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    Draco Delenda Est
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
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    Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:43 am  
    Draco Delenda Est

    Here is the thread for the continuing adventures of the Heroes of Hommlet. They are about to go on the trail of the green dragon, Chaustichlorinus.

    Cast of Characters:
    Altan: Paynim Archer
    Berenn: Half-elf Priest of St. Cuthbert /Ranger
    Emyn: Human Paladin of Trithereon
    Isilme: Dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage/Priestess of Eilistraee
    Nirifel: Half-elf Ranger/Bard
    Noot: Human Thief
    Rakk: Half stone giant Fighter
    Thorgrim: Dwarven Cleric/Fighter

    Part 1 - Prologue

    Waterday, 12 Reaping (581)
    The next day is warm, but back to "normal". High of 94/low of 72. The strange hot spell seems to be over, and you are all relieved to have decent whether return. While work begins cleaning up the debris, for everything was destroyed by fire last year, scouts return with news of hobgoblins approaching the area from the West. Maybe 50 of them.

    Emyn will try to find a hobgoblin scout, kill it and mount it on a stake as a warning.

    "I would prefer not causing unnecessary hostilities with civilians around and in the open," says Berenn. Berenn will gather the garrison, party members, Guhk and will ride out meeting the hobgoblins. "This could also be the hobgoblins we released from the temple."

    Emyn will hold off as Berenn's words hold wisdom. "I forgot about those hobgoblins that were released. Still, be wary. No matter their debt to us, they remain evil things."

    "I plan on being wary," says Berenn, "but I am hoping a show of force will be enough to detour them. I have civilians to protect and an all out confrontation might get some innocents hurt."

    Rakk says,"Time for battle dress." Puts on Full plate, looking like a 9 foot tall forest-green knight carrying ballista. "Ready."

    "Nice armour," says Emyn admiringly as he gleams brightly in his full plate.

    "Thanks. Damn hard to find anything that fits. Like yours, too."

    Thorgrim will hang back with the innocents while Berenn rides forth. "Good luck," he says. He sets up his Instant Fortress and orders the townsfolk inside. "You will be safe inside, barring an assault by a siege train," he says. He fingers his wolf-bone whistle, ready to summon an animal spirit should the need arise.

    You gather everyone up and head out to meet the hobgoblins. There are indeed about 50, although only about 20 are warriors, and of them it seems about half are on litters, being drug by the others. The rest are women and children. The warriors are all armed, and they form a defensive line in front of the women and young. They stand ready to meet this new threat, when one on a litter yells something at the rest. They stand down, but they don't back off. Rather, two of them walk out to meet you.

    When they get closer, one calls. "Danark say you ok," says one of them in halting common. "Rescue from priests and ogres. You come." He puts his sword away, while the other lowers his axe. "Talk," he says.

    "Everyone stand down," says Berenn. "We will talk and see what they want. I can't have people believing the High Road is safe again if we constantly involved in skirmishes." Berenn calls forward a couple of men, Emyn and Noot and has the rest stay with the main body.

    You find Danak, but you can barely recognize him. He is severely burned by acid, and his voice is halting and difficult. In fact, all the litters are hobgoblins likewise burned; men, women, and children.

    [DM OOC: OK, that's a girl, but hey, you get the idea!]

    "What happened?" asks Berenn, his wariness replaced by pity. "What happened to your clan and what inflicted this damage?"

    Danak reaches out, grabbing Berenn by the arm and grasping it with a strength undiminished by his disfiguring. He pulls himself up, closer to Berenn, spittle dribbling down from his deformed face as he tries to speak.

    "Dddjrrak...drak...dragon!" he finally manages to say before falling back to his litter.

    You learn that the hobgoblins retreated into the forest last week, but were chased off by elves. They were forced back to the northwest, eventually ending up in some swamps. There they were attacked by a great dragon which decimated their numbers. Those left successfully hid until the thing left, and they made their way back here. The dragon attack happened about a day to the northeast. The hobgoblin numbers are dwindled, and their strength nearly gone. They place themselves at Berenn's mercy while seeking refuge.

    They can camp where they are now until their strength is recovered says Berenn. "However," he adds, "you are on the Knight Commander's lands and lawlessness will not be tolerated." If Danak keeps the peace, Berenn promises to do the same. If the terms are excepted, he will take his garrison and return to the ruins of Nulb. Once there he will give instructions for the garrison to keep an eye on the hobgoblins, but not to approach or provoke them. If they stay in there camp, the patrols will only observe them. If they observed doing anything which could be interpreted as aggressive, the patrol is to return to the ruins immediately and report their findings.

    Next Berenn talks to Noot, Emyn, Thorgrim and Rakk regarding the dragon. "I don't like a dragon being so close to these civilians ... opinions gentlemen? I am inclined to fly to Hommlet, return with our companions and mount and expedition to rid the lands of this menance. It could be profitable and would further our reputation in the region."

    "A day's travel to the NE puts it squarely on or very near the High Road," says Rakk. "If you intend for trade to start using this road, you'll have to make some kind of arrangement with it, good or evil. What color was the dragon? It is possible a good one drove them away. Though to look at them, it's unlikely."

    "Acid breath is usually associated with Black dragons," says Berenn, "and we have experience with them. Still, we will have to investigate to be sure."

    "How do you intend to fight it with both Hepla and Isilme gone?" asks Thorgrim.

    [Isilme player OOC: Give it a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.]

    "It's been done," says Rakk. "It's hard to kill any dragon. I'd prefer as much power be brought as possible. It's better to show force for either negotiating or fighting. I know Hepla took off for unknown parts, are any other mages available?"

    "I hope it isn't one of Hepla's dragon friends," says Emyn. "If it is, we can reason with it. If not, we will have to drive it off or exterminate it."

    The hobgoblins don't know one type of dragon from another. However, you piece together that the thing was a deep, dark green, almost black in color.

    Emyn says, "If it were near a swamp, that would fit where black dragons usually hunt."

    The hobgoblins say the dragon breathed out a gaseous cloud that chocked them and ate their flesh. It was also pretty big. Berenn knows tales of a green dragon that resides in the Gnarley Forest, Caustichlorinus. It is very old (that's not necessarily it's age!) and has not been aroused for decades. Its name has been used as a sort of "boogeyman" to scare children and keep them close by. That's all he knows.

    Emyn says, "It might make sense to see what more we can learn of this green dragon. There might be someone who knows more than Berenn. Are there not elves in this area who might be able to tell us more given then live very long lives?"

    "None of have to go," says Berenn, "but I have to do this. I would appreciate any help received and as soon as I have left some instruction for my men, I plan to leave to find this Caustichlorinus and deal with him or her one way or the other."

    Berenn leaves standing orders for his men keep the civilians safe and keep an eye on the hobgoblins. He wants the patrols kept close to the encampment. Deric is in charge and he asks Guhk to watch over everyone. With that he waits to see if everyone is willing to join him. He believes the best place to start is with the elves in the Gnarley Forest, they may know where this dragon's lair lies.

    Berenn informs the party to gather up Isilme while he flies off to Verbobonc. "I'll be back in a few days," he says. "Get ready to depart when I return." He then departs. A couple ride back to Verbobonc, looking for Isilme. They find only Lareth. He tells them that Isilme has gone to Verbobonc, and he doesn't know when she will return. They then return to Nulb. Except for Isilme and Hepla, the party is back together and the make plans to find this dragon.

    "To kill the dragon," says Thorgrim, "we would have to find it in its lair, or lure it to the ground and have a way to keep it there."

    Emyn says, "If someone can get quickly to Verbobonc, it might be worth chatting with the seer of Istus again."

    "What does everyone think?" asks Berenn. "The seer did seem to know what she was talking about. I could get there in a couple of days, she will be able see our success or failure."

    "If you go to Verbobonc you may find Isilme," says Rakk. "You could also see if there are anything for sale there we could use. Just for that, it may be worth going. If a seer there can help in addition, that's a bonus."

    "Agreed," says Berenn. He rides back to Warden's Station, gets Ra, and flies to Verbobonc.

    Sunday, 16 Reaping (581)
    Berenn takes a day to fly to Verbobonc. The weather stays relatively calm, with average temperatures hovering around 90* during the day, and around 70* at night. A slight breeze aids his flight, and he arrives at night on Sunday, tired from being awake for nearly two straight days. Once in Verbobonc, he seeks out the old seer, Shady, descending once again into the bowels of the earth for a reading.

    Berenn greets Shady, pays 50 gp, and asks for another reading. He asks if Caustichlorinus will be a danger to the inhabitants of Nulb now or in the future. She falls into the same sort of trance, as she contacts the spirit world for answers.

    "Heaven above and Heaven below:
    All is in constant motion.
    Against the dragon, the Ranger Knight steels himself for ceaseless activity.
    The time for action has come.
    You now have the focus and the stamina necessary for accomplishing great tasks.
    The path before you is being cleared and reward lies ahead.
    The flying dragon hovers over the chasm from which he was born."

    "Will defeating the dragon be beneficial to the Watchlands and its people?" he presses.

    She again goes into a trance, swaying back and forth as she answers:

    "A Deluge from Heaven:
    Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent.
    The Knight rains fortune upon those in need,
    Then moves on with no thought of the good he does."

    "That was a little more clear," says Berenn. "And what dragon isn't arrogant?" he wonders aloud. Berenn again thanks Shady for her help and departs. He cannot find Isilme, so he returns with all do haste to Warden's Station, drops off Ra and assuming there are no potions to be had from Lyseios , returns to Nulb. If there are some potions available please provide a list, otherwise as soon as Berenn has had a rest we will head for the elves in the Gnarley Forest. Berenn will let the party know what the seer told him regarding the dragon and its possible demise.

    Lyseios has 4 potions plant control, 10 each of healing and extra-healing, and 1 elixir of health remaining at Warder's Station. Berenn takes them to distribute.
    Godsday, 18 Reaping (CY 581)
    Berenn arrived late the night before and gets some needed rest. You all wake up to another relatively nice day, with scattered clouds and a light breeze. The people have cleared away a lot of the debris, with the help of Gugk. The hobgoblins stay to themselves on the opposite side of the pond.

    [DM OOC: Elrae is out of the group for now. He's working on family issues, buying the Harvester's Theater and resettling his family in Verbobonc. Isilme is studying spells, and Hepla has gone to see her mother. So, there are no mages in the group.]

    Thorgrim isn't too anxious to leave without the mages, and just then Isilme steps out of thin air, having used her mirror to join them. She informs them that she will check in on the party at the end of the week, when she finishes her studies in Verbobonc. She adds that they might want to check with Hommlet's Druid, as he seemed well-known in the surrounding forest area when she enlisted his aid to help the party after the "Vestron incident."

    Isilme says she doesn't have time to go stomping through the forest on a wild hunt. However she will check in with you in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings when she takes daily breaks from her studies now that she is home. If you need her services, or find the lair she will assist. remember she can join you at any time. She then wishes them luck and returns through her mirror gate to finish her studies.

    "Let's go stomping through the forest on a wild hunt," says Thorgrim. He suggests the refugees set their camp near a defensible structure, like the inn, to ward against non-dragon attacks. We are taking the Fortress with.

    Berenn suggests seeking out the Sherendyl and Meldarin clans of the Gnarley. "They are the ones most likely to provide assistance." He then gives them a brief bit of info about them:

    [DM OOC: Clan Meldarin lives near Namburil, so you can go there.

    Namburil: Although the name is elven, this complex of warrens and a few stone cottages in a fertile leafy valley is unquestionably gnomish. Namburil is home to 100 gnomes, with three times this number working in small mines within 10 miles or so of the main warrens. Farming, mining, and craftsmanship are how the gnomes make their living here.

    One notable feature of Namburil is the extraordinary resistance of crops and plants in the area to disease-no blights, rots, rusts, or similar pestilences affect plants within a radius of two miles of Namburil. Druidic communing with nature does not reveal why this is so. The druids themselves are torn between a desire to find out why the earth seems so healthy, and a feeling that such wellbeing should be left alone.]

    The party then departs, intending to head for the Meldarin clan first.

    Last edited by ragnar on Sat May 03, 2014 12:12 pm; edited 5 times in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Posts: 655

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    Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:20 pm  
    Part 2 - Into the Gnarley Forest

    You get up early in the morning, with a decent breeze blowing from the SE which cools things off a bit. High 84/Low 70. You can almost forget that terrible hot spell.

    The Gnarley Forest

    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).

    There are nearly as many races in the Gnarley Forest as there are in the rest of the Flanaess, though only a handful are unique to the forest. Primarily the sentient races include (in decreasing order of population): Human (and various human-hybrid races including half-elf and half-orc), Orc, Elf, Halfling, Goblin, Gnome, Dwarf, Troll, Centaur, Ogre, Giant, and Dragons. There are known to be at least a handful of dragons within the forest including an old golden dragon who interacts from time to time with the Free City of Greyhawk and there have been rumors of an equally old green, though no one has ever been able to locate its lair, if it does live within the forest.

    Elves: In the Gnarley as a whole, there are some 7,500 sylvan elves, although only around 1,000 live in the area shown on the campaign map (plus another 1,500 in the Welkwood area that is shown). They live in small, secluded communities, usually in tree houses 30-50 feet above the forest floor. They are divided predominantly into four clans, and clan allegiances are a source of pride and a badge of honor. The clans follow.

    Clan Fealefel: This clan is ruled by a Council of Wizards five strong, and has always produced more wizards than the other clans. Fealefel elves are quiet folk, studious and more grave than most of their kind, but make utterly implacable enemies. They have some social customs that are unusual among elves, such as arranged marriages and ritualized rites-of-passage ceremonies.

    Clan Enfanefef: This small clan comprises no more than 7% of the total elven numbers, yet is always deferred to. Enlanefel elves are seers, mystics, and loremasters. They do not seek temporal power or authority, but are the major guardians of elven secrets. More detail about this clan is given in the entry for their major settlement, Oakvein.

    Clan Sherendyl: This clan has a reputation for producing the finest elven warriors. Sherendyl elves are blunt, pragmatic, and to-the-point in dealing with outsiders. They respect the rangers of the Gnarley, and Ranger Knights meet with the clan elders once a year or so to exchange information and greetings.

    Clan Meldarin: Meldarin elves are renowned for their bowmanship, and in many ways, are the most completely adapted to their life and home. A Meldarin elf is said to be able to predict the weather a week ahead simply by inspecting moss on an ipp tree. This clan has the highest proportion of half-elves, and is the friendliest toward humans and gnomes. Many of this clan revere Ehlonna in addition to elven Powers.

    Dwarves: There are no more than a hundred dwarves within the area shown on the campaign map, and they live exclusively in the hills, most around Namburil, and work in the mines there. The dwarves are friendly folk, sharing their space with more numerous gnomes and humans.



    Although the name is elven, this complex of warrens and a few stone cottages in a fertile leafy valley is unquestionably gnomish. Namburil is home to 100 gnomes, with three times this number working in small mines within 10 miles or so of the main warrens. Farming, mining, and craftsmanship are how the gnomes make their living here. The inn is the Jolly Giant, with a sign depicting a laughing hill giant playing a tiny harp.

    One notable feature of Namburil is the extraordinary resistance of crops and plants in the area to disease-no blights, rots, rusts, or similar pestilences affect plants within a radius of two miles of Namburil. Druidic communing with nature does not reveal why this is so. The druids themselves are torn between a desire to find out why the earth seems so healthy, and a feeling that such wellbeing should be left alone.

    Zendrelda's Tower:

    Atop a tall crag in the forested hills stands a stone lighthouse. Everyone knows of it and the continual light that radiates from its cupola tower; all smilingly refer to “the mad woman” who built it (using wall of stone spells). Zendrelda is a gaunt, grey-haired wizard in her late fifties who believes that the end of Oerik will some come by means of a great flood. She has built this place as a refuge and a beacon for the ships that will save a chosen few. The lighthouse is some 200 feet high, visible for quite some distance. It was here the party rested on the way to the Pomarj. They also tried their luck at Zendrelda's Deck of Many Things.


    You walk/ride [everyone has a horse, I think, except Rakk] all day through the forest, following the familiar path you traveled once before. You make it to Twilight Falls, a very small hamlet along the High Road, just before nightfall. There is a combination inn/temple of Farlanghan along the road, and really not much else. The hamlet seems to be only a half-dozen buildings. A large stream runs through the hamlet, and the road crosses it with an ornate wooden bridge of elven design.

    "Anyone object to staying at the inn?" asks Berenn.

    "Good for a drink and possible info, if nothing else," replies Rakk.

    You can hear the faint roar of a waterfall in the distance. As others enter the inn, Berenn follows the sound. Just on the edge of the hamlet, he discovers the falls. Moonlight beams seem to land directly upon them, adding a majesty rarely seen.

    A familar black cat meanders up to the party, and Thorgrim scratches Star behind the ears. "What's new, kitty?" he says. He looks at the inn. "Where's Rakk going to sleep?"

    "On the ground," he replies. "As usual."

    Emyn uses his ring to speak with Star and find out if she knows if Hepla is fine.

    "Hepla is fine," purrs Star. "That inn, you humans will like it I am sure, but cats like a nicer place." She goes to a tree and climbs into its limbs. "This is a nice tree. I will stay here for awhile."

    Berenn will cautiously take a look around. Since Rakk is outside, Berenn will let him know where he is going and tells Rakk to let the party know where I went if I don't return in due time. While Berenn is moving closer to the waterfall he will call out, ask if anyone is there, assures them he means no harm and says he is a Ranger Warden. Nobody answers. It all seems quite peaceful.

    A very pleasant female voice surprises him as Hepala, Hepla's mother, steps out of the side of the waterfall. "Lord Berenn, congratuations on your elevation," she says with a small courtsie, "but what brings you to these beautiful falls. If you are looking for Hepla, she is studying and I would not disturb her unless its important." She places her hand on his face and he gets a very pleasant tingle in his body." Star walks over and she takes her hand away.

    "I was not aware Hepla was in this forest," he replies. "I was only taking a small repose here to take in this beauty. I have come into the forest to hunt Caustichlorinus. He has been a threat to the forest for too long and now threatens my new lands. Whether this is important to disturb Hepla would be your decision."

    "This waterfall and the lands around it are not your lands," she says, "but I can see how that ancient green would be trouble, if he woke up, to lands beyond this place. What woke it I wonder?" When he says nothing, Hepla continues, "I do not make decisions like this for Hepla; she is old enough to make her own. Would you like me to ask her to come here or would you like to come to our glen and I will see if she will talk to you? You are a lord and certain rights go with the title, even in lands not your own."

    "I believe a band of wandering hobgoblins have disturbed Caustichlorinus," he answers quickly, " and the forest is not my land, but it was my home. If Caustichlorinus chooses to leave the forest, he will threaten my lands and that was a chance I was not willing to take. I would not impose upon you, but let Hepla know we are here and why we have come. Any help would be greatly appreciated." Berenn bows in appreciation.

    "A gracious answer and truthful," she replies with a knowing smile. "Hobgoblins can be trouble, but the ones I knew had a spark of decency in them. Yes, if they found a way to awaken it they are lucky to be alive. You have not asked to see the glen so you shall. Take my hand and walk with me but remember two things, do not try to enter the hut and this way will not work for you again."

    She will take his hand, if he offers it and the mere touch sends joyful shivers up and down his spine. She leads him into the side of the waterfall and into the stone wall. They walk about a half hour through rock and finally emerge from a small mound of dirt. There is a peaceful little clearing with a small hut, 12 " across in the center, smoke comes from a tiny chimney. "Wait here my lord. Do not fear anything in the forest unless it is undead, they are hard to control." With that she enters the tattered cloth door of the hut.

    After about five minutes, the forest around has only pleasant bird sounds coming from it. Hepla comes out, adjusting her hat. "Lord Berenn, how did you find your way here? Our forests do not pass many unless they are known friends or in great need. I know you as a friend I wonder if that was enough. Please sit down." He turns and there is a simple picnic like table there with a pitcher of water and a bottle of wine, two glasses a bowl of cream and Star. "Which would you prefer, and what brings you here?" He sees a youngish woman at the tree line a minute before she steps back into the shadow.

    "Your mother found me in the Gnarley Forest and brought me here," he says. "The hobgoblins we met in the temple have unwittingly awoken Caustichlorinus in the Gnarley Forest, and if he decides to leave it will threaten my newly acquired lands. I decided not to wait to see what Caustichlorinus was going to do and have decided to put an end to him with some new friends and the majority of our party. Your mother offered the opportunity to call on you and I accepted. And the water is fine please."

    Hepla pours him a glass of water and then herself one. "I am sorry to hear of this. That dragon has been asleep for a long time, I wonder what they did to awaken it? I am surprised that any of them escaped it. I am at a critical part of my studies but Star will be with you if you need my help. Isilme also can contact me. I am so glad mom brought you here and you followed her instructions. Thank you for letting me know."

    Hepala comes out of the hut wearing an apron and carrying a tray of rolls. "Oh good, mom made her great pop-overs, you must try one they are great." Berenn takes a bite of one, it is warm sweet and wonderful. He feels a sudden sleepiness and closes his eyes for a moment and the feeling passes. When he opens his eyes, he is seated at the base of the falls looking up at them, feeling refreshed. Star is at his feet finishing up the roll that he had dropped. At the base of the falls he sees the youngish lady for a moment again. She is taller then Hepla by 6 inches but sort of looks like her. She is very pretty. It looks like she is giggling, then she waves goodbye and walks into the forest.

    Earthday, 20 Reaping (581)
    Berenn decides to come and check out these trees again later, when he has more time. He then returns to the inn, where he joins the rest of the party in a an excellent meal. In the morning, you continue your trek. After a couple hours of walking, as you pass down closer to the creek on your right, you hear a crackling in the brush. Suddenly, a group of large beetles, each about 5' long, emerges from the dense underbrush about 20' away.

    Emyn says, "Maybe if we leave them be and stay out of their way, they will leave us alone."

    Readying his bow, Rakk answers, "Try to stay out of their way."

    Berenn attempts to calm them, but they charge straight at the party. The horses don't seem to like them, and they all may spook. Everyone must make ride checks, well, except Rakk who is not riding. Berenn, Noot, and Emyn are all thrown from their horses. Emyn takes [4] when he lands on a tree stump. The beetles attack.....

    Berenn's, Emyn's, and Noot's horses are all attacked. Great mandibles grab their legs doing [8] [10] and [8] respectively. Berenn and Emyn are also attacked. One clamps on Emyn's armor, not hurting him, but Berenn is bit in the leg [10].

    Berenn breaks free, rolls away, and stands. Emyn does the same, while Noot grabs hold of his horse, just before it bolts away! Berenn's horse bolts, dragging a beetle with it, while Camille stomps at the beetles around it.

    Thorgrim moves his horse to the side, then leaps off, ready to attack the Beetles. Altan has no shot, so he rides around the far side of the path. Another handful of beetles come out of the brush, and Atlan fires two quick arrows into one, skewering it to the ground! Rakk steps up, drawing his blades, and slashes through the hard chitinous shell of the beetle biting Camille, killing it.

    The beetles continue to attack. One charges forward and attacks Thorgrim clamping on his leg [5]. Three swarm over Emyn, two grabbing him by the leg [10] and abdomen [5]. One attacks Camile [10]. One attacks Rakk, biting him in the foot [7]. Two attack Berenn, but both fail to hit him.

    Thorgrim swings and misses, his pick bouncing off their shells. Emyn attacks, hitting one [6]. Rakk hits one [18]. Camille stomps another, before running away. She bumps Rakk, but he keeps his feet. Berenn ignites Bonefire, hitting one of the beetles [10].

    Both beetles attacking Berenn turn around, raise their asses, and fire a cloud of acidic gas at him. He is engulfed in a very foul-smelling gas. He takes [11] and [7] from the gas and is stunned by it, stumbling backwards. One does the same thing to Emyn, who also takes [5] though he is not stunned; however, he is deafened. One bites Thorgrim, clamping down hard on his knee [10]. It splits through the joint of his armor, and damages his knee [no movement. Even beetles get crits once in a while!] Another continues to bite Emyn [8], while one attacks Rakk ineffectively.

    Altan fires a series of arrows into the one fighting Thorgrim, killing it! Emyn attacks, killing the beetle he had already hit, the one which shot acid at him. Rakk kills the one he had already hit.

    The two attacking Berenn turn back, with one attacking Rakk, biting him in the foot [6]. The other attacks Berenn, who tries to fend it off while stunned, but cannot; he is grabbed by a giant mandible for [6]. Three attack Emyn, but none can bit through his armor.

    Emyn and Rakk both hit the same beetle for [15] and [HS: that's a heartshot, which scores an instant kill!] of course, with +8 damage, it would have died anyway! Finally, Thorgrim charges up to the beetle attacking Emyn's flank. He drives Souldrinker into its back, right behind the head [24: x2 crit!]. The thing dies instantly, though its mandibles click autonomously for a few moments more. Altan rides around Berenn, to stay between him and any more, while Emyn, Thorgrim, and Rakk finish off the last two beetles. They are all dead. The smelly gas goes away, and Berenn comes out of his stunned state. Emyn can hear again too.

    You have spend some time tracking down the two horses which bolted, and of course, Noot comes back after it's all over.

    Rakk says,"The glands must be useful. A companion once took the time to cut them out. Don't know what they did with them."

    "Good enough for me," says Thorgrim. He uses his dagger to cut out their stink glands while he awaits the rounding up of the horses. While he does this, putting the smelly things into one of his empty chests in his Portable Hole, Emyn checks on his horse. Camille took [20] and had only 18. She is on the ground, bleeding profusely and has a broken leg. Berenn can heal it, and he does so. His Rod of Xodal can heal all the horses, and it takes another spell to finish the healing of Camille. He also has to cast Animal Healing which will also take care of the broken leg. Camille is up and around in no time!

    Emyn is very thankful that Camilla was returned to life. "She's been a good friend over the years," he says.

    Berenn nods, then looks for the other horses. They find them and bring them back. It takes a couple of hours before you are ready to hit the road again. You travel the rest of the day, eventually reaching the crossroads where the road heads SE towards Namburil. It's getting dark, and you know you can't reach it before nightfall.

    "We will push through to Namburil," says Berenn. "The gods have shown that the forest isn't safe."

    To Rakk, this is Berenn's mission. Which makes him leader and thus his call. "I follow Berenn's lead."

    The party passes the rest of the day and into the night without interruptions. You are able to reach Namburil sometime around midnight. There are not many buildings, but there is a small inn, the Jolly Giant. The sign has a picture of a laughing hill giant playing an impossibly small harp.

    Trying to enter, Berenn finds the door locked, but a knock soon brings a small, skinny gnome investigating. He is the innkeeper, and he welcomes you to Namburil. For 1gp each, you can get a good night's sleep, though the kitchen's closed.

    [DM OOC: Everyone can sleep comfortably. I'll assume Thorgrim and Berenn cast some CLW to heal everyone, and you can awake fresh in the morning. Horses will be tended to in the stables.]

    Freeday, 21 Reaping (581)
    You awake to another nice warm day. It is pretty hot, with almost no wind, but the shade of the forest keeps you cool. You get a simple meal in the morning, oatmeal and such. There are very few buildings, with the place mostly being a den of warrens built into the slightly rolling forested mounds here.

    [DM OOC: I have no map, nor have I made one as it didn't seem that important. So, just assume that there's an inn, maybe a smithy, and there must be a couple of warehouses, for the trade that the gnomes of the area do in gems and minerals from their mines. There are possibly some outlying farms, in a few small clearings nearby. Other than that, there really isn't much.]

    Berenn asks the innkeeper about the elves of Clan Meldarin, hoping to find some with information about Caustichlorinus.

    "Clan Meldarin is always with you, Berenn Celebtaurë," says a melodic voice from behind you.

    Turning around, Berenn sees a beautiful half-elf woman. She is young, looking barely passed her teen (in human terms) which probably makes her in her late 20's. She stands just a few inches shorter than Berenn, has coppery red hair which cascades over her shoulders, and has light brown eyes which sparkle keenly. By her elven cloak and boots, she seems a true child of the wood, and the two pommels bulging from beneath it reveal her to be a warrior as well. Across her back is a small lute of fine elven craftsmanship.

    Emyn bows and greets her politely, introduces himself and asks, "Has this dragon been about these parts lately, milady? Lord Berenn must find the creature and either drive it off or slay it to protect the village of Nulb, which he hopes to renew."

    She turns to Emyn, quickly taking in every aspect of the man, before turning back to Berenn. "Lord Berenn is it?" she says playfully. "You've come a long way then," she adds with a smile. Turning back to Emyn, she whips her cloak back, revealing the pommels of a long and short sword. "Now, what's this about a dragon?"

    "Yes, pray tell what you may know about this fiend, for we mean to slay it," says Thorgrim.

    She looks at Thorgrim, a quick flash of bitterness passing across her face, but only for moment before it is replaced by a wide and welcoming smile. "Master dwarf," she says, giving a reverent bow. "It is an honor."

    "Forgive my manners," says Thorgrim. "It is an honor to meet you, Lady....? I am called Thorgrim. The dragon we speak of we believe to be Caustichlorinus, the ancient green which long slept in these woods. We have reason to believe he has been awakened from his long slumber, and is currently wreaking some small havoc near Berenn's lands, with the promise of more villainy to come."

    Rakk comes up and bows,"Tho' it is possible that it is a younger wurm, infringing the edge of his territory. We must assume the worst, however. A pleasure to meet you, I wish it was under better conditions. I am Rakkra."

    "Hail, and well met," she says. "Caustichlorinus is indeed an ancient dragon," she says. "How old, I do not know." She winks at Berenn. "I've only seen a couple score years myself." She looks around at the party, hands on her sword hilts. "But...I know where it sleeps!"

    "Pardon me my Lady," interjects Berenn, "but do I know you? You seem to know me or at least of me. I would doubt my reputation proceeds me although perhaps one day. Any information on Caustichlorinus would be greatly appreciated as well as any information on which clans might be interested in seeing Caustichlorinus parish."

    "Well," she says, brushing her hair back. "I guess you wouldn't remember now, would you?" She turns and looks at the others, especially Thorgrim. "I can take you to the old beast's lair," she says. "Sounds like fun."

    "And by what name shall we call thee, fair one?" asks Rakk, "For 'Hey, you' is hardly apt."

