Underdark Rising

CASE 01: The Goose and the Rat

The Goose, she had a rat problem. Problem was they were actually criminals, excepting Manchego. He was an actual rat. But otherwise it was a textbook case of illegal rodent transmutation to facilitate illicit safe hacking and robbery. Maybe enough to fool your average civilian, but a Watch is no stranger to machinations.

…On account of them having gears on the metaphorical side, and having gut instinct—and also some gears—on the literal side. But a cop’s instinct comes at steep cost, namely the appreciation of literary devices and hence this exboundation upon the allusion at hand.

PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • Harold Tallsinger – Human manager of the Puckered Goose tavern. His taxes pay your salary. Has a basement full of rats.
  • Drake Hardcastle – Human owner of the Puckered Goose tavern. Former champion slave-gladiator who earned his freedom.
  • Klein Brixt – Halfling criminal caught attempting to rob Puckered Goose.
  • Tris Krel – Halfling criminal caught attempting to rob Puckered Goose.
  • Swazz Hobler – Gnome criminal caught attempting to rob Puckered Goose.
  • Mula – Human criminal and safe cracker caught attempting to rob Puckered Goose.

CASE NOTES:

  • Suspects invaded the basement in the Puckered Goose disguised as rats to rob safe
  • Roughly 500 gold and strange blue book was taken from the safe and later returned to Drake
  • A poster of a black heart and a dagger, later identified as Ula La’s calling card.
  • A previously animated sword, now broken, identified as the weapon used by The Honorable Horace, a previous champion gladiator.
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CASE 02: The Dog and the Wizard

“A bad cover-up job just leaves you at risk for bigger problems down the line. That’s why I trust McGregor, the finest cock wizard in the Underdark!”

“I used to have all the vigor of a soggy halfling, but that was before I visited McGregors. Best bathroom advertisement I’ve ever followed up on! Unlike some of his competitors, McGregor will not remove any organs unless specifically requested.”

“Lost my dog recently, and it’s been real tough to start dating again after all these years. But McGregor helped give me back the confidence I needed to get out there and put my best foot forward.”

“Does not treat genital hexes or cock curses. Felt like I was being judged for having consensual relations with living impaired partners. Very unprofessional and fat. Would not recommend.”

PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • “Allegedly Cannibal” Billy Freskin – Human male fined for indecent exposure. Recently kicked out by his girlfriend due to rumors of him engaging in legal cannibalism.
  • Constable Faeland & Birchmire – Homicide detectives who discovered Pendak Wavelight at the Carl Frost crime scene and saved him from bleeding out.
  • Mort the Body-guy – Watch mortician who wrote original coroner’s report for victims at Carl Frost’s house.
  • Constable Wilkens and Sens – Officers watching over the crime scene at Carl Frost’s house. Wilkens is being credited with discovering additional evidence in the case.
  • Carl Frost – Half-elven VP of sales for brewery Stanley’s Standard. Original coroners report was that he was killed by the same death dog that slew Pendak’s squad mates.
  • Buster Gruthe – Halfling personal assistant for Stanley Jameson. Found dead inside a vat of ale.
  • Stanley Jameson – Duergar owner of Stanley’s Standard. Arrested for assaulting a member of the Watch and suspicion of involvement in the deaths of employees Buster and Carl Frost.
  • Tucker Bendly – Human floor worker taken in for questioning from Stanley’s Standard after spotted informing Stanley about the Watch’s discovery of Buster’s body.
  • McGregor the Cock Wizard – Medical professional and purveyor of natural male enchantment. Provided Carl Frost with birth control wards.

CASE NOTES:

  • Constable Pendak’s squad were attacked and slain by a death dog in the house of Carl Frost. Pendak believed Carl Frost, however, had been murdered before the animal attacked.
  • Evidence was found that Carl Frost’s body had been moved since his death, and that he had suffered blunt force trauma from a mace-like object. Current theory is that he was murdered, then mauled by a death dog to cover up the crime.
  • When confronted with a dead halfling dredged up from one of his brewing vats, Stanley grew agitated and assaulted the Watch. He was knocked unconscious and detained for further questioning.
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CASE 03: The Witch and the Phantom

“Yeah? Halflin’ brew? Friend, if’n you find any halflin’ in that bottle, trust me it’s just the piss.”

