Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Touring the Flanaess
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly Denizens
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - The Keep at Koralgesh
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Campaign Journals & General Online Play
    The Keep at Koralgesh
    Author Message
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Fri May 29, 2015 6:42 am  
    The Keep at Koralgesh

    With things all settled, the Wild Bunch leaves the mountain lair and heads down to the valley floor below. Gathering their horses (which are still alive!) Din suggests we ride out together and investigate. "Could be guards, could be simple travelers. Only one way to be sure."

    When you travel down into the valley, you find a group of gypsies. They have wagons, pulled into a circle for protection, and a large bonfire in the center. There are smaller fires, scattered around, and a good number of the strange people with colorful dress milling about, getting ready for the cold evening.



    Out from the camp walks a beautiful young Attloi woman. She is dressed in long multi colored skirts a louse blouse and a shawl, called a babushka. She has a riding crop in her hands and a whip hanging from her belt, Indiana Jones style. She looks the party over and walks up to Larenth and stops in front of him almost military in her approach. She stands very erect, clicks her heals and says, "Antonia Zolton at your service, I hope I have the pleasure of addressing the lord of these lands, and I hope we are not trespassing. We will move on if we must but I do have a weary tribe who would like to find a place that they might find a welcome rest." Her accent is what we would call Eastern Europe, maybe Transylvanian.

    The Attloi are cousins of the Rhennee who make their way entirely on land, in caravans of brightly-painted wagons. Where their lake-dwelling cousins are noted for their prowess with seamanship, the Attloi are noted as excellent dealers of horse-flesh, and make their way as tinkers, traders, and entertainers. Kidnapping is an art not unknown amongst the Attloi, nor is thievery, but rarely practiced on their more well-traveled routes. They are otherwise the same.

    [Din OOC: Oh, great, more Ravenloft. Din drives a wooden stake through her heart, just in case she's a vampire!]

    Haha not really. In reality, that is to say fantasy, Din speaks before Brytallis can claim lordship, "Nay, he is not the ruler here. We are simple travelers such as yourselves. Is that not the case?"

    "My apologies," she replies, "you look prosperous enough to be a party of lords. We are searching for a home; would you know whom is the lord of these lands? They look like decent grazing and farming lands, but I see few workers; this might be a home for us.
    As for traveling, maybe the tribe can stop around here? Now where can I find the local authority?" She really runs on.....

    "You'll have trouble, then, as this land has no leader," replies Din. "Anarchy and chaos rule the land, although we ourselves seek to remedy this. Nobles vie each other for power, in what is likely to be a bloodbath, until one emerges victorious. Until then, I doubt there is someone from whom to seek permission, and you are as likely to be killed as welcomed." Din pauses a moment, thinking. "Although there may be someone at the former king's castle, which rises above the town where we are heading. From whence came ye, and from what do you flee?"

    "We are from Ket, and we flee ignorance and fear. Our ways are different but not evil.
    You say there is a man in the castle that might help us and you are going to see him?"

    "Nay, fair lady, I said perhaps there might be," answers Din. "If they've sorted out their problems of dynasty, which is unlikely. Still, you may ride with us."

    "I will go with you," she says quickly. "Until we are ready to leave come, refresh yourselves, enjoy our camp. I will have someone take your horses. We keep customs like in the old country, no guest is refused or treated any worse then they treat us."

    Food and drink are provided and a guitar takes up a gypsy melody while the party is there. She rides out with them when they leave. All the horses seem nervous around her except the white Arabian War Horse that she rides.

    [Din OOC: See! I told you she was a vampire! Or more likely a were-beast!]

    "I am from Bissel," says Brytallis. "Maybe I can write a friend or two at home and see if they know much of this Grakhirt beyond what we have learned." He then turns to Antonia and says, "You're an interesting one. Maybe we can talk about just how interesting over an ale."

    "Welcome to our camp," Toni says with a bow, "refresh yourselves and your animals. When you are ready we will ride to see if maybe there is a man to talk to. Thank you for saying that I can ride with you. Horses find my sent upsetting until they get to know me, for some reason. You say it is a man I must see, strange, the cards said it would be a black queen."

    You spend the night with the gypsies, who share some very interesting food with you. The night's uneventful, and you learn all about Toni and her people. They provide you a large tent to sleep in, and with a nice fire you are relatively warm, despite the bitter cold. It gets down to about 13*.
    Freeday, 21st of Fireseek (582)
    In the morning, there's another clear day, with a moderate breeze from the north. It's going to be another cold one, and you'll be lucky if it gets much over freezing. If you head out of the valley, you can reach either the village or Cat's Claw Tower in two days, whatever you wish.

    Introducing now Antonia (Toni) Zolton, Attloi gypsy mage/thief.


    Toni, ready at dawn with all the horses ready, says, "let's get ridding. Any reason to go to the tower you told me about or go right to the castle? Istus bless us."
    The gypsies give the party travel food.

    Starday, 22th of Fireseek (582 CY)
    You travel back to the village. It takes just over a day, so after another night, you reach there the next day, just after noon. It's another cold night and day, but at least the weather holds as you have another clear day, with the same cold wind blowing from the north.

    "Mal like these folk," says Mal if anyone listens. He still senses that they don't really trust him. "No insult Mal. Maugrim growl at Mrs. Kitty Toni but Mal calm Maugrim down, Agreed lets ride. Burrrr, going to be a cold one. Thank you for food." Mal makes sure Maugrim gets a very good meal before heading out but we no eat our guests.

    Continuing on the road, you entered the village around midday. Everything seems normal, people moving around, doing their normal routines. You do notice an absence of men. There are some, but as you've learned, most were killed in the battle with the norkers. So, you see women and children doing a lot of the work around the village. As you pass the inn, you hear singing inside, which is decidedly different, since everyone seemed pretty down a few days ago when you passed this way. Entering the inn, you see some of the men of the village drinking and singing, and everyone seems, well, happier.

    When he sees you, one man comes over. It is Marl, the loudmouth farmer that challenged you before. "The heroes have returned!" he shouts, coming up and clapping Din on the back. The other men in the bar, even the barkeep, all join in a rounding chorus of applause.

    Toni is happily surprised at what she sees. A happy people who need more men, she thinks.

    "News travels fast," Din whispers to the party. To the crowd he speaks loudly, "It's true--we vanquished the Norkers, and destroyed the evil wizard who led them...once we convinced him of the gravity of his situation." Din laughs at his own joke, then calls for a round of ale for the party.

    "Have you seen Aghar?" asks Brytallis.

    "That is why we celebrate," says Marl. "Aghar returned to us a few days ago."

    Toni walks up to the bartender and asks, "I am new here, why is this important?"

    Brytallis asks if there is a church or temple nearby. He would like to get some holy water, unless Lareth has some on him.

    There is a small church on the edge of the village. It is consecrated to Rao and St. Cuthbert. Somebody then explains things to Toni.

    "Good, we have drink, go to church then to castle. It will be a good day. Wine for me."

    Brytallis whispers in her ear, "Keep your wits about you. Aghar is a demon in disguise. The true Aghar saved this village and is a her but he is dead and the demon took his form. And for the love of all that is holy, don't say anything out loud or you'll get us all killed. The holy water might be teh only way we can show the others who he truly is without them lynching us."

    Din speaks quietly to the party. "I don't think we can request an audience with Aghar without giving away our identities. Antonia might give us opportunity for subterfuge, if we act like her entourage, but even then, it's doubtful. We could go cloaked and hide our faces...perhaps. It may be best just to sneak into the castle at night and do away with him. Or die trying."

    Brytallis goes to the church, but there is nobody there. He asks a man walking by, and he learns that the priest is dead, killed by the norkers. They are still waiting for a replacement to be sent from the church. Frustrated, he returns to the inn and tells the party. They then head up to the castle....
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Fri May 29, 2015 9:40 am  
    Part 2 - Run Away!

    The party leaves the town and heads up to the castle. It has snowed heavily, and there is a white blanket covering everything.



    You reach the castle, and it is quiet. The way through the front is open, and you enter to find nobody around. Not that there were many servants, only a couple, but there were a good half-dozen to a dozen relations, dotting around Lord Farkaesh when the original party came through. This group doesn't really have any of that knowledge, but suffice to say, they are surprised that they find nboody around. Entering the castle, they find a total of about a half-dozen bodies. There's no telling who is whom, as the skin has been stripped from them all, and the hearts are missing. Otherwise, they find nobody around.

    "To hell with this," says Brytallis. "I am heading back to Hommlett to get somebody who can actually handle this." He rides off.

    Mal decides that he doesn't really want to go face a demon either, and he rides off with Brytallis. The rest of the party turns and follows, deciding to not investigate this any further. You head back to the village, where you tell the people what happened. Their newfound joy in the return of Aghar Naran is replaced with a renewed despondency. After resting overnight, you return to Hommlet.

    It's an uneventful journey, and you reach there in a couple of days. Brytallis rides into the village and goes straight to Berenn telling him of what is happening with the demon.

    Din heads straight to the trading post and finds Thorgrim. "My lord Thorgrim, I have done as you requested and followed Hepla's missives to the letter. We found that a lair of Norkers was threatening the capital of that land surrounding Hepla's tower. We slew many, though a few of our party died in the attempt, including your compatriots Filbin and Hyril, I am sad to say. You must forgive me, I could not save them."

    Din waits for Thorgrim's nod before continuing. "We let the women and children of the Norker scum live. I am not sure I was so inclined, but we lacked direction on the matter, and you had ordered me to follow along with the wishes of the party. And so I did."

    Thorgrim hands his pipe to Din while he pours him a mug of ale from the ever-present cask on the Porch. He taps the keg with his foot. "Getting low," he says. "I shall have to pull another from spare." He looks at Din and his expression changes from dour to sour. "Don't just stand there holding it, man! Smoke it!"

    Din does so, passes it back, then accepts the ale, which he downs in seconds, before continuing his tale. "We learned of an evil wizard named Grakhirt who was controlling the tribe. We tracked him to his lair in the cliffs and took him by surprise. He fell to his death, and I checked the body myself. It was crushed and he neither breathed nor stirred. Verily I swear that he was dead."

    "Well done," says Thorgrim, before passing the pipe again, but Din waves his hands in front of him.

    "M'lord, please! The worst is yet to come. We discovered a demon who had taken the shape of Aghar Naran, the brother of the former ruler now dead. It was he killed Hyril, in terrible fashion. He took possession of the castle and lordship of those lands. We sought to kill it, but upon witnessing the many this demon had killed, Brytallis fled the land. I would call him coward, but with our numbers greatly reduced, including some who had joined us I have not mentioned, it may be he was wisest of all." Din now puffs the pipe, thinking.

    "What of the hobgoblin?" asks Thorgrim.

    "Although of what use he was, I cannot say," replies Din a bit uncertainly. "The hobgoblin--er, Malgubet--may have been our best help. Hepla had ordered us specifically not to 'get in over our heads,' as she put it. We may have been there since the onset, I cannot say. It's as Clanggedin wills. We did take the time to inform the townsfolk, and rode here with all haste, thinking this was a matter more suited for you and your companions...I am ashamed to say." Din rises in a sort of salute. "I would request that you allow me to come with you to do battle, should you address this matter."

    Thorgrim claps his hand to Din's shoulder. "Think not on it, Din. Powers rise and fall around us, built on earth not stone. The civilized lands are forever beset by evil on all sides, and it is up to us to fight them when and where we can. It may be worth looking into. Did you scout the tower?"

    Din looks down at his feet, then sits again. "We did not."

    Thorgrim sits silent for a while, thinking. "That may have been ill-advised, but I see your need for haste." He then laughs. "Know ye that Hepla is lord of nothing, and that tower little more than a homestead, and falling to pieces, last I saw. The matter of life is more important than land, though the blood that gets spilt o'er it would attest otherwise." Thorgrim feels for his pick in unconscious habit, then rests his hand on the dagger at his belt.

    "The price of one is the other, as soon we'll find," says Din.

    "As soon we'll find," agrees Thorgrim.

    Toni stables her horse, and in a flurry of multicolored skirts and blouse heads to the trading post. Upon seeing Thorgrim she says, "Master Dwarf, do you know if there are rooms available here. Also, there a stories told that some great heroes live around here. Might you be one or can you tell me where I could find one?

    Thorgrim looks Toni up and down. "Some would call me hero, though it's a title I usually reserve for people who do great things. You can stable your horse here, and there are rooms at the inn."

    "He is a great hero!" exclaims Din. "And a priest highly favored by the gods. That's why I choose to serve him."

    Thorgrim motions Din to silence, and offers Toni a mug of ale to slake her thirst. If she declines, he will drink it himself.

    "Thank you master Dwarf, I do not believe I have given you my name. I am Antonia Zolton," she says with a snap of the heals and a bow. "Thank you for the ale." She takes a gulp and you can tell that she was not ready for it. After forcing it down she says in a squeaky voice, "my...cough...that is strong."

    Emyn appears, he and Hepla having just returned from their "honeymoon." "We should gather the party and make haste to deal with this demon," he says. "The longer it is there, the more harm will become the area."

    "Tell us all you know about this demon," says Hepla, holding Emyn's arm, her giggles suddenly disappearing. "We wouldn't want to be surprised by it."

    When Toni sees Hepla she says, "The lady clothed in darkness, I'm sure. Are you the one who sent these brave adventurers out?" After she replies in the affirmative, Toni and her walk off together to talk alone.

    Starday, 1st of Readying (582)
    Just thought I'd give an official date for the original characters. Elrae heals another Negative Levels, leaving only 2 left. He also finishes learning Otto's Soothing Vibrations.

    Emyn wakes in the morning and asks Hepla, "What did you learn of this demon, dear?"

    "So far, nothing," she says. "No one has anything to say except for the fact that when they got back to the castle everyone was dead and had their skin ripped off and their hearts ripped out. They, wisely, did not go too far into the castle."

    "Aye," he says, thinking of the demons he has faced. "Who would have thought that whiny mage had the most sense of that bunch. I do hope we can proceed soon. Hyril and the others must be avenged and the area made safe. Oh, by the way, I wanted to put a small shrine to Rexfelis in the church at Nulb. What would be appropriate?"

    He gets a hug and kiss in response. Hepla returns, but Emyn finds that he has duties at the Cathedral to which he must attend. He will not be returning with Hepla. Berenn has made good headway this month with the griffons. A month or so, and he can get some good info and such from the guys from Storm Keep.

    Lareth seems a bit less withdrawn when he comes back. Playing the healer was interesting; he certainly had never done such before. However, he has seen enough blood and violence for a couple lifetimes, and he does not wish to see more. Rather, he would stay around town and apply his new skills to the townfolk as needed. He and Isilme may have a lot to discuss as things move forward. Rakk has not returned yet. He said he wouldn't be back until after winter, so probably another month or so.

    After a week, Toni is pacing around like a cat in a cage. She says, "My people are out there with a demon somewhere near, I fear for them." She practices throwing daggers and with the whip but nothing seams to calm her. She even casts Detect Undead outside on the pouch, to keep in practice.

    "I am willing to investigate again," says Brytallis, "provided some of the stronger members of the party accompany them."

    Din describes the demon to Thorgrim, and asks him if he can identify it.

    "Nay, I cannot with certainty tell you. You'd think Lareth would know, as many as he's had consort with," Thorgrim replies, with a scowl at the thought of the time he did battle with that twisted soul. "Isilme, I believe, knows these things best of us. But I believe she's occupied as of now."

    Din tells Thorgrim of his desire to return and complete the mission, and asks if Thorgrim will lead it. Thorgrim declines, citing the need to recuperate from his last adventure.

    "You wish to follow. Yet you also must learn how to lead," Thorgrim says.

    Din rounds up Dymir and Antonia and Malgubet. Holy smokes, is that all of us? he thinks. He then asks them if they want to pursue this demon, or at least find out what it is. In an expedition under his leadership. "We know naught of this creature except that it is a fearsome killer and shape-shifter. Consider this: most of our losses occurred fighting a tribe of Norkers all at once. This is one creature. We are four. Also, we may be able to take it by surprise. His guard may be down, after two weeks of our absence. If the demon be too fearsome, we might rouse the townsfolk to rise against it all at once."

    Toni speaks up, "It does not matter how many we have if we cannot hurt it. What weapons to we have? I have magic, but it probably has resistance. What do you have?

    Mal made a few silver tipped arrows out of the silver dagger and a silver headed spear made in exchange for the earrings. If there are any funds left after that he will buy a few beers and find some bar wench (that can read) to read him some tales from his new journal.

    I assume the party is at the Waterside Inn in Nulb, as that's where Hepla and Emyn live. The place is being rebuilt, but Noot makes sure they have good rooms (those who need them). Mal is accepted there, and the finds that the wench, Pearl, is happy to help him. However, she doesn't know how to read either. Dala, Noot's paramour and the "head wench!" helps out. There are no "tales", and it's pretty boring. The stuff about the assassin's guild does get her attention though. There is a lot of "secret" info there. Noot is standing there as she is going over it, and he takes it, scanning it.

    "I'd bet they'd give anything to get THIS back," he says. Looking at Mal, he says, "I'll give you 1000gp for these papers. Deal?"

    Mal nods excitedly, giving over the papers to Noot in exchange for a bag of coins. He's never had so much, and knows exactly what to do with it. He heads straight to to Lyseious!

    He buys some potions of healing form him, also telling him about what they found at Grakhirt's Lair. The alchemist realizes that there is potentially some good stuff back at Grakhirt's lair. The herbs brought back were mostly useless; however, one was some strange type of mushroom. He is very interested in these, so he hopes you will return to the old norker lair and find the mushroom patch. These only grown underground, but they could be very useful in his potion-making. After a bit, you figure that they must be around the underground stream. He would be very interested if you can find more.....

    Din will go, but the demon must also be dealt with too. "We must round up more support, m'lady, before taking on this demon. If not here, then elsewhere. But I will go with you nonetheless."

    "Thank you, I worry for my people," says Toni. She gets the gold changed into silver and asks the silver be put into a leather saddle bag. You notice that she does not touch the silver and, in fact does not even like the glint of silver. Toni also asks, "Who said silver can hurt this demon? How do we know?"

    She then goes to the alchemist to get some acid. It costs 100gp per vial, and you can only buy two. He doesn't have that much, as he's been focusing on potions for a long time. It does 2d6 damage. Otherwise, acid is not readily available.

    [DM OOC: Well, being that I just recovered everyone's negative levels, I'm also going to Fast Forward the party to the beginning of the next month. Thus, it will be Starday, 1st of Coldeven. That is going to leave three weeks for the Other Guys to adventure, assuming they leave right away, before they "catch up" to the original characters. So, off they go to return to Hagthar and see what's up with this demon.

    As for the Heroes of Hommlet, they will be hitting the road shortly. For now, we continue the adventures of the Wild Bunch.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Fri May 29, 2015 10:15 am  
    Part 3 - The Inquisition, what a thrill!

    Earthday, 6th of Readying (582)
    I'm going to open this back up. The Other Guys can now return to Hagthar. The journey takes a few days and you reach Hagthar Village the night of Waterday the 5th. It is an uneventful journey, except for a thunderstorm which blows through towards the end of the day. You arrive in the village, wet and cold. You find the village just as you left it.

    Toni wants to push on to the gypsy camp but if the others are too tired she will wait for first light.

    Brytallis says, "Let's head to the inn and see if there is anything to learn."

    Din wants to find out if there has been any activity from Castle Hagthor, if the demon or Aghar or any strangers have been through town. He wants to know if the villagers have been going on about their lives or what they've been doing, and anything else he can discover. Then he wants to go to the gypsy encampment and round up any other stout hearts he can muster, before storming the castle. He has plans to enter by stealth. He wants to know if there are any former castle guards about or alive to question.

    "Brytallis, I'm surprised you came with us, as our strength now is less than when we fled," Din remarks. "You may flee this time whenever you like, but know that we won't be following you. You will be on your own."

    You enter the inn and are greeted by the innkeeper. A lot has happened in the last few weeks apparently. A cavalry squadron from Veluna has come to Hagthar and taken direct control of the castle. They've established order in the district and there have been no more deaths. Nobody knows what happened in the castle, though the townspeople don't seem disappointed by the deaths there. In fact, since they didn't like all the sycophants who were maneuvering to gain title to the fief, they seem downright pleased.

    "Good, that is one less worry," says Toni. She goes to her room with her saddlebag of silver and a skin of Holy Water.

    "Are the soldiers still here?" asks Brytallis.

    "Yes," replies the innkeeper, "they are presently manning the castle. They are led by a Holy Inquisitor, seeking answers to what befell the district last month."

    "We must go to the castle immediately, and speak to the commander," Din says.

    Brytallis mutters, "With our luck, they're in league with the demon. There is no way that the cavalry could have learned of these going on so quickly in such a remote area. And Din...what I did saved your life as well as everyone else's, so stop whining."

    "Mal go with Din," says Mal, who seems to have a strange and newfound respect for this gritty dwarf. "If Din thinks important to do," he adds with a nod.

    "First thing in the morning, then," says Din, strangely comforted by Mal's attitude.

    Freeday, 7th of Coldeven (582)
    It was nice to sit by a warm fire, and the innkeeper hangs your clothes to dry them. It doesn't get terribly cold, only a low of 42. The next day is a bit colder as the wind picks up and blows some clouds over the area. However, it has warmed up quite a bit in the last few weeks.

    "Let's go to the keep," says Brytallis. "Meat shields first, of course," he says looking at Mal and Din.

    Toni mounts and takes the lead toward the castle. "When we get there whomever is most familiar with military please speak up for the party." She will let someone else be first into the keep.

    You head up the long steep switchback climb, and make it to the entrance.

    "HOLD!" shouts a guardsman from above. You look up and find a couple of archers, arrows drawn and pointed at you. "What's your business?"

    "I come to see the master of this keep about a place for my people to live," says Toni. "You have some lovely empty lands. My friends come to aid me and, as I understand it, on a mission of mercy, but I will let them explain. Also, my people are entertainers. Perhaps your men, captain, would like some entertainment. Perhaps they would like to see me dance, I am part of the show." She stands in the stirrups, arches her back for a moment, almost like a cat stretching, and sits back down.

    "Go away," they say. "Been enough bad things happen here."

    "Like what?" she replies, spreading her arms out. "And are you calling me a bad woman, captain? I offer entertainment and seek audience with the current master of the keep. No bad here. I understand there has been a demon sighted in this area. We are not demons or demon spawn. Perhaps you will let me read your future, wouldn't any soldier like to know the best way deal with their next foe?"

    "There is no master," he replies. "We hold the castle in the name of the Canon. We've no need of your superstitions, gypsy. Leave now."

    Brytallis says, "Oh, you mean the men flayed alive and having their hearts ripped out? We can help you with that."

    They hear what Brytallis says and look at each other. They pass a few words between them, then they pass you into the castle. There are about a dozen men in the courtyard, some tending to horses. They wonder when they see you, and some follow as you are led inside to the great hall. At the end, sitting upon Lord Farkaesh's vacant throne, sits a stern-faced priest of Rao, Edsamot.



    Brytallis bows to the priest and says, "Good cleric, could you please tell us what's has happened here? We may be able to help."

    Din adds, "It was we who vanquished the Norkers which previously threatened this town, and we who first discovered the fiend which took the shape of Aghar Naran. It slew one of our companions in dreadful fashion, and we have returned to avenge him."

    "I am Edsamot de Vala Real, Holy Inquisitor of the Diocese of Devarnish." He pauses to let the title sink in. "I have been sent to find answers to the troubles which plagued this fief and determine what course of action shall be taken." He looks around the group. Another priest sitting at a table to side takes begins to take notes with a quill and parchment. "Now, what are your names?"

    "My name is Antonia Zolton" Toni says with a click of the heels and a small bow.

    He nods. "Attloi. I had heard talk of a troop of your kind, migrating across Veluna." It's not a question, and he doesn't sound too happy. Of course, you get the sense this man never seems happy.

    Mal keeps his mouth shut, hood of his cloak just above his eyes and head tilted down with respect or disregard (depending on your point of view) He used the medallion to get an emotional sense of this seemingly powerful man. He senses curiosity and determination from the man.

    "Indeed, your grace," replies Toni, "and we hope it is in this area that we can stop migrating."

    "Dymir, at your service, your grace," says the young man with an awkward bow.

    Din stands alert for the inevitable hostilities to come. He spies exits and marks the toughest or most experienced-looking warriors...although it would likely be these blaspheming priests of lesser gods that taste the steel of his axe, first. If fighting breaks out he plans to take their leader hostage to secure our escape.

    Brytallis steps forward. " I am Brytallis Burnheart. Where pray tell is Lord Aghar?"

    "That is a good question," says Inquisitor Edsamot. "We assume he was killed by the norkers after the battle."

    "And you?" he adds, looking at Mal.

    Pulling back his cowl, Mal stands tall. "I Malgubet Ndol. Friend of Sir Berenn Silverwood, Scared but survivor of Caustichlorinus, Champion to Chief Goxk and blood soaked slayer of the Norker usurpers. My allegiance is to this group now. How may we serve you?"

    The guards tense up, and you see them grip their steal tightly. However, a slightly raised hand from Edsamot calms them down. He eyes Mal, then gives another nod. "You are under protection of the Church of Rao," he says calmly. "No violence will fall upon you unless you bring it." He then scans the group. "Or unless you deserve such justice."

    He then begins the long process of questioning you about what happened. Let's not role-play it, since it will take a LONG time. The questioning goes on for a few hours, during which he seems to ask everyone the same questions about three or four times, in different ways. It's a bit annoying, but you realize that he's likely trying to get all the info, from various perspectives, while also discovering any falsehoods. When done, he seems satisfied. He is sorry to hear about your friends.

    Din relaxes, pleased that there is to be no bloodbath due to the hobgoblin scu--er, his choice of companions. He shrugs. "People live, and people die. It is of no consequence, as long as evil does not hold sway."

    "Aye," says Brytallis. "The last we knew, Aghar the Heartripper was here. He seems able to disguise himself in many forms but we have devised a simple test to find him. Perhaps we cna demonstrate it with you, good cleric? It shall not harm you."

    This is the first Edsamot has heard of a demon on the loose, and that is of grave concern. It certainly explains some of what happened here. He summons all of his men to the courtyard, that they can be checked. First he simply Detects Evil, and when he doesn't find any he uses holy water, splashing it on everyone. "It is possible that it may hide its evil aura, but holy water will still affect it adversely." However, after checking all the men, you find no trace of it. "It seems it has moved on," he says. "Though weather that is good or ill news, I do not know."

    "We did not see it in town," says Toni. "I fear for my people even more now," she adds. "We are the only other large group in the neighborhood, that I know of. Unless it went to the tower."

    Din stretches out his hands. "The demon could still be within the walls of this castle. In the guise of any being...we know not its limits." He strokes his beard contemplatively. "Or it could be in a hidden place, of which castles tend to have many." After a pause. "It also walked, which means it likely cannot fly. For why it would choose not to, one can only guess."

    "Ed, do you have access to a scrying device? Also, have you searched the entire castle?" says Brytallis, sounding almost annoyed.

    Din winces visibly, but says nothing.

    "You will address me as Your Holiness," he responds, shaking his head. "One would hope that wisdom would be a close associate of intelligence. Alas, this is clearly not always the case."

    [DM OOC: The castle has been searched thoroughly. The guards have been here for a few weeks now. Whatever was here has moved on. Sorry, sometimes gotta just throw out some DM help just to move things along.]

    "Then I must get to my people's camp," says Toni, who turns and heads back to her horse.

    "YOU WILL LEAVE WHEN YOU ARE TOLD YOU MAY LEAVE!" He shouts, taking everyone by surprise and causing everyone to jump! The soldiers in the courtyard, all of them, jump to attention, looking very professional. They stare forward, as if you aren't even there.

    "Now," continues Edsamot," we have much more to discuss..... He motions you back into the castle, clearly intent that you return inside.

    Toni looks at the soldiers and says, "Fine, you have something of impotence to say then let's hear it.". She goes back to his thrown room.

    Brytallis casts detect magic to see if Edsamon is under some sort of a spell. "My apologies your Holiness, I had not realized that you were to be addressed by your title. Are you certain you are fine? The priests of Rao I know seem to value calm and reason but this is the second time you have lost your temper without warning."

    He watches as Brytallis wastes his detect magic, then continues. "Now, I would speak with all of you some more on this matter. Please, let us retire inside. To Brytallis he adds, "Do not presume magician. Yes, calm and reason are the foundation of our faith; however, so is order and respect, something some of you seem to have forgotten. Now, let us return to our investigations. There have been many deaths here, far too many, and we will NOT leave here until we are satisfied."

    Everyone goes inside, and the grilling/questioning continues.....

    Brytallis mockingly and silently mouths the priest's words when his back is turned as they head in. He then takes a blow in the back of the head from one of the guards.

    "You WILL show respect," he says, giving Brytallis a grim stare. "You are in Veluna now, and you will do well to remember that." He then shoves Brytallis inside.

    Back inside, Edsamont spends another few hours questioning everyone. Din he doesn't question much, as the dwarf is so straight-forward. He is quite interested in Mal, for it's not every day you meet a hobgoblin in the company of others, especially a dwarf. Still, he accepts the story of the dragon and the other party. When the rest of the party, especially Din, vouch for him, he takes that as proof enough of Mal's character. In the end, he finds no reason to hold anyone longer, and allows you all to leave.

    "I apologize if I seemed brisk," says Toni with a bow, "but I have people to worry about. I hope we will meet in calmer times."

    He nods, and you are let out of the castle. When you return to the inn to gather your things, you find another priest of Rao waiting for you. He is assigned to travel with you and oversee things. See, the lands you are traveling are part of the Archclercy of Veluna, and they would keep an eye on things here, especially adventurers who seem to have a habit of stirring up trouble.

    Toni says, "I am Antonia Zolton," click of the heals and a slight bow, "You are most welcome if you have come to help all the peoples here. I have heard good things of you priests and hope you live up to what I have heard." She thinks, "Unlike the one we just met." Toni is ready to ride to her camp but if the others need to rest the night that is fine.

    The man nods to each of you and bows slightly to Antonia, leaning on a staff. "I am Maedoc. I have been assigned by His Grace to care for those in this area, especially this group. I am sure we will work well together." You notice he wears no armor and bears no weapon but the staff he carries. "I shall be coming with you," he then adds.



    This is Maedoc, replacement character for the player of Filbin and later Remarr. He is, of course, a priest of Rao. We'll see how lucky he is.....

    "Let us go and check on your people, Antonia," says Din.

    The party then heads out for the encampment.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:10 pm  
    Part 4 - Back to Grakhirt's Lair

    [u]Cast of Characters[/]
    Bree - Half-elf jester (sister of Sir Berenn from other party)
    Brytallis Burnheart - Human Wizard
    Din Deadeye - Dwarven Fighter (Sharpshooter)
    Dymir - Human Archer
    Mal - Hobgoblin Fighter
    Toni - Human (Attloi) Wizard/Thief
    Maedoc - Human Priest of Rao

    Starday, 8th of Coldeven (582)
    It takes more than a day to get there. Luckily, the weather is decent. You all feel the cold breezes gradually shifting, bringing better, warmer weather. The snow is gone now, and the hills are greening up with the sun and water. A light rain falls a bit, but it isn't bad. You reach the camp in the late afternoon, and Toni finds everyone safe and sound.

    "My people, we have a check to make sure the evil is not among us," says Toni. "We will take the test first then I ask you to come forward." They do the holy water test and she intoroduces everyone as they do it. She then says, presuming everyone passes. "Build a fire and let us all sit and tell each other what has happened since I left. We can talk in front of these people as they are here to help."

    A meal is served after we have talked for awhile. This evening gypsy dances and music fill the night. There is no trace of the demon amongst your people. You are at a total loss where it may have gone. We have our evening talk and dinner and party and set watchs before getting a good sleep. Various families make space for the party members in their wagons.

    Sunday, 9th of Coldeven (582)
    You pass an uneventful evening, and awake the next morning. It's a clear day, but a breeze gradually picks up. You sense rain on the way.

    "We can send riders into the neighborhood to see if there are any strange events," offers Toni. She asks for volunteers among the tribe to give a 5 mile sweep of the surrounding area. "Maedoc, did you get any hints as to where this demon might be before you left the temple?"

    "The first we heard of it was from you," he replies. "If it has gone from the village, I would think to try where it came from. Where did you find it?"

    [DM OOC: You are in the middle of nowhere. [Please see the map! You are in the large valley next to Arham's Lair, SW of Hagthar.] You can send riders out, but they'll just be riding around the wilderness. Plus, your people are not scouts, but just gypsies. They won't want to go get themselves involved in any dangerous affairs, and you should especially NOT be sending them out if there may be a demon about!

    The Raoists didn't even know about any demon until you told Edsamot, so no, they have no idea. Were if not for your descriptions coinciding so perfectly with the evidence found in the castle, he probably wouldn't even have believed you. So no, they have no idea. This demon can apparently take multiple forms, basically of anyone it kills. So, it could be anyone, at any time, and as nearly a month has passed, it could be anywhere. It's not necessarily within 100 miles anymore!]

    "That would be Grakhirt's Lair, back towards Cat's Claw Tower," says Brytallis. "We wanted to go there anyway, as Lyseios wanted us to go investigate the underground stream area for some more of the fungus that we found."

    [DM OOC: The demon was apparently trapped by Arham (whom you've never met and supposedly died over a hundred years ago). Grakhirt, hired by a Velunese noble (who is now dead at the demon's hands, literally!), stumbled across the demon and accidentally freed it. Somehow, he avoided being slain, but he was afraid of it. There was no mention of how it was trapped, or how it was freed.]

    When it is apparent that a sweep is not needed. Toni will leave a skin of holy water at the camp and is ready to go in search of the demon if that is what the others want to do.
    We could go back to that underground place to see if it returned thee or back to twon to see what is happening there. Or to Cat's claw Tower.

    "Let's check out Grakhirt's cave to see if the demon went back there," says Brytallis. "If it is not there, then the tower. Maedoc, welcome," he adds, turning and walking away. He then continues, not looking back, "I hope you don't have your head up your **** like Edsamot."

    Maedoc ignores the mage and speaks to the others. "Well, let us think it through. We tested everyone at the castle, your group and everyone at this camp. Did you test the villagers? If yes, then the demon has gone elsewhere. The only places close by would be the old lairs and the tower you spoke of."

    Mal mumbles something in goblin like, "lets go $%&#ing kill something." Good thing no-one understands goblin. Wouldn't want to offend anyone. Mal makes sure his mount is well fed. Eat up we ride soon one way or the other.

    Toni calls the people together. She says, "My people, I am told of an abandoned tower near here. It would make a safe point and we can see if the land there is of any value either for farming or raising horses. Get your wagons ready and let us go there."
    The tribe is on the move with the party within the hour. They are well versed in packing and moving quickly.

    Brytallis says, "great...dead weight."

    The gypsies have outriders to screen the wagons as they move. Everyone knows their jobs, they have done this before. That evening the group makes it to the village. They aren't taking the difficult trek along the foothills that the party once took. They are welcomed back at the village, as the people see the opportunity for some financial gain as well as some lively and colorful entertainment. Nobody from the castle comes down though. The gypsies put on a restrained version of their show. A lot of fancy horse riding not as much on the wild dancing. The villagers all come, and the party then arranges to test the villagers, and again, no trace of the demon is found.

    "Miss Antonia," Din says, gaining her attention. "Will you not leave your people here to work this town, whilst we explore further on our own? I have need of retracing my steps. I was charged by my lord Thorgrim to return to the Norker lair in order to gather a rare fungus for his alchemist. The demon came from there...perhaps it has returned. After that we are off to Cat's Claw Tower, a lonely pile of stones in the middle of the wilderness. I can think of no better place for a demon to make a new lair for itself. If we fail in our efforts to find it, we must consider this area free of the threat it poses, for now."

    [Din OOC: wasn't it the Norker lair where the fungus was? or was it Grakhirt's lair? Wherever it was, that's where we're heading first. Without the gypsy army in tow. And has it really been a month since our first visit? I thought it had only been a week or so. Time flies!]

    [DM OOC: The norker lair WAS Grakhirt's lair. The other place you went was Arham's lair. Yes, it's been a month. I did a short Fast Forward.]

    Toni says, "Din, my people can make their way to the tower without me and there can set up camp. I have given them some holy water and they have some silver daggers. To help protect themselves. If we are ready to go to this lair, let's ride."

    Maedoc will go up there, however. He will report all he has seen and heard. Ask for advice as to how to proceed. Not sure if his superior is the other priest or some other, but if he is this close it would be inexcusable for him not to check in. He also wants to know if there were any of the other people skinned? "I'm thinking the creature has to have a 'skin' of those it would take the place of," he thinks.



    Maedoc checks in. Edsamot isn't his superior per se; however, he has a special commission as a Holy Inquisitor. Thus, in this instance he is. So Maedoc lets him in on what is going on, what the party found, and where they are going. He also learns that those found dead in the castle also had their hearts taken out. After their meating, Maedoc is told to go with the party, to keep an eye on them, as well as to keep them out f trouble.

    Moonday, 9th of Coldeven (582)
    The next day the party heads out with the Attloi. It's another clear day, though a bit colder. The two groups split up at midday, as the party heads off to the SW to Grakhirt's Lair (the norker lair). They reach it just before dark. The gypsies will also reach Cat's Claw Tower tonight, and they will set up a new camp there, awaiting your return.

    You reach the norker lair, without a problem. You slip back down into the lair, and find no indication that anyone else has been here. The party walks around. The place smells bad, and the bodies are all decomposing in the corridors and rooms where they fell. You make your way to the storeroom, which is untouched as well. Unless mal cant tolerate the cold, he wants to try and get a sample of the mold which creates intense cold. Take an empty vial and something to scrape and collect. Mal might get lucky and it be the ingredient for a resist cold or even an offensive area cold attack.

    Mal enters the chamber carefully, and his infravision quickly tells him that it is much colder along the back wall, behind the crates, than anywhere else. The crates have been moved around, I think by Hyril or Dymir before, so he can see the rear wall. It is covered with a light-brown patch of mold which spans the entire section of the wall. It was totally hidden by the food crates until they were disturbed.

    Using the tip of his spear as a scraping tool, Mal will try to collect a sample of this light brown mold. If successful he will exit the storage area and get Din to carefully use a smaller tool like a dagger to transfer it to a couple of collection vials. We want to try as much as possible to keep it in the same conditions as in the storage room (ie not tightly seal the vial in case it needs air to survive / at least in one sample).

    Brytallis stays the hell away from their reckless experiment, instead moving to check out the underground stream. After successfully taking some mold, everyone meets him there. Toni notices that the underground stream goes into a tunnel which passable, though you may get wet. Looking closely, it seems norkers had used that passage, walking the underground stream.

    "Maybe the mushrooms are down there...?" says Brytallis.

    "Check stream?" says Mal. "Be careful"

    The stream goes down, and it is very slippery. It is not really high, as the snowmelt hasn't really started yet, so you can travel it rather easily. You just have to be careful.

    "We should use a rope to tie us together," says Toni.

    "You smart," grins Mal. "Rope good idea"

    Din will lead the way, using his infravision to see if the humans are far enough back. "This may be the path the demon took," he grimly warns.

    The stream goes gradually down, maybe dropping 50' or so, before it drops down through a large crack in the floor. About 10' down, he sees a smooth, worked stone floor.

    "If you think I am heading down that stream, you have another thing coming," says Brytallis. "That's a good way to get killed."

    Without looking at Brytallis, Maedoc answers him. "So you will stay up here in the stink of death by yourself as our rearguard! How brave of you. Good luck."

    Brytallis looks at him to tell whether he is serious and when he sees that he is, capitulates. "Fine...I will go but I still think this is a bad idea."

    [Din OOC: As long as we have 30 feet between the front and the light source at the rear, we should be okay, so only about six feet separating us each is required. Only the leader would be able to use his infravision; the others would have their darkvision stifled by the light. When we get to the crack, we lower each person down in succession and get a brief scout of the immediate area, before hammering a spike into the rock wall and securing the end of the rope to it, before the last person himself descends.]

    "It will be difficult to leave in a hurry, should we need to," Din says. "Pray your gods that doesn't happen." He says a brief prayer to Clanggedin to grant him strength to vanquish this demon, should we find him.

    The stream takes you along a passage which drops about 100' (I think that's what I said.) He finally reaches a crack and pours through it. You can easily go through the crack to the paved floor below. Basically, the stream wore its way through the wall/ceiling of an old passage. When he sees it, Din immediately recognizes the dwarven craftsmanship.

    You find yourselves in a passage which goes east/west. To the west it goes down a bit, with water flowing that way, but it is then totally collapsed. You head back the other way, which turns north. It ends in a stout old wooden door. There are old wall scones on the walls, though without torches in them.


    Full map of the area, so you can follow along.

    [DM OOC: I am not happy about the map. The squares shown on it are 20' squares, and I can't make the maptools squares small enough to fit correctly. So, just know that the squares you see are 20'. I may have to redo the map, but we'll see. I don't know how many torches you guys have, so you may need to check.]

    Toni searches the sconces and surrounding stones, but she doesn't find any traps. It's a pretty old dwarven tunnel, that's for sure. You hear nothing at the door.

    Din lifts his crossbow upright and tries opening the door. Toni steps back and draws a throwing dagger, from where no one is sure.

    You pass through the doorway, and find a small guard chamber with niches to either side [just above area 1]. It's empty. Beyond the chamber is a tunnel, heading north and down. After about 50' it branches to the right and left, with both branches turning north and going down. There's also no indication of either tunnel being more used.

    With no other hint Toni flips a copper and says "left".

    "We may as well stick together more closely, with our numbers so few," Din says. Better for my dwarf eyes to adjust to the light, now, than during a critical moment in battle. Brytallis and Antonia with the torch in the center. Dymir and Maedoc hold up the rear."

    The passage heads down, and twist and turns quite a bit. After about 30 minutes, you realize that you don't really know what direction you are heading anymore. You can gauge your approximate depth underground (you've dropped maybe another 100'), but you seem a bit lost. There are so many intersections and side passages, that the place is literally a maze, and you are lost.

    Toni, at the next intersection, uses her dagger to mark an arrow in the floor opposite to the way we are going. "That should be our way back," she says.

    You travel further, with the passages constantly turning, going up, then down, then back on themselves. Eventually, you come across the same mark, so you know that you just went around in a big circle.

    "It's time to get out of this maze." Toni starts to go back, this time marking every intersection the same way. It doesn't take long to simply go in a circle.

    [Maedoc OOC: Two things. Did we find our original entrance? Second, if no one else does so, I will map so what does the area look like?]

    [DM OOC: Nobody actually has anything with which to map. In fact, I assume you guys aren't actually mapping while we adventure. I only put the maps there so you can see what's going on. Mapping is terribly slow, and unless you say otherwise I assume you are NOT mapping. However, it's silly to think your characters wouldn't really remember if they went through a door or not, though without a map players would be lost all the time. That's why I give you maps!

    Anyway, this maze is also pretty much impossible to map, or at least very difficult. You'll run out of ways to make light long before you could create a decent map. [and it says that in the adventure, so boo!]

    "Can someone can light a candle to see if the flame moves in any direction, thus giving us a way out," asks Toni.

    The torch helps, especially with Toni's markings. Brytallis has paper and quills and ink. He will offer some of it up for use for mapping. You start mapping, and your going gets very slow. Before long, Brytallis swears, throwing his paper down. His map has crossed over itself about three times already, and he's constantly trying to fix it. It's very frustrating.

    "Sweetie, are you having trouble doodling?" says Bree. "It probably just isn't where your talents lie. Have you ever thought about bubble blowing?"

    "You sound like the voices in my head," he replies. "Shut up!"

    "If I sound like the voices in your head sweetie," she quips back, "you should probably listen to them. They are smarter than you!"

    Eventually, Toni's writing helps, and while Din is looking at it, he suddenly realizes he's been staring at the answer the whole time. There are small dwarven sigils, very cleverly disguised, in the ceiling. He actually missed them earlier, and it wasn't until he was looking for her marks that he noticed them. Pointing to them he almost shouts. "I've got it! These lead the way through the maze!"

    "Good work Din." Toni says.

    "Follow the dwarven sigil road!" shouts Bree.

    You follow the corridors and Din is able to find and follow the carefully disguised dwarven runes. After about an hour of walking, you all are getting pretty tired. You've been up a long time.....

    "Lets rest for a few hours," says Mal.

    "Pretty sure everyone hear could use some beauty sleep," laughs Bree. "Except me of course! Malgubet sweetie, you should just consider wearing large helmet for the rest of your life ... a millennium of sleep isn't going to help you."

    You guys sleep for a few hours, and everyone feels a little better. You continue on, though now everyone's hungry! After another hour or so, mostly going down (Din estimates that you are a about 300' down now) the tunnel opens into a large chamber. It is rectangular, 50' wide by 100' long, though only 10' high. The walls are smooth, though the ceiling is roughly cut. In the center of the room is a long table of solid rock. It is 75' long and 10' wide. A large wooden chest with a broken lock sits in the NE corner. There's another passage leading out the right wall. Din recognizes the chamber as a dwarven meeting/mess hall. [This is area 3]

    The table has many scratches and chips on its polished surface. Also lying upon it are a 7' long heavy chain, an empty bone scroll case, and a pair of dwarf-sized leather boots. In the chest are two wax candles, an empty glass bottle, and six metal spikes. Leaning against the wall is an old pick axe.

    "An odd assortment," Din says, stuffing the boots and the scrollcase in his backpack. "This will allow me to sell my old scrollcase, for money to live. Don't know about the rest...probably critical to our success. Let's check out that chest."

    You head down the other tunnel, and after about 150' and a couple of turns, it splits. A side tunnel heads to the right, while the main tunnel keeps going, bending back to the left. The cobblstone floors also give way to dirt floors here, though the tunnels are clearly worked, dwarf-made tunnels. A faint odor of smoke comes from the right tunnel.

    The tunnel continues, twisting and turning a bit. After going maybe 200', you see a faint glow ahead. The passage continues, bending around to where it eventually opens into another chamber. Now, I mapped a bit ahead, but you guys need to decide how you are investigating. I know those with infravision are out front, so that would mean Din and Mal, followed by Brytallis and maybe Bree. The rest are what, 30' behind the rearmost, with a torch?

    So, when Din and Mal get to the end of the tunnel, they see the following:

    This cavern is roughly cut, with uneven surfaces all around and a ceiling about 25' high. The walls and floor are hacked by shovels and picks, and Din clearly recognizes it as a mining chamber. There are old scaffolds along the walls, though most are crumbling with age. The entire area is lit by dim lanterns, hanging from some of the scaffolds. There are a half-dozen dwarves about 20' from the tunnel entrance. Another half dozen are at the far end of the chamber. They appear to be emaciated, nasty-looking dwarves. Their complexion and hair range from medium to dark gray. They wear drab clothing designed to blend into their environment, and are bristling with weapons. They don't notice you, as they are talking amongst themselves. Din doesn't recognize the language, though it is related to dwarven. However, he recognizes the dwarves. They are duergar!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:47 pm  
    Part 5 - The Dark Forest

    Mal and Din carefully and quietly back up, reporting back to the party about the duergar. Mal keeps an eye out down the tunnel, while they make you back further away with the torch. The party can now decide what they wish to do.....

    "Explore the other way, retreat, attack or try to talk to them," says Toni. "The last seems unlikely. I say we explore the other way."

    "So what we have here is an ancient dwarven work," says Maedoc. "Deserted suddenly a long time ago. Scaffolding is made to take a lot of weight and lasts years (decades if not centuries) without it. The duergars must be thinking of continuing the excavations.
    Duergars have the reputation of being dangerous fighters, at least equal to ours. As they have a dozen or so, they are probably led by someone even better. That, the fact that we are outnumbered, and the well-known dwarven resistance to magic leaves us with slim chances. The only time I can think of dwarves suddenly leaving work in this area would be the Hateful Wars. If this is where the norkers found the demon, he or it would most likely date to that period. I'll have to study on what was faced at those battles.
    In the meantime, let's go the other passage and see what we find."

    "He who doesn't fight and runs away, may live to run away another day," laughs Bree. "Seems like a good idea to me!"

    The party backtracks, taking the other tunnel. Again, Mal is up ahead, being probably the sneakiest with infravision. The tunnel leads eventually, after another few hundred feet and another drop of maybe 25' or so, to another large chamber. This one is roughly circular, with a diameter of about 75'. The floor is evenly cut, though not cobblestoned, but in this chamber it is all covered with a layer of soil. Strange luminescent fungi grow on the walls, providing an eerie illumination similar to faerie fire. Mal is thus not using infravision now. He also notices that there are a lot of giant mushrooms in this chamber, pretty much all over, and more...some of them are moving about!

    Before he is noticed, he slips back into the darkness and reports back.

    "I can't imagine mushrooms posing much threat," says Din, advancing into the room with crossbow readied.

    "Din, hold up," says Toni, "You did notice, I hope, that some of them are walking around. I don't know how smart they might be but lets not take a chance. If you want to test them, fire a crossbow bolt at one on the far wall. If they start to chase us lets lead them to the dark dwarves."

    "Nay, I wouldn't waste a shot just to show aggression like that," replies the grumpy dwarf. "My presence will be the test."

    Din advances into the room, crossbow at the ready. He tries to get a look at the creatures to see if they have weapons and see how they react to his presence, and listens to hear if they speak a language he can understand. He won't attack them unless he is attacked, first. Any duergar he spots will get no such consideration. If they don't show immediate aggression, he will lower his crossbow and motion to the party to enter. Mal will stay close behind Din to lend aid if needed. But no, he's a little on edge about animated fungi so keeps his hand near the quiver of arrows.

    [DM OOC: While waiting just a bit, I thought I'd post a picture!]



    or this one...



    Din walks in and three duergar immediately move to intercept him. One was standing behind a large mushroom, but the other two were standing by the right and left walls. Apparently Mal didn't notice them.

    Din fires his crossbow, hitting one solidly in the chest [7]. It flips backwards, landing on its back. Din notices that the duergar has strange, purple growths all along its skin, but it otherwise looks like a zombie.

    Mal quickly fires a shot from his bow, hitting the one to the left, the only one he can see, and hitting it as well [5]. It too flips back and doesn't move. The third moves up and attacks Din, scratching him [1].

    Mal steps aside and fires another shot, missing the thing. He also sees activity beyond, as some of the mushrooms start to move about more frantically.

    Bree starts to sing...."Give me a T ... T! Give me an E ... E! Give me an A ... A! Give me a M ... M! What's that spell? Team!"

    [Bree OOC: Using Bree's morale modifier to boost our morale.]

    Mal calls out, as Din and him both fire their bows. Their shots both hit, pinwheeling the last duergar, which drops back to the ground. They both notice now that all three seem to have been dead already, and they are covered in strange purple fungus.

    As they are watching, a group of about half-dozen big mushroom creatures moves towards them. All are about 10' tall. The shortest fires a cloud of spores over them!

    Mal hears strange voices in his head. It's like somebody is speaking to him, but nobody is. Yet, somebody is talking to him!