    "A name would be a good start," adds Berenn. "I would find it hard to believe I would forget anyone as fair as you, but perhaps you can refresh my memory on how we know each other while we travel to the worm's lair."

    "Forgive me," she says pleasantly, then offers a sweeping bow. "I am Nirifel Meldarin, traveling bard."

    "It is pleasure to remake your acquaintance Nirifel," says Berenn. "We usually travel in the company of a bard, but he lacks some of your virtues."

    "I know these woods well as I've spent half my life wandering in them," she says. "I would appreciate some company if that be your wish."

    "You are more than welcome," replies Berenn. "I suggest everyone get a good night's sleep; tomorrow promises to be another long day."

    Since the party arrived pretty much in the early morning, they sleep for a bit, not leaving in the late morning. One last thing, Nirifel can tell the party a bit about the dragon.
    "Caustichlorinus was forced to flee from his lair in the Welkwood when elven adventurers from Celene attacked him. Nearly slain in the battle, Caustichlorinus fled, carrying the body of the noble elven leader Freindilin Weirkein." Then the party continues on their way, with Nirifel guiding them to the dragon's den.

    Last edited by ragnar on Sat May 03, 2014 12:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:22 am  
    Part 3 - Singing in the rain

    The day begins with a light breeze, and soon you begin to rise out of the lowlands and into the wooded hills of the western Gnarley. Just before noon, the skies darken and rainclouds move in from the east, bringing a light rain. You make camp for lunch in the shade of some large Ipp trees, as protected as you can get from the rain. While eating, you hear a crunching sound as numerous creatures approach from the Northeast.

    Berenn springs to his feet, drawing his blades, while Nirifel and Altan ready arrows. Rakk just sits there with his arms crossed. Soon a group of gnomes, about 10 in all, come tromping through the brush. They see you all, arrows knocked and ready to fire, and quickly raise their own arms in response.

    Nirifel and Altan lower their bows, as Berenn puts his blades back and tells the party to lower their weapons. He addresses the gnomes next, "We mean you no harm and would appreciate it if you lowered your weapons. We are traveling through the forest and would only seek your leave to continue our journey."

    The gnomes lower their weapons as well, though they continue their wary stance. "You are a long way from the High Road," says one of the gnomes, his hand still on the hilt of his shortsword.

    "Few travel the Gnarley off the road," says another.

    "Our business is deep within the forest," says Berenn. "The High Road would not serve our purpose."

    They look at you suspiciously. "What happens in the deep forest is OUR business," says the gnome leader. "Especially if it threatens our kin and clan." The gnomes clearly are ready for a fight, if necessary.

    "Fear not kindred gnome," says Nirifel. "I too am a part of these woods and would stand against anyone trying to threaten these woods be it your kin, clan or the woods itself."

    "Then state your business in our lands," says the gnome. "You travel in arms and in secret," he adds. "Oft a bad combination. We would know why."

    Thorgrim rests his pick back across his shoulder. "We mean no harm to any gnomes or gnome-kind," he says.

    "I am Sir Berenn Silverwood, Knight Commander of the Watchlands and Member of the Court of Verbobonc," says Berenn, stepping forward and cutting off Thorgrim. "I would know have your name and by what authority you pretend to be able to question my motives!", Berenn voices is very intimidating and sounds very lordly.

    The gnomes look at each other, then start to laugh. "Well hello mister fancy pants!" says one of the gnomes.

    "Quiet, Tollo," says the leader, taking measure of Berenn's attitude. "We gots no beefs with you folks, but you are in OUR lands here. Verbobonc has no claim to these here hills. The Viscounty's writ extends not beyond the Imryds Run. So less you want things to get ugly, state yer business."

    The gnomes spread out a bit, almost imperceptibly but noticeable to all of you experienced adventurers. Their hands go ever so slowly to their weapons, and two seem to grip their crossbows a bit more securely.

    Emyn says, "We are gnome-friends, having helped the gnomes of the Greenway when they were in peril and are on our way to remove a great threat to your and your kith and kin. Had we known you laid claim to these lands, we would have announced ourselves."

    The gnomes seem a bit surprised by Emyn's pronouncement, and relieved as well with the mention of their kin in the Kron Hills. "An what threat is this?" asks the leader. "If yer trackin' the hobgoblins, we can handle them ourselves."

    "Handle em all the way to the fens!" laughs one of the other gnomes.

    "It's not like we tried to hide from you," says Nirifel, trying to sound like a child caught taking a pie. As the gnomes seem to relax, she continues. "We heard you coming long before you reached our position. Were we out to ambush you, we wouldn't be talking currently. That in itself should prove we mean you no harm. You will find us good and our intentions pure."

    "Easy," says Thorgrim. He glares at Berenn for his attempt to bully the gnomes. "We seek a dragon that has awakened."

    At the mention of a dragon, the gnomes loose any and all sense of frivolity. They look at each other nervously, clearly unsure what to do. "Caustichlorinus," says the leader ruefully, his beady eyes locked on Thorgrim's.

    "We believe it to be one and the same," replies Thorgrim. "The threat to the forest is great, for dragons are known to be a long slumber."

    The gnomes turn to each other, almost in a huddle, and converse quietly. Eventually, they turn back, grim-faced and resolute. "My name is Adoaver Goblinsfoe, scoutleader of Clan Gladstone," says the leader. "If you plan to continue, you will first come with us," he adds. His tone reveals that it is not a request.

    "Aye," says Emyn, "We seek the dragon and our bardette here knows the way."

    "We will come," Thorgrim says. He moves to lead his horse.

    "Very well ... lead on," says Berenn.

    You travel with the gnomes, who seem quite on edge now, looking often to the skies. A large vulture flies over the crest of the hill you are skirting, nearly causing the crossbowmen to fire on it. You follow them around the hill and below you see a strange sight indeed. A small gnome village, no more than a dozen small buildings. They take you down the path to the center of the village. Though the rest split off in other directions, Adoaver leads to the central building which is obviously more important, though unusual.

    Ugh, thinks Rakk. "Judging by the size of it, I will wait outside."

    "Will your leaders speak with us? I daresay Rakk will not fit inside," says Thorgrim.

    You are led inside, and find that you have to crouch a bit. The building seems to be a large beerhall, which probably also serves as a meeting place for the gnomes. It's built to be very large for them, almost 6' high ceilings make most of you able to stand, though you feel cramped. Rakk is very uncomfortable inside, and the gnome children, about a dozen of them, rush over and stare at his great size. Altan stays outside with the mounts, unused to such close quarters.

    "Wait here," says Adoaver, and he goes up a short winding set up stairs leading to the upper level. If Rakk were outside, he could probably just look in the upstairs window!

    Soon Adoaver returns with another gnome, a very short gnome, dressed in a light robe and a weird, foppish Papasmurph hat. "May I introduce Lord Kevlamin Shortankard of the Midden: burgomaster of our village," he says.

    Thorgrim whispers to Berenn, "You were right, we may just be wasting our time. This place is barely a village. Still, the alternative would have been worse." He then greets the gnomes. "Hail, Lord Kevlamin Shortankard of the Midden! We are well-met! I am called Thorgrim, and this is our leader, Sir Berenn Silverwood."

    "Would that we were well-met," he replies, striding forward. He tries to seem imperious, but his 3' frame and squeaky voice are a bit too much. You find it hard not to laugh at the little gnome.

    "Your warriors interrupted us on our journey," continues Thorgrim. "I trust they were only doing the job with which they were tasked: seeing to the security of your lands."

    Adoaver looks at Thorgrim with a frown. "You crossed OUR lands..." began Adoaver, before being interrupted by a wave of the burgomaster's hand.

    "Yes, yes, I heard," he says. "and I must say, I am disappointed. None have sought out Old Caustic for many years now. I myself remember when he arrived," he adds. "Two, maybe three hundred years ago. When you reach my age, it is no longer so easy to recall." He moves over to a large ornate chair, well, it's ornate for gnomes though it seems like a child's toy to you, and sits with difficulty. "None have accosted Old Caustic in all this time, and in all this time we have been left in peace." He points an old stubby finger at you. "Now you want to go and poke this old snake with yer shiny sticks, stir up trouble?"

    "The old snake has already been poked and dread will eventually come upon you all," Berenn starts. "A group of hobgoblins your hunters are familiar with unwittingly awoke Caustichlorinus, and it will not be long before he starts feeding on the inhabitants of the forest and the lands I am sworn to protect. I have come here to end him before he fully stirs and causes havoc through out these lands. It is in your best interest to let us proceed on our way or to give us what aid you can spare."

    "Indeed, your fate is already upon you," Thorgrim says, grimly. "You may fight or you may flee. You may assist us if you desire. But you may no longer live in ignorance of this dire threat, and thwarting us is also ill-advised, and likewise not a solution."

    The gnomes are not convinced. They have never had problems with the dragon, and they are afraid you will upset it, bringing its wrath down upon them. They will not help you. They want you to leave what they call a "foolish errand." Of course, they also do not want a fight with you either. So, they ask you to leave.

    The party leaves, most happy to just forget about the "silly gnomes." Berenn scouts ahead, while Altan keeps an eye behind them. He sees a group of a half-dozen gnome warriors following behind you but keeping their distance. It gets dark in a few more hours. By Nirifel's account, they are about a day's travel from the lair. They've seen no indication of the dragon so far.

    In a little while then, we stop and make camp for the evening. After supper Nirifel tells a short story for their enjoyment:

    "Know you that in the elder days before the Invoked Devastation and the Rain of Colorless Fire, when the ancient peaks of the Abbor-Alz still thrust skyward sharp and majestic and the Flan tribesmen were but newcomers to the land, there existed between the Bright Desert and the mouth of the river Selintan a great fortress called Inverness. The walls of this castle were said to be proof against enemies and all things magical or natural. Know you also that here was said to dwell the great wizard Galap-Dreidel at the height of his power and glory, and that he did lift the Castle Inverness from the very foundation of rock upon which it rested.

    Most grand and terrible of all Galap-Dreidel's work was the keep's great inner tower; for it was there that the wizard's most prized possession, an eldritch jewel known only as the "Soul-Gem", was said to rest. Legend says that it was like a great white diamond and that it glowed with the brilliance of the sun. In years long past it had fallen from the sky and landed in the foothills of Abbor-Alz where Galap-Dreidel discovered it as it lay in the fires of its glory. Through magicks most arcane and knowledge forbidden to mortal men he did bend its power and shape the stone to his will. Stories say that the light of the gem dragged the souls of men screaming from their mortal flesh and trapped them within its many facets. Galap-Dreidel, it was said, harnessed this power and used it against those who opposed his will. They also say that he who controlled the gem could call forth the stolen souls of men and make them do his bidding.

    For the stone Galap-Dreidel raised up the great central tower and filled his castle with many horrible creatures and deadly traps and, using a great incantation, he did wrest the tower from the very fabric of time and set it apart so that those within would not be affected by the passage of years. Thus it was that his traps never faltered nor did his guardians age or need food. Townsfolk whispered that Galap-Dreidel would, at times, set a prisoner free in the tower merely for the sport of his beasts. Some legends tell that his power was so great that he even taught the gem to protect itself from those who would take it from him.

    But despite his great power there came a time that Galap-Dreidel did leave on a journey northwest, over the river Selintan, and did not return. At this time there came a great multitude of superstitious peoples from surrounding lands who laid siege to the castle and threw down the great tower. And it came to pass that despite this seeming victory over their feared former master the people did shun the area and it was said that on fog-shrouded nights the great central tower of the Fortress Inverness could still be seen."

    [DM OOC: Bard's make a great way to drop future adventure hooks!]

    "The fortress sounds like a death trap," says Berenn. "We should start thinking about how we are going to face Caustichlorinus tomorrow. We could use the Plant Control Potions to keep him grounded. Cause the trees to interlock into a giant canopy just over his head and take away his ability to fly. I would also suggest you leave anything you don't need with the horses a good distance away from the lair, no use getting acid and chlorine on items we aren't using."

    While they discuss plans, Isilme appears, using her mirror to travel to the party. "It seems you are getting close," she says. "I would not have you face such a creature alone."

    While many options flow back and forth, including getting onto it's back, Rakk realizes that this group has never faced a dragon, though he has. "The key to fighting a dragon is to spread far enough apart to make it not worth the use for the breath weapon. Getting on it's back means 2 tons of dragon rolling over on top of you, not good. The other problem is they are very good at ambushes within their home turf. We will have to spread out as soon as we reach the area of the dragon's home."

    "Depending on the tactical situation," says Emyn, "I could also charge the dragon with my lance first, as the weapon is designed for things like this. Then use our mobility on horseback to make it harder for the beast to attack more than one of us at a time. Altan could also fight on horseback against the creature, since he is good in mounted archery."

    "I am thinking about leaving the horses clear out of this one," replies Berenn. "Probably tying them up with any gear we don't need, far from the carnage. As far as flying goes, I already suggested using the plant control potions to manipulate the surroundings into a canopy about the dragon so he can't get any altitude. Plant control works on any plant and we have four potions, we should be able to make quite a dome over his lair."

    "Well," says Noot, "about all I can do is rob his lair after you get him to leave it."

    [DM OOC: OK, this is where my PC broke, so I lost lots of stuff. However, the party made their plan to find and attack Caustichlorinus the next day. They will attempt to surround it, keeping far apart from each other, and uses Plant Control potions to bind it to the ground. Then they will attack it from all sides.

    Sunday, 23 Reaping (581)
    You sleep rather peacefully. Waking in the morning, you find it much cooler with a strong wind blowing from the Southeast. There were some light showers in the early morning, and it certainly seems as if more are coming.

    Thorgrim stretches his bones, and looks at the sky. "A fine day for dragon-slaying," he says. He gets out his pipe and wakes up. "That Kuo-Toa herb would've been most handy, here. Damn evil priests and their soul-burning fire!"

    [DM OOC: You are lucky you are a dwarf, and you resisted the long-term addicting properties!]

    You start to head towards the direction you believe is the dragon's lair. Around noon rather ominous clouds begin to move in. You take a quick break and a meal, and then it starts to rain heavily.

    "Well," says Rakk looking at the rain. "That's good for breaking up clouds of gas, bad for bowstrings. Bad for flying as well."

    "We need to find a staging area near the lair," says Berenn, "but not too close so we can leave the horses and items we won't need during the fight."

    "Let us first seek the lair," adds Thorgrim. "Eyes open for dragon-sign."

    The party wanders around for another few hours, finding no trace of the dragon's lair or the dragon. This is two days in a row walking through the hilly forest in the rain. Your gear is rather soaked now, and you are all getting rather uncomfortable.

    [DM OOC: I basically assume you take care of your clothes and armor either in down times or in the evening after a day of rain or such, so I often don't mention it. However, you are hunting a dragon, so let's pay attention to details!] You will have to take off pretty much everything and thoroughly dry it all out or you risk your gear becoming ruined.

    The weather has made your journey rather difficult, and the strain begins to affect you all. You find the need to rest soon, since it's getting dark, and the weather's getting worse! The rangers find no obvious nearby shelter from the storm, such as a cave or anything.

    [Berenn OOC: We will do what is necessary to keep our gear from getting ruined, but we will make sure someone is armed and alert at night.]

    "We could use Thorgrim's fortress," says Emyn.

    "Let's use Leomund's Tiny Hut tonight, to avoid detection so near the dragon's lair," says Thorgrim.

    Isilme casts it, and the party enters to spend a warm, dry night. You take off your armor and dry and clean it, as well as the rest of your gear. Meanwhile, Rakk and the rangers spend the early evening outside preparing a makeshift shelter for themselves. In a few hours they complete their task, as well as take care of the horses by tying them in a more secluded spot. They also take shifts through the night, while everyone else sleeps. In the morning, you wake up, dry and ready to continue.

    Moonday, 24 Reaping (581)
    You get up in the morning, only to find that the weather has worsened. Rain stopped in the early morning, only to commence again with a vengeance just when you are ready to get started. A very strong wind, even stronger than a gust of wind spell, blows from the SE, bringing a hard sideways rain. Travel is going to be very difficult.

    Emyn says, "Let's hole up until this passes."

    It storms heavily for about half the day with winds of upwards of 40mph. The hills become very unstable, with much water pouring along the cuts and valleys. Staying put seems your only option.

    "Mm!" Thorgrim grunts.

    Isilme asks Berenn, "Have you tried communing with nature? A dragon and his lair are bound to have a dramatic impact on the natural environment."

    Berenn attempts to Commune with Nature, but strangely he finds that he cannot. He senses the power there, just beyond his reach. However, in all such activities there is a reaching out from both ends. He can tell that there is no attempt to reach out to him. In fact, it seems like he is being....ignored.

    Meanwhile, it pours off and on all day long. There is a break just as it gets dark, but the wind continues to howl. Isilme seems a bit withdrawn, mumbling about wasting time away from her studies. Meanwhile, Nirifel casts Sound Bubble, that she can freely sing to you to pass the time. She sings an elven song about love and loss, which goes on for about 4 hours!

    Thorgrim looks at Emyn. "I am pleased your trek through this world has not yet ended. You were halfway to the Negative Material Plane at the end of our last excursion. And we mustn't forget the lesson of the Deadly and Impenetrable Kobold Fortress of Doom, when Elrae was also granted reprieve. I find myself missing Taki, and I'm sure Gotrek will be wroth when he finds he missed out on our deadly fun." He takes out his pipe and puffs a few times, thinking, and listening to Nirifel's song.

    "Will you stand tomorrow with Rakk and me, together against the dragon? Given time, I can protect us from its deadly breath. You will have to protect yourself from its maw," he laughs.

    Noot has his cards out and is playing solitaire unless someone wants to join him in a game of chance. Nobody does, and soon everyone simply goes to sleep.

    Godsday, 25th Reaping (581)
    You spend another night in the shelter of Leomund's Tiny Hut. The wind picks up, blowing stronger than anything you've ever felt. The rain comes down all night and into the morning. You wake up, and it is clear from her demeanor that Isilme is starting to regret coming out here at all. Nirifel also notices that the gnomes seem to have disappeared. Tracks indicate they returned to their hamlet. In all, nearly a foot of rain has fallen over the last three days! You are lucky you had outdoorsy types to make sure your campsite was decently placed. You find a large slide nearby, as well as plentiful flooded ravines and such. In any of a dozen places, you would have had a very eventful time, and possibly not survived. At least you'd have gotten really wet and dirty.

    As you are packing up, you hear a loud roar from over the next hill. Suddenly a tremendously large shape flies up over the hill, right up under the afternoon sun. It is silhouetted against the sun which is only now breaking through the clouds, before it banks away going back to the north. You estimate that it was nearly 50' long, with an even longer tail.

    "I'd say it's a pretty good chance he's awake," says Rakk. "So much for that faint hope."
    He shoulders the crossbow, "Well, off to work, let's go."

    Last edited by ragnar on Sat May 03, 2014 12:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:00 pm  
    Part 4 - Caustichlorinus

    Isilme immediately casts Invisibility and Fly. Berenn moves up the hillside. He gets to the top about the same time Isilme finishes casting and flies there. "Right behind you," she says quietly.

    The dragon can still be seen a few miles away now, flying to the northeast. Anyone else is somewhat hampered by the very muddy and now treacherous ground.

    "Great," says Rakk,"Water. We are obviously food-size for dragons, would a hawk miss a rabbit?"

    The dragon has flown off and is almost out of sight. You cannot track it overland, nor pass with anything like its speed overland, especially over the difficult terrain. Rakk doesn't like all the water, but as long as he doesn't have to get in it, he's ok. He doesn't swim! Isilme is able to follow the dragon as it flies around. It grabs a large deer and flies back off to its lair. Isilme follows it there, finding it's exact location.

    "At least we know where it is now," says Berenn. "We just have to wait and trap it there. The rest of the party should make the best speed possible once Isilme lets us know where it is."

    Isilme returns in a couple hours with information on the dragon's exact location. She describes it, and I'll just post the map here for everyone to follow:

    As you can see, the dragon's lair is nestled into a nook of the hills. The rocks around it are about 100' vertical cliffs on all sides, nearly impossible to climb. There's a small ledge about 25' high just above the ground level, which is a bit of a misnomer as this entire place is at about 1000' elevation. It's one of the taller peaks around, with the rocky crags sticking out of the otherwise forested hills. The large tangle in the center is the dragon's lair. It's a massive dome of vines and brambles, maybe 75' tall and across. There is a large entrance on the south side, facing out away from the hill and overlooking the forest to the south. [you can't see the entrance on the map, but it's there.] There are also a couple pools of water there, as well as a cave on the left side. Actually, it's more of a shaft dropping straight down into the darkness. Finally, consider the bottom edge of the map a cliff, dropping about 500' straight down. The only easy way to the lair is from the east.

    "It lounged out in the sun and ate the deer," she says. "Then it drank water from one of the pools before laying out and soaking up some sun."

    Emyn says, "What if we use the dragon's lair as the trap? Any chance the dome might catch fire after all this rain?"

    [DM OOC: Well, magical fire can almost always do the job, but it's not going to want to burn quickly. Remember, you just got about a foot of rain in a few days. That's Tropical Storm kind of weather! Also, Isilme says the dome of brambles seems to be living, not a bunch of dead twigs like a bird's nest. So it'll all be green and not easily burned anyway. But again, magical fire is something else entirely.]

    "This dragon seems in tune with the natural surroundings," says Isilme, "as evidenced by his lair, and natures very refusal to communicate with Berenn." Why exactly are we hunting this dragon? What has it done? If you are set on this path, I would scout out the area a little better we need to see if we can gain an advantage and prevent escape."

    "If this is it's lair," adds Rakk, "why would it ambush hobgoblins in the swamp?"

    "Perhaps there is more than one dragon in these woods?" asks Nirifel.

    "I still think dropping the magic tower on the dragons head is our best bet," says Isilme.

    "Depending on how thick the dome is," says Rakk, "we could just have a royally pissed-off dragon instead."

    "Said dragon is currently lounging in the sun. It's like dropping a safe on a lazy house cat.
    Well except if you miss, the cat doesn't kill you and your whole family, and then proceed to destroy the house and everything or anyone within 50 miles." Isilme smiles at her attempt at humor, the frowns when nobody laughs.

    "The Fortress is not getting dropped anywhere..." Thorgrim says. "If necessary, I will simply throw it into range and order its expansion, causing significant damage."

    "I think the horses should be tied up here and left," says Berenn. "How the fortress is used is up to Thorgrim. It is his, and dropping it on a dragon will probably ruin its magic. He has to decide if it is worth risking the loss of his item. We can discuss what we should do while we are moving closer to the dragon." He then glances at Nirifel. "The odds of another dragon living in this forest are rather slim."

    Hearing this, Thorgrim adds. "We will have to finish it a different way. I do not wish to expand the Fortress in mid-air, even though this might conceivably cause enough damage to slay it, because I believes this would cause irreparable damage to the Fortress." He then smiles at Isilme. "C'mon, give the beastie a fighting chance," he says. "Further, I do not believe the Plant Control will work to ensnare the dragon. We need a secondary plan to keep the dragon close to the ground. Or else it may be Isilme versus The Dragon. Isilme, perhaps a way to keep it close would be to attack with spellpower from within and behind our spearhead group. I can't see any way except magic to keep the beast low and close."

    "If we want to stop the wurm from flying, we will have to damage one or both wings," says Rakk. "I doubt anything else will work."

    "If it goes into its lair," says Rakk, "maybe the potions will work, if we use them all."

    "I think we actually need to see what he is doing," says Berenn. "and where he is at to formulate a plan of action. We should probably get close enough to observe his actions. No use coming up with a plan here to find out he has moved while we have been traveling toward him."

    "Exactly," says Isilme's invisible voice. [While you move closer [the party's still about half a day's walk away!], I will go watch and see what it is doing." She then flies off to scout while the party moves closer, keeping very careful to stay quiet and hidden. The party finally gets closer, maybe to within a couple hours walk of the dragon's lair. They can find a secluded place to camp, and Isilme returns shortly. It is just getting dark.

    Thorgrim opens his Portable Hole, puts away his new pipe, and gets out Slasher, his two-handed battleaxe, and some rations. "No luxuries tonight," he says. "I pray Isilme has avoided detection."

    Isilme casts Whispering Wind and messages Thorgrim. "The dragon is far younger than we thought and has little collected in the way of treasure. The hole next to its lair is a giant cavern. So take that into account for planning or perhaps the party will just leave the dragon be? I will be waiting for the party to arrive if you are coming, just keeping an eye on the dragon."

    Thorgrim announces this to the party. "The dragon is not Claustichlorinus, and is too young to have accumulated much treasure. Nirifel, your bardic lore was inaccurate. Let us make short work of it, and seek the real menace. I know not of any way to track a beast which plies the skies, save to stumble upon its lair. Any ideas? Perhaps this beast could tell us, as it surely knows where its enemies lie. We might squeeze the truth from its lying tongue, but not without agreeing to let it live...and evil dragons need slaying."

    "So the giant cavern might be Claustichlorinus's lair," says Rakk. "The young wurm may be the one we seek, but why was it out ambushing hobgoblins in the swamp? Methinks there are problems here we haven't fathomed."

    "Maybe mommy is nearby," says Noot slowly, looking around.

    "I would not want to let it live," says Berenn, "but there is more to this story than meets the eye."

    [Isilme player OOC: Not really . I think someone got it in their head the dragon was super old. It's not, it's younger and has been sleeping for a while.]

    "Is it even the same type of dragon, I wonder," questions Emyn.

    "I volunteer Emyn to walk into the lair and find out if it is the same type of dragon," says Berenn. "If he comes out covered in chlorine gas and acid, we have the right dragon!"

    "My guess," says Nirifel, before Emyn can respond to the jibe, "is the large cavern houses the dragon we seek. But we would have to draw the younger dragon away and engage it prior to fighting the older one. We certainly don't want to wake it during the fight and fight two!"

    "This is another indicator this is not the dragon we seek," says Thorgrim. "Still, it was Nirifel's understanding that Caustichlorinus' lair was in this area. This young wyrm may indeed be its offspring."

    [Nirifel OOC: Nirifel is a ranger and familiar with this forest. It is unlikely that she is mistaken about the area or the location of Caustichlorinus. I'm new to this campaign but I doubt Ragnar game me specific information that was misleading. I say we're facing two dragons that are related and we certainly don't want to fight both simultaneously.]

    [DM OOC: Yes, Nirifel knows the area, and this is without a doubt the lair of Caustichlorinus. She can't say with certainty that this young dragon is the one you seek, but this is the location of the lair.]

    "Killing the young one will certainly bring the mother," says Altan.

    "That would be my thoughts also as it will surely "dragon roar" during combat," agrees Nirifel. "That's why I thought we should bait the smaller one to leave the area and engage it away from the canyon."

    "An illusion might work, if it's a good one," adds Thorgrim. "Herd of deer or something equally tasty! We just defeated the physical manifestation of the demon lord Imix. He only killed one of us. Well, two, sort of. And drained our life-force. And I endured a Soul Burn [tearing away 6 HP...permanently!] And brought us to death's door numerous times. This will be more like hunters stalking their quarry.

    Thorgrim takes out his Portable Hole. "Good thing I cleaned out my Portable Hole before this adventure," Thorgrim says. "It was becoming cluttered. Speaking of which..." He gets out his cask of fine ale. "Hommlet's Best," he says. "A surprise for you, Noot," he says. " I fear I've only three mugs. The rest of you will have to use your cups or horns. Eat, drink, and be merry," he says with grim tone. "For tomorrow, we may die." Everyone just stares at him, and he shrugs. "A Dwarven proverb." Thorgrim quaffs his ale.

    The party is sheltering in a secluded spot a few miles away from the dragon's lair. They are discussing things and I think waiting to hear more from Isilme.

    "Do you think we should attack tonight?" asks Thorgrim. "Isilme awaits us. Nay, we still need a coherent plan. I like the one I've cobbled together. The illusion to lure the young green to its doom will require us to meet up with Isilme first. Hopefully she detects our presence before the dragon does. Magic resistance shouldn't work against illusions, as they are not being cast on the dragon. The beast has only its intelligence to save itself. And young greens aren't the brightest of the lot."

    Isilme returns just as Thorgrim mentions her, since it appears the dragon has bedded down for the night and there is no point to sitting there watching nothing. "What are you planning to do? We can basically try to use its bed/canopy to bind it to the ground while we beat it up? Just my thoughts. I can summon a shadow, which is pretty nasty and can weaken it continuously. Maybe we use the Portable Hole trick?"

    "Forget the Hole," says Thorgrim. "Let's pull out all the stops on this one, since we're likely fighting two dragons. Save the shadow for Clausty. If an illusion is unfeasible, we can lure the beast with some actual prey. Perhaps Emyn's Monster Summoning? Faster than hunting. Plant Control the forest. Take it down. Beforehand, I will summon an earth elemental and cast spells of protection. I can also drop my fortress over the entrance to the lair, perhaps trapping it within. Is anyone else thinking that the lair is actually the best place to engage Claustichlorinus? It might keep him from flying. Heck, I can have the elemental enter the fortress before blocking the exit, and let them fight it out inside."

    He keeps going, his plan just flowing out as he speaks without pause. "Basic plan of attack is Rakk, Thorgrim, Emyn as the brute force. Lots of arrows flying, and Isilme looking for ways to help, while staying out of harm's way. Isilme may be key against Caustichlorinus, as the dragon likely has much dragon magic which will make its breath weapons look like a side-show. He could neutralize the fighters. We have to keep him on the ground. Will Plant Control on the forest canopy work? It might not. We need a thought or two from Isilme."

    "With four plant control potions we ought to be able to manipulate enough of the forest to make to keep the dragons grounded," says Berenn. "I think we should attack while it is sleeping, we need every advantage we can get. I like Thorgrim's plan."

    Isilme puts her face into her palms. She doesn't say anything, but she wonders if she should prepare to leave the delusional party and get back to her studies.

    "Let's get to the foot of the hill and check around the base before making a decision," says Rakk. "It is possible there is a way in to the cavern from the side of the hill."

    "The earth elemental might be the best route," says Emyn, nodding to Thorgrim. "Get it to shake the vegetation, rip out the tree, whatever it takes. It can always retreat underground. I don't know what creatures Trithereon will bestow upon me when I ask for his aid, and they might not be capable of doing what we need them to do."

    "I agree with moving out and getting there as soon as possible," says Berenn. "Basically we are going with Thorgrim's plan, probably with some slight modifications once we actually see what we are dealing with there."

