Dragons of Blackminster

Shar Gazoth 03 - The Perilous Forest
The Sap Is Rising

On the way to see Tangleheart, Davidian realises that the true lord of the forest is actually the Gnome King (he is probably the “special” faerie – as known to the religion of the Elves). The naked barbaric “gnomes” seem to be a cross between Pixies and Deep Gnomes and Duergar. Whatever their original form was, the centuries of war with the orcs has twisted them into darker, more savage forms.

Mulan is the first mortal female to enter the wood for a thousand years and judging by the signs, the Gnome King’s “sap is rising” and his feelings are stirring and bringing life (in the form of small flowers budding) back to the dark forest.

After half a day, they reach Tangleheart – a huge Oak Tree and the wizented face appears and speak with Davidian.


Tangleheart explains that his brother Gnarlheart used to fight alongside him, but has succumbed to a sickness of the spirit that has turned his heart dark and corrupted. He has been bound into a small glade of dead trees, but Tangleheart cannot bring himself to kill his brother and asks the guests to do it (to return the favour of hospitality). Davidian agrees before even hearing the nature of the quest, but fortunately Tangleheart doesn’t take advantage of them and even remembers to lif the restriction on “Cut no wood” while they are in the Dead Glade.


The Gnome King argues with Tangleheart and orders him to explain to them about the gift of the Circlet of Vines that he is keen for Mulan to accept. Davidian assures her that the Faeries cannot lie and have promised that there is no magic on the Circlet other than what they have told him.
It will grant Mulan “elf-sight” (Darkvision 60ft). There are three flower buds on the circlet.
Touch the first bud with two fingers and it will cast a Charm Person spell duration 1 hour on a target of your choice in range against which there is no saving throw.
Touch the second bud with two fingers and it will cast a Dominate Person spell duration 1 hour on a target of your choice in range against which there is no saving throw.
Touch the third bud with two fingers and it will cast a permanent LOVE spell against which there is no saving throw.

Mulan agrees and graciously accepts the gift – the “gnomes” cheer wildly.

They go to fight Gnarlheart (the ancient, twisted black willow Treant). Their careful plans are disrupted when it animates two dead thorn trees right next to them. The battle is dangerous but (die to a forgetful DM) the thorn tree minions don’t attack very often. Gaston and Abraham hack down one of the two minion trees. In the process, Abraham’s Skeletal Warhorse is smashed by the tree’s mighty blows.

Gnarlheart is blasted by firebolts from Mulan, guiding bolts and sacred flames from Davidian and Abraham, as well as magically-enhanced arrows from Clayton and eventually falls. The moment he dies, the two animated trees stiffen and return to being just trees.
In the disturbed ground under the roots of Gnarlheart, Clayton digs about and finds many orc skulls and many rusted fragments of weapons and armour. There is one magical weapon – a Spear of Winter, magical +1 spear with a magical property (if attuned) for a once-per-day blast of cold. [DM: You will need to attune to it to find out the details – takes a 1-hour short rest to attune]

Davidian asks Tangleheart if he can help with the funeral/re-purification of the Dead Glade and is invited to the Dance. This is clearly a big deal to the Fae Folk. [DM: Joining the Dance requires a Religion check, with the result determining how successful you are – there is some risk!]


It is like a particularly violent version of morris dancing with sticks. Davidian understands the patterns of the Dance and becomes infused with Fae Magic from the Gnome King. He gets to learn a one-shot 5th-level spell.

Seeing how “easy” it looks, the other drift into the Dance with varying degrees of success.
Gaston, Mulan and Abraham dance well and get similar one-shot spell powers. The two rangers – Clayton and Jock – don’t get into the groove and get beaten around the shins by the laughing gnomes – both are infected by Wild Magic as a result.
The Gnome King seems to get stronger, taller and better-looking during the Dance – topping out at about 4ft tall.


The next day, they all wake refreshed (with 5 temp hitpoints). The Will of the Wisp leads them for a few hours to the far-eastern edge of the Tanglewood which cuts about 10 days off their journey and leaves them at the foothills of the mountain range containing Shar Gazoth – probably only about 4 days from the waterfall entrance described in Agraven’s Journals.

They decide (reluctantly) that their horses cannot make it through the mountains and they butcher them and spend a few hours cooking them so they won’t need to waste time foraging later and also so they won’t wander and be found by the Orcs and give-away the fact that they are in the area.

Abraham decides to replace his Skeletal Warhorse and kills, skins and polishes the bones and the companions watch in horror as the Inquisitor’s undead steed rises to its feet.


Clayton and Jock discover they have been infected by Wild Magic and their spells have crazy results, such as blasting Gaston with magic missiles while trying to Cure him and then banishing him for an hour to the Astral Plane and then causing a third eye to appear on Abraham’s forehead (granting him the Alertness feat but disadvantage on Persuasion checks). Both rangers used all their spells to dissipate the wild magic and should be back to normal casting tomorrow.

The forest trail skirts the foothills, leading to a huge lake so they head to it to wash off the blood and smoke.

Suddenly Abe spots three orcs riding huge wolves racing along the trail behind them. They all hide surprisingly well and could have even let the enemy ride straight past, but Gaston leapt out and attacked. To be fair, they were going to ambush the orcs anyway, but the warrior’s eagerness for battle sprang the trap too soon and the trailing Orc managed to turn his wolf and flee. The hunting party had seen or smelled the smoke from the horse barbecue and were trailing the party by scent – due to the Wild Magic they had no Pass Without Trace spells today.

Shar Gazoth 2 - Pale Orcs and Dark Forests

They dragged the bodies into the bushes and headed east. They bypassed the village, leaving the orcs’ horses and camp untouched, and joined the road a few miles on. When they left the road just before dawn and returned to the hills, Clayton used “Pass Without Trace” to hide their tracks.
They could see a large orc encampment – maybe a raiding party of 30 Orcs, up ahead. Later they saw a Vee of giant crows heading west from the camp and along the road back to the west. They saw one crow flap down to meet and “talk” to an albino orc mounted on a huge white wolf. This orc was dragging a prisoner behind the wolf.

They recognised the albino as one of the “Favoured of Lillith” a mid-level priestess of the Queen of Winter. Clayton recognised the prisoner – it was his fellow-ranger, “Jock”. A big ginger-haired Kaledonian warrior, one of the men who brought them across the river.

While they hid in the hills, in what little shelter they could find from the heavy rain, the army of orcs moved out along the road, but the Albino, the wolf, one orc bodyguard and Jock, reached the empty camp and stopped.

There was much debate about what to do. Clayton was conflicted about saving his friend and sticking to the mission – eventually they decided that they had to either save or kill Jock to avoid the Orcs learning about the mission.