    "Who are you?" a voice demands. "What do you want here?" He notices the creatures stop, and he quickly assumes it must be these mushroom things.

    Din goes to fire his crossbow at the large one, but Mal reaches out, putting a hand on his shoulder to stop him.

    I am Mal friend of Din the dwarf with me. We are looking for an evil creature that killed another of our friends. The only reason we attacked the creatures was because they attacked us. Din and I mean you no harm.[/]

    Din sees Mal stop his attack and seeming to come under the influence of these strange creatures. He grabs Mal and attempts to shake the spell out of him. "They've ensorcelled Mal!" he calls.

    The rest of the party moves up, some not so cautiously. By the time the others get there, Mal has calmed down Din. "No charm," he says. "Talk in head."

    You notice that the myconids (may as well use their real name) are not acting in a threatening way now. A couple smaller ones are pulling the zombie durgear away, but the rest, including the REALLY BIG one, are just standing there, swaying.

    Brytallis says, "Mal, ask them if we can pass through here without coming to harm."

    Mal looks back, unsure of being the spokesman. He picks one of the spores from his face. "This make know how talk in head," he says.

    Medc steps forward. He walks up to the myconid chief, the 12' tall creature towering above the unarmored man. He bows his head, and the myconid sprays spores over him. Soon, the two are speaking telepathically, while everyone else waits. After a bit, Medc bows to the myconid and turns around.

    "I will relate what it said," he says. "These are myconids. They are peaceful dwellers of the Underdark. They came upon the area and discovered the mass of rotting trees and bushes in the next chamber, which they used to cultivate their fungal forest. The Dark Forest has thrived, and so have the myconids for many years. They say that though they have evolved far beyond us, they are willing to suspend judgment on us. Thus, I have agreed to be tested, that we may be proved worthy to walk beside them as equals. Who will come with me?"

    Brytallis swallows loudly and says, "I am good at tests and I'll try." He steps forward in a non-threatening and respectful manner.

    Mal steps forward. "I trust them. Me go"

    "If it is a test of brain power," quips Bree, "then you guys are going to need all the help you can get. I am in!"

    Medic (I am changing his spelling here, since that's how we pronounce it anyway, and the punctuation is impossible!) turns back to the myconids. After a bit, he turns around, placing his staff on the ground. "You must remove your weapons and armor," he says.

    Toni says, "I will stand guard that the evil dwarves from the other room do not attack us. After you have been tested then I will be accept testing. Please tell them that."

    Medic looks at Toni. "I am sorry, girl, but I'm afraid it doesn't work like that. You either step forward now, prove yourself before the myconids, or you do not."

    Toni steps forward, with a backward glance at the dwarves, and finds a place to put down 6 daggers, where they came from in her skirts is unknown, her crop and whip. She still has her lockpicks which she can use a weapons but she does not even think of them as weapons, just tools. She says, "I trust they will keep us safe." It is clear that she is not too trusting.

    Mal almost growls. [i]Guess this leather armor doesn't prevent much damage,
    he thinks. Begrudgingly he stacks his leather, spear, shield and bow in a pile. He conveniently forgets about the silver dagger tucked down in his boot (unless reminded of such). "Where to," he says.

    After the party removes all their weapons and armor (except for maybe Mal's hidden dagger!) the myconids escort them through their cavern. There are about two dozen of the things, at least. It's hard to tell, since they blend in if they don't move. Still, it seems that not fighting them was smart. The party is led through another tunnel, which opens into a tremendously large cavern. [I updated the map, but remember, there's no light in this place, so you really can't see it all.]

    The floor and walls are roughly cut, with niches dug out in many places. Din clearly recognizes the signs of mining. Before the party stretches a bizarre and somewhat repellant sight; a vast forest of 20' tall mushroom, pale grey in color, with splotches of white. Across the cave floor is a carpet of green molds and black fungi, with finger-sized blue growths appearing among the rest. The air is damp and thick with the smell of mold and rot, which makes it hard to breath. It feels like one would suffocate in this place. The ceiling height varies from 10' to 50', and water drips from it in many places, falling soundlessly from stalactites to the "forest" floor.

    "You must spend one half-cycle within," says the myconid chief.

    "Umm, what's a cycle?" asks Mal.

    The myconids back away without "talking", and you are left alone at the entrance to the dark forest.

    "This is just a subtle way to get a girl naked," says Bree, trying not to touch anything.

    Toni finds it hard to wait and paces like a cat. Everyone moves slowly and silently into the Dark Forest. The odor is oppressive, and the fungal undergrowth squishes underfoot. The entire feel of the place is disconcerting. Toni finds a place that is less wet, and starts pacing. Everyone stops, and you wait for a bit. Medic says a prayer to Rao to watch over you [casting wyvern watch].

    You remain in place for what seems forever, probably a couple of hours, when Medic is alerted to his Wyvern Watch parallyzing something. He moves around some tall mushroom trees, and there sees a strange sight.


    BTW, there's just one!

    It looks like a brain on stumpy feet with a long tendril sticking out of it. He has no idea what it is, but something instinctual tells him it's not good. He hurries back and tells everyone. "It'll only be paralyzed a few minutes," he says.

    "I knew it! These evil fungi have led us into a trap!" shouts Din, turning red with rage. "Or perhaps this is the test? A test for spellcasters, it seems." He stands behind the priest of Rao, ready to assist with fist and foot.

    Brytallis says, "This may be part of the test. It might not be real." He attempts to disbelieve illusions.

    [DM OOC: Nobody else can see it unless they go and look. The spell creates an area of 100' where you are safe, and stopped this thing 10' outside of that! Medic went and looked, then told you what he saw. Remember, in this mushroom forest you can only see about 10-30' at most, since it's full of big assed mushrooms!]

    Medic says, "It is trapped, but for only a few minutes." If you guys want to go and look, fine. I'll assume Din and Bryt looked. Bryt stands there, disbelieving in illusions.

    [Incidentally, that's #59 of the D&D Famous Last Words! "I attempt to disbelieve!"]

    http://gravewisdom.guildportal.com/G...opicID=8745957

    Anyway, it doesn't go away.

    "If that thing is for real it is time to get out while we still can. I have too many people depending on me." Toni gives a minute for some people to disbelieve the thing then she starts out with whomever wants to come with her.

    Brytallis, seeing it is real, tells the others and then throws three darts at it.

    While everyone else is about to leave, Brytallis throws three darts at it. He hits with one, amazingly, doing [2].

    Medic sighs, both because Brytallis apparently didn't disarm but also because of his current actions.

    "Time to move," Toni says as she moves her babushka, shawl, from her shoulders to over her head. She heads back to where they left their weapons.

    Toni flees back towards the entrance. Din looks for Mal, but doesn't see him anyway. He moves over by Brytallis and goes to fire his crossbow, then realizes that he doesn't have it, or his armor. With a curse, he moves back behind Medic.

    Bree takes off with Toni, thinking about how right she was. Dymir runs away with them, while Sonste casts light on the creature, which bathes the area is bright light.

    Medic sighs again, but stays back out of the way.

    Toni tries to get back to her weapons, kicking and punching only if needed. The myconids allow her to enter their area and retrieve her weapons. She is further sprayed with spores, that she may communicate to them. The others follow her, though they are not sprayed. Those who retreated may take their weapons and armor. This takes a few minutes. However, if anyone tries to return to the Dark Forest, they are barred by the myconids.

    "You have failed," say the myconids together.

    Bree turns to Toni, "This all seemed kind of useless. When the others get back we should just slice and dice these things and make a huge wild mushroom salad?"

    Toni looks at the myconids, thinking, Is that any way to treat guests. I have many people who depend on my helping them. I am sorry if we failed your test but I like my brain right where it is."

    "We do not have guests," says the chief of the myconids. "It is always the same. Violent barbarians come, hacking and slaying. I had hoped you would be different." The last part is thought with much sadness.

    "When we are attacked, or threatened with attack, what do you expect. Now we wait for our friends who are still with you. Are they all safe?" She thinks.

    The remaining group, with no weapons except for Brytallis who has his darts, is back in the Dark Forest.

    Medic says, "I believe we should probably run."

    "Without weapons and armor?" says Din, "You bet your robed arse!"

    Din and Medic then turn to flee. Sonste follows them as well. They run about halfway back, when Medic glances back and sees Brytallis is not with them. "Stop!" he yells. "Where's Brytallis?" The others stop too, looking back and realizing that Brytallis didn't run away.

    Medic will go back, looking for Brytallis. Din, though he doesn't relish the idea or even like Brytallis, will back up the noble Medic. Sonste, a LG priest of Pelor, could not let them go alone, so he follows as well. They come back to the spot in time to see Brytallis lying on his back, the brain-thingy atop him. The tentacle seems to be burrowing into Brytallis's head.

    [Medic OOC: Who is left in the forest with Medic at this point?]

    [DM OOC: Din and Sonste. Everyone else split. None of you have any rope. In fact, you have very little gear at all.]

    Mal comes out from around a mushroom where he was hiding. He shoves the creature off Brytallis, and the thing turns towards him, tail thing flickering menacingly. At the same time, the others show up.

    Mal runs away from it, while Din rushes forward and grabs ahold of Brytallis. Both priests use prayers, Medic with a sleep command and Sonste with a Cause Fear. Neither seems to be effective. Brytallis is unconscious.

    The brain thingy moves away, leaving you able to help Brytallis. A CLW heals [5], and leaves him still unconscious, but alive and not losing more. Mal took off, not in the direction of the exit either. Running off after him in the dark forest is probably not sensible, so you can stay here amidst the light of Sonste's spell.

    "Follow the light to the healing rays of the sun," chants Sonste. "Praise Pelor for illuminating this darkness. Let's leave this place when our party is reunited." Then he continues to administer to Brytallis. "Fear not fellow half-elf, may Pelor's healing rays from the glorious sun cure you from harm brought upon you by darkness." Sonste tends to the needs of Brytallis and casts another CLW.

    On hour later, Mal returns. After another CLW and a healing potion, Brytallis is back to max hit points. Maybe next time he won't stand there like a dummy and "disbelieve in illusions!"

    "I can't say I enjoy being down here so far from Sun Father's rays," says Sonste. "It is my duty to illuminate darkness and destroy evil, so venturing into the shadows of the Underdark is part of my quest to serve almighty Pelor."

    "We came for red mushrooms," says mal. "Perhaps we should have a look see till they call us to return." There seems no reason to stand in this spot if the light spell has disappeared. Mal starts to check for priceless red mushrooms.

    After another hour (4 now) you hear a strange dragging sound. Mal checks it out, and there is a mushroom fungus thing "crawling" nearby. It is an algae-like thing, resembling fibrous blobs of decomposing, milk-colored matter with capped fungi growing out of them. It doesn't move very fast, but it clearly senses him somehow and turns to move in his direction. It's about 30' away.

    After a couple more hours of avoiding things like that, the myconids call you back. You successfully make it back to their lair, and all four get sprayed with telepathy spores. The chief praises you for surviving, and for not killing anything. "You may be violent," he says, "but there is hope for you."

    The king is pleased. He welcomes those who succeeded to join them in a melding ritual. The myconids invite you to form a circle. Your friends may stand by, but they cannot participate. More myconids come, seemingly all of them. There are about two dozen. All of them but the king participate. The shortest myconids, 6' tall ones, shoot rapport spores at those in the circle. Once they take effect, those taking part hear a gentle humming coming from the assembled myconids, though they make no actual sound. Next, the 8' tall myconids shoot more spores, which affect only Mal and Sonste are affected, both Din and Medic are not. They look to Mal and Sonste, and the two seem to sink into a lethargic calm.

    [Medic OOC: The ones that stayed would be Din, Mal, Medic, Sonste and Brytallis. Bryt might be disqualified for throwing the darts. Apparently Din and Medic made (or failed) their saving throws and were not affected by the spores. And Medic was looking forwards to it, too. Ah, well.]

    [DM OOC: Brytallis is not disqualified. As it turns out, all you had to do was survive! So, those who fled are out. Medic and Din may still meld; they just aren't affected by the pacifier spores. Whatever happens, they will be able to act. The others are going to be HIGH!!!]

    Moments later, the 10' tall myconids spray spores. Each of those taking part in the ritual see rainbow colors swirling around them. You all notice the myconids have begun to sway back and forth, waving their arms like grass in a summer breeze, and humming continuously. This seems to last only a few minutes, but for those not taking part, the ritual lasts for hours.

    At the end of that time, Brytallis stumbles and starts crawling around on the floor like he's looking for something. He repeatedly says, "My nose, my nose," as he crawls around. "Where is it?" Medic tries to help him, but he is inconsolable.

    Sonste meanwhile flails around, slapping at his hair. "Fire!" he cries. "Fire!" He rolls around, slapping his hair and trying to put out the nonexistent flames. Din holds him down until Sonste passes out. Meanwhile, Mal just slips into an easy slumber, totally relaxed. Then Brytallis, Mal, and Sonste all fall into a sound slumber. None can be revived. The party can sleep, as there's nothing to do but wait for them to awaken.

    It will take 8-10 hours for them to wake up. The myconids don't seem to sleep, but they recognize the party's need for sleep. They allow the others to stay there and wait, watching over their friends. Otherwise, you could do something else in the mean time, though I'm not sure what there is to do.

    At the end of that time, after I will assume the party gets a full day's sleep, the three awake. The myconid king is impressed, first by Medic and Din, and then by the others. "No other intelligent being has ever melded without falling comotose," he says. He makes makes Medic and Din part of the tribe. After the alloted time, the others awake. They are accepted too, and the chief says, "Perhaps you are more evolved than I thought."

    I know not what this "evolved" is, but I assume it means something good, Din thinks. He retrieves his weapons and armor and prepares for the day's expedition.

    "Geez talk about a backhanded compliment from someone that belongs on a plate with lettuce and tomatoes!" says Bree.

    Brytallis asks, "What does it mean to be part of the tribe?"

    It means the chief gives you samples of the red mushroom fungus. You can give it to Lyseious when you return, though I don't know what he'll do with it yet. You'll get some new potion type from it. Afterwards, you speak with the myconids for a bit and learn that they have been beset by another underground race, the durgear. You've already seen them, so you understand. They continually attack the myconids, because they are trying to mine the cavern of the Dark Forest. A couple of myconids come up with handfuls of bloodstones. There must be 100! Apparently this is what they desire, he says. "If you will fight with us, you may have all of these. What say you?"

    Toni, clearly eyeing the stones says, "The durgear are known even in the old country to be evil. I will fight with you."

    "Durgear shunned the loving light of Father Sun and took up the ways of evil and darkness," says Sonste. "Allow me to illuminate their sins."

    "I will fight also," Din says, as he pats his armor and flexes his limbs to be sure it is adjusted properly. "...Much though you abhor violence. Tell me, can any of your spores be used as weapons? The zombie spores, perhaps, could probably prove useful in this regard. Can they be bottled and stored? I have several vials."

    He opens his backpack and retrieves his jade scrollcase. "Would be good to know how this fits in with our written directives..." He reads the scroll within for a moment before clearing his throat and announcing:

    "My lord Thorgrim has given me the following missions to complete:

    "One. We are to track and find the demon-thing, kill it or ensure that it leaves the area surrounding Castle Hagthar, or confirm that it has already left the region. We are to scout the area and ensure that no significant threats remain to the peace and safety of the inhabitants.

    "Two. We are to procure a sample of the red mushrooms for Thorgrim's alchemist to study. Thank you, mushroom-beast.

    "Three. We are to scout the area around Cat's Claw Tower, and ensure that no evil creatures have taken up residence there or in the surrounds, thence to waylay the settlers to come. Hm.

    "Four. We are to scout the area around and within the Dwarven Mithril Mine and do the same."

    "Mithril mine!" he shouts, eyes growing wide. He reads feverishly for a moment. "Well I'll be...and he's included a map and directions. Would that we could explore that first." His hands are shaking as he continues.

    "Five..." he says, and pauses. "This is a mission for me to undertake myself. I am to return to Thunderstrike and accomplish a task, which I will keep to myself for now. This after returning to Hommlet and reporting to the Heroes there."

    Din rolls up the scroll and reinserts it into its case. "I would say that fighting these Duergar falls well within the bounds of the first of our Mission Directives," he says with an air of finality.

    The party agrees, and there and there's a big fight shortly thereafter. The myconids and the durgear fight, with the party assisting the myconids. There turn out to be twice as many durgear as you thought, the battle is tough. However, you succeed in defeating them and driving the rest back into Deepeart. Only a handful of myconids are lost, which saddens the myconid tribe; however, they hope they will now be safe for many years. You find the way to deepearth, and collapse it completely, barring the passage for any future travelers. The myconids are grateful, and the king provides some spores for Din to return to Lyseios.

    With everything accomplished, you may return to the surface. You have 4000 gp worth of bloodstones, which you can divide up. Along with other exp as well as completion bonus, everyone gets 1000 exp.

    "If Cat's Claw is on the way let us stop there," says Toni. "We will have completed another of our tasks, and I can check in with my tribe."

    Bry says, "Yes, let's head on to the tower."

    "It will be nice to be above ground," says Bree, skipping along. "We wouldn't happen to be on our way to Hommlet? My brother ... well half brother ... lives somewhere near there and I would love to drop in on him."

    "Who is your half brother?" Brytallis asks.

    "Berenn Silverwood," Bree replies. "Oh I am sorry ... Sir Berenn Silverwood, Knight Commander of the Watchlands ... blah blah blah and a stiff shirt to boot!"

    The group is only a few hours from the tower, and makes it there without incident. Din has his eyes peeled for danger as they approach the tower.

    "Thorgrim warned me of a strangler vine that had rooted itself in the tower. His party destroyed it, but he gave me this Potion of Plant--" He looks dismayed. The top is broken, and the potion leaked out! "Looks like it broke during the Duergar fight. We'll have to be cautious."

    You get the tower, and it's not overgrown with the strange strangler vines. They gypsies have moved here, and they have a camp set up around the place. It doesn't take long to see that these folk are perfect to keep an eye on the tower for Hepla.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:54 pm  

    Thus ends another old Dungeon adventure. This was The Dark Forest, from issue 22. It was weird, but it fit in with the mushroom expedition they were going to undertake, so I rolled with it.

    The Wild Bunch will now turn their attention to that last part of their misison, or at least Din's mission, the search for the mithril mine..... Also, it is about this time we can once again pick up the Heroes of Hommlet as they finally prepare to leave Hommlet once again. You can follow their adventures in a future tale, Trolls of the Rushmoors.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:55 am  
    Part 6 - The Shrine of Gorm

    Godsday, 11th of Coldeven (582)

    You pass an uneventful night, arising the next morning early. It is cloudy, with a light wind [3mph] from the North. It brings colder air, and the temperatures don't get above mid-forties all day.



    [DM OOC: I found the old image I had of Cat's Claw Tower. It is still overgrown with vines and such, just not the deadly killer one that the party fought a couple years ago.]

    Toni seems nervous and the dogs in the camp act like they are afraid of her. She keeps looking at the sun and the old tower. "Are we riding today or just hanging around this old place?" She snaps out the question like either choice is someone else's problem.

    The dwarven mithril mine is on the opposite side of the haunted Valley of Karaduum. You will note it on the map, south of the lake to the north of Dorob Kilthduum.


    Map of Valley of Karaduum

    "Can we go to Littleborough and go upstream to the lake where the mine is instead of passing through the haunted valley?" asks Brytallis.

    "That is probably a very good idea," says Medic. "As the myconid chief said," he adds with a smile. "Maybe there is hope for you after all."

    Brytallis puffs up a little and says, "Then let's strike out in the morning to Littleborough!"

    Its sunset/moon rise, a full moon, and Toni says, "Fear not the animals this night. The tiger visits." She goes off to her gypsy wagon. A few minutes later, when the moon is fully risen, the horses start acting really skittish when from the camp comes the howl of a great cat. A lithe figure bounds outside the camp lines. The horses calm down somewhat. After a few minutes another howl erupts from outside the camp. Then a pair of large eyes reflect the firelight for a moment, then all is quiet.

    The gypsies all smile, "The tiger visits tonight. Sleep well but stay in the camp."

    The party stays around the fire, and they pass an uneventful night, except for the growls around the fringes of the camp. They attloi seem unconcerned, saying only "the tiger visits tonight."

    In the morning, Toni comes out of the wagon and one of the guards walks over and wipes something from just below her lips. "Good morning, we can ride anytime you are ready. I will pass on breakfast, I am not really hungry this morning. But the rest of you enjoy and let me know when you are ready."

    12th of Coldeven (582)

    You prepare to head out in the morning. Though the Attloi stay at the tower, Toni will join you. The Attloi are prepared to make camp here for now, especially as they've been give freedom to do so. While the group is preparing to leave, an elf rides into camp. He introduces himself as Thelyn Weirkein, a cavalier/scout from Celene. He had just road up this way from Verbobonc, thinking to circle back to Celene via the Trail of Tears, when he came across your group.


    Theyln, replacement for Lareth who stayed back in Hommlet.

    After a short discussion regarding their purpose here, he offers to join you. When told he must submit to magical inspection, he bristles a bit.

    "Fine, beat it then, elf!" snaps Din.

    The elf eyes Din, then ignores him and agrees anyway. Medic uses his divinations, and he reveals that the young elf warrior seems to be exactly who is claims. Thelyn will join the party as they go to Littleborough. With a good start, and good horses, you make it to the halfling village just after nightfall. You can stay the night at the Galloping Pike and then leave in the morning.

    Toni comes up to the elf and says, "Antonia Zolton, well met elf." She clicks her heals and gives a head bow.

    Toni then sings for the halflings, which end up liking Toni's singing. However, Bree dazzles them with tumbling, juggling, and jokes which brings down the house. She's given free room and board. Everyone else takes off a gp for the night!

    When they learn she is half-sister to Berenn, they can't hardly believe it. "He's sooooo BORING!!!" they all say.

    Bree bows and thanks them for their generosity. "You will have to forgive my brother, he never learned how to have a good time!"

    "Well, you certainly know how to sing for your supper, lassie," Din remarks.

    The halflings laugh. "She's even better that Elrae!"

    You also notice a beautiful short sword hanging above the fire. It has a bronze plaque beneath it which says, "The Sword of Derry".

    Brytallis quietly whispers to Din. "Isn't that the guy who poisoned himself? Seems an odd way to honor stupidity."

    "I know not," Din replies. "Never heard of him."

    "What's that?" ask the innkeeper?

    "That's Derry, the fellow who fought and died with the heroes of Hommlet, our employers," replies Brytallis, rolling his eyes as he talks. "He deserved a better end than dying in such a terrible accident."

    "Accident?" says the innkeeper. "He died in battle, heroicly fighting the orcs, goblins, and ogres of the Temple of Elemental Evil!" The halfling seems defensive when he argues with Brytallis. A few more halflings come over, and it is quite obvious that ALL the halflings in the inn are watching.

    Brytallis licks his lips and lies, saying, "I meant no offense. I was told he fell victim to a poison trap. If I am wrong, I apologize. I meant no disrespect."

    "Bravo sweetie. I put on a great show, have them all happy and entertained, now you have insulted them." Bree turns to the halflings, "My traveling companion is speaking out of ignorance, please forgive his slander against your hero, it will not happen again."

    The halflings tell you all the tale, and to hear it from them it is a far different thing. He single-handedly defeated Lareth, battled a storm giant, stood toe-to-toe with a demoness. It's a very grand tale of heroism that is quite inspiring, in not exactly true.

    Brytallis says, "I'll remember that tale and what you said about the path and thank you. Now that I know the truth of the story I think I'd like to propose a toast to Derry. The next round is on me!"

    [Bree OOC: Boy Derry has grown to God-like status, just imagine the tales that would be told if he was still alive and not a moron! LOL!]

    "Wow, he is a great hero. Thank you for his story." Din whispers to Brytallis, "The selfsame Lareth who yet lives, and aided us on our last quest? I had heard he had a checkered past, but nothing so grand. My how tales change in the telling." He raises his mug. "A toast to Derry Goblinslayer!" Toni steps outside for a moment, smiles at the moon, bows slightly, then comes in and goes to bed.

    "To Derry, may the Sun Father bless him in light and embrace him in Elysium," toasts Sonste.

    "To Derry Bushytoes! A great halfling warrior!" finishes Brytallis, barely able to conceal his sarcasm.

    [DM OOC: It should be noted these players are the same who played the Heroes of Hommlet, and the Brytallis player's original character was the halfling Derry. He died in the Temple of Elemental Evil when tasting a potion to determine its type. Of course, it was poison. Last words: I wonder what this potion does?]

    Theyln returns after visiting the village elders, and discusses any information he may have gained. He learned that there's an old path that leads up the valley. Nobody takes it anymore, so they cannot tell you what you will find. Nobody in the village remembers the days when it was used,, but they know it leads all the way to Dorob Kilthduum itself.

    Freeday, 14th of Coldeven (582)
    You awake the next morning, get a good meal, then set off on your way. The path is easy to follow through the forested hills, running along the west side of the stream. By midday, you are rising up quite a ways, following the stream up through the valley. Eventually it begins to get dark, and you find a good place to camp for the night.

    The next day you continue following the stream. Steep hills rise quickly on your right, and the path becomes more difficult, with a few places being washed out which slow you down immensely. The going is difficult, and you have to lead your horses rather than ride them. The path then turns away from the stream as the terrain levels out a bit. You are still gradually walking uphill, but it is much less steep. The path loops away from the stream by a few hundred yards, though you can still hear it to your left. Through breaks in the forest, you catch glimpses of high hills to your right and left. You are in a valley a few miles wide. The path then makes a Y, and up the right hand branch heading southwest you see, up to your right built into the cliffside, a strange sight.



    It seems some kind of temple, with a large statue in the center, holding an anvil in its upraised hands. Din recognizes it as Gorm, Guardian of the Dwarves.

    Brytallis says, "Maybe we should give an offering since we are going into the mine. It may ward off bad luck."

    Toni says, "It is always good to court good luck. Din, what is appropriate for an offering to this god?

    As you reach the temple, you notice great granite pillars of pure white, with encircling green veins which look like leaves sprouting golden flowers. When you get closer, Din whispers, "It's real gold."

    Within the shrine, the dwarven god Gorm stands resolute. You notice that it is not an anvil, but an immense amber gem. The shrine is open to the elements, but has resisted all weathering.

    "Notice the symbolism," says Sonste, pointing out the amber gem. "Even the dwarves adhere to Pelor, as they carved out a golden sun atop the temple."

    Brytallis stares in awe and quietly says, "Din, maybe you should go first."

    When Din moves up, he notices a secret door in one of the pillars, concealed as only dwarves do. It's an easy matter to open it, pushing two disguised buttons simultaneously. It opens to reveal a shaft dropping 20' to a corridor hewn from the solid rock. It is pitch black below, and the corridor goes off out of sight. Cobwebs are abundant, and the air smells stale.


    Top view

    "Perhaps this be a secret entrance to the mines?" muses Din. "Suren none have been here in ages."

    "Hey, you don't think the dwarves would mind if we chipped off some of that gold do you?" asks Bree. "Or maybe just remove that amber gem?"

    Din glares at her, but Toni quickly interjects. "There is power here that should not become our enemy. Besides would you settle for gold when you could have mithril?" She takes out a gold piece, laying it before the statue as a sacrifice.

    "I know of no sacrifice his followers made other than their lives, which they called paying 'Gorm's greatest price,'" says Din. "He has been long removed from the affairs of Dwarves, as far as I know. Still, it's best not to defile anything here. He is a close compatriot of my lord Clanggedin, if tales be true. The fact that the amber anvil remains attests to his continued guardianship of this place." He looks down the shaft, "Let's head down here and see what lies within."

    Toni and Din check for traps, finding none. Din finally goes down the ladder, after saying a prayer to Gorm himself. He lights his lantern and then sees that the tunnel continues into the mountain as far as he can see, which is 60'. After securing their mounts, the rest of the party follows.

    There is a lever below which you find operates the secret door above. You can thus close it behind you by pulling the lever, or you can open it again by pushing it again. The passage continues for quite a way. Din thinks about 1000'. It is 10' and 10' high, and continues dead straight until it ends in a blank wall, which Din examines and finds two secret doors. There is a loose stone in the wall next to each door, behind which is a small cavity. Inside the cavity is a small lever.


    progress map

    [DM OOC: A lot of old progress maps were overwritten during play, so I'll just show you this later one. The party from the right, where it says To the Shrine of Kor, which shrine I changed to an ancient dwarven deity. Ignore the bodies everywhere, for now....]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:59 am  
    Part 7 - It's not just a mine, it's a tomb!

    Brytallis says, "Both of these doors should be examined for traps."

    "I agree," says Din. "No dwarven fortress is constructed without them, though we may have improved our odds by entering the back door, as it were."

    Mal moves out of the way so that someone with expertise can check the area.

    "Good idea, Brytallis," says Theyln. "Get on that. We will wait."

    "I'd prefer someone expendable does it," replies the young mage.

    "Exactly," says Theyln. "You are by far the most expendable. That work suits you. Now get on it."

    "Why don't we split the difference and get the trollop to do it?" Pointing to Berenn's sister.

    "Oh sweetie," replies Bree with a grin. "You shouldn't go around saying derogatory things about women when you are wearing a dress. People are going to get the wrong idea."

    Brytallis doesn't quite know how to respond and gasps air like a fish on land. "I wouldn't call what you wear a dress unless you're trying to turn into a prostitute," he finally responds.

    "At least my clothing is actually made for a woman," quips Bree, clearly enjoying the game of wits with Brytallis. "I just hope you don't have a limp wand to go with those limp wrists."

    Toni laughs at that comment then says, "I apologize for laughing Brytallis, but that was funny."

    "Enough!" snaps Mal impatiently. "I guess you want the dumb hobgoblin to check for you." Mal walks forward and will observe, not touch. He is looking for any spatter of blood or impact marks that might indicate the springing of a trap. What action is necessary to trigger the lever. Mal grumbles something in goblin that frankly is too difficult to translate.

    You all find no traps. A quick pull of the lever to the left, and the doorway slides open, revealing a small 10' cubicle. This appears to have been a guard chamber of sorts, as you can see from cunningly placed peepholes, up above your eye level with small stairs built to them, to allow the dwarves within to look out without being seen. There is an old table with a couple of chairs withing as well. Some boxes hold old provisions, now rotted away and useless, along with a suit of dwarf-sized plate mail, a short sword, warhammer, and a shield. The shield bears the arms of Clan Kilthduum. [Incidentally, I never figured out what that was. Violator can have some fun with that if he wishes, or I will do it.] All the items are masterwork quality.

    Toni and Din check the west secret door. Now that they know what to look for, they look for peepholes and such, but see nothing. There is just the secret lever to open the door. They find no indication of any traps.

    "The shield should be returned to the clan, it bears their crest, and is a thing of honor," says Theyln, who waits for the secret door to be opened.

    Din respectfully takes the warhammer and sticks it into his belt. He looks at the shield, but then puts it back. "Don't use 'em," he says to nobody in particular. He comes back out to stand behind Toni as she opens the next door. It reveals a chamber about 40' square, 10' high. There are 8 stone coffins in the room, in two rows of 4. Along the walls are inset square slabs of stone, revealing more tombs. This is a door on the west wall, almost directly opposite the secret door you just opened.

    Theyln follows Din into the next room. "You shall not disturb the tombs of these dwarves. Show respect." He says with finality.

    Din glances over at Theyn, solemn in he manner as he replies. "This IS my clan," he says. "I am Din, son of Dain and a Kilthduum meself." He then nods, accepting that Theyln, though he knew now Din's ancestry, was yet correct in his intentions. "Touch nothing," he says, before entering the chamber.

    Toni casts Detect Undead, and just as suddenly four undead dwarves emerge from the ground between the stone coffins. They are wearing ceremonial burial armor and are armed with ceremonial weapons, yet their bodies look thin and desiccated, with fragments of bone showing, and stark white, wiry hair. They seem to be corporeal creatures, yet they are faintly transparent.

    As Toni steps back, Din steps forward. "Our apologies, venerable ones, for disturbing your slumber. How is it your souls are still trapped here?"

    The dwarves pause for a moment, but do not speak. Din steps forward further, into the room. He repeats his question in Dwarvish. He grips his crossbow, but does not raise it. The dwarves turn to Din, but they do not speak or attack. They seem to listen to him when he speaks in Dwarvish. "We seek to explore this mine and open it once again for business, for the glory of Clan Kilthduum," he says slowly, watching the ghosts carefully. "Haunted Ones, will you allow us to pass unmolested?" Din steps forward further, directly in front of the forward undead.

    Bree takes a step back and prepares for the worst, reaching for her Wand of Wonder. "It's not a mine," she whispers, "It's a tomb!"

    However, the dwarf spirits seem to accept what Din says, and they stand aside. Moving respectfully through the crypts, Din opens the far door. Everyone heads out into a dark corridor, lit by Din's lantern, carried by Sonste. It goes forward about 30' before turning right for another 30' then turning left again. There's a door straight ahead. Mal slips up to the right, out of the light, and with infravision can see that the corridor continues ahead out of sight.

    "Who in this group can not see in the dark?" says Theyln in an imperious tone. "It would be more beneficial if the one we sent ahead can. It would also be to our advantage if they have any skill natural or otherwise in stealth or trap finding..." He looks around, then adds with distaste, "The hobgoblin seems adequate to the task, but I would take stock of our skills to strategically utilize any advantages." He then glances at the humans, and gives a very condescending look at Brytallis. "Also, whoever absolutely needs that torch should be at the rear of the party so as not to completely destroy our natural eyesight advantages in combat."

    Neither finds any traps. Mal moves forward about 30' where there's a side passage to the left. It goes about 10' and ends at a door. The main passage continues another 10' before it is cut by a chasm about 10'. It is about 30' deep with rushing water at the bottom. The passage continues to a 4-way intersection beyond the chasm. Scouting ahead, Mal can now see that on the other side of the chasm there is a stairway going up. Also, he can see along the chasm a bit. To the right it turns out of sight, but to the left he can see another tunnel bisected by it, and a plank set across it.

    "I suggest we clear the new door on this side, before we attempt crossing over," whispers Theyln. "Perhaps there is an easier way on this side behind that other door."

    Mal returns, and Toni moves out of the way so Din can open the door. It reveals a rough-hewn chamber, about 30x40 and somewhat rounded. There is a large mud-puddle in the center of the room, as water is dripping down from the ceiling in a few places. The entire rooms seems to slope down towards the mud, and the odor coming from the mud is pretty foul. To the right is a door, which leads to the same door which Mal found earlier. There's no other way to go except to cross the chasm. [As you should be able to tell, the party is in room 2 now.]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:32 am  
    Part 8 - Battle of the Chasm

    Brytallis begins to search the mud room, when slips and slides into the mud. SPLOOSH!!!!! It's only about a foot deep, but it's nasty smelling, and he really reeks when he comes out.

    Theyln laughs loudly and says,,"It suits you sorceress. Stay in the sewage where you belong." He turns his back without a thought of assistance and goes to help the party formulate a plan to get across the chasm.

    Brytallis uses a clean cantrip on himself and keeps his mouth shut in embarrassment and fury.

    "This chasm isn't too wide," says Din. "The nimblest of us can simply leap across, and secure the rope to a stalagmite or outcrop at a higher elevation. Those of us with metal armor, or of shorter height, could then swing across with ease. Or, failing that, make a rope bridge."

    Unfortunately, there are no stalagmites or anything at the chasm. It has cut right through the old dwarven tunnel. There is no higher elevation or anything like that either. The plank isn't accessible from here either. It's crossing the chasm about 30-40 feet away, where is cuts across another tunnel off to the left. You can't see much about that tunnel from this vantage point.

    "May the Sun Father lead us through this dark place." Sonste avoids the poo-smelling mud, holding Din's lantern to help guide any humans in the party.

    While this is all going on, Toni ties her rope around her waist while tying the other end to a an old wall sconces. She then climbs down to the river. She tries to leap across but slips on the opposite wall of the chasm and falls into the water. It is moving quite fast, and she cannot grab the other side. The rope rips out the old sconce, and she is bruised and battered by the quickly moving water. She would probably have drowned if not for the steady hands of her friends, quickly grabbing the rope above. They drag her back up to safety, though she takes [3] from the event.

    When they pull her back up, Medic checks her out, healing [1]. He then shakes his head. "That was unwise," he says.

    [DM OOC: I will just point out, a thief's Climb Walls skill is NOT a thief's leap from one vertical surface to another vertical surface skill. Had it not been for the rope, I daresay Toni would have died.]

    Brytallis takes out his Potion of Levitation. "This will only work for one and once. I recommend letting Mal take it. He can probably carry one person, so he can carry Din across. The we just push Mal back and forth, and he carries one after another of the rest of us until we are all across."

    The party quickly agrees, and drinks the potion. He levitates, picking up Din as well, and then drifts across when pushed by Brytallis. Just after clearing the chasm, they can see around the right corner. There is a chamber there, with gnolls within it. They notice Din and Mal at the same time!

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-iT4Ltm4ypIQ/Uu03rsfRRaI/AAAAAAAACT0/vP0mVgNJEmk/s1600/Battle%2520at%2520the%2520chasm1.jpg
    Round 1

    [DM OOC: I have placed those with the torch beyond the door to the mud room, where they can use the closed door to keep their light away from those at the chasm, all of whom are using infravision. The door is ajar, so they can communicate, but the idea was to not spoil the infravision. So, Mal and Din are across, with Mal actually holding Din, while Mal has a rope tied around his waist and trailing across to where Thelyn is holding the other end.

    Din fires his crossbow at the lead gnoll and moves a few feet directly north, where he can shoot without being exposed to much missile fire. "It's up to us to clear a path, Mal!"

    The gnolls howl in a their strange, hyena-like way when they see you!

    Bree prepares her Wand of Wonder. "I have never used this wand since I acquired it ... should be interesting to find out what it does."

    [DM OOC: Obviously, those on the near side of the chasm cannot see the gnolls. They just hear them as Mal drops Din to the ground. Mal takes his spear and holds it defensively before him as Din fires his crossbow, hitting the lead gnoll and sending it toppling backwards. The others quickly get up and grab weapons. There seem to be about a half-dozen.]

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Oyi7wEaIBxg/Uu1PWO_EhhI/AAAAAAAACUM/Nji-YGURir8/s1600/Koralgesh%2520crypt%2520battlemap2.jpg
    Round 2

    You can see that Din stepped away from the chasm. Mal is still standing next to it, rope tied around his waist. The others are on the other side still, with those without infravision still behind the door in the mud room.

    Brytallis takes out his Wand of Magic Missiles, waiting for a decent target. He briefly thinks that Theyln would make a good one.

    Din starts to reload, when the gnolls charge forward. One attacks Mal, but finds itself skewered on his spear as it charges right into it. Two more rush passed him and attack Din, who isn't able to get off another shot. He is missed twice. Two more gnolls move up to attack Mal. They hiss when they see the others on the far side of the chasm.


    Round 3

    The gnolls all attack, but fail to score any hits. Bree then points her wand and says the magic words, "Klaatu barada nikto!"

    A tremendous Gust of Wind is generated by the wand, which blows the levitating Mal into the gnolls ripping the rope from Theyln's hands. One hits him with an attack of opportunity [6], while he slams into the other. They end up grappled, as the gnoll grabs hold of Mal and the rope. Meanwhile, Din hits one of the gnolls, lopping off its weapon arm with a swift strike of his axe. The gnoll falls back to the ground, quickly bleeding out!

    Brytallis uses his wand of magic missiles, firing a missile at another gnoll, hitting it for [2]. It glances his way, sneering. "You just going to stand there?" says Brytallis to Theyln.

    Din then hears running footsteps behind him. A quick glance shows another gnoll, running his way. It stops at the plank crossing the chasm.


    Round 4

    Toni stands and says, "sounds like a fight. You guys need help?" she says by the door.

    Thelyn grabs the rope again, yanking it back. This pulls Mal back towards the chasm. The gnoll struggles to free himself, now finding Mal holding him! It squeals in fear as they approach the chasm, and the other one grabs a hold of its backside, keeping Thelyn from dragging its companion over the chasm. Mal floats in the middle of the strange tug-of-war, with Theyln now being outstrengthed. He can feel the superior pull of the two gnolls.

    Meanwhile, the gnoll to the south crosses the plank and moves up on Din's rear. Din and the gnoll also continue their fight with neither hitting the other. The gnoll that just arrived gives out another, slightly different hyena-like call.

    Brytallis frowns at Bree, who laughs. "Hey, it may still work!" she says. He then fires another magic missile at the gnoll in the rear [4].

    Bree sighs, puts away her wand, spits on her hands, then grabs a hold of the rope to aid Theyln.


    Round 5

    Brytallis fires more magic missiles from his wand, killing the rear gnoll. This lets Theyln and Bree pull Mal and the other gnoll out over the chasm, where Mal succeeds in kicking it free. The gnoll falls to the bottom with a splash and is quickly carried away by the current. Din continues his fight with no hits either way as more gnolls appear to the south at the other side of the plank.


    Round 6

    "Strange cavalier," says Brytallis snidely. "I thought they were supposed to lead in battle rather than play with their rope while others do the fighting."

    "Are you done with your swim in the sewage little sorceress?" replies Theyln, grunting with effort.

    "I would help out," grunts Bree, breathing heavily, "but I appear to have my hands full at the moment."

    "There is definite combat going on out there," Toni says as she comes out for the southern room holding a torch. She draws her dagger with her other hand. Toni throws the door open, bathing the corridor in the light from Din's lantern, which Sonste is carrying. It cancels the infravision of Bree, Brytallis, and Theyln, and leaves them all momentarily blinded.

    Medic casts light on one of Dymir's arrows, and the young archer moves out and fires one across the chasm, hitting the gnoll next to Din and killing it. The gnoll topples backwards to the ground.

    Mal kicks back over to the far side, where he stops, unties the rope, and ties it around another old iron wall sconce in the corner. Theyln lets go of the rope and gets his bow out and ready. Bree then does the same on this side, once she sees what Mal did. Testing it, the rope seems strong enough.

    The gnolls are all blinded by the light, though Din was looking the other way so he is ok. He kicks the gnoll in front of him, and it topples back into the chasm. He then moves over to the plank. He finds it anchored with iron spikes driven into the stone floor. More gnolls come up from the passage, along with a larger flind. They all seem momentarily discomfited by the light, and only one manages to start across the plank, where it finds the way barred by Din.


    Round 7: and the infravision is now replaced by normal light. Sorry that the squares don't line up perfectly with the map I'm using. I do my best! For some reason, I can't edit the grid perfectly sometimes, which is strange, but that's how it goes. So, you seem to get cut off a bit and such, or sometimes I unsnap your tokens from the grid, so I can just move them a bit. If I use the Snap to Grid feature, they stay centered on a square. Anyway, I'm sure this is good enough.

    Mal equips his bow, while the others move out. Toni grab hold of the rope and shimmies across. brytallis stays in the side corridor so he can fire his wand from around a corner. Medic moves up next to him.

    With the gnolls blocked at the plank, Din holds them off, fighting just one at a time. The first comes across, and Din knocks it off the plank and into the chasm. However, another comes forward to take its place. The plank is pretty solid, about 2' wide and nailed down, but still a somewhat precarious surface upon which to fight. Din hears the flind barking yipping orders at the other gnolls.

    Din hears a gnoll voice from atop the stairs, though looking out of the light and up into the dark, he cannot see anything there.


    Round 8

    Toni, seeing things sort of under control, looks back to the next to cross and says, "Come on over, I will help you." She is ready to help others across.

    Theyln shimmies across, leaping passed Toni who stands there with hand outstretched. He rolls and comes up to one knee, arrow knocked and ready. Bree then quickly moves across as well, happily taking Toni's hand as she reaches the far side.

    Mal grabs the light arrow from the dead gnoll between them, and fires it up the stairs. It imbeds into a wall there, right next to a startled gnoll! Everyone at the plank is thrown into darkness for a moment, and Din takes advantage to knock another gnoll spinning to its doom in the water below,. As their vision returns, another takes its place. Din swears, glancing down the side passage to his right just in time to see two more gnolls rushing him!

    "Warty, cave-slinking, smudge-rubbers," he mutters.

    Nobody else back across the rope can really do anything.They can't see the gnoll at the top of the stairs. Only Mal and Theyln can see it, barely. Only Din can see the gnolls around him. That infravision light on the map is just his; though Mal and Theyln have infravision, they are in the area of Sonste's lantern light and cannot use infravision.


    Round 9

    [Din OOC: As cool as it is to have this Thermopylae thing going, Din is concerned about the gnolls to the west, and doesn't want to find himself surrounded on all sides, with that chasm right next to him. His goal was to give the party time to get across safely, and that's partially accomplished.]

    "Got some more gnolls around this corner!" he calls, and backs up about 10-15 feet to the north, allowing the gnolls to cross to their deaths. He is fighting the whole time, but stays close to the wall and far from the rift. If he gets surrounded, he will keep his back to the wall.

    "Someone move to support Din," cries Medic. "He's fighting something that way. Sonste, go next. You're armored and they will need healing. Then Dymir."

    Theyln fires an arrow up the stairs, hitting the gnoll there in the gut [5]. It grunts and falls back out of sight around the corner.

    Mal backs up into the darker recesses of the northern corridor from whence came the first gnolls. As his eyes adjust back to his nightvision, he targets the gnolls at the plank.

    The gnolls move first for poor Din. The one on the plank swings a halberd at him, fumbles, and looses its balance, letting Din just give it a quick nudge off the plank! Another moves up and attacks him, missing. The two from the west charge, seemingly intent on just overbearing Din and knocking him back into the chasm. [They rolled a "1" and got a fumble to boot!] He ducks under their outstretched arms, rolls west, and trips the both of them. As they tumble over him, he presses himself up and throws them out into the chasm. As Din looks back at the plank, a wide grin crosses his face. "That's FIVE!" he yells! Meanwhile, Dymir crosses the rope, helped by Toni. Mal gets a last shot at the gnolls at the plank, but misses.


    Round 10

    Sonste steps up to the edge, and his lantern shines down along the chasm, blinding the two gnolls on the plank for just a moment. That moment is all Thelyn and Mal need as they fire arrows down the corridor, hitting both of them and sending them toppling into the chasm. The rest of the gnolls are also blinded, and Din yells, "That's SEVEN!" and charges across the plank!

    He slams the lead gnoll sideways with his axe, then grabs his off-balance foe and yanks him backwards into the chasm too. "Eight!" he yells.

    The gnolls blink away their momentary blindness, see the crazy dwarf in their midst, which is now lit by Sonste's light, and they turn and flee. Din hits two of them with his axe as they flee, killing one. The Flind tries to halt their flight, but they just blow right passed it. It holds its position for a moment, then turns and runs away too.

    Mal takes a step back, checking the chamber behind him. It's full of foul bedding, and seemed to have been a gnoll sleeping chamber. Medic moves up, ready to cross, as Brytallis still hangs back.


    Round 11

    With Din's crazy charge and arrows flying around, Bree presses back against the wall and stays perfectly still. Din can see that the passage continues, turning to the east. On the west side another chasm branches through another side tunnel. He can also see the main chasm continuing to the southwest, cutting through still another tunnel. With all their enemies down, the party members finally have a moment time to catch their breath.

    Bree moves up with all the foes dead or run away. She slips around the corner to the western passage and hides against the shadowed wall there. She can only see 30' down the passage, but sees and more importantly hears nothing. Theyln moves that way, scanning with his bow, and slips around the same corner. He sees that the passage runs at least 60', to the edge of his vision. He then steps back to the corner, from where he can see down both passages.

    Mal comes back, joining Dymir in the 4-way intersection, bow trained at the stairs. Meanwhile, Sonste hangs his lantern on Medic's staff, and they hand it across to Toni, who sets it on the ground behind her. The light moves towards Bree and Theyln, who both curse and move further down the western passage, staying out of the light.

    Din hears a door slam shut in the direction the gnolls fled, so he moves down the southern passage, following the gnolls carefully. He pauses at the chasm, seeing how that side passage looks, before sneaking around the southern corner. The passage bends around to the east, then ends at a stout wooden door.


    Round 12

    "So I guess that was pretty funny impailing me on that wolfman's spear, aye?" Of course the 'what are you talking about' look on Brytallis make Mal even more inquisitive.

    "I wasn't the one holding the rope," says Brytalls sharply, but it's clear he is unsettled by Mal's wound. "Sorry you got hurt."

    "Hurry along, we'll figure this out later," snaps Mal, moving on.

    "I wonder what's down here?" says Bree, seeing a bit of light down the western passage. She sneaks down the passage, where she sees an alcove to the left. It's empty, but on the floor inside is a small candle burning, some nucklebones, and coins scattered on the floor.

    Din moves back, checking out the area across the chasm again. There's a door just across the chasm, on the north wall. [see the #9, there's a line from there to the door.] He then returns to the plank, just as Sonste picks up the lantern again. Din waves, giving the party the "ok" sign.

    Finally, everyone is across the chasm.


    Round 13
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:03 am  

    That was one of my favorite fights. Of course, it's barely the beginning! I think I finally was getting a good handle on various lighting things with maptools, and running the battle was a blast. The players also brought out a lot of flashes of personality for their characters, which added to the whole thing.

    I think my favorite part was Din first holding, then charging the plank bridge. That was a pretty crazy and desperate move, and it could easily have resulted in his death. As it was, a few good rolls (and some really bad ones for the gnolls) along with a failed morale check, and he won the day.

    For now....
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:17 am  
    Part 9 - The Gnolls Counterattack

    Bree will check the room and if it is clear, she will quickly collect the cash. She gathers up 4PP, 4GP, 3EP, 12SP, and 10CP. Theyln walks forward, up the stairs to where he put down the gnoll with his first arrow. Shield at the ready, prepared to strike with a chromatic orb.

    When Theyln moves back, Bree follows, hanging out in the shadows. Din comes back across the plank, so he can speak without yelling.

    Din slings his axe and reloads his crossbow before crossing the plank. "Made a little beachhead for us," he says. "Didn't want to go off too far until we all crossed safely...end up finding myself in a trap or some other tight spot."

    Meanwhile, Theyln goes up the stairs to get his arrow, and at the top sees that the stairs lead to a T-intersection. From both directions, he sees gnolls converging on his position!

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-T-AxB9MiIYg/Uu7u5K87VhI/AAAAAAAACYc/STJxM4xwUnI/s1152/Koralgesh%2520level%25202%2520battlemap1.jpg

    This is going to be tricky, as the downstairs map doesn't make room for the upstairs. So...I'm going to post two maps. The downstairs map will be correct ONLY for the areas from the beginning of the top of the stairs and down. From that point on, use the upstairs map for what's at the landing and beyond. Hopefully it will make sense.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Qm0viK_qNnY/Uu7-vvOz52I/AAAAAAAACZI/yzh101ZT45A/s1152/Koralgesh%2520crypt%2520battlemap14.jpg
    Round 14 full map

    "To me!" shouts Theyln. "The enemy is here!"

    Brytallis sighs, "Let the cavalier fight and die. It will end up getting less of us killed in future."

    "Fall back from stairs," calls Mal. "There is no dishonor in wise decision making."

