- Note, Quinn was absent this weekend, so Katsuo Running-Cloud was manhandled around. *
The rag-tag group of adventurers consisting of Conrad, Fiona, Grunt, Ketta, and the extra-silent Katsuo had just finished clearing out the giant ant infestation. Conrad, Grunt and Ketta head into the nearest door that has yet to be opened. Inside they fine four large, mahogany pews facing a raised area with a podium on it.
As they file into the room, Grunt is disappointed by the lack of leg space and shoves a pew over to make room. The party notices a giant, slimy green caterpillar with tentacles clinging to the opposite wall. As Ketta senses the motives of the crawler, Grunt decides to cast Detect Alignment. He picks up the end of a 40’ long pew and pokes at the crawler with it, barely missing. Ketta confuses it instead. Conrad moves in and the crawler tries to attack him, but merely pops its suckers on his shield. Dr. Strangelove tosses an effective bomb at it, then another! Ketta jumps onto the pew and shoots a cone of shards with her crossbow. Unfortunately, Conrad is also caught in the blast, but swings at the crawler anyway.
The crawler lunges towards Ketta, but Conrad and Grunt slice it in half before it can attack her. Sticky, green goop rains down on the three of them. Ketta uses prestidigitation to clean their faces and her person. Dr. Strangelove investigates the podium and finds a tome with its pages eaten away. Ketta mends the book. The pages are restored, but without the text that was eaten away. It is titled “The Annals of Karathalax”, written in blood on thin strips of flesh, and bound in human leather. Ketta uses Mage Hand to read the book in the air. It says a lot of things about sacrifice and dark rituals. Dr. Strangelove suggests resurrecting the book, and Ketta puts it into a box. While the others examine the creepy book written in blood, Grunt stabs his arm and pens “Detect Alignment” into his spellbook.
Meanwhile, a gnomish tailor, Dorothy, is walking down the street and notices guards bringing giant ant eggs out of the basement. She ventures down inside, and decides to pick up an antennae from a dead ant to poke around a doorway, just in case something dangerous resides inside. Dr. Strangelove tosses an acid flask at the ant! It readily dissolves, and does minor damage to Dorothy’s hand. She peeks in and says, “Hi!” to which Ketta orders Grunt to “KILL!” in Orcish. Dorothy leaves, and Grunt goes charging through the wall after her. She is alarmed, and casts daze on him. Dr. Strangelove recognizes the gnome, and runs after the brute, yelling, “What are you doing? I bought my coat from her!” He tries to diplomatically convince everyone to leave her alone, “Don’t kill my tailor, or I’ll shank you!”
Fiona leaves the supply room and comes down the hall to investigate the commotion. She casts Sanctuary on Dorothy, and tries to get everyone to calm down. Grunt mellows out, but Ketta replies from Grunt’s back, “That gnome is an evil cultist!” She wants to reverse pickpocket a black cultist robe onto Dorothy’s person, but can’t overcome her Sanctuary. Dorothy scolds Ketta to stop, and Grunt sets her down, telling her “No run.”
The guards walk up, escorting Inquisitor Underhill who was hired to investigate the presence of the giant ants. “Citizens!” they address, “What seems to be the problem?” Ketta explains that they found evidence of cult activity, and that they were surprised by the gnome while investigating, who “ambushed [them] with giant ant parts.” She also points out that if the gnome is apparently a tailor, it could be she who made the robes. Dorothy gives her own speech in defense of herself, being a merchant uninvolved in cult activity. The guards are easily swayed and confused, so they arrest everyone to bring them to the station where it can be sorted out.
Grunt counts to six, and notices that Strangelove snuck off. The alchemist squeezes out through the rubble and prepares to follow the party. Ketta motions to Grunt not to say anything. One guard questions the gesture, and Ketta flashes some illusory cleavage, complaining of the heat. The investigator is not fooled, but stays quiet. Underhill casts Detect Alignment as they walk, noticing that Grunt and Ketta are both chaotic.
They reach the station, and everyone has their weapons taken as they wait in the holding cell for their turn being interrogated. Outside, Dr. Strangelove prepares to paralyze with his weapon and acidify the bars on the window to the holding cell.
