The Dark Carnival
Temp Carnival Team
Smithers gathers Furnok and Bozmus first thing in the morning, crack of dawn “Burns wants to see you.”
Armed guards stand outiside of his Burns’ personal tent. As we are led in, we feel like we pass through a protective field. Burns sits at his desk. We were sweating bullets for a minute that something happened.
Last night, someone sneaked into the encampment, killed several people and stole some of his personal items.
We 2 are thankful we were in town.
“I need you to track down this person and bring my items back to me. You have the full disposal of the carnival’s resources behind you. Smithers will show you the scene of the crimes. You can take any of your remaining friends with you as well on your investigations.”
Furnok raises a concern that anyone who could do this is out of our league.
Burns agrees, he who did so is an incredibly skilled thief. Whoever did the killing, which I don’t believe was the same person, was a brutal and skilled killer. However, I don’t know if you are going to have to deal with any of them directly."
He has Smithers lead us to a supply tent, 2 dead guards dead from overnight. Inside the tent, 1 of Burns’ personal assistants dead as well.
Furnok has the whole camp shut down for now, before too many are up and moving, has Gerald and Sarge brought to track the interlopers. Gerald gets a couple of his wolves to pick up some scent. Furnok and Boz then check to bodies and tent.
Smithers in the meantime explains that 3 items were taken: a staff (smooth shafted, 6’ long, iron tipped at each end); a wand; large black orb. “Out of the 3 items, the one Burns is most concerned with is the orb.”
Furnok asks if they know of anyone which Burns knows would take these item: people he knows are in the area, from his past, etc.
Furnok asks if there is anyone known in the area, or from Burn’s past, etc, who would want these items. He says there is a wizard who might, but they don’t think he’s in the area. Likes to wear black, tends to have undead minions.
Sarge find prints leading into and out of the camp, same direction. It heads into the city then they lose it. Looks like 2 came in, both wearing shoes, right to the assistant’s tent, took him the supply tent where they ran into the guards and killed them fast because no alarm was raised. The guards weapons were out, though. They then entered the tent. 1 stood with the assistant while the other went directly to the 3 items, knowing right where they were. then walked out. The other guy then killed the assistant, then both left for the city.
The bodies appear to have been clawed and maybe bitten to death. The man inside had his throat torn out.
Furnok has a terrible first thought: vampire.
Gerald’s wolves definitely react to a terrible scent left behind, Gerald says something unnatural, like undead perhaps.
Furnok and Boz grab Nunu, Billy and Hunk to take into the city with them. Sarge recommends Angelica, she has a bit of magic, tracking, and archery support. We have Sarge take us to the end of the trail right to a wall where it ends. It takes a pretty direct route into the city, so this is not necessarily the district we should be looking. No secret door, no evidence of climbing. We enter the city to the other side of this wall and see if Gerald’s wolf can pick up the unnatural scent there. It picks it up, part of Furnok was hoping it wouldn’t.
After a few blocks it loses the scent.
Billy “Well, might as well check the graveyard.”
Nunu “That’s actually a good idea.”
Boz “That’s a horrible idea, i don’t want to go there.”
Furnok knows the city very well, there are 2 major graveyards within the walls. One is the popular for high ranking Norrisites. The other is a very old one that has been here since the Masters. No one has been buried there for a long time.
We hit the old one first. Its unkempt, but not completely overgrown. It does get some basic care. We have the wolf check the perimeter outside the wall first. Not the same scent though, but it growls and raises its hackles like back in the supply tent. We go inside the grounds and to the other side of the wall from the scent. It starts working its way through the graveyard to a crypt. The wolf goes right for the door, sniffing at its base. Searching, we see that the door has been opening and closing recently.
Angelica detects no magic. She does find tracks, but nothing definitive.
Furnok “All right, well, I don’t really want to go into a crypt. Let’s get out of here.” He asks Angelica to stay behind and keep an eye on the place.
Back to carnival and report to Burns first. There is a pyre going with the bodies in it on the off chance they could become undead.
He supplies us with a holy symbol, holy water x5. We get oil and alchemist fire from our stash.
Furnok takes the holy symbol.
Burns gives us 2 other things: a wand to detect magical items for Angelica to use, 20’ radius will point the user to it; to Furnok an amulet, command word and speak directly to Burns via his matching amulet.
“I’m positive the actual thief was not an undead. The killer, most likely is.”
The rangers carve us some stakes.
We prepare and gather some friends. After lunch, Furnok and Boz leads Hunk, Garth the Bold, Sarge and Lord Byron (we thought Vandor first, but Garth warned us his primitive mind has a great fear of undead) go back and meet Angelica. She says no activity.
Furnok, with no excitement “Ok (sigh) let’s go.”
