Events so far...
In the interest of not losing track of plot points so far, and in case anyone who played in a prior game wants to remember what happened, here's a brief overview of sessions in Moonthrone so far. Going forward, I may make separate posts for each session, but I'll also post a session synopsis here.
Welcome to Moonthrone, First Session
Upon being found corruption free and being admitted into the City Below at Fort Rustgate, new adventurers to the city were directed to the Iron Swine Tavern in the Moth District, where Captain Griggs of the City Guard had some work for new faces in town.
At the Iron Swine, a mostly vacant establishment, possibly because it is known to be a hangout of the dogmen guards, Captain Griggs recruited the adventurers to investigate complaints of missing children.
The group's first lead was a struggling small time gang known as the Barrel Peggers. After interrogating an old man, the aforementioned gang, and a weird kid named Gitch Bleeker they found in an alley fighting with a stray dog over a piece of meat, the party investigated the home of an elderly woman known to be protective of the neighborhood street children.
They were attacked by feral fox-children. Then, in a incongruous study that didn't quite match the peasant furnishings of the rest of the cottage, they were attacked by suffocating scraps of parchment bearing bits of stories about someone named El-hrererah.
Upon leaving the room the party found themselves in an underground burrow, leading to, among other things, the remains of a battle between the followers of El-hrererah, a Fey Lord of rabbits hares and other small mammals, and Ranir, Lord of the Chase. Ranir appeared to the party as a giant fox muzzle that broke through the roof of the tunnel, and made a deal with the party to help him hunt down the Bride of El-hrerarah, providing gifts to help.
Turns out the old woman was a warlock of El-hrererah, who, much like her Lord of Rabbits protects prey creatures, had taken it upon herself to protect the weak and vulnerable of Moonthrone, and in doing so had corrupted some of the city's urchins with the fey Lord of Hare's touch. The party confronted her in her burrow where they found the woman so corrupted by invocations to her patron that she had twisted into a pregnant elderly woman with the head of a rabbit.
The source of the pregnancy became clear when she began swallowing corrupted rodent-children whole to 'protect' them from the Lord of the Chase's minions. With each swallowed child her belly distended further; upon her death her stomach burst open and dozens of mice and small rabbits poured out.
Only two corrupted rodent-children survived; twisted kids aged around 10-12 whose faces had become rabbit-ish and incapable of speech, with foot long incisors too big for their mouths.
The party turned the children over to Captain Griggs, who ordered a quarantine around the two city blocks where they reported they found the children. What he did with the rabbit-children was not clear, until the next turn of events...
Into the Wyrd
Captain Griggs once again requested the help of swords for hire unaffiliated with the City Guard.
Turns out Griggs lost the two surviving kids from the prior events. Based on orders from above, and against his wishes, Griggs turned the rodent-kids over to the Beggar's Guild, who were supposed to put them to work at a specific location and report to the City Guard as to their whereabouts. But the kids hadn't been seen for days, and none of the promised reports had come in. Even allowing warlock-corrupted beggars was pushing it as far as Griggs was concerned, but orders were orders and he couldn't do anything, so he asked the party to discreetly and unofficially track down the missing children.
Griggs suspected either the Beggar's Guild or possibly the Folk were responsible. Just in case it was the Folk and not the Beggars, he provided the party with magic silver weapons that might prove useful against the lycanthrope insurgents.
The party was also approached by representatives of the Beggars Guild. Turns out they didn't know what happened to the kids either. The Beggars provided their own gifts of gold, potions, and some magic items in exchange for a promise that the group find the kids and turn them back over to the Beggars Guild.
The group also met Crumbs the Marcrow, who had been tailing them at the request of a mysterious figure. The diminutive bird-man led them to a meeting place inside the Stormstreet Incursion, a quarantined neighborhood with trespassing punishable by death. There, after experiencing some of the (luckily temporary) corrupting effects of the Incursion, they met with a hooded figure who called himself Andolphus. Andolphus admitted that he had arranged for the kids to be taken and delivered to the Folk at a secret meeting place within the Wyrd District, the largest area of otherworldly corruption in the city. The Folk had learned of the corrupted beggar children, and that the kids might have witnessed evidence of a high-profile link between the City Guard and the Beggar's Guild; they wanted to take the children and use them to expose the corruption of the Guard and the Spire Lords to the city's masses.
