Friday, September 30, 2022

Ptolus: Wayward Sons - Searching For Clues (session 5)

Location: Ptolus. Dates: Waterday, 4th of Growth

Participating characters:

Alcott - Half-Elf Rogue, level 2

Crispin Ellindril - Elf Ranger, level 2

Quinn Farshore - Human Fighter (Magical Adept), level 2

Alcott arrived at the Tenpin Children's Home to a chaotic scene. Small children were darting about in games of chase or hide and seek while the acolytes tried to keep up and tend to their other duties. He was looking for Sister Luanna Dremain, and he discovered her chasing a diaperless toddler down a nearby hallway. With a quick sweeping motion he scoops the tiny escapee up and hands the child to Sister Luanna. 

"Good catch Alcott, what brings you here?" "I'm looking for a job. Something that will net me some quick gold. Do you know of anything?" The Sister smiled, "It just so happens that Brother Fabitor at St. Gustav's needs help with his roof. You should check there, and be careful." 

He headed to St. Gustav's across from Delver's Square to speak to Brother Fabitor about the job. Traffic was heavy and his progress was slowed by the large number of carts, wagons and people crowding the streets. Delver's Square was also bustling with activity, but St. Gustav's showed little sign of activity aside from two armed and armored individuals having their wounds attended to by the Brother.

"Come in and wait a moment." Brother Fabitor spoke while his focus remained on his patient. A brief prayer offered to Lothian sent healing energies into the arm causing a long weeping cut to fully heal. The beneficiaries of healing presented the clergyman with a small bag of coins in thanks and were on their way. "What brings you here today young man?"

Alcott explained his goal of finding a quick job to earn some money and that Sister Dremain had pointed him in this direction. "Ah, yes, that troublesome leak at the steeple base. It's small and will likely require a little pitch and a couple of tiles. You can find these nearby, I smell the heated pitch from here, there must be work on some other roof on the street. Um, here!" he said smiling as he presented the bag of coins to Alcott, "It's fifty gold. Use it to buy what is needed and keep whatever is left for working on repairing the roof."

Crispin's curiosity led him to Delver's Guild Headquarters in the Undercity Market. He hoped that he might be able to find someone that could shed light on the nature of the disturbance driving the ratlings to such levels of activity. The recent increase by the Church of Lothian of the bounty on their tails was a direct response to the havoc being caused by these overgrown vermin. 

Before the jobs postings board were a handful of heavily equipped people looking to have very recently seen combat. One of them bore an overstuffed sack with several giant rat or ratling tails protruding from the top. "That's quite a collection of tails you have there, how many did you get?" Morty broke from staring at the notices on the board and turned to address Crispin, "Twenty give or take. This will help us buy supplies before we head into the dungeon again. I'm Morty, you are?" Nodding with a look of approval Crispin gave his name and began prying for more info about the ratling problem.

Morty went on to describe the assault on a nest of the creatures north of Delver's Square through a combination of sewers and parts of the dungeon. He used some charcoal and a piece of parchment to draw a very rough map of the way there and gave it to Crispin. "This should get you close if you're interested. I'm bad with directions so take it for what it's worth." Morty acknowledged the rise in troublemaking by the vermin people, but as to the cause he was without clues.

After the adventurers departed, Crispin turned his attention to the notice board. It had a few help wanted items, but his attention was drawn to a Wanted poster for an individual named Rullus Hobb, with a rather sizable reward of 5,000 gold pieces. There were several copies of the sign so he helped himself to one. 

TM and © 2022 Monte Cook Games, LLC

Figuring he had gotten all the information about the ratling issue that he could for now, Crispin headed back out into the city proper. On his way, he and Alcott encountered each other and briefly filled the other in on their current tasks, agreeing to meet later at Quinn's estate in Oldtown.

Alcott made quick work of repairing the small leak on the roof of St. Gustav's Cathedral and informed Brother Fabitor of it's resolution before journeying back to the Daykeeper's Chapel. He had earned the money to buy the healing potion from Sister Arsagra. Acquiring the vial, he set out for the meeting at Quinn's home.

Quinn arrived back at Sard's Boats, claimed his deposit and paid the fee for use. He had a lot to think about and his mind swirled with the matter, finding no immediate answer of how to approach it. He was home before he realized it, having been distracted by his thoughts all the way.

Later that afternoon they had regrouped at the Farshore estate. Quinn laid out the details of Bulpo's predicament and the short time remaining to solve it, to his companions. Less than six days remained to prove Bulpo's innocence. Alcott and Crispin agreed to give the matter priority over the missing person case despite Quinn's offer to go it alone while they worked the other matter.

Their first task was to locate and talk to witnesses and that meant going to the last place Bulpo and the victim had been seen together, the Black Swan tavern. 

They could hear laughter conversation coming from inside the bar as they approached the door. Just outside, sitting against the wall was a dirtily clothed man who raised an empty hand palm up. Quinn gave the fellow a silver piece and engaged him in conversation. "Do you know Bulpo Greenstone?" The beggar admitted that Bulpo would sometimes buy him a beer. Further questions determined that he had seen Bulpo leave the night before Rary was killed and that Rary Silvershine had left shortly before him. He thought they might have gone in the same direction, "toward the Old Goose down the street." They thanked the man and went inside.

Quinn had suggested that Crispin might engage someone in a game of Dragon Scales and try to gather information that way while he would go talk to the owner Migos. Alcott would quietly observe reactions around the room.

Hardly any notice was paid to the newcomers as they crossed the room, except for Migos Foraeth, proprietor and barkeep. With a smile and a friendly sweep of his hand above the bar he asked, "Can I get you a beer or perhaps a Black Swan?" Quinn skipped right to the point of his visit, "I'm a friend of Bulpo Greenstone. I believe he's innocent and am trying to help prove it." Migos' eyes grew wider as did his smile, "Anyone trying to help Bulpo is a friend of mine, one free beer on the house. What can I do to help?"

Crispin had noticed a group around a table in the back were engrossed in a game of Dragon Scales, most of them heckling the players about how bad they were playing. He worked past the other tables to join them. He began to kibitz on the game, offering other move options that might have been better. This drew some laughs and the attention of the players. "You play, elf?" Crispin nodded, "In a fashion," May I play the winner?"

Alcott noticed that the crowd seemed relaxed and jovial. Nobody seemed to be bothered or concerned about their presence. He listened to Quinn's conversation with Migos, maintaining his view of the crowd.

When Quinn raised the question of how Bulpo was viewed by others and if he had any enemies Migos shouted to the crowd, "Everybody, how do you feel about Bulpo?" and a rousing response of raised hands and the shout of Bulpo came back. Not one person abstained from the display of appreciation. "As you can see, he is well regarded and nobody believes for a moment that he committed the crime he's convicted of doing." 

