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.

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.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Meet 60, Adv 4.2, 9/8/18

The anticipated kobold attack on the Base Camp was a ruse to keep the group focused there and hopefully make the dwarves pick up their stakes and go home. Obviously did not happen, so the kobolds are taking a "wait and see" approach - if the number of staff at the Base Camp increases or they appear to be making signs like they are going to continue to stay - the kobolds will grow wroth and take their anger on the Base Camp. Meaning the group has a window of time to investigate the Kobold Warren and then decide on an action.

Write up follows:

The group convened with Teamster Trentis and his men as we set up camp on the slope of the nearest ridge, some ½ mile from the eastern limits of Broken Tower Lake. By the time 7 PM came and the visibility had dropped due to twilight, we decided that we were not going to be able to see if the K’Morat were going to cross during the night. The idea was we’d take a look in the morning to se if there was any sign of crossing and then make up a decision at that time.

We all took turns on watch, with 13 of us as well as Trentis’ and his 6 – we felt pretty secure. For the most part nothing happened until a bit after 2 in the morning. We were awakened to see a glowing orange/white light on the slope of a ridge, at least 2,000 up, solid and clearly visible and had to be some 3 to 5 miles from here across the lake. We watched it for 20 minutes until it faded away slowly over the course of a minute until it was gone.

We discussed what it could be. A bonfire might have been more flickering, even over these distance, and a light spell would not have been that concentrated. We decided to check it out tomorrow. We awoke early enough, swapped a few spells about, and then made our way to where we assumed the crossing had occurred. Between Grygmiir, Einar, and Barb, we were sure that a single canoe had crossed during the night as evidenced by the drags and tracks, and there were few kobolds as well.

So…it wasn’t an army. It wasn’t 30, 50, 60, or even more kobolds. One? Maybe they were scouting? Perhaps that’s what the light was, a signal back to the kobolds that they shouldn’t come? That means there were a few on the other side of the river and most likely watching the Base Camp. The decision was to hurry back to Trentis and to get the caravan to the Base Camp as the food stuffs, weapons, and other supplies would be very welcome and we had an opportunity to do it now.

The teamster was surprised to see us return and after we explained the situation he had his men up and camp broken in 15 minutes. The 4 oxen were yoked and the two wagons were coaxed into heading north and west around the lake. We kept the pace heavy as we made great time, leading the animals up around the rocky out croppings of 3 rock falls until we arrived at the place to ford the Enderlyn. Everyone was roped on and the oxen crossed here, the current tugging at the wagons, the animals, and everyone, but almost 3 tons combined each of mass were not going to dislodge them from their path.

It was after 2 PM when we were on the far side of the river and we kept up a fast pace. Eventually we came upon a five count of Giant Killers and Randari Rangers out scouting about for the K’Morat! We told them what we had found and we all made our way back to camp. The Bailiff Youngston was thrilled to see us and we shared with him what we had learned.

We wanted to get out to the light area on the mountain and soon before the K’Morat arrived there or others managed to cross. From the way the ridges were set up, there was no chance the Base Camp could have seen the light so we needed to be there to verify. By quarter to 4 we left the Base Camp and force marched ourselves as quick as we could to the ridge. It was an “L” shaped area with the ridge running up to at least 4,000 feet. The weather had turned misty and lightly raining and we had a short time left before it was twilight so we wanted to get up the slope as fast as possible to try and find the light area.

With 2 Randari barbarians and the dwarven ranger, we made short work of locating the correct area. A few kobold tracks helped lead us along the way and around 1,000 feet upslope, we came upon a single long canoe covered by a thin smattering of branches. It was kobold in make, no out riggers, and could seat up to 8 of the smaller K’Morat. We decided to move the canoe a few hundred yards to the south and then continued up the mountain and the deepening shadows to find the possible source of the light. The cloud cover was fairly low, obscuring the top of the ridge but it was around a quarter to 7 that we spotted a tall stone “house” through the trees, just about at the cloud line. We spread out and split into two groups, sneaking up closer to get a better feel for what it was.

Orcish in its make and design, a single front door and shuttered windows on all three of its main floors. Beyond the 30, 305 foot mark was a framework of lead lengths and some sort of busted glass around the entire top. The building had some ivy growing on it, but it was obvious that someone made it a habit  of pulling the vine lengths away, piling it around the structure. We were also sure that some kobold tracks were in the area.

Listening revealed nothing and we chanced opening the door. A single room, 25’ square, remains of a fire, some scraps of furniture, single set of metal steps spiraling up to the 2nd floor. We all came in and Einar and Grygmiir stayed outside obscuring every sign of our passage. We then checked out the second floor, split into two smaller rooms and a larger kitchen area – long abandoned. The top floor was a sleeping room with half a dozen older wooden pallets and the “ceiling” were was a metal meshwork of catwalks. It was open to the elements and rain was falling into this room.

Climbing up to the top we were able to piece together the fact that this was an older orcish lighthouse or beacon house. The beacon didn’t turn anymore, long rusted in place. The glass in the walls had busted out long ago and the oil reservoir was empty. But the beacon housing was still 3’ tall concave silvered steel reflective housing and it was pointing north and east – across the Broken Tower Lake to the Valley we identified and visible to where we had been camped out the night earlier.

No kobolds were here now but we assumed they were watching the Camp and would return here to signal across the lake again. So we scribed a few spells, ate dinner, and set up a series of watches in pairs with someone typically up near the busted beacon for maximum view.

Our diligence paid off around 1ish when we heard footsteps getting closer along with K’Morat voices through the mists. Einar was awakened while Grygmiir kept watch. The kobolds drew closer, 5 of them, when Einar called on Frey for a Dawning and awoke all the other members of the party with a single soft word. The group awoke, learned what was going on, and got themselves ready. Thalin, took a look outside, grabbed a handful of rose petals, and as soon as one of the kobolds pointed to the others for them to wait, cast sleep on them on, knocking the entire mass of them out.

We came out, trussed them up, gagging the one who “heard” us, and then brought them in where they awoke after 10 odd minutes. What followed was a mix of torture and poor race relations as the group interrogated the kobolds as to what was going on and what was their plan.

We learned that the mass of kobolds coming at this time to attack the party was a bluff. They want the dwarves gone. They did not want to attack the group, only scare them off. The 2nd Warren was a loose cannon and killing the orc and eating him was NOT condoned by this group. There are 6 Shaman at this Warren, and one of them is the High Shaman. They will not attack now, but if the dwarves don’t leave soon, they will end up thinking it is a long term threat and risk all out siege and war to remove them all.

We bought some time saying we had to go back and talk to our leader and then decide on whether to release the last 2 kobolds back across the river or not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Meet 59, Adv 4.2, 8/25/18

When the wandering monster came up twice, I had one with a passing Rock Drake at some distance away that the party easily avoided, and the other came up pilgrims. Here, in the wilderness? A fast check showed them to be lawful of bent and the wandering dwarven troupe working for the Andeers Mining Company was born. It's not often that wandering monsters come up as a group of good people willing to trade, so this was a nice change.

Write up follows:

The group spent a serious amount of time discussing all our options before daring to leave Damlagast’s Tower. It was finally decided that we would check out the north shore of Broken Tower Lake and see if there were any signs of kobold crossing or tracks in the area. We had been through there before with Teamster Trentis but had not looked for anything like what we were doing now.

We shut the Tower door for the last time and boarded our canoes. With great care we paddled our way across the water until we arrived at the muddy shore on the other side. We disembarked and spent almost 30 minutes looking around before we came across ruts in the banks that looked like what a canoe would do. There were at least half a dozen of them and they ran almost 40’ from the bank before disappearing, leading us to believe the kobolds’ ported their canoes as well.

