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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Addon, Adv 6, Cyric 1

The party ran across some documents written by Cyric Mulholland and left here - never making it to the final copies of his collected Dargan's Folly works. Some of it is fluff (I like fluff - if it wasn't for the fluff, we'd all be playing Zork on our C64's and be happy about it) but there are also some helpful hints and clues in the pages should the party take the time out to read them carefully.


Well, I’ve done the numbers for Sir Dargan regarding the personnel costs and no matter what I do, it keeps coming back to the truth.

Building this place is damned expensive.

24 Carpenters @ 3 Nobles/day each for 72 Nobles
57 Masons @ 4 Nobles/day each for 228 Nobles
12 Limners @ 10 Nobles/day each for 120 Nobles
10 Teamsters @ 5 Nobles/day each for 50 Nobles
15 Pack Handlers @ 2 Nobles/day each for 30 Nobles
236 Porters @ 1 Noble/day each for 236 Nobles
7 Smiths @ 10 Nobles/day each for 70 Nobles
12 Architects @ 30 Nobles/day each for 360 Nobles
10 Miners @ 3 Nobles/day each for 30 Nobles

1,196 Nobles/day.

And that didn’t even include material costs.

Or any mercenaries. Or scribes. Or sages. Or livestock.

I still wonder what it is that he expects to achieve with this? We’re too far from Ponyboro, and I am still not sure that the war will ever come this far south.

But it’s not my coffers being tapped.

Cyric Mulholland
Earthmonth 21st, 125 of the 30th Age

- - - -

Some of the stories I’ve heard have been pretty horrific. In the beginning I would have tossed them off as tavern tales to frighten the locals as told from traveling blowhards who might have seen an enslaved orc somewhere. But I am of a differing mindset nowadays.

One traveler told me about how the orcs assaulted his home and set the animals on fire, stampeding the wild frantic animals into the house and laughing.

Heard about how 7,000 greenskins fired enough arrows to cover the grounds around Caer Hartford in a carpet of vibrating shafts.

Marauding ogres who tore the fingers and ears off those they were fighting and shoving it down their throats.

One man who saw his mother slit open like a suckling pig and the orcs’ wolves feasting on her still living entrails.

Babies and children being trampled and left like smears on the roadbeds.

The calls for mercy and pleas going unanswered.

Columns of smoke and fire climbing into the sky where home and cities once stood.

Magics so powerful it called for lightning from the cloudless sky and balls of fire from the earth from fetished ogres wielding staffs and rods.

Giants on the order of 20’ tall bound by chains and driven like warbeasts before the orcish hordes.

And these stories make me afraid. Afraid and filled with cold terror.

Cyric Mulholland
Spiritmonth 26th, Yuleweek, 125 of the 30th Age

- - - -

There is enough room within the walls of Caer Dargan to house close to 500 souls comfortably, twice that much should Sir Dargan be forced to. Now this is a sizeable figure in its own rights, but, with the presence of the Stronghold below, assuming we could get it cleaned up and habitable, we can shelter ten times that number.

And it’s because of that that Sir Dargan has been making efforts to spare what porters we could to clean the tunnels where needed.

Ponyboro will not hold should the unthinkable happen, although I am sure the manor houses will withstand most of the greenskin’s onslaughts.

But outside of Daernhorse keep, the best wall and impregnable façade is here at Caer Dargan. And it’s for that reason, should there be not enough room to house the seven thousand odd souls that make up and live in Ponyboro that they can be brought here to the Caer and be safe.

We will need to be ready should this ancillary plan have to be put in place as it is three days plus from Ponyboro to here.

I for one can’t imagine how bad things would have to get for Ponyboro to suffer. But then my mind starts working and I CAN imagine.

And it makes me shudder.

Cyric Mulholland
Restmonth 5th, 126 of the 30th Age

- - - -

Although we’ve gone through the majority of the Stronghold, and there is a lot of it, Sir Dargan is pushing on the architects and engineers to wrap up their work here.

We have established where the passages to the Warren are, past the ancient dwarven chapel. According to Sir Dargan, there is a wide dwarven stair that will lead us further underground.

These halls are so old, so ancient. And they have been empty too, for a century or more since the last dwarves left these places for somewhere else.

And even from the “trash” they’ve left behind, we have seen wonders and wonderful display of their art and craft.

And according to what I’ve heard Sir Dargan speak on, there is more and better in the Warrens below.

Cyric Mulholland
Airmonth 16th, Raven’s Feast, 126 of the 30th Age

Meet 42, Adv 6, 9/20/08

This was the party's 1st full day dungeon crawling and expectations were mixed and high. They came loaded for bear (as the expression goes) and wasted no time in pulling out the stops.

I prefer 1st edition over anything else and when in doubt, usually refer back to it - however I did fall in love with the swarm rules in 3.5. Finally, an opportunity to hurl scores and more of small creatures at the party and not have to figure on 1 hp bodies and the clunky mechanic for DMing such a travesty. One of the many memories I have of the Howard's Conan pulp fiction is a scene when Conan is on a narrow bridge and rats by the scores are crossing it to get to him and he stands there resorting to butchery work until fatigue causes his timing to slip and the vermin run him over.

It was auspicious that the 1st fight they ran into though was against the "toughest" combat planned for the top level. So in a way, most of the fighting that would occur afterwards would be anticlimactic. Or so I thought.

But never discount the party doing something silly. Like standing in the middle of a hall, voices raised and echoing, with the only light source anywhere to be found and attracting the many many hordes of swarming bodies nearby. Subsequent combat against the swarms were not nearly as decisive because of that and the "tough" fight was not actually the toughest fight.

Write up follows:

The party (i.e. Karis) had just opened the door to what had once been the Dining Hall in the Stronghold section of Dargan's Folly and were surprised to see it swarming with hundreds and hundreds of squirming, wildly writhing rats. There were also larger versions of the vermin closer to eight/ten pounds in weight and the size of beagles. And there were a handful of truly giant sized hairless rats with elongated heads and oversized teeth some 3' in length and perhaps forty/fifty pounds.

But on top of them all was a truly gargantuan rat closer to 150 lbs in weight and had been dubbed the rat king by our party.

Karis immediately backed up as fast as possible while the rats in question began swarming down the corridor towards us. Gwyn smashed a flask of oil on the ground to slow them down. They readied weapons and spells while Zoltan sang a charm of sleeping and sent it flying into the warren-like hive of the former dining room. A couple larger specimens got within biting distance to Karis who was calling upon Tyr to ward the area around him from vermin. Many of the common rats were unable to cross the invisible barrier but the larger versions were able to muscle through. We noted with dismay that the rat king and many of the larger cousins from within the room had "disappeared" from view and there were concerns that they could (and were most likely) coming to approach us from another direction.

Detheron called to Frey and summoned a 6' roiling ball of fire right on the other side of the anti-vermin barrier where it set most of the common rats ablaze and then ignited the spilled oil – turning the hallway into a carpet of burning squealing rats. Concentrating, he shoved the ball of flame down the hall where it continued to consume rats (large and small) before immolating the massive warren at the far end.

While the group was mopping up the odd rats that were still plaguing us, Zoltan was at the other hallway (the one we came in at), liberally dousing the floor with a spilled flask of oil and listening. And he heard it – scurrying mounds of running feet coming fast. As the first of the rats came into view he ignited the oil and ran back behind the faintly luminescent edge of Karis' barrier.

The rats were stopped and through the fire we saw the rat king chattering like a fiend. The smaller rats boiled closer and closer to the flames, mounding higher and higher like a living ramp and then one brave and foolhardy 15lb behemoth ran over the piled rats and LEAPT just clear and through the crackling blaze. And then it threw itself against Karis. Bolstered now and encouraged by the wild yips and squeals of the rat king, other rats were doing the same in mad dashes across the weakening fire including the “king” himself. It hit Karis like a freight train, driving the half ogre back 5' from the impact as its chisel-like teeth tore through some of the weak links in his shoulder. The creature's breath was foul and reeked of carrion and there was worry that the mad vermin's bite would be diseased.

Coruth'tae attempted to make the illusion of fire appear on the rats but being simple creatures, they were unfazed and unbothered by the glamour. Detheron allowed the first flaming sphere to disappear and called to Frey to summon ANOTHER one – this time in the other hallway where it blocked any more rats from charging us and set many of them still there on fire.

Karis was being bit and scratched and hurt and the party was doing what they could to take the vermin down swiftly. While Smokey was battling one of the 3' hairless rats, he lost his footing and the bear had his head bashed in against the wall – knocked unconscious. (Fumble!) To add insult to injury, the hairless rat tried to make an easy meal of Smokey and it too suffered the same ignoble roll (a 2nd Fumble!!).

Detheron called the rolling 6' ball of flame BACK through the hallway and attempted to stop it just shy of the party's melee, but misjudged it and the ball of fire rolled right over the rats in question (the Rat king leapt off Karis and onto Gwyn at this point) and slammed into the dwarf and the half-ogre! Everyone was running free of the fire and the battle against the last of the giant sized vermin wound down and then it was a concentrated number of blows against the rat king and it was over. Karis had some scathing looks and comments to Detheron for his sloppy handling of his magic but the party was relatively well off considering the fight.

We healed up hurts and Detheron applied bandage and poultice to Gwyn who had gotten badly bit by the rat king. While this was going on, Zoltan and Karis checked out the two egresses (besides the one we came in from) out of the former Dining hall. The right had led some 30' down and seemed to continue, while the left traveled the same distance, went up a short flight of stairs, and ended at a door. Karis had taken out the map we had gotten with Dargan's Folly 3 and sure enough, the Barracks we had first gone through and the Dining Hall were both on the map. Ok – so far, so good.

