Recap December 14, 2019

Everyone had received the following invitation:

Midwinter Greetings!

The air is getting colder The Midwinter is here A time for celebration For food, for song and cheer!

Amalia and Victoro Cassalanter are hosting this year’s Midwinter Gala, one of the city’s biggest events of the year. Though the entire city has been invited to their estate in the Sea Ward, you have been included on the guestlist for an encore performance by Aria Cavatina, the renowned and beloved bard of the Realms.

(Today is Mystraday)

Suneday (4 days away) Doors open at 3 pm Performance begins at 4 pm.

The Midwinter Market opens at 8am each day.

A one-time use Amulet of Sending has been included for RSVPs or Regrets

Dress is semi-formal

(This takes place on the first day of the tenday Midwinter Gala)

They all agreed that they should go. Plus, Hetty and Pixel had met Amalia Cassalanter. They would need to find outfits for the celebration.

The group decided to go back to Kolat Towers to get the remaining books that they could not carry. They arrived expecting to find more enemies or at least some new defenses. They found neither. They had decided to get the books first, check out the force field in the Sanctum that blocked stairs going down and then come back to the room that controlled the force field that surrounded the Towers outside. The books were put into their bag of holding and they went over and found the force field was no longer blocking the stairs leading down.

The stairs led down 20ft into another room. Across from the stairs stood a large bed with purple sheets. The only other piece of furniture was a table with legs carved to resemble winged serpents. Displayed on the table is a metal mask with an intimidating, tyrannical visage. Jaspar determined the mask was not magical. Henrich put it into the bag of holding. They checked out the bed and found a hidden cylindrical place that a staff would fit perfectly in. But there was no staff. There was another set of stairs leading down.

They took the second set of stairs and those led into another room. The alabaster stairs end in the room. A plush lavender carpet covers the floor. In one far corner of the room, a low table is set between two purple couches. The table has a thin drawer built into it. In the other far corner a a black marble lectern stands with a large book sitting on top of the lectern. The book is closed. When Jaspar came within 10ft of the book he could feel arcane energy coming from the book. He was pretty sure it was a spellbook. Hetty checked for traps on the lectern. Finding none, they decided to let Jaspar open the book. Jaspar pulled out a dagger and carefully opened the book. The first thing he noticed was that the book was heavier than it probably should be. The second thing he noticed was that the book was covered in beholder hide. Once the book was fully open Jaspar found that it contained the following spells:

Alarm, anti-magic field, blight, dominate monster, etherealness, feather fall, fly, geas,glyph of warding, major image, protection from evil and good, symbol, teleportation circle, Tenser’s floating disk true seeing, wall of fire.

As he was looking through the spellbook a piece of paper fell out and landed on the floor. Jaspar picked it up and in a flowing script it read “Good luck”.

Hetty meanwhile checked out the desk. The drawer was locked. She tried to pick it but could not get it open. Pixel cast Aid and Catarak gave her inspiration dice but still the lock would not open. Jaspar determined there was an arcane lock on it. Jaspar or Pixel (cannot remember who) cast Dispel Magic and the drawer was no longer locked. Henrich looked in and saw a leather-bound ledger. He picked it up and started to look through it. Hetty noticed a piece of paper sticking out from some of the pages near the end of the ledger. She grabbed it and read it:

Mirt

Corylus Thann (check mark out beside this name)

Thardouk Starbuckler

Jelenn Urmbrusk (check mark out beside this name)

Dorgar Adarbrent

They knew who Mirt was. The others they were not sure. Corylus was a Waterdavian noble that was known to be somewhat of a racist to any nonhumans. Jelenn was also a Waterdavian noble that was known for his generosity and small bits of philanthropy over the years.

Henrich had a hunch and started reading through the ledger. He took him an hour but he found out that Corylus Thaon was paying the Zhentarim not to reveal that he hired Zhent thugs to assault nonhumans throughout Waterdeep and that Jelenn Urmbrusk receives regular payments from the Zhentarim to offset monies he loses in bad investments.

