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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 325
    From: Minnesota

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    Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:48 am  
    A Lendore Island Campaign

    First of, thank you to Len Lakofka for all of the information and modules he has provided. Also, thanks to everyone else that has added ideas to this island for me to mine for this campaign. I will try and do it justice.

    Backdrop: The adventure group is leaving the area of the Pelisso Swamp after having adventured in the Forbidden City (see previous posts). They think they are heading to Restenford to meet Pelltar, a friend of their captain, for aid and hopefully spellbook supplies. They think it will be a layover before heading back towards the Wild Coast/Pomarj area. They thought wrong. The adventure starts are they are leaving the basecamp in the swamp. They plan to overload a magical folding boat (overly kind DM).

    The group consists of:

    Ledego (NPC) - male 1/2 elf mage - Captain of the ill fated Nir Nen
    Peylae (NPC) - female 1/2 elf mage - First mate and daughter to Ledego
    Ship Crew (NPCs, Comus, Larrig, Ersan, Varze, Ment, Nedwyn & Tiz)

    Ide Otneaux (NPC) - female 1/2 orc fighter, Pomarj, lv 4

    Breymeer - male human ranger (Viking type), lv 4
    Cirdan Saralonde - male elf mage, of noble blood from Celene, lv 4
    Ewan McDermott - male human druid (Celtic type), lv 3.
    Grimlock - male 1/2 elf fighter/mage/thief, Celene/Wild Coast, lv 3,2,4
    Kuba Cyvlorandau - male human fighter, Dullstrand, lv 3
    Southar - male human ranger, Gnarley Forest, lv 3
    Speck - male Halfling thief, Kuba's sidekick, lv 3
    Tarstar - male human thief (former pirate), Lordship Isles, lv 5
    Tathar Surion - male elf priest of Sehanine Moonbow, Lendore Isles, lv 3
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 325
    From: Minnesota

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    Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:01 pm  

    The next few days pass slowly and with much discomfort. Ledego remains in his tent under the care of Peylae. The Nir Nen crew assist with your needs. The party donates some money and gems at Hashoven’s request to Osprem.

    As the effects of the medication wears off and the group regains their strength, the group begins to fall into routines.
    Ide Otneaux and Southar remain in bed for most of the days, slowly recovering from their near death experiences.
    Ewan and the Nir Nen crew remain to assist with the wounded as they recover; closely watching Kuba and Ide to make sure the curse has been driven from their bodies. Keeping himself busy helps him with the pain of losing his traveling companion, Siohbon.
    The elves, Cirdan Saralonde, Grimlock, Aratheas and Tathar, spend much time in Ledego’s tent. Grimlock and Peylae taking many walks to gather jungle plants and herbs to foster the healing packs Berry Hairycheeks started.
    Kuba cleans his weapons and armor and practices his combat skills.
    Speck is nearly always at Kuba’s side tinkering with this or that, practicing his fighting or talking walks around the compound to chat up whoever will listen.
    Breymeer cleans his gear and spends time taking walks in the jungle where he finds peace and quiet.
    Grom, whenever possible, spends time conversing with Hashoven about religion and the region around the Pelisso Swamp and Xaro Mountains.
    Tathar remains quiet and spends long hours in what appears to be a trance or meditation. He spends some time examining his cobra styled staff and asks Hashoven if he knows anything about it.
    Tarstar spends time fixing his gear, dancing at odd times and looking out across the water, dreaming of his days on the open sea.

    During one of the evenings together, Cirdan Saralonde gathers the party together and asks each member to place the recovered items of interest into a pile so that he can attempt to detect any magical fields around them.

    The group complies and Cirdan reports:
    The brass ring recovered from the yuan-ti has a weak protection aura (Cirdan),
    The yuan-ti dagger has a weak enchantment (Cirdan),
    The language elixir is magical (Cirdan),
    The platinum snake necklace from the yuan-ti does NOT radiate magic (Cirdan),
    The statuette of the yuan-ti god does NOT radiate magic (Ide),
    The golden shield radiates a strong enchantment (Southar),
    The rope recovered in the yuan-ti temple radiates some type of alteration magic (Southar),
    The potion given to Southar by Peylae is magic,
    The bone knife recovered by Tathar near the wildman compound has mild enchantment,
    The yuan-ti cobra staff has moderate enchantment (Tathar).
    The platinum necklace and the statuette, although not magic, have obvious value.