The party agreed to help Andolphus make the exchange with the Folk.
Via a secret route through the sewers and into the walled-off Wyrd District, the party met with Folk Operatives in an abandoned Inn. After some awkward introductions, the strange (almost certainly corrupted) followers of Andolphus showed and delivered the missing children. Unfortunately, so did a pack of dogmen city-guards, though how they found out where the drop was occurring was never clear. No chance to be cleared up was ever had either, as the party helped the Folk wipe out all the dogmen.
After a long and treacherous trek south through the Wyrd District, where they witnessed unspeakable horrors and mind-breaking bends in reality (giant fungal infestations, demons and oozes from the Abyss, rains of blood and clocks, buildings that melted then re-solidified, those sorts of things to name a few), the party eventually made it out of the Wyrd District, though only two of the five Folk operatives seemed to make it. What happened to them is somewhat of a mystery, as no one seemed to notice them die or disappear. At a secret drop point in the Fur Grounds they turned the rodent-kids over to the Folk, and got paid.
The job was either reported as a failure to Captain Griggs, who couldn't really do anything about it since the job with him was never official anyway, or they've managed to avoid him.
The Beggars Guild is still not to happy with those who took their gifts, and have so far passed messages to Hambone the Halfling Bard and Rasputin that they still consider a debt owed.
Oh, and those extra eyes that everybody grew when they were in the Incursions eventually closed and healed after a few days, leaving faint scars.
A Visit to the Library
under construction, if anyone wants to post more details, or remembers the character names involved, feel free to let me know
Some people broke into the Hellish Archives and researched believable Hellish patrons for forging warlock-licenses.
Going On a Gnome Hunt
Under construction, more details forthcoming
Some commoners were given the rare honor of joining the Spire Lords in The Great Hunt, to bring in the centerpiece for the upcoming Banquet of Gnarn, wild gnome.
Ultimately, they managed to turn the Hunt-Master, His Noble Excellence, Lord Thad Noraster of House Zrrkun, into a gnome and turned him in as the catch. Wilren got credit for taking down the prize, and became the first and only halfling noble in the history of Moonthrone, causing quite a stir in both the City Above and City Below.
The ultimate fate of Lord Noraster is unknown. Only the person wearing the hunt masters ring can take the gnome cap (which polymorphed him into a gnome) off him, and that is still with Rasputin (I think). So either he's still a gnome somewhere in the City Above; he was butchered for gnome meat and stayed polymorphed; or they butchered him, he turned back human and somebody covered it up.
Night of the...Tentacles? or Heartspire Night
Around midnight of the last full moon, half the city felt a strange compulsion to enter the Heartspire at the center of the city. Then monstrous fleshy pseudopods erupted through the spire. Corrupted cultists of the Dreamers Below revealed themselves and started throwing panicked citizens to the things.
The city watch was conveniently away from their usual posts guarding the Heartspire. After investigating at least one source of the distraction, in the home of a Merchant Lord's Midspire home (a building between the City Below and City Above, attached to the side of a mooncoral spire), the party discovered a diary listing the names of various secret members of the Cult of the Dreamers, from all strata of society in Moonthrone.
Escape From Under Moonthrone
A random assortment of malcontents from regions near and far found themselves drugged and kidnapped by operatives of the Beggars Guild, and taken by caravan into to the mysterious catacombs underneath Moonthrone known as the City Beneath.
While en route to a secret Beggars Guild hideout, the caravan was attacked by cultists of the Dreamers In the Dark. After a protracted battle, the beggars were wiped out; the captives (eventually) reached a truce with the cultists, who consisted of monstrous insane cultists (somewhat) corralled and led by more reasonable, less corruption-twisted, humans.