It was only a couple of moves more before Crispin got his chance to play. His opponent collected the other dwarf's bet and left his own coins on the table, "Stakes are 5 gold pieces per game." Crispin anted up and the game began. They were playing green dragon scales, a simpler version of the game and Crispin was well acquainted with the strategies and tactics at this level of play. He played it simple and kept the conversation going, leading it toward Bulpo's situation. 

Quinn learned from Migos that Bulpo and Rary Silvershine had been playing a series of games of dragon scales as Gersh and Wendt looked on. The games had all gone Rary's way, as expected, and Bulpo lost over 100 gold in the course of play. "Of course since the Black Swan doesn't have a license for gambling, I was shocked that such wagering was happening in my establishment," Migos said with a smile. "Afterward they chugged down some of the bar's namesake drink and argued over the games. Then they had a bit of a knuckle duster, typical fun, no harm."

Crispin's line of inquiry was drawing much the same conclusion as Quinn's and took him into a second game after a narrow win in the first. His opponent pointed out Wendt who was nearby, exchanging jokes with his tablemates and said "He'll be able to tell you more about the night they tussled." The game then took a sudden unexpected turn and Crispin lost, paying the fellow his 5 gold pieces back.

Quinn wandered over to talk to Wendt. As he approached the table Wendt nodded, took a swig of beer and pulled out a stool. "Have a seat. I heard you and your friends asking about Rary and Bulpo. Whatever I can tell you I will." 

In the course of questioning, Quinn learned that Bulpo was fond of showing off his family dagger to anyone that asked about it. It had a fancy sheath covered in polished malachite stones, looking somewhat like a pattern of dragon scales. Everyone admired it, but Wendt couldn't think of anyone that would steal it. Rary's custom dragon scales set was also a thing of beauty. The pieces were of onyx and jade with a board of oak and maple. Rary carried it everywhere and they had played with it that night. He wend on to talk about he and Gersh making small wagers about who would win the games and the fight. "Where's Gersh? I'd like to talk with him as well," Quinn asked. "Not here yet today. Might be at work. He's a coffin maker over on Exposed Street near the necropolis."

The party had been able to learn some extra details while at the Black Swan. Bulpo's dagger and sheath had been on the table the night before Rary's death. Those, and Rary's own dragon scales set were of obvious value and not something you could easily make a quick sale of to just anyone. Anyone who comes to the Black Swan even semi-regularly would know the items on sight for who they belonged to. The items had to have gone somewhere. Alcott mentioned that only a well connected fence would buy high end, recognizable goods, with that he knew where they could check.

Working their way over to Ash street in the early evening, Alcott filled the other two in on the place they were going. Ammel's General Store was exactly that. Ammel handled everything himself and rumors Alcott had gathered seemed to indicate he was also a fence. Quinn decided he would go in first.

Ammel stopped his sweeping to assist Quinn. He could see Quinn was nervous and that made him wary. He knew the city watch suspected his shop and that they were always close by. "I'm hoping you can help me. I'm looking for where I might be able to purchase a nice gift for my father." Ammel took a breath and motioned with his arms, "This is a general store. Nothing here is what you want for a gift. I sell dry goods, meats, candles, all manor of sundries. No nice - gifts - here." Ammel's voice had gotten slightly louder and he looked annoyed. "Where did you hear that this was a gift shop?" Quinn paused and mentioned the Black Swan. "Bunch of filthy dwarves! Ammel was clearly not happy about this nosiness. "The city watch sent an amateur." he thought. Quinn excused himself and departed.

As Quinn left the shop he raised his hands up and shrugged, a resigned look on his face. Alcott and Crispin knew that wasn't a good sign. "I'll go in," said Alcott as he stepped from the curb to cross the street. 

Despite Ammel being on his guard and angry, Alcott's calm demeanor and clear use of thieves cant eased the shop keep's mood. "Sorry about my friend, Alcott intoned. Family issues." Sweeping aside a dust pile Ammel stepped closer to Alcott. In cant, they conversed, exchanging bits of information mixed with innuendo and generalized comments about merchandise. 

Descriptions of the items and their possible seller were passed from Alcott to Ammel. Ammel denied any such visitor or items being exchanged. "But if a red-headed dwarf with rings in his beard were to come into my shop a couple weeks ago offering such things, I wouldn't buy them. And if I did buy them I certainly wouldn't keep them here. Such things would only have a narrow set of buyers, so I wouldn't buy them. Something like that might easily go for  600 to 800 gold pieces. you see, and my customers haven't the coin. But if I were going to buy them I'd probably offer about 300 gold to a fellow like that."  Alcott nodded and asked for something to cure a headache. Ammel fished a couple of pills from a nearby bottle, wrapped them in a slip of parchment and slid them across the counter. Alcott slid a coin pouch with ten gold across to Ammel, picked up the pills and left.

They discussed the information Alcott had talked out of the fence as they made their way into North Market getting closer and closer to the Necropolis' west wall. Outside of the coffin makers shop was a wagon into which two strapping laborers had hefted an empty coffin while a middle aged man looked on. The wagon and workers moved away as the trio approached.

Crispin piped up, "We're looking for Gersh, is he around?" Wendel Marcus wasted no time expressing his thoughts about his missing employee. "Hasn't been here all day. Not in his apartment above the shop. Probably off gambling like always. Bad habit of his. What are you after him for? He owe you money?" 

A few questions later and Wendel directed them to the rough whereabouts of a gambling den Gersh sometimes visited. "Back behind the warehouses on Song Row. If you see him tell him he's fired and needs to move out."

Meandering along Song Row looking somewhat lost eventually found the group in a long back alley on the eastern side. Finally finding a courtyard between 4 buildings, the party backed off and watched to learn where the gambling den was located and how to get in. After close to an hour the entrance was revealed to be a secret door with a special knock sequence to get in. Four knocks, wait, one more knock. 

They were met in the hall by a young tough with a club at his side. He pointed to a room on the side with two armed and armored figures and piles of weapons and armor on the floor around the room. "  Disarm in there before gambling." They did as instructed and were let into a larger room full of people drinking and gambling. Another thug met them at the door and escorted them into the chamber. 

At the front table sat a venerable old man and his much younger opponent playing a game of dragon scales for money. To the left a crowd was gathered around a table heaped with coins for a drinking game called Grab. Further to the right was a two man game of Peg the Tom, Mumblypeg to some, and in the center was a high stakes card game between a halfling and a human. In the far rear of the room, around a table piled with coins and goods sat three men, armored and armed. Crispin could immediately tell by his demeaner that the one in the back was former military.

Quinn opted not to join any games, instead to observe. This brought him a number of stares. Crispin gravitated to the game of Peg the Tom. The two men there were wagering increasing amounts to see how many passes of a dagger, quickly between their fingers, they could complete without cutting themselves. He asked to join and for a bet of 20 gold, was allowed. Alcott edged into the corner where the excitement seemed to be and watched a couple rounds of Grab before a player bowing out to go pee opened up a spot at the table.

