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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet 155, Adv 13, 1/14/12

Pocket Dimensions

In my younger days I had lots of them - small areas of the astral plane that were carved out with little worldlets - they can be terribly easy - or terribly dangerous. As I got older something happened and I stopped using them for some reason.

When I first made Fengarth's Tower I had a tiger's eye gate in there that went to a little pocket world that I had run a party of adventurers through many years ago. I figured it'd be nice to have a run through the Grylian landscape once again. But the group never encountered it - until recently.

So here we are - in the world of the Tigermen, Frey, Giants, Dritka, Gylfang, Sutur, Snorri's Pipe, threatening volcanos, wooly mammoths, and a chance to race across the Bifrost and make their way home.

Write up follows:

Guyus had his hands out to lift the huge tiger’s eye gem from the bureau but when he touched it he found himself elsewhere. He was knee deep in snow, a pale sun shining far overhead in a steel grey cloudy sky. About a quarter mile away on a low rise stood an oversized citadel, the walled keep adjoined by a massive 30’ wall that stretched to the west for miles until lost in the haze of distance. To his south was a mighty forest of hundred foot tall pines.

An eight count of running figures clan in scraped and raw skins and hides were running through the deep snow, breath steaming about them as they tried to outdistance the four count of pursuers that followed. Their predators were unlike anything he had seen before. Over 7’ in height, closer to 300 lbs, they were clad in crudely made leather jerkins that covered their alternating black and white fur striped bodies. Elongated limbs had them making a bounding motion as they leapt rather than plowed through the snow. And each of the 4 tiger-men had a 5 and a half foot long bow that seemed almost impossible to use to say nothing of drawing.

The running tigermen noticed Guyus and conferred swiftly amongst themselves, three of them breaking off and one of them continuing the charge towards the fleeing humanoids. One of three slowed, drew its long bow and let fly an oversized shaft at the paladin. It struck his shield with a resounding force, the obsidian head shattered and left a dimpled pattern in the surface. A second shaft did the same and then the other 2 that had thrown the AC to the wind leapt and tackled Guyus. They were strong, heavy, and attacked not unlike wild animals with scratching and clawing and tearing. One of them attempted to rip his helm free but failed.

With a bend of his will, Guyus summoned his paladinial war steed who immediately reared back and let fly with its rear hooves, barreling one of the tigermen off of him and allowing him to get to his feet and mount up.

More arrows flew, one of them hitting him (but not knocking him from his saddle) while the grounded one attempted to pull him free with rips and tears at his leg. Guyus kicked his steed in the flank and made some distance while more shafts littered the landscape. One of the pursued human went down with a truncheon to the head and net around his midsection and the tigerman with them continued his assault.

Guyus lined up his war steed and attempted to lance one of the tigermen who dove out of the way just in time and missed the sharp point and the flashing hooves. Two more arrows struck the paladin and he shook off the impact, laying hands on himself to remove the sting of the wounds.

He whirled around and charged the tigerman again, this time succeeding in his strike, the lancehead shattered on impact but the tigerman went down horrible wounded. More arrows flew but they were targeting his steed more and more so with a flex of his will, he released it from being here and the horse faded away. The tigerman amongst the humans knocked a second one down and was still in pursuit of the others.

And then Draugmor appeared, the king’s thief needing a moment to get his bearings on the situation. Only one of the tigermen actually saw him and he flashed his knife in his hand with a flick of his wrist to get at the ready. Guyus plied Eagletalon to the already wounded tigerman and with a yowling cry it fell over dead at last. More arrows flew, the paladin getting hurt in the process and forced to call upon Odin once more to bolster him with a healing.

Draugmor met the leaping tigerman with flashing blade and the two of them traded blows back and forth, the elf getting badly mauled in the process. A third human was clubbed and then the tigerman saw Guyus as a threat and drew his own bow to add to the assault.

Once more the war steed was summoned and Guyus leapt upon, lance at the ready where we speared the next tigerman in the process, his war horse trampling over the furred foe. At this point Mebali and the unconscious Norris appeared where the wheelwright laid the bard in the snow and drew his broad sword to help Draugmor in the combat. The number of arrows flying was dropping but again, they were aimed at Guyus’ steed, the tigermen wanting to take the war horse out of the picture.

The tigerman fighting Draugmor and Mebali slid left and battered at Norris, dropping the bard even closer to 0 hp before defending himself from the two fighters. Realizing the war steed was badly wounded now, Guyus ordered it away again and brought Eagletalon about to take upon the closest tigerman. The two of them traded back and forth until the tigerman was spilling blood in the snow and the paladin had a new series of wounds upon himself.

