Here There Be Science; Here There Be Dragons!

Chapter 4: Sweet Halflings, Sour Dinosaurs

Our heroes trained with Arjan and Sporck in the Capitol for a month, and they noticed a few things. First, there are wanted posters for Elphabon. They appeared after the party delivered him to the Judiciary. Suspecting that Elphabon had escaped the incredibly secure Capitol prisons, the party returned to the Judiciary to inquire of the dwarf clerk about this. The clerk sighed as she explained that Elphabon had indeed escaped. No one knows how he did it, but the jail cell in which he was held had some of its door bars corroded by some sort of liquid. There is now a significant bounty (20,000 gp) for Elphabon’s capture, and the players take it upon themselves to find him and capture him…again.

The second thing they notice is that the Sweetmeat shops in the city are closing down. They find a halfling who complains about the closure of the Sweetmeat Factory by Wozington. He didn’t know what was happening with the factory, but nothing was being produced, and this had been going on for several weeks. The players decide to return to Wozington to investigate.

Before they return to the village, the party runs into a samurai named Juan at the Warring Waffle. Juan is looking for a black dragon of The Fury that destroyed his entire family, including his wife Juanita, and he joins the party when he hears that they are pursuing a dragon and are aware of The Fury.

While in Wozington, the party visits Leo to ask if he knows anything. While he had become aware of the Sweetmeat Factory‘s mysterious closure, he didn’t have any new information and didn’t suspect any immediate threat to the village. The players have their own ideas. They suspect Elphabon is behind it, and that he will create more fire-breathing dinosaurs that would certainly threaten the village. Leo agrees to reward the players with gold if they return from the factory with evidence of a legitimate threat. When the adventurers approach the factory, they find Jawbreaker, mace and all, standing guard at the front doors. He is happy to see the party (though the players, especially BetterBorn, consider him a funny little nuisance), and is convinced to let them into the factory. When asked what happened, Jawbreaker can only say that a dark-skinned elf came to the factory and placed him there as a guard.

The players explore every room of the ground floor of the factory, running into twenty flying maces, a pair of tough sugar cube golems, and a couple of closets stuffed with gelatinous cubes. In the process, they find lots of valuable treasure, including a ball of iron bands, an immovable rod, a tesla coil (basically a wand of wonder; DMG, 212), but with more steampunk style), and a set of three sentient weapons (Wing, a sword; Wave, a trident; and Whelm, a hammer). They also find half a dozen cells with halflings, (factory workers, all members of the Sweetmeat Guild) locked inside. Once free, the halfings exclaim,

“Opah lopah, skippity gee!
Thanks to you guys, I’m finally free!
Looky, looky, hidden door!
Before you get in, count your keys four!”

Most of the halflings flee from the factory, but two of them are convinced to stay with the party to help them find the aforementioned four keys. The two eager halflings are named Pop and Lolly, but the players, especially Jerome, decide to call them Crapper and Dummy (don’t ask me why). The halflings lead the party to a hallway with four doors numbered, quite conveniently, one through four. The party explored each door in order, finding a key in each. First in the bottom of a chocolate pond, then lodged inside some grey ooze made from used gum, then in a pile of acorns after dealing with a swarm of squirrels. The last key was in a room with a shrink ray and four glass boxes, each with a tiny dinosaur inside. The players guessed that the shrink ray would send them into the boxes, but decide to just break the glass and smash the tiny dinosaurs, which shocked the two halflings. They find the fourth key in pieces, one in each box, and assemble it. Soon after, they find and unlock a secret door that leads to a set of stairs going up.

On the second floor they find an operating assembly line, with eight tiktoks hard at work. They players, remembering how tough the tiktoks were in the Western Fortress, try to find a way to shut them down and perhaps even reprogram them to fight for them. They ask the halflings for help, and one of them (I can’t remember if it was Crapper or Dummy) pushed a big red button by the assembly line entrance. The entire line, as well as the tiktoks, shut down. There seemed to be no way to reprogram the tiktoks, however.

Having avoided a potential conflict with tiktoks, the players move on to another room and find Elphabon leaning against a back wall, with a purple potion in hand (similar to the kind that was found near the triceratops in the Western Fortress). Elphabon grins and says, “Did you miss me?” The players react quickly, with BetterBorn using the ball of iron bands to bind Elphabon, and then shoving the immovable rod into his mouth. As he does this, Elphabon drops his potion, and the purple liquid seeps into the back wall, corroding it in seconds. As the back wall melts away, the players hear a loud, monstrous roar, and a tyrannosaurus rex begins to charge at them.



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