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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Meet 18, Adv 3, 5/13/17

A lot of LARP'ing this session.

One of the things I had set up was a situation where the characters would most likely resort to using deadly force in a town situation, just to see how they would behave. This session was the fallout from their actions and the negative stigma associated with being a "murder-hobo". Yes, when you are trouncing kobolds you can go hog wild, but when you are in town, 99.9% of people do not resort to being brutal murderers.


And the group behaved that way.

This will come up again and again throughout this campaign as the politics around Bork Keep and Erylond are at odds with the brutality of the Terror Dungeon.

Write up follows:

The group woke up slowly, finding themselves and over 30 other bar patrons from the Iron Stallion incarcerated in small cells large enough for 4 people at a time. There seemed to be no organization as to who was jailed with whom, so the group although they were near one another, were not in the same cells as one another.

Two dwarven guards were near the exit, hammers obvious, blue capes on their shoulders. The opposite end of the hall led to the kennel where Avulstein woke up to find not only Einar’s giant bat, but a few angry stray dogs that were caged as well.

Getting back to Einar, he and a member of the League were at each other’s throats, yelling at one another and almost coming to blows. Darius was able to grab the half-orc through the cell bars and keep him from making our situation even worse. We did note that the participants of the fight who had suffered the most were not here in the cells; most likely at the hospice at this time.

And when it came time for interviews, they took out 3 people at a time, each person was cuffed from behind and led to a questioning room where they were then chained to a seat and made to wait. Eventually a dwarven female guard came in, usually with a support guard or two, and proceeded to ask each person slowly and surely what happened, how it started, and what was the person’s actions and reactions during the brawl.

Although each person only saw their portion of the questioning, what they Bluecapes were doing were weaving together each person’s recollection and recanting, and presenting it as the starting point to the next group that came in for questioning. This kept the flow of information going. Also, the questioning room had a glyph of truth on the wall; if there was an egregious lie stated, the glyph would glow red and the person would be allowed to correct their statement until it was deemed to be truthful

The entire process took 3-4 hours. Avulstein during the early part of this process did reach through his bars and open the latch, climbed out, jumped on the dogs’ cages and let them out. He did watch through the kennel exit as the dogs were swiftly put to sleep and then dragged back to the kennel while two more dwarven Bluecapes stepped in to guard the main exit. So he then ran back to his original cage and slipped back in, pulling the door closed before he was seen.

And speaking of Avulstein, it did come out during the interviews that he was a sentient wolverine and was able to speak – so he was not excused in his part of the brawl nor of being questioned by the authorities.

One all the questioning was done the party noticed that first the patrons who were not members of the league or the party were released first. Then some 15 minutes later, League members were released a few at a time until only the group was left. Eventually the five of them (6 if you could Einar’s giant bat) were escorted to another meeting room, larger than the other, where they had their shackles removed and then asked to wait.

At this point the woman who had been doing the interviews came back in, lots of paperwork, a few of her compatriots, and an older dwarven militant who identified himself as Chief Silvercaps. He went over the party’s testimony, recounting it to them so they understood that he understood what happened and at that point turned the conversation to the bounty for Sigurd that had precipitated this entire mess.

The most important thing was that we did NOT start the fight. This fact was corroborated by just about everyone and the aggressor/instigator would be the League of Odin and Sigurd and his two companions. This meant that the party did not have a 50 noble fine they had to pay, it also meant they did not have to be banished from Sorton at this time.

That was it for the good news.

As for the wanted posted, that is a Thakian matter, and the purse for returning Sigurd and the wishes of the Lord Marshall have zero bearing once the group left Thak – especially here. And even more especially against a member in good standing of the League of Odin. The party is not representatives of any law or bounty group anywhere, they have arrived here with letters of good conduct but not to satisfy bounties on wanted criminal work but for mercenary sword and spell work.

Also, these actions, even though the party is not going to be fines, would still need to be presented to the Third Reeve since until the group actually gets a job in the next 2 and a half days, they are technically the Third Reeve’s responsibility. Chief Silvercaps did go on to say that he would let the Third Reeve know that they did not start brawl and merely defended themselves; hoping that would allay some of the fallout that was due to come down the pike.

He did give us a bit of hope. If we were able to get employment and keep ourselves in good standing with our employers for the next 3-4 weeks, he would be willing to deputize two members of the party with the express powers of fulfilling wanted bounties for a period not to exceed 1 week. This will allow the group at some point to TRY and apprehend Sigurd and bring him back to Thak. However, they would not be allowed to enter the League and just take him, they would have to find a time and situation where they can arrest Sigurd away from the League and squirrel him out of town before the League could muster a response and stop the party from heading east to Thak.

We thanked the Chief and left Sorton Holding, making our way to the free air and then tried to get our bearing. We headed off to the Hospice first – not to brace Sigurd or cause any problems, but to check up on Lareth and make sure his stay was taken care of.

While there, the group managed to get a heads up on some of the other badly wounded people who came here from the bar fight. Darius felt terrible at his efforts in some of the wounded men who will be holed up for days and/or weeks that he paid for some of their Hospice time as well as some of the equipment needed to support them during these days. He did not give his name, hiding amongst anonymity for now.

It was 11 PM when we arrived back at the Pennywhistle and made our way to our rooms where we exhaustedly fell asleep, knowing that the next day was going to test us.

And it did.

We awoke early and made sure we were at the Third Reeve’s Office on time. We took our seats and waited as jobs were read off and applicants taken. As the room emptied and it came closer to 10 PM, we suspected the Reeve was mad at us.

It was almost 10 when he came in and had us follow him to a private room where he turned on us and read the group the riot act. Bar fight? Fines? League? Men in the hospital? What the hell were we thinking!? And how the hell could he sell us to any house or consortium now when we were such a loose cannon. Half the possible employment opportunities just disappeared.

Defend yourself, sure. Don’t cripple people in a bar fight by hurling them across the room, or beating them to unconsciousness with a chair, or giving them rabies, or tearing their guts out, or breaking their knee cap, or bursting their balls. Defend yourself yes, but remember you are NOT murder-hoboes. There is already such a stigma regarding mercs that this did nothing to help the group.

Good news was though that the 13 League members were responsible for the fine for public assault and battery – and they had to shell out 650 nobles to the Sorton Militia. And it was their members who were put on notice for fighting, not the party. But reps for the League were here this morning and had been up the Third Reeve’s ass about having HIM or the PARTY pays the League back for the fines – which the Third Reeve was willing to defend the party for.

They needed to keep their nose clean. There are aspects of Sorton who don’t like the League and it is possible that the group’s actions might generate them some employment and he is working with House Illytch to get them to possibly pick up the party’s contract for a season. However, if they can get some work, it would reset the “clock” for them to 4 days which might be enough for the Third Reeve to make this go away and get the group situated.

From here we had discussed the next part of Avulstein’s list and we were looking for the promise of a dead man. It seemed the best bet would be getting a notary to sign off on a final promise of someone who is slated for hanging or execution. The notaries would be found again in Central Quarter and sponsored by the Church of Frigga, we had audience with one of them, getting the services of a half-orc female notary named Coriso who was willing to pen her name to what document we needed.

So from here there was talk of going back to Sorton Holding and talking to Chief Silvercaps to see if we can get audience with some of the criminals up for hanging in the next day or two.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Meet 17, Adv 3, 5/6/17

Haven't had a good bar brawl in a while in my games so it was time to have one. This little scene actually jumped at me a few years ago when GOT had Lady Catlyn brace Lord Tyrion @ some nameless tavern and a bunch of her bannerman jumped to her defense. I thought it was cool.

So here we had Sigurd and the group saw him and he knows, just KNOWS, he's fucking boned. So the sycophant calls out to his guild members to jump to his defense and they do so - but the party just kicks some serious ass and they all end up in jail.

Write up follows:

 
Avulstein had been reincarnated, as a wolverine. He still had the ability to speak, his mental faculties were as they had been before, and his hands, even though his nails were long and fearsome, his hands were still disturbingly human-like.

The Deathspeakers were tickled at this turn of events and noted that Frey certainly had some thoughts for Avulstein who to date had been rather cavalier at the raising of animals. However, he had come back and was welcomed for his efforts.

And then reminded he had until Heatmonth the 30th at 2:30 to complete his required list and present it to the Deathspeakers. Or he’d be…judged harshly.

Wonderful.

Avulstein and Connal left, the wizard thanking the monk for what he had done, promising to pay him back five-fold for his efforts between last night and today. The two friends though did pick up Lareth’s hurt form and were bringing it to the Hospice – overseen by the healers and clergy of Baldur, Frigga, Hel, and Frey.

Lareth was admitted and Connal, still wearing the adherent’s robes of Hel, asked to be brought to the terminal children’s ward to help those to pass on their way. Avulstein stayed by his side, trying to keep quiet, but a 50 lb. wolverine does invite attention. A priest of Frey called the necromancer an abomination, telling him that he was paying a penance for whatever crimes against nature he must have done to piss the nature god off. Avulstein just hoped to get away from the irate priest and eventually was able to follow Connal to the children’s ward.