Grab looked to have simple rules, but a growing challenge. Players take a full mug of cheap beer and when it is their turn they begin to chug while with their free hand they try to grab as many coins from the table as they can in one clutch and deposit them into a cloth bib. After three turns pass, everyone counts the total value of their grabs with the highest keeping their loot. The rest return the coins to the table and then everyone adds 5 of any coins to the pile. This is followed by refilling the mugs with beer. Coins that end up on the floor belong to the house and may not be picked up. 

A few rounds of gambling allows the party to gather more information about Gersh who, is not present, much to the Grab players' delight, "He can drink everyone under the table so eventually wins the most." It is also discovered that Gersh recently paid off some of his gambling debts.

Crispin handily won his game after the two other participants injured themselves. He came away with a gain of 45 gold pieces and all of his fingers intact. Alcott won 19 gold as well, though he came away with a slight case of beer buzz. 

Excusing themselves, the three exited the establishment, reclaimed their gear and went out into the night air.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Magic Item: Cudgel of Cleverness (Updated for 5e)

 Embuk rapped Silnar on the head with the cudgel.

"Ow! That smarts!" Silnar complained.

Enbuk smiled, "That should knock some sense into you."

This stout wooden weapon is designed not to harm, but to help. Those hit with it suffer only 1 point of damage while gaining advantage on all wisdom based checks including perception, for one minute. The cudgel has 3 charges and regains 1 charge each day at dawn. Using all charges in one 24 hour period requires the roll of a d20 with a 1 resulting in the cudgel breaking and permanently losing all magical properties. Rarity: uncommon, character level 1st or higher, value 101 to 500 gold pieces.

Friday, September 23, 2022

The Dark Forest - Dungeon Magazine 22

This one can be easily adjusted to fit into the caverns below the city of Ptolus.

Change out the wagons and large amount of goods in the caravan for some smaller pack animals and lighter, more limited, but interesting loads. Instead of Flinds or Gnolls consider just about any other deep living humanoid monsters. 

Definitely keep everything about the Myconids in place, even the potential TPK inducing comas characters can end up in. This is Ptolus, rescue is a reasonable thing to have happen, and owing a favor leads to more adventure hooks.

In short, the PCs are with a small caravan crossing through part of the caverns when they come under attack. Tracking the attackers to their lair puts the party into contact with the Myconid colony that have a problem with the same humanoids the party is after.

The party is also after a specific red fungus one member of the caravan has offered to pay them for that he knows is near the humanoid lair.

Encountering the Myconids in their lair and exploring the Dark Forest (a vast mushroom and mold infested cavern) will expose the characters to possible mold infections of various types. Getting on the good side of the Myconids will make the task of recovering the red fungus virtually trouble free and leave them with strange allies and a supply of other molds/fungus they might need later in the campaign.

If the player characters join the fungus people for the melding ritual there's a risk of them ending up in comas. In that event the adventure has them being rescued, but having none of their clothing or possessions remaining because the humanoids attacked and slew all the Myconids, then took their stuff. The party will likely owe their rescuers a big favor and they may want to gear up and come back down for some revenge.

A success that doesn't leave the party comatose will leave them with a bunch of spores they can sell for a good bit of gold to the right alchemists, herbalists, and other interested parties.

I really like the variety of things that can happen in this adventure, despite it being a brief one.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Thursday Knights


The party had returned to the library to discuss the next step in the investigation and search for artifacts. The allure of the observatories proved too much to withstand and this time it was Anton that led the group down into the Spacial Observatory. 

The place showed some signs of damage to the southern end where stairs and a portal stood. To the east and west were viewing stations with a much larger one to the north. Curious about what could be learned from the viewing windows, Anton, Cotton, and A'lan each chose one to look through. 

Anton went first and chose to seek the whereabouts of the missing wizard Tovin who had eluded the party. He was able to focus his mind with the aid of the window and was shown an image of Tovin sitting in the tavern in Three Barrel Cove on the island where we had failed to locate him previously. "All that time he was right there and we missed him."

Tovin became aware he was being watched and started to look around. Anton immediately began trying to pull his mind free of the portal wiondows hold, but became wracked with pain. It was Ennark that realized the danger and aided Anton in breaking free of the giant's technology.

The scene repeated, this time with Cotton trying a few different searches which all failed until he focused on the party's ship. He found it to be waiting as instructed for the return of the group. Cotton was able to free himself from the hold of the window on his mind.

Again a view was sought, this time by A'lan, looking to locate his House contact who could mysteriously appear as different people, from a small girl to different adults. The scene was one of gratuitous debauchery. His contact sat at a table viewing nude dancers on a stage while all around him people engaged in an orgy. Most participants were elves and it seemed that this might be within the House itself. A'lan tried to free his mind from the depraved scene, but it refused to let him go and he too suffered intense pain. Ennark came to his rescue as he had done for Anton. 

The hold of the windows broken, the party joined Eldrid who had been trying to decipher writing by the badly damaged southern portal. Eventually Ennark, the least gifted in arcane knowledge got lucky. Advenced Research Laboratory was inscribed upon the stone arch above the pathway. Already in likely trouble from the giants above, the party decided to venture into the lab. 

Within, it was illuminated in green by myriad luminescent fungi and other plants. At first the party stood staring, trying to take in the environment. Eventually A'lan noticed a portal at the far end of the room, exhibiting a reddish glow. He approached and looked out onto a bleak reddish landscape. In the distance he noticed what might be people upon a hill above the broken stony terrain. A'lan drew forth his spy glass to get a clear view of this curiosity and quickly discovered the crucified forms of Angels. 

He had no time to mention this to the others as he came under attack by a mental assault from a fungus creature. The creature caused pain and confusion with a psychic assault, followed up with lashing of it's acidic tentacles. A'lan ran, maddened, as far from the thing as he could. Meanwhile the party began to respond to the threat.

This foe proved difficult to defeat, confusing almost all of them. It destroyed Anton's metal hound construct utterly and chased Anton toward where A'lan had hidden. As this chaotic battle raged, two more opponents leapt through the portal from the hellscape. A pair of great, orange, ape-like demons, enraged, preparing to tear apart their targets.

It was Eldrid who overcame the confusion long enough to deal death to the mind wracking fungoid. With it's domination of the party undone, they began a fighting retreat, intent on withdrawing back to the observatory, away from the new threat. They needn't have worried. The demons were quickly dispatched though more injuries were suffered by members of the party. 

Escaping through the portal to the Spacial Observatory they began discussing what to do. Leave altogether, rest here, rest in the library? The library won out as a resting place to recover from wounds before making any other decisions. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Dungeon Vignette - The Cathedral of Knives

Dungeon Vignette articles will describe a room or small area within a dungeon that can be easily dropped into another dungeon or used to spark adventure ideas.