The half-orc dubiously eyed the bottle in his hands, wincing with the movement of his neck. “I dunno, that’s not what the man wearing the beer suit said.”

“Yeah? And, what, that makes him an authority? Because he dressed a beer? If I put on a skirt, do it mean I’s suddenly gonna know the fuck my wife’s been mad about the last three years for?”

“I s’pose not.” The half-orc frowned in thought but cracked the bottle open regardless.

His friend flinched at the sound, the metal clink reverberating painfully against his heightened senses. “Y’know what, I’m gonna go for a walk, clear my head a bit. Hell, maybe I’ll run into that little purple bugger I told you about, see what shit he stirs up this time. Ha, shoulda seen the look on old Mardridge’s face. You take it easy and enjoy your piss though, I figure you earned it yeah?”

PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • The Witch – Wanted for questioning in the case of the Puckered Goose robbery, and suspicion of having stolen a journal from Stanley Jameson.
  • Some half-orc guy – In charge of checking the Witch’s dead drop location and delivering it to her.
  • Skellios’s Bone Emporium – Manufacturer of fake skulls and other bone accessories.

CASE NOTES:

  • Mort has updated the coroner’s report to reflect the possibility of foul play in the Carl Frost case.
  • Klein’s group was backed by the “Witch” who provided them a surprisingly detailed map of the local cavern system and information regarding the blue book they attempted to steal from the Puckered Goose’s safe.
  • Stanley’s Standard is now being illegally resold within the Cannibal District as rumors of Buster’s demise have captured a new market’s interest.
  • An unknown agent of the Witch was detained/suplexed until he revealed the location of her abode. After enlisting the aid of Pendak, the officers were able to B&E the premises but were unable to find the Witch. However, they did find some items of interest including: (1) Deciphering Legend for Underdark Cavern Map, (1) Artistic Illustration of the “Bonestone Sword”, (1) Journal of Stanley Jameson
  • Prisoners Klein, Tris, Swaz, Tucker, Stanley Jameson and his lawyer were murdered inside the Watch’s holding cells. Weaponry bearing the mark of the Red Phantom were found inside them. The safe-cracker Ula La’s whereabouts are currently unknown. Constable Dano is currently recovering from being knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of head.
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Interim: The Invited Guest

Silence. A most powerful weapon indeed. He had long mastered the seven silences, or so he had thought. Perhaps the years of trekking alone through godforsaken wilderness had left his resolve uneven and ill-prepared for the company of others. Or perhaps he had never encountered something so despondent as a sad teacup. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“Recent trouble?” He finally inquired, flinching inwardly as the ghost of his master chided his lack of self-control. Not for the first time he reflected that their deaths had, if anything, bound him tighter than his obligations in life ever had.

“Sorry. I mean, for the mess. I’d offer you some tea, but I think they’re still gluing Kettie back together. Sorry, I’m not much of a host am I?”

The man shook his head, but his eyes were turned at something inward. He tucked his arms back into the folds of his black robe. “It is not a problem. I understand.” That single word had a strange weight to it, and hearing an echo of its own pain within it, the small teacup glanced up shyly.

Up above a door slammed open, followed by the sound of thick boots treading lightly down the stairway. “Oh, the mistress is back! I’ll go tell the others!” With that the teacup hopped back towards the kitchen, pausing at the threshold to catch a glimpse of its master. With a yelp it scurried inside, as if burned by what it saw in her gaze.

When the room had ceased shaking, the man pulled himself off the floor and reclaimed his seat. “Among the rumors, it appears witchcraft at least holds some truth.” Almost instantly he regretted the words, as the heat of her scarred visage settled on him with a scorching disdain.


“Kettie! The mistress is back! Do you think she can fix Dixie?”

The cup’s brightness quickly faded at the look in the kettle’s eye. Restless with bitterness, it spat out, “Those men, they said the mistress was a thief. Is that true?”

“Young one, it is not theft to take back what was stolen from you.”

“Oh. Then what did they take from her?”

The kettle turned its single remaining eye towards the doorway, its lopsided countenance hardening along with the drying glue. In response, another single word with strange weight:

“Everything.”

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Interim: Don't Be Blue, The Flame Welcomes You

“He and three make it four,
Black, Red, Gold, and one more.
Draped in garish Purple, yet hidden from sight
Except in dark eyes…
Reflecting godlight.”

