Annals of the Frothy Tankard

Session 13

The party left the swampie outpost, with Tork as their guide, and headed south into gatorman territory. This, Tork assured them, is where the ancient elven temple would be found. Tork guided the ship over a series of hours, during which time the ship often backtracked as Tork changed his mind or decided they taken a wrong turn. Finally, the ship moved along a narrow channel in the direction Tork indicated.

Roundnig a bend, the ship suddenly encountered a fallen tree that effectively blocked the path. Some of the ship’s men grabbed hatchets and prepared to swim to shore, from where they could chop the tree down. As they began to climb into the water, gatormen rushed onto the boat, pulling one man into the water and killing them, then setting upon the party. The captain and ship’s men ran into the captain’s cabin while the party and Tork remained outside.

Shamash exchanged blows with one of the gatormen, then managed to wrap the creature up in his arms and squeeze the life from him. Little Walder made use of spells to blind some of the creatures, and with the help of his dog managed to knock one forward into a deck rail, knocking the creature out. Walder’s dog was subsequently knocked unconscious by a vicious gaterman attack. Ava fought valiantly until being knocked unconscious by a brutal blow from one of the gatormen.

Lady Eveen was set upon by two gatormen, Tork cowering near the railing close by. Eveen delivered damaging blows to the gatormen, but was taking a brutal pounding in the process. Tork, gathering his courage, pulled a handful of sand from a pouch at his side and dashed it into the eyes of one of the gatormen attacking Eveen. Having done that, Tork leapt from the railing to the lower deck, but caught his legs up in the railing and pitched headfirst to the hard wood below, knocking himself out.

Moradin used his rune magic to blind on of the gatormen, then tripped the creature and set on it with a spear.

Eveen continued to battle, and by this time Shamash had arrived on the scene to assist. The boat was cleared of gatormen, except for the single gatorman Walder knocked out earlier. That gatorman came to to find the gnome on its back, daggers held at its throat. Moradin chained the gatorman and the ship’s men removed the tree blocking the ship’s path.

The ship continued for the better part of the day, then traveled between two ruined stone towers flanking the waterway. Unfortunately, the ship ran into a sunken gate extending between the two towers and was damaged badly. The captain estimated that repairs would take two to three days.

The party elected to set out on foot, still being some distance from the temple. Tork and the gatorman were taken. Using Tork as an interpreter, the party was able to learn that another gatorman tribe inhabited the temple, and that this tribe was not friendly to the tribe of the captured gatorman. The captured gatorman led the party for a time, and was released prior to entering the temple.

The decayed Temple of Cedrus was quite large and resting at a slight angle to the water. The party entered to find slaughtered gatormen and a single human littering the massive interior of the temple. The group moved into a prayer room and Eveen, Walder, and Moradin all sensed a great magic permeating the room. Moving beyond that the party found, to its surprise, a tunnel excavated in the floor of the temple leading to some place beneath. Following the tunnel, the party emerged into a hallway that was much older than the Temple of Cedrus and was neither dwarven nor elven work.

Inside the temple, the party discovered the bodies of many slain gatormen, as well as a dead human clad in leather. The interior of the temple was overgrown and in disarray, and the once-intricate elven carvings that decorated the stone of the temple was largely chiseled and scratched in a purposeful attempt, by someone, to erase images of Cedrus and other elven artwork from the temple. Moving further in, the party discovered a chamber used for prayers and for healing when the temple was under the control of elves. A large statue of Cedrus was in the center of the room, also damaged and with an alligator skull places over Cedrus’ head. Lady Eveen, Walder, and Moradin all felt a palpable sense of magic in the room. Beyond the prayer room, the party found what appeared to be the remnants of an office of a high priest of the temple, and in the rear of the room a crudely excavated tunnel disappeared into the depths below.

The party decided to explore the tunnel, sending Ava ahead to check for traps or other dangers. There were none. The tunnel lead downward to a nicely crafted corridor with walls of dark stone. The stonework was clearly much older than the elven temple above, and its length was lit by strange glass globes with a luminescent orange-yellow mist swirling inside. The light was dim and some of the glass orbs appeared to be broken, but there was enough light to see. In on direction, the corridor disappeared further into the structure, in the other it ended at a metal door.

Listening at the door, that party overheard a conversation between two individuals speaking common. They discussed pursuit of a person they identified merely as “the bitch.” The party surmised that this may be Tyra. There were also references to someone named Oberon and discussions of a missing person named Olaf.

The party charged into the room, which turned out to be an ancient library, and managed to subdue the two individuals inside, humans named Rhys and Davos. This was accomplished through Walder’s use of a charm spell on Rhys, and a more physical subduing of Davos until he, too, could be charmed. The party learned that the men were indeed pursuing Tyra, and had also been instructed to dispose of the party, because of the party’s interference with Oberon’s plans. The men claims there were nine other members of their team in the structure, including Olaf, who had initially been left with them to guard the entrance into the lower corridors, but who had left some time before to find the rest of the team. Rhys said his team was overdue and he had no idea what happened to them.

Walder questioned Rhys and was able to establish that Oberon was the wizard who appeared behind Tyra in the graveyard and stabbed her in the back. Rhys asserted that the party had been interfering with Oberon from the start, but while it was clear that giving the black sword to Tyra went against Oberen’s wishes, the party wasn’t sure why their initial attempts to thwart Tyra would upset Oberen.

Still under the influence of the charm, Rhys and Davos agreed to accompany the party deeper into the facility in an attempt to find the rest of the team, as well as Tyra.

