The caravan stretches near a quarter mile into the distance. The 7 day journey from [[Balder’s Gate]] has been slow and dusty. The merchants seem to keep mostly to themselves, regarding you and the rest of the hired guards wearily. The guards are a more genial lot with few exceptions. One of your comrades, Rose, talks little; spending her time casting a stoic glance toward the flanks of the caravan at precise intervals. The sunset lingers this night before finally succumbing to a grey night. Barring complications your party should arrive in Elturgard in a day. Camp tonight is made in a small town far enough from the shimmering throng to afford some freedoms but close enough to keep commerce thriving. Tired of the dust and tedium the guards make their way to the small tavern in shifts. Rose, you note, nodded in assent to joining the second group.
As you settle yourself by the fire Rose moves silently to your side, settling herself on the log next to you.
“I’ve been watching you. We know what you are.”
Possible Answers to Questions:
“We can help each other. We need something retrieved and you need information.”
“That’s not important, not yet. If you handle this small task, perhaps in my benevolence I will answer more questions.”
“I must not say more.”
“The prison mines in Elturgard are not all they seem. More prisoners are dragged into their depths every day yet the production of the mine is tapering off. It is not the silver I seek but the gems. It has been nearly 6 weeks with no gems emerging. Someone down there is hoarding them, nearly 20lbs worth at my estimation, to what purpose I know not. Seek out the gems and return them to me at the tavern here, I will wait 7 days before returning to Balder’s Gate with word or your failure. Your methods are your business, do what you must but heed this warning, should you retrieve the gems and think to keep them for yourself – our assassins do not fail.”
The first shift of guards assaults the camp with waves of raucous laughter as they stumble back from the tavern. Rose stands abruptly and makes her way toward the town.
The tavern is unremarkable, one haggard barkeep and two serving wenches service the establishment. There are three farmers seated at a table, playing cards. As the last guard gets up from his table he pockets three silver meant for the more comely of the wenches. Only you and the barkeep seem to notice. More of the second shift should be arriving any moment.
Skill Challenge Level 1 XP 100– 5 successes before 3 failures
Retrieving the silver from the guard gains +2 to diplomatic pursuits with Karl the barkeep. Retrieving the silver by force gains a +4 with the Karl the barkeep and a +2 to intimidate checks with Jon the farmer. Intimidate attempts result in automatic fail with Karl the Barkeep. Sending a round of drinks to the farmers grants a +2 to diplomatic pursuits with Jon the farmer.
EARN 2 Successes: Retrieve the tip money.
EARN 1 Success [Wench]: Pay your own three silver to the wench. (+2 to diplomatic endeavors) “Are you heading in to Elturgard? Be careful what you say and do, the zealots take you away if you stray from their ways three times. Karl the barkeep knows more, he goes there for business.”
ROLL 1 success [Karl the barkeep]: He has heard of the subterranean prison in Elturgard. “I’ve heard the Elturgard guard keep their prisoners under the city in their mines to mine silver for the city.”
ROLL 1 additional success [Karl the barkeep]: “They say some of the unexplored caverns down there lead to the sewers, might even be a way for prisoners to escape that way.”
ROLL 1 additional success [Karl the barkeep]: “Folks ‘round town keep a wide berth around Jon’s boy. I hear he’s been in those mines.” The Barkeep nods in Jon’s direction and goes back about his duties.
ROLL 1 success [Jon the Farmer]: “I might have some information for you. But right now I have to be getting back. It’s been full dark for a few hours and I have to relieve my boy. Some damn spook has been making off with my cows.”
ROLL 1 additional success [Jon the Farmer]: “I might have some information for you. But right now I have to be getting back. It’s been full dark for a few hours and I have to relieve my boy. Some damn thing or things has been making off with my cows.”
ROLL 1 additional success [Jon the Farmer]:
Intimidate “Fine, fine. You seem like you have a bite to you. Come kill whatever’s been stealin’ me cows and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
Diplomatic “Alright, come with me to relieve my boy and I’ll have him tell ye’ all about it. Might even be some coin in it for you if we catch those buggers what’s after me herd.” [BONUS: + one healing surge]
You reach the farm with Jon and are treated to a hearty, hot meal before entering the paddock with the cows. You meet Durk, a wiry young man with a hatchet in his hand and a bow slung across his back. Durk heads inside for his meal while you and Jon scale trees on the east and west sides of the enclosure. Hours pass before a dark figure makes his way from the trees to the fence.
Cows Are Not for Nom Nom XP 175
Loot: Bag of holding < two silver nuggets, shopping list, spell; a shabby hand axe and a shovel.
