18 total challenges, characters: Xerathustra (18), Aeo (18), Presto (18), Thor (18), Lily (18), Nimble (18), Sire Daggonnet (18), Eugene (6)
The session started with a couple of meetings. Sir Tipkraft asked Lily to join him in forming a secret Alchemistry guild. He showed her an impressive alchemistry studio there in the castle grounds and mentioned the unique skills of the halfling would be valuable. He offered to train any of the characters that wanted to learn the secret arts of Alchemistry. Furthermore, Sir Daggonet was called in to visit with Captain Nievette. The Captainwanted to know about Pockets. Sir Daggonet claimed ignorance. The Captain mentioned a bounty set years before for Pockets capture. He was a convicted murderer. The bounty offered a price and a place in the Count’s Court. The beautiful Sonnette herself strives for justice in this matter. The Captain requested that Sir Daggonet lead a troupe of soldiers to the outcropping the next time he planned to travel there.
The group started out exploring the secret tunnel. The tunnel entrance was in Orc territory, outside of the “civilized” lands East of Westwall Keep, so they had to be stealthy. Reaching the hidden opening, they removed the covering and climbed down into the tunnel. After travelling a dozen yards or so, Lily thought she saw a trap. The characters managed to find the key for this trap, and proceeded down the tunnel only to be blocked by a locked grating. This lock eluded their skills.
They decided to ask Private Beekman to help them. He, of course, whined about his stuff getting thrown in the latrine and whined about the dangers he would have to face. But he eventually agreed to do it on three conditions: 1. they clean his stuff, 2. they give him their gold ring, 3. they thrown their own stuff in the latrine. In true cooperative spirit, Nimble agreed to his vindictive conditions and the whole group set out in the evening hours for the secret tunnel. Beekman seemed to have no trouble with the locks and traps. The party quickly travelled through the long tunnel, suspicious that they might be travelling all the way back to Westwall.
The tunnel finally ended with a long stairway climbing up into a large chamber. Here the party was surprised to find two Ogre guards. The party was able to overcome the Ogres. But soon after dealing with the Ogres they noticed Beekman had left through a doorway. The party chased down Beekman, determined to keep him in their sight. But the room Beekman traveled through caught their attention. This room was a military strategy room with maps and solder figures. But the strategy seemed to be the fall of Westwall Keep!
Beekman was in the room beyond the planning room, looking at a mural of dining Ogres. In spite of the mural, the room was a torture chamber. Prison cells lined one wall, rubbish lined another. Aeo investigated the cells, and used gust of wind to push back a covering to reveal a sleeping prisoner in one of the cells. Questioning the poor broken man, all they could get out of him was: West fall fall fall. Fest i val val val. The party was becoming more suspicious. But then two wild boars came running into the room, leading a group of Orcs and another Ogre.
The door was slammed shut against the Orcs, and a long battle against the boars took place while Beekman attempted to open a secret door he found in one of the prison cells. Aeo and Eugene Zimmerman attempted to stop him, but he managed to stab Aeo with a poisoned needle and Eugene had been wounded. After several attempts Beekman managed to get through the door and into the chamber beyond. Meanwhile, the Ogre finally broke through the door and began attacking the now significantly wounded group. Fortunately the calvary had arrived in the form of Sheriff Tall and Sergeant Vettles. They were cutting down the Orcs while the group was attempting to break through the door. With the help of the Ent and master swordsman, the attackers were over come without any loss of life. The group looked through the bodies and recovered 120 silver pieces.
A bewildered exchange of information started at this point between the Sergeant, Sherrif, and the group. Fortunately, the Sheriff and Sergeant were able to heal some of the wounded while questioning the group about the situation. Private Beekman was not mentioned, but the rest of the story stayed faithful. Everyone agreed someone was staging an attack on the keep. The secret room Beekman disappeared into was searched. It contained four large chests and a shaft with a ladder leading up to a locked grating. Back in the torture chamber, another door was found behind the rubble leading to a room with armor and shields all displaying the Westwall standard. As the Sheriff and Sergeant were examining this large collection of armor, another Ogre attacked, this time from the secret room Private Beekman had disappeared into.