At least having an idea where they cross we looked north from here and there was a natural valley between two ridges that rand north of here to the rising hills and mountains. We did not want to go an explore it and instead made our way back to the canoes and paddled carefully back. Once there it was a long 6 hour walk back through the shores and grasses and slopes of the foothills until we arrived once again at the Base Camp.

We were passed on through and then returned the canoes to the Store Houses. We then met with the Bailiff and informed him of our discoveries. We learned that the Camp had been taking our warning to heart and every barrel was filled with water, over two tons of stones had been brought in for ammunition and repair, every easily planable hardwood that was already down had been harvested, stripped, and cut to boards. And the hunters had been out almost thrice a day bringing in whatever wild game could be found. As it stands now, the Base Camp can withstand a siege for over 2 weeks if need be, over 3 if they needed to implement reduced rations.

The next concern was the K’Morat intercepting the caravan returning and killing our companions, the teamsters, the oxen, and getting the supplies for themselves. It was imperative that we do what we could to prevent that so we were going to head out early tomorrow on Workmonth the 12th and try to intercept the returning caravan near the east side of Broken Tower Lake. We hit the Mess Hall where Ruhilde outfitted us with whatever food stores he could. From there we went off to the barracks and dropped off to sleep.

We awoke early by 5:30 where whatever spells we needed to adjust we did so, prayed, and ate breakfast. By 7 we were at the gates where we took the canoes again and left the Base Camp amidst well wishes from those still here. Once again we were walking but today was hot. Very hot. With a high humidity. Within 2 hours we were drenched in sweat and were forced to swap the canoes about, giving everyone a chance to rest often. Because of this we were not making the same speed we had made yesterday and a few days ago.

At one point we heard the shrill cry of a Rock Drake and we took off to a copse of trees where we hunched under the canoes and waited for it to fly away. Soaked and exhausted we continued on and broke for lunch still some miles from Broken Tower Lake; disappointed in our progress to date.

At was at this time that we heard “Hail the Camp! May we approach?” What the hell? We had no idea there was anyone else out here. The voice was decidedly dwarvish and we gave permission, seeing a group of 7 tired dusty and travel worn dwarves emerge from the south and trudge towards us. Their leader was named Piso Deepcleft and he and his troupe were prospectors for the Andeer’s Mining Company in Sorton looking for new easy possible sites for future iron mines.

We invited them to sit and we shared a light version of our story with them, saying only we were hunting kobolds for bounty and had been here for some time. They had travelled south first and were making a circlet north hoping to find the Enderlyn River and follow it back to Sorton, or maybe with luck the rumored camp that House Illytch had out here. We downplayed the camp idea and let them know they were ½ a mile from the river.

We shared food, ale, and even did some horse trading with potions for draughts with them alchemist an Odinian priestess names Damillius. We talked for some time and the mining troupe were more than willing to walk back to Broken Tower Lake with us as well as travel with us east; including helping us port the canoes through the wilderness. At the end of all things it was about 4ish when we arrived at our desired crossing and shook hands, wishing the troupe a safe trip back.

From there we paddled once again across the lake to the heavier treed side and found a place to blaze some of the barks to mark where we were going to stash the canoes. We then travelled off to the east and around the nearest bend in the river we had the opportunity to see the approaching caravan where we made our way to them, shook hands with our counterparts, and filled everyone in on what the situation was at base camp and why we had come out this far to meet them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Youth Meet 22, Adv 3, 8/24/18

The Youths have been thrust knee deep into the town portion of this adventure and they are following the breadcrumbs as they play out. It isn’t easy because they can’t murder-hobo their way through the adventure as it would be a one way ticket to TPK. This was a nice get together because it was the end of summer meeting and as such, I took off half a day so they can have a double length session. I think it paid off as they got pretty damned far through the encounters and had a fairly sizeable fight during the middle lull.

Write up follows:

The group talked about the two options of either taking a room at the Leaky Tub or holing up in some burned out hovel, and we decided that we didn’t want Marshall Thurgood to have any reason to distrust us or look for an excuse to make an example of the party by doing something illegal. So we made our way to the two story, poor fa├žade of the Leaky Tub Inn and entered the poorly thatched business.

The Common Room would normally sit around 50, but there were barely 8 here not counting the two tired looking wenches and the older woman behind the bar. As we entered a mangy cat slipped out and the barkeep screeched at us for letting it get free and told us to shut the door. The people in the bar were watching us without making it obvious they were watching us, as we made our way forward.

On learned we wanted a room, the barkeep called for a man named Yurlis Peebles to come out. Yurlis was a tall half elf with a tired look and pale skin. We greeted with “Sperthicus”, the formal version of an Elven greeting, and he broke into a smile and thanked us. We arranged a room for the 7 of us and were told that we could have room 2 on the second floor. He then gave us a log book and asked us to write our name down.

A fast look showed most every line in the log book had either a John Smith or an “X” filled in. We each took out turn making our mark, but during the exchange, Veldryn inadvertently used Talion’s real name, and then later on wrote her own name down in the book. Two of the patrons sitting around wrote something down on a scrap of paper and then casually got up and walked out – one through the front door, the other through the back.

Deja had seen all this and held back as the party made their way to the stairs, torn on whether to follow or not – eventually decided to just join the group. On the second floor the two doors on the left of the long hall were “1” and “2” – and we looked at “2”. Deja was sure that the many scratches on the lock were from attempts to pick it in the past.

We entered and were underwhelmed. There were 5 beds in here, a bit larger than normal, but the thatch was so poor in places that over the 5th bed could be seen bits of sky through the grasses.  Deja let us know about the two men downstairs and the fact that this room was most likely a “target” room. We took the time to look around and discovered a secret door between this room and Room 1 on the west wall.

Deja snuck out in the hall to Room 1 while we watched. She looked the door over; the lock was new and not scratched, the hinges were on the inside of the door but the portal seemed to be well made and in good repair. She was going to open the door and decided at the last moment to leave it and return to the group.

We discussed what we were going to do next. We knew about the name Dru’uz as a possible contact, and knew the lizardmen were getting weapons from the Order of the Kraken – but we had nothing else at this time. One of the things we did know was that no matter where we were in Dunwater, we could hear the ever ringing hammers from the blacksmith district at all times. Perhaps we could go there and look around, ask a few questions?

So we decided to leave and before locking up, Ned took out a long strip of leather and unrolled it – the item already treated with many pins sticking straight up through it, and placed it just on the inside portion of the floor where the secret door was – just in case someone tried to come in while we were gone.

We hit the street and made our way to the town square, the village green having gone to pot. Most of the grasses were in poor shape and overgrown with weeds, a few citizens were either slumped on the ground drunk or leaning on the few bits of statuary in the area and drinking. There were no boards, no heralds, no nothing. We turned to the main street and made our way south. Many of the businesses were closed and boarded up, a few were still open, and a few more were just burned shells. But as we made our way towards the ringing hammers Magnus wanted us to stop in front of the Traders.

He stepped in to the shop, the place was about half stocked. An elder dwarven woman was behind the counter, missing two fingers on her left hand and had a nasty scar running down her right cheek just under her eye. Two burly looking younger dwarves, most likely relatives, were standing nearby, truncheons and crossbows at the ready.

Magnus admitted that he was looking for some clothes to better fit in and the shopkeeper came out to help, asking her son, Ron, to give a hand. Up close Magnus could see that Ron had the bearing of a skilled fighter but also had the numerous scars and pits in his arms and chest that a blacksmith would have. He was questioned about his armor; there was some suspicion that he was a member of the Order of Knights, which the paladin did not comment on either way.

