With things pretty well in hand after the final battle and then the arrangement with the flinds at Koralgesh, the groups decide to split up, continuing on their way. Throgrim takes out 10 potions of Healing which Lyseios created, and he hands them to the Wild Bunch.
The Wild Bunch leaves Littleborough, and they proceed to Koralgesh. The Heroes of Hommlet are going to proceed on their investigation of the giant troubles to the west....
Sunday, 2nd of Planting (582 CY)
It's a partly cloudy day, with a light wind from the NE. Temp is about normal, and the Wild Bunch says their goodbyes to the Heroes of Hommlet. The two groups split up, with the Wild Bunch heading back to the south towards Koralgesh and ultimately to the Mithril Mines, while the Heroes head west, into Veluna and on the trail of the giants.
I should add, two dwarves show up just before they leave. One is a female dwarf, usually rather rare. Her name is Samra al Holybatlert (Goes by Sam), and she is a priestess of Berronar. The other is a dwarven warrior, Norric Holzmalk. The two heard of what is going on, and they have made their way here to assist in the retaking of the dwarven lands.
It’s the morning of leaving the town when into the common room of the inn the wild bunch is staying at the door flies opens and in walks the tallest dwarf you have seen, almost 5'. Sitting down in the first chair she, yes you realize that despite the beard it is a she. She says, in common, " Barkeep, a tankard of your best and can anyone summon the adventurers of this place that are going to the dwarf hold. Tell then that I will see them now." She says a prayer over the ale.
Astrid responds, "There aren't any. No one who lives here goes there."
"Figures,” replies Sam. “I came all this way for nothing." She then calls the innkeeper over and orders the best room in the house, and someone to take her stuff up to her room. If no one else approaches her she will finally spot Din and call him over.
Bree will try to liven up the tavern with her many talents!
Thelyn takes silvermoon to the stables and pays for the best room and board available for him, and the best stabling for his horse. He orders the finest wine and food available and invites all survivors of the last excursion to the table.
"We are lucky to be alive and should enjoy life to the fullest!! To the finest group of companions one could ask for as we journey onward!"
Then he turns to the barkeep. "Keep the alcohol flowing for me and my companions, it's on my tab." He says with a smile and gives them some good to get started.
"Elf," the female dwarf says, "this group of yours, you seem to be short on honoring the gods. Who does your healing and blessings
"The gods can choke or pound sand for all I care,” replies Theyln. “They have done me no favors, and they don't need me to honor them."
"Whatever,” she replies. “You are probably not the party I am looking for."
“So, do you come with a name or do we just call you the short bearded girl?” says a cloaked figure. “I'm Mal. I take some getting use to (if ever). Theyln seems to hold something against me. I may of stole his kill. I'll endeavor to be less aggressive next time. Mals a taker of life, what say you? What brings you joy in life?”
Norric walks into the place and looks about. He's a wide as he is tall and heavily muscles with dark hard and braids in his beard and on his head. He wears exquisite studded leather armour and carries some fearsome weapons. He makes his way over to Din, who is obviously the leader of the group. "I'm Norric Holzmalk," he says by way of greeting. "I understand ye need some muscle in this group. Too many of them damned fairy elves prancing about waving their hands instead of killing things. Me weapons are yours fer me fair share and a chance to be killing giants and other big beasties."
Even Din finds he's surly for a dwarf. He makes Gotrek look cordial in comparison.
Looking at Mal she says, "A Hobgoblin is friendlier then an elf, I see how this is. Thank you Mal, you may call me Sam. I get carried away sometimes in the killing of sub races but mostly I am a priestess of Berronar and wish to see our lands restored. If this is the party that is to try to do that than I will aid you. Ah I see other dwarfs I will go to great them. Thank you for the greeting."
She walks to Din and sits down, "Are you the one in charge, and another new one like me, if I heard correctly. I am sent to aid you by the Temple Of Berronar and you look like you can use all the help you can get. That elf, where did you get him, I thought his queen kept his kind locked in the forest. The others seem in need of your leadership." In a whisper, "I see you even have a trained Hobgoblin, he is cute and respectful. I always wanted a pet. You can call me Sam."
“Well welcome,” says Mal. “Ye be right about dirt divin in the abandon mines. We might be knee deep in poo again but we shall welcome your aid. And you know elves. They dont really like other races. I wouldn't pay it any mind. They all run red when my spear finds it mark so I see no real difference to base any prejudices.”
Sam looks at Norric, she is almost as muscular as he is. "We should work together to help these restore our lands. I know it goes against our nature but they are willing which, I am sad to say, so many of our own are not, Try to be nice, I know I will even if it kills me. Such is the burden we all must bare."
The two dwarfs recognize that she is from the class called Highborn.
Norric looks back and says, "Ye just do yer job as a walking healing potion and we'll get along just fine, fancy britches. I couldn't give a rat's **** about restoring lands. I came to kill things."
“Then ye and I will be good friends in the future,” replies Mal. “If it don’t spend or bleed I could really care less. Ye can’t spend glory.”
"We will get along fine,” says Sam. “I will cure you and kill them. I think that is fair."
"Mal, you seem a good sort, I think we can get along." She thinks, "Cute but deadly, I like it."
Bree walks over and after listening to the conversation chimes in. "After our last encounter I would figure people in this party would be happy to get help from where ever it came."
Once the party gathers a few more supplies, they prepare to set off on the trail once again. Sil has spent the time making sure her supplies are restocked and that she has plenty of arrows, that her bows are still in good repair, that her weapons and armor are also still in good repair. Once ready she will offer to take the lead as scout or co-scout for the group. "Ah, a couple of newer recruits than myself? Very good. I am Silmarwen and I don't cast spells." She says with a smirk having heard Norric's comment earlier. "Feel free to call me Sil." She adds as she suddenly realizes she really hadn't introduced herself to the rest of Toni's friends other than Thelyn.
Din is silent and sharpens his axe.
“So..expecting trouble are we master dwarf.” Says Sil. It is not a question. “How far away are these mines? I once heard tells of this huge ball of jello. Quite an unfriendly sort that ate the goblin group. We're not getting near that area reportedly inhabited by undead I hope. It's just not natural for dead things to move about.”
"Not too far, I'd wager," Din replies. "The undead you speak of infest Karaduum...Thorgrim warned me to stay well clear of that place. Of course, he also warned me not to take a war to the gnolls of Koralgesh, and not to push too hard into these mithril mines if the way seems beyond my ability. I sort of do my own thing, as I am neither his slave nor his servant, but a Free Dwarf with a mind of me own."
"I do choose to follow Thorgrim...he says he has a plan to re-take Dorob Kilthduum, and I would like to see that achieved. There is supposed to be a secret entrance to our former home through the mines, and I would like to find that...take those damned Orcs by surprise, we would! If we find such a tunnel, we should be careful about exploring it. Nobody knows how many Orcs reside inside, but they began with some hundreds, maybe, and more than 50 years have passed. They could number in the thousands or tens of thousands by now..."
Din looks glum for a moment, then takes a shot from his flask and shakes it off.
"From hundreds of gnolls to thousands of orcs,” says Bree sarcastically. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire!"
Norric says, "We don't even know if orcs are there. Ye all are makin some leaps. Maybe we should be lookin at the place before we go chargin in?"
“Wise advice,” says Mal. “Let’s not get weak in the knees until we at least know what we face. But our mission is the mines. We aren’t tasked with the cleansing of Orcs at this time.”
"Right,” says Astrid. “We are looking for a back door. We don't have to enter it."
"We don't know what's in those mines," Din says. "Could be orcs, could be anything...even undead."
"Mebbe giants," Norric intones with a deep hunger in his voice.
Sil waits for a moment before speaking up, "Perhaps instead of wondering what lies in store for us, and pondering what potential nasties wait to kill us, maybe we should set off and actually check what we are up against?" She feels there is a time for action and a time for caution, right now is the time for action before caution.
"We are NOT kobolds living in warrens," Norric harrumphs, "You have never known beauty until you have seen the wonders of an underground dwarven city."
"Beauty is usually in the eye of the beholder,” says Bree with a laugh. “Except in rare cases like myself ... I am just universally gorgeous! One man's underground beauty may be another person's large hole in the earth."
Mal's not quite sure how to respond. He just shakes his head in agreement.
"Ye ain't bad girl,” says Norric, “but it's hard to get interested in a woman with no beard."
Din laughs heartily. “Laddie, lookin under the beard is half the fun."
Sam listens while thinking about her own beard.f
"Well,” responds Bree. “I just don't see my face sprouting whiskers anytime soon ... my brother might at some point."
Norric leers at Sam. To the point where it becomes distinctly uncomfortable. Sam seems to not even notice the leer, until she says, "If you want to keep both them eyes lad you will want to look somewhere else. At least till you be talking with my dad."
The Wild Bunch eventually sets out, and they reach the camp near the Fortress of Koralgesh that night. Nobody has any mounts except Theyln, who proudly rides ahead.
Moonday, 3rd Planting (582)
The day breaks and it is a partly cloudy day which starts to warm up fast. The party moves on, passed the Fortress of Koralgesh, and south along the river road in the direction of Dorob Kilthduum. They assume that they have about a day's travel before the get to the mines. The day passes rather uneventfully, with no sign of gnolls or flinds.
Towards the end of the day, the party reaches a gorge, about 200' wide, with a turbulent river flowing at the bottom about 100' below. Fortunately, the torrent is spanned by a massive stone bridge composed of three arches supported by two huge piers sunk into the riverbed.
Side view of bridge
The sides of the bridge are protected by stone walls, 2' high and 2' wide. The columns that flank your approach are cracked and covered with vines and moss. From this vantage point, the bridge appears to be old, but the dwarves note very quickly that it is still quite solid. The beginning of the bridge is flanked by two large 10' square marble pedastals. The left pedestal is covered with rubble, but a beautiful marble statue of a pegasus rears up on the right one. Ot would likely be quite valuable, were if not missing one wing.
Standing in the middle of the bridge about 20' beyond the pedestals and halfway to the first pier is a huge monstrous troll!
In common Sam says," Troll, we seek to cross this bridge, may we please do so."
The troll didn't notice the party until Sam spoke up. Then it turns towards them and snarls!
Sam, says, "Good, it does not want to talk, now we fight." She takes out her two handed hammer and advances carefully while saying, in dwarf, "Fight, fight, fight."
Mal climbs a tree. Not sure which side we are on but there seems to be trees on both sides. Once up pull out bow and nook an arrow. Good luck Sam. Hope your efforts bear fruit, but luck hasn’t been on our side in the past.
Norric shouts with joy, pulls out his axes and attacks the troll.
Mal was inclinded to wait and see but as soon as dwarvish war cries erupts from behind, Mal fires at what Norric intends to charge.
Norric charges across the bridge, drawing his battleaxe as he does so. The troll swipes at him, but he ducks under the claw and swings back, also missing. Bree casts a Ray of Enfeeblement, which streaks out from her hand but misses the troll. Sil steps out and around those in front of her to get a clear shot at the troll. As she moves, she readies an arrow so that when she comes to a stop; she is ready to fire. She lets loose, but the arrow streaks over the troll's head.
The troll attacks Norric with both claws and a vicious bite, but the nimble dwarf avoids all three, ducking and dodging around the clumsy troll. Theyln swears something about foolhardy dwarves, draws his sword, and charges across the bridge as well. Din fires his crossbow, sending a bolt right over Norric's head and slamming into the troll's arm . The troll just takes it and plucks it out, tossing it aside.
Finally, Astrid moves up and leaps atop the pedestal to the left, where she gets a good look at the troll. She notes that wound from Din's crossbow gradually closes itself up, regenerating fully!
Bree pulls out her dagger, then moves a bit closer, just behind the first anchoring pillar of the bridge, looking for an opportunity to do something. Sil steps up and fires an arrow at the troll, missing. Mal finds a place in the tree from which he can fire his bow at the troll and gets his bow ready.
Theyln slashes at the troll, chopping off one its arms! 
Astrid runs along the left wall of the bridge, then does a flip and roll (i.e. tumbles), coming up behind the troll with her latajang ready. Din moves up to the corner of the right-hand pedestal with the statue on it and reloads his crossbow.
Norric swings with his axe, but misses badly, nearly falling down. The troll responds with a claw swipe . The detached hand also grasps at him, but misses. The troll then bites Theyln .
Sam then move forward, staying just out of reach of the troll to avoid attacks of opportunity as she advances.
Sil then fires another arrow, hitting Norric in the back!  Theyln also misses with a second shot.
Bree moves up behind Din, dagger in hand. Mal and Sil are ready to fire, but they hold their shots, wanting to avoid hitting friends. They have arrows knocked and ready, and will release if they get an opening.
