Sunday, July 10, 2011

Session 3

Back in Wildsgate the party are hailed as heroes! People greet them on the street, they get "special" deals when they purchase goods, women want their babies kissed... Heck, women themselves want kissed.

Especially a young lady named Lissa. She's very forward in her desires, and makes it known that she'd very much like to "hook up" with any of the brave adventurers. The gallant elf Meloran is of particular interest to the stricken daughter of the owner of the Gem Store. But any of them would do... Yet none of the adventurers succumb, even though she's striking.

After their short foray in town, gathering information and restocking supplies, the group heads back to the Foehammer Spires, intent on finding the lost treasure of Zamuk the Swift in the dwarven mines. They make their way up the Saerdre river, looking for a natural way to make their way across. As they approach though the party determines that remaining on this side and penetrating the mines through the statue is likely the best course of action.

One of the first things that they notice as the day ends and their destination grows neigh, the sky is bereft of bats. The roar of the waterfall still remains of course, but the flittering of wings filling the night sky is absent. Where are the bats?

It occurs to the group that the goblins were serious when they mentioned that they were intent on moving...that this area was too "dangerous". And it is well known to every adventurer, when one alpha creature moves out, another moves in to fill the vacuum. And in this case the creature moving in is a draco lizard.

A mating pair is encountered high up in the abandoned tunnels. They provide a brief challenge before they are slain, but the monstrous lizards show just how quickly things change in the wilderness. It's a vibrant lesson in nature's economy.

Once the group carefully spans the rope bridges, (which by the way will weather quickly now that there are no keepers) they enter the cavern holding the strange demonic statue "Malraugin" and search for the door that they know is there, leading back deeper into the mountain.

Tevalon is an old hand at this by now, and quickly locates the secret catch, and "click" the door swings open again exposing the bare stone chamber and the dripping hallway. Lighting torches, the group, led by Rhovar, carefully makes their way into the tunnels below the river. It is quite nerve wracking hearing the rushing water just above one's head, but the hearty adventurers deal.

Carefully tapping the floor they find proceed to the corner and notice the very beautiful, if odd, stonework carved by the Foehammer dwarves. Flickering torchlight reveals flowstone, vines, strange corners, rounded edges and features that defy depth perception. Making for very strenuous exploration, they nevertheless find a door leading to the west, and decide to try that first, before proceeding down the hallway to the west (Which obviously leads directly below the river and behind the waterfall).

Opening is no mean feat, as it seems that it might be trapped, but the keen eyed elf and knowledgeable thief eventually figure it out. It swings wide on silent hinges to reveal more hallway winding further to the west. Proceeding that direction, they find a grate sunk into the floor, directly in front of another beautifully carven set of stone doors.

Entering a triangular room with a very ornately decorated set of stone doors flanked by a low set of braziers, the group decides to try their luck here. The odd doors have no handles, but rather keyholes in all four corners... Strange indeed.

Tevalon of course is immediately suspect and checks the door very carefully for traps, and sure enough, it is most certainly trapped. But as he is doing this, the elf Meloran spies a secret portal to the north after Gregory lights the braziers.

Meanwhile, Rohvar has tripped one of the traps on purpose, just to see what might lie in store for them. A pit opens in front of the door, at the bottom lie scattered bones, white in the reflected light... He rappels down and in his careful search is revealed that there is more here than meets the eye. Strange sliding doors are meant to open up, disgorging...something. The bones down here are strangely picked clean. A clue? Perhaps.

Opening the secret door is again a study in the stone wizardry of the ancient dwarves...but it yields its secrets nevertheless. Another hallway, carven slightly different from the rest, showing dwarves battling giants, goblins, orcs and other unknown creatures, stretches to the north terminating in steps leading down to a corner turning west.

Suspecting yet more trickery, the group very carefully makes their way down the stairs and finds that indeed, there is a pressure plate of some sort on the landing at the corner. Here the stairs lead yet further down to what appears to be a dead end.

Tevalon notices that there is a strange, well-hidden seam in the ceiling above his head near the top of the stairs and at the bottom, in the dead end, lies yet another trap door in the floor. And this trap door, after very careful examination, reveals rounded corners of some type...Why? Ah these dwarves were crafty creatures, not wont to give up their secrets easily.

Pondering the strange clues, the group comes up with the theory that the seams split apart, dislodging some type of ball that would roll down the stairs and thereby trapping whomever falls into the pit at the bottom. Develish in its cunning!

But what do all of these traps protect? Are they here simply to ensnare and confound the unwary? Or is there something here that has yet to be found? These dwarves were indeed vexing.

Finding nothing more of interest, and not willing to brave the door w/out the keys, the group moves on and explores the tunnel leading to the east. The sound of rushing water just above their heads is disconcerting, but they move forward to find yet another dead end!

Tevalon quickly finds a trap door in the ceiling though and also, a pressure plate just below it! Circumnavigating the pressure plate, he climbs up to the door in the ceiling only to realize that there is water leaking from around the seams. Is this somehow yet another trap?

The mage quickly calculates that the water seeping through is not nearly of the volume to indicate that there is much above it...and the sound of the river itself seems to be above and behind them at this location. So the party gives it a go and opens it.

As it rotates to the side with much effort, it dislodges quite a bit of water, but not enough to cause consternation. The room above is some type of religious room by all indications, but to whom? Obviously not to any known dwarven deity.

A chorus of croaking accompanies the party as they ascend into strangely disconcerting room. Candles burn in niches all around the room, providing an eery illumination, and the bones lying strewn around the odd plinth that the party moved to enter the room indicate that nefarious deeds have been perpetrated here.

But this was obviously not the original intent of the room. The pillars to each side show dwarves carved out of the stone, and the altar, although covered in a greenish cloth reveals dwarven script running all around. On top are 4 holes, for keys apparently. And around each of these are four symbols indicating, gold, bloodstone, an anvil and ruby.

Montcrief deciphers the writing which reveal 4 riddles.

    "When I am filled,
    I can point the way;
    When I am empty,
    Nothing moves me.
    I have two skins,
    One without and one within."
    --(Which indicated a glove. Wherein the group finds a key with a nugget of gold adorning it, in a pair of stone gloves upon the belt of one of the pillar dwarves. Also upon the same dwarf's hand is a steel ring.) 

