Forgotten GreyLancErron

Week 16: "The Hornet's Nest"

GM: Rigil.

Hearing the sounds of a disturbance some distance away, the remaining adventurers set off to investigate, but are quickly intercepted by Walen, still in disguise as a dwarf. He quickly identifies himself and debriefs his friends. By this point, the city guard have surrounded the body but have not yet moved it or even touched it due to the appearance of potential plague.

Retracing their steps to Undercutter’s shop, the adventurers enter it through the back door and spend some time looking around. Undercutter’s ledger is the first thing they discover, but as not of them have much business experience, it does not help them much. A body wrapped up in a carpet hidden in one corner is more revealing, but none of the adventurers recognize him. Uncovering a hidden pit trap in the center of the shop is considerably more useful, as Bruno discovers evidence that both Ishy and Brother Benedict were here. Taking the ledger to Barlowe, they leave it with him to review while they investigate some minor evidence in the ledger pointing to some warehouses in the docks.

To their great frustration, the warehouses do not yield significant information, though they do learn from locals about the warehouse owners, the Seven Suns Trading Company. After some discussion, the adventurers determine to attempt an infiltration of this company, first by renting a cart from Barlowe and then loading some rugs from Undercutter’s shop. They set out for the Trading Company, but quickly encounter a traffic jam. Deciding to investigate, Walen advances where he discovers city guards surrounding the body of Thug #1! He reports this to the other adventurers.

Thinking quickly, Maia steps forward and strides to the guard sergeant where she declares that she is the deputy assistant under-secretary of civil infrastructure. Demanding to know why the body is still on the street, she expertly bluffs the harried guardsman into getting things moving again. Úzi steps forward, using Maia’s deception as cover and examines the body, quickly deducing that the man was murdered by what appeared to be at least ten different knives.

Arriving at the Seven Suns Trading Company, the adventurers discover it to be a walled compound that is heavily guarded. Rather than attempt a no doubt doomed frontal assault, they decide to observe and assess. A nearby inn conveniently bearing the name Seven Suns provides them with an expert vantage point and Walen weaves through the common room, singing and eavesdropping at the same time. He quickly learns that the Trading Company has underwent a drastic change in methodology. Previously, they were a conservative, tight-fisted lot, but lately, they’ve been spending money like it was made of sea water. Just as importantly, one of their guildmasters, known as Corwin the Fat, was unceremoniously expelled from the Company. During this information gathering time, Walen also notices Thug #2 in the common room, albeit with a different hair style and dressed differently.

Úzi takes this time to watch the compound while hashing out a plan of action with Bruno and Maia. It is decided that Bruno will provide a distraction by hurling alchemist’s fire at the main gate which will allow Úzi to observe the reactions of the guards. Maia will be onhand to grease any potential pursuers to ensure she and Bruno manage to escape.

That evening, the adventurers hear a disturbance downstairs and move to investigate. Walen moves to the window where he observes inn bouncers dragging Thug #2 away from the Inn. From the thug’s body language, Walen suspects the poor man is dead. Maia interrogates the innkeeper who spins a poorly told tale about an allergic reaction, and Bruno briefly considers pursuing, but quickly recognizes that the bouncers are already long gone.

Upon the morn, the plan unfolds. Bruno waits until a second cart arrives at the gate to the compound at which point, he hurls his alchemist’s fire/thunderstone combination before turning to flee. It is a perfect throw and lands right at the feet of the cart driver. With an immense bang, the alchemist’s fire erupts, enveloping the driver and igniting the hay-filled cushion on the driver’s bench. One of the wall guards dives for cover, warning Úzi that something bad is about to happen. Too late he realizes that the wagon was carrying a number of large barrels and, the fire quickly spreads. Moments later, the entire wagon EXPLODES when the oil in the barrel detonates.

Meanwhile, Bruno and Maia race through the streets to evade detection, stopping when they emerge from an alleyway onto a wide main street. A procession of armored knights clatter down the cobblestones, surrounding a decorative carriage bearing the royal seal. Among the knights, they both observe Alain! From the crowd, the two hear rumors and conversations identifying the inhabitant of the carriage to be Princess Damsel herself, back from her self-imposed exile to the family estates following the death of her latest suitor (who got himself eaten by a dragon while trying to prove his courage.)

After reuniting, the adventurers decide to investigate Corwin the Fat’s home. They arrive just in time to see a closed carriage and Brother Benedict emerging from the slum, wiping down a wet knife. Deciding quickly to follow the carriage, the adventurers shadow it to another warehouse in the Docks. Rather than Brother Benedict emerging, they see Ishmael step out of the carriage and head for the warehouse. The carriage departs, its driver never even looking back.

Bruno advances without hesitation, banging on the door. The security peep hole slides open and Vlad von Perciface peers out. He gasps “You!” before slamming it shut.

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Week 15: "Kicking Over Anthills"

GM: Rigil.

Following their successful defeat of the kobold tribe hiding within Droskar’s Crucible, the adventurers continue to scout out the tomb where they discover the remaining children, all beaten and abused but alive, as well as signs that at least some of the kobolds survived and managed to escape. As they search, Úzi hears the Dark Smith’s whispers still and has a terrible vision where he sees himself seated upon a dark throne with thousands of filthy, exhausted-looking dwarves arranged around him, toiling away without end. At least some of them simply appear to die of exhaustion. In his vision, Úzi can’t help but to note that his old self looks slumped and beaten and old. As politely as he can, he refuses the Dark Smith’s offer of allegiance and places the stone fist upon a desecrated shrine – it sinks into the stone and the entire complex begins shaking. Rocks fall and the PCs quickly grab the children they have rescued as they race for the exit. They narrowly escape the Crucible’s collapse but Úzi can still hear the Dark Smith’s whispers…

Upon their return to Falcon’s Hollow, the adventurers are quickly met by the local militia about to investigate what appears to be a great earthquake. Edgrin begins to tell the tale of what happened, but the shock of seeing his companions slain and his own abuse causes him to falter in the telling, so Walen steps in and dazzles the growing crowd with the exploits of his group. The family members of the children are quite grateful for their rescue – though not enough to pony up a reward, it seems! – and whisk their children away. Alain briefly rejoins his friends, along with Sister Jenya who is very grateful for the actions of the heroes.

After a final evening of rest in the Hollow, the adventurers (plus a recovered Alain set out once more, intent on returning to Kingsport to deliver their official documents. It takes several days for Úzi to escape the Dark Smith’s whispers which ease as they put the mountains behind them. During the nearly week-long trip, the PCs discover Alain reading a small book that turns out to be a primer into the teachings of Iomedae, a hero-deity and Ascended paladin of the Sun God. He accepts their teasing in the nature it is meant.

As they approach Kingsport, the adventurers discover the army camp has expanded considerably in size and appears to be conducting maneuvers or training exercises. The PCs are quickly intercepted by a patrol of guards who demand identities and reasons for being on the road. Upon confirmation of their identities, the PCs are escorted into the camp where they are taken to a fairly large tent surprisingly guarded by female soldiers. Inside, they meet Dame Lynda, who is meeting with another knight to whom she grudgingly defers and addresses as “Your Lordship,” implying he is of higher social rank. Once the PCs introduce themselves, both Dame Lynda and the lord appear to recognize them, and the lord departs, taking with him Alain because he “needs him for the upcoming Event.” Dame Lynda seems irked at this but does not contest it and informs the adventurers that General Tso has assigned her the role of liaison while he leads.

