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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

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.

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