Investigator Underhill leads the questioning, first asking Fiona for her perspective. He explains that they had arrived to look into the ant infestation, but “When we got there, we find a bunch of dead ants and you guys accusing each other.” Fiona explains that she did not know any of these people before, and merely helped save Alderman Francis Farkas from the ants. She ventured down the staircase with the tengu and Dr. Strangelove, when they heard a crash. They saw the bakery had collapsed. She was going to leave, when they realized that the guards had never left the basement. They helped the guards finish off the ants, and found some cultist robes. She recommended that the ants be collected, because they might be able to help farmers plow their fields. After healing the guards, she witnessed the big guy grabbing an unknown gnome, and cast Sanctuary until things could be sorted out. She mentioned that the tengu and alchemist were unaccounted for, and that the giant orc and halfling had a business relationship.
Conrad is next to speak to the inquisitor. He explains that they went down after the big guy broke the bakery, they killed the ant queen. Ran into a “big funky thing” that showered them in goo. Underhill asks if there were any weapons or strange things in storage, but Conrad only knew of the strange powder in the supply room. Someone waved an antenna in the doorway, which caused a commotion with the alchemist and big guy trying to attack it. “So you never paid attention to the tengu and its writing,” asks Inquisitor Underhill.
“No, I was busy paying attention to the ants and the fighting,” replies the mercenary. He explains that the big guy was going after the gnome, and everyone got all upset. Then the guards arrived. Finally, Conrad tires of the questions, exclaiming, “I don’t care! I’m not hired to protect anyone!”
Fiona and Conrad are released from custody. Fiona hangs around to make sure everyone is all right, while Conrad leaves to have dinner with Loretta, the guard woman he is courting. Dr. Strangelove waves his smokesticks at them on their way out. He accidentally sets one off, but stuffs it in his cloak. This totally doesn’t attract any attention or odd looks at all.
Inquisitor Underhill starts to ask Ketta about her involvement in the holding cell. “I wasn’t going to murder anyone,” she objects, “I was merely making a proactive step to protect my party. Gnomes underground are dangerous.” She demands to be released if no charges are being pressed. Inquisitor Underhill allows her to leave, but retains Grunt for further questioning. Grunt lifts the roof a bit to watch Ketta leave, sadly.
Next in line is Dorothy. Underhill begins by asking why she was in the basement to begin with. Dorothy explains that she was trying to find out what happened to the shops, as she is a merchant. She didn’t think to ask the town hall because her “sister keeps telling [her] to be more adventurous.” Her sister is named Alice, and they are both from Steltan, far to the North. She did not see anything else that was strange, and does not wish to press charges. Overall, she is very polite and soft-spoken. She is free to go.
Then, Inquisitor Underhill questions the big guy.
“What do you do, before this whole thing went down?”
“ME WATCH HORSES.”
“Not the halfling?”
“NO. BIRD FEED.”
“So you watch horses.”
“Birdhorse— I mean, bird’s horse. So you were watching the bird’s horse when what happened?”
“ANT. TWO ANT. SQUISH.”
“Where did the ants come from?”
“I heard that you had checked out a building for the ants.”
“But a lot of buildings have doors. Which building was it?”
“Were there any signs that you remember?”
“I heard the bird liked to write things.”
“ME NO READ BIRD WORD.”
“Can you read signs otherwise?”
“So you get paid with food then, by the bird?”
“And no one else pays you?”
“ME GET FOOD.”
“So you don’t get food from anyone else?”
“ME GET…WORDS!” Grunt shows Underhill the barbarian spellbook.
Underhill puzzles through it, then asks, “Who writes all this for you?”
“ME!” Grunt answers, and brings out his pen, complete with dried blood.
“So you were writing all this? Who gave you this?”
“How did you buy?”
“ME GOLD. WELL, ME NO GOLD, BUT BOOK!”
“Where did you get the gold?”
“THERE!” Grunt punches through the wall to the left to point.
“So after you found ants from underground, you went underground?”
“NO. ME GO HOUSE.”