    "I have many feathers to help me fly.
    I have a body and head, but I’m not alive.
    It is your strength which determines how far I go.
    You can hold me in your hand, but I’m never thrown."
    --(Indicating an arrow possibly...But this has yet to lead to the "key".)

    "I'm the part of the bird that's not in the sky. I can swim in the ocean and yet remain dry."
    --(A shadow maybe? But again, this has yet to lead to a "key".)

    "Clad in armor, never clinking, always moving, never drinking."
    --(A fish possibly? Still, no key.)

    As the group tries to decipher these clues they explore the large set of double doors in the southern portion of the room while keeping an eye on the stairs leading up to the east.

    The doors seem to lead outside, and are barred at the moment. And just as attention is directed to the stairs, the sound of feet slapping on the stone reverberate above the sounds of the croaking frogs.

    Emerging from the darkness is a group of "men" with the distinctive pallor and odd hopping gate of frogs! A croaking language erupts from their outsized throats as they charge into the room... Battle is joined.

    The melee is furious, but quick as the very odd frog-men fall it is the noise from the confrontation that is of concern. A pall lies over the field of battle and a sense of urgency is now upon the group...

    And no sooner than they've checked the bodies of the frog-featured invaders another threat emerges from the gloom in the east. These are shambling zombies though. The creatures accompanied by some sort of larger, ogre-sized undead, move inexorably into the room and again, in the span of minutes, another fight erupts.

    But yet again, the party proves victorious...but not before one of their own falls, Paige the archer succumbs to the mighty blows of the undead. She is "buried" w/out much pomp or circumstance in the tunnel below the altar. And Tevalon, trying to provide a sense of decorum, closes the tunnel below as he slides the altar back into place w/ a noticeable "click".

    Seems that there is but one way to go now if they are to continue searching for the famed treasure.

    Down the eastern hallways the party explores, down one "lift" through yet another secret door, and up another lift, they end up in a long unused hallway strewn with columns. North and south, the wide edifice has two other exits besides the one that they've entered, and as they advance into the room they detect faint motion on the edges of the flickering torchlight.

    "Ghosts" or shades of the ancient dwarves seem to pass through this room, and no amount of interaction will make them take notice of the living. The double doors on the western wall are made of brass and even from many feet away, they seem to radiate heat. While the door to the south is of stone, as most are in this demesne. 

    It is the southern door that attracts the group and they move to go through, opening it up and revealing a trophy room of sorts. Circling the room are pedestals, upon which sit broken dwarven relics of old. A crown, a hammer, a sword (dwarven urgosh), a tooth of some sort, a stone tablet and what appears to be some type of a cracked egg, mottled blue and white.

    In the rear of the room lies a low stone plinth and upon this lies what at first appears to be a dragon carved from stone.... But in fact, it is indeed a living, breathing dragon! Young and quite hungry to be sure, but a dragon nonetheless!

    It's grey skin covered in dust barely hides the ribs poking through from starvation, but rather than attack it recognizes the possibility of release and parlays with the adventurers. Stating that it's name is Sissrith, the creature tells them that it had flown into these caverns many many years ago, just after the dwarves had left, in search of food and possibly some treasure, only to be trapped in a cave in.

    He will agree to let the party leave w/out a fight, and w/ any item or items that they wish to take with them IF they will agree to help him escape the shades in the room beyond, which he says have never allowed him to exit.

    Sounding like the best deal available at the moment, the party agrees and picking up some of the artifacts in the room, find that the helmet allows them passage through the now swarming shades. Apparently the afore mentioned dwarven shades take notice when certain places are entered! And protect this area with vehemence.

    After much experimentation it seems that it is the crown that keeps the shadow creatures at bay...and Sissrith takes advantage and flees with alacrity. But now that they have discovered a safe way through, the party explores the last of the doors, the brass portals that seem to generate so much heat.

    Opening them, Rohvar is blasted with the intensity of a working forge. He moves in and makes the acquaintance of the master of the forge, one Gorlock Flamebrother, a legendary salamander from the deeps of the elemental plane of fire. At first the fighter fears for his life, but it turns out that like Sissrith, Gorlock is trapped here as well. 

    If the adventurers can determine a way in which to quench the forge, he will be set free, and doing such, he would then offer a weapon to each of his saviors. And these weapons! It is obvious that he has spent decades upon decades forging and re-forging each in search of perfection. But he is now overjoyed at seeing some of the broken trophies, for these are new items with which to occupy his time. And for now, that is all he has. He takes the hammer and urgosh and bids the party goodbye.

    Making their way back north the party adjourns to the room with the double doors to the outside in order to take a well deserved rest....

    And this is where we end.

    For now.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011


    Nazost the Scrivener is overjoyed...which is not his natural state, being a rather sour and bent old man. The items that he takes the most interest in are the urn, the suit of armor and the crossbow, as well as the copied sigils from around the base of the statue. He pays full price for the armor and crossbow (unless of course one of the characters would like to hold onto either one of course...).

    He invites you into his rather small room in the Tower of the Watch on the far western side of the castle. A spartan cot with tattered and threadbare blankets occupies one corner while the rest of the room is cluttered with objects both arcane in nature as well as martial. Stones with runes lie stacked in a corner next to a small brass brazier banked with glowing coals.

    What appears to be a small writing desk is covered in papers, scrolls and books. It is here that Nazost turns to when studying the sigils that you have supplied him. Rifling through papers, things scattering to the floor as if in a minor gale, he finally finds what he seems to be looking for; A black bound book. Small in size and apparently quite old, it is written in a spidery hand, the letters seeming to move when not looked at straight on...

    "Ho! It is as I thought...See this here?" he indicates by pointing to series of sigils, "Seems that our friends the dwarves made some bargains with a dark power indeed! Their need must have been great. Or maybe it was their greed? I know not." He shakes his head and looks up at you, hair in a disarray, "Malraugin." he whispers. "Do not say this too loudly, for it might attract attention of the sort that you will not appreciate. I'm quite sure."

