Glass & Wrath
The PCs are approached by a timid elderly halfling woman named Bethana Corwin, a maid at the Rusty Dragon. She’s obviously upset.
She tells the party that her employer, Ameiko, has gone missing. Bethana woke earlier this morning to find that Ameiko hadn’t started breakfast for the first time she could remember. Worried, she knocked on Ameiko’s door but didn’t get a response. Against her better judgment, she entered the room to find it empty and the bed un-slept in. Worse, she found a crumpled piece of parchment near the bed—a note from Ameiko’s older brother Tsuto.
Bethana hands the PCs the note. Although it was written in Kaijitsu’s native tongue (likely to keep prying eyes from reading it, Bethana muses), Ameiko had been teaching Bethana the language over the last few years. The halfling has helpfully translated the note’s message on the opposite side.
Bethana explains that Tsuto was something of a scandal when he was born 21 years ago, since he’s a half-elf. She sagely notes, with big eyes, that neither of Ameiko’s parents are elves. It was obvious that old Lonjiku wasn’t the boy’s father, and his rage at the discovery of his wife’s indiscretion was the talk of the town for months. His wife Atsuii never revealed who the father was, and it’s a testament to Lonjiku’s stubbornness that they remained
married. Tsuto was handed over to the Turandarok Academy to be raised outside of the Kaijitsu family, ignored by his father and forbidden visits from his mother. His older sister visited him in secret a few times a month to keep him company, bring him some food, and promise him that someday things would get all sorted out. That all changed six years ago, when they had a terrible argument in which Tsuto struck Ameiko. Bethana doesn’t know what the argument was about, but whatever it was is what sent Ameiko away from Sandpoint for a year, during which time she made a living as an adventurer. She returned to Sandpoint five years ago to attend her mother’s funeral. Tsuto was quite public in his opinions that his father had pushed Atsuii off the cliff to her death, and during the funeral there was a confrontation. Lonjiku nearly broke Tsuto’s jaw with his cane, after which Tsuto cursed him and left Sandpoint. Ameiko’s tried to reestablish contact with him ever since, but was never able to track him down.
Bethana’s worried that he’s up to no good. Since Sheriff Hemlock’s out of town, the PCs are the only ones she can turn to. She begs them to head over to the Glassworks and find out what happened to Ameiko as soon as possible.
When the PCs arrive at the Glassworks, they find the building curiously silent. Neighbors, primarily women, have noticed the party outside the Glassworks and are shooed off with the excuse that their will be imminent danger. A quick investigation of the building perimeter reveals that curtains have been drawn over the windows and all the doors are locked. Furfis and Saladim successfully climbed up to the roof to investigate the skylights that looks into the main furnace area and are the first to discover that the Glassworks are now under the control of goblins. Meanwhile, Lazrin breaks into the retail display area to let Nethsomethinglong…, Ting!, Kali Bahn and Berl in.
The display area is trashed and the PCs slowly pick their way through the building finally arriving at a door where they can hear hear what sounds like high-pitched giggles, shrieks, and breaking glass over the roar of the furnace. Ting! and Neth make sure the outer door is unlocked in case a quick egress is needed and then our heroes burst into the main furnace room to find…
A long furnace burns along the southeast wall of this equally long room. Marble tables sit throughout the chamber, used to work raw glass into usable shapes, with nearby wooden tables cluttered with various tools of the trade. The building’s furnace rumbles loudly. The main furnace burns at the northeast end, a large chamber that utilizes alchemically treated wood that burns with a hot blue light. This room is a gruesome display of goblin boredom. The bodies of the eight murdered staffers lie in various stages of dismemberment; the goblins have been burning legs and arms in the furnace with glee, and pouring melted glass on the remains in an attempt to duplicate Tsuto’s masterpiece…. his father’s body, propped up in a chair in the central alcove and encased in thick runny sheets of hardened glass.
And the fight is on! After much using tables as battering rams to push goblins into the furnace, dropping ponies from the ceiling, and a little PvP action between Ting! and Saladim the PCs prevail, but not before the goblin hero leading the onslaught against them escapes.
After the fight and a failed attempt to see where the goblin leader ran off to, several of the party hear a crash, like wood being bashed and discover a forced door leading to a side passage with a stairwell descending to the basement. On inspection they they find a storage room where the dust has been disturbed like someone was lying on the floor struggling as well as several lengths of fresh cut rope. Another storage room has been turned into a makeshift office in which they find Tsuto Kaijitu’s journal with three excerpts that stand out from the rest and a monstrous, demonic illustration of “his love”. In the final room they investigate, the PCs discover a tunnel that heads north carved through the bedrock of Sandpoint.
Following the smuggler’s tunnel north they find a couple of branching tunnels, one of which has recently had it’s bricked entrance broken through. Naturally, the PCs venture down this tunnel heading northeast and slowly turning north until the run across a cave on the eastern wall and are attacked by a sinspawn. After defeating the creature they leave the cave and continue north immediately running into another tunnel heading east that leads through the broken wall of a finished room. The original purpose of this chamber is unclear, but large mounds of rubble lie strewn on its floor. An investigation of the rubble reveals that most of it seems to have consisted of broken urns and other pottery containers that once held food stores, long since crumbled to dust.
