One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Updated character list:
Elrae: Human Bard
Derry Bushytoes: Halfling Fighter/Thief
Gotrek Goreblade: Dwarven Fighter (Battlerager)
Jordan Dawnbringer: Human Paladin of Heironeous
Salamander: Human druid
Thorgrim Duerkas: Dwarven Fighter/Priest
The Village of Hommlet
You follow the track back out of the marsh, with Berenn leading the way. Soon it leaves the marsh and you are walking through pleasant woods. The tracks joins a well-maintained road, and you follow it to the west where it passes next to a pair of low hills, upon which some sort of construction in underway. There are numerous tents and other temporary shelters along the edge of a copse of trees, housing what look to be peasant laborers. A group of gnomes are busy unloading a couple of carts full of stones and carrying them up the hills upon which rests a completed tower and the beginnings of a small castle.
"Welcome to the village of Hommlet," says Berenn. "You should probably head to the Inn of the Welcome Wench and acquire some rooms. I will take our excess baggage to the Church of St. Cuthbert and meet you there shortly." Berenn gives directions to the inn and to the church.
OOC: Berenn has been in and out of Hommlet his whole life so he should be able to give directions to these locations.
Elrae was excited, as he had heard of this watering hole all the way in Woodstock. The Inn of the Welcome Wench is a place renowned for its good food and excellent drink. Passing merchants make a point of stopping, as do many other sorts of wayfarers, and the place is always filled with patrons. The large common room is bright and cheerful. It contains many rough-hewn tables and chairs, boards and benches. Natural tree trunk pillars support the ceiling overhead, all dark with smoke and age. As it is nigh on nightfall, a good dozen customers are currently in the place. They seem to be travellers of various sorts--merchants, tinkers, and peddlers, and a couple of local farmers at a far table. Several barmaids and potboys are circulating, bringing food and drink, taking away the empty platters and flagons, and stoking the low fires.
A large bald man wearing an apron comes up, wiping his hands on towel.
"Name's Ostler Gundergoot," he says as he eyes the party. While he talks with a genuine smile, you can tell that his sharp eyes have taken in every detail. "If you're looking for a room, and a place for your friend to rest, I have a few empty rooms upstairs."
"Fine inn-keeper," says Elrae. "We shall take you up upon such offers of room and bord and bless you with our presence. I am Elrae of Woodstock, slayer of spiders, bane to goblins, orcs and ogres. Drinking buddies with a rider of the storm. And most recently executioner of a gnollish horde. Gladly buy a round of drinks for my compatriots and myself and let us know if there is any riff raft that is sullying the good name of the Welcome Wench that needs our attention."
He looks at the rest of the group, then nods at Elrae with a barely suppressed grin. "The Welcome Wench is reknown for leagues, and nobody is fool enough to cause trouble here," he says with a touch of finality. "Now, if it's a room you be wanting, I'll have one of me daughters show you one."
The party got a good meal, and rented rooms at the inn. Everyone then split up.
Gotrek has a couple of drinks with the group. However, something is bothering him. At the moment, he cannot figure out what it is. He excuses himself, and goes for a walk around Hommlet. He exits the tavern, and the sound of a blacksmiths hammer catches his attention. He entered and introduced himself to the blacksmith. The brawny man introduces himself as "Brother Smyth." When Gotrek asked if there was anything he could help him with, the man hesitates, but looking at the steely thews of Gotreks arms, he hands him his hammer and steps back. "I've been working on these hoops for Aldridge, our cooper and brewer," he says, wiping the sweat from his brow. "Since my apprentice left for Verbobonc last month, I've fallen behind. Let's see what you can do." He ended up working well into the evening, making friends with the blacksmith.
At the church, Berenn met with the local priest Calmert and the Canon Terjon, chief cleric of the church since Canoness Y'dey left unexpectedly a few months ago. Terjon is his usual brusk self, and dislikes the idea of taking in the orcling, [I forgot, the found a hiding orc child, and brought them back.] reminding you of the old saying, "evil which cannot be removed must be eliminated." However, Calmert sees it as a perfect opportunity. He points out the sayings of St. Cuthbert etched in the prayer tiles. "Thick heads are not made of glass" and his personal favorite, "Lawful correction lies in a stout billet." The latter he is quite commonly quoting to the local flock.
"Orcs may not be too bright, but salvation does not lie in smart answers," he says, taking the orcling with him. "We'll see if we can make anything out of him," and he takes the orcling away.
As he leaves, Canon Terjon's dark looks shows what he thinks of this. "Well, I always say, preach quitely but have a large cudgel handy. I think dear Calmert will need a great war mace with that one."
Salamander went and found that there is a druid living here, Jaroo Ashstaff, and met him, offering his services, while Derry seeks out a tailor who can make him a proper outfit. then he went back to the inn and got blind drunk.
Elrae was happy to have a place to entertain, while the others just relaxed. Eventually, the party went to sleep. Ostler called on one of his daughters to show you rooms, and she is certainly a good-looking lass. She smiles quite largely at Elrae as she shows you your rooms. Elrae takes the inn keeper's daughter by the hand and leads her to his bed chamber and retires for the evening. [It's amazing when you set 'em up like that, and players just knock 'em down!]
In the morning, Berenn was up first. As Berenn finishes his meal, young Elmo enters the Inn and, seeing him eating alone, he comes to join him. Berenn knows him as a fellow ranger; in fact, it was Elmo's tales of adventure that early inspired Berenn. They shake hands as Elmo sits down, orders an ale, and listens to Berenn's tales.
Elmo is certainly anxious about bandits, or worse, using the old moathouse. Bandit attacks have been on the rise, but not around the moathouse, or even Hommlet for that matter. "Maybe the're just smart enough to not crap in their yard," he says through gulps of ale.
"I did find a dead gnoll a while back, but didn't give it much thought," he adds. "It was pretty well eaten, so I figured it was a lone straggler since I didn't see more. But gnolls working with orcs and bandits? That IS worrisome."
Meanwhile, you hear Ostler call for his daughter, and he goes back to the kitchen muttering when she doesn't show up.
"Elmo, what is so spectacular about that old moathouse?", Berenn inquires. " And have there been any recent visitors to the town that look suspicious?"
As for Elmo, he just shrugs. "Once a place is used for such evil, it is never the same."
"A place of evil? You mean the Temple of Elemental Evil? This would be grave news indeed. My father told me the temple was razed.", Berenn continues. "Apparently, the moathouse will require investigation."
Elmo takes another drink, then continues.
"My brother Otis told me how this outpost was ignored during the destruction of the Temple. He fought with the army of the Viscount which came against the wicked hordes of the Temple. Only after the end of the battle which destroyed the main armies of the Temple of Elemental Evil was attention turned to this place. A detachment of horse and foot with a small siege train then came to the marshlands, to lay the castle low. The common folk from miles around came to help, and the moathouse was surrounded, cut off, and battered into extinction. I kept an eye on it for a few years, as you know, but never saw anything amiss. Looks like I was wrong."
Eventually everyone met up, and with some newfound info from Elmo, they decided to head back to the moathouse to investigate. Brytallis left the party, since he was supposed to meet up with the local wizard named Burne anyway. Plus, he had almost died about 4 or 5 times, and was not going to push his luck. Lucky for the party, they met another young mage named Spugnoir, who was eating breakfast. He seemed a bit on the weak and gangly side, but was anxious to come along in the hopes of gaining mystical knowledge, especially necromancy. [He would find more than he bargained for....]
Elrae then treated Brytallis to a farewell song....
Bravely bold Brytallis
Rode forth from Verbobonc.
He was not afraid to die,
Oh brave Brytallis.
He was not at all afraid
To be killed in nasty ways.
Brave, brave, brave, brave Brytallis.
He was not in the least bit scared
To be mashed into a pulp.
Or to have his eyes gouged out,
And his elbows broken.
To have his kneecaps split
And his body burned away,
And his limbs all hacked and mangled
His head smashed in
And his heart cut out
And his liver removed
And his bowls unplugged
And his nostrils raped
And his bottom burnt off
And his pen--
"That's... that's enough music for now lads,
*** there's dirty work afoot*** ???."
Brave Brytallis ran away.
Bravely ran away away.
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Brytallis turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
****Bravely**** taking ("I never did!") to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the braaaave, Brytallis!
The party then left the village and headed out for the moathouse. They couldn't find Jordan. As they cross the street, a shout from the blacksmith's gets your attention. Brother Smyth waves and hurries across to Gotrek.
"I've never seen such work," he says, grasping Gotrek's arm in a firm clasp. "You are a true craftsman, Master Dwarf. You must let me pay you for the work you did."
"I do not want any payment, Brother Smyth. Just let me smith in your forge, if I ever have the desire again in the future. You do not know how much that would mean to me."
The blacksmith agreed, and the party left. The found Jordan at the tower on the way out, sparring with another warrior of Heironeous, while an old wizard and Brytallis looked on. This was Burne and Rufus. When they were all introduced, the wizard requested a meeting before the party left. They ended up meeting with the village council.
As they went back, Elrae began singing a song about the Temple of Evil. It got the townsfolk all upset, as if the temple had risen anew, endangering all their lives. It took the appearance of Canon Terjon to calm them down. The party was then led into the village meeting house.
A few benches and stools are against bare walls of this brand new wooden building. A tapestry on the back wall shows a green field with two acorns above a sheef of grain, the banner of Hommlet. A large plain table sits in the center of the room, around which are seated a handful of people. Burned and Rufus sit to each side of the head of the table, where sits an elderly man with a very distinguished look. Also seated at the table are Jaroo Ashstaff, who Salamander recognizes as the Druid of the Grove along with Ostler the innkeeper, Canon Terjon, and two other men you've never met, both middle-aged.
"What trouble have you found now, son," says one of the middle-aged men?
"Hey pa," replied Otis, looking hurt. "It found me this time," he continues, "honest."
Before the man can reply, the village elder raises a hand which silences the discussion.
Elrae removes his hat and takes a deep bow towards the town elders.
"So leaders of Hommlet, how may we be of service to thee."
From some dark corner of the hall, Berenn's eyes roll into the back of his head.
"Well FIRST of all," erupts Canon Terjon, "You can stop causing a panic amonsts my congregation..."
"Not all are followers of Cuthbert," interrupts the druid Jaroo, raising his hand slightly. Canon Terjon throws the druid a glare and is about to say something more when the village elder speaks.
With a chuckle the old man speaks"Either way, what's done is done. It is time we get this meeting underway, and in a civilized fashion."
With that Canon Terjon sits back in his chair, his hands almost white on the table as he controls his temper. The people around the table introduce themselves. They are Elder Hammond, Jaroo Ashstaff, Canon Terjon, Otis's father Agar who is also Captain of the Hommlet Company (the town militia), Mytch the Miller, Ostler Gundigoot the Innkeeper, Sir Rufus of Verbobonc, and Burne who introduces himself as "His Most Worshipful Mage of Hommlet."
After you introduce yourselves, the council gets down to business. Of the men gathered, only Agar, Mytch, Ostler, and Elder Hammond were here when the Temple of Evil arose a decade past. Rufus was a soldier in the Viscount's army, and fought at Emridy Meadows, though he was wounded and did not participate in the attack on the temple. They all recount how bad things were in Hommlet during this time, and how the forces of the lord of the fortress terrorized the village from the safety of his "Black Chamber." Otis originally, and lately Bereen, have been keeping an eye on the old ruins, but nobody has seen any activity thereabouts. Only your recent pursuit of the orc band led you there, quite by accident. It could be that some brigands have decided to use the place as a base of operations, but the council now needs to know that it is nothing worse than that. Thus, you have been summoned here. The council wishes you to continue to investigate the place and report back to them on anything you find.
"Aye," says Thorgrim, "Why not? We wuz goin' there anyway."
"I believe Elmo wished to accompany us as well," Berenn breaks his silence. "He would be a welcome addition to the group with the Council's permission of course. My father silently stood watch over these lands for many years and now it is time for his son to take his place."