    He was a powerful demon of the darkest sort. According to Keleb Tharna, the author of this book, he was a noble, but in disfavor at the time, and willing to make deals of any sort to curry it back. And this is why he was found here, on our mortal realm. The dwarves were in a powerful need I imagine and somehow found his true name. The rest is a mystery."

    He moves over to his bed and sits down, looking at the crossbow lying in his lap. "Somewhere along the line they not only made a bargain, but started worshiping this chaotic power. Most unusual for dwarves you know. They're a rather stoic race that is loathe to break from tradition. Like I said, their need must have been great."

    "This here," he says, pointing at the paper you've given him "is a prayer of sorts. It speaks of his power over their enemies and the blood that they owe him. I'd guess sacrifices of some sort naturally. But beyond that, I'm no demonologist. And I can't even guess."

    Eyes scanning the armor in the corner, he mumbles something about a prince, and then says "You know though, there is a demonologist in Botkinburg, not three days journey from here. He might be able to aid you where I can not. IF it's of any more interest that is. Maybe, when you are done, you might make a journey for me? I would pay of course. This is of great interest to me. I'm so close, yet this entity is quite obviously central to the dwarves demise. And I must know more. Ah, but I must be patient...I've been so for quite a long time now. A little longer will not hurt me. No?"

    With that he gets up from the bed accompanied by the popping of joints and a sigh.."Ah, these old bones. I can't thank you enough you know. Oh! and do you have maps of the dwarven ruins? I'll pay for those too if you have any."

    Thanking you again, he seems finished. All the energy having drained from him like sand from a sieve. "I will see you again. You are heroes you know. All the castle is talking about it. The prisoners that you have freed are quite the topic. Returning is quite a feat in and of itself, but what you've done so far is commendable."

    Shuffling to the door he opens it and shows you out, "Come again, please. I'll have more energy once I get my rest. Thank you." And with that, he closes the portal with a sigh.

    Cut Scene: Tevalon rolls over in his sleep...For some reason it has been slippery this evening, like trying to capture a silverfish with bare hands. He sits up slowly as a sound teases him. Just on the edge of his perception, it's the rapid fluttering of wings...lots of them.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Sunday's Game (5-22) Part Two

    Making their way back across the swaying, mist-covered bridge w/out mishap. The group rallies to navigate around the side of the spire, towards the large wooden platform above the myriad gobbo holes. From which they've witnessed the creatures issue forth like spiders from a bloated body.

    This bridge is longer than the first, and proves a little more troublesome. Yet no one falls to their doom. Quickly making their way up onto the platform, so as not to be noticed by any stray goblin wandering out from their hole, they find it abandoned in the daylight.

    On the edges though they find large iron rings and leather straps stationed around the perimeter. Probably some type of "hitching post" for bats. The gouges and scratches prove that this is quite likely. Located about 30 or so feet above the platform are a series of large cave mouths.

    There are no handholds to these, but that doesn't prove an issue as Tevalon easily scales upwards in order peer above the lip of the closest cave. Inside he can dimly perceive that there are large forms hanging from the ceiling. The strong odor of ammonia assaults his senses as well...Bats! And large ones at that. So now they know where the mounts reside.

    Another bridge leads off to a spire further to the east. It is decided that this will be the next destination. Again the swaying goblin architecture doesn't prove much of an obstacle (decent rolls combined w/ good tactics).

    As they make their way across though the notice through the rising mist that there's yet another bridge rising from the back of the spire their heading towards to a dimly seen set of stairs near the back of the spire they had just vacated.

    The next set of caverns prove to be another bat aerie as well as some type of massive still manned by a few goblin "technicians". One is intelligent enough to speak a pidgin common. They explain to him that they're delivering a message to Azubal and also show him the statue of the bat-demon. The goblin's eyes grow wide as he explains that this is important to Azubal.

    They leave the goblin w/ a few gold pieces for his silence and make their way towards the spire and Azubal. As they pass through the last room they discover 12 prisoners shackled to the walls. Weak and somehow paralyzed, the 10 humans and 2 elves (who are not paralyzed...) are non-communicative. And other than their strange wounds, which would indicate that they had been bled, no more information can be gleaned from these poor souls.

    Rohvar leads the way again, and finds a door atop the stairs. A goblin door by any standard, but sturdy enough to bar easy entry. After the group has formed up on the stairs Rohvar kicks the flimsy door in and they charge into the gloom...

    Azubal, a bat-winged enormous goblinoid, lays strewn across a stone throne as the intruders burst upon the scene. He leaps up, says a word in goblin and two hurtling shapes detach themselves from the darkness and are upon Rohvar immediately. These strange, scaled beasts resemble low, powerful wolves with long snouts and too many teeth. One takes Rohvar to the ground and nearly takes his throat out, but the cagey fighter gets his shield up just in time. It shatters....but the warrior is safe.

    Azubal leaps into the fray with his cold-iron flail whining though the air... Gregory charges into the room and confronts the fiend, while Meloran plies his bow from near the doorway. Tevalon creeps around the perimeter in the hopes that the shadows will conceal him enough to strike w/out being seen.

    Amidst the chaos of melee, the wizard Montcrief finger wags and lets fly a sleep spell! It strikes true and the bat winged creature falls to the ground...snoozing and dreaming of sanguine sacrifices.

    The dog-like creatures go down quickly under the ministrations of Gregory and Rohvar. Azubal's throat is slit... for it is better to kill a creature such as this than it is to keep it alive to whisper its lies and poison. The chamber is searched and the brown stained stone bowl is obvious the receptacle in which the blood from the captives had been kept. Disgusting.

    With the death of Azubal deals are struck with the brewer goblin. Although he claims that it is indeed much too dangerous for the clan to remain any longer. Further questioning reveals that these goblins have been here for ages...and Azubal, has been at their helm the entire time. Montcrief comes up with the idea that perhaps these are the dwarves! And that they've never left...but have somehow changed. Maybe the demon is somehow behind this?

    Loot is traded to the goblins in order to get the 12 prisoners back to safety.