Din takes out his axe and moves up to attack the troll, which claws at him as he approaches. Sam then moves around the edge as well, taking a claw  from the troll as she does so. She swings at it missing.
The troll attacks, with the severed hand grabbing Silvermoon and digging into her leg . It attacks Norric with the other claw  and it bites Theyln .
Theyln attacks again, slashing at it again for . Everyone else misses.
The troll attacks Theyln and Norric, missing with its claws and bite, while it continues to attack Silvermoon, clawing again .
Theyln withdraws with Silvermoon, parrying any attacks by the troll as he gets his mount out of harms way. "Look after her," he says to Bree as he dismounts next to her. He then notices the troll claw still holding onto Silvermoon's leg, which is looking pretty bloody there as the thing continues to dig away at it.
Bree moves up and pries the claw away, tossing it over the bridge. "That'll teach ya!" she yells.
Sil no longer has a clear shot, so she moves up by the edge of the bridge.
The dwarves all attack and miss, while Astrid lops off the trolls right leg with a sweep of her latajang . It tumbles down, but still writhes around fiercely, and everyone can see the previous wounds regenerating quickly. Even the stumps where Theyln lopped off a claw is no longer bleeding.
"Bloody hell,” curses Sil. “Someone use fire on the damned thing!"
Bree leads Silvermoon away, back off the bridge. She just looks at Sil. "I know," she says.
The troll then attacks. [I'm not sure how to handle the attacks with one limb now thrown over the side. I'll just let it use it's stump for bashing, at less damage. :)] It turns and attacks Astrid with a full attack, clawing her for , drawing her head down to its level, and then biting her in the ear ! It bites Astrid's right ear clean off, ripping it away savagely. Astrid screams in pain, falling back to the ground stunned as the troll swallows her ear!
Sam steps towards Astrid, and again attacks, missing the troll completely. Din chops at the troll's back, hitting it for . Norric then chops at the troll, missing badly and slamming his axe so hard into the stone floor of the bridge that it snaps right behind the axe-head!
He curses and is about to draw his axes, when he hears Theyln shout. "Get away from it!" he yells.
Norric backs off, stepping clear, as Theyln casts Chromatic Orb, throwing a flaming orange ball at the troll. It hits it, and the troll takes  damage from the fire. However, its dry flaking skins starts crackling intensely, and it hops and rolls, putting out the dreaded flames!
The troll grabs the stunned Astrid and throws her off bridge! She plunges nearly 70', but she is able to twist and hit the water cleanly, taking only  from the impact. Din and Sam both took AoO when the troll grabs Astrid, but the both missed!
Bree takes out her Wand of Wonder. "Why not?" she mumbles.
Sam was about to heal Astrid, but with the troll throwing Astrid over the side, she turns back to it and attacks. [She doesn't get an attack, since she was going to cast a spell. She thus just doesn't cast her spell.]
Sil puts her bow away and follows Astrid downstream. Well, it's a straight gorge, so she cannot help right now. However, she can follow, attempting to keep an eye on her. She sees Astrid surface, though the monk is immediately carried away downstream. Sil rushes along the top of the gorge, trying to get down to help her.
Mal swears, but still holds his fire. Din steps to the side, staying out of Theyln's line-of-fire, and attacks again. Unfortunately, he misses. Theyln, however, does not, as he throws another Chromatic Orb, this one doing . The trolls roars in pain, turns and glares savagely at Theyln, only to be interrupted by a charging Norric. Two hand-axes in hands, he rushes right into the troll, swinging wildly but missing with each blow.
As you can see, Sil and Astrid are not on the map. Astrid's down in the river, while Sil is running after her.
"Everyone better stand back. No telling what will happen this wand discharges!", Bree shouts.
Bree calls out, then activates her Wand of Wonder. Suddenly, a large paper clown appears atop the troll's head! The trolls swipes it with one arm, blasting it apart as it turns and attacks Din and Norric. It would go after Theyln, but recognizes that with one legs chopped off it will never make it. Thus, it settles for some dwarf meat. Din is clawed for , while it misses Norric.
Theyln throws another Chromatic Orb [I realize now that it's not treated like a missile weapon.] He throws another flaming orb, this one also hitting and erupting on the troll . It screams a very loud and ear-splitting scream which sends shivers down the party's spine.
The dwarves all attack, with Sam hitting it with her hammer . Norric adds another blow of a handaxe  while Din misses, tearing up the remainder of the strange paper jester.
Meanwhile, Astrid is knocked around terribly by the raging water of this narrow torrent. She takes  from being pummeled against the rocks. Without knowing how to swim, she finds herself at the mercy of the raging waters. Sil cannot keep up with Astrid's downstream progress, and she quickly falls back and looses sight of her. Plus, the vegetation along the edge eventually forces her away from the river, so she takes off at as fast a pace as possible, trying to find a way around or down.
The troll attacks Din, grabbing him with both arms. Din attempts to break free, but he fails. Sam misses, while Norric backs off, lays down his axe, takes off his backpack, and rummages around for a flask of oil. [See how much has to happen?] :)
Theyln sees what Sam is doing, holds off on another spell, and instead drinks his Potion of Healing and heals .
Bree then uses another shot from her wand.
Suddenly, the troll and all three dwarves fall UPWARDS! [DM OOC: The wand caused Reverse Gravity in a 30'r]. They fall about 1000' high (and I'm being VERY generous with that!!!) by the end of the first round.
Meanwhile, Astrid continues downstream....
[Mal OOC: Well the good news is, terminal velocity will pretty much cap falling damage. The bad news is the cap will probably be around 20d6.]
[Bree OOC: Hey she did shout a warning! Sorry about shooting the dwarves into orbit ... no one can toss a dwarf ... but apparently they can shoot them into the great beyond!]
Bree watches the troll and dwarves shoot into orbit. "Hmmm ... never did that before."
Din reaches to whip out his Potion of Flying, then realizes that he already gave it to Bree, the very person who's now murdering us all! "Curses on you and that damned wand!" he screams.
Bree shouts back, "Sorry Din ... you have to admit this is the first time it has done something harmful to the party." Bree is fluent in dwarvish and it mortified such foul language would be used in the presence of a lady! "Sorry guys ... I guess this adventure is really 'up in the air' at the moment!"
Well, assuming there's really nothing that anyone can do, the four “fall up” for another round, which puts them VERY high! However, there's a moderate breeze from the SW at 17mph, so...as soon as somebody falls off to the side enough to clear the area of effect, that individual will start falling back down. Now, I'm not really going to get crazy with the physics, but here goes.
Everyone falls up about 500' when Norric clears the field (he was right on the edge.) He then starts to plunge downwards again. He continues to fall towards the NE, landing squarely in the river. He takes 7d6 damage when he hits the water ! He is left with 2hp!!! He then begins to be swept downriver. Luckily, he successfully grabs a boulder and hangs on for dear life. He cannot do anything except simply stay there as the water pounds against him.
Din, Sam, and the troll are still falling up! They are waaaaayyyyyy up there now! Others can’t even see them anymore.
Sil realizes she can't catch Astrid by chasing after her on land, and decides to take to the water to try saving her. She will leave her pack, weapons, and ferret on the shore where she enters and hope that her companions won't think she was dragged off.
"I'm on my way, Astrid!" She mutters as she gets into the river.
[DM OOC: Also, this is a gorge, about 70' deep, so there are no "banks" to the river. You can't get down to it. You would have to just leap off the top..... Finally, there's no maneuver that Sam or Din can do. They are free-falling up. In a minute gravity will return to normal and they will start to fall down. They better hope they hit the water, because anything else is certain death. We're talking a fall of a few thousand feet now.]
[Bree OOC: I did warn everyone I was discharging the wand! I think our DM is having more fun with this wand than I am which is probably why he allowed me to retrieve it.]
Din pushes away from the troll and pulls out his bag of holding. It's tough, but he is able to wiggle into it just before he starts to fall. The bag plummets to the water, hitting with a big splash. However, Din is fine inside the extradimensional space. [DM OOC: No force from the fall is transmitted inside, so he's fine. Well, except that his bag instantly starts filling up with water!]
Norric continues to hold onto a rock just down from the bridge. Meanwhile, Astrid grabs a rock as well, and she succeeds in stopping herself from tumbling further down the river. However, like Norric, she too is stuck where she is. The troll lands in the river with a tremendous splash, and its body is carried downriver as well.
[DM OOC: Time for a little deus ex machina.]
Sam, is currently floating gently down like a feather from about 1500' up in the air, the trajectory appears to be heading towards the edge of the bridge.
A tan wild elf with wild blonde hair, covered with tribal tattoos, and clad in green dragon scale armor appears near the two struggling in the water.
In a musical voice she says, "Thorgrim was right to be worried. You children are lucky I have been watching over you on occasion since we parted ways." The earlier party members will know her to be Isilme, as she met them at the Inn.
Din, Norric, and Astrid find themselves levitated out of the water and dropped gently on shore in rapid succession.
[Din OOC: Hoho cavalry's here!]
Din can barely believe he is alive...his plan worked! He felt nothing! Then the water comes rushing into the Bag. He feels the jade scrollcase bump him in the face, floating on the water, and he grabs it. He takes a deep breath and fights for the opening but can't find it! It's pitch black and the walls undulate and surround him, smothering him. In the dark, his seeking hands sieze on a weapon handle...his new axe! Din yanks its sheath off with his teeth and slashes the bag open! He opens his eyes and looks up, and fights for the shore.
Isilme helps the party to gather back together at the bridge and heals everyone back to full strength with prayers to her goddess. She even lays hands on Silverymoon and heals all the horse’s wounds as well. After providing all needed aid, Isilme flies over to Bree and floats above her saying, "Your brother always hated me using that wand," and suddenly the wand of wonder flies into her outstretched hand. "I will take that for now dear," she says with a smile.
"Hey no fair! It isn't like I burned down a keep with people still inside or shot off a fireball at point blank range." Bree protests.
Theyln walks over to Bree and hands her his Wand of Magic Missiles. "Lady Bree, it would honor me if you used this in its stead."
She takes it with a sour look. "It won't be as fun,” she says, then smiles, “but thank you Theyln."
Norric says, "Guess elves have their uses. Thanks. I hate swimming. Flying's even worse."
Sam is shaken by the near death experience and that an elf would save her.
"Thanks for the help in reuniting our group." Sil says to Isilme, "And thanks for saving us. What happened to the troll though?" She missed out on the floating and the almost splatting of Sam. "I'm sorry I couldn't get to you, Astrid."
Bree then sings a quick verse.
The troll started moving, it drifted with the tide
The dwarves looks up for the rocks and they cried
The waters came down and floated the troll away
And that why you never see the troll again to this very day.
When Norric gets back to his feet, he advances angrily on Bree. Though Bree likely doesn't know Gotrek, the level of anger is close. "Ye do that once more and I will throw that wand of yers in the deepest pit I can find."
"Talk to the elf who pulled you out of the river ... she took it from me. I must have regressed in age to infancy. I am not longer allowed to play with my favorite toy." Bree pauses for some drama. "However ... Theyln was kind enough to give me a substitute and I am just itching to see what it does ... so watch it shorty!" Bree makes a teasing wand waving gesture in the air at Norric. "And I thought you dwarves were hearty folk ... you whine like a mule. We had a guy with us the last time who whined a lot, but at he wore a dress so he looked the part. I think those flinds got sick of the whining though and split his head open pretty good!"
So, Isilme saved Sam from falling to her death, and then she rescued the others from the river. Din saved himself with his Bag of Holding, and just before slashing it open it was pulled up out of the river by Isilme as well. He climbed out relieved to find himself atop the bridge again. Soon, everyone is on the bridge, including Isilme.
Turning to Isilme, Astrid thanks her. "And thank you, my lady, for saving this unworthy's life." She makes a short strange bow at the end of the statement and holds it slightly longer than normal bows.
Isilme return the bow and says "No thanks is necessary, just endeavor to be more careful in the future. No doubt the Troll will be back, falling from the sky wont kill it, only slow it down"
Din sputters and coughs, then catches his breath. "Lady Isilme, I see now why Thorgrim values you so highly. A thousand thanks would not be sufficient. But how did you get here?”
"I have my own ways of travel" she says with a wide smile. "Thorgrim went ahead, while I had other details to attend to, like your companion Amaris who I helped find her father.”
She then directs her words to the entire group. “Your wounds are healed, and I would give you the opportunity to be well rested. But you need to take greater care, as I have other matters to attend to. From here you are truly on your own." She says sternly.
"Any who wish to return with me can,” she says as she prepares to leave. “Search your hearts and decide the best course of action."