Zoltan was checking the halls carefully while Detheron was finishing up the bandaging and he discovered that up the stairs on the left side, the wall was faintly indented and a pressure plate on the step (against the wall itself) could be used to open a section of the wall! Karis was voted in and he triggered the plate, revealing a closet 8' by 20’. Old shelves and hooks were here – testament to an ancient dwarven armory long emptied at some point. However, there was a shallow metallic box heavily rusted still on the floor. Hmm.

He tapped it with the 10' pole and looked it over. He recognized symbology to Odin on it through the aged pitted flakes. Smacking the weak hasp a few times broke it off and then it was prodded and the top was lifted free. Inside were a half dozen aged leather scroll cases very cracked and worn, more symbols to Odin on it, the wax seal yellow and thick but still good. With his dagger’s edge he cracked them all off and inside each one found scrolls of spells for clerics. Remove Curses, Neutralize poisons, Cure Diseases, and Cure Moderate Wounds. Well done! He and Detheron split the scrolls up and the matter was closed.

Meanwhile Zoltan, Gwyn, and Amal were smacking the now emberlike warren apart with iron bars to look for lost treasures within. A golden platter with dwarven runes and an iron flanged mace with hematite studding its head were uncovered and we took both. Zoltan checked the door past the stairs and outside of opening it and verifying it was a kitchen, we decided to instead go back down the long corridor and explore the area as mapped out by Sir Dargan almost 50 years ago.

The corridor traveled for a short while and we went slowly, Karis and Zoltan checking the area with care. About half way down there was a side passage with more stairs going down and ending at a door. A review of the map showed it to be a dormitory and we decided to explore it. The half-ogre opened the door and we looked around. A few common rats ran at our entrance but we were unmolested. Two other ways out of here, one way leads to the Storage area, the other to the latrines (according to the map). The group looked around the cobwebbed shelves and found many old and ancient personal belongings, but also some personal notes and pages penned by Cyric Mulholland himself and never had been entered in the Dargan's Folly books! Huzzah.

They were notes about the costs (staggering!) to build the keep, some horror stories by travelers about the things they had seen the orcs and ogres do, worry about Ponyboro folding, and admiration of the ancient dwarves and their work here (including a tidbit that the entrance to the Warrens (2nd level) is on a wide set of stairs PAST a chapel!).

From there our party of adventurers travelled towards the storage room where careful searching showed the place was untrapped and safe. More common vermin were in here, but nothing bothered us. We looked around and the gear in here was old and useless. We discussed options and decided to travel towards the latrines now and work our way towards the "last" corridor on the far end of the map we had. So it was back through the dormitory and a careful search of more halls and doors until we arrived at the Latrines.

The back third of the chamber was sunken and fouled, some sort of gurgling and dripping noises back there. A door was at our immediate right leading to another dormitory should we want to take it. But it were the numerous 4' tall squat bodied violet fungi surrounding the edge of the depression that had Detheron and Zoltan nervously advising us to leave now and not explore near there. We took their advice and went south.

Another corridor here 30' long and a set of stairs going up to a door. While walking though, Zoltan stumbled upon another ancient dwarven hidey-hole. The secret door revealed another 8’ x 20’ closet-like former armory with stone shelves and bare – except for the two dry rotted and split open burlap sacks; each one filled with gold and silver coins. Woo hoo! We spent the time and counted them up, about 350 of each, and they were of the same smooth faced unmarked coins we had grown used to seeing concerning the wherefores of Dargan's Folly. The treasure now in our own bags, we found ourselves in the hall once more discussing the next room as Karis and Zoltan had scouted ahead and verified it was swarming with vermin (although not nearly as many as we had seen with the Rat king earlier).

Tactics were discussed and then bickering followed as the group fractured a bit over what to do and how they should go about it. And as the noise level rose and tempers flared the vermin eventually heard and they crawled under the chewed out bottoms of the doors and flooded the hall we were in; washing over Karis in their haste to get to easier "prey" with less armor on below. Damn it.

Gwyn look aim and crossbowed one of the giant sized ones, ripping it asunder. Karis stomped his feet and swung his sword. The group was unprepared for the fight and the vermin made a fierce run into the hallway. Zoltan ran back into the armory and leapt onto the shelf to keep his feet free of the ground. Smokey and Fodder were mad and furious. Coruth'tae was slapping rats by the dozens free of his legs and feet. Amal turned BACK the way we had come and opened the doorway there - and there were 5 of the violet fungi not 10' from the door! Damn it!

The half-orc bodily lifted one of the fungi who in turn slashed at his hands and wrists with branch-like protrusions, and shouting out loud, slammed the virulent mushroom into the tight hallway so hard that it burst asunder and sent a cloud of choking spores spilling over the teeming vermin…and the party. More than half the rats died instantly and the cloud of poisonous vapors ran across the groups feet and legs. Amal was screamed at to slam the door to the Latrine closed and Zoltan's terrifying phobia of contagion caused him to kick shut the secret door - shutting the party out in the hall with the maddened vermin, the creeping spores from the violet fungus, and most importantly – without a light source.

Karis (with darkvision), slammed his body into the closed door at the top of the stairs and swept as many of the vermin in as possible with him – taking them out of the hall. The rest of the group ran as best as possible away from the dying mass of rats and settling cloud of spores, getting in each other's way as they tried to escape to safety. Amal ran and leapt, trying to clear the bottom of the stairs and instead ran into Gwyn who was resorting to scimitar work against the giant rats.

The battle outcome was not in question and the group took down the last of the rats swiftly and with ease. Eventually Detheron and Zoltan came out (after the spores had become inert and settled fully), where the druid administered poultices and astringents on the half-orc's wounds in an effort to try and reverse the deadly scratches the violet fungus had given him.

We talked about the battle and then what out next avenue was, opting to continue going south from here to the next dormitory (the last one shown on the map) as opposed towards the Dining Hall again (as the 3rd way out of here led). We pressed on with careful searching and looking and the next chamber was as we had come to expect – former living quarters for 15 to 20 people long empty and abandoned.

The last corridor out of here went to the east for a dozen paces and then "T"ed both left and right – north some 30'/40' to the limit of our torch range and some wall or door, and south down a short flight of stairs to a shadowy doorway. Zoltan opted to check north first and we followed while he looked for anything amiss. The corridor was fine and fair but the door upon his review was a different story with something about it disturbing the thief. The middle was bowed slightly, as if something was pressuring behind it. Hmmm.

Karis tied rope to the door handle and we went back to the side hall where some wrangling allowed him to pull the rope. A loud "THANG" sound followed and when we looked, there was a trident sticking OUT of the open doorway at the 3' high mark. The area beyond was a simple 5' stone closet. A few minutes followed as we reset the trap and Zoltan wrote with Coruth'tae's chalk stick "Treasure Room" on the door's front.

The southern door was then tackled and here was our first incongruity as far as doorways was concerned. This chamber was blocked by a thick door banded in iron and reinforced some time ago. No rat scratches or holes had been eaten on the bottom of this chamber. Also, metal braces had once been set on the door to keep it from opening from the inside but they had been folded up. Finally a stout chain and lock had been taken off the handle and was laying aside the entrance. Hmmm – once upon a time blocked and locked, and then some time after opened. We proceeded with caution here.

The chamber was once opulently decorated but was now dull and grey. A slumped table large enough for six had collapsed on the chairs that sat under it. Rotted drapery hung from tarnished silver hooks. A fouled and warped 4 poster bed was in the back of the chamber along with the ransacked drawers and staved in remnants of an armoire. A figure was on the bed, its head bashed in by a discarded mace. It faced the door face down. A broken wooden box was against its ribcage, the top ripped off. Broken shards of glass covered the bed and the floor around it.

The party looked around with great care for some time, saving the bed and the figure within for last. A check for magic revealed an OLD and very faint ward on the inside of the doorway. What it was, the party’s mage and priest didn't know – just that it was once clerical in nature and although still active, had been broken some time ago. The furnishings and interior of the room was estimated at half a century. On one section of the wall was an idly carved symbol of a wolf's head and three circles surrounding it like a triangle (VERY similar to the Lycos Sun's symbol).

The figure on the bed was dried and desiccated but the druid figured had been dead for the same half century as the room’s furnishings. However, the mace that was in its skull was considerably less ancient, perhaps a decade old. Zoltan was able to deduce that the glass shards on the floor although small, were rounded in many places, indicating that there were once many many glass balls or bowls in here. This tidbit had been echoed in the Dargan's Folly books as well as evidenced by Vanir when we had seen the erstwhile wizard at the Wolverton Estate.

The party pulled the skeletal remains from the bed. The shirt it was once wearing had rotten at the shoulders and was left behind – the material thin and wispy silk. It was rent in many places as if by knife or sword. And finally when the party moved the bedding and pillows, before the ancient linen shredded to dust, we saw the grayed and faded herald marks of the Cooperson family on them.

We opted to NOT remove the mace and after discussing what we could and had learned in here, left the chamber alone and left a bit somber.

We figured it was getting late (we had gone through 4 or 5 torches) and decided to go back to the storage room and then passed that to the chamber there and finally loop back around to the kitchen and the entrance where we would sleep above ground and make sure all was good with Goloriana and our animals and mounts. Many of us were lightly wounded and at least two of us had poultices and wraps on us to combat what foul diseases we might have encountered down here. It was a quick walk back to the Storage area where Detheron called on Frey to reveal to us again the sign of any larger rats in the area past here – and he sensed a half dozen plus.