They got to talking and learned that the dwarven woman had interrupted some thieves and arsons about 6 months ago and held them off for some time, losing 2 fingers and almost an eye. Her sons, Ron and Fred, left their jobs at Trilla’s Metalworks to keep the shoppe running and guard their mother. She hopes that at some point law will return to Dunwater as its been her home her entire life and she has no interest in moving.

Magnus ended up with some peasant’s clothes and Ron stacked the paladin’s armor within his breastplate and helped him bind it to his backpack so it was less obvious. With a slouch cap he now appeared to be nothing more than a local and less likely to draw attention to himself and the group. Coming out of the Tradegoods the party was happy to see his change and the party continued on their way down the block.

About half a block from the Blacksmith quarter, Deja had the group stop as she looked the area over. It appeared that three or four smaller smithies had been combined to the current larger smithy, and there were 8 anvils working at this time. The smiths and their apprentices all appeared to be in good health, dressed well, and did not have that sallow look the rest of Dunwater seemed to have. However, standing a good 30 feet away from the shop there were 6 guards stations around the smithy and watching the craftsmen carefully.

After looking it over, Deja had the group walk away from Trilla’s and once safely out of eye and ear shot, let us know that the entire situation bothered her. If we went up there, any of the Marshall’s 6 deputies would spot us and report. The Smiths appeared to be in good health and spirits. The guards were also NOT watching the street – but the smiths and the smithy. Were they protecting the smithy? Or watching it with care for another reason? We didn’t know enough to risk making contact for now and decided to shelve this conversation with Trilla for another time.

It was then that Magnus let the group know that the Tradegood shop keep’s sons appeared to have been smiths at some point in their recent past. We could do worse than by going to speak with them. The party agreed and were back at the Tradegoods at a bit after 4.

We spent some money and bent the ear of the three dwarves a bit more. During the back and forth banter and shopping, we did manage to share some of our actual status and jobs, which had the Shopkeeper very excited. It seems that before the Mayor’s house had caught on fire that night, he had his manservant deliver a sealed bounty bundle to her to be added to the next postal rider heading for Cymbarton. During the fire and the subsequent issues with the Sheriff, the postal rider to Cymbarton had been placed on hold and the missives had been taken by the Marshall. However, the Bounty Bundle was not in that pile and the Shopkeeper never released it because she never trusted the Marshall, and her duty as postmistress was to ensure any packages in her care were delivered to the right person.

With Talion as an ordained bounty hunter and related ranger, HE actually has the authority to review any bounties as issued by any government official at any time. And with Magnus as a suspected knight of the order, it added credence to Talion’s authority. The three dwarves were feeling pretty good at the party: a dissimilar cross sampling of races (3 humans, surface elf, sea elf, half orc, and a Halfling), visiting the town and looking around, not beholden to the Marshall, and a ranger and paladin in the mix – it was a promising group.

She gave the still sealed bundle to Talion who used his knife to open the seal. He unfurled the document and read what Mayor Isvar of Dunwater was concerned about 8 month ago. It seems that a group of slavers and smugglers known as the Red Crow Guild were working at the behest of the Order of the Kraken to arrange smuggled soft goods to be sold at various markets around Dunwater, undercutting normal business operations and funneling a large amount of money to persons unknown for the Order. The Red Crow Guild were growing continuously bold and brazen, actually challenging the Mayor and his bannermen at one point. Feeling no choice in the matter, Mayor Isvar had commanded a bounty on Ogan Yardbury and his 7 compatriots of the Red Crow Guild to be taken in for smuggling, fomenting dissent, crimes against the crown, and threats against the crown. The suggested bounty was 500 nobles dead, 1000 alive, with 110 nobles offered for each of the lesser members.

Talion read the paper to the group who was stunned at the knowledge. It was on the second read that we noticed the name, Ogan. Which had the party think on the original leader of the Order of the Kraken, Grabbi Ogansdottr. The Daughter of Ogan. Crap, connected. It had to be.

Mayor Isvar had tried to command the arrest of Grabbi’s daughter 8 months ago and then he and his family were burned in their home that night. And all the other issues that befell Dunwater followed.

We took the bounty, thanked the shopkeeper, and assured her that we were working on setting things right with Dunwater at some point; even if that wasn’t the reason we were here at this time. We then made our way to back to the warehouse district, convinced that we needed to talk to Dru’uz Thorson and do it soon. Of the three warehouse blocks, two had been burned but one was still standing. It had been quartered and according to the Tradegood dwarves, Dru’uz was a supervisor at one of them, the one with the black eastern wall.

We scoped the place out for a bit from across the street in the ruins of the second block of warehouses. It was a good 30’ to the front door, the warehouse was pretty big, 50’ by 90’, and was at the eastern corner of the block, about 75’ from the waterline. We guessed there were 5 or 6 people within and it was decided that Magnus and Talion would go in, try to talk to Dru’uz, and if things got hairy, would call for us as loud as they could.

The two of them went over and entered. There were neatly stacked pallets of goods in three large rows around the place, each of them further protected by a tarpaulin covering. A short look showed 4 humans and a gnome in here working, and eventually Dru’uz who was called out to meet us once we were noticed.

Dru’uz was wide for a dwarf and sported a forked beard that he kept oiled and weighted with a couple brass cylinders. He gave us a rough look over and assumed we were someone else. We followed him to a rear office that smelled of old ham and had a seat. We said that we were here to talk about the Order of the Kraken and he immediately launched into why Captain Siggurd wasn’t here. We had spotted some brandy and silk boles out in the warehouse so knew we were on the right track.

We tried to tell him that Captain Siggurd was not going to be able to make it and that they were here instead. Dru’uz was looking for more product as he has been forced to see his own private cut as of late and he didn’t want to keep doing so. It was at this point that Magnus changed his tone and let Dru’uz know that they weren’t from the Order. And that he was in big trouble.

At this point all hell broke loose as Dru’uz was yelling out for “Jerdrimm, get in here now!” and the party was yelling their heads off to signal the rest of the group. Hearing them call, the party started charging across the street while the warehouse working just inside the door saw us coming. He was shouting out for help while the gnome, Jerdrimm, was shouting for him to shut the door, as he drew a knife and charged to the office. Inside the office Dru’uz was forced to step back and defend himself with a hastily drawn club while Talion and Magnus each whipped out their swords and laid into the dwarf.

As the warehouse guy was trying to slam the door closed, Valerie put on a massive burst of speed and tried to slam her shield and body into the quickly closing opening. She misjudged though and while she was jumping and diving, the door slammed closed and she smashed into it, bouncing off and causing it to BOOM with a deafening clang. As she was on the floor trying to clear her head, Ned, Oceanus, and Veldryn hit the door and pulled as hard as they could, forcing it open before it could be locked on the other side. Through the narrow gap, Deja let fly a couple of daggers at the struggling warehouseman, hitting him and causing him to slip on the door a bit more.

Talion and Magnus each assaulted Dru’uz hard, hitting the dwarf a few times and causing him to stagger back but not fall. He returned the favor by clocking the two fighters until Jerdrimm charged in and tried to bury his long knife in Talion’s side, cutting him but that was it. There were three other warehouse workers and they were running through the building hoping to make it to the front door.

It was at this time that Valerie pulled herself to her knees, pulled on her holy symbol, and called on Lord Frey to summon a nature’s alley to help out. And with a loud BAMPF, a 350 lb. black bear appeared by the warehouse worker and MAULED him. Biting him, knocking him about, tearing into him, and then finishing him off with a massive hug that had his back torn open and blood spilling about the room. The group slipped in to the partially opened doorway while Deja slammed it closed to keep anyone on the street from seeing or hopefully hearing us.

