24/04/13: The Temple of Jinxx

24/04/13: The Temple of Jinxx

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But first Farley's Bridge

Score 1406

06/08/24

12/14/1212. morning.

Past Blackwater Bridge, the ground gets softer and fairly muddy, despite the coming cold. Your wagon forms deep ruts, and you have to stop to push a bit to get it through. It will be rougher on the wagons coming behind as the track gets cut deeper by the passing of the earlier ones.

They will deal with any that need to be pulled from the mud. This is not our concern,” says Vestia. “Our job is to keep a sharp eye out, as those Brigands just taught you.” 

You continue on the road with no other significant incidents. It is well into afternoon when another bridge appears before you. At first it seems that someone has set a realistic bust of a troll upon one of the stone pillars, but to your shock the huge head begins to speak as you near…

ahem! All righty… All righty now… how many o’ ya be crossin’ me bridge taday?” 

Oy, that’s quite a lot o’ ya, ain’t it? Well, there be a toll for crossin’ this here bridge, and you’d best pay up. Standard fare’s five silvs a piece for them’s a’foot, and a Gold for each wagorn, cart, wain, buggy, sleigh, trolley, carriage, buckboard, or other such vehic’ule. Howsen’ever, on account o’ yer sizable party, I think I can give ya a discount; one lec for each one o’ yer Vardos there. Quite a deal, eh?"

The head is none other than that of Myron the troll, from the popular song by famed Bard Jordian Valentine. Long ago charged with collecting fares from travelers passing over Farley’s Bridge by the Warlock of the nearby Crooked Tower, he cultivated a reputation for eating those that refused the toll. 

The party haggles with him on price. He gets a sip of moonshine by Es'tonza and they are successful in haggling the price down.

This here bridge done been here long as any could keep-amind; don’t even know who built it originally. S’pposin’ it were that Farley fella, whoever he was, else why’s it got his name, eh? Ha! Anyhooze, whoever it were, must’ve also built that shrine ta’ ol’ Jinxxy on up the way.

Befer that angry lass Seavol chopped me head off, I used ta’ take me ease a’neath the bridge, as many off ’en do to get some shade an’ some rest. Now one day I spied some funny marks on them stones down there. Marks like those on wily ol’ Jinxx’s shrine up there. Ya might wanna’ take yerselves a look before ya be on yer way.” 

That’s mighty kind o’ ya… askin’ af ’er an old troll’s well-bein’. I could really go fer a bite to eat, whatever ye got that’s tasty. Just don’t be givin’ me any elfy stew, or halfalin’ jerky, er naught like that. Word’ll get ‘round an’ that lass’ll be back, and I’ll be down to be a head stuck up here!

When Es'tonza gives him something to drink, he’ll savor it before gulping it down; where it goes from there is anyone’s guess. He will thoroughly enjoy any Hanataz food they give him, and offer a further reward for their generosity.

It be a rare thing to meet such decent folk crossin’ this ol’ bridge. When yer down below a-lookin’ at them marks, take a peek in me cave too. Ignore that layabout body o’ mine. Managed ta’ hire sombuddy wit’ me toll collections to track down that there bard name-0’ Valen-teen that wrote that infernal song about me. Them’s I hired, they done pilfered his inster’ment an’ brung it back here! ha, an’ double-ha! That’ll show ol’ bardy-boy! His inster’ment be called a “Or-for-ny-urn” er somthin’ like that. Right proud ta’ have it, ya know, but it ain’t doin’ me no good down there, an’ I done made me point. Why don’t ye take it fer yerselves. May Ozogg and his folk be watchin’ over yer travels, an’ don’t forget to drop by and see ol’ Myron if yer passin’ this way again.

Party gains Resonant Storm Orpharion and 3gp, 6ep, 12sp, and 21cp.

As the party emerges from Myron’s cave, a spawn (group) of crocofrogs will attack the party.

  • ready hand crossbow
  • mage armor
  • change to bear. attack; had crossbow fired
  • bless
  • bear spirit totem. entangle.
  • bite bear and Kasma. Begin death roll with Kasma
  • javelin

When they battle is over, Kasma hears a strange whispering in his mind… she then realizes that the marks are pointing to the off-color stone. Upon inspecting the stone they find that, although tightly fitted, it is not mortared in place, and can be removed.

Inside the stone is a small cavity with three small bells, much like those depicted in Jinxx’s holy symbol. One is silver, one is gold, and one is a dark brass. Detect magic reveals that they radiate abjuration and conjuration magicks. 


You travel about three miles past Farley’s Bridge, to where you believe the turnoff for the shrine should be. Sure enough, you can see an overgrown path running off to the north with two rocky pillars flanking it. Vestia tells you to pull the wagon to a halt and await the rest of the caravan. 

After about ten minutes, the First Wagon comes riding up followed by the rest of the caravan. Surprisingly, Mother Salvensa is riding on the buckboard of the first wagon, next to Brayan. Without even being asked, she addresses your group, fatigue still evident in her voice…

Dere is indeed a shrine to mischievous Jinxx near here, my Zatis; long have ve known about it, but never before have ve had de guidance to locate it. Such luck ve have to hear about it from da troll. Praise Kizmya! Find de shrine, bevare de traps, and claim dat which was lost vithin. De bells are de key.

