Play Report: Mopping Up (Stormguard Session 9)

When we last left the party, they had sent a Pishacha to defeat Warqua and were preparing to interrogate their prisoner. The party is:

  • Hilbrent Firebrand: Human Magic-user, Level 4 (Fire Spellbook)
    • Don “Juan” Ashe, Human sailor (soldier) henchman, Level 2
  • Talia Stormborne: Human Cleric of Vardor, Level 4 (Healing Spellbook)
    • Irion Brightear, Halfling Musician henchman, Level 0
    • Dwight Montgomery, Human sailor (soldier) follower, Level 2
    • Elba Seron, Human herbalist follower, Level 0
  • Benquil Barrison Del’Armgo: Half-Drow Thief, Level 4
    • Mickey Heron, Human sailor (soldier) henchman, Level 2
  • Algaeir Ashbow: Human Druid, Level 4 (Tracking and Archery)
  • Lamila Umdril: Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter, Level 4

The interrogation begins with Benquil mixing up a rudimentary truth serum from some of the poisons he’s gathered. With a generous dose administered, the rough man becomes compliant and responsive to questions. He calls himself Velish.

They learn from Velish that the ambassadorial manor is being used as a front for moving the purple-glowing crystals. Velish’s part in the scheme is collecting outside money and other supplies used to keep the manor running. This money is used to pay the goblins and for bringing crystals, but mostly to pay for deliveries from the goblins to other groups, including the orcs and pirates. When asked how much money they were making, he made it clear that this location in isolation was losing money.

When Velish claimed to know nothing of what the crystals did, Lamila determined that the serum was insufficient encouragement, threatening that they would test the crystal by making him touch it if he could not say what it did. Velish responds that he would rather not touch it, but that he really doesn’t know what it does.

Lamila is undeterred and grapples him, forcing his hand to the crystal despite his wild resistance. Upon touch it he attempts to jerk away, but she keeps his hand on it. With no apparent ill effects and his struggles slowing, Lamila let’s him free. She asks what he experienced. He describes a tingling at first and then creeping numbness.

Seeing Velish had come through without any harm, Lamila put her hand to the crystal. She feels the tingling he spoke of, then the numbness. She stubbornly keeps her had to the crystal until her entire arm is numb and Hilbrent advises her to stop. She pulls her hand away and it remains numb. She realizes that her massive ax will be hard to wield one handed.

Meanwhile, Benquil learns where Velish hides money in his quarters with the intention of finding it all later.

Satisfied with the interrogation, they settle in to await the return of the devil. Match, who was confined to the prison during much of the others’ antics, remains awake against its coming, while the rest of them take turns at the watch, most of them catching some much needed sleep after over twenty hours awake and active in the manor.

Four hours pass, and the Pishacha does not return. Benquil and Hilbrent want to immediately go to the manor and finish the job themselves, but the others argue to wait a little longer. They wait another half hour before they are sure the devil is not returning. They go to the manor, finding the horses of the stable slaughtered at the devils hand. Benquil has to admit that it was a prudent move to keep its target from fleeing. He nonetheless regrets the loss of the horses. They could have used them or even sold them.

They are able to track the devil by its bloody footprints, following it to an exposed secret stairway on the second floor before the bloody prints begin to fade. Before going down, they search the rooms in the area, raiding Velish’s stashes and breaking into Warqua’s safe.

They then descend the stairs by lamp light, finding an open secret door to the right and stairs continuing downward. The open door leads to the store room beneath the kitchen, so they continue downward, finding a small chamber.

Hilbrent casts an earth detection spell while Benquil and Lamila push against walls and Match jumps in a suspicious corner. Hilbrent’s spell finishes and he describes open spaces on the two sides abutting Match’s corner. Looking closely at one of the walls, they can see a secret doorway there. Benquil goes first, opening the door silently and stepping into the well lit hall. Four doors lie before them. Benquil cracks the first door he comes to. It is dark inside, but from the hall light he can see a man sleeping in the bed. He motions for the others to stay and enters, creeping to the bedside and putting his scimitar to the man’s throat.

The man awakens with a cry and Benquil slits his throat. Gurgling, he grabs a dagger and swings ineffectually at Benquil as Mickey rushes in and stabs him. Meanwhile, a door on the left where Lamila is waiting open. She swings, overstepping badly and cutting deep into her leg instead of hitting the cultist, who shoots her at near point blank with a small hand crossbow.

