The Bugbear assault group is on hold. Instead, two PCs decided to scout out the gnoll cave. They successfully snuck into the entry cave and spied a group of four gnoll guards and two hyenas in the next room. Bravely, they chose to ambush this group. A battle ensued and the two retreated to the cave entrance. The gnoll chieftain arrived and issued a challenge, which the Fighter accepted. As the duel developed, the Fighter realized he was overmatched and the Ranger decided to give him a hand with a well-placed bow shot. This angered the watching gnolls and they charged the cheater and cut him down. Now, surrounded with the exit blocked, the Fighter had no option but to finish the duel. He lost. The gnolls, however, took both bleeding, but still living adventurers and gave them to the cook to tenderize for a feast in a few days.
Fortunately, for them, another pair of adventurers arrived.
Zekiel - Elven Ranger;
Human Rogue (Thief).
These two PCs were more stealthy and had the advantage of being able to administer Sneak Attacks against ambushed foes (ie. backstabbing, for you pre-3.x ed. players). They began in a manner similar to the previous two unsuccessful PCs, but they managed to drop the first two gnolls quickly and their skill level and magical equipment was of a better caliber, so they fared better against their opponents. The hyenas, and even the chieftain's dire hyena, proved no threat against their blades, but the chieftain (2nd level Ranger) and his two sons (1st level Fighters) were more of a concern. While Zeke battled the chieftain, his comrade distracted the sons and a few other gnoll warriors.
Zeke barely managed to defeat the chieftain (1 hit point left), but one of the sons ran over and cut him down immediately after. As the gnoll Fighter prepared to coup de grace Zekiel's unconscious form, the human Rogue dropped its brother. This caused that gnoll to charge him instead of finishing Zeke off. The human Rogue deftly tumbled between the bodies and blades of the last gnoll son and a few of his fellow warriors to come up at Zeke's side. There he drained a healing potion down Zeke's throat and stood his ground to prevent the gnolls from attacking him. Zeke managed to regain his feet, down another potion himself, and together, they defeated the remaining gnolls.
Collecting some magical armor from the chief, all the coin they could find in the gnoll caverns, and rescuing the barely conscious forms of the previous two adventureres, they made their way back to the Keep.
Last edited by SirXaris on Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
Zekiel - elven Ranger;
Tumak - dwarven Fighter;
Thordac (previously referred to as 'Sir Somebodyorother') - half orc Ranger;
Ash Ole - half-elven Fighter.
Zekiel, Thordac, and Ash stood at the entrance to a cave that seemed to be deserted except for the large bats they had previously seen exiting. After some discussion, Zeke decided to scout a short way into the tunnel before being followed by the others. The way was not worked stone, but natural cavern, though the floor was well-worn by countless footsteps. Quickly encountering a T intersection, Zeke turned left and advanced another few steps before feeling a dizziness assault his mental faculties. He struggled to fight it off, but felt that he was not succeeding, so turned to return to the entrance and his compatriots. He had either traveled farther into the tunnel than he remembered or the dizziness was messing with his senses because the entrance was not just around the corner he had turned. Continuing on, he stumbled a bit in the darkness until he drew his new dagger - a holy weapon infused by Abdiel with the magic of Heironeous. This weapon shed light as a torch, so Zeke made his way comfortably.
Back at the entrance, Ash and Thordac called for Zeke, but heard no response. They decided to follow him in, but succombed to the magical confusion in turn. They remained together, but also began wandering cluelessly through the tunnels seeking the exit. Thordac was not hindered much by the darkness, but Ash lit a torch to aid his sight. They were not prepared for the traps they ran into, but the traps' keeper was altogether worse.
Zeke traveled until he entered a medium-sized cavern with a high ceiling. He could just detect the movement of a dozen or so giant bats at the edge of his torchlight, but what caught his attention was the glint of gold near a skeleton wedged into a nook in one corner of the room. As he pondered the possibilities, the 'bats' swooped from their perches and attacked. Being the size of large cats, only 6 of the 13 could attack him at once, but a couple of them managed to land upon him, clutching at his armor with six hooked legs, and drive a terrifyingly long probiscus into his flesh. Though the thought was nauseating, the pain was minor. Unfortunately, the result was more threatening as they began to drain blood at an alarming rate.
