Return to Tepillien

The end of the Mines / Crimson Caverns & Malathemnon

At the end of the long and winding dungeon, the party ambushes and overcomes a mighty zombie remorhaz. They slip past its prone form and enter the presence of Malathemnon himself, an ancient elven wizard from a forgotten time that meddled in powers too perverse for mortals (to say nothing of making his dwelling in a dungeon filled with toxic mineral fumes). Behind him was the pool of blood where he hid his awful creation: the Orb of Animation. With a blow from the adamant hammer they found, Elspeth puts an end to this thing before it can get into the wrong hands; and the party now knows the secret place where the cult of Torfrem thought they could hide the Crystal of Water.

It’s still beyond belief that they could actually HAVE the Crystal of Water, but that story remains to be told…

Campaign & Dungeon Recap
Setup for session 4 of 4, Dungeon of Madness

The city of Thornlin and a lot of western Bapsia is threatened by some sort of alliance between the cultists of Torfrem, the god of disease, and wererats. The party tracked down a wererat in her lair out in the country and found five letters in progressively more difficult ciphers that gave some specifics about what was going on. They also conducted investigations in a variety of public houses in Thornlin’s Bluedocks district, where Arblaith has gained minor fame as the most talented bard that performs sea chanteys and other music at the Fine Time.

As of early August in real world terms, the DM had these status reports:

  • Theodoric had received a letter from his deceased master Olfric, which contains some allusions that he has not completely deciphered, but does hint that something is happening that involves the legendary Crystals of the Elements.
  • Immanuel had not quite cracked the fifth letter’s cipher.
  • The alcoholic woman that Elspeth has befriended has had a relapse after a spate of nightmares about her son and wererats.
  • Ruby fever cases, which the party has tentatively linked to the Torfrem cult, are being reported out on the Thornlin moors. The Foremost of Thornlin is organizing healers and watchmen to bring relief and investigate.
  • The party has gotten hold of an old sewer map that shows an outfall in the Iron Bog, east of the city. Consideration of elevations shows that the old elven sewer, from a city that died long before humans and dwarves came to this continent, and where the very first wererat had his lair, is now below sea level and probably had an outfall deep below the present surface of the Iron Bog.

At that point, the watch brought an urgent message seeking adventurers to investigate some very sinister flocks of bats that have begun flying over Thorlin’s west border station for a few nights running. The party followed the bats’ flight pattern across the Drip River to the frozen wasteland Bapsians call South-of-Beyond. They found and cleared out an ancient elven fire tower that had been converted to a cultist mosquito-breeding operation, took a wererat prisoner, and found secret correspondence and the rules to crack the fifth letter’s code after killing its owner, a sort of plague antipaladin.

After reading the correspondence and interrogating the wererat, they realize they hit the outpost while its dark druid head, Kleck, was at a summit meeting with his higher-up, Geshkin. Goda the wererat does not know Geshkin’s location.

The correspondence also mentions a dungeon of some kind, an old mine further southwest into the tundra, that the cult was considering using for something. The party moved to investigate, and that brings us to the current day in the game world:

7th day, 2nd month, 746 Quaran Imperial Reckoning

The dungeon so far has included:

  • Cockatrices and cockatrice eggs.
  • A goblin sent as part of a very unlucky scouting party, and what the hell are goblins involved with this for?
  • A big room full of skeleton miners.
  • Several old mine shafts with rotted elevators, and one with a gelatinous cube.
  • An illusionary hallway that had trapped two adventurers, and an illusionary room with a trap.
  • A boulder that can just barely talk…
The Side of Bacon
the best little whorehouse in the Bluedocks

On the eighteenth of the first month, about 2 am, as Arblaith, Elspeth, Theodoric, and Immanuel wrap up another nondescript night at the Fine Time, an urgent missive comes from the night shift captain of the watch in the Dwarven District. “Robbery. Amethysts. Drop everything and find the perps wherever they are in the Bluedock Slums.”

The party, with unerring instinct, picks out of the three other inns in the Bluedocks the Side of Bacon, the richest, rootinest, tootinest, shootinest bar in the slums, on account of its proximity to the docks. The party sizes up organized crime figures, probably the gang they call the Meatheads, hitting on zither players, negotiating protection money with local ship captains, and celebrating birthdays. [The comment about stuffing gold pieces into a g-string will not be made.] Arblaith makes the acquaintance of a highbrow bard of the Loyal Troop named Aramis, who says he has just come to town and is coy about his background, but promises to look Arblaith up sometime.