After listening to their report about their expedition to the dwarves (and reading the official response), Dame Lynda orders one of her pages to go and bring the dame’s “companions” here at once. Long minutes later, Sir Mrak and Reeve Teffer enter whereupon Dame Lynda produces a magic candle and lights it. All three of them prick their hands with knives and demand the PCs do the same to prove they are not dopplegangers – the candle appears to act as proof, and the three relax slightly before telling the PCs about the woes of the city. When the PCs departed to assist “that damned wizard” (as Sir Mrak calls him), the [[Adventure 4: “The Weather Underground” | doppleganger threat]] wasn’t over. Numerous cells of the creatures were destroyed but all evidence discovered pointed toward something really big coming very soon … but the three now have too high a public profile to effectively conduct their terror cell hunt and would like the PCs to do this. The heroes agree and are pointed toward positive sightings of a noblewoman killed in the initial attacks as a place to start.

The PCs set up a headquarters at the new home of Lloyd and Wanda Thatcher’s who are happy to help them on their official mission to “track down a criminal group”, and over the next week, the PCs conduct recons of the area surrounding Lady Tannaril’s home while following up leads about other sightings. Their investigation does not appear to yield fruit to their great frustration until a random comment stated in Lloyd’s presence gives them another clue and points them toward the merchant Barlowe. Upon paying him a visit, they take the opportunity to offload some of their captured loot, purchase some staggeringly awesome hats that Barlowe insists are coming into fashion. Some quite subtle question of the merchant reveals that some of the dead people still walking around have visited one of Barlowe’s nearby rivals, Rickard Undercutter, who has a shop across the street and was the man whom Bruno observed being shaken down some weeks back by that well-dressed man. More interesting, though, is an earlier visit Barlowe observed: “that ”/campaigns/forgotten-greylancerron/characters/ishmael-thatcher" class=“wiki-content-link”>dock kid and the cleric he tags around with" went into Dick Undercutter’s … and now that he thinks about it, Barlowe doesn’t remember seeing them leave.

Deciding to investigate, the PCs head across the street but find the shop mysteriously locked and shuttered, even though it is only midday. While Bruno bangs on the door, the other heroes realize the shop is being monitored by a mysterious woman. She ducks away when the PCs look at her, but doesn’t try to hide the fact that she’s watching them. Maia and Walen decide to seek a rear entrance to the shop and discover a small delivery door in the narrow alleyway behind the shop. Meanwhile, the mysterious woman purchases a hat from Barlowe and then disappears in the crowd. Maia retraces her steps to inform Bruno and Úzi of the rear door while Walen fiddles with it.

Alone, Walen is surprised when the door starts rattling – someone is coming out! – and he quickly hides in a convenient cart nearby. An unremarkable man emerges and resecures the door, but Walen has an excellent vantage point to see how he does it (for future B&E, no doubt.) Donning his own hat – though not as awesome as the one Bruno is wearing – the man makes a discreet exit from the alleyway, clearly heading away from where the other PCs are. Walen is about to act when he sees two burly men – he mentally tags them as Thug #1 and Thug #2 – leave another shop and begin to shadow the man Walen believes is Dick Undercutter. Thinking quickly, the halfling bard casts disguise self from a scroll, arranges some sticks in an arrow pointing in the direction he intends to go, and gives chase himself, unaware that his friends will be entering the alley moments later where they will be baffled at his disappearance and the sign he left behind.

Dick Undercutter remains oblivious to the pursuit of the Thugs (and Walen ), and eventually meets up with another man, at which point, the Thugs split up themselves, with #1 continuing to follow Undercutter while #2 shadows the Other Man. Walen decides to continue after Undercutter and Thug #1, and is surprised sometime later when Thug #1 pauses before a shop stall and speaks softly to the Mysterious Woman, now wearing a very nice hat. They are too far for Walen to eavesdrop, but whatever is said has Thug #1 heading away while the Mysterious Woman saunters closer to Dick Undercutter. She brushes by the man and keeps walking. Instantly, Walen suspects she’s picked the man’s pocket … but when Undercutter starts shaking and drops to the street as if in an epileptic seizure, he realizes that isn’t the case at all! He darts closer, thinking to render aid so as to hopefully gain intelligence, but it is already too late. Dick Undercutter starts foaming at the mouth and, to Walen’s brief surprise, the man’s face changes slightly in the heartbeats before hideous-looking blisters and boils distort his face into something unrecognizable.

Of the Mysterious Woman, there is no sign…

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Week 14: "Blood in the Dark"

GM: Rigil.

Kobolds! A fist of the tiny creatures are entering an open room and the adventurers can hear the distinct sound of combat. As the PCs rapidly advance to a bottleneck point, Úzi keeps almost sensing something lurking just out of sight, like someone or something unseen about to clear its throat. Though he does not realize it, he is the only one who hears the distant sound of drums.

Maia unleashes a grease spell that significantly hampers the movement of the kobolds and Bruno promptly commences to dishing out the pain. To the adventurers’ great concern, there seems to be no end to the kobolds as their numbers keep multiplying: more and more rush into the room to join the battle. Thankfully, Maia’s well-placed grease spells keep the kobolds from simply overrunning the PCs.

The sound of drums grows louder for Úzi and he senses … something waking up, something unbelievably ancient and incomprehensibly old. An unexpected fury rolls over the dwarf at the sight of the kobolds, followed by a sudden flash of great power. To the surprise of the other adventurers, Úzi increases greatly in physical size and might … and even the stone walls and ceiling move out of his way! The presence in his head demands vengeance and Úzi realizes that he is hearing the whispers of the Dark Smith, a mostly forgotten dwarven god of endless toil and subjugation.

Moving easily through the stone, Úzi discovers a smaller group of kobolds fighting against a halfling desperately trying to protect a girl Úzi recognizes as one of the missing children. At his unexpected appearance through the stone wall, this group of kobolds panic and run where they become easy targets.

A last wave of kobolds enter the battle, including the kobold king himself, wearing a shimmering crown wrought of dragonscale and gold, and holding aloft his left hand to reveal a stone fist. By this point, the stone floor runs crimson with the lifeblood of slain kobolds, and the rage Úzi feels toward the creatures intensifies at the sight of the stone fist. He lumbers toward the king who hurls some ineffective spells toward him and with a mighty blow, he lays low the kobold. At the sight of their king falling, the remainder of his tribe tries to flee but Bruno and Walen give chase and put the most dangerous of the creatures to the sword. Behind them, Úzi shocks Maia when he physically rips the stone hand off the dead kobold king, incidentally tearing the corpse’s arm free.

The kobolds are broken.

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Week 13: "Stormclouds on the Horizon"

GM: Rigil.

We being in media res, with Metzli standing before the adventurers on the road leaving Dwarfmount. She has ominous words to relay and promises that what she has to tell them will rock the adventurers to their very core. As she speaks, though, the sky around them suddenly darkens. Wind howls. The temperature plunges. Metzli looks as startled as the adventurers and murmurs under her breath, “Damn her black heart. She’s found me!” She steps toward the closest of the adventurers – Alain – and adds “You must-”

But a terrific bolt of lightning stabbing down from the heavens interrupts her! The lightning envelops the tiefling and the adventurers hear the briefest of screams before an explosion of immense power robs them of both sight and hearing. Long moments pass as they recover and when they finally blink the spots out of their vision, there is no sign of Metzli and Alain is some yards distant, his armor a smoking ruin. Bruno springs forward to lend aid – he uses his healing belt to restore Alain to consciousness but they quickly realize that their fighter friend is both blinded and deafened.

As the elf tends to their friend, Úzi firmly declares that the storm brewing overhead is far from natural and Maia casts detect magic whereupon she discovers a powerful lingering aura of conjuration clinging to the spot where Metzli stood moments before, an aura that brings to mind teleportation magicks though she has never heard of anything on this magnitude.

With the storm intensifying and Alain virtually incapacitated, the adventurers decide that seeking shelter and medical attention is the only course of action. Úzi, being the most traveled of their number, suggests heading toward Falcon’s Hollow, a mostly human logging town closer to them than Dwarfmount, and they quickly set off. Around them, the rain continues to fall but with increasing intensity. It is bitter cold.