Garth pulls the door open, it scrapes lightly on the ground, to the crypt. Sarcophagus in its center as assumed. 4 wooden coffins, that do shit not belong.
Furnok “Great, 4 vampires.” Sarge and Furnok keep and eye on our rear outside. Angelica comes in and detects. Garth with Lord Byron move inward. Sarge gets right inside the doorway, Angelica next to him detecting with the wand. Nothing.
We move in, Angelica now covering the doorway rear. Garth, Hunk, and Byron each cover a coffin. Sarge takes the one we will open first, Boz opening it from the top’s back side, Furnok ready at Sarge’s side with the holy symbol.
Furnok now expects the central sarcophagus may in fact open to a tunnel going deeper.
This first coffin has a man in it, pale, almost feral looking, sleeping.
Furnok holding the holy symbol out “Furnok, check him for fangs.”
Boz “I’m just staking him.”
Sarge cares not for testing either. Sarge takes the stake and hammer, and pounds it in. He starts screaming.
Furnok to Angelica “Close the freaking door!” She does.
After the second hit, the others hear a hissing noise from the stone sarcophagus. Garth starts getting angry. Hunk leaps atop the stone sarchophagus to put all his weight atop it. He feels the lid trying to move undeath him. He calls for Garth to join him.
Sarge now kills the beast on the third stroke.
The lid is still trying to move. The other 3 coffins open, vampire in each: 2 women, 1 man.
Byron’s, male, leaps out and they engage, the other 2 in the back move for Hunk and Garth. They both attack, Sarge moving to help Hunk.
Sarge and Hunk crush theirs, it turns into gaseous form. Angelica fires in support of Garth the Bold. The beefcakes made a brilliant move.
The lid is still jostling but the creature can’t lift it!
Furnok to Boz “Cut its head off” concerning the one first killed, while he starts dumping oil on it.
Garth misses twice. Hunk stokes, staying put. Sarge moves to gaseous vamp’s sarcophagus.
Angelica is keeping an eye out for any newcomers and readies vs the leader in the sarcophagus. It crits Garth, then he hits it.
Byron takes his to gaseous form! Sarge stakes the one he and Hunk took out. Furnok lights the first one up with fire.
Byron moves and helps Garth now.
Garth gases his finally, and she moves to her coffin.
That’s all 4. We steak, behead, and burn the other 3 while Garth and Hunk stay atop, trapping the center vamp.
We open the front door, position ourselves, and Hunk and Garth leap off.
The lid is pushed off in Byron’s direction, and 4 ghouls leap out!! Sarge, Byron and Angelica make their readied attacks and the fight begins and make quick work of them.
There is indeed a hole in the bottom of the central sarchophagus going underground.
The ghouls were not wearing shoes.
Furnok uses the amulet and relays the goings on to Burns.
Furnok looks down the black hole “I’m not going down there first, through fourth.”
Boz volunteers, but Garth the Bold demands to go first. With a torch we can see the bottom about 10’ down. There is a crude ladder strapped to the side. Garth boldly leaps down with a sunrod to a cleared area, the ghoul den judging by the feeding remains. Mostly animals like rats, dogs, cats. At least 1 human as well.
3 circular tunnels lead out, all dug out of the earth, we’ll have to stoop to go into each as they are only about 4’ in diameter. The direction with no tunnel goes toward the city wall nearby. From east he hears running water. Boz arrives next, followed by Hunk, Sarge, Furnok, Angelica, Byron.
We make for the water first, about 50’ on we come out into a city sewer, the ghouls broke through the bricked wall. This is just sewer wandering. Furnok thinks that’s a great idea for him to do is get a map of the sewer and city. We go back and take the right instead. Same wandering sewer. Back to the ghoul room.
Furnok takes off for the local library and civic authority “Thank the Masters I’m out of there”. Furnok is easily able to get a detailed map of sewers and city with his glibness and local knowledge.
The others stay to check to the 2 tunnels. Sarge leads us left, going 100’ to a poor wood door, put in on this side. We open and go into a small empty worked room, totally unlit but for out own. This side of the door was disguised crudely. Paths go north and 2 west. These are 7 to 8’ tall halls, meant for man.
Sarge calls to go the bottom west hall, Garth leading, Byron and Sarge behind him, Hunk bringing the rear. It turns several times, very dirty. At its end it opens into another room, a bit larger than the first. 2 other ways out, a closed portcullis on west wall in maintained condition; a ladder on southern all leading up to a trapdoor.
Hunk looks through the portcullis with his darkvision to a hallway going as far as he can see. There is a door on the north wall.
No visible way to open the portcullis on this side. There is a lever on the other side.
