2018, Events so far...
Since the last update was from a game played way back in April 2017, here's a new thread, to catch up on events since then and keep track of things going forward. Many of the details may be off, so anybody who played in any games feel free to post with their own recollections or collections.
Previously in Moonthrone...
Since the raid on the City Beneath's secret gnome farms, the Withered Goats have become more freedom fighters than simple bandits, though they continue to raid caravans along the eastern Swamp Road into Moonthrone and generally be a nuisance for the powers that be. The Spire Lords have taken notice, with dogman patrols increased and some manpower usually used for rooting out the Folk allocated to hunting down the guerilla gnomes, but so far with little success. Talk among the common rabble about the Withered Goats varies from stories of Robin Hood-esque bravado to cannibalistic gnome-boogeyman depravity, depending if one's allegiances are more in line with Moonthrone's rulers or the Folk.
Over the past few months, many adventurers have been recently hired and brought into the city by a shadowy organization, who initially refused to identify themselves.
One mission was to locate a local thug who managed to rob a merchant initially lured into the city and tagged as a mark for the guild. The thug was hunted down, and it was discovered he stole a pack of religious artifacts, including a handful of wish granting monkey's paws.
Another mission by the mysterious thieve's guild, who some speculated was the Beggar's Guild, involved discrediting Alyse Carl, merchant ship captain of The Spearhead, who returned to the city after many years of trade elsewhere. Alyse had double crossed the guild and left port without paying them, after hiring them for the job that landed her current ship. The many years that passed were not enough for the guild to forget the grudge.
Guild recruits discovered that Alyse returned to sell off a pair of basilisk eggs, but unfortunately one had hatched en route, causing her to sequester her crew in port to keep the dangerous contraband beast in her ship's hold secret while she tried to make a deal to get rid of it.
One group uncovered that Alyse also made a deal with a witch aligned with Glamorfrodorfidelphiding when she initially double crossed the Cog. With the witch's help, Alyse framed the prior captain's first mate for witchcraft, discrediting the captain (a drunk named Mummie), while the Cog supplied the forged documents that let her take over ownership of the ship.
Another group discovered the basilisk hidden on the ship. They also managed to help it escape into Northgutter where it terrorized the locals.
Between charges of witchcraft and releasing a dangerous beast into the city, Alyse was successfully discredited, and arrested by the city guard.
The guild also managed to reinstate Mummie as the captain of his old ship, The Spearhead, as a useful trade and smuggling connection.
Some of the recruits also learned that the organization that hired them is known as the Cog, and seems to have connections to half the factions in Moonthrone. Whether they are actually part of the Beggar's Guild, secretly in charge of the Beggar's Guild, or merely have contacts to them is unclear.
More Rabbit Shenanigan's
In the Pelt District, children were going missing. The Folk hired a group of adventurers to get to the bottom of the disappearances. Among the adventurers was a new Cog recruit sent to test the waters of possible Cog/Folk cooperation (who also happened to be Moonthrone nobility, which caused some personal complications when the Folk found out).
Another old lady with a pact with El Herrairah was taking kids off the street for their own protection, where they were exposed to warlock corruption. The adventurers found a hidden magical warren in her home, where they confronted the Fey Lord of the Chase, Ranir, and some of his followers. After a battle with the fey-corrupted old woman, six corrupted children were saved. Some of them were Folk children, and returned to their families, while others were orphans the Folk promised to take care of.
More Basilisk Shenanigans
The escaped basilisk continued to wreak havoc in the slums of Northgutter, causing increased city guard presence, and people to hide in their homes. Cog recruits, including a gnome wizard, a dwarf cleric, and a marcrow artificer [yeah, not multiverse legal, but the 9-year-old son of the DM gets certain perks], eventually managed to capture the basilisk and turn him in to Cog contacts who promised to put the beast to good use.
Also, the front that the Cog used for recruiting, the Silver Goblet Inn, was set on fire and eventually renovated, wiped clean of any of its prior connections to the guild.
The Fate of Alyse
Alyse Carl, set to be executed for witchcraft and sitting in the dungeons of a dogman fortress, was a loose end for the Cog. Though they initially only wanted to embarrass and ruin her as a message not to cross them, who knew what secrets she might spill to the guards now?
Guild agents managed to infiltrate the fortress, eliminate Alyse, and cause a prison break. Cornered in the dungeons by an entire garrison of dogmen, they narrowly managed to escape when it was revealed that Hidey the marcrow had contracted a heretofore unknown (at least among non-marcrow humanoids) form of owlbear lycanthopy. [Thanks to a well-timed natural 20] Hidey transformed into an owlbear and tore into the guards, allowing everyone to escape in the confusion.