The group smelled blackmail. They would study the book some more. They left Kolat Towers and split up to take some of the books to various Faction that they were members of. Some of the books went to the Emerald Enclave, few more went to the Order of the Gauntlet while the bulk would be looked over by the Harpers to see exactly what they wanted. Jaspar took a fw of the purple items down to Xoblob who also paid them for bringing these items to him. The book delivery took the most of a day to complete. The next day they did some shopping and not much else.

The third day they decided to follow up with the Acquisitions Inc invitation to see what it was all about.

Your inquiries into internships and franchise opportunities at Acquisitions Incorporated have gone even better than you’d hoped. Ridiculous rumors talk about how prospective interns of Acq Inc aren’t always treated with respect, dignity, or care. Even more ridiculous tales of interns dying at an alarming rate are told throughout the city. Thankfully, you don’t believe a word of any of that. So far, everyone at Head Office has treated you with kindness, and even a bit of deference. You were shown into this elegant conference room, given fine food and drink, and asked to wait to speak with none other than Omin Dran-founder and CEO of this august organization.

It isn’t long before the door to the conference room opens, and an intense-looking half-elf in plate armor enters. He wears a holy symbol of Tymora, the goddess of fortune, around his neck. It’s Omin Dran. With no introduction, the CEO of Acquisitions Incorporated speaks.

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“Thank you for answering my call so quickly. When the earthquake struck the city two days ago, damage was limited , but a sinkhole opened up a fissure beneath an abandoned warehouse in Dock Ward. Two City Watch guards entered the fissure to investigate, but never came out. They ‘re now feared dead, and the City Watch has asked me to take over the investigation. But my schedule is complicated at the moment, so I’m delegating that job to you. As an experienced adventuring group, I have no doubt that you can handle the task.” Before you have any chance to respond, Omin drops a hefty bag of coins onto the table. “The pay is 500 gold dragons for the group, with a 20 percent commission going to Acquisitions Incorporated as the broker. Go to the warehouse next to Jolly’s Lamp Emporium down by the docks. Tell the City Watch guards stationed there that I sent you. Explore the fissure, learn the fate of the guards who went missing, and then come back to me with the signed City Watch papers confirming your completed work. “ Then without another word, Omin Dran turns and leaves the room.

A puff’ of smoke erupts out of nowhere. As the haze disperses, a handsome figure steps forward. It’s Jim Darkmagic of the New Hampshire Dark magics. Except he’s wearing a set of glasses that he apparently thinks is an effective disguise as he bows before you . “I’m no one you know,” he says. “But I couldn’t help but notice that you seem a little flustered. I believe Omin just offered you work. And I also have a feeling you might not be the adventurers he thinks you are.”

Jim looks around to make sure no one else is listening in, then leans forward to deliver a conspiratorial whisper. “You want my advice? Do the job. If you can pull it off, Omin will be so impressed that you’ll have a leg up on everybody else trying to gain footing with the company. You’ve heard the phrase “opportunity knocks?” Well, opportunity is heading right at your door with a battering ram. Stand in that doorway, friends. Let opportunity smash its way in.”

Jim

Hetty went to talk to her friends in the City Watch in the Dock Ward. Riva went along with her. The City Guard had no idea what she was talking about. Henrich and Pixel went on to the warehouse section of the Docks and would wait for the others to arrive. As they made their way down one of the main roads they came upon a stall. A ramshackle stall set up along the street bears a sign that reads: “Maps and Poshuns .” Working the stall is a filthy but cheerful gnome urchin. Several pieces of parchment are on display in the stall, with six small ceramic pots placed next to them.

Henrich asked what is all this?

The gnome replied. Hi! I’m Jerr Burntberry. You can call me Jerr. These red clay pots are healing potions and the parchments are maps of this grand city. Have all of the districts. Made them myself. Potions are 10gp. The maps are 1gp. Henrich asked for a map of the Dock District. Jerr scratched his chin and said what you need is a guide. I can do that and also only for 1gp. Henrich asked about Jolly’s Lamp Emporium. Jerr said. Yes, I know the place. Give me a sec. Jerr shuts down his stall and then they both head off towards Jolly’s Lamp Emporium.