We went into the chamber beyond and saw it was a cistern, but of no use as the barrels had fallen to disuse over the half century. The vermin were hiding within them. We slapped the side of barrels and scared out many common vermin as well as the giant sized ones and slew half of them before they fought…like cornered rats. It was short and bloody work but the last of the vermin were slain and we declared the chamber "cleared" shortly afterwards.

We followed the last egress out of here south and went back up a set of stairs following along slowly. A side corridor showed a long hall and we figured to check it out one last time before working our way out. Karis and Zoltan gave it a once over, the thief checking down to the door some 20 paces away and walking back with a thumbs up and go for it half-ogre. So Karis went down, grabbed the handle, twisted it, and a 10' section of the floor under his feet opened wide and he fell 20' straight down till he stopped abruptly. On some spikes.

We ran to look while the knight extricated himself from the spike he had landed on (which had gone through part of his lower calf – lovely!) and the group plied grapple and rope and talked about HOW we were going to get him out (he weighed almost 400 lbs normally, but armored and loaded as he was – he massed closer to 600) when we heard a faint hissing and the trap door slammed shut. Elapsed time – 3 minutes. Karis could faintly hear us above as we could hear him cursing below.

Zoltan drove a spike into the door (that triggers the trap) and then tied himself to the door and spike with rope and line. The rest of the group got ready and then Zoltan opened the door and the pit reopened and we sent down the grapple (which had Karis hollering WHY did you throw a grapple down to me?) to hoist him out. It took 3-4 of us working hard but we pulled the half ogre free and in 3 minutes time, the pit reclosed. Some healing was passed out and then the group decided it was time to move on to the entrance and get out of here for tonight.

If our time sense is ok – it's close to 5:30 or so on Earthmonth the 22nd. We have the rest of today and the next 7-8 days still in this area before we have to turn around and head back eventually to home. We've come out with some small treasures and some knowledge and a feeling that we've hit about a fourth or fifth of the Stronghold level so far.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Meet 41, Adv 6, 9/13/08

This was a split meeting. Half Larp and set up, with a small finish on entering the dungeon.

There was a decent Larp session in the beginning as the continued fallout from Karis' assault of a town officer had longer ramifications against the group to a small point and the half-ogre knight to a much greater degree. The respect the party had acquired during the 6 months (game time) had been dampened and hampered and had the town nobleman, Sir Walter Slaine, forced to make a delicate decision.

Yes it was also a device for the party to have 3 unfettered weeks outside of town, a good DM will take what the party gives him and run with it. BUT - and a big but here - Sir Walter would have given the party 3 weeks anyway to go and adventure if there had been no strife. Merely as a way of saying thanks for all they've done and a reward for being such august citizens.

I originally imagined it (remember, the adventures are sort of written out a few months in advance of the actual play) that he was also going to lend them a couple of guardsmen (level 2 dwarven crossbowmen) to help out, perhaps a teamster or two to watch the horses and cart, and hell - if Karis had asked for a loan of 750 crowns for a ruby - I am damned sure that Sir Walter would have found a way to make that happen as well knowing that his wonderful friends and sponsored adventuring party AND bondsmen were good for and trustworthy decent people.

Instead they were run out of town after 5 hours or getting home with nothing but what they had already purchased and enough food and feed to make it to Ponyboro a day and a half away.

Being a DM doesn't just mean checking hit rolls and dealing out damage. It also means watching the party and their actions. And actions need to be recognized and either rewarded or punished accordingly.

Write up follows:

It was about 6:30 PM on Earthmonth the 17th and we've recently (I mean HOURS earlier) returned to town. While the group was getting relaxed and hanging out at the party's home, Karis was summoned to Sir Walter Slaine's council chamber at Slaine Manor. The half ogre followed the quiet page where upon arrival he was surprised to see not only Sir Walter (Larped by Mike), but also Sheriff Phozarn (Jason), Adeptus Bjorn (Matt), and Marzen Copperworks (Kyle). There was the feeling that he just entered a moment after the four of them were speaking about him. Karis stood calmly against one wall and waited.

Sir Walter seemed tired, sprawled out on one of his rich chairs. He looked the half ogre up and down and then launched into a speech about the difficulty of the placement that Karis' actions have put him (the lord) in. How this wasn't once, but twice he has had to hear about Karis' harsh and assaultive nature. What to do? Townsfolk are clamoring against him (not many, but a growing number). The Sheriff wanted Karis removed from the city and have it done now. There seemed to be much talk that Karis should not even have the courtesy of waiting for morning, but should leave now.

Marzen was willing to speak for Karis and of the fine things the Sundered Chain has done. Sir Walter let it be known that he had written a missive to Master Melbourne of Dragonhole, Karis' former guardian and mentor, as to the best way to handle the increasingly difficult half-ogre. Adeptus then burst out that Karis was NOT be expelled from the town and should remain here. There was some conversation and wondering exactly WHY? Well…because of the troll at Fengarth's tower! What if it came here? Karis and his company beat it before – they could do it again. This lead to 3 or 4 cross conversations about monsters in the city and out (indicating that Karis is a monster), snide comments about honor, the betterment of the people, rampant bigotry and the dangerous slope that it is (what's next? Gnomes and Halflings?), and Sir Walter asking roundabout of his Sheriff if he wrote any letters to the Count over this matter (he denied it).

Adeptus then grew frantic and started to spin a tale about a Moon Portal. Revealing at long last his interest in Fengarth's Tower and the rather sketchy reason he ever had for visiting the place 6 years ago. There is something in Fengarth's Tower that the former tower owner and mage had used/built called a Moon Portal. A singular device that if a person could figure out how to work it, could on the night of the Full Moon – teleport up to 7 miles from the origin point to any place that they can visualize clearly, for a total of 7 minutes – upon the elapsed time they are returned to the Portal.

He fears that the Troll might have found it and learned how to use it. No proof of it at all – just conjecture. But he was adamant that Karis should kill the troll. Sir Walter was upse: why had he not been told about THIS? What else? A portal to the Abyss in his broom closet? Adeptus was going on and on about the singular fixed reason and the conversation was getting heated and worn.

Sir Walter cleared the room of his advisors but not before saying that he was going to allow Karis and the Sundered Chains 3 weeks as promised AND that he would allow the rest of the advisors to come back in and share final thoughts after 15 minutes have elapsed and he could speak with the half-ogre alone.

Karis dropped to one knee and apologized for his actions and the two of them spoke, Sir Walter trying to impress upon the half-ogre the gravity of his actions and how his deeds no longer just affect himself and the need for responsibility. Meanwhile the 3 advisors waited in the hall and bickered back and forth, anxiously watching the clock for the 15 minutes. Karis at the end though started to talk about the dangers of the road and his actions and deadly combat and whatnot. A page knocked on the door interrupting and mentioned to Sir Walter that the council would like to come in as 15 minutes are elapsed. Sir Walter was getting cross and said HE would say when the 15 minutes are up.

Karis then had the temerity to ask Sir Walter for a loan of 750 crowns to buy a ruby to fix the healing ring! The Orihalcan noble was losing his patience fast and the council members sent the page BACK in to ask if Sir Walter could have 5 minutes with Adeptus first before the council reconvenes. And then Sir Water threw his hands skyward and shouted 'No! No! No! No!!!' He pointed to Karis and told him to get out and get out of town now. He yelled to his council to be gone and leave him until the morrow. Then his sent his own guards and pages away and told them that unless “this troll everyone is bitching about shows up and winds up buggering me and I’m NOT enjoying it, that should be the singular reason for them to dare to return to me otherwise don’t bother me until tomorrow!”

The guards escorted everyone out of the Manor house and on the steps by town square, the 3 councilors continued their attack on Karis but without the same intensity or vitrolicism and eventually the conversation wound down. Kalt made an appearance, walking by everyone and offering a snide remark to Karis and entering the Manor house. After that, it was about 8:30ish and Karis went home.

Once there he was greeted by the party, our freed kobold women, Deidra, her two children Gregor and Hani, three of the women we had freed from Kuluk, and their 4 children all visiting from the Blessed Children of the Wilted Leaf Orphanage – along with about 4 freshly baked gooseberry pies. Lots of playing and chatter and happiness – group thought they were going to have the night to rest and party and then be gone some time tomorrow. Karis laid it on them about having to go and that he was “thrown” out of town tonight.

Incredulence reigned and the party was not happy with Karis – but as they were a group, they would stand by him. Would need to get the horses and wagons ready, would need to get our belongings and gear, our stuff out the door. We wrapped up the play time with the kids and mothers and most of them went back to Blessed Children. Deidra admitted (when it was brought up) that she had seen Kalt a few times over the last couple of days – making donations to the Blessed Children. We advised her of the problems with him. Then Zoltan told everyone about how one of our kobold women had been seen climbing the lift after hours and was hurt and crying.

We gathered all three and spoke to Ilva the most (since she works in the fields). She was evasive but did admit that the people of Orihalcus have NOT been nice to her/them over the last week since Karis threatened to toss the guard off the tower wall. She doesn't fault them or Karis – as their (the kobolds’) lot in life has not been very good except for lately. We learned (finally) that they are about 14 years of age , and that kobold's become "adult" around age 7. Some apologies followed and the party impressed on the women to keep their nose clean and they’ll do what they can to make it better.

Zoltan went off to see Keohn one last time who he found out was at Marzen's. When he went there he saw the dwarf had gathered a few people in town (Malcath the trader, Keohn, Kegana Atwalt) and was trying to arrange it so the party can at least get their steeds, wagons, and enough food/feed to travel to Ponyboro. Also was going to make sure that we had an escort of a half-dozen crossbow wielding dwarves who would see to it that we were not accosted.