Also, a deed to cottage in Northgutter, previously home to a family turned into statuary and eaten by a basilisk, was obtained, providing a possible future base of operations with convenient back-alley sewer access.
Into the Wyrd, again
The city watch somehow became aware of the children recently corrupted by El-Herrairah's old lady friend. Apparently the Beggar's Guild had their eyes on the children, and reached out to their city guard contacts. Captain Griggs was ordered to find the kids. Not quite knowing who he could trust, but needing to follow orders, Griggs hired adventurers to hunt them down, and supplied some magical silver weapons, just in case the Folk somehow intervened.
The newly hired adventurers stumbled into an alleyway confrontation with Folk agents also searching for the kids, led by a werebear named Hudson. Thanks to the use of a suggestion spell, the Folk abandoned their search for the children, but not before asking the group to return the kids to the Folk instead of the dogmen.
Led by Crumbs the marcrow, the party braved the walled-off Stormstreet Incursion, where, after experiencing some of the chaotic weirdness of incursion areas (your money turning to bugs and crawling away, growing tentacles from your shoulders, that sort of thing), they met with Andolphus, who revealed he had the children taken to protect them from the Beggar's Guild, and they could be found in a warehouse in the Wyrd District.
Following the a sewer route via a map provided by Andolphus, the group made it into the Wyrd District and, and after more incursion weirdness (raining fish and spoons, melting and thought-controlled buildings) found the missing rodent children. But somehow, a patrol of dogmen guards also managed to show up behind them and ask for the kids. A fight ensued, the guards were defeated, and the children were returned to the Folk. Presumably, they were also reported dead to Captain Griggs, per Andolphus's and Hudson's request.
Cat and Mouse
New visitors to Moonthrone arrived by sea, disembarking in the prosperous Southgutter District, known for it's large population of semi-feral street cats Though Moonthrone is not a very devout city, the wealthy and noteworthy are known to give a fair amount of reverence and deference to cats, due to their reputation for the ability to sense witches and provide warning of otherworldly influence.
While dining at a street cafe, the visitors were approached by Mistress Henna Mjeldi, a svelte beauty of vaguely feline qualities, who hired them to retrieve a gem she stated was stolen from her, called the Grimalkin Eye. The culprit was a two-bit thief known as Raheed, known to reside in the less than reputable slums in Midgutter to the north.
On their way to Midgutter, the group met the goblin servants of a merchant lord named Hakaan, who invited to them meet to meet their master. In the courtyard of Hakaan's palatial manor, built into the side of a mooncoral spire, the corpulent merchant requested they bring the gem to him instead of Mjeldi. He also offered them some of the feast he happened to be gorging himself upon (including some 'gnome bite' candies of dubious moral quality).
The party traveled further north, from Southgutter (renowned for its perfume and potion production) to Midgutter (where industry tends toward less reputable alchemical concoctions), where they asked around and learned that the semi-notorious Raheed was known to owe money to a disreputable alchemist known as Festering Heth. In Heth's decrepit tower shack above an alchemists shop, they discovered that Heth had robbed the rattish Raheed of the Grimalkin Eye, and purchased his own panther to test the Eye's powers, as it had magical powers associated with cats.
On their return to Southgutter with the newly purloined Eye, the party was confronted by both Hakaan and Mjeldi. However, it turned out both Mjeldi and Hakaan had lied about their ability to pay their promised prices for the eye, and a fight ensued. Hakaan was apparently killed; Mjeldi was defeated, but managed to convince the party she was a more valuable asset alive than dead, as a knowledge contact for black market gossip and a potential connection to the Folk.
A Cog Safehouse?
Back in Northgutter, Adric the dwarf cleric and Charion the (disguised) gnome wizard, returned to their newly purchased home, a decrepit cottage previously inhabited by a family turned basilisk-food, to find Reese Kincaid, the Cog contact that recruited them into the city, inspecting their residence for use as a Cog safehouse and showing it off to a new batch of guild recruits.
Kincaid found the location ideal, in part due to its easy sewer access via the drain in the alley behind the building. He informed them that there may be points of interest in the nearby sewers, including a rumored hidden treasure vault, and a possible access point to the City Below, where the Spire Lords have a hidden gnome farm somewhere underneath Northgutter.
