28: Thieves of the Old City

Real World Info

This session was played on April 27, 2010, featuring:

Gamgar Khazam, Dwarven Warrior and Narmat, a man-at-arms.
Bonspiel the Adept of Kor(?) and Bardric, a man-at-arms.
William Parsnip the Warrior and shooter of bolts and Mulyx, an acolyte.
corporal-kaffshyth the Veteran, hucker of flaming oil and everybody else in the tavern.


Adventurers track down an Ogre stealing local children and uncover a conspiracy of bandits beneath the streets of Threshold.

I. Enemies at the Gate

After hiring a gang of retainers from the local populace and a hurried audience with Belrain the Sword Singer, the party descends into the sewers in search of the missing children. They overhear and surprise a trio of guards, who proceed to hassle the group and mock Bonspiel's pathetic attempt to bribe them with a single gold piece.

The quick-thinking (and prescient) Corporal Kaffshyth flings burning oil on their leader, much to the dismay of Bonspiel, who gets a sword in the belly. A melee breaks out as the interrupted card game is burned to a cinder along with the table it was being played on. A few spear thrusts and flasks of oil later, two of the guards are charcoal and the third surrenders.

II. Gold Encrusted Dreams

The bound guard promises to lead them to a vaguely glowing treasure, but both he and the comely warrior woman Bressa are engulfed by yellow mold spores and consumed along the way. The party continues along a river of effluvium, until they find a storeroom full of tools, including a wheelbarrow, and a narrow passageway that leads to a room with a pool of water in it. Gamgar, with his trusty Dwarven eyes, leads the way. When he tries to hook a pile of refuse with his grappling hook, it is grabbed by a strange pink tentacle. Gamgar engages in a tug-of-war until his companions take hold of his rope and he hacks the tentacle in twain, whereupon it is revealed to be the tongue of a giant toad! The toad is butchered, and sadly, our heroes discover its gems have been replaced with internal organs.

The heroic adventurers finally discover a tunnel glowing with the light of a magical lantern and a corpse in an incomprehensible pose. Apparently it is a renegade bandit, who made off with a lockbox full of coins, only to die here beneath the ground, his arm stuck through a magical lantern. The body disgorges a pernicious load of rot grubs onto the hapless Narmat, but Gamgar humanely delivers quietus via the point of his spear. The spear, the body, and the Narmat are then cremated, just to make certain the grubs have perished. A modest cache of coins is deemed sufficient to the losses.

III. The Old City

Further prowling reveals a block of buildings buried in antiquity, and several criminal types lurking within. Gamgar, Kaffshyth, Bonspiel and their retainers rush the loungers, while William Parsnip and his hench-priest cut off their escape. The corporal and Gamgar fling oil seemingly at random, but nevertheless, the bandit leader is incinerated. The thieves fight desperately, killing Balgar and Bardric in a hail of arrows and Nargard with steel. Parsnip and Mulyx's surprise attack routs the thugs, two of whom surrender and a third is killed by missile fire as he flees.

Among their paltry coins, the party recovers a map of a box canyon with the words "Stonehell" and "Zorrel's lair" marked. The captives confirm that Zorrel is their leader and that the guards at the entrance were in league with their criminal gang.

IV. Stout Lad in the Ogre's Den

The adventurers retreat topside through a grate behind a secret door, and encounter a mob of townspeople. The mob wonders where has happened to all their fellow townies who joined the adventurers (all four perished), and Gamgar mollifies them with the two captive bandits. They hurry to an audience with Belrain, who is desperate to get the mob to disperse, and throws the bandits in jail.

Our brave adventurers ask for more recruits, determined to find more treasure the missing children. They press weapons and armor still warm from their previous owners (or at least from the near proximity of burning oil) into the hands of a Stout Lad and two other teenagers and return below to continue the search for gold the children, tipped off by a local urchin that a "giant" lives below a certain ruined tower.

A short stroll through sewage later, the party surprises a foul-smelling Ogre stirring a massive cauldron and a pantagruelian wolf who sits nearby, licking his chops. The party attacks en masse, Kaffshyth flinging oil, Parsnip netting the wolf and everyone else attacking with spear, sword and mace. Stout Lad is dunked bodily in the cauldron and dies horribly, Gamgar is savaged by the wolf's jaws, and even Bonspiel narrowly escapes death in the front line after Parsnip accuses him of cowardice (which the Korish religion considers no sin, if his behavior is any indication).

At last the mighty ogre is felled and his wolf joins him in hell shortly thereafter. Two of the children are found in chains on a ledge, the third, Floria, having escaped down a fracture in the rock too small for either wolf or ogre to pursue her. More importantly, there is a sack bursting with gold coins. The party returns to the surface to collect their well-deserved reward.

V. Total losses/loot

Nargard, Balgard, Bardric, Narmat, Bressa and Stout Lad died at the hands of bandits, mold spores, ogres and Gamgars.

Each surviving PC earned 320gp and 7sp, plus 347xp. Each surviving retainer earned 174xp.

The party recovered a magic lantern that burns without fuel, and an onyx dog collar that is proof against magic, both of which were claimed by William Parsnip.

VI. Epilogue

The guards were hired from the Dead Gentlemen mercenary company, which has of course denied any involvement with Zorrel. Unfortunately, the captured bandits were found dead in their cells the following day. Either they were suicides, or they were killed while attempting to escape, depending on who is telling the tale — which, in and of itself, tells its own tale! The Dead Gentlemen, who run the town jail per their contract with Belrain the Sword Singer, expressed regret that these prisoners died before they could be questioned further.

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