Hilbrent quickly casts a spell, frying the cultist where he stands, while Don rushes into the room, engaging the other cultist within. The other left door opens and there stands Umaugh, bedecked in his heavy armor, still scarred by their last encounter with him. He swings and Lamila lets him hit her, swinging back powerfully with a blow that rings against his armor. Seeing Lamila badly damaged, Talia heals her with a swift spell.

Match has been waiting at the last door. The door remains silent and, knowing that there is a wizard here who casts through walls, he bursts through the door. Warqua is there, still getting out of bed. Match rushes him, swinging his scythe as the man dodges to a corner. Warqua draws his rapier, his stab forcing Match back a step.

Algaeir and Dwight fire arrows at Umaugh, but he huddles behind his large shield, also fending off Lamila’s attack with it. Benquil and Mickey run from their room and, seeing Umaugh well engaged, head down the hall to the room Match burst into. Hilbrent steps forward, hitting Umaugh with his staff. He ignores the blow and it bursts with deadly fire (a power previously prepared), causing his armor to gleam protectively. Don and the Cultist continue to exchange attacks and parries and Umaugh chops again at Lamila, who allows the blow to hit and comes back with a powerful swing that crunches against Umaugh’s armor. Talia heals Lamila again, undoing Umaugh’s efforts.

Match swings again, his foe trapped with nowhere to go. Warqua suddenly vanishes. Match, frustrated, hears a cry of pain from the wall to his right. He throws his shoulder into the wall and as Benquil and Mickey arrive, they join him. The wall trembles a little with their combined efforts.

Algaeir and Dwight turn their fire on the cultist and between them and Don’s blow the cultist goes down. Umaugh blocks another attack from Lamila. Hilbrent, responding to calls from Benquil, runs down to the other room, finding them all pushing against the wall. He considers a spell to remove the impediment.

Meanwhile, Umaugh hits Lamila again before she cuts him down. Lamila refuses to leave him, still bitter about his escape from death last time. This time, she is determined to take him prisoner.

Those pushing against the wall finally start to get some reward as mortar cracks and bricks fall into the dark. Hilbrent decides to teleport himself down, beginning to cast as Algaeir, Dwight, and Don arrive, also pushing. The bricks fall away, crashing down the elevator shaft.

Hilbrent finishes his spell, teleporting down into the shaft a good distance before falling and taking a little damage. At the bottom, he can see the light of dawn shining into the cavern and Warqua silhouetted in the opening. Match also jumps down the shaft, using his wings to descend slowly.

Meanwhile, Algaeir produces a rope, tying one end to the bed with a taut-line hitch and throwing the other down the shaft. Benquil, Don, Mickey, and Dwight descend the rope, but have to drop a short ways at the bottom. All come through the drop fine, but Don, who sprains his ankle badly and quickly crawls out of the way.

Hilbrent, wearing the boots of haste acquired from Velish and with a head start, of course leads the chase. Once outside, Match takes flight and also begins to make up distance on Warqua as he runs across the mountain face, trying to work his way to the treeline.

Hilbrent catches him, striking with his encharged staff and so knocking out stone cold. Match promptly lands beside them and they get to looting, Hilbrent sensing magical auras on items and determining their use. He starts with the rings, finding one to have healing magic on it and the other to have teleport magic, presumably used to escape Match and reach the elevator shaft. He also detects that Warqua’s tunic has an armor aura, making it perhaps a little more effective than leather as armor. Match immediately strips it off, thinking he might just wear it, since he has thus far been unarmored.

Algaeir, Benquil, Mickey, and Dwight arrive (Don stayed behind and got healed) and help carry the unconscious Warqua back to the manor where they find the elves entering at the gate and occupying it. They meet with the elves who inform them that they are taking control of the situation. They offer Warqua as a prisoner (Umaugh was killed outright by Lamila’s final blow). The elves accept the prisoner, rewarding them handsomely for their efforts in investigating the manor.

The elves then instruct them to leave the premises. Lamila tells them that they left some of their equipment in the tunnels under the manor, and that they’ll just go get it and see themselves out. Once there, they split the treasure among themselves, giving Talia, Dwight, Irion, Elba, and Algaeir somewhat more boring shares on account of the fact that they will be leaving the company, Talia and her followers to continue her diplomatic mission to the elves and Algaeir to join the rangers.

The rest intend to go deeper into the mountain, seeking more crystals for their experimentation.

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