This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Meet 70, Adv 4.2, 12/8/18

This was the wrap up meeting for the adventure where we totaled XP (half the group went up), figured out income, and made some purchases and re-equipping before moving on to Erylond and Bork Keep/Terror Dungeon. Lots of LARPING and bookkeeping during the night and I still have to take care of one guy at the table who wasn't here and the Mage's Test for the player running Avulstein.

Write up follows:

Once back at the Base Camp, we had the chance to share with the Bailiff and the Reeve some of what we had learned and discussed what was going to happen on a going forward. There were just over 20 staff left and most of the important goods have been taken. In 3 days Teamster Trentis was going to come and that was going to be the end of the Base Camp for House Illytch for now. We were going to talk to the 1st Consul @ House Illytch and share with him the information we got on growing Firvin’s Cap on our own, seeing what we could barter for that.

During the wind down of time, we knew we were being watched on some level, kobolds and maybe giants? But 1 day before leaving Dunatis and some of his druids and the orc marauders who had mugged us twice and their people arrived and tried to parley with us to get Barb’s whistle. She refused, held to her grounds and instead gave the orcish barbarian woman there the whistle she had gotten from Damlagast’s Tower and wished her well.

As for the Orcish Druid, he was happy we did not kill off the Third Warren as the kobolds there had learned to live with nature and did not need to be exterminated. He allowed Barb to keep the whistle should she ever need it and we wished him well.

On Earthmonth the 10th House Illytch left the Base Camp finally and we all trecked back to Sorton where we had the chance to rest and relax on Earthmonth the 13th for a bit before sitting with the 1st Consul Landor Illytch. We talked about our job, how it went, and that we hoped to go on to Erylond and then Bork Keep and the Terror Dungeon. We don’t NEED a backer or sponsor, but it is prudent to have one, and a letter of good employment and trustworthiness goes a long way to getting a good group to back us and at non-usurious rates.

So after much conversation and deal trading we settled on trading the information we had on the growing of Firvin’s Caps in a controlled environment (that the kobolds had been teaching and showing us for 6 weeks) in exchange for 247 crowns, training for everyone who was going up, reequipping of normal equipment, and even a stipend of 30 nobles for those who were not going up in level. We also sold off tons of interesting items we had picked up, keeping 3 items in reserve: A Thorian earring that Dizzy wanted to keep (he bought it), Damlagast’s Spellbook (the entire group bought it for multiple people would get the benefit from it), and lastly was Damlagast’s Robes with the Deeppockets that we were holding aside for Avulstein to decide to purchase if he wanted to.

Coupled on top of that our normal pay, the funds we had achieved earlier, the funds now, and all the other benefits – the 13 members of the group had almost 2,000 nobles EACH, that we had House Illytch reduce to crowns for us at no cost, and even sold off some of our healing draughts in exchange for potions.

Our contract was until the end of the month so for the next 17 days, most of us were training while the rest of us wound down from our very long employment and discussed what the road ahead had to offer us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Meet 69, Adv 4.2, 12/1/18

This was written both ways - mega end fight or long conversation. Group tried hard to keep it conversation and they succeeded. I had a tally sheet that I was tick marking on attack or not as the LARPing was going on based upon their comments, points, counterpoints, and attitude.

The fight would have been...brutal. And when explained afterwards how it was laid out, the group was like, "Yeah, glad to have dodged that!!"

Write up follows:

Untar and Skita and the small guard group of kobolds led us through the night shrouded streets and byways of the K’Morat Warren until we arrived at the former orcish keep. The walls were tall and thick, the doors repaired and supported, and upon entering, we spotted many many MANY kobolds in the area, all watching us with a mix of curiosity and fury.

Eventually we were led to the central room of the keep were part of the ceiling had been lifted away and two very large oak trees grew here, reaching through the roof and towering an additional 50’ into the night sky. There were kobolds about, many on guard at the multiple entrances and exits from the chamber, and a 4 count of tabard wearing ones near the center of the room. Dangling from the lowest branches of the trees were our missing companions, bound up and hanging upside down, wrapped in layers and layers of filthy off-white webbing. One of them was propped up on a table, and another one had her webs removed from her face, head, and neck – revealing Barb hanging there.

There was some conversation back and forth with the Untar and the other 4 main shaman. Untar wore purple and was responsible for the temple and grounds, Fanix wore blue and was the shaman in charge of the agriculture of the Warren. Indyt had on orange and his purview was the Lumber and harvesting part of the camp. Junga was wearing Green and was the Shaman in charge of the raids and hunting. And finally Kadge was wearing Red, and was identified as the High Shaman.

There were 2 others who were not here at this time, but the consensus was that Untar, Fanix, and Indyt were AGAINST the presence of the House Illytch Base Camp and wanted them all gone now even if it took an assault by kobold forces, and the other three Shaman had the opposite thoughts of giving the dwarves the chance to get the hell out on their own and NOT engage in combat. Kadge, the High Shaman was the tie breaking vote and for now, was siding with the peaceable group – but something had to change as the Warren was approaching a flash point as tempers were growing hot.

To the kobold’s way of it – we (us and dwarves) were murderers. That’s it. Through it all over 500 K’Morat had been killed in the last 2 months while only one…ONE of House Illytch people had met the same fate. True! Not one harvester, not one guard, and only the one Randari Ranger who had been slain by the 2nd Warren and eaten was the only member of House Illytch’s staff that was killed. This was … surprising to the group as we had assumed that before we arrived, that others had been killed. Assaulted, terrorized, chased – but no one had ever been killed before. Kadge wanted ot know if we thought her K’Morat were such fuck ups that that couldn’t kill a single mushroom picker?!?!

We all took our turns trying to convince the K’Morat that we were going to leave and leave soon, when the snows fall for sure. And if things were right, we wouldn’t have to come back again. But there was no guarantee we could make. The kobolds were 6 generations out of the dwarven/orcish war but their oral history had preserved much of what happened and they made sure that all K’Morat knew the truth – the dwarves came once and murdered EVERYONE once before and left. And there was no reason to believe that if they felt the need to, they wouldn’t come and do it again.

We bantered back and forth for over an hour, trying ideas and discarding them just as fast. Kadge seemed to WANT to find a solution that would appease all sides while Indyt (the most outspoken) was angling hard for killing everyone here and punishing the base camp with spear and blood. However, it took some wheeling and time but cooler heads did prevail and we struck and uneasy deal and balance: they would teach a few of us how to cultivate Firvin’s Cap mushrooms on our own to then teach House Illytch, if we would teach the K’Morat how to relearn the ability to read orcish (a skill that had been lost over the last 6 generations).

An accord was struck and Junga was then given to perform a scrying to Donna Duncarian at Base Camp, where the Reeve was astounded to hear from us and given to understand that we would be here for 6 weeks and then come back to Base Camp just before we all had to leave. We would have another communication in 3 more weeks time and then see them all in 6.

We were then treated fairly well. Escorted around the places in the Warren they wanted us to see and no other, the other companions were released from their bonds and nursed back to health. Dizzy had taken the most abuse during his time, bound up as falling from the tree, his body took the longest to get back to normal. Shim, Avulstein, and Thalin were the primary personages responsible for teaching the kobolds to read and they actually pulled a switch, teaching the kobolds to read COMMON instead or Orcish, and saying ORcish was the other language. The reason? So that the K’Morat wouldn’t activate or repair any of the wards or glyphs the Randari orcs had around the city many years ago.

Shim in addition to teaching did some horsetrading with the kobolds from quills and managed to learn that the orcish clan that had been here were the Four Shields and the Spears of Death – most likely now long wiped out and defunct.

Avulstein also swapped paper and quills with the kobolds when his opportunity came, but more importantly to the wizard, he was asked to impregnate the wolverine’s the kobolds already had – and the animorph form wizard took to that task with glee, doing his duty often when given the chance.

Thalin did the same (not the wolverine sex!!) an in addition had many hours of magical theory conversation with the Shamans about the nature of their ties to the arcane and divine and where their mana actually flows from.

Barb had the opportunity to enhance her time and attachment to the Ravenstone, using it every chance she got and often to push the 4-5 minute barrier limit on conversation slowly further and further back until she could get over 20 minutes at a pop before the stone started resisting her attempts.

Sybil worked with the mining and agricultural sectors, the gregarious and friendly Halfling learning some of the K’Morat skill with poisons and getting a ball of dried cat cut and a 70 count of crude blue quartz crystals as trade for her efforts. The remainder of the time was spent drilling very slowly a hole in the middle of each stone so it could be strung and/or worn.

Darius worked with Sybil on her quartz, but kept to himself, looking on the kobolds as vermin even after all that had happened and growing more angry with the cavalier Hjalgrim as the dwarven knight took it upon himself to spend weeks practicing spear drills with the kobolds, learning from them and them learning from him! Connal joined in on many of these drills but merely as Hjalgrim’s second and not directly in teaching the kobolds anything important.

Gryg and Dizzy stayed quiet and by themselves, watching the situation but not getting directly involved, merely biding their time until we could leave the K’Morat Warren and head home.

Finally after all had been taught and the process for growing Firvin’s Cap in a controlled environment had been exchanges, a 70 count of kobolds lead us away from the Warren and the 2 day journey back through the mountains, across the lake, and eventually at the very reduced Base Camp where the Bailiff and the remaining 23 inhabitants watched us come with wary eyes and we were returned to our employers unharmed. The High Shaman and the others who came bid us farewell and we watched them turn and fade back south and away into the wilds of the Morata mountains.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Meet 68, Adv 4.2, 11/17/18

I run a low magic game and typically higher level spells aren't seen. The party had a chance to shoot off a Wall of Fire and it performed exactly as you would expect a circular conflagration of 20' tall destruction to perform.

Write up follows:

Avulstein cracked the grimoire and began reading directly from the spellbook – the words turned to fire and ash, coalescing around the wizard as he intoned the spell, the temperature in the room growing warmer, and then with a final flourish, the last word burned away and a 20’ tall curtain of flame sprung up about 10’ from the wizard. It hit the ceiling and then swarmed around the party, encircling them in a column of fire. The flames were colorful and warm on our side- but the opposite side was an inferno as we could hear the superheated air consume the grasses and fungi about.

