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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Meet 74, Adv 5, 1/26/19

Finally! The group had the chance to enter the Terror Dungeon Twice. The first time they met with a decimated group emerging and then triggered the "wandering monster" summoner. Which resulted in three rolls. And to the groups point of view, it was 4 fire beetles, two giant toads, and beholder.

Again - to the group's point of view - I'm not saying anything about what I rolled.

Anyway they ran for it and had the shortest time in a dungeon I've ever had the pleasure to DM except for maybe a half hour on my daughter and wife's ill fated treck into the Caves of Chaos long ago.

They went back in some time later and so far it's much better

Write up follows:

After enjoying a meal, we were summoned to the central keep to meet with Lord Corface Bork, a 60’s year old human male with the shakes and some sort of musculature disease. With him were 5 others: His Chancellor Kent Ra’al, a 50’s year old squint eyed human male, His Herald Thester Clantik, an adult aged spindly simpering dwarven male, His Castellan a youngish half-elven cautious looking male named Helmut Thranglerod, the Keep’s Curate, a late adult dwarvish male with a kind face named Ampar Earthwise, and the Keep’s Runesmith, Rogar Giantbane a fatalistic adult male dwarf with a number of permanent inkstains on his finger tips.

We talked to the group for a while, presented our paperwork, talked about other adventurers, the sovereign kingdoms around Bork Keep, various rules in the dungeon and out, and finally how the runestones will work for us on getting in and out of the dungeon. It was almost an hour of deep conversation before we purchased a 7 count of Runestones and committed ourselves to entering the Terror Dungeon on the morrow.

We wanted to wait until after the exit steps had moved so timed our entrance for 11:40 or later. We presented ourselves to the official on duty who took our names and group and had the two guard dwarves open the heavy iron doors. The entrance a 10’ circular hole in the ground where we could see broken stone and dark runes surrounding the entrance where the steps descended into the gloom.

We entered and the 4th step down the runes on the rock lit up in time with our rune stone and each person who entered could feel a crackling run up their skin as they descended. The temperature was a mid 50’s or higher. The steps turned to the left, spiraling down at least three times before a glow from below showed some sort of light ahead. A faint vinegary smell was in the air as we finally came to the first room. A chiseled “2” was on the wall here and a torch was sitting in a sconce on the south wall.

Room was 40’ square and discarded torch stubs, bits of armor, busted shields, general garbage littered the floor, testament of past adventurers who had come through here. A number of chalk marks were on the wall outside the steps going up, many of them times settling around 11:00 to 11:35 and again from 7:10 to 7:40. Some had been crossed off, most of the outliers, leaving the group to understand other adventurers had marked the time IN and OUT at the steps in the past.

Two open passages on the north and south wall, east side of the room went off into the dark, and two archways on the same walls on the west side of the room. North archway looked like an ogre’s open mouth along with fangs, South arch looked like ragged spears and knives.

Some chalk writing about frostmen and another about having a torch available. Marking near the torch showed 23 crosshatchings as if someone was keeping count. While we were going through everything we heard heavy footsteps coming closer from the south passage. Retreating to the steps we drew weapons and drew ready – to see 2 human females in various stages of disrepair, one laden with three large sacks and the other carrying a 3rd person, human male, on her back in a fireman’s carry.

On seeing each other the two women gave a groan of satisfaction and identified themselves as Ketick and Abera. The 3rd was their leader, Nelborg, and they had fallen in something called “The Pit Room” on the 2nd level where they tumbled down to the 4th level and had to fight their way out. They lost 3 of their party (the paladin to holding off an invading giant ant army) and were hoping to get Nelborg raised from the dead and then debate on going back in again.

We gathered from their conversation that they were higher level than us and after they left we talked about our options.

The decision was to take the corridor they had come from first, map for a bit, and see what happens next. So with Sybil walking point, we went south, ignored the side passage that went off to the east and ended at a “T” and continued on to the a turn to the west and then a door with a pull handle. Giving it a once over for traps, we opened the door to see the skeletal remains of an ogre sized creature with 2 sets of arms, blood stains and smears everywhere.