We drew up into battle lines as a nearby worker was assaulted by Ned and the Bear, Valerie standing near, and Oceanus and Deja took shots down between an alley made by large pallets at an approaching thug with a crowbar.

The fight with Dru’uz was dragging on too long and Magnus shifted his blows from him hammer pick to just the hammer side, trying to knock the dwarf out. Talion was not exercising the same restraint and was doing his damndest to beat the gnome to death, broadsword flashing.

Meanwhile on the floor of the warehouse the battle was joined as scythe and crossbow hit crowbar and fire axe. One by one the warehouse workers fell to the party’s blows, a few of us getting knocked around in return, but nothing debilitating. Jerdrimm was finally cut down by Talion’s blow and with a final swing of his hammer, Magnus smashed Dru’uz in the head and the dwarf fell over with a groan, knocked unconscious.

The party was quick to reconnect and the first call was to tie up Dru’uz and then get rid of the bodies. For that, Oceanus took point and taking out his knife, slit open the belly of the nearest warehouse worker and started sweeping gravel and rocks from the warehouse floor into the bleeding cavity. Upon asking him what he was doing, the sea elf replied in his broken Common, “Fill, make heavy, floor of the ocean and then fertilize the kelp. Help me fill.” He then pointed at another warehouse worker and indicated the group should aid in filling him with rocks.

Ned managed to get a tarp for Oceanus and the elven ranger snapped it open and rolled the first body on it. He then rolled it up and flicked it over his shoulder and made his way to the door. After seeing if the coast was clear, he casually walked out of the door and down the long slope of the shore to the water. And with that, he just walked forward until he was gone from sight and under the water.

It was 2 or 3 minutes later that he trudged out of the surf, tarp rolled up at his waist, looking to his right at a number of people nearby and waving at them first with all five fingers. And then with one. The group heard some noises from that direction but were unable to see what was going on. As for Dru’uz, he awoke slowly and had Magnus, Talion, and Veldryn standing over him asking him questions.

Oceanus loaded a second body laden with rocks in its gut and inside a tarp, pressing the party to get the next one ready. He then once more hoisted the wrapped bundle up and made his way out the door and towards the water. As he disappeared beneath the waves, we noted three longshoremen had arrived at that part of the beach, harpoons in their hands and angrily pointing at the water. They waded in up to their knees and were staring at the dark water.

The party snuck out of the warehouse and made their way to the corner and when one of them hurled his harpoon into the water, it caused the group to gasp, thinking Oceanus was just struck. As the longshoreman was pulling the cable back towards him, a quarrel shot out of the water and struck the man in the chest. From our side, arrows and daggers flew and a second longshoreman hit the water. We did note that a blue tinged arm reached out of the water and dragged one of the gasping dock workers deeper and under the waves.

It was here that Valerie called on Frey and a swarm of bats burst from every burned out building nearby and harried the last longshoreman away from the water and back up the beach. This attracted the attention of others milling about…and gave Oceanus a chance to run out of the water, tarp under his arm, and back towards the party and the warehouse. We all went back inside and shut the door, waiting quietly to hear if anyone was coming to investigate, but with the bats and the other distractions, we were in the clear.

As for the questioning of Dru’uz, we learned a bit more about the smuggling operation. He was the warehouse man and arranged the sale between Siggurd and the Order of the Kraken and Ogan Yardbury and the Red Crow Guild. His fee for “not seeing or saying anything” was typically 5% of the smuggled cargo which he kept or sold at a premium. As for the money the Red Crows earned from selling their goods elsewhere (not done here in Dunwater), all he knows is that some of it went to pay for iron and weapons from Trilla Ironarms of Trilla’s Metalworks.

The group meanwhile were hiding the bodies throughout the warehouse but parking them under the tarps and in boxes. To further mask anyone finding them, Oceanus snuck back into the water and emerged with a few large fish which he placed under the tarps and in the boxes – the smell of the rotting fish should mask the smell of the dead warehouse workers.

We them covered our bases by sweeping the floors, raking the gravel, soaking everything down and slowly covering our tracks. At the door we left, shut it behind us, and made our way back towards the Tradegoods. We learned what we could from Dru’uz, but did not know where Ogan or the Red Crows kept their hideout. But we assumed since they had dealings with the Lizardman tribes that were supposedly near here, and we were tasked with resolving that threat, it made sense that we needed to find them next and avoid being in town when someone discovered Dru’uz and the other warehouse workers – and the Marshall would most likely want to ask us some questions on it.

At the Tradeworks we were not able to get any direct information but we were able to get the idea that a skilled trapper (and there were many that worked around here) might have an idea on where the lizardman lair could be. The best choice was trapper named Hrodd and might find him, when he was in town, at the Blue Dolphin Alehouse.

As it was already after 6 and we were exhausted, we decided to head back to the Leaky Tub, grab a meal, and rest before trying to find Hrodd tomorrow and getting out of Dunwater. The Common Room at the Leaky Tub was packed and we picked our way upstairs anxious to change out of our clothes when we noticed the secret door between the rooms was ajar, the pin strip Ned had put on the floor was disturbed and blood was on many of the needles.

We carefully looked in and saw a woman, late teens, somewhat attractive, lying unconscious; her moccasined right foot was bleeding. We bound her, Ned assured us the poison he used was knockout for a couple hours, and then Veldryn cast Cure Minor on the woman’s foot. Once secured Valerie called on Frey and cast Dawn, waking the women who looked around, saw us all staring at her, and then sagged in her bonds and smiled, “I guess you’ve got me then.”

Through a variety of conversation, we learned that she was a freelance bounty hunter who had picked up a job at Saltmarsh, sponsored from the Lyceum Slaver’s Guild to bring in Talion. They offered 50 nobles upfront for his location and then 500 nobles to bring him to Dilabria for questioning. Her name was Melunan and she had gotten a lucky break seeing the group loading on the ship to come to Dunwater a few days ago as she was disembarking. She bribed the wharfmaster to find out where our ship was going and then paid fare for another ship to take her here. Having been at Dunwater already a few times before she canvassed the area and had a chance to look at the log book here at the Leaky Tavern where she saw Veldryn’s name, a known member of the Talion’s adventuring group, the Tides of Valhalla.

So she snuck in here to see which would be the best place to administer a sleeping poison to Talion when she missed the pin strip and got caught instead.

She would be the first of what would soon be other bounty hunters who might try their hand against Talion and another reason we should finish out business here in Dunwater and get out of town. As for Melunan, Valerie and Veldryn seemed to like her and she was honest in her thoughts. There was some conversation about the jobs Talion had done before and that she was going to take some time off as she was lucky now and had gotten caught – other marks might not be so forgiving and she didn’t want to spoil Hermod’s blessing by assuming she would be this lucky in the future.

As for the evening, she and Talion spent it in her room where they got to know one another carnally and worked their aggressions out with one another.

We awoke the next morn, Spiritmonth the 7th, and broke our fast. After eating a mix of porridge and gruel from the Common Room, we decided to head to the Blue Dolphin and see if we might get lucky and find Hrodd the trapper there. The proprietor was not very helpful, refusing to answer many questions for us for a while until Veldryn had Hel bless her with a sparkling personality and amplified charisma – which had the taciturn barkeep suddenly change his tune. Hrodd was sleeping off last night’s excessive drinking in one of the cheap rooms upstairs. Still feeling Hel’s blessing bolstering her, Veldryn went upstairs in order to meet with and awaken Hrodd and try to get the trapper to come with the party into the Fens and help find the lizardman lair.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Youth Meet 21, Adv 3, 8/17/18

The official start of the 3rd adventure and the youths had a chance to see another town. So far it was Karon – but only for an hour or so, then Saltmarsh – larger and more established – a fine haven for them – and then Dunwater. Which one of the youth’s aptly named “Dungwater” after being here for a short time.

