Company of Odd Fellows
The adventurers had safely made their way south from Quasqueton, and were now heading west on Wyvernhall Road when they were approached on the road by a young man waving frantically at them. After catching his breath he implored them to help rescue his brother from the clutches of a Demon who had invaded their home. After calming the boy down they got the full story. His name was Pherbius, and him and his brother Finn are apprentices to the Mage Elias Firebrand. Their master had to leave home on business and while he was gone they accidentally let something loose that invaded their home. Finn told Pherbius to leave while he would go back in a try to fix what they had done. Pherbius waited outside the home and when Finn didn’t come out he decided to go get help. The adventurers quickly decided they would help and told Finn to lead them to his house.
He lead them down a small path heading north and eventually they came to what could only be called a man-sized halfling burrow. This was the home of Elias the mage. The party decided to be cautious. Only Kain, Clarabelle, Bark and Andy would accompany Pherbius into the house. Needles would stay outside and guard the entrance as well as scout the area. Andy checked the front door and after finding nothing, opened it up. They were presented with a tough problem already. The hallway wasn’t that wide so they were only going to be able to go in single-file.
(Room 9) Andy led the way and about 25 feet in came across two doors. One going north and the other west. Pherbius mentioned that the west door was only a closet but they thought better safe than sorry so they checked it first. Andy could tell immediately that something was wrong. The room was hotter than normal and smelled of smoke and burning cloth. She poked her sword into the coats and was surprised when a lizard like creature jumped out of the closet at her. Before she could block it, it had clawed and bit her, causing her clothes to catch fire. Andy in obvious pain, knew she had to get clear of the closet, so she risked opening the door to the north to make room for the others. Kain quickly jumped in to take her place, taking a wild swing at the creature, missing it completely but noticing another had also crawled out of the clothing. Clarabelle slid up behind him and quickly identified the creatures as Fire Salamanders, luckily they weren’t full grown or the party would have been in real trouble. However she also knew that only magical weapons hurt them and as nice as Kain’s katana was, it was only a mundane weapon. She knew she was going to hurt his pride but she told him to move forward so she could attack from the front next round. This would also allow Bark to get in some blows since only him and her had magic weapons at this point. She let loose a magic missile at the Salamander that attacked Andy, sizzling its body but not killing it. The other Salamander attacked Kain but was unable to make contact with the nimble samurai. However the first salamander was able to get a claw into Kain, but not causing too much damage. Andy now in the next room took a quick look around to see if there any threats before she worked on putting out her burning clothes. Kain came into assist, allowing Clarabelle and Bark to engage the Salamanders. Clarabelle and Bark had no luck hitting the creatures. The first creature attacked Clarabelle and landed a flurry of attacks, staggering her back. Clarabelle decided she would attack once more before getting out of the line of fire. She had no luck but knew she couldn’t stay any longer and moved into the next room. Bark quickly took her place and plunged his magic spear into the first Salamander, killing it. Kain grabbed the mace from Clarabelle and told Bark to slide over, he was coming in. Bark took a parting shot at the last creature but was unable to hit it. The Salamander was able to scratch Bark as he slid over. Kain came back into the hall and a small battle ensued between the lone Salamander and Kain and Bark, but finally Kain laid a devastating blow onto the creature using Clarabelle’s mace, crushing and killing it.
(Room 1) With the salamanders dead the characters all entered the room to the north and looked around. Pherbius said that this was Elias’ study and library. There was a large desk in the middle of the octagonal room, as well as large shelves of books against the walls not occupied by doors leading out. Once the adventurers verified that the room was clear, Pherbius entered behind them. He went to the desk and began perusing an open book, telling the party that it contained the ritual needed to close the door the two apprentices had inadvertently opened. After committing what he needed memory he told the party he was ready to move on. There were 3 doors leaving the study so the party decided to try the going east. Pherbius said that door should lead to the master’s bedroom and he was quite nervous about entering it.
(Room 7) Andy listened and checked at the door but was unable to hear or find anything. The door was locked so Andy did her best to try and pick the lock but was unable to. It was decided for now that they would leave this room alone and come back to it later if needed.
Leaving the north door alone, the party went to the east door and had Andy check it before opening. She didn’t find or hear anything so she opened it and went through. the door opened to a junction of hallways, one going south to what looked like a dead end,One going north and ending in a door, another going east, also ending in a door, but having another door half-way down going south. When asked about the hallway going south, Pherbius mentioned that Elias was planning on adding on to his home but that was as far as the construction went. With that direction eliminated the party decided to check the north door. Pherbius said that was the common room and the north door in the study also lead to the same room.
(Room 2) Andy once again taking point, checked the door and found nothing. Getting a nod from the others, she opened the door and entered, the others following quickly behind. The sight in front of them and the wailing from Pherbius almost broke their heart. In what was normally a beautiful common room with a huge fireplace and comfortable chairs laid the dead and slightly charred body of a young human male. Pherbius’ crying let them know that the dead body was most likely his brother Finn. The walls and furnishings were also scorched leading the party to believe there was some sort of fiery explosion that occurred here. Kain gently picked the body up off the floor and laid it on the couch. They left the room, going back into the hallway, giving Pherbius some time with his brother alone.