Group eventually convened at the stablers (where Karis was not treated well) and we got food and gear and at about 10:15 at night on the 17th of Earthmonth, we left Orihalcus (only a handful of hours AFTER arriving back home). We traveled carefully in the dark on the roads for 2 hours until the group and the mounts were unable to stay awake much longer. Coruth'tae kept first watch for almost 4 hours, the grey elf not needing sleep the same as the other races, and then woke up Karis. Karis let the group get about 2 more hours sleep and then at 6:15, woke everyone up. There were cries of disbelief and lots of grumblings and Karis relented, giving everyone another hour. At just after 7, Detheron and Karis went to pray while Zoltan and Amal got the steeds and wagons ready and we were on our way.

We drove the animals hard. Weather held and we made it to Ponyboro on Earthmonth the 18th at about 7:30 at night. Stabled the beasts and we went to get rooms at the Rampant Griffon (most everyone forcing Karis to pay for REALLY nice room! Haha). Coruth'tae went to gamble a bit at the Twisted Forelock and left with his purse a bit heavier. We awoke the next day and got a decent breakfast. Zoltan detoured to see Lord Artis Daernhorse and left the letter of credit (the he had gotten from Grath Daernhorse in Cymbarton) with the friendly lord, promising to stop in again on their way back to Orihalcus.

Karis (with Coruth'tae acting as watcher and guardian) went to see the shepherd Heimund (that we met on the road some time ago) but the peasant couldn't talk much and refused to say anything about the fact that he had ever been near Orihalcus (mentioned that there were too many ears about). Did he steal the sheep? What was going on? Karis left a bit disgusted and then went to see Sheriff Yolanda. They chatted a bit and then he left.

Rest of the group was buying LOTS of food and trail rations and feed for the equivalent of 14 days. This was going to weigh a lot and take up some serious room, but as had been mentioned, as we adventure onward, these foodstuffs would be replaced with treasures. We hope. We all reconvened about noon and then we were off.

Days were getting shorter still and temperatures were barely reaching 50 during the days, but we pressed on and 3 days later (on Earthmonth the 22nd) arrived on the site of the former Circle of Thorns. Goloriana the unicorn was here and was pleased with the progress the forest had made. Return of nature was wonderful. No more thallids. Pixies had fled to other places. As she had indicated it, “a serious improvement in the natural way of things.” She told us that no one had come to the site and the wards to the Folly were still holding.

We went through all the items on the carts we wanted to bring with us (opting for now on leaving the mule up here topside) and divided up bags and picks and rope and everything. Then we used our Lyreth Medallions (as we had taken to referring the bronze headed wolf medallions since Vanir’s group called them the same thing according to the paperwork we had found in Tehpaguar’s belongings), popped the wards on the iron doorway, and ventured down into Dargan's Folly at long last.

Set up marching order, a torch was lit, and we followed Zoltan down. Came to a large entrance room with 6 possible ways out. Place had a stale odor like vermin, and if we listened, could hear far off chittering and squeaking. Six doors in total; all hanging strangely in the lintels and posts. Very old and warped and swollen. Each door we saw had gnawed holes on the bottom ranging from a few inches high to almost a foot in places. Vermin holes. Lovely.

While the party was listening about and deciding what to do, Detheron decided to pop open a door and take a walk. The party shouted and him and exclaimed “Hey, stay together!” Detheron fired back, “we could spend DAYS down here and do everything one foot at a time and not find anything.” There was some talk about meeting in the middle with it and maybe do things a bit faster.

We settled on the doorway/corridor that had a strange indentation on the right wall. Upon closer examination, Zoltan informed us that a section of the wall seems like it could move over here if a pressure plate on the floor is stepped on. Karis took the 10' pole and leaned against the plate which released a 9' wide section of the wall. We pushed it in, it went about a foot and then pivoted slightly, revealing a small room with an old weapon rack and some very poor condition dwarven made short spears and hammers.

A detect magic was called for and although the items were normal, the INSIDE of the door had a glamour on it. What was it for? Danger? There was some asking from the druid WHY we care what it was for and it was answered back that if know WHY the ancient dwarves...or even Dargan...did the things they did, it would make it much easier for us to understand what we see and how to interpret it. So exploring doesn't mean shooting from room to room to room but actually taking some time out to check out the places.

Detheron and Karis opted to go into the room and we shut the door. And when it was shut those INSIDE the small room were surprised to see that a 3'tall, 7' wide strip of stone of the doorway became transparent (it was still there and normal to the touch), allowing them to see inside the hallway. Reopened the door and we talked about it, deciding it was an old dwarven secret hole where a half dozen dwarves could strike out behind an invading force. Gwyn took one of the hammers and we went on.

Doors were stuck and required Karis to push them in. Next chamber was some sort of old barracks but a short (10 minute) search showed nothing of interest or value. Footlockers had been long plundered, most of the pallets were weak and dry rotted. Another doorway out of here and the sound of vermin was MUCH louder.

We checked it out, seemed clear, showed a short corridor (20 odd feet) and then another doorway. There was talk about not going forward and retreating, but it was brought up that if we avoided everything down here that MIGHT be an encounter, what the heck were we doing here?

So the group got ready back in the Barracks room and Karis went to the door, grabbed the handle, and SHOVED it open. And we saw this:

This room might have been used as a dining hall for the settlers who stayed here so many decades ago; there are the remains of chairs and tables piled into a huge mound on the back wall of the room. But since then it has been taken over by the numerous vermin that have made these subterranean places their home. Their brown and black bodies squirm over and over on top of each other as they push and force their way in and out of the warren-like hive they've built from the garbage. Some of them are large, larger than the other rats, and a few of them have oversized jaws and hairless skins.

But it is the sight of the huge one sitting on top of the mounded garbage like a dragon of old would on its treasure horde that makes you stop. Its fur is thick and matted, its head like a heavy lined shield. It must be the size of a wolf or bigger and has to weigh closer to a hundred fifty pounds than not.

And it stares at you with cunning, its tail tip lashing back and forth slowly, the end of its tongue emerging from its hairy lips to lick its snout…hungrily.

At this point we ended it. Karis had his greatsword out and the party was about to face quite a number of sizeable vermin.

Yes we are JUST on the beginning part of the dungeon exploration - and there is MUCH to continue. My advice is simply: You guys have to work together. Each person has a job in the group - just do your job and don't worry about the other person's job and you'll do fine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meet 40, Adv 6, 9/6/08

The transition from "big" city to "small" city was experienced in this meeting and I think it captured some of the comfort that the group has and I mentioned earlier in this blog. On arriving at Orihalcus they were noticed, celebrated and reviled, appreciated, spoken to, and ultimately had an impact on the populace just by their being there.

There is always a sense of franticness on the arrival back at the party's home town. As if there is so much to do and not enough time to do it.

Sadly their time actually inside the walls of Orihalcus have been truncated as of late thanks to the dismal actions of the party leader and local half-ogre. This had (and has) led to a number of the party members coming to me in private and mentioning their dismay that "we always seem to rush out of Orihalcus".

Not my fault. Talk to the halfling scaring, guard dangling, shouting and violent outbursting party leader and knight(?)ly half-ogre. He doesn't seem to have the Sheriff offering to bring him a bag of chocolates and an apple pie. Chuckle.

Write up follows:

We backtracked a tiny bit to take care of Coruth'tae and his gambling exploits at the Duke's Dice the night before; a high end gambling establishment in Old City. The grey elf wandered around and the place was sizeable, two stories, shaped like an "L" – spiral stairs roped off to the 2nd floor, dice and card games along the bottom floor.

Patrons were divested of weaponry and the warning against magery was given. Coruth'tae went to the bathroom where we cast a Detect Magic inside the privy, and then walked around the place as best as he could and "scan". The tables were clean and clear, but there was a lattice-work of spell threads running along floor, walls, and ceiling – all of them terminating at a large mosaic of a nobleman playing dice. Coruth'tae felt there was some sort of warning system built into it and walked around. For a couple of hours he went up and down, betting against other players and casing the joint. He spotted at least 4 "ringers" (house players who mingle like patrons) and 3 of the pit bosses. He dodged being watched after a disastrous couple of hands of poker.

Eventually he wandered to the back smoky section where he joined a "demi-human" game with gnomes and high elves. One hand play, he went through the motions and had cast a silent spell version of Phantasmal Force – opting to change one of his hole cards into a king of spades. The betting at the table got a bit fierce and when he tried to "cash" in a diamond at the table, the dealer called a pit boss over who took an immediate suspicion of the grey elf and offered to hold the diamond as a marker.

There was one player left at the round robin at the table and when it was over, Coruth'tae decided to let the spell expire before showing the hands and instead let it happen – he happened to win on his own recognizance but took his purse and left.

He went to Tower Arcane where he learned a lot about magery there, the guild, joined up, and would be returning at a later date/time. Then the party convened on Earthmonth the 13th at 4:30 and we talked. Karis wanted us to leave as soon as possible (tomorrow) and we went over our list of things to do. Visit the potion makers, Tyrian Cathedral of Justice, Adventuring guild (to buy treasure gathering/ dungeoneering gear) and a few other sundry locations.

Two different main potion makers in town – and the group opted to go to Stintharian's. A bit more pricey but had a full range of potions at our beck and call. We brokered some more healing, extra, and superior, learned about some of the potions we have on us, made a few trades, got a price on an alchemist's lab for Coruth'tae, and eventually got the ear of the potion master himself and spoke about trolls. If we could get him a forest troll brought back to him alive and whole (and of course bound and trussed) he would make us 3 potions of Perfect Health (permanent raise of constitution) as well as 2 potions of Regeneration. We talked about how we would do it and what we would need to do to facilitate this but as Stintharian pointed out – he has no idea – you're adventurers – that's YOUR job to figure out!

