A Return to Misgivings (Pt 2)
Scenario Level: 2
Scenario Length: 2 Sessions
Peter – Falcor Rayaes, Dwarf Fighter (U.S.S Constutution, AKA ‘Old Ironsides’)
Erv – Tara, Half Elf Monk (I’ll cover you from back here, … waaaaaaay back here.)
Craig – Iago, Human Ninja (Mr. ‘I’ll start a 2nd level Ninja even though I haven’t met the 2nd level requirements and the GM doesn’t allow eastern-flavored classes.’ (cough, campaign manager’s privilege, cough!))
Rewind: Back in the basement, there were actually two cocooned creatures still living in Shelob’s pantry: Tik Tok and Iago. After freeing both, Morvahna decides to escort Tik Tok back to the cellar (where she secretly plans to torment the Not Nik Naks with her undead minions, the evil bitch!) Meanwhile, Iago agrees to join the party. Back in Sandpoint, she heard rumors of a dragon lairing in the manor and tried to pull a ‘Bilbo Baggins’; however, she faired no better than the kobold at getting past Shelob. The party ascends the stairs, dispatches the sleeping guard, and steals themselves for whatever comes next. (Aaaaand action!)
The party tentatively enters the main hall prepared for the inevitable onslaught of screaming kobold warriors only to be greeted by the silencel. After a brief discussion they decide to investigate the rooms leading off the main corridor. To the west, the corridor opens into the main entry with a number of stuffed animal heads on the walls and a large stuffed manticore standing guard in the center of the room. Tara also notices that the kobolds have erected a swinging, spiked log trap above the main outside entrance door. When she enters the room to disable the door trap, the tail of the manticore releases a flaming spike that lands a severe blow to the monk. Deciding to avoid this room altogether, they head west into what appears to have been a dining room. Fires still burn in the unoccupied room, giving indication that the current residents can’t be far off. There are two doors leading from the dining room, one north and one south. Iago tries to slowly open the south door when a small, clawed hand grasps the door and rips it open. Battle is joined when a group of Nik Naks begins slinging bullets at the ninja. Though weak and easy to kill, there are quite a few of the creatures, all of which are eager to inflict what damage they can. Falcor starts laying about with his warhammer, dispatching kobolds with every swing, while Tara remains in the dining room looking for a clear shot with her bow. Unfortunately for her, another group of kobolds comes screaming out of the north door to the rear and pepper her with a number of bullets. While Iago cleans up the remaining warriors in the south room, Falcor returns to the hall, hoping to engage as many of the new combatants as possible in order to relieve Tara of the target on her back. The battle is short, but nasty. They bring down all 12 kobolds, but suffer significant damage (man, a healer sure would come in handy about now, huh?)
The party investigates the south room and discovers that the former library has been turned into a nesting site for the kobolds just dispatched. Falcor forces a stuck door connected to the library and finds a small drawing room that has been exposed to the elements for some time and has grown thick with mold. Fortunately for him, dwarves are nigh immune to the spores that permeate the air here (it’s just not right that a 2nd level character can have a +15 Fort save bonus, not right at all.) The rest of the party wisely avoids the room and backtracks to the dinging room. It’s now that they notice a crude mural on the outside of the door leading into the basement. A kobold skull and crossbones with the draconic words, “Bad Juju! No Go!” Obviously a warning against entering Shelob’s lair (wouldn’t you know it, the newly created ninja that joined the party just so happens to speak draconic … what a coincidence!)
They investigate the north room and find that this former lounge has been turned into a nesting room as well. They proceed down the hall off this room where Falcor opens a door about half the way down. The wretched, vile stench that emanates from the room, resulting from the current residents using the former bathroom for its intended purposes, overcomes Iago who rushes to the nearest window to relieve herself of the contents of her stomach. Falcor finds the smell quite pleasant and actually makes him somewhat homesick (seriously, a +15 Fort!) The commotion, however, draws the attention of the occupants of the next room down. Another group of Nik Naks charge through the door into the hallway, the lead kobold engaging Falcor with its spear while those behind sling stones. The creatures manage to land a number of hits, but are hopelessly outmatched by the dwarf and his BFH (Big Fucking Hammer!) Within a few rounds, only one creature remains. Wanting no more of this one-sided fight, the kobold retreats back into the room, which is immediately followed by a loud crash. By now, Iago feels well enough to rejoin the group. Together, they enter the former dancing parlor to find the escaping kobold skewered on a swinging, spiked log trap that had been set above the main outside entrance door, but which now swings free before the opening as the doors have been smashed out. The rest of the room contains nests much like the rest of the rooms they’ve encountered.