The smell was cloying and the few orderlies here were wearing physicker masks loaded with herbs, tending to the dying children. The two men wandered about and learned that one bed held a 12 year old girl who was on death’s door. The two of them stood them, made some prayers, and placed the Nornian Skein over her face and waited. They could see the skein lift and fall from the breathing…but the child continued to breathe.

Avulstein was losing patience and asked Connal to help her along. Help? You know, choke her out. Connal looked at the wolverine and hissed no fucking way. The two of them had made so much noise and hissing angry conversation that it attracted the attention of the orderlies who came over and exclaimed, “Sweet Frigga! A Talking Wolverine!”

This attracted others who came and wanted to see, plus alerted the dozing children that there was a wolverine here that could talk. So Avulstein went with it, walking about and pretending to entertain the masses and staff while hoping that Connal would kill the girl, steal her last breath in the Skein, and then they could leave.

Connal didn’t. He just did not.

So when the opportunity came, Connal walked around with the now quieter staff, talking about Hel, and Wolverines’ and how it’s a sign from the gods, just leading them away from the girl and keeping them occupied. This allowed Avulstein to then climb onto the bed, reach under the skein, and throttle the girl until she passed. The skein lifted on last time and he folded it up, climbed down, and noticed he had blood on his claws. He looked at the girl and realized that in his efforts, his new-found claws had scratched up the girl and disfigured her.

Had to leave. Now.

Blanket over the body and then wandered to Connal who took the skein and walked out of the sick ward together. In the hall the priest of Frey had seen the two of the coming and took a bucket of trough water from outside, tossing it on the wolverine. He then called him a degenerate and told him to fuck off before leaving. Avulstein was just stunned.

The two of them made their way back to the Pennywhistle where they found their companions (it was about noon) and told them of what happened and Avulstein’s new condition. Einar was taciturn during it, commenting that maybe now Avulstein would have some compassion and affinity for the natural world.

They talked about what happened, Lareth’s time at the Hospice, and Avulstein’s list of things to get. The two big ones remaining were the cup of midnight water (found on the lower level at the church of Loki) and blood from a living boar (found on the Terraces – very protected location outside of town). The boar blood was tossed about and a few possible plans were put together but we had to shelve it by the time 1:40 came about so we can get to the Tradegrounds in Central Quarter and see if House Illytch was there to get hired on.

We arrived before two and noted a few other mercenaries and similar types we had seen at the Third Reeve’s Office. There was a large two story drinking establishment called the Iron Stallion right by the Tradegrounds and a couple of buxom wenches were calling from the balcony for thirsty people to come in and take a load off.

As two came and went, a few of the mercs got disillusioned and went to the Stallion to take a drink and commiserate over a lost employment opportunity. We did talk to one of them who said that House Illytch is one of the biggest and more powerful houses, but they do often plan on these hiring fairs and don’t actually show up for them – or if they do it’s very late and apologize for not being there earlier.

We stayed local, a few of us went shopping, we fashioned a bandolier style bag for Avulstein to wear across his chest and midsection. We did note a heavy-set man come to the Tradegrounds, wearing the colors of House Illytch, wiping the sweat from his jowls and under the folds of his neck. The group intercepted him and he introduced himself as Derigius, 2nd assistant to the hiring page for House Illytch. The fair was not going to happen today, too many things had come up, and the hiring manager was hoping to do one in 3 or 4 days.

That was going to be too late for us. We tried to ask if we could come back to House Illytch and plead our case and capabilities there but were told that the Hiring Manager wasn’t seeing anyone at this time. So Einar forked over a handful of silver to Derigius and asked him to see what he could do to make some meeting happen and there would be more money to follow. Derigius was stunned, employees paying to meet an employer? And they have a god damned talking wolverine!?!? He promised to go and let us know. We were to wait here at the Iron Stallion and by 5 he’d be back with his boss and then some to try and have a meeting with the party.

Bolstered now and seeing it was after 3, Avulstein and Connal went back to the Third Reeve to explain the necromancer’s absence this morning and his new condition – not wanting to do anything to upset an employment opportunity for us.

At that point they did return in hopes to meet up with Derigius and most likely his superiors from House Illytch. So it was 5 after 4 when the group entered the Iron Stallion and looked around. The place was full; 2-300 people were drinking and laughing. A wench saw the group enter and motioned to a clear table near the center and left of the bar and we made our way there.

And then we saw him, at the same time that he saw us. Sigurd was sitting there with two of his friends, drinking and laughing and he caught the group making their way through the tables. He uttered an expletive and his face went pale. The two friends with him stood up to see what was going on as the group of 4 plus the wolverine and giant fucking bat made their way closer to the table.

Seeing Sigurd was getting upset one of the guys at his table sneered at the group and told them to “Fuck off ya dirty mercs, or we’ll make ya fuck off!” This irritated the shit out of Einar who started to harangue the men back. Sigurd and the two men then reached up and pulled the edge of their tunic over, showing the circle and spear symbol of the League of Odin. Other members of the League nearby stood up, called on by name as Sigurd was inspiring them to “rise up and help out a fellow guildmate”.

The standoff went from 4+2 vs 3 to 4+2 vs 12 and more. Conversation around us was petering out and the proprietor was starting to yell at us to “take it the fuck outside or I’ll get the damned Bluecapes!”.

And someone hurled a clay mug at Einar’s head and the bar brawl was on.

Avulstein pulled himself back and slid around one of the tables, hoping to be unnoticed in the fray. Einar told his bat to fly and pointed at one of the League men who tossed a chair in Connal’s direction. The bat dove down and flailed at the League man, biting him and tearing at his head. Connal knocked flying cutlery aside and started working his way towards Sigurd who was hoping to move back. Darius tackled one of the nearby League men, struggling with the man who attempted to smash the fighter’s head in with a plate. So when the chance came, he kicked back and then out at the fighter – catching him in the crotch and tossing him back into the fray when he fell screaming and rolling in agony.

Twp tried to jump on Negan who held his own, pulling one of the guys off of his head and throwing him across the room where he smashed into a table and knocked another patron down. More men and women joined the fight, not necessarily League members, and they fought not only the party, but other patrons as well. Connal was getting closer and Darius let a sling bullet fly and then tossed the sling when he realized it was a deadly weapon and a big NO NO. Negan had 3 on him now, shaking them around as two of them managed to grab his fingers and bend them back.

Einar’s bat took off and dove back into the crowd, hitting a man at the bar drinking a beer and not in the fight, but bit him as well while the druid was trying to call him back and to help out with fighting patrons – meanwhile he had broken a chair across on of the League man’s back and was beating him with the broken legs as impromptu clubs.

Darius had gotten close to Sigurd, Connal as well, when another of the League men tried to stop the fighter who jumped up and kicked out at the Leaguer – hitting him in the knee and causing his leg to fold the wrong way as he went down screaming in agony. Connal rolled around another and Sigurd started to run for the back of the bar. Avulstein was well positioned and slalomed his way through the legs and tables, launching himself up and tackling into Sigurd. He tore at his face and chest, the claws ripping his midsection open and tearing bloody rents in his guts as the man who betrayed us fell over shrilly screaming for anyone to help him. Negan smashed the two men holding him in place together, their heads slamming into each other and then staggering back with bloody faces.

At this point Bluecapes had run in and were letting fly stun and sleep rods, quelling the combatants and dropping swaths of the bar to sleep. Avulstein abandoned Sigurd and tried to run away but was caught in a blast of arcanic energy and was knocked out along with over 30 patrons and the rest of the party.


Where everyone was taken to the jails and locked up for questioning. Lots and lots of questioning. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Meet 16, Adv 3, 4/29/16

The issue with town adventures is there are little rails and the group often wants to wander about and explore, checking out the new areas and just doing things that don't involve kicking in a door and looting the bad guys they kill. So that means some things that I might have planned don't come up.

That was this meeting. It was all off the cuff and made up as the group wandered the roadways and looked around. We had LARPing up the whahoo and I was pretty much half a sentence ahead of the ground as they did their thing. Don't know about them, but I had a great time.

Also had a chance to whip out the TOM and hit the Quest Spells. When the TOM first came out I was fascinated with the one shot spells that were listed and always sought ways to weave them into the game. And tonight I got to use Storm of Vengeance - a soft spot for me for 2 reasons: 1) it was the first Quest spell I had ever used so so so long ago, and 2) it was the name of my guild in EQ2 back in the days when I had disposable time and no life.

And I killed a PC, and almost killed a 2nd one. Not what I was planning, but it happened!

Also, it was the return of the "sound effect death". With the first group we had the backstab "Hwachaa" noise popularized by Zoltan - and used for months afterwards. For this group, Avulstein used the eponymous "F-Pwaap" noise to simulate coup de grace-ing a sleeping opponent. I suspect this noise will come up again for months at a time.

Write up follows:

After the party went to bed, Avulstein stayed up thinking about the list of items he was going to need for the Deathspeaker of Hel. It ate at him and ate at him until he decided to get up and take a walk. He wandered down the slopes of Slagbottom, making his way west to the Enderlyn River and then south to leeching pits and the foulest section called Slagend. Even this late at night there were still the off person on the street and some late night festivities going about.

