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    Quest for Giant Goreblade
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
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    Tue May 07, 2013 6:44 am  
    Quest for Giant Goreblade

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 1

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
    Vestron Orcburner: Elven Fighter/Mage

    Giant Goreblade - prologue
    Bentham the sage was also set to work looking for information on the object of Gotrek's quest, Giant Goreblade. He manages to pass the information on to Isilme while she is in town researching the Horn of Iggwilv.

    He was able to discover the name of the last known possessor of the weapon, a dwarven mercenary named Kilkrak Bloodjudge. His last known whereabouts was in the Wild Coast where he was working as a mercenary captain for a band of rogue dwarves, the Deldukr, dwarven for Steel Wall.

    Kilkrak Bloodjudge is a Sundered Dwarf from the Pomarj region. The story you piece together is that his clan was lagely wiped out when the Drachescrag Mountains were overrun by humanoids during the Hateful Wars.

    In 498 CY, the Hateful Wars began as an alliance between Celene and the Ulek States, who sought to drive the orcs, goblins, and other evil humanoids from Lortmil Mountains. The Prince of Ulek invited the former barons of the Pomarj to join the alliance, but the lords of the Pomarj refused, fearing reabsorption into the Principality and seeing little reason to involve themselves in what they viewed as chiefly a conflict between non-humans. By 510 CY, the Hateful Wars were over, but this conflict would have great repercussions for the Pomarj. In 513 CY, hordes of surviving orcs, goblins, and other evil creatures from the Lortmils, having few places to hide from their elven and dwarven foes, fled to the Pomarj, emerging from the Suss and falling upon Highport in a destructive rage. In a matter of months, all of the other former baronies fell to the humanoid invaders. Over the next few decades, the Pomarj became essentially a backwater filled with orcs, goblinoids, and other evil creatures, as well as a haven for human bandits, pirates, slavers, and other criminals. Various humanoid tribes carved out territories. Any good humans left lived as slaves, or else waged a losing guerrilla war against the invaders.

    He is known as a bitter, vengeful, and thoroughly bloodthirsty type, who built quite a reputation as a mercenary. His band is made of other dwarves, most with similar stories, who hire out to any who can use, and pay for, their services. They served in many lands of the Flanaess, from the Shield Lands to the Great Kingdom, and currently are in the Wild Coast where they sell their services to the various lords of those fiercely independent and dangerous city states.

    ***

    After Elrae's wedding on the Winter Solstice, you wait another few weeks before traveling. The week of Needfest (Midwinter) comes, with the great moon, Luna, growing full by Godsday. The festival week of Needfest marks the beginning of a new year. This is a period to celebrate life during the most frigid and miserable of seasons, a time of merrymaking and overindulgence. Among those who can afford such luxuries, yellow candles, evergreen branches, and magical lights are used as decorations.

    Needfest begins with 'MUMMERING.' People wear disguises and try to remain unrecognized, in order to celebrate the wondrous and strange effect that magic and magical creatures have in the world. Nevertheless, it should be noted that actual use of magic in such disguises is considered cheating, and is frowned on in most areas. There is dancing and general carousing, and the high point is a parade and the Performance of the Mummers, a play in which good and evil battle. Evil wins but the youngest speaking child resurrects good and removes the evil from the bad actor. It is rare but not unknown for some members of evil cults to take steps at this point, and vigilance is usually tight in larger cities.

    The rest of the holiday is devoted to general merriment, and the last night before the months are again counted in the calendar is very special. This is the FEAST OF UNREASON, which is honoured by many diverse faiths (Boccob, Lydia, Lirr, Norebo, Olidammara, Ralishaz, Trithereon, and even Rao and Iuz!) for different reasons. In general, however, the mode of celebration is the same: Servants are promoted to the head of towns, villages, and even royal courts, where they preside over the feast's duration. They orchestrate silly laws {i.e.. having farmers push their carts, wearing only one shoe, etc.} which must be obeyed, though traditionally they are followed about by a 'true' authority who can overrule any proclamations deemed to be disastrous. Popular everywhere, even in the Great Kingdom, but ruthlessly suppressed in the Theocracy of the Pale. This is a very popular Greyhawk festival, where it is colloquially known as "Zagyg's Feast." The Mad Archmage retains his distinction as the only actual ruler to ever be elected to preside at these festivals, and his influence can still be felt today. Mages report that their spells will occasionally misfire in odd and/or humorous ways during this period, though such misfires will never occur in lifethreatening situations unless one has greatly offended Zagyg or Boccob.

    Here the festival is celebrated with more abandon than usual, perhaps a result of the recent defeat of the Temple, your triumphs, Elrae's wedding. The leaders of Hommlet play the fools while the people go crazy with delight. Even the dour Canon Terjon laughs and cajoles like a fool, and everyone has a great time. Only Vestron stays hidden away in his home, as it seems the elves do not celebrate the day, and olven nobles do not understand this desire to change everyone's station for a night. Everyone else has lots of fun, and though Isilme doesn't really get it either, she stays by Hepla who really gets into the roll of Queen of Hommlet. She even forgets to use her mother's potions, and everyone is quite worn out and ill in the morning. This doesn't stop Gotrek, who has his and Thorgrim's horses saddled up and ready to go just after dawn, even though neither can probably get on the things without help, still drunk from a night of drinking Gutshaker!

    Before the party leaves, Isilme bows to Hepla and asks, "Noble Hepla, First Lady of the Order of the Cat, would you take me as the first member of your great order? I would be honored."

    Hepla bows to Isilme and says,"with great pleasure do I accept you as the first to join the Order of the Cat. Thank you for volenteering, my friend."

    "It is truly an honor," replies Isilme, who then produces the items she had commissioned in Verbobonc. Hepla is stunned, and doesn't know what to say. She then notices two pins, and sees that Isilme planned this all along. She giggles as she wraps her in a hug.

    "Women!" says Thorgrim, laughing.

    Gotrek chuckles too, though it comes out as a snort.

    The party then leaves, riding their horses along the High Road once again. It is the first of Fireseek, and it takes a good day to ride back to Nulb. You find the place absolutely destroyed. All the buildings have been burned to the ground. It is dark, and it starts to snow rather hard as you enter what used to be the center of town.

    "Maybe we should see if there is anything left in the lower levels of the temple before moving on," says Berenn.

    Thorgrim agrees. "We could go look for that abandoned farmhouse again, and stay there. It had a tunnel that led into the Falrinth's quarters, as well as to the brigand tower. It's a good place to start.

    You find the old farmhouse in the woods, but the tunnel to the Temple is collapsed after a couple of hundred feet. The dwarves reason there is no way to continue without a major effort. You make your way over to the actual temple itself. It's about a 1/4 mile away. You head over there, pulling your cloak tight against the chill. You make your way to the temple and see the tower is yet standing, well the bottom floor is still there anyway. Half the walls around the complex have fallen over, and the temple itself has huge gaps, where parts of it collapsed. The magiced doors are no longer there, and the pieces scattered inside show that they exploded into the interior. The place is choked full of rubble, and a layer of snow covers everything inside, fallen through the collapsed roof. It is dark and silent as a tomb.

    Elrae pees on the temple ruins. "I am done with this place, we should move on."

    Hepla casts DETECT MAGIC in the area of the broken bits of the doors. You detect nothing. It seems whatever those magics were, they are gone. Taki also fails to see any tracks, as the snow really has been coming down pretty heavy for a couple of hours now. Temperature's dropping with wind picking up (it'll drop to about 18 degrees tonight).

    "We should take shelter until morning," says Taki. He offers to stand whatever watch the party deems needed. The party heads back to the farmhouse, and takes shelter there for the night.

    Sunday, 2nd Fireseek
    You pass a cold, if uneventful, evening, and in the morning you find that though the wind continues to blow about 15mph, the snow has stopped. There is about 10" of snow on the ground, and the sky is yet cloudy, but much warmer.

    As Berenn still wants to investigate the temple ruins further, they decide to look around a bit more. You make your way across the open area towards the temple slowly, your every footstep a challenge in the foot-deep snow. About halfway to the walls, a group of horsemen ride out of the southern forests to your right. They are about 200 yards away, spot you crossing the snow, and start riding in your direction. When they get close enough you see their shields emblazoned with the arms of Verbobonc.

    They ride up, ready for a fight, but do not charge. They challenge you, in the name of the Viscount, what you're doing here. You tell them who you are, and that you have returned to make certain the Temple is truly destroyed. They listen, then let you go about your business. They do tell you that a great explosion occurred within the temple, though the stained glass windows, doors, etc all blew in, rather than out. The ground within actually dropped about 10-20 feet, and half the walls fell in on the collapsed portions. No way into the lower levels could be found, and no men or creatures ventured forth from the rubble afterwards.

    "The only way in would be through the secret tunnel from the farm house," says Elrae. "I seriously doubt there is anything salvageable down there."

    Considering that the tunnel was collapsed after only about 100', and that no scrying of the interior was possible, the party reasoned that the whole dungeon levels collapsed. It's probably a total loss, and if anything of value is there, it would take a major undertaking to excavate. Hepla even goes to the center of the temple, first floor, lies on the floor, face down, and using the ring uses x-ray vision to look into the depths of the temple. She finds nothing.

    Thorgrim and Gotrek both say the same thing. "We could excavate the entire place, but what's the point? Let's go."

    You head back to the farmhouse, collect your horses (and the griffons) and continue on. The road continues to the east, away from the Temple, and winds its way through the forested hills. You are entering the Gnarley Forest. Berenn and Elrae ride ahead and above the party, but they cannot go too fast as it's much colder flying, and it's already cold enough out! They still cover more ground, but the griffons need more rest than the horses, so they have to land and rest quite often. They fall into a routine, flying about a half-hour ahead of the party, scouting the area to the left and right as they go. When they find a suitable spot, they land on the road and wait for the rest to catch up, giving the griffons a rest. It also keeps the griffons away from the horses, which do not like them. The griffons favorite meat is also horse, so they are a constant pain to control; easier to just keep them separate.

    http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/18/65/87296518/photos/undefined/Gnarley%20Forest.JPG

    The Gnarley Forest is an ancient forest full of immense trees. In most places, the tree canopy blocks out most light, resulting in little ground vegetation, making the forest floor easy to walk. These areas are almost like parkland, save for the presence of much rotted timber and trees felled by age or storm scattered across the ground. The Gnarley is surpassingly old. In its deepest recesses, treants and hostile lyrannikin repel those not of the forest themselves. There is an almost tangible aura of magic in such places, and the faerie folk and elves here do not welcome intruders, no matter what their intentions. Likewise, some buried secrets in the Gnarley are of great antiquity, and rich with the history of Oerik-and, not rarely, redolent of its greatest evils to boot.

    The climate of the Gnarley Forest is temperate for the most part, but within the very heart of the forest, there are some small areas that remain mostly untouched by the coldest weather. This may be a result of geothermal activity or magic, but given their remote locations and the dangers involved in travel through the heart of the forest, few have investigated.



    The forest is dominated by oak and ipp trees, frequently mixed, with intermittent groves of dekla and yarpick trees. Yarpicks are more common to the east, where their nuts are harvested by woodsmen and sold by the bushel. Ferns are found aplenty along the borders of the Jewel and Serault rivers, and thick moss and fungi grow on many rotted timbers and some old trees. Flowering plants are not common, but the beautiful ivoryblossom (a white-petalled, orchidlike plant) makes up in quality for what the forest lacks in quantity of bloom. In the hills, bluebells and crocuses provide a riot of color in areas with thinner tree cover. Typical small mammals and birds can be found in the Gnarley-mice, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and the like. Bears, wolves and predatory giant spiders offer more in the way of threat. The more common monsters include owlbears, giant beetles, and humanoids.

    To the west, a great central swath of the forest consists of wooded hill land, where the eastern spur of the Kron Hills enters the Gnarley. Tree cover here is rather less dense and there are many secluded, fertile glades and valleys. The hills rise gently, with long, stretching undulations growing steeper as they rise to the west. The Gnarley hills have fairly poor mineral resources in the area covered on the campaign map, although a handful of mines within 20 miles or so of Namburil yield chrysoberyls and peridots, together with some fine quartz and tiger eye agates. Most of the superior gems are found to the west, and are in the hand of gnomes from the Kron Hills. Only a small portion of the Gnarley is claimed by Greyhawk. The great bulk of the forest, lying westward, is claimed by Celene, although Dyvers lays claim to some northern fringes of the forest as does Verbobonc to the west. Celene protects its borders fairly zealously and lays claim to virtually all of the Welkwood to the south (all land west of the Jewel river).

    You travel the rest of the day into the forest, along the snow-covered road. The wind picks up by late afternoon, and it is starting to get rather cold again. Ahead, you hear the sounds of music playing, and when the party comes around a bend, you find that Berenn has found a sheltered spot to camp, and has already gotten a good fire started. Elrae is nestled up in his blanket, playing his new pipes. The smell of cooked meat wafts across to you, and you see a large rabbit cooking.

    "Better'n hardtack," says Thorgrim.

    As set up to rest for the evening, Thorgrim adds some Endure Cold spells for everyone who wants one.

    Taki goes and gathers wood and take the time to scout around the camp, returns and asks what watch he should take. Vestron will sing along to the piper's tune. A ballad of the beginning times of the elves. When nobody answers, Taki heads back out. He doesn't scout any further than he can hear the music. You pass an uneventful, though cold night. While not as bad as the previous night, this time you are more exposed. Everyone's happy to have had Thorgrim's Endure Cold spell.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Tue May 07, 2013 11:38 am  

    Okay, I missed something . . . somewhere, so I'll bite.

    "The Order of the Cat?" Confused

    Laughing Laughing Laughing
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue May 07, 2013 11:42 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Okay, I missed something . . . somewhere, so I'll bite.

    "The Order of the Cat?" Confused

    Laughing Laughing Laughing


    Yes, that happened when the party met the Viscount. I'll quote from before:

    Quote:

    When there is a pause Hepla steps forward," Your Viscountness, I am Hepla and this is Starle my cat. My mom always says to me, know what a person has that they can part with without lessening themselves. It seems to me that Sir Berenn, who clearly derserves the honor, became a knight without you lessening yourself in any way, except for the lands you gave him. Can you give me the title of Lady, I do not need any lands but I know mom and grandma would be so happy. Mom is a Lady but without the right to pass the title to me."

    He smiles and even gets up from his throne to approach you. He embraces you with a loving hug, and then announces to the crowd.

    "From henceforth I establish the Order of the Cat, with this worthy maiden as its First Lady. Arise, First Lady Hepla, of the Order of the Cat. You shall always have a home in my court as an honorary lady in waiting to my own daughter, Elysia. "

    His daughter steps forward from the front of the nobles. She is a compact, middle-aged woman, with ebony skin and a round, cheerful face. She has curly, brown hair and blue eyes that do not seem to miss anything. She kisses Hepla on each cheek. "I am sure we shall be great friends," she says with a sincere smile that lights the room.

    Hepla gets up and says, "Thank you, your Viscountness,and my Startle thanks you as well(giggle)this is a great honor for me and my family. Mom will be so happy." With that she backs over to Vestron, having been told that its improper to turn your back on the Viscount, and when she has a chance whispers to Vestron,"I think I need some more help with this court stuff."
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Tue May 07, 2013 12:14 pm  

    Yes, in all your voluminous writings . . . I forgot that! Laughing Laughing Laughing

    Thanks for the reminder! Evil Grin
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue May 07, 2013 12:41 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Yes, in all your voluminous writings . . . I forgot that! Laughing Laughing Laughing

    Thanks for the reminder! Evil Grin


    voluminous? LOL!
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue May 07, 2013 1:30 pm  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 2

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
    Vestron Orcburner: Elven Fighter/Mage

    Moonday, 3 Fireseek, 581 CY
    You awaken at first light, to another cold morning. The winds have finally died down, and the clouds have mostly blown away, revealing welcome rays of sunshine. It's still cold, but the sun does wonders for your morale.

    Vestron OOC: [Papa Smurf....are we there yet?]

    You continue along, enjoying a welcome respite from the cold. Not that it's warm, but the occasional glimpse of the sun, the day after leaving the area of the Temple of Elemental Evil adds new vigor. You are resting around noon, when you hear someone yelling down the road. Before you can react, a man wearing tattered robes flies (literally) down the road towards you!

    "Take it!" he says, handing a befuddled Taki something. "I've had enough of this lark," he says, and then continues to fly down the road behind you. "It just isn't worth the trouble!" he shouts as he disappears around a turn.

    Hepla casts Charm Person and says"Stop, friend!" while Vestron attempts a Sleep spell. Neither spell works, and the man is quickly gone!

    Taki looks down, and in his hands is a 10" tall golden statue of a beautiful woman who seems to be coming out of a tree while holding a dove in an outstretched hand.



    It has no marks of any kind, and Vestron recognizes that the statuette is of a dryad. He casts Detect Magic, but senses nothing from it.

    Suddenly an absolutely thunderous noise begins to build up all around you, hoofbeats, squawking, yelling, and cries.

    Taki makes ready his maul and prepares for battle. [ I guess I should add, Taki was able to make a trade with Sir Ingish Blackhand. The party gave him the magical spear taken from the Salamanders in exchange for a magical maul. I was a very lenient DM with this move, but I wanted the player to be happy. So I broke one of my closely held rules about not letting players buy magic items, except potions.]

    Coming out of the trees are about three-dozen wood elves, bows out and arrows drawn!

    Vestron calls them them in elven, "Cousins, why do you approach so armed?"

    Taki steps forward and yells, "Whoa there!! lets us talk." as loud as he can.

    Before they can answer, something flies by Taki's face, something small and quick. Then another, and another, until there is a veritable buzzing of them. You soon realize that they are Sprites, and there seem to be about 50 of them, flying around with their little bows and daggers. They constantly buzz right around your heads, darting this way and that.

    Vestron is about to tell Taki to put the statue down, but before he can do that, you notice even more flying creatures, appear. These start brandishing their weapons at the others, and at you. They seem to be pixies. The elves move forward, when there is a thundrous crashing behind them. A dozen spear-armed satyrs come out of the woods, stamping their hooves and shouting as well.

    "Give it to us!" they all seem to be shouting, at each other as with you.

    "It's ours!"

    No, it's ours!"

    "Give it to us or else!"

    And so on..... Soon, the various fey creatures are all around you, yelling and hollering and carrying on.

    "It can't be everyone's, so we need to calm down and figure this out.", Berenn calmly replies.

    Between Taki, Berenn, and Vestron, the four groups reluctantly quiet. The essence of their claims are as follows:

    The elves claim the statuette is theirs because they made it. It was crafted by an elven loremaster, and they wish to present it to his son, newly come of age.

    The sprites want the statuette because they owned it for some two decades. They claim it was a gift from the elven loremaster.

    "A “gift” that was made under duress!" shouts one of the elves.

    "You lie you, Big Ears!" says a sprite, and then the entire argument starts again! It takes a while to calm them down, so the others can continue.

    You know what it‘s like at those sprite celebrations,” the elves reply, ”you don’t get away unless you give them what they demand!?"

    "Big ears!" shouts a sprite.

    Taki glares at the little sprite that shouted, and it flies right into his face. "I ain't afraid of you either, Big Nose!"

    Meanwhile, the satyrs want the statuette because it is of a dryad, Tamara, who is much beloved of their leader. Their leader lies close to death now, and they want to take it to him.

    Finally, the pixies want the statuette because, well, one shouts, "we had it before that pesky wizard, who stole it with his thief friend” Some of the pixies raise their daggers and cheer, "At least the thief didn't get away!"

    The sprites immediately reply that the pixies stole it from them. The elves look indignant and say the sprites were careless with it, which shows how little they truly cared for it.

    Then they all start arguing again. You try to calm them down again, but find it impossible.

    Gotrek yells, "Silence! If you can't figure this out peacefully, I swear by Clangeddin I will smash this statue with my Warhammer!"

    They all stop shouting and turn towards Gotrek. Their glares are like daggers (real small ones!) and you could swear you hear a few low whispers about a "stupid dwarf" or maybe you're just hearing things.....

    "Now, now, now everyone," says Elrae, doing his best to sound soothing. "There is a simple solution for this that doesn't require smashing of this lovely statue. You shall all share it. During the spring when the flowers bloom the sprites should have it, during the summer the wee pixies can have a turn dancing around it all night, in the fall the elves shall use it while harvesting their wine and in the winter the satyrs shall use it for celebrating the solstice. Thus speaks Elrae mender of fences and friend to all goodly creatures."

    This sets them all to arguing again. Taki gives the statuette to Berenn, then goes to sit down with Gotrek and Thorgrim, who have decided they just don't care.

    "I am a knight of the realm and Ranger Warden of these lands," says Berenn. "If all parties agree, I am willing to arbitrate this dispute. All parties will also have to abide by the final decision that is made and go there ways in peace."

    While the sprites and elves seem to consider what Elrae said, another cry goes up.

    "We took it fair and square!" cry the pixies.

    "Thieves!" reply the sprites, threateningly.

    The elves look at Berenn sceptically. "Why should we submit our claim to the 'wisdom' of a half-breed?" asks one.

    "Why submit at all?" cries a Satyr. "We must have it now!"

    "Goat-face!" yells a Pixie, and a few others start making goat sounds.

    Noot doesn't like what's going on, and he fades back into the shadows of the trees.

    Two pixies fly up next to him, holding their little swords up for him to see.

    "What do we have here?" says one.

    "Looks like another thief," says the other. "You know what we do to thieves around here?" he says, pointing his pixie sword at Noot's face.

    Two sprites then fly over in-between them. "You mean thieves like you!" They shout. "You stole it from us first!" Then they all start arguing again.

    Hepla says,"It is clear that there are four claims to one statue. Why is this statue special? Yes it is a very nice statue but is it something more? If it is just a statue why not make one for each of you?"

    One of the elves steps up, speaking with Berenn. "It was made by one of the great Loremasters, Rilwë Shalandalan. It belongs with the elves."

    "He was our friend too!" shout the sprites.

    "But he liked us best!" say the elves. "Why do you think he came to live with us?"

    Both Elrae and Vestron know the name, a great Olven bard from Celene. He left the court hundreds of years ago and went to live with the wood elves. His ability was legendary, and as a craftsman, unsurpassed.

    "A Shalandalan original, oh my," says Elrae. "How Loremaster Rilwë would shed tears knowing that the fey are all fighting over his statue. It is something that all in the forest should admire and appreciate and not belong to only one group. If you don't like my seasonal solution, perhaps you can have a contest for it. Surely the winner of the contest would be the rightful owner of this beautiful statue."

    "The contest shall be in the form of a song. Sing to me and our party shall judge who is the best."

    The elves would love to sing for it, but the sprites and pixies immediately object. "Of course THEY'D like that," they say, almost in unison. "Who sings better than an elf?"

    The elves smile to themselves, but their satisfaction is over quickly when the Satyrs say no. "Jexair will fade soon," says the Satyr leader. "Rilwë may have loved you best, but Jexair loved Tamara. We must have it NOW!" he shouts, and raises a spear threateningly.

    "So who shall get the statue of the dryad?" asks Elrae.

    Taki looks at his friends and says, "Toss it in the middle of them, let them kill each other for it while we make our leave. This is none of our concern as to who gets this or who does not."

    "There is but one solution," says Vestron. "We shall cut the statue in three pieces and you shall all have a part. "

    "Four parts," says Taki, holding up four fingers and shaking his head, his anger building. "Throw the damn thing into the middle of them and let these creatures sort out their own affairs."

    They all start to argue, while Hepla takes out her crystal ball and scries the person who tossed them the statue. "Let's see what the guy who got us into this mess has to say."

    She keeps a strong grip on the ball just in case one of these starts yelling MINE when they see it, and indeed, the pixies come flying over, interested in the swirling colors. However, she finds that the scrying doesn't work.

    A couple of pixies fly up to Vestron and Taki. "Maybe we cut you into four pieces too," says a pixie, flying around his head. "Eh Big Nose?"

    The elves say they agree to the seasonal exchange, that all can share the statue.

    Vestron looks up at the sky and says, "When I was young, pixies knew their place, rather than acting like a bunch of leprechauns!"

    The elves heartily agree, and the sprites too start laughing pretty hard, though it just sounds like a lot of squeaking!

    The sprites don't like the plan at all. They still say the statuette is theirs, because the elves gave it to them! The pixies also are upset. "If the sprites really wanted it they wouldn't have left it sitting around!" says one of them. A few of them actually start to fight.

    Berenn turns to Vestron, "For a nobleman, you lack tact. No one is going to do anything to the statue, so lets remain calm."

    Taki walks over to Berenn while he is looking at Vestron, grabs the statuette, and flings it into the middle of the fight and yells, "Now you all decide among yourselves who the damn thing belongs to!"

    Two sprites grab it. "Hurray!" cheer the sprites who then quickly start to fly away with it.

    The pixies all disappear, as do most of the sprites. The elves swear as flights of little mini-arrows shoot around the road in all directions.

    Thorgrim, Berenn, Elrae, Noot, and Hepla all get hit with arrows that make them fall asleep. Taki moves to protect them that have fallen asleep, but one of the Satyrs starts playing pipes, and Gotrek and Taki run off into the woods in fear. The elves and Satyrs fall on each other, with Vestron in the middle. Overhead, the sprites and pixies, invisible, fight each other and fire their sleep arrows.

    Vestron ducks away and casts Detect Invisibility. He can now see anything that flies in the 10' path (out to about 70 yards). It's like an invisibility searchlight! It's actually a bit dizzying, as so many invisible creatures are flying about. He then gets butted by two satyrs [15] and hit by two elven arrows [10]. The pixie and sprite arrows continue to fly around too, though he doesn't get hit. He doesn't see the statue yet.

    He backs off and casts fly and flies up in the air, where he is hit by two pixies with their swords [5]. He also is hit by 4 arrows, but doesn't fall asleep! He sees a group of sprites and pixies wrestling over the statue about 50' away. Frustrated, Vestron casts a fireball, which incinerates the sprites and pixies battling for the statue, as well as the statue itself.
    The explosion of the fireball makes all combat cease for a moment, as everyone watches in horror. Invisible burning sprites and pixies rain down, with only the smoke visible twirling out behind them as they plummet into the snow with little puffs.

    All the remaining fey creatures turn towards him, looks of fear, outrage, and a desire for dread violence upon their faces. He attempts to cast Invisibility upon himself, but before he can do so he is hit by 3 arrows from the irate elves [11], while also taking some from the sprites and pixies. He falls unconscious, and he falls about 50' to the ground [30: I do expanded falling damage, so even with the snow to break his fall, he died.]

    Taki is the first to come out of the fear effects, and he makes his way back to the road, following his footprints in the snow. When he gets there, he finds the party all still sleeping where they fell, except Gotrek, who is nowhere to be seen. Vestron lies face down in a crumpled heap, his leg bent backward at an impossible angle. All of the other fey creatures are gone.

    Taki checks on Vestron, but it is too late. Vestron is dead. When you look at him, you find dozens, maybe a hundred, dagger wounds all over his entire body.

    Gotrek comes back a few minutes later, and surveys the scene too. He checks on the rest of the party and finds that they are all asleep. Unfortunately, the sleeping people are missing quite a bit of stuff:

    [Cool, I posted the list!
    List of Items stripped by the Fey
    Elrae:
    Ebony Fly
    Ring of Energy (worn)
    Amulet of the Planes (wearing)
    ring w/large violet garnet (700gp)

    Gotrek: has everything

    Thorgrim:
    Coral box (100gp): with all his potions
    Ring of Protection

    Berenn:
    Foulcutter
    Cloak and boots of elvenkind
    Magic arrows

    Hepla:
    All magic daggers
    All three magic rings
    All wands
    Crystal Ball

    Vestron:
    Long sword flame tongue

    Noot:
    All his magic daggers
    Ring of Blinking
    Gem of Seeing ]

    "What happened?" says Elrae. "First I tried to negotiate a peaceful solution, I fell asleep and now I lost everything? At least Vestron is gone. What a jerk!"

    They don't end up taking the cittern, as who would want it? They also don't take Snowfang, which tells Elrae through its telepathic link that it convinced the elf who picked it up to not take it. The Fey took anything either useful to them, made by them, or that they thought was pretty. The party's lucky they weren't killed, but the Fey aren't like that. The sprites and pixies, well, they were a bit upset at Vestron! All the characters' nice jewelry was taken too. If I missed any items of obvious jewelry, they took that too. Taki and Gotrek lost nothing because the weren't there. They ran off into the woods, and the Fey basically forgot about them.

    Hepla wakes and starts to realize that her rings are missing, as she takes inventory she starts saying not nice things in Sylvin Elf, then Dwarven.

    Thorgrim finds his portable hole is still in his boot. "Reckon they didn't wanna mess with no one-eyed dwarf much anyway," he says, as he realizes they took his two rings. "Well," he continues, "it coulda been worse."

    Hepla says, "We are alive, that is something."

    Berenn is pissed, and without a word to anyone he gets on his griffons and flies back the way you came. When you shout at him, he ignores you and just flies away. Hepla casts FLY on herself and goes after him to invite him back. Taki, seeing that the blame rests on him, shoulders his maul and walks away into the forest.

    Elrae turns west and begins to walk towards Hommlet with his head held down in shame. Such a disastrous encounter and losing so much, his wife is going to kill him. It's more important to be alive and home with the kids than to do something stupid, like trust Vestron.

    "Where you goin?" calls Thorgrim.

    "Home," he replies. "I can't afford another adventure like that being robbed by a bunch of fairies."

    Hepla returns, not being able to catch up with Berenn. Hepla's passes Elrae and says,"Not you too. This was a setback not a disaster. If we all work together we can overcome this but not if we give up. Ilsime will probably be checking in on us soon. She can get us back up stuff and take Vestron's body home. With all those wounds I do not think he can be brought back."

    Gotrek takes out his wineskin full of gutshaker, and hands it to Thorgrim. "I am continuing on, whoever wants to join me."

    Thorgrim takes some gutshaker, and sits down for a drink. "Where in the Nine Hells is Taki?" Thorgrim goes and follows Taki's steps until he finds him. He soon finds him, sitting on a log alone. He convinces him that it was not his fault. "You knows I felt the same, laddie." After a bit, they return, and the party must consider its options.

    "If we go back to Hommlet I'm staying there and retiring," says Elrae. "So we better press on, if I go home empty handed my hormonal wife will not be happy. I need to get that baby some money for his/her education now that Veston's promise to pay for an elvish tutor died with him. Besides I don't know if I can trust elves any more after what they did to us. I sure as hell won't trust any fairies." Elrae seems not as cheerful or lighthearted as before, something heavy is weighing down on him. "I am tempted to burn down this entire forest."

    "Well," says Thorgrim dourfully, "it is called the Gnarley Forest. Perhaps we should simply camp, and tend to our fallen comrade. When Isilme contacts us tonight, we can transport his body back to Hommlet.

    Everyone agrees that is sensible, and they pitch camp, waiting for Isilme to check in on them.

    [Thus ends a side-trek adventure which should have been just a nice bit of comic relief. Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of a couple characters, things spiraled quickly out of control. In the end, the party lost one member and had nearly every magic item of serious value taken, at least all the non-warrior stuff. It just goes to show you, you never really know how things are going to turn out!]
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
    Posts: 2781
    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Tue May 07, 2013 5:38 pm  

    Side trek? Not for me.

    I'm too vengeful for that. I do not "buy" guilt by association. They stole from me because one of my companions did something they didn't like?

    No, for me, burning down the forest is only the beginning. Whether I ever get my items back is not an issue. Only revenge is.

    I would now lay claim to 4 "hated enemies."


    Mwahahahahahahahaha!


    What level are your characters at present?

    ragnar wrote:
    voluminous? LOL!


    Okay, we'll go with copious. Wink Evil Grin
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    Wed May 08, 2013 5:15 am  

    I think they are all about 7th level at this point.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
    Posts: 2781
    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Wed May 08, 2013 12:34 pm  

    Woo-hoo!

    Insert 7th level Dread Necromancer "here!" Shocked Evil Grin

    Now, let me see those damn Sprites and Pixies steal my "goodies!" Razz

    Of course, as a Dread Necromancer . . . I would have been fighting on the side of the Temple! Wink


    Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Wed May 08, 2013 2:31 pm  

    Should that be Dread Necromancer or Dead Necromancer?

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Woo-hoo!

    Insert 7th level Dread Necromancer "here!" Shocked Evil Grin

    Now, let me see those damn Sprites and Pixies steal my "goodies!" Razz

    Of course, as a Dread Necromancer . . . I would have been fighting on the side of the Temple! Wink


    Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
    Posts: 2781
    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Wed May 08, 2013 4:15 pm  

    ragnar wrote:
    Should that be Dread Necromancer or Dead Necromancer?


    Dread Necromancer! You Ninny! Razz

    3.5 Edition's Heroes of Horror, page 84.

    "Death is but a doorway!" You have been warned! Evil Grin


    *What am I going to do with these people!?*


    Mwahahahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Sat May 11, 2013 6:04 am  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 3

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    Isilme, excited to show Hepla the new coat of arms for the order of the cat, scrys the party to check up on her and all her friends. Seeing all the sour faces, she steps through her mirror to find out what happened. Hearing of Vestron's demise, she volunteers to make arrangements to have him returned to his people.

    She suggests the party take his items that may be useful, as the party took a severe hit. She collects the guanlets of ogre power she loaned Vestron.

    She offers to bring the party back with her and scry a single item they lost that she knows of. Perhaps this way they can get a few things back from a single faction and still be close by to continue to find Gotrek's axe.

    While the party gathers up the horses, Hepla and Elrae return to Hommlet with Isilme. There, they enlist the help of Jaroo, who knows of the Dryad Tamara. They successfully scry the dryad, though they see only a tree.

    Isilme places her pale blue hood over her head and steps through the gate, singing the magic song of the charm spell to herself (-3 to save type) as a traveler just wandering around would be singing a regular song to pass the time. She stops in front of the tree they scryed and says in elvish "Tamara - I wish to only speak with you. Sister Dryad, I would have you know the satyr Jexair who is madly in love with you is on his deathbed. So much is his love that his people fight with the other fey over a simple image of you, just to bring him some comfort. Ask the trees if this is not so - they battled here in the woods this very day! Would you consider paying him a visit in his last days or would you allow him to be brought to you? I know your tree home is sacred to you, but if to visit him only for a few hours as an act of kindness." She is clearly non-hostile, standing relaxed.

    A beautiful woman emerges from the tree, to stand before Isilme.



    The dryad's exquisite features, delicate and finely chiseled, are much like an elf maiden's. She has high cheek bones and dark green eyes. She appears clothed in a loose, simple garment. She listens to Isilme, then seems to go into a strange trance for a moment before talking.

    "The forest bears the truth of your words," she says with a voice like a gentle whispering wind. "Jaxair," she muses, "he was a beautiful fawn. I was unaware that he was fading. Has it really been that long?" She seems lost in thought for moment. "I will go to him."

    Isilme says, "Thank you doing him this small kindness. If you wish, you can take my hand and I will lead you through my portal - where we can go to the satyrs or you can make your way there if you know the way. I know time away from your beautiful tree is short, so I will aid you I'm any way I can."

    She smiles to Isilme. "Forgive me if I find my own way. You understand, I am sure."

    Isilme smiles back "I expected it, but it felt impolite not to offer. Would you mind if I traveled with you? I would prefer not to alarm the satyrs by just arriving, and I think they would be more friendly in your company. I have a great love for these lands and this forest and more violence over this would be horrible. I am trying to set things right. " I am also curious about the first statue created of you, did you allow a elvish craftsman to immortalize your beauty? Would you allow another one to be made?"

    She laughs, "that must been Rilwë. He was a fantastic lover, and could do wonders with wood. I haven't heard of him in ages." She turns to go back to her tree, then looks back over her shoulder, "Coming?"

    Isilme follows the dryad and hopes hepla will go ahead and do her own scrying.

    Hepla scries Isilme, and sees her stepping out of a tree, with the beautiful dryad, Tamara, behind her. They are in a small grove, with some kind of ancient stone temple of some kind (very Greco/Roman looking). A small group of Satyrs is startled by their appearance, and run off. Soon more show up, spears ready, but one recognizes the dryad and gets the rest to lower their weapons.

    She keeps her hands lowered and stays relaxed. " I am Islme, a friend of those you encountered earlier with the statue. After hearing the events that occurred yesterday, I know that your leader is nearing his final rest and such is his love for this dryad, that his people are willing to fight with the other fey peoples over even a statue of her to ease his final days. The statue was destroyed, but I seek to set things right, what better than to bring his beloved dryad here herself? She is willing to see him, will you lead us to him?"

    They are astounded, and take Tamara (and Isilme) to see their dying chief. He can barely open his eyes, but when he does he sees the beautiful dryad leaning over him. She takes his hands as he whispers her name softly, smiles. They spend some hours together before he dies. The dryad has tears in her eyes, as do all the satyrs, by the time it is all over. Tamara then makes a tearful farewell, and takes her leave. (Isilme will have to get back on her own!)

    They are grateful beyond words, and though they are sorry about the crazy elf, they kinda think he got what was coming to him for burning up all those fairies. Sure, they are pesky little things, but they didn't deserve being burned alive. Anyway, after talking awhile, they decide to give back the wand they took, Hepla's Wand of Identify. The satyrs got Elrae's fly too, and gladly give it back.

    Isilme takes the wand and thanks the satyrs. She asks if they might do her a small favor and arrange for a meeting with the fairy folk or direct her on she might speak with them. She wishes to make amends for the events surrounding the statue.

    They took off and really weren't on friendly terms with them anyway. They can do nothing in that regards.

    Isilme says "We have a bard in our party who I heard almost had everyone come to an agreement before things got out of hand. I am sure he would love to visit on better terms. The musical pipes and merrymaking of the satyrs are legendary. The fly was his prized possession, thank you."

    Once things are finished, she signals Hepla, who was indeed scrying her through the mirror. Hepla steps through, to the astonishment of the satyrs. Isilme bows, and the two turn and step through the gate, returning to Hommlet where Elrae is waiting.

    Elrae is happy to see his pet Ker-Euli is safely back with him. "I hope those ****-goats treated you gently. My ring, the one I wore at my wedding, the ring of energy I would really like that back as well. Which one of those thieves took it?"

    Nobody knows, so Elrae just shrugs, but at least he got Ker-Euli back.

    ***

    A man on horseback approaches Gotrek and Thorgrim on the road. Seiing their somewhat bedraggled state, he stops and says, "Hail good dwarves, might I be of assistance?"

    Taki stands up. "We sir are fresh from battle with more races than I care to name and yes we could use another hand or sword depending on what we run into."

    "What battle do you mean?" he says, looking around. "Are your foes nearby?"

    "Sir, I think we do not wish any more blows with these foes and are content to lick our wounds at this time."

    "But this wrong must be avenged! Oh, by the way, who are you? I am Emyn Frel, Avenger of Trithereon. That is why I have this thingie on my shield and breastplate. Some people call me Emyn the Dim." he says proudly.

    Noot stays clear of the dull-witted paladin, and in fact uses the time to let his ferret Isaac run around the area while fetching small objects.

    You get the feeling he isn't that bright. [Actually, the joke is that the player always plays characters with low INT scores to cover up his own poor decision-making! ]

    ***

    It is now evening. You scry the elves, and they are camped under some trees, a handful of small fires keeping them warm under their blankets.

    Isilme checks back in with the dwarves, BEFORE doing anything else. There she finds Berenn, having returned after his ire had cooled. He returns to Hommlet with her, that they may visit the elves together.

    With Jaroo's help, you scry the elves again. Jaroo says that he knows them. He steps through the mirror, startling them, but the quickly smile and invite him to share their fires. He tells them of you, and you see the elves faces harden. He keeps talking to them, and eventually they nod. He waves for you to come through the portal.

    Everyone steps through, and they walk up to Jaroo silently. The tension was so thick in the cold winter air, that one would think you could almost cut it. It seemed like minutes since everyone had stepped out before the elves, who were all standing now, hands loosely touching their weapons. Finally, Jaroo broke the silence.

    "Well, doesn't anyone have anything to say?"

    Hepla, if she isn't needed to stay with the mirror says ," Sorry things got out of hand, now we need to keep things peaceful and not start anything else. The elf that was killed was a noble elf, even if his last act was not noble I am sure he only thought he was defending us who were asleep. We will return his body to his family but may we take a message from you as well to them?"

    The wood elves looks at each other. "Noble, not noble, he was Olven. His people have lost their way, they see as the Suel taught them long ago. They do not follow the true call of the forest any longer. His deeds cannot be forgotten, but his fault may be forgiven. Hey is Fey. He shall learn in the Fading Lands. Let us speak no more of it."

    Berenn speaks up, "I would also like to apologize for the actions of certain members of our group. My intention was to find a solution that everyone could agree upon, not have the situation break down into utter chaos. I may not be pure-blooded, but I do try to honor the ways of the forest and do my best to protect it. My cloak, boots and sword were removed from my person during my unconsciousness, if they are in your possession I would appreciate their return. I might be able to barter for them if something else is of interest to you."

    The elves talk together, in a dialect you do not understand. One of them then comes forward with your garments and hands them to you. "We but wanted to keep them from the unworthy. It seems there is yet hope for you. As to the blades, there were two. "

    Another elf comes forward, carrying yours and Vestron's swords. "Both were made by the olven, in days long passed."

    The other elves part, revealing the wrapped body of one of their own and the sadness on the faces of the near-immortal elves tells you he is dead. "We shall keep one, as payment of the blood debt. You may have the other. The choice is yours."

    Berenn takes Bonfire, his cloak and boots, and bows to the elves. "This forest falls under my domain. I will do my best to ensure you may live here in peace."

    Elrae coughs. "Err excuse me oh great and wise elves, for I too am one to wage peace whenever possible. A small band of mine, a ring which I wore on my wedding day is missing. Perhaps you've seen it. The sentimental value to me is priceless."

    They seem a bit amused by Berenn, but also understand that he means well, so they hold back their mirth and just nod. To Elrae, they say they cannot help. They took naught but that which was olven. The sprites and pixies likely took the rest. You also learn that everything else was taken by the Fey, whose realm is protected from divination. Only those whom they allow to find them may do so. They are afraid anything else taken by them is gone forever.

    With their visit to the elves done, and realizing that's all they do, everyone returns to the party except Isilme. She still has studies to finish, so she'll check in again later. The rest use the mirror to travel back to the party, where they find them talking to a handsome young knight.

    Hepla walks up to the new paladin(you see her appear out of thin air dressed like a witch, short version) she says,"Hi I'm First Lady Hepla of the order of the cat, please just call me Hepla, who are you." After hearing he is a paladin she will say, "I know two paladins, friends of mom." She offers to shake hands with him. "Do you have a Holy Sword yet and if you do can I see it?"

    Emyn looks at Hepla oddly and says, "No, I don't havea holy sword, just this magical one. It's good for chopping orcs and things. This is my horse Camilla. She doesn't use a sword but is good in a fight." Sheathing his sword, he then asks, "MIght I ask what quest we are on?"

    Hepla explains that we are on a quest to recover a legendary blade that Gortrek here is fated by the gods to find. After that we have some choices as to our next goal. She, peronally would like to find whomever took her crystal ball and get it back. Without it is harder to check up on her dragon friends. But her wants are secondary to our quest.

    Emyn greet Berenn saying, "Captain Berenn, I ask your leave to join your party in this quest. I can offer some skills with a blade and am dedicated to fight evil in the name of Trithereon."

    "You are more than welcome Emyn. Tragedy has struck our party of late and we find ourselves in need of some blades."

    "You are more than welcome Emyn. Tragedy has struck our party of late and we find ourselves in need of some blades."

    "Then let us bring some good fortune back to all of us" he replies. "Master Gotrek, I shall be proud to fight by your side. Dwarven battleragers are known for their ferocity and skill. Were you a worshipper of Trithereon, I am certain your presence in our ranks would be most welcome. Holy Thorgrim, though we have no a common faith, we have a common purpose and I am pleased to be your companion in battle. Mistress Hepla, your magics and free spirit will bring me great joy. Master Noot, as long as you keep your hands off of my belongings, we shall have no quarrel. Hillsman Taki, if you are as effective as you seem to be, I shall leave your maul a wide berth. Mistrees Isilme, I hope your magics will be of great aid in our time of trials. Now off to smite evil doers!"