Ash and Thordac were about to have a very bad day. Ash, in the lead, tripped a wire which dropped a weighted net from the ceiling. Ash managed to roll away from it, but the Ranger was caught. Worse, a spear fired from the wall behind them and hit Thordac in the back. The Ranger worked to quickly free himself from the net while Ash looked up from his prone position to see an evil-looking bull, horns and all, peering down upon him from the darkness.
Thinking quickly, Ash pulled a pouch full of gold coins from his belt and held it up as an offering, but the beast swung two battle axes (hand ax sized for the large creature) down upon him in response. The first severed Ash's hand at the wrist, but he still managed to dodge the swing of the second. Frantically, Thordac fought to free himself from entanglement while Ash swung, unsuccessfully, at the minotaur's groin with his morningstar. As the Ranger rolled free of the net, Ash tripped while trying to cross it. The minotaur chopped Ash again, dropped his second axe to free his other hand to grab the half-elf, slammed him against the wall of the tunnel and jammed his horns into the same wall on either side of Ash's head (Legend stlye ). Satisfied that Ash had been knocked unconscious, he ignored the fleeing Ranger and took his victim back to his lair to save for later.
Zeke was slowly managing to slay the stirges, but they were draining him of his strength at an alarming rate. He was surprised to hear a shout and see the dwarf Tumak enter the cavern from another tunnel. Having been reared underground, the dwarf had resisted the effects of the dizzying magic and knew the way back to the entrance. Zeke shouted for him to lead the way and the two of them raced for it. Several of the stirges had satiated their thirst for blood on Zeke already, but the two that continued to harass him were slain as they emerged into the daylight.
Thordac ran without a sense of direction, knowing only that facing the minotaur meant certain death. He came to a room with two strange war dog-sized beetles with glowing sacks on their backs. They were apparently as interested in him and came forward with clacking mandibles. He was able to slay them without suffering injury, but he encountered three more of the insects in the next cavern he entered as well. These served up a cut or two before expiring to his blade, but he remained as lost as before. Unhelpfully, the minotaur arrived to make finding the entrance a moot point. Thordac fought bravely, as there was no retreat, and managed to draw the creatures blood, but he quickly fell to dual blades being swung by the powerful shoulders of the bull-headed giant. His unconscious form was dragged back to join that of Ash - to be eaten at the beast's leisure.
Fearing for their lives, and assuring each other that their comrades must surely be dead, Zeke and Tumak raced for the Keep. Zeke was ambushed by an owlbear, but the two warriors were more capable than they had been just a few months earlier and slew the beast before it could deal more damage than they could handle.
Next up: Clamidi'a makes her appearance.
Last edited by SirXaris on Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:30 pm; edited 3 times in total
Argon, funny that you mention a 'name generator.' Historically, before I spawned kids of my own, I would flip through the telephone book for names! Now I have a name book we (wife and I) have after negotiating names for our son and daughter. The kids are much older now, but I still have that book, and use it to name PCs and NPCs alike!
Too bad my wife didn't like the name Luke and Leia, but even though I tried to use Jedi mind tricks on her, she is too strong-willed.
The four adventurers who decided to brave the caves next elected to forego challenging the minotaur again and entered the lair of the Bone Breakers tribe of orcs instead. They remembered the trip wire which would drop a weighted net on them in the four way intersection until the fight began. As orcs arrived to the battle from the east and west, throwing spears and charging with battleaxes, the poor dwarf forgot the trip wire in his haste to participate and dropped the net upon himself. The others managed to dodge the falling trap, but the poor dwarf became so entangled that he spent the vast majority of the battle trying to free himself.
After a few rounds of battle, the remaining orc chieftain, D to da Ork, arrived from the northern passage with his bodyguard and the two tribal shamans. His magical, two-handed throwing maul (+1 Throwing, Returning earthbreaker) pounded the PCs who thought they had an advantage at range, so two of them chose to charge him and the bodyguard instead of trading missile fire with them.