    The next order of business is the treasure that the shaman has promised upon the death of Azubal. Armed w/ the strange holy symbol that was just recently about the neck of the Azubal himself, Rohvar descends by rope into the dank, dark, dripping cavern. Water laps at his feat and a fetid miasma rises in the air...but there is no sign of a shadowy ghost.

    His armor left above, he slips into the water to make his way to the island. His only company, a bobbing, bloated corpse.

    Arriving safely at the island he realizes that the "chest" is actually some type of stone coffin. About this time Gregory has descended as well and is swimming strongly towards the island. Meloran hangs by a rope and covers the group w/ his bow.

    Priest and warrior strain to move the lid, and do so...A shadowy form lunges forth and misses Rohvar by a hair's breadth. Gregory attempts to turn the creature with the power of Celestian, to no avail. It continues its assault.

    Rohvar strikes it but realizes that his weapon is doing no good. So he takes his torch and lays into the ephemeral creature to good effect. It seems to hurt the strange nether-being as it shrieks a silent scream. Again and again he strikes...and brings the horrid thing low.

    Inside the sarcophagus lies a package all wound up in oilcloth, lying beneath a skeleton of some type of either dwarf or goblin. It is hard to tell.... Disgorging a couple of fine swords, a couple of bags of gold pieces as well as a small sack of bloodstones, the loot seems strange. And questions are pondered, but no answers are easily found.


    Tevalon has decided that it might be a decent opportunity in which to liberate those two red gems from that horrid statue. He climbs up and pries the first loose. And it explodes into a cloud of ferocious bats who immediately attack the rogue. He somehow makes it through by plying his torch as well, but not before becoming bloodied....the gem clinks to the ground (Torches won the day boys!)

    Shaking his head, he sits at the base of the statue peering at his newly purloined prize! Drinking wine and looking to his wounds, the thief thinks of the sister to this gem, still up in the statues ugly head. Not known for shirking his duties (or his wisdom for that matter), he remounts the statue and looks for a trap...(rolls a 10%) and somehow, he miraculously finds one. Olidamara must certainly be smiling upon him.

    Making as sign against ill luck, and saying a quick appeasement to Ralishaz, he pulls the tooth back and a click resounds from the throat of the statue. Could that have done it? Tevalon pries the eye loose...closing his in anticipation. It worked! A quick look inside the mouth assures the thief that there is nothing else of interest.

    By this time Meloran has arrived, and the elf, hearing the click...climbs up and takes a look into the mouth. His keen eyesight, aided by his dark vision allows him to notice a slim crack in the back of the mouth. He pushes and a small 3' tall door swings open, revealing a short hallway that opens into some type of small room.

    Wherein the group finds yet more loot. This though looks as if it hasn't been touched in aeons. Probably since the time of the dwarves. A dwarven suite of plate mail, decorated w/ a bat motif, a crossbow and an urn are carefully arranged against the wall. Another stone door is located on the other side of the room. Opening it shows a tunnel running north into darkness, but also the sound of running water can clearly be heard hear.

    Realizing that their rations are failing the group opts to leave this door be and they make plans to leave the Spires for the safety of the Keep's walls. Loading their winnings upon their donkeys, they make their way back along the game path.

    Half way their, Clifford leaves the trail in order to go to the washroom. He comes running back claiming that he's found something in the thick woods, just off the trail. A quick reconnaissance reveals an abandoned village. Huts still stand, but there are obviously no signs of inhabitants. Again though, the grumbling in their stomachs necessitates they continue their journey home.

    The group makes the Keep just before night fall.

    And this is where we stopped.

    Next up: Treasure List and some random facts / observations.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Sunday's Game (5-22) Part One

    Open where we closed...

    Night is falling in the Foehammers, and this is the first the group has spent in these storied peaks. The climb through the goblin tunnels has gained them significant elevation, as evidenced by the view out the cave mouth. Curiosity piqued by the "finished" chamber glimpsed right before the light failed, the group settles down to a quick supper.

    While eating they work out the night guard rotation, and afterwards they polish and sharpen weapons while the spell casters study books, scrolls and write their observations. As it gets darker though, it's evident that bats congregate here in great numbers...and not just the giant variety, for thousands fill the sky. Their flapping wings create a cacophony that can be heard even above the mighty falls below.

    During the night, a band of goblins, dressed for bat riding stumble into the cave. But the group has heard them, and are ready. Hiding behind what meager furniture and items are left in the cave, the group springs out and surprises the gobs. A very brief fight breaks out and the grey-skinned adversaries are taken down quickly.

    It is obvious that these are unlike any that the party has so far confronted. Armed with strange barbed javelins, small morning stars and bat-riding gear, it's obvious who they are; Bat Riders. The only meaningful loot purloined from the five is a strange winged statue...demonic? Maybe. Bat-like? Definitely!

    Keeping an ear open for any more intruders, the watch continues on into the mist-filled evening.

    Morning dawns and the bats have dispersed, back to the multitude of caves covering the steep slopes of the Foehammer Spires. Study, prayer and quiet contemplation fill the morning as the group prepares for an assault on the strange room with the "finished" walls.

    It is decided that Rohvar shall be first. If the bridge is strong enough to hold the largest of the group then it's obviously safe enough for the rest. One by one the party starts across. Rohgar leads the way, and once he's won the opposite side, he starts to hammer a piton into the stone in order to secure the rope around his waist.

    As he's doing this, Gregory makes the other side without mishap, and takes up guard just at the entrance to the shorn chamber. It appears is if a quake has opened up this chamber to the outdoors and the gobbos have built a bridge across. While trying to discern the shadowed features of the large chamber, a pair of barbed javelins sail forth out of the darkness.

    The first glances harmlessly off the priest's armor, but the second strikes true, and skewers Gregory in the chest. Immediately a tugging is felt on the other end of the rope...and it only gets more insistent.

    Quickly, the rest of the party makes their way across the swaying, rickety goblin bridge in order to join the fray. But not before Gregory is so rudely pulled further into the darkened chamber. As the mighty priest strains against both the pain as well as the inevitable journey...the javelin rips free, causing yet more damage to the already weakened cleric.

    Rohvar nimbly jumps in front of Gregory and charges into the fray. Not really knowing what he's "getting into", he comes face to face with two of the largest goblins yet encountered. In fact, they're so unlike what they've seen before, that Rohvar actually mistakes the silhouettes for dwarves, so stocky and large are their forms!