“The house with the door?”
“So you used ‘Knock’ on the door.”
“ME CAST KNOCK.”
“And you’ve self-taught all of your spells?”
“ME MAKE SPELLS.”
“So you go down. What did you find at the bottom?”
“SPIDERS. BIG MANY SPIDERS.”
“Spiders?” he asks, puzzled, because no one else mentioned spiders.
“YES. ME SQUISH.”
“All of them? How many?”
Grunt begins to count, “1… 3… 3… that one… 12—”
“Lots and lots then. Let’s say there were lots and lots. Did anyone else see spiders?”
“METAL GUY. SMALL GIRL.”
“The fighter then?”
“And the halfling?”
“Halfling. Me, like me, but girl?”
“YOU SEE SPIDERS?”
“No, the halfling girl that was with you?”
“What’s Ketta’s relationship to you?”
“I thought the bird fed.”
“And Ketta feed too.”
“Did Ketta give you the food bag?” that he has around his neck, meant for horses.
“Did the tengu? The bird?”
“BIRD GIVE FOOD YES.”
“And Ketta puts food in bag?”
“But you say Ketta feeds? What does she feed you?”
“So not ant, but what else?”
“MEAT!” Grunt answers, and rummages through his bag. He finds some steak and beer. “FOOD MEAT!”
“Okay, you can put that away now.”
Grunt puts the meat into the bag with the oats, mixes it up, and starts eating globs of it.
“So the tengu feeds you, and Ketta feeds you, and Ketta feeds you better than the bird.”
“So Ketta spotted the spiders, and metal guy spotted the spiders.”
“NO. ME FIND SPIDERS.”
“Yeah, but you said they also spotted them.”
“YES. ME SAVE METAL GUY. ME SAVE SPIDERS.”
“After the spiders, what’d you run into?”
“And beyond the wall?”
“No, no, the wall where you went through after the spiders.”
“When did you get to the caterpillar thing?”
“And after what?”
“Where did the spiders fit in?”
“So you ran into a door, you ran into spiders, or did you run into caterpillar? There was door and there was either spiders or caterpillar. What was it?”
“ME NO… SPIDERS FLOOR…”
“When you made the giant hole to get to the ants, what was that?”
“ME SAVE KETTA!”
“You saved Ketta, what from?”
“What was the ant doing?”
“ATTACK KETTA,” he gestures through the interrogation room wall into the holding cell, towards Ketta.
“So you were watching horse. Two ants came out. Go through wall, kill ants, go through door, save Ketta from ant?”
“No one’s doubting that. So after save Ketta from ant, did you go make another door?”
“NO. ME FIND SECRET DOOR.”
“And you break out of that?”
“Okay, spiders in that door. After spiders what do you do?”
“Why would you run from the spiders?”
“……….TAKE MANY ANIMAL COUNT THAT BIG.”
“So you killed all the spiders, then what?”
“CLEAN UP. GIVE HORSE BIRD BACK.”
“So bird back on horse, and then?”
“Wash from what?”
“Ant got on your head?”
“ANT ON ROOF.”
“So after bath, what then?”
“SOLDIERS WE GO FIND.”
“Soldiers for guards, for town or somewhere else?”
“So not soldiers from the town then.”
“BAD TOWN SOLDIERS. NO FIGHT GOOD.”
“So bad town soldiers.”
“Why’d you find them?”
“THEY GO DOWN. ME HELP. ME SAVE!”
“How did this hole get there?”
“BUILT,” he shrugs.
Grunt shrugs again. Then he notices the wall is messed up, and tries to pick up little pieces to put it back together.
“You went down hole.”
“What did you find?”
“What were they doing?”
“Was anybody with you?”
“ALL. METAL SHORT-SHORT BIRD uh… HEAL and STRANGE-LOVE.”
“Short, short, like knee short?”
Grunt demonstrates short halfling, and less-short Fiona.
“So you kill ants right?”
“SQUISH!” He motions with his hammer, then is sad at the lack of hammer.
“What after the ants?”
“You fixed it?”
“You don’t fix small door?”
