May 20, 2017

Sarril in Greyhawk

When we last left off, Sarril had escaped the Daern's Instant Fortress with the rest of the party and the babau demons locked in stasis inside. He went to Greyhawk in the hopes of finding someone or something powerful enough to help deal with these monsters.

DM's Note: some of the players quickly pointed out to me the next day that I made a mistake in sizing these creatures, since Monster Manual II clearly states they are 7+14 HD, and I misread it as 14+7 HD. It is true, I did make that mistake, but I feel justified in treating them with the higher HD given that these creatures are described as eating Type IV demons for lunch, and that's no small thing. They also needed to be very challenging for the players, some of whom, after factoring in Sir Gerard's Protection from Evil aura, have as low -8 AC. Even these 14 HD creatures were having trouble landing blows. But most importantly, the players shouldn't be looking up stuff like that if their characters don't have access to the research material, though I accept that we've all been playing the game for so long that very little is secret.

After a chance meeting with Ravel Dasinder, High Patriarch of Boccob (who makes his office inside the University of the Magical Arts), Sarril was able to learn much about the babau demons, but was not able to obtain any other help from the High Patriarch. He then went to Otto's house in the Garden Quarter only to find it empty and now guarded by golems (which luckily Otto programmed to not attack Sarril). Sarril decided to spend the night in the spare room so he can go to the Guild of Wizardry and seek to join in the morning.

Being the apprentice of Otto, he thought he could walk right in and they would welcome him. It turns out, there is a protocol, and this protocol would not be waived for anyone. To enter the guild in order to petition to join, one must have their name placed on a list by dusk the day before. No amount of arguing on Sarril's part would get around this. So Sarril went to the University of the Magical Arts in Clerksburg (the academic district in Greyhawk) and met with Tobin Potriades, the Senior Tutor and known friend of Otto. After much discussion, Tobin agreed to add Sarril's name to the list if Sarril would do a favor for him. It seems two of his students were recently murdered in the Foreign Quarter, where an increase in cult activities has resulted in several kidnappings, murders and arson, with two university students being the latest victims. Tobin asked Sarril to investigate and determine who was responsible and report back to him in exchange for sponsoring guild membership.

Under an assumed name, Sarril checked into the Silver Dragon Inn in the Foreign Quarter. The Silver Dragon Inn is the largest and most famous inn that part of town, and is the place where the two murdered students had been staying. Sarril was able to meet the proprietor, Olaf Al-Azul, who was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Using the inn as a base of operations, Sarril set about retracing the last known steps of the students, hoping to uncover some clues as to what happened. He learned much about the Foreign Quarter during this time, including the kinds of businesses and people in the area, the power structure of the district (things are unofficially run by a mob boss named Duke Garand) and much of what goes on in the underground at dark. He learned about the recent arson against local businesses, the kidnapping of merchants and, specifically, how the murders were taking place - unknown assailants shooting poisoned arrows out of a covered wagon, seemingly at random. That evening, another attack took place as Sarril was leaving the Red Serpent Restaurant, and he sent his familiar, Krek, to investigate overhead while he cast a flight spell on himself and went invisible. This led to chasing to suspects in opposite directions. The first suspect ran to the Temple of Pholtus in the River Quarter, where he appeared to be pleading with the guards outside for help, but was turned away. The second suspect ran into an alley and activated a secret door that led underground. Sarril followed that suspect into what appeared to be "The Pit," an underground gladiatorial arena either run by, or supported by Duke Garand (despite such combat being illegal in the city). Sarril came to the conclusion that these were not suspects, but bystanders, and decided to stop the investigation for the evening.

Rather than return to the inn, he returned to Otto's home, deciding to use the portal inside the home that led to the corresponding house in Chathold, just to see if Otto might have left a note. It turns out he did. The note confirmed that Otto would be unavailable for a while, but more importantly, it was written on the back of a magical scroll - Otto's final gift to Sarril, a Stone to Flesh spell. The note also informed Sarril that Chathold was no longer safe, a fact that was soon reinforced as Sarril overheard shouting from outside demanding that all citizens swear fealty to Duke Szeferin and hand over the traitor named Kevont. A loud banging on the door came shortly thereafter, and an unseen servant inside the house spelled out a warning to Sarril to leave immediately. After Sarril ran back through the portal to Greyhawk, the portal closed behind him, sealing off that means of entry from future use.

Sarril headed back to the Silver Dragon Inn and spoke to Olaf and arranged to have private access to the lower-level bakery for 15 minutes. There, he restored the shrunken statue of Pontus on the stone floor, and burned the Stone to Flesh scroll, bringing Pontus officially back into the world at noon on the 21st Day of Flocktime, CY 579.

1 comment:

  1. Bah. Monster Manual entries are just the broadest of templates--points of departure as it were. I think you were the one who first told me about the wild inaccuracies of medieval bestiaries: lions born dead and licked to life, that sort of thing. In short, no justification required!