As he made his circuit back to Grand Boulevard, he had an idea on finding a fixer or broker from one of the lesser taverns to be found in the danker areas of Slagbottom. So it was back to the SW section where he went off one of the main streets and hit the first hole in the wall tavern he could find. The taproom could serve 20 and it was mostly filled as it was.

He went to the bar and some coins and question later had him directed to a man named Dalullia who was willing to talk to the budding necromancer. They went out to the alley to discuss two items: midnight water and how to capture a final breath. It cost Avulstein a few things but he did learn that there was item called a Nornian Skein which Dalullia could get for Avulstein for 25 crowns. Money he did not have.

They dickered for a bit and eventually Dalullia and Avulstein came to an arrangement. Part of the Skein would be paid for in coin, the rest of it would be released from Avulstein doing a favor for Dalullia. There was a woman who read fortunes a few blocks from here who had a couple of knuckle-dragging half-ogre sons. She refused to pay any money to the neighborhood watch, was a bit of a recluse, and always had her sons nearby to discourage Dalullia and his compatriots from collecting. This had been going on for a while.

What he wanted was someone not known to him or his people who would go with them while they tried to shake down the fortune teller. If someone could sneak into the house and threaten her with a knife, the sons would back off and Dalullia could get his money and go. Avulstein could fade away and never worry about repercussions since he’s not associated with Sorton or Dalullia. Avulstein agreed in principle and asked for a little bit to get some help.

He went back to the Pennywhistle, woke up Connal, and explained to the monk what was going on and that he needed his help. Connal agreed and the two of them left most of their belongings in the room while they made their way back across Slagbottom and the Dalullia and his thugs. Introductions were given and a rough of the plan was hashed out.

The group walked the 3 blocks to the fortune teller’s house, Avulstein and Connal and Dalullia and four of his men. At the home they stopped and looked. The shutters were closed, smoke was coming from the chimney, the gates were closed. It was a 2 story home that was falling to pot. A large wrap around porch was the central theme to the place. We opened the gate and entered, Avulstein and Connal making their way to the side of the home while Dalullia and his crew made a lot of noise and wandered up to the front door.

From the side they heard the sounds of conversation at the front door and other voices answering Dalullia. With care they approached the side door and checked in through a few of the broken panes. Kitchen, messy, dishes and pots stacked on the counters, dirty and a faint musty smell. The door was unlocked. Turning the knob the door opened and made a faint squeal as it did so. Connal dove in, kicking the door closed behind him, hiding behind the island counter. Avulstein stayed outside and crouched lower behind the door. One of the half-ogre’s had entered the kitchen and was looking around.

Tall, slope headed, thrusting jaw, canines obvious. He stood there and was sniffing the air. As he stepped further in, Avulstein grabbed a handful of petals and pushed them through the hole in the door, reciting arcanic words and a blast of somnolent energy flowed out and hit the half-ogre – dropping him to sleep. The same energy hit Connal but he didn’t fall over as there wasn’t enough power to affect him as well.

Sadly, when the seer’s son fell over, he hit the counter and spilled dishes everywhere making a hell of a lot of noise. Connal then ran for the corridor beyond the kitchen at the same time the 2nd half-ogre came in and stumbled over his sleeping brother. Holding onto the wall for support, the monk kicked out and took the turn out of the kitchen and into the living room as Avulstein sent off another sleep spell, dropping the 2nd brother.

There was a woman in her 50’s, grey haired and steely looking, had just slammed the front door closed and turned to face Connal who whipped out a knife and tumbled around her in order to try and hold her still. Meanwhile Avulstein snuck into the kitchen and approached the first sleeping half-ogre. Connal was struggling with the older woman who was shouting for her boys, and meanwhile we heard banging on the front door as Dalullia was trying to force the portal open. She pulled out two knitting needles and stabbed backwards, hitting Connal in the face. The angered the monk who was struggling to hold her at bay.

And then Avulstein stabbed one of the half-ogres in the throat and killed him.

The seer screamed terrible fury and the house felt wrong all the sudden. Her skin flashed to super-heated and a glow of frantic lights were billowing from her mouth, eyes, and nose. Connal charged her forward and the two of them hit the front window, blasted through it, and hit the porch amidst broken glass and shattered wood.

From outside the night sky had turned black and storm clouds formed over the house, spiraling and moaning as the wind slashed sideways through the area. Lighting filled the sky and Dalullia and his men were staring up with shocked expressions.

And then one of the bolts arced down and tore into Dalullia, momentarily illuminating his skeleton from within and then he exploded, leaving only a pair of boots smoking on the ground, one of them showing a burned shin bone sticking through the top.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

The other thugs turned and tried to run and Avulstein approached the 2nd half-ogre when a 2nd bolt tore out of the sky and hit the house, pouring through the roof, the attic, the 2nd floor, and charred the ceiling of the 1st floor. She was still screaming as the power of the gods flowed out of her, fueling the storm above. Connal was hoping to get away but was afraid that if he let the seer go, he’d be targeted next.

And then Avulstein killed her 2nd son.

The furious wail was all that we heard before another bolt tore out of the sky and sluiced into the house, scouring the ragged edges of the holes it had made earlier and then vaporized Avulstein in a single stroke of god borne lightning.

Connal was terrified and the seer told him to run and never come back. Another bolt tore out of the sky and hit the closest fleeing thug, sending chunks of burnt meat to splatter about the pavement. The monk got up and tore ass away from the house and the screaming seer as the heavens opened up and acid rain poured down, melting the iron, the stone, the wood, everything for hundreds of feet while burning hail then pulverized the neighborhood.

Connal ran after the three thugs who hit the safe house they had used earlier, gotten entrance and joined in with the terrified thugs as they let the house leader know what happened. He seemed flustered and the entire thing was a mental mess for all of them. Connal was pragmatic enough to ask for the Nornian Skein as payment even if it didn’t go as expected. He was given the skein and then left, skirting the area around the fortune teller’s house and the late night emergency people and watch who had arrived on site. Finally back at the Pennywhistle he slumped into bed exhausted and contemplating what occurred.

The next morning at breakfast the group welcomed Darius back from his torturous night with his family and his father’s heavy-handed attempt to control his life and then listened as Connal informed everyone of what happened and Avulstein’s death. The facts were corroborated around the Common Room as the frenetic storm and damage was the talk of the town.

We then went to the Third Reeve Theros’ office and sat down for the conversation about what jobs were available (nothing real – except clean up detail for the broken sections of road bed and cobbles from the storm) before accepting that tomorrow might be a better option. We were told that House Illytch was supposedly having a hiring faire today at the Tradegrounds in Central Quarter about 2 and we should make ourselves known and available at that time.

Negan was approached again about joining the League of Odin but turned it down for now. Larry bid the group farewell for now and would see them later at the Tradegrounds. From the Pennywhistle, Larry went south and west, skirting the area that had been ravaged and hoping to find where these thugs came from as well as keep his eye open on the seer’s home.

Thinking about everything that happened, Connal took the skein and went to Central Quarter where he then made his way to the Vault of the Heorot and asked the adherents there for audience with the deathspeakers. He dropped Avulstein’s name as his purpose, bantered with the Witness and candle lighter, and then was granted audience.

The Deathspeakers kept a curtain drawn to obscure themselves but listened to Connal as he spoke of what happened. Then the monk asked if it was possible to bring Avulstein back. Yes. He’d be tied to Avulstein’s fate but it was possible. He’d have to bring three willing people through the door and if he did so, then the Deathspeakers would do what they could to reincarnate the fallen necromancer.

Connal left, brokered the purchase of a Watcher’s robe from one of the adepts, and then made his way across town to Slagbottom and the safe house he had gone into last night after the failed mission.

Meanwhile Larry was watching and the seer motioned him to come over and he did so. She looked at him, her skin paper thin now and she had a watery cataract eye that made the half-elf’s skin crawl, She said something about knowing that his companion had something to do with what happened last night and he should make sure never to come her way again. She then tossed the runes for him and told him that a 1200 noble quest would be resolved soon but not in the way they hoped it would be. Larry then fled back across the street and resumed watching.

He noted Connal come up, the monk dressed in a follower of Hel’s robes. The streets were crawling with lots of clerics so he blended in. Then Connal went up to a house, knocked on the door a few times and we let in.

Inside he pointed to the three who had escaped last night’s debacle and told them that they had to come to the Vault about what happened. The house leader was swayed and in the robes and hood, Connal was disguised enough that no one caught onto him. So the three thugs followed what they thought was a priest of Hel out of the safe house and across town to the Vault.

Larry followed.

At the vault the four…five men went to the Witness of the Dead, did the candle ceremony and paid their coins for the candles, and then went on their way through the halls until they arrived at the Deathspeaker’s audience chambers. They were escorted in and the door closed behind them. Five men lined up (at this point Larry made as if he was on the thug’s side by Canting to them) facing the three feared Deathspeakers.

