- Theobaldo, the Marques de Carabas - refined and gentlemanly tabaxi rogue
- Mortimer - pugilistic human monk
- Dr. Aleister Wiffle - human fighter conducting research into infectious diseases
- Ash - human monk and accomplished sprinter
- Zunx - fidgety little warlock mole-ish thing
Objective: To find a dwarf child in a Chuck E. Cheese gone mad and return him to his father
- The crew was assembled in the early hours of the morning by Koska, who sent messengers to fetch them to a location on Porthos Street in the Redgutter Ward. The client is a male dwarf whose beard is threaded with gems. He sits in a gilded carriage and speaks to the party through the carriage window. He explains that his young son Allan attended a pizza party at Fayaz's Pleasure Palace for Children last night, but come this morning he discovered that neither his son nor the servant sent as his son's chaperone had returned. Surmising that his son was still at Fayaz's, he sent three armed servants into the building to find his son, but...they never came out again.
- Gesturing to the building across the street, the dwarf pointed out Fayaz's. The building is a single story tall and built from new brick, with a faux gilt dome on top and a gaudy sign out front. Strangely, the building had no windows. Scouting the perimeter revealed that there is a front entrance and a side entrance that is probably used to bring in foodstuffs for the kitchen. Ominous black clouds whirled above the building, propelled by winds that no one on the street can feel.
- The characters chose the front door for their initial point of entry. Inside the front door they found three ticket booths, all of which were occupied by the corpses of the ticket-sellers. The room was illuminated by an enchanted, glowing ceiling. Obnoxiously loud carnival music blared from speakers in every room of the restaurant. The corpse of a gray-haired elf lay face down on the carpet in front of a door marked MANAGER'S OFFICE. Examination of the elf's body indicated that he had been assaulted by something capable of both bludgeoning him and slashing his vest to ribbons. Rifling his pockets gained the party a set of keys that unlocked the manager's office.
- The manager's office proved to be fairly mundane, save for a crystal ball on the desk. When fiddled with, the ball swirled with mist and then resolved itself into an image of what appeared to be a women's bathroom. The characters had tuned in just in time to see the door to the bathroom close--something was on the move.
- Further manipulation of the crystal ball showed them a room lined with mechanical rides and games such as a magic dart board and an automatized whack-a-mole. Seated upon the mechanical rides were three corpses armed with swords, presumably the dwarf's servants who had been sent in prior and who had not returned. The final image the party got out of playing with the crystal ball was a constructed pit filled with multicolored rubber balls. Also in view were what appeared to be naked, chubby pink legs walking out of view. The party wondered if these legs might belong to overgrown babies, and they weren't half-wrong.
- And then...the crystal ball suddenly went dim and the glowing ceiling extinguished, leaving the crew in total darkness.
- A lantern now lit, the group decided to retreat outside and try the side entrance--which put them in a pantry filled with shelves of canned ingredients and bags of flour used to make the pizzas served at Fayaz's. Aleister opened a door to see what was beyond; he found the restaurant's kitchen and also two human-sized mechanical cherubs staring back at him blankly.
- Shutting the door quickly and informing his fellows of what was approaching, Aleister and co. readied themselves. Mortimer quickly tied a couple aprons together; when the cherubs wrenched the door to the pantry off its hinges he was able to throw it over a cherub's head to "blind" it. The rest of the party let loose a barrage of gunfire, rapier stabs, and fisticuffs that quickly brought the two automatons down.
- From the kitchen, the party entered the dining room where they found several long tables still laden with food and drink. Unfortunately, they also found many adults who were either parents or staff, all of them apparently dead save for one half-orc woman. At their right was a long stage full of mechanical cherubs going through their prescribed motions--some were dancing, others playing instruments.
- The half-orc woman muttered something about "the children" and "the control room." Aleister decided it would be best to carry the half-orc woman back into the kitchen where they could tend to her wounds; as he was carrying her back to kitchen, however, the fattest of the cherubs on the stage shot her with an arrow and things looked grim for her, and the party, at that moment.
- Battle broke out between the crew, the fat cherub, and a cherub drummer who also left the stage to join in the fray. The party managed to put a lot of bullets into the fat cherub, but the situation become worse when the opposition was joined by four more of the mechanical monstrosities. (These four were the ones they had caught glimpses of in the crystal ball in the manager's office.)
- In the ensuing battle, the party started to take quite a beating. Two of the cherubs (including the deadly bow-wielding one) were taken down, but Mortimer and Theobaldo both went down as well. Sensing the tide of battle turning against them, the remaining members of the group dragged their comrades back to the relative safety of the kitchen where they were patched up by Dr. Wiffle.
- Oddly, the cherubs did not pursue them into the kitchen. Exploring a different path through the building brought them to a janitor's closet and then to Fayaz's control room. Listening at the door let the crew hear whispering voices seemingly talking to themselves. How they would storm the room was much debated. At last, they threw open the door, ready to hack and slash but...no one was inside.
- Built into the desk were a number of switches and dials used to control the various enchantments at work in the building. Also on the desk were a crystal ball like the one in the manager's office and a large black egg swirling with shadowy power. Zunx used his magic to manipulate the control panel to restore the light throughout the building and (finally) kill the ever-present music. Zunx also picked up the crystal ball and...sent it crashing into the black egg, shattering both. (And, it should be added, severing the outside influence exerting control over Fayaz's mechanical cherubs.)
- Although normalcy was restored, they still hadn't found any children. The next door the party tried opened into a long hallway lined with half-built or semi-repaired cherubs. Fearing that the automatons could come to life at any moment and overtake them, they decided to test their apparent inactivity.
- Ash volunteered to sprint the length of the hallway, turn around, and sprint back so that his fellows could pick off anything that came after him. Ash ran his race safely; nothing sprang out at him or followed in his wake. A more cautious exploration of the hallway revealed that several children were hiding behind the cherubs, including Alan, the dwarf boy they had been sent to rescue.
- The crew ushered the children outside, reuniting Alan with his father--who certainly won't be winning any Parent of the Year awards, as he seemed to have trouble recognizing his offspring, but such is the way of rich folk who leave the upbringing of their heirs to servants.
- The party returned inside, as they knew that there should have been more children inside that they hadn't found. They were right, but there were no more children to be discovered within. What had happened to them? The only clue they discovered was a black ashen ring featuring leaf-like sigils burned into the floor of a workshop--a sign they recognized as belonging to the Children of Fimbul, a dark sect of druids that wish to begin the apocalypse to rid the world of machines and usher in the rebirth of a more natural age.
- XP - 205 each.
- Assorted coins and jewelry looted throughout the premises and your fee from the dwarf: 318 gp each.
- The crystal ball from the manager's office will allow you to see into any room of Fayaz's, which might come in hand if you ever need to peek into whatever business sets up shop in the building. Fayaz's is undoubtedly closed for business.
- That smoke-able stash of drugs you found in the kitchen turns out to be magical; when smoked it functions as a potion of heroism.
- Two of the now-dead parents were apparently in the habit of communicating to each other with a pair of sending stones.
- One woman was wearing a bracelet of prayer beads; 5 of them turn out to be beads of force.
- Talk among yourselves and let me know how you want to distribute the magic items.
- Also, if you'd like to note some aspect of the adventure that was important to your character as a way to get Inspiration in an adventure to come, feel free. I've written up my Inspiration replacement rules here. Let me know if you have any questions about that.