The cultists took the newly freed captives back to their leader, Father Toya, in a large cavern converted into squatters' settlement of Dreamer worshippers. According to Toya, the Dreamer worshippers had been forced into the City Beneath due to the religious intolerance of Moonthrone above, and had recently come into conflict with the Beggars Guild, who established a base nearby. The beggars were bringing in captives from all over to conduct secret experiments. Father Toya did not know what kind of experiments, but his mysterious gods had communicated with him via dreams to request that the cultists free a prisoner who the Dreamers had some special plans for. In exchange for help rescuing the beggars' prisoner, Toya agreed to lead the players out of the labyrinthine tunnels of the City Beneath to the surface, either in Moonthrone proper, or the swamps east of the city.
Despite his reluctance to put so many of his flock at risk, the players convinced Toya to release a strike force of insane corrupted cultists into the beggars hideout first. About ten minutes later the players entered to find roomfuls of dead cultists and beggars. They also found a laboratory with the autopsied remains of otherworldly corrupted prisoners, as well as half-dead deformed test-subjects strapped to gurneys lining the walls. In the next room, they found the captive the cultists wanted freed, and the source of the corruption the Beggars Guild was using in their experiments.
The Beggars Guild had a prisoner with mysterious green door where his face should be. Other prisoners were forced to look behind the door, where whatever they saw immediately twisted and changed them. The players walked in on what turned out to be the beggars' last such experiment just in time to see a captive turn into a crawling, man-shaped, mass of tentacles.
Unknown to everyone else, Barbara the half-orc warlock had been getting telepathic messages from whatever lived on the other side of the door, and before most of the beggars in the testing room could react invoked the being by calling out its name, Glamorfrodorfilding.
Tiny windows and doors opened randomly across the lead beggar's body; blood, internal organs, and tumor-like growths and bulges poured out of the doors and windows, which continued to spread until the victim’s entire surface area was made up of open doors and windows filled with gore; as all the door frames and windowsills touched, the body vanished and piles of viscera dropped to the floor.
After wiping out the remaining beggars, the players freed Door-Face, as well as more prisoners they found elsewhere in the beggars' hideout. Instead of killing Door-Face as he requested via gestures, the party tied him up and took him back to Father Toya, who admitted he had no desire to keep the mute prisoner around; all Toya's masters wanted was that Door-Face go free, he had no further instructions. The players were free to go as they pleased, either into the City, or back into the wild.
Door-Face is currently at large on the swamp roads to the east of Moonthrone. Barbara the warlock repaired one of the wagons from the Beggars caravan, and with his new adopted son Ben (the only surviving beggar of the caravan), currently enjoys a life of banditry, using the tied-up Door-Face to waylay travelers.
@Lane for the gnome hunt didnt we turn in the gnome that we captured and not the previous lord of the hunt?
@Reuben I was under the impression you guys let him go. Nobody even really thought to question him once you knocked him out, and everyone seemed pretty excited to turn the huntmaster into a gnome and turn him in, so that's what I went with.
But it was pretty rushed there towards the end, so if anyone had anything they wanted to do and wanted to let me know, I'm open to suggestions.
A Visit to Northgutter 1/20/17
Farrin Innesmead, on the hunt for a convincing forged wizard license, staked out the Spectral Oyster, a high end establishment in the Hospitality Quarter. There he met Mort, a dogman inspector rumored to help the brothel fudge their sorcerer licensing requirements. Mort agreed to meet Farrin the next day at the Droopy Goblin, a bar near the docks of Northgutter.
On the way to Northgutter the next day Farrin, along with new acquaintances Kit, Daledren, and Rasputin, were briefly accosted by members of the Blue Stripes, who took Kit for a member of the Grey-Faces (due to Kit covering his face to deal with the city's smell).
At the Droopy Goblin, the group met the bar's mascot, a goblin named Droopy kept chained to the wall, and a halfling named Craw. Craw requested the party back him up in a bid to take over the shares of Brunden Rocksmasher, a missing partner of the Northgutter Dock Commission. They turned him down. Craw hit up some other patrons of the bar, who turned him down, after which he left.
