Requital & Mutability

Journey to Eltergard
The saga begins

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.

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Interment at Fort Morninglord
A New Player?

Rose is working for “Nine” in Balder’s gate. She’s the head of the [[Thieves’ Guild]] there and is quite acclaimed. Rose does not know why the gems were the target. The information she spoke of comes in the form of a letter from Marbell Mankin, one of the four thieves who pulled off the now legendary Cowel Jewel heist. It seems one or more of the group is picking off the others to retrieve the treasure all for themselves. Fearing she was close to death she reached out to the only person she could think of that would seek the others out for revenge.

While laid over in the inn outside Elturel you found out that Eltrurel is trying to “buy” Iriaebor, a neighboring town. Elturgard wants to bring them into the fold. Some merchants seem amiable to the idea or at least to the bribes that the paladins bring in; some going so far as to allow the paladins to stay in their homes.

You also heard a wood elf stumbled out of the Reaching woods and claimed that goblins and gnolls have killed off all other humanoids in the forest and are quickly running out of food.
The next morning Rose continues on her way to Balder’s Gate. You awake to find a note under your door indicating a new “job” for the thieves guild in Balder’s Gate.

*Interment at Fort Morninglord *
While you were in the mines a violent electrical storm rolled in, reports are coming in to the city that Fort Morninglord is open once again. The rain is still constant but for now the lightning has passed. Fort Morninglord is a day’s ride west of Elturel.

Fort Morninglord’s entire compliment of paladins disappeared one night three years ago in an even that blackened every stone and fused every door and window of the keep. Fearing contagion by the unknown evil that rendered the keep uninhabited, the High Observer sealed all visable entraces behind additional layers of stone and mortar, and proclaimed that anyone who broke this interdiction would become an outlaw of the land.

The exposed manor is an imposing structure built of blackened limestone. Tiles are missing from the roof, plants grow up all the walls, and the grounds are overgrown with weeds. As you approach you see smoke drifting up from the chimney.

The building has two entrances—a wooden door reinforced with metal strips in the central part of the building, and an intricately carved set of wooden doors on the right side of the front section. The central door is so warped that it doesn’t quite close properly, and the double doors seem to be swollen shut. Next to the warped single door is a broken window.

(1) The Foyer:
The foyer is littered with natural debris that has drifted in through the partially open door. Pegs in the walls provide places to hang cloaks, and a couple of low benches allow for storage of boots. Hanging from the ceiling is an oil lamp suspended on a corroded brass chain.

(2) The Chapel:
This area is obviously a chapel dedicated to Torm. Several pews face an altar, and the walls are lined with brass oil lamps—twelve in all—in severe need of cleaning. No holy symbol graces the altar, but nine floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows depict the magnificence of Torm. Remarkably, all are still intact. Two doors provide
access to the interior of the house.

(3) The Dining Room:
This chamber holds a modest dining table and four matching chairs. A broken window gives access to the outside, and a small cabinet stands in the corner. A hanging oil lamp and four brass lamps, now corroded with age, once provided cheery light to dinner guests. An archway and a simple wooden door lead to other parts of the house.

The cabinet is unlocked and contains an intact washbasin, barely recognizable under the layers of mold and moss that have accumulated on it.

(4) The Sitting Room: If the manor was entered stealthily
A fire crackles merrily in the hooded copper fireplace that occupies the center of the room, and the smell of roasting meat wafts from it. A tall, scraggly looking female humanoid is tending the roasting meat in the fireplace. Its chimney carries the smoke up through the ceiling to the outside. Two once-comfortable chairs, now stained with mildew, flank the fireplace. A small writing desk stands nearby. Bookshelves ring the walls, but the few remaining books have obviously suffered badly from the ravages of time and the elements. An archway, four doors, and a set of stone stairs lead from this room.

Genna {non – stealthy}: A female voice cries out, “Who’s there?” Moments later,[stealthy – you see] a very tall human woman with red hair enters, brandishing a greatsword. She wears a leather tunic trimmed with fur, doeskin breeches, soft boots, and a short fur cloak. “Are you here for the hobgoblins?” she asks. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I got to them first. Was there a reward?”