    Blows are traded as Meloran plies his bow from the entrance, aided by his elvish vision. Soon the two strange assailants are dead at their feet. The only serious injury is the cleric...and serious it is. Strength flagging, the priest casts his only healing spell in order to regain his strength. And still, he needs more time...He sits breathing hard, nursing his wounds as he nurses a skin of strong Anduvoran Wine.

    As Sawyer is crossing the bridge, a plank breaks free and the warrior gets hopelessly tangled in the ropes. Clifford is of no use, yelling northern obscenities that are drowned out by the roar of the falls. Tevalon takes the situation in hand and carefully makes his way out to help the hapless Sawyer out. He cuts him free...

    Just at this time Gregory notices a group of 4 goblins making their way along one of the walkways, quietly sneaking up on the unsuspecting Clifford. Meloran fires an arrow across the ravine and miraculously skewers one! Clifford, follows the flight of the arrow and his eyes widen in surprise.

    Tevalon and Sawyer quickly cross the intervening space and join the fray with the bellowing Clifford. With Meloran's help they take three out very quickly while the fourth turns tail and runs for the safety of the platform and the goblin caves riddling the walls below it.

    Meloran takes careful aim and lets fly. His arrow strikes true and the goblin tumbles into the misty abyss soundlessly.

    As the priest is slowly recovering from the fight, the rest of the group checks out the chamber. Dominated on one end by a massive, 20 foot tall statue of some type of winged demon. Pulling the smaller statue out of his bag, Meloran compares the two. There is some type of erie similarity.

    Strange dwarven script runs around the base of the statue, while two very large rubies act as eyes. Tempting... but the group agrees, they look decidedly dangerous.

    The rest of the room has rubble covering the floor, as if whatever ripped the cave open also shook the walls apart. And lying in that rubble are the dead bodies of some very strange proto-humans. Misshapen and odd looking, these poor creatures were beat upon ceaselessly until dead. A decidedly strange way to sacrifice, but indeed, that is what appears to have been the purpose. As the two guards were wearing cestus (cesti?).

    Spread throughout the room, in the rubble of the floor, are found many gold and silver pieces...some other kind of offering perhaps? Who knows. Montcrief recognizes the statue as indeed being some type of demonic (rather than devil) creature....

    Montcrief jots down the script running around the base of the statue while the group finishes up the search. It is soon time to leave.

    More later...

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Sunday's Game (3-17)

    I've jotted down a few notes on our game today in order to keep things straight. If I've missed anything or incorrectly logged them, please make a comment and I'll fix it. My observations on the game are near the end.

    We open w/ the group congregating at the funeral of the young ex-adventurer Aldred of the Azure Legion. While Father Motter is giving the service the gate is attacked by 5 skeletons...yes Rohvar, the same 5 that followed you and Gregory from the barrow of Therex. It is short lived but two of the guards are taken down in the melee.

    Meanwhile Gregory is sick in bed, unable to rise and attend the services.

    Father Motter rushes to the gate to help and the adventurers follow suit. While there they confirm that the skeletons are indeed the same ones who followed them the previous night. They also ask the father to take a look at their sick comrade, Gregory, as well as the hammer recovered from the barrow.

    While he knows nothing about the hammer, he does suggest going to the smith, he brings Gregory to the chapel for aid. And for a small donation of 60 sp, he administers a potion that seems to help him out tremendously. The Father announces that Gregory should be on his feet by tomorrow morning.

    Meanwhile, the smith takes a look at the hammer and guesses that it is indeed from this area, due to the familiar, yet incomprehensible, writing on the weapon. He says that it's well balanced but doesn't appear as a serviceable weapon. It is cold-wrought iron, which is a very difficult thing to do, so he imagines that it's made to slay Fae creatures. Is is special beyond that though? It is hard to say.

    The Broken Manacles, better known as the store, is the next stop and there the group loads up on supplies. Food, wine, arrows, etc.

    Next they speak to Nazost the Scrivener...for he's rumored to be a minor local historian, and he might know something about the Foehammer Spires. A few wines loosens the old man's tongue and he says that the dwarves disappeared about the same time the original Baron Wulfrun started carving out his part of the world.

    An internecine war between brothers seems to be the cause of the downfall...along w/ a mysterious alliance that didn't work out the way it was supposed to. Either way, the dwarves of the Foehammers were never heard from again. He also said that they were very clever stone masons as well as insanely greedy, so beware!

    As far as Zamuk, the thief, was concerned...All Nazost knew was that something important to the Wulfrun family was taken, and never recovered. Where it finally came to rest, no one is quite sure. At the end of their conversation though, the Scrivener offers to purchase any maps or dwarven related artifacts / items from the Foehammer mines.

    Not much later, Tevalon stumbles across some type of hidden thieve's shrine behind the store. It is to the thief Zamuk, who's revered as a local "hero" of types. He's the guy who got away with it. But a shrine to a guy who stole from the Wulfrun's IN the castle itself?!? Odd. Yet Tevalon drops an offering in the tin cup. Who knows? A little luck might come in handy actually.

    A little later that evening, before the group retires, they scour the "local talent" in the hopes of hiring some more muscle for the trip to the Foehammers. A sour countenanced man named Sawyer (who reputedly was a smuggler, cattle rustler, etc.) hires on enthusiastically after being recently unemployed by a traveling merchant. And Paige, a young woman, who's not quite as certain of the party's destination, hires on as well. Each makes a deal for 5 gp / week and all supplies paid for by the employer.

    The next morning the group is off early to cross the Saedre river at the ford. Gregory is feeling nearly 100% and everyone is eager to do some exploring of the fabled wilderness to the north. That afternoon Meloran the Elf notices a flying shape take wing from the trees ahead...It circles them a few times at elevation and then wings quickly north towards the spires. This isn't the first time he's seen these winged creatures, he spied three of them the previous evening at sunset. But this time he distinctly noticed a rider!

    Fording the wide Saedre isn't difficult, but it does take patience. Apparently there used to be some sort of a dwarven bridge here long ago, but it has collapsed, leaving only the pillars at each end. Once the far shore is won, the group takes to the trail, and the forest.

