- Magic Meryl, magic-user (Nick Kuntz)
- Arthur, dungeon doggie (NPC pet)
- Mike O'Nidd, myconid (Matt Barclay)
- Chipping Ongar, halfling Alice (Peter C)
- John Lackwit, 0-level loser (NPC hireling)
- Kerf Merklin, cleric (Herman Klang)
Magic Meryl's Narrative (written by Nick)
What up, fellow Librarians of the Jarrod Memorial Library (and any other being reading this)! Magic Meryl here with the scoop on how our Library's name sake's head has come to find a place of honor here amongst the stacks.
I was joined in this recovery expedition by the cleric Kerf Merklin, the halfling Chipping Ongar, the mycondin Mike O'Nidd, my faithful companion Arthur, and a wicked hang over. A special thanks to Chipping for financing a lot of the expedition including re-outfitting Mike O'Nidd (dude didn't even have any pants), hiring John Lackwit (R.I.P.), and getting a ridiculously large shield that saved our bacon a couple of times. I think that last item was Kerf's idea.
We started our mission, like any trip to the Verdant Vault, by bribing the Bargain Wolves with some prime cut meat. Kerf courteously handed them the meat which they enjoyed greatly (granting us free entry and exit from the Vault). We slipped out the northwest secret door as they chowed down.
We rolled south to the elbow of the "L" shaped passage where we tried to pass through a southwest door. John Lackwit set up the tower shield in front of the door and I watched the party's back as the rest of the gang pulled a rope tied to a ring on door. It worked like a charm as the door swung open with a hefty heave causing the bolt from a crossbow trap to land right in the center of a target Chipping painted on the shield. If only the rest of the doors were so easy.
Kerf snagged the heavy crossbow (I wanted to sabotage it but whatever) as we swung south to try to find an orc skull to give to the demon that killed Jarrod or complete the pentagram if we needed one. We took the next door West and that was the end of our luck with opening doors for a got minute. Neither the furthest west door on the southern wall nor the west door at the end of this hallway opened (The western door may be a fake like previous parties have thought. Later on, I didn't see a match in the hall next door where there should be one). The noise of the doors rattling really was making my hungover head scream so I suggested we try another route. We end up cutting through a relaxing meditation chamber perfect for giving a wizard a recharge in spell power. It was behind the Eastern most North door in the hall. We popped out of the mediation room North through two sets of secret doors before emptying out into of a hall.
The hall contained the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen. Three-inch fireflies floated around the hall, illuminating whole hall in a bioluminescence radiating from their lower abdomen. I am used to running into things like slime-covered carrion crawler love dens in these dungeons so it was really welcome thing to run into something as beautiful as that moment. Chipping and I really regretted not having anything to capture a specimen in. He wished to return with a butterfly net at a later date (we really ended up ruing not having the right gear in that moment). As we took in the scene, one of the giant lampyridae gentling settled on John Lackwit's head.
We then headed down the hall to the West. We found ourselves in a chamber to the slight Southwest where we were expecting to find a door spiked beyond reason in the West wall. Instead, its burning ember remains lay scattered around the entryway. A fear filled the pit of my stomach (not great when hungover). The demon that killed Jarrod had escaped.
When I planned this mission, I wasn't sure how it was going to go in the least. I had prepped my classic magic missile spell in case I had to blast the demon with the only thing I had that had the slim chance of injuring it. I had expected that someone (let's be real, John Lackwit) was going to die opening the door to the demon. And I had trained my dungeon terrier, Arthur, to fetch Jarrod's head using the scent of Jarrod's spell book*.
Arthur let out a pleasant yip and wagged his tail as he caught scent of Jarrod from beyond the wreckage of the door. I knew I had to stick with that last part of my plans. It took Arthur just a quick moment to come bounding over the rumble with Jarrod's head; Arthur safe and sound. I stored the skull in my bag and gave Arthur a treat along with some solid affection. He was such a brave and faithful dog just like I knew he would be. Chipping even comment on how good of a boy he was.
Kerf decide to investigate the pentagram room for a secret passage. That is when things got all fucking weird and creepy real quick. The glowbugs all swiftly flew up the ceiling and Arthur started softly growling at the eastern hall we arrived from. It was the fricking demon coming for us for messing with his shit. I knew it couldn't be anything else. We decided to retreat South.
Passed the door, the hall mostly was mostly a bust. Like previously mentioned, there was no door to the East where it should have matched up with one we failed to open earlier. There wasn't any abandoned loot like that marked on the map of the last adventuring party to explore this end of the Vault. There was a door in the Southern most spot of the Western wall. It was spiked and had a warning about undead scrawled across it. Kerf said he could handle them and we believed him. we cracked that sucker open. What else are we going to do? Go fight a fricking demon with no magic weapons?
Inside, we found an odd shaped room with a southern door, four urns, and seven petrified bodies of orcs set in the walls. Finally, we had found our orc bodies to get a skull from. Kerf bravely grabbed my lantern and went into the room to investigate while the rest of us remained safe behind the tower shield. Chipping lit a torch. Kerf inspected an urn in the shadow of a dead orc to discover that the urns were covered in old paints of green-skinned humanoids and at filled with coins (at least the one he looked at was). That cleric has some real chutzpah.