    "Let's go," says Rakk.

    "Where?" asks Noot. he then looks around with a hopeful grin. "If you ask me, we should go to Hommlet."

    "Hah! Good vun!", says Rakk, as he slaps Noot on the back. "You haf a good sense of humor!"

    [What followed for a bit was a lot of OOC discussion about the dragon, as the party is not sure this is the one they are looking for anymore. I think this final post by Thorgrim's player pretty much sums up the whole discussion:]

    [Thorgrim Player OOC: Haha what? We have evidence for a second dragon that we must assume to exist and assume to be near to be safe. The evidence is this:

    1. The description given by the hobgoblins fits the description of Caustichlorinus.
    2. Caustichlorinus is known to dwell in these woods.
    3. Nirifel knows this to be the lair of Caustichlorinus.
    4. The dragon you saw does not fit the description of Caustichlorinus.

    Therefore, Caustichlorinus must be near.

    Other logical possibilities are:
    1. This baby green killed ancient and powerful Clausty and took command of his lair.
    2. Caustichlorinus died or left a long time ago or yet sleeps and this dragon has taken on his mantle, its legend growing from fear, superstition, and exaggeration.

    Other Possibility #1 is patently absurd, as it's hard to imagine a baby besting an ancient with five times his power. Possible, but improbable.

    Other Possibility #2 makes more sense (which would be a welcome relief), but is refuted by counter-evidence, that being that the dragon was reported to have acid breath weapon. Young dragons typically do not have multiple types of breath attacks. Young greens do not. We know greens breathe gas. We know ancients gain mysterious and deadly powers.

    Here are more reasonable assumptions:
    1. This dragon is the offspring of Caustichlorinus.
    2. This dragon is the mate of Caustichlorinus.
    3. This dragon has taken control of Caustichlorinus' lair while the ancient dragon sleeps.
    4. This dragon has taken control of Caustichlorinus' lair while the ancient dragon carries out a terror campaign across the land.

    Of these, assuming this dragon is the offspring is by far the most reasonable.

    So I am imagining not just ONE extra dragon, but possibly TWO--a mated pair! For three dragons total. How's that for imagination?

    "I think we should take advantage of the element of surprise," says Berenn. "Once the combat starts no one will have a problem seeing a dragon in the dark. My opinion on the confusion regarding the dragon, some of our information is based on myth and rumor ... not terribly reliable. The hobgoblins were scrambling for their lives and may have been mistaken in some of their description of the dragon. I am going off what has been seen by Isilme which is one dragon, because this is what we know. So, let's go."

    "We're attacking tonight?" asks Thorgrim. "I'm all for it, and will manage with no difficulties. The humans may have more trouble, as will those without mountaineering skill. That's a rough road. Still, engaging the beast in its lair is our very best bet for bringing our strength to bear. However, now that we know its lair, we have only to approach, and wait. Daytime may be preferable, for considerations of vision. Nirifel, do you know the habits of green dragons? Are they more active in the day, or in the night? Isilme?"

    "So we are actually going to walk up the trail, and we expect to surprise the dragon how?" asks Isilme. "Silence only goes so far, and it's going to smell dwarf, and get hungry."

    "If we're walking in," says Rakk, "I'm going to consider cliff climbing using my bard skills because I agree with you. Instead of us ambushing the dragon we might get ambushed. It smells and sees flying creatures too, you know. Hawks catch birds. I'm still wondering what the surrounding countryside looks like. Is there a way through the cavern? I'm open to suggestions. I'm just throwing ideas out because I'm going to be the one standing in front of the dragon when we get there."

    The hill is the highest around, a few hundred feet higher than most the other hills around. The dragon basically lairs on a large ledge/cut/whatever you want to call it. There is one way up, and that would be to enter the map from the right side. There's no trail, but you can make your way along there. Consider the bottom of the map a cliff dropping about 100'. You can also see the cliffs going up another 100' on the left and top of the map. Those go up higher to some jagged peaks.

    [DM OOC: Please see the map again! It should be fairly straight-forward what the "lay of the land" is. If you still have questions, let me know. Isilme already checked out the cavern, and there are NO OTHER WAYS IN OR OUT. I put that in caps so you will no miss it. Also, according to Isilme you can make it up the cliffs to get above the dragon, though of course that will take some time. Actually, Noot can go up them rather easily, and Berenn has a Rope of Climbing, so that will make the climbing rather easy. Other than that, I'm not sure what the actual plan is. However, you wanted to get closer, so here you go.....]

    You spend another hour getting closer. You cannot see much except the faint outline of the jagged peaks above you. Isilme flies along with you as you pick your way along the forested hill trying to not be noisy. When somebody steps on a branch, she gives a quick "shsh!!!" There is also a strong wind blowing, which seems to drown out any sound you may be making. From where you are, you must ascend about 300' along the hillsides, wrapping around one hill and then heading up the one where the dragon lairs. In the dark, moving through the wet, muddy ground, it'll take another hour tops to reach the dragon. It's now about midnight.

    "Once we are on the ground where the lair is," says Berenn, "I suggest the people with the plant control potions use them and start manipulating the vegetation into a canopy to limit the dragon's ability to fly."

    The party is soon just off the map to the right. Noot climbs the cliff to the north, finding a good place to hide and watch. He picks out a place about 50' above the deep pool of water, figuring that he can rely on his Deep Diving skill if he gets in trouble. Berenn knocks an arrow, staying in the trees, while Altan moves around towards the southern cliff, also staying in the trees. Thorgrim summons his earth elemental, then casts four Protection from Acid spells. Nirifel readies her bow, also staying in the trees and using her Elfin Cloak and Boots to silently slip around towards the pond too. She hides amidst the ring of rocks, hidden by her cloak and silently waiting with her Plant Control potion ready. Rakk has his ballista (a semi-giantsized crossbow!) ready.

    [DM OOC: For himself, it will protect against 96 hp of damage (after saves). For others it offers a +4 on saves and reduction of damage by half (1/2 on a failed save and 1/4 on a successful save). Protection from Gas works the same. It completely protects Thorgrim for 80 hp of damage (after saves), while for others it offers a +4 on saves and reduction of damage by half.]

    Nobody can see or hear the dragon....

    Berenn will cast silence on a stone and have Rakk, Thorgrim, and Emyn stay close. All four are protected by Thorgrim's spells. flies up to the cliffs to the west. Isilme casts Haste and flies up to a ledge or overhang in the rocks slightly away from the party where she can oversee the battle.

    Altan, Isilme, Nirifel, and Noot all hear the dragon roar. The others hear nothing, being within the radius of Berenn's silence stone. [DM OOC: These four have the option to take/prep an action right now, in reaction to hearing the dragon roar. Nobody else can do/say anything. BTW, I have Emyn holding his potion. Berenn has an arrow ready. Rakk has his crossbow ready.

    Of the others, those who may react right now, I have the following:

    Isilme has cast all the listed spells and is sitting up above. Noot's up there too. I don't see any preparatory actions for him, other than to simply stay out of the way. Altan has his bow out. Nirifel has her bow out, but is ready with the plant control potion.]

    [Thorgrim player OOC: Whose idea was Silence? This operation is going to take some good communication.]

    Isilme casts Summon Shadow, summoning three shades from the netherworld to aid her. Berenn, Noot, Altan, and Nirifel all drink potions of Plant Control, and Berenn drops his silence spell with everyone ready. Just as he does so, the dragon bursts out of the lair, letting out a tremendous roar as it takes to the skies!

    [Isilme Player OOC: And there is your epic fail....]

    [DM OOC: Well, the potions DO last for a long time.....]

    The dragon flew out off the south side of the map, disappearing into the night. You see its massive bulk rising up in a long sweeping bank under the moon.

    [Nirifel OOC: Well this really sux but I'm going to prepare to be strafed. Get chest deep in the pool and prepare to dive into the water if I see a dragon dive bombing us. At least the water might dilute any acid. And I'll hold my breath and stay under as long as possible in the hopes any poisonous gas dissipates. Plus the water should seriously limit any infravision of the dragon. Basically my body heat will be blocked by the pool of water (I hope).]

    [Berenn OOC: Berenn has Protection from Acid, Resist Acid and Neutralize Gas. Anyone not protected speak up. Neutralize Gas will render the Green Dragon Breath harmless, but it only works on one person or in a 7' radius. So if you want me to stand out in the middle with some people, at least the gas won't hurt us in a strafe.]

    [I am posting more OOC comments, because the players suddenly found themselves wondering what to do with their initial plan totally unraveling before they even started!]

    [Nirifel OOC: Me but I'm on the other side of the map. No one even suggested casting any spells on me and I wasn't offended because this was first an NPC and maybe I can run a druid of decent level after this encounter.]

    [Berenn OOC: I would start running over to me before the dragon makes a run. Berenn casts Protection from Acid on himself. If the dragon makes a gas attack, I will cast Neutralize Gas.]

    [Nirifel OOC: If we all clump up in a group that could potentially be worse. I'm going to hold and hide in the water with my cloak, and ranger ability to hide. I'm going to make a luck roll that he doesn't see or smell me in the water and not that I want him to strafe you guys but running to that side seems desperate right now.]

    I should also add that the dragon flew out of sight, except for flying in front of the moon for a moment. Well, maybe it's not totally out of sight, but it's a long way off. Of course, being that it's 100' long (about 50' for its body and the same for the tail) you never really lose sight of it. Plus, it's a full moon. Anyway, you can't really judge the distance, but it's "at least" out of bowshot right now.

    [Isilme OOC: It sounds pretty much like its the dragons move; he has the high ground. However, the 3 shadows have standing orders to attack when it closes as well.]

    You wait for a few minutes, but the dragon doesn't come back. The party actually loses complete track of it, and do not have any idea where it is.....

    [Emyn OOC: Great....]

    Last edited by ragnar on Sat May 03, 2014 12:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:37 pm  

    Very nice!

    First, I suspect that Nirifel is Clausticlorinous in polymorph disguise. She is luring adventurers to attack rival dragons, even going so far as to vacate her lair (after removing most of her treasure, of course) to let a younger dragon move in, hoping that the adventurers will spread the word that Clausty is dead and she can return to her slumber without having to worry about being hunted by others.

    Second, the new player running Nirifel seems certain she's going to die. Razz "...this was first an NPC and maybe I can run a druid of decent level after this encounter."


    P.S. I like the title. Smile SX
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    Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:52 am  

    Rags, I think you missed the encounter with the hobgoblins that started this whole thing. That pic with the melty face was freaking terrifying.
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    Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:17 pm  

    Goldie wrote:
    Rags, I think you missed the encounter with the hobgoblins that started this whole thing. That pic with the melty face was freaking terrifying.

    No I didn't. That was actually done in between adventures. I put that into the epilogue posts for the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil thread. Maybe I should move it here. I'll add it to the first post.
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    Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:25 am  

    Ok, I did that. Now the first post of this thread starts with the incident with the hobgoblins. Hopefully, it helps the continuity of this adventure.
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    Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:36 pm  

    Btw, this adventure will show the anti-magic nature of the campaign. We typically lose more than we get every adventure and Emyn shows you how to do that in style. :) (Just yanking your chain Rags. Don't go and nuke what little I have left, lol.)
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    Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:40 pm  
    Part 5 - Battle on the cliff

    Altan moved towards the cliff where the dragon flew away, so he can keep an eye out that direction. The trees and bushes otherwise block view. Nirifel is now IN the pool of water. Isilme is still up atop the crags. The three shadows are around.

    Emyn says, "Might as well steal the treasure while we're waiting..."

    "I agree," says Berenn. "We should at least check out the lair and plant the fortress at the entrance. If it decides to return, it will have a nasty surprise and I still have my Neutralize Gas Spell ready."

    "Well, that's that," says Thorgrim. "Shall we return to Hommlet?" When nobody laughs, he continues. "Well, that was most unfortunate. Let us be swift, because these spells wear off in about an hour. Shall we descend into the cave? Let's see how this Plant Control works. Here, give me that." He takes his Fortress from the elemental, and commands it to go to the cave entrance and keep a lookout for dragons, and to give a roar if he sees one, but not to engage unless attacked. Thorgrim commands the trees to sway and bend. If they do, he will say, "That is good." He tells Berenn, "Cast your spells. Neutralize Gas is practically worthless in these situations." He walks toward the lair, and places the Fortress about 30 feet east of the brambles. "This is the Kill-Zone," he says to all the party. "Do your best not to be near it when the dragon returns." He walks up to the east side of the lair, and commands the brambles to part.

    Nirifel starts to play her lute, and all of a sudden a bunch of people are standing around the dragon's lair [She cast Instant Audience]. Nobody really knows from whence they came. They peek in, look around, then laugh as they listen to Nirifel's singing. Meanwhile, the elemental begins to move across the way, as does Rakk. Thorgrim, Emyn, and Berenn move towards the entrance to the dome of brambles, staying in the brush and trees. Yes, the potions work rather well. [I guess Thorgrim one as well?] You find that you can totally control any of the plants and trees around here. Altan moves slowly along the edge, getting into a better position.

    [Rakk OOC: Rakk continues to be a large and obvious target out in the open. Yes, he knows this is dangerous with a dragon around. He'll keep the crossbow at the ready, planning on quick-drawing the blades after his shot. Once people are ready to enter the lair, he will move there to take the front. Until then he's standing guard, watching along the hill top, and the back trail.]

    Isilme starts to sing her siren's song (Charm Monster) as she sees the dragon coming up from behind the rocky crags. Of course, it isn't affected! If flies up and over the crags as the shadows attempt to follow it. Isilme's singing alerts the others, and they look up just in time to see the dragon come over the lip of the crags above. It seems to ignore Isilme's singing (in actuality it cannot see, smell, or otherwise detect her).

    I should add that the earth elemental is now at the cave entrance. Thorgrim and Berenn are outside the canopy entrance, and Thorgrim has placed his fortress there. Emyn, naturally, has gone inside the wooden canopy. There are also more of the illusory people about, which are annoying Thorgrim with their realism. Not knowing about Nirifel's spells, he doesn't know where these people came from. The fact that they are so real, has him and Berenn totally fooled. In fact, Berenn yells at them to get away, but they laugh. Now they point to the dragon and most clap their hands,acting as if it is all part of the performance.

    Further, the fear aura of the dragon is great indeed. It certainly seems older and greater than what Isilme led everyone to believe. Fear checks for everyone! Nirifel, Berenn, Thorgrim, and Altan are all affected (-2 to attack and damage rolls). Finally, Emyn went inside, and he sees nothing. He searches around a bit (say the next couple rounds unless called out!)

    "Good," Thorgrim says. "I believe this is the dragon we came to seek, and likely our only opponent." He commands the earth elemental to come to him, and to stand at a point about 10 feet west and 5 feet north of Rakk (well inside the Kill-Zone), and to wait there for further instruction. "Rakk, speak the word if the dragon enters the Kill-Zone."

    [Thorgrim OOC: The dragon will likely wonder why people are having a party at his house!]

    Round 3: Caustichlorinus flies down directly above the entrance to its lair, breathing out a foul toxic gas which starts to also eat away at everything in the area. All the illusions instantly wink out! Thorgrim and Berenn are the only ones in the area. Both make their saves. Thorgrim takes 35 (deducted from the 80 leaves him protected for 55 more). Berenn takes 40 (deducted from the 80 leaves him protected for 40 more).

    Rakk fires his crossbow, and the large missile bounces off the dragon's armored hide.

    Caustichlorinus completes his fly-by, heading off into the night. Altan fires two arrows at him, but they fail to hit. Thorgrim moves around by Rakk, calling the elemental. It moves to him. Emyn hears the roar and will charge outside. The shadows fly overhead, going towards the dragon. [DM OOC: Incidentally, they don't have "fly" movement, but they must be able to fly, so they are flying though slowly.] Isilme draws Maerthorlear, but the dragon is too far away now to do anything else. She stays up atop the rocks. Nirifel takes out her bow. Noot stays hidden, unable to have done anything plant-wise.
    Berenn casts his spell, which negates the cloud.

    Round 4: The dragon's off map to the south, about 100 yards away and lower than the cliff, so only Altan can see it. Isilme's off the map to the north, at the top of the crags.
    All illusions are now gone, but they did draw a full breath weapon!

    "Emyn!" Thorgrim shouts. "Stay out of the Kill Zone!" [Thorgrim OOC: Mr. Ground-Zero Fireball might survive a Fortress expansion for 10-100 damage, so Thorgrim might expand it if he needs to. But basically he is trying to avoid killing his own party members.]

    With the dragon flying out of range, Isilme calls upon Maerthorlear to sing in the minds of her companions, instilling the emotion of hope. [OOC: Emotion spell: counters the affects of the dragon's fear aura.]

    "Thorgrim, cast bless on my bolts!" cries Rakk. "The damn dragon's hide is too tough!"

    [Nirifel Player OOC: Are our arrows and bolts bouncing off the dragon ( if we can tell) or just missing to hit what we are aiming at?]

    [DM OOC: both. Whether or not you CAN hit is up to you to judge. I will say this, at very long range and flying at night, it's pretty dang hard to see, let along hit. OK, let me clarify. I don't want to mislead you. There are times when I simply am being descriptive. Like somebody hits you and I say the blow bounced of your armor or something. That's just a miss, and I could just have easily said, "he missed." I just try to add a bit of flavor. In cases where you cannot hit, like attacking a Pit Fiend without a magic weapon, I would probably add something to make that clear. That's what I've done in the past. In this case, all the shots were actually misses. Very bad rolling for the warriors, though as I said, hitting the dragon isn't easy.]

    The dragon flies does a large arcing bank around to the west as it turns around. It would be out of sight, as you can't see things beyond 100 yards at night, but the dragon's 100' long! So, you can see it making it's turn off ot the SW. Emyn moves over towards the large rock to the west, taking cover beneath the large tree. Nirifel runs across to the NW trees, again hiding. Everyone else pretty much just waits. The elemental reaches the dome, and on orders from Thorgrim begins to tear it apart. Berenn takes out his bow.

    Round 5: The dragon flies back around the other side of the hill, to the west and out of sight. Everyone pretty much just holds their ground, except the elemental, which continues its mayhem.

    "Raze the hilltop and collapse the entrance to the cave!" cries Isilme. "If the dragon doesn't want to fight we can destroy his home!"

    [DM OOC: Nuke the whole site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.]

    Round 8 [It was gone a couple of minutes]: The dragon suddenly appears up on the western peaks, landing atop the spires.

    "Fools!"it roars. "YOU DARE TO ATTACK CAUSTICHLORINUS?" It swings its great head back and forth, forked tongue licking out as it does, tasting the air like a snake.

    [DM OOC: BTW, the trees generally block line of sight, so Nirifel, Berenn, Emyn, and Altan cannot see Caustichlorinus.]

    Rakk roars back,"We're just clearing some land for food. Was this hovel really yours? You live in this, this, poverty?"

    "IMPUDENT WORM," it says back. "YOU SHALL DIE FIRST!"

    "Ya can't do it from up there," hollers Rakk. "Come down and fight worm to worm!"

    Caustirchlorinus roars again, an earthshattering sound which brings some rocks tumbling down to the floor below. "WHAT?" it says, wriggling back around. It smashes into the rocks and rolls around atop the peaks, seemingly struggling with some unseen enemy.

    The dragon continues its struggles, as everyone with a bow out fires. A barrage of arrows streak up towards the dragon, which roars in pain as one arrow and Rakk's ballista bolt slam into it! Nirifell moves to where she can see, and she sees a very upset dragon!

    Emyn calls upon Trithereon, summoning aid which arrives in the form of a huge winged thing (you can't tell what it is) which appears near the dragon and attacks it too!

    Isilme casts "shadow blink" (3rd level, standard spell) and blinks over to the peak or a ledge that's on the spire right next to the water pool close to the dragon. She sees that the dragon also has turned his back everyone as it's fighting something. Thorgrim also tells the elemental to go get the dragon, and the elemental then stalks off towards the cliff. He then rushes back over to his fortress and picks it up, seeing that it's not likely going to matter now. Muttering, he throws it in his pocket.

    "He knows we're trying to lure him," Thorgrim says to Rakk. "This is no dumb beast. We need to engage." Thorgrim runs on foot to pursue the dragon. He don't care if he's got to chase it all day. He will climb mountain crags and get as close as possible. He expects acid attack next. Before moving, he drops his backpack IN THE DRAGON'S LAIR, so as to be unencumbered. "A present for Clausty, should our endeavor fail," he laughs. Then he runs at a fast trot.

    The dragon takes off into flight, going straight up about 50', and breaths a cloud of acid directly below it. The summoned winged creature, whatever it was, plummets to the ground dead! Only Rakk can get a shot off, which he does. However, his ballista bolt flies wide. Finally, Altan fire three arrows at the dragon, and he KNOWS he hit it directly this time! His arrows have no effect. [DM OOC: see? this is what I was talking about. The dragon's hide is impervious to arrows or other normal missiles smaller than siege weapon size, which means Rakk's ballista can still hit. Further, though some have magic bows, let me quote from the DM's Guide: "A nonmagical arrow fired from a magical bow is a nonmagical missile. " So, without magical arrows, you cannot hit.]

    The dragon reaches into its side and pulls out Rakk's ballista bolt, roaring painfully. It then looks at him with eyes full of hatred.

    Round 9: Isilme summons three more shadows. They appear in air before her. Rakk goes defensive as the dragon starts a dive! Emyn changes weapons, moving towards Rakk. Altan moves over to Berenn, asking him if he has any magic arrows. When Berenn says no, the two put away their bows, not sure what else they should do, seeing that they now know they cannot pierce the dragon's hide with normal arrows.

    Caustichlorinus dives on Rakk, who drops his ballista as he attempts to avoid the dragon's outstretched claws. Caustichlorinus snatches Rakk in a "dive-by."

    SLAM!!!! [DM OOC: too Batmanish?]

    The dragon flies directly into an invisible barrier as Noot throws up his Wall of Force from his Ring of Spell Storing. He creates it directly in the dragon's path! [it takes 11 and is stunned] It drops to ground, right atop Rakk. Rakk takes [23] and is pinned beneath Caustichlorinus.

    Thorgrim then cast Holy Orb, which flashes around the great beasts head [18]. Nirifel moves back around to see what's happening. She draws her blades and hides behind the tree besides the dragon [plus she couldn't reach this turn anyway!]

    Round 10 : Isilme is off-map to the left. She's 225' from the center of the dragon's dome, just so you have an idea of distance. She's also 100' high, and if necessary I can work out the hypotenuse [I'd rather not]. The elemental's position is not actually known, as it entered the ground to move up the mountain towards the dragon.

    Thorgrim, Noot, and Altan use their plant control powers to entangle the dragon. Of course, Rakk remains stuck underneath it, taking another [24]. Nirifel charges the dragon's left side, attacking with her swords. She scores one hit on the dragon's wing with her longsword [4]. Emyn also charges, attacking the beast's rear. He scores a x2 crit for [24]. Isilme casts Hold Monster, but it fails to hold him.

    Caustichlorinus struggles against the triple entangle effect, unable to get free. Unfortunately, the plant control power ends for Thorgrim, Nirifel, and Altan.

    Round 11: Caustichlorinus spins around, swinging its great tail in a sweeping arc. The last entangle simply isn't anywhere near strong enough to hold it! Thorgrim, Altan, and Emyn are all caught by it. Altan is hit hard by the whipping end, taking [24]. He is also knocked backwards 20', but slams into the boulder 15' away. He takes another [10] and is stunned! Thorgrim is also hit [25] and knocked backwards 15', losing Souldrinker in the process. He gets up, retrieves his weapon, and turns to face Caustichlorinus again. Emyn is slammed hardest, taking [28] and being knocked back 25'. He falls to the ground, though he is not stunned. He drops his longsword which falls where he had been standing. He takes out his Potion of Life Stealing, stands, and drinks it.

    Nirifel misses with all attacks. Rakk takes advantage of the opportunity, and he successfully gets out from under the dragon. He is still prone, but no longer pinned.
    Isilme uses her Wand of Slow.but the dragon saves. Berenn draws both blades and moves up to attack. Caustichlorinus bites at him as he approaches, but misses due to the Cloak of Shifting Shadows.

    Noot sees three shadowing forms floating down towards the dragon. Also, Haste just ended.

    Round 12: Noot runs back along the cliffs, eventually hiding behind a tree behind Caustichlorinus. For his part, the dragon flexes his massive legs and leaps skyword again! "I THINK NOT, GIANTLING," it cries as it flies away.

    Berenn gets an AoO on it as it takes off, hitting it with Bonefire [10].

    Isilme was about to cast Spectral Force, but she holds her spell. [since she went later, she can hold it and not waste the points. Alternately, it may be possible for her to change what illusion she is casting, seeing the dragon take flight!] It passes right through the three shadows, one of which hits the dragon with an AoO [4 and -1 more STR]. It cries out in pain and surprise, but keeps going, nearly reaching the top of the cliffs again!

    "That looks like it hurts," says Isilme with a giggle.

    Emyn charges, but with the dragon flying away, he just picks up his sword. Rakk gets up, swords ready.

    Rakk calls to to Berenn and Thorgrim,"Bless your arrows. Quickly." He then roars at the dragon,"Where are you going? We're about to have a home-warming party down here!"

    Hepla suddenly appears, flying in the air near Caustichlorinus. She casts a Lightning Bolt at it, which strikes the beast in body [17].

    "YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT," it says, looking right at Hepla.

    Round 13: "Not if you cant FLY!" yell Isilme.

    Helpa then blasts it with a CONE OF COLD on the closest wing, hoping to freeze it/numb it so it can't be used right and/or weigh it down with some ice.

    Thorgrim drinks a potion of Ex-Healing and gives one to Altan as well. Both heal [20]. Berenn casts Light on a branch he picks up. Emyn moves up, then stops when he sees Hepla standing on the cliff top firing spells at Caustichlorinus.

    Noot also moves up to Nirifel. "Now what?" he asks.

    Rakk moves over and picks up his ballista and loading it.

    Meanwhile, Caustichlorinus veers to his left and bites Hepla just as she fires another lightning bolt at him. With a great crash, he plummets off the other side of the mountain, and you hear him tumbling down the other side.

    [Rakk OOC: We've inflicted about 90 hp's of damage, not counting shadows, the flying beast, the ballista and the one arrow. He should be hurting now.]

    Rakk loads the ballista. "Any suggestions, folks?" he asks. "I don't want to be caught climbing by an irate dragon, but we can't let him get away either."

    Emyn is in a complete rage, having seen the beast bite Hepla. All he wants is to have someone get him to that dragon so he can hack it to pieces.

    Round 14: Berenn creates his Sunbow [DM OOC: NICE!]. Noot and Nirifel move over to Altan, while Thorgrim goes and gets his backpack. Thorgrim goes and retrieves his backpack and dumps it out. He takes the Scroll of Cure Serious Wounds and puts that in an empty slot in his potions utility belt. Torches get tossed into the Hole. He offers Nirifel his 50-foot spidersilk rope with attached grappling hook. He then puts the scrolls back in his much-lightened backpack, and places it on top of the highest stack of chests. He then folds up the Hole before tucking it in his boot.

    "This rope is made of spidersilk, and is both more lighter and stronger than ordinary rope. The others have more. My longer spelunking rope is far too cumbersome to allow easy climbing. I will leave it in the Hole until I make the top, carrying only my pick and my axe. I will climb the cliffs above that pond to the northwest, barring any change in our situation. Mountain lakes tend to be deep. I hope it will lessen any damage I take from a fall." Thorgrim takes off his Ring of Water-Walking, a gift from Isilme, and puts it in his pocket. The Fortress is back in his belt pouch. He prepares to make his ascent.

    "Hold fast, Isilme. I am coming," he whispers to himself. He says a short prayer to Clanggedin to make his climb swift and uneventful.

    Isilme's on her own (as usual). Rakk has reloaded his ballista, and he is covering the party. Emyn cries out, thinking that Hepla was just grabbed by the dragon, and runs headlong across the way, looking to get around the cliffs.

    Everyone hears a VERY loud and angry roar from the other side of the hill.....

    Round 15:

    "Noot," yells Rakk. "Unless you're helping Altan, get under cover before it comes back."

    Altan is no longer stunned, and he gets up. He's thankful for the healing potion from Thorgrim.

    "I suspect that elemental may be doing its work," Thorgrim says. "Pity we could not share in the glory of slaying the wyrm." Thorgrim is tired of waiting for his enemy to come to him. "This plan may not continue to work," he says.

    " I doubt the dragon is going to concede defeat at this point," says Rakk. "I am sure it will be back to defend its lair."

    Emyn shouts, "Come here and fight Caustichlorinus! Or will you slink off like a cowardly snake the same way you did when the elves confronted you!"

    "Looks like that climb may not be necessary," Thorgrim says. He will not open his Portable Hole with the dragon still lurking about. He will put his pack back on so that he may ditch it elsewhere if he chooses, closer to wherever he'll be. If he has time remaining he will stand next to Rakk. "Looks like Clausty has a thing for you," he says. "That may be to our advantage."

    I just happen to have a map! Caustichlorinus is off-map to the left. You can see the locations of the rest of the party though.

    Berenn tosses Thorgrim his Ring of Feather Fall.

    "Thanks, Berenn!" says Thorgrim, putting it on. If Thorgrim doesn't see the dragon or hear from Isilme, he will climb the cliff with ease and confidence. He will leave his backpack at the base of the cliff.

    Rakk drinks his potion [heals 18]. Everyone else holds.

    Round 17: Thorgrim reaches the cliff where Emyn is still waiting. Both are surprised when the earth elemental steps out from the stone cliff and stands there. Meanwhile Altan moves back to cover the ledge to the south while Noot hides in the shadows on his perch. Nirifel holds beneath a tree, blending nearly flawlessly into the foilage. Rakk and Berenn maintain their positions in the open, ready with ballista and sunbow.

    Isilme flies back above the party and they hear her invisible voice say, "The dragon took off at incredible speeds and is now beyond the visible horizon."

    "So. Who enters the wurm's lair, and who guards for its return?" asks Rakk.

    "Mm!" Thorgrim grunts. "And what of Hepla? I thought I saw her."

    "Just an illusions," answers Isilme.

    "I understand that what you did was necessary," says Emyn, "but maybe you can warn me next time, please?"