They reach Falcon’s Hollow shortly after dusk and, after a quick exchange with town guards, are allowed entrance and are directed to the temple. There they meet Sister Jenya, the sole member of the clergy in the town, and upon seeing their need, she ushers them into the dark and still temple. Alain will need some additional time to tend to, she reveals, as she had not prepared the spells necessary to cure blindness and deafness and there is a curious enchantment lingering around him she would also like to dispel. Maia is tended to (for the appropriate donation, of course, though seeing the Spartan surroundings of the small church, the adventurers are able to deduce that there are few of the Faithful in Falcon’s Hollow.) Leaving Alain under the sister’s care, the adventurer’s head to the Sitting Duck, the sole inn in the Hollow where they arrange for lodgings and stabling for their animals. Walen tries his hand at performing before the night crowd but mostly bombs – he blames it on being rusty at performing before a crowd and, indeed, in his last performance, he has certainly improved.

The following morning, the adventurers head toward the small temple where they discover Sister Jenya in conversation with two desperate locals, a beautiful half-elf woman and a thickset man wearing a butcher’s smock. Curiosity prompts Maia to listen in and she quickly learns that these two locals are greatly concerned over their respective missing children. Sensing an opportunity, Maia volunteers the aid of the adventurers and Sister Jenya gladly accepts. In fact, the priestess says, she will ask for no donations from them to cure Alain if they investigate. Thinking this to be little more than half a day’s work of poking in corners until they find the children playing somewhere, the adventurers agree.

As it turns out, though, they quickly realize that it isn’t that simple. A description of the children from their efforts at gathering information paints an excellent picture of the five missing.

Children

According to other children asked, this group is something of a tight knit bunch and had accepted a dare to spend a night in the burned out husk of an abandoned orphanage several miles from the town. Further investigation uncovers the history of that orphanage and how its headmistress took in orphans from the Goblinblood Wars nearly a decade earlier. The fire that destroyed the orphanage some months back was unexpected and consumed everyone. Rumors that the orphanage is haunted are rampant among the children, especially when linked to a nearby dwarven monastery long abandoned. This monastery is said to have watched over an ancient tomb that Úzi vaguely recalls hearing tales of, and when Walen recalls tale of a dwarven hero called Glintaxe, Úzi recalls that his great-grandfather, Búzi, bore that appellation before he vanished centuries ago.

Thus armed with knowledge, the adventurers set out from the Hollow and make good time to the orphanage where they quickly locate the missing children’s camp … and signs of a struggle! Further investigation uncovers hints that kobolds were responsible and the adventurers follow the trail left by the kobolds directly to the ruined monastery and the tomb carved into the rock. Leaving behind their steeds, they creep into the darkness…

And quite quickly, find themselves engaged in a bitter struggle with several kobolds warrior who prove to be surprisingly resilient for such small beasts. These creatures were monitoring an even number of unarmored and smaller members of their race tearing down an obsidian obelisk, and these lesser cousins flee in terror at the first signs of bloodshed. As the fight draws to a close with the fall of the last warrior kobold, the adventurers hear bloodcurdling cries that end abruptly with sizzles. Curious, they investigate, with Maia sending her faithful (but scared) familiar forward to scout; the raven returns quickly, warning of an approaching ghost! Úzi creeps forward, followed by Bruno, and indeed, he sees what appears to be a ghost floating forward – a breastplate embossed with Úzi’s family crest hovers in the air with a battleaxe gripped tightly in one gauntlet…

But it isn’t a ghost. Instead, the adventurers realize that it is a gelatinous cube and Úzi’s great-grandfather suffered and ignominious death so long ago. With a cry of mingled anger and fear (though he’d never admit to the latter), Bruno charged the cube and smote it harshly with his scythe. To everyone’s shock and horror, it continues forward and envelops the elf barbarian, but the damage he has dealt badly injured it. The cube’s acid burns away his clothes but a well aimed rock hurled by Úzi strikes the cube in its sole remaining strong point and the ooze collapses, unable to hold itself together any longer.

Gasping with relief at the close call – for only now do the adventurers realize that Bruno could have easily been slain by the unnatural ooze – the heroes take stock of their situation. As they turn to discuss their next course of action, they hear the shouts and clash of arms from deeper within the tomb. Someone is alive and fighting! They rush forward where they see…

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Session 4, Week 12
GM: Lab_Rat

This session opens up with the party staring into the mouth of the Cave of Forgotten Thought. Even though it is dark, the party had no desire to tarry, and so they start to enter the cave. It was at that time that Alain notices that Fissure wasn’t following. Fissure claims that it might be best to stay outside and keep watch, considering this was his first adventure and all. After some intimidation ( really it didn’t take much), Fissure follows the party into the cave. It is rather dim, long shadows are cast among the roughly hewn walls. The cave casts off an eerie and foreboding presence, as if the party has no right to disturb its hidden contents. However, this was the place where loyal subjects came to prepare and bury the dead. The party decides the more thorough way of doing things is the follow the caves walls to the right. And so they continue down a long hall way where tin trays are holding various different objects. Most are carved from stone, such as Dwarven runes, or small stone effigies/figures. Dried flowers and herbs also litter the ground. It would appear that this is where people would leave their offerings and prayers. Walen has heard of superstitions regarding offerings that were left in order to appease the dead. Alain, claiming that he doesn’t believe in stories and superstitions, walks right pass the offering trays and continues down the hall. Suddenly, five undead zombies, put off by their lack of offerings, appear from behind the party. The party makes quick work of them and continues down the hall until they come across their first right junction.

As they turn right, they see a long hallway with three doors at the end. Walen checkes for traps and thought that the coast was clear. He quickly changes his tune when he felt his foot hit a depression, and the floor suddenly fell out from under him. Unfortunately, Walen and Uzi fell 20 feet. They fell hard, but survived. Bruno, ironically being an expert at climbing, helps the other across the trap. They soon came face to face with three doors. They are determined to be unbreakable, and no lock could be found. Maia, noticing three odd symbols at the top of each door, could sense that these were magically locked, and that the key must be somewhere in the cave. Grumbling a bit, the party retraces their steps.

Before they got to the next room, the party hears a yelp, and some shout in Orc(ish?). Unfortunately, no one in the party could speak Orc, however, they decide to send sneaky Walen to go and check it out. Lost in the shadows, Walen approaches the room. He could easily see four Orcs, and could hear more that were obscured by shadow. As he turned to leave, his foot hit a rock, which bounced off the wall. The Orcs look up, and lunges at Walen, while the rest of the party joins the fray. Bruno charged followed by Uzi. Maia and Walen use their trusty crossbows. Alain and Fissure gang up on a few orcs (though Alain is doing pretty much all the work), while three orcs ignored the fight and were fiddling with a stone chest that is on the table.

<epic>

After the orcs are dispatched, Walen and Uzi go to the stone chest. Walen and Uzi checked for traps, yet they find none. Walen opens the chest, and a fuselage of darts is released. Walen and Uzi take some damage but in the end, they were able to recover headband of the stout heart ,two pearls (worth 100 gp each), and a small bag containing 100 gp, 1 ring of prot. +1, and a large antique key. Walen also picked up a book which is later identified to be the Dwarven book of the dead. In it were procedures, scripture, and spells, that would help transition a physically dead body into the next life. Fissure notices that several people are hurt and offers them health potions that he made himself. Maia, remembering what the apothecary told them, quickly and discretely tasted the potion. Gagging, she motions to the party that they shouldn’t drink it. Unfortunately Bruno already drank his potion before Maia could stop him.