Immanuel, using some of his ever spookier arcane power over minds, picks out and verifies an accomplice of the robbers, who are all associated with a figure named Raven. Theodoric tails him while Arblaith cleverly creates a diversion and pees in the alley. Immanuel and Theodoric watch the basement hideout while Arblaith and Elspeth armor up and bring back the pointy objects that the party doesn’t usually carry around on social calls. About 4 am they spring the trap. The Raven goes down like a sack of marshmallows and the party is cutting her little subgang up like the patsies they are. But who is that mysterious entity standing at the door?

Chatlog, May adventure
apologies for the rough text

1. Let’s try to keep track of lifestyle expenses
a few days into the 5th month of the year
year 749 imperial reckoning
we have loot – at least everyone but Arblaith has loot
liquidated to a bit less than 100 gold per person
Plot summary
Matt: Wererat battles
gone to the farm, cleared it out. Saw the cave,
went into the cave, no one home
5 encrypted letters
written in an obscure old language or cipher
5 encrypted letters found at the farm, in the possession of the wererat cleric
Matt: the poser gang: the Hermits
Smith’s district is pretty good
Tannery district – transitional
Undead DM (GM): M. D.: Hermit gang – unimpressive petty criminals
Territory includes Bronze St. to Gull St., Bronze St. to Dyer Lane
Blue gang – more dangerous, neighboring gang
Elspeth: Hauling butt around the room serving and trying to listen
and other “victim types?”
Matt: Corruption further south in the territory south of Gull Lane
Undead DM (GM): Bad between “Side of Bacon” and Docks
I would close the evening with “Parting Glass”
glass of best wine, 2 gold, 5 silver
Matt: “Jester’s Justice” – a contradiction in terms
sketchy bar further south
Elspeth writing duplicate reports of the intel on the gangs for the church
Arblaith fully supports Elspeth’s idea – thinks that the Church may have more luck with any problem-solving.
Daniel A.: -and the church might actually care about what happens to the low lofes.
lifes. This is Jodie not Dan
Undead DM (GM): Elspeth would report to Grora the almoness, who would pass them to Balin the treasurer (head of lay board supporting the temple)
Matt: 2 ways forward:
1. Decrypt the letters
2. continue searching the slums
Undead DM (GM): It is the 17th day of the first month of spring today.
Matt: Can Jodie and Dan hear us? or can you guys see the typing?
Dan and Jodie – can you hear or see us?
Daniel A.: Hi
Yes I can hear you
Matt: Proof of life!
That’s a good thing
Daniel A.: No I do not, I am trying
Matt: Elspeth the cleric
Theodric the Monk
Arblaith the Bard/Paladin
Immanuel the Warlock
Daniel A.: This is frustrating…
Matt: I understand, Dan – it’s OK
Undead DM (GM): In your settings (gear icon) window, do you have: I want to Broadcast to others:
Daniel A.: I can hear and see you all fine.
Undead DM (GM): Video + Voice
Matt: Technical difficulties are irritating and uncertain
Daniel A.: Already selected to broadcast and receive both
Undead DM (GM): Just checking
You’re in Chrome, right?
Daniel A.: No, Firefox atm.
Undead DM (GM): Ah. I was just wondering if the browser was blocking access to the camera.
Daniel A.: Nope, had give npermission
Get started.
Can you see me?
Ku ku kachu.
Walrus Ave.
You people…
Matt: rolling 1d20+5
= 8
rolling gather information, essentially, on the roughness of the establishments: Side of Bacon, Fair Maiden, Jester’s Justice
Daniel A.: YO!
Elspeth: o
Matt: they’re all rough, and insulted the people I questioned simultneously – 2 with 1 blow
Letter investigation – Dan and Michael for their characters Immanuel and Theodric
Immanuel looking to decipher the text – obscure alphabet perhaps?
letter frequency for cipher too
Immanuel searching for obscure alphabet
M. D.: rolling 1d20
= 20
Matt: Elven, Northern, and Draconic alphabets
Northern is dwarves and humans
elven script
bottoms of the letter look like elven script
but not the tops
the tops look like Northern, somewhat
Matt: handwriting was idiosyncratic
Immanuel cracks it
actually written in modern elven
1st letter
dated 2nd month of spring last year
Undead DM (GM): Letter 1 is dated to the previous Spring, 745 IR, telling the cleric Lisbane to spend the summer breeding rats in the best position possible.
Letter 2 is dated to midsummer and tells Lisbane to expect further letters to be ciphered, explains the cipher, and says to burn this letter once she has mastered the cipher.
Matt: simple letter substitution cipher
Undead DM (GM): Letter 3 is dated shortly after Letter 2 and tells Lisbane that her efforts will be needed next year once the plague has spread and affected the human population significantly. She is to move on Thornlin secretly and meet up with other agents late this coming spring or early in the summer once this happens and cooperate with higher level clerics who will come down from northern Girifrid offering the people a choice between plague and rats or obeying the cabal.
Letter 4 is dated to the beginning of winter and instructs Lisbane to report on progress for the year, noting that if response is not received promptly an unpleasant visit will ensue from her higher-ups. This one is signed Geshkin, High Spoiler.
Matt: Geshkin = the High Moldy Cheese, according to Arblaith
5th letter, different cipher
now late on Thursday
Undead DM (GM): No letter translation cipher works on the fifth letter.
Matt: same handwriting as first scrap of paper
first two letters look “dashed off” – 3rd and 4th looks deliberate