    After Emyn hears what's up and calms down, Thorgrim will return to the group around the entrance to the underground shaft. He hands Berenn back his Ring of Feather Fall.

    "Thank you, Berenn. It could have proven invaluable, but now isn't necessary. We may well have defeated the wyrm, but he may well also return...for there is nothing a dragon values more than his treasure horde. Rakk, I don't think anyone could guard against the dragon returning to his lair up here--he could fly right past us! I think we should all go, and find a more defensible place inside. I will go first."

    To the elemental, he says, "Your task is almost complete. You will return soon to your home plane." Thorgrim's action this round will be to open his Portable Hole. Next round he will drop off his backpack in the aforementioned place and retrieve his 300-foot rope.

    [DM OOC: no combat rounds for a bit, as the dragon doesn't return.]

    Thorgrim orders the earth elemental to take him to the top of the cliff. It grabs Thorgrim and walks up the cliff face. He makes it to the top when Isilme appears. [I really don't see why an elemental couldn't do that!] The dragon is nowhere to be seen. Hepla disappears, having been an illusion that now ends. Meanwhile, it takes this long for Noot and Nirifel to move over to the cave entrance. They examine the cave entrance and find now traps.

    Meanwhile, Rakk goes over to Altan,"You are one of the best achers I have seen for a long while. I have here 2 magic arrows. Take them and use them well." He pulls 2 of his +4 arrows out of the quivers and offers them to Altan.

    "Isilme! I'm glad you are safe!" says Thorgrim. "The dragon is not immune to spellpower. My Holy Orb penetrated its innate magic resistance. It is also vulnerable to all forms of indirect magic, as you've shown. Let's make haste. We may face more danger before the night is through. Care to help scout the cave?"

    Noot checks out the cave. It is a straight 50' drop, then there is a steeply descending slope. Noot can just walk down the side with his Slippers of Spider Climbing. Berenn's rope can aid Nirifel and any others. There is no evidence of any traps in the shaft or in the slope. It takes a couple rounds to get down, so Thorgrim can be down below by now, riding the Elemental Elevator! [BTW, I didn't do some kind of special elemental transport. I just had it climb the cliff while holding Thorgrim. Just thought I'd mention that!]

    Caustichlorinus's cave. Actually the Antiparos Cave in Greece.

    [DM OOC: I WAS keeping everything perfectly straitght. I will sum up what has happened, from all the out-of-order posts as well as PMs and the lack of combat rounds.

    Round 16-17: Isilme chases the dragon while Thorgrim moves to base of cliff besides Emyn. Altan moved back to edge of the southern cliffs, to watch over valley. Rakk and Berenn wait in open, watching skies. Noot and Nirifel stay hidden.

    Round 18-19: Isilme returns to top of hill. Thorgrim is carried by elemental to the top of the hill. Noot and Nirifel move to the cave entrance, borrowing Berenn's rope. Noot just walks down wall, while Nirifel uses rope.

    Round 20: Thorgrim and the elemental descended again, and they will reach the bottom at the END of round 21. Isilme flies down with intention to cast Fly on Rakk. Noot goes down long slope to the main cavern (he hasn't reached it yet as he's moving slowly searching for traps.) Nirifel is now at the bottom of the shaft.

    It is NOW round 21. Thorgrim and the elemental are moving down the hill; they reach the ground at end of this round. Emyn stands guard at the cave entrance. Berenn and Rakk guard the skies. Altan still watches to the south. Isilme is next to Rakk and is casting Fly upon him this round.

    Guys, it ONLY gets confusing when people post a slew of actions, then others respond to them with more, and nobody pays attention to the actual timeline, what can happen in a round, how long such activities should take, etc.. I do try and keep things organized, especially in a situation like this, but, please pay attention to the rounds. The above summary is, to the best of my ability to follow all your posts, hopefully correct. If not, please enlighten me! ]

    I have to say, so far this was a crazy and tough fight to do, especially covering so much ground, with so many PCs. The dragon wasn't stupid, flying around and doing "bombing runs," so to speak. But the speeds and distances were really tough to manage. Still, it looks like the party made him flee.

    Now, back to the action....

    It's a pretty large chamber, maybe a few hundred feet across full of stalagmites, stalactites, etc. The sound of water dripping echoes quietly throughout. Nirifel goes down the slope while Noot's looking around. Isilme casts Fly on Thorgrim, who is frustrated with his inability to do anything!

    Berenn casts Produce Flame on the bramble lair and sets it ablaze, using Bonefire to speed things up. "That might bring it back down to earth," he says.

    "Well, withdrawal is a logical choice for an intelligent creature, once it sees it's being beaten," says Thorgrim. "Then again treasure and magic are a dragon's reason for existence, so he's unlikely to just let it slide. Perhaps he knows an evil cleric who's willing to heal him. He would then return, at full strength, just about when protection wears off in about an hour. That would be sweet. Haha better save a few spells for that!"

    [Thorgrim OOC: It may be the case that we've already won, and don't know it yet. The Revenge of Caustichlorinus should be an awesome spectacle indeed. Woe to the inhabitants of Hommlet and Nulb.]

    You find no other exits or surprises in the cave. It seems the dragon simply didn't have much. Of course, he only had been here for a few hundred, mostly uneventful, years. You have driven him off, as happened to him once before. Maybe he just is not the most courageous of dragons. You spend about an hour getting everything packed up, after searching the lair some more. Once that's done, you return to your horses. You find them all dead and burned by acid. Looks like he found them when he left.

    Rakk howls for Ralph. If he's alive, he'll howl back. Rakk will go meet him.

    Thorgrim says to Emyn, "I am sorry for the loss of your horse. She was smarter than most." To Rakk, he says, "I am sure your wolf companion lives, for we see not his corpse." To Berenn he adds "Is there some way you can detect the dire wolf? Commune with Nature?"

    Star walks out of the forrest and stops and says. "MEOW!"

    Emyn uses his speak with animals to ask Star what is wrong.

    Star says,"What happened, I got bored and went home now the horses are melted?"

    "The dragon got away," answers Emyn. "We tried our best but we could not keep it on the ground. Once we hurt it badly, it fled." To everyone he says, "Camilla served me faithfully for many years. She will be sorely missed." Emyn then stops and begins to pray to Trithereon to protect Camilla and her horse friends in the afterlife.

    Star says, "she was a good horse, she was not a cat but no one not born a cat is purrfict. I will miss her."

    "I am sorry about Camilla too," says Noot. "I know what it is to lose an animal companion...." Noot's thoughts go back to his loss of Isaac as he becomes silent.

    Emyn looks up at Noot with gratitude but can say nothing more.

    Isilme says, "If you think about it, there may be some value in this place beyond just treasure. Perhaps one of us could establish a fortress here? It seems like a secure place, has water, and if you built against the cave opening you would also have a secret underground area already built in." Isilme then returns home with all haste to resume her studies.

    [Isilme OOC: We did not kill a dragon, we ran it off, which I find much more realistic given our level. Dragons are scary and powerful beings, so rightfully so. This one already has a history of being run out of home, and cowardly, so the situation fits.]

    Berenn will use Commune with Nature and will try to ascertain the location of Rakk's pet dire wolf. Though he fails to make any contact, he can easily see that the wolf ran off to the northeast. Berenn offers to track Ralph, and together with Rakk they head out after the Dire Wolf. With nothing else to do there, the rest of the party follows along. After about an hour, they find Ralph. He goes up to Rakk and nuzzles him, and Rakk sighs as Rakk looks fine.

    "I don't think there is any further business here," says Berenn. "It is time to head for home."

    "Yes, time for a very long walk," says Emyn. "We must still be wary of attack by the dragon though. It may choose to take its revenge on our journey."

    "We must seek a place to rest," says Thorgrim. "Shall we use the Fortress tonight?"

    "The fortress is your call," answers Berenn. "I believe the dragon is going to be licking its wounds for a long time to come."

    Thorgrim finds a suitable place and uses the Fortress. As everyone enters, he stops Rakk. "I am pleased your companion was not also slain," Thorgrim says to Rakk. "Wolves are smarter than most beasts, 'tis certain. They don't need tying up to stay in place, for one. And they know when to flee."

    "As am I." said Rakk,"Else I'd be honor-bound to hunt down his killer and slay them. Or die trying. He's been a comrade for far too long not to avenge him."

    "Mm!" Thorgrim grunts in agreement. When everyone's inside, he opens his hole and takes out some ale. Everyone but Berenn and Rakk have a cup, and Rakk stays on the alert, just in case. Emyn pounds some gutshaker. Only Gotrek, Thorgrim, and somehow Hepla can drink the Gutshaker, and it takes no time at all for Emyn to become totally wasted. Noot tries to drink some, but wisely stops. Unless somebody has some actual ale, he doesn't drink anymore. Emyn gets rip roaring drunk on gutshaker that night, throwing up and then passing out. Nobody has actually ever seen him so inebriated.

    [DM OOC: It's actually about an hour before daybreak. The party fought the dragon in the middle of the night!]

    Last edited by ragnar on Sat May 03, 2014 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:48 am  
    Part 6 - Caustichlorinus Returns

    Everyone else goes to sleep. Rakk stays up watching, with Ralph curled up next to him. After about an hour, Ralph's head pops up, ears swept back as he looks around in the pre-dawn gloom. A low growl escapes him, waking the lightly sleeping Berenn too.

    Rakk checks weaponry then quietly wakes any able to wake. Wolves don't growl at prey, he thinks, only at things that can fight. And anything a 10' long wolf thinks can fight tends to be dangerous.

    Rakk wakes up Thorgrim, while Berenn moves to the stairs to go to the roof. Suddenly, a blast of greenish vapor pours into the tower through one of the arrow slits. It rapidly fills the entire interior......

    "CAUSTICHLORINUS!" Thorgrim shouts. "TO ARMS!" Thorgrim moves to exit the Fortress and attacks the dragon.

    [Thorgrim OOC: this is gonna be a bitch with no mages and no flying.]

    [DM OOC: And all your protective spells expired and few left to cast....and the dragon has now used your own tower as a weapon, of sorts, against you! cue evil DM laugh!

    There was no surprise, mainly due to Ralph! However, with only Rakk and Berenn awake, the others were asleep. Rakk was waking everyone else up, silently, so he has only been able to wake up Thorgrim. Berenn was checking out the roof. He pushes his way up through the trap door, reaching the top before the gas expands into the tower. Everyone else can only wake up this round. Of course, other than Berenn, everyone is susceptible to the dragon's breath weapon!

    Only Emyn and Noot fail their saves.

    Altan takes 30.
    Berenn takes none, making it to the roof. He sees the dragon, holding onto the tower and breathing in through an arrow slit. The green cloud pours out through all the other openings, and up through the roof hatch.
    Emyn takes 76.
    Nirifel taeks 35.
    Noot takes 50.
    Rakk takes 40.
    Ralph takes 35.
    Thorgrim takes 30.
    Noot takes 68.]

    [Thorgrim OOC: I've killed us all.]

    [Nirifel OOC: Well, thats 2/3 of my Hp but I'm not dead yet. Depends how many more times we have to absorb that level of damage till we get a position to cause damage and how much damage we have to cause to end this. Guess we'll see if this is in deed doomsday.]

    [DM OOC: You didn't think it was going to be that easy did you? Also, everyone's awake now. Emyn is drunk, and now he's even less thoughtful than usual, and he charges outside. BTW, I'm assuming Berenn, Rakk, Ralph, and Thorgrim were on the second floor. Nirifel, Noot, Emyn, and Altan are on the ground floor. Now Berenn's on the roof.]

    [Isilme OOC: Isilme chuckles for absolutely no reason saying "that dragon was a crafty one, I hope it did not come back." Then dismisses it as a foolish notion and returns to her sleep.]

    [Berenn OOC: Oh that wiley bastard! The only good thing I doubt he could have healed up.]

    [DM OOC: Trying to do the map. sorry, it's not going to be as cool as the last one. I wanted to get it moving along, so I didn't really spend too much time on it. Since it's a bit large, I am adding a link, rather than a picture.
    Round 1

    You can see the tower there, with Berenn on top. Off to the right are two other views. The top one is the 2nd Floor with Rakk, Thorgrim, and Ralph. The bottom tower map is the ground floor, with Altan, Emyn, Nirifel, and Noot.]

    Noot's not moving, and both he and Emyn seem to be burning.....

    "Rakk!" calls Berenn. "Get up here! Everyone else out of the fortress! And someone put out Emyn!"

    "Ralph, get everyone out, NOW!" Roars Rakk.

    Nirifel and Altan check on Noot and Emyn. The gas seems to be eating at their skin and clothes. Nirifel pours water over Noot's unconscious body, attempting to wash off the acid. She also stabilizes him.

    Everyone in the cloud feels their skin burning. Altan takes [4], Emyn [5], Nirifel [3], Noot [3], Rakk [3], and Thorgrim [3]. Oh, and Ralph takes [4].

    Rakk fires his ballista point blank into the dragon's mouth, hitting it in the teeth with a loud crack. The dragon roars in pain.

    Thorgrim rushes downstairs, calling out the command word to open the door. He sees Noot and Emyn, and pauses for a moment, not sure if he should run outside or go to help them. On the roof, Berenn cast Light on his Masterwork Long Sword. He yells to Thorgrim and the others, "To safety, swords are no more use here!"

    Meanwhile, the entire inside of the tower is hissing as acid eats away at the metal itself.

    [DM OOC: I also have to roll acid item saves for everyone still in the cloud, which is everyone except Berenn. Cross your fingers, but I'll update your sheets with everything that fails..... I made updates directly to the character sheets, and a LOT of stuff was ruined in this attack. I don't have a list, but who knows, maybe one will show up. Suffice to say, about half the party's equipment, including magic, was destroyed!]

    Round 3:

    The acidic gas still burns. Altan takes [2], Emyn takes [3], Nirifel and Noot take nothing due to Nirifel's actions. Rakk takes [3], Thorgrim takes [3], and Ralph takes [1].

    Rakk picks up Ralph and carries him to the top of the tower. There he sees Berenn casting light upon his sword, which glows as the dawn. Downstairs, Thorgrim casts CLW on Noot, healing [8]. The poor thief was on death's door, and only quick actions saved him from certain death.

    Caustichlorinus leaps up, taking flight. He grabs Berenn in his claws as he does so, taking him about 100' into the air. Berenn's arms are not pinned.

    Downstairs, Emyn rushes outside just as the dragon flies away. "Aarrgghh!!!" he screams, shaking his fist.

    Nirifel follows him out, dragging Noot who she lays down beneath a large tree.

    [OK, here's the update. Caustichlorinus has taken flight, carrying Berenn in its claws. Berenn's arms are NOT pinned. Rakk has carried the unconscious form of Ralph to the roof. Thorgrim is the only one left in the tower; he's on the ground floor. Nirifel has carried the unconscious Noot outside and drags him under a tree. Emyn is also outside, yelling angrily.]

    Round 4 (again, I may have screwed up the rounds, but hey, who's counting?:

    Berenn takes out Bonefire and stabs the dragon in the foot with it. It howls in pain.

    "YOU WANT ME TO LET YOU GO, MAN-ELF?" it asks, as it flies even higher. "FINE." And it lets go of Berenn.

    Berenn begins to fall, only to suddenly slow down and gently drop thanks to his Ring of Feather Fall. He drops 120', and still seems to have about twice that to go. The dragon really took him up high!

    Caustichlorinus howls in rage when he sees that Berenn did not drop to his death.

    Down below, everyone finds that the acidic cloud no longer burns them. Rakk takes his potion of healing and pours it into Ralph's mouth. [reminds me of Happy Days!] It heals [8], and Ralph looks up at Rakk and licks his face. Emyn tosses aside his ruined items as his breastplate just falls off his ruined armor. It still hisses and the pits and burns on it show significant damage. He stumbles, falling to the ground, then reaches for his healing potions. He finds that his pouch is ruined, and the potions are gone. Cursing, he runs back inside the tower.

    Thorgrim yells at Emyn, who ignores him in his still-drunken state. Inside, Emyn finds his equipment. His pack and pouch are ruined, as it most of his equipment. He finds three potions on the ground, and another broken, its contents poured onto the metal floor. He takes a potion and drinks it, healing [10]. He is holding his other healing potions as well.

    Noot is still hurt and unconscious, but he seems stable. Altan takes out his bow and the magical arrows given him by Rakk. He then leaps atop a large boulder nearby and waits for a shot (the dragon flew up to about 500' and out of sight!)

    [It's the hour before dawn, which is barely beginning to stretch forth her rosy fingertips. (just a little Homer there!) You can see a bit better, and the light is slowly returning. You see Bonefire burning high in the air, and slowly falling.]

    Round 5: Berenn will drop another 120' this round. Berenn puts Bonfire away and casts Sunbow. "Coward! " he yells. "You should have learned from our first encounter, I won't die that easily. Come dragon, let us see this ended!"

    Emyn drinks a potion of ex-healing and comes back out of the tower, holding only the other one. He's half-naked, with all his stuff ruined. Emyn looks down and realizes his sword is corroded away. [DM OOC: You may want to check your sheet. EVERYONE except Berenn was exposed to the acidic nature of the dragon's breath, and Emyn lost by far the most stuff, like almost everything. I put a note (ruined by acid) after everything that was destroyed. Actually, Emyn already went back inside the tower to retrieve his stuff and then returned outside again. He's in his ruined armor and wielding his mace, the only weapon he owns which was not ruined. Also, he's still wasted!]

    Emyn attacks the dragon with his mace, shouting, "If I die, bury me with my horse and tell Hepla I love her!"

    Nirifel helps Noot by giving him a couple of his potions of healing, healing [22]. Noot wakes up, coughing and chocking. "What happened?"

    The dragon has flown off in a long bank, turning around and dropping lower. He's out of sight of those on the ground due to trees. Berenn sees that it is lining up to dive on him. Incidentally, Berenn's at 150', the dragon at about 250' and about 500' away. Everyone except Rakk is out of the tower. Rakk's on the roof, waiting for a shot. Altan is waiting for a shot.

    Rakk picks up Ralph, who is still hurt pretty badly, and carries him down through the tower to the outside. When he gets outside, he tells Thorgrim that the walls look fine, just a bit pitted and scarred.

    [DM OOC: there is still a lot of stuff in there, and you can't shrink the tower down with things inside it. I should mention that the Daern's Instant Fortress is NOT a portable hole. I'm sure Thorgrim has figured this out through trial and error. However, anything inside it is crushed utterly when it collapses. What happens to a living creature is unknown at this time.....]


    Meanwhile, Hepla wakes up screaming feeling something has happened to her friends. Hepla gets dressed and casts Magic Mirror to scry her friends. She feels something terrible has happened. Her mother Hepala stands next to her and looks on.

    Hepla looks at Hepala and says,"Emyn is mad with grief and pain, how can I not try to save him?" Hepala answers , "You must do as you will child, but if he really loves you he will realize what his actions will mean, his death and your sadness. I would give him the time to reconsider."

    "Thank you mother, I love you but I need to be closer to the man I love." She kisses Hepala and Hepala whips a tear from Hepla's face. "Star, we need to go."
    Star looks at Hepala, she nods and Hepla and Star walk out the door. Actually Hepla runs and Star walks at normal cat speed.


    Round 6: The dragon dives towards Berenn, who gets off a shot before it reaches him. He draws back and an arrow of pure light appears, then streaks towards the dragon when he releases it. It flashes across the pre-dawn sky, striking the dragon in the face! It howls, and misses Berenn, who then drops below the treetop level. The dragon roars as it finishes its dive, skimming the treetops. It comes into view for only a moment, but that's all Altan needs. He fires his bow, sending one of Rakk's magical arrows into the dragon's side. The dragon roars in pain and fails to pull up, plowing through the trees about 100' away!

    [next round the dragon's down and everyone can act.] It's about 100' away, back in the trees somewhere. Infravision is not working in the pre-dawn light, nor can you see very well with normal vision. You're in that in-between time when neither really works. The witching hour! Anyway, everyone on the ground will be able to act. Berenn is still dropping, having another 60' to go before landing. He has no shot at the dragon now. Actually, nobody does.]

    Nobody can see the dragon right now, but you know the direction it crashed through the trees. It's to the NW of you.
    [BTW, I created a new map which is MUCH larger. You still only see a small portion, but this is a big map. It is more simple, with forest and clearings, but it suits our purposes here a bit better I think. You should be able to see everyone here. Also, I put a square tower there for the fortress. The door is to the bottom, obviously. Anyway, here's another link, because it's a big image.]

    Noot moves up to Rakk and Ralph. He sees Rakk's concern, but promises to watch over Ralph. Rakk nods thanks, then grimly stands up, taking out his bastard sword before running off after the dragon. His loud footfalls echo through the clearing, and he hears the dragon crashing further away through the trees.

    Emyn charges after it, as noted, drinking another potion of ex-healing, his last. Nirifel rushes over to where Berenn lands, and the two then set off after the dragon together. Finally, Altan makes his way around the flank, keeping a careful eye out for the beast and watchful to not get too close to anyone else.

    Thorgrim glances inside the tower, relieved when he sees that it only has taken cosmetic damage. He then follows the others.

    Everyone can hear the dragon up ahead, but nobody can see it.

    [DM OOC: Trying out some "fog of war" here. I've revealed the clearing, and a bit around you in the woods, but not too far. Emyn can see some clearings up ahead and to the left. Actually, I hope the map's clear enough. It's tough on a big fight/map like this, and I'm resisting doing multiple maps. Actually, this is the first time I used the Fog of War aspect of MapTools. It really adds to the realism of running a battle, and also has proven to be great for the gradual revealing of maps as the party explores. I just love MapTools!]

    The dragon crashes through the trees and brush somewhere ahead of you guys (towards the left side of the map.)

    Having drunk enough healing potions now, Emyn is no longer wasted. Maybe a bit buzzed. He realizing that taking off after a dragon with no armor is suicide. Instead, Emyn will hide for the remainder of the combat unless someone appears to be in grave danger and needs rescuing.

    Rakk sees Emyn nearly weaponless and unarmored and stops long enough to pull his Spetum (+2) out of his pouch and toss it to him.
    "No one should be defenseless. Good luck." Then he follows the dragon.

    Round 7: Basically, everyone goes forward. You reach a large clearing, about 150x100. You are all spread out as you enter the clearing, and you see no sign of the dragon. Noot is back by the tower with the wounded Ralph, while Thorgrim is still in the trees, having cast Protection from Gas.

    There is a large swath of broken trees and branches which Nirifel and Berenn followed, then a long torn up section of ground where the dragon slammed into it and tumbled. Then nothing. Nirifel moves across the field, and there she sees the signs of where the dragon stopped its slide. Looking carefully, she sees two deep dragon footprints in the ground where it launched itself back into the sky!

    Suddenly, a mist falls over the area of the tower, coming up from nowhere. Within a minute, Noot can no longer see the trees. He can barely see Thorgrim's tower. Thorgrim is the only other one who can see the mist appearing, as he's about halfway between the clearing where the tower is located and the clearing where the rest are now located.

    "Something's going on at the tower!" Thorgrim shouts. "A magic mist descends!" Thorgrim quaffs a healing potion while walking 60 feet straight east. He will leave the Fortress where it may provide some cover to Noot while he hides.

    [Thorgrim OOC: Hopefully he will attack us from the mist. Thorgrim is going into the mist, to the northeast corner of the tower, while drinking his potion of healing. If he sees Noot, he will suggest that Noot drink his other potion of extra-healing. If Noot already expended both of his, Thorgrim will offer the final potion of regular healing. His next action will be to shrink the tower.]

    Rakk moves back towards the tower, entering the mist himself. Altan stays hidden, keeping an eye on the sky and looking for Caustichlorinus. Berenn moves to the center of the clearing, and Emyn moves over next to him. They hear a roar from above, somewhere back towards and above the tower. The dragon's roar comes from somewhere above them, within a couple hundred feet or so. For those to the left of the map, in the other clearing, the roar comes from the direction of the tower. Since nobody can see the dragon, that's the best you get.

    [Round 8 Map. Now I learned how to make effects. Yeah, they aren't great, but they work. Here I have continued to reveal fog-of-war, and I added the area of the billowing mist, which is just a opaque area centered around the tower.]

    Round 8: "Noot, get yourself to safety," Thorgrim says. "Perhaps this beast will let you ride it?"

    When he gets to the entrance of his tower, he notices all the debris from ruined backpacks and whatnot, and scowls. "Hell of a time to clean house," he mutters. Then:

    "Noot, take your potions with you. Maybe that rope." Thorgrim then turns his head to the sky and bellows, "Noot! Take cover inside the Fortress!" Then back to Noot in low tones: "We haven't much time."

    Thorgrim enters the tower, grabs the two surviving backpacks (Berenn's and Nirifel's) and chucks them out the door. He uses the rest of this round to briefly inspect the debris and see that nothing important remains.

    Noot takes off with Ralph, not stopping until the reach the trees just outside of the mist. Rakk moves towards the right until he reaches the tower. Nirifel casts Expeditious Retreat. Altan moves back to the right, into the trees and towards the dragon. Berenn keeps his eyes peeled that direction, but stays in the open waiting.

    Rakk and Thorgrim hear the rush of dragon breath from the other side of the tower, to the top-right of the map and not that far away! They know it just breathed nearby, but don't see or feel anything. It clearly missed wherever it did it.

    Round 10 (I think I lost a round somewhere again!):

    Noot moves further into the trees with Ralph, drinking another ex-healing potion as he does. He's back to full HP. With visibility in the mist only about 5', those within cannot see much. There is suddenly a huge wind which blows from the NE. [Rakk and Thorgrim "may" alter their moves. Rakk was going to charge and Thorgrim was going to hold his position and cast Cure Serious Wounds from the scroll. I'll pause to give them both a chance to change their moves in light of this, but the change has to be rather simple.]

    Thorgrim takes better cover, reading his Scroll and healing [12] more. Rakk moves to the corner of the tower as the mist is blown away, right over him. It clears, and he sees the dragon, hovering overhead about 50' away and in the air. He fires his crossbow, scoring a direct hit on the dragon's wing [20]. The dragon roars in agony, suddenly slipping a bit in its flight.

    Meanwhile, Altan moves through the trees to the right. He comes to the edge of the trees just in time to see Rakk's bolt pierce the dragon's wing joint. Berenn and Nirifel also move up as mentioned. Finally, Emyn moves back to the right, towards the tower as well, coming out near Thorgrim. Everyone can now see the dragon quite clearly, as the mist dissipates just as suddenly as it appeared.

    Round 11:

    Arrow knocked and ready, Altan fires at the dragon. His arrow slams into Caustichlorinus's other wing [15].

    Caustichlorinus lands atop the tower, and as soon as he does, the branches, vines, grasses, and even trees beneath your feet and around you begin to Entangle you. Berenn, Nirifel, Emyn, and Thorgrim are held fast by the vines. Berenn and Emyn are grabbed by longer vines and tree branches, effectively pinning their arms as well as legs. Nirifel and Thorgrim are only entwined around the legs by the grasses beneath them. Only Rakk remains free, though in effect he is Slowed.

    Caustichlorinus laughs. "TWO CAN PLAY THIS GAME," he roars.

    Berenn cannot fire, and his spell ends at the conclusion of the round. Thorgrim calls out the command word for the tower, shrinking it down again. It collapses in on itself suddenly, and the startled dragon falls hard to the ground. The dragon lands atop Thorgrim, who fails to get out of the way, crushing him [25]. He also becomes fully entangled as he is pressed prone. Rakk moves out of the way, barely escaping being pinned again!

    Altan has to move again, to get a clear shot. He slips across the small clearing, taking cover under the trees somewhat behind the dragon, and fires again. He hits it again, this time in the neck, doing another [13]. Nirifel fails a Concentration check, and she loses her spell.

    The dragon's on the ground now. As you can see, the tower is gone. It's actually on the ground beneath the dragon. Thorgrim's also pinned beneath the dragon. He isn't "shown" beneath the dragon, because I want you to be able to see where he is. I drew a large square, for the area of effect of the dragon's Entangle. Anyone within this area is subject to its effects. Thorgrim, Berenn, Niriefel, and Emyn are all bound fast. Only Rakk succeeded in avoiding the spell, and he's considered to be under the effects of a Slow spell. Altan has moved around to his left (the upper right of the map behind the dragon). Noot and Ralph are in the trees to bottom left.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:54 pm  
    Part 7 - The Final Battle

    Round 13: Noot tries to hold back Ralph, but the wolf leaps out of his grip and runs to aid Rakk. It ends up getting entangled as soon as it enters the area of effect of the Entangle spell! Berenn attempts to break free, but he fails. Emyn remains immobilized as well, and Nirifel casts Dispel Magic, but it fails to dispel the effect. Rakk drops his ballista and draws his sword, slashing at Caustichlorinus but missing. He stumbles, falling to the ground. He hits his head on a rock and is stunned for 1 round. [Bad time for a fumble, but at least it was only for 1 round!]

    Altan fires his last magical arrow, hitting again [16]. Caustichlorinus looks over his way, reaching up and pulling out the couple of arrows in its neck and body.


    Then Thorgrim calls out from beneath the dragon. Suddenly the cube begins to enlarge once again into a tower.

    "Wha...?" cries Caustichlorinus, as the tower unfolds beneath it. It rises back into its normal shape, pushing Caustichlorinus off it to the top-left and pushing Thorgrim away to the bottom-left. Caustichlorinus rolls right on top of Rakk, who takes [19]. However, he avoids being pinned, barely squirming aside. He also avoids once again being entangled by the grasses. Thorgrim takes [37] from the enlarging tower [Wow, that's a lucky roll if somebody can save him! He is at -8.] Caustichlorinus takes [63]!!! You also hear a strange groaning from the Tower itself, which seems to be somewhat bent now.

    Round 14: Berenn and Nirifel both attempt to cast spells, but they lose them due to the Entangle spell. [OOC: lack of points in Concentration proficiency....]

    Staring hard at Altan, Caustichlorinus turns his massive body and bounds away from the tower, right at the Paynim archer. Caustichlorinus plows into him, clawing Altan twice [9] and [12] and biting him [12].

    Rakk recovers from his stun, shaking his head and wondering what happened.

    Emyn breaks free of the Entangle effect. [He is still in the area of effect, so he will have to make a save each turn he is within it or become entangled again. In the mean time, he are slowed.]