We walked slowly, the wall of fire moving with us, as we hugged the right hand wall, Shimlagesh used the wand of water to put of the flaming grasses that were in front of us as we walked, turning the ground to a sodden mess of dirt and char. Occasionally a stick flew through the wall but it had no effect on us as we walked along.

At one point the column roared to the right as we passed the side passage and we espied a burning kobold with a flatbow on the ground, dead from the inferno as it waved over him. As the minutes passed on and we crossed the entirety of the room, Avulstein let us know the spell was fading and the group shuffled positions as we anticipated facing a number of kobolds.

And we were correct. As the fire fell away we were at the base of the shaft out of the room where three kobolds were here, two with flatbows, one with a spear. From the main room were a half dozen of the Matron Brood guards and one in a purple tabard, as well as two rat dogs, a giant lynx, and a wolverine.

Combat ensued with the group giving and returning fire, Negan and Einar taking one side of the combat while Percy and Hjalgrim were front line on the opposite side. Bolts were fired, spears tossed, Thalin wanted everyone to stay back as he volleyed a sleep spell at the tabard wearing kobold – dropping his animals but not him. Magic missiles shot out and the group held their own pretty well.

By the next round it all fell apart as the enemy kobolds pushed their way into our times and Darius found himself with nowhere to retreat to to sling stones. Shim was caught in melee and the only one of the flatbowers was down, Hjalgrim running into the fight to take the next one – getting shot for his efforts. Sybil was facing an enemy too close and a lucky bullet from Darius while he could still sling took him out. Negan was losing hit points and the enemy Shaman summoned some aid to fight against the group, allowing us to do the same and call our own conjured creature – a battle axe wielding bugbear.

A Dawn spell woke up the animals and the Wolverine charged the group, a rat dog biting and gnawing on the Halfling who was struggling to keep it off of her. Our undead kobold collapsed and a group of 4 more brood mothers finally came into the room from the western side and send more javelins tearing into Negan who was hemorrhaging hit points. Hjalgrim was pretty hurt and the party took down the last of the rear guard, Percy healing the cavalier who ran to help the party on the other side of the fight.

We brought the fight closer to the Shaman (Untar for sure) who was taking shot after shot and Negan picked up one of the kobolds, held him over head, and charged the 4 who were using the furnishings as cover, smashing two of them down and then barreling through the mess to engage them one on one. Avulstein tore into one of the group and Darius was able to sling once again as we poured on the last of our attacks. Untar went down in a spray of smoke and ash – tabard was missing!

And with her death, the last of the kobolds went to run but Negan hacked them to bits. We rested briefly, counted what spells and potions were remaining, and then healed what we could – hoarding our diminishing number of spells with care. Skita was with us as we were once again mostly healed and made our way to the slope up.

There was a chain on the walls with a candle lit about half way up in three places towards the top of the slope, balanced an “O” ring turned sideways. The floor was clean and shiny and the group wanted to avoid walking on it assuming fire.

We then heard Untar above – seemed on her death she “bamfed” up to the next room where she informed us that we needed to leave. We wanted our friends. We were monsters. Not going without our group.

Back and forth we went and then we decided we were going to have to have a calmer rapport with Untar and hopefully the High Shaman. We eventually made a deal where we would go with him to the Keep, leaving Skita and two of ours behind, and arrange a deal with the High Shaman to get our group and go. Not good, not at all – but we know there are other kobold Brood Mothers up there and according to Skita, a big assed Dire Bear – plus how would we navigate the city at night and not get caught?

Einar volunteered to stay behind – best bet since he had died recently and was functioning poorly. Sybil offered to stay with him as the fight took a lot out of her and she was feeling more worn out that expected. The rest of us agreed to go and we entered the upper cavern with care. Lots of fungi here, huge loaves of it. Some drying racks and stretched leather. And to the north the sound of “making love”, kobold style from the amorous caves. There was indeed Untar up here, over a dozen and a half kobolds (only about 5 were brood wardens), and a 10’ tall spiked shoulder bear. Like ridiculous bear.

Untar was happy to see Skita in good shape and we left Einar and Sybil here to rest and with good faith, the druid giving the rod of resurrection to Negan for safe keeping, and the group headed east. It was a walk through the sloped corridor to a set of stairs that took us to the back of a temple to Freya – where tow kobolds and a kobold GHOUL on a FUCKING CHAIN leash were waiting for us! Crap, glad we didn’t have to face that!

We then went through the temple to the main prayer room where there was a saying written in Orcish on the wall over the entrance about “disabling” these wards – with the word “enabling” set off and to the bottom. Avulstein, Thalin, and Shim were able to read it, and when they did, the words shifted a bit and the two words, enable and disables swapped positions – meaning whatever wards were in place were NOW disabled! And the kobolds have no written language and the words were in orcish – so chances are whatever wards were in place were the same ones the kobolds had in place over 123 years ago when this was an orcish city – and we just ended them!

Unsure what we did and wanting to give nothing away, the three magic users clammed up and we followed Untar and the escorts through the city until we arrived at the Central Keep where we were on our way to meet the High Shaman and eventually get our party members back.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Meet 67, Adv 4.2, 11/10/18

The party had to deal with prisoner kobold women, many of who were pregnant. They were terrified of the group, referring to them as monsters often, and in some cases would rather take their own life than face the group.

Some of the party members were "they are vermin, exterminate them" and other had the opposite mind set. It's a subject that comes up now and again in mature gaming groups: Are we Murder-hobos or not? And sometimes the discussions are pretty eye opening. Especially when I can see the "person" at the table having a hard time behaving in way that their character might, but they are ill betide to behave as.

Write up follows:

We wanted to secure where we were for now. The first thing we did was shut the door from the Nave to the private rooms on the south wall while a few of the party members went about properly securing Skita with ropes to keep her hands bound and hobbled. Then a three count of us went to the Narthax and spent a long time moving the heavy stone pews in front of the door frame to confound anyone who might try to come in that way.

While the rest of us were policing the bodies, Darius, Hjalgrim, and Sybil wanted to check the place over to make sure no one was hiding about waiting to sneak out on us. There were three doors on both of the far sides of the Nave, the eastern center which one was cracked open where Skita had emerged from. On the western wall there was a set of steps that went up to a landing where a statue of Odin and Frigga in an embrace was situated and then continued to the 2nd floor. During the combat at least 1 pregnant kobold had run that way.

Not sure what we were going to face, the threesome drew up together and then proceeded up the stairs with care. After the landing were another 5 steps and then the second floor. There were three doors up here, one ahead of us, one a bit to the right, and a 3rd on the other side of the weak overhang around the railing.

We could hear whimpering from the door ahead of us and we made to enter, Hjalgrim calling out that those inside had a chance to give up and no harm would come to them (Darius’ looked on unbelieving) and then assured them that if they did not surrender, it would go poorly. Then it was door opening time and as the door was shoved open, there was the sound of falling furniture and a heavy dresser dropped down in front of the door, preventing it from opening more than 30% and giving us a narrow view of the room.

There were kobolds in here, some of them crying, bedroom of some sort. Kobold near the entrance with a broken chair leg, another with a shaft of busted wood, a third beyond with a rock held overhead. All of them looked pregnant. There were others, towards the side and out of view but they were screaming and crying and we heard the sound of wood twisting. Based upon this room, it was on the 2nd floor overlooking the front of the Temple. And we knew there were shuttered windows on the outside. Some were trying to escape.

The combat was …short and brutal. Sling stones flew, breaking ribs and shattering hands. The dwarven knight pushed his way further in and as two of the very gravid kobolds in here got the shuttered open, he strode past them all and pushed them aside, dragging the window closed. One of the kobold women was so terrified she slashed her own throat in response to seeing these “monsters” and died at our feet. Another had a length of broken glass and was looking for a place to stab Hjalgrim with it but she dropped it in despair.

Shim was called and the gnomish sorcerer ran up the steps in order to help, unrolling his whip and slapping the chair leg wielding kobold in the side of the face, laying her check open and driving her back to the ground. The remaining 5 kobold women, sobbing and miserable, dropped their makeshift weapons and surrendered, falling in line to Hjalgrim’s gesturing.

Darius led them downstairs with Sybil while Hjalgrim and Shim continued to check the upstairs. One of the three that was gravid suddenly spasmed and her water broke, indicating her eggs were coming soon. Sybil helped her down the steps and when the group arrived at the Nave, she was already dropping eggs. Skita was aghast and wanted to take her immediately to the birthing chambers but we vetoed that. Darius was considering them vermin and we should just lock them in a closet and move on. The two upstairs had found two rooms filled with kobold nesting and an old plaque from the temple wall but little else and they came down. Thalin and Avulstein were studying a fast spell each (sleep and animate dead respectively).

The party was split about the treatment of the kobold women who were tearing up and Sybil was helping the birthing one by putting her eggs carefully in a small sack. Darius checked out the closest room and it was the original confessional that was being used a drying area for lengths of leather and then a closet that one or more of the lynx’s had been using as a lair at one point. Negan was herding them into the closet and it was upsetting to everyone involved when we had a different idea. What if we brought all the kobold women with us and when we were to trade Skita to the next shaman for their help, we can trade the kobold women as well?

It was the best of a shitty situation and Sybil took to shredding old sheets into ties and leads for the kobold women so they didn’t risk running away. As for the rest of the rooms here, Darius found the meeting room and then a lesser priest’s chamber where a wood carver had been making small wooden representations of Odin, but the All-father had a koboldian cast on him. Seeing little else, Darius swept the carvings to the floor with a sneer, muttering disgustedly, “That is NOT was Odin looks like” as he moved on. Inside one of the dresser drawers he did find some older female orcish sized underwear that he took with him, shoving into his backpack and avoiding making eye contact with the rest of the group.