Farrin made an agreement with Mort to obtain a valid wizard-license, in exchange for 10 names of prominent members of the Cult of the Dreamers from the diary Farrin obtained on Heartspire night.
Upon exiting the bar, they found that a crowd had gathered a the Dock Commission offices next to the bar. A boss had been murdered. And partially eaten. Supposedly by Craw, the halfling from the bar, who was last seen with the victim making his ploy for shares of the Commission . Mort, as an investigator, got involved before he realized he was out of his usual jurisdiction, and in an effort to explain why he knew a bunch of random drifters who wandered up, said the party was deputized.
Apart from the missing Brunden, and the dead guy, there were two other major shareholders, Hamling and Mikhal. They first investigated the home of Hamling, the wealthier shareholder. They found his mother catatonic on the front porch, muttering about zombies. Hamling was inside, dead and chewed up like the last victim. And missing a head.
In the garden in the vacant lot next door, they fought the ghost of Hamling. Rasputin may or may not have aged dramatically as a result (no one could tell due to a hat of disguise, but...).
Next they investigated the home of Mikhal, the other shareholder. They found him tied up and blindfolded in a crawl space under the floor. He had been held for weeks, and interrogated regarding dock business and his personal life every few days. The party laid an ambush for his captor and captured a doppleganger who had been paid to impersonate Mikhal and take over control of the dock exchange by a new criminal faction in town, the Widowers. Apparently he hadn't been working fast enough for his employer, and claimed to have no knowledge of who the murderer was.
The party convinced the doppleganger, who asked to be called the name Soggy Bottom, to take them to the Widowers lair to meet his boss. He took them to an abandoned office building, where they talked their way in through the back alley entrance; inside they found members of the Widowers, mostly bestial-looking halflings, preparing various substances, including what may or may not have been real gnome flesh.
Upstairs they met with the Widow, in her "office." The scantily clad leader of the gang offered them membership in the gang, as feral, canine-ish halflings began to fill the room behind them. The party accepted.
A Meeting with the Guttersnipes
Rumors have spread of a new potent liquor popping up around town: witch shine.
The group is joined by James and Kronk, newcomers to town. The gang has been getting orders from the Widow, who requests they visit her at The Office for a new job. They are led upstairs by Jimbo the Halfling to the room outside the Widows room, where she requests they set up a meeting with the leader of the Guttersnipes to establish an alliance for future trade. On the way out they are provided a bag of gems to use as an extension of goodwill to setup the meeting, but no ideas on how to find them.
James and Kronk were sent to Droopy the Goblin for information, who revealed that Orondus Dwarftoss is always a good person to find when you wanna find a person in northtern Moonthrone. But he’s also the leader of the Rustgutters, who are in a turf war with the Gutternsnipes, so that’s probably a bad idea.
The party decides to find some Guttersnipes, and manages to tail some down the street. They split up and surround a group of three. Negotiations start out okay, until Kronk starts mentioning Rustgutters, which escalates into a fight. They kill one, knock another out, and one more surrenders. The Snipes take them to the Drowned Sailor.
On the way they are passed by a contingent of dogmen astride giant lizards, on their way to the site of the fight after citizens reported the incident, but they manage to bluff their way by as drunken revelers. And the guards take a bag of gold from James, as ‘evidence.’
At the Drowned Sailor, the Snipe guards at the door are wary, but after the group convinces them they’ll be a lucrative connection the two low-level snipes are told to scram and the group is let inside and told to wait.
James keeps throwing money around, and pays the bartender 600 gold for some witch shine, after which the bartender promptly leaves, likely to never be seen again. The witch shine makes him hypersensitive to touch.
After being made to wait, the party is taken upstairs where they meet Elandra, Gilgrave’s kept mistress, who agrees to set up a meeting, if they will help her escape Gilgrave. They agree, and ask her to leave a note with the meeting location:Underneath 3rd bush on the left at Brunden Rocksmasher.