    You spend the first week of Reaping recovering. Southar and Ide Otneaux continue to increase in strength and appear back to normal.

    Horan has not been seen since arrival at the basecamp. Hashoven comes and goes checking on your recovery. Once he senses your recovery is near complete, he delivers you a message, “Horan has become too busy to bid you farewell. He assumes you will soon depart from our company. He thanks you for your service and assistance. He advises you seek me out with and questions or concerns. You are all free to leave as you wish.” Hashoven returns to the camp after delivering the message.

    Ledego begins to speak of setting sail down the river and back out to sea. He has been working with his magical boat and claims to have command of its magic. He claims the boat can comfortably haul 15 passengers. There are 22 of you remaining; Ledego, Paylae and 7 crew members and 13 adventurers.

    Ledego calls a meeting and offers the group the following options, “I intend to leave shortly for the Spindrift Isles to our east. I have an associate there that I believe will take me in. He lives in the small town of Restenford. I am willing to take any of you with me. I can take up to six people comfortably. Any more than that and we shall suffer the burden of overcrowding but I am willing to pack the ship like rats if need be. No offense is meant to you dear Grimlock.”

    He allows a few laughs at Grimlock’s expense and continues, “You are all free men and women. Chose as you wish. If you wish not to come with me, the Suel ship material and receive supplies to and from the mainland on a regular basis. It may be possible to get passage on one of these ships. Finally, if you want to stay with the Suel, I wish health and safety for you. I shall leave at daybreak the day after tomorrow. Be at the docks if you wish to travel with me and my crew.”

    The day prior to Ledego’s departure is spent in thought. The group meets for conference after the serving of the evening meal. Tathar spends the whole day in trance.

    Cirdan Saralonde speaks of the plunder. If we split, we should discuss what to do about the statuette and the platinum necklace. Maybe the Suel would be interested in buying or bartering for them.

    Grom, normally quiet, speaks boldly, “I intend to gain passage upon the Suel ships. I intend to get to Dullstrand and head overland to my home in the Glorioles Mountains. My patron, Brightmantle, has served many of you well. I only ask that I am provided enough for room, board and passage on my way home.”

    Breymeer speaks next, “I am very concerned about the wild men and how they fared. If we stay, I would like to head back and check on them. But, I have had enough of cities and buildings. I will travel with Ledego if the group is leaving the swamp.

    Ewan McDermott stands with Breymeer, “I am fond of the wild men. I will stay if you need company Breymeer. I have an axe to grind with the Bugbears. If we do not stay, travelling east gets me closer to home. I am a large man on a small ship though. Maybe passage on another boat would be better for me.”

    “Tarstar will also travel with Ledego,” is his vote.

    Cirdan Saralonde hands Grimlock the magical language elixir, “Here, maybe this will help you communicate next time. Do not use all of it, we should try and have more made if we can find and alchemist. I shall travel with Ledego.”

    Southar makes his opinion known, “I would like to get back home myself. I would like we should be back to Highport in time so I may hunt down those how enslaved most of us. I will do what it takes to get back there. I will travel with Ledego for now.”

    Kuba says "Wherever our paths may lead and whatever dangers we face I feel confident with you my companions. But next time let’s loot the place a little more. Oil and water don't mix, but blood and gold go hand in hand."

    Speck looks a little surprised at Kuba's poetic statement. "Well said, but I prefer my blood mixing with itself; inside my skin.”

    “I have no family and you are my only friends. You have brought me back from the grasp of death. I will stand by you for as long as you stand by me. Count me in. Restenford sounds comfortable to me.” Ide is in.

    Grimlock also votes to leave with Ledego.

    Aratheas bids farewell, “I shall travel with Grom. I also seek to return to my homeland.”

    Reaping 9th, 577. The day breaks hot with no wind. It is very uncomfortable.

    Ledego rises early. He and Peylae visit while the group eats breakfast. Some type of egg with bread and the standard fruits; mangos, bananas, etc.
    Ledego informs the group he has chosen against attempting to sail across the Oljatt Sea directly to Restenford with an overstock of occupants. He does not trust the small vessel in the event the seas turn against you.
    He has revised his plan. The group travelling with him will take passage to the port of Duxchan in the Lordship of the Isles. Here, the group will load onto the small magical craft and sail along the shorelines of the chain of islands as it leads to the Spindrift Sound and the Spindrift chain of islands. Your destiny is the southernmost island. The northern islands are inhabited solely by elves and all uninvited guests are dealt with unkindly. The southern island contains a motley mix; mostly human with a few demi-humans. The humans are mainly of Suel blood worshipping Suel deities.