They had only walked a few minutes when down an alley to the left Henrich saw a figure standing in the alleyway, its luminous eyes glowing beneath a dark hood. As the hood is pulled away to reveal a skeletal face, the figure unexpectedly speaks. “Your money or your life!”

Henrich said “You do not want to do this.” The skeletal figure whose voice sounded like a woman’s voice replied “Boys?” 4 archers appeared on the rooftops surrounding the alleyway and they all began to shoot at Henrich. Henrich used the Sending Stones to let the others know he had company. Riva and Hetty rushed through the alleys. Pixel cast Conjure animals and summoned four apes with one each on one of the archers. Jaspar and Catarak arrived last. The archers ignored the apes at first to shoot their bows at Henrich. The apes soon disrupted them as did Hetty who had Shawdowstepped onto the closest rooftop. Riva fired arrows making sure they had been damaged beforehand so she could deal extra damage. Jaspar cast ray of frost and magic missile while Catarak cast healing spells. The archers were the first to fall and soon the skeletal woman fell as well.

They were interested in the skeletal woman. Jaspar realized that she had been raised as undead by a unique ritual that allowed her to keep her intellect and ability to speak. In teh skeleton’s belt pouch they found 10gp, and and the bones of four of her toes that have fallen off. They took all of this plus one of the shortbows and a number of the arrows for both Hetty and Riva.

They went on and finally spotted the place they were looking for. They had also noticed more of a City Watch presence as they got closer. Jolly’s Lamp Empor ium is an unassuming, ramshackle shop in the midst of other unassuming. ramshackle shops-including the collapsed warehouse next door. People in nearby shops and apartments peer warily through their shutters as you approach. Next to the warehouse, three members of the Waterdeep City Watch stand guard . No one else is on the street, except a seemingly inebriated halfling who stumbles toward you.

It was obvious to the group that the halfling was acting. They asked the City Watch guards if they knew who he was. One of them nodded and said one of many drunks in the Dock Ward. The group felt like there was more to the drunk halfling but they could not figure out what that may be. They went on to Jolly’s.

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The trio standing in front of Jolly’s. Captain Mergen Truff, human female, Orvis Torval, male firbolg and Rosko Bosh, male halfling. Orvis and Rosko do not speak. Captain Truff told the group that this area was off limits and that they had to move along. Henrich showed her the papers from Acq Inc and said that Omin Dran has sent them.

The captain sighs. “Took you long enough,” she says. “So let’s get this done so we can get on with our lives.” She pul ls a scroll from a leather pack and squints at its barely legible writing. “So which one of you is Ozgood the Ugly? I need you to sign before you go in. Nothing but paperwork and signatures since the newest Masked Lords got seated on the council, but what can you do?”

The group all looked at one another and was about to say something but the captain interrupted and gave them a knowing look. So, you are Ozgood. I am going to go down my list to make sure everyone is here:

Carlot “Squeaky” Wickel “Great Maul” McTickleton, Lord Pompy Fuggelstruck, Squinty Pip, Mad Haddey Flagon, and Fippance Gibberjaw.

You are all here. Good. Now, here is what I know.

The fissure opened beneath the warehouse during the earthquake 4 days ago. The partially collapsed building has been deemed structurally sound, so it shouldn’t fall into the fissure unless someone inside does something foolish, such as knock down a support beam or bang against the remaining walls.

The fissure has exposed access to a number of mysterious tunnels beneath the warehouse. It’s not known how long the tunnels have been there, who created them, or what might be lurking within.

The contract the characters sign is fulfilled only if they investigate and clear every tunnel the fissure exposed. After they finish, a city surveyor will be assigned to map the area, and an engineer needs to assess the integrity of the tunnels to ensure that no further collapses are imminent. If either professional is injured or killed because of negligence on the part of the adventurers, the party and Acquisitions Incorporated can be held liable.

Two members of the City Watch-Sergeant Ava Teeshe and Constable Yander Boot-descended into the fissure a day earlier to make sure it held nothing dangerous. From the bottom of the sinkhole, they followed an underground passage north. They haven’t been seen or heard from since.