Mulan and Clayton were able to sneak up to the camp, staying down-wind from the orc. The others stayed back ready to gallop in if anything went wrong. The ranger and the rogue surprised the sleeping wolf and peppered it with arrows and bolts. Still it managed to leap to the attack, looming over Clayton (Mulan skulked back into the forest after every shot). The arrows and bolts had weakened it a lot, and finally Abraham and Gaston galloped in to hack it down and Davidian sent a powerful guiding bolt against the orc priestess when she emerged from the commander’s tent and she sent a powerful moonbeam spell to attack the Ranger. Despite the on-going damage from the moonbeam, they managed to hack down the orc bodyguard and send the priestess scampering back into the tent.

Out of spite, she tried to finish off Jock with a chromatic orb of cold, but Davidian and Abraham managed to heal him in the nick of time.

In the tent, Clayton and Gaston pressed the attack while the others attacked her from outside. Against the full fury of the heroes, she fell quickly. They took her distinctive ringmail armour, shield and spear and the hide armour of her bodyguard. Clayton helped Gaston skin the Winterwolf (very messy and bloody and smelly and then they moved on eastwards again.

Later that day, they were surprised as three giant crows flew low over the trees. Everyone managd to hide except Davidian, caught in the centre of a clearing. They had 10 foot wingspans and looked pretty terrifying as they swooped down, but the rest of the hidden heroes blew them to peces. The last surviving crow tried to fly off but was brought down by spells. The crows had panicked the horses but they managed to gather them back together again within an hour.

Abraham tried to pluck and de-bone one of the crows -hoping to use its skeleton to make an improved Skeletal Messenger, but it was too big and too messy. The trail of blood and gore is definitely getting more noticeable!

As dusk approached, they were looking for somewhere to camp and reached a long shelving hillside, strewn with the stumps of trees. From the crest of the hill a dark, foreboding line of trees remained. The rangers, Clayton and Jock, could tell there was something unnatural about the trees, something that said “keep away” to their experienced eyes. However, Davidian, the Priest of the Goddess, noticed tiny white star-shaped flowers – a clear indication of the presence of the “Song of the Goddess” in the area. He knew this meant there were Fae in the wood and decided to approach the tree-line warily to investigate. Speaking in the Fae tongue he greeted the forest and asked for parley.

A gnarled oak seemed to animate. An eye opened and a croaking ancient voice came from it.
It began by accusing Davidian of being an Orc. When he protested, it ordered him to approach and then grappeled him with a powerful root that tore out of the ground and hoisted him upside down. In the disturbed earth, the glint of hundreds of orc skulls could be seen.

The voice threatened and he was swung about menacingly, but kept his calm and spoke soothingly explaining they were the enemies of the Orcs and were on a mission to reach Shar Gazoth. The voice told him that the forest had once stretched all the way to the mountain but that the red orcs had come, Tangleheart had allowed them to cut trees at the fringes of the forest but they ad taken more and more, leading to all out war and centuries of aggression. The wood had become dark and dangerous.

Eventiually the tree-spirit, giving its name as Tangleheart, agreed to let Davidian and his allies and horses enter the forest for rest and fresh water and a meadow where the horses could graze. He made only one request “Cut no wood!”

They followed a floating light into a meadow by a lake and “rested”. Only Davidian and Clayton managed to relax. The floating light was an evil faerie – a Will o the Wisp, they knew its usual behaviour was to lead people into danger and feed on their souls! They also spotted hundreds of pairs of red eyes in the bushes around the meadow. These turned out to be hate-filled naked gnomes (lust-filled – when Mulan was getting ready for bed and almost went for a swim). One tried half-heartedly to trick Gaston into cutting some wood. With the eyes and the general sense of violence, the others did not get a peaceful sleep. At some point Mulan spotted that a small tiara of twisted vines and flowers had been left on the ground next to her. She decided not to pick it up.

Davidian and Clayton both felt magically invigorated when they rose (benefits of an Aid spell). The Wisp told them to follow and it would lead them to Tangleheart,

They don’t know what the ancient forest-spirit wants or how far away it might be, but nobody felt like arguing.

Shar Gazoth 01 - Across the River

For his destruction of the mirror, Gaston was volunteered for what seemed like a suicide mission. As Mulan failed to prevent him smashing it, she was similarly invited to undertake the quest.

Father Abraham looked like he might not face the same doom, but was asked by the local Inquisitor Captain (his superior in the Church of Mortus) to tag along. The Inquisition are particularly keen to learn about the so-called “Keepers of the Dead” – rumoured to be a sect of Necromancers that live in the mountain that contains the Citadel of Shar Gazoth.

Sapphire (the wizardess who knows the most about the Orc’s Portal Mirror), offered the services of a friend of hers – a half-elf called Davidian. Davidian is a Priest of “The Goddess”, the Elven deity who created Jade as a playground for the Fae. Davidian knows a great deal about the magic mirror and magic in general (being an arcana domain priest) and is “far better suited to a trek across orc-infested wilderness than I am” she said.

As they wouldn’t have a “snowball’s chance in hell” of even finding the place without a guide, one of the Rangers of Eastmark, was volunteered to go with them. Clayton had been across the River into Ustergard before on scouting missions and should be able to get them there without becoming lost or starving to death on the journey.

The adventurers were given various gifts to help them on the quest…
Davidian was given five magical scrolls by the College Of Art.
Abraham was given a couple of magical scrolls by the Inquistor Captain. He also used his new-found powers to animate a Skeletal Warhorse as his own steed.
The rest of the party was equipped with horses, ropes for climbing and other essentials for the trip.
They all got a chance to read the three volumes of Agraven’s Journal about his journey to Shar Gazoth. Davidian knows how to reproduce Agraven’s trick of re-directing the Mirror to one in Sapphire’s house.

They debated trying to sail round the coast to reach Shar Gazoth more quickly, but the threat of Red Orc Pirate ships was thought to be too high. [GM: The Red Orcs are actually Hobgoblins – like red-skinned Klingons with access to advanced pirate ships – Galleons compared to the medieval clippers and longships available to the heroes].

There was much debate on how to cross the great River Stone without being immediately spotted by Orcish patrols. If they weren’t taking horses, they might slip across on low barges or canoes. To get horses across, they needed some magical help and the Inquisitor Captain – Septimus Kreed, accompanied them with the magical horn they had found on Beacon Isle.
As night fell, he blew the Horn of Torkas (the Dark God of Storms) and a vast area of fog rolled across the river.

Under cover of the fog a squad of Rangers rowed them and their horses across and dropped them off. Mulan (through her familiar’s eyes), Clayton (through his Darkvision spell) and Davidian (through his own Darkvision) were able to lead the horses and their companions through the forest. Behind them an Orc patrol attacked the boat. Several men died and the boat was destroyed by fire, but they were across, had slipped by the first line of Orcish patrols and the Quest was on.