For the Paladin and the Ranger – it’s a difficult town for them because it is NOT a lawful town – and they have to tread carefully or find themselves on the wrong end of the Marshall.

Write up follows:

The group was up bright and early on Spiritmonth the 4th. The temperature had been steadily dropping as the end of fall loomed its head, making their window to travel the 12 miles south to Dunwater get smaller if they hoped to return before the first snows. Already the frost was forming in the morning and the group made sure they had a few articles of cold weather gear at the ready.

The met with the page and runner for the Council and made their way to the Saltmarsh Courts and Council House where Sire Archibald, Dowager Lynn, Durban Thatcher, Oralif Fendelstone, and the Notary Pinelaquin Goldenrod were waiting for them. Another 10 or so citizens of Saltmarsh were here but they seemed to be on other business.

We were thanked for our efforts in sussing out the smuggler operation as it entails here – removing the safe house and the origin smuggler. But the end buyer was still in Dunwater and we were being sent there to find the end buyers of the smuggling operation and bring them back to Saltmarsh for justice. The reward? 100 nobles for each member of the party if we succeeded. The Mayor of Dunwater was a man known as Isvar and we should speak with him if we needed help. As for the smuggler contacts, the only name that had appeared on Captain Siggurd’s notes was the name Dru’uz Thorson; most likely dwarven and was a direction we could follow up after talking to Mayor Isvar.

As for the next issue, the lizardman threat as it may be. The smugglers were using the ill-gotten gains from the sale of the brandy and silks and were using it to arm the local lizardman tribes, 3 or so of them who were united in this endeavor. We were to find the chief of this tribe and dispatch him, bring proof, and without a head chief, the tribes should scatter and revert to their more individualistic ways and size.

The reward for this? 250 nobles for each member of the party if we succeeded. Very nice. They were going to have a boat take us down to Dunwater and be there for us for 14 days – day and a half to get there, day and a half to get home, 11 days or take care of both matters. We thanked them and took the offer. They also supplied us with food and water for the trip and assured us that room and board when we returned to Saltmarsh would be taken care of.

We gathered all we would need and on the morning of Spiritmonth the 5th, we arrived at the dock and met with Captain Skaddi and his crew of 4 who would be taking the party of 5, Ned Shakeshaft, and Oceanus the Seaelf from Deepcove to Dunwater. While we were loading up, we heard a call from the quay and running down towards us was Handaring, Darveig’s elder brother.

He was thankful to us for our efforts in taking care of his mother, ending her disease and giving her new life. He was thankful for us bringing Darveig back and having Tyr watch over him. Was thankful for the large stipend we brought as well to his family. But he had two spears with him and a rucksack full – and told Magnus that he would take his dead brother’s place as the paladin’s squire if he would have him.

The party was quiet and Magnus had to wrestle the right words, eventually telling Handaring that although he was honored for the offer, this was not the right time for him to abandon his mother and Magnus did promise Gjulprid that he would not bring further misery to her family by way of the sea.

Handaring was dismayed but understood and Magnus assured him that when they return, he would be happy to meet with him then about another opportunity. The party finished loading up and they all thought Magnus made the right call.

We sailed out to the deer waters of the Mastelic Ocean and Captain Skaddi turned the schooner south and we were on our way. During the trip Deja was keeping up with her lessons and had asked Veldryn if she can copy some spells from her book to the one that the Halfling had purchased. In addition, Valerie used the Bifrost Gem to question whether the lizardman holdings were between Saltmarsh and Dunwater – getting a negative answer for it.

We took an anchor in the evening and then went back out to sea and continued our way south, arriving at Dunwater around 11ish on Spiritmonth the 6th. Our first glace of the town was it was in poor condition. There were three long quays and docks, but two of them had been damaged and were not suitable to draw up to, and the last one seemed to be in sorry condition. In addition, no longshoremen were waiting for us on the docks, but a few were near a series of burned out warehouses and watching us.

Our guess was the town would probably house 1,500 people, a bit smaller than Saltmarsh but given there were barely 11 boats on the docks, the lack of serious crowds that we can see, and the number of burned buildings that had been collapsed in place and left there, we would be surprised if the town had half that number in it.

As Captain Skaddi was tying the ship up to an empty spot on the poorly maintained dock, two of the longshoremen came down the planks and stopped nearby. There were scarred, rough, and menacing looking. There was some back and forth with the Captain and a touch or two about some outrageous docking fees that numbered in the CROWNS, not the Nobles as was expected and customary. While this was all going on, the party was disembarking, casually helped by the two dockworkers. Eventually Captain Skaddi paid the exorbitant fee and told the group they were going to continue south the Eider, drop off some cargo there and then return here in 2 or 3 days’ time. To avoid further fees, there were going to drop anchor out of the harbor and await the group’s return and desire to be picked up by a series of lantern flashes.

Once on the docks we made our way to the shore where the warehouse district showed the poor repair the town was in. Much of the beach was covered in greasy looking seaweed and deep ruts. The warehouses were shells of their former self, two of the three blocks looked like they had burned down months ago and after knocking down the exterior walls, were left alone to rot away from time. The sidewalks were muddy furrows, the streets were missing cobbles and seemed to be covered in a gritty filth. The entire town smelled faintly of urine and fecund mud. Based upon the lack of industry we saw around the area and the few people on the streets, we downgraded our estimate from half  to maybe a third of the town was actually occupied.

We followed some of the road signs and the few bits of direction we were given until it was apparent that Dunwater had an arson problem some time in the not too distant past. The Mayor’s house was a pile of burned rubble as well as a few other homes we saw scattered about. Feeling ill, we decided to make it to the sheriff’s office, getting spotty directions as we walked the unwelcome streets. By this time everyone was feeling nervous and it was apparent we had our coin pouches rifled through a few times already, with none of us seeing it when it happened. Valerie and Veldryn took a pair of pants and a scarf from their pack and tied it around their midsection, covering their pouches from casual observation. Deja took hers and dropped it down her shirt, Magnus and Talion slid their further around their front and kept their hand near it.

The Sheriff’s office had some older fire scarred markings on the outside but still seemed whole. Deja did not want to walk in, was instead going to head down the block to “look around”, when actually she was going to find the local Thieves Guild and make her presence in the city known. It was supposed to be as a cobbler’s and the front person was a person named Agma. Valerie and Veldryn opted to stay on the street with Ned and Oceanus and keep their hoods up and out of the way.

The ranger and the paladin entered and almost immediately, realized that there was something wrong. The people in the Sheriff’s office were not wearing tabards, sported only a crude circular badge on their shoulder. Their armor was a mismatch of brigandine style cobbled pieces and too many of the men and women in here looked more like thugs than lawmen.

After introducing themselves they were told to wait for Marshall Traybor Thurgood. Marshall was a problem, since Marshall was either a military title, or most likely a populace elected official and not ordained by the Baron or the Count. Which meant that he was not necessarily tied to the Count’s laws – but merely the maintenance of order. Magnus was not happy and was feeling very unwell about this meeting.

In addition, two of the deputies in here were paying a noticeable amount of attention to us. One was a wood elf female, her face hard and angular, and body whipcord thin. She was honing the edge on a dagger while looking at us through her bangs, her expression was bordering on sneering. The other was a huge very orcish looking figure in too tight chainmail and sporting a 2’ long metal truncheon on his side.

The orcish figure came forward and identified himself as Deputy Crog Gunstock, his accent was thick, his mannerisms just on the edge of threatening. He took us to the back office where we met with a smiling late-30’s figure, Marshall Traybor. He shook our hand and then sat down. We discussed who we were and that we were originally looking for the Mayor Isvar but had not seen the home as it had been destroyed.