    Din stands speaking with the party until he hears sign of the new chaos. Then he will take a lead position, saying "Watch our backs!"

    Toni runs up, slips between Mal and Din, and moves to a few steps down from the landing. She has her whip in hand, ready to snap it at whatever comes down.

    Theyln starts to back up, intending to drop a Chromatic Orb in his wake, but the gnolls are faster. The four lead gnolls all have some kind of wicked-looking spears, and they step forward, stabbing at Theyln. The first three hit him, one nicking his arm [2], and one nicking his leg [2]. However, one of the rear ones, stabbing from the next rank, hits him in the face! [14] slashing just along his left eye and blinding him in that eye. Another rear rank gnoll stabs the front rank left gnoll in the back, killing it instantly! [Well, one blinding crit and one fumble leading to a crit on friend instant death. Go figure!]

    Toni snaps her whip, hitting the other front-right gnoll across the face [2], leaving a nasty cut. The gnoll growls menacingly at Toni as Theyln falls backwards. The first spetum is pulled out of the dead gnoll's grasp, and is left barely stuck in Theyln's arm, but the other two rip free as he falls backwards, tearing his flesh as they come out [1, and 2]. He falls back and rolls down the stairs, until he is caught by Din, who cannot act this turn as he grabs the falling elf. [DM OOC: That's a total of 21!]

    Mal sidesteps the rolling elf and fires his bow simultaneously with Dymir. They both hit: Dymir the front left one and Mal the back right one. They both hit with their second shots as well, Mal finishing off his.

    The rearmost gnolls, all armed with longswords, move forward, flowing around the others. The lead one trips over the dead body of one of the spetum armed gnolls, and tumbles down the stairs, ending up next to Mal. Another moves up and attacks Toni, hitting her [2]. More move up as well.

    Din hands Theyln back to Sonste, who immediately performs some healing [healing 3], barely saving the young elf's life.

    [DM OOC: As things turned out, I probably don't need to post two maps. Really, I expected to do so, but Theyln had a bad initiative and the gnolls had a good one. Happens sometimes. So, they pressed forward before anyone could really act, except Toni. Anyway, the gnolls you see at the top are not necessarily right. I'm keeping track on the other map too. You just see about a dozen of them coming down the stairs, growling, howling, and yipping.]

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-h5mQXY6WZv8/UvBJ97U77DI/AAAAAAAACZY/4MhdJN8kYWU/s1600/Koralgesh%2520%2520battlemap15.jpg
    Round 15

    Bree starts to cheer. "Give me a T ... give me an E ... give me an A ... give me a M ... what's that spell? Team!" Using her wit morale modifier ability.

    Din fires his bow, killing the wounded gnoll holding the spetum. He then slings his crossbow and grabs his axe again, muttering something that nobody catches.

    Toni and Theyln withdraw, Theyln drinking his potion of healing [+8]. Medic also casts CLW on him, curing [+3].

    On the stairs, Mal stabs the downed gnoll with his arrow, finishing it off, then fires another up the stairs, hitting another gnoll [4]. The gnolls then charge down the stairs, attacking Din and Mal. They both miss, Mal knocking away the longsword of the one attacking him. More gnolls move up behind them.

    Dymir fires his bow a couple times over Din's head, taking out another gnoll as a very large gnoll wielding two flindbars appears at the top of the stairs. It must be a flind leader.

    Brytallis sees it, and begins casting firing a lightning bolt up the stairs. It blasts the gnoll, knocking out one and all the others duck and shy from it. [The spell worked, but it was not a strong bolt]

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ib8IaX3vhCI/UvD6pfFT-II/AAAAAAAACZw/VLQX6zJicS8/s1600/Koralgesh%2520%2520battlemap16.jpg
    Round 16

    Mal backs off as Theyln exclaims "Lacho calad! Drego morn!" (Flame light! Flee Night!) and throws an orange chromatic orb to the rear and center of the gnoll pack, ensuring to throw it so it catches the whole group, but not our guys in the radius. It strikes [4] and ignites the clothes on the one to its left and both behind it. The gnolls jump around, patting out the flames, as Mal then rushes up and Din strikes the one that Theyln just hit [6].

    Sonste readies his mace and shield. "Those that reject the light shall be smited down from the rays of the Sun." He then moves up the stairs as well and hits the burning gnoll, finishing it off!

    The flind is about to come down the stairs when something beyond him barks an order which makes it withdraw. Brytallis throws another lightning bolt. It takes out another gnoll. The other two turn to flee, and Sonste and Din both miss with their AoO. They then run up the stairs, turning the corners and disappearing. All enemies have fled, and there is nothing but gnoll bodies littering the floor, one of which is burning.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-x2ByWoJUcjY/UvGoMTF6fZI/AAAAAAAACaE/nXA2PrM0Htk/s1152/Koralgesh%2520%2520battlemap17.jpg
    Round 17

    "Pelor be praised," says Sonste. "How is everyone doing? Does anyone need to be blessed with the healing rays of Father Sun?"

    Brytallis takes out Filbin's old short sword and slit the throats of the gnolls "killed" by his lightning bolt. He tells the others that they only think they are dead, so they should take care to eliminate them before they wake.

    Toni immediately plunges a dagger in the hearts of those gnolls around her. She licks the blade of the dagger and shudders with delight. "Fresh heart blood, yum."

    Sonste shudders, then turns back, wary of more gnolls and wondering about this group he has taken up with.

    Din stands guard with crossbow cocked while we get Thelyn healed. "I've a feeling it will do us no good to tarry," he says.

    "Thelyn ran off before he could receive Pelor's gift. Foolish is as foolish does. Now you my dear Tiger lady, one must not take great pleasures of our defeated enemies. Next time we should show mercy and gather information from our fallen foes. Come here and feel the warmth of the Sun." Sonste casts CLW on Toni.

    "AHH, I feel better, thank you and your god," she replies with a gratful nod. "I will think on your words. I see wisdom but sometimes I get carried away."

    Theyln screams "Tl acharn!" (Vengeance comes!) and runs after the fleeing enemy, unslinging his bow and firing at them on the run. He will only go as far as where the passages converge in his pursuit, kneel here, and fire up the halls if any target presents itself the following round.

    Bree will check the dead gnolls. She finds that two are not dead, and one isn't hurt at all. Brytallis's illusion of lightning bolts made him faint! Sonste casts CLW on Toni, healing her completely.

    Din and Mal move up the stairs, backing up Theyln. At the top they peek around the corners. There are about a half-dozen gnolls and flinds both to the north and south. Spetum armed gnolls are in front, with gnoll archers behind them, followed by more sword wielders and flinds.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-u2Mh9fwgB1U/UvLa4-qnDaI/AAAAAAAACaY/ImQNP1qEGNY/s1600/Koralgesh%2520level%25202%2520battlemap2.jpg
    Round 18

    [DM OOC: Also, torches have been lit upstairs in the old wall scones, so the entire area is now lit. Almost directly across from the stairs, but a bit to the south, there's a short side passage with an open doorway leading to another chamber. The passage to the north ends in a T, right where the gnolls are. To the south it goes on maybe another 100' passed the edge of the revealed map where it turns west. There are also some side passages, three on the east wall and one on the west wall.]

    Peeking around the corner Theyln whispers, "Perhaps discretion is warranted here. They have large numbers. We need to formulate a tactical plan."

    A gnoll archer sees him and fires an arrow which skips off the stone wall next to Theyln's face, just missing his good eye! As the three wait, Sonste comes up behind them, followed by Toni who looks much better. Back down the stairs, Medic and Bree tie up the two gnolls not yet dead, and pull them back towards the chasm. Dymir quickly drags a bunch of bodies over to the south, piling up dead gnolls to make a bit of a barricade. He then takes up position behind it. The two gnolls close to the south run through the western passage and door and disappear from sight.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-SX2rVaT3XrM/UvLhfQtdNaI/AAAAAAAACbA/whkEcaB7bMg/s1152/Koralgesh%2520level%25202%2520battlemap3.jpg
    Upper level

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oJK1Y-GseY8/UvLhxEaxxbI/AAAAAAAACbU/M7neeS-Tj84/s1152/Koralgesh%2520level%25201%2520battlemap3.jpg
    Lower Level: Round 19

    Toni takes out a clay pot and lid, fills it mostly with oil but fills the last inch with raw alcohol, stuffs a rag partially into the pot and sticks the lid on it. She has her fire starter kit ready. "This should burn like a small fireball once I light it. Someone with a good arm can cast it down into one of the groups of gnolls, please."

    [Toni OOC: As close to a flash bang as she can. A medieval Molotov Cocktail.]

    "Could use some healing here!" yells Theyln.

    "Thelyn," calls Sonste. "You shall receive Pelor's healing rays once you return to the flock. I will not chase after your foolish rump just to become a gnoll's pin cushion."

    "You would pull me from a secure position for healing?" he says, his voice incredulous. With a huff, he storms over to get his healing. Sonste heals [8] which fully heals Theyln
    again. Theyln breaths a sigh of relief when the vision in his wounded eye returns, and he wipes the blood from his face. "Thank you," he says to Sonste, bowing his head humbly.
    Seeing Toni's fire pot, Theyln adds. "If you hand it to me, I will cast "enlarge", which will increase my size, and the weapons size and effect. If brytallis would cast mirror image on me, I might actually make it down the hall to break their line and attack."

    "Shouldn't we just kill them now?" Bree asks.

    Toni will hand the pot to Theyln and will light it when he is ready to toss it. "Hard enough to break the pot and high enough to splatter the enemy."

    It seems to Din that he would be less exposed shooting the gnolls to the north, so that's what he'll do for his next action, before withdrawing behind the cover of the wall again. He only needs to expose a small portion of himself to get a clean shot to the north. He can aim low while Thelyn throws high or something, each using the other for cover.

    "We cannot let them box us in!" he shouts. "There's no exit except across our rope, or through these beasts!"

    "They are no longer an immediate threat," says Medic. "Let us not slay indiscriminately."

    Those up above hear the flinds barking orders to the gnolls around the corners. They seem to be content for the moment to hold their positions there.

    "They are not currently attacking us but what is to say they will not at the first opportunity?" asks Toni, dagger in hand, torch in the other.

    Mal uses his medallion to scan the surface thoughts of the captured gnoll downstairs. He a lot of fear, anger, hatred, and determination, all mixed up. "Much anger," says Mal, "and hatred. No peace."

    "Do you yield?!" Din shouts in Common, since none of us speak gnoll or flind.

    "I can throw a smokescreen up if you want to rush one side or the other" Theyln says to Din.

    "I hope none of them are coming at us from behind while these ones delay us," says Bree, looking south. Se moves into the centre of the party rather than being left a soft target.

    Theyln peeks out, ready to take a quick shot at a gnoll and finds the gnolls are gone!

    "There is not much to be done, they know we are here," says Theyln, scanning the hallways. "They will only get stronger by grabbing reinforcements. I can set an alarm at this crosspoint and we can pursue them, or we can cross the plank and pull it over to our side and explore that area. I suggest we pursue before they get stronger. Does anyone else have ideas?"

    "While we are at it, someone should ask the captures gnolls what they know and then we can expel them like excess cargo!" says Toni.

    "The only good gnoll is a dead gnoll," says Din.

    "I used to say that about hobgoblins too," says Theyln, staring directly at Mal.

    "Hmm," mumbles Mal, almost embarrassed by Theyln's offhanded praise. "Mal make sure Dymir ok," he says and moves to his post. As he does, he wonders at how he has now made friends with a dwarf AND an elf, and he is sure he will hear about it later.

    "The gnolls are scattered," says Din, "And cannot easily be pursued in all directions, and without rushing headlong into an ambush or a trap." He adjusts the straps on his backpack, muttering "Could've should've used some of these already..."

    He slings his crossbow and pulls out his axe. "I propose a more methodical and slow search...starting with the area beyond the plank. Mal, we'll check out your hallway later. We should determine if there are other exits and clear out the gnolls. I think we have them cowed. Here, let's start with these. Can one of you cast Tongues?"

    Din grabs one of the unconscious gnolls and starts smacking him around till he comes to. He'll ask him all the usual questions, in Common, first. The axe is for brandishing.

    Unfortunately, nobody speaks gnoll, nor do they speak common. It doesn't take long to realize that you cannot question the two surviving gnolls, due to the language barrier. Din does notice that they respond to the name Remarr, and Mal sense intense hatred when they say the name. [OOC: yes, this was his tribe, and had he lived the adventure here would have been quite different. Funny how things change, and stuff a DM plans often falls apart. Oh well.]

    Bry slashes the gnolls throats given they are now just a burden.

    "So brave when they are tied up and helpless eh sorceress?" Theyln chuckles.

    That done, Din tosses them down into the chasm. "Enough!" he barks. "We don't have time for that."

    Before leaving, Dymir slips up and grabs his arrow upon which Sonste cast Light. It will last for another few hours, so my as well use it. Theyln leads the way, after casting Alarm on the crossroads. Once across the plank, Din and Mal move down the passage. They reach the turn, and with their infravision see the closed door at the end of the passage. Everyone is able to move ahead and cross the plank. Dymir has the light arrow ready, while Sonste carries Din's lantern. Medic takes the torch, and Toni draws a second dagger. Together, the party moves cautiously to the south.....

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-h2M0WLomtKw/UukOpLJgAhI/AAAAAAAACcY/fSB_k3gZ3e4/s1152/Koralgesh%2520progress%2520map.jpg
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:12 am  
    Part 10 - A Tiger by the Tail

    The door at the end of the curving passage is not locked, but barred from the inside. Mal can't open it. Theyln checks out the plank, trying to pull it back, but it is spiked down. With a bit of work it may be pulled up.

    "It seems our archer is the strongest among us, perhaps he and your combined efforts could force the door open," says Theyln. "If that fails, I suggest Brytallis shrinks the door". Theyln calls out to the closest party member. He decided to wait on pulling out the board until they open the door in case a quick exit is needed.... However, he keeps a wary eye out, bow ready, scanning all around.

    "We can move that plank and re-secure it over the first chasm we crossed," says Din, seeing Theyln's intent. "Assuming this passage doesn't lead to an exit. Let's explore this area first." Din hacks through the door with his axe. Before entering, he peers inside, crossbow at the ready.

    [Din OOC: damn, should've made my intentions with the captured gnolls more clear. was gonna send them scampering back to their leader, perhaps with a note that said "Leave, or Die," in a few languages. doubtful any of the gnolls could read, but maybe their leader or shaman...]

    [Theyln OOC: Same here. I wanted to see the reaction if we sent them back. Now that I know I can just say "I slit their throats" and nobody can do anything about it, expect to see a return to my old "beheading" ways.]

    "We'll capture some more," says Din with a knowing nod to Theyln. "There's a gnoll and a flind down this passage somewhere."

    When Mal and Din fail to budge the door, Brytallis steps up. He casts Reduce, and the door shrinks just enough that it literally just sags on its hinges. There's a bar holding it, which snaps off, and Din just gives the door a swift kick, knocking it askew. It falls in to the left, barely hanging on its bottom hinge. The light from Sonste's lantern barely illuminates the first dozen feet or so, but Dymir fires his light arrow above Din's head. It flies into the darkness, sticking into the far wall of a cavern about 50' away. It's another gnoll sleeping chamber, though you don't see the gnolls.

    Din enters, crossbow at the ready. He won't shoot unless attacked first, and he is looking to subdue. "Two entered here, so they either remain or left through some other exit. Let's not kill them unless we've no other choice," he says.

    Toni and Din enter, and almost immediately see a gnoll hiding along the wall off to their left. Toni steps up and tries to speak to the gnoll, but it responds only with a growl and a raised sword. Theyln then steps up through the doorway and puts an arrow into the thing's arm [5]. Din moves up to attack, and he is stabbed in the side by another gnoll, hiding behind a small corner to his left [7]. He turns and attacks that gnoll, missing, while the other steps up and swings at him too, also missing. Toni turns around just in time to see the flind come out of the darkness whirling a flindbar. It disarms her! Sonste then moves up, holding his lantern out to shine more light into the chamber.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dF_e8f8Y8xM/UvbEKsBPoCI/AAAAAAAACdo/XFmOtJxBrVU/s1152/gnoll%2520chamber3.jpg

    The flind attacks Toni, hitting her for [1]. She steps back, drawing two daggers. The flind then steps up as well. [No AoO as it's just taking a 5' step, just like Toni.]

    Din is hit by another sword stroke [1], but he and Theyln finish off the gnoll with an axe and arrow.

    The flind then hit's Toni again, smacking her really hard on the side of the head [8] and knocking her to the ground, stunned!

    It grins and steps up to finish the job, but Theyln immediately puts two arrows into it [3 and 4]. Meanwhile, Din hits the other gnoll [4]. Sonste moves into the room, stepping to the side, and Dymir moves in, arrow drawn. He fires at the flind, hitting it [6]. It stumbles backwards.

    Suddenly a strange growl comes from Toni, something which draws EVERYONE's attention. Din glances back, the gnoll looks over, the flinds stumbles back, and Dymir and Theyln hold their fire. Sonste's hand shakes, sending strange flickers of light through the chamber. Toni's cloths then begin to rip apart, as she begins to undergo a bizarre transformation. Her body starts pulling, stretching out of her clothes, ripping right through them, and she haunches over like a mountain cat. The processes takes only about half a minute, and when done, Toni has turned into a tiger!

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--yHaV7wjuTE/UvbOVrjuBTI/AAAAAAAACeQ/BVFkK7Z36q0/s1600/gnoll%2520chamber5.jpg

    Thelyn creeps back slowly to get his back to the wall and prepares to fire two arrows into the tiger if it approaches him or the doorway. "Beware! The foul beast has consumed Toni!" he yells!

    The tiger leaps out and tears apart the flind, biting it in the neck and clawing savagely. The gnoll turns to run, and Din snaps out of things, hitting it in the back as it flees. Dymir then puts two arrows into its chest which finishes it off!

    Toni sniffs the air then rips off a flind leg and puts it on the ground by the nearest party member. She then, while watching the party, begins to gnaw on the other flind leg.

    [Toni OOC: Her wrap around skirts are done this way so that when she changes they will unwrap and come off. The blouse should be destroyed as her boots would be. Her backpack should be all right but whether on her or the floor would be the DM's call. Her daggers are where she dropped them. The tiger seems to know the party, and it bows its head as if to offer them the gnolls. The Tiger has been bringing food to her tribe for years, and is friendly.]

    [DM OOC: Um...no. The tiger turns and leaps at the nearest party member. She's a fricking tiger. No sugar-coating it, and no "oh she's a cute friendly werewolf, er tiger." Lycanthropy is considered a curse for a reason, and the party is about to find out why....!

    BTW, I will be controlling the tiger, so ignore that post by Protector.]

    Theyln screams "Tl acharn!" (Vengeance comes!), and rushes the beast striking a mighty blow with his longsword.

    Theyln attacks the tiger, missing badly and nearly falling down as he stumbles over the flind body. The tiger roars back at him, raking him with a claw [6]. Everyone else apparently stays back, weapons out and ready, but not really engaging.

    Brytallis comes in and sees the situation, gulping suddenly. "Where'd THAT come from?" he exclaims.

    Mal and Bree hear a roar from the direction of the party, and Mal returns to see what's going on.

    Toni the Tiger [ I know, it actually pain me to type that!] leaps atop Theyln, driving the elf to the ground. Theyln looses his sword which goes clattering across the floor, and the tiger seems poised to lock its massive jaw around the young elf's face, when Brytallis casts Sleep. The tiger suddenly slumps down atop Theyln, who is completely trapped beneath it!

    "That's how you do it!" says Brytallis, face beaming proudly.

    "Don't everyone jump at once to assist in a fight with a wild tiger," says Theyln sarcastically. "Little help down here....fat tiger on me!"

    The sleeping tiger gradually shifts back into Toni's form, now nearly nude, and Theyln can just get up. He then gets up, retrieves his sword, and throws his cloak over her naked body.

    "May Father Sun's rays blind me, what happened?" Sonste casts CLW on Toni the Tiger.

    Medic calmly walks in and takes a look at Theyln. "The blessings of Rao be upon you," he says as he casts CLW, healing the mark. He then turns to Toni, waking up and feeling a bit embarrassed. "Luckily elves do not contract lycanthropy," he says. "But men do. This will have to be addressed."

    "I believe our benefactors have access to protective powders," says Din. "Thorgrim said something about that when I collected the healing potions, but I saw no need for them. When we finish here, I recommend we return and see if we can buy some."

    "Toni is umartempla er - a cursed one, like the gaur -werewolf," says Theyln in a serious tone. "She will show us no mercy."

    "And we should do the same?" asks Medic. He looks at Mal, "Many would say the same for hobgoblins, yet here we are."

    Theyln starts to say something, but pauses, glancing at Mal. However, he sees the same look of concern in the hobgoblin's face.

    "Hmm," says Medic, examining her ear. "Perhaps not quite so pure-blooded as you thought." Turning to Din, he nods. "Your words have wisdom, master dwarf. We should certainly avail ourselves of such protection. Further," and he turns to Toni who is busy trying to put her outfit back together, "You must needs be more careful. If substantial injury may trigger a transformation, we must see that you remain safe."

    "Toni took a lot of damage before she transformed into a tiger," adds Sonste, scared but intrigued by the strange transformation he just witnessed. "She is indeed cursed, but that doesn't mean she should be killed. We should help her find a cure. Next time she turns into a tiger, just back off and let her deal with the enemies. Mercy is what I show, as Lord Pelor teaches. The lack of discipline of the foolish cavalier is a danger to us all, rushing in without thought. If Father Sun can still grant me the power to heal, then let it be."

    "Yes, of course, I should wait until the Tiger is actually gnawing on your leg, THEN it will be okay to rush in and save your ****" Theyln sneers. He then turns to the rest of the party, sweeping his arm to include them all. "When she is transformed she is dangerous, and could easily kill us all! She has no control over her actions! You would have us with an unchained wild tiger in the middle of our battle formation?! Are you suicidal?!"

    Toni finishes dressing picks up her stuff, including her daggers. "If I am allowed to stay, I will do my best not to be a danger to you. Almost all of you have weapons that can kill me in this form or my were form. Kill me now while I can forgive you of your action or let me live and I will work hard to keep us safe." Her look is one of pure determination, though there is a clear element of fear as well, unsure of what the party, her friends, will do. To Medic she says, "Are you saying I may have some elf blood? Can this be why I see ok in the dark? I always thought it was a part of my Tiger working even while I am human."

    Thelyn snarls, "You are ALL fools if you allow this wild beast among you! Mark my words; it WILL be the death of you. Let her return to her people now, or at least have her swear to go to the temple and have the curse removed upon your return. Din organized this expedition, have his word and be done with it." He walks over to the mage and says solemnly "Brytallis, You might have just saved my life. I apologize for my earlier actions, though your attitude seemed to have warranted it. You have well earned your place in this party." With that Theyln turns and walks out the door.

    Brytallis goes after Thelyn and says, "Thank you for the compliment. You should stay. TO leave us here and now would be most dishonorable and though we do not always agree, I do know you to be honorable. Just because these other idiots don't see it doesn't make it so. Besides, we should work together. Working against one another will get us both killed."

    "We all have our crosses to bear," says Bree, "some of us where them on the outside, some are kept more hidden." She then follows Theyln to try and calm him down.

    Mal pulls his hood closer around his face to hide his burn scares, again feeling a strange sense of affinity for those in this ragtag group.

    "You have some wisdom, to be sure," says Din, stroking his beard thoughtfully.

    "Well, if you are not going to kill me, or expel me, lets get on with examining this place," says Toni. "I will get back to checking the walls for a secret door. Unless any other critters are hiding here." Toni stands, ready to start. She looks at each one and says, "Thank you."

    Mal slides his silver dagger back in his belt and helps Toni search for hidden doors. "You, genius mage - watch for trouble coming through that door."

    Medic looks around, kicking the furs and blankets. "More likely they were just sleeping here," he says. However, you look around anyway, though without finding anything.

    Soon Bree shouts back, "Um, guys! We've got company!" Looking back towards the plank, you see a bunch of gnolls have come up behind you all!

    "Archers! Spellcasters!" Din shouts. He tries to get to as forward a position as possible without bowling anybody over, to shoot gnolls before they can cross the bridge.

    Standing behind Theyln and Brytallis, Bree points her Wand of Wonder at the gnolls. Magic Missiles fly out of the wand, striking the lead gnoll and knocking it backwards. Half the gnolls back off after the magic missiles, while half run towards the crossroads, setting of the alarm spell. None try and cross the plank, and all are quickly out of sight.

    "They aren't so tough," laughs Bree, slapping Theyln on the shoulder. "Chased off by a little stick!"

    Theyln sighs.

    "Hoho so they want to catch us crossing the plank, and get us in a crossfire to boot." says Din, moving back towards the rear. "Ideas? I think the most heavily armored of us should go first to clear a path, and that firebomb might come in handy to aid our crossing, by blocking one group while we attack the other. Let's give them a minute to see if they advance. Brytallis, perhaps an illusion to draw them out and expose them to fire? Dymir, I want you to shoot that Light arrow on your first shot, so you can mark your targets and provide covering fire."

    Sonste casts CLW on Din. "May Pelor bless thee with healing rays of the sun."

    Making moves back in the chamber, including the spellcasting/healing. The first move for the party is Theyln moving down the passage towards the plank. She only has to go about 10' further before she sees gnolls back at the crossroads where the rope is.



    [DM OOC: The front four have their nasty polearms, while the two behind have bows. I am pausing momentarily since this is the first moment in which he can see the gnolls. I want to give Tempus the maximum latitude on his actions, so I'm pausing during his movement. He can stop and fire from here, or he can keep moving. I leave it up to him. Everyone else has done something except for Mal and Bryt. Bryt's going to move up next to Bree, to maybe cast a spell. I think Mal's moving up to do missile fire? They have not gone yet. So, slight pause while we reload for another round of battle!]


    Last edited by ragnar on Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:44 am; edited 2 times in total
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:42 am  
    Part 11 - Battle for the plank

    Bree falls back out of line of sight. "This is what you boys get paid to do!"

    Mal does wonder exactly what it is Bree does, but she is cute to look at so, staying at max distance he pulls out his bow and covers the plank area, firing at any gnolls he can hit.

    We're about to be counting arrows, thinks Din, whose next move is to advance to the front and fire his crossbow (which has been cocked since the last time he fired it).

    "Dymir! Grab that Light arrow! We're gonna need it! And then cover us from the rear!"

    Theyln stops and fires, putting an arrow into a gnoll leg [3]. Bree moves back down the passage towards the chamber at the end, while Mal moves up and takes her spot. He fires a shot as well, missing. Brytallis moves away as well, moving to where he can sort of see across the left chasms, but is out of sight of the gnolls at the 4-way intersection.

    After getting healed by Sonste, Din moves up alongside Theyln and fires his crossbow, hitting another gnoll in the front [7].

    Toni retrieves the light arrow and gives it to Dymir, while Medic looks on.

    The gnolls at the far end hold, with the four front ones ducking down behind the wall of gnoll bodies which Dymir built. The two archers step up and fire longbows, one at Theyln and one at Din. They fire two arrows each, and Din takes one hit [6].

    The gnolls set to yipping, and two more archers step up just across the chasm, from the left-hand tunnel beyond the plank. They each fire a shot at Theyln, missing though one hits Mal [4].

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-I9R7iG05tkg/Uvq-Gvd-5eI/AAAAAAAACfM/LgYFhQiNDJo/s1152/Plank%2520battle2.jpg
    Squares are 10' So it's 30' to the plank, and 45' to those at the 4-way intersection.

    Theyln whispers to din. "I can throw up a screen of fog so we can at least engage and/or rush across. Second option I throw a fog screen, you two rip out that board and drag it over to cross this chasm on our left under its cover. If we are lucky, they may be dumb enough to wander into the chasm looking for the board to cross. Perhaps even a wall of fog, then an illusion of the board in place after it's been removed" Theyln chuckles.

    "Good idea, but I think it would require tools to remove. We also need to remove the spikes from both sides, not an easy task under fire. Best to wear down their numbers a bit, then firebomb the northern mass, then charge across--assuming they scatter or retreat!"
    Din will continue firing his crossbow with deadly accuracy. "PARTY! ADVANCE! But keep that light off our backs!" That is until Dymir's ready to make his move. Dymir, Fire!"

    "Perhaps our archer friend Dymir should take Toni's fire bomb. He seems to be the strong agile type." Sonste then looks at Dymir, "Why are you still here brother, with the women and priests? Your allies need your bow. Go now and may Pelor guide your shaft towards victory."

    Thelyn sighs in assent and fires two arrows into the Gnolls front line. He can't help but wonder who will die first in this game of attrition. "Lady Bree, if you are willing I can throw up the fog screen next round, and we can move together once I have recovered from the casting, so you can stun them with your magic and I can offer you some protection."

    "That would allow me to get close enough to cast Color Spray," she says eagerly. "Wait till my brother hears this ... his sis adventuring, fighting and what not."

    Theyln fires his bow, but his arrow just sticks into the mound of dead gnolls. Din then reloads his crossbow, and the string snaps! Cursing, he swings it to his back and takes up his axe. "Fine," he mutters. "I'll do it the hard way!"

    Bree and Toni move up, and Toni gives Din the grenade she fashioned.

    Dymir moves up with the light arrow. "Watch your eyes," he says, as he fires it down the passage. It hits right at the corner, bathing all the gnolls in light and making them wince away.

    Theyln fires another shot, hitting the gnoll archer next to it. Mal fires two shots, hitting the archer next to it and killing it too. Sonste moves up with the lantern, just keeping Dymir in the light but not affecting the rest. Medic moves up with him.

    Theyln notices another half dozen gnoll archers move up on the left flank, across the double chasms. They take up positions there, a front rank kneeling, while the rear rank is standing. You probably can't really tell from that map, but Din and Theyln can see all six gnolls. Mal can only see the rightmost gnolls.

    "Change of plans," says Theyln, thinking quickly. "We need to get across that plank and take the fight to the enemy."

    "Agreed!" says Din, who then shouts behind him. "Mal! Let's charge!"

    "Yes," says Mal, "But we throw firepot first," and he holds it up so Toni can light it. "Now ready," he grins, baring fangs.

    Din takes it. "I'll do it," he says grimly.

    Medic moves up and casts sanctuary on Din. "This should lessen the attacks on you, until you strike at someone."

    You see a flind move around behind the other gnolls at the 4-way and swing a long blade, cutting the rope across the chasm where you originally crossed.

    Medic moves up to Mal to cast Sanctuary next round, while Mal fires his bow this round. He misses, his arrow sticking into the wall of dead gnolls.

    Brytallis uses his wand again, hitting a gnoll for [3].

    Din runs up to the chasm and throws the oil bomb, which splashes at the foot of the gnolls in the west passage, breaking and spreading flames around there. Two gnolls are splashed and catch fire, jumping around and batting at the flames while the others back off. Bree moves up just passed Din, still on this side and ready to cast Color Spray. She puts away her dagger to cast the spell next round.

    Mal passes on his second shot, waiting for the Sanctuary spell. He puts his bow away and will take Toni's oil bomb at the end of the round, as she works to prepare another. Toni finishes it and hands it to Mal. Sonste moves up, using his lantern to illuminate the area. All infravision is over.

    There are three gnolls which can fire over the heads of the polearm wielding ones behind the wall of bodies. They fire, two at Din and one at Bree. Bree and Din are both hit by an arrow for [6 each].

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-fXpqAzWmwW0/Uv1jzdUtN6I/AAAAAAAACgk/LCiLXFG8LR8/s1600/Plank%2520battle4.jpg
    Round 4

    Toni works on a third fire pot, she has supplies for making 5. "I hope they don't burn the bridge." she says.

    Bree casts Color Spray, blasting the gnolls behind the barricade with a scintillating spray which knocks all four of the polearm wielding ones out! "And now for next trick ... I will disappear!" And Bree runs to the back of the party.

    Brytallis fires another missile from his wand, hitting the left-hand gnoll archer for [5]. Theyln then puts an arrow through the gnolls eye, killing it! Medic then casts Sanctuary on Mal.

    Din charges across the plank, and seeing that the gnolls beyond the barricade are down, he leaps across to take the fight to the archers.

    The archers fire their first shots, as they go the same time as Din. They fire at him, one hitting for [3]. They then drop their bows to draw swords. The gnolls to the left roll around and their companions help them to dose the flames, when Mal rushes across the plank and throws his oil flask too. It breaks on the gnolls, adding it's fuel to the fire. The two burning gnolls are even more engulfed, and they die screaming as the others back off.

    Dymir fires a couple shots, kiling the gnoll to Din's right. Theyln rushes forward, crossing the plank and somersaulting over the barricade. He comes up, ready to fire at any targets of opportunity. Sonste and Medic move forward, while Toni preps another grenade.

    The flinds then move up to attack. One with a flindbar steps up and attack him, hitting for [3]. It wraps its twirling flindbar around Din's axe, and rips it from his grasp. The axe goes flying behind the flind. The other flind, the one which cut the rope, also moves up to attack, but misses. A third flind pushes the gnoll archer out of the way, as it too moves up, swinging a flindbar as well. Sonste takes out his mace, ready to wade into the fray next round.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-t7qCOKeVwSY/Uv2P4tR61iI/AAAAAAAAChQ/8S2RtaoaY6k/s1600/Plank%2520battle5.jpg
    Round 5

    Toni, seeing that she in now alone, finishes the third fire pot, picks up her dagger, and hurries after the others. The bomb is not lit. She stays near the back. Din will attempt to kill the opponent in front of him. He is ready to disengage and withdraw once the party is across, but he needs to establish our beachhead. He's in dire straits, and he knows it. Probably would've been wiser to heal once again before the final confrontation. His healing potions may be going to waste if he dies here. In any case he will quaff at first opportunity.

    Brytallis fires a double-shot at the flind to the right [3,5=8]. The missiles slam into it, driving it backwards, and Theyln follows with a shot from his bow [2]. Mal takes out his bow too, firing at the flind leader whom he hits for [5]. It is visibly hurt, and it withdraws back around the corner.

    Toni, seeing that she in now alone, finishes the third fire pot, picks up her dagger, and hurries after the others. The bomb is not lit. She stays near the back.

    Dymir moves over to the side of the plank, from where he has a view in all directions. He fires a shot at the flind that just disarmed Din, but it flies wide.

    "Looks like we stand victorious or die in glory brother dwarf!" says Theyln, slinging his bow and quickdrawing his sword. Shield up, he steps up to aid Din. He will protect Din on full defense so he can hopefully retrieve his axe this round.

    Din nods, but takes the opportunity to roll away from the flind with the flindbar and grabs his axe, taking another shot from the flind in the process [2]. He comes up, swinging his axe in a circle before him and cries as loud as he can, "Whur A Faeyn!"

    The flinds then attack Theyln, but he successfully parries each blow. [BTW, those were hits without your parrying!] Toni moves up across the plank, taking out Dymir's light arrow. Medic then casts Hold Person, holding BOTH flinds with flindbars facing Din and Theyln. The gnoll behind the flinds gets up, draws a wicked blade, and steps over to fight Din, while the archers from up the stairs fire down at Theyln. They both miss, one hitting a held Flind [5]. With their second shots they miss completely, arrows flying everywhere!

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-QccNrHlZ-NM/Uv44MzeMU1I/AAAAAAAAChk/_UWPpNurNO0/s1600/Plank%2520battle6.jpg
    Round 6

    Theyln now sees the other gnolls and flinds up the stairs. There are two gnolls and a flind in the darkness, though he can't make them out. He hears gnoll chanting from up there. The gnolls are yipping mightily, making quite a racket. Sonste moved up across the plank and across the wall. Bree stays back with Medic. The stench of the burning gnolls to the left is becoming quite nauseating at the oily fire spreads.

    Bree steps up to cast sleep, but finds that as far down as she can see (about 50' thanks to the burning oil and gnolls) the passage is empty. Looks like the gnoll there retreated. When she sees no gnolls, she doesn't cast her spell but moves across the plank instead, stopping just to the left before the remaining fires.

    Dymir moves across and stands beside Bree. He has an arrow knocked, and is watching down that same side corridor.

    Toni crawls across the grisly wall, and there she checks out the gnolls. They are unconscious, so she slits the throat of the first one.

    Seeing Toni, Sonste doesn't check; he just bashes in the skull of the next downed gnoll!

    Theyln then drives his sword right through the face of the held flind in front of him!

    The other gnolls then attack. One attacks Din and misses, and Din misses in return. Two fire arrows at Theyln, each hitting him [1, and 2 =3 total]. The flind leader is there, standing next to a gnoll shaman who is chanting and placing hands on him, healing the flind leader. As he is healed, he barks orders and a huge gnoll nods, moving forward to attack Theyln, but misses. Two more gnolls with spetums move down the stairs and take guarding positions between the flind and the gnoll shaman and the rest of the party.

    Mal moves over to the right of the wall, firing over it and hitting the gnoll battling Din [3]. Brytallis moves up crawls over the wall, and passes Toni to reach where the rope was over the first chasm. There he has an unobstructed view up the passage to the stairs, and prepares to let loose with his wand. Finally, Medic moves across and takes up a postiion on the near side of the plank.

    Theyln then kills the other held flind, before turning his full attention to the large gnoll.


    Alpha gnoll

    The two gnoll archers then fire, shifting from Theyln now since the large gnoll blocks their aim, and instead firing at Brytallis. One arrow hits the mage [5]. Mal then takes another shot, but it flies wide.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-X0fAPuuGwiE/Uv5hW-1KLJI/AAAAAAAACiE/hbhnzWOr0Tw/s1600/Plank%2520battle7.jpg
    Round 7
    I zoomed in a bit, to hopefully show things better. There are more gnolls or flinds atop the stairs, but I only showed the two spetum-armed ones which Theyln can clearly see.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:24 am  
    Part 12 - Sunset for Sonste

    "Pelor protect us," says Sonste as he strikes the Alpha Gnoll with his mace.

    Theyln screams "Tl acharn!", and furiously attacks the giant Gnoll.

    The flames now totally die down in the western tunnel. Bree moves down there, until she sees the gnolls at the far end. There are four, two with spetums in front and two archers in the back.

    Toni kills another sleeping gnoll, then prepares to kill the last one, but it wakes up.

    The gnoll shaman retreats up the stairs, as Din continues to battle the gnoll before him.

    "Arrow!" says Mal to Toni, who understands and hands him Dymir's light arrow. Mal then fires it down the hall where it sticks in the wall. With the area now lit, Dymir immediately fires and puts an arrow through the neck of one of the gnolls with a spetum, killing it!

    The gnoll chief then attacks Theyln with a massive axe, slashing him across the chest [8] and knocking Theyln to the ground!

    Brytallis follows up with a double magic missile from his wand, both of which slam the alpha gnoll [5 and 4=9 total!], blasting it backwards a bit. Sonste steps up, calling upon Pelor, and puts himself between the gnoll and Theyln who is obviously hurt badly. He swings his mace, but it glances off the thing's steel breastplate!

    Theyln gets up, knowing he is in no shape to fight the thing further.

    "Here," says Din, and tosses Theyln one of his Potions of Healing. Theyln drinks it, healing [8]!

    Medic ducks around a corner, so the gnolls can't shoot him and casts Hold Person on the large gnoll, but it resists the spell.

    The flind leader at the foot of the stairs barks an order at the two spetum wielders, and they step up to attack Sonste. Sonste gets an AoO on one, but misses, while their blows glance harmlessly off his bronze plate.

    Meanwhile, the gnolls in the other hallway attack. The archers fire at Dymir, one's bowstring snapping! The other misses. The last with a spetum plants it to receive a charge. Mal and Dymir fire again, both missing, as does the gnoll in response. The other gnoll, still prone, draws a dagger and stabs at Toni, missing.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8yiASUuohW8/Uv6F77rZyDI/AAAAAAAACiY/mAxQRDdd178/s1600/Plank%2520battle8.jpg
    Round 8

    "I am unsure how long Pelor will grant me strength to handle so many foes," says Sonste, struggling mightily with the Alpha Gnoll. "Sun God!" He cries, "help me as I smite down these creatures of darkness." He strikes at the Alpha, hoping to crush his skull and the spirit of those that follow him.

    [Bree OOC: Replace the gnolls with kobolds ... add some death dealing traps ... and this has a very familiar feel to it.]

    "Little help here," calls Toni, as the sleeping gnolls seem to be waking up.

    Mal hears Toni, glances down, and puts an arrow through the chest of the gnoll next to her. Toni sighs, though staying on the defensive just in case.

    Bree casts sleep on the gnolls down the hallway. All three gnolls suddenly drop unconscious! She turns and waves back to the others, so they know the coast is clear.

    Brytallis fires two more Magic Missiles into the alpha gnoll, hitting it for [3 and 3=6 total]. It roars in pain! With one swing of it's axe, it slams Sonste in the side of the head [12], sending him reeling backwards and to the ground. It then moves up to attack Brytallis!

    Theyln and Toni both take AoO at it, but they miss. Theyln then hits it with his longsword [3]. Dymir turns and fires at the alpha gnoll's back, hitting for [4].

    The gnolls all attack. Din's misses him, and the spetum wielder behind it stabs, but Din easily avoids the blow. The other steps up and stabs Sonste who was just knocked to the ground, pinning him through the stomach with wicked blow [8]. The cruel gnoll yips with delight!

    Another couple gnolls come around the corner southwest of Bree, both firing bows at her, but they both miss. Two more and a flind with a flindbar then come around the same corner, while a third gnoll steps down from the opposite corner, but they don't advance any further. The flind barks orders at the gnolls, and they all have bows pointing down the passage at Bree.

    The flind backs up and calls up the stairs, where the waiting gnolls and flinds then advance. Two more spetum-armed gnolls move up behind the front rank, while two archers move up and stand on the lowest step, where they too can fire. Two more flinds move down, and they speak with the flind leader, who points the party's way, then makes a circular motion. The shaman stays up at the top of the stairs.

    Backed up in the corner, Medic backs up another 5', to the edge of the chasm. He glances down, ready to leap in if it should come to that. Din continues to battle the gnoll before him, but he too fails to score a telling blow. Mal fires another shot, hitting the gnoll that stabbed Sonste [6], while Dymir fires another at the alpha gnoll, but the arrow just bounces off it's armor!

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-R9pi0We8L5o/Uv7AA_M3LYI/AAAAAAAACi0/ojUK7i0GZhU/s1600/Plank%2520battle9.jpg
    Round 9

    Sonste dropped his lantern, but it didn't go out! It's on the ground next to Toni.

    "Toni," shouts Mal, desperation clearly edging into the hobgoblin's voice. "Fire that hallway! We cant fight all them!" Mal then goes back to firing at enemies attacking Din aiming high to avoid hitting Din.

    You see another shaman, this one a flind, appear at the top of the steps and converse with the gnoll shaman. You also hear the sounds of more yipping gnolls coming.....

    Theyln goes on full defense, taking a short step to put himself between the Gnoll and Brtyallis and parries any attacks it might try to make. He hopes to use the Alpha Gnoll as cover from incoming missile fire or spells, and also to protect the young mage.

    "Brytallis!" he yells. "Summon reinforcements!"

    "From where?" he shouts back. "My arse?"

    "Some "illusionist" mutters Theyln sarcastically as he defends against the alpha gnoll's relentless attacks.

    Toni starts to light her pot, as Brytallis fires another two magic missiles from his wand, doing [4 and 2, total 6] to the alpha gnoll. Medic pulls Brytallis back, as Theyln steps in front of him, protecting the young mage.

    The gnoll steps forward, attempting to push its way passed Theyln and get to Brytallis, but Theyln fends it off with deft swordplay.

    In the other passage, Bree points her wand of wonder at the gnolls at the end of the corridor, and a strange purple ray bursts from it, engulfing all the gnolls. They instantly start sprouting massive wounds. Four of them drop dead instantly from them, while the last one and the flind survive. They both turn and run!

    Mal and Dymir both put an arrow into the alpha gnoll, doing [5] and [8] respectively. It grunts in agony as the last arrow pierces it's spine, and it tumbles forward, pitching into the chasm. It reaches out for Theyln, who lops off it's hand with a last stroke as it falls away into the water below.

    Din then hits his gnoll, killing it finally. With the death of the alpha gnoll, the other gnolls hesitate, even backing up a step. Sonste takes [2] damage as the gnoll rips its spetum violently from Sonste's abdomen. The wickedly barbed weapon pulls forth the young priest's intestines, which trail horribly behind it!

    The flinds bark orders at the gnolls, and they turn back towards the party, spetums leveled defensively. The archers on the steps fire at Theyln, who blocks all four arrows as he crouches behind his shield. One punches through it, still nearly hitting him in the face!

    You hear chanting gnoll chanting begin from atop the stairs.

    By the end of the round, Toni, who was more worried of the alpha gnoll than she let on, finally gets the oil grenade lit. She has yet to throw it. Mal fires his second shot at the front-right gnoll, but misses.

    Dymir holds his second shot, instead moving up to Bree. "What was that?" he asks, looking at the bleeding gnolls.

    "I have no idea," says Bree, looking at her wand. "It's a wonder!"

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-lix0BA_Rz3Y/Uv7zBnph-NI/AAAAAAAACjA/DpxzQ5D0Ztk/s1600/Plank%2520battle10.jpg
    Round 10

    Toni takes a moment to see if first aid can be done on Sonste, if there is a chance she will put the fire pot down and try to help him. If she cannot aid him she will Hand the fire pot to Theylin to throw up the eastern corridor that has the steps. The flams and smoke should make it hard for the archers to fire and may burn some of them. She can see that the brave priest is not breathing, and a large pool of blood and guts has poured out around him. He's dead Jim!

    Sonste heads towards the blinding light of Father Sun knowing that he is in a better place.

    Bree moves down to check out the gnolls. They are all dead! As she is bent over one, another comes out of the alcove behind her. Dymir quickly draws another arrow, a magical one this time, and he realizes he is out of normal arrows. Still, he fires the magic arrow, and it hits the gnoll in the back, killing it with one blow. It lands beside Bree with a thump!

    Toni gives Theyln the oil, and he wings it down the passage where it breaks against the spetum armed gnolls, erupting in fire. The other gnolls back off. Brytallis drinks a healing potion, while Medic casts CLW, his last one, on Din. Toni sees there's nothing to be done for Sonste, as Mal comes over the wall and joins the others.

    Dymir grabs a quiver from one of the dead gnolls, slinging it over his shoulder, when an arrow flies from the darkness, hitting him [4]. The archer is somewhere to the southwest, but he didn't see exactly. The gnolls beyond the fire shoot arrows, eight in all, and one hits Mal [3].

    "We can't just stay here!" yells Din.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lesUCn0sd5M/Uv92kg1V1iI/AAAAAAAACjQ/fMNZZkxAaEw/s1600/Plank%2520battle11.jpg
    Round 11

    Bree also notices that some of these gnolls have wet feet and legs. Looking around, she notices wet footprints coming from the southwest.

    "We should run," says Medic, who moves towards the dead gnoll wall, picking up the lantern as he goes. Though a priest of Rao, yet he whispers a prayer to Pelor for the soul of brave Sonste. Brytallis moves with him, and they cross over. Mal stands guard, calling the others.

    "Come on," says Din, reluctantly. "We can't make a stand here." Din then rushes that way too.

    Theyln and Toni are the only ones left on the other side of the wall now. With a curse, Theyln moves that way too, especially as he sees the fires burning down. He smiles as he sees the two gnolls fall to ground burning, but beyond them are more, including the four archers. As he steps aside, they fire their arrows where he just was, barely missing him.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZRYWHr7K_8M/Uv-PgwQIRWI/AAAAAAAACkw/0fSGUXChO1M/s1600/Plank%2520battle12.jpg
    Round 12

    "Get down that passage now!" cries Thelyn, yelling orders to the others. "We need to find a way out of this!" He grabs Sonste's body and unceremoniously heaves it into the chasm. "Sorry my friend," he says, but he cannot abide Sonste's corpse being mutilated or worse by the enemy. As he leaps the wall and flees, he whispers, "You will be avenged."

    When the party starts running their way, Bree and Dymir move back to the end. Dymir sees a gnoll coming up from the southwest and he fires another magic arrow, hitting it for [10] and dropping it! He grabs the light arrow from the wall, holding it in a finger of his left hand, while he nocks another magic arrow.

    Brytallis runs down and stops by Bree and Dymir, while Din passes them and continues on. Bree points out the wet gnolls, and Din follows their wet footprints. They lead down and then up to the right, through a door which stands open. Beyond that is a passage which runs downwards at a good incline.

    Everyone else catches up, except Toni and Theyln. As they move on, Toni throws her oil bomb onto the wall, catching the entire thing on fire. "That should keep them for awhile," she says, and Theyln just nods.

    "If only the gods will it so," he says grimly. "Hurry, let's catch up to the others!"

    Theyln sheathes his sword and unslings his bow, rushing after the party, Toni following after.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Mw86Y7A0dJE/Uv-bF4YGCFI/AAAAAAAAClQ/iuCT-werXy4/s1600/Plank%2520battle13.jpg
    Round 13

    [Theyln OOC: Rags, when he gets the area where room 8 intersects with the hall, he is going to look down that hall, take a look in room 8, then look down the hall again, arrow ready, before chasing after the party again. Just quick looks, He is pulling rear guard, so he wants to make sure we don't get any surprises.]

    [DM OOC: Room 8 was a guardroom, where there were 2 gnolls playing dice with a candle. No biggie. BTW, I have adjusted everyone's arrows. You have used a lot. Check your sheet for notes, but Dymir picked up a quiver from the gnolls, which I added to his sheet already. I also deleted 4 of the 5 flasks of oil which Toni had and removed the four pots for the four oil grenades she built. I have to say, those probably saved the day!]

    "I never thought I would ever says this," laments Bree, running along with the rest, "but I wish my brother was here! He would singled-handedly route these pests. We need to find a place to hold up or leave this foul place completely."

    Together, you follow the tunnel, which runs for over 300 yards, continually down and pretty straight. It eventually breaks open to a large chamber. There's a broad expands of sand and small river rock, that slopes down to a crescent of water which swirls around. Across from you, the rock wall hangs low to the water, except in one place where there is a gap.

    Three gnolls and a flind stand here, looking back at you, but one turns quickly and flees through the gap in the rock wall, splashing through knee-deep water.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-m6FrGLBsGCs/Uv-ikYjKU0I/AAAAAAAAClk/jxgfmVYmJ9w/s1600/river1.jpg

    Bree throws a dagger, but she misses, and it flies off into the water. Dymir fires another magic arrow, taking the flind in the right eye. It falls dead right there! The gnolls turn and flee before anyone else reaches them.

    "Damn it! Why does that always happen?" Bree goes to look for her dagger. She quickly finds it, and everyone moves through the water and out the passage. It is nothing more than a cleft between massive boulders, and leads outside. It is dark, but the twinkling stars almost never looked so good!

    Theyln immediately guides the party back to where we left our mounts, using his skills of astronomy, navigation, and direction sense. "If anyone knows how best to cover tracks, now is the time to do it. We need to get our mounts, regroup, heal, and rest. Then decide if this expedition is worth continuing. "

    Nobody has those skills, but you can go through the river. It's dark, and this is likely the river you were following, so you can make your way back downstream. Eventually you reach the place you left your mounts.