Detheron arrived at this time, the druid taking stock in the massive battle and the strange landscape. The tigerman mauled Mebali, his claws ripping into the wheelwright mercilessly. Draugmor lunged and his enchanted blade hit the tigerman – and then the luckblade flared and the blow instead flowed upward and struck the tigerman full in the throat – angled upward and killed it instantly. Huzzah!

Daring to call his steed a last time Guyus rode towards the last standing tigerman and dismounted to slam blade at the beastman while Mebali engaged from behind. Gwyn appeared next, stumbling over the unconscious Norris. Detheron called upon Frey for a healing and the strangest thing happened – the snow around him in a 10’ radius burst melted instantly, air warmed up, and his spell fired off with more surety than he was used to seeing.

With most of the party here now the last tigerman fell and healing was dispensed. We noticed that only Detheron’s spells acted this way upon the landscape. The humans that had been knocked out were strange, primitive, and had the faintest of elven traits about them. Very little of what they said was understandable – Dritka, Grylians, Great Mother, Afraid, Come. The rest was pantomime and grunts of some sort.

We got them to relax and understood we would follow them to the Great Mother. Norris felt that we were either in Niflheim or somewhere around it – the realm of Hel and of constant winter. Aleron hacked off two of the tigermen’s hands and Guyus took of the entire fallen one on the back of his horse and we set off, leaving nothing behind except bodies (taking even the bows and arrows).

We did note while walking that neither the tigermen nor the humans we were with had any metal upon them, neither did they have any sign of skills beyond what would be considered crude stone and leatherworking at best. It was 4-5 hours in the snow before we arrived at a stone town built around a longer heorot or longhouse. 9 buildings in total, one with symbology to Frey and the other 7 simple affairs. Skins were stretched across openings like doors. The humanoids with us called out and a number of similar humanoids emerged.

A brief description pantomime was done explaining who we were in their own language. Then there was some covering of the left eye when commenting on Aleron and showed the hacking of hands and the word Grylian mentioned a few times. Aleron withdrew the severed hands and the tribe shied away. So the ranger went off into the snow away from the town, buried them there and we returned.

Happy now we were escorted into the heorot where we were to meet the Great Mother. She was old, older than old, ancient even. All that was visible was her head and hands. Her hair was gossamer thin and white, her skin like translucent parchment. She was elvish and she listened to the tribe talk to her in their language and then struggled to speak to us. Her words were difficult, a mix of common and elvish.

She told that she was over 1500 years old and had always lived here. The tiger people were called Grylians and this place was an island on the Sea of Boiling Ice that was called Freysteig – or Frey’s Land. It was at one point long ago a retreat for Frey and his Jotunwife Berohr. The filled it with things that they loved and came here for a time to be happy. But with the approaching Ragnarok and other Asgardian duties they stopped coming and Freysteig was left on its own. Over time something referred to as Snorri’s Pipe went out and Freysteig drifted from under Asgard across the Sea of Boiling Ice, coming close to Niflheim.

People from all over can get here, usually through some sort of gemstone gate. How to leave? She does not know. There is a citadel (we saw it) called Njor Citadel. Njor is the grandson of Berohr and we surmise is a giant (Frost giant). The citadel should show us how to find the gate out.

We also learned that time moves differently here. Fengarth actually came here a number of times – but she said he came last over a thousand years ago – and we know that Fengarth had died/disappeared some 55 years prior. Lastly, the people here were called Dritka, a catchall terminology used to describe and humanoid that was not a tigerman or Grylian.

Why tiger? According to the Great Mother, Frey had love of many animals but the tiger was the one that Berohr and he liked so they made the Grylians in the image of one of their followers called Gylfang, Lord of Freysteig. The Dritka had lost most of their skills and technology over time: metalworking, husbandry, textiles, reading, writing, and even complex language.

We stayed and traded with the Dritka that night, and started a fire for them – something none of them had ever seen before. The sun did not set – it just went out. When it did the temperature dropped to -40 and the sky was unlike anything they had seen – a dozen starts in the sky and nothing else. Detheron was still able to call upon Frey but the effort of night casting made him weak and dizzy so we decided that we would do our best to avoid night travel.

We slept and awoke the next day refreshed and well rested. The Dritka filled our packs with foodstuff and we filled our skins with water. We bid our farewell  and were going to head back towards Njor Citadel to learn how best to leave.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meet 154, Adv 13, 1/7/12

Remembering things.

