The Smell of Gold

Adventure Log by Arpunia Add comments

When we opened the orphanage twelve years ago, we were limited in our options by the availability of reliable sewer access. The main channel ran down the city like a spine and the store fronts and noble houses in that area were not in our price range. Running a new line to the poorer parts of the town involved a 5 year wait list. We had almost given up on the project until one retired old artisan lent us his old textile shop. It was originally built as a bath house. The pools were later sealed and divided into smaller dying vats. We were able to reopen the drains and make private water closets for most of our rooms. Cracking the seals on those drains was one of the foulest smelling experiences of my life.  We hired a plumber to finish the job.  When he came into the building he asked us, “You know what that smells like?”

Traunk, ever the pragmatists, replied, “like shit.”

“No,” the plumber answered, “It smells like gold.”

muck muck muck muck

Over the past few weeks the city crier had been telling about sewer workers lost in the tunnels. A hefty reward of 1000 gold was to be given to those brave and successful enough to solve the case.  The Band of Blades was ready to hike back into Borros’ territory or sneak into the Dragon’s Delve but Skandale came down with a nasty cold. Not one to deprive him of a chance for revenge, we decided to look into this case of the missing sewer workers.

We entered the sewers with no direction from the people who maintain this place, no guide, and not even a map. Drom, Ox, Signore, The Wad, Alex, and I took up the challenge of navigating these sewers with new comer Larry.

I’ll not be kind in my description of the place. Everything that everyone in town let go from their asses last week has been slowly mixing together into a sludge that immediately filled our boots after the first step into this literal shit hole. Skandale better be healthy enough to leave town next week.

In one intersection we ran into some zombies led by a cunning ghast. They were a little upset that we interrupted their rat supper. Ox kept them out of our hallway with his lanky reach attacks while another group approached us from a slippery chute on our right flank.

The zombies were organized and did not charge directly into our ranks.  The battle was turning into a stalemate as the undead stalked us like trained hunters looking for a weakness.  Ox tried to quickly bring a resolution with a massive arching swing at one of the passing zombies.  The head of the weapon splashed into the sewer sludge and sprayed gray muck all over the front of his breastplate and onto his stubbly dwarven beard.  That failed all-or-nothing attack disrupted his aim for the rest of the night.  The undead in front of us seemed to laugh in a strange language saying, “þurh þæs sylfes hand þe ic ær onsended wæs” and moved to retreat down the dark tunnels.
Larry bounced a vial of holy water off of Ox’s shoulder to drop one of the zombies.  Ox and Drom switched battle positions. So that Drom went to the front with the receding ghast and Ox suppressed the flank attackers.   Alex moved to Ox’s side and smacked himself in the ear with a bastard sword.  One zombie took advantage of the now deafened Alex and stunned him with a charge attack.  The valiant Alex dropped his bastard swords in the slippery channel.  Ox ran up the slippery floor, slammed into the zombie then bounced back into Alex.  Alex fell on his back letting the fecal water run up under his tunic.

I took a shot at the retreating undead with my crossbow.  The large bolt sunk into the ghasts shoulder and brought him charging back into melee.  His strike paralyzed my body.  The Wad grabbed my cloak and pulled me back into the safety of the intersecting chamber.  Signore power-leaped over the short half-elf and brought his great sword down upon the ghast, destroying it.  The remaining zombie moved up and raked a claw across signore’s chest. Drawing no blood but smearing him with evil filth.

Larry hurled a volley of holy water vials into the flank.  The splash damage killed another two of the undead humanoids.  Alex was able to stand up and flank the remaining zombie, effectively ending the fight.

shit hole

Once the undead were cleared out, we saw a lantern light from another party in the distance.  They seemed to ignore our calls and ducked down a side corridor.  We never saw them again.  The party was about to trek up the slippery chute when we were greeted by the slop-slop-slop sound of someone approaching.  Ox readied his glaive but luckily did not swing as the elven form of Xan sauntered into our torch light.

