The Coffers of Kundarak

Break In On Floor 13

In the city of Rubyvale the heroes had just taken a side-trip to an underground casino…not an illegal one so much as an unwanted one. Blok and The Dude went on their own to their own adventures. Cher Chang Gu, D’artagnan and S. Danger (human ranger) had a very particular task in mind: breaking into the bank of House Kundarak, the most secure banking facility in the known world! After burying the coffer that they had already found, they proceeded to pull off their heist.

It was known that the individual branches of the Kundarak Bank were connected to the central branch by means of a teleportation system: anything put into a safety deposit box would find itself in a vault in Kundarak’s primary citadel in the Mror Holds. It was simplicity to purchase a chest large enough for the three of them to hide within (naturally, one coated with lead to block any scanning for life signs by pesky magical security systems.) A hireling was hired, as is the nature of hirelings, to deposit the chest at the bank on their behalf.

When they crawled out of the chest, they found themselves in a dark vault containing knickknacks, trinkets, and other items of low value. While the vault door was one of the most advanced that D’artagnan had ever seen, the fact that he was picking it from the inside helped him enough (along with some inspirational music from Cher) to get the lock open. Sneaking into the hallway, the adventurers avoided the patrolling guards (two dwarves and a warforged) and discovered an elevator.

The elevator had twelve buttons, each indicating a different floor. Where a thirteenth button might have been there was, instead, a keyhole. Coming to the realization that security would have to be engaged, the patrolling guards were attacked: the warforged and senior dwarf (who held a key and a book) were killed, while the junior dwarf (on his first week as a guard) was merely knocked out (he had a scrap of paper with a sequence of numbers upon it.)

When the purloined key was used in the key hole, the numbers on the buttons of the elevator began to flash. Thinking quickly, the adventurers pressed the buttons in the sequence that they found in the possession of the junior guard. The elevator began to descend, but before long an ethereal voice identifying itself as Kundarak Security spoke to the elevator’s occupants and demanded that they identify themselves. Unable to provide a satisfactory answer, the voice informed them that they would be stopped. The voice went silent then and the elevator continued its descent to the 13th Floor.

Upon exiting the elevator, the bank robbing heroes(?) found themselves in a massive hallway lit by torches with monstrous looking vault doors on either side that made the ones on the first floor look childish. After taking a few steps more, they were halted by a very professional imp who informed them that they were trespassers and would be put to death (but if they had any questions or complaints regarding this policy, Kundarak had customer service branches available in many versions of the afterlife.) They battled the imp, and seemed to do well until the imp declared that it “was also a client” and zipped to one of the vaults, pulling a key ring from its vest pocket that had three keys. Opening a vault that was presumably his, the imp activated an artifact that Cher identified as a “Zombie Cauldron”, which continually generated more and more zombies, dumping them onto the ground for the heroes to fight. S. Danger handily kept the zombies at bay while D’artagnan did what he could to disable the Zombie Cauldron and prevent it from dumping anymore zombies (though this left him open to the imps frequent attacks.) Cher proved to be the deciding factor when she managed to charm the imp with her bardic abilities, and convinced it to become a temporary ally. The now-friendly (though still lawful) imp handed his key ring over, explained what the rest of the hallway would contain, and made them promise to not steal anything before using the coffer to escape.

The adventurers walked down the hallway and found (just as the imp had told them about) a chasm in their way. A pedestal with a keyhole was available, and the heroes removed the proper key from the imp’s key ring, and used it to activate the pedestal which generated a magical bridge across the chasm (the key needed to be left behind to keep the bridge.) Just as the adventurers could begin to make out the far side of the chasm where the hallway appeared to resume, a cloud of smoke issued from one of the mouths of the basilisk-statues that lined the bridge, quickly coalescing into a genie. Cher entranced the genie (a janni, to be specific) before any fighting could begin, and the adventurers ran past.

As they reached the opposite end of the bridge, the heroes witnessed three massive vaults (the imp said to pick the middle one) sitting behind an adamantium statue of a dragon (which the imp claimed was a powerful golem.) Rushing as fast as they could, the heroes weren’t stopped by the chief of security who then fell from an air vent in the ceiling above, just narrowly missing them. The Ironwyrm Golem activated the moment that the heroes put the key into the lock of the second vault. Not wishing to fight the chief of security and the massive fire-breathing golem, the heroes quickly locked themselves into the vault which contained the first Coffer of Kundarak, a massive treasure chest that would comfortably accommodate three horses when closed. Inspired by a quick tune from Cher, D’artagnan picked the lock of the chest in the nick of time, for the Ironwyrm Golem had started breathing fire at the vault door, turning it into a gigantic oven. When the chest opened, a strange map (of sorts) fell from the lid of the chest into the waiting hands of the adventurers who then leaped into the glowing vortex of light within the chest, vanishing from Kundarak Bank and being sent elsewhere…

