My group of players and I sat down for a virtual game of D&D! This is a chronicle of their tale. (This post contains spoilers for “Ghosts of Saltmarsh”)
Bright and early the next morning, Chips, Ravenna, and Faban come down to the Snapping Line tavern taproom for some breakfast. Hanna Rist, the tavern’s owner, comes to get them breakfast, and thanks them for their help. Because of them, she has made some changes to her infamous Claw Wine which has made it so much better-tasting than before. In fact, it’s a hit now. And it’s all because they asked her, last night, to get some Claw Wine with bourbon in it.
To thank them all properly, Hanna offers two nights’ free lodging at the Snapping Line. Cha-Cha arrives to check on everyone, and then a young messenger boy enters the tavern and finds them. He announces that the four of them are requested to appear before the Saltmarsh Town Council at two bells past midday today. Then he leaves.
Ravenna leaves the group, needing to speak with her employer about Eric the bowman that they paid off the previous day. Meanwhile, Cha-Cha, Faban, and Chips head up to Winston’s Shop to try and purchase some supplies. Having found Sanbalet’s spellbook, Faban wants to see if he can find the provisions he needs to copy those spells into his spellbook. He ends up purchasing some sheets of parchment, and gives one to Chips, who wishes to send a letter back to Burle in the north.
In order to accomplish this task, they go to the main town guard building near the north gate to Saltmarsh. Inside the building, which also serves as the town’s jail, they meet the jailor, Kraddock Stonehorn. He agrees to send Chips’ message for ten gold pieces, which she pays. Faban asks Kraddock about seeing Eliander Fireborn, the man he’s supposed to contact in Saltmarsh, when the man himself walks in through the door. Faban and Eliander – old friends – greet each other warmly. Faban says he’s on a mission from King Skotti to check on Saltmarsh’s progress toward that bustling port city that the King desires.
Eliander takes Faban aside and admits it’s been slow, what with the fighting between the Traditionalists and the Loyalists. Plus there’s nearly been several skirmishes between Saltmarsh townsfolk and the dwarves that are mining outside of town. Eliander also has reason to believe that a prominent member of the Saltmarsh community is involved in its criminal underbelly. He doesn’t know who yet, or even if the evidence is reliable. Faban agrees to help look into it discreetly.
Meanwhile, Ravenna goes to her employer’s place to get the go-ahead for Eric to start working for them as well, and she is told by a contact to see Kreb Shenker at the Empty Net tavern to screen the bought bowman. Ravenna then heads there. At the Empty Net, Ravenna takes Kreb to Eric, and they talk about the smuggling operation led by Sanbalet. Kreb agrees to set Eric up with some work and see how things go, for which Eric is grateful. Ravenna then leaves.
At the appropriate time, the group reconvenes at the Saltmarsh Town Council Hall building next to the Snapping Line, and go in. As they wait to be let into the council chambers, the doors open and out walk the messenger boy from this morning and an older, tall, lean man who silently regards the group as he leaves the building.
The party is let into the small, modest meeting chambers, where they meet the Saltmarsh Town Council. Eda Oweland is a tough, older woman with graying hair cut short, and rough skin from a life spent outdoors. Gellan Primewater is a white-haired, older gentleman dressed to the nines in fancy garb complete with a feathered hat, and a perfectly trimmed, pointed beard. Anders Solmor is a very young man in his twenties, and of a slight, angular build.
Eda invites the party to sit with them. Gellan immediately notices Faban’s noble style of dress and compliments him, telling the rest of the council that that is how you dress for a council meeting. Eda thanks the party for their actions at the alchemist’s house, and has a further task for them to complete. Since the Sea Ghost likely has no clue what has happened here ashore, they are probably still on their way to arrive as scheduled in a tenday.
They will provide equipment and a small boat, plus two members of the guard, to go to and sneak aboard the Sea Ghost when it arrives in order to find some kind of information on the Sea Princes – the realm of pirates that pillage upon the Azure Sea. Anders adds that whatever they can do to harm or eliminate the operations of the Sea Princes, the better.
Gellan sweetens the deal, stating that all that Eda offered is not enough for them. He speaks their language. He offers 200 gold pieces to split between them if they can bring him back some actionable information on the Sea Princes. They all agree to do this. So now they have to wait the tenday out.
Just then, the council chamber doors open and in come two guards red in the face and covered in sweat. They say that they are coming back from the haunted house, and that it’s been cleaned out – like it were abandoned. No bodies, no illegal goods, nothing. Eda curses, and the party suspects that maybe somebody tipped off any remainder of Sanbalet’s gang of smugglers. Perhaps Eric? Or maybe it was the last remaining hobgoblin that they did not confront yesterday.
They decide to go and question Eric. They visit him in his room at the Empty Net, and reveal what they learned about the house being cleared out. Eric admits that he doesn’t know if there were any contingents of Sanbalet’s employees, that he only ever stayed at the house. He swears that he didn’t do anything to cause this, and Ravenna and Faban believe him enough for the group to accept his innocence.
They decide to go and take another look at the house and the caverns below, to see if they missed something, or can find more clues. Upon arriving, they head upstairs and into a few rooms, only to be attacked by swarms of spiders. After freeing themselves from that situation, they head down into the cellar room and the caverns below.
It’s true – all of the foot lockers are gone, the beds are disrupted and upset, and the goods for smuggling in the caverns below are all gone. Even the bodies – those of Sanbalet, the one hobgoblin, and the bandit wielding the scimitar – are missing.
Upon further exploring the caves, the party discovers the large chamber at sea level, where they suspect the boats would come in from the Sea Ghost for offloading the goods. They make a note to sail out once they have a boat to find this area in relation to Saltmarsh, and then go back upstairs.
Faban realizes that there’s one area that they have not searched – the space beyond the door marked “DANGER,” which is still barred by a wooden beam. They knock on the door, and nothing happens. Cha-Cha listens at it, but detects the faintest hint of some kind of hissing or rustling noise beyond. It’s indiscernible as to what it could be. Ravenna lifts the beam off and Chips opens the door.
Inside, it’s a small room, whose corners are hidden by shadows. Faban casts light into the room, illuminating several skeletons within, which animate and start shambling towards the adventurers. Chips closes the door on them, and soon their bony fists are banging against the other side. She’s confused as to why there would be a room just to hold some skeletons, and then she remembers the piece of paper she picked up from upstairs yesterday, which fell out of a book, and said, “beyond skeletons.”
This confirms her suspicions that there is something beyond this room behind the door, and the skeletons may be guarding it. She explains this to the others, and they all ready themselves… and Chips pulls open the door again.
And so the party has met with the Town Council, and met some of the big players in Saltmarsh! I’m excited to see their relationships grow over the next few sessions.
They had passed up this “DANGER” door before, and I was a bit bummed out because it’s a cool encounter with some pretty great rewards inside…. But now it looks like it’s going to happen!
Could the mystery of the haunted house lie within? The fate of the alchemist, maybe? How will the party handle a pack of evil skeletons? Find out next time, in “Rolling the Bones!”
Until then, Well Met!