The Cathedral of Knives is the nickname for a moderately wide cavernous passage with jutting spines of very sharp stone. Movement through the passage is treated as difficult terrain with the added problem of taking damage each round from the numerous unavoidable cuts and scrapes.

The passage is 40' across at its widest point and 90' long from entrance to exit. The ceiling is 30' high at the central peak. There is a cleared section through the center of the passage that is 15' wide by 30' long, but this is also quite dangerous because some Ropers have laid eggs on the ceiling. 

The Roper eggs have hatched into Piercers that wait for slow moving targets to enter this section where they will drop on their intended prey. Then the Piercers will climb back up safely via a large stalagmite column to await the next meal.

Damage amounts should be adjusted for the level of your party. 

Mitigation efforts should be welcomed, such as Flight, Dimension Door, Teleport, and other transport methods that can get them above the man high level of the cutting surfaces.

Abilities that allow movement free of difficult terrain are also helpful for reducing the time spent exposed to the harsh environment.

Creative approaches can have drawbacks. Parties attempting to place boards, tables or doors across the tips of the stone will be disappointed when the weight snaps the tips causing a collapse into the jagged cutting edges. Taking the hours, perhaps days required to smash away the worst of it so that a trick like the boards can work should be allowed, and even preparing the surface to make use of Wall of Stone.

This particular vignette should not be the only way to an objective, but should be used as a short-cut while the other, easier path is a long way to get to the objective.

Depending on how much you want to challenge the party, consider having one of the Roper parents be encountered a few rooms later. "My offspring left some food for me! Yum."

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Dwarven Forge's Upcoming Cities Untold Kickstarter - I Want A Clock Tower

Dear Dwarven Forge,

I have a specific wish for you to include in your upcoming Kickstarter - A modular clock tower that I can make look goody two shoes, common place, or sinister.

For inspiration here's a picture of a non-modular Hirst Arts clock tower. One the other three sides it has stained glass and inside LEDs. As you can see it has statues all around on the second level (a great opportunity for post accessories).

So if you're launching the Cities Untold Kickstarter in December, consider granting my Christmas Wish.

Thank you, Sincerely,


Friday, September 16, 2022

Vorpal Board - Covering More Square Footage With The Camera

When deciding to get a Virtual Tabletop to play remotely with my friends from other states, the choice was narrowed almost by default to Vorpal Board. As I use many sets of Dwarven Forge terrain and really love to show them off, a live visual stream was a no-brainer.

There are some great reviews and tutorials for using VB with terrain, but most of them seem to have the same thing in common, the small display area coverage of the camera on the arm. Reviews and how-tos seemed to indicate that the most likely display area was about 2 feet by 2 feet or 4 square feet. After playing around with the space I had available for use, a solution occurred that has led to an increased display area, well within the reach of the 49 inch camera boom VB offers.

My computer desk happens to be the only reasonable option to run sessions from since others would require negotiating for dining room table use for a few hours, and constantly tearing down and resetting the terrain. The lower deck of the desk is 46 inches wide by 23 inches deep, with half of that taken up by my computer gear. The upper shelf is 46 inches wide by 11 inches deep. So far it sounds like there's not much display space, but stick with me.

The available half of the lower deck allows me to comfortably use about 20 inches by 16 inches, and room to build two or three levels high (maybe more with limitations). The upper shelf narrowness is solved by using Gator foam core boards in thicknesses from 1/4 inch to 2 inches depending on build plan. The foam core boards are 12 inches by 8 inches, or 6 inches by 4 inches. The boards make it possible to increase the shelf width to a supported 16 inches. 

I also have available for occasional use for space a small folding snack tray that can sit beside me to the right, in line with the available desk space. The tray adds over another foot and a half square of horizontal space and some vertical levels.

Most of the reviews and how-to videos showed the placement of the camera boom to the side of the build area, but in this situation that was far too limiting. It is situated almost in the center front of the desk which allows it to span the entire length and height of the currently described display base with range for more.

So far this area has proven to be quite nice and allowed for multiple small vignettes to share it. I however have bigger plans that require new wall shelves above and to the side of the desk. 

In come two 36 inch by 12 inch wall mounted shelves with heavy duty brackets to feel safe loading up the terrain above everything else. This proved to be a bit of an investment, around $90, but will give at least another 6 square feet (more with foam core boards involved) to play with. 

Altogether the display area is approximately 15 square feet compared to the estimated 2 foot by 2 foot shown and discussed in videos. It will be a lot easier to have various scenes prepared for my Ptolus campaign with all of this space. If your situation permits, you could further surround yourself with shelves adding even more playable space.

It is now possible to have the city and sewers on the top level, dungeons on the desk shelf and below, plus still have room for some smaller special environments.

The key to giving yourself more terrain coverage is entirely down to where you situate the camera arm.

So how am I liking Vorpal Board? It's proving to be an excellent choice for my remote gaming purposes.

A quick note on lighting issues with multiple levels above lower ones. Before the new shelves I could turn on the overhead light, a lamp across the room, and pull aside the curtains to let in daylight (I play early where I live). Now there is the issue of some light being blocked from above. No problem, the powerful LED multi-colored lighting (tealight sized) pods I have can be Blu-tacked under the top shelf and set to whatever color mood lighting I want in the dungeon. The actual amount of blocked light turns out to be minimal once the shelves were in place.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Thursday Knights

More Eberron.

Small demons began emerging from the floor and coming at the party. A fight ensued with the stinking creatures being pretty easily dispatched while the party avoided the negative effects of the smell. Larger demons began to crawl through the substance of the floor to attack, accompanied by more of the lesser ones. While the party did incur some damage, the output from them onto their foes was vastly greater and after a brief time they foes stopped coming.

Searching the library revealed marking on the floor saying Astrological, Spacial, and Temporal Observatory. Not to be dissuaded by a death threat (they get plenty of them) and following Ennark's lead, the party entered the Temporal Observatory.

A'lan was the first to look through a temporal portal and witnessing the destruction of a great city by something falling from the sky or stars. He became wracked with incredible pain that drove him to his knees clutching his head.

Eldrid was next. Viewing another portal she witnessed a dwarf wearing weapons and armor made of living flesh. The being somehow saw her and charged, striking at Eldrid. She was tossed back from the portal suffering psychic damage and falling to the floor.

Third was Ennark. He came here seeking knowledge, artifacts relevant to his faith, and a way to finish sealing away the ancient demon lords. Through the portal he witnessed the event that was critical to the founding of the Church of the Silver Flame. The demon lord being struck down, thrown into a crevice, followed by his attacker, and streaks of light, both bright and dark blasting skyward as the crevice sealed. He too was taken with pain.