The structure proved to be strange indeed. The strange, glowing orbs lit every corridor, and metal doors led further into the depths. The party entered a great hall and saw, suspended from the ceiling, a statute of a person that looked feminine, but also appeared to be almost insectoid or armored, or perhaps constructed from metal. The party soon encountered human-sized versions of this creature attending to the slain bodies of three of Rhys’ team. They were indeed constructed entirely of metal and ignored the party. Walder suggested that they may be some sort of golems. Investigation of the creature uncovered a disc on the back of each, apparently of glass and each with the same glowing, swirling mist that lit the glass orbs. On top of each disc was a handhold that looked like a knob that could be turned. Walder instructed the charmed Rhys to turn the knob, and doing so caused the creature (or golem, if that is what it was) to become deanimated.

Also off the great hall, the party discovered a enormous chasm with a walkway extending across it. Lady Eveen dropped a copper sheet over the edge (which she had picked up in the library – a thin sheet of copper with holes punched, apparently randomly, across its surface), and the sheet feel for some time before she head a faint clang.

The party pressed on, finding more of the strange metal creatures, already in a motionless state. They eventually came to what appeared to be a dead end, except that a shaft dropped away from the end of the corridor. A small hole was set just inside the doorway. The far side of the shaft included a metal rail that ran down the length of the shaft, disappearing into the floor far below. The party determined that the shaft must be some sort of mechanism for moving up and down in the structure, with some device riding along the length of the rail. Unsure of how to proceed, the party searched the inanimate metal creatures and found a long cylinder filled once again with the glowing mist. The cylinder terminated in a flat surface with four small pins extending therefrom. An inspection of the hole in the wall near the shaft revealed that it was a shaft-like opening with a flat end having four small pin holes. The party inserted the cylindrical “key” into the hole and was rewarded with a faint tremor as the floor of the shaft began to rise. A box-like opening rose level with the party, and proved to be large enough for all of them. Inside the compartment, three key holes were found spaced vertically along the stone. The party chose the lowermost hole and the compartment began to descend.

The compartment continued downward for some time, bypassing an intermediate level as it continued its descent. The party was confronted with another chamber and another door, and upon opening the door discovered another metal creature, though one that was different from the others. This one appeared vaguely feminine, with coiled strips of flattened metal for hair hanging down past its shoulders. A cloak concealed much of the body. When the door opened, the figure extended a hand, palm up, as though expecting something. The party decided it was best to go up one level to see if they could find something this strange creature might want.

Up one level, the party came to another room of strange creatures, including four female metal creatures like the one on the third level, and a larger metal creature in the midst of them. The larger creature attempted to speak to the party, but the language was unfamiliar. Then, the creature began to switch languages, trying one after another until it hit on an strange and possibly ancient dialect of elven that Eveen could understand (in part).

The creature referred to the Maiden of _ and indicated that the party should submit to receive her blessing. The party was apprehensive of doing any such thing and decided to send Rhys forward, under charm, to receive the blessing of these strange creatures. Lady Eveen did not object to this use of the charmed man. Rhys was lead into a side room, and moments later an unhuman, agonizing shriek emanated from the chamber. The party was able to investigate without being bothered by the metal creatures, and found that Rhys had been flayed alive, vivisected, and dismembered in a strange chair with deadly attachments extending from it.

Concerned, the party tried to move past the creatures, but they blocked the way. It was clear Davos was starting to lose his sanity, and the party decided to make their way hastily back to the third level.

The female creature was still waiting, hand outstretched, but the party moved past her, having nothing she seemed to want. This caused an immediate attack, and the creature proved to be very quick at withdrawing two long, curved blades and attacking. A pitched battles ensued and the party was triumphant. They resolved to rest while the Cleric of Odin, Bob, who had been with the party all along but had been utterly silent and skillfully hidden, healed the party as best he could.

The party explored further and discovered many strange things. In one room, strange metal creatures like the ones the party first encountered sat hunched over machines with strange buttons on them, each button having a character from some strange alphabet engraved on it. Most of the creatures were inert, but some were still moving. They punched at the buttons, and then pushed down on a lever protruding from the side of the machine. After they did this, certain of the buttons on the machine lit up. The creatures then copied the characters corresponding to the lit buttons into larges books that lay open before them. The creatures did not bother the party, or even acknowledge their presence, and the party wasn’t sure what to make of them.

In another room, the party discovered a tremendous map carved into one far wall. The map showed in great detail lands the party did not recognize. The map was labeled, but the characters were foreign to the party. Far to the north on the map, the party was able to locate the coastline of known lands, as well as the location of the temple. The map gave the impression that whoever made it had little knowledge of the known lands of the world, apart from a few stretches of coastline here and there.

The party also made a grisly discovered, namely the body of Olaf laying on a table where a space for a human form had been carved out. It was not clear what killed him.

Pushing further, the party found a lower portion of the enormous chasm they’d spotted on the first level. This time the floor of the chasm was only around 75 feet below, and looking over the side of the walkway extending into the chasm, the party spotted Tyra, wielding the strange black sword and battling one of the strange, robed, female metal creatures. The bodies of others of the creatures lay strewn around, but Tyra looked to be wounded and tired. An enormous crystal protruded from the floor of the chasm, and on a flat portion of that crystal lay the body of Tyra’s mother. The half of the chamber on the other side of the crystal was floorless and dropped away into yet another black depth.

The party wished to remain inconspicuous, but Davos yelled out upon seeing Tyra. The party decided that a plan was in order and set about discussing what to do next…

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Sessions 9 through 12

An update of the party’s actions since the last post.

The party concluded its affairs in and around the village and made its way to Thorskald’s Wall, where dwarves sit in expectant watch over the lands of the north. The commander there was of Baelin’s Hold, and glad to see the party, since the party had ingratiated itself to Baelin’s Hold with its activities beneath the Eel’s Head Brewery. The party was asked to investigate an outpost north of the wall, as the dwarves stationed there failed to return to the wall at their appointed time. Upon reaching the outpost, the party found the place in ruin, as well as evidence of death and destruction at the hands of cultists of the Horned God. Dead dwarves had been stripped, mutilated, and placed in blasphemous positions in the lower level of the outpost. The party cleared the outpost of enemies and reported back to Thorskald’s Wall.

