It turned out that Saul had been funneling all of the funds made by the Goblin into Depora's operation. Depora had been building and maintaing some sort of hidden habitation on the island of Devil's Elbow for at least the last 12 months. As the group discussed their next move, a whistling noise was heard outside.

A streak of light arced down from the sky, a falling star traveling a southward course. Yet the star did not burn out – indeed, the streak lengthened and soon seemed almost as if it were hurtling directly at Riddleport. As the streaming light drew near, panic gripped the streets, but a moment later the falling star arced over the city and out to sea, trailing behind it a smoky scar and the sound of thunder.

The star streaked out to the south, reflected by the sea below, and then a moment later it struck the island of Devil's Elbow out to sea. A strange false dawn seemed to rise to the south as a brilliant blast of light filled the horizon. Several moments later, a tremendous explosion rolled through Riddleport as a powerful earth tremor struck. The quake wasn't enough to destroy buildings, but it was enough to knock some shingles from roofs, shake objects off of shelves, or crack the Sandpoint glass windows in several of the city's more affluent structures. As the tremor continued, an angry orange ball of fire rose into the sky on the horizon over Devil's Elbow, spreading in an ominous mushroom-shaped cloud.

By this time, much of Riddleport had gathered at the wharves and southern points of town for a better view of the distant holocaust. A few minutes later, the water of Riddleport Bay suddenly retreated into a bizarre and sudden low tide, revealing several sunken wrecks and flopping fish and more than a few stranded sharks. The group recognised the signs of an approaching tsunami, and immediately fled from the waterfront. Fortunately, the shape of Riddleport's harbor minimized the impact of the tsunami, but still, a few moments later, the water came rushing back in toward Riddleport, a 7-foot-high wall of churning froth that slammed into the waterfront with incredible power. Several smaller tsunamis struck Riddleport in the surrounding minutes, but these were not severe enough to do much more damage. In the end, the tsunami dealt more damage to Riddleport than the tremor. Dozens of ships were damaged, a few were sunk, but more were left stranded as far inland as Wharf Street. Many of Riddleport's piers were ruined or damaged, and several of the smaller buildings along the waterfront were destroyed or partially collapsed.

Over the next several hours, the crimelords and overlord of Riddleport mobilize in a way rarely seen in the lawless city, working together to put out fires, save citizens who have been swept out into the harbor, or kill angry and disoriented reefclaws, sharks, bunyips, and other dangerous sea creatures that suddenly became stranded in the city streets.

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Payback...almost

After the fight against the wererats, the group rested and recuperated in Kwava's camp for two days. Kwava told them all he knew, and let them know he was on the lookout for any information about a renegade elf.

The party decided to try and bluff their way back into the Goblin, not knowing that Saul had already heard about the wererats. Saul had already hired additional muscle, and closed down the Goblin temporarily. When the party arrived, they were spotted approaching the front door, and the muscle readied to beat them off.

The battle in the Goblin was long and protracted. Missile fire from archers on the catwalks above convinced the party members to try and get UP. Sadly, they had different ideas about how best to achieve that.

Segnar charged across the main hall, trying to get to the stairs.  His stumpy dwarven legs meant the trip took some time, not to mention the bouncers that got in his way.

Krark decided to climb up the walls to the catwalks. Once there, he quickly cleft a pair of archers in twain, but was then surrounded by reinforcements. In the middle of a rage, he was cut down by a pair of flanking rogues.

On the floor below, Arras and John had kept up a steady rain of fire, while the Kobold Sorceror was doing his best to disable the opposition. When the reinforcements showed up, they had the numbers to pelt some missiles down below, and the Kobold also fell.

In the meantime, Segnar had made it up the stairs, only to be  met by another pair of thugs. His Korvosan guard armour nearly impervious, he started chipping away at the enemy defences In the distance, past the thugs, he could see a figure moving away.

John rushed to assist Segnar, and finally caught him up. Arras, moving in the same direction a little more slowly, spotted Saul leap off the catwalks above, and head for the stairs to the basement arena. Thinking to slow him down, Arras rushed over, and found his path blocked by an invisible Old Scratch.