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Fall of the House of Cards

We see the town of Rubyvale and are introduced to The Dude and Blök, a Paladin and a Cleric to Obad-Hai, who are a bit out of place in a city where most of the population worships Wee Jas, a goddess of death. Still, a city official is glad for their presence as a large number of people have recently gone missing in the city’s sewer systems. He offers 500 gold to each of them for finding whatever is causing this problem. A lantern is obtained, the sewers are searched (and an underground casino named Malloroy’s House of Cards is noted.) Eventually, the heroes almost walk straight into the source of the problem without noticing it: a gelatinous cube is oozing its way through some of these tunnels, apparently attacking anything that it can find. The cube is incapable of easily harming the adventurers, and while it did succeed in engulfing the two of them, the heroes (with the aid of a quickly summoned fire beetle) managed to reduce the cube to a rapidly dissolving puddle of non-threatening goo. They claimed their reward from the city official, delivered what remains of victims they found within the ooze, made a quick trip to a bank to finalize their reward and went back to the casino to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Cher Chang Gu, D’artagnan and S. Danger, human ranger, were approaching Rubyvale from Quarterstaff on the horses that the local House Orien representative conjured for them. The horses made it almost all the way to the city, and they finished the rest of the journey on foot without incident.

After making a few purchases in magic shops, the trio went searching for the deck of cards that Gemdust had asked them to claim from a thief named Malloroy. After asking some questions to determine that it was located underground, S. Danger was able to track the flow of traffic far enough to find Malloroy’s House of Cards. Half of a Dvati bouncer watched them enter (Dvati being a single mind and soul that occupies two bodies). A few modest games of chance were available for playing, a Troll was acting as a bartender, the colorful Nac Mac Feegle were busying themselves with a drink, and it seemed like Malloroy was sequestered away in the V.I.P. room, normally reserved for High Rollers. While the other half of the Dvati guard behind the door of the V.I.P. room was originally insistent that only high rollers could enter, Cher Chang Gu offered to provide music for the V.I.P. room. After a quick conversation, the now-united five adventurers were allowed to go into the back.

The V.I.P. room itself was apparently modeled after a legendary site known as the Court of Thieves, complete with its own throne of lucky charms. Only a gargoyle and a gonnagle for the trible of Nac Mac Feegle were currently playing, the game of the night being Three Dragon Ante. Malloroy seemed willing to lend a modest amount of aid if the adventurers would either play the house’s Three Dragon Ante game or go into the sewers to find the Grell that had been pestering his patrons, but The Dude chose to detect evil at that time. When he saw that Malloroy was, in fact, an evil person, he ran him through with his long sword.

The Dvati quickly came to the aid of its dying employer by attacking The Dude with arrows and swords, while the Nac Mac Feegle from the main room, sensing a bar fight, swarmed into the V.I.P. chamber to complicate matters (though The Dude did manage to distract them by dropping his 500 coin reward on the ground.) D’artagnan and S. Danger (who chose to attack the Gonnagle), through a combination of intimidation, bluffing and diplomacy convinced a now thoroughly angry, confused and terrified Malloroy to hand over the cards in exchange for his life, and Malloroy moved to his desk to get the cards. Malloroy handed them to Cher, and The Dude, not one to make deals with evil folk, ran over to him and severely wounded the casino’s owner before being similarly knocked out by the Dvati.

Some quick looting occurred, removing all of Malloroy’s possessions and taking the safe from his desk (and The Dude was healed by Blök to ensure that he wouldn’t die and could walk of his own volition) before the five adventurers were chased out of the casino by the Dvati. With Gemdust’s deck of cards in their possession, the adventurers are free to turn their attention to the bank that brought them to Rubyvale in the first place…

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Flaming Moes

In the second installment of “The Coffers of Kundarak” the trio of adventurers still weren’t certain about whether or not to continue seeking the employment of the Kundarak Dwarf that sought them out. A plan was hatched to use the banking service to break into the central depository in the Mror Holds to try and get the first chest in the sequence which logic dictates would be at the Mror Holds for ease of access.

The adventurers returned to the town of Quarterstaff and made arrangements with a local House Orien representative to quickly leave and head to the city to the north where more banking arrangements could be made. As they were preparing to leave town, a hushed whisper drew them into a side alley.

In this alley, they encountered Gemdust, a living construct designed to be a fortune telling machine. Gemdust was seeking aid for the reclamation of an item of hers: a certain deck of cards that she needed for her more advanced fortune telling. It was apparently stolen a few years earlier by a thief named Malloroy who eventually left town and went to the city to the north. It had taken a while for Gemdust to manipulate the circus she travelled with to return to this area to find help, and she would be leaving again soon.