The council thanks you, Terjon glares at Elrae while Jeroo and the locals try and contain their grins. Otis goes over to his father who takes his shoulders and says something that nobody hears. He then ruffles Otis's hair as the big man moves away from his father almost ashamedly, yet with a smile.
The party leaves the hall and proceed out of town, with Spugnoir catching up to you. "Don't forget me!" he says through gasping breaths.
Last edited by ragnar on Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
Actually, I removed that. It seemed kinda strange that they'd have something like that. If they wanted to trap the stairs, a lot of other mechanics traps would have sufficed. You see a lot of that in the older modules.
It seems that it would actually be a good idea to give a bit of information on each of the characters. Thus, I will give their original histories and a link to their pics. I hope posting the links to their pics doesn't violate anything. If so, I'll take them down. :)
Berenn Silverwood was born in the Gnarley Forest to a elf man and human woman. His father was Bregen Silverwood a woodsman serving the Viscount Wilfrick. One day Bregen happened a caravan traveling to Nulb from Hommlet being attacked by bandits. Although this was outside of the Viscount’s jurisdiction, he was not about to watch innocents get slaughtered. Bregen fell upon the brigands and in course of battle slaughtered them to a man. Unfortunately, the caravan had only one survivor, a young woman named Vara Dressan. Bregen soon discovered that Vara had lost her whole family in the attack and was completely alone. Bregen offered to take her to his encampment in the northern part of the forest and Vara excepted. Bregen and Vara lived together happily and Vara bore Bregen a son, Berenn. Berenn was taught to be a woodsman and hunter by his father and devotion to St. Cuthbert by his mother. In time, Berenn was allowed to study at the Church of St. Cuthbert in Hommlet. He knows the Gnarley Forest and surrounding areas very well, including hidden trails. Recently Berenn has become more adventurous and has been keeping an eye on the old moat house outside of Hommlet.
One day while hunting around the old moat house he witness a small band of orcs go wandering into the moat house followed by what appeared to be a group of foolhardy adventures. He decides to move in for a closure look …
Derry Bushytoes: Halfling Fighter/Thief
Derry is a thief with a lot of luck and a rash personality. Never one to take to books, he can barely read. Originally from Littleborogh, at the far southwestern corner of the Viscounty, he learned his thieving trade in the Shield Lands, where be was known to take unnecessary risks during his training, only managing to survive through dumb luck. The local guild did not wish to be associated with him, as it was highly likely to have to bail him out of precarious situations or cover up whatever disaster he may have caused. Derry is a free spirit, who rarely thinks of teh consequences of his actions. While not malicious in nature, he often becomes to focused on a specific goal, ignoring danger signs. This obsessive behaviour can also be noted in his constant cleaning. Now that the guild has chosen to exile him from the Shield Lands, he has turned his eye to adventure.
Gotrek Goreblade: Dwarven Fighter (Battlerager)
My name is Gotrek. I am a Battle Rager. I have not the tongue for talk. But, I have a need to explain how I got where I am today.When I was a babe, my clan was attacked by giants. The entire clan was exterminated. All but myself. They say I was found with a rock in my hand, and a dead giant at my feet. I do not know if that tale is true or not. I have no recollection of such a thing. In fact, I did not hear of this until 15 years ago. And this is where my life truly began. But, I am getting ahead of myself. A neighboring clan of mountain dwarves found me, and took me in as their own. Their craft was armor and weapons, and when I turned 10, I went into apprenticeship. An apprenticeship normally lasts for 25 years. And I completed it, though it brought me no joy. Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike it. But it wasn't my ..lifequest. It did not light that internal fire. I completed it for the clan, whom I thought my own family. Clans stick together, and help each other. It was a rival armorer that told me of my past, out of sheer jealousy. His intention was to drive me away, for though I did not love the craft, I did excel in it. And he knew, as I did, that I was the better of the the two of us. Once I heard of my past, I was driven to find out more facts. And the more facts I learned, the more I changed. But there were still a lot of unanswered questions....
In a way the rival dwarf, Gunther, won. I no longer created. No more did I put metal to heat, and hammer beauty. No, I changed. I was always proficient wielding weapons, notably the battleaxe and warhammer. But now, I wanted to master them, as I had the forge. My clan brothers began to fear me and revere me. At the same time, it seemed, if that makes any sense. I dyed my hair a bright red. I got piercings. I got tattoos. And I killed. The clan would not interact willingly with me anymore. And that suited me just fine. Talking just got in the way of my killing. And when I found out that giants had eradicated my original clan, I made the destruction of that cursed race my lifequest. Or, perhaps, deathquest would be a more apt description. Anyway, I knew it was the right decision. It was confirmed to me this, one night as I slept. Fifteen years after first discovering my past from the envious dwarf Gunther. The Dwarven God of War, Clangeddin Silverbeard, visited me. He told me I was one of his chosen few, a Battle Rager. He told me my goal of killing giants was good. Great, in fact.
But he also told me not to forget about the other evils that plagued the world:the titans, the drow, the goblins, and on and on. He then told me one more thing. In my path of self destruction, it would lead me to a great weapon. A great two handed battleaxe. Made of mithral, and laced with gold. Magically enhanced as well. It had numerous magical properties, but one in particular justified its name. Giant Goreblade. The Bane of Giants. Goreblade for short. Silverbeard told me once I found the blade, the answers to my past would be known as well. So now, I quest. And as I quest, I kill. If I die before finding Goreblade, so be it. My axe is plenty gory as it now stands, anyway.
That dream was five years ago. Ever since then, my fighting prowess has increased. During battle, I feel no pain. I kill all, with greater strength and determination than would seem possible. I am truly blessed by my God. Now, in search of answers, I must go where all dwarves hate. A city full of stinking men. I go now towards the Viscounty of Verbobonc. I heard whispers of the axe passing thru this way a little while back. I hope these humans don't piss me off. All I want to do is destroy the scum of the earth. Men, for the most part, have not made that list yet.
Jordan Dawnbringer: Human Paladin of Heironeous
Player didn't give me one before he dropped. He became an NPC, and I never got around to making a background. I know, bad DM!
Salamander: Human druid
5'7" tall, unkempt red hair that tends to spike out in every direction. Clean shaven. Very quiet until spoken to, tends to babble a lot when he does speak. Like most druids, tends to wear greens and browns. Favors a hood when outside to mute his hair. Startles easily at loud noises. Sal grew up a follower of the Old Faith outside of Etterboek. He was attracted to the party by their actions in the neighborhood, and he joined them when they needed help. He really isn't that interested in adventures, but as this group seemed to be helping the land thereabouts, he figured he should stick around. He also had the idea that somebody needed to also keep an eye on them, lest they become as dangerous as the foes they pursued.
Thorgrim Duerkas: Dwarven Fighter/Priest
Thorgrim Duerkas (Darkseeker) was born in Dorob Kilthduum, during the time of the Hateful Wars. He was a child when his people were scattered from their home, and remembers the time there with an innocence bread of childhood memories. This infused in him a perhaps irrational desire to return, untempered by true understanding of the events which led to the stronghold's fall. His hatred of Euroz (Orcs) knows no bounds, and he will do anything to return his people to their rightful place. He refused to live his life in the human lands, and spent much of his youth amongst his own kind, traveling from one hold to another throughout the Lortmil Mountains and beyond. He became so impassioned with his growing sense of duty and purpose that he sought out the great dwarven priests and studied at their feet. However, his impatience with their pessimistic and even fatalistic attitude led him to seek his goals elsewhere, which inevitably led him into the mountains and later into the human lands.
While traveling through the Fey Realm of Celene, he was gifted with a dream from the dwarven god Clanggedin, a dream in which Thorgrim and another raging dwarf armed with a Dwarven greataxe of immense power, stood victorious in the great hall of Dorob Kilthduum, surrounded by slaughtered Euroz. This reinforced Thorgrim's sense of purpose, and he set off to find both this other dwarf and this great weapon. In Verbobonc, he heard tales of just such a dwarf, a Battlerager no less, and with haste he set out on the High Road to catch up with him.
Last edited by ragnar on Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
The current party is Gotrek, Thorgrim, Elrae, Derry, Salamander, Bereen, Elmo, Spugnoir, and Jordan (seems Rufus wants him along). [Jordan player already dropped, but I had Jordan stick around.]
The party travels back to the moathouse, with Berenn and Elmo scouting out ahead. When the get close, Berenn returns, leaving Elmo to keep an eye on the place. It all seems quiet, too quiet.
Derry and Berenn have a short argument about who is the stealthier, when Elrae interrupts them. "Well you two quiet types with your fancy shoes, should scout about the moathouse, look for a sneaky way to get in, and don't get caught. Then we tumultuous ones will barge in and cut down what ever is in front of us. Hey wait a minute I didn't think that halflings wore boots."
"And I didn't think halflings charged at Storm Giants either," said Thorgrim with a laugh.
Berenn and Derry took off to scout, and about ten minutes later, Berenn returns. He reports a little-used path around the rear of the ruin. A pile of rubble from the collapsed corner of the keep has partially filled the moat making the water spill out into a marsh. A path of stones leads from the woods to the rubble-strewn corner has been recently used.
"That sounds like a plan, let's take the secret path."
The halfing comes skipping along with a smile on his face. "I found a way in," he says. "I went into that room where I saw the people before. It is empty. There are hallways going to the left and right, with multiple doors along their lengths, and a door opposite the entrance to the room that would seem to lead to the old keep. The room itself is pretty much trashed, with lots of garbage and debris everywhere. "
"Well if there's a back door, I'd say we should try that way first. If we're going to face a badger in its lair, I'd prefer not to run right into its teeth first."
"We should probably go in the front door.", Berenn says. "Maybe there are clues in that room which indict where the prior occupants departed to."
Derry supports the druid's point of view, mainly because he helped him find his new boots.
Thorgrim say we should do both. Send Bereen and Otis to sneak around back and through the back door as the rest come in through the front. "If they're holed up in the tower keep, then we catch them between the hammer and anvil."
The party splits up, with half going in the front and half through the rear.
"Then let us be off," say Thorgrim. You head across the stones, and scramble up the rubble to a concealed entrance. Really, it is a hole through the back corner of the tower keep, which leads into the ground floor of the place. According to Otis, this was the "Black Chamber," quarters for the former lord of the castle. It is about 30' square, and has a stout door, newly repaired and barred, which leads to the great hall where Derry had previously scouted. The chamber floor is covered in black flagstones, a few of which are pulled up revealing a hole in ground where something was recently unburied. The ebon-colored wall-hangings, burnt and tattered, seem to show scenes of battle with strange cthionic creatures. This room is rather picked up, with most of the debris in a large pile next to the collapses corner. A fire pit shows evidence of use, seemingly where the men seen earlier burned the broken remains of the building's furniture for firewood.
Derry searches the junk and finds nothing, but Berenn spots an strange crack in the outside wall. Running his hands along it, he discovers the signs of a secret doorway.
Derry rushes over and quickly finds the release, but cannot budge the door. Berenn looks very closely around the room, and specifically at the floor around the secret door. While there are clear signs of men billeting here for some time, there is no sign at all that the secret door has been used. After pushing on it for a few minutes, Derry stops, huffing and puffing, and looks to the dwarves for help. Gotrek and Thorgrim grin at Derry as they put their shoulders to the door and shove it inward. The door is about 5' wide, and pivots in to the left, cobwebs and dust falling away as it turns inward revealing a narrow stairway going down and turning to the right.
"Anyone have any torches?" asks Elrae.
The dwarves look at you like you have crayfish coming out of your ears.
Salamander solves the problem by finding a chair leg in some of the rubble, wrapping a bit of torn tapestry about it, and lighting it with flint and tinder. "Problem solved!"