Answers to questions:
• “My name is Genna. I come from up north. I was adventuring in these parts.”
• “I’ve been here for about a day, recovering from a few injuries I got when my last camp was invaded by goblins. I got one of them, but they killed the rest of my group, and I had to run.”
• “I hid out here because I figured the goblins might try to come after me.”
• “There were some hobgoblins camped out here when I arrived, so I killed them and tossed them over the balcony rail.”
• “I’ll be on my way soon; I wasn’t really intending to stay long.”
• “I haven’t seen anything like that.”

Genna attempts to throw you over the railing, failing she is swiftly dispatched.

A loud thump rises from the basement.

Most of the materials in the desk are unrecognizable, there is a book on Practical Sorcery and a journal. The journal has only a few legible pages left, one entry stands out:

“I am quite pleased with myself. No one will be able to take it now. I best write down this word lest I forget and zap myself a good one. Aurora. I like that!”

(5) The Kitchen:

Equipped to provide for a lord and all his retainers, the kitchen features several stone counters, wooden cabinets, a large washbasin, and a sizable cookstove. Any foodstuffs that were once here, however, have long since been scavenged. Most of the surfaces are covered with a layer of mildew, and the cabinets are hanging open. Two doors provide access to other areas on the ground floor, and a flight of stone steps leads down.

(6) Master Bedroom:
An oversized bed and a large wooden wardrobe dominate this chamber. In one corner stands a washbasin. Brighter patches on the walls show where paintings and a full-length mirror used to hang. All the furniture is worn and faded. The room has only one door and one window.

Loot: A search of the wardrobe reveals a hidden compartment [DC:15] that holds a silver ring set with a single ruby and three unsent love letters with no names or addresses.

(7) Guest Bedroom:
This room contains two beds covered with rotting linens, a pair of trunks, and a stand with a washbasin.

Basement:
The stairs from the kitchen lead down to the main basement area. A quick look inside the stone door reveals the dead bodies of three more goblins in the adjoining chamber. Dry goods, oil, and other supplies are stored here, but judging from the smell and the vermin crawling in and out of bins, the supplies remaining here now are long past usefulness. Sooty patches on the walls show where three oil lamps used to hang, but they are missing. This chamber has two wooden doors, a steel door, and a stone door. Both the steel and the stone door stand wide open. A lanky goblin lies face-down on the floor.

The stone door is actually a secret door, but little secrecy remains now that it is open. A long tunnel lies behind the gaping stone mouth. A coup de gras takes care of the goblin.

Possessions: Shortspear, headband of magic detection

The walls of this cavern are perfectly smooth and lit by veins of crystal that glow with a reddish light. The stone door looks as if it would fit seamlessly against the jamb. It has no handle on the outside, but there is a carved wooden handle on the inside. The bodies of three reptilian humanoids lie here; apparently freshly dead. You see no sign of the clay golem. The veins in the walls are the equivalent of torch light.

(2)The stone chamber beyond the entrance measures at least ten paces square. Peeling paint and broken scrollwork suggest that it was once decorated with some care, but now only dust remains. Three massive stone doors—one each to the left and right, and one directly across from the entrance—lead deeper into the underground.

(3) The sound of hissing rain, pounding hail, and howling wind from outside is interrupted only by the occasional loud crack of thunder. Still, this room seems stable enough for the most part. Even when the thunder seems to shake the very ground, not so much as a mote of dust filters down from the ceiling. The doors leading from this room, however, do show signs of weakness, seeming to tremble with every thunderclap. Suddenly, in conjunction with a particularly loud thunderclap, all three doors break open at once, falling from their doorways into the room with a great cacophony. Seconds later, the sounds of squeaking fill the air as a pack of rats swarms in from the largest doorway.

Stampede! 100XP

(4) The long stone hall ends in a stone chamber furnished only with cracked, moldering tables on which lie rusted implements of iron. Rain falls into the middle of the room from a shaft in the ceiling that must run up into the courtyard. From the bottom of the shaft dangles a rope, swinging slightly [DC 15]. A drain in the center of the floor allows the water to escape, but old, dark stains suggest that it was used to carry away other fluids long ago.
Suddenly, from a doorway on the far side of the room step two burly humanoids. Each stands more than 6 feet tall and has feral eyes and flat facial features. With a roar, the two draw their weapons and charge.