D to da Ork
The orcish shaman from the Other clan
The Bone Breakers shaman
As the battle raged, the shamans healed the chieftain of his wounds while Blump healed the party's warriors of theirs. As a result, it lasted long enough for the dwarf to finally escape the clutches of the net. At long last, both the bodyguard and D to da Ork were slain and only the shamans remained. They, however, were now free to blast the party with Burning Hands, Murderous Command, Sleep, and other such spells. Fortunately, the PCs survived the firey damage, overcame the magical compulsion to attack their allies, and the only one to fall victim to drowsiness was the caster's fellow shaman.
Thus, the party successfully defeated the band of Bone Breakers which had driven the Battle Royale dwarves from their caves in shame. Back at the Keep, they were confronted by Krondall, Harn, and Rord, the leaders of the dwarven avenging team, who claimed that the Bone Breakers owed their clan 3,000 pieces of gold and that any loot claimed was the rightful property of the Battle Royale clan. In order to avoid making more enemies, the party offered the dwarves a suit of magical splintmail, a magical battleaxe, and a few potions they had taken from the dead orcs. This satisfied the dwarves and they parted on friendly terms with the party. The PCs were, however, decidedly neutral with respect to how friendly they wanted to regard a clan who would sell weapons to the servants of Iuz.
Last edited by SirXaris on Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:07 pm; edited 4 times in total
Each of the PCs is now 3rd level. I decided to quit penalizing them so badly for dieing. I admit, it may be just a small bit my own fault. So, now those who survive, get a small xp bonus instead of a penalty going to those who die.
The Final Deed of Ash Ole
As Thordac fled down random passageways in fear for his life, the minotaur gazed into the eyes of the half elven warrior he had pinned by the neck to the tunnel wall. Studying his newest victim's smell and wondering why it had been foolish enough to enter his lair with only a single companion, it was startled a bit as Ash regained consciousness. Spying first the minotaur's horn piercing the cavern wall inches from his turned head, Ash straightened his neck as best he could in the minotaur's steely grip and stared straight into the beast's black eyes. Gasping for breath, he whispered the words, "I forgive you," and, straining against the clawed hand clenching his throat, he planted a kiss upon the bull-headed monster's steaming snout. And Ash Ole knew no more.
Stay together, for the gods' sake!
Having what they considered to be sufficient numbers and a satisfactory plan, the party decided it was time to deal with the minotaur again. They tied a roll of sturdy string to a dead tree outside the cave's entrance and entered together, all keeping one another close and within sight. They quickly succumbed to the magical confusion that caused them to lose their sense of direction, but felt confident they could always retrace their steps.
They encountered the cave of the stirges and suffered some painful stabs before killing or chasing them off. There, they discovered some small treasure on the skeletal body of an elf pressed back into a crevice. They found a couple of caverns with more live fire beetles as well, during their search. Disconcertingly, they discovered that they were crossing their own path frequently and even traveling down the same passageways they'd traveled before on ocassion. Getting back out by retracing their steps would be a lengthy process, at best.
Eventually, the minotaur, who had been tracking them for quite some time, decided to soften them up. He had cut their string and retied it randomly inside the cavern system so that any attempt to retrace their steps would end with them lost in the center of the labyrinth. When he hit them, he nearly killed his first victim. Finding the PCs so easily hurt, the minotaur decided to stay and fight instead of retreating to make more hit-and-run attacks.
Minotaur (6 HD, Ranger 4th, HP 114, AC 23, Two-weapon Fighting, Imp. Bullrush, Imp. Init., Imp. Critical [handaxe], Quick Bullrush, etc., Stealth +13, Perception +14) +1 Shadow Chainmail, +1 Human Bane handaxe, +1 Keen, Huntsman handaxe, plus a few potions and a lucern hammer for reaching across a pit, etc. Being large sized, his hand axes are actually battleaxe sized for medium PCs. Each round he got three attacks - one with each axe and a gore, all at +13 To Hit. Damage was devastating due to his 20 Strength (+5) and the magical qualities of his weapons.
