Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Dungeon ADVENTURE!: The Artificer Affair

Session One: 19th Quatre, 504 A.S., Early Summer

The party enjoy a meal of mediocre food and complicated drinks at Ye Apis and Appel. After dinner, Thavick reveals why he has called everyone together.

An artificer of the guild: Master Gavril Voss, has abandoned his post, and has also stolen a book of rare and proscribed schematics. Shortly thereafter, an Artificers’ Guild caravan bringing supplies to the front was robbed near the hamlet of Comber. The caravan guards were drugged. Thavick’s old mentor suspects that the two issues are related, and has asked Thavick to search Comber for evidence. He promises compensation of expenses, which delights Marion.

The party decides to buy passage on a barge to Comber, which is located 30 miles away on the Henshire Canal.

At the docks, they meet Scoli Heartworm, an entrepreneur who scavenges equipment from battlefields, fixes them up, and sells them at a discount. Phinneas finds a pretty good longbow amidst the goods and convinces Ulfast to buy it for him. Several of the other party members stock up on arrows. Talia uses her cognimancy to influence Scoli, obtaining a slight discount.

Scoli Heartworm, Dealer in "Gently Used" Arms and Armor

The party finds that it costs seven silver, two bits each to take a barge to Comber. Phinneas and Ulfast try to pay for their ride by loading cargo on board the barge. This results in cargo nearly going overboard and potentially sustaining breakage. The captain of the barge offers to transport the duo for free, rather than risk any additional profit loss.


Upon arriving in Comber, the party travels to the Sad Horse Tavern, booking two rooms for 3 silver each. They stake out the common room and listen for rumors, learning the following:

  • Someone has been chopping down trees on someone else’s property in the woods north of the hamlet.
  • A guild blacksmith has arrived in town and is making at least one farmer miserable by charging high rates for her services.
  • A vagrant, presumably a refugee from the war, is sleeping in a ruined stable north of town.
  • A very drunk lady at the bar claims that she has seen a knight wandering around in the woods.

Thavick and Tegwin speak to the farmer with the missing trees, and convince him to hire Tegwin to watch over the trees later that night. The farmer readily accepts, and escorts Tegwin and Thavick into the woods. They find a fairly substantial logging area, where the trees have been crudely hewn down with an axe. Thavick leaves Tegwin there and goes back to the Sad Horse.

Aries offers to speak to the vagrant to see if he needs anything or to convince him to clear out of town. He gets directions to the stable and leads the group there. 

The stable itself is a tumbledown ruin surrounded by an 8’ high crumbling stone wall. It is also a stone’s throw from the logging area. Tegwin, who overhears the party arguing about what to do next, investigates and ultimately joins them.

The Ruined Stables

The Ruined Stables

When a knock at the gate yields no response, Tegwin boosts Marion over the wall. Marion notes that the battered gate has been reinforced with fresh wood on the inside, before lifting the bar and admitting the others. They find the stable dark and seemingly empty, its sole door locked.

Talia hears some clanking noises around the back of the stable and goes to investigate. The rest of the party follows. They spot a tall figure in armor walking their way. Phinneas hails the figure. In response, the armored figure crushes Phinneas in a bear hug and lifts him off the ground. In retaliation, Marion beans the warrior in the head with one of his many finely crafted throwing rocks.

In order to free Phinneas, Thavick kneels down behind the armored warrior while first Tegwin and then Aries hurl themselves at the warrior to knick them off balance. Tegwin bounces off the warrior and tumbles to the ground, but Aries succeeds! The warrior winds up flat on their back, Aries sitting on their chest.

Talia attempts to use her cognimancy to put the warrior to sleep, but is unable to sense the warrior’s mind. The reason for this becomes all too clear when Ulfast cuts the strap on the warrior’s helmet and pulls it off, revealing a clockwork “head” hidden underneath.

Before the party can act on this new revelation, the warrior decks Aries in the jaw, injuring him badly and knocking him sprawling to the dirt. As the party regroups, the clockwork warrior slowly rises… 

The Armored Warrior

Session Two

Tegwin and Phinneas wrestle the warrior to the ground, while Ulfast orders Daegal, her tiger, to sit on its chest. Ulfast and Thavick work together, pooling their artificing skill to deactivate the warrior. Tegwin manages to pry up the warrior’s breastplate, allowing for easier access. Between all these measures, and a few well-placed rocks thrown by Marion, the warrior shuts down.

Unfortunately, a self-destruct mechanism engages shortly after the construct’s deactivation, flooding its interior with acid. Thavick is able to save a single gearbox, and nothing else.

Victorious, the party searches around the outside of the stables. Aries inspects a seemingly ruined outhouse, which shows signs of recent use—as well as being recently reinforced on the inside. The party also discovers a small blacksmith’s forge, recently cleaned, and a well that has been recently cleaned.

Talia makes a circuit of the stables, peering in through windows freshly secured with iron bars. Aries clambers up on the roof, finds a gap in the thatching, and drops inside. He lands on a large conical pile of dirt, and finds himself in near complete darkness.

