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.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 8, 8/24/22

The way I play lower levels (under 3rd) is that I don't like killing you off in combat with a shitty roll. I'll drop you to 0 and the group has to get you back up. 3rd level up and more, gloves are off and a bad combat will kill you. Also, if you made dumb assed decisions, I will let you die regardless of level.

Follows:

Restmonth the 8th. The party looked around the chamber after getting heals passed around and decided to go investigate the south door. It was closed up tight and the group listened, eventually hearing some groaning on the other side. We knocked and offered to come in, but there was only sobs and cries from the other side. They feared we were cultists and didn’t want to risk talking.

We opened it up and it was at one point a pantry. But now besides some food stuffs, were three figures – 2 humans badly hurt and a gnome so beat up and tortured, he was missing half his left arm. Pestle glanced back at Lubush the dead ogre, noting the mostly gnawed upon gnome hand it had been nibbling on.

The humans were eventually calmed down and were a husband and wife team from Nyr Dyv; Ned and Margorie Siksalli. The gnome was a fellow merchant and facilitator named Beena Shaskill, or Banana for short. After getting some healing on them (minors) and more importantly calming Margorie down they were happy to be rescued and was surprised that the group hadn’t been sent here to look for them. They had been coming to Hommlet from Nyr Dyn on a standard trade outing when gnolls attacked them, killed off some of their people, and captured the three of them.

They had been here almost a week and reported being terrified of an almost beautiful to look upon man named Lareth who seemed to talk to them and convince them to answer his questions even if they didn’t want to. He had a number of cultists with him and they followed him around singing and chanting, fawning over the charismatic Lareth with fervent longing. When Banana wouldn’t answer their questions, they had Lubush hack off the gnome's arm and eat it in front of him.

They really expected us to leave now and head back to Hommlet but the party didn’t want to head back now – and risk letting Rannos Davi or Terjon know that we had been making headway in the Moathouse. This upset Margorie and we had to calm her down. They did say that the cultists and Lareth would come into the ogre chamber from the east, often preceded by the chanting and music. Secret door? We couldn’t find one for now so the thought was that Pestle would study detect secret doors and maybe Albert would study Mount. We could then send the three of them back on the horse?

Eventually a modified version of that plan came to be where we actually gave them our horse with instructions to head for the Inn of the Welcome Wench and stable it there with Ales until they return. And when we wanted to leave, we would load up the wagon we still had here and have Albert summon up a Mount spell at that time for us. Elmo eventually unlimbered our steed for them and we wished them well for now.

Returning to the Ogre room, Pestle cast a Detect Secret Door spell and sure enough – there it was. South east corner, east wall. It took some doing but we did discover the right stones to press at the top and the door opened up to…a 10’ square chamber with a set of stairs going UP on the north wall. Really? We drew up and went up the steps where they ended at a blank wall. We suspected it was another secret door…and given where we were, it seemed to open up in the Black Chamber where we fought off Ortti Goldenthan and his brigands.

Ok, ok. Good…But this was not going to get us to Lareth. We must be missing something. Returning to the 10’ chamber, Pestle made an off hand joke about a secret door past a secret door but it resonated with the group. And a concentrated effort later had us discover that yes, the eastern side of this room DID have another secret door there! And it opened the same way which made things easier for us to navigate it.

A long set of stairs went down into the dark from here. Elmo made sure we had a fresh torch at the ready and we drew up into marching order, making our way down into the gloom. The place was used, no real dust, entire middle section of each stair was clear of grit. Distant echoes trailed back to us, muted and indistinct. We did eventually get to the base of the stairs and the passage opened up to some sort of dungeon beyond, numerous twists, turns, and corners. “Everyone be ready,” came the advice and the group decided to head east (left) as the few echoes we did hear came from that direction.

So we headed off and not even 10 spaces later, Elmo stopped the group as we were looking carefully about, and the ranger revealed a door on the north wall, hidden. Ophelia opened it up and it was an “L” shaped chamber with a big winch in the center of it, chains running up the wall and to the west. We debated on what to do, noting it was oiled and in good repair, and opted to turn it for now and see what it did, as opposed to being trapped down here at a later date.

So we turned it and in the hall, up the stairs we had come down, two sets of bars were lowering from the ceiling. Nice. Now if someone was hoping to trap us down here, we knew where the mechanism was to lift and bypass that problem. We reversed the winch, lifting the bars, and then locked it back in place. We left the winch room and commenced following Elmo eastward through the gloom. The passage turned back and forth a bunch, but the sound of voices was getting clearer. Goblinoid. Couldn’t make out much, but at least 3 – deeper sounding. Hobgoblins?

Eventually the passage came to a room with 3 doors on the east side of the chamber and some alcoves, and a passage on the north wall lead off where the goblin voices were. Alright. This was a good spot. We wanted to have them come to us, everyone would have spell and bow ready. We knew that Aredhel was going to Fireburst a torch, that would set off the festivities.

We could tell that they wanted to walk patrol and were coming closer. So we all took positions along the western end of the room and watched them get closer.

And we realized our dismay…they weren’t hobgoblins. They were bugbears. Larger again than their hobgoblin kin, 8’ tall and 400+ lbs, covered in fur and sporting long morning stars and spiked clubs. And there were 6 of them.

“Light them up!”

Aredhel burst the torch alongside, making 1 shy away but scoring a deep burn on two others. Then crossbow bolts and arrows flew along with other spells as the bugbears took the first withering wave with no chance to return. They ran at us and Elmo drew the ire of one of them as they closed REAL fast. Pestle ran across the room to an alcove and we shot, spelled, and slashed again, even Winter joining the combat. One of them was staggered from the spider’s venom and then fell over, spasming and choking on his own bile. A bugbear still running closer cried out, “HUSBAND!” in her own language and ran up to cradle the dying…dead bugbear. Through her tears she centered her gaze on the party, Rowan and Winter specifically, body shaking with grief and fury.

“KILL THEM!!” she hollered out.

Fuck.

Albert called out for some help and a summoned monster had “Jimmy” the kobold pop into view. Pestle wanted to throw another torch to set up another fireburst but no good places were immediately available. Distance weapons fell aside as the floor became a melee zone with howls and screams and curses filled the air. Rowan was horrified as the bugbears put their effort against his giant spider, crushing Winter, killing him. There were some distant dings and Rowan, Pestle, and Albert seemed to have renewed power and strength running through them, spells and knives flying.

Another 2 bugbears fell before the wife of the first fallen smashed her morning star against the druid, slaying the follower of Frey (down to 0!). The battle drew tighter and then Ophelia went down next, the Cleric hit and bleeding bad. The last 2 bugbears were in line with Elmo, and then there was just one. The ranger took a brutal series of blows but the remaining party members focused their attacks and the last bugbear went down at long last.  Healing potions were administered and Ophelia heard a distant ding as well. We looked around stunned at the brutality of the bugbears and decided to wait a bit here before moving on anywhere else. It was 3:00 PM at this point in time.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 7, 8/17/22

Both wizards spent a bit of time studying while we hung out upstairs in the kitchen area and discussed our soon to be trip back to Hommlet. We wanted to meet with Auva and explain to him what was going on, and not to get the rest of the council involved. We also went over possibly going to the “Cheese and Sword” tradeshop but given that Rannos Davi would be there or one of his men – we wanted to skip it entirely.

As for Ortti, the nobleman’s treasures (platinum and coins) we opted to replace in one of the nice boxes we had and return it to the space under the bed slats. If we didn’t have it on us, we had no idea about it – especially if it was eventually discovered that the noble scion seemed to have disappeared.

So we loaded the giant frog onto the back of a Mount that Albert conjured up (Jerry the Horse!!) and made our way out of the swamplands, 2 hours plus to return to Hommlet. We know we were seen by some of the watchers on Burne’s tower but paid them no additional mind- going instead to the Elder’s estate and getting a meeting and dinner with Auva and his sons.

