Category: RPG

Escape from the Carceratum

Previously, the heroes of the White Eye had made their way into the Kingsport carceratum to find that the rebel lords had continued their rebellion by leading the prisoners in an uprising against the crownsguard after one of the lords, the young and impulsive lord Szymon Radowan, had been the target of an assassination attempt by one of the assassins of the cult of the Dark Queen. Breaking from the carceratum into the ancient waterways the prisoners were confronted by countless skaven and a fight ensued.

Ninth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)

Astrid, Quentin, Yurina and lord Szymon fought on the front line against the skaven, having overextended themselves so as to be surrounded on all side by skaven and rat ogres. This proved to nearly become fatal to Astrid and Yurina, while Quentin and Szymon fell prey to the strange disease that the foul creatures seemed to spread wherever they went. Among the skaven was another one of their shaman, who spread an infection among the skaven; their eyes gained a fell green glow and their attacks became even more rabid.

Astrid was overwhelmed and went down, only to be pulled out of the fray to have the rare and costly healing potions administered to her. Many of the prisoners died when one of the rat ogres was felled and exploded in a cloud of noxious fumes. Luca sent angry volleys of eldritch energy into the midst of the skaven, while Emrys and James shot dangerous projectiles from a safe distance.

Once the heroes and the prisoners retreated back into the carceratum a proper defense was mounted, using the hole into the waterways as a chokepoint. The bodies of skaven and prisoners started to pile up among the rubble, making it harder and harder to traverse, eventually stemming the tide of vermin. Many prisoners were dead, and Yurina was close to expiring.

Exploring the waterways beyond the walls of the carceratum revealed a maze of tunnels and pipes, all flowing water and sewage along in narrow canals. Phosphorescent moss covered the slick stones of the paths, bridges, walls and ceilings, casting everything in a strange, ethereal glow. Two skaven could be seen down the tunnel standing over the body of the dead shaman, rummaging through its belongings. One of them went down to an arrow from James’ bow. James called Luca to search the shaman, and a leather scroll carrier was found.

Quentin and lord Szymon were given some of the ointment that James had received from father Devon, which had wonderous healing properties and could also cure most mundane diseases. Much to the delight of both men, the ointment worked wonders on their well-being as well, and they found that some of their wounds were healed and the symptoms of the disease they suffered were fully mitigated.

Garvan was eager to depart and decided to lead everyone along a dizzying array of tunnels and corridors. Occasionally daylight and cold raid came down from a sewage grate that lead to the surface, and it was through one of these grates that the prisoners rebel lords and heroes come up into an alleyway in Lewisham, around the corner from the legendary Hoxton tavern.

Any cohesion among the prisoners was lost as soon as they stepped out into the late afternoon light and each immediately went their own way, including Garvan. A suitable route to the street between the Magisterium and the House of the Raven Queen was plotted by James, making sure to avoid Steward Square and as much exposure as possible.

In the shadow of the House of the Raven Queen the two rebel lords changed out of their rags and into the commoners clothing that the heroes had purchased. Eventually they were approached by a group of six people who were dressed like fishermen, wearing water-treated capes underneath which they hid light armour, weapons and the heraldry of House Waxley; a turtle on a green field. The leader identified himself as ser Oliver Waxley, first cousin to lady Annabella. Hey explained that he would take the rebel lords into his custody and move them to an undisclosed location in Northshire. The rebel lords seemed satisfied and thanked the heroes for their efforts to release them from the carceratum.

It was just at that moment that James, ever vigilant, noticed that one of the crownsguard had spotted the group, turned around and had walked off. Ser Oliver commanded one of his troop, “Tiny Tasha”, a young elfling, to follow the guard while the rest departed. The heroes decided to take a round-about way back to the Careless Wanderer. They were tired, in need of food, sleep and some were in need of stitches and a stiff drink.

They never did learn what happened to the guard and Tiny Tasha.

At the Careless Wanderer, the heroes had baths drawn up in the basement and they spent a time soaking in the hot water and scrubbing the filth of the sewers off of them. A conversation was had about the next steps, about potentially leaving as soon as a ship could be arranged and not staying in Kingsport for longer than strictly necessary. During this time James was stern and quiet.