We debated long about what to do as we inched in closer and closer until an unseen wind blossomed over the skeleton and then gale forces tore about the room and the bones began clacking and shifting. We turned to run as a peal of thunder sounded and a voice shouted “RUN! RUN FOOLS! YOUR DOOM IS UPON YOU!” as lighting shot through the figure and sparks flew. We slammed the door behind us and hit the stairs as the dungeon shook and quaked about and the noise echoed everywhere.

And then we heard it, buzzing loud, deep, and menacing coming closer. From the south passage 4 Fire Beetles came around the corner as two of our party stood in their way, the 4’ glowing large mandible bugs trying to get past. From the north passage under the Ogre’s Teeth arch came 2 ¾ ton 8’ tall giant toads hopping into the room and looking around. We were going to turn and run when coming behind the beetles was a 4’ diameter floating green and blue chitonous covered large mouthed levitating slavering beast with a huge central eye and almost a dozen tendrils on its head each with ANOTHER eye.

“BEHOLDER!!!” the group shouted and turned to run. The Fire beetles made a grab at us but we charged away, spiraling up and shouting above to “OPEN THE FUCKING DOORS!! NOW !!”

The two huge metal portals groaned under the weight and then were pulled aside as we scrambled out of the Terror Dungeon and the dwarves let the chains fall slack as the passage closed behind us. The officiate looked at his log and said, “41 minutes.”

What?

“You, your party. Was in the Terror Dungeon for a total of 41 minutes”. We had some words with him and he commented that we were “loitering” when Avulstein lost his patience and the group left to go to the messhall and get a drink and rethink what the hell they were going to do all the while muttering, “a Beholder! An Odin-damned fucking BEHOLDER?!”

First order, get drunk. Second order, do NOT go in that set of steps at all for the rest of the day.

At the messhall Ketick was there and surprised to see us (yes, even THEY were doing their own first order of getting a drink). We told her of what happened, she mentioned the Ogre skeleton room was designed to alert any wandering monsters in the area and the secret was to not dilly dally, just go through it.

We went to Castellan after some drink and purchased MORE oil and MORE torches. From there we went to the butcher who was working on some animals and had a pig strung up, and allowed us to fill a flask with its still warm blood. We then went back to the visitor’s hall and rested.

By 7 we were ready to try again. We reequipped, made sure we had all we needed , and made our way back to the entrance. This time a new officiate was there, a farm girl named Kara who was working here for Lord Bork because she had her letters. Darius and she struck up a conversation before the group went back to the steps and once more, made our way back to the Terror Dungeon.

This time the steps took us down and there was a haze to the air. An earthy smell hit us as emerged to a room with 4 doors, one on each wall. More detritus on the floor, more chalk times. A note about a pressure plate trap, another about healing potions from Nythis. Door on the east was marked “To the fountain” and below it someone wrote “better if you have the Horn”. Torch lit on east wall had runes of prayer to Loki and the Norns about it and a pyramid of stones was below it as if an offering. The door to the north had some faint humanoid voices, door to the south smelt faintly acrid.

Ok, different set up. We lit a few torches and went east to the fountain first. Sybil led the way as we went to the corner, turned north, and could see some light from an opening to the right in the hall. We checked out the rest of the hall that turned back to the west and ended at a door with a turn handle. Sybil gave it a solid once over and let us know the door was trapped for sure – probably multiple times. We opted to ignore it and go back to the opening which ended in a 30’x30’ room with two torches and a fountain.

Showed lizard like creatures happily playing and a stylized Yggdassil tree where water was trickling out of 9 openings. A silver cup on a small chain was attached to the fountain and along the base were older style runes carved into the surface. We made a rubbing of the runes and then spent some time deciphering them. “The Skein of the Norns have brought you here at this time to drink. May Loki bless you as you drink and may Helmut fudge the dice rolls in your favor.”

We opted NOT to drink at this time, assuming it was magical and there was a mention of a Horn, like a drinking Horn? That would be better.