The wall to the north has an unlocked door in it leading to finished halls. The eventually end up in what appears to be a welcoming chamber. A red marble statue of a strikingly beautiful but, at the same time, monstrously enraged human woman stands in the middle of this room, her stony expression twisted in fury. The woman wears flowing robes, and her long hair is held back from her face by an intricate headdress of hooks and blades. In her left hand she carries a large book, the face of which is inscribed with a seven-pointed star. Her right hand holds a glittering metal and ivory ranseur. Kali Bahn manages to pry the ranseur out of the statue’s hands for Saladim.
Continuing north the party finds what appears to be an ancient prison. A rickety wooden platform overlooks the room, with two flights of stairs descending to the prison floor ten feet below. A five-foot-wide wooden catwalk runs from the northern edge of the platform to a passageway to the east. Two sinspawn are preoccupied fighting each other and the heroes manage to sneak through the room on the catwalk above them. Ting! released her owl to distract the sinspawn and keep them occupied while the party moves on into an interrogation chamber. This room contains several ancient relics of what appear to be torture implements, although their function and style seem strange and archaic. In one corner sits a spherical cage with spikes protruding inward from its iron bars. In another stands what appears to be a star-shaped wooden frame, its surface studded with hooks. And in the center of the room is a long table covered with leather straps and a number of cranks that seem designed to rotate and swivel.
Through a door on the south wall of the interrogation chamber the PCs find an ancient study. The crumbling remnants of several chairs and a long table clutter the floor of this room. To the south stand three stone doors, each bearing a strange symbol that resembles a seven-pointed star. The three doors to the south were once prison cells. Within each is a single skeleton of a badly deformed humanoid; one has three arms, another has an enormous misshapen skull, and the third has a rib cage that goes all the way down to its pelvis—a pelvis with stunted leg bones strewn below its strangely flat girth. Searching the room reveals a single intact scroll that once translated by Furfis is revealed to be a flaming sphere (CL 5th) spell.
The party leave the study and interrogation chamber through a door to east and descend a long stair case to a strangely cold chamber with a ceiling that arches to a vaulted height of twenty feet. The floor contains eleven wooden lids strewn haphazardly over eleven five-foot-wide pits in the ground. From the darkness within these pits echo up strange shuffling sounds and, every so often, a low moan. As they enter the room they are attacked by Koruvus, a badly mutated goblin. After a pitched battle that saw the defeat of Koruvus, a large mutated goblin hero with arms sprouting from his shoulders and legs from the back of his head, the party played fish-in-a-barrel and killed the zombies in the pits for a little extra XP.
Travelling down a corridor to the south they came upon a large spiral staircase leading down that was blocked by rubble. Through a door at the end of the corridor they found…
This strange room consists of a fifteen-foot-diameter sphere. Several objects float in the room, spinning lazily in space—a ragged book, a scroll, a bottle of wine, a dead raven surrounded by a halo of floating and writhing maggots, and a twisted iron wand with a forked tip. Yet perhaps the most unnerving aspect of the room is the walls, for they are plated in sheets of strange red metal that ripple every once in a while with silent black electricity that seems to coalesce into strange runes or even words far too often for the effect to be chance.
Once the scroll was deciphered it was found to be an arcane scroll of burning hands(CL 3rd). The book is a magically preserved but still ancient prayer book dedicated to the worship of Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, and written in Abyssal. The book reads as much like a bestiary of the world’s most horrific and cruel monsters (along with numerous woodcut illustrations of how they kill) as it does a religious text. The iron wand is a wand of shocking grasp. And having found a dead end, the PCs gather the booty that interested them and turned around. On the way back they were ambushed in the interrogation chamber by the two sinspawn from the ancient jail. It was a pitched battle and Lazrin nearly died.
The party made it’s way south back past the entry hall with the red marble statue (and the long dark stairwell leading east off of it) to the first hallway they past coming in. Down this hallway they turned southeast to discover an anteroom with double doors on the southeast wall and a dais set into the northeast wall. Sitting atop the dais is an ancient altar, little more than a jagged block of black marble with a shallow concavity on top of it. This basin is filled with what appears to be filthy water. Berl immediately takes a sip from this Shrine to Lamashtu, makes his save but still becomes violently ill, vomiting. Thankfully, the rest of the party managed to save, avoiding a cascading vomit effect.
GM’s NOTE: Had Berl failed the save the water would have taken root and driven him mad, inflicting 2d6 points of Intelligence damage. If reduced to 0 INT he would have undergone a horrific transformation as the Waters of Lamashtu unmade him and then reformed him into a monstrous, deformed parody of his previous form. His INT score would heal normally, but his new maximum Intelligence would have been 3. Each of his deformities would have been unique, representing Berl’s “inner monster;” an example of what the waters have wrought on a particularly violent goblin are presented in Koruvus.
Recovering from the episode, the party enters The Cathedral of Wrath to the southeast.
