Thornkeep (Druid's Head)

Lobbi’s Musings #5

Zog’s Laboratory

We sell our loot (including the leftover gems as Reeda has assured us he can open the door again) and its time for a shopping spree in Thornkeep. Whilst shopping in town I notice Jimbob is wearing a nice new chain shirt that stinks of dwarf. Fits well, though. He might even be attractive if he didn’t smell of lizard all the time.
I find a shop that sells the reagents I’m after and stock up. I’m now ready to go home and make some new bombs. It galls me to buy them but, if that is what it takes to obtain them, I am willing to do so. For now.
We overhear talk around town of the Halflings we got vengeance on. Luckily no-one appears too interested in their fate or retaliation but it may no longer be safe to leave our supplies there whilst we go off reclaiming the Kingdom of Zog. Reeda does not seem interested.
Then, a familiar booming voice stops us in our tracks. It appears our Chief has sent his bodyguard, the hobgoblin Sideshow Hob, to check up on us. He states he is just an “official observer” and not here to get involved. Yeah right, even if it’s just to take a cut. Hob has his pet riding dire board Hogwart with him in town and no-one is attacking him. Mmmm. Fresh boar.
We take Hob on a guided tour of Thornkeep and our new home, and agree to take him to see what we have discovered of the Kingdom of Zog so he can report on our progress. Reeda seems subdued by his presence, not saying a word.
Reeda tries to summon a creature the other side of the rainbow door but it does not work. So much for his knowledge and his books. We need another set of gems. Shame we sold them all. We decide that coloured glass may work so head back to town. There is a glassmaker but they are closed. We spend the night drinking in a nearby tavern called The Thirsty Ogre. No-one throws us out or tried to kill us. They even serve us. Weird.
Locals speak to us and we hear rumour of a ghost near Echo Stream on the Mosswater Road, that Mosswater lake is covered in poisonous algae, and that the local wizard’s guild have been trying for centuries to break the code on the rainbow door. Reeda is still being very quiet, perhaps due to the presence of Hob.
When the shop opens we buy a bag of glass beads of many colours as marbles to disguise that we are buying any particular colours. This is Hob’s idea and perhaps he could be useful after all. He’s certainly too crafty to stay a Chieftains bodyguard for very long. The shopkeep seems to fall for Hob’s deception and looks on patronizingly whilst charging us an extortionate fee for waste material. She and the alchemical shop are now prime choices for thievery and arsony.
We return to the rainbow door and the glass baubles work.
On to the observation area and Hob “asks” me to go exploring. I look to Reeda about summoning Gook but he has just a blank facial expression and says nothing so off I go. I discover the flame trap that hit Gook. It hurts. I am temporarily disabled and unable to continue in the vanguard. The flames come from one of four bronze statues lining the side of a corridor. Hob tries covering the flame jet with his shield but the fire just melts right through it.
In the theatre observatory we come across a goblin cleaner with 3 upturned flasks implanted in his head. As I call to him he looks annoyed before one of the potions discharges into his head and he becomes invisible. Seems like a great potion delivery system.
We sneak and search the area when Hob notices fresh footprints in the blood on the table in the cell room. He swings wildly and misses but is attacked in return causing the janitor to become visible, although at the cost of receiving a solid blow. Frothing at the mouth but surrounded, the tough little axe-wielding goblin is eventually dispatched. He is carrying 3 flasks of alchemist’s fire, wearing hide armour, and carrying a magical battleaxe (small size). Reeda again stays silent, perhaps the books are getting to him and making him think. No good can come of it.
Whilst the others sit and rest, I head off through the southern door. Chests in the corridor contain 20 empty liquid vials. I can see the point, but they don’t beat a toad for throwing and splashing. There is also more alchemist’s fire, acid, and a bag of diamond dust (500gp). No-one has caught up with me so I listen at the far door. I can hear a distant voice calling for “Snargletongue” or similar – possibly the janitor. If so the caller is going to be disappointed. The next room is full of tables of alchemical equipment, some suspended over flames, being used to create many alchemical concoctions. Here are some (two) completed Tanglefoot bags, a thunderstone, and thee smokesticks.
I feel at home here. Perhaps we should relocate to this part of the reclaimed Zog’s Kingdom? It would save moving all this equipment out. The others looked in the wishing pool and saw what they dreamt of, I held back and found it for real. Perhaps this is a gift from Zog? If the town wizards guild has not figured out the rainbow door then that entrance is safe, and that just leaves anything further down that we are planning on reclaiming anyway.
Distantly I hear the sounds of fighting as the rest of our group engage the earth elemental in the excavator’s room. I rush back to help and soon the elemental turns to a pile of rubble. This leaves us free to investigate the drilling machine. I find a crystal in the middle that may power it. Jimbob says it has conjuration magic. I know we can sell it for about 800gp. Also in the rubble are two books on Alchemy ( plus 2 circumstance bonus if used). I make a show of looking at the pictures to work out what they are for but I’m sure I caught Jimbob reading the titles.
We return to the workshop and Slasher opens the far door. He is immediately hit by a bomb thrown by the human at the back of the room. There is a mechanical snake guarding the door at the end of a short corridor and preventing entry into the room. The fighters cluster at this bottleneck whilst I carry on throwing bombs and fire at the human at the back. Major damage is taken all round (including Reeda giving a CLW potion to the unconscious Hob) until the snake is destroyed and the melee fighter rush forwards to surround the enemy alchemist. In a last ditch attempt to escape he drinks a potion of levitation and floats up above the party. Unfortunately for him this takes him out of melee and into a clear shot for another bomb. This proves the final blow as he collapses to the floor. A lacklustre Reeda and Slasher seem distracted and not performing at their usual level. They just seem to be not paying attention, almost as if their minds are elsewhere.
Back to my favourite part: the looting. We find a magical flask (an Arcanolembic), 2 Cure Moderate Wounds potions, two alchemist’s fire, two flask of acid, studded leather armour, a Wand of Acid Arrow, a masterworked dagger, an iron key, a formulae book, 154gp, an Unguent of Timelessness and the rest of his Alchemy lab (plus4 bonus in total).
The broken iron cobra is destroyed beyond value but it looks like it could hold 4 vials it could inject. A fascinating idea, like the goblin head injector system. We also find the Sword of Zog ( plus1 short sword) that Reeda let Gook carry, as well as his masterworked leather armour. Is the Sword of Zog cursed?
(+800 xp)

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