Sergeant Teeshe is a tall, strapping female human who has seen her share of scuffles and doesn’t back down from a fight. If something took her out, it must be powerful.

By contrast, Constable Boot is a runty male human, and infamous for his cowardice. However. anything that caught him while he tried to flee must be fast.

We (the guards) have been ordered to remain on site until the exploration of the fissure is complete. Captain Truff is clear in articulating her hopes that the adventurers can wrap up the investigation quickly.

Henrich asked if there was something they could say or give to Teeshe so she would know that Captain Truff had sent them. She thought for a moment and said Show he this pin. The pin was the symbol of the Suneday Night Guild, a group of guards that regularly meet on Sunedays to drink and blow off steam. That should do the trick.

The group left and went to the warehouse.

In the areas where the walls and ceiling didn’t collapse, this warehouse contains no crates, no boxes, no barrels, and no wares of any other kind. Directly in front of the missing door, the walls, ceiling, and floor have fallen away to reveal a deep sinkhole fissure. Inside the ruin, a hempen rope anchored firmly in the rubble dangles down into the darkness. The tear in the earth descends at an angle, making it impossible to see how far down it goes or what waits at the bottom.

They used the rope and descended into the fissure.

The sinkhole fissure ends at a level floor of worked stone. Dust, debris, rocks, and pieces of wood that once made up the walls and ceiling of the warehouse above are spread across the floor. An underground passage is blocked to the south, but it continues into darkness to the north. Two pairs of human-sized boot prints, easily spotted in the dust, head northward. Smaller fissures, holes, and cracks riddle the passage, though even a halfling would find the largest of them a tight fit.

As Hetty was looking at the cracks, 6 giant rats appeared out of the smaller cracks and began to attack. The giant rats did not last long. As the last giant rat died it coughed up a humanoid finger bearing a platinum ring. Etched inside the ring is the name “Burton Boot.” Boot was the same last name as Yander one of the missing guards. They continued to the north following two sets of footprints. As they explored, they passed through worked tunnels, natural caverns, and functional sewers at different points. Most side passages are blocked by rubble, making the path of the two Waterdeep City Watch guards easy to follow.

They saw a room ahead. This rectangular chamber shows no earthquake damage, possibly because of the buttresses and columns supporting the walls and ceiling. Four pools of liquid are set into the floor-one blue, another green, a third clear, and the last cloudy. Carvings on the walls seemingly depict the pools, and show robed figures submerging themselves within. At the far end of the chamber stands a double door with a large, ornately carved lock.

They checked out the Clear pool first. They saw it was about 10ft deep. The Blue and Green pools also were about 10ft deep. They could not see the bottom of the cloudy pool but they assumed it was 10ft as well. Jaspar casted Detect Magic on the room. The pools and the double door radiate transmutation magic. They threw copper pieces into the pools but nothing happened. Hetty went over to check out the lock. As she was about to pick the lock she noticed faint runes etched among the ornate carvings on it. She showed them to Jaspar who said that the runes may emit a wave of transmutation magic throughout the room. Hetty asked folks to stand back and she proceeded to pick the lock. Nothing happened. So, they journeyed on.

As the passage ran east, it widened to thirty feet for the next ninety feet. At the far end of the area, the chamber narrows to ten feet again, with an ornate double door sealing it off.

Henrich and the apes moved forward in a line from the top of the room to the bottom in order to find any traps. They moved about 30ft east when jets of fire poofed up and singed their shins. The fire died down and they moved forward. Suddenly a trap door sprung open and Henrich dropped into a pit 10ft below. The lid to the pit remained open, but the pit began filling with water flowing up from grates in the floor along with small, glowing blue fish. Pixel and Riva knew these were harmless glowing cave fish. They looked they were trying to nibble through Henrich’s plate mail. Pixel leaped into the air and transformed into a giant octopus and splashed into the water and tried to grab to Henrich and pull both of them out of the put. It did not work. Riva got out some rope and with the apes assistance along with Pixel and Henrich, they were able to pull both of them out of the pit. They moved on and suddenly puffs of green smoke, no dye, covered Pixel and Henrich (is this correct?). Catarak also walked through the cloud. The dye would wear off in 2 to 4 months. They moved onto the ornate double doors. Henrich found they were locked so Hetty came and unlocked the doors and the moved into the next room.