The dwarves on Thorskald’s Wall were grim in the face of the news, and sent for aid to reinforce the wall and repopulate the outpost. The party decided to travel to Baelin’s Hold for a rest, and they were warmly received there, outfitted, and sent on their way. At Baelin’s Hold, the Rune Caster, Moradin, joined the group.

The party resolved to seek out the island shown in the map they found outside Botkinburg some weeks early, and so headed for the river city of Fissigart, one of the largest cities of the northern realms. While waiting there for a ship to Raelsport, from whence they could gain passage south in search of the island, the party was contact by Father Amdahl, high priest of the Temple of Odin. He knew the party by reputation and asked for their help.

The party agreed to meet with Father Amdahl at the Temple, and while there were introduced to lower-level priests of the temple, as well as Amdahl’s niece, Tyra, who handled the Church’s accounts. Father Amdahl informed the party of a series of grave robberies in and around the city. He had been unable to convince the city Guard to look into these robberies as preparations for an upcoming festival occupied all of Guard’s time.

The party investigated the grave robberies and learned of a witch trial ten years prior, after which five local witches were beheaded. The bodies were entombed in an abandoned underground outpost that had not been used since the great war. The party also learned that a ghostly woman was seen around some of the pilfered graves, and a young child claimed to have seen one of the dead walking under its own power.

Electing to investigate the tomb where the witches were buried, the party headed out of town. They discovered the tomb had been recently used by goblins, but these goblins had been displaced by a ‘witch woman’ who was busy making ‘grey women’ within the depths of the compound. The party found that these “grey women” were the remains of the witches who had been executed after the famous trial, and they had since been reanimated. Though five witches were executed in the trial, the party found evidence of only four bodies in the outpost.

Returning to the city, the party spoke with Father Amdahl and learned that the fifth witch, and leader of the coven, had been Father Amdahl’s own sister, mother to Tyra, who he took in after her mother’s death. The group also uncovered evidence linking Tyra to the grave robberies, as well as a map in Tyra’s room marking an entrance into the city’s sewer. A young woman named Ava joined the group at this point.

The party entered the sewer and, after most had taken a swim in the filthy waters, made their way into an underground hideout where they confronted Tyra. To the surprise of the group, Tyra proved to be a more than capable wizard, and only some last-minute reticence on her part prevented the death of at least some of the party members.

Tyra escaped and the party returned to Father Amdahl with vague notions that Tyra was attempting to raise her slain mother. Father Amdahl traced Tyra to a vague location to the north and asked that the party retrieve her, showing her mercy if possible.

The group spoke with the commander of the Guard, Julian Helstrom, whom the party had met earlier, and learned that an abandoned fortress, Fort Rhyker, was situated on a rocky outcropping north of the city. The group surmised that Tyra was heading there, and Helstrom asked that they follow her, find out what she was about, and then report back.

The party trailed Tyra to Fort Rhyker, where they found that she was creating an army of undead from the remains of a tremendous battle fought outside the Fort during the great war. They confronted Tyra again and managed to entangle her in a net. With a word, however, she vanished. The party returned to the city and reported to Father Amdahl and Commander Helstrom that an undead army might be set to march on the city during the evening of the festival. Helstrom informed the party that his preparations were being met with stiff resistance from the highest levels of power in the city, and the party guessed that this might be the work of Ulfass Borloch, now city Magistrate and former prosecutor of the coven of witches. Why Borloch would seek to hinder the party (and thereby ensure Tyra’s success) was not clear.

On the night of the festival, as the city teemed with people dressed in the costumes of the dead, an undead army rose from the river to storm the Temple of Odin. The party ran through the chaos, helping citizens and making their way to the Temple. There, Tyra animated her mother, who emerged from her crypt with a large, thin-bladed, black sword in hand. Tyra took this with a look of triumph.

The triumph was short-lived, as a strange figure in robes appeared behind Tyra and stabbed her. She pitched forward, losing her grasp on the sword, but was not killed. The sword clattered to the ground near Ava, who picked it up. Both Tyra and the strange wizard demanded the sword, each presenting arguments as to why they should receive it.

In the end, Ava gave the sword to Tyra, who took to the skies while skeletons swarmed around the strange wizard and members of the party. As she left, true to her word, Tyra dispelled the animation of the skeletons, and a littering of bones was left in the city. The strange wizard was gone.

Father Amdahl again tried to trace his niece, and this time found that she had fled far to the southwest. Nothing was known in that region other than swampland, though the party learned that an elven temple of Cedrus existed there at the time of the great war, and it was reknown for having special magical properties that were used to heal people. The party concluded that Tyra was headed for the temple to attempt to restore her mother to life.

Helstrom arranged passage to Raelsport on a military ship, and from there the party set out into the swamp south, seeking out the temple. They came across a swampie outpost where humans and goblins lived together in peace, and met an elderly goblin named Tork, who claimed to have seen the temple and agreed to guide the party to it.

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Session 8

The party continued north and east from Botkinburg, skirting the mountains and low foothills in their journey toward the dwarven hold to the north. Wrathnell caught up with the group, along with a new comrade, the Knight Lady Eveen, who rode a light stag. On the third night out from Botkinburg, Deen noticed a mountain lion and cub lurking near the perimeter of the camp and woke Wrathnell by nearly hitting him with a rock. Wrathnell befriended the mother mountain lion and Little Walder constructed a harness in which the cub could be carried. The party continued from there.

The following day the party spied a small village a mile or so from their path around the foothills and decided to head that way to resupply. The village was called Kunris, and it was immediately apparent to the party that something was going on there. An old man shouted orders to villagers with pitchforks who were hurriedly running from house to house. The party approached the old man and Lady Eveen spoke, seeking to determine what was happening. The old man, who introduced himself as Papa, was initially cautious about the approach of the party, with a Knight on a stag, a half-orc, and a mountain lion among the group, but after talking to Eveen he seemed reassured and told the party the village had been plagued by recent murders. The murderer had been seen and was described as a bald human who was able to blend into the shadows at will. The only other significant occurrence Papa could think of was a resurgence of activity at an abandoned garrison forty-five minutes from the village.

