Veil of Whispers 2: There's a Cow Somewhere in My Family Tree

Posted on Jan 31, 2024 in Tales from the Table.
Part of a series called Veil of Whispers.

In which we continue to do everything but save the princess.

Date: January 28, 2024

Characters present:

Character level: 1

Alright, we’re back with part 2. I won’t write out every little detail like last time because it took longer than the session itself. This time we were joined by one more player who couldn’t make it to the last game. Her character was Nessie; a red dragonborn who looked like a white dragonborn due to albinism. She could breathe fire and had red eyes, and her class was wild magic sorcerer. She was part of the Shadow Chasers. Also, Sorigash changed her class to blood hunter. Okay, let’s go.

The party stood in a room on the second floor of the tavern known as the Grating Cheetah. They were speaking to Elardoand; the only one of the thugs—known as the Serpent Syndicate—left alive. Nessie stormed into the room, finally joining up with the party. How she found her way there is a mystery to this very day. The party learned from Elardoand that the princess was supposedly kept in a holding cell on the fourth floor. The party continued up the stairs. They found a large room with a conference table, bookshelves, and some potted flowers. They spent an awful lot of time investigating the flowers, especially Rosa. She ended up making a wreath which she put on her head, and Montgomery and Nessie ended up highly caffeinated after consuming one of the flowers. For the next few hours, their eyes were wide open and they were unable to blink.

On the next floor, the party was faced with a set of three doors; two small ones and a large one. The small ones led to empty holding cells where the group found an oily ring, a purple umbrella bearing the sigil of the royal family, a sewing needle that seemed magical, and a recipe for enchanted cheese, signed by Goudar Briebeard, the cheesemancer himself. There was also a plate of food which pleased Nessie greatly.

Entering through the larger door, the group found a half-orc woman burning documents in a trash can. She said her name was Nadia and she’d been tasked with burning a bunch of evidence. Apparently her brother owed money to the Serpent Syndicate and was forced to work in a mine. She helped the crooks because they said they’d release her brother if she worked for them long enough. The mine was conveniently located halfway between Emberfall—the group’s current location—and Duskrige, which just so happened to be their destination. Just like that, the party had a side quest. Rosa asked to see the documents that Naida was burning and, after eyeing them through, handed them to Sorigash—who had earned the nickname “Sori” by now, making it sound like everyone who talked to her was trying to apologize—because Rosa couldn’t read. One important-looking document signed “RD” described how the Serpent Syndicate had been tipped off that the Shadow Chasers and a mailman were hot on their heels and decided to send the princess to Duskridge early. Oh well.

Sorigash found a book about secret passages on a shelf and asked Nadia if she knew about any such passages in the building. Nadia explained that there was a secret elevator on the bottom floor, though she didn’t know how to activate it. Looking through the book, Sorigash found that secret passages are often activated “by pulling books from bookshelves, or pushing and twisting things”. Rosa threw every book off the bookshelf, but nothing happened. Then the group went back to the bottom floor, the main tavern area, where Rosa did the same to another bookshelf. Meanwhile, Findus was hiding in the shadows so well that no one knew where he was anymore.

While searching the tavern for the secret elevator, Sorigash instructed the others to go around and push and twist things. Montgomery went over to the bar and grabbed a random bottle, placing it on the ground and spinning it around. Once it stopped, he walked in the direction that it pointed, reaching a wall which he investigated. He heard a faint “click” as his hand found the pressure plate, and the circular stage in the corner of the bar began to descend. Nelly and Sorigash hopped onto the stage, and Rosa pulled Montgomery along. It was only when the stage elevator was all the way down at the bottom, a good 30 feet below the floor, that they noticed Findus standing at the top. Fortunately he could use his claws to climb down.