The party battled furiously for many rounds. The gnome healed frontline fighters who fell back when they suffered too many hit points in damage and allowed freshly healed (from potions) PCs to take their place. The minotaur was able to fall back slowly as he fought as his size allowed him greater reach than the PCs. Despite this, the PCs eventually managed to outflank him in a tunnel intersection and the minotaur decided the advantage had turned against him. He turned to flee, but a couple of the PCs managed to stay close enough on his heels to shoot him in the back before he could turn too many corners. These missiles were just enough to bring the beast crashing down. Collecting the head as a souvenir and the penis to be made into a charm for a necklace, they continued searching for the monster's lair. They discovered that it had almost made it to a large cavern wherein they surmised it must have lived. A covered pit blocked the entrance, but without a minotaur (or kobolds) attacking them at the same time, traversing it safely was not difficult.
Within, they discovered the head of Ash on a pike, mouth open, with a shriveled piece of his own flesh stuck inside. Behind a very large boulder, the victorious warriors discovered a couple of chests full of treasure including several useful potions.
Last edited by SirXaris on Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:26 am; edited 7 times in total
Sorry. Lost some players who didn't return to college this semester and those that did return have been busy with life. I'm working hard to put the group's survivors back together and add a few replacements. Hopefully, we'll get started again soon.
Ynohtna Noswal - male half-orc Ranger, Charisma 17;
Tumak Copperbeard - male dwarf Fighter, Charisma 15.
While their erstwhile companions either lay dead in the ground, in the belly of some humanoid beast, or suffering some other unknown fate, Ynohtna and Tumak decided to explore the forest north of the Keep and the Deepstil River. Ynohtna's two war dogs proved their worth when they scared off a mountain lion that picked up their scent and slunk along waiting for an opportunity to pounce. They were also helpful in a battle against a giant spider the pair of adventurers stumbled upon in the forest's depths. They had elected, wisely they thought, to avoid the hazards of the Caves of Chaos with only themselves. They prefered to wait until it was possible to add more sword and spell arms to the group first. They may have made a mistake.
Continuing, they encountered a harmless pair of cheerful halflings, then defeated a small band of human bandits that attempted to waylay them. Feeling somewhat confident after their recent success, they were none-the-less wary when they heard a sultry female voice call to them from the forest ahead. Ynohtna spied a camouflaged elven form moving within the underbrush between the trees. Striking up a conversation, they discovered the form to belong to a fey dryad. She was strikingly beautiful and Ynohtna was completely smitten when she focused her attention upon him. Tumak was a bit miffed at being ignored, but didn't want to spoil his friend's fun. So, when Ynohtna dropped the shield and sword he was holding and advanced into the dryad's open arms, the dwarf played the faithful wingman and gave them their privacy. The handsome half-orc Ranger disappeared deeper into the forest with the lovely sylph.
After some time, however, Tumak began to have doubts. He remembered hearing from previous companions of an encounter with a dryad that required ransoming a companion (a female PC run by the same player as was running Ynohtna ). He went back and searched for his friend, but found nought but his sword and shield lying where they had been dropped. Wandering around, he was fortunate to stumble upon an elven patrol (I swear I rolled the dryad and the elven patrol randomly! 1% chance for a dryad encounter, 6% chance for an elven patrol.) Surrounded by suspicious elves with bows and swords pointed at him, he explained that his companion had disappeared with a dryad and that he didn't know how to find him. He had to endure much elven snickering when he admitted that the dryad hadn't seemed much interested in him. He had to endure elven guffaws when he added that the companion the dryad had picked over him had been a half-orc.