They travelled on across the grasslands (once cultivated plains) through the moonless night stopping before dawn and out of sight in some low hills. Ahead they could see a ruined village where a small camp fire was burning.

They decided to hide from the Orcs at the village. As the light improved, Mooshoo spotted that people were working in the fields around the village with scythes and that the half a dozen orcs in the village had a few horses. Eventually they realised the “people” must be zombies as they never seemed to tire or stop. They were gathering corn and also clearing a road.

Our heroes rested until afternoon and then set off through the hills trying to bypass the Orcs. Despite his best efforts, Clayton struggled to find a way that kept them in valleys and away from crossing the skyline. At one point they became so skittish that they shot a “suspicious-looking crow”. [GM: to be fair, I had mentioned that the Orcs sometimes used Giant Crows as scouts]

Late afternoon they were edging back to the grasslands and had to hide as two orcs rode past arguing loudly in Orcish (which nobody speaks). One was a “Red Orc” and seemed to be in charge. The other was one of the horde of “white” orcs from the distant north – part of the invading army who conquered Ustergard more than a 100 years before.

As night fell, these two orcs stopped at the next village and lit a camp fire. They were right in the way! Our heroes tried to skirt past but leading horses in the dark and keeping Gaston quiet in his heavy armour was just too difficult. Some night-time beast caused a horse to whiney and the two Orcs wandered into the hills to investigate.


They were only two, but they were pretty tough – especially the hobgoblin, who was some kind of Warlord. Davidian blasted the leader with a powerful Guiding Bolt, a searingly-bright blast! Clayton shot from cover, Abraham and Gaston hacked down the orc (taking his head off and spraying the clearing with blood) and Mulan brought down the hobgoblin with a shot through the head.

They found a couple of potion flasks on the hobgoblin – Davidian identified them as healing potions. They dragged the bodies into the bushes and considered what to do next. There were still a couple of orc ponies in the village about half a mile away. It was about 9 miles back to the previous encampment.

Hopefully nobody saw the sky light up as the Guiding Bolt struck home.
Hopefully the two orcs won’t be missed straightaway.

Despite a few setbacks, they have made good time so far. If their luck continues it might take as little as 15 days – maybe 20, depending on the terrain.
[GM: we won’t play out every step of the way – just the days with interesting encounters]

City Watch 08 - The Priestess and the Portal
Seven Years of Bad Luck

Mulan and Gaston were still standing when the small magical turret was finally destroyed. Reluctantly, Sapphire the wizardess and her monkey familiar (Mr Flannigan) emerged from the shadows.

“By the sounds of her chanting, the drow priestess is on the verge of re-attuning the Portal Mirror – we have no time to lose”.

They pressed on into the next chamber, now plunged into darkness without Abraham’s light spell. Sapphire sent an Arcane Eye slightly ahead and spotted a great black spider hiding in an alcove, waiting to pounce.

Mulan, despite the lack of light, snuck forward and took a shot – it went wild and the spider pounced. The fangs sank into Mulan and poison gushed into her arm, sending her into spasms [GM: as the poison was “paralysing” rather than lethal, I allowed them to make 3 “death saves” looking for a 20 to snap out of it].

The Monkey and his Mistress blasted the spider with firebolts and in the light of the blasts, Gaston ran forward and hacked it to death.

Mulan pulled herself out of the grip of the poison, but was deathly pale [GM:1 hp].
They lit a torch and moved around the next bend – another small magical turret spat magic missiles. Firebolts (and Gaston who could still not be seen by the magical device due to the amulet of non-detection) smashed the turret.

They killed another giant spider and edged forward. In the final chamber the closing words of the ritual were being spoken. Sapphire ran in (under fire from a third turret) and used her Counterspell to cancel the last round of the ritual. The insane drow priestess stood by the mirror, the silent faces of the orcs on the other side (in the distant citadel of Shar Gazoth) were pressed to the glass, peering through.

It was a vicious fight with Sapphire having to repeatedly cancel the last line of the Ritual with counterspell, the monkey destroying the last turret and Gaston and Mulan constantly attacking the priestess.

She was tough, maddened by the counterspells, she attacked Sapphire with a poisoned scourge, taking her down. She hit Gaston too but somehow he stayed on his feet and hacked the priestess down. Then she stood again screaming “Death Ward – BITCHES!!” as the magic stopped her dying. Then, just before she could complete the spell, she was taken down for good.

It was over. They had stopped the Portal from being re-activated. The Mirror in Shar Gazoth remained locked to the mirror in the city and they could safely lock it back up.
Shaking blood from his eyes, Gaston raised his greataxe and, despite an agonised cry of “No-ooo!” from Mulan and uncomprehending gasps from Sapphire and the monkey, he smashed the mirror into pieces with one mighty blow.

[GM: I gave the player chance to pull his blow when Mulan shouted, but he decided to keep going. The mirror had 10 hp and he rolled maximum 12 with his attack]

All their efforts to re-capture the mirror and make it safe again, were undone in that moment.

Sapphire, the resident expert on the magical mirror told them that it would now take the Orcs of Shar Gazoth about one month to re-attune their Mirror to another one and soon they could be teleporting entire armies through the Portal Mirror. Nowhere in Jade would be safe!

  • * * * *

The party completed the adventure, gaining enough XP to reach 5th Level – the last section had been particularly deadly encounter level. Next they are to be sent on a “suicide” mission to try to penetrate the CITADEL of Shar Gazoth and destroy the Orc’s Portal Mirror before it can be re-focussed. This is like being sent into Mordor, to penetrate Sauron’s inner-sanctum, through armies of Orcs, Skeletons & Zombies all across the land, then into the Citadel, many levels of deeper and deeper danger – Orcs, Ogres, Trolls – all ruled by the undead anti-paladin Lord Stagmork, left hand of the Dark Goddess – Lillith. They have been given armour, horses, a boat to carry them across the great river and a potion of healing each. The hopes of the Kingdom ride with them.

This is an adventure I originally wrote more than 25 years ago! Thanks to Gaston, I get to update it to D&D 5E.

City Watch 07 - The Evil and the UNSEEN

Many thousands of books have been written stating the Good is greater than Evil. This does not always hold out in practice.

The Evil Duplicate of Gaston managed to kill the “less evil” original, despite lots of attempted rescues from Richard and Mulan. The body of the original vanished and the mirror was heard to slurp!

The new Gaston then managed to grapple Richard and drag him into line of sight with the mirror, creating a duplicate of the ranger too.