The Elder listened to our tale so far and did ask and wonder about the casual killing of people’s who had “given up”. In the heat of battle, sure, defend yourself without doubt. But once it has ended? Mercy is the better choice amongst the options. We represent him and should keep that in mind in our actions and deeds.

Otherwise he was fascinated with the Frog, agreed that more investigation is merited. He would hold off on calling the council until 10 tomorrow, that should allow us time to sleep in the Welcome Wench and be gone before the council would have requested our presence. We then went off to the Gnarley Oak Grove and met with Jaroo.

The one legged druid was fairly baked at this time, high and happy to see the party. We filled him in and he was pleased to learn that it was a giant frog that had bit him. A few of us partook of the druid’s weed (an almost requirement to be healed – it channels the healing energy man!) and he patched up the worst of our hurts. There were 4 healing potions available so we bought them from him and then made our way to the Wench.

The Innkeep sold us a room and some drink for the night and the party did their best to get some rest. We awoke early and discussed plans on what to do, but we wanted to be gone before 9 so we figured another time. We did take our own steed and wagon – both worked on and in good repair as per Ales the Wench’s stablehand, and we were off once again.

It took us again close to 2 hours or so to get to the Moathouse, and once there, we dismounted from the wagon to avoid overloading the bridge, and we drove it across to the walls and then the courtyard. The bridge did make some deep groans, and we could hear things falling off the bottom to the moving water below – but it held for us. We then set up some hay for the horse and a bit of water, tying the animal and wagon up to a wall ring that someone had set up before.

Once ready, it was between 11 and 12 when we reentered the Moathouse. Torches ready, we went down the stairs behind the pantry and looked around with care. There were no slimes, so that was good. And no one looked like they had moved any of the furnishings we had disturbed and then replaced again. But the dead humanoid zombie bodies? All gone. And the doors to the cells? All closed again.

Damn it.

We went to the first door and looked in – and there were two of the bandits from the room we had killed upstairs! Naked, covered in small painted or dyed bits of runes. Some sort of spell? New zombies? Ophelia called to Athena and got some sensations that this was potential evil – and there was more north and east of here – dirty tasting. Alright!

We wanted to prevent these bodies from getting up (and looking in the next 4 cells, we saw the rest of the bandits – and the giant lizard! In the other rooms. Screwing with the spell was beyond our skills – so we then decided to make the zombies useless. We would hack off one foot and one hand (from the opposite side of the body). With sword, axe, even staff and dagger we swung and beat and chopped. It was grisly work and one by one, we all lost our taste for it, but we did manage to ruin every body we could find.

Taking stock of ourselves, we went to the north door on the east end of the room and after listening, checked it out. It was a store room of some sort but mostly garbage was remaining. There was another door on the east end of the chamber, so we went up, listened, and got ready to open it up. When the door burst open from the other side and a soul milk stinking 1,000 lb Ogre named Lubash was there.

“Rrrah! I’ll get you!” he roared as the flinging door hit and crushed Aredhel and Pestle – knocking both the sorceress and gnomish wizard to the ground and threatening to kill them! We ran up to do battle while Rowan and Opehlia dared to try and drag the two friends back. Before Elmo could ply his axe though, Albert managed to cry out a spell – summoning a Giant Ant (random check), not just any type, but the Warrior type! It screeched and reared up, leaping onto Lubush and slamming its mandibles on either side of the ogre’s head (Critical hit, 00 – Decapitated – instant death – the 2nd time ever I’ve rolled that option on the bladed/edged weapon critical chart!) and then tore it free!!!

“Way to go, Ant-oni!” Albert cheered and we all sort of looked around, stunned at the rapidity that the battle just…ended!

Our druid and cleric worked to get the sorceress and wizard vertical as well. So we took stock of the room and figured out what to do next.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 6, 8/10/22

No matter what, we wanted to make sure we were not trapped by the green slime. So there were a number of plans thrown out there. A sturdy tree branch or the like to entice them to fall? That was something we could do. Elmo was right on it. Albert wanted to restudy while we had some time to kill waiting for Pestle to wake up. We also knew we wanted to have some torches set so the party went through our inventory making sure enough light and fire sources were there to go around.

But the big thing was to get the further slimes to work their way to us. And for that we would need Wynter. So with only 2 minutes on the clock, just before we were ready to go back down, Rowan cast Speak with Animals and had an intense conversation with his giant albino spider, impressing upon him what he wanted him to do and the amount of time to get it done. The arachnid seemed like he got it and we all gathered at the stairs, ready to go down.

Once there Wynter climbed the wall and then onto the ceiling and skittered off in the dark to goad and coax the slime up there to move towards the stairs where Elmo and Aredhel were waiting with torches. The rest of the group were looking over the mass of furniture, bags, barrels, and the like on the west wall. Eventually they unearthed a few bags of sillage, the leftover found when winnowing grain and the likes. Coupled that with the VERY large earthenware jug of oil that Pestle brought down from the pantry area, made us pretty much ready as the slimes drew closer.

They didn’t seem to respond much to the branch, one of them dropping and getting burned to cinders for the effort. But the other 2 slimes had oozed together and were not being enticed to drop, instead trying to settle over Elmo’s position. So Albert called out a short summon and a field mouse showed up. He gave it explicit instructions for the rodent to follow, calling it Guiseppe. The mouse seemed to grin and then ran off into the large chamber.

Where the huge slime slammed down upon it, devouring it instantly.

“Light it up!” Elmo called out, jamming the torch into the green slime.

As it proceeded to burn, the Ranger backed up long enough for Pestle to hurl the jug of oil into the slime, further spreading the fire. One of the bags of sillage added to the mix as well, spreading the flames. And then a Fireburst spell roared out and the slime was consumed in a massive conflagration that had the party back up and watch and wait for a few minutes until sure that all signs of the green slimes were gone. Hooray!

We decided to check out the wall on the west, dig through the furnishings and material there for a while, while Pestle wandered off to the east to keep watch for a while. We gave ourselves a 20 minute window and worked on stripping off barrels boxes and bags. The gnome did let us know that she did spy in the distance and to the south, a figure that was radiating room temperature but still milling about slowly. Undead. Most likely a zombie. We altered our plans to just look and then get out of here. Pestle would let us know if the figure moved at all.

We did discover that behind the wall of trash and boxes were two doors. And based upon the age of the locks and the amount of rust and dust, they hadn’t been opened in years. One of the doors was able to be opened, the other was still covered by trash. Taking out his crowbar, Elmo worked at the door and lock, twisting the metal back and forth until the metal gave way under the warrior’s might and snapped off. We waited…nothing was coming. Opening the door (difficult!) we had a chance to see the original manor house’s weapon room. Pikes, spears, guisarmes, and a case or arrows and crossbow bolts. A few of us topped off our quivers but we guessed we were running light of time.

We talked about it and wanted to get a lot of these back to Hommlet as they would get us a pretty penny but also help arm the town if need be. But we would need our wagon and horse. And if Lareth was indeed down here somewhere, we didn’t want him or his followers to get them. So we closed the door and stacked the stuff in front of it. We suspected the other door was the armory and hard armor items within – again, for another day.

We went to Pestle and noted the zombie was now heading our way. So we drew up into a battle light, light was laid out, Pestle backed up to the stairs to sling stones with her hoopak, and the one…two zombies drew close. There were 5 doors to cells on the western side of the room and from the closest one, two more zombies came out. We also noted that piercing weapons were mostly useless on the undead so it was blunt and slashing weapons.

The zombies were slow and we hit them first, Elmo’s battle axe leading the way. We wanted to hold Opehlia’s turning until it was best so we plied sword, club, and spell for now. And after we were hit, we readied to return the blows. But another set of doors opened up and two more zombies came out, staggering towards us. Ok that was a bit different. Albert summoned a giant ant, named Antony, and Aredhel poured through a spell or two before taking Elmo’s crowbar and smashing zombies.