Before they can leave however, the bar is attacked by Rustgutters. All the Rustgutters and guttersnipes are killed, and the bar burned down, but they manage to save Elandra and report back to the widow.
After reporting to the widow, they party with her Halflings and everybody gets a drink of the witch shine the Halflings are hoping to set up distribution for around the city.
Slur XXV, or: a Teleporting Werewolf in Moondon
A mismatched group of ne'er-do-wells (a ninja monk, a barbarian, a trumpet-playing dragonborn, a lawful-good rogue, and an exceptionally handsome half-orc warlock) independently follow strange visions to the Pelt district, where they talk themselves into smuggling what turns out to be a dozen fugitive gnomes. The gnomes have been liberated by a group of were-people fighting a guerrilla war against the dogmen of the city guard; unfortunately, a rogue werewolf (Rethius Blackwolf) wants to steal them for himself.
Rethius has been busy; he's been seducing women and young girls throughout the Pelt district and convincing them to become werewolves, but for some reason their relationship to their lycanthropy is unstable, and they start wolfing out for no clear reason.
The party murders several were-women (one of them only a teenager; more of a were-girl, really) and smuggles the gnomes out in a cart under the cover of nightfall. Unfortunately, Rethius is wise to their plan, and ambushes them using a teleporting doorknob.
After a pitched battle which claims the life of a gnome and one of the two cart-horses, the party warlock invokes Glamorfrodorfilding, who tentacles Rethius away, hopefully never to be seen again.
The party sneaks the gnomes to the swamps, where they are convinced to pursue simple, honest careers as murderous gnome-bandits.
Also the warlock, Barbara, no longer has any arms.
Oh, don't be so hard on yourself! Barbara has arms, just one wimpy shriveled one and one that ends in a goat hoof.
Slur XXVI, or The Fall of the House of Havenbender
Agern Havenbender, a major player in The Waxing Coin, Moonthrone's most powerful merchant guild, hires a group 'mercenaries' to rid his house of marcrow, as the city's bird-men have uncharacteristically swarmed the manor, which is built into the side of a mooncoral spire 100 feet above the ground. In fact, the mass of swirling simian bird-things has gathered such a crowd of onlookers, the city guard is only able to look the other way for so long, even with Havenbender's generous 'donations' to certain guards' retirement.
The party manages to talk a guard into distracting his co-workers long enough to give them a chance to enter the tower without notice.
The investigation of the manor finds that Agern has locked himself in a sitting room, marcrow have trashed the place looking for some elder marcrow leader who supposedly disappeared in the place, and kenku have been ritually tying heavy wooden wings to marcrow and tossing them out a hole in the floor to their deaths. Also, there is warlock leader of a cult of Pazuzu, who gets tossed out a bedroom window to his death before being interrogated, and a secret shrine to Pazuzu hidden in a room carved into the interior of the mooncoral tower. In the hidden shrine the party encounters Elder Kark, the subject of the swarming marcrow's search, who is apparently possessed by some sort of demon, as he spits swarms of bugs and nearly kills one of the party.
In the battle with the possessed Elder Kark, Barbara the Warlock once again invokes Glamorfrodorfilding, saving the bard's life, but also turning the bard's strumming arm into a tentacle, and growing Barbara an extra arm (with a claw, I think), which he can shrink away as long as he maintains concentration.
[Side note: random corruption table includes much more than weird arms; arms just happen to be randomly prominent in percentile rolls.]
Unfortunately, the possessed marcrow elder manages to escape, but at least the party finds a magical whistle that summons swarms of crows and marcrow.
Now knowing that Agern Havenbender apparently earned his wealth with the help of Pazuzu, the party decides to screw the reward for clearing the place of marcrow and just burn the manor down. On the way out, they are confronted at the front door by the city guard, who are preparing to establish a quarantine on the place for fear of an incursion. The party's bard turns himself over to the guards, thinking to earn their good graces, but the rest of the party realizes that the Watch is more likely just to kill anyone associated with a potential incursion, so the gnome-in-disguise with the silver bird whistle Blows it and calls a massive cloud of crows and marcrow. In the ensuing chaos, the party manages to escape.