The next chamber was the one Skita had come out of and the furnishings were in better repair. An older orcish shirt with a blood stain in the chest and a short sword busted in half took up part of the armoire. Some armorsmithing tools and a couple of racks of colorful stones on a string necklace. He did find what he assumed was Skita’s wedding veil and garland of flowers (dried and preserved) but left them where they were and looked on. Skita saw him emerge without any “booty” and she seemed to be more at ease.

The last chamber was another priest’s room with some javelins in various states of repair. There were also a long string in the corner with dried dwarven beards strung up on it, and after Sybil came to verify the find, the two of them left and said nothing about it to the rest of the group.

We waited for the 2 mages to finish their studying and then after Avulstein raised the last dead lynx, we all decided to make our way through the rest of the temple and then to the Birthing Caves beyond and under the Plateau. Hjalgrim took lead and we opened the door. A wavering older continual light torch gave off an orange glow here, illuminating a set of stairs going down to a dining area. To the right were a series of 10’ square cells or apartments and to the left was the remains of the kitchen but was now being used as a meat locker.

The dining area was a mass of three large tables with folded blankets and towels all over every surface. As we were checking them out we also looked at the apartments – used as kobold nests but about 5 of them had shredded washed white cloth mounded in the corners and the other two had big wooden tubs with a soupy mixture of water and the soaking shreds of rags.

Looking further about we found some presses under the table, four of them, crude but functioning paper presses for making sheets of paper. That’s what was going on here. Which was interested because kobolds do not have a written language and make no writing that we knew of. So they were making paper? Sure enough, under the blankets were sheets of drying paper. Most were still wet, but at least a dozen were usable. We took them and when Darius went to make to destroy the presses, it agitated the 6 kobold women with us and the group decided to leave the presses and not engage in needless wanton destruction.

The door on the south wall led to the outside and a narrow path through the cleft between plateau and slope of the mountain. We traveled along, almost 200 paces to the cave entrance. Symbols of a beatific orcish woman was looking down on other women who were pregnant was here on the sides of the wall, and a bin was below the image, filled with colorful stones and the ground below was littered with scores of pale yellowy rocks scattered about.

As we were going to pass on through, Skita mimed making an offering to the bin but no one had any stones of color. A burnt out mana crystal was tossed in, but the group continued on, dragging the uncomfortable kobolds with them. The stink of kobolds and ammonia was strong as we entered and the dwarves all reported feeling a faint slope to the ground as we continued. After some dozen plus paces in the gloom we lit a lantern, gave it to Percy to hold, and went on to where the cave sloped up at about 30 degrees.

There was no rope or chain on the side wall to help the party climb, but there were eye-hooks still pressed into the rock. We took our time, pulling our way up the slope hand over hand until the ground leveled out and we could continue on. The corridor continued a few extra paces and then opened into a sizable chamber, with almost 20’ tall ceilings. The entrance was blocked off by a set of saw horses with wood and branches fastened to one side.

The floor of the chamber had a variety of stuffed and simple toys, a few bowls of a paste like paint, and signs that this was a nursery of some sort. There were two side passages, each blocked off by a lowered portcullis and at the far end of the chamber beyond the odd pots of lit candles was another passage leader further out and more under the city. We could hear the low sussuring noise coming from each passage interspersed with the odd yipping noises of immature kobolds.

With great care, we toted the two barriers out of the way and gave the chamber a once over. It seemed the juveniles and their handlers were most likely behind the portcullis – if we could cross without making noises or attracting attention, we should be alright. Hjalgrim took point as we moved the entire mass of us across the chamber towards the opposite side when we heard a querulous noise from the northern side passage.

A young kobold, maybe a foot shorter than the adults, was standing with his snout against the bars, watching the group and cooing. About 30’ past him was another set of portcullis, these half way up, and in there were many many shadowy figures in there. He chirped again in their yipping language, Avulstein and Sybil letting us know he was asking “Sweets?” We pantomimed him returning and he asked again, louder, for sweets in kobold. As we were all moving on, he started whining and shaking the bars, holding a hand out and demanding sweets.

Fuck.

We back pedaled and ran back to where we entered as we heard other kobolds, obviously adults, call out to the younger kobold. “Davierz?! What are you doing there!?!” “Sweets!” he yelled back at the three approaching matrons, “they won’t give me sweets!!”

Once just out of sight we hunched low and waited as the kobolds gave the chamber a brief look. There were some cuffing of the ear and some reprimanding and he was led back to the inner cave and the portcullis there was lowered with a series of ratcheting clanks.

We waited another few minutes and then crossed fast, getting to the other corridor out of here and the faint slope upward again. There was a stripe of dragged feces down the center of the slope here which Skita mimed was crap from the juveniles and was dragged each day up to the fungus room at the top of the breeding chamber.

We once more travelled along until the passage started to slope up again, 30 degrees. An orcish cast of Freya was on the wall here and we picked out way past it, each priest and druid in the group feeling a bit odd as we move on as if we passed by something important. At the top of the slope the group had a chance to see the next chamber which was larger than the last.

The walls and ceiling were covered in long logs of phosphorous fungi, bathing the chamber in a steady wavering blue-green glow. The middle of the room had a 14’ tall representation of Freya or Frigga looking down lovingly at the ground which was covered in a myriad maze of nesting material, in some places almost a foot tall and giving only limited space to walk between them. Again there were two portcullis blocked passages on the north and south part of the chamber and far across the room, the passage continued along and then up again. Running in a line bisecting most of the room were a string of dressers and bureaus all lined up one on the other and roped together, blocking most of the chamber from one side to the other.

We talked about getting by and Skita was growing agitated. She informed us this was the infants area and there should be a few others in the area, the chamber is never supposed to be empty like this.

And then she dropped to the ground, growled in pain and suddenly stood up – her eyes blazing and her voice different. She spoke in plain Common and demanded to know WHO the FUCK we were and WHAT the FUCK we were DOING with HER SUB-SHAMAN!?!?!

This must be her boss, the Shaman Untar. We sparred with her (him?!) back and forth as she informed us that she (he?!) was going to gouge our friends eyes out and skull fuck them for daring to touch any of her people. Branding us murderers and animals, she (he?!) informed us he was coming and they should prepare to die. And then the presence left and Skita stood up terrified, the other kobold women feeling the same.

From far behind us and echoing in our direction, we could hear the clanking or rising portcullis as someone in the chamber behind and below was making their way along. We talked about charging across and setting everything on fire but the bedding was damp. Skita let us know that the infants had guard animals as well, dogs, lynxes, and even a wolverine!

With another portcullis moving behind us, we suspected even more we were trapped between two foes. We wanted to slow one end of them down and move on and up but didn’t want to bring Skita the other kobolds with us anymore. The decision was to leave them behind in good shape to stop the approaching group and the rest of us run across the chamber and brave any foes we might find.

And then we remembered the spell book we had found earlier. One of the spells, a powerful one, was Wall of Fire – and we could center it around Avulstein and stay inside the 20’ diameter center and WALK the column of fire across the chamber, burn the nesting aside, Shimlagesh could use the water wand to deaden the flames as they appeared, and the fierce flames should force any kobolds in the chamber to give way and allow us to make it across the room and to the other side of the chamber.

So we explained briefly to the kobolds what the plan was, had them back away down the passage and  while Avulstein withdrew the spell book and we gathered close to the wizard, the group grew ready for the first of the flames to appear and make their way across the room.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Meet 66, Adv 4.2, 11/3/18

The group faced off against almost the entire compliment of the Temple grounds of the 3rd Warren this meeting and even though I had done 97 hp of damage to the group as a total, taking two of the party members out - the party did over 230 pts of damage to the kobolds in the same period of combat - thanks to the half-ogre and his great sword/cleave, and two very successful sleep spells that allows many coup de grace to speed things along.

With Skita, the Kobold sub-shaman in their control, their assault against the birthing caves and the K'Morat warriors there is hopefully going to go easier.

Write up follows:

We decided that we were going to go down to the K’Morat Warren just after evening and enter through the Temple off to the side as per the vision. This gave the group many hours to restudy spells, scribe a few, make some fire arrows, refill sling stone pouches, and be prepared. The day moved on and after eating and drinking our fill it was 6:30 when we left the crack of the cave after the last of the winged scouts had returned and made our way down the slope of Whitetop Mountain and keeping to the tree line as long as we possibly could.

Once we were safely on the plains floor we stayed to the tall grasses, the sheer slope of the mountain to our right as we picked our way closer and closer to the temple. As before, it was shaped like an enlarged “+” with a vaulted middle section where the main Nave might be. Two 25’ tall representations of Odin and Frigga stood outside the temple, fronted by 3 more warrior statues 10’ tall with spears pointed out. All of them had an orcish cast to their features.

The ground around the temple was covered in white and off-white stones, raked smooth. And herb garden was to the east of the temple along with a mound of mulch and a battered looking wheelbarrow. We picked our way through the path, skirting the statues until we arrived at the temple’s front door. The main doors had been breached long ago and the kobolds have replaced the top portion with planks of timber and the lower 5’ with a curtain of leather and furs. We could faintly hear voices from within through the broken windows but no one was in the next chamber. The smell of burnt cinnamon and onions were strong, indicative the kobolds were nearby.

We scouted enough to be sure the place was empty and then entered, taking great care to avoid making any real noise. We were in the Narthax, a bit shabby with wooden rails and a four count of pews shoved about. Einar commented he smelled cat but no one had seen any yet. The Narthax was 40’ square and there was an opening on the south wall along with a set of stairs that went down. The passage was blocked by another curtain of leather.

Negan and Hjalgrim took point, verifying there were over a dozen kobolds in the next chamber and none of them were together in a single place. There was a rope hanging from the belfry above and the group was adamant – no one gets near the rope or pulls that bell or we’re all dead. So everyone readied weapons and with a slash at the curtain, we charged into the room.

Negan barreled forward, overran a pregnant kobold female, and using his greatsword hacked the closest armor wearing kobold in twain before stepping one foot on the trailing rope chain and preparing to fight the next bunch that were there. Hjalgrim followed suit, charging along with Negan but slipped at the last moment in front of a kobold, lost his spear, and got stabbed for his efforts! Fumble!