Most importantly though was the ingredients listing of raw materials the potion makers would need and we saw many items on there we have already passed over or feel confident we would get to see again.

Karis went to the Cathedral where we spoke with the priests there and was told he would have to come back. Was suggested he go to the Penitent Order of the Flying Sword if he wants to be a Templar in Tyr's name. Made a purchase for some holy water (ie..donation) and moved on.

Zoltan purchased bags, torches, crowbars, lanterns, oil, 10' poles (hahahah!), and a variety of other goods and items – and to top it off, a mule! Finally he planned ahead and purchased a nicely made dress cut in the latest fashion, a cask of locally brewed dwarven ale and a large toy box filled with simple toys.

We rested that night and (except for Coruth'tae who went to Old Wharf and played at 3-Fathoms Gambling Hall where he did decent enough and left with more coinage) the next day wrapped up a few loose ends, paid some items off as necessary, and then took ownership of the 10 crates of pigeons from the Baron's seneschal. We were out of Cymbarton's gates by 2 PM on Earthmonth the 14th.

Travel was quiet that night and we pressed on till nightfall (passing a couple of hunters with a travois loaded with a dozen wolf pelts). Outside of Ponyboro on the next day there were some noises in the brush, possible ambush? But Karis had us ride on ahead and Coruth'tae proved himself to be useful by making it sound like a mounted patrol was riding the other direction. Good idea! We rested tiredly at the Rampant Griffon and woke the next day early and left on our way to Orihalcus on Earthmonth the 16th.

We made great time and saw a number of locals, weather was holding – this was 5 days of nice weather – and then the next day, the weather turned to cold driving thunderous rain and 40 degree temperatures. We donned cloaks and hoods and thick shirts and hunkered down. Although the rain was coming down, the roads were nothing but wet, no mud or washouts. And we arrived in Orihalcus just about 2:30.

We rode down Main St. right to the Town Square where Sheriff Phozarn came out and took possession of the pigeons. He looked the group over and there were tense words as the Sheriff reminded Karis that he most likely would have to get out of town tomorrow so don't get comfortable. The rest of the Sundered Chains (and co.) were treated better.

We got to the house and spent some time unloading the last of our gear and goods and taking care of the animals. We were hungry and there were a few small errands we wanted to run. Zoltan took Clipclop (the mule) to Marzen's Copperworks on the north end of town where he got audience with the dwarven councilman and master miner. Talked about Karis and the problems and wanted to smooth things over so he brought the dwarves a keg/cask of Cymbarton Brown Dwarven Ale. It went over well and the bard/thief was thanked and well received for his generosity.

He then went to the Blessed Children of the Wilted Leaf where he interrupted Deidre (Dehteron's girlfriend) who was taking care of some children. They spoke for a little while and he donated the box of toys and said it came from the Sundered Chains. Was thanked and she had one of the orphans, a large and hulking half-orc teenager who had shown much signs of abuse help her to bring it in. Told him to tell Detheron she would be coming by to visit and would bring pie.

Coruth'tae went to Yrgg's Skiens where he picked up his cold weather gear and thanked the dwarven woman for her work. He went to the Greengrocers and picked up some raw food stuffs and met Zoltan back at the party house where he began cooking stew for the night (the 3 kobold women were out working).

Gwyn went to the Rumbling Gut and got a cheap bowl of stew and some ale to wash it down and enjoyed his time relaxing. Karis and Detheron went to the Blue and Dancing Minepick Inn for early dinner where the half-ogre was just watched. Conversation died at his entrance and stayed low. Dirty looks were sent his way and there was a general unease at his presence. The proprietor, Hostir, made himself absent and the serving wench was nervous and skittish; the service sucked as the food and drink took too long. They left after a while and they could tell that the conversation blossomed on their exit. Karis stuck his nose back in fast and gave the taproom a parting comment and then the two of them went back to the party’s home.

Meanwhile Gwyn overheard some of the locals come in and they were talking about Karis was back in town. Dirty, no-good, monstrous humanoid. What to do? Someone should tell Kalt and get him here. Gwyn said nothing, just kept his head low and bought drink after drink for himself, listening in. The nobleman came in and told the rabble-rousers to do nothing – don't bother the half-ogre just watch him and let Kalt know the INSTANT that Karis left Orihalcus again as he (Karis) should be leaving on the morrow. Something about something planned. Kalt left and Gwyn waited a long time before leaving himself (to avoid suspicion). He was told by the barkeep (who recognized him) to let Zoltan know that Keohn was looking for him and to pass the message along.

The kobold women came home one at a time and were happy to see the group. It's been tough in town since we were here last as the populace gives them strange looks and there is some animosity about Karis and his actions. As for learning how to read, so far only one of them has had any luck. Eventually Ilva came in (the last one – farming kobold woman) and she was quieter and most uncomfortable/shy. Karis tried to talk to her but she shied away and cleaned up and said there was nothing wrong. Karis was convinced that she had been roughed up by the locals for his actions.

Gwyn filled in the group about what he had overheard at the Rumbling Gut and Karis got very angry. Saying things like killing Kalt, and honor, and dragging the nobleman's corpse to Sir Walter and showing him what he had done. When the group tried to talk about this and the folly involved, the angry half-ogre declared that they should dissolve the group now as he was not going to just walk out and LET himself be assaulted by an honorless cur. There was talk about the need for level heads and Karis needs to think clearly and the half-ogre calmed down a TINY bit – but we suspect we are going to have some problems. Soon.

Zoltan went to the Rumbling Gut and met with Keohn, suspecting she was going to tell the gypsy thief about the Kalt thing BUT she surprised him by letting him know that a friendly dwarf that owes her a favor had been near the lift a couple days ago and about 10:30 PM, one of the kobold women was seen climbing the lift (not riding it up as it would have gathered attention) and crying. She was dirty and a bit disheveled and upset as she picked her way through the darkness to the party’s home. Zoltan thanked her and he went back to the group.

We ended it here. It's 6:15 on Earthmonth the 17th and we KNOW that Sir Walter is going to be requesting Karis' presence (and maybe others in the party) very soon. We have successfully done as we were tasked to do and returned to Orihalcus with our charges in tow a good 10 hours ahead of schedule. As per the lordship's words, this should give us 3 weeks to go and do as we wish.

Our plans so far (till this point) include us going to Caer Dargan and the dungeon below. We know it's a day and a half to Ponyboro and about 3 days to Caer Dargan. Allowing 4 and a half days there, 4 and a half days back – that's 9 days. A week is 6 days, so we have 3 weeks = 18 days. That leaves us 9 days to explore the dungeon and hopefully find the treasures mentioned within the venerable tomes.

Addon, Adv 6, Dargan's 3

This was the 3rd book of 4 of a series of tomes about the dungeon locale known as Dargan's Folly. Currently the party is following in the footsteps of Vanir (and Tehpaguar and Djohrgahd) and that adventuring group that came to the Folly some 12-13 years ago.

An estimated 45-48 years ago the Dargan's Folly books were penned down by Sir Dargan Cooperson's henchman Cyric Mulholland.

And to stretch the chain back even further, the same tunnels and catacombs and places as mentioned in the books are the former dwarven warrens abandonded by the mountain dwarves over a century and half ago.

Got it? Great - history lesson over.

As for handouts, I can't draw. I try, always have, but I know my limits and drawing is not one of them. My ex is an artist and skilled and had (with much begging on my part) sketched out a few things here and there for me - but I know when to ask and how intricate the things are that I ask for.

So my handouts tend to be written things. Scraps of parchment, bits of journals, tomes, notes, receipts, etc. What can I say? At least it's not clip art from the latest Forgotten Realm's books.

Tome follows:

This is the third book of four of the accounting of Sir Dargan Cooperson and his discovery of the abandoned dwarven halls where he erected keep and wall to protect the people of his land away from the open fields of Ponyboro as told by me, Cyric Mulholland, gentleman, sword swinger, scribe, and squire to the selfsame Sir Dargan.

* * *

Sir Dargan has been rather fanatical about the area just under Caer Dargan that we’ve taken to calling the Stronghold. Ever since the dairymaid rose like some bloodthirsty harpy from her own deathbed, he’s been adamant about us strengthening some of the chambers and doorways there, including re-establishing some of the old dwarven traps and deadfalls that we’ve been painstakingly taking apart over the last few months.

I mean, I’m glad we want to be defensive and all that, but the chance of any orc or snaggle-toothed ogre being able to bust over the walls of the keep and wreak havoc on those within is ludicrous.

* * *

The high-prelate of Odin had some words with me before. Nice fellow, usually straight forward and trustworthy. But he hatched some wild-eyed tale to me about Sir Dargan and the sensation he was getting from the tome our liege has been spending his hours reading.

Couldn’t tell me what it was, just that it was a sense of evil. I asked for details, and of course the poor blighter couldn’t give any proof of it, just his own sense.

I thanked him for his worry and wished him well, asserting that I would keep my eye out and let him know if anything came of his warning.


* * *

The lumberjacks have been hard at work clearing the area around Caer Dargan. Most of the trees down to the base of the hill have been torn free and chopped up, and with the positioning of the keep and the defenses we’ve erected, it would take an army of a thousand strong to get close enough to cause us any consternation.

* * *

Another expedition is planned for the dwarven tunnels. I’m excited because this time we’re going to go past the Stronghold, to the deeper level that Sir Dargan has been referring to as the Warren.