    Seeing Thorgrim down, Noot rushes forward out of the trees, his last potion of Ex-Healing in his hand. He calls out to Nirifel, "Nirifel! Fastball Special!" [sorry, can't resist the X-Men reference!] Nirifel puts her hands out and Noot leaps up, grabs them, and she helps throw him over to Thorgrim. [Basically it's just a use of Tumble proficiency. He could use Jumping if he had it. I just wanted it to be cool!] Noot lands right next to Thorgrim and avoids being entangled.

    Altan is down. Thorgrim drops to -9.

    Round 15: Noot pours his last potion of EX-Healing atop Thorgrim's wounds and down his throat, healing [20]. [Thorgrim's back up to 11 hp, just in time!] He's lying prone and fully entangled still. Noot continues to avoid getting caught by the creeping plants.

    Altan lies bleeding on the ground. Nrifel attempts to break free, but she fails, while Emyn moves back, outside of the entangle effect. Berenn breaks free of the entangle. Rakk picks up his crossbow and fires a bolt at Caustichlorinus. It hits the dragon in the wing [10].

    Caustichlorinus cries out, turning around and eying Rakk. It speaks in draconic, and Rakk see its teeth seem to get longer, glistening with a keener edge. "NOW," it says, "YOU DIE."

    Rakk calmly switches to his sword. "Bring it."
    Berenn is free, and right on the edge of the entangle area he may be able to get away before he is entangled again. Emyn has moved outside the area. Rakk is standing by the corner of the tower, firing his crossbow. Thorgrim and Noot are to the south of the tower, as is Nirifel. The dragon has turned back towards everyone, ignoring Altan who is lying very still and bleeding out.

    Thorgrim grunts in dismay when he sees the state of his tower. "I guess that didn't work. Thank you for saving me, Noot. Thorgrim attempts to break free of entanglement.

    Round 16: Noot crawls up the side of the tower, and coats his dagger with poison when he reaches the top. Thorgrim attempts to break free of the vines and fails.

    Caustichlorinus bounds foward, attacking Rakk with a ferocity none of you have ever seen from any other foe. He claws Rakk twice, for [12] and [13], but Rakk is able to avoid the much more deadly bite.

    The grass attempts to bind him, but Rakk is barely able to avoid being grabbed. [Remember, he is under the effect of a Slow spell while in the Entangle area of effect.] Rakk flips his crossbow around to his back, quick-draws his blade, and slashes at Caustichlorinus with equally blinding speed. Using the sword 2-handed, he slashes Caustichlorinus across the face [23], drawing a great gash below the beast's eye.

    It roars in pain and surprise at the wicked cut.

    Berenn moves out of the entangle area, as Emyn moves up beside him. Emyn is making for Caustichlorinus, while Berenn is moving around the flank, trying to reach Altan. Nirifel continues to struggle feebly.

    Round 16: Berenn pulls his Elven Cloak tight around himself and slips around behind Cautichlorinus, reaching Altan who is lying on the ground unconscious. He's bleeding badly from a couple of nasty puncture wounds from the dragon's claws. [Berenn can spend the next round patching him up, or even cast a cure spell if you wish. It will have to be next round though, as he had to move slowly to be stealthy.]

    Caustichlorinus misses Rakk with both claws, but it bites him solidly [26]. The sharpened teeth seem to punch right through Rakk's armor.

    Emyn charges forward, ducking below an awkward swipe from Caustichlorinus as he approaches, and slams the dragon it its outstretched claw [5]. Rakk feels his legs becoming entwined once again by the grasses, but he ignores it and swings at Caustichlorinus. Partly bound and slowed, his attack is awkward and clumsy and he misses badly, nearly tripping again. Nirifel and Thorgrim continue their struggles as Noot watches the fight from the top of the tower. He drinks his Protection from Acid potion.

    Round 17: Noot waits. Nirifel and Thorgrim continue to struggle ineffectively. Altan continues to bleed but Berenn binds the wounds, stabilizing him.

    Caustichlorinus attacks with increased desperation, and you can see the myriad wounds upon him. He claws at Rakk, hitting for [11] and bites him as well [28]. He kicks back at Emyn with his rear claw for [16]. Emyn is kicked back 10' and falls to the ground stunned.

    Rakk hits Caustichlorinus again with his bastard sword, delivering another slash at the beast's neck [25]. Caustichlorinus is severely wounded, but so is Rakk.

    Rakk starts singing in giantish. It's a song his father taught him:

    "It's a good day to die,
    with weapon to hand
    and your foe falling with you.
    Come and die with me, dragon!
    It's a good day!"

    Round 18: Caustichlorinus claws Rakk once [12]. Rakk attacks again, missing. Emyn gets up and carefully moves up again. Berenn draws his blades, rushes up, and leaps upon the Caustichlorinus's back!

    Throgrim and Nirifel again are stuck, while Noot crouches atop the tower, wondering what he can do. He looks at his poisoned dagger, and wonders if it would even harm such a beast.

    Caustichlorinus rears up, and Berenn goes flying off his back. He tumbles to the ground, taking [6]. Emyn misses with his mace, and Rakk misses with his sword.

    Caustichlorinus turns around, facing Berenn and Emyn.

    Round 19: Caustichlorinus rears its head back to breathe towards Berenn and Emyn. Another cloud of acidic gas spews from its mouth, enveloping the two. Both save, but Emyn takes [39] and Berenn takes [48]. Emyn is down.

    Noot can't reach the dragon with a leap, so crouches down and tries to hide. Rakk throws his flask of Oil of Fiery Burning which shatters on the dragon's back doing [23] damage as it erupts in flame. Caustichlorinus roars out in pain, as Berenn gets up and moves forward to attack again. Berenn can hear his clothes sizzling from the acid, and hopes his stuff survives. [It does as he has a Pro from Acid spell going!] At the end of the round, the entangle spell ends, releasing Nirifel, Thorgrim, and Ralph.

    [Nirifel OOC: Hey! If Berenn made his save and he has Protection From Acid spell, would he not have taken only half that much damage? Half from save and half from PFA. Just trying to help, they look like they are hurting.]

    [DM OOC: The damage from the dragon's breath is NOT acid-based but gas-based. It just has an added acidic component which causes damage the rounds AFTER the breath weapon hits. I based this loosely on Melf's Acid Arrow. So, the next round you will take 4d4 (if you failed your save originally). The round after that you take 2d4. If you made your save you would just take 2d4 for one round. However, all items need to save REGARDLESS. For Berenn, this isn't a problem as he has protection from Acid. It will absorb the 2d4 acid damage, and his gear will all be fine. Emyn's remaining stuff will all need new saves.]

    [Isilme OOC: I think you've got this in the bag. No way the dragon is going to win. This is Legendary!]

    [Berenn OOC: Sarcasm! Noot is the only one with any hp left. The only way we win is if the dragon has as few as hps as us and someone nails him first this round. Otherwise this will be a legendary defeat.]

    Round 20: Berenn drinks his potion of ex-healing [healing 15]. Simultaneously, Caustichlorinus claws him for [14] but misses with it's bite. It also spins around, pivoting on its left leg, swinging its massive tail behind it. It sweeps Rakk away like swatting a fly. Rakk is hit a massive blow [24] and sent flying across the ground. He lands in a heap, very still.

    With a cry of "Geronimo!" [DM OOC: or whatever he would say! Hm, maybe he would yell "Taki!" since Taki also died in great fall?] Noot does a running leap, landing square on the dragon's back.

    Thorgrim gets up and moves over to Rakk, while Nirifel moves up around the other side of the tower, prepared to casts her Lightning Strike. Ralph also runs up and attacks, biting at the dragon ineffectually. Emyn lies there too, sizzling in the acidic residue. [He takes 3 damage more, but all his remaining stuff made saves.]

    [Rakk OOC: What about Rakk's Iron Will?]

    [DM OOC: Failed his save. It was at -8 to his roll, so he didn't have much chance.]

    Round 21: Ralph attacks, missing. [Hard to get through that AC!] Noot stabs Caustichlorinus in the back with blackknife [6]. [DM OOC: Sorry, no backstab bonus for this!] Berenn casts Cure Serious Wounds on himself, curing [10]. Thorgrim takes out his heal scroll and casts it on Rakk. A tremendous surge of power flows through Thorgrim, nearly causing him to drop to his knee as it's channeled through his hands. He feels it flow through Rakk, whose body seems to actually glow. His wounds all vanish, except for one long cut on his cheek. [Rakk is healed of all damage except 4 hp!]

    Caustichlorinus rears back, trying to throw Noot, but the stubborn thief holds on. It then rushes into the trees, trying to use them to scrape him off. Noot takes [5] from branches smacking him in the face and back, but he holds onto both his dagger and a broken scale, refusing to be brushed off and holding on for dear life.

    Nirifel curses, as she was too slow and the dragon ran off out of range. She moves up and checks on Emyn.

    Round 22: Berenn steps over to Emyn and casts Cure Light Wounds, curing [8]. Emyn wakes up, flickering his eyelids weakly and calling for Hepla. Nirifel starts to sing, making everyone feel better. [DM OOC: Good job bard; that'll help!] Thorgrim shrinks his tower. He notices that one of the two backpacks he had tossed out was completely smashed by the tower. He can't tell whose it was.

    Noot strikes again [6], and Caustichlorinus continues thrashing about through the trees. Though it does another [4] damage to Noot, he continues to avoid the branches and being knocked off. Finally, Caustichlorinus comes out in another clearing, stops, and twists its long neck all the way around, but just can't reach Noot.

    Rakk changes weapons, loading his crossbow as Ralph runs over and licks his face with his long, raspy tongue. Rakk ruffles the hair on Ralph's back, tells him to stay, and then runs off after the dragon.

    Rakk bellows,"Hey dragon! This dance ain't over yet!"

    [Except for Noot, hanging onto Caustichlorinus's back, the dragon is gone, totally out of sight. The party can hear it to the north.]

    Round 23: Berenn switches cloaks, taking off his Cloak of Elvenkind, putting it into his backpack, and replaces it with his Cloak of Protection. Thorgrim tends the wounded. He checks on Altan, who is hurt pretty badly. He takes the Potion of Healing from Altan's belt and applies it, healing [10]. Altan regains consciousness. Emyn, barely able to stand [he has 1 hp], stumbles over and requests healing. Though sorely injured, Nirifel gives Emyn her last Potion of Healing. He drinks it, healing [9]. Emyn then says a prayer to Trithereon, asking for aid for his friends against this foe, as he lurches toward the dragon despite his injuries.

    Rakk runs off, yelling at the dragon. Ralph watches Rakk run off, wimpering a bit, then he follows in pursuit.

    Noot stabs at Caustichlorinus again and again, driving Black Knife into it again and again [6, and 5]. The dragon roars in pain as Noot's magical dagger easily pierces it's otherwise formidable hide. Unable to either scrap Noot off or reach him himself, Caustichlorinus finally does something unexpected; he rolls over on his back, squashing Noot beneath his massive weight.

    Round 24: Nirifel moves over to Thorgrim and Altan then stops her song. "Guess it's not time for song," she laments. Thorgrim helps Altan stand, and they take stock of the situation. They are all sorely wounded, with nobody likely to withstand a single blow from Caustichlorinus, let alone his terrible breath weapon. Everyone else has run north.

    Rakk and Berenn finally see the dragon, thrashing around on its back in a clearing up ahead. As they come out of the trees, they notice Noot's leg sticking out from under the dragon's back.

    Ralph comes trotting up behind Rakk too, obviously having ignored him completely.

    Round 25: Berenn moves silently around to the other side of the dragon, as Rakk fires his ballista. It thunks into the side of the dragon, but the huge beast makes no reply. It continues to thrash for a few moments, before it's limbs all drop to the forest floor with a jarring thud.

    Berenn investigates for signs of life in the dragon. [Berenn OOC: Oh please let there be none!] It definitely is not moving.

    Rakk, Emyn, and Berenn work to pull Noot out from under the dragon. They find that he is, indeed, dead.

    [DM OOC: Noot held on, despite the dragon's attempts to scrape him off, scoring five consecutive hits on the dragon with his daggers, including 4 max damage stabs with his poisoned Blacknife. He did over 30 damage! The dragon rolled over on him backwards, but Noot still didn't let go and kept stabbing it. When Rakk and Berenn showed up, I indicated clearly that Noot's leg was sticking out. This was your one chance to get him out, as he was at -6 at the time. Noot's last stab had dropped the dragon to negatives, and it was thrashing about in its death throes. Noot was still pinned, and was taking half pinning damage until freed, but the round when you showed up had dropped him into the negatives (-6 I think). The turn in which Rakk fired his ballista and Berenn moved around behind the dragon is when Noot died. However, Noot did go out with one hell of an exit. Leaping from the tower onto its back, right after Berenn failed at the same move. Causing the dragon to run through the trees probably saved the rest of the party. Hanging on for dear life, continually stabbing it, and eventually finishing it off despite being pinned and crushed. That was a legendary way to go!]

    [Rakk OOC: Damn. Rakk fired as soon as he could see the dragon. Even if he ran the 60 feet instead he wouldn't have made it.(based on that last map). I think we were too late by any means, but Rakk would have tried. IT was a hell of an exit, tho.]

    Hepla, watching the fight in her magic mirror yells ,"No Noot, let go get out, move, oh please move. Noooo". Hepala finds her daughter crying over the mirror.

    [Noot OOC: Noot is in a cool grey tunnel. All is quiet, no more dragon bellowing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel (of course). Noot slowly moves toward the light.]

    "Thorgrim," says Berenn when the others finally arrive, "we should place Noot in the portable hole for now." Berenn goes to remove the head and the claws of the dragon with his Masterwork Longsword. If there are signs of acid, he will stop immediately.

    "We should bury part of the dragon with him, for he IS a dragon-slayer," says Rakk. "He deserves the respect due a fallen hero."

    "I am not resigned to putting him into the grave quite yet," says Berenn. "However, if it comes to that, we can take a piece of his victory with us. We need to move quickly for time may not be our ally for what I have in mind."

    Atlan is intent on skinning the dragon and preserving the hide. He asks that the party be careful in cutting up the dragon and try to keep most of the hide intact. "Dragon scale armor would help replace much of the armor lost in battle," he says.

    Rakk nods to Berenn. "Anything I can do to help bring back Noot, I will try. If you need my help, you have only to ask."

    "I appreciate the offer, but the best thing we can do is move on quickly. The longer we wait, the more difficult bringing him back will become."

    " So where do we go, and how do we get there?"

    "We need to start heading for home as soon as Altan is done. My original plan has been scrapped by the Gods (DM), but there is a back up plan in motion. It just needs to reveal itself in time. The most important thing is starting to head for home."

    Once Berenn is ready, he looks around to find half the party lying on the ground asleep. "Well, I guess a short rest won't hurt," he says.

    Last edited by ragnar on Sat May 03, 2014 12:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:28 am  
    Part 8 - No Good Deed

    Waterday, 26 Reaping (581)
    You guys are all pretty exhausted, and you fall asleep quickly. Nothing interrupts your sleep, and you wake up sometime after noon. It's a very nice, clear day (85/72 for high/low) with a slight wind blowing from the SE, as usual. There is nary a cloud in the sky. All spells are regained, as are all "daily use" abilities, such as Berenn's rod.

    Berenn and Thorgrim use all their healing to tend to the party as best they can.

    "If we cannot bring Noot back to life," says Emyn, "then we should make sure to bury him with Isaac. They were true friends in life and should be so in death too. I will always remember him as Noot Wyrmslayer, the greatest of thieves."

    Thorgrim says a prayer for his fallen comrade. "I know not what gods Noot prayed to, so I will pray Clanggedin that his soul makes its journey safely." When he sees Altan working on the dragon hide, he grunts. "Where you gonna put all that stuff?" he asks. "The dragon's skull alone would overflow the Hole, though its brain would fit, if we want Lyseios to attempt a Potion of Green Dragon Control. Much of the hide might fit, if we put it in first and place Noot's corpse on top. Berenn, you were saying you had some sort of plan?"

    "Ought to have a few go home and bring back wagons to carry it," offers Rakk. "The rest can stay and guard or work. This is gonna take a while and the scavengers will be coming soon. If your plan requires speed, Berenn, you should take who you need with you and go."

    "I suggest we split up," says Berenn. "If Thorgrim will allow me to borrow his hole, I shall take Emyn with me and return as soon as possible. I don't think either party should be left without a healer."

    Emyn nods. He gets his spare armor and weapons from Thorgrim's Portable Hole, discarding his destroyed gear, which is near everything he owns. The two then place Noot's body within the hole and head back to the southeast. Berenn and Emyn reach the gnome village after just a few hours. There is nobody about.

    "This is odd," says Emyn. "Let's knock on a few doors and see if we can rouse anyone. If that doesn't work, we may need your tracking skills. I hope the dragon didn't come after them."

    As they approach the village, they see signs of acid damage to the cobblestone paths and the main building. Emyn immediately sets to work looking in every building for survivors calling out that they can come out because teh dragon has been slain. Soon a couple of gnomes come walking up. They come from around the back of a small hill. They are very dirty, and they look very tired and depressed. When they get closer, Berenn recognizes them as a couple of the gnomes which were following the party earlier. When they see them, they stop suddenly, staring blankly at Berenn.

    Emyn appraoches them carefully and says, "Good gnomes, I see you too have suffered the wrath of Caustichlorinus. We too have lost friends. BUt know this. The beast is slain. No longer will it threaten you and your kin."

    The gnomes clench fists, barely controlling themselves. One steps forward, choking out a reply. "Sir, we no longer HAVE any kin!"

    Emyn says, "I am truly sorry, good gnomes. That beast was as evil as they come. As you can see from my scars that we too have paid a price and a good friend of ours died in the fighting. He was a gnome-friend. I also was close to death and will bear the scars of the encounter for the rest of my life, as will my companions." Emyn shows the gnomes one of his scarred arms. "Good gnomes, I know we were in some part responsible for rousing this beast. I sincerely apologize and while I cannot replace your loved ones, I can honor them and offer you a chance to rebuild your lives. I hope I am not overstepping my bounds, but my friend Berenn here is a lord and he has lands and good relations with other gnomish folks. While we can never truly atone for the deaths of your kith and kin, we may at the least be able to help those of you who did survive to flourish once more. And I personally pledge to you to seek what aid I can from my church to help you as well."

    The one that spoke earlier is about to rebuke you when the other puts a hand on his shoulder, holding him back. He looks Emyn in the eyes. "You want to help? Then follow me." With that he turns and walks off. The other gnomes stands there like a statue, hands trembling. With a muffled snort, he turns and follows the other.

    Emyn follows silently to assist. The gnome goes to a group of gnome warrens built into the side of a hill, the doors all wide open. He moves up to one and with a glance back, he then enters. Following, Emyn finds a small family room, kitchen off to the right and a narrow hall to the left. A gnome woman lies on floor dead. Berenn follows as well, remaining silent. Everywhere, the slight pungent smell fills the air, the smell of Caustichlorinus. He walks down the short hall, and finds two more rooms. Bedrooms. One is empty, but the other is not. Three small beds fill the room, a dead gnome child in each.

    Emyn asks, "Who was she?" in a quiet voice.

    "My wife," says the gnome sadly. "And all my little ones," he adds, looking forlornly down the hall towards Berenn.

    Emyn says a prayer for her to Trithereon asking that she and her kith and kin be protected in the afterlife and that further vengeance be visited upon the soul of Caustichlorinus for the evil it did here. He will do the same for other victims. When he sees the children, he weeps openly.

    Emyn says to the gnome as tears run down his face, "I know your pain. I too lost my family when I was young due to the evil of others. It was for that reason I became an Avenger of Trithereon."

    "I am sorry truly sorry for all you have lost," says Berenn. He inspects the bodies, looking for any sign of life. They are all quite dead, and the acidic burns also tell him all he needs to know.

    The gnome opens his mouth to speak, but says nothing. He then turns, picks up his wife's body gently, and carries her out the door. The other gnome moves passed Berenn and does the same with one of the gnome children, a little girl. He wraps her in her blanket, and follows the other gnome, carrying her silently.

    [Berenn OOC: No good deed goes unpunished Rags?] Berenn will follow them out. Emyn will pick up one of the children in the same manner as the gnome and with great reverence and follow. They follow the gnomes to a small cemetery on the other side of the village. There they find the other three gnomes which had been in the scouting group. They are digging graves. Looking around, Berenn and Emyn see a half-dozen already dug.

    After Emyn places the child in her grave, he and Berenn both assist in digging graves. They spend the day doing that, and in the end count a half-dozen male gnomes, a dozen women, and about twenty-five children. All the village was wiped out by Caustichlorinus except for the patrol, which was still out following the party. They saw the dragon kill the party's horses, then it took off flying towards their village. They made it back, but too late. When everything's finished, they look at you, but simply don't have anything left to say. They turn and walk off into the hills.

    Emyn performs a service over the graves as they leave. Once they are gone, he says to Berenn, "I know that we have good shelter here but these deaths are in some small part ours, even though the dragon would have likely come after them anyway. I would prefer to camp outdoors away from here out of respect for the dead and those who still live. Grief is a hard thing and not everyone can find a way to channel it as I have done."

    "I don't think it would be respectful to stop here for the night either," replies Berenn. "So we will continue on for a while and then rest for the evening dividing the watch."

    They leave the gnome village and eventually reach the forest path. They camp there, then head to Twilight Falls in the morning.

    When they get to Twilight Falls Berenn sees Star lying in the shade of a tree. Emyn will greet Star happily and scruffle her ears. Unfortunately, he cannot offer any cream as everything he had was more or less destroyed, including his food.

    Star meows loudly and licks his fingers. A moment later Hepala steps from behind a tree. "Lord Berenn, Sir Emyn, it is always a pleasure to meet you. You are to be congratulated on defeating the dragon. I am sorry at the lose of your friend. My daughter is totally distraught. I fear she will falter in her studies if I do not help. I was the one who kept her from joining you. I saw that she would die if she left. I also saw all the rest of you alive. Let's go make my vision come true."

    While she was speaking the same mists that you ran into at the tower return return. She says, "Will you come with me into the mists?" She turns and walks into the mists. Star yawns and falls asleep.

    Following Hepala, they are soon lost in the mists following just her voice. Suddenly they are back at the dragon and see the others hard at work. Hepala fades from view for a moment then reappears wearing a long black cloak with arcane symbols on it. The mists fill the whole area and it gets cold [32 degrees.] She greets the others with the same explanation.

    She asks you to produce Noot's body. The skys getting darker and you think you hear chanting in the distance. As she approaches it, she asks Rakk to guard her back, "In case something goes wrong," She asks Thorgrim to hold the incense and then draws a circle around them all with Pearl dust. She takes out a scroll and when she opens it lightning flashes but no thunder

    "I have not done this spell in a long time," she says. "You may pray I get it right, if you will." Suddenly two black candles are floating in the air next to her and when she starts to read they explode and are now lit."

    Hepala begins to chant as she reads the spell. Noot's body rises from the ground and has a pearl aura begin to glow around it. Then she yells in some unknown arcane language. The body continues to glow as it lowers back to the ground.

    Hepala continues to chant quietly and suddenly her hands look very old, then they return to normal. She falls to the ground and lacks the strength to stand while waiting for the spell to take affect. Berenn will help Hepala back to her feet.

    "Thank you my lord." She needs help to stand. Berenn feels a pleasant sensation as he helps hold up her slight body weight. Hepala, still needing help to stand, and waiting to see what Noot returns as, lets her hand rest on Berenn's upper thigh. Star lets out a little hiss of exasperation and jumps down, claws out, and lands on Hepala's feet. She is startled and then with a slight blush says something in feline to Star. Hepala removes her hand as Star then meows.

    Somewhere else....Noot is still surrounded by grey mist, but he sees the light he was approaching slowly dim and go out. He starts to hear chanting which grows slowly louder. Then a luminous figure appears in the greyness, bearing a resemblance to Hepala. She takes him by the hand and he becomes enveloped in the light.

    Noot's body then begins to decay, worms eating away at it as it gradually falls apart, the light dimming from it. However, a new light begins to glow beside it, gradually taking on the form of a new body. When the transition is over, Noot's old body has decayed completely, and a new form lies upon the ground beside where the old one lay. Interestingly, the party notes that this form has pointy ears, though by it's frame they can tell it is a half-elf.

    Hepala stands on her own now, looks at Noot and mutters,"Close enough". New Noot sits up and she then says to him, "Welcome back, hero. Be careful riding dragons in the future." She then turns to a spot in the air, you notice a haze there, and says ,"Satisfied? Now get back to your studies." She picks up Star and says ,"If there is nothing else. Gentlemen if you want a ride back to the Falls you can come with me."

    The mists reappear and Hepala, Berenn, and Emyn step into them. Soon they step out at the Falls and she thanks them for their service to the forest. She thanks Berenn specially for helping her. "Someday, maybe...but...thank you my lord." She sort of stammers at the end. She and Star walk into the mists again and are gone and it is clear again.

    [DM OOC: OK, it's going to be an uneventful trip back. Over the next month, the party can continue with whatever other things they have going, like the dragon skinning and such. Noot has time to get to know his new body. The wizards will finish their studies. So, no need to go back and forth for a bit. We will in essence be fast forwarded 1 month.]

    After a month, Hepla returns to Hommlet. Emyn sees Hepla for the first time since she left for her studies and she sees worry in his eyes. "What is wrong Emyn?"

    He just shows her his scars, saying only, "The dragon has caused this to be all over my body."

    She says, "I can sense you are worried I would think this would affect our relationship. I am not that shallow. I am just glad you survived," She plants a major kiss on him, leaving him week in the knees.

    Emyn grins sheepishly and says, "Absence does make the heart grow fonder. But thank Trithereon you are no longer absent!" He then picks her up and carries her some place more discrete.

    [DM OOC: Hepla has to return to her studies, but the rest of you can return home, if you'd like. There are going to be two months of down time, to get Hepla and Isilme ready to go. The dragon armor can be taken care of by the armorers in Verbobonc. I'm sure Caustichlorinus will be quite the impressive specimen. Of course, there's not going to be anything to take to the taxidermist, as you are canibalizing him for armor. His head would make a great addition to Noot's Inn in Nulb!

    Anyone who wants armor will pay 500gp for each point of protection offered. So, Noot's AC4 leather, will cost 3000gp. The AC0 armor will cost 5K. That is half the normal cost, because I'm assuming you sell a lot of other dragon parts to alchemists, Silver Consortium, etc. ]

    When Berenn returns to Nulb he meets with Danak. "Caustichlorinus is dead. Danak and his hobgoblins must become farmers if they are to survive, their time of being warriors is over." If Danak agrees, Berenn will escort them back to Caustichlorinus's liar where they should be able to live in peace. "I must have your word you will leave the other humanoids in the forest in peace." He readily agrees. The old dragon's lair will make quite a nice start for the clan to rebuild.

    Also, the party learns that Gotrek has left the area. He is traveling to the Shield Lands to join with Urgal and his dwarves. "Mm!" grunts Thorgrim. "Isn't that just like Gotrek? He finds a note in the Trader's Post.

    "I will return. I feels the inexorable call of battle and have this strange foreboding that I need to stand by my uncle Urgal. Thus, I am leaving for the Shield Lands on the morrow." It is attached to a full barrel of good dwarven ale from the south.

    "Had it brought special," the note ends.

    No action for a month and he's climbing the walls." Berenn then plans a trip to Verbobonc.

    Most of the party goes, and they find that the Viscount will not return for a couple of weeks. They spend the time relaxing, taking care of various odds and ends. When Isilme is looking into somebody to do the bonecarving, she's directed to an exotic elf selling scrimshaw in the market.

    Her name is Vadarra, and she is a snow elf from the far north. He mother a full snow elf. Her father not truely known. The tribe was killed by a barbarian raiding party, her mother raped and left for dead. Found by a hermit formally from Verbobonc she was raised by the wise sage after her mother died in child birth. He taught Vadarra arctic survival, boating, fishing and a little about magic. In this arctic region, parchment was rare, so Claruin taught Vadarra the art of ivory carving. His vast library was composed entirely of carved ivory. On his death bed he ask Vadarra to bring a special ivory carving to Tymak in Verbobonc.

    Isilme helps her to finish her task, and Vadarra agrees to join the party.

    [DM OOC: Welcome to Vadarra, a snow elf Priest of Tarsellis Meunniduin -Peakwarden/ Cold Wizard-Anagakok.]
    Moonday, 10 Goodmonth (581)
    This is the day Berenn goes to court. It's also exactly 1 week before Hepla finally returns from her studies. Once arriving in Verbobonc, Berenn will bring the party to the Viscount's Castle and have them wait in the courtyard. Isilme is dressed in her best spider silk dress, while Rakk will be dressed all in new full plate mail. He's staying quiet, standing next to the skull of the dragon. Looking like an honor guard, visor down, he'll talk politely, if addressed. He'll raise the visor if requested. He's just trying to appear like a knight for Berenn (admittedly a big one.) Berenn will walk into court and wait until the opportunity presents itself and makes the following announcement, "My ladies and lords, if you will follow me into the courtyard you will be witness to a site few have seen and fewer have lived to tell the tale!"

    There are a few snickers in the small crowd of nobles, especially from Lord Galans and Walgraf Deleveu. Lord Galans owns lands that now border on the Watchlands, and Walgraf Deleveu holds title to the lands between the Watchlands and Celene.

    The former is not really a popular noble, as he speaks his mind too much. However, his personal courage at Emridy Meadows, did not go unrewarded, as he was granted holdings near Nulb in the aftermath. However, his primary lands were in the NE tip of the Viscounty, along the Velverdyva. It has been rumored that it was his neglect of his southern holdings which allowed the more recent, second rise, of the Temple of Evil.

    Lord Roland Galans

    The latter is a half-elf. Lord Deleveu is firmly aligned with the Viscount, but the practicalities of his location make his court seem more elven than human. Lord Deleveu maintains his manor, Deleveu Woods, under the pro- tective boughs of the Gnarley Forest. In his position far to the south away from most civilization, Lord Deleveu continually faces incursions from the humanoids of the Gnarley Forest, and he maintains an uncomfortable border with the isolationist realm of Celene. Being so far removed from Verbobonc itself, he is the most independent of the Viscounty's many nobles.