There was talk of finishing and Nifleheim and the price and three and bringing back the lost soul. And with mounting horror everyone was listening to the Deathspeakers pretty much say the first three who DIED here now would power the spell to bring Avulstein’s soul back from the land of the dead.

So everyone turned on Connal, knives flashed out and were swinging when Larry backstabbed one of the thugs and dropped him immediately to 1 hit point. The battle was on. Lot of slashing and stabbing and cutting and hacking. Wounds were numerous and piling up. Connal was holding off two of the thugs when finally one of them slipped up and took a deadly blow. He fell over and floated in the air and the deathspeaker’s intoned “one”.

The four remaining men struggled back and forth and then Larry took a wicked slice and stab and the thief fell over and hit 0. But it wasn’t a death blow. The thug fighting him didn’t realize it and assaulted Connal who was also getting a bit hurt.

He resorted to a flurry of blows before the thug could coup de grace Larry, dropping that thug to 0 hit points – also not a death blow! There was one thug still standing, Connal, and two on the ground unconscious at 0 but not dead. It was back and forth and then Connal managed to land a killing blow on the last thug and he too began to float while the speakers intoed “two”.

A drop to the third thug and the price was paid. The speakers spoke of breaking the veil and price paid in threes and returning the fallen from Hel’s domain in whatever form the gods decree and then there was smoky screaming rent in the air and Avulstein’s soul swarmed back into the chamber…and coalesced into the compact form of a wolverine.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meet 4, Adv B4, 4/29/17 - Youth Group

The group (still down 1 player for this meeting) has hit the 3rd level of the dungeon and had the opportunity to interact with the other 2 factions found in the ziggurat. As explained, the Gormites are priestly, the Madurans are warriors, and the Usimagarians are magic users. In a straight out fight, the Usimagarians would be the most likely to fold except for the 1st round of combat where 13 mages are hurling spells at the group which would wipe most parties out. Once again, the sheer overwhelming power and success of the Sleep spell shows why it is the almost guaranteed 1st spell any decent magic using party member should take early on.

Write up follows:

The corridor opened up to a pair of 10’ tall female statues with crossed spears and masks looking like the statue on top of the pyramid. So this was not the Usimagarians direction but the Madurans. According to Kanadius, the Usimagarians were sort of ok to deal with but the Madurans were militant and not at all in the same league at the Gormites. So we were going to have to tread carefully.

After checking the space out between the statues, Safir informed us that there was a pressure plate between the statues and we’d have to jump over it to avoid any problems. So one by one, we made the jump and then proceeded down the 50’ or so of corridor. The right hand side was lit by candles every 15’ feet and the left hand side showed murals and bas-reliefs of the Goddess Madura and her followers helping to promote peace and growth in old Cyndicia.

The passage ended at a single door which after making sure wasn’t trapped, Volkan was keen to open. So we watched the mage as he tied a rope to the handle and stood back, trying to pull the door open. It was here that we all looked at the mage and pointed out that the hinges were not on this side of the door, no amount of pulling the handle was going to help.

Grumbling at the stupidity of his party, Volkan then untied the rope, took out his staff, and pressed HARD against the door, hoping to open it this way. Again, we watched and then pointed out that the handle needed to be TURNED in order to open the portal. Volkan just looked at the party and pouted as if it were their fault.

He then checked the door and noted that it was locked. So he took out the dart that had bounced off his robes on the 1st floor and got down on his haunches to try and pick the lock when Safir finally had to ask if Volkan had any skill in opening lock already or if he had ever done it successful with an impromptu tool such as a dart. Volkan replied negatively and the archer then shook his head and commented that HE has a set of picks and knew how to work the locks. Why not give him a chance?

Volkan, apparently not the jack of all trades and master at everything he thought he could accomplish, backed away with ill grace and allowed Safir access to the door. And it took Safir less than 30 seconds to open the lock. Sheepishly he backed away and Volkan glowering, opened the door.

The room was very sizable, 40’ square with 15’ ceilings. The walls were covered by white drapery and the floor was covered by a clean green carpet. A carpet! In the northeast corner was a decent sized stone altar with a covering, a statue to Madura, two tall white candles, and in 3 braziers in front of the alter were some burning incense.

Volkan was adamant that we keep the room clean so he took off his boots and Safir did the same. The archer went to the closest corner with his bow nocked and ready while the magic-user checked the room out and Mark and Delsin stayed in the hall with their eyes peeled.

The magic user walked the room first, seeing nothing else of interest except for the Maduran altar. So he approached it with delicate care and then looked it up and down. Statue, candle, braziers. Nothing else. He picked up one of the braziers and was confident there was nothing for it. Putting it back, he walked the room, moving drapes aside and looking at the stone walls behind. Nothing special. Finally he returned to the hall and suggested we move on when Delsin said he wanted to look further.

Volkan did try to stop the fighter but he bulled past and tracking dirt on the carpet with his boots, marched right up to the altar. He didn’t like the look of the braziers so he picked each one up and put it on top of the altar. Then he drew out his sword and started cutting the carpet to look underneath. Nothing. Volkan was hopping up and down about desecrating the place and Delsin looked at the mud he tracked in and the torn carpet – agreeing.

So he pushed the torn carpet back down and put the braziers on it again. He then wandered about, wanting to look behind the drapes one more time; but when he went to the south wall first and pulled the drapery aside, he was met with two spears to the face and a handful of silver mask wearing chainmail adorned, female warriors who were PISSED at the man for 1) being a man, and 2) trashing their altar room.

They inspired him to drop his sword (he did) then more came and told Safir to drop his bow (he did too). Then they looked in the hall and instructed Mark and Volkan to give it up, and they did as well. Captured, we were bound with hands behind us, stripped of our weapon belt, and led through the secret door behind the curtain to a vault and meeting room where eventually 12 of the Maduran warrior women congregated to question us.

Their leader was a sword wielding tall woman named Pandora and she started in on Delsin who answered about his deeds inside but did say “I guess” a few times during it. So she had two of her subordinated beat him about the head until he learned the error of his ways, and was knocked out.

This set the tone and we opted to be honest and forthcoming with Pandora at this point. She told us that the Gormites have a fanciful version of the collapse of Cyndicia, but the Madurans were more honest about it. King Alexander and Queen Zenobia were the last two real rulers of Cyndicia and when the drugs and malaise of Zargon made its way through the populace it was the people giving up on the real world that eventually led to the demise of the proud city.

Zargon is indeed a threat but it will take stalwart arms, the ancient weapons of the Lords of Cyndicia, and the catalyst of heroes from beyond the sands to make it happen. It’s why the three cults have anyone this far up the pyramid and always on alert against the monsters and horrors Zargon has allowed to fill the pyramid.

According to Pandora, the Gormites and Madurans treat this post as an important location, but the Usimagarians look at it as a punishment. The leader of the Usimagarians up here is a fat sicko named Auriga. And that lead us to our mission.

Pandora and the Madurans were pissed at our actions in the altar room. It needed to be cleaned and fixed but we had not the skill to do so. Auriga has a spellbook with a clean and mending spell in it. Our job, to go there the next morning and get the book from Auriga and bring it back here – fix the rug.

If we do that, they’ll let us go on our way unmolested, and if we were serious still about eventually going after Zargon, she promises to have 5 of her warrior women join us in the conflict and assault on the demon.

If we don’t, they’ll most likely beat us, enslave us, and maybe kill us. We assumed.

So we rested that night, they gave us a gruel to eat and some pale beer. The next morn we awoke, studied, readied ourselves, and got the information from Pandora on where Auriga was (the west hall) and where the passage down to the 4th level was (the north hall). We also noted that on the next day, the beetle sacks were still glowing but the glow was slightly faded – letting us know there was a shelf life for the fire beetle bags.

It was after 8 when we went back through the altar room, put our boots back on, and made our way down the hall to the revolving hall. We entered and hit the button of the “west” hall and counted the trundling doors as we passed them by. Eventually the corridor ground to a stop and we opened the door with care.

The hall was long (40’ of so), painted black, and there were time white stars painted on the ceiling to give it the illusion of the night sky. We crept along until coming to the end of the hall where a large door was located with a 4’ diameter white star was closed. Safir checked it out and returned letting us know that it was NOT locked, and there were many voices chanting behind the door as if some religious ceremony was going on.

We cracked the door and looked in. The room was big, 50’x40’, tall, a star shaped altar was near the NW corner, and 13 figures were in here praying around it. We closed the door and whispered a fast plan, everyone getting into position.

Delsin held the door, hand on the handle while Volkan began reciting magical words. The power swelled and just before it hit its crescendo, Volkan motioned to Delsin who thrust the door opened and strode in, clearing the way for the magic-user to finish his spell.

He centered it on the fat man in the robes with the bronze mask of Usimagarius and a wave of dark energy flowed out and struck the person we assumed was Auriga. And he fell over asleep. And then the nearest 4 other supplicants also fell over asleep.

Delsin ran across the chamber sword scything the air as the closest Usimagarian ducked and dodged the flailing fighter. Safir stepped in and took aim, shooting one of the enemy mages, and then Mark charged in, war hammer waving as he stood next to Delsin and accosted the surprised throng. Weapons were thrust and although a few hits were made, nothing that was considered a deadly blow was landed.