The party investigated the scene of the latest murder – the death of an old widow. They found her in her bed with her throat slashed, blood pooled on the ground near her bed. Deen investigated the inside of the house and found evidence of either entry or exit near one of the windows. Little Walder investigated the outside of the house and found a bloody partial hand print outside that same window. The lock mechanism on the window seemed to make it impossible for even a skilled thief to unlock it from outside. Eveen discovered writing, in blood, under the bed. The language was identified as some sort of goblinoid text, and Shamash interpreted what he could make out as making reference to the ‘Horned Lord.’

Having done what they could in town, the party headed for the garrison. It was an old palisade structure, and upon approach the party saw helms sticking out above the walls. Little Walder used his spyglass and determined that the helms were mounted on poles and were not helmed warriors. The party approached the palisade and found the front gate broken. The palisade seemed deserted, with only a single building and an abandoned watch town inside. The party headed for the building, where Eveen knocked and loudly announced the party. Inside, they found a set of stairs descending into the ground. Eveen led the way and craftily discovered a pit trap by stumbling into it. She also became tangled in a net, but the party lowered Little Walder to her and she was freed.

The party checked the immediate area inside the dungeon while Walder and Wrathnell remained near the pit trap. Various discoveries were made about the layout, but as this occurred Little Walder spied a shadowy figure creeping up behind Wrathnell with an exposed dagger in hand. Little Walder used color spray, and a blinded half-orc stumbled out of the shadows with a dagger in hand. Wrathnell turned to fight and the noise brought the attention of the party.

The half-orc, beaten and bloodied, whistled and two mountain lions approach, much to the irritation of Wrathnell’s friend mountain lion. The fight was engaged, and Lady Eveen attempted to enter the fray by leaping the pit trap. She was only partially successful and hit the far ledge of the pit at chest level, managing to dig her nails into the hard dirt before falling in. She was helped up, once again by Walder.

The half-orc disappeared as the party defeated the mountain lions. The party then moved further into the complex and found the wounded half-orc laying on a bed in a curtained alcove. After an exchange of words, Shamash crushed the half-orc’s ribcage with his bearded axe, ending the half-orc thief. The party discovered a chest in the room and Deen found a workable needle trap. Little Walder contributed to determining whether the chest was trapped by prying it open with a stick, releasing a poisonous gas that caused him to pitch forward, unconscious. Lady Eveen dragged the gnome into the fresh air.

A search of the remainder of the complex revealed an owlbear chained in one dark corner. The party decided to leave it alone.

Another passageway was blocked by rubble, which the party uncovered before entering. In one of the rooms beyond, the party discovered a decayed human body being feasted upon by a giant rat. Lady Eveen rushed in to dispatch the vermin, quickly realizing that something greater than a rat was before her. Little Walder looked in and reported that the party was in fact fighting a large, feral, cat-like creature. As the fight went on, the cat emitted an ear-piercing screech, causing damage to many in the party.

After the fight, the party opted to leave. A room beyond the dead cat-creature held numerous giant rats and it was determined to be too risky to deal with. As the party left, Deen checked the curtained alcove once again, accompanied by Lady Eveen.

While there, Deen transformed into an enormous ogre and attacked Lady Eveen. The Knight fled and Deen returned to the room with the dead cat-creature.

The party returned to get Deen, having to take him by force as he attempted to attack party members. Walder was able to see that he was in fact still Deen and not an ogre. Shamash slammed Deen into a wall and, after an exchange of head butts, held him fast while Little Walder bound his feet. Wrathnell discovered a compartment in one wall and opened it to reveal a pulsing, gel-like mass inside.

No sooner had Wrathnell made this discovery than Shamash let go of Deen and slammed into Wrathnell from behind, intent on death. At the same time, giant rats came streaming out of the room beyond. Little Walder and the mountain lion engaged the rats while Wrathnell and Lady Eveen attempted to destroy the mass of gel. Deen cut himself free and took his revenge on Shamash by ramming into him from behind.

The gel-creature was destroyed just in time, as the party was being weakened. Little Walder suffered a rat-bite, but the creatures returned to the far room when the gel creature was destroyed. Behind the gel creature was a solid gold statue of the Horned God.

The party detected magic in the room with giant rats and, using torches to hold the rodents at bay, retrieved the magic items. The party then decided it was far past time to leave the dungeon and return to the village to rest and heal.