The party returns to the main hall and opens the one door remaining; a flight of stairs leading up to the second floor. As the party ascends, the entire mansion is rocked by a shift in the ground and a thunderous crashing noise. Tara, bringing up the rear as usual, notices a thick cloud of dust billowing out from the basement door. They correctly assume some kind of geological event has occurred in the basement. While they contemplate going back down to investigate, Tik Tok, having given Morvahna the slip, emerges from the stairs caked in dust. He informs them that a new hole has opened up in Shelob’s old lair and that he would be willing to check it out if they promise to take him to see The Great and Powerful. The party remembers from Kasa’s tale that the manor was built over a system of caverns where the Legendary Five discovered the source of the manor’s abominable nature as well a numerous undead. The party agrees with Tik Tok’s proposal, sending the defenseless young juvenile kobold into the dark, dangerous depths while they continue on their merry way (nice.)
Falcor carefully opens the door leading off the stairs into the second floor; however, his superior dwarven stealth skills fail to prevent his detection by two kobolds standing guard nearby. Falcor lands a solid hit, but the kobold doesn’t drop; these are obviously kobolds of a sturdier stock. Even so, the two guards drop fairly quickly to their concentrated might and the group moves into the main hall where they notice two sets of double doors. The doors leading west are painted with a crude mural of a large purple colored kobold wearing courtly garb and wielding a flaming sword it uses to lop the heads of a group of much smaller humans; obviously the route to Tartuk (talk about an ego.) The doors across the hall show a huge red dragon, wings spread wide over hundreds of small kobolds all dancing and genuflecting at its feet. Avoiding this door like the plague, Falcor moves up the hall to see what else there is when the doors leading to Tartuk fly open and two more of the more robust kobolds step out into the hall, slings a-blazing. Behind them, two additional guards sit behind an upturned table, using it as a barrier. On the other side of the room stands another set of double doors standing partially open. The kobolds score some quick hits on the lightly armored Iago and Tara. The melees maneuver into position to engage while Tara remains in the hall looking for an open shot. In the heat of the battle, Falcor feels an odd tingling sensation as the hairs on the back of his neck standup. The party also hears some strange incantations coming from somewhere nearby. Just as the battle seems won, the doors to the rear burst open and a large red dragon steps out into the hall (the sound you just heard was of three sphincters tightening up!) Tara, overcome with dread, runs headlong down the stairs and out the mansion’s entrance (and was more than willing to continue on all the way to Sandpoint had she had her way.) Iago and Falcor, realizing that if the dragon is real they’re toast anyway (literally,) offer up a silent prayer and continue to make quick work of the remaining kobolds. The dragon does little more than stare at the two, which lends credence to their assumption. This is confirmed when Falcor takes a swing at the dragon only to have it and the open doors disappear. They stand again before the closed doors with the dragon mural on it.
Correctly assuming Tartuk to be some kind of caster, they return to the partially open door and enter. Before them, dressed in his regal robe and courtier’s cap, Chief Tartuk sits atop his throne. He screeches maniacally at them in draconic about their interference in his plans, but that he will set things back on course after he finishes them off (blah blah, blah, evil mastermind monologue, blah.) Tartuk does some significant damage to Falcor with his wand of magic missiles, but that is all he and his poisonous lizard companion is capable before the party, now rejoined by the out of breath Tara, quickly pulverizes them (so after rolling 1’s on my concentration checks and attacks, my level five sorcerer gets off one shot of magic missile before getting dropped like a bad habit, … just … fucking … awesome.) A quick search turns up a key, which appears to fit the locked door to the dragon’s room.