“P-please! I have, I have a family, yeah? My s-son, he-”

“Shhh shhh, there’s no need to weep,
After all, your life is yours to keep.
Just speak his name to us, a whisper will do
He is lost, and alone is too… few
When he could be many it’s

A choir, a legion, a divine chorus


Memory on memory on memory
Of infinite mercy and lavish sadism
Wicked and innocent ashes interwoven
Gray remains of greatness, featureless and then real
He knows we know he knows the cacophony of screams
But the shards as one will mend it all!”

The man does not speak, his eyes softly spilling out like milk down the front of his shirt. A keening cry of despair breaks the air; the hunt is foiled again and again and again! The adversary is implacable and unknowable, faceless and in every face!

The blue flame continues to slowly consume the man, but he has already been forgotten by the whirlwind of broken memories.

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Interim: Meanwhile...

Remira carefully set aside the notebook and took a calming breath, her hand rising unbidden to twist away a stray lock of hair. “You seem… distant today. Would you tell me why?”

“It’s nothing.” He replied distractedly, as if barely aware of her presence or anything else within the garden’s hidden walls.

“You don’t have to tell me but,” she swallowed past the lump in her throat, “you promised you wouldn’t lie to me.”

Those flat dead eyes, always watching from hundreds of years away, were suddenly much closer. Remira’s body went completely still, reacting instinctively to the hypnotic gaze of the world’s apex predator. Her mind, however, felt like it was scattered into a thousand frantic pieces, each trying to find some memory to hide underneath. Manically, she wondered if even the Abolethians had been made to feel as small before that other-worldly intensity.

And just as suddenly, the shadow passed overhead and was gone, not even the whisper of talons except in her fevered imagination. Instead, he sighed and gestured his hand in something like surrender.

“It’s nothing. Despite seven years, nothing. I am… disappointed, when I think on it. It wouldn’t be my greatest failure, merely the most recent. I find I am becoming… impatient.”

Without understanding why, Remira felt a cold shiver crawl up from the bottom of her spine.

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CASE 04: The Orphan and the Monk

“Excuse me officer!”

“…What are you doing back here?”

“I came to report a crime! As a typical helpless civilian, I am unfamiliar with protocol and easily driven to emotional hysterics when confronted with the specter of my own mortality! I need a powerful and stoic authority figure to take matters firmly in hand, so that I may continue sleepwalking through life wrapped in the warm blanket of security they provide to irrational—yet beautiful—women like myself.”

“Hmh. Fair enough. What seems to be the trouble?”

“Oh, it’s just terrible, Mr…?”

“Inspector.” A slightly frigid pause, and then he softens. “Inspector Kuggs, ma’am.”

“Oh, Mr. Inspector Kuggs, you would not believe it—except you will. There’s a dead man on Caelog’s Street, only dead isn’t quite the word for it. The poor soul has been turned completely to ash! I fear for the children of our great nation… what if this becomes a new fad like those stupid golden scarves?”

“I… see. That would be unfortunate. I’ll send some of my officers to take a look.”

“What a dear! If it’s not too much trouble, could you send the one with the lovely eyes? I think they should have an especially close look.”

The Inspector frowns in slight confusion. “Hmh. Sorry, what was your name again?”

“My name? It matters not to a man as strong and handsome as yourself.”

“Nevermind, it doesn’t matter. Anyways, if you’ll excuse me, I have a briefing I need to attend.”

The man dressed in garish purple robes grins and then madly dashes towards the front door. He’s barely through it before he collapses on the stairs, helplessly rolling about in a fit of contagious giggling laughter.


PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • Sargent Pilcher – Temporarily reassigned to Dano’s spot watching the empty cells.
  • Inspector Kuggs – Leading the Red Phantom Task Force, seeks to close the case before the Annual Review.
  • Constable Faeland & Birchmire – Assigned to investigate Philips Underale merger.
  • Constable Jenkins & Taskett – Assigned to go undercover to find leads on the Red Phantom.
  • Constable Wilkens & Sens – Assigned to look into Drake Hardcastle and the Puckered Goose.
  • Ash guy – Man completely turned into ash. After disturbing the remains, Officer Moab uncovered a strange black liquid which forced him to ingest itself. Things got weird after that.
  • Joseph Stonekicker – The unwilling Guardian of the Stairs at the Destiny Falls Orphanage. Wanted for damaging Watch property.
  • The Tiny Witch – Presumably the orphan who bound Joseph to his current job.
  • Red Phantom – Confronted officers at the Orphanage and attempted to murder Ulara (alias Mula the Rat Queen)
  • Ulara – Thief who cracked the safe at the Puckered Goose. Witnessed the Red Phantom slaying the other jail inmates with the assistance of a Watchman, escaped, and was almost hunted down at the Orphanage until a daring rescue by the Watch.