_Hobgoblin Raiders XP: 100 _

The Offering Chest (6) :
This room is empty save for dust and a single, small, stone chest in the center of the floor. Evidently no one has disturbed this chamber for many years. The stone chest is built into the floor and cannot be removed. Loot: headband of the stout heart, two pearls (worth 100 gp each), and a small bag containing 500 gp.

(7) The only object of interest in this chamber is a statue at the far end. It resembles a sarcophagus standing upright, except that the head of the figure carved upon its lid looks distorted and seems to have tendrils instead of hair. Two pair of bat-like wings extends from its body. Suddenly, its eyes open, and the head flies forward to attack!

Not the Face! 100XP

Loot: Within the now-headless sarcophagus is a pile of dust and a translator’s ring

(8) A long, stone table made into the floor dominates the center of this chamber, and bright bits of gold wink from within the dust that covers the floor. Upon the table lies the well-preserved corpse of an Eltergard Paladin. Suddenly, the corpse sits up, lifting an old, rusted Morningstar in one hand and a javelin in the other. As it climbs off the table, its mouth opens to loose an eerie moan.

Brains! XP125

Loot: The Morningstar that the paladin used is cracked and nearly worthless, and his other gear (including armor) is in no better condition. On his wrists are the Manacles of Freedom. Still in his belt pouch are 15 gp.

The table he was resting on is actually his crypt, lifting off the stone lid you find a black box seemingly untouched by dust. When you pick up the box a wind whips through the room and on it barely audible you swear you hear “password .”

Inside the box wrapped in black velvet is a miniature sun orb. It glows so bright it’s painful to look upon and feels hot in your hand but you can feel the power rushing through you.

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Thief Seeker
Finding Nine in Baldur's Gate

The trip back to Baldur’s Gate is fast and uneventful. The first inn you come to is the Dragon’s Tale south of the River Chionthar.

Several guests are settled at the two long trestle tables the stretch the length of the poorly lit room. The Dragonborn proprietor is behind the bar drying a heavy mug. The smell of roasting meat wafts from the kitchen as a smaller female Dragonborn emerges from the kitchen holding two hand sized pies. Two male, human looking patrons sitting with their backs to the wall look up as she emerges to accept the pies. Three rough looking types with swords sheathed in scabbards running the length of their spines and heavily shrouded faces sit and the end of one of the tables, closely huddled and facing each other. A lone Tiefling sits in the shadows at the end of the bar with a nearly empty tankard of ale in her hand.

The owner of the Dragon’s Tale can reveal:

General History of Baldur’s Gate, references the Flaming Fists indicating the three shrouded men

Candledeep Keeper of the Tomes

Cloak Wood lore

Thieves Guild – “Yeah, I hear they do big business here. Ole’ Nine has a political mind about her too, ‘hear she’s biding her time to slip in a ringer for a new Grand Duke soon as Portyr outlives her usefulness. Her people are all about, you’re bound to run into one. Seems I recall someone saying she stays up in Bloomridge in the city proper.

The two humans by the fire are vampire hunters the spin a tale:

“Bodies are showing up all over without a drop of blood inside. S’jus no one’s talkin’ about it. They’s always dumped outside the original city walls so the high and mighty don’t got to see ‘em. “

The Flaming Fists conversation stalls as they seems to turn a keen ear to your conversation.

“We’s just on a break now. Then it’s back out into the night we go.”

The Flaming Fists tell you to move on if you don’t want trouble. They leave after you talk to the vampire hunters.

The Tiefling beckons you into her corner.
“What business have you with Nine Keene?”
“You’re the one, huh?” “Come with me, I’m Cara, I’ll show you the way.”

After entering the old wall you ascend a spiral staircase off a small arcade courtyard. Cara opens the doors to what appears to be the entire top floor of the east side of the arcade shops. A lavishly appointed foyer welcomes you into the building. Rose approaches from the long hallway to the right.
“Welcome. I knew you’d come.” : Possible Responses
“What letter? I left the night before, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“We have a new job for you, this time I’ll accompany you myself.”
“That’s it, you’re in. There isn’t a secret handshake or anything. Nine isn’t even here I’m sure. Let’s rest this night, we leave at first light.”

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