Monday, May 18, 2009
Rangrim hit the bars. He found that Dwarven miners had been brought in from various mountain towns to install a loch at the river and carve a channel to the Tower. The channel deadends at the shaft dug down to the seal. If the loch is opened, millions of gallons of water will flood through the seal room. Also, some Dwarves were looking for Orzul, hoping to hold her accountable for an accidental death she caused as an adolescent.
Mokshel reported in at her temple. She found that the entire community of faith--every temple and order--had been mobilized to fight the undead that were arising all around Briarton. The temple was full of the wounded. She reported to the elders who heard the story Mokshel told and brought her to see the commander of the Duke's army, Baron Amintor. The baron, a foppish man, was astounded at Mokshel's story and instructed his men to gather the rest of Windfall.
Taru hit the bars near the military academy. She found that the army was worn out from fighting undead and that nosy bards were snooping about looking for stories. Taru overheard the bards talking of the riots out in ArcAngel having been caused by an attack of the Emperor's men, which was a lie and curious.
Didion returned to the magic university where she grew up. The whole school was abuzz with the discovery of the Seal. Students were discussing disertations while all of the experts on otherdimensional seals has been called away by Baron Amintor. The chief expert was Grace Thimbleberry. All reports said he was at the seal. A colleague had seen the seal and said it was too complicated to be merely a containment device.
Guy attempted to find a seal expert amongst the merchants, but all he could find was that the military had bought up many supplies.
The Windfallies met at their dusty, derelict offices to discuss what they'd learned. Their janitor/caretaker, Scrappy, was also on hand to lend his opinion. As they were comparing notes, Mokshel arrived with the Baron's men and everyone was taken to the camp outsode the Tower.
The camp spread far and wide around the Tower. Tents housed thousands of soldiers, craftsmen, minders and workers. At the heart of it, near the shft leading down to the portal was the Baron's war tent. He met the heroes and told them his plan: the Baron planned to open the seal, remove the old seal, and replace it with a newly crafted one. This would happen at 8 am. Windfall would be expected to be on hand at the opening, in case of complications.
The adventurers camped in the disused spider caves next to the seal. They argued for hours over a course of action: should they fight their way out? Should they hide in the tower? Should they wait patiently and break the replacement seal, buying more time? Mokshel grew impatient and ran through a flame wall, only to find the Seal heavily guarded. Mokshel had to run *back* through the flame afterwards.
Around 4 am, Windfall decided to get a few hours shut eye. And then the dream came . . .
Monday, May 11, 2009
Windfall llc. left the cursed town of Surebrook with the pirate Gorebag. His armada took on supplies from the slowly-reforming-from-a-life-of-murder townspeople and set sail on the Midnight Sea. The adventurers were on board the living ship Bountiful Harvest, captained by the mad Dryad Verbena.
The heroes were at sea for weeks, locked in their cabins. The ships sailed in the absolute blackness of the Underdark, feeling their way through narrow passages between rock and stalagmite. No lights were permitted outside the ship for fear of attracting the horrors that dwelt in the underneath.
The armada stopped at the Necropolis of Vaash to take on fresh supplies and to deliver goods and mail. The Vaash were an old people who lived above ground before the Empire came. They were amazed to meet Elves and Dwarves and were consumed with jealousy at their long lifespans. The Vaash retreated underground and formed a monastery on the Midnight Sea. They hollowed out stalactites 13-stories tall and filled them with libraries, laboratories, research teams. They discovered the path of Undeath and accepted it freely.
After hundreds of years, the Vaash's city of the undead spreads across dozens of stalactites, linked by rope bridges. Every building researches something different and new. Petitioners find their way to the Necropolis every day seeking answers. But the price is steep: one year of labor for every answer given. The question is asked, the contract is signed and the work begins. The seeker may quit at any time, but to do so is to forfeit all the time spent.
As the Bountiful Harvest approached, Windfall saw a thief cast from the upper tiers of the stalactite building plunge into icy, shark infested waters. The Windfall group took an opportunity to stretch their collective legs on the dock of the necropolis and questioned the skeletal clerk supervising the intake. Would the Vaash be able to help with the leaking seal below their tower? Perhaps, but could they afford to wait a year? Guy attempted to broker the service of the town of Surebrook, but the clerk was uninterested.
On the dock, Geon spied a familiar face--or rather, head--in Didion Greytongue. Didion cursed at the Windfallers for wrecking her plans and attacked. The Clerk--who forbids violence of any non-research sort--cast her into the water. Windfall had a quick conference and decided to save her from the numerous sharks. Orzul pelted them with a hail of arrows. Taru walked amongst them with her water-walking boots and stabbed with her lightning glaive and Rangrim used his practiced seamanship skills to rope Didion and drag her on board the boat.
Didion told Rangrim and Guy and Mokshel her story: her father had been taken from her at a young age by the Duke for political reasons and imprisoned in The Pin--an island fortress prison far off the coast. She had working to secure Stonecutter to bust him out, but when Windfall stopped that plan she had pledged herself to the Vaash in exchange for answers regarding the prison's security systems. But that was all ruined now. Guy pledged that Windfall would help her, after they fixed the seal.
