Dead Man’s Company sat catching its breath from the encounter with the ogre, Lubash. They searched the room, but did not find any items of worth. Carrvias did, however, pull one of the teeth out of Lubash’s foul mouth as a souvenir and added it to his strange pile of trophies from other beasts he had killed.
In the low light, the group could make out two doors: one door being in the adjacent wall from where they had entered; the other, in the nearby far corner. As Cottus cautiously neared the door in the corner, he could make out the sounds of mumbling and the scraping of chains. Being ever the fearless one, Cottus opened the door without hesitation.
Cottus’ nose was assaulted by the stench coming out of the room. Human excrement covered the floor making the room a sanitary hazard. Men, living and dead, were chained to every wall of the room. To his horror, Cottus saw that some of the dead men were missing limbs. He came to the conclusion that the ogre must have feeding off of these men. He steeled his mind to keep himself from throwing up at the thought. The prisoners seeing the door opened by someone other than the ogre started begging for their release. Carrvias moved into the room to make sure the prisoners would not prove a threat to the party. Seeing how emaciated and sickly the men, Carrvias motioned for Cottus to release them. Slipping in the filth, Cottus made his way to each prisoner and picked the locks on the chains holding the men still alive. Prisoners rubbed their chaffed wrists and stuttered, “Is, is, is he dead?”
Carrvias answered, “The ogre is dead.” The prisoners thanked and blessed their saviors with a thousand blessings. Upon releasing the last prisoner, Cottus made a quick perusal through the filth to make sure their weren’t any valuables in the room. The group moved back into the cleaner ogre’s room and closed the door to keep the stench out.
Dead Man’s Company began questioning the men. Where had these men come from? Did they know what was going on? It turned out that most of the men were merchants who had been kidnapped on their way to Hommlet. The group recognized two of the men’s names as the merchants who were carrying the goods that Gundigoot was waiting for. Another notable man was a Halfing rogue named Kayden. Kayden had belonged to an adventuring party that had been hired to explore the moathouse to see what was going on. His group had been captured in their investigation of the compound by some bugbears. The bugbears had given the group to the ogre as prisoners and treats. Kayden was forced to watch as his group was slowly killed and devoured one-by-one by the ogre. He was the last of his adventuring party to be left alive. Hoping for revenge on his captors, the Halfing asked the Dead Man’s Company permission if he could join them temporarily.
Looking at exhausted merchants and Kayden, the group knew they had to rest. Even Dead Man’s Company felt tired from the skirmishes of the day. It was only past noon, but the group prepared for sleep in the dungeon. They started to secure the area, so that they may have a safe rest in Lubash’s quarters. They used the ogre’s huge body as a barricade on one of the doors. They tried to use the tree-like spear he had hurled at them as a brace for the door as well, but the piece of timber had splintered when they tried to jam it against the door. After barricading the doors as much as they could, the Company shared their rations with the prisoners, who ravenously ate their first real meal in weeks. Thoradin made his rounds bandaging everyone up, and they prepared for sleep. Carrvias and Thoradin lay in front of the less secure door, so as to awaken if the door was budged in the slightest. Everyone went to sleep.
Surprisingly, they had a fitful, uninterrupted rest in the dismal setting. Upon waking a few hours later, the group convened on what should be done with the merchants. They decided that the merchants should return to Hommlet on their own and that they would continue exploring the moathouse. Leaving some rations and weapons with the men, the Company and Kayden prepared to open the door into the area they had investigated yet. Carrvias opened the door, but the next room was empty. The group regrouped in the next room and prepared to open the next door there.
Carrvias opened the next door as stealthily as he could, and slipped into room. He moved without a sound, quite an accomplishment for someone moving in scale armor. From what he could tell, the room was huge in comparison to anything they had come across before. He could see four, what appeared to be, jail cells lining the corridor in front of him with an entrance to another room in the distance. There was plenty of open space to the right of him and he could make out a stairway about 30 feet away in that direction. He motioned for the group to follow him into the room.
That’s when he heard it. Carrvias heard groaning and the shuffling of feet from the nearby jail cell. As the group filtered in, they heard the sounds as well and tried to get a view of what was inside the room. The shuffling got louder as it came towards them, and they saw a humanoid appear in the doorway. He was poorly dressed, and he looked like a hobo with his clothes in disarray. They thought it was another prisoner, but as he approached, they smelt rotting flesh. They knew the man was a zombie.
