A stranger rode into Homlett. Her wide-brimmed travelin’ hat was pulled low over blood-stained blue eyes. A strange bronze tube with flared end and a carved wooden stock rested over her saddle bow, and she rode directly to the Lords Burne and Rufus. With a nod, she introduced herself as Jane, Calamity Jane to some folks, mostly dead.
The girl wielded a blunderbuss, which could fire anything she dared load into its flared bronze tube, once she applied the proper amount of black powder. She had received it from a stranger who said she had the gift, and not long after, she was shot at from a distance, her morning cup of brew exploding in her hand. She has been on the run ever since.
Meanwhile under the Moathouse, The band of misfits stood in a crypt deep beneath the earth’s surface, amongst the ruins of ghouls. The room was littered with gnawed and broken bones, and a few niches held splintered coffins. In the back of the chamber they found a hole which loed into a series of what the cleric Will identified as “ghoul tunnels.” He was ready to crawl in after more ghouls, but the group decided instead to follow the ten foot wide corridor heading to the southeast. wounded and out of healing and spells, they needed to find a safe haven to rest and recuperate.
the party of ne’er-do-well’s decided to plunge forward in search of a place to camp, rather than retreating up and out of this dank hole full of undead. They followed the southeastern passage which eventually led to a north-south t-intersection. The dwarves detected fresh water to the south, and so they headed in that direction, Strong Girl and Cady the Strong in the lead. THe hall ended at an arched opening, beyond which was a half finished chamber filled by a pool of fresh water. Strong Girl strode forward and peered into the depths. She saw the glint of shiny.
At that instant the rogue leapt foward and dove into the water in a graceful arc that resulted in very little splash. As he dove, both he and the barbarian saw a dark shadow cross over the clear pool’s bottom far below. As the rogue continued his dive he came face to face with what looked to be a gaint lobster or an even gienter shrimp. It was in fact a giant crayfsh, and intent upon reaching the surface, the crayfish and rogue passed each other like the other didn’t exist. The bottom was made up of mud, rocks, a few bones, and some gleaming coins.
Both fighters and the barbarian threw spears at the crayfish as it rose from the dark depths, but failed to hit it before it exploded out of the depths. One claw grabbed Brony Will the dwarven cleric about the neck and proceeded for squeeze. The other great flailing claw failed to grab ahold of Strong Girl,who heard the qeasy crunch of the dwarven neck next to her.
After having many of its chitinous armor sections destroyed by the swinging weapons of the delvers, the crayfish changed course, and with a sickening crunch it turned and dragged the dwarven cleric under. It charged the rogue who swam nimbly past, while scooping up coins and a metal tube from its lair. Both Strong Girl and the other dwarf Derp immediately jumped into the water to save Will. Cady cast her rope into the water for Derp to grab, and tied the other end around her waist. The wizards were busy detecting magic, and the human wizard J became quite interested in the tube the rogue had found, which at the edge of his range, glowed faintly.
Underneath the water, the crayfish fought desperately to extract the invaders of its lair, but it was a losing proposition, and the barbarian and dwarf peeled away its carapace until the rogue pierced it with his rapier. The claw let loose the cleric who was still conscious though almost out of breath. He was transported to the surface while Strong Girl and Kurasawa finished gathering the coins. Derp pulled a pendant from amongst the rocks while he was down there, and it was revealed to be one of the dozen “family jewels” had had vowed to recover at campaign’s start. The treasure amounted to a few dozen gold coins and a like amount of copper pennies. The tube was a scroll case, and within was a wizard scroll containing the spell The party set up watch and prepared to camp.
Above ground, Calamity Jane had just negotiated a bag of 25 gold to scout out the moathouse and find out what happened to the posse the Lords hired to rustle up the “Dark Priest” with another 25 on her return. As she followed the path through the swamp, she heard the crack of a rifle for the first time in many weeks, and a branch exploded overhead, showering her with leaves. She couldn’t tell from which direction the shot came and hurried her steed forward.
Soon she came to the keep, dismounted with the party’s horses, and continued across the moat. She found the main hall and the battle with rats in the pantry which led to the secret staircase down. Below she found a gory scene of violence and the stench of corruption was srong in the air. The stone stairs were stained with the scorch marks of burning slime, and undead lay strewn about the cellar with wild abandon. The gunslinger stepped gently between the bodies, some of which were twice-looted, and followed the trail into the next room, a torture chamber. Under a recently shifted iron maiden, a narrow shaft lay revealed, desceneding deeper into the earth with iron rungs set into the stone. She descended into the depths beneath the moathouse.
Strong Girl stood first watch and paced impatiently as her two hour watch passed. She had guard of the hallway and was alert for any sound. Eventually she heard a sound. She strained to listen. Yes it was coming closer. Did she charge? No, continuing to listen, she could pick up footsteps, they were getting nearer, she head another sound, like weasing or heavy breathing. What did she do. She waited. She had a torch lit and soon a figure appeared. The barbarian was not spooked into reckless attack upon the gunslinger Calamity Jane, as she met and quickly joined the party, sharing a lust for wealth and violence.
The rest of the night passed nervously but uneventful. The party was ready to commence their journey deeper into the dungeons beneath the moathouse, and they continued back to the last intersection and this time continued north. THe passed an adjoining tunnel but continued north to a heavy wooden door. The rogue came forward to check if it was locked or trapped, which it wasn’t, but it was easy to hear the sounds of banging, booming, and growling and barking coming from the other side.
