The Herd knows to expect word of Captain Bedieve’s mission quests the next morning, so some preparations are in order. Caeus prepares new spells (The good ones!) in his workshop, while his little brother Sleipnir looks over his shoulder.
“I can’t change spells? What I have is what I have, right?” Sleipnir mimics Caeus’s actions around the workshop, trying to get his sorcerer spells to change.
“Right,” Caeus puts him down gently. “But you’re better at… spells.”
“You’ve got fewer options, but you’re better at casting those few options!” Sfiros pipes up helpfully. Sfiros thinks about how wizards change spells, which is bizarre because Sfiros is a cleric. “I still think sorcerers are dumb. You’re dumb,” he adds, also helpfully.
No one disagrees.
The Herd prepares their long rest as follows:
Sleipnir sleeps under the shadow of his bed, as before.
Caeus’s sleeping arrangements are an after-thought. He sleeps surrounded by spare parts and trinkets and gadgets and bits here and there of this and that, each object smudged with motor oil.
Sfiros locates his favorite hammock among the many hammocks in the hospitable Anacos home. He removes his Holy Symbol of Gond and clutches it as he sleeps, for he is a devout minotaur.
Tallest has a little place next to Caeus’ workshop. Little, because that makes Tallest look larger. It primarily acts as a storage unit for all the random loot he finds on his adventures. His bed leans up against the wall in order for him to fit comfortably. Being neither a bull nor a man, Tallest likes to sleep neither standing up nor lying down. He most comfortably sleeps along the hypotenuse of whatever room he is in, especially since the hypotenuse is the tallest of edges.
Harken double-checks to make sure it’s cool he crashes there (he receives no response), and he settles next to the foot of a workbench and uses a crumpled-up rucksack as a blanket. He does not consider any of the hammocks.
The next day, they hear a knock at the door. Harken rolls off of the bench, stretches, and goes to answer the door. Sfiros dreams of inventing a string and pulley system to wake up Caeus if he is asleep with the invisible ring again. In his morning slumber, Sfiros pulls on what he thinks is a string, and Caeus shouts awake, “I didn’t use it! I didn’t use it!”
Harken opens the door and sees Nameless Peon, the same two Flaming Fist agents from the previous morning. One nods to Harken and says, “Deputy Beremon.”
“Nameless Peon,” Harken replies.
“How did he know our names?” one whispers to the other. Nameless Peon look back at the tiefling. “May we come in?”
Harken looks at the clutter around The Herd’s crashpad, and, without clearing it with anyone, shrugs. “Yeah, fuck it.”
“What are these guys, vampires?” Caeus asks. The common courtesy of asking before entering someone’s home is an unknown concept in minotaur culture, apparently. “Don’t let any vampires in my workshop, Harken.”
“He means my house!” Sleipnir appears from the shadows.
“You live here?” Sfiros asks.
“Gosh!” Sleipnir pouts.
Tallest, having no concept of the common courtesy of asking before entering someone’s home, barges in past Nameless Peon. “Did somebody say missions?”
When Tallest says his catchphrase, one of Caeus's trinkets emits a stock sound of an audience laughing.
Nameless Peon sit down and say, “We think we found the main hideout for all these cultists.”
“Give us the dossier!” Sfiros shouts.
They hand over the dossier. “We’re stretched thin. Refugees and locals are at each other's throats. It's crowded, and people are frustrated and exhausted. And Granduke Ravengard is missing. These cultists are the last thing we need. We believe a few well-placed mercenaries could turn the tide, and bring back law and order.”
They open the dossier, and it shows a map that points out Seatower, a southern district in Baldur’s Gate.
“We’ve been following some of these cultists,” they say. “We just need you to go in there and look around. You don’t look like us, and no one would expect Flaming Fist minotaurs to be, well…“ They look around at the cluttered workshop. “Employed.”
The minotaurs stare at them.
“So…” they continue, “These cultists are defiling our city with their chaos rituals.” They point again to the location on the map. “We need you to head down there…”
“It’s our city, too!” Caeus says.
“Actually, we have a mission condition,” Tallest says. “We want to be able to go into the Upper City. We don’t want to be turned away at the gate anymore.”
“Yeah, you want us to die for you?” Caeus asks. “Let us be treated as equals.”
“If we want to go to the Temple of Gond with our friend, we should be able to,” Tallest says.