Derry finds no evidence of traps of any kind; however, he doesn't descend the stairs as the passage is covered in spiderwebs and he doesn't want to get them on his nice clothes. He does ask Sal to burn the webs out of the way with torch. Gotrek just snorts and starts down the stairs, axe in hand. Thorgrim follows, wiping the webs from him as he passes. Derry follows making certain the webs do not touch him. The party goes quietly down the stairs, dwarves out front, followed by Derry and Berenn, then the humans with torches in the back.
At the bottom of the stairs, a couple more doors are found. Derry checks one but it's stuck. He looks at Gotrek, who pushes the door open, and is immediately hit by a large object, looks like a table, slamming him back into the others. He and Otis go down in a heap. Derry was beside him, and did not get hit, and sees into the room. It is 20 square feet, with 5 pillars holding up the vaulted ceiling. Standing in the center, beside the central pillar, is a huge ogre. It grins as it sees the dwarf go flying backwards, and licks its lips at the halfling. "Um, hobbit snack!"
After a short but tough fight, the ogre goes down under the relentless assault of the party's warriors. The party rescues a young girl, being held as the ogre's next meal. Otis recognizes her as the daughter of one of the farmers in Hommlet. Once they realize there are no other prisoners, Otis offers to escort her back home. Most of the party want him to stay, and have the girl hide outside until they return.
Jordan steps forward, "Our first duty is to protect the innocent, and this child shall not remain in danger another second." As Salamander finishes tending to her, Jordan turns to Otis, "Take her back to town, and see to her. We are plenty strong enough for whatever remains, and if not, then the girl is put in unnecessary danger."
With a nod, Otis scoops the girl up and leaves. "I shall await you at the Church of St. Cuthbert, where the girl will be tended to by Calmert." With that, he slips back out the secret door to the winding stairs.
"What diabolical fiend feeds innocent children to an ogre?" wonders Elrae. "Whoever they might be they need to be dealt with with a swift hand of justice."
Moving on, the party opens enters the apex of a large L-shaped chamber. Straight ahead of you is the short part of the L, about 20' wide and 40' long, with three large pillars down the middle supporting the ceiling. There is an opening to another chamber on the left wall and a half-dozen doors on the right wall. To the party's right is the large side of the L, about 40' wide and 60' long. It also has pillars down the middle, supporting the ceiling, and what looks like a stairway going up in the center. There are a couple of doors on the far wall of this section, beyond the stairs.
Salamander looks curiously at the doors. "What can they all be for?"
"hmmm," says Beren. "lower part of a keep ... long line of doors along one side ... perhaps a dungeon with cells? Let's see if there are more prisoners."
As Berenn steps into the chamber, the first door opens up and two zombies scrape around the half-open door, looking your way through dark, dead eyes.
"Aaaaahhh! Abominations of nature!" Uncharacteristically, Salamander charges unthinkingly with his spear at the nearest zombie, attempting to impale it.
Salamander rushes forward and impales a zombie, though it seems to not even notice. Gotrek grimly charges, attempting to help Salamander, and chops the head off the impaled zombie. "That's how you do it!"
Derry moves up and attacks the other zombie, but misses, and Berenn tries to turn them, but his holy symbol gets hot in his hands and he realizes that they cannot be turned in this place of evil.
The zombie hits Derry, and Gotrek chops the thing in half. The legs flop over, but the upper body still reaches for Derry.
The others move out of the ogre room as the next door opens up and two more zombies shuffle forward.....
With a grim smile, Thorgrim rushes past Gotrek and slams his pick into the head of a zombie, brains flying everywhere. Jordan is right behind, and he swings at the next zombie, hacking off an arm. The thing swings at him with its good arm grabs ahold of Jordan's sword arm, twisting it.
The half-zombie clawing on the ground bites at Derry, who leaps out of the way, leaving the way clear for Salamander to stab his spear into the thing's head, nailing it to the floor.
The next two doors open and two more zombies come shuffling out of each.
Sal heals Derry, then curses as the blood stops but the wounds don't really heal.
Meanwhile, Berenn hacks at the zombie fighting Jordan, sending flesh flying, while Jordan stabs the thing in the eye, killing it. "Well, killing it again," he says pulling out his sword.
Elrae fires a bolt down the chamber, but it misses, striking the far wall. Suddenly a red bolt flies down the hall, striking a zombie in the head. Glancing back, you see Spugnoir, finger pointed at the zombie, frowning at the minimal damage.
Thorgrim joins Gotrek in his charge down the hall, and the two find themselves locked in battle with four zombies. The last doors open and 4 more zombies move into the chamber.
There are 4 zombies fighting Gotrek and Thorgrim and 4 more about 10' past them, having just entered through the last cell doors. The battle lasts for quite a while, but eventually the party wins through. The priests exhaust the last of their healing, and Berenn looks at his holy symbol, worried. "Perhaps we should consider a withdrawal to Hommlet to rest and regain spells," Berenn suggests.
Jordan shakes his head, "Whatever is going on here is clearly more than some random bandits. If we leave now, they'll know we came. We need to finish things now."
Sal will ask Jordan to bind his remaining wounds, and will do the same for anyone else.
"That's going to leave me with two healing spells. I'd say that's enough for emergencies for a bit more exploring, but if we have another fight I'm going to need some rest afterwards. And someone please remind me to buy a lot more bandages the next time we're in town!"
[Actually, at this point we created our house rule, changing to a spell point system. This gave the priests the ability to use more healing spells, if needed, as they were only out of 1st level spells. It actually works really well in this format.]
You check out the rest of the room and find the stairs going up, as well as two locked doors in the west wall of the northern section of the chamber. The room to the east of the cells is clearly a torture chamber. At first glance it seems abandoned, then you notice the fresh blood below some irons fixed to the wall. A blood trail leads to the southern pillar and disappears beneath it. Berenn immediately spots the simple mechanism for opening the door, which pivots out a section of the pillar revealing a shaft going down about 30' with iron rungs set into the stonework.
Thorgrim looks at the amount of blood and shakes his head. "Whoever that was is long dead, my friend." Placing a hand on Gotrek's shoulder his looks him grimly in the eyes. "But they shall have their vengence."
Gotrek is getting an itch in his palms. He always gets that when danger is afoot. He starts to climb down the shaft, while the rest of the party is talking about what to do next.
"Drooling, axe-breaking, sewer rat!" swears Thorgrim as Gotrek disappears down the shaft. "Guess I better go with him," he says as he climbs into the shaft as well, "to protect him from himself." With that Thorgrim disappears as well. Meanwhile Derry is picking the locks on the two doors, which turn out to be very easy. Jordan is with him, while Spugnoir is checking out the cells.
Berenn makes a face and follows Thorgrim down the shaft. The shaft ends at a flagstone floor with a small stone tunnel, about 5' round, heading into the darkness. All three can see fine with their infravision, there is a short tunnel leading off into the darkness.
Berenn will continue to stay a little way's back. "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea ..." he mumbles to himself.
Upstairs, Spugnoir finds nothing, but Derry picks the locks on the two doors, revealing a mass of stores. In the first room are armor and weapons, all new: about 30 shields, 10 suits of leather armor, 10 of studded leather, and 10 suits of chain mail. On racks are 50 spears, 10 glaives, 6 guisarmes, 3 battleaxes, 10 shortbows, 10 heavy crossbows, a box of 200 arrows, and a box of 200 crossbow bolts. In the other room are stores of provisions: barrels of salted meat, blocks of cheese, etc., and two 10 gallon kegs of good local brandy. There are also two large crates full of black cloaks with a yellow eye of fire sewed on them. Elrae thinks he's seen this eye before, but he just can't place it. He takes one of the cloaks stuffs it in his satchel. "We'll take this back to town," he says. "Someone will know it."
Meanwhile, back in the tunnel, Gotrek and Thorgrim proceed down the tunnel with Berenn taking up the rear. Up ahead you find some recently gnawed bones on the ground with a bloodstain around them.
Derry walks over to the hole and shouts down, "Hey! We found a bunch of stuff!"
As Thorgrim turns around and begins to swear, a growling up ahead makes him turn back.....
Gotrek, started singing when entered the tunnel. Suddenly, I forget everything but the weight of my axe, and the desire to kill. A large roar deafens me. I belatedly realize it was me. I charge forward. All hopes of living gone. All hopes of killing pushing me forward...
Gotrek ooc:stupid battle rager. hehe. who am I kidding? I love it!
Gotrek charges forward and slams into a cold, decaying ghoul which was just entering the tunnel. The thing flies away from him and tumbles over a stone sarcofagous. Before it can rise, Gotrek leaps atop the coffin and lays into the undead thing with his axe, sending pieces flying in all directions. As Thorgrim and Berenn emerge from the tunnel, they realize they have emerged into a niche in an underground crypt. They also hear the sound of more creatures in the greater crypt area to the right. Gotrek, in the midst of battle rage, charges into the crypt, right into the middle of about a dozen ghouls.
Berenn turns to Thorgrim, "One of your friends?" Berenn cautiously moves forward and engages the nearest ghoul. He mutters, "Never follow the insane dwarf anywhere. " Berenn braces himself for battle and throws himself into the fray. Ugh!
Berenn leaps past Thorgrim, tumbles past a couple of ghouls, and comes up swinging at them from behind. With a couple of strokes, he takes down one ghoul like it were a practice dummy. Thorgrim slams his pick down into the gnashing face of one ghoul, splattering its already gnarly teeth in all directions. The enraged Gotrek misses completely and is in turn attacked by 6 ghouls!
Thorgrim gets his by 1 claw attack [3, numbers in brackets are damage] and is paralyzed. One ghoul attacks Berenn and misses with all three attacks. Gotrek gets hit by two claw attacks and two bites. He isn't paralyzed, spins around and hits one of the ghouls, blasting head fragments all over Berenn.
Gotrek gets clawed by two ghouls, but makes his save. He also gets bit again. Berenn is missed, and he kills the ghoul attacking him. The ghoul that paralyzed Thorgrim leaps onto him, knocking him flat on the top of the sarcofogous, and begins to tear at him with its claws (1) (1) and bites his neck (5). Gotrek kills two ghouls attacking him, sending body parts flying to all corners of the crypt. Four more ghouls come rushing up from the south....
[ooc: all attacks on paralyzed characters automatically hit]
The rest of the party is making their way forward, but aren't there yet....
Elrae ties the spider silk cord around his waist. He hands one end to Salamander.
"I'm going in. Maybe the Paladin will follow. I'm going to keep singing. If I stop singing and it becomes real quiet than pull me back out."
Gotrek kills another ghoul, but is attacked by two more while the other two attack Berenn who acts simultaneously with the ghouls.
Berenn kills the ghoul attacking Thorgrim, but not before the ghoul claws him twice more (2) (3) and bites him (5). Thorgrim looks very, very bad.
The two ghouls tear at Berenn from behind and he is bit twice (6) and (4).
There are now four ghouls attacking Gotrek. He is hit by two claws and makes his save both times!
[ooc: there are 2 ghouls attacking Berenn and 4 attacking Gotrek]
Derry appears at the entrance to the tunnel, being able to move with ease through the cramped confines. The rest of the party is at least a round behind....
Gotrek continues his enraged fight. Muscles expanded. Spittle flying. I lay waste to all around me, oblivious to my friends in need. But I keep on killing. It is what I do best. But will it be enough??????????
Derry jumps up and takes a look at Thorgrim, then leaps down and attacks one of the ghouls fighting Berenn but misses. Gotrek continues to spin, tumble, and swing, even occasionally to bite back, and he swipes the head from another ghoul before the remaining ghouls attack him.
Gotrek is clawed by another ghoul, but makes his save, again. He then rips the ghoul's head from its body and bashes another with it! Meanwhile Berenn is bit (4) and Derry is clawed (3). Derry unfortunately fails his save is paralyzed. Berenn misses the ghoul attacking him.
Elrae appears in the tunnel entrance at the end of this round to see 2 ghouls attacking Gotrek and two attacking Berenn and Derry. He checks out Thorgrim and sees that he is almost dead so he quickly tends to the dwarf's wounds.