The group had been in Fengarth's Tower so many times and had gone into the first 6 levels at least twice, sometimes more, that they had done things and left things in place - but had only imperfect memories of what they had seen. This was evidenced this meeting not only by the constant freaking out of the candles - but also the "things" they had left behind.

The severed hands were perfect. They had encountered them here, "trapped them" and left. And here it was they fell victim to their own traps.

I would like to eventually get to the point where Fengarth's Tower is "done" and explored - not because I don't like it - but because I am tired of drawing the continuous circular structure every time they enter and traverse the levels.

Write up follows:

The party decided that they would finish the lower levels with care, leaving no rooms untouched or unexplored for the time being. From here they checks out the last door on the 3rd level which opened into the tower’s dining hall. It was a beautiful room even given its age and disuse. A long curving dining table followed the wall of the tower, seating for 18. Wheeled carts were stationed near the door to allow servants the possibility of bringing supper in from the kitchen. An open cabinet housed plateware and pewterware for almost 16 and a utensil drawer had matching spoons and forks within.

The fireplace was grand and along the north wall, filled with old ash, the flue closed. What was concerning was the fact that it appeared that at least three of the closest place settings had been used in the recent past. Crumbs and grease stains were testament to it. We checked everything out but although the place was filled with wonderful kitchenware, there was nothing else of interest here. We talked about taking some of it with us when we left and marched back to the stairs and then upward to the 4th level.

Once more we were faced with two doors and after having Draugmor listen to both of them, we opted to go east (as we heard some of the popping and hissing noises of the tower’s ensorcelled candles). The door opened revealing a hallway that encircled the stairs, old blood stains and shattered statuary lining the floor. Along the outerwall of the corridor were 6 doors leading to small rooms on this level, a few of the doors nothing more than splinters and hinges.

We took our time examining each doorway and chamber, the first four offering nothing but a sad testament of the carnage something had wrought in here many years ago. The fifth doorway was different: smaller in height and width. The 6th doorway was perfectly made with no sign of damage upon it.

We approached the 5th door with care, eventually opening it to reveal a room with much less damage, the contents and furnishings in here better suited in size for a gnome or Halfling. And sure enough, there was a figure on the bed. Gnomish, naked, dried and desiccated as if all the moisture had been taken from it. As we observed the chamber though, a black energy seemed to sieve past the party, make its way to the stairs, and disappear down. There was talk on Gwyn (who was in the back) to go and follow it but the pragmatic dwarf came up with some excuses as to why that would be a poor idea and the energy plasma, whatever it was, escaped.

Detheron entered to check out the gnome on the bed while Draugmor and Guyus looked over the chamber with care as Aleron made sure the door would stay open, bracing it with his foot. The druid was able to tell the gnome had died some time ago, under a year, and on the back of the door we saw many scratch and gouge marks in the door. Looking at the gnome’s hands showed similar wear on his fingers. The room was otherwise bare of personal furnishings or adornments. Draugmor looked through the drawers for anything of interest.

It was here that Thurin’s weasel let the mage know that it heard some sort of grinding down the tower’s stairs. What was it? Gwyn, Norris, and Thurin went to check it out, while Mebali passed the information on to the rest of the group checking out the room. The noise was getting closer and it was working its way up the tower. What came around the curve was not a living creature, but instead a bipedal 10’ figure made entirely out of crushed glass. Thurin assumed it was a golem and Gwyn let spill a flask of oil on the steps to make it slip if it came closer.

Short of the oil, the golem stopped, fell forward, and broke into over two hundred pounds of broken glass. Then, it “pulled” itself back together and began to reform itself past the oil soaked area and on the landing itself. Gwyn used Norris’ shovel and scooped up a great swath of the golem and flung it backwards down the steps. This caused the golem to angle towards the dwarf and let fly about 5’ of glass shards at the dwarf, driving him back a few steps.

He was now fully upright and waded into the dwarf, broken glass fists swinging. The blows HURT as they impacted, sending scratches and cuts all over the dwarf. Detheron left the gnome room to run to the battle with Guyus following. And then the gnome room tried to slam closed, but Aleron forced it back opened and Draugmor slunk out, the portal slamming closed after.

Norris withdrew his violin and played a rapid song to inspire courage in the party while Gwyn went toe to toe with the golem. Blows were exchanged and Guyus ran around, Eagletalon leading the way. Mebali sided with Thurin, the two of them busting apart furnishings to make clubs. Glass shards were flying and Gwyn was over 40 points down by this time. At one point the golem push hard and the dwarf stumbled back, cornered in the room with the bard.