Anton and Cotton decided against using the portals, instead expressing their wish to depart. The others agreed and they returned to the ruined library.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Ptolus: Wayward Sons - The Darkness and Dankness (session 4)

Location: Ptolus. Dates: Airday, 3rd of Growth, and Waterday, 4th of Growth

Participating characters:

Alcott - Half-Elf Rogue, level 1

Crispin Ellindril - Elf Ranger, level 1

Quinn Farshore - Human Fighter (Magical Adept), level 1

It was closing in on midnight when the party got a start casing the neighborhood around Citation Street for possible access below Galen's Leather Shoppe or into the sewers. Decision time came after an hour had passed without discovering the location of an easy ingress to their target location. Avoiding a burglary they chose to have Alcott pick the lock on the closest sewer grate to the shop.

It had been 10 minutes since the City Watch patrol had cleared from the area and Alcott now set to work. The lock opened without difficulty and the party descended into the sewers below. Alcott then used a length of string coiled down into the lock to make it appear closed with engaging. 

Crispin stared into the distance, waiting while Quinn lit a torch, then the three headed east, slowly, watching for any sign of hidden doorway on the walls. Coming along to where they estimated the shop to be they found the sewer turned northward. At this intersection they were set upon by 4 hungry giant roaches. The ensuing battle was brief and the roaches died easily, but Crispin suffered injury. 

After cleaning up he led the group north where they found a ladder propped up the wall to a hole where the the wall met the high arched ceiling. Quinn climbed up, sticking his torch through giving him enough light to see the stone hallway beyond. There was no sign of danger so he climbed in and motioned the others to follow. The hallway was a mix of worked stone and field stone indicating that this area had been reworked at least three times.    

Having turned back along their path they had now come westward half as far as they had come through the sewer. The estimated depth below ground here was 20'. quite possibly under the left rear of the shop. Turning south they approached an old door where Quinn stopped to ask Alcott to check it. The door bore no traps and was already unlocked so Quinn opened it and peered inside.

Two pair of red eyes reflected back the light of his torch as the giant rats took greedy notice of a possible meal. Relaying the presence of enemies to his companions, Quinn stepped in to attack the closest of the vermin. Alcott followed, hugging the wall and drawing his bow. He fired at the furthest rat felling it instantly and both rats were down without a chance to fight back.

After the very brief skirmish Quinn took time to examine the large room. The floors and walls were in disrepair, but a sculpted exit bearing two enormous green snakes with ruby colored eyes led eastward into a dark passage. On the floor of the chamber was half of a corpse, now just bones wrapped in torn, dusty clothing, and a pair of weapons in a sheath design to hold them both. The specialized sheath looked new and the short sword and mace were in decent condition. Otherwise nothing else stood out.

In the quiet they decided to pass between the snakes and on into the passage. The dark tunnel arched upward, likely to go above the arched ceiling of the sewer. Crispin had crested the peak and began descending the other side when a spear flew out of the darkness, thrown by a previously hidden ratling that quickly ducked back behind a wall. The spear missed and Crispin readied for another threat. Quinn had come forward to join him at the entrance to another chamber when he heard a noise and lunged to Crispin's right. His weapon pierced a charging ratling, dropping the foe, dead, at their feet. 

Alcott hung back, bow in hand waiting for more hidden enemies to present themselves, but none came. Crispin pursued the spear throwing enemy around the corner dodging a vicious bite and quickly slaying the remaining ratling. The opposition dispatched the party conducted a thorough search which turned up no other exit from this area, however Crispin did examine a slowly trickling fountain and discovered a thumbnail sized ruby among the filthy water and debris.

The map and notes they had viewed in the Guild library indicated the presence of these chambers, but had not shown a way to anything further, only hinting at something far below. There were three doors drawn in a hallway with notes about being unable to access the area beyond. 

Going back into the sewers the three continued roughly eastward at a careful pace periodically looking out of sewer grates to get their bearings beneath South Market. Having somehow wandered further south they found themselves near Market Gate, Crispin discovered this when looking up he noticed a lantern light atop one of the city's wall towers. 

Working their way back to the northeast they eventually found a group of boot tracks at the base of some rungs leading up to another sewer grate, tracks headed back toward where they came from, mixing into a confusion with their own markings. That's when Crispin heard the sound of squeaks and movement coming from two directions. 

Rat creatures were on them, but not before the trio could arm themselves. Blows rained upon each side at a frenetic pace. Crispin was wounded and dropped to the slimy ledge of the sewer unconscious, narrowly avoiding slipping into the raw, flowing effluvia where he might surely have drowned. Just as quickly two of the ratlings were slain by Quinn and Alcott, sending the remaining creatures fleeing deeper into the twisting sewer system.

Carrying their companion, Alcott and Quinn backtracked to the nearest grate. Determining the coast to be clear, Alcott picked the lock and they climbed back up to the city at the corner of Spoiled and Other streets. They set off for Quinn's estate to clean up and rest, hoping Crispin would be ok by morning.

Morning arrived to find them healthy enough to handle personal business and the three split up. 

Alcott arrived at the Daykeeper's Chapel in Midtown, near the Necropolis to find Sister Arsagra Callinthan and her two acolytes deep cleaning the temple. He asked if there was something he could help with and was directed to some crates in the rectory basement that needed sorted and lifted onto the shelves.

After half an hour of work he again approached Sister Arsagra, this time to ask about getting a healing potion at a discount. The Sister had watched him grow up from a scrawny, sometimes troublesome child to the helpful young man he had become. "Healing potions are usually 50 gold pieces, to cover expenses, and they are very important. You must have an important need or you wouldn't be asking. If you have it I think 40 gold pieces will suffice." Alcott agreed, noting he would return soon, and heading out to visit Tenpin Children's Home not far away.

The ring of the tiny cowbell announced Crispin's return home from the night's adventuring. "I've been in the sewers again, but with good reason. My friends and I are trying to track down our missing delver." Tisha pinched her nose and looked at him for a moment. "With these acquaintances of yours dragging you into the sewers, I hope you have good news." Crispin smiled, "I have news, but first I have a surprise for you upstairs.

Returning quickly down to the office he handed over the wrapped gift of the sleeved cape. Tisha unwrapped it and broke into a grin. Holding it up and admiring it she gave it a hug, walked over and gave Crispin a quick kiss, "I love it. When we finish the case I want us to go out on the town so I can wear it." With that, he brought Tisha up to current about their findings and lack of findings.

Quinn had gone to the docks and rented a boat from Sard, then rowed out to the cavern that housed the prison. He stated his intended business and was escorted to speak with Warden Odsen Rom. It was explained to him that the Warden was suffering from light sensitivity and there would be very little light in his office. With that he was shown in to talk to Odsen. The office was nearly pitch black aside from a single candle perched on a shelf above and behind the Warden. "Please sit. My guard informs me you are here to see a prisoner. For what purpose and who?" 