Theyln steps forward "I would return with you lady Isilme. It is an honor to be in your presence; it was to speak with you and learn of your goddess that I left the Celene. The presence of a goodly drow among us caused quite a stir in court. The Queen and Prince Melf ordered me to guard lady Tihali, and to learn from you. I am sure some of my people have already arrived, curious to speak with you." He looks back at his companions. “But they need me. Perhaps another time?”
She nods. “You will be welcome in Hommlet,” she says. “Very good, I must depart. Again, please be careful.” She then turns invisible and departs, leaving the Wild Bunch to continue on their own.
Before you head across the bridge, you find a pile of coins near the statue of the pegasus. There are about 100 coins, all of various types. They are all at least a hundred years old, and some are much older. Theyln notes one gold luna with the face of Queen Yolanda's father, denoting that it is at least 500+ years old!
Theylyn searches, but he doesn’t find anything, just a bunch of coins. They are not scattered but are in a loose pile. You notice troll blood on some. Looking south you see the first pier. It extends 30' to the east and west of the roadway. A shrine-like structure consisting of a roof supported by fluted marble columns stands on each side of the pier. The structures seem relatively intact.
Mal sneaks along the bridge, checking out the first pier and its structure. Sil sees a bunch of fresh blood on the ground in the center of the bridge, just south of the urn, and another scattering of coins there.
I already gave a brief description of the pier areas. In the left one [marked A] contains a large brass urn. The right one [marked B] has a large statue of a dwarven warrior.
Mal goes back to get Din. "Looks safe but I need to know what this urn and statue are. Do we need to offer up some of those coins to the gods of this place?”
Mal leaves the pile of coins for Din to collect. Mal's supersticious nature takes over and he respectfully move near the Dwarvish statue and leaves a few coins of his own as a show of respect. He whispers back to Sil, “send a Dwarf in here to explain this to me. The last thing we want to do is offend the dwarves.”
Mal drops a few coins at the foot of the statue as the dwarves move up and investigate. The statue is clearly of dwarven make, as it is in the form of a giant dwarf warrior. Sam recognizes the symbol of Berrronar carved into its chest.
Sam comes up and examines the statue. There are clear indications that the statue has moved recently, as evidenced by large "footprints" where there is no dirt or dust. Sil also notes a bloody partial footprint which leads from the small pool of blood near the scattered coins and back to the statue. Sam looks carefully and sees a bit of blood on the right foot of the statue. It definitely stepped in that blood before returning to its current position.
"I would think this is the treasure the troll gathered from those it killed,” says Astrid. “The urn was convenient to drop coin into. The statue is likely where the items it thought was valuable went. Should check both for traps, then try to move the statue."
Sam and Din look around for traps, as does Sil, though nobody sees anything. Sam tries to move the urn, but it doesn’t budge.
Mal says, "Don’t piss the statue off or it animate and stomp you. Come, let’s move away from the statue. Thank you brave dwarf statue warrior for letting this humble servant pass."
Nothing happens, and Mal moves across the pier on to the next section of bridge. Sil goes with him, as does a relatively bored Norric.This pier has not stood the test of time nearly as well as the north one. The roof and nearly half the columns have fallen and broken, and the entire area is covered with rubble. The left section has collapsed into chambers below. The right section is in better shape, and a large round basin occupies the center. You can't really see much more from your current places.
Mal isnt certain of anything. But he thinks the blood is from enemies of the dwarves. Mal gives the basin as much space as he can as he moves up with caution. He grips his new dagger tensely expecting an attack. If things go well, he waves to the group to move up. He doesn't see anything to the basin end of the southern pier, but he notes that the other side (the left side and top of map side) is full of large spiderwebs. There is a hole going down into darkness around the center of the pier structure, covered with lots of webs.
Sam lights a torch and burns some of the webs. The party stands ready for a giant spider or something, but nothing happens. Sil notes that the opening going down was clearly some sort of secret door, but when the roof collapsed, it broke the door open. It seems there are chambers of some sort inside the pier.
"We should not stray from our mission,” says Theyln. “Let's continue on over the bridge to seek what we came for. I fear only death awaits you here."
“Death awaits us all,” replies Mal, “but your judgement is sound.”
Bree backs away. "I don't like spiders. They are icky!"
"These spiders may cause trouble later,” says Din. “Should we need a swift exit. This bridge might be our only escape path, and I don't want to get boxed in again. Ever. We should make sure it is clear before we move on.” Din then goes back to the first pier and explores it further, keeping an eye out for spiders.
Back on the first pier, Din finds a very cleverly concealed secret door. It is behind the statue of the dwarven warrior, the one which seems to have come to life and attacked the troll. It is an 8' slab of granite, with the symbol of Berronar engraved in it.
Sam comes back to the Dwarf statue and says, in dwarf, "Noble warrior, I am Highborn and need access to the door you are standing on. Move aside."
"You dwarves make a habit of talking to inanimate objects?" asks Bree.
"Good stone is alive with the spirit of the earth,” replies Sam.
Theyln gets off the bridge if the party is messing with the statue, muttering to himself. "Perhaps Amaris was wise, this party has a death wish."
“You elves sure are skiddish,” says as Mal with a smile as he stands back behind Theyln.
Since this is Sam's goddess she goes over and prays by the symbol that she will be shown the way they should proceed. She gets the feeling that she need but touch the symbol with her own, and she does so. A grating sound issue from the bridge, as the ancient granite slab drops a foot then slides out of the way. It reveals a stair down to a chamber below. Sam tells the others that her goddess is the patron of home and as such she feels that this is a good sign and that we should take this path. As proof she goes down into the chamber while saying a prayer of thanksgiving.
The room is 30' square, with four columns in the center supporting the ceiling. It is illuminated slightly by the light from above as well as from a small window on the west side. The walls are carved with reliefs showing dwarven scenes. A corridor leads to the east, screened by an old tattered curtain. An owl sits perched inside the chamber, watching as Sam enters. It then takes off, flying out through the window.
Sam looks at the relief to see if they show dwarves working in a mine or city life or what. "I think the owl greeting us is a good sign," she says as she puts out the torch.
Din grunts. "Possibly..."
Everyone follows downstairs, while Theyln stays outside with his horse, guarding the exit.
Sam looks at the pictures to see if they give any hint of where this leads us. She will go to the tattered curtain and carefully look behind it. When she disturbs the curtain, a cloud of yellow spores erupts from the yellow mold colony behind it! It flows up and covers the area around the curtain. [DM OOC: Both Sam and Mal make their saves (otherwise they'd have died!).]
Sam lights the curtain on fire with her torch, and it almost instantly is engulfed in flames. Everyone stands back for a few minutes while the curtain burns up, until there is little left by ashes. Beyond the curtain is a hallway going about 40' and then ending in a stairway that spirals down. There are two doors to the left. The first door is wooden, and it is so rotten that it is on the verge of collapse. The second door is metal, with a rusty lock.
"Sil, would you please check these doors for traps and locks,” asks Sam. “I know the metal door has a lock but not if it can be opened."
She nods, and looks around. “It all looks clear.”
Mal goes up to the wooden door, which pretty much disintegrates when Mal barely touches it, so rotten is it. Beyond it is a 20' square chamber. The chamber seems to have been a sleeping chamber, with a small window opposite looking out along the river. A bed in the corner has rotted away, leaving only the brass frame standing. A bronze helmet and shield, emblazoned with the symbol of Berronar, hang on a peg along one wall. There is nothing else in the chamber except old decayed wooden debris, probably from old furniture.
Sam takes the helmet and puts it on. Searching the room finds nothing else of interest. There's another door, made of iron and with a lock that is rusted shut. There's also a narrow stairway winding down.
You can go upstairs and get Theyln, who will come downstairs and smash the door open. He does so, asking only that somebody watch the horses. Astrid agrees to watch above, while Theyln bursts the door in with a determined shove. Inside is another 20' square chamber. There is a large bin in the center, just below a 1' wide brass pipe which extends down from the ceiling. A lever sticks out of the ceiling next to the pipe. The remains of a rope are on the floor next to the bin. It was likely tied to the lever, but has rotted away.
“Now this must be a trap,” says a worried Bree.
Sam tries to estimate if this pipe is about where the urn with coins is. “Are we about under the urn?” she says to herself. She thinks this may have been how the dwarves emptied the urn without bothering the statue. Setting up the rope, she can pull the lever. It opens a hole in the bottom of the urn, letting all the coins tumble down into the bin. There is a total value of about 500gp between all the various coins.
"It seems to me that these coins are donations to the goddess,” she says. “It also they were not meant to be left in the urn. I think it best for me to carry them.” She then puts them in her backpack.
Theyln goes back upstairs, finding no further reason to be there. He patrols up top, while Astrid returns below.
The stairs wind around to another chamber, this one about 30 square feet. It is damp and moldy, and whatever was in here is long decayed. Another set of stairs continues down from the opposite side, and she can hear the roar of the river echoing up through the stairs. The stairs go down to another level, but there is only about 4' of chamber above water. The rest is flooded. If the chambers below are 10' high like the rest of the area, then you're looking at 4' of air and 6' of water. It's also totally dark.
"I can't believe this place fell into such ruin in just a hundred years!" Din exclaims. He looks around for anything that looks like a pump mechanism.
Sam holds her torch down the stairs, but sees nothing. As she turns, a form leaps up from the water and attacks her. She is hit from behind by something very heavy and feels claws and bites across her backside [8 damage]. She drops her torch, which falls into the water and goes out. She is also grappled from behind by whatever it is. Only Mal and Sil are near her on the steps. They turn around, just as surprised as Sam, and it takes some time for their vision to clear. As it does, they have a hard time determining what is grabbing her. It looks like some kind of algae-covered statue. It is holding Sam fast from behind, so they don't have any clear view of it.
"Mal, help, please," she says as she looks for something to hold onto.
She sees nothing to grab onto, but Mal reaches out and takes her hand. The thing seems to be trying to pull her back into the water, and Mal can barely keep it from succeeding. It bites Sam again .
"HELLLLP," She screams, as she reaches back with her other hand to pry it off her. She know this is a bad angle but she has great strength and it is slimy.
Sil grabs ahold of Mal, and they pull Sam a bit further away. They now see the thing a bit more clearly. The thing has two legs wrapped around Sam's waist/legs and two arms which end in wicked claws wrapped around her chest. It's bitting her in the neck.
Sam tries to twist free, but she fails and the creature twists its arms and legs firmly around her. Mal and Sil are barely able to hold onto Sam, and Mal cannot get a clear shot at the creature without letting go.
Din makes a loop out of his rope and throws it around Sam and whatever the thing is, and then they all start pulling too. Together, they start dragging the two up the stairs. It tries to let go of Sam (who just healed herself of  too) but now it's caught. In a couple of minutes, the party drags them up the stairs to the next level.
"GET THIS THING OFF ME!” she cries.
Din rushes around behind the two, hitting the creature with his hammer. It just bounces off the thing, and it feels like he just hit a solid rock! However, when Mal stabs it with his dagger, the blade sinks right in! . The creature cries out in pain, and writhes around mightily, breaking free of the rope bonds. Bree hits it with a couple Magic Missiles from her new wand, doing another . Norric hits it with both his hammers, but they just bounce off.
Din is standing in the stairway, between the Kapoacinth and the way back down. Mal and Norric are standing on it's opposite side. Sam's rolled away, and Bree is behind everyone using her wand. Astrid is also hanging back. Seeing how the attack went Sam draws her +1 dagger and gets back to her feet.
Din switches weapons as does Norric, thinking magic will work better than hammers. The Kapoacinth tries to get passed Din, who swings his battleaxe at it (AoO) slamming it back with a powerful strike . It falls back to the ground, as Mal stabs it in the face . With an eerie screech, and starts to convulse. Mal stabs it a couple more times, his dagger easily penetrating, until the thing stops moving, clearly dead.
Din wipes the sweat from his brow. "For a moment I thought that was another magical Dwarven Statue. But I'm sure it's not the only fell beast to make its lair in this abandoned place."
"What's the plan, Mal my pal?" Sil asks with a chuckle at recalling and twisting of something her father's apprentice used to ask. "I might be able to check around under there where it wouldn't be a good idea for others to go."
Sil heads down into the water, after tying the rope around her. The others can hold the other end, as she descends. It's freezing cold! This chamber is normally above water, and she finds an exit to the river which is all flooded due to the high water level. Most of the chamber is basically empty, and she takes about 10 minutes searching. Eventually, she finds a small niche in the corner, and inside it a rotting bag of gemstones. She brings them out and reports that there is nothing else of value within.
"Good work, Sil. That was vary brave of you," Sam says as she helps to dry Sil off.
