Noivos' Most Wanted

I Ain't a Rat!
The Bounty Bites Back

While returning from Narunn's palace, their pockets jingling with treasure, Dogaeen received word that the kuo-toa were once more infesting the sewers of Noivos. He dashed off to stop their spread, leaving the party at the mercy of several children who wanted their autographs. Keith managed to scratch his name onto one's wood cutlass, and Woodsy presumably did something, although he is probably not literate. Drew a picture of a bear, maybe? Derryk and Dennis are still personas non grata.

Then, Woodsy was accosted by a desperate tiefling begging him to save his community from a rash of mysterious kidnappings. Although Woodsy failed to place the name, he did remember that he mooched off the tiefling's hospitality on several occasions. The tiefling was happy to explain that several people who had housed Woodsy in Callweather had begun to go missing, starting a few days after Kapala's untimely execution.

The gang trouped over to Callweather to investigate. Callweather is the westernmost district, haphazardly pasted onto a series of limestone islands onto the landward side of Noivos. The buildings are small and crooked, and patches of civilization are accessibly only by bridges, ropes, or just wading through the shallow water. Callweather is the home of hundreds of low to middling income laborers who pride themselves on their close-knit community and strong sense of hospitality. This attribute was undoubtedly what Woodsy targeted when choosing a district to leech off.

Anyway, Woodsy received a warm welcome. He has been staying here for years, and has performed a number of valuable acts, such as Sleet Storming over a cesspit so the children could ice skate across (completely blind and often falling over, but whatever). The tiefling, Norr, brought the party to the house of the latest victim, a half-orc carpenter named Aly'n. Along the way, Norr explained that he and the other inhabitants of Callweather had been inspired by how Woodsy teamed up with friends to accomplish his goals, so he had instated a Neighborhood Watch. The Neighborhood Watch had initially attempted to find the culprit, but their investigation had only succeeded in destroying any hints potentially remaining at the house. Aly'n's wife, also a half-orc, informed the party that he had been taken on his way to the outhouse, about forty feet away.

Sensing no leads remained at the house, the party moved to the outhouse. Most of them discovered only a fantastic smell, but the most observant saw that there were no rats. Callweather had its share of pests, all of which seemed to be absent in the area. Woodsy used Speak with Animals to network around the local rat population, eventually determining that a new, very mean clan of large rats had moved into the area.

They went to a house where the Big Rats had recently been seen. A few Mage Hand pokes around the trash heap revealed a giant rat the size of a small dog, which Keith promptly killed. Further searches revealed another giant rat, which revealed it had been eating these people, and yet another, which they were able to literally squeeze for information. However, the rat really only spilled his guts in return for a souffle, telling them that its boss, "the Big Cheese", wanted them dead. The boss could be found in Seaside. Then, the party bundled the rat in a sack and handed him to a halfling woman, who promptly beat it to death with a meat tenderizer and made a delicious giant rat goulash. Derryk abstained.

Later that night, they made their way over to Seaside. Woodsy talked to the rats again and found out the big rats were common near a huge trash staging area to the north. (Noivos collects the trash and loads it onto a barge, then dumps it farther out into the ocean. Ecology!) They went there, finding a dive bar called the Mousetrap. They attempted to ask about the local pests and were only met with suspicion from the barkeep. However, three men sitting around the tables recognized them from their wanted posters and attempted to capture them. They were overcome due to everyone's efforts. Two of them were run out of the bar, killing themselves as they sprinted over Woody's thorns. Keith captured the last one. Derryk did stuff but it was under-appreciated as always. They looted the corpses, gaining wanted posters, a 50ft rope of spider silk, 2 sp, and several belt buckles with the design of an Ouroborous rat around a map of Noivos.

They interrogated the remaining man, who turned out to be ratfolk after he attempted to slip his bonds by turning into a rat. He told them that the secret entrance to their hideout (located in the warehouse adjacent) was behind the casks in the bar. Keith killed him because lol.

They entered the tunnel (Dennis bent double because the ceilings were 6 ft) and walked for a quarter mile before finding a ladder leading up to a trap door. Along the way, they encountered several rats, which quickly dashed off to inform the others. As a result, by the time Dennis poked his head above the trap door, the ratfolk were in the midst of packing up their whole operation.