That’s where we learned many things about Dunwater. Some 9/10 months ago the town started falling apart as bandit and smuggling gangs were making more of a presence known in the town. The Mayor was growing concerned about this and was putting together a missive for Count Sedaris when there was a fire at his manor house that night. The Sheriff got involved in checking out this mysterious blaze that killed the mayor, his family, and his entire household staff.

That night a fire consumed the Sheriff and his family.

While strange fires were popping up all over town every few days, the spring rains had flooded out the road to Cymbarton, making travel to and from Dunwater either a slog through the swamps or viable by boat only. People began leaving the city while missives were supposedly sent to Cymbarton to get a new Sheriff appointed and a new Mayor appointed. No answer has come since then and the townsfolk elected their own lawman in the interim, Marshall Traybor Thurgood. Magnus didn’t want to accept the Marshall’s authority, the Marshall found the presence of a paladin in his town problematical, and the arrest and adventure warrant we had from Saltmarsh had little sway here but was bound to upset a number of the locals who that piece of paper might apply to.

The Marshall wanted the group to help him out as much as possible by conducting their business and then getting out as he “feels nervous with you all here. And I’m sure you being here also makes the rest of the goodly folks around here nervous.” It was while Talion was coming up with a bribe amount that Magnus was having none of it, telling the ranger to not pay as this man was NOT the law. This then had the Marshall call the paladin belligerent and increased the amount the group would have to pay.

As voices grew strained, the Deputy Crog came in and the orcish thug being in the room inspired the paladin to shake his head and say little more while Talion ended up paying 14 CROWNS, a ransom, to the Marshall. We knew that the Marshall was going to be watching the party now and we wanted to get our investigation done quickly and then get out.

We left feeling troubled and met up with the rest of the group. Deja was looking pale as she had wandered ahead to where the Cobbler’s shop was supposed to be, but saw only burned ruins in its place. Whatever misery had befallen Dunwater, had also taken out the thieves guild – which to the halfing’s point of view meant the town had too much criminal element running it and little order or control to temper it.

We made our way down the street to the town square, the green was a weed choked mess of garbage and a half dozen drunken louts lying about the place. Just off the square was the first inn we stumbled across – a two story structure in bad need of painting called the Leaky Tub. We were debating if it was worth trying to stay here or to cut our chances and maybe hole up in an abandoned building instead.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Meet 58, Adv 4.2, 8/11/18

The group finished up Damlagast's Tower this meeting, getting a few magical items and another item nicked off Avulstein's List. At this point they have a day or two grace and then the K'Morat should be at the Base Camp.

Write up follows:

The party gave the first servant’s quarter a last look over, opening the closet door where they discovered another orcish skeletal figure here, broken bones and hunched down, a bronze disk on its chest with a reverse bas-relief of an Orcish “D” rune upon it. We gathered everything together with what care we could and then cast Detect Magic. A spray of spark flew out and although it did flow everywhere, most everything did not radiate any magic – except for the disk – and it was odd according to Shim and Avulstein – faint and outlined, mostly dormant, and appearing as if it was incomplete in some fashion.

This led them to take the disk up the steps to the 6th floor where they approached the barrier that portalled everyone back to the 1st. The detect magic was still going and showed the reverse of the same magic that was on the disk – so they approached closer and closer…and then passed through the area without portalling back to the 1st floor. Perfect.

We continued our way up to the 7th floor where it appeared the dwarves had never gotten to. There was no damage, destruction, or anything else. The door here was closed and there was a lizardlike looking statue poised right outside the door with a sword upraised and ready to chop down. And no one wanted to risk touching the door or lock.

So we went to the 8th floor and the door here was closed and no amount of opening, pushing, testing, or anything would get it to open. We suspected it would require the tower being “on” to get that to happen, and that meant starting the furnace or Heart. Tomorrow.

We returned to the kitchen floor (4) and after breaking up some wood for the stove, lit a fire, shut the door as best we could, and the party went to sleep after confident that the stove was venting smoke not in the room we were sleeping in.

We awoke the next day on Workmonth the 11th feeling pretty good and doles out some healing, ate breakfast, studied and prayed. It was a bit after 8 when completed and we decided to go to the basement and work on the furnace down there.

We gave the furnace a solid once over and talked about options and possibilities for a bit. There was a small door on the left side that had a cup on the bottom and a clamp there and some nozzle was above it fed from the oil reservoir above. We talked a bit a figured a candle would go there so Darius took one out, clamped it in place and we felt like that was a good start.

While that was going on Barb and Einar discussed the oil barrels, having one that was uncompromised. It was thick and crude – and as it was heating oil, had a higher temperature to light. Most likely it was aerated at some point in the furnace which explained the very tiny nozzle above the candle. They managed to lift it, removed the plug from the…bunghole…and loaded about 4 or 5 gallons into the reservoir. Sealing everything back up they closed all the covers and returned the barrel again.

Meanwhile the party was loading the furnace with a couple hundred pounds of hacked up wood as well as much kindling and faster burning material they could find. On the right side of the furnace was a longer door and narrow, when opened had a bellows fall down that needed to be pumped . The leather was in poor condition and had many rents in the fabric. We hit it with a mending spell but needed a second one so we waited for Avulstein to study and fire off a second one – at this point the bellows seemed whole.

As for the catch bin on top, Einar went over the bone fragments and chips we had found down here and discovered rabbits, cats, and large rats. Ok – nothing specific. We did had a number of formerly animated giant rats in Avulstein’s bag so he took out three of them, placed them on the catch offering bin on the top of the Tower Heart and then we lit the candle.

From there we shut the front door and proceeded to pump the bellows. It was very difficult as first but each time we did so the furnace made a low “whuff” noise and the sound of fire inside the metal surface moving about grew louder. The furnace grew warmer as we pumped and there was a chugging sound that was accompanying us per pump. Then the chugging grew louder and the whuffing got very pronounced…and with a final pump the bellows handle snapped back into the side of the furnace.

While all this was going on, the offering bin on top was slowly spinning, chewing up the rats until they too disappeared within.

There was a pause in the sound and then a steady “wum wum wum” noise willed the room and light sprinkled up the central column as the room heated up from 50’s to low 70’s quickly. The water drained down until the floor became dry. On the first floor the column grew ripe with light as it went up to the ceiling and then the floors above – lighting what little sconces were here, removing the stale scent, and for the main floor, drying out the carpet quickly.

First class job. We did it.

Feeling bolstered by our actions, we decided to go back to the 2nd floor and try out the room with the paintings. On the wall was the picture of an empty chair and when Barb entered the room – to the rest of us it appeared she disappeared! To her she was fine and saw everyone as they were .They could hear her but the magical effect was the room would appear empty. Nice.

The 2nd picture we tried was the orcish wedding feast and unlike before we had a plate of fresh fruit, a full loaf of nutty rich bread hot and a long stick of butter, and four dark ales. Very nice and we ate it happily. We then tested the one that appeared to be a wooden gate with a key and when put in place, the wall to the room grew across and closed the room off, sealing it. Nice!

This left the basket and scissors room and it ended every spell in here. Avulstein’s skeleton collapsed to the ground, Barb’s boots fit poorly, and Connal’s headband slipped down. Taking the picture off the wall or leaving the room returned the magical effects but NOT for spells – Avulstein’s skeleton remained disanimated.

As for the 5th picture, the doves sleeping on their back, we did that and about 30 seconds later, every person except whoever was sitting in the chair marked with Damlagast’s marking slumped over unconscious – and only those in the room. Taking the picture off the wall and 30 seconds later they woke up. Very handy I’m sure for the former orcish tower wizard.