"I still think we need to move back to the surface unless we quickly find another way to go."
Din puts the gems in the Bag of Holding. "Hopefully I won't be taking another fall anytime soon," he says.
Returning to the top, the group inspects the other pier. Nobody wishes to go down the hole, so they pour a couple flasks of oil down there and they drop a torch in. A fire starts below, and then a huge black spider emerges from the hole, slightly burnt and still smoking, one leg a bit twisted around.
Mal and Sil fire their bows, both hitting the spider [5 and 6]. It skitters away, going over the side of the bridge and out of sight. Sill then explores down the hole.
She doesn't find anything in there except bones of animals. There really is not a very large space there, and she cannot do anything except crawl. It's a good thing she didn't crawl in with that spider there, she thinks. The collapsed upper floors have blocked any passage deeper into the pier if there is anything there to find in the first place. It could be cleared, but it would take a rather major effort. She carefully backs out. "Nothing down there. Good thing there was just that one spider down the hole. I doubt we could have dealt with a nest of them."
After a short rest, the party crosses the bridge and continues along the road.
The party travels on the rest of the day, which is only maybe a few more hours. Eventually they camp for the night, set up watches, and pass a rather uneventful evening. The next day it begins to rain rather hard. The party begins their travels along the road, but soon they realize that it is raining too hard to continue.
Sam mutters, "This is why dwarves like to travel underground." She looks around for a campsite.
You find a suitable place, a bit out of the way and nestled in amongst the trees. After setting up shelter, the party settles down for a rather uneventful, if wet, sleep.
Waterday, 5th of Planting (582)
It pours hard all night, but nothing happens. Overnight, the rain stops and in the morning the clouds part slightly. The wind dies down, and the air is crisp and clean. It's much colder, and everyone is a bit chilled and tired from the difficult night.
Sil finds a place to change into one of her cold weather outfits without being spied upon by her companions. "Well, I think we've lost any chance to track anyone or anything for the moment. The mud would make a great way to track, but it will also leave us open for being tracked. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm somewhat cranky and am wondering if it would be wisest to wait another night before pressing on?" Either way doesn't matter a whole lot to her, however tiredness and crabbiness does sometimes lead to mistakes and she does not want to end up with another party member lost. She will lean toward trying to convince the others to wait another day. If they agree that it would be best she will attempt to find other herbs useful as antidotes or for poultice making against spider venom.
The party moves on, and just before dark reaches the outlet of a large lake. There is a ruined village there, with very little left except the shells of some stone buildings. All the rest is gone. The road continues around the right side of the lake.
The party checks it out, makes sure the area's safe, and beds down for the night in an old stone building. It is half-fallen down, but there is some cover within and soon they have a nice fire to warm themselves up. Everyone takes off clothes and armor to dry them out after the difficult previous night and day of rain.
"I guess I have spent the night in worse places,” bemoans Bree.
While the party is warming up and drying out their weapons and armor, Theyln stays outside, riding around the near vicinity and scouting. As they are warming up, a swam of 3' long snake-like things emerge from various cracks in the building's walls. They have very nasty-looking mouths, much like a lamprey.
Bree grabs her wand and sends a Magic Missile into the nearest lamprey .
Sil grabs her longsword, just as the creatures attack. Two attack Bree, both hitting her [1,1: total of 2] and latching on. One actually grabs her hand, right over her wand! One latches onto Sil while another latches onto Sam. Each takes  damage.
Sam finds she cannot attack now, as she cannot swing her 2-hand hammer while being, basically, grappled. Astrid attempts to hit the lampreys attacking Bree but misses with a couple punches.
Mal grabs his weapons as indicated, while Din picks up his crossbow and loads it. Two more come through cracks in the wall.
Guulvorg rushes and bites at the one attacking Bree, biting it nearly in half and pulling it off her. It drags the lamprey away, shaking its head violently as it kills the thing. With a smile, Mal grabs a torch and puts it up to the one attacking Sam. It instantly lets go, writhing away and right into Norric's axe, which splits it in half!
Bree fires a magic missile right down the throat of the one on her hand . She takes  as it drains her blood.
Din fires a crossbow bolt across the fire, between Sam and Sil, and pins the far one to the back wall where it too dies. .
Astrid is attacked by one, but it misses. She hits it back, using her United Fingers Strike and hitting it twice [1 and 3: total of 4]. However, Sil, Norric, and Sam are all hit again, taking  each and Sil takes another as the one that already bit her drains more blood.
Norric misses his, while Sam grabs at hers, but fails to get it.
"They don't seem to like fire!" Din shouts. He continues using his crossbow, preferring to kill them, and at point-blank range.
With fire, the lampreys are driven back. As they go outside, you hear Theyln shout a warcry. He makes short work of them, armored and riding Silvermoon.
Earthday, 6th of Planting (582)
After a fitful night, with a couple on watch at all time, the party awakes the next morning. It's a much warmer day, with a strong wind (25mph) blowing from the NW. Gathering up things, the party continues along the road which skirts the western shore of the lake. Ominous clouds begin to appear, moving SE in their direction. It's going to rain soon.
As they continue, the road disappears beneath sand dunes. In fact, this area is completely dominated by a strip of white sand dunes which have gradually moved westwards from the shore of the lake.
"Let us make haste," Din says. "I don't want to be caught in the sand when the rains start."
"Let's just get to the damned mine," says Norric.
After a while, you come across the remains of what looks like a small camp. Lying partially buried in the sand are remnants of rope, canvas, and supply boxes. Numerous biped tracks are scattered throughout the area, and the crates have been pried open.
Norric finds a 100' length of rope, a couple of cloaks, and a waterskin. He also finds a small book which is half eaten. Only one page is legible.
A torrential rain begins to fall. Everyone is quickly getting quite wet. Moving up to the top of the closest dune, the party discovers some ruins just on the other side. The remains of some stone walls are visible, poking out through the dunes. Within the walls are a handful of stone buildings, as well as about a half-dozen small stone huts. The huts seem mostly intact, while only two of the buildings remain roofed. The two largest buildings seem to have suffered serious fire/destruction and their roofs are gnarled remains of burned timbers. The largest of the paritally destroyed buildings seems to have been a temple of sorts.
Mal checks out the largest hut. The hut is about 15' wide, and everything inside is all tumbled about and broken. Bits and pieces of stuff are strewn everywhere. Otherwise, it is in very good shape, the domed stone having withstood time and the elements with ease. The party camps within the building, waiting until the storm passes.
Sunday, 9th of Planting (582)
You awake the next day to a cloudy, cool day. A strong wind blows from the south at about 20mph, not enough to really affect much. Here's a map of the area:
Sam says, "The other party that wrote the parchment we found seemed to think that the L-shaped Scriptorium was worth study so I think we should go there, after that I think the chapel should be next."
Din whispers a fervent prayer to Clanggedin, kisses his holy symbol and readies his crossbow.
Theyln wonders why we are screwing around here instead of heading to the mine entrance. "So easily distracted, like children really."
"It's no wonder no one ever found this mine once it was lost," Din remarks. "We've got a full description and still we can't find it."
“This is a dwarvish mine,” says Norric. “They aren't going to put a sign ‘come get your mithril here!’”
ou move to the Scriptorium (that's the L shaped building to the top right). There was a great fire here, and the stones themselves cracked from the heat. Inside you find nothing but charred timbers and ash. Sifting through the debris are two large bipedal creatures which you can only describe as crabmen.
"Zounds!" he cries. "What hideous monsters! Begone, beasts from Hell!" He does not attack but waits for a reaction.
A barely noticable whisper comes from Norric. "Sam, being our only healer, needs to stay out of combat unless forced into it. I would be honored to kill this for you if you'll keep yourself safe.”
One of the crabmen looks at Din after he speaks, then whirls around and looks around the other side of the debris-filled chamber. After a moment, it turns back to Din.
Din backs away a bit and observes, keeping his crossbow trained.
"They don't appear aggressive...I think we might be able to avoid them," he calls to the party.
The crabman cocks its head to one side as Din speaks.
"Does anybody have a Tongues spell or Comprehend languages?” asks Din. He then digs into his Bag of Holding and pulls out a few days' rations. He sets them on the ground and backs away some distance, observing.
Astrid will step forward, clearing her mind and assuming a meditative pose, seeing if she can 'Harmonise' with the creature. The crabman watches, then mimics Astrid's movements.
Mal uses his amulet of ESP to get an emotions reading on the crabman. He doesn't sense any hostility. Mostly curiosity though with a bit of wonder. It really seems interested in the dwarves.
Mal asks Sam if she can read the runes on the amulet worn by the crabman. Mal wonders in these creatures are polymorphed dwarves.
The crabman puts a claw up on the amulet. As Sam says she cannot, the crabman takes it off and holds it out to Sam.
Sam bows, takes the amulet, says, "Thank you." and proceeds to study it. She is now arms length from the crabman. It's hard to translate, but it says something like 'The language of friendship is not words, but meaning."
The crabman doesn't seem to understand anything Sam says. It points to the amulet with a claw.
"Perhaps this amulet can be used to Comprehend Languages," says Din. "He seemed to understand us when he was wearing it." Din un-cocks his bow and slings it, then advances and takes the amulet and wears it. "Hope this doesn't turn me into seafood," he says. He waits to see if he can understand anything these creatures say. If this works, it could be passed back and forth to allow communication.
The crabman nods to Din. "I am Yicctii," she says, "and this is Tuunaa. We are of The Tribe."
"Tell me, what is The Tribe?” asks Din. “What brings you to these lands?"
The crabman points a claw to the amulet.
"Maybe if you hand it back and forth between you and it,” says Norric.
Din passes the amulet to the crab-creature and waits for him to put it on before repeating the question. It does work to pass the necklace back and forth. It is an Amulet of Comprehension (basically lets the wearer Comprehend Languages, but not speak.). You find that the crabman you are talking to is named Yicctii, and it's a she. The other crabman is a male, Tuunaa. They have come ashore to forage the area of the Out of Shell People. They did not expect to find anyone, as nobody has been here for many hatchings.
As Din talks to them, he find that it's pretty hard to understand them. They have a way of talking that just doesn't make sense.
Bree hums a little tune. "Crab people, Crab people. Taste like crab, talk like people. Crab people, crab people."
When Din mentions the mines, she shakes her head. She then waves to the party to follow her as she and Tuunaa leave. Yiictii moves passed the party and goes outside, Tuunaa following her, his eyes turning back and forth as he watches the party. Nobody makes a move to stop them, and they go outside. Yiictii waves a claw, pointing to the T-shaped temple building as she heads that way. She makes some clicking noises, then passes inside, along with Tuunaa.
Whoever this temple was devoted to is lost now to destruction, the interior now a maze of fallen timbers and debris. Most has been "bulldozed" aside by the crabmen, making a zig-zag path through the rubble. You follow Yiictii to the Inner Sanctum, where you find a large, bluish tinted crabman. It is sifting through a pile of stuff in front of a "statue" of a giant crab. It is skillfully assembled from a mix of wire, spikes, chains, shovel heads, a couple picks, and some pieces of armor. In one claw of the statue is a brass scroll case.
The crabman looks strangely at the party, but Yiictii clicks to it, and it clicks back. She then turns back to the party as the large blue-shelled crab nods.
"May we look at the scroll?" asks Sam.
Yiictii translates Sam's request, and the blue crabman nods. He reaches up and takes it from the "statue," then hands it to Sam. A couple more crabmen appear behind the party, but quick clicking from Yiictii and the other crabmen keep them back.
Sam opens the case, and she sees a scroll inside. She takes it out and finds that it is written in dwarven.
“Know ye that this document is a Sacred Treaty effected between Norntall, High Priest of Muamman Duathal of the White Sands Monastery and Zitticck, Chieftain of the Tribe of crabmen who dwell in Lake Rilvarn. Be it known that henceforth and forever the Tribe is granted a Concession that they shall have Right of Way on the beach of White Sand outside the monastery called by the Tribe the Round Stones even down to the water to use as they will for fourteen nights during their Year-End-Walk, for the pursuance of their religious activities and their hatchings.
Henceforth it shall be considered a trespass to use the Beach of White Sand or its environs by any dwarf, man, elf, or any other race of land dwellers, known to the Tribe as Out-of-Shell People, during the time of the Concession. We warrant that we shall vacate the Beach of White Sand during the Concession to avoid accidental hurt or loss to any.
In return, the Tribe agrees to suffer no one who enters the lake, be it from land, river, air, or cavern, any harm. They pledge to aid those in need and spare those in ignorance.”
It is signed by the High Priest as well as by a crabman, though you see only a strange inkblot that resembles a claw.