We huddled up and developed a through plan for investigating the urn. After a few wrong turns, we settled on Chipping and I cutting off the western wall of orc dead with a barrier of oil to be lit at the drop of a torch. Mike O'Nidd volunteered to tie a rope around an Eastern urn so we could pull it over and dump the contents to see if it was all coins. Kerf stepped into the room to prepare for turning the dead orcs if they reanimated. I waited with Arthur and magic missile at the ready. John Lackwit held the tower shield. Mike tied the knot but was visibly nervous. Who wouldn't be at such a high stakes operation? The urn teetered and shit got bananas before the urn hit the floor.
All seven bodies began to move. The length of the room was a wall of flame. Mike was bitten and paralyzed by what appeared to be orc ghouls. Kerf's divine calls to turn the unholy creatures went unanswered. John Lackwit was also frozen. No one's attacks were hitting. Even poor Arthur's. I pour out a second line of oil to block us from the ghouls as Kerf carries Mike back to the party. It is set a light just as Arthur comes bounding back over.
None of this is stopping these undead jerks and I, swear on my life, thought this was it. Between the unrelenting dead and fires raging everywhere: we were all going to die. But, then, Arthur valiantly leapt to protect me from a ghoul attack and the fiend slipped on some oil in startle right into our fire wall. I fired off a magic missile. The adrenaline from fighting for my life and the focus of practicing my art finally cured my body and mind of the pains of my hang over. With more fire and my party mates finally hitting a groove with their attacks, the next thing I know the ghouls are all dead. Only poor John Lackwit perished in the fight; never grasping the level of danger he was in the whole delve.
We decided to cremate John in the fires. We collected the coins from the urns into our bags along with some scrolls. John's ashes are scooped into an urn. By the time this is all over, Mike has regained movement. Our resources drained, we decide to risk retreat the way we came.
In the hall near the summoning room, we find gore of exploded fireflies covering all the ceiling. It is dripping down and bodies are everywhere. Arthur rolled around in it while Mike covered himself in glowing, arcane markings. This is the last real thing of note we encountered on our egress. The crossbow trap had been replaced. Kerf takes it much to the disappointment of Chipping, who also wanted to sabotage the trap.
I traveled straight away to the Jarrod Memorial Library to present the skull to Barnabus Sleet. The party had to agreed to split the reward of 100 gp equally but in an act of one-time kindness, paid 100 gp each to the party members. I passed up my payment to move up a rank as a librarian.
Addendum 1: On my honor, this is a truthful account of events as I recall them. I know that the events deviate from the lyrics of a popular song at the Drooling Thoul. No disparagement of my fellow adventurers is meant. But, seriously. Kerf Merklin in no way singlehandedly defeated the pack of ghouls wielding a crossbow in each hand. For one, Kerf only had one crossbow at the time. Secondly, his holy vows prevent him for using such a weapon in the first place.
Addendum 2: I have heard rumors of Mike O'Nidd blundering into a chance encounter with the Sorcerer of the Blue Mask himself while celebrating our parties success. I was not present at such events because my memories of my previous hangover where too fresh. Plus, Arthur deserved some quality time after being such a good dog. Anyways, it is a real shame it happened. With none of us today being a real ruff type, he really stepped it up to be our party's fighting-myconid. Sad to see such a solid fungi run into a streak of bad weeks one after the other.
ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEAD
John Lackwit (o-level loser), Szazsraz the Lizard Wizard (Chris Wilson), Iter the Physick (NPC), That Pictish Bastard (NPC), Bufo the Wizard (Makali’i F), Beefo the Gerblin Drinking Buddy (NPC), Willy Whats-His-Name (0-level Loser), Poor Brother Rupert (cleric hireling), unnamed serving boy (0-level hireling), Gwalin Rustbritches (dwarf hireling), Jarrod the Magic-User (Ian Reilly), Jonesy (0-level NPC), Little Liam Linkboy (0-level NPC), Limpy the Naileteer (Jeff Call), Engsal the Enchanter (Alex Joneth), Elfbraham Lincoln (Jeff Call)., Littlens (0-level NPC), Biggens (0-level NPC), Stimpy (0-level NPC), Ren (0-level NPC)
AZURE TOWER GUEST LIST
Brax of the Tallstones (Brad Black),
Mike O'Nidd (Matt Barclay), Kilic (Alex Joneth), Barnabus Sleet (Maxim Golubchik), Laurantha the Unbeautiful (Cullen), Big Gnome (Luke Rejec), Szazsraz the Wizard Lizard (Chris Wilson), Rose Royce (Kiel Chenier), Sneakerly Trull (Zak S.), Ilse Raagenkampf (Perttu Vedenoja), Persimion Finch (Galen Fogarty), Magic Meryl (Nick Kuntz), Merrill Meadows (Michael Julius), Chef (Richie Cyngler)