It was getting late at the temple and we decided to let our friend (kidnapee) Marco go, after Tesora gave him a stern talking to behind closed doors. Anna, our contact at the temple, said we shouldn’t even be talking about going to the catacombs while we’re guests at the temple, but, we should definitely talk to her before we embark… anywhere.
Althia and Morwys
The next day, Althia goes to visit Morwys (Maurice?), the temple’s head scribe, to try and glean more about the Underworld from the temple’s books. Unfortunately, even with Anna’s recommendation, Althia’s charms aren’t enough to persuade Morwys to let her see the special books, but he does let her look at the regular histories of Salverenia. Fortunately, Althia is awesome at reading books and gets a lot of info about the catacombs from even those meagre sources. She learns that there are at least three entrances: 1) under the castle, 2) in a guard tower, 3) in Death’s temple in the witch’s quarter. She also learns that the undead we are most likely to face are Ghouls (whose touch is paralyzing to all but elves and half-elves) and Ghasts (whose touch is paralyzing to all). Rarely, we might also encounter spectres or shadows – but they can be fought with corporeal weapons just as the ghouls and ghasts can. Althia tries one more time to gain access to the better books, but ends up wasting the afternoon listening to Morwys pay suit instead.
Bartering with Jin
Meanwhile, Verion, Tesora and Rudolfus head to the witches quarter to 1) get some grasshopper legs for Verion’s jump spell and 2) get some details on this Rofa the Sightless – namely how can we get her to open the door to us. We come to Jin’s stall and Verion, after he gets his legs, starts pressing him for information about Rofa. (Tesora also gets a jar of spiders.) Jin says he could set up a meeting with someone who could introduce us to her, but it will cost 10gp each. Tesora puts on some pressure – almost causing a scene in the market – and manages to drive the price down to 3gp each (and another jar of spiders for good measure). He would tell us more the next morning when Rudolfus comes back – alone.
Spied On in the Market
The next morning, Rudolfus and Althia go to visit Jin with Tesora and Verion (less and more) unobtrusively waiting in the wings. He grumpily tells them that one person should go to the Sapphire tavern at dusk and order the Blue Dragon tea. One of Rofa’s contacts will approach. We agree and Verion notices that a woman is watching us. He confronts her, but she walks away. We toy with the idea of following her, but don’t know what we would do if we caught her and so decide to drop it.
At the Sapphire
At the Sapphire, Rudolfus is approached by a raven-haired half-elf who strangely resembles his daughter, but seems to be of no relation. She says she is Rofa’s apprentice and that we can’t pay Rofa gold to get the info we want. Dracian, who she hasn’t seen in over a month, purchased access to the Underworld by performing jobs that Rofa needed done. She has two that need doing. Completing one will gain us access to the Underworld; completing both will also gain us protection. Job 1: go to a visit a pagan elf hermit and persuade him to part with his carved wooden idol of a swan. Job 2: deal with some zealous ruffians who are picking on magic-users. This woman, Marsha, fortunately pays the 3gp that the tea costs. Rudolfus will meet her later with out answer.
Temple of Death
We quickly agree that there is no way we’re going to steal from some poor guy living on his own, but that we all (especially Verion) have no problem roughing up some prejudiced thugs – assuming they’re behaving as badly as Marsha says they are. We proceed to do some reconnaisance to find out – hence, back to the witch’s quarter. On our way, we realize we might be able to bypass these missions and just go down into the Underworld by way of the Temple of Death. And so we pay a visit. Knocking on the door of nondescript building summons a doorman/priest who doesn’t believe that we have come to visit because we have lost someone. Althia wants to turn into a wolf (or a huge spider). Verion wants Althia to turn into a wolf. Tesora wants to push this door in and march right down into the catacombs. Rudolfus, in a moment of weakness, gives the okay. Things happen quickly. Tesora forces the door open demanding access to the Underworld, but the priest loudly accuses us of breaking the law and summons guards. We hear mailed bodies approaching and Verion hears something inhuman demand “Meat… Hungry…”. We hesitate and the priest says he’ll forget all this if we leave. Now. So we do. (Tesora spiking a spider jar on the way out.)
And we head to our favourite watering-hole, the Black Dog. Verion notices a guy with a snake-tattoo nursing a drink and a broken arm. He approaches him and persuades the fellow that he, and his friends, are magic-users looking to rough up anyone giving magic-users trouble. Verion is going to make a name for himself. We find out that the ringleader of the mage-bashers is a blacksmith named Helm who works in the Southern Quarter.
Rowdies at the Rooster
The Rooster, the main pub on the main square of the Southern Quarter, is not the sort of place where an elf, a half-elf and a half-orc feel welcome. We tell the bartender we’ve got business, paying business, with Helm and he says he’ll pass it on. We find a table and eventually Althia gets sent a drink by a table of young men. She decides not to drink it, but Tesora isn’t one to pass up free booze. It’s disgusting and there’s hair in it. She marches over to the table, picking out the most snickery person to inform ‘This drink is on you,’ before dousing them with it. They leap up to engage her and we leap up to back her up. It’s a quick brawl. Tesora and Rudolfus grapple some of them while Althia and Verion do some slugging. (Althia again considers the merits of being a wolf.) In the end one is knocked out, two are prone and the last one is cringing. But, the tavernmaster has a crossbow and wants us to leave. We do and our weapons are eventually chucked out after us – minus a few. Rudolfus complains and is barely able to out-intimidate the barkeep into giving us the rest.
On the way back to the temple Althia gleefully turns into a wolf, Verion jumps high and wide and Tesora uses up her final lay on hands.
A Deal is Struck
The next day we meet Marsha and agree to take on the task of schooling Helm. She says he works for Mastersmith Leonardo and has two thugs that would definitely back him up and a number of other friends who are less reliable. He also leaves the town every few weekends to do something in a nearby town, but she doesn’t know what. Rofa wants him gone from the town. Permanently. And she doesn’t care how.