The Raven Queen came to our heroes in a dream. She said that the Windfallers were in danger of being catspaws of the Gods. There was a game afoot. She also implied that she would look after them; that the Duke was her enemy.
After another week at sea, the armada arrived at the secret underground port at ArcAngel.
* * *
ArcAngel was for many years a prosperous, Dwarven mining town--formerly named CragHang. It was conquered by the previous Duke for the Empire and the city became integrated. A minority human population built up on the Eastern side of ArcAngel, running the usual merchant concerns.
At the secret port Gorebag introduced the adventurers to Khel Moonsong, a morose half-elf who managed a bar in town. Khel lead the heroes through a winding rock passage up to the bar where he worked. The bar was occupied with cranky, mutinous Dwarves who did not warm up to Orzul's advances.
Windfall did not like ArcAngel. Desperate to find a way back across the hundreds of miles of snow-covered mountains to their home, their tower, and their leaking seal, our heroes resisted getting sucked into the treacherous politics in the town.
They were approached by a leader of the Dwarves, Madbeard Barleycorn, who wanted them to cause a distraction at the mines to lure away the guards from City Hall. While the leader of the Blue Temple, High Priest Vilkata wanted them to pacify striking miners.
What they didn't know was this: The Blue Temple, a predatory banking institution, had set up shop in ArcAngel. They moved against Dwarven interests raising taxes, raising prices, and fixing an election. Deep within the Blue Temple the God of conquest, Bane, was pushing for an all out war between the Dwarves and the Duke, with the Blue Temple secretly pushing both sides. The Duke's army didn't know what they were getting into, thinking it was a minor labor dispute. And the Dwarves had been chafing for decades, ever since their loss.
The Dwarves had made deals with Duergar and Giants who dwelt under the mountain. The Duergar would provide spies, assassins, muscle in a war in exchange for Dwarven women to breed with. The Giants prepared the mountains themselves as weapons.
Windfall stumbled into the middle of this and tried to play both sides by going to the mines. It was an ambush. Elite soldiers of the Temple attacked them. Windfall collapsed the entire mine upon their heads.
* * *
The Windfall group fled from the cave in and were spotted by some air guards. Windfall killed the guards--one escaped--and Orzul managed to tame a hippogriff. The Windfallers worked out that there was a ledger somewhere with the names of the mounts. Perhaps in the headquarters of the Duke's guards?
The entire regiment was drawn away by massive rioting and fires down in ArcAngel, so the Windies crept in unnoticed. They killed several guards and witnessed a band of peons be dissolved in a gout of acid. A dragon was nearby! At the end of the day, our ragtag band of rebels found themselves in a dusty alcove, covered in blood, staring at a scribe surrounded by piles of books.
* * *
Our heroes fought off Madbeard and his Duergar guards, but the mayor died in the process. Mokshel wielded Stonecutter against the Duergar with lethal effectiveness. Afterwards they caught more Hippogriffs and fled.
* * *
Fleeing the riots in ArcAngel (where Bane the God of Coquest had made his presence known) on the backs of stolen military hippogriffs. They passed the Shrike--the Duke's go-to guy for wetworks--and decided not to get involved. The Shrike was a short, thin, blonde one-armed man carrying only a longsword on his back.
The Windfallers followed a river that would lead them back to Briarton, back to their tower and back to the leaky seal. Those who were attuned to the tower could feel a distant unpleasant sensation, like centipedes in their trousers.
Atop a snowy mountain the adventurers came upon a band of drunken and bewildered men standing outside a hunting lodge. They explained that one of their conquests hadn't been as dead as they'd thought. Grudgingly the Windfall group entered the lodge to investigate. Inside they found the bodies of a few hunters and an enormous, injured Bulette. The armored land shark attacked. Rangrim taunted it as only a Dwarven sailor could and provoked the beast to focus on him while the rest of the adventurers unloaded everything they had on the beast. Orzul fumbled while trying to throw alchemical fire on the beast and set herself on fire, for the second time in as many months. Windfall succeeded. The beast was slain. The hunters happily carved it up for dinner while Mokshel searched it's stomach for treasure.
Many miles on our heroes came across a merchant caravan being devoured by an enormous Purple Worm. Windfall distracted the beast and saved the merchants and guards, leaving the horses as worm food. They deposited the civilians at a dusty roadhouse not far away and camped outside. Taru used a new ritual she had learned to summon the spirits of internet memes to craft the perfect campsite. The spirits spent far too little time on campsite creation and far too much time singing the Peanut Butter Jelly Time song.
In the morning the team mounted their stolen military vehicles and flew to the crater where Surebrook once had been. Tears were shed. Everyone stared at the scenic outlook. Guy poured a 40 out for his homies. And then it was on to Briarton!
(End of Chapter 2)
At Briarton our heroes found their tower surrounded by a military encampment. More of the Duke's army. They had invaded the tower and dug deep into the earthbeside it with the help of sub-contracted Dwarves. Windfall hid their mounts on a local farm (owned by their old landlady, Susan) and gathered for a good think.