Gotrek is clawed twice and makes one save, but finally falls before the undead power. Berenn is missed all three times, but the paralyzed Derry takes two more claws (2) (2) and a bite (2) and is born to the ground. Berenn kills the ghoul attacking himself. Salamander now enters the crypt.
Seeing his friend Derry getting ridden down by a ghoul, Salamander will cry out and charge the one attacking him with leveled spear!
Elrae fires is crossbow at the ghoul attacking Derry, spinning it around so that Salamander's spear goes right through its open mouth, killing it. Seeing that Derry is safe, Berenn rushes past and attacks the ghouls that have just brought down Gotrek, hitting one but not killing it. Both ghouls turn and attack Berenn. He is clawed twice (2) and (2) and bitten once (3). Berenn makes one save, but fails the other. Jordan and Spugnoir now enter the crypt.
Spugnoir screams, and is dragged back the way you came. Jordan curses and follows as quickly as he can. In the room, Elrae and Salamander attack the last two ghouls. They both hit the ghouls, but the things keep coming. Salamander is clawed (3) and paralyzed, while the ghouls miss Elrae.
Elrae kills one of the ghouls with quick stike to its belly, noting with disgust the human hand that falls from the thing's ruptured stomach. The other ghoul attacks Elrae clawing him (3) but he makes his save.
The next round the ghoul goes first and claws Elrae for (1) and bites him in the arm (4). Elrae misses, but isn't paralyzed. Meanwhile Jordan catches up to the dragged away Spugnoir to find a ghoul munching on the hapless mage.
Elrae attacks first but misses, and the ghoul bites him (4). The ghoul continues to eat Spugnoir, and Jordan stabs it in back but it doesn't go down.
With only 5 hp left, Elrae tries to parry as he drinks his potion of extra-healing, healing all his damage. The ghoul claws Elrae again (2) but he makes his save. The ghoul in the tunnel claws Jordan (3) and bites him (5), but Jordan makes his save and then kills the ghoul. Jordan checks on Spugnoir, but the poor fellow is dead. With a quick blessing on the corpse, he turns and heads back towards the crypt. The ghoul attacks Elrae, clawing him (3) and biting his neck (5). Luckily, Elrae makes his save again. He then misses the ghoul.
Elrae fires his magic missile next round, and kills the ghoul! There are none left. Jordan checks the fallen and finds that only Gotrek is in dire need of help. He was at -7! Within an hour, everyone is un-paralyzed. Final tally on wounds:
Gotrek: 28/-7 left!
Berenn: 22/1 left
Derry: 15/2 left
Salamander: 13/8 left
Elrae: 17/7 left
Jordan: 16/5 left
[Berenn OOC: I have a whole hit point left. I would have some suggestions for the survivors but I can't talk right now. When I am unparalyzed I am going to kick Gotrek's teeth out his mouth. I said we should go back to Hommlet but did anyone listen? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!]
When Berenn regains his strength, he uses his last healing prayers on Gotrek and Thorgrim. Both are still unconscious, but stable. "Anyone having any objection to heading back to Hommlet now?"
Once Salamander can move again he has two spells left and can cast one each on the dwarves to make sure they're out of danger.
"We're going to need at least a day of rest to recover. If Derry and Elrae can close and lock all the doors, it's possible our entry can go unnoticed for a while. I doubt anyone goes into zombie- and ghoul-infested areas often, and few are going to contest the lair of an ogre."
"Agreed. We will wait here until everyone can move again. We need to check the rest of the crypt for entrances or exits. If we find any they should have something jammed into them so they can't be moved from the outside. There are bones a plenty, jamming a large bone or two should hold the door shut. Post a watch on the tunnel so no one drops in unexpected. Make sure everyone is accounted for."
Gotrek lay there, in a limbo of sorts, between living and dying. He sees his god, Clangeddin, looking at him. Judging him. Gotrek's heart slows to a murmur, and despite all of his inner struggles, he cannot awake. Then, as if he was drowning and given air, he gulps hungrily. He wakes up, tired and sore. His body groans in protest, but he grips his two-handed axe, and attempts to get up............
He nods in Salamander's direction. That nod is worth a 1,000 oaths, though the druid knows it not.
The back of the crypt is broken out, and there is an earthen tunnel, foul and damp and about 5' high dug through it. It leads to a small chamber seemingly dug by hand with heaps of bones and skulls inside. Clearly the ghoul nest. A small tunnel, about 2 1/2 feet high, leads out of this chamber and into the darkness.
From the far end of the crypt a 10' corridor leads away into the darkness and ends at a stout stone door. It has a great ring set in it, to pull it inwards, and you can see old scrape marks on the floor as well. The entire area is covered in a thick layer of dust and cobwebs, and it is clear the door has not been opened in a long time.
Berenn will grab a couple of bones and wedge them into the gaps between the door and the floor. "That should keep out the unwelcome." Berenn goes back to the tunnel entrance and takes up watch.
The crypts are all ripped open, and you find the following scattered throughout:
A pouch with 7 vials of holy water
A magical long sword with elvish writing on the blade.
Berenn checks to see if he can read the writing on the blade. The writing says: Maethorlaer which translates as "song of the warrior".
"Apparently a warrior's blade," he says. Berenn puts it back with the general stash and goes back to watching the tunnel entrance.
Salamander just looks on in exhausted exasperation as he looks around at the bits o' ghoul and gore. "If you all are done rooting through the corpses, may we please leave this place of decay?"
"Aye," says Thorgrim. "Let us leave this place."
Elrae grabs a vial of holy water and pours it on the remains of the mage. "We wouldn't want any parts of him to come back to bite us." He takes a peek at the scrolls, being a dabbler in arcane knowledge he could probably decypher what each one is. Elrae also examines Maethorlaer, Song of the Warrior.
"Perhaps I have heard of this song before. Let me recall from my bardic knowledge. I will gladly trade my +1 broadsword for this blade and compensate anyone else with as much gold as they can carry."
"Thank St. Cuthbert!", Berenn exclaims. "If everyone is ready, let us take our gain and depart this foul place."
They party leaves and returns to town. There they split up, with Derry and Salamander heading to the druid, who heals them with some ointments. The rest head to the church with Berenn. Calmert is taken aback by what has happened, and offers his healing.
"I am sorry I cannot do more, for I have been helping the poor girl Elmo brought in. She is resting now, and should make a full recovery, but it took nearly all of my strength to heal her. "Please, stay here. You may rest upstairs while I prepare unguents for you."
As he leads you upstairs, he tells you that Elmo has returned home, to his family farm south of town. He will return later.
In the Inn of the Welcome Wench, the dwarves order a strong ale, drinking in silence.
The party rests, intent on returning the next day to finish the job.
While the party is having dinner the next night, having healed their wounds and bought some potions from the church, into the inn walks two very short women, 4'10" and 4'8". They go to the bar and order a drink for the shorter one. The shorter one is wearing all black silk and looks like a diminutive witch, the taller is also in all black silk but her fashion is of 20 years ago. The taller looks around the bar, focuses on the group and points them out to the shorter. The taller whispers something to the shorter, gives her a hug and points, she seems to be pointing right at Thorgrim. As the shorter one walks away from the bar you notice that her drink is in a metal tankard and that when she leaves the bar area the taller one pays for the drink and then simply vanishes. The shorter on comes up to the groop and says,"Hello my name is Hepla, I understand you are looking for a mage, maybe I could help." She repeats what she said in perfect Elven and say hello in Drawf and Halfling.
"Hello, and well met," says Elrae. "Glad to me you, I am Elrae of Woodstock," as he takes a low bow. "Indeed we are in needs of one versed in magic. Now I picked up a few tricks from my predecessors and dabble a bit in the arcane, but I am by no means a master of the mystic arts, more of a Jack of All Trades. For I can shoot a cross bow, swing a sword, pick a pocket, climb a wall and sing a sweet song for one so fair. Just to let you know that we are here to defeat the evil darkness that lurks near this fine village. If you want to destroy evil then you can join our motley crew."
It is a pleasure to meet you Elrae, from your description you must be a bard, I have never met one but I have heard of them. I also seek to destroy evil but I am no master just a beginner but I can do a few things. May I sit with you at table?" responds Hepla. You all notice that she always angles her hat brim so you cannot see her face, something difficult to do with the hobbit.
"Hope you do better than our last two mages," says Derry, who is promptly nudged by Thorgrim. "Quiet!" he whispers. "You scare her off."
"Oh, I don't scare so easy," she says, sitting down. "Mom's much scarier than orcs and ghouls." You all wonder how she knew that..... She then orders brandy for everyone.
[This is Hepla, the party's new mage and a new player too.
Hepla, daughter of two adventurers, her mom a witch and her dad a fighter. Her dad died before she was born and her mom went to live with her grandmother in her cottage in the middle of the Gnarley Forest. Both woman raised Hepla till she was 16 and then decided she had to prove heerself in the world. She is friends with elves and familiar with the forest but naive about city life. Her mom took some of her saved gold and went into town and bought a bolt of the finest cloth they had, black silk. She made Hepla's dress, cape and hat, with a high peek and wide rim from the black silk (yes she looks like a diminutive Witch). Armed with a bone dagger and her spellbook and a few pieces of gold Hepla is out to prove herself. She knows her dad was killed by an evil cleric and she knows her mom took care of that cleric years ago but she still distrusts cleric until she knows them. At 4'8" and 80 lbs. she is not bothered that most everyone is taller. She is a natural beauty but it is hard to tell with her black robe hiding her features.
"Please make yourself comfortable" Elrae pulls a chair out to seat the mage. "Dear Hepla, what would you like to drink?"
"If I may be so bold, what arcane spells do you know? Perhaps you can decypher these scrolls that I obtained from the ghoul's nest at the moathouse."
Hepla puts her glass on the table, climbs into the seat offered her, saying ,"Thank you kind sir. Now if you would all pick up your drinks for a minute." When they have done this she will cast a spell onto the table and all the nails will spark but her tankard, being metal, will glow and then the whisky inside will catch fire. "You can put your glasses down now gentlemen. I do have a spell that might let us read those scrolls," Hepla says.
"Firey fingers this lady has. That's a spell I'd like to learn one day," adds Elrae.
After a while Hepla removes her hat and you see a stunningly beautiful young lady. She sets the hat on the table and a few seconds later the hat pops up on its own, seemingly, and flies back on her head. Hepla takes the hat off and says,"Mother...this is my adventure GO HOME. And I don't have to wear that hat all the time, I'm plain looking, not beautiful like you so don't bug me about always wearing my hat."
You then hear a giggle and a smack as a rosey kiss appears on her cheek. A few seconds later, from left to right, a kiss appears on each of your cheeks. After the last kiss is done you hear a POP and sense that a presence is gone.
Sorry," Hepla says, "I thought mom had left, now I'm sure she is gone and we won't see her again," then she giggles, much like her mom, and says, not that we saw much of her this time."
"Fair Hepla," says Elrae. "I must be frank, are you sure you can handle this adventure? Our last mage didn't fare so well. His fate is far too gruesome for even me to retell. Your doting mother obviously has knowledge in magic and can appear and disappear at will, even laying down sweet lips upon our cheeks. Take heed from what you have learned from her for this is not for the faint of heart."
"Thank you for your concern Elrae," she replies, "but I need to begin somewhere and between what I can offer in magic and what you can offer in protection I am willing to take the chance. Mom was an adventuress and I want to prove to her that I can do this as well. As far as her being doting, you are half right, she used magic to stop her ageing at 18 and sometimes I think she stopped maturing at the same age, she is a great mom but secretly would like to get into the adventure herself. She just gets a little playful, but this is my time so I am willing to try. And I don't make a big target." Hepla says as she stands on her chair.
Hepla draws out her bone dagger and says,"This is made from the legbone of the evil priest who killed my dad. Mom brought me the bone and I carved it into this dagger and am now ready to use it."