Of greater interest were the lines of eggs along the walls and the presence of two driders aiding in the packing. At the far end of the warehouse were two thrones. One was made of humanoid bones and occupied by a woman shouting orders. The other was shrouded by a thick layer of webbing.

Although Dennis was the only one on the ladder, he went last in initiative, much to everyone's frustration. Eventually, after a few Spiritual Weapons, Hastes, Lighting Strikes, Vicious Mockeries, and double-weapon attacks, the party gained the upper hand. Woodsy escaped the fray and set about destroying the eggs, first obscuring the ratfolks' vision with Sleet Storm, then destroying the eggs with Wall of Fire. When it seemed they would win, a drider crept around the warehouse and ambushed them from behind, right in front of Derryk. Rather than flee like the squishy mage he is, he bravely stood his ground and Viciously Mocked her, finally reducing her to gales of laughter with Tasha's Hideous Laughter. Between himself and Keith, she was seriously injured. At the same time, Woodsy blocked off the exits with Erupting Earth and the ratfolk fled out the only remaining exit: behind the drider. She attempted to stop them, but seeing that it was inevitable, fled with them. 

The party celebrated their victory by looting the corpses and destroying the remaining eggs. The eggs contained half-mature spider/human hybrids, more uniform than driders, with eight eyes and hairy bodies. They attempted to find the Plot Hook, but were somehow struck temporarily blind. Fortunately, Monty came in at the clinch and located a Shiny, which turned out to be a bejeweled portrait of a young Aelim Kapala.

Notable discussions and Quotes

  • Rat testicle size
  • "I'd rather you vore me than talk me to death"
  • The Big Cheese
  • "What have you done to big rats?"
  • stabs someone he had promised to let go "What? I have a reputation to maintain."
  • aRACKnids

Fatalities:

  • 15 ratfolk (450 xp each) 
  • 5 giant rats (25 xp each)
  • 1/2 drider (500 xp)

    • Total xp: 7,500 
    • Level: 7
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O Captain My Captain
Adventures in Boating

The aboleth, clearly having had enough of nosy adventurers, began the session by sinking back under the swampy water. No attempts were made to communicate with it or find it again, which was probably for the best.

The party continued down the road, eventually reaching its terminus: a stretch of beach with three barges tied to posts sunk into the mud. There was a makeshift crane for lifting supplies, and a path cut through the mangroves just wide enough to let a boat pass. The barges were identical to the one the party had taken from Narunn's men. 

Their treasure fit comfortably when stretched between two barges, but they decided to bring along fourteen horses (twelve from the wagon, and Dennis and Derryk's mounts) on the third barge. The horse barge was lashed to a treasure barge, and Woodsy was in charge of keeping them calm as Keith navigated. Dogaeen took the other barge with Derryk, and Dennis was with Keith.

They began to pole off the beach when some noticed scouts watching them from the mangrove. Woodsy was able to trap one in a Sleet Storm, but the other fled deeper into the woods. They were briefly stalled on underwater detritus and reached the main body of the Corun River after thirty minutes of poling. Once on the water, they immediately noticed there were two boats about a mile upriver, poling towards them quickly. Woodsy got into the water as a crocodile to investigate. It was Green Helmet and her men, trying to close the distance. Since both parties were traveling downriver and Green Helmet had more men, it seemed that they would soon draw within bowshot.

Due to his superior knowledge of the Corun River, Keith realized that they had 10 miles (20 minutes) before they would reach the river delta, which split the 100 ft wide river into thousands of tiny channels. If they could reach the delta, they could lose their pursuers in the watery maze.

Keith immediately procured a faster ship by unfolding his boat, which transformed into a 70 ft double-masted sloop. (The DM is not sure if she specified it could turn into a sloop, because that's not in the manual, but 1) it sounds like a dumb thing she would do, and 2) it will be convenient later on.) Then, Dennis used his superior strength to haul two 1000 lb crates per minute (Derryk Hastened him), and Dogaeen assisted Keith. They put all fifteen crates on the ship and were in the process of loading the horses when Green Helmet finally draw near. They fired a few arrows at Woodsy, but he then hit them with Sleet Storm. The horses were loaded and the party successfully reached the river delta.

As they sailed away, they felt a scream of rage from the aboleth's lair rattle their bones.

The seasoned pirate, Keith, took charge of navigation and, in the heat of battle, completely forgot when the tides were coming in or out. Near dusk, he sailed them into a huge sandbar, lodging the ship firmly on its crest. The tide would not come in again for six hours, so they mounted a watch and settled down for the evening.