5th looks very very deliberate!
script is the same in the 5th as the others, but it doesn’t use the same cipher, and we don’t know what the ciper is
werecreatures have elven blood. not surprising that they’re using an encrypted form of elven for communications
Matt: no news of any form of plague
in Thornlin
Undead DM (GM): Torfrem, god of decay
Party discussion: Track down other cultists of Torfrem mentioned in letters
In the city: sewers
Outside the city: swamps
Other leads: other people who have died of plague like the widow Emira’s son
Matt: cleric and healers in the city
how would these upper level cleric “make them an offer they couldn’t refuse”
could go to city administration, or more locally to the different districts within Thornlin
M. D.: rolling 1d20
= 12
Daniel A.: rolling d20
= 21
Matt: Theodric’s reading – successful – rats and insects both might be plague “Vectors”
also might be seasonal
different vermin flourish at different times of year
Sorianism, elementalism
by early spring, late summer – the plague would have spread
based on the timelines in the 3rd letter
Matt: and we’re now 1/4 of the way through spring
Morning of the 18th day of the month
final working day of the month
Grora – reaching out to fellow healers
shared letters directly with her
Grora is the Almonist
Matt: some folks consider her “Nosy”
Undead DM (GM): almoness
Theodoric: 5 copy jobs this month, 6 crowns up for the monthElspeth: exploring
the slums, exploring the sewers
other clerics
sewers: city records of where sewers & access routes are
Undead DM (GM): Common human deities:
Palion: Goddess of Peace
Heina: Goddess of the Sea
Kacha: Goddess of Fertility
Evna: God of War
Mefla: Goddess of Law
Undead DM (GM): First two have large public temples in Thorninl
Matt: Arblaith helping Grora, to free up some of Elspeth’s time, so she can check with the other Good, established temples
Talking with Palion’s temple first
“ruby fever”
found in the slums outside the city, in the Iron Bog?
if you cross the Drip river, there is swampy lands there – that area gets very nasty – mosquitos, sickness. etc
ruby fever spreads in the spring and early summer
Matt: corresponds with the letter’s timeline
Elspeth: yes
Matt: Ruby Fever not usually lethal. But there are nastier strains of it.
the widow’s son, dying of this disease, would be very strange
usually more lethal to the more vulnerable parts of the population – children and the old
Ruby fever – usually all the clerics can do is keep the patients comfortable.
Ruby fever is right up Torfrem’s alley
the priestess of Palion promised to talk with Palion’s high healer, high priest, and the city council
Matt: Elspeth also asked about Ciphers – Palion doesn’t emphasize scholarship as much as Sammas does.
M. D.: rolling 1d20
= 23
Matt: the priestess of Palion could recommend some wizards who are good with ciphers, if it comes to it.
Immanuel investigating the sewer system
old tannery district specifically
(bluedock slums)
Undead DM (GM): District 7 (on the Thornlin map) as-built map of sewers and access points and major drops to individual buildings
M. D.: rolling 1d20
= 6
Matt: juicy areas of the map
M. D.: rolling 1d20
= 24
Matt: rolled a 2 – confusion about the sewer/street comparison – for this juicy area
knows who drafted the map, and when it happened
with the 24
everything on the map is most likely still there.
if we have partial information, it would be a situation of incomplete (new stuff added), rather than inaccurate
100-200 years ago – the age of his map
Matt: Immanuel knows the exact date or the exact range, since he knows who prepared the map
Undead DM (GM): DM is not prepared to commit to a date on the fly
Matt: Tannery Avenue, and Dyer Lane – matches the map
Gull Lane and Hermit lane – new streets, don’t match the map
All of the stuff south west of gull lane has changed
map of the sewers used today by Humans
the prior sewers the party was in was older than that. Implies the existance of an Elven city prior to Thornlin
rolling 1d20
= 9
Undead DM (GM): Arblaith asks whether anyone in Thornlin has suffered from a disease similar to the ruby fever, specifying that someone WELL out of town had such a disease
Misheard by patrons & rumor starts to spread that fever & spots have been seen in Thornlin
Matt: rolling 1d20
= 13
Undead DM (GM): Echos confirm that ruby fever-esque disease(s) are common in the slums & also among the iron miners nearby
Matt: old wive’s tales?
things to do to ward off the Ruby Fever
“They burn shit”
they associate it with stagnant water, and then they burn shit.
Undead DM (GM): giant vampiric undead mosquitos
vampiric mosquito swarms
Theodoric: connection between the bog and the sewers
Matt: rolling 1d20
= 19
rolling 1d20
= 21
sea chanties and historical ballads – Bapsian robin hood ballads
end of night – pecuniary results
4 crowns!
blue coin sized plaques – archaic girifrian currency
Matt: semi precious stones – lapis’s
8 lapis’s
5 silver
per lapis
blah^4 = a worse plague than ruby fever
Matt: If people get the blahs, they
are in trouble
the blahs are a late summer things
where does it develop: upcountry. (one person, unconfirmed)
Undead DM (GM): Closeout for session: tomorrow is the last day of the first month of spring
a free/“weekend” day
one more month of early spring
Matt: could start in sewers, or the bogs, or the mines
It’s odd that rats are involved with the Ruby fever. The healer remarked on that. No known connection between ruby fever and rats.
slums – also explore them
slums links to the other tasks
for the watch