Nameless Peon look at each other. “We’ll put in a word with the Watch…” they begin.
“Deal!’ Tallest accepts immediately.
Harken is less certain. “What are our chances of surviving there?”
“We’re The Herd!” Caeus reminds him. “We got this.”
“What are we, some sort of moo-icide Squad?” Harken asks. The Herd moos.
Tallest asks everyone to check their potions inventory in case they need to prepare more.
“Rumor has it, everyone has one potion of healing!” Sleipnir says. Sfiros is delighted!
“You all look prepared. Rough them up!” Nameless Peon say and leave.
“If there’s one thing I’m excited to do today, it’s interrupt Tzeentchian rituals!” Sfiros glows. “I’m here for it.”
“Let’s get mooving!” Sleipnir says.
“Let’s cull some cultists!” Caeus says.
They discuss if they need any more preparations, but they decide they don’t have enough new gold to go shopping a third session in a row. Sfiros takes his Holy Symbol of Gond over to his tanky friend Tallest and casts blessing of the forge on his chainmail, granting a buff to his armor!
“Fight stuff! Let’s go!” They all say to each other for the next several minutes until they finally go.
The Herd steps into the alleyways of Seatower, and they feel something off about the atmosphere of this district. The local residents are wary and suspicious. Parents hold their children closely. Vendors prefer to sell inside, keeping off the streets. Someone nearby is cleaning something on the side of the road. A rusty stain? Maybe it’s blood? Maybe it’s… something else?
As they follow their map, they come across a boarded up, unused restaurant called ‘The Seasons’. It appears to have once sold comfort food, but now looks dilapidated to the point no reasonable person could imagine they would be open and serving anything.
“You guys hungry?” Tallest asks unreasonably. “Want to stop at this restaurant before we go?”
“Yeah,” everyone agrees, equally unreasonably.
“I could eat!” Caeus says.
“I don’t like murdering a bunch of cultists on an empty stomach. Let’s go in ‘The Seasons.’” Tallest says.
“Which season are we in?” Caeus asks.
“The Season of Vengeance,” replies the world itself. The four seasons near Baldur’s Gate are Vengeance, Redemption, Summer, and Hatred.
“It’s been an unusually warm Vengeance this year!” quips Sfiros.
Tallest walks up to the front door, but it is locked. Unsure why a restaurant would be closed in the middle of the day, Tallest begins banging on the door screaming “Why are you closed? Why is the restaurant closed?! Why? Why?!”
“This is not how you sell pancakes!” Caeus agrees.
A nightmare whispers back to Tallest, “Shackle the soul and forge the flesh. Bind the machine and butcher the rest.”
Tallest recites the strange, ominous, totally not copied from the internet warning-thing to The Herd and says, “Guys be careful knocking on the door, it will make you listen to poetry. I don’t know if you're into poetry, but I am out.” Once again, Tallest fails to open a locked door.
“This sounds like some cult shit,” Caeus says. “This calls for further investigation. Why would they ruin a perfectly good breakfast?”
“The place is boarded up.” Tallest grumbles.
“Then let’s board it down!” Sfiros says.
“Free real estate,” Caeus says.
“Last time I attacked a door I failed, and this time it quietly shouted poetry at me,” Tallest grumbles. “You guys are the tool men. Open the door.”
“Don’t we have a sneaky guy?” Caeus asks and looks around for his brother, who is nowhere to be seen.
“Uh yeah, just a little bit,” Harken steps up. “But also not willing to die—”
“I meant the guy with the smoke bombs! Sleipnir!”
“I don’t have smoke bombs?” Sleipnir searches for bombs, but finds none. That was just a rumor.
“I’ll check it out, then.” Caeus looks for a window.
“Investigate, carefully,” Sfiros casts guidance on Caeus as he averagely peaks into the window, and sees footprints in the dust. Then he hears, “Rage without focus is no weapon at all. Take this lesson back to the Blood God.”
“I don’t like that!” Sfiros says, helpfully.
“Do you think that’s the same Blood God as the other Blood God we were fighting?” Tallest asks.
“Khorne. Yes.” Caeus says.
“That’s disappointing. I’d like to find a cool Blood God. I like blood, it’s a good thing.” Tallest says.
“I think he likes blood more on the outside of the body,” Sleipnir says.