Gotrek, with his one eye, looks at the craftsmanship of the knife. He grunts. "A nice blade there, Hepla. May it serve you well."
That evening, when the party is all gathered in the inn for dinner, the rest of the council appears and bids you retire to one of the private rooms. Terjon begins with a blessing to St. Cuthbert, then he says a prayer for the spirit of poor Spugnoir.
"So, what have you discovered?" asks Terjon. "The presence of zombies speaks ill of the place. Not to mention an ogre!" he continues. "Surely no mere bandits would be in league with such a foe."
The rest of the council looks at Terjon in surprise, clearly hearing this for the first time.
Berenn speaks up. "We found weapons and food for a small army. We also found cloaks with an insignia on them. Black cloaks with a burning eye. If I recall my father's tales the insignia strikely resembles the insignia for the Temple of Elemental Evil."
"You said you found cloaks with a yellow eye of flame?" asks Jaroo hesitantly.
"That would be the insignia Jaroo.", Berenn replies. "It would appear the temple is not completely out of business."
Jordan asks Elrae, "Didn't you take one of the cloaks and stick it in your pack? Perhaps you should retrieve it."
Derry rummages through his pack. "I took one too!" he exclaims, producing it proudly.
The wand he found tumbles out, and Burne picks it up. Nobody else knows anything about it, and they frown at Derry. "Oh, forgot about that."
Burne looks at it, wondering at the strange runes. "If you allow me, I can discern its function," he says. The party agrees, though Derry frowns. "I shall return it on the morrow," add Burne. [It turned out to be a Wand of Identify]
Canon Terjon looks as if he's about to explode when Jaroo stands up, silencing everyone.
"The eye of fire is indeed the symbol of the Temple of Evil. Whether they are left behind from the previous fight or something worse, well, that remains to be seen."
The village elder then speaks up, for the first time. "The good Canon shall provide you with potions, and Jaroo shall provide healing herbs. If there is danger to the village, all will be at your disposal. If it is indeed worse, if the temple is risen again, then we must know."
You are asked to return to the moathouse and this time will be given whatever you need. The rest of the council leaves, and you are left to get a good night's rest.
In the morning Ostler provides you with a pouch of 6 healing potions, brought earlier by Calmert who was also very appreciative of your efforts and contributions to the church. Jaroo also meets you, providing you with a jar of Keotumn's Ointment. Unfortunately, Salamander is nowhere to be seen. Jaroo explains that he has given him a special assignment, and he will not be returning with you. Elmo is also gone, and nobody knows exactly where. Further, Jordan will remain in Hommlet, working with the village militia in case they are needed, as Rufus had left for Verbobonc, to report to the Viscount.
As they left, they found their way barred by another short, slender woman, this one an elf. In a very archiac form of elvish, she says, "I am Banshee, a Blade Singer, I felt called to this place and mean to investigate if Elvish lives might be in danger.... might I accompany you?"
Hepla will answer in perfect Sylvan Elfish,"I believe you wish to come with us to the moathouse, please excuse me for not understanding you better, I speak Sylvan and common, I do not know all the languages of my new friends as this will be my first adventure with them. Since I am new I should let one of them answer you but it is good to meet you and I hope we can be friends. In the forest I live in I have many elven friends."
Banshee nods, and the others accept her. [Enter another new character and player.]
Banshee: Dark-elf Bladesinger/Song Mage (don't puke!)
Much has changed with her since then, and I no longer have her original pic. However, she was a strangely white, haunted-looking elf; you can't even tell she's a drow. Actually, even some of her old history is now gone, which is too bad. Banshee is one of the few goodly drow, though she is by no means "goodly". Her dark nature is barely kept in check. She was of the noble house Everhate, but never felt right about evil, and was trained in all the typical evil drow arts, including the most deadly of Drow fighting arts (Drow version of the Bladesong/Bladesinger). She secretly mixed song magic and deadly fighting skills with the even more secret teachings of Ellistraee, but couldn't keep her secret forever. In the end, she abandoned the life of evil as it broke her heart to see so much murder, hate, and war. She left the underdark to hunt under the light of the moon and walk in the sun. She was called to this place to face a servant of Lloth.
Before the party leaves, Elrae take out Maethorlaer. "Song of the Warrior shall once again be wielded by elvish hands." Elrae hands over the longsword to Banshee. "A fine blade that felt so comfortable in my grasp. It was an honor to just handle it for a brief time."
She handles the blade carefully, a look of pain upon her face. She hands it back to him, "I cannot wield it, good Elrae. Though it brings great cheer to my heart that you are willing to give up and return a treasure of the elven people so readily. You better than all here understand the power of song - I think you should continue to bear it for now, all that I ask is if you pass on or no longer use it that it be returned to me, or that upon your death it is returned to the elven people." Elrae puts Maerthorlear away reverently, wondering at Banshee's reaction. He then gives his magical broadsword to Berenn.
[The Salamander player got a new job and couldn't play, so I pulled his character from the party. With other new players, I figured they didn't need so many NPCs, so Elmo and Jordan left as well. The party now consists of Gotrek, Thorgrim, Elrae, Derry, Berenn, Hepla, and Banshee.]
Last edited by ragnar on Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
Yep, the fights are quite entertaining, especially since they are never a sure thing.
By the way, 'Ostler' isn't Gundigoot's first name - it's his title. 'Ostler' comes from 'Hostel' (inn) and means 'stableman, especially at an inn'. Thus, Ostler Gundigoot is really, Gundigoot, the Ostler (the man who owns the inn with a stable).
LOL. I didn't know that! Oh well, too late to change it now, though really, it's not necessarily that strange. Other professions eventually became names, like Porter, Miller, etc. Not sure about first names though. Anyway, thanks. Glad you like it. I am going to put some fights, usually the more important ones, up. We'll see how it goes. :)
Cast of Characters:
Banshee: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert/Ranger
Derry: Halfling fighter/thief
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (semi-1st ed Witch from old Dragon magazine!)
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
On returning to the moathouse, the party decided to sneak in and get more cloaks, which they could wear to disguise themselves. Derry looked around the upper levels, not seeing anything noteworthy, while the rest crept into the Black Chamber through the secret entrance. Once they met up, they descended again to the ogre's chamber. They didn't find the ogre's body, so they decided that there's no point in trying to trick whoever is in the place. They must certainly know somebody has been here, and will be on alert. They proceed into the next room, intent on entering the crypts again and heading through the door they found therein.
Loud footsteps coming down the stairs by the storage rooms attracted their attention. Before anyone can really do much, Derry rushes over to the stairs. Just about at the bottom is the ogre, though it seems to shamble along like a zombie. It is carrying the rotting bodies of two dead orcs.
"An ogre-zombie!" yells Derry.
Derry runs through its legs and hits it with his sword, making the thing tumble down the last steps and drop the two orc bodies it was carrying. Elrae's fires a crossbow bolt which flies over its head, but Banshee is quickly upon it, slashing with her blade. Gotrek and Thorgrim are right behind, with Thorgrim breaking his bottle of Holy Water upon the things head, and Gotrek quikly chopping at it with his axe. As the thing rises, he lops of a leg, sending it sprawling back to the ground. I reaches out to claw at Gotrek, who dodges to the side and jumps on the zombie.
Derry and Banshee continue to hack at the thing, as Thorgrim slams his pick through its belly, pinning it to the ground. It groans and twists, trying to reach back at Thorgrim, when Gotrek swipes it across the face with his axe. The top half of the thing's skull is cut clean from the rest, right above its eyes which bulge open for a moment before the zombie slumps back to the ground, dead again.
Hepla checks the orcs to make sure that thay are dead before cutting off their heads. She will take their eyes and ears, wrap them in a piece of black silk, ask someone to pour some holy water over the bundle and then put it in her backpack. You do notice that she carefully avoids contact with the holy water.
Gotrek watches her. "If you be a necro, don't be touching me eye when I die. I swear by Clangeddin I will come back and kill ye!"
She just giggles. "Mr. Gotrek," Hepla says,"These parts are great in some potions and really hard to get. Wast not want not. And I am not a Necromancer, they kill for power, I like life too much to ever be one of those. I assure you your eyes are safe from me."
Since they are there, the party grabs the cloaks anyway, one for everyone. When you go over to the torture room, you find a couple of orc bodies on the tables within. They seem to be in various stages of being sewn back together. In the cells are more orc bodies, stacked up about 6 per cell. Nearly all the dead orcs from their fight outside.
The party was going to burn the bodies, but then decided that if they just kill everyone else, then there won't be a problem with anyone re-animating them! The big decision was weather or not to go back through the crypts. Most seemed to want to avoid them, so they went back to the other secret door they found at the bottom of the stairs. They sent Derry out ahead scouting, and he comes back pretty fast. He found the trap mechanism in the secret room, and the party jammed the winch, not knowing what they were dealing with, but not wanting to be surprised.
As they were about to continue, they heard footsteps coming towards them from the south. Derry hid in the shadows, while the rest of the party slipped back out of the way, around the corner by the winch.
Walking down the corridor are two men with black cloaks just like you're wearing. They don't look your way as they pass, moving along the corridor to the lit chamber.
"It's almost a week now," one of the men says. "They ain't coming back."
"The master says check on 'em," says the other man, "we check."
They then are out of hearing range, having passed into a chamber down the hall.
Derry says they should just go kill them, and Gotrek look at Derry in admiration. "I must be rubbing off on him," he silently muses.
Hepla stopped him, and together with Derry they sneaked behind the two men. Derry backstabbed one, while Hepla charmed the other. Being that they are wearing cloaks too, they spin a tale about how the other guard was going to kill him. He now trusts Hepla, so he buys it. From the guard they learn the general layout of the dungeon, as well as the numbers/types of foes.
He figures there's around 20 men and a dozen bugbears. There were another dozen men upstairs, but they fled after the orcs arrived. So did the gnolls. The leader, Lareth, is in the south, past his personal guard. He doesn't know about any magics, except for Lareth's priestly powers. He does say his snake rod is quite deadly. He also reminds you to make the crossed arm salute. "When someone forgot a couple weeks ago, Lubash ate him."
Whe Nepla hears 'powerful priest' the party sees her tense up for a moment before she says, "You are really kind helping us but we do need to find out these other questions, I can't believe that we were allowed to come this far and they told us so little. I wouldn't want to get anyone in trouble but we really knew almost nothing. Thank you for keeping me from getting in trouble. So, where are the bugbears?"
He looks questioningly at Hepla, then shrugs. "The bugbears are just down the hall. You can tell by the smell." Wrinkling his nose, he add, "And I thought the gnolls smelled bad."
Derry agrees, saying, "Yes Isend, I completely agree. Why they are allowed to enter here when their kind belong in the swamp or outside, I cannot understand. There was lots of room for them topside, I am sure. They've never even told us what we are supposed to do here, except to come along. We're wiping out Hommlett, I assume?"
"As you say, it didn't make no sense. As for Hommlett, we've been told to stay well of the place. We've never raided closer than a few leagues, just so they don't get no thinkings 'bout us."
He then looks around at the group's make up and a look of suspicion begins to cross his features.
Hepla says, "Maybe thats why such a diverse groop as us were recruited, so that we could spy on the other places like that little human town. No one would think we would be from a place like this. Not unless they were smart like you are and can see the value of spys like us."
He laughs, "You got that right. Rysdn's spying on the castle construction right now." After another laugh he adds, "Right under their noses!"
Once the party figured they had enough info, they decided to use surprise to take out the rest of their foes.
"Surprise it is!" exclaims Derry as be backstabs our charmed friend.
Everyone stood there, shocked at Derry's sudden and ruthless attack. "Well," says Thorgrim, "I guess that's that. Good thing Jordan wasn't here."