So we went back to the main room and took the west door . The ceiling was just about 10’ tall and there were smears on the ceiling, finger tip smears running the long way south. The passage had a jog to the left as we went down and as we progressed , Sybil let us know the smell ahead of us was taking on a faint rotting odor. There was a door here, closed, and after Sybil let us know it was not trapped we readied our weapons and got set to open it.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Meet 73, Adv 5, 1/19/19

As I mentioned, I had to advance time a bit, and the party the chance to meet with the local sage, Julian, who was a font of information on the Terror Dungeon and its workings. This was tidbits the other group had picked up and what I considered to be "common" knowledge. Details would still have to be gotten by the group.

And they had a chance to pass through the first of the Stolen Kingdoms, Canaslan, Run by Seljack of Madar - a one time sellsword and mercenary who would spend most of his earnings on the finest drink, the bawdiest of wenches, and the most latest of fashions - only to run out of coin and have to go adventuring again.

The land literary stinks of beer, body odor, and sweat.

Write up follows:

The following morning we split into two groups, a “delving” group that was going to head to Bork Keep and make our first foray into the Terror Dungeon, and a “surface” group that was going to report to the Greater Rand Sellsword and Adventuring Guild to establish potential residence and see what work can be garnered to support half of us while we were local.

The Delving Group resulted in Sybil (Halfling thief), Negan (half ogre Fighter Cleric to Odin), Darius (human fighter (slinger), Grygmier (dwarvish ranger), Avulstein (half orc (now!) tested wizard (earth)), Connal  (human monk to Sif), and Brading (dwarvish cleric to Heimdal). After eating breakfast at the Flying Pegasus, we travelled off to the western section of town for the Records and Sage district where we managed to get to Julian the Sage’s Tower. 4 stories tall, 40’ diameter, short wall surrounding the property and an herb garden being tended by a gnome gardener.

We introduced ourselves, gave a copy of our charter and showed our silver pins from the GRSAG and then were escorted in. Shoes and weapons were removed as we came into the tower proper. There was a white carpet, crystal curtain, and rows of books near a low table. A small amount of wine was dispensed to each person and Julian (human, male, 50’s, thin, fading hair) took time welcoming the party and then asking them what they hoped to get out of the Terror Dungeon and why they were doing this.

We answered him with a variety of reasons and Julian seemed ok with them all. He then gave us his opinion of the Terror Dungeon and some of the history. Bork Keep was about 300 years old and built for the Randari Emperor at that time by Daroken Dwarves who were invited to do the job by Nightwood Gnomes. It took 4 years and the Gorokian Dwarves were upset about it and refused to supply any of the stone except at the very end of the construction.

The Keep was positioned at Bork Lake as a deterrent for raiding lizardmen from the Starlitzian lizard tribes across the river. During the Randari/Dwarven war the keep was sacked but in the interim years it has been helmed by most recently a Lord Corface Bork (most likely not descended from the original owners) who has had its compliment of people rise and acts as a training ground for up and coming knights and men at arms.

The Terror Dungeon opened up 15 years ago when they were digging a deeper base for the wine cellar and its presence appearing now is not normal. There are other deeper wells and locations dug in and around the Keep – but at the time of the Dungeon Appearing, there have been no deep shafts possibly dug since then.

Julian wants whatever original writings can be found in the Dungeon. There is a mention (7 times) of a being referred to as Dragodon in whatever documents he’s has the luxury of looking at. There are many reasons why the Dungeon is here now and lots of theories – but he believes something is coming, and the dungeon is acting as a crucible – want to be heroes are going in, and only the best of them come out alive and better equipped to defeat powerful foes. Why?

He also gave us a brief on the Stolen Kingdoms, the Dozen Kingdoms, the Sovereign Lands – those places that have become “flipped” by powerful adventurers who have plumbed some of the deepest depths and gotten into some of the secretive areas of the dungeon warded by glyphs that make entrance difficult at best. We would have to pass through Canaslan, the 2nd such kingdom and its principle city of Paxian on our way to the Keep.

We left the Sage and did some shopping in the south section of town where many general shops were located not too far from an orcish slum. Everyone loaded up on ropes, spikes, hammers, etc…getting themselves as ready as possible for the trip to Bork Keep. We rested that night excited and nervous and got a good rest for our last day at the Flying Pegasus.