Brayan looks at you and speaks, “Get moving Zatis… we have an axle to mend on one of the wagons anyway. Hurry and cause us no delay. BUT… if you see anything that is a danger, to you or to the troupe, return here immediately.

You head out up the path. Long ago you stopped questioning how Mother seems to know things before they are ever told to her, but it is still a marvel to you.


You enter the thick woods, following the nearly indiscernible path… hacking back undergrowth, plodding through chill, stagnant pools of muddy water, and clambering over fallen trees and rotting stumps. It is slow going, and it is not long before you lose sight of the road, though it is likely only a few hundred feet or so behind you. You nearly stumble into a large, stagnant pool of mud. Suddenly, rising before you from the slimy grime, is a creature that appears to be made entirely of mire and muck. It oozes toward you with surprising speed – attacking without warning! 


bog beast

  • Taeleen lines up a shot.
  • Odin hits it with a fire bolt.
  • Wen Mei trudges forward and swings the axe. missing. Taleen fires and misses.
  • Jordian. ready: path to the grave (curse until end of next turn. Vulnerable to next attack)
  • Kasma. firebolt. 
  • Es' Tanza changes to elk and charges. misses.
  • Taleen prepares to shoot, Jordian curses it, Taleen misses.
  • Odin fire bolts it. curse compounds the fire.
  • Wen Mei hits but has to pull the axe free.
  • Jordian sacred flames... missing.
  • Kasma fire bolts. hits
  • Elk misses
  • Odin's firebolt finishes it

find:

  • Seric Iron Rapier.
  • glaive, mace, 2x spears, 
  • mother-of-pearl jewelry box with dozens of very small pearls (value 45 golds)

It feels like you should be lost, but something tugs at your mind, seeming to guide you in a particular direction. Finally you stumble across a crumbling floor of worked stone cut into the side of a small rise. A stone door is set in the wall. It seems it must lead underground, or else lead to a space no larger than a small closet. Despite the decay of centuries, you can still make out the outline of a jester’s hat upon the door, with three small divots where the bells would hang at the tips. 

Each bell is the same size, and fits in any of the divots. However, nothing happens unless the bells are placed in the correct divots. Once the party place the silver one, which is high-pitched, on the top, the golden one the middle, and the dark brass one, which rings at a low pitch, on the bottom:

You hear a series of clunking and scraping sounds, and the stone door swings open a few inches. The scent of old dust and stale air reaches your nostrils, and a strange high-pitched laugh emits from the area beyond the door. 

The door can easily be pulled open further. When the party enters the laughing will cease…

You open the door and can see that a short flight of stone steps lead down into the ground from the door to a long worked-stone corridor. It is unlit as you enter, but after a moment, torches along its length magically ignite to illuminate the length of the passage. 

Unlike the dilapidated entrance to the shrine, this ten-foot wide stone corridor appears as smooth and well-fitted as the day it was made. There are faces of the god Jinxx along its length spaced with ornate pillars set against the walls. At the north end of the hall is a wooden door with a jocular face painted upon it. The door is illuminated by a single torch that flares to life as you enter. 

Two large, bladed pendulums swing out of cunningly hidden openings in the ceiling towards you... It seems like your doom approaches, but when the massive blade swings into you, it feels like getting hit with a large pillow. The pendulums hang limply from the ceiling, and it becomes apparent that the blades are sacks full of wool, expertly painted with silvered pigments and shaped to look like a deadly blade. As you regard them, you hear a tinkling of laughter coming from all around.

The party continues, not sure what to make of this. Then, with a hiss, dozens of darts shoot out of invisible holes all around you, finding gaps in even the strongest armor. While the darts are covered in a green paste, they seem to be harmless.

A third trap is then triggered. A pink hued gas descends from the ceiling and wells up around your feet. Something glitters within the gas in the torchlight. As it fills your nostrils and coats your throat, you begin to cough and splutter, even as its sweet aroma sends a thrill down your spine. 

And a fourth: a deep stony rumbling comes from the ceiling as it shudders and begins to lower… slowly at first. After traveling only a few inches, however, it shudders again and drops with frightening speed towards your heads! 

A sturdy wooden door, with the holy symbol of the god Jinxx painted upon it, stands closed at the end of the corridor.

A torch flares to light revealing a small chamber lying just beyond the door. It appears to be empty, save for a bust of a jester’s head which sits on top of a stone coffer that stands against the north wall – the outline of a small door clearly evident in its façade. A copper basin sits before the jester’s face, just below its chin. Above the bust on the wall is a panel covered in a script of fine golden calligraphy that glows softly in the dark room.

The writing on the wall seems to be a riddle, and reads:

Only those who know me can make the Trickster smile,
Seek the basin there to offer… that which is worthwhile.
Beyond is kept a special thing… no joke is this to tell,
And if you wish it to be yours then you must answer well.