And then the Usimagarian’s had their turn.

Spells flew about the chamber. Balls of light, blasts of magic, soaring arcs of black and blue and yellow energy. Delsin was blinded as his helmet was lit, the fighter scrambling to tear it off his head. A bolt of magic scored deep into Safir’s gut. And Volkan was hit with a mind blast that had him convinced one of the Usimagarian’s was his best friend and he should attack Safir! Which he did! Running across the room with dagger flailing as he was Charmed to attack his own group.

Mark managed to land a few lucky blows but the lack of helm, blinded light, and being surrounded had Delsin unable to make a definitive blow until a few minutes into the combat where he managed to kill one of the mages. Safir meanwhile was trying to knock Volkan out with the flat of his sword while the ensorcelled wizard was hoping to stick his dagger into Safir’s internal organs alphabetically.

Our hit points whittled away one by one, and Delsin managed to jump into the sleeping mass and drop Auriga with a single sword swipe at the unconscious mage’s throat. Battered we had managed to drop a number of the Usimagarians and Safir finally got lucky and brained Volkan, our own magic user no longer trying to kill us.

The few sleeping mages remaining woke up and seeing the carnage in the room went hands up and surrendered. With 3 of us vs. the 4 of them, we had an uneasy peace. Volkan was still out and we needed the fat guy, Auriga’s spell book. Asking the cowed mages that had given up, the indicated it was at the base of the altar. Looking at it, Delsin could see where two finger holes were located to shove the small door in the base open. He inserted his fingers and shifted the wooden door when he felt a pin prick and jumped back.

His fingers were burning from the poison and the Usimagarians that were left dove down to grab their knives and assault the group, assuming the fighter was knocked out or dead.

Delsin wasn’t.

So it was combat again except this time we weren’t taking prisoners. Swords and bows flashed and the Usimagarians tried to hold their own but daggers and robes failed in time and the fight eventually came to the end. Volkan awoke, no longer until the Charm of the long dead magic user. We looked them over, glancing in the altar to see what was there.

A mace covered with runes and arcanic markings of Gorm was obvious in addition there was a rosewood box about 2’ long and thin. We opened it up and saw it had a wand in it. Volkan gave it a look over and was able to tell that it was a wand of magic detection and had 5 charges left. As for Auriga’s spellbook, it was on his person in a messenger bag.

We opted to return to Pandora now, where we would cast the mending spell and fix the rug before returning here to see what else might still be discovered in the Usimagarian’s area.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Meet 15, Adv 3, 4/15/17

This was going to be a town adventure and there would be lots of LARPing at the table. They had a chance to meet up with one of the quests that was possible for the party to undertake - Avulstein's testing for apprenticing from the local necromancer.

In this area of the world, necromancy is sort of legal and there are places where it's ok. However, willy-nilly raising the dead only slowly attracts the attention of the dark powers and I was able to pass that warning on to Avulstein's player.

As for the list - it's up to him to decipher what they might mean and gather the required ingredients.

The rest of the LARPing was more world building and fleshing out not only of the group's family and past - but also some of the aspects that make up the power positions in this area of the world.

Write up follows:

The next in the spotlight, Darius made his way with the party through Central Gate then through Upper Gate where he made his way to Overcliff and eventually his family home. He had been gone for some time, the 5th of 6th children; his father wanted him to toe the family line and work in the business, not run off and “be a thug” as he put it. So when Darius had requested a meeting with his family, he had sent the letter to his mother in the hopes that she would not tell his father about it.

So of course, she did.

The Diamondcutter Family was sitting in their dining room when Darius made his way in. At the great table was his parents, Gordon and Ovira. Then his oldest brother Gordson, his sister Anna, and his next older brother Dorthak who had been ordained some years ago as a priest of Odin. Missing was his youngest sister Twilaine who we were informed was at the gem shop cleaning up and will arrive after her duties are completed.

Gordon is disappointed in his son. He could have joined the company, apprenticed himself as a gemsmith, could have even gotten a place on the Andeers Mining crew and made something of himself – instead he gets paid to beat people up. He’s a thug, no better than a filthy Randari with a club. He lets him eat at his table and then tells him that he’s done his job as a father, a man, and a host. After the meal he invites his son back to talk but the consensus is that Darius is to leave associating with the “other slack-jawed rapists in Slagbottom”, stop this foolishness and hang up his swords.

Ovira is torn. She is also a gentrified woman and can’t rationalize Darius’ decision to be a sword swinger but loves her son and reminds him that he is always welcome here regardless of what Father says.

The other kids who are present at the dinner have a mixed bag of emotions but none of them are willing to piss off the family and get shut out of the family business. Anna had left home a few years ago, was cut off from the family funds, and spent a season out in the “real world” where it is rumored that she had to sell herself to get by. The elder daughter, Shaylees, had died @ 14 of Redfever and Ovira is still torn up about it 20 years later. As for Dorthak, he is the only one who understands Darius’ desire not to be here – and he will comment to Darius that he should embrace his freedom and use it to better himself.

Darius does eventually get around to asking if his family can help him find out any information on Sigurd but he is sort of led to believe it will take some time, if at all possible. Darius says he has to leave for a little bit to let his friends know where he’ll be tonight but will be back soon.

He did stop the smaller fighter guild, the Storm Ravens, where he learned a bit of their thoughts, their practices, and the way that they try to make the skills learned match the fighter’s strengths, not shoehorn most everyone into a similar fighting style. The guild is maybe 400 people, about 1/4th the size of the League of Odin, and is sponsored by the church of Odin, Thor, and Baldur.

Following this, the next spotlight focused on Connal who had joined the group through Central Gate and then made his way about Central Quarter. Eventually he made his way to the Church of Sif and the Adjoining Grim Gauntlets Fighting College. The monastic went in and had a moment of prayer to his goddess before looking for whoever was in charge to make a donation.

He came upon Adept Miragius, a priest and somewhat taciturn man. He took the monastic’s donation, was impressed to a point, but then deigned to answer Connal’s follow up questions as the monk was looking to join the Grim Gauntlets, or at least get in the guild to look around. Eventually Connal wanted to talk to someone further up the chain so the call went to High Priest Celilius to come where the gruff ex-soldier explained that it was Miragius’ job to handle this stuff and that he would have to wait for Miragius to give Connal the go ahead. The monk was invited to come back tomorrow @ 3 or so to see if there was a job or audition he could attempt then.

Connal then went next door and watched the training through the fence for a time before heading back to the Pennywhistle to meet up with the group again.

As for the next spotlight it settled on Lareth who travelled with Darius for some time, eventually heading right to Cobblehill and to meet with his father Dufin. Lareth’s mother Canesejia is elvish, father is human. The two of them had been together for 25 years and had 3 children (Illyssa (F), Celestria (F), and Lareth) when Canesejia went to Tarloni in the company of an elven musician named Feldithwyn who was travelling with the Reetersbeard Caravan. This was about 11 years ago and Dufin still has hope his “ever spring wife” will return to him. Neither Lareth nor his sisters have the heart to let Dufin know that Canesejia left because he was getting older and time has a different flow for the elven people.

Dufin is a master scroll maker for the Arcane Academy and it is his keen eye and contacts that have also garnered what training he’s been able to get for all 3 of his children. Only Lareth is a native sorcerer, the 2 girls are more wizardly bent.

He is saddened that Lareth has returned but not to accept his place as apprentice scroll maker. He can offer some help but Dufin is prone to drinking elvish wine and listening internally to some songs from a festival he and his wife had gone to years earlier, staring out the window as if Canesejia will one day walk back through. He doesn’t think much of his son eventually throwing his life away for “questionable riches from some hole in the ground which could very well be your tomb.” But he loves him and wants to help.

Lareth does drop a Charm on his dad, asking him to cut back on the drinking and maybe not be so sad about mom. Through conversation with his sisters, he learns that they’ve cone the same over the years. Both of them are effectively Level 0 wizards with a small handful of cantrips at their disposal. They offer what help they can and Lareth then leaves.

He wanders Cobblehill, looking for signs of one of the two thieves guilds in town (The Four Keys and Grimmingur) hoping to see either a safe marking or catch someone who is willing to cant back with him. It’s after 2 hours or so of wandering around when he is braced in an alleyway by two assassins from Grimmingur named Crelis and Cito. They talk to Lareth, learn who his father is (the Grimmingur have utmost respect for Dufin the scroll maker) and in a strange bit of generosity, offer to take him to one of their houses (a place that Lareth had passed by earlier and discounted as not likely).

He had the opportunity to meet with the Grandfather Illius and his right hand half-ogre lieutenant Ricillus. Through conversation it was learned that Grimmingur knows who he is, knows his father, and might be willing to greenlight an opportunity to join if Lareth and the group can get solid work and stick around Sorton for the next season. One of the things that Grimmingur does is they NEVER do anything to upset of embarrass The Thane’s Chancellor Neuvean Twobellows. Ever.

Lareth hopes to hear something back about Sigurd as the Grandfather seemed to be hopeful and helpful.