    Lord Corbin Deleveu

    Berenn ingores the snickers and leads the small crowd of nobles outside to the head of Caustichlorinus. "Behold Caustichlorinus, or what is left of him, laid low by a small group of adventures led by myself. The beast of legend lived up to its reputation, but my friends and I were its bane!" Anyone who accompanied me to Verbobonc gets a worthy introduction.

    There are quite a few ohs and ahs, and one woman actually faints. The two mocking nobles stand there agape, and another beautiful woman steps between them, putting a hand on each man's shoulder as she passes.

    "The mighty Caustichlorinus," she says, looking at the dragon's head. She calls back over her shoulder, without glancing. "My lord Walgraf?" she says. "Didn't you once seek out this beast yourself?"

    A muffled "hrumph" is the only reply, and the embarrassed noble pushes passed everyone and leaves the court.

    Nirifel, who also has returned with you all and accompanied you to Verbobonc, whispers to Berenn as Walgraf Deleveu leaves in a huff. "Don't worry, I know him. He is fiery, but has a stout ranger's heart. Only his pride is wounded today."

    Lord Galans seems to recover from the shock quite quickly, and strides forward. He gives Berenn a slight bow, then claps him heartily on the back as he takes his arm in a firm handshake. "Forgive me, sir. Twas but a bit of fun at your expense."

    Berenn takes Lord Galans's hand, "A feat which I did not achieve alone, but thank you for your kind words. And I am not without a sense of humor, there was harm done. Our lands should be reasonably safer with this evil put to rest."

    Berenn will whisper to Nirifel when he has a moment, "If it is only his pride, it should heal quickly if he is as stout as you say. Still, I wonder, if it is not prudent to do something to help his healing."

    [OOC: Berenn is scanning for Lady Elysia. If he sees her, he will make a point of going to see her.]

    She's there, looking over the dragon head with keen interest. There are other notables there as well, and they all congratulate you. Berenn is very humble is accepting their congratulations. He describes Caustichlorinus to those who will listen, "His armour was like tenfold shields, his teeth was like swords, his claws spears, the shock of his tail was a thunderbolt, his wings a hurricane, and his breath death!" When he has a chance he finally greets Lady Elysia, "It is always a pleasure my lady. I believe that last time we met I promised you ride on Ra, if you have the time I would be honored to keep my promise."

    Lady Elysia takes you up on the request, as I assume you have both griffons with you for this meeting. Her attendants are none too happy, and the Lord Mayor, Marakios Haxx, pleads with her to not go.

    "I know it seems fun," he says, "but your father would have our heads should any harm come to yours."

    Lord Mayor Marakios Haxx

    "My Lord Mayor, if I may interject. I would never think of putting my lady in the slightest bit of danger." With that Berenn produced a ring from his hand, "With your permission my Lady, this ring is not a commitment, but rather will keep you safe from any fall. During the battle with Caustichlorinus, the beast grabbed me and as we grappled, he dropped me from a great height. This ring saved my life. If the worst should happen, it will do the same for you. Your father would never forgive me if I did not see to your well being."

    Isilme runs interference on the mayor, blocking him out so they can get away and dismissing his concerns with a "he has a ring that allows you to fall like a feather, and he just defeated a green dragon, I suggest she is just as safe with him as with any of you guards."

    The Lord Mayor wants to protest, but the crowd is buzzing with excitement, not just for the ride, but over the ring! Lady Elysia laughs, and climbs atop Ra, throwing her legs over the griffon in very unlady-like fashion. A few gasps can be heard, though over her or the griffon is hard to say.

    Berenn climbs on behind her. "Where would my lady like to fly?"

    "Up, good Sir. Up!"

    Berenn will take Lady Elysia wherever she wishes to go as the griffon leaps into the sky.

    Meanwhile, another man laughs as he approaches.

    He introduces himself as Sir Velysin Claviger, commander of the Viscounty militia. He is very impressed with Rakk's tremendous size. "Never have I seen a man of your stature," he says, quite obviously impressed. "Well, short of the giants of the Jotens."

    Rakk replies, in his odd accent,"Thank you, m'lord. Truly, compared to them, I am but a dwarf."

    "A dwarf?" he laughs. "Well, that may be so," but you are a giant amongst us mere mortals!" He then starts to talk to you about various fights you've been in, and you find that he has a very sharp tactical mind. Rakk will talk about both his own and the Lord's battles, and the Lord soon finds that Rakk also has a strong tactical bent. The integration of regular fighting men and high-powered adventurers into a coherent fighting force is an area Rakk has clearly given a lot of thought to. Soon Rakk and Velysin are joined by Lord Haxx. He too shows a keen interest in military affairs, and he immediately starts to dominate the conversation. Rakk quickly realizes that he knows far less than he thinks he knows, and Velysin gives him a wink to know that he knows this too!

    Things break up after Berenn and lady Elysia return; however, Lord Velysin requests that you speak again. "Those are some fine ideas you have," he says. "As Captain of the Militia, I would learn more of these combined tactics."

    When she has had her fill, Berenn returns her safely to the courtyard, helps her off Ra, removes his ring and plants a kiss on her hand, "I truly hope you enjoyed your flight my Lady and if perhaps we can do this again another day." Berenn bows lows. She thanks him, and then proceeds to announce that there will be a banquet that evening in honor of the slayers of Caustichlorinus! She is quite flushed, though it's probably just from the wind!

    "It is the rush of flying!" she says quickly.

    "Well," says an old lady who is clearly of importance to her. "My Lady must rest," she says. "She will see you all this evening." She barely has time for a quick nod and a whispered thank you, before her ladies shuttle her away. Berenn hears the old woman going on about "youth...your father....unbelievable!" He didn't catch it all, but he can imagine the rest!

    Berenn will spend the rest of the day going first to the taxidermist to see what they can do with the head. After that, he will drop in on the Adventurer's Guild and tell them the tale of the demise the great wyrm. He will make sure everyone is promptly back in time for the event this evening. Nirifel goes along with Berenn, laughing at him as they walk. She jabs him with good-natured ribbing over the little ride with Lady Elysia. Rakk will come along too. He's trying to get people used to seeing him. He's polite, but talks very little unless someone obviously wishes to talk to him. People seem to avoid Rakk, for the most part. They move to the other side of the street as he walks, and always keep an eye on him.

    When the taxidermist sees the head, he doesn't know what to make of that! Still, he'll do what he can. [DM OOC: This is going to REALLY cost you!!!] The party also finds Elrae. He has bought the Harvester's Theater, and is having it rebuilt. He also is working on an epic play about your adventures.

    Back at the inn, as the party is getting a drink and talking to Elrae, Hepla then appears, rushing up and giving Emyn a big kiss. "Noot, mom said that she was close with her spell. I see what she means. It looks good on you." Hepla says. When she learns of the evening's dinner banquet, she exclaims, "A dinner, where? Excuse me I must change." She giggles, "you know this takes longer then the spell." She heads upstairs, and just before going up, she says, "Berenn, mom says hi and thank you. Whatever for she would not say."

    Berenn makes no reply ... just a somewhat bemuddled expression crosses his face.

    Nirifel laughs as well. "You must learn to enjoy life more," she replies.

    Nirifel and Elrae get to talking, sharing stories and discussing Elrae's epic. Later, they get on the stage together and perform a song Nirifel wrote after the fight with Caustichlorinus.

    "Well I walked
    Man I walked
    Through some pain today
    Well I guess today was my turn to hurt

    Well, why not
    You know I'm not any different
    And no pain means no gain
    I've heard them say

    Well I used to think that life
    Was so ugly
    Live fast, die young
    Leave a pretty corpse

    But now I see things so much different
    And life seems sometimes pretty to me "

    Hepla comes downstairs with her yellow spidersilk dress, and Emyn's jaw drops. He quickly takes a drink of ale. Hepla sits next to Nirifel who whispers something to her. She often looks at Berenn, smiles and laughs and whispers to Hepla, who then giggles.

    After a bit, Hepla and Isilme take the part to Clotho's so they can buy appropriate court attire. Only Rakk passes. "The last court I went to cared naught what I wore. I find it hard to imagine meself in these clothes. I'll take any help offered. I but wish to keep the sword scabbards."

    The party heads back to Castle Stonefist later in the evening. There is a large crowd of nobles in attendance. They are all dressed in their finest. The courtyard is all lit up with globes of light, faerie fire sparkling around the walls, and people dancing on a pristine wooden dance floor that was not there this afternoon. A group of minstrels plays on a raised stage, and people are dancing to the music. Lady Elysia sits on a large cushioned chair, overlooking the party, with a group of noblemen around her.

    Isilme seems to glide through the air with effortless grace (thanks to a fly spell and her boots of levitation)
    she makes a stunning picture in her fine yellow spider silk dress with the jewleled order of the cat pin proudly displayed, and her long silver hair bound up by the circlet with the gleaming fire node ruby inset

    Isilme will approach with Hepla to pay her respects to the viscounts daughter, and then after exchanging pleasantries, will make the appropriate political rounds so she can make new contacts and garner support for her new church. [aided by the "Friends" spell] Notably, she will look to meet with the half elvish lord whose manor borders the celene,
    And will spend a good deal of time with the arch bishop if he attends. At some high point in the revelry she will approach the viscounts daughter and offer to delight her and the guests with a "show" (a viewing Caustichlorinus in all his live glory using her powers of illusion.)

    Hepla waits for her turn, then approachs and says,"My appologies my lady for missing court this afternoon, I got in just as the party was getting to the inn. Is there anything I can do for you?"

    When Isilme gives her show it will be the first time Hepla sees the dragon because in all her skrying she could not see it but she saw everyone beating on it and being beaten upon by it.

    Emyn refrains from drinking for the evening. He would rather remain sober given how the last bout of drunkeness ended up. He will, however, remain polite and also dance with Hepla and the other females in the party, as well as he can in his armour, anyway. Rakk attends, performs the neccessary forms. He finds it easier to talk to the stewards, captains, chief armorer and that sort than the higher nobility. Those who get things done and actually run things instead of directing them done. Hepla looks around to see if the archbishop is in attendence. If she sees him she will introduce Vadarra and let him know that she is from the far north and may have some gods he might not yet have heard of but should be at his temple.

    Elrae begins chatting with nobles and what not trying procure money for his new play. "It is called the Book of St. Cuthbert. It's a hilarious romp where two St. Cutherbert missionaries travel to the Pomarj and try to convert a tribe of Orcs to the ways of Cutherbertiasm. They run into a group of Slave Lords and their faith is put to test. It will be a hit I tell you. Money in the bank I just need some more coin to finance it."

    Emyn, upon hearing the conversation, says, "Will you be including the part where you bathed yourself in acid by trying to use teh black dragon helm, Elrae?"

    Berenn does not seem particularly assumed by the bard's new play, but he manages to exercise restraint. He just hopes the Bishop isn't in earshot of this blasphemy.

    "Oh there will be nothing blasphemist about the play," says Elrae. "It will be tasteful and respectful to the followings of St Cuthbert. I did meet him in person you know. Oh I like that idea of the acid helmet trick, that will have them rolling in the aisles."

    Berenn nods, then seeks out Lady Elysia. There are many noblemen hanging around her, and he picks up the idea that they all are looking to woo her. Berenn gets a very icy reception from them. Lady Elysia winks at him a couple of times, and seems to have fun making the rest of the nobles uncomfortable. When she singles him out for heroism in killing Caustichlorinus, it just makes them seem more resentful.

    Berenn smiles and thanks Lady Elysia for her kind recognition and for this event. Berenn seems to feed off the uncomfortableness of the other nobles and claims he was doing his duty for the realm in felling the foul beast.

    Meanwhile, Sir Velysin Claviger seeks out Rakk, who is standing with Altan, and the three of them spend the evening discussing military tactics. As he mentioned before, he is especially interested in Rakk's ideas for integrating a powerful band of heroes into military activities. Lord Haxx comes by again, dominating the conversation again with a lot of hot air. After monopolizing the conversation for a bit, he thanks you both for an scintillating discussion, and then moves on. "He is one who has read much of wars, but never fought them," says Sir Velysin.

    Isilme and Hepla also find themselves treated with a very condescending tone. Isilme can swear she hears somebody say, "once a drow...." or something like it a couple of times. Hepla spends a little time mingling with the ladies, and once she passes on, giggling to herself in her way, Isilme catches the women laughing at Hepla's back, calling her a "silly peasant girl."

    However, a beautiful blonde woman befriends Hepla in a most heartwarming manner. She introduces herself as Baroness Elinor Asbury. With her is a very handsome nobleman, who gently takes Hepla's hand and kisses it. "I am Sir Simon Milnius," he says, "and it is my honor to meet one of the Heroes of Hommlet." Lord Milinous is a stern, dark-haired, broad-shouldered man who seems comfortable in the power he radiates. He stands well over six feet tall, and is intimidating although not thickly muscled. His eyes are as dark as his hair, and any man gazing in his eyes finds them hard and remorseless.

    Sir Simon Milnius

    Nirifel and Elrae play together, but after a bit, Nirifel whispers to him that his wife looks a bit unhappy. Glancing that way, he sees that she is frowning at the easy way in which the two seem to get along. "Go dance with her," says Nirifel, giving him a shove. She then leads the minstrels in a tune from the hills, something boisterous and fun, and Elrae sweeps his wife away with a flourish! Soon she is laughing and having a great time again.

    Elrae approaches one of the women who said the disparaging words to Hepla. "My eyes have never witnessed such grace as I do now. No celestial can compare to thee. I must have you star in my new play opening soon at the Woodstock theatre. You are perfect for the role of Nevis the female lead. Please I insist that you audition for the part."

    "Debase myself to be in a play?" she asks, incredulous that Erlae would even propose such a thing.

    Isilme will turn to the group of snickering women and say "Your actions denote low breeding. Try acting like the ladies you pretend to be." She projects the emotion of "shame" into the group by holding Maerthorlear, then turns her attentions back to the party, hiding the smile on her face from them. The group of noblewomen almost start to cry. A couple actually run off. She looks around and finds Lord Deleveu sitting at a table with a couple of surly looking woodsmen types.

    "But my dear you would be perfect. That nose, that face it is a crime you are not on the stage. It is a lead role, quite romantic even. Please reconsider. The lights the audience the cheers and fame." He smiles and walks away. "If you change your mind please come by my theatre." Elrae goes to other noblewomen and convinces them that the certain lady should try out for the part of Nevia, the young orc who believes in St. Cuthbert.

    Rakk notices Noot, hiding in the shadows. He very adeptly takes a necklace from one of the noblewomen who were making fun of Hepla.

    Emyn seems a bit lost in the crowd as he is not high born, so he just walks with Hepla and Isilme. He knows well enough to not react to the simpering idiots who are laughing behind Hepla's back. He tells Hepla, "You are nobler than that whole pack of vultures. You are no noblewoman. You are the queen of my world."

    Hepla hears but ignores the comments about being of peasant stock and being silly, only a comment about her height would get her ire. She enjoys her conversation with the Barroness and her husband. "iIf you ever get to our Station or Hommlet I would be honored to show you around. Where is your lands, do you have any children?"

    "Oh no," replies the Barroness. "We are not married." She gives her date a playful nudge, "though we would be if he ever worked up the courage."

    He starts to protest, but the Barroness cuts him off. "No Simon, we all know you would stand your ground against a thousand orcs with no regard to your life, but when it comes to your heart you show far too much caution."

    He takes the ribbing well, and soon you find that the couple is truly in love. Both are very kind and compassionate, true examples of what nobility could aspire to be. You also learn that the Baroness's lands once encompassed some of the area which now is included in the Watchlands. House Asbury rose to prominence after the Short War, about 150 years ago. It's holdings included the area from Nulb to the Fens of Tor, and inland to Canyonford. Most was lost during the Temple of Elemental Evil's first rise, with only the family manor house at Asbury Meadow remaining.

    "Now that the temple is defeated surely you should get your lands back." Hepla says.

    She sighs, "Alas, I fear such is not possible. Lords Galans and Deleveu had repeated laid claim to the lands, though only in name. The possibility yet remained of reclaiming the lands. With the Viscount granting title of the new fiefdom to Lord Berenn, I fear there is little hope of such things now."

    Meanwhile, Isilme approaches Lord Deleveu and introduces herself. He responds very favorably to Isilme, and asks her to dance. She tries to get news from him, but there isn't really much. They have been very busy dealing with bands of humanoids, scattered after the fall of the Temple. It's nothing they can't handle, as these bands are virtually leaderless, chaotic remnants. When she asks about Celene, she learns the border is closed, pretty much always has been. They don't allow anyone into their lands except those who belong there. He has never been within the borders even. Elves come to Ostverk once in a while, just to check things out. Last year the Viscount sent a representative to the court of Celene in order to get a new ambassador sent to Verbobonc. The man is still waiting in Ostverk for the elves to respond! If she is traveling to Celene, they she must stay at his manor. He positively insists!

    Isilme finds that most of the young nights are very interested in her, and though there are some who seem to react negatively (she remembers that drow comment), she tends to win people over through the night. Nobody can deny the grace of her dance, and Lord Deleveu is simply astounded.

    "I know you to be a dark elf," he says, as he holds her close during part of one of the dances. "But I have never heard of a dark elf bladedancer. " As you pull apart and whirl away, he adds, "You are full of surprises!"

    "Then watch this," she says, softly singing until she simply disappears!

    Meanwhile, Noot relieves another of the snotty noblewomen of a gold chain, then he fades back into the shadows looking for something really valuable owned by someone nasty.

    Bishop Haufren now makes an appearance. A handful of young knights move towards him, and you see that they are very friendly with him. You hear that he has had a hand in helping them gain their titles, through his influence with the Viscount. Just as he did with Berenn. Berenn head directly for the Bishop, who frowns when he approaches.

    "Your excellency seems unhappy to see me," asks Berenn concern in his voice.

    "Not unhappy, young man, just a bit disappointed."

    "I am sorry if I have done something to disappoint you your excellency. I am not sure what I did exact which caused your disappointment."

    "Perhaps you should go ask your clairvoyant friend then," he says, a bit sarcastically.

    "I can only ask your forgiveness for this indisgression, I felt the need for a little extra guidance before I set out to face Caustichlorinus. In this case, I believe the end might justify the means."

    "Well, when one of your status does something, word gets around." He laughs, obviously put a bit at ease by Berenn's comments. "You really have no idea how important you have become around here, do you," he says, and it's not a question. "You are far more than just some adventurer made good. You are a symbol of what a man may be, if he so chooses. What a man can accomplish with will and effort. You must be careful in your actions, for you influence far more than you can possibly imagine."

    "Perhaps I haven't had the time to fully consider how my actions have impacted the larger picture," replies Berenn humbly. "I am not used to being a symbol, but I will start being more careful in how I act in public and private."

    The bishop nods. "Come and see me tomorrow. We shall discuss this, and other matters. There are things you should know, though this is not the time nor the place."

    "As you wish Your Excellency," Berenn replies and bows. Berenn will take his leave of the Bishop and spend the rest of the evening in close proximity to Lady Elysia. He will take measure of the people who surround her, especially any possible suitors.

    Vadarra is also an object of interest to the assembled nobles and other important people. Though elves and half-elves are not so rare around here, nobody has ever seen anyone with quite her coloration. In fact, as the night goes on, she become more and more the focus of conversation. Some even rub their fingers on her skin, to make sure it really is blue!

    Soon there is a tremendous roar, and looking up, you see Caustichlorinus flying overhead! As the party guests react with fear, you all look for Isilme. You see her weaving a spell, and assume this is the illusion she was planning.

    Lady Elysia is astounded. "Is THAT what it was truly like?" she asks, holding Berenn's arm tight.

    Once isilme has allowed the shock value of a roaring, diving dragon to sink in,
    She uses the next minute to have the dragon hover in the air and bow to the crowd saying

    "Fear not noble ones, I was soundly defeated by the heroes of Hommlet. I am here only for your viewing pleasure."

    The dragon then "flies" away. Isilme focuses next on the beauty she saw in the dragons flight, having him dive, do rolls, etc. The whole show will culminate in the dragon exploding into a thousand brilliant emerald sparks that float down into the crowd. Isilme then reappears, standing before the rest of the party to whom she gives a slight bow.

    After the show, the Lady Elysia calls all the Heroes of Hommlet forward. With great flourish, she declares them heroes, again. "You have rid the region of a great and terrible beast, and made the Viscounty a safer place. All the free people of Verbobonc thank you." The people all clap readily, and even those who seemed to have been somewhat cautious, cannot help but be caught up in the moment.

    Isilme bows with great flourish and thanks the Lady Elysia. She will make the rounds saying goodbye to all the new lords and ladies she has met tonight. She will be SURE to say goodnight to the Bishop of St Cuthbert, and invite him to visit the fledgling church of Eilistraee. Now finished for the evening, she will simply vanish at some point and return to her lodging for a good nights rest.

    Hepla goes to the bishop and says, "my pardons, your excellency for not seeing you earlier. I trust you are well."

    "Most well, thank you," he replies cordially. "But I must retire." He looks at Berenn. "Tomorrow then." He says good night, and then leaves. In fact, Lady Elysia declares the event finished, and she retires as well.

    [DM OOC: The party's over. Everyone can go to sleep. Hope you enjoyed meeting a bunch of the Viscounty's nobility.]
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:53 am  
    Part 9 - Verbobonc Again

    Godsday, 11 Goodmonth (581)
    Berenn wakes early and heads to his appointment with the Bishop. [DM OOC: lost in PMs, but it basically went that word got around town about Berenn's visit to the soothsayer. He had lost some of his "worthiness" in Cuthbert's eyes, which is why his Commune didn't work. The bishop spent some time with him, and secured from Berenn his vow to build a church of St. Cuthbert in Nulb, in order to atone. When he returns, the others ask what happened.

    [Berenn OOC: I commited a religious faux paux and the DM is going to make me suffer for it.]

    "I just didn't think my movements would be the topic of conversation all over Verbobonc," says Berenn.

    Noot sleeps in. He seems to have a hangover when he finally comes down. "Vice must be practiced," he says.

    Rakk will spend whatever days in town are available trying to talk with the upper level of the underlings. He'll talk to the stewards, the captains, etc. Spend time down on the drilling fields, practice his archery and swordsmanship. He'll assist sargeants in training men if they are willing, just watch if they are not to see their system of fighting.

    Once the group leaves to return to Hommlet, he will head home to report and bring back jewels to pay his debt. Suffer thru the severe drubbing and 'lesson' from his dad, and hopefully all the bruises will be gone by the time he gets back.

    Hepla, with Vadarra, if she wants, will visit the Silver Consortium to let her see them and them see her. An exchange of knowledge about magic schools should help both.
    She then takes her to the cathedral to see all the meny gods. Hopefully they will run into the archbishop and she can introduce Vadarra and again exchange knowedge. Emyn follows along as their protector.

    At the temple, they find the high priest. He is very interested in Vadarra's god(s), as the gods of the Snow Elves were completely unknown! In fact, Snow Elves were only rumored to exist, so he is thrilled to meet even a half-elf. He insists that she sit with him and has Vadarra tell him all about her gods. Vaddara speaks for hours with Bishop Davers. She explains that her father had multiple tablets on the history, culture and god(s) of the snow elves. She hopes to return there one day with the abiltiy to retrieve her father's vast library.

    After speaking with the High Priest, Hepla will look at the shrine to the cat-lord. When she finds it, shows it to Vadarra saying, "This is my friend and god." Vadarra is impressed, never having heard of Him.

    When the girls walk away, Emyn waits for them to leave before approaching Cornelius Arx. He speaks about his ordeal with the dragon. He is ashamed that he allowed himself to become so drunk when the party might still be in danger and wishes to do penance. He is told to go to Nulb and help in the construction of a temple to Trithereon there.

    Altan tries to win some gold with his archery behind the Adventurers Guild. He picks up about 50gp before others catch on and realize there's no point betting him regarding archery. He returns for lunch about the same time Noot gets up. Being a bit dejected about the lack of funds, he offers his gems to Noot, to see if he can sell them. Noot does one better. Taking the 50gp that Altan won, he goes back to the gaming tables, and using his Lucky Ring, he wins 500gp! He gives the money to Altan, who can now go buy what he needs. Altan will thank Noot very much and buy a heavy warhorse, saddle, saddle blanket,saddle bags,bit and bridel. (-450 gold)

    Berenn returns at some point during the day and says he will be returning to Hommlet in the morning and then to Nulb. He will have to return in a few weeks when the Viscount returns, but will be spending the majority of his time in Nulb and Warden's Station.

    Vadarra and Hepla then head to the Silver Consortium. Hepla explains that it is the magic school/ library /guild house. "It is one of the most powerful and best supplied that we have found in the world," she says. "Me and Isilme are members. You have to pay a fee and pass tests to get in as a member." Vadarra will be Hepla's guest. They get a few things, then meet up with everyone else. The party takes care of some more sundry details, then returns to Hommlet.

    Freeday, 14th of Goodmonth (581)
    You get back to Hommlet, where you get a good nite's rest, a meal, etc. You wake up in the morning and may go about your business. Thorgrim goes to Smythe to get a steel potion case made. Berenn will immediately seek out Terjon when he arrives in Hommlet. He wishes to discuss the Bishop's new edict and get a measure of how Terjon feels about his new position. Elrae returns to Hommlet with you guys, along with his wife. Now that they are happily settled in Verbobonc, they are taking a trip back here to see the folks and pick up his things. Emyn is oddly not there. He went straight to Nulb, without explanation, following his talk with the High Priest of Trithereon.

    Berenn heads up to the church, where he is met by Canoness Y'Dey. She is a middle-aged woman finely dressed in a luxurious white silk dress, certainly not meant for travel. Her short, graying hair frames a surprisingly smooth face, while her bright blue eyes suggest deep wisdom beyond what her years would suggest. He has grown up with her, so she knows Berenn very well.

    "Ah, Berenn lad," she greets him with a broad smile. "What brings you back here?" she asks. "Do your newfound lands not require your attention?"

    "It is good to see you Canoness." Berenn delivers a letter from the Bishop, showing Terjon's new appointment to Nulb, where he will act as head of a new church. Y'Dey is very pleased about it, as it not only gives the people there an excellent minister, but he also can continue to progress within the church. He didn't seem happy stepping back down.

    She summons Terjon, and gives him the letter. Reading it, he looks up at Berenn. "Nulb? But there is no church there?"

    "There is no church there yet Terjon," Berenn interjects. "I have already committed over 9000 gp toward a new cathedral in Nulb and St. Cuthbert willing the labours should start appearing shortly to erect it. This is a great opportunity, and I plan to put the same effort into this church I have into my other ventures."

    Being a bit of a grouchy priest, he just sort of grunts. "Fine, I'll get my stuff."

    "There is potential to do great things here Terjon. A new congregation of souls in need of proper guidance." Berenn will take Terjon to Warden's Station and find him a room to stay for now.

    Meanwhile...Thorgrim thanks Smythe for his hard work and attention to detail. That evening, he returns to his Trading Post home and checks on his tithe fund and the party Community Treasure and accumulated junk, and makes sure his Portable Hole is perfectly tidy. He quaffs an ale on his Gutshaker Porch, and smokes a pipe of Old Toby, before returning to his upper floor quarters. He smokes another pipe, and thinks on the strange effects of the Kuo-Toa herb, and the even stranger provider. He drifts to sleep, dreaming of a song Elrae once sang, something like "Screw you, DM!" He knows not what the words mean, nor who or what kind of god this "Di'em" must be. He did seem quite powerful, though.

    The strumming of strings changes to clanking of metal, and Thorgrim dreams of working together with Gotrek, forging a dwarven weapon of unspeakable holy power. They are laughing and singing as sparks fly. As they quench the hot steel in cold water, the steam changes the scene to a vision of Taki's watery death, in the bowels of the Outer Fane. Taki's eyes seem to bore into his, and then go lifeless...nothing. The scene changes to just before, and Thorgrim sees himself leading the party out the bolt-hole and overland back to where they first penetrated the outer defenses...And then suddenly he is back in the Celene, before he met his current companions. He is preparing his bedroll, lying down, and drifting off to sleep. He dreams of Dorob Kilthduum, his birthplace. It is then Thorgrim realizes that he is only dreaming of past dreams, and is in fact dreaming now. He wakes with a start.


    [DM OOC: Here's the thing about the construction everyone wants done. It doesn't happen overnight, even in today's modern world with very well-established work days, schedules, management companies, heavy equipement, etc. You did what you could to find workers, since all around Hommlet are working on building a castle under orders of the Viscount. It will take time to get enough manpower and material to get things done. The addition to the Trader's Post is done, as the local carpenter handled that. However, Isilme's stuff is a bit bigger, and involves stonework, which is much more problematic what with so much material/manpower going to the castle. You don't want to step on the Viscount's toes any!

    Anyway, I say all that to explain why it's not done yet. It may be awhile. I'll tell you when it's done. Further, the gnomes all pull off from rebuilding Warder's Station. Berenn finds that out when he returns from a trip to Nulb to check on things there. He asks around, and all anyone can say is that very upset gnome officials, under orders from the Crown Prince Jimm himself, appeared and ordered all the gnomes to stop their work and go home. The gnomes immediately picked up all their tools and stuff and left. Berenn is now left nearly completely short of laborers at Warder's Station. The current status is all rubble has been cleared and all walls are repaired. However, nothing is rebuilt on the upper level of the moathouse.]

    [Berenn OOC: What a surprise! I know where those gnomes in the Gnarley Forest headed off to after they buried their dead. Tattle tales! At least the walls are back up ... I will have to explore other options for to complete the task.]

    In the morning, Berenn will fly to the Kron Hills and try to get an audience with the prince.

    Hepla comes and says, "Berenn, I am sorry you lost your gnome workers. May I come with you to see the gnome king? I will speak for you but if they still refuse I would like an gnome or two to look over Cat's Claw Tower for some work that needs to be done there. But only if this is OK with you. I can be a pixie ridding with you."

    "You may come with me Hepla. There is nothing to apologize for regarding the loss of the workers, I just hope the prince will listen to reason."


    Vadarra doesnt feel right spending a lot time around buildins. While everyone researches, waits for armor and misc chores, Vaddara wants to find a small secton of forest outside of hommlet to set up a shrine to Tarsellis Meunniduin where she can go and pray one a day. Claruin described the mountain ranges from which her mother originated and Tarsellis Meunniduin's symbol is a mountain peak so a small recreation out of rocks and clay seem appropriate. Isilme shows her the hill beyond her grove, and Vadarra is happy to build a small shrine there.