The rest of the group had a look at the room and we drew in the measure of what we were facing. At least half a dozen of the kobolds in here were wearing brigandine armor, were thicker, stronger, and better fed and equipped than most of the other kobolds we had seen. The rest were decidedly female and were either about to give birth based upon the distending bellies they had or very pregnant.

Magic Missiles flew about the chamber followed by 2 sleep spells – especially when we noticed that the kobolds in here also had 2 almost puma sized long eared lynxes in here! Crossbows were shot and the kobolds massed forward, Negan taking the first damages (not counting Hjalgrim’s halted assault). Einar went left while he sent Shog to the right to intercept the lynx there, the carnivorous sheep braying and biting at the feline.

As we were fighting, some of the kobolds were thinking about running but others were kicking the sleeping ones in an effort to wake them up. And the door on the eastern side of the room flew open and three kobolds and ANOTHER lynx came out! Darius killed one with a well slung stone and the group readied themselves to face the adding throng. One of the kobolds on the west side turned and ran upstairs, yelling and screaming as she did so. Avulstein sent Salarahadra up to the belfry with directions for the mephit to burn the rope/chain off the housing in case Negan was unable to hold his ground. She flew up there and fired her flame blast at 3’ from the thick chain, pouring on the fire as much as her small body was able to.

One of the kobolds that came out was wearing a battered purple tabard and when she was bending down as if casting a spell, Shim’s magic missiles arced around the chamber and caught her in mid casting, spoiling her efforts.

Einar took down another kobold and Bruce helped drop one as Sybil fired rocks at the wounded kobold, finishing her off. We had a nice wave going as the kobolds were trying to gather enough forces to stand against the group who had split into three or four knots of combat. Negan took another few stabs and wiped out another warrior kobold with a wave of his 5’ long sword. The kobold warriors were splintering shields left and right and a few of them actually knocked the odd crossbow out of the way.

Hjalgrim and Percy ran to Einar’s side as the Half-orc had attracted the attention of the tabard wearing kobold who proved herself to be a very skilled fighter, laying the druid open at one point and easily getting past his defenses. Shog took an almost mortal wound and Bruce dropped out of the sky to attack the lynx, allowing the sheep to withdraw as the group advanced closer to the enemy.

More kobolds boiled down the stairs and entered the fight, spears flying as Avulstein tore one of the kobolds apart with claw and teeth. Another sleep spell was fired by Thalin and the new knot of approaching kobolds fell over asleep – including the lynx! Sybil went to go finish off the sleeping ones while Negan killed off another kobold, leaving just one to face him.

And then the door on the south wall opened up and three more kobolds charged in, hitting the half-ogre again – dropping him to the teens in hit points with over 50% of his health whittling away.

Hjalgrim was supporting Einar who was facing a lynx and the head K’Morat, Percy stabbing in conjunction with the dwarven knight’s attacks, the two of them doing incredible damage. Salarahadra was above screaming as she roasted the chain – the area smoking and sparking, the metal turning dull red under her assault. Negan took a nasty shot in the leg and then it happened – Einar was given a mortal blow and dropped to -6 hit points!

Shog, with a single hit point remaining, screamed his head off and ran back into the fight, ripping into an armored kobold near Einar and biting its arm wide open. Hjalgrim, Percy, and Shim were facing against the lead kobold and Negan was now below 10 hit points. We were killing the sleeping ones as fast as we could while Darius sent sling bullets flying every chance he got to drop another kobold. Negan hacked another kobold in half and the mephit above shouted in glee as the links she had been burning finally separated and fell down to the ground below, buffeting the half-ogre and the nearest kobold with the flailing metal.

The tide of the battle was about done now and with only a few kobolds still standing, the leader looked around sadly, lowered her spear and held up her hands in a sign of surrender.

Negan was at 6 out of 38 hit points, Einar was stabilized at -6, Hjalgrim was hurt bad, Shog was dead, Bruce was wounded – everyone that stood toe to toe with the kobolds was pretty hurt or dying. Healing was dispensed, wounds wrapped, the two shields that hadn’t been splintered were brought over to be shared and Negan went to work on Einar, getting the Druid back to positive hit points and then the druid healed himself more between potions and draughts.

There was a dead lynx and a live one – so Einar charmed the live one while the other was crafted into a zombie. The tabard wearing kobold was spoken to but communication was hard since she did not speak Common but we could understand kobold.

It was about 7:30 and we were going to finish bandaging up, look around, and carry on eventually to the caves beyond.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Meet 65, Adv 4.2, 10/27/18

Effectively a TPK for half the adventuring party (the sneaky half) save the wizard who as a wolverine, managed to trip during the fleeing and was lost under the underbrush for his efforts. Gigantic Spiders are a bitch for the group at 6 HD - and 4 of them made it really hard. But they did well all things considered - should have run away sooner.

So now it's up to the "fighty half" of the group to effect a combination rescue mission.infiltration of the bad guy's lair and do their thing.

Write up follows:

The group took their time making it towards the treeline which appeared as a darker shadow that grew closer as we approached in the faint moonlight. However, some 30-40’ shy of the treeline, the grasses grew sparse and ready cover disappeared. Meaning we would have to risk running across a sizable amount of clear ground and risk being seen by the watch towers on the city.

In addition, we could see many signs of older cuts and harvesting that had gone on here, many older spongy stumps were littering the ground in places, and there was still sign of juniper, sticker bushes, and other trash ground plants that were preventing the grassland from easily claiming this area. We decided to stay to the grasses as cover and make our way further north until the natural curve of the forested area would hide us from the kobold Warren.

Connal and Barb were having the worst of the time, the two tallest members having to alternately crawl as well as crab walk to stay below the tops of the grasses. Barb and Gryg also had the group spaced out to prevent us from leaving a trail in the grasses as much as possible.

Finally once far enough away, we crossed the clear area and hit the forest proper, making our way some two dozen paces in before we felt we were far enough away from the edge to be seen and changed our marching order to single file and plotted our course into the trees. Gryg had the feeling where the “lumbering” encampment and slaves might be, and from our location we were going to have to walk some distance into the trees (900+ feet) and then again south (over 1,000 feet).

The forest was mostly pines and firs, with the occasional oak or elm as a rarity sticking up. Most of the trees were very mature or old and the spacing between them was in some places 5’, and in others barely a foot and a half. The forest was dense. So we linked up, lined up, and made our way through the gloom and dark, Barb walking point and taking us on a curved trail that started veering north before turning south.

It was slow going, the party being as quiet as we can and picking our way through the trees and brush. After some 6 or 7 minutes of walking, it was Merica whose foot stepped on something sticky that lifted up against the forest floor and adhered to his boot. Leaves, dirt, vines, twigs – it was all stuck to his sole and we waited for him to draw his sword and scrape it clean. It then stuck to his sword edge and we had the chilling sense it might have been a cast of bit of fan webbing. Typically the spiders who give off fan webbing don’t give off nearly this much – which only heightened the groups worry. Eventually getting his blade clean on the side of a tree as well as a healthy dosing of oil, we discussed options and looked around.

According to infravision, there was nothing within range…BUT there had been something fairly big and amorphous not too far from here in the recent past in the trees. There was also a sound of a branch snapping in the forest, ahead of us and in the foliage. We discussed options and decided to turn south from here. We continued on, walking with greater care and eyes peeled. Eventually, after some time, we came up a stump of an oak that had been chopped down less than 6 months earlier. A bit further on, we spied another one. It seemed the kobolds had been harvesting oak trees, leaving the pines and firs. This provided us small pockets of clearing where the moonlight and starlight from above illuminated ragged circles of the forest floor.

As we continued on, Barb stopped us. At the edge of her infravision range, she saw an area of a tree where something large had been perched, then climbed down, stayed at the bole of the tree and then moved off. And it had to be only a few minutes ago tops given the sign was still there via heat source. There was some frantic whispering on what to do next and we changed direction almost 45 degrees towards the southwest and moved on. And after a dozen steps, stretched between two trees was a line of uncommonly thick webbing and Barb stepped right into it.

She stopped, pulled back a bit, and the strand separated from her and “twanged” in the silent dark.

We counted to 3…and heard movement on the trees overhead, lots of movement, and it was just outside our infravision range but getting closer.

Time to move and now.

The party made to run, when Barb was snagged around the hair and right arm, and then hoisted in the air by SOMETHING overhead. Connal jumped up and wrapped his arms around the half-orc, arresting her rise. Similar tendrils came down around Dizzy and Merica who were dancing about to avoid getting caught. Grygmiir jumped up and helped Dizzy, knife flashing and cutting the web free.

Our quarry were spiders – gigantic ones. 8’ diameter bodies with large articulated legs, and there were 4 of them above us. Crossbow bolts were fired and magic missiles flew, but our shots seemed ineffective.  The spiders made another bid to snag Barb who at this point raged, wrapped her hand upward and PULLED – dislodging the spider above and dropping it a good 15’ through broken branches.

Meanwhile Dizzy fired off a light spell straight up, illuminating one of the arachnids, and Salarahadra whistled around the battlefield firing off fire bolts at the webbing to drop the party’s friends.

During all of this, we spied a figure higher in the trees, humanoid, grey and brown in coloring, a distended lower jaw, leaning out of the tree and watching it all – working with the spiders. Connal whisked himself up on Barb’s shoulders and used her like a springboard to Jackie Chan himself part of the way up the tree.

Dizzy and Merica were hoisted up again, spinning quickly through the sky. Merica whipped out his sword and tried cutting the webbing, getting his blade tangled up in it, while Dizzy had his knife fouled for his efforts. As he was pulled closer to the arachnid, Dizzy called out a summon monster spell and a skeleton appeared. He had it show up just above him on the web, and then since it came with an axe – HACKED the web up there.

It cut! Who hoo!

And he fell 40’ out of the tree where he landed with a bone jarring crunch and stopped moving – dropped to -5.

Merica tied the free end of the rope around his waist and flung the other side out and around the trunk of the tree, holding it tight and stopping HIS rise up to the arachnid – the middle of a tug of war so to speak.