Lastly, Negan made his way to Central Quarter where he had a chance to visit the League of Odin. This massive guild hall takes up an entire city block and was the busiest structure in the Central Quarter. Boasting a roster of over 1,600 members as well as having support and ties with the Church of Odin, AND being involved in at least half of the mercantile import and export that goes on in Sorton, the League is the powerhouse economic driver in the city.

There were 12 large sized rooms and chambers that make up the majority of the public area. In these were merchants, smiths, clothiers, and other similar venues. As Negan wandered deeper through the guild halls (and buying a League of Odin shirt on the way) he came upon the recruitment room just before the guild proper. Many of the members had a pin badge of either white, red, or black coloring – with each one being a different rank of class in the League.

They tried very very hard to entice Negan to join, throwing out the fee schedule, the popularity, the needs of the fighter/cleric as well as the needs of the guild. He held firm and did not take the bite, but one of the recruiters stayed with him and another promised to meet him at the Third Reeve’s Office in the morning with the admission paperwork. Negan left unsigned but with a League rep in tow as he made his back to Slagbottom and the Pennywhistle.

At this point the party had rejoined one another and there was much comparing of notes and sharing of what we had learned about the city. Of everyone, it was Darius that the party had little sorrow for. A rich man’s son, invited back to the prestigious home for another private meal and then an evening. With good natured ribbing we wished him well as he left a bit after 6.

For the rest of us, we had a great time listening to the musicians ply their craft and eventually Einar left to purchase a woman for the night, taking her up to the room where he used her in an orcish fashion, so to speak. Avulstein decided that he wanted the opportunity to get some of the female dwarven beard hairs from his list and went to Curd to get a girl for the night. She was not pretty, at all. And took Avulstein’s reluctance with ill courtesy.

Eventually Avulstein did find company, and managed to trick the dwarven courtesan into some beard pulling fun as he pocketed the hairs and then left.

For the rest of the group, we were going to get to sleep as we had to be dressed and ready at the Third Reeve’s Office between 8 and 10. Not wanting to risk not getting a good opportunity, we were booking on showing up a bit before 8.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Meet 14, Adv 3, 4/8/17

At this point the party is out of the small pan and in the larger over - and it's time for some town adventuring and world building. For now they've been reactive to whatever I set up before them, but for this adventure, Want Ads, they have some greater freedom and the ability to see how the world works around them in this northern, dwarven run area.

I like Sorton as the DM, but I'm not sure I'd like to live there as an inhabitant.

Write up follows:

After 2 plus weeks of training, on Heatmonth the 24th the party has left Thak behind, travelling westward along the Traderoad Highway at long last on their way to Sorton. The types of jobs and potential earnings in the ancestral hill dwarf city out strips anything the group could possibly acquire in Thak. However, the Reeves of Sorton help control the types of employment opportunities that could be given to non-residents, and without some letters of recommendation and good faith, the chance to the group getting any sort of material or steady work is pretty poor. That was why the group’s efforts for House Darbeard was so critical and explains why the precious letters in Korsdottr’s, the caravan master, strong box are so important for the party.

The hope is to get to Sorton, make their case to the Reeve, and get some mercenary work for 2-3 seasons for some established guild, bailiff, house, or group that would keep the party in employ, pick up their training costs, give them a roof over their head, and eventually enough of a grub strake that they can use to trip down the Enderlyn River, outfit themselves in Erylond, and then make their way at long last to Bork Keep and the Terror Dungeon to carve their names in legend.

The Moratian Mountains stretch towards the sky like ancient giants, thousands of feet tall, their peaks clad in sparkling snow even in the warmest summer days. Stately pines and sky snaring oak trees blanket their slopes with carpets of greenery. The Traderoad Highway threads its way ever westward, sliding and slipping between the base of the mountains as it moves inexorably towards the no longer distant dwarven city of Sorton.

The city is built on the slopes of and right into the base of the majestic Mountain known as Jarl’s Tooth; the samesuch place the Jarlborrin Dwarves take their clan name from. The Enderlyn River rushes along the western edge of the city, leaping and spraying its way out of the Moratian Mountains and ever eastward from here. Sluice gates and massive cuts in the bedrock redirect a portion of the energetic river until it slams into great wooden water wheels that have been set up to capture the millions of racing gallons. These wheels, the largest being 70’ in height, take the overshot water and in turn power whatever machinery the dwarves have milling away inside the mountain’s secret heart.

The far eastern slope of Jarl’s Tooth is a terraced area of farms and crops, even from this distance you can make out hundreds of fat boars snuffling their way around. There is a huge hill in the center of the city that sticks up over the heavy stone walls that protect Sorton from attacks and invaders. Doughty dwarves and other races can be seen manning the walls and watchposts, elaborate ballista and loaded trebuchets ready to unload their payload if need be.

There is a queue of people looking to get in to the city gates, and it looks like the roustabouts make the grand area and concourse in front of Sorton free of beggars, shanties, and loiterers. We made our entrance after getting waved in by the gate guards on their noticing Korsdottr. We were given a short “Welcome to Sorton” speech where we were informed that arm and armor were limited to Slagbottom and the Randari Quarter – anything past Central Gate was a no no as long as armed or armored.

We were advised to go to the Third Reeve and then get a room at the Pennywhistle.

So we travelled our way in to the Dwarven city, home to 12,000 souls, and meandered up Grand Boulevard. The city is clean, like ridiculously clean. Sanitation crews in noticeable white pants keep the cobbles well swept. Local law enforcement were well armed and armored groups referred to as Bluecapes (as evidenced by their tabarded cloaks). About half the populace was dwarven, 30% was human, 15% was a mix of half orc, half ogre, and orcish, and the other races were a smattering at best.

We get to the Third Reeve Theros’ Office and Korsdottr arranged our meeting not with the clerk, but with the Reeve himself. The letters of conduct was passed over, read, and the Third Reeve seemed pleased. He accepted that we were going to stay 2 or 3 season and wanted us to succeed. Sorton has a strict 100% employment policy. The exceptions are of course infirm, children, and the venerable – but otherwise, everyone works at something.

There are 8 sections of the city: Slagbottom (out of towners, sellswords, mercs), Randari Quarter (typically orcs and ogres – but not limited or ghettoed) then there was Central Gate that led to Central Quarter (merchants, trade, and guild halls – temples and the like, as well as the great open Tradegrounds) and Undercliff (section near the river below the cliffs – industrial center and factories), then it was Upper Gate that then led to Cobble Hill (middle class residential), Overcliff (upperclass residential), the Terraces (terraced farms and farming – 9 tiers, boars and pigs figure heavily), and finally there was Jarl’s Gate and that led to Sorton Proper – the area just outside the great cavern and the inner caverns of Jarl’s Tooth where it was dwarves only and the ancestral home of the Jarlborrin Dwarves.

The hope was to set us up with a merchant house of mining house that needed K’Morat nests to be neutralized and we were thrilled for the opportunity. He’d let us know in a day. Also, since we do not have work, we MUST show up at the Reeve’s Office by 8 AM every day (no later than 10) and see if something comes up.

From here we left (after bidding Korsdottr farewell and getting 18 nobles each as our final pay), and went across the street to the Pennywhistle. 4 stories tall, huge, boisterous. The main room/common room was set up like a long hall and with 2 bars could seat 300. A roped off area was set up for wrestling or fighting, a few minstrel stages, even a couple of tables where card games were taking place. Some “ladies” were walking around but given it was 3 or so in the afternoon, they were not the best looking women around. There was some drinking and Avulstein had a shot of spirits, falling on his ass instantly buzzed.

We went to the back and arranged two rooms (8 and 4) with the proprietor, a rough and swarthy looking dwarf named Curd. The place was a goldmine and even though Sorton was a “lawful” city, Curd was a businessman making his way anyway possible. There was a drug the girls were on called “dust” which gave you extra energy but sort of “dulled you out”. A hit was given to Avulstein who pocketed the dust without taking it.

Once we went to our rooms we verified the locks works, left off our arms and equipment and decided we would split up on a variety of errands and meet back here tonight for dinner after 6 PM. Earlier, Darius had written to his mother and gotten the ok to come by for early dinner so he was going to visit Overcliff, and Larry who also was from here had written to his family and was coming to visit them today in Cobblehill.

But for now, we left the Pennywhistle and Einar walked around first – deciding to visit the Randari Quarter on the east side of Grand Boulevard and see what was what. The orcish quarter was jusat as clean as the other parts of town we had seen, except the main difference was the sheer pride the orcish community had and the number of them. Everyone was “Hello Brother” and “Hello Sister” with one another, a feeling of community was strong. Non orcish (or ogrish) people were waiting patiently for “their” turn and it was sort of nice to be part of the larger majority community.

Einar did wander his way further and further into the back of the Randari Quarter. The entire city was built on the slopes of Jarl’s Tooth so the refuse, gutters, and filth did run down hill and eventually through the Randari Quarter and Slagbottom before ending up dumped into the Enderlyn River. So as Einer got closer to Cobblehill, the slope was increasing and the number of people on the streets was dropping . This was the poor quarter close to the Cobblehill/Randari Quarter Wall. The smell was strong here as the refuse coming down from Cobblehill was gathered in sewers here and then fed through culverts at the base of the wall.

