September 1: The party ran from the swamp and found a safe place to catch their breath once they outran their pursuers. Lunnin fetched the compass from his pack and the needle pointed north, swinging wildly at all the portals it picked up in the city. This meant a return to the swamp.
When they got back to the swamp where it was bog as far as they could see, they started hopping from island to island. They heard some music and decided to head toward it. This lead them to a dock with a small rowboat. About sixty feet away was another dock with a boat. The opposite shore was an island about a hundred yards wide, which was far larger than any of the islands in the area. A dense wall of flowers surrounded the island.
Upon reaching the far shore, a satyr invited them into the island. Kaltes remembered something about Satyr’s liking to trap people in order to take their money. During the walk toward the flower wall, Federin put forth a ruse about four more companions that might be coming. The Satyr asked if those companions were intentionally heading this way or if he would need to send a search party. The response was those companions knew of this place and would be here shortly.
Beyond the wall of flowers was a fragrant glade designed to put all visitors at ease. Pillows were laid throughout the lawn for visitors to relax while beautiful women and men of all kinds were available for companionship. There were several pavillions of finely cooked food and a quartet of musicians filled the air with song.
After a short while, the party became aware that this place, Hernando’s Hideaway was not cheap, and cost 1,000gp a day. When they asked to leave, the Satyr informed them that they owed 1,000gp each, that through their conversation about their four companions understood that they knew what they were getting into. He could appreciate the misunderstanding, but told them the rules of Hernando’s Hideaway were not his to rewrite. It belonged to the Headless Kenku, who set the rules. As a means to assist them, he did mention that they could work off their debt or perhaps could strike deals with the patrons in order to raise the money they owed. And, seeing as they would have to pay the money regardless, he suggested they should enjoy everything that they were obligated to pay for.
It would have been impossible to ignore the minotaur patron. In addition to his size, he had half a dozen girls around him. He was obviously the high roller at Hernando’s at this time. Ryva amused the Minotaur enough to sell him a copy of the map and Kaltes managed to sell the beast a special ointment.
One of the servants at Hernando’s Hideaway was Ariadne, a woman from Randuil’s past. Randuil did his best to avoid her, which he did.
Lunnin and Coram spoke with a few of the patrons and servants, gaining some insight into how many of the servants became servants. They also discovered that there was another entrance in the kitchen. A couple briefly visited the kitched, but only long enough to get a quick glance and a plate of grapes. That quick glance produced a basic layout and noting two doors that appear to lead off to parts unknown. Randuil asked a couple of questions, but not enough to get the kind of information he wanted.
After stalking the the Satyr in charge, Federin had to break off as he sensed the Satyr was becoming suspicious of his presence. In a play to earn money, Federin tried to pleasure two female patrons with his flexibility and slight of hand, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. After a good start, he kind of left them to finish themselves off, but they decided to chip in to help pay for his fee.
September 2:In the end, the party was unable to find a way out or collect enough funds to pay the fee, so they drew their weapons to try and fight their way out. The greatly pleased the Gnoll patron who was willing to pay them 1,000gp to kill one of the servants to amuse him, which the party declined.
XP Total: 11,549xp + 475xp = 12,024xp
DM Note: With the majority of the group changing characters from their originals, or at least intend to, I’m inclined to start a different campaign, though this one could easily continue on with this forest dungeon crawl with different characters. You can decide if fighting your way out of Hernando’s Hideaway and liberating the slaves is the final battle or not.
If we do start a new campaign, I’d be looking to do something a little more focused than the normal mode of you’re a group of adventurers looking for treasure scenario that’s currently in play.
Additionally, I’m going to try the half HP, increased damage thing for monsters (not full double damage, either adding an addition [w] or double the +X modifier to compensate for not attacking for more rounds). I’d like to get combats down to 30-45 minutes instead of one hour plus.
Let’s try to start a little earlier, around 7:30 to end closer to 11 than the 12 we’ve been bleeding into.