In The City Of Towers

Episode 6: In the Name of the Host

Knowing the truth can cost and Arm and a Leg

The Korranberg Chronicle©

The Whole Truth, The Best Truth!

Violent Fracas Rocks Prominent Place of Worship!

Gang Warfare Linked to Religious Rumble!

Parishoners of the Granite Hand Cathedral, a popular religious stronghold for the worship of the Soverign Host, were witnesses to a violent multiple homicide yesterday. Eyewitness accounts say there was a scuffle and general panic as a number of suspicious desperadoes, one of them riding a Talenta death-lizard, attempted to gain entry to the church. At least five dead bodies were discovered in and around the church, members of the congregation who had been murdered by these bloodthirsty intruders.

The plot thickens, however; anonymous sources have revealed that those who were killed in the terrorist attack were themselves affiliated with the Vandergraft Crime family. Other theorists say that the Granite Hand was a front for Vandergraft activity – though these rumours are unsubstantiated. The seven suspects, including two warforged, were able to flee the scene, and are still at large.

Sharn City Watch Captain Percival Thorne had this to say: “I have no doubt that this ruthless attack is the result of terror tactics by the notorious Boromar Clan to instill general panic in the populace. Desecrating a holy place is the least of the atrocities these short foreigners will be quick to commit in our city, mark my words. I personally pledge that the City Watch will catch those responsible for this, and inflict justice with all due harshness.”

When asked to comment on possible Vandergraft involvement, the captain added: “I wouldn’t put too much stock in it. It’s long been a tactic of Boromars to plant gang paraphanalia – such as incriminating identification papers or signet rings – on those they murder for sport. What interest would the so-called ‘Vandergraft crime family’ (if it exists!) have in a hallowed place of worship? It’s pure fiction.”

The church basement was the scene of a terrible collapse, luckily sparing the aboveground sections of the structure from harm. It is believed that this collapse was triggered by the seven assailants seen fleeing the scene. Father Ignatius Faol had this comment: “We must now close the doors of the Granite Hand, for a time, while we evaluate the safety of the building following this collapse. We will hold mass for the faithful at Onatar’s Forge, in upper Tavick’s Landing, until the Hand is deemed safe once more. We who follow the Host are beset by challenges such as this; now is the time to prove our mettle by facing them with courage, undaunted.”

This reporter can only say: With action like this, I almost wish I was back in the trenches instead of here in Sharn! Yikes! -

The Real Story: The Church

“Cavendish” Boromar had a proposal for the party; since they were able to demolish the Vandergraft’s warehouse operation, perhaps they could help with some big-league stuff as well. The Boromar Clan had long known that the Vandergrafts had some involvement in the Granite Hand cathedral, but they never suspected its importance until they traced the shipment of mysterious crates from a Vandergraft laboratory to the church. Cavendish offered the party a deal; if they worked their particular brand of magic on the Vandergrafts in the Church, then Cavendish could make a good case for the Boromar Lath to openly pardon them for attacking the Clan in the past (thus calling off the blood feud against them). Seeing the chance to further their own goals, the party accepted Cavendish’s offer, and the information he had.

The party made their way to the church, and, after seeing (and being seen by) Vandergraft agents mixed into the congregation, they decided to leave, claim their full-on assault gear, and return through the side door. There, they surprised a Vandergraft runner who, interrogated, admitted that he had been instructed to lead them into an ambush. Refusing to be duped, they did not head down the alleyway the man had been running into, and focused on the church.

Gaius made short work of the lock on the side door. Once inside, they surprised and killed a pair of Vandergraft toughs. A third, however, ran away toward the basement. Giving chase, they ran through the crowded congregation, dripping blood from their fresh kills.

Chasing their prey into the basement, they found he had vanished down a dead end corridor. Sensing deception, Fargrim’s Dragonmarked eyes wasted no time in spotting the secret door mechanism. The party descended into a foul and massive chamber below the holy church.

The Laboratory:

In this giant laboratory, iron maidens made to extract blood lined the room, and operation tables dotted the open floor, oozing blood from the unfortunates who had met their end upon them. Hideous mouths of living stone set in the floor drank up the excess blood, and bubbling pits filled with vile acid and chemicals were placed to collect runoff. From a catwalk above this grisly scene, a mad alchemist shouted for the massive metal coffin to be moved onto the magical conveyance that would bear it through a strange portal. The party interrupted this attempt, and a brutal fight broke out. Three Blademark soldiers of house Deneith moved to protect their client the alchemist. More fearsome, however, was the gigantic and robotic spider, whose body was forged of strange metal, and that sported razor sharp diamond-tipped claws. This massive automaton danced out of the shadows above, gliding through the room on metal threads, and spewing deadly acid from its thorax.

The fight was an ugly one. Gaius, with help from Kado and his Clawfoot Thym, put to rest the guardsmen in a drag-out fight, while Versifer used his telepathy to force the alchemist to leap from his catwalk, and crack his legs on the bloody floor below. These two duelled for some time, the madman’s alchemical weapons against Versifer’s Psionic power, but at last Versifer won they day using brute force, shoving the hapless villain into his own Iron Maiden and sealing him within (later, Kado knocked this Iron maiden into the acid pit below, adding injury to insult).