Selling the Loot

Objective: Liquidate all but 1 of each kind of ancient coin.

  • Elven coins:
  • * 2443 copper sold
  • * 49 silver sold
  • * 9 electrum sold
  • * 9 gold sold
  • Geometric design coins:
  • * 99 silver pieces sold (keep 1)
  • * 9 gold pieces sold (keep 1)
  • * 1 mithril coin – not selling
  • Could gather information about collectors of rare coins – should be able to sell all of them in Thornlin
  • Gems and the chain
  • * Chain: thin bronze chain, 4 hematite. each at 10 gp value. necklace = 90 gp value
  • * cabochon, green stone, 50 GP
  • * 2 loose translucent purplish-grey prisms – smoky quartz – 50 go base gems
  • Summary:
  • * the gold coins are heavier than Thornlin gold coins. the other ones are lighter
  • * approximately 150 gold – for the alien money
  • * Total value of money and gems/chain = a bit less than 400 gold

DM’s note: plus 27 crowns (gp) 8 scepters (sp) from the farm.

Rat Farm Stomp

The party decided to tackle the barn first. It was full of full-grown, adolescent, and baby rats. The house held a wererat cleric…!…along with more full-grown rats. The party triumphed and claimed a small amount of cash (27 crowns 8 scepters) and five cryptic letters…in the same hand as the letter found below the sewer, but in either an ancient unknown language or a cipher of some kind.