I’ve handpicked a twenty-five count of men and women this time, the majority being architects and stonemasons. Might as well handle the survey at the same time.

* * *

The stairs to the Warren were in good shape, even though the masons informed me they were carved close to twelve-hundred years ago.

Twelve-hundred years? Sweet Odin. There was NO kingdom of Daro back then, no nothing. In fact, if my history is anything to be trusted, I’m pretty sure that my ancestors were scrabbling out a living on the shores of rivers eating whatever we could grub from the mud while dodging the marauding goblin tribes that covered this land.

And the dwarves were building…this.

* * *

There were locks on the stairs; three sets of barred gates that could be set and held in place. The mechanisms were squealing loudly and they protested much, but they worked well. They were set lower than the locking bars they held, keeping anyone who would try to assault from above from getting into the heart of the dwarven delve.

* * *

The majesty of the first hall took my breath away. The light from our torches failed to light the ceiling or the walls. We took in the grandeur of carved columns of living rock that stretched up into the darkness, supporting the vault above.

I am humbled.

* * *

A number of chambers ran off from the main hall, and from some of those chambers, others ran off again, making us leery about proceeding to far, too fast.

The Warrens are large, larger again than the Stronghold above. It is obvious that this is the “city” portion of the dwarven deeps and some of the passages run like roads do in Cymbarton.

* * *

We will be here for some time.

* * *

There was a room we found with a statue in it. I am no knee-bender to the gods, but even I could see the majesty and likeness of Thor in the bearded stance of the thewed granite figure that welcomed us.

* * *

Some of the doors don’t open, which has Sir Dargan bothered. A large indentation of a six-sided figure, bas reliefed with a Dwarven “D” rune, bespeaks to us of some sort of amulet or pass key being needed to open the chambers beyond.

So far we’ve found no such “key”, but we are making sure to look around carefully.

* * *

The dwarves called the Warren, or maybe the entire complex, Wodenvarelse – which according to the linguist amongst us means the Chambers of Odin. There was some sort of writing marked over the central part of the main hall that had the word Wodenvarelse on it a few times.

Whatever it may have been called, only the empty halls remain behind to remember it.

* * *

I approached Sir Dargan today and asked him if we were going to go and see the “treasury” that he discovered. HE shot me a withering glance and looked beyond our quiet conversation to the twenty-plus people down here as well, saying, “Do you want to have every coin absconded from here within a fortnight?”

Obviously not, but I would feel…more trusted I guess, if he would just take me and show me.

* * *

The fountain we’ve found still gives up water but for the life of me, I am not sure WHERE the water actually comes from! The liquid has a red tinge to it, but outside of having a tinging sensation on the cavity along my back molar, it was safe to drink.

* * *

I no longer think that all the dwarves who once lived here left of their free will. We came upon an area of the Warren where some fighting had broken out. Dwarven bodies long dead lay here to the tune of seventy and then some. Their small and wide skeletons were stripped of armor and weapons, but the damage to their bones and the quarrels that rattled around their rib cages gave testament to what happened.

Sir Dargan had us leave them alone and we did so happily, many of the men making the sign of the evil-eye as they went past.

* * *

One of the masons had been getting ill. It wasn’t much at first, just a cough, but as the days have passed on, he’s gotten worse and worse. He has a pasty look to his skin and his lips have taken on a bluish color. He sweats often and complains of the cold even though his skin is feverish.

Sir Dargan has been bitter in his patience with the ill man and has not allowed him to return or the party to rest.

* * *

The mason is better today which has everyone feeling better as well.

* * *

We left the Warren and made our way back to the Stronghold. From my calculations, I can guess we’ve surveyed close to 20% of the level and I am sure that even with another two weeks, we couldn’t do better than double that number.

* * *

The word from the war front is that the Steward has called for another muster. Close to seventeen-thousand this time, and King Daro has promised another thirty-thousand men from the heartlands.

Normally this would sound like a grand army, capable of rivaling anything ever seen, but one of the mercenaries that spent some time at Eight-Acres Black told our man that the size of the orcish and ogrish horde that battered the fortress citadel of Palstat was fifty-thousand strong.

And that wasn’t the entirety of the enemy either.

Now I am not so confident in the walls of Caer Dargan and wish they were twice as thick and twice as tall.

* * *

Franson, the prelate of Odin, was found just after supper down by one of the standing stones. He was beaten horribly about the face and neck, his elbows smashed in, knees split, and ankles broken. The amount of raw animalistic fury that was done to the man was enough to make some of the greener guardsmen stagger away and vomit in the bushes.

* * *

I am not sure, but I have suspicions that whoever…or whatever assaulted the prelate was the same personage who attacked the dairymaid a few months back.

* * *

Sir Dargan and I talked about the prelate’s death and he was very dismayed. He has allowed me to put a price on the killer’s head, drawing from the “treasury” when the time comes, to pay for his capture a kingly sum of 2,000 crowns.

I am honored that my liege and friend is taking this matter seriously and allowing me to make the best use of our resources to find the culprit.

* * *

We’ve arranged a buddy system – no less than three are to be out together from now on.

* * *

Sir Dargan led another expedition into the Warrens, and I’ll be honest, I am happy not to be included this time.

There is something unsettling about the halls. Something is down there that is stirring slowly the deeper we go.

I fear it will be something that will learn to dislike our presence if we press on.

* * *

A flock of griffon riders from Malagast to the south landed here today. Their leader was a charming elven woman named Damselonia. They were on their way to the front to lend their aid against the orcs and ogres. I made sure they were given fresh food and water and we gave them hails and blessings and cheers and they left, the flock numbering over eighty as they took to the skies.

I’d hate to be on the receiving end of their spears and lances.

* * *

News came again from Ponyboro today. The Steward has moved the seat of the duchy from Marronia to Kazack.

That’s pretty much saying that you have no faith whatsoever that almost thirty-thousand soldiers and roughly the twice that number of irregulars could stop the horde from marching to and over the capital.

Nice way to build morale.

* * *

None of the hens laid a single egg today. The priests of Odin said it was a bad omen.

I say it means sausage for breakfast.

* * *

Ok, now the cows didn’t given any milk. What’s going on?

* * *

Sir Dargan came up from the Warrens today, nose buried in his book and his crew following stunned and dazed behind him.

There was some sort of sickness than a collapse of a section of ceiling while they were down there. Six good men and two women are dead.

There was some grumblings that Sir Dargan didn’t seem bothered by the deaths and in fact, if the surveyors could be believed, he appeared to be disappointed that not more of the men and women with him actually died!

I handled “damage control” and made sure that everyone was paid double for their efforts and hazards.

* * *

Speaking with my friend is like talking to a blank wall. I know he’s there, I am speaking long and eloquently about the troubles we are facing and his actions and the men, but he merely nods and mutters that he’s on it, and then goes back to his book.

I snatched it from his hand today, my fingers crumbling against the strange inks and words and it felt like fire buried itself into my flesh. I dropped the tome and Sir Dargan raced to see my skin.

It was blistered and raw looking and ached fiercely. He apologized to me and told me that the wards on the tome were old and temperamental, and would only allow the one who opened the pages to read the words.

I asked why and he told me that it was to keep those who would use the knowledge for evil and selfish reasons from using the arcana within.

I am ashamed to say it, but I had to ask him and did so, was he seeking the eldritch knowledge for evil and selfish reasons?

If nothing else, the look of surprise and hurt in his eyes told me the truth before his words spoke that it was not the case. He assured me that he wanted only to learn what he could and master the ancient magics so that he could help to turn aside the evil befalling our people.

* * *

The surveyors are loath to reenter the Warren but they have shown me what they’ve plotted out so far.

There is another layer below the Warren but from what they have been able to deduce, it is not directly below the dwarven metropils and runs instead at a canted angle elsewhere.

For lack of anything better they’ve called it Undercity and I can’t imagine a better moniker for it. From their deductions they can estimate where it is and how to get there from the Warren but there is concern between the fifteen or so learned men and women.

Mainly because in their estimation, the Undercity was NOT a dwarven complex but something else. I wondered how that was to be and they assured me that in time, the delving of the dwarves deeper would have chanced upon a stray corridor or chimney that would have led to the Undercity.

* * *

Sir Dargan was excited to learn of this and went to his books to read them at length before coming back excited to speak to me.

From what he was talking to me about, the Undercity is most likely where the dwarven artifacts and magics had been taken to.

All it would take was brave men willing to chance a trip into the darkness to claim them.

I wondered aloud what the dwarves thought of the Undercity and the deeper parts of the earth so far from the sun and Sir Dargan turned to a passage in the dwarven text and showed me the words scribed there with a chuckle.

Where Light Fails to Tread.

Even the ancient dwarves knew that there were places below the shelf of rock and stone that even the brightest torch and lantern had to struggle to penetrate.

* * *

There have been more orc sightings from the west and all too often, small groups make their way within sight of Caer Dargan. We’ve pulled all the locals behind our walls to keep them safe from the monstrous humanoids.

We have more than enough food and water to last the 817 people we have here for many months and then some should we need to. There is enough arrows and quarrels to fill a thousand orcs. We are well stocked and supplied for anything for any length of time.

I say, let them come. Break on the walls of Caer Dargan and leave only your dead behind.

* * *

The women and children have been moved into the Stronghold to keep the corridors and halls of the Caer clear for the defenders to do their work.

I think the kids actually like the tunnels and are treating the entire ordeal like an adventure.

As long as they don’t worry about the greenskins outside.