Zombies began pouring out of the first two jail cells. Carrvias called for the Company to form a line to keep the zombies bunched in the corridor. Carrvias and Thoradin with their trusted armor moved forward to take the assault. Thanks to their tactics, Karvyas and Thoradin kept the monsters at bay as everyone else blasted the abominations with attacks. Cottus and Fernok loosed arrows and quarrel bolts turning the zombies into human pincushions. Kayden hamstrung the closest zombie making it lose its balance and fall to the ground. Nate’s powers caused zombie limbs to spasm and fall off. Despite being rended limb from limb, the zombies pushed onwards oblivious to the pain. Thoradin lifted his holy symbol and crying upon Kord’s name, the zombies burst into flame and crumpled to the ground. The group spread out to see if there were any other threats in the room. They were not disappointed. More zombies flooded from the last two jail cells. This wave of zombies seemed even more decrepit than the first zombies and were quickly dispatched by the well-disciplined group. The group looked around and found no more enemies in the area.
The group began looking into every crevasse for anything that might be useful. The room that they saw in the distance upon entering turned out to be a torture room. Despite most of the torture devices being in a state of decay like most of the moathouse, some of them looked new. Fresh blood stains confirmed recent usage of the tools. Thoradin spotted blood stains on the ground as if a body had been dragged and the trail led to a stone column in the room. The bizarre trail required investigation. Thoradin notified Cottus and Kayden his discovery.
The ranger and rogue looked over the column and discovered pressure plates on both sides of it. Pressing upon the pressure plates revealed a shaft with a ladder leading downward into the depths of the moathouse. It was so dark that even those with low-light vision couldn’t see down into the abyss. At this point, the group began to argue where they should go. Thoradin suggested they continue to search the level they were on before they explored the mystery chute. Cottus believed the chute demanded their immediate attention. The group voted and decided they should clear the moathouse level by level so as to investigate the place most throughly.
Despite the group’s consensus, Cottus still wanted to explore the secret path. Cottus said he would only explore the route by himself as a sort of reconnaissance. As Cottus descended into the darkness, Carrvias shouted, “If anything bad happens to you, don’t expect me to come down and save your ass.” At the bottom of the shaft, Cottus lit a small candle, so he could see the way. Even with his light source, he could only see about six feet in front of him. In the damp room, he found another corridor. The corridor was roughly hewn making his investigation more disconcerting. Cottus followed this corridor. Every moment he reached a turn, he promised he would return group at the next turn. Cottus did not stop until he reached a dead end. Knowing he had to hurry back to the group, he left this mystery dead end alone and returned the way he came, back to the torture chamber. He informed the group of his findings, and they decided they would come back at a later time.
In the big room where they had fought the zombies, they found two brand new doors situated on the other side of the stairway Carrvias had seen on entering the room. They tried to open them, but they were locked. Kayden, using his knowledge, picked the lock on the left door first. Despite his experience, the new doors proved difficult to open and it took him about 5 minutes to succeed. He opened the door and checked for traps. Upon not finding any, the group moved in and found rows of chain, leather, and cloth armor. Behind some coats of armor, they found some goods. Looking at the label of the goods, they discovered that these were the goods that Gundigoot was waiting for. They grabbed Gundigoot’s goods and moved to the next door.
Knowing how the doors worked now, Kayden opened this door with less difficult than the other one. Inside this room were weapons. Stashed amongst the weapons, Kayden found his original gear. He happily armed himself with his familiar weapons, ready to avenge his fallen comrades. The rest of the group perused through the weapons when they discovered some cloaks with a burning eye on them. Kayden immediately recognized the symbol and told the Company that this cloak identified members of the cult of Tharizdun. Kayden even had an understanding of how the members of the order greeted each other. By placing their hands across their face and bowing, they would be identified as a member. The group decided to take the cloaks and use them, in hopes of bluffing their way past any guards they came across in their exploration.