We have not been keeping track of money as of yet, but I would like to start doing that. Your characters have as of today, the second day of Spring, 746 IR:

- whatever cash your backgrounds specify
- plus the money you made the other night at the Fine Time
Arblaith: 2 crowns, 5 scepters
Elspeth: 2 scepters in wages and 6 more in tips (which you know was a phenomenal night)
- minus whatever you spent on drinks at the Fine Time (4 swords a drink, whether a mug of ale or a glass of wine)
- minus the 1 crown, 8 scepters you spent on room and board in Gordian last night, however you divide that up

You also have the ancient coins, gems, and potion from the rats’ nest, which you might have trouble spending in their current form but could take to a moneychanger and jeweler to sell.

You all have some source of income and are living according to some lifestyle as specified in the Players’ Handbook. We will reckon things by the month; multiply the daily lifestyle expense on p. 157 by 20 to come up with the monthly expense. You are free to specify both. At the moment I am assuming the following:

Arblaith is staying with a religious family who commonly takes in boarders who are charity cases at a reduced rent, which the church has been paying. Dr. Cornelius tells Arblaith that it is time for him to pay his own way, and it sounds like he has done a fine job finding himself a position at the Fine Time. Unless otherwise specified, he will be making 2 crowns a night, five nights a month at the Fine Time and paying a Poor lifestyle fee of 2 scepters a day (which in round sums will come to 4 crowns a month).

Elspeth is staying in a house adjacent to and owned by the temple because she works for the temple, so her lifestyle expense is paid in kind. She can work at the Fine Time the same five nights a month (the busy nights) for 4 scepters a night for spending money.

Immanuel lives with his family. His father has told him that this year he either needs to join the family business or move out. [I need to review what Michael has told me and we probably need to have a discussion about his situation.]

Theodoric has been getting 1d4+1 scribal jobs a month through his association with the Library at 2 crowns a job. Assuming he also lives in modest quarters in the Dwarven District, he is also paying 4 crowns a month for lifestyle expenses.

Out to Meet the Rats

Arblaith headed to bed a bit light-headed with the roar of the crowd still echoing in his mind. The next day it was still echoing…fairly painfully.

Elspeth gathers some things that could kind of sort of use mending from her and her aunt’s pile and takes them down to see the woman who had been drinking alone in the corner. Her name is Emira and she tells her sad story about the son who died with some sort of red spots from a rash…plague?…and speaking deliriously about rats. Her former farm was north of Gordian, a village north of the border keep on River Road.

Elspeth gathers the party to share this info. It is the last day of Winter. An attempt to share the info with the watch shift captain Oin is temporarily rebuffed because it is the weekend. The party decides to head out to the village the following day and investigate. Elspeth notifies Grora, who takes her and the party the following morning to meet Balin, the temple’s treasurer. The temple does have two silvered weapons, an axe and a mace, for dealing with lycanthropic emergencies, and Balin accepts the jewels from the rats’ nest as a deposit for the weapons.

Arblaith leaves 20 crowns with a weaponsmith as a deposit for him to start crafting a silvered whip. This will be an unusual challenge…

The party heads out on the first day of Spring to Gordian and reaches it about 3 pm. Each of the four tries their luck at gathering information about any strange animals or other occurrences, and Arblaith and Elspeth hear a rumor about coyote-sized animals…pointed noses? long tails?…running around farms to the northwest.

Deciding it is too late in the day to try investigating the widow’s abandoned farm, the party piles into the village’s bed-and-breakfast, run by a matronly woman who is a bit surprised to have not only custom, but four unrelated people staying in her inn for the night. (She is even more surprised when Arblaith begins singing and playing the lute before supper, something that has happened exactly never in all her years of letting rooms out.) She only has two rooms, 5 scepters (sp) a night. She asks 2 scepters apiece for supper for the night. Over supper, the party inquires more about the widow’s story. After she left, her son’s decayed body was found about a month later, people realized that Emira and her son hadn’t been seen in a long time, and they realized what had happened. This was the beginning of last summer. The talk of strange animals running around was going on even before that, so basically a year now. One of the matron’s daughters pipes up that Tommy has seen lights and heard noises at the widow’s old farm at night and thought it was haunted.

The party breakfasts (on the house this time) and heads out to the widow’s former farm. It is a twisty and narrow path around a number of rocky ledges to get down there from the road north of Gordian. About 9:30 they reach the abandoned farmstead to investigate. Preliminary examination reveals:

- There is a pile of furry white and gray and black giant rat bodies snuggled together and sleeping in the middle of the barn.
- Elspeth uses Detect Evil to identify the presence of a being with a defined connection to evil in the house. (Rats are, for the record, unaligned.)