The next morn on Spiritmonth the 7th we were off and took the 10+ hour walk from Erylond to Bork Keep. It was cool, mid 40’s, but clear. Around 2 PM we passed through some sort of disturbance in the air and found ourselves in the stolen kingdom of Canaslan. The air had a warmer feel to it, there was an odor of beer and sweat in the air. The road seemed in poorer condition and many of the farms we passed had poorly planted fields. Drunkenness seemed rampant, along with sloth and merriment. Although we didn’t go to Paxian, we could see it in the distance off the road to the north. Walled city, slummy looking homes, VERY NICE gleaming castle.

A company of riders came up in dirty tabards and drinking, welcoming us to Canaslan and their King, Seljack of Madar. The offered us safe passage and rode ahead, knocking peasants aside and making a nuisance of themselves as they rode away. When we caught up with them again in half a mile, they had already dismounted and were gathered in a drunken pile at the side of the road. We pressed on. We had heard something about a “Sellsword’s Haven” by some of the people we had passed and gathered that that was the “theme” to this kingdom and Seljack.

It was about 5 PM when we emerged from the other side of the kingdom and were back on the normal road. Bork Keep could be seen in the distance. The land rose here about 50’ with the Erylond (Enderlyn further upstream) River burbling into the wide lake (3 miles by 6 miles). The land around the keep to the north was regimented farmlands and demesnes, all in good shape and repair. The keep itself had a tall outer wall, four towers and a barbican, and then another inner wall also warded with 4 towers.

A group of armigers arrived on horseback, pennants flying, lanced held at parade rest. We were welcomed to Bork Keep and told to be on our best behavior. Bows and crossbows MUST be unstrung in the Keep and weapons SHOULD be sheathed. There are craftsman and resellers to be found and there are two barracks at the north end of the Keep near the Dungeon Entrance where adventurers stay. We were told NOT to fuck with the rules and theft was considered to be the height of folly.

Once inside we had a chance to go through the well thought out and regimented Keep. The place was clean, had to be a few hundred people living in the keep itself. The back end of the Keep where we were heading was in good repair and there were two barracks, we took the left one that had a hitching post with a cart laden and tarped down, and a few ponies and mules. Avulstein went to go look at the cart when Darius was all over him to leave well enough alone.

We went inside and were welcomed by a group of 12 or so people, 8 of which were part of an adventuring group called the Unseen Hand. They had just spent a week or so in the Dungeon, lost two of their members, but had gone in Cleric Heavy this time (around 3rd/4th level) and made a payday of at least 40-50 lbs of treasure based upon what they showed us as well as other gear they had strapped to the cart outside.

We talked a bit, he told us that we should find the Glyph Gate on the north side of the 1st level and get a Brass Chime – if you are at a set of stairs and it’s not the right time, the Chime will summon the exit for 2 minutes allowing the party to leave before it snaps back to its original location. Suggested it’s worth our time to do so because hanging out at an exit and hoping for the best was a good way to be eaten by a Grue.

We shared our drink and food, he did the same, and we were going to see Lord Bork to bid our hello and get a rune stone to allow us entrance to the Dungeon.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Meet 72, Adv 5, 1/12/19

Lot of town and Larping this meeting, fluff galore. As one of the players pointed out - didn't think he rolled a d20 all night. Sometimes it happens. I've said it before - I don't hand have all the minutia and travel away - it removes from the game and the experience at the table.

For NPC's, I have a random generator I made up a while ago to give me 75% of the character in question, all I need to fill in the "type" (Commoner, warrior, expert, adventurer) and the "Class" (linkboy, shieldbearer, armorer, cleric, etc...) and hit f9 - program does the rest.

Write up follows:

On Spiritmonth the 4th about 9:30 we left the Flying Pegasus and made our way westward through the northern district until we arrived at our location – a tall 3 story structure taking up almost the entire block and identified in multiple languages as the Greater Rand Sellsword and Adventurer’s Guild. The place was well lit, neat, in good repair, and there was the main double doors leading in, and a side door where a queue of 40 or so souls were waiting in line to get in.