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Session 7

Session 7

    The party decided to continue its efforts to rid the area around Botkinburg of its goblin troubles. Little Walder, Shamash, Nek, and Morson ventured southeast, through the mountains, to look for remnants of the goblin bands. While adventuring, the party saw smoke some distance from the road and went to investigate. The smoke turned out to be the smoldering remains of a dwarven caravan that was set upon by gnolls. A lone surviving dwarf, Ossur, lay on the verge of death.  The party tended to Ossur and he told them that two of his comrades, Aurvang and __, had been taken by the gnolls. The party saw obvious markings where the gnolls had dragged crates away from the caravan and down the grassy side of the mountain.  They set out to follow, Ossur with them.     The trail let to a lake, part of which had been dammed by the gnolls. The mucky ground that used to be under the lake had revealed an opening to an underground complex of some sort. Gnolls were outside guarding the area. It was clear the gnolls who attacked the caravan came from this place.     The party defeated the guards and headed inside, encountering more gnolls as they went. Ossur, already weak, waited by the entrance. Through a series of battles, the party succeeded in clearing out a portion of the underground complex, and also in freeing a dire weasel that had been held captive by the gnolls. Other hazards, such as poisonous snakes, were also encountered.     In one remote room, marked ominously with an ‘X’, the party encountered a filthy harpy who molested them as they trudged through a corridor filled with thick mud. The harpy used a song to charm party members, then settled on Nek’s shoulders and gouged out one of his eyes with a dirty dagger. The harpy was determined to tear out the other eye as well, but Shamash managed to drive it away.  The party pursued the harpy, slayed it, and took from its lair a strange necklace.     Finally the party came across a room containing humans, one of which looked like a priest of some sort. He identified himself as _ and engaged the party in small talk. This soon turned into a fight, and Little Walder again cast obscuring mist.  While Shamash fought the enemy within the mist, Little Walder sought to flee the room. Meanwhile, an assassin crept up silently behind Morson and Deen. The assassin struck, drawing a sharp blade across Morson’s neck in a single stroke. Deen looked on in horror as Morson slumped to the floor, dead. Deen then attacked the assassin and took his life. The party prevailed, with Walder having fled to the room of poisonous snakes, and then beyond to where Ossur waited.      By this time the party was fairly well beat down and had lost one of their number, and had another with a missing eye.  They elected to return to Botkinburg. Ossur refused, citing dwarven honor and the need to find his comrades. The party grudgingly followed as Ossur stormed into a room filled with two or three feet or water.  The dwarf identified a secret door at the far side of the room and set out toward it. As the party trudged behind, Ossur was attacked by poisonous frogs. The party managed the kill the creatures, but not before the poison coarsing through Ossur’s veins was irreversible. The dwarf died there in the room.     The party found the secret door Ossur had seen and accumulated a good deal of treasure. They then returned to Botkinburg. It became clear that the necklace taken from the harpy held powerful magic, so Little Walder took the necklace to the keep to be identified by the wizard working there under the employ of the Botkins. After a period of a few days, it was clear the wizard meant to keep the necklace for himself. The party was unable to gain another audience with him. At this point, Little Walder returned to the keep to harass the guards and to tell any who would listen of the theft of the necklace. The tale was spread elsewhere as well.     As the party returned to the inn one evening, the innkeeper informed them of a man waiting for them in their rooms. The party confronted the man and learned he was a member of the Claw, a group of assassins and other such usefuls who served at the pleasure of the Botkin power structure. A heated conversation ensued, and in the end the assassin suggested that their slanderous statements regarding the Botkin’s wizard, and activities at the keep in general, were such that the party should leave Botkinburg, never to return – unless they wished to find themselves mysteriously dead one morning.     And so the party decided that the dwarven kingdoms looked rather appealing after all and struck out north.

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Session 6

Session 6

NOTE Sessions 5 and 6 will be limited due to a loss of my note files on the DM’s computer.

    The party continues past the bodies of the slain wolves, into the winding passages beyond. The party encountered an enormous wolf that spoke and challenged them. The creature deigned to let the party pass, though with some doubt as to whether they would live. The party came across numerous traps and puzzles and encountered bipedal wolf-men who fought them at every encounter, but the party prevailed at each confrontation and passed into a tremendous natural cavern, finding themselves hundreds of feet above the ground on a wooden walkway. The party moved to the end of the walkway and found a small wooden gondola that could hold two people at a time. This gondola served to move party members to the bottom of this massive chamber, where as distant light source beckoned.     When the party reached the light source, they found the form of a female wolf-person suspended in a golden globe of light. The creature was armed with fine swords and garbed in the best cloth and shimmering mail. To all appearances, she was asleep or in a state of suspended animation. Twelve wolf-man warriors were arranged around a circle, facing inwards toward this suspended being. Beneath the suspended wolf-person, another enormous wolf lay, watching the party.     This enormous wolf also spoke, and was offended at the trespass of the party. As the party spoke with her, she told them that one of them must die to atone for the trespass, but that the others might live if they would agree to aid her. The wolf told the party that the room held the last surviving members of the race known as the Vul, who had risen to help dwarves, elves, and men in the great war against the Horned God.  The Vul were betrayed by their comrades, however, and hunted to extinction. Their queen, Kestara Vul, was imprisoned in this chamber, and it was she who the party now saw suspended before them.      The wolf asked that the party help by locating a key that could free Kestara Vul. The party agreed in exchange for their lives, yet the wolf demanded one more thing – the party members must submit to an insertion of a sliver of magical metal beneath the skin of their arms. The wolf said this would allow her to monitor the party and to take action against them if they failed to further their quest.     The party negotiated with the wolf so that only two members would have to take the metal splinters, and those two were Little Walder and Shamash.  The wolf still demanded her blood price, however, and CireDane cast sleep on the party, hoping that the wolf would choose to eat one of the slumbering members as he made his mistake. The wolf saw things differently, however. She reasoned that her best hope for freedom for her Queen, Kestara Vul, lay in the cooperation and resourcefulness of this group of strangers who had stumbled into her lair. Clearly, CireDane could not be counted on to further the goals of the party, and therefore could not be counted on to assist Kestara Vul.  The wolf made her decision in an instant and was on CireDane, rending his flesh from his bones and crunching loudly when the party awoke.     The party returned to Botkinburg with much to consider.  

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Session 5

Session 5

NOTE Sessions 5 and 6 will be limited due to a loss of my note files on the DM’s computer.

    The party returned to Blacktooth Ridge at the behest of citizens of Botkinburg, determined to clear out the remaining goblins and other creatures lurking within its depths. The party was successful, though a pitched battle near the end could have proven disastrous. Little Walder cast an obscuring mist that greatly aided the party when it was set upon by foes coming from two separate directions. Little Walder was then able to help himself by shutting himself up in a room and casting dragon mark on the door.     After the goblins and their cohorts had been defeated, the party entered a secret door and found an ancient throne room with checkerboard tiles that affected party members according to their alignment. The party used a rope to allow members to shimmy across the tiled area and into the rear portion of the room. A black throne in the room included a carving of a naga coiled around it, and when this carving was touched the naga came to life. This led to another fight, as well as to Shamash being sent, running in fear, down a cold, evil passageway the party had avoided thus far. Shamash’s running was stopped when he fell into a pit trap.      The party defeated the naga and retrieved Shamash. Meanwhile, Wrathnell tried to use a cursed dagger and found he couldn’t drop it. He left the dungeon to seek out a druid rumored to reside in the fey wood who might be able to help him. The rest of the party ventured into the evil passageway that Shamash had run through in his fear. The party discovered a series of rooms with magical doorways that had changing destinations according to some arcane formula. Eventually, each party member made it out and into a long, dark passageway.  Two large wolves were killed there.

