Greyhawk : Arcanum Noir

Chagmat!
Six-Armed and Dangerous!

Chagmat2
Our newly-met band of young heroes set out to the infamous Little Boy Mountain, guided by the elderly one-armed Akron Oheeyo to rescue the missing maidens from the village of Byr. They fight their way up the mountain and into the temple-complex of the Chagmat spiderfolk. Mayhem and rescue ensue, and the evil machinations of the Chagmat are twarted – for now…!
Or are they?

Chagmat! was a 1st edition adventure in Dragon Magazine #63, written by Larry DiTillo of “Masks of Nyarlathotep” fame. The six-armed chagmat are some of my favorite critters – and I’ve run them in almost all editions of D&D in one form or another.

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Prelude - Dargeth's Story
Meetings, Brawlings, and an Unfortunate Fire.

This was a part of the character Dargeth’s background, and earned him a skully for the excellent write-up!


Dar spat blood and watched the world spin.

“Damn, that tusked bastard is strong.” He aimed a vigorous kick at a chair, sending it tumbling into the midsection of a grinning half-orc. Catching his breath for a moment, he exchanged a glance with Benzen who was flushed with excitement or liquor. Most likely both. His companion was laying into a priestess and her burly guardian, alternating punches between them in a dizzying blur. He wasn’t even sure how they had gotten involved in the room-clearing brawl.

Dargeth took stock of his remaining opponents. The little thief that had tried to pick his pocket was out cold under a pile of broken furniture, scattered playing cards, and a handful of well-worn copper coins. The woodsman that she had spent the better part of the evening bickering with was unsuccessfully trying to avoid a torrent of crockery. The source of that mayhem was a peculiar-looking dwarf, perched unsteadily on the bar and throwing everything that he could get his hands on.

At first glance, Kim looked like every other dwarf that Dar had ever seen. He was chest high and seemed to be built out of solid stone. But, he never did understand why his beard was always done up in ribbons and scented with some kind of wildflower. Like many things in life, he was probably better off not knowing.

Still — odd or not — the stout cleric was invaluable in a pinch. He also seemed to be getting the best of the unfortunate ranger, who was starting to wobble from all of the solid blows to his head.

“Step back, I’ll show these louts,” snapped a shrill voice. “NO Radeg—” began another, but it was too late. A scrawny boy, stepped away from a group of similarly robed young men and into the fray. He extended a hand towards the tangle of Benzen and bruised and bloodied bar patrons. Ben’s instincts kicked in instantly and he dragged everyone down into a pile as a gout of flame shot over their heads.

The bar wasn’t so lucky. Spilled liquor burst into flame and roared down the length of the polished wooden beam, sending Kim diving to safety and destroying a few more tables. “Shit.” The fire continued to spread and the fool wizard still looked like he was going to try for another shot.

He aimed a cheap shot at the half-orc who was still circling him, breaking his knee. “Sorry tusky, but we’re out of time to play. You can pay me back some other time.” Not breaking stride, he continued towards the lad before he managed to kill someone. He drew forth his longsword, the steel blade softly singing underneath the din of the battle and planted the hilt firmly into the back of the magician’s skull. He crumpled instantly.

Dar grabbed him by the hair and started dragging him towards the door. “Time to go, lads. Fun’s over when the fire starts. And someone grab that fool thief before she burns to death. She owes us one and she can’t pay us back like that.”

Everyone ran, crawled, or was dragged from the burning tavern and sprinted off into the night with alarms already sounding.

Hours pass quickly.

A squad of guards glared at group of adventurers cornered in an alley. “Starting trouble in our town, eh? Your about to find out what a bad idea that is,” their leader sneered from behind ten men with crossbows. Loaded crossbows. With what looked to be razor sharp bolts.

Dar raised an eyebrow at Kim, “are you quite certain the Gods like us? You know, at all?” He stood tall and frowned at the guards, but kept his hands carefully away from his body.

Then he heard soft chanting and an almost unearthly voice from above whispered, “sleep now…” Nearly every guard slumped to the ground. The swaggering leader turned pale as the party rushed forward and delivered a brief but highly uncomfortable beating, rendering the last three men unconscious as well.

Dargeth grinned up into the moonlight at the slender elf. “I don’t believe we’ve met, but I must say I’m glad to do so!” She tossed a rope down to them and the group made their exit over the city wall and off into the wilderness.

As Dar drifted off the sleep that night, his aching muscles aggravated by the stony ground, he pondered some of the choices he had made in life. “Yes,” he thought, “this is still better than working in father’s store.” He stole a swig from Benzen’s flask and gratefully slipped into oblivion.