Friday, February 6, 2009
* Avandra - Good Goddess of Change, Luck, Commerce and Travel, Patron of Halflings
* Bahamut - Lawful Good God of Justice Protection and Nobility. Patron of Dragonborn
* Corellon - Unaligned God of Beauty, Art, Magic and the Fey. Seasonal God of the Spring and Patron of Eladrin
* Erathis - Unaligned Goddess of Civilization, Inventions and Law
* Ioun - Unaligned Goddess of Knowledge, Skill and Prophecy
* Kord - Unaligned God of Storms, Battle and Strength
* Melora - Unaligned Goddess of Wilderness, Nature and the Sea
* Moradin - Lawful Good God of Family, Community and Creation (As in smithing). Patron of Dwarves
* Pelor - Good God of Sun, Agriculture and Time. Seasonal God of Summer
* Raven Queen - Unaligned Goddess of Death, Fate and Doom. Seasonal Goddess of Winter.
* Sehanine - Unaligned Goddess of Illusion, Love and the Moon. Seasonal God of Autumn and Patron of Elves
* Asmodeus - Evil God of Tyranny and Domination. Lord of Devils
* Bane - Evil God of War and Conquest. Revered by Goblins
* Gruumsh - Chaotic Evil God of Slaughter and Destruction. Patron of Orcs
* Lolth - Chaotic Evil Goddess of Shadow and Lies. Patron of Drow and their inseparable companions, the spiders
* Tharizdun - The Elder Elemental Eye, creator of the Abyss
* Tiamat - Evil Goddess of Greed and Envy. Patron of the Chromatic Dragons
* Torog - Evil God of the Underdark. Patron of Jailors and Torturers
* Vecna - Evil God of the Undead and Necromancy. Lord of Secrets
* Zehir - Evil God of Darkness and Poison. Favoured Deity of the Yuan-Ti and Patron of Assassins
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Didion Greytongue: A strange sorceress who enslaved a tribe of kobold's in the tower ruins. Her army of tiny thieves stole magickal items and alchemical ingredients so that she could create the mercurial solution that offered protection against the Mindsword. When Windfall attacked her, she vanished. [Now a member of Windfall]
Nahks the kobold foreman: Leader of the kobolds under the mountain and servant of a black dragon. Nahks guided Windfall through the ruins but abandoned them when his people were freed.
Amadis: Traitor priest of Vecna. Ex-leader of Windfall (elected). Served the Master under the Mountain due to the Mindsword's influence.
Volstagg the Voluminous: Also known as "disposable Steve," was a wizard of the Red Temple chained with Mokshel in the torture pits of the Master's temple. The Red Temple has no branches in the province of Thule. It tends to operate in highly-dense population centers and specializes in the legal satisfaction of all vices. Volstagg was killed by giant spiders.
Dana Briar: Settler of Thule. The Civilizing Light. Her of the North. 500 years ago Dana and her associates fought back armies of evil and plugged the shadowrift with her tower. One of her colleagues tricked her and trapped her spirit in the rift's seal. She remained there, watching and waiting, until freed by Windfall.
The Speaker of the Drow: A strange hooded figure who shadow-walked into a locked room to warn Windfall away from the Drow's attack on the Master.
The Seven Civilians: Freed by Windfall from the giant spiders along with Guy. They are a thief, a farmer's daughter, two pilgrims, and three merchants.
The cursed town of Surebrook: sent to the depths by a vengeful Goddess they are damned to turn into plates of irresistible food for preying upon travelers. They were Guy's home town and were world-renowned for their magical devices and weapons. A town of artisans they also have a tavern, a temple, a school, a bazaar and a murderbarn.
Admiral Torniq Gorebag: Pirate lord of a fleet of ships of which the flagship is Justice. An ex-slave, Gorebag sails the midnight seas under the world and preys upon pirates and slavers. His crew is a mishmash of every race and creed and are all freed slaves. He runs a tight ship but shares the profits equally.
Dark Corners Conceal Many Things Including Both Danger And Succor: The Warforged barbarian. Part-robot and part-badass. Loyal to Gorebag.
The Necropolis of Vaash: A city of undead researchers who trade answers for labor. Their stalactite towers hang in the Midnight Sea.
Khel Moonsong: A contact of Gorebag's. Khel manages a tavern in ArcAngel.
Brann "Madbeard" Barleycorn: A devious dwarf who owns half of ArcAngel. He made deals with unholy powers for the strength to fight the Duke's army.
High Priest Vilkata: Slimy, sour leader of the Blue Temple in ArcAngel.
Mayor Paul Fargoh: Former scribe, illegally elected mayor of ArcAngel. [Deceased]
Susan: Windfall's landlord.
Sam Buttmunch of the Briarton Buttmunches: The tool who broke the seal.
Baron Amintor: Leader of the Duke's army. A foppish, clever man. He is enormously fat and dislikes travel immensely.
Duke Yoldi the 13th: The 13th Yoldi to hold the office. The Duke rules the province of Thule strictly but remotely. He spends nearly all his time wrapped in intrigue at the Emperor's court. He taxes harshly but provides for the common defense. He only comes to Briarton every few years.
Mother: Suvi Cleveland
Taru is tall (almost 6 ft.) and lithe. She has a round face and dark almond-shaped eyes; she wears her blond hair in braids bound with ribbons. Her face is decorated in blue tattoos.