Our group, bolstered with reserves, we pressed on through the underground passages to find a collapsed wall.  Behind it was an ancient room of the make that The Wad, Skandale, and I uncovered a couple of weeks ago.

We found a shrine to a dwarven goddess and another stone tablet for the deciphering skills of Ellios and Doc.  We also found an Otyugh feasting on a room full of garbage.  It grappled Alex.  I charged him but caught my lance on the doorway.  Alex broke the grapple and positioned with The Wad to flank the stinky beast from behind.  Ox and Signore swung at the beast but did not stop it from grabbing Alex again.  The Wad and I pressed the attack with devastating results.  My lance pierced the beast’s defenses but bit into thick armor.  The Wad’s double short sword strike pierced the same area.  Unfortunately, the beast was not wearing armor and we both hit the now unconscious and dying Alex.  Drom sprung into the grapple, swatted the beast’s tentacles aside and poured a healing potion down Alex’s throat.  We were able to end the fight with cautious strikes into the trash monster.

Although these ruins were not part of the sewer, they somehow managed to smell even worse.  Ox communed, “Is there a bad Oder coming out of a hole?”  I thought he might be talking about the hole in Alex’s leg or Drom’s hind quarters but thought it best to not reply.  Signore climbed up the stinking hole to find that it led to the site of the city’s dump.

We wandered around the sewers for a couple of hours and eventually came across a wooden platform piled with corpses. Ox jumped up and kicked one of the bodies and it animated.  As these newly formed zombies were born into undeath three ghasts ran down the hall and smashed into The Wad. He stood his ground and stabbed into the first one.  Ox swung his great axe into the zombie at his feet and collapsed the wooden floor.  All five zombies dropped into a swiftly moving underground river.  Ox grabbed the ledge and pulled himself up into the sewer but dropped his enchanted great axe into the river.

Alex, Signore and I fought the zombies on a similar platform.  We were making quick work of them until Alex moved into the center of the platform.  The soggy rotten wood gave way and all of us fell into the river current below.  The water smashed us against rocks and walls.  I lost my shield somewhere in the dark waters.  It seems like minutes between each breath as I struggled upside-down to find a way out of the current.  Then in an instant, my fingers left the rough walls and my body slammed into what fell like a stone floor.  The side of my neck stung from the impact as the last breath of air was forced out of my lungs.  I gasped but again found myself surrounded by water.  It filled my mouth and felt like swallowing a lead hammer.  My legs and arms flailed in the darkness and I coughed out the water.  Without thinking I took another breath but this time I inhaled air.  I coughed again and tried to look around.  In the distance a torch sparked alive and gave out a dim light.

It was Alex.  We had been dropped down a waterfall into a large unground lake.  Thankful to be alive, I swam for what looked like a shoreline.  Then Alex screamed and was pulled under the water.  A gigantic white-fleshed cave wurm jumped from the water and bit at Alex with fangs the size of a church spire.  They left a dark green residue on his armor.

I caught Signore also making his way to the shore.  Alex was able to get to land and retreat to the far wall.  The beast then turned to me and bit through my armor, dropping that poison slime into a deep deep wound.  I might have screamed, I might have passed out.  I’m not sure what happened in that dark cave.  I remember standing on the shore seeing Signore slice at the beast with his great sword.  Alex was collapsed against the wall of the cavern, knocked out of this fight.  Alive on dry ground, I decided to leave nothing out of this battle.  This fish must die.  I threw my voice behind a bolstering Song, leveled my lance, and charged at the beast.  It took another bite at me but did not stop my momentum from driving the lance 2 feet deep into it’s soggy flesh.  I let go of the weapon and drew my sword.  When we dropped the horrid creature I was surprised to see Alex, bleeding profusely from his shoulder and swinging in melee.  I looked at Signore who looked on the corpse with a distain for which I have quickly grown accustom to seeing.  He called it an abomination against all life and went about carving the corpse into shreds.

It was not until we collapsed on the beach in exhaustion that I realized that the air smelled clean; despite the oppressive evil taint in my bones, the cave was quite refreshing.  My healing potion seemed to have no effect on me and our torch lights were dimmed by something more than water.