After checking on the rest of the herd you all retire to the house for some ale. Jon talks with his son, returning with a map. “I had the boy sketch out what he remembers. The closest entrance to the mines lies behind this building here. You’ll enter the sewers first and take this branch down. Now that’s how Durk got back up, he says he heard of other exits through the catacombs but the terrain is treacherous and most that attempt to escape that way don’t even have bodies for loved ones to bury.” Loot: Map
You head back to the caravan to complete your duties and receive payment. You arrive at Elturel at what would be dusk if such a thing existed in this place. Payment: 20g
The sky has been slowly darkening all day, and the smell of rain has been thick in the air. Now it has finally begun to fall, accompanied by loud peals of thunder that seem to roll across the landscape. As bolts of lightning begin to slam from cloud to ground and pieces of hail begin to strike the earth, the need for shelter becomes obvious.
Even the sewers are brighter in Elturel. The tunnels are made from light grey granite and torches are hung along the main corridors at 12 foot intervals. A soft glow reaches the nook you find yourself in. The 4-in. thick grate above you clangs back into place, upon examination it looks as though the locking mechanism would need to be disabled from this side in order to re-open it. The main corridors look well traveled; many a prisoner has taken his last walk down these halls. A low guttural cry echoes though the tunnels.
Why did it have to be rats? XP 75
Level 2 Skill Challenge – Sneaking into and around the mines XP 175
Skills: sneak/stealth, athletics, acrobatics, dungeoneering DC 20
6 Successes before 3 failures at 5 successes larder is located, at 6 catacombs are located
At Mine Entrance: A cool current of air pushes at your back as you behold the entrance to the mines. The manicured granite gives way to a single darkened shaft that leads into the depths of the mine ahead. The dirt path beneath its wooden support structure is covered with stone debris, a few pieces of which occasionally glint with the slightest hint of ore. Burnt-out torches are strewn across the earthen floor on either side of the wooden walk. There are no more street grates to let in natural light, the flicker of torches on the other side of the tunnel cast shadows on your path.
In one cell: A grizzled old man crumpled from the weight of time and hard labor peers at you from behind his bars.
“What comes in cannot get back out, doors like mouths. Why came you here, to follow the rats? The rats know the way. Scurry fast and true to see again the sky of blue.”
“The chaff flows out but the heart remains, not to nourish the man but stored just the same.”
Larder/Storage Room: This long, narrow room is lined with shelves loaded with foodstuffs and supplies. Heavy burlap sacks are piled atop one another in the corners of the chamber. A few have been torn open, leaving spills of oats and flour along the floor. Several barrels stand in a cluster near the far northern wall. The refuse in the room looks like it has been frequently disturbed in the area around the barrels.
Trap: Several sacks of flour are tightly hung from the ceiling by a network of ropes. The interiors of the sacks are lined with a sharp wire, which is in turn connected to a single ripcord hanging by the group of barrels at the north wall. Search Check: DC 15 once it is noticed, no roll is necessary to disable the trap, the ripcord must be pulled to trigger the trap.
Once the trap is triggered, the ripcord tears the sacks of flour open, showering their contents onto the room below. The flour spills across the room, temporarily obscuring the sight of anyone standing within that area.
Flour cloud: 40’ x 10’ range; -2 to hit rounds 1 & 2, -1 to hit rounds 3 & 4, clears round 5 DC 15
A Dire Rat, disturbed from its sack of grain launches at you through the flour cloud.
Now You’re Cooking with Rats XP 200
Barrel 1: Wine, half full.
Barrel 2: the dregs of ale and 2 rats.
Barrel 3: The remnants of cheese wheels gnawed on by the rats.
Barrel 4: More cheese with the offending rats (2).
Barrel 5: Filled nearly to the top with the remainders of damaged food and flour sacks, an odd thing to fill a barrel with. Search check (DC 15) reveals that the bottom of the barrel is in fact false, concealing a hidden compartment. Loot: two leather sacks filled with gems. Additionally, the bag holds a black cloak and a vial with a potion of invisibility.
Level 2 skill challenge: Catacombs 6 successes penalty for failures XP 175
Skills: Endurance, Athletics, Dungeoneering, Acrobatics, Nature DC 20
Successful nature check: a rumble behind you flushes out a cadre of rats that ignore your presence and run down a passage to right.
Successful Dungeoneering check DC 25: you stumble into a niche with the body of a prisoner who perished trying to escape. On his person you find a canteen (gain 1 healing serge if you lost 1), three silver nuggets and 10gp along with rope and a grappling hook.
At last the sky is above you. You have made it safely out of the mines.