We go back and take the other west direction about 50’ straight, turns north another 50’ into a chamber which the sewer is running through east to west. This larger room was built off this section. A ladder leads upward, and another non sewer hall leads forward on the other side but is blocked by a grate. We enter and look around. The grate looks old and rusted but its very solid. Boz thinks someone went through a lot of work to make it look more natural to here and unused. There is a lock built into it! Locked right now.
We go back and check the north path, going about 100’ to a small chamber. Hall continues north from which we hear sewer water, and an opening also goes east, and a ladder to a trap door above. We check the sewer first, coming out right into the sewer, nothing special here. Back now and take the east about 60’ into another small chamber with ladder to a trap door.
Now back to the ghoul room and northward for about 50’ into the sewer east/west, a section seemingly not as used. Very little drainage oddly. Also a ladder goes upward. The east includes another of the fake old grates, also locked. To the west just sewer to a junction point. An aritificial damn has indeed blocked off this section.
Byron feels we should wait until Furnok gets the maps so we have a lay of the land. We check this access point, into a square. Between Boz and Furnok when he returns, they know right where this square is.
Back up to the surface. We send Boz to get us some quick food.
Furnok returns soon. We lay them out on the sarcophagus lid and Furnok triangulates positions. The square is not far from the graveyard entrance. A couple of the trapdoor for sure lead into buildings. We take to the streets to be sure and ID the access points. Furnok find the access to the dug out sewer chamber; he and Boz notice a symbol on the building next door, storage warehouse.
Boz “That looks vaguely familiar.”
Furnok “Thieves guild symbol, not the HQ.”
We continue our work. Out of the 4 other trapdoors, 2 closest to the guild warehouse both go into private residences (no guild markings); the one from the upper western passage goes into a trader shop general store, the lower western passage goes into a merchant’s home (looks wealthy). All not guild marked.
Furnok takes off again, he needs to contact the city thieves about all of this, get the word on the street and hopefully higher up.
Sarge, Byron and Angy go into the general store to look around. They’ll keep their attention while Boz skulks about. The operator has 2 young assistants as well. Angelica concentrates on the young men, they are fully enthralled with her charismas.
Boz then slithers inside to get into the rooms off the main store.
Garth and Hunk wait outside. They have several arm wrestling matches. Hunk wins 7 in a row, but at that point Garth has worn his endurance down enough to win one!!
Boz finds the trapdoor with a boltlock leading down to a basement. He climbs down the ladder to a storage area where he keeps the good stuff, illegal stuff even like drugs, arcane reagents!! Then he finds another trapdoor, unlocked and hidden from open view on this side. He opens it, and its the one we expected. Back up and out into the store, and he slides out the front door.
The others conclude business, buy a few things and go.
We then wait for Furnok to finish.
Furnok’s contacts know nothing about any big job going down recently, especially from outside. One of them takes him to a guild sector chief about the possible sewer intrusions. His name is Drawell. He’s on the council.
Furnok asks him about the theft, saying it likely originates from outside the city. He says the guild is not aware of the operation. There was a gentlemen (he uses the term loosely) in town a few weeks back who inquired into a very skilled thief for a particular job “When we approached him to discuss terms, he said that he was going to be handling his needs in a different direction” and that was the end of it. Never got details of the job including the timing. Only he was tall and skinny, wore black robes, looked pale and kinda dead.
Furnok then details this mornings activities in and under the graveyard. The warehouse is indeed theirs, and they use the access point to the sewer. The tradesman is utilized periodically. He’s not a thief nor guild member, but has many contacts in different places and is very good at procuring certain items and getting them into the city, with their own access point to it.
The rich merchant is not a guildman nor thief, may not even know that access point exists. The house was once owned by a founder of the guild.
Furnok’s immediate thought to himself “We’re robbing this guy blind.”
The other 2 houses have been used as safe houses in the past, current owners though are not connected any more. They likely don’t know about the access either.
The one locked grate under the warehouse is goes to many places, but especially one of their meeting and planning houses. The otherf in the dry area is one of the assasins guild.
The section of tunnels we found from the ghoul lair hasn’t been used for years cause of the new tentants above. They know of nothing suspicious about those new tenants. The merchangs is a fat (literal) cat. Lots of money and likes to let people know.
Very unvampire like self advertising.
He knows nothing about the portcullis, to his knowledge that’s a new edition.
They want to know who did this unsanctioned job though.
Now early evening. All meet up and report back to burns and have dinner.
Same group back to the portcullis. Rather than the crypt, we use the nearby sewer entrance by the thieves’ warehouse.