After a round of combat, the Sheriff and Sergeant joined the fray. The Ogre cast a cone of cold against the two, but they dodged the attempt to the Ogre’s doom. The enraged Sheriff towered over the Ogre and tore him nearly head to stern. Though the final blow was dealt by Thor who was successful at killing three of the four Ogres that night.
Unfortunately for the party, they were lead back out into the night and placed in the brig. They saw no treasure, reward, or sign of Beekman. They did get a suspicious message from a travelling tinker several days later once they were cleared from the brig. The message contained instructions for contacting someone in Roustein through a secret signal. It turns out Estechan was missing along with a considerable portion of his treasure. The four large chests also contained money, which Sir Tipkraft and later Count Chestfield laid claim to on behalf of Bourgeoisie Estechan.
Back to visit Pockets
Once getting out of jail, the group discussed their next steps: Roustein and magic school? Thief Guild? Back to the Haunted Mansion? Since the characters lacked the maturity to go back to school, the consensus lead them back to the Counsel of Ancients. Here they asked Pockets about being a wanted criminal. He reminded them of his warning against magic, because he was guilty of murder and it was a direct result of being trained in magic. It is his greatest regret in life. The group also discussed the secret passage and Estechan. Pockets suggested they should be given a reward for saving the keep.
The party had left one member back at the keep. They returned for Sir Daggonet and decided to ask Sergeant Vettles about a reward. He agreed they were due a reward, but suggested they might not want to bring it up. It was up to Sir Tipkraft and unless he had a good reason to give them something, he would probably keep the money himself.
The party decided to touch the second picture in the underground office and teleport back to the Haunted Mansion and attempt to find a returning picture of some kind. Pockets suggested a return teleport was likely, they would just need to find it. Pockets gave them a special handkerchief they could use to signal him, just in case something went wrong.
Arriving in the dark and damp mansion, they began to explore with the focus of finding a return portal. The first room they entered contained three zombie maids and an endless tea party. There was some strange sparkling stuff in their tea. After refusing to join their party, the zombies attacked the party, though unsuccessfully. The party searched for anything that might be a return teleport (portkey?) and found a few interesting things, but no teleport.
The party returned to the first room they arrived in and searched it more carefully. Here they found a secret door. The room behind the secret door contained a number of interesting items, including a picture of the little office that was the return teleport device they were looking for. (Also wooden globe, dancing bear umbrella holder) They now had the means to travel as needed between the Counsel of Ancients and the Haunted Mansion.
They returned to the mansion, and wandered into the next room. Here they found another zombie, this time the janitor or building engineer as he insisted to be called. Here they also found a partial map of the grounds around the building. The next room was a portrait gallery full of magic paintings. There was also a ghoul here gnawing mystery meat. They were able to dispose of the horrible ghoul and get a +1 dagger. The party then began investigating the magical pictures. Fortunately, many of the pictures benefited the party. Unfortunately, not all of the pictures were beneficial. Nimble the thief was sent off to some room in the mansion and stuck there.
After the gallery, the group explored a series of rooms, a pit trap, and a secret door in the back of a wardrobe. (Sorry, no endless winter). The secret door lead into a Mead Hall full of cobwebs. The group discovered more zombies and the spiders responsible for the cobwebs. At this point everyone was dangerously wounded and the party decided to return to Pockets. They hauled off a large, heavy silver shield and temporarily abandoned the thief.
- Nimble is still stuck somewhere in the Haunted Mansion
- Argomir still looking for pirates that kidnapped his family
- Ava would like to know about her past
- Lily would like to know who killed her parents, why, and where they took the family heirloom (magic chain mail, hobbit sized)
- Eugene thinks Sheriff tall might know something about the destroyed forest
- Aeo would like to know why her parents were killed by lightning
- Fawkes would like to know who kidnapped her little sister and why