The Metallic Spider, meanwhile, was truly a formidable foe. Beset on all sides, it sliced to ribbons all it attacked. Only the invincible defense of Hadari was able to withstand its dancing assault. Meanwhile Zwolf and Fargrim rained a deadly and accurate series of arrows into the joints and weak points of the metallic beast, as well as using cunning arrows to trip the robotic monster into a vat of caustic acid. In time, it fell.

Versifer and Hadari puzzled out how to slow the conveyor, and stopped the coffin from reaching the portal at the end of the hall. At last, the battle won, the bloody and ragged heroes opened this mysterious coffin with trepidation. Hadari disarmed the magical runes sealing it, and Gaius made quick work of the mechanical lock.

Within the coffin was a strange warforged built of gleaming metal that was neither silver nor adamantine nor mithril, and perhaps more beautiful than all of them. It was covered in ancient scrollwork in the language of the Giants of old. It arose from its slumber and, addressing the bewildered Gaius as its new master, it asked for his command.

Seeking the aid of his comrades, Gaius called “Boys…” – but the metal servant took this as an order, and promising “it will be done, master”, it burst up and out of the laboratory and into the world above, ignoring Gaius’ attempts to stop it.

Taking a moment to recover from their burns, popped joints, and gashes and cuts, the party gave chase after a moment’s rest (and after removing a few choice components from the lab, and taking the valuable gemstones from the joints of the great spider).

Ambush:

Emerging onto the street, they passed a crowd that had gathered to gawk at the warforged who had plowed heedlessly through the crowd and onto the street. Outrunning the confused guards of the church, the party followed the robot around a corner… and into a hasty ambush.

Two agents of the Solver’s Guild, Arm and Legs, had noticed the warforged exiting the church, and correctly guessed that it would be followed by their six targets. Arm was a massive man from the northlands of Karrnath, standing nine foot tall and six feet broad at his shoulders. Instead of a right arm was sewn a gruesome undead zombie arm. The man claimed to have gained his strength from wrestling owlbears in the northern tundra, and certainly bore the scars and muscles to support this claim. Behind him, high above on a perch, lurked the halfling woman Legs. Her lower body lost in the war, she bore instead the eight legs of an arachnid grafted to her body. Wielding a frost Tangat, she commanded the deadly ice magic of the halflings of the northern plains. A trio of skeletal snipers obeyed her directions.

The heroes would have made quick work of them if they had been fresh and ready for conflict, but the vicious and prolonged battle in the laboratory had left them tired and weary. The battle was deadly, both sides taking hideous wounds.

Gaius was quick to cut the hamstrings of the nordic giant, forcing the great beast to limp after his smaller prey. He was quick to repay this mutilation by seizing Gaius in a deadly hold and performing his signature “Karrnathi Blizzard Buster” on the eladrin princeling, forcing the dazed Gaius to take a knee while he cleared his head. Kado soon entered a screaming rage and began to rip and tear at the great man, and Hadari’s own style of perfect defense served him well in avoiding the brute – and allowing him to land a deadly triple-strike against the giant man that left him bleeding from deep cuts.

Zwolf and Fargrim, meanwhile, concerned themselves with the enemy archers. Fargrim fired a lethal blast of crystal shards into the sniper’s nest, breaking the bones of the brittle archers. Zwolf followed up with a pair of exploding fire arrows, which knocked one of the enemy off the ledge to its death, and set the other two ablaze. It was not long ere the snipers fell, but Legs continued to deliver deadly blasts of freezing cold at her enemies.

At last, the limping giant having dealt and taken many hideous wounds, He was run through by a deadly and gruesomely accurate thrust from the embittered Gaius, piercing his vital organs with deadly aplomb. The giant man refused to fall, but before he could land one last smashing punch, Kado and his Clawfoot tore the man to shreds (and chopped off the rotting index finger from his gigantic zombie arm). Seeing her comrade collapsed and her archers in bone fragments, Legs attempted to flee by skittering up the wall behind her. It was to no avail; Hadari’s Earth magic cast her down, where Kado and Gaius delivered vicious attacks. Zwolf’s deadly shot over Kado’s shoulder finished her wicked life.

The party claimed three trophies: The beautiful frost-magic tangat of the halfling sorceress suited Kado, even though he was not a halfling of the north plains. Hadari, meanwhile, claimed a grisly spider’s leg from the halfling woman, while Kado took the severed finger of the massive Arm. The rest of the assassins’ corpses dissolved into foul black goo, just as Thumbs’ had.

Null:

Taking a moment to recover from this battle, the party continued on, walking wounded. They caught up to the strange warforged at last, chasing him down to lower Tavick’s Landing, their home base. In the process, Fargrim duped an old man and stole a sky-boat laden with fragrant fish, allowing him to overtake the metal man.

The warforged has there caught a trio street urchins that Zwolf would recognize as Stoat, Nub, and Wreks, the street children who are known to help the Verisfer. The warforged deposited two of the boys at the feet of Gaius, whilst the third fired slingshot stones at the back of the implacable warforged. Gaius ‘accepted’ the urchins, who quickly vanished into the side streets, thumbing their noses at the ‘crazies’ in their delightful cockney accents.

Believing its task to now be complete, the warforged was receptive to further directives. Gaius learned through careful questioning that this strange automaton called itself Null. The party, grateful to be alive and triumphant, now return to the Broken Anvil to rest and recuperate after their busy day.

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Epicurus

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