Taru was raised by her mother Suvi, a retired mercenary warrior, in a city in the far north. Her mother trained her to fight, and it's her glaive Taru carries.
When Suvi was killed in an unseasonal blizzard, Taru left home. She is angry over her mother's death and the fact that she can't take revenge for it. For that reason and because she wants to test her skills, she throws herself into any fight.
Taru knows very little about her father, but hopes to find him. She is also fascinated by magic and eager to learn more of the wider world. Like Orzul, she is 18.
Ragnor Grimmson Oreclasper, the Dwarven Fighter
General Motivations: Making or 'liberating' money, spending money on booze in attempt to forget the loss of his family in a mining accident 15 years ago, for which Ragnor blames himself. This self-blame also manifests as a willingness to enter into battle both due to a subconscious desire to prove his worth and as a form of self-destructive behavior.
Long-Term Goal(s): Subconsciously seeking a form of redemption for the aforementioned accident - though he claims to lust for glory and wealth without specifying any final goal.
Body Language: Gruff and morose.
Mokshel daughter of Ulmok, priestess of Avandra
General Motivations: Mokshel is disgusted and saddened by the senseless barbarity of her people. From her study of a few ancient orcish artifacts, she believes that the orcs were once an honorable and productive people. She blames the worship of Gruumsh for the orcs' fall into savagery.
Mokshel seeks to learn the wisdom of the ancients. Though surviving physical and oral histories are scarce in orc lands, she hopes more insight about her ancestors can be gleaned from the historical records of the dwarves, elves, and humans.
Mokshel is also dedicated to the study of warfare; one must be able to back words with force to have influence with orcs.
Long-Term Goal(s): Mokshel hopes to return to her people and lead them to a new age of goodness and prosperity.
Body Language: Loud, vigorous, optimistic.
Orzul Dunn, ranger from the city of Quartzkiln
Mother: Rileen Dunn
Father: Forgon Dunn
Sisters, 2, Brothers 4
Orzul is blessed with flame red hair, usually in several braids tied together under her helm. Her helm in the angular style of a piece of ore. A family heirloom, to be sure. Oddly for a dward she has white skin and is extremely freckly. Sort of like Annie, but not lame and ugly. Stands 3'5", tall for her kind.
Orzul left home due to participation in the accidental death of child of a
rival family of her city. She escaped to avoid punishment, and made
out on her own at age 14, already a skilled axe-wielder -- a valued
skill to any dwarf, but especially in her family -- she quickly picked
up archery living in the Mereen Forest where she made her home, hiding
from any dwarf. There she would camp for various lengths of time with
friendly nomad groups of humans and elves and halflings, or in small
towns as safety permitted. Eventually, she had a few strong
friendships with many different forest clans and factions, and grew a
reputation for rangery by carrying out tasks for the forest peoples.
At 18, she had just slain a rabid dire ursa that was terrorizing a
friendly clan. She found herself a tavern close to the edge of the
forest at a minor crossroads to quench her thirst and hunger after the
long, perilous hunt. She sat down at a small empty table and signaled
for a flagon of mead. She nodded at the warrior settled at the next
table, who then introduced herself as Taru...
Long term Goals
Orzul longs to somehow rid herself of the heavy burden of guilt she carries for her
part in the death of her childhood friend, and for forsaking her realm
to save herself.
She yearns to earn salvation of her soul from the Stone God of her home mountain and
Melora so that when she dies she can dwell forever in the Quartz
Cavern of Eternal Light.
Earn as much money as she can to anonymously send back to her family.
Learn to keep and train an animal companion to aid in her adventures.
Though Orzul bears a great burden of guilt for her part in her
childhood trauma, she is lighthearted and gregarious. She cracks jokes
and likes to wrestle with her friends for fun and camaraderie. She
likes a drink, but too much makes her pensive and grumpy, drawing out
the pain of her past. She usually stands guard more than her fair
share while her friends sleep off their wine, but she does not
begrudge them their fun. She has a strong ethical code, and resists
cheating and lying even to an enemy if she can. She likes to cheer and
roar, but her voice is unusually high for a dwarf, so it's never as
menacing as she'd like. Her beard is very beautiful even by dwarven
standards: an extremely fine, downy covering of short, shimmering,
red-gold hairs from her lower lip to her neck, and over her rosy
cheeks. Humans, after balking, usually fall in love with her.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The story goes that in ages past the old gods grew bored of their creation, which was the world and everyone in it, and begged the Smith god to create twelve swords of immeasurable power for sport. Each god would design a sword and infuse it with a small amount of their power. The swords would be set loose on the mortal world to sow chaos. The gods would watch it as sport from their abode in the heavens.
The Smith agreed and gathered ore from the farthest reaches of the universe, magic from the fonts of heaven, and curses from the depths of the nine hells. One by one the gods imbued the swords with their powers and one by one the swords fell to earth. This lead to the War of the Swords, which most historians believe to be mythical at best. They say in that war that the gods themselves were slain by their swords.
Every school child learns at least part of the story: The Song of the Swords.
Who holds Coinspinner knows good odds
Whichever move he make
But the Sword of Chance, to please the gods
Slips from him like a snake.
The Sword of Justice balances the pans
Of right and wrong, and foul and fair.