The party regroups after looting the Orcs. They find some gold and a lifting belt. Fissure excitedly exclaims that this is one of the five keys that would unlock MacGuffin’s tomb. They quickly leave the cavern and continue down the hall. Soon they approach a new room where in it are three sarcophagi, one large one in the middle of the room, and two standing upright on either side. As the party starts to search the room, Alain gets a closer look at the head of the figure carved upon its lid. It looks distorted and seems to have tendrils instead of hair. A pair of batlike wings extends from its temples. As Alain opened his mouth to ask Uzi if there was any cultural significance, suddenly, its eyes open, revealing the glow of green flames, and the head flies forward to attack. Two Vargouilles fly up, one emits a terrifying screech that petrifies some of the party. Alain takes a swing at one with his sword. Though the Vargouilles are terrifying, they aren’t particularly difficult to dispatch. They soon die at the end of cold steel. The party continues to search the room. One notices that the large sarcophagus is opened a crack. Bruno uses his strength to open the lid. Inside is a scroll and a second key. Maia takes her time to examine the scroll. She opens it, only to see a single symbol written on the parchment. Puzzled, she presses on with the party.

The party continues their trek down the hallway to the last of the rooms. Before they get to the opening of the cavern, they can hear squeaking and rustling. Three large swarms of rats have taken up residence in an otherwise bare room. Walen notices that one of the swarms is covering another key. Maia cautiously enters the room, hoping the colorspray the swarm so that she could retrieve it. Uzi tells her to wait, for he has a brilliant idea. He leaves and then shortly returns with chunks of hacked up Orc. He throws the into the far corner of the room. The rats, smelling delicious food, scurry to the far end of the room. Maia quickly picks up the key, and after a brief search, decides that there really isn’t anything worth having in the room.

The party once again finds themselves in front of the three magically locked doors, but this time they have three keys, a book, and a scroll. The doors are searched for keyholes but they find none. Maia deduces that since the doors and the scroll are the only magical items that they have found, she thinks that the scroll is the key in answering this riddle. Once again she unrolls the parchment, and the symbol begins the glow. Suddenly three distinct noises that sound like the tumbling are locks are heard. Maia successfully found a way to open the doors, but the question is, which one do they go through? After much debate, followed by trying to match the symbol found on the scroll to the one above the door, it is decided to go through the first door.

The walls of the new room become smoother and carvings embellish the walls. The floor is now composed of rich dirt. As the party enters the room four great stone carvings of dwarves are found in each “corner” of the room. A large stone slab with slats carved out is in the middle of the room, and has been stained russet brown. The party notices buckets underneath the slats. Beside the slab is a large pedestal with sharp instruments and rolls of linen. Some of the instruments look quite sinister. At the head of the slab stands a podium with nothing on it. As the party searches the new room, Walen gets an idea. He places the burial book on top of the podium. The book sinks a bit into a depression, and Walen can hear a distinct click. After a brief search of the podium, Walen sees a ‘switch’ and flips it. Suddenly a panel slides open and reveals the fourth key. It was around that time that Bruno realizes that taking handmade potions from someone who can’t craft anything is a very bad idea. He finds somewhere where he can go and have ‘tummy troubles’.

Fissure excitedly claims that he found something. As the party gathers, they see an ornately carved stone door with five large key holes. Fissure exclaims that he knew he was right, that this was the entrance of the MacGuffin tomb. They would just have to find the last key.

The party finds a final small room on the other side of the burial chamber. A putrid odor fills the room. Inside the room are rickety bunks and clapboard desks barely holding together. The party sees a faint glow emanating from the chamber. At the back of the chamber, a corpse is reduced to bones and rags. He sits slumped up against a wall, with a torch softly burning beside it. Beside him on the wall a message is scrawled. “Duaine was here. He is in pain. He charged the wall, and hurt his brain. His luck ran out, his breath is thin. May fortune treat you better than him.” Walen again gets a great idea that the party should try to find a hidden door in the walls. As they again search the room, Walen notices that the body of Duaine has his hand in an awkward position, as if he is specifically pointing somewhere. They follow the line to a spot on the wall. Uzi can immediately tell that it isn’t made of stone. Bruno then uses his shoulder to bash through, and is immediately overcome by a foul stench. He is sickened by it. Inside the small alcove what appears to be a larder/supply room. Rotting meats and cheeses are the source of the smell. Alain braves the odor and comes back with some vials, a backpack, some gold, and most importantly, the fifth and final key.

Rushing back to the entrance to MacGuffin’s tomb, Fissure inserts the keys into the locks, and one by one turns them. The door begins to quake and groan, but finally it opens. The party enters the tomb of Malachi MacGuffin. Immediately they are puzzled at the lack of treasure or finery. There is a large sarcophagus in the middle of the room, with five smaller ones built into the sides of the walls. After a quick search, they see an alcove, and perched on a ledge was the MacGuffin decanter. Walen does a quick search and detects no traps. The party takes a few moments discussing how to best remove the artifact. In the end, they just decide to take it.
As soon as they do, the doors immediately shut. The lid to MacGuffin’s sarcophagus blows off, and soon the party is face to face with the drauger of Malachi MacGuffin. Obviously the thing he protected in life, so shall he do so in death. Bruno charges the drauger and does some considerable damage with his scythe. MacGuffin barks out a laugh and calls upon the help of his servants. Five undead skeletons rise from the walls, cutting off part of the party. Alain tries to push forward to aid Bruno, while Uzi and Walen take care of the skeletons. Fissure valiantly tries to protect Maia, but she pushes him aside and throws around a few disrupt undead spells. The MacGuffin is fierce in his attacks, and strikes out at Bruno. After a few well-placed blows, Bruno crumples to the ground.

Seeing a comrade fall causes the party to fight with renewed vigor. Fissure even manages to kill a skeleton. Though the battle is wrapping up, the party knows that they can’t get to Bruno in time. Before he fades into darkness, Bruno suddenly remembers the wishes that Maia had given him. He uses his wishes and stabilizes long enough for the party to render aid.
With everyone surviving and the MacGuffin artifact secure, the party treks back to Dwarfington to tell Ilde the good news.

<travel>

The party finds Ilde and she is simply overjoyed with being reunited with her son. Walen tells of their adventures, to which Ilde cannot believe until they show her the decanter. Fissure then broaches the subject of him adventuring. Before Ilde could argue, Alain interjects and suggests an ambassadorial position for Fissure. He would be able to travel and see new places, but it would be a safer occupation. Ilde considers and says that if the king agrees then they might have found a compromise. She hesitates a bit before saying that she will take them to see the king.

A short time later, the party approaches the gates, Ilde spies Tannin and goes over to talk with him. Disbelief and bewilderment flashes across his features before he gives a short nod and ushers them inside. Ilde follows Tannin into the throne room, and stands before an astonished King Bramblebeard. “Ilde,” he says, “Wha-What are you doing here? I didn’t think you would ever come.” Ilde responds that he bring him incredible but completely joyful news. The party then presents the decanter to the King and Walen tells him of their journeys thanks to Fissure. King Bramblebeard graciously accepts the gift, and proclaims that tonight they should feast. Preparations are hastily made, while the party goes off in order to rest and revive themselves.

That night, a banquet was laid out with great splendor. Succulent meats, fine cheeses, tender greens, soft bread, and many more dishes were laid out. The finest wine, beer, and mead were offered as well as music and entertainment. The MacGuffin artifact stood before the throne on a pedestal so that all may see it. And King Bramblebeard brought the party and Fissure forth to bestow his personal thanks and gratitude. He made Fissure a royal junior ambassador (with chance of promotion in the future). And he bestowed great gifts upon the adventurers; Gauntlets of Ogre Power for Bruno, Magical studded leather for Uzi, the Will of Thrana Amulet for Alain, Gloves of Dex for Walen, and a Cloak of Charisma for Maia. He also gave his official response to the King of Kingsport, remarking that this should make King John satisfied. He then dismissed the party to enjoy in the festivities.

No sooner had he returned to his throne, that he noticed Ilde off in the shadows. She was staring at him, unmoving. He rose and joined her, but before he could speak, she beseeched him. “Please,” she said. “Please keep him safe.” He measured the moment for a while, and then blew out a sigh. He reached out and took her hands in his, and looked her straight into her eyes. “I promise. By my will, in this life, and the next. I promise.”
Ilde gave him a small smile, and then turned around a left him without another word.