    Godsday, 4 Fireseek
    It's late when the party is all back together, and you pass an uneventful night. The feelings of sadness at the loss of one of your own are coupled with an unsettling relief after all the trouble he led you into. Nobody really gets good sleep except for Berenn, who snores loudly and contentedly.

    You awake the next day, to another cold and cloudy day. You continue along the road to the east, and by early evening you reach a small stream. Ice covers much of the banks, though water flows freely through the center. Stone remains on each bank reveal that a small bridge once crossed the steam here.

    The party camps for the night, and they pass a peaceful, though cold, evening.

    Waterday, 5 Fireseek, 581 CY
    You awake to another chilly morning, with a cold sharp wind blowing from the NW. You continue your journey, and you notice that the hills seem to be getting smaller as you pass out of the eastern spur of the Kron Hills. Here tree canopy blocks out most light, resulting in little ground vegetation, making the forest floor easy to walk. These areas are almost like parkland, save for the presence of much rotted timber and trees felled by age or storm scattered across the ground. The area is dominated by oak and ipp trees, frequently mixed, with intermittent groves of dekla and yarpick trees.

    In the afternoon, the wind picks up and it starts to rain. You begin to get rather wet, and Thorgrim casts Endure Cold on everyone, that they can avoid the chilling affects. As the sun begins to set the rain turns to sleet and the going gets truly miserable. Ahead and to the right, atop a tall crag in the forested hills, stands a stone tower. A light radiates from the top.

    As you approach the tower, you realize it is far larger than you thought, and was also further away. By the time you reach it, it looms far taller than any other structure you've ever seen, perhaps 200'. There are windows way up towards the top, but for the bottom 3/4 of the tower, there is no entrance.

    Thorgrim and Gotrek look around, but there are no entrances on the ground floor. The sleetstorm finally stops as it gets dark. Looking up, you can see light coming through the upper windows; however, there is an extremely bright light shining at the very top of the tower. Now that you can see the contrast better, you see that it actually is more of a beam, and it turns in a slow circle, going all the way around in about 15 seconds. [OOC: think lighthouse!]

    Everyone is getting extremely cold from the dropping temperatures after the sleet storm. Thorgrim must cast endure cold on everyone, and he suggests that we should get out of our wet clothes. Berenn is casting spells on the griffons, drying and warming them. Once he's done, he can fly up the window. Elrae can go with him, as he has been riding the other griffon.

    The storm seemed normal. There a quite a few window, though they are shuttered. You fly to the top, and there basically you have the top of a lighthouse. There's a glass-chamber inside with a large light turning around. A balcony around the top allows you to get off the griffons, but there's really nowhere for them to land. There is a glass door, and inside the chamber you see an opening in the floor with stairs going down.

    Down below, Hepla casts Fly on Taki, who grabs her and Thorgrim and flies up to the top of the tower. Thorgrim mumbles something about "dwarves don't fly" but you don't really hear him as you fly up through the wind. Left on the ground are Emyn, Noot, and Gotrek. At top are Berenn and Elrae, soon met by Taki, Hepla, and Thorgrim.

    While Berenn makes the griffons comfortable, Taki flies down and grabs the others in a couple of trips. Soon, everyone is at the top of the tower. Noot finds no traps on the glass door, but there's also no lock, nothing to pick. Hepla casts Knock, and the door opens. Inside is a round chamber, about 15' in diameter and 8' tall. It has a spiral stair winding up to the next level and also heading down below. This room has little in it. There is a rack on the wall, with a cloak and a robe there. Also, a small desk with a chair sits in front of a shuttered window. On the desk is a metal tube, about 2" wide and a foot long.

    Elrae uses Snowfang to detect magic, and sure enough, the robe, cloak, and tube, as well as the door you entered, are all magical. Noot goes to take the tube, but Berenn stops him. " We should probably determine if these are friends or foes before we go taking their gear. Taki guard the stairs going down and Noot check for traps up the stairs and see if there is anything or anyone hiding on that stairwell."

    It's dark down the stairs, and Emyn takes out a torch.

    Suddenly a light appears below you. You also hear a woman's voice. "Don't light that torch in here!" says a woman from down below. "You'll get smoke all over the mirrors. If you all are done sneaking around my lighthouse," she says, "why don't you come downstairs, and we can talk."

    "Yes, ma'am," Says Emyn abashedly as he douses the torch.

    You go down the stairs, and you find yourselves in a small central room, with doors around the walls. There is a spiral staircase in the center which goes down another level. Standing at the top of the spiral stairs is on older woman, sipping from a small cup.

    "Sorry about the torch ma'am," says Emyn. "I don't see in the dark too well."

    "Well, at least you all had the sense to not take things that don't belong to you," she says, looking at Noot and then Berenn. "I am Zendrelda, and this is my tower. Please, join me for some tea, and warm yourselves by my fire." She then turns and goes down the stairs.

    "And don't touch anything!"

    "Greetings fair Zendrelda, we are honored to share in some tea with you. I am Elrae of Woodstock, Royal Bard of the the Viscount of Verbobanc and Hero of Hommlet. Tell me a bit about your self and this amazing tower you reside in." Elrae warms himself by the fire.

    She smiles at Elrae, and then waves to some tables and chairs when they get downstairs. The tables have food and drink on them. "Please," she says, "help yourselves. If you were traveling today, you must be cold and tired."

    Thorgrim and Gotrek sit down at the table and check out the food. It is rather good, and the wine is excellent. Gotrek snorts a bit at having to drink wine, but he drinks it anyway.

    Elrae takes a cup of hot tea and warms his hands with it, by just holding it. "Here let me sing you a ballad of a brave bard that defeated a temple of elemental evil..." He plays and sings a song about your adventures, and Zendrelda is quite impressed. When he is done, she claps energetically.

    "Oh, it has been a long time since I had such visitors," she says smiling. "You are indeed skilled, Master Bard."

    Berenn will sit down and carefully pull the holy symbol from his pouch and point it toward the woman from under the table. While she is distracted by Elrae, he casts Detect Evil. He senses nothing.

    Hepla, when she comes down the stairs said, "Please excuse our intrusion but it was cold and wet and we could find no door nor way to annouce ourselves till we came to the door above this level. I am First Lady Hepla of the order of the Cat, please just call me Hepla. You are most welcoming to strangers coming in your house unannouced, my mom would be worried as to how they got into our hut if this happened to us." She bows her head and when invited to sit she will, she also holds a warm tea cup but doesn't drink but listens to the conversation.

    She giggles, "Well, I was watching you from the moment you opened my door. I could see some of you," and she looks at Noot, "couldn't help but look at some of my things, but you showed that you are not thieves." At that she looks at Berenn and smiles. "Thus, you are welcome in my home."

    "This seems to be an interesting tower" says Emyn. "How did you come to be here and why is it here?"

    "A good question, indeed," she replies, sipping her tea. She then narrates her story. In a nutshell: It is one of years of adventuring and study in the magical arts. In the course of time, she came to learn that a great storm was coming. A flood that would cover the entire world. She thus retired and created this lighthouse, to show those who survived the way, and to provide succor to those in need.

    "What sort of storm?" asks Emyn.

    "Why, a rainstorm, of course!" she replies, amused.

    "What causes this rainstorm? And wouldn't this tower get covered too? Mountains are taller than this tower and if the world is covered by water, you would be too short."

    "Why, the Gods will cause it," she says, again amused. "But you are absolutely correct, my astute friend. The mountains will certainly not be covered. But my lighthouse shall be a beacon, to show those who survive the path to safety in the mountains to the west."

    Taki asks "When do you think this storm is coming?"

    "Soon," she says. "Very soon."

    "We apologize once again for the intrusion and as you have observed, we are not here to rob you, merely curious. You live here alone? No men-at-arms or servants? No doors at the base of the tower now makes perfect sense. There would be no need for them if you are expecting a flood of likes the world has never seen."

    "Is there anything we can do to stop or lessen its effects?" asks Emyn.

    She says that no, she has no servants. "Everyone thinks I am mad," she says ruefully, "so as you can imagine, it is hard to get much help. Still, I have prepared. I shall do my part."

    She then looks back at Emyn, "Who can stop the will of the Gods? Their will shall be done, regardless of our mortal desires. It but falls to us to cope."

    You can spend a nice evening talking to her about things. Yes, you do end up getting the idea that she's a little crazy, unless she's right. Rather than spend a long time with the role-playing, as long as you are nice, she is nice too. She actually thinks she is going to be saving many people, so whether or not she's really crazy, you determine that her heart is at least in the right place.

    " These folks have helped defeat Iuz and Zuggtmoy from what I was told" says Emyn. "Maybe the Gods are not as strong as they let on. Except Trithereon, of course."

    "Of course," she replies, sipping her tea. "Those two are not really Gods, but demons. Well, maybe not the Old One." She then gives Emyn a very serious look, "You really shouldn't use his name."

    Not really comfortable, Taki asks "How do we get back down besides the way we came in?"

    "Well, I usually just fly," she says naturally. "Of course, I have other ways too."

    "These folks also lost a bunch of magi items to pixies and sprites," says Emyn. "Do you have suggestions of how to get those things back from them?"

    "If the Fey took your things, you can forget about getting them back" she replies. "But maybe I can help. I have a Deck of Many Things, if you wish to try your luck."

    "What is a deck of many things?" aks Taki. [Actually, it was as much the player asking, as he was new. muahahahahaha]

    "A deck of many things is usually found in a box or leather pouch. Each deck contains a number of cards, or plaques, made of ivory or vellum. Each is engraved with glyphs, characters, and magical sigils. As soon as one of these cards is drawn from the pack, its magic is bestowed upon the person who drew it, for better or worse."

    Taki says, "sounds fun but I do not wish to play thank you."

    "I am game," says Elrae. "This sounds intriguing. Heck my life can't get any worse now that I'm married."

    [So, the party has reached Zendrelda's Tower, something I had always wanted to use. They are also about to mess with a Deck of Many Things, another thing I have not used in years. This is going to be fun!]
    GreySage

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    Sat May 11, 2013 1:16 pm  

    Dude, you're weird. rolleyes

    It's called "Breaking and Entering" and it makes your players criminals. And like all other criminals, Hepla is ready to explain why it is they had a reason to break into someone's home. And because they had a reason, they aren't really criminals, see? Happy

    And if that isn't enough, a Paladin had no trouble with everyone "breaking and entering" because he probably felt they had a good reason to as well.

    Your mother is in the car outside, you broke into my house to use the phone because she's dying . . .

    When I come out of my bedroom with my shotgun, I'm still blowing your damn head off!

    Not a band of Adventurers, nope . . . a gang of criminals and trespassers. Razz

    Weird, dude. Laughing Laughing Laughing
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    Sat May 11, 2013 3:15 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Dude, you're weird. rolleyes

    It's called "Breaking and Entering" and it makes your players criminals. And like all other criminals, Hepla is ready to explain why it is they had a reason to break into someone's home. And because they had a reason, they aren't really criminals, see? Happy

    And if that isn't enough, a Paladin had no trouble with everyone "breaking and entering" because he probably felt they had a good reason to as well.

    Your mother is in the car outside, you broke into my house to use the phone because she's dying . . .

    When I come out of my bedroom with my shotgun, I'm still blowing your damn head off!

    Not a band of Adventurers, nope . . . a gang of criminals and trespassers. Razz

    Weird, dude. Laughing Laughing Laughing


    Well, he is a Chaotic Good paladin of Trithereon. :) But yes, I totally agree! Of course, they didn't actually "break' in, nor did they take anything, and they even mentioned how they should NOT take anything.

    The bigger question to me is, what's the deal with this quest of theirs? A bunch of "heroes" are off to find a magic weapon, ok. Of course, it is owned by somebody, another dwarf named Kilrak. So, why is it ok for them to go seek it to take it? It's not lost in some dragon's treasure. I think this question will actually come up shortly. The party is certainly not acting in a "heroic" fashion, and there will be ramifications. At some level, there already has been. They lost about 75% of their magic items!

    Good call though. I totally agree!
    GreySage

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    Sat May 11, 2013 8:42 pm  

    ragnar wrote:
    Of course, they didn't actually "break' in, nor did they take anything, and they even mentioned how they should NOT take anything.


    You need to "punish" them a little bit, as in: They are recovering their stolen items way too easily. Fudge the rolls if you have to.

    In addition: Did Hepla not have to use Knock to open the door? Did she not use "magical thieves tools" to get in? Of course she did! "Breaking and Entering," plain and simple. And "breaking and entering" doesn't imply taking anything anyway. Wink

    One person could have levitated up and "rang the bell," or "knocked on the door." But no, they all went up with the intention of entering the place whether they were invited in or not! Shocked

    ragnar wrote:
    The bigger question to me is, what's the deal with this quest of theirs? A bunch of "heroes" are off to find a magic weapon . . . owned by somebody . . . why is it ok for them to go seek it to take it? The party is certainly not acting in a "heroic" fashion, and there will be ramifications.


    And then there's that. Their whole quest is about robbery! You need to insure that they are not "divinely blessed" in their efforts. Even Trithereon would not approve of theft.

    Those who serve "the Gods" need to feel their displeasure . . . secretly give them a -2 to their rolls. Let them start wondering why they "fail" so often.

    Clerics and Paladins are "closer" to the Gods then are we "simple people." One of them could receive a dream, or vision, explaining it . . . but only after something goes very wrong. Wink


    Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Fri May 24, 2013 7:55 am  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 4 Zendrelda's Tower

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    The party, having decided to take Zendrelda up on her offer, decides to test their luck with her magical cards.

    "Oh goodie," says Zendrelda. "Please, come with me." She goes into another small room beyond a curtain, with a table and a deck of cards and two chairs on opposite sides. Only one may play at a time, so if you wish to begin, please come and sit down." She will go sit opposite you, to supervise. She also warns the others not to interfere, or they can cause great harm.

    Taki looks at Berenn and says, "This sir will not end well for whoever goes third."

    "I will go first. I am so excited!" says Emyn.

    "I've heard of such tales," says Elrae. "You draw a card and whatever happens, happens. I'm first."

    "The only rule," says Zendrelda, "is you must specify how many cards you shall draw, from one to four."

    "I will take two," says Elrae.

    Zendrelda draws the card, and places it on the table in front of Elrae. She then turns the card over, along the long axis.


    Two of Swords!

    "OK what does that mean?"

    "Ah," she says. "A lucky and welcome turn of fate, to one who would turn the thoughts of others. Upright, it signifies balance of forces, expedience, conformity, alliance of arms, harmony in relationships, concord, and affection. You shall be blessed in all your dealings with others."

    [OOC: in game terms, a +4 reaction adjustment over the next year.]

    "Fantastic," says Elrae. "Let me draw my next card."

    [ooc: I've got an expanded deck from Dragon Magazine which fits a REAL Tarot Deck of 78 cards, with possibility of inverted functions too! I am using a Tarot Deck I found online, so there's no suits like in a poker deck. I also am using a random number generator (1-78) along with (even/odd) for upright or inverted. So, 156 possibilities!!! ]


    She draws Elrae's next card, lays it on the table before him, looks him in the eye, and flips the card!


    Nine of Cups

    "Amazing," she exclaims! "A prosperous figure, having feasted happily, rests before a counter on which nine cups, plenteously filled, have been neatly arranged. Upright, it signifies success, satisfaction, all the good things of life, well being, the granting of wishes."

    She looks at Elrae with a genuinely happy smile, "Truly you are blessed of Istus!"

    [OOC: Drawer gains one immediate wish, which can only be used for physical or material matters. You must decide upon it right now. ]

    "Mmmm so many choices," says Elrae. "I wish for Gotrek's Goreblade!"

    Elrae suddenly disappears!

    Zendrelda looks over as this card too disappears. "He chose...poorly."

    [OOC: sorry, I always liked that line!]

    "Next?" she asks?

    Emyn steps up, "I'll take four."

    As you enter, Thorgrim stops you. "Wait, what happened?" he asks.

    She answers that she doesn't really know, other than he certainly gained that for which he wished. "Tis the nature of such powerful magics," she adds "and one should tread lightly when invoking its power."

    "He went to get the Gorebalde," says Emyn, who then reaches out and draws his own first card.

    "Well, when Isilme checks in, I guess we can go find him," says Thorgrim, shaking his head. "Humans....."

    Zendrelda slaps the back of Emyn's hand. "Uh, uh," she says. "That's MY job!"

    She draws a card, lays it on the table before Emyn, and then flips it over......


    Wheel of Fortune

    "Well, that IS fantastic!" she says. "The Wheel of Fortune rotates eternally, bringing the great to naught and the humble to power, for a time. Upright, it signifies success, fortune, felicity, an unexpected bit of luck, a change for the better."

    [OOC: Drawer gains a permanent +2 on all saving throws.]

    Berenn sits back and watches the players draw from the deck, debating if he should draw any cards. He is a bit disturbed by Elrae's disappearance, but there is little we can do about it for now.

    "Yeah," says Thorgrim. "But maybe when Isilme checks in, she can find him and transport all of us right to him, and the blade!"

    Once the card disappears, Zendrelda draws another, places it before Emyn, and then flips it over.....


    Nine of Swords

    A woman, racked with despair, is surrounded by the swords of the card; she is blanketed with roses, but feels only their thorns.

    "Hm," she says. "Upright, it signifies utter desolation, despair, misery, death, failure, disappointment, miscarriage or delay, deception, doubt, illness, loss." She looks at Emyn carefully, "You shall shortly be tried and wracked with troubles. If you make it through you shall be stronger, if not....."

    [Game terms: will reveal later.]

    "I shall see the day through," says Emyn. "Next card please."

    Once the card disappears, she nods, draws another, lays it before you, and flips it over....


    Temperance

    A solemn angelic figure, a flower or sun emblem on its forehead, pours a fluid from one of a pair of different-colored chalices to the other; behind the figure are growing plants, and distant hills.

    "No greater or more needed gift could be so granted," says Zendrelda. "The card represents the inner self, enabling one to balance the forces of the mind, to illuminate intelligence by wisdom and to clarify wisdom with intelligence. Upright, it signifies control of self, adaptation, tempering of extremes; harmonious and fruitful combinations, wise management of resources; cooperation. You are truly favored of the Gods."

    [Game terms: Drawer will gain 2 points of intelligence or wisdom (whichever of the two is presently the lowest) and loses 1 point in the other! Emyn gains +2 INT and loses 1 point of wisdom. The drawer will never again injure a companion through bad luck.]

    "I really like this game," says Emyn, considering the cards. "Another card, please."

    Zendrelda smiles. "We shall see," she says as she draws another card, lays it on the table, and flips it over....



    Six of Coins (Inverted!)
    An opulently dressed figure, probably a merchant, gives money to the distressed from a balance or scales, giving out of goodness of heart from present wealth and plenty.

    "Reversed, it signifies greed, jealousy, pride or arrogance of wealth, envy, selfishness, refusal to give." She looks at you seriously, "There is potential trouble here, though by you or against you, that is unclear. Keep your vigilance!"

    [Game Terms: will reveal later]

    "You are done, young man," says Zendrelda. "You may draw no more."

    Thanks you, my fair lady. I will allow my friends to pick cards now."

    Thorgrim was going to pass, trusting his own Gods and not this deck. However, he sees the humans dare Fate, and he cannot but do so himself. He enters the room, and seats himself on the chair before Zendrelda.

    "If'n it be good enough fer me friends, it be good enough fer me!" he says. I shall take two.

    She nods, draws the first card, lays it on the table, and flips it over.....


    Queen of Coins

    "Very dark of coloring and meditative of expression, the Queen contemplates her Pentacle on a throne in a fertile bower; her serious, even, melancholy mien suggests that she sees curious things indeed within that symbol." She looks up at Thorgrim, "You shall gain some unasked for aid, in a great time of need."

    [Game terms: will be revealed later.]

    Hrumph," grunts Thorgrim. "Gots me enough help already."

    Zendrelda smiles, and then draws a new card, places it on the table, and flips it over.....


    Ace of Cups (Inverted)

    "A large and ornate cup, usually shown accompanied by flowers and other living creatures. Inverted, it signifies change, alteration, instability, bad faith, false love, erosion, inconsistency." She takes a hold of Thorgrim's hand, "Be very careful in the days ahead," she warns. "That for which you seek shall be lost. That which you build, shall fall to ruin. That for which you hope, shall bring despair."

    Thorgrim pulls his hand back and laughs. "Hrmph! Story of my life, babe," he says as he walks off. "Story of my life."

    [Game terms: will be revealed later]

    Berenn sits down. "I imagine St. Cuthbert will see me through."

    Smiling, Zendrelda draws Berenn's first card....


    The Hierophant

    "Established in state within his temple, his elaborate crown, ornate robes, and sceptre of power establish him as a hierarch and potentate. He is the link between deity and worshiper, his is the role of mediator and medium. As the High Priestess is mistress of the hidden mysteries, The Hierophant is the master of external, manifest religion, law, and morality, usually depicted ministering to,the Hierophant is the embodiment of the church in the world, the external pomp or being attended by, two lesser clerics,
    upon whom he bestows a blessing. Upright, he signifies the outer form of religion; social relations with the world, ritualism; conformity, traditionalism, and orthodoxy; retention of outmoded ideas and attitudes; orderly hierarchies; mercy and forgiveness."

    She looks into Berenn's eyes. "The Fates shine on you, and St. Cuthbert rewards those who serve him so faithfully. You shall rise high within your Order."

    [Game terms: Drawer gains 1 point of charisma (2 points if a lawful cleric); clerics also gain 1 point of intelligence. Plus more later!]

    She then draws a new card, lays it on the table, and flips it over.....



    Ten of Cups (inverted)

    "Ten cups in a rainbow appear as in a vision; beneath it a couple raise their arms in joy and ecstasy and two children dance together blithely; a home stands in the background. Inverted, it signifies betrayal, loss of friendship, waste, criminal behavior, strife, hatred, resentment.]

    [Game terms: -2 Reaction adjustment for friends, associates, hirelings, and henchmen]

    "St. Cuthbert giveth," says Zendrelda, "and He taketh away."

    Berenn shrugs, and walks off, considering the implications of his first card.

    Noot sits down, eager to try his luck. "This is better than a gambling house," he says.

    Zendrelda smiles, drawing a card. She places it before him on the table, then turns it over.


    Wheel of Fortune (inverted)

    "Ah, luck is doubly not yours today, master thief. Inverted, it signifies unexpected bad fate, ill luck, setbacks or interruptions in plans, unwanted change."

    [Game terms: suffer -2 to all saves. More revealed later.]

    Noot shakes his head as she draws a new card, lays it on the table, and flips it over....


    Seven of Swords (inverted)

    "Hm, interesting. A scurrying figure rushes away with five swords, while two other swords are left behind. Reversed, it signifies wishes soon to be fulfilled, chance of unexpected success; sound counsel, instruction." She looks up, "It seems your ill-luck is balanced by good!"

    [Game terms: will reveal later]

    Taki, being the only one here who actually worships Fate, sits down. "I shall take four!"

    Zendrelda nods. "Ah, a true believe in Our Lady of Fate," she says. "So, come what may, you are comfortable that it is the will of the Wheel. A strong people yours."

    "Have at it," says Taki, resolutely.

    She flips the first card....

    Eight of Cups

    "A dejected figure hiding behind a wall leaves eight neatly stacked cups behind, and trudges up a barren moonlit mountain into the distance. Upright, it signifies abandonment of success, disappointment in material gains, the discarding of what has been achieved for a higher goal; journeying from place to place." She looks in your eyes as the card disappears. "Perhaps the greatest gift of all, shall reveal itself over time."

    [game terms: will be revealed later]

    Taki shrugs.

    She draws another card, places it on the table, and flips it over....


    The Emperor

    "Well, well, well. Our Lady of Fate shines on you indeed. Regal and fatherly, the Emperor sits upon his throne, with open space surrounding him for a domain. He wears kingly robes, and in his hands bears a sceptre and/or orb of rulership. His crown is simple but majestic. He is the active principle, the ruler of the visible, material world through law. Upright, he signifies leadership, strength of mind, dominance, law, control of natural drives, stability, power, conviction, protection, and the like. A powerful card indeed!"

    [game terms: Gain +2 to Charisma. Immediate alignment change to Lawful, if not already lawful.]

    As the card disappears, she draws another, places it on the table, and flips it over....


    Page of Wands

    "You do not cease to amaze,'' says Zendrelda. "The Page is a fair youth with blond hair and light eyes, who stands boldly upholding a wand as if ready to deliver a message or proclamation. The Page is often a bearer of tidings, good or ill. For you they shall be welcome indeed!"

    As the card disappears, she smiles. "May Istus continue to guide and protect you," she says, drawing the fourth and final card. She places it on the table, and flips it over.....


    Ace of Swords (inverted)

    "Interesting," she says, considering the card. Issuing from a cloud, a hand grasps an upright sword, topped by a crown from which hang branches of olive and laurel. Upright, it signifies conquest, the triumph of brute force, championship, excessive use of power."

    As Taki exhales, she adds, "But yours is inverted. You shall yet have your victory, but it shall be a Pyrrhic one, with a cost equal to the reward."

    [game terms: will be revealed later]

    She reaches out and takes Taki's hands. "Never have I seen such a gifting of grace from Our Lady. It has been my most true pleasure to have met you young man. You shall indeed do great things."

    "Thank you milady," he replies. "I hope this all turns out well for me and all of my party, good luck with the flood and all."

    "Why, thank you son," she replies. "I have a feeling we shall meet again, you and I."

    Gotrek walks in, "What the hell!" he says walking up to the table. "Lady," he continues as he plops into the chair. "Give me a card! Maybe I can go find that crazy bard."

    She smiles, taking a card, setting it on the table, and then reveals it....


    Strength

    "Well," she says, looking from the card to Gotrek. "A resolute card for a resolute soul. A calm and self-contained, yet clearly quite human, woman controls the jaws of a lion with her bare hands. Strength is both hers and the lion's. They are not struggling, for she has already subdued the beast, and they are now in a harmony of opposites: Hers is the Strength of the mind at one with itself; his is the Strength of passion and the carnal needs, which is unable to withstand a consciousness aware of its link with the infinite, and must submit to its control. Upright, the card signifies spiritual power overcoming material power, the fortitude of the self-aware mind; courage and magnanimity; the triumph of love over hate."

    [Game terms: The drawer gains +2 to saving throws against fear, charm, suggestion, illusion and other mental attack forms involving will force. Also gains +2 to all Wisdom checks.]

    "I sense the constant struggle within you," says Zendrelda, as Gotrek snorts and gets up. "You shall find..." she trails off as he walks out, muttering about humans.

    Zendrelda smiles and looks to the rest of the party, and Thorgrim laughs. "He just doesn't want to admit that he needed it!"

    Isilme will scry Hepla in the evening to check up on things. Seeing what is going on, she will appear next to hepla (she shouldn't alarm anyone with her looks since she is "colored" for 29 more days as a regular elf) she will introduce herself politely and when the appropriate time presents itself requests two cards. "one for myself and one to maintain the balance"

    Hepla has enjoyed watching it all and steps up behind Isilme and and says,"Grandma plays with a deck like this but never let me play, and her deck does not give things. I will take two cards please. And before any results thank you for doing this for us."

    With all the indecision, Zendrelda stands up and motions for you to come in. "There is no need to fear, child," she says kindly. "Nor must you choose at all. Fate brings what Fate brings, whether we call her or not." She smiles as she continues, "the choice is yours."

    Hepla sits down. "Two, as you choose, please."

    As you sit down, Zendrelda giggles, and something about her reminds you of your mother. She goes back around to her chair and sits down. She draws a card, places it on the table, and flips it over.....

    Hepla giggles too, out of nervousness.



    Six of Wands

    "See my dear," says Zendrelda. "Fate shines upon you. A laurel-crowned rider bears a wand adorned with a laurel wreath, and is accompanied by five staff-bearing figures on foot. Upright, it signifies victory, triumph, good tidings, the successful completion of struggle."

    [game terms: will be revealed later]

    Hepla claps her hands.

    Zendrelda grins as she draws a new card, places it on the table, and flips it over.....


    The Empress (Inverted)

    Zendrelda takes a breath, then explains, "Royal and matronly, the Empress sits enthroned among rich fields, clad in rich garments, and crowned with a starry open crown. Befitting her position, she bears a sceptre, for hers is the realm of universal fecundity and wealth. Inverted, she signifies poverty, sterility, inability to produce; waste or dissipation or resources."

    She looks into your eyes with a bit of worry. "Istus gives, and Istus takes."

    [Game terms: to be revealed later]

    Hepla says,"Thank you, if that is my fate one can only strive to survive it." She leans over and gives Zendrelda a kiss on the cheek.

    You see a small tear form in the corner of Zendrelda's eye, but she blinks it away and smiles. "Your mother would be proud," she says.

    Isilme grabs her shoulder gently when hepla comes out and tells her "No matter what Fate brings, you have friends to stand by your side."

    Hepla smiles at Isilme,"Thank you, I know you are loyal. The cards have not changed me just given me a glimse of what is to come."

    As Isilme steps into the room, Zendrelda looks her over. A small look flashes in her eyes, as if she is privy to a secret. She smiles, and presents the seat to Isilme. "You are the absent companion, returned at last." It's not a question. "It would not have been right, had you not come."

    As Isilme sits, Zendrelda draws a card, places it down on the table, then flips it over.....


    Death!

    [Taki OOC: OH SNAP!!!!]

    [Isilme OOC: Death! you play with fate you get burned...everyone can't win in Vegas!]

    [DM OOC: I was just messing with you anyway! I haven't picked yet.]

    OK, the REAL card is.....


    The Tower (inverted)

    "A tall square Tower topped with a crown is being struck by lightning, which topples the crown but leaves the tower standing. Hurtling (from its windows; it has no doors) earthward are two persons (presumably a man and a woman) in rich garments, along with showers of sparks and debris; they are stunned to see their Tower of isolation and pride broken open by a stroke of fire from the heavens."

    Zendrelda looks at Isilme and continues. "Inverted, it signifies oppression, false imprisonment or accusations; living in a rut, inability to effect worthwhile change, being stuck in an unhappy situation." Isilme begins to feel weaker, and Zendrelda lays a hand on her, across the table. "Be thankful it was not upright."

    [Game terms: Loose one level. If multi-classed lose the higher. If equal, determine randomly. Die roll shows it to be a fighter level.]

    Once Isilme recovers from the sudden sensation, Zendrelda continues. She draws a new card, places it on the table, and flips it over....


    The Hanged Man

    Isilme suddenly goes into a complete trance. She is open-eyed, but she does not respond to anyone or anything.

    "Do not fret," says Zendrelda. "The Hanged Man is a powerful card. From a gibbet or tau-cross of living wood a youth is suspended by one leg; his arms form a triangle behind his back, and his free leg is placed behind his first one to form a cross (if viewed upside down, he seems to be dancing a jig). He represents Everyman, suspended by his own consent as a pause and decision point in the creation of an enlightened self. He is clearly in a contemplative state, not one of suffering. Upright, he signifies a pause, or suspension of ordinary activities; transcendence of material temptation; surrender to the purification of the self; spiritual wisdom, prophetic power; regeneration."

    She stands up and moves over to Islme, looking into her eyes as if down into a deep well. "She is lost within herself now, suspended between the old life and the new. She must create her new self knowingly and willingly. Only she can find the way back."

    [Game terms: will be revealed later]

    Hepla help Isilme, and is surprised that she can stand, and with your help, she walks, though it's like there is no will. She moves as if an automaton.

    "She will be like this until her journey is done," says Zendrelda, "if she succeeds."

    Zendrelda looks tired, and she follows you out of the room as you help Isilme out. She points down a hallway, lined with half-dozen doors.

    "There are bedrooms this way," she says, pointing. "See your friend to a bed," and if you would yet speak, I shall await you in the lounge." With that, she turns and heads back, takes another glass of tea, and lies down on her divan. "She seems to slump a bit as she does so."

    Emyn will guard her bedside to prevent harm from coming to her.

    Berenn assists Zendrelda, worried that she seems so weak. She says she is tired, because use of the Deck actually drains her. It is very powerful magic. They retire to a sitting room with a large fireplace, and there she talks a bit about her tower. She built the tower with magic, and it is full of provisions against the Great Flood which is coming. She believes that your fates must be somewhat tied to the dark times coming, as never before has she seen such overwhelming blessings from the cards.

    The party eventually decides to return Isilme to Hommlet. Hepla summons Isilme's LLL and retrieves the mirror. She then uses it to return there, placing Isilme in the care of the druid Jaroo.

    [It is at this point that I changed the way the mirror works. I can see the use of the mirror and the LLL together to have basically unlimited teleportation-like magic, which I hate. So, from now on the mirror can ONLY be used as a gate for the person who scries with it. Anyone on the other side can step through the gate, which lasts until the original traveler returns. I also gave a pretty stern warning that I will break it if it's brought adventuring. This made the party leave it back with Isilme in Hommlet. Hepla returned, and the mirror is left behind. When Isilme wakes up from her coma, she can use it to return. Then the party will be on their own, without the mirror, and now way to gate around anymore. Problem solved!

    I must say, I really enjoyed using the enhanced Deck of Many Things from Dragon Magazine. It offered far more and better choices. There were many ramifications, and I must admit, writing this all down I totally forgot some of them. I have made some notes, and now I have to revisit some of this in my campaign, because I forgot this! Anyway, DoMT is always a cool item, and everyone really enjoyed this. I hope you guys did as well.]
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed May 29, 2013 10:30 am  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 5 (Rescuing Elrae)

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    As the party rests, Hepla scries Elrae. Actually, I let her scry him with the mirror BEFORE I changed how it works, and she rescued Elrae as well. She then returned to the tower, to tell the party what she found. They are all at the tower now, except for Isilme who is still unconscious. I'll sum up a bit.

    Hepla scries Elrae and she sees him sitting on a bare dirt floor, dressed only in his breeches. He seems to have been beaten badly and has bloody tangled hair, massive bruises all over, and one eye swollen shut.

    Hepla goes through the mirror. She finds herself in a small dark cell, about 10' square. There is a stout wooden door to the left, with a small barred window in it. Above and to the right is a small window. Though it's dark outside, Hepla can smell the sea air; she remembers this from when she helped the Mermen return home.

    "Elrae, we are here to rescue you," she says.

    He looks up, confused, and looks around with his one good eye.

    Hepla speaks to him, and he smiles. You notice he's missing a tooth. He really got the crap beaten out of him.

    Hepla levitates up to the window and looks out. She can barely make out the water. With the current moons (Luna is barely a sliver, and Celene, the Handmaiden, just doesn't provide much light anyways) she can't see much. She then levitates back down, ease him up, and then take him back through the portal.

    [Hepla player OOC: "That was easy!" Which is why I was getting closer and closer to changing the mirror. I actually hadn't done it yet!]

    "Uhhh what happened?" asks Elrae

    [Elrae OOC: Jeez Ragnar this is even worse than the pixies! Stripped of everything is pretty crappy but it's part of the game, but missing a tooth? Unacceptable. No Snowfang and my musical instruments makes Elrae really weak.]

    "That what we would ask you," says Emyn.

    "Really I wished you would have left me where I was," replies Elrae. "Now they have Snowfang. And by 'they' I really don't know who 'they' are. Last thing I remember was wishing for Gotrek's Goreblade in the lighthouse and then all went black. My presence could have been a beacon through which you would all come through the mirror and kick butt. Now we are worse off than before with zero leads. But you did save my life and for that I am always in your debt."

    "We saw where you were and you saw it too, we should be able to get back there," Hepla says. "Minimally I looked out the window and should be able to get us back to that seashore tower you were held in. I did not see much, its dark where you were and both moons were up, its along a seacoast. What I am hoping is that I can scry Snowfang and use your sword as our beacon."

    Gotrek grunts, and slaps Elrae hard on the back. "You are back! That is all that matters!"

    "Here I was trying to be altruistic and wish for something for you," replies Elrae. "Still I'd really like to get my stuff back. There is going to be some major payback for those cowardly thieves. Get me a crossbow, a long sword and a musical instrument and I will reclaim all that is mine."

    Thorgrim walks over and cast healing spells on him. He removes all signs of injury, except for the lost tooth. "Perhaps Isilme's Ring of Regeneration would work to heal that," he says. "If not," and he slaps him on the back, a bit too hard as usual, "it does make ye look tough."

    [Elrae took the spare Bracers of AC4 which used to be Vestron's, and he also took Taki's extra +1 longsword, which had been wrapped up in Thorgrim's portable hole. He also take the Rod of Smiting. Using the mirror, they returned to Hommlet, and Elrae took a lute from the store, along with new clothes.]

    Earthday, 6th of Fireseek, 581 CY
    I should add, it's a very cold morning (about 20). It's a clear day, but there is no wind at all. The party starts in Hommlet, and they've determined that the gate from the mirror will remain open for 24 hours or until Hepla returns through. [Yes, I'm REALLY hating that mirror now!]

    Using the mirror, Hepla successfully scries the cell where she found Elrae. A shaft of sunlight comes through the barred window, and reveals it to be empty. She looks around and sees a barred window into a hallway, and moves the scrying there.

    "Be ready for a fight," says Elrae. "These guys bushwhacked me before I had a chance to talk. There's probably a sentry waiting."

    Hepla scries the hallway, and then steps through. It is a very small hallway, with a circular stair winding up one wall to floors above as well as below. There are 4 other cell doors on this floor. There are no guards around. The other cells are the same as yours was, a small room with a stout wooden door and a little barred window in the door. Looking through them, you find that two of the four cells are occupied. In each of those cells is a man, lying on the floor asleep.

    "Then leave them" says Elrae. "Up or down Berenn?"

    " We cannot leave them," says Emyn. "It is wrong to do so. I will break these doors down, if need be."

    Thorgrim with cast Know Alignment on one occupant and Berenn will cast the same spell on the other occupant. One guy's aura is Chaotic Neutral, the other is Lawful Good.

    Noot picks the lock on the cell with the lawful good person and opens the door. 'Hello!'

    The guy is sound asleep. Thorgrim goes in, kneels down, and checks him out. He turns back to the others, waving his hand before his nose, "Boy's been hittin' the alehouses!"

    Noot enters, gives the guy a shake"HELLO!"

    The guy wakes up, very groggy. He looks around, sees he's in a cell, then sees the rest of you for the first time. "What happened?" he asks.

    "We were about to ask you the same thing," says Elrae. "Do you know where you are and how you ended up here?"

    He answers that this is Elredd, a city on the Wild Coast. The last thing he remembers is getting drunk in a bar.

    "You have no memory of who brought you here or where you might be?" asks Berenn.

    "Well, I live here in Elredd," the man says, getting to his feet. "I'm a cooper. Like I says, last I remember was drinkin' too much." He looks around, "Not sure how I came to be locked up."

    He then looks you all over and a skeptical look crosses his face. "Say, who are you?"

    Hepla, from outside the door, gives a little wave and says,"Hi, I'm Hepla--giggle--We are just trying to find out where we are ourselves. I am a member of the Silver Consortium, is there a branch of that here?" She then casts the cantrip Clean on him.

    "Silver Con--what?" he says. He's startled by your use of magic, and looking over himself he sees that the dirt and grime have disappeared. "Uh, thank you My Lady," he says, bowing slightly. "I don't knows nuthing about that stuff," he adds. "Like I says, I'm just a cooper."

    You then here a voice from upstairs call out, "That you Anders?" he yells. "You finally awake?" You hear footsteps coming down the stairs as the cooper is about to call out in response.....

    "Shh, lets keep this as a surprise." Hepla says as she ducks inside and hides against the wall. Everyone else can hide as they can and we will close the door.

    As Emyn draws his sword, Hepla whispers,"Emyn, come in here, perhaps we can get a guard prisioner and get an idea of whats happening here. Duck down along this wall so the guard does not see you."

    "Everyone," says Berenn. "Take up some hidden position if possible and use blunt damage. We want this person alive."

    Elrae casts his sleep spell, and the guard tumbles to the floor. The cooper looks scared when you move out and tie up the guard. He won't budge from his cell as he doesn't want to get in any more trouble.

    Emyn asks who the person in the other cell is. He also searches the guard for keys.

    "I have no idea," says Anders, the cooper. I don't even know how I got here!" He stays in his cell and sits down, refusing to leave.

    "Why don't you want to leave?" asks Emyn.

    "We're not going to hurt you or the guard," says Noot.

    "Besides you are an accomplice now." says Elrae with a gap-toothed grin.

    "I'll no go anywhere," he says resolutely, crossing his arms.

    Thorgrim walks up to him and hits him in the head with a mailed fist, knocking him out.
    "Fine," he says, walking back out. Once Emyn has the guard's keys, Thorgrim takes the unconscious guard and the keys. He puts him in another cell, and then locks both doors.
    "Now what?" he asks.

    "Wake up the guard and question him," says Hepla. "Also leave the other cell door open. Maybe our reluctant friend will get some courage."

    "Nay," says Thorgrim, crossing his arms. "If he doesn't want to leave, then he stays. It ain't our place to force him, and the locked cell protects him better than steel."

    "Poor scared guy." Hepla says as she walks out the cell.

    "Maybe Hepla should charm the guard," says Elrae.

    "Why use magic," says Gotrek, smacking his mailed fists together.

    "I rather like the idea of Gotrek causing him to wet his pants and talk," syas Emyn. "A jailer deserves no less."

    Emyn kicks the guard awake, and he rolls over, looking at the party. "Who? Where? What in the Nine Hells?"

    Meanwhile, Noot looks in another cell. There are a half-dozen cells total, and only one other is occupied. He checks out a couple of empty ones, and finds that the cells must be situated on a point, for there are rocks and water out each of the cells. From the cells closest to the stairs, he can see a castle wall running away in each direction. Looks like this is likely a corner tower, overlooking the ocean.

    "He said this is Elredd," says Elrae, "a city on the Wild Coast. If I remember my tales right this is not a friendly place."

    "We could ask him about the city," says Thorgrim, pointing to the cooper and shrugging. "If I hadn't knocked him out."

    You ask the guard about Elrae, and he seems to notice him for the first time.

    "How'd you get out?" He looks around, and understanding crosses his visage. "You're making a mistake. He was brought here for trying to steal. You break the laws of Elredd at your own peril. He's lucky he wasn't just killed, and Kilkrak woulda been within his rights to do so."

    He tries to summon as much dignity as he can, and sits up. "Now, release me, put the prisoner back in his cell, and we can forget all about this and let the magistrate figure it out."

    "What was he trying to steal?" asks Hepla.

    "He was found in His Lordship's palace, uninvited," says the guard. "What could he be but a thief? His bad luck that Master Kilrak caught him before he could take anything. He awaits trail, by order of His Lordship, Sir Brego Hammersmith."

    "Thank you for this information," says Berenn, "though I believe that what you said constitutes tressspassing not thievery."

    "Where can we find His Lordship that we can clear this up. And you may call me Milady." Hepla says.

    "Some trial," scoffs Elrae. "Beating me mercilessly, even knocking out my tooth. If anything, you are thieves stealing from the royal bard of Verbobonc! Not once did I get to explain myself. And I am sure a trial in this foul land is a sham and an excuse for an execution."

    "He was teleported into the palace by accident," says Berenn. "Assuming he is a thief, assaulting him without allowing him a word and throwing him in prison seems a bit judgmental. I am Sir Berenn Silverwood, Knight of Verbobonc and you will take me Sir Hammersmith so the misunderstanding can be resolved. If I acted in the same rash manner as your Master Kilrak, you would be a dead man. Thank St. Cuthbert that I act with more restraint and tact."

    The guard listens; he doesn't have much choice all trussed up. When you're done, he answers, "Fine, we shall go, but he stays in his cell," and he nods his head towards Elrae. "To do otherwise denies the laws of Elredd and our lord's justice."

    "Yeah right," says Elrae. "I am not going back in that cell to rot for an eternity."

    "If Elrae will agree to wait here for a while," says Berenn, "we will return to with your equipment shortly." Berenn turns to the guard, "If you attempt anything dishonorable, I will have your head."

    Hepla says,"I will stay with him."

    "If the honorable Sir Berenn thinks I should stay here then I shall," says Elrae. "But Hepla these dungeons are no place for one like you."

    She winks at him, lifting her hat enough so he can see. "Please, after what they did to you I feel a need to stay here with you. It will be best for all concerned. I will stay outside the door to keep the jailor happier."