Slabs set along the walls of this stone chamber hold human- sized bodies wrapped from head to toe in strips of off-white cloth. Even as the doors open, these wrapped bodies begin to rise.

They were zombies, all humanoid, and they all fell quickly. They removed some of the wrapping around the zombie heads looking for anyone wearing City Watch livery. None of them were. They all seemed to have been this way for awhile. Each of the zombies wore a silver necklace worth 10 gp. Resting on one of the slabs is a potion of healing and a spell scroll of bless.

The moved into an area that was a complex maze of passages crisscrossing each other, collapsed tunnels forcing the characters to take side passages. weak areas exposed by the earthquake and threatening to collapse as they did their best to navigate and follow the trail of Sergeant Teeshe and Constable Boot. The trail leads to an area where a cave- in occurred sometime after Teeshe and Boot passed through. They could see one print that was half covered by the rubble. They started to clear the cave-in with Jaspar telling to put the bulk of the debris in a certain section so that there would be lesser chance of another cave-in. They moved on into a circular room full of vines emerging from the walls, floor. and ceiling. Pixel and Riva knew that these vines were blood weeds- a carnivorous plant that feeds on creatures by draining blood with its thorns. They plotted out a path to the other side of the room and all were able to make it through with no damage.

Hetty saw an area that looked like a another pit trap. She put in shims so that the top would stay jammed shut. They moved on.

The passage expands into a natural cavern whose ceiling is obscured by thick, dusty webs. Five web cocoons hang down from the larger mass, their bottoms dangling ten feet above the cavern floor. Two cocoons-one larger and one smaller-have a suspiciously humanoid shape.

They went over to the larger cocoon and cut it down. Removing the web around the head they saw City Watch colors and that it was a human male. They checked his hands and saw he was missing a finger. They had found Constable Boot. They checked the other humanoid sized cocoon and they found a kobold. The kobold had a vial of acid, a Rask of alchemist’s fire. and a vial of antitoxin. They put Constable Boot into the Bag of Holding. They three smaller cocoons were empty. The last one seemed to move as they got closer. It was a giant spider. It attempted to web as many of them as they could but only succeeded it getting three of the four apes. The rest of the group took the spider out quick.

The passage widens into a natural cavern dotted with stalactites and stalagmites. It continues on to the northeast, but the uneven walls make it hard to see into that section- even as heap of bones and gear is plainly visible.

Riva went to the east and Hetty went west. Riva spotted something hiding behind one of the stalagmite. It was a goblin. The goblin emerges from behind a stalagmite and brandishes a gnarled piece of bleached wood. “I am a powerful wizard. My wand annihilates all those who make me uptight. Go away. leave Gorkoh alone, and there’s no annihilate. Gorkoh is merciful.” He thrusts his wand several times in your direction.

The group tried not to laugh but they could see through him. He was terrified. They talked him down and asked him what was going on. He said that his name was Gorkoh and that his friend Caerhan had brought him along on an adventure. He tells of how he and Caerhan came to these caverns in search of a lost shrine, and how Caerhan’s goal was to destroy some old magic relic. Regarding the relic, Gorkoh knows only that it’s “some broken clock thing,” and that it was responsible for killing the other members of Caerhan’s party. He tells of how the two became separated during a carrion crawler attack in the cavern just beyond this one. Caerhan must have escaped deeper into the tunnels, but Gorkoh wasn’t willing to risk facing the monster to follow.

The group asks Gorkoh had did he meet Caerhan. He told them that Caerhan and the other members of his adventuring party had spared Gorkoh’s life a few months back when they cleared out a temple to Maglubiyet, the chief of the goblin gods. Caerhan saw potential for the goblin to become a productive member of society, so he became a friend and mentor to Gorkoh, and encouraged him to learn about magic. Caerhan has also encouraged Gorkoh to expand his Common vocabulary, with inconsistent results.