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Session 4

Session 4

    Early the next morning, members of the party set out to locate the lost Malkin twins. The team includes Deen, Little Walder, Wrothnell, and Phobos. They follow the Hruesin river away from Botkinburg, keeping an eye out for trouble as they traverse its wooded banks. Around mid-morning the trees begin to thin and the party sees Blacktooth Ridge across the river to their left. They note what appear to be windows carved high up in the sheer face of the ridge, as well as a tower atop the ridge and an ancient stone bridge that traverses the Hruesin. Some distance from the river and to their right, the party sees the Malkin farmhouse. Nothing appears to be amiss upon initial inspection, other than a broken portion of a fence surrounding one of the Malkin’s fields. A number of sheep and a few cattle graze within the field. The interior of the farmhouse has not been ransacked and the building does not appear to be damaged in any way.  A rotting kettle of soup sits about the stove, however, evidence that the Malkin’s did not intend to be gone long. The party finds evidence of a skirmish between the farmhouse and the barn, as well as near the broken portion of fence, and Phobos begins to track the small prints that lead away from the area.     Following Phobos’ tracking, the party crosses the Hruesin via the bridge, then turns and travels along the edge of Blacktooth Ridge, the rocky walls towering over them. Phobos leads them to an area where a small passage is cunningly hidden among fallen boulders, and Deen scrambles atop the rocks to see what lies on the other side. Peering down from his perch he sees a door set into the very face of the ridge. It is unguarded.     Heading inside, the players find a dimly lit room with a small table on which lay leather tankards and scraps of metal. Sounds of laughing and excited conversation comes from beyond the room, and Little Walder recognizes the speech as goblin, though he cannot discern what they say.  As the party contemplates its next move, a drunken goblin staggers down the hallway toward them. The party prepares for the arrival of the hapless creatures and assaults it as it enters the room. The goblin is easily knocked unconscious, and Little Walder disposes of the helpless wretch with a knife across the throat.  The party moves foward to inspect the next area, only to find a room of crates ahead, large creatures sifting through the crates and carrying bundles deeper into the complex, as well as another room, with a door slightly ajar, containing numerous goblins playing at dice and drinking ale.     The party chooses to deal with the goblins first, rigging a rope to a door across the hall from them and then tying it securely to the door of the goblin’s room as they pull it shut. The rope is taut and the goblins who were dicing inside the room are effectively trapped, yanking at the door to no avail as the party moves ahead to deal with the larger creatures.     The larger creatures turn out to be gnolls, and the party has dealt with their kind before. after a pitched battle, the party is victorious, and they move along a left passageway to explore the area beyond. While exploring they encounter the gnoll’s sleeping area, as well as a room containing additional gnolls. They also find a room full of enormous weapons and armor, though the wielders of these weapons appear to be away. Finally, the party discovered the Malkin twins, along with an unknown man, hanging from shackles set into the thick stone walls. The party frees the three and flees the dungeon, heading back to Botkinburg.     Among the treasures secured by the party are two silver candlesticks and a snuffer, another set of silverware, a chipped stone statue of a horned humanoid, and what appears to be a golden mouthpiece to some sort of horn. Also found is a dice made of bone and a 1.5 foot by 3 foot mirror. In coin, the party finds 93 gp, 255 sp, and 630 cp.

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Session 3

Session 3

    After spending another week at the Brewery, the PCs are finally greeted by the bands of dwarves summoned to the area by Brugni.  The leader of the group of dwarves, Dromi, expresses his gratitude to the PCs for their efforts in reclaiming the ancient dwarven temple, and he provides each character with a leather-bound token imprinted with a hammer, the symbol of Baelin’s hold, from which the dwarves have come. The tokens wll indentify the party members as friends of the hold. A new member joins the group – a half-elf ranger named Sentawan.     The party then decides to head north toward Botkinburg, upon hearing rumors of trouble in that region. Botkinburg is a couple of weeks away and the journery will take them over the mountains north of Srilkind. Most of the trip is uneventful. One evening, however, the party is set upon by hobgoblins during the third watch of the evening. Eight of the creatures ambush the party from cover of darkness, and only Wrothnell and Little Walder as awake to fend of the attack. As a first order of business, the two on watch set about trying to wake other members of the party, and are successful except in the case of Deen, who continues to sleep soundly. Little Walder downs a hobgoblin with color spray but is himself pummeled into unconsciousness. Wrothnell falls as well, but by this time the remainder of the party is awake and the battle engaged. The party manages to defeat the hobgoblins without suffering any deaths, though the group as a whole is battered and bruised. Deen wakes in time to help kill the enemy.     The eight slain hobgoblins were not alone. During the attack Sentawan and others noticed arrows being fired into the fray from the darkness. After the fight, Senatawan examines the area and determines that at least two hobgoblins had crouched behind a rock but have since fled into the trees. Sentawan, Deen, and Phobos decide to follow. They track the hobgoblins to a small clearing, where they find three of the creatures looting human corpses.  The three party members engage the hobgoblins and defeat them, though Phobos is rendered unconscious in the battle. The party collects, among other small treasures, two nondescript gold rings that appear to have come from a dead male and female in the clearing, as well as a leather-wrapped set of exquisite silverware.     When the three return to the rest of the group and Phobos regains consciousness, they continue toward Botkinburg. On the remainder of the trip they encounter only a wagon heading in the opposite direction, and a strange dog that is able to speak and can vanish from sight, appearing a short distance away in an instance. No battles ensue and the party finally arrives in Botkinburg.     While staying at the Bent Nail, the party begins to learn of the goings-on in the city. Wrothnell first examines a large and ancient tree situated atop a mound in town.  It appears to be a place of worship and he learns that a strange man, presumed to be a Druid, inhabits the forests near the city. More pressing, however, is the recent activity of a band of goblins calling themselves the red caps. They are suspected in the disappearance of a pair of twins who went missing from their farmhouse. The party resolves to find the missing twins at first light.     (Session XP: 245, Wrothnell, Little Walder, Deen, Phobos, Bolgar, Shamash; 145 for Sentawan)

