- A city under the ground holds many questions but few answers; our party retraces their steps to arm themselves in more ways than one.
Recap[edit | edit source]
How Bazaar[edit | edit source]
Victoria asks Grumples to lead them to the Gem Market, where they might find information relating to the jewelry she’s wearing. There are gnomes all around, selling various forms of gems and precious metals, cutting, polishing, forging, refining etc.
Starting with the Emerald merchant, she asks him for information about one of her rings. Meanwhile, the giants are attracting the attention of the gnome populace, from a respectful distance. PoohBear attempts to blend in as one of the gnomes, with predictable results. She gets questioned by a child gnome, Happy. She immediately adopts the moniker for her own.
The emerald merchant hasn’t seen Victoria's particular ring, but he does mention that emeralds are favored among the merchant Lords of nearby kingdoms. He doesn’t have much else to add though, and so she moves on to the garnet merchant, who apparently only speaks Gnomish. Happy doesn’t speak Gnomish, but she can repeat what the garnet guy says. Cloud deduces that one of the phrases being used means “Who are you?”, but that’s not particularly helpful. Victoria goes to retrieve Grumples for a gnomish translator.
Grumples informs Victoria that Grouple (the garnet vendor) says that her armband is rather unusual; gnomes don’t particularly like to work with wood. That said, garnets are considered ‘petty’ gems, some of the least valuable mined. Victoria takes this to mean that the armband is sentimental rather than valuable.
Meanwhile, Happy looks around for a merchant that may be selling something like her necklace. She eventually locates a metalsmith making some exquisite platinum jewellry, but she notes that he’s isolated from the others. He has very broken common skills, making communication difficult at first. He implies that it’s bad to trade with elves. She tries to make up a song from the gnome’s words, but she is most definitely not a singer. (EL: Happy has CHA 8.) The gnome, upon inspecting Happy’s necklace, goes wide-eyed and gingerly returns it to her. He seems to be indicating that magic is contained in the necklace. He suggests that the gnomes dug the metal up, but that it was purchased in the overworld.
“Slave Labor”[edit | edit source]
Victoria goes over to the diamond merchant, who Grumples identifies as Gimberjog. Between translations, Grumples states that diamonds are essentially worthless; very common gems to gnomes, but they massively mark them up to sell to the aboveworld races. He identifies Victoria's ring as worth about 250 gp in the human lands, high quality stone.
Cloud inquires as to whether she can maybe get some cash for quick labor. She suggests they go inquire at city hall.
In a move that is in no way metagamed from chat, (EL: …) Happy realizes that the merchant she’s talking to trades with elves, and so she tries speaking in elvish. Which immediately bridges the language barrier. He explains that he had seen a similar design in a elvish book about platinum trade, and that he believes it was an enchanted defense amulet of some sort. He recommends a trip to the library in Kol-dringas to find the book about platinum. He introduces himself as Simple.
Happy bids farewell to her new friend, as she’s unable to purchase any of his wares, and starts to head back towards the others. Spotting them overtop of some houses (EL: Apparently gnomes live in bungalows. TIL.), Happy starts to run towards her friends - a cause of great alarm to the residents of Gunderfunk, whose homes are now shaking from a giant thudding through their streets. Cloud quickly corrals Happy into moving slowly. Quite specifically, she starts moving in pseudo-slow-mo.
Gathering up outside the town hall, Cloud asks Grumples to go and get someone she can ask about getting some quick contracting work. A few moments later, Grumples returns with a younger, thinner gnome, who soon begins shouting at the top of his lungs in gnomish. This causes a gathering of gnomes to start forming around the party, and the thin gnome to keep yelling. Grumples explains that the other gnome is the Town Crier, who’s putting the word out about Cloud's want for a job.
After some more shouting, Grumples identifies a man with a pickaxe as a person who wants the group to assist in putting up a house. When inquired about how much they would get for the work, Grumples reports back that there seems to be a misunderstanding, and that the townsfolk believe the party are in fact Grumples’ slaves, because he’s not allowed to bring guests into Gunderfunk. Happy draws some pictures in the ground. (EL: Happy's DEX is 9.) After relatively little discussion, the group agrees to go along with it to keep Grumples out of trouble.
A quick trip and missed-turn later, the party arrives at the home construction site. Happy comes up with an advanced construction schematic for assembling the house, however her plan would require construction that is physically impossible. Cloud immediately starts to work on constructing the house by hand. Victoria inquires of Grumples if they’re being kidnapped. He tries to assure them that they are not, and that they can get out of the city as soon as the construction is done.
A couple of hours later, the group manages to put together the house. Cloud points out that surely if Grumples was lending this man his slaves, the man would pay Grumples. Grumples deflects this quickly. Happy reads his aura, and gets a… leonid vibe from it. Grumples leads the party to another exit point from the city; a series of metal handholds and footholds in ladder formation. He agrees to lead the party to an elf village when they reach the surface.
