Fantasy Masks

Adventure 4: Atarin's Delve

You dirty rat...

Background:

Doria Elswhet was a courier with the Traveler’s Guild, on her way to Annwheat with some gifts from the Pria trade route intended for the Queen. While she was overnighting at the Ulbor Guildhouse, under the protection of the Guilder Council of Ulbor, bandits attacked. They knew when and where to hit for maximum effectiveness. They killed all the guards, the guilders onsite, and guests. Then they broke into the treasure house and made off with a considerable stash of coins and enchanted objects, as well as the jewels intended for the Queen.

Time is of the essence. They must not be allowed to spend their ill-gotten gains. The call went out, and as you responded (being closest) surviving guilders who were not at the guild house have investigated. They found a former servant at the guild house who was disaffected, planning to betray the guilders and escape with the bandits. But after his betrayal, they would have nothing to do with him; at loose ends, he was caught and questioned, and he bitterly gave up some information about the attackers before his death.

The leader is Atarin Darkhunter, surely not his real name. However, he is a ratshaper, and he has infected many of his bandits with the ratshape as well. That explains how they were able to sneak through the defenses and then best so many warriors in combat. They are hiding out in a cavern complex that abuts with an old dwarven tomb in the hills above Ulbor, about two hours walk beyond the town up in the rocks.

What’s worse, Atarin also took Elswhet alive, as a famed guilder. He no doubt plans to ransom her. He also captured the guilder council leader, Councilor Derbaen, an elderly warrior. Derbaen has six famously beautiful grand-daughters, ages 6 to 22, and their bodies were not found; it seems likely Atarin will use them to force Derbaen to divulge secrets of the guilder council. This must not happen.

If the invaders can attack at mid-day, the bandits will likely be more drowsy and less effective. Soon, they are sure to try to dispose of their loot, anticipating an attack like this one, so the strike must be swift and sure. There are three objectives.

1. Rescue surviving guilders, and Derbaen’s grand-daughters.
2. Retrieve the Guilder Council fortune. For this, adventurer’s get a 20% recovery fee and they may keep enchanted items. (Treasure demonstrably not from the guildhouse, they keep.)
3. Kill Atarin and as many of the bandits as possible. They issued a challenge. Answer it.

*

Mokthres 5, 1230

Belstaag Bob, Pansy, Tory, Rook, Quinn (delicate assassin), Hirsch (massive scout), and Xander (sword-wielding monk). A guild sympathizer led them to the hideout, then they struck. Using stealth, some of the invaders crept up and murdered the lookouts. They swarmed in silently, spotting a dozen bandits enjoying a meal of crab chowder; with a deadly barrage of ranged weapons complimented by a charge, they had ten down before the last two could break and run; no one escaped.

They questioned a not-quite-dead bandit about the layout, then sent him limping towards town with instructions to turn himself in to the law. The invaders shadowed through the halls, but they were heard by a ratshaper and another guard; after a brief pitched battle, most of the defenders were slain, and a surviving bandit raced to tell Atarin and his ratshaper bodyguards.

The invaders made their stand in the guard room, with Tory on a table firing his heavy crossbow over their heads as Xander, Rook, and Belstaag Bob took all comers from the hallway into the room. Pansy and Hirsch and Quinn kept a lookout for reinforcements as the pitched battle raged. Finally Tory pegged Atarin in the eyebrow with the crossbow, dazing him, and the rest of the invaders finished him off. They took his double-bitted serrated war axe, Deathsaw, and an iron ring from his finger.

And his war chest, from under his bed, of course. They also captured the tattling bandit, who ran out of room to retreat and decided he’d rather be helpful than dead. They sent a stealth party ahead, along the wooden walkway, and dispatched the lonely, bored guard at the prison. They freed the prisoners, and retreated to the exit; one of the prisoners took the Deathsaw and finished off the captive guard. Then the prisoners headed back to town, at a limping rate but still alive.

The invaders stashed the chest of coins they already found amid some boxes the bandits haphazardly piled near the entrance, and ambushed the leaders in their chambers. Taking them by surprise, they slew them quickly; only one of the ratshifters had time to change before they were all hewn down. High on adrenaline, the invaders swarmed through the hallway, slaughtering the rest of the leaders.

Still short the Guilder coffers, they explored down a dark corridor smelling of algae, and found pools flanking a statue of a dwarf. Tory was busily disarming the trap when a massive crab lurched out at him; as Tory, Xander, and Belstaag Bob finished the crab off, another sprang out of the water at their backs. Xander had a gift for bisecting the crabs, and Tory found a magnificent bounty—the Guilder coffers.

With Pansy hefting the enormous weight of the treasure, they headed back to the front door, and Tory found the other dwarf statue and disarmed the trap, retrieving the jewels intended for the queen. The party split, sending half back to bring horses and wagons, the rest guarding the massive score.

Quinn kept the Ring of the Hunter, Hirsch kept the Deathsaw, and the rest of the party split up the proceeds (including the weapons and gear from the raiders.) Victory!

A special thanks to Mark, who handled all the math for calculating and dividing loot.
Deepest appreciation to Dyson Logos, who drew the complex map and stocked it for D&D B/X, from Dodecahedron Volume 1, Issue 1. I highly recommend his stuff, but be forgetful; I’ll be using more of it…

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