“KETTA NO LET. SMALL DOOR. NO GET KILL.”
“What was past the small door?”
“BIG BUG.” He stands up and motions a big bug, as tall as he is. “ME CALL. NO LISTEN.”
“So queen ant die.”
“See anything when you were there?”
“ME LOOK THROUGH WALL. SEE EGG. FIND SHINY.”
“METAL. METAL SHINY.”
“Well yes, metal is shiny. Do you know what shape it was?”
“SMALL. SMALL ROUND SHINY.”
“And where did this stuff go?”
Grunt shrugs. “ME NO ALLOWED SHINY.”
“Who said you’re not allowed shiny?”
“So why didn’t you get the shiny?”
“NO ME LEARN TRACE,” he answers, showing off the brooms strapped to his feet, and sweeps some rubble with them.
“Who taught you this?”
“KETTA. KETTA TIE BROOM.”
“Who’s Ketta again?”
“Short like me?”
“SHORT SHORT. SHORT.” He leans in and measures Underhill with his hands, then nods.
“Like me short?”
“So why did you need to have the brooms?”
Grunt shrugs, “NEW SPELL.”
“That Ketta taught you. Okay. What’s afterward?”
“SPELL… SHINY… SMALL DOOR… DOOR.”
“Did you make it through the door?”
“And what was beyond this door?”
“The crawly thing?”
“BUG,” nod nod.
“The wormy one, not ant?”
“NOT ANT. LONG GREEN. NEW SPELL,” he waves his book and shows off ‘Detect alignment: poke with stick.’
“Okay, and when you used detect alignment on it, what did it do?”
“What alignment was it?”
“SPELL NO WORK. NEUTRAL.”
“So what’d you do after this?”
“Is that what made metal guy covered in goo?”
“What was in this room?”
“And your party, and what else?”
“ME. GREEN CHAIRS. FRIENDS.”
“No banners, signs or anything like that? Did you see any symbols in this room?”
“NO. NO SEE. ME SAW PICTURE, NO ROOM,” he lifts his fist.
“Okay… third time that’s come up now. Then what happened?”
“What happened to ant?”
“Splosion from what? Strangelove?”
“All right, then explosion from him. You charge through wall.”
“What was there?”
“Wait, what was there?”
“Like you forgot it? Can’t remember?”
“YES,” he says, shaking his head ‘no’.
“So you can’t remember what was there?”
“FORGOT THERE.” He eats a mushy handful of oats, then uses some as mortor for the wall.
“So you went through the wall after this forget?”
“NO ME FORGET AFTER WALL.”
“What made you want to go through wall in the first place?”
“Ant kill what?”
“So you forget what happened. Then what?”
“What kept you from moving?”
“ME STOP MOVE.”
“So you stopped moving.”
“NO. ME STOP MOOOOOVE.”
“What did you stop from movin?”
“So like Ketta?”
“Was it Ketta?”
“ME NO THINK.”
“Then they talk?”
“And people talk?”
“Not even gonna ask…” he muses that he probably should have taken Strangelove into custody, “Then what did you run into?”
“ME NO RUN.”
“Then what happened?”
“YOU. THEN HERE. QUESTION. ME SAY BIRD. FEED.”
“I gotcha. You’ve been very helpful so far, in your own way. Thank you for your time. You can go now.”
Grunt stands, and thinks about where he is supposed to go. “WHERE KETTA.”
“I don’t know where Ketta is… but let’s get you outside of the jail first.”
Underhill shows Grunt out, who has decided that if Underhill can’t help him find Ketta, he will start punching into buildings until he does find her. Underhill leads Grunt to the site of the cult.
Meanwhile, Conrad has finished up his dinner with Loretta. Dorothy is going to the city hall to learn about markets. Dr. Strangelove, followed by Fiona, is going to the main temple of Aisara in the city. Ketta is preparing to look for Grunt.
- They fought a carrion crawler in the last room of the basement.
- Dorothy (Amber) was attacked because Ketta hates gnomes. Everyone was brought to guard station to be questioned by Inquisitor Underhill (Joe). No charges. Grunt was particularly annoying to question.