Just A Little Black Rain Cloud[edit | edit source]
The group emerges from the underground in the middle of a summer glade. The late afternoon sun feels nice. Grumples takes a minute, and then starts marching off in a direction. 20 minutes later, the Gnome comes to an abrupt halt, pointing out a village about 100 yards ahead. Grumples doesn’t want to go into the village, giving an excuse of cultural agreements not to intrude on each others’ lands.
Happy suggests bringing the elves a gift - specifically, cake. Bunny checks her clothing for secret cake containing pockets, but has none. Happy suggests sweet treats - and immediately goes on the hunt for, and finds, a beehive. Using her cloak as a mask, Happy goes to start a fire under the beehive, to use the smoke as a bee calmer. (EL: It is discovered at this point that Cloud is proficient at firebuilding. Happy is not, and is not a chemist. So Cloud builds the fire.) Cloud at this point decides to call Happy Weirdo. Bunny and Happy do a fire dance for… reasons. Happy decides to call herself Fire.
After a half hour, the fire is going. Bunny is happy, because she hates the dark. With the bees pacified, Fire wraps her hands in cloth and carves some honeycomb out of the hive with Victoria's dagger. As she comes down from her gathering, a pair of elves approach from a nearby ravine. As the elves approach, Fire smothers the fire since they’re done with it, and curtseys to the elves in greeting. [EL: Fire has an Etiquette proficiency.]
The elves inquire as to why the party have returned. Fire, the elvish speaker of the group, conversating pleasantly with them. The elves advise the party to come into the village, the woods are too dangerous at night. Fire presents the honeycomb to the elves as a gift. She also shares some of the leftover honey on her hand with Bunny, who licks it off. The elves look… puzzled by this, but Fire dismisses it as a human custom.
Lifting the Veil[edit | edit source]
The two elves guide the party to a glade in the village and one leaves to go and fetch their elder. Meanwhile, Bunny looks around for the cart they had arrived in previously, but has no sign of it. Fire spends her time analysing the structure of the elf houses, noting how intertwined with nature they are.
Victoria wants to inquire about her gems, and so Fire decides to inquire of their current guide about them. He introduces himself as Thal-Tilas, and that her ring is not of elven make or taste. A few minutes later, the town elder arrives. He states that he had thought he had sent the party away, and wonders why they have returned. It seems that soon after they were sent on their way, the Duke of Blades (who is now identified as Human) came to the village in search of the women, and offering a potion that could cure any malady in reward. Though the elder lied to the duke and said they had not seen the party. He believes that the Duke wants to kill one of the party.
There is a rumor, that a neighboring human kingdom has come into trouble; but he avoids a lot of questions about it until the party is more ready to defend themselves. He does say that he believes one of the party is a princess that has eluded the Duke’s grasp. He hints that the group’s amnesia was willingly self-inflicted. Sith-sera, as he identifies himself, grants the party’s request to stay overnight, and once again advises the group to leave these lands and travel east.
He eventually caves and tells Fire that a terrible curse has befallen the kingdom in question. It requires the blood of the princess to lift. The Duke wants to lift the curse. He doesn’t know who the party are, or why they have lost their memory. He suggests they not try to find out, though.
The Duke came from the south of the village on foot, and came alone. As to why he suggests the party travel east, the elder knows of a powerful elven wizard in that direction, outside of the capital. However the wizard, Rath-atan, doesn’t often make social visits, and finding a wizard that does not wish to be found is difficult.
The elder and Cloud get into a minor war of insults, leading to Cloud storming off. Inquiring about the cart, Sith-sera says that it was returned to the king, as it belonged to his men. The elf that had driven it belongs to a minor elven family from the capital - the Rushtada.
(EL: We receive confirmation that Fire cannot actually read auras, but makes it up anyway)
Fire inquires after bakers in the village, and is directed to them by Thal-Tilas. She hails the baker gloriously, and begs to be taught about baking desserts. He agrees to meet them before dawn and teach her about making honey cakes. The group is then ushered off to a barracks to rest.
Leavening and Leveling[edit | edit source]
The barracks are relatively quiet come the morning, like other things in the village, mostly made or formed from natural growths. Fire is up early, doing the Christmas Morning sort of thing of being too excited to sleep. Fire and Bunny are… very enthusiastic about learning the art of honey-cake-making, to the point of nearly being ejected by the baker. They recover from their gaff however and learn the art of honeycake making.
Meanwhile, Cloud and the baker’s son practice sparring, being that she is not very interested in baking; after a few minutes he offers the human woman a variety of weapons to try out. She finds she is comfortable with both long and short swords, as well as the shield. [EL: Cloud is proficient in all of the above.]
Victoria runs into Kol-theris once again, taking her on a walk to a reflecting pool for a few hours of romantic talking. Or maybe he’s giving her a recipe for daffodil tea. She has no idea.
Eventually the group reconvenes, and Sith-seras comes to them to suggest it’s time to leave, bound east for the kingdom of Regar. It will take some time to reach, but it should be safe there. The baker’s son sheepishly gifts his shield to Cloud, saying it will serve her better than it will him.
- Recap from EtoileLion on reddit. Editorial notes are theirs.