Hepla shugs her shoulders and says, "He was evil but I always fear that there was at least one more question I should have asked. At least now I don't have to pretend to be his friend." She searches him for what he might have. When she is finished she takes a bit of his clothing and covers his eyes with it. Meanwhile, another discussion about what to do with prisoners stretched on for a few days. It seems even without the paladin, such brutality didn't sit well, especially with Berenn. In the end, Gotrek's position won out.
"He was scum," said Gotrek, "and got what he deserved."
He was backed up by Thorgrim. "There is nothing to think about. It is one less enemy we have to worry about. The dog was consorting with bugbears, orcs, ogres, and necromancers. By Clangeddin, I feel like killing him again!"
At the mention of dog, Hepla's cat looks around and hisses. She says, "I see your point and if Star agrees with you that is a strong argument."
The party seemed to accept that most of all, mainly because they had no way to argue with a magical cat, so they just moved on to deal with the bugbears. Elrae and Isilme sang sleep lullabies, dropping half the bugbears, before they even knew what happened. Meanwhile the warriors, led by Derry and Gotrek, charged straight in on the surprised beasts.
Hepla shouts out at the bugbears, who either don't understand or don't care as they reach for weapons. Elrae goes to fire his crossbow, Sweetness, but is bumped from behind by Berenn as he is trying to get past him. The bard's shot goes wild as he falls to the ground and hits his head on the hard stone, knocking himself out! Derry then rushes in right past the dwarves and attacks a bugbear next to a table, missing badly.
The bugbear swings at Derry and misses, as three move up and attack the dwarves. One trips over a chair and slams into the wall next to Thorgrim, while the other two attack Gotrek. One misses Gotrek, and the other trips over the sleeping bugbear and impales himself on his sword!
Thorgrim steps into the room and slams his pick down on the bugbear that fell next to him, killing it instantly. Laughing at the bugbears, Gotrek hits the one attacking him and cuts it down with one viscious swipe of his axe.
Seeing the bugbears fall so quickly, Banshee chose not to cast a spell, but instead rushes up to help Derry, wounding the bugbear facing him with a quick stab.
Two more bugbears charge into the room from the side, but are met by Berenn who trades blows with them.
Derry then attempts to leap over the table to outflank the bugbear he and Banshee are fighting, but his hand slips on a bowl of soup. He slides off the table and lands in a heap behind the bugbear, tangled in a knocked over chair!
The bugbear laughs and attacks Banshee but misses only to have Gotrek step up and land a blow of his axe into the thing's belly, killing it instantly. Thorgrim moves up to help Berenn, and misses a bugbear, while Berenn and the bugbear trade blows again, this time each hitting. Berenn takes (2).
Hepla checks out Elrae and finds him just shaken, so she moves into the room herself. As she does, Thorgrim and Berenn both kill the bugbears they were facing.
Banshee wipes her blade off on the bugbear corpse, sheaths it and helps Derry up, then checks on the Elrae. She salutes the two dwarves, "I remembered Bugbears being tougher than that - truth be told, whatever you lack in finesse you certainly make up for in brute force - impressive." When Derry recovers she asks him to search the room and creatures and she will keep a watchful eye on the entrances.
The battle ended as quickly as it began, with the party sporting more wounds to their pride than to their persons. Two fumbles, two party members knocking themselves out!
The party then slit the throats of the sleeping bugbears, before moving on.
Hepla goes back to the bugbear she killed, takes off its shoes and proceeds to cut off its toes. She will comment, to no one in particular, "Grandma has had to settle for jellied bugbear toes, she will be so happy to get some almost fresh ones." She will put them in her sack.
"Gross," says Thorgrim as finishes cleaning his pick.
"Oh my frackin' head." Elrae states as he rubs his noggin. "Good job in slaying all of the nasties. Let's gather the gold and move on down and get Lareth." Elrae reloads his crossbow and this time let's Berenn walk in front of him.
"Just stay behind me," says Derry.
After checking out the cistern [no giant crayfish!], the party continues along towards the final confrontation with Lareth and his personal guard......
Cast of Characters:
Banshee: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert/Ranger
Derry: Halfling fighter/thief
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (semi-1st ed Witch from old Dragon magazine!)
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
The party followed the hallway to where the charmed guard had told them they would find this evil priest Lareth. Both Hepla and Isilme seemed unusually tense. Derry took a drought of his newfound Potion of Invisibility, and scouted ahead. The hallway turned to the left, and there's a door on the left wall, just after the turn. A guard wearing the flaming eye cloak sat on a chair, keeping on eye on the passage which continues into the distance. He sneaked up on the man and backstabbed him, killing him instantly.
"Maybe we should hide...." started Berenn, but he was cut off.
"SHHHH!" says Derry as he tries to listen at the door.
Gotrek stepped up and pushed Derry out of the way, kicked open the door, and barged in.
There's a corridor heading away. About halfway down is a guy in a black cloak, and at the far end, where the corridor turns is another. Elrae steps up behind Gotrek and fires first, and this time his bolt flies true. It slams into the rear guards nose and pinning him to the wall! Gotrek charges into the closer guard, and takes his head off with one clean stroke. From ahead and around the corner you hear someone curse.
"Derry," yells Gotrek. "I am going to beat you to that one!"
The halfing charges forward to show the dwarf just who is boss here.
While Elrae reloads, Derry charges passed Gotrek and comes around the corner into a 40x60' chamber with another corridor on the opposite corner from him. There are 6 guards in this room, 2 with crossbows are quickly overturning tables in front of them and to Derry's right, while 4 are rushing into the hallway. Two of them slam into Derry, and they all go tumbling down into the corridor in a confused pile, with Gotrek stumbling over them shortly after. The two behind keep their footing and prepare to attack!
[ooc: Derry and Gotrek and two guards are tangled up in a pile on the ground at the turn at the end of the corridor, right below the guard impaled through the face by Elrae's crossbow bolt. Further in the room are two guards preparing to attack them as well as two more with crossbows hiding behind tables. Back down the hallway are Elrae, Thorgrim, and Hepla, followed by Banshee and Berenn near the door.]
Elrae reloads as Derry rolls past the two guards and into the room, taking cover right in front of one of the upturned tables. One of the guards grabs Gotrek, who punches him in the face. Blood and teeth spray his buddy as the guard's head snaps back and he rolls off Gotrek. The other guard stands up and stabs his spear at Gotrek but misses. Suddenly a pick erupts from the guy's chest, and Gotrek sees Thorgrim grinning from behind him.
"Did nay think to have all the fun, did ye?" says Thorgrim, ripping his pick free.
"About time you got here, ye slowpoke!!" Gotrek gets up, axe in hand. He ignores the crossbolts flying at him, as he makes his way calmly across the room.
Banshee and Berenn push their way into the room, driving the two guards back. Elrae slips passed the dwarves, flipping over a table of his own. The guards behind the overturned tables fire crossbows, hitting Gotrek, as Thorgrim steps by Berenn and slays the guard facing him. Gotrek starts to sing, his rage building.....
Hepla hangs back, ready to react to anything magical that may endanger her new friends. Elrae fires a bolt over the rim of his overturned table, aiming for the furthest guard. The guard ducks as Elrae's bolt slams into the table which he is hiding behind. As the guard on the other side of the table where Derry hides sits up to fire his crossbow, Derry jabs his sword up under the man's chin. His eyes go wide in surprise as he realizes he's dead. He topples back behind the table with a thud as Derry pulls out his sword.
Meanwhile, as Berenn moves up to attack the last guard behind the table, he sees beyond him, down the hallway into another room. There is a long table, flipped over, with two crossbowmen behind it, pointing their weapons at him. There are also two men in plate mail, one pointing at him with his sword, the other shouting orders behind him. He has only a moment to take in the scene before two crossbow bolts come flying down the hall towards him. He ducks back behind the table, stabbing at the guard behind it as he does.
Thorgrim moves further into the room, flanking the guard fighting him, but cannot hit him. The two guards attack him and Gotrek. Thorgrim takes one hit in the arm (4), but it's not bad. Banshee then hits the guard in the corner, as Gotrek takes a backhanded swipe as well, connecting with the man's neck. He drops in a heap of blood, as Gotrek turns to the other guard.
Elrae begins to sing an inspiring song of courage to give his allies a bonus as he reloads Sweetness and takes aim at the guy in plate mail shouting orders.
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Beaten why for
Can't take much more
Here we go...Here we go...Here we go.
Banshee whirls around Gotrek, stabs the guard between him and Thorgrim, and gets hit by the guard in return (7). The two guards in the next room fire crossbows, but they miss, the bolts smacking into the wall behind Elrae. The guard fighting Berenn throws his crossbow at him as he pulls out his own sword, and Berenn misses as well. Elrae keeps singing as he reloads his crossbow, and the sound is truly inspiring. In fact, Derry is so fired up he leaps from behind the table and charges across the room to help Berenn.
Meanwhile, Gotrek finishes off the guard, grinning at Bansee. “Nice dance, elf!” he says, and moves off seeking another target. Thorgrim takes ahold of Banshee’s arm, and calls upon the grace of the gods to heal her . The blood stops flowing, but the wound remains rather nasty.
Hepla peeks around the corner, trying to stay out of the way, when she sees the guards in the far room loading crossbows. “Can’t have that,” she says and points her finger towards them casting a sleep spell. She smiles as both guards topple backwards asleep. The chain armored guard sees what happened, and points at Hepla saying, “Witch” while the plate-armed guard takes up a defensive stance with his sword and long sword and shield held before him.
[ooc: Derry and Berenn are fighting the last guard in the room, with Gotrek moving towards the next room where the guard in plate mail and the one in chain mail are standing. Behind them were the two crossbowmen who just fell asleep.]
Hepla ducks back out of the way, keeping an eye down the rear corridor, as Elrae pops back up over the edge of the table and fires another bolt, this time at plate mail dude. The shot goes wide, skipping off the walls, and Elrae ducks back down. Derry slips around behind the guard’s upturned table and stabs him hard in the side. Screaming in pain, the guard spins and hits Derry a hard blow to the shoulder with his broadsword (7), knocking the little Halfling back. Seeing Derry go down, Banshee lets out a chilling scream and leaps over another table at the guard, her sword point leading the way. With a cry of surprise, the guard goes limp as two feet of long sword is thrust clean through his belly.
Suddenly a group of reinforcements comes running around the corner from another chamber to the left, charging into the room, another chainmail clad warrior in the lead. He goes right for Gotrek, and hits him hard with a morning star (7). Another runs past Gotrek, who takes an opportunistic swing but misses before the man attacks Berenn. More rush up, with one attacking both Gotrek and Berenn, but both miss, and one attacking Thorgrim, hitting him in the leg (3). More can be see crowding the corridor and room behind them.
Then a new figure steps out from behind the plate armored foe, this one also in plate mail, with an ornately carved helm, and a mace and staff.
Thorgrim swings his pick at the foe in front of him but misses, as does Berenn.
Derry pulls out his potion of invisibility and takes a drink. As Banshee turns to check on him, he slowly fades out of view.
“Crud!” she hears him say, though she has no idea what he’s talking about.
The plate armored man who just entered laughs as he looks down the corridor. “Ah, you have arrived. You shall make fine servants, once you are dead.”
Gotrek feels a cold shiver run down his spine, as if his greatest fear were before him. He struggles for a moment, before taking the fear and shoving it deep within, piling tons of hard stone resolve atop the feelings of dread. The man’s eyes go wide in surprise as Gotrek fights off the fear spell. Gotrek continues to sing. His voice getting louder, and strangely, less comprehensible the closer he gets to the plated armored man. Pure rage consumes him, and Gotrek will not stop until this person or creature is dead. And then, Gotrek remembers naught, but a loud deafening roar in his ears. It is his own voice, though he knows it not.
Meanwhile, Elrae takes another shot, right over Thorgrim’s head. This time his aim is true, and his bolt impales the guard right through the nose.
As he topples backward, Banshee begins her casting. The sound of an elf battle horn is heard from the corridor behind you, followed by the sound of approaching men.