From here we decided to go after the crystals and that meant heading to the 8th and final floor. The tower looked a bit cracked and less stable up here but was still sound. The door opened with the disk we had pressing nearby and we entered.

The ceiling was low here, barely 7’ tall, and the floor was covered with about 60 smoky burned out looking crystals. There were 10 or so still hanging from the ceiling. In the middle of the room was comfortable chair and an emaciated looking mastiff black obsidian dog watching the group. It was animated and looked around at us as we flirted with entering. On the back wall was a set of iron rungs that led to a trap door on the ceiling.

Avulstein in the chair near the mastiff and tried a number of ideas to get it to communicate – it did very little, and behaving only as a dog would behave. So Einar had Frey give him the ability to speak with animals and talked to the hound. It was a companion of Damlagast and knew some things but not much. It was a guardian for the older orcish wizard and knew he had died and moved on. Could work with another master and Einar rubbed I’s head and muzzle and then it collapsed down to a foot long figurine.

The figurine had referred to itself as Onycanim, or Canim, and from discussing with it, learned that it could be called 3 times per day for an hour each time max. And as long as the statue didn’t break, it could heal and return again and again. Very nice.

As for the crystals, Avulstein took one, and then a second. This left very few on the ceiling and after the 2nd one, the tower seemed to lean a tiny bit and room cooled off a trace or two. Forcing the door in the roof open, Darius had a chance to look out. He had a good vantage point up here – the tower itself was pretty screwed up and there were only a small scattering of metallic looking trees up here, each about 2-3’ tall. And as he watched, two of them, just about over where the two crystals were taken from, dried up, grew duller, and fell over. One of them tumbled off the tower, the other he managed to grab.

Coming back to the room we discussed not taking any more crystals. These were manatrees and could be ground up for ink, but could also be treated well and planted – hopefully resulting in more manacrystals in the future. We took the one we had and then left the crystal chamber.

We went back to the 7th floor and using the key that Onycanim had been holding for Damlagast long ago, opened the lock and entered. It was the orcish wizard’s workshop and it was not well stocked but we checked it out with great care. The alchemist assembly, 3 potions, two wands (one of fire finger, the other of create water), and a robe with deeppockets as well as a thin spellbook with a dozen spells within had the group pretty happy with all things.

We went down and tested the front door – and it CAN be reopened from the inside. Very nice. We then walked the tower one last time to check if we missed anything, confident we didn’t, it was after 12 on the 11th when we were going to leave Damlagast’s Tower and either return to Base Camp or check the north shore of the lake for K’Morat tracks.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Youth Meet 20, Adv 2, 8/10/18

The Youth’s had their “2 week” montage this meeting where we had a chance to take care of anything they were looking for and get some dangling ends resolved. Next meeting is Dunwater and Adventure 3 – which for the group will be a dungeon crawl; their first for this gathering.

Write up follows:

At Pinelaquin’s, Deja and Talion spent some time talking with the town’s mage as well as Notary public. Deja was feeling that it was possible for her to maybe embrace some of her deeper concerns and see if she had an aptitude for wizardry. “Laq” ran her through a number of possible thoughts and postulations before Deja had to admit, that she didn’t know squat about magic.

But she could learn. It would be difficult, and would be embarrassing, and there was no guarantee she’d ever be really good at it, but if she wanted to, Laq was willing to give her the chance.

Deja took it.

For the next 2 weeks she was to come back to Pinelaquin’s where she would be performing rote and redundant tasks for 12 hours each day, in order to train her mind to better enter the state needed to perform wizardry. She left and Talion was asked to stay behind. The Ranger and party leader had a long talk with Laq about the group and his skills as leader, identifying that many times the Speaker for the Dead and the Paladin often run rough-shod over his leadership attempts.

For a trade, Pinelaquin was willing to offer Talion the use of a Rod of Might in exchange for the Ranger finding a ring that a Lizardman Chieftain had on him. If was gold and silver with 3 horseshoes on its surface. Seems a former adventuring companion of the Half-Elf Notary had faced off against a Lizardman Chief called Ardi and was killed; his belongings taken as loot by the reptilian. Pinelaquin wants the ring back – no questions asked. Talion agreed and they shook hands and parted.

Magnus and Valerie for their 2 week period made it their business to devote their time and help to the Lost Children of Tyr Orphanage. It was appreciated by the kids and the staff to have their help as they added their strengths to helping out the disenfranchised. Magnus also visited the Hospice a few times to give words of support to this suffering there as well as dole out a bit of healing each day. A couple of judicious uses of his Cure Disease blessing went a long way towards having the healing community being very appreciative of the paladin.

For Valerie, besides her time with Magnus, the Half-Orc Druid also had the enjoyable company of Ned Shakeshaft on many occasions. The reformed smuggler would often spend his off hours with the Half-Orc and at least on two occasions, the two of them had been seen together at a quiet booth at the Saucy Winter Wench sharing a candlelit meal within ear shot of the local minstrel.

After getting stabbed in the foot at an earlier fight, Valerie wanted to at least ameliorate the possibility. Hitting the town cobbler, she got into a heated racist diatribe against the Journeyman cobbler tending to her. He was rude, condescending, and terrible to the Half-Orc, so much so, that the master cobbler had to come out and take over the sale, especially after the Master had found out the Journeyman was price gouging Valerie in the process. Eventually it was resolved and the boots were to be finished within a week as requested.

Veldryn spent a week studying the white opalescent rock we had gotten from the mansion as well as the Book on Philosopher stones – only to learn after much time and study that the rock was not as hoped, but instead a focus gem to replace any material components for lowest level Water school arcane spells.

She then went off to Pinelaquin and explained her findings, wondering if he had a market for it here. He was not very helpful in that regard, but did let her know that she could try better at Dilabria or even Cymbarton. They talked a bit longer and then Veldryn returned to further her studies.

As for Talion, he was enjoying his time without responsibility for now; taking up to drinking during the day and watching the ships roll in and out in the evening. One day while at the bar he was approached by a traveler with some scarring on his neck and a travelled look about him, identified as Vonar who reported that he had recognized the young bounty hunter from his time in Dilabria. They talked about jobs past and Vonar did understand the Talion was hooked up with a paladin for now…and was he out of the bounty business?

The group of men Talion saw on the docks.
Giving a non-committal response they let the conversation wind down and then Vonar admitted he had to leave. Once outside Talion got up and trailed him unseen as Vonar made his way to the docks. Once there, he traveled up a short distance to a schooner where 7 or so men were gathered about and talking. Vonar was pointing back to town and gesticating emphatically to one man with an unruly red beard.

Talion recognized him as Malloc, a mid to high ranking member of the slaving group known as the Lyceum. He had run afoul of them 6 or 7 months ago in Dilabria when he brought in an escaped slave for a crime he had committed and had NOT returned him to the slaving guild as Malloc and the Lyceum had requested…then demanded. It had come to blows outside a tavern by the stables and Talion defended himself, and also where he met Deja who took out a thug who was going to back stab the Ranger.

The constabulary had gotten involved and they sided with Talion – his first duty was not to the Slavers and whoever was upset their slave had run away, but to the King’s Law and Justice – and the slave had to answer for those crimes first and foremost. Malloc had declared that he’d remember this slight and word on the street was they had tried to find Talion a few times after this but with no good results.

Until now.

Malloc seemed to be giving the matter some thought and then had his men reload the schooner. One of them had gone down to the Wharfmaster and was arguing with Kurly Lodbrock for a bit before getting a few coins and returning to the ship. Talion watched as they cast off lines and then sailed north out of Saltmarsh.