When the elves gained control of themselves, they offered to help the dwarf, but explained that he'd have to accompany them back to the Keep. There, they explained that a dryad can only be convinced to give up her lover peacefully if she is offered something she considers of greater value - a defensive magic item, a valuable piece of jewelry, or a prettier replacement. Tumak didn't have any magical cloaks, nor rings except for a Ring of Sustenance recently acquired in the minotaur's labyrinth. The elves, however, told him the dryad would have little use for such a trinket. So, he went to see the jeweler in the Keep to purchase something with which to ransom his friend. The jeweler was intrigued at Tumak's plight and recalled helping other adventurers similarly inconvenienced. He commented that the previous group had offered her a platinum and turquoise necklace worth about 750 pieces of gold and that she would likely be unflattered at a lesser, or even an equal, offering. Thus, Tumak was convinced to purchase a beautiful, but frail platinum necklace studded with saphires for 1,000 pieces of gold.
With his ransom and the helpful elves, Tumak returned to the forest to summon the dryad. The elves played their high-falutin music for what seemed interminable hours to the poor dwarf until, finally, the dryad appeared. The elf captain explained why they had requested her presence, then gave the conversation over to Tumak. He requested the release of his friend, Ynohtna, and offered the necklace in exchange. The dryad, however, haggled. She accepted his offer and promised to release the Ranger exactly one year and a day from this day. The dwarf looked to the elf and asked if that was acceptable (The player actually looked at the Ranger's player and asked that question. ). The elven captain quietly advised the dwarf to haggle with her. He got her down to a month, but the elf encouraged him to continue and he was successful in convincing her to lower the time to only two days. However, in addition to leaving the necklace with her now, Tumak was to return in two days with a replacement lover - a knight in shining armor, riding a white horse. That was their agreement. The elves rolled their eyes, but wished the dwarf good fortune and bid him farewell.
Tumak returned to the Keep working out a plan to win the release of his half-orc friend. He remembered the brutish knight, Sir Bluto Sans Pite, who had, along with his fellow knights, squires, and men-at-arms, bullied him and his companions on the road a fortnight previous. The men-at-arms took every opportunity to harass demi-humans and even the human inhabitants of the Keep every time they saw them, especially in the tavern. He knew that the knights and their squires were lodged in the Keep's donjon as noble (though not liked) guests of the castellan. However, the men-at-arms and their sergeants were quartered in the inn - the same place Tumak and Ynohtna had a room. Tumak went to the tavern, found a group of four men-at-arms and their sergeant. They immediately began to hurl insults at Tumak, but the dwarf waved the half-dozen blue-liveried Keep soldiers down when they stood to prevent a fight and offered to buy the men-at-arms drinks. This they insultingly accepted. They were less irritated to accept a second round and were even happy to accept a third, fourth, and fifth round of drinks as long as the stupid dwarf was willing to pay for them.
While buying them drinks, Tumak regaled the armed bullies with tales of his adventures in and around the Keep. By the time they were emptying their fifth round of good, strong brew (Tumak paid for the good stuff ), they were all ears when Tumak told them about a gorgeous elven woman that he and his friend had met in the woods and had some fun with. He even explained that he had been worn out and needed some rest, so had left his friend to have his turn. When questioned, he assured the men that he planned to return for some more of her inviting sweetness and that she had asked him to bring some friends. That was all it took to get the drunken group to the stables. Though the stable boys saddled their horses, it took a bit more work to get them all in the saddle. Attempting to leave the Keep after dark elicited some questions from the Corporal of the Watch, but Tumak, being known to him, was able to alleviate his concerns. The group rode into the forest and Tumak called for the dryad. She was disappointed in the knight Tumak indicated as the one he'd brought for her, though the sergeant had demanded to be first and was befuddled at her refusal. She glanced at each of the other four armored men until her gaze fell upon a young one as pretty as the Ranger. (I rolled randomly for their Charisma scores.) She spoke softly as a lover while holding his gaze upon her beautious orbs (her eyes, fellas ) until the youth was completely smitten. She then began to lead him off into the darkness. As she did, Ynohtna emerged from the trees, naked as a jaybird. As she disappeared into the enclosing arbor, the dryad called over her shoulder to Tumak that he still owed her a white horse.