The rogue stepped aside while Derp kicked the door in. The room was revealed to contain up to a dozen hyena-men engaged in war or sport with one another. The gnolls each had longbow and battle axe, and were split into two groups, each wielding one or the other weapon type. When the door slammed open, all aqctivity stopped and every gnoll head turned toward the intruders. Stron Girl broke the tension by screaming wildly and charging into the room to hew the closest gnoll in twain. With a roar, the chaos of battle took over and the party hacked their way through the savage gnoll recruits in record time.
Three doors to the south and a hallway to the north led from the gnolls chamber, which was empty of treasure except for the gold in the gnolls pockets, a princely sum of 130 gold between them. They opened each door to the south, and the first one turned out to be fake, and a gong sounded from the north, followed by the sound of a slamming grate.
At this point the party hurried north, feeling somewhat trapped, and came to a three way intersction. To the northeast the hallway was blocked by a portcullis, and it was to hear the party came, with the strongest members of the party coming forward to lift the obstacle from their path. The strong girls achieved their aim, and with much grunting, raied it wait high. At this point, the wizard heard a scrambling, scraping sound behind them. Derp was holding a gnoll claw in his pocket, and he recognized the sond as thescrape of many gnoll feet against the stone floor. Just then another army of gnolls exploded from the unexplored hallway behind them.
Surprised, the wizard and Derp were slashed by the battle axes of the invading force, but these inept gnoll recruits sufffered from inexperience, and miraculously the wizard was able to dodge and weave between the wild axe swings as he ran forward and under the portcullis and onward. The rest of the party was right behind them, except for the two brute beauties, who used their mighty strength to push the portcullis down behind them before the gnolls reached them. They stood up relieved and pointed at the gnolls, separated by iron bars. Their smiles faltered when they saw the front rank for gnolls switch from battle axe to long bow.
The fighters turned and ran, arrows skipping along the stones behind them. Around a corner the hallway ended at a steep staircase rising into darkness and eventually ending at a solid wall. The wizard, who was in the lead during the retreat wasted no time but raised his staff and struck the wall, casting Detect Secret Doors spontaneously through the power of his staff. A door was thus revealed, and through it the party emerged.
Into the chamber of a fat, lazy ogre, who eyed the ogue and wizard with suspicion as they burst unwanted into his room from a quite unexpecrted direction. He stood ponderously, using his bardiche as a cane, and said “You show sign to pass or you slave of Lubash the Ogre!” They heard mewling sounds through one of the two doors leading from the chamber. Strong Girl heard the gnolls raising the portcullis behind them, and rushed into the chamber.
The rogue Kurasawa was trying to bluff the ogre into letting them pass, when the ogre responded “no crossed arms no pass” which they realized was a clue, and trong Girl was the first to pass. She opened the door from which no mewling sounds came, which was a small room with two human slaves leaning against the back wall. She threw them battle axes from the dead gnolls, and Cady ran froward to open the other set of doors. It was Lubash’s bed chamber, and to human female slaves huddled in one corner. They were gypsies, and From the other side of the room, the human wizard made eye contact with the gypsy who had cursed him 9to forever be a rover, and never settle down.)
She screamed “Save me and I will tell you how to break the curse!” And so he did. Another door led from the bedchamber, and he gypsies said it wa sthe route to escape. But the door was locked. The rogue wanted to unlock it, but the ogre was about to charge him and push him with his pole arm into the slave pens. He smooth talked the ogre out of the charge, ad was just slinking around the corner into the bedchamber of the gypsy slaves, when another round of chaos came exploding out of the not-so-secret door.
Someow Calamity Jane and Brony Will the Dwarven cleric had become separated from the group, and returned with the gnolls literally on their heels. One step in front of another squad of gnoll recruits, the two burst into the chamber and Lubash the ogre lost his patience and charged the cleric, as he hated dwarves especially due to their stringy toughness. The dwarf nimbly dodged the lumbering oaf, and continued on into the bed chamber. Behind him 9 gnolls howled out of the secret door with battle axes in their paws. Calamity Jane ignored the ogre and turned, raised her blunderbuss, and prepared to fire upon the encroaching hoard.
The rogue, freed from the dull dialogue of the ogre, tore into the chamber and picked the lock one handed in record time. Sprung, the door, creaked open, and exposed the first chamber beneath the Moathouse. The cellar was much as they left it, other then three shabby zombies with out-turned pockets of the twice- looted. They quickly became the twice slain as the rage of the strong girls exploded into them.
The three slaves followed the rogue from the slave pen into the bed chamber, and the gnome pushed the door closed with the last of his strength. The ogre noticed his slaves escaping and in a rage he slammed into his bedroom door. Only the body of the gnome saved the party from the wrath of the ogre, as it was wedged solidly under the crack of the door. Thus wedged, the gnome offered the party the few seconds it needed to escape the cellar upstairs into the Moathouse.
The wedged gnome also meant that the first blast of Calamity Jane’s blunderbuss would be her last. Escape impossible, Clamity Jane made her last stand. She angled her gun so she could maximize damage and with a blast tore through the first rank of gnolls, and even hit the ogre with shrapnel. Wounded and sent into a rage by the explosion, the gnolls descended on the wild gunslinger and it was all over fast. Clearing the gnome from the doorjamb took little time and soon the ad hoc monster warband was pounding up the stairs after the fleeing party.
The raving pack of humanoids reached the moat just as the party, now mounted, fled down the path towards Homlett.