The original Richard was cut down by his duplicate and by Gaston, Then Abraham was cut down by his duplicate (and Gaston) and finally, Gaston went after Mulan, grabbing her and dragging her too in front of the mirror. For some reason she wasn’t duplicated!

Sadly, the duplicate of Abraham was just as perceptive as the original and noticed the supposedly non-magical closed-eye amulet that had been the focus of their first murder investigation. The girl had been wearing it ever since they liberated it from its hiding place inside the statue. It did not radiate magic, so they had not investigated it further.

It was an amulet of non-detection, making the bearer immune to being seen by magical means and that also meant the bearer was immune to the magical effect of the mirror.
When anti-Abraham pointed out the amulet, anti-Gaston snatched it from her and his body returned to the control of the original and Mulan was duplicated and immediately slew her original.

Now everyone was dead but somehow the original Gaston was back in a body.

The perceptive anti-Abraham realised what was going on and attacked him and combat flared up again. Somehow Gaston managed to be the last man standing.

He retained a few memories from his time as anti-Gaston and knew the spirits of his companions were still in the Mirror, but that they would swiftly fade. He attacked the mirror with his greataxe and soon his lost companions were crawling out of the wreckage of broken glass.

They managed to get some help and healing from a couple of priests that the librarians had called, and soon the wizardess Sapphire O’Toole had arrived. She explained a few things about the Mirror of Opposition and also about how the woman who stole the Mirror of Teleporting had presumably been duplicated too. With the Mirror destroyed, her duplicate was also destroyed, so she would be free to concentrate on attuning the Mirror Portal. This would only take an hour (and might even be part-way through already) and then Lissa would be able to open the portal to the distant Orciish Citadel and start bringing through an army of Orcs!

They only have a few minutes to pursue and prevent this disaster from happening. The Librarians will send for more troops and more priests but nobody is going to get here in time. It is up to our heroes.

They plunge back into the sub-basement, following the distant sound of a woman chanting a spell.

She has left some sort of stone mushroom at one of the T junctions and it starts spitting out magic missiles as Richard approaches. Even though they quickly work out that it cannot see Gaston (because of the Amulet), everybody tries to slip past and is blasted. Only Gaston and Abraham make it past the magical trap, which they finally smash. Richard and Mulan were blasted into unconsciousness and they have no healing spells or potions left.

Sapphire and her monkey familiar are following along behind – although she is a very knowledgeable wizardess – she isn’t an adventuring type – more of a college professor!
In the next session – two of the players will be playing Sapphire and Mr Flannigan for a short while. There can’t be much more between them and the Drow Priestess with the Portal Mirror!

City Watch 06 - Brothels and Basements

Mulan was on the roof of the brothel, with her familiar (a tiny dragon called Mooshoo) listening at the windows.

Brother Abraham was waiting outside – as a man of the cloth he didn’t want to be seen entering such a place.

Inside, Gaston and Richard were still pretending to be drunken revellers. This was made a bit harder as they had not agreed a plan before they entered and Gaston was already known to the Madame of the house – and it was known he was now a member of the Watch.

Rather than simply ask to see Misty, they booked some time for Richard with TWO girls. Gaston mistakenly demanded one called “Sapphire” so one of them had to pretend that was her name, but at least the other one was actually Misty – the girlfriend of the dead half-orc Jarvo Gann.

To get some time alone with Misty, Gaston had to send “Sapphire” to fetch some elaborate piece of equipment!

Soon Misty’s bedroom was getting crowded as Mulan climbed in through the window and hid by the wardrobe. Gaston wandered in (with no trousers on) and Richard …. Well, he got Gaston’s money’s worth before starting the questioning!

Misty was distraught to learn that Jarvo had been killed but knew very little about where he had gone or who with. She thought he was having an affair with a woman with the initial “B” as Jarvo had received a note that prompted him going out the previous night. They found the note in the bin and it had some smudges of blue ink. Due to a phenomenal bit of investigation, they learned the ink was a distinctive blue used at the Library.

Misty told them that Jarvo had left no possessions with her and they all left apart from Mulan who watched the girl retrieve a rucksack from under the bed and look inside, then put it back and climb back into bed, sniffing and gently sobbing about her ex. Mulan cast Sleep on the girl and stole (confiscated) the rucksack – which contained some recently-stolen jewellery and lots of coins.

Mulan handed over the jewels (but kept the money) and then the squad received some reward money for the stolen jewels.

Gaston refused to pay his bill when they tried to leave the brothel and there was a lot of shouting and threats from the Madame (mainly that she would pass the word around to all the others members of her profession to withdraw their services from ALL members of the Watch – this would lead to a lot of trouble for Gaston).

Eventually they negotiated a truce that involved him grudgingly paying all his bill. Because he is known to be a noble, they charge him a lot of money but also in order to make his “plan” work, he had bought additional drinks and services and was paying a premium for “unsocial hours” as they were there during the daylight hours.

To the Library…

They eventually made it to the Library and Gaston revealed that “Reflections on the ~Nature of Magic” had been stolen from the wizardess Sapphire. Mulan was annoyed as the beautiful half-elf wizardess was a member of her little circle of friends from the parties of Lady Clupea.

They pieced together some more clues to work out that the “B” was a half-elf scribe called Lissa Barrymore, who had been working at the Library/Scriptorium for the last few months. She had tried to get access to the book and been told that it was out on loan.
Earlier today she had gone into the limited-access basement to do some research and had not yet returned. She had been given a full set of the Archivist’s keys.

Our heroes followed her down into the darkness and were very surprised to find a couple of giant spiders. These were particularly nasty creatures with strong venom – not usually found out of the deep realms of the Underdark. They managed to kill the creatures whose bodies vanished (so they must have been magically summoned).

Mooshoo was sent forward to investigate (being the only one in the party with Darkvision). The little familiar peered into a room whose door was slightly ajar and all of a sudden a second Mooshoo appeared and the two creatures fought. Mulan dismissed the “real” Mooshoo and the duplicate begged her to bring the other one back – it seemed desperate. Convinced that this was an evil duplicate, they killed it and moved on to investigate further.

Abraham and Gaston spotted the symbol on the door, a Lantern with a cross through it, but thought it only meant “no naked flames”. As they were using Abraham’s magical light, they pushed open the door to reveal the Mirror of Opposition!

Instantly there were two Abrahams and two Gastons and they were all fighting. Richard and Mulan managed to keep out of line-of-sight with the mirror but the anti-Gaston quickly struck down the real Gaston and seemed hell-bent on finishing him off. In the room, the two Abrahams tried lots of spells against each other with little effect and have now started bashing each other with their maces.

Our heroes don’t know which one is which.