Eye for an eye, Doomgiver scans
The fate of all folk everywhere.
Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, how d'you slay?
Reaching for the heart in behind the scales.
Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, where do you stay?
In the belly of the giant that my blade impales.
Farslayer howls across the world
For thy heart, for thy heart, who hast wronged me!
Vengeance is his who casts the blade
Yet he will in the end no triumph see.
Whose flesh the Sword of Mercy hurts has drawn no breath;
Whose soul it heals has wandered in the night,
Has paid the summing of all debts in death
Has turned to see returning light.
The Mindsword spun in the dawn's gray light
And men and demons knelt down before.
The Mindsword flashed in the midday bright
Gods joined the dance, and the march to war.
It spun in the twilight dim as well
And gods and men marched off to hell.
I shatter Swords and splinter spears;
None stands to Shieldbreaker.
My point's the fount of orphans' tears
My edge the widowmaker.
The Sword of Stealth is given to
One lonely and despised.
Sightblinder's gifts: his eyes are keen
His nature is disguised.
The Tyrant's Blade no blood hath spilled
But doth the spirit carve
Soulcutter hath no body killed
But many left to starve.
The Sword of Siege struck a hammer's blow
With a crash, and a smash, and a tumbled wall.
Stonecutter laid a castle low
With a groan, and a roar, and a tower's fall.
Long roads the Sword of Fury makes
Hard walls it builds around the soft
The fighter who Townsaver takes
Can bid farewell to home and croft.
Who holds Wayfinder finds good roads
Its master's step is brisk.
The Sword of Wisdom lightens loads
But adds unto their risk.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
After Amadis' betrayal our heroes were trapped with the unknown horror of the Corpse Fields on one side, and a massive underground Orcish fortress on the other. Our heroes chose the known known over the known unknown and went to have a look at this fortress thing.
Outside the fortress was a guard with two berserk merchants wearing stylish clothes. Bloody handprints marked their faces. Our heroes killed them and stole their secret badges. They bloodied their own faces and snuck into the Orcish stronghold pretending to be converts. The orcs fell for it. Orcs always fall for it.
The fortress was old and in disrepair. It was actually the lowest level of Dana Briar's tower. Many races mixed in the stronghold--elves, dwarves, orcs, kobolds. Some bore the bloody marks of the berserk, but most were calmly and quickly preparing for war. The walls of the stronghold bore the mark of Vecna, God of Death and Power and Evil Magicks. This was odd, as all Orcs are worshippers of Gruumush the One-Eyed.
Our heroes sneaked through corridors and hallways and one enormous colloseum-like chamber moving towards the X on their map. Didion Graytongue had meant to come here to acquire something, and seeing as how they were trapped and all our heroes decided they should acquire it first.
At the X they found an old, securely locked door. Exploring the area they also found a jail cell with an Orcish priest of Avandra (goddess of travelers, trade, merchants and exploration) and an extraordinarily fat wizard, Volstagg the Voluminous. His name is not Disposable Steve. They were being attacked by a baby Carrion Crawler--sort of a huge, hungry caterpillar. Our heroes jumped in and defeated the crawler. There was much rejoicing.
Returning to the door, Orzul revealed that she had been given a key by Dana Briar, in a dream. When she awoke the key was in her hand. The key fit the lock and in the room was Dana Briar herself, sitting in a magic circle inscribed into the floor.
Our heroes had many quetsions, like: what's going on? And, shouldn't you have died of old age hundreds of years ago? And also, who is the master under the mountain and why is he so freaky? Dana tried to answer these.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Our heroes sleep was troubled that night. There were dreams of an ash-filled sky and murder. A bony hand offered a key. A robed figure betrayed everyone else. Amadis in particular dreamed about how he would rule the world once his teammates were dispatched. Abdul saw Vecna--the god of murder and evil and evil magic and evil murder--fill the sky and sear the land. Orzul had a different dream. She dreamed of a pleasant underground grotto and a kindly old woman who issued warnings and handed her something. When she awoke, the something was in her hand. Orzul did not share this last detail with anyone.
A brief meeting was held by the stakeholders in Windfall (i.e. everyone but Nahks) as to what the next goal should be. Amadis suggested that following Didion Graytongue's map may lead to treasure (helpful in rent-paying) and glory (helpful in securing more jobs) and since there were no other leads on hand, everyone agreed.
But first a trip back to Briarton was in order. Nahks decided to stay behind and hold funeral rites for his slain brethren.
In Briarton Abdul sat himself down in a cafe and poured over the ritual books they'd obtained, puzzling out their secrets. Taru visited the Magickal University (MU, school colors: pale witchfire, iridescent violet) to get her silvered arm looked at. She had a full range of motion, but their was a distant numbness and a certain uncanny character to the limb now. The guards tried to stop her, but between her acid-flecked exterior and her seven-foot glaive she convinced them to send someone out to hear her petition. Myrour ven Clivensoften, apprentice to the assistant in charge of healing draughts, emerged from the building and pronounced the arm unknowable without further study. We shall tastefully ignore his attempts to cut off Taru's finger.
Orzul hit the merchant district and laid in some new arrows. Amadis found a seedy cafe in a disreputable district and partook of the local narcotics. Then everyone opened a bank account, spoke with the local deputies and headed back to the collapsed tower of Dana Briar.