They asked if he would come with them as they were looking for someone as well. Maybe they would find his friend. At the least, he may have a better chance of getting out of these tunnels. He agreed and then reminded them of the carrion crawler. They said we got this. As they moved into the carrion crawler room, they noticed an area that could be agitated to make the ceiling fall just over where the bones and gear were lying. They then heard the carrion crawler and soon it too was dead. They searched the pile of bones and gear and found a backpack and a belt pouch that held 47 gp and a large polished red garnet worth 50 gp. Sticking out of the pile of bones is a +l longsword. The hilt of the sword is fashioned like a skeletal hand, and a skull-and-bones motif is prominent in the design of the weapon.

They moved on into a much larger chamber. This enormous chamber is roughly circular with a high ceiling. A huge granite block is suspended near the ceiling in the center of the room, carved into the rough shape of what looks like a giant foot. Runes scribed into the north and south walls of the chamber create the outline image of a bare footprint. Scattered about the room are hundreds of rotting severed feet from countless types of humanoids. All the feet are bare. Despite the horrid wounds that severed the feet, you see no blood anywhere.

As they moved slowly around the room trying to avoid the giant stone foot, 10 of the severed feet came to life. Riva recognized these as “cousins” to the crawling claws they had fought at the Brandath mausoleum. The claws were easily defeated(get it) and they left the chamber and the giant foot did not move.

Going on down the corridor the tunnel opens into a round room. Dirty brown water- sewage, judging by the smell-streams from pipes in the ceiling into a massive cesspool at the center of the room. A ten-foot-wide walkway skirts the pool, leading to a passageway on the other side.

Pixel in her travels around the city recalled that this bizarre cesspool was the experiment of an ambitious Masked Lord of Waterdeep from decades ago. After locating a gate to a demiplane of filth, the Masked Lord attempted to build a sewer system that could empty the city’s waste into that plane. It worked well, and plans were made to expand the sewer system beyond the prototype. But then creatures native to the plane of filth came through the gate in the wrong direction. After hiring mercenaries to d rive the creatures back, the city rulers abandoned the plan, and the gate was sealed.

Jaspar and Catarak both sensed that planar magic still filled the area. With Detect Magic the cesspool radiates Conjuration magic. They decided to move as quickly as possible going south around the 10ft walkway. Suddenly they noticed ripples on top of the water. The majority of the group made it out but 3 of the group were attacked by a giant tentacle that had emerged from the pool. It swatted at them and attempted to grab them but never could get a hold on anyone. They kept attacking it and as suddenly as it had arrived, it disappeared back into the water.

Down the corridor they moved into a cavern. A small, brass-colored dragon thrashes madly at the far end of the cavern, trapped beneath two large boulders that block a northern tunnel. Two dark creatures resembling flying squids dart just out of the little dragon’s reach, harassing it. Another northern tunnel is also blocked with rubble. Only a tunnel to the east stands clear of debris.

Reva recognized the two dark flying squids as darkmantles. She told the group how they attacked and what defenses they had. They all attacked with Henrich moving to get between the darkmantle and the brass dragon wyrmling. The two darkmantle soon fell. They went to assist the dragon. They gave her healing and she said she was feeling better but could they remove the boulders off of her. It took awhile to do as they wanted to make sure they did not injure the dragon again.

Once she was removed from the rubble and give a little more healing she introduced herself.

I am called Dabshabah and I am less than one year old. My siblings and I were attacked by a green dragon forcing us away from our mother’s territory and down the Sword Coast. My mother I fear is dead and my siblings I am not sure. They were alive the last time I saw them but they were flying away from the green dragon. I had heard of Waterdeep and decided to come but then the earthquake hit and I was stuck here. Besides it seems I cannot get into the city anyway. Jaspar recalled the tale that there was a magic defense that kept dragons out of the city. Pixel thought awhile and decided she could polymorph the dragon once they were going to leave, and get her out of the city and maybe stop at the Emerald Enclave on the way out or once they had taken Dabshabah to the nearby woods.

Dabshabah agreed and they moved on through the corridors.