The stories they had been told about the Hall of Mirrors included this Mirror of Opposition as well as another mirror that is a Portal linked to Shar Gazoth (Citadel of the Orcs). The ancient wizard Agraven had been duplicated and had brought various treasures back with him via the Portal Mirror.

It seems likely that Lissa Barrymore has taken possession of the Portal Mirror and may be in the disused sub-basement even now, trying to attune herself to it so she can activate it and start pulling Orcs through from Shar Gazoth (takes about an hour to attune)!

City Watch 05 - Case of the Stolen Books

There was much debate on Beacon Isle after the fighting had finished.
Would they try to keep some of the treasure?
Would they reveal the hidden shrine of Torkas Dark God of Storms?
Would they reveal that the Dock Watch squad had murdered Tristan?

After concocting a dozen plots, they finally agreed to come clean about almost all the treasure but to say that Tristan and the Dock Watch guys had all been killed by the undead and that the angry Sea Spirit had been in love with Tristan but had been appeased when our heroes killed the undead.

This may well have been a good idea as we later discovered that neither Richard nor Gaston could manage to stick to a convincing lie.

Richard paid Capt. Barnacle (the smuggler) 5,000 silver coins for his help and as a down-payment for future assistance. Bill has a small, fast merchant ship and seemed willing to give them tip-offs about rival smugglers and had lots of contacts in the underworld.


Richard kept the Horn hidden wanting to try and find out what it does before they decided what to do with it. He also kept an ornate carpet showing embroidered ships.


Abraham spent ten minutes casting a ritual spell to detect magic. The Horn was very, very magical – beyond anything they had seen before. The scimitar of the undead pirate captain was magical and there were two potion flasks – one a small vial (one drop of golden honey – very magical) and the other a larger pot with 4 doses of a thick, red paste.

Bill’s skiff took them back to the mainland where they delivered all the bodies to the Necropolis. Tristan was taken to the Justinian Family Vault (a mid-rank noble family who own Beacon Isle and whose ancestors may have been pirates). Abraham told the Father-Captain of the Inquisitors that the undead threat was over and there was no reason for the Inquisition to investigate the Isle. They accepted his word on this and seemed pleased with his handling of the situation.

Capt. Julius met them as they left the Necropolis and wanted the whole story. If they hadn’t given the story that Tristan and the Dock Watch guys were all victims, he might have suggested they hide any bad press about the Watch and pin the whole blame on Tristan, but as it was he seemed to accept their version. The widows of the guards would get their pensions and the Justinian family would continue to get their 2,000gp annual rent for the use of Beacon Isle. The under-isle would probably be closed-off.

*. *. *.

The next day, Richard tried to attune himself to the Horn – he learned that it was very powerful with three main functions. The first was to summon a Fog Cloud. The other functions needed something to unlock them. It was an artefact of evil and chaos (mostly chaos).

He also got the carpet valued by a fence suggested by Capt B. The man examined it through a jeweller’s eye-glass and seemed a bit shocked. There were tiny hidden figures stitched into the storm that identified it as belonging to the cult of Torkas the Dark God of Storms. He offered to buy it for 500gp as it would be a valuable piece if they could find the right buyer – but very dangerous to handle as the owner could be executed for heresy.

Instead Richard put on a disguise and delivered both the Horn and the carpet to the Inquisition as an anonymous donation, stressing that the Horn was dangerous. The next day a wanted poster is part of the Watch briefing. It describes the disguised man and offers a small reward.

The next day the sound of a horn echoes across the city and a fog cloud 200 yards across billows out from the Necropolis. The fog is so thick it effectively blinds everyone. Richard gropes his way to the Necropolis (without his disguise) and screams at the priest on the gate for being irresponsible. The priest asks him to come inside and explain where he got the Horn, but Richard vanishes back into the fog. Mulan had followed him and overheard the exchange.

Abraham and Gaston also make there way to the Necropolis after the fog fades after a couple of hours and the panic and looting in the streets dies down. The Inquisitors let Abraham in and discuss the Horn with him but leave Gaston shut outside!

According to Belisarius Groan – Inquisitor Captain, the Horn is one of three Horns of Torkas. They had to blow it to be absolutely sure – the fog cloud was the least of the powers. If enough people are slaughtered in the fog, this would unlock the next power – summoning Valkyries – winged warrior women. If they kill enough people this would unlock the third power – an expanded version of Spirit Guardians. If all three Horns are blown at once, they have a final secret power (which Abraham now knows).

Mulan has developed magical powers and summons a familiar called Mushu, a tiny wingless flying dragon.


Gaston’s experiences in combat have unlocked abilities as a battle-master, gaining a series of special combat abilities

Abraham has gained access to additional spells and also to a Domain Ritual “Skeletal Messenger” which has the same effects as “Animal Messenger” but requires the skeleton of a raven and it can deliver a verbal message.


*. *. *.

A week later the morning briefing includes the theft of a magical book from the half-elf Wizardess Sapphire O’Toole. Sapphire teaches at the College of Art but lives just inside the jurisdiction of G-Watch. The book was magically guarded and one of the thieves has been killed by the trap.


At Sapphire’s house they find she is a beautiful woman (despite being a couple of hundred years old). Mulan knows her from the weekly “Ladies Night” parties she attends at the house of Lady Clupea.

She has a small monkey as a familiar who instantly takes a dislike to Gaston. The monkey is called Mr Flannigan and is very haughty and sarcastic. The dead thief is one of Herb the Half-Orc’s henchmen – Jarvo Gann. He has been throttled by a Black Tentacles spell that was guarding the room. Nothing else was stolen other than the book Reflections of the Nature of Magic by the Wizard Agraven. this is a book about magical mirrors. Sapphire is a specialist in magic items and has been studying the book for a few years – it is on loan from the Library of the College of Art.

They determine there must have been a silence spell to cover the intrusion. They find tracks outside of a smaller lighter person (probably a woman).

Perhaps flustered by the clever monkey and the beauty of the wizardess, Gaston blurts out some information about the Horn of Torkas. Because she is a specialist in magic items, Sapphire is interested and probes for more – she has a book with a picture and Gaston says that they found that horn and handed it to the Inquisition,

They also found a couple of silver spoons on the dead half-orc with a coat of arms. Gaston (the noble) recognises the crest as the family Agravenus (descendants of the wizard Agraven).


