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The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 51: Idle Gnomes . . .

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

I mean, technically Bugs was trying to steal Marv's property . . .
Note: Replace 'P-36 Explosive Space Modulator' with 'Ancient Rapier That Was Recently Used to Kill All of Us' before publishing

Not much this week. The group finished sleeping off its ordeal and immediately launched itself into a debate. Well, Quagrim and Minerva got into it. Zornesk wandered off to sell the Ruby he found as they searched for the pants of doooooom. It (the ruby) was the size of his head (which isn't saying much when your just over 2 ft tall). And Globat recused himself . . . the spineless fink.

What's that? What was the argument? Well, I really shouldn't.

No really, I don't want to name names.

Alright fine, just stop shouting.

It's really simple. Quagrim wanted to sell the sword the pants had used to make shish ka-adventurers out of the group . Minerva wanted to keep it . . . for nostalgic purposes I guess? I'm not really sure why. Who wants a remembrance of that time the party came within a hair of being matching meat sticks? I think its an effect of her demon and dragon blood driving her insane, personally. But don't tell her I said that.

This went a few rounds before Quagrim preempted the argument by grabbing a stick and replacing the innkeepers broom . . . while he was sweeping. He then took the broom and replaced the sword in Minerva's hand. She, of course caught him, at which point he launched himself outside and down the street. She quickly lost him.

He then went and rustled up a buyer, gaining 285 thousand gold pieces. A pretty good haggle really. However the buyer wanted to hear the group's story of how they obtained said ancient stabby thing. So Quagrim had to round the group back up. Fortunately, by the time he'd found Minerva, she'd cooled down considerably. That's from roasting gnome gonads over a roasting bonfire to simply demanding her money.

He found Zornesk at the bottom of a keg regaling yet another history buff of their tales. And the brilliant idea hit! Why not just regale both lovers of a good yarn at the same time? What could possibly go wrong?

So they marched into the high priced inn the first history buff asked them to meet him at (the Ox And Lamb of course) and directly into a longstanding feud. Because, wouldn't you know it, they were rival collectors of antiquities. Fierce rivals.

Needless to say, it took some convincing to get them to the same table. But with, a tricksy gnome and a paladin working the arbitration, the end was never in doubt.

Then came story time. After that . . . a bidding war for the 50k diamond the pants turned into. No Vestes Vindictae had ever dropped such an item. In the end Zornesk's new buddy dropped 65k on it.

And now we get to the part of the day that I'd actually planned out. The group teleported back to that fated outcrop. But, without the specter of perforated death from pants holding their attention they were able to notice a secret door.

A secret door that just happened to lead to the throne room. That would be the throne room that Zornesk had voted to explore 4 weeks in a row, and had been shouted down just as many times. Lets just say that "I told you so" got old. Wore out the floor with it, he did.

They didn't find anything else of course. And after that little side jaunt, it was back to the precipice and down the rock bridge leading into the forge propper. Inside they found a massive workshop filled with refined ores and rotted tools. At the end was a throne with another passageway behind it. As they approached the exit, the walls burst into flame and the room became populated with the ghosts of many dwarves.

Most of the ghosts paid them no mind, but the foreman sitting in the throne did glance at them from time to time. Every now and then one of the other ghosts would approach the throne with a weapon in its hand. The foreman would inspect the tool and either give a head nod or shake. With a nod the ghost would pass through the archway. A head shake sent the ghostly apprentice back to the workbenches.

Minerva figured out that they needed to craft a tool that met the prerequisites. Of course this is weeks of work for each attempt. After a few failed axes I suggested she make a hammer. Not that the type of tool made a difference at all, but she agreed. Then she rolled a 30 on the masterwork roll. The foreman approved and the flames vanished.

Then an interesting thing happened. As Minerva stepped through the exit she appeared to the others to be moving incredibly slowly. She turned to see everyone in the room moving very quickly. Eventually they figured out that the workshop was under an accelerated time enchantment. It wasn't long before the gnome found a way to weaponize it of course. He managed to convince the group that the effect was reversed for him. On the normal side anyway.

The path led down to the heart of the forge, a sleeping fire primal. Taking care of the 'do not disturb' signs, they made their way around to their goal: another of Asgorath's mirrors. This one's inscription read:

When the Far Star and the Traveler's Star meet

Then shall your quest be complete

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