Zhilin Campaign Journal #9: Rising Water!

In the last post, the party had just discovered not only a dead body in the sewer, but a possible entrance to the world ‘Neath Zhilin. And that’s when the rain began…

As half of the group began investigating the trap door in the floor, they heard the first trickle of water coming through the grates. Tyrion, the thief, was unable to find any way to release the round cover, but handed a pry bar to Hansel (with a judicious use of a Brownie Point). The dwarf attempted to get it wedged into the seal around the door, but could not find any purchase. He tried twice with a valiant effort and the pry bar broke on the second attempt.

With the time used for each attempt, the water levels continued to rise. By the time the pry bar broke, the water was above their ankles (or shins for the shorter members of the group), so they chose to move as quickly as possible back to the gate above. It took great effort to move the 150 feet, but they all made it. And as the Goonish guard closed the gate, a huge rush of water nearly 6 feet high flushed through the sewer behind them.

At this point they decided to regroup, dry off, and figure out their next plan of action, so they headed back to the Cracked Mug. They had some ales, bread and cheese, and Bart braved the eel dish, which was still swimming. When he brought their food and drink, Celi (the barkeep) suggested that they bribe the Goon to tell them how to open the trap door.

Bellies full, they headed back to the gate to speak to the Goon. Hansel gave her 5 gold pieces, which is a lot of money for anybody in Zhilin (the guards get 5 gold a week) and she didn’t even crack a smile. But she took the gold and told them the secret to opening the sealed door. “Push down, turn a bit to the left, and it should pop right up. Just make sure you seal it again when you get below.”

Sure enough, they go back to the door in the sewers (after noting that the dead body had been washed away by the deluge), and open the sealed trap door with no problem. Below, they find a 15 foot ladder to a corridor in the dark and climb down one at a time. The last one down closes the sealed door behind them and they discover someone watching down the tunnel.

This Goon, named Styo, is even bigger than the gate guard above. And he agrees to escort the party to Haven for 1 gold each and the knowledge of their names. When they finally agree, he takes Bart’s lantern and blows it out so they are left in the dark. He tells them to put a hand on the person in front of them and leads them to a ladder going down to a lit area below. (As they marched down the tunnel, the dwarf (able to see in the dark) noticed that Styo had his right hand on the tunnel wall the whole time.)

Down below the group found themselves in a giant cavern with its own town. Welcome to Haven! People. Buildings. Oil-lit lanterns. And Styo led them to a freestanding building near the middle of it all.

Inside they found an opulent room decorated with tapestries on every wall and pillows on the floor, with the biggest man they have ever seen sitting along the back wall. He even makes Styo look small! He introduces himself as Falco, then invites them to sit and tell them why they have come to Haven.

He listens intently to the details of their quest to find the girl and strikes a deal with them. If they can stop a gang of ratlings in the level above from causing more trouble, he will tell them where to find Sago, the girl’s boyfriend, plus anything else he can discover. If they should discover what happened to a missing Goon scout, Brun, who was investigating the ratling problem, that would also be helpful. Find him alive and bring him home or bring his ring. And bring the tails or ears from the ratlings (he suspects a dozen or more) to prove that the deed is done.

During the conversation they also learn that the gate guard above is Falco’s daughter – Muril.

Styo led them back to the ladder leading up to the level above… and that’s where we left it until the next session.

My next post will explore some of the fun threads I get to play with.


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