This huge room looks like nothing more than an immense underground cathedral. Stone doors stand to either side of the main entrance, but beyond this, the walls are carved with strange, spiky runes. In the center of the room is a large pool, a ring of polished human skulls balanced on stone spikes arranged in a circle around the deeper midsection. At the far end of the room, a pair of stone stairways leads up to a pulpit on which sits a second pool, this one triangular and filled with churning, bubbling water that looks almost like translucent lava. Yet while wisps of what look like heat and steam rise from the strange orange liquid, the room itself is deathly cold. As the party enters they notice a tiny quasit, Erylium, near the pool of orange liquid. She immediately flies into a rage and screams, “Who dares intrude upon the Mother’s sanctum?!” then slashes her own wrist with a dagger allowing her blood to drip into the the runewell before her. The notices the glow of the runewell diminish slightly and Furfis and Saladim both note a sudden look of worry cross the quasit’s face. A sinspawn forms from the skull circled pool and the party is attacked by a vargouille lurking the shadows of the cathedral.
The ensuing battle sees two of the quasit’s minion sinspawn put down by the party as well as the vargouille. All present also avoided the kiss of the vargouille and its resulting horrific effect. Erylium vanished before the party could reach her.
Investigating the two small side rooms of the Cathedral reveal a small gold statue of a woman identical to the one in the entry hall and a silver statue of a human male engraved with the words “Our Lord Malfeshnekor”, neither having a magical aura. Packing this loot — Kali Bahn with the gold, Ting! with the sliver the party heads out of the Catacombs of Wrath and up to the glassworks foundry in arguing chaos about what to do with the statues. Several wanting to melt them down and sell their base metal, others wanting to sell them as is. Before the party can react, Ting! went with her gut instinct and cast the silver statue into the foundry destroying it almost instantly. Kali Bahn nearly did the same with the gold in the dim notion that he was “helping” melt it down but was stopped by Furfis in the nick of time.
Having thought better of melting the statues the PCs return to town. Upon inspection, the PCs realize that the statue has slightly changed, it’s face taking on subtle canine features, belly bulging slightly, hands and feet becoming claw-like, and two lumps rising at the shoulder blades. Saladim’s appraisal prices it in the neighborhood of 300 gp for just the gold it’s made of, but approximately 3700 gp to the right bidder. The party immediately troops into Sandpoint Boutique hoping to sell the relic and they are immediately thrown out by Hayliss Korvaski, the shop’s owner, for no reason that they can discern. Even trying to return without the statue and plead their case meets with obstinate resistance and screams to keep that evil thing out of her shop. “Ah ha!” the party deduces, “it may not be magical, but it does have an evil aura!”
Covering the statue and hunting about town they come upon the Fatman’s Feedbag. If the Hagfish is Sandpoint’s most popular tavern, the Fatman’s Feedbag is it’s most notorious. Barfights are common, and Sheriff Hemlock typically has to come down here two or three times a week to sort them out when they grow particularly violent or loud. But in the middle of the afternoon all the players see upon walking through the front doors is the enormous human male bartender behind the bar. While Berl, Ting!, Lundgrimn, and Neth… wait outside as the door swings shut behind the rest of the party. Furfis and Saladim approach the bar also noticing another human male in a far corner booth. Saladim sits at the bar calmly and orders tea, while Furfis and Kali Bahn go for something a little stronger. The rotund bartender, Gressel Tenniwar, has everything within arms reach and quickly produces drinks for the party. Furfis and Kali Bahn approach the man in the corner and Furfis introduces himself and alludes to the fact that they might have something of great value to sell. The man is nonplussed. Things go south quickly as the bar patron, Jubrayl Vhiski, doesn’t want to be bothered without seeing the merchandise, gets irritated with the halfling constantly jumping up and down on the table, and pulls a crossbow training it on Furfis’ head before he has time to react. Needless to say, Kali Bahn reacts by going for the throat. The tense situation is diffused but Vhiski now wants nothing to do with Furfis or Kali Bahn.
Enter the calm voice of reason… Saladim. After reasoning with Vhiski and giving him a glimpse of the statue (which now appears more jackal-headed and pregnant with tiny wings sprouting from the shoulders) he offers 2400 gp for the statue. After some haggling and the price not really going anywhere Saladim leaves with the statue coming to the conclusion that perhaps they should take the evil statue to the kindly (and good) Father Zantus. He immediately recognizes the now winged, clawed, pregnant, jackal-headed figure as Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters and offers the PCs an 800 gp bounty for the statue. The PCs, though hoping for more, accept the bounty and rid themselves of the nuisance.
GM’s NOTE: The fate of the evil statues was a moral dilemma that Paul & I cooked up. Had the PCs sold the statue to the clearly malevolent Jubrayl Vhiski the entire party (except for Ting!, who had made the moral, and in-character, choice to destroy the silver statue) would have incurred a one step alignment penalty in the form of a shift down to either chaos, neutral, or evil depending on their current alignment. As it was, the moral choice was made and the party was rewarded with XP. Expect to see more of this type of side scenario.
(Parts of the above text copyright Paizo Publishing)
Continued in Burnt Offerings – The Story So Far, Part Four… Coming Soon!