The rest of the party returns to the stable’s only door, which they discover isn’t locked. Phinneas opens the door, triggering a trap that brings a machete slashing down on his wrist. His armor absorbs most of the blow, thankfully, but the party suspects that there are likely more traps in the area.

Inside the Stables

A portion of the front of the stables has been turned into a living area, complete with a cowhide rug, fireplace, and filthy chair. Fresh firewood, barrels of preserves, and trashy novels are also present.

Thavick steps on the cowskin rug, triggering a large beartrap beneath it. Fortunately, the rug cushions much of the impact, but it takes some doing getting the trap and rug off of his leg.

Marion investigates a stall which has been converted into a bedchamber, narrowly avoiding the wire stretched across the floor. He cuts the rope of the bed, thus trapping the trapmaker. He also finds some useful compounds hidden inside a jar of rotting scrolls.

Talia investigates another stall that features a freestanding wardrobe and a table containing a small chest and a candelabra. She uses her polearm to pull open one of the wardrobe doors. This triggers a hidden mechanism that causes the wardrobe to come crashing down, narrowly missing her. After some study, the party finds and triggers the mechanism that returns the wardrobe to a standing position. Inside, they find several sets of well-made clothes, as well as a box containing artificer’s robes, a chain of office for the artificer’s guild, and some jewelry.

Aries decides to open the box on the table, triggering another trap that sprays the whole area with nettlesting dust. The box contains rocks and nothing else.

Down Below

Phinneas finds two more stalls. One has a door that is securely locked, seemingly from the other side. The other door is closed but not locked. Phinneas opens this and finds only a bale of rotting hay and a horse skeleton.

Tegwin decides to introduce the locked door of the final stall to his shoulder. He finds it securely locked from the other side, but he also notices a cable running from the top of the door frame to a nearby moose head on the wall. At Marion’s urging, he twists the left antler, which causes the door to unlock and open. This reveals an empty stall whose floor is covered with straw.

Talia sweeps the floor with her polearm and locates a trapdoor beneath the straw. Phinneas opens it, revealing a ladder leading down into darkness.

Everyone but Ulfast and her tiger descend into a large, roughly rectangular chamber deep within the earth. 

Fresh timber has been used to support the ceiling of this room. To the south is an artificer’s workshop, as well as a humanoid form laying beneath a sheet on a nearby table.

The party begins to explore. Thavick lifts the sheet and reveals a partially constructed construct, similar to the one encountered above, beneath it. Phinneas explores a small cave off the main room and bumps into another active construct. The construct socks him in the mouth with a gauntleted fist.

Beneath the Stables

Session Three

The party fights the construct. Ulfast and her tiger descend into the basement to offer support. Ulfast happens to notice a small box on one wall. She opens it, revealing a panel of numerous switches. She experiments with the panel, and discovers that flipping them detonates explosive charges in the ceiling, raining down debris. She narrowly misses Talia and Aries with the first two, but figures out the system well enough to finish off the construct with a third.

With the construct defeated, the party explores the rest of the basement. They find empty crates bearing the Artificers’ Guild logo, a garage-type door that is closed and locked, and a smaller door secured with a padlock. Ulfast manages to pick this lock. Opening the door reveals a small chamber containing a single large chest.

Marion throws one of his rocks, smacking it off chest’s lock plate. Convinced this has disarmed any trap, Marion boldly enters the room and throws open the chest. The chest contains a single folio, bound in unadorned black leather.

Unfortunately, Marion has not actually disarmed the chest’s trap, which activates and floods the chest with acid. Marion adroitly plucks the book out of the acid, burning his hand in the process.

Gavril Voss

Aries tends to Marion’s injured hand. Just as he ties off the final bandage, the garage door rattles up into the ceiling with a loud bang. A third construct—this one wearing a pair of strange leg braces—enters the room, followed by an elderly man who is dressed in dirty clothing and who wields a very strange, weapon-like contraption.

The man demands to know what the party is doing in his house. Talia replies that they are here on behalf of the Artificers’ Guild, and intimates that they are looking for him and the stolen book of schematics. The man, who is clearly Gavril Voss, asks if he could perhaps pay them to look the other way.

Gavril Voss, in His Artificer Finery

After some conversation, the party decides to take Voss’ offer. They will return what remains of the book to the guild. In return, Gavril offers to teach them artificing, pay them such money he has on hand right now, and hire them for some unspecified work later. He also provides the party with his master’s chain, as proof of his “demise”. Marion also warns him to seek another place to do his work, as the locals don’t like him very much.

Back to Weir

The party parts ways with Gavril Voss, rests at their rooms in the Sad Horse in Comber, and makes plans to return to Weir.

Marion, remembering that he cut the cords on Voss’ rope bed, giggles to himself at how he has cleverly hoisted the trapmaker by his own petard!

Realizing that paying for a return trip on a barge will cut into their dwindling funds, the party decides to walk home instead.

On the way, they meet Talan Lief, a friendly sylvani paladin of Cervyda. Talan tells them about a beautiful subterranean grotto that Cervyda sent him to tend. He has lunch with the party and then departs.

Sometime later that evening, the party returns to Weir. 

Talan Lief, a Paladin of Cervyda

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