“Then let’s take this lesson back to him and give him some focused rage, like it says in the whisper,” Tallest suggests. “We need to use rage as a weapon. Is anyone a barbarian?”
Sleipnir remembers a rumor he heard about a great barbarian! “Rumor has it, the greatest barbarian that ever lived became a king one time.”
“One time, for a day, before he got deposed by the jungle, probably!” Sfiros says.
“I think he got bored and went to building couches,” Sleipnir adds.
Speaking of getting bored, Sfiros says, “Does anyone mind if we spend ten minutes while I cast detect magic here?” Sfiros waves his Holy Symbol of Gond, sending a magical ping around the entrance. A brief image appears in his head of some mysterious force. A choice is presented to Sfiros. “Red!” Sfiros chooses. Then, “Oh! No! OH NO!” he glimpses an unspeakable horror!
“What was it?” Caeus asks.
“Horrible giant flame god in the sky! I saw it!”
“How was your rage? Was it focused?” Tallest asks.
Sfiros considers this. “I would say my rage was pretty focused.”
“Was it dark? A dark star? A metaphor for a dark star?” Caeus asks.
“It looked like a giant, flaming demon in the sky.”
“Was it a demon, or a genie?” Tallest asks.
“I’ve never met a genie. But I’ve never met a demon, either.”
“Well, you’ve met Harken,” Caeus says. “He’s a little…” he trails off.
Sfiros may be just an apprentice, but his faith in Gond is strong! His religion allows him to renew the horrible image in his mind!
“It’s a demon head with multiple sets of horns! And it’s got a skull on top of its skull, and behind it is a professional wrestling symbol filled with skulls, and that has a big skull on it!” Sfiros yells.
“That sounds dope, we’ve got to get tickets to that,” Caeus says.
“No, no, no.” Sfiros shakes his head and then sketches the demon as fast as he can so the others can see. That looks familiar! “Behnie’s friends! They were demon worshipping monsters! This is related to that.”
“They jumped us! We’ve got beef with them!” Caeus says.
“We killed them,” Sleipnir remembers.
“These are their homeboys. The Herd is trying to establish Cred! Did you forget?” Caeus booms over his little brother.
Sfiros remembers the lesson from the whispers. “I’m going to focus my rage… into my mace!” Sfiros attacks the doorknob. He pushes the door slightly, and it creaks open. “I’ve done it! I’ve gone with Gond!”
The door squeaks open. Caeus mends the doorknob and the squeak of the hinge. Inside is dark and dusty and dim and—
“Hold on!” Caeus says. “Tallest, I’m going to cast light on your gemstone bling. That will be cool, and help establish our Cred faster! People will tell stories of this!” The light helps, but Tallest is so tall that the rest of The Herd can’t see all the way to their feet.
“I can see fine!” Sleipnir says. “What do I see with my dark vision eyes?” he asks the room. He sees a trapdoor. “Rumor has it, that corner over there has some good use!” Tallest walks another way. “No, that way! That way!” Tallest turns around and sees another door. Always with the closed doors.
“Tool guys, open up.” Tallest backs up.
Caeus gets out his magic wrench and pries open the trapdoor. It pops open easily revealing stone stairs into a dank, mildewy dungeon.
Sleipnir goes in first, sneakily, followed by Tallest, the light source.
“I heard a story about sending in the sorcerer first! Always a good idea,” Sfiros says, remembering his distaste for sorcerers.
The room below is over nine feet tall, braced with wooden beams. Sleipnir looks down and sees himself reflected in a puddle of stale black water that covers the floor.
“There’s water down here!” Sleipnir says.
“Rumor has it…” Tallest reminds him.
They descend into the dungeon, Sleipnir and Harken venture on their own with dark vision, Caeus and Sfiros stay near Tallest and the source of light.
They wade through the stinky water, which comes up to their knees and Tallests’s lower knees, eventually make their way to a wooden door. In lieu of knocking, they focus their rage. Caeus charges the door, damaging it slightly. Sleipnir charges behind his brother and knocks the door down.
“Good idea, Caeus,” Tallest says.
“That’s using your head!” Caeus says.
The door opens to reveal... more doors! With carvings!
The eastern door depicts Khorne, a big, horned creature on a throne, armed with an axe. The southern door pulsates with the image of Tzeentch, a floating creature with multiple eyes, heads, and arms. The busted door depicts a big bloated, pustule-covered sketch of Nurgle.
