Barnacus

(Based on Barnacus: a City in Peril from Dragon magazine #80)

After finishing the search of the the necromancer's tomb (Dead Man's Hall), the party has returned to Andressat. Once the evil items have been destroyed and the loot divided, Jozan, Antonio and Hans need to do some training. Cyrus finishes the study of his Astrology book and finds a reference to the Dragon Oracle, who lives in the Dragonspine Mountains.
The local high priest of Tyr calls Jozan in and gives him a job, deliver a diplomatic bag containing news of recent events to the temple of Tyr in Opal. The party accepts and departs. Along the way, they stop in the port city of Barnacus. Antonio decides to make a big impression on the city's upper class to make friends and hopefully allies with the local nobles. He and Cyrus hire a pair of ahem, escorts for the evening then hit the local gambling hall. Once Antonio has attracted a suitable group of hangers on, he takes his new entourage to a local private club and bribes his way inside. An evening of gambling and drinking follows and Antonio does make some local contacts. But at the end of the night he loses big at the tables and leaves over 200 gold poorer. Antonio and Cyrus return to their inn with their ahem, escorts…
Jozan has gone out and explored the town, talking to the commoner town folk and donating to beggars for information. He learns that they are concerned because some people have disappeared. When he returns to their inn, he finds Ulayoth drinking alone in the common room. Ulayoth mentions he encountered some prejudice against non-humans. Hans returns at that point, a little embarrassed. He explains that the local Thieves' Guild caught him operating, but made him an offer. They have a little problem that they feel the party would be perfect to deal with, in return for giving Hans a pass. They want the party to investigate an abandoned house, what they find should motivate them to deal with the problem, but they will say no more.
The next day, the party goes to the house. Rumors have told them it is supposed to be haunted. Some people have gone in and not come back, others encounter nothing. Searching the house, they find a poltergeist in one of the upstairs rooms. Jozan turns it for the time being. Exploring the basement, they find a secret door leading to a ladder descending into the catacombs under the city. Antonio drops a torch to the bottom and goes first and is struck by a spring loaded blade trap that the thief failed to disarm. Jozan says a prayer to detect traps and another is revealed to him. He climbs part way down the ladder and triggers the trap with a pole, thinking he'll be safe. A chute opens above him and dumps rubble down the ladder, nearly knocking him off.
Once the party is safely down, they begin exploring. A nearby door leads to a small room with a pack of wardogs. They leap into action as Jozan comes to the door, but he is able to slam it in their faces. The dogs begin barking ferociously. The party follows a passage out of the room and encounters a group of crossbow wielding fighters. They attack and are able to take one prisoner thanks to Jozan's Hold Person prayer. They bind the prisoner and take him along after searching the guard room. The passage winds around a corner and they come to an ambush by a larger group of crossbowmen. Their prisoner is struck and killed in the opening volley and Cyrus uses Psionic Blast against them. The party wades into battle while the enemy is mostly stunned or confused and take a new prisoner. This prisoner is more cooperative and in return for his freedom tells them there is a group of Liartians in the catacombs who are subverting the local Thieves' Guild. The captive confirms they have been snatching people from the street for sacrifices and gives directions to the hideout.
The party decides to send the thief ahead to check, he comes to a newly installed door which shocks him with a lightning Glyph of Warding. Jozan heals him, then follows the thief back to the door. Jozan doesn't detect any magic left and opens the door. Beyond is a puzzle room with seven demon face sculptures on the walls with movable tongues. Figuring out the puzzle, a secret door opens and they move deeper into the catacombs. They find another guard room and Jozan leads them into combat. Cyrus is stabbed with a poisoned dagger and passes out. Most of the enemy are defeated, but one escapes. Jozan heals the party as best he can, using up his last prayer energy. They move to the next room and outside its closed door, Jozan and Antonio feel a great evil. Jozan kicks the door open and takes a bolt of energy from a Glyph of Warding. The room beyond is a dark temple, the Liartian priest is waiting for them. The party leaps to attack and the thief who escaped before them backstabs Ulayoth and knocks him out. Jozan and Antonio defeat the priest while Hans and the thief duel with throwing knives. Antonio comes to Hans' aid and kills the thief.
Exploring the rooms beyond, they find prison cells with a dead human and a barely living dwarf. Hans picks the lock on the treasury, then locks himself inside. In his greed, he doesn't check for traps and is overcome by sleep gas when he opens a chest. Jozan breaks the doorlock to get in to save Hans, then he passes out as well. Antonio gets the two out to cleaner air, then moves all of the sleeping party members to a place of safety. With time on his hands, Antonio helps himself to an extra 500 gold pieces. The only magic recovered is a Necklace of Skill at Arms the priest had. Once everyone has recovered, Jozan heals the party further, breaks the evil altar and they head out to the surface.