    Theyln breathes a sigh of relief. "Lady Moonbow, never have I been happier to see the light of your moon and the majesty of your stars." He jumps on his horse and encourages the party to get the hell out of here and find a safer place to encamp and rest.

    Theyln leads party out of the area with his skills, riding until dawn breaks, stopping when he finds a secure location to camp. He will let everyone rest and stand watch. By the time dawn breaks, you aren't really that far from Littleborough, maybe a few hours travel.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:11 pm  
    Part 13 - A Jeerful Reunion

    After their retreat from the gnoll caves, Theyln will push the group and travel the extra few hours to town, where clean sheets and a hot bath as befits his station awaits.

    "We can regroup, and return to break the enemy stronghold," he says. "They are undoubtedly weaker, but we have lost the element of surprise, and they will be alert after our incursion. I don't know what Din hoped to gain here, but ultimately he will know if it is worth it to return."

    "I need more arrows," says Mal in short, matter-of-fact manner.

    "Would that I could make some here in the wild, but it is a laborious process," says Din. "We should stock up, and buy more than we can easily carry. The gnoll force is strong...I am not sure what it would take to wear them out, but we certainly made a dent in their numbers. I am for returning to that deathtrap. But now is the time for any who do not wish this to make their reservations known."

    Toni seems withdrawn, and while everyone considers Din's words, she quietly speaks. "And now is the time to decide if you wish for me to continue with you."

    "Toni, your quick thinking with the fire grenades may have saved our lives," answers Theyln. "Though I have reservations, I vote you stay." His answer surprises Toni, who doesn't know what to say. "You don't seem inherently evil, like the werewolves my people have hunted," he continues, then turns to Din. "As to returning, I will stand by my dwarven brother. If he wishes to return I will be at his side. We have bled together on the field of battle, and he has proven his bravery and mettle. I think we should get some assistance, however, if our healers decide to leave."

    Din exhales, and smacks his lips. "Let us rest and recuperate fully. At present I can think of no way to tackle the gnolls, especially without knowing their numbers, except to besiege and harass them. Take out their scouts and sentries in small groups until few remain...a campaign that could last months. Perhaps it would be best to abandon this campaign and report back to Hommlet. I cannot think; I need ale. To the tavern!" He looks exhausted and pale, and very tired.

    "I vote that we go back after recuperating and resupplying," says Brytallis. "I also think Toni should stay. She has a great rack and her other skills are useful too. You know, I had my concerns about adventuring with you folks but I think I can consider you worthy companions."

    [Mal OOC: But if we leave now then we've left empty handed and in full retreat. We did not use the party's strengths round one. We went in expecting to mow down our opponent like blades of grass but out group isn't a slash and burn group. My belief is we have dealt them a near mortal blow.]

    "I wearing leather," says Mal. "I scout ahead of our more heavily armored members. When we find enemy, we need make their deaths fast."

    Toni nods, thanking the party for accepting her, but she doesn't seem the same, cheerful self she was before. In silence, the party continues the last few hours to Littleborough where they get rooms and fall fast asleep, exhausted after their long flight.

    Starday, 15th of Coldeven (582)
    The party awakes to another clear, calm day. It's cold outside, but nobody really wants to move much, after the harrowing escape the night before. Medic is especially troubled by the loss of Sonste. He was right there, 10' away, but couldn't do anything with the big gnoll in the way. He isn't much for fighting, and generally feels that if you fight, you've already lost. He does use his healing to bring everyone back to healthy, and the rest of the day must be spent resting. Din cannot find anyone to repair his crossbow, as it's beyond the ability of anyone in this village.

    Mal is clearly troubled. "I not let this go," he says. Like medic, he had to stand and watch what these gnolls did to Sonste, and they even seemed to take pleasure in stabbing him even when he lay dead. Mal packs up his gear and restocks his arrows, something the halflings do have. "I will do what I can to avenge Sonste. Come or stay in your room crying in your ale, it matters not."

    "Din perhaps we should request the help of a few of your people," says Theyln. "Reclaiming some of your lands is a notable deed. Sharing some of the spoils in order to survive is not unwise."

    "Yes Din, lets make sure that the dwarves get their mine back," adds Toni. "Maybe a few of the dwarves could at least guide us to the mine."

    [DM OOC: Thorgrim is the only other Kilthduum dwarf he has ever met. Also, Thorgrim didn't charge him with clearing the old Kilthduum lands, just taking a look while he helped to clean up and get established Cat's Claw Tower. Actually, with Toni's people settled at the tower, you have possibly already met your original goals. Further, those goals were never Medic's, Sonste's, Toni's, or Theyln's.]

    You spend the day resting and picking up whatever else you need. Toni gets materials for some more firepots, while Din spends the day working on his crossbow, which is able to repair. Medic does not believe in this venture, and he thinks you are going to get yourselves killed for no reason. He will stay here, eventually planning to return to Castle Hagthar and Veluna.

    "I think we have them gnolls on the run," says Brytallis, "but we didn't even get any treasure! We should go back but be smart about it this time."

    "And not even a pretty bauble for all our work," Toni says.

    [DM OOC: Well, Din did find a MW warhammer! After a long discussion, the party decides that they are not ready to face the gnolls right away. Rather, they chose to return to Hommlet, for information and aid.]

    Godsday, 18th of Coldeven (582)
    . It take two days, and you make it back. It's a cold day, but it's clear. It's been clear skies for over a week now. You are greeted by those in town, and may interact with the original characters now. You can also take care of any details you need to handle.

    At dinner Toni brings down a small bag and puts it on the table with a THUNK. "With all the excitement of getting out I forgot about these." Toni opens the sack and empties 20 gp onto the table. "While pushing gnolls into the chasm and in the few moments of peace, I took these off the gnolls and that large one had most of these. We did get plunder. Let's pay for our stay and our meals with this, unless you want to divide 20 by 8."
    She takes one gold piece and hands it to Mal, "You did get plunder."

    Theyln laughs out loud at such a paltry sum. "Divide it among yourselves. You look like you need it far more than I do."

    Toni takes Theylin aside and says, "It's not the amount, it's the fact that Mal got something off them. And thank you for the extra coins. I can use them."

    Din reports his perceived failure to Thorgrim. Thorgrim tells him he has done well, and to proceed onto his next mission. Thorgrim also tells him that they did not find the Dwarven Mithril Mine. They found the Keep of Koralgesh. I lies at the entrance of the river valley, protecting the approach to Dorob Kilthduum from this direction. He doesn't know anything else about it though. Remember, he was a young dwarf when the stronghold fell.

    "Ah!" exclaims Din, gesticulating wildly. No wonder it was chosen as a stronghold for those gnollish usurpers! We barely penetrated its outer defenses. Though we did find a back door. Two, actually."

    "We should return," says Toni, standing up straight, "clean out the fortress, then find the mine. I got pots, oil and cloths. Lets ride."

    Thorgrim warns everyone about the old Kilthduum lands. Even he has not seen fit to return, yet, though he's been a bit...busy. Still, it will undoubtedly be quite dangerous. Further, the Valley of Karaduum is supposedly haunted by the many dead who fell there. He doesn't recommend that you travel into the valley itself. The Fortress and Shrine to Gorm, where you have discovered the gnolls, is only a border fortress. He remembers that it rests within a hillside overlooking the road to the Lake Glorgal.

    "That's dwarven for 'Glittering Shield,'" he says. "It's what the lake looks like at dawn." Thorgrim paces around, clearly a bit unsettled by your intended return. "I cannot tell you what to do," he says, especially looking at Din. "I am not your father. However, know that no dwarf has set foot where you have tread for near a hundred years. There is no telling what is really there. Stay out of the Valley, keep to the Clearwater [that's the name of the stream which flows from the lake and along which you were traveling.]"

    He then passes out over a dozen Potions of Healing. "Lyseios created these while you were gone," he says, handing them out. He gives two to everyone. [You may add them to your sheets.] He then wishes you all luck, and takes Din aside when everyone leaves.

    "You are the Blood of Kilthduum," he says. "My blood too, as it seems. I would go with you, but I have pressing matters. Perhaps, when I have returned from dealing with this Hill Giant menace, we shall head to Kilthduum together. Until then, keep yourself safe, and your friends too."

    ***

    Meanwhile...Berenn and Bree have a Jeerful Reunion.

    Sir Berenn Silverwood, Lord of Warden's Station, Knight Commander of the Watchlands and defender of his enormous manhood, was just finishing listening to the daily report for his officers.

    "I believe that will be all for today gentlemen", Berenn said. These meeting were tedious, but necessary if he was going to keep his plans on track.

    About this time a shout came from just outside Berenn's audience chamber and a second later, the doors were opened to reveal a very attractive female walking in, followed close behind by two very flustered guards.

    One of the guards spoke up, "Apologies my Lord Berenn, this woman says she is your sister and is as slippery as an eel." Berenn stood up from his chair and approached the young lady clad in black and red.

    "It is okay Sweetie," the woman said smiling. "My big brother is used to me making dramatic entrances!"

    "Braerindra! Still not taking "No" for an answer I see," Berenn waved his hand to dismiss the guards. "I have never been able to determine what is more dangerous ... that silver tongue of yours or your ability to get into places you haven't been invited."

    "You sure know how to make a girl feel welcome brother. If you treat all women in the same manner it will be a miracle if you ever ...", Bree was just about to finish her retort, but Berenn cut her off. "What can I do for you?"

    "Can't I just drop by and say 'hello'?" Bree responded.

    "You never come by to just say 'hello" replied Berenn. At the same time he realized there was another figure who had entered behind her. "And who might this be Braerindra? It isn't like you to bring company on your visits."

    "His name is Thelyn and apparently he is under the impression your are famous ... or infamous ... not really sure which."

    Berenn recognizes him as the queens guard who was given the Elvish Plate Armor recovered from the lair of the Green Dragon. Theyln nods his head in respect and says "Greetings Sir Berenn Silverwood, Knight Commander of the Watchlands!
    I am Lord Thelyn Weirkein a noble of Celene, formerly of the Queens Guard and currently assigned as guard to the Celene ambassador recently arrived in Vervebonc. I have come to pay my respects, not only as one of the local leaders, but as one of the slayers of the dragon and avenger of my families honor."

    "Well met Lord Thelyn," replies Berenn, "my apologizes for the lack of proper courtesy, but I am not used to Braerindra traveling in such company. The hospitality of Warden's Station is yours if you should choose to stay. I can have one my men show you to the guest quarters." Berenn replies. "Braerindra, you should have announced your guest. We will have to work on your etiquette among your other deficiencies."

    "I will work on my etiquette, the day you work on your sense of humor," Bree retorted.

    You hear a small explosion from the bowels of the castle. "Nothing to worry about!" shouts Lyseios.

    "Pardon the interruption," Berenn continues. "We have an alchemist in the lower level who quite frequently has miscalculations ... it is a miracle he hasn't killed himself. But he contributions far outweigh his collateral damage." Berenn turns to Elmo, "Please go check and see what Lyseios has blown up this time." Elmo bows and leaves the room, and Berenn turns back to the others. "Now I am curious how you two came to be in the company of each other. That must be an interesting tale indeed."

    "That would be greatly appreciated," replies Theyln. "I have not had adequate quarters since I left Vervebonc. I heard tales that you had flying mounts as well? This is a great honor in Celene, I myself have trained to care for and battle in the air upon a Griffon mount, though I have not had the honor of being assigned one. If it would not trouble you overmuch, I would like to see your flying creatiures?. Perhaps a hunt if time permits?"

    "It should be no trouble at all," says Berenn gratiously. "We were recently blessed with our first fledgling, breeding in this environment can be difficult at times. Once you are settled in, I can show you the griffons and anything else you that might interest you."
    Berenn calls for one his guards to show Thelyn to the guest quarters.

    "You are a generous host" he says, a gleam of excitement in his eyes at the prospect of seeing the Griffons.

    When Thelyn has been escorted to his quarters, Berenn turns his attention back to Braerindra. "And what should I do with you?"

    "Your finest room, entertainment, food, drink and a little coin to see me through would be a good start," Bree replied.

    "I was thinking a cell in the dungeon would be more appropriate, but knowing you abilities as I do, you would probably be out of it in no time. I suppose it would be somewhat rude to turn away my kin, but be warned, no mischief will be tolerated within these walls.' He calls another guard over, "Take her to our other guest room ... and make sure she doesn't touch anything on the way."

    The guards bring Thelyn and Bree back after they have settled in. "Lord Theyln before I take you to the griffons, I thought you would like to see what remains of an old acquaintance of your family." Berenn walks them to the far end of the chamber and above Berenn's seat is mounted the head of Caustichlorinus and on one side is a fully intact and stuff Chimera. "Behold Caustichlorinus or at least the largest piece that still remains. His scales were put to good use and were forged into the armor I currently wear. I thought you kinsmen would appreciate it if a family member was able to actually look upon their bane devoid of life."

    Brytallis approaches and says, "Lord Berenn, is your sister married? If not, I plan to pursue her."

    Berenn lets out a loud and long laugh. "Another unannounced guest, I didn't realize I was holding court today. By the look, a spell caster and by his word, a man with a death wish!" Berenn grabs Brytallis gives him a closer view of Caustichlorinus. "See this fierce beast. It almost ended my existence and several of my friends. You would be better off fighting ten such beasts than purposing marriage to Braerindra. If you are a spell caster, then you must have demonstrated a fair amount of intelligence in your life, so take my advice. The next time you think about asking for Braerindra's hand, stick one of your hands in a roaring fire, it will remind of the danger of such ventures! She would break your will, make jokes while it was happening and leave you once your soul was shattered. She would live you a shell. Alive on the outside, but completely dead inside. A sort of walking death."

    "You are far too kind brother," Bree pipes up.

    "Gods, I was just trying for a roll in the hay," replies Brytallis, pulling back. "I meant no offense."

    "Oh Sweetie," Bree chimes up. "You couldn't handle a roll with me. And I thought by your attire you would be more interested in my handsome brother anyway."

    You hear Berenn almost choke when Bree utters those words. "Saint Cuthbert spare me from this menace!"

    "Does praying to that stuffed shirt ever gain you anything brother?" quips Bree, laughing all the while.

    "Mostly the patience to deal with your visits ... and the wisdom to realize when to quit," says her brother, shaking his head ruefully. "Now, if there are no other 'surprises', I will show Lord Thelyn my griffons as promised," Berenn says looking at Bree with an inquisitive look. Bree shrugs as a response. "Good. If you will follow me." Berenn leads them out into the courtyard and to the griffon corral.

    After a short rest to refit, the party is ready to leave when they are approached by another man. He introduces himself as Arioch, a priest of Joramy, goddess of Fire, Volcanoes, Wrath, Anger, and Quarrels. Her symbol is a volcano. He has heard of the exploits of the Heroes of Hommlet, and came to offer his services. When he learned of the party's "defeat" at the hands of gnolls, it seems to seriously upset him. He would exact vengeance on these gnolls, for their affront as well as for the slaying of a righteous priest of Pelor.



    Toni steps up and with a click of her heals and a bow of her head says, "I am Antoia Zoltan, well met sir, I am glad for your help in this adventure."

    Sunday, 23th of Coldeven (582)
    The party makes it without any issue to the Greenway Valley, then has to deal with a thunderstorm on the way to Littleborough. The next day it rains intensely, and the party doesn't leave. Medic meets up with them at the inn, and informs them that he has taken up the position of local prelate, seeing as how the previous one died at the hands of norkers. He promises to extend to them any assistance they may need. They are welcome at his chapel any time. The next day is cloudy and cold, but at least it doesn't rain.

    "Thanks the Gods we didn't leave during the storm," says Bree, a look of complete and utter dread on her face. "It would have ruined my hair!"

    "Good luck Medic, I hope your god blesses your work," Toni says, laughing at Bree's comment.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:46 pm  
    Part 14 - Hunting

    The party heads back on the road, Mal and Theyln scouting ahead as they ride. Eventually the party makes camp a few hours from the fortress. Mal returns to camp, slipping off a limping Maugrim just as the rest of the party is finishing setting up. "We can't stay here. This area has no fortifications and they know we're here. They are also using trained giant hyena's." Everyone notices the blood covering Mal's armor, some his, a lot not. "Hyenas," he says, looking closely at Maugrim's wounds.

    [DM OOC: Just wanted to post what happened, now that Mal's back. This all happened in PMs between just the Mal player and myself.]

    While out scouting, Maugrim suddenly stops, tensing up. It sniffs the air and growls menacingly. Mal doesn't see anything. He's probably a few minutes out, having gone hunting, so he starts back. As they are riding back, he hears a strange sound, like a laughing bark, then a snapping as two large wolf-shaped beasts charge out of the darkness. Mal is surprised, and he cannot act, though Maugrim turns and bars his fangs. They charge into him, barreling over Maugrim and throwing Mal to the ground. One bites Mal [10], gashing him in the arm rather badly. They come up in a tumble as well. Mal has his bow, but the thing's right in his face!

    They look something like this....


    Mal has no choice but to grapple (bow really isn't an option in this situation). Make my grapple a choke hold around one of their necks hoping at least that one cant bite me. If I'm able to maintain that hold i will attempt to use the grappled wolf as a shield between me and the other attacking wolf. guess I'll see how this defensive action works out for me.

    [Mal OOC: Those things look like prehistoric hyenas.] Mal wonders where this is just a random encounter (or) gnoll trained watch dogs? He blames the gnolls regardless. Thats assuming he survives this.

    [DM OOC: Yes, they are hyenadons.] Mal comes down and shares his potion with Maugrim, pouring some into the wolf's mouth as he drains the rest [healing 6].

    He then spots eyes in the woods. There are three pairs of eyes, spaced apart and at the height where they would be hyenadons. Next to one pair, there is another, about a foot higher. Probably a gnoll.

    Mal is going to be driven by positive thinking. Mal puts two arrows into center mass on what looks like an upright leader. then switch to spear and shield. Stay close to maugrim and try to fight as a unit. Total defensive. backstep, defend. backstep, defend. "Loudly in common. I will finish this and wear your hide as a trophy. I keep what I kill and killings been good."

    Mal figures he is a better archer than a gnoll. He should be right beside a tree so very minorly adjust to use the tree for semi cover making sure Maugrim is behind me. If this gnoll wants to see who gets lucky, Mal will play along for at least a round or so. One thing we definitely don't want to do is run and prompt the dogs prey instinct and open up our flank. Mal ducks behind the tree, and the gnoll seems to have done the same. Neither of them can now see the other.

    He backs up, doesn't see anything. He backs off a bit more and Maugrim seems OK, so he jumps on him and takes off. Soon, he rode back into camp.

    "How many of them were there?" Brytallis asks, while Arioch moves up to heal Maugrim's wounds.

    "They tried to hurt him," says Mal, nodding thanks to Arioch. "Maugrim was brave and fought them off. I put into their face and chest made them think twice too, maybe. There was one gnoll scout and 3 hyenadons. But that was probably just a forward scout."

    Mal asks Din if he can borrow his warhammer that they picked up last trip to the caverns. If its ok he starts cutting branches and driving them into the ground (outwardly facing) around where he will sleep and station himself. He then takes his dagger and sharpens the ends that are outwardly facing. If he has time he drives a few branches straight down in the ground to serve as a bow firing blind. Toni, seeing what he is doing, starts making some rope snares that can catch someone or something and pull them up into the a tree.

    "Let's leave," says Brytallis quickly, looking nervous. "There is no point in walking into an ambush. Let's leave them stew for a few months and then return. By then their guard will be down."

    "No," says Mal. "We be alert, set ambush. If they come, we kill." He looks very determined, and Din and Theyln nod in agreement.
    Waterday, 19th of Coldeven (582)
    The party is not bothered during the night, and the dawn breaks early to another cold, cloudy day. Everyone is tired, as nobody went to sleep all night. Saddling up, They head back towards Koralgesh. Mal and Theyln scout ahead, and they find that there are also blood drops here and there, but there is no sign of the gnolls or hyenas.

    [DM OOC: Here's a map to show the layout of the area. Hopefully, I finally figured it out! Please let me know if the map looks ok. The gnolls are in the old Fortress of Koralgesh. I just want to make sure you all understand the geography. I also added your campsite. It is along the west side of the Clearwater River, north of Koralgesh. You can now see it indicated by a group of tents, just north of the narrow, cliffside walks that were pretty difficult to manage before.]

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Xs9vZ5yeRaI/UxKM3ehskqI/AAAAAAAACqk/xs0z_eEIXHA/s1349/Fullscreen%2520capture%2520312014%252054317%2520PM.jpg

    [Mal OOC: We're not exactly in a hurry. Is there a way to circle towards the Karaduum Valley then approach northward back towards the fortress?]

    [DM OOC: You'll have to figure that out. You have a basic map, drawn by Isilme before you left. That's the one I'm posting! So, you can use that to decide. Remember, you're not in the modern world with satellites and gps, so you have to figure that kind of stuff out the hard way....]

    "Without a true woodsman," says Bree, suddenly wishing her brother were there again, "I am not sure it is wise to stray off the path."

    "You right," says Mal. "We go, but, do we head for the temple or push on to the opening in the rock wall?"

    The party proceeds with caution, but unfortunately there is only so much you can do walking along a narrow, cliff side path. You reach the point where you will have to lead your horses, and Mal scouts ahead with Maugrim at his side. Neither sees anything, so they wave the rest of the party ahead. You traverse the first couple difficult parts, and are about to pass another when there is an ominous rumbling from above. A couple of rocks clatter down, followed quickly by more and bigger ones. "ROCKSLIDE!" yells Arioch!



    [DM OOC: Incidentally, that is probably EXACTLY what Bree looks like right now!]

    Bree will move back before the rocks break a nail. "I guess they don't make hillsides the way they used to!"

    Mal is able to rush out of the way, and only takes a few glancing blows from small rocks [1,2; total 3]. Toni and Brytallis duck back in tight against the mountainside. Toni takes a blow from two rocks [3,1: total 8], while Brytallis takes hits from three rocks [6,2,1: 9 total!] He is struck once in the head, almost knocked unconscious. Din is not hit by any, though a couple bounce harmlessly off his armor, but Dymir takes three, including one pretty solid tree branch which strikes him in the head [2,2,3: 7 total] Arioch takes hits from two rocks, for [1,6: 7 total] He is shaken, but he moves in to the cliff wall too.

    Bree dances around, avoiding all the rocks! "I knew those tap dancing lessons would come in handy. Looks like some of those rocks nailed Brytallis ... it would have been hard for them to miss that swelled head of his!"

    Bry says in a dazed fashion, "Don't papa. It hurts when you do that." He doesn't seem to realize what he said and then he snaps back into lucidity. Bry will use an extra healnig potion for him and two others. (Use all three doses).

    Rocks and trees and such are still falling..... Nobody was on horseback, because the path just before and after this short section is way too broken up to be able to ride them. The party was forced to lead them along. Arioch's horse is not hit by anything. Brytallis's horse takes three glancing rock blows [1,2,4: Total 7]. Din's horse is not hit, and runs ahead out of the way. Dymir's horse is hit with one rock [3]. Toni's horse avoids all rocks. Bree's horse takes a blow from a rock, and solid blow from a large tree trunk. [5,8: Total 13] It is knocked back off the ledge, and falls away down the mountainside. The snapping of a couple legs, easily heard even above the sound of the avalance, makes everyone wince!

    [DM OOC: There is more debris falling. Basically, you get attacked by falling debris for two rounds here. So, one more round of rockslide. BTW, it's taken pretty much straight out of the Wilderness Survival Guide, if you wonder how I did it. There won't be anyone trapped per se, as the debris mostly continues falling down the mountain. You're just in the way of a pretty large slide.]

    Din looks up to avoid any more falling rocks and to see if there are any creatures causing this rockslide. He sees a gnoll, looking down from a tree branch about 100' above at the top of the cliff.

    The rock/treefall continues, huge rocks and tree trunks tumbling down in a wave of deadly rain. Arioch takes hits from two rocks [5,5: 10 total!] and is knocked out!!!
    Bree is hit by a large branch [3].

    "Talk about being hit by the ugly stick," says Brytallis, [OOC: sorry, couldn't help myself!] as he avoids any further debris.

    Din is hit by one rock [2]. Dymir is hit by one rock [1]. Malgubet is safely ahead. Theyln is safely behind. Toni avoids any more debris.

    The same cannot be said for the horses.....

    Arioch's (Riding Horse) is fine. Brytallis's (Riding Horse) is pummeled by a couple rocks and a huge tree trunk. You hear the cracks of bone as it is blasted right off the mountainside and sent tumbling to its doom. [It took 18!] Din (Riding Horse) takes a shot from a rock [2]. Dymir (Riding Horse) is ok. Toni's (Riding Horse) is ok.

    The rockslide then ends, and Din sees the gnoll frowning up above.

    "I wish somebody would shoot that gnoll," bemoans Bree. "I lost a good horse. Now I am going to have to hit up my brother for some cash to get a new one." She turns to Brytallis, "Sweetie when the branches hit you, THEN it is getting 'hit by the ugly stick'," she pause for dramatic effect. "Whoops! Looks like a whole forest already fell on you!"

    "Your words are dust to me, jester," says Brytallis as he prepares a sleep spell. However, the gnoll is too far away.

    Din quickly loads his crossbow, but before he can fire the gnoll backs off out of sight. The group rushes forward, making it passed the rough sections until the path begins to open up to the small valley again. They are about an hour from the Y in the path where they found the shrine before. Mal is ahead, scouting and making sure there are no more gnolls near or especially up the mountain slope.

    "Stupid gnoll is probably alerting the others even as we ride, " says Toni. She also checks out the horses trying to administer horse first aid.

    Mal was thinking the exact same thing. He's tempted to swing back briefly towards the ridge cap. "One thing we don't need is a gnoll behind us," he says grimly.

    Brytallis shares his potion with Arioch. Arioch heals [4] while Brytallis heals [3]. As the group takes a moment to recover, that familiar hyena laugh/howl begins again. It is pretty loud, but nobody can see anything around them. It seems to come from the woods all around the party. Well, not behind them, as that was the cliff face path they just took.

    [DM OOC: Here's a map. I just made it using google earth, adding in trees and such where they go. The party is strung out along the path, coming from the NE. There's pretty much no cover where you are right now, and as you can see there is a good deal of ground between the party and the trees. Nobody is mounted, as everyone had to still lead their horses out of the steep and dangerous area. Also, Toni and Brytallis are in the middle seeing to the prone Arioch. I can zoom in if we need to, but I wanted to show the whole map.]

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AeA51YFd5mI/UxtGUrOdiLI/AAAAAAAACuQ/zm3X5orlYKw/s1600/path%2520map.jpg

    The clumps without shadows are all lower shrubs, still up to a couple of feet high. Everything taller should be noticeable by the shadows.

    [Bree OOC: The longer we stay on this path, the more exposed we will be. I suggest moving on quickly.]

    [DM OOC: If you move on quickly, through the DM's prepared map, you may incur the wrath of the DM. I spent quite some time setting this up!]



    Last edited by ragnar on Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:27 am; edited 2 times in total
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:46 pm  
    Part 15 - Ambush!

    "Someone climb one of those trees and see if you can see anything coming," says Brytalls. "We need a lookout."

    Mal and Din both rush forward towards the clump of Manzanita about 75' ahead. They take cover there, Maugrim actually ducking low and nearly disappearing into the brush.
    Dymir mounts his horse and spurs it forward, just beyond Din and Mal. Toni moves off to the north, towards the nearest tree. Theyln mount his horse, then takes out his bow, scanning the trees. Brytalls and Arioch stay hidden, nearly prone, behind a large rock. Arioch casts CLW on himself [7].

    Toni climbs the tree and she sees gnolls moving up all around her, though they don't seem to notice her in the tree. Suddenly about a dozen arrows fly out of the trees towards the party. Arioch's horse is killed, and Toni's horse take a couple of arrows in the flank before bolting off. It takes off straight down the mountainside, away from the arrows coming from above the path. Bree also takes an arrow in the leg [5].

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vElW8EnaMe0/Uxx7kupkZBI/AAAAAAAACwY/syEB3W5Z-BE/s1600/path%2520map3b.jpg

    I've had to zoom way out to show the whole thing, but hopefully you still can see ok. I added labels so you can tell who is whom. Making maps this large is challenging in our format! There is also a dashed white line that I drew. This shows the ridgeline.

    Toni is towards the top of the map, with a yellow halo. That signifies she's at a higher altitude, after climbing about 30' up the tree. She sees gnolls all around her. They have moved up to the trees where she moved, and there is one right below her. They all have longbows and are firing at the party from the cover of the trees.

    Mal can see them, but Din and Dymir cannot, as they are sheltered behind a little round rise that blocks their view. Brytallis and Arioch are huddled down behind rocks, trying to not provide targets for arrows. Theyln has ridden up, and has his bow out. He fires at a gnoll that he sees, his arrows thudding into the tree which the gnoll is using for cover.

    Dymir also rides up around the Manzanita mound, heading up towards the gnarled tree to outflank the gnolls. He is just about to fire a shot when he reaches the ridgeline. Over the other side he sees more gnolls. There are two more archers behind the two nearest trees, as well as three more moving up across the open ground to the left, attempting to outflank the party. He snaps off a shot at one of them, but misses. He calls out, "More to the left!" as he fires. Unfortunately, he's now rather exposed.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4SNktY-jHqU/UxyHmGCGPaI/AAAAAAAACwo/kqJTMfDrFOs/s1600/path%2520map3c.jpg
    This isn't a full screen shot, just the part that Dymir can see.

    Theyln casts Wall of Fog, creating a faggy barrier between him and all the gnolls around Toni. He spurs his mount Silvermoon up the slope, just behind the fog where he is concealed.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-PerAIW4Sh8E/UxyamQo77KI/AAAAAAAACw4/C1pXZ9nwJCw/s1600/path%2520map3d.jpg
    Addes squares so you can judge distances.

    From the Combat Notes, here's what I have:

    Items in Hand(s)

    Bree: none
    Brytallis Burnheart: none
    Din Deadeye: hvy crossbow
    Dymir of Hommlet: greatbow
    Malgubet: comp shortbow
    Arioch: none
    Theyln: comp shortbow
    Toni: none

    I have not particular actions for anyone, and I'm hesitant to just "move forward" without some input. However, here's what I see happening right now. Bree, Brytallis, and Arioch are staying down so they don't get shot! Theyln has moved up on his horse to just beyond the Wall of Fog. Dymir has moved up to outflank the gnolls, but found himself outflanked in the process. Actually, he probably pulled a "Sickles" move, accidentally disrupting the gnoll outflanking move by his rash advance. Din and Mal are somewhat hunkered down, and they can fire at the gnolls from their cover. Toni's hiding up in the tree.

    Just to be clear, the gnolls are using the trees for cover. The gnolls have 50% cover, firing around the trees. That gives them a -4 to their AC. Regular AC is 5, so they have, in essence, an AC of 1. That means they are going to be hard to hit. Din and Mal have 50% concealment from the bushes. That gives them a -2 to their AC. As long as Bree, Brytallis, and Arioch stay totally down, they have 100% cover and cannot be hit.

    [Mal OOC: There is an old leafless tree south of din & mal's position. Mal is going to there quickly and using evasion as much as possible (no straight lines) to avoid missle fire. That rough area in the bottom middle of the map, is that rocks. If that's better cover than that's where I'm heading. Mal is trying to flank southwest.]

    [DM OOC: Yes, that's an old dead tree. There are some more trees just beyond it, to the southeast. The bottom of the map is a rocky area. If you want to go off the map, I'll have to figure something out. Not saying you can't, but it does mean I have to make more map. Well, since this is from Google Earth, there's no reason I can't post a different pic, to give you a better overall view.]

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AgKI9-zcaSw/Uxy0-ao0U4I/AAAAAAAACxs/fk-iuz8m57Q/s1280/Fullscreen%2520capture%2520392014%2520113702%2520AM.jpg
    From this you should be able to see that the rocks are just rocky ground, but don't really offer cover. However, beyond that is the treeline to the south.

    Here's a view looking southwest:

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3CmKf_AIKT0/Uxy2gxVXulI/AAAAAAAACx0/_AKg9k4CWJQ/s1024/Fullscreen%2520capture%2520392014%2520114329%2520AM.jpg

    Mal and Din are a bit just below center screen, where the map makes that little round curvy turn around the manzanita brush which is about 3' tall. Anyway, you can see that the mountain falls away quickly just a hundred feet away or so. I think the rocky area is more visible this way, as well as the trees and the area beyond them too.

    Hopefully, this all gives you a good idea of the terrain. Google Earth is a powerful tool, especially when I match it with MapTools. However, it is still limited. Anyway, hopefully this helps.

    [Mal OOC: Seems distances are too great for what I wanted.] Mal will hold position with the hopes they haven't seen him or Din. Scoop up a small amount of dirt, rub it between my hands and smear it on my face to aid in blending. Peer through the branches at the ridge line. "Who know Din, maybe we can actually have luck go our way. It sure would be nice if the furbags would get over confident at the damage they've caused the horses and come down off that ridge"

    Dymir is fired at by about six gnolls/flinds. He is hit by two arrows [6,5: total 11] and knocked from his horse [2]. He hits the ground hard, smacking his head on a rock and is knocked out! His horse takes two arrows as well [5,6: total 11] and falls back to the ground as well. A flind then moves up over the ridge and delivers a coup de grace on Dymir, smashing his head in with its flindbar [5].

    Theyln charges through the wall of fog, Silvermoon quickly closing the gap to the gnolls on the right flank. They fire their shots, which they were holding for just this moment, and three hit Theyln [7,5,6: total 18!!] Theyln is down to -5, severely injured. Good thing he's a cavalier! He's still on his horse, and bowls over the lead gnolls. He knocks one to the ground, while slashing another to his right, killing it.

    The other gnolls fire arrows at Brytallis and Arioch, keeping them down. Brytallis gets up to cast a spell at the nearest group of gnolls, and he takes an arrow in the shoulder [6] which spoils his spell and sends him back taking cover. Arioch crawls to where he can barely see the two gnolls hiding behind trees to Toni's northwest and casts Hold Person, freezing both of them!

    Toni casts Sleep on the gnoll below her, and it drops to the ground! Mal stays hidden, actually doing his best to improve his hiding, while Din fires his crossbow at the flind standing above Dymir. He hits it [6], knocking it over onto its back. Bree takes out her Wand of Wonder.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-hEJ-q7dZAY0/Ux8P6QcNmtI/AAAAAAAAC_8/AzEq-mk5w_U/s1152/path%2520map4b.jpg
    Here's a new map. It shows Theyln up amongst the gnolls by the trees, north of Toni. He killed one and knocked another over with his charge. That's the only real change.
    Here's a key to the colored haloes:
    Blue=prone
    Orange=held, stunned, or otherwise paralyzed
    Yellow=at altitude (usually this is flying, but could be levitating, or even just helping to differentiate on the map, like a character up a tree as opposed to one on the ground.)

    Theyln's horse rears up, stomping down on the gnoll at his feet, smashing it's face in! Theyln also drinks a potion of healing, healing [8]. That puts him back to 2.

    Din swears, then runs up to Dymir where he is lying on the ground. He pours a potion of healing down the man's throat, healing [6], bringing Dymir back to 1 hit point.

    The two gnolls in the trees between Toni and Theyln turn towards Theyln and fire arrows, missing badly. The flind next to Dymir gets up and swings a flindbar at Din, missing. Another group of gnolls moves up to the SW, crossing the small ridge close to Din. Two closest to him fire arrows at him, but miss. Two fire at Bree, one hitting her in the leg [4]. The gnoll still near Theyln fires two shots, both missing.

    Bree turns towards the newcomers and snaps off a shot of her Wand of Wonder. A crossbow bolt, shining brightly and leaving a white tail behind it, streaks into the flind that shot her and kills it instantly!

    "That will teach you to ruin my leather armor!" Bree shouts. "Who's next?!"

    With all the gnolls in the trees looking the other way or held, Toni drops down, landing perfectly thanks to her spell, and slays the sleeping gnoll at the base of the tree. Nobody seems to notice her. Mal picks up, snaps off a shot with his bow at one of the flinds near Din, but misses.

    Arioch heals Brytallis for [5].

    North of Theyln, he hears a cry. Glancing that way he sees another group of gnolls, maybe half-dozen, along with an ogre. They are moving down along the ridge line towards him, when a woman leaps into their midst, swinging a strange weapons. She quickly takes out both flind leaders, leaving just the ogre and the gnolls, all of which turn towards her. They are about 50' away from Theyln, to the north and just of the map. They aren't pictured, becase the map's not really big enough. He notices her moves, and she is clearly a monk!

    Here are some zoomed in overlapping maps:
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-FZeYGUmCJLM/UyD0Qu83neI/AAAAAAAADAw/pj_atXiVKAE/s1440/path%2520map5north.jpg
    north map
    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-wZqCOoyQNwk/UyD0IHlnXqI/AAAAAAAADAo/LrLVxLaNFkI/s1440/path%2520map5south.jpg
    south map

    Toni casts sleep, and both gnolls drop to the ground. Theyln unslings his bow. He cannot see any of the gnolls/flinds to the southwest, but can see the 5 to the northeast (off the map) and the ogre. Just behind them is the monk. Theyln fires two arrows at the ogre, boss missing. However, the ogre turns and looks that way, sneering at the young elf.

    A flind with a flindbar gives a crazy heckling cry and charges downhill towards Bree. However, it trips on a rock and falls hard onto the path, hitting it's head on a rock and knocking itself out!

    Bree casts Sleep, and the flind closest to Din drops to the ground. Mal sits up and fires an arrow, hitting the next flind in line [3]. Another flind moves up over the ridge, chanting in the strange language of the gnolls.

    The flind next to Dymir steps up to Din and attacks with a flindbar, wrapping his crossbow and ripping it away. Two more on the ridge fire at Din, their arrows bouncing harmlessly off his plate armor. Two more fire at Mal, one hitting him for [5]. Three more flinds fire from the trees along the path, two arrows barely missing Bree who apparently didn't notice them before.

    Theyln drinks his last Potion, healing [9] and bringing him back to 11. Seeing the ogre charging towards him, he turns Silvermoon and rides back into his wall of fog area.

    The monk continues her fight, taking out one of the gnolls. The other three drop their bows and draw swords, attacking the monk but missing. The ogre ignores the monk and charges Theyln, stopping at the tree near the other gnoll.

    Dymir, still on the ground, draws his scimitar and slashes the flind across the back of his legs [3]. It's hurt, but drops to one knee after the blow. Din grabs his axe, swings it around, and chops the gnoll in the back of head as it glances back at Dymir. The blow splits the thing's head wide open, blood and brains spraying all over Dymir.

    Finally, two more flinds move up to the ridgeline, right behind Dymir. They fire bows nearly point blank at Din, and one hits Din solidly in the arm [6].

    Brytallis drinks another Potion of Healing, healing [7]. Arioch casts CLW on himself [6].

    Mal ducks back down, while Bree lies flat, presenting less of a target. The gnolls and flinds all fire again too. Din takes another shot from one of the newcomer flinds [2], but it's just a scratch.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YexhMxwmsTM/UyJFKjUMA6I/AAAAAAAADBA/h6hT8GynS1g/s1600/path%2520map6.jpg
    There is also the fight going on to the north, between the monk and three remaining gnolls. They are about 100' off the map to the north.

    Brytallis casts sits up, casting Phantasmal Force of a Fireball. It explodes as he hoped, but the gnolls and flinds aren't fooled.

    [DM OOC: First, it is only visual. Quoting the PHB: "It does not create sound, smell, or temperature. " Further, he's doing a magical effect he cannot do, so it's even more unlikely. Sorry, they all saved and realized it was fake!]

    Toni sets up a new firepot. By the time she's done, she realizes that the two gnolls are held. Meanwhile, Bree attempts to use her taunting ability, but it doesn't seem to net any effect. Maybe it's because they really can't hear her well so far away. Mal stays down where the main group can't see him, but turns and fires an arrow at the three on the path to the south. He hits one for [5]. Dymir drinks a Potion, healing [8].

    The gnolls and flinds all attack. The gnoll near Dymir fires his longbow, hitting him in the back [6]. The gnoll at the north tree moves to where the other two are down, and he starts slapping them, waking them up. They get up, but there's no attacks from that quarter. The two flinds near Dymir and Din move up and attack, swinging longswords, but they miss. The next flinds fire arrows. Three fire at Bree, one hitting her [6: Bree falls back, having taken a hit square in the chest!] One fires at Din, hitting him for [5]. Finally, the three at the path all fire at Bree, but they miss.

    Astrid hits one gnoll with a fist, knocking it out! Din misses with his axe.

    Thelyn rides silvermoon nearby brytallis and arioch then halts the horse, slinging his bow. "Brytallis! Ogre is coming, grease him so I can set him on fire with a sphere! Has the whole party scattered? We must find a defensible position or strategically withdraw."

    The ogre then comes pounding down the slope chasing Theyln. It moves into the fog, where it slows down, swinging wildly a few times before eventually exiting the fog close to the path. It sees Theyln immediately, grows, and prepares to charge him.

    Arioch sees the ogre and says a fervent prayer to Joramy to send aid [casting Summon Swarm]. Suddenly thousands of fire ants appear from the rocks, creating a swarm around the ogre. It slaps at them, swinging its club wildly, then turns and runs away back up the slope!

    Here are two more zoomed maps:
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-m1ClKSvtfQY/UySHwzHGwBI/AAAAAAAADB0/Z45tNLV1LFU/s1600/path%2520map7n.jpg
    Round 7 North
    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-JP4xK8DYRo8/UySH5XyH9GI/AAAAAAAADB8/E5bF2OzkV4E/s1600/path%2520map7s.jpg
    Round 7 South

    "Thanks!" Theyln says to arioch. "We need to withdraw NOW!" Theyln urges silvermoon to ride towards Bree, unslinging his bow and firing at the flind near her if he can. When in ear shot of Mal he will yell, "get her on my horse, let's get out of here!"

    Mal grabs Bree, throws her on Maugrim, and rides back down the path to the others. He drops her into Arioch's hands, and the young priest casts CLW upon her, healing [6]. She conscious again. Unfortunately she dropped her wand back down the path, and Mal didn't notice.

    Din grabs Dymir, turns, and runs away. The young boy doesn't resist, and the two are quickly running away. The flinds attack them as they flee, and both miss with one fumbling and falling down in his excitement!

    Toni throws her firebomb, which explodes against the tree trunk igniting quickly. She then rushes over to the held gnolls, preparing to slash their throats with her cat claws.

    The gnolls and flinds along the ridge all fire, spreading their shots at Dymir and Din. Dymir takes an arrow in the back [4], falling unconscious again. He stumbles, and Din grabs him to continue. As he stops to get a better grip on Dymir, Din takes a shot in the back too [6].

    Brytallis stays low, using his wand to fire at the flind on the path. He sends two Magic Missiles at it, hitting it for [7]. It doesn't take a second shot, but instead backs up behind a tree.

    Theyln casts another Wall of Fog, cloaking the area right behind Din and Dymir in misty vapors and concealing them from the archers.

    The flinds along the path can still see the group clustered around Arioch, and they fire but at such a long range, they do not hit. Then three more flinds appear, over the small rise to the SE. They have cover behind the trees there, and they fire as well. Maugrim is hit with one arrow [4] and Brytallis takes an arrow in the chest [8].

    The ogre runs away, through the trees where Toni and the gnolls are [It's currently right between the three trees]

    Meanwhile, Astrid misses with her Latajang, while the gnolls all miss with their attacks. She then punches one in the face [7], staggering it, but not taking it out.

    Here's a full area view:
    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-RbGl5AYtum8/UyWzSMdbwvI/AAAAAAAADCw/woPrhx5Hj3I/s1600/path%2520map8.jpg
    Round 8

    And here's one that zooms in on you guys a bit, with squares added:
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-EyaY-Z-JAeQ/UyWze9EhsBI/AAAAAAAADC4/gFNh1jqFLDk/s1600/path%2520map8z.jpg

    Theyln yells imperiously at the group. "We are outnumbered, withdraw NOW with honor and live to fight another day!" He pauses and sees Toni...."I will try to help Toni, if I fall tell my family of my deeds!" He urges Silvermoon to speed and tries to take advantage of the fogs and any cover as much as he can to ride to Toni and help her get up on the horse and make an escape run back to the group. "Come with me if you want to live" he tells Toni with a wink.

    Brytallis casts another Wall of Fog, this one blocking the way towards Toni to give Theyln a chance.

    Arioch waits, while Mall takes off on Maugrim, Bree hanging on for dear life. They ride quickly back along the path the way they came.

    Astrid using Mind Shadows, hitting the pressure points of one gnoll and stunning it!

    The other one attacks, missing, and Astrid rolls around, coming up on its flank with a strke to the throat [10], dropping it! With the other one stunned, she glances around to see what has happened. She sees Theyln ride through the fog, loop around the trees, and Toni leap up into the saddle as he rides by, coming in her direction. The ogre comes out of its funk, sees Theyln, and charges after him! The ogre almost reaches them this round.

    The gnolls by the fire see what's happening, and have time for one shot each of their bows. They fire, hitting Toni, Theyln, and Silvermoon with one shot each. Toni takes [7], Silvermoon [3], and Theyln [2]

    The three gnolls to the southeast all fire, but they miss. Din reaches the group, nearly collapsing from his run carrying Dymir, and Arioch casts CLW on Dymir, healing [5].
    A couple arrows also come flying up north from the gnolls and flinds on the ridge, but they don't land anywhere close. The ones to the southeast then fire again, but they miss.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fVo6Mn5cM_g/UyXM3fPIH_I/AAAAAAAADDI/_YjXkr5lc8o/s1600/path%2520map9.jpg
    Round 9: Mal and Bree are gone back down the path and off the map to the NE. Astrid, Theyln, and Toni are to the NW. One stunned gnoll is left, and the charging ogre. The gnolls by the burning tree are firing at them, as well as a couple from the ridge to the south. Their view of the main party is blocked by multiple Walls of Fog, though the three on the SE ridge can still see the party.

    Theyln feels Toni's grip suddenly strengthen, her nails feeling like daggers as they claw into him. A glance back, and he sees her form beginning to change, her face a mask of pain and rage.....

    Theyln turns in his saddle and immediately shoves Toni off the horse with all his might and desperation. He then grabs the reigns and urges Silvermoon to ride at full speed towards Astrid and tries pick her up while riding by.

    Astrid looks at what's happening, then does a crazy somersault leap, landing behind Theyln as he rides off on Silvermoon. The ogre stops for moment, confused, and Toni the Tiger comes up from her fall, a full tiger. She growls menacingly at the ogre, which growls right back!

    Meanwhile, back at the path the party beats a hasty retreat following Mal. The gnolls and flinds fire arrows ineffectively at such a long range, and the party flees away around a bend, heading back north towards the landslide area (and hopefully beyond....)

    [DM OOC: No need for a map, as Theyln disappears through the trees with Astrid. Only Toni the Tiger is left behind, to fight the ogre. Since as an NPC Toni is not controlled by Protector, and Toni doesn't actually remember what happens when she transforms, there's nothing to post about whatever happens next.]

    Theyln leans back and says to Astrid with a smile "Without your help I may have been done for milady, just returning the favor!" He rides after the party and when he reaches them and continues to push them to move past the landslide and on to a defensible position to recoup. Acting very much like a noble and military leader in charge.

    "Well, it did look like a trap, when they pushed the rocks over. Seemed the least that was needed."

    The party has high-tailed it away, clear beyond the cliff section. The party is now close to where they camped for the night. It's much more forested, and a lot lower, being further down the river valley towards Littleborough. Mal can scout back with Maugrim, and he does so. Astrid went to scout out the higher area, above the cliffs, while Theyln catches up to the party. So everyone else is now together, maybe a mile or so away from where the ambush occured.

    Theyln says "It does not sit well with me Toni was left behind...but she transformed again. We need to heal and rest, and come up with a better plan. I would at least return and save Toni from these wretches if possible. I will also state here and now once rescued, Toni should be asked to leave us with honor and be escorted back to her people who know how to deal with such things ...or appeal to the gods to get her cured."

    "We need to get the Nine Hells out of here and back to Littleborough," says Brytallis, his voice panicky.

    Theyln leads the remainder of the party back to Littleborough (and well deserved rest), asking Arioch to heal on the move those of our most wounded to lower risk of further harm and improve movement speed. He rides ahead and occasionally circles the party (if he can) with silvermoon as they travel, bow at the ready, to provide some protection.

    Astrid and Mal catch up with the party a few hours later. The gnolls were content to let you go, as they didn't pursue. Neither went far enough to get close to the battle, so nobody knows what happened to Toni. It takes the whole day to return, but the party makes it back to Littleborough just before nightfall where they get much needed drinks at the inn.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:23 am  
    Part 16 - A Parting of Ways

    "I am done with this," says Dymir flatly. "I have almost died half a dozen times, and for nothing. I am going home."

    "Stay with us a bit longer friend Dymir," says Theyln. "I will personally see you rewarded for your risk. You will not return to your kin empty handed this time. Your skills are valuable and needed."

    "No," says Dymir. He doesn't have a sad countenance, just a resigned one. "Black Jay was right," he says.

    "I wish I could change your mind," says Theyln, "for only with risk do we find reward. Return home with honor then, and not empty handed. You would be welcome at my side again anytime." He shakes his hand.

    Din seems dejected as well, but he tells Dymir, "You are one us, Dymir. I charged a dozen flinds up that hill to save you, because you are my brother in arms. Theyln risked all to rescue Toni, though her very nature be almost repugnant. Even Brytallis showed a strength of character beyond the norm." He refills Dymir's drink, then his own, then holds up his mug. "Thorgrim once told me, 'Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.'

    Dymir doesn't look convinced, but he nods and toasts Din just the same.

    Brytallis says, "Thanks for the compliment, I think. I will miss you Dymir. But if anyone suggests going back there anytime soon, I will shove my wand up their rear and break it in half!" He then downs his ale in a single gulp, somehow manages to keep it down, and orders a round for the party.

    "So you suggest we leave Toni to her fate?" asks Theyln. "Is this the action you would wish us to take if your fate was on the line?" Theyln asks pointedly.

    "By now she's either dead or will make her way here. I'm not risking my life for a corpse," says Brytallis dryly.

    "Damn ... my wand!" cries Bree, bringing stares from everyone. "I lost it on the mountain!" She looks very sad and dejected.

    "Any more potions?" asks Mal of the others. "I used last on Bree." He glances at Astrid, not sure of the newcomer. "Is there another way up onto the ridge?" he asks. "I go check for signs of Toni. No leave friend behind."

    "Man, hobgoblins are stupid," says Brytallis, shaking his head at Mal. "There's a priest there. He's a walking healing potion. And if you go back it will not be with me and I will report your stupidity to the leaders of our community too."

    "That why no ask anyone to risk life," replies Malgubet. "I offer coin, no seek handout or endanger you. Hobgoblin's no leave friends." He stares down Brytallis, but does not back down. He then glances at Din, whom he believes would risk his life to bring his remains home if able.