Hepla looks back down the hall, and is confused when she doesn’t see anything. With a glance back, she sees Banshee concentrating on her casting and understands, turning back to watch the fight.
Thorgrim also glances back, and seeing Hepla’s unconcerned smile, he turns and attacks the next closest guard, this one already fighting Berenn. Taking him in the flank, Thorgrim’s blow lands on the man’s armor without penetrating. The guard swings back at Thorgrim missing while the guard behind him slips over to the side, and connects on a quick slash to Berenn’s arm (4). The next two guards move forward, one attacking Berenn and the other attacking Gotrek, but neither connects. The warrior in plate armor points with his sword and shouts for more men, and two more guards move down the hall which is choked with men barely able to swing swords. The warrior in chain mail who stands before Gotrek lands another blow with his morning star (6).
Berenn seems to be caught in thought for a moment, before shaking his head and redoubling his efforts with his sword. A dazzling display of swordplay opens a gap in one of his foes defenses, and he stabs him hard in the belly. Gotrek sees the man grunt and double over and quickly kicks him in the face. He is rewarded by a crisp “snap!” sound as the man flips back over and slumps down against the wall.
The warrior with the morning star then takes another swing at Gotrek, hitting him again. The blow glances off Gotreks shoulder, and Gotrek swings right back, but his blow is blocked by the man’s shield. Thorgrim also takes another swing, and punctures a guards chest with his pick. Blood shoots out of the wound as he pulls his pick out, spraying all over Berenn. “Sorry,” he says as he looks for a new foe.
As the now-invisible Derry starts to silently sneak up to backstab the leader, the leader begins casting a spell. Suddenly, everyone feels a strange pulse, resonate outwards from the center of the room, and all sound suddenly stops. Elrae’s singing cuts out, the sound of Banshee’s previous illusion stops and her casting of Phantasmal Force is disrupted. Hepla, getting ready to cast another sleep spell has it disrupted, so she steps back until she can hear the sound of her footsteps again. Gotrek too has his song of rage cancelled, and he knows he will not be able to enter his berserk state in such silence.
Elrae fires his bolt, but misses again, and Thorgrim steps up alongside Gotrek, attacking the warrior on the right side with a vicious overhand chop that crumples the man to the ground.
Another guard steps up, and swings at Thorgrim, missing completely; however, Berenn again is hit by his foe (4). The sergeant attacking Gotrek hits him again (5). Berenn then swings at the last guard in the first room, finishing him off.
Finally, Gotrek attacks the sergeant, hitting him with a wicked slash of his axe and slamming him into the wall where he slumps down. Gotrek then steps forward another 5 feet and up to the next two guards. He also finds that he is now OUT of the silence area, but he must begin to sing again!
[ooc: you guys are in a silence area, so please, don't communicate with each other. Only Gotrek and Hepla are outside of the area. There is still no clear path. Gotrek has two guards in front of him, the last two before being able to actually enter the other chamber. There is also a guard to his right, fighting Thorgrim.
[Too bad you guys can't see the map I used for this combat. I found a beautiful map of the moathouse done with MapTools, and it really made the combat fun. It's probably much harder to follow, but being this is the big Lareth fight, I figured I'd post the whole thing. The party actually has been doing quite well, though they are taking some serious damage.]
CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Lareth
Cast of Characters:
Banshee: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert/Ranger
Derry: Halfling fighter/thief
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (semi-1st ed Witch from old Dragon magazine!)
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
Hepla steps back a bit and weaves a quick sleeping spell from the far side of the room. Though nobody has any idea what she is doing, suddenly all but one of the guards, the one beside Gotrek wearing scale mail, fall unconscious and drop to ground. This includes the last two behind the large table in the next room who were holding crossbows ready.
With the way suddenly clearing, Elrae takes his shot at the surprised necromancer in the far room. Unfortunately, his shot flies wide, careening off the far wall.
Seeing what just happened, Banshee moves back besides Hepla, and there casts her Phantasmal Force. Suddenly a group of elves appear in the hallway next to Banshee, out of sight of anyone down the other hall, and then rush into the room firing arrows. The guard that is still standing is hit by a couple arrows and crumples to the ground. Hepla puts a hand to her mouth and can barely suppress a giggle.
With a curse, the plate-armed warrior takes up a defensive position in front of his “Master.”
Derry, invisible to everyone slips down the corridor, easily tumbling over the bodies of the dead and sleeping, and slips quietly behind the evil necromancer.
Meanwhile, the necromancer points his staff towards the dwarves and speaks in a strange language reminiscent of elven, but somehow different. Suddenly Gotrek, Thorgrim, and Berenn can feel their limbs stiffening up as their bodies slowly are held firm. While Berenn finds himself held motionless, Gotrek and Thorgrim both shake their heads as their innate stubbornness pushes back against the foul magics. With a pair of grins that would make an orc blanch, the two dwarves charge down the hallway!
The plate-armed warrior’s eyes go wide and he throws his shield up in defense as he makes a quick swing at Gotrek, but his blow glances off harmlessly. However, he is not so lucky as Gotrek and Thorgrim both hit him with blows from opposite sides. Pick and axe meet in the center, and the man is nearly chopped in two by the twin blows. Staggered but still standing, he strikes back and lands a blow on Thorgrim (6), and both Gotrek and Thorgrim hit him again, finishing what they started a moment before. The man stumbles to ground, nearly cut in two, in a rapidly spreading pool of blood and gore unparalleled by all who see it.
The last chain-mail clad warrior turns and runs back the other way, leaving just the Master.
[ooc: there is now just the three of them surrounding the Master. Neither Hepla, nor Banshee can see what’s happening down there.]
Hepla stays back, considering her next move and watching the rear, as Elrae and Banshee move through the silent chamber. Banshee has the illusory elves draw swords, and moves them down the hallway, behind the dwarves, while Elrae begins delivering coup de graces on the downed, sleeping guards.
The Master begins to cast another spell, as Derry attacks him from behind. Appearing from nowhere, the halfling stabs him in the back, somehow managing to grind the point of his shortsword into a gap in the necromancer's armor. He screams in pain and loses concentration on his spell. Gotrek follows up Derry's attack with one of his own, hitting him with his axe, and Thorgrim steps up, landing another blow with his pick. The man stumbles backwards, through the doorway into his private chamber, clearly reeling from the series of blows.
[ooc: So, you can see the bad guy, Lareth, just inside his private chamber, with Derry just out to the right, Thorgrim to the left, and Gotrek across from the door. Elrae is down the hallway, having just walked out of the silence area and killed a sleeping guard. Beyond Elrae are Banshee and Berenn, and behind them is Hepla. All of them are still in the area of silence.]
Derry and Lareth move simultaneously. As Derry presses the attack, Lareth reaches out and strands of webbing start to erupt from his hand. Derry dives to the side, just inside the room, and escapes them, but they flow out into the outer chamber, covering the front half completely, from the corridor to the right hand wall and the door to Lareth's chamber. Thorgrim and Gotrek find themselves completely stuck, and now Elrae and Banshe, about to move down the corridor, must stop before this mass of webs.
Derry gets to his feet and attacks Lareth with his short sword, missing badly. Glancing back, he sees the way in is completely blocked. He's on his own!
"You didn't think it'd be so easy as that, did you?" says Lareth.
"I hoped so," says Derry, his sharp eyes taking in the small chamber. Lareth's room in lavishly furnished with thick rugs, wall hangings, soft chairs and a couch, cushions, wines and liquors, and dishes of sweetmeats. The brazier beside which he is standing, burns to warm the place and sends a fragrant incense into the air, while illuminating the room as well. On the table behind him are silver serving pieces studded with gems.
[ooc: Thorgrim and Gotrek are stuck fast. They can fight their way through 2' of webs/round, so it'll take Thorgrim 3 rounds to break free to the chamber and Gotrek wil take 4 rounds.]
Seeing that Gotrek is about to go berserk, Thorgrim reaches out through the webs and calls upon the Gods to heal Gotrek, who clearly was on his last legs. He barely can reach him, and Gotrek feels newfound strength flood into him [cured 8!]. Banshee and Elrae set the webs afire, and they quickly ignite in eerie purple/black flames. The flames spread throughout the room and a thick billowing smoke cloud fills twice the area of the webs. Visibility in the cloud is reduced to 2', and all inside the web take 2d4 damage from the flames. Gotrek [?: his in a rage now] and Thorgrim . Thorgrim is down! Gotrek cannot move this round.
Inside the room, Lareth see the conflagration spreading out and steps back, casting a spell upon himself. For a second, it almost seems to Derry as Lareth's entire body blinked. As he moves to the brazier, he now sees that all of the man's wounds have healed, and he seems stronger than ever. With a grunt, Derry pries the brazier over with his sword, knocking it into the evil priest. It tumbles over, spilling burning coals onto the carpet around his feet. The carpet immediately begins to catch fire, and Lareth screams in pain as his robes do so as well.
[ooc: as this round ends, the webs are gone but smoke now fills the area and then some. Inside it, Gotrek is coughing mad. He cannot see anything and his clothes are smoldering, but he is free of the webs.]
"Get him," rasps Thorgrim as he lets go of Gotrek's arm and falls unconscious.
Hepla pulls Berenn out of the silence area, though it really doesn't accomplish anything since he is still unable to move or speak. Meanwhile, Banshee stops on the edge of the smoke as Elrae crawls forwards, the smoke stinging his eyes. Gotrek also moves forward, enraged, and though he slams into the wall, he eventually makes it through into Lareth's inner sanctum.
In the inner sanctum, Derry attacks! He throws his only flask of oil at the priest, which bursts open and erupts into flames as it hits the burning items. Lareth backs up, tearing off his flaming cloak. He rips off his helmet, and Derry sees that the inner lining must have caught fire as well. Lareth's face is already rapidly covered in blisters.
He locks his hate-filled eyes on Derry. "You'll pay for that halfling," he says, preparing to advance. But he stops in his tracks, his gaze lifting beyond Derry, as suddenly Gotrek staggers in through the smoke-filled doorway.
Gotrek stands there, looking thru the smoke and haze. He is looking for something to hit in his rage. His eye falls on Lareth. He growls, and moves forward to attack.
Banshee OOC: in battle rage? Oh he's screwed.
Lareth swings at Derry with his staff, hitting him solidly in the head as he moves up . Derry is knocked backwards, flipping over the upturned brazier and lies unmoving on the floor. [he's out!]
Gotrek wades in and lays about Lareth. He lands two quick blows, and grins at the sound of ribs crunching after one that sends the man stumbling backwards.
In the outer room, Elrae creates a small breeze that helps clear some of the smoke away, and he is able to make his way to the entrance, followed by Banshee. Hepla looks around, then decides she should join them, crawling under the smoke as well.
[Elrae and Banshee are now in the doorway, with Hepla right behind. Gotrek and Lareth are locked in combat while Derry is bleeding in the corner. Oh, and the fire has spread across the rug behind Gotrek who pretty much charged through it. It now has them cut off from the door.]
Elrae fires a bolt, but misses. Banshee then begins casting another illusion, but Lareth laughs as he sees through the illusionary casting.
"I know your limits, elf," he says as he swings his staff and hits Gotrek, a wicked blow that Gotrek feels even through his rage.
Still, the battle-rager shrugs it off with a grunt and swings twice more at Lareth, his axe glancing harmlessly off the man's plate mail.
Hepla takes a peak into the room, and seeing the situation casts light upon Lareth's eyes. Suddenly he screams and puts an arm up to his eyes as if trying to shield them from the light which he cannot stop.
Elrae fires his magic missiles, which streak unerringly into Lareth just as he is beginning to chant in that odd elvish language again. They pound into his chest, sending him backwards with a curse as his spell fizzles. Banshee tells something in a strange archaic tounge reminicent of Elvish and eerily similar to that which Lareth spoke. She looks back at winks at Elrae and Hepla - perhaps for the last time and steels herself for the task at hand. She grips her silver sword with two hands and rushes forward to attack Lareth....giving herself over fully to the dance. Though her sword strokes clang harmlessly off his armor, she keeps him off-balance as Gotrek strides forward, taking a couple more swings, both of which miss. Hepla slips in afterwards to check on Derry, binding his wounds.
