After meeting with Stratton Silvermane, Oathenders & Co. was tasked with the quest of finding Abercrombie of Fitch, an Elven ranger in service of Barron Cathartes, recently incarcerated in the dreaded Harrowstone Gaol. Stratton explained that Amriel, the Queen of Bones was a powerful necromancer that he had fought several years ago with the Barron and a Sun Wizard named Tosa. Amriel was sealed in a nether realm, and was effectively trapped there, unable to re-enter our world. Stratton had designs to lead a Dwarven army against her forces of undead, and rout her out of her stronghold, destroying her once and for all. However, before he could gather his forces, the Barron locked her away, and closed the few portals between leading to that blasted hellscape of a dimension. Stratton didn’t agree with that plan, and this disagreement has been the source of a grudge between the Silvermanes and Barron Cathartes ever since. Stratton theorized that in exchange for his freedom, “Abe” might be willing to disclose the location of any portals, that Stratton could then use as an opportunity to destroy his old foe.
Oathenders & Co. traveled a week out of Anvilhold to the barren lands to find the legendary prison of Harrowstone in a state of chaos. A tremendous earthquake had recently destroyed a good portion of the Northeastern wall, and opened up a large sinkhole lake. Totally forgetting about the silver key to the front gates in his pocket, Osrik decided to lead the party around to the breach in the walls, and the lake, triggering the hidden hydra encounter which was supposed to be the climactic battle when the party was set to leave the prison.
Hrothgar started chopping up zombies left and right, while Sybil and the rest of the party took on the Hydra. Osrik decided to smoke a cigar and test a theory he had about the gargoyles surrounding the prison walls… which started tearing the prisoners-turned-zombies to bits. Hollis and Grig took bets on whether the last “surviving” zombie would prevail after smashing a gargoyle particularly hard. Hollis won, but decided to let this one go in exchange for some unnamed favor from Grig at a future date. Osrik unlocked the main gates, and found one surviving member of the order of special guards that run Harrowstone. Deputy Miller explained that terrible things had been going on recently, and that the Warden was dead. After a particularly rude and uncomfortable series of discussions and negotiations, during which Tuan suggested dismembering the body of Deputy Miller’s beloved boss and friend, the party learned that there were two rival prison gangs in Harrowstone. One, the Blocks, were led by Chancellor Parlell, a political prisoner sent to Harrowstone for charges of treason and attempting to overthrow the Gelatinous Cube Parliament. The other gang, the Four Dead Skulls, was led by a necromancer named Ahzihad, and his second in command was none other than Abercrombie, the Ranger of Fitch.
Finnan turned Hollis invisible to scout out the main floor of the prison, and Hollis found several zombies wandering the halls. Osrik smoked a cigar, as the rest of the party fought off a good number of zombies. Sybil started one-shotting them fairly quickly, and Hrothgar blocked four at one time from two different directions, literally pushing one of the zombies out of melee attack range – just because he can.
Hollis ran up the stairs and found the surviving members of the Blocks – prisoners that had locked themselves on the relatively safer second floor. Tuan and the disembodied voice of an invisible Hollis convinced them that they were there to rescue the Chancellor, and the Blocks agreed to tell them what they knew about the prison. Osrik and Finnan went to search the Warden’s office, finding his keys, his magic truncheon, and a chest containing a small bag of beans, weapons, armor and equipment for one Elven Ranger. *When questioned about why the guards kept the various effects and property of the confined, since Harrowstone is essentially death row and most inmates will never leave, Deputy Miller admitted that mistakes had been made.
Oathenders & Co. headed for the dungeon and Hollis saw a beautiful Boomdagger in a glass case that read “In case of emergency, break glass” in the center of the South wing of the dungeon. Then he saw the necromancer, man-bat, werewolf, basilisk, and ghost. Everyone headed to the West wing of the dungeon, and after dispatching two roaming zombies, discovered Lt. Steptoe, barely alive in the torture chamber. Grig healed him as best he could, when suddenly the Necromancer Ahzihad stepped out of a secret passage linking his cell to the West wing. A terrible and desperate fight ensued. Grig shrugged off the fear effects of Ahzihad’s aura by downing a bottle of Silvermane’s Summer Lager that Faerber gave him in Anvilhold. That kind of attention to detail really paid off. A fireball hit most of the party pretty hard, and killed Lt. Steptoe, but ultimately it was Sybil, who decided to end the battle. Whether it was the dissatisfaction with beheading various Hyrda heads, or her frustration with undead wizards in general, Lady Sybil walked up to Ahzihad, and took his head clean off.
The battle ended abruptly.
Just then a vaguely familiar voice echoed down the halls of the West wing cell block, and Abe called for help. There was some debate about whether to give Abe any of the weapons or armor that Finnan found in the Warden’s office, or whether to sell it all and use the money for ale. Abe showed the party where he had hidden Ahzihad’s phylactery – a golden skull that Tuan assessed to be both something he could sanctify and sell. Hollis pined for the Boomdagger, but when Abe explained that it was intelligent, potentially evil, and an inmate of Harrowstone known as “Odin’s Fruit Knife” he gave up hope. There was much discussion and disagreement about what to do concerning Chancellor Parlell.
Apparently, Grig hates Gelatinous Cubes, but nobody decided to listen to him.
Osrik disabled the ice rune on the North block floor, and the Chancellor was unfrozen. Finnan spoke a little cube, a language based on a series of subtle movements, and the conversation ranged all over. Chancellor Parlell reminded the party that nobody controls the Cubes, discussed his populist appeal in the Cube Bureaucracy, and outlined a variety of radical education, foreign, social, environmental and fiscal policies. The Chancellor clearly places a high value on freedom, opposes genocide and favors efficiency, coalition-building, and ending some indescribable policies of the majority party in the Cube Parliament. After much discussion and suspicion, Oathenders & Co. decided that Chancellor Parlell wasn’t such a bad guy, and that they would help him escape. When they asked for a reward, Chancellor Parlell promised them freedom. Which was a really good thing, because he was the only one who knew how to turn off the gargoyles. Finnan cast a frost spell on the Chancellor, and he floated slowly over the sinkhole lake, to freedom.
There was some subsequent debate on how to handle the remaining Blocks. Osrik decided to let the gargoyles take them out. Which was bloody and an extremely one-sided fight. Grig wanted xp for killing them – which was not rewarded.
Osrik debated heavily over whether or not to kill Deputy Miller. Ultimately a combination of some well-crafted lies, a tremendous body count, and a combination of the Deputy’s PTSD and gullibility led him to believe that Oathender’s & Co. had somehow managed to restore order in Harrowstone, if only by killing everything in it. Osrik gave Deputy Miller the Warden’s truncheon, and he swore to rebuild, saying that Oathender’s & Co. were heroes.
Finally, after some fast swimming and a lot of help from Oathenders & Co. Abercrombie of Fitch escaped from Harrowstone Gaol. They’re going to have a hydra problem there for a long time…
Nobody blew the horn.