The party enjoyed the feast beyond measure, and slept on soft mattresses with down filled pillows. By morning they were ready for travel. They bid their farewells and started their journey back to Kingsport, eager to give King Bramblebeard’s response to King John. They journeyed for less than a day, when all of a sudden a figure jumped down from the trees and landed right in front of them. “Stay your weapons,” she immediately calls out, “I am not here to bring harm.” With that she gives a saucy look to Maia, “Why hello, lover. Did you miss me?” It was then, Maia remembered her as being the mysteriously lady that Stoke was after at the Velvet Hammer. “Who are you?” asks Maia.

With that, the figure removes her cloak and reaveals a rather beautiful Tiefling female. She introduces herself as Metzli, a member of the Umbrage order. When asked what the Umbrage order is, she laughs a bit, “Sometimes truly good people have to do terrible things for the greater good. Instead of dirtying their hands, kings, nobles, and dignitaries alike call upon the Order to complete their tasks. But I don’t have time to tell you of an organization concealed in shadow. I have been following you for several weeks, and I now feel that you are the adventuring party I seek. For you see, I have intelligence that is of a most terrible nature. For what I am about to tell you will rock you to your very core.”

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Session 3 Week 11
GM: Lab_Rat

This adventure begins shortly after Ilde confides to the party that her son has been missing for a few weeks. She accompanies them back to Dwarvington to collect Pebbles, an odd creature that Fissure found in the forest and claims is his “familiar.” While in town, the adventurers want to speak to some of the local folk to see if they could gain any clues as to Fissure’s whereabouts. After gathering Ilde’s information regarding Fissure’s favorite hang outs, they seek out the bookkeeper in the Library, and an merchant who runs an apothecary shop. The bookkeeper remembers Fissure and his interest in old dusty tombs that hold legends and lore of Dwarfmount. In fact, he tells the party that the last book he checked out a few weeks ago, “The Famous Tales of Malachi MacGuffin” is long overdue. Alain pays the bookkeeper five copper pieces for the late fee, and continues on to the apothecary.

The apothecary greets them and after a few inquiries, remembers that Fissure said something about going on an adventure and was wondering if she could teach him to make health potions. Always happy to have a willing student, the apothecary starts to instruct Fissure. It wasn’t until the mini explosions and plumes of foul smelling smoke, that she seriously regretted her decision to take Fissure as a pupil. She excused him even though Fissure was saying that he still needed to make his boots waterproof due to the bog he would have to cross.

Upon hearing the mention of a bog, the adventurers asked Ilde if there was one in the vicinity. She said that there was, and would guide them to it before she had to get back to her overseer duties. So with Pebbles in tow, they start to make their trek. When asked more information about her son, Ilde tells the adventurers that she and Fissure never had a close relationship. He grew up never knowing his father, and during his early years he was essentially brought up by his aunt (Ilde’s sister) while Ilde was on active duty. She regrets that it was during those years that she never instilled the love of their family’s craft, and Fissure was pretty much left to his own devices. It was never a lack of love, but a lack of understanding because she could never relate to her son. Now that he has gotten older, Ilde can see the error of her ways and was working on rehabilitating their relationship. That is when Fissure got it into his head that he wanted to start adventuring in order to see where he belonged in the world. Ilde fears that she will never see him again because he’s probably going to get himself killed if he goes out in the world on his own. So they essentially had a big fight about it, which caused Fissure to take off and hasn’t showed up in the last two weeks. Alain inquires about Fissure’s father but was met with unusual hostility from Ilde. Though, soon, she backs down as says that they should just drop the matter.

Ilde leads the party to the mouth of the bog, where they continue their trek. Bruno handles Pebbles, who seems to have picked up on Fissure’s trail. The little creature was so engrossed in what it was doing; it required a quick snatch by Bruno to save it from a massive patch of quick sand. As the party was deliberating on how to go around the obstacle, they notice a cape floating in the middle of the quicksand. Fearing, it is Fissure, a rope line was stretched across the quicksand, and Bruno “swims” to the cape. When he pulls, a desiccated body is attached to the cape, with a fancy belt around its bony hips. It is not Fissure. Bruno relieves the belt from the body (which Maia eventually identifies it as a healing belt) and the party discusses the proper way to bury it. Uzi points out that burying it in the bog will only cause it to eventually rise, and so it was decided that they need to secure it in a tree. Maia finds a massive tree with many vines running down its trunk, and so Bruno climbs up and secures the body for it’s sky burial.

While Bruno was securing the body, Oleander informs Maia that the party is being followed, though he cannot determine who and/or what, because “they are like shadow”. As of right now, Maia can feel that he isn’t afraid or nervous, but more curious than anything. She informs the party, but isn’t that alarmed, for Raven’s are known for their curious natures.
Bruno finishes securing the body but on his way down, something latches onto his wrists. This tree is really being occupied by an assassin vine, and it did not like having bits of it being used to secure a dead body. Five feet from the ground, the vine grapples Bruno and slams him repeatedly into the side of the tree trunk. Alain and Uzi chop at the vines with their weapons, while Maia and Walen shoot at it with their crossbows. Soon the party kills the assassin vine, and Bruno takes a rather nasty fall. However, he is shortly recovered due to his new healing belt.

The party covers the long stretch of bog until the ground starts to become firm again. Soon, Pebbles picks up a rather strong trail, and leads the party to a clearing. They see an adolescent dwarf adorned with chainmail, mage’s robes, and little pouches and vials hang from every available space. He is carrying a shield, a sword on his back, and has a crossbow strapped to his side. He is leaning on a staff while consulting what appears to be a map. A drum hangs loosely off his pack. The party assumes this is Fissure, and they would be correct. The party approaches Fissure who seems rather happy to see them. He is overjoyed when he finds out that they are adventurers for his longs to be an adventurer. In fact, he is in the middle of his first adventure right now.

Before he has time to explain, a band of thieves ambushes the party. They demand that the party hands over their valuables and no one will get hurt. Bruno, tired of lousy people trying to take advantage of them, intimidates them. Though visibly shaken, the thieves demand payment once again. They got steel instead. They were quickly dispatched, though Fissure, fumbling around with his gear, was gravely injured. After using some health potions, Fissure got back onto his feet and said that he would resume his adventure. The party explained the real reason why they were there and demanded Fissure come back with them. Fissure pleads that they just hear him out. And so bounds up on a rock, grabs his drum, and starts recanting (rather badly, I might add) the tale of Malachai MacGuffin and the MacGuffin artifact.

Legend has it that a magical decanter stopped two warring kingdoms of dwarves, and whoever possesses this decanter will have the upper hand at negotiations. Because of this Fissure is convinced he can find the decanter and use it on his mother, so that she will allow him to go adventuring. The party then takes a moment to deliberate. Walen takes no time objecting the idea out of hand. Alain points out that they were told to merely find Fissure, and not take him back immediately. Maia was more empathetic, for she knew what it was like when she couldn’t find her place in life. In the end it took Fissure promising that no matter what happens, they will explore this one cave where he thinks that Malachai MacGuffin is buried, and then he will return to his mother with the party. Fissure readily agrees and has them travel a several hours until they approach The Cave of Forgotten Thought.

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Session 2, Week 10
GM: Lab_Rat

The session opens with the adventurers purchasing horses so they can begin their long journey north to Dwarvington, capital of Dwarfmount. The journey was rather uneventful, except for a family of wandering badgers who felt threatened by the party’s presence in their territory. The badgers fought bravely to protect their young but were soon overcome by the party’s superior fighting skills. Bruno, knowing that young badger meat was especially good with mushrooms, slew the baby. After a quick check for snakes, the party resumes their watch/sleeping duties.