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Session 2

Session 2

    The PCs spend a few days recuperating at the Brewery and talking to some of the people in Srilkind, the village near the brewery. In the meantime, Pell heads back into the temple to check on the goblins and let them know it is going to take a while before the PCs can get them out of the temple. Shamash follows along behind. As Pell descends into the temple, a barbed fishing net closes around him and he is pulled roughly to the temple floor and dragged across the hard surface. Shamash spots two fish demons, one pulling a rope attached to the fishing net, the other holding a trident. They are well within the temple, and Shamash decides there is nothing he can do. He sees the fish demon with the trident repeatedly stab at Pell, then the two fish demons disappear into the darkness, dragging the inert form of Pell behind them.     Shamash speeds back to the other PCs to let them know what has happened. Brugni’s mood worsens at the news, and the party is left to consider what to do next. While the party is deliberating, a Druid named Rothnell arrives at the Brewery, his friend a gnome Illusionist named Little Walder with him. The two agree to help the party as they endeavor to rid the ancient temple of the fish demons.     The party gets in touch with a fisherman named Arnfast, asking whether he knows of any place that might provide a entrance into the temple from the ocean, thereby allowing them to avoid further traps. Arnfast does indeed know of a mostly-submerged cave that is in the right area, and he has seen goblins in the vicinity of it in the past. More recently, he has seen fish demons there. The party agrees to accompany him to the cave, and after swimming underwater to the space beyond they find they are on the other side of the cave-in that has trapped the goblins. A ramshackle goblin boat is in the area as well. Further investigation leads to the discovery of another underground tunnel that leads to a natural cavern and then into the temple itself. The party heads that way.     Upon re-entering the temple, the PCs skirmish with two fish demons in the hallways, the fish demons having reset the trap that captured Pell. The PCs prevail and head into the temple’s main room, studying the pool of water at the far end. A fish demon emerges from the water and stabs Shamash with a trident, but Shamash grabs it and hauls it bodily from the water as the PCs kill it.     Swimming through the pool the PCs discover a natural cavern formation on the far side. The mostly-eaten body of Pell is there, as is a weak goblin who has been hiding from the fish demons, sure his tribe has been slaughtered. The PCs tell the goblin that members of his tribe still live and that they will help him escape in time. The Druid creates an alarm back in the temple room that will alert him if anything enters the area, Deen creates a trap in the hallway, and the PCs move forward.     The PCs discover yet another pool of water, and Rothnell throws a chunk of fish in to make sure there are no fish demons lurking inside. A rune above the pool flares to life and a blast injures Deen and Shamash. Shamash tries some of the clear liquid found previously in the temple and discovers it is a healing potion. He then scouts out the area through the pool, which appears to lead to a room full of fish demons.     The party swims into the far room, emerging to surprise the fish demons. In this room is the apparent leader of the fish demons. The PCs surprise the fish demons, and Little Walder uses color spray to knock two of them unconscious. The party engages, and the leader of the fish demons creates a blast of sound in the room, injuring Rothnell and Shamash and knocking Deen unconscious. The party manages to defeat the fish demons, but the leader escapes into the pool and swims away.     The PCs revive Deen and search the room, discovering a stoppered and waxed coral bottle and a leather bag. They then leave the room to inform Brugni of what has transpired. They find that the fish demon leader has become ensnared in Deen’s trap, and the party kills it, taking the head to show Brugni. Rothnell takes from the fish demon a necklace with a coral charm in the shape of a shark, studded with tiny red gemstones.     As the party heads back to Brugni, Shamash explores the only unexplored tunnel, which is filled with water and descends rapidly into the depths of the earth. He eventually emerges into what appears to be a vast underground sea. It is clear this is where the fish demons came from. Armed with this knowlege, Shamash returns to the party.     Brugni is excited to learn that the fish demons have been defeated, but dismayed to learn of the underground sea and the access to the temple. He tells the party a group of dwarves are on their way to the brewery and will arrive in around a week. They will be interested in this long-lost temple, and will also (he hopes) be able to seal the tunnel leading to the underground sea. In the meantime, Brugni orders the tunnel barricaded as best as possible.     While waiting for the dwarves to arrive, the PCs take a couple of days of well-earned rest at the brewery. They are approached by a local rancher named Olaf who is concerned about sheep from his herd on the mountainside that have been missing or killed. He suspects goblins or, on an outside chance, gnolls. The PC agree to investigate.     After staking out the clearing where the sheep disappeared for a couple of nights, Deen finally hears a high-pitched chuckling in the dark one night while he is on watch. He rouses the rest of the party and then heads off to investigate. Moving up the mountainside, he hears the sounds of combat in the distance. Sneaking through the trees, he sees what appears to be a gnoll engaged with a very large, tall four-legged creature. The creature pummels the gnoll to the ground with hooved-feet and kills it, Deen steadies himself and looses an arrow at the creature. The arrow misses but catches the thing’s attention.     Deen flees down the mountainside with the creature on his heels. He narrowly misses having his skull caved in as the creature lashes at him with its hooves. Deen makes it back to the clearing and the creature does not pursue. Deen tells the rest of the party what he saw.     The party reconvenes at the ranch house and discusses their next plan of attack. They take a day or so to gather supplies and prepare traps for the fearsome creature in the mountains. The morning they set out to lay the traps, they find the severed, clearly bitten-off, head of one of the shepherds perched on a rock that has been pushed into the clearing where Deen first heard the creature.  They set about with their traps, planning to construct three separate traps along the mountainside trail. The plan is for Shamash to ride a riding horse that belonged to the now-dead Pell, catch the creature’s attention, and then flee down the mountainside with the creature in hot pursuit. The horse will jump over the first trap, letting the monster plunge headlong into it, and then Shamash will ride past Deen and Rothnell, who man the second and third traps. Little Walder will use obscuring mist to confound the creature while Rothnell lights it up with faerie fire.     When the time comes, Shamash does indeed catch the creature’s attention. The plan goes awry when the frightened and frenzied horse he is riding fails to jump and rides headlong into the first trap. The horse goes down on it front legs, snapping both and tossing Shamash into the air. In a display of monkly skill, Shamash rolls when he hits the ground and springs to his feet. He looks back to see the monster plow headlong into the horse, both of them tumbling to the ground. As the party watches in horror, the enormous creature snaps the neck of the horse with two vicious bites and shakes the dead body off of itself to rise.     The party maintains their position, waiting for the creature to venture further down the mountainside and into the second two traps. A decoy rope is set to entice the creature to jump into the traps. The creature just stands there, however, surveying the trail. It spots the decoy rope and appears to reconsider the wisdom of proceeding into an area that has been prepared for it. It turns and flees up the mountain.     The next morning the PCs track the creature to its lair, a cave in the mountainside, but decide against going in to confront the beast. Instead, they leave the severed head of Pell’s dead horse outside the lair as an indication to the creature that they know where it is. That done, they return to the ranch to let Olaf know what has transpired, then go back to the brewery to await the arrival of the dwarves.     (Session XP: 535 – Rothnell, Deen, Shamash, Little Walder)

