The crew venture off the beaten path, and discover an unexpected wonder, but all is not what it seems .
Kharduum Steepmine (Hill Dwarf Cleric)
Roza (Tiefling Sorcerer)
Koronus (Human Rogue)
Con'nor (Half Elf Paladin)
Lizzy The Dragonslayer (Halfing Bard)
Amber (Mountain Dwarf Fighter) Representative of the Pointertown Detective Agency
The party has decided to make our way to the Treasure Vault marker on Radhu's map, it is off the beaten path and far beyond the reach of the burgeoning railway, we make our way as far as we can by train, at the end of the line we travel by horse and cart, with Amber's ever faithful steed, Barnaby. Far beyond the Kingdom of the sun we travel, encountering fewer and fewer signs of civilisation as we go, what villages remain have long since been abandoned.
Days pass as we make our way to the co-ordinates, but in the distance we see something magnificent, a great dwarven stronghold built into the side of a mountain, we see forges and campfires, signs of life.
I'd heard of this place from my mentor Lodrom Stoutbeard, Karok-Burr, prior to the Abjuration it was small for a Dwarfhold, specialising in Iron, but had managed to withstand the calamity, much like our Temple. As we got closer we could see the quality of the road improving, as the Dwarves were once more building outwards.
As we approach, the guards call out in Dwarvish, I introduce ourselves honestly, and say how we've come to reach their town, they're happy to let us in and open their gates, as we enter we find ourselves in a vast industrious town, supposedly small for a Dwarfhold, it eclipses anything I've ever seen as a humble Hill Dwarf, growing up in the distant countryside.
I'm busy standing in awe of my surroundings while Koronus starts scouting our vicinity, he notices a number of posters, missing Dwarves from all over town, all ages and walks of life. He also notices an unattended cart, bags of gold coins spilling out.
The location of another Cannith workshop and people have gone missing, this isn't a coincidence, I approach a guard and try to convey our worries, some ambiguously chose words later he asks if we have anything to do with people going missing anywhere we turn up, a little flustered, I introduce Amber, a member of the Pointer town Detectives and we manage to clear it up, I persuade him to introduce us to the Detective currently handling the case, he says that we should head to the Tavern and the Captain will be over as soon as he can.
Koronus disappears to "take care" of the bags of gold, hopefully it doesn't come back to bite him.
The rest of us head over to the Argonhault, the back opening out to overview the great forges, a beautiful site and the symphony of hammer on anvil. I observe wonderful techniques I could apply to my own craft.
Everyone settles down to some delicious smoked porters while Lizzy goes cruising for sexy Dwarves, she hasn't gotten far when Captain Balasco enters, there's a little bit of small talk, but he's quite quickly onto the case at hand.
We broach the Cannith connection, he says that they did rent space for a workshop in town, but left about 5 years and they haven't been heard of since, Balasco is sure they didn't leave anything behind. They had a liason here though, a Dwarf called Hammerhand who lives outside the walls in the woods nearby, apparently he's a grumpy sort, they don't see much of him.
We ask if we can see the records for all of the missing people, he says we're free to see all of the case files at the station and we make that our first stop, there's a board with locations for all of the missing and case files for each, there doesn't seem to be an obvious pattern and the case files aren't as detailed as we'd hope, so we're struggling to see a big picture here.
When looking at the details of the missing people, the most recent is Lady Bronzehammer, she got up for water in the middle of the night and never returned.
The party decides to make this our next stop and we head over, we're greeted by Mr. Bronzehammer, his story matches what we'd heard and he says we are free to fully investigate the house, he'll head to the study and stay out of our way.
Koronus notices that the table has been moved by the soot residue, but there's no other signs of disturbance around it. I crawl underneath it and investigate the stone floor, checking joins in the morter, but it looks intact, everything matches and it doesn't look like there's any sign of masonry mayhem. Amber heads back to the study to check on Mr. Bronzhammer, but he's disappeared, there's no sign of him, casting detect magic and detect good and evil doesn't yield any findings either.