The spider assailing Barb dropped out of the tree while the humanoid figure charged at Connal down his own tree – and spit some sort of spray at the monk while giggling. Connal lost consciousness and fell – and Barb who was dodging the spider jumped and caught the monk, lowering him to the ground before whipping around and barely holding the spider back.

Avulstein had another spider drop by him after it made short work of Dizzy’s skeleton, where the beast tried to poison the wolverine who dodge away and turned to face it, his back by Dizzy along with Gryg. A healing draught was administered and Dizzy stopped losing hit points but they were having a rough time. Finally Avulstein fired off a Flaming Sphere spell, and a 6’ tall spinning ball of fire raced forward and caught the spider on its side, causing it to shy away.

Merica was having almost no luck until the spider let its web go and he fell 12’ and bounced on the tree – he then rappelled himself down as the spider dropped down the trunk and hit the dwarf like a piƱata, spinning him wildly. He tried to hit the spider on his return but was ineffective. Meanwhile Avulstein spun his burning sphere across the floor again, setting the spider on fire some more. His efforts though were igniting the forest floor and the flames were starting to spread.

Barb was tackled from the side by another spider and then stabbed by the stinger – where she froze up and collapsed – three down.

Merica was then buffeted again and as he fell, was hit by the spider’s stinger and dropped – four down.

Salarahadra doused her flame, grabbed hold of Avulstein’s ruff as Gryg flipped Dizzy onto his back and the two (three..four??) or them RAN in what Gryg swore was the way out!

Crashing behind us were two of the giant spiders and from the trees above, the humanoid figure was leaping from branch to branch, laughing and giggling. This left 2 spiders back with the unconscious Barb, Connal, and Merica – but there was nothing we could do about it.

Avulstein kept pace with Gryg as the 2 of them ran – but the spiders were closing distance behind and getting closer with each labored breath. Just before they got too close, Gryg hoisted his arms up, and flipped Dizzy off his back and into the path of the running arachnid – who flipped end over end and spun about – furious and screaming behind as we ran off with only 1 on our back.

Breathing was getting labored and Gryg was dodging the blows of the arachnid as it tried to bat him about – each attempt momentarily slowed it down and the dwarf ran on. Avulstein was barely ahead but running in the darkness he tripped on a mass of roots and flipped end over end, plowing into the dirt and ending up under a mass of spilled branches and underbrush.

Gryg ran right past him and Salarahadra – and the spider kept pace! Didn’t even notice Avulstein who was digging into the forest floor as fast as he could, leave and needles mounded over him and the doused mephit. They stayed quiet and listened to the running Gryg, spider, and tree leaping humanoid as they got further and further away and then Gryg’s one lone scream and then quiet – followed by a victory cry from the humanoid.

The two of them stayed quiet, falling into an exhausted sleep as the rest of the party was rounded up and injected by the spider’s venom and then wrapped in layers of webbing and dragged away.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group had been positioned on the slope of Whitetop Mountain, waiting to see if any fruit came about from the “sneaky” team and their forays. It was some time later they saw lights in the forest, and then movement. So did the kobolds who issued forth a 40 to 50 group of warriors who emerged from the gates and went down into trees.

We waited, aghast as a half hour or so later – MANY more figures emerged, along with a 6 count of humongous spiders. They were toting bound up figures with care, leading them to the walled city were more kobolds came to meet them, eventually they all went into the city and the group could look on as our friends were now in the K’Morat clutches. Eventually we saw the spiders leave along with 8-20 figures, heading back to the woods.

We returned to the crack cave and thought long and hard on what happened. We needed to rescue our friends as the consensus was they were brought back as if still alive – so that’s what we were going with.

We awoke later the next day, tired and started going through plans and ideas. Thalin, Hjalgrim, Shimlagesh, Darius, Negan, Sybil, Einar, and Percy – could we assault the Warren? It seemed suicidal.

But we did remember the traveler had left us some scrying weed from the Aurora – and Hjalgrim lit it, asking rhetorically to the powers that be – what is the best way to rescue our friends.

He had a disturbing number of views in which each possible way into the Warren ended up with the group slaughtered and lost. The best way in that had any chance was going in through the temple, TAKING a kobold in a purple tabard with us, then going through the birthing caves and NOT killing any juvenile kobolds – and then after something with a bear, emerging into the streets, waiting for nightfall, and getting to the main keep where we fought our way to the High Shaman and either traded a purple tabarded kobold to it for the group or fought the High Kobold for our friends.

When the vision ended and it was shared with the party, we went over plans to attack and rescue and it was then that Avulstein and Salarahadra showed up! Exhausted, filthy, tired, they joined us at the cave and we all shared what we learned together.

The rescue for our friends was going to happen and happen soon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Meet 64, Adv 4.2, 10/13/18

The Third Warren.

After much long winding road and extended trip to get to it, the party has finally come upon the 3rd Warren.

And as written, it's not a place then can knock over and wipe out.

Well defended, blocked off in cells, walls and guards and kobolds in the hundreds plus tons of other goodies - it's not the kind of place you just march into and "F-Pwah!" everyone with a heartbeat within.

Write up follows:

Since it was so late in the afternoon and we can hear the echoing sounds of industry (saws, hammers, and the like) the party decided against going to see the Warren now, instead wanting instead to find a cave and hole up while we still can. So we started looking at higher elevations on the trailing ridge running off the western slope of Whitetop mountain until we came up a crack in the stone. Vertical for 8 feet, obscured by trees, it was difficult to enter for Negan and Einar who had to remove packs and armor, but once inside it ballooned up to 20’ tall, ran back 70 feet or so, stayed around 8’ wide, and had a natural chimney running up 60’ or so towards the rear giving us a constant source of fresh air.

The group spent a half hour cleaning the cave up before setting up bedrolls, assigning watch, and getting some much needed rest.

Workmonth the 22nd broke early and by 6:30 the party woke up, broke their fast, and decided to go from the cave and investigate the Warren. We stayed in the tree line as we made our way East, forced due to uneven and greater sloping rock to head to lower and lower elevations until we had made it as far east as we could go. Still some 500’ from the edge of the “Warren” as there was no more trees to hide behind, we had a chance to see the place in its entirety for the first time.

There was a walled town and keep on a plateau some 100 to 150’ off the valley floor, butted up against the sheer sloping “L” of Whitetop itself. A series of cuts and runnels ran down the steep slope and spilled into a cistern and aqueduct, feeding fresh water to the city and to the fields on the eastern side of the plateau. There were caves cut into the eastern edge of the plateau into the mountain itself and we could hear echoing mining in there. The city itself was pretty sizable and although there were larger building within, everything was in good repair.

The passage up to the plateau was a cutback road on the east side with 4 guard towers at each cut. A large forested area was beyond it and we could hear the whine of a timber saw and many whacking sounds of axes. A line of kobolds were walking back and forth from the city to a mountain lake a bit over a mile north of here, making a path in the tall grasses. We continued to look about. The base of the plateau had a smaller walled section of rubble and battered former buildings, a slope ran from the walled section up into the city above. Wandering the walled section was a humongous large fat pig. Like 4 ton, wheezing, and miserably fat pig.

Closer still was a “+” shaped building with two large statues of Odin and Frigga in front of it, and 3 smaller statues of guards with spears. It appeared to be a temple with a small garden outside of it and it looked as if behind it there was a cleft in the steep valley that led to a cave.

Everywhere we looked we saw kobolds. Dozens, scores, hundreds of them. There were also slaves – something we didn’t normally associate with K’Morat since they typically eat everyone and everything. After watching for an hour, we decided it was folly for everyone to be out here so we sent half the party back to the cave to avoid detection while we scouted the and observed the Warren.

The trips back and forth to the lake was a constant, with many of the kobolds coming with the odd fish or two, bundles of reeds, or even buckets of clay or dirt. The fields were worked often and there was a leeching pool between the walled part of the plateau and the fields – providing fertilizer. As for the Temple, we did see two K’Morat come out and take care of the small garden there but they went back in and the area has been quiet since.

The pig was in poor shape, had a hard time breathing, and moved real slow and rested often. Many of the K’Morat had colored sashes which we assumed were factions to the 7 shaman in the area. At 11, a group of 20 K’Morat came out of the city and tossed food and similar down the slope to the pig who waddled up and let forth a large enough cry to alert everything in a 2 mile radius it was so loud. The two frost giants eventually left the city and made their way with lots of friendly hellos and goodbyes back towards the mouth of the Valley and gone from sight. There was movement on an off all day and at 5, there was shift end or change as the industry slowly wound down. Slaves were moved and groups of 10 K’Morat came out and exchanged places with other K’Morat who returned to the city. At 6ish, throughout the area, one by one, 7 or 8 flying animals were let out and sent to fly in differing directions, finches and starlings and bats and ravens and crows – each eventually returning within 20 minutes or so. Scouting – Shaman totem animals scouting. Shit – even more of a reason to remain hidden.

By 7 we had returned to the cave before it got too dark and once there we shared what we had learned and discussed the Warren and possible ways to assault it.

It was a stupid idea all around.

Too many of them, well dug in, multiple guard areas, and well defended . We were not going to be able to “flush” them out like we had done the other warrens and the other thought of going after the High Shaman was difficult since it seemed to stay in the city proper. How to get up there? Through the pig area, sure. Up the main road? Not likely. From behind the temple? Possible. We needed to scout some more.

So We had a sacred guardian spell cast on a mouse that the sneaking team would “kill” should we be in trouble and around 9 PM, we left the cave, snuck down slope to the forest floor, and made our way as close as we could to the temple area.

Dizzy went to scout. The area around the temple was raked with stones that made it obvious if anyone walked upon it. The main door was closed but there were two windows there, the class long busted out. There was no way to sneak around the back of the temple as fallen rocks had blocked that off long ago, but he could sneak up to the crossed part of the “+” to look in the windows there. He crept very close and didn’t want to risk looking around and being seen via infravision. He did look at an oblique angle and saw a long arcade of columns, some main prayer room of the nave, and at least 4 kobolds in there. BUT, he heard decidedly more through the tall echoing chamber – 10 to a dozen? More?