Sleipnir chooses none of these doors and runs down the open hallway. He sees an expensive tapestry showing a grizzly scene of four faceless figures ripping apart a fifth screaming figure.
“Want to take this tapestry? Looks like someone spent a lot of time on it!” Sleipnir asks.
“Yeah, I’ll help you steal that,” Tallest says.
“We’re not here to steal art!” Caeus says as he gets out his bag of holding to put the art in.
Tallest tugs on the tapestry and yellow spores puff out and poison him! Tallest coughs and gags and retches.
“Gross! Spores!” Tallest vomits.
“Someone heal him!” Sleipnir shouts at the other three spellcasters who all have healing spells.
“Spell slots are a real premium,” Caeus says.
Harken and Sfiros try to help by stammering, but it’s no use.
“Stop fuckin’ chokin’, you fuckin’ pansy!” Harken uses bardic inspiration, instead of any healing spells. Harken, the self-described ‘sneaky’ character, starts playing the bagpipes in the sewer they’re sneaking around in. It helps a little.
After losing almost half of his Hit Points, Tallest finally coughs up all the remaining spores. He feels better and drops the tapestry.
“What other death traps—?” Sleipnir begins, and runs into the next room. “Ooh, it’s a big room! Y’all should come in here!” He shouts, sneakily.
“‘What other death traps?’” Sfiros repeats as he cautiously follows Sleipnir.
In the northeast corner of the flooded chamber, entrails cover a stone altar. A three-foot tall steel laughing mask hangs on the wall above the altar.
“We’ve got to have it!” Sleipnir demands.
“No…” Sfiros says.
“Detect magic on it,” Caeus says.
“That will take at least ten minutes!” Sfiros takes out his Holy Symbol of Gond to begin his ritual.
Tallest picks up Sleipnir and they hone their mask-grabbing technique by collecting cobwebs on the ceiling.
“I need someone who sheds light to stand nearby!” Sfiros complains, waving around his Holy Symbol of Gond in the dark.
“Sorry, I was being silly.” Tallest lets go of Sleipnir.
Sfiros’s Holy Symbol of Gond pings magical properties back to the cleric. The mask doesn’t seem to be magical, but the altar is definitely desecrated. A throaty, bubbling, vomitous voice whispers into Sfiros’s mind “Hold your bitterness deep within, and there let it fester. Let it roil and squirm and churn, until you are filled with bile so poisonous that all you touch falls to ruin."
“Why are there always secrets for me?!” Sfiros asks. He recites the words with disgust and fear, without any context.
“Something’s wrong with Sfiros,” Caeus says. “Does he normally talk like this?”
“Oh my Gond,” Sleipnir curses.
“This is not the work of Gond! This is some other deity,” Sfiros says.
“Well, maybe we should get the mask—”
“No, you don’t want this mask. I promise you don’t want this mask.”
“Masks are good when you’re around infectious stuff,” Caeus says.
“I’ve never met a bad mask!” Sleipnir says.
“All right, well let’s go pick it up,” Tallest says and holds up Sleipnir again.
“Wait! I’m not done! I’m not done!” Sfiros yells.
“What do you mean you’re not done? You had that whole poem!” Tallest says.
“I need ten minutes!” Sfiros says, entirely forgetting the past ten minutes where he had a ritual casting of detect magic.
“It’s been twenty!”
“Wow, time really flies down here.”
“Mark it down!” the Anacos brothers shout in unison. It’s a minotaur thing.
Sfiros then remembers what he forgot.
“I think you went into a fugue state and started mumbling stuff for a bit,” Caeus says.
“Sorry, I forgot whether it was magic or not, I was busy in the fugue state.”
Tallest and Sleipnir try to remove the mask, but it’s very heavy. As it slips off the wall, it forcefully drags Sleipnir out of Tallest’s hands. Sleipnir and the mask crash into the flooded floor.
“Oh there’s mold in that water, be careful,” Sfiros says.
“All right, I got it down.” Sleipnir pops up from the water.
They discuss if they can fit this huge mask into the bag of holding, but there is no way it could fit in the opening of the bag, so they leave the mask behind. Sleipnir runs into the next room, sneakily.
“Wait, I want to make this altar… not be an altar anymore,” the cleric says.
“You want to desecrate the altar?” Harken asks. “You want to shit on it?”