[Its been a while, and I've ran this adventure with at least one other group, so if anyone who was there remembers anything differently or thinks I missed something, feel free to let me know and I'll correct/update.]
Return to the Ruins of Havenbender
[as the above posts, if I mis-remembered or missed something, anybody who was there feel free to let me know]
Friday Night RPGs crew
The Widow tasked the crew with locating a connection to procure an ongoing supply of witch shine for black market distribution, with a lead in the Pelt District neighborhood of Hemlock Downs. At the Quartered Witch, Annalyth directs them to her witch shine connection, Shed the dwarf, who operates out of a shack nearby.
Shed makes a deal with the group for exclusive distribution rights to his shine, if they can procure him a prime distilling location. Turns out, areas of otherworldly influence are somehow necessary for distillation of witch shine, and Shed has heard rumors that the recent fire at Havenbender Manor might be worth looking into.
The group manages to sneak past the dogmen guarding the spire holding the mansion and to investigate the burned out ruins of Havenbender Manor. They discover the the secret shrine to Pazuzu in the spire's interior as well as Elder Kark, still possessed. They manage to kill Kark, after he has swelled into full vrock form, after which the demon who possessed Kark, Hargathasyss, left with no body to possess, is trapped in the giant mirror that serves as north wall of the shrine. They also find a magic ring worn by Kark, though everyone refuses to put it on (Daledrin currently has the ring, still on Kark's finger?).
Shed is happy to have a primo location to make his witch shine in the hidden shrine, and doesn't even seem to mind the monstrous demon trapped in the mirror.
The party may need to procure the deed to Havenbender's estate to make sure there are no complications of course. Agern Havenbender apparently died in the fire, so the Waxing Coin presumably would be the best contact to see about purchasing the place.
3/31/17 (Friday Night RPGSs at Heroes)
After passing rough inspection and being found clear of extraplanar corruption at Fort Rustgate, new visitors to Moonthrone Abraham (Half-orc paladin), Golius (Human cleric of Lugh), and Myrine (Elven druid), quickly found themselves welcomed in the local fashion, as each was quickly pickpocketed.
A chase ensued, during which one of the unfortunate halfling thieves collided with a beggar, giving Abraham a chance to catch up to him. A more unlucky one was run over by a wagon. The luckiest nearly escaped into an alleyway, but was cornered by Golius and a giant spider (actually the Druid Lycanroc, who just happened to be in the neighborhood)--I say the luckiest because he only got beat up a little before surrendering to Golius and the spider. Golius's halfling with didn't get to keep many teeth. The unluckiest, despite being tended to by Myrne, will never walk again after his spine was severed by that wagon wheel.
The halflings turned out to be some of the weird, half-feral red-headed halflings who work for The Widow. In return for their lives, the two able-bodied ones agreed to set the newcomers up with work with their boss. The newly paraplegic halfling was left propped up in an alleway; he's probably fine, right?.
Abraham, Golius, and Myrene were taken to the Droopy Goblin in Northgutter, where they were introduced to Daledrin and Rasputin, and introduced to the wonders of witch shine. Daledrin generously bought a round, and Abraham and Golius were treated to visions, either into parallel dimensions, or possibly of just the hallucinogenic variety. Rasputin took Myrene's shot, and became very acquainted with the texture of his chair.
The Crew then reported to the Widow's "office," where they were given three tasks to complete some time before the Widowers big meeting with Gilgrave to negotiate an alliance between the Widowers and the Guttersnipes.
They need to obtain ownership of the deed to Havenbender manor, to ensure access to and total control over the distillery location for Shed's witch shine. The Widow suggested a face or assumed identity which could not be traced back to the gang to purchase the deed, as ownership likely went to the Waxing Coin upon Agern Havenbender's death, and the merchant guild would likely be discerning on who it would sell the property of one of its most influential members, even if that member was deceased. She also provided them with a letter of credit, with both the name of the owner and amount left blank.