We asked what that was and were told that the guild Apothecist, Nythis, opened the doors here to the workshop after 8 and until 12 where he sold his healing potions to first come first serve. They were cheap, like seriously cheap – and well under what one would expect to spend. The chimney alongside the workshop section of the Guildhall had a pinkish tinged smoke coming out and there was the faint scent of berries in the air. The line was long, and most people had to wait a half hour or longer. Also, he made a certain amount each day and if wanted some, you had to make sure you came early enough to get because 150 or so was the most he made.

As for price, 17 if you were a guild member, 35 if you were not. Crowns. That’s…it? It seemed so cheap! We would mull on it another time because instead we entered the locale. A couple of tired looking half-ogres were sitting here on the sturdy couches when a half-elven thinnish man with long dark hair pulled into a pony tail came in and introduced himself as Pha-iyr Carom, the guild’s Facilitator.

He took us through some of the local halls and to a largish meeting room capable of seating 20. From there we talked about our group, gave him our letters of recommendation from Tropor Darbeard and Third Reeve Speero Illytch and talked about what we’ve done.

There was a charter for us to sign and we were allowed to read it a bit and discuss it while he had Bjorn Durkenlurk, a 50’s plus human male wearing a set of grey wizard’s robes come in. Identified as the Master of the Guild, he took us through the charter line by line.

Most of the rules made sense and were designed to support and bolster the guild and its members together. If an adventuring group is in trouble and you can help, you help. If another guild your members belong to want you to do something against either the Adventuring Guild or another group in the adventuring guild, you are not bound to do so and can tell them to get stuffed.

If you want to put something in the guild vault – it can be left their safely for 90 days at 2% of its value. No one can take it out, no one can for the guild to take it out. And even if something goes wrong, they’ll continue to hold for another 180 days until you show up and pay or they have to them sell the contents. And finally the guild wants 1% of all coin, riches or easily transmuted treasures up to 200 nobles per foray.

There were at least 15 other larger adventuring groups like ours, and hundreds of private individuals making the total member roster between 3 and 4 hundred based upon Bjorn’s dropped notes and hints. The Guild has their own Guider for the Dead if we needed services and the Esquire and Lawyer, a 20-something blond pony tailed woman named Hubiula Asalin was here to ratify our signatures and get us officially in.

When it came time for questions, Hjalgrim had taken an aggressive stance with Hubuila and the tow of them got to words before the dwarven knight stormed out of the meeting room and got one of the Half-ogres to go get Pha-iyr for him to talk to instead. The party did sign off on the document, some of them reading it, some of them not. We also picked a name: Vanguard of Ragnarok and then had to pick a nominal head of the group. It was not a leadership position, but it was the head of the group and the person(s) the Greater Rand Sellsword and Adventuring Group (GRSAG) would contact if need be. We talked amongst ourselves for some time until it was put to vote and Thalin was chosen by an almost twice the amount over the next person Darius who was 50% more desired than Hjalgrim. So we put all 3 names on in that order, had it signed by Hubuila and we were official.

We were given a small list of current “adventures” that were open at this time for anyone to participate in and reminded to NOT buy a portal stone from someone other than Bork Keep and that we should talk to Julian the Sage tomorrow to get some information about the Terror Dungeon.

We then wanted to meet with what insurance companies were around and willing to back our party. Three were about: the Gorokian Collective, House Daracloak, and Lord Shonar. The Gorokian Collective was a dwarven backers from Gorok who were willing to insure us for 4 forays, a successful foray being called 200 nobles. They wanted 35% of all liquidable treasures and 75% of all weapons and armor; anything else was ours. Each foray would reduce both percentages by 10% accordingly. They would offer 1 raise dead for each person on the charter with a cost of 1,000 crowns should another one be needed afterwards (limit of 2 total). Resurrection was offered as well a total of 1 partywide, with a 2nd and beyond costing 5,000 crowns per instance. Status issues would be at a reduced rate if need be.

