Xantari's Night Below

Lured Into Darkness Pt. 3 – Mystery of the New Mire

PCs: Lesandra Human Ranger, Lamyl Human Fighter, Tremolo Gnome Cleric, Ar’Lii Wood-elf Bard, Grimgor Half-orc Barbarian , Gus Dragonborn Wizard

The party set off to investigate the New Mire, starting by checking out some of the farmsteads that were close to the spread of the mire. They spent most of one day investigating the area using their knowledge of nature and the arcane to try to determine what could be the cause, but apart from coming to the conclusion that the spread was unnatural, and perhaps caused by some form of conjuration, there were not many clues outside of the marshy area.

The next day, they set out for the middle of the marsh to see if there were further clues to be had. They investigated a deserted farm, and found some week-old tracks that seemed to converge around an abandoned animal pen. The tracks were humanoid but small, just a bit bigger than the Gnome’s (Tremolo’s) feet, but the party were unable to determine what exactly caused them. Unable to determine much useful information, they continued to the other side of the marsh and spent the next couple of days walking around the perimeter to look for further clues. Finally they decided to go back to one of the so-far unaffected farmsteads and ask some questions.

While inquiring at a farm, they overheard a child talking about ‘Giant, fire-breathing blue demons, with pointed ears like yours,’ pointing at Ar’Lii the elf, ‘flat faces, and mouths full of hundreds of sharp teeth!’. The party determined that the lad was probably exaggerating, but decided to investigate the headwaters of the brook that wound through the New Mire, as that is where the lad had seen… something.

After a couple of hours searching the next day, the party found more tracks matching those they had seen at the abandoned farmstead, leading to a cave. The ground became very muddy in the area, giving them a good clue that this could be where the waterlogging was originating. They girded themselves for battle and charged into the cave, Grimgor the barbarian and Gus the wizard leading the way (He is a very squishy mage, but does not yet realize this fact)

They were met by several very scrawny looking goblins, painted with blue lichen. The goblins were acting defensively instead of aggressively, so the wizard argued with the rest of the group to try talking with the goblins first. Fortunately, he happened to speak Goblin (This is pretty much the first time that I have ever seen a language that a character knows actually matter). Eventually, a giant of a goblin (four whole feet tall!) appeared from a passageway and agreed to parley with the party, leading them further into the cave past hungry looking goblins, including women and children goblins. The party ended up in the goblin chief’s ‘office’, where he and a goblin who seemed to be a shaman of some sort parleyed with the party.

The goblins wanted to be left alone, and not much more. The party explained that they were investigating the waterlogging in the area, at which the shaman looked nervous. Being adventurers, the party immediately zeroed in on the shaman, and noticed that all the other goblins had a tattoo on their foreheads that matched the ring the shaman was wearing. Tremolo the cleric attempted to surreptitiously cast detect magic to see if the ring was magic. The shaman noticed what he was doing, but didn’t say anything, and Tremolo was able to detect traces of both conjuration and charm magic on the ring. Immediately, the party suspected that the shaman was using some kind of mind control on the rest of the goblins, and wanted to attack the shaman.

Once again, Gus the wizard stopped everyone from immediately attacking and asked the shaman about the ring. He claimed the ring had been given to him personally by the goblin god, Maglubiyet, after which the other goblins groveled and made worshipful noises. When the party did not look to be buying in to his story, the shaman asked to meet with them alone. He then explained that he had found the ring two years ago (about when the mire problem started, the party was quick to realize) and didn’t know what it actually did. He just used it to increase his prestige with the rest of the goblin clan. Eventually, the party convinced him to give it to them if they would get a copy made. He also wanted another magical item in return, but the wizard managed to convince him to accept a crate of chickens instead. Hey, the clan of goblins was VERY hungry at this point.

In any case, the party took the goblin shaman with them (disguised by an illusion cantrip courtesy of Tremolo) to see the wizard Tauster, who cast Identify to find out what the ring actually did. It turns out it was a ring of water elemental command that was mildly broken, and ‘leaking’ water from the Elemental Plane of Water. He informed them that if they put it in a lake or ocean or body of water, the ‘leaking’ wouldn’t cause problems like it was with the New Mire. The party took this information back to magistrate Carmen, to help with getting a replacement ring made, and also spoke with the retired ranger Geryld to see if they could just drop the ring in the middle of the Eelhold Dam to the north without it causing any problems. He sent a message via bird to a ranger friend of his, Shiraz, whom he said would meet the party at the Eelhold since she knew the Dam better than he did.
While the party was waiting for the ring to be crafted and sent to Milbourne from a larger town, Gus and Grimgor bought some disguise kits they had ordered the previous week from the town’s shop, and disguised themselves and the goblin shaman so they could sneak back in to the Silver Crown tavern and let the goblin try out the (dubiously delicious) meat pies. Easily fooling Gergel, the bouncer, they devoured some meat-pies (Gus once again failing a constitution check and running out of the bar to get the pie out of his system), and Gus had an Idea. He ordered 100 meat-pies for delivery to a cave (he left out the fact that this cave was full of goblins), and an additional 50 per week for a month. The barkeeper was happy to take Gus’s money, muttering something about needing more rats under his breath. The goblin shaman Gus and Grimgor were with practically cried tears of thankful joy.

During this time, the moon was nearing fullness, so Lamyl spoke to Geryld (also a constable) and had herself locked in the town stockade overnight, since she was fearful that she would be turning into a Werebear. Strangely, all she felt during those nights was a sense of peace and calm. Bondo cast spells to detect magic and disease on her, but they both turned out negative, unlike previous spells that had pegged her as both magical and diseased. For some reason, the players thought that I had just been playing with their heads previously. (Insert evil DM laughter)

Once the replacement ring came in, Gus travelled back to the goblin cave with the goblin shaman and the rest of the party travelled north to the Eelhold Dam with the real ring. When they got there, the Eelhold was cloudy and agitated, and they witnessed a waterspout out in the middle of the lake. They were met by a woman with sun-bleached hair and a deep tan, the ranger Shiraz. When they told her about wanting to put the ring in the Eelhold Dam so it would not cause waterlogging issues, Shiraz’s eyes lit up when she found out the ring could control water elementals. Apparently, 17 years ago, the Dam had flooded, so a local nixie had worked to tame a water elemental to prevent that from happening again. Lately, however, the nixie’s control over the elemental had been slipping. The party, wanting to kill two birds with one stone, offered the ring to Shiraz. She was very grateful to accept the gift, but refused to take a magical item as charity, so offered the party one of her own magical items, either a ring or a shortsword. We wrapped up the session so that I could figure out what kind of magic was on each item.

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