And then Ophelia went down from a series of undead attacks. Rowan dragged her back and rocks were hurled, the druid getting the cleric back up in time to Turn undead! But the power of Athena faltered and the zombies came onward, now 7 of them engaged! Elmo hit again and we had three down at this point…but Rowan dropped next! Damn it!

Ophelia got Rowan back to his feet, the druid staggered but fighting on. Albert ran out of spells and we were calling to flee but kept waiting one more round. We had dropped 5 of the zombies at this point and we noted a queer thing, the later zombies we dropped were in poorer conditions than the first ones which took a lot of effort to bring down. So we opted to try and ride it out. Elmo and Aredhel had a bad run of misses and Pestle had churned through half her rocks. Albert eventually took to hurling daggers to help out and Ophelia fell again!

We were down to dregs for spells and 10 rounds in…the cleric was brought back to 1 hit point. Elmo was given a precious healing potion, the ranger a mass of bloody wounds and bruises. It was getting pretty bad. And then Ophelia fumbled and hurled her magic sword across the room. Damn it. She drew her standard broad sword and fought on but was hit hard AGAIN, and again dropped to 0! With only 2 zombies left we pushed on and Rowan raised the cleric again back to 1 hit point as we tore through the last zombies and finally, 14 rounds later, ended the fight.

Exhausted and with no healing left to dole out, we made sure no one had paid attention to us, and then bandaged our hurts while a few of us looked in the cells. While that was going on, Pestle, Ophelia, and Elmo went to the end of the larger chamber and looked in the next. It was a torture chamber, both long ago used and recent usage could be seen. 2 5’ wide columns went from floor to ceiling and the party was looking around. In the cells we did find a few hollows with gems in them, and Pestle wanted to use her last spell, Detect Secret Doors. There were none in the cells...but while panning around (spell ends fast) she DID note some sort of the brief hint of a secret door on the central column!

We checked it out and eventually opened a section of it that revealed a shaft going down maybe 30’ into the gloom. It smelled of death and corruption, rot. Ladder rungs were set in the wall. “No time, people. Let’s go.”

We worked our way out of the room, back to the first floor, and then at 2:15 or so, set ourselves up behind the door to Ortti and the Brigand’s hideout, discussed possibly studying and then heading back to Hommlet. Jaroo had promised to help us if need be. We hoped.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Meet 27, Adv 10, 8/6/22

The party eventually decided on who was going to make the trip to Stivil and who was going to stay behind. There were a number of things we wanted to take care of, and too many of us needed to stay behind for training. Darius wanted to have a brief conversation with Pha-iyr Carom before we left, where the fighter did learn that the 2 people that we had pulled out of the Terror Dungeon that had been burned to just bones, were most likely hirelings that the Chosen of Asgard had brought with them. A team of thieves, they had been hired by Lester Humbleman, leader of the Chosen, and the consensus was that the 2 had a falling out with the paladin and his team and stormed off, eventually getting captured and killed by ogres. The fixer did offer to set up a conversation between Darius and the group leader and we hoped to get to it soon.

Meanwhile the party had used our own wagon, made sure it was loaded down, and got our nag from the stables, eventually making the trip out of the Northgate. Unlike the main Traderoads, the lesser roads were poorly designed and infrequently maintained. Prone to ruts and flooding, the 6” of muddy ice and snow still covering their surface proved a long trip for us, eating up the entirety of the day. The trees were thick to our west and in many places the arboreal spread threatened to consume the road itself. The land rose slowly ahead of us, making the horse groan from effort. The day had fallen to night and eventually we could smell the city of Stivil itself.

Surrounded by farms and grazing lands, the walled city had been breached during the Randari War over a century ago and the dwellers never fixed the walls, instead used the fallen stones in future building and projects. Numerous breaches, some of them easily 30’ wide dominated the area. A main road led us through and after announcing ourselves to the guards, were given direction to the Eastview District and a suggestion to stay at Third Breech – an Inn of some renown and standing. The centerpiece of the city was the Arena, a stadium capable of seating 7,500 that dominated the middle of Stivil. Built over 2 centuries ago by Randari Orcs, it has been almost continuously used all these years and it is the largest draw to anyone who has any interest in visiting Stivil.

We came to the Inn where a stableman took our tired animal from us (Stavi). We then went in where Hjaring, the proprietor, welcomed us and made sure we were fed and given drinks before arranging a room for us for the night. We made our way up to our room and after settling in watched as Grendel used almost all the water to clean himself and his clothes up in the room ewer. He then went out to get more, walking down to the Commonroom to ask Hjarling to take care of it.

It was here that Dizzy laid out for the party what he was looking to get done here. It seems that there was a Thorian priestess laid to rest here, Matron Autti. She had an earring on missing the second – of which Dizzy had. The dwarf then wanted us to get the body dug up, take the earring, and then once he had the pair, wanted to make a trip east of Thak where he would seek the lair of the copper dragon Herodotus who took it so so so long ago.

Whaaaat?

We had some back and forth where he had to sell it to the group but eventually everyone agreed to go and see the tomb tomorrow and then make a further decision. Good enough for now.

It was Airmonth the 2nd when we broke our fast and then wandered to the Lord’s District and the main city graveyard. It was fenced (wrought iron) and there was a funeral house on premises. The dwarven priest, Gulmund, sweating and large, came out to meet us. We fabricated a story about visiting great former priest graves and Matron Autti was next on our list. He seemed welcome to the idea and we went off to a mausoleum that had been sponsored by the temple of Thor. With space to inter 6, Autti spot was 4th from the bottom. There was a clay seal here and Gulmund chatted with us for a bit before escorting us out. We had asked some questions but left long before it would raise too many suspicions.

Liking what we saw we would have to come up with another possible way to get in after hours and get to the grave.

Lastly, Eoghan begrudgingly made the decision to head off to his family home and speak with his Father and Mother. Dylan Bowyer, Leila Bowyer (his mother), and Morgan (elder brother) and Seren (older sister) were stunned to see him. It had been a year and the family had fallen on some suspicion with Eoghan’s absence. The Bowyer’s farm had been taken back by the landlord and then reparted out to another. Dylan and Eoghan did not see eye to eye- both still stinging from actions and words made over a year earlier. And to add more drama, the parents were going to separate. This was going to put Dylan’s operation as Master Hunter here under great pressure. Morgan was trying to step up but the elder brother did not have Eoghan’s natural gifts as a hunter and ranger to truly help the father. And Seren was way too self absorbed and her prospects of being married off had diminished greatly, she was now seeing a musician at a local bar.

Eoghan did get a lead though. Seems a local monster hunting group had taken up locale west of the town to the abandoned watch keep Falcon’s Nest. Run by a halfling named Jessie, she had gathered a decent group together and had a large portion of the town convinced that a monster or more made their home in the Passian Hills and were part of the hunting problem as well the source for a number of unexplained murders. He thanked his family and made his way out, interested in telling the group what he learned and hoped to go to the keep.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 5, 8/5/22

We awoke the next day Restmonth the 7th @ 7 AM. Some rain was falling outside and we discussed the fact that the pattern had been until now, crazy rain falling on RestDay – which was yesterday – and it didn’t happen. At least here. Being that Hommlet was about 2 hours through the swampy lands from here made us think that there was most likely similar weather at both locales.

The thought was that we would check out the west wing of the Moathouse this morning and then make our way to the pantry and most likely downstairs right after. So after prayers and studying, we gathered outside the main chamber and with Elmo and Ophelia taking point, proceeded our way west. The hall was dirty, grit covering the floors. 4 Doors, one on the right, 2 on the left, and 1 at the end of the hall.

We opted to hit them in order so came to the first door on the left first and while we were listening to it, we DID hear the sound of something soft falling down the hall a bit and behind the right door. Er…let’s go there first.