While exploring the sewers, they encountered a patrol of roachlings (halfling-sized bug-people), who claimed the territory as theirs. A possible alliance fell apart when the roachlings saw through Charion's disguise; the party saw the avarice in their eyes at the possibility of a fortune in gnome-meat and attacked before the roach-men had a chance to double cross them.
Two roachlings escaped and one was taken prisoner. Thanks in part to Adric's gruesome interrogation techniques (eating the steamed roachling legs of the prisoner's dead friend), they learned that the roachlings had a secret lair nearby hidden inside a mooncoral spire, accessible by a magic key that was unfortunately on one of the escaped bug-men.
Unfortunately, thanks to to Hidey the marcrow, who apparently can't abide taking captives, the captured roachling managed to escape. While trying to hunt him or his friends down, the party came across another sewer patrol, this time of Guttersnipes, who claimed the territory as theirs, and were there to hunt down the roaches.
More misunderstandings and a fight ensued. During the confusion, Hidey helped the escaped prisoner, and Charion found and joined the other roachlings with the help of his hat of disguise. By the end of the confusion, all the Guttersnipes and roachlings were dead, and from the roaches the party recovered a strange disc of mooncoral. The mooncoral 'key' had etchings that matched the tenticular design they found on a wall of mooncoral hidden behind a secret door hidden in the side of a sewer tunnel.
Any word on the Widowers and our moonshining operation?
Production has apparently been good, as more witch shine has been quietly sneaking onto the 'secret' menus of inns and taverns throughout the city!
Perceptive drunks may have noticed an increase in... off-putting, red-headed halflings rushing into and out of back alleys, filling orders at their favorite drinking-holes.
In fact, popularity may be growing enough that the City Watch may not be able to look the other way much longer. The Spire Lords are wary of anything that seems related to witchcraft or unregulated magic, for fear of incursions, so as popularity and rumors of the shine increasingly reach the City Above, there are murmurs among more forward-thinking business owners of an imminent crack-down.
As for the Widowers, I assume any player character involved has been taking on day to day duties at the shine operation hidden in the ruins of Havenbender Manor, since their last exploit (when not adventuring through the Multiverse in other NL Multiverse games of course), unless anyone wants to give me any ideas in the forums for what they might be up to.
Travels in Moonthrone
New Cog recruits were smuggled into Moonthrone via the Southgutter docks, and told to report to Charion and Adric's home/safehouse in Northgutter for a job.
Unfortunately, a run-in with the Grey-Faces (a small-time Northgutter gang) caused a disturbance about a block from the house, with eldritch blasts and warlock-induced fog. The incident was reported to the city watch who showed up to investigate.
The job from the Cog was to reach out and somehow make an alliance with the Withered Goats, in the swamps east of town. The Cog had no real leads, and told the recruits to venture forth and see what they could do. Unfortunately, they couldn't just walk out the door and head out of town, as there were dogmen in the streets looking for warlocks, due to the aforementioned incident. Also, in addition to a warlock, they were three gnomes in the group. Also, their destination was on the complete opposite side of the city, a good day's walk even if they didn't have to dodge the city guards and locals looking to make a score in gnome meat.
So they took the sewers, sneaking out of the home via the secret sewer entrance in the cottage's basement just as the dogmen approached the front door to ask questions.
About halfway across town, still in the sewers, they came across a nest of giant rats blocking the way. Via inventive simultaneous casting of firebolt and gust cantrips, the two wizards in the group managed to not explode the entire party in a giant eruption of sewer gas. They did however, cause geysers of flame to burst into the streets, causing chaos in the streets of Devil Town above.
They decided to go topside, but being covered in filth, smelled and looked worse than even the usual filthy Moonthroner. They ducked into a swanky (by the Northgutter standards they came from at least) Inn full of snooty Asmodeans and talked their way into a bath, but not before bumping into a tiefling woman and covering her with filth (who likely remembers the slight, and left while they were bathing and looting rooms on the second floor).
After cleaning up in the baths upstairs (a truly fancy establishment), they made it to the Pelt District, and arrived at the Quartered Witch Inn.
While inquiring further into Folk contacts to find a smuggling route out of town to bypass the city gate (and dogman attention), the group set off a bar fight, which given that the Quartered Witch is a Folk safehouse, riled up some werewolves. Luckily Annalyse, bartender and Folk contact, helped to diffuse the situation, and provided a lead for the aforementioned smuggling route for a future expedition into the swamps to look for the Withered Goats.
Behind the Mooncoral Door
Cog recruits returned to the secret mooncoral door in the sewers underneath Adric and Charion's house. When the 'key' was placed against the matching design it was pulled into the mooncoral wall which parted like a curtain. Inside they found a hideout full of roachlings.