The party arrives to the gates of Dwarvington, when they suddenly realized their predicament. Uzi was banished from the city and sent into exile three years ago. After some crazy yet plausible suggestions involving shaving beards and cross dressing, it was decided that Maia and Walen will go and speak on Uzi’s behalf. They are greeted by Tannin of the royal guard. As the royal request from Kingsport is presented, Tannin informs them that they will meet the king during tomorrow’s audience. Maia then mentions the matter at hand and claims ambassadorial amnesty for Uzi while he is representing Kingsport. After much convincing thanks to Walen and Maia, a member of the court is called to oversee the brief reprieve. Tannin is then told to escort the adventurers while they are within the city walls.

Tannin takes them to the many twists and turns of the city as they ascend and descend through rock and mountain to a place where they can stable their horses. Uzi hires a runner to get a message to his family. They are then taken to The Velvet Hammer, a local Tavern/Inn, run by the rather surly Corbin. Tannin informs the party that room and board is taken care of, and offers the party to sit down and eat. Tannin gives a word or two to Corbin and then joins a party of guards in the far corner of the tavern.

During their repast, a mysterious lady enters the room, not completely unnoticed by the party. Maia notices a very large, and she assumed, smelly, dwarf approach the lone lass. Minutes ticked by while the lady spurred his advances. Naturally, to the big lug, “No” really meant “Oh baby please take me now.” Maia, fed up with the assault, had a seemingly brilliant yet crazy idea. She went up to the large oaf, and demanded he take his hands off her woman. Two sets of eyes, one feminine and lovely, the other beady and boorish, popped and a pair of jaws dropped, but unfortunately it was Stoke who recovered first. For though he was slow and dumb, he did know that 1+1=3. What Maia didn’t realize was the offer of a single romantic conquest just got upgraded from a snack to a buffet. As Stoke descended on the duo, with a look that promised that he would consume them like cream puffs, a mighty bellow clamored off the heads of drunken patrons. “Stoke,” the voice bellowed. “I believe these ladies requested to be left alone.” Stoke whirled around and came face to face with Azi, brother to the party’s Uzi. That is when the first punch was thrown. Chaos erupts as dwarves clamor to be in a position to join the punchy demonstration of pugilism. Amid the thrown beer steins and arcing of lost teeth, Maia grabs the lady and brings her over to a safe spot behind the bar. Uzi joins in the fight to assist his brother. Bruno, upset at the fact he was missing out on the fun, joins the melee, while Walen, inspired by the sight before him, gets up on a table, and sings about the beauty of color in a blackened eye. Alain, locks eyes with the only other one in the room who isn’t joining in on the fight, Tannin. They both share in an eye roll and then get back to their meal.

Soon, what seemed like an explosion erupts throughout the tavern. Corbin, decidedly tired of the din, threw a thunderstone to break up the fight. He then proceeds to yell at everyone to leave this establishment. The irony was not missed considering he just threw something that caused prolonged deafness, but wild hand gestures helped to drive the point home. Tannin walks over to a large lump lying on the ground. Poor Stoke was knocked out cold. Tannin nudges him with his toe, and then orders what is left of his guard to drag him away. He looks decidedly at the party and tells them that he will see him in the morning. The party regroups and Uzi goes over to have a conversation with Azi. As their beards entwine during their bro-hug, Azi is starting to feel like he has finally come home. Maia gets up from under her hiding place, only to discover that the mysterious lady had vanished.

One would think having court with the King would be an exciting opportunity. In reality it is dull, dull, dull. Request for trade agreements, crop taxes, blockages in the sewer system, the party had heard enough when it was their turn to stand before the King. King Rockheard Bramblebeard III didn’t look like your typical king. Granted, he had his share of scars from battle, however, he had the look of the mystics about him. Bramblebeard listens to Walen’s spiel about request for armed troops should Generica need it. It goes over about as well as can be expected, however, King Bramblebeard is having problems of his own. The production numbers of the stone quarry are way down. The king explained that he put Ilde, the captain of the guard in charge due to the unexpected departure of the previous overseer. Bramblebeard hoped that her military training could whip the workers into shape and increase production, unfortunately the opposite had been true lately. Bramblebeard tasks the party to talk to Ilde, to figure out what’s wrong. With that he pulls out a small quest icon and presents it to Walen.

It takes about a day to reach Outpost No. 5. When the party reaches the quarry they ask a worker where Ilde was located. Going the direction the worker indicated, they could certainly hear her before they set eyes upon her. Though rather intimidating, Walen approached Ilde saying that they were here to represent King Bramblebeard. With a glare, Ilde said that there was nothing wrong other than these workers and that they should leave the premises. Several members of the party could tell Ilde was hiding something, but even though Walen was persistant, Ilde wasn’t going to divulge any information.

Suddenly, what sounded like an explosion, rocked the foundation. Ilde, eyes wide in alarm, said “I told them not to dig too deep,” and raced over to the mining shaft that had caved in on itself. Ilde beseeched the party to rescue the dwarves that were still trapped, while she take care of the wounded. In doing so, she will tell them everything they need to know.
Down the party went into the mining shaft and it was a short time before they came to the cave-in. Two dwarfs were trapped and saying that noxious fumes were filling their small cavern and that they would soon run out of air. Before the party, a herculean task lay before them, as five large rocks prevented the dwarfs from reaching freedom. Though they were working against time, Uzi did notice very thin strings of webbing descending from the cavern ceiling. With group effort, aided by Walen’s expert sun rod holding capabilities, the first rock was moved with little trouble. However, the tremors combined with the previous cave in, alerted three large spiders. The party had to defend their position while desperately trying to save the dwarves. As the first spider was slain, it sent out a horrible screech. Maia cast color spray on one which effectively took it out of the fight. However, the final screech alerted two much bigger spiders. Through bulging muscles and gritted teeth, the rocks were successfully moved. Now it was time to fight the remaining eight-legged beasts. Bruno and Uzi were successful in wounding the spiders, while Maia poked at one with her longspear. Alain, probably due to some minor arachnophobia, had a difficult time connecting. Walen, already suffering from being poisoned, put some distance between him and the spiders, and used his crossbow. The battle was long as the party kept fending off the spiders, while trying to avoid getting bitten. Suddenly, a great cry erupts from the back of the cave, and Ilde joins in the fight. Uzi and Bruno, both with a desire to impress her, started hacking with renewed vigor. Finally, with a kill stealing move, Maia dropped the last spider with a jab from her spear.

At last, though covered with blood and ichor, the party saved the dwarves and killed the spiders. Ilde is extremely grateful and then speaks of what has been bothering her. She conveys to the party that her son has been missing. He is rather odd because he always seems to have his head up in the clouds, and has absolutely no interest in stone cutting. Ilde came from a very long line of stone cutters/miners so it was considered a great honor to go into the craft like so many ancestors before them. However, her son wants none of it, and she has been derelict in her duties trying to find where he has run off to. She asks the party to help look for her son. When it was expressed that it would be difficult to find someone who has been gone for so long, Ilde had a possible solution. Her son found some strange animal in the forest that he insists that is his familiar. Even though Ilde knows its not a familiar, it does seem to have developed a bond with her son. He named her Pebbles, and with its long nose and spots, she is unlike anything the adventurers had seen. Ilde thinks that if anyone in the party is adept at handling the creature, she might be able to track down her son. And so the party prepares to search for Ilde’s son with the help of Pebbles.

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Session 1 Week 9
GM: Lab_Rat

Our session begins with the adventuring party stranded on the banks of a river, having been bested by those vexatious halflings, who ended up taking their boats. While on the bank figuring out what to do, Uzi hears a horn sound off in the distance. After locating the direction the sound came from, the party saw tendrils of smoke rise to the north. Sensing danger, the party begins to follow the smoke to see where it leads.