Once the water ran cold everyone got dressed. James went to talk to Astrid, who was uncharacteristically lethargic and tired. He instructed her to go to the docks and find passage to Eastmarsh the next morning. She said she would look into it.

Luca went to find Callum the Diviner in his room overlooking the House of the Raven Queen. The old man invited Luca in and they sat down to have a chat. Captain Randall had arranged for the travel to Eastray and beyond, deeper into Eastmarsh and the earliest they could depart was on the morning of the first day.

Quentin found Durham behind the bar and ordered a bottle of delicious Beauclair red. He took two cups and found James near the fire of the tavern. He sat down and poured both a cup and asked James what was bothering him. Reluctantly, James explained that he thought that Quentin had acted too hastily in tearing down the barricade the prisoners had erected to keep the skaven out. The blood of those prisoners was on Quentin’s hands as far as James was concerned, and could have been avoided if they had used the passage between the carceratum and the waterways as a choke point.

Quentin returned that James was present and could have weighed in at any time on the plans but didn’t. Quentin admitted he was not proud of the outcome, but said that the outcome was a shared responsibility and not just his own. James finished the last of his wine and got up without a word. Wrapped in his cloak, he went out into the cold, wet streets of Kingsport.

In the meantime, Luca had found captain Randall siting by himself in the tavern and he asked if he could join the man at his table. Luca suggested that the departure should be moved up to the earliest possible moment. Randall explained that with the start of the fishing competition at noon of the first day, all of the ships that were coming into port were standing by. It would take a fortune to get any one of them to leave early. A secondary problem was that due to the delta the harbour at Eastray was a treacherous approach which not every ship, nor every captain could negotiate. Randall had found a ship that was willing and able, but would depart on the morning of the first day, several hours before the start of the fishing competition.

During this conversation, a fresh faced cleric of Paladine entered the establishment, dressed in white robes, adorned with silver thread. He was wearing a white skull cap that barely contained his curly black hair. A silver necklace holding the silver triangle of the Platinum Father adorned his neck and chest. In his hands he held a formal scroll carrier. After a brief chat with Lauryn, the priest was directed to Quentin and he handed him a formal invitation as guests of honour at the Cathedral for the sermon that was going to be giving by saint Benedict the following day at noon.

Quentin and Luca spoke about the invitation but couldn’t decide whether it was worth attending, still having high hopes that they could persuade one of the captains to depart for Eastray early. Both ended up retiring to the room the heroes shared as the tavern was slowly being turned into another common room, with a lot of guests bedding down for the night.

Before turning in, Luca went to investigate the leather scroll carrier he took off the shaman in the waterways. Luca quickly discerned that the leather was supple but thick and like the armour they had seen on rare occasion, not of any animal in the Verdant Kingdoms. Inside he found two scrolls; one holding arcane symbols which would need more time to investigate, while the other seemed like a more formal document, affixed with a seal and ribbon. The seal was in dark wax and depicted the heraldry of an amorphous shape, holding different sized circles. The letter was written in the infernal language of the Nine Hells and read:

The plague maidens are congregating, drawn by the pestilent potential of a potent, ancient magic. I have read the signs and portents and require the skavens of clan [unclear] to investigate and reveal the truth. I have gathered enough [unclear] that I may open a gate through the seal for a short time through which they may travel. Once verified, they will report and be given further instruction.

– Epidemius the Cataloguer, Lord of Decay, One of the Seven Proctors of Pestilence. Devoted Underling of Baalzebul the Calabite, Ruler of the Seventh, Lord of Maladomini.

After his quiet departure from the Careless Wanderer, James made his way to an orphanage he was familiar with in Grimsdown. He knew it to be run by a kindly matron who treated the children firmly but warmly. He knocked on the door and patiently waited for the woman to open the door, carrying a lantern. She was surprised to see James; most of the time she would find young mothers at that time of night. Without saying much, James handed her a pouch filled to the brim with golden crowns. He turned around and departed as quickly as he arrived, leaving the matron shouting baffled words of thanks at him through the gale.