Curious, he went down to the Wharfmaster where Kurly and a number of the other locals were chit chatting. He joined in and the conversation was just on the guy who had been here. Seems he had originally arrived last evening and paid for a week of dock space, but today came very agitated and said they wanted a refund as they had pressing business north to Karon. Kurly didn’t want to refund the money and after the conversation had gotten pretty heated, just to get him off the docks, gave him a partial refund and told them to “git”.

From there Talion then went to the Notary to learn what he could about the Lyceum. They were a mid-sized slaving guild, 26 of them, and apparently 3 years ago during a period of expansion, took out a loan from a local trading guild, The Order of the Kraken. The same guild that Grabbi Ogansdottr ran. The same guild that she had been hung 2 years ago, buried, and her body is missing. The same guild that was sponsoring the smuggling the party had been breaking up. And the same guild that seems to be funneling their smuggled goods into arming the lizard man tribe further south at Dunwater.

4,500 nobles. And the loan was still open on the books – unrepaid.

With the end of the 2 weeks coming up we all reconvened at the Saucy Winter Wench and shared across the board all we had learned and done for the 2 weeks and what we hoped to have come up tomorrow with the Council. Ned Shakeshaft was on board with us, and Oceanus the Sea Elf from Deephome was also glad to be a part of the group. To make it a bit official, Veldryn had taken to drawing up a contract on loot and treasure division and the party all agreed it was fine and made sense. We all signed it and on the morrow, Spiritmonth the 4th, we would be on our way to meet the Council and then get out permission to take care of the problem at Dunwater.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Meet 57, Adv 4.2, 8/4/18

The group made their way further up Damlagast's Tower, finding what was to be found and being careful about it. So far they've had some good luck and decent dice rolls, making what combat and traps here achievable with being too difficult. One of the players had mentioned that it seemed "easy" but they were then reminded that a single bad roll with the ghoul fight and we would have had a TPK.

Write up follows:

An emaciated greyish skinned orc bust from behind the table at Connal’s side, the Monk somersaulting backwards to stand side by side with his companions, scrabbling at the air before charging forwards. It hit the line and bit scratched and snarled at Einar, the half-orc druid grunting in pain before his limbs froze in place. In return the ghoul was assaulted by magic and blade but most weapons just bounced off it’s skin. Meanwhile Barb reported that ANOTHER ghoul was in kitchen and trying to get out! The barbarian dug in her feet and raged, swelling up in anger and shoving the ghoul back inside.

The combat continued with the first undead getting hit again by flying bullets and Connal’s fists, but it angered the wobbling dead thing who turned its anger on the monk and paralyzed him with numerous scratches and bites. Shimlagesh begged it with a blast of cold and then a final sling bullet from Darius’ enchanted weapon tipped it over sideways.

They pried Mettle, the enchanted blade from Einar’s hand and slid it to Barb who grabbed it, waited for the party to get ready, and then moved back so the group could assault the last ghoul. It had a large metal pot cover that it used to block one of the bullets, was hit with the second, and spells finished the damned thing off as it fell over finally dead.

Healing was doled out and we had to wait a few minutes for the paralysis to wear off. From there Shim and Avulstein went over the undead being deciding to take the two hearts and 4 eye balls for now for possible alchemic purposes at another time. It was a bit after 6 based upon our best guess when we left the dining room, kitchen, and pantry area (picked over long ago) and made our way up to the 5th floor.

This was the first floor and landing where we did not see broken dwarven skeletons or signs of violence. The door was shut here and a peer under showed no heat sources beyond. Feeling squeamish, we continued on our way up the stairs and decided to come back to this floor at another time.

At the 6th floor we saw 3 blasted dwarven skeleton’s here, bits of melted metal around them. The door was blasted open and fire and lightning score marks littered everywhere. Just inside there were even more dwarven remains scattered around what we assumed was the orcish wizard’s private chambers. From the placement of the many bodies we could tell he was backing up to the next room here and looking inside the entire chamber which was once the wizard’s library, had been the victim of a terrible fireball. Five more dwarven skeletons had been blasted into the shelves and walls, and in the center of the room was a pair of worn but still in good condition orcish made high soft boots.

Barb braved the boots, picked them up and tried them on. As she slid them on they changed color from dusky brown to forest green and shrunk down to better fit her feet. Some tests showed that while wearing them, her feet felt no effects from fire or heat, but had nothing to do with the rest of her body. Weird but ok.

From here we went to go further up to the 7th floor but around the 3rd or 4th step up, Darius ended up disappearing! As for the fighter, he was actually downstairs and stepping off the last step to the 1st floor. Odd. He turned to go upstairs. Others also tried it and they too ended up down at the base of the tower. We tried throwing rocks, stepping over, jumping – nothing allowed us to get past the 3th or 4th step.

We decided to go back to the 3rd floor and try out the two doors in the statue room while Shim gave the pictures on the 2nd floor a once over, seeing nothing new. Back in the statue room, Barb tossed the parts of the statue down the steps while we listened to the scratching from the north door. We decided to check out the south door instead. Once sure it wasn’t trapped, Barb opened it and got out of the way just in time before she was immolated by a flame blast – getting singed, not burned. But an animated chain floated out of the room and attacked Barb who was getting whipped about the neck. Shim froze a section of the chain and concentrated on hitting that part, while the half-orc fought with it. It took a few minutes before it was over and we could take better stock of things. The door to the room had shut again during the fight.

Darius wanted to try it next, but we figured on maybe blocking the door in some way so that it might impeded the potential fire. While the fighter was making a set of thin shims, the party was getting bits of wood tossed down from the 4th floor to the 1st so we could eventually light the furnace. After a half hour of fiddling around, Darius went to open the door and the fighter received a full on blast of flame before we tried other ways on opening the door. Ropes and chains and looping it around the statue bases helped and we got the door open.

It was a study but it had been lightly picked over. Two dwarven skeletons were here, necks crushed. We looked around the desk, eventually discovered a secret compartment, and took a handful of old orcish silver coins and a partially dissolved and concentrated potion labelled Flight. Nice. There were two scroll cases in here but both of them had only fragments of dried paper within.

We went back to the room, opened the north door and a stone lizard head and arm statue piece came flying out towards the statue! Only the head made it as Darius was able to smash the arm before it could attach, and we fought the statue here, eventually smashing it to pieces.

Some healing was dispensed and we checked out the room, another study but this time the secret desk part had been listed up and the dwarves had left a nasty note for anyone to find.

It was about 8 and we were getting tired. The tower was cold, just under 50 degrees and we were going to work on the furnace, but wanted to check out the 5th floor with the closed door just in case. Once there we opened the door, seeing a shirt hall with three doors at the end, all of them had been forced open. The first room on the right was a servant’s bedroom, ransacked. Closet door was closed.

The next room on the left was set up similar, bedding slashed and closet busted in. Some orcish underwear still in decent shape – not much else. The center door showed a slightly larger servant’s chamber – an orcish skeleton near the back in a set of faded robes and three flatbow bolts in her chest. Dreadlocked hair and necklace led us to believe it was a woman. We checked out the room while Barb looked over the fallen orc.

Found a secret false bottom in one of the drawers that had a small scattering of coins and some dangle copper earrings that looked like lightning bolts. Barb was sure the girl was wearing an orcish whistle and she eased it off, and in her pocket were a pile of battered letters she had been communicating with her boyfriend at some not too distant village. We read the letters and got some ideas of what the surrounding defenses might have been like, thinking that the orcish fort mentioned might be a good place for the third Kobold Warren to be.

We took everything that we wanted to check with us to the bedroom that had to the closed closet door and were going to detect magic here before heading downstairs to screw around with the furnace.