After about an hour of bushwacking, the party comes across a town that has been ransacked by Hobgoblins and Orcs. Many are dead or wounded, and the town is now burning to the ground. Amid the chaos, the sounds of an ongoing battle originate from the town square. The party recognizes Princess Lassur, as she and her guards fight off waves of hobgoblins. The party rushes in to give aid. After a time, the last remaining foes are vanquished. Princess Lassur is injured and most of her guards were killed, but at least she is alive. The Princess tells the party that she was out patrolling the towns that live just south of the official elven borders, when Mistress Domina, daughter of the Overlord, appeared with her minions. She told them that they knew who to capture, and to simply kill the rest. Then she disappeared while her horde started ravaging the town.

After helping the wounded and dying in any way they could, the party soon learns from first hand reports that the horde were capturing spell casters while killing everyone else. This would explain the fact that Maia was captured by an Orc during the skirmish, but luckily, was saved by Bruno. The Princess gives them whatever meager supplies she has left to heal their wounds, and requests that they return to Kingsport as soon as possible to alert their King. Princess Lassur provides them with giant eagles as transportation in order to make their journey faster.
The party travels several days on the backs of the eagles, until they get to the edge of the northern border of the eagle’s territory. They spend a few days on foot before it begins to rain heavily. Wet and miserable, the party spies an abandon house and venture in, hoping to find shelter from the elements. After casting a look around the single room, it was apparent that there was someone that had lived there recently, due to the fire pit that was still lit. Oh, and it helps to have a freshly dead corpse slumped on the ground. As Walen approaches to investigate, he notices an open book on the corpse’s lap. As he gets closer, a beam of light emits from the book and after a time, a message is emitted above the book on the ceiling. “Welcome to my home. I shall rule all, for my words call forth those that feast on your flesh in this life and the next.” With that, a crack of theatrical lightening lights up the night sky, and Bruno notices that a lot, no more than a lot, of undead were slowly shuffling their way to the abandoned house. The party gets ready as undead try to get into the doors and the windows. Uzi, Alain, and Bruno are successful at keeping them at bay. A few moments pass and Walen gets an idea to burn the spellbook that was in the corpse’s lap. He goes to the fire, and brings over some embers to set the pages aflame. A short while later, the zombies start to screech and writhe as if they were the ones burning. They ended up as piles of dust which were quickly washed away by the rain.

The party continues their travels until they get to the gates of Kingsport. A Halfling messenger, astride a wolf, rides out to them and ask if they are the party who helped defeat the hordes at Silveroak. The party claims that they are, and so the messenger tells them to meet with their commanding officer for a full report.

The party is escorted by Mrak to see General Tso. General Tso, though not overall impressed with the party, listens to their account and deems it worthy to mention this to the King. He asks the party to return to here tomorrow morning to get further orders.
While leaving in search of an inn, the party hears Alain’s name being called. Soon Ishy pops out of the crowd and comes bounding toward the party. Right on his heels was Benedict Archer, the cleric that was responsible for bringing Ishy back to life after his run in with the choker. The party soon learns that Ishy is training to become a cleric. Ishy asks if they would like to join his family for dinner. Archer makes a comment about how the truly grateful ones make the best apprentices. The party agrees to the dinner date, and soon leaves in order to find Barlowe, the merchant, so that they may sell some of the loot they found in the necromancer’s abandoned house.

As the party approaches Barlowe’s shop, they see a nicely dressed man with an elaborately cut beard. The man takes a pouch of money that Barlowe hands over to him, pats him on the cheek in a patronizing way, and leaves. He is overheard telling his men that they have more business to conclude at the other shops. The party goes in to make purchases, while Bruno waits outside. After Bruno observes the well-dressed man visit many different shops and collecting pouches of coin, he decides to confront him. The man, named Zebulon, refuses to answer any of Bruno’s questions, since he does not have any evidence of him breaking any laws for his “business transactions.” However, after an intimidating display by Bruno, Zebulon says that he will give the money back that he has collected from that day. Whether he actually does so, or if Bruno has made a new enemy, still remains to be seen.

After a nice dinner, and a restful night’s sleep, the party returns to General Tso in the morning. The general informs them that they are being sent on an “ambasorial” mission to Dwarfmount in order to confirm the pledge of dwarven soldiers if Nefaria deems it necessary to attack Generica. They are instructed to purchase supplies if needed, for they are leaving immediately.

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Adventure 5: The Ring of the Overlord
GM=Gigermann

Part I

Surrounded in total darkness, save for an enormous, staring, pair of fiery eyes, the Heroes hear an ominous, disembodied voice, laughing. The Voice challenges them, demanding to know why they would dain to interfere in the affairs of The Overlord—before being interrupted by an unseen messenger. “They found it? Where?…” the voice enquires, excitedly, before returning its attention to the Heroes. ”I’ll deal with you later…if you survive, that is. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…” ∗snip∗

The floor beneath the Heroes collapses, dumping them unceremoniously into a dark, skeleton-infested crypt. Surrounded, they fight their way through to the entrance of the long-forgotten tomb, and heave over the stone door, escaping. As they collected themselves, the Heroes determined that they were a few hours travel southeast of Kingsport, and began limping back toward home.

Some time later, after the Party finds the road back to Kingsport, they encounter the familiar, horseless wagon of Gestlin the Unpredictable. The doddering old wizard hails the Heroes, recognizing them from their previous interaction at Pleasantville, and offers them a chance to settle their debt to him (incurred as a result of his “rescuing” them) by performing a task for him and the Wizards’ Guild, to escort a couple of halflings from Borrington to the King at Elfwood. Gestlin supplies them with some much-needed healing potions from his wagon, and a Quest Icon, to aid them in their endeavor, before moving on to the North, to meet with the Circle of Wizards regarding the artifact the halflings possess.

The Heroes continue to Kingport, and report in to their new superiors, who grant them permission to take the Wizards’ Guild mission. They provision themselves for the journey, and set out in the morning for Borrington. They travel for two days, stopping to interrupt some deer-poachers, and spoil a bandit ambush, before crossing the Long River into the small, uninteresting (as advertised) town. They quickly find the Kicking Horse inn, and spy four halflings working the crowd there, recognizing them as the thieves from Kingsport they had apprehended some weeks before: Periwinkle Cotton, Merrin Leadfoot, and Hamwise Bilberry, led by Fredo Boggans, who possessed the artifact, an “awesome” magical ring greatly desired by the Overlord. The halflings recognize the Heroes, but have nowhere else to go, and agree to meet with them privately, at the Party’s “insistence.” In the halfling’s quarters, the Heroes announce that they are the help sent by Gestlin, and as they begin to discuss the next move, they are interrupted by a knock on the door. They hesitantly open the door, to reveal the presence of General Dûum, and the Overlord’s Death Knights.

Part II


General Dûum addresses the room, as if it were full of old acquaintances, and says, “Excellent. All four halfling burglars in one place. And with them, the new Heroes™. Survived my Lord’s welcome-to-adventuring trap, I see. He likes to nip his opposition in the bud—I’ve told him it tends to have a rather opposite effect, but well…makes my job more interesting. Now, where is Gestlin? I expected him to be here.” The leader of the Death Knights asks politely that the group give up the Overlord’s Ring, and seems pleased that they refuse, explaining that he has some new recruits to break in, and is looking forward to a good test-of-mettle from the adventuring party. Before departing, he adds that the Heroes have until sunup to get a head start running, and bids them a good evening.

The Party wastes no time, but sets out immediately for Elfwood, and trudges through the night, into the wee hours of the morning, until stumbling with exhaustion. After some much-needed rest, with no sign of their pursuers, they continue on in haste. At the end of the third day of travel, they camp at the ruin of an old watchtower, but are caught before dawn by a force of goblins and kobolds, who assault their campsite with spears and stones, but are quickly thrown back by the Heroes. For three more days, the Party travels westward. The Heroes learn that the halflings all suffer an obsession with the Ring; though Fredo carries it, the others continually try to take it, fighting amongst each other—the Heroes, however, resist its magical charms. Úzi occasionally spots what he believes to be warg-riders following at a great distance, and closing. As they reach the tall trees of Elfwood, the warg-riders overtake the Party, but they are rescued by an Elvish druid, Erunámo, who leads them to Caras Brannon.