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"Bulpo Greenstone. He's an old family friend." Quinn didn't have much more to share on the subject, he had never met the dwarf whose name only came up in tales about his great grandfather Quinn Ironoak. "He's to be executed soon and I have questions for him." Rom gestured with his hand, "Of course, on the 10th, It is customary for visitors to offer donations to the prison's maintenance." Without question Quinn placed 20 gold pieces on the desk between them. "You may visit with Greenstone now," rapping twice on the desk the Warden summoned the guard back to the room. "He will show you to the prisoner."

Soon it became apparent why the prison has the nickname The Pit. A vast circular hole, 150' across reached down into darkness. A walkway spirals downward along the walls eventually reaching a platform and winch operated by an ogre, for lowering people deeper below. Fortunately Quinn didn't have to go very far. As the walkway descended there were doors leading to the various cell blocks and the guard escorted Quinn into the 15th passage. Twenty empty cells lined the hallway until they reached Bulpo's confinement. The guard pointed a bright bullseye lantern into the cell. "Greenstone, you have a visitor."

"Can you turn that light away?" Bulpo asked, shielding his eyes. Sitting the lantern down and walking away, the guard murmured "Turn it yourself." Quinn turned the lantern more to the side and then approached the bars. The occupant was a dwarf, not yet near middle aged, with a full black beard and full head of black hair, both unkempt, and not braided." Rubbing his eyes and squinting he blinked twice, "Quinn, am I dead already?" 

"No, Mr. Greenstone. I'm Quinn Farshore, you knew my great grandfather Quinn Ironoak." There was a quiet pause. "You're a ringer for him. Even have the same violet eyes. You're great grandfather and I fought the rust worm together. That was 80 years ago." Quinn cut to the chase, "I want to know what happened and if there's something I can do for you." 

"Three weeks ago I came up from a ratting expedition about noon and was immediately arrested. Not for being in the sewers mind you, though that has happened sometimes, but for Rary's murder. I'm still in shock. Rary Silvershine is a good friend. He paused again, "I didn't kill him. We had been playing Dragon Scales at the Black Swan, He clobbered me as always, lost over 100 gold pieces to him. We argued about the games and then had a bit of a tussle, but nothing in anger, always a friendly bust up. You can ask Gersh, and Wendt, and of course Migos the owner, they were all there. Next day when they arrested me, I learned he was dead with my family dagger in his back. They said his money and custom Dragon Scales set were missing. Only thing is, I don't need for money, or a fancy set, yet that was part of the evidence against me. Didn't even know my dagger was missing."

Quinn took all of this in. Crispin plays Dragon Scales went through the back of his mind. "I'll look into this and see what I can do. Maybe after we get you out you can tell me more about my great grandfather." Bulpo nodded, "If you're anything like your great grandfather, you'll get me out."

Friday, September 9, 2022

I Want to Mug You

Time for more shameless self promotion. The blog's Zazzle store has these mugs and some other things for sale. Follow this link to see what's available. If you like something order it. Thanks!*     <----- Link

Below are the designs on three other mugs. Pardon the duplication of images. The banner design mug image copied fine, but the rest came out, well, not as mugs.

There are cards with these images, you can send to folks for whatever reason or to invite them to a special game session. 

Also there are a banner pin and a banner magnet available.


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Thursday Knights


Having rested after acquiring the first two keys/gems, the party entered the third tomb to face its challenges. This resulted in some pain for most of the party and some permanent harm for Ennark.

In the room was a tall bird headed statue with its arms spread wide looking down on a large sarcophagus surrounded by 4 more smaller bird headed stone figures. Centered on the sarcophagus was a green gem. Next to the sarcophagus were two pedestals, one with an indentation and the other with a hand print. Writing at the base indicated that surviving the challenge would net the part the remaining key, a green gem.

After a brief hesitation Ennark approached, placed his hand on the print and touched the gem. He froze in this position and the rest of the party suddenly woke up inside another chamber. The room resembled a gigantic mouth, smelled of halitosis, and the floor was spongy. There was a flow of air at the back, to and from two vertical tunnels going downward.

After trying to drive a spike into the floor and having it pushed back out, Cotton tried driving one into a tooth, chipping a small piece off. They decided then just to loop a rope around it and rappel down one of the tunnels since there appeared to be nowhere else to go.

After getting squeezed downward into another strange chamber the party discovered a boulder sized green gem not far from a large sphincter. Thinking they needed to take this and continue downward, they moved it over the sphincter. Cotton then covered it in oil and began jumping up and down trying to force it through. Forcing it downward failed.

Noticing that the walls were becoming moist with a thick viscous substance and another fluid was beginning to flow down the walls as well, they decided to break up the boulder, stow the pieces in their backpacks, and try climbing back up.

It took some effort and some failures resulting in acid damage, but they eventually made it back to the mouth. Looking for a way out they went to what they assessed was the front and hacked their way through a large tooth causing bleeding. They then forced their way out of the lips and using their feather-fall tokens, glided down in their tiny forms to the other pedestal with the indentation.

There they assembled the boulder in the socket. This released Ennark from his hold and into a state of agony, clutching at his mouth and spitting out hunks of destroyed tooth. With that, the party rematerialized at full size back in the entrance chamber above.

From there they entered the grand tomb structure, placing the three gems in their correct sockets. Sinking down through the floor they eventually arrived in a huge multi-tiered, windowed chamber where they were greeted by a giantess. 

She explained they were in a tower belonging to an architect and general in the service of one of the great giant lords. The library was accessible to all simply by using the ethereal stairs. After some questions the party learned that without writen permission from our master, we were to stay out of the Astrological, Spacial, and Temporal Observatories under penalty of death. (yeah, right)

The party used the ethereal stairs to descend through various levels until we materialized in a demolished library filled with ruins and corpses.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Prop Dusting - Magnetic Levitation & Rotation Display

Here's a little magnetic magical device I splurged on that will eventually make an appearance on the game table, set up amid some Dwarven Forge terrain.

Once you attune (balance) the puck over the magnetic field, you can place objects on it that will hover and rotate at varied rates depending on where their center of mass sits. I tested this with a Pathfinder Battles Karzoug Statue from the Rise of the Runelords set. It is a towering piece that swung left to right and back in a wide arc looking like it was reaping enemies below with its weapon.

The statue continued to move for the entire time I tested it seeming to widen the arc of its swing slightly over time. I have no idea if it would have come to a stop, but the way it was going I have my doubts.

When I unveil the device, the puck and base will be covered so they do not visually clash with the terrain. I fully expect players to be cautious about the characters passing by the sweeping blade.

Monday, September 5, 2022

The Names Have Changed and the Guilty Remain the Same

My face-to-face play group session write-ups have been posted under the title Campaign Diary. Assuming the group ever reconvenes, there will be one last report under that title. Any further journals will have the title The Misadventures of the Death Squad.