    The guard looks doubtful, until Gotrek runs a finger along the blade of his axe. He then nods to Hepla, allowing her to remain. He escorts Elrae back into his cell and locks the door, then takes a quick look into the cooper's cell. "Hm, though he was awake...." Looking back at the rest, he waves, "Follow me, and no funny business." He then starts to walk up the stairs.

    "I think Lady Hepla and Thorgrim should stay to ensure Elrae isn't abused in our absence." Berenn whispers to Hepla to use the mirror if we are gone more than 2 hours or if someone attempts to capture herself and Thorgrim. She can use the mirror later to scry and rescue anyone who is captured.

    "We don't abuse no prisoners, Sir!" says the guard proudly. "We has law and order in Elredd, and those who don't follow both don't last 'round these parts."

    "Without justice, law and order is an empty cup," Berenn replies. "We are ready whenever you are jailer."

    "Justice is just a powerful man's excuse to oppress the poor and unfortunate," says Emyn. "These people need freedom."

    "They get justice!" exclaims the guard, turning back to Emyn. "The cooper's wife and daughter were raped and killed last week. Last night he got drunk, then went after his neighbor, thinking him the culprit. The Watch picked him up and put him in a cell for his own good, but we let out the rumor he'd died in a fight with the guards."
    He points to the guy in the other cell, the one you found to be Chaotic-Evil.

    "He is the rapist and murderer. He entered the cooper's home, raped and killed his wife and daughter, and then made the mistake of bragging about it after we let fly the rumor of the cooper's death. Now he awaits trial later today. Stick around, you'll see how justice works in Elredd."

    Thorgrim believes we are better off waiting. "We don't know anything about this place," he says. "Who are we to disobey their laws? Besides, if they play us false, we can always show them OUR justice!"

    Gotrek laughs. "They would not like our brand of justice at all!"

    The party leaves, following the guard, while Noot, Thorgrim, and Hepla remain behind with Elrae. Elrae starts to sing:

    When I was just a baby,
    My Mama told me, "Son,
    Always be a good boy,
    Don't ever play with guns,"
    But I shot a man in Reno,
    Just to watch him die,
    When I hear that whistle blowin',
    I hang my head and cry.

    The rest are led into a very plain hall, unadorned with anything save weapons, shields, and battle standards. You recognize none of them. A plain throne, more of a large chair, stands at the end of the hall on a small dais. Upon it sits an older man, perhaps 60 years old. He has a bit of a belly now, but his broad shoulders, thick arms, and alert eyes reveal a true warrior borne. His light skin and red hair reveal one of the northmen from the far NE.

    There are a half-dozen other men in the hall, all warriors like their Lord, as well as a half-dozen guards in plate armor and halberds. Wary and dangerous, they all have the look of men who are ready for any threat. The jailer guard shows you into the hall, then talks to one of the men who comes forward and hears his tale. He then returns to the man seated on the throne, and tells him something you don't hear. He then turns, and is about to speak when the seated man stops him with a hand.

    "I'm no southern Lord who needs sycophants to speak for him," he says curtly. "I am Brego Hammersmith, and I would know what you do in my city and my keep."

    "My Lord," says Emyn, "Thank you for agreeing to meet with us. I am Emyn, an Avenger of Trithereon and, with my brethren here, are on a quest to retrieve an item dear to my friend Gotrek the battlerager. One of our group foolishly used a Wish to find the item and he soon woke in a cell within these very walls. We come to request his release so that we can continue our quest, given that nobody except Elrae, who was badly mistreated, has been caused injury."

    "This must be the young man who was found attempting to loot my treasury," he responds. "Kilrak told us all about it, when he stumbled across him in the act."

    Taki, with his hand on the hilt of his two handed sword, stands guard near his friends.

    "My Lord," replies Emyn. "At the time, we had no idea that the blade was indeed in your treasury. You know how magic can be. Sometimes it has effects you really don't expect. I have heard that true justice is tempered with mercy. Would you be so kind as to show mercy to Elrae and release him? If so, perhaps we can find a way to earn your respect and allow Gotrek possession of the blade for which we quest in exchange for some deed?"

    Before he replies, Gotrek speaks. "Greetings, Brego Hammersmith. You have a name that any dwarf would be honored to bear! And from the looks of you, you still look to be a fine warrior. I am Gotrek. It is my fault my friend Elrae is here. You know bards. They always use more words than necessary to describe anything. This time, he paid a price for it. Teleported here to your city, to try and claim a weapon I am seeking. Little does he know that I would not have just accepted the axe in such a fashion. I would not sully the blade by such an act of circumvention. There is no honor in it. Now, I am here. However, I will not just ask for the blade. I have to earn it. At your command, Brego Hammersmith, I will complete a task for you. I am a fine warrior, as well as a weaponsmith. When that task is complete, you will give me GoreBlade, the GiantKiller as compensation. And as you ponder this, let's share a tankard of ale!"

    "Ah, Goreblade," he sighs and leans back in his chair. "An aptly named weapon," he says, "especially in the hands of Kilrak Bloodjudge. Alas, the weapon does not belong to me, thus it is not mine to give. You will have to take the matter up with Kilrak, but I do not think he'll part with it willingly." A couple of the other men laugh, but a look from their lord quickly silences them.

    "Somebody bring this bard here!" shouts Brego. "May as let the man defend himself." The jailer scurries off to go get Elrae.

    While you wait, Brego asks what your stories are. From where have you come? What have you done? Why you seek this axe? You know, all that good stuff.

    Berenn steps up, introduces himself, and fills him in on their stories.

    Brego is quite impressed. He had heard rumors of ill-tidings in the area beyond the Gnarley. He salutes your valor in bringing down the evil cult there. He explains that they have problems here in Elredd, but generally justice here is left to those who are wronged.

    "You must watch your actions here in Elredd," he says. "We are city founded on a man's right to do as he pleases," and he nods to Emyn. "But with such freedoms come responsibility, and wrongs are met with swift retribution. Naturally, the worship of Trithereon is quite popular, second only to Kelanen, the Prince of Swords, which is fitting for a city of mercenaries. Still, justice is often quick and personal. If you treat someone false here, you best be prepared for you will be quickly brought to account."

    As he is speaking, Elrae is brought in, along with the others.

    Brego motions for Elrae to be brought forth, "So, this is the one who was caught trying to pilfer from my vaults? Your friends say this cannot be, yet the word of Kilrak says otherwise." He turns to another guard, "Fetch Kilrak, that he may also answer my questions." Looking back at Elrae, he leans forward, "So, what have you to say?"

    "Well your honor I did not pilfer your or anyone's vaults that I will swear to St Cuthbert himself. It all started after our party was rewarded by the Viscount of Verbobanc for destroying the Temple of Elemental Evil and banishing the Fungi Queen back to the Abyss. We were in search of Gortek's Goreblade so that we may use to fight evil giants. We came upon a lighthouse and a strange lady who had a Deck of Many Things. I drew a card that granted me a limited wish for a material possession. Instead of wishing for something for myself I wished for Gortek's Goreblade so we could fight the giants sooner than later.

    Thinking I'd be rewarded for my selfless act, the blade did not appear in my hands but I was carried across different lands and appeared in what was NOT in the treasury of the keep, as Kilrak Bloodjudge accuses me of. I found himself in a bedroom, as evidenced by a table and the vanity. The items on vanity made it seem to be a woman's room. I recall a pearl comb and a gold-back mirror shaped like a heart. Then everything went black as I was beaten senseless. My equipment was stolen from me and my tooth was knocked out. I was beaten repeatedly and treated most inhumanely. I can assure I had no interest in another woman's room as my heart belongs to Maia, my wife and unborn child back in Hommlet. I speak the truth and swear to the gods nothing but the truth."

    Hepla watches to see if anyone in the court looks uncomfortable with Elrae's story. She notices a few men seem shocked and exchange worried glances.

    Brego stands up suddenly. "Come with me," he says to Elrae, and begins to walk from the hall. As he goes back into the hallway, he shouts, "Get Kilrak here, now!"

    You follow him through the small keep, to a stout wooden door. He opens the door, and you enter into a woman's bedchamber. The first thing you notice is the gold-backed mirror shaped like a heart. Lying on the vanity before it is a pearl comb.

    You learn that this is the room of his advisor, Tarya, a priestess of Lydia, Suel Goddess of Music, Knowledge, and Daylight. Elrae confims that was the mirror and comb he saw, and Brego says that it is clear that Elrae's story was true, and this was indeed the room where he appeared.

    "What was Kilrak doing here?" he wonders as you return to the hall. He calls for Tarya to be brought before him as well. You wait for a few hours, but find that nobody can locate Kilrak, nor Tarya; meanwhile, Elrae's gear is brought back to him. Soon, he has all of his equipment returned to him except his Cittern. By the end of the day you learn that Tarya left on a ship, though nobody knows to where it was bound. Kilrak and his mercenary band left in the night, marching south.

    Elrae grasps Snowfang and feels the bond between them strengthen. He tests out his crossbow of speed and smiles. Soon his smiles turn to frowns of anger when he realizes that the legendary Cittern of Calen Sirithe has been stolen.

    Gotrek turns to Brego. "How many mercenaries does Kilkrak have with him?"

    "We go after Kilrak," says Elrae. "I have some unsettled business with that craven."

    "He travels with the Deldukr," says Brego. "They are a band of 50 dwarven mercenaries. They are very tough, all excellent warriors and veterans of many wars and conflicts from the Great Kingdom to the Shield Lands."

    Taki says, "we can take them lets go."

    "It seems Kilrak and Tarya were working on something they did not want to discuss with Lord Brego," says Berenn. "It is logical that they may be meeting at some appointed location, so following one may lead us to both. How far is Eldred from the Gnarley Forest?"

    Hepla is prepared to scry Elrae's cittern, when the guards return. They were searching her room, and found it in a closet, along with her other musical instruments and priestly accoutrements. It seems she was not a priestess of Lydia after all. Brego is a bit concerned, but not overly. He has always been his own man, and rarely followed her advice anyway, much to her constant displeasure. As for Kilrak, he was just a mercenary; there's plenty more where he came from. Still, he would like to know what they plotted, though if it were against Elredd he wishes them luck. "There are far easier cities to menace than one full of mercenaries!" he says.

    [Their business basically done, the party leaves via the mirror gate, returning to Hommlet. THIS is when I changed the mirror! They could not just keep "teleporting" around, which is totally against how I like to play, let alone my ideas for the adventure. So, they learn that from now on, only a wizard may scry with it, and ONLY the wizard may travel through it. The gate stays open 24 hours, or until the wizard returns, and ANYONE can return through it until then. So, it could be used to rescue the party, if somebody else were using it. I also gave firm warning about the likelihood of it breaking, if it's taken along, so they left it behind and moved on. Traveling by foot, they made it to Zendrelda's in a few days, where they gathered up the mounts (including the griffons) and prepared to move on.]
    GreySage

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    Thu May 30, 2013 7:46 am  

    The Mirror -- Better late than never. Wink
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    Master Greytalker

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    Thu May 30, 2013 8:19 am  

    Yes. Eventually, I end up having to do something similar with the Leomund's Labile Locker. A great item, that, but also quite troubling. It doesn't take much for them to figure out how to use it to travel around too. I guess that's the nature of players. They are always pushing the envelope, looking for ways to either get around the DM's plans and rules, or to just plain be munchkiny. Welll, I don't really like either. I give fair warning that both tend to make the DM a bit...angry. And like Bruce Banner said, "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
    GreySage

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    Thu May 30, 2013 10:15 am  

    ragnar wrote:
    I guess that's the nature of players. They are always pushing the envelope, looking for ways to either get around the DM's plans and rules . . .


    Well . . . no, not really. Confused

    I is, however, the nature of meta-gamers. Wink Laughing Laughing Laughing
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    Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:55 pm  

    Rags is a great DM. I am one of his players (Derry, Vestron, Emyn). I also run a campaign on the side but in FR.
    GreySage

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    Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:02 am  

    Welcome to Canonfire! Goldie!

    Head over to the Welcome to Greyhawk forum and introduce yourself to the community properly and feel free to participate in all our forums. Happy

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    Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:49 pm  

    Goldie wrote:
    Rags is a great DM. I am one of his players (Derry, Vestron, Emyn). I also run a campaign on the side but in FR.


    You know that flattery won't get you any special treatment? But thanks the same. I really do try.
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    Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:31 pm  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 6

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage/Priestess of Eilistraee
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    [One of Isilme's cards from the Deck of Many Things had allowed for a change to cleric. She went into a coma for a couple of days, during which she communed with her goddess and underwent a class change. Basically, we just added Priestess of Eilistraee to her.]

    Freeday 7th of Fireseek, 581 CY
    You awake the next morning, very well-rested. You look out a window as see a light rain falling. You hope that Zendrelda's magic will get you quickly to the coast, as you are tired of the long rides in the cold rain.

    Berenn and Elrae head upstairs to the griffons, and fly them to the base of the tower. Meanwhile, the rest gather up your things, and Zendrelda leads you downstairs along a long circular stair that winds all the way down the tower. After a long time, you come into a stable, where all the horses are saddled and ready to ride. You notice the bulging saddlebags, and she tells you that provisions have been provided for your journey.

    She then chants in an unknown tongue, though it is strangely familiar to Hepla, and a section of the wall opens up, revealing the ground at the foot of the tower. As you lead your mounts outside, you find Elrae and Berenn waiting, seated upon the griffons. Zendrelda tells you to head south, along a small path into the forest. "Do not stray from the path," she says, "but continue on, and you will shortly find your way to Elredd." She then smiles, wishing you luck on your journey.

    "Peace be with you, Zendrelda," says Emyn. "Your kindness will not be forgotten."

    Isilme seems greatly changed since her ordeal, you cant place it exactly, but she seems somehow wiser and less worldly. "The goddess has shown me what talents I should pursue," she says "and a spiritual and magical path to follow. To not cling so much to the material world. I would be a fool not to heed this newfound wisdom."

    Isilme then kisses Emyn on the cheek, then pushes him away and says kindly " I am not surprised a Paladin of Tritheron would protect me in my weakest hour. I have great respect for the church, I know well the head cleric of the temple at Verbobonc. Yours was the first in the city to embrace who I am and accept me. Even having a place of worship for my goddess within the temple, and placing her amongst the true and goodly gods of the elves. I will have need of a strong arm and stalwart friend in this new path I have chosen. Take these gauntlets, they should aid you well on our journeys." [She gives him her Gauntlets of Ogre Power.]

    Thorgrim's eyes, I mean eye, nearly jumps out of his head when he sees this. After listening to Isilme, he smiles and gives her a nod.

    Emyn is stunned and thanks her for the gift. He then kneels. "Lady Isilme, I take these gauntlets from you with humility. I swear by Holy Trithereon to protect you from harm henceforth, even at the cost of my own life. I am your knight."

    "Rise goodly knight!" replies Isilme. "Thank you. Perhaps you can also teach me some of the tenets and holy days of Tritheron. I am interested in learning more of such an accepting god and people."

    Before you leave, Zendrelda gives Hepla a small talisman made of crystal in the shape of a cat. Hepla thanks her for the cat, She wears it around her neck.

    You take your leave of Zendrelda and begin down the path indicated. The forest closes in upon it quickly, and the rain turns to a thick fog forcing Berenn and Elrae to head down to the path else risk getting lost. Soon you cannot see more than a few feet away. You continue through the mists, and suddenly you begin to smell something odd in the air.

    "It's the sea," says Noot.

    The mists begin to part and leave you in a "normal" coastal fog. To the north you see the city of Elredd. Zendrelda has done as she promised. You also notice that it is a bit warmer as well as dry, which is a welcome relief.

    "Let us speak the Lord again," says Emyn, "to see whether there have been any developments in our absence."

    "Ok," replies Gotrek, "but let's make it quick!"

    Located on the Wild Coast, Elredd is a city of about 6000 people. Like most settlements in semi-lawless lands, it is well-fortified with crenellated walls and guard towers. Graven above the main gate is a single word, "Kabal". Elrae studies it for a bit.

    "It seems to be an old form of Baklunish," he says. "I think it means Fate."

    There are four guards at the gate, one of which towers above even Taki and clearly has some kind of giant or ogre blood. He grins, and you see two decent sized fangs.

    Hepla looks up, and up, and up at the tall guard for a moment. Then says "First Lady Hepla of the Order of the Cat, and her party, seek entrance to your city and hopes to visit the court."

    One of the other guards laughs. "Ah, don't you worry none 'bout Ole Snagtooth here," he says. "He won't hurt ye, he's a pussycat himself!" The three guards get a good laugh, as the half-ogre snarls, which just makes them laugh harder. "Wait 'til we is no be wurkin'," says Snagtooth, and all three quickly stop laughing.

    The guards ask if you've ever been to Elredd before, and when you say you have, they nod. "Just continue to stay outta trouble then," says one.

    "And trouble will stay away from you," says another.

    They then let you pass. You work your way through the city, until you hear a commotion ahead. Moving along, you find a large crowd gathered in a square. There seems to be a gibbet set up at the far side, and someone is speaking, but you cannot hear.

    Hepla looks at one of the other people and says,"Good citizen, we are just arrived, please, tell us what is happening."

    "They just finished trying that Highport sellsword," says an old lady with lots of missing teeth. "The one murdered the smithy's family. Now the smith gets to decide what's done to him."

    Helpa tells the rest of the party what is happening. She asks,"Do you think it wise for him to see us?"

    Thorgrim shrugs. "It's none of our business lass."

    "True, but if he sees us will he call attention to us, is my worry." she says.

    "I am honor bound to ensure there is no miscarriage of justice here," says Emyn. "I know how angry I was after my family died, but Trithereon teaches that even those who have committed crimes deserve fairness of treatment. If that fairness means death or slavery, so be it, but fair and appropriate it must be."

    Gotrek scratches his head, and grunts. He looks down at Bonecrusher, the magical war hammer in his hand, and follows Emyn.

    This is what passes for law and order in Eldred. Unless you have the time and energy to introduce a whole new system of law, I suggest we leave well enough alone less chaos ensue. We have more pressing matters at the moment as well.

    Emyn pushes his way through the crowd, which parts before him like the sea before a Furyondian War Galley. The party trails along in his wake, and when you reach the front you see that upon the raised platform stands both the smithy, the other prisoner with hands and feet bound, as well as Brego Hammersmith himself, as well as another man, dressed in the familiar robes of a priest of Trithereon.

    You hear the priest speaking, "...justice is served. Let the Right of Retribution be fulfilled." He then turns to the smithy. "The Right of Retribution is yours," he announces. "What sentence do you impose?"

    "The Wheel," says the smithy coldly.

    The bound prisoner spits at the smithy, "Yer wife was worth it," he says "and she...."

    Before he can say anymore, Brego punches him in the back of the head with an iron rod, dropping him to the ground. The man turns to curse him, and he kicks him in the mouth sending blood and teeth flying. "Waste not your words as you wasted your life," he says, "Nor harry the just another moment. Your fate is sealed." He then calls out, "Bring forth The Wheel!"

    Berenn catches up with Emyn and restrains him. "Watch and learn. Justice is a relative term and you have no authority here. You are just as likely to end up next to that prisoner as to ensure your brand of justice is served."

    Hepla says, "he does not seem contrite at all."

    If we are close enough to be seen, she will nod her head and say, "Lord Brego, when you are finished with this might we ask you a few questions on other matters of justice?"

    He probably couldn't hear you over the crowd, which then parts as a large wagon wheel with many radial spokes is brought forward. The wheel was brought over to the platform and set atop a large pole which rose through the center. A carpenter set a pin in the top, to hold it in place, and then the condemned man was lashed face up on the wheel. Underneath a horse was used to turn the pole, and the condemned began to rotate on the wheel.

    "Now for the breaking," declared the priest of Trithereon. He handed the smithy a large iron cudgel, "You must do it, for if you cannot, then the man must go free."

    The smithy looked at the cudgel, then at the man, then back at the cudgel. He then shook his head. "No."

    The crowd began to boo, thinking there would be no punishment, but then the smithy pulled out his own hammer. You are close enough to see the blood-stain upon it. He turned to crowd. "With me own hammer did he slay me son. 'Tis fitting I use it." He holds the hammer up before the crowd and shouts, "I name thee WRATH. Do thy work!"

    He then turns and swings it at the man, splitting his knee with a crack that silenced the crowd like a command, the only sound was the scream of the condemned. As the wheel turned he swung it again, this time hitting his elbow, shattering bone and flesh, and bringing another scream. Again and again he brought the hammer down, until both arms and legs were shattered in at least two places. The screams had by now died down to a low moan as the limp form slowly revolved in his own circle of death.

    "Thus is justice served," said the smithy, who turned from the man and walked away down the stairs. When he reached the bottom he tossed the hammer to the earth and without a further word walked away, the crowd silently parting before him as if he were the very specter of Nerull Himself.



    "The dog deserved such a death, and worse," says Gotrek coldly.

    Hepla looks on and says,"I agree the smithy was wronged, but I'm not sure this was for the best. But it is the way of these people."

    Emyn is surprised by the brutality used but with a priest of Trithereon presiding, he cannot gainsay what has happened. He makes his way to the platform and says loudly, "My Lord, I beg thee, dispatch this wretch to the lower planes. This earthly suffering cannot compare to what awaits him there."

    Brego notices you, and he says to meet him at the Stirrup Cup. "We can sit down for a tankard of ale in a respectable place, not some must old castle."

    Emyn talks to the priest, who listens to what he has to say. "Yes," he agrees. "Though one of Trithereon's aspects is vengeance, we must not forget mercy." He looks over at the moaning man. "The law requires he remain until dawn, at which time we shall give him all the mercy he deserves. Men have lingered for days without such. One day IS mercy."

    Hepla asks, "Does the law say he must suffer? I can end his suffering now and he will still be alive come the morning for mercy."

    "It is not suffering," says the priest grimly. "It is vengeance." He looks back over at the condemned and continues. "Tomorrow he shall have mercy."

    The people then begin to disperse, and Brego and the priest come down from the platform. "Let us retire for a drink," says Brego. "We have much to discuss." He glances back up, then looks Hepla in the eye. "Today it's not about him," he says. He nods towards the other side of the square. Still barely visible, Hepla sees the smithy striding away. "It's about him."

    Emyn hears the priest's words and nods in agreement, satisfied that vengeance will be meted out but also, that mercy will accompany it. Now that he understands the customs better, he will govern himself accordingly. He follows Brego.

    Before she yields to the temptation to SLEEP the suffering man, Hepla follows Brego.

    While Taki looks on with disgust, Berenn knows only too well what passes for justice in other lands and is grateful he lives in more civilized lands.

    You may walk with Brego to the tavern. It is a small place, but he says it has the best ale in the city. There he explains a bit about Elredd:

    Brego claims no title for himself, generally scoffing at such things. "Titles don't make a man," he often says. Most just call him Chief, or Captain, though some can't help calling him Lord. He rolls his eyes at that. He draws no salary, but any needs are simply "taken care of" and he does live in the keep. However, he still maintains his home in town. Sometimes he wishes he was still just a mercenary captain. "Life was much easier," he says.

    Elredd is a military town, populated by mercenaries and other warlike adventurers. War leaders from around the Flanaess come to Elredd to hire men, and for that the population is always in flux. Of course, many of the people here who provide the town's infrastructure are your normal lot of craftsmen, laborers, etc., and no small number of them are ex-mercenaries, adventurers, some retired, some injured. But the town always maintains its militaristic air.

    With so many hard-bitten warriors wandering the streets, one might expect the city to be the "murder capital" of the world, and it's true that violent death is not uncommon. Some of the more, civilized, consider it a war zone at best. But that's deceiving. Actually, walking the streets of Elredd you will find that people here are more polite and orderly than most other places. There is no police, no city watch patrols. They are not needed.

    To many more philosophical types, we epitomize the idea of natural selection and might makes right, for people who transgress against others typically die. If someone kills another without good reason, the killer will usually himself be killed. If someone is killed for a good reason, even an insult perhaps, that's just fine. Thus, people treat others with healthy respect, knowing the likely consequences otherwise. Elredd, you could say, breeds a population of polite warriors: not meek, not weak, but not obnoxious.

    Because the population has become self regulating with regard to social behavior, there's no need for an internal police force. We have few laws beyond those natural to men. "In fact," he says, "there are really only two laws in Elredd, both unwritten. The Rule of Fast Steel (The one with the fastest steel makes the rules.) and The Golden Rule (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!)" Here everyone works, and everyone treats each other with respect. Transgress any of the unwritten rules and you will likely die. "It's that simple."

    Justice here is usually a "street-corner thing." If a person considers himself wronged, but isn't sure enough of his position to cut the transgressor down, he might convene a "court" of witnesses. There's no prosecution, no defense. The witnesses give statements, facts are looked at, and the court decides. Justice is then swift. The victims decide the penalty, but they must carry it out themselves. "That was the way of our founder, Uroch," he says. "If a man sentences another to death or worse, he ought to carry out the sentence himself. If he cannot do so, the accused goes free. No man should let another do his dirty work. Like I said, 'there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. That's why the smithy had to carry out the sentence. Had he balked, then the condemned would have gone free. By his actions he had placed his fate in the smithy's hands."

    What this means is most people here are treated with a polite respect, as long as they treat others the same. Overstep the bounds of civilized behavior and you'll be almost certainly challenged to a duel or cut down in the streets, and if it be fair, or if it is considered just, nobody will make a move to stop it. Most of us make allowances for strangers too, for we know you are ignorant of our ways. Some will perhaps warn strangers, and some few will let their steel do the talking, but that's rare. We usually give strangers a chance to mend their ways, but if they continue.....

    "So," he says, finishing his ale and ordering more. "We are a lawless society, yet live more free, more honest, than most men. Such were the ways brought here by Uroch when he founded the city a hundred years ago."

    "Uhhh this place make me sick," says Elrae. "Might doesn't always make right."

    Noot is enjoying the ale and listening carefully. He keeps his mouth shut in fear of insulting someone. This town doesn't hold much opportunity for theves, so best to move on as quickly as possible.

    Hepla will drink what Brego is having, just not as much. "Chief, this round is on me." she says.

    Emyn says, "Eldredd sounds like my kind of place. But Brego, do you have news of Killrak and this other priestess since we went to retrieve our mounts and companion?"

    No, though a search of his quarters turned up a bunch of burned papers, nothing more. There was little to note, except a scrap of one piece of parchment that had not burned. He sends one of his men to get it, and produces it once he returns. Most is destroyed, or rendered unreadable by fire, except the final part:

    "Klim grows nervous. I must watch him carefully. Remember the traps....Council are many.... If thou art discovered now, then thy life is lost!" It is signed "Edralve"

    "Aye Brego," says Gotrek. "Tell us more about Kilrak and the Red Company!"

    "He is a as a bitter, vengeful, and thoroughly bloodthirsty type, who built quite a reputation as a mercenary. His band is made of other dwarves, most with similar stories, who hire out to any who can use, and pay for, their services. They served in many lands of the Flanaess, from the Shield Lands to the Great Kingdom, and currently are in the Wild Coast where they sell their services to the various lords of those fiercely independent and dangerous city states.

    The Deldukr are tough, the best mercenary band I've ever seen. All are dwarves from lost realms, like Kilrak himself, and they've pledged themselves to him and the Deldukr. Still, there are some who don't like the mercenary life, some who would return to their lands or die trying, and some who simply do not like what they do."

    He takes out a pipe, and stuffs it with some herb, lighting it with a small striker. As he exhales, he contnues. "It's not that they are evil, nor is Kilrak. He is like the smoke of this pipeweed, blown and twisted until it barely resembles itself." He sighs, "Who knows? Had his life been different, he could have become a great hero."

    Gotrek grunts at this. "Heroes aren't born. They are made. It is what you do with yourself when the odds are stacked against you that molds you into the person, and sometimes the hero, you were meant to be"

    Gotrek spits on the floor. "Most dwarves would take gold over a notion such as heroism."

    "Well," he says to Gotrek. "Can't argue with that!"

    Emyn asks, "Any sense of who might have hired him? Surely with a dwarf of such reputation, rumours would be about the city."

    "He had worked for the city, driving away a force of orcs from the forest and even driving off some drowned ones from the waterfront. I would say this "Eldrave" must have hired him, whoever she is. Never heard that name before."

    "Sounds like some sort of elvish," says Thorgrim.

    Hepla, not feeling any effects of the drink but pretending a little, says,"One question chief, if I may, I did not see any other females in your court, except me, how come. (giggle)."

    To Hepla he laughs. "Court! Ha, ha, ha! I have no court! As I said, I am no Lord."

    Emyn asks the mages, "Is there a method magically to determine what might have been written on these pages before they were burned?"

    "Not much to go on," says Berenn. "One letter with only one line and a direction to head in. We should start out first thing in the morning before the trail gets any colder."

    "Klim is an old Suloise family name," says Elrae. "Could be that person is one of the barbarians of the far Northeast."

    Thorgrim sees Taki sitting somewhat bored, brings him a refill of his ale, and asks, "What ye think a Elredd? Seems ta me, this kinda place'd suit ya jus fine. For a city that is."

    "As far as towns go it is fine," he answers, taking a drink. "But I seek the road and the adventure. I feel closed in here."

    Gotrek looks at Brego. "Laddie, what do you think of one more adventure?"

    "If only I could," he says. "But no, I've responsibilities now. When you reach my age, in dwarf years of course, you'll know what I mean."

    Gotrek looks away. "I have a feeling I won't know what you are talking about."

    He takes a large gulp of ale. "As long as Clangeddin approves of the manner of my passing, I will be content. Today. Tomorrow. Whatever. As long as I kill as many Giant scum as I can before I die."

    Brego is a bit disappointed in that it seems there was some kind of intrigue happening under his nose, though he isn't too worried about it. Nobody really did anything to him or Elredd, so he doesn't care overly much. The party finishes dinner, discussing their next move on the trail of Kilrak and Giant Goreblade.

    Thorgrim points out that Kilrak poses an interesting problem. He's not evil, per se, and has done nothing to really merit the party tracking him.

    "Are we thieves," he asks, "that we would simply track him down and steal his axe?" He looks at Gotrek. "Is this the manner in which you would gain it?" He also points out that the manner in which Elrae surprised him would probably make anyone attack him. "All he lost so far is a tooth," he adds. "What do we lose seeking revenge?"

    "We are bound to chase the axe," says Emyn. "I would say it can only be taken in combat, as is proper for a battlerager."

    "Thorgrim does bring up an interesting point," says Berenn. "However, I believe Brego would like to know what was happening in his court, and if there was some ill will meant by Kilrak. He would be a person of interest in a case of possible treason. If we pursue him for that reason, we are on the side of law and order. He brought further suspicion on himself with his unceremonious departure."

    Taki agrees with Berenn and says, "We should see about this."

    "And his lying about what Elrae was doing," adds Hepla. "He gave false testimony about where he was and what he was doing."

    Taki also agrees with Helpa, nodding.

    Thorgrim agrees. "Very well, let us find this Kilrak and get to the bottom of things."

    You've spent the day here, and can move along at first light. See the map of Wild Coast for the lay of the land.

    Elrae slams his mug on his table, ale splashing out on the surface. "Kilrak owes me a tooth, and I plan on collecting."

    Just then Isilme steps through a portal and re-joins the party. [After this the mirror is forever left behind, and the magic changed to limit teleportation-like movement.] She lets Taki know the weaponsmith screwed up his crossbow and it could be another month before its finished.

    Once she is caught up she lets you know the name in the message is actually Drow, which is very disturbing.

    "Drow and Suel, oh my," says Elrae. "Whatever, let's track that no good dirty rotten lying sack of suet."

    She will also thank elrae for the return of her +1 longsword now that he has snowfang back. Since the bracers will assist him in the accomplishment of his more stealthy arts, she thinks he should continue to use them.

    Isilme ooc: nothing like having people ransack your personal chest while your asleep.

    The party then goes to sleep, anxious to get an early start in the morning.
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    Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:34 pm  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 7

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage/Priestess of Eilistraee
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    Starday, 8th Fireseek, CY 581
    You start out at first light, after Isilme buys a horse. The day is much nicer, especially for Isilme who has been in Hommlet where it was pretty cold. It's only about 54* and a nice breeze from the NE brings the smell of the sea. Since most have never been to the sea, it is quite amazing to see the seemingly endless expanse of water.

    The road, no more than a really good track, winds along the coast. Berenn often flies ahead on Ra, and he certainly can see the telltale signs of the dwarves on their march south. Around midday the weather gets worse and you pause for rest. You are in a campsite which the dwarves apparently used the night before. They seem to move about half your speed, so you should hopefully catch them tomorrow or the next day. A hailstorm begins as you resume your trek, forcing Berenn and Elrae to walk their griffons. Still, the day is not bad, and by evening you see lights of a small village along a hillside, smoke rising from some of the buildings.

    As you approach, you begin to make out the village, siting atop a small hill. It sits on a bit of a promontory, with water on three sides. A small wall protects the landward side, but it doesn't look like it could withstand any serious efforts to storm it. Further, there's is no wall at all on the three seaward sides.


    Village of Foxvale Hill

    The road bends to the right, looping around the small bay. There is a small crossroads ahead. A small road goes right, disappearing into the darkening night. To the left lies the village. Ahead is a small inn, by the looks of it, and beyond it a small river. You see a ferry barge just beyond the inn. Lights are burning and a bit of smoke rises from the place's chimney.

    Emyn joins Taki at the front. An Avenger of Trithereon has nothing to fear from these folks.

    "HO the village!"

    Noot has been enjoying the walk along the shore while keeping his eyes out for any boats or ships. The sight of the inn is heartwarming.... more ale ahead.
    "Let's get to the inn --- it will be a lot warmer than camping out in this damp weather."

    You reach the crossroads inn, a small place called the Rogue Kelpie. There is a small barn and stable to the right of the inn. A stable boy sees your mounts, esp the griffons, and nearly faints. He can take all your horses, but the griffons cannot stay there. You'll have to take them away. He points to a small stand of trees, bent over from the coastal winds. "Tis sheltered enough there," he says. "I can bring you out some hay, if they eat it."

    "The hay would make fine bedding," replies Berenn, "but they will not eat it. Thank you for pointing out the stand of trees. The rest of you can go to the inn, I will spend the evening with Ra and Thoth. If anything interesting comes up, you know where to find me." Berenn takes both the griffons and leads them to the trees.

    The inn is small, but it can accommodate everyone in the party. There is a nice common room with a fireplace along the east wall. A door heads out the back, and another passed into a room to the right, presumably the kitchen. A small stairway goes to the upper floor. A railed balcony surrounds the common room, and you see about a dozen doors along it, leading to the private rooms. A couple of people are seated already, eating meals alone at different table. They have the look of travelers.

    Taki asks around, and he learns that the dwarves did come through last night. None stayed here, but they moved on into town. They marched out at first light this morning, heading south. The guests seem to enjoy Elrae's songs, and one even buys him a drink afterwards. The rest of the party go off to sleep, except for Isilme who spends the evening communing with the Goddess under the moonlight.

    "If we are mounted," says Taki to Thorgrim, "and they are marching and only a half a day ahead of us we should catch them in the next day or so."

    Thorgrim nods his agreement.

    Noot orders ale, drinks it slowly and continues to listen. He tries to hear the other conversations in the room to see what the locals are saying about the party and any other strangers that may have passed through. He sets Isaac on the floor to collect scraps.

    You learn that since the Deldukr stayed up in the village, the folk here at the inn don't have any other information for you. The dwarves came back down, just before sunrise, and took the ferry across to the other side and marched south.

    Taki suggest that we form a plan of action as to what we are going to do when we come up on these dwarves as they will more than likely form ranks and be ready for a fight, and we will be up on them before we know it.

    Thorgrim agrees with Taki. "If 'n we just charge into a fight 'gainst this company, it will go bad." He looks at Gotrek grimly, "We know full well what it takes ta break a dwarven shield wall."

    Gotrek snorts, then continues to drink his ale.

    Emyn says, "We should ask around in the village before moving on."

    Hepla volenteers to go with him. "Emyn," she says. "You, I hope, will do much of the talking. You will be much more easily accepted then I will be. Somehow many people are scared of me when I first arrive somewhere."

    "Might as well go talk to them now," Hepla says, finishing her dinner. She asks Taki if he is ready, then heads into town to see what is still open, presumably another bar or inn, where she can drink and talk with the townspeople. "Innkeeper, please where could we go to talk with some townspeople about the dwarves that stayed up in town yesterday?"

    The innkeeper looks a bit uncomfortable, glancing about before saying he doesn't know. He reaches over to take your empty mugs and whispers, "The Broken Rudder," before turning and moving back to the kitchens.

    While Hepla stands there unsure of the innkeeper's reaction, Emyn leans over. "Hepla, they aren't scared. They are struck dumb by your beauty."

    Once stepping outside, she says,"That innkeeper was just scared, but not of me. Seems something else is going on here. And thank you for the compliment, you are kind to say that."

    You take the road into the village, which sits atop a small hill, really not much more than a mound. The wooden palisade has a stout wooden gate, which sits open. A lackluster guard wearing leather armor and holding a spear leans against the wall, and he doesn't even challenge you as you approach.

    "Ask him for directions?" Hepla says to Taki. [Yes its a female trait.]

    Taki asks about the Broken Rudder. "Broken Ruder?" he says. "Ya jus go down the street n go left. Ya can't miss it, got's a big broken ruder hangin' out front."

    Emyn thanks him and tossed him a silver. "Thank you, sir," adds Hepla with a smile.

    "Thank you, M'Lady," he says, biting the silver, then putting it in his pocket.

    You proceed down the street, lined with residences. You see all the usual signs: a tanner, carpenter, smithy, etc. Nothing strange jumps out at you, except it seems that beyond left-hand buildings you see a wall, about the same height as the buildings, which you couldn't see on your approach. Up ahead the streets T's with another street going left/right. Directly across are some large warehouse buildings. You can't really see much else in the dark.

    Emyn can slip between a couple of buildings, and you find that there is a large clear area with a wooden stockade, enclosing a compound that seems about 100x200'. You are looking straight at one of the short sides of the rectangular compound. The wooden palisade is 15' tall, with a 20' tall guard tower in each corner. You see a couple of guards in each tower.

    All around the compound there is a clearing of about 50', and you see the remains of buildings which were likely torn down to clear the space. Around the clearing is another row of buildings on all sides.

    Emyn returns to the street and tells the party what he saw.

    "We should just go to the tavern," says Taki.

    Thorgrim agrees with Taki, that you should proceed to the tavern. The party agrees and quickly reaches the end of the street. Ahead are a couple of large warehouses. There is a small path going straight, between them. The main road (called Main Street) goes to your right and left. To your right it seems to go by houses, and then to some very ramshackle buildings. To the left, you see a more lively street. There seem to be a couple of taverns on the right, and shops/homes on the left. The road goes down a few hundred feet before turning right.

    You turn left and head down Main Street. You pass along what the locals call "Warehouse Row." On the right are many small trading warehouses, and beyond them you catch a glimpse of piers, a few of which have small trading vessels tied up. On the left are various shops, all closed up as it's late. The street turns right and runs down to the water, and a couple of larger piers. There are two large taverns on the left and another on the right. The one on the right has a large broken rudder hanging outside. From all three taverns you hear loud noises, and you also see knots of men milling about, moving back and forth from the taverns, to the piers, and along the shore. They all look like sailors.

    Hepla peeks inside. The tavern is a rough and rowdy place. It has just one large common room, with tables, chairs, etc. A bar along the back wall if full of men drinking, and an old tough-looking guy with a scar across his face tends bar. There are maybe about 20 people in the tavern, which is about half-full. Most seem to be sailors, though a few working types seem to be here as well, all rather unsavory types.

    Elrae will stand on a street corner and busk for some coin while waiting for the others to leave the Broken Rudder. The longer we wait, the farther that band of dwarven sellswords will go. He thinks to himself.

    Emyn walks up to the barman and buys a round for his group. He tips the barman well and asks if he might have some information he'd be willing to share.

    The barkeep leans over, "Depends on the information," he says, "and what you gots ta give me." He holds his hand out.

    "A group of dwarven mercenaries came through here yesterday. I'd like to know what there is to be known about where they are headed and why." He slides over a few more gold.

    The barkeep looks around, then leans in. "Yeah, spent some gold and busted up the place. They stayed the night up at the Davis Compound, then left this morning."

    Gotrek grumbles and orders another tankard of ale. He buys a round for the rest of the group, as well. he is starting to get antsy, and wants to get going. He thinks, "We need to find out who ferried the merc company across the river."

    Noot, who was a little sleepy work up when he heard the word 'Rudder' and joined the group. He looks around the inn for any sailors who might be present. If he sees any he will join them. They seem a bit reserved, but the Noot passes himself off for just another sailor and eventually they accept him as one of them.

    "Probably the ferrymen behind the crossroads inn," says Thorgrim with a laugh. He then hears Elrae shouting, jumps up, and hurries outside. Emyn rushes out behind him. Noot stays where he is, acting like he doesn't even know them. Hepla stays where she is, quietly preparing a spell.

    "Yip yip yip, bark, bark, bark, Gotrek, Noot, Hepla come quick!" The party members hear Elrae yipping and howling like a dog. They remember that's a sign that he want's them to come to him.

    Thorgrim, Emyn, Taki, and Gotrek come out to find Elrae with Snowfang in hand. About 20' down the street in the direction you guys originally came from is a large dome of Ice.

    "I got that treacherous villain trapped in ice. Look no further that to find frozen Kilrak." Elrae says beaming.

    You hear a gruff voice from inside the dome, "Don't just stand there you idiot. Do something!"

    Just as quickly, the ice melts away into the ether. The dwarf is holding a shortsword, and there is a man next to him holding a wand. His free hand is extended with fingers splayed out and pointing at the melting ice dome.

    Inside the tavern, four knaves begin to move towards the exit, only to suddenly yawn and collapse to the ground, snoring like babies. Hepla giggles, looking around to see if she was noticed, which she wasn't.

    Noot excuses himself and runs outside, sword at the ready.

    "Kilrak!!!" shouts Elrae. "You've got some explaining to do. One move and I'll blast you back to the cold depths of hell." Snowfang is pointed at the two.

    Gotrek notices Kilrak is not wielding the axe. "Don't kill Kilrak! We need to question him. As for the mage, do your best!"

    While everyone's talking, Noot hides in the shadows.

    Kilrak?" says the dwarf. The wizard looks down at "Kilrak" and then back to Elrae. "This isn't Kilrak!"

    Gotrek starts forward, but stops short of the dwarf. [rolled a WIS check for the battlerager. seemed appropriate.]

    Berenn will swoop down on Ra, flying from behind the dwarf and wizard. "No one make a move until the identity of the dwarf is determined. Make a hostile move and we will respond with the appropriate amount of force."

    The wizard glances up, laughs, and puts away his wand. He looks over at the dwarf. "What's your brother done now?" he asks.

    The dwarf shrugs as he sheathes his shortsword. "Don' know. Guessn' we is gonna find out."

    Emyn says, "You know Killrak?"

    "Pardons if you are not the exact doppelganger of that villain," says Elrae skeptically. Though if it was Kilrak he'd be swinging the Goreblade instead of a short sword. You say he's your brother? You know where he is, for he has to answer some serious questions."

    "The Lord of Eldred would also like to have words with Kilrak," adds Berenn. "Some of his recent actions warrant an explanation and we are tasked with returing Kilrak so he may answer certain questions."

    Isilme stand by quietly and invisible, holding Maerthorlear and pointing it at the speakers to identify any lies told by the men.

    Noot quietly works his way through the shadows to behind the wizard and dwarf where he continues to watch and listen. As he does so, Taki rolls a fist-sized rock around in his hand while Gotrek kicks dirt in frustration.

    The dwarf introduces himself as Agnar, the twin brother of Kilrak. He says that Kilrak was just here last night. "Brought the whole company with him," he says. "Gonna take a new job in Highport."

    He looks around at the party, sizing you up, then laughs. "Looks like he stepped in it this time, eh Haz?" he says to the wizard.

    The wizard shrugs. "Only a matter of time."

    "Yep," says Agnar. "Well, if'n you all is gonna tumble with him, good luck. There ain't a one a his men isn't a hardened warrior of a hunnerd battles, and Kilrak's toughest a the bunch. Battlerager of Kraldum Yur, the Rune Hall." He shakes his head. "The only thing worse than a battlerager is one with nothin' ta loose."

    [OOC: Isilme never detects a lie.]

    "Do you know anything of this new job?" asks Emyn.

    "Nah, I never really know what he's up to." [OOC: Isilme detects a lie.]