    Ledego plans to bypass Loreltarma for reasons unspoken and travel directly to Restenford.

    In the small fishing port of Restenford, Ledego has an acquaintance named Pelltar. Ledego warns you that Pelltar is very imperious and highly independent. It is wise to show him respect in his home. Also, the island’s inhabitants are very independent and there is a very loose rule of law. There is no strong central government leaving the local barons in charge. Be careful. Most people are of good nature but much of the land can become lawless quickly. Finally, Ledego admits he had originally fled the islands for fear of a growing humanoid threat. The hobgoblins and others were gaining in strength and he feared a local invasions, at minimum, if left unchecked.

    “I have met with Horan to discuss this arrangement. He has agreed to the terms. With your consent, noble Saralonde has given me the platinum necklace and the statuette. I have traded them to Horan for this.” Ledego holds out a velvet bag. Opening it, he spills numerous sapphires, emeralds and topaz. He hands one of each stone to each party member. The sapphires are the largest (approx. values; 500 gp), the emeralds are next (100 gp) and then the topaz (50gp).

    “Horan has taken his fees for passage. You will be fed up to the point of disembarkment. I have also taken some of the value for procurement of supplies for our trip on the ‘Ungolhing’. It means ‘spider’s gift’. Since the magical boat was recovered from the spider, I thought we could honor its gift.”

    The group packs what is left of its equipment and heads down to the docks while the wild Suel tribesman begin to take down the tent that has been home for the last week.

    Upon the shore, near the docks, you are greatly surprised to see Neras, who guided you through the jungle. He had been thought lost to the storm. Neras approaches Breymeer while holding something wrapped in cloth in his hands. He nods to Breymeer respectfully and unwraps the cloth revealing an arrow with an obsidian tip. Breymeer is nods back as a show of respect and takes the arrow, placing it in his quiver.

    Hashoven is on the docks wearing his usual blue robes. There is a multitude of canoes being loaded with cargo. The crates are manufactured similar to the warehouse crates you saw in the ruined city. Hashoven is blessing each boat as it is loaded. A small fleet of nearly two dozen large canoes is finally assembled and ready for travel. The group is split between two boats; the Nir Nen crew in one canoe and the adventurers in the other. Both will be travelling side by side.

    “Do not forget the blessings of Osphrem! Give your offerings to the sea when you see it and surely Osphrem will watch over you!”

    “Speaking of offerings,” says Ide Otneaux, “Grom, please take my emerald and Ewan my topaz in the name of Brightmantle and the blessed nature of the Ffolk.” She hands them the respective gems.

    “I am just glad to be taking a large ship to Duxchan,” comments the oversized Ewan, pocketing the gem.

    Grom thanks her with a heartfelt handshake and a smile.

    Two extremely hot, calm days later, the group clears the waterway through the swamp and arrives at the sea. The smells of the swamp give way to the salty sea air. The openness of the sea is refreshing. A large single masted cog is anchored a bit off shore. Its sail is a solid scarlet color.
    The remainder of the second day is spent loading the craft with all of the crates from the canoes. It quickly becomes evident each character is expected to assist with the unloading. This task is made easier by the small crane engineered about midship on the starboard side.

    Thus ends Reaping the 11th, 577.

    With horrors of the slave ship still on the minds of some of the party members, and the overwhelming heat, the group sleeps on the deck.

    Reaping 12th arrives hotter and more miserable. The only salvation is a mild breeze that picks up to a nearly 20 mph by mid-day. The cog, The Crimson Wave, makes excellent time. Travelling west along the Hepmonaland coast, you leave the Pelisso Swamp behind you by nightfall, turning north towards the Lordship of the Isles.

    The day is otherwise uneventful.

    Reaping 13th brings the same hot weather and clear skies. The wind dies down as the day progresses to the chagrin of the captain.

    Reaping 14th boasts clear skies and very little wind. The grimness of no wind is offset by the “Land Ho” called out from the crow’s nest as the sun rises upon the horizon. Landmasses appear ahead on both the port and starboard with a channel between them. Both islands covered in tropical growth excepting the peak of the central volcano that is a mainstay of this archipelago. On the left, the Duchy of Ansaba, home to the capital of Duxchan. On the right, the Duchy of Ganode. Both islands populated by the Suel. By mid-day, The Crimson Wave is docked at Duxchan. Here, some cargo is offloaded and other supplies taken aboard. No one is allowed to disembark other than Ledego and company.