The Widow also asked that the crew find some sort of leverage to use in negotiations with Gilgrave. She had no leads, but suggested that the party search the ruins of the Drowned Sailor if they have no other leads (she doesn't know about Elandra, Gilgrave's ex-mistress that survived the massacre at the Guttersnipe hangout).
Finally, she asked that they get rid of the ghost of Steward Hamling, who has returned every night since their encounter with Hamling's ghost, in their initial adventure where they met the Widow. As far as she knew, no one has attempted to talk to the ghost, but given the circumstances of Hamling's death, the ghost is a loose end that could potentially lead back to the Widow, so she wants it gone.
For each task completed, the Widow agrees to pay each party member 100 gold.
Given that it is already getting dark, and they won't have time to make it to the Waxing Coin guild hall before evening, the party decides to investigate Hamling's Ghost. They show up to find Hamling's mother still living there, still nearly catatonic. While some of the party begins to question Old Mother Hamling at the front porch of the home, the old woman becomes upset, and simultaneously the ghost bursts forth from the shed in the garden next door. Abraham is terrified runs away, aged 20 years in seconds. The rest of the group manages to defeat the ghost, and this time finds Hamling's severed head buried in the shed.
It turns out the old woman, who grew up in the Blood District [side note: oh yeah, I guess I need to update that section of the Districts and Neighborhoods post] has a phobia of zombies, and after finding her son dead on the floor chewed to pieces, chopped off his head and buried it so he wouldn't rise as a zombie. Apparently she was familiar with zombies, but not so much ghosts.
Golius incinerates the head to ash with a sacred flame, and spreads the ashes into the river to be reunited with the ashes of the rest of Hamling. The next morning, as the ghost has not returned, everybody is paid their 100 gold.
Also the next day, everyone goes to the Waxing Coin guild hall in Southspire, where Rasputin assumes a new identity, Garcia, a wealthy merchant. They inquire about purchasing the deed to Havenbender manor, and discover that the powerful merchant Caranthius has assumed control of Agern's guild duties and presides over Agern's assets that reverted to the guild after he died without an heir, including Havenbender manor. Caranthius's men are currently renovating Havenbender's office for Caranthius, and the crew comes face to face with a zombie-like servant of Caranthius...
...but in real life my son was falling out of his chair asleep, so we had to wrap it up there.
Contract Negotiations; Friday Night RPGs, 4/14/17
Slight ret-con-: The Widowers, "Garcia" (Rasputin), Dale'drin, and Kit, run into the apparently still alive Agern Havenbender, accompanied by their friend Blu the dragonborn bard, just before entering the Waxing Coin Guild Hall to attempt to purchase Havenbender Manor. Of course, "Agern" is actually the disguised Barbara the warlock, who, having been there for the actual Agern's death, decided to visit the guild hall to swindle his way into the vast estate left behind by the deceased merchant guild-master. Blu, who actually knows both Barbara and the would-be Widowers, facilitates a meeting in a nearby tap-house to discuss plans going forward.
Thom, a visiting bard on a slumming-it tour of Moonthrone, sees that something interesting is going on, and follows. Both groups assume he's with the other, so no one says anything when he joins them in the private room they procure at the inn.
The group decides Barbara will first attempt to procure the property, with Rasputin as "Garcia" waiting in the wings in case they need a back-up plan.
In the Waxing Coin guild-hall, they find porters and laborers emptying out Agern's office at the command of Jethus, some sort of undead butler-thing, that works for the wealthy merchant Caranthius, as well as a bunch of cats roaming the building (turns out cats are often used as witchcraft-detectors to warn of warlocks and other corrupting-influences).
The wealthy Caranthius was the primary political rival of Agern in the Waxing Coin, and managed to have himself appointed as trustee of Agern's estate, the duties of which he has left primarily to Jethus.