Angelica attempts prestidigitation and draws the lever down, the portcullis opens upward. Sarge spikes the portcullis open so that we don’t get trapped. Hunk goes forward to the door. From there he sees a door at the end of the hallway. Sarge moves there and listens, Angelica at the near door. Both hear nothing. Boz starts to pick it, then remembers abruptly to look for a trap. Finding nothing, he picks the lock. A trap goes off, but he jerks his hand away just in time for a poisoned needle to miss him. Hunk leads the way through. No light in this 30×30 room, no visible exits. Appears to have been an old guardroom, unused for some time. Of interest is a chest in one corner. Angelica takes a walk around for secret doors, finding nothing, while Furnok checks the chest which lunges at him!! A coatrack, attacks Angelica!! Furnok soon realizes they are only animated objects, not mimics. Whew. Hunk stomps and pulverizes his into pieces, wood splinters flying all around him. Garth and Boz take care of their’s together.
Back out and to the far door, also locked. Furnok finds an alarm and disarms it. A second search finds nothing so he picks the lock. Hunk opens the door and enters first into a short hall that dead ends. Furnok and Boz agree this is the other side of a secret door. In the wall at the end is the obvious spot to open it. Byron triggers it, he and Hunk in the lead. It opens into a wine cellar, currently in use, lights. We check how it operates from this side, then all enter. Sarge thinks the secret door hasn’t been used much, if at all, recently. Another section off this is a root cellar. We check the maps, we are under the merchant’s house. This is his cellar. Angelica detects for magic, nothing.
We exit and close the portcullis. We have to check out the guild safe houses, unfortunately. Nothing else left. Closest first, which is right down the hall from the portcullis, then the other. We take the underground the whole way.
Boz skulks up and listens, nothing. There is a bolt locked on this side, not latched but its locked from other side. He gets it open easily. The boltlock is an escape insurance from the building, surely. He oils the hinges and slowly cracks it open. Sees only darkness, dirty floor. Furnok calls him down, Hunk takes the lead followed by Byron, Garth, Angelica, Boz, Furnok, Sarge last. Its a basement, dirty and unfinished, junk and a few rats. A stairway goes up at far wall. Door at top of steps. Light shines from under the doorway. Boz and Angelica sneak up and listen. Angelica hears voices talking. Angelica detects for magic and gets a ping of 1 item, very strong.
Furnok hopes the guild is not involved here, that if any of the items are here, this is a rogue thief or cell working for the mastermind. We have to go in, so in we go. Furnok and Boz take the lead as we walk inside.
Room we enter is a kitchen area, 1 door, and an opening into another room. Voices are from the room through the opening. Boz sneaks to the opening and listen in: 3 distinct voices talking about an item they were given to hold at this safe house. Too easy of a job from some guy, good money once he picked it up. An agent of his will pick it up. They talk bout how odd the main guy is, pale guy, met him at night. The pick up guy will be dressed all in black with signet ring to identify him.
They are playing dice as they are conversing.
Boz and Furnok walk in “gentleman, gentleman, don’t be alarmed” drawing their attention while Angelica goes through the door to find the item.
They hear Angelica though, 2 of them see her though. One is clearly the leader of the 3 and steps forward questioning us.
Furnok lays it on, w/o playing the undead card first.
They don’t want to lose the unpaid part of the cash, which is substantial, and their reputation is at stake. They say we either pay them, or have to take it off of us. As we bargain, we walk around to cover exits. Front door is in an adjacent room. We cover that entryway and another door in the room. 250,000 gold is what they want. Furnok “We can’t do that.”
Boz reacts suddenly with a thrown dagger at the leader "feel the wrath of Ned Snakeshaft, hitting 22. Furnok exclaims in shock and alarm “no!”
Combat begins, Furnok yells “don’t kill them!” Furnok saps the leader twice. Angelica casts sleep on the other 2, both succeed. Garth rushes in but almost critically misses a grapple attack “Vic has cursed me!!” Sarge misses same on the other guy. Byron covers the kitchen entrance. Angelica is blocking the other room, Boz at the door.
They draw wpns and retaliate. The leader turns from Furnok, honor among thieves, and moves for Bosmus.
Hunk moves in, puts the leader in a full nelson, and he passes out. Hunk drops him.
Furnok “Give up, men, I implore you.”
Garth fails in 2 more touch attempts “Hey, you’re quick.”
Sarge grapples the other successfully.
Furnok moves and saps Garth’s, knocking him out.
To sarges “Give in, man.” Hunk starts moving to Sarge in case he needs help.
He surrenders, Sarge lets him go.
They were told no exact time of the meeting, only w/in 3 days of today. They were contacted very early morning. We find the staff upstairs.
Furnok contacts Burns, tells him we got the staff.
“Excellent. Bring that back before you do anything else.”
We tie up the 3 thieves and put them upstairs.
Back to the carnival we go. We will get a hit squad to wait for this agent of the vampire. Hunk and Garth will stay here to watch the prisoners until we get back.
Sap rule on sneak attacks: fort save DC 10 plus half sneak attack class levels, plus sneak att dice, plus str mod.