Meanwhile Draugmor and Aleron entered the last chamber. The furnishings here were in better condition but there was two drawers on the floor – one on its side and battered and the other face down like a box. There was also a dismembered hand here, scratched and cut and scarred up – just lying in the middle of the floor. Yeah. Right.

The ranger went to it, sword positioned right over the member, ready to plunge it in. Aleron looked carefully and then picked up the other drawer from the floor…releasing a 2nd hand which leapt from the group ala “thing” and grabbed him around the collar, pulling him forward.

Detheron had gotten close enough now to call on Frey where he summoned a huge gust of wind. A 60 mph storm raged from his hand and slammed into the golem – blowing scores of pounds of busted glass everywhere and destroying the integrity of the golem. He stayed at it, shoving the wind lower and lower across the construct until the glass had been disturbed enough and the remaining bulk of the creature collapsed and was blown apart.

When the 2nd hand made a twitch Aleron waited no time and stabbed down, pinning the member to the ground. It spasmed and thrust but unable to extricate itself it tried to cut itself free causing the ranger to stomp on three of the fingers. Meanwhile Druagmor was cutting the palm and tendons of the hand holding him, trying to break the grip. Aleron was able to retrap the hand with the nearby drawer and then went to help the thief.

Guyus was coming back, the threat of the golem gone now. Aleron was able to help Draugmor get free but they lost grip of the hand and it hit the hall. It ran away and back into the gnome room, shutting the door behind it. We took a look at the closed door and figured, “ok. Good riddance.”

Our hurts were healed up and we took stock of the situation before heading back to the stairs and up towards the 5th level.

At the top of the stairs Detheron began to feel ill, remembering the wraith tiger from 2 years ago here. He cautioned us about the southern of the two doors, denying his own involvement and instead said it was Coruth’tae who had triggered the cat. Sure enough, the carpeted room was as we remembered. In it were many posts and platforms and on the south wall was a large picture of Fengarth himself with a large Siberian black and white tiger. We looked around with care until Aleron touched the bin of “cat toys”. Suddenly red fields shot out closing off the exits from the chamber and the spectral cat appeared. We returned the toys to the bin and placated the wraith tiger until it faded away and the fields died down.

This led then to the last chamber on the 5th level – Fengarth’s private chamber. We felt uneasy at first entering but it faded after a few heartbeats. There was a wonderful king sized bed, table, chairs, reading stand, two dressers, a writing desk and a two door armoire/bureau. The party spread out, checking over everything with care. The bed was normal although large and comfortable, the reading stand held two books who’s subject was both mundare and 5 decades out of date, even the writing desk had been plundered of papers, ink, and quills (Detheron remembered Coruth’tae coming in here briefly at one point and he took those items then).

The bureau was another matter. Gwyn was distrustful of it and the dwarf took his time with grapple and rope to open it. Within were three shelves, the bottom held some silvery cloth, the middle three long wand boxes of ivory, and the topmost held a strange stone. It was over two feet oval and bulged to more than 11” in the center and appeared to be a gigantic tiger’s eye gem that according to Gwyn was most likely some 20+ lbs and close to priceless assuming it was real.

We took our time and Detheron was able to tell that all the items were magical. So it was time. The first thing removed were the clothes: wizard’s robes, shoes, and hat. Thurin donned them one after another, the seemingly too large material shrunk up perfectly to fit him. And then it darkened to glistening black with red highlights, chased in silvered stars. The hat and shoes too changed. However while wearing them the wizard felt wrapped in a reinforced cocoon of protective energies and was humbly thankful for the wondrous wares he had gotten.

The wand boxes were next and it was unfortunately that Norris failed to see the poisoned needle, the bard slumped over and was knocked out. Detheron called upon Frey to Neutralize the poison but the bard would be unconscious for some time. It then went to Draugmor to carefully show up how to open the boxes and we found three wands in total: Illumination, Polymorph Self, and Flame Extinguish.

Feeling emboldened by this we then went on, Guyus offering to take the tiger’s eye gem out of the bureau. He reached out, touched it…and disappeared. Holy crap! We looked all over, he was gone, no where to be found. What to do? The thought was he was transported somewhere and Detheron suggested we all go and join up.

Draugmor went next and he too disappeared. Then Mebali shouldered Norris and he too touched the stone and vanished. And then it ended with Detheron, Gwyn, Aleron and finally Thurin.