    From the shadows, Hepla asks,"Why would he have nothing to lose?"

    "Well, sundered dwarves are known to fight with abandon, as do battleragers. Put the two together.... well, just imagine."

    Isilme whispers Emyn's ear that he is lying about not knowing what his brother is up to or his new job. She continues to detect lie on the two.

    Gotrek overhears her disembodied voice and he quickly steps toward the mage and the dwarf. "Ye be lying. Another lie out either one of you, and there will be blows exchanged. For the last time, where is your brother?"

    The mage steps back, away from Gotrek, as Agnar stammers. "Lies? I told you where he went! To Highport."

    Emyn says flatly, "Do you think it is wise to cross the battlerager who almost single handedly desotryed the Temple of Elemental Evil and banish Zuggtmoy back to the Abyss?"

    "I um, don't know what you're talking about," repeats Agnar, "but like I said, he's gone South. To Highport."

    If Taki sees the mage make any move like he is casting a spell he will bounce a rock off his chest.

    "Aye, laddie, but why is he headed there?" asks Thorgrim. "Failure to tell the whole truth is a lie in itself. Must we take you back to Brego Hammerhand and my brothers in the Church of Trithereon to learn the full truth?"

    "What do I have to do with the Chief?" he asks. "We here don't answer to him." When he sees the party doesn't really care, he sighs. "Fine, Kilrak said he was hiring out to one of the Lords of Highport, guarding caravans into the Pomarj. If there's one thing Kilrak likes more'n gold, it's killin' orcs, and there be plenty a them in the Pomarj." [ooc: all true!]

    "Which Lord of Highport?" demands Gotrek, spittle flying from his frothy lips.

    "I don't know!" he says. [Lie]

    Hepla asks, "Do either or both of you have the ability to contact him?"

    "No," he says, "but even if I did, I wouldn't rat out me own brother." [Lie]

    Gotrek turns to the group. "Why don't we just make them our prisoners, and bring them to Highport with us? They might prove to be good bargaining chips."

    "I don't trust them," says Emyn. "They might even be in league with the orcs, for all we know."

    Taki notices the wizard making a gesture, and he throws his rock at him. However, the wizard seems to fold in on himself before the rock hits him and with a "snap" he is simply gone.

    "Dammit we let that one slip away. I would have blasted him with Snowfang if I had but half a chance. Still Kilrak's brother can be our 'guest' as we go to Highport. Perhaps Isilme or Hepla can persuade his thick tongue."

    A frustrated Taki walks up to the dwarf two handed sword in hand and tells him to drop his weapons. Gotrek does the same.

    "Perhaps there is a better way." Berenn approaches the dwarf. "My friends want to hold you as a bargaining chip and will use extraordinary means to get information out of you about your brother. Their techniques may get unpleasant depending on how resistant you are to their efforts. It would be better for all involved if you truthfully answered their questions and then you can be on your way. You have my word as a knight of Verbobonc."

    "Yes, our Drow friend would certainly like to try out her interrogation techniques," says Emyn.

    The dwarf sags, seeing that he is alone and outmatched. "Damn wizard!" he mutters. "Kilrak has taken a job for Sturm Blucholtz. He is head of the Highport Thieve's Guild and pretty much runs the town."

    "What is in this caravan that is so valuable?" asks Emyn.

    "Caravan?" replies Agnar. "Kilrak's gone to help Sturm deal with some orcs, giving him problems."

    "Sounds like Kilrak is dealing with some rather unsavory characters," says Elrae. "Highport is known as the City of Chains. One misstep and you'll end up in them."

    Noot moves up behind Agnar and picks his pockets and grabs whatever weapons he might get loose without being noticed. Noot swipes his pouch. It's got 10 PP, 3 100 GP gems, and 5 potions.

    "Anyone else have anything before we let him go?" asks Berenn.

    Emyn says, "It may have taken some time but you have been honest with us. What can you tell us of his goreblade?"

    He does tell you about the Goreblade. His brother found it during his early adventuring days, somewhere in the Underdark. It is quite powerful, especially against giants. He seems quite unnerved and scared. "Look," he says. " "I'm a simple businessman and trader," he says. "My brother is the warrior."

    "Ah, so you're a thief," replies Emyn. "Not a problem. We all have to make a living. You do know that consorting with the mage was a giveaway, don't you?"

    "I don't think we can learn anything else from him," says Berenn. "It is high time he was on his way and we were on ours."

    Thorgrim gets in the dwarf's face. "Just see that you stays OUT of our way!"

    Once you let him go, he rushes away from you, disappearing down the dark village street.

    "Very well," says Emyn, watching him go. "Let's head to Highport. I don't think it would be safe to stay in this place tonight."

    Isilme will cast fly when we let him go and follow him invisibly. Basic goal is to follow him and see if she can pick up any more information or if he is preparing a nasty surprise for the party utilizing ESP and/or clairaudinece.

    "I wish she wouldn't do that," Emyn says, "How am I supposed to protect her when she runs off invisible all the time?"

    "Sounds like she flew," says Thorgrim, grinning. "Anyway, Thorgrim agrees. "Let's go. After all this excitement, I ain't tired anyhow."

    The party retires from town, making for the inn at the ferry crossing.

    ***

    OK, he slips through the buildings and heads back to the big compound you saw earlier. He goes inside and enters one of the larger buildings, looks like a mansion of sorts.

    Seeing him heading into the compound isilme casts wraithform on herself and follows him close. She still uses her ability to fly to get around obstacles if possible and stay up and out of the way.

    The compound is a large rectangle, about 200x300. It has a tower in each corner, as well as one halfway along the East wall. There are two along the West wall, flanking a gate. There is a building immediately to the left of the gate, and a large hall to the right. Along the north wall are a half-dozen buildings that look like barracks. Just inside the east wall is a large temple. A keep of some sort stands in the SW corner. The mansion is in the middle of the southern wall. In the SE corner, between the mansion and the temple, are a series of posts driven into the ground. You see a man tied to one, his hands bound to an iron ring at the top and his unconscious body slumped down.

    Isilme follows him into the mansion. They are not screwing around with punishment here either, she thinks.

    The opulence of the mansion stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the buildings, with the possible exception of the temple. The temple and keep are all made of stone, and rather old, while all the other buildings are new wooden construction, like the wall and towers. The mansion itself is two stories tall and made of brick. Ornate window frames, painted white, break up the red brickwork nicely, and a long marble staircase leads up to the reinforced double doors. The roof is peaked and covered in black shingles.

    The front door is locked, with a guard posted outside. You slip through the crack in the door using Wraithform and find yourself in a large foyer. A long red rug leads directly up to a staircase, which bisects at the landing and curves up to a surrounding gallery on the second floor. The walls to the right and left are lined with busts that you do not recognize. There are oak doors on the right and left. The railed gallery above overlooks the foyer, and allows for easy defense. Three doors are on the east side of the gallery and one on the west. You don't see or hear anything.

    Going through the west door, you enter a hallway, about 20' long. The walls are paneled with lacquered wood, and there are doors in the middle of the right wall as well as one at the end of the hall. A guard stands before the door at the end, wearing chain and holding a spear. Moving up there, you hear voices, and what seems to be the voice of Agnar complaining loudly.

    It opens to an L-shaped parlor. You enter into the long side of the L, with the short leg wrapping around the left and behind you. There a couple of couches here, with a large fireplace warming the room. Sitting on one of them is a man you haven't seen, while Agnar stands before him, shouting excitedly about his brother.

    He wants the man to do something about this group going after his brother. The seated man says he really doesn't care. His brother can take care of himself. It's none of his business. Agnar's clearly not happy. Agnar then tells him that it was he that took care of Lord Rexor. "You wouldn't have his fancy mansion if it weren't for me!" he shouts.

    "Well, that may be true," the man replies, sipping from a silver goblet. "But I so dearly want to keep my newfound wealth and position. Agnar, you threaten everything I've built." He pauses at Agnar's sudden frown. "Fine, everything we've built. Perhaps we can send word to Highport, but really I think you overreact."

    Agnar still isn't happy. "These people are dangerous," he says. "To Kilrak, to us," and then he pauses, "and to our employers. You wouldn't want them upset would you?"

    The other man sighs, placing his goblet down on a table and standing up. "Now look what you've done," he says standing up. "You've spoiled my appetite." He walks over and puts his hand on the dwarf's shoulder. "Fine, I shall summon my men. We shall deal with these 'adventurers' for you." He then walks over to the door, opens it, and tells the guard to sound summons.


    Regarding their employers, you can probe surface thoughts, and you get an "image" (not a real picture so you can't go use your mirror!) of a few individuals, a couple men and a couple of women. Regarding Lord Rexor, you get a clear "image" of an elderly man sitting in a dungeon cell.

    The guards are being called out into the courtyard, while Agnar and the other man move outside.

    Men appear from the buildings along the north wall. They must be barracks, and there are about a couple dozen in each of the first few buildings. Another handful come from one other building. All together, there are about 60 men in the courtyard. They are armed with strange spear-like weapons, and have odd armor (think Roman gladiator combinations). They are absolutely rigid and disciplined; Isilme has never seen anything quite like them. A couple of priests also come out from the temple along the south wall. You don't recognize which god or gods they worship.

    The leader, with Agnar beside him, orders the "army" to move out immediately, to find the party, and to kill them.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:04 pm  

    CAMPAIGN JOURNAL - Quest for Giant Goreblade - 8

    Cast of Characters:
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage/Priestess of Eilistraee
    Noot: Human Thief
    Taki of the Hill People: Human fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    Starday, 8th Fireseek, CY 581 (cont)

    Isilme flies around the compound, checking out the stocks. When she sees it's just a human, she flies off to follow the warriors. The men leave the compound, and they head into the city, towards where you encountered Agnar. Seeing that the party isn't there, they begin to search the village and then move towards the crossroads inn and the ferry crossing. Isilme flies directly there, and finds the party at the ferry, awaiting her return. Berenn and Elrae have already gotten the griffons, and everyone is ready to cross. Still invisible, Isilme gives her report.

    "If we have the time to cross the river we should, rather then fighting with our backs to the river, otherwise we need to prepare our defense," Hepla suggests.

    "Let's get everyone across and when they try to cross, sink the boat half way with them on it," says Emyn.

    "I suggest two paths we can chose from Berenn," says Isilme. "We give them what they want and expect to see....an illusion of us either somehow dying or just to distract them, or we find a way to hit them while they cross the river chasing us?"

    Everyone likes the idea of an illusion, so they opt for that. The ferrymen take you across the river. It's not really that big, but it's a good crossing. You are now on the south side of the river. It's well into night, and with only a sliver of a moon, it's pretty dark.

    Soon you see torches, a long line of them, coming down the hill from the village. The ferry is about midway back across the river.

    Isilme will switch rings use the ring of water walking instead of fire resistance for this part. She casts fly on herself again, then casts spectral force, an illusion of the party fighting a group of drow warriors and mage. She makes it looks like the party was stuck there waiting for the ferry and were ambushed by a group of drow. (Knowing both drow and the party well she thinks she can make it convincing) for simplicity sake, everyone is fighting on the ground. It will go back and forth, when the group of warriors get close enough the drow mage will disintegrate the party, give their victory cries and depart in the darkness.

    While the party hopes it works, Berenn has them prepare for it to fail. If they do not fall for the illusion and all come across at the same time, the party can attempt to sink the ferry with them on it. Hepla and Isilme should have their most catastrophic spells on standby. Hopefully most of the pursuers can't swim. If they come across in smaller groups, wait until the ferry is heading back and ambush them.

    The men eventually reach the ferry crossing and stop, bu only for a moment, watching Isilme's illusion. Then one of the leaders yells for them to charge the illusions. "Kill them all!"

    Isilmes illusions "finish off the party" with a disintegration spell as planned (with proper screams cut off abruptly) then the drow will run off seeming to vanish with darkness spell.....They can hear the drow Mage say "you will soon regret meddling in our affairs humans!" before he vanishes.

    The men fan out, and their leaders set them to investigating the area while a couple of them go inside the inn. Utilizing her invisibility and flying powers, isilme stays well out of the way and tries to listen in and what info they gathered and what they are doing next, story they bought off on, etc. Soon the leaders come out, and you see one man looking down at the ground very intently, much like Berenn when he was tracking.

    Staying at range, she casts Message. Then she casts suggestion on the tracker. "These tracks are leading you nowhere, clearly the party was disintegrated in the fight with the drow!" Then she waits a moment and gets ready to use her Wand of Highfolk.

    After studying the tracks, the man gets up and reports as Isilme "suggested." The other leaders seem ok with his explanation, and they all return to the village. Isilme flies back to the party. She reports everything in detail, including what happened at the house.

    "Where to now oh noble party leader?" she asks Berenn with a smirk. "Shall we punish agnar, continue on to find his brother, or rescue this lord rexor? .... Seems we are "dead" - for now!"

    Thorgrim shrugs. "Let's just move on. You fooled them. Let's not waste your efforts by going back."

    "Given we just avoided fighting that army, it might make more sense to pursue our true goal, Gotrek," says Emyn. "Unless the orcs make you nervous...?"

    "What orcs?" replies Gotrek with almost a growl.

    "Why the orcs in the Pomarj, of course!"

    "Oh," says Thorgrim. "Dem orcs."

    "That's the first dwarf I have ever seen," replies Isilme, "that went behind the back all sneaky like and got someone else to kill for them, afraid to face the one threatening them head on! I thought dwarves had family honor! He's as bad as the dark elves I left behind! I hope gotrek smashes his face in on the way back!"

    Isilme suggest we get the he'll out of here and march the night through. Utilizing flight and pass without a trace spells or just good old ranger "brush out the tracks" know how. "Let take advantage of the fact everyone thinks we are dead and get well away!"

    Berenn agrees. "We can rest once we have put some distance between us and this village." Berenn will do his best to cover our tracks and catch up on Ra. "Hopefully the next town will be a little bit more hospitable."

    Berenn covers the party's tracks, as Isilme flies back and sees that the men all return to their barracks. She sees no sign of Agnar. She files back, catches up with Berenn, and then they both rejoin the party, which has continued on for a couple hours. After a couple more, you can stop and make camp.

    During the second watch, taken by Berenn, a fog begins to move in off the water. By the time he is supposed to wake the next watch, it is very heavy. Visibility is down to about 60', actually only about 10' by torchlight. Gotrek is on the third watch, and he hears a strange, dragging sound. He quickly wakes Berenn.

    "He calls out, "who goes there? Berenn, I smell a fight. Wake the group!"

    Gotrek smells a foul, salty stench. Berenn wakes up, as does Hepla, who apparently is a pretty light sleeper. She immediately throws up at the smell.

    The nose knows. And so does Gotrek!

    Two men suddenly appear behind Berenn, who is standing drawing his blade. A hand grabs his arm, holding it dead still. Gotrek sees forms appearing all round the camp. He glances behind himself, and sees a bloated man reaching for him. He slams the arm away with Bonecrusher [12], and backs away as a few more forms appear.

    The rest of the party is awakening, but only those with infravision can see. What they see are a couple of dozen men surrounding the camp, men who give off no heat at all. They seem to be some form of zombies.

    The zombies aren't that loud, especially now that people are waking up and probably talking/shouting/etc. You didn't set a fire, mainly because nobody said so but also because you may be close to the village and were trying to lay low. The fog is very thick, and visibility is 50' at most. In some places perhaps less; fog is weird that way. Infravision still works out to 60'. [actually, I think that was a mistake. oh well.]

    Those with infravision can clearly see the zombies surrounding the party, while those without can only see the two that are closest, attacking Berenn and the one that Gotrek just hit with his hammer. Berenn is grappled.

    Rnd 1:

    Hepla takes out her Continual Light Crystal and tosses it on the ground. Everyone can now see, but infravision is now useless. Also, visibility is cut to 20' from the glare of the fog.

    Isilme casts Gust of Wind, and blows a section of fog away. It covers a 10' wide path and blows all the fog away for as far as she can see. A couple of zombies are revealed, about 50' away, moving towards you. They immediately move back into the fog to the left and right. The Gust causes the fog to the sides to swirl around, and as the gust ends, the fog begins to fill the area once again.

    Emyn calls upon Trithereon for aid, using his summoning ability [Mon Sum II]. Three spherical little creatures with bristly grey hair, two bulbous eyes, and a 3' long tail appear out of the fog and fly at three of the zombies. The each latch onto a zombie with their fanged mouths, and their tails start swatting the things, causing small sparks of electricity to flash with each hit.

    Berenn is able to free himself from the zombies incredibly strong grip, and throws it back into the other one, knocking both off-balance as he draws his sword. With his other hand he reaches for his holy symbol.

    Gotrek hits the zombie again [11]. "Why won't these things die," he hollers!

    It attacks back with a cutlass, but misses. Gotrek then hits it again in the head [14], splattering bone and brain everywhere. It drops to the ground dead, again.

    Thorgrim calls upon the power of the dwarven gods to force the creatures back, but nothing happens. "Damned, milk-drinking, troll-barf!" he swears, as he takes out his pick. "Guess we do this the easy way!"

    Noot can no longer see beyond 20' so he slips over to Berenn and stabs one of the zombies he just knocked back [4]. It turns its dead eyes towards him and swings at him with a hooked hand, hitting him in the arm [4].

    Meanwhile, Elrae draws Snowfang as he fires magic missiles into a zombie. They shriek through the fog and slam into it [19] but it just keeps coming. In fact, all around they are now emerging from the fog.

    "Form circle!" shouts Taki, as he slams his maul into an approaching zombie [14]. He takes a chunk off its face off, as the thing swings a rusty cutlass, missing him.

    [OOC: I think that's everyone. You guys back into a circle as follows: Berenn, Noot, Taki, Thorgrim, Gotrek, Elrae, Isilme (who is also next to Berenn). That leaves Hepla in the center. She didn't say what spell she was casting, so I didn't cast anything. Gotta be specific!]

    Rnd 2:

    [OOC: Berenn, Elrae, Emyn, Isilme, Hepla, and Noot are all affected by the horrible stench. They suffer -1 to all rolls and to ac until they get over it. I have the rounds figured out, so it's no big deal. Just know you are sickened by the creatures.]

    Thorgrim holds, awaiting the zombies. Noot tumbles back into the center of the circle, taking up a defensive stance by Hepla, who levitates the zombie that attacked Noot. It is now floating harmlessly, 10' above the ground. Elrae fires another burst of magic missiles [14], dropping the zombie he had hit previously. The three volts are latched onto the zombies, and their electrically charged tails stab into the zombies, making them jerk uncontrollably. They seem quite affected by the electric shocks!

    Isilme, invisible, is actually in the center of the circle. She summons a swarm of insects, and Berenn sees hundreds of beetles and centipedes crawling out of ground, swarming over the zombie in front of him. They bite it continually [3], but it seems to ignore them.

    Gotrek starts to sing, awaiting the coming of the zombies. Emyn wonders what those strange things he summoned are [they are actually Volts], but when he sees their affect on the zombies, he smiles gravely and thanks Trithereon. He then awaits the zombie advance. Berenn attempts to turn the zombies in front of him, but to no avail. Taki waits impatiently, anxious to smash these unnatural things, but unwilling to expose his friends by breaking the circle.

    Finally, the zombies advance. The zombies grab at the volts, attempting to pull them off or rip them apart. The one attacking Berenn misses. Another moves up, underneath the levitating zombie, and attacks as well, missing.

    A swarm of them advance on Taki, who hits the first as it approaches [14]. Four are attacking him, though only one hits him with a hooked hand [8]. Taki swings his maul a second time, shattering a zombie head like a melon, leaving only three.

    Four advance on Thorgrim, who misses with his pick. They all hit him [6] [9] [7] and [3].

    Four attack Gotrek, who hits the first [13]. They all miss him. [Good AC!] He attacks back, hitting the same one again [11]. It just keeps coming!

    Three attack Elrae. The all hit him [5] [7] [5].

    Finally, the last one attacks Emyn, though they both miss.

    [OOC: too bad I don't have any of my old maps saved. I need to start saving some, to have something to post here for visuals!]

    Rnd 3:

    Thorgrim grunts at the blows. "Maybe from now on," he shouts, "we will sleep inside my Daern's Fortress." With that he hits the zombie between himself and Gotrek [10], splattering brain all over the singing battlerager! The zombie falls to the ground.

    Gotrek laughs, "Nah, what's the fun in that!" He swings his hammer, hitting another zombie with his hammer [12].

    Meanwhile, Isilme keeps concentrating on the swarm, driving them to attack the zombies which take another [4] and [3]. Noot remains next to Hepla, in case any zombies get inside the ring.

    Berenn ignites Bonefire and hits the one ahead of him [15]. The flames snap a few insects, but he notices that the zombie's flesh just kinda hisses as the flames burn off water from the bloated corpse.

    Emyn hits the zombie attacking him [7] as Hepla drops the levitating zombie atop the one below it. [each takes 4 damage and are both knocked to the ground].

    Elrae steps back and unleashes a Cone of Cold from Snowfang. The three zombies in front of him seem to freeze solid, their bodies suddenly expanding outward grotesquely as their waterlogged corpses rapidly freeze. [OOC: Damage was [68] [38] and [66]; guess they don't like cold either!]

    Taki hits again [18] killing another.

    Three zombies attack Taki, one hitting him [4]. Three attack Thorgrim, hitting him once [9]. One tries to pass between Taki and Thorgrim, both of whom take attacks of opportunity against it. They both hit, doing [15] and [11]. The zombie approaches Hepla, but Noot stands bravely between them. He stabs the zombie in the face with his short sword [7], and the things falls back to the ground dead.

    Two attack Gotrek, missing, and Gotrek swings back, hitting one [11]. One moves up further, failing to hit Gotrek, and then turns towards Elrae.

    The one fighting Berenn hits him back [6], while the two on the ground yet claw at him ineffectually.

    Meanwhile, the volts continue their attacks on the three zombies. One of the zombies falls, killed by a volt's electric tail.

    The battle continues, with both the party and the zombies trading blows. The volts finish off the two they were still attacking, when Hepla, having seen them, lets loose a lightning bolt along the zombies fighting Taki and Thorgrim. They take [42] [46] [42] and [24]. All are blasted apart by the lightning bolt and are dead.

    Noot hits his zombie again [5] and Taki steps up, delivering a powerful blow from his maul [22], driving the zombie to the ground like a spike and killing it instantly.

    Thorgrim hits again with his pick [10] as Gotrek hits with his hammer. Elrae hits with Snowfang [14]. Emyn hits his zombie [12] and the three volts come and attack it as well, two latching on to its back [2] [4]. The zombie falls to the ground as they deliver their electric shock tails.

    The zombies in the swarm take their last damage [4] [2]. One falls, devoured by the insects, while the other crawls at Berenn. Isilme and berenn both hit it with their swords, choping it into two parts which they kick back into the fading swarm.

    Elrae takes another hit [6] and Thorgrim is hit as well [10]. Thorgrim then hits his zombie again, finishing it while Gotrek finishes off the other one with a wicked blow from his hammer. There is just one left.

    Gotrek stops singing, just before going berserk, and he and Thorgrim both hit the zombie [12] [13]. Taki moves over and hits the zombie as well, smashing it to a smelly pulp. Hepla flies out into the fog, doing a quick circuit of the area, but sees nothing. She lands, reporting that she doesn't see any more.

    Thorgrim takes out his Daern's Fortress, and erects it nearby. "Let's shelter therein, and figure out our next move."

    [Final combat notes:
    Name: hp/hp's left spells and spells used
    Berenn: 57/ 51 Spells: 5,4,2 Used: 0/0/0
    Elrae: 43/12 Spells: 3,3,1 (4/4/2 when holding Cittern) Used: 2/0/0
    Gotrek: 92/92
    Hepla: 21/21 Spells: 6,5,3, 2 Used: 1/1/2/0
    Isilme: 28/28 Spells: 7*/4*/4* Used: 1/2/4
    Noot: 35/31
    Taki: 75/55
    Thorgrim: 60/20 Spells: 5,5,2 Used: 0/0/0
    Emyn: 67/67

    I'm not sure how accurate this is, as I'm pretty sure more damage was dealt. However, it does give further indication of the party's levels and toughness. I think they must be about 6th-7th level now. ]

    Emyn checks to ensure Isilme is fine. He releases the volts back to whence they came. He'll stand first watch at teh fortress door.

    "Not necessary, lad," says Thorgrim. He knocks on the steel door. "Nothing is openin' this baby but me!"

    Isilme wipes the undead goo from her sword with a look of disgust and mumbles an apology to the elvish blade. She heads towards the tower "I will sleep to regain my spells."

    Hepla, before going to sleep pops out a half dozen zombie eyes of differen colors and puts them into an old potion flask. As she passes Gotrek she says,"Can't pass up the good parts."

    "We should watch for disease," says Emyn.

    "Gutshaker kills any disease," says Gotrek, draining a mug of the stuff taken from Thorgrim's Portable Hole.

    You try to burn the bodies, but you find that they simply will not burn. They are so unnaturally waterlogged that they just won't burn. That explains the limited ability of Bonefire to affect them. Anyway, no big deal. You don't find any evidence of disease, so it's all good. You go back to sleep, recover wounds and spells, and awake in the morning with no ill effects.
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    Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:24 pm  

    Part 9

    Sunday, 9th Fireseek, 581 CY
    You awake in the morning and find the fog cleared in your area, though you still see it clinging to the coast just beyond a low rise to the east. The air is much warmer this morning, and as you prepare for your journey, you are happy for the relief from the cold. Berenn uses the invisibility and the griffon to ride back and check your trail, and he reports back that nobody is following. You travel on without any interruption for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, as you are walking along a small causeway through some marshland along the water, a slight breeze picks up and the fog begins to return. It slowly flows in from the water, wrapping around you in a cold blanket. Soon, your visibility is reduced to about 50' and Berenn is forced to bring his griffons down again.

    Taki keeps a sharp eye out towards the water.

    "Let's be careful here," says Emyn. "This is an ideal location for an ambush." He picks up the pace and readies his lance.

    Isilme takes off the ring of fire resistance and puts the ring of water walking on.
    She will move out to about 100 feet (I can't remember what distance elf stealth kicks in, but that range) and do lazy circles around the party as we move peering ahead with her superior infravision. Blade in hand.

    She never sees anything except waves on the water. Before it gets dark, you come out of the wetlands. The road winds over towards the coast where you come across another small fishing village.

    Isilme says " We should alter the appearance of one of us and make inquires as to our quarry. A large party will draw attention and put us back in the same position as before. I don't think a wandering bard would draw much suspicion and people are eager to talk to their kind. I think this is where Elrae will shine! We should just hang back in the misty bogs here, hidden, maybe find a good spot that will provide cover for our tower."

    The fog is really thick now, so moving back away from the village a bit should not be a problem. You can set the tower up pretty much anywhere and be hidden tonight!

    Gotrek looks in the direction of the village, wondering how good the ale would be...

    "Why don't go with Elrae," says Taki. "You can watch his back."

    Why don't we send Emyn and Isilme instead," says Thorgrim, "as Gotrek stands out like a sore thumb." Thorgrim takes out his portable hole, inside of which is a barrel of Gotrek's Gutshaker. "We'll wait here and have a drink!" he says, producing the barrel.

    Emyn calls the thief over and says, "Come on Noot. Let's go with Elrae. Maybe we can get into a bar brawl. Just for practice, of course."

    Nevermind. Isilme just quietly follows behind the party as they head into town.

    Elrae, Noot, and Emyn walk down to the village, with Isilme following invisibly behind. You find the village to be a rather small one, about half the size of Foxvale Hill, nestled into a small semi-sheltered cove. Mostly it is fisherman's huts, though a handful of builldings in the center of the village seems workshops of some kind. There is a small harbor, with shallow-draft fishing boats tied up alongside very makeshift piers.

    Elrae goes into town claiming to be Ewen McNaughton, a wandering minstrel from the free city of Greyhawk.

    You see some fishermen hurriedly laying out their nets, anxiously looking at the fog as they finish their work. The rest of the doors are all shut, and you see crude red scythe painted upon all the doors. There seems to be an inn in the center of the village.

    "Mmm, red scythe, that doesn't look inviting." Elrae, I meam Ewen will head towards the inn in the center of the village.

    The inn has the same mark, and the door is locked. A local comes up, "Aye, ye mus' be new 'round here?" He raps on the door, "Open up," he says, "It's Aelfryd and some travelers." The door opens, and you enter into a very plain looking inn. There is a good fire burning in the center of the small common room, and a half-dozen man sit around various tables drinking and eating. "Come in," says the man who opens the door, "and you're likely in fer the night. Can't risk them drowned ones coming in."

    Isilme will levitate to stay out of the way. She uses her sword to detect lies with people Elrae speaks to, and reports the lie to him via the message spell. She will also cast ESP and see if she pick up anything of interest.

    [OOC: Is there any spell Isilme is NOT casting? ]

    OK, you go into the inn, The Gull's Feather, and also learn that the village is called Clearwater Point. The tables near to the fire are taken, so you must sit back away from a bit. Still, the room is warm, and the innkeeper seems friendly enough.

    Meanwhile, back outside, Hepla comes back from collecting herbs. Nobody even noticed she had left. Hepla comes in with whatever she found and lays the herbs on the floor to dry. She then goes to Gotrek and Thorgrim, who are drinking, and says to them, in fairly good Dwarf, "I am going to check around a little, be back in 15 minutes." She then steps out, casts Fly on herself, and goes up till she can just see their camp and looks around for anything unusual. If she finds anything she will return and report it right away, otherwise she will return in 10 minutes. She flies off, proud of her increasing knowledge of the dwarven language!

    Thorgrim stares at Hepla, then once she leaves he looks over at Gotrek. "Didn't know she spoke dwarven," he says. "But why would she have to leave to check out her backside?"

    Gotrek laughs, spitting out Gutshaker. "And why would it take 15 hours?"

    Back in the inn, Elrae plays a tune as Noot and Emyn sit down for a drink. He plays decent enough that he gets a free drink when he's done, and gets a few claps and nods from the fishermen who then go back to their meals.

    Emyn talks to the people about the drowned ones while Elrae is playing. Emyn says, "Drowned ones? Might those have been those wet zombies that are hard to kill? We chopped up 20 or so back on the road yesterday."

    One of the men looks at Emyn incredulously. "You three?"

    "We can handle ourselves," he replies, "though as an Avenger of Trithereon, I was able to summon some help. They didn't like teh lightning from the creatures I summoned at all and they hated the ice magic good Elrae used."

    Elrae asks the inn keeper "What do you know about the drowned ones. They aren't the same type of undead we have back in Greyhawk. And what's up with all this fog? One can barely see past his cock in such soup."

    Elrae gives Emyn a dirty look. "Who's Elrae?"

    Emyn says, "No, the little guy is Noot. Elrae is the singer."

    "The drowned ones sometimes come in with a thick fog," says the innkeeper, "so the villagers paint the sign of Nerull in blood on their doors to keep them away. Fog's been pretty thick of late, but nothing uncharacteristically strange. Comes in for a few days, leaves for a few days."

    "I thought yer name was Ewen?" says the innkeeper. "Eh, none a me business what ye call yerself anyhow." He fills your mugs before walking off.

    [OOC: Isilme probes the surface thoughts of the people, seeing nothing but fear of the drowned ones. Nothing strange, no lies.]

    Emyn says, "Why not set up bear traps for them in the village? When the sun burns the fog away, you could simply kill them with arrows or pikes."

    "What's a bear trap?" asks one of the villagers.

    "What's a bear?" asks another.

    "It's a big desert lizard, idiot!" says still another.

    Isilme casts forget on the innkeeper, singing as softly as she can so as to not be noticed. He stands there for a moment, looks around, then asks, "What was I doing?"

    "Bringing us another round, good man," says Noot. "In thanks for the wonderful songs of Ewen, Bard Extraordinaire!"

    "Ah, yes," he says, and sets you all up again!

    Elrae plays a few more songs, and in the end does well enough that you don't even have to pay for your meals. Everyone is pleased to have such a talented bard to regale them with tales of adventure. If you want to simply write a few questions down, I'll answer them. You also will get a few rumors too, once I figure them out!

    "Thanks kind sir," says Elrae. "Any chance you saw a group of dwarven mercenaries coming through here?"

    "Yeah," replies a fisherman name Marl. "They came by yesterday. The stopped just long enough for a meal and an ale, then continued on their way. They were intent on marching right through the night, despite the fog. Business in Highport they said, but were otherwise pretty mum."

    [Isilme OOC: woot! We can catch them! Only a day behind. Quit $%&#ing slacking and taking sleep and beer breaks and get these @#$%ers BEFORE they reach highport!]

    [DM OOC: If anything, they've probably gained a bit of ground by traveling through the night. You find out from the villagers that Highport is only a few hours walk from here.]

    Elrae draws Snowfang with a flourish, spins it around as he "creates" the blue light from the blade. He detects no evil from Snowfang, and the patrons are ok with you leaving, especially considering you have a great mage with you as well in Noot.

    Noot, to start a conversation, asks about the fishing and sailing, telling them that he spent a number of years at sea. He then asks about Highport.

    Highport was once a human city, but the land and town have been overrun by humanoids - orcs, goblins, kobolds, ogres, and gnolls. Looted, burned, and ill-kept, the city has become a base for human outcasts wishing to deal with these unsavory creatures.

    Highport was, in the time of their grandfathers, a great market city, but that was before the humanoids overran the Pomarj. The city was ignored for a long time, but eventually the humanoid armies turned their attentions to Highport. Aided by other cities of the Wild Coast, as well as by forces from as far as Greyhawk and across Wooly Bay from Onnwal, the city held out for years, the humanoids, always lacking patience, breaking themselves against the city's walls. Eventually, however, the city could not stand against near constant attacks. It's walls were breached and the city sacked like none before.

    It sat in ruins for years before any serious attempt at rebuilding began. Even with humanoids, the need for trade continued, and Highport once again began to grow, attracting many unsavory types. It is now ruled by a combination of human and humanoid lords. "Who really knows?" say the fishermen. What they can say is the city is quite dangerous, full of evil men and humanoids, none of which care a wit for decent folk. The villagers never travel there, but work through various merchants whose ships travel the coast trading with the various towns and villages. Because they supply food for the city, they are "protected" from marauding bands of humanoids, though sometimes they do come through the village and cause problems nonetheless.

    When they have all they feel is worthwhile, they return to the group. The party is discussing staying the night in the tower, just on the outskirts of the village (Thorgrim's idea), or pushing on through the night (Isilme's idea).

    "You want to head out at night?" asks Thorgrim? "Through the fog?"

    "We fought and defeated the demon queen herself and we are scared of a little fog?" she replies. "Pah! Maybe its time to pop open this wine bottle while you ladies rest your feet" she giggles.

    "Personally," says Emyn, "I would prefer to not have to charge on horseback with my lance in the fog at night. Just because I know I can defeat drowned ones doesn't mean I want to ride headlong into a tree or worse, some foul monster we should approach on better terms. And let me ask, if we do catch these dwarves, what exactly do you propose to do with them? I once saw a dog run after a wagon. When he caught the wheel in his teeth, he took the drubbing of his life as the horses bolted."

    "Hrumph!" exclaims Thogrim as he gets to his feet. "Then let us be away!" After hearing Emyn, and maybe because of the Gutshaker, Thorgrim falls back on his ****. "Er, mayhaps we should stay a while."

    "Taki is not afraid I will go where the party leads," he says. "Long as they can walk."

    The party then sleeps for the night, which passes uneventfully.


    Last edited by ragnar on Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:29 am  

    Part 10

    Moonday, 10 Fireseek, 581 CY

    You awake in the morning to another day with heavy fog. Visibility is perhaps a thousand feet, but beyond that it's just whiteness. The air seems a little bit cooler with an ever so slight breeze blowing east.

    Thorgrim likes Noot's idea. "From the sound of things, this Highport isn't going to be too friendly." He looks at Gotrek, "Though more'n like you'll fit right in."

    "I would not send the paladin into town again,” says Isilme. “He's likely to give the whole party away if the last visit was any indication"

    "Yeah," says Thorgrim, as everyone is getting ready to go. "Best we strip him of his armor and disguise him as a mute beggar."

    Isilme fully rested casts invisibility on herself again. “Time to do some scouting ahead,” she says. “Whats the plan, Berenn?”

    “I will take Elrae and fly out ahead and scout out the surroundings of the Highport,” he answers. “We will report back to the party once we have a lay of the land. No need to walk into a trap.”

    You can get a general layout of the city. The orc/humanoid areas are pretty obvious as the buildings are very ramshackle. The human areas are pretty well rebuilt from the destruction of decades ago. The outer walls have been rebuilt, and they are quite formidable. There is what looks like a military district to the NW, and there are numerous open areas with either tents or other shanties. A ruined inner wall once enclosed the port area, and many warehouses dot the place. The city seems to be mostly asleep. You see quite a few ships docked in the ports, but when you go to take a closer look you see something large take off from the top of the tower to the NE, right along the bay. You bank away as it flies out to sea. Rather than push your luck, you return with what you saw.

    http://wiki.griffcrier.com/images/b/b0/Highport.jpg

    Hepla, after serching through her backpack, reports that her washerwoman outfit is back in storage so she has no disguises with her. She can go into the village and try to get something but that would mean waiting till a shop opens, and that, except by the boats, might be hours. She can try by the boats as they leave if the party wants.

    "Maybe there is a sewer entrance?" says Emyn.

    Berenn returns and reports what he saw. “The wizard might have been able to warn Kilrak with magic, but I don't think it is a good idea to divide the party. We can let Elrae and Hepla talk our way into Highport, the rest of us should keep our heads down and remain quiet.

    "That should work or, failing that, a good bribe,” says Emyn. “If not, we can try to come in via sewers or the sea?"

    Noot scruffs himself up a little bit and starts to act like an out of work sailor.

    Thorgrim laughs. "You guys remember Derry? That one hated getting dirty. He'd a not wanted to go in no sewers."

    "I have heard you speak of this Derry the halfling. I can appreciate his concern. At three feet tall, he might end up drinking sewage. I imagine dwarves might have an issue cleaning teh foul from their beards as well."

    There is one other option,” says Berenn. “Isilme and I could scout around the exterior via invisibility, maybe there is another way in.”

    "It's just a city," says Thorgrim. "It ain't like we're sneaking into the Temple of Evil! Let's just go have a look. Just keep yer holy symbols hidden."

    “I like this idea,” says Taki. “All this sneaking around don’t suit me any way.”

    You approach the gate and find it manned by a handful of orcs. They don't have the wild uncivilized look normal to orcs, and are wearing very good scale mail. They lean lazily on spears, with secondary weapons hanging from belts, either maces, morningstars, or swords. A thinner and taller one looks at Noot, spits, and laughs. "Yah, there lots a work fer ya....on da slave ships!" The others laugh, and one slaps him on the back for his great sense of humor.

    He doesn't seem to care that you enter the city, that is until he sees Thorgrim and Gotrek. He steps up in front of them, looking down at the dwarves. "We got 'nuff a ya dwarfs here," he says, slamming his spear butt into the ground. "You goes away fer we skin ya and eat ya." He then turns and laughs at the other guards.

    "That right?" says Gotrek. The half-orc leans down so it can look right in Gotrek's eyes, and just as it's about to speak, Gotrek head butts him. The half-orc stumbles back, and Gotrek kicks it in the groin. As it doubles over, he then punches it in the temple, knocking it out. "Anyone else got something to say?" asks Gotrek.

    The orcs drag their leader out of the way, but not one says a word as the party continues into the city.

    The Suss Road (that's the road you entered on apparently) passes through the center of this orc district. The buildings are all run down, and the entire area smells pretty bad.

    "Methinks Derry would have preferred the sewers," says Thogrim, wrinkling his nose.

    You see some orcs fighting in a nearby clearing, though weather for sport, practice, or something else you can't tell. Others are standing around watching and laughing, but with orcs, that doesn't necessarily mean much. There is another road that intersects the one you're on, about 100' feet from the wall, which runs along the perimeter of the city.

    "Let's find a place to have a drink in one of the human sections of town” says Emyn. “Surely the arrival of the dwarves will have been noted. They should be easy enough to find."

    You shortly pass out of the orc area, and enter an area even MORE run-down. It is populated by goblins. A group of goblin young swarm around the party calling for alms. Luckily, you are on horseback, and the goblins cannot reach your pockets. Gotrek seems to barely be able to control himself, surrounded by all these humanoids. Elrae looks in disgust from the goblins. How many moons ago it was when he first fought a band of goblins with Gotrek and Derry, their first adventure together?

    The party spurs their mounts, and push through the goblins. Off to the right, some orc females point and laugh, as the goblin young chase after you a bit.

    When we are down to 1 goblin child Hepla, while still ridding, will ask, in common, "Your persistence can earn you a silver if you know where the dwarves who came in yesterday are." She will hold up one silver piece.

    The goblin jumps up and down, grabbing at the coin. "Me knows, me knows," it squeaks. "De go big Kha-Ghul, in Brah house." Seeing Hepla's confused stare, it points back towards the NW. "Dat way!"

    "Clever Goblin," Hepla says," Clever enough to keep his mouth shut." She tosses him the coin and rides on. When out of sight she will tell the rest what she found out. "Soon they will know that we are looking for them and they will probably come looking for us, we just have to catch them then."

    After a while you come to a large open area to your right. It is full of tents and other flimsy shanties. Through the center of this area runs a ruined wall, with a semi-ruined tower in the center. There are various carts around it, as well as a crude crane, and you hear the rapping sounds of hammers on stone. Somebody seems to be in the process of rebuilding the tower.

    Hepla rides up to tell Gotrek what the goblin said.

    "Kha-Ghul is a high chief. Brah is great." Gotrek looks over that direction. "They must be inside that inner curtain wall," he says, pointing up atop a low hill with a castle atop it.

    "We're not in Hommlet anymore," says Thorgrim, shaking his head.

    Taki leans in close to Thorgrim and says "We should clean out the lot of them humanoids."

    "I miss the warm comforts of my wife right now,” says Elrae. “ Shall we head towards the inner curtain wall."

    "And say what?" asks Thorgrim.

    "Say we have an urgent message for Kilrak, from his twin brother,” replies Elrae. “Bluff our way in and give that little bastard the payback he deserves for trying to set me up."

    “We need to recall that we are circled by goblins and orcs not to mention the 50 dwarf soldiers,” says Taki. “We need a decent plan before we attack.”

    "I can set them to fighting among themselves, I am sure it's not uncommon," you hear Islme whisper in disgust. You all look around, but she’s invisible.

    Noot, remembering the death of his parents, is all in favor of doing anything to get rid of any and all orcs. Gotrek overhears, and seems to be sweating. Taki, seeing that Gotrek is about to go into rage, starts picking out targets, he also mentions to Thorgrim and our paladin friend that we need to work together if this fight starts.

    "A city full of evildoers, orcs, goblins, gnolls, and who knows what else?" muses Thorgrim. "Maybe we should find a place to hole up, then let Isilme finally use that wand she's been carrying around." He looks around at the dilapidated city, "Long as it's a secure place."

    “Do we have a plan,” asks Isilme, “or are we just killing things?”

    "Well," says Thorgrim, looking around and then glancing uneasily at Gotrek. "I don't mind bad odds, but takin' on a city?" He shakes his head. "That sounds plain dumb to me."

    Taki says "I was just trying to make a plan as I think we are just minutes from Goterk losing it"

    Berenn notices that the party has stopped moving and swoops down, dismounts and sends Ra and Thoth back into flight with instructions to just circle us for now; they will be called if needed.
    After hearing what the party has to say and watching Gotrek shake his potion of speed, Berenn decides on the following. "We can't bring the whole town down on us at once. I suggest patience. Let us see if Kilrak will come out of the inner city and perhaps outside the city."

    Hepla says,"If it was worth a silver to that goblin to tell us where they are it should be worth a gold to tell them where we are. I am sure we are being watched even now. Find lunch and a secure spot and let them come to us. They will probably send the orcs and goblins first, then the dwarves, then the leaders. If we could find those sewers we could go under them while they are attacking and get right to the leaders. I can polymorph a few of their bodies to look like some of us, then they will think us dead."

    "If they get that excited about one silver maybe we could distract them with a few hundred silver and some copper by throwing it out in the street?" says Taki.

    Isilme says " yes but outside the city we can't use these orcs as pawns. If our target is here we can get his mercenary troop busy while we target him. Divide and conquer."