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My Remote play Ptolus campaign currently titled Ptolus Group 2 will be changing titles to Ptolus: Wayward Sons with the 4th session write-up.

The Thursday Eberron remote group I play in will keep its name, but stay just as guilty.

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Serpents Tooth - Dungeon Magazine 19

Here's a role-play focused scenario that can be run concurrently with other activities in a Ptolus campaign.

Player characters are approached by someone claiming to work undercover for the City Watch and looking to hire unfamiliar faces to help ferret out people that may be planning to overthrow the Commissar and City Council.

All they are asked to do is keep tabs for several days on who a tavern owner is meeting with. Of course their contact will keep asking more questions each night when they report in. Their employer is an assassin getting them to do his scouting before he goes in for the kill. Basically they're being played and suspicion may well fall on them.

The action is all confined to the Docks District and a small tavern called the Serpents Tooth.

The truth is that their target is a retired adventurer whose old party members are coming in to try to convince her to rejoin for a mission.

The assassin was hired by a merchant whose son tried to rob the place and ended up imprisoned in the basement for a year.

Not much to say about this one, it handles just about everything with little need for modification.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Ptolus Group 2 - The Murdered, The Missing, and Maryanne (session 3)

Location: Ptolus. Dates: Kingsday, 2nd of Growth and Airday, 3rd of Growth

Participating characters:

Alcott - Half-Elf Rogue, level 1

Crispin Ellindril - Elf Ranger, level 1

Quinn Farshore - Human Fighter (Magical Adept), level 1

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Kingsday, 2nd of Growth - 

Inside the Farshore Estate, #1 Barrister Street, sits Maerin Ironoak clutching a copy of The Midtown Partisan, folded to frame one important article. The 107 year old matriarch anxiously awaits the return of her great grandson Quinn. 

Quinn Farshore arrived to find the foyer brightly lit and the door to the parlor standing open. It was there he found his great grandmother sitting alone. Spry for her advanced age, Maerin crossed the room with a grim look upon her weathered face, and handed him the paper, tapping her crooked finger on the article.


The story described how Bulpo had stabbed Rary in the back with his family dagger, having lost over 100 gold pieces to him playing Dragon Scales. Missing from the scene were the money and Silvershine's custom Dragon Scales set. The dagger meanwhile remained in the victim's back, piercing his heart.

Greenstone's execution was set for Airday,10th of Growth, one week from today. Bulpo was being held in the prison pending his execution.

The name was not unfamiliar to Quinn. During his childhood his great grandmother had recounted tales of his great grandfather Quinn Ironoak's adventures and one name that came up often was that of his dwarven companion Bulpo Greenstone. "I'll have to visit him." Quinn remarked.


Crispin moved along Jawline Walk, coming to a stop before a shop with a sign reading  - Investigations - and bearing the symbol of an eye. Next door was Wilian's Keys. His tiefling paramour Tisha shared this building with Wilian, and she lived in the long attic above both shops. 

He entered the door to the sound of a small cowbell, followed by her pleasant voice "Not one more step. You smell awful, like you've been traipsing through the sewers. Come any closer and I'll beat you to death." "She could do it too," thought Crispin. 

"You arrived at the right time! A month without work and two jobs arrive in one day. I can handle the cheating husband task, but this other one is better handled by you and your friends. It's a missing delver case." Tisha filled him in on the matter. "The missing delver Avery Conklin, has been gone now for 3 days. His last note said he found a dungeon below Citation Street and was going to explore." 


Airday, 3rd of Growth - 

Unable to shake the feeling that Maryanne and the three street gang members from yesterday had a connection, Alcott decided to try finding and trailing the woman for some of the day. North Market is where the mugging had happened so he chose to start there. 

The market area was busy. Stalls, wagons, vendors, and stores were crowded by hundreds of customers and browsers. Blending in would be easy, but finding his quarry would take some doing, that is if she had not immediately spotted him. "Hi! I'm so glad to see you. I wanted to thank you all again for retrieving my amulet. You saved my job."

"You look a lot better than yesterday, healing well." Alcott noted. "Not being swollen and purple must make a difference." Maryanne quipped. The two conversed for a while, moving to the street side to avoid blocking the heavy traffic. Maryanne was easy to talk to, and quite attractive. Her long, light brown hair shone auburn highlights, and her soft brown eyes sparkled in the sun. Despite being younger than her by at least 5 years, Alcott decided to turn on the charm.


Early in the morning Crispin arrived at Quinn's home where they discussed the missing person's case. There was a problem with it from the start, which of the two Citation Streets in the city the missing delver was exploring. Nothing from Tisha's information made this clear. It was at least made interesting to the pair that Quinn's estate was about one block away from the Citation street in Oldtown. The pair talked as they walked there to have a look around.  It was decided that getting access to the Delver's Guild library and map room would improve their chances of finding Avery Conklin.

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The first order of business was becoming members of the Delver's Guild. A short hike into Midtown brought them to Delver's Square, formally known as Runihan Square. There, beyond a fountain and a statue of Abesh Runihan were the great steps down into the Undercity Market. Below the Square the market resided in a great hall where once Kagrisos the Ghost Lich laired. The hall was lined and filled with tables, and booths of all sorts, and it was there, in a hallway just to the southern side of the great stairs, the Delver's Guild had their headquarters. The two made their way in and inquired about membership.

Taking notice of the new arrivals, Rena smiled and greeted them. "Welcome to the Delver's Guild, can I be of assistance?" Crispin explained that they were there to join the guild and Rena explained the membership levels. "And 10% off at Ebbert's Outfitters in the Square above." Twenty gold pieces each later, "We can now access the map room in Oldtown." said Quinn. Rena smiled and asked "Do you have a name for your delving team? "Wayward Sons," Quinn remarked. She made note of it and wished them "Good delving!"


After some more conversation that included compliments on Maryanne's appearance, Alcott asked her to join him for a meal. The offer was that she choose the location with a few suggestions of his own to entice decision making. Maryanne agreed, "Let's walk a bit while making up our minds. Telenn's Sweetery is just around the corner, let's stop there first."

Strati Telenn, the gnome proprietor, took great pride in making the sweetest of sweet treats in his bakery. He was also very dedicated to maintaining a festive and inviting appearance to his business. The sign outside bore a cake, surrounded by candies in a panoply of bright, cheerful colors. The inside was just as pleasing to the eye, pastel pinks and greens contrasted with the warm fudge coloring of the woodwork. Customers with two coppers to spare could get a variety of tiny treats any time during the day, like the sweet rolls Maryanne and Alcott had purchased.

Alcott sighed inwardly in relief when Maryanne made her choice and didn't pick the expensive wine cafe from his suggestions. "Good Eats in Fairbriar." She had chosen an inexpensive restaurant known for its gnome and halfling cuisine. They strolled casually through Midtown chatting as they went, ignoring the hustle of people and tradesmen, arriving at their destination half an hour later. 