Sam reads this to all present, then she says, "I hope we have not arrived during this time and violated this agreement. If we did it was without knowing. Forgive us." She looks carefully at the back of the scroll to see if anything else is written then hands it to the party to see if anyone sees anything else. When all have viewed it she hands it back. " Thank you. Can you tell us what happened to all the people who used to be here?"
Yicctii acts as interpreter of the party's questions, and when asked to share the amulet, she agrees. This way you can communicate effectively, albeit slowly.
The Tribe (the crabmen) made this treaty with the Out-of-Shell People (the dwarves). The dwarves had built this monastery right on the land where the Tribe made their Year-End's Walk. Rather than fight, an agreement was reached which led to peace between them. When the Out-Of-Shell People vanished, the Tribe continued to honor the treaty, only coming here for two weeks after their Year-End's Walk.
You now speak with Ruuchk of the Blue Shell. He is the Goods Carrier, Sea Talker, Scavenger of the Beached Beast, and Finder of the Buried Metal Shells. He is responsible for leading the Tribe during the Year-End's Walk, and for seeing that the Rites are observed and the hatchings accomplished.
“Do you know of any openings to underground structures here, old dwarven places?” Sam asks. They nod. "Are you willing and able to show us?”
"Are the Out-Of-Shell People going to abide the treaty?" asks Ruuchk.
Sam says, "I am of the highborn among the dwarves and we honor all agreements made in good faith between our people and any others. Yes we honor the treaty willingly.
Do you need any help in doing your walk? You mentioned that you know where the entrance to the dwarves' place is and that you found some metal shells (could be armor). Can you show us where these things are, please."
"If you honor the treaty, then yes." Ruuchk then points. "You go, now, honor treaty."
Mal's ready to leave surely. But just so we don't accidentally break any of the terms, exactly what area is off limits? Just this immediate area or does the treaty include additional areas.
"The Beach of White Sand."
Theyln rolls his eyes and sighs. "Have them take us to the entrance so we can clear the beach and honor the agreement."
“I think he means we leave the area of the white sand then when their walk is over they will show us,” says Sam. Before she leaves she says, "My honored party member points out that if you were to show us the underground entrance then we could leave the white sand that way." She waits for an answer before leaving.
"After,” replies Ruuchk. “Come back 5 days. We take you to tunnels."
Sam bows and leaves, making sure they have the amulet. "I am sure we can find something to do these days...maybe even find out what happened to the dwarves." She heads to wherever the white sand is not.
You head inland just a bit, off the narrow stretch of white sand, and leave the crabmen to their thing. After setting up a new camp, you can get a good rest for the evening.
Din is dumbfounded at the thought that Dwarves and Crabs had interacted and made a treaty before his time. He is in awe of the strange creatures and their obvious intelligence.
"Well I'll be damned..." he keeps saying. "I had the urge not to kill them! It was very strange."
Freeday, 14th of Planting (582)
You wait for 4 days, taking the time to camp just off the Beach of White Sand. It's probably a good time for some exp. Everyone gets another 1000. The weather's been cloudy this whole time, but it's not cold and it doesn't rain. So everyone is actually happy for a few days to relax while they wait for the crabmen.
After the period is over, the party returns to the ruins. There they find the Tribe waiting for them. There are maybe fifty of the crabmen there. Yiictii and her father, Ruuchk, stand at the head of the Tribe. They bow awkwardly to the dwarves as the party approaches.
The crabmen lead them to the tunnel entrance. Unfortunately, it is below water level; however, it leads to old dwarven tunnels. They stay out of them. It takes a day to walk along the shore to where they indicate. They do not tell time and distance like you do, but it seems it's pretty far down, maybe 40' deep. They do not know how far back the caves go, but they were told they led to what you call mines.
Sam looks at the crab men and says, "Thank you for bringing us here, sadly we cannot breath under water or swim very well. We will need to find a land and air passage in. You have done your part and we hold that you have fulfilled your part. Thank you and let our compact be a shining example of how races can work together."
They agree, and the crabmen depart.
Once they are gone, the party splits up into two groups and searches the area. There is a large hill just up from the lake, and there the dwarves quickly find cleverly concealed ventilation ports. They are not large enough to allow entry to even the smallest of creatures; however, it lets you know you are on the right track. After a few more hours, Din recognizes a path, clearly constructed by dwarves so as to not be visible to others, which leads up and around a large rock outcropping.
Following the path around the bend, Dwarves in the lead, they spot an entrance into the hill. It is cut into the hill with a flat outcropping of rock in front of it that is roughly circular, leaving only a small opening which is not visible until you are right up to it. The entrance itself is 30' wide and 20' high, perfectly cut from the surrounding stone. There are a half-dozen orcs standing guard in front of it, and the dwarves quickly duck back around the corner before they are seen.
I haven't posted anything in a long time, so here's the first of some more updates.
Part 4 – Into the Mines
"If there are orcs inside, then I am sure there are some inside, "says Sam, "The filthy beasts think they can take over a Dwarf construction. We must teach them better. Any ideas?"
"Orcs..." Din whispers. "The mine is most definitely occupied. I suggest we lure them out or use an AOE spell. I can do my best to take out any stragglers before they sound the alarm."
"I could creep up close and use one of my gifts,” offers Bree. “Get the orcs to start fighting amongst each other. Those brutes will kill themselves and we can walk in."
"If you can get that scum to kill themselves that would be great,” replies Din. “How close do you need to be?"
"They're orcs,” says Norric, interrupting. “Just kill em and be done with it."
"Maybe we should start with a simple sleep spell," says Sam. [How can we approach?]
[DM OOC: The only approach is through the cleft in the rock face. You could slip around above them to where you can perhaps cast a sleep spell on them.]
Sil still has the sleeping powder stuff for coating arrows and proceeds to use a bit, carefully coating two arrows. "There isn't much of this. I'll have to see if I can figure out how to make more later." She notches one of the coated arrows and carefully sets the other on the ground in front of her where she can easily grab it to be used after the first arrow is allowed to fly. "Too bad nobody has a blow-gun. Dip the dart-tips in this, blow it at the orcs, nail one, the others go to check on the one that falls over..."
Norric says, "Ye be wastin magic on these pathetic orcs when good cold steel be the answer. Let's just kill em. Mabbe keep one fer torturin an such."
“We’re not knowing how many might be inside the tunnel,” says Sam, “I likes the sleep spell. Then we can pick the one we want to question. You notice she does not say torture.”
"Bah, they be orcs and little more hard to kill than swine." Norric spits a lump of something disgusting on the ground. "Be they six er six hunnerd, they still be but orcs." Norric then pats Sam’s ****. “You be a good girl now and just watch.”
Fire in her eyes, Sam slaps Norric! "That is not the sort of plan we need,” she says. “If you are not able to come up with a plan I will or someone will. Now, DO NOT make me regret that I trusted you."
Din takes a flanking position, and Sil readies her bow, to deal with any that Bree’s spell fails to sleep. Bree then casts her sleep spell, centered just behind the orcs. Every one of them suddenly drops to the ground.
Mal grunts, looking over at Bree. "I was going to kill one," he mumbles as he gets up.
The rest of the party rushes forward to the entrance. There is a tunnel leading back into the mountain, with a series of torches along the right wall. About 100' down the tunnel is a large gong. The torches end there, and the rest of the tunnel is dark.
“You still can,” says Bree with a wink. “After all, they’re just orcs.”
Norric smashes skulls with his Warhammer, leaving one to question. After tying it up, he awake and puts a blade across his throat. “Now talk, stupid orc, or die.”
It speaks back in orcish, which Norric doesn’t understand, so he kicks it in the face. The orc shakes its head, spitting out a tooth, but still only speaks orc.
Sil steps over to the orc, and in Dwarvish says to Norric, “I do not care if it understands or not, but I do understand him. Let me speak.” She then turns to the orc. “I find you guilty of trespassing on Dwarven lands. You and all your people are under a sentence of death. You can buy back your life by answering any and all questions put to you."
The orc’s reply is short, and everyone understands its meaning, if not the words. “F*&% You!”
Norric hits the orc in the groin with his hammer. Din, even with his hatred for orcs, winces. The orc then spits at Norric, who raises his hammer, but then stops, looking at the others.
"Kill it, Norric,.” Says Din. “We're not learning anything here."
Norric brings the hammer down with a satisfying crunch, then wipes off both the blood as well as the spit. “Stupid orc,” he mutters, before standing back up. “Now, let's kill some more."
Mal takes the orc gear, and disguises himself as one. Being a hobgoblin, he just seems a large orc. They enter the passage, which runs for a few hundred feet. It seems to open into a large chamber up ahead, as you can see from the light. Sil notices animal droppings on the floor. She points it out to Norric, who spits. "Worgs."
The torches in this part of the passage are not lit, so they can approach the chamber while staying in the dark. The area just beyond the corridor IS lit, at least partially, so the corridor will be invisible to those with sight, normal or otherwise.
This chamber is nearly 150' in diameter and has a domed ceiling 50' high. It is lit by 8 iron torch sconces around the outer wall. One torch to the NE is not lit, and Mal notes that is a large section with a sturdy iron fence, beyond which are a half-dozen worgs. An orc seems to be feeding them. Along the southern wall is another penned area, this containing dozens of pigs. Finally, a large campfire burns in the center, around which sit three orcs. They turn and look Mal's way when he comes in.
Mal heads straight for three orcs in the middle, pretending to drag the monk Astrid like a prisoner. When he's within 10ft of the orcs in the middle he'll jerk the rope and send Astrid spinning into their midst.
"What you have there?" says one of them, standing up.
But Astrid, rather than fall helpless at their feet, spins out of the rope and goes into a martial stance, surprising the orcs.
Astrid uses Wind Off the Mountain, and delivers a flying kick to the head of the speaking orc. The snap of its neck tells all that it's dead before it hits the ground. Din and Sam both fire crossbow bolts at the worg handler, hitting him twice in the back and pinning him to the fence! Sil and Theyln fire arrows, each hitting one of the orcs at the campfire and bring them down. It is all over in seconds.
When the worgs start to loudly growl, Din eyes them warily. "Not sure if we should kill these Worgs or leave them," Din says. They then start to tear greedily into their late handler, and Din smiles. "OK.”
The party then moves across the large chamber, entering a passage in the opposite side. It's 30' wide and 20' high. It goes for over 200' before opening into the next chamber. There are three light sconces on the right wall giving enough light to see by, and there are burning torches in the chamber ahead, evidenced by the flickering light in the distance.
Mal moves stealthily down to the far end of the passage, extinguishing the three lit torches as he goes. When he gets to the end, he looks around the corner to see what is there. This is another massive round chamber. It is 330 feet in diameter with a 20'-diameter central pillar that supports a 60'-high domed ceiling. It is a true marvel of dwarven construction. Eight torch-filled sconces line the walls of this chamber, and all are lit save one to the north. Two more passages lead out of this chamber, to the NE and SE. Their entrances are lit by torches, but the rest of the passage is dark.
Mal spots a lot of orcs in this chamber, though a full count is impossible from his vantage point. There are at least a couple dozen that he can see, some moving around near and far, in the light and shadows.
Din shakes his head. "This doesn't seem like the way. With so many orcs in the entry, the alarm will most definitely be raised, and hundreds more could appear. We likely could be trapped on both sides."
"We know of at least two other entrances, and I suggest we investigate those further."
"I am in favor of killing this lot if possible. That would involve luring them into ambush and maybe even a fire trap. That would best be done near the entrance, where our escape is assured. That will create a commotion that may hinder further investigation, but there'll be a commotion once the door guards are found, anyway."
The party returns to the other chamber, where they plan what to do. Meanwhile, they kill the worgs with missile fire, just for good measure. Norric enters the cage, and looks around, finding a secret door in the outside wall. It pushes easily with the right moves, and it’s obvious the orcs never knew about it. Meanwhile, Mal, who stayed in the long passageway, hears some orcs moving down the passage from the larger chamber.
He rushes back to the others and warns them, and they all quickly move to the secret door that Norric found and move into the passage beyond it. It is a 5’ wide passage, that goes back about 50’ before branching into a Y. They close the door behind them and then move forward.
Theyln mutters, "if one of you lights a torch you will be eating it." The party makes their way to the Y in total darkness. The passage to the left goes another 60’, with a side branch, while the right passage just runs on straight.
Norric heads to the right, where he finds the passage leads to the wall of the large circular chamber. There is a clear secret door there. It also continues around to the north of it in a clockwise route, parallel to the wall. Meanwhile, Mal heads up to the end of the passage, where he finds a door while Sil moves left and finds the passage there leads to a large rectangular chamber. That chamber is a three tiered one, with each tier raised 5' above the rest. There is a stair leading up from the entrance to the top. [Think Mayan temple kinda thing, but small.] The room is lit by some form of continual light.
