At the top of the stairs of the House Center fort, the group did not see the light that they had seen before. Gravel cast Light on his weapon to guide them through the darkness. To their left, they saw two doors. Sasha listened and heard nothing. The group decided to leave the doors be for now and continued explore. They saw a small room across the hall, just over part of the stairs. Like the other doors, this one was damaged but only partly closed. They opened it and saw that it was a child’s room, maybe a nursery, though the furniture had been smashed. They found nothing inside. They realized they were in the living quarters for the king and family.
They followed the hall around the corner and saw another doorway, though there was no door. The group moved in, seeing that it was a great hall with corpses and skeletons strewn across the floor—mostly gnomes and drow, though a few orcs. However, they see what appears to be fresh orc corpses.
At the back, on a dais, a corpse sits in one of the two thrones. With the adventurers in the room, the figure’s head lifts, its eyes glowing red. Several of the corpses and skeletons rise—8 in all. They move towards the adventurers. Thorn calls for a retreat out of the hall, but not everyone listened. After damaging several of the zombies and skeletons, the group waited in the hall for the fiends to come through the door one at a time, killing each. Afterwards, they turned back inside the great hall to find the wight king still shambling, though severely wounded.
With the wight dead (for good!) they inspected and found
- 26 gp and 108 sp
- an ornate mace with a fire opal set in the pommel (magical)
- the king’s defaced crown
The group decided to pursue no further at this time and returned from where they came. Inspecting the rooms of the king and his family, they found mostly destroyed and ruined furniture. However, using Detect Magic, they found a small iron coffer with 3 keyholes and 3 symbols, one on each side. Sasha knew the design: It was a puzzle box that would likely poison them if they did not use the correct keyhole. However, they found no key. Sir Paul had cast a light down the hall and saw nothing there though it open to what seemed another large room.
Taking their treasures, they returned to the gnomes. The group debated what to do with the crown. Having doubts about Kargien Dissengulp’s intentions, they decided to show it in public to make it more difficult for Kargien to take the crown for himself. They talked to the gnomes in the Singing Stones and sent messengers to all to come to hear their tale.
When all had gathered, they told how they defeated the creatures in the House Center and found the crown. Before Kargien could take it, Jalless called for a renewed effort to find any Schnicktick heir. Controlling his anger at the adventurers, he recommended that Pingtu keep the crown.
After recounting the fights in the House Center, they made their way to Pingtu to discuss the crown and iron coffer (which they had not revealed to Kargien and the other gnomes). When they asked about the zombies, Pingtu noted that some had spoken of how drow necromancers had possibly created the undead to keep gnomes and anything else from feeling safe in Blingdenstone. The drow seemed more interested in defeating and humiliating the gnomes that in taking over their city or taking their treasures.
When shown the coffer, Pingtu explained that each of the symbols represented one of the gnomish gods:
- Garl Glittergold (the radiant gem) is the Watchful Protector of the Forgotten Folk and the leader of the gnome pantheon.
- Gaerdal Ironhand (the Shield of the Golden Hills) guards against threats from above and below and teaches gnomes to hold their own in combat with larger and more powerful creatures by using their size and natural abilities to their advantage.
- Urdlen (the Digger Below) is a mindless force of malicious evil and destruction.
However, he was not able to say which of the symbols might be the correct one for opening the coffer. He did not know what the coffer contained or what its contents might be.
The group returned to their beds and rested for a likely return to the House Center.
The characters made Level 2.
\* Stephen Sondheim, I’m sorry.