CASE NOTES:

  • Prior to the incident with the Red Phantom, Constable Pendak acquired testimony from Tucker implicating Stanley Jameson in the murder of Carl Frost. It is now believed Pendak’s partners were unintentional victims of Stanley’s death dog coverup.
  • The Cavern Map and Deciphering Legend have been given to Inspector Kuggs and he has been made aware of a possible mole within the force.
  • The Red Phantom is reported to have a magical dispenser that produces weapons with his logo, which he then catapults into his victims.
  • The Watch is putting a temporary moratorium on the LC-400 series contract due to concerns regarding mounting maintenance costs and rumors of excessive police brutality.
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Interim: Words for the Unwary

“Just so we’re all clear,” the dark-skinned man warned as he accepted the bowl, “it’s not like I need food or water to survive down here.”

“You seem to be eating it all the same.”

“Umh? That’s because it’s delicious.” Noticing her frown for the first time, he spins the chopsticks around and jabs the air pointedly. “You don’t know much about being a witch do you?”

Varla felt the heat in her face, but to her own surprise she snapped back instead of recoiling from the accusation. “I knew enough to capture you.”

Joseph waved the objection away while raising the bowl to eye level with his other hand. “Clarity of terms is essential.” He slowly turned the bowl as he examined it. “This food is appreciated, but it is not required. Were an Obligation to take hold, I would repay it with soup and not with my life.”

The young witch paused in thought as the strange man resumed eating once more.

“I’ve never been able to snare a person before. Until now it’s only worked on things, like toys or clothing.”

“Mmh. Well, that’s the key insight there. A witch must think of people as things in order to control them. My race, skin color, dialect, all these help you ignore our shared humanity. Don’t worry, it’ll become easier as you get older.”

“I don’t know if I want to… to think of people like that.”

“It’s just a part of growing up as a witch. You need to start practicing your narcissism now, not just your magic, if you want to grasp true strength. Would you like some advice?”

She nods haltingly, her expression troubled.

“First, the tall orphan. Kedrick. He’s going to be a liability. A natural leader, and far too principled; you’ll need to get rid of him to control the rest. But you must do it carefully otherwise you’ll lose Clara, and a healer is a powerful asset. She is a follower at heart, so work to make her yours.” Joseph pauses briefly, his eyes thoughtful. “Now, the pebble slinger, Whistler, has some rough potential. Not terribly bright, morally flexible, fiercely loyal. In skilled hands he’d make an excellent henchman, until you can replace him with a sharper weapon of course. Remember that: they’re always replaceable.”

The skirt twisted in her clenched fist, the hem writhing against the stone floor and leaving claw-like patterns in the thin dust of the underground cavern. Brusquely she shoved away floating strands of hair to glare openly at the man, who resumed noisily eating noodles without noticing her gaze.

After a long moment she turned away and began ascending the stairs. Once she reached the top, she spoke softly over her shoulder, “You can keep your counsel. I pity the heart that could speak it.”

When the young witch was out of sight, Joseph slowly lowered the bowl, only a slight tremor in his hand as he wiped the sweat from his brow. Perhaps the warning would help in the years to come. At least now she knew the risks of what she could become.

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CASE 05: Biting the Bulette

“They’ve even turned Fireforge’s boy, the faerie one.” His faced scrunched sourly as he flapped his fingers like tiny wings. “Saw him arrive at the station, I did. Real blood proves true, it does.”

“You spendin’ lot of time at the watch eh, Sedirek?” A loud clatter as the speaker hoisted his new wooden prosthetic onto the poorly balanced table.

“The fuck’s that supposed to mean? Someone’s gotta keep an eye on that nest of snakes. How else you gonna spot traitors? Death to all traitors, I say.”