When our heroes returned to the tower they found that Nahks had carved a passage around the magic seal in the forge room, and our heroes descended into the depths under the tower. A spiraling passage lead to ancient flag-stone corridors, cracked with age and covered in mold. Further on the hallway widened and an underground stream crossed the path. The water was murky and filthy. Orzul did some quick mental Dwarven math and realized they were under the well. The well which when they glanced into it before they distantly saw writhing scaled huge things. All the heroes stepped back.
At the left edge of the pool was a path constructed of rickety planks of wood. Orzul, the acrobatic Dwarf, sprinted across these with ease before the enormous hydra sprang up from the water. It was ten tons and four heads of starving, sickly angry. Abdul sat down to go through Didion's journals, reading about the hydra. Amadis went back upstairs and fetched Deputy Rye's headless corpse out of the pit trap, and then fed it to the hydra. While it was feeding he tried to run past, but the hydra was a quick eater and scared him back.
As our heroes prepared to fight the behemoth, they noticed magical bands about its necks and chains leading from the collars into the water. The journal told of how Didion caught the hydra in a swamp elsewhere and installed it here with password-keyed magical bindings. A cryptic sentence said "Knowledge is the key to all." Our heroes tries many words and phrases and commands (Sit!) before speaking that phrase aloud causing the chains to tighten and drag the four-headed beastie under the mucky water.
Then stirges attacked from above. Stirges are essentially monkey bats with noses like daggers and a thirst for blood. These particular ones had been feeding off the hydra for weeks. Our heroes drove one off, killed another, and freed the hydra temporarily so she could feast on the third. The justice, she is poetic.
Past the hydra were three branching tunnels. One lead to Umber Hulks (bad news), one lead to the enslaved Kobold miners and the last lead to the Kobold's former master--and Nahks' boss--Scorch the black dragon. Scorch had been trapped behind a cave-in by Didion and knocks was worried for him. Our heroes took the center path.
200 Kobolds were chained and forced to mine while three Wyrmpriests stood watch over them. Our heroes easily killed the two priests and then Geon the Rogue picked the lock on the master chain holding a group of fifty Kobolds captive. Now freed, the Kobolds stomped the last priest to death. The collective might of the 200 Kobolds (plus Nahks) left to dig out their master, Scorch. Nahks promised a boon in the future, told them of the Orcish army and the Corpse Fields.
Further down the hallway was an immense barred steel door. Our heroes unbarred it and went through, deeper into the undermountain. The opposite side of the door was dented and scarred from attempts to get through. None had been successful. A fork in the hallway perplexed our heroes. They consulted the map and discussed whether it would be safer to take the Orcs head on (the right passage) or attempt to find a back entrance through the catacombed halls of the Corpse Fields (the left passage).
Windfall decided to look at the Corpse Fields and then decide.
The Corpse Fields are a spectacular natural cavern under the mountain where creatures of different races drop their dead and their refuse so that mushrooms may grow and feed them all. They are graveyard and food court in one. Our heroes stood on a rocky outcropping, hundreds of feet above the floor. Frayed ropes trailed from the cliff. Across the expanse Drow could be seen, that is: Dark elves that worship a demonic spider, delight in torture and evil and spiders, and trust no top-sider. Our heroes decided it may be better to take the Orcs on face to face.
Down the other hallway they found a crevasse in the floor filled with a pseudo-intelligent corrosive slime monster known as an Ochre Jelly. But it was trapped in the pit and so Abdul and Amadis scorched it with supernatural magics until nothing was left. The resulting pit was full of bones and treasure. Yay treasure!
Beyond the jelly-filled crevasse our heroes encountered an Orc scouting party and an Orc berserker. They fought the closest fight of their careers, made even more close by Amadis' betrayal. He had been an agent of Vecna, whom these Orcs uncommonly worshiped. All Orcs--save these--worshiped Grumush, Orcish god of slaughter. This was a mystery.
After a knockdown drag-out fight our heroes were victorious against the orcs, but they were trapped under the mountain and Amadis had escaped to alert the rest of the Orcish army as to their presence.
Things looked bad.
After rescuing Nahks the Kobold Foreman from his cell, Windfall solutions proceeded down the hallways of the collapsed tower. Orzul the Dwarven Ranger crept forward silently and listened at an old oak door. Chanting could be heard loudly. Evil chanting. And if there is one thing Dwarves hate it's evil chanting behind old oak doors.
Orzul burst into the room and was surprised to find the sorceress Didion Greytongue caught mid-ritual floating in the middle of the room, an amorphous mercurial blob spinning wildly over her head. She was wearing her own symbol--a silvered skull--on her chest, was covered in ritual cuts and had shaved her head. Imagine an evil and skinny Janeane Garofalo perhaps. She was ensconced in a magic circle, performing a ritual--Abdul guessed--to create a magical item. The circle was made of magic and severed Orc hands.
Didion was flanked by Kobold Wyrmpriests and a half-dozen minions. Guarding the door that Orzul charged through were two chained fire beetles. Our heroes were outnumbered.