    Ledego, fearing a watchful eye, leads the group to a seaside tavern, the Brass Anchor. It is here that Ewan McDermott informs the group he will seek passage upon a different ship and rejoin the group at Restenford. If he should miss them there, he plans to sail back to east to him homeland.

    Ledego buys everyone dinner and refreshments. He informs the group he plans to sneak out to the docks after midnight and launch his magical boat. The Lordship had a history of piracy before undertaking more legitimate, duties and tax based income.

    At the end of the meal, Grom and Aratheas bit farewell and seek their own passages to Dullstrand and then inland to their homes.

    Nearing bar close, the group departs; staying close to the docks and warfs. Taking several turns and alleys in order to shed light on anyone tailing the group, Ledego leads the group to an isolated dock with very little activity. Once convinced all was well, Ledego walks out and drops his box into the sea. Looking around one last time, he speaks the magic words triggering the change. To your amazement, the box begins to unfold rapidly into a sailing vessel. The boat has a deck, single rowing seats, five sets of oars, a steering oar, an anchor, a deck cabin, and a mast with a square sail. It is 24 feet long, 6 feet deep and 8 feet wide. The group assembles about the deck, finding it very crowded. A boat meant for no more than 15 now holds nearly two dozen.

    Once Ledego is confident the boat will hold everyone, he sets watches and waits for morning to purchase supplies.

    Reaping the 15th brings the same heat wave. Today there is a slight relief of cloud cover. The cloud cover brings a light rain for the duration of the morning. Ledego sets out with his crew, minus Peylae, to purchase supplies. As those remaining behind guard the ship, they cannot help but notice Grimlock continues to take any given opportunity to chat up Peylae. Prior to leaving, Ledego asks if there is anything anyone wants purchased for them. Ledego assures you armor and weapons may be purchased in Restenford.

    Ledego and crew return within a few hours and the ship is loaded with several crates of food and other miscellaneous supplies. Several extra crates are placed aboard ship. “I intend to continue on after landing at Restenford,” explains Ledego. “I do not know if I can get some of these supplies there.”

    Ledego clears the deck as best as possible. Ledego and crew remain on the deck with the company of Tarstar considering his sailing background.

    Tarstar cannot stop dancing to be back on the waves and working upon a ship. Ledego allows Cirdan Saralonde, Grimlock and Tathar into the cabin. Tathar finds a quiet spot and goes into a trance. There is very little room in the cabin to move about.

    Ledego has the rest of the prior slaves, Ide Otneaux, Southar and Breymeer take watches for danger above deck; taking pains to stay out of the way.

    Kuba and Speck head below deck to sleep. As the crew tires, Ledego substitutes others being careful not to thin his crew too far.

    With clearing skies and little wind, the crew begins to row out to sea.
    Very little progress is made this day. The ship skirts the northern shore of Ganode.

    Reaping the 16th brings more heat and a steady rain with no wind. A second day is spent rowing with everyone, except Speck, taking their turn. The ship continues to pass the northern shore of Ganode.

    While travelling, Ledego recites a bit of history for the Lordship of the Isles.

    The night of the Reaping 16, 577 is spent anchored between a few small islands on the north side of the mainland of Ganode.

    The ship’s log for Reaping the 17th records no wind and continued rain. Miraculously, the Ungolhing crosses a small channel and arrives at the County of Mirim. A small island with the port of Tos-Ile located on the southwestern shore. Here Ledego takes on fresh food and water. The crew remains aboard ship but Ledego sees to it tavern rooms are acquired and everyone sleeps in a bed after a fine meal and a bath. The tiredness of the slaveship seems to have returned. After the meal and bath, none are able to stay awake in order to explore the small port city. All are back aboard ship soon after sunrise.

    Departing Tos-Ile on the morning of the 18th of Reaping, the Ungolhing heads to the southern shores and wraps around Mirim next finding the Dutchy of Diren.

    As the ship moves away from land, Ide Otneaux is joined by Cirdan Saralonde and Tathar Surion at the front of the ship. Both of the elves drop a handful of gold coins into the water and Ide Otneaux drops her sapphire. “To Osprem! May we have a sailor’s wind, calm seas and reprieve from this rain.”