House Daracloak was a trading company with ties to the oldest Sovereign Kingdom of Grimyria and their rep was a human (?) named Lord Mayfacto Daracloak. They offered 40% of all treasures regardless with a 5% reduction each foray for a maximum of 6 (with a minimum total emergence of 500 nobles for the foray to count). They also covered any status injury…but…they offered no raise dead or resurrection and the deal was anyone who dies, their bodies were to be given to House Daracloak and eventually Grimyria. We thanked him and he left, Dizzy convinced the insurance guy was a real vampire.

Finally Lord Shonar came in, the nobleman himself coming to talk to us. He was able to trace his lineage and presence in Erylond back to the Ymira of Rand and before then – the nobleman house and merchant operation having the money, time, contacts, and riches to be one of the players and shapers of Erylond these last 300 years. He had a different scale with 10% for the first foray and an additional 7 ½% for each foray afterwards, a successful foray being 250 nobles. They also offered 5 Raise Deads, 2 Resurrections, and 3 Status correction remedies for the entire party with a reduced cost for any afterwards if need be.

After they all left we liked Lord Shonar’s option and even though we were talking about going in the first time ourselves, if we did want an insurance collective, it would most likely be that one.

Back at the Flying Pegasus we rested and the next morning Teranys was able to wrangle up 3 clerics that were “looking for group” for us to interview based upon our request to add one to our roster. The first was a late 20’s 6’ tall well-built human male named Fren. Reddish hair, green eyed, worshipper of Odin, he had been in the Terror Dungeon 7 times, twice a porter and 5 times as a party member. We talked for a bit about his time and references and although he seemed good, we wanted to talk to the next two.

The next was a slightly taller human, bald, perhaps in his mid-20’s, follower of Tyr named Beiti. He had a two handed sword on his back that was his father’s and also had a smaller broad sword at his side. He had been in the Terror Dungeon twice, once with a group for less than a day and they ran out after losing some party members, and again for four and a half weeks when the group he was with fell down a large pit and dropped to the 4th level where they spent all that time trying to get out in the dark with no frame of references. Seemed a bit clumsy but we thanked him, most of the group feeling he wasn’t the best fit for us.

The last was a young dwarf, like real young. Named Brading, if he was human he’d barely be 16, 42 for dwarf age, and from Sorton, was a prospector and ranger for his family, the Scorlings. A follower of Heimdall and miner as well, he had face numerous issues and dangers in the wyld – but wanted to be something more than what he was. He had the call for adventure and after selling his sword (axes, actually) so even though he had never been in the Terror Dungeon, he was anxious to join a group and help if possible.

After meeting all three, we decided that Brading was the best bet and fit for us so we were going to approach him later and then go see Julian the Sage and equip before heading off to Bork Keep the following day.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Meet 71, Adv 5, 1/5/19

Took long enough but the group is finally on the heart of the locale and adventure for this campaign. I've run the Terror Dungeon before many many years ago when it was "new" and "fresh" - only discovered and opened perhaps a year. The party that had gone in ended up getting wiped on the 3rd level by Minotaurs so never actually discovered the purpose of the dungeon and some of the hidden bennies.

So when this group wandered into Erylond I have moved time forward 15 years of so since the last campaign had been here and that means much of the place has been explored (upper levels) and there are secrets revealed which the party will get a leg up on. BUT, the dungeon is a living environment and there is a outside issue they have to contend with regarding the Ravenstone that Barb has and Lord Emberwine wants. And the two forces are gossamerly linked together and going to drive the campaign forward.


Write up for the 5th adventure, "The Crackling Terror" begins here:

The group spent the better part of two weeks training, outfitting as needed, closing up any loose ends with Sorton and House Illytch, and finishing up our training as need be. At the end of it all, it was Spiritmonth the 1st and we had joined up with a caravan from House Illytch to Erylond and we were on our way.

The fall was cruising along, days getting shorter and temperatures dropping. The warmest days barely hit 50 and most of the trees had made the shift to vibrant colors already and were shedding leaves swiftly. Between our 12 (13 with Bobkins!), the 6 caravan guards, the 10 caravaneers, and the other 7 travellers, we were a large enough group that most of the local orcish barbarian tribes gave us no trouble.