She provided two services as a down-payment to the adventurers, first agreeing to give them a free “50 silver” reading, telling the three in turn to invest in a parachute, a full-lung potion and a deep-breath potion. The second service was eating up their time because, as she revealed, their employer was currently under attack at the inn and that the inn was also being set on fire. Whether or not they wanted to keep working for Kundarak, saving the life of one of their representatives might help to stay out of their bad graces. Moments later townspeople began shouting about a fire, prompting the adventurers to run to the inn as Gemdust mentioned that their employer was either in the cellar or his room.

At the tavern, smoke filling the air made it harder to breathe and harder to see than normal. D’artagnan searched the second floor and found a halfling in need of rescuing. S. Danger, human ranger, was lugging the first treasure chest around and not letting it out of his sight, but still managed to slowly search the top floor where he found an elderly orc and an elf before he gave up and went to the cellar, just as D’artagnan moved to the top floor. By now the fire was severely spreading: D’artagnan encountered a backdraft of fire which he narrowly avoided, and S. Danger was caught in the explosion of a keg in the cellar. S. Danger moved up to the kitchen to find some salt as soon as this happened, just as D’artagnan found their employer, apparently paralyzed in a chair. Both D’artagnan and S. Danger encountered an odd variety of Magmin at that time, elemental creatures that were apparently causing the fires to spread. After some initial combat and realizing that the Magmin were incredibly dangerous for lone adventurers to fight, D’artagnan ran with the dwarf’s body, and S. Danger ran with the treasure chest, both meeting up at the main room. Cher Chang Gu revealed much of what she knew about Magmin and the party prepared to flee just as a large section of the ceiling, due to structural fire damage, caved in. The adventurers dove to safety in time, but the two pursuing Magmin did not. As the adventurers left the tavern to find medical help for their paralyzed employer, S. Danger noticed a shadowy figure on a rooftop who tried to shoot an arrow at them, though he left when his arrow inexplicably snapped in two.

Afterwards, the city of Quarterstaff awarded the adventurers for their heroism in the face of danger, especially when the truth about the Magmin was revealed, and the dwarf gave the heroes the job of carrying this treasure chest to the Kundarak Vault to the north for him since he was still recovering from the poison. Apparently, whoever summoned the Magmin had wanted his death to look like a fiery accident. With this in mind, the heroes accepted his offer and went to find the House Orien representative for their trip away from Quarterstaff.

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First Session

The following game session, the first in this story, began on the evening of March 6th, 2011, and concluded in the morning of March 7th.

*Three characters were created: A half-elf rogue named D’artagnan, a human bard named Cher Chang Gu, and S. Danger, human ranger.

*A banker from House Kundarak approached them in a tavern with a job offer: go investigate the vault of a guardian who had stopped checking in and retrieve the item that he was charged with guarding, a treasure chest that belonged to the House that, reportedly, contained nothing. The banker seemed to be telling the truth about that, but hiding something else.

*S. Danger, Human Ranger, managed to roll well enough to cut 4.5 miles off of the 5 mile trek out of town to the area with the cave by rolling a natural 20 on a survival check. He just happened to know a magical shortcut through a tree.

*The cave entrance was filled with a huge amount of stalagmites and stalactices that acted as narrow pillars that obsctructed both movement and vision. However, it didn’t keep the kobold thief hiding behind them from being spotted. Diplomacy was attempted, but the kobold fired an arrow, prompting dual-rapier wielding D’artagnan to leap down the cave mouth, brachiating through the stalactites and -mites with ease thanks to a nat. 20 tumble check (effectively turning the difficult terrain into quite easy terrain), and felled the kobold with a single blow.

*Deeper in, the cave turned into more worked stone instead of rough cave stone, and the stalactices and stalagmites were gradually replaced with pillars. Oddly photosensitive plants bordered the walkway which lead up to the [[:Door of Dials | vault’s gate]]. A combination of wordplay, device disarming, logic, and brute-force-mathematics led to the gate being opened very easily.

*The chamber beyond the gate was a very relaxed room topped with a massive Sunstone Crystal that illuminated it with a perpetual Daylight spell. The room also contained a tree with three types of plum-like fruit: the green made the eater sick, the red made the eater feel healthier, and the violet was just normal, tasty fruit (possibly a generic plum? Who can say for sure?) No one knows. Two passages left this room: the passage to the right was ignored entirely, while the passage to the left was explored.