The party argues back and forth between entering the dragon’s room and returning to Sootscale as agreed. Now convinced that the dragon was a hoax conjured by the dead Tartuk, the party unlocks the door and enters, only to come face to face with the real red dragon (suckers!) The room is quite large, with the ceiling to the attic above removed so that it is double the normal height. The back wall is also removed exposing the room to the outside, right above the 300 foot cliff that drops to the ocean below. The dragon rears up and in a loud booming voice addresses the party, “WHO DARES ENTER MY LAIR!” Iago, as timidly as possible identifies the party and asks who it is. “I AM COZ, THE GREAT AND POWERFUL!” Falcor, the engineering genius that he is, determines that this is not a real dragon at all, but rather a mechanical apparatus of some type. So now (with meta-gaming mode kicked into high gear,) the party ignores the dragon and starts searching the room, all the while the dragon tells them to stop what they are doing and close the door, first forcefully, than in an increasingly higher and more pleading tone (ignore the man behind the curtain.) The party finally closes the door and orders whoever is operating the dragon to show themselves. Expecting another kobold to appear, they are shocked to see a halfling crawl out of a trap door leading into the dragon’s belly.
My name is Cozmo Daedalus, a tinkerer by trade. I left Magnimar about six months ago and came to this abandoned mansion because it offered me the ideal conditions to work on my latest endeavor, non-magical flight! However, since I’m not magically inclined, I knew the only way to make my dream a reality was to invent my own flying apparatus. So I came here, and I planned, and I built, and I experimented, … and I crashed. I lost count of the number of times I crashed, but I was determined. So I studied dragons; the biggest, most ungainly, the most poorly designed creature for flight that I could imagine. I figured that if a creature such as that had mastered flight, they must have a secret inherent design advantage. So I built my apparatus to mimic exactly the greatest of them all, the red dragon! Well, … that and red was the only color paint I had. About a week ago, I finished my masterpiece and alighted over the side of the cliff on my maiden voyage. Only thing is, … I didn’t actually fly so much as fall in a controlled manner. Sure the powerful winds driving up the cliff face drove me to dizzying heights, but after I left the updraft, try as I might to stay aloft, I was inexorably pulled back down to earth.
Unbeknownst to me, I had attracted the attention of a tribe of kobolds during my glide back to the mansion. Not long after making my arrested landing, I was surprised by the chief, a kobold named Sootscale. I was terrified at first, but Sootscale was more curious than anything. He wanted to know who I was and what I was doing, but more than anything, he was interested in my dragon apparatus. He told me of his tribe and their journey and his plans for their future. I was even more shocked at this revelation: imagine a kobold, interested in nothing more than peace and security for his tribe instead of war and mayhem. Then it hit me, we were kindred spirits, Sootscale and I. We were both on a journey that had never been attempted. As a fellow ground-breaker, I felt duty bound to assist this uncommon little creature to achieve his goal. So, we put our heads together and came up with a plan.
I would pretend to be the Nik Naks dragon god. The Great and Powerful Coz would dispense new laws, giving voice to Sootscale’s will for peace. In return, Sootscale agreed to let me have my own wing of the mansion in which to continue my work, locked up so no one could get access but Sootscale himself to prevent any curious kobolds learning our secret. The plan worked to perfection, even keeping in check Tartuk, until Sootscale brought in a jug of hard cider to celebrate our partnership. We drank a bit excessively, and Tartuk ended up stealing the key off of a drunken Sootscale. When Tartuk snuck into my chambers and discovered the truth, he threatened to have his warriors disembowel me unless I declared him the new chief and endorse his plans to attack Sandpoint. And to make sure I didn’t give him the slip, he disabled my dragon. So, I did Tartuks bidding, all the while secretly making repairs to my apparatus with the intent of making good my escape and warning Sandpoint of the impending assault. I was nearing completion when you arrived.