    “Yes,” adds Taki, “but we’ve a dwarf getting near to raging. Let’s get him settled down outta the street first, then decide.”

    OK, you continue on from where you stopped, by the open tent shanty area. You pass through another orc area, and then along more shanty-towns before moving into a much better looking district. A large road curves around to the left, skirting this section of town and heading towards the coast. You pass through this section, much more "civilized" with various shops and such as you would expect. You eventually come into another large open circular area, though this one is devoid of tents.

    It is a market square, in the process of being rebuilt. Off to the right is the ruined inner wall, and a large camp is set up there, where you can see that man men are at work dismantling more of the wall and breaking the stones up for use as cobblestones. About half of the area is already paved, and gangs of dirty-looking men are hard at work on the rest. They must be slaves, as you see overseers around them with whips to push the slackers.

    Also to the right is another tower, though this one has been completely rebuilt. The wall immediately beside it has been rebuilt as well, and a new wall encloses the area around it. A banner flies from the tower, though you cannot make it out as it is hanging limply in the nearly still air.

    The road passes through the center of the square, where it meets two others in a Y. One branch heads left, towards the coast, while another heads right, through the large gap in the old wall. There is a large inn just on the edge of the square to the left of the road as you enter the open area, the Glad Goblin Inn.

    The party goes through the doors into the inn, and finds a large, very nice place. Sure, it's not the Spruce Goose Inn of Verbobonc, but you are amazed at how nice it is. You enter into a large common area, loaded with tables. A good sized fireplace is just to your right, with a bunch of small stools around it. It looks like there is a semi-private room towards the back, and hallways to the right lead to other rooms. There is a second floor which you can see through the large open vault. A railed balcony goes around the entire common room, and you can see many doors up there to other rooms. A small bar is ahead and to the left, butting against an open part of the wall. Through there you can see into the kitchens, and the smell of the food is excellent. There are numerous tables and chairs, with about a dozen people scattered about in groups of 2 or 3, all eating breakfast. Three goblins come and go carrying trays of food and drink to the customers.

    They are all human. Most look like merchants, though a couple are clearly warriors by their weapons and armor. In fact, one thing you notice now that it's getting later is the various races, while they live in separate areas, do intermingle. Walking through the square are orcs, kobolds, goblins, even a couple bugbears. The smaller races tend to go about in groups, while the larger races don't seem to have any problem, alone or in groups. However, most still seem to be armed, despite appearances.

    Isilme uses her ESP, but doesn't pick up anything interesting, just surface thoughts about regular stuff. One merchant, however, does seem preoccupied with the quality of slaves being sold recently. He hopes there are finally some good buys.

    Noot says he'd be better off down by the docks. If the rest of the party is good with staying here, he can slip on off to some of the seedy dives frequented by sailors. He says he'll come back in a few hours, and report anything he finds out.

    The rest finally enter, and as they do Isilme picks up nothing to indicate anyone knows the party at all. She senses a little casual interest from the warriors, but nothing special.

    The goblins come around and ask to take any orders. They speak pretty good common.

    Assuming you all get something to eat, you can discuss plans. Meanwhile, Noot slips out to go check out the docks. Disguised as a sailor, he fits easily into the area. He follows the main road down towards the docks (past area 3). That last tower he notes has been repaired as well, and a large beacon set in the top to act as a lighthouse. This entire section is very well maintained, and all the normal shops and businesses can be found along the main road. He notes the coming and going of humanoids as well, so keeps up his "disguise" as a sailor as he approaches the docks. When he gets to the waterfront, he immediately notices that about half of the original piers are completely ruined. There are yet seemingly derelict ships tied up to them, so from the sea they would seem to be in use; however, from here it is obviously a trick to confuse those who would approach from the sea. He notes that all the piers in this "human" section of the port are in operation and there are seven ships currently berthed, six merchant ships and one war galley.

    Noot finds about half-dozen taverns: The Fisherman's Casque, The Bottle, The Tavern of Fishes, The Soaring Harpy, and the Sad Harlot.

    In The Bottle, Noot fits right in with a bunch of sailors. He finds that they are from the galley sitting on the large quay, The Ghoul. They just dropped off a load of slaves for the market, as well as a priestess of the Earth Dragon. They mention that she played a sweet flute, and then make some crude jokes about playing her with their flutes, or something like that. From the descriptions, she seems to be the one who fled Elredd by ship.

    Noot finishes his ale excuses himself and heads back to join the others.

    ***

    Meanwhile, back at the Glad Goblin….

    Isilme whispers to hepla, “Maybe we should ask about all the new construction too. Are there a suspecting a war? Where is all this new influx of wealth coming from? Did they get a new leader? This place has been around a long time, to suddenly start shoring up and repairing it suggests bigger things are going on.”

    "Why don't you use your 'charms' on one of the merchants?" whispers Thorgrim when Isilme is next to him. "One without a guard, "he adds. "Then get him up to his room and milk him for information."

    Isilme looks around for merchant that looks wealthier and most and might be in the know, maybe even one selling items for the rebuilding directly. She uses her ESP to help locate a good target and attempt to charm him. Isilme has her choice of merchants to charm, if she desires. ESP didn't help with the charming; it just probed the surface thoughts. You didn't pick up anything useful, during the duration of the spell, except that none of the people in the inn were interested in the party. One merchant was concerned with the quality of the slaves he was going to buy. That's the only one that stood out.



    Also, Hepla charms one of the Kobold severs, and gets a room upstairs. She'll grill the Kobold after he shows her to a room.

    The Kobold, a young pup named Bytor with a chipped horn, tells Hepla that Sturm Blucholtz is the new leader, after the deaths of the two rival orc chieftains last year.

    Much money has since made its way into the city, which has steadily been undergoing a rebuilding effort. This is only in the human areas, for that is the center of trade in Highport. Most the money is coming from the slave trade, which has really increased since Sturm took charge.

    Kilrak and the other dwarves have been here before, about a year ago. They then disappeared, marching north until last night when they returned. They went straight to the Stormkeep, Sturm's stronghold.

    Nobody has been looking or asking about you.

    Hepla says,"Bytor, what a wonderful name you have. Is Sturm an orc, dwarf or what? Who would Sturm's chief rivals be? Is there anyone around here who is a good herbologist?
    After we have goten all we want out of him she will SLEEP him later telling him how great he was.

    Bytor doesn't know that much. Sturm is a man. He doesn't know of any rivals he may have. There's an apothecary down the street. There are shamen with the various humanoid tribes too. He also doesn't know of any other way into the keep.

    “We should probably take a look around this keep discreetly and see if we can find a way in,” says Berenn. “We could slip into the keep at night and try to locate Kilrak.”

    When the questioning of Bytor is done and he is sleeping, Hepla asks for someone to go with her to the apothacary down the street. She has no problem going alone but knows its safer going in pairs. She looks at Taki, trying to look small, and says,"Wanna come?"

    Taki nods. “I will come with you to protect you from the evil that is here. Perhaps, if we see a weapons shop along the way, bwe can stop and see what they may have for sale.”

    Hepla and Taki will head to the Apothacary, stopping at a weapons shop if they see on. Taki will now try to look large and mean to keep the riff raff away. "You do this very well, Taki," Hepla says. Once at the apothacary she will ask them if they recognise and know the properties of the herbs she found, and if they have any unusual herbs for sale. She will also ask about any nearby weapons shops.

    Nobody bothers Hepla with Taki hovering over her shoulder. She goes to the apothacary, and he tells her what those two herbs are. [OOC: you have the herb files still, right?] Afterward, you ask around for a weapons shop. There are a few in town, but the best weaponsmith is in the Stormkeep (area 7). The largest is at the Temple of Hextor (area 12). There is a smaller weaponsmith down by the docks, but he works mainly with the weapons of sailors. There are also blacksmiths in the various humanoid quarters, specializing in their own weaponry, such as it is.

    "A Temple of Hextor?” asks Emyn, showing up as they are leaving to the weaponsmith. “That is hardly the kind of place we should seek assistance. More likely they'll take poor Hepla here and use her for some horrible sexual torture than help her."

    “What makes you say that?” asks Taki, unused to the ways of these city folk.

    “It is quite simple. They offer pain, siffering and death," says Emyn. "Any weapon forged there would surely contain a taint of evil."

    Hepla says, "It is Taki who wants to go there, I would go along to help protct him just as he went along to protect me. But there are other weaponsmiths if we want to go to a different one."

    Taki says " Ok I really did not need a weapon I am good with turning in and getting a fresh start in the morning, do we have a plan to see about the ax."

    You return to the Glad Goblin. By the time you get there, everyone is finished except Isilme. You find that the party has taken rooms upstairs, the two on the top right. One has 6 beds, the other three. The girls can have the small room, plus one other person, while the rest stay in the large room. They are all upstairs when you get back, and one of the kobolds takes you to the room.

    Berenn asks about griffons, but the kobolds don't even know what you mean. Flying horses that eat other horses makes more sense to them. They have no idea what to do about them, and they go get the innkeeper. A small goblin with a big smiles comes up. "Me Bungk, at your service," he says, "what can I do for you."

    Berenn asks if there is a place where he can stable his griffons. Mebungk doesn't think so. He's never heard of anyone flying such wild beasts. "Now there are some harpies in the old Sea Tower," he says. "They was brung in to deal with the Stirges in the old ruins, which ain't worked, but now they're here ta stay."

    Isilme is still questioning the merchant she charmed. She learns that most slaves are brought in by ship, and they are taken to the stockades (area 18). Sturm doesn't seem to have anything to do with it, other than to collect his cut in taxes, which are rather high. The merchant plans on attending the auction later today, as a new load of slaves was just brought in. He doesn't actually deal with Sturm at all, and has never even met him.

    The current politics are pretty simple. The orcs used to run things, and reasonably well for orcs. The human population was ruled by Lord Kevram Bilarro, last of his line. His family had ruled Highport for decades, and somehow remained after the original sack of the city. Rumor has it there were strange enchantments on the Stormkeep that kept out the humanoids. The Bilarros made a deal with the orcs, and an uneasy peace fell on the city. They were left to give a civilized face to the city, which the orc chieftain saw as a way to gradually rebuild. Eventually, Highport became the principal route for trade from the Pomarj to once again flow, meager as it was. This continued for many years, with the humanoids in the city gradually becoming less barbaric. Sturm showed up a few years ago, and eventually became Captain of the Guard. When the orc chieftain, and a couple of sub-chiefs died mysteriously, Lord Bilarro took control of the city. He died shortly thereafter, fell from his own keep. He had no heir, so Sturm took over, renaming the fortress the Sturmkeep. His takover was easy enough with the dwarf mercenaries he had hired. The city's been rather peaceful since.

    The slave trade really expanded once Sturm took over. When the dwarves left, there was talk that things may go bad for him, but nothing happened. The city prospered with much newfound wealth flowing into the city, and many people began to arrive to settle in the ruined city. Building programs were begun, at least in the human areas, and real prosperity seems to be returning, at least in part. You can certainly make your fortune in Highport, if you don't run afoul of humanoid trouble. However, if you stay out of their areas, that's not a problem. The various races live together rather well, passing through their respective districts when necessary, and usually without incident. Of course, that's not always the case.

    There is no talk of war. He doesn't know Agnar, though he has heard of Kilrak, leader of the dwarven mercenaries that had worked for Sturm in the past. He doesn't know anything about a lord who was locked up. [OOC: that is referring to the lord you learned about in Foxvale Hill, which is a few days from here. Anyway, I think that answers everything.]

    Noot then adds a note. He says the sailors from The Ghoul said they took some of the better slaves to the temple, whatever that means.

    Isilme asks the slaver if he has dealings with this temple or knows anything about it.

    He doesn't know anything about any temple. "There is a Temple of the Earth Dragon down by the docks," he says. "That could be what your friend is talking about. I never heard of them dealing in slaves though."

    The merchant, Motho, bridles a bit that you call him a slaver. "I am a merchant," he says, "a simple purveyor of goods."

    He explains that slaves may be brought here from anywhere, but most come by ship. Slaving ships prowl the waters, and pirates often take crews captive and resell them here as well. Most of the slaves are sold off to buyers from the Pomarj. Who they are, he doesn't know as that's not his part. This merchant works for an orc chieftain who needs slaves for his gold/electrum mine in the hills a few days travel inland. He comes here to buy supplies, and also to buy slaves, when available, for the mines.

    The party spends the next few hours (weeks in real time!) discussing their next move. Taki offers to just up to the gate and say he heard they was needing men at arms and try to get a job then find a place to let the rest of you in after I have scouted the place out a bit.

    "Kilrak don't know us," says Thorgrim. "Gotrek and I could go looking ta join his mercs?"

    Taki steps back clearly upset that he once again could not help, or that his idea was not heeded.

    Thorgrim goes over and looks up, WAY UP, at the big warrior. "Nay, friend," he says. "'Twas from you the idea came."

    “I actually like the idea of Thorgrim and Gotrek hiring on as mercs,” says Berenn. “They would be able to move around Sturmkeep easily and get some good intelligence. I don't think we should be thinking about collapsing the whole system though. Removing Sturm would cause more damage than he is doing (See Iraq). The rest of us could scout around the temples and maybe check out the slave operation.”

    “We should get all the intelligence we can,” adds Noot. “Aand remember our main mission to find the blade. We don't really need to bring down this town since they seem to be more or less living in a state of peace and are not really getting in the way of our objective. I like the idea of a couple of disguised mercenaries -- as long as you have an escape plan.”

    "Yeah, kill everyone!" says Thorgrim. He then smiles, "Joking. Was thinkin' more a Hepla and Isilme gettin' us outta any trouble."

    Thorgrim figures, when Gotrek meets the guy he could offer to buy the axe, or just fight him for it. "Kilrak has no greater claim over it," he says defiantly. "And if he's thrown in with orcs and such, well..." He trails off, leaving the rest unsaid, but Gotrek just nods grimly. "Now, this slave trade," he adds. "That sounds bad. Orcs and other humanoids taking goodly people slaves? I don't know 'bout the rest a you, but that doesn't sit well with this dwarf."
    "We must stop this foul trade even if it means our lives. I will call upon my church to bring holy vengeance upon these foul oppressors.!" vows Emyn.

    "Sorry me boy," says Thorgrim. "Nobody stopped the orcs from taking over the Pomarj a hunnerd years ago, and they all got bigger problems today." He shakes his head, "No, I'm afraid we're on our own."

    As they continue talking, Isilme questions their overall goals, especially the goal of taking the axe from Kilrak. “Again, he’s as much right to it as Gotrek.”

    “There was a drow name on that letter you found in Kilrak's quarters,” says Thorgrim. "More reason to not like him," says Thorgrim. "Orcs and slavers is bad enough, but a dwarf who consorts with Drow." He then looks at Isilme, an embarrassed look crossing his face. "No offense."

    Isilme laughs and says " Trust me, that regular Drow 's skin would crawl having to consort with common dwarves. No offense of course. Luckily we are of a different sort, and I hope to use my lineage to our advantage later."

    "I will be checking out the temple lead, I think I will have my "merchant" friend here introduce me to a ship captain who is rumored to deal choice "trade goods" to them. Perhaps Noot would like to join me? Any idea when we should meet again? I assume the rest of you will be clearing out the ruin so Berenn has someplace to put his steeds? Be careful, find a way to seal you ears to negate the noise, as a song mage I know very well the power of a harpies song charm."

    "Maybe we should go check on of the other abandoned towers and leave the harpies alone?" wonders Thorgrim. "We don't want to draw too much attention to ourselves."

    [DM OOC: Also, that smacked a bit of "knowing" the slaver series. First, be careful of using your knowledge of the modules when you shouldn't. I know that's hard, if not impossible; just consider it. Also, what I'm doing is WAY different, so even if you DID have good knowledge of the slaver series, it would only give you a short outline of what's going on, and in fact give you many false details.]


    Eventually, the party decided to split up. [Yeah, that’s always a good idea!] Gotrek and Thorgrim are going to go to the Sturmkeep, to seek out the Deldukr and hire on. Berenn and Elrae go off to find a place for the griffons. Everyone else is heading to the docks, to check out this temple. As you see, I also found it necessary to warn the party about some of their meta-gaming. Not only was it not welcome, but the more they do it, the more WRONG they will be. Can't say they weren't forewarned.....


    Last edited by ragnar on Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:15 pm; edited 4 times in total
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    Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:40 pm  

    Part 11

    Berenn and Noot:

    Across the plaza, beyond the buildings, you see a couple of ruined towers, just poking up above the rooftops. You could probably check one of those out, to see if you could use the rooftop or upper levels. Otherwise, there's really nothing that stands out. The griffons are not the easiest of mounts when you consider keeping them in a city, especially as they love horse meat and horses are usually afraid of them. Anyway, the towers are the only places that make sense.

    Berenn will head for the nearest tower and explore it. “If anyone wants to come along, they are welcome,” he says.

    Only Elrae tags along, as he is the other one who's been riding a griffon. You make your way through a small alley heading away from the square and wind around a bunch of small ways, eventually coming upon the crumbled remains of an old wall. You follow it along to your left a bit, to where you see an old watchtower. The wall looks to have been about 20' high, and the tower extends another 20' beyond that. A lot of debris is scattered around the base of both the wall and tower, and the area around the tower doorway is completely blocked by a large pile of huge stones.

    Berenn and Elrae move into the tower which is pretty well ruined. You enter a small 20' room, and from the ceiling a dozen or so forms quickly descend upon you. Stirges!

    Hurray! Berenn draws Bonfire and prepares to defend if the stirges come near. Berenn will not charge on the chance Elrae wants to use cone of cold.

    Elrae casts Color Spray at the stirges, and pulls out his crossbow of speed. Unfortunately, the stirges drop on you faster than you can cast spells. It is like a cloud of little dark shapes filled the room, and you can't really see anything as they slam into both of you. You don't really know how many there are, but you are both covered with the nasty creatures.

    Elrae feels the stings of five stirges! Total damage: 9
    Berenn is hit by four stirges! Total damage: 7

    Elrae's color spray is disrupted and he drops his crossbow as he's trying to take it out. Berenn tries to stab one that has attached to his face and skewers it with his sword, killing it.

    The attached stirges begin to drain blood from Elrae and Berenn. Elrae cannot concentrate to cast any spells and takes 10 damage [2,1,3,3,1]. Berenn takes 9 [2,1,3,3].

    Elrae takes out a dagger and stabs at one, piercing it through the brain and killing it. Berenn does the same, killing and removing another.

    More attack! Elrae is hit by another stirge [3] while Berenn is hit by four more and takes 7 [3,1,1,2].

    Berenn now has 7 attached to him while Elrae has 5. Neither of you can really see, and there are more flying around trying to latch on to you.

    [DM OOC: Damn, stirges can be tough!]

    The stirges continue to drain blood from the two of you. Elrae takes 9 more [3,1,2,1,2] and Berenn takes 16 [3,3,1,3,1,3,2].

    Elrae draws Snowfang and cries “Cryo”, invoking it’s Cone of Cold power. In the enclosed space, the cone wraps back around and engulfs the entire tower room in frost. All the Stirges are dead. Elrae and Berenn both make saves. Elrae takes 17 more, and is down to -5. Berenn takes 17 and is down to 1!!!

    Ice now coats everything, and the structures groans under the strain.....

    Berenn crawls over to Elrae, keeping an eye out for more stirges, or worse. He drags him out of the frozen room, back outside, and casts a CMW on Elrae, bringing him back to 3 hp. He also cures himself back up to 9 with a CLW. He then gives Elrae his potion of extra healing, which the bard quickly downs while Berenn searches for his Rod of Health.

    [Berenn OOC: At least we are not dead. No more creeping around towers after this one.]

    “Damn me for giving away my ring of warmth,” laments Elrae as the two return to the inn to await the others.

    ***

    To the docks:

    Isilme heads to the docks, invisible of course. She is hoping Noot will go also and blend in a bit and gather intel to help her locate the ship with the most successful or most connected slave trader ship captain, or one who is rumored to have delivered exceptional slaves to the temple.

    Noot tells her that The Ghoul is the ship which just brought in slaves this morning. It is the only galley at the docks.

    Taki heads off towards the docks to be handy if he is needed to back up them that has gone after that slavers, while Hepla casts Fly for extra mobility.

    I will assume that Noot would rather not slip around with invisibility, so he will just do his best imitation of a sailor and prowl around. Hepla, Taki, and Emyn will go in search of the weaponsmith that has a shop down there. Isilme can get that fly spell from Hepla, to go along with her invisibility, and flies for the docks. I think I described The Piers, as the locals call this district, but I'll do so again:

    The Piers is the collective term for the city's sprawling warehouse and shipping district. Most of its streets are cluttered, claustrophobic and generally unsettling for most people. Rangers especially despise the place.

    Some of the buildings here are made from stone, but most are made from wood harvested from the surrounding woodlands. Exposure to the corrosive, ever-present sea air has ravaged many of the buildings to the point that most are near the point of collapse. That inevitible occurance has been postponed in many cases by the addition of new, but still inferior, wooden supports.

    Bands of thieves, pirates and other cutthroats fill the Wharf like vile human rodents. Blood is spilled nightly in bar fights that can quickly grow to include more than 200 combatants.

    About half of Highport's original piers are completely ruined. The local authorities have towed derelict ships into place on these piers to use as additional storage space, as well as to confuse would-be attackers about which piers are actually viable. The remaining piers either survived the Night of the Blood Spear or have been rebuilt since that time. The piers are almost exclusively used for trade, with only one near the eastern part of town having facilities for making repairs.

    The Ghoul is easy to find, it's the only galley presently docked in Highport.

    Noot continues to root through the district trying to take the pulse of the area. He sticks to the shadows and tries to blend in as much as possible.

    Isilme decends quietly upon the Ghoul and looks to see what type of activity is currently going on. She heads to the fore part of the ship topside to see if she can locate the captain, and then checks on the aft side rear of the ship looking for the captains quarters, listening and watching for any leads to the captain, slaves, or general attitudes aboard ship.

    The Ghoul

    The Ghoul is a small galley, though clearly a warship and plenty strong enough for what is supposedly does. It has an overall length of about 75' and a beam of about 15', with 15 oars per side. It has a raised poop and forecastle, with closed doors entering each. On the foredeck is a small ballista while the poopdeck has a large drum as well as the stearing oars for the rudder. The rowing banks are exposed to the weather, and you see that there are seats for two men per oar. There are small wooden shields placed along and above the gunwale to offer the rowers protection. In the center of the ship is a single mast, about 40' high. The bow is painted to look like an evil, black face with leering eyes, and a long ram projects from it just at the waterline. There are about two dozen men working about the ship doing various sailor things, from working at ropes, to washing the ship.

    Isilme slips by the captain, who is still yelling at his men. Inside is a short hallway with doors to either side and an open door straight ahead into a large cabin.

    Noot is watching the mayhem on board the ship while looking for opportunity to lend Isilme a hand.

    Isilme finds herself in the captain's cabin. It contains a decent bed, a very nice wooden table and chairs. A writing desk, armoire, a couple of chests, and sundry items for personal hygiene.

    Isilme does a quick sweep of the cabin looking for any important documents or maps left out. She will also check the writing desk. She has to fight back thoughts of ending of the life of a surface elf turned to the slave trade. Inside the deck, she does, indeed, find some interesting items: the ship’s log, an account ledger, and a map.

    Ship's log: Written in elvish, you scan through it and see that The Ghoul just left Elredd a few days ago, and it mentions picking up the priestess Tarya. It was definitely the ship which carried the fugitive advisor from Elredd. It also mentions other places that the ship has prowled Woolly Bay for some time. It regularly runs up and down the Wild Coast, from Highport, to Elredd, Safeton, Hardby, even Greyhawk City on occasion. It also sails south rarely to Blue and to Scant. You find two other references, one to Sevant's Tower which seems to be far to the north, and the other to Foxvale Hill [the village where you encountered Kilrak's brother].

    You also find an account ledger. It is a sheaf of yellowed parchement, about 100 pages and bound in red ribbon. Each page is covered with columns of crabbed writing. The first part is crew payments, listing each man by name, their pay, and then has a spot for them to make their marks. The second part seems to be supplies. The last section is the selling of slaves, and this is what really interests you. The first columns are items (people), the second receiver of payment (three names pop up constantly: Rhoankin, Markessa, and H'shyon). The third columns are amounts received. You quickly tally things up and see that the ship doesn't make a huge profit, after paying the crew, but the captain has been doing pretty well.

    You also find a map of Woolly Bay.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the group [Taki, and Emyn, and Hepla] have been walking to the Ghoul. They pass many commercial wharves, watching the sailors and fishermen tend to their boats and supplies being carried to and fro by porters, bringing items to the warehouse district. You follow the street along the docks, towards the long wharf where the galley is berthed. It's about 100' long, and certainly nothing like you've ever seen before. To the left, beyond the nearest buildings, you see the top of the Temple of the Earth Dragon's central spires. As you get close to the galley, you notice that a fight has broken out aboard it's deck, though they all seem to be sailors. You don't see Isilme anywhere, but you can assume this is her handiwork.

    In your immediate area, there are three other ships which are not burned. As Noot said, about half the docks are destroyed, with derelict ships left there. He heard that they are left to deceive any potential foes from the sea as to which docks are in service and which are not. Isilme slips from the ship, and as she leaves, she notices the ship's captain casting a sleep spell which makes the rest of the fighting sailors fall asleep. She flies over to where she spies the rest of the party, watching from a distance. There she reports what she found, and together everyone returns to the Glad Goblin. After a brief period of planning, they decide to go investigate the slave auctions next, as the merchant mentioned a new shipment came in today.

    To the Slave Auction:

    Everyone except Emyn heads for the slave auction. Emyn stays in the inn and starts drinking. He knows if he goes to the slave auction, he'll lose it. You cross the round central plaza and head along a road paved in red bricks. It winds up the slight rise towards the south. After a few hundred feet you pass through this rebuilt area and enter another run-down area that quickly ends in open fields. You see the walls of two great compounds rising ahead of you, to the right and left. The compound to the right is the slave stockade, while that to the left is a military barracks. In fact, you see a large central barracks and a couples smaller ones. There is a lot of traffic along the Slave Road, as this road is called; in fact, as you are watching, a small caravan leaves the slave stockade, about two-dozen slaves guarded by about fifty orcs, and turns right headed out the southern gate.

    Taki walks around the auction area trying to look like he is interested in buying slaves and trying to hide his disgust for all of this.

    Hepla, with Taki plan to do a once over walking around the slave auction. If anyone asks what she is doing she will say, "Looking for an elf to buy, I understand they are tasty."

    There are no elves anywhere; the slaves are all humans. The stockade is guarded by orc warriors with crossbows. There is a large open yard in front of a raised platform from which slaves are auctioned, a small smithy for the chains and collars, and a big building with many smaller rooms in which the slaves are sorted and detained. You watch as about a dozen slaves are sold in succession. Bidding starts at 5gp, and most slaves go for under 50gp. Nobody really questions you as you move about the place and watch the auctions. The last couple of slaves, relatively strong looking young men, are bought by a large gnoll; from the look of the couple other gnolls with him, they do not have good intentions. After about half an hour, the auctioneer announces that the day's auction is over and most people begin to leave.

    Isilme Messages to hepla, “Buy one of the slaves so we can question him. Preferably one who looks in fair health and still has his wits about him.”

    Hepla goes to the auctioneer and says, “I came late and need a slave for tonight, someone to satisfy me, TONIGHT. Otherwise I get mean. Any chance of a private sale?”

    The man introduces himself, "Ah, no worries My Lady," the man says, smiling and revealing a nasty, crooked toothed smile. "Let old H'shyon take care of ya." He looks back at some prisoners just being brought out, about a half-dozen. "This last bunch just come in this mornin'." He shakes his head, "They isn't much, why they didn't sell. Too old, and a couple half-crippled. Still, one may do fer ya. Take a look, but then we gots ta put the rest up again."

    You look at the hazzard folk being brought forward. Two old women, two old men, a man with only one arm, and a young boy who is about as sick and gangly looking as you've ever seen.

    Hepla looks at the people, her heart breaking for them, but she says, "I see why they did not sell, still add together they should do, I'll take the lot, 25 gold and you don't have to feed them tonight."

    Hepla does look over at Taki and says, "My big friend here is paying for these; let’s not make him mad." She goes over and gives Taki a hug and whispers to him, "I don't have the gold with me, but play along and I will repay you."

    Hepla buys the whole lot, or is about to when another man comes up, calling to H'shyon. "Wait," he says. "You can't sell them all!"

    "Why not Rhoankin?" he says, looking at the tall, thin man. "You couldn't sell them this morning," he says, waggling a finger at him, "and I just got as good a price as for any!?

    "I promised one to Jukko," he says. "You know how important it is to him."

    H'shyon thinks about it for a bit, rubbing his chin. "For 5gp he can have the boy."

    "What? That gangly thing? He isn't worth 4 silvers!" exclaims Rhoankin.

    "He is now," says H'shyon with a laugh. "He's the last one. Tell him to take it or leave it."

    Rhoankin nods, "Fine, fine. But you tell him. He's coming right now."

    A short fat hobgoblin priest, wearing grey-green robes under which can be seen scale mail of the same color, approaches. His conical hat bears the bloody axe, which Isilme recognizes as the symbol of Maglubiyet, god of Goblins.

    Hepla gives a deep bow of (feigned) respect to the priest, "My lord high priest, it is an honor to meet you, I great you in the name of my friend and of my slaves that I just bought. If you have buisness with H'shyon we will not be getting in your way, It has been our pleasure to run into you this day." She then tells Taki," take our six slaves to the forge and have their chains removed, we did not buy H’shoyon's chains so he should have them back, that is the lawful thing to do."
    Then to the slaves she says, "Move along! If anyone even thinks of running trust me, Taki will take care of you."

    Bowing again to the priest she says, "A pleasure doing business."

    She pays up and they leave.

    Taki looks at the slaves with as a mean a look as he can muster and heads them back away from the area.............he keeps a look out that the goblin does not get upset about us taking all the slaves but is prepared to crush him if needed.

    As you leave with your slaves, you hear the hobgoblin priest yelling and arguing with the two slavers. Isilme sees the priest eying Hepla as she leaves, his red eyes burning with undisguised hatred. You make it unmolested back to the inn, with your slaves.



    ***

    Just before dark, Berenn and Elrae make their way back to the tower. You bring Emyn this time, as he stayed behind at the inn, and the others have yet to return.

    With the Rope of Climbing, you make your way back up the tower. Berenn finds that the tower is now clear of stirges. The way to the top is clear, with a little bit of work, and you can safely bring the griffons to the tower, keeping them hidden on the top.

    With the tower cleared, you can all come back. Berenn will have to find a way to get the griffons, but a fly spell would probably do it, and then he can lead them back. You can probably keep them there, if they stay quiet. You need to get some food for them, as they eat a lot.

    Berenn will tell the griffons to stay here and he will bring them a pig each a day. No hunting within the city. He will come back tomorrow and check on them in the morning.

    [OOC: I just read an old dragon article on flying mounts. It was pretty cool. One thing about griffons, they eat a lot. I've assumed they find what they need hunting, and if you have them spend their days away from the city, we can assume the keep doing that. If they stay in the tower until you're ready to leave, then you'll have to supply food, maybe a pig a day or so.]

    ***

    Back at the Glad Goblin:

    Once back at the inn and all are safe and sound, Taki back tracks to where they bought the slaves and makes sure the hobgoblin and his friends was not following them he has his maul in one hand and his Iron Bands in his other (to throw at the hobgoblin if needed). As soon as he leaves, he sees a small goblin, watching the inn from the shadows.

    Taki makes his way towards the small goblin in a long round circle hoping to get real close without spooking him or her. The goblin notices him, but doesn't realize that he saw him in the shadows. It watches carefully as Taki move off the other way and disappears down another street. Taki easily slips back around the square, and comes out behind him. He fails to sneak up to him, and the goblin hears when he comes around the corner behind him.

    Taki immediately throws his Iron Bands and they wrap instantly around the goblin, holding him firm. Leaving the bands on him, Taki picks up the goblin and takes him back to the party. When the innkeeper notices, Taki snarles.

    “He’s my sex toy, and none of your business!”

    The innkeeper blanches, then runs off hurriedly.

    [DM OOC: I'm sure they would be as speechless as I am!]

    [Berenn OOC: Wow! I am mean ... just ... wow!]

    Hepla asks the slaves their stories, especially what they did before slavery. She examines the kid to see if she can figure out how to help him. “Maybe he is just weak,” she says.

    The are all from Carnakh, a fishing village north of Safeton. They seem nothing more than simple people, and Emyn does not detect evil when he returns. There doesn't seem anything wrong with the boy (he's about 7) that you can cure.

    As you are doing this, Taki comes in with a goblin over his shoulder, wrapped up in his Bands of Billarro.

    She will continue to question them, hopefully the food arrives. When Taki comes in she will look up and say,"Other room, we don't want to scare these people." Once others are there she will go down to the innkeeper and ask for a discount clothing shop in the area.

    Hepla asks the innkeeper if he has another room that her "slaves" can sleep in. Hepla heads back upstairs and tells her people that the food is for them. She asks if any are familiar with any weapon use. She then goes to Taki to see how he is doing with his Goblin.

    Taki has the goblin in the smaller room. Hepla returns, having rented out the next room for the slaves.

    ***

    Meanwhile, Isilme has followed the hobgoblin priest. He was very upset because he didn't end up getting a slave, even though he had already made a deal with one of the slavers. He had the little goblin with him, sent him off to follow the party, then he continued on his way. The goblin went north, trailing the party, and the hobgoblin priest went south, walking down the Slave Road towards the Slave Gate (the main southern gate to the city.)

    Isilme flew down just above the hobgoblin and sung her siren’s song, charming him. A lot of Q&A ensued, which I’ll sum up:

    Isilme has the HOBGOBLIN (man that just looks intimidating) walk to somewhere quiet and more secluded off to the side somewhere and asks him lots of questions - if thats not possible she will have him walk to the Griffon tower and spend time catching up with her good friend:

    1. What does he know of The Ghoul, its business, the people on it - Captain, ect. [Nothing]

    2. Everything about he knows about the Earth temple, also what it does with the slaves, why are the best slaves sold there before market? [He doesn't really know much of what goes on within the Earth Temple. It is new, it's priests appearing only last year. They took over the old temple of Kelanen, slaying its priest. It is favored by Sturm, and has become the primary faith of the city. The Earth Dragon dwells under the Drachensgrab Mountains and the Pomarj is Its landHe doesn't really mind them. The high priest, a half-orc named Nofosh has drawn away many orcs, which has caused much resentment from the shamen of The One-Eye [I know, don't laugh!]. The goblins pay homage to the Earth Dragon, though they retain their loyalty to Maglubiyet.]
    ]

    3. what was he planning to do with that slave? Tell me about his temple and its position in this society, are they worried about the humans, upset the way things are going with Sturm, ect. [The slave was for tonight's sacrifice. It is the night of the new moon, and Maglubiyet requires a blood sacrifice.]

    4. Everything about The Sturmkeep and Sturm. [He has never been in the Sturmkeep, but rumor has it that great magics protect its walls, which were never breached when the city was taken.]


    5. She mentions all the names she has run across to see if he knows any of them (agnar and friend, imprisoned lord, people in the ledger, dwarf mercenaries, ect) [nothing]

    6. Also does he do any business with any of these people or places in the questions or know them personally? [No]

    “A sacrifice tonight?,” she says. “You dont say? Rest here while I get us that sacrifice to please the god good friend, your god and temple will be so pleased! It is the least I can do!”

    She casts sleep on the Hobgoblin. When the HOBGOBLIN falls asleep she will cut its throat, search the body and feed it to the Griffons. She finds a pouch with an assortment of coins: 5gp, 15sp, and 25cp.

    "As promised, your god has received his sacrifice,” she says. “Enjoy his company worthless scum!"

    She will then head back to rejoin the party at the Inn and exchange information she learned and report her plan to observe the ship this evening, maybe do something crazy if opportunity presents itself.

    After Isilme exchanges information with the party she heads to the docks, she’s not letting a moonless night pass her by without some fun! She gives Berenn the money to help feed the Griffons: 5gp, 15sp, and 25cp and mentioned they might not be too hungry tonight.

    “If you guys want to come with to mess with the Ghoul or do some kidnapping I am all for it,” she says.

    Emyn will join Isilme, saying, "Maybe for once you will let me protect you?"
    “We need to find out why the priest sent the goblin after Hepla and the rest,” says Berenn. “We should probably just charm him when we are done and convince him he did his job and give him some false information to take back. Otherwise, he might be missed.”

    The goblin looks around fearfully. "Plleeesssss, no kill Rnaxg," it says. "Me friend. Me helps you I will. Yes, Yes!"

    "How can you help, goblin?" says Emyn. It doesn’t really sound like a question.

    “By feeding the griffons, of course!” says Isilme.

    Emyn draws his sword and stabs teh goblin the the chest. "There. Feed teh griffon. I tire of this foolishness. One less goblin to enslave the innocent."

    Hepla says, "That was my plan B, but what is done is done." She searches him to see if he had anything worthwhile.

    “I guess that solves the food problem for now,” says Berenn. “We just can't be seen hauling two corpses out of the inn. We should look for a back way out and take the "food" out that way. We can stop by the tower on the way to the docks.”

    After the innkeeper brings food for the slaves, the party decides to wait for Thorgrim and Gotrek to return from the Sturmkeep, where they are trying to sign on with the Deldukr.

    To be continued….


    Last edited by ragnar on Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:21 am  
    Into the Sturmkeep

    Part 12

    Gotrek and Thorgrim go to the Sturmkeep. Once they leave the human area, they see a large swath of ruined buildings extending to the right. Many are burned or collapsed. What's out there is anyone's guess. (looking out at the white area on the map marked with the 9). In fact, all the pure white areas are generally ruined sections of town. They pass through two large complexes (18 and 19 on the map). The one to their right is the slave market with a large stockade full of slaves as well as the auction block. To the right is a large barracks area, with human and humanoids, guards for the slave caravans that head from Highport into the depths of the Pomarj. They see a couple of temples, though they cannot tell to which God or Gods they are dedicated (6 and 10) as they procede through the crossroads and climb the slow grade towards the Slave Gate. Just before the large gatehouse, manned by men and orcs they turn right, heading up the hill to the Sturmkeep. There's another strange temple off to their right, amidst a bunch of ruined and shabby buildings (area 14).

    They reach the gate to the keep, and are not allowed inside the keep. However, guards go off to check with the dwarves, and a couple return with the guards. Clearly tough and seasoned warriors, they look you over. Their uncertain looks deepen as they notice that Gotrek is another battlerager. Thorgrim seems dour, but he has the look of a warrior as well. They shrug and figure to bring you to their captain. The guards at the gate let you in, and the dwarves take you into the Sturmkeep.

    The first section are quarters for hobgoblins, and their barracks are unusually well-kept. You see many warriors drilling and practicing at arms in various open areas. The next section (where the 7 is) is the mansion of the current lord. There are other buildings around, all the normal stuff you'd find in a keep: blacksmiths, carpenters, etc. They take you to the far side, where there area basically open fields, barracks, and stables. There you find a large open area with a dozen tents all laid out in an organized grid in the manner of a dwarven army. The dwarves take you to the central command tent.

    Outside you are met by an old scraggly dwarf. He wears dwarven plate armor in excellent shape, has a warhammer hanging from his belt, and carries a plain helmet in his hand. You take immediate notice, however, of his beard, or lack of one. He face is horribly scarred, and obviously he cannot grow one due to the damage. "Urgal," says one of the dwarves sharply, "These two wanna join up."

    As the dwarf looks at them, Gotrek stops, nearly stumbling as he recognizes the name. He knows him only from stories told by his adoptive father, the dwarf who took him in after Gotrek's clan was wiped out by Giants. He is Urgal Firebeard, standard bearer for clan Delgrim and Gotrek’s own uncle. But his family were all supposed to be dead!



    Gotrek looks at Urgal, and kneels, with his head bowed. He holds the warhammer, Stonecrusher in front of him, in a gesture of respect. Silence fills the air, as it is obvious the Battle Rager is crying! Urgal looks around in confusion, and is about to say something when Gotrek says:

    "Urgal Firebeard. Urgal Delgrim. I have come here looking to fulfill a quest. Never did I think I would find my past as well."

    Gotrek stands tall(for a dwarf), an imposing figure in his armor, beard, tattoos, and eye patch.

    "I am Gotrek. Dwarf. Battle Rager. Justice of Clangeddin. And a Delgrim. Greetings, Uncle."

    He kneels again, awaiting a response.

    Urgal Delgrim stands there mute as the other two dwarves look back and forth, dumbfounded. Finally, he steps up to Gotrek, lifts him back up to his feet, and embraces him. Thorgrim can see the tears in the old dwarf's eyes as he mutters something you can't understand. He holds Gotrek out, looking him over. "I thought ta be last o the clan," he sobs. "Ah never thought to see another, much less me own nephew."

    Gotrek gives him a fierce hug in return. After a few minutes, Urgal turns to the other dwarves. "Dismissed you rotten sons of goblin whores!" They salute, then turn on their heels and walk off, wondering at what they just witnessed. As they leave, Urgal puts his arm around Gotrek. "Come inside lad," he says we've much to discuss." He then notices Thorgrim for the first time. "Bring yer friend too."

    Together you enter the command tent, which you find sparsely furnished in the dwarven way. He motions you to come in, and offers a couple chairs near a large table. "Sorry I have nothing to offer," he says, but we can make fer a taven later."

    "Never fear says Thorgrim, taking out his portable hole. He opens it, retrieves the barrel of gutshaker, and pours out mugs for each. "Be prepared I always says."

    They each take mugs, toast, and the Gotrek tells Urgal his tale. He tells Urgal his life story, the short version. Thorgrim sits back and observes, drinking sparingly and letting the two dwarves become acquainted.

    When Gotrek is done, Urgal is quite pleased. "You father, your blood father," he adds, not to offend, "he would be pleased too. Thrval Blackhunter was his name. He was a great warrior, who led the Deep Delvers of Clan Delgrim."

    Gotrek looks at Thorgrim confused. "Tunnel Rats," says Thorgrim. "They seek out the vermin of the small caves, kobolds, goblins, jermalaine."

    Gotrek snorts, thinking that doesn't sound so great.

    "Nay," says Urgal, refilling his mug. "They go where most fear to tread, often alone, into deep dark places." He takes a drink, then looks Gotrek in the eye. "Very respected was your father, the toughest of the Delvers. I can see his fearlessness in you, though you clearly have the hot temper of yer mother. Her name was Gilora, which means..."

    "Fiery Protector," finishes Gotrek. "What happened to her?"

    "She fell standing over you," says Urgal evenly. "Yer father had disappeared, fending off goblins in the lower mines. How they got in our halls, I'll never know. There were dozens, and ogres, and orcs besides." He shakes his head, "terrible," he mutters. "Yer father, his element was the tunnels. He was below. I promised to watch out fer ya. I failed. The last thing I saw was a huge formorian...." His voice trails off. "I thought ye dead too, along with the rest of our kin."

    Urgal tells how he and the rest of your clan were driven back into the deep halls. "The lower mines were overrun, and soon goblins poured into the forges in endless numbers. I could only assume your father died in the tunnels. With enemies from above and below, there was no longer any escape, except maybe the Glanvir River, which ran through the center of the Morbeck, the farm hall. It was a fast moving underground river, which no dwarf had ever successfully navigated, but provided an endless supply of water to the hold. Both ends were sealed with stout bars, so we destroyed the downstream barrier. The women, children, and a select few braved the river, provided with some potions from the temple, while the rest of us held off the assaulting hordes."

    "I carried the standard of the Clan, and held the position at the Glanvir alongside Torbir Souldkeeper, Champion of Moradin. Yurorr Riddlemaster, Narrack Steadyhammer, and Thdris Heartwall, the last of the Hearthguard, stood by us as well. Thdris would not abandon the hold, no matter what. King Therl Oathfather, led the rest in a sortie, throwing the humanoids back in confusion and giving the women and children time to brave the river. Torbir could not stand to guard the rear, and he charged after the king. Once the women and children were gone, Narrack and Yurorr did as well, seeing no point in guarding an empty chamber. Thdris and I were last. We stood our ground."

    "The battle soon came to us, and we could only assume everyone else was now dead. Thdris fought as if endowed with the powers of the gods themselves, and we held the chamber, at least for another few minutes. But we were two against many, and the outcome was never in doubt. She fell, beneath an avalanche of trolls. I planted the standard of the king along the river bank and cried the call of Clan Delgrim."

