Rescue on the Serewind Plains, or Escaping the Beetle

Rescue on the Serewind Plains, or Escaping the Beetle

DM Name: Abbassia

Kamarr, Level 3, Changeling, Shadowcaster
Liadan, Level 3, Human, Fey blooded Sorcerer
Ruby, Level 1 (ECL 3), Half-Dragon Changeling, Barbarian
Four, Level 3, Changeling, Sorcerer
Cerulean, Level 4, Half Elf Bard

Challenges (Please list each encounter separately in the following format):
Number, Creature/Trap/Encounter, CR
6 Inn Guards, CR 6
1 Innkeeper Malloc, CR 6

Level 3: 3,780
Four's Snooping: +200 XP
Ruby's mindfulness of illiteracy: +50 XP
Level 4: 2,240
Cerulean's Bardic Performance: +160 XP

Kamarr: 2,609 GP
Liadan: 2,609 GP
Ruby: 2,709 GP
Four: 2,704 GP
Cerulean: 2,609 GP

Quest Summary:
A wealthy merchant by the name of Photius Terrell approaches the party to search for his missing daughter, Julira. The search brings the adventurers to the Plains Beetle Inn, a rest stop set in a watering hole in the Serewind Plains of Cargando, close to where the girl had gone missing. At the inn, they are greeted Malloc the innkeeper, a tall, lean man, with a hairless pate polished to a high sheen, a face like a hatchet and deep-set black eyes. Though the man is nothing but pleasant and differential, the party realize that there is something amiss with the innkeeper and the inn itself, aside from a slender wiry old man who seemed to watch them at all times behind, his eyes obscured by the thick spectacles upon his bony face, puffing on his ivory pipe.

Ruby first noticed signs of unhappiness among the inn's server girls, but it was Cerulean who recognized the subtle but pained movement of one recently beaten, a situation that songbird is all too well familiar with. Four attempted to find out more from Malloc about the girls and especially Julira, but the crafty innkeeper dodged his inquiries and played the oblivious yet gregarious role. Meanwhile, as the party debated what to do over their overpriced meal, the old man uses the distraction of the innkeeper with Four to have the battered serving girl pass a note, instructing them to ask Malloc about his "special goods" and pointed them to an interesting door in the room.

Cerulean, Liadan and Kamarr (under the guise of Nikolai) asks Malloc about his "special goods", and for a fee of 100 GP per head, the greedy innkeeper grants them access to his "Emporium", a room upstairs filled with many dozen of items, crystal decanters, bolts of fine silk, goblets of silver and gold, and other fine items. Though after minutes searching under the watchful eyes of Bubba the inn guard, they could not find anything of use, they turned towards the door.

Meanwhile, the crafty Four ducked into the rooms the party had rented at the inn's exorbitant rate and assumed the guise of a serving girl in hopes of learning more of Malloc's practices, managing to discreetly avoid the bartender's and the guards watchful eyes, meeting with the battered girl and asking for her story and of Malloc, she tells Four that her name is Padrea, she has only been here about a month. Her stepfather sold her to Malloc to repay a debt, and her mother is dead. She has no family to help her, and nowhere to run. Padrea would do anything to escape. However, she has no friends here; the other girls have ostracized her for resisting Malloc (this makes it difficult on all of them). If they know she was trying to escape they would betray her to Malloc.

Padrea goes on to describe Malloc's cells just next to the Emporium, along with what she knows about the guards, Malloc, his offering of his girls "services" to potential clients and the rest of the inn, greatly agitated when she describes the horror of Malloc's bedroom, where after business hours at midnight he would keep three of the girls chained up in delicate golden manacles attached to floorboards of his opulent bedroom.

Having learned all he knew from Padrea, he scrawled a note and left it with the mighty Ruby who awaited her companions. However, her illiteracy did not serve her in deciphering the meaning of the strange symbols on paper, she awaited the return of her more wordy-oriented companions. Four's further snooping turned up nothing further despite bribing the cook for entry to the empty server quarters, which had nothing but six straw mats.

Back in the Emporium, after Cerulean manages to distract Bubba with her Bardic charm, Nikolai manages to take a peek into the room adjacent and confirms what Four had learned. When they met up again, all the pieces known were put together and the party sat down for the last time and hammered out their plan, then proceeded to execute it.

Stepping up, Cerulean brought her flute to her lips and played a tune like no ordinary tune, starting down the hall and coming to the main room of the inn, all who heard the tune where fascinated by the beauty and vibrancy of the rhythm and its player. All in the ground floor where eating from her hand, while the rest of the canny group made their way up to affect their rescue. However, in their ascent to the emporium, the drew the attention of the of the guards upstairs.

Just as the guards rushed in to the Emporium, about to act when they realize the absence of Bubba, Four dispatches them with a color spray and hangs back to tie them up, Liadan and the rest proceed to the cells where they find a sobbing Julira, here they must contend with their toughest foe yet; a locked and sturdy cell door.

Down below, Cerulean maintains her captivating hold of her audience, but can only do so for so long. Fumbling with the lock a bit, Nikolai realizes that coaxing the lock would simply take too long and opts for a more aggressive approach in the form of a brawny half-dragon changeling, but Ruby's demolition of the door is quite loud and it is heard all over the inn. Luckily, Cerulean increased luck keeps the bard the mistress of her audience and only a lone guard standing outside rushes into the inn to investigate only to be ensnared by the bard's tune as well, allowing the two server girls tending to the watering troughs their long sought chance of escape, which they take.

Back in the cells; realizing that the party is their to rescue her, the fourteen year old Julira grabs hold of Liadan, crying with joy, and the group rushes to leave with their ward, but as they make their way down the ladder to the kitchen, they alert a single guard who has broken free from the bard's song by virtue of his growling stomach, Liadan is quick to act, barely catching the guard in a color spray and knocking him unconscious, leaving the coast clear for their clean getaway into the night.

Having accomplished their mission, Cerulean gracefully ends her song, and leaves as well soon after, as it won't be long before Malloc learns what has happened, but by that time, the party has dropped off Julira safely with their caravan and are free to return to Malloc and give him his due, and like all his prices, this one will be a high one indeed, but that's an adventure for next time.