This crumbling chamber is dominated by an altar against the far wall, above which hangs some kind of construct gearwork mechanism ending in a massive maul. The wall to the left of the altar has fallen in to spread rubble across the floor. On the floor near the altar is a golden device resembling an orrery housing. The device is battered and falling apart, revealing exposed gears and spokes, and with its exterior pieces and plating scattered across the floor. Splayed on the ground next to the device is the corpse of a dwarf. In the southwest corner of the room stands a muscular female human dressed in the livery of the Waterdeep City Watch. Her eyes are closed, and she breathes deeply as though resting.

They were not sure what to do. They checked out female human which they were sure was Sergeant Teeshe but something was not right with her. They felt she was charmed or otherwise under some kind of spell. Hetty went to take Sergeant Teeshe’s sword and suddenly Teeshe began to move and attacked Hetty to make sure her sword would not be taken from her sheath. They apes moved on to grapple with the sword as well. Riva shot the shield in Teeshe’s other hand and nailed it to the wall. All of them were able to overwhelm Teeshe and soon she was knocked out on the floor. But behind them something arose from the altar and began to attack them at range. It was a gearbox live device similar to a nimbleright but more conditioned to fighting. It lashed out with its arms and magic attempted to stop the group. Several of the apes were defeated but soon the entropy guardian was destroyed.

Teshee wakes and once she sees the pin from her captain she thanks the group for saving her. She does not remember anything beyond her companion being killed by a giant spider. She is ready to leave as soon as she can get her footing back.

Gorkoh pointed to the dwarf on the floor in front of the altar. That is my friend, Caerhan. Those pieces look to be what is left of the relic he had been carrying. Teshee said I think that relic coming into contact with the altar caused the earthquake. Do not get too close to the altar or you will become what I was. Henrich moved close to the orrery and was able to pick it up. It had been broken in several places but he noticed that the gold plating that had been coming off was not starting to reform or regrow even.

They made their way back up to the top. They got to a point where Dabshabah could not go any further. Pixel polymorphed her into another cat and they were able to continue. They reached the top where Captain Truff was waiting alone. She was most pleased to see that they had returned and even more pleased that they had Teshee with them. They signed the contract to return to Acq Inc. They also had to have all the goods they found beneath the city inventoried. If anyone later claims to be the rightful owner of any of the loot, a magistrate might rule that the goods belong to the original owner instead of the any of them. It is not likely but it had to be done.

Pixel and Riva ran off with Dabshabah towards the South Gate and out of the city. Once they had arrived at the forest, the polymorph was removed and Dabshabah thanked them. They also told her that they would drop by the Emerald Enclave and let them know that you were in the woods nearby.

Melannor Fellbranch at the Emerald Enclave agreed and said he would meet with Dabshabah the next day.

The group met back up at the Acquisitions Inc headquarters and were admitted in and asked to go to the same room as they had the first time.

Omin Dran was waiting for them this time. He speaks:

“I’ve been told about the misunderstanding regarding your identities. I can’t say much for your relative inexperience and lack of skill. But it looks as though you’ve got enough moxie to cover for that. And a willingness to do what it takes to get ahead. Those are traits we hold in high regard here at Acquisitions Incorporated.” Omin pulls a map from a satchel and places it on the conference room’s oak table. “You know the town of Phandalin? Just off the Triboar Trail? A few months back, we awarded a group a franchise there. We received word that they were taking control of some ruined estate for their headquarters, and everything seemed to be going well. Only they missed this month’s franchise payment, and their secretarian isn’t answering any calls.” Omin snaps his fingers, and a paper, a pen, and an ink pot leap from his satchel. “This note gives you the right to travel to Phandalin and investigate the franchise there on my behalf. If you find the franchise in poor standing or otherwise in distress, I want a full report. And depending on how badly the last group botched things , I might look to you to take over. A failed franchise makes the whole company look bad. I’m sure you understand.” Omin then levels a hard stare. “I want you to appreciate what an incredible opportunity this is for you. You’re skipping countless steps in the normal franchise process. No internships. No tests. It’s unheard of. But I believe in you.”

He gave them another bag that contained 400gp and he wished them well.

They headed back to TrollSkull Tavern to get ready for the Midwinter Gala the next day.