Din checks out the step-pyramid room. He climbs to the top and looks for signs of broken statue or if this might have been a shrine, though there just is none. "What is the meaning of this...it looks like an altar," he says to himself.
Mal cannot get through the door, which is locked shut. He gets Sil, who can check it and then picks the lock. The door opens easily enough, and peeking inside you see two large wooden chests as well as a wooden rack with a handaxe, longsword, and bastard sword.
Once they make sure the chests are not trapped, they open them. Inside they find about 10000 mixed coins, all old, of mixed type.
The weapons are good, dwarven weapons, and after a detect magic reveals their magical nature, the party takes them. Moving back to the east, they go to the secret door and Norric continues passed it. The passage loops around, ending at another secret door north of the large chamber. Actually, it's NOT a secret door. There's a small spyhole in the wall there, which lets him look into the other chamber. Now he can get a good count; there are about 40 orcs there.
"We are in luck!" Din says. "It appears the Orcs may be unaware of these secret passages. I assumed they knew, since they have dwelt here many decades, and built the worg pen surrounding the secret entrance. It may be just coincidence."
"That's a lot of Orcs," Din says. "We took out as many gnolls, but that was over a few different excursions, the party was bigger then, and many good people died in the attempt. Our fire trap is still set if we want to harrass them, but that may spell our doom. There has to be another way."
He thinks for a while. "We should re-check the area for secret doors. We should check the northeast terminus of this corridor, and both the treasure room and the pyramid room. We know this place has a secret tunnel leading to Dorob Kilthduum, and I'd like to find that before leaving."
"It is unusual to have secret entrances within already-secret passages, but Dwarves are known to use even more complex arrangements. I believe that pyramid room deserves special attention, and an extra-thorough search. We might Detect Magic in there (isn't that spell still running?), and see if we find out more."
Din exhales deeply. "It's either that, a full frontal assault, or the underwater entrance."
While you are discussing things, the orcs suddenly start shouting. Norric notices some orcs running into the large chamber from the one to the west. They are all yelling and shouting and pointing. A large group then goes running back to the west chamber, while the others start to take stock of the women and children, which number "at least" as many as the warriors. They seem to be alerted to your presence, though they do not seem to know where you are.
“Must have found the bodies,” says Sam.
A large troll and two ogres join the orcs in the central chamber, along with some more orcs. The troll and a dozen orcs head west, towards chamber 6. On ogre and another dozen orcs head east, leaving about a dozen orcs in the large chamber, along with one ogre, guarding the women and children.
The party retreats back to the room with the small stepped ziggurat. With the continual light Astrid can also see. Noting the impatience of the dwarves, and Mal's obvious unease, she motions for calm. She sits cross-legged atop the ziggurat, above the party, and assumes a meditative pose. Eyes closed, she breaths slowly, easily. "Patience is bitter," she says softly, "but it's fruit is sweet."
"A fire under that troll's ****’d be sweeter," mutters Norric. "Them orcs don't know we're here. If they did that there treasure'd be long gone. Maybe if we wait, they'll think someone else did this and split their forces."
“We need a plan,” says Sam.
"Well, our escape route is now mostly cut off," Din says glumly.
“Patience,” says Astrid, and the party waits, which really seems to bother the dwarves. After a few hours, it becomes clear to the party that the orcs do not know they are there. Mal takes off the orc equipment, replacing it with his own. When the orcs don't find the party, you reason they do not know you are there. Thus, everyone relaxes a bit. Listening at the peephole again, Sam hears orc voices in the large chamber. Occasionally one or a two walk by. They are certainly still around, though they do not light any torches.
Sil listens at the peephole. She can't really hear everything they say, nor totally make out what she does hear. However, she puts together that the orcs have sent out a raiding party to try and track down who attacked their lair. They are waiting defensively now until they hear from them. They are anxious and impatient, as orcs usually are. They basically want to kill something!
"Their forces are split,” says Norric, anxiously. “Now is the time to act."
"I think I can instigate a fight without us lifting a finger,” says Bree.
"Bree, I don't think your Taunting will be of much avail,” says Din. “If you succeed, a fight could serve as a distraction, but will also be an attraction, to the main force likely at the entrance by now. I suggest we make for the exit as quickly as we can. We've already got this place's treasure."
After a long wait, say 6 hours, spells are recovered. They crack the door open to slip out, and as they do they start to see light coming into the passage from the chamber beyond. The orcs have clearly lit some lights now! The door is cracked barely an inch, or less, and was done silently with the silence stone keeping the area dead quiet.
Mal nods, and the dwarves push the door open a bit more. Sil and Mal slip out. They slip out to either side, left and right, and quickly loose sight of each other as they move up to the fence. It turns out the orcs have not lit torches, but there's a fire burning now. A dozen orcs sit around it, along with an ogre. The leaders are nowhere to be seen. There is no way to fire from the doorway, which is ONLY opened a crack, and just enough to squeeze out. In fact, you can't fire through the worg pen fence unless you move all the way up to it. The secret door is actually a bit hidden by the fence, and outside the light of the campfire, mostly, so everyone should be able to slip out unseen and unheard.
So, here you should see what's up. There are a bunch of orcs around the fire, eating. The ogre's there too. You can see a guard on the edge of the light, towards the exit, as well as one (via infravision) guarding the passage to the large chamber. As long as you stay in the dark, you can use infravision, though NOT if you look at the lit area in the center of the chamber. Sil and Mal are up along the fence, but nobody can actually see them. It's just easier to put them on the map rather than bother with PMs and such. Everyone else is coming out of the secret door. It's actually only cracked open, but I wanted you to be able to see everything.
With the campfire, Astrid is going to be able to attack too, so we'll see Norric go after the ogre, Theyln and Astrid come out going after the orcs. The others firing missile weapons from behind the gate. Bree's got the silence stone, and she will throw in down the rear passage as soon as fighting starts, to block any sound reaching the main chamber.
On Bree's signal, all the archers fire as she throws the silence stone down the hallway. Mal and Sil suddenly appear, as they fire their bows. The orc by the hallway entrance takes on in the throat and drops instantly. Sil hits another orc square in the back, and it falls forward into the fire! Sam fires her crossbow, missing the ogre as it turns to see what just happened. Din's crossbow string breaks as he is about to fire!
Theyln rushes the ogre, but misses with his attack. Norric also misses. They notice their blows ringing off heavy plates! [Yes, they can hit, but this ogre simply has plate mail on, which resulted in two misses.]
Astrid also rushes up, attacking the orc beside the ogre and breaking its neck with a quick strike.
That's basically a surprise round.
Bree casts Sleep, and four orcs around the rear of the fire suddenly slump to the ground.
Norric hits the ogre with his axe .
Theyln also attacks, hitting the ogre with his longsword .
The ogre swings back at Theyln, hitting him  and knocking him back to the ground!
"Keep your eyes open on the place where you tossed that stone, Mal! We don't need surprise guests coming from that direction!"
“Will do. I'm confident the dead orc with an arrow through his neck won’t make anyone walking down the hall curious.”
Sil snorts while trying to hold in a chuckle at Mal's words, "Never would have thought you'd have such a great sense of humor."
Sil fires at the next orc over, missing it, while Din fires at the far orc on the edge of the campfire light. He hits it right in face [x2 crit: 18 and it's very dead!]
Astrid attempts a flying kick at the ogre's head, but it ducks, knocking her back down behind it.
One orc leaps across the fire, slamming its battle axe down on Astrid's prone form before she can react. It is a massive blow [x2 crit: 14] and stuns the monk.
The other rushes up behind Norric, hitting him in the right arm  with an axe.
Sil fires her next shot, hitting the orc attacking Norric . It snarls, as the arrow buries deep into its side.
Mal scales the fence and moves around the chamber along the outside wall. He glances down the passage as he goes, seeing nothing.
Theyln casts Chromatic Orb and throws a yellow orb at the ogre as he rolls away. It hits it in the face  but the flash blinds the ogre!
Din drops his crossbow, crawls up over the fence, and leaps down to the other side, taking out his axe.
Mal sneaks around, ending up by the corner of the pigpen.
Bree moves around through the open gate of the worg pen and calls out to the orc. "Yer mother was a kobold!"
Sam fires another shot at the ogre, missing. She drops her crossbow and readies her maul.
Norric then hits the ogre . It attacks back, stabbing at Norric who rolls through its legs. He comes up behind the ogre, which loses its balance and falls to the ground, as Norric pounds it in the face with two axe blows [10 and 8: 18 total]. The ogre's face is pretty much blasted apart by the series of blows! [Blindness caused that fumble!]
Sil fires an arrow into the back of the orc attacking Norric, killing it, while Astrid attacks the last orc. A legsweep trips it, and as it falls she drives an elbow into its face  knocking it out!
Another arrow comes flying from the darkness towards the exit, hitting Din . Nobody can see what's firing.
Sam moves up to Theyln, who stands up, shaking his head. He drinks his potion of healing, healing . Bree moves by, heading to the center of the chamber.
Din moves off to the west side, but is hit by another arrow fired from the darkness . He moves towards the arrow, out of the light of the campfire. As his eyes adjust, he sees an orc archer standing in the center of the passage firing at him. He drops his bow as Din advances the rest of the way.
Mal meanwhile skirts the pigpen and slips along the wall, nearing the western passage.
Sil moves to cover the eastern passage. She takes up a position using the corner as cover, and as she does so she hears orcs yelling down the hallway. The silence spell must be over, and the orcs in the large chamber know something is going on here. "We're going to have company!" she yells back.
"Good," says Norric, moving over to Sil. "I prefer a straight fight!"
Astrid lights one of the torches the party took, so that she won't be blind if she moves out of the campfire light. For the moment, she stays near Bree who just looks at her. "Well, this is another fine mess," she says.
Mal turns and heads for the rear flank to support Norric and Sil. "Let us bathe this day in orc blood to celebrate our devotion to Hextor" Mal slides his dagger back in its sheath and readies his bow.
"Oh good,” says Bree. “Everyone make sure they have a dance partner!" She then takes out her Wand of Magic Missiles.
Theyln steps around Sam and casts Stinking Cloud down the eastern hallway. He then turns, "We should get out of here."
Sam moves out of the way of the corridor, moving back towards the gate.
"Should we ensure that those we took out are truly taken out and not simply out for a few minutes?" asks Sil. "That way we don't have to worry about them sneaking up behind us and killing us." Sil notches another arrow, looking at the downed orcs, and sees them beginning to stir!
"Please, let us fight no more." She says in their language. She does have an arrow notched and ready to fly toward the enemy, but she sees no reason to not at least attempt to communicate.
The four orcs begin to awaken, and they snarl at Sil as the grab weapons. With a sigh, she fires an arrow into one, pinning its arm to the ground .
Sil and Norric hear a very loud and angry growl from beyond the Stinking Cloud.
Suddenly Din hears a loud pounding from down the west passage. Looking beyond the orcs with which he's fighting, he sees the other ogre charging down the hallway. It knocks aside the orc and plows into Din , knocking him back and to the ground as it bulls its way into the chamber!
Norric hears the ogre's roar, and turns just as it charges into Din. With a snarl, he charges back across the room, a roar of his own echoing around the chamber.
"Rrrrraaaaaahhhhhhhh!" he yells as he charges. The ogre plants its spear, but Norric avoids it as he closes. He then attacks, missing with one axe and nicking the ogre with the other .
Astrid steps up and kicks one orc in the face , knocking it out!
Mal moves up through the darkness. The orc doesn't notice him as he slips passed him. He steps out of the shadows behind the ogre which is unaware of him, and Mal drives his Jambiya of Penetrating deep into the ogre's back! 
The orcs attack. The one nearest Bree attacks her, hitting her in the face [16. x2 crit and she is slashed across the eye, blinding her in her left eye!] She falls back to the ground, stunned by the blow. The one attacking Astrid misses. She ducks under the blow, then rolls forward, tripping the orc and sending it sprawling behind her. [That was just a fumble, but I embellished!]
The orc by the west entrance is stunned, but it shakily gets to its feet. Finally, another large group of orcs charges into the chamber from the west!
Sil then fires her second arrow at the orc that jsut hit bree. She hits it for [8: x2 crit to the arm puts it down!]
Just after the other orcs appear, a curious look crosses the ogre's face. It reaches back, trying to touch were it was stabbed by Mal, and it's face twists in pain. Strange bubbly fluid gurgles from its mouth, and it falls forward, quite dead.
Mal does what he can to put the falling Ogre between him and the onrushing orcs. He goes full defensive until Norric, Din & Theyln move up to aid the bloodletting. "See Hextor, I keep my promises, more arrive as a blood sacrifice. Maugrim attack!"