    "Maybe you should leave your gold with me," replies Brytallis. "I can make sure your people get it when you don't return."

    "I will help you look for the lady-tiger," says Astrid. "No one should be left in dangerous straits if help is available."

    "If she isn't back in a few days, then she is certainly dead," says Brytallis, finishing his drink and pouring another. "If it were me, I wouldn't expect rescue."

    "Nor should you expect it," replies Theyln. He then nods towards Mal and Astrid. "I too will go." He then cautions, "Strictly a scouting mission, we shouldn't be engaging unless a unique opportunity presents itself."

    Mal nods. "We try overt mission twice, no good results."

    Brytallis sighs in frustration, "You are not going to be able to sneak back there. They are no doubt on alert and more certain of their ability to defeat us. The only way we should go back there in a strong force of a few hundred."

    Arioch listens the whole time, offering nothing but just listening to the argument.

    Those who wish to may retrace Theyln's path around the mountain. I believe the only ones going will be Theyln, Astrid, and Mal. They get about a mile away, leave their mounts, then sneak up. They find a lot of blood, but no ogre nor Toni (or a tiger). It begins to pour buckets, and there's little chance they will be able to track her, even if the weather were better. So, they return to the village with little gained.

    "From where did she come?" asks Astrid. "Are there folks for her to go to? That is where I will go. To see if she is returned to her people."

    Theyln agrees. "I will lead the ride to the Attloi encampment."

    "As will I," Din agrees. "This may be the best we can do to find her." He has been exceptionally dour since our latest defeat, and this is the firsts he has spoken in some time.

    Waterday, 26th of Coldeven (582)
    After traveling back to Littleborough, the party returns to Cat's Claw Tower. They travel by way of Hagthar, where they must hold up a few days due to a bad rainstorm which makes travel difficult. After a few days, they make it to Cat's Claw Tower, where they find Toni's people. They have not seen her, and are distressed at the news that she disappeared.

    "We sure have done a lot of running in circles," says Din. [OOC: Puts the Heroes of Hommlet to shame.] "I don't see how we can mount a rescue mission for Toni, seeing as we got our asses kicked by a scouting party," Din says, discomfited. "If she's alive, she's presumably in an encampment we know not where, guarded by uncounted gnolls. We may as well be clearing the Suss, as futile as our efforts seem. This place is more dangerous. I still have my potions of Invisibility and of Flying, but their duration is limited, and the invisibility is lost with first attack. A stealth mission seems out of the question."

    "Maybe we should try coming to the place from the other direction?" offers Astrid.

    "We can try," says Din. "We know the path is not a good idea."

    "Fine, if you insist but if this goes badly, it isn't my fault," snaps Brytallis. "But maybe we should ask for some militia to acompany us who can fire bows? Maybe from Nulb and Hommlet?"

    "I don't think raising an army is a currently viable solution to the gnoll problem," Din says.

    [DM OOC: There really isn't a "gnoll problem." They were just minding their own business in the old dwarf lands, doing whatever gnolls do. They didn't raid into the civilized lands or anything. Nobody even knew about them. You guys went into the old dwarf lands looking for the rumored mithril mine, and then ran into the gnolls. So, it's not the kind of thing you're going to "raise militia" for. Nulb and Hommlet aren't even close by; you have to keep the map in mind! So if you want to keep exploring these old dwarf lands, you're on your own.]

    [Din OOC: Not a gnoll problem, hoho. Din believes firmly that any time evil humanoids settle his ancestral homeland, there is a problem. But not one that is easily surmountable.]

    [Astrid OOC: Since gnolls (and humanoids in general) tend to over hunt the land they are in, they inevitably become a problem to those nearby. Gnolls and flinds are meateaters and tend to wipe out game as their population overgrows the resources. If they aren't a problem yet, they will be. We have two bows, a crossbow and a sling in a group of 7. Not counting the MU with the magic missiles. Decent firepower at a distance. Astrid is willing to scout. She intends to go see what has become of the lady-tiger.]

    "We should look for Toni," says Bree, who then mutters under her breath..."and for my wand."

    Brytallis says with a roll of his eyes, "Well, if we HAVE to go, then let's at lest be smart about it and try from a different direction. Are there any other tribes around here that might get in our way if we take a different route?"

    "Since no one else is exploring the area but us," says Din, "I guess we will be the first to know."

    [DM OOC: Correct. As far as you know, nobody has entered this area for 100 years.]

    "We should attract their attention on the path they expect us, that we may flank them with less resistance," says Theyln. "Perhaps me and the illusionist should create a distraction."

    "I am not an illusionist!" says Brytallis angrilly. "Stop..." he is about to continue when Mal interrupts him.

    "That good strategy," says Mal, but I no want you to get killed. The distances are great. The rest not be near enough to aid a plan gone bad." He considers for a minute, then adds, "I think scouting parties are key. I was spotted but did not to kill the scout and his hyenas. They went straight back to warn and make ambush. We need to be better scout then gnolls....not easy."

    "Well said," says Din, clasping his hands together. He realizes that is about the longest thing Mal has ever said. "But let our mission be only the saving of Antonia. These gnolls seem too many to be a single tribe, but they may yet be. As our new friend says, we will be the first to know. Pray the gods we all make it out alive this time," he says.

    Bry says, "If we must...but if you die, your stuff is all mine."

    The party's new plan is to circle back around near the area marked campsite, pushing farther east across the river. Once across they will continue south past the fortress then crossing back west across the river. Once back across, they will approach the fortess from the south. Settled on a plan, they head out in the morning. It takes a few days to get back to the area, then cross the river where they make camp, hoping to avoid the gnolls as they approach again.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:04 am  

    Part 17 - Once more into the breach

    Starday, 1st of Growfest (582)
    You awake this day on the east side of the Clearwater. It is a cold morning, with a moderate wind blowing from the west. Mal notes this will be good, as it will keep your scents from the gnolls and their dogs. The river is flowing fast, filled with the beginning of the spring snowmelt. You can travel along it, safe from the gnolls on the west side, and with some care keep yourselves hidden from any on that side. You are probably two hours travel from the fortress. The first hour will take you passed the near shear cliffside (which is not quite so steep on this side of the river) and then you can reach point where you exited the fortress in another hour. Finding a way across may be difficult, as the river is fast and strong right now.

    "Anybody remember to bring some planks this time?" Din asks. "I dread returning to the gnoll stronghold, but I that may be the likeliest place for Toni to be, an she lives."

    He looks at the swollen river. "We're not getting across that without boats. I suggest we continue south and look for a ford."

    "Anybody remember to bring some planks this time?" Din asks. "I dread returning to the gnoll stronghold, but I that may be the likeliest place for Toni to be, an she lives."

    He looks at the swollen river. "We're not getting across that without boats. I suggest we continue south and look for a ford."

    "If it comes to it, we can circle around the lake and come back up the other side," says Mal, speaking slowly, but with much better grasp of the common tongue. "You ask about the mine and its suppose to be down there somewhere too."

    Arioch says, "If we have no way to cross the river then lets ride around the lake and note any evidence of mines that we might see. I don't fancy drowning."

    "I can't swim," says Brytallis.

    The party continues south along the south bank, seeing no sign of gnolls. After a couple of hours, the entrance to the shrine is visible to the west, across the river. A little further on, the rear of the mountain reveals further construction, at a level higher than the shrine. A large rectangular wall protrudes from the side of the mountain. It is open to the east, towards the river, through 6 massive archways. Flanking each archway are statues of the dwarven gods. Above the arches are dark windows. The left corner of the wall is a collapsed jumble of broken stones. If you can cross the river, this will likely provide entrance into the fortress from another direction.

    [Mal OOC: We knew there were whole sections we hadn't checked.] "Din," asks Mal, "should we check this entrance?"

    "Patience Mal," replies Arioch. "We still have to cross the river. I like your heated enthusiasm for the adventure but we still have a river to deal with."

    Continuing south, the party finds that it's possible to ford the river about an hour further upstream. Mal scouts ahead, and he finds that there is an old road leading up to open archways. It weaves back and forth up the mountainside, and is washed out in a few places. However, there is enough of a path for a man to tread. There is no sign of any gnolls. Mal goes back and gathers everyone and leads then to a safe waiting area then scouts ahead, bow out with the intentions of taking the first shot if given the chance. Once everyone is up to the archway, Mal will continue to scout.

    His main goal is to eliminate any chance a possible lookout will scream an alarm revealing our approach. Unfortunately, there is one. Mal spies a gnoll high above by the archways. There's no way to approach without being seen. The winding path is too far below to allow for hitting the gnoll with his bow, but the gnoll has a commanding view of the winding path.

    "These gnolls are certainly well organised," Arioch mutters.

    "How are we to slay the scout without him raising the alarm?" wonders Din. "I have my potions of Invisibility and Flying, so that takes care of one. But there will surely be others. I fear Toni may be lost."

    "I am not too silent of movement and it seems a waist to use two potions on one scout. Let one of out quiet members use the invisibility potion to sneek up and kill the sentry." Arioch says.

    Brytallis offers to cast Spider Climb on Mal. "You can then climb right up the cliff, get behind the guard, and silence him before he knows you're there."

    "That sounds like a plan," says Arioch. "Will you do it Mal? Our archers will cover you the best they can if you are seen."

    Mal nods, taking off his boots. Brytallis casts Spider Climb on him, and Mal climbs up the mountainside. He stays out of sight of the sentry, and scurries up the rocks like...a spider! Once above the gnoll, Mal sneaks up on it from behind and slits its throat. He checks the gnoll for any items of value then climbs back down and puts on his boots. "Seems Hextor favors my efforts today at least," he tells the others. "Let's move quitely up to the archway."

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-zZrB40N3ZbA/U0HjC5CzpnI/AAAAAAAADRE/zHCGVQawnK0/s1152/progress%2520map%2520level%25203.jpg
    To the north and south you see the edge of the mountain around the corners. The stars in the circles are the statues of the dwarven gods. The large circles are fountains, once filled with water but now empty. There's a large archway leading further inside the center of the east wall.

    Mal ask Astrid to accompany him carefully and quitely up to the area marked (1). Spear in hand make sure there are no sentrys hiding in the alcove. Din provides cover, while they move. Mal smiles as Astrid silently follows him, Lajatang balanced in one hand. The peek into inner archway, and see that it opens to another large chamber:

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Zd7MYzTs5G8/U0P2aPPIXFI/AAAAAAAADRU/Q-BTmnvjFYI/s1152/progress%2520map%2520third%2520level%25203.jpg

    Those two rectangles by the entrance are sundered doors. Ignore them, as the doors are actually rebuilt and fine. They are just open. There is an open archway to the north and south, in the center of each wall, leading to other corridors. In the east wall are another set of double-doors, and standing before them are two gnolls in heavy armor and wielding halberds. In the center of the room is a large alabaster fountain with a statue of a huge gnoll in the center wielding a three-headed flail. It is Yeenoghu, god of the gnolls.

    Mal does what he can to remain unnoticed until he gives the signal for eveyone to move forward into position. He is confident Astrid is even more quiet and stealthy than he. He whispers the situation to the group. "There is two armored guards and a god statue. They havent seen us yet. We might be able to slip by. Do we want to try or engage?"

    After a quick planning session, the party moves to take out the guards. Arioch casts Silence 15'r on a stone, having been told of the tactic used by Thorgrim so often. He then throws it around the corner where it bounces along next to the guards. Mal and Din both step out simultaneously and fire, with both taking out a guard with single shots to the chest! The two guards fall silently to the ground, making no noise thanks to the silence spell.

    Mal can hardly contain his glee. "Two in one day," he thinks. "Hextor truely bless's me today."

    A quick search reveals that both archways open to corridors that bend around to the east. The north one has four doors and ends in another archway leading further east. The south one has four doors.

    "So many doors..." says Din, looking around uncertainly. "One may be a holding cell, although 'twould be a strange locale, so close to the entrance. Someone should keep watch until we've explored some."

    The hallways are lit by burning torches, so the entire place is lit. Mal sneaks around to all the doors, but hears nothing. When he moves up to the far north door, he can see through the eastern archway. It reveals a long corridor going east.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-K3xrV-tYrVg/U0liNp5oJUI/AAAAAAAADR0/7fOK6GtKank/s1152/progress%2520map%2520third%2520level%25203c.jpg

    There is another archway immediately to the left, leading north. There are also more doors and a few side passages off this corridor.

    Arioch nods yes and goes back and picks up the rock, but the silence then ends, being that it took a few minutes to check out all the areas around the entrance.

    "We should maybe enter the room they chose to place guards on first, should we not?" asks Brytallis, his tone showing that he thinks the rest of the party is stupid for not yet thinking of it. "That is surely where the treasure is."

    "Agreed. That seems like a logical starting place," says Mal, surprising Brytallis.

    "I doubt they keep their treasure that close to the outside," says Astrid. "More likely the primary way to the ruler of their tribe." The others look at her, giving sour looks.

    "Indeed," says Din, not looking pleased at all. "But I've no hope of conquering these gnolls and taking their treasure, without an army to back us up. It's Antonia, and out. We may have to capture a gnoll to find out where she is. I have my potions of Invisibility and Flying. They would be of more use in the hands of a thief, methinks."

    "I would agree," says Astrid. "Do we have anyone of that type in this group?"

    "Bree," says Brytallis, pointing at the jester.

    "What?" she says.

    Din hands both potions over to Bree. "Use these when the time is right."

    "But..." she starts to argue, but the look in Din's eye makes her stop and sigh. "Fine," she says, knowing they are right. "Might as well check the hall out while we are here."

    [Mal OOC: Mal is single minded. He just wants a measure of revenge. Just point him in the direction everyone decides to go. While you all decide, mal is going to take his dagger and skin one of the dead guards. Wrap the skin over himself. In dim light he might get mistaken from a distance as a gnoll.]

    Everyone watches uneasily as Mal skins the face of one of the dead flinds. Yes, he recognizes them as flinds once up close. He can also take the thing's weapons and armor and make himself look oddly similar, especially since one of the flinds is the same height as Mal. The armor is somewhat piecemeal, being a combination of plate, scale, and chain. Mal adds the breastplate and scale leggings, along with the flind's flowing cloak. His new AC is 0, and from a distance he will likely pass for the dead flind. He opens the door, and sees a long hall. This hall is 30' wide and nearly 100' long, with a 20' vaulted ceiling supported by two rows of columns. Another massive double-door stands at the far end, flanked by two more plate-armored flinds. Burning torches in wall scones along both north and south walls provide ample light within the hall. The guards at the far end note the opening doors and Mal's entry, but they do not move, thinking him another gnoll.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-jsi9nGLXncg/U0qcyUOlUjI/AAAAAAAADTM/qo2A6DZwKcI/s1152/progress%2520map%2520third%2520level%25208.jpg

    Here's a closeup:


    As you should be able to note, Mal is standing in the open doorway, doing his best to look casual. The rest of the party is hidden off to one side or the other, out of sight. Not sure what the plan is from here....

    Mal limps like he's been wounded in the leg. Since he can't speak canine he waves as to draw them towards the opening. The guards are alert, and one moves forward as Mal plays out his disguise. It gets about halfway down the hallway, and everyone hears the flind from the great hall call out something, which, of course, nobody understands.

    Arioch whispers quickly, "Take me captive."

    Reaching back, Mal taking Arioch by the back of his armor Mal limps in pretending to have Arioch as a prisoner. We hug the left wall of the hallway (near the pillars) so our archers have a clear shot at the flinds in the hallway. The flind inside says something, and Mal just grunts. It approaches him, and before it knows what happened, Mal drives his spear deep into the thing's abdomen, driving it up into its chest. Nearly two feet of spear kills it instantly. It's eyes open wide in surprise, as Din steps out and fires a crossbow bolt down the hallway. It hits the far flind in the shoulder, spinning it around, as Brytallis sends a couple magic missiles from his wand to finish it off. Astrid meanwhile uses her uncanny speed to rush down the hallway and grab the flind before it can slump to the floor. Unfortunately, it drops its halberd, but Astrid reaches out a foot and catches it, lowering it slowly to the floor. Nary a sound was made!

    "Good work," says Arioch, impressed.

    Din reloads and moves up next to Arioch. "Are we ready for this? We must be swift."

    "We should be careful to not go too far otherwise we could get trapped," adds Arioch. "I will stay back to watch our backs. Be careful with the next door."

    Brytallis quickly loots the bodies and finds 5pp on each one (20 total). You hear the sound of a flind barking loudly beyond the next set of double doors. Occasionally, you hear a chorus of responses. There are multiple gnolls/flinds beyond the double-doors.

    "This seems like a large gathering," says Brytallks. "It could be a temple. Someone had best have some of those silence stones ready to use against their priests."

    Though some seem to want to enter the next chamber, Mal suggests (for the moment) that they very quitely slide a couple of polearms through the door handles then loop rope around the ends so shaking the doors does not free the blockage.

    Everyone agree, with Din adding, "We don't want to get surrounded again. Let's seal these doors, then return to check the other areas." Quickly and silently, Mal then bars the doors as he mentioned.

    "It seems the doors are secure," says Din, once everyone has retreated back to the entrance. "So we have a second opportunity for stealth, rather than a full frontal assault. I honestly don't know which method is more dangerous. But a lot more gnolls could pour out those doors than could pour down a corridor, methinks. Let's check out the side passages."

    Astrid peers through the north arch while Din checks the southern one. The north arch leads to a long hallway, while the south door just opposite the open archway from area 3 opens into a 50x50 chamber full of beds. There are about a dozen, scattered around at odd angles. The room smells like dogs, so this must be a gnoll barracks. There's a table next to an unlit fireplace. Well, here's the map so you aren't all confused. You just entered the room labeled [area 4]. Mal checks the far door, which opens to reveal a hallway which leads to a flight of stairs going up.



    [Din OO: Oh wowza. It seems to me that Antonia, should she live, would be in a dungeon, and so we should look for a way down. However, she could just as easily be upstairs as downstairs, I suppose.]

    [Arioch OOC: There is a great history of imprisoning powerful people in towers. Lets at least look.]

    [Astrid OOC: I'm thinking the stairs lead up to where the watchpost was. In short, a dead end. I'd rather try the doors on this side of the main hall, first.]

    [Bree OOC: Why do we always assume the dungeons are down?]

    "I'll check it out," says Mal. He silently follows them up, and they turn back, and then reach a landing about 20' above. A hallway leads away to the east, through an open archway. Through the archway, Arioch sees another wall. It seems it opens to a corridor going north/south. He doesn't like to get too far advanced, with so many potential enemies to block their escape, so he returns downstairs.

    "I agree," says Arioch. "What now? Walking around exploring seems a bad idea, with untold enemies behind us." He looks at Mal. "The hobgoblin's right."

    "We need to find out if the feast hall has multiple exits," says Mal.

    Mal goes back out into the hallway and opens the door to the east. It opens into a kitchen. There are cupboards, a table, a firepit, and lots of scattered pots/pans/debris/etc. Beyond an archway, three huge oak tables are visible, so the next chamber is likely an eating hall. You can just make out a door on the far wall, next to a fireplace. He goes and opens it, revealing an eating room. There are two doors out of it. You don't see anything else of interest.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-tcOlqW8lnHE/U1LeZueNhzI/AAAAAAAADZk/AkL1z35KnBI/s640/progress%2520map%2520fourth%2520level%252010.jpg

    Mal checks the doors, hearing nothing beyond them. The rest of the party looks a bit agitated as Mal glances back, shaking his head.

    Din stands ready, crossbow nocked. "Let's make haste...these gnolls won't stay contained forever."

    Mal opens the south door to reveal a hallway going south. There's a door on the east side, almost opposite the one Brytallis opened. Just a bit further south is a four-way intersection with passages going east and west. He doesn't hear anything. When he then sneaks down to the fourway intersection, he sees a hallway going left and right, with multiple doors. To the west there are two side passages going south. You now can see that the south door of the dining room led to this hallway.

    Mal feels uneasy about moving much further. He walks down the corridor, until he can see the short hallway to the south. It's only 10', and there's a door in the east wall. The west wall has an archway leading to a small 10' chamber. As he is about to peer down there, a flind comes around the far corner. It is armed with a longsword, and both are surprised when it turns the corner.

    Astrid, backing him up and not surprised by the flind, slips passed Mal and does a quick, "tap, tap tap," with her fingers, using her Touch of Fire to paralyze the flind. It stands there, eyes bulging but unable to move or even talk.

    [DM OOC: Touch of Fire is one of Astrid's martial arts maneuvers. (Vital 3):By placing pressure on specific nerve junctions, she is able to paralyze her victim, leaving him unable to move for 1d6 turns. A normal to hit roll must be made and the victim is allowed a saving throw vs. paralyzation. If the attack fails or the saving throw is made, no damage is done.]

    Mal uses the flind's clothing to gag the upright canine. He then binds its hands behind its back and then loops rope around its feet so that struggling just makes the bindings tighter. "It's your lucky day, you get to live another day!" Be smart and you might likely survive to grow old." Mal looks at Astrid, how long will the effects last. I think we might benefit asking a few simple questions once he's not paralyzed. Maybe he knows something about Toni."

    "Only a few minutes," she says. "We need to act quickly."

    "Nod head if understand" "Me going to remove gag" "You bark out warnings and Me going to put spear through your brain" "Speak quite, where is our pet tiger we miss her."

    "There's no clearing this level," says Din, his crossbow pointed at the Flind. "Ask it where they keep the human prisoners. Perhaps Bree can help?"

    It shakes its head, not understanding. Then it speaks gnolls, which nobody understands.

    After Bree does a silly pantomine, the flind points below. BTW, I was mistaken in saying the stairs only go up. The map makes it look that way, but they are spiral stairs that go up AND down.

    "That was great Bree," says Arioch. "Let's move on. Flind, you keep pointing correctly, you keep living. Understood?". Arioch says as he forces him to his feet and walks him to the down stairs, one of his hands holding both of the flinds arms, which are tied behind his back. Gagged and with arms tied the flind has litle choice.

    Bree takes a bow. "I really should learn gnoll someday."

    Brytallis looks at the gnoll with distaste. "Why do we need the flind? We could just kill him, could we not?" He takes out a dagger and looks menacingly at the gnoll. "I doubt we can trust it. The creature's surest means of survival wil be to betray us."

    "Trust it, never," replies Arioch, who tugs on the rope and yanks the gnoll to the ground. "Use it, I hope so."

    [Mal OOC: Mal is the most likely of any among you to kill in cold blood. But Mal will not kill a bound prisoner who's likely only wish right now is to survive another day. We cant really communicate so Mal feels he/it is doing the best he can. He's hogg bound and gaged. He's not likely to go anywhere. However, Mal is going to decend the stairs and leave the flind hidden in the landing. If you (not pointing at any specific person) decide to slit his throat I cant say that I would blame you given the friends we have lost. BUT, we did invade their living space.]

    "His surest means of survival is to follow our orders and delay our success, to give himself a chance of rescue," says Din. "We take him with us, to lead us all the way to the prisoners. Otherwise we will be forced to search this maze, level by level, until we chance upon it. The jig will surely be up before then."

    "Fine!" Brytallis sulks.

    Arioch keeps hold of the prisoner and will ask each time we have a choice, "which way to the big cat?" using Bree's pantomine to make sure it still understands.

    The party heads down the spiral stairs, which descend for about 20', ending in a closed door. Mal listens, but hears nothing. He carefully opens the door, which reveals two hallways. One heads straight away to the east, the other goes north, though he can't see up that way without stepping out into the hallway more, as the door is somewhat recessed back to the west. Standing guard in the hallway about 10' away is a gnoll. He looks surprised, but he quickly recovers. He draws a longsword and opens his mouth as if to growl or bark, whatever it is gnolls do!

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-t4V_4BK3H2k/U1u67ORfy5I/AAAAAAAADdg/jsapt9Yw_GM/s1600/Level%2520two%2520south%2520stairsB.jpg
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:29 am  
    Part 18 - Another One Bites the Dust

    Mal steps up, driving his spear into the flind's chest. It is driven backwards and pinned against the corner of the corridor, as Astrid moves quickly forward and paralyzes it with her Touch of Fire touch. To their left, they see another gnoll, about 20' up the corridor, and it howls out in the strange barking language of the gnolls. Din moves down into the corridor and fires his crossbow at the gnoll, but he misses. As the others are distracted, the bound flind shoves Arioch back down the stairs. The startled priest tumbles down, knocking Brytallis down as well. The flind then flees back up the stairs. The flind driven back into the wall attempts to stab Mal but misses.

    Astrid bounds across to the other gnoll and does a flying kick that sends it sprawling. It hits its head hard, and lies on the floor unmoving. Meanwhile, Mal finishes off the flind before him, smashing it in the face repeatedly with his shield while leaving it pinned. You don't hear anything else, but you notice that Bree is gone, while Arioch and Brytallis get up.

    "What's going on back there?" calls Din.

    "I think its time to retreat," says Arioch as he gets to his feet. "I take the blame, somehow the flind got away from me. I say back up the stairs."

    With the two flinds finished off, Astrid notices stairs going down. She also sees down the next eastern corridor, which ends in a door. To the north she can see a statue of a dwarven god in the corner of another chamber. Here's an updated map:

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-JNphTJPIRjY/U1v5aHWlynI/AAAAAAAADeA/FRbUcX9Qj60/s1152/Level%2520two%2520south%2520stairsD.jpg

    "Bree must have drunk the Potion of Invisibility I gave her," says Din when he can't find her. "I think the way down is most likely to lead to the dungeons. I don't know if retreating is an option any longer, though it would be useful to secure an escape route. I fear the way we came in on our first foray may end up being our only option. And that was a bad way."

    Bree comes skipping down the stairs. "Sorry," she says, putting away a bloody dagger. "Didn't want it to get away."

    "Who, get away?" asks Arioch.

    She looks at Arioch questioningly. "The flind that knocked you down the stairs! Did you hit your head or something?"

    Mal grumbles something about "we're probably going to have to fight our way out of here, we're too far in to retreat" He does however hold position for a few minutes to make sure the one flind that barked out did not compromise our position.

    "We have three choices," says Astrid. "Back up and explore the first level, explore this level and go down the stairs. It seems odd that they had two guards on the steps. It would imply guarding against something on this level taking the stairs."

    [Mal OOC: They had a guard just above and two guards here. I have a strong feeling this is the prison level. My guess is there are more guards on this level but they are also trapped on this level. Yes they have been made aware of our presence but are trapped her as we hold the exit. I suggest we put out the torches in this immediate area. That way when you do open a door they are looking into darkness.]

    "We came to rescue our friend," says Mal, his tone taking the others by surprise with its finality. "I am not leaving until we find Toni or I am dead." He turns around to the others. "We have run from these fur bags twice now," and he spits at the gnoll as he pulls his spear from its body and drops it to the ground. "I will not surrender my honor in retreat again."

    Din goes to look down the east corridor, but Astrid stops him before he goes past her. "We should not seperate the group that much. Sending someone 80 feet one way and going 100 the other means no support for either. Choose an advance and give backup."

    "Than let's all head for the dwarf statue," says Arioch. "We can see more heading that way."

    The party moves along to the north. The stairs down to the left are not lit. They continue along, passing the corridor on the right which leads to a door. The end of that corridor is not lit either. There is a lit corridor then heading left, which seems to lead to a T, with a lit torch at the end. Continuing further, they come to the chamber with the dwarven statue. Actually, there are two. It would seem this may have been some sort of trophy room. There is an old long glass cabinet, the glass all shattered now, along the west wall. Along the right wall are three suits of dwarven plate mail, along with hammers and shields bearing the Kilthduum coat of arms. The statues are statues of Clanggedin and Gorm. As Mal and Astrid step into the chamber, two gnolls walk around a corner about 20' ahead of them, coming from the left. One has a sword, the other a staff and ratty robes.

    Brytallis uses his wand, firing a Magic Missile at the gnoll shaman. It hit for [3]. Astrid moves up and paralyzes the gnoll on the right, hitting it with a Touch of Fire nerve pinch. Meanwhile, Mal moves up and stabs the shaman, hitting for [6]. The gnoll drops its staff and turns to flee, as it does, Mal drives his spear through its back [8], killing it!

    Din looks into the place they came from and to the northern passage, crossbow ready. "Gag them," he says. "And get them out of line-of-sight. We take them with us...though the fighter may need disposal. I say we head for the dungeon and look for a way out. This place is too huge to fully explore before the alarm is raised."

    The shaman is dead. He has a crude necklace with some slightly valuable stones. Bree takes that. The passage they came from goes down to another T. There's also a side passage about halfway down on the left wall, going south. It's just opposite the torch. The north passage turns to the east after about 50'. Finally, there's a door in this chamber going east, at the end of a short 10' side chamber/passage.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-tstN6twUG70/U18a7CtWr3I/AAAAAAAADe0/L6MIh726rEk/s1600/Level%2520two%25209B.jpg

    Brytallis slits the gnoll's throat saying, "I am not making the same mistake as last time."

    Mal smiles his approval at Brytallis. "Good kill," he nods.

    "Nice to see someone with a little sense down here besides me," he replies smugly. "Now lets see if we can find Toni."

    Halfway down the hallway to the west, which is where Mal now stands, there is a side passage to the south. It ends in a door. Further on the west passage forms a T. That's where Astrid is. It meets a very long north/south hallway, with multiple passages leading from it, both east and west. At the far northern end stands a gnoll sentry. He doesn't notice Astrid, who just peeked around the corner. I left her actually IN the intersection, so the hallway would be lit up to really show you what she saw. The dead gnoll body is NOT there, though I left it to show you where the stairs down are. That's as far as you came when you entered before.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-WJCLvJnFTpM/U2AubUEUt4I/AAAAAAAADfE/qn3B_k_6gzo/s1600/Level%2520two%25209C.jpg

    "It's too far to reach before it can react," says Astrid.

    "What about that invisibility potion? Maybe someone should use it to safely scout this whole area,"suggest Brytallis.

    Arioch agrees with Brytallis. "We had one guard cry out already, and were lucky to deal with those two gnolls so quickly. Our luck has been unusually good. Norebo has shines on us; let us not call down the ire of Ralishaz!"

    "Yes, perhaps Bree should go invisible and scout," says Din. "If that long corridor is the same we encountered before, we may have an exit. Not sure if we should take out this guard before finding Antonia, though I am willing to give it a shot. I think she lies down those stairs we passed."

    "Astrid should go," says Bree. "She's a much better fighter, and sneakier too."

    "This place is a maze," replies Din. "No point in searching the whole thing except what you said. I say we have Astrid take out that guard, then be swift and hit those stairs down and hope they lead to a dungeon. Someone needs to back up Astrid, then let's head down those stairs."

    "Why are we looking at charging blindly down into the darkness not knowing what we leave behind us?" says Brytallis, throwing his hands up. "Can we even get back out of things go badly? No we should find Toni through a quiet search and then get the Nine Hells out of here."

    The party actually agrees, which shocks Brytallis. Astrid takes a sip of the invisibility potion, then goes off to check out the rest of this area while the party waits. Here's the map that Astrid reveals. She basically walks around a large circle. There are a lot of side passages leading to other doors, as well as a couple at the top and bottom going east that are not lit. She doesn't go down them. Anyway, here's a new progress map:

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-crxnVmBCx7w/U2T8I-YIXjI/AAAAAAAADfk/P25L5QxE1hc/s1152/Level%2520two%2520Astrid%2520scouting.jpg

    "That's a lot of doors," says Bree after Astrid returns to report.

    "So, what one do we open?" asks Arioch. "Or, should we just ignore them and deal with that flind? I say have Astrid scout the other side, invisible, and then we decide."

    Astrid basically makes a loop around the entire west side now. There was a passage in the center which went east through an archway, but it was dark and she did not go there. So, she ends up near the gnoll guard you saw earlier. He guards a stairway going up. Moving as quietly as she can, Astrid moved up to him and used Touch of Fire on him. She paralyzed him, then snapped his neck before she returned to the party, sharing what she found.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-wiCX1ETTn4U/U2Zx5ZR0EHI/AAAAAAAADgs/YJn-K8-SS9Q/s1600/Level%2520two%2520Astrid%2520scouting3.jpg

    [DM OOC: So, basically I turned off the vision layers so I could show the map a bit better. You can see all the doors better too, as I manually lifted a bit more FoW to show them more clearly. Also, where Astrid is standing are stairs down. Dymir's arrow (that used to have light cast upon it, but that spell has since expired) is still stuck high in the west wall. You can barely see it on the map. That was the extent of your previous explorations, when you entered the place via the old dwarven crypt. So, as of this point all the corridors except those which are dark have been explored. There are plenty of doors around here, as well as another spiral stair up (north middle of the map) and two straight stairs down.]

    "From Astrid's report of the layout, this could well be a barracks, from whence came the hordes of gnolls we fought earlier. The Great Hall might hold most of them, but obviously not all. I say we hit the dungeons fast and make our way out." Din looks about nervously. His heart is starting to beat fast.

    "The most likely place for a prisoner is behind a door," says Astrid. "Shall we check those?"

    "We may as well start close," says Arioch, opening the door in the hallway to the west. It opens into a 20' square chamber, that was clearly once a dwarven chapel. A low altar lies on the south wall, upon which is a 4' statue of the gnoll god, Yeenoghu holding a silver cup. It is an unusually thick and squat statue, which leads you to think this was once a dwarven statue that was altered to be a crude image of the gnoll god. At the feet of the statue sits a large copper bowl, full of blood. There are various shamanistic items here, as well as a crude bedding pad and such which imply this was the gnoll shaman's chamber.

    Astrid moves up and opens a door in the next hallway. If reveals a large chamber [area 4] with numerous crude bedrolls which shows a large number of gnolls sleep within. It's currently empty. She quickly counts 20 rolls. There is a fireplace set into the west wall, and there is another door to the south, which is closed. Continuing on into the next chamber [area 5] is an old mess hall. It has 4 huge stone tables in it. The place is a mess, literally! Area 6 is a kitchen, and glancing in you don't want to think about what the gnolls are eating. There doesn't seem to be anything of value around. Finally, the door is open to area 2 to the west. This area is basically empty, so it's hard to say what it was. There's another door leading south from the kitchen (6) and one leading north from the empty chamber (2).

    Here's an updated map:

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-4gvxMF-K8mg/U2bPbXmws2I/AAAAAAAADhQ/brS73NgspqQ/s1152/Level%2520two%25206.jpg

    "I think we need to be more logical about this and stop stumbling around before we all end trapped in here or worse," says Bree.

    While the party considers their next move, they hear a voice from the shadows. "Your friend is quite right," it says. I have been tracking you for some time now. It would seem if you are looking for a friend held captive, you would be best served by focusing your efforts. No telling how many of these vile creatures live here."

    Din starts and points his crossbow in the direction of the voice. "Who be ye?"

    "I am Amaris, of the Gnarley Forest, and daughter of Tamara the Dryad. I am on a quest to find my father, and heard rumors the temples of the old dwarven gods held portals to other planes. I found your groups tracks in the wilderness outside and followed you here. I have observed for some time now, and your concern for your friend seems honorable, perhaps we can join together in the search here?"

    You hear the rustle of a cloak, and next to the wall appears what seems to be an exotic wood elf. Her exquisite features, delicate and finely chiseled, seem much like an elf maiden's. She has high cheek bones and dark green eyes, her hair and skin are white, like the snows that cover the oak groves. She stands proud, bow at the ready. She whistles soflty, and a wolf quietly stalks in and sits at her side.

    [img]http://www.warbarron.com/rok/attachment.php?attachmentid=1831&d=1396591080[/img]

    "Meet Luna, my friend wolf. There is great wisdom in searching out your friend as quickly and quietly as possible and strategically withdrawing from this fortress. I have seen many tracks, some older, but I believe we may have a numbers disadvantage.

    [DM OOC: Had another person join, so I just added in the new PC.]

    "You may join us," says Din skeptically, "though we can't guarantee your father's rescue. We've found a way down that may lead to dungeons, and stairs to the north down which we might escape...a place we know leads to the outside. Have you found anything interesting yourself?"

    She shakes her head. Meanwhile, Mal sneaks down the stairs.

    "It seems your friend goes on alone," says Amaris.

    Din mumbles something about elves and hobgoblins, then turns to follow Mal. With a slight smile, Amaris follows. They are followed closely by Bree and Brytallis. Arioch and Astrid take up the rear, just on the edge of the light. The stairs go down, leading to a short 10' square landing. There is a door in the north wall. There is no light illuminating the door. The light from above only goes about 10' down the passage. It's pitch black below. Arioch goes back to grab one of the torches from a wall sconce. You all hear him yell, then he goes tumbling down the stairs with an arrow in his chest [6+2 from the fall: total 8].


    Mal throws the door open while Brytallis and Din move down to the landing. Arioch gets up, also a few steps closer. Nobody is using infranvision now, since the area is bathed in torchlight. The door opens to a corridor running north, but about 5' away the corridor is cut by another chasm! You hear the sounds of gnolls yipping from behind you, up the stairs from whence you came!

    "I was just shot by something when I went to get a torch," says Arioch. He says this as he pulls out the arrow and casts Cure Light Wounds on himself.


    "Anyone bring any wooden planks?" says Din quickly. "No? How about firebombs? Bree, devise us a rope bridge before we get cut off from the other side as well!" Din will stand guard for this activity and wait until he can either make it up the stairs or over the chasm.

    "We need to know how many of them are at our back," says Bree, preparing a Sleep spell.

    "I shall find out," says Astrid as she runs up the stairs, leaping them three at a time.

    Two flinds step up to the top of the stairs before she can get to the top and fling nets. Astrid is totally wrapped in one, while the other hits Amaris [who I'm thinking was invisible, but I'm not sure.] They are both essentially pinned. Mal was stepping through the door when he saw the chasm, about 10' across and 50' deep or so, as all the chasms have been. He hands Brytallis his backpack, and the startled mage takes it and steps through as well. Mal then takes out his bow, ready to fire up the stairs.

    Before anyone else can act, two small objects come flying down the stairs and crash on the stone floor, sending oil all over Arioch and Bree. Arioch's torch immediately ignites the oil, which burns furiously. [Bree takes 7 while Arioch takes 12].

    Bree fails at casting her sleep, and backs down away from the fire.

    "I know I am hot, but this is ridiculous! Someone extinguish me!" she says.

    Din fires his crossbow, but through the flames he misses.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xNJWTEBPZGo/U2wRkzE167I/AAAAAAAADiU/TMnZdLPpwVc/s1600/Down%2520the%2520stairs3.jpg

    Bree rolls around, dousing the flames, when Amaris casts Affect Normal Fires, extinquishing all fire in the stairway. It suddenly goes dark again, as Arioch's torch goes out as well. Everyone is momentarily blinded as their eyes must adjust to the light.

    Arioch casts CLW on himself, healing [6]. Bree gets up, a bit short of dignity, but looking a bit angry.

    The flinds atop the steps hold their positions, adjusting to the extinguished flame/light, as do Mal and Din. Meanwhile, Astrid successfully gets clear of the net, flipping it behind her and to the side as she prepares to deal with the Flinds atop the steps.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-RhhZVDiyjYY/U25TXx_0_UI/AAAAAAAADio/rWldheZYJi0/s1600/Down%2520the%2520stairs4.jpg

    Amaris gets clear of the net, then presses against the side to stay out of the way. Astrid goes up the next step and attacks the flinds there, missing. Bree goes down and around the corner, getting clear of the fight. Mal fires his bow, hitting the left flind [4]. They are sillouetted nicely by the torchlight above, while the bottom of the stairs is all dark.

    The flinds attack. Astrid is hit twice [5 and 3: 8 total]. The flinds in the rear do nothing, not being able to attack.

    Suddenly a swarm of ants come crawling out of every nook and cranny, swarming the flinds.They hop around like mad, swatting at the buggers, and the ones in the rear back off. Arioch keeps an eye on the swarm as he urges them onward, "Bite more," he whispers.

    Din then fires his crossbow, hitting and killing the flind to the left. Mal then fires at the right flind, hitting it too [5].

    Brytallis wants to cast another illusion, but realizes that he cannot. [He only has one 2nd level spell, and it was already ruined.] He points his wand around the corner and fires a magic missile at the flind, hitting it for [3]. Anyone close to Bry hears him mutter, "These idiots are going to get me killed."

    Bree peeks around the corner, then decides it's better to stay hidden. Din charges up the stairs, letting go of his crossbow and grabbing his axe. He rushes passed the flind fighting Astrid, and it misses him as he runs. Moving through the ant swarm he takes [4] from bites, but he then passes clear and enters the corridor above. There he finds flinds to both his left and right!

    A flind to his right steps forward, swinging a dreaded flindbar. It swings, the linked bars wrapping Din's axe and ripping it away! It clatters to the floor a few feet away. Astrid attempts to Touch of Fire nerve pinch the flind at the top of the steps, but fails to hit it. The flinds all attack, but they miss. Brytallis uses his wand, hitting the flind fighting Astrid, as Armais casts sleep.

    Mal charges up the stairs, drawing his sword. He takes [4] from the swarm as he runs by, leaping over the dead flinds. He lands next to Din, ready to face whatever comes from the right. Another flind steps forward and stabs Din with a spear [5].

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-kNS8a3_SWbs/U3ipAnapqWI/AAAAAAAADk4/2zr_IdfGtkw/s1600/Up%2520the%2520stairs7.jpg

    Bree, Brytallis, and Arioch are actually in the dark at the bottom. It's shown up red as Bree and Brytallis can see there with infravision. However, there's no light down there. Arioch can see the top of the stairs fine, as that's all lit anyway. Also, Brytallis has stepped out around the corner so he can cast a Sleep spell, while Bree, though she is "shown" to have done so also, is actually still going to be around the corner. I just wanted to show her on the map. If I move her around the corner, it messes up the FoW and Vision, so I have to leave her there. Just know that she's actually around the corner where that chasm is.

    Mal is up top there with his spear. Din has no weapon out, as the flind knocked away his axe. He can step over and pick it up. Free 5' step, retrieve axe as his move, and get one attack. Also, the swarm is still actively biting the two downed flinds at the top of the stairs, and essentially blocking anyone else from moving up them. Astrid may try to tumble across the swarm. With a successful check, she can basically do a flip off the body of the downed flind, and then land between Din and Mal. If she fails, she'll be attacked by the swarm for moving through it.

    Finally, Din sees another flind come around the corner far to the north, while Mal saw two more come around the corner to the south. Those two came from the spiral stairs.

    With more flinds, Din's going after his axe. Brytallis casts Sleep, and the flind in front of Mal drops to the ground asleep. Mal leaps forward over the body of the previously downed flind, and attacks the ones to the south, missing.

    The one with the flindbar to the south yells something in gnoll, twirling its flindbar anxiously since it cannot reach Mal. The flind leader attacks again with a spear, hitting Din [5].

    Din grunts as he rolls to his right and grabs up his axe. The flind to the left hits him again with a spear as he does so [4], but Din just shrugs it off as he turns to the flinds, axe in hand. He grumbles something to himself that nobody quite hears.

    Once Arioch dispels the swarm, the ants begin to crawl back through the various cracks and holes. Aramis, wrapped in her cloak, moves slowly and stealthily up the stairs once this occurs, and looks around. She doesn't like what she sees, but she stays wrapped up in the cloak to keep herself invisible. She also stays tight against the NW corner, to stay out of the way.

    Astrid moves up the stairs, and upon reaching the top sees that Mal is outnumbered 4:1. She slips alongside him and attacks the nearest flind, missing. The flinds attack, but they all miss. The flind to the north lets out a howl, waving back down the corridor to the west. Out of it rush another half-dozen flinds!

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-WRu12WX4pzI/U3jAxPwgo4I/AAAAAAAADlU/bjftNcms_sQ/s1600/Up%2520the%2520stairs8.jpg
    Here's the zoomed out version, so you can see all the new enemies approaching!

    Also, Bree hears a crunching sound behind her. She turns and sees a half-dozen gnolls in the darkness, bows out and arrows drawn, attempting to sneak up behind her on the other side of the chasm!

    "A half a dozen gnolls are creeping up our backside!" She will go around the corner and cast sleep on the gnolls.

    Bree steps back through the door [a 5' move which allows her to keep casting. Remember, if you move you can't cast a spell. I may be giving you a break here, but you guys need it!] and casts her Sleep spell. Three fall to ground asleep.

    "Take that dumbies!" she cries!

    Upstairs, Mal attacks, missing. Brytallis pushes the door shut, as a couple of arrows slam into it! "Damn," he says, "We're in a tight spot!"

    Bree hears a very loud roar of rage from beyond the door that Brytallis just closed. "Well," she says, "he sounds angry."

    Din swings his axe at the flind leader, hitting him a massive blow in the chest [10] which knocks it to the ground.

    Arioch moves up the stairs, peeks around to take stock of the situation, then ducks back again. [No spell, since he moved up the stairs this round.]

    A flind with a flindbar moves up the hallway to attack Din, but it misses. Another moves up from the south, but it backs off at an order from the other. The other three flinds to the south back off as well, withdrawing just around the corner by the stairs. A much larger flind moves down from the north, grabs the flind leader that Din knocked down, and roughly yanks it to its feet, barking at it. He then pushes it aside, as more move up around him. A couple step up around Din, attacking him. On hits him for [3].


    "Bree! Get up here! We are LEAVING!" Din screams a blood-curdling scream as he attempts to deliver a coup de grace to the downed leader. He hopes these dogs will be demoralized.

    Unfortunately, more have moved up. A BIGGER leader has appeared, and treated the downed one pretty roughly, so he must be a badass.

    Amaris is wrapped in her Elven Cloak, which won't allow her to do something like take out a bow and stay invisible. So, she's just being VERY sneaky for the moment, as she moved to the corner last turn and assessed the situation.

    Astrid makes a looping run in front of Mal, turning back to the East and performs a running flying kick at the southern of the two flinds: Winds Off the Mountain. She plants her foot right into his chest and can hear the solid SNAP!! of bones breaking as she delivers a crushing blow to it [18]. If flies backwards 5' and lies motionless on the floor. The other flindbar-wielding flind seems stunned by her maneuver, and she winks at it as she turns. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a line of plate-armored flinds wielding halberds coming down the stairs! They move down, but Astrid's presence in the southeastern hallway has disrupted their plan to hedge the party in. They thus form up in the T, facing north and east.

    Din is wishing he had never given up the potions Thorgrim entrusted to him. "I will never do that again," he thinks, "if I live to get more."

    Amaris will just quickly and invisibly move behind the monk as she clears a path for her and keeps moving to station herself down that hall.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-0IBV3j31V6Q/U3kmfXViRQI/AAAAAAAADmc/eEO45fHqdOc/s1600/Stair%2520battle%25209c.jpg

    Amaris prays to her goddess "Ehlonna, strike down my enemies, make the very air they breathe sour in their lungs." She then casts the cleric spell "unbreathable air" centered to cover the stairway entrance the armoured Flinds are coming down and catch as many collateral regular Flinds as she can as well. [Netbook of priest spells.]

    Amaris calls upon Ehlonna, who answers her prayer, making the very air at the foot of the stairs unbreathable. The flinds start coughing, and immediately begin to move away. Three fall back up the stairs, while, two push forward. They drive the two in front of them forward as well, and they stumble forward as they attack Astrid.

    Both the front rank flinds hit her with their halberds, connecting with wickedly solid blows that send the young monk reeling! [10 and 8: total of 18] The flind between Arioch, Mal, and Din moves down and attacks Mal in the back, hitting him with a long sword [5]. The others move up and attack Arioch and Din, but both miss.

    Bree and Brytallis move up the stairs. Mal, now equally surrounded, steps back behind Din and fights back-to-back. He misses.

    Astrid leaps nearly instantly to her feet [Push of Earth], and follows up with a double punch to the flindbar flind's head doing [6 and 4: 10 total]. It spins around, smacking her back with its flindbar [10]. There's a loud crack as it hits her in the head, knocking her backwards where she lands in a heap at the feet of the invisible Amaris. She's unconscious.

    The flind leader barks a command, and the two other flinds with him take off, one heading west and one heading east. Bree can see the one to the east open a door and head through another room and open another door, going east.

    Din attacks, missing, and then finally Arioch uses his Taunt ability (3rd level priest of Joramy ability), and virtually EVERY flind turns his way with murderous intent!

    [Arioch OOC: I probably should have posted some sort of Taunt, but wasn't thinking. Hm, how about this for a Fire Priest: "If you were on fire and I had water, I'd drink it."
    or
    "If you were twice as smart, you'd still be stupid as a buggered kobold!"]

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xBAh35Vy2jA/U3vq3u2hobI/AAAAAAAADms/6rCyWrB3-U0/s1600/Stair%2520battle%252010.jpg
    [DM OOC: All but TWO missed saves, so they are all going to attack Arioch! I put facing arrows on people, and you can see by those on the flinds which ones are taunted. They are all basically pointing at Arioch!]

    While the flinds are organizing to attack, Arioch prays. "Great god of fire, let these beings see your greatness and send an Elemental Burst of Fire upon those in front of me."

    "Ehlonna, lend my hands your healing touch, and restore my fallen friend," prays Amaris as she casts CLW on Astrid, healing [8] her and bringing her back to consciousness.

    Brytallis kneels down, taking off his pack so he can get to Grakhirt's spellbook, which he retrieves. He then starts leafing through it, looking for Color Spray. Bree throws a dagger at the flind ahead of her, hitting it for [3].

    "Bree, if you can throw darts, I have 11 in my side satchel," says Brytallis.

    Bree glances his way. "Sweetie ... darts would be useful if we were in a tavern. Not much good in combat!"

    "It's just in case you run out of daggers," he replies, irritated. "You are better in a physical fight than I am."

    "It might have to do with the fact you are wearing a dress," she laughs back.

    The flinds with the flindbars attack, two attempting to disarm Arioch, while one attacks Din. All miss. The other flinds all attack, with two hitting Arioch with longswords for [5 and 1: 6 total].

    Din attacks to the north, knocking the flindbar-wielder to the ground as he pushes forward. Mal follows Din, stepping up and turning back to the left as he drives his spear through the side of the flind that Bree it [8], sorely wounding it.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sqqt2uSJIUE/U36IkPnHqRI/AAAAAAAADn0/xGjRKi4Z65A/s1600/Stair%2520battle%252011.jpg

    Round 11
    "Back up, " Arioch says, as he tries to get far enough back that only 2 flinds could hit him at a time. The prayer he knows would not be good now since it would now hurt Mal. Arioch swings his staff, missing.

    Bree tries to throw her dagger, but the flind that is in front of her now turns and smacks her with his flindbar, knocking the dagger from her hand. It goes flying down the stairs where it clatters into the corner.

    Din delivers a coup de grace on the downed flind, then steps up to face the leader. [Incidentally, he wasn't using the Full Move action. That was just colorful description!] The leader sneers, swinging a massive 2-edged battleaxe of dwarven make, which clangs loudly off Din's armor. He feels the blow, even through his armor, and knows that this is no easy foe he faces.

    Brytallis begins to read from his book. The flind in front of him hits him with his flindbar, smacking the book out of his hands. It too goes flying down the stairs.

    Mal steps forward again, fighting back-to-back with Din, and stabs the wounded flind again with his spear, hitting it [4] and dropping it.