The battle was long fought. Abdul concentrated his dire energies on Didion, weakening her and driving her off. Amadis feared a fire beetle and then turned his lance of faith upon the enemies. Orzul filled every available enemy orifice with arrows. Taru stabbed everything with her glaive. Nahks helped where he could. Beyond some bruises, scorches, baths of flame and acid and a few spears to the gut our heroes emerged unscathed.
Curious Taru tested the mercurial blob that Greytongue was creating with her dagger. The results were unexpected. The silvery substance lifted Taru off the ground and flowed down to her shoulder, devouring her armor. Abdul leapt and caught on to Taru's legs, yanking her free of the grip of the substance but found his own arm coated to the elbow.
Placed about the room were four pillars that each held an extraordinarily powerful magic item. Past tense that is. The items--including the Duke's own Lordly Rod--had been devoured in the process.
Searching the room our heroes found a bag of holding with Graytongue's journal and a treasure map inside.
One Kobold escaped into the final room, but before our heroes chased after they took a few precious seconds for themselves and beheaded and behanded the Kobold corpses. One can never be too careful where zombies are concerned.
The final room was Didion's library and bedchamber. Two more acid-breathed Wyrmpriests and the coward Kobold hid within. The fight was short, brutal and again involved Priests vomiting acid. After this was done, our heroes tossed the room for valuables--finding books of magical rituals--and then napped.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
After a short rest, Abdul and the unnamed Rogue moved back to guard the front door (aka Colin and Kate couldn't make it) while Saya the Elven Wizard (aka Angela) showed up. From the forge room a short hallway lead to another wooden door. Everyone took turns listening, but heard nothing beyond their breathing.
The room next door was darkened, so Saya cast a light spell on Amadis' holy symbol making him glow incredibly brightly. The room was a massive bunk room built to hold a kobold army. The little buggers scurried about in the shadows and leapt out to attack our heroes. Orzul smashed their heads with her hammers and ripped them to pieces with her arrows. Taru slashed at them with her glaive. Amadis burned them with holy faith. And Saya cast sleeping spells and then burned the kobolds alive while they slept.
In the room our heroes found boots of waterwalking. They also found a secret door which Orzul picked open. Inside they found a massive amount of gold, more than they could carry.
Down another hallway our heroes found preserved frescoes showing Dana Briar, Savior of the North, slaying armies of beasts and raising her tower. They also showed Dana dying, her tower collapsing. A third fresco was unclear. It shimmered and showed an ancient Dana handing a key to six hooded figures. As our heroes watched, the fresco faded to gray.
Further down the hallway Orzul narrowly avoided stepping on a trapped flagstone. She did a complicated Dwarven acrobatic leap over it and then stepped on another trap. A tile in the ceiling opened and dropped a swarm of starving rats and the remains of a devoured corpse onto her. Her hammers were no good against the swarm, so Saya stepped up and tried to burn the rats off. That also failed. Taru took the stinkpot she'd scavenged from the dead kobolds and pelted the Dwarf with it. This scared off the rats and made Saya vomit uncontrollably. Orzul wasn't bothered by the smell, she was used to worse.
The rats fled into an adjoining room that contained a makeshift prison. In the prison cells were a somber bespectacled kobold, and three zombies chained to the walls. The zombies had been prisoners who starved to death and returned to live as the undead. The starving rat swarm tore into the zombies but Amadis brought them fresh kobold meat to chew on.
The bespectacled kobold was named Nax, he used to be the leader of the kobold tribe before a wizard came in and enslaved them. He agreed to accompany Windfall Acquisitions and assist them in freeing his people.
"aka 'up the butt' "
"Is this the obscenity log?"
"Obscenity Log: Stardate . . . "
"Ahhhhhhh!" (regarding the name cards)
(After Orzul splattered a Kobold) "Good thing I brought my Windex"
"Dude, you're supposed to be asleep . . . Wizards."
"Who's the boom king?"
(A kobold reacting to Amadis rounding a corner) "Wha?"
"Can we drink ale now?"
" . . . and I don't sneeze."
"Each cookie represents a healing surge."
"Just poopy pants. But it's always good check."
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Bounder was an old, gruff Halfling with unkempt hair and a wickedly scarred face. He was known as a fair and honest man. He and his deputies were responsible for maintaining order in Briarton and the surrounding countryside. He had a proposition for our heroes.
It seems that over the past few months a rash of thefts had hid Briarton quite hard. At first it was shovels, wheelbarrows and timber. But quickly the thefts became more esoteric and troublesome. Magical herbs, potion ingredients, rare arcane gems had been lifted in great quantities from the Arcane University. No one knew who was behind it until just last night a cautious shopkeeper caught a Kobold ransacking his store. He alerted the sheriff who then tracked the humanoids back to their den. One of the sheriff's deputies, Nayla Rye, scouted into the den but did not return.
The sheriff asked our heroes if they could go into the den and stop the thieves. Also, he wants them to figure out what they are up to. Kobolds lack initiative and are often the hirelings of someone smarter. Who is behind them?
A deputy also approached our heroes, his eyes brimming with tears. Deputy Cooper asked our heroes to find what happened to deputy Rye. They had been engaged and he was dreadful worried about her. He also offered ten gold for every left paw of a Kobold the heroes brought back.