When James returned to the Careless Wanderer he found that only a handful of people were still awake, quietly whispering to one another as the rest slept. He decided he was not going to spend the night with the rest of his companions, finding rest in a chair in front of the fire instead. His back would pay for it in the morning, but it was preferable than the alternative.

Tenth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)

The following morning, during breakfast, it appeared that Astrid had not quite recovered from her wounds. She still had blood seeping through a couple of cuts and she was limping, having sprained her ankle quite badly on the barricades the previous day. James said that he would take over in finding passage at the harbour and declined the help that Quentin was offering.

While James was to look for passage, the rest of the heroes would go to the Sacred Baths and seek medical attention from Emma and inform her of the current situation.

The weather outside had turned hostile with high winds and thundering rain. The streets were empty, including the docks and squares. Under these conditions James spoke to a dozen captains and deck masters, all of which were unable or unwilling to depart the city before the start of the fishing competition. The best that James could find was someone willing to consider it for the right amount gold, which was suggested needed to be in excess of a thousand gold crowns.

Eventually, through the haze of the pouring rain, James noticed a familiar, two-master caravel, the Old Queen, sail into the harbour.

Rats!

Previously, the Heroes of the White Eye entered the carceratum in search of the rebel lords with the purpose of liberating them. The prisoners had overrun the prison and the heroes were unsure what they would find there. Once inside, the prisoners tried to repel the and a fight broke out in which Luca killed several prisoners and Astrid beat several of them into unconsciousness.

The prisoners retreated and a dialogue was opened. It turned out that the two rebel lords, one of which had been wounded in an attempt on his life, had allied themselves with two senior prisoners in order to break out into the ancient waterways, only to have stumbled upon a large host of skaven.

Ninth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)

James, after staying at the rear until it was clear how some of the prisoners who belonged to the Sunken Knuckles gang would respond to his presence, moved up to the area of the carceratum where the prisoners had made their stand. The prisoners unfortunate enough to get in Astrid’s way were slowly regaining consciousness behind him and moving to rejoin the rest of the prisoners.

After having engaged the prisoners as well as the rebel lords in a discussion, the heroes found that they had found a way out of the carceratum by breaking through a wall into the waterways. Garvan, a member of the Steady Hand who was a specialist in moving about the waterways, was confident that once they could get into the waterways and get past the skaven he could get everyone to the surface within ten minutes, emerging anywhere in or around Steward Square.

The different options were discussed. Taking the rebel lords out of the prison by way of Luca’s proposed portals was met with hesitation from lord Fabian, as the two lords had given their word to Yurina and Garvan that they would make sure they would be liberated as well. It was clear that a small group of the prisoners believed that surrendering to the crownsguard would lead to their immediate execution, while others believed they would be punished very harshly. James suggested that those who felt in danger could possibly be smuggled out of the prison by Emrys turning them invisible. Lastly, there was the option of going into the waterways and fighting the skaven opposition they would find there.

In a surprising turn of eloquence, Blackstar spoke to Luca and told him that it believed that evil men shouldn’t be executed for fear of “swelling the wrong ranks in the war to come.” It volunteered to reap them instead.

A decision was made to clear the hole in the wall which lead to the waterways and see what the skaven opposition was like. Using Blackstar’s uncanny ability to detect the souls in the vicinity, Luca noticed that there were in excess of three dozen souls in the area. In the meantime, James went to inspect the assassin, who had been chained up in one of the cells. When the assassin was about to exclaim praise for Melchior, his father, James had heard enough and shot an arrow into the man’s chest, killing him instantly.

Once Quentin and Astrid broke through the barrier and moved into the waterways, a foul smelling sewer tunnel whose bricks were slick with slime and phosphorescent moss, they were beset from all sides by the vicious skaven, quickly swarming forth in a bid to overwhelm them. There were over a dozen of them, ranging from the small and feeble to the larger, ogre-sized skaven, ridden by their whip-wielding taskmasters. Among them, was another shaman, which had caused them so much trouble in the catacombs underneath the Sheridan estate.