    "Whur A Faeyn!" he cries, startling both Gotrek and Thogrim. "It means Wake the Iron," he says, and was the Delgrim Battle Cry for centuries. "Those were the last dwarven words spoken in Delgrim, the Hall of Eternal Steel." He looks odd for a moment, near embarrassed. "I was almost immediately knocked back into the river by a thrown boulder," he says. "Musta been one a the giants. Me arm was broke, and I plunged underwater. I thought fer sure I were dead, until I awoke in some lost cavern. I don't know how long I was under, how far I was taken, or how long I'd been unconscious. Alls I know is, I was alive, and I had this...."

    He goes to chest lying under his cot, taking a key out from around his neck. He opens it and pulls out a rolled up cloth. Laying on the table with care, he slowly unrolls it. There, lying on the table, is a dwarven battle standard.

    Gotrek looks at Urgal. "Have you ever thought of going back to the Hall of Steel?"

    Urgal look away, his eyes seeming to stare far passed the tent wall. "I did, once."

    He comes back and extends his mug to Thorgrim who fills it without comment. "I don't know how far the river swept me, nor how long I lay on the cavern floor where I awoke. I ate fungus growing along the banks until I regained enough strength to move, and set out to find the others. I spent months looking, probably a year, and never found a trace. By the time I found my way to the surface, I was clear across the Lortmils, in the Ulek states. I set my feet moving north, and never looked back. There was nothing left for me there but death."

    Gotrek's muscles seem to grow bigger, and he begins to grind his teeth. His eyes start to bulge. He regains control of himself.

    "I would go back and seek vengeance. I would go back to the Hall of Steel and plant our banner in the soil where it belongs, once more. And no orc, hobgoblin, troll, or giant would ever remove it while I still breathed. By Clangeddin, I swear it! Whur A Faeyn! I just need one thing from you, Uncle."

    He seems strangely silent, though your battle cry does seem to spark something within him. Still, he looks at Gotrek hesitantly. "What is that?"

    Gotrek looks so intensely at Urgal, that his uncle steps back. "Clangeddin has sent me on a mission. A quest to find a weapon of vengeance. A weapon to strike fear in our enemies every time they hear the word Delgrim. I need you to talk to Kilrak. I need you to hand Giant Goreblade over to me."

    Gotrek pauses.

    "And Uncle, I will get it one way, or another. Please help me."

    "Kilrak's axe?" he says incredulously. "The only way you'll ever get Goreblade from him is to pry it from his cold, dead fingers." He looks at you gravely. "Are you prepared for that?"

    Gotrek looks around him. He sees a nervous Thorgrim puffing his pipe, eyeing his long lost uncle.

    Gotrek grunts. "Uncle, whatever it takes. It will be done. Kilrak has a choice. Give me the axe, or die. Simple enough."

    Gotrek pauses, and looks Urgal in the eye.

    "Uncle. Please trust me. I do not want to shed dwarven blood. But I will do what is required of me. This is not some desire for a weapon. I was instructed by our God to find it, and use it."

    The banner that Urgal holds in his hand flutters as a breeze picks it up ever so briefly, as if struggling for life. He looks around in the closed chamber, amazed.

    "Why?" he asks. "Kirlrak is a mighty warrior, and he has led the Deldukr well." He looks uncertain, even confused. "We have fought many battles together," he says, "across dozens of nations. I've been with him from the start, and he has proven a skilled leader, though violent." He laughs a bit, eying Gotrek. "Expected in a battlerager, but it's no cause to betray him."

    "He is up to no good,” says Gotrek. “His brother and a mage tried to have a group of soldiers waylay us on the way over here. We used an illusion on them, to think the ferry sank, and us all dead. He lied thru his teeth about who he is consorting with. And do you know who that is?"

    Urgal shakes his head. Gotrek spits on the floor. "A drow priestess. DROW!!"

    Gotrek growls.

    "When have we ever worked with one of those underworld demons?" says Gotrek. “They are planning something. Something big, and something bad." Gotrek pauses, watching his uncle. "Even then, you say he has proven himself to be a valiant ally. Summon him here. Let's see what he has to say."

    Gotrek turns to Thorgrim. "Do you think we should get some, or all of the group back here as well? Perhaps by now they have found out new information."

    Urgal looks quite troubled, but he has been with Kilrak for many years, nearly as long as Gotrek has been alive. He can't just cross him. Thorgrim reveals to him his nature as a priest and crusader, and gives him his word all you say is true. Urgal calls a guard and sends him to Lord Sturm's chambers, to summon Kilrak back for urgent Deldukr business. "He can't refuse that," he says. "We'll soon get to the bottom of this."

    In a few minutes the guard returns. "Neither Lord Sturm nor Kilrak are in the Sturmkeep," he replies. They apparently rode into town a few hours ago. Nobody knows where they went.”

    Urgal looked back at Gotrek and Thorgrim, a grim frown appearing.

    Gotrek grins, a low growl emitting from his throat. "Over his dead body, huh? That sounds like something I might enjoy. Stonecrusher here has served me well. But it is the axe I fight best with."

    “W should retire to the inn, before Isilme goes off again,” says Thorgrim, more to Urgal. "See the rest of us, and you can judge the truth of matters."

    Urgal agrees, and together the three of you leave, with Urgal leaving another dwarf in charge until he or Kilrak returns. You make it to the inn, before anyone leaves.

    [DM OOC: Now the entire party can participate!]

    [Well, that’s it for the meeting of the two surviving dwarves of Clan Delgrim. I like to add personal touches, and I’m thankful to the player of Gotrek for rolling with the new development so well. It was a very fun bit of role-playing. Anyway, the dwarves all returned to the party, which was still in the midst of discussions regarding what they should do. I will return to them in my next installment.]



    229/


    Last edited by ragnar on Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:34 am  

    Part 13

    Cast of Characters:
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert/Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Gotrek: Dwarven Battlerager
    Hepla: Human Mage (kind of a witch)
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter
    Emyn Frel: Avenger of Trithereon (CG Paladin of Trithereon)
    Taki: Human Fighter

    NPC: Urgal, Dwarven Fighter (Gotrek’s uncle)

    Noot is off to procure clothes for the slaves, to get them out of the city. Meanwhile Berenn takes the dead goblin to the tower. Nobody will seem him moving stealthily with his cloak. It’s dark now, and Taki rests while they formulate their next moves. Berenn and Noot return about the same time.

    “We should be heading to the docks to hatch Isilme's plan for getting back at the slavers,” says Berenn. “Isilme seemed intent on going this evening. If she has a change of heart, I will defer to her since it is her plan. It might be better to wait and hear what the dwarves have to say and no one is going to miss the individuals we have eliminated.”

    Emyn will go to speak with the slaves we rescued. Noot joins Emyn and distributes the clothing to the slaves. While they put on their new clothers, Emyn takes them aside one by one and asks them about what they know about the slave trade here in the region and about any of the goings on in Highport. They don't know much, except that about two-dozen slaves never made it to the market. They were taken off separately, before the rest. They were the strongest of the men and women, including some captured warriors. Even an elf. They seemed VERY pleased to have captured an elf.

    "We may be gone for a bit,” says Hepla. “Get some rest, but one of you needs to be awake at all times to keep watch. If we are not back by noon tomorrow, take the food and get out of this town. Go home or someplace safe. Hopefully, we should be back soon." She then waits downstairs while the questions are being asked, orders a sandwich type meal for those of us who are going out, then slips into a private area and puts on her stolen outfit, unless it has something distinctive about it then she will take that off first, and wear it and a hat or bonnet. Her regular clothes will go into her backpack.

    Emyn asks the slaves what they know of the elf and the slavers. “Surely you had a chance to learn a bit about them during your confinement.”

    “Actually, not much,” one replies. “Any talking was immediately rewarded with a beating.”

    “They were not from our village,” says another. “That's all we know. We were then handed off to some orcs.”

    “Their shields had an emblem of a coiled dragon emblazoned upon them,” says one of the youths.

    Emyn thanks them for their help and tells them that if they need aid to seek out a Church of Trithereon. “Tell them Emyn Frel sent you and you shall be given aid.” Emyn then goes downstairs and takes Elrae aside, telling him what he learned.

    "Mmmm,” says the bard. “The coiled dragon is probably some dragon spirit or actual dragon that folks around here worship or use as a sigil. I wonder if their sigil is the dragon under the mountain. Legends have it, thousands of years ago, there lived a giant dragon under a mountain in these parts who guarded vast treasure. It wasn't a good dragon either. If maidens weren't sacrificed every moon the dragon would wake and shake the ground and spew forth fire and death. Now that sounds like earthquakes and volcanoes to you and me, but around these parts these primitives probably still believe that it's a dragon causing the eruptions."

    “Or it’s really a dragon,” says Taki dryly.

    "Sacrifices? Sounds ominously like this earth dragon temple,” says Emyn. “Let's infiltrate it and see what we can learn."

    About this time, the doors open and Thorgrim, Gotrek, and another dwarf enter the room. Gotrek buys a round of drinks and introduces Urgal, his uncle. The entire party gathers together while the dwarves fill them in on what happened in the Sturmkeep. Isilme has contemplated much while waiting and hearing what the slaves had to say. Now hearing from the dwarves, she changes her plans just a bit.

    "We left Hommlet for Gotrek to find this giant Goreblade so we could pursue Lareth afterwards and he has found it.....well and good....let him challenge the Dwarf and prove himself the better man and be done with this foolishness. My blood burns to bring just vengeance and solve the riddle of that vile human priest of the Demon Queen of Spiders - LARETH!

    Why you concern yourselves with the lawful slave commerce in this kingdom is beyond me. None of you stopped the execution earlier when you didn't agree with it, so why are we so quick to try and change the order of things here?”

    "My charge as a Bladesinger is the protection of the Drow, and as a follower of Ellistrae, to give them the opportunity to change their wicked ways and step back into the world of sunlight. As such, I might be interested to meet and find this other Drow who walks in the light and manipulates the world of men. But beyond that, I neither care nor feel the need to change the comings and goings of this pathetic town full of vermin."

    Emyn says, "Isilme, you are treating the symptoms but not the disease. If we truly want to put an end to this slavery, we need to strike at the center of this abomination. That begins with tracking down both this Markessa and Edralve. The best place to begin is to go to the Temple of the Earth Dragon. If we chop off the head of the snake, it can bite no more."

    "As i stated before,” she replies, standing up. “I care not to change legal trade or alter the current laws of the land. I find it strange that a paladin of the most tolerant religion I have met would usurp the authority here."

    She walks away, frustrated, then returns. “I think it's unwise to attack the temple without the information the captain could provide. Seems like everyone WANTS to run into the temple blind. The ship is an easy target because it's limited, and we can potentially gain the layout of the temple and access through trickery without fighting every cleric and orc in town.”

    "I am no paladin, hemmed in by laws and rules,” says Emyn, also standing. “I am Avenger of Trithereon. Better no law than a system the preys on the weak and then justifies it through rules."

    "If this is true, why did you not save the man at the execution when you disagreed with their cruel methods? All I see is that you pick and choose whose laws you will change when you disagree."

    Berenn intercedes, calming the two and getting Emyn to sit. “I agree with Isilme, the boat is the easier target and will perhaps give us some insight into what is going with this slave trade.”

    "There is wisdom in going to the ship first,” says Gotrek.

    Even Taki whistles at wisdom coming from the battlerager!

    “Any information we gather, makes us that much stronger. The Temple is not going anywhere, and we can go there after. And I bet Kilrak will be there as well.”

    Taki asks this "If we stir up a mess with clerics and slavers won’t that make getting this axe we came for that much harder? Also if we go after the axe first then we have dwarves down on us and won’t be able to go after the slavers and clerics?"

    Hepla says,"Perhaps we can do both, some can go to the temple and gather info, while others can take the ship, if we do this then I think Isilme is best at information gathering. I should probably go to the ship since Isilme can message me and I her. Someone should go with her and the rest of us the ship.”

    She nods at Taki, “Good ideas.”

    Isilme shakes her head. “That would defeat the purpose of capturing the ship’s captain or 1st mate.”

    [I posted a LONG DM OOC post, so I’ll include it here. It gives extra info as well as insight into how I run things.

    DM OOC: [OOC: just a few notes to make. First, Kilrak has no greater claim to the axe than anyone else, except that he has it. It's no different than Snowfang or any other item you guys have. Well, maybe the sentient swords have a bit of a say, but you get the idea. Gotrek could have either made him a deal or challenged him for it. No problem there. Now that you have evidence of him being a "bad guy" consorting with slavers, humanoids, and even a drow, well, Gotrek will have no problem taking it from such an undeserving scoundrel.

    Second, the law in Elredd. That guy was convicted by his own admission of a terrible crime. He was punished according to the LAW, and not just their law. That was one example of standard practices in OUR world for many years. Don't try and put too much of a modern perspective on things; the characters live in a VERY different world. We may tend to have more of a relativistic outlook, but they probably wouldn't, or at least it would be rare. In their world, good and evil are much more palpable. Heck, they've already faced a summoned demon, sent another demon queen back to the Abyss, come face to face with two Gods (St. Cuthbert and Iuz). They will certainly feel different than we do about all this. Really, the only part of the whole thing that was different was making the smithy choose the punishment and enforce it himself. That was blatantly stolen from Game of Thrones, when Ned Stark killed the deserter: "If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And, if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die."

    Third, I don't really think you can consider this slave trade "lawful." Sure, it's the law of the land in the Pomarj, a land ruled by humanoids who savagely invaded a hundred years ago and killed everyone, but that hardly makes it "lawful." Remember, in the minds of the party the humanoids are animals at best, and probably evil. Plus, if they contented to just war amongst themselves and makes slaves of each other, I would agree, it's an internal matter and maybe leave it alone. On the other hand, we aren't Star Fleet! Anyway, that's not what they do regardless. They send out raiding parties and slave ships and make slaves from the free, goodly people along the Wild Coast and beyond, bringing them back for sale and who knows what end. There is nothing "lawful" about that, and it is certainly a quest worthy of the great Heroes of Hommlet. In my opinion Emyn should be VERY interested in stopping this, and he’s role-playing accordingly.

    Fourth, Isilme now has evidence of a dark elf behind the scenes in this slave trade. Further, she has specific evidence that an elf was taken in this last bunch of slaves, though she wasn't brought to the slave auctions. Isilme has a duty as a bladesinger to do something. "Special Hindrances. To offset their abilities, Bladesingers suffer some severe penalties. Not only must they attempt to advance the cause of elvendom somehow at all times, they must also lend aid to any elf in need. Unless the elf is proven to be an enemy of the elven way of life, the Bladesinger must sacrifice life and limb to save that elf's life." I didn't put that elf in the story to "force" Isilme's actions, it just worked out this way. I only want to remind Tempus that Isilme now can't turn away from trying to help without personal consequences.

    Finally, I left things VERY open before you guys decided to go after the axe, about what adventure you chose. I'm just following your decision to come this way. Now it's melding together with the old Slave Lords series, which will be fun to do. I further plan to move on to other series if you so choose, like the giant series, but you really should not be in too great a hurry to follow Lareth to the giants. You aren't strong enough game-wise. Gotrek's axe will certainly help too, don't forget about that. On the other hand, if you guys, as a party, don't want to go through the Slaver Series, then we don't have to do so. There is always a sense that the DM "pushes" you along a pre-determined path, and I try to not do that, though it is hard to avoid, especially in this format. I have LOTS of other adventures we can do instead, though I do believe this one is pretty cool, and I have put quite a bit of work into making it better. Still, it's up to you guys. Anyway, that's all I could think of at the moment.]

    “I am going to the temple,” says Emyn, “with or without the party. That is where there is the greatest chance to learn more about and maybe get rid of some of those slavers.”

    “I am going to the temple too,” says Taki, who then storms towards the door. He is mad and ready to scrap and will make no bones about his stomping towards the temple with his maul over his shoulder and his iron band ready for throwing.

    Gotrek and Thorgrim stop him, and Thorgrim offers the big man a drink to calm down. “We should hear from Urgal first,” he says, and Taki nods reluctantly.

    You can tell he is uncomfortable with the thought that Kilrak is somehow involved. "We came here last year to clear out some orcs from the hills nearby," he said, "then moved back up the coast to Elredd. Lots of work along the Suss Forest." He scratches his beard, "Never had any notion t'was more to it than that."

    "Good Urgal,” says Emyn. “What do you know of Edralve or Markessa? I've heard those names. Also, what of the Temple of the Earth Dragon? They've been sacrificing people, as we understand. Do you know how they connect into the slaving?"

    As to your questions, he doesn't know of either. He does know the location of the Temple of the Earth Dragon. It is down by The Piers. He has never been inside, and he doesn't know much about it. It was very run-down when he was last here in Highport, more of a ruin than a true temple, and most of the worshippers were orcs or half-orcs.

    "Uncle,” says Gotrek. “We are going to take down this Temple. It is evil, and I can't let it stay here." He clasps Urgal's forearm. "It would be my honor to fight by your side, with just you, or all of my kin. We would welcome any aid you feel like making. It is nigh time the world once again realizes the fighting prowess of the dwarf, and their hatred for all creatures dark." Gotrek looks him in the eyes and whispers something in his ear.

    “I am going to avenge our blood, and my father. Though this is not the Hall of Steel, the battle begins now! Whur A Faeyn.”

    Gotrek pulls back, and in the middle of the Tavern he roars:

    “Whur A Faeyn!!

    We can reclaim our lands. Start the Delgrim clan all over again. You are surrounded by dwarves as hungry as myself to go back home. Let's do it! What say you, Uncle?”

    "Kids," he says, but you can see he's stirred. He grasps Gotrek’s hand and agrees. "Let us settle affairs here, then look to Delgrim."

    “"Thank you master Urgal,” says Emyn. “I would be glad to stand by your sides to defeat evil and restore your lands to you and your people."

    Hepla goes upstairs and gets the sickly kid, after convincing them who she is, she is surprised at how fast they recognize her. [She put on a disguise.] She brings him down and says, "excuse us please but here is an example of what the slavers have done and were it not for big Taki here he would have been tonight's sacrifice at a Goblin temple. Where is the honor in what they did and what they were going to do? The temple we talk about fighting is even worse. O.K. Kid(never got his name) tell the dwarves your story, don't be scarred I will protect you."

    “Bralm,” he says. “My name is Bralm. He tells of how they were from this small fishing village. The ship came from the sea, dozens of men came ashore and kidnapped about half the village. You know, typical bad slavery tale. Urgal is certainly not happy with that, and since there are other potential circumstances, he agrees to go with you to "investigate." At the least, he doesn't believe the Deldukr should be involved with Sturm any longer, nor in the Pomarj at all, except to slay humanoids which they are very good at doing.

    Hepla tells them that there are more stories like Bralm's, if they were to need more. Then she tells Bralm to grab dinner for himself and the others and go back to the room. She walks him back and returns and says ,"So when do we start?"

    Hepla bows to Urgal, and says, in dwarven, "my apology master dwarf, my name is Hepla, and I have the honor to call these other two dwarves my friends." Of course, her dwarven is terrible, and she says something completely different! She then giggles and says, looking at her friends, "bet you all recognized me."

    Thorgim laughs when she stumbles right out of the gate!

    Hepla says, in common, "I hope I pronounced that correctly, my vocabulary still needs work."

    The dwarves roar with laughter, except for Gotrek who seems caught up in the seriousness of the situation. "Nay lass," says Thorgrim with a wink. "Never once suspected!"

    “I think everything is intertwined,” says Gotrek. “I see the logic in going right towards the temple, but also going for the ship. How about we let a small contingent of our new dwarven allies take over the ship, and we go to the Temple? The root of evil is there, and most likely Goreblade as well.”

    "Greetings and well met Urgal!” says Isilme. “I am Isilme, Elvish Bladesinger and longtime companion of Gotrek. Welcome!"

    "As to our next action, I WILL have that captain’s head, first, before that ship leaves. Any elf willing to sell his own people into slavery is not worthy of my protection and truly evil. I should be happy to reward his crimes with death."

    She then retakes her seat. “I think we should take the ship first; it's a softer target, and it can gain us great information if we capture the captain or his first mate. We might even be able to use them to get the layout of the temple or enter by subterfuge. They know a good deal about what is going on here and the key players as evidenced by the ships log. We will also be cutting out the avenue through which everyone escaped us last time!”

    Tonight is the night of the Dark Moon, a night when many of the vermin here practice unholy rites to their gods. We would do well to be wary, and consider the slaves they keep."

    If the party is going to split, or hit the temple first, I will insist we head off to save the elvish slave that was taken; any action we take could potentially risk the lives of the slaves, especially the elvish one. The key factor here is we don't know what we are walking into with regards to this temple, or even its general layout, and this bothers her greatly.”

    “If we take the ship,” interjects Noot, “what are we going to do with it? Do we have any targets along the water? Otherwise, perhaps we should just destroy it and be done with it.”

    Hepla points out that there are many wrecked ships that can be burned, in order to provide misdirection and confusion.

    Gotrek spits. "Let's make a decision, before evil decides to abandon this place."

    Thorgrim shrugs. "Bah! 'Tis just some floating wood. But if you want the captain, let's just go get him."

    “As I stated before,” says Emyn, “I will scout the temple, regardless of what the rest of the party does.”

    "Bah, the temple is just a stone lying in the dirt" says Isilme, who then laughs. “Emyn, you’re going to forsake your vow of protecting me the very first time we run into battle? I expected more of a legendary paladin of Tritherion.”

    Emyn replies, "If you didn't run off into danger constantly on your own, I might take that more seriously. But I will hold to my oath to you, even if we are going to the wrong place."

    "Enough talk!" bellows Gotrek.

    “We should take the ship out first,” says Berenn. “It is a smaller target and perhaps it burning in the harbor will provide a distraction to get us into the temple where the rest of our objectives may be waiting for us. I have no intension of keeping a slaver ship intact so someone else can use it after we are gone.”

    Taki nods, “So are we off to the ship?”

    “Yes, we are,” says Emyn. “Let's burn it with righteous fire.”

    When everyone else agrees, Berenn says, “Good. Let’s head for the docks then.”

    Having decided to assault The Ghoul, the party heads down to The Piers. Isilme is out ahead again, flying and invisible. Berenn gets Ra, and uses the griffon to fly overhead. With the new moon he is pretty well cloaked in darkness. Noot slips ahead and blends into the waterfront scene. Everyone else just moves on down along the road.

    When they reach The Ghoul, they see two men atop each of the raised sections fore and aft, with a lantern hanging in each section. The doors into those sections are shut. There are numerous people along the street behind you, mostly sailors moving to and from the various taverns, prostitutes, thugs skulking in dark alleys, you know, the usual. Any obvious disturbance may attract attention. Noot keeps to the rear, sword at the ready. He will try to take out anyone who attempts to sneak up on the party.

    Isilme, flying invisibly above, will cast Phantasmal Force, to create an illusion of the ship, with everything fine while Gotrek stridess up the gangplank. He clearly plans on killing anyone in his path.

    A sailor walks over and sneers at Gotrek. "Outta here, dwarf," he says, "Fore we make ya shark bait!"

    Gotrek sees a couple dozen men sleeping on the deck. He shrugs, and smashes sharkbaitboy with Stonecrusher.

    Gotrek knocks out the sailor and charges aboard as Thorgrim and Berenn cast silence 15' r on the fore and aft castles. Hepla casts sleep, and the sleeping sailors stay asleep. Emyn charges up the aft castle while Gotrek charges the fore castle, and both are quickly able to subdue the sailors there. In less than a minute you have control over the entire deck. The sleeping sailors are easily dealt with. You can bind them with the abundant ropes lying around. While you do this, you can investigate the doors to the fore and aft castles. Isilme flies down to the top of the mast, sitting there as she continues with her "all is well" illusion.

    Without going crazy on description, there are doors going into the fore and aft castles. Atop the forecastle is a small ballista, while atop the aft castle is a large drum. These are the more unique items. Everywhere else are the kinds of things you'd expect to find on the deck of a ship.

    “Elrae, Emyn, and I will take the aft castle,” says Beren. “Thorgrim, Gotrek, Hepla and Taki take the fore castle after we have made sure the deck is secure and everyone on it is incapacitated. Isilme will be our eyes in the sky. The idea is to do this quickly and quietly. Take the captain and 1st mate alive is possible, everyone else is expendable.”

    Both doors are unlocked. You open the forecastle door and find a short, narrow corridor. It has a door to each side and one straight ahead. The aft door opens into another similar corridor, though a bit wider. There are doors to each side, and one at the far end. Narrow steps go down from the center of the corridor into darkness. The guys in the aft castle find the two side doors locked. The end door turns out to be a kitchen. In a bunk in the corner is sleeping the cook. They quickly grab him and tie him up. Meanwhile, the guys in the fore castle find the doors all unlocked. Noot has rejoined those up front, and he listens at the doors, hearing nothing. The two side doors open to officer's quarters. The left one is empty, but the right one has a sleeping man in a nicer bed. You quickly take care of him as well. That leaves only the captain, in the fore stateroom. Noot checks the door, which he finds to be unlocked.

    Hepla suggests one of the guys yell out,"Captain, fire on deck." See if he comes out.

    Gotrek looks around at the tight quarters. He withdraws, to let Noot and the spellcasters more space.

    "I will be right here. Just yell if you need me!"

    Gotrek stands near Taki.

    Noot yells, “FIRE ON DECK! FIRE ON DECK! FIRE ON DECK!”

    The warriors all stand back, while Hepla casts Minor Globe of Invulnerability and stands just beyond the door.

    The captain throws the door open, and you see he is an elf, dressed in loose clothes and holding a wand. He is surprised to see Hepla standing in the hallway.

    [Isilme OOC: Ooc: gotta love a party full of fighters that is always ready to run into anything regardless of the consequences, yet when we get to the bosses door everyone steps back leaving hepla the Mage alone in the hallway!]

    Hepla casts Magic Missiles, sending a volley streaking into the captain’s face. He is hit by a succession of four missile, which strike him in the chest [15], staggering him and knocking him backwards through the door.

    The captain points at Hepla and a series of magic missiles fly into Hepla, only to explode harmlessly against her globe. She then rushes forward and leaps on the captain. They begin to struggle, and she realizes that the elf is much stronger, and easily slips away from her attempt to bite his hand. Taki runs up behind her and slams his maul down on the captain's arm, which shatters under the impact [16]. He screams in pain, dropping his wand, and reaches for his broken arm with his free hand.

    Hepla kicks the wand out into the corridor while the Taki and Gotrek subdue the captain. There were a total of 5 awake men on deck and another two dozen sleepers. One officer and the cook were asleep in their bunks, and the captain is currently detained. He surrenders, with the obvious threat of getting his skull bashed in, and you take him prisoner. There are perhaps another 50 plus sailors and one officer unaccounted for, likely on shore. The rowing area is above decks. It's not a huge trireme or anything. There's nobody else on board. The captain has a chest, inside of which are found a spellbook, a set of navigational charts, and a few smaller boxes with coins: 100pp, 1000gp, 1000sp. Casting detect magic in the captain's cabin reveals a few things. The wand is obviously magic, and you also find a dagger, longbow, scroll, and 4 potions. Since you have the captain captured, I will tell you what they are. A Wand of Flame Extinguishing, +3 dagger, +2 Longbow of Distance, Scroll of Communication, Potions: Phasing, Magic Enhancement, Clairvoyance, and Scrying.

    [Thus the party successfully took The Ghoul and captured the captain. The interrogation will follow…..]
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:18 pm  

    Part 14

    http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/18/65/87296518/photos/undefined/zoom%20in%20of%20warehouse%20district%20and%20The%20Piers.JPG
    This is my zoomed in map from CC2, so you can see the area.

    The party has taken The Ghoul and captured the Captain, whose name they learn is Giran. They also have the 1st Mate (charmed by Hepla). I lost some of these posts, so I have to recreate some of them.

    The map so far, showing the galley at the long wharf.

    The temple is the large building complex in the center. That's not exactly what it looks like, but basically in the right shape. There appears to be a large courtyard in the center. There are two wings pointing towards the shore, and the main entrance is just inside the east wing (you can see what is a path going to the building from the road.) A portcullis blocks the way. There are double-doors at the end of the west wing. The building is all stone, very well-built. This is basically what you can see from the coastal road. There is another road which runs along the east side of the building, back towards the center of town. To the west of the Temple are other buildings, kind of run down. There is no light anywhere. A group of orcs (about a half-dozen) are moving amongst the run down buildings, and then enter one. it.

    “What do you know about the dark elf, Edralve?” asks the invisible Isilme. “Is there more than the priestess around?”

    “I don’t know anything ‘bout no drow,” he replies, looking around and wondering who spoke. “an if I did, I wouldn’t say nuthin’!”

    Isilme appears before him, hovering in the air and leveling Maerthorlear at him. He gasps when he sees the dark elf floating before him. “Now, answer our questions and you just might find mercy, maybe.”

    “What do you know about Kilrak?” asks Gotrek quickly.

    The captain only glances at Gotrek, afraid to take his eyes off Isilme. “If you lie,” she says, “I’ll know, and I’ll be very displeased.”

    He swallows, and then answers glumly. “He’s just a stupid dwarf mercenary,” he replies. I’ve never met him, and don’t know anything about him.”

    Isilme nods that he has told the truth, at which Gotrek asks about the Earth Temple, it’s layout, defenses, traps, etc.

    “I’ve only been into the common areas,” he answers. “Never anywhere else. Only those associated with the Earth Temple go further. There are three portcullises that block the main entrance, and then you enter the common area with a large fountain. Passed that I have never ventured. As for defenses and traps, I can only say the place is full of orcs and half-orcs. The high-priest of the Earth Temple is a half-orc named Nofosh. Oh, and they have a Basilisk somewhere, or so I’ve heard.”
    “Where are the slaves kept?” asks Berenn.

    “They are taken inside, but I don’t know where,” he replies. He seems to be relaxing a bit.

    “What about the priestess you picked up in Elredd?” asks Elrae. “Who was she and where’d she go?”

    “Nothing. I was ordered to pick her up and bring her to Highport.”

    Emyn is about to ask another, when Isilme quickly interjects, “And the elf slave? What happened to her?” she asks, pushing Maerthorlear threateningly close to his neck.

    “The elf and more fit slaves were taken by orcs from the Earth Temple,” he says. “They must be there. I really don’t know anything about what happens here. I just take slaves and sell them here, where there’s a steady market. What Markessa does with them ain’t my problem.”

    “It is now,” says Emyn, putting a hand on his own sword.

    “What of this Markessa?” asks Isilme, continuing with her own questions. “ What do you know about her and her organization?”

    “Nothing, really,” he stammers, fear of the dark elf returning to his face. “I don’t know much and don’t answer to her anyway. She is an elven warrior/mage and she runs everything in Highport. I only seen her once, when she hired me. She gave him the Scroll of Communication, and she has the other page.”

    “What scroll?” says Hepla, suddenly interested. She pick up the scroll, “This one?”

    “Yeah,” he says. “You write on it, and the writing appears on it’s twin page, which Markessa has. Then she writes back, and her message appears there,” he adds, nodding at the scroll.

    “Is she one of these supposed Slavelords of which we’ve heard rumor?” asks Berenn.

    “I don’t know, probably, yes,” he stammers. “There are supposedly twenty Slavelords who secretly run the whole operation, though some rumors say they are ruled by a higher power themselves. They have a secret city somewhere deep in the Pomarj, hidden in the mountains.”

    “What else can you tell me about this Markessa,” asks Isilme, pressing both her questions and her blade.

    “Nothing, I said,” he almost cries. “She’s beautiful, and just as deadly. You can see it in her eyes. She looks at you like a butcher looking at a piece of meat.”

    “Then why do you work with her?” asks Isilme. “How’d an elf get in with slavery, selling your own kind. That’s almost worthy of a dark elf, not of your kind.” She flashes an evil smile that implies she actually approves of that aspect.

    Captain Giran shrugs, “Everyone has to make a living,” he says. “Like I said, it’s nothing personal.”

    “It is to those you take,” says Emyn. “And to me.” He edges closer. “Now, one last question. Why should we keep you alive?”

    “Why would you kill me?" he asks. "You board my boat, attack my men, break my arm," he holds it up sadly. "You steal our money and possessions? Now you threaten to kill us? You're no better than the Slavelords you seek."

    "If we were the slave lords,” says Emyn, “you'd already be dead or worse. I am giving you a chance to redeem yourself."

    "In that case," he says, drawing himself up a bit. "I'll take it."

    Berenn stands back, arms crossed and acting as if he really doesn’t care. “I believe burning the ship will provide a distraction to get into the temple. Everyone here is expendable.”

    Captain Giran looks even more uncertain. “Please, let us go. The Ghoul will sail tonight and never return to these waters.”

    “We got what we need,” says Nott. “I see no practical reason not to let them go.” He has his eye on the magical black dagger sitting on the table.

    “I agree,” says Hepla. “Killing everyone would be a waist.” She then tells the captain that she will curse him and his ship if they are not gone in an hour or if they ever come back here again. She will then take out one of her blue candles, cut off enough so it will burn one hour, set it in the captain's candle holder and light it, she will tell him that blowing it out will not change anything.

    The captain seems to believe what Hepla has done. He claims he needs the rest of his men, but Noot says he does not. "You can row with 30 men, just not as well,” says Noot. “Enough to begone and not bedevil anyone else."

    The captain gives a bit of a sneer, but one step forward from Taki with his maul makes him quickly smile. "Of course, you are right. We shall make ready immediately." He then looks to Hepla. "My charts and spellbooks? May I have them back?"

    Hepla looks at the rest of the party and says,"I can understand the charts, my friend Noot will look them over and see if we need to copy any of them. As far as the spellbooks, I'm unclear as why you would need them for sailing, Unless you give me a real good reason they will be part of the wages of war and become ours."

    "You will go, and without the spellbook,” growls Gotrek. “I initially agreed to letting you and your men go, but now I am doubting myself." He takes a step towards him. "I swear by Clangeddin, if I you ever cross my path again, and up to your old tricks, I will kill you before you can blink."

    "You just be grateful you've got yer life," says Thogrim. "Stinkin' slaver. You go, now."

    Berenn grabs the captain by the throat, "Mark my face well captain, for the next time you see it, it will be the last thing you ever see. Take your ship, your men and leave. Attempt to raise an alarm and I will bring fire down on you and all on board." He throws the captain backwards. "You have five minutes to awaken your crew and get underway. You are being watched." Berenn pulls the flame strike scroll from his pack and prepares to use it. "Your time starts now ..."

    After looking around, he decides it is best to not press his luck any more. He awakens the rest of his "scurvy dogs" and they prepare to make way. When the crewmen ask about the rest of the crew, he tells 'em to shut up and get going.

    You guys leave the ship as it dips oars. Noot casts off the lines, and the ship pulls slowly away from the dock.

    Isilme suddenly flies forward, her sword removing the captains head as his back is turned to her, all in a deft stroke! As the body drops to the floor, she kicks the head overboard. "Thus ends any traitor who would harm his own people. THIS is the justice of the ELVES! She points her sword at the officer. "Take this ship, these sailors, and your life, NEVER to be seen selling slaves again…or you will be next.”

    Hepla nods to the charmed man. "You just made captain, use the title to save your shipmates' lives, a blue candle of curse burns in his cabin, if it goes out and you are still here, you and your new boat will be at the bottom of this harbor. Now, move it, captain."

    Everyone is shocked, none more than the first mate, and the trip over themselves as they hurry to obey. The party leaves the ship, taking ALL Captain Giran’s stuff, and then leaves. Isilme stays hovering in the air above the ship as they finally cast off and begin to depart. Once the ship is clear of the dock and angling towards open sea, she then flies across the open water, landing next to the party along the coast road.

    The map so far, showing the galley at the long wharf. The temple is the large building complex in the center. That's not exactly what it looks like, but basically in the right shape. There appears to be a large courtyard in the center. There are two wings pointing towards the shore, and the main entrance is just inside the east wing (you can see what is a path going to the building from the road.) A portcullis blocks the way. There are double-doors at the end of the west wing. The building is all stone, very well-built. This is basically what you can see from the coastal road. There is another road which runs along the east side of the building, back towards the center of town. To the west of the Temple are other buildings, kind of run down. There is no light anywhere. A group of orcs (about a half-dozen) are moving amongst the run down buildings, and then enter one.

    The party divides up the items they found. Noot takes the +3 Dager, which he renames “Black Knife.” Isilme takes the Scroll of Communication, while Hepla takes the Wand of Flame Extinguishing. The bow goes to Berenn, while the others split up the potions. There were also some other items which they had found on the way, and they were divided as well. [can’t recall what they were.] They let Hepla have the Cat Medallion, which doesn’t radiate magic anyway.

    “It looks beautiful on you,” says Emyn, blushing.

    Hepla blushes a little too, when he says it looks good on her. She then says, "Let’s be moving; the rest of the crew could be returning, and we don't want to be standing here when that happens. That officer never dreamed he would be head of the ship that fast (giggle). On to the temple."

    "what is it about this party and evil temples?" isilmes laughs as she casts invisibilty on herself again and tells the party to hold while she flies up to get a good aerial view of the temple and a closer look at it's defenses.

    “It is imperative I rescue the elf that was sold into slavery by that Traitor,” says Isilme. “I am sworn to defend or avenge any of elvish blood. Emyn will you join me in my assault to rescue my kin?"

    “I pledge my sword to your task and your safety,” he replies solemnly.

    Hepla looks at Urgal and says,"I hope that begins to convince you of what is going on. You heard the former captain's answers. What do you think now?"

    "Slavery in Highport is nothing new," he says. "Still, I have said I will investigate things with you, and I shall."

    Soon Isilme returns, reporting the results of her aerial scouting. The entire temple is a couple hundred feet wide in a rough square. There are four open areas now that Isilme has flown overhead. Along the west wall of the west wing is a long rectangular section which is a graveyard, with a square mausoleum in the middle. There is a long rectangular garden in the center of the east wing as well. There is also a very large open area in the center of the complex, with smaller wooden buildings built within it. There are clearly a couple of barracks, kitchen, and such, and she saw some orcs milling about inside. There is another double door in the west side of the west wing as well. That the only other door she could see.

    In additions, there is a small courtyard about 50' in from the main entrance, with a rectangular fountain in the center. A large dragon idol, maybe 20' high is on the south end of it. There are 2 orcs guarding this courtyard, though you can't reach it with the portcullis dropped. You also notice there's another portcullis on the inside part of what is clearly an entrance tunnel. But basically, there's the main entrance with the portcullises, a double door at the north end of the west wing, and another double door in the west wall of the west wing which is open.

    Btw, in case you haven’t figured it out (right!) this is the temple from A1. Here’s a link to the map, if you care to check it out. http://www.rollforinitiative.org/slavers-series/

    “Did anyone spot the orcs going into the run down building?” asks Gotrek.

    The others nod, and they agree to go clear them out. “Don’t like enemies in my rear,” says Thorgrim.

    Hepla and Noot sneak up on the building. Noot tells her to hang back, but she just giggles. “This is too fun!”

    As they sneak up to the building, they hear the sounds of orcs from inside. There is a window with flickering light coming from within. Peeking inside, Hepla sees a half-dozen orcs inside eating and drinking. You notice thye are not armored, though they do have swords and axes and such.

    “No more pussyfooting,” growls Gotrek. “ Someone cast silence spell on these abominations of nature, and let's dispatch them quickly.”

    Hepla says, "This is a great chance to try out the new wand. You get in position to rush the house. I will, from the window, extinguish any fires in there, as they go to relight you come in, led by those with infravision and kill them. The window should still give you a little light. Try to keep one alive for questioning.”

    The building Hepla saw orcs enter is the right hand small building, just to the NW of the Temple's west wing. In that area there's some ruined buildings just north of the two small buildings, between them and the road. There's also a larger building further to the west. All the other buildings on the map (in this temple area and the warehouse area further west) are now official. If you have any further questions, let me know. In terms of scale, it's about 25' between the corner of the NW corner of the temple and the NE corner of that small building.

    "I only need ta know one thing," says Thorgrim. "Where they are."

    The area is pretty dark. There is light coming from in the orc building, but not a lot. The windows are just open with a cloth hanging over it, because the shutters are broken. That's why you could see inside. There is light coming from the west side of the Temple's west wing, as well as light inside the complex (inner courtyard and the paved courtyard with the fountain. There are also the lit torches in the front, flanking the portcullis and lighting up the cobblestone square there.

    “Ok, let's kill these orcs first,” says Gotrek. “We can't keep them alive behind us. It is dark. Throw a silence spell over them, and be done with it.”

    Thorgrim picks up a pebble and casts Silence upon it. He then moves up to the door with Gotrek, Taki, and Berenn. Hepla can stand by the window, prepared to throw a spell inside (or put out the light) if desired. He looks at Gotrek and nods. Noot checks the door for traps and examines the locks, if it opens, he gets out of the way.

    Gotrek bashes the door in (silently) and Thorgrim throws the pebble into the room, where it sits on the floor and encompasses the one-room building in silence. The building is roughly 20x30. You come in and an orc sees you and shouts, but no sound comes forth. You enter from the middle of the south wall. There are two orcs sleeping on mats along the west wall and four orcs sitting around a table eating. The orc facing the door sees you, but the others just look up wondering at the silence, then look to the orc who's standing and yelling (silently!)

    Gotrek moves into the room and swings his axe, taking the head off the orc sitting in front of him before he even looks back. Shocked looks cross the faces of the other orcs as they turn. Taki strides quickly into the room as the left orc is standing up, and swings his maul, hitting it in the chest. The orc flies across the room, landing on the two sleeping orcs. Berenn steps into the doorway, firing his bow and taking the standing orc right in the right eye, dropping it. The other orc flips the table over at Gotrek, rolls back, and comes up with a short sword in hand, only to have another arrow from Berenn suddenly sprout from the center of its chest. As it looks down confused, Gotrek leaps the table and plants his axe in the orcs shoulder, nearly choping through to its stomach. The other orcs push their comrade off themselves and roll over to see Taki standing over them with his maul. They stay on the ground and raise their hands in surrender, shouting noiselessly.

    Taki begins kicking their weapons away from them and getting them tied up and gagged, while the rest of the party enters the building. Isilme remains flying above, invisibly keeping watch to be sure nobody notices anything. Everyone enters, and she flies down as Emyn stands just in the doorway, looking disappointed.

    “I didn’t kill one orc,” he says from just outside the silence, his shoulders sagging a bit.

    “We aren’t done yet,” says Isilme.

    The two then enter and shut the door. The party is disgusted with the state of the building. Cities generally have a stink of **** and filth to them, but this area, whew! The orcs just squat anywhere it seems, and the pile of dung just outside the front door is disgusting. Inside it isn't much better, and you wonder how even orcs can live like this. But, you are all in the small building now.

    Thorgrim puts the pebble in his portable hole for now. "It'll only be good for another 10 minutes," he says. "What's the plan now?"

    “Time to question these buggers,” says Taki, slapping his maul against his palm menacingly.

    The orcs quickly being to talk. They just live here, part of the Black Tongue tribe which inhabits this area. They are not part of the temple. You learn that they have lost some of their warriors to the Temple forces, as maybe half the orcs have gone over to the worship of the Earth Temple, including these. They have never been inside, except to the temple proper. That's through the main entrance which is closed. They tell you that the double doors on the north go to a guardhouse. The doors to the west (which are open) go to the stables. The south doors go to the barracks and such, as that's where the orcs come and go most of the time.

    Taki looks up from guarding the orcs, "Great we killed these orcs for nothing." He walks off.

    Thorgrim walks over. "Nay lad," he says. "Killn' orcs is never fer nothin!" He and Gotrek then kill the two orcs before they even know it’s coming.

    [Thorgrim OOC: You've also learned a bit about the inside now. You know what's beyond some of the doors now, including the open western doors leading to the stable.]

    "You sir are right,” says Taki. “It is just I have not been of much help in this quest, and I am ready to do more of my part."

    “Let's infiltrate through the stables,” says Goldie. “Usually there are service doors from stables into other areas of any complex and they are not typically well guarded.”

    Hepla shrugs, unconcerned. “The stable entrance sounds good to me, probably smells better then here."