    In an unusual moment, Tathar speaks further, “If we do not honor the gods that heal us, they will stop blessing us with life.”

    The island of Diren boasts the original Oeridian capital of Sulward on its northern shore.

    The Ungolhing nears the eastern edge of Diren by the end of the day. Not wanting to face the expanse of sea between Diren and the next island, the County of Jehlum, in the darkness, Ledego weighs anchor in the relative safety of a large inlet on the southeastern tip of Diren.

    The sun rises on the 19th of Reaping. Ide Otneaux and the two elves cannot help but wonder as the rain breaks with the exception of an occasional brief shower. The heat wave continues but a slight breeze picks up allowing the sail to be hoisted. The ship clears Diren by late morning and faces the widest expanse of ocean it has yet been tested against. Adding to this, not long afternoon, a warship bearing the Lordship of the Isles banner comes into view from the north, traveling south. It begins to bear down upon your little craft.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 325
    From: Minnesota

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    Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:23 pm  

    In a private moment, Cirdan asks Ledego why he is planning on moving past Restenford when that is where his friend is. Ledego answers, “There is much trouble to be found upon the island. Pelltar finds them yet safe and wishes to remain there. But he is Suel man. I will be staying for a short time only. I have similar needs as yourself and Pelltar has facilities that will help me. We shall see what arises when we get there. You must not mention my name on the island. Some questionable authorities in Loreltarma have an arrest warrant for me.”

    Cirdan responds with a smile, "I am liking you more and more, my friend. Let us see where this next adventure takes us."

    He answers, "You have my trust as well noble Saralonde."

    “It is no use attempting to flee from this vessel.” Ledego looks towards the eastern horizon. “It is much faster than us and we are only about half way across the archipelago. There is no point in needlessly causing ourselves to look like pirates.”

    Weapons are made ready but Ledego advises against the wearing of heavy armor, “We do not want to appear hostile. Besides, in the event you find yourself overboard, you will sink like a stone.” Southar, who has kept his shield covered with cloth, keeps his shield leaned against his leg.

    The ship sails within hailing distance. A small craft disembarks from the warship and rows over to the Ungolhing. A crew of a dozen sailors man the craft. Two of them climb the rails and stand upon the Ungolhing’s deck. Ledego shows them the hold and the cabin. They examine his paperwork showing what supplies he took on at Duxchan and Tos-Ile.

    Ledego pays a few gold coins for an ‘inspection fee’ and the men climb back into their rowboat and head back to the warship. It sails off; heading over the western horizon along the southern shores of Diren.

    By the end of the day (19th), Ledego has navigated the ship around the southern shores of Jehlum; again finding shelter near shore for the night. During the voyage, especially at port during the evenings, Ledego has been and continues to brief everyone about Restenford and its environs. His descriptions include many of the local’s names and businesses in town.

    Reaping 20, 577 finds a steady breeze and scattered clouds with occasional showers. The intense heat has subsided; finally dropping out of the 100+ range and settling in the mid 90s.

    This day finds the ship moving past Jehlum and arriving at the County of Luda. It is the second to last island of the chain and only slightly bigger than Mirim.

    In the early afternoon, the ship passes an open bay on the southern shores of Luda. It prepares to wrap around the eastern peninsula that makes this bay a safe harbor from the eastern winds.

    With an enormous splash, the good luck that has blessed the Ungolhing expires. A sea creature, having stalked the boat successfully, has risen from the depths. In a surprise attack, a long neck darts out of the water from the port (left) side of the ship. The creature’s head resembles that of a snake. Its mouth displays numerous sharp teeth.

    The creature skillfully grabs Ledego in its maw, lifting him off of the deck and plunging him into the depths. Blood quickly stains the aqua water.
    The neck, roughly 25 feet in length, is quickly followed by its body. The body displays a significantly wider girth. It has four fins and is followed by a slender tail. In total, the creature is nearly 50 feet in length. Its mass is quickly realized as the creature slams into port side of the ship near the aft. The several thousand pound impact causes the ship’s rear to lurch starboard (right). This disrupts everyone on board but does not appear to cause any structural damage to the Ungohling.

    On the deck at the time of the attack are:

    Breymeer was bow guard. He is able to maintain his footing, bracing himself with the railing.