Upstairs, John and Segnar finished off the last of the thugs, and rushed back downstairs to stop Saul. Finding Arras engaging the imp, they assisted him, and eventually worked their way through the infernal resilience of the creature.

After reviving the kobold, and finding that Krak no longer drew breath, the remaining four went downstairs, hoping to catch up with Saul. Instead, in the arena stands, they met with Bojask, the animal handler. Bojask, outnumbered, quickly dived down into the arena proper, and called for Pigsaw. Segnar followed him down, landing on his neck and breaking it.

The next few moments saw the culmination of the group's animal collecting activities, as Segnar was attacked by Pigsaw, an ape, and a viper, all at once. The rest of the group pelted the animals with missiles, and eventually they lay still.

After a short rest, the party noticed that the sand of the arena floor had recently been disturbed. Sweeping the sand away revealed a trap door leading under the floor.

At this moment, help sent by Kwava turned up, in the form of an Elven witch and a human sorcerer. Unnoticed by all, the Kobold sorcerer, feeling the opportunities in Riddleport were gone, fled the scene unremarked.

The new group climbed down into the newly-revealed caves and tunnels. After fighting through Swamp Barracudes, Darklands Sentinels, Troglodytes and Gricks, the party finally arrived in living quarter, and could hear voices ahead. One of the voices turned out to be Saul's. The other belonged to a drow woman – the drow was berating Saul for ballsing up his end of the bargain.

How will this end?

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The Reveal

At the beginning of the session, things had settled into a bit of a routine at the Gold Goblin. For the first time, the gambling hall broke even, and shortly thereafter, even made a profit! A number of strange happenings also occurred, blamed on the Blot – all of the weather vanes suddenly turned and pointed in one direction, some of them snapping off and falling to the ground. On another occasion, items of metal suddenly became magnetised for a few minutes.

This hall's performance was aided by the troubleshooting characters being sent on a mission to retrieve some quality alcohol, which had arrived too late for the tournament. On their way to the docks, a large tide suddenly came inland, and almost washed the poor Kobold out to sea.

The party decided not to take any muscle with them, and arrived at the docks in time to see the ship's captain being handed a bag of gold by a man in armour, standing in front of a wagon with the casks already loaded. Sensing trouble, the party immediately sprang into action, and killed the armour-clad warrior and his thugs. The casks were then returned triumphantly to the Goblin, and the armour given to the Dwarven tactician.

Samaritha Beldusk resigned her posiiton with the Goblin, to take up an apprenticeship with the Cyphermages. Despite some talk with John Dalton about alternative arrangements, Samaritha departed. At the same time, John spotted a mysterious cloaked figure on a roof across from the gambling hall.

 The next day, the Gold Goblin was raided just after closing, by a large force, led by a Half Orc ninja. In spite of the group being spread throughout the Goblin, the raiders were fought off, and afterwards identified as likely belonging to Boss Croat due to the Half Orc. The group decided to close the Goblin for a day or two for 'rennovations'.

The following evening, Saul called the party together, and told the group of the interesting news that Overlord Cromarky was acting neutrally to the Goblin and its staff – although the gendarmes did not interfere in the raid, they also did not help it. Saul also revealed that he had heard through his contacts of a meeting between important capos of the crimebosses involved in the raid, at a place called the Spar, in the swampy area near Riddleport known as the Boneyard. He sent the team out to disrupt the meeting.

On their way to the ambush, the group were approached by the cloaked figure that had been seen earlier – he introduced himself as the elf Kwava, an employee of the Shin'Rkorath mercenary group. He revealed that he had been watching the Goblin for some time, suspecting that Saul was in league with the Drow, but looking for proof. He learned that Saul had decided to dispose of the group, and so had sent them to be ambushed at the meeting by wererats. Kwava could no longer stand by, and so assisted the group, giving them silver blanch, and leading them to the other side of the Spar, to enact an ambush upon the ambushing wererats…confused yet?

The group prepared for the combat, with many spells and extracts being consumed. The Dwarven specialist was the first to charge in, discovering that his target was a dummy! Luckily, a real target was just in front of him, and he struck the first blow against the wererats. Soon, the rest of the group was engaged. Krark the Barbarian struck a might blow, but was subsequently covered in a tanglefoot bag, spiced with rancid meat. This concoction attracted a swam of flesh-eating cockroaches from nearby, and Krak spent the rest of the battle trying to remove them. After a short struggle, the wererats were silenced, and the cockroach swarm destroyed.