The party assures Cozmo Dadedalus (check your Greek mythology) that the threat has been dealt with and that Sootscale and his kobolds are still alive. They return to the cellar of the Not Nik Naks and inform Sootscale that Tartuk is dead, most of the Nik Naks have been dealt with and that the Great and Powerful has declared him the chief again (wink, wink.) Sootscale, quick on the uptake, thanks the party and declares to the remains of his tribe that he must go and consult with the god, … alone.
With the Not Nik Naks busy settling back into their lodgings, the party decides to head down into the newly exposed caverns. Tik Tok informs them that there is a good room and a bad room and will accompany them to point out each. The party descends into the dark, twisting tunnels, stumbling upon the long dead, burned corpses of ghouls left over from when the Legendary Five cleansed the place. They come to a large cavern when Tik Tok balks, stating ‘Bad Juju’ lies within. The party enters on guard. A pile of old, gnawed on bones fills the center of the chamber. Predictably, a group of six skeletons arise from the bones and attack, clawed hands dealing telling blows to the lightly armored Iago. While Iago’s slashing and Tara’s piercing attacks seem to deal little damage to the relentless undead, Falcor’s BFH smashes them to powder, making quick work of them. With all members gravely wounded from the long morning of relentless assaults, the party contemplates continuing on. However, they assume the skeletons must have been in the ‘bad’ room as described by Tik Tok, so they press on. The group moves to the next chamber to find a huge cavern with a high ceiling and a winding ramp circling down a deep hole to a pool of thrashing water. On the north wall of the chamber, a stone door stands ajar. The party begins to enter when they hear the high pitch screech of the caverns inhabitants, two very large and very hungry dire bats. Tara, having suffered the least damage to this point stands at the fore (for a change.) Hoping to bring the creatures down before suffering any more damage, they are quickly disheartened when both dire bats drop to the ground in front of Tara and land devastating blows. Tik Tok rolls his eyes in frustration as the party, deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, quickly retreats back outside to regroup (Tik Tok had been able to stealth past the bats to the ‘good’ room behind the door no problem.)
After a quick run back to Sandpoint to spend the balance of their coin purses on healing potions which they immediately consume, the party rests outside the servant’s quarters before returning to the caverns after dark. Now mostly healed up, they enter the central chamber to find it vacant (if anyone would have bothered putting points in knowledge(nature), they would have known that bats leave their caverns to hunt at night.) The party enters the room behind the stone door to find a table loaded with trinkets and the remains of the wretched horror that Vorel Foxglove had become upon his failed transformation, burned and destroyed by the adventurers five years earlier. Upon the table they find a number of love poems addressed to someone named Be’lanna and a number of crude pornographic drawings of, it can only be assumed, this same person (lolz, Be’lanna is quickly becoming an underground pin-up nudie model!)
The party, having defeated the threat to Sandpoint, uncovered the truth behind the thefts of the farmers, uncovered a long ago murder, discovered the secret behind the red dragon sightings, and able to secure the safety of what appears to be a peaceful group of kobolds; sets out for Sandpoint to inform Sheriff Hemlock of their activities, collect their just reward, and tip one or two at the Rusty Dragon in celebration to their success!
I hope you enjoyed the scenario. The entire idea for this came to me with the line, “I am Oz, the Great and Powerful!” Everything else just fell into place.
I know this was brought up during the session, but I just want to reiterate it here; despite what Paizo’s philosophy is, in my campaigns/scenarios every creature with at least normal intelligence has an opportunity for self-determination when it comes to morality. It will be exceedingly rare that a creature listed in the bestiary as Evil will have a moral awakening, even rarer that a creature with such an awakening will be able to explore it in a rigid social structure like kobold tribal society, but its not impossible. It just so happens that Sootscale was able to develop his newfound morality because of his position of authority. And he was able to discover, nurture, and protect those same feelings in his sons, Remus and Romus, as well as Tik Tok. If anyone wishes to use these NPC’s in future scenarios, they are:
Sootscale: LN 5th level Fighter
Remus: N 2nd level Rogue
Romus: N 2nd level Ranger
Tik Tok: LN 2nd level Rogue