We begin this episode’s third and final session with our severely scorched and wounded heroes ushering their rescued slum folk prisoners over the dead bodies of a pair of Selirathian flame serpents and into rift in the city’s bedrock as they made good their jailbreak of the Mordant Hand’s Wall street barracks.
Having just completed their second fight of the night our heroes had achieved a milestone, with all the good stuff that brings. They were however in desperate need of a chance to take a breather and salve their wounds. They deemed it unwise to stop within the boundaries of the barracks complex, given that the alarm could be raised among the mercenaries above at any moment. Instead they trod the loose soiled path down into the underground rift to which the back end of the Hand’s smuggling tunnel had led them. Cheshire and Niveus Corvus (I think) led the way. I seem to remember that the revenant and knife man were feeling their way in complete darkness at this point. After they’d put a few bends and twists between them and the Hand’s tunnel exit they decided to risk taking a breather, counting heads and bandaging wounds in the light of a muffled glow stone.
Discussing which way to go led to a consensus that they should follow upstream the foul smelling stream that trickled along the bottom of the subterranean rift they were in. The trickle seemed to be well rotted waste water, (more grey water than raw sewage), and the reasoning was that following it upward might lead them to one of the sewage tunnel systems that various districts of the city had dug for themselves. There was some worry that it might lead to the backyard so to speak of whichever non planar faction the Mordant Hand had set up their smugglers tunnel for… But it was deemed that the risks of delving downward and perhaps getting lost among the deep caverns, or the shadow ruins of the city below were just to great to expose their rescuees to.
With their scouts once more on point the party forged on blindly upward, like moles. Soon enough Cheshire spotted a light ahead. It turned out to be coming from a wooden sluice which projected down into the rift from high up one side. The sluice was also the source of the flow of sewage water and formed a narrow passage leading up out of the rift and into a large, torch lit space above from which the sounds of splashing, and of voices (small folk voices) came down to the gathered adventurers and ex-prisoners.
After sending either Niveus of Cheshire up to scout, it was a simple matter for the others to climb up the chute, helping those less able as they did so. The party found themselves standing on a wooden decking at water level on the bottom of the inside of a truly massive brick cistern. It was a scene of great industry. Sewage tunnels let out their flows at various intervals up the sides of the cistern and a great wooden walkway had been built in a spiral up the inside of the walls in such a way as to pass close under as many openings as possible. Timber framed nets extended off of the inside of the walkway to intercept the various “waterfalls”, and rough planked sluices diverted water into water wheels whose slow turning axles drove grinding mills and threshing machines that filled the air with their noise. Among it all gnomes, goblins, and the odd human or dwarf slaved. Running barrows back and forth, sieving the flowing streams of sewage, or loading the great central cargo hoist with sacks of ground grain, and baskets of ripe mulch. Squalid shacks squeezed in anywhere possible among the mills and engines, along the edges, and even underneath the wooden spiral walkway showed where these workers lived.
I think it was Skurd who realised where they were. He’d heard of the Downflows, a district of the undercity run by ruthless gang bosses and worked by the desperate, and those who’d defaulted on debts or otherwise run into trouble. This was the place where course meal from which half the cities slums made their bread was ground, the place famous for “mining” the wastes of the aristoi quarters for treasures lost or flushed away. Somewhere up there where the third turn of the spiral reached the shadowed roof there would be the exit they sought, one that led up onto the city streets.
Our adventurers had a few words on the best way to approach things but quickly decided to just walk up on through and face whatever trouble tried to stop them. With the nervous rescuees in tow they started up the walkway. The workers seemed determinedly disinterested in the heavily armed band of adventurers who’d pulled themselves up out of one of the overflow chutes. Aside from the odd furtive glance, or desperate scuttle to clear out of their way the party were largely ignored. Trouble was not long in finding them however. A kobold ganger (or was it a gnome?) with his arms dangling along the staff he’d laid over his shoulders stepped out of a shack and bailed them up before they’d quite gotten halfway around the first spiral. He was backed by two large, and burly looking hobgoblins.
The ganger demanded to know what they were doing, and let them know in no uncertain terms that there’d be a toll due if the adventurers expected to pass through the surface this way. Our heroes were conciliatory, offering to pay and asking how much (as players shuffled character sheets to work out if they’d left any spare cash in this episode’s builds). The ganger, Phetos by name, considered and pointed to the woman among the slum dwellers they’d rescued, saying she’d do and to hand her over.
Naturally this wasn’t an acceptable trade for the Doormen. Things looked like they were going to turn violent at any moment. Several archers were spotted, slinking into position at the edge of the walk way half a spiral above. The gnome in charge of the cargo hoisting platform was also seen to reach for some kind of magician’s staff, and the hobgoblins were grinning in anticipation. Our lads may have bound up their previous wounds, but most of their daily powers were exhausted and they were running low of the consumables they’d brought with them.
That was when Elenari invoked the name of the Eastgate society of friends. Saying he was sure Kiptos would be happy to arrange recompense, if all assistance and courtesy was offered to the folk he’d hired the Doormen to protect. This worked wonders and, unwilling to start a gang war with the surface collegia, Phetos ushered the heroes and their slum folk rescuees through. Soon they were on the streets above and on their way to the Society safe house. Kiptos was happy, the Doormen got paid. They’d won solid favour with the Eastgate society, and the players had managed to complete both the primary and secondary objectives for the episode (bonus fate points).
+1 fate point – Amovere,Dr Rick, Echmoth, Elenari, and Ravek (for attending)
+3 fate pts – Amovere, Dr Rick, Echmoth, Elenari, Felthen, and Ravek (primary objective complete – free the prisoners)
+2 fate pts – Amovere, Dr Rick, Echmoth, Elenari, Felthen, and Ravek (secondary objective complete – avoid a hue and cry)
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