The sergeant's mind cleared enough to shout to his men to find the one who left with the dryad and bring him back. The sergeant ran off intent on catching the dryad herself. Tumak returned to the keep with Ynohtna, begged off the questions of the Corporal of the Watch and headed straight to their room at the inn. All seemed well until Ynohtna realized that all he now possessed was the sword and shield that Tumak had recovered for him. Though he could replace his armor and most other items, he was quite upset about the half dozen or so healing potions that had, apparently, been left at the dryad's abode. Thus, instead of celebrating the victory, the two of them concocted a plan that nearly destroyed their friendship and got them both killed.
To be continued...
Last edited by SirXaris on Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:37 am; edited 7 times in total
Tumak was a bit miffed at being ignored, but didn't want to spoil his friend's fun...the dwarf played the faithful wingman and gave them their privacy. The handsome half-orc Ranger disappeared deeper into the forest with the lovely sylph.
...they were all ears when Tumak told them about a gorgeous elven woman that he and his friend had met in the woods and had some fun with. He even explained that he had been worn out and needed some rest, so had left his friend to have his turn. When questioned, he assured the men that he planned to return for some more of her inviting sweetness and that she had asked him to bring some friends.
She spoke softly as a lover while holding his gaze upon her beautious orbs (her eyes, fellas ) until the youth was completely smitten. She then began to lead him off into the darkness. As she did, Ynohtna emerged from the trees, naked as a jaybird. SirXaris
So, this must be the PG posting you told me to follow, yes?
Damned dryads. Your players no doubt are starting to hate them! Fleecing your characters of their ill-gotten gains to retrieve 'love' smitten fellows.
She'd better watch out. She may press her luck too far. Just wait til someone tires of her shenanigans and sets the forest aflame!
Of course, the elves may have a problem with that...
It occurs to me that I forgot the part where the dryad spoke in elven to the elven captain asking him to be her vengence if the dwarf failed to fulfill his part of the bargain. The elf captain agreed since he had initially vouched for the dwarf by summoning the dryad in the first place. He then explained to Tumak what he'd promised the dryad and made sure the dwarf understood the consequences of failing to keep his end of the bargain.
Any Lie for Love
Tumak Copperbeard(less)- male dwarf Fighter (aka the gnome-goblin);
Ynohtna Noswal - male half-orc Ranger (can't keep himself clothed).
As Ynothna's relief at being ransomed faded, he realized that he had none of his belongings but the sword and shield Tumak had thoughtfully retrieved for him. He was not overly worried about most of his equipment, but he had paid dearly for those healing potions and he desperately needed them for his own survival and that of his adventuring companions. He had to recover them. To that end, the pair of adventurers concocted a plan to lure the dryad away from her tree in order to steal back Ynohtna's treasures.
They managed to convince another group of Sir Bluto's drunken men-at-arms to accompany them into the forest. Once there, they summoned the dryad and she selected the prettiest one and began to lead him off. The drunken sergeant, however, followed them and chopped his man down from behind in a rage at being rejected while Tumak backed away into the darkness. While this was happening, Ynohtna snuck around and approached the dryad's tree. He searched to no avail for an opening. When he heard her running back toward him, he hid and drew his bow. As she approached, the Ranger loosed an arrow directly at her. It sliced her forearm as she ran and she stopped and hid behind another trunk. He lost sight of her until he was hit by an arrow from off to his side and saw that she had fired it. He charged her, but she stepped into the tree and appeared on a branch 20 feet above him. She asked him why he had attacked her and he was unable to resist her faerie charms. She stepped back into the trunk, then reappeared by stepping out of it at its base in front of him. Continuing to coax the truth from him, he panicked at the thought of telling his love that he had wanted to steal his potions back and had attacked her in anger. Instead, he did the only thing his infatuated mind could think of - he lied through his teeth.
Ynohtna explained that his friend, the dwarf Tumak, had convinced him that the dryad was evil and would seek him out and sacrifice him to a demon because the ransom was just a ruse and that the only way to save his life was to kill her. She finally shushed him with a kiss, then assured him that none of that was true. However, she told him that she expected him to make things right now by being the instrument of her wrath against the lying dwarf who had tricked her lover into hurting her. The charmed Ranger readily agreed to do anything the dryad asked. To that end, she insisted that the dwarf's beard be cut off and that he be hanged by his ankles at the edge of the forest within sight of the Keep for one day and one night. Ynohtna's love for this divine creature overcame his hesitation at bringing such harm to his friend and he set out to accomplish her desires.