Einar was interrupted by two orcs and half-orcs who wanted to know who he was, what he was doing here, and what he was looking for. At the culverts, two dim half-ogres with long billhooks were pulling stuck much and crap through the culverts as well as opening the gates and fishing out crates that were being smuggled into the Randari Quarter without going through the gates – black market? Illegal goods? Don’t know, Einar wasn’t going to stick around to find out, and let the two “watchers” lead him away from the area where some drink was shared along with a tasty bacon sandwich.

It was Avulstein who had the next moment in the spot light. The budding necromancer was heading to Central Quarter where he split from the rest of the group travelling with him and made his way to the Vault of the Heorot – the charnal house, burial vault, and holy sepulcher to Hel, goddess of the dead. He had been advised there was a Deathspeaker here named Parylis and Avulstein would be best off in meeting with him.

Upon entering, he was greeted by a Witness for the Dead who was trying to impress upon Avulstein the importance of lighting a candle, making an offering to Hel, and a moment of silence. Avulstein had little patience for it, instead name dropping Parylis and wanting to talk to him. The Witness was willing to pass the information along to the next rank up (a Watcher) and eventually an audience was granted.

Avulstein was led deep into the back halls and deeper levels of the Vaults of Heorot where eventually he had audience with the not one, but all 3 Speakers for the Dead. Parylis was a necromancer, 60+, body twisted and covered in lesions but had a burning fire about him. Marcia was a dwarven death priest, that ageless 200-350 year age look that dwarves get, austere, cold, pale, matronly and above everything. And the last was Paduntosis, and let’s call it what it was – an animated corpse, a twisted mockery of life, and undead magic user, a lich.

Avulstein was out of his element and punching above his pay grade right now.

They talked for a bit, all three of them about the goddess Hel, the nature of magic, the hereafter, and the dead from Nifleheim. Being under the tutelage of a Speaker for the Dead does translate to either the temple of Hel or the Arcane Academy (Mage’s guild) should and when Avulstein eventually leaves Sorton.

One of the things the Speakers tried to impress on Avulstein is that Hel is both good and evil, both sides of the great war. She watches over Nifleheim, where the dead go who were not chosen by the Valkyries. So she ends up with the weak, the lesser, the cowards, those who claim they are better than they actual are. And those kind are afraid of their own death so will often look to escape Hel and return to Midgard.

Hel is Loki’s daughter, and Loki cannot be trusted. So for a guardian of the dead, why is it even possible for any mage, priest, or shaman to summon the spirits of the dead? If Hel was as tight a guardian as she claimed/s to be, there would be no chance for any necromancer to ply his craft. But we do and can. Why?

Because Hel is constantly looking for the weak, the lesser, the ones who claim they are better than they actually are. And that is the eventual downfall to any necromancer or death priest – the day they think they are better/smarter/more powerful than the Goddess they profess to follow.

In order to take Avulstein on and eventuially get the man some 2nd level spells, Parylis is willing to help, but wants Avulstein to gather some stuff for him in return. He has 4 days. On heatmonth the 30th by 2:30, he must return to the Vault and present to Speakers:  1) Beard hair from a female dwarf, 2) a cup of midnight water, 3) the final breath of a dying child, 4) The promise of a dead man, 5) pint of blood from a living boar. He is told to get them the best of his ability but know always the Hel’s eye will be upon him and will know if he fails. He is allowed to have help of course, but the efforts should be his own.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fluff

I don't like to post fluff, but this caught my attention. So share:


Meet 3, Adv B4, 4/1/17 - Youth Group

One of the youths couldn’t make it to this meeting, change of season colds and being sick making their way around everyone’s family over time. So it was 2 at the table and I NPC’ed the not here Cleric for the time being.

This meant that there were 2 making decisions and somewhere along the way, it was decided that they were going to be more diligent and exacting in their exploration – not leaving any room unexplored and following all the leads wherever they may go. So instead of just going to the stairs down from level 2 after the stirge fight, they went exploring over the rest of the level first.

Write up follows:

Delsin tried to knock the stirge off of Volkan but was unsuccessful; and then Volkan was struggling to pull it off, but also with no results – the grappling flying menace had it wing claws and talons tangled in the mage’s robes. So they were yelling for Safir to shoot – even though it was stuck to Volkan and it meant that a bad miss could kill the mage.

But the archer took aim and let his shaft fly – and it pierced the stirge in the side causing it to squeal and deflate – allowing the mage to tear it free. With 2 left, one flying one hopping about the floor, Delsin found himself hit by one of the stirges when it found a weak place in his armor and the other made to escape.

We helped the fighter finish the last fighting stirge off and then the group went around stomping on them to make sure they were crushed and dead. From here we looked over the room and amidst the trash the stirges had been using as nesting material in the center of the room, we did uncover 4 small gem, 2 sapphires, 1 emerald, and a diamond. We split up the loot and then took stock of the situation. Delsin took a small draught and the group looked over the room for anything interesting, coming upon another secret door, this one in the north wall.

We used some rope to weave through the missing handle holes, and then Delsin and his strong back had the door open and we could look through. The passage went left and right, the right heading back some 15 paces to a door (which according to our best guess is the same door as originally found in the fire beetle room) and left it went a short distance and then turned to the right and went north.

We discussed it and decided we’d come back to the stairs down after exploring the level to make sure we missed nothing and went left and then north. As we travelled we went slow, looking for any secret doors or something of interest. We lit an actual torch at this point to go along with the glowing beetle sack we were using for light. Eventually the corridor did continue after looping about, with so far a single door on the south wall.

It was a storage room and although we poked around, it was very dusty and shown it hadn’t been used for a very long time. We left after taking a drink or two and continued down the corridor. The passage meandered about, heading east now, and although it did continue, there was another door here, this time on the left side/north wall. Once more Delsin was elected to open up and check it out.

After making sure it wasn’t trapped, the fighter gave the door a single pushed and looked in. The room was lit by maybe 10 flying 2’ tall winged people talking to each other in some sing song musical language. He backed out and we talked about what he saw, eventually deciding that we should try to make contact with them.

Volkan started off by trying to talk with them but the fairies could only reply in song and twinkling music. 5 of them joined hands and a cycling of power flowed through them and then we could understand them! The one who talked to us was very open to chatting, identified itself as a number, and would often parrot back our answers in the form of a lilting question. There was another room down the hall and we should go “see” it. They don’t get involved with Gorm, Usimagaus is the best. And yes, they do know lots of magic.

Volkan was hoping to learn some of their spells or curses when the one we were talking to grew bored and another came and spoke to us (#5). He was different, a bit more curt, and not interested in making friends. Delsin was getting nervous during all this, seeing the fairies getting less helpful as time went on, but Volkan pressed on for some help in learning the fairy curse spell. We managed to trade one of the fire beetle glowbags for some flash powder and were going through the motions to get some roman candles as well.

Then #1 came forward (identified as a jerk by the others fairies), threatened the group and Volkan, and a five count were ordered to “curse this magic user”. They cycled some power again between them and Volkan managed to jump away in time when the ground below his feet turned to black oily tar. Safir fired into the room trying to break up the fairy ring, and for this, the fairies were gathering themselves for another blast of magic. One of them was stabbing the party with his tiny sword and then we took the lit torch and hurled it forward and into the open crate that had the fireworks.

The room exploded. Everyone inside the room near the box was killed outright; everyone else was shaken and stunned by the blast. When we picked ourselves up, we were deafened and partially blinded, but one of the fairies was trying to escape and we failed to stop it as it flew down the corridor and made its way elsewhere.

Eventually our hearing and vision returned and we took stock of ourselves. The fairies had been obliterated in the burning remains of the chamber, so we closed the door and cleaned ourselves up, Volkan taking the heat for pressing the #1 fairy into talking to him and trying to get some information out of them.

We went towards the end of the corridor now, seeing it ended at a door on the right (the scent of vinegar was strong and in the air) and there were 3 4’ jars at the end of the hall. What were in the jars? We thumped them and tested it out, eventually taking the covers off – and it was sand. Was there something in the sand? We tried sticking a sword down in the sand and even after shaking it about, couldn’t find anything in the jars.

Maybe it was lower? Whatever “it” might be? So we cracked one of the jars and stepped back…and sand spilled out. Lots of sand, nothing else. We did the same with the other 2 jars – also just sand. Ok. Three (originally) large ceramic jars of sand. We took a small pouch full of the sand, tied it off, and turned our attention to the final door.

We opened the door and looked in. The room was very acrid, our eyes were already tearing. It also seemed to step down a few inches. The floor of the room was covered in some slimy green residue. Not wanting to chance touching it, we borrowed Mark’s lever and tapped the surface of the green muck. The lever began to smoke and hiss and pulling it free showed the end was acid scored as the slime continued to eat the lever! We dropped it in the slime and watched as it smoked and popped and then dissolved away in only a few minutes.

Screw that.

