Wally Winko and the Confectioner's Guild Factory

September 1st, 214 UE, Llaney, Capital of Dorothel

In the city of Llaney there's only one inn that caters to "tallfolk" and all their rooms were starting to get very full. Occupied by (new character) Saréna Tinwel (a Wood Elven Monk), Lord Seth, and giving a room belonging to "The Beast" over to Mouse and Edgar for the night (where not only were things sized for non-halflings, everything was clearly sized for some one exceeding seven feet in height). In the morning Edgar, Mouse and Saréna were eating in the common room when a frantic Jerry Maren came barging in grabbing hold of all the tallfolk he could find (assuming them all to be wandering adventurers).

Mouse helped Jerry find a faster route to the factory while Jerry explained what was going on. The night before to make room for his new shipment of sugar Jerry had sent his men to dispose of the rest of his honey at the factory. This morning the guildmaster was supposed to take some children that had won a contest on a tour of the facility when something had gone wrong but he wasn't sure what yet.

Arriving at the factory the party found a well dressed Halfling man in a purple velour jacket being tended to by a Halfling priestess. Jerry quickly identified the man as Wallace, the guild master of the Confectioner's Guild. Wallace explained to the party that he had been taking the children on a tour of the factory floor when one of the floor drains made a terrible noise and then exploded outward, a giant beast lunging towards him. Everyone had scattered and he had barely made it out of the factory, but the monster had attacked him nearly taking his hand off (now being tended to by the Priestess) and taking the object used to bring the building out of lockdown.

Everyone heard a commotion to the side of the building and a halfling in a city guard's uniform came rolling around the side of the building as a giant wasp made a break down the street. More guards came running around the corner with spears in hand. They had been trying to keep it pinned down and had injured one of its wings (preventing it from gaining altitude) but it was still able to hover along at a rapid pace. Heading the wasp off at a butcher shop (while terrified halflings filled the streets running for cover) the party killed the beast and Edgar bravely carved his way through the monster's innards until he found the Golden Trinket.

Able to unlock the factory the party returned and Wallace told them that the three children from the tour and Mr. Wilkinson were trapped inside. As they approached the front door they heard a scratching noise coming from inside. Edgar unlocked the door and a squirrel-sized Homonculus looked up at them, bowed slightly then ran over to Wallace who seemed relieved to see the tiny creature, scooping him up and proclaiming "Mr. Wilkinson, I'm so glad you're safe."

Entering the factory the party was greeted by an animatronic display of mechanical Halflings that proceded to perform a song (We represent the Confectioner's Guild, Confectioner's Guild, Confectioner's Guild. And in the name of the Confectioner's Guild, we'd like to welcome you to...) before stopping mid-note and having all their little wax faces melt off in unison. With the balcony's view of the machinery on the factory floor obscured by thick smoke the party made their way downstairs to the manufacturing floor.

Edgar investigated a wooden box marked with Halfling text, the top was hinged but the bottom was just an empty chute that continued downwards. Mouse found a panel with a series of levers and cranks on it. He tried the cranks and activated some ventilation which was able to remove most of the smoke filling the factory but still leaving it dark. The levers both appeared to be in the down/off position, but when moved only made a buzzing noise and clicked back to the off position. Noticing that a group of cauldrons ahead of them were still smoking and hearing little chittering voices the group moved forward to investigate.

They found three small impish looking creatures (Mephits). Two looking like molten rock, and a third like steam. The beings seemed wary of the adventurers and neither group understood any languages in common. One of the creatures stepped in front of the others and made some gestures with its tiny hands. It pointed to the broken bases of the stoves and cauldron machinery, small metal boxes that had been broken open, each with arcane symbols etched onto the outside. It then gestured to the group of creatures, made a clasping gesture with one hand around its wrist, followed by a breaking gesture, and a swipe of its hands as if to mean "no." Taking this to mean that the creatures had been kept as slaves through the use of magic to power the kitchen equipment of the factory the party allowed the creatures to leave peacefully, which they did. (Later reports from outside would note that they made a number of obscene gestures at Wallace and the other guild members outside the factory as they left.)

Continuing onto the factory floor and with the smoke cleared the party now found that the area around the cauldrons was awash with sticky red liquid. Upon closer inspection they were relieved that it turned out to be strawberry syrup and not the blood of multiple Halfling children. There were four sets of sticky footprints headed away from a floor drain that had burst open from below, one set (Wallace's) that went for the main door, two sets that went to the west and one that continued farther to the south.