With the arrival of the late fall months, many of the nomadic tribes had moved their semi-permanent homes closer to the roads to sell their wares and maybe trade (or steal!) until the Reetersbeard Caravan was due to come through again in the mid spring or later. Most everyone gave the orcish Randari a wide berth but Barb did make it her business to trade for some of the local wares and thanked them for their efforts.

Many of the caravan guards had a different view of things, the orcs were a nuisance and should be ignored, pushed back, or rounded up and resettled – it rankled the group and there were some nudging words back and forth over it before the caravanmaster had his men give the party a break and ordered them to stay away.

It was late in the evening when we arrived at the former orcish hilltop keep that had been repurposed as the Iron Toad Inn and Tavern. Well lit and easily defended, it was a fine place for us to rest. Meal was paid for but the group had an upgrade on their room and took their time with a bath and better choice of drink.

We were gone by 8 in the morning the following day, the temperature closer to 47 than not, with the Moratian Mountains giving way to the foothills and then eventually the low valleys where our next stop was to be – the heavily dwarven township of Tariz. Originally orcish, it had been settled by ex-patriots from Jarl’s Tooth and Sorton, most of the town’s 500 denizens being dwarvish or human, and the perhaps 30 or so orcish descended citizenry although “free” had a servile and stepford look to them. There were three inns in town, but only one of them would take our mixed company, another reason for some of the caravaneers to complain about us.

The Rotting Fish was in the poorest section of town, but the inn was surprisingly large and in good repair. It was hostelled by an orcish former arena champion for the League of Odin named Thorfeld. He was gracious to the party even though the food was a poorer than we had been used to, and he did rent us out a larger room for everyone to sleep in for what we thought was a decently low price. The brew to drink was something referred to as “Wolf Piss” which although was not an enticing name, was however a delicious bitter with an acerbic tinge that was surprisingly delicious.

He bent our ear about the Terror Dungeon, advising us to check it out and get out before we wound up dead, and that we were welcome back to Tariz and his employ should we need be.

On the following day we were out again after dawn and on our way to Erylond. The Enderlyn River burbled wide to our south, 800’ wide and moving at a stately clip. There was a bridge spanning it here, in poor repair and no longer capable it would seem of supporting columns of travelers, but possible to cross. Beyond in the distant on the horizon, there were smudges of smoke as if someone lived out there but the map we had only showed something about “Old Erylond” and no other locations marked or mentioned.

By 5:30 we had come upon Erylond itself. The city was situated on a large artificial rise near the River and enclosed in three successively smaller rings of 30’ tall walls, 9’ deep, that cordoned off more and more parts of the city. We waited at the gate for a bit and then once inside, were thanked by the caravanmaster, and given advice that we should go to the north section of town and seek an inn called the Flying Pegasus, right near the adventurer’s guild.

Erylond was home to over a hundred thousand citizens of all types. Many were going about their business as usual, some were armed and armored like us, and others were of a caliber beyond our capabilities at this time. Almost 4 miles oval, we walked though many districts: Religious, sages and records, lower class, weapons, arcane, clothiers. Along the next gate, marked as “Thakian” were the livestock section where beyond we could see various farms, demesnes, and other locales that brought their wares into the city for the teeming throng.

Beyond was the provisioners, the training grounds, the adventuring guild, and then on the north wall was the Flying Pegasus Inn – 4 stories tall, and a stone statue of a Pegasus on the roof as if in mid flight. Not too far from here was the smithing district that we could hear but we went up to the Pegasus ready to go in.

The bouncer, a huge brute of a man over 330 lbs and past 6’ 5”, stopped us and gave us a few rules. Name was Akron and the proprietor of the Pegasus was a well liked man named Teranys. No fighting in the Inn ever. We thanked him, and were introduced to Teranys. Almost 50, nondescript, but everyone in the Inn gave him a toast as he walked through and the group inexplicably liked him and found him ok to deal with.

Having a section of the bar cleared off and us in place, food came out as well as drink and he answered some questions for us about the Terror Dungeon. Even though he had some information for us, he suggested that we talk to Julian the Sage tomorrow before we trip down to Bork Keep. But before anything else, we needed to go to the Adventuring Guild and get a charter. So we were going to finish our meal and then make the trip to the Guild and get that done next before turning in for the night.

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.