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Session 1

Session 1

    The party consists of Pell, an elven Knight; Deen, a human Thief; Phobos, a Ranger; Shamash, a half-orc Monk; and Bolgar, a human Cleric. While taking in food and drink at a remote roadhouse, the party engages in a conversation with Rogmar, a messenger sent from the Eel’s Head Brewery to the northwest in search of aid. Four murders have occurred beneath the brewery, in the natural caverns used for storage. Rogmar tells the PCs he is headed south to seek official aid on behalf of Brugni Kettilson, Brewmaster.     The PCs have heard of the Eel’s Head Brewery. It’s ale is reknowned, though too expensive for the average person. They decide that they can travel to the brewery well before Rogmar is able to return with official aid, and if they can solve the mystery at the brewery they will stand to gain a reward, as well as begin to make names for themselves.     Arriving at the brewery, they meet with Brugni, who confirms that four murders have taken place, all since an earthquake shook the area. The PCs negotiate a payment with Brugni, which includes a special run of the Brewery’s Ale for the coming fall which is to be named after the party should they succeed. Brugni takes the PCs into the caverns to investigate, and the PCs discover a salt-like residue on the ground near the murder scenes, as well as an opening (apparently due to the earthquake) from the caverns into some area below. They decide to descend to investigate further.     Having descended, the PCs discover the remains of what appears to be an ancient dwarven temple. Dwarven carvings line the walls, though many have been defaced and replaced with crude images of sharks or other fish. While searching the area, the PCs discover a small group of goblins who have barricaded themselves in one of the rooms. The goblins are emaciated and have clearly been sleeping and relieving themselves in the room for some time. Shamash speaks goblin, so he talks to them and learns that the goblin tribe was using the temple as a hideout until the ‘fish demons’ arrived shortly after the earthquake. Now, many of the goblins have been killed and the remainder are terrified. The earthquake collapsed the corridor the goblins used to enter and leave the temple, so they can’t escape.     The PCs promise to help the goblins in exchange for their knowledge of the layout of the temple, and the goblins draw a crude map for the PCs marking each area of the temple they know about. After leaving the goblins, the PCs discover a secret door that leads into a chamber that appears to be undisturbed. The PCs discover two bottles of clear liquid, a leather-bound book written in dwarven script, and four ornate dwarven warhammers that are in perfect condition even though they appear quite old. The PCs take these items.     Exploring further, the PCs discover a natural cavern formation with a pool of salt water at the far end, an area that looks like it may once have been a bedroom (which is also undisturbed and in which they find a silver necklace with a warhammer charm attached), and a kitchen area that looks long-abandoned. There are a few goblin bodies scattered about, some of which are eviscerated. During this time the PCs also fight two ‘fish demons,’ which are humanoid, scaled, greenish-blue fish-like creatures with fins, webbed hands, and large eyes. One of these fish demons wields a trident, the other a crude sword.     The PCs fight additional fish demons in the temple’s main room, a room that contains an altar and a statue of a shark-like figure. A previous dwarven statue has been pushed over and lies in ruin. During this fight, one of the fish men breaks a bottle of blood on the altar and the eyes of the shark statue begin to glow. The fish demons seem to increase in stature, their attacks more fearsome and more sure. The PCs nevertheless defeat the fish demons and topple the shark statue, pushing the pieces into a pool at the far end of the room. Deen finds two bottles of blood and two scrolls in an open area in the back of the altar.     By this time the PCs are rather in need of rest and healing. The cleric, Bolgar, does what he can to heal the group, and then everyone heads back up to the brewery to tell Brugni what they’ve learned.     Brugni is distraught by the news, and though he is grateful to the PCs for finding out what is behind the recent deaths, he wonders if the PCs will be able to do anything about it.     (Session XP: 375 – Pell, Deen, Shamash, Phobos, Bolgar)

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