“I don’t want to shit on it… I don’t know. I’ve never desecrated something before.” Sfiros starts looking through his stuff for holy water.
“Can’t you make holy water? There’s water everywhere!” Sleipnir yells from the next room.
“Aren’t your tears holy water?” Tallest asks. “You could cry.”
“Harken! You’re up!” Sleipnir shouts.
“Yup, yup,” Harken says. “Insult him?”
“No, I don’t like when we do this game,” Sfiros cries. “It makes me not like Harken. I want to—”
“You want to do a lot of stuff, but you aren’t good at it!” Harken mocks.
“Who invited you? You aren’t even a minotaur!”
“The rest of your party—”
“HERD” The Herd shouts back.
“They all think you’re my friend,” Sfiros says. “I don’t have any holy water.”
“Can you just wash it off with regular water,” Sleipnir shouts sneakily, still in the next room over, looking at someone.
“Yeah, just like knock shit over. Throw dirt at it,” Caeus suggests.
“Get out a pen and scribble on it.” Tallest says.
Sfiros decides not to desecrate anything now, but maybe later.
Sleipnir sneaks back into the room and whispers “Hey guys, the… some bodies… in the next
“THERE’S SOMEONE IN THE NEXT ROOM?!” Caeus shouts.
“I’ll take a healing potion,” Tallest says.
Sleipnir leads them to a bloated corpse of a shirtless male humanoid, his back punctured and crusty.
“Someone shanked this joker!” Sleipnir says.
“Are any of you spellcasters doing corpse magic? Sfiros, you were desecrating some stuff. Do you want to try some corpse magic?” Tallest asks.
“Tallest, you have to stop tempting people with corpse magic,” Caeus chides.
“I don’t really do corpse magic,” Sfiros says.
Sleipnir checks out the corpse and shouts, “Show me your secrets!” The man has been dead for about two days, and has nothing of interest.
After almost an hour in the dungeon, Caeus and Sfiros light some torches so they can see.
“I don’t need a torch to find my way around in the dark!” Caeus’s brother gloats as he returns from hauling the mask back to the entrance via a secret door.
“Well then which way should we go next?” Sfiros asks.
The next door, which had the image of Tzeentch on it, reveals a room containing three human bodies in filthy black robes lying on the ground, a lit torch in the middle. A rough hewn staircase to the left leads down to another torch-lit chamber.
Caeus, Tallest, and Harken investigate the bodies for freshness. The bodies, extra fresh, leap to their feet and attack! Their masks and outfits resemble those of the folks who attacked them at the bathhouse!
Two of the bad guys blast necrotic energy at Harken and Caeus, missing the tiefling and hitting the average minotaur.
Caeus whips out his trusty lighter fluid trick and fires right back with a firebolt for a whopping two fire damage. Spell slots are a premium, and Caeus’s life fits the bill. He uses his magic wrench to cast sanctuary on himself! A murmuration of magical nanobots emerge from the wrench and form a shimmering protective barrier around him. Caeus then hides in the corner.
Sfiros enters the fight shouting a word of radiance. The holy words burn the cultists’ ears.
Tallest swings his mighty hammer for massive damage and obliterates a cultist. He turns his attention to the remaining foes and shouts “Leave my friends and Harken alone!”
Harken stabs an enemy with his rapier, and Sleipnir repositions to take a shot at the most wounded cultist but misses.
The villains regroup, blasting at Tallest and Harken. One blast hits Harken in the chest, the other bounces off Tallest’s shield and fizzles out.
Caeus hops out of his corner for a moment and firebolts a cultist for two fire damage. He gives the Herd a big thumbs up and yells “I’m helping!” before returning to cower and hide.
Sfiros repeats his last turn and shouts out a word of radiance, but the cultists already heard that the Herd is the word and shrugged it off.
Tallest nods approvingly to the baddie that hit Harken, but smacks him with his hammer anyway. He slaps Harken on the back, a bit too hard and a bit too on purpose, and says, “Finish the job!”
Harken, suffering from the prods and pokes and necrotic damages, inexplicably says “Oy mate your face has a face even a mother couldn’t fuck… oh shit I’m in so much pain why did you let him hit me you fucking big fuck” and somehow insults the baddie for a total of two psychic damage.
Sleipnir shoots just two damage into the baddie while laughing uncontrollably at Harken’s pain. The cultist attempts to hit Harken, but he’s distracted by the laughter and taunts from the Herd and misses.