* * *

Sir Dargan is frantic over all the people in the Stronghold and had been watching everyone carefully, emerging from the shadows like a ghoul to yell at anyone who he feels is running to fast, making too much noise, or poking their nose into places he doesn’t want them to.

I’ve been asked to get him to relax, but I am not going to approach our liege and benefactor and tell him this. Not if I want to keep my neck.

* * *

This ends the third part of my tale of Dargan’s Folly, the Dungeon of Sir Dargan. I will be concluding this tale in the final book.

Meet 39, Adv 6, 8/23/08

This was the big city. Not only the capital city of the barony - but of the county as well. And like all larger than life cities - it was dauntingly huge to the group. They spent a few sessions in here making purchases, contacts, deals and networking and then left I feel with a sense of relief.

As one of my players pointed out: At some point we grow out of the pond we start in, but as big fish, we can and will get lost and swallowed hole in the much larger sea.

Point in note, the self-same player is already laying the groundwork for transitioning his character out of Orihalcus one day and into Ponyboro (twice the size in population, 8 times the size in land area).

Write up follows:

We continued where we left off on Earthmonth the 12th, at the Yawning Portal, and discussing what and where we were going to go to next. There was talk about us going to the Adventuring Guild and bid hellos and whatnot. We had a back and forth discussing and convincing of Amal that he should stay. The orcish brawler did comment strongly that he'd like to have the opportunity to join the Adventuring Guild and our charter and was incensed since there had been talk about adding Coruth'tae – and he hadn't really bled with the group yet. But Amal did and has continued to do so! So Detheron made the orc a promise that before too long (shy of him letting him free of his service) that he would see to it that he was added to our charter.

As Amal went back to his room to see about getting some company from the Ladies of Dawn, the party went out to the Guildhall and discussed at length Detheron's proposal. Karis was against it and the two of them had a back and forth – Karis's indiscretion with the dangling guard being brought up as well as the issue with Clothier Dellia. Some rocky road but the matter was let to die without a resolution for now.

At the guild hall a swaggering tough named Olwelis tried to get one of the party members to go and punch another guy in the face but Zoltan cloak/portalled himself away from there and to the 2nd floor where we had audience with the Guild master – Dumethian Dracowulf. Past 70 and flanked with a pair of silent and unmoving guards (one of which was revealed to be an illithid) we spoke with the aging guild master about the guild hall and what we get for our 10% tax/take.

There is a deal between the Potionbrewers guild and the Adventuring guild – where any potions purchased THROUGH the guild hall net a 50% discount – and that we can make some extra coin by getting a list from the potion makers of raw goods and ingredients that we might uncover in our travels. In addition, we can get a 25% discount for training costs by having our training take place at the Adventurer's guild – since the guild has ties and contacts with all the major craft/service halls throughout the county. There is also a potential healer on duty and other services – but they are not free – and we would have to pay for whatever costs are necessary. Finally (at least the hall in Cymbarton) there is a number of eldritch artisans on hand should we need to have any arcanic gear repaired – as well as a possible place to sell off or maybe trade our unwanted gear for other items of interest to us.

We then went down to the basement where we talked with a dwarven artisan named Ettasius who was willing to work on the dagger named "Talensia" which Zoltan had. A price was named and we left knowing we'd return on the morrow to pick it up. We went back to the Yawning Portal then and went to sleep.

The following morning Karis was awakened by Amal who confided in the half-ogre that he was on his 4th lady of the evening and she was currently unconscious in his bed. She was a large girl, half-orcish, and with "huge tusks" – should he want to come up and take advantage of the orc's good nature. Karis declined and spoke to Amal about possibly going to stay at the Adventurer's guild since if anyone in town discovered he was an orc – they might try to attack or kill him. Amal was adamant that he was NOT leaving the inn – and was going to go back upstairs to continue to enjoy himself – and THEN hold the party true to their word about taking the orc to visit a potter.

Oh boy. This was going to go…well.

The rest of the party awakened and we discussed over breakfast some of the places we wanted to go and some of the things we wanted to do. Dumethian had confided in the group that an orc wandering town would be bad – and that he would arrange to have a journeyman potter show up at the guild hall so that if they could bring Amal there, he'd be able to have his time making pots – but not have to bring a hulking 260 lb orc across the metropolis to scare the locals.

Karis, Amal and Zoltan went back to Adventurer's guild where Amal met with Master Dumethian and we talked to the kindly old guild leader for a while. Amal then surprised everyone and whipped out 35 crowns to join the guild! Even though he wasn't on the party's charter – he was still unhappy at NOT being a member of the adventuring guild – and was happy to pony up the equivalent of 90% of the money he had in his pocket. So now he can benefit from all the bonuses a member of the guild can get – which are sizeable – but he is still not a member of the party's charter until you allow him to sign. Currently – he would be considered still a henchman to Detheron.

Karis and Zoltan left Amal and the visiting potter upstairs, and went to see Ettasius the dwarf – seeing the dagger was in good shape and well repaired. We were then told that there is a guild sage and crystolmancer who could possibly help us to identify the dagger's properties and history – Hallani. We went to visit her and she told us that she would do the 1st one for free – but afterwards each identification would cost about 50 crowns. The dagger was once the property of a master wood carver elf from a county far to the south – one of many he had owned and had given as gifts over the centuries to his apprentices. Zoltan was thankful and was wondering (although it was nice) if he could perhaps someone else to trade it to here in the guild. For something a bit more to his liking. We were guided to talk to the vault keeper Tassolde where he traded the carpenter knife for an ensorcelled sling (and a handful of gem stones from his belt pouch).

We had the cudgel Elkstone identified and then Karis paid (or had Zoltan foot the bill) to have Kysoth's Bludgeon worked over – learning it was part of a set from a warrior-priest to Odin from two hundred or so years ago. Bludgeon, Shield, Breastplate, and Helm. Each item is enchanted and specific to its own – but if all 4 items were brought together – there is a feedback loop and the items become even more powerful. Excellent!

Detheron was at the Tower Library and recordhall where he read up on wraiths and a few hours on trolls – specifically Forest. Want to kill a forest troll? Lightning blast the bugger in the heart. Got it. He then went to see Isoti the Sage where he had the gnome work up an amulet (would take a month) that would allow the druid to locate where the unicorn's head was (was a possibility to use it to find the unicorn's killer - but he opted to find the unicorn itself instead).

He then went back to the Hotel where we met, had lunch, and then went to the Adventurer's guild to hang out and chat with the locals.

Zoltan went back to the Hotel and put on his best clothing – then wandered around until he got to the noble's district – where he looked around for the Daernhorse Demesne and requested an audience with Lord Grath Daernhorse. He sat with the Lord for a short while and spoke about his cousin Artis in Ponyboro – and then Zoltan revealed his purpose for visiting and returned the lost locket of Grath's wife Isola to him (dead these last 6 years). Some words were spoken on her behalf and Grath was saddened and morose – and Zoltan left after learning that when Lord Daernhorse pulled himself together later he would send a token of thanks to the Yawning Portal. Afterwards he went to the Adventurer's Guild with Gwyn and they spent time there drinking and chatting (and watching Amal and his pottering!).

Karis went to pay a visit to the chapterhouse of the Order of the Cowled Rose where he spent time with the monastics and did his own research as well – trying to find out if the Cooperson family had any holdings that might be considered to be Dargan's Folly. It took some time but he learned that Sir Dargan ran the family holdings for 2 odd years and then turned over the family control to his cousin Nathanial to pursue private real estate matters. Dargan's Folly wasn't mentioned. Neither was it mentioned what happened to Sir Dargan. So it appears that if we were to go the dungeon and find stuff – we wouldn't have to give up a portion (or all of it) to the Cooperson family (since according to Dargan's Folly books – Sir Dargan had to purchase the rights to the area on his own dime – not the family holdings).

Afterwards he decided to go on an impromptu visit to Bower Lane and we Larped a visit with Cyric Mulholland's great nephew Flach. The family home was sort of upper middle-class and Karis tiptoed around the desire to learn about more books from Cyric (like Dargan 3 and 4!) by saying he was representing a historian from Orihalcus. Flach made Karis stay and regale him with stories for a while before he allowed the conversation to flow to the Dargan Folly's – and admitted there was a copy of Dargan's 3 here. The first 2 had been purchased a good dozen years earlier by a collector named Thorinn (the same name appears on the Phantom Blades charter that we found).

A price was set and some conversation followed about a map and Karis paid it and got a copy of Dargan's 3. As for Dargan's 4, Thorinn had purchased that one too – but almost a year later – and 3 had not been available for sale at that time as it had been on loan to some other library for cataloging.

We ended it here, about 4:15 on Earthmonth the 13th. We have the evening here and tomorrow – and then on the morning of the 15th we have to get our 10 crates of pigeons from the Baron's Demesne and ride back to Orihalcus to make our deal time and date of the 17th.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Meet 38, Adv 6, 8/16/08

Sometimes the party will take the adventure down a path you as the Dm didn't plan for. It happens. In fact, a good group of players should do that fairly regularly if they are trying to play in the game and make some (ANY!) mark on the world they are in. I'm not advocating being a chaotic or destructive force, but instead having a presence that goes beyond clearing a room of monsters and taking their treasure.

Our resident half-ogre, knight in training, had allowed his temper and quick judgement to get the better of him. And this time I wasn't going to go easy on him. This unknightly attitude and the given fact that he IS playing a half-ogre, was going to weigh heavily against him not only now, but for many many sessions to follow afterwards.

And it was going to nudge my campaign slightly off the track I had planned ahead for it into a darker and less friendly path more in line with the situations our goodman Karis (Dan) was taking the group in.