He snuck back to the group and we decided to hold off on assaulting the temple until we went and checked out the wooded area next. During the shift changes and what not we estimated 10 kobolds and a dozen or more slaves, maybe 20. And one of them was a cyclops with its eye put out. They did not go up the slope and into the city so we hoped to check that out next.

We crawled through the tall grasses and made our way to the flattened area. With less than a half moon and clear skies, we snuck across the lack of cover one at a time. All went well until Connal tripped on an uneven ridge of earth, fell, but rolled to a quiet stop braced off the ground as we held our breath and waited.

Nothing. No one heard us.

So we all reconvened and started making our way to the edge of the tree line to scout the lumbering part of the Warren operation next.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Meet 63, Adv 4.2, 10/6/18

When looking ahead on my weather rolls I ended up with "Special" on my random checks (typically 1 in 30) I gave a short glance at my possible listing and ended up spot picking Aurora Borealis (we're in the right latitude on my world to have one). Don't think I've ever had one at the table for this group in this area and it was nice to go through the effects of it. Since we're in a Norse Mythos area, I'm pretty big on the entire Bifrost/Asgard/Midgard thing and the consensus is that the Aurora is typically the reflection of the underside of the Bifrost - meaning one or more of the gods or their avatars are striding the earth at this time.

Ok, nothing more than that.

Then it's the next day and I run a spot check ahead again and AGAIN get special. Ok, weird. Two in a row? The temp is within a few degrees of the same so I "assume" the Aurora is lasting 2 days instead of picking again. But this time they are camping about half a mile from a Rock Drake lair I have on the map and the wandering monsters are limited in this area - most of them will come up Rock Drake or kobold hunting party.

I end up with Rock Drakes, Wolves, and Men.

WTF? I'm going to discard the Men roll when on a whim I roll to see how many men are in the area (1-20) and get 1.

And right there, Odin (or an avatar of) sprung into being to bid the group a hello, get some shelter for a bit, advise them to move on because of the Rock Drakes, and impress upon them the 4 Courtesies: Exchange of Names, Exchange of Drink, Exchange of Company, and Exchange of Farewells. A few small blessings were passed on to the group and then he was gone just as soon as the Aurora ended.

Some DM's shy upon gods in their games and for the most part, I agree - however - there are two mythos in my world where I would allow them to show up: the frozen north and the Norse gods, and the Ostara Desert and Efreet/Djinn powers. My thought is the North gods are on the edge of the world and are always aware of the end of things - Ragnarok is there, coming, and inevitable. They take a vaunted interest in the world and strive always to keep the great end back as long as they can. The central part of the world, the Great Irog and Ostarian Desert and the Caliphates around it tapped into the elemental plane of fire and air on accident millenia ago and blasted a huge area of my world into sand, sun, and wind. The gates closed but the fabric was weakened and the spirits of fire and air are always nearby, waiting to come over if at all possible to sway the balance of men.

Long and short - Odin showed up, it wasn't planned, and the dice made it happen. :)

Write up follows:

By 10:30 AM the exhausted party had the chance to rest and catch up on the missing sleep they had lost sneaking across the scree field on the slope below the Spire Keep Pass early that morning. Most everyone took advantage of the respite and a few party members scribed a few scrolls to pass the time before resting as well.

It was around 2:30, after lunch and feeling rested, that the group discussed our approach to the Valley beyond the Beacon House. The valley entrance there wasn’t very large and the base of Whitetop Mountain was steeper than the surrounding ridges and mountains, not giving as much of an area to hide. If we crossed the valley or the grasses to get to the base of the other mountain, we would be seen by the Beacon House – and that would be the end of that.

Surprise and stealth were our watchword and this was no time to let that slip. So we left the cave and decided to make our way east to the next valley and a bit out of view of the Beacon House. Staying in the treeline and a good 1,000 feet off the ridge floor, we made our way with slow deliberate care through the dense foliage until we went north…and then south and east into a natural “V” shaped set of ridges and valleys. Just a bit under 2 miles on each leg of the V, we looked for a cave to sleep in, finding one about 1,500 feet over the valley floor and then set about cleaning it out and setting up bedrolls and relaxing.

It was about 7 when we set up 5 sets of watches and the group settled in to get some rest. It was about 10:30 when we noticed a faint greening to the light filtering down from the stars above, and as the night progressed it spread out from horizon to horizon as the Aurora Borealis took place overhead, the panoply of lights and grandeur had a quelling effect on everything. The sound of the night animals faded and even those on watch were loathe to disrupt the midnight air with any noises. The aurora rose and crested around 2 where it faded as the night and early morn swept on.

Those on watch did hear the sound of creatures moving through the woods much further down slope but the wind was in our favor and they did not come up to investigate. And the same happened an hour or so later when a larger group, heading east to west this time trod through the forest primeval. The second passing had us figuring based upon the noises and sounds that it was bears. Lots of damned bears.

Yeah, we kept quiet.

It was Workmonth the 20th and we had all wakened by 5:30, studies, prayed, and broke our fast, ready to move on by 6:30. We traveled the same as before, part of the way up slope, 1,500 feet or so over the valley floor, following the “V” east and then north to the end of the other point. Once here, we looked out, being it was 9 AM, the sunlight gleamed off the glass and metal sides of the other Beacon House near the valley entrance to Whitetop Mountain and the suspected Warren. Darius had been very good at picking these places out, but based upon the angle of the Beacon House, he suspected there was another one unaccounted for on the western slope of a large ridge to our east. The way the sun was shining, we’d never get a glimpse of it. He suggested we wait till afternoon and when the sun was on the other horizon, it should pick up the gleam of the other Beacon House.

The group agreed it’d be stupid to step out and try to cross only to be seen by the K’Morat and the Warren alerted. Care and luck had been with us so far, so we decided to wait. This meant our food stores was getting low so hunting was once again on the menu. We went back to the “V”, returned to our cave, and then Grygmiir, Einar, Barb, Avulstein, Thalin, and Darius all went out to hunt once again and return with what they could.

They got lucky and a small standing of pronghorn deer fell to the hunters after a few hours, netting 5 or 6 of the herbivores. Ranging from 85 to almost 200 lbs, we roped our quarrey and made our way slowly back up the slope until we arrived at the cave.

A smoking fire had been lit inside the cave with the hunstmen eviscerated the deer, removed the offal, and stripped the skins off. From there we dragged large swaths of meat to the cave where it was roasted slowly and smoked to make it last a bit longer. After many hours we had enough usable food for everyone for 3 days. Before we were finished, Thalin restricted as many of the bones as he could along with a head and some legs, raising the remains of a larger deer back to necromantic life.

The skeletal (mostly) pronghorn was a bit off kilter as it was not the original head and maybe legs, but it replied to Thalin’s call of “Rudy” and came with us after we buried the offal, skins, and unused meat in a hole and piled a few large rocks upon it. We headed back off to the north and east until we arrived at the end of the “V” again – and looking east, Darius was right – there WAS another Beacon House here – and looking at the map and line of sight, it was in view of not only the Beacon by White Top – but also a straight line view to the ridge where we assumed Spire Keep Pass was.

We would not cross now in daylight and would wait to hit up an area east of the ridge we were on and south of the newly discovered Beacon. We made our way through the trees until we came to where we expected to cross, waited until 8 or so, and then quietly made our way down the slope and over the valley, watching everywhere for any sign of trouble. At the other side of the valley we hit the tree line swiftly and made our way upslope to get away from the assumed to be killing floor.

We had heard the shrill cry of a Rock Drake earlier and were on guard for it. As we made our way up we came upon the smashed eaten remains of a mountain elk. The trees above had been smashed and branches were everywhere as if a large heavy creature slammed through the canopy above to hit the elk. The outdoors types assured the group the impact was a few weeks old as we kept heading upslope looking for a cave.

We found other areas of smashed branches and signs of Rock Drake hunting the further uphill we went. Some of them were older, others fresher. One was barely a week old. We grew nervous as we travelled and the few caves we found we inadequate for the entire group. We risked higher elevations and it was after a good hour of searching that we came upon a cave we could use. 2,500 over the ridge’s floor, it opened to the north and gave us a wonderful view of the slope with the Beaconhouse on it as well as Whitetop Mountain.

The cave was 20’ tall and 8’ wide at the entrance, 30’ deep, but the height only lasted barely 10 feet before it sloped down to about 7’ in height. If a Rock Drake came, anyone near the front would be an easy target. The party made sure they were ALL set up to the back of the cave. We were pretty tired and by 10 that night, finally rolled to sleep. Thalin positioned Rudy by the front of the cave with explicit instructions for the undead pronghorn deer to bleat if something approached him.

By 11, the Aurora was starting again but the group did not want to chance being out where Rock Drakes were in the sky. Every so often we heard the beating of wings but it was at 1ish in the morning when the sound of snapping trees and falling limbs woke everyone up just in time to see a ton and a half of angry Drake slam into the undead form of Rudy, grab the deer, and launch back into the sky with a raucous cry and a wailing fading bleat.

Holy crap.

We hunkered further back and stayed quiet while during the night we heard continuous sound of the Drake passing back and forth overhead. Each watch was a tense situation as we waited for the Aurora the end and the dawn to eventually come. It had to be about 4 in the morning when Gryg and Hjalgrim who were on watch heard the plaintive cries of wolves howling somewhere below and in the valley, the muting light of the Aurora coloring the area outside in a dying greenish light. No one wanted to go check as the wolves howled and we heard drake (s?) drop out of the sky and try to attack the wolves, screaming in frustration as they either missed or were outclassed by the wolves.

The noises continued for many minutes until we heard quite plainly a gravely male voice call out in Common, “Hail the cave! Can I come in?”

What the…?

Gryg gave the ok and striding in, looking up at the fading light was an older human male in his late 50’s or so. He was wearing well made yet worn grey and brown travelling clothes, many layers thick, and had a broad hat on his salt and light peppered bearded head. He thanked us, said he was known as “Traveler” and asked to share names with the two dwarves.