What matters to the Jester-Lord? What makes his fancy dance?
What brings him joy, and tears his eyes, and makes him deftly prance?
The gift you bring must measure up… the exception, not the rule…
Come my darlings, speak its name… and gratify the Fool. 


When solved, the stone coffer magically opens, revealing the Jester’s Cap which has settings for three Flowstones. 

The party locates a secret door. 

As in the corridor, several torches ignite to illuminate this room when you enter. But as the shadows are chased into the corners by their orange glow, you see an insubstantial gray figure running to hide in the failing darkness. In the blink of an eye it disappears, and a quiet, mischievous chuckle echoes in your ears 

Within the room you see several tables covered in robes and other clothing – made of colorful satin-lined cloth – as well as armor racks along the northern wall. You can also see a variety of weapons set in the racks and also placed upon the tables. A lever sits at eye level on the wall in the corner of the room. 

  • Six finely made jester outfits in a variety of colors and sizes.
  • Two sets of gray robes. One is a Robe of Protection with the symbol of Jinxx in blue on the chest. The other is just a common gray robe.
  • Four hooded cloaks that either display garish colors or blend into the shadows, depending on how the light catches them. Two are Cloak of Hiding. While they can be worn by anyone, only rogues and agents of Jinxx will be able to benefit from their special ability.
  • Three sets of dark leather armor and one set of dark studded leather armor, with the symbol of Jinxx stamped on each (one of the suits of dark leather armor is sized for a gnome or halfling and is a Leather Armor of Blunt Resistance).
  • A breastplate lacquered dark blue with the symbol of Jinxx on the chest.
  • 18 darts and six daggers. One is a Serrated Dagger. 
  • A shortbow with 20 arrows (3 are Serrated Arrows), a hand crossbow with 20 bolts (2 are Hunting Bolts and 2 are Piercing Bolts), 
    and a blowgun with 20 needles.
  • A Seric Iron Rapier, a whip, a Spiked Mace, a longsword, and three shortswords.
  • A grappling hook and 50 feet of silk rope.
  • A disguise kit, a forgery kit, and a set of thieves’ tools.
  • A Heliotrope Flowstone.

As the players examine and collect the items, some of them notice a scraping sound. They pinpoint the sound as coming through western wall, as well as hearing more laughter. However, unlike the previous chuckle, this laughter is harsh and cruel, like a hyena.

Several bodies lie strewn along a corridor that looks much like the one leading into the other end of the shrine. However, you can see that the far end of the corridor has been hacked open with pickaxes, as stone rubble litters the floor there.

The likely perpetrators, a pack of gnolls, stand not far from the door, giggling their humorless, merciless laugh as the barrier they’d been hammering at for hours slid effortlessly aside. With a snarl they lunge to attack. 

There are seven angry gnolls wielding pickaxes (treat these as war picks). The dog-folk do not seem to understand the common speech, and fight to the death. They chatter in their gutteral, barking language as they attack the party.

Once the gnolls are dispatched, the players will be able to examine the bodies which appear to have been dragged further down the passageway based on the blood-smears. There are six bodies in total; five of which are more gnolls. One has been split in half by a giant blade, while the other four show signs of severe acid burns, as well as bloody foam around their mouths (likely indicating a deadly poison). Having passed through the corridor of traps not long before, players that succeed at a DC 17 wisdom (perception) check will notice a similar arrangement of pressure plates and cunningly hidden devices, though their effects seem to have been much more lethal on the gnolls. The traps seem to have not reset, at least so far....

The final body is lying face down and is clearly not a gnoll. It will become apparent, upon examination, that the corpse is that of a male drow. He wears a black cloak and leather armor, and has a sheathed short sword and dagger. He too seems to have died from poison, with half a dozen small needles still sticking in his side.

If players search the body, they will find a note tucked in a small pouch alongside 23sp with a web pattern on them.
 


The party exits the temple and heads back towards the troupe.

As you near where the caravan stopped, you can see Vestia kneeling beside the front left wheel of the lead wagon. Despite your distance, she looks up and catches sight of you before straightening and waving to you. As she strides in your direction, you can see Brayan turn from the second wagon to make his way over to you.

I see you’ve had a productive outing,” Vestia says spying the weapons, armor, and trinkets you carry, “you’re obviously entitled to a fine share for your effort, but with winter coming we should distribute some of these through the rest of the troupe.” 

Brayan nods his agreement and opens his mouth to say something but stops short and casts his blind gaze to the road behind just past the wagons. After a moment of watching him, Vestia follows his stare… and you note the color draining from her face. Mimicking her action, you look down the road and see…

Kray… and only Kray, slowly approaching on his exhausted horse. From this distance, you can’t see to what extent, but he is obviously wounded. His normally rigid posture is so slackened he looks as if he could topple from his saddle at any moment.

As he nears, you can see that blood has nearly soaked through every inch of his shirt and he’s holding his right arm at an odd angle. His horse looks to be struggling as well… from the weight of another person.

You can now catch a glimpse of blood-slicked green skin.

Without waiting, Vestia sprints over to help him with Brayan close behind 

 - end of session -

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