Caeus pokes his head out from his hiding spot and calls his shot, “Two-damage firebolt coming right up!” and manages only a single hit point from the lighter fluid squirting out from his hidden device He turns back into his corner and mutters under his breath, “This is my least consistent trick…” The bad guy surprisingly dies anyway and Caeus yells to The Herd, “Yeah but where’d the lighter fluid come from?!”
The fight is over, and the victory music playing from Caeus’s trinkets isn’t even finished before Sleipnir pillages the bodies looking for loot. Of course, these tricky cultists of Tzeentch have nothing interesting on them.
The Herd looks for clues in the room. Caeus investigates the sarcophagus in the corner and discovers three spell books which he shoves into the bag of holding.
Harken patches himself up with cure wounds.
Ready and eager, The Herd descends into the next level looking for trouble.
Trouble reveals itself quickly as the next room is full of more enemies.
The eastern part of the flooded room is unlit, braced floor to ceiling with wooden beams. Rough hewn steps rise out of the murky water to the western part of the room, which is dry and lit by two torches in sconces that flank a stone altar. Shackled to the wall behind the altar is a sickly man in a loin cloth with a burlap sack over his head. An alcove in the north wall contains a freestanding suit of plate armor missing its helm.
On either side of the sickly man are two grim figures. A powerfully built woman clutching a mace and an even bigger man wearing a bucket helm. The man is jabbing the prisoner with a spear causing the prisoner to twitch. The woman has a wooden shield with a skull painted on it.
The woman points over to the Herd and readies for battle.
Caeus rounds the corner first wading into the water on this side of the room. He shouts “PEW PEW” and fires a firebolt into the wall missing his target entirely. He hops behind a pillar for cover.
Sfiros pushes his way into the room and misses with his attack as well.
Tallest says “I don’t think I can get to them yet” but wades through the water, preparing to kick some cultist ass.
Harken creeps into the room and magically inspires Sfiros with his bardic ways and readies to attack the first jerk unlucky enough to step into his reach.
The large man approaches Tallest and jabs at him twice with a spear!
The woman pulls out a longbow and shoots Caeus.
Sleipnir is inspired to focus his rage into a witch bolt, but the woman blocks it with her skull shield.
Caeus uses his final healing spell on himself before hiding in an alcove on the side of the room. Sfiros moves next to Tallest and casts guiding bolt on the large man. “Go with Gond,” he says cheerily as the enemy glows faintly with holy light.
Tallest focuses his rage into his warhammer and slams into the glowing man! The Holy Light of Gond flails out with the crash, and Tallest breathes it in as a second wind. He glares at the asshole that hit him and says, “You know what? Action surge. I’m going to do it again!” Tallest hits him again and yells, “How do you like taking 20 damage to the face like that? Was that fun for you?”
Sfiros looks at the massive amount of damage that Tallest has just done and says aloud “He didn’t die!? He HAS to die!”
Harken shouts a vicious mockery toward the brute, “OY MATE, YOU’LL NEVER BE AS TALL AS THAT ONE!” It was not very effective. He then turns to Sleipnir and says, “Oh,” and gives him bardic inspiration, but it does not inspire him to use it.
The cultist stabs Tallest and then Harken, dropping the tiefling to the ground! The other cultist drops her bow and runs at Tallest with her mace, but it clangs uselessly against his shield.
Caeus fixes his lighter fluid wrench trick, and hops out to set the cultists ablaze. The flames blast the cultist in the chest and up against the wall, burning her crispy silhouette into the stone.
Caeus blows his finger gun and jumps back into his hiding spot.
Sfiros yells one of his healing words at his tiefling friend Harken and heals him. “That was a bonus action,” he assures his minotaur friends. He casts sacred flame, but his attention is split and the cultist dodges.
Tallest doesn’t have enough attention to split in the first place, and slams the cultist with his warhammer again and finally slays the foe.
Harken stands up and thinks about healing the tank but can’t reach him, so he heals himself.
The cultist stabs at Tallest and knocks him down! Tallest refuses, and with his relentless endurance stands up at 1 HP.
Sleipnir finally feels inspired, and sneakily zaps out a witch bolt! The cultist fries his hair up and lightning bolts fly every which way as he dies on the steps. “Shocking!” Sleipnir muppets.