We listened to the door again, and heard nothing this time. But we opened it up and it was the Manor’s kitchen. Some old rot, spoiled signs of food stuff, dried out herbs, and a mess on the counters met us. 3 small casks (barely 2 gallons) were on the floor by the fireplace, one of them was on its side. Otherwise we didn’t see anything.

We waited a few seconds before shutting the door and heading back down the hall to the 1st chamber again. With care we opened it up and it was a trophy room. Animal heads and antlers, horns and the like. Most were ruined and twisted about. But Rowan and Aredhel gave it a further once over before announcing the chamber was clear.

We went on to the next door, also on the left. We did hear something fall again behind the right but chose to ignore it for now. The left door was opened at it was some domicile for the Manor’s original Castellan. Decent furnishings, clothes, bed, writing desk. We looked the room over with serious care until we came upon a small 2’ leather wrapped baton with a bulbous rounded metal end at each side. We each took turns trying to unscrew the metal but eventually Albert (to everyone’s surprise) got the end to pop off.

Inside was dust. Silver dust. Whoa! Pestle and Albert discussed it at length and did say the ground silver dust was used as a component in various glyphs, wards, and circle spells. Rowan kept it for now. We wanted to check out the door at the end of the hall and after a moment of forcing it, the portal opened up to reveal a large chamber. A barracks of some sort, most of the interior was in poor condition and the wall in the southwest corner had given way, spilling out to the rain soaked exterior.

But it was the giant 15’ long lizard curled around a bed and chest on the north end of the room that gave the group pause…long enough for it to burst from the area and lunge for Elmo, ripping into the ranger’s armor and biting him HARD on the left leg! It refused to let go and started to savage our giant when Rowan called to Frey and calmed the beast long enough for us to pull away and charge out of the room, slamming the door closed.

“How long does that last?” Pestle asked as we got to the end of the hall.

The sound of something hard smashing into the recently closed door resounded as the druid replied, “Not long at all.”

“That door is NOT going to hold,” Albert commented, Aredhel stepping vaguely in front of her brother, everyone getting spells and weapons out.

“I am getting a bit tired of being bit,” Elmo chuckled, flexing his wounded leg and readying his weapon.

The giant lizard continued to hit the door again and again, 500 plus pounds of angry cold blooded reptile. The wood splintered and it shoved its head through, one claw reaching down the hall as it hissed at us. Rocks flew and a crossbow bolt, even a sleep spell (which failed), but all it did was anger the beast until it busted free and raced to the party. Albert called up another summoned monster, getting an Orc to appear behind, armed with a halberd. “Carl” (as he called the porcine warrior) did his best as did we all, but the giant lizard flashed and bit and ripped around the group until enough blows finally landed to end the giant beast.

We cautiously went down the hall to check out the room while Pestle looked the animal over for signs of sorcery along with Albert, getting some of its blood for now. The room did result in finding a small smattering of copper coins, but also 3 giant lizard eggs the lizard had been caring for. We then made our way back to the last room, the door on the right to the kitchen.

Elmo once more went first and when we opened the door up, we could see that another cask had been dumped on its side. We approached slowly, when something burst from under the chimney and launched itself at the ranger. Elmo was driven back THROUGH the hall and to the other room, with a 60 lb giant tick in his chest…and it was beginning to swell up with an audible “SLUUUUURP” noise! “AHHH!!!!”

Using his dagger he tried stabbing at it while magic missiles and other weapons clanged against its toughened carapace. Another summon got Jimmy the kobold again, but the tough shell made most weapons bounce free – including Elmo breaking his dagger! The Ranger was pretty beat up before we managed to finally slay the beast a wave of healing and healing potions followed. “I don’t know what damned wizard is making a variety of giant animals around here,” Elmo growled, struggling to get up, “but I will have no problem feeding him his own hands.”

We wanted to rest a bit and Pestle tried to cook the giant lizard eggs we had found, burning them a bit but Elmo ate them with thanks. Some studying followed as well and then we figured at 12 noon, we should press on.

At the pantry we looked around the corner and saw stairs going down into the gloom…and lots of rats, including over a dozen giant ones. “Ares…Damn it!” Elmo was shaking his head. The ranger took out all 3 of his flasks of oil and ripping his shirt made Molotov cocktails. We lit them, looked around the corner, and let them fly. Two of them hit the mass of rodents setting them ablaze – the last sailed DOWN the steps and hit the ground below…and did not break!

With most of the rats burned up, we dispatched the last few without issue and then lit a torch, Ophelia holding it. We then went down the steps and saw a very sizable chamber. Columns supported the ceiling and to the left we could see piled up furniture, boxes, barrels, and chairs. Pestle, Albert, and Aredhel all could feel the power of burgeoning magic in the air. The thought was we might be close to a demonic force. Elmo was going to step into the room to grab the flask of oil when a mass of slime almost 3’ in diameter dropped from the ceiling and hit the ground just ahead of him!

He backed up onto the stairs as another one hit the area. Pestle had some dancing lights fly around and she picked up 2 more slimes on the ceiling. As for the ones here, we proceeded to burn one while the 2nd one tried to move to the wall. The one we burned gave forth a horrid smell and the gnome fell over, succumbing to the burnt vinegar odor. We grabbed her and went back up the stairs where Rowan and Ophelia said that Pestle would be out for 40 minutes. So we discussed what we would do next and going back down to the basement.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 4, 7/27/22

We discussed plans quietly and quickly, opting that we would try to open the door and then attempt to sleep them. So we drew up in a rough circle around the door and then forced it open. Many of the bandits within charged out, a crossbow bolt flaring and a couple of them getting to within melee range. However before Aredhel could sleep the mass of them, a lucky throw from a knife wielder smacked her in the skull and dropped the sorceress – upsetting our plan immediately!!

"Get up!” came the call as Elmo plied axe and the rest of the party struggled against the 9 foes against them. A quick and well placed cure righted the sorceress who drew out her supply of rose petals and crushed them, hurling the magics out and shouting, “Zu!” Dropping 6 of the 9 bandits. “Take them out!”

The guy at the door fell back swiftly, slamming the door closed and locking it, and then proceeded to wake up the guys still in the room with him. A few of us dropped knives and staves on the sleeping foes, slaying them outright as Elmo was asked, “Get that door open!”

“On it!” The ranger agreed. He charged the door, axe and shield out, and hit it hard enough to splinter the wood after a smash or two, opening it wide. And was shot in the gut at point blank range with a heavy crossbow, staggering him back and knocking him to the ground! Rowan and Ophelia ran up, horrified to see the magnitude of the wound would be fatal if not treated immediately (Critically hit, struck in gut, dead in 2-12 turns!!). But with now 3 of the brigands up, one of them the leader, we had other issues to face.

We fired off a magic missile and Albert summoned another monster, a hobgoblin that he named Robert – ordering the bulky goblinoid to immediately join the battle with the brigands. And then Elmo, hurting bad and leaking blood, joined the fight even with a mortal wound, his axe cleaving through one of the dwindling defenders. Finally with just the leader left, he dropped his weapon and allowed himself to be taken prisoner.

Healing, what little we had left, was doled out, special attention given to Elmo. As for the leader of the bandits, his name was Ortti Goldenthan, and identified himself as the son of the Goldenthan Lord in Nyr Dyv. Elmo had some dealings with nobility and let the group know that we needed to treat carefully with Ortti. He did surrender and as the son of a nobleman, even a disgraced one as he recognized Ortti to be, he was still supposed to be accorded some leeway. Albert nodded and commenced with the questioning.

There was lots of discussion. Turns out he was part of a group called the “Black Chamber” and their job was to receive goods that would come here every 2 weeks. Rannos Davi had some of his caravan guards come by and swap out, and they would often bring trade goods, food stuffs, and “various animals. You know, cats, rats, pigeons, and the like.” Weird. At one point though he was trying real hard to get Rowan to agree to letting him just go and the 2 wizards and the sorcerer noted that some sort of latent charm was tried on the druid. It failed, but they identified it as a demonic gift. This Ortti had been in contact and served a demonic entity. Further proof that we were in the right place and most likely near some sort of higher ranking figure beholden to Iuz the foul.