    Amaris quickly pulls a small tear shaped vial tucked into her high leather boot for emergencies and hands it to the monk. "Drink of the raw healing power of my kin, this day is not yet done, protect me and I will rain death upon them."

    Amaris takes a knee while smoothly drawing her bow and fires two normal arrows into the front most armoured Flind on the stairs. "Run jackals, or I shall call Elhonna's vengeance down again and poison the air you breathe," she shouts at them grimly. [She can fire next round, as she did a lot this time!] Astrid leaps quickly to her feet, drinks the potion [healing 6], and then prepares to defend the hallway.

    The rest of the flinds then attack. Arioch is hit by a twirling flindbar [6], but two others miss. Another flind with a halberd charges forward and attacks Mal, but the nimble hobgoblin barely dodges the blow. Another moves up behind that one, also attacking with the long reach of the weapon, and Mal sidesteps another near-miss. The last of the flinds in the corridor turns around and goes back towards the sound of Amaris's voice. Turning the corner, it sees Astrid standing there, holding the hallway, with Amaris drawing a bow behind her. It swings at Astrid, using the great reach of the halberd, but Astrid easily dodges the blow.

    A call from the stairs then sounds, as the flinds there realize they can now pass down the corridor. A pair of arrows then come streaking down the hallway from behind Astrid and Amaris. One flies by harmlessly, and Amaris glances back to see a flind with a bow at the far corner of the hallway. It fires another shot, which hits her in the shoulder [6].

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9FMglarn7-A/U39rKuiJwwI/AAAAAAAADoo/fL-9HH0pCK4/s1600/Stairs%2520battle%252012.jpg
    The flinds on the spiral stairs only found out at the end of the round that the air is ok, so they didn't do anything this round. The flind to the rear of Amaris and Astrid reached that point last round, but nobody noticed it. Bree and Brytallis are now unarmed.

    Bree goes to throw another dagger, then realizes she has no more. [she only had three!] She then backs away down the stairs, looking for her lost one. She can't see immediately, but next round her infravision will kick in and she will be able to see fine down there. Brytallis also backs down, trips over his book, and falls the last few feet [1]. He ends up on the ground, but with his book. Again, he'll be able to see next round too.

    The flinds attack. Three attack Arioch, who takes one blow in the face for [7]. As his head is twisted, the other flind connects as well on the other side of the head, delivering a crushing blow [15: x3 dam critical!]. The crack of bone echoes in the hallway, and Arioch is knocked backwards, tumbling backwards over a downed flind where he lies in a heap.

    Another flind moves down the stairs, rushing Astrid. It attacks with its flindbar, attempting to disarm her, but it fails. One with a halberd follows, taking up a position next to the other one in the hallway, and the two both attack. Astrid fights defensively, avoiding their blows.

    The flind leader misses Din, who also misses him.

    "Plan change monk," whispers Amaris. "I don't intend to commit suicide, we need to get to a more defensible position." She then smoothly slings her bow and swirls her cloak around her seeming to vanish as she steps towards the wall and hugs it close. "Goddess, heal the wounds inflicted by my enemies" she prays, healing [5].

    The flind cackles, firing blindly down the hall. Astrid spins, knocking an arrow aside that seemed to have her name on it. "Whatever you're gonna do, do it fast," she whispers back.

    Three flinds then attack Mal, but they all miss. Then another comes charging out of the darkness to the right, and plants a sword thrust in his side [7].

    Finally, three more groups of flinds join the fight. A handful continue to come down the stairs, and are all bunched up in the intersection between Astrid/Amaris and the others. One group comes from the corridor west of Din, while from the north another group appears. Din barely has time to notice, being in fearful combat with the flind leader, but he recognizes the same massively large gnoll they battled below, the one that killed Sonste!

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Yj7lrb-elQk/U3--3sOIgHI/AAAAAAAADpU/JiWTfqrz8JY/s1600/Stairs%2520battle%252013.jpg

    [DM OOC: The party has been split into three groups. Bree, Brytallis, and Arioch are still down the stairs, caught between the chasm (and the gnolls beyond it) and the flinds at the top of the stairs. Arioch is down, and he looks to be dead. Din and Mal are fighting back-to-back in the hallway to the north of the stairs, while Astrid and Amaris are fighting in the southern hallway, also seemingly surrounded.]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:33 am  
    Part 19 - Retreat again

    Brytallis drop his book, throwing his hands up in surrender. Bree shakes her head, finding her dagger, then opens the door to get out to the chasm. "I'd rather go swimming that be gnoll food!" she says. There are two gnoll guards on the other side, and they immediately fire arrows at her, one hitting for [3]. She ignores the pain, and drinks the Potion of Flying that Din gave her. Bree intends to fly down into the chasm and seek a way out.

    Two flinds head down the stairs, one tripping over Brytallis who is kneeling on the ground. They can't see, as their eyes adjust to the darkness. Another attacks Astrid, who dodges the blow. The two with halberds swing at Astrid, both missing. One gets its halberd entangled with Astrid, losing next round's attack [nice fumble!]. However, the other flinds move up through the two halberdiers, with two moving up to attack. One misses, tripping and falling, while Astrid angles the other into hitting its companion [8: another two fumbles by the flinds, one a x2 crit!] The flind standing above Arioch hacks at him repeatedly with its longsword, dismembering the poor priest. Mal is then attacked by 4 flinds. The two on his flanks both hit [3+3: total of 6 damage]. The two with their halberds both miss. The others down the stairs and split north and east. Following them is a flind shaman. Seeing the combat, it stays in the doorway and begins to chant.

    "I meant retreat you fool" Amaris hisses towards Astrid. "Elhonna, cloak my friends from their enemies," shey prays as she casts Wall of Fog.

    "Then MOVE!" replies Astrid quickly. "I am faster than you, but I can't hold much longer."

    Astrid fought defensively, then takes a step back. The archer down the hall fires a shot at her, but she dodges it. Mal and Din both hit the flind in the eastern corridor, killing it, then step that way, turning west to face the rest.

    Din whips himself into a frenzy. "SPIRITS OF THE DARK, ARISE! CLANGGEDIN! HEAR MY CRY!" Suddenly a fog rolls up engulfing everyone. Din and Mal edge to the right, just beyond the fog, side-by-side now. They hear a flind cry, and a loud crack from the fog. Finally, the archer fires again, this time at the reappearing Amaris, but again, he misses.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GReYqFuuqB4/U4C_GjVh1kI/AAAAAAAADqE/leDGAN_tyH8/s1600/Stairs%2520battle%252014zoom.jpg
    zoomed image. Notice Arioch's dismembered corpse! Also, Din and Mal are now on the edge of darkness, half in and half out. You can also see the fog obscuring all vision in most of the corridor.

    Bree leaps into the chasm, flying down and away. She follows the river, hoping to find a way out.....

    Brytallis, hands up to surrender, is wickedly and evilly beat down by the two flinds, both of whom hit him with their flindbars [6+7=13 total], knocking him out!

    The flind fighting Astrid attacks her, attempting to disarm her. It wraps her latajang, but Astrid spins, actually ripping the flind's weapon away instead! With the flind momentarily weaponless, Astrid takes off running down the hallway. The flind archer takes another shot at her, but she dodges it, then launches herself into a flying kick which hits it square in the jaw [15] and knocking it backwards and to the ground!

    Amaris runs to the corner, taking out her bow. When she reaches the downed flind archer, she stabs it in the eye with an arrow, finishing it off! She then sees a group of gnolls up the corridor to the north, just turn a corner and start to charge south.

    Mal recognizes the opportunity with the flinds in the fog and yells to Din, "Run!" He turns, pushing Din ahead, and the two rush into the darkness, though a doorway, and into another dark chamber. Some light enters through an open eastern doorway, though which they see another north/south corridor. Din slams the door behind them, and feels a bar which he slides into place. Din immediately smells the foul stench of an ogre! However, as their eyes adjust they see that there are four busted beds in this chamber, all thrown together to make one big ogre bed. A table sits against the south wall, with a large stood before it. A wooden chest rests under the table. I am not putting all the furniture and stuff on the map, as it's tedious and I doubt very necessary anyway. except for the telltale rubbish that an ogre keeps, which is basically a big stinky mess of garbage and such! After a moment, they hear a heavy pounding on the door they just shut!

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QylCxUq2Z9Y/U4DVyXc7FMI/AAAAAAAADqU/L6az-p9f0l0/s1600/Stairs%2520battle%252015.jpg

    [DM OOC: New map shows a few extra things. First, Din and Mal have escaped into what was the ogre's chamber. Lucky for them, it's not here. Second, you can see the Wall of Fog still. I hid everything in it, and with the vision settings you can only see what each character can see anyway. There are three blue-haloed flinds in the south chamber. Two came out from the fog and tripped into/over the flind that Astrid disarmed. They are all prone now. Where all the rest are, nobody knows, though you can assume the heavy pounding on the door to the ogre's chamber is from either the large gnoll, the flind leader, or both.]

    Everyone then hears the faint sound of a horn blowing, somewhere to the west.....

    Din recognizes it as a dwarven horn. The gnolls to the north stop, glancing at each other uncertainly, then Amaris hears another horn blow, and she stops and looks back to the west. There she sees the three flinds on the ground look back towards the fog uncertainly.

    "That is no gnoll horn," she says.

    "This way monk, we may live yet!" says Amaris, who keeps running down that hall. She takes the opportunity when a bend pulls her out of the halls line of sight to sling her bow and pull her cloak back around her and blend with the surroundings.

    Bree follows the underground river, flying through the chasm without problem. After a bit, it opens to another tunnel, and she checks that out. One part heads back to the right, and she figures it links back up with the rest of the underground tunnels. The other part heads up, and she figures it may go up to the upper levels. However, she decides to leave them alone, for now, and continues along the chasm, eventually coming out through an opening which leads outside to the river.

    The pounding on the door stops, which gives Din and Mal time to look around quickly. Mal pokes the bedding, then moves to the east door, which is open. Din pushes the table up against the door too. "That won't hold them for long," says Din. "We need to keep moving." He then looks at the chest. As Mal moves to the east door to watch, taking out his bow, while Din kicks the chest open. Inside is a cloth sack. He picks it up, and it's pretty heavy.

    Astrid takes a sip of her Potion of Invisibility, while Amaris pulls her cloak tight. When both disappear, the gnolls to the north turn and run, heading north, then turning down a passage to the west. Glancing back, the flinds get up and stand, unsure what to do.

    Amaris and Astrid move up to the side corridor, opposite room 12. They are invisibile. They also see Mal and Din just beyond the doorway of area 12.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8jEXXo3hwl8/U4IeCboPSAI/AAAAAAAADrM/Td8NXSPPZFo/s1600/Room%252012.jpg

    The door is locked. Astrid calls out quietly to Mal across the way, "Mal, we're over here. The gnolls retreated to the north after those horns blew."

    Suddenly a renewed pounded begins on the west door of the ogre chamber.

    "Not all of them," mutters Din, pulling the sack out of the chest. He can't wield his axe or his crossbow while carrying the sack, so he buckles on his axe and takes up his hammer.

    Amaris checks quietly to see if the door behind her opens. If so she will crack it open and peek inside. "Gather our friends Astrid," she whispers. "Whatever called them away may not last long."

    Sneaking ahead, Astrid and Amaris slip through another room [area 11]. Racks of weapons line the walls of this room, mostly of dwarven make. In the NE corner is a large anvil, along with a firepit, bellows, etc. A large chest sits next to it as well. The doors on both sides are open, and beyond the west one can be seen the old trophy room with the statues [area 9]. One gnoll stands guard there.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3ZFs9hYINAU/U4Iu6zQBOOI/AAAAAAAADrw/VzS-h0U9Pgo/s1600/Area%252011.jpg

    Din and mal take a sip of the invisibility potion. "A wise idea. Maybe we can sneak out of here. Question is, is there another exit to the northeast? The fortress seems fairly symmetrical. That doesn't mean there are any other stairs besides the ones we've explored. But there might be." Mention of Toni is noticeably absent from his strained whisper.

    Din opens the sack while Mal sips the Invisibility potion. Din didn't open the chest to raid treasure, only to create a momentary distraction for any pursuers. (Well maybe to raid treasure, in case there were any baubles or magic items to use in our defense.) Din will also take back the remains of his invisibility potion (1/2). Din glances inside the bag, and he is shocked at what he sees. The space inside is massive! There must be a few thousand coins in there, along with a couple of small coffers. He looks again at the outside, then back inside, and realizes he has found a Bag of Holding!

    There was another spiral stair to the north, so you can go to that one. It heads up to the next level, but is then blocked above by a minor collapse. When you come up the stairs to the next level, you hear lots of gnoll shouting from the area of the entrance to the fortress.

    The four heroes pass back into the long hallway which leads back to the entrance where they can hear a host of gnolls and flinds......[The sound comes from area 3]

    Amaris stealthily moves forward to observe the commotion in area 3, and check if the two doors are locked on the way.

    "I believe our best exit is out the hall we entered," Din whispers before she goes. He silently wonders if he awakened the spirits that dwell within this place.

    Amaris sees the entry chamber full of gnolls and flinds, basically surrounding it. She sees what looks like three elves as well. A large flind stands up by the central statue, then the male elf in elfin plate mail whispers something to it as it turns to face another very large flind. Looks like there is about to be a fight between two big flinds.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Q4RrRRId2wA/U4J2H8LyurI/AAAAAAAADs4/nzRvl2AE3Q0/s1600/Sneaking.jpg

    [DM OOC: As you can tell by this image, in the chamber are Toni, Theyln, and another elf nobody knows. What is happening here you ask. Stay tuned....]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:41 am  
    Part 19 - Retreat again

    Brytallis drop his book, throwing his hands up in surrender. Bree shakes her head, finding her dagger, then opens the door to get out to the chasm. "I'd rather go swimming that be gnoll food!" she says. There are two gnoll guards on the other side, and they immediately fire arrows at her, one hitting for [3]. She ignores the pain, and drinks the Potion of Flying that Din gave her. Bree intends to fly down into the chasm and seek a way out.

    Two flinds head down the stairs, one tripping over Brytallis who is kneeling on the ground. They can't see, as their eyes adjust to the darkness. Another attacks Astrid, who dodges the blow. The two with halberds swing at Astrid, both missing. One gets its halberd entangled with Astrid, losing next round's attack [nice fumble!]. However, the other flinds move up through the two halberdiers, with two moving up to attack. One misses, tripping and falling, while Astrid angles the other into hitting its companion [8: another two fumbles by the flinds, one a x2 crit!] The flind standing above Arioch hacks at him repeatedly with its longsword, dismembering the poor priest. Mal is then attacked by 4 flinds. The two on his flanks both hit [3+3: total of 6 damage]. The two with their halberds both miss. The others down the stairs and split north and east. Following them is a flind shaman. Seeing the combat, it stays in the doorway and begins to chant.

    "I meant retreat you fool" Amaris hisses towards Astrid. "Elhonna, cloak my friends from their enemies," shey prays as she casts Wall of Fog.

    "Then MOVE!" replies Astrid quickly. "I am faster than you, but I can't hold much longer."

    Astrid fought defensively, then takes a step back. The archer down the hall fires a shot at her, but she dodges it. Mal and Din both hit the flind in the eastern corridor, killing it, then step that way, turning west to face the rest.

    Din whips himself into a frenzy. "SPIRITS OF THE DARK, ARISE! CLANGGEDIN! HEAR MY CRY!" Suddenly a fog rolls up engulfing everyone. Din and Mal edge to the right, just beyond the fog, side-by-side now. They hear a flind cry, and a loud crack from the fog. Finally, the archer fires again, this time at the reappearing Amaris, but again, he misses.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-GReYqFuuqB4/U4C_GjVh1kI/AAAAAAAADqE/leDGAN_tyH8/s1600/Stairs%2520battle%252014zoom.jpg
    zoomed image. Notice Arioch's dismembered corpse! Also, Din and Mal are now on the edge of darkness, half in and half out. You can also see the fog obscuring all vision in most of the corridor.

    Bree leaps into the chasm, flying down and away. She follows the river, hoping to find a way out.....

    Brytallis, hands up to surrender, is wickedly and evilly beat down by the two flinds, both of whom hit him with their flindbars [6+7=13 total], knocking him out!

    The flind fighting Astrid attacks her, attempting to disarm her. It wraps her latajang, but Astrid spins, actually ripping the flind's weapon away instead! With the flind momentarily weaponless, Astrid takes off running down the hallway. The flind archer takes another shot at her, but she dodges it, then launches herself into a flying kick which hits it square in the jaw [15] and knocking it backwards and to the ground!

    Amaris runs to the corner, taking out her bow. When she reaches the downed flind archer, she stabs it in the eye with an arrow, finishing it off! She then sees a group of gnolls up the corridor to the north, just turn a corner and start to charge south.

    Mal recognizes the opportunity with the flinds in the fog and yells to Din, "Run!" He turns, pushing Din ahead, and the two rush into the darkness, though a doorway, and into another dark chamber. Some light enters through an open eastern doorway, though which they see another north/south corridor. Din slams the door behind them, and feels a bar which he slides into place. Din immediately smells the foul stench of an ogre! However, as their eyes adjust they see that there are four busted beds in this chamber, all thrown together to make one big ogre bed. A table sits against the south wall, with a large stood before it. A wooden chest rests under the table. I am not putting all the furniture and stuff on the map, as it's tedious and I doubt very necessary anyway. except for the telltale rubbish that an ogre keeps, which is basically a big stinky mess of garbage and such! After a moment, they hear a heavy pounding on the door they just shut!

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-QylCxUq2Z9Y/U4DVyXc7FMI/AAAAAAAADqU/L6az-p9f0l0/s1600/Stairs%2520battle%252015.jpg

    [DM OOC: New map shows a few extra things. First, Din and Mal have escaped into what was the ogre's chamber. Lucky for them, it's not here. Second, you can see the Wall of Fog still. I hid everything in it, and with the vision settings you can only see what each character can see anyway. There are three blue-haloed flinds in the south chamber. Two came out from the fog and tripped into/over the flind that Astrid disarmed. They are all prone now. Where all the rest are, nobody knows, though you can assume the heavy pounding on the door to the ogre's chamber is from either the large gnoll, the flind leader, or both.]

    Everyone then hears the faint sound of a horn blowing, somewhere to the west.....

    Din recognizes it as a dwarven horn. The gnolls to the north stop, glancing at each other uncertainly, then Amaris hears another horn blow, and she stops and looks back to the west. There she sees the three flinds on the ground look back towards the fog uncertainly.

    "That is no gnoll horn," she says.

    "This way monk, we may live yet!" says Amaris, who keeps running down that hall. She takes the opportunity when a bend pulls her out of the halls line of sight to sling her bow and pull her cloak back around her and blend with the surroundings.

    Bree follows the underground river, flying through the chasm without problem. After a bit, it opens to another tunnel, and she checks that out. One part heads back to the right, and she figures it links back up with the rest of the underground tunnels. The other part heads up, and she figures it may go up to the upper levels. However, she decides to leave them alone, for now, and continues along the chasm, eventually coming out through an opening which leads outside to the river.

    The pounding on the door stops, which gives Din and Mal time to look around quickly. Mal pokes the bedding, then moves to the east door, which is open. Din pushes the table up against the door too. "That won't hold them for long," says Din. "We need to keep moving." He then looks at the chest. As Mal moves to the east door to watch, taking out his bow, while Din kicks the chest open. Inside is a cloth sack. He picks it up, and it's pretty heavy.

    Astrid takes a sip of her Potion of Invisibility, while Amaris pulls her cloak tight. When both disappear, the gnolls to the north turn and run, heading north, then turning down a passage to the west. Glancing back, the flinds get up and stand, unsure what to do.

    Amaris and Astrid move up to the side corridor, opposite room 12. They are invisibile. They also see Mal and Din just beyond the doorway of area 12.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8jEXXo3hwl8/U4IeCboPSAI/AAAAAAAADrM/Td8NXSPPZFo/s1600/Room%252012.jpg

    The door is locked. Astrid calls out quietly to Mal across the way, "Mal, we're over here. The gnolls retreated to the north after those horns blew."

    Suddenly a renewed pounded begins on the west door of the ogre chamber.

    "Not all of them," mutters Din, pulling the sack out of the chest. He can't wield his axe or his crossbow while carrying the sack, so he buckles on his axe and takes up his hammer.

    Amaris checks quietly to see if the door behind her opens. If so she will crack it open and peek inside. "Gather our friends Astrid," she whispers. "Whatever called them away may not last long."

    Sneaking ahead, Astrid and Amaris slip through another room [area 11]. Racks of weapons line the walls of this room, mostly of dwarven make. In the NE corner is a large anvil, along with a firepit, bellows, etc. A large chest sits next to it as well. The doors on both sides are open, and beyond the west one can be seen the old trophy room with the statues [area 9]. One gnoll stands guard there.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3ZFs9hYINAU/U4Iu6zQBOOI/AAAAAAAADrw/VzS-h0U9Pgo/s1600/Area%252011.jpg

    Din and mal take a sip of the invisibility potion. "A wise idea. Maybe we can sneak out of here. Question is, is there another exit to the northeast? The fortress seems fairly symmetrical. That doesn't mean there are any other stairs besides the ones we've explored. But there might be." Mention of Toni is noticeably absent from his strained whisper.

    Din opens the sack while Mal sips the Invisibility potion. Din didn't open the chest to raid treasure, only to create a momentary distraction for any pursuers. (Well maybe to raid treasure, in case there were any baubles or magic items to use in our defense.) Din will also take back the remains of his invisibility potion (1/2). Din glances inside the bag, and he is shocked at what he sees. The space inside is massive! There must be a few thousand coins in there, along with a couple of small coffers. He looks again at the outside, then back inside, and realizes he has found a Bag of Holding!

    There was another spiral stair to the north, so you can go to that one. It heads up to the next level, but is then blocked above by a minor collapse. When you come up the stairs to the next level, you hear lots of gnoll shouting from the area of the entrance to the fortress.

    The four heroes pass back into the long hallway which leads back to the entrance where they can hear a host of gnolls and flinds......[The sound comes from area 3]

    Amaris stealthily moves forward to observe the commotion in area 3, and check if the two doors are locked on the way.

    "I believe our best exit is out the hall we entered," Din whispers before she goes. He silently wonders if he awakened the spirits that dwell within this place.

    Amaris sees the entry chamber full of gnolls and flinds, basically surrounding it. She sees what looks like three elves as well. A large flind stands up by the central statue, then the male elf in elfin plate mail whispers something to it as it turns to face another very large flind. Looks like there is about to be a fight between two big flinds.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Q4RrRRId2wA/U4J2H8LyurI/AAAAAAAADs4/nzRvl2AE3Q0/s1600/Sneaking.jpg

    [DM OOC: As you can tell by this image, in the chamber are Toni, Theyln, and another elf nobody knows. What is happening here you ask. Stay tuned....]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:46 am  

    Back after a long absence. I though my pc was toast, which would have sucked heavily. My friend fixed it, and now I can contnue with more campaign journals!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:47 am  
    Toni, Sil, and Theyln backlog

    Toni, Sil, and Theyln
    Here is the log of their exploits while everyone else was getting schooled by the flinds! :)

    ***

    It was a pleasant enough day for Sil to be tracking, Toni when she saw her tracks enter into some bushes. Toni sticks her head out and says, "Hi Sil, glad it was you tracking me and not some guy." She steps out of the bushes wearing ivy with the leaves at the right places. She is 5'4", very curvy with black hair that has a grey streak in the middle. "I don't know. One moment I am ridding away from a battle, there's a flash of pain and then I woke up maked and with no weapons or anything. Can you give me a ride back to Cat's Tower? I think I can show you the way."

    Silmarwen grins at her friend, "A battle that leaves you nude? I've had a couple of those. Typically I call them tumbles in the hay." Seeing a few bruises that obviously weren't induced by a good time Sil apologizes, "Toni, are you okay?!" She removes her cloak and offers it to Toni before shaking her head. "Here, lets get some clothes on you before we head to the tower." She rummages through her pack and offers pants and a shirt to the other woman. "They're a bit big, but they should do anyway, right?"

    She turns her back to give Toni privacy when she gets dressed. "Why did your companions leave you out here on your own like this?"

    Once Toni is dressed they will proceed to the tower.

    "Thank you," Toni says as she steps from behind the bushes. The pants legs are turned up a good 5 inches and the shirt has the top two buttons open but otherwise its a good fit.
    "I wish I knew exactly what happened, but the most I can recall is a tiger and an ogre fighting, then its all black. I am lucky you came along. I can ride with you, neither of us are too heavy, if you will allow it. I have friends at Cat's Claw Tower, I hope; let us head there."

    Toni will exchange pleasantries until they get to the Tower. At first she is greeted with fear, but she soon convinces her gypsies that she is alive and not an undead. They say that they gave to the party all that was hers since they thought her dead. Toni asks them to keep an eye out for her horse, introduces her friend Sil (many remember her), and stays for dinner and a good night's sleep. In the morning the gypsies find clothes that will fit her and she returns Sil's loaned outfit with thanks. She also finds one of her daggers and she takes one of the moonstones [see her character sheet], that she had left at the camp.

    While Sil never thought of herself as much of a dance partner for anyone, she always joined in when an opportunity presented itself. Surprisingly a Gypsy party wasn't all that different from an elf party under the right conditions. She felt bad for calling it a night when she did, but she knew she needed to help Toni find her travelling party. She was going to give them a piece of her mind for having left Toni as they did. She fell asleep with an evil smirk on her lips and a plan to frighten them forming in her mind.

    Silmarwen awoke well rested and thanked the Gypsies for their hospitality. "Is there anyway I can repay your kindness?" She didn't bother checking to make sure if she still had all her gear, if Toni's Gypsy friends took anything it was because they needed it and would have either considered it payment for their hospitality or they'd repay her later. Either way she wasn't overly concerned.

    She ate a small, quick breakfast and when Toni dropped the borrowed clothing back to her she nodded as she packed it back away. "You'd have done the same for me. Shall we find the rest of your party?" Thoughts of revenge for the group having left Toni behind had vanished from her mind as there were any number of times that Toni had gone off on her own as she grew older. Every woman did once in a while.

    "It sounds like they had no choice but to leave me," says Toni. "I wonder what happened? Did I...Sil, dear, I should tell you that it might not have been their fault in leaving me. You see I have a problem, sort of like an illness. I am a were-tiger. Up until a short while ago I only changed at a full moon but recently I have been changing when badly hurt. I may have endangered my friends. It may have been me fighting that ogre. I don't know.
    If I could find a cure I would take it but who knows what might cure me of this. I felt you need to know this before we go any further as I do not wish to harm you. I need to find my friends but I do not need to be the cause of your being hurt or ...worse. I will ride on alone if need be, your choice."

    Silmarwen had heard of some strange things in her life but a were-tiger? "Are you sure you didn't bump your head, Toni? Although, that would explain why you were without apparel when I found you." As long as she'd known Toni, the human had never lied to her. "A were-tiger eh? Alright. How'd it happen? Although, if you'd rather not talk about it, I understand." She knew her friend well enough to know she'd never hurt her, even if Toni transformed in her presence.

    "One thing's sure, I'm not leaving you alone out here," assured Sil. "You're my friend above all else and I'm yours. Friends don't desert one another regardless of the reasons. I'm like a bad copper piece. I'll always turn up." She smiled reassuringly. "Maybe you're right, maybe your other friends thought you were dead. They should have checked to be sure though. If you don't mind, I'd like to see you in your other form at least once. Maybe we can help you control it. Besides, you're going to need someone to provide you with clothes when you change back." Sil shook her head, "Your turn to talk, if you want. Do the others know?

    "I was attacked as a child by two were-beasts," replied Toni a bit hesitantly. "Later, just as I was becoming a woman, they came back and attacked me again. I killed them with a pair of silver daggers that we kept in our wagon. Ever since I heal fast but just to touch silver hurts me. The gypsies know what happens and yet they let me actually be their leader, at least till we found this new home. Now that the curse is getting worse, I don't know. I am not sure how safe I am when I turn now. I would never willingly hurt you but I don't know what I do when now I turn. I would love your company at least till I get my other friends out of whatever trouble they might be in. They think me a prisoner and I must make sure they do not throw their lives away on that falsehood. Let us go, if you will, I thank you for your friendship."

    "I won't leave you," replied Sil stubbornly. "If this other group of friends doesn't know about your gift and they turn on you if they discover it, they will have to deal with me. I don't take kindly to friends and family being mistreated. Did I ever tell you about my mother's betrayal? She set up the assassin round-up at the coronation between forty-five and fifty years ago. Many elves and others were lost. Including Father." The elf narrowed her eyes, "Payment from her is due to so many. I hope to help them recover at least some of what was lost. Monetarily as there is nothing else I can offer." Silmarwen sighed softly, "It is wonderful to be able to confide in someone. I am glad our paths crossed."

    "As am I," replied Toni with a smile. "I do not fault those who think me too dangerous, but I thank you for trusting me. If I should start to grow fangs and fur be prepared to run. Otherwise let us find those who hope to find me. It is good to have you along my friend."

    The two of you follow the party's trail, and Toni notes that they did not take the same path this time. Rather, they seem to have followed a new path along the east of the river. It is an easy trail for Sil to follow, and eventually you find the place where they crossed the river. It's obvious that they must have entered the ancient fortress from the southeast direction this time. Sil says there are a couple of gnoll guards atop the hill, overlooking the path leading up to the fortress. There's no way to approach along the path without being seen.

    Both Toni and Sil climb the walls without difficulty, though it takes a long time, nearly thirty minutes. They end up back at the upper balcony area, somewhat above the gnoll that is on lookout there. Once close enough, Toni casts sleep on the sentry. It drops to the ground and the two move silently up to it.

    Tony uses her dagger to kill the gnoll while saying, "Sil dear, can you follow the tracks from here? I have not been here, as best that I can recall, so your tracking will help greatly. This looks like a big place."

    She shakes her head. "Sadly, no. There has been too much activity here to tell which way they went, when indeed it seems they went everywhere."

    Looking inside through the archways, Toni notes a plate-armored gnoll with a halberd standing guard at the double doors [between areas 3 and 8]. It seems very alert, and as it turns its head in her direction, she quickly ducks back out of sight, holding a hand up to Sil to stay back.

    "If I distract him and get him to come out here, can you backstab him?" she asks her.

    Sil shrugs. "Maybe, but what if he simply sounds an alert?"

    "I have a sleep spell still, but that is about it," answers Toni. "Oh, and I have a dagger." She suddenly starts! "Wait, maybe waste not want not." She then goes back to the gnoll she killed and checks to see what he has. He was carrying a longbow, quiver of arrows, a longsword, and a beltpouch with 10gp. He also has a horn hung from his neck. Also, it's a flind, not a gnoll.

    Theyln stays hidden and sees Toni peeking in though the arches, they backing out suddenly. She speaks with the other elf for a bit, then heads quickly over to the dead gnoll sentry and strips the corpse of stuff. He then casts message and magically communicates to Toni, "This is Thelyn. The group has been searching for you, find something to point at to your left if it is safe to approach, or to your right if I should stay back and find a way to rescue you."

    Toni gets the message and thinks about it for a moment. She then points to the left.

    Sil sees Toni stop, then she points to the left and grabs Sil and says ,"We should wait here a bit. One of my party just magically contacted me."

    Sil nods in silent agreement, then cocks her head questioningly at the creature standing guard, "Do you still want me to try taking it out?" she whispers so quietly that she's mostly just mouthing the words, hopeful that Toni can read lips more than hear her words.

    "No, let's see how many are coming first."

    Sil nods and carefully looks for a place to watch the creature without it being able to see her. As she does so, an elven cavalier moves up the path to the archways. He is about 5'5", with pale skin, gold hair, and violet eyes. He moves with a warrior's grace, a mithril longsword in one hand and a shield in the other, the arms of the noble house of Weirkein proudly displayed.



    Sil hears Toni whisper, "He's pretty." Then Tony waves the cavalier to the side and explains that there is a flind in plate with a pole arm just inside, guarding the door. Then she remembers and introduces Sil.

    Silmarwen smirks at her friend's comment, "Nice to meet you Theyln." She whispers, continuing to keep her eyes on the flind. Letting one's guard down in such a situation isn't a good thing and she's determined to not let her guard down regardless of the prettiness of a male elf.

    Toni looks at the male elf and says, "Any ideas? If we could silence him then we could attack but I don't have that spell."

    "It is good to see you alive and well Antonia. All of your friends have put themselves in great danger to find you, including myself." He gives a slight bow to the elvish woman. "Greetings, sister. You are far from home are you not? Thank you for aiding my friend." He ponders a moment then says "I can throw one of golden orbs at this creature on guard, it will cause a great flash of light that will disorient it. We can then quickly dispatch him. Not telling what awaits inside though. Any other ideas?"

    "Sil has been my friend for many years," she replies. "You and the party are my new friends. I woke up a few days ago naked and alone. Sil helped me back to camp where I was able to get a few things but most of my stuff is lost. I could sleep the flind but then I would be out of spells. I will do that if no one has a better plan."

    "Best to make this Sentry fall asleep, that we may enter unseen and flank our enemies. If all goes well, we should be able to slip in, find our group, and slip back out. No need to stir up a hornets nest. This place was far too dangerous, but we could not potentially leave you a captive." Thelyn prepares to enter, shield up, and ready to cast his spell should the sleep fail.

    "Far from home? Indeed I am. Thanks for not tossing something that would potentially create not just bright light, but also noise. I think the stealthier we go in, the better our chances are of getting out. Theyln, did you encounter any traps that we need be wary of? Or anything else? Toni, are you sure you should use your sleep spell on this? What if we come across something worse that we really need it for and you've used it here? I might be able to take it out with an arrow."

    "Perhaps a little misdirection might help us," says Toni. "If either of you could find a small animal, rabbit or something (she doesn't know about the ferret), I'm sure that critters come up these steps often. Then release the critter by the enterence and see what the guard does. Hopefully it will step out to shoe the thing away and we can jump the guard."


    Theyln sighs. "Why don't you just go find some celery?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGiAZj9GEzs

    [DM OOC: Sorry, he just couldn't resist the MacGruber distraction scene!]

    Toni uses her Sleep spell, dropping the flind in armor effortlessly. He falls with a loud clang! She then moves in, slaying the flind before he can wake up. She searches him while the others look around. The door behind it is open, revealing a long pillared hallway. There are closed double-doors at the end. To the left of the flind, four dead flinds are laid out in a neat row. Theyln stands at the alert, ready to QuickDraw his blade or cast a spell on a moments notice.

    "Anybody need the armor or halberd?" says Toni. "That's all I find on him."

    "No you," says a cackling voice from the south. Theyln was looking the other way, and he whirls quickly. He sees two flinds, one in heavy armor, standing in the southern archway.

    Toni, holding a long curved dagger, says, "We should be able to outmaneuver the one in plate armor but we need to take out the archer. Sil, can you do it?"

    "I will do my best," Sil replies, drawing her bow and using quick-draw shot.

    Thelyn reflexively casts "chromatic orb" throwing a golden orb at the archer Flind that erupts into a flash of light in its face. [Use 1st level effect] "Watch that archer ladies. This one is mine," he says while quick drawing his blade. He stands with shield at the ready and blade pointed at his foe in clear challenge. "Unless this yapping kobold is scared of a true elf of the Celene...."

    It blinks away the light, swearing something unintelligible.

    Sil brings her bow to bear unbelievably fast, firing a shot which hits the flind with the axe, grazing its cheek. [4].

    "You'll pay for that," it says, wiping blood from its cheek and shaking its head. The other flind fires its bow, burying an arrow deep into Sil's leg [6]. Sil fires back, another quickshot which misses, but the flind ducks away, and its second shot also misses.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Wq-9Hqtf2hA/U36bTzBzILI/AAAAAAAADoI/Sl4nphgnBVk/s1600/TTS%2520upstairs2.jpg

    Theyln continues to stare down the Flind with the axe and laughs... "I will pay her debt....or you are that afraid to face me? No archers. No magic. To the death."

    Toni slips around further to the side, towards the corner, trying to split the flind's attention. It ignores her and charges straight towards Theyln. It swings it's waraxe, missing, and Theyln misses back. The two begin a deadly melee, each knowing they face a skilled and dangerous opponent.

    Meanwhile, Sil and the flind archer fire at each other simultaneously, each hitting. Sil takes [4] while the flind takes [3]. They both fire again, and Sil hits it [2].

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SrHgXgK1xyg/U39zt2HYEqI/AAAAAAAADpA/r-ZmsoTnt_0/s1600/TTS%2520upstairs3.jpg

    Theyln and the flind captain are squaring off, while Sil and the archer are exchanging shots. The archer has a bit of cover from the table in front of it, but not much. Toni has slipped around to the corner. The place is too well-lit to hide in shadows, but it doesn't really seem anyone is watching her now. In fact, she can't see the archer at all from where she is now.

    Theyln yells "tl acharn" and rushes the flind, making a sweeping overhand blow of incredible ferocity. His blow lands squarely [15: that was a x3 dam critical]. It knocks the flind back to the ground and stuns it!

    Staying against the wall, Toni moves up to the archer's doorway. She has plans, when she can do it, to jump out swinging her long dagger to wound the archer or at least entangle its bow, maybe even cut the string.

    Sil fires another shot at the archer, missing, and the flind hits her again [6]. Sil fires back, sending a shot right through it's neck [19: ANOTHER x3 critical!] and killing it instantly!

    Toni peeks around the corner, and sees the flind on the ground unmoving. Being nearest, she makes certain that the archer is dead by sliting his throat. "Make sure the other is dead, " she says.

    Thelyn kicks the Flind's weapon away and puts the point of his blade to the creatures throat. (If it resists he drives it through)

    "I seek a group of my companions who came here thinking you held one of us captive. What do you know of this?"

    Sil turns toward the other flind and notches yet another arrow, ready to fire as she carefully moves closer to the thing. She should heal, soon, and thus stays far enough away from the flind that it cannot touch her should it be faking.

    The flind lies on the ground, having taken a nearly mortal wound from Theyln, and it surrenders. "I know of no other," it says.

    "I stay my hand, because I have known your kind to honor agreements, though we may never see eye to eye. What is your name? Are you a leader here? I have found the one we thought you held captive, and would find the others and leave."

    "I am Derrr Blooddeath," it replies, "subchief of the Truefang. We have but defended ourselves from your constant attacks. We hold no prisoners."

    Sil lets out a slight growl of frustration, but before she can speak, Theyln continues. "Then you have been attacked again? Those are the ones under my charge searching for a prisoner you don't have. A disastrous misunderstanding. If you give your word that you will stand down your troops so I can bring them home unharmed, I will spare your life, and I will lead them out never to return."

    "Why should we trust you?" it answers. "Your kind have always brought us nothing but death."

    "Because I have chosen to negotiate with you, rather than slay you outright. I know that more fighting will not resolve this problem. I also have given you my word we will leave. We would never have returned had we not thought you had taken one of us prisoner when you drove us off before. Just as I offered you a warriors death in battle with me, no magic, no archery. I offer no deceit. It benefits us both to come to an agreement. I have no doubt your warriors are strong and might slay my friends, but if you do, wave after wave of warriors will come to make you answer for it. Consider the fact they have an elvish honor guard. Let me return my charges to their home, and let this place fade into distant memory. Do we have an agreement?"

    "Yes," it says, though not altogether convincingly.

    Thelyn says to Sil, "Keep a watchful eye; if he betrays his word put an arrow through him, so he may keep me company in the afterlife." He looks at the flind calmly and says, "Then I spare your life. We have an agreement. You are not a prisoner, as I know that would cause you to loose face among your tribe. We are leaders who have come to a mutually beneficial understanding. Stand down your warriors, and I will take my charges home. You will be left in peace."

    Sil almost does as Thelyn requests, thinks better of it and asks "Are you sure we want his people seeing him held at arrow-point though? As you said, he's not a prisoner..."

    He sheathes his sword and offers the Flind a hand up. The flind reaches up hesitantly, but grips Theyln's hand with a strong grip and pulls himself up. Once the Flind is back to his feet, Theyln will also wave towards the axe, making it clear he will not stop him from retrieving it. As the flind retrieves his axe, Theyln continues, "As I said, two leaders who have come to an agreement beneficial to both people, Derr Blooddeath."

    [Theyln OOC: Thelyn will of course be ready to employ his parrying tactic should the flind attack.

    The flind nods, then goes over to the archer. He kneels beside him, then shakes his head, whispering something even the elves don't hear. When he stands up, he seems more resolute. "Enough have died. Let us end this," he says.

    Toni looks at the surrender taking place and stands, she took nothing from the archer. "As a sign of our good will I will leave this body as I find it. I will not apologise for my actions but I will not take this fight one step farther then I have to. I have been hurt badly as have you and your people. What can we do to end this fight and have no one further hurt."

    Toni holds up the horn that she took off the dead sentry. "If I blow this will that cause the remaining flinds to come here and then maybe we can get our friends out of here and out of your hair?"

    He shrugs. "That is alarm for intruders," he says. "Likely bring many more."

    "Just honor our agreement," says Theyln. "How will you recall your troops? Where are our friends?"

    "Not sure," he says. "Guards called us to fight, so we came down. Heard loud clang and found you."

    Theyln says, "Blow the horn." Then he tells the other two sadly, "this is my risk; you two should consider leaving now, in case this goes badly. We risked all to rescue you Toni, I don't more on my hands." He also says quietly to the Flind "I know you are a sub chief, and not all may agree. What is the name of he I would challenge to single combat for the life of my friends? You may end up chief, and we will still leave, a benefit to you ....and your tribe. I would prefer to end the bloodshed here, but I know how powerful pride is."

    "How can you help us stop this insanity before more on both sides get killed?" asks Toni.

    The flind ignores Toni, staring deep into Theyln's eyes, as if searching for something. "Remakk Bloodfang," he says.

    "So, is this your name, I can call you Bloodfang? I will blow this horn but I will give my two friends a chance to get away first." Then to her friends Toni says, "I appreciate that you have come with me and have searched me out, but I guess this is my chance to redeem myself. If they do not and hurt me then they have me to fear. Either way I want you to know I am grateful for you but this might be a good time to run."

    "Ignore my strange friend," says Theyln with a sigh. "She bumped her head."
    "I did bump my head, I think, but I still plan to blow the horn once I give you a chance to get to safety."

    "You don't seem to understand," says Theyln. "To rescue the group might require single combat for leadership of the tribe, pride being what it is. This is the Remakk Bloodfang he speaks of. Now blow the horn and go. It is a manner of honor for me."
    "I understand your honor; Attloi honor is important too. We must give my friend Sil a chance to save her life. "Hah! maybe she is smarter then you and me."

    "So be it," says Theyln resolutely. "Toni, blow that horn frantically, as if a legion of warriors caught you by surprise and will kill you at any moment."

    Toni wipes the mouthpiece of the horn with the corner of her shawl, puts the horn to her lips and blows a long clear blast. When she does, Theyln will blow his own elvish horn as if he were calling in reinforcements. [Theyln OOC: Just thought that I would mention that Theyln's horn lets out a distinct clear musical note, as only the elves of Celene could craft.]

    After blowing horn, Theyln nods to Toni. "Again Toni, as if the life of your tribe depended on it." As she blows another note, he smiles grimly. "That should bring them. Now leave, I don't want your deaths on my hands."

    Sil rolls her eyes. "I do not leave friends to their deaths. Nor do I leave friends of friends to their deaths," She says looking from Toni to Thelyn. She then bows to the flind, "I apologize for having wrongly judged you and your people. It is good that there is a solution that will stop the deaths. "

    Toni says, "Looks like you are stuck with females who have at least as much pride as you do. I, for one, will let you do the fighting as I doubt my daggers would do much against his armor. And your armor is much better protection then my dress. And I know you are a much better fighter them I am."

    Thelyn says, "The die is cast," and awaits what the fates has to offer him.

    Toni tells those with her that she is casting a spell to aid her and not turning into a tiger.
    She then casts Cat Spirit.

    Theyln just stares at her. Then shakes his head in disbelief..

    "Corellon Larethian, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that three stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Corellon... so grant me one request. Grant me the safe passage of my friends, even in my honorable death. And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!"

    The flind looks strangely at Theyln, then turns quickly back to the south when three more flinds appear. One is a very large one, wearing a patchwork of dwarven plate and hide armor, a massive girdle, and a gleaming dwarven waraxe!

    "Remakk..."whispers Derr, standing next to Theyln.

    "Translate for me, that your people understand" he whispers back.

    As the king, one halberdier, and another flind with a longsword enter, Thelyn stands calm and confident, hand resting on the hilt of his blade. He looks directly at Remakk, but speaking so his voice carries to the rest of the room. "I am Thelyn Weirkein, Queens guard of the Grey Elves of the Celene. I have been sent to retrieve my charges who have foolishly re-entered your lands, only to retrieve a friend they thought you held prisoner.
    This has been a misunderstanding, allow me to retrieve my charges and return them to the Queen. There is no need for further bloodshed."

    "I know your words, elf-runt," replies the flind king. "And there is EVERY need for bloodshed," he adds. "Your blood." He then looks to the flinds next to him, "kill them."

    The two flinds charge!

    "Remakk Bloodfang, I challenge YOU to single combat..or are you afraid of a elf?"

    They charge, and Theyln tosses a Chromatic Orb into them. One takes [4] and the other [7] and their fur starts burning. They stop their charge and start to flail around, as Sil puts two arrows into the plate-armored one, dropping it! The other rolls around, trying to put out the flames. Toni slips up and slices the throat of the burning flind. Unfortunately, more flinds appear.

    "You are not Truefang," barks the king, "so your challenge means nothing." As more warriors make their way into the chamber from the north and south, the king smiles. "But your death shall!"

    "Then I challenge you!" exclaims Derr, making himself seem taller, prouder. "I Derr Blooddeath, challenge for leadership of the Truefang!" The flinds all stop, staring disbelievingly and looking back and forth between Derr and Remakk.

    [Theyln OOC: well doesn't that make us pretty much dead then? This Flind has like a MAXIMUM of 3 hit points after the beating I just gave him.]

    "So be it. Is it possible to make me a member of the tribe before your people, that I may challenge?"

    Derr shakes its head.

    "Toni," says Theyln. "Give him one of your healing potions, or he has no chance."

    Toni looks at him and says, "I have no healing potions; they were all lost when I fell off your horse."

    "This is going to be the shortest fight for leadership in recent history. Prepare to run, I am going to screen us with a wall of fog."

    Derr moves up to the statue, kneels down, and begins to pray. The flind king looks annoyed and steps closer, raising his axe. He is stopped by a sharp bark by the shaman, which just entered from the south. The king looks back and forth, then steps back, letting Derr finish his prayer. The shaman then moves up, lays hands on Derr, and heals some of the damage done by Theyln's blow. The assembled flinds, even more now, all start laughing their hyena laughs, though the "joke" is lost on Theyln, Toni, and Sil, all of whom slowly back up towards the double-doors, keeping an eye that way, just in case.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-LekkfncK3h0/U4J1Kr39-JI/AAAAAAAADsY/XQuCAnKPWmY/s1600/Flind%2520King3.jpg

    Thelyn stands by and watches with a sharp eye the events that unfold; prepared to act at a moments notice.

    If he has the opportunity prior to the fight he will offer his hand to Derr "You have honor, I would be proud to stand by your side and call you friend."

    When he reaches in to clasp his hand he will whisper "Should you fall, you have MY word I will do all I can to avenge you, and free your tribe from this tyrant."
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:31 am  
    Part 20 - The Final Battle

    Amaris sees the chamber full of gnolls and flinds, basically surrounding it. She sees what looks like three elves as well. A large flind stands up by the central statue, then the male elf in elfin plate mail whispers something to it as it turns to face another very large flind. Looks like there is about to be a fight between two big flinds.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Q4RrRRId2wA/U4J2H8LyurI/AAAAAAAADs4/nzRvl2AE3Q0/s1600/Sneaking.jpg

    As you can tell by this image, in the chamber are Toni, Theyln, and another elf nobody knows.

    Theyln steps back to observe, while Amaris thinks to herself, "What have we blundered into?"

    "And I, Derr. I stand with you and Thelyn." Silmarwen says to all present. It is only right that she help the creature who assisted Toni and Toni's "pretty" elf friend, Thelyn, in bringing their group back together. Perhaps she will learn about the flinds after helping Derr however she is best able. Besides, an elf leading flinds as their chief isn't something she ever thought to see. Even if it doesn't happen, who'd have thought that there could be peace between such different races?

    She stands on the balls of her feet in a semi-crouch, an arrow notched and ready to be drawn, yet pointed at the floor. Her eyes travel around the room, not entirely sure who is friend and who is foe among the flinds.

    While Amaris is checking the entrance and learning about the presence of the others, Mal and Astrid (being more the sneaky type) head down the hallway to see if there's another way. Mal looks into the next door which reveals a kitchen [area 6] and a mess area [area 7]. Nobody is here, and there doesn't seem to be anything of interest. Astrid looks into the next chamber, which is a storage room. Lots of piles of stuff is there, but nothing jumps out at her so she leaves. She heads down the hallway, opening the doorway to area 12. This is another armory, full of dwarven weapons and armor. Finally, the last two chambers are checked by her and Mal, finished looking at the kitchen and mess. These are more barracks. They note that there are no doors south, so there is only one way out, and that's back to the entrance. Din looks into the doorway to the NW, revealing a large barracks. The door beyond it leads to a collapsed stairway which went up. He returns to the archway to wait for the others. Soon all are reunited by the archway near the stairs, considering their options.

    [DM OOC: This all happened as Derr finished his prayer and was blessed by the shaman. Toni, Sil, and Theyln all back up a step to the double-doors leading to the long hallway [area ], while the two flinds finally square off. They speak to each other in flind, and though nobody can understand their words, it is clear that there is long rivalry between them. There is now another flind leader here, the one that fought Din for a bit, as well as some more from down below. It seems about half the flinds from downstairs have come up here. None of the gnolls have come though, nor the large gnoll warrior.]

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zwc4mwyTByI/U4NX4hAJfFI/AAAAAAAADs8/YhU3WZD9-mQ/s1600/progress%2520map%2520third%2520level%252014.jpg
    [DM OOC: Here's a new map. This is actually a full progress map for this level. I think everyone can see their places ok. I'm copying this to the maps thread. Remember, the four to the north are all invisible.]

    "Seems they took prisoners after all," Din whispers.

    [DM OOC: The fight starts. I'm going fast-forward, so we don't need a boring round-by-round account. It quickly goes bad for Derr, who is WAY overmatched by the flind king. He misses with one swing, and his blow takes off a huge chunk of the gnoll statue in the center of the room. The flinds move in a bit more, and that allows those in the hallway to approach closer, if they wish. It's also obvious that the flind king is UNUSUALLY strong!]

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zAGDik51rUg/VgberbA7KnI/AAAAAAAAJPA/KW6WCh4EnB4/s786-Ic42/flind%252520king%252520battle1.jpg

    The shaman looks at Toni and sneers, though these flinds look like they are sneering all the time. "When fight over," it says, "you die next." Another flind next to them steps up beside Toni and grabs ahold of her, holding her tight. Toni smells hobgoblin for a moment, then nothing. She notes a couple of flinds look around, then back to the fight.