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Wheel of Evil
Keep Brushing It Off!

The village of Remetton is noted far and wide for its wonderful cheeses. Their secret is in the damp caves where the cheese is aged. Recently, kobolds came up from the depths of these caves and began destroying the town’s cheese harvest.
MyconidThe Chagmat Slayers descend into the caves, and find the depths infested with bizzare molds and slimes, and fungified kobold zombies. Eventually allying with the displaced kobold survivors, the heroes fight their way through an eeriely altered underworld, until they eventually confront the source of the infestation. A mystic of some sort, tendrilled into the web of fungal growth, has become far too one-with-nature, and with the aid of a possessed cheese foreman, is planning to spread his spores across Greyhawk. Fortunately, the Chagmat Slayers defeat both the infected foreman and the immobile mystic intelligence behind the mold invasion. They save the Cheese Harvest, of which they will get a significant cut, and recover a strange tablet, etched with symbols evocative of the goddess Zuggtomy, Demon Goddess of Molds and Fungi.

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Cairn of the Iron Naga
Some Things Are Tougher Than We Are!

While waiting in Remmeton for their shares of the Cheese Harvest to mature, the Chagmat Slayers assist a local farmer who is having goats disappear. After defeating the pair of offending ankhegs, they uncover an entrance to a cairn in the exposed burrow. After barely defeating a corridor of gargoyles, they enlist the aid of the farmer in further exposing the entrance. This activity attracts a wandering band of hobgoblins, who investigate the cairn and attack the heroes when they return the next day.
After the defeat of the hobgoblins, they descend to the second level, where they find a great hall with an enormous statue of a Naga, with golden scales and gems for eyes. Before they enter the room, they investigate a side passage where they almost fall victim to a classic descending ceiling trap, saved only by the desparate dexterity of the rogue. When they return to the hall and approach the giant statue, it animates, and a dozen linen-wrapped zombie guardians burst from their sarcophagi. While they have no problem with the zombies, it is Dargeth who realizes that the reason the Chagmat Slayers are dropping like flies is that the statue is an Iron Golem! In the midst of chaos, much heroic rescue activity and hasty retreat ensues. They limp from the cairn, and advise the farmer to hide the entrance until such time as they can return more capable of handling the challenges therein.

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Bathtime in Greyhawk
Hi, I'm Max!

After collecting their well-earned reward for saving the Cheese Harvest in Remetton, the Chagmat Slayers return to the Free City of Greyhawk to spend their newfound wealth and make next plans. While they are debating between visiting the famous dungeons of Castle Greyhawk and following up on the map to the Whispering Cairn, they are approached by an attractive elven maiden with an excitable beagle on a leash. The dog, whose name is Max, was the companion of a neighbor of hers, a dwarf named Goroban Alesmyth, who has been missing for a week. She pleads for their help, as Max unsurprisingly takes an instant liking to Kimel.
They decide it would be useful if the dog could just tell them what happened to his master, so they take him to a small druid’s grove inside the city walls. A tall blond man they believe to be druid arrives, and they ask if he can talk to Max and ask where his master is. The blond man seems amused by this, and points out that even if he can talk to him, Max is still a dog. Unbeknownst to the Slayers, just before he leaves, as if to illustrate the point, he somehow gives Max the ability to speak Common. The first words out of his muzzle are “Hi, I’m Max! Got any food?”
They do some investigation, and discover that Goroban was an architect and building inspector. Following up on his last assignments through the Architect and Mason’s Guild, they visit the frat-boys of Gnarly House in the University district. When that proves a dead end, they turm thjeir attention to a bath-house being rennovated in the Old Town Beggars district.
When their direct approach into the bath house is rebuffed, they become suspicious, and return after dark to continue their investigations. The workmen and guards object to their prescence, but the Chagmat Slayers prove more than a match for the commoners, and soon dead bodies litter the construction sight. Behind the covering tarps they find a huge statue of a giant frog. Delving deeper into the bath-house, they finally arrive at the main bath, which is surprisingly filled with murky water. Two frog-headed humanoids burst from the water and attack them, but when the Slayers kill one and wound the other, it dives back into the pool.
Benzen attempts to follow the creature, but below the pool is a maze of twisty flooded passages, and he can only hold his breath so long. After probing the various tunnels, they decide that they cannot follow the creatures. Moreover, a sense of paranoia about the deaths of all the workmen grows on them, as they realize they have no proof that anything evil or illegal was happening here.
Deciding discretion to be the better part of valor, they opt to beat a hasty retreat out of town, and decide to go investigate that Whispering Cairn after all.

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Never Split The Party
Violating Rule Number One...