Looking around, it seems that there's a book out of place, Amber walks over picks it, but as she opens it, there's no words, just rows of teeth, it lurches forward clamping onto her face and biting down, I run over and wrestle the book away, it snarls and spits, but I manage to keep a hold of it, Koronus runs towards us, pulling his swords, as I hold it at arms length he expertly pierces it with both, the toothy tome falling limp.
Behind us in the hallway, the table has reared, it gallops towards Roza, slamming into her with a crash, she responds with a furious infernal rebuke, then forces it back with a shocking grasp as Connor runs in delivering a divine smite to finish off, there's barely time to regroup before Koronus cries out in pain, a liberated coin in his pocket has bitten into his thigh with needle like teeth, Lizzy grabs it with mage hand and holds it at bay.
These are mimics, magically created monstrosities that mimic items to lure people to them, they strike when their guard is dropped, dissolving them with acid, this is why people were disappearing without a trace. We decide to head to Hammerhand house out of the city, he may know what happened if this is anything to do with the workshop. Healing up we head out for the stronghold and into the woods, we see the glint of platemail, dead Cannith soldiers, they've been dead a couple of days, but whatever killed them didn't dissolve them, they're holding some greater potions and the party divides between Koronus, Lizzy and Roza.
Reaching the house I cast locate creature, there are definitely mimics in the house, using the gem of seeing, I cast clairvoyance and look inside the house, Mr. Hammerhand is there seemingly sleeping, Roza cries out with Thaumaturgy, but he doesn't wake, she insists that we just fireball the whole house and be done with it, but we implore her to wait as we approach the house and Koronus picks the lock, some of us head in, our guards up.
Amber reaches Hammerhand and tries to wake him, her hand sticking to him, it seems they've mimicked his sleeping form, it dawns on us that we're surrounded by furniture. I raise my hammer and call down my spiritual warriors, through their divine sense they start crashing through the furniture, mimics springing to life as they do so, the spirits battering them back ferociously. Amber starts wrestling away from the mimic of Hammerhand as the rest of us start swinging our weapons, outside Roza and Lizzy look on in horror as the house starts raising out of the ground, the building is an enormous mimic, one of its enormous treelike limbs slams into Lizzy bringing her to the ground, Roza is hit by a boulder hurled by another limb and loses consciousness.
Inside the house several chairs charge me, unleashing fury with their combined army of legs, I fight off most with my hammer, shield and armour, but they've 20 odd legs and I have but two arms, my focus turns away from my magic and concentration wanes, the spiritual warriors fade away.
Floorboards are wrenched loose as the house moved, revealing flesh beneath, Koronus thrusting his rapiers deep as the house cries out in pain.
Connor misty steps out of the house and to the side of Roza and Lizzy, hacking into the legs as he protects them with his shield. I break away from the chairs and get to the doorway, I manage to heal Lizzy before I'm violently assaulted once more by the fold of chairs. Koronus and Amber are busy fighting and smashing, things turn bad for Lizzy, the greater healing potion she picked up turns into a mimic and clamps onto her face, she furiously beats her own face with tiny halfling fists to try and free herself but loses consciousness once more.
Con'nor puts his considerable might into a divine smite, carving into the legs and bringing the mimic down for good, those of us inside fighting for our footing as it collapses.
Battered and beaten, I cast mass cure wounds on the party. A furious Roza clambers to her feet, exclaiming that next time she's just going to unleash hell regardless of how we try to talk her down.
We search the remains of the house, it's full of Hammerhands research notes about mimics, it appears the Cannith workshop was experimenting with them, and Hammerhand was convinced he could carry on the research alone after they left. We also discover that Balthazar Cannith was running this location and went to great pains to keep it a secret from his family.
Heading back to Karok-Burr, we tell Captain Balasco what we've found, he dispatches his men to take care of any and all potential mimics. We spend a little time in the city, setting up trade and allies for the future. A strong Dwarfhold could be a great friend for the Outpost.