In the wee hours of the morning, just as Keith and Derryk were switching watches, Derryk noticed a scrabbling sound on the side of the ship. He went to investigate, and was immediately netted by kuo-toa and dragged into the water. Keith raised the alarm. None were as excited as Dogaeen and his hellish companion, Kaine. They leapt into the fray, eager to take more kuo-toa hearts for their collection. Kaine developed a particularly good slam tactic, where it used its telekinesis ray to lift the kuo-toa 30 ft in the air before dropping them for bludgeoning damage. Dogaeen stayed with his tried and true Eldritch Blast.

Meanwhile, Derryk escaped the net and Woodsy entered the water as a crocodile. Keith hauled Derryk aboard, where he was able to Viciously Mock the kuo-toa. Just when it seemed they had won, Dennis felt a worm latch onto his skin. The party turned to see the misshapen, worm-filled corpse of a Spawn of Kyuss. 

A short battle ensued, where some of the kuo-toa were frightened off or killed in Woodsy's jaws, and the Spawn of Kyuss killed without cursing anyone else its form. Dogaeen gained four kuo-toa hearts for his hook, and Raziel was presumably pleased. 

The rest of the night passed peacefully and they successfully sailed their sloop into Noivos and delivered their cargo. Narunn awarded them 300,000 gp, which they split into 60,000 gp shares. They split a share between Derryk and Dennis as thanks for their help. The bounty hunting duo also claimed their 50 gp bounty, and decided to join the party in return for better loot. 

The only loose end was the matter of the missing treasure's final destination. Narunn tasked them with scouting the three locations upriver that the treasure seemed to be going towards. He let them make a copy of the coded ledger and map to aid in their search.

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Derryk Bonbarrion, OC Do Not Steal!
And Dennis

Even before taking a well-deserved long rest, the party decided to scope out the rest of the abandoned temple. They also found more treasure stored in another room, but it was about a third of what they had been expecting from Narunn's report.  Near the exterior, they found three wagons and twelve draft horses, as well as a coded ledger appearing to detail the schedule of Narunn's shipments. Keith was able to figure out the symbols for numbers and just enough to realize that the temple was just a temporary holding facility for the loot. Upon reaching the temple, the treasure was divided into three portions of different sizes. The largest and smallest portions were being brought 5 miles downriver. The middling portion was transported 40 mi. north, past any civilization and into the desert. Keith knew that not many people returned from exploring that far away from Noivos.

The party then decided to take their overdue long rest. Dogaeen and Razael took first watch with Kaine, positioned near the rubble pile at the entrance, and Keith and Woodsy slept in the room with the most treasure.

Meanwhile, an erstwhile pit fighting pair — the goliath Dennis and his hype man Derryk — rode through the underbrush towards the temple. They were chasing a 50 gp bounty on a wizard wanted for blackmail in Noivos. The wizard, Royce, had been a freelancer until he had joined a gang of questionable morality and skipped town. They had traced him back to this ruin.

Dennis and Derryk climbed the temple steps and rappelled through the skylights into the central courtyard. The rough stone proved easy terrain for Derryk, but Dennis' hands, slick with sweat, slipped on the rope and he fell to the ground. Shaking this off, they crept through the tunnels and found their mark, dead on the floor with his heart missing, with two sleeping people nearby. They decided to try to swipe Royce's body out from under their noses and almost succeeded, but Dogaeen had heard Dennis' fall and woke Keith and Woodsy. Derryk and Dennis attempted to run for it, and Woodsy stopped them with a Sleet Storm. Dogaeen unleashed the Hunger of Hadar into the Sleet Storm, pummeling them with the slimy black tentacles. Keith decided to head them off, and ran out of the temple, back up the steps, and found their ropes. He cut one and slid down on the other. 

Meanwhile, Derryk and Dennis managed to escape the Sleet Storm and continue fleeing towards their ropes. Keith was there to stop them. A somewhat civil discussion followed, during which Dogaeen managed to convince them that he was not responsible for the tentacles. Dogaeen also refused to hand over Royce's body for some macabre reason, and before the talks turned nasty again, the party heard the unmistakable squee of an angered bullywug. Keith quickly promised to pay the bounty hunters a hefty share of his current contract and let them keep (most of) Royce if they would stick around to fight off the bullywug. 

