Ground Zero

The Search for Delirium

Enter the Slave Lords

General knowledge. The encampment of Tharziduun worshippers is getting a lot of traffic. Many of new Critwall’s ‘undesirables’ have
left for Greyhawk and Dyvers. Law enforcement in New Critwall has become very lawful neutral and the officers have the power of summary execution for endangering the city.

Maximus and Jet each receive a note, “Heard you were looking for the Lady. Might have a lead. Meet you in Dyvers, at the Leaping Frog
Inn.” We know that bar. It is run by Pollywog, a short guy with almost no neck who is a retired adventurer. He makes people who start
fights in his bar have to eat a frog from his collection of frogs.

Samshee and Al leave early for the Leaping Frog in disguise. Anatoli surreptitiously keeps watch on the outside of the bar. Maximus and Jet walk in and chat with Pollywog. We drink to absent companions. He tells us that our contact is in his office. We check our link and are surprised that Tarl checks in.

In Pollywog’s office, we meet a thin, young man who introduces himself as Mister Corwen of Five Oaks. He heard that we were looking for the Lady Fate. He tells about an instantly addictive drug being sold in the Bright Desert. It is made from the tears of a woman, and is called Delirium. The drug is keeping the slaves in the mines of the Bright Desert in line. It is being distributed from the Great Marsh. The head of the distribution network is named Thule. Thule uses dessert svirfneblin and their underground railroad to deliver his goods in the desert. Corwen said he heard Thule say, “This will be the best con in the world as long as the Iuz Bane don’t find out.” Corwen knows of Jet, since her first grove was near Five Oaks. He says his mother spoke highly of Jet. Corwen says he walked away from his job, because he could not stand the way the drug destroyed the ‘soul’ (will?) of the addicts. He
expects Thule to be after him.

Anatoli sneaks into Pollywog’s office and talks to Corwen for a while to get a sense of his accent and some basic information. Anatoli also asks what Corwen would have done if we had not shown up. Corwen said he regularly spends time with a prostitute (elven? half-elven?) in the city. He would have gone there. Anatoli wants to go undercover in Thule’s organization as Corwen. Anatoli switches clothes with Corwen and sees that Corwen has a Wizard Mark on his shoulder. This is very odd since Wizard Marks can only be placed on objects.

Anatoli uses Nolzur’s Pigments to create the Mark on his own body. True Sight reveals that Corwen is a 13th level thief. The Wizard Mark belongs to Emirikol the Chaotic of The Greyhawk Wizard Guild. True Sight also shows that Corwen regularly uses potions. Corwen says it is a potion of ESP. He is also wearing a holy symbol of Istus.

We put Corwen to sleep with Jet’s sleep dust and put Corwen in Anatoli’s bag. Jet asks Anatoli to look over Corwen’s note for a
hidden message, now that we know Corwen is a thief. There is a message in Assassin’s cant. “Thule is seeking to overthrow the King of
Assassins.”

Out in the bar, Samshee and Al note that a guy dressed all in gray has finished his dinner. He talks in Pollywog for a bit and gives him a
frog from Down Under for Pollywog’s collection. Pollywog refers to him as Gray. Anatoli, now disguised as Corwen, goes out and sits at the bar. Gray comes up and sits next to Anatoli. Anatoli insults Gray’s wine. They converse in Thieves Cant. Gray walks away.

Maximus and Jet leave to check into a nearby hotel. Al follows us in disguise to see who follows us. Samshee stays behind to back up
Anatoli.

A red-headed dandy in brightly colored clothes and a rapier and main gauche ignores us but starts to follow Al. Al’s ESP gives no thoughts from the dandy, a condition true of undead but also occurs with psionic protections and non-detection. The dandy bumps into Al. The dandy reeks of perfume so Al casts Freshen. The spell bounces. The guy challenges Aldebaron to a duel. Al tries to walk away, but the dandy says, “Are you walking away from a fight, Aldeberon Orion?”

Since Al is in disguise, Al is really surprised. He comes back. The guy says he is looking for revenge. Al killed him during that period
of insanity when Al had been making potions and made one incorrectly. Al had paid for all the people he killed to be raised from the dead. Unfortunately, this guy stayed alive only for one week and died again. This started a pattern of living for a week, dying, and reviving. His wife had buried him, and he had not been able to get out of his grave for a year. His wife had remarried and now sees him as a monster. The dandy says Al can call him Grundy. Grundy asks after Al’s wife.