Since they had decided on exploring the moathouse level by level, the group decided to go back the way they had came to investigate a secret passageway they had bypassed earlier. They went back to the room they had taken their rest in and found the merchants still resting. They informed the merchants of the weapon and armor caches as a means of arming themselves. The group stashed the bulky goods of Gundigoot’s in the corner and told the merchants they would complete the deliver planing to retrieve them on their way out. They moved the ogre’s body away from doorway they had barricaded that afternoon and proceeded forward.
In the next room, they found the secret passageway that sloped downward. Kayden led the way since he remembered the way because this was where his group had been captured. The group followed him in a single file in hopes of giving off the appearance of organized cultists. Kayden stealthily made his way downward until they found a fork in the corridor. Kayden pointed and informed the Company that the bugbear outpost had been one way and he did not know where the other way led. The group decided they should give the bugbears a visit first, figuring bugbears were dumber and easier to fool with their newly acquired disguises.
Kayden continued to lead the way until he motioned them for silence. He whispered that the bugbears would be coming in the upcoming room. Nate decided to lead the way since he felt the most comfortable in impersonating one of the cultist. Entering the next room, Nate saw three shallow alcoves cut into the opposite wall and a corridor to his left. He decided to investigate the center alcove. Upon entering it, a steel grate fell down trapping the warlock with a loud clang. A bugbear grunted and shouted from the next room, “Who be ‘dere?” Cottus, being the next in the single file line, knew the plan was in jeopardy, and he had to execute the bluff. He answered, “One of the new novices accidentally entered one of the alcoves. Could you lift the grate for him?” Fernok, Kayden, and Thoradin hid in the corridor hoping the plan would work if the smaller members of the party weren’t in the room. The bugbears shambled down the corridor to deal with visitors. When they entered, they looked stupidly at Carrvias and said, “Drex?” Cottus watched as their leader moved closer to them to get a better look at the dragonborn fighter. Their leader (dressed in leather armor and judging by the way he carried himself), Cottus knew they were screwed. The leader gave one look at Carrvias, drew his blade, and yelled, “You not Drex! Attack!”
Dead Man’s Company soon learned why Kayden had been captured by these bugbears. Carrvias found himself surrounded by three bugbears getting mauled. Each blow made Carrvias’ frame shudder, and he soon found himself on his knees. Nate tried to aid the group by casting spells through the steel grate, and he was very efficient from his cell. Cottus ran to the corner firing arrows, but he found himself soon surrounded by bugbears as well. Thoradin and Kayden rushed into the room to give as much aid as they could. Fernok provided coverfire from the doorway. Carrvias tried to ward off the strikes of two of his attackers, and did not see the garrote before it was too late. The leader had snuck up behind him and began strangling him. Cottus ran around the room firing arrows, but bugbears were in constant pursuit of him. Thoradin called upon the aid of his god to heal his companions. Through a combined effort, one of the bugbear lackies dropped to the floor dead. This allowed Nate to teleport out of his cell and join the fray properly. Cottus collapsed to the ground overwhelmed by his aggressors. Kayden made a slash at the bugbear holding Carrvias, but the bugbear threw Carrvias into the path of the blade. Carrvias was still kicking trying to get out of his hold, but he did not have much strength left. Nate, Fernok, and Thoradin killed another bugbear, starting to even the playing field. Thoradin, seeing Cottus lying on the ground, prayed to his Kord for divine help. Cottus felt energized by the god of battle, and rose to his feet. He had seen the side that the dead walk. He now was baptized as a true member of Dead Man’s Company. Drawing his short sword and battle ax, he made short work of the bugbear who had finished him. With the tide of battle now against them, the bugbears were overwhelmed. They did not surrender, and the group had to slaughter them. The group managed to knock out the leader.
With the bugbear leader as a captive, they tied him up to question him later. With their combined strength, they lifted the grate that had confined Nate at the beginning of battle and threw the leader in there and waited for him to awake. While waiting for the leader to awake,—the group felt stronger. They had faced many fierce enemies up to this point, and somehow, they knew they would be capable of performing new feats to complete the quest before them.Important Notes:
- Kayden joined the group.
- Discovered the missing merchants Gundigoot mentioned and found the missing wares.
- Defeated a group of zombies
- Torture room has been recently used, leading to the discovery of a hidden passage
- Group decided on exploring the moathouse, level by level
- Found cloaks identifying the evil cultists
- Defeated a group of bugbear guards
- Capture the bugbear leader for questioning
- Leveled up