    The trail leads north along the smaller river that comes out of the Foehammers, diving in and out of the deep woods while rising slowly in elevation. Eventually the traveling becomes a little more difficult as the group approaches the escarpment and the spires themselves. As they move closer the sound of a mighty waterfall, cascading over the 300' high escarpment, announces their arrival.

    Caves litter the spires up ahead as the trail splits in many directions. Thin tendrils of smoke coil out towards the sky, but there is no other obvious sign of life. Still, these entrances do not look like something any reasonable dwarf might construct.

    Exploring one of the lower caves, the group finds a suitable retreat, should they need one. Afterwards they move back onto the main trail leading up the spires and enter the first cave entrance in the hopes of ambushing the "goblins".

    Two guards, who had apparently been paying attention, were observing the group from a high perch in the cavern wall. After determining that they were not "goblins" the creatures slink back into the dark to warn their comrades. There are two exits (not counting the one just entered) from the room: Stairs leading up to the west or the niche / "window" leading to the north.

    Opting for the road less traveled, they send the thief Tevalon up as a scout. He plants a rope and the rest follow post haste. Meloran, using his acute vision, notices quite a lot of scuttling about to the left and looses an arrow, knocking one of the small shapes to the ground w/ a crash. All of the movement stops.

    And resumes with a rush of four strange stone-like creatures of small stature come screaming out from around the corner. They leap to attack Rohvar and Clifford immediately while Gregory picks up a straggler. The fight is joined.

    Beyond the large flaming ball that the "goblins" try trapping the party in the room with, there is not much to trip them up. The fight goes quickly and the remaining two retreat to the north, beyond a large wall hanging.

    Montcrief and Sawyer move to check it out, but not before a wizened "goblin" casts a spell and puts most of the party to sleep! Two goblins quickly pull Gregory in through the wall hanging towards the sitting shaman.

    As Sawyer and Montcrief move through in pursuit, the hanging catches fire from the torch in Sawyer's hand. Now there is effectively a flaming wall splitting the party. But it appears that the shaman is not interested in fighting as he parleys w/ the magic user.

    Homok, the shaman, will agree to split "his" treasure with the group if they slay the leader of the "bat people", Azubal. Sure...why not?

    He tells them that his treasure lies below them, through the well entrance. The nimble elf climbs down and is promptly attacked by a deadly shadow creature! He scrambles back up, but not before quickly glimpsing a spit of dry land to the north in the watery room, and on it lies some type of large oblong chest! That must be the treasure Homok mentioned.

    Well, it's not an easy thing to obtain apparently, and might wait till later. So the group heads up the stairs towards Azubal. They emerge in a guard post and immediately take care of the two guards. Gregory knocks one they have a captive now!

    Out the other exit to this room they spy light and looking out they see a series of wooden planks surrounding cave mouths. Hooking all of this together they see swinging rope bridges. By now the light is falling towards evening...but before it fades completely they notice that through the opening in the spire to the north west they can view finished walls! Not likely carved by goblins.

    And this is where we ended it.

    1. My pacing was slow. I apologize. I was trying to get a feel for how fast you guys move as a group. Now I see that you're used to a bit more upbeat game. I'm definitely going to pick this up for next session.
    2. You guys haven't really been challenged yet. Don't fret. In older school games you'll experience the gamut of challenges. You'll mow over certain things while completely getting in too deep w/ others. It's not linear, and you have to remember that. You absolutely might come across something that'll be a bit too nasty to take on head to head in the standard way. Don't forget fire and holy water. (Although I don't think you guys picked up any of that while in town...)
    3. In this version of D&D it's up to you guys to get creative w/ your strategies while in battle. If you feel like trying something new and different, there's no list of feats and / or skills. Just ask and we'll figure it out. Gregory's shoulder and Meloran's boot to the head are two examples of non-standard attacks. BTW, I'm not saying you're not creative, it'll take some getting used to though. You don't have rules as a script telling you what's available, you'll have to come up w/ that on your own.
    4. One of the rules I forgot to mention was the two-weapon fighting rule. If you have a dexterity above a 13 you can fight w/ a weapon in each hand. You roll once to hit and then two dice for damage, rolling the highest damage die type and taking the highest of the two rolls. For example, a thief fighting w/  dagger (d4) and a short sword (d6), rolls one to hit roll and then two d6, taking the highest of the two rolls.
    5. I was trying battle w/ out using the "order of battle", but if you like using it better, we can certainly do that.
      1. Initiative
      2. Morale
      3. Movement
      4. Missile fire
      5. Magic
      6. Melee
      7. Surrenders and retreats
    6. You guys are awesome players. Thanks again for letting me DM for you, I certainly had fun and am looking forward to the next session.

    60 XP / character

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Intro to Sunday's Game

    Welcome to B/X Dungeons and Dragons! I'm excited to have the opportunity to run the game that introduced me to this wonderful hobby for a new group of victims players. If you've never played a version that didn't have an "E" associated with it (2E, 3E, 4E, etc.) then you're in for a treat. This is where it all began.

    If this is new to you then there are many things that you'll immediately notice are a bit different. We'll tweak some things as we go along, we'll do away w/ a few others. But what you have to remember is that this is YOUR GAME! Bottom line. If you have a suggestion for something you'd like to see or do then toss it out on the table and we'll see where it goes.

    Anyway, enough rambling, on with the intro. Oh, you'll have to excuse the slight "hiccup" between sessions... I know that Keith ran you guys through a very brief portion of Keep on the Borderlands, and while this is similar, it's not exactly the same. If there are a few cracks in the pavement, per se, then please disregard, it'll smooth out eventually.


    The Mug and Blade, while not necessarily a top notch establishment by big city standards, has been highly regarded along the border for generations. It's one of the best dives around! Claims Toothless Ed, one of it's oldest patrons. And yes, it's tradition for mercenaries of the adventuring stripe to congregate at taverns, as cliched as it might seem, it's just downright convenient. Let's just call it an unwritten rule.