Speaking in that dreadful tone, the bright light around his eyes goes out in a strange flash of black. As he blinks his eyes, Lareth defends against the attacks of Gotrek and Banshee, both of whom fail to hit him. Meanwhile Elrae reloads his crossbow. The fire on the floor also spreads to where Gotrek is standing....
[ooc: Berenn, you can now move! The smoke has also cleared.]
Lareth hits Gotrek, sending him sprawling back into the flames, which spread across the bed and to where Lareth and he were fighting. Berenn comes around the corner into the room just in time to grab Gotrek whose cloak is now on fire. He pulls him out of the flames which now have spread entirely across the room, with choking smoke filling the space as well. Banshee makes one last swipe at the burning Lareth before leaping atop the flaming desk and rolling back out of the room. Hepla pulls Derry out as well and Elrae slams the door as the entire room becomes a raging inferno.
Gotrek struggles free, ripping his cloak off and hitting Berenn (8), knocking him backwards. The rest pull away from the enraged dwarf, who then turns to go back into the room. He starts to push the door back open, but flames lick at him and the heat is now too intense. He turns around, looking for more enemies, only to find his friends, nervously fingering weapons as they eye the raging, smoking dwarf. With an effort of will he pushes his rage back down, sighs, and slumps to the floor, unconscious.
Berenn uses all of healing to do what he can for the injured, but the party is in very bad shape. With no way to stop the flames, they stay back and wait for them to burn themselves out. It will take a few hours to go in safely, after which you can check things out. You do indeed find a secret door, which is completely blocked and unable to be opened. It seems that it is barred from the other side somehow, and nothing you do can budge it.
There are a few lumps of silver where the desk was, remains of the serving set that was there. A stone box in the corner yet remains, and inside you find a bag with a gold necklace set with diamonds and fire opals. There is also a pouch with 50 pp. The fire didn't really burn the corner area, so this remained relatively intact. While the party gathers up what they can salvage, Berenn heads outside to see if he can pick up Lareth's trail. They plan to meet up in Hommlet.
Cast of Characters:
Banshee: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert/Ranger
Derry: Halfling fighter/thief
Elrae: Human Bard
Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
Hepla: Human Mage (semi-1st ed Witch from old Dragon magazine!)
Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
After returning to Hommlet, the party gets a much needed rest. The innkeeper greets you and listens intently as you related what happened. He furnishes you with free meals on the house. "Well, they're on the council," he says with a wink. After a night of songs and drinking, you go to sleep and awake the next morning.
Arising in the morning, Ostler provides you another meal and informs you that the council will meet at midday. You have a few hours to pursue whatever other errands you may wish to run before the meeting.
That morning two other travellers take a very active interest in your tales. One is a warrior named Zert, representing a Sage from Verbobonc's Silver Consortium. His master is very interested in the arcane history of the region, and sent Zert to check it out. The other is a gnome named Furnok who is seeking lost gems stolen by bandits on the road to Greenway Valley. He is very interested to hear about the bandits holed up nearby, and whether or not you have come across any stores of gemstones.
"Well Mr. Furnok, we did salvage some gems from the moathouse. That foul devil, Lareth was hording them in his lair. If it weren't for the halfling torching the place, we could have had his head and all of the treasure intact." Elrae makes sure to flash his ring that was given to him by the gnome that appreaciated his music a long time ago. The party gets an excellent deal with Furnok, who arranges to have their gems taken to Verbobonc with the next caravan from the Greenway Valley. The gnomes always get the best prices.
The party also visits quite a few of the townspeople, getting to know some of them as they handle personal business. Berenn stops at the trader's establishment on the way back. It is a large building with shutters and many windows. Outside the door a shield and landtern are suspended from chains; the shield is painted to show a sword and a cheese wheel. This is the local trader, a merchant providing the needs of villagers, travellers, and even adventurers. It is run by Rannos Davl, a man best described as slow, fat, clumsy, and placid. His partner is Gremag, a tall thin man with sharp features and protruding eyes. Davl inherited the store from his uncle, who owned it before him. He moved back to Hommlet from the Free City of Dyvers to run the store. After a run-in with bandits on the road last year, he hired Gremag as his bodyguard. Like most people here, they are followers of St. Cuthbert, though Davl keeps a shrine to Zilchus, God of merchants, just inside the door to his store.
Out back is a barn with various animals for sale--mules, draft horses, riding horses, and even one medium war horse. A groom tends them, and a man-at-arms wanders the property during the day, armed with a longbow and sword.
They don't seem to know anything either, though Davl is pleased that you seem to have found the lair of the bandits. "Hopefully they were the ones who robbed my load last year," he says as he is packing a large crate full of sundry items. "Serves 'em right." he continues. "Gremag, could you go get Florin to take this load to Perrin's?" [ooc: that's the local dairy/cheese-maker.] "Anyway, bring your new friends by. We've everything they need," he says with a smile. "And if I don't have it I can get it," he adds with a grin. [I thought I'd show the party's first experience with Rannos Davl and Gremag.]
You eventually all make your way back to the town hall, the same plain building where you met the council before. Burne and Rufus are already there, as is Jaroo, Ostler, and Mytch. Agar nods to you all as he enters with Banshee, then takes his place behind the table. Only Canon Terjon and Elder Hammond have yet to arrive. You take your places along the benches, and greet the council members.
At the meeting, they reveal to the council what they have learned, especially the fact that there is a spy at the castle worksite. As for the spy, they propose keeping an eye on the spy, and see who he reports to. Berenn would make a good tracker, and maybe magic can be helpful here? In the mean time, Burne offers to help Gotrek and the two mages with any magical help they need while they wait.
The council is very interested in everything that happened at the moathouse. Rufus thinks it was a mistake to leave the place abandoned, and proposes forth a plan to clean the place up, hire workers to rebuild it, and man it permanently. The council will take this up with the Viscount, as you can't just man a fortification in another lord's lands.
Banshee tells the council there may be in more serious peril then they realize and there be more dire happenings at this elemental temple they spoke of. Lareth was clearly a cleric of Lloth, which she learned from their encounter. He spoke perfect drow elvish, and cast spells only known to priestesses of Lolth. When they ask her how she knows this, she reveals to the council and party she is drow, but a follower of elistraee - trying to bring her people back to the light of day and out of the clutches of the dark goddess.
Thorgrim looks at Banshee, gripping his pick tight and glares at her. "Drow," he whispers, almost imperceptably and with a hint of awe and fear.
Canon Terjon enters with Elder Hammond at the same time, and he is clearly shocked, grabbing his mace. "Drow?" he yells, as he strides forward, his other hand already beginning to cast a spell. Elder Hammond bats his hand down with his withered walking stick, disrupting the priest's casting, and he places his other hand on his shoulder to calm him. "She has helped our village," he says, "and she may always find rest and shelter here." Looking at the priest, who is caught between his fear of Banshee and respect for the elder, he adds, "Put down your mace, friend. Our own fears are the least of our worries." Terjon puts down his mace, and the two gradually take their seats.
Berenn suggests he inflitrate the workers camp as a new hire, this will allow him the opportunity to locate and possibly bring the spy into his confidence.
"Now Berenn," says the Elder, "that is a fine idea. However, everyone knows you around here, and it would never work." Looking at Hepla, he continues, "now this one, she is knew, and unassuming. She may do nicely."
You spend a little more time with the council, which is very pleased with your work. The Lolth-worshipping human is very disconcerting. For all but Burne, Lolth was more of a bogeyman with which to scare the children. They ask you to keep that information to yourselves, and to not cause another panic. [at that they look at Elrae!]
Rufus will send Jordan back to Verbobonc, to report to the Viscount on events. Terjon will send Calmert with him, to report to the church leaders.
In the mean time, Hepla can be "hired" as a cook for the construction of the castle, where she can work to identify this spy, with Berenn keeping an eye on things from afar.
While Hepla goes off to the castle site, the party hires the teamster to help clear out the moathouse. Over the next week, the party travels back and forth, cleaning up the place and bringing the "loot" back to town.
Meanwhile, Gotrek goes to the smithy. Gotrek is impatient with a new idea. His idea, though it will be of great cost and time, feels right. He can't wait to get started, and see what finally comes of this. He feels his God, Clangeddin approves. Gotrek uses the materials he claimed from the moathouse to forge a new set of plate mail. He uses the magic orcish battleaxe he took earlier, for its steel, and arranges a deal with Burne for some magical assistance, should it be necessary. [He's attempting to make a set of plate mail, and hopes that between the magic ax and Burne's help, he will get a suit of magical plate armor.]
During this time, Hepla identified the spy, Rysdn, and charmed him. He was Lareth's spy at the site, and reported to Rannos Davl, the village trader. [ooc: maybe that should be spelled "traitor"] He doesn't know anything except the most general knowledge of Lareth's activities at the moathouse, as he was a bandit who was slipped into the castle workforce month's ago. Other than that, there is no other info you can get from him. He only knew about the moathouse, which you've already cleaned out. Still, he remains "charmed" by Hepla.
Banshee also hired Zert to be her personal bodyguard, and she charmed him for good measure. Zert turns out to not know anything about the temple, at least nothing except the same stories and general knowledge you guys know. He was hired by a man in Verbobonc who gave him the "cover" of working for a sage at the Silver Consortium. His mission is to investigate what was happening in the region, specifically rumors of increased bandit activity, humanoid activity, etc. He was also to discover if any of this is related to the ruined Temple of Elemental Evil, and to determine if the temple is rebuilding its power. He has only just arrived in town, and does not know anything except what the party has revealed to the village so far. He is "charmed" to be Banshee's bodyguard, and will guard her as though her best friend. He is also happy to be "hired" as that's his basic reason for being here anyway. He doesn't know who the man was or why he wanted to know this information, and was told that he should not return to Verbobonc until he was finished. When he did, the man would find him.
The party creates a long, complicated, overly complex plan to try and surprise the traders and take them prisoner. Unfortunately, they didn't bank on their abilities. The traders put up a good fight, during which Zert is killed. Both escape using Dust of Disappearance. However, a faerie fire spell illuminates Rannos Davl, who tries to slip by Gotrek hiding on a horse. Gotrek cuts the horse's legs out from under it, and then captures Rannos Davl. Berenn tracks Gremag, and the party eventually captures him as well, but not before he stabbed Hepla with his poisoned dagger. A slow poison kept her alive, barely, until they could bring her back to the village for a real cure.
They learn that Rannos Davl is the Temple's agent, while Gremag is an assassin from Dyvers, hired by Lareth to spy on Rannos. It seems none of these bad guys trust each other! They also learn that there are factions at the ruined Temple of Elemental Evil, attempting to rebuild the place. The town council summons mounted borderers, who arrive shortly and take Rannos Davl and Gremag to Verbobonc to face justice. Meanwhile, the party decides to travel to Nulb, to investigate this ruined temple....
That's it for T1, Village of Hommlet. Gotrek was successful. He "created" +1 Plate Mail, which provides endure heat. It also warms up around orcs, and gets cold around elves. [I'm generally stingy with magic, but he came up with some good role-playing ideas which we rolled with, and in the end, he got a suit of armor which, while unique, didn't really alter things too much. I especially liked that he used the old orcish battleaxe.] Anyway, they also decided to keep the Trader's Post, and hired the carpenter to add on to the second floor. After finishing a few more details, the party headed off for Nulb.
Excellent role-playing by you and your group, Ragnar!
I especially appreciate the uniqueness of the magical platemail and the sacrifice of the magical battleaxe in order to make it. I also like the charming of the spy at the castle and the plan to capture Ranos and Gremag.
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