At the elvish capital city, they are received at the court of Tar-Hrívfindel, King of the Elves; with him is Gestlin the Unpredictable, having arrived just before the Party, having been delayed (for a surprise wine-tasting). In the evening, having laid eyes on it, Bruno succumbs to the Ring’s temptation, and now greatly desires to have it. The Heroes take their ease for the night in luxurious elvish style, and are treated to a fine meal in the morning. Gestlin, also in attendance, tells them that the Circle of Wizards have agreed that the Artifact the halflings had nicked was indeed Nunya, the Ring of Awesome, long-lost prize of the Overlord, and dangerous to anyone who beholds it, or worse yet, touches it. He then informs them of a new opportunity (they’ve been “volunteered” for), to continue their escort of the halflings, deep into Nefaria, to destroy the Ring in the flames of Firemount. They go with the blessing and provision of the King of the Elves, and Gestlin would travel with them, to see it done. The Heroes reluctantly agree to the new mission. Along with a shiny new Quest Icon, they receive elvish provisions, and mounts for the journey, and are celebrated as they depart by all the elves as they pass.

As instructed, the new fellowship follows the Lonely Road to the southeast, toward the Green Mountains, for eight days and a half, watching over their shoulders for the inevitable forces of Dûum in pursuit. After some deliberation on the eighth day, they decide to take the Shortcut Mines through the mountains, which Úzi insists to be unoccupied, rather than risk the pass, or delays caused by going around. Upon locating the entrance, they send away their borrowed mounts, and enter the mines. They spend quite some time following along in the cold darkness, encountering nothing save some ill-favored gangle-creature that Gestlin mistook for a goblin, and incinerated. Shortly thereafter, they heard the distant, echoing drums of a warband, and rushed to find a suitable location to defend themselves—somewhere the enemy’s numbers would count for nothing—taking refuge behind the massive stone doors of some nearby dwarvish tomb. As the drums close in, the Heroes ready themselves for battle. Suddenly, the drums are silenced, and a knock on the door follows. The Party cautiously opens the door to reveal General Dûum, once again. Gestlin rolls up his sleeves, and with a determined look, says, “I’ll take care of this…”

Part III and IV


Gestlin the Unpredictable leaves the tomb and closes the stone doors behind him. Some quiet minutes later, Alain peeks out, and sees Gestlin and General Dûum next to Gestlin’s wagon, having tea and talking civilly—to no one’s real surprise. Later, Gestlin returns to the tomb and tells the Group that they have a few minutes to prepare for the assault.

A trumpet’s call announces the commencement of hostilities, and a wave of goblins and kobolds assaults the tomb—but through the entrance, their numbers count for nothing, as the Heroes intended. As the Party hacks down enemy after enemy, Gestlin demonstrates the mighty-yet-unpredictable (!) power of Smil-Blam; many enemy are slain by a massive fireball, and even the Party is momentarily blinded by a cloud of large butterflies before they are scattered by a gust of wind. The fighters push back the attackers, into the corridor, while the halflings and casters followed up. Once cleared, they make haste toward the mine’s exit, through a great maze of pillars, and are caught up by the forces of the enemy. Back-to-back, the Heroes cut down their foes, and again, Gestlin lays waste to the enemy with the Rod of Wonder, at one point creating a portal to one of the Hells underneath their attackers’ feet. As the Party clears space enough to flee, Bruno, still in the midst of his battle-rage, attempts to take the Ring from Fredo by force, but is pulled away, having merely pummeled Fredo to unconsciousness. Úzi hoists the unconscious halfling over his shoulder, and the Group heads for the chasm-bridge leading out of the mines. As they hurry across, the army at their backs falls suddenly silent, then scatters in terror, as a Pit-Fiend flies into the cavern to challenge the Heroes, having entered this Realm through the portal (that Gestlin absent-mindedly left open). Quickly, Gestlin encourages the others to continue to flee across the bridge, while he holds off the demon. Again, the command, “Smil-Blam!” is heard, but Gestlin, the demon, and a large portion of the bridge disappear in an instant; no one could know where they went, or to what effect.

As the sun lowers in the sky, the Heroes—now minus Gestlin—find themselves outside, at the foot of the Green Mountains. They see the forest in the distance wherein lies the Southern Outpost, and make haste toward it, lest they be caught out after nightfall by the army that is undoubtedly still in pursuit. They are met at the forest by the forces of the Elves there, led by Princess Lassûr, the granddaughter of the elvish King. She demonstrates her quality by, having handled the Ring, resisting its charms. During the night, the halflings make an attempt to flee, but are caught by the elves and returned. In the morning, Lassûr guides the Group to the nearby Long River, providing them with a couple of boats, and instructing them to follow it into Nefaria.

The Heroes take to the boats, and follow the river for two days, all the while, spotting enemy movement amongst the trees along its banks. At the second day’s halt, at a waterfall, they prepare to camp, but are caught up by their pursuers. They take their defense at a nearby ruin, and beat back waves of hobgoblins before a trump sounds, calling them to cease. The army parts to allow General Dûum and his Death Knights through, and Dûum again demands the Ring, but the halflings have escaped in the fighting. After some awkward silence, the halflings are returned by some of Dûum’s hobgoblins, and he takes the Ring from Fredo…then unceremoniously stuffs it back into Fredo’s pockets, declaring it a fake. To the air, he exclaims, “Well-played, Wizards. Well-played…,” and then he and his army marches away, with nothing more said.

Afterward, the Heroes look around, and find that the halflings are missing, yet again, and this time, so are the boats…

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Adventure 4: “The Weather Underground”

GM: Nate

Summary
The PC’s begin staring shocked at the rubble of what was just previously the front of Iellwen Tannaril’s home after an explosion went off beside them. Suddenly other explosions are heard going off around them and guard whistles seem to be everywhere. The PC’s are quickly seized by the guards (despite protests) and taken for holding and questioning. The doppelganger threat has made itself readily apparent and the guards are unwilling to believe that the PC’s are who they say they are until a Gem of True Seeing is brought and the PC’s “pass the test.” At about the same time Mrak barges in and orders the PC’s home, but as the PC’s leave they can hear Mrak laying into the interrogators for their incompetence. The PC’s help put out a few fires around on their way home and notice the entire city is now under martial law.

As the PC’s report to guard duty they are roped into investigating the Undercity, as that is where they had told Mrak and Teffer they had heard weird noises and an initial investigation party has failed to return. While exploring, the PC’s find Dretch laying down arcane nets to channel the fear being generated into the city in order to summon Fihryr. A long and brutal battle ensues with the PC’s dispatching over 10 dretch, three Abyssal Maws, and 2 Fihryrs. They report their findings to Mrak who tells them they’ve had similar reports from other areas but it seems that the tide has turned and the Undercity has been relatively cleaned out. Grateful for all the PC’s have done, Mrak tells them they have been pushed to the front of the list for military training beginning tomorrow.

After an appropriate amount of time for training the PC’s are roped into a hazing ritual involving a Rust Monster who ruins a good portion of their equipment. This is quickly remedied as their gear is replaced with new, military grade equipment, symbolizing their official entry into the Royal Army. After a wild night of fun, the PC’s are awoken by Teffer who has Bruno Silverdome in the ‘drunk tank’ for disturbing the peace. The PC’s hesitantly admit they know him and he is released into their custody. Around the same time, Faedarien Galatanrin, a royal runner tells the PC’s they have been summoned by the King. The PC’s are lined up and marched outside only to step into a teleportation circle, where in the blackness they only hear an ominous laugh. Another trap.

Public NPCs

  • Faedarien Galatanrin (Unknown): A foppish elf who seems to despise Bruno and leads the PC’s into a trap?

New Places

  • The Undercity: The ruins that the upper district of Kingsport was built on.
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