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 senseless...so 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.
- 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.
- 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...)
- 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.
- 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.
- I was trying battle w/ out using the "order of battle", but if you like using it better, we can certainly do that.
- Missile fire
- Surrenders and retreats
- 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