Following the two sets that went to the west the party quickly found that one pair went straight to another of the wooden chutes like they had found near the entrance. Calling down they were answered by a young Halfling trapped in the dark, hanging onto a ledge where he couldn't see where it dropped off to. The party tied a loop in a length of rope and lowered it down to him and pulled him back up. Safely retrieved from the chute they escorted the boy (August) back to the entrance where he left.

Going back to follow a second set of footprints the party entered the base of the western tower where they found a huge insect (that Mouse was able to identify as an Ankheg) trying to beat it’s way through a closed door on a set of spiral stairs. It quickly turned and attacked the party. Edgar filled most of the tower with the flames of a Burning Hands spell but it wasn’t as effective as he would have hoped. Saréna and Mouse moved in to attack it. The monster sprayed a blast of acid which struck Edgar and burned Mouse badly. After exhausting it’s acid reserves the insect went back to attacking the adventurers physically who were able to hack, slash, punch and strike with spells until the beast lay dead.

As the adventurers entered the upper level of the tower they found three barrels filled with candied dried fruits and a five-foot blue ball in the sealed room. After looking closely Edgar realized this wasn’t a blue ball, it was an incredibly swollen Halfling (Violet) that was turning blue because she was suffocating under her own bulk. Thinking quickly the party guessed that she had eaten some of the candied blueberries from the barrel closest to her. They tried giving her a sample of the candied pineapple (causing her to develop bark-like skin and grow a little leafy crown) and white grapes which caused her to sweat out large volumes of water and shrink back down to her regular size, able to breath again.

After escorting her back to the entrance the party entered the eastern tower, finding a small well-appointed meeting room and a Halfling-sized spiral staircase. With only one person able to fit through at a time, Edgar went ahead to look into the upper level. Finding a darkened room he was able to see a giant centipede chewing through a sack in what appeared to be a small office. Leaning into the room he drew the attention of several more giant centipedes and quickly retreated closing the door behind him.

The party advanced to the southern tower where they found a painting of the original founder of the guild: Wallace “Wally” Winko, Sr. From the upper level they could hear a Halfling voice in distress and the sound of machinery whirring. As the group made their way upstairs they found a chaotic scene. About 10 feet into the air a Halfling child was clinging to a tapestry, rapidly losing his grip floating upwards towards a large metal fan blade. On the floor there was what looked like a weapon of some sort on a pivot mount, and a lever with a number of color coded settings (white, light blue, black, green and brown). The lever had apparently been knocked into the blue position by a Grick that was making it’s way up the wall and around the curve of the tower to head towards the Halfling. Along the wall was what looked like distilling or alchemical equipment next to a small table with several vials of blue fizzing liquid.

Springing into action Mouse took hold of the ray gun looking contraption and aimed it at the Grick. It made a rattling noise and shook violently before shooting out a smoke ring that missed the Grick. Saréna ran for the lever and switched it to the black setting which made the Halfling child (Charles) stop floating upwards and just hover neutrally at the height he was at. Edgar tied a loop in his rope and tried to lasso the child, missing on his first attempt, but connecting on the second try and able to bring him away from the tapestry into the middle of the room safely out of the Grick’s reach. On a hunch Saréna pulled the lever all the way to the brown setting and Charles dropped rapidly out of the air into Edgar’s arms. Mouse took aim with the cannon again the expanding smoke ring passing over the Grick (doing nothing) and Charles (who let out a great belch after being struck with it). Edgar ushered Charles to the stairs so he could get out of the fray, allowing the party to lay waste to the beast.

With the children saved the party escorted Charles back out of the factory to an adoring crowd of Halfling families. The members of the Confectioner’s Guild were facing the collapse of their guild (with the factory essentially unusable leading up to the harvest festival celebrated throughout the Known Lands, the time of year with the greatest demand for their products), but the citizens of Llaney and the families of the saved children gave the heroes what they could as a reward.

With Jerry’s help the party was able to puzzle out the source of the infestation: When his workers had dumped his honey reserves they had emptied it into the drainage system that fed into the city sewers and out to the river. The insects (usually seen in the farmlands farther north, but where the crops had been failing, likely driving them farther south) had followed it backwards into the sewers and to the factory itself.