Gaston and Mulan visited Sir Mantol Agravenus, last of his line. Sir Mantol is a retired paladin. His butler, Riginal, was very haughty. Gaston had been a visitor there years ago but wasn’t much liked. He returns the spoons and they find that Mantol had had a robbery in the middle of the night and a book had been stolen. “Shar Gazoth Vol 3” by the wizard Agravenus. This was the last volume of Agravenus’ journal about his expedition to the Orcish Citadel – Shar Gazoth. The key part of the story was about the Hall of Mirrors where the Orcs had a magic mirror of Teleportation and another for Scrying and another for creating evil duplicates. Agravenus had become duplicated and his party didn’t know which was the real one. Sir Mantol was very proud that he had said “Kill us both!”. His companions realised that the other one must be the evil one. They managed to re-set the Portal Mirror to point to a mirror in Agravenus House in Eastport and escape through there with some orcish treasure. The wizard locked the Orc’s mirror to his mirror and when they emerged, they locked-up his mirror somewhere safe.

Meanwhile, Abraham and Richard visited their underworld contact Capt. Barnacle, to ask about Jarvo Gann. Bill told them that Gann and Herb had recently been falling out as Gann was doing little jobs for himself.

Then they went for a chat with Herb the Half-orc.


He was sitting inside a candy/coffee shop, selling drugs out of a bag hidden under the table. Abraham intimidated him a bit and he revealed that Jarvo Gann and he had split up. Jarvo has been doing jobs for a mysterious woman and had been going to “Half-Orc Meetings”. Herb claimed to like all races equally – as long as they have money – but these weekly half-orc meetings were mostly to whinge about how the other races (especially humans) look down oh half-orcs. He told them that Jarvo was living with a woman called Misty in a brothel in the Docks called Seamans’ Rest.

Our heroes all met up at the brothel which was closed (it was only about 10pm). Mulan climbed to the roof to watch the back and front entrances, hidden against the chimney. The others persuaded the elderly cleaning woman to let them into the bar for a drink.

City Watch 04 - Beneath Beacon Isle

The hole that had been cut into the granite of the Isle was only 50 yards from the eastern cliff edge.

A sturdy wooden ladder had been recently fastened into place. Abraham cast light onto a stick and they dangled it down on a rope. The chamber below had recently been flooded with water to the depth of a couple of feet but now just had puddles left on the uneven floor. There were two heavy wooden doors and a tunnel that must lead to an opening to the sea, because the crashing of waves could be heard from there.

Richard tied off his own rope to a tree and climbed down, quickly followed by the others. Although they made a lot of noise, the booming of the waves must have covered them and nothing attacked them for a while.

Richard and Gaston shoulder-charged a warped door and forced it open. Even that noise failed to get them noticed, although they could hear some creatures clattering about down the sea tunnel.
Inside the dust and cobweb-strewn room, apparently sealed for 300 years, there were some fancy rugs and furniture and Richard carefully smashed the lock off a chest to discover about 2000gp-worth of treasure. The lock had a poison needle trap in it that he cleverly avoided.

He clambered back up to the surface and hid the chest under some branches nearby.

Despite all the noise, and the light from their Torches, they still managed to creep up on two (large) giant crabs. They managed a decent ambush, trapping the large creatures in a choke point in the tunnel and taking them down with Abe’s bless and sacred flame, Gaston’s greataxe, Mulan’s crossbow (with sneak damage) and Richard’s two blades. Where the crabs had been scuttling, there was a lot of broken driftwood and twisted rusty chains – it looked like a huge cage had recently been smashed open on the shore of this underwater cavern by the fury of the storm. Wet footprints led out of the sea cave.

Pressing on, they found a crude statue of a pirate ship (just the prow jutting from a carved wave). And a couple of other chambers with old warped doors. Richard forced his way into one up a small flight of steps and found the chambers of a pirate captain – rich tapestries and rugs and furniture and bigger chest.

He tried the same “smash off the lock” mechanism but was horrified to discover this one was magically trapped and dozens of black tentacles erupted from the floor trying to grapple him. He managed to leap back onto a dusty four-poster bed but Mulan, watching from the doorway wasn’t so lucky and was grabbed and throttled by the black tendrils.
She screamed as the thrashing tentacles engulfed her and this finally alerted the other denizens of the place.

A couple of Skeletal Pirates wielding cutlasses (probably the same curved blades that had killed the butler and housekeeper on the surface) began to approach from the pitch blackness at the unexplored end of the chamber.

Abe and Gaston were too far away to help her and Richard was trapped on the far side of the tentacles, but somehow Mulan managed to pull herself free, having been gravely wounded just in the initial attack.

There was a tough combat with two more skeletons and a tougher “Pirate Captain Skeleton” wielding a gleaming cutlass (magical) and a tarnished silver dagger. Abe had to use his last two spell slots on healing Mulan and Gaston, but they managed to defeat the skeletons. They could then see that the sea spirit/woman was now kneeling by the dead body of the young bard, Tristan.

Before they had time to rest, Abe spotted a group of men in the tabards of the City Watch, duck out of a room behind them and run for the ladders back to the surface. They appeared to be carrying some bags of treasure and didn’t want to stop for a chat. They were already injured and had clearly been barricaded into one of the rooms waiting for their chance to get away.

From the conversation with the Sea Spirit, by the beacon on the surface, Abe believed the guardsmen had murdered Tristan so he took a huge gamble and attacked the fleeing men, calling on them to stop and submit to his arrest. When they fought back, Mulan asked Abe “What are we doing?” based on his panicked answer “F*** them Up!”, she shot one through the head, killing him stone dead. From that point there was no way to de-escalate the situation, even if they had wanted to.

Corporal Claudius Winkleman and his men knew the game was up and from their shouts and cries, it seemed clear they HAD committed the murder in order to make off with the treasure. Coming on top of the fight with the crabs and then the fight with the skeletons, this went right down to the wire. Gaston almost killed the Winkle, but was hacked down himself and rapidly bleeding out. Mulan and Richard managed to finish off the Corporal and killed the last of the fleeing guardsmen. Abe just managed to stop Gaston from dying – only just, because he had run out of spells!

The Sea Spirit seemed to be happy that the murdering guardsmen were dead and she faded away and the sounds of the storm died down almost immediately.

Inside the Captain’s room they found more fancy furniture, gold, jewels, two potion flasks – these look like much more powerful items than mere healing potions!

They have to deal properly with the bodies of Tristan and the Dock Watch guards and the butler and house-keeper.

In JADE, any un-tended body of a human, half-orc, half-elf, dwarf, dragonborn or tiefling that is not “properly buried” will rise as undead usually at the first sunset after death. In the Kingdom of Gard (where this campaign is set) “proper burial” means being handed over to the Church of Mortus to be buried in hallowed ground – in Eastport, this means in the Necropolis.

Villages that don’t have their own church, have to have lockable sarcophaguses and then rush the bodies to the nearest churchyard.