Delsin took another torch, lit it, and let it fall into the slime. It flashed into fire and the party backed away shutting the door and holding our nose under the edge of our cloaks to keep the smell and most likely toxic fumes from taking us down.

Eventually (10 minutes?) we went back, opened the door, and saw the slime had burned away. The vinegar scent was mostly gone and the room now had just lumps of char dotting it. Mission accomplished.

We followed Safir back to the original secret door and went down the corridor until we arrived at a set of steps behind a door going down. We drew up into marching order and took the steps one at a time until we arrived at the bottom of the steps. To avoid any issues, we removed the robes and tabards of Gorm we had gotten from Kanadius (Safir understood and was ok with it, Mark tucked his holy symbol down but did not remove it), and opened the door.

There was a long corridor here heading south and we followed it along, some 25 paces until it turned to the left and traveled east. It was while we were walking, to the best of our guess 90’ WITHOUT another door or corridor until it turned to the left again and went north that Delsin was convinced that we had to have missed something.

So we went back down the hall and started to look for any secret doors…getting lucky at finding one about 1/3 of the way down on the north wall. We drew up into line and opened to door – showing some sort of storage room filled with foods stuffs and water – and there were 4 large beetles diving into the supplies!

Knowing how hard the fight against the fire beetles had gone, we wanted to be better set on this one, so we took some flash powder, had everyone turn their gaze, the lit it and tossed it in the chamber – blinding and stunning 3 of the beetles and only 1 closest to us made to attack. We lit one of the Roman candles we had gotten from the fairies and let fly as many flaming balls as we could go to the beetle. Having almost no effect.

Two of the beetles had run out of the room out the north door on the other side, but the 2nd was getting closer when the closest spat out a jet of the oily spittle it had been using on the boxes. It hit the group and BURNED, making the party moan and grow frustrated as the two beetled then started to charge at us. We decided to shut the door for now and then proceeded to clean the burning residue off of us and heal up. Our cache of draughts was getting dangerously low – we would need some and soon.

Going back to the hall we went back down until it turned to the north and proceeded until we arrived at an open door. Inside was another long corridor (beyond our light range) but on the wall were 8 buttons with odd symbols next to them. One of them, 2nd one down, was pressed in. We couldn’t identify the symbols and were at a loss of what they might mean.

Mark was going through his Gorm prayer book on the off chance that one of them night be in there and he found one! On an older map in the back of the book that showed the Sinai Peninsula the compass rose had the “north” symbol that looked like one of the symbols on the bottom of the column of buttons!

From there, with Delsin taking most of the lead, we tested out the button pressing which had the entire room move and rotate clockwise. It was through the diligent counting of passing doors, checking the corridors beyond (which were different with each button), going to the other end of the revolving room where another row of button were but these had a different button pressed in here (always 4 down or up from the other side of the room) as well as a door out, that we were able to identify the 8 buttons as the cardinal directions and ended our hypothesis by assuming we came in on the SOUTH button, so rotated the room 1 cycle to the SOUTH WEST button and stepped out.

We were in a short hall that ended at a statue of Usimagarus (winged child) and there were two oil beetles here (the ones we scared from the supply room) we ran at us coming into the hall down a south corridor and disappeared into a closed door room (the supply room).

Good job.

So we decided that we were going to ignore the statue for now, head down the corridor and proceed to the NORTH EAST corridor hoping to meet the Usimagarians and see what they had to say.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Meet 13, Adv 2, 4/1/17

This wrapped up the 2nd adventure for the group. If Squeeze and his cronies would have won, it would have been taken back to Brinster Demesne and tortured until the other half of the party could arrive with the Lord Marshall to help spring them. It also would have meant that perhaps Braddock could have made his escape with LOTS of ill gotten goods and escaped justice.

Didn't happen. Group was spot on and the Squeeze fight went south very fast for the NPC. And yes, I decided that even without a head and cooked, you can raise a still mostly whole goat from the dead.

Write up follows:

After verifying with Larry that the hand off the material to the Lord Marshall’s man went without a problem, Tropor Darbeard was almost exhausted with relief. He then invited the party out to join him and his wife, his man Savaris and his wife out to the Wooly Pegasus; perhaps the most expensive and best restaurant in all of Thak and the surrounding area.

So the group went back to the barracks, got cleaned up, bathed, and were each given a courtier’s shirt compliments on Tropor so they would at least fit the establishment. Einar was feeling weary from the journey and begged off, going to sleep early instead.

We arrived at the Wooly Pegasus, a stately 1 floor affair near the Myr Demesne. The building was heavy stone and whitewashed, the interior clean and brightly colored and lit as well; gold and silver filigree work was present on most of the surfaces. Normally it could seat 30, but even with our large dinner party, there was still half as many seats still empty.

The wait staff was on point, keeping our glasses and mugs filled, and the meticulously made food coming one course after the next. It was somewhere after the third course (a butternut squash soup) when we heard the angry sounds at the front door and the maƮtre de was shoved aside and around the glass block wall came Squeeze and a batch of hired thugs with truncheons held in their grasp.

Fuck. Again?

Wanted to know where we were, know we are here. Saw us and was promising to fuck us up. A quip was made that he was robbed recently? And then the group burst into action. Many of us ran for the doors separating us from the kitchen, Connal and Negan holding their ground enough to make sure Tropor and our companions as well as the wait staff and others dining here had a chance to try and flee out the back entrance.

As for the rest of the group, they fled through the back door to the kitchen but prepared themselves to stand their ground there. Larry turned to the meal prep area and yelled at the cooks to “get the braised goat off the damned oven now” while he gathered up knives and cleavers. Darius raced to the back by the oven itself and gathered up the 4 4’ long meat skewers there. Avulstein dropped his necromantic rats out of the bag he carried and commanded the skeletons to run back into the dining room. Negan called to Odin and dropped a 5’ tall demonic manes in front of Squeeze, stopping the ¼ ogre in place.

However Squeeze had his own guys with him and while the thugs were upsetting tables and knocking people down, a few chucked 2’ metal pipes at the two party members still standing there before a final one hurled a handful of rose petals forward and yelled some arcanic words.

Connal and Negan hit the ground sleeping.

The bad guys ran forward confident in finishing off the two sleeping members of the group. However, we were ready for them. Avulstein yelled to his rats to attack the sleeping party members while holding the kitchen door open. This allowed Darius to turn and hurl one of his skewers like a javelin, slamming it into one of the approaching thugs and causing him to scream. Our necromancer meanwhile tossed his scroll of animate dead animals to Larry who unfurled it while the cooks took the entire braised and cooked goat off the oven, still with the spit sticking out of it. Larry read the scroll and necromantic energies ran through the sorcerer/thief and then hit the goat.

Which stood up. Hooves missing, no head, cooked, and with a 4’ skewer through its body, it turned to Larry who started grinning madly. Meanwhile as Squeeze was figuring out his blows were ineffective to the manes, he picked it up and tossed it across the room with an angry crash. Then before the thugs could get close enough to coup de grace Connal or Negan, Avulstein’s rats hit them and did enough damage to wake the two men up so that when they were struck seconds later by the thugs, it was not the expected killing blows.

While Negan was grabbing at one of the guys’ legs, Connal rolled off the table and went toe to toe with the thugs in the area. Then Avulstein yelled out his own sleep spell through the door and dropped the thug mage and the throwing and beating thugs back there.

And then the damned undead goat came through the door, spring boarded off Negan’s chest, and drove the spear into the closest thug and then drove it to the ground, kicking it to death.

And that was the turn of the battle.

The thugs began looking for the exit as the distant whistles of the watch were being heard. Larry slipped on a chef’s coat and ran out the kitchen and through the dining area, pretending to be one of the cooks as he traveled behind the fleeing thugs on their way out of the Wooly Pegasus. A stab to a sleeping figure and then a stab at another fleeing thug was achieved before he hit the street and blended in.

The group surrounded Squeeze and after a few blows the Brinster’s man realized he was done and gave up, axe hitting the ground. The thugs were rounded up, Squeeze was taken into custody, and the Lord Marshall came to thank Tropor and the group for their efforts. He promised that a letter of recommendation would be sent with the party with his name on it.

We went back to the Wooly Pegasus, the wait staff comped the meal for Tropor, and due to the excitement, the remaining tables were filled. The party passed on the recently reanimated braised goat but it was served to the other patrons who were unaware of its…recent rising.

The next morning we all gathered outside the Brinster Demesne where Braddock, his 1st son, his controller, and another 4-5 count of his top men were arrested by the Lord Marshall. The next few days showed a trial where the upper men of the echelon were found guilty of a variety of charges and were going to Gorok where there would be placed to work at the Penal Copper Mines for a period of 10 years.

The Brinster Demesne would be under the stewardship of Cugan, the 2nd son (3rd child) who had nothing to do with the entire mess. The profits from the League deal would be divided out 75% to House Darbeard, 20% to Stoutbelly Mines, and 5% to Gerti Greatpick.

Squeeze was kept in the stocks for 4 days before he took the fall for the entire mess and was hung from the neck until dead.

The party is hoping to finish their training over the next 2 weeks and then catch the caravan heading to Sorton at that time.