A Cleric, a Demon, and an Acrobat Walk Into a Bar…
Ardan Corvo and Martris Drayke happen to run into each other in a small local tavern. They'd both been working the Greyhawk nightlife for about a month each, and somehow this is the first time they've run into each other. They catch up and chat about old times briefly, then notice that the ladies they had been conversing with were talking animatedly to each other.
At this point, Martis used Detect Thoughts to sense what the gossiping trollops were talking about. It went something like this:
Trollop A: So which guy are you gonna leave with?
Trollop B: I think my guy is talking to your guy.
Trollop A: So he is! Dibs on the cute one!
Trollop B: Which one's the cute one?
Trollop A: I see your point. The rugged one's kinda cute, too.
Trollop B: The one guy has that sort of dark thing going on. That's sexy.
Trollop A: So which one are you going home with?
Trollop B: You know… hey! We could both go home with the better one!
*psychic wave of self-perpetuating feedback loop of drunken tittering inspired by a scandalous suggestion*
Trollop A: There's still the question of which one's the better one…
Trollop B: We could make them race for it…
So they split up, went back to the guys they were talking with, and each individually told them to wait five minutes, then come meet them at No. 3 on a certian street in the Artisan quarter. They did not actually mention that it was a competition, and somehow Martris saw no reason to bring it up. Nor indeed to proceed on foot when he had the option of teleporting.
So Ardan left the bar leisurely on foot, while Martris excused himself to go to the bathroom, which is apparently something humans were fond of doing on a regular basis and he didn't want to cause a scene. After taking five minutes or so to simulate this activity, he paid his tab, walked out the door into the night, turned a corner into a dark alley, and teleported to another alley he remembered in the artisan quarter as being near the address he recieved.
He knocked on the door, and was welcomed inside by two drunk chicks, whereupon he was informed that it was his lucky night.
Meanwhile, Ardan, who had been sauntering leisurely down the street, stopped to pick a particularly charming flower out of someone's window planter.
Eventually, Ardan knocks on the door, at which point the drunk trollops go "Shhh! Hide!" And then spend several minutes trying to stifle their own giggling.
Ardan opens the door into a pitch black room. From somewhere in the shadows, he faintly hears muffled giggling. Having spent so much time on the road, been to hell and back in the underdark, and so forth, Ardan is especially wary of an ambush. He draws his Tolaret's staff (two foot form). There is a tense pause. Then he draws an Everburning Torch from his backpack.
At which point the trollops break down completely, laughing their asses off.
As Ardan stands there in the doorway, staff in one hand, lit torch in the other, as if he's about to explore some forgotten and ancient tomb, the light shines on Martis, nestled amid the giggling wenches.
Ardan: *confused expression*
Martis: *indifferent shrug*
Ardan: "Uh… what's gong on?"
Trollop A: "He won!"
Ardan: *confused expression deepens*
Martis: "Care to join us?" OOC: Because I'm an incubus. I don't care. Incubi and Succubi are the same creature, just in different forms.
Ardan is slightly disappointed, but there are plenty of fish in the sea, and the night is still young. He is somewhat impressed and slightly perplexed at how Martris apparently got here so fast, as Ardan hasn't yet seen him use his teleportation ability. Eh, he assumes it to be some manner of magic. Well, he won the evening, and should be left to his prize. Ardan puts his weapons away and gives a nod of his head and a smile to the threesome.
Ardan: "Evening, ladies!"
Eh, their loss. Time to see if there are any women with better taste at the Green Dragon. (Though not with TOO MUCh good taste… those are so boring.) :)
Eventually Ardan heads back to the bar scene looking to find someone else. A couple women in particular catch his fancy, but he ends up going to bed with an Oeridian human swordswoman with black hair and blue eyes. (This point ties into Ardan's backstory… presumably she vaguely reminded him of the half-elven daughter of the elven acrobat he trained under… more on that if Ted ever makes a page for Ardan.)
The Morning After
The next morning, she revealed to Ardan that she was looking for a party to go hit an ancient ruin in the Cairn Hills around Greyhawk. Ardan said he might be able to help with that. He went looking around for prospective clerics, starting with his favored deities of Corellon Larethian (no major presence in Greyhawk,) Fharlanghn (Local temple is mostly just a support hub for the network of wayside shrines… any Clerics are already out wandering or supporting other parties.) and Olidammara (Small temple, mostly occupied getting ready for Brewfest.) But Ardan hears of one Olidamarian Cleric, Markus, who apparently loves to go out on quests with adventurers. They're expecting him back soon… just he's not here right now.
"Oh, yeah, Markus, he'll travel with anybody! He once traveled with a Drow for 2 years, and then they parted peacefully and each went their separate ways. I shit you not, sir!" Although this rumor probably says more about the Drow than it does about the cleric, that's probably not the reason Ardan practically froze at the mention of the D-word.
*Nope, it wasn't. Drow bad. Drow sexy, but drow bad. Very bad. Like verbs.*
Eventually Ardan settled for the cleric of Heironeous, who hung out in the Green Dragon Inn and seemed to have a relaxed attitude towards life-threatening peril. (In actual fact, he was perfectly willing to join any party for a fair share of the loot, as long as there were evildoers to hunt down or undead to destroy. In the past this policy has served him well, advancing his own glorious crusade in Heironeous's name, and only once or twice did he ever have to slaughter his entire party when they "turned out to be evil.")