The Rebel Lords

Previously, the players concluded their investigations into the queen’s illness in Kingsport and decided to go on Callum the Diviner’s expedition to Eastmarsh to find out more about the cursed khazra head. Before their departure, they decided to help lady Annabella and lady commander Miranda in liberating the rebel lords from the Kingsport Carceratum.

Ninth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)

Just prior to entering the carceratum Luca and James bought two sets of commoner’s clothes and discovered that behind the Magisterium, overlooking the rear of the House of the Raven Queen there was an alleyway connecting two small squares that were perfect places where Luca could take the rebel lords using the translocation magic he had recently discovered.

When everyone was finally ready to enter the carceratum, they found the inside hallway as heavily barricade by the prisoners as the outside hallway had been barricaded by the crownsguard. The prisoners hurled garbage and furniture from the top of a barricaded staircase, making it very difficult to engage them. Much to James’ chagrin they also did not seem open to conversation or discussion. Astrid and Quentin scaled the barricades while Luca hurled angry bolts of eldritch energy at the prisoners, killing several of them. Once Astrid got her hands on some of them, pummelling them into unconsciousness, a retreat was called for from further in the dungeons and the prisoners began to fall back.

The heroes approached and again attempted a parley, which was reciprocated by an elderly man they soon found out to be lord Fabian Fetterling, a man Luca remembered to have been at the Seat of Friendship, debating brother Shakeslocke when he called for the persecution of warlocks and witches.

The rebel lord had taken command of a group of prisoners in the wake of an attack on lord Szymon, who was left injured. The assassin was carrying a wicked dagger but had been fought off just shy of killing lord Szymon and was now held in one of the cells, shackled to the wall.

Two prisoners had been instrumental in an escape plan; Garvan the Tunneler, a member of the Steady Hand who worked for the night master as an expert in the ancient waterways, and Yurina, a vicious member of the Sunken Knuckles who had filed down her teeth for a more gruesome appearance. They had found the perfect place to break through a wall and enter from the carceratum into the ancient waterways. Unfortunately the part of the waterways they had entered into was infested with skaven, and the prisoners were forced to retreat back into the carceratum for their safety.

Rules: Vision and Light

A quick reminder on the visibility rules in D&D 5e:

  • Lightly Obscured: dim light, patchy fog, moderate foliage; creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
  • Heavily Obscured: darkness, opaque fog, dense foliage; creatures suffer from the blinded condition.
  • Blinded: creature automatically fails any ability check that requires sight. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.
  • Darkvision: a creature with darkvision can see in darkness as if the darkness were dim light. So areas of darkness are only lightly obscured as far as the creature is concerned.

 

Preparing to Liberate the Rebel Lords

Previously, the heroes concluded their investigation of the queen’s quarters and went to the Circle of Magi in order to investigate the khazra head and talk to Callum the Diviner who told them more about the political ramifications of the queen’s illness and why it was so important to find a cure.

James gained more information on the ghost orchid from Ecgbrith the herbalist while also going out of his way to inform some of the people he knew in the city about a possible outbreak, all the while drinking more and more in order to deal with the mounting pressure.

Lady Annabella Waxley and the lady commander Miranda Ravensbourne came to speak to the heroes in order to convince them to find their way into the Kingsport carceratum to bring the rebel lords incarcerated there to safety; something the heroes decided to discuss further the following day.

Emrys introduced Quentin to lord Andrew Selkirk, a troubadour who taught at the College of Bards in Kingsport who had heard rumours of Fleur, the legendary sword belonging to Ser Estienne and came to perform in order to elicit the wielder of the blade to come out and have a conversation with him.

Ninth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning. Bloodmoon is waning. Darkmoon is waning.)

When the heroes woke up they found that the weather has improved as compared to the previous couple of days. Astrid was awake and was raising the fire in the hearth while James continued to sleep. Luca got up and washed himself and continued to page through his mysterious tome while Quentin arranged for food to be brought up to the room.