Grundy draws his weapons and offers Al first strike. Al attacks with a sword and sees that Grundy bleeds red. Then Al encloses Grundy in a hemispherical Wall of Force. Grundy says he will do nothing to harm Al if Al lets him leave. Al drops the Wall of Force, tosses in a spell stone with a Fireball on it, and raises the Sphere of Force again. Al then triggers the Fireball. The guy burns to death over several rounds. People come out into the street and the city guard arrive. Jet and Maximus distract the guards while Al casts Disintegrate on the corpse. A death wail (like a Banshee Wail) is heard. We survive but all the guards and innocent bystanders die, perhaps 20 people.

We go back to Sanctuary and ask Tarl to cast Augury to see if using a wish to keep the people from dying of the Death Wail would benefit or harm the party. The Augury says benefit. Al uses the meta magic staff to cast Wish so that the people who died from the Death Wail instead made their save.

In the meantime, back in the bar… Anatoli acts scared like Gray has made him and runs out of the bar as if to leave through the back. Gray leaves from the front. Three guys follow Gray. Samshee follows the three guys. Three other guys come in through the back door. Anatoli distracts these guys by throwing something in a far corner and slips out the back door.

Just outside the door, Anatoli bumps into a short, invisible guy. The invisible guy says he is there to help, but he wants to know why
Corwen left. Anatoli said it just got to him. He needed two days. The guy says it is about that girl, isn’t it? He (Corwen) has two
days, but Corwen knows what will happen if Corwen doesn’t come back after that.

We all regroup in Sanctuary. Corwen had a token which needs to be taken to a particular shaman. The Shaman takes the token and uses a wand and a stone with an inscribed circle to transport Anatoli to a mine in the desert.

Anatoli (still posing as Corwen) tells us over the link that the entrance to the mine looks like a sand lion pit – which makes exit
very, very difficult. Over the next two weeks, Anatoli discovers that there are several mines, connected by the svirfneblin railroad. Only
the slaves in the lowest mines receive the drug Delirium, because 1) the drug destroys intelligence but 2) the drug protects again the
gases found in that part of the mine. That part of the mine appears to be a source of dweornite, the raw material of an untemplated ioun stone.

Aldeberon looks into the Wizard Guild records to learn more about Emirikol. Apparently, he kept trying experiments that the Wizard Guild would learn about and then have to ban. (Who knew that the Guild needed to have a ban against grafting tentacles onto living people? Who knew that the Guild needed to have a ban against vivisection? Now they know.) Emirikol was an Oeridian with red skin, long black hair, a thin mustache, and tended to wear breeches and sleeveless shirts. He is rumored to live in a castle surrounded by whirling air carrying chunks of rock and metal.

During his duties as a courier, Anatoli determines that the pattern of the teleport stones appears to use the symbols of celestial navigation to indicate the destination. They are carved into marble slabs. The marble slabs are moved around to allow different entry points.

Jet asks her earth element assistant, Rockon, if there is a place where rock and metal whirl around in a circle around a castle. (Note:
Stonedar is still recovering from moving all the dragon bone back to the Elemental Plane of Earth.) Rockon comes back having found some dust devils who have been hanging out at just such a location.

Anatoli has discovered 12 mines where dweornite is being dug up (and therefore 12 locations where Delirium is being administered). There are at least 40 mines on the svirfneblin railroad. The railroad worker sverfnibblen all have necklaces of enchanted stones. The
non-slave overseers are paid with gold minted in Urnst. The gold is delivered by sandship, manned by the desert people.

When next Anatoli is selected to pick up the Delirium, he plans to ‘put pocket’ a bit of his fingernail on the delivery guy. We plan to
track where that goes.

We decide to follow the money until Anatoli goes to pick up the Delirium. Jet asks the desert buzzards to find the mine with a sand
lion funnel type entrance. They do so. We intend to shadow those guys to learn more about the operation. However, we do not intend to engage. Our primary focus is finding out about the Delirium.

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