Religion in the Kingdom of Gard is very powerful. Like Medieval Europe, people who don’t go to church would be shunned by their neighbours and could expect to get a visit from the Inquisition and be tortured and executed as heretics. Every decent person worships the Three Gods (at least pretends to) and hates the Dark Gods. Every decent person will try to get a proper burial for the dead – the spirits of those who are not properly buried get re-incarnated as evil alignment, because their spirits have not learned any lessons from their previous life. Even if a person becomes undead, if they can be properly buried within 3 days, then their spirit will at least be reincarnated as neutral alignment instead of evil.

All the deaths on the Isle must have occurred after sunset and it is only dawn by the time they emerge from the under-isle. So they have another 12 hours or so to get the bodies back to the Necropolis.

After the fighting, there was a lot of discussion about what to do with the treasure!

The total value in coins is about 6,000gp (half of it is silver so that is a lot of coins (3,000 gold coins and 30,000 silver ones).

The total in jewellery looks to be worth about 4,000gp and consists of about 50 items – ear-rings, necklaces, bracelets and brooches. Nobody has cast detect magic on any of this yet.
The tapestries and carpets and chairs and cupboards might fetch another 3,000gp at an auction.

The manor house also contains a lot of valuables, 10 paintings worth 50gp each, 20 pieces of Silver cutlery (worth 20gp each and stamped with the Justinian family crest), Tristan’s Lute (very fine craftsmanship – very distinctive, monogrammed with TJ, probably worth 200gp)

The LAW states they hand it all over to the City and will then expect maybe a 10% finder’s fee split between them and their Sergeant. That is still a lot of money in this campaign setting. Low-level magic items would probably be handed back too.

Richard is keen to take a lot more than the 10%. His suggestion is to handover about 1/4 of the treasure and give 1/4 to Captain William Barnacle (the guy who ferried them across). Bill is a well-known smuggler and Richard is arguing that he would be a useful criminal contact and also you will need his boat to get you and the treasure back to the City and also he might be able to sell the stuff for you.

They also have to decide what to do with the HORN, discovered inside the Altar of Torkas. This looks like a powerful magic item, linked to the Church of Torkas (Dark God of Storms – worshipped particularly by pirates & vikings). Torkas is usually depicted as a Storm Giant/Pirate/Whaler on a flying ship. It is rumoured that he escaped from physical imprisonment in the world of Jade a couple of years ago and his flying ship sailed beyond the sky.

They also have to decide whether to tell people that the Dock Watch guys murdered Tristan.
If they do, the Watchmen’s families won’t get their pensions and the City will probably have to pay compensation to the ship owners for the damages and lost cargo.
If they lay the blame on poor young Tristan for angering the Storm God, the City will probably confiscate the Isle from the Justinian family and stop paying his Family 2,000gp annual rent.

If they twist the story a bit, saying that Tristan was a worshipper of Torkas, this might bring the Justinian family down altogether as they would all go to the Inquisition and would at least be fined for the damages caused by the storm. It does seem likely that their ancestors who owned the Isle 300 years ago, were pirates and probably did worship Torkas. However, the entrance to the under-isle must have been lost and it had not been used for 300 years.
There is even the option to blackmail the Justinian family!

If they mention that the Sea Spirit was actually a Fae creature (apparently not linked to the secret Altar of Torkas) then there might be questions about why she became angry enough to raise a storm.

Any dodgy story will need cooperation from ALL characters - including Mulan (even though her Player wasn’t present). They will all become bound together by the lies and mutually-assured-destruction if the stories unravel. They will also become tied to anyone else who they let in on the lies (eg. Captain William Barnacle).

If the lies are discovered, the campaign will take a nasty turn as the criminals will be hunted down and (at the least) sent to prison or conscripted into the army and shipped across the river to fight the Orcs in Ustergard. If there is even a hint of necromancy or woship of Torkas, they will be tortured and executed by the Inquisition.

I much prefer to play campaigns with heroic, good-aligned characters. Sometimes it is interesting to play darker games with criminal characters and some players can walk the fine line between being criminal and being evil. If you decide to go the criminal route, the campaign can still continue but any slip ups in your story and you are risking everything.

City Watch 03
The Case of the Light that didn't Shine

A few weeks later, G-Watch gains a new recruit an ex-military ranger called “Richard” and (while drunk) Ulysses reveals his first name is really Gaston.

The ancient gnomish alchemist, Ebeneezer Sprackleroot keeps pestering Gaston to sell him more of the magic mushrooms – it seems only a few mushrooms have the right spores to reproduce. At first he wants to go into business with Gaston (hoping to gain immunity to prosecution through his ties to the Watch, as well as protection from “Herb” the half-orc, the local well-known drug peddlar). Gaston doesn’t want to become a full-time drug dealer but is still happy to make a one-off sale and he pushes up the price until Sprackleroot is paying over 1,000 gp for the rest of the mushrooms.

Gaston brings the money back to the Watch Station in a pair of big rucksacks and stashes it in his locker. Abraham and Mulan know about the deal, but refused to get involved, the only other people who know are the Alchemist and his young human assistant “Becky” (also known as “I’m a different girl!” as Gaston had made himself pretty unpopular with her on his first visit to the Lab and demanded she be sacked).

  • * * * * * * * * * * *

One night, soon after the Ranger joins the squad, they are all woken at about midnight by a howling storm and messengers from the Watch calling them to help out at the Harbour.

Reluctantly, they turn up to find the terrible storm has cracked open a few of the cargo ships and the locals are risking life and limb to fish out the bumper harvest of crates from the heaving seas.

More importantly, the Doc Watch captain tells them that the magical beacon on Beacon Isle has gone out and they must commandeer a boat and get out there to fix it!

  • * * * * * * * * * * *

Everyone in the City knows a bit about Beacon Isle. It is about half a mile out in the estuary, a small island with a copse of trees and a couple of ancient buildings – a ruined watchtower and a sort of small manor house on whose roof is the magical Beacon. The beacon sends a pillar of greenflame into the air when all is well and the flame turns red when danger is approaching – typically if Orcs are crossing the estuary or pirates are approaching the harbour. It hasn’t gone out for more than a few minutes in living memory and currently the beacon is off.

Gaston (as a noble of the city) knows that the Isle is the property of the Justinian family who get an annual rent from the City. In exchange they keep one of the family on the Isle to tend the flame, with a couple of servants and guarded by a small squad of the Dock Watch. The current family member on the Isle was “Tristan Justinian” considered a black sheep of the family, a handsome young bard, always getting in trouble with husbands and fathers of local beauties.

Abraham and Mulan have spoken with some of the longer-serving watchmen from Dock Watch and have heard more recent news. Being stationed on the Isle is very boring and used to be considered a sort of punishment detail for six months at a time. However, a couple of months ago, Corporal Claudius Winkleman volunteered to do a second term on the Isle! Apparently he had taken up fishing and reading and liked the peace and quiet. His 3 squad-members had gone along with him for a second six-month term.