    OK, Toni's grappled, and Sil now shifts her aim there. Din is left holding the bag, literally.

    The king finally lands a mortal blow, knocking Derr to the ground where he sprawls out at the foot of the statue. The kings stands over him, ready to deliver a death blow, and all the flinds step closer, angling to get a better look. The one holding Toni loosens its grip as well, and the shaman steps up, in front of Toni.

    Din takes advantage and slips around towards the exit, as does Astrid. They don't know where Amaris and Mal are. They have made it to the corner.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fDGgRCFjzsA/VgbfWpZGX2I/AAAAAAAAJPQ/IQKGgqHijHM/s862-Ic42/flind%252520king%252520battle2.jpg

    "I could set their barracks afire," says Din, "but it would draw the Flind to us...not good until we make it through the gauntlet. I think fire would be a good distraction. Perhaps multiple fires."

    He does so, then looks longingly towards the exit, but does not take it. He posts up at at the southern end of the entrance, thinking maybe to try to light another fire in the southern barracks. He waits to see what opportunity this distraction creates. Shouldn't be too long for the Flinds to smell the smoke. He scans the southern end of the room, but things look a little thick there. Depending on how things go, he may end up bolting out the exit.

    Sil's attention is divided between Toni and the flinds fighting for leadership. While she had shifted her bow toward the flind that had grabbed Toni, she now shifts it back to the flind king. She takes careful aim at his head, "Moonbow, guide this arrow..." She has the bow fully drawn back, but does not free the arrow yet, "Thelyn?" At his affirmation, she'll let it fly.

    Theyln instantly rushes forward to stop the death blow (and any further attacks coming his way this round) using his Cavalier parry skill. His voice booming throughout the chamber "NO! You will not kill HIM. The challenge was MINE. Face ME for the lives of MY people you cowardly Kobold swine!" An errant thought rushes through his mind as he rushes forward, strangely calm...."is this what my father felt before he died?"

    The flind swings at Derr, who is unconscious on the floor, and Theyln steps in the way, blocking the blow with his blade. It is nearly knocked from his hand by the blow, which is far stronger than anything he has ever felt. Certainly stronger than that flind. He reasons he may not survive even one blow by this flind.

    A look of despair crosses Theyln's face as he stops the blow and he exclaims......"You CHEAT in single combat with MAGIC! You are NO king."

    Sil doesn't wait any longer for anyone to let her know if she should shoot or not, she simply takes the headshot she'd lined up on the king. "I've had it with liars and cheaters and dirty rotten underhanded betrayal. My own mother is just as bad most of you flinds."

    Before Sil can fire, an arrow streaks out from the south, burying into the flind king's neck! He gurgles for a moment, the axe dropping from his hands as he reaches up for the arrow. A strange look crosses his face, then he topples over next to Derr!

    A loud shout echoes through the hall, "ALL HAIL HEXTOR. I WILL SEE YOU ALL DEAD AND DEFILED!" It is Mal's voice.

    Sil fires at the flind holding Toni, hitting it for [6]. It lets go, stumbling backwards. Toni flies into action, burying her long dagger in the shaman's back [10: good backstab]. As the shaman cries out, Din fires his crossbow, hitting the shaman in the chest. It falls backwards onto Toni, knocking her to the ground as the shaman falls atop her!

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Sd-p1A6T8Yg/VgbgvmUB6pI/AAAAAAAAJPc/tX0UZHfPLDI/s838-Ic42/Final%252520Battle.jpg

    The flinds all looked south when Mal yelled, so only the ones to the north saw the shaman go down. The two flinds with plate and halberds start moving south, while the ones from the north quickly start to move towards the flind king....

    Still leaving a little room for actions from Astrid, Theyln, and Amaris. I also fixed the map by putting Theyln right in the middle, next to the dead king.

    Amaris curses and fires one sleep arrow each into the two flinds she can see south of the statue. "Elhonna guide my hand, strike down our enemies."

    Amaris fires her arrows from outside. They <WHOOSH!> by Din's ear as they streak across the room and hit the two flinds south of the statue, just as they were looking towards Toni, having seen what happened. They instantly fall to the ground in a deep slumber!

    Thelyn runs over to Toni and tries to finish the wounded flind. "Sil to me! We will defend the corner! Take out any archers first!"

    Toni slips free and quickly searches the shaman, looking for potion bottles. "Dinn looks still alive, if anyone is carrying flind healing potions it gonna be this guy."

    The armored flind moves up and slams its halberd into Toni, who is bent over searching the shaman. It hits her square in the back [10]. Theyln takes an involuntary step back, based on his experience with Toni, but is relieved when she doesn't begin to change form!

    Three flinds rush out the south door. One bursts through the door opposite, and enters, followed by one of the armored flinds. Another flind rushes off down the corridor the other way.

    The two armored flinds to the north move to the king, kneeling and checking him out. Two charge Sil, who fires quickly at them, hitting one for [3]. They both attack, scoring hits with longswords for [5 and 6: total 11]. Two charge across and attack Theyln, but they both miss. Finally, two charge Din, who is now visible. One moves around the table right towards Astrid, while the other goes around the other way.

    Astrid uses Touch of Fire, hitting the first one and paralying it with a surprise attack! She misses the other, and it attacks Din, hitting him with a longsword [5]. Astrid then slips across the room, leaping over a table and tumbling off the statue. She lands behind the two attacking Theyln and attacks, missing.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-mU6yzOHXBf4/Vgbhv2jcSsI/AAAAAAAAJPs/_v57YrNsOfI/s1600-Ic42/Final%252520Battle2.jpg

    Suddenly, as if he just woke up, Hitaka does a ferret slither out of Silmarwen's backpack and carefully balances on Sil's shoulder letting out a noise of curiosity. "Taka, there you are. Can you help us out and distract our enemies? The big furry ones that are attacking us."

    Sil will switch to her longsword and attack the flind directly north of her. "Sorry Thelyn, I'll be with you as soon as I can. We need to try blocking exits, regroup, not so much that we cause one another problems when we attack, and attempt retreating as we can! Also, if possible, tend the wounded as soon as possible." She shouts. Her thoughts are that everyone should attack and retreat as they try to regroup. "Can't lose Denn." She mutters to herself between gritted teeth.

    Taka will leap from Sil's shoulder when she switches weapons and will run amok, climbing up and down flinds. "Don't hit the ferret! He's on our side!"

    Aramis fires an arrow at the flind fighting Din, but misses.

    Din will use warhammer to attack the flind that charged him. They're going the wrong way, he thinks. "COMRADES, TO ME!"

    The regular flinds attack. The one attacking Din hits him with a longsword [8]. One attacks Theyln, hitting him for [6], while the other backs up and turns, swinging wildly at Astrid, slashing her across the belly [6]. [I should mention, I just rolled three natural 20's a row. No criticals though!] Finally, two attack Sil, and one hits her in arm [8].

    Toni did find a potion, and she rolls under the table where she drinks it. She suddenly starts, coughing and choking. The flind flips the table over to get to her, and she is lying there convulsing on the ground. It slams it's halberd down on her, chopping off her head!

    One of the other armored flinds pulls Derr back from the statue, checking him out, while the other turns to the other flind leader. They converse in gnoll for a moment, before the leader strides forward, bends down, and takes the girdle and axe from the flind king. It rears back and roars in a loud hyenalike cackle!

    The other leader has switched to a longbow, and it calmly takes a bead on Astrid, firing an arrow which she easily dodges!

    Theyln attacks the flind before him, hitting it twice and cutting it down! Astrid slices the one before her with her latajang [6]. Din drops his crossbow and takes up his axe, then hits the flind for [3], barely scratching it!

    Amaris fires another shot, this time hitting the flind attacking Din. It drops to the floor like a rock!

    She has only 1 sleep arrow left. And she's about to pull it out when she hears loud hyena sounds behind and below her. She turns around, and down the mountain she sees a flind and three hyenadons running up the winding path. Above them Amaris spots Bree, flying and pointing her wand. Amaris doesn't know what the wand it, but when the hyenadons suddenly start to run about twice as fast, she figures it out. The flind tumbles and falls with its new speed making it trip over its own feet.

    Finally, the flind archer in the chamber fires another shot, which also misses.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5Ksg0PVj_uI/VgbifHbYIXI/AAAAAAAAJP0/Cr2_t6Aq1pk/s1353-Ic42/Final%252520Battle3.jpg

    [DM OOC: Well, I have to say that was unfortunate. That's twice somebody in the campaign has died drinking a potion blindly! Also, while not shown on the map, there is a flind archer and three hasted hyendadons rushing up the path from down below. It will take them two rounds to get to the top; it would have been four without the haste from Bree's Wand of Wonder! Yeah, she's outside messing with them on her own, something we are handling via private messages.]

    [Toni OOC: Toni was desperate and figured dead is dead but maybe the potion would help. It was a chance.]

    Amaris curses the day she met these fools. She takes a deep breath, and puts two +1 arrows into the large flind leader cackling over his good fortune.

    Theyln rushes over to Sil, thrusting his blade into a Flind attacking her. "We must retreat if we are to survive!"

    Sil nods at Thelyn's words. She hasn't seen Toni, yet. "Taka, come back, fella." Then to Thelyn, "Which way is safe?" She slashes at the same flind that Thelyn attacked.

    "To the main entrance!" He says motioning towards Din. "But if you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and are already dead!" Thelyn chuckles.

    Astrid, cursing the fates under her breath, slashes the Flind next to her with the lajatang and uses the momentum to launch a Wind off the Mountain into the flind leader with the girdle. "Din! Run while you can!" she cries.

    Sil lets out a nervous chuckle, "Where's Toni?" She asks looking around briefly and catching sight of her friend's head. "Toni?!! Thelyn, I think Toni's gone ahead of us." She hasn't time to mourn currently, later she will take the time. "Someone's got to tell her tribe. If we make it out I think she'd like..." Sil cuts herself off and keeps hacking at the flind.

    Outside...Bree shoots off another shot of her wand, which sends schintillating colors flashing around the hyenadons. They stumble and fall, running into each other and the cliffs, before stopping, apparently blinded.

    Sil backs up towards Theyln and puts an arrow into the nearest flind [6]. It then charges her, ignoring Theyln who chops its head off with an AoO as it rushes by!

    Another flind moves up to attack Theyln, but it misses. One also attacks Astrid, but it too misses. The flind which decapitated Toni reaches down and picks up her head, holding it high and calling out in its laughing language.

    Din flips the table over and reloads his crossbow. A armored flind moves up, and Din fires, hitting it point blank in the chest [16: nice x2 crit!] It flips backwards, dead! The other one bandages up the downed flind leader, while the "new king" puts on the girdle. He then smashes the axe down on the downed flind, chopping right through its chest a couple of times. It yells triumphantly in gnoll.

    The other flind leader fires its bow at Astrid, who dodges easily again. Astrid cuts down the flind before hit with a double slash of her latajang, then backs up a step, onto the statue platform, and turns to the "new king."

    "We must retreat if we are to survive!" yells Theyln to Sil as he holds off another flind.

    Finally, Amaris puts two magic arrows into the flind leader, hitting him for [8].

    The flind leader with the bow fires another shot, this one hitting Theyln [6].

    You hear more flinds appraoching from the south, and smoke is starting to come into the chamber from the north. The table north of Din flips over, though nobody seems to be there, and then is slides over, joining the other making a pretty good barricade.

    Finally, the flind down at the bottom of the mountain takes a couple more shots at Bree, hitting her with an arrow [5].

    Bree fires another shot of her wand, this time at the flind. The wand sparks and fizzles.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tDU-meEZCI8/VgbtiKRHjmI/AAAAAAAAJQE/rP_Ov4pLo1Y/s1600-Ic42/Final%252520Battle4.jpg

    Sil rushes across the room, taking a slight hit on an AoO from the armored flind to the south [2]. She ignores it, runs clear to the exit, and dives over the tables, tumbling outside. [She's got the prone circle now on the map.]

    Astrid runs around the statue, grabing it to gain momentum, and launches a Wind off the Mountain kick at the flind king. She misses, landing on the ground beyond him as he ducked back, but she quickly leaps to her feet with a Push of Earth. The flind kind is not slow to react, and he swings his battle axe, hitting her for [16]. She is knocked about 10' across the room and falls in a heap.

    "Maybe you should have run," he says, grinning wickedly.

    The armored flind rushes Din, who puts another bolt into this one too [12], blasting it backwards to the ground. It's still alive, though gravely wounded.

    Theyln finishes off the flind before him with a double stroke of his sword, then turns to face the flind king.

    The flind archer fires at Din, putting two arrows into the table before him: Thunk! Thunk!

    The other armored flind moves up on Din, swiing its halberd and hitting him [4].

    Amaris puts two arrows into the armored flind [6 and 7: 13 total], knocking it backwards but it stays up.

    Finally, the flind archer down below fires a couple more shots at Bree, hitting her once [4] as two more armored flinds with halberds enter from the south.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gtt6kCLg574/VgbuCrVXvjI/AAAAAAAAJQM/SNP57YjXfVQ/s1334-Ic42/Final%252520Battle5.jpg
    Sil is prone, but fine. Din and Astrid are both prone and disabled, being at negative hit points. Hopefully, everything else on the map is clear.

    Bree flies off, out of range of the flind archer below. She heads straight up the mountain, maybe 100' above the entrance.

    Thelyn casts "wall of fog" screening the party from the newcomers attention and any attacks from those already there. The two armored flinds move up and swing their halberds at Theyln, who narrowly avoids one blow. Two more then enter through the south archway.

    Amaris fires a sleep arrow [her last one] at the flind by the table, hitting it [7] and putting it to sleep!

    Mal crawls over to Din and bandages his wounds. Sil catches her breath as she comes back to the land of the living and awake, "What is that stench?" She asks quietly, sniffing the air. "Smoke?" She stays low as she prepares to take aim, yet again, at another flind king. "Is this one new? Or is it the same one?" She asks Mal, "Meh, regardless..." She rises gracefully to her feet, checks her aim, "Right through the eye, please, Moonbow." She lets the string go and watches the arrow fly.

    When she rises, she notes that she cannot see the "new" flind king for a wall of fog has appeared in-between them. She calmly shifts her aim, firing at the the flind archer in the corner and hitting him [5]. The flind turns its attention to her and fires, the arrow thunking into the table in front of her.

    Entering the chamber from the south are four more gnolls, including the large gnoll from downstairs, the one that killed Sonste with a spetum in the caverns during the party's first foray. All the flinds and gnolls which just entered pause to take in the situation. The flind king then shouts at them, pointing to the north, before turning its gaze on Theyln. "You are mine," he says.

    With no other targets, Amaris moves forward to Din. She nearly stumbles against Mal, who is invisibly tending Din's wounds. "Hey, watch it!" he says.

    The flind archer then fires another shot, this one hitting Sil [4].

    Outside, the flind archer fires a couple arrows ineffectively at Bree, who is out of range.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6NgK4E8-WEw/Vgbugo3GnzI/AAAAAAAAJQU/wODFPFV0zI4/s845-Ic42/Final%252520Battle6.jpg

    Amaris casts CLW on Din, healing 7. Mal slips across the chamber to Astrid, whom he finds hovering on death's door. He slips her a drought of the invisibility potion, and then plans to carry her to safety.

    The flinds back off, and the "new" flind king advances on Theyln. He swings with his axe, but misses, and Theyln attacks back, landing a slash across the flind's leg [6]. It stumbles backs a step, looking very upset.

    The flind archer fires another shot at Sil, missing, and Sil fires back, hitting it in the chest [6]. The flind fires again, hitting Sil [5] and Sill hits it back, again, dropping it to the ground!

    Finally, the massive gnoll charges Theyln from behind. The flind king yells something, but the gnoll ignores it and attacks Theyln anyway, missing with a tremendous swipe. Theyn realizes that the thing is nearly as strong as the girdle-enhanced king!

    Meanwhile, outside, Bree stays out of reach of any arrows, and the flind starts to trudge up the path. The hyenadons are still are stunned by the weird colors!

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MYVDdasq_7s/Vgbu4fFi-FI/AAAAAAAAJQc/B4fl9zOulTo/s897-Ic42/Final%252520Battle7.jpg

    [Theyln OOC: I love wasting my last spell (wall of fog), so everybody can run back inside. Facepalm!]

    Amaris smiles at Din as he recovers and says with urgency to everyone nearby "we need to get out of here! NOW!" She pulls her hood down and swirls her cloak as she moves seeming to vanish.

    Thelyn keeps both his opponents in sight, banging sword on shield and chanting loudly in elvish. "You challenged me to single combat!" He roars accusatorily at the Flind King, then swipes twice at giant Gnoll for his two attacks. He is making as much noise as he can to attract attention of incoming troops.

    Amaris tucks her cloak around herself and vanishes. Bree stays up in the air, as the flind reaches the hyenadons, which finally come out of their color-induced stupors.

    The flind leader steps up and swings at the big gnoll, hitting it [17], knocking it backwards and to the ground. It then shouts something at it in gnoll, and the big gnoll backs off. Theyln then attacks the flind king, missing. He backs up a step, to keep the others off his flank, and prepares for another swing.

    Mal picks up Astrid and carries her back beyond the tables, as Sil shoulders her bow and draws her cloak around herself, disappearing as well.

    Din crawls around the corner, grabs his sack, and stands up.

    Taka bites the flind leader, who looks down just in time for Theyln to slash it across the face [8]. It roars in agony, reaches down and grabs the ferret, and hurls it across the room where it disappears into the wall of fog.

    The other flinds stay back, and the gnolls run back to the south around the corner. Smoke continues to pour into the chamber.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tuucZz0VRKE/VgbvZg17_fI/AAAAAAAAJQk/czKHdfjlyEE/s973-Ic42/Final%252520Battle8.jpg

    Sil carefully tries to work her way around to Thelyn, but Taka comes flying out of nowhere and hits her in the stomach, "Hello little one. Off you go to our friends." She whispers as she checks him quickly for injuries then sends him on his way toward the western corridor where everyone else currently is located. When she gets to where she can see what's going on with Thelyn and the new flind king, she will assess the situation and try to backstab the flind king with her longsword.

    [Theyln OOC: Hey isn't the second Flind "King" dead yet? That's 22 damage so far!]

    [Din OOC: Hoho HP check! Transcript from prior HP checks:
    PLAYERS: Hey, Caustichlorinus has taken at least 325 hp damage. Shouldn't he be dead by now?
    DM: Yet he still seems to live. Okay, next round actions?]

    [DM OOC: Pretty much sums it up!]

    Din heads north for cover,stuffs the damn Bag in his backpack, and slips the potion of Invisibility and Oil of Slipperiness in his belt. "I'm heading north and out of here!" he calls.

    Mal stays with Astrid, bandaging her. He tells Din to take her, since Din is bugging out. Din picks up Astrid and flees outside, along with Amaris. When they get passed the statues, they see the winding path going down and the flind with the three hyenadons coming up. The carefully move off to the side, staying away from where these new enemies may appear. Sil carefully tries to work her way around to Thelyn, but Taka comes flying out of nowhere and hits her in the stomach, "Hello little one. Off you go to our friends." She whispers as she checks him quickly for injuries then sends him on his way toward Din. She then starts to slowly work her way around towards Theyln. Mall also sneaks forward, angling around the statue and crouching just on the edge of the Wall of Fog, though still invisibile.

    Theyln and the flind continue their battle, neither one scoring a hit this round. The other flinds and gnolls move up a bit to get a better look, except for one flind which is checking the bodies of the two sleeping flinds. He tries to wake them, but they stay in their comatose slumber.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RsF-XUOeH3c/VgbwMha4yKI/AAAAAAAAJQs/_jj5K0j68kw/s938-Ic42/Final%252520Battle10.jpg

    Bree swoops around and fires her wand at the flind and hyenadons. Suddenly a bunch a jet-black tentacles erupt from the ground all along the section of path near them. All four are instantly wrapped up by tentacles, which begin to squeeze them tightly. There are another half-dozen tentacles whipping about, making the path unpassable.

    [DM OOC: Evard's Black Tentacles is pretty cool. All four failed saves, so they all get wrapped in tentacles which do 2d4 and continue to do 3d4 each round. Not bad!]

    Din and Amaris see what has happened, and they stop moving off to the side. Rather, they catch their breath where they are (still off to the side, but now not TOO far off to the side. There isn't really much room out front of the fortress, and only the one path down, which is now blocked.

    The gnolls and flinds inside continue to watch, as Theyln and the flind king continue to fight. Suddenly a spear bursts through the flind king's chest as Mal appears, standing on the edge of the Wall of Fog and holding the other end. His surprise backstab of the flind king has killed him instantly, only the flind doesn't realize it yet. He looks down at the spear, wondering what has just happened, as the dwarven axe falls from his hands to the ground.

    Mal pulls his spear out of the flind, and Theyln steps up to take off the girdle, but they are quickly interrupted. All the remaining flinds and gnolls stand back with the death of the "new king," except for the big gnoll. It roars a gnoll battle cry and charges them!

    Mal plants his spear, the gnoll charges right into it [12]. The gnoll continues on, swinging its huge spetum and hitting Theyln [6]. Theyln nearly drops, but somehow maintains his strength. He then attacks the gnoll, hitting it for [8], which finally puts it down. It falls back hard.

    Mal speaks out thinking at least one of these guys speaks common. "Back up and we'll do the same. No one else need die today..figuring Mal's scary in his own right, "I've killed two kings today; I'm taking Theyln and leaving unless force us to fight. We came to rescue a friend who is dead now. Both sides have proven they can kill, now lets prove we can not kill each other!"

    After looking back and forth, the other flinds left in the room run away to the south. Theyln is among the few to ever see Mal smile. Mal grabs the belt and axe and gets the hades out of this death pit. "Let's go before this place fills with smoke or they decide to come back!"

    Theyln smoothly sheathes his blade and takes the girdle and battle axe of the flind king.
    He checks on Derr to see if he is alive before looking at Mal and saying, "Good to see you my friend, but now, let's get out of this death trap!" They then run outside.

    After struggling with Toni's body for about ten seconds, Sil apologizes to her and carefully covers her with a blanket she pulls out of her pack. She then scrambles for the exit after scanning the room for anything of use or value that she can grab before hell truly breaks lose.

    When he sees the others, Din will call out, "Up here! Look north!" He is sweating and sick, but his aim holds steady, and he keeps his crossbow trained on the entrance.

    "That way!" Theyln directs the group when he sees Din. "Never been so happy to see you."

    "As am I," breathes Din. "Are there any others left alive inside? Let's be off!"

    Thelyn teams up with Din and shakes his hand.
    "This was a fools errand!" He exclaims.

    Theyln will take minute to tie on the flind Kings girdle, and offer Din what he assumes is a magical dwarven axe. "Just in case" he laughs.

    "Mal, where the hell did everyone go?"

    Sil makes her way back to the outdoors and breathes deeply. "Never knew fresh air smelled so sweet." She looks for and finds Thelyn amidst the others, "Thelyn, I need to get to Toni's people... They should know what happened."

    As they are about to flee, suddenly Berenn and Thorgrim step out of thin air and appear before them. They are quickly followed by Emyn, Hepla, and the rest of their party.

    "See?" says Isilme, also emerging from nowhere and shaking her head. "I told you they could handle it."
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:51 pm  

    Well, had a PC meltdown, which took me away for a bit. Then work was crazy. I haven't updated my campaign journals in some time, and I plan to start up again. Sorry for the delay.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:53 am  
    Part 20 - The Final Battle

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Q4RrRRId2wA/U4J2H8LyurI/AAAAAAAADs4/nzRvl2AE3Q0/s1600/Sneaking.jpg

    [DM OOC: As you can tell by this image, in the chamber are Toni, Theyln, and another elf nobody knows. They are in a chamber full of gnolls. The rest of the party is about to meet up with them, and then the final battle in the gnoll fortress will continue. What is happening here you ask. Stay tuned....]

    Thelyn steps back and observes the battle, ready to move at a moments notice.

    Amaris thinks to herself, "those elves sure stirred a hornets nest." She looks to see if there is a path through the crowd the group may be able to move through and out the exit once the fight is on....then reports back to the party.

    "And I, Derr. I stand with you and Thelyn," Silmarwen says to all present. It is only right that she help the creature who assisted Toni and Toni's "pretty" elf friend, Thelyn, in bringing their group back together. Perhaps she will learn about the flinds after helping Derr however she is best able. Besides, an elf leading flinds as their chief isn't something she ever thought to see. Even if it doesn't happen, who'd have thought that there could be peace between such different races?

    She stands on the balls of her feet in a semi-crouch, an arrow notched and ready to be drawn, yet pointed at the floor. Her eyes travel around the room, not entirely sure who is friend and who is foe among the flinds.

    While Amaris is checking the entrance and learning about the presence of the others, Mal and Astrid (being more the sneaky type) head down the hallway to see if there's another way. Mal looks into the next door which reveals a kitchen [area 6] and a mess area [area 7]. Nobody is here, and there doesn't seem to be anything of interest. Astrid looks into the next chamber, which is a storage room. Lots of piles of stuff is there, but nothing jumps out at her so she leaves. She heads down the hallway, opening the doorway to area 12. This is another armory, full of dwarven weapons and armor. Finally, the last two chambers are checked by her and Mal, finished looking at the kitchen and mess. These are more barracks. They note that there are no doors south, so there is only one way out, and that's back to the entrance. Din looks into the doorway to the NW, revealing a large barracks. The door beyond it leads to a collapsed stairway which went up. He returns to the archway to wait for the others. Soon all are reunited by the archway near the stairs, considering their options.

    [DM OOC: This all happened as Derr finished his prayer and was blessed by the shaman. Toni, Sil, and Theyln all back up a step to the double-doors leading to the long hallway [area ], while the two flinds finally square off. They speak to each other in flind, and though nobody can understand their words, it is clear that there is long rivalry between them. There is now another flind leader here, the one that fought Din for a bit, as well as some more from down below. It seems about half the flinds from downstairs have come up here. None of the gnolls have come though, nor the large gnoll warrior.]

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zwc4mwyTByI/U4NX4hAJfFI/AAAAAAAADs8/YhU3WZD9-mQ/s1600/progress%2520map%2520third%2520level%252014.jpg

    [DM OOC: Here's a new map. This is actually a full progress map for this level. I think everyone can see their places ok. I'm copying this to the maps thread. Remember, the four to the north are all invisible. ]

    Toni's attention is torn between the fight and the dagger in her hand. Rvery once in a while she will sniff the air, to see if she smells the rest of her friends. Since they are invisible she does not even know they are close.

    "Seems they took prisoners after all," Din whispers. "Let's try sneaking past at first opportunity, when the fight starts. Perhaps the stealthiest of us could hand the Invisibility potion to our friends, then cover us with a Wall of Fog or something as we make our escape."

    Din will wait by the archway and attempt to sneak to the northeast corner of the main room at first opportunity, if he sees an opening. He wants to get near those exit doors, hopefully with his comrades in tow. He will avoid contact and combat at all costs.

    [Astrid OOC: So, for the party invisible. We can either go out into the fight room or back down the stairs. I'm thinking if we stay for the fight, it will let us know the way the wind blows. Let us use whatever healing we have to get us in as good a shape as any. Move as quietly as possible to the entry behind the flinds in the door. If it looks like the big flind wins signals the others to attack, Astrid will hit those two with Touch of Fire and shove them. You three shoot the big flind (I think Mal has a bow, if not stay invisible and block the other flinds from attacking. After that, we'll just have to wing it.]

    [Din OOC: I don't think we have any of that, except for Amaris, who may have other ideas what to do with her magic. I don't think we have enough information about what's going on to make these sorts of deductions. As far as we can tell two enemy flind are fighting each other. And I think we need to avoid combat at all costs. Three of us can only withstand a single successful attack (and maybe not even that!) before death.]

    "Anyone have some celery?" Amaris says

    [Astrid OOC: There are two big flinds fighting where three armed elves stand. I'd say they are arguing about what to do with them. I don't know which is saying what. But if one wins and says something and the others move in with hostile intent (and we should be able to figure that), then we need to strike by surprise and try to keep moving.]

    "I saw one of the elves shake the hands of the smaller Flind," says Amaris.

    "Then we should definately stay," says Astrid. "If it IS a leadership fight, if we interfer it will make it worse. On the other hand, Toni and the others are looking at 20 flinds. We can't stop that many, but maybe a surprise will allow us to get out. With the two flinds standing in the doorway, we can either retreat down the stairs and hope to get past the gnolls or jump the two. Hitting them during the fight may cause all of them to attack, so a surprise when they turn on the elves sounds like the best option."

    Amaris says "This group seems to have a death wish. While I can appreciate your loyalty to your friends, you will do them no good if you die or are captured.
    Most of us are wounded, some badly. We need to regroup, and live to fight another day. Remember any offensive action will cause you to loose your invisibility.
    The safest place for those not stealthy is this dead end hall here, where by design, no one will find you and you can walk out once the way is clear."

    [Amaris OOC: Two Flinds battle to the death....who will win? Tune in to the next exciting episode of.........]

    [DM OOC: The fight starts. I'm going fast-forward, so we don't need a boring round-by-round account. It quickly goes bad for Derr, who is WAY overmatched by the flind king. He misses with one swing, and his blow takes off a huge chunk of the gnoll statue in the center of the room. The flinds move in a bit more, and that allows those in the hallway to approach closer, if they wish. It's also obvious that the flind king is UNUSUALLY strong! Also, the fight gets a bit closer to the statue, and the flinds to the NW and W cannot see, so they gradually shuffle around to the left and right so they can see better. I moved everyone up to just beyond the doorway.Here's how it looks now:]

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-DLuJEwN6UpY/U4OOOcv9vgI/AAAAAAAADtc/mEWerG-gxZY/s1600/flind%2520king%2520battle.jpg

    Mal heads into the room with his back against the wall heading towards room 6. Sidestepping and using the noise of the combat to cover any noise he might make. If he makes it to the double doors he slides a potion vial into to toni's off hand (the one not grasping the dagger). Whispers:drink a sip. Then he heads still against the wall towards the south doorway.

    [DM OOC: I will assume you whisper ever so quietly what you're doing, so everyone knows. Mal will start slipping around the wall that way. Going will be slow, since he's trying to move silently. [I mean that not as a thief but as a person tring to not make noise!]]

    [Mal OOC: Exactly. Just extremely stupid or brave (or) both.]

    As she waits with Toni, Thelyn and the flinds for the outcome, she prays to her goddess, Sehanine Moonbow. "Let my arrows fly true should the need arise." Sil will be ready to shoot the king-thing. "Does it seem like the leader is unnaturally strong or has unnaturally good luck to anyone else? Or that our friend has horribly bad luck? Something isn't right."

    "Aramis, how are you at trick shots?" asks Astrid, amazed. "This flind looks unnaturally strong. I've heard stories of girdles and I wonder . . ."

    Toni walks to the Shaman and says, in common, "Is this not a battle without magic? Will you not check both fighters to make sure they only fight with what the gods have given them? Not helped by magic." She hopes he understands her or that someone will translate.

    The shaman looks at Toni and sneers, though these flinds look like they are sneering all the time. "When fight over," it says, "you die next." Another flind next to them steps up beside Toni and grabs ahold of her, holding her tight. Toni smells hobgoblin for a moment, then nothing. She notes a couple of flinds look around, then back to the fight.

    OK, Toni's grappled, and Sil now shifts her aim there. Din is left holding the bag, literally. The king finally lands a mortal blow, knocking Derr to the ground where he sprawls out at the foot of the statue. The kings stands over him, ready to deliver a death blow, and all the flinds step closer, angling to get a better look. The one holding Toni loosens its grip as well, and the shaman steps up, in front of Toni. Din takes advantage and slips around towards the exit, as does Astrid. They don't know where Amaris and Mal are. They have made it to the corner.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-CiLd1RrZXck/U4PT-kvYttI/AAAAAAAADts/-t6l7egHjZQ/s1600/flind%2520king%2520battle2.jpg

    Din moves SE one square, so he has a clear view of the exit. Just waiting for that one flind to move... "I could set their barracks afire, but it would draw the Flind to us...not good until we make it through the gauntlet. I think fire would be a good distraction. Perhaps multiple fires."

    Sil's attention is divided between Toni and the flinds fighting for leadership. While she had shifted her bow toward the flind that had grabbed Toni, she now shifts it back to the flind king. She takes careful aim at his head, "Moonbow, guide this arrow..." She has the bow fully drawn back, but does not free the arrow yet, "Thelyn?" At his affirmation, she'll let it fly.

    Theyln instantly rushes forward to stop the death blow (and any further attacks coming his way this round) using his Cavalier parry skill. His voice booms throughout the chamber, "NO! You will not kill HIM. The challenge was MINE. Face ME for the lives of MY people you cowardly Kobold-licking swine!" An errant thought rushes through his mind as he rushes forward, strangely calm...."is this what my father felt before he died?"

    The flind swings at Derr, who is unconscious on the floor, and Theyln steps in the way, blocking the blow with his blade. It is nearly knocked from his hand by the blow, which is far stronger than anything he has ever felt. Certainly stronger than that flind. He reasons he may not survive even one blow by this flind.

    A look of despair crosses Theyln's face as he stops the blow and he exclaims......"You CHEAT in single combat with MAGIC! You are NO king."

    Din looks longingly towards the exit, but does not take it. He posts up at at the southern end of the entrance, thinking maybe to try to light another fire in the southern barracks. He waits to see what opportunity this distraction creates. Shouldn't be too long for the Flinds to smell the smoke. He scans the southern end of the room, but things look a little thick there. Depending on how things go, he may end up bolting out the exit.

    Astrid whispers,"Din if you get a clear shot before we leave, shoot the shaman."

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-CiLd1RrZXck/U4PT-kvYttI/AAAAAAAADt4/i-FScDU1faU/s1600/flind%2520king%2520battle2.jpg

    Sil doesn't wait any longer for anyone to let her know if she should shoot or not, she simply takes the headshot she'd lined up on the king. "I've had it with liars and cheaters and dirty rotten underhanded betrayal. My own mother is just as bad most of you flinds."

    Before Sil can fire, an arrow streaks out from the south, burying into the flind king's neck! He gurgles for a moment, the axe dropping from his hands as he reaches up for the arrow. A strange look crosses his face, then he topples over next to Derr!

    [Sil OOC: Damn you beat me to it.]

    [DM OOC: It wasn't Sil that fired that shot though. It came from the south....]

    A loud shout from the south breaks the silence. "ALL HAIL HEXTOR. I WILL SEE YOU ALL DEAD AND DEFILED!" It is Mal's voice.

    The flinds all looked south when Mal yelled, so only the ones to the north saw the shaman go down. The two flinds with plate and halberds start moving south, while the ones from the north quickly start to move towards the flind king....

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YJq_uMxq5FI/U4PqbKvH_zI/AAAAAAAADuY/SL9xII55cO8/s1600/Dead%2520king.jpg

    New map, I think we will need it! You may notice, Din set his sack down outside. He's now got his crossbow out, and he's about to shoot the shaman.....

    For less than a second Sil still stands with her bow drawn back in the direction where the flind king had been, she then pivots and fires at the flind directly to her left, the one that has Toni. She is honestly just shooting at its shoulder, hoping to wound it badly enough that it will release her friend. She fires at the flind holding Toni, hitting it for [6]. It lets go, stumbling backwards. Toni flies into action, burying her long dagger in the shaman's back [10: good backstab]. As the shaman cries out, Din fires his crossbow, hitting the shaman in the chest. It falls backwards onto Toni, knocking her to the ground as the shaman falls atop her!

    Amaris curses and fires one sleep arrow each into the two flinds she can see south of the statue. "Elhonna guide my hand, strike down our enemies." They <WHOOSH!> by Din's ear as they streak across the room and hit the two flinds south of the statue, just as they were looking towards Toni, having seen what happened. They instantly fall to the ground in a deep slumber!

    Thelyn runs over to Toni and tries to finish the wounded flind. "Sil to me! We will defend the corner! Take out any archers first!"

    Toni slips free and quickly searches the shaman, looking for potion bottles. "Dinn looks still alive, if anyone is carrying flind healing potions it gonna be this guy."

    The armored flind moves up and slams its halberd into Toni, who is bent over searching the shaman. It hits her square in the back [10]. Theyln takes an involuntary step back, based on his experience with Toni, but is relieved when she doesn't begin to change form! Three flinds rush out the south door. One bursts through the door opposite, and enters, followed by one of the armored flinds. Another flind rushes off down the corridor the other way.

    The two armored flinds to the north move to the king, kneeling and checking him out. Two charge Sil, who fires quickly at them, hitting one for [3]. They both attack, scoring hits with longswords for [5 and 6: total 11]. Two charge across and attack Theyln, but they both miss. Finally, two charge Din, who is now visible. One moves around the table right towards Astrid, while the other goes around the other way. Astrid uses Touch of Fire, hitting the first one and paralying it with a surprise attack! She misses the other, and it attacks Din, hitting him with a longsword [5]. Astrid then slips across the room, leaping over a table and tumbling off the statue. She lands behind the two attacking Theyln and attacks, missing.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-NBXeSj5yqmQ/U4QD0wY44yI/AAAAAAAADvQ/lCpZUbhiplU/s1600/Final%2520Battle2.jpg

    Suddenly, as if he just woke up, Hitaka does a ferret slither out of Silmarwen's backpack and carefully balances on Sil's shoulder letting out a noise of curiosity. "Taka, there you are. Can you help us out and distract our enemies? The big furry ones that are attacking us."

    Sil will switch to her longsword and attack the flind directly north of her. "Sorry Thelyn, I'll be with you as soon as I can. We need to try blocking exits, regroup, not so much that we cause one another problems when we attack, and attempt retreating as we can! Also, if possible, tend the wounded as soon as possible." She shouts. Her thoughts are that everyone should attack and retreat as they try to regroup. "Can't lose Denn." She mutters to herself between gritted teeth.

    Taka will leap from Sil's shoulder when she switches weapons and will run amok, climbing up and down flinds.

    "Don't hit the ferret! He's on our side!"

    Din will use warhammer to attack the flind that charged him. They're going the wrong way," he thinks. "COMRADES," then shouts. "TO ME!"

    Aramis fires an arrow at the flind fighting Din, but misses.

    The regular flinds attack. The one attacking Din hits him with a longsword [8]. One attacks Theyln, hitting him for [6], while the other backs up and turns, swinging wildly at Astrid, slashing her across the belly [6]. [I should mention, I just rolled three natural 20's a row. No criticals though!] Finally, two attack Sil, and one hits her in arm [8].

    Toni did find a potion, and she rolls under the table where she drinks it. She suddenly starts, coughing and choking. The flind flips the table over to get to her, and she is lying there convulsing on the ground. It slams it's halberd down on her, chopping off her head!

    One of the other armored flinds pulls Derr back from the statue, checking him out, while the other turns to the other flind leader. They converse in gnoll for a moment, before the leader strides forward, bends down, and takes the girdle and axe from the flind king. It rears back and roars in a loud hyenalike cackle!

    The other leader has switched to a longbow, and it calmly takes a bead on Astrid, firing an arrow which she easily dodges!

    Theyln attacks the flind before him, hitting it twice and cutting it down! Astrid slices the one before her with her latajang [6]. Din drops his crossbow and takes up his axe, then hits the flind for [3], barely scratching it! Amaris fires another shot, this time hitting the flind attacking Din. It drops to the floor like a rock! She has only 1 sleep arrow left, and she's about to pull it out when she hears loud hyena sounds behind and below her. She turns around, and down the mountain she sees a flind and three hyenadons running up the winding path. Above them Amaris spots Bree, flying and pointing her wand. Amaris doesn't know what the wand is, but when the hyenadons suddenly start to run about twice as fast, she figures it out. The flind tumbles and falls with its new speed making it trip over its own feet. \

    Finally, the flind archer in the chamber fires another shot, which also misses.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-n4qMZxcgYts/U4ZllegsFDI/AAAAAAAADvg/7P_2eyhT5FQ/s1600/Final%2520Battle3.jpg

    [DM OOC: Well, I have to say that was unfortunate. That's twice somebody in the campaign has died drinking a potion blindly! Also, while not shown on the map, there is a flind archer and three hasted hyendadons rushing up the path from down below. It will take them two rounds to get to the top; it would have been four without the haste from Bree's Wand of Wonder!]

    Amaris curses the day she met these fools. She takes a deep breath, and puts two +1 arrows into the large flind leader cackling over his good fortune.

    Theyln rushes over to Sil, thrusting his blade into a Flind attacking her. "We must retreat if we are to survive!"

    Sil nods at Thelyn's words. She hasn't seen Toni, yet. "Taka, come back, fella." Then to Thelyn, "Which way is safe?" She slashes at the same flind that Thelyn attacked.

    "To the main entrance!" He says motioning towards Din. "But if you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and are already dead!" Thelyn chuckles.

    Astrid, cursing the fates under her breath, slashes the Flind next to her with the lajatang and uses the momentum to launch a Wind off the Mountain into the flind leader with the girdle. "Din! Run while you can!"

    Sil lets out a nervous chuckle, "Where's Toni?" She asks looking around briefly and catching sight of her friend's head. "Toni?!! Thelyn, I think Toni's gone ahead of us." She hasn't time to mourn currently, later she will take the time. "Someone's got to tell her tribe. If we make it out I think she'd like..." Sil cuts herself off and keeps hacking at the flind.

    [Din OOC: Those who are looking west see Din flip a table for cover. That fire in the north should be raging pretty well by now...who knows? We may all get a smokescreen!]

    Bree shoots off another shot of her wand, which sends schintillating colors flashing around the hyenadons. They stumble and fall, running into each other and the cliffs, before stopping, apparently blinded.

    Sil backs up towards Theyln and puts an arrow into the nearest flind [6]. It then charges her, ignoring Theyln who chops its head off with an AoO as it rushes by!

    Another flind moves up to attack Theyln, but it misses. One also attacks Astrid, but it too misses. The flind which decapitated Toni reaches down and picks up her head, holding it high and calling out in its laughing language.

    Din flips the table over and reloads his crossbow. An armored flind moves up, and Din fires, hitting it point blank in the chest [16: nice x2 crit!] It flips backwards, dead! The other one bandages up the downed flind leader, while the "new king" puts on the girdle. He then smashes the axe down on the downed flind, chopping right through its chest a couple of times. It yells triumphantly in gnoll.

    The other flind leader fires its bow at Astrid, who dodges easily again. Astrid cuts down the flind before her with a double slash of her latajang, then backs up a step, onto the statue platform, and turns to the "new king."

    "We must retreat if we are to survive!" yells Theyln to Sil as he holds off another flind.

    Finally, Amaris puts two magic arrows into the flind leader, hitting him for [8].

    The flind leader with the bow fires another shot, this one hitting Theyln [6].

    You hear more flinds appraoching from the south, and smoke is starting to come into the chamber from the north. Oh, and the flind down at the bottom of the mountain takes a couple more shots at Bree, hitting her with an arrow [5].

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ogX1sBZn-3o/U4e6PW74-BI/AAAAAAAADvw/91WnHpwyrMk/s1600/Final%2520Battle4.jpg

    Bree fires off another shot of her wand, which just sparkles and fizzles.

    Sil rushes across the room, taking a slight hit on an AoO from the armored flind to the south [2]. She ignores it, runs clear to the exit, and dives over the tables, tumbling outside. [She's got the prone circle now on the map.]

    Astrid runs around the statue, grabing it to gain momentum, and launches a Wind off the Mountain kick at the flind king. She misses, landing on the ground beyond him as he ducked back, but she quickly leaps to her feet with a Push of Earth. The flind king is not slow to react, and he swings his battle axe, hitting her for [16]. She is knocked about 10' across the room and falls in a heap.

    "Maybe you should have run," he says, grinning wickedly.

    The armored flind rushes Din, who puts another bolt into this one too [12], blasting it backwards to the ground. It's still alive, though gravely wounded.

    Theyln finishes off the flind before him with a double stroke of his sword, then turns to face the flind king.

    The flind archer fires at Din, putting two arrows into the table before him: Thunk! Thunk! The other armored flind moves up on Din, swiing its halberd and hitting him [4].

    Amaris puts two arrows into the armored flind [6 and 7: 13 total], knocking it backwards but it stays up.

    Finally, the flind archer down below fires a couple more shots at Bree, hitting her once [4] as two more armored flinds with halberds enter from the south. And yes, smokes is now pouring in from the north. So, Sil is prone, but fine. Din and Astrid are both prone and disabled [being at negative hit points]. Hopefully, everything else on the map is clear.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-uaZsUgyu83Y/U4fPEj2veCI/AAAAAAAADwQ/dDTx0AvOB2M/s1600/Final%2520Battle5.jpg

    [Theyln OOC: You hear Theyln freaking out......http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dsx2vdn7gpY]

    Bree flies off, out of range of the flind archer below. She heads straight up the mountain, maybe 100' above the entrance. Thelyn casts "wall of fog" screening the party from the newcomers attention and any attacks from those already there. The two armored flinds move up and swing their halberds at Theyln, who narrowly avoids one blow. Two more then enter through the south archway. Amaris fires a sleep arrow [her last one] at the flind by the table, hitting it [7] and putting it to sleep!

    Mal crawls over to Din and bandages his wounds. Sil catches her breath as she comes back to the land of the living and awakes, "What is that stench?" She asks quietly, sniffing the air. "Smoke?" She stays low as she prepares to take aim, yet again, at another flind king. "Is this one new? Or is it the same one?" She asks Mal, "Meh, regardless..." She rises gracefully to her feet, checks her aim, "Right through the eye, please, Moonbow." She lets the string go and watches the arrow fly.

    When she rises, she notes that she cannot see the "new" flind king for a wall of fog has appeared in-between them. She calmly shifts her aim, firing at the the flind archer in the corner and hitting him [5]. The flind turns its attention to her and fires, the arrow thunking into the table in front of her.

    Entering the chamber from the south are four more gnolls, including the large gnoll from downstairs, the one that killed Sonste with a spetum in the caverns during the party's first foray. All the flinds and gnolls which just entered pause to take in the situation. The flind king then shouts at them, pointing to the north, before turning its gaze on Theyln. "You are mine," he says.

    With no other targets, Amaris moves forward to Din. She nearly stumbles against Mal, who is invisibly tending Din's wounds. "Hey, watch it!" he says.

    The flind archer then fires another shot, this one hitting Sil [4]. Outside, the flind archer fires a couple arrows ineffectively at Bree, who is out of range.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-pBCv0c31Eno/U4pbl3-_CKI/AAAAAAAADwg/tGrWkE7wyfY/s1600/Final%2520Battle6.jpg

    Amaris casts CLW on Din, healing 7. Mal slips across the chamber to Astrid, whom he finds hovering on death's door. He slips her a drought of the invisibility potion, and then plans to carry her to safety.

    The flinds back off, and the "new" flind king advances on Theyln. He swings with his axe, but misses, and Theyln attacks back, landing a slash across the flind's leg [6]. It stumbles backs a step, looking very upset.

    The flind archer fires another shot at Sil, missing, and Sil fires back, hitting it in the chest [6]. The flind fires again, hitting Sil [5] and Sill hits it back, again, dropping it to the ground!

    Finally, the massive gnoll charges Theyln from behind. The flind king yells something, but the gnoll ignores it and attacks Theyln anyway, missing with a tremendous swipe. Theyn realizes that the thing is nearly as strong as the girdle-enhanced king!

    Meanwhile, outside, Bree stays out of reach of any arrows, and the flind starts to trudge up the path. The hyenadons are still are stunned by the weird colors!

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-iq8jwrUrPT4/U4pw7oTZtxI/AAAAAAAADww/FAoKzicibFY/s1600/Final%2520Battle7.jpg

    [Theyln OOC: I love wasting my last spell (wall of fog), so everybody can run back inside.]

    Amaris smiles at Din as he recovers and says with urgency to everyone nearby "we need to get out of here! NOW!" She pulls her hood down and swirls her cloak as she moves seeming to vanish.

    Thelyn keeps both his opponents in sight, banging sword on shield and chanting loudly in elvish

    Amaris tucks her cloak around herself and vanishes. Bree stays up in the air, as the flind reaches the hyenadons, which finally come out of their color-induced stupors.

    The flind leader steps up and swings at the big gnoll, hitting it [17], knocking it backwards and to the ground. It then shouts something at it in gnoll, and the big gnoll backs off. Theyln then attacks the flind king, missing. He backs up a step, to keep the others off his flank, and prepares for another swing.

    Mal picks up Astrid and carries her back beyond the tables, as Sil shoulders her bow and draws her cloak around herself, disappearing as well.

    Din crawls around the corner, grabs his sack, and stands up.

    Taka bites the flind leader, who looks down just in time for Theyln to slash it across the face [8]. It roars in agony, reaches down and grabs the ferret, and hurls it across the room where it disappears into the wall of fog.

    The other flinds stay back, and the gnolls run back to the south around the corner. Smoke continues to pour into the chamber.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-AYImJoJ_S6w/U4p_sDfF6sI/AAAAAAAADxA/oioAiNhk3_c/s1600/Final%2520Battle8.jpg

    Mal stays with Astrid, bandaging her. He tells Din to take her, since Din is bugging out. Din picks up Astrid and flees outside, along with Amaris. When they get passed the statues, they see the winding path going down and the flind with the three hyenadons coming up. They carefully move off to the side, staying away from where these new enemies may appear. Sil carefully tries to work her way around to Thelyn, but Taka comes flying out of nowhere and hits her in the stomach, "Hello little one. Off you go to our friends." She whispers as she checks him quickly for injuries then sends him on his way toward Din. She then starts to slowly work her way around towards Theyln. Mal also sneaks forward, angling around the statue and crouching just on the edge of the Wall of Fog, though still invisibile.

    Theyln and the flind continue their battle, neither one scoring a hit this round. The other flinds and gnolls move up a bit to get a better look, except for one flind which is checking the bodies of the two sleeping flinds. He tries to wake them, but they stay in their comatose slumber.

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5vKY-v9BRLg/U4skC3vMXrI/AAAAAAAADxQ/pduXEi1qTms/s1600/Final%2520Battle10.jpg

    Bree swoops around and fires her wand at the flind and hyenadons. Suddenly a bunch a jet-black tentacles erupt from the ground all along the section of path near them. All four are instantly wrapped up by tentacles, which begin to squeeze them tightly. There are another half-dozen tentacles whipping about, making the path unpassable.

    [DM OOC: Evard's Black Tentacles is pretty cool. All four failed saves, so they all get wrapped in tentacles which do 2d4 and continue to do 3d4 each round. Not bad!]

    "That ought to hold you baddies for a while ... or hopefully out right kill you! Now I have to go see to my friends ..." Bree flies down to where Din, Amaris and Astrid are outside.

    Din and Amaris see what has happened, and they stop moving off to the side. Rather, they catch their breath where they are (still off to the side, but now not TOO far off to the side. There isn't really much room out front of the fortress, and only the one path down, which is now blocked.