Derryk and Dennis agreed, and in the nick of time. The bullywug teleported from thin air and began to attack. Woodsy was swallowed for a time, but they managed to defeat it and beat a hasty retreat. They loaded the treasure onto the wagons, hitched up the horses, and fled into the forest. They made good time, especially considering the poor construction of the road, and had gone three miles by sundown. They stopped, satisfied with their progress. Before they turned in, Woodsy watched a lizard drink from a pool of water, then immediately die. This was considered an ill omen, and they posted a watch.

As night fell, eerie sounds began to float in from the trees on either side of them. They doubled the watch and prayed for the best. A little after midnight, they received their first visitor: a fawn with a baby's face sewn onto its skull, walking on broken legs with bones protruding from the knee. It wanted them to leave. Keith killed it. Shortly thereafter, they were visited by a rat with a human hand growing out of its back, who carried the same message. Now sufficiently spooked, they readied the horses and woke up everyone. The next surprise was a swarm of wasps. And then another swarm of wasps. 

At this point, they were driving twelve horses in total blackness on a rough road bracketed by creepy forest. It was no surprise, then, when their horses began to stumble and break their legs. They had to stop several times to heal them before continuing their reckless pace. The most observant of them noticed six worgs — three undead, three alive — chasing their caravan. At this point, Derryk and Dennis were riding in the back on their horses, Woodsy was controlling one wagon, Keith was controlling the middle wagon, and Dogaeen drove in front. 

A worg jumped onto Derryk's horse and Dennis attempted to strike it off, but accidentally hit and seriously injured the horse. Derryk and Dennis fell behind and killed the worg by themselves, then healed the horse and caught up with the party. Woodsy turned into a bear and launched himself off the wagon, hitting the worg and sending them both under the hooves of the last wagon. Dogaeen killed the others with Eldritch Blast and Keith killed another that had jumped into his wagon.

Finally, the worgs were defeated and they were able to continue at a slower pace. At dawn, they reached a point where the road left the forest and bisected an enormous swamp for half a mile. There was no cover, except for a thin layer of pearly mist covering the fetid waters. Keith realized this was where Green Helmet's bandits had been bringing two shares of Narunn's treasure. 

Then, those with sharp eyes noticed an aboleth watching them from the water…

Fatalities

  • 1 banderhobb
  • 2 insect swarms
  • 6 worgs

XP

  • 2400 xp
  • Level 6
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You Guys Were Supposed to Be Captured for Exposition Reasons
Oh Well I Guess You'll Miss Out on Important Information That I Refuse to Infodump Later

Having successfully sneaked past the guards, the first order of business was to inspect the walls. 2/3 party members were convinced the temple was actually dedicated to snake porn. Dogaeen encouraged everyone to walk ahead so he could study the drawings in better detail.

Their surroundings were generally dark, with just one tunnel leading into the distance. They followed it without a light, as all of them had darkvision. Soon, they arrived at the first chamber, which was an enormous room that contained nothing but some vegetation and crumbled rock. They could tell it must have been magnificently decorated at one point, with holes and patterns that suggested metal inlay and gems.

They passed through another long tunnel without junction and heard voices in the distance. Woodsy wildshaped into a rat and scurried forward to investigate. He entered another huge chamber, comparable in size to the one they had already investigated. He found several guards sitting around a table, playing dice, next to several enormous crates, then informed the others via telepathy. Dogaeen rang the dinner bell for his Children and let them eat. Woodsy ran into a pack and proceeded to nibble his way through some bread and a perfectly ripe mango.

After the bandits were dead, the party immediately cracked open the crates and found them stuffed with treasure. However, it was not nearly as much as Narunn had told them to expect. They continued onward. The tunnel on the other side again continued without any side passageways. The light at the end was daylight, so Woodsy turned into a rat again to scope out the place.

He emerged into a wide stone square, about fifty feet on each side, with an assortment of rubble in the middle. An ancient stone table dominated the center. The walls rose another seventy feet on every side, and were open at the top. By the architecture and distance traveled, it seemed that the party had reached the heart of the temple.

something happens i forget

Keith sprinted into the center of the square, keen on distracting the archers long enough for Woodsy to climb the walls. He took cover beneath the table, but to his surprise, the arrows appeared to pierce the stone. The whole table was an illusion, as well as several other nearby piles of debris.

 

 

 

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