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Vindstadt Campaign

Cleaning Papa's Basement

John Sasso

Cast of Character
Elgar of Snarl Swamp - elven woodsman from Snarl Swamp (Doug Jackson)
Brandt Ravenscraft - former guardsman and good looking hunk (Martin Shaver)
Patch - overly precocious thief and flirt (Martin Melhus)
Tivil - pixie who is too damn nosey (Chris Davis)
Dirk Dagoon - tough guy, the quiet type (James)

Quick round of introductions, and jobs at Papa Lazano's Pasta Palace, in Lakeview, Vindstadt. Elgar as bartender. Brandt as Materde. Tivil helping the shilting as souchef. Dirk as bouncer. And Patch working the waitressing bit.

Rumors about town are the usual fair. Another merman raid on a trading barge from Schteinberg. Emperor Ranke XXIII will announce newest wife tomorrow. More orcs moving into the south side. What's the neighborhood coming to. Explosion at the Wizard's Guild kills three archmages. Strange disappearances lately. Stranger then normal, anyway.

Slow night, and a group of orcs come in looking for trouble. Dirk keeps an eye on them, and Brandt seats them near the kitchen. They order drinks, and make rude comments to the bartender. After lasania and more rude comments to the patrons, Brandt convinces them to leave.

After close, Papa is busy and frazzled as usual. He tells the staff to go down to the basement and give it a quick cleaning out, and bring up his scrying mirror if they can find it. A key, a sketchy map, two lanterns, and a jug of healing potion later, they wander down the 200 feet of stairs to the subbasement. The door is shiny, unlike the mucky slimy walls and floors, and unscratchable. "Lock the door behind you," Papa said.

They wander into a room with a marble pool, filled with water. Patch and Brandt poke around, but find nothing except for some air bubbling up from the bottom. Written on the wall is "Papa is not what he...," and the rest is smudged.

Into the next room, which contains burning pyres, and a large pentagram. This is Papa's laboratory. Nothing of interest, except for the following written on the walls. "Shilting lighters for only 4 pazuzas. Another fine product from B.B.B.B.D." People scratch their heads. Patch thinks she may have heard of this B.B.B.B.D. someplace before.

Back out into the corridor. A green icky thing falls from the ceiling, but Elgar spots it and steps aside. (Needed one success on alertness.) They bash it up, leaving a slimy green splotch on the ground. Wandering up, they find a door which matches "the rubbish room" on the map. Just then a loud thunk is head farther up. They march up to investigate. A doorway to the right, into another room. Four rotten corpses by the entrance, and a six foot tall daemon statue on the far wall. The statue has huge pincers claws instead of hands, scales, and a single penetrating eye. No one recognizes it. (An effigy of the Schlog.) An X chalked onto the wall. Patch spots a brown icky thing dropping down on her, and leaps aside. (She made her level one roll on alertness.) This one is very smelly. They grab rusted maces from the corpses, and leave a stinky brown splotch in the corridor. Dirk searches the bodies, and comes up with seventeen samolians, and a key that matches the one that Papa gave them to get into the basement. These are probably the remains of the previous basement clean up crew. Not a good sign of things to come. Elgar, fussing with the statue, pushes up against it, and it moves slightly. He pushes harder, and the statue slides aside, revealing a doorway.

The secret door behind the statue leads to a clean room, with a stairway up. Brandt leads the way, up to a domed temple, with a huge version of the statue below slowly rotating in the middle of the room. Patch walks around the second level balcony, but discovers nothing. Tivil flies down to the base, and is bathed in weird cosmic light. (+5 persuasion for interdimensional cosmic energy transfer. This is kind of like static that builds up over time in such places as this. In can change and warp characters in unpredictable ways. Luckily this time it was beneficial.) He flies back up, with no signs of damage, except that he is glowing slightly. (The glowing fades after a few minutes.) Brand and Dirk just want to leave. Elgar decides to tie a rope and climb down. As all watch, he climbs up to the statue, and rubs its belly. Another flash of cosmic energy, and the elf starts glowing. He climbs back up, but cannot really explain how he feels. (+5 will for the last of the cosmic static.) Deciding that two glowing characters is enough, they leave back down the stairs, through the small statue doorway, and around into another room marked as the "closet" on Papa's map.

Scrawled on the wall they read "XXX Ask for Sasha or," and to their dismay, the rest is smudged. Tivil yeeps and leaps out of the way as a grey icky thing drops to the ground. (Made his level one skill roll on alertness.) Bash, bash, and another sickly blot stains the floor. There is a small room, with tap, tap, thunk, thunk noises coming from it. The always inquisitive Tivil flies over to open the door, but it is locked. Patch tries the key, but it does not fit. She begrudgingly takes out her picks, and click, click, picks the lock. (Simple lock, only needs one success.) All prepare bows. With four arrows pointed at the door, she opens it. Hundred of small rocks fly out of the room, bouncing off the walls and the characters. None strike Patch, protected by the door, but everyone else takes minor wounds. (2d6, wound level on 5 or 6 for shotgun effect.) They examine the rocks, but once out of the room, they are inert. Patch and Dirk pocket one each. Swigging from the healing potion jug, they examine the room, but discover nothing of interest.