*The passage led to a workroom or laboratory of sorts with a massive table, a bookshelf, chalk drawings on several surfaces, lots of broken or useless looking equipment, a few scattered books not on the shelf, and other various tools of the trade. The only things of note were the ersatzdragon that woke up from a nap on the table (basically a pseudodragon but black colored and with an angrier, more evil disposition), and a gibbet hanging from the ceiling that contained a skeleton. After the ersatzdragon attacked the intruders (though it was pretty much immediately fascinated, sneak attacked and killed) the skeleton in the gibbet spoke to the party. When the party provided proof that they were there because House Kundarak had sent them, the skeleton told them that it saw a small gang of kobold cultists, led by a sorcerer named Varn, storm the Vault and kill its Guardian while searching for the artifact rumored to be there (a treasure chest). The skeleton had lied motionless without revealing itself to the cultists as he “had a function to fill” which (after some haggling) was revealed to be the fact that only he could make the treasure chest findable, which he agreed to do when the security issue of the kobolds was handled, effectively requiring proof of the death of Varn. He helpfully told the party that beyond the doorway would be a lengthy stretch of halls leading to the Marble Hall where Varn and his cultists kept working on finding a divination ritual that might lead them to the coffer. According to the skeleton, beyond the door would be a massive swarm of bees that the kobolds already knew the secret to passing (he gestured to a [[:The Secret Arts | book]] that revealed a ritual for causing bees to return to their hive if you threw sand at them and said an ancient phrase. He also warned of a “living spell” called The Sleeping Sickness haunting a portion of the halls, but apart from that he couldn’t be much help.

*Sand being readily available in the mostly useless collection of spent spell components in the lab, the door was opened, the wall of bees revealed, and the bees flew back to their hive (located in a series of holes and cracks in the wall.)

*The Sleeping Sickness was easily avoided as it moved slowly. It had been waiting around the corner for them and tried to hit it with a slam attack as they moved by, but it wasn’t a challenge. It occupied a square-shaped tunnel, so the adventurers merely ran down the hall that it wasn’t in every time they had to.

*Still running from the (probably pursuing) Sleeping Sickness, they ran down the 40-foot long corridor, only to have D’artagnan accidentally hit a tripwire at the halls’ end. This started some rumbling machinery which convinced the Sleeping Sickness to leave that hall, and a series of spears began piercing downwards from the ceiling into the hall. With only some light injuries on D’artagnan’s part, Cher Chang Gu used mage hand to snap off one of the spears as it started retracting back into the ceiling, thus providing a safe place for the party to huddle while the trap eventually rumbled to a halt (after four turns of operation.) After this, the lock on the door proved easy enough to disable.

*The chamber beyond was a large marble hallway filled with pillars and statues of basilisks made out of an orange variety of jade (similar to the House Kundarak coat of arms.) The three remaining kobold cultists (including their leader, the sorcerer Varn) were chanting around a fire, trying to uncover a divination ritual that might lead them to the artifact that they had heard rumors about. Moving quickly, the party hid long enough for D’artagnan to move into prime position for a sneak attack and managed to kill all three cultists with a single surprise round. As Cher Chang Gu said, with Varn’s head they went galumphing back (a line that earned Cher fifty bonus experience points.)

*Seeing the deceased Varn, the skeleton in the gibbet’s eye sockets flashed blue, and he informed them of a variation of the Maze spell that he had just activated in a certain book on the bookshelf. He told them not to solve it instantly, and after the maze settled down it would allow them to find the treasure chest. He also requested that when they had it and left, they tell someone at House Kundarak to come and retrieve him.

*The Maze spell in the book took the party to an Escherian location at first, but by not trying to solve the maze it gradually morphed into a more simple looking maze of roughly worked stone. There was also a map lying on the floor, as well as a glowing manifestation of the book that they used to reach it. They discovered that the map of the maze had unconnected passages, and writing on the back of it. By folding the maze, they made passages connect to new places, leading them to eventually find a “Happy Mask” a “Less Happy Mask” and a “Honey Bee Hive”, all ethereal spirit creatures that had recently taken up residence in the space that the maze-spell linked to (which made them significant enough to appear on the map, for some reason.) Eventually by employing some less expected topography, a stable connection to The Chest was found on the map, which appeared to be a small, glowing image of a treasure chest. When touched, it teleported the party to the large marble hallway where they killed Varn. This time, however, there was an average-sized treasure chest sitting on one wall, conveniently on an easily moveable wagon for the sake of transference.

*After taking pains to unlock the chest and discovering that it was empty, Cher Chang Gu recalled some whispered rumors about a sequence of seven treasure chests called “The Coffers of Kundarak” developed by House Kundarak that, when opened in sequence, could teleport you to (roughly) the location of the next chest but if opened out of sequence did nothing. They decided that this chest was probably one of those seven coffers. While they did not know any rumors about what the last chest held, the temptation to pursue the other six chests was great indeed.

*The night ended with the party debating whether or not to conclude their contract with the banker or to go in search of the other chests, or some combination of the two.

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