They already had a dungeon map copied from ancient records, and the fact that my laptop's battery ran out of power then lent the real-life version of this map an authentic air of hastily-scribbled uncertainty. :)
On the way to the tomb, Ardan scouted ahead of the group, where he noticed vultures circling in the sky. Thinking it to be a potential sign of either corpses or undead, he reported back to the party and asked the cleric to take point. He gladly complied. It turned out to be a zombie, with large vultures diving and occasionally pecking at it.
The cleric of Heironeous took out the zombie with a few well-timed bashes, and remained wary of the vultures as he returned to the party. The vultures ignored him and set to work upon the freshly-downed zombie, but the cleric later said that they "had strange-looking eyes. They don't look undead, but they don't seem healthy…"
The party found the temple nearby… apparently the zombie had just wandered out into the desert and started attracting vultures. They made their way into the crypt, discovering it to be quite ancient indeed. Although (as far as they could tell,) small, the walls of the crypt were decorated with the fossilized bones of the long-dead. Ardan again took point, immediately finding all zombies, as well as discovering the occasional pressure plate which would cause a poison-tipped arrow to fly from a large skull mounted on the wall. There was a bit of trouble with a black gel, but this only had the engulf ability, and the party was able to overcome it.
Luckily for Martris, the cleric failed his Knowledge:Religion check to recognize the Eldritch Blasts for what they were. Indeed he was disappointingly careful all though the dungeon crawl. His one slip was when he used his full claw attack on a zombie (supplemented with the claw blades on his bracers,) succeeding so as to cause the cleric to exclaim "why didn't you do that before!?"
After the fight, the party heard vulture-like noises coming from the twisting passage through which they'd entered. Here, one of the vultures from outside had wandered in, and was chewing at the first zombie they'd downed.
"Eeeerp," it squawked, before proceeding with its meal.
It was particularly fat for a vulture. One would expect almost too fat to fly. Its eyes also had an unhealthy, bloodshot look to them. After some hesitation, the party decided to leave it alone, and let it eat in peace.
The party explored more rooms and fought more zombies. They discovered several stone slabs for the preparation of corpses, including one stone slab whcih was actually a cleverly disguised sarcophagus-like structure, containing various coins and gems, scraps of metal, gold fillings, and the occasional dagger. All bits of loot corpses had had on them when they were committed to the tomb; all things the tombs original owners had recovered, but didn't want anyone to know they had recovered.
At the end of one corridor, Ardan encountered a skull trophy on the wall but no apparent pressure plate, even after carefully searching for one. After he rounded the corner, however, he saw an ancient drawing on the wall at the far end of the tunnel:
DM: "You… see… this…"
*DM scratches a crude stick figure onto the paper*
DM: "Do you know what this is a picture of?"
Ted: *slightly sarcastic* "A… person?"
DM: "That's correct! Very good. It begins to glow, and a cloud of green vapor spreads from the mouth of the skull."
Ted: "… ahhhhhh. Very good."
Fortunately, Ardan's reflexes enabled him to escape the gas cloud, which was designed assuming a large invasion force, packed into a small hallway, carefully inching along checking for traps.
At the end of the tunnel, he discovered that the corridor did not match the map they'd been given. Closer inspection revealed that the section of wall-bones where the tunnel should be had no wall behind them, just bones. Closer still inspection with a torch revealed several ancient zombies patiently waiting.
Ardan immediately called the cleric over to deal with them.
Martis immediately chose of his own free will to guard the rear flank from attack by any unknown assailants who might be lurking. Surely this had nothing to do with staying well out of the way of any positive energy blasts.
Next the party broke down the bone barrier and entered deeper into the crypt.
At this point, the vulture waddled around the corner, now bloated from having eaten the remains of every zombie the party had killed up till that point. "It's *still* hungry?" a disgusted Ardan was heard to exclaim. It was suggested that the cleric try to turn the wretched creature. When this had no visible effect, Ardan asked if he could determine if the creature was evil.
So the cleric cast a Detect Evil spell, and then immediately drew his flaming longsword.
Ardan: "That answers that!"
The Engorged Undead-eater Vulture provided the party with an epic boss fight and let the DM figure out just how badass a creature had to be to pose a threat to gestalt characters with ACs this high. Alternating between full-round attacks on Ardan, who did the most melee damage, and cone bursts of digestive fluids at the rest of the party, who were backed up down a corridor, the vulture eventually wasted a round to finish devouring one of the many destroyed zombies that lay at its feet. Fortunately, it was nearly dead by this point, and it finally fell.
This was pretty much the climax of the evening's session. The party explored more rooms, killed more zombies, and found more treasure, including the stash the swordswoman's map had originally predicted to be in the last room. Though most of it had deteriorated over the centuries, by sifting through the piles of detritus, the party was able to recover quite a bit in terms of artifacts, objects d' art, and ancient coins.
Martis discovered an ancient ring with a skull, and very old necromancy magic upon it. He did not tel the rest of the party about it.