Tumak returned to the the inn first, but Ynohtna was not far behind. As the dwarf prepared for bed, the Ranger said he was not sleepy and was going out for a walk. So, Tumak fell into a comfortable slumber and Ynohtna made his eventual way to a room with more of Sir Bluto's men-at-arms. He knocked on their door and was about to be punched in the face when he offered them 500 gold pieces to deal with a problem dwarf. Dragging him into their room instead, they asked about the gold. The half-orc produced it immediately, then explained what he wanted from them in exchange. Smiling, they took the money and agreed to do something they would have happily done for free if given the chance.
Ynohtna let them into his room and they surrounded Tumak's bed. Two of them tried to knock him unconscious while the other three held him down. Tumak, instead, woke up and struggled against his grapplers. Unfortunately, for the dwarf, his assailants were too strong and he was knocked out, trussed up, and rolled up in several bedrolls. The party then mounted their horses and headed for the gate. Again, the Corporal of the Watch took the Ranger at his word and allowed the group to exit the Keep. They rode north to the edge of the woods where Tumak was unrolled, and strung up on a tree branch by his ankles. Cursing his kidnappers, he noticed one standing back, not participating, but wearing a mask over his face. The others he recognized as some of Sir Bluto's men. They beat his bound, upside-down form until he was nearly dead, then made to leave. At the last minute, one of the brutes returned and cut off the dwarf's beard saying, "That's no way to leave a dwarf!" They returned to the Keep and Ynohtna accepted their invitation to join them in revelry using the money he had spotted them.
Tumak dangled upside-down, bloody and bruised, from the branch a few feet off the ground. He considered that, at least, they had left him to die with his clothes on, though the blood was filling his brain and making it hard to think. As he pondered his predicament, some kobolds discovered him and began prodding his now swinging form. He was shocked and fearful for more than his life when their blackscaled leader approached and looked him in the face. Tumak recognized the beast as the half-dragon leader of the band he and his friends had finally defeated in the Caves of Chaos. This was largely due to the whip on his hip and the small rapier in his hand. The kobold, however, didn't seem to recognize the dwarf. (He didn't have a beard, after all.)
"What be ye, foul-smelling beast? Fat and red, yes, but good for a feast?"
Thinking as quickly as his pounding brain could manage, Tumak told it that he was a half-gnome, half-goblin. His mother was a gnome and his father was a goblin. He did his best to assure the kobold that he was not tasty at all, but didn't think he was having much luck when an angry female voice shouted at the kobolds to leave him alone. Then the dryad appeared in the dim moonlight filtering through the trees at the forest's edge and threatened to have the trees reach down and pull the kobold's limbs from their bodies. At this, the band scattered in fear, though the blackscaled leader was the last to go and did so with a reptilian sneer.
The dryad then spun the dwarf to face her and sealed her charm with an upside-down kiss. She asked Tumak why he had lied to Ynohtna about her and convinced him to attack her. Desperate to prove his devotion to his soul's perfect mate, Tumak swore that he had nothing to do with the Ranger's attack upon the dryad and that he didn't even know that he was going to attack her. He just knew that Ynohtna wanted his potions back. Convinced of the dwarf's innocence in the matter, the dryad forgave him and made him promise to enact vengence upon the Ranger for his unforgivable scorn. This Tumak readily agreed to do. She released him from his bonds and he began the long trek back to the Keep on foot.
Upon his return, he had a difficult time begging off the questions of of the Corporal of the Watch, but eventually made his way back to the inn. As he opened the door to his room, he heard laughter down the hallway and looked to see Ynohtna emerge from a room full of Sir Bluto's men-at-arms. Spying Tumak in turn, the half-orc drunkenly entered their shared room and welcomed his friend back. When Tumak inquired as to Ynohtna's whereabouts the previous evening, the Ranger explained that he had gone for a walk and ended up drinking with some fellas who invited him to join them with free grog. He pretended to be rather irritated to discover who those drinking friends had been and concerned about the events that had befallen his friend, Tumak. Tumak, however, knew the truth as the dryad had told him that his friend had obeyed her demand for vengeance upon him.