During the struggle, the Kobold was bitten by one of the wererats, and the wound began to burn with the sting of infection.

The party now stands at a decision point – already, they have talked about returning to work at the Goblin, but going undercover to locate the evidence Kwave desires. What will happen next?

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Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold

This week, the party attended the "Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold" tournament at the Golden Goblin gambling house. The casino was decked out in an infernal decor, with multiple succubus-costumed waitresses, and smoky torches adding to the atmosphere.

 The night began with the group participating in several games of chance. John Dalton and the Dwarven specialist did quite well, ably assisted by the Kobold and Arras. Sadly, Krark did not do very well, and lost the first few games that he played.

Just as the group were starting to make headway, and descend into the lower circles of hell, the two Dwarves and John spotted a person in the gent's privy readying a scroll of some sort, and noticed a woman and several thugs in the crowd tensing for action. Krark and the Kobold, oblivious, gambled on.

Over the next few moments, the group foiled a robbery attempt. In the ensuing chaos, the patrons in the Goblin expressed their displeasure, and demanded their money back. Saul eventually conceded to pay out all chips at 110% of value, as his regular staff quit on the spot.

Impressed with performance of the group, Saul offered to hire them as special operatives, under cover of them working for him in the gambling hall. The group agreed, and helped get the Gold Goblin back on its feet.

New staff were hired, including Samaritha Beldusk, a lovely elven transmuter, looking for a temporary job while she waits for an opening in the Cyphermages. The casino reopened, and Clegg Zincher, the man responsible for Saul losing his hand came to visit. Clegg left behind a welcoming gift in the form of a death threat, and a man-size Cindersnake.

Over the next few weeks, despite a few hiccups, the group slowly improved the lot of the Gold Goblin, helping it overcome its financial troubles, and by the end of the 3rd week, the Goblin broke even for the first time in months.

And then potential disaster struck – the Floor Manager, Larur Feldin, was reported as having gone missing while delivering a regular payment to the moneylender, Lymas Smeed. Saul asked the group to investigate.

The group went to Smeed's townhouse, and in the process of asking for entry, discovered a torn and bloodstained cloak belonging to the floor manager in the alley. They broke down the door into the house, and were confronted by a giant, vicious baboon, along with Smeed himself. Despite Krak being felled during the battle, the baboon was killed, and Smeed captured.

In the ensuing interrogation, Smeed complained that he had not seen a payment from Saul in months, leading the group to conclude that the floor manager had been skimming the payments for some time, and had obviously decided to skip town with the largest payment yet. They re-negotiated with Smeed to come and collect the payments himself from the Goblin once a month, and returned Smeed's belongings to him, with some apologies for the misunderstanding. After confirming that Feldin was nowhere to be found, the group spent some time trying to locate his exit method from town, with no success.

The group returned to tell Saul of the new arrangements, who quickly decided to give the group a raise, and made them full partners, promising to give them the Goblin when he retired in a year.

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In the Beginning...

The Second Darkness campaign began a week ago.

The disparate group, who were all planning on joining the 'Cheat the Devil and Steal his Gold' tournament, were approached by a mysterious man, claiming to work for Lymas Smeed. He wanted a man known as the Splithog Pauper killed, and whatever funds he carried recovered. The group would be rewarded with half the takings.

 After a casing of the St Caspierian's Mission, the group moved in, and made friends with Mumsy, the cook, by helping her brew up some stew…with a little something extra from John Dalton helping to ensure everyone was feeling calm and restful afterwards

 Mumsy, happy with the help, told the group about the gang upstairs in the flophouse. The group made the most of the info, and split into two groups, hoping to surround their quarry.

 Much hilarity ensued, as the group managed to involve enemy after enemy in a single brawl, on the top floor. The last shot was a crossbow bolt, aimed at the Splithog Pauper, just as he was climbing out of the belltower and away, instead falling to his death.

The group gathered up all of the valuables, and returned them to their contact, receiving their cut just before the day of the tournament at the Golden Goblin.

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