Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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
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.