The next day, Tumak sought an audience with Tornamir, the castellan, and accused Ynohtna of kidnapping and physical abuse. Tornamir listened carefully and assured the dwarf that he would have the incident investigated. That evening, Tumak and Ynohtna reveled at the tavern, but Tumak only pretended to drink much. The Ranger, however, tried to drown his guilt in alcohol. When Ynohtna couldn't keep himself upright in the chair any longer, Tumak loaded them both onto steeds stolen from Sir Bluto's men. He found no white steed, but chose a grey that appeared whitish. Mounted, they rode to the gatehouse. Again, he assured the Corporal of the Watch that their late-night excursions were more of their adventures to destroy evil humanoids in Lord Locks' domain and exited without incident. When they were far enough north of the Keep for any witnesses, Tumak pulled the half-orc from his saddle, stripped him naked, bound his wrists and ankles, and tied him to a rope attached to his whitish horse's saddle. Giving the horse a surprising slap upon its rump, he sent it running into the woods, dragging the naked half-orc behind. With a private chortle at the success of his revenge, Tumak returned alone to the Keep.
The horse was finally calmed by the dryad, who eased the Rangers sores a bit with her kiss and calmed his nerves with her lovely gaze. She told him she knew the truth and even returned half of his healing potions since she felt he had been duly chastised for his afront to her love. However, she felt that he still owed her for all the trouble that his attack and lies had caused her. She told him she'd let him go, but that he needed to bring her back a defensive magic item within one month to prove that his promise to never lie to her or harm her again was true. If he failed, she would have her elven friends hunt him down and bring him to her for a permanent punishment. Even had Ynohtna not been magically enchanted with undying love for her at the moment, he would not have hesitated to agree that such a deal was extremely generous.
Returning to the Keep, he was called before Sir Tornamir and questioned about his part in the incident with Tumak. He denied involvement and was released. Later that day, there was quite a ruckus as Sir Bluto and his remaining men angrily prepared to leave the Keep. Just as this was happening, two of Sir Bluto's men-at-arms showed up at the barbican, bloody and nearly dead. Sir Bluto spoke to them, then stormed back to shout at Sir Tornamir. Not long after, however, he returned and the entire troop of over two dozen knights and men-at-arms stormed out the gates. Interestingly, the two adventurers noted that the knight and his men rode east, down the road that ran past the Caves of Chaos then branched, continuing east, but also heading north to Eru Tovar in the lands of the Wolf Nomads.
Sir Bluto and his men didn't leave in any obscurity. They left to the cheering of the crowd that had gathered to watch and that of many of the Keep's guardsmen as well. This was accompanied by the throwing of rotten vegetables and a few sticks and stones by small children. Soon word spread that Sir Bluto had refused to allow Sir Tornamir to question his men over some issue they were involved in. The castellan gave him the choice of submitting his subordinates to his interogation or leaving the Keep. When Sir Bluto learned of the abuse his men had suffered at the hands of the dwarf and half-orc, he had stormed back to demand that Tornamir arrest and punish those two "low-browed, common pieces of troll excrement." Sir Tornamir stated that he was all too happy to comply as soon as Sir Bluto could arrange for him to interrogate the witnesses. The haughty, selfish knight left the castellan's presence again in a rage, this time leaving the Keep without another interruption.
Tumak and Ynohtna were thanked profusely by every inhabitant of the Keep they met for the next few days and couldn't pay for their own drinks if they'd tried. Under the circumstances, they decided that being the toast of all the fine folks at the Keep for a while was a good reason to forgive and forget that they'd each chosen to save their own hides at the expense of the other.
Now, they needed more of their friends for another adventure.
Last edited by SirXaris on Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:19 pm; edited 11 times in total
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