Bree gets up and withdraws back to Sam. "I hope this doesn't leave a permanent mark. I going to have to some of that healing my brother is famous for when this is all over!"
"Let me look at it," says Sam. She casts CLW, healing .
Theyn moves to the center to help Bree, but she takes off. Seeing she's fine, Theyln drives his sword through the heart of the downed orc, the one with its arm pinned to the ground.
Three orcs charge forward, attacking Mal before he can move. One trips and falls over the body of another orc, but one hits Mal with an axe .
Two attack Din, both missing the prone dwarf. Two charge Norric, with one hitting him . One charges Astrid and one charges Theyln, but both miss. Finally, the prone orc next to Astrid slams its axe down on her foot [10: x2 crit, Astrid has half movement].
Astrid attacks the orcs fighting her, but fails to hit either one. Din gets up, misses with a swing of his axe, and backs up 5'.
Sil backs up, behind the corner, and fires an arrow at the one fighting Astrid, missing.
Norric swings twice, missing with each blow.
Finally, Mal withdraws, standing next to Norric, and readies his war spear. "See Hextor," he says. "I keep my promises, more arrive as a blood sacrifice."
Theyln attacks the orc in front of him, cutting it down with ease.
Bree uses her Wand, sending a Magic Missile into the orc fighting Astrid. It streaks across, hitting it . Then the wand starts sputtering before its magic fades, empty.
Mal steps back, around Norric, and attacks the orc there, driving his spear into its leg. Norric attacks, taking out the orc with a backhand hit, then takes out the second orc with a second swing.
Two orcs step up to Din, attacking him with wild abandon. One hits him . One charges across and attacks Theyln, hitting him with its axe . Two then attack Norric from the side and rear. Norric takes two hits [4 and 18: x3 crit, total 22]. Two attack Astrid, both missing, as four more charge into the chamber from the east.
Din attacks, missing the orcs fighting him.
From the east a fierce growls gets everyone's attention, as a troll lumbers in. It passes the orcs, steps into the light, and heads for Theyln. However, it notices Sam and Bree a bit closer and veers to the right, going after them!
"They need me hammer," says Sam as she runs at her best speed towards the one fighting Theyin. Her plan is to run right over the orc. See elf, dwarves can charge too. If she misses she will come around and go for the orcs by Astrid.Sam, about to move to Theyln's aid, swings at the troll instead, hitting it in the chest  and knocking it down!
Sil fires into the back of one of the rear orc which just entered, killing it, then hits the next most rear one, killing it too. The other two don't notice, their gazes fixed on Theyln.
Astrid then attacks the two in front of her. Using Fire's revenge, she hits it in multiple points, causing burning pain to shoot through it.
Finally, a large orcs steps up around the corner, swinging at Sil who somehow duck the blow of its axe. It looks very mean.
Theyln then attacks the orc in front of him, chopping it's head clean off with one stroke! There's a pile of bodies growing before the young elf warrior!
Sil steps back and fires a double-arrow shot at the orc leader. Both arrows hit [5 and 12: x2 Crit to its weapon arm; hit prob is now -6]. It's still alive, but hurt badly.
The orc turns and runs away back down the hallway!
Theyln rushes the troll to attack screaming "Tôl Acharn!" His blow lands solidly in the prone troll's belly .
Astrid does a United Fingers Strike on uninjured orc , dropping it with a blow to the neck! The other one turns and runs, giving Astrid a free attack, which she takes, rabbit punching it in the back of the head  knocking it out!
The troll gets up, flailing about wildly. It claws Sam , Bree [16: x2 Crit] and knocks her backwards 5' and to the ground, and misses Theyln with its bite.
Sam says, "Bree, we need fire or acid." While she beats on the troll with all she has aand as fast as she can. "Die, scum, die," she starts to yell, but misses with every swing.
Bree tries to cast her Sleep spell, but it fails now with the wicked clawing she just received. She h
"We've proven no fear in dying to the last man," says Mal in common. "What say you?"
The orcs just snarl back in orcish which he doesn't understand.
"Fine," he says, and drives his spear through the gut of one of the orcs. "Go tell it to Hextor!"
Norric then attack the remaining orc facing him, missing.
The orc leader turns and runs off back down the hallway. One of the two new arrivals rushes Astrid but trips over the dead body of the ogre, falling prone at her feet. The other one charges Theyln, missing. The last one misses Norric, and the two other ones continue their attacks against Din, both missing.
Din strikes one, slashing open its belling and spilling its entrails all over the floor! [Immediate death crit!]
Bree crawls back, takes out her potion of healing, and drinks it, healing .
“Cowards,” says Theyln as the orcs retreat. He then attacks, missing with his first strike.
Sil fires an arrow at the orc fighting Theyln, piercing it through the side  and killing it!
The troll continues its attacks. With Bree out of the way, it focuses on Sam and Theyln. It claws twice at Sam, hitting her once , and it misses biting Theyln again.
Mal stabs the last orc fighting Norric through the chest, killing it instantly!
Astrid leaps astride the prone orc, delivering a flurry of blows to its face, taking it out too!
"Thanks," says Norric, who turns around looking for foes. [He can't see Din's fight.] He sees the troll and rushes back that way to assist. He ignores the thing's reach and ducks a swipe of its claw as he steps between it and Bree. Norric then misses.
Everyone else misses, including the orcs.
Bree will attempt to cast Trip on the battle axe and have it try to trip the troll. As the troll spins around in an attempt to hit Theyln, it trips over the battleaxe, falling on its face!
Din withdraws from combat, retreating back into the light. It is a difficult decision, as it seems that just a single orc stands between himself and freedom.
"Mal! Norric! I am hurt!" he calls, as he emerges from the shadows. Occupied as he is, he doesn't see where the other party members are at present. If no help is forthcoming, he will re-engage the Orc. At first opportunity, he will drink a Potion of Healing.
Mal hears Din's call for help and changes his target from the troll to what ever is attacking Din. If the orc follows Mal into the light Mal attacks him but not chasing him in the shadows until everyone is safe. The orc does follow Din, intent on finishing its vile work, and it runs right into Mal's spear, impaling itself!
Theyln continues to strike the troll, though he misses. As Sam is preparing to back off, so as to heal herself, she looks at the conditions of most everyone else and figurers she should be good at least for one last round. "Die scum, die" She swings then backs off the next 5'.
Norric attacks the troll as well, slashing it with his axe . Finally, Astrid picks up lit torch again, approaches the troll from behind, and calls out to the others. "Somebody throw some oil on this thing!"
The troll gets up, slashing at Norric with two claws, one of which hits . It also fails to bite him. Norric falls back to the ground unconscious.
Finally, Sil looks around the corner, down the hallway. She sees no sign of orcs, though she can only see 60'.
Seeing Astrid with the fire, the troll turns on her a attempts to knock her aside with a swipe of its long arm . Astrid takes a heavy buffet to the head and is knocked out! It then turns back to Theyln, missing with its other attacks.
Thelyn attempts to hit the prone troll with his two attacks this round. He steps up, blocking the way to Norric, and hits the troll in the back .
Bree will cast Ray of Enfeeblement on the troll, but it has no effect.
Sam will cast Cure Light Wounds on Norric as soon as she can. Norric heals .
"Stupid orcs" Mal shakes the dead orc free from his spear and moves to engage the troll. Mal stay out of the troll's long reach, stabbing with is spear from a distance but missing.
Sil will switch from her bow and arrows and use her sword. She pulls her cloak tight, disappearing, and sneaks up to the edge of the light. She will attempt to backstab the troll next.
"I'll cover the entrance!" says Din to Mal. Din drinks a Potion of Healing [healing 9]. Next round he will move back to where he was and take another peep down the corridor. If no orcs are present, then he will open his Bag of Holding and swap out crossbows.
Theyln misses with his second attack. Din is now looking down the exit. He sees no orcs there. Sil is invisible (the shaded counter means she's hidden). Norric is back to postivie hps now, and Astrid is down. Mal and Theyln are fighting the troll.
Norric backs off, stands, then moves over to the burning orc corps. He pulls it out of the fire by its feet.
Bree throws a dagger, missing.
Theyln continues his futile swings! [Rolled a "2"]
Mal slips around the troll's flank, stabbing at it but missing.
The troll attacks Theyln with abandon, hitting with both claws [5 and 8: total 13!] Theyln is hurt badly, but continues to fight when most others would have collapsed!
Din moves towards the exit, sees no orcs there, then returns. "The exit's clear!" he shouts.
Sam moves around to Astrid to cast Cure Light Wounds, her last spell. She moves behind the fighters so as to not get into the fight.
Finally, Sil moves up behind the troll and stabs it in the back. Unfortunately, she misses, though she does appear because she made an attack.
Theyln strikes relentlessly, but the damn thing seems to constantly just evade being hit. [Rolled a "4". I'm going to tell you so you know!]
Norric uses his exceptional strength to swing the flaming orc by its ankles and throw it at the troll. He has to move closer to do so, and hurls the orc. It strikes the troll dead center [14: x2 crit and breaking the troll's arm, no attacks with that arm. That will probably heal because it's a troll. There's also no effect, except maybe the troll's startled. The fire doesn't do anything. BTW, I rolled a straight "20" followed by the successful crit!]
The troll backs away, and then tries to push passed Sil. She slashes it with her sword  and Mal drives his spear into its face . The troll sags down on the spear, struggling in its death throes as Theyln finally scores a hit. He steps up and drives his longsword into the trolls back . It's very still now.
"Let's get out of this deathtrap," Din says. "Norric, looks like we'll have to let the women and children live to fight another day."
“Aye,” says Norric, and unsurprisingly, not reluctantly. “Let's be moving off. I ain't in no shape fer more of a fight. Now will some of your layabouts come help me drag the damned troll into the fire? And fer the love of everything shiny, collect some damned treasure.”
Before leaving, they drag the troll’s corpse, and toss it in the campfire!
Sam calls out, "Din, if you are going back for your crossbow, can you pick up mine, please. It should be near where yours is. Someone make sure that we have left no trail and once I get Theyin healed, let’s exit."
"I said this place was a tomb!” says Bree, who nonetheless starts searching the dead orcs.
Din covers the western hallway with crossbow. "Forget those coppers! Let's go!"
“Lets get out of here,” says Mal. “I have two healing potions for anyone who needs them. Just ask and you shall receive.”
"Mal, can you get one to Theyin, quickly?” says Sam.
“Is there any reason why we can't rest and recuperate in the secret area,” asks Theyln, “or did we tip our hand on that?”
"You really want to pick another fight in the shape we are in?” asks Bree. “It would be very embarrassing if the great elven fighter was felled by an orc mother."
“I am Thelyn Troll-Slayer,” he replies. “I fear no orcish mother.”
"That leader of theirs was hurt but he got away,” says Norric. “He could warn the other hunting party and he likely knows now where we were hiding."
“Look, we need to go now,” says Din nervously.
Norric scoff's at Din, " A dwarf afraid of a few orcs...unbelievable. Next thing he'll be sharing a bedroll with the hobgoblin."
Mal glances his way, but says nothing.
"Fine, here you go," Din says. "Let's split before we split. He opens his Bag of Holding, removes the Party Treasure Sack, and dumps it on the floor. He quickly counts off his share of coin treasure, and leaves the rest for the others to fight over. He puts his Potions of Invisibility and Shrinking in the convenient and now-empty side-pouches of his backpack. "You guys need the sack?"
"C'mon, Mal, let's return to Hommlet." He then offers his healing potions to the rest. "I pray that you live to spend it. Otherwise, I hope to take it from the corpses of Orcs before they do."
The party takes the potions, hands them out, and they immediately drink them.
"Din wants to leave,” says Theyln, “so gather yourselves quickly and let's move. The time we spend in indecision is more time they can gather and send out a hunting party for us." Theyln has shield and blade up at the defensive ready, and he heads toward the exit quickly to check the situation. When Theyln gets about 50' from the entrance, he sees a couple of large forms moving into the entry chamber from outside. They are bigger than orcs, though smaller than ogres. From a distance, and only seeing them in silhouette, he isn't sure what they are.
Theyln backs up and calls to the party. "The time for choice is now, hide in the secret room or fight, because reinforcements are coming.”
With curses, the party gets inside the secret door at the worg chamber. Sil stays out to watch, invisible.
Sil sees a pair of bugbears enter the circular chamber after a bit. With them are 6 orcs. They look around and check out the bodies of the other orcs. It seems about 10 of them are not dead, and the new arrivals begin to help them out. One of the bugbears inspects the ogres and troll, while the other heads down the passage to the large circular room. The orcs light the torches so they can see better as well.