  • * * * * * * * * * * *

At the docks, none of G-Watch had any familiarity with boats so they needed to find a skilled sailor to get them out to the Isle. Luckily William Barnacle was one of the people illegally scooping crates from the raging sea and passing them to a bunch of thugs on the pier.
With the help of their new Ranger, they persuaded the thugs to back off and commandeered the boat (and the reluctant Barnacle Bill) without the need for violence.

Despite their lack of experience, they managed to help row the boat across to the Isle and Bill dropped them off and took his ship further out to sea to await their signal. The Isle itself seemed to be the focus of the worst of the storm. The little boat belonging to the watchmen had already be shattered to splinters and the storm raged on, clouds obscured the moon and the Isle was only lit by occasional flashes of lightning.

Mulan and Richard crept up to the manor house. Its gates stood open and one of the barn doors was flapping open in the wind. Goats bleated and chickens were squawking from the barn. They crept in to find the butler dead in the kitchen, gutted by a big curved blade. Further in they found the housekeeper, similarly slashed by a curved blade. There were wet barefoot footprints on some of the floors.

In the rooms used by the Watch they found evidence of long-term digging – heavy boots, ropes, spades etc. Their beds had not been slept in that night and it looked like they had all left, expecting to return.

In the rooms of young Tristan, they found his Lute, some valuables and a journal covering the last several months.

9 months earlier, Tristan was moaning about his exile to the Isle. Then he started to glimpse things out of the corner of his eye. The shape of a slender young woman, outlined in the spray from the ocean or in rain. She seemed to be drawn to listen to him when he played music.
Somehow she seemed to guide him to some sea caves at the Isles eastern edge. Unfortunately, there had been a rockfall there and he couldn’t get in. He had come to believe the sea spirit was trying to lead him to the fabled pirate treasure supposed to be under the Isle.
The sea caves were only exposed for an hour or so each day so he enlisted the help of Corporal Winkelman and his troops to try and dig down from above instead. He was pleased when Winkelman agreed to only take a third of the treasure for himself and his men.
It took them longer than expected as the Isle is mostly granite so they have been digging and cutting their way into the caverns below for months.
The last entry in the Journal was from the previous afternoon, they have finally broken through and are about to explore the caverns. He hopes to prove to his family that he isn’t a wastrel after all.

First things first, they decide to try and re-light the Beacon – apparently lighting a lantern under the magical lens is all it takes, however, when Richard climbs up to the roof, and tries to light the storm lantern, it is suddenly doused with salt water and Mulan glimpses the form of an invisible girl on the roof, outlined in the rain.

They decide to use a magical light instead and Abraham casts light onto a torch. When the torch can’t be lit and the green pillar of flame rises, the invisible girl leaps from the roof to attack Abraham.

There is a fight between our heroes and the invisible sea spirit during which they hear her faint voice, little more than a whisper, calling them Murderers.

Mulan tries to reason with the creature who is clearly distraught and angry. It seems she thinks they are murderers because they are wearing the same tabards as the other watchmen and Mulan and the others guess that she means that the Watchmen killed Tristan (her beloved) and the storm is a product of her grief and rage.

When they ask her to show them what happened, she says they must go below and she vanishes into the storm.

City Watch 02
Rodents of Unusual Size

The Captain thanked them for their out-of-hours work in the Necropolis – killing the murderer and his imp. However, he was less than pleased to learn they had forgotten to deal with the dire-rat problems down by the river/sewer gate and ordered them to lok into that first thing tomorrow.

The day before a guard dog belonging to one of the barge-folk had been killed but last night a homeless guy sleeping alongside the river had been killed and mostly eaten by the huge rats.

The Barge-folk were pleased to see the Watch (until Sir Ulysses of Adunhowe opened his big mouth!). Referring to the barge-folk’s exemption from City Tax because their boats remain a few feet out in the river, he snarled “Tax-dodging scum” at them (and a lot of racist abuse as many of them were Tieflings – including their matriarchal leader “Fiendish Flora”).

Despite Mulan’s diplomatic efforts the polite applause turned into mutterings of discontent.
Before the unrest grew to throwing rotten fruit, they unlocked the huge iron gate and entered the sewer. Large storm drains run along at this level with the steeper, narrower pipes angling down from the steep city streets above.

Inside, they used Abraham’s light spell (a pink glow cast on Ulysses’ axe) and trudged inside. There hadn’t been any heavy rain, so there was just a trickle of sludge and they mostly managed to stay to the sides.

After a few minutes they heard a disturbance – rustling and squeaking and then a pack of rats (some showing recent wounds) came scrambling out of the darkness. A swarm of normal-sized rats engulfed Ulysses and a couple of dog-sized rats attacked Abraham and Mulan.

The priest managed to sacred flame the rats a few times and he and Mulan finished off the big ones – Mulan fended them off with a Torch. Meanwhile the rat swarm nibbled painfully at Ulysses.

Suddenly they noticed what the rats had been fleeing from as a “bush” of startlingly bright green foliage dragged itself around a corner and crawled slowly towards them.
Mulan fended it off with a torch but then threw it and it guttered and went out when it fell into the slimy, wet mass of tendrils. The thing lashed out and seemed to do serious amounts of damage to the wall – it could have easily killed Mulan if it had hit!

Ulysses eventually finished playing with little rats and charged bravely (if a little foolishly) into the plant creature. It took his best hit and kept on coming, smashing him unconscious in a single blow. It kept a grip on him with its tendrils and began to squeeze the life out of him. Mulan leapt in to save him, dragged him out but then was knocked senseless as she tried to back out herself.

Abraham rescued them both by using a torch to drive it off and then using both his healing spells to bring them round.

They all lit torches and forced the creature back around the corner into a dead-end where one of the narrow pipes came down. There was a pool of bright green slime at the base of the pipe and some clusters of strange mushrooms. They burned the creature and Ulysses charged in to finish it off.

They emerged triumphant and Mulan managed to smooth things over with Flora and her barge-folk (although Ulysses is very unpopular). They tracked the source of the green slime to an Alchemist – the ancient gnome Ebenezer Sprackleroot. The gnome had been trying to improve crop yields, experimenting with potions of plant growth and tipping his failed experiments down the drain.

They eventually decided to let him off with a caution (easier than actually proving it was his fault) and they were given a few gifts of herbal soap and candles. Then things took a darker turn as Ulysses showed him some of the mushrooms. He identified them as massive versions of tiny psychedelic mushrooms. He admitted to sometimes using the tiny psychedelic ones for his own personal use. “Personal Use” is generally accepted in the city – but* selling drugs is strictly illegal.*

Ulysses then sold him one of the mushrooms!


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