When everyone had eaten their fill, Quentin woke up James who quickly grabbed some of the remainders and stuffed it into his mouth. Luca asked him if he wanted to freshen up before going out to meet lady Annabella and the lady commander, but he felt no such inclination.

When the heroes departed the Careless Wanderer and headed to the cathedral of the Platinum Father they made sure to stop to see if any news had been posted on the notice board on Steward Square. Nothing new had presented itself and the heroes decided to observe the busy square.

After a short wait a coach with two black horses came riding up the square stopping in front of the cathedral. Lady commander Miranda exited the coach and mentioned for the heroes to come up. Astrid, carrying a great sword decided to stay outside while the rest climbed aboard to speak to lady Annabella inside. The lady commander went inside the cathedral to pay her respects.

Lady Annabella reiterated her desire for the heroes to go into the carceratum and liberate the two rebel lords from their predicament so that they may be imprisoned elsewhere and their safety guaranteed. James wanted his reward to be a writ of passage so that he may take refuge on palace grounds if the need ever arose. Lady Annabella was willing to do so, but said that the writ was only as valuable as the person who signed it; it would depend entirely on her station on the time of James’ use whether it be worth anything at all.

Quentin was keen on getting some diplomatic help to gain access to the queen and her diplomats. Lady Annabella was not too keen on a blind promise like that, but begrudgingly agreed to it, but promised Quentin that if she was made a fool in the process he would regret it.

Surprisingly, Luca wanted to be granted an honourary title, or honourary degree from the Circle of Magi. He preferred the degree, but would settle for a title. Lady Annabella said that she couldn’t guarantee the degree, but would likely be able to get him the title he was after.

Astrid only cared for one thing; a suitable contribution to the fund she was building in order to purchase her ship. Emrys, who had stayed very quiet during the entire exchange didn’t dare to ask for payment, as lady Annabella claimed he was still indebted to her.

The queen’s handmaid asked for the heroes to leave an empty letter addressed to her to be left with Lauryn at the Wanderer; she would know how to get the letter to the handmaid and it would set in motion the necessary steps for someone to take custody of the two rebel lords when the heroes emerged from the carceratum with them.

Luca, who had exited the coach, decided to enter the cathedral and found the lady commander in one of the pews, kneeling in devotion to the Platinum Father. He was taking in all of the details of the impressive building, the nave, the choir, the transcept, the main chapel, and the two minor chapels, as well as the countless shrines to saints and angels. He was reminded of the fact that the last time he had seen his patron was when they retreated into the cathedral after sharing their name with Luca, and he was left wondering what it all meant.

While the other spoke to the handmaid, James went to quickly inspect the carceratum; a short and stocky tower standing on Steward Square right next to the Magisterium. He noticed that most of the crownsguard were more heavily armed and that inside the tower there was a barricade which was erected around a staircase leading down into the dungeon.

Lady commander Miranda could provide the heroes with a quick, charcoal sketch on a piece of parchment of the inside of the carceratum, giving the heroes a good sense of the inside and its dimensions. Concluding their conversation with the two noble women the heroes retreated back to the Careless Wanderer to get ready.

Luca conjured up the spell which would allow him to travel a short distance instantaneously and absorbed it into Blackstar. He had recently developed the spell from the foundation of the Ritual of Returning which he learned in Atilesceon’s tower, and it might prove useful in escaping the carceratum.

Everyone handed their weapons to James, who hid them in his mysterious bag of thievery which he, in turn, gave to Luca. The young warlock cast an illusion on himself that disguised him slightly; making his clothing and equipment look plain and forgetful, while he himself took on a slightly more bulky and sturdy appearance.

It was midway through the afternoon when the heroes presented themselves to the crownsguard at the carceratum, claiming that they were responding to the notice they had found calling on people to help quell the uprising. Soon after, they were talking to warden Valgard, an old, slimy little man who offered them one gold crown per ear they retrieved from the carceratum, obviously not caring one bit for the prisoners left in his care.

The heroes were directed to the staircase leading down into the dungeons, made their way past the heavily armed crownsguard and climbed over several barricades which had been thrown up to keep the prisoners from storming out. The dark dungeons under the streets of Kingsport awaited them.