Shockingly, Ox walked on shore to join us.  He was not wearing any armor.  He asked, “Ye ain’t seen me axe down here have ye?”

Alex laughed, coughed blood and laughed some more.

Drom and Xan splashed down the waterfall a few minutes later.  They had finished off the zombies in the sewer above then rested a bit, took off their armor, and jumped in to pursue us.

Ox yelled at them, “No, I said go back to town.”

Drom replied, “We are not leavin’ you alone down here”

“Where is me armor an musket?” ox asked

“Meatwad is carrying that back to town, we will meet him there.”  Drom said.

Ox cursed in a dwarven tongue then went about digging in the rubble for his missing axe.  He found that and precious object for our fierce berserker, a magical great sword.  Nature boy’s eyes were set aglow by the object.

When we inspected the place, we found it to be the entrance to an ancient and evil temple.  Behind some doors, we found that our sunrods were snuffed out and the halls were again filled with more zombies.  Signore and Ox formed an impressive front against the undead and cut them down like grass.

Happy to be given the rough wash in the river, we were eager to find out way out of the caverns and back into our beds.  We cracked the seal on a pair of large brass doors to find a altar in a circular smooth-finished room.  On the altar was the corpse pierced with an ancient longsword.  Signore moved to remove the object as Alex inspect it’s design.  Between them and the rest of the party, rising from the stone itself was the ghostly figure of a woman.  IT shrieked like an injured owl and raked claws at Signore.  The touch went right past his defenses and seemed to sink into his flesh but drew no blood.  His face turned white and he said in a whimper, “this is why I did not want to fight undead.”

spectreOx swung at the spectre and was also greeted by a ghostly attack the reach through his armor and into the core of his being.  Xan moved to the side and filled the space with arrows, most of which passed right through the ghostly figure.  Alex swiped at it with his swords to no effect.  It again reached into Signore.  His body collapsed as if no longer vacated by a living being.  His knees hit the ground as his spine bent backwards and folded over like wet parchment.

I looked to Ox and asked, “Will this thing fight in sun light?”

“It abhors the light” he responded.

I tried to think of a way to lead it up a crack in the back of the room but Larry had a more direct approach.  He lit a sunrod that gave out light to only a five feet radius and threw it right at the specter.  This time its shriek reverberated and did not stop.  The rest of us found it significantly easy to hit and were able to drop it before it claimed another victim.

With that creature slain, the oppressive evil taint in the air seemed to loosen its grip.

We looked at Signore, and Ox claimed that only a master priest in town would be able to bring him back.  Ox was not looking all that good either.  We hoisted Signore on my shoulders and led Ox over the fissure to look for an exit.  We could see a sliver of daylight and stepped out of the room.  Alex, was intent on seeing what was under the altar in the center of the room.  As we are all leaving, he lifted the top and released an explosion of black energy into the area.  At first he screamed in pain, but it quickly dissipated when he looked into the open compartment.  Inside we found a duke’s ransom in platinum and gold along with a great Maul blessed by ancient clerics to be the bane of undead, dealing double damage against them and glowing in their presence.

We quickly took the loot and promised to return and explore the rest of the rooms of the temple when best we could.  Back in town it cost us some 2000 gold to get the party back into health.  Signore shook off the effects of the specter’s touch and berated us about the bad bad things that happen when we fight undead.

Maul

The orphanage will make a good profit out of this adventure, and I still had enough to upgrade my best equipment.

Truly, that plumber was right; the sewers do smell of gold.

Tonight's Cast:
Captain Arxaggus "Ox" Dunnbuldanngen, Dwarven Myrmidon - Tristan
Signore, Human Berserker - Keith
Meatwad "Phyllis", Half-Elf Executioner - Connar
Xanytha, Elven Archer - Heather
Drom Fragula III, Dwarven Weapon Master / Berserker - Jeff
Arpunia, Human Executioner / Woman-at-Arms - Eric
Prince Alexander, Human Weapon Master - Mike
DM - Paul
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