    Adventurers are not an unknown breed here in Wildsgate. No, in fact they're quite common. But what is uncommon are adventurers that return from their "adventures". So as you might well imagine, those that return are afforded a certain degree of status: 'Survivor'. Even if it's just a quick there and back again, and they faced nothing more ferocious than your average dog, they were there and now they're here. And that's what counts.

    In the Mug and Blade there is a cadre of adventurers that have that 'Survivor' status, but they are not legion. And those that have been there and back again have an innate way of recognizing those others that have experienced the same. Whether they've been into the Foehammers, or in some other dark dank hole in the ground, they've all been "bloodied".

    And the group that sat around the table telling tales of the Caves of Chaos were no different. Missing a few of their comrades, who were currently off on their own little side trek, they told a tale that people wanted to listen to. Ancilith, better known as Ancy, was front and center, firing off questions as fast as they occurred to her. And as soon as the group was done with their tale, Ancy stood up and motioned to the crowd.

    "Most of you have heard me tell a tale or two..." and the crowd erupts w/ laughter, "But I've never told you about the time I lost one of my closest companions.

    Our group had adventured to the west of here a ways, and had crossed swords w/ a group of swamp men. They were ferocious opponents, all scales and teeth. They'd hide beneath the water till you nearly tripped on them, then WHAM! Out they'd leap. Would nearly scare you stiff.

    Well after our close scrape, we found an oilskin map of the Foehammers. Only we didn't really know them by that name back then. See, we weren't from around here. And the other thing we didn't know back then was their reputation.

    But we were like most of you are now, you see a map and immediately assume treasure, right? Am I right? Of course I am.

    Off we go. The trip wasn't particularly dangerous per say. We didn't cross the path of anything that made us scamper, nor even draw our blades if I remember correctly. The weather was beautiful. Fall around these parts, as you well know, is something to behold. But it can also be quite dangerous, as storms roll in w/out warning. And as you might guess, a storm rolled in that evening.

    We had been camped out next to the Saerdre river, in hearing distance of the falls, when it hit. It was awfully dark, as you can imagine, and the lightning was dancing down amongst the trees. I'll tell you now, it wasn't a place you wanted to be. Packing all of our gear up as quickly as we could, we navigated by lightning flashes towards the closest hillside.

    Circumnavigating the base of what must have been one of the spires, we found what at first we thought was a game trail of sorts, but about 1/3 of the way up it turns to stairs. Moss covered and slick, we made our way up the side of the hill towards what we thought must be shelter.

    Making the cave mouth was a welcome relief as we took refuge from the pelting rain and hail as well as that gods cursed lightning. What we took to be a rather small, yet dry cave was actually much more.

    Now I wont get into the entire story, as I'd like to save a surprise or two for another evening, but I will tell you this: Later that night, as I sat up on watch, firelight flickering against the walls, I thought I hear a scrape. But not out near the entrance like you might think, no, it was further back in the cave. Where no one was sleeping.

    Curious, I light a torch from our fire and move to investigate. Thinking maybe it was a rat, or something.... I am surprised to find that the cave is all of a sudden much larger than I had thought. The whole back wall seemed to have suddenly vanished in the night. Like smoke from a fire...just up into the air and gone.

    I should have warned the others right then. I shouldn't have hesitated. But I was younger, and a lot more foolish.

    What I could see was a strange floor of slick black stone. Gleaming as if it were wet. And carved in that stone were what I took to be snakes...Only they weren't. They were all originating from the same place, some central thing in the center of the huge mural. Something that didn't quite make sense. And I know I'm not making any myself right now. But I can't tell you exactly what I saw because I don't have the words for it.

    Whatever it was, I've never seen it since and I hope never to see its like again. It made my skin crawl.

    I think what saved my life was the sound I heard behind me, a scraping noise as if something were being dragged across the floor of the cave. I spun about and found that my feet had taken me far beyond where my mind thought I had gone. I saw shapes then, all around in the dimness, just beyond my torchlight. I knew then that I had been under the thrall of some type of sorcery!

    Crouching with my blade in my hand I frantically looked for the welcoming firelight of our camp. I saw it to my rear, about 30 paces away, like a beacon out across dangerous waters. But I knew I had to make that light, or die in the trying.

    I muttered a quick prayer to Johydee and tossed the torch one way while diving the other, hoping of course to cause confusion and giving me an avenue of escape. Maybe it worked, all I know is that after coming up on the balls of my feet, those shapes had either retreated, or followed the light. With my new found freedom I sprinted for our fire.

    It was further than I thought at first, and took me much longer to gain, but gain it I did. Only to find strange man-shaped beings wrestling my companions in silence. And I mean complete silence. I screamed a warning as I entered the area, but to no avail, not a sound emerged from my mouth.

    So I did the next most logical thing, I picked up a brand from our fire in one hand, and w/ my sword in the other, I joined the fray. We were hopelessly outnumbered, and for some strange reason the light seemed to bend and dance in a very strange way. It was all so confusing and I know you must think I was drunk. But I'm telling this true, I was sober as a church mouse and as scared as if a cat were staring me down.

    I was slashing at these odd man-beasts and it was like fighting shadows on a wall. They were here one moment, and then gone the next. I still don't know to this day if I ever hit one of them. All of the sudden we were alone in our cave. Minus Lyssa of the Lake People.

    The back wall was where it was before. There were marks on the floor proving our scuffle wasn't the stuff of shadow magic, but still, no Lyssa. Where she had gone we don't know, but we can only guess that she was taken by those strange beasts. We scoured that ground the next day, in the hopes that we'd find some clue, some hint of where they had taken her. The only thing we found was a strangely carven idol that might fit in the palm of a child's hand.

    A strange slick looking stone that makes one feel like they're holding onto melting ice. It makes me uncomfortable even today to be anywhere near that thing. Yet I still keep it amongst my possessions in the hopes that it will lead me to Lyssa.

    Ah, but that was years ago, and the Foehammers keep their secrets close. I have no illusions that she's still of this mortal coil.

    Anyway, that's my tail for this eve. Ware the Foehammers."

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Wildsgate Part 1

    *1 square = 10'

    Here are a few things that the two PCs Gerald the (once) Pious, and Rohval of (help me out here Keith), have found out in their brief time in Wildsgate.