Tallest runs to the chained man and tries to free him. Sfiros, ever the devout minotaur, stops him. “Shackle the bones, right? Or shackle the flesh? What did that door tell us?”
“Shackle the forge,” Tallest corrects him, tally.
“No,” everyone agrees.
“I’m not forging flesh,” Caeus says and downs a potion of healing.
“Shouldn’t you identify this armor? Make sure it’s not cursed?” Sleipnir says. “And I’m going to check on these bodies.”
Tallest leaves the shackled man in agony. “I want some of that plate armor everyone’s talking about,” Tallest says.
“We all want plate armor,” Sfiros says. “I don’t know, identify it.”
Tallest grabs at the plate but when he reaches for it, the two gauntlets fly off the armor and swing at The Herd!
“This is just like my childhood with Caeus’s daggum inventions!” Sleipnir shouts and dodges out of the way.
Harken leans forward and casts cure wounds on Tallest and inspires him, saying, “Oy mate! This close up, you really are tall, aren’t ya?!”
Tallest feels very tall after that, and hits one of the gauntlets, but it uses its momentum to critically hit Tallest back. He falls to the ground, feeling very un-tall.
Caeus snatches Harken’s potion of healing and pours it over Tallest to get him up. The other gauntlet swings at Caeus in retaliation but misses.
Sfiros fires a sacred flame into one of the gauntlets pinging it with holy energy.
Sleipnir unleashes a shocking grasp before retreating back to relative safety.
Harken stabs forward with his rapier, Tallest stands up and swings his hammer, and Caeus shoots a fire bolt but the gauntlet dodges all three attacks and punches Caeus in the mouth for good measure.
Sfiros leaps up onto a slain cultist and shines brightly, rebuffing a flying gauntlet with radiant energy.
Sleipnir grabs the closest gauntlet and shocks it again shouting, “YOU JUST WAIT UNTIL I GET FIREBALL!”
Harken misses with his rapier and laments “I’m out of spells and exhausted!”
Tallest has had enough of these gloves hurting his friends so he takes his hammer and smacks one out of the air and flattens it against the ground like a bug.
Caeus fires off a firebolt and chars the other gauntlet into a scorched, ashy, useless mess..
“One of these is a flaming fist, one of these is a flat fist,” Sleipnir quips.
The Herd inspects the armor realizing it is unusable and was set up as a trap for unwitting do-gooders. “First they ruin our chance for pancakes, and then they ruin some perfectly good armor…” says Caeus angrily.
Sleipnir searches the bodies littering the room and finds a bow, a mace, a spear, and an iron key ring containing 7 keys.
Tallest asks the captive on the wall if he speaks minotaur. The sickly man doesn’t appear to understand and begins begging for his life prompting Tallest to ask questions in common. “What are you doing here? Why are they doing this to you? Who are you?”
The captive says, “I was captured in the Lower City two days ago by these cultists. They killed my bodyguard!”
“Wait, do you look familiar?” Tallest asks, “Who are you?”
“My name is Clem Jhosso.”
“From Star Wars?” asks Caeus
“Give me all your secrets!” Tallest shouts Clem in an intimidating manner.
“I have nothing,” Clem says.
“Well we should probably let him go,” Tallest says as he looks through the key ring and unlocks the shackles.
Caeus reaches into the bag of holding and tosses the man a brownie which he scarfs down greedily.
“Ha! You ate our food and now you owe us a life debt!” says Tallest, “Have you ever been in a life debt before?”
“I don’t know what that is," Clem says.
“Roughly translated from minotaur that means you have to tell us your secrets and be helpful to us in many ways,” Tallest elucidates.
“How can you serve the Herd?” Caeus asks.
“My family would pay you a generous reward for my safe return to our estate in the Upper City,” the helpless man claims.
“Well that sounds a lot like a ransom. We’re going to do that, but if anyone asks, this is not a ransom,” Caeus says, throwing in “We’re the good guys!” with a smile and a thumbs up.
“Yeah. We rescued you, and we were being discriminated against. We just want to go to the Upper City,” Tallest says. “Put in a good word with the guards for us! Also gold… and missions.”
“And rumors,” Sleipnir adds.
“Yes yes. How do I get out of here?” Clem asks.
The Herd just points and Clem Jhosso scurries away.
“Wait. Come back and give me your autograph!” Tallest shouts, but the man has already rounded a corner and exited.
Vengeance, for now, is still in season.