At the bottom was a long, dark stone corridor. Nessie—the only one who couldn’t see in the dark—cast a light spell on Rosa’s wreath to illuminate the path, and Rosa took the lead, lighting the way. After a few feet, she stepped on a pressure plate and was hit by a poisoned arrow. Findus, looking closer, noticed an entire row of pressure plates, from wall to wall on the floor. The party had a long discussion about whether or not they should trigger the rest of the plates. Perhaps one of them would open a secret door somewhere? The group stepped back and Rosa threw the bar of soap—the one she’d stolen from the bathing man she previously decapitated—at the pressure plate. Nothing happened.

Moving on, they eventually came across a door along the corridor path. It led to a storeroom of sorts, containing barrels and crates of food. There was also a ladder leading up to a hatch. Findus climbed up and discreetly opened it. He saw the floor of a tavern, the backside of a bar disk, and a pair of feet. He closed the hatch and climbed back down, informing the others of the situation. They decided to move on, except Montgomery whose curiosity had gotten the better of him. He climbed the ladder and snuck through the hatch as quietly as possible, hoping the pair of feet above wouldn’t notice him. As he closed the hatch and looked up, he saw a barkeep staring right at him. She didn’t seem to care. Maybe she was used to suspicious people coming and going through the tunnels. The tavern’s only guest was a tiefling wearing oily armor and about ten rings on each finger, each dripping with some kind of grease.

Montgomery walked outside to take a look at the tavern’s sign. The Wealth and the Devil, it said. He went back in to rejoin his companions. As he did, the slimy tiefling called out to him. “Hey, you!” He twisted one of his rings, apparently performing some kind of magic. “You have something that belongs to me.” Montgomery stared at him for a second. Then he shook his head in denial and climbed back down the hatch.

After some group discussion, the gang decided to head back up. Perhaps the greasy man, whom Sorigash recognized as Olestra Slickstep, (yes, I know) had some information they could trade the ring for. They did find the ring in the Serpent Syndicate’s headquarters after all, so he was likely mixed up in their business somehow. Heading back up, they caught the greasy man just as he was about to leave. Montgomery showed the ring and demanded information. After some convincing, they learned that Olestra used to be a soap maker, but Goudar Briebeard had convinced the soap maker union to ban soap containing kobolds, which was Olestra’s secret ingredient. To get revenge, he had stolen a cheese recipe from Goudar. Somehow, one of his rings had ended up with the Shadow Syndicate. He tried to get it back by giving them the recipe and information that the Shadow Chasers were on the case of the missing princess and were closing in on them. Really, it was Olestra’s fault that they hadn’t found the princess already.

Rosa tried to chop his head off but found that her hands were covered in grease when she tried to swing, causing the axe to fall out of her hands. She wiped them off on Findus, who did not approve in the slightest. The group then made a deal with Olestra—who referred to himself as the “greasard”—to give back the ring in exchange for information about the princess, and twenty gold. Olestra put the gold on the table. Montgomery put the ring next to it. Olestra told them that the tunnel led to a masonry called Flamestone, and that the thugs might’ve stopped by at a tavern called The Whisky Wombat Pub. Disappointed with the information, Montgomery knocked the ring off the table and scowled at Olestra.

After the incident with the greasard, Montgomery took a few minutes to fly to the Cheesemancer cheese shop and give back the stolen recipe to Goudar. His reward was cheese. Once he returned, the group headed back down the tunnel. There were angry rats down there and the party killed them, as level-one adventurers do. Then they reached a dead end which turned out to be an illusory wall leading to the basement of Flamestone, which was filled with stone statues. Montgomery’s caffeine effect wore off and he promptly fell asleep. Rosa slung him over one shoulder as the party headed outside. They found themselves outside the city walls and headed for the Whisky Wombat pub. Sorigash already knew where it was because she was a notorious drunkard.

Once inside, they woke Montgomery with some brandy. Nessie bought some for herself, knowing that she too would likely collapse soon. The party learned nothing of value in the tavern and decided to finally hop on that airship the king had given them. It was time to find the princess. At the airship yard, they found a gnome who showed them their ship. It was in dire need of a new engine, but it would have to do. When the gnome asked if they needed a pilot they said no, even though no one in the party knew how to fly an airship, and off they went.

Join in next time when the party probably gets distracted again!