Unfortunately, Jethus sees through Barbara's disguise, and recognizes Barbara as a warlock (once you see through the illusory disguise, the weird-ass three arms are kind of a giveaway). More fortunately, he doesn't immediately call the city guard to have Barbara and everyone with him executed for warlockery, but instead agrees to sell Havenbender Mansion, if the group agrees to perform some tasks for Caranthius, and further tarnish the legacy of Agern Havenbender.
Since the supposedly still alive Agern has now been spotted entering the guild hall to demand his estate be returned to him, the party agrees to orchestrate some sort of second, more embarrassing, death for Agern Havenbender. In addition, Caranthius has a piece of property he wants to sell, but there are rumors that the place is haunted or possibly subject to extra-planar corruption; he'd like the place investigated, and if possible cleaned up, discretely, as corrupted property is not the sort of thing a powerful merchant wants to be associated with.
(During negotiations, Jethus lets on that Caranthius is his employer, while his true master, is someone both he and Caranthius report to. Could it be that Jethus's willingness to work with a known warlock, rather than report him directly to the guard, is not purely in the interests of Caranthius? Who knows, maybe?)
Putting Agern's new death on hold, the party investigates the bed and breakfast/rental space Caranthius would like to sell. The old lady who oversees the place explains that business has been down lately, since for the last few weeks, people who stay there (including her, as she has a room there as part of her employment), have been having terrifying nightmares. The nightmares began after a party two weeks ago, where what was described as a badger burst out of the chest of a guest on the dance floor, in full view of at least 10-20 associates of the Waxing Coin.
The investigation reveals that some sort of fey magic is influencing the building, and Rasputin goes through the guest log for the party and identifies, among others, the names of Caranthius (who organized the party), and Andolphus.
The party comes across, and kills a bunch of boggles (mischievous slimy fey goblin-things), but can't locate the source of the off-ness of the place (if only they had looked in the coat-room off of the ball-room where the initial badger-explosion occurred!). They decide to nap with a short rest, where those who actually sleep have nightmares of being stalked through shadowy city alleyways and forests. During a long rest later that evening, they awake to screams from the old lady/caretaker's room.
They kick open the woman's door to find four bug things surrounding the woman's bed. A fight ensues. They kill the shadowy, fear-inducing fey things (meenlocks); upon the the last one's death, the supernatural dimness that permeated the building lessens and everyone hears a massive creaking sound that emanates from somewhere downstairs (maybe a sound like a magical hole in that coat-room they forgot to look in closing up?).
Thanks to some quick healing from Licanroc (a possibly insane druid, and certainly not a spy for the Folk, who has been known to randomly appear out of nowhere after wild-shaping out of spider form), the woman does not die.
Slur 4/23/17, Gnome Liberation!
Delegations from the Withered Goats and the Folk, along with some hired adventurer's, met in a secret room beneath the Hanged Witch. Battle plans were devised for a raid on a secret "gnome farm" hidden in the City Beneath. Halfway through the meeting, the mysterious Andolphus and another delegation, Father Hoya's Dreamer in the Dark cultists, arrived. Andolphus offered the use of some contraband equipment, while the cultists offered manpower to help, including a handful of monstrously corrupted insane cultists.
The raiding party (consisting of around 30-40 people after all the adventurers, Folk, and Cultists were counted) discovered a fortified cavern protected by guard towers, and holding a central fortress surrounded by garrisons, gnome holding pens, and huts of dogmen families.
The raiding party managed to take out the guard towers without setting of any alarms, and ultimately managed to free 60 pale ghost gnomes, who swelled the ranks of the Withered Goats, making the bandit gang hiding in the swamps east of Moonthrone a para-military guerilla force that Moonthrone's leaders will find increasingly difficult to dismiss.
While raiding the central fortress, the group also noticed the architecture, carved or shaped from mooncoral, did not quite match the styles seen in Moonthrone's City Below (the surface) or possibly even the City Above (the raised mooncoral platform where the Spire Lords reside). Inscribed on the walls were mysterious squiggly runes and characters.
Also, at one point Barbara the warlock his invoked his patron, Glamorfrodorfidelphiding, and something unseen may or may not have escaped into the caverns of the City Beneath.