This occurred when half of the group was unable to make the session. Rather than skip the game, we split the party in two halves, with those in attendance getting the attention (and the experience!)



In the aftermath of their Intervention at the bath-house, the Chagmat Slayers decided it would be best to not have to explain themselves. They provided Slip with a message relaying their suspicions regarding the missing building inspector to the head of the Architects and Masons Guild, and prepared to leave Greyhawk. In order to avoid attention, they decided to exit the well-guarded gates separately, and meet up at the mining town of Blackstone. Kimel, Juno, and Skavenn left through the south gate (with Max in tow), and soon found themselves an unexpected and not-too-clearly-remembered carriage ride to Blackstone.
But our story picks up with the other half of the party. Benzen, Dargeth, and Maigre all left by one of the eastern gates, and walked to Blackstone. They spent the first night at a well-used camping area about a day out of Greyhawk, in the company of a wagon of Dwarves, who proceeded to regale the adventurers with a whirlwind description of the local history and geography.
The next morning they set out for Blackstone, but after several hours walking, they were attracted to an abandoned wagon and its accompanying naked dead body hidden off to the side of the trail. Claw-like footprints led them to a hidden cairn in the nearby hills, where they eliminated a flock of kenku and their Copper-Masked clerical leader. With his dying breath, the cleric warned them of the fate of those who opposed the “Lord of Secrets”. Much loot was found.
They continued on to Blackstone uneventfully, and rejoined the rest of the party, perpared to continue on to Diamond Lake and the mysterious Whispering Cairn…

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The Mines of Blackstone
Stop Me If You've Heard This One...

The Chagmat Slayers are relaxing in the Burnished Ingot in the town of Blackstone in the Cairn Hills when they hear of a series of bold robberies occurring between Blackstone and the larger town of Diamond Lake. Guarded silver shipments are being ambushed on the road by organized bands of goblins. Sure enough, as the group departs Blackstone the next day, they encounter a pair of barely-surviving guards stumbling toward the town to report the latest robbery.
The group proceeds to the ambush site, and cannily follows the trail till they are above an abandoned mine in the eastern wall of the Blackstone canyon. Taking a steep switchback down to the opening, they discover a mechanically concealed entry into the mine. They begin exploring, encountering goblins, and rats, and zombies (oh my!), and recovering some loot, finding the silver shipments, and gathering some ominous clues. They finally encounter the were-rat in charge of the level and his guards, but they manage to defeat them. However, poor Skavenn is bitten by the lycanthrope.

Returning to Blackstone, they inform the local authorities that they have discovered the location of the missing silver, but the mayor and sheriff are horrified to hear that it was in the dreaded Haunted Mine. A bard named Waren explains the legend for one gold a verse, sung to a hauntingly familiar tune…

Juuuust sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a silver mine
That happened in this very town
But long ago in time…
_ So long ago in time…_
__
The mine was discovered long ago
By a miner named Gannu
He dug deep in the canyon walls
And found the silver true…
_ He found the silver true…_
__
The town grew up around the mine
And Blackstone was it’s name
And people flocked from miles around
For money, wealth, and fame…
_ For money, wealth, and fame…_
__
Gannu led the miners deeper still
The silver flowed like wine
Till they unearthed an ancient cairn
From a darker, deeper time…
_ o long ago in time…_
__
The mine became a slaughterhouse
The miners torn and bled
A demon from the pits of hell
Filled up the mine with dead…
_ The mine was filled with dead…_
__
The miners fled in terror from
The Evil they unleashed
They called for help from far away
The Mages, Lords, and Priests…
_ The Mages, Lords and Priests…_
__
The Holy Ones and Mighty Ones
Arrived from far and wide
But when they could not slay The Beast,
They trapped in deep inside…
_ They sealed it deep inside…_
__
The townsfolk were a frightened mob
Gannu they chose to blame
They hung him from the village square
And cursed his family name…
_ Gannu’s accursed name…_
__
And now the mine sits sealed and cursed
So take this as a sign
Your lives will end
If you descend
The Cursed Silver Mine!

Despite these …ummm, ominous? warnings, the mayor manages to persuade three rather dim-witted local brothers to accompany the Chagmat Slayers and assist with the recovery of the missing silver shipments. Confidently but cautiously re-entering the mine the next day, they are promptly ambushed, after a well-placed exploding rune weakens them. The local boys flee as wave after wave of opponents throw themselves against the party. Although they are able to hold the line until there are no further reinforcements, the toll it took to make it barely past the entrance causes them to reconsider their priorities. With the locals run off, they decide they will come back to this one, and instead continue on to Diamond Lake. They leave the mystery of the mine for a later date, and continue on foot to their next destination.

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