    The gnolls and flinds inside continue to watch, as Theyln and the flind king continue to fight. Suddenly a spear bursts through the flind king's chest as Mal appears, standing on the edge of the Wall of Fog and holding the other end. His surprise backstab of the flind king has killed him instantly, only the flind doesn't realize it yet. He looks down at the spear, wondering what has just happened, as the dwarven axe falls from his hands to the ground.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-n3sOsy-g5-Q/U4sskmZOC8I/AAAAAAAADxg/zt3k-aFCr3E/s1600/Final%2520Battle11.jpg

    Mal pulls his spear out of the flind, and Theyln steps up to take off the girdle, but they are quickly interrupted. All the remaining flinds and gnolls stand back with the death of the "new king," except for the big gnoll. It roars a gnoll battle cry and charges them!

    Mal plants his spear, the gnoll charges right into it [12]. The gnoll continues on, swinging its huge spetum and hitting Theyln [6]. Theyln nearly drops, but somehow maintains his strength. He attacks the gnoll, hitting it for [8], which finally puts it down. It falls back hard, and the other flinds left in the room run away to the south!

    Theyln is among the few to ever see Mal smile. "I didnt know we were that scary," says Mal as he grabs the belt and axe and gets the heck out of this death pit. "Let go before this place fills with smoke or they decide to come back!"

    "Good to see you my friend," replies Theyln, as he quickly checks Derr and sees he is, indeed, dead. He then grabs the girdle too, about the same time as Mal. With a smile, he lets go and says, "We'll figure it out later. Let's go."

    When he sees the others exit, Din will call out, "Up here! Look north!" He is sweating and sick, but his aim holds steady, and he keeps his crossbow trained on the entrance.

    "That way!" says Theyln and directs the group when he sees Din. "Never been so happy to see you old friend."

    "As am I," breathes Din. "Are there any others left alive inside? Let's be off!"

    Thelyn meets up with Din and shakes his hand. "This was a fools errand!" He exclaims. "Mal, where the hell did everyone go?"

    Sil makes her way back to the outdoors and breathes deeply. "Never knew fresh air smelled so sweet." She looks for and finds Thelyn amidst the others, "Thelyn, I need to get to Toni's people... They should know what happened."

    They retreat back to their mounts, when suddenly the Heroes of Hommlet appear as if out of nowhwere.

    "A giant!" Screams Theyln when he sees the half-giant Rakk. "We are doomed!"

    "Stay your blades!" commands Berenn. "There are no enemies here except for the gnolls. Rakk is a friend and a trusted companion. As for the gnolls, I will ensure there are no further transgressions on their part."

    Covered in blood and looking a beat up himself, Mal wecomes Berenn with a bow. You are a sight for my weary eyes," he says. "Don't worry, not all the blood is mine. The creatures scurried like rats when I took the second of their two kings. I recall the title harder to obtain. Perhaps I'll start going by 'kingslayer," he says, and waits for a laugh that doesn't come. "We should go and check on two fallen friends. After some healing I will lead you to the area."

    Berenn will finish attending the wounded. "Perhaps you should stay here Mal. If you have disposed of their hierarchy, the mere sight of you will probably be enough to provoke them. Just give us a general layout of the place and we will take care of the rest."

    "See?" says Isilme with a knowing, mocking tone. "Told you they could handle it!"


    [DM OOC: I believe the entire cast of characters from the original party has come forth, so we can move on. While you are seeing to things, Berenn checks on the gnolls and flinds. Actually, he finds that they are all flinds. There are 6 sleeping flinds and another 5 that are not yet dead. That only leaves 5 more dead here. Hepla uses her wand to put out the fires to the north, which as it turns out aren't really as bad as the smoke made it seem. She finds four gnolls there putting out fires, and she casts sleep upon them. A couple attack her, bouncing their blows off her stoneskin, and she just casts another sleep spell. She calls Rakk, who comes and picks them up while she puts out the fires. It doesn't take too long, and the party has 4 sleeping gnolls, 6 sleeping flinds, and 5 wounded flinds as "prisoners."]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:43 am  
    Part 20 - Epilogue

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-x9Oqc4PwEyQ/U46WnoWfLLI/AAAAAAAADyI/SbYHiADNtwU/s912/Level%25203.jpg

    [DM OOC: You also can check out the entire level. I'll give you the full map. Now, I'm not going to assume you ransack the place, as it seems Berenn is going to look at making peace. We'll see. Anyway, most of the rooms on this level are barracks for flinds, storage rooms, or kitchens and eating rooms. The room that stands out is 15, as it is the great room. There are two large chairs on a platform there. You don't run into any more gnolls or flinds, as they are staying away, for now. ]

    Berenn uses his Rod of Xodal to heal all of the Wild Bunch some, and they hand out a few potions of healing which Thorgrim brought. It's enough to mostly heal everyone. Combat Notes are updated; assume everyone is totally healed.

    Thorgrim finds Din. "What are you doing here in this wild place?" he asks him. "I thought I bade you to avoid this fortress and find the mithril mine and report, before traveling back to Thunderstrike?"

    "We were seeking Antonia, whom we lost fighting these dogs," Din replies flatly.

    "Why would you do that?" Thorgrim presses. "Hadn't you already lost many compatriots in your attempts to enter here? Why have you disobeyed my orders?"

    "I'M NOT YOUR LACKEY!" Din shouts. "You don't control me, nor anybody here!" He crosses his arms in defiance.

    Thorgrim is startled, then recovers. "I am sorry, Din. You're right." Silence fills the air. "Well, were you successful, at least?"

    Din looks pained. "No, she was never here until we returned...and now she is dead, along with many others."

    Thorgrim thinks for a moment, then puts a hand on Din's shoulder. "I am sorry for your loss. Such are the ways of war. There will be many more lost, before our task is complete. Well, perhaps we might find the mithril mine together."

    Din brightens a bit. "Perhaps..."

    Amaris stays quiet and is very wary of the newcomers. She has heard stories of the "heroes of Hommlet" from the fey of the gnarley forest - and not good ones. "There are those among you who brought great harm to my friends without cause, forgive me if I am less than excited to see you here," she says coldly.

    "Your actions are noteworthy, good cavalier," says Emyn, standing before Theyln. "You have much honour in you. Now let us retrieve your fallen party members."

    To Thorgrim he then adds, "I understand from what Dymir said that there is a crypt with undead dwarves down here somewhere. Maybe you can help them find their rightful rest."

    His feelings hurt Mal sulks a bit. Hobgoblin get showed no respect. Where's my friend bry's ghost? he wonders. If Im going to get disrespected it should at least be by him. "I leave undead warves to Thorgrims care," he then says to nobody in particular.

    Emyn says to Mal in an even tone,"It's hard to respect reckless leadership. Not everyone can act like Gotrek and survive. I hope you learned your lesson because it was a hard taught one with so many of your comrades dead due to your collective folly." He's not even trying to be mean or condescending...just saying it matter of fact.

    Hepla kisses Emyn than says,"Those are good suggestion but I think we are safe going just to where the bodies are. After all these guys killed almost everything in this area. A couple of gnolls were left but even I was able to handle them. We have Noot to handle traps and great fighters to handle threats."

    "Mal, it would be an honor to have you along, come on," she says, trying to sooth the clearly angry hobgoblin warrior.

    "I would advise against bringing anyone that attacked the gnolls with us during the retrieval," says Berenn again. "We are here to retrieve our dead and leave. Bringing part of the party that just attacked them would most definitely provoke the gnolls. I have no desire to see anymore bloodshed this day. I would also keep the group going in as small as possible, a large group maybe interpreted as another attack. The gnolls present no real threat to us, so I would suggest no more than four or five people go down. Since I can speak gnoll, I will go and Noot will be useful in case they have set any hasty traps. Rakk, Hepla and Emyn can make up the rest of the party."
    "Who in the hell is Gotrek?" asks Mal.

    Thorgrim will stay behind with The Wild Bunch, offering protection while the rest of the party checks out the Keep. "Don't disturb the Dwarven spirits," he says.

    "Though it seems you need little protection," he says to Din. "From your tale, it seems you wiped out 95 percent of the population before leaving the keep in flames. It is highly unusual to see Flinds so fierce, more so for Gnolls. I wonder what secret they were protecting?"

    Mal's respectful reply surprises everyone (including Mal). "I am sorry, but I was sent to clear mine and remove evil."

    Thorgrim looks at Mal. "Actually, I was the one who sent Din to check out the mine. Or at least I told him of it. While Dorob Kilthduum itself may be too dangerous for you to clear, I supposed the surrounding lands may be less so. Perhaps I was wrong." Thorgrim looks at the wrapped up body of Toni, as the others lower her into the Portable Hole. He then takes out his pipe and has a smoke, wishing he had some of that kuo toan herb.....

    Meanwhile the others proceed down the stairs and enter the corridors of the second level. They find a lot of dead bodies there, and also a group of flinds and gnolls to the north, maybe a half-dozen. A few are the plate-armored ones with halberds, a few have flindbars, and a few others have longswords. They seem to be led by one of the archer types. A handful of gnolls with spetums also stand nearby. They have dragged the bodies of their wounded back to safety in the further chamber [area 9].

    Emyn shouts, "Leave in peace and you will not be harmed. Seek a fight and we will destroy you. We have killed a dragon. You are no challenge."

    The flinds and gnolls are not really in a mood to fight, though they aren't just going to let you walk through their fortress. However, they flind leader (the archer type) agrees to a cease-fire. You may collect your dead if they may collect theirs.

    [Emyn OOC: We agree but do not let our guard down. We collect our dead and their posessions.]

    The party is able to gather the bodies of the fallen, and then retire back to the above level. They find that the Wild Bunch has also gathered the bodies of the dead gnolls/flinds. As they consider their next more, a party of flinds appears, well armed, but apparently willing to talk.....

    Hepla, casts Tongues and says," To whom do I have the honor of speaking and on what subject shall we talk? I thank you brave flind warriors for coming here, I am Dame Hepla, wife of Sir Emyn, first lady of the order of the Cat. Please call me Hepla."

    "I would suggest Berenn talk as well as," says Rakk. "My negotiating skills are scant and oft come to blows that weren't truly needed. I am often far too blunt but we need to limit their raiding area. But they do need food . . . Berenn you were looking for trade, they may be willing to trade for livestock."

    Hepla nods and says," This is Lord Berenn, he is good at talking to too."

    Theyln growls "You are in no position to dictate terms to us. You already spit upon my offer of peace. I give you permission to leave. Otherwise I give you permission to die." He says grimly.

    Thorgrim places his hand on Theyln's shoulder. "It looks to me as though the fight is over," he says, before releasing his grip. He casts Tongues, and asks the Flind leader, "How did you and your tribe come to be here? From whence did you come?"

    Theyln shrugs off the hand. Although he refrains from pissing on the Flind bodies, his disdain is obvious.

    Emyn says, "Maybe this is an opportunity to learn more about the mines and other things around here. We can probably intimidate the flinds and gnolls into telling us what they know about this area."

    "The gnolls have been invaded and many of them lie dead. Does anyone think they are going to let us stroll through without putting up resistance? We could easily overpower the gnolls and probably clear this place, but I see no honor in it. I thought I was doing a great deed by removing Chaustichlorinus from this world and it did bring closure to some, but misery to others. Have we not learned anything from our adventures? Just because you are capable of a certain action, it doesn't always mean you should take it. I took an oath to safe guard the helpless and it applies to all those I deem helpless."

    Rakk looks at Berenn for a minute, "Have you ever seen a farmhouse after a gnoll raiding party goes looking for food? We can negotiate now for where they can range, or I can return later with those who will come and 'negotiate' then. I have a short temper and am very blunt. I'd rather someone work out a living arrangement, but I won't see another burnt-out farm with 1/2- eaten workers again if I can possibly stop it."

    "That seems reasonable. I doubt they will feel like raiding anytime in the near future."

    Berenn will present a proposal drawing up boundaries and promising the surrounding villages will not cross those boundaries, if the gnolls don't.

    Emyn says, "And what of Dorob Kithilduum? Are we so willing to dishonour the memory of Clan Delgrim and abandon their halls to evil?"

    "I am quite sure the dwarves are capable of handling their own honor in due time. I seem to recall Thorgrim scolding his kin for coming here in the first place. The last time I checked, no one was designated as a champion of Clan Delgrim. I came here to find Braerindra, help the injured, recover the dead and bring an end to the hostilities. Unless you have a place where these gnolls can live in peace and are able to convince them to leave without the threat of physical force ... they stay for now. I won't draw my blades unless I am forced to defend myself."

    "I am sure any agreement to cease fighting could be limited to this small keep," says Emyn. "I speak of the mines, which are far more important. I have given my oath to Thorgrim to assist in their reclamation. I cannot abandon that oath, especially for a pack of mangy dogs."

    "Then let Thorgrim step up and aid in an agreement," says Rakk. "One that could hold til he and his declare war to reclaim their lands."

    The conversation goes on for some time, and soon you find that the gnolls do not raid into civilized lands, because there are none hereabouts. It is a full day's ride from here to the halfling village of Littleborough, and they said they didn't even know about the gnolls. They gnolls have never bothered anyone.

    The fortress of Koralgesh is the very edge of the old Kilthduum lands. After the fall of Dorob Kilthduum, as well as the above ground settlements in the valley to the SW of here (you saw the ruins of a great city from the hills by Cat's Claw Tower), this entire area was shunned. They lands of the Valley of Karaduum are believed to be haunted. Nobody knows what the situation is in Dorob Kilthduum. As for the mithril mines, they were abandoned even before the fall of Dorob Kilthduum.

    The gnolls live primarily by fishing along the river and hunting the lands thereabouts. You also learn that there was a break in the leadership, when Remarr was cast out. The flind archer who is the new leader of the flinds and gnolls was actually one of Remarr's supporters, and when he learns of Remarr joining the Wild Bunch, he has a new sense of respect for them. The flinds vow to continue their existence and will not raid into the lands of the Viscounty. They already had maintained a policy of staying out of the human/halfling lands, which were a bit far away in the first place. They had no reason to bring the wrath of humans down upon themselves. They don't know of any other groups of orcs or anything in the vicinity, and have no knowledge of the mines, Dorob Kilthduum, or anything else. They do say that the lands of the valley are indeed haunted, and they generally stay clear of the ruined city. They have memories of going there long ago, and most of those who went there died. Since then they have shunned the place.

    Thorgrim raises his hand. "We will uphold the truce between our peoples. Come, let us be off. If you see one of us again, let there be restraint before bloodshed." He looks at Din, who stands nearby with crossbow ready. Din has a quizzical look in his eye, but says nothing.

    Theyln says "Din, are you going to let this stand? These vermin infest your ancestral home!"

    "Indeed, they seemed too strong when we were by ourselves, but together..." he looks at Thorgrim hopefully, but Thorgrim is watching the Flind leader.

    Theyln tries to give a rousing speech. "This does not sit well with me. Are we to leave them to grow in strength again? Are to wait until they start attacking the surrounding villages and THEN try and stop them? Only when villages are burning and the dead lie rotting? They have proven the only time they are interested in peace is when they are confronted with an equal force. The time to strike them down is NOW......BEFORE they cause harm to others. Who is with me? Din, let us clear this blasphemy from your ancestral home!"

    Hepla says, "They have new leadership, let us give them a chance, one chance."

    "I await the decision of Thorgrim," says Emyn. "By right of blood, these are his lands."

    "I await the decision of Din," cries Theyln. "These are HIS lands. We have stood together in battle, I have never spilled blood with you or your company."

    Amaris says "I would never let them live in my forest 'peaceful' or not. Their kin would quickly kill all my animal friends and burn my beloved trees."

    Thorgrim turns about. "Din, where are your steeds? Come with me. We walk together."

    Thorgrim and Din walk down the path the party used to approach this deathtrap. Din has crossbow at the ready. Thorgrim leaves his pick sheathed.

    Amaris whistles and says, "Seems the 'heroes' of Hommlet have no problem burning to death countless innocent fey, but don't have the fortitude to deal with a few Flinds and Gnolls. Interesting."

    "I would be careful when you speak about things you don't know about child!" says Berenn, obviously annoyed. "The incident you speak of was caused by one impulsive fool who died for his foolishness a long time ago. His actions were not condoned by the group."

    "I know of what I speak," she snaps back. "My mother is Tamara the Dryad, and my family is the fey of the Gnarley forest. Careful friend, lest you truly instead of willfully forget what happened that day." Amaris says with an arched eyebrow.

    She turns her back on the "heroes" of Hommlet, and walks out, pulling her cloak down and vanishing.

    Theyln snorts and slams his longsword back in its sheath, then spins, his cloak billowing like a crimson storm as he walks out.

    Thorgrim ignores her. He is speaking with Din, and as his voice fades in the breeze.

    While the party is discussing things, the flinds and gnolls gather their dead and wounded. You are shocked by the small number of dead, only about 50. It seems they worked hard to save the lives of many of their kin, which are even now convalescing in makeshift infirmaries. Unfortunately, almost all of the flind leadership has been wiped out. You cannot tell exactly how strong their numbers are, but you are able to recognize at least two dozen different flinds and an equal number of gnolls.

    As Din and Thorgrim are about to move off and discuss their plans, a slight murmur ripples through the gnolls and flinds that are nearby. They part, and a slender flind female with a slight crown approaches. Thorgrim turns back and notes that the crown is made of pure mithril.

    Thorgrim takes another step forward, hands open. "I am called Thorgrim. Do you speak the Common tongue?" He asks Berenn over to translate if need be.

    "Yes," she replies. "Me speek gud commun tung."

    Thorgrim steps up and nods to the flind queen. Din looks a unhappy, standing back grumbling with one hand on his crossbow trigger. Thorgrim tells the queen (through Berenn/Hepla) that he is sorry for the losses incurred during these last weeks and offers to do what he can for the flind/gnoll wounded. She accepts, and has the archer lead him to the infirmary; Berenn goes with him. He marvels at the construction of the place, and recognizes that there is no way he can leave these flinds and gnolls here. Taking this fortress is a must for any return to Karaduum and ultimately the reconquest of Dorob Kilthduum.

    Together Berenn and Thorgrim find many wounded, perhaps 25 of each. Between their spells and Berenn's rod, they are able to heal the wounded before returning outside. Queen Mirssa is quite pleased with the display of mercy shown by Berenn and Thorgrim, and she asks what they would have of her.

    "You must leave this fortress," says Thorgrim resolutely. "It is time for the dwarves of Dorob Kilthduum to return home, and this," he waves his arm to encompass the fortress, "this is ours."

    The flinds look back and forth as this is translated by Hepla, and the queen looks uncertain. No few looks of anger and disgust cross the faces of the flinds, though it's hard to really read them. The queen looks at her people, unsure of what to do. Mal gets the sense that she is scared.

    A small goblin comes forward, standing beside the flind queen and taking her hand. You hadn't noticed it before, but it seems to be the queen's servant. It speak to Mal in goblin. "She fears for her people. If you force them to leave, they have no reason to not fight."

    "What did he say?" says Thorgrim, looking at Mal.

    Din mumbles something, which only the elves hear. "...gnolls, now goblins....next?" He kicks the dirt in frustration. "They are calling upon you mercy," he says. "They have no where else to go. They know the dwarvish people to be a just and fair race and ask for your permission to stay."

    "We may find a place for you, yet," says Thorgrim. "But it is not here. This is my homeland, and it will be reclaimed by the Dwarves...by decree or by war. That will be a fight you cannot win."

    While the queen stands looking helpless, another voice speaks.

    Din is flabbergasted, and almost explodes. "Thorgrim, have you lost your mind? We cannot allow this scum to live! They desecrate the halls of our ancestors by their very presence, and defile the land with every breath they breathe. Good gods! I saw a statue of Yeenoghu inside!"

    "There may be a middle way," Thorgrim says, both to the queen and to Din.

    The flind queen waits, unsure of the meaning of the exchange which was likely in dwarven [though they didn't say so!].

    Theyln looks outraged and turns to the members of the old party and says angrily in elvish. "You came here for what exactly? To give aid and comfort to our enemies? They only talk peace NOW because WE decimated their leadership. We already gave them a chance to negotiate on equal footing and they spit upon it, thinking to murder us all. Now you would coddle these vermin? These thieves who carry the relics of Din's ancestors? They desecrate this place with their filth and you sit there in committee wringing your hands unsure of what to do? Why did you come here to betray us?!"

    "Hold your tongue, Wild Elf," Thorgrim says in dismay, surprising Theyln by speaking in Elvish. "It is not your place to speak for the Kilthduum Dwarves. We speak for ourselves, and their voice is mine. These are our lands, and not yours. You have no say. By the gods! I wish Isilme was here to beat some sense into your head. She thought you capable, because you escaped with your lives. As injured as you all were, I would doubt that. That's why we came."

    Now speaking in Common, Thorgrim addresses the Flind Queen. "I would speak with you in private." He keeps his eye on Theyln, to see his reaction.


    "Watch yourself," Theyln replies. "I am no wild elf, but a noble of the Celene! You are a fool! They erected a Demon god in there and you expect them to honor any agreement? Din....." he looks to Din with questioning eyes "Does this sit well with you?"

    Din casts his eyes downward. "Nay, it does not..." His gaze rises again. "But I have faith in Thorgrim's wisdom."

    Thorgrim chortles, "Hohoho, a Celene noble, how interesting! I have been through the Celene, more than once, and was a "guest" at their court, although those Elves could certainly stand to learn some manners. We may have dealings with your superiors, once my kingdom is restored."


    The queen leans down and whispers to the goblin servant girl, and they talk for a moment in hushed tones you can't understand. She then agrees. "My servant, Kelash, come. You pick one other too."

    Thorgrim nods. "Din! Come with me. I want you to bear witness to this negotiation. Un-cock your bow."

    Din squints his eyes, but does as he's told. He has certainly learned a few things about hobgoblins, fighting alongside Mal: that they are fierce, intelligent, and can even act nobly! Who knows, maybe one day his racist tendencies will be overcome? he thinks.

    They move off away from the others to speak. About an hour later, Thorgrim and Din emerge from their meeting with the Flind Queen. Din looks pale and stricken, though Thorgrim seems of good cheer. He announces to the party:

    "The Flinds have agreed to leave the Keep, at a time of my choosing, though this time is not now. In the meanwhile, they will live in peace with the surrounding nations, as they have been. In return for their help in overtaking Dorob Kilthduum, they will be granted lands inside our new nation where they will be allowed to live in peace, unmolested by outsiders. Anyone who wishes to break this peace does so at their own peril."

    Thorgrim takes a moment to look at Theyln, then at Rakk, who nods.

    "Come," says Thorgrim, "Let us leave this place. I have a mind to explore the area for signs of Orcs, and to find and claim the abandoned Mithril Mine. All here present are invited to join the foray. Even foreign nobles..." he says while looking at Theyln. "Great wealth may be found inside, even though the greatest part still resides unmined in the stone. All who take part in the adventure may reap the rewards."

    "Did someone say mithril?" Bree pipes up.

    "You are never going to learn are you?" Berenn retorts. "But at least this time, you will have me along to keep you out of trouble. Hopefully this side trek won't take to long, I believe Rakk's mentioned some "giant" problem we should look into soon."

    The groups leaves, Theyln keeping quiet and Amaris nowhere to be found. Once they get their mounts, they return to town. Back in Littleborough, you get stuck in a pretty big storm. There are gale force winds, which last for the rest of the Growfest festival. The halflings are very disappointed, as their outdoor festivities are largely ruined.

    In littleborough, Amaris takes her leave of the party and refuses any coin or share.

    "It was a pleasure to meet you all, but I must seek Isilme out in Hommlet, from what tales you have shared, I think perhaps with her magic she can help find my father. Besides, your group is far too suicidal for my taste." She says with a grimace.

    "You don't have to look that far child" says a musical voice, as a gold skinned wild elf with tribal tattoos seems to appear out of nowhere. "I know your mother Tamara well, and she was willing to help us in our time of need. Take my hand"

    They join hands and step into nothingness, seeming to both vanish!

    Theyln takes time to speak with Rakk. "Many in the court speak highly of you 'Sha'quessir,' but I can't believe you would stand beside a decision like this, these creatures will ravage the land, and all in it. When they grow in strength their word will be meaningless. These are near MY lands. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the effects will ripple outwards."

    "I said I disagree with it," answers calmly. "I cannot force people to go to war, as yours so kindly pointed out. I have no say in this decision, and no right to make it. All I can do is prepare for what I think will happen."

    Thorgrim starts to scowl but quickly turns impassive, not wanting to provoke the impetuous and belligerent Elfling. Seeing Din clench his fists in anger, Thorgrim stays him with a hand. "For all we know, he may be right. I have no idea why Dorob Kilthduum fell, except for the Orc hordes."

    "You can't let him speak to you like that!" Din implores.

    "Were he and I to come to blows, there could be only one outcome," Thorgrim replies simply. "Come, have a smoke with me."

    Thorgrim enters his Portable Hole, removes the keg of ale and the dragonbone pipe Isilme gave him, carved by Vaddarra herself. "Let me tell you the tale of Caustichlorinus, the Dread Green Dragon. Malgubet also may have something to say on the matter."

    After some hours telling the tale of misery and woe, Thorgrim stands up.


    At some point in the story, you notice tears welling up in Thelyn's eyes, and it is then you realize you have actually seen this elf before, and the armour he wears.... These are the items you recovered from the dragons lair, and this is the elf whom the queen of the Celene returned them to.

    "I owe Isilme a debt of gratitude for restoring my family honor" He murmurs. "I also owe you an apology Thorgrim, as 'twas you and your allies who brought vengeance upon my fathers killer. I will trouble you no more with my doubt, but I will not lie and say the decision sits well with me."

    He offers his hand.

    [Theyln OOC: good choice of story to tell!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Clanggedin must've been guiding his thoughts. The point of recalling the tale was that choices and their effects can be complex, and it can be hard to discern the right course of action to take. Befriending Theyln is providence.]

    Thorgrim takes Theyln's hand. "I accept your apology and your gratitude. The battle with Caustichlorinus was one of my most difficult tests, though 'twas Isilme who was most effective and Noot who landed the death-blow. Theyln, you never have need lie to me, and you may speak your mind freely whensoever you choose."

    "I thought we were all going to meet our end that day!" Berenn says. Bree says nothing, but looks at her brother with some new found respect.

    "Aye," says Emyn. "That beast was a fell foe. The gods smiled upon us when we survived and were victorious, though I grieve for the loss of life in the nearby gnome village still." A stricken memory flashes across his face before disappearing again.

    "Come Thelyn, let's work on your sword skills. Let me teach you some defensive training since it seems you're going to need it with this bunch."

    And that is the end of the Keep of Koralgesh adventure. It is one from an old Dungeon mag, number 2 in fact. I tweaked it, and it was quite fun. This long, epic battle against the gnolls and flinds has gone down in history as one of our greatest ever. Anyway, the players at this point almost merged the old and new parties, but then decided to keep them separate. The Hereoes of Hommlet would continue on and investigate the giant troubles, while the Wild Bunch would continue to search for the Mithril Mine. Stay tuned for more.

    For the record, you guys are in Littleborough. It's on the far SW edge of the Viscounty. Here's the map, again.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-rOK3C_QKsGU/UuRZzCeE1NI/AAAAAAAACN8/33sSI2oPW8k/s1152/To%2520Rastor-4.JPG

    Finally, here's the map of the Valley of Karaduum which I've been using.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Xs9vZ5yeRaI/UxKM3ehskqI/AAAAAAAACqk/xs0z_eEIXHA/s1349/Fullscreen%2520capture%2520312014%252054317%2520PM.jpg
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 652


    Send private message
    Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:07 am  
    Part 21 - Epilogue

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-x9Oqc4PwEyQ/U46WnoWfLLI/AAAAAAAADyI/SbYHiADNtwU/s912/Level%25203.jpg

    [DM OOC: You also can check out the entire level. I'll give you the full map. Now, I'm not going to assume you ransack the place, as it seems Berenn is going to look at making peace. We'll see. Anyway, most of the rooms on this level are barracks for flinds, storage rooms, or kitchens and eating rooms. The room that stands out is 15, as it is the great room. There are two large chairs on a platform there. You don't run into any more gnolls or flinds, as they are staying away, for now. ]

    Berenn uses his Rod of Xodal to heal all of the Wild Bunch some, and they hand out a few potions of healing which Thorgrim brought. It's enough to mostly heal everyone. Combat Notes are updated; assume everyone is totally healed.

    Thorgrim finds Din. "What are you doing here in this wild place?" he asks him. "I thought I bade you to avoid this fortress and find the mithril mine and report, before traveling back to Thunderstrike?"

    "We were seeking Antonia, whom we lost fighting these dogs," Din replies flatly.

    "Why would you do that?" Thorgrim presses. "Hadn't you already lost many compatriots in your attempts to enter here? Why have you disobeyed my orders?"

    "I'M NOT YOUR LACKEY!" Din shouts. "You don't control me, nor anybody here!" He crosses his arms in defiance.

    Thorgrim is startled, then recovers. "I am sorry, Din. You're right." Silence fills the air. "Well, were you successful, at least?"

    Din looks pained. "No, she was never here until we returned...and now she is dead, along with many others."

    Thorgrim thinks for a moment, then puts a hand on Din's shoulder. "I am sorry for your loss. Such are the ways of war. There will be many more lost, before our task is complete. Well, perhaps we might find the mithril mine together."

    Din brightens a bit. "Perhaps..."

    Amaris stays quiet and is very wary of the newcomers. She has heard stories of the "heroes of Hommlet" from the fey of the gnarley forest - and not good ones. "There are those among you who brought great harm to my friends without cause, forgive me if I am less than excited to see you here," she says coldly.

    "Your actions are noteworthy, good cavalier," says Emyn, standing before Theyln. "You have much honour in you. Now let us retrieve your fallen party members."

    To Thorgrim he then adds, "I understand from what Dymir said that there is a crypt with undead dwarves down here somewhere. Maybe you can help them find their rightful rest."

    His feelings hurt Mal sulks a bit. Hobgoblin get showed no respect. Where's my friend bry's ghost? he wonders. If Im going to get disrespected it should at least be by him. "I leave undead warves to Thorgrims care," he then says to nobody in particular.

    Emyn says to Mal in an even tone,"It's hard to respect reckless leadership. Not everyone can act like Gotrek and survive. I hope you learned your lesson because it was a hard taught one with so many of your comrades dead due to your collective folly." He's not even trying to be mean or condescending...just saying it matter of fact.

    Hepla kisses Emyn than says,"Those are good suggestion but I think we are safe going just to where the bodies are. After all these guys killed almost everything in this area. A couple of gnolls were left but even I was able to handle them. We have Noot to handle traps and great fighters to handle threats."

    "Mal, it would be an honor to have you along, come on," she says, trying to sooth the clearly angry hobgoblin warrior.

    "I would advise against bringing anyone that attacked the gnolls with us during the retrieval," says Berenn again. "We are here to retrieve our dead and leave. Bringing part of the party that just attacked them would most definitely provoke the gnolls. I have no desire to see anymore bloodshed this day. I would also keep the group going in as small as possible, a large group maybe interpreted as another attack. The gnolls present no real threat to us, so I would suggest no more than four or five people go down. Since I can speak gnoll, I will go and Noot will be useful in case they have set any hasty traps. Rakk, Hepla and Emyn can make up the rest of the party."
    "Who in the hell is Gotrek?" asks Mal.

    Thorgrim will stay behind with The Wild Bunch, offering protection while the rest of the party checks out the Keep. "Don't disturb the Dwarven spirits," he says.

    "Though it seems you need little protection," he says to Din. "From your tale, it seems you wiped out 95 percent of the population before leaving the keep in flames. It is highly unusual to see Flinds so fierce, more so for Gnolls. I wonder what secret they were protecting?"

    Mal's respectful reply surprises everyone (including Mal). "I am sorry, but I was sent to clear mine and remove evil."

    Thorgrim looks at Mal. "Actually, I was the one who sent Din to check out the mine. Or at least I told him of it. While Dorob Kilthduum itself may be too dangerous for you to clear, I supposed the surrounding lands may be less so. Perhaps I was wrong." Thorgrim looks at the wrapped up body of Toni, as the others lower her into the Portable Hole. He then takes out his pipe and has a smoke, wishing he had some of that kuo toan herb.....

    Meanwhile the others proceed down the stairs and enter the corridors of the second level. They find a lot of dead bodies there, and also a group of flinds and gnolls to the north, maybe a half-dozen. A few are the plate-armored ones with halberds, a few have flindbars, and a few others have longswords. They seem to be led by one of the archer types. A handful of gnolls with spetums also stand nearby. They have dragged the bodies of their wounded back to safety in the further chamber [area 9].

    Emyn shouts, "Leave in peace and you will not be harmed. Seek a fight and we will destroy you. We have killed a dragon. You are no challenge."

    The flinds and gnolls are not really in a mood to fight, though they aren't just going to let you walk through their fortress. However, they flind leader (the archer type) agrees to a cease-fire. You may collect your dead if they may collect theirs.

    [Emyn OOC: We agree but do not let our guard down. We collect our dead and their posessions.]

    The party is able to gather the bodies of the fallen, and then retire back to the above level. They find that the Wild Bunch has also gathered the bodies of the dead gnolls/flinds. As they consider their next more, a party of flinds appears, well armed, but apparently willing to talk.....

    Hepla, casts Tongues and says," To whom do I have the honor of speaking and on what subject shall we talk? I thank you brave flind warriors for coming here, I am Dame Hepla, wife of Sir Emyn, first lady of the order of the Cat. Please call me Hepla."

    "I would suggest Berenn talk as well as," says Rakk. "My negotiating skills are scant and oft come to blows that weren't truly needed. I am often far too blunt but we need to limit their raiding area. But they do need food . . . Berenn you were looking for trade, they may be willing to trade for livestock."

    Hepla nods and says," This is Lord Berenn, he is good at talking to too."

    Theyln growls "You are in no position to dictate terms to us. You already spit upon my offer of peace. I give you permission to leave. Otherwise I give you permission to die." He says grimly.

    Thorgrim places his hand on Theyln's shoulder. "It looks to me as though the fight is over," he says, before releasing his grip. He casts Tongues, and asks the Flind leader, "How did you and your tribe come to be here? From whence did you come?"

    Theyln shrugs off the hand. Although he refrains from pissing on the Flind bodies, his disdain is obvious.

    Emyn says, "Maybe this is an opportunity to learn more about the mines and other things around here. We can probably intimidate the flinds and gnolls into telling us what they know about this area."

    "The gnolls have been invaded and many of them lie dead. Does anyone think they are going to let us stroll through without putting up resistance? We could easily overpower the gnolls and probably clear this place, but I see no honor in it. I thought I was doing a great deed by removing Chaustichlorinus from this world and it did bring closure to some, but misery to others. Have we not learned anything from our adventures? Just because you are capable of a certain action, it doesn't always mean you should take it. I took an oath to safe guard the helpless and it applies to all those I deem helpless."

    Rakk looks at Berenn for a minute, "Have you ever seen a farmhouse after a gnoll raiding party goes looking for food? We can negotiate now for where they can range, or I can return later with those who will come and 'negotiate' then. I have a short temper and am very blunt. I'd rather someone work out a living arrangement, but I won't see another burnt-out farm with 1/2- eaten workers again if I can possibly stop it."

    "That seems reasonable. I doubt they will feel like raiding anytime in the near future."

    Berenn will present a proposal drawing up boundaries and promising the surrounding villages will not cross those boundaries, if the gnolls don't.

    Emyn says, "And what of Dorob Kithilduum? Are we so willing to dishonour the memory of Clan Delgrim and abandon their halls to evil?"

    "I am quite sure the dwarves are capable of handling their own honor in due time. I seem to recall Thorgrim scolding his kin for coming here in the first place. The last time I checked, no one was designated as a champion of Clan Delgrim. I came here to find Braerindra, help the injured, recover the dead and bring an end to the hostilities. Unless you have a place where these gnolls can live in peace and are able to convince them to leave without the threat of physical force ... they stay for now. I won't draw my blades unless I am forced to defend myself."

    "I am sure any agreement to cease fighting could be limited to this small keep," says Emyn. "I speak of the mines, which are far more important. I have given my oath to Thorgrim to assist in their reclamation. I cannot abandon that oath, especially for a pack of mangy dogs."

    "Then let Thorgrim step up and aid in an agreement," says Rakk. "One that could hold til he and his declare war to reclaim their lands."

    The conversation goes on for some time, and soon you find that the gnolls do not raid into civilized lands, because there are none hereabouts. It is a full day's ride from here to the halfling village of Littleborough, and they said they didn't even know about the gnolls. They gnolls have never bothered anyone.

    The fortress of Koralgesh is the very edge of the old Kilthduum lands. After the fall of Dorob Kilthduum, as well as the above ground settlements in the valley to the SW of here (you saw the ruins of a great city from the hills by Cat's Claw Tower), this entire area was shunned. They lands of the Valley of Karaduum are believed to be haunted. Nobody knows what the situation is in Dorob Kilthduum. As for the mithril mines, they were abandoned even before the fall of Dorob Kilthduum.

    The gnolls live primarily by fishing along the river and hunting the lands thereabouts. You also learn that there was a break in the leadership, when Remarr was cast out. The flind archer who is the new leader of the flinds and gnolls was actually one of Remarr's supporters, and when he learns of Remarr joining the Wild Bunch, he has a new sense of respect for them. The flinds vow to continue their existence and will not raid into the lands of the Viscounty. They already had maintained a policy of staying out of the human/halfling lands, which were a bit far away in the first place. They had no reason to bring the wrath of humans down upon themselves. They don't know of any other groups of orcs or anything in the vicinity, and have no knowledge of the mines, Dorob Kilthduum, or anything else. They do say that the lands of the valley are indeed haunted, and they generally stay clear of the ruined city. They have memories of going there long ago, and most of those who went there died. Since then they have shunned the place.

    Thorgrim raises his hand. "We will uphold the truce between our peoples. Come, let us be off. If you see one of us again, let there be restraint before bloodshed." He looks at Din, who stands nearby with crossbow ready. Din has a quizzical look in his eye, but says nothing.

    Theyln says "Din, are you going to let this stand? These vermin infest your ancestral home!"

    "Indeed, they seemed too strong when we were by ourselves, but together..." he looks at Thorgrim hopefully, but Thorgrim is watching the Flind leader.

    Theyln tries to give a rousing speech. "This does not sit well with me. Are we to leave them to grow in strength again? Are to wait until they start attacking the surrounding villages and THEN try and stop them? Only when villages are burning and the dead lie rotting? They have proven the only time they are interested in peace is when they are confronted with an equal force. The time to strike them down is NOW......BEFORE they cause harm to others. Who is with me? Din, let us clear this blasphemy from your ancestral home!"

    Hepla says, "They have new leadership, let us give them a chance, one chance."

    "I await the decision of Thorgrim," says Emyn. "By right of blood, these are his lands."

    "I await the decision of Din," cries Theyln. "These are HIS lands. We have stood together in battle, I have never spilled blood with you or your company."

    Amaris says "I would never let them live in my forest 'peaceful' or not. Their kin would quickly kill all my animal friends and burn my beloved trees."

    Thorgrim turns about. "Din, where are your steeds? Come with me. We walk together."

    Thorgrim and Din walk down the path the party used to approach this deathtrap. Din has crossbow at the ready. Thorgrim leaves his pick sheathed.

    Amaris whistles and says, "Seems the 'heroes' of Hommlet have no problem burning to death countless innocent fey, but don't have the fortitude to deal with a few Flinds and Gnolls. Interesting."

    "I would be careful when you speak about things you don't know about child!" says Berenn, obviously annoyed. "The incident you speak of was caused by one impulsive fool who died for his foolishness a long time ago. His actions were not condoned by the group."

    "I know of what I speak," she snaps back. "My mother is Tamara the Dryad, and my family is the fey of the Gnarley forest. Careful friend, lest you truly instead of willfully forget what happened that day." Amaris says with an arched eyebrow.

    She turns her back on the "heroes" of Hommlet, and walks out, pulling her cloak down and vanishing.

    Theyln snorts and slams his longsword back in its sheath, then spins, his cloak billowing like a crimson storm as he walks out.

    Thorgrim ignores her. He is speaking with Din, and as his voice fades in the breeze.

    While the party is discussing things, the flinds and gnolls gather their dead and wounded. You are shocked by the small number of dead, only about 50. It seems they worked hard to save the lives of many of their kin, which are even now convalescing in makeshift infirmaries. Unfortunately, almost all of the flind leadership has been wiped out. You cannot tell exactly how strong their numbers are, but you are able to recognize at least two dozen different flinds and an equal number of gnolls.

    As Din and Thorgrim are about to move off and discuss their plans, a slight murmur ripples through the gnolls and flinds that are nearby. They part, and a slender flind female with a slight crown approaches. Thorgrim turns back and notes that the crown is made of pure mithril.

    Thorgrim takes another step forward, hands open. "I am called Thorgrim. Do you speak the Common tongue?" He asks Berenn over to translate if need be.

    "Yes," she replies. "Me speek gud commun tung."

    Thorgrim steps up and nods to the flind queen. Din looks a unhappy, standing back grumbling with one hand on his crossbow trigger. Thorgrim tells the queen (through Berenn/Hepla) that he is sorry for the losses incurred during these last weeks and offers to do what he can for the flind/gnoll wounded. She accepts, and has the archer lead him to the infirmary; Berenn goes with him. He marvels at the construction of the place, and recognizes that there is no way he can leave these flinds and gnolls here. Taking this fortress is a must for any return to Karaduum and ultimately the reconquest of Dorob Kilthduum.

    Together Berenn and Thorgrim find many wounded, perhaps 25 of each. Between their spells and Berenn's rod, they are able to heal the wounded before returning outside. Queen Mirssa is quite pleased with the display of mercy shown by Berenn and Thorgrim, and she asks what they would have of her.

    "You must leave this fortress," says Thorgrim resolutely. "It is time for the dwarves of Dorob Kilthduum to return home, and this," he waves his arm to encompass the fortress, "this is ours."

    The flinds look back and forth as this is translated by Hepla, and the queen looks uncertain. No few looks of anger and disgust cross the faces of the flinds, though it's hard to really read them. The queen looks at her people, unsure of what to do. Mal gets the sense that she is scared.

    A small goblin comes forward, standing beside the flind queen and taking her hand. You hadn't noticed it before, but it seems to be the queen's servant. It speak to Mal in goblin. "She fears for her people. If you force them to leave, they have no reason to not fight."

    "What did he say?" says Thorgrim, looking at Mal.

    Din mumbles something, which only the elves hear. "...gnolls, now goblins....next?" He kicks the dirt in frustration. "They are calling upon you mercy," he says. "They have no where else to go. They know the dwarvish people to be a just and fair race and ask for your permission to stay."

    "We may find a place for you, yet," says Thorgrim. "But it is not here. This is my homeland, and it will be reclaimed by the Dwarves...by decree or by war. That will be a fight you cannot win."

    While the queen stands looking helpless, another voice speaks.

    Din is flabbergasted, and almost explodes. "Thorgrim, have you lost your mind? We cannot allow this scum to live! They desecrate the halls of our ancestors by their very presence, and defile the land with every breath they breathe. Good gods! I saw a statue of Yeenoghu inside!"

    "There may be a middle way," Thorgrim says, both to the queen and to Din.

    The flind queen waits, unsure of the meaning of the exchange which was likely in dwarven [though they didn't say so!].

    Theyln looks outraged and turns to the members of the old party and says angrily in elvish. "You came here for what exactly? To give aid and comfort to our enemies? They only talk peace NOW because WE decimated their leadership. We already gave them a chance to negotiate on equal footing and they spit upon it, thinking to murder us all. Now you would coddle these vermin? These thieves who carry the relics of Din's ancestors? They desecrate this place with their filth and you sit there in committee wringing your hands unsure of what to do? Why did you come here to betray us?!"

    "Hold your tongue, Wild Elf," Thorgrim says in dismay, surprising Theyln by speaking in Elvish. "It is not your place to speak for the Kilthduum Dwarves. We speak for ourselves, and their voice is mine. These are our lands, and not yours. You have no say. By the gods! I wish Isilme was here to beat some sense into your head. She thought you capable, because you escaped with your lives. As injured as you all were, I would doubt that. That's why we came."

    Now speaking in Common, Thorgrim addresses the Flind Queen. "I would speak with you in private." He keeps his eye on Theyln, to see his reaction.


    "Watch yourself," Theyln replies. "I am no wild elf, but a noble of the Celene! You are a fool! They erected a Demon god in there and you expect them to honor any agreement? Din....." he looks to Din with questioning eyes "Does this sit well with you?"

    Din casts his eyes downward. "Nay, it does not..." His gaze rises again. "But I have faith in Thorgrim's wisdom."

    Thorgrim chortles, "Hohoho, a Celene noble, how interesting! I have been through the Celene, more than once, and was a "guest" at their court, although those Elves could certainly stand to learn some manners. We may have dealings with your superiors, once my kingdom is restored."


    The queen leans down and whispers to the goblin servant girl, and they talk for a moment in hushed tones you can't understand. She then agrees. "My servant, Kelash, come. You pick one other too."

    Thorgrim nods. "Din! Come with me. I want you to bear witness to this negotiation. Un-cock your bow."

    Din squints his eyes, but does as he's told. He has certainly learned a few things about hobgoblins, fighting alongside Mal: that they are fierce, intelligent, and can even act nobly! Who knows, maybe one day his racist tendencies will be overcome? he thinks.

    They move off away from the others to speak. About an hour later, Thorgrim and Din emerge from their meeting with the Flind Queen. Din looks pale and stricken, though Thorgrim seems of good cheer. He announces to the party:

    "The Flinds have agreed to leave the Keep, at a time of my choosing, though this time is not now. In the meanwhile, they will live in peace with the surrounding nations, as they have been. In return for their help in overtaking Dorob Kilthduum, they will be granted lands inside our new nation where they will be allowed to live in peace, unmolested by outsiders. Anyone who wishes to break this peace does so at their own peril."

    Thorgrim takes a moment to look at Theyln, then at Rakk, who nods.

    "Come," says Thorgrim, "Let us leave this place. I have a mind to explore the area for signs of Orcs, and to find and claim the abandoned Mithril Mine. All here present are invited to join the foray. Even foreign nobles..." he says while looking at Theyln. "Great wealth may be found inside, even though the greatest part still resides unmined in the stone. All who take part in the adventure may reap the rewards."

    "Did someone say mithril?" Bree pipes up.

    "You are never going to learn are you?" Berenn retorts. "But at least this time, you will have me along to keep you out of trouble. Hopefully this side trek won't take to long, I believe Rakk's mentioned some "giant" problem we should look into soon."

    The groups leaves, Theyln keeping quiet and Amaris nowhere to be found. Once they get their mounts, they return to town. Back in Littleborough, you get stuck in a pretty big storm. There are gale force winds, which last for the rest of the Growfest festival. The halflings are very disappointed, as their outdoor festivities are largely ruined.

    In littleborough, Amaris takes her leave of the party and refuses any coin or share.

    "It was a pleasure to meet you all, but I must seek Isilme out in Hommlet, from what tales you have shared, I think perhaps with her magic she can help find my father. Besides, your group is far too suicidal for my taste." She says with a grimace.

    "You don't have to look that far child" says a musical voice, as a gold skinned wild elf with tribal tattoos seems to appear out of nowhere. "I know your mother Tamara well, and she was willing to help us in our time of need. Take my hand"

    They join hands and step into nothingness, seeming to both vanish!

    Theyln takes time to speak with Rakk. "Many in the court speak highly of you 'Sha'quessir,' but I can't believe you would stand beside a decision like this, these creatures will ravage the land, and all in it. When they grow in strength their word will be meaningless. These are near MY lands. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the effects will ripple outwards."

    "I said I disagree with it," answers calmly. "I cannot force people to go to war, as yours so kindly pointed out. I have no say in this decision, and no right to make it. All I can do is prepare for what I think will happen."

    Thorgrim starts to scowl but quickly turns impassive, not wanting to provoke the impetuous and belligerent Elfling. Seeing Din clench his fists in anger, Thorgrim stays him with a hand. "For all we know, he may be right. I have no idea why Dorob Kilthduum fell, except for the Orc hordes."

    "You can't let him speak to you like that!" Din implores.

    "Were he and I to come to blows, there could be only one outcome," Thorgrim replies simply. "Come, have a smoke with me."

    Thorgrim enters his Portable Hole, removes the keg of ale and the dragonbone pipe Isilme gave him, carved by Vaddarra herself. "Let me tell you the tale of Caustichlorinus, the Dread Green Dragon. Malgubet also may have something to say on the matter."

    After some hours telling the tale of misery and woe, Thorgrim stands up.


    At some point in the story, you notice tears welling up in Thelyn's eyes, and it is then you realize you have actually seen this elf before, and the armour he wears.... These are the items you recovered from the dragons lair, and this is the elf whom the queen of the Celene returned them to.

    "I owe Isilme a debt of gratitude for restoring my family honor" He murmurs. "I also owe you an apology Thorgrim, as 'twas you and your allies who brought vengeance upon my fathers killer. I will trouble you no more with my doubt, but I will not lie and say the decision sits well with me."

    He offers his hand.

    [Theyln OOC: good choice of story to tell!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Clanggedin must've been guiding his thoughts. The point of recalling the tale was that choices and their effects can be complex, and it can be hard to discern the right course of action to take. Befriending Theyln is providence.]

    Thorgrim takes Theyln's hand. "I accept your apology and your gratitude. The battle with Caustichlorinus was one of my most difficult tests, though 'twas Isilme who was most effective and Noot who landed the death-blow. Theyln, you never have need lie to me, and you may speak your mind freely whensoever you choose."

    "I thought we were all going to meet our end that day!" Berenn says. Bree says nothing, but looks at her brother with some new found respect.

    "Aye," says Emyn. "That beast was a fell foe. The gods smiled upon us when we survived and were victorious, though I grieve for the loss of life in the nearby gnome village still." A stricken memory flashes across his face before disappearing again.

    "Come Thelyn, let's work on your sword skills. Let me teach you some defensive training since it seems you're going to need it with this bunch."

    And that is the end of the Keep of Koralgesh adventure. It is one from an old Dungeon mag, number 2 in fact. I tweaked it, and it was quite fun. This long, epic battle against the gnolls and flinds has gone down in history as one of our greatest ever. Anyway, the players at this point almost merged the old and new parties, but then decided to keep them separate. The Hereoes of Hommlet would continue on and investigate the giant troubles, while the Wild Bunch would continue to search for the Mithril Mine. Stay tuned for more.

    For the record, you guys are in Littleborough. It's on the far SW edge of the Viscounty. Here's the map, again.

    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-rOK3C_QKsGU/UuRZzCeE1NI/AAAAAAAACN8/33sSI2oPW8k/s1152/To%2520Rastor-4.JPG

    Finally, here's the map of the Valley of Karaduum which I've been using.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Xs9vZ5yeRaI/UxKM3ehskqI/AAAAAAAACqk/xs0z_eEIXHA/s1349/Fullscreen%2520capture%2520312014%252054317%2520PM.jpg
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> Campaign Journals & General Online Play All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum


    Forums ©


    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 1.42 Seconds