    Isilme scouts out the open doors to the stable. Noot slips through the shadows around the south side, verifies that the doors are locked, and apparently barred from the inside. There's no way for him to open them. He returns along with Isilme (still invisible). She reports that it is indeed a stable. There is also a nice coach just inside the doors. There are 6 horses in the stable, along with four orc guards. There is also the driver of the coach, who is sitting on the bench sleeping. There is a tiled corridor headed east from the NE corner of the stables.

    As she describes the coach, Urgal tells you that he recognizes it as the coach of Lord Sturm. “It seems he and Kilrak are here.” He looks at the others grimly.

    [The party is now preparing to enter the Temple of the Earth Dragon in Highport. I think they still have failed to put together that this is now shifting into A1, but so much the better. I also made my own map which may have kept the more astute ones from recognizing it. I have my own Highport map that I’ve been working on as well, which now that I think about, I should probably post here. I always thought Highport had more potential for fun play than just about any city. Yeah, when I get a chance, I’ll post what I’ve done and then get back to work on The Highport Project!]


    Last edited by ragnar on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:11 am  

    Part 15

    http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/18/65/87296518/photos/undefined/Temple%20of%20the%20Earth%20Dragon.jpg
    This is my map, using the A1 map as a background and Maptools to alter/add to it. I also flipped it sideways, so it will show up better on a screen.

    You move up in the darkness, and the party flanks the stables to right and left of the door. Isilme slips inside, invisible. There is a coach with two horses in the entryway, facing out. A coachman sits atop it, bored, while a half-dozen orcs guard the various exits, four in the rear, by the two doors, while two are by the double-doors. None seem very alert. Another four horses stand idly in other stalls. Isilme flies into the stables, which are about 20' high, and casts Sleep, causing three of the rear orcs to fall to the dirt floor asleep, as well as affecting the coachman. Taki rushes in and slams the orc just inside the doorway with his maul, driving it to the ground with a crunch. The horses panic with Taki's rush into the stables. One rears and kicks Taki [4]. Gotrek kills the other orc by the doors, but and tries to rush in; however, the horses with the coach, panicked by Taki, rear around and block the way. Nobody can get passed the horses now.

    Emyn enters, slips around the horses, and cuts them lose from the carriage. They bolt out through the open door knocking Gotrek down in the process. Taki slips around the side of the horse and the coach, but by the time he reaches the other end the orc is gone.

    The orc turned to flee as the horses bolted, and Isilme casts Phantasmal Force of blank wall. The orc stops, suddenly wondering where the wall came from, when Taki comes around the coach and slams it in the back with his maul. He hears the orc's spine crack under the blow, and it slumps to the ground. Isilme continues to keep the spell up, until the party enters.

    Berenn tries to calm the horses, but they bolt right on by and take off to the right, back to the road and around the corner. The rest of you quickly slip into the stables, shutting and barring the doors behind you. There are three sleeping orcs and the coachman, still fast asleep on his bench. The party kills the three sleeping orcs, and then they throw the bodies into the hayloft above the stalls. They wake up the coachman, and find that he is just that, coachman for Lord Sturm. He drove his lord and Kilrak here about three hours ago. He's been waiting ever since, and fell asleep. Seeing as the party disposed of the orcs, he has no idea anything happened.

    "Where are my horses?" he asks, looking around.

    "Sounds we are at the right place,” says Taki. “Mr. Coachman can you tell us what is past these doors? also what was your master doing here?"

    He looks at Taki. "Damn, you are a tall one!" He then thinks for a second. "Lord Sturm?" he asks. "Don't know. I'm just a coachman. Do you know where my horses are?"

    "Mr. Coachman I want you to live a long life so convince me that you know nothing least you fall victim to my maul."

    He looks around at the others present, then back at Taki. "Nothing about what? he says, looking worried. "Whatever it is, I know nothing!"

    "Just tie him up and throw him in the loft," says Thogrim. "He's just a peasant."

    Taki does as ordered, and when he returns Taki says "I guess we can move on into the temple now that we know those we are looking for are here. Do we think the dwarf allies would like to know their leader is here? Maybe they could storm the front while we attack from here?"

    Thorgrim considers that and then looks to Urgal. "What do you think?"

    Urgal thinks about it, then says that would probably not be a good idea. "I don't know much about Highport," he says, "but I know the humanoids here believe in this Earth Temple. If we attack openly, we could have the whole city up in arms!"

    Gotrek spits. He looks at Urgal, and grins. He says, " Uncle. This is the beginning of our fight. This is where we take the first step to regaining our glory. And I will lead the way."

    Urgal will not move against Kilrak without absolute proof, nor bring the Deldukr to a battle against an entire city of goblin and orcs, a battle in which they will all assuredly perish. He will follow your lead into this Temple, to seek out the truth behind Kilrak. After that, he will do what must be done, as his honor demands.

    “We should let Isilme scout around and perhaps find us a path of least resistance into the temple itself,” proposes Berenn.

    Isilme and Noot scout out the corridor. It is 5' wide, and goes about 20' where it turns left. There is a door on the right, just before it turns. The door is unlocked. The hallway continues straight for quite a ways, while a side passage opens to the right about 20’ down. That passage goes about 50' before turning right where there are stairs going down. To the left, just before the stairs is another door, also unlocked. The hallway running north skirts the cemetery that Isilme scouted out, wrapping around it before it ends. There are double doors to the left and right. The right doors are unlocked, while the left doors, leading to the cemetery, are locked. This entire temple area is lit by torches in wall sconces. There is no light coming from down the stairs

    In relation to what Isilme scouted from above, somewhere off to the right of the stairs is the courtyard with the fountain, and somewhere south of the stairs is the large central military courtyard. Isilme can't be exactly certain where they are, though she reasoned out the cemetery easy enough.

    After Isilme and Noot return, Berenn says, “I would like to check out the cemetery if we can open the doors.”

    “I would prefer we avoid the cemetery right now,” says Emyn. “It seems an unlikely place to find a meeting of slavers.”

    Thorgrim agrees, "The last place we be findn' the living will be there."

    The rest of the party agrees, so they move off down the corridor. They bypass the doors, and head all the way down to the stairs. Hepla takes out her light crystal, holding it up as the party descends the dark stairs They are 5' wide and end in a 5' corridor. It is tiled for about 15', with walls of fit stone and sturdy ceilings, 8' above. After that, the passage becomes rough dirt, and it is obvious that the finishing work is ongoing. To the left and right the passages continue into darkness. The one to the left has a branch going to the right about 30' down. To the right, the passage turns to the left, disappearing into the darkness. The only light is from Hepla’s dim crystal, so Elrae casts Continual Light upon Taki’s maul.

    http://memberfiles.freewebs.com/18/65/87296518/photos/undefined/Temple%20of%20the%20Earth%20Dragon%20Sewers.JPG.png
    This is the full map that the party will EVENTUALLY reveal. Just thought I'd put it here so you can follow the action!
    “So much for being sneaky,” says Taki.

    The passages are so narrow, that the party has to advance single-file. The party begins going to the left, and Taki takes a look down the side passage. It goes about 30' before opening into a chamber of sorts. He starts that way, followed by the rest of the party. Before he reaches the chamber, rushing up towards Taki are four things that look like misshapen orcs. You are still all in the 5' passage, as these things came out of the chamber, rushing towards you. Everyone else is strung out in a line along the 5' passage. I don't see the need for a map, because it's fairly easy to describe. In the side passage going south is, from bottom to top, Taki, Gotrek, Elrae, and Berenn. Standing in the intersection is Hepla, and going in a line back towards the stairs are Noot, Urgal, Thorgrim, and Emyn. Isilme is still at the top of the stairs, trying to stay out of the party's light and be sneaky invisibile.

    Taki smiles, knowing he will have to handle things alone. However, towards the rear of the party, Emyn is just down the stairs when another group of strange humanoids rushes up the other passage.

    A quick sleep spell from Hepla drops all of the humanoids to the south, and one from Isilme does the same for those coming up from behind. All of them are sound asleep, and looking more closely at them, you see they are strange versions of half-orcs. They all seem bred from various races: goblin, kobold, even some gnoll. You've never seen creatures like them. They are wearing dirty hides, and have very crude clubs and spears. Only one carries a true weapon, though even it is just a crude orc morning star.

    "Abominations, all of them,” says Elrae.

    The party is disgusted, and slays all the strange creatures. They keep alive the one with the morning star for interrogation. Hepla cuts the little fingers of two of them and puts them in her supplies.

    “You are a twisted little bitch aren't you?” says Berenn, shaking his head.

    “Some of these abomonations might have uses in potion making,” she replies. “Waste not want not.”

    Looking at the last creature, nobody really knows what the thing is. Obviously it's part orc, but the other part, well, it's strange. It's only about 4 1/2' tall, with big pointy ears, a too large mouth, tusks, and deformed hunchback. It's skin is also kind of blue-tinted, though it's covered with the course black hair of an orc. You slap it awake, and it calls itself Jeb.

    Berenn asks him what he knows of the layout of the temple, where the slaves are kept, guards/traps....and what his role is here, what kind of clan was this? “Perhaps we will let him live if he Proves useful,” he says.

    “We are the Children,” he says. “You will all die down here.”

    "Not before you,” says Gotrek, as he bashes his head in with Stonecrusher. "I am not going to be wasting my breath talking to this scum."

    Elrae nods his approval, and Taki says, “Lets move along."

    “Well, so much for getting any real information of maybe an actual guide,” says Isilme. “You guys really think the slavers meeting is going on down here with the inbred vermin?"

    “"Maybe you could do your scout thing while we muscle thru this evil pit," says Taki.

    The party gathers back up at the foot of the stairs, while Isilme and Berenn move out to investigate these tunnels using their infravision. Here's what they find:

    The passage to the right loops around to a large area, about 25'x40'. The ceiling is about 8' still, and supported throughout with extra. There are about 30 of the creatures you just killed in there, all alert, ready for a fight, and looking your way. Lucky for Isilme she was invisible. There are 4 other tunnels, all about 5' wide, heading off in different directions, as well as the long curving passageway going to the SE. The other chamber down the side passage, where the creatures rushed Taki, was a small sleeping area for half-dozen of the things. There are a few more small tunnels, only about 2 1/2' wide and about 6' high going off to the top right, and a larger one links up to that long passageway. The left passage continues passed the side passage, and ends with a small dismal chamber with a spiral staircase in it heading up. There are a dozen of the things there too, and they are busy chopping up a body with crude axes. It smells like a butchershop.

    After they return, Hepla says, "We could spend time down here killing the 'children' but I have to agree, I doubt any type of leadership is here. The staircase up might be worth looking at. I'm not even sure we should waste too many spells on them, unless some stronger ones come along."

    “I can't let these butchers continue their handiwork,” says Gotrek.

    [Gotrek OOC: Sorry guys. That is not Gotrek. If you want to throw some sleep spells on the groups, be my guest. But I am attacking.]

    "While you guys are down here butchering cockroaches,” says Isilme, “I will be doing something useful like finding the prisoners or the slavers." Isilme then leaves by going back up the stairs the party originally came down.

    [Isilme OOC: funny thing is, had we just waited in the stables, the lord and dwarf would have come to us....we had his carriage.]

    [Berenn OOC: There was no guarantee either would come to us. What lord walks to the stables to get into their carriage? The carriage comes to him. There is also no guarantee they would cooperate if either showed up.

    [Isilem OOC: (we had the oportunity to charm the driver) Thing is we *know* the **** will eventually have to show up at the carriage wherever it ends up. I don't think anyone was caring if they wanted to cooperate!]

    Gotrek charges down the passage towards the large room, singing his warsong, but as he enters a net falls from the ceiling, completely covering him and making him tumble to the ground in a heap. Hepla and the rest who followed move up and find themselves blocked by the entangled Gotrek.

    Hepla quickly casts her sleep spell, dropping two of the creatures. 5 of the things set up and stab at the entangled Gotrek, hitting him once [6]. Elrae has to hold his color spray, unable to cast through Hepla and Gotrek. Emyn calls upon Trithereon, and summons aid. Two large scorpions appear in the midst of the creatures. Gotrek curses as he struggles with the net, only entangling himself further. Everyone else finds they are helpless to do anything, as there isn't room to move down the narrow passage.

    Elrae follow Hepla's lead, and they both squeeze against the wall, allowing Emyn to push through. He gets up to Gotrek and the net, and is immediately hit by a spear [6].

    Taki moves around the other way, all the way back through the other sleeping chambe, followed closely by Thogrim. They try to take the creatures in the rear, but just around the corner of that chamber, Taki runs into a handful of the creatures, barring the way with spears. One stabs him [3].

    The ones around Gotrek stab at him, and he takes another hit [3] as he struggles in the net. Towards the rear, you can see the other creatures fighting the scorpions.

    Hepla casts a quick grease spell, making the area just beyond Gotrek slippery. All of the things in the area slip and fall. Emyn slays the one next to him, then step around Gotrek to attack the one on his other side. It promptly stabs at Gotrek, hitting him again [4].

    Taki meanwhile hits one of the creatures, bashing its head in. Thorgrim steps up beside him and kills another.

    The next round Berenn uses his Flame Strike scroll, and the center of the chamber erupts in brilliant flame, igniting the oil and incinerating everything there. The support beams for the ceiling as well as many of the overhead supports are instantly destroyed and the rest catch fire around it as the entire place is covered in flame. A very ominous rumble begins. The rest of the party back out, and Emyn can only grab the net and pull, dragging Gotrek back up the passage before the entire place begins to collapse. A cloud of dust rolls outward through every passage, completely obscuring vision. Nobody can see anything, clear back to the stairs and beyond!

    Even where Taki and Thorgrim are, the collapse spreads into that corridor, burying the remaining creatures ahead of them. They are barely out of the collapse, though also groping blindly in the dust. Any torches are out, and though Taki's maul still provides light, it's useless right now. Everybody groups their way back along the passage until they reach the stairs, then begin to scramble up.

    Taki says "We had best be ready for what will be waiting for us as we have made a lot of noise.”

    [Isilme OOC: how many times do we use fire spells in underground temples before we realize it brings it down on top of us?]

    Hepla, who picked up her whip before running, and is still trying to get her hearing back, says,"Wow, giggle, children go boom."

    "At least we destroyed those ugly orcish half-breeds,” says Elrea. “They were disgusting."

    Noot goes upstairs first, followed by Elrae. While they are standing there, choking on the cloud of dust that billowed upstairs as well, and down the hallway, the door flies open. Noot catches a glimpse of a startled orc. The orc draws a shortsword as the dust wraps around him, nearly blocking your views of each other.

    [OOC: you can't see more than 5' in the cloud, so Noot and the orc can barely see each other. For a moment Noot and Elrae caught a glimpse of other humanoids in the room, before the dust flowed in there as well. It's not a bad here, but still pretty thick. Everyone else is groping around in the dust cloud, eyes shut to keep out the dust, and trying not to breathe it. Emyn is trying to get Gotrek out, but it's pretty hard to do without vision.]

    Noot pulls out his sword and dagger, and stabs the orc in a rage, driving into the room as both weapons bury themselves to the hilt in the orc's belly. Elrae fumbles his way into the room, Snowfang before him. Isilme comes up to the stairs, casting a Gust of Wind back down the passage and driving away all the dust. The rest of the party is revealed except for Urgal, Thorgrim, and Taki, as they are the other direction. Everyone else can move freely.

    The orcs get up as the dust flies into the room, two tripping over their stools and landing at Noot's feet. There are two more, and they draw swords themselves. One stabs at Elrae, missing badly and tripping, falling to the ground.

    Noot stabs the orc by the table, which just stood up, and is then hit in return [2]. Elrae now sees he's facing a half-orc with a wicked scar across his face revealing his teeth in a perpetual sneer. Elrae stabs with Snowfang [9] and the half-orc lunges forward with its longsword, piercing Elrae in the abdomen. He takes a wicked stab wound [21] and stumbles backwards towards the door, falling to the ground. The last orc scrambles over to Elrae and grapples him.

    As the dust clears, Isilme can now see in the room and about half-way down the hall. She fires the wand of wonder into the room. It's not hard to clear Elrae, as he's prone and bleeding badly. Eight fiery globes fly from the wand and strike the half-orc, seemingly causing a great deal of damage. Isilme turns visible as she moves past the door, to the corner. She hears shouts from further down the hallway and the sounds of booted feet moving closer.

    Downstairs, Emyn gets Gotrek out of the net, and the pissed off dwarf finally gets to his feet. He feels he has looked bad in front of his uncle, Urgal. He means to make up for it.

    Isilme casts Phantasmal Force down the hallway, making it appear that the entire building collapsed there, blocking the way completely. In the room, Noot jumps up on the table and hits the orc behind it [1]. The orc flips the table over, sending Noot tumbling across the room. His expert roll avoids any damage, and he comes up on his feet in the corner.

    The half-orc doesn't even bother looking at him, stepping up to Elrae instead and stabbing him again while he is on the floor [8] as the other orc pins his arms.

    Urgal rushes into the room, leaps over Elrae, and bowls the half-orc over, knocking him backwards where he trips over the upturned table and falls to the floor.

    Hepla fires magic missiles at the orc holding Elrae, blasting a series of smoking holes in the things head. It slumps over Elrae, who struggles to flip it off himself. As Hepla kneels next to him, Taki comes bounding up the steps, followed closely by Gotrek.

    Hepla pulls Elrae out into the hallway and checks him, noting the bad stab wound to his abdomen. Elrae shrugs her off with a smile, and is about to get up when Taki steps over him and moves into the room. Ahead of him, he sees the half-orc grab a stool and throw it at Urgal, hitting him in the face. The dwarf just smiles a grim smile, flips the table aside, and kicks the half-orc in the face. As he spits out teeth, Taki steps up next to Urgal and brings his maul down on the half-orc's head, smashing it like a melon.

    Fight's over, for now....


    Last edited by ragnar on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:36 am; edited 2 times in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:56 am  

    Part 16

    [The party made a fiasco of their attempt to infiltrate the dungeons beneath the temple, and have been forced back to the ground floor. Though they’ve taken care of their immediate threats, they are trapped with more guards rushing to the scene, due to the massive collapse caused by Berenn’s Flame Strike.]

    Isilme can hear orc voices on the other side of her llusions, talking about the collapsed area. Then another voice, more commanding, orders them to go around while telling other guards to go back to their posts. Meanwhile, Berenn and Thorgrim use their spells to heal the party’s wounds, especially Elrae.

    "Well,” says Isilme’s voice from the hallway, “if you wanted everyones attention around here you got it, what next? I can make it look like this rubble is settling and sliding and create a large opening here again.....then Gotrek and company can rush out! This way I can support you with falling rubble, ect in my spell area of effect"

    OOC: This way Gotrek can redeem himself with his uncle! Plus I know how much you guys love to beat things down! I got your back!
    All I ask, is that maybe we keep someone who knows something ALIVE so we can get a guide!

    Emyn comes forward, sword out to stand with Taki and Urgal. When the time comes for the fight, he'll be ready. Gotrek smiles at the drow. And starts to sing.

    Isilme drops her illusion as Elrae fires a crossbow bolt down the hall, killing the orc guarding the intersection which leads back to the stables. Gotrek charges down the hall and seeing the orc suddenly sprout a crossbow bolt in the chest, he ignores him and turns left, going through an open door. He is followed by Emyn, Taki, and Urgal. The room is a long barracks, with beds for about 20 guards. There's nobody in there right now.

    They head back out, and Gotrek turns left, towards the stables. He goes through the door to the south, singing. He finds a square guardroom, with one orc still there. The orc turns to him just as Gotrek hits him in the face with his hammer, knocking the orc sprawling. A hallway continues away from him, up a short flight of stairs, and he follows it around a corner. There is an open door to the left to a small landing, and he goes out there, seeing steps going down to a dirt floor. He is in the inner courtyard.

    [I altered the map a bit, by making that alcove a landing for stairs going down into the inner courtyard. I also changed the courtyard quite a bit, rebuilding a lot of the ruins. If I can find my map and post it, I will, just so you can see what I did. Anyway, Gotrek is entering the inner courtyard, from the niche just to the right of the long room with the pit and the board going across it.]

    There is a stone wall to the south, and another to the east, dividing this building from the yard. There is a large double door in the building which is wide open. There are 4 orcs in the room, all looking out into the yard. One turns back just as Gotrek appears at the top of the stairs, the others close behind. Meanwhile, Noot went over to the stables, and there he finds another two orcs, talking by the coach.

    Gotrek, Emyn, and Taki charge down the stairs as the orcs scream a warcry and move to intercept them. Berenn moves out onto the landing, taking out his bow. Elrae tries to get by him to use his crossbow, but cannot, so he stays in the hallway, Hepla and the rest behind him. Gotrek pushes one orc back into his friends, as Taki and Emyn come flying down the stairs, Taki actually leaping to the ground from half-way down. The orcs face off against them. One runs out into the yard, and Berenn fires an arrow at him, but misses badly. It runs around a corner and yells for help.

    Urgal moves to the corner of the hall, and there see another guardroom, this one with four orcs in it and a couple more on the stairs across the way. They turn to charge him with a snarl. [This is the long room which has a pit in it and a board crossing it. I eliminated the nonsensical pit, and made it just a guardroom.]

    Meanwhile, Noot sneaks around behind the coach, getting ready for a surprise backstab.

    Gotrek goes for the one orc running away in the yard. He is hoping, by Clangeddin, the dolt leads him to more of the scum! He knocks his way passed the orc in front of him, making for the one that just left the building. He takes a hit from the orc as he does so [6], but he reaches the orc in the courtyard just as it turns to face him. With a cry, he bashes its face in, killing it instantly. Just beyond him is a huge gaping sinkhole, freshly opened up from the collapse downstairs. About two dozen orcs are gathered around, and another couple dozen are beyond them, scattered around the courtyard.

    Emyn and Taki both fight the two orcs in front of them but miss. Emyn is hit for [5]. Berenn fires two shots into the orc Gotrek knocked down, killing it and pinning it to the earth. Hepla hears Urgal fighting down around the corner, and he moves that way.

    Noot moves over to the orcs in the stables, and as soon as one is not looking at the other, he backstabs that orc, killing it instantly. As the other turns around, Noot sticks his sword through the orc's belly, dispatching it just as quietly. He then drags the bodies over to the coach, throwing them inside.

    Isilme is staying at the T intersection, so she can see each way and guard the rear.

    Taki and Emyn both miss. Berenn can't get a shot, so he moves down the stairs. About half-way down he can get a shot out the open doors at an orc, and he takes it. His arrow strikes true, sending the orc tumbling backwards into the sinkhole.

    Elrae comes out on the landing, looking for a target, but can't find one. Hepla moves down the hall to check on Urgal. When she comes around the corner, she sees him fighting 4 orcs in the entrance to another guardroom. They can only come at him one at a time, and already two have fallen. She readies sleep, but doesn't cast unless needed.

    Isilme moves into the stables, and sees Noot putting the bodies into the coach.

    Outside in the open courtyard, Gotrek charges into the orcs, cursing as one goes down with an arrow in the chest. “That one was mine!” He then attacks the next one, killing it easily before going into a rage.

    The orcs atack Taki and Emyn. Taki is hit by a ferocious sword strike [14] to his chest. The blow breaks a rib and stuns him for his next round. He also loses his second attack this round. Emyn then hits and kills his orc. A bunch of orcs charge into Gotrek, but can't get through his defenses. He then enters his killing rage!

    Gotrek cuts down another orc, as the four around him all attack, missing. He then kills another.

    Emyn now has two orcs in his face, and he kills one with his sword. The other misses. Berenn fires an arrow, hitting the orc that just hit Taki, and Elrae hits it with a crossbow bolt, putting the thing down. Emyn is missed by the other orc. Taki takes another [4 damage] from his badly bleeding wound.

    Urgal kills another orc, and Hepla decides to wait, seeing that he seems to have everything under control. Meanwhile, Isilme begins to fly up over the compound. Unfortunately, her fly spell is about to expire. She can see the whole length and breadth of the courtyard. There is an open door opposite the sinkhole. There are buildings all along the west side. There are two more doors in the SW corner and a couple into the buildings to the west. Those buildings are all new, with solid stone walls walls with tile roofs. There are lots of orcs in the courtyard!

    Across from the courtyard is a small room on the top level (looks like about 30' square and it's not shown on the map but it's about 20' SE from the far SE corner of the courtyard.) and with a balcony running around it. She decides to land on the tower to the SE, where there is a small balcony.

    Lots of orcs move up, virtually surrounding Gotrek with more coming around his flanks and going after Emyn and Taki. Inside the building, another moves up to Emyn while one comes inside and charges Berenn on the stairs.

    Gotrek laughs, as foam spouts out of his mouth. THIS is what he was made for. To kill these vermin, and their ilk. He swings the Warhammer again, as green blood and brain go flying. He continues on..........

    Emyn shouts, "THorgrim! Taki needs help!"

    Taki gets up and tries to continue fighting, but he’s obviously quite hurt. "Taki!” yells Emyn. “Drink your potion of extra healing before you bleed to death!"

    Berenn leaps off the stairs, evading a swipe by the orc in front of him and landing behind Taki where he kneels down, swings off his pack, and fishes out his Rod of Health. (He can use it next turn.)

    Elrae fires his crossbow at the orc on the stairs, missing badly, the bolt flying across the room. Behind him, Thorgrim grumbles something about bards hogging all the fighting.

    Taki hits and kills the orc in front of him, but takes another [4] from the earlier wound. Emyn also kills the orc facing him.

    Down the hallway, Hepla has no problem with Urgal hogging the fighting. She watches as he kills another orc, then waits as one steps up to him, then hits and kills that orc as well. With only two left, she turns and heads back down the hallway towards Thorgrim, feeling kind of useless.

    Gotrek swings wildly at the nearest orc, stumbles over a dead body, and loses his grip on Bonecrusher which goes flying down the sinkhole. The orcs swarm him again, with more moving up. One slips and falls. One to his right hits him in the back [? He's raging so doesn't get his damage revealed anymore]. The others all miss. Most of the rest seem to be watching the combat between Gotrek and the orcs surrounding him, not moving closer. A couple orcs on the other side of the sinkhole run back out through the door, while a couple others stand there watching as well. The door behind Gotrek opens, and a handful of orcs file out, looking around to see what's happening. They stop and watch Gotrek when those across the sinkhole point towards the rest of the party in the building.

    Inside, the orc on the stairs charges up and bowls into Elrae, carrying him right off the landing. The two tumble into a heap on the backside, Elrae landing on top and taking only [3]. The orc takes [5]. Thorgrim sees Elrae and the orc tumble off the landing, steps out, and leaps off, landing next to them.

    Meanwhile, Isilme lands on the balcony as her flying spell ends. From there she can see most of the combat taking place in the courtyard. She is about 30' above ground level now, and about 30' from the SE corner of the courtyard.

    Berenn heals Taki, and the big man instantly feels the pain subside. Elrae fires magic missiles at the orc fighting him, killing it. Then he gets up, ready to help out. Urgal finishes off the two orcs left fighting him. Hepla moves out onto the landing, doesn't see any orcs, so she moves down the stairs beside Berenn. Taki and Emyn charge out the open doors, catching the orcs there in the flanks and killing two of them. Meanwhile, Noot returns, coming out on the top of the stairs to see what's going on.

    Isilme uses her Wand of Highfolk, and the group of orcs at the far end of the courtyard begin to argue amongst themselves. It quickly escalates into a full brawl.

    Gotrek bashes an orc with his shield, then drops it, taking out his axe as the remaining orcs all attack him, with one hitting him from behind [?]. Other orcs move over to attack Emyn and Taki, but miss.

    The orcs overbear Gotrek, throwing him to the ground under a pile of them! He then breaks free, throwing one down the sinkhole, though he is still on the ground.

    Taki lays into the orcs grappling with Gotrek, and slams one in the side of the head, splitting it open and spraying Gotrek with orc brains! Emyn also hits an orc, severing a shoulder and arm and half its side.

    Thorgrim runs to the edge of the sinkhole and leaps over the corner of it, landing next to Gotrek who barely recognizes Thorgrim through the haze of his rage.

    Hepla cast Polymorph Self, changing into a small dragon.

    Berenn moves out next to her, donning his pack once again and readying his bow. Elrae follows them, as does Noot and Urgal.

    The orcs give up their attempt to grapple with Gotrek, with the other warriors now appearing. All the orcs miss, as Isilme uses her wand to get more orcs to fight amongst themselves. Another group of orcs comes out of the door at the SW corner of the courtyard, moving up from the south.

    Hepla flies forward, exhorting the orcs to surrender. They point and yell something, but none flee. Taki mentions backing off, but Emyn doesn't respond so he just keeps bashing orcs. They each kill another as Gotrek, bites and claws his way to his feet before taking the head off an orc. All the orcs miss you guys, though Gotrek takes another hit [?]. Thorgrim takes out another orc as well.

    Berenn fires at the two arcs across the sinkhole, missing, and they fire back, hitting him [2] and Elrae [1]. Elrae has his sleep spell ruined, and stands there frustrated, Snowfang in hand. Two more orcs emerge from the door across the sinkhole and take up positions to fire bows as well. [There are now 4 orc archers across the way.]

    To the south, Isilme uses her wand again on the new orcs. They see the other orcs fighting and charge into them. Other orcs are now joining in against their own comrades up by the sinkhole, and the whole area is starting to degenerate into a confusing mess. Orc leaders seem powerless to get them to stop fighting each other.

    Noot hides in the shadows, then slowly starts to slip around the rear wall, around the edge of the sinkhole, and towards the orc archers.

    Hepla casts sleep on the four orc archers, and they all drop asleep, one falling into the sinkhole. Gotrek, Taki, and Emyn, all kill orcs facing them while Thorgrim advances into the heart of the orcs and attacks, killing one himself.

    Berenn fires arrows across the sinkhole, taking out another orc, while Elrae sheathes Snowfang and takes out his crossbow.

    Noot carefully creeps through the broken wall section along the edge of the sinkhole. His going is very slow, both because he’s in shadows, but also on account of the dangerous footing.

    Content with the discord she has sown, Isilme checks out the balcony, finding a door to the inside, but finds it locked. She then looks around for any other balconies or anything, but sees none. This seems to be the high point of the temple complex.

    The orcs move up to the attack, and swing at Emyn, Taki, and Gotrek but all miss. About half the orcs have turned around and are fighting amongst themselves now. Five surround Thorgrim, and three orcs hit him [5] [21] [7]. [Man, one was a rough x3 critical!]

    Hepla lands near the sleeping orcs, presuming they are at a little distance from other orcs, polymorphs into a troll and begins picking up sleeping orcs, breaking their necks and tossing them at the fighting orcs. Meanwhile, Isilme pours her vial of acid in the lock. As her acid starts to work on the lock, she notices the southern end of the courtyard is completely walled off. Inside the area, from out of a covered section, rambles a creature out of legend. A Basilisk! It rears its head back and roars. The good news is the beast doesn't seem to have a way out of its enclosure.

    Hepla-Troll throws the sleeping orcs into the pit, as the two nearest ones flee. Berenn shoots one in the back, dropping it. Thorgrim kills one next to him, and Gotrek kills another. Taki and Emyn both kill the orcs next to them. The orcs attack back, and only one hits Thorgrim [5]. About half of the other orcs kill each other, fighting in the center of the courtyard.

    Isilme forces the door, and knocks over an orc priest who was apparently about to go outside. He shakes his head and looks around, wondering what just happened. [She’s still invisible.] Isilme sing her charm, but it fails against the priest. He gets up and casts some kind of spell, the effect of which isn't obvious to her. Isilme then casts phantasmal force of a halfling scooting past the priest and twisting a magic ring to jump off the balcony and float down like a feather. He looks a lot like Derry and even sticks his tongue out at the priest on the way down.



    Urgal rushes out behind Taki, and kills another orc fighting Gotrek, just as Gotrek hits and kills his last foe. Thorgrim also hits another, killiing it.

    Emyn and Taki then move up against the last line of orcs, just turning back towards the party after fighting their enraged companions.

    With Sweetness, Elrae fires finally, hitting and killing the other orc that ran from Hepla. With his second shot he hits another, and a shot from Berenn brings it too down.

    The last two orcs turn and run, but are cut off by the last two charmed orcs, and the four of them start to fight.

    Unsure of the whole Hepla-Troll thing, Noot slips back around and makes his way next to Berenn and Elrae.

    Emyn attacks the orcs, killing another. He takes a shot in return [6]. Gotrek and Thorgrim both kill the last orcs facing them, after the orcs miss, then Gotrek rushes up alongside Emyn.

    Unable to get a clear shot, Elrae moves across to the far side of the courtyard, just as Hepla turns back into a small black dragon. The giggle gives her away though. Berenn moves up next to Thorgrim and heals him with his rod, curing 16.

    Meanwhile, Urgal moves around everyone to attack the last two orcs who are fighting amongst each other.

    The next round, Gotrek and Taki kill the last two next to them, as Urgal kills the other. All the orcs are dead.

    In the mean time, Noot moved over to the nearest building from which the orcs emerged and checks it out. It's a barracks. Rather than waste time rumaging through a bunch of orc junk, he just comes out to report what he found.

    Thorgrim was healing himself, as Hepla does her best dragon shrug and changes back to her own form. Everyone else takes a moment to rest, wiping the blood from their weapons when suddenly, taking the hillman totally by surprise, Gotrek lands a wicked blow against him with his axe [19].

    [OOC: Gotrek fails his wisdom check! He turns and attack the nearest person which unfortunately is Taki. ]

    Hepla looks at Gotrek and, staying out of his range says,"Gotrek, its me, Hepla, these are your friends." If that doesn't stop him she will polymorph into him and say in dwarf<Stop that, yee will only be hurting yee friendes.>

    "Gotrek!!!" shouts Elrae. "It's us, your friends. Calm down, you've killed all the orcs." Elrae then sings a relaxing song in dwarvish to bring the battlerager out of his state.

    Gotrek is STILL enraged! A few people yell at him, then Elrae starts to sing, but Gotrek just growls. Suddenly he starts to lift into the air. Hepla is standing in the background, arm outstretched, raising the raging dwarf into the air where he cannot harm anyone.

    Emyn and Berenn move over to Taki as well, and Noot seems to just appear out of nowhere behind Hepla.

    "Does that happen a lot?" he asks.

    She giggles in response, "Oh, once in a while."

    The next round Gotrek fails his Wisdom check again, and struggles futilely against his weightless floating!

    Thorgrim comes over checks out Taki's wounds. He uses another cure spell on him.

    Upstairs, Isilme casts her illusion, and the priest rushes out on the balcony following "Derry". She notices that he is a half-orc, in case I didn't mention that before, and he bears the symbol of the Earth Dragon which you've already seen and recognize.

    The priest looks over the railing, ready to cast a spell, while Isilme casts Strength. She then rushes up and shoves him over the edge, becoming visible, but watching with satisfaction as he falls on the tiled roof below with a crack, and starts rolling down. Unfortunately, he rolls off to the left, towards the Basilisk den.....

    Everyone's now caught up! Down in the courtyard, Gotrek finally makes his check, and comes out of his rage. "OK, you can let me down now!" he cries. Then you hear the crash of broken tiles, and looking up you see Isilme standing on the balcony, illuminated by the light coming from the door. You briefly see a shape on the rooftop before it rolls out of sight, followed by a scream that abruptly cuts off.

    Isilme quickly secures a spider silk rope to the railing and throws it down so the party can get up and waves to everyone. She then draws her sword and stands off to the side or finds a good hidden spot to attack any coming in from the door the priest used. The room is very roughly furnished, with nothing of seeming value. Isilme pockets two potions which are sitting out on a small table; she doesn’t find anything else. There is an open door beyond which are stairs headed down.

    “Where’s Bonecrusher?” asks Hepla as she lowers Gotrek.

    "Down in the sink hole I believe,” says Elrae, wiping dead orc from his hair.

    She says,"If you point it out to me I still might have time to get it. giggle, I like turning into a dragon, its fun." If she can she will turn into a black dragon, fly down and return with the weapon in her claws. She then will fly to Isilme then turn back to herself.

    Hepla flies down and finds Bonecrusher, then comes back up. She gives it to Gotrek, who picks up his shield. He actually doesn't look too bad, and it seems all the wounds were superficial. Meanwhile the party is climbs up the rope, with Isilme warning them not to look towards the Basilisk as they come up. Berenn uses his Rope of Climbing, and Hepla just flies, carrying Noot who doesn't weigh much. Soon the party has gained the upper level, where the priest had his quarters.

    Isilme gathers her spider silk rope and closes the doors to the outside.

    "These crazy fools keep Baskilisks as pets! Even Drow don't do that!" She then casts invisibilty on herself again.

    "When we are done here, we should find a way to kill it. People could be harmed if it gets loose."

    Hepla says, "There is a baskilisk here? Where? Oh, over there. Wow, if I had known I would have changed into one, that would have scarred the orcs. I had ,giggle, planed to become a medusa next, but we ran out of orcs."

    "Does anyone have a mirror?" asks Elrae, dying to peak out the windows.

    "I imagine Hepla does,” replies Emyn. “She's too beautiful not to have one."

    "The baskilisk is currently nicely fenced in, why mess with it right now?" says Isilme. "We better hurry and catch the dwarf and town leader before they leave! I fear for the elvish slave as well."

    “We don't need a stoned basilisk,” says Noot. “We do need to get that dwarf before he causes any more trouble.”

    Overruled, thinks Elrae. "OK, let's get that dwarf bastard."

    With a short pause to catch their breaths, the party then prepares to investigate the rest of this tower......
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    Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:14 pm  

    Dang, no comments is weeks? Did my game get boring? I even started to add maps! :)
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    Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:27 pm  

    Part 17

    The stairs go down, and end up in a hallway, with a door on either side as well as a door straight ahead. The area is all dark, the only light coming from Taki's maul.

    "Well," says Isilme, invisible again. "I dont think we should head back as that would lead us back to the main front gate we left behind. So we should take the door that leads us forward. Moving towards the other end of the complex. Lets open that door in the hall.
    We could have Noot or Isilme scout the door opposite these stairs if you want options?"

    The door to the right is locked, the one to the left is not. The door straight ahead is locked from this side.

    "Best to not mess with the barred door if its keeping people out of here for now," says Isilme. "We should have Noot check the locked right door for traps then pick the lock. If he can't pull it off I can pour acid in the mechanism."

    Noot moves over to the lock, and easily picks it. While he does this, Taki and Emyn share Taki's potion of extra-healing. Seeing their states, Berenn using the Rod of Xodal on them both as well.

    "I love that rod," Emyn says. Then blushes realizing what he's just said.

    You hear Isilme say "yuck. Probably raised by priests."

    Emyn chuckles and says, "I walked into that one. At least I didn't spend half my life as a wizard's plaything. I am certain he had you shine all sorts of things."

    Urgal shakes his head and looks at Gotrek, who is just starting to get over the weakness from his rage. He just shrugs.

    Noot opens the locked door, beyond which you find a small sleeping room. There is a table, desk, chair, armoir, blah blah blah. A screen partitions off the back corner, and you can barely see a bed protruding past. You hear loud snoring from the bed. Noot sneaks over and finds an orc sound asleep in the bed. The opposite door leads to another similar room, but it is empty.

    Thorgrim goes and grabs the sleeping orc, who you find out is an underpriest of the Earth Dragon. There are three priests total, he says, along with about 100 orc guards. Since you've killed about 50 so far, that accounts for about half! Upstairs is the quarters of Nofosh, High Priest of the temple. The room across the hall is that of another underpriest. From quick descriptions, you figure out the priest Isilme killed upstairs was not the high priest, but the other acolyte. He must have heard the commotion and went upstairs to warn the high priest or to just take a look from up above. You also find that beyond the locked door at the end of the hallway is the actual temple itself.

    [The party questions the orc priest, finding out the following information. There is a secret area beneath the temple. He hasn't been there yet, but he knows that you can reach it from the stairs that you came down, as well as from a spiral stair from where they feed the Broken Ones. They are the humanoid hybrids that live beneath the temple.

    He doesn't know anything about Kilrak or Markessa, or the Slavelords or anyone else. He knows that slaves are sometimes brought into the complex, that they are taken downstairs, and they do not return. He doesn't know anything about the elf prisoner from The Ghoul. The stairs he speaks of are the stairs that you originally went down.]

    Isilme sings her charm into the orc priest's ear. Once he falls under her spell, the party decides to enter the temple proper. Opening the door, they see it has a raised dais with a large dragon statue. There are also fountains in the corners. There's nothing all that special about it. Unlit torches are in wall sconces, so the only light is from Taki's maul. There is a passage heading out from here towards the open courtyard with the fountain.

    Isilme asks the priest, "Is the baskilisk the earth dragon, and what are you using it for?"

    "Of course it's not the Earth Dragon itself!" he says. "The basilisk is a symbol of the power of the Earth Dragon."

    "How can we get to the underground areas," says Emyn, to Isilme and the charmed priest.

    "I think we collapsed that," says Thorgrim, glancing at Berenn.

    "Clearly there is another way down," says Isilme. "That spiral staircase where the creatures were cutting meat was way down the hall, I think this direction." She points away from you.

    The priest nods. "The Feeding Stairs," he says. "Where the guards feed the Broken Ones."

    "Take us to the feeding stairs," says Isilme.

    The priest leads the way down a hallway, lined with alcoves to either side. It looks like there were once statues there, but they are all gone. He pauses and works a small lever, unsetting a pressure plate trap in the center of the hallway. He then leads the party down to a double door.

    "Beyond this is the courtyard of the dragon," he says. "From there we will go around the gardens to the Feeding Stairs."

    "Do you know where meetings are usually held here when dignitaries like the town overlord and his dwarvish bodyguard visit?" asks Isilme. "If so, let's head there!"

    "They meet downstairs," he says. Based on his description, you figure they go down the stairs you went down earlier, where you collapsed the underground cavern. Since he's never been down there, he doesn't know where they go after that.

    Contiuing on, he opens the door into the courtyard, and there you find yourselves confronted by another group of orcs. This courtyard is a large open area, nicely tiled with a rectangular fountain in the center. Another statue of the Earth Dragon sits at the south end, spraying water out its mouth into the fountain. There are corner fountains around the courtyard, a couple on the long left and right walls, and stone benches along the walls, between the fountains. At the north end is a large gatehouse to the outside, and you see a triple set of portcullises blocking the passage. There are doors to the left and right, both open. The one to the left leads out to the courtyard with the sinkhole, where you battled the orcs. Through the door to the right is a hallway. To the left and right of the portcullis are rooms as well, with orc guards. There seem to be about two dozen guards in here. Some heading out to the left towards the sinkhole and some just coming in from the right.

    The priest wishes the orcs luck in dealing with the intruders, and they continue out towards the open courtyard with the sinkhole. Isilme snaps a couple shots of the Wand of Highfolk as they are heading through the doorway. She can hear the sounds of fighting erupting outside. Once all the orcs have filed passed, the priest then leads you through the hallway on the right, around the garden and down a long hallway. It eventually leads to the stairs heading down.

    There is a trap door that has to be pulled aside to reveal the stairs down. The priest explains that it's mainly to keep the smell out. Thorgrim pulls the door over, and you immediately see the stairs spiral down to a dirt floor. The light from the room illuminated downstairs, and you see a half a body, no telling what race it was, all chopped and torn up. There's no sign of anything alive down there.

    "Is there something in the garden?" asks Isilme.

    "Nuthin' in the garden but plants," he replies.

    "Does this temple have a treasury and where is it? I am afraid these rebelling temple troops may try to steal it!"

    "The treasure of the temple is stored safely in the temple itself, in a secret chamber. Nofosh also keeps an extra stash in his room."

    Hepla polymorphs into a likeness of the Earth Dragon, from the statue they passed. The priest immediately drops to his knees before Hepla. Taki keeps a good eye on the priest making sure he does nothing stupid.

    Taki looks at the party and asks "Are we going down there?" He wrinkles his nose at the awful stench.

    " Yup. Just hold your breath," laughs Berenn.

    "Wait here," says Isilme. She then casts Fly again, and flies down into the catacombs.

    Hepla turns back to herself and says to the priest,"Just remember who I really am, the more you help these people the more you honor me. Understand?"

    The priest nods, but hardly dares look at Hepla who turns away, barely able to contain her smile.

    Isilme returns in a few minutes, telling you that the stair is definitely the one you saw before. She followed the other tunnel which curved around until it ran into a really large chamber, about 4 times larger than the other one. There were about half-dozen small exits from it, but it was FULL of those hybrid creatures. There were at least a hundred of them, many being females and children. She could hear the sounds of work from somewhere beyond, and what sounded like a strange form of orcish, but mixed with other languages. There were only about a dozen warriors in the chamber, but she noticed that they looked even stranger, with pincer claws, weird tails, just strange as if they were not bred with other humanoids but with some kinds of creatures. One seemed to sense her so she decided it were better to report back.