The roachlings were a contingent of the cult/criminal organization known as the Lower Left Hand of Nakresh. After some flattery and coercion, the leader of this particular cell of roachlings, a roachling named Carl Middenduc, revealed that their faction of the cult, under the direction of someone named Lord Vermin, has sent hidden expeditions into the sewers across Moonthrone to investigate the spires for secret routes to the City Above. Vermin and the roachlings are planning some sort of big heist in the City Above, and accepted the party's offers to help.
From the interior of the mooncoral spire, the nature of the secret door was more apparent. The door appears to be a sleeping man grown into the wall, with his outstretched arms, head and shoulders serving as the top of the doorframe. When the 'key' is placed on the tentacle design, where the man's heart would be, the disc is pulled through the wall, where it falls to the ground on the opposite side. From the inside, the sleeper's rib cage splits apart when the door opens. After about ten seconds, the door closes.
Apparently Lord Vermin won the key (or possibly more than one key), in a bet in a gambler's den far from Moonthrone and sent his follower's into the city to begin preparations for a big heist, as grand, complex crimes hold religious significance to the cult. The roachlings also revealed that they can make more keys by carving the tentacle design out of the 'door;' the design regrows after two to three weeks, after which a new 'key' disc can be carved out.
In the center of the ceiling of the room a hole leads up, all the way to the City Above, while at the center of the floor is a ten foot diameter pit, presumably going all the way down to the lowest depths of the City Beneath. Those who look into the pit find themselves with a drowsy urge to throw themselves in and sleep on the way down, but luckily no one (other than maybe some roachlings) succumbed.
To prove their good faith towards the roachlings, the group offered to help retrieve a roachling who ventured down into the pit to explore. Hidey the marcrow climbed down (having a climb speed certainly helped), where he found a roachling with climbing gear stuck to side of the wall, apparently asleep. Hidey also discovered that when bare flesh touches the sides of the mooncoral spire, the wall attempts to grow around a person and put them to sleep.
The roachling was retrieved and brought back up to the lair, but when woken began screaming and ranting insanely about dreams. About that time, tenticular monstrosities emerged from the pit and attacked.
After the fight, the party went up, using climbing gear from the roaches, all the way through the interior of the spire to another tentacle design in the ceiling 500 feet up. A key disc opened this secret door into the mooncoral-walled wine cellar of a noble manor in the City Above.
While ransacking the manor for valuables they captured two servants (a halfling and half-elf) and a dogman guard. The dogman and the half-elf were killed, while the halfling signed up with Ruckleford.
Players Want a Brand New Bag
The week after the raid on the manor in the City Above, the players reconnoitered in a new bar, along with some more recent Cog recruits, and were given a list of possible jobs by their Cog contact, Reese Kincaid. They could head out to the swamps east of town to establish connections with the Withered Goats, they could perform a guild contract for a cartwright having problems with a business competitor, or they could follow a lead on potential mark--a merchant lord who supposedly had a bag of holding in his estate. They decided to rob the merchant of his bag of holding.
Some players also researched the manor accessed through the secret entrance in the roachling's spire-hideout. The estate belongs to House Gnarloch, one of the city's top noble houses. The de facto head of the Gnarloch estate is Duke Benaith Gnarloch, who stands out among the Spire Lords for his tendency to spend more time than most in the City Below; Benaith is the commander of Fort Galindrok, one of the largest dogman garrisons in the city, located on the border of Northgutter and the Market District. Benaith largely stays Below, but his good-for-nothing son, Benford Gnarloch, spends most of his time in the City Above. House Gnarloch is perhaps even more notorious for its connection to the Gnarloch District, a sea-bordering district west of the Pelt District. In the Gnarloch District residents literally pay their taxes in blood. The District is run by the Gnarloc, an assumed vampire, and the great, great, great, etc. something-or-other of all House Gnarloch family members.
As for the robbery, the group first staked out the mid-spire estate of Merchant Lord Aringol Highmath. The estate was built into the side of a mooncoral spire, about 60 feet up, with a front door accessible by a winding spiral staircase around the base of the spire, and a pulley-operated elevator around back for accessing large shipments. Half the party managed to talk their way in posing as merchants looking to establish business, while some kept watch outside.
Eventually things went south, and a battle with the merchant lord's half-orc mercenary guards drew the attention of the City Watch. Highmath was taken for ransom, his estate was looted and the bag of holding found, and the party escaped through the freight elevator in back into a battle with dogmen patrols, before fleeing into the night.