Settling in at a cozy table for two, they placed simple orders, open faced hot turkey for Alcott, a green leaf salad and bowl of vegetable beef stew for Maryanne. "Oh, and a berry cream tart to share." He noted to himself, "The lady likes her sweets."

Over their meal they shifted from the small talk of their walk to getting to know more about each other. Alcott learns from Maryanne that she and her parents moved to the city when she was five. They fell on hard times and when she was about 9 or 10 they accepted a monetary offer for her to become an apprentice to the wizard Endicott. In a brief time it became obvious she had no magical aptitude so mostly spent time cleaning the abode and lab. "You wouldn't believe how many times I changed color from contact with failed potions." Now she runs errands for him. In turn, Alcott shared a little about himself, but was careful to keep his history and upbringing hidden. He began to gradually move the conversation around to the three thugs that had mugged Maryanne the previous day.


Quinn and Crispin made their way to the Delver's Guild Library and Map Room in Oldtown. Within the lobby head librarian Shad Livbovic is taking down some expired notices when the pair approach. "Are you Guildsmen? Perhaps I can be of service." Displaying their very new membership papers, they explain that they are seeking a map that may aid them in locating a missing member of the guild. "New, today! Good! Wait here, I'll fetch a lad to assist you finding things." Shad returned quickly with a young man who would guide Quinn and Crispin upstairs to the map room. 

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Lining the walls were scrolls, books, map folios, and hundreds of pieces of paper, some neatly stacked, most haphazardly placed in pigeon holes and cubbies. Tables and chairs, some occupied, filled the center of the room. Delvers and assistants looked at and copied maps and journals.  "You can examine the maps as much as you like, but making copies costs 5 gold per page, minimum 50, and I am at your disposal to help." He led them around the wall to find any maps concerning Citation Street as they requested. The young man stopped and examined the pigeon holes under the C heading, eventually finding a mention of Citation street. There were two cubbies, one empty, the other with six sheets of loose paper. 

The notes and sketches indicated that there was a dungeon access point below the South Market Citation Street near where it meets Crumpet Street, and a sketch with the name Galen's Leather Shoppe. Other notes and sketches included were vague. Off of the sewers it seemed to indicate a hidden area beneath the shop, and much further below, a series of ornate doors into an unknown space.


"I make an effort to help people. My current project are the three kids that attacked you. I want to get them involved in something positive. Does Endicott have a need now for an apprentice?" Alcott's question surprised Maryanne. "I . . . can ask. Do any of them have any magical aptitude?" Alcott hadn't seen any sign in the brief interaction he had with them. "How would I find that out?" Maryanne was quick to respond, "There are a lot of tests that might bring it out, but the one Endicott prefers is to scare them. It might get a reaction. I peed myself." A deep blush came over her face when she realized she probably revealed too much. "I shouldn't have said that." To his credit Alcott carried on as if he hadn't noticed her admission. "One of their fathers is a carpenter I hired to repair a window frame for an old woman, but I don't think the boy wants to carry on that line of work." 

"How can I reach you?" she asked. Alcott responded, "Do you know Brother Fabitor?" The reply was just as quick, "St. Gustav's on the Square! You can reach me there too. I'll let you know what he says. I have to go now, business to attend to. oh, and, you're very charming," she said with a smile.

Their lunch date ended there and after Maryanne left, Alcott paid the tab and set out to Crispin's place to catch up on things.


New information in hand, Crispin and Quinn began scoping out buildings and sewer grates along Citation Street. All of the sewer entrances appeared on visual observation to be locked so they instead turned to Galen's Leather Shoppe. 

Galen was a sight to behold. A tall elf, his height was accentuated by high heeled shoes made from some sort of reptile hide dyed deep crimson. Above those, his tan leather pants bore vertical stripes of green silk. A bright yellow sash was tied around his waist. He wore a dark blue shirt beneath a black leather vest tied closed in the front, and on his head a white skull cap pierced by three ragged pigeon feathers and a silver hat pin to hold it in place. His husband was right, stereotypes be damned, "If you're competent at your work you can make a living. If you're good at your work you can make a good living. To make a great living you have to stand out, to be memorable, to play to people's desire to be unique."

The shop was also different. It had a long street facing of nearly 40 feet, and a depth of 20 feet. Every square inch of wall was hung with outfits and costume pieces. Dummies draped in outfits stood scattered about amid work tables, thick carpets, and piles of leather and fabric. 

Crispin engaged the shop keep in conversation with questions of all sorts. "I'm looking for something to give as a gift to my tiefling girlfriend." Galen muttered "Kinky" with a wink and smile, "what shade is her skin?" Crispin described Tisha's skin as being somewhere between pink and flesh tone. "Hmmm, I may have just the thing over here," Galen worked his way to the back wall pulling out some clothes from behind another display. 

Quinn prowled about the shop doing his best to avoid drawing the owner's attention. Unwilling to risk moving tables, piles of material, and carpets, he looked for anything obvious and tried pressing his weight onto sections of floor hoping to perhaps find a trap door. While he did remain unobserved, his efforts provided no signs of a way below.

Galen presented Crispin with a dark red suede cape with sleeves halfway down the arm, completed with delicate red lace continuing to the wrist.  "This is a unique piece, one of a kind." Crispin briefly considered then asked the price. "Fifty gold pieces." Crispin paid for the cape in a mix of coinage while Galen wrapped and tied the item gently. 

It was now Quinn's turn to distract the owner so Crispin could take a walk around the shop. His questions were less directed toward any specific fashion having no interest in making a purchase. The discussion and search didn't last long and Crispin quietly indicated he too had found nothing. The two left the shop and decided to split up to take care of personal things before meeting back at Quinn's estate.


"How long have you been waiting here?" came Crispin's voice from behind. Alcott had been about to knock on the door to Tisha and Crispin's business and residence. "We were supposed to meet at Quinn's." Alcott stepped aside to let Crispin open the door and followed him inside," I had some business to take care of and thought Tisha might know where you two had gone."

It took only a couple of minutes for Crispin to hide the present beneath the bed and return to let himself and Alcott out of the business. Locking up, the two returned to Quinn's home in Oldtown.

The three talked about the missing person case as they walked Alcott to the Delver's Guild headquarters to get him signed up. So far they had seen a map and notes that staff at the library indicated Avery Conklin had been there to examine 6 days ago. Crispin and Quinn had also briefly explored the apartment building attached behind Galen's shop. They noted the locked sewer entrances and no sign of a way down inside on a short look around. After getting Alcott his membership they walked again to South Market to reconnoiter the surroundings. It was decided that a nighttime search might yield better results when they could physically check the grates and maybe inside the shop with less attention.


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