(Room 8) While they waited for Pherbius, Andy studied the first door going south in the east hallway. There were strange runes outside the door that she didn’t understand. Clarabelle came up beside her and said she that one of the runes was for fire but she couldn’t make out what it was used for. They both decided to wait until Pherbius rejoined them before opening the door. A few minutes later a still shook up Pherbius told them that the door was actually used to incinerate the daily trash and refuse. He opened the door and showed them the small closet and pointed out the holes in the walls where fire would come out and burn the trash. He said Elias hadn’t taught them how to use it yet, so he didn’t know how to operate it. As he slips to the back of the group he points to the east door and says ‘It has to be in there somewhere, there is no where else it could be.’
(Room 1) The party decided to go back to the study and heal up a bit before taking on the last of the rooms. Both Clarabelle and Andy took some serious damage from the Salamanders. After Bark cured Clarabelle up a bit it was decided that Andy should stay to the back since she was still pretty injured.
(Room 4) Back to the door Andy listened and could definitely tell there was something on the other side of the door, an almost chuffing kind of sound, as if from some sort of dog or canine. She slipped to the back of the party and Kain kicked open the door and moved in quickly. In the center of the room were three worktables filled with various devices, but that’s not what caught Kain’s eye. On either side of the room by the north and south wall was a hellhound, smoke drifting from their noses and eyes burning red. He knew he would have to take these out quickly, so he yelled out, drawing power from his KI and made a two handed sweep at the hound by the north wall and struck a mighty blow, cleaving the hellhound in two before it could make an attack. Bark closed with the last hellhound and charged in with his spear stabbing it fiercely. The spear pierced the animal but it still remained standing but it was obvious it was seriously injured. The hellhound snapped weakly at Bark but was unable to hit him. Sensing that they had the upper hand Clarabelle came around the dog from the north and swung at it with her mace, finishing it off. A quick look around the room showed they had killed the only two creatures in the room, the workroom had been cleared.
Pherbius entered the room behind them and pointed out that the door in the upper east wall is where the accident happened. The door behind them on the west wall is the bathroom and the door to the south is his and Finn’s bedroom. Deciding they didn’t want to wait any longer, they chose to go through the east door.
(Room 5) Andy went to check and could immediately feel the heat radiating out from the door and a roar, as if a large fire was burning on the other side. She stepped back and let Kain open the door once again. As the door opened up, Kain was hit by a blast of hot dry air, and ash flowed out of the room and on to the floor. As Kain looked into the room, he could tell that it was different than the rest of the house. The ceiling rose up 40’ feet in the air, and was made of tiled mosaic patterns. But the thing that drew is eye was the the column of fire going straight up to the ceiling, the heat coming off of it in waves. Besides the column of fire there was nothing else in the room. They cleared the way for Pherbius to enter the room and begin his ritual as they waited in the workroom outside.
(Room 4) As the party was waiting in the room they heard muffled shouts and curses coming from the study. Bark began laughing as he told the rest of the party to get ready because bugbears were coming. When Clarabelle asked him what was so funny he said ‘It seems that Needles already introduced himself and they are wondering who the hell is shooting at them’. It was quickly decided they would engage the bugbears in the workroom. Kain tossed Andy his short bow and quiver to give them some backup. Bark went the east hallway and begun bellowing insults in his best Orc voice trying to draw them into the room. The Bugbears came in fast and furious making attacks against Andy and Bark, one giving Bark a deep gash with his battleaxe before Bark returned the favor and skewered him with his spear. Andy fired an arrow on the run, injuring an already injured bugbear. As the combatants circled each other the party noticed each of the bugbears had already sprouted at least one arrow so Needles did indeed give them a proper introduction. Kain finished off another bugbear with his katana and Andy proving herself a decent archer finished off the same bugbear she had hit before. The last bugbear seeing his 3 comrades go down in quick succession, decided this fight wasn’t worth it and took off down the hallway. With Needles waiting outside, they doubted he would be getting very far.
Soon after there was a large intake of air, followed by a loud bang coming from the room Pherbius was in. This was followed by some strange noises and a pop coming from the room they hadn’t checked (Pherbius and Finn’s bedroom). As the party rushed to the summoning room, an exhausted Pherbius came out of the doorway and let them know ‘Its done’. They peeked in and saw the flaming column was gone and that the air was already much cooler.
(Room 6) Now that they saw that Pherbius was okay they investigated the room to the south. Upon opening the door they saw that this was indeed a bedroom, with a twin bed and a dresser on each side of the room and a large animal skin rug on the floor. The room smelled of sulfur and burnt fur but no creatures could be found in the room, even after thorough searching.
With the portal no longer a threat, the party members helped remove the bodies from the burrow and afterwards helped Pherbius bury his brother Finn. By the time they finished, it was late and the party decided to stay the night and head out the next morning. In case more bugbears decided to come visit, they each took a turn at the watch. It turned out to be an uneventful night and the party woke up the next morning and prepared to head out and back to Stone Bottom. But before they could leave, Elias had made his return. At first being wary of these strangers, he warmed to them after hearing Pherbius’ story of how he and Finn had accidentally opened a portal to the plane of fire and how they helped him close it, then turned around and helped defend it from a Bugbear scouting party. He even made sure to tell Elias how they helped clean up the burrow and then helped him bury his own brother. These words moved Elias and he went into his bedroom and returned a few moments later with a bag full of coins. ‘Its not much, but I hope it will convey my thanks. I also noticed you took some grave injuries assisting my misguided apprentice. When you get into Stone Bottom, go the Temple of Malorie and ask for Nadar Sweetcorn. Tell him that healing you will close the books on what he owes me. If he gives you any guff, tell him I said ’we know its not Malorie keeping those torches lit 24/7.’ He’ll know then that I truly sent you’. With that the party gathered up their gear and their bag of coins (400 gp) and set off to town.