They spoke for a bit, he talked about the drakes and the nest being upslope from here only a half mile or so and that we shouldn’t tarry come the dawn. He then offered to share some ale which Gryg seemed to have gotten from somewhere and a pipe and some weed. The ale was hearty and damned good, and Hjalgrim’s smoking of the pipe gave him a brief glimpse of what he assumed was the K’Morat Warren. He couldn’t stay, saying he had to go as his road was on the way. But he thanked the group for their time, patience, courtesy, and respect, left just before the Aurora completely faded, climbed aboard some horse we hadn’t seen and was gone from sight.

The guess was Odin, or something like it. No one would believe us and we had no proof of it (ale and pipeweed?) but the Aurora was known to be the underside of the Bifrost Bridge so this was not outside the realm of possibility.

Workmonth the 21st by 8 AM had everyone up and we shared our stories of the night and then broke camp quickly, wanting to be gone and out of the Drake’s territory. We went downslope quickly to almost at the valley floor, stayed in the tree line for a mile or two, and then wound our way back upslope as we travelled north, climbing to 3,000 feet at least and coming upslope and behind the Beacon House. We saw no K’Morat and were happy to avoid them.

From there we were on the south slope of Whitetop Mountain, the top shrouded in clouds, the sides steep. We had to drop in elevation from 3,000 to only 750’ due to the sharpness of the slope and even then, we had to occasionally drop to 500 or even less when the angle grew too much for the party to navigate. The croup doggedly made their way west, getting closer and closer to the valley entrance.

If was almost 5 PM when we managed to make our way around the western most side of Whitetop’s Ridge, moved north, and then turned back to the east. We could hear the sounds of hammering like a smithy, many hammers banging away ringing off the mountain echoes. We could hear the chopping of trees and the sussurous noise of many creatures living together. There was a haze ahead of us, maybe half a mile away and dimly seen through the trees. We stopped to eat real fast and then a bit after 5, we were ready to go on and see the Third K’Morat Warren at long last.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meet 62, Adv 4.2, 9/22/18

The biggest obstacle for wilderness adventuring is the party going off the rails on what you planned and expected. The party did not want to risk climbing up to Spire Keep Pass, thanks to the difficulty in the terrain and my own description of the place, so they referred to the map and made a different choice than what I expected and trailblazed over a differing ridge. This actually knocks a day plus off their travel and brought them to a place where they can sneak upon the K'Morat Warren still relatively unnoticed.

Write up follows:

The group discussed what all out options were for a few hours after breaking our fast before looking to leave Damlagast’s Tower. No matter how it played out, at no point did we want to enter the valley during the daylight hours and risk being seen by the unknown location of the suspected Beacon House there and our presence announced back to the K’Morat Warren.

By 9, we had loaded up into the canoes and with slow great care made our way back towards the north side of Broken Tower Lake and then pulled the canoes ashore. We made our way east to where we had hid them earlier and stowed them here again, buried under enough underbrush and natural deadfall that they should not be found even casually. Barb, Einar, and Gryg blazed a few trees nearby for further marking and the group then entered the treeline at the box shaped valley east and south of the valley. We stayed upslope and under the cover of trees as we made our way east and then north. A pack of boars were near our path in the later afternoon and we allowed them to pass. As evening was approaching a Giant Eagle made its passage far overhead, scanning the ground for miles before winging away.

As night was falling we ventured further upslope, pretty close to the mouth of the valley on the south east tip of an ending ridge. The goal was to find a cave large enough for the group to stay in and we wanted to make sure that we lit no fires. With five dwarves in the group it was close to 8 when we came upon a cave large enough for the party’s needs. Cramped we could get 10 in the cave with 3 stuck outside and 2 on watch.

The party spent a half hour clearing out the detritus, setting up bedrolls, and swapping blankets around to combat the cooler temperatures at this altitude and time of night. We set up a rotating round of 2 on watch for 5, 2 hour watches and the group fell asleep. Most of the watch was without issue except at one point a 12 point dirty white stag came into the area, sniffed around, and then wandered off. It was thought it might be a good omen, but no one was sure. Around 5:30 in the morning there was a light coming from the floor of the valley, steady and whitish, moving through the valley floor, turning east, and was then lost to our sight around the mountain.

On Workmonth the 18th the group awoke, broke our fast, and made plans to leave as soon as the priests and druids finished their prayers for the morning. This was going to be a difficult portion of the trip because once we circled around the ridge line, and headed east, we would be in view of the valley and most likely the Beacon House. This meant we would NOT be coming off the slope or down the treeline, or through any clearing. And we would do our damnedest to do it quietly.

We made the circle around and started heading east towards the direction of the rising sun. It had crested the ridges which were shrouded in local clouds around 4,000 feet up. And due to that and its angle, be constantly looking behind us to the west as we travelled, we were able to spot a glint of metal reflecting up slope on the western end of the valley, about 2,500 feet up. Unable to tell what it was except metallic, stationary, and large, we assumed it was the Beacon House and within half an hour, the further rising sun no longer shone directly on the structure and its reflection was lost to us in the trees. Be that is at may, the group made careful note of it on the map where it was for us to avoid or conflict with on our way back.

Our hyper vigilance paid off as through the space of the trees and downslope, the group saw a line of fast moving lightly armored K’Morat warriors running through the grasslands between the ridges, coming from the east and heading west. We covered our armor with cloaks and stayed rooted as we counted 2 dozen making the run with flatbows, spears, and similar weaponry. As we were mulling over the merits of risking an engagement at over a mile away, we saw 6 more K’Morat coming, these with bristleback short-hair boars on chains, running behind their charges as they made their way through the valley to catch up with the larger pack.

We waited as they all arrived in the valley together, conferred briefly, and then spread out in a large 100 yard circle watching all directions as 4 of them broke away and ran towards the slope where we assumed the Beacon House was. It was almost 20 minutes later when they came down with 4 other kobolds and they all once more collected together and had a long conversation. It was almost 15 minutes later when 6 of the K’Morat warriors shouldered their packs and ran up the slope towards the Beacon House, while the other almost 30 kobolds gathered their gear and started running their way south in the direction of Broken Tower Lake and beyond; boars and original 4 kobolds going along with them.

While we discussed how lucky we were not to be in the grasslands when this occurred and coming to the conclusion that these were the “elite” kobolds scouts and rangers we had suspected the Warren would have, the Beacon House on the slope behind us lit up and flashed four times in the direction we were travelling to the east, a blast of light before shutting down. Even during the day, the flash was visible at 4 miles away and we assumed would be also to whoever ahead of us was looking for it.

This must have been the signal for arriving and/or changing of the guard and we took note of it, and with greater care, continued on our trip east, staying a good 1,000 feet upslope and deep in the treeline.

Eventually the valley turned from east to north and it was at around 2 that we slowed down and came to a stop. The slope ahead of us had been denuded of trees as the soil had been washed away some time ago, leaving bare stone with many cuts and steps hacked into the rocks. Looking downslope we could see the base of the mountain here was a hillock of gentle slopes where we assumed the soil had washed away to, and the slope when uphill to the east higher and higher until it was lost in the clouds. The spacing across here from the sparse trees at the edge to the opposite side had to be 500 feet and then some.

Clear ground with rock, slope, lichen and no cover.

Nope. Not going to risk it.

We wanted to get past this area and suspected that upslope at the top would be Spire Keep Pass. They would see us, or the Beacon House would see us – and that would be it. The decision was to head back away from here to the southern ridge we had just come from, find a cave, do some hunting, and then come back here at night and cross then. As for the slope, Gryg did notice one thing of interest – the ground had a preponderance of salt and gypsum crystals across its surface. Gypsum normally grows within a cave and not naked on the side of a mountain but it was another thing to make the dwarf give his voice to the party heading back and coming here again very early in the morning. We didn’t know what defenses the Keep had at the top of the ridge and no one wanted to risk it.

We headed back and then around the curve from south to east, the party headed upslope to find a better cave to hole up in. It was around 3:30 when we came upon one large enough for everyone and then some. Five of the party went off to do some hunting while the rest of the group cleaned up the cave and the surrounding area.

A stand of badgers fell to the hunters along with many game birds so it was by 6 that we returned to the cave, a fire was lit in the cave, and the skinned animals were set up to cook and smoke for an hour or two. We ate well, including Shog and Avulstein on the offal and bits of skin. Thalin took one of the badger remains and animated it, while the party placed one of the skinned faces back on the beast.

It was 9 when we had the cave aired out enough to sleep in and the party rested, again cycling 2 on watch in 2 hour increments – hoping to get up at 3 AM and make their way back to the slope and across in the dim predawn hours and be away before being seen.

Everything went as expected except around midnight when a hunting party of bugbears (7) came upon our cave following the faint smell of cooked/smoked meat. Sybil and Dizzy were on watch and under the cloak, with no light, and Sybil being behind dizzy, to the infravision of the bugbears; they appeared to be a small ettin.

Conversation followed and they were looking for food, hungry and tired. They reported escaping from a kobold Warren maybe two days away and had crossed a keep upslope not far from here. Closer we were able to see missing fingers, scars, burned patches, and other signs of abuse and torture. We gave them a day’s worth of smoked meat and they passed us a rabbit’s skin pouch with a couple dozen brass chits with no markings as thanks.

They went on their way and reported that we should keep clear of Whitetop Mountain, as that was where the kobolds were.

It was 3ish when the group woke up, we reported the bugbears and their information, and the group gathered up all our belongings and then made our way through the darkness to the east and then north, eventually coming once again to the large cleared area. We could not see clearly in the dark the other side where the trees were but we knew they were there in the faint starlight. Nothing upslope seemed to be watching us and there was no way in the dark that anyone in the Beacon House at this point 5 estimated miles away could see us.

We began crossing one at a time, then two – with the more surer footed members helping those who were having trouble crossing the sloped stone to the other side. It took some time, with many a pebble or rock dislodged to fall away down slope into the darkness. Nothing came out to accost us, no one showed up, and within a few tense minutes the party reconvened on the opposite side of the of the cleared slope.

