The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 49: Full Circle
Updated: Jul 20
With both haunts neutralized, and the elimination of the Drow and Drider populations of Guantlgrym beyond the party's reach, one would expect that the group would have been able to wrap up the Guantlgrym section of the campaign quite quickly.
One would have been incorrect. It took three sessions for the group to reach the point I was certain they'd hit in one.
The cupcakes teleported to just inside the city's entrance and headed along the southern passage. You know, the one snaking past an entrance that likes to admit arrows of death. To their credit, they did state they were sneaking by.
Unfortunately they missed a few points. For instance they chose to stroll past the ten foot high doorway as opposed to flying above it. Even then, they might have succeeded in getting past the newly established watch the Drow had set up. That is if they'd bothered to hide their Ioun Torches . . . Kind of hard to stealth when you've got a bouncing ball lighting you up like a Christmas tree.
Hey, you wanna destroy my Dimensional Dervishing Shadowdancers with your Ioun stones, you gotta pay the price.
So of course the watch noted their passage and sent a group to investigate. 6 drow fighters and 1 drow noble confronted the group. The cupcakes whittled that number down like a blind servant attacking a pole. The noble fled back inside to raise the alarm.
Undeterred by the concept of facing the entirety of a Drow village Zornesk pursued. Once inside the ten foot thick passage a whip tripped the kobold. He then proceeded to almost die repeatedly, and would have done so if not for the frantic efforts of one cursing Globat.
It took three rounds of shouting for the group to get the kobold out of the doorway at which point they teleported back to the surface.
In a rare attempt to learn from one's mistakes, Globat teleported the group to the other side of the archway they were having such trouble with. Once there, they cautiously scouted to the doorway at the end of the passage. Peaking through, they found a massive three story high promenade. There was a gap between the right and left wings of the upper floors that measured more than a hundred feet, spanned occasionally by bridges. The hall went on for hundreds of yards, and all in attendance agreed it must have been magnificent in its day.
The more perceptive members of the group also noted a rythmic banging coming from the upper level. It was decided that the noise should be investigated. That decided, they had to stop the kobold, who was already on his way. Minerva accomplished this feat by grabbing the back of the little dragon's armor and lifting him off of his gnarly feet (which kept going by the way). No, I'm not making that up.
So, tank secured, Quagrim cast invisibility upon himself and flew up through the gap in the above floors to find a drow work party of ten slaves and one noble. He quickly reversed course, using the travel time to concoct a plan. A wonderful, awful plan.
Once he'd explained the situation to the group he reversed course again and flew back to the unsuspecting tunnelers. Meanwhile Bob gathered the rest of the group in a bear hug. Once Quagrim arrived at his destination he used the summoner's Maker's Call ability to summon Bob to him. Bob came with friends.
The ensuing fight lasted nine seconds. At the end of that time there was one drow slave left cowering against a wall. The group extracted what information they could (the most important being that they were not to enter the door at the end of the hall for any reason) but that left them in a quandry. Evil though this drow might be, they could not simply slaughter a prisoner, especially one that was cooperating.
Many solutions (some only slightly less evil than execution) were proffered, but in the end Quagrim and Zornesk decided they'd take the drow to the dwarves they'd helped to reclaim Tethyamar not so long ago. After they looted the bodies of course.
The group teleported back to the mine and were granted an immediate audience with the newly minted king of Tethyamar. He greeted them cordially, yet clearly rushed.
It took some convincing (and a few diplomacy rolls) but the group did succeed in convincing him to take the drow under his wing and teach him. He did demand the drow noble's Unrighteous Heavy Fortification Full Plate of Speed in payment for the care and maintenance of the Cupcake's latest pet. He then immediately had one of his servants take the plate to someone that could remove the unrighteous quality.
Quagrim then began poking around, to figure out what had the old dwarf in such a rush. After a few pointed questions he admitted to the group that a dwarf that was something of a vagabond was claiming to have found the fabled city of Guantlgrym. He was putting together an expedition, but he couldn't help but feel as if he were being had. The group assured him the find was legitimate, earning yet more stares.
He then asked them to teleport him to the city's entrance, so he could more easily move his expedition. They agreed, but insisted on a detour first. Seems that Minerva and Globat were feeling a little left out, seeing that they were only unofficial members of the Delicious Cupcakes. They wanted to make a trip to Cormyr to formalize their involvement.
And wouldn't you know it, that same teller was there, nasally delivery and all. But, I decided to have a bit of fun and add a payment window manned by a very sloth like individual.
Needless to say, it took some time. The Kobold went off in search of drink. Quagrim told the sloth a joke. Globat teleported the group out of the busy hall before its inhabitants could tear the gnome asunder.
The group then used the rest of the money they'd garnered from the dead noble to pay their debt in Neverwinter and gain a few upgrades. Then it was back into the deep!
They teleported to the entrance of the promenade and had Quagrim check it out. He went off only to come back and report no activity. They quickly made it back to the the area where they'd ambushed the labor group and made a beeline for the archway at the end of the hall.
As they approached it they could see a faint reddish glow emanating from beyond. Quagrim crept up to the arch and was treated to a view of a massive cavern. The archway opened up into a large plateau overlooking pools of lava. In the center of this plateau was a set of clothing lying in a crumpled pile. Of course Globat's first question was if there were pants in the pile.
As Quagrim affirmed that (damn his sight anyway) Globat paled and immediately began to cast Contingency. Afterwards the group moved out in a standard diamond formation. Bob brought up the rear. As they got closer it became necessary for the eidolon to push the Samsaran along.
Once said Samsaran got within thirty feet of the pile it suddenly animated. Each piece flew into its appropriate place, as if being worn by an invisible creature. But it wasn't a creature. It was a set of Vestes Vindictae. A race of my own imagining. Mwuhahahahahahah!
But Globat quickly realized it was more than that. The clothes themselves were familiar. And just as that sensation hit him he was overwhelmed with memories. The first was of himself as a level 23 Human Magus. (this is back in the days of Mystra) In this vision he is taunting the great dragon god Asgorath in an attempt to win the deity's piece of Garl's ax. He watches in horror as his former self insists that he could solve any set of riddles or trials Asgorath could come up with.
Asgorath agrees to his terms, placing three markers about the world, creating a chain of riddles that would finally lead to one of Asgorath's many shrines. And whomever should succeed at this quest would be allowed to take any one item from that shrine. However, he warned, should they fail the manner of their failure would haunt them through as many lives as it took to complete the quest.
Flash forward to his lvl 23 self making it to this very precipice where he dueled a wizard of equal ability. This wizard then cast a level 12 spell that instantly uplifted his pants. The pants, in horror at being wrapped around a waste expulsion center, promptly ran the magus off the cliff and into the lava. This revelation was immediately followed by a chain of many more. And that's where I decided to stop for the day. Best to let this encounter simmer in the group's head for a week or so. . .