Write up follows:

We awoke the following day, Earthmonth the 9th, to the sound of the Hrundi, the kobold cook, and Coruth'tae making breakfast. The party talked for a while about what was to be done today, some of us still suffering wounds and aches from the fight at Fengarth's Tower. Karis gave the group a seriously shortened and less than full accounting of what happened the night before, letting them know that he needed to visit with Sir Walter Slaine to set things straight.

Hrundi, Bara, and Ilva (the 3 kobold women) then told the group about the need of some sort of house fund – since if they (the party) weren't going to be here and be gone for weeks on end – the little coin they do earn isn't enough to upkeep the home. Karis established a fund of 7 crowns, 18 nobles and the women were more than satisfied.

At this point most of the group (less Karis) went to Malcath's Traders to do some purchasing while Karis put on his finery and made his way to visit Sir Walter. The meeting did not go well. At all.

Karis was "read the riot act" by Sir Walter and told that as of now, this is the 2nd (and last) time that the genial nobleman was going to stick up for the tempestuous half-ogre and try to right the wrongs that had been laid out. Karis was told that he HAS to go. And go now. In fact- tomorrow. He was going to be sent on a special trip to Cymbarton (3 days by horseback/wagon) to pick up something of value from Baron Sehan Umbaria and his seneschal Ulof. And then it would be an immediate return trip to Orihalcus. If he does ALL of it in 8 days (be back in Orihalcus before the EOD on the 17h), Sir Walter would allow the party 3 weeks to go and do whatever the hell it is they want – as LONG as they get out of Orihalcus. They could then come back, and still beat the snows.

This was not a suggestion – more of an order. There is a serious clamoring for the expulsion of "monstrous humanoids" by those who have hated and feared them before. And Karis was already on trial once before for his engagement with Clothier Dellia.

Karis was informed that Sir Walter would NOT go to the half-ogre's defense a 3rd time. The bondsmanship would most likely be dissolved and Karis (and perhaps depending on their involvement, the rest of the party) would be arrested, tried, and then punished accordingly for his actions. Adventurers – even those who currently have the local lord's favor (not by much though anymore thanks to a certain half-ogre) are NOT above the law. And for a knight in training, Karis is also risking his affiliation with the knightly order and the Priests of Tyr (the god and followers of justice and war don't take kindly to frightening innocent halfling seamstresses or dangling guardsmen over the city walls).

The half ogre left humbled but we are not sure if entirely penitent.

The party meanwhile geared up at Malcath's, the trader enjoying the greater number of trade goods, customers, and caravans that have been coming to the copper mining town. Oil (as usual), clothing, cold weather gear, chests, boots, and various other sundry supplies were purchased. The group then split up briefly with Detheron going to see One-Earred Quint to speak to the priest about healing potions and other matters, Zoltan paying a visit to Keohn at the Rusty Bucket and get some info on Cymbarton, and Coruth'tae stopping in at Yrrg's Skiens and getting some better fitting clothing for the cold months ahead. Everywhere the party went, they heard about Karis’ exploits with a gossipy tongue behind it and learned that the consensus from the populace wasn't too favorable towards the Sundered Chain's favorite half-ogre.

Karis informed the group of what was going on and got a thick layer of scowls and grunts. There was some talk about finding a place for Coruth'tae and Gwyn to hole up and train but we let that issue linger and drop for now – waiting to see what would happen after our trip to Cymbarton. What would we do next? What would we do there?

We spoke at length about things to do and what were our plans. We knew we were leaving on the 10th and went through things at our disposal and places we HAD and have (and want) to visit in Cymbarton. Our list was/is:

Ø Visit Baron Sehan Umbaria's man Ulof, give him the packet from Sir Walter Slaine, and get the cargo we were to bring back (which Karis found out was going to be 10 crates of pigeons and some spell scrolls to enchant the animals to learn and memorize the journey from the two towns so that after long last, Orihalcus would have an aviary at its disposal and not have to only rely on carrier post).
Ø Investigate to see if the Mulholland family (and maybe Cyric himself – the writer of the Dargan Folly books) still lived on Bower lane and get a copy of the 3rd and/or 4th volume if available.
Ø Amal wanted to visit a potter.
Ø Go to the library and research wraiths, forest trolls, and Dargan.
Ø Actually visit the Antiquinarian and Adventuring Guild
Ø The Cymbarton Freelancers (thieves guild – actually one of three) has a member named Barack Thelestra there – is also a member of the Phantom Blades. Maybe have Zoltan investigate it.
Ø Detheron needs to visit Isoti the Sage to find out how to find the slain unicorn.
Ø And Coruth'tae wants to visit Tower Arcane

We left the next morning ready and able – wagon and team of 4 horses and Karis and Zoltan's steed as well. Some traffic, especially between Ironmine and Orihalcus, but beyond that, the road was sort of empty. The horses were getting spooked not much further past and Detheron “spoke” with them to learn that they thought something was nearby that wanted to eat them. Couldn't get any more details but Fodder told him that there was some sort of lizard smell nearby – two different types. Used a Locate Animal spell and at 5-600' up the mountain slope was able to sense some sort of lizard. 11 of them. In good health. And larger than normal. That was it.

Group decided it wasn't bothering us, move on. One of the horses needed to have a shoe fixed as the hoof was a bit cracked (not much road walking – only field) but Detheron proved himself to be capable and fixed the animal's shoe in under an hour and we moved on. We had lost a bit of time, but we pressed on in the night until we arrived at the caravan rest area – where we saw a man was already there with a herd of 20 sheep.

Identified himself as Heimund and he was on his way to Orihalcus to have his wares shorn there. He could do it at the Silverbough's where he normally does it – but he is hoping to triple his profit by going to Orihalcus. We bedded down with him (he hobbled his sheep together) and after trading stories with the shepherd, we rested well. The next morning he was going on into the hills and we warned him about the lizard scent and wished him well.

Arrived in Ponyboro at 1:30 or so and decided we were going to spend no more than 2 hours here. The group split up. Zoltan buried a box (of his treasures) in an oilskin canvas wrap outside of town where only he hopes he could find it, spoke with Lord Artis Daernhorse and showed him the locket we had found by the Circle of Thorns (the name on it “Grath” refers to his cousin who runs the family land in Cymbarton, Isola is his wife who was a bard who disappeared 6 years ago), and picked up his hydra boots from Ikthandar's. Karis went to visit Sjordar the gemsmith and learned that the ring seemed in real good condition but a ruby to replace the one "lost" would be about 750 crowns. Yikes. And Deth and Coruth'tae went to the Gunnerson Demesne to do some horse shopping for the grey elf who selected a 2 year old gelding of gentle nature as his riding animal.

After we were done with our wares and visits, we loaded up on food and feed and rode out – pushing to make Cymbarton in time. We camped again by the side of the road and the next day passed by some men in Umbarian livery who had caught two wolves and were skinning them. One of the wheels was getting weak and two of the spokes were broken – so we hasty repaired the wagon with Gwyn's iron bars and leather wrapping – it should last us till we get to the city.

As we grew closer and closer to Cymbarton we talked in earnest about Amal who would need to remain under cloak and hood as orcs were most likely not wanted in town. The land was worked and we passed many, many farms and orchards until we arrived at Cymbarton – the capital city of the Barony AND the county. Description read as:

Cymbarton sits as grand and sprawling as you have come to expect it to. The great walls surround the outer perimeter of the city for miles; the numerous homes, shops, parks, temples, and manor homes and castles well protected behind the 30' stone escarpments. Great gates with fortified keeps flanking the mighty portcullises stand open and inviting; a queue of hundreds of citizens and visitors both coming in and out of the wondrous city.

The natural rise of the land crests well within Cymbarton's heart as you can see towers, shops, and other structures along the side of the rises – wide and inviting thoroughfares leading the way throughout the metropolis. Even within the walls, there are large areas of growth as small copses of trees and parks dot the ordered cityscape.

The entire northern border of Cymbarton is flush against the wide sloped channel of the empty Copper Bottom Riverbed – the naked one time waterway close to 250' wide. A stone expanse arches over the sandy, weed choked bottom – the length of the bridge filled with milling people even at this distance.

How many people live here? Many, many tens of thousands. In fact, if you were to take the entirety of Orihalcus and Ponyboro you would barely cover a 10th of the city. And it is into the grand city, the shining jewel and heart of Sedaria, that your feet are taking you.

We waited on line to get in and once there we were given some rules as visitors (no bows or crossbows allowed to be strung, no duels, no spellduels, etc..) and we opted to buy maps to the city. All 10 districts. Shelling out much coinage for the maps, we wandered around town – taking 45 minutes to get to the center of the city and Baron Sehan Umbaria's Demesne. We waited to speak with Ulof (it was about 8ish at night) and the seneschal gave us the bill of lading and told us to come back on the night of the 14th or morning of the 15th to get the cargo. We would be getting seed and water for the birds and he checked that we had a skilled animal handler with us (Detheron) as we would need one to make sure the animals would be in good health and repair on the trip back home.

He then suggested that we go to Old City and visit the Adventurer's Guild at some point and stay at the Yawning Portal Hotel there. We stabled our horses at East Cymbarton Stablery and told the stablehands there to bring our wagon to the local wheelwright (Rolling Monk Wheelwright) to get the broken wheel repaired. We then huffed it up Hillside Street until we arrived at the Yawning Portal (incidentally – right across the street was a house of ill-repute called the Ladies of Dawn). Once inside we identified ourselves as adventurers and showed our charter – which netted us a 50% discount (plus) for the rooms. Some of us got deluxe accommodations, other didn't. But it was about quarter to 9 on Earthmonth the 12th when we ended it here.