    Meanwhile...Thorgrim checks on his shrine to Clanggedin, ensures that there are no weeds in the vicinity, and polishes the marble. He picks up some mountain climbing gear from the Trading Post. If there is none available, he will order some from Verbobonc. He finds Noot, and asks him how he feels in his new skin. "Do you remember aught of your wild ride atop Caustichlorinus? None of us were there to see its conclusion, I'm afraid. Very brave of you, though. Am I wrong to say I found it...uncharacteristic? Saved us all, it did." Thorgrim lets out a laugh. "The only beast I succeeded in slaying was...meself!"

    So, Berenn, Hepla, and Elrae are going to visit the gnomes. The journey to the Greenway Valley will take a day by horse. You've traveled this way before, so it's no big deal. You have no encounters on the way. You reach the valley in the evening the next day and find a nice inn where you can spend the night. The gnomes have not forgotten you for your heroic exploits with the Temple of Evil, and you are offered the best rooms and an excellent meal.

    Elrae entertains the gnomes with an epic tale about the party's exploits from the Temple of the Elder Elemental God. Berenn tells Elrae to keep his embellishments to a minimum. "We don't need another riot on our hands."

    The gnomes are quite entertained, really being fond of such things. Ah, let me add that you return to the Greenway Valley with Filbin Vermaalen as well. He has spent the last two months resting (he had -5 negative levels!). He has only recovered one. Anyway, he travels with you on the way, and he is able to add his word, which goes a long way with the gnomes as well. You are clearly quite welcome amongst the gnomes.

    "This is the easy part," says Berenn. "These gnome probably haven't heard about the gnome village being bbq'ed. The real test will be when we try to meet with the prince."

    "Prince Jimm?" says a gnome, who overhears Berenn. "He lives in Verbobonc."

    Hepla asks, "Who is in charge here?"

    "It was under the orders from the prince that the workers left, so it is the prince we need to speak to," says Berenn. "I suppose doing a little good will here can't hurt and perhaps the prince does answer to someone."

    So, you spend a nice evening, Elrae entertaining the locals, and you "relearn" all about the gnomes of the Greenway Valley. You subtly ask about the gnomes leaving Warder's Station quite suddenly, and you hear only that merchant houses were upset about something, and pushed the prince into the action. That's all these gnomes know.

    In the morning everyone returns to Hommlet. Berenn goes back to Verbobonc. Only Elrae goes with him, since Hepla decides to study instead. Filbin stays in the Greenway Valley, to continue his recovery. Back in Verbobonc, Berenn gains an audience with Prince Jimm.

    Berenn has his meeting with the gnome prince. You find him quite affable, and with his handlebar moustache, splendid attire and gregarious nature, he cuts a fine figure.

    Prince Jimm

    His home is unfortunately not listed on the map. An oversight on my part. It is directly above Clotho's on the map, built into the cliffside right below the tall rounded bay window of the Viscount's castle. You actually learn that while the gnome princes have lived there for hundreds of years, Prince Jimm is having a new mansion built right in the heart of the Business District. B6, right across the square from the new Temple of St. Cuthbert. Anyway, just wanted to give some info on that!

    Prince Jimm bids you enter, you have been brought to his study, on the upper floor where you have a good view of the river. A servant brings in a tray and glasses. "Drink sir?" he asks. You notice he has a bottle of Korbin. Korbin is distinctive for its method of production, taste and look. Various types of brandies are combined in a number of ways to create the unique blends known as Korbin. Each of the estates has its own particular blends which vary in terms of number of brandies used as well as the ages of the various brandies. In fact, some estates claim to have vats of pure brandy dating back to the Republic. Korbin bottles are as important to the product as the brandy contained within them. Their diverse and remarkable colors and shapes are the creation of various gnome clans living in the surrounding hills. Finally, each brand of Korbin has its own unique label embossed on the bottle. The cheapest brand, Golden Naga, sells for approximately 10 pp/bottle while the two most expensive brands, Aerdy Royal and Olven Delight, sell for approximately 100 pp apiece. Needless to say, Korbin is a drink of the wealthy.

    "Thank you." Berenn says and takes a glass. "Your highness I only require a few moments of your time to mend the some bad feeling between some of your kin and myself and to explain why I took action against the great wyrm."

    "Ah, the wyrm," he says. "Masterful job there. Quite!" He takes a sip of Korbin. "Wonderful stuff this," he says. "Anyway, the wyrm, impressive. You probably missed me at the party." He laughs, "many often do. However, that head was impressive, and your friend's illusion! Well, let's just say there are many a gnome could learn a thing or two from her!"

    "The bishop cornered me on matters regarding the church or I would have paid my respects in person. Isilme is an impressive illusionist and I will make sure to inform her of you compliment when I see her next. I spoke with your kinsmen in the Gnarley Forest after the battle and I helped bury their dead. When they reached the merchants, the I can only imagine the tale they had to tell. I enjoy the excellent relationship I have with your kinsmen and it wasn't my intent to bring destruction upon their village."

    He looks at you as you speak, and you can tell that, even with his considerable training at keeping an impassive face (for diplomacy and such), you catch a moment of confusion. When you are done, he stands mute for a moment before speaking.

    "The Gnarley?" he asks. "What village?" He looks truly ignorant.

    "My apologizes your highness I may have proceeded under false pretenses. I assumed you removed the workers from Warden's Station because what happened in the Gnarley Forest. If I may ask, what prompted their removal?"

    "No, no," he says, "That wasn't it at all."

    He then goes on to describe how he was approached by representatives of a half-dozen of the gnome merchant houses. The gnomes have exclusive rights to sell gems from the Kron Hills in Verbobonc. They own all the mines, even those on land belonging to other nobles. Their goods are gathered along the Greenway and a monthly caravan is sent to Verbobonc. "It seems that your selling of nearly 200 gems occurred the day before the gnome caravan reached Verbobonc. Thus, the bank offered far less for them than usual, due to lack of funds and a now large supply. The gnomes were forced to sell them for barely any profit."

    "Thus, they came to me," he says. "They demanded that I remove the workers providing free labor to your lands, or they would take further steps. As you can imagine, I did not want to antagonize my own people, nor force them to do out of anger that which would be in nobody's interests. A trade conflict between the Greenway and Verbobonc would serve nobody. As you had already gained nearly 6 months of labor, enough to rebuild the walls and towers of Warder's Station, I felt the move...prudent."

    "I see," says Berenn. "My apologizes for putting you in such a predicament. I am afraid my comrades and I are not very versed when it comes to economics. If you would be willing to broker a meeting between the representatives of the merchant houses and myself, I would like to try to put this matter right. Hopefully, we can reach an agreement which will make up for their lost profits."

    "Hm," he says, fingering his mustache. "I think that perhaps something can be arranged. I will contact the various merchant houses and arrange the meeting. Let us say, one month from today?"

    "Thank you your highness. I shall see you in one month. I appreciate you taking the time to see me and with your permission I shall get back to my lands.", Berenn bows.

    "One more thing," he aks before Berenn leaves. "What you meant about causing the destruction of a gnome village?"

    "During the battle with Caustichlorinus, he broke containment and took his anger out on a small gnome village. If the dragon had been left uncheck, he would have eventually attacked every humanoid in the forest, it was my plan to attack while it was still trying to gain strength after just being awaken. I did everything I could to safe guard every denizen within the forest, but to my regret it wasn't quite enough. The last time it was awake it killed a great noble of Celene and many of its knights in a terrible fight before the elves were able to drive it off. I was hoping to avoid a repeat performance in the lands owned be the Viscount."

    He isn't aware of this gnome village, as that area of the Gnarley doesn't fall under the territory of the Gnomes. However, he will send a group to investigate. "Maybe we can help survivors?" Berenn nods and informs the prince of the general direction the gnome survivors were heading. He then takes his leave. He learns that the Viscount has just returned, so he heads to the Castle to gain an audience.

    He meets the Viscount. The meeting was about the current war going on in the Shield Lands. A few years ago, a group of humanoids plagued the holds of Redhand and Reyhu. Busy fighting the Horned Society along the Veng, the army of the Shield Lands could not march to their aid. However, an army from the Bandit Kingdoms, under the charismatic leader Celdros of Zelraston, marched to their aid and destroyed the goblinoids. The Plar of Reyhu died in the fighting, along with the Baron of Redhand. Before Holmer, Earl of Walworth, could be appraised of the situation, Celdros had installed himself as Tyrant of Reyhu and Redhand.

    After the Holds of Redhand and Reyhu joined the Bandit Kingdoms, there had been much consternation withing the ranks of the Knights of the Holy Shielding. Many had called for an immediate campaign to retake the lands. However, Holmer disagreed, worrying that the situation with the Horned Society was too dangerous to allow the removal eastwards of so many valuable warriors. The invasion of the Bandit Kingdoms by humanoid forces from the Horned Society changed everything. With troubles on both borders, as recent fighting in Tenh has raised further concerns in the east as well, the Bandit Kingdoms were in no position to fight in the south. Further, Baron Despar of Delcomben argued that his troops could deal with any threats, now that both the Horned Society and Bandit Kingdoms were fighting each other. His argument eventually won out, and Holmer agreed to send the army east.

    The army gathered quickly and in secret at Axeport, before marching to Alhaster. Nearly two thousand strong, with most of the Knights of the Holy Shielding, and led by Earl Holmer himself, the army quickly marched to Alhaster. They infiltrated the city before the arrival of the army and rallied the people against the bandits. Faced with threats from within and without, the bandits surrendered. The army is now preparing to march once again, on to the Trallant to complete the conquest of Redhand.

    The Viscount also brought back 100 people, dispossessed Shieldlanders. They are not soldiers, just normal peasant refugees. They've been granted citizenship in the Viscounty and promised land if they wish to settle in the Watchlands. Since Berenn is here, that is convenient. He can meet his new vassals and can return to the Watchlands with them.

    "Thank you Sire," says Berenn. "I will see to their needs. Is there anything else?"

    "I would like to see your lands," he says. "It has been some time since I have been there, before the rise of the Temple of Elemental Evil. You should expect me in a couple of weeks."

    "I look forward to your visit sire." If there is no further business, Berenn will greet the Lady Elysia (if she is there) and depart. They spend a few minutes together, and though Lady Elysia is quite fond of Berenn, she acts differently now that the Viscount is back. She is a bit more guarded and proper. After a short visit, Berenn returns to Hommlet, leading the Shieldlander refugees.

    Shortly thereafter Rakk returns from a short visit home. Once he pays off the armorers and clothes makers with the money he brings back (and I'm marking it off from the stash at home and leaving the gem with the clan), he will do what he normally does after a visit home. Take out his frustration by turning large stumps into firewood with his sword practice. He'll stop if approached and be polite, but he will quickly return to quickdrawing and sword practice, Hooking up elaborate practice equipment that swings back as he beats on it. Icar comes out into the yard to watch. Well, being that he's blind, he listens.

    After you work out with whatever the thing is you built, Icar walks up. "Mind if I give it a try?"

    Nothing Rakk builds survives the workout when he comes back from home. But Rakk will let him take a turn at it. The equipment is stuff his father used to build for him to work on for practice, and has slowly gotten more and more dangerous over the years.
    Rakk is amazed when the blind swordsman whips his blade out, faster than even Rakk can draw. He goes to work, hacking away at the thing. His blows are not like Rakk's, do not break it down. Rather, they flow with it, and it is almost a dance. The most precise, and deadly, swordplay Rakk has ever seen. After a few minutes, he sheaths his blade, and gives a slight bow to Rakk.

    "Thank you," he says. "A fine training device."

    "Father is better," thinks Rakk, "much better." But Rakk is still impressed. He bows back to Icar and says, "Thank you. You honor my small skill with yours."

    "The honor is mine. Your father has trained you well." He then smiles as he turns and leaves.

    [DM OOC: The month ends. Hepla is halfway to finishing her studies, Isilme finishes her books, and Berenn finishes his book. That adds 1 to Wisdom, and the book disappears. You have one month left before the dragon armor is done, though all other dragon stuff is now done and may be added to your sheets if you haven't done so already. Everyone finishes last-minute stuff, while awaiting the visit of the Viscount.]
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat May 03, 2014 9:44 am  
    Part 10 - A Visit by the Viscount

    Baroness Asbury and Lord Milnius arrive in the Watchlands to visit. They have a small retinue of about a dozen men-at-arms and another dozen servants. Hepla is in Warden's Station, while the guests are in Nulb. They are directed to the station, which the approach later in the day. There they meet Hepla.

    They are very nice, though Sir Milnius is stern. He treats everyone with absolutely perfect respect due his and their station. He inspects the work done, and makes note of the gnome work. When he sees Gungk and Petrie, he draws his weapon to protect the Baroness, but Berenn quickly intervenes. He introduces them, and the Lady seems quite overjoyed with Petrie, petting him. The dire wolf kind of snarls at Sir Milnius, who is quite on edge.

    Soon you come inside and give them a tour. "This place was not here," says Baroness Asbury, "when my family owned these lands. It was just all swamp."

    It still isn't the nicest of places, and it smells a bit being in the middle of swampland. "If you drain the swamps," says Sir Milnius, "you'd likely have some very fertile soil hereabouts."

    You take them around and show them all the repairs, completely finished now except for rebuilding the second floor of the main buildings. They are impressed. "Gnomes do some of the best stonework," says Sir Milnius. "Maybe not as good as dwarves," he adds, "but they are quite good. You know, Verbobonc started out as a gnome fortress?

    "Yes," continues Sir Milnius as you walk around Warder's Station. "Verbobonc began as a gnomish settlement along the banks of the Velverdyva River. It originally espoused a fort of earth and wood which was manned to protect the region from occasional forays by verbeeg from the Kron Hills. The fort was named Verboek and is still a feature of the town today."

    [DM OOC: I should note that Rakk has returned now too, being that we have moved a full month ahead. This all happens about one month before your armor is done. You guys also notice that Rakk has a black eye.]

    [Rakk OOC: If that's all he has, it's better than the last trip home. Father pulls no punches. The swords are dulled for practice but the swings are full strength. Rakk's had broken arms from the 'practice' before.]

    "I was hoping the soil would be rich Sir Milnius, the drainage has been a long process as has been the process of defoliation even with the aid of magic. I was hoping to have the Station in a more hospitable state, but there has been a temporary stoppage to the work. I would hope my progress would meet with your approval and the Viscount's."

    "Well, it certainly is no easy task," he says.

    The Baroness is much more quiet, as she takes in all that you are doing. "Yes, this land was never used when I was a child," she says.

    Berenn completes the tour of the downstair, the highlight being Lyseious and the alchemist lab. He asks if they wish to see the remains of Nulb, if so we can depart in the morning, the residences have been working there with a detachment of my men for protection. The only structure which is standing is the inn.

    "Oh, we already saw Nulb," says the Baroness. "We came upriver, and landed there."

    "You've done quite a lot to help these people rebuild," says Sir Milnius. "You are to be commended."

    "Most kind. It will take a while to give these people their lives back, but I would see this place thrive. It is a small piece of land, but it is mine and I would not be worthy of it if I did not see it grow and proper."

    That evening you all go to Hommlet, which is only a short ride from Warder's Station. They will stay there, at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. You set up a huge meal for them there, and all the notables come. It's a grand affair, that lasts well into the evening. Nirifel and Elrae perform on stage, each seeking to one-up the other all night long.

    You also learn all quite a bit of the story of House Asbury:

    "House Asbury was founded in 438CY following the end of the Short War where the combined forces of Veluna and Furyondy drove back the Keoland invaders. During the fighting, a young Knight Ranger of the Gnarley Forest, Artimus Greensward, distinguished himself as the leader of a group known as the Flames of the Gnarley, after the sword wielded by their young leader. Operating behind enemy lines his command wreaked havoc upon Keoish supply lines.

    Upon the cessation of hostilities, the Plar of Veluna granted him land and title in the Viscounty of Verbobonc. The grant, situated in the east-central part of the Viscounty, stretched from the Gnarley Forest near the Fens of Tor west for nearly 40 miles and north to south nearly 20 miles and included a parcel known as Asbury Meadow. A manor house was constructed within the Meadow and the house took its name from that location.
    Artimus and his lady, Yvonne Greensward, Guide of Ehlonna and member of his company, established their household upon Asbury meadows in 440CY. The region was fertile and blessed with abundant rainfall, and during the 43 years Artimus and Yvonne ruled the holding, it developed a reputation for fair dealings and bountiful harvests.

    House Asbury was blessed with the birth of three sons, all of whom followed their father’s example with service among the Rangers of the Gnarley. The eldest, Gregory, fell while in that service, and though an occasion of great sorrow to House Asbury, it established the tradition that the sons of Asbury would each in turn serve the forest.

    In 483 CY Markus Greensward, second son of Artimus, assumed the title of Knight Protector of Asbury. In 497 CY Artimus Greensward died and was buried in an unmarked grave within the Gnarley Forest, as he requested.
    Each succeeding generation continued the close and abiding affection for the land that characterized the first Knight Protector of Asbury. Each male descendant of Artimus served amongst the Rangers of the Gnarley, no few distinguishing themselves in that service.

    The untimely death of Simon Greensward in 566 CY while rescuing the Lady of House Milinous from bandits left House Asbury without a male heir for the first time in the short history of the holding. Aluna Greensward, a strong-minded Warden of Ehlonna returned to Asbury Manor to assume the duties of the holding.

    The marriage of Kyllan Aldowayne Treguard to Lady Aluna Greensward of Asbury surprised many. Kyllan, an untitled adventurer rumored to be from Dyvers, took the family name of his bride in the wedding held at Asbury Manor. Kyllan was guided by the advice of Armount Andalarian, his longtime adventuring companion. Lady Aluna gave birth to Elinor Treguard Andalarian Greensward of Asbury (the current Baroness).

    Armount was appointed Elinor’s tutor before she was able to walk. As the Temple of Elemental Evil’s hordes descended upon Asbury Manor, Sir Kyllan entrusted Elinor’s safety to Armount’s care. Armount protested, but knew that with Mistress Elinor alive, the Asbury family could recover. With the majority of the Asbury landsmen and guard, Armount evacuated to Verbobonc City. Sir Kyllan, Lady Aluna, and twelve of Asbury’s finest guard stood vigil at Whistler’s Bridge in the village of Canyonford. The battle of Whistler’s Bridge was brief and costly. All that stood on that battleground died to give Armount and the others time to reach safety behind the massing troops that were soon to meet the hordes at Emridy Meadows under the banner of His Noble Lordship Wilfrick.

    Armount, mindful of his duties, attended personally to Elinor’s education, respectfully declining offers of assistance from His Holiness Bishop Haufren of St. Cuthbert and His Most Honorable Sir Alerick Milinous. Armount felt that Elinor must remain at Asbury Manor to learn as much from her people as from his tutelage. Elinor grew up working alongside the farmers, herdsmen, and craftsmen of her holding, learning their hearts and earning their love. Armount tutored Elinor in history, music, and statecraft. She excelled in the arts of diplomacy and politics while keeping an ever-watchful eye on the faithful people of Asbury Manor. Elinor loved the arts and sponsored many bards and performers with only a single favor asked in return, that being to teach her something new or unique, share a story of legend or gift her peoples with a performance.

    The young mistress of Asbury with honey colored hair grew into a beautiful child blessed with compassion, knowledge, and the heart of Verbobonc. The stateswoman that captured the hearts of so many is now Baroness Elinor Treguard Asbury, Mistress of House Asbury. Of course, the title is more honorific, as the family barely has any land remaining. Armount still stands by her side as a quiet source of strength. His teachings have led Baroness Elinor to the forefront of Verbobonc’s nobility while his attention to her safety has provided Asbury Manor with a legacy.

    Lord Milinous doesn't speak so much about his own family. He leaves it enough that his family has had title to the lands between Etterboek and Hommlet since the days of the Aerdy occupation. They are one of the eldest noble lineages in the Viscounty, and they make much of their money from tax revenue on all the trade along the High Road between the Greenway Valley and Verbobonc. The Lady of Etterboek (Hepla's friend) and her father are vassals of Lord Milinous, thus the spider farm falls under his domains.

    Hepla is wowed by the story and sits quietly listening to it. She feels sad the the baroness has lost most of her lands but knows of no way to help her. When all is done she will ask her if there is anything she can do to help her , the baroness', situation.

    "Well, it's better you end up with this land," says Lord Milinous, "better than Lord Galens taking it, or, Gods forbid, Lord Deleveu."

    "Would it have been likely that they would have gotten this land?" asks Hepla. "Are they still trying to get it? Would they try to take it by force or guile?"

    "Lord Galens coveted the land," says Sir Milinous, "because he coveted Lady Asbury."

    She shudders at the thought. "Don't misunderstand," she says. "He's a good man, but I do not love him." She looks at Sir Milinous, and it's clear who she loves.

    "Yes, well, then there is Sir Deleveu," he adds, steering the conversation back. "He is far too independent, barely even beholden to the Viscount. Fact is, his loyalties are every bit as much to Celene and the Gnarley as they are to the Viscount."

    "I am not sure what to make of my neighbors yet," replies Berenn, "but I will be sure to keep them close. Especially, Sir Deleveu, who I plan to visit on my way to Celene. If there is anything I can do to be of service in the mean time, please do not hesistate to ask."

    She smiles, "I understand," she says. "The same goes for you, Sir Berenn. It has been decades since an honorable man rules these lands. That is long overdue. I wish you success and good fortune," she adds, "and a long life with many sons." She seems a bit sad when she says that last part, but before anyone can say anything, she and Lord Milinous get up and take their leave. The thank everyone, and then head upstairs.

    Everyone else departs as well, leaving just you guys. Elrae spends some time discussing filial matters with his in-laws, and why their daughter stayed behind in Verbobonc. They are impressed by his buying the theater, and are pleased that their daughter sounds so happy. Berenn gets up and bows as they leave. He will find is own room at the inn and stay the night and makes sure he is up before the Lord and Baroness in the morning.

    Starday, 22 Harvester (581)
    You wake up to another beautiful summer day. You smell eggs and bacon cooking downstairs. Everyone is there, but unless there is more role-playing to do with them, The Baroness and Lord Milinous will leave, returning to their estates. I can then fast forward again. Berenn will properly see them off and return to Warden's Station. After that, he will fly to Nulb and check up on the refugees and his detachment there. He finds everything in order.

    Emyn also returns from his time in Nulb. He seems oddly quiet compared to normal and not himself.

    "What? Cat's got your tongue?" jokes Elrae.

    "Sorry, Elrae, I have had much to think on these past several weeks. I let my greed get the better of me, and I've been doing penance for it. I guess it gave me a better understanding of how people who have lost so much are stasified with so little. Meanwhile, I had much more than they did and thought I had nothing. It makes you think."

    Meanwhile, Isilme spends some time with Lyseious. She is very interested in the Potion of Etherealness which she consumed in the Pomarj, and has had him looking into it. Unfortunately, he's had no luck with it at all. He recommends having a sage do some more research. Isilme nods, the uses her mirror to travel to Verbobonc. There she visits with the Viscount, who informs her that he is planning to travel out there in a few weeks. He will certainly stop by this new church of hers. He's already heard of the remarkable trees.

    Isilme offers to return here and ride as personal guard with his contingent. "Will the high priest of Tritherion or Arch Bishop of Berenns church be joining us as well?"

    "I will extend an invitation to them, officially," he says, "but he cannot say if they will come."

    After taking care of some more personal details, Isilme returns to her abode in Hommlet.

    [DM OOC: Fast forwarding again....]

    Freeday, 28th Harvester (581)
    You have spent a few more weeks, and all has been quiet. The weather has stayed nice, though it's beginning to cool off a bit. Today is a holy day of Trithereon, and Emyn spends the day by working extra hard for the people of Nulb. Much building has begun, and he has been quite busy helping the people. In fact, he has gained a good dozen converts to Trithereon. Well, not exactly converts, as all of you believe in all of the gods. Remember, you're polytheists! However, about a dozen have taken to Trithereon as their prefered deity. They have even helped Emyn to build a small shrine along the river.

    Tomorrow is the 1st of Brewfest. Also called Drunken Days or the Feast of Brewers, Brewfest, the fourth festival week of Oerth's calendar, is a rowdy period unsurprisingly claimed as a holy time by the churches of Olidammara and Wenta. The Free City of Greyhawk does not celebrate the entire week, but Brewfest 1 and Brewfest 7 are both set aside as public holidays. In Elmshire, the week is spent in restful, carefree music, drinking, and dancing. In Hardby it is spent with fistfights, riots, and ensuing hangovers. In Narwell it is celebrated with ale-brewing contests, horse races, beatings, and robbery. In Safeton it is celebrated with nervous violence and nightly orc hunts. The week is also sacred to the Old Faith.

    The people of Nulb, all of whom have worked extra hard this past month, could certainly use such a festival.....

    "All right Brewfest, my favorite holiday of the year," says Elrae. "There is a brewer in Hommlet; lets see if he has anything to spare for poor sods in Nulb."

    He is preparing for the festival in Hommlet; however, Elrae now has some excellent connections in Verbobonc. He helps to arrange for a large caravan of food and drink from the city. It is due to arrive today, and is late.

    Berenn has everything ready, with huge pavilions set up. There will be drinking and dancing. Emyn wanted to do a jousting tournament, but nobody else knows how. However, Rufus comes from Hommlet, and he can joust. So one of the highlights will be jousting on the last day of the festival. There is also an archery tournament, and the boys from Hommlet show up, along with a couple of the woodsmen who also look to try their hands. Otis and Elmo both show up as well. The archery tournament promises to be quite fun. The evening before the start of the tournament, everyone goes to Nulb. Thorgrim sets up the fortress there, to provide a place for the party to sleep in relative comfort. While all the preparations are going on, a handful of riders approach from the road to Hommlet. They are Mounted Borderers.

    The leader of the men hails you. "I am Ryiis el Lendreer, Knight Bannerette of the Mounted Borderers, Commanding Officer of the High Guard of the Viscount."

    Ryiis el Lendreer, CO of the High Guard of the Viscount

    Hepla will come out and great them also. "Is there something amiss, something we can do for you, or are you here to join our celebration, Sir Ryiis? I am Lady Hepla."

    "Greetings, Sir Ryiis," says Emyn. "I am Emyn Frel and Avenger of Trithereon and friend of Sir Berenn Silverwood, the Lord of these lands. How fare you and your men, how fare the lands? "

    "Well met," he replies. "That is what we are here to discover," he adds. "Please lead us to Sir Berenn, and prepare for the arrival of his Lorship, Viscount Wilfrick."

    Hepla claps her hands and giggles then says, "Oh goody, is his daughte traveling with him? When will he arrive? How long will he be staying? Where will he be staying? I guess some of those answers Lord Berenn will need to answer. You bring great news, Thank you." She suddenly turns quite refined and says, "Sir Ryiis, I believe his lordship is this way. " She will offer to lead them with Emyn.

    Emyn escorts the mounted party to Berenn. When they arrive, he will say, "My Lord Silverwood, I am pleased to present Sir Ryiis of the Mounted Borderers who has made haste unto thee, the greatest knight on life, to prepare for the arrival of his esteemed Lordship, the Viscount Wilfrick!"

    The Mounted Borderers look at each other ,and you catch a few smiles, which they quickly hide behind more stern visages.

    "Lead the way," says Sir Ryiis.

    You pass through the town, and they note the tents, pavilions, etc., all set up for the Brewfest festival.

    "You have spared no expense," says Sir Ryiis, once they are taken to see Sir Berenn.

    Once Emyn has presented them Hepla will stand there with them, her arm in Emyn's and say,"May we stay mi lords or is this private." Star walks out of a pavillion and sits at her feet. "...giggle... Her too."

    You are out in the middle of the area which was once the town, but has been cleared away. Large piles of rubble and such are off to the edges of town, where the material can be reused in the rebuilding. Tents surround the area, as well as a large pavilion for Berenn. Thorgrim's fortress is set up next to it, and it is well-stocked with furniture and such to make the festival time comfortable. I assume all the party is staying in the fortress, except for Berenn.

    Sir Ryiis looks Hepla, "That is not for me to say, My Lady. We are simply here to inform Lord Berenn that His Lordship will be arriving shortly."

    Berenn is working on the details of the festival and was not expecting a visit from the Viscount nor his private guard. He recognizes the Mounted Borderers upon their approach and temporarily stops his planning to greet the Viscount's men. "I am Sir Berenn Silverwood Knight Commander of the Watchlands and I bid you welcome. The Viscount couldn't have picked a better day for a visit."

    After properly greeting the Borderers, Berenn will excuse himself so he quickly clean up for the Viscount's arrival. He also orders Elmo to get the men information for the Viscount's arrival.

    [Berenn OOC: Glad we decided to throw this party! I think I just avoided some embarrassment! Somebody should make sure Sir Rufus has filled out a will if he is going to joust Emyn! LOL! I think Hommlet is going to need a new Lord!]

    "Then we will stay unles Lord Berenn wishes us to leave," says Hepla. She counts the number of troops and looks to see if any are woman or other then human.

    Emyn says, "Hepla, my beloved and betrothed, is indeed a wondrous woman, is she not. She has such deep caring for the world and you should see her when she transforms into a dragon to drive off enemies. She is the shade of my heart and I would invoke a Pursuit of Vengeance on those who might try to do her ill." He says the last part loud enough so the rest of the man's men can hear it.

    "Tell me, Sir Ryiis, did you by chance enounter a caravan of goods coming this way from Verbobonc? It is a touch late and we hope that this will not impact on the celebration."

    Hepla says, "Remember dear, you are joisting, perhaps some of these fine knights and soldiers would likke to compete. Just don't hurt them too bad." She said this loud enough for all to hear. Then she says to them, "I know nothing of that type of fighting...giggle... so I can't invite you, but who knows if others might not invite you. Sir Emyn here (she kisses his cheek) will carry my favors but there are other fine ladies here. And did anyone see the supply wagons?"

    "Yes, the supply wagons are with the the Viscount's entourage," he says. "They should be here within the hour. As for the tournament, I would be honored to compete. There a few more knights with the Viscount, ,who may also join the fun. We shall see."

    Emyn says, "You and your knights are very much welcome, Sir Ryiis. I look forward to seeing all of you on the lists."

    Berenn returns a short time later cleaned up and properly attired. "Sir Ryiis it has been a long ride, if there is anything I can offer you or your men, by all means."