Sil slips slowly down the corridor, and at the end she sees the bugbear speaking with the half-orc/half-gnoll leader. She can't hear what they are saying, but it sounds like a report. She also notes that the orcs there have created a barricade across the passage with overturned tables, barrels, and crates. About a half-dozen orcs are behind the barricade, using long spears and crossbows to watch the passage. They are relaxed now that the bugbears have entered.
The orcs keep the lights off in the large chamber, so she cannot get out there to check. However, as soon as the bugbear returns to the western chamber, she slips stealthily passed the barricade and reports to the party via the peephole.
Now, I didn't exactly do "rounds" since you fled through the door. However, it's been maybe 5 minutes. So, NOBODY went to sleep.
Sil stayed out, and she snuck around. She could see exactly how many orcs were there. I'm going to break down EVERYTHING.
In the West Chamber with the worg pen: 2 orcs are by the west exit. A bugbear and two orcs are searching for the secret door in the worg pen. Four orcs are checking the bodies and dragging the wounded to one place. These wounded orcs are all unconscious. They are NOT being healed. The orcs simply have stabilized them and kept them from dying, just like you guys always do.
In the East Chamber with the large central column: The orcs have a barricade at the west side, facing the passage to the west chamber. It is made of overturned tables and such. Behind it are 6 orcs with spears and bows. The orc leader which ran away is there as is the half-orc/half-gnoll leader. He has a longbow. There are two more orcs, one guarding each of the smaller passages leading out of this chamber to the NE and NW. Finally, there are a couple dozen females with a similar number of young in the southern part of this chamber.
As for the party, you are currently in the following places: Din and Mal (and Maugrim which joined him at the end of the fight) are at the worg secret door, where Din has just spiked the door. Theyln is at the "second secret door." Sam is at the peephole, talking to Sil who is beyond the peephole, in the large chamber. Finally, Norric, Bree, and Astrid are at the three-way intersection.
So, if you are going to do something now is the time. Just understand the distances; these are LARGE chambers. It's nearly 200' between secret doors and between the second one and the peephole. I have spaced you apart to accommodate things that just happened. Just keep in mind, this place is WAY bigger than you are thinking. Each large square on the map is actually 30' wide!
If we need to fight our way out, the worg pen may be the way to go. We are fighting an entire tribe of orcs, way over our capability. Trying to take the barricades, clear them out of our way and charge thru the hall to another fight is probably a death sentence. Heck, fighting the ones in the entrance will likely kill some of us. We may as well drink all the healing potions and be in as good a shape as we can before the next round.]
"You know, we don't have to fight our way out the front," says Din. "There is at least one other exit, even if it's underwater."
[Din OOC: I believe we actually can fight our way out the front. About ten unwounded orcs and bugbears by the Worg pen secret door. There's no more trolls or ogres. I think we got this.]
"I am headed in,” say Theyln. “Follow or get out of the way."
"Thelyn,” says Norric, “bravery is important as is honour in all things but a brave death is not always honourable. In fact sometimes it is the dumbest thing one can do. If you go out there now without us being healed and ready with new spells, you will doom us all. There is no honour in your friends and companions dying because of a rash act of bravery."
“Thank you, wise dwarf,” says Mal. “I couldn’t find the words but that’s my thoughts exactly. It’s clear we have another big fight ahead.”
You hear the secret door grown after a while, so it's clear the orcs have found it. Then you start to hear pounding on the door itself.
Sil tells Bree, who is now the ONLY one at the peephole while the rest are arguing, that the orcs have carried their wounded into the south part of the large chamber, to the females. They've also brought another table and are taking it to the far side to use as a battering ram. She also says that all the torches are now lit. She will wait by the peephole to hear your plan.
The dwarves return to the secret door, and they note that the door will give way; they know enough of such things. “It is only a matter of time...,” says Din.
“Guess we aren't going to catch a break here,” says Bree. “I should have listened to my brother.
Astrid drinks her last healing potion and readies herself for battle. “Wanted or not, it seems it is upon us.”
Din spikes the secret door shut, the blows of his hammer ringing through the halls. “That will buy us time, but the surely know we are here now,” he says.
The party moves to the eastern secret door and begins to open it. As soon as this happens, and Sil has been watching carefully with her keen elven vision, she slits the throat of the orc guard at the SE.
Din and Mal slip out, and Din realizes that he just can't get into range quick enough, so he kneels down and draws a bead on the orc leader by the barricade. Mal quickly moves across the hall along the wall, then takes one shot at the far orc. Miraculously, he hits it putting an arrow through its chest and knocking it back into the passage! Sam fires her crossbow, standing next to Din, but misses. Din then fires at the orc leader to the south, hitting him in the side .
It stumbles in pain, reaching for the bolt and turning as Astrid, and Norric charge into the chamber. Astrid performs Winds of the Mountain (flying kick), but misses, landing adjacent to the orc leader who stares at her, mouth agape. He glances back to the left just in time to see Norric cleave its head in with one shot!
The remaining orcs at the barricade are so surprised by the sudden assault and the death of their leader, that they scramble over the barricade and run away down the western passage.
Astrid attacks the nearest orc with A Touch of Fire, missing.
Sil pulls her cloak around herself, hiding, while Mal mounts Guulvorg, readying his spear for a charge.
Back in the secret passage, Bree watches as Theyln draws his sword, and approaches the worg secret door. He listens at it, hearing the muffled sounds of orc speech beyond.
The orcs drop their bows and grab their axes. Astrid attacks the nearest again, again missing.
The orc swings its axe at her, hitting her solidly  and knocking her down. The other orc steps up, standing over her, and swings his axe in a massive chopping blow down upon her. She rolls aside, just barely dodging the blow which takes a huge chunk of stone from the floor.
Norric then steps up, swinging his axe at the orc's head. It ducks just in time to avoid the blow.
Finally, Sam moves up and fires, missing, while Din moves up 30' and reloads his crossbow.
Astrid kicks out the orc's legs, dropping it to the ground, then she leaps to her feet!
She then attempts to stomp the orc's face, but it rolls away.
Mal begins closing the distance quickly, riding Guulvorg. He slings his bow and has his spear in hand.
Bree watches as Theyln listens by the door.
Sil begins moving towards the women and children.
Din moves up to the tables and glances down the hallway. He sees the orcs running, and he fires his crossbow at one of them. He hits it in the back , dropping it! The other three don't stop, but he keep running as fast as their legs can carry them!
Finally, Norric attacks, again missing. The orc Astrid trips rolls away, gets up, then turns and flees! The other one attacks Norric, missing.
Mal continues his move as Sil then reaches the rest of the women and children, and in her best scary orcish voice whispers, "GET OUT!" They look around, unsure and scared.
"NOW! she yells, and the orcs almost trip over themselves running away towards the SE passage. Left behind are about a dozen wounded orcs, all unconscious.
Finally, Sam steps up a bit more and fires again, and again missing badly.
Down the hall, the orcs reach the other chamber, yelling for help!
"Sam, move down and support Din at the tables in case we get unwanted guests," calls Mal as he turns Guulvorg south towards the fleeing orc.
Astrid hits the last orc in the face , knocking it out!
Sil watches the females and young flee, then moves over to inspect the wounded orcs. They are all unconscious and bad-off. [All had been reduced to negatives, but then aided before dying. So, while stable, they are not capable of combat, or even being conscious!]
Bree and Theyln continue to guard the hall.
Mal finishes his charge, running his spear through the back of the fleeing orc and killing it!
Astrid then moves up next to Din, as does Norric. Seeing all the orcs down, Sam hustles down there as well. Astrid waits, crouching behind the barricade and resting.
Bree moves up to Theyln, as Theyln starts to try and get the spikes out [there are two.] He finds he cannot pull them out, so he'll have to beat them out somehow.
Sil, invisible, moves to the central column. There she keeps an eye behind the party.
"Fire at the three lead orcs," says Mal. "As they go down it should impair movement of those behind them. That might give us extra time for missile fire." As Mal dismounts, he leans his spear against the barrier and takes bow and arrow. "So, we hold and enjoy our defensive position or go back through and rejoin with Theyln. With our taking of the central chamber they may feel slightly castrated and flee which is not an bad resolution to the whole affair."
Norric shouts down the hallway in dwarven. "We got yer women! We got yer women! HAHAHAHAHA!" He then switches to bow and starts peppering targets farther down. [DM OOC: Norric had is 2-handed battle axe out. Drawing a weapon so that you can use it in combat, or putting it away so that you have a free hand, requires a move action. Dropping one is free, but I assume he's actually putting his axe away, which I guess means he slings it over his back or however he's carrying it. That's one move, which occurs during his action phase. He can take out his bow with another move action. Two move actions means no attacks this round. The talking was free! ] He says, "Someone slit the throats of them orcs that is layin about."
"I still have a flask of oil," says Sam. "Tell me when you want me to use it."
"Use it now!" shouts Din as he takes aim at the northmost nearest orc. "And grab a torch!" Din fires, and his bolt takes the orc in the chest , dropping it!
Sam does not use her last oil but notes where the nearest torch is. It's 10' down the passage, on the left-hand wall. In the chamber, the nearest torch in about 50' away, along either wall. Instead, she fires her crossbow but misses.
The orcs run down the corridor, easily passing the oil trap area. You see three more at the far end, just entering the passageway.
Astrid leaps across the tables, rushes forward, and grabs the torch from the wall sconce while Mal is wrapping an oil-soaked rag on an arrow. [Giving you a break with the premade rag!] Astrid moves back and lights the arrow, which Mal fires down the hallway, igniting the oil just behind the orcs. The ones passed it keep charging while those beyond it stop dead in their tracks.
Sil switches to her bow and waits by the pillar, catching her breath.
Meanwhile, Theyln casts Reduce on the secret door, which immediately shrinks to 1/10 it's size. Beyond it he sees two bugbears and two orcs, none of which are looking his way.
Din and Norric both fire their bows, but only Din hits, his bolt slamming another orc back to ground .
The orcs continue their rush, getting to about 30' away as Sam pops up and fires her crossbow, missing again. Norric also fires again, missing badly as he rushes his shot at the charging orcs.
The orcs then barrel into the barricade! Astrid takes an AoO on the one nearest her, knocking it out with a blow to the head as it rushes the barricade. The rest slam into it as Din and Norric put their shoulders to the other side. The impact jolts them, but the dwarves hold the line, and the orcs fall backwards in disarray. Two fall down, with the others pushing forward over them.
Astrid attacks the nearest orc, missing, as Guulvorg rushes up, leaps the barricade, and hits the next one . The two tumble to the ground in a viscious, swirling tangle as the orc tries to get free of the wolf.
Astrid then punches the orc again, this time hitting it .
Sil keeps watch, while back in the other chamber Theyln steps out and attacks the nearest bugbear. Hitting it from behind, he nearly cuts it in two . It falls to the ground with a loud thud, drawing quick turns from the rest of the humanoids in the chamber.
Bree then throws a dagger at the other bugbear, missing.
The half-orc yells something, and two orcs emerge from the passage and move towards Theyln. The bugbear then steps up, swinging a large morning star, which Theyln barely avoids. The other two orcs drop the log and take out their axes.
Din drops his crossbow and takes out his axe as the orcs attack. One attacks Sam, missing, while one clips Din . One orc crawls away from Guulvorg, while the other struggles with the wolf, both locked in a grapple. The last one stands, steps up to Norric, and it immediately shot by one more arrow . Norric then turns and fires another point blank at the next orc, but misses. Mal fires two arrows at the further orc which crawled away from Guulvorg, hitting once  and taking it out.
Finally, Astrid is hit by the orc fighting her . The blow knocks her back over the table. [She's now in the same space as Mal.]
Astrid rolls back behind Mal, then springs to her feet. She then readies her latajang.
Guulvorg continues biting the downed orc, and he soon stops moving.
Bree throws another dagger, missing, while Theyln finishes off the bugbear with two cuts of his longsword. Two more orcs were about to enter the worg pen, but when they see Theyln cut down both bugbears, they turn and flee. The leader does the same thing.
Back in the other chamber, the last few orcs are slain by Mal, Sam, and Norric. The females and young are all gone. They fled out the SE passage.
The party rushes west, and the leave the mine as fast as they can. When they get out, they see no sign of the orcs that fled. They make haste away from the mine, and don’t stop until the reach their mounts. Deciding that there are just too many orcs there, the party decides to return to Hommlet to report to Thorgrim. They begin the long trek back. Within a few days they reach the bridge again. A few more days will bring them to Koralgesh, then another few days will bring them to Littleborough. From there it's less than a week to return to Hommlet. When they get there, they find that Thorgrim and the rest are nowhere to be found!
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