    Emyn asks the priest, "What sort of work is being done down there?"

    He doesn't really know what happens below, being just a beginning acolyte.

    "Well," says Isilme. "Let's go secure the temple treasure." From the priest, she learns there's a switch built into the back of the statue which opens a door in the rear wall. He doesn't know where Nofosh keeps his stuff.

    You head back to the temple, and there you find the secret door, just like he said. In the treasure room are various chests full of coins. Most are coppers and silvers, though there is one coffer with gold. You take the coffer, placing it into Isilme's chest. As you come out, you find another orc standing in the far side of the temple, in front of the corridor with the empty niches.

    "Traitor," he says, pointing a staff at the charmed priest." The priest falls to the floor, crying his innocence. "Defilers of the Earth Dragon," says the priest with the staff. "Now you shall face His wrath." You then hear a grating sound from the left, and looking there, you see the statue of the Earth Dragon begin to move, it's head turning towards you.

    Hepla quickly begins to change form into the dragon again. As she's changing form, Hepla realizes that the other priest is dead.

    Thorgrim quickly hits the dragon with his pick [12]. Taki hits with his maul, which just bounces off, stinging the warrior's hands. Gotrek hits with Bonecrusher [10].

    Berenn fires an arrow at the priest, but it bounces off him as if he were solid stone.

    Elrae backs up to the far wall, throws his crossbow over his shoulder, and draws Snowfang.

    The Dragon Statue attacks Thorgrim, hitting him with a claw [10], knocking Thorgrim across the room. It hits Gotrek with another claw [7]. It bites down on Taki, who barely manages to roll out of the way.

    Urgal steps up next to Gotrek. "Whur A Faeyn!" he cries, swinging his warhammer which just bounces off the beast.

    Emyn rushes out of the treasure room and charges the priest who hits Emyn in the arm with his staff first. He feels the tingling through his arm, and it feels as if it were on fire, but then the pain suddenly goes away. [Nice save!] Emyn hits the priest, but his blow just bounces off.

    Isilme slips over to the doorway of the secret room [she was still inside with Noot and Emyn] and casts Summon Swarm. All around the priest, crawling insects start to appear, biting at him. Though they don't seem to affect him, he does seem disconcerted by the swarm.

    Noot hides in the secret room.

    Isilme cries out to Elrae, "Surround the statue with an Ice Dome!"

    "Get clear," he yells to the fighters. As soon as Gotrek, Urgal, and Taki step back, Elrae points Snowfang at the thing and summons a dome of ice around it. As he does so the Dragon Statue rears back and breaths, and you see a cloud of gas begin to issue from its mouth just as the ice dome forms. Taki gags on just a small whiff which he breathed, his knees buckling as he drops to the ground. The dwarves fare a bit better, and Gotrek grabs Taki, checking to make sure he's ok.

    "Not as bad as Gutshaker," he says, shaking his head. Gotrek slaps him on the shoulder with a grin. He then gets up and tries to give Bonecrusher to Urgal, but Urgal shugs. Seems his weapon is enchanted as well, but apparently not enough.

    Emyn steps up to grapple the priest but misses, and the priest hits him back with his staff. Again the same feeling shudders through Emyns arm, but again he seems to fight off the ill effects. [BTW, forgot to do damage last time he was hit, and it was only 2] This blow is VERY solid [13]. The priest backs up into the hallway, out of the area of effect of the insects which start to bite Emyn, doing [5] more. [Total of 20!]

    Berenn curses, and takes out his dispel magic scroll from his backpack. Meanwhile, Hepla casts grease in the corridor beyond the priest, who immediately slips and falls. Thorgrim gets to his feet, casting a quick CLW on himself. [7]

    "Someone torch that evil greasy priest!" yells Elrae.

    "Someone set him on fire," Hepla says to those near the priest. "And get that staff from him, even if you have to break his hand.". She turns back to herself and runs over with her dagger drawn.

    Isilme creates an illusion of a wall of ice, just beyond the priest. He stands up and tries to make his way out, then recognizing he's blocked, he backs into an alcove.

    Emyn charges through the swarm, but slips on the greased floor beyond, falling down. Hepla turns back into herself, moving over towards the priest but stopping short of the insect swarm. Meanwhile, Elrae casts Melf's Acid Arrow, and launches it at the priest. It flies past him and sticks into the far wall, acid dripping down from it.

    Thorgrim goes to follow when there is a terrible slamming sound from within the ice dome. The entire thing shudders under massive blows, and you see cracks forming across its surface. Taki, Gotrek, and Urgal back up, preparing for battle. Noot takes out his Rod of Smiting, thinking it may be useful against this construct.

    "Hell yeah Noot, smite that statue with your rod!" yells Elrae, discouraged that his acid arrow missed.

    Emyn tries to get across the greased floor, but slips again. Berenn also moves up, but holds on the edge of the insect swarm, the nasty spiders seeming quite uninviting. The priest then casts a dispel magic, which eliminates the swarm, the grease, and the wall of ice (which is actually Isilme's phantasmal force, but he didn't know that.) Hepla's polymorph ends as well, and she frowns as she fishes around her pack. She sees the scroll of Iron Body, and a broad smile crosses her face.

    [Hepla's potions of Scrying and Astral Form are destroyed, though she won't know that until later. Damn, Astral Form was cool! oh well]

    Isilme was just in the process of manipulating her illusion when he dispelled it, so she is essentially done this round too. Suddenly the Ice Dome shatters under the massive blows of the golem trapped inside. Shards of Ice fly in all directions, pelting everyone in the room. Thorgrim takes [3], Taki [8], Gotrek [5], Elrae [10], Hepla [5], Berenn [12]. It also stuns everyone for the rest of the round, so we can move to a new round!

    The priest holds forth his staff, invoking in a strange language, and shards of stone erupt from the floor, shooting out in all directions. Emyn takes [4], Hepla [6], Berenn [5], Thorgrim [3], Taki [1].

    Hepla reads her scroll of Iron Body, but there is a magical backlash when she casts it as it's way beyond her ability. It does affect her as it should, turning her body to Iron with all the correct effects; however, there is a loud, blinding flash which knocks her back to the ground seeming to knock her out!

    Berenn steps back to check on her. Her eyes are open, but he cannot tell if she is ok or not as she is totally formed of Iron. He turns back to deal with other enemies.

    Elrae casts another Acid Arrow, and this one flies unerringly to his target, hitting the priest in the chest [5]. You see the acid burning his vestments.

    Emyn gets up and moves forward to attack, effectively trapping the priest in the alcove.

    Meanwhile, Isilme casts her Audible Glamor of the sound of troops approaching the hallway from the courtyard yelling elvish war cries and yelling "kill ALL the priests in the temple". The priest and Emyn both glance that way, though the priest can't see anything around the corner and Emyn doesn't see anything either, so he assumes it's Isilme. "Your end is nigh, fiend," he says.

    Thorgrim attacks the statue from behind, but misses, badly. Taki tosses aside his maul and draws his 2-handed sword, then awaits the beast. Gotrek rushes forward, swinging Bonecrusher but missing. Urgal, steps up next to Gotrek, crying out in dwarvish as he swings his warhammer which shatters against the dragon statue! He stares down at his broken hammer, when a mighty blow from the dragon knocks him back across the room [18]. Another claw attacks Taki, hitting him for [9]. It also bites at Gotrek, but misses.

    Noot slips out of the treasure room, sneaks up behind the dragon, and uses his Rod of Smiting, hitting it in the back. Though he barely touches it, the stone of the dragon shatters on impact, leaving a large broken hole where the rod touched it [20].

    "Wow," says Noot.

    Seeing Noot's results, Elrae swings around his pack, digs out HIS Rod of Smiting, and rushes over to Urgal. "Take this," he says. "It seems the thing is not so impervious after all." Urgal nods, takes the rod, and rises.

    Noot attacks the dragon statue again, missing. Thorgrim attacks as well, his blow just glancing off the thing.

    Isilme flies invisibly into the alcove across from the priest and resets the hall trap that he disarmed earlier. Berenn attempts to use a Stone Shape spell upon the dragon statue, but the spell has no effect.

    Gotrek just hits it again with Bonecrusher, sending off more chunks of stone [12].

    The dragon then claws at Noot, hitting him for [10] and knocking him back into the treasure room. Another claw swipes at Taki, hitting him for [7], but it's the bite that is dangerous, and it reaches its large head down and finally latches onto Gotrek with a massive chomp! [30] The beast bites down right over Gotrek, who is only saved by his shield. As the thing tears away, it rips the shied from Gotrek's hand. He can see that his shield has been pierce by a couple of huge stone teeth, and has bent right in the middle. It will be useless after this. [So much for the +2 shield!]

    The priest reaches out to Emyn, attempting some kind of touch spell but he misses due to Emyn's defensive stance, and Emyn attacks back with his sword, hitting the half-orc for [13].

    Taki takes a great swing with his two-handed sword, hoping for better results. He swings at the dragon, but almost loses his grip on his sword with his wild swing [no attacks next round].

    Finally, Noot uses his Ring of Blinking, disappearing and reappearing 10' further back in the treasure room. [that didn't work out so well.]

    Thorgrim and Gotrek both take their second attacks and miss. [Taki didn't get his second attack because of his fumble!]

    Elrae takes out his crossbow, and readies it using his +3 bolts. "Let's see if THIS works!"

    Noot decides that standing up next to that thing is not a great idea, so he slips over towards the door and peeks out. He sees Throgrim attack the thing again, missing, but Gotrek just wades back in, hitting the thing with his hammer two-handed [15].

    The dragon bites at Gotrek again, him again [28]. Luckily, he avoids any extra damage this time. The dragon also claws at Taki, hitting him twice [10] [5].

    Berenn steps up behind Gotrek, using his Rod to heal him [15]. [I don't think he can heal anyone but Noot now, as everyone's used it today. You can only take Berenn's Rod 1/day!]

    Emyn hits the priest again. Scoring an excellent critical, he does [26] and cuts off the priest's arm, blood fountaining out all over Emyn.

    Isilme turns off the trap, steps into the hallway, and casts Haste. "Everyone run!" she yells.

    Hearing Isilme, Taki backs off, picks up the unconscious-seeming Hepla, who is incredibly heavy now, and moves to the corridor. He finds he is much faster all of a sudden. Thorgrim too backs off.

    Urgal swings with the Rod but misses. "Run boy," he says to Gotrek. "Get to safety."

    [Everyone is now under Haste except Noot, hiding in the treasure room.]

    "Make sure the priest is dead!" yells Isilme, "and everyone back to the spiral staircase!"

    Everyone runs away down the corridor except Gotrek and Urgal. They look at each other and both shout together, "Whur A Faeyn!" as they smite the dragon golem. Gotrek smashes it [11] and Urgal bangs it with the rod [16].

    The dragon claws Urgal, claws Gotrek [5] and bites Urgal, tossing him away like a rag doll. He lies in a heap in the corner. Gotrek hits the thing again [14] and misses with his third swing as Noot slips out of the treasure chamber and grabs Urgal. He's still alive, but barely, and Noot patches him up best he can.

    Noot drags Urgal away, pulling him to the entrance to the corridor and calling for help. Hearing him, Thorgrim turns and runs back down. In the room he sees Gotrek.

    "Get out of there!" he yells to him, but the dwarf seems beyond listening. For Gotrek, he is amazed that he will likely find his end, and he's not even in a rage. After all the times he's nearly died in his berserk rages, this seems downright amusing. He starts to laugh as he hits the dragon again [13].

    With Gotrek's last blow, the dragon statue's neck cracks straight through. It rears back to bite him, and the entire head just keeps going, snapping off and flying against the rear wall. Gotrek rolls out of the way, as the stone behemoth collapses across the floor, just where he had been.

    Thorgrim helps him to his feet, shaking his head at the tough battlerager. Gotrek's laughter becomes a growl, as he sees his Uncle hurt. He goes over to him.

    In the fountain chamber where the party had fled were four orcs, but Taki and Berenn quickly killed them, moving fast thanks to the haste spell. Guards in each of the rooms to the sides of the portcullis rushed out, four from the left, two from the right. Elrae sang them a lullaby, putting five of them to sleep as Berenn hacks the sixth down with Bonefire. Through the open doorway to the left, the party can hear the sound of fighting in the courtyard where the orcs are still battling thanks to Isilme's Wand of Highfolk.

    The party retires down the corridor, making their way to the Feeding Stairs. Hepla begins to come around too. She can speak, but her movements are so clunky that she cannot cast any spells which require movement components, only verbal components [I have been pretty much ignoring material ones!]. She also only moves 3" and weighs in now at about 300 lbs. It was all Noot could do to drag her 10' when she was stunned! She doesn't know what went wrong, though she knew there was a chance of something bad happening as the spell was well beyond her ability. Anyway, she is stuck in Iron form for now, without any idea what happened or how long this will last.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:09 pm  

    Part 18

    Godsday, 11 Fireseek, 581 CY
    I was thinking, perhaps it's time to officially begin the "next day?" It's sometime after midnight; you really have no way of knowing exactly what time it is. Nevertheless, it is "officially" the next day, and you have been up for something near 24 hours now.

    Thorgrim uses his portable hole while you're waiting for Isilme and Noot to return, giving Gotrek and Urgal some Gutshaker. Urgal takes a swallow, then slams Gotrek on the back. "Sure'n you boys have stones!" he says. "These old bones haven't had this much fun in years!"

    All the dwarves also have high praise for Noot, who went into combat with the dragon golem with but a rod, hoping it would work. "Stones, indeed," says Urgal.

    "Aye, stones alright. As much as dear old Derry, Clangeddin bless his soul!"

    Gotrek takes another swig, in homage to Derry.

    "To Derry!" says Thorgrim. "And to our newest honorary dwarf, Noot!"

    Isilme and Noot rejoin the group at the spiral stairs. "I will press on to save the elf," she says. "If you choose to head to the griffon tower and rest, can you please cast the fly spell on me, Hepla? My powers are near exhuasted."

    "I'd be happy to do so, but I cannot," she says. In her Iron Body, she is simply too clumsy to manage to cast just about anything.

    Thorgrim laughs, knocking on her iron body, "Fact is, lassy, maybe you should lead the way!"

    "I...will...go...with...you...Isilme," Hepla says.

    The party goes down the stairs, and find themselves in the chamber where the hybrids were chopping up a body. It is impossible to tell exactly what it was now. Isilme levitates to the ceiling and follows the party by pushing herself along. First chance she will use the Wand of Highfolk on any of inbred creatures.

    Hepla takes the lead and wanders into the large chamber with all the weird creatures, heavy footfalls causing dust to trickle from the ceiling. The creatures in the chamber rush to and fro, the females grabbing the young and running away through other exits. The handful of males, just as strange as the others, maybe even more so, come rushing up and attack Hepla, their crude weapons banging off her. She takes a swing, and knocks one clear across the room. As the other creatures wonder what to do, the rest of the party wades through them, scattering them like chaff. Soon there is nobody in the chamber but the party, the rest of the creatures having run away or perished. There doesn't seem to be anything worthwhile in here, just lots of garbage and rubbish. The place smells horrible, worse even than the smell in Highport's streets, and they have piles of dung all over!

    There is a treasure room, more of a niche really, to the SE, wherein is found the following, all loose: CP: 4000, SP: 3000, and two Potions. There is a wounded creature within, which they spare, and Berenn uses the Rod of Xodal on it, healing it completely. Afterwards, it is most helpful.

    It tells you that Nofosh and stinky men would come down and pass through the now collapsed room. As long as they had the symbols of the temple, they were allowed passage, but the way is blocked now. You can go around, through sewers. The Chosen were forbidden to go there, but some did. "Many big uglies," he says. He will show you the way, if you leave his people alone.

    Thorgrim promises that the rest of The Chosen will be left alone, in peace, that the party is seeking only the slaves. The little beasty agrees to show you south, to the sewers. With that, he takes you down the passage to the south, and you turn right at the side passage going west.

    He take you to a large sewage pit (room #2). The sewage is about 6" deep here, but he warns you that you must move along the north edge or fall into the central pit. Lucky for you, you have an amiable guide, and he leads you around the top edge. The sewage seems to be rising, as the passage north collapsed. The incoming sewage from the rest of town comes from the south, and you can see the place is backing up now.

    He leads you around the chamber, and you enter the large storm sewers of Highport. These tunnels are 20' wide arched passageways of brick and stone, covered with mold and slme. Along one side is a 5' wide stone ledge. The ceiling is formed of stone blocks, and arches support it every 10 feet. The ceiling is 7' high at the sides and 10' in the center. Water drips from the cracks in the stone and calcification has formed tiny stalactites hanging from the ceiling. In some places, small plant roots hang down from above.

    The remainder of the passage is filled with runoff mixture of sewage and water, 6" below the level of the ledge. The water depth is impossible to say without testing it. Garbage floats sluggishly at the surface, not revealing much in the way of current, which generally goes towards the ocean to the north.

    http://cache.wists.com/thumbnails/2/c0/2c0c6e62679b75a0542177955f548565-orig

    Gotrek looks around, impressed by the tunnels stonework. He rubs his hand across some of the granite, and grunts in admiration.

    "Men!" snorts Thorgrim. "They waste their good stonework on sewers, then live in squalid wooden huts." He shakes his head and prepares to move along the tunnel.

    "This reminds me of my past," says Noot. "I've been in sewers before." He looks in his pack. "Oops! Looks like there are some potions here. Berenn, can you take a look at these. Then lets get moving. Sewers are great secure transportation corridors."

    Thorgrim looks at the potions. "Where'd you get..." his question trails off as Noot smiles and shrugs.

    Taki offers to take the lead with his light maul.

    Hepla says,"Someone...who ...can...use...my ...wand...figure...out...potions." she does not dare use it herself for she fears breaking it. Here's what the potions are: Oil of Etheralness, Potion of Lightning, Potion of Strength, Potion of Wisdom, Potion of Magic Resistance.

    Isilme uses her Ring of Water Walking and walks along, invisible. She goes down and around the turn there is an intersection. The main sewer goes left and right, in a Y, with three smaller sewers joining the larger one from the left about 30' away. The line to the right continues out of sight. There is a stone bridge crossing the sewer at the Y. It is about a 3' wide arching stone bridge with no side rails, and it goes to a ledge just like the one you've been following. There is also a ledge continuing along this side, down the left branch, which ends where the three small sewers start. There are 4 orcs across the bridge, as well as two on the near side, walking towards the direction the party is waiting.

    Isilme uses the Wand of Highfolk, and all 6 orcs begin to argue amongst themselves. Soon one hits another, and then it turns into a straight fight. While she smiles inwardly at her handiwork, the party hears the sounds of fighting just up ahead. The dwarves, ahead of the party and in the dark themselves, move forward along the ledge. They turn the corner and see the orcs fighting ahead of them. Gotrek growls and rushes forward, and before Isilme can stop them, Gotrek sets off a trap. An entire section of the ledge pivots, dropping Gotrek to the right, into the sewer channel. He immediately plunges fully under the sewer water, which is about 6' deep. Thorgrim barely stops in time to keep himself from falling in as well. Gotrek roars and curses as he splashes into the water.

    One of the orcs tries to point towards the dwarves, but is quickly stabbed in the back by another, while another gets knocked off the bridge as it tries to move across to fight the two on the near side. They are trying to move to the last two on the far side and fight them, and none now seem interested in the dwarves. Thorgrim reaches down and is able to grab ahold of Gotrek, pulling him up to the ledge.

    Isilme mumbles something about "damn impatient dwarves always rushing in for the kill"
    but then laughs when she realizes this has probably saved her more than once.

    Once everyone gets past the trap she says she is going to scout "north" as it at least does not pull us any further away from the collapsed area of the temple. "I hope we find the slaves soon! The elf had better be in good health or they shall pay dearly!"

    The stone pivots back, and everyone can easily bypass it by staying to the sewer wall. Isilme moves back and finds the orcs are down to just two. Another dies, and a crossbow bolt from Urgal takes the last one in the throat. The party can hang out on the far side of the bridge, as Isilme scouts ahead to the north. The sewer continues north, where there is another sewer entering from the left. Beyond it, the far wall is collapsed. Water and sewage seep through small holes here and there, and most of the sewer channel there is filled in, with the ledge covered in slim. The sewer continues to the right, where it is partially collapsed there as well. The water still seems to flow through an opening, as a little current is visible continuing on. Isilme quickly spots a secret door in the left wall, obvious where the pivoting wall has scrapped away the slime on the top of the ledge.

    Noot comes up and checks it for traps, finding none. The door opens easily, by pushing on one side. Beyond is a nicely worked stone corridor. To the right it quickly turns into the unworked passages similar to the ones they first found when they came down the stairs. However, to the left there is a newly built flight of stone steps, heading up to a level above. The area beyond the short flight of steps is a large well-lit chamber.

    Berenn checks around and finds many tracks from the unworked section going up the steps the chamber beyond.

    Isilme says "It appears the unworked tunnel would be heading back towards the area we collapsed, and this was the final destination." Isilme takes off the water walking ring and puts it away, replacing it with her Ring of Fire Resistance again. On a whim, she will attempt to focus her innate ability to cast "darkness" on Taki's continual light Maul and temporarily cancel it out, to see if she has shaken off whatever kept her from using her innate detect magic earlier. Again, she finds she cannot do it.

    [OOC: She has started to lose her drow racial abilities, having been away from the Underdark too long. Of course, she doesn't know that, so she's frustrated, as is the player! Also, it seems I posted the stats, so you can see where the party stands:

    Berenn: 57/ 39 Spells: 5,4,2 Used: 5/4/2
    Elrae: 43/29 Spells: 3,3,1 (4/4/2 when holding Cittern) Used: 3/2/0
    Gotrek: 92/30
    Hepla: 21/21 Spells: 6,5,3, 2 Used: 6/0/1/1
    Isilme: 30/30 Spells: 7*^/4*/4* Used: 5*^/4*/4*
    Noot: 35/30
    Taki: 75/38
    Thorgrim: 60/42 Spells: 5,5,2 Used: 5/5/2
    Emyn: 67/30

    NPC's:
    Urgal: 100/40

    They're pretty banged up.]

    "We should really hole-up somewhere," says Taki.

    Isilme is going to rescue the elf lady," says Emyn resolutely. "I cannot stand idly by and let her go into danger, regardless of my wounds. I would lay down my life if it secures her safety."

    Gotrek snorts, but Emyn just continues. "Time is also of the essence here. If we heal up, everyone we want to catch will flee."

    [Gotrek player OOC: It is not in Gotrek's nature to go hiding either, and that is why he is not doing it. But come on guys, show some common sense!]

    "Use...rod...Hepla...go...with ...Ilisme," says Hepla. [OOC:she is talking this way because every word is slow to be spoken so she is trying to say things using the fewest words.]

    Taki drinks his Potion of Healing, while Berenn uses the Rod of Xodal to heal all the wounds he can. Then the party heads up the stairs and into the chamber above. This broad, long room is filled with two rows of cages whose bars reach from floor to ceiling, 10' overhead. Each cage has a door with a heavy locking mechanism in it. On the floor of the cells are straw and wooden bowls. About half the cells hold a man or woman, although each could hold more. Walking down the central corridor between the cages are 5 orcs and 3 humans. One human is wearing scale mail and wields a tower shield and javelin (think Roman centurion.) The other two humans, a man and a woman, look like merchants, while the orcs all have the symbols of the Earth Dragon. The man is pointing at the prisoners, and one of the orcs, holding a large set of keys, makes his way over to them, to open cage doors. The other orcs are in position to both sides, to keep any prisoners from running away. There are in the center of the row of cages.

    Taki leads the way, throwing his Bands of Billaro, which immediately capture the human warrior, holding him tightly. Gotrek charges into the room, with Thorgrim and Urgal close behind. As they rush forward, Elrae plays a tune on his cittern, putting all the orcs to sleep. The male merchant just about craps his pants, but the female raises a hand and strands of sticky webbing fly from her outstretched fingers, completely blocking the way between the rows of cages and capturing the three dwarves in its strands.

    Taki pulls his dagger and tries to cut the web away from his friends. As he does so, Berenn moves up with Bonefire, lighting the webs on fire. They instantly burn away, freeing all three dwarves, but causing some slight burns. Gotrek takes [2], Thorgrim takes [5], and Urgal [4].

    Isilme rushes silently up the back side of the cages, to get behind the wizard. As the dwarves charge her, a blast of concussive force erupts from her hands, blasting down the area between the cages. The more resistant dwarves all make saves. Gotrek takes [12], Thorgrim [14], and Urgal [12]. Taki takes [15] and Berenn [14]. All but Gotrek area blasted backwards 5' and fall to the ground. Gotrek continues forward and swings at the magicuser with his axe, missing badly. The remaining man turns to flee.

    The magicuser acts fast, a burning jet of flame erupting from her fingertips and searing Gotrek [15]. She smiles and says, "Burn in hellfire dwarf!"

    Gotrek swings his axe, hitting the magicuser [15]. She reels backwards, and Gotrek's second blow takes her head clean off her shoulders!

    "You first," growls Gotrek.

    The chamber at the top of the broad steps is only 5' higher than the one with the cages. The ceiling there is 10' hight. Mounted along the length of the ceiling area a series of pistons and springs and other strange machinery. Coming down the stairs are 4 more orcs. Isilme snaps her wand towards them as they rush down the stairs. The first two cut down the fleeing merchant, just as the rear two orcs attack them from behind. Taki and Emyn both rush forward and finish wade into the orcs, quickly ending the fight. The roman style warrior curses up a storm, still locked in the Bands, when Hepla walks up to him. Though shorter, her iron appearance stops the man's struggles. Meanwhile, Noot checks the two doors out. Both are locked, though he doesn't hear anything.

    Hepla puts an iron hand, gently for her, on his throat, and says, "Do...we...want...a...prisoner?"

    "At least to ask some questions," answers Berenn.

    Isilme curses "we were probably close to saving the elf before we collapsed the underground! Elrae, detect magic in the room for any goodies. Then we should let these slaves out of the cages. " [OOC: Isilme will attempt to charm the warrior (-3 to save) She wants to know about the elf. His business here, his name, involvement with the slavelords, ect.]

    Berenn heals himself for [15] while Elrae detects magic. The wizard had a set of Bracers,a ring, and a dagger, while the warrior's javelins are magical as well.

    The warrior is charmed by Isilme, who then asks all those previously mentioned questions. He isn't really sure about who is talking to him though and is confused, since she's still invisible. He is the guard of the merchant, Alvas. The wizard was the apprentice of Markessa, who just left about an hour ago. They were organizing a slave caravan for Markessa when the temple was attacked. Half the slaves were already prepared for departure, so they hurried them out while quickly getting this last bunch ready to travel. Markessa took the elf captive with her, and Sturm and Kilrak left as well, though not with the caravan.

    "Where was they going? says Taki. "Tell us quick least I have the bands of iron around you crush you to mush."

    "They can do that?" asks Noot quietly to Hepla.

    She shrugs. "I...don't...know...but...he...doesn't...either!"

    He tells you of a secret tunnel out through the sewers, which is how they take the slaves from here. He has never been there, but the merchant was given a map by Markessa's apprentice. Searching his corpse, you find the map. The caravan was heading into the hills, to Markessa's stronghold. The previous one left just after the collapse.

    "My good friend, are they waiting for your merchant and these slaves to arrive before the caravan leaves, or are you supposed to catch up with them on the trail?" Isilme thinks of having Elrae pretend to be the merchant. "That would at least get us back on the surface safely and the slaves outside the city gates to disperse or I guess we could just cut em loose on the surface too."

    Hepla gets up, walks over to a cage and, with a giggle tries to pull the bars apart, not the door barrs but the side bars. Hepla bends the bars easily, actually snapping one of them right out of its anchor point in the ceiling. Hepla giggles and says,"Let...them...out?"

    Noot's already working on the other cages, using the keys he took from one of the orcs, after he slit all their throats. Together, he and Hepla free all the slaves. The warrior then leads the way to the secret exit. The tunnel through the sewers actually comes out beyond the walls. It is secret, known only to those working directly for Sturm and Markessa. This way, nobody ever sees the comings and goings of these "special" caravans.

    Hepla, before they leave the cage area, takes off two cage bars that she can use as weapons. She will also look for any load baring walls that she can weaken so that the building could be brought down easier. She will ask the dwarves for help identifying those points that bare the most weight and if anyone(Taki especially) wants to help she will be glad to let them. With a little help, she identifies them, and she begins to smash them apart with her iron thews. They quickly find yourselves in jeapeordy of the entire place coming down on your heads. The dwarves advise you to stop before you get killed.

    The party makes a hasty exit, following the warrior through the sewers. They pass some orc sentries, but Elrae bluffs their way by them. As they pass, Hepla grabs them and crushes their windpipes.

    She gigles, looking at Gotrek. "So this is what it's like," she says.

    The sewers gradually grow smaller as the group moves away from the water, but then they follow a side passage which winds up, away from the sewers. Construction is very new. This passage leads up to a small cave on the side of a rocky knoll. A barred gate blocks the way out, but it is easily opened by Hepla, who really in enjoying this, and the party steps out into the night.

    Isilme sends the warrior on his way. "Dearest friend," she says. "I fear your very soul is in peril! The gods have spoken to me! You need to make a pilgrimage to the temple of Tritheron and spend the time traveling reflecting on the hardship you have put these poor people through by being a part of the slave trade and helping those in need on the road to make up for these deeds. When you arrive make an offering on the altar. This should save your soul. Go now, it is very important! " He nods and leaves, thanking her for her help and concern.

    With about 6 hours before sunrise, the party chooses to rest. Berenn scouts out the route back to the city, basically just around this small knoll. The gates are all locked up tight!

    Urgal looks at the city, focusing on the citadel. "I would like to go confront Kilrak now," he says, to nobody in particular. Gotrek walks over to him as Urgal continues. "If he isn't with the Deldukr, I shall reveal what we discovered. They may be mercenaries, but they are still dwarves." He turns to Gotrek, "The only other time we were here in Highport, we had been hired to fight orcs. It will NOT sit well to know their leader has secretly been working with slavers selling slaves to these same orcs, and worse. "

    Thorgrim walks up, puts a hand on Urgal's shoulder, and says, "I will go with you."

    Gotrek nods, "As shall I." They look over at the party, and see Noot putting his hand over his face and shaking his head.

    While the rest of the party sleeps, Berenn heads back to the city with the three dwarves and Hepla, wrapped in a cloak. Using his Rope of Climbing, he helps get everyone over the wall in a dark, unguarded place. Berenn heads off to get Ra and Thoth, while the dwarves and Hepla make their way to the fortress.

    The guards at the gate seem to have been doubled, but Urgal gruffly orders them to step aside and they do so. They don't seem too interested in the dwarves, though the strangely clunky figure in the cloak certainly makes them begin to talk amongst themselves. Urgal tells them to shut their traps if they know what's good for them, and you continue inside the Sturmkeep. You make your way along the road to the dwarven camp, right up to the command tent. Around you the dwarves are quickly breaking camp and preparing to move, and when you get to the tent, the two guards are still at their post.

    "Where's Kilrak?" asks Urgal of the two guards.

    "He is with Lord Sturm," says one. He points back the way you came, "In the manse."

    Urgal tells him to summon the axes, then moves inside. You follow, wondering what he means. Inside, he asks Thorgrim for some Gutshaker, and by the time four more battle-hardened dwarves show up, he's already downed a mug, and prepared one for each of them. Handing them drinks, he introduces Gotrek and Thorgrim, and then reveals what you found in the Temple of the Earth Dragon. The four dwarves all look grim, well, more grim than normal, as they finish their drinks.

    Since she was not introduced, Hepla feels that she is his ace-in-the-hole, the mysterious cloaked figure. "Let them wonder," she thinks, as she stands as still as a statue.

    As the dwarves are considering, the tent flap swings open and in strides Kilrak. You immediately recognize him as he looks just like his brother; however, he is a gruff dwarf, armored with heavy plate mail and armed to the teeth, bristling with weapons. He has a hammer and dagger hanging on his belt, a crossbow over his back, and wields a massive dwarven waraxe, which rests over his shoulder. His red braided hair hangs down his back to his knees and he seems to have more scars than skin showing.

    He walks in, and the four other dwarves back off a bit, their grim looks quenched like coals upon which was thrown a bucket of water. Yet, their ire remains, and their hands rest on their axes.

    "Where in the Hells have you been?" demands Kilrak. "And who are they?" he adds, glaring at Gotrek, Thorgrim, and Hepla."

    "We've been having a cozy little tea party with some friends of yours," says Thorgrim.

    Gotrek spits at Kilrak's feet. "I am a dwarf. What are YOU?"

    Kilrak stares at Gotrek, sizing him up, then looks around at the other dwarves. "What is this?" he says sternly.

    "This is where you leave the Deldukr," says Urgal coldly.

    Kilrak laughs, a deep resonant bellow, but stops quickly when nobody moves. He glares at Urgal, who simply stands there, one hand on Boneripper. "And who are you?" he nearly rasps, poking a finger at Urgal. "I created the Deldukr," he shouts. "I am the Deldukr!"

    "No longer," says Urgal evenly.

    "Why you..." starts Kilrak. "I brought you in when you were alone! I gave you a purpose!" He turns on the other dwarves. "I gave you ALL a purpose! A life of glory, of honor..."

    "HONOR?" shouts Urgal, his temper rising. "Is it honor to slink around in back alleys and sewers like a filthy kobold?" He steps up to Kilrak, "Is it honor to use your own kin, your own brothers, to further your ends?" Kilrak actually takes a step back as Urgal continues, "And is it honor to work for slavers, selling men into the hands of orcs?"

    "You are a traitor to your race," says Gotrek. "Prepare to die."

    Hepla looks at Kilrak with anger in her eyes, just waiting for him to challenge her presence there, but he doesn't seem to even notice.

    Kilrak looks at Gotrek, "Fine, to the Pain! [sorry, just couldn't resist!] But seriously, let me explain. No that would take to long, let me sum up. [oh I'm killing myself! OK, really, I'm ready now.]

    Urgal puts a hand out holding Gotrek back, which is pretty hard considering he's almost in a rage already, with spittle flying with practiced ease.

    "You may have forged the Deldukr," says Urgal, "but is with their own blood that it is steeled." He looks Kilrak in the eye, holding Gotrek back with an extended arm. "You yourself made the law," he says. "Let the Axes decide." Both men lock gazes, then Kilrak turns his head to the other four dwarves. Their grim faces revealed nothing, and everything, and Kilrak knew it. With a barely perceptible nod, he took his axe from his shoulder as Urgal stepped back.

    "Let the Axes decide," he said, and slammed the axe into the ground, burying it half a head deep. He stepped back and waited, watching the four dwarves. They each had a pair of axes, and one by one they pulled them out, crossed the axes over theirs chests, and turned their backs on Kilrak. Kilrak stood there, open mouthed and disbelieving, seeing the last 50 years of his life coming to an abrupt end.

    "The Axes have spoken," said Urgal, stonily, though with perhaps just an edge of sadness. "Go, brother," he continued. "As stone endures."

    Knowing there was nothing to be done, and there was no way to continue to lead the Deldukr given what had just happened, Kilrak spat in Urgal's face. "Only one of our names will endure, old man, and it will not be Delgrim. You will fade away and be forgotten like the rest of your cowardly clan." He then reached out to take his axe....

    Hepla lets the cloak fall from her body as she steps forward and says, "Do...no...more...dishonor...to...this...proud...axe...or...this...gathering...of...noble...dwa rves." She then takes one of her 10' iron bars, bends it in two, and jams one end into the floor on either side of the axe, she stands there and says, in dwarf "For...honor."

    "Urgal. We are not quite done yet!" says Gotrek.

    Plate mail creaks, as Gotrek's body and muscles swell. Groans of pain emulate from the armor. But right now, Gotrek does not care. Eyes bulging, past memories flashing by, and glories yet to be attained sing to him. If Death comes here, he will take It down with him.

    Urgal motions the other dwarves back, then looks at Kilrak. "I think you better pick up your axe," he says, removing the bar that Hepla stuck around it and motioning her back as well. "You're gonna need it."

    "Clangeddin!!" cries Gotrek. "Clan Delgrim!" "Witness!!"

    Then Gotrek goes berserk........

    Gotrek goes into a rage as Kilrak grabs up Goreblade, going into a fighting stance and singing his own battle song. Everyone else moves away, giving the two dwarves room to fight. The weird thing is that both dwarves seem to have gone into an instant rage somehow.

    "Whur A Faeyn!" cries Urgal!

    Gotrek hears nothing now, but the clash of weapons in front of him, and a voice driving him further into rage. He does not fight this urge, for he knows the source. If he survives, Gotrek knows from this day forth he will be the personal bane of the scum races. And they will soon realize it as well. Revenge. Kill scum. Regain lost family glory. All in one pie. Gotrek is hungry!

    Gotrek and Kilrak both slam into each other simultaneously, dealing massive blows that shock everyone around. They both then hit each other again, continuing a savage dance that takes them across the tent and right through the tent wall. The whole things begins to come down, and the dwarves inside quickly try and get out. Hepla finds herself unable to move fast enough, and she is enveloped in the folds of the collapsing tent. She stands there, frustrated that nobody understood what she was doing and now frustrated that she can't see!

    Outside, Gotrek and Kilrak both come to their feet, staring madly across at each other. Dozens of other dwarves stop what they are doing and turn to watch, moving closer, but keeping their distance as they watch the two battleragers attack each other.

    As the dwarves get out of the tent, they see Kilrak land another blow on Gotrek, who shrugs it off as his axe clangs off Kilrak's shoulder. They exchange blows back and forth for a couple of minutes, with neither landing anything too deadly. Hepla finally gets out of the tent, and sees a massive dent on the side of Gotrek's armor, blood pouring from it. It is evident that Gotrek doesn't feel a thing.

    Over the last round more dwarves have come over to watch, perhaps all of the Deldukr is watching. Urgal and the four other captains pass the word to do nothing, so the dwarves form a very wide arc around the combatants and just watch the deadly flow of combat.

    Gotrek swings wildly, and Kilrak knocks Gotrek's weapon away. It flies off about 10' to the left. Grinning madly, Kilrak wades in, but Gotrek leaps back out of the way, rolls over, and comes to his feet. Kilrak now stands between Gotrek and his axe. Even through his rage, Gotrek can feel the blood flowing from his wound, and he knows it must be a bad one. [very bad time for a fumble!]

    Gotrek charges in and grabs ahold of Goreblade. He and Kilrak lock fierce gazes as they wrestle for it. Meanwhile, a group of orcs approaches the battle. Hepla is ready to help in any way she can, but feels that she dares not interfere with this battle, she does keep an eye on the orcs. As they approach, a handful of dwarves peel off to intercept them. After a few words, something about dwarf business, the orcs shrug and leave, a few looking over their shoulders as they leave and just feeling lucky the two dwarves are fighting each other and not them!

    Hepla walks over and asks the dwarf who talked to the orcs what they wanted.

    "No part of this fight," he says, turning back to look.

    Gotrek suddenly head butts Kilrak, smashing his nose in! He wrenches Goreblade from Kilrak's grasp, kicking the dwarf backwards away from him. Though most of the dwarves seemed to have been cheering on Kilrak to start, gradually word spread through them of what had happened. Now there are at least as many cheering on Gotrek. When he takes the axe, he is barely conscious of Urgal's shout, "Whur A Faeyn!"

    Kilrak snarls incoherently as he draws his dagger and hammer. Gotrek charges against Kilrak, who ducks inside Gotrek's blow and stabs him in the side with his dagger. It goes right through a joint, just above Gotrek's waist, drawing a grunt from him. Hepla sees more blood pouring from the wound as Kilrak withdraws the blade. Another hammer blow bounces off Gotrek's helm, as Kilrak thrusts his dagger at Gotrek again. The blade hits him squarely in the breastplate, snapping off at the hilt. Gotrek swings at Kilrak again, this time landing a telling blow against the dwarf's chest and sending him reeling backwards to the ground. [looks like the fumbles have evened out, and then some!]

    Both dwarves are obviously reeling from massive injuries, seemingly fighting right at death's door. Gotrek then hits Kilrak another massive blow, knocking the dwarf back again. Kilrak rolls away, his hand falling on Gotrek's lost axe. As Gotrek charges in again, Kilrak tries to block the blow with Gotrek's axe, but Giant Goreblade shears right through the parry, sending magical shards flying as Goreblade bites down into Kilrak's chest!

    Kilrak grabs ahold of the axe, pulling himself towards Gotrek, and spits blood into his face. Kilrak's eyes roll back in his head, and he opens his mouth to speak, but no sound comes out. Gotrek kicks him away, yanking Goreblade out of Kilrak's chest. Blood bubbles up through the rent in Kilrak's breastplate as he slumps to the ground.

    Gotrek's rage leaves him, and he slumps to his knees, blood dripping from his wounds and pooling up at his feet. Hepla runs to him, iron step slamming the ground, and prepares to administer first aid to stop the blood flow. "Good...fight," she says.

    As Hepla helps Gotrek over to Thorgrim, a gasp comes from dwarves. She turns back to see Kilrak, back on his feet and stumbling towards Gotrek's back, stabbing at him with the broken haft of the axe. A loud thrump comes from the side, and a heavy crossbow bolt slams into Kilrak, entering right through the rent in his breastplate. He stares, disbelieving, before falling backwards to the cold, hard ground, the broken shaft slipping from his dead fingers. Hepla and Gotrek look over, and there they see Urgal standing there grimly, his heavy crossbow leveled at the now dead battlerager.

    Back at the party's camp, Elrae suddenly wakes, startled. "I had this wonderful dream that Gotrek killed that bastard Kilrak and got his Goreblade. I shall write a song about it."

    [Thus ends the Quest for Gotrek's Goreblade. Well, it wasn't his until now, but what the hell. The title added incentive all along! The fight between the two battleragers was pretty good, and Kilrak actually had him at one point. Hepla player had sent me PMs about intervening, but she never took any action. Those two did massive damage to each other, and it was a good think Gotrek drank his potions of healing just before the fight. The party now could rest completely, gain EXP, and prepare for The Slavers.]
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:24 pm  

    This continues to be great reading, and I really like how you make the adventure yours & weave it into your campaign. Please keep 'em coming.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
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    Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:12 am  

    Thanks. I think my campaign really started to come together during this adventure. The whole time leading up to the Moathouse was about learning how to play via a forum. Temple of Elemental Evil let my players really explore their characters, while I as DM got more comfortable with mapping, images, side-treks and private stuff, etc.: all the nuts and bolts, as it were.

    In the Quest for Gotrek's Goreblade (which was TOTALLY a lead-in to the Slaver series, which I played up as something totally different to keep them from figuring it out!) a lot of these things began to gel in a cool way. The role-playing improved greatly, as there were many more opportunities for it than just straight fighting. Some story lines became more personal, which also helped this. I personally enjoyed adding in Urgal, Gotrek's uncle. That was by far my favorite part of the story. I also liked the Deldukr; those mercenary dwarves have a lot of potential. I'd actually like to eventually make a short write-up about them to post. Just need to find the time.

    Anyway, I'm pleased that people like it. I wasn't ever sure the game would really work online, and it's been the best surprise for me in years. I otherwise couldn't play at all! I never considered that I would eventually be able to share them where others, especially fellow Greyhawkers, could enjoy them. It makes the entire experience that much more rewarding.

    I have about another year or so worth of adventures to go through and post. They are all in their raw form, but I slowly am putting them together as these summaries. Even my players are coming back and reading them now! I hope you guys continue to enjoy the exploits of the Heroes of Hommlet, as they sometimes call themselves. Stay tuned for the next adventure...

    The Slavers!
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:25 am  

    The adventure continues in The Slavers!

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5689
    Novice

    Joined: Jun 06, 2014
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    Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:18 am  
    Giant Goreblade

    I remember the old days the quest was really hard i had a hard time doing the quest and spend almost a day but in the end i got the Goreblade.

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    Last edited by orihara on Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:44 am; edited 2 times in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2532
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    Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:28 pm  

    Congratulations on your successful completion of the campaign, orihara. Smile

    Now, get over to the Welcome to Canonfire! forum and introduce yourself properly. Wink

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