Frustrated that his ploy failed, he then launched into a diatribe that the silver light has been seen. He’s seen it and it’s opened his eyes. Lareth the Beautiful will tear your souls free and feast upon them. The Dark Hope will devour any and all in Hommlet who dare stand against him. The party’s life is forfeit and the new master will learn of them and destroy them. Great. Albert and Elmo discussed it at length and he was touched by a demonic entity (Lareth?), stark raving mad, and too much of a danger to let roam free. He needs to be taken care of. Permanently. Elmo really didn’t want to do it but knew in his heart it was the right call. So he finished off Ortti and then made the party swear never to tell a soul of Ortti to anyone as the House of Goldenthan would be forced to seek retribution for the attack and slaying of one of their scions.

He slit the body’s gut and filled it with rocks, dragging it out of the moathouse and to the flowing waters, Ophelia helping while Rowan and Aredhel looked around the chamber and Albert and Pestle mused about what we had learned. Once the body sunk under the water, the large man and the cleric returned, Rowan was digging up a section of the chamber where the wall had collapsed. The druid’s keen senses had discovered the bandits had indeed hid something here under the dirt – a low chest!. Opening it revealed a long sword a few arrows. The long sword was touched in silver and had some magical runes on it. The item was also named, “Grace”. Ophelia gave it a few practice swings and agreed that she would hold it and use it well.

It was about 4 PM now and we decided that we would avoid questions or scrutiny at Hommlet, tipping our hand to Rannos or anyone else on the council, as to what we might have encountered or learned. So we figured we’d explore one of the wings (the south one) and then retreat to the chamber the bandits had used. We went south, confirming the stairs to the 2nd floor was unusable and choked with rubble, the floor above had collapsed some time ago.

Three doors were ahead of us, 2 on the west wall, 1 on the east, and eventually a larger chamber beyond the end of the hall. The first room was a littered chamber, once a conference room but now pretty much a wreck and ruin. A few rats scurried away as we looked in. Rowan and Aredhel gave the room a solid once over, eventually finding a hollow spot with a rusted sword tucked within but nothing else. We went a bit further to look in the next chamber but stopped on hearing movement from the room to the south. Something big, heavy, dragging across the ground. Weapons ready we dared to enter a 12’ adder met us!

Battling the snake we wasted little time on attacking it, Elmo’s axe leading the way. Not wanting to get too close, Albert summoned another monster and again got a kobold, Jimmy returning once more! The little ankle biter charged the snake and leapt atop its back, hacking and trying to eat it. It took some doing but we managed to slay the beast at long last. The room here at the corner was also open to the elements and we didn’t see anything so we returned to the 2 closed doors. One of them was a salon at one time, but now a mass of ruined furnishings. And bats. Lots of bats. We slammed the door and left that room alone.

The other chamber was an empty bedchamber which most likely Ortti used a few times. Rowan and Aredhel took it apart, clothes and other items found. But also a thin box under the bed that contained 4 healing potions and 3 platinum bars! Whoa! Elmo let the group know about the difficulty of handling platinum (no one in the party had ever seen one before) and we took them for now, deciding what to do with them another time.

We retreated to the northeast chamber and ate, drank, and locking the door behind us, drew up lots for watch and then eventually fell asleep.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Meet 26, Adv 10, 7/23/22

Captain Asher had a period of private introspection with Tyr, based upon the fact that he had a tattoo of another god prominently placed on his body. Specifically, Maglubiyet, the goblin god. He decided he was going to quietly pray to Tyr and try to explain the situation, when his god communed back with him.

And Maglubiyet as well.

Ah…nuts.

Maglubiyet was willing to play 2nd fiddle for now, and would help Captain Asher get in touch with his inner strength and sometimes behave in a more goblin manner. To the Captain, this dichotomy was just…horrible.

We discussed further options and decided that we wanted to head back to Erylond at some point. And then Stivil. There were a number of things the party wanted to do and we needed a bit of a break for now from the Terror Dungeon. But we did have time to make one more foray in. And with the time still allotted to us, we wanted to go back to the Vault of Lathandar.

So it was 9:30 on Restmonth the 26th when we travelled back to the Dungeon, and made our way without issue around the first part of Entrance one and along to the closed Vault. We had enough pig’s blood for 4 trips in, so we planned out: Shim gets a dagger, Brading gets a Battle Axe, Darius get’s Armor, and then Wilhelm gets a scimitar.

After going in many times, we had gotten to ways and wherefores of the area down without issue. Brading hit the group with a Hide from Undead for himself, Asher, Thon, and Connal. And then they made their way to the room with the dwarven priest. Thon and Connal were successful in getting the key and we made our way to the vault. We placed a Battle Axe on the rack and Shim took the dagger.

BAMPH!!

We were out of the Glyph gate with an outrushing of air and waited a few minutes. We then did the entire area again, and this time Darius placed his armor on the stand and Brading took his now silvered battle and…

BAMPH!!

We were once more back out of the zone. Darius was feeling less confident without armor but we went in again, Brading casting the spell once more to get everyone hidden. We then got the key, went to the Vault, placed Wilhelm’s sword in the rack and Darius took his armor. We heard what seemed to be an absent “sigh” and the rush of undead outside the vault was less intense than it had been but…

BAMPH!!!

We were again outside the zone. With our last vial of blood, we reentered and this time…things were different. The doors were open, no music from the Seraglio. Instead the door was open and there was a tray of wine for everyone to drink. We partook and moved through the throng of undead, most in weird poses. The room with the priest was open, a 4 count of ghouls were talking to one another, whispering, glancing at us. The key was in the priest’s hand, proffered for us. We took it and moved on, so disturbed to the vault.

Once inside, a good looking, tall blond elven male was standing there with a faint smile, motioning for us to come closer. The door closed and he introduced himself as an Aspect, and Avatar, of Lathandar. It seems our continuous entering and exiting of the Vault had attracted his attention and he came to see what was going on. He commented that there was a new adherent of his in this area now, the first in over a century and a half (Eoghan). But the continuous in and out of the zone had attracted him now.

We discussed what we were doing and he looked around. He asked if we could fill the racks a bit for now, it seems too many people have come in and taken and not replaced – making the vault seriously depleted. We went through our possessions and gave up as many duplicate metallic weapons we could. He indicated for Wilhelm to take the Scimitar we had placed earlier and wished us well on our way.

BAMPH!!!

We were out of the zone again. From there we left the Terror Dungeon and then made the 2 days journey back to Erylond. On arrival we took a small tour of the south section of town for Wilhelm and Grendel’s sake before arriving home. Sybil was there as she had a young girl on loan from the Orphanage that she was teaching “cooking” to. You can’t take a person from the Orphanage. She’s on loan! Ugh

We did shrug off our gear, talked about training, and figured on the next day we’d take care of whatever needed to be taken care of.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Meet 25, Adv 10, 7/16/22

Had a chance to introduce (and LARP) our latest new guy to the group, replacing the soon to be leaving TJ. He has never played any D&D but always wanted to, his experience has been limited to MMORPGs and the like. So he was very apologetic and clunky but the group was welcoming and accomodating to him. He went for elven druid.

Follows:

The group fell asleep, hoping to get an early enough rise to make our way down to the 1st entrance on the morrow. One of the things that had been forgotten since Thalin wasn’t with the group at this time was that elves didn’t need the full 8 hours of sleep. So when Grendel awoke at 11:30, the elven scion spent a little time checking out his new companions before getting dressed and deciding to walk the grounds of the keep.

Meanwhile a good 2 miles south of the keep proper on the icy shores of the Enderlyn River, a trio of Armigers had come upon a lean to that had been erected the last 3 days. On this day, they managed to find whoever was camping on the Lordship’s land. An elven traveler named Wilhelm was drinking some ale and eating some river trout he had caught and cooked. Inviting them closer, the trio of budding knight adherents, Hans, Fatts, and Brody, tried to inform Wilhelm that he was squatting on the Lord’s land and had to come with them.

They did take his ale…and his fish. But they all talked a bit, conferring back and forth as the 4 of them walked back to the keep. Drink was passed around and the armigers were convinced their shift ended at 12 and they were no longer drinking on the job so they shouldn’t get in trouble.  They did intercept some riders and passed on that they had an elf they were bringing in and who would be seeing him? The Rider rode off.

Grendel was approached by a valet of the Castle’s Herald, Thester Clantik, asking him to come and speak with the Herald. Eventually he made his way where the Herald expressed his concern. Two elves in the space of 2 days were here at Bork Keep, one of them a scion of an elven duke. Was everything ok? Was there any issues? He wanted to get both elves together and make sure that things were fine.

A herald went to the Keep’s Runesmith, a dwarf named Rogar Giantsbane. Rogar threatened to have the valet who interrupted him fired if he was bothered. There was an explanation that a new person was here and would need an amulet. Now? It’s weeks early. This is my quiet time. Do you know how much it drains me? I’m going to fire all of you.

Hans, Fatts, and Brody all came in with Wilhelm and the travelling elf explained he was from Borut, a major trading hub on the Borbuta Sea. He had a falling out with his family and after trying to divest himself from them, got advice to head east to Bork Keep and see if he could link up with an adventuring group to enter the Terror Dungeon. A follower of Frey, and a touched one as well, he hoped that it would be easy enough to find a group to join.

Hans, Fatts, and Brody tried to hide their increased inebriation but failed at one, threatened with stables duty for their dereliction. Wilhelm and Grendel spoke for a while with Grendel eventually greenlighting Wilhelm into the party. The two of them spoke at length about their lives, making their way back to the Visitor Hall. Once there, they continued their conversation until the party awoke.

We met up with Wilhelm and learned rather swiftly that Grendel had added him to the group! Oh…Really? Yep! Tell us about him. Well, he’s a good guy! I like ‘im! What does he do? Say, what do you…what’s your name again?

We had a 2nd interview with Wilhelm and filled him in on what we are and what we do. We then put together our trip down, taking our barrel with us, and at 5 AM, Restmonth the 26th, made our way to the Terror Dungeon. It was a cold morning, and fat snowflakes were falling. Lots of them. Lovely. We entered, barrel along, and made our way down, eventually hearing some sort of laughter echoing in the gloom.

We moved on through the entrance hall, the long hall south, and then around to the bunk room where Thon had us stop. Room was warm, at least 10 or so degrees warmer than expected. We eventually made our way in, and through the hall to the west, we could see an area down the hall where a huge bonfire had been lit. Estimation was that it had to be at least 5 hours ago, and it would have blocked the entire hall. We eventually knocked on the door to the east leading to the Bugbear area and Captain Asher did his talking to the denizens there. We made our way through and along to Zandark’s chamber where we presented him the barrel.

Excellent!

He offered the wheelbarrow again (we took it!) and to get past the bugbear circle, once more offered Captain Asher the permanent shape change potion. He demurred. So instead, they offered him the Mark of Maglubiyet, an 18” tattoo of a bloody double bitted battle axe on his stomach. The party all agreed for him.

So a bugbear witch tattooed the mark on Asher’s body, working fast until the half elven fighter cleric was treated. He could now pass any bugbear circle or glyph safely and so can anyone who was touching him or touching someone touching him, etc. Meanwhile Shim wanted some of the tattoo ink and was willing to be suckled by one of the witches, Thon volunteering the gnome for the job. So Shim drank bugbear witch milk straight from the source, growing weaker and more tired while doing so, eventually getting ill from the effects.

It was 6:30 when we eventually made our way out the east door and then through the bugbear cursed area. From there we had NO issues! We made our way through the entirety of the dungeon’s first level to the room beyond the gargoyles, wheelbarrow along for the ride, without any encounters! We then loaded up the barrow with the 5 barrels, and had a trip back – taking an hour – but at 8:35, were knocking on the door to the bugbear lair from the other side of the cursed circle and returned the 5 barrels to Zandark.

Mission Accomplished.

We were thanked, told to return when we wanted to, and wished well with the blessing of Maglubiyet at our back. So it was just before 9 AM when we emerged from the Terror Dungeon, feeling good and triumphant at our actions.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 3, 7/13/22

Elmo gave the place a good once over, walking back and forth in front of the Moathouse. The banks by the water were waterlogged and unsteady, the place stunk, and the bog had to be deep enough to suck anyone’s feet in. There was a drawbridge down that we could risk crossing, but the party was unsure. Ophelia called to Athena and the goddess of law gave her the ability to sense evil.

And she did. SIX spots of it! 2 in the nearest pool and 4 more by the drawbridge.

A further refinement let him know that 1 in the pool and 1 by the drawbridge had a larger evil signature. We discussed options and settled on coaxing them…if they were evil frogs…out of the pool. So Elmo hunted for a large log he could toss, took aim…and hurled it!

And two of the frogs emerged! One of them was the size of a small dog…and the other was closer to 6’! Sling stones flew and we decided NOT to enter the bog. Albert summoned a goblin which he named Ronnie…and Aredhel hurled a globe of acid at the amphibians, melting the skin off of them. They closed and we combated them, stabbing and slamming hard. And the combat seemed to go well as the smaller and then the larger one was slain.

“That wasn’t that bad,” Albert noted. The party was feeling pretty good so wanted to get right on the next group. So we went down the short road to the drawbridge and Elmo tossed another log in. This time 1 frog came out and he hit it lightly, scaring it back to the pond.

And then all 4 of them emerged – 1 really big one and 3 smaller ones. Quickly the combat got away from us, with Rowan and Ophelia getting multiple hits from the frogs. The cleric and druid were knocked back, hurt bad. Another one made a 25’ leap – landing right by the gnome, Pestle! And tried to eat her! The wizard dove low, just getting missed while the Cleric Opehlia was tossed into the mud, Rowan following. Magic Missile and another blast of acid followed and Elmo’s Axe helped clear the way, the ranger struggling to block any more attacks on the druid and the cleric.

Pestle had to dive again, just missed getting swallowed as Albert called out another summon spell – getting a kobold! Naming it “Jimmy”, he ordered it to shred the larger frog, blocking it from getting another attack on Pestle. “I eats?!?” it asked pointing at the frog, getting a bemused nod from the wizard.

And low and behold, Jimmy got a series of lucky blows, tearing the frog’s underside open. He reached in and started eating the guts as the frog was croaking and dying. More stones flew and Elmo dispatched another, with more acid being hurled. Finally Ophelia and Rowan were back in the fight and the last of the frogs was slain. We were dirty, but we grouped together and Pestle used her natural gnomish gifts, blowing all the dirt off and mud off of us, sending it in a 10’ diameter around us before it slipped down and fell into the mud.

We approached the bridge, where Elmo got low and we noted that someone…someone booted, had crossed here before. Given the moist ground, it had to be in the last day – and the prints went into the keep. Weapons ready, we crossed the bridge slowly and one at a time. It groaned beneath us, but no issues. Once through, there were 2 doors here, one wedged in place, the other open freely.

The courtyard beyond was empty…maybe 40x 50’. A set of stairs was to the northeast and went up into the moathouse proper. There was a tower on the southwest corner and the walls on the west side of the courtyard were in poor repair, slipped into the water outside. Elmo also pointed out that more than one set of tracks had gone into the manor proper, we could see them across the courtyard. The thought was that a few of us would check out the area and Albert, Pestle, and Aredhel would look into the tower. If it was safe enough, the 2 wizards would hope to get some of their spells back.

The courtyard showed signs that mules or ponies had been tied up here in the past. Not now, but spoor and stray hay and feed gave testament to it. The west wall had collapsed outward, taking at least a 10’ section of it down in the past. And the stairs? They went up to a door…but the door was not 100% closed. There were at least 4 windows we could see, narrow almost arrowslit type.

As for the tower, it was in poor condition. The upper floor had collapsed some time ago, crashing down to the lower floor, leaving only wreckage on the main level and open sky maybe 20’ up. Albert noted a few sparkling coins and they entered with care, scooping up 3 copper pieces they found in the dirt and rocks. “Neat!”

And then a 15# pale white Huntsman spider the size of a big cat dropped down from above, reared back, and bit the wizard on the neck! Who screamed, fell over, and began convulsing as the poison ran through his veins. “Help!” The group was running back at Albert who was spasming in agony.

“Don’t!” Rowan called out, pointing at the spider. “Don’t!!” He then called out a prayer to Demeter, forcing his will and spell energy into the spider…and it ceased its antagonistic stance, stepping over to the druid. He rubbed its head and Aredhel wanted to stab it. “No. It’s calm now.”

“It killed my brother!” she hollered back. Ophelia was on her knees casting some magic on the fallen wizard. “Let me stab it!”

“No. I can’t let you.”

“If that THING comes near me at any point, I’m going to stick my rapier in its guts.”

He rubbed its head and cooed, “Don’t worry, Winter. She won’t hurt you.”

“You named it?!?”

Albert was not happy but was awake and alive again. We decided to rest here for an hour to allow Pestle and Albert to get some spells back. While that was going on, the group managed to scour the tower where they found over 70 copper and almost 40 silver nobles. In addition, there was an Ivory box here as well! It was empty but we divided the coins and put a small handful in the box for a party fund if needed later.

It was about 2:30 when we finished our study and went up to the main house. The stairs led us to the door where we opened up to see the main foyer. It was sizable with 2 large halls going south and west to the other wings. There was a door on the northeast section of the room and we could see a set of stairs going up to the 2nd floor, but were impassable due to the collapsed 2nd floor.

The hall south had a few doors and there was something far down there moving about, wild animal? To the west they instead saw a pantry area with the squeal of rats..and a cool breeze coming through it. Maybe a set of stairs down? But it was the door to the northeast that had the group gather. There were voices behind. At least 4 or 5. All talking common, but their voices were pitched too low to identify what was being said. “No one should be here,” Elmo muttered and the group wanted to rip the door open and confront them.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Meet 24, Adv 10, 7/9/22

With some time at our back, we made sure we were ready once more and reentered the Terror Dungeon by 3 in the afternoon. We hoped to go and see about reclaiming any of the barrels that were at the base of Level 2 with the Carrion Crawlers. Grendel joined up, taking his place in the lineup and we bid our farewell to Kara.

The descent was without issue. We looked over the main entrance room and talked at length about how to go about getting down there as well what our options were on the barrels. All? Some? From there we made our way to the east and south, hoping to take the passage across the pit when we noted it was opened. A tossed bit of meat let us know that a cube was in there, and it reached up, took the meat…and devoured it.

We wanted to close the pit but the cube was too high. So they tied a rope to Connal and the monk leapt over the pit where he tried to shut the lever from the opposite side. It would not budge. Cube was too high. We had to drop it somehow. And our presence here was enticing it to stay up and high. Shim eventually cast a Summon monster spell THROUGH the Cube by riding on Thon’s shoulders to gain some height and vantage.

Three giant rats appears, immediately began squealing and thrashing around. Which enticed the cube to drop lower into the pit and eat them. Which took pressure off the side of the pit and allowed Thalin to close it up. We crossed the passage now without issue and kept going. There was a smell in the air here though. So we looked north to the door we never looked in before…and saw a horse. Dead. It looked like it had died of lack of water and food. The suspicion was that it was the horse that had been up on this floor 3 or 4 days ago and survived this long before just dying here.

We then went through the 1 way door and opened the secret passage with a finger pressed in the dwarf god’s eye. Passing along further we made our way around to the Gargoyle chamber, then south again to the lightning chamber and eventually…the stairs.

Going through our gear, we wanted the ability to keep the crawlers at bay. So eventually we settled on torches tied to spears, and Brading hit the torches with a Log of Everburning – extending the burn time and doubling the heat output. Ready as we were going to be, Shim was going to summon something to keep them busy and we would use fire to hold them back, snag a barrel and run for it.

Like all plans, it fell apart quickly. Heading down the stairs had a rising wind, blowing up from below – and it was tinged, somehow, with the scent of urine. Getting closer to the bottom, the spray was everywhere and the wind was an almost 40 mph. In fact if the torches were not enchanted, they would have gone out. The thought was…where were the Crawlers? We looked around the corner and did not see them. But there was a pool of urine some 20’ diameter and a few inches deep. And the barrels were in it.

Ok – we needed some help. Shim called out a Summon spell and a wild elf appeared. Raven haired and snarling, she felt put upon to be here. “I’m in love,” Grendel muttered on seeing her. She was not happy on being here but looked for the gnome. No, the Crawlers were NOT here. Already. Time for the barrels. She gathered them up one at a time, growling and bitching the entire time. Grendel tried to chat her up but Shim felt she was not deferential enough to him and dismissed her in a bit of pique. “I didn’t even get her name!” the fighter moaned.

We doubled up on hoisting the 200 lb plus barrels up the steps, storing them in the former lightning chambers, before heading back for another pair. And that also went without much issue. It was on the last batch that we saw at the base of the steps was a 4’ tall beetle with a pair of feathery antenna. “Oh, fuck no!” Darius groused. “Fucking Rust Monster.”

Shim came forward again and this time summoned an armored gnoll! It engaged with the monster, losing his armor and weapon quickly. But it ripped into and through the rust monster eventually killing it. Shim went to work its antenna off while he sent the gnoll to investigate the wind. It went into the hall and turned left as the gnome gathered the last of the antenna free.

And then the wind stopped. And the Crawlers returned. Grabbing the last 2 barrels we made our way back up the stairs and stowed them in the room for another day. Smelling, tired, and not wanting to stay any longer, we made our way through the dungeon back to Entrance two and left once more back to Bork Keep by 6 PM.

We showered, changed our clothes for this less reeking of urine, and then grabbed some food at the mess hall. The plan was to rest now early and study, hopefully back in the dungeon by 5 AM on the morrow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Youth Group! TOEE - Meet 2, 7/6/22

They did some more investigation around Hommlet, eventually figuring out who was and who was not possibly on their side. They have nothing to particularly say that someone in the town is a bad guy, but they do feel that a few of them are liars. To flesh out their group, they ended up hiring Elmo, which will be pretty much their entire meat shield.

Follows:

The next morn, Birthmonth the 5th, Marketday, had the group up, dressed ,cleaned, prayed and studied, and then at the Common Room of the Welcome Wench for Breakfast. We discussed option for the day and wanted to tackle two of them: Meet with Jaroo the Druid and get his take on the situation around Hommlet and also go up to the north end of town and see the Miller and the millwheel – to get a sense if magic or demonic issues were a part of the situation.

Ophelia and Rowan would seek out Jaroo and the rest of the party would head north. It was 9 now, so we hoped to be back in 2 hours tops to pool our findings and then if pertinent, go and see the Village Elder, Auva. The Druid and Cleric left the Inn and went to the center area of town where a grove of tight trees and a path had been set up. Rowan felt pretty chill being in here. There was a mound of soil festooned with herbs, stones, and flowers, the path circled it, and then it ended at a low single story house.

A black bear was sleeping here. Curled up it snored softly at our approach before opening a single eye…and giving an inquisitive, “Hrrrff?” We announced ourselves and coming out of the house was a late 30’s something half elven man with one and a half legs, the shorter ending at the knee, hobbling out on a crutch. “Don’t mind, Snookies,” he said pointing to the bear, “At his age he prefers the sunlight and naps to problems. Jaroo Ashstaff of the Gnarley Wood, How may I help you?”