More information is in the adventure’s chat log.

Lutes and Mithril Coins, Sea Chanty Music

The party wisely left the coins and other loot in Arblaith’s capable hands, for safekeeping. Though they made a for very hard pillow.

Upon Elspeth’s suggestion, Arblaith distributed example coins to each researcher.

The unique silvery coin turned out to be mithril, a rare metal, never made into coins.

The coins with trees were from the Elven empire. The others, of alien make, initially were a mystery.

A shift captain from the City Watch named Oin approached Arblaith during his studies and requested help with intelligence gathering on criminal activity.

After some thought, Arblaith indicated that he was willing to take employment in the Blue Docks districts and inform to the Watch on those who are preying on the less fortunate. Arblaith also told the party’s story, but commented that it would be wise for the shift captain to get each individual perspective.

Elspeth, Immanuel, and Theodric (using this spelling format to emphasize/remember the requested pronunciation) proved amenable to the new employment with the Watch.

With Theodric watching his back, Arblaith secured bardic entertainment employment in an inn near the hermit district, narrowly beating out the prior holder of the position, a potted plant. The inn owner seemed like a legitimate businesswoman, a law and order type, but her uncle (or cousin) who tends bar is more “sketchy”.

Elspeth and Immanuel arrived later and started to circulate among the patrons of the inn, searching for information about organized or disorganized crime.

After reasonably good performances throughout the night, Arblaith turned in a virtuoso performance on his finale of sea chanties. While some of it might be the strong alcohol that Elspeth helped to serve (she took a job as a barmaid), the crowd went wild and Arblaith earned a large thank you prize from the owner.

Meanwhile, Theodric, Elspeth, and Immanuel had observed the crowd and had identified one person of interest: a depressed woman drinking alone (and drinking heavily). Theodric and Elspeth approached her, and in her new role of Barmaid, Elspeth finally broke through the woman’s shell and began to get the woman’s story.

Immanuel talked to other patrons about the crowd of rowdies who came in near the close of the evening. The Hermits, as they are called, are the local gang of barely competent toughs. Further south were the real law-enforcement problems, including the Blue Gang, which seems to get away with their crimes, indicating a potential sink of corruption within the Watch.

Theodric followed the woman of interest to ensure she made it home safely. She does, and he marked the store that she goes into for the night.

Elspeth went to the woman’s store and works on befriending her and helping her as much as possible; Elspeth found out that the woman is mourning her son, killed by plague, after he was found delirious with mysterious bite wounds (Rats???). The woman used to live on a farm, a fair distance to the north of the city.

After informing the city watch of the Hermits, the Blue Gang, and the potential corruption within the Watch, the party intends to investigate the woman’s farm, as it seems a promising lead in the hunt for these were-rats.

In the rat's nest

Teh coins on the floor are a combination of sizes and origins. They seem

2. 044 copper marked with arrows- bacxk of all elven coins was a sigil of two trees intertwined, a symbol of ancient elven empire.

50 silver pieces head marked with moon and stars common elven marking

10 silver-ish pieces heavier and marked with unicorn head.

10 gold pieces marked with a single tree

ELven cons have the universal sign of intertwined trees.

Alien coins all have a specific pattern of four raised stars. All seems random, no consistancy. Silver, gold, and silvery metal. Crisper edges then the others. Te other coins look lke they have been in ciculation, but these are so crisp.

100 Tails is seven stars,

10 more alien gold pieces with hexagon on the heads side and tails have the common sigil of

alien silver coin only one of them, very thin, and silvery. It iis very thin, very broad, and has all ruler and compass marks of making a compass. Is it a coin or it is a decorative piece?

Thin bronze chain with 4 shiny silver globes middle greenish stone red flecks cut into a flat oval.

2 loose prisms, hexago\nal. purplish grey and translucent.

also found opaque white bottle with one fluid once in it.

Red thick translucent liquid. Soft wax, and pliable

iI Torfrem’s m’s name we shall show our power…
…when you think best.

We later find out from the city watch representative that the one coin is electrum and the this, unique one is mithril.


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