After the PC’s returned to Waterkeg, they received the first of 3 stories of future adventure from the Merchant of Southtown for bringing him the Ivory Coin. The Merchant told the tale of the ancient City of Ashalken, which lies 130 miles east of Waterkeg in the Mystic Mountains. The city was built 400 years ago by the magic of a great wizard of the same name, Ashalken. It is further rumored that there is a city beneath Ashalken hidden in darkness called the Undercity. The stone city of Ashalken was the home to several wizards, and they protected the nomads of the grassland below from mountain dragons that preyed on their livestock. The protection given was repaid to the wizards by the nomads in livestock. After 40 years, with Ashalken aging, the other wizards began to vie for the position of top wizard. Factions with their own secret languages formed, and soon wizard rivalries devolved to open warfare between the factions that left the city vulnerable to attack. Taking advantage, dragons easily overran the city. Blueflame, a dragon subdued and enslaved by Ashalken many years before, is believed to have taken a lion’s share of the treasure and magic spoils after the city’s fall. The city was abandoned by humans, and the nomads fled westward. Over time, they eventually settled in the region where the PC’s are, merging with (and eventually overthrowing) the city states of the people that were there before. (As you recall, Waterkeg was once known as Portown).
The PC’s also visited the Rune Library in Waterkeg, where they met the Sage of the Rune Library in the basement. The robed Sage was met sitting Indian style surrounded by books shelves and an open book flanked by 2 candles in front of him. His skin was cracked and bleeding from the believed nearly incurable disease of scullrot. It is contracted by skin contact from handling old bones, and it causes a debilitating skin rash that is extremely painful with any movement by the diseased. For 5 gps, the Sage directed Freddy to a blue book of arcana that he can study when he visits the library. To cast magic spells, he will need to train with a wizard. There are several wizards in Waterkeg that sometimes visit the Sage. He will put in a word for Freddy to see if any are interested in taking on a new apprentice. For 100 gps, the Sage agreed to attempt to decipher Dox’s mysterious ancient untranslated message over the next month. He cannot guarantee success, but perhaps he can help.
After roughly a week in Waterkeg, buying 2 pinto riding horses for Mardak and Night Shadow (about 40 gps each with saddle, etc.), the PC’s rode up the coast of Lake Rune to return to Lookout Tower. Finding the rope they previously used to climb up the south side of the tower had fallen down, inspection revealed that the detached rope had apparently been chewed through by an unknown critter. This time, the PC’s climbed up the east side of tower to the battlements, and again tread down to the 3rd floor where they had battled the red haired leprechaun. They found the corpse of the leprechaun quickly decayed to the bones as usual for this world, but it appeared that some of his bones may have been scavenged by vermin.
Going down to the 2nd floor, 4 more rooms were explored, which were mostly empty. In a burnt desk, the insightful Mardak and Freddy found a secret compartment in the back of a drawer and discovered a half written message on parchment titled, “Sergeant Courtzum’s Coins”. On the suggestion of invisible ink by Mardak, Freddy rightly determined that the message might be written with ink of lemon juice. Bringing the message near a torch flame revealed the rest of the message, which was a tricky riddle leading to treasure. After partially solving the riddle, Mardak suddenly gained divine insight from the All-Seeing Eye, and the riddle was solved. The answer was “Beneath the hearth”. Going to the fireplace in the room across the hall, Freddy located the loose hearth tile. Night Shadow found that the tile flipped upward, and with an iron spike, disabled a trap mechanism that would snap the loose tile downward like a mousetrap on greedy hands. Under the tile, the PC’s discovered a bag of 80 gps and a glowing, peach colored, fuming potion. Sipping it, Freddy determined it was a potion of climbing (3 uses) although he told the others that it was a potion of fire breathing.
Going down the winding iron stairs to the 1st floor of the tower, the Mardak and Freddy slew 2 centipedes emerging from under the wooden ramp leading down from the front gate. Night Shadow kept 1 of the centipedes to later extract poison from. Finding a trap door that had been slightly moved, the PC’s walked down a narrow escape tunnel to face 3 fire beetles. Mardak in front fended off the beetles while Freddy and Night Shadow shot arrows over his shoulders. The first beetle injured fled. The second beetle was skewered by Freddy’s spear and finished off by Mardak’s mace. With 2 mandible bites, the third fire beetle brought Mardak close to death, saved only by quick providential healing. Night Shadow’s 2 arrows struck true and slew the deadly fire beetle. Exploring the rest of the tunnel, they found what was left of Cun the forester, salvaging a raccoon fur hat (30 gps), a loadstone (25 gps), and 3 gps.
Having cleared out Lookout Tower, the PC’s mutually claimed it as their own. They returned to the woodsmen’s cabin, told them of the death and burial of their friend, Cun, and returned his possessions. They told the story of finding (and losing) the Ivory Coin, and the Wild Beard confirmed their beliefs that the little red haired man was a leprechaun. Wild Beard claimed that leprechauns are connected to the God, Luk, giving fortune to some and not to others, which is why it had the Ivory Coin. In fact, the leprechaun may have known that his own luck had run out when you found its lair and the the PC’s would come to own Lookout Tower. Wild Beard said that you can wish upon the red hair of leprechaun at a lake/sea shore at twilight, and it will come true. With parting, on being told that the PC’s would clear the region of bandits, the 3 woodsmen promised to be Lookout Tower’s scouts as needed.
The PC’s returned to the witch, Hashy Deutsmy, and exchanged 3 fire beetle glands for 6 gps. Promising protection of the woods with their claiming of Lookout Tower, Hashy agreed to concoct something magical for them with 2 left over fire beetle glands.
For follow up:
1. The Merchant of Southtown: (A) Is there more to the Ivory Coin? Will the Merchant of Southtown strike it rich?
(B) Get the last 2 stories for future adventure from him. © What will be the PCs story of the Ivory Coin quest told in Cun’s Pub and around Waterkeg in about 18 days?
2. What will Hashy Deutsmy make with the fire beetle glands?
3. Night Shadow: Will Rulmuth of Tarp Street help you extract poison from the centipede? At what price?
4. Freddy: Follow up with the Sage of Rune Library regarding arcana study and a wizard mentor.
5. The Cheese Thugs of Westwood – Readers can check out this one page dungeon adventure by the DM for themselves at The Cheese Thugs.
6. The Tower of Zenopus
7. Will the crowd on Tarp Street be threatened by the warning of Gorgo’s Gang in the woods? Will they even hear about it? If so, when? Will they care?
8. Dox’s mysterious ancient untranslated message
Mardak and Night Shadow: are now 2nd level. They take the best of 3 die rolls for hit points.
The treasure collected so far amounts to 1,319 gps; a climbing potion (3 uses); a loadstone (given to PC’s as parting gift from woodsmen, worth 25 gps); gold medicine cup worth 25 gps; a hematite gem worth 12 gps; Swift the medium warhorse with saddle, bridle, and 3 large saddlebags (220 gps); 3 wooden neck charms (poison resistance?); and a manure soup recipe.
Of the above treasure, the PCs have spent a total of approximately 191 gps already. Lookout Tower took 5,000 gps to build, but in its present dilapidated state, it will take 1,000 gps to return it to its former glory.
Total casualties: 7