    The fastness known as Wildsgate is built atop a high ridge of exposed rock. Stone walls protect half the fortress, while the other half is guarded by a steep cliff. With the exception of the citadel and watch towers, most buildings are two-story, the lower story consisting of dark stone, timber frame uppers, with plasterwalls and thatched roofs.

    Wildsgate NPCs of Note:

    1. Marshak the Reeve: A enormous man w/ a trimmed red beard, bald head and tattooed arms, carries an axe over his back. He makes a point of greeting (and sizing up?) all newcomers to Wildsgate.
    2. Nazost the Scrivener: (commonly found w/ Marshak) An older man w/ a pronounced limp and a "crooked" back. His black smudged hands are busy as birds, writing all details of each visitor in his ever present Book of Names. (Note: His secret passion is the study of Dwarves...will pay for any new information surrounding the lost dwarves of the Foehammer Spires)
    3. Ancilith: ("Ancy" to the locals) The owner of the Mug and Blade tavern. An ex-adventurer..or so they say. She's "one of the guys" and can be found leading bawdy drinking songs late into the night. Quite pleasing to the eye as well. Green-eyed, long scar running down the right side of her face.
    4. Hilto Foibold: Runs the Falling Star Inn (owned by Lady Aborn). Is a tidy, courteous man of middle years. Very efficient and fairly non-descript, as far as that goes.
    5. Father Motter: Runs the chapel. A man of the cloth (but which cloth?)...Advancing years but surprisingly spry of step. Very accommodating and willing to involve himself.
    6. Aldred of the Azure Legion: A young fellow met at breakfast in the Falling Star Inn. Eager and bright eyed. ( quite dead. See Role Call of the Dead)
    7. Clifford: A massive bear of a man. Impressive red beard, sprawling, thickly-plaited hair under a horned helm. Wears poorly kept ring hauberk and fights w/ a massive hammer (maul really). Can be smelled from 5 paces and is not the brightest of the bunch, but keen on finding treasure. (Note: Has a map obtained from a "witch"...Shows small valley, wherein lies barrow(s). )
    8. Lady Aborn: Sister to the reigning duke. A descendant of the original Baron Wulfrun. Raven haired and reputedly a stunning beauty.
    9. Baron Wulfrun: The progenitor. From all accounts, he was only slightly less wild than the surrounding area he conquered by strength of arm.
    What went before: ( a brief recap )

    Our heroes entered Wildsgate just as the sun was setting and the gates were closing for the evening. They were met by Marshak the Reeve and Nazost the Scrivener, where they gave their names and intent while in Wildsgate. They asked after an inn and tavern and were directed to the Mug and Blade tavern as well as the Falling Star Inn.

    Rooms at the Falling Star were obtained for 5 gold a night. A total of 3 nights was paid for and the comfortable room (locking and barred door, locking chest, wooden "barred" windows, wash basins, clean tick mattresses, clean linens, breakfast and dinner included.), located at the top of the stairs to the immediate right was given the thumbs up. Cleaning up they ate a hearty supper and went for an apertif to the Mug and Blade next door.

    25 to 30 individuals of all stripes filled the Mug and Blade. A boisterous song was being led by a woman standing on a table. They were immediately greeted (after the song ended) by Ancilith the owner. The first round of drinks were purchased and she told them to beware the Foehammer Spires, for they were extremely dangerous. There was a reason the Dwarves of old disappeared.

    During the course of the evening Toothless Ed was plied for information: Apparently the Foehammers are cursed and all that go there are destined to eat the flesh of their own kind! Also, long ago, a thief stole from the Wulfrun Family and hid the cache just before passing this mortal coil. But where?!? Rumor has it that he expired in the Foehammers...naturally.

    The next morning the duo is approached by Aldred and Clifford, hoping to entice them on a jaunt into the countryside in search of reputed treasure. A map owned by Clifford shows what can only be the area previous to the Wildsgate Fortress being erected. And in it lies a small village and a barrow mound...wherein lies TREASURE!

    On the way out they catch a glimpse of the famous Captain Argun and the Outriders. The vaunted road patrols.

    A short jaunt down the King's Highway and they reach an obviously ancient copse of apple trees. There they find a body strung up...possibly some needle-toothed blue ape. It's quite dead and a trail of blood indicates that others might have been caught in a small altercation and escaped into the woods. But the quad cannot be deterred from their original goal: TREASURE!!

    Mere minutes later a duo of these odd creatures are stumbled upon and one is made a companion...His name is Grak and he speaks a halting dialect of common. He agrees for 4 silver "shinies" to lead the group to the tombs.

    Once there it is obvious that it's been just recently broken into. The blue-skinned knuckle draggers are inside and battle is avoided by adroit negotiation. Six of them leave...

    But through the next chamber is the "chief" and he's mighty pissed. The fight is joined but it doesn't last long as the four take the blue demihumans down. Only Clifford is injured.

    A total of 5 rooms are explored. The last two prove the most troublesome; The next to last contains some type of desiccated undead who attacks the group w/ a hammer. He hisses and weezes that Therex will take revenge for this intrusion. He fells poor Aldred and creates confusion, but alas, he falls to the blades and hammers of the adventurers. Still, the pit-trap and battle have worn our hearty adventurers down.

    They rest for 15 minutes, bind their wounds and drink some fortifying wine. (oh, and let's not forget a cleric's spell) And on they go.

    The last room contains some type of earth spirit who eerily sounds just like Therex again! But this is the jackpot and the fight is well worth it. Eventually the spirit succumbs and the loot is won.

    3 sword hilts w/ tiger-eye pommel gems
    6 blood amber cups
    60 pieces of silver (ancient in design)
    The hammer of Therex
    Some type of brass insect (cunningly and intricately wrought)

    As the hearty looters adventurers take their leave they realize they are being pursued by yet more dead guardians. Will this never stop?! They easily outrun the implacable advance...But to what extent?

    They regain the fortress and head for the chapel. There they meet Father Motter and hand over the corpse of their ex-comrade, Aldred, for preparation for burial. Which will take place upon the morrow. All are invited!!

    Until we reconvene again...