    Comus, the crewmaster, Tarstar, Larrig, Varze and Kuba were attempting to sleep along the sides of the rowing station. They all stays aboard but are jostled awake rudely.

    Grimlock is the port side guard; standing next to the cabin at deck level. He is throw into the railing but remains on board (2, 21/23).

    Southar is the starboard side guard; also standing next to the cabin at deck level. He is thrown violently onto the deck (2, 39/41). His shield skids across the deck and lies in front of the cabin door.

    Cirdan Saralonde is atop the cabin on the bridge. He is thrown to the deck violently.

    Below deck are:

    Ment, Nedwyn, Tiz, Ide Otenaux and Speck. All are jostled awake but unharmed.

    In the cabin are:

    Peylae, Ersan and Tathar. They, too, are awakened rudely.

    Grimlock pulls some canvas out of his pack and covers himself with it, lying flat on the deck in front of the cabin. Within a few moments, he has blended himself into the railing, appearing to be no more than cargo or equipment.

    From the bridge, Cirdan Saralonde yells, “Everyone off the deck! It might come back for more!” Heeding his own advice, he gets off the bridge and meets Peylae as she is exiting the cabin. With as much respect and sincerity he can muster on short notice, he breaks the news of Ledego’s demise.

    The sea boils red for a moment where the sea creature dove back under water. There is solid evidence that Ledego will not be coming back. Peylae attempts to hold out hope but when he hasn’t surfaced within a few minutes, she attempts to compose herself, “I am now captain of the ship! Comus, you are my first mate! Larrig, you are crewmaster!”

    Cirdan Saralonde stands in the doorway of the cabin.

    The ship remains intact. After the impact, the sail refills with air and the ship continues on. Peylae continues to bark orders, adding, “Ledego would not approve of all of us dying because we stopped to mourn over him. We shall mourn later.”

    The dark shape appears again behind the ship, closing fast. Its speed in the water is impressive. The shape continues to grow in size indicating it is rising quickly from the depths.

    The massive creature bursts forth from the surface of the water on the starboard side of the ship. Again, the ship is jarred by the force of the ancient beast.

    Kuba, string drawn on his bow, arrows the creature as it breaks the surface (3, 54/57). As the ship is tossed, Kuba is flung backwards. Tripping on the center rowing seats, Kuba slides across the deck and over the rail splashing into the waves alongside the boat. As the boat is moving forward, Kuba is quickly passing by, nearing Grimock’s location as he goes.

    Breymeer, still at the front of the ship, remains standing as the creature surfaces. His bow string sings as he speeds two arrows towards the beast. Both arrows strike the creature in the neck (6, 48/57) (3, 45/57).

    Southar, on the starboard side, near the cabin, also keeps his feet and sends two arrows towards the sea creature in rapid succession. Both his arrows find their mark (7, 37/57) (4, 33/57).

    Comus is shouting orders, “Protect the mast and sail!” as so forth.

    Larrig draws a dagger and moves towards the mast.

    Varze keeps his balance and is about to follow orders when a spray of water falls upon his shoulder drawing his attention to the creature bearing down on him. The ancient beast drops its head down upon him, consuming his entire body down to his knees. Varze, trapped in the creature’s maw, is lifted off the deck.

    While the creature is pulling Varze from the deck, Tarstar draws forth his cutlass and penetrates the creature’s neck to the hilt (3, 30/57).

    The gruesome image of Varze death is suddenly blackened as Grimlock rolls from under his burlap sack, some type of scroll in hand. He reads from it rapidly bringing forth the blackness that encompasses the creature’s head.
    Peylae can only shout, “Kill that beast before it takes us all!”

    Cirdan Saralonde remains in the threshold of the cabin doorway.

    Tathar and Erson remain in the cabin and Speck and the rest of the crew remain in the hold with Ide Otneaux.

    The beast, appearing to be injured and bleeding, drops below the water and begins a decent away from the ship; heading west. Kuba continues to float to the rear of the ship. He will be out of reach past the end of the ship within moments.

    Grimlock hears Kuba’s calls for help as he is drifting past Grimlock’s location. Acting decisively, Grimlock quickly removes a coil of rope from his pack and drops a loose end down upon Kuba. Kuba grabs on but by the time the rope goes taut, he is dragging in the wake of the boat, about 15 feet to the rear, like a piece of chum.

    Cirdan Saralonde moves portside along the edge of the cabin and grabs