Wandering out to the farthest side of the basement, they notice a brand new greenish metal door installed in the wall. Bits of rock and sawdust are scattered on the floor. Everyone is quite disconcerted, because it looks like the door was designed to keep those in the basement out, and allow those outside easy access in. Definitely something to let Papa know about. A little further down the corridor they find another room that is not marked on Papa's map. Iron bars fill the doorway. Inside they see a huge rock, half buried in the ground, pulsating with a green glow. An occasional "thump" comes from somewhere inside. Dirk leaps aside as a red icky thing almost drops on top of him. (Another successful level one roll on alertness.) Flames leap from the icky thing as it hits. Bash, bash, and another bloch mars the basement floor. The pixie, never one to be stopped by something as silly as iron bars, squeezes between them and flies around in the room with the glowing rock. Visions fill his head of rats, snakes, killergorillas, and a flaming pit. The creature hidden around the corner in the room, warping and changing shape, talks telepathically to Tivil of strange gods, and even stranger servants, a great interdimensional diaspora, and a long boring wait. (Tivil gains knowledge of the cosmogony skill, for his better or worse.) After a few minutes Tivil returns through the bars, a bit shaken, and not quite sure of the images that fill his head. He really cannot describe what he saw, so he just smiles. With an even more uneasy feeling, the group continue along the hallway.

More words are scrawled on the wall in bright green chalk. "We are all to blame for the deaths of Ix. Repent now!" No one decides to covert to Ixianism at this time. Brandt leads the way through the door into the next room, marked "guest room" on Papa's map. Various implements of torture fill the large room. A rack, an iron maiden, various screws and cages. There is a cell like door on the far wall, with a small window. Moans of "Please, please let me go, I didn't do anything..." can be heard from the far side. Tivil, who just cannot leave well enough alone, flies through the little window to investigate. They search for Papa's mirror, but only find bloody torture implements. Meanwhile Tivil meets Papa's guests in the jail room. A ratling sleeps unconscious because of his wounds. A killergorilla, obviously drugged, and completely filling his cell, sways and mumbles to himself. A snake person, none the worse for wear, only hisses in his strange tongue, and eyes Tivil suspiciously. The last guest looks familiar, and Tivil recognizes him as the neighborhood's aldermeister, who went missing just a few days ago. Tivil saw him briefly when he arrived at the restaurant with a crew of inspectors to assess the establishment for this year's taxes. He pleads with the pixie, "Help me and there is a reward. Let me go..." The pixie looks around, but there are no keys. Shrugging his shoulders, he flies back out through the little window. Elgar asks Tivil what he saw, but he just titters.

Leaving the guest room, Brandt suggests that they head back to the rubbish room, which they passed by a while ago when they went to investigate the strange noises. Past the glowing rock room, the closet room, and the statue room, they arrive back at the door of the rubbish room. Brandt puts his ear to the door, but hears nothing inside. The door is not locked. Entering, they see a huge room, filled to the ceiling with piles and piles of rubbage, refuse, and garbage. Near the door are six shovels, and chalked on the wall is written "Never trust a purple orc bearing gifts!" Truer words were never written. They enter cautiously, swords drawn. Cautiously, that is, except for Tivil, who flies on ahead, over the reeking piles of rubbage. In no time at all he rushes back with a startled expression on his face. "Zombies!" he blurts out. Six zombies, covered in garbage, and stinking to high heaven, lumber toward the group. Patch suggests a strategic withdrawal to more defensible terrain. They scramble out into the hallway, hoping to lead the zombies to attack one at a time through the doorway. The zombies stop, stare, pick up slimy bits of garbage, and throw it the party. Enough is enough. Brandt, Dirk, Elgar, and Patch draw swords, rush back into the room, and attack. Tivil wants to get into the fight too with his little mace, but decides better of it.

The four warriors form a line, and take on the zombies, armed with clubs of bone and wood. Elgar takes a light wound to the side (he took an A wound), but with a skillful slash, slices his opponent in two. Brandt cautiously parries his opponent's blows until he finds an opening, and decapitates it. He takes on a second zombie to the same effect. Patch has no problem fighting off her opponent, and Dirk takes out two himself. Elgar chugs down some healing potion to alleviate the pain. He will have to worry about potential disease later. Just then there is a loud "thump" as Patch crumples to the ground with a purple icky thing attached to her head! (She missed her level one skill roll on alertness.) She rips it off and throws it to the ground, but the icky thing ichor has already taken its effect. She starts seeing weird unhappy spots spiralling around the room, and completely forgets why she is even in this room anyway. A purple icky thing is worth a fortune to the right buyer, as it is the main ingredient in several types of recreational elixir. While they keep Patch from hurting herself or wandering off, they ponder how to transport the critter. It is not worth anything dead. Elgar suggests his rabbit pelt, but it would leak. Brandt ponders using the jug, but that they would have to pour out the remaining healing potion. Besides, how could they squeeze it through the small opening. With no solution forthcoming, they wander further into the rubbage room, leaving the icky thing to its own devices until they come back for it.