“Someone certainly tipped ’em off about the Lackerton mine.” Another dwarf rumbled into his tankard, glancing sidelong at the wooden stump before quickly looking away.

“Fucking snitches, selling out their brothers. I say death to all traitors, watchmen and elves. Nothing but cowards the lot. They’re no match for us in a real fight.”

The table wobbled precariously as the wooden leg grated across it. “Yeah? Know a lot about fighting do you Sedirek? More than a cavern-finder? How many Bulettes you faced that couldn’t be defeated by turning the page? Oscar didn’t raise no coward, elf or otherwise.”

The dwarf seated between shifted uncomfortably. “Brother Steelback, what are you—”

“I’m saying the enemy ain’t the stupid bastards down here in the shit with us. Those elite motherfuckers in the Capitol, high up in their goddamn Tower, that’s who’s starving us and our families.”

“You going soft on us, Steel? The watch do you a favor so now you’re all sweet on them?”

“Yeah, some cowardly watchmen saved the lives of me and mine. Whereas you’re just a sleazy piece of shit that I’d sleep easier if we chucked down an open mine shaft.”

“Brothers! Peace!”

“Peace? Came to the wrong place for that. Only hard fightin’ ahead of us here, even if the Brewers hold their end of it, so spare me the idealistic bullshit. Because there’s gonna be a lot of us growing new wooden limbs before it’s all said and done.”

PERSONS OF INTEREST:

  • Inspector Kuggs – Lead on Red Phantom Task Force at Underton Station. Dispatched officers to Certis for their safety and promoted them to Acting Constables.
  • Ulara – Thief who cracked the safe at the Puckered Goose. Kuggs has placed her in witness protection.
  • Constable Faeland – Kuggs has been alerted this officer may be a co-conspirator of the Red Phantom.
  • Shank the Sharkman – Gang leader terrorizing the cavernlands between Reaches. Involved in the trade of restricted weapons-grade shrooms with the Brewers.
  • Sargent Barnabi – In charge of Certis Station in the Lower Reaches.
  • Oscar Fireforge – Respected foreman and political figure of the Lower Reaches mining community.
  • Terrance the Magi – Resident magician for a three-man consulting agency.
  • Howard the Plentiful – Large priest who weighs in on the divine.
  • Rijndael the C̥̟̭̕r҉̪̰͉̫y̵͎͚͍p̯̀ṱ̴͚͓͎o̭m̝̘̞̜̰͠a̙͓̱͈͚n͍͍̦͇c̖͓̭̳̭̳ḛ̸̞̺̻̫͓r – Probably some kind of pervert.

CASE NOTES:

  • Officers temporarily dispatched to Certis Station in the Lower Reaches until the Red Phantom incident is contained.
  • Traveled to Lower Reaches by Geary’s Gate using a little known tunnel system. Met a retired Snerf Watchman who warned about Shank, a ruffian who had staked out turf in the cavernlands.
  • Met a peculiar woman in purple garments being chased down by Shank’s bullywugs. In the ensuing melee, she very nearly twisted an ankle.
  • Acquired a Sack Of Bats, a Ring of Self-Invisibility, and a strange ivory mask of divine origin.
  • Officers dispatched to investigate rumors of illegal mineral extraction deep in the Lackerton Mine. The mounting tensions between the miners and constables appeared to be at a breaking point, until an enraged Bulette reminded them of what they shared in common: not wanting to be killed by Bulettes.
  • The Bulette’s physical appearance was deemed atypical due to missing segments of armor and a proliferation of strange tubes emerging from its flesh.
  • Upon investigating the tunnel the Bulette had emerged from, the officers found themselves in a strange hidden laboratory. Unfortunately, without their dour canary the watchmen nearly succumbed to toxic fumes. Through a herculean effort, Constable Rockbreaker managed to haul his squadmates to safety while under fire from scaled men in white coats wielding tasing wands.
  • Not much is known about the facility, other than the repeated printing of “S10-4” along the walls.
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CASE 06: Dark Rising

A town in desperate need of heroes… that don’t turn into monsters.
A conspiracy that will go to any length to stay buried and forgotten.
A Man In White haunted by the phantoms of his past.
And an obsidian vial that shatters all restraint,
On the crawling darkness within men’s hearts.

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