    Isilme will arrive as part of the viscounts contingent, having offered to ride as guard for the viscount and high priests of the churches should they visit our region. Knowing they were coming, she would ask Lareth to join the party and be in Nulb to greet everyone. Lareth, however, chooses to remain back at Hommlet. He has...issues. High Priest Arx did not make the trip. I will give a good list of those in attendance, though it's not really a big list. Most of the nobles have long since returned to their own lands.

    Elrae tries to enter the archery contest using his crossbow, but he finds that he is denied. They don't let crossbowmen join archery contests. "Anyone can shoot a crossbow," they say. "Only one with true skill can use a bow." However, he can use his other bardic abilities to great effect during the festival. Of course Elrae will entertain the crowds with songs and tales, he just wanted to prove that there is more to him than meets the eye. Meanwhile, most of the other warriors in the group join the contest.

    The Viscount arrives in about an hour. He actually has a very small retinue. Just himself, his daughter, and one of his sons, whom you have never meet. Prince Jon, first born of the Viscount and heir to the Viscounty.

    Prince Jon

    Also in the group are about a dozen servants. Lady Asbury and Sir Milinous are also with them. There are another 6 Mounted Borderers, for a total of 12. One of the other is a Knight Bachelor, Sir Freys.

    Sir Freys

    Finally, there is one other notable, whom you have not met. He is Sir Denton Vaswell.

    Sir Denton Vaswell

    Isilme makes an imposing figure as his guard. Floating above and completely decked out in dark green dragon hide from head to toe, including her face mask. She ensures no one approaches without permission ...or tries at great peril to their lives. While the men in the Viscount's entourage all look up at the floating figure with a clear sense of unease, even worry, Lady Alysia waves quite flamboyantly shouting, "Oh, hello Isilme!" completely breaking the forbidding spell.

    [DM OOC: Thorgrim kicks everyone out of the fortress, so that the Viscount can stay there. Everyone else can sleep in the tents set up outside. Of course, Isilme can cast a Leomund's Shelter spell, and take care of the party too. Anyway, that's the evening. Unless there is anything that you all have to role-play, we can move forward.]

    Starday, 1st of Brewfest (581)

    You awake the next day to a very comfortable morning. It's about 60, with a slight breeze, and no clouds. People are setting up for the festival. The Viscount and the other nobles (except the women) go on a tour of the fief with Berenn, and anyone who wishes to go with them. Obviously, half of the mounted borderers go with them, while half stay at Nulb with the women.

    Berenn will greet the Viscount and his party when the arrive (paying a little extra attention to Lady Elysia) and mentioning it is good to see Lady Asbury and Sir Milinous again so soon. Berenn will see all his guests are comfortable and ask the Viscount what he would like to see during his visit.

    When Berenn has a moment he will find Noot and pull him aside and whisper, "None of your mischief while the Viscount is here or I will personally lock you my dungeon and misplace the key!"

    Noot just smiles.....

    You'll be gone pretty much all day showing the Viscount around. He did not come here for the Battle of Nulb, when the Temple's armies were finally destroyed. He'd also like to see the temple's grounds. Then he wants to take a tour around the area, probably just up a few hilltops, so you can point out the extent of the fiefdom which he granted. Warder's Station is nearly a day's ride away, almost to Hommlet, so you'll have to go there another day. Berenn would know the best hilltops to get the view of the fiefdom. The temple grounds (or what is left of them) should be able to be included on the same day as the tour of the fiefdom. The following day we can head to Warden's Station and he can inspect the fortification.

    Moonday, 3rd Brewfest
    The second day of the festival is mostly just gettting drunk! Everyone really downs a lot of brew! On the third day, there will be the archery contest. Here's who's in: Rakk, Altan, two of the mounted borderers, Elmo, the three boys from Hommlet, and two men from Hommlet.

    The contest finally starts. Two men from nulb also join. So, you have two men from Nulb (Jank, the river pirate you saved from the Water Node, and a farmer named Logan Stout), two from Hommlet (Mytch Miller, and the grizzled herdsman Black Jay), the three boys Altan was teaching (Ailgrimsey, Annat, and Dymir), Elmo, two mounted borderers (Gerrell and Brule), and Rakk and Altan.

    The standard round archery target is 4’ in diameter with its center pinhole set 4’ above the ground. The target is tilted slightly toward the sky and divided into five concentric circles, including the gold center “bull’s-eye.” The circles are colored (in order outward) gold, red, blue, black, and white. Points are scored for striking each of the target circles. From the outer white to the inner gold, the point values are 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 points, with 15 for a bull's-eye. [BTW, this comes from an old Dragon Magazine article "On Target" from Dragon #118.]

    Archery Contest
    The first round is fired at from 50 yards. After drawing lots, you each fire in order. Top 5 advance to second round.

    Mytch Miller takes the first shot with his shortbow. He hits the white outer circle (1 point). Altan is second. He uses his Great Bow, as he feels Khürkh-Onokh (his Longbow of Heartseeking) would be cheating. He hits the Red Circle (7 points). He frowns and looks at his bow. Elmo is third. He steps up and Altan can smell the ale on him. Seems he has been hitting the booze early! He has a longbow, pulls the string back, sights, and lets fly. He too hits the Red Circle (7 points). He smiles at Altan after his shot, then walks over and calls for another ale! Brule is next. He has a shortbow, which he fires with no delay. His arrow streaks into the Gold circle (9 points!). He walks back and stands next to Gerrell, who claps him on the back. Ailgrimsey steps up next, his younger brothers cheering him on. He fires his shortbow at the target, hitting the white outer circle (1 point). They laugh as he frowns and walks back. Black Jay is up next. He has a longbow of elvish make. He steps up and fires an arrow which streaks into the Bullseye (15 points!). People shout and cheer, but the grizzled herdsman just calmly walks away, not even making eye contact. Logan Stout steps up next, also with a longbow. He fires and hits the Blue Circle (5 Points). Next is Jank, who has a short bow. He fires and hits the Black (3 Points). He shrugs, then goes over to Elrae, talking about the Nodes. Next is Annat, the middle of the three brothers. He fires his shortbow, missing altogether! Everyone laughs, and his brothers point at him, the older grabbing him and giving him knucks on the top of his head! Next is the youngest brother, Dymir. He looks nervous now, and the crowd laughs already at the young boy. He steadies and fires, hitting the Red Circle (7 Points!). The crowd gives a tremendous cheer, and he walks back proudly, grinning from ear to ear. Altan gives him a respectful nod. Rakk is up next. He takes out his bow, a huge Voadkyn longbow. Most have never seen a bow so large! He draws an arrow longer than most mens arms, aims, and fires. He hits the Gold Inner Circle (9 Points!), his great arrow going all the way through the target! A chorus of "ohs and ahs" come from the crowd. Last to go is Gerrell, who also has a longbow. He looks up at Rakk as they pass each other, seeming a bit intimidated. When he stands up, his hand shakes a bit. He fires and only hits the Blue Circle (5 Points)

    The top five are Black Jay (who hit the bulls-eye), Rakk, Dymir, Brule, and Elmo and Altan (who both tie for the last spot with their Red Circle shots!) So, 6 move on to the next round.

    For the second round, the targets are moved back 25 yards. The archers draw lots for order. Top three move on. First to shoot is Rakk. He hits the Red Circle (7 Points).
    Next is Brule. He steps up and hits the Black Circle (3 Points). Altan is next. He hits the Gold Circle (9 Points) eliciting a cheer from the people. Black Jay is next, and he also hits the Gold Circle (9 Points). The cheers continue, and again, he ignores the crowd and just walks off. Elmo is next. He puts down his ale, moves up, and fires his bow, hitting the Red Circle (7 points). He smiles, doffs his cap, and waves to the crowd as he goes back and takes up his ale again. Last to go is the young boy, Dymir. He seems a bit more nervous this time, his hand shaking a bit. He steadies and fires, hitting the Gold Circle (9 Points!). The crowd goes wild as the young boy moves on to the final round!

    For the third round, the targets are moved back another 25 yards. They are now 100 yards away. Nearly everyone at the festival now appears, as the contest is drawing to a close. Though many expected Altan to be the favorite, Black Jay is now the one to beat. However, the crowd favorite is Dymir, the boy from Hommlet.

    "See how these peasant curs cheer their fellows?" says Jon to his father. "Yet they are all just peasants." The Viscount gives him a foul stare, before turning back to the contest.

    Altan steps up to the mark, eyeing the target. He licks his fingers and holds them up, feeling the light breeze, calculating. He then draws another arrow, takes careful aim, then lets fly. The arrow streaks across the yard, burying itself half deep in the gold ring (9 Points!) The crowd goes wild at the shot, and Altan walks back. Black Jay doesn't look at him as he steps up, knocks an arrow, and looses it, even before Altan can turn around to watch. It flies towards the target, hitting the gold ring as well (9 Points). Dymir seems a bit downcast after seeing the two shots. He steps up and his nervousness is clear to everyone. He takes a long time, and when he fires he misses the target completely! The crowd seems very disappointed, but everyone then cheers for the young boy, who outshot many a man and a giant besides!

    Prince Jon laughs now. "Well, good to see one peasant thrown back in his place."

    The Viscount shakes his head. "If it weren't for men like them," he says, "you wouldn't be here. It was men like them that held the line at Emridy Meadows. It was men like him that drove the evil back into the swamps and beyond. It was men like them," and he slams his fist down in frustration, spilling his wine, "that saved my life!" He stands. "You are a spoiled, ungrateful, and spiteful man," he says, his voice rising. Everyone pretty much stops what they are doing and watches the spectacle. "That BOY there has more courage in his heart, than you will ever know!" he says, pointing to Dymir.

    Jon rises to protest, but is cut short by his father. "SIT DOWN!" yells the Viscount! As Jon sits, his face showing a shocked anger, the Viscount calls for Sir Ryiis. "Go and fetch my son's bow and quiver," he orders. The prince looks uncertain, as he sits and waits. When Sir Ryiss returns, he hands the beautiful longbow and quiver out for the Viscount.

    "No, give it my son," he says.

    "You want me to abase myself," he says, standing to take the bow and quiver, "and shoot with this rabble?"

    The Viscount laughs. "That would never do," he said. "That would reflect poorly on me. No, you will give your bow to the young lad there," and he points to Dymir. "He deserves it far more than you. The quiver will go to the winner of the contest."

    "But father," Jon protests.

    "Not another word," says the Viscount, ending all discussion and sitting back down. He waves his hand, signalling to Jon to go. Jon turns and walks sulkingly out to where Dymir stands. He thrusts the bow and quiver into his hands, whispering something that nobody hears. Dymir's face goes white and he swallows. Jon then turns and stalks off, two mounted borderers following with him.

    The Viscount then claps. "Come on boys," he yells. "Let's finish this!"

    Rakk strides out to Dymir,"You've done well with your lessons, man! Congratulations."
    In a quiet whisper,"What did he say? You've done nothing wrong and I'll help you as best I can."

    He watches Jon walk away towards the tower. As soon as he's out of sight, he says, "He told me I should enjoy the bow, while I have it. Then I'd soon wish I never saw it."

    "Well, lad, I could use a new squire. Or I'm sure Atlan could use some help with his horses."

    He looks around, first to Atlan, who taught him the bow, then to Rakk, and finally Hepla. He seems to stand a bit taller, knowing he has some powerful friends behind him. "I'll think on it, Sir," he says. Then everyone stands back to watch the end of the match.

    When Thorgrim sees the spectacle, he grunts. "Ah, the vanity of the rich..." he mutters to himself. "'Tis proof before our eyes that nobility lies in the heart, and not in the blood." He then quaffs some more ale, and belches loudly.

    For the final round, only one target is used. It is moved back up to 50 yards. Each archer gets three shots, alternating. Black Jay and Altan both stand up together, about 10' apart. They look at each other and nod. Black Jay takes the first shot, hitting only the White (1 Point). He curses, and watches Altan shoot. Altan fires his shot, and only hits the Red (7 Points). On his second shot, Black Jay hits the target nearly dead center. Bullseye (15 Points!) He exhales, and Altan can see he was nervous. Altan takes careful aim, and fires his second arrow. It streaks into the target, just missing the bullseye and hitting the Outer Gold (9 Points!)

    With one shot left, both are tied at 16 Points.

    Black Jay takes his final shot, hitting the Bullseye again (15 Points!). Altan must get a bullseye to tie! He takes careful aim and launches his last arrow. It brushes against Black Jay's arrow, burying itself in the bullseye as well (15 Points!) and they are tied!

    The crowd cheers at the most excellent archery of the two. They shake hands, then look to Berenn for judgement. Will it end in a tie, or shall they have a tie-breaking competition? The crowd calls for more, while the two archers stand there silently. Lady Elysia claps, and seems to be quite enjoying the action. If anything, it has taken her mind off her brother's actions.

    "They are both excellent," says Hepla. "I wonder where Black Jay got his training, perhaps he has had to hunt for food for his family often. He could be ex-military but with that skill he should have been an officer." Hepla muses. Berenn knows only that the grizzled man kept to himself back in town. His cottage was near the Church. He had a family, but they apparently died years ago.

    Berenn stands, raises his hands and quiets the crowd. "I don't think anyone here would disagree that both men have distinguished themselves today. At the same time, true competitors would not settle for a tie and I am sure everyone would enjoy seeing a further demonstration of their skill with a bow. The competition will continue! Gentlemen, if you please, three more arrows a piece and may the best archer win!"

    "Huzzah! What a great contest!" Cries Elrae as he wipes away some foam and orders another beer.

    The two archers nod, and they continue their contest. This time Altan fires first. His arrow streaks unerringly into the center bullseye (15 points!) The crowd cheers, as he watches. Black Jay takes steady aim, and fires his first shot. It too hits the Bullseye (15 Points!) The crowd is totally liking the show now, and Berenn hears Lady Elysia quite enjoying the display.

    Altan fires his second shot, again hitting the Bullseye (15 Points!). This if followed by Black Jay, who barely catches the Bullseye with his (15 Points!).

    The crowd is going wild at this point, as they are clearly watching two masters of their craft. The Viscount stands up, arms upraised to quiet the crowd. "It would seem we could be here all festival long," he shouts. "These two men are so evenly matched, and so skilled, that they are like mirror images." He looks to Berenn, "If I may suggest, let them shoot at something more appropriate to men of their ability?"

    "It appears this contest may continue on past the end of this festival," agrees Berenn. "I would appreciate any suggestion which may add an extra element to this competition Sire."

    The Viscount gets up from his seat and walks over to a short, stubby tree. He pulls a short, thin branch from it, carrying it back to the target. He then sticks it into the top, while propping up a couple of targets behind it, to catch errant arrows. He then shouts to the crowd, "The first one to hit the wand wins!"

    The two archers look at each other, then smile, while the crowd applauds ever louder.

    "Thank you for the suggestion Sire," says Berenn. "This should be a true test of their marksmanship."

    Black Jay takes the first shot, which brushes against the branch, but does not break it. The crowd "oo's" then a hush falls over them as Altan prepares to fire. A slight breeze picks up, and he stops, bends down to pick up some dry grasses, and tosses them in the air. He then takes careful aim, as time seems to stand still...... He fires, and the arrow flies straight and true, breaking right through the center of the branch before thudding into the stacked targets behind it. The branch falls to the ground, as everyone goes crazy. A good dozen people rush out to clap him on the shoulder, and a few do the same for Black Jay.

    Berenn allows the crowd to congratulate their champion before standing and asking for quiet. "An excellent competition and I would like to thank all the participants, but one archer did distinguish himself ... if ever so slightly ... above the rest. So I ask Altan to come forward and accept his reward of 500 gp. But I would not see Black Jay walk away empty handed after his brilliant display today so I would like to come forward, accept our appreciation and 300 gp for the demonstration of skill he displayed today."

    Altan will graciously accept the 500 gold and thank everyone for organizing the contest.
    He will compliment Black Jay for his fine shooting and asks him where he learned to shoot. Black Jay brightens up, and you see perhaps the first actual smile cross his face. He thanks Berenn and nods to the Viscount, before backing up and letting Altan receive his prize and the accolades. Dymir also approaches, on the wave from the Viscount. He hands the quiver to Altan. Within it are a dozen elvish arrows (all +2). Altan is obviously impressed with the arrows bows and thanks the Viscount.

    Emyn congratulates both men and then heads off to follow the Viscount's son to see what he might get up to. He finds that he already rode out of town with the two mounted borderers. And with that, the archery is done. Black Jay accepts the accolades, but doesn't seem happy about it. He can't wait to get away from people, and Hepla catches him as he is heading for his tent. He looks at her sadly. "I was an adventurer myself, once," he says. He stares at her for a moment, then without saying more turns around and enters his tent.

    A small halfling, dressed nattily in black and white leathers and silks steps out of the shadows, applauding wildly.

    "Bravo! Bravo! That was some shooting, eh? Sorry I missed the start! What were he odds on the nomad? I would have placed my silver on him. He looks like he could shoot the eye out of a stirge at a hundred paces! Kuroth's Eye, I love a good competition!"

    Bowing low to the Viscount with a flourish, Fred nods to the rest of the spectators and participants.

    "A merrrrry Brewfest to you all! If I might be so bold, Your Noble Lordship, I am Franz Odomar Bellwhistle, late of the Shield Lands."

    Bowing once again to the Viscount, with a gold-tooth sparkling in his smile and a happy twinkle in his eye,

    "I wonder if there might be more competitions this holiday season? Perhaps a draughts tourney? Axe-throwing for our good woodsmen? I do so love games of skill!"

    [Welcome to a new party member!]

    "What business do you have in the Watchlands Master Bellwhistle?" asks Berenn. "You are a long way from the Shield Lands." Berenn stands up and takes a somewhat defensive stance not knowing exactly what to expect from the sudden appearance of the outsider. He also makes a motion to his men to be at the ready.

    Using his best Upper Middle Class/Shield Lands accent (Fast Talking +4), the Halfling flashes his most winning smile and nods to his questioner. "The kind Sisters of Mercy of Zodal (may his boundless benificence ever bless the battered!) healed me after a terrible accident. May their temple be forever blessed! Never trust a drunken ox team, let me warn you! Especially not when their drover is just as drunk! Marvellous, the hospitality of the Viscounty! And what a place to enjoy Brewfest, now that my health is again robust! The smiling faces! The busy streets! Everything so clean and organized and prosperous! Of course, the leadership of such a place shows, don't you think? It shows a fine mind and a noble soul behind such a thriving and happy place! As to my business, old bean? It's just that! Business! Opportunities and innovations! The perennial question: 'What can I do for you? and what can you do for me?' Today it could be ancient Suel scrolls on history, tomorrow perhaps the fine wines of Celene! It pays to keep a weather eye on the business horizon, don't you think?"

    "Old bean?!", Berenn seems slightly ruffled by the indignified reference, but quickly regains his composure. "Perhaps you should know who you are addressing ... I am Sir Berenn Silverwood, Knight Commander of the Watchlands and 1st Warden of these lands. There is no business being conducted during this festival and at the present time if you intent to stay ... it would do you well not to cause any mischief. You would suddenly find me a VERY unhospitable host."

    Hepla says to the hobbit, "Hi, I am Hepla, did you know Derry, he was a hobbit friend of mine." Hepla is 4'8" and dressed like a witch but in orange.

    "A thousand greetings to you, Sir Berenn Silverwood, Knight Commander of the Marchlands and First Warden of the Watchmen! May the gods keep you ever-watchful! A devotee of the noble Aznarender? The gods preserve his 36 Precepts! I am honored to make your noble acquaintance, sir! I accept your kind offer of hospitality with humility and thanks."

    The Halfling bows ever lower, with a most dramatic flourish. Turning to Lady Hepla, he shields his eyes and mock-staggers, "I have had not a tipple yet this day, but I fear I am seeing visions! A vision of loveliness before me! Milady, your servant! I've known several Derrys in my day - it's a rather common hobniz name, y'see. But if he was a friend of yours, he must have been a most fortunate lad indeed."

    Reaching out for Lady Hepla's hand, he kisses it gently, looking up into her eyes with a grin. "My friends call me Flick, milady."

    Turning, again, he faces Elrae with a broader grin. "I'd never say no to such a kind offer, sir! Perhaps a stout for this Stout? Tell me, when do things liven up around here? This is Brewfest, and I've yet to see any "frivolity" if ya know what I mean..."

    Walking with Elrae, Fred looks over his shoulder to Sir Berenn and Lady Hepla and calls,

    "Your Lordship? Milady? A canarble for you?"

    Berenn slowly shakes his head, but manages a small smile before returning to the Viscount and Lady Elysia.

    [DM OOC: Fast forwarding to the next day.]

    Waterday, 5 Brewfest (581)
    You all awake to another fine day, though there's a bit of a breeze, about 10mph. The joust starts in the morning. Contestants are: Emyn, Sir Ryiis, Sir Freys, and Sir Denton Vaswell. Sir Ryiss and Sir Freys will joust first, followed by Emyn and Sir Denton Vaswell.

    Sir Denton objects, because Emyn has no official Knighthood, despite his status as a Guardian. However, Lady Elysia brings up that he is the Knight-Defender of the Order of the Cat, established last year. The Viscount agrees, and Sir Denton's honor is mollified.

    Sir Ryiss and Sir Freys squared off, and with a quick salute, they charged towards each other along the tilt. Sir Ryiss and Sir Freys both scored hits, shearing their lances on the first pass. They each took up another lance (you only get three), and after a short pause and another salute, they charged again. This time, Sir Ryiss broke his lance, while Sir Freys scored only a glancing blow.

    "Good shot sir," he called back as Sir Ryiss took another lance. Leading 2 lances to 1, he had a distinct advantage. With the third and final pass, Both sheared their lances, though neither was unhorsed. Sir Ryiss was declared the winner, 3 lances to 2. They rode to the center and clasped arms, and Sir Freys bowed in the saddle to his superior.

    It was now Emyn and Sir Denton's turn.

    Vaddara cheers loudly for Emyn, then quiets herself and waits for Emyn's break of the lance.

    "Sir Denton! Make a good showing!" shouts Thorgrim. When Hepla looks at him, he shrugs. "Emyn already has enough supporters," he mutters.

    Berenn says a silent prayer to St. Cuthbert asking that Emyn not run Sir Denton through.

    Fred goes about the stands, through the crowd, seeking whomever is making book on the jousts. He's very interested in who's the odds-on favorite. He keeps an eye on that Sir Berenn Silverthingie fellow - if he's in the lists, Fred bets 10 gold on him to win, whatever the odds. The black-and -white clad Halfling wears his best beret today, enjoys a pint of bitters and smiles contentedly. A day of watching noblemen knock the crap out of each other is entertainment he'd pay to see!

    Fred notices that his new acquaintances seem to be watching this Emyn fellow closely, and asks his fellow spectators if they know of him and whether he's any good at this jousting stuff. They just smile.....

    Elrae starts to sing:

    In the very month of May from near and far away,
    The ladies and the noble knights make this a special day.
    Come and see the sport of kings, of gallant offerings.
    We try to knock one off his horse, then everybody sings!

    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, every knight can play!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, on this jousting day!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, racing to and fro!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, a jousting we will…we will go!

    Every lord so brave and strong, they battle all day long.
    The horses set a might pace; we sing a jousting song!
    Every knight will have a chance to fight with sword and lance.
    And when the victory is won, we’ll do a jousting dance!

    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, every knight can play!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, on this jousting day!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, racing to and fro!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, a jousting we will…we will go!

    Hey! Ho! Hey!
    Jousting we will go!
    Hey! Ho! Hey!
    Jousting we will go!

    Everyone so bright and brave not a one a lowly knave.
    The squire dreams of that fine day when he’s old enough to shave!

    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, every knight can play!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, on this jousting day!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, racing to and fro!
    With a hey and a ho and a nah-nee no, a jousting we will
    …We will
    …We will
    …we will go!


    There is wild applause for the bard, and Fred claps his hands happily. "Bravo! Bravo! I loooooove a good song!" Fred raises his mug to Elrae. "He makes noble-smashing-noble sound soooo romantic! Ooh, they'd love you at the Free City Arena, sirrah!"

    Meanwhile, the two knights thunder towards each other, their great steeds shaking the very ground. Emyn fails to break his lance on Sir Denton, while he is knocked hard by Sir Denton, nearly falling from his saddle. He barely holds onto the pommel, as he reigns in his mount.

    Hepla gasps, Star sits up and watches.

    "Yikes!" says Fred.

    Emyn will congratulate Sir Denton on the solid hit and then ready for the second charge. On your second pass, you both score solid hits, breaking lances. Score is 2 to 1 for Sir Denton. The crowd appreciates the solid blows, and Sir Denton waves to them as he takes another lance. He salutes Emyn, lowers his lance, and prepares to charge.

    The crowd roars as Elrae leads them in a cheer. On the third pass, both break lances, but neither is thrown. Sir Denton wins, 3 lances to 2! In the end, he ends up defeating Sir Ryiis as well, 3 lances to 2, and he wins the jousting!

    "Good show!" Thorgrim roars. "Ah, would that I had bet, as I was inclined to do."

    Hepla is a little sad but mostly glad no one was hurt. She congratulates the winner and complements the others. Emyn gets a kiss.

    Emyn congratulates Sir Denton and Sir Ryiis and complements them on their skill with the lance. "I do hope that I might learn from this experience, my lords, for of all my martial skills, the use of the lance is indeed my weakest. Perhaps we might exchange knowledge at your convenience. I can offer my skill with the bastard sword in trade."

    The inn is rebuilt already, and you retire there for the evening, enjoying feasting and drinking, and excellent music. Nirifel and Elrae sing together, while the rest of you just relax. The Viscount retires to bed early, though the other nobles stay up late, enjoying the festivities. In the morning they will all depart, heading for Hommlet. Viscount Wilfrick wants to see how the new castle is coming along, and Lady Elysia would like to visit Isilme's wondrous grove. She has heard that it rivals anything anyone has ever seen.

    Berenn makes his presentation to Sir Denton and gives him 1000 gp for winning the joust. During the evening festivities, Berenn spends his time with Lady Elysia, but takes some time to meet with the other members of the nobility. In the morning, he will properly see of the Viscount and the rest of the nobles off, thanking him for his visit. After that, he will seek out Black Jay.

    Altan wonders if the bow and quiver won at the contest are magical in any way perhaps someone can check. He goes to the three boys Ailgrimsey, Annat, and Dymir that he taught how to shoot and congratulates all three on a good showing and having the courage to enter the contest in the first place. He gives them each 10 gold to help with there further archery progress. He compliments Dymir on his fine showing. He takes Dymir aside and tells him not to worrie about the Vicount's son . But makes Dymir promise to tell him if he gets any threats or anything strange happens to him or his family. He tell the other two boys to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
    And lastly he will encourage the boys to keep practicing their archery and upgrade their equipement. If time permits tomorrow he will give the boys some advanced archery tip and watch them practice.

    [DM OOC: The bow is a +1 Bow, and the quiver contains 20 +1 arrows.]

    The boys all feel pretty good, especially Dymir. He just seems to be a natural. He tells Altan of Rakk's offer, and says that is considering it. They certainly will keep an eye out for Prince Jon. Black Jay is gone, having left right after the contest. Berenn goes to Hommlet and seeks out Black Jay. He wishes to discuss what happened to his family and if there is anything Berenn could do to help.

    Black Jay doesn't want to talk. He thanks you for the archery contest. He just wanted to see if he could still do it. Plus, he needed the money to save his farm, which hasn't been doing well. As for his family, he doesn't want to talk about them. Berenn asks him what is wrong with his farm. Perhaps there is something he can do to help.

    He looks at Berenn, "I don't need anyone's help," and then he continues walking down the road towards his farm.

    "Going it on your own hasn't served you very well. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help."

    "And there's nothing wrong with minding your own business either," he says, without turning around. He continues walking home.

    "Are you not a follower of St. Cuthbert? Bishop Davers has recently reminded me I have been neglecting my spiritual duties and all of St. Cuthbert's followers spirituality would be my business."

    He stops and looks back at Berenn. "I don't follow any of the gods," he says. "Cuthbert least of all. Now just leave me alone." He turns away and keeps going.

    "No matter what you think you have done to deserve this ... the people who cared about you would not want to see you suffer so. Your mood may also be indirectly effecting your farm."

    He spins around, storming back towards Berenn. "And what would you know of it?" he says. "You who have no cares in your little noble world. You who can go off and right wrongs, slay dragons, save the maidens. What do you have to lose? What harm do your adventures ever cause? You know nothing of the pain my road has inflicted, and still does!"

    "I was not born a noble," says Berenn, "just a son of a simple ranger and my latest adventure came at a great cost. During my battle with the great wyrm, it broke containment and he took his vengence on a gnome village. I helped buried the dead and saw the crushed spirits of the survivors who held me responsible for what had happened. You try to do what is right and hope the good you have done outweighs the bad, but sometimes things do not work out the way you planned. It doesn't mean you stop trying, perhaps you learn from your mistakes and by learning you become a better person."

    Black Jay listens to Berenn's comment. He seems to relax a bit, though his frustration is still great. He stands mute for some time before finally answering. "I will think on what you have said."

    "I have to take care of some business near Celene," says Berenn. "Perhaps you will be willing to talk more upon my return."

    "Perhaps" He shakes Berenn's hand. Berenn takes his hand in return and shakes it firmly.

    The party spends the rest of Brewfest festival just having fun. After a spell, their stuff will be done in Verbobonc. The wizards will also be done with all their studies. They are nearly ready for their next adventure....

    [DM OOC: Fast forwarding again....]
    Waterday, 5 Patchwall (581)

    You have gone to Verbobonc, picked up your armor and taken care of whatever else you may wish to get before you go, and then are ready to depart. You get up this morning on a nice, partly cloudy day. There is a slight wind from the NW. The winds have changed, and they are now blowing to the SE. It seems summer is over, and the slow slide into Winter is coming. It's a good time to head south, and the party finally is ready to make the trek to the Suss in search of their enemy, Markessa, and the lost city of the Suel.

    Stay tuned for their next adventure, The Lost City of the Suel
    Master Greytalker

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    Posts: 655

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    Sat May 03, 2014 12:30 pm  

    Follow the party's continued exploits in The Lost City of the Suel!

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2595
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sat May 03, 2014 2:50 pm  

    Sir John! Ha! That's a perfect choice of picture to use for him. Razz

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