Sights and Sounds of the Scenic Sewer
After getting Zandu treated for Blood Veil symptoms at the Bank of Abadar, the party finds a discrete sewer entrance near the looming red marble of the Temple of Asmodeus and ventures into the fetid tunnels below.
After a short time in the sewer tunnels, Ashla hears a faint voice up ahead. She and Slim stealthily investigate, discovering a small, nervous man with a crippled arm rooting through a small alcove carved out of the sewer wall. The scavenger, Samp, warns the party that the temple’s vault entrance is guarded by a pack of fierce beasts that Slim recognizes as hell hounds. Samp tells the party of a second, hidden entrance to the vault, and Slim fills in the details on Dolgrin’s map. Samp also warns the party that they are in the territory of the Rat’s Teat Boys, a gang of wererats.
Following Samp’s directions, the party continues trekking through the sewer. The way is barred by a 40-foot chasm that split open the tunnel floor, but Egan uses stone shape to morph a bridge out of the wall. Further down the corridor, the five of them stumble across an Otyugh devouring plague corpses that have piled up beneath a man hole. Slim gets the drop on the creature, and the rest of the party follows up to bring it down.
As they draw near the vault entrance, the party overhears a trio of wererats trying to stealthily approach. In the dark, Slim accidentally alerts the wererats while trying to discretely warn the others. A short skirmish ensues, and all but Arlynn have trouble damaging the lycanthropes. Zandu manages to slay one using the magic, provoking the other two to flee.
Zandu, Slim, and Wolf-Egan give chase through the sewers, eventually catching up with the wererats after the shape-shifters were delayed by a swarm of bats. While Slim distracts them, Zandu intimidates the wererats into offering a truce.
After some negotiation, the party convinces the wererats to help them investigate the Asmodean vault, which the creatures are incensed to learn has been hidden below their shrine this whole time. The rat men leave to run the deal by their leader, while the party decamps to the shrine, which Arlynn determines is dedicated to the goddess Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. Slim discovers and unlocks the hidden door, revealing a spiral staircase running both up and down.
The wererats return with reinforcements and their leader’s blessing. Together, the party and the lycanthropes descend the staircase into the vault.
Into the Devil’s Den
The staircase opens into a large central room that sits empty except for braziers lit in the corners and closed doors on three sides. One of the doors soon flies open and the party is challenged by Mina Darklight, an Asmodean priestess, who demands an explanation for their unlawful intrusion.
Arlynn declares that they are there to investigate the temple’s alleged involvement in slavery, which Mina haughtily denies. Her attitude rubs Zandu and Slim the wrong way and they quickly escalate to violence. Mina summons a bound devil to defend her, then retreats into her chambers. A bound imp, Quigley, escapes up the staircase to get help. As Arlynn and the wererats converge on the devil, a second fiend appears near Zandu and Slim.
Mina repeatedly urges the party to stand down and soon the sound of many pairs of boots can be heard tromping down the staircase. Arlynn and the wererats bring down one of the devils, while Zandu spiderclimbs to evade the other. Slim demands that Mina surrender, while she insists that the party should stand down and negotiate.
The arrival of a platoon of Hellknights and Asmodean guards brings the fight to an abrupt end, as the party backs down. The Asmodeans vehemently deny the party’s allegations of slave-trading, but their conversation is interrupted by the sound of worried voices from the next room. The party finds several halfling families crowded into a pen that the Asmodeans insist is a barracks but looks more like a prison.
Mina explains that these halflings are contract workers whose passage from Cheliax to Korvosa was being facilitated by the Temple. When Zandu can detect no magical coercion over the halflings, Slim demands to review the contracts. Mina cheerily presents him with one.
Everything about the contract appears to be in order—except for the date. Slim points out that the contract was allegedly signed and witnessed in the Chelaxian city of Westcrown eight days ago, but it takes seven weeks to sail from Westcrown to Korvosa.
The Hellknights seize Mina, while the other Asmodeans apologize for her indiscretion. The halflings are freed and the party searches the vault, discovering extensive documentation of the halfling trafficking program. The laborers were primarily transported aboard a ship called the Scorpion’s Kiss, whose captain Arlynn recognizes as a leading Bekyar slaver.
The search of the vault also uncovers a mysterious circle of runes on the floor. Working together, Zandu and Slim are able to determine that it is a teleport circle, written in archaic Thassilonian and connected to another circle elsewhere in the city. The Asmodeans contract the party to investigate this breach in the temple’s defenses.