Grabbing shovels, they all dig in and start searching for Papa's mirror, or whatever else they might find. Brandt finds an expensive looking skull ring. (Magickal properties unknown to Brandt at this time.) He naively puts it on, and gets back to searching. Dirk finds twenty seven samolians scattered around, and a battered helmet which is too small for him. Elgar finds an elven skull which he names Yorick after a dead relative. He also discovers four human scalps, but none of them fit the skull properly. Tivil finds a blue leather bag crammed full of cosmetics, papers with indecipherable writing, a magickal metal ink quill, and two different earrings. They take turns keeping Patch from wandering off. They dump out the papers, and decide to use the blue bag to transport the icky thing. Brandt and Elgar scrape it into the bag, which Patch insists on carrying.

With nothing of value to be found, and no sign of the mirror, they decide to enter the next room. Bright light emanates from the doorway. On Papa's map, this room is labeled as the "incinerator." Entering cautiously, they are blinded by the flames emanating from a five foot diameter pit. It is like looking directly at the sun. Inside they can barely make out a lizard-like shape. This is a bound salamander, elemental creature of fire. Powerful magick indeed. Leaving the incinerator room by the far door, they enter the final corridor of the basement.

A chittering and scraping noise is heard down the hall. It grows louder, as four shapes, dog sized, but low to the ground, scurry up the corridor. As they enter the light, they see that the creatures look like giant centipedes, but made of living rock. Pincers clack as they attack! Tivil keeps an eye on Patch as Elgar, Brandt, and Dirk take on the critters. Brandt whacks and bashes on the two attacking him, but even his mighty blows are blunted by their rock hard chiton. Bashed and dented, with many bit of rock chipped from its flesh, one creature curls up and dies. Dirk fares a little better, and draws blackish blood from his opponent early, until he slips and the creature dives for his neck, ripping flesh and bone. Brandt jumps in to help his cohort, and kicks the creature away. A desperate bash finishes off the one that took out Dirk, as the fresh creature jumps back into the fight. Elgar, in the mean time, is bruised, battered, and slashed open by sharp rocky mandibles. He crumbles in a heap, unconscious. Tivil desperately starts pouring healing potion down Dirk's throat in the hope of reviving him. Brandt comes to the aid Elgar, and engages the creature chewing on him. Fighting two of the creatures, Brandt hacks, parries, kicks, and bashes until the remaining two rock centipedes are ichorous crumbles of rubble. Dirk revives, with most of the bleeding stopped, and his wind pipe magickally reconstructed. Elgar is given the remaining portion of healing potion. He revives, still battered, but able to continue.

Like clockwork, another icky thing takes this opportunity to drop from the ceiling. Brandt sees a vague shimmering shape, and dodges to one side, as "nothing" hits the floor with a thud. (He made his level three skill roll on alertness.) A clear icky thing! Everyone knows that if you can find and eat a whole clear icky thing, you may gain special powers. A search ensues, as everyone scrambles around trying to locate it. Patch, still befuddled and confused, finds it first and starts eating the disgusting tasting creature. About halfway through, she turns green, and returns the eaten portion of the icky thing back to the floor. (She missed her level one save on health to hold down the icky thing.) Her head a little clearer now, but her mood severely damaged, the party continues on.

There is a final door, not marked on the map. The door is locked. Patch takes out her picks, and with trembling hands, attempts to pick the lock. The pick breaks. Dirk offers his new dagger, but she has no better luck with that. Plan two. Dirk and Brandt get a running start, and shoulders first, bust down the door. (They rolled multiple sixes, and the door snapped off its hinges.) They land on pillows and bedding in a lovely pink and lavender decorated room. They have found Papa's secret love nest. And lo and behold, on the small table next to the bed, is Papa's scrying mirror.

Battered, bruised, stinking of garbage, rotted flesh, vomit, and icky thing ichor, they return up the long stairway in triumph. Papa meets them upstairs in his office, with a "oh, yeah, now I remember where I left that." He gives Elgar and Dirk more powerful healing potions which quickly heal their wounds. He gladly takes the purple icky thing to sell to "a friend of his." ($1000 each for the drug deal.) They tell him all about the strange door that does not seem to be part of the original basement. After the debriefing, he sends them all home to rest. The following day, after work Papa comes down from his office in full battle regalia. With him are three strange personages. The first is a pointy hatted Guild magician of high rank. Second is a blackened dwarf with a large leather sack. And third is a small cloaked figure, of indiscernible features. "Get your gear together. We are going in."