Pressing on yet feeling tired, we continued along the tree line as the sun came up, the cloud cover having rolled in and obscuring everything from 3,000 feet and up. We travelled on until the ridge we were on went from north to west again. According to the map, there was a ridge top above us and it would lead to a valley on the other side should we be able to get to it.

So the decision was made to link up with lengths of rope and climb up into the cloud bank. The degree of the slope increased to 35, 40 and we had a rough time making our way along. There were gouges in the stone where the whipping wind had dug furrows along the peak area here, making footing treacherous and slips all too easy. Darius actually lost footing, braced by Gryg and caught by Barb, he was lucky not to fall any further or upset the roped line of adventurers.

We did top the ridge in the cloud cover and then made our way down slope until we emerged once again. The valley was laid out ahead of us and in the distance at the mouth of another valley a good 4-5 miles away, we caught the telltale glinting reflection of a Beacon House some 2,500 feet upslope. According to the map, it was around that valley and to the east was the foot of Whitetop Mountain – and where we suspected the K’Morat Warren was located.

We went looking for a cave here to hole up, discovered one easily enough, and decided to stop here, rest for the truncated sleep we had earlier, and discuss our options on the approach of the suspected locale.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Meet 61, Adv 4.2, 9/15/18

The group had the opportunity to talk to a minion kobold who had a series of very good reaction rolls to Barb, Thalin, and Dizzy - and was just chatty about what he knew. Many things, but nothing concrete. Enough of a framework that the group has a good idea of the size of the Warren they are up against and the problem associated with it.

They liked him so much that the decision was made that if they did find him at the Warren, they were going to let him live. At least for now they say they are going to.

Write up follows.

After getting some information from the K’Morat we decided to crash the rest of the night and then send half the group back to the Base Camp to inform the Bailiff. So with everyone taking a watch and our two prisoners trussed up, we slept on and off till a bit after 7. From here we broke our fast and split up the group into two: Sybil, Hjalgrim, Merica, Shimlagesh, Connal, Einar, and Darius were going to take the 5-6 hour walk back to Base Camp and the rest of the group would stay here with the two kobolds (Barb, Avulstein, Negan, Grygmiir, Thalin, and Dizzy).

The walk back was without much problem as we trekked through the alternating misting and falling rain. Most creatures were resting or staying dry, so we had little to interest us. At one point we did see a trio of wolves looking at us in the distance, but assumed it was the Orcish druid Dunatis or his minions watching us. We arrived at Base Camp just before 2 and surprised everyone at our return.

After the customary back slapping and concern for what was beyond the walls, the Bailiff Youngston and the Reeve Donna escorted us to the Representative House and we had a conversation. We filled them in on all we had found, the Beacon Houses, the K’Morat, the “not” attacking force of 50 or so coming, and the two that we had and were going to send back and hopefully follow.

The Bailiff’s concern was simple – will the K’Morat be attacking in force in some short period of time? The reason was that he was going to send Teamster Trentis and his team back to Sorton to gear up more foodstuffs and weaponry – but more importantly, does the Third Reeve of House Illytch need to exercise the Base Camp Defense Initiative and outfit and send the other 12 armed and armored guards out to help defend the Base Camp here? If so, it is for the remainder of the time the Base Camp is out here and represents a LARGE cost in coin and manpower for the House. It also makes the “break even” amount of harvestable Firvin’s Cap mushrooms jump from between 3 and 4 daily to easily 4 and a half – and as of right now with all the delays in harvesting, we are only up in the positive about 18 mushrooms, or maybe 5 days.

We discussed it at length and gave the Bailiff our feeling that as of this time, we do NOT need to have House Illytch send any more staff out here. A variety of reasons, some economic as discussed – but also for the reason of perceived threat. The captured K’Morat we had talked to was adamant that one of the key points they were using to decide to attack the Base Camp was seeing if the Camp continued to grow with manpower – and a dozen well-armed dwarven guardsmen would be seen as an escalating perceived threat.

We rested after checking with Ruhild for more travel foodstuff and maybe a cask of water to take as well. Getting assurances they’d be in place, we retired to our barracks and then crashed for the night.

Meanwhile, the other group with the 2 K’Morat kept careful watch from the Beacon House, eventually feeding the two kobolds…the other dead kobolds! Avulstein joining them in the eating of the dead body. They were nonplussed about it seeing the dead as meat at best. At the end of it though, after mush of the innards, guts, and flesh had been stripped from the body, Avulstein performed a ritual and animated the meaty skeletal remains of the kobold back to life and had it stay by his side.

Barb had the idea on taking the kobold who did not speak Common away from the Shaman and questioning him separately. So Barb, Dizzy, Gryg, and Thalin brought him upstairs and out of the Shaman’s field of hearing, she got him to speak enough so the Ravenstone fired to life, and Dizzy cast a comprehend languages spell to help him communicate with the K’Morat.

He was convinced he was going to die and was surprised to have us talk to him. Accepting that he was an inferior, he was normally a builder back at the Warren; his job was to make ladders. Apparently the Warren needed them and many of them, and he was good at that. He was assigned to the Shaman at a time when he did not want to go.

Giants (blue skinned ones) have been visiting the Warren and one of them broke his Adler wood ladder which he wanted to repair. There were also gnolls that have come by to trade. The group talked to him slowly and with trust, guiding him gently around questions and coaxing out information from him. There was a Beacon House across the Lake in the Valley and to the east was something called Spire Pass Keep situated between two mountain peaks. 8 K’Morat are stationed there and they have colored dust they use to signal the Warren which we were told was by a Mountain with a White Top.

There were many colors but he knew only 3: red meant enemies coming, grey meant Rock Drake attack, and green meant people coming to trade.

There was an area below that led to the birthing rooms that was guarded by K’Morat spearmen and as for the Warren – it was large and sprawling and nestled in some valley with mountains on all sides. There were also slaves who worked: dwarves and orcs – which surprised the party.

We thanked him, and made a show of “dragging” him back to the Shaman but actually being gentle about it. The decision was made – we would be releasing both of the K’Morat tomorrow after the rest of the party returned, without harm.

Workmonth the 15th, the party was up early at 7 AM at Base Camp where we gathered all our belongings, the extra food, and were out the gates a good hour or so before the Teamster and his men were going to leave on their way back to Sorton. We walked hard, but not pushing our self, anticipating making it past 3-Rock Falls soon. It was here though, near the fording, that we saw a pair of giants come out of the tree line on the opposite side of the Enderlyn River. Both were over 15’ tall, bluish skin, white hair and beards, and Connal and Einar were suddenly ill as they recognized the larger of the two as being the same Frost Giant that the first Warren had made a deal with. F’nyr.

At just about a quarter mile away, near the fording, and 170’ of fast moving river between us, the two giants just looked at the party who froze in place, unsure of what to do. The nearest cover was almost 500 yards south. The giants looked at us up and down for almost 30 seconds, then the taller said something to the smaller, and they turned right around and headed North East, right back into the trees they had emerged from, walking quickly and with a purpose.

Crap, we wanted to get out of here now.

We double timed it towards the Falls and then beyond to the Valley, heading upslope to the Beacon House. We didn’t know what the giants were doing, but we assumed they were heading towards the third Warren and the K’Morat. It was about 3 PM when we all got back together and we shared everything we had learned from both sets of groups.

The decision was to NOT go to the lake now, still raining, and instead head across in the morning with the two kobolds, then release them, then portage down to our two canoes and help get all three of them across the lake and back to the group.

So we rested again, split up the food and water, shared more dead kobold with the kobolds, and had a good night. The next day was the 16th and we were up by 7 again. We broke our fast and then we all left the Beacon House, kobolds in tow. We picked up the canoe that we had moved and by 8:30, were at the shores of Broken Tower Lake.

Einar, Hjalgrim, Sybil, Shim, and the two kobolds all loaded up and paddled their way slowly and with great care to the other side. Once there, the two kobolds were let go and we watched them as they made their way north to the valley and pass and then took the time to hide in the thick grasses, losing us from sight. We made our way east, porting the one canoe, until we arrived at the far end of Broken Tower Lake and found our two outrigger canoes.

We spent the time lashing them together and then we rowed back across the lake towing the two other canoes with care. It was after 2 by the time we arrived back on the south side of the lake, and dragging the three canoes, it was after 5 when we were all together again. The thought was NOT to cross the lake tonight, and instead head back to Damlagast’s Tower and hole up there.

So we gathered up on the three canoes and made our way to the tower. A studied knock spell had us inside and we closed the door behind us. The furnace was still working so the tower was warm and inviting. We gave the place a once over and picked out places for the group to rest. Sybil made her way to the room with the pictures and hung the one with the food on the wall – making a loaf of nutty orcish bread, a bowl of fruit, and a few fingers of rich ale appear. Then her and Shim ate it, and took the picture off and did it again – making more appear.

And then more and again and again. After the 5th time, the picture had grown HOT and had to be knocked off the wall as it was burning the plaster behind it. Sybil was admonished NOT to do that again and we ate the repast for now. As for the rest of the group, about 5 of us made their way upstairs where we opened the crystal chamber and Connal made his way to the roof after getting tied on, watching the area in the dark to see if he could see anything. The rest of the party played with the chair, summoned the Mastiff Onycanim, tried a few things, and then let the evening make its way past.

Around 8:30 or so, Connal was sure we saw a group of 4 humanoids in the gloom cross the Lake on a fallen tree, assuming they were trolls, who then were lost in the gloom on the south shore and gone from sight. By 9ish we had all gotten back together after a round of studying and scribing, broke up into watches, and went to sleep.

Around 1ish we awoke Connal who went back to the roof and watched outside the northern section of the lake shore, hoping to see the Beacon House lit – but to no avail, it remained dark. By 2:30 he closed the roof and we all slept well, awakening at 7 AM on Workmonth the 17th, ready to head off and leave the tower and check out the north side of the lake and the valley beyond.