Sheriff Bounder lead the heroes ten miles out of town, into the wilderness. Down a winding path through a deep briar patch was the collapsed Tower of Dana. The Dana in question was Dana Briar, founder of Briarton and legendary wizard. Her tower had collapsed some three hundred years ago just after she went missing. It had long been an oddity, but a rather safe one. Some of the heroes had been there as children and scampered upon the rocks.
At the base of the collapsed tower a shaft had been roughly dug and propped with timber. It lead for fifty feet deep into the earth. Torches flickered in wall-mounts down its length. Sheriff Bounder took his leave of the heroes, wished them luck.
The unnamed Rogue (aka Kate) crept silently down the shaft and found a guardroom with two bored Kobolds standing about on a filthy grass mat. She returned to the heroes and reported back what she had seen. Many plans were discussed as to how to deal with guards. Was poison gas available? Should the Rogue run into and out of the room so as to lure them topside? Could Abdul Alhazred (aka Colin) dress like a female Kobold to tempt them Bugs-Bunny-style away from their post? Taru the Warrior (aka Riley) decided that numbers were with them and recommended a quick charge.
The heroes charged into the room and made quick work of the two guards. Orzul (aka Emma) and the Rogue peppered them with arrows. Abdul and Amadis (aka Tom) scorched them with magical energies while Taru stabbed them mightily with her glaive. The Kobolds were dressed oddly for their kind in uniforms showing a silvered skull. They had no money or personal objects on their persons.
Exploring the room, our heroes found three doors leading away and a hidden pit under the filthy grass mat. Taru climbed into the pit and found three headless corpses, including the late deputy Rye. Taru also found a magical hammer and dagger.
A strange green light pulsed through the room accompanied by a low hum. One of the Kobold corpses lurched to his feet. He was now a zombie. He was quickly beheaded and dumped into the pit.
Through the Northernmost door our heroes found a forking hallway. Down the left fork was a disused hallway leading to a well. Peering down into the well our heroes saw something serpentine writhing, felt a breeze on their faces. Amadis suggested dumping one of the headless corpses into the well to see what would happen. No one took him up on the offer.
Down the right fork was a roughly-hung door. While trying to listen at it Orzul sneezed and alerted the occupants to their presence. On the other side of the door was an ersatz armory and smithy. Three tables stood heaped with freshly made spear tips and Kobold-sized helmets. In the corner of the room was a roughly mined hallway blocked by a magical seal. Two Kobold guards with in this room, along with a Kobold blacksmith and his pet fire beetle.
The heroes faced more of a challenge this time, especially with the beetle who repeatedly belched flame across everyone. The blacksmith proved deft with a sling and had a variety of trick canisters he lobbed at our heroes gluing Taru to the floor and setting Abdul on fire. Again our heroes peppered the tiny humanoids with arrows, stabbed them with a glaive and roasted them with arcane energies. Amadis also called forth his god's favor and healed a nearly-dead Rogue and Fighter.
When the battle was over left paws were collected, bodies were beheaded, and a magical bracelet was found on the smith.
After the battle the heroes put their heads together and elected the Cleric to lead. They also chose the name "Windfall" for their enterprise.
Also, players should feel free to make their own posts and comments about their characters, goals, ideas, whatever.
Taru Cleveland the Human Warrior (Riley) -- good with a glaive. Rolls 20s.
Orzul the Dwarven Ranger (Emma) -- favors her longbow. Aims for the throat.
Abdul Alhazred the Elven Warlock (Colin) -- was set on fire by a Kobold. Enjoys blasting enemies with eldritch energies.
Amadis the Human Cleric (Tom) -- the leader. His faith lances enemies with blinding light.
? the Elven Rogue (Kate) -- sneaky, perceptive, highly skilled.
Saya the Elven Wizard (Angela) -- wizards are never early or late, they are always precisely on time.
The capitol of the Thule province is Briarton, a sleepy burg with only a few thousand residents. It is a lone shining point in the wilderness and attracts all sorts from miles around. The nearest city with a population of more than four hundred is the fishing village of Racinda. Racinda is three weeks journey by horse.
Thule is dangerous, but rich in resources. The forestry is great. The trapping is wonderful. The mining, oh man, the mining is the best in the empire. In fact, settlers come from all over to try their hand at mining. They form corporations and make pacts. Clear out a few acres and set up their own village under the radar of the empire's tax collectors. Sometimes these mining settlements take root, become towns in their own right. More often they disappear within weeks. Traveling merchants later come upon the smoldering remains of an inn, perhaps a field of skeletons picked clean by unseen mouths. Sometimes there is nothing left but trees.
Our heroes grew up in these hardscrabble villages. Maybe they defended the city from bandits? Perhaps they curried favor with a god or dark power to aide their kinfolk? Or just maybe they made such a nuisance of themselves that they were no longer welcome in their home town. The heroes haven't said much yet.
The heroes made their way from all corners of the Thule province to Briarton, county seat. Briarton is the home of the Arcane University, the Duke's estate, and of dozens of merchants and traders making a fortune off the land. Imagine the Wild West, or Deadwood and you wouldn't be far off.
Our heroes have formed a company, Windfall, and have set out to forge a reputation for themselves.