Turns out that Jaroo is not in agreement with Terjon regarding the strange phenomena that are occurring around Hommlet. Too many unexplained issues or just odd occurrences that don’t add up. The two of them had gotten too heated conversations about it again and again. He offered the other two a smoke of some pipe weed and then lit up and regaled the two friends about how he lost his leg.

There was an old temple ground not too far from here, somewhere to the north east. A moathouse sat before it before the land had flooded and whoever lived here abandoned the site. Burne and Rufus had been having some hired hands and workmen scavenge already worked stones from the area, using them in the foundation stones of not only the tower, but also the soon to be built keep.

Regarding any repository of evil that might be associated with Iuz would need a decent locale to center itself upon, and anyplace in Hommlet would be too obvious. So Jaroo believed that if there is a demonic entity nearby that was having an elemental effect on the town, the Moathouse was a viable locale. So he had set up a trip to go and explore it, however he was accosted by tremendous frogs; one of which literally tore his leg off! Fleeing for his life, he wrapped his stump in a tourniquet and made it to town the next day.

The Council along with Auva then decided that the road to and the area around the Moathouse was off limits. This means that Burne and Rufus would have to rely on quarried stones, instead of already finished and scavenged works. Jaroo feels that that location, besides being very dangerous, might hold the answer the party is looking for. He can no longer adventure but if the party did find themselves in need of healing, and could make it back, he would be able to help – as well as any poisons or diseases they might be afflicted with. He did say that if the group was able to find fresh aloe, he would help make some healing potions for the group. We thanked him and left.

Meanwhile Albert, Aredhel, and Pestle all went north. They made their way across the river, noted the presence of the Moneychanger, and then followed the road east from here until the loud noise of the turning Millwheel let them know they arrived. The Miller, Mytch, was working the great stones at this time, grinding grains while the water wheel turned slowly in the river.

He came down and we talked for a while. We did note that there were some symbols of the old gods present and he was not exactly well speaking of St Cuthbert. This led the group to be more confident in their questioning. A month or two ago, the water wheel slipped off its foundation and the townsfolk, especially Grove, worked on making bricks and stones, hoisting it back up and then building a new foundation housing for the center spoke. Mytch admitted this was not perfect and brick was not going to be the best long term solution. At some point the sluice and wheel would have to be dropped back to the main bedrock of the town.

We wanted to go and check it out so he led us past the big gears and to the wall. Advising us to be safe, the three friends spent time looking the site over. The stone in many places under the brick visibly looked melted. As if it had run. Mytch let the party know earlier that Terjon suspected that Sandstone was to blame and that was what the wheel had been built upon. But Albert and Pestle were convinced it was granite. And granite does not melt or run like that.

Once again magic might be to blame. Elemental. Too much presence of a demonic entity weakens the barrier between this world and the elemental planes. It seemed likely that Terjon was wrong. Albert did lose his balance at one point and had to be dragged back to safety or he would have fallen 12 feet to water and maybe been dragged under the wheel. That was when Albert let slip that he didn’t know how to swim which had Aredhel and Pestle question why the hell he was risking his life on the wall?

We gave Mytch a very soft overview of our findings, mindful of Auva's admonition not to upset the locals. From there we left and headed back to the Welcome Wench. The Cheese maker, a buxom woman named Martena was out selling her wares and Aredhel purchased two wedges of fresh cheddar, nibbling on it on the way.

Back at the Inn, Rowan and Ophelia were having an encounter with the local tradesman named Rannos Davi. He runs the Sword and Cheese Tradepost on the north end of town. He had a half dozen assorted fighting type men with him. They started off by having a deep conversation with Oslter Gundigroot on the party and what they were doing. He then pivoted to questioning the cleric and druid about their findings, nothing is going on here, and once they finish their investigation, they can safely go on and report back that everything is fine. He even offered to help sell us rations on our way out of town. The rest of the group came in in time to see Rannos and his men move on.

We ate lunch, tipped Ostler very well, and shared what we had learned. We were running out of commoner coin so we wanted to go to the Moneychanger first. So we stopped off and saw Melubb. His guard wouldn’t let more than one in at a time and the two guard dogs, big half mastiff beasts, growled to help drive that fact home. Pestle and then Aredhel did change coins, but only a few gold to silver, which had Melubb sigh at the low value of the transaction but still take his cut. Aredhel did make friends with the dogs though, eventually going through an entire wedge of the cheese! (still have 1 left!)

We talked about what to do and decided we wanted to talk to Auva and get his approval for us to go to the Moathouse and check it out. If we could find any definitive proof of foul magics or demonic presence, we could get closer to solving the problem.

We went to Auva where the Elder was meeting with the town Captain of the Militia, an older male in his 40’s named Peri. There was also a mountain of a man here, dark long hair, and so very muscular, eating dried beef from a bag. He was Elmo, Peri’s eldest son. Standing over 6’ 10 and easily 350 to 400, he was a veritable mountain. We talked about all we had learned and what we wanted to do. Auva was willing to call a council meeting on changing the law or allowing a dispensation for the group to go to the Moathouse. But we were going to be shy a fighter or two. We had 2 choices, Rannos Davi had a number of fighters available for hire at any time, or Peri could let some of his militia men go. Both had their pluses but the group did not want to trust Rannos.

Elmo did volunteer himself. His older brother, Otis, was a King’s man and should have some gear for him. “Get me a set of chainmail and honking big axe and I can deal with any problems for you.” He was willing to go with us for 1 gold per day and an equal share of any treasure found. He left, heading home to get what he needed and would meet us tonight at the Welcome wench because, “Any good adventure involves staying up late the night before getting shit faced and sleeping it off because who knows when you’ll get the chance to do that again!”

So an hour later the council convened in the Elder’s meeting room. Jaroo, Terjon, Peri, Oslter, Mytch, Burne, and Rufus. We then presented our desire to go and check out the moathouse. Lots of crosstalk and discussion followed. The most damning was that no one but Jaroo ever actually saw the giant frogs. No one, not before the attack or after. Burne blamed the druid for being high as a kite and losing his footing on the uneven ground or dropping into a hole. He was a solid no. Terjon was also against it. The site was off limits for everyone’s safety and we should not cause any problems.

He was willing to vote yes if the group committed to 50% of anything found goes to the Church of St. Cuthbert. And if that was not palatable, Allow Terjon to place one of his Adherents in with the party to help them out and act as an observer. We respectfully declined.

Mytch was all for us, commenting that the group was pretty respectful. Ostler had been treated well by us and he gave the green light. Jaroo felt it was worth it for us to go and look. Peri wanted all aspects checked out so was voting neutral – but yeah, go ahead. As for Rufus? He and Ophelia had been chatting and laughing most of the time and with her flirting with the fighting man, when pressed for an answer, he defied Burne and on seeing Ophelia wink at him and smile, said, “Yeah! Let them go look! Great idea!”

On finding out Elmo was going, Burne was pretty upset, feeling that Peri had a ulterior motive to letting it happen, but with 5 votes yes and 2 no – Auva allowed the group the chance to go to the Moathouse and investigate it for strange goings on and possible demonic influences.

We went back to the Welcome Wench and crank and laughed with Elmo. He was larger than life, liked by everyone, and Pestle noted he was willing to open his pouch often; paying for more than his share of drink. So much so that he pretty much spent whatever earnings he would make the next day and then some. We rested and on Birthmonth the 6th, got up early, ate breakfast, and were on our way by 8:30.

Scrub, thorn, and thistle barred our way. The track there was barely a winding path, overgrown and cluttered. In places it was just mud. Tall plants choked both sides and it was 3 hours later that we arrived. North of here was the ruins of the moathouse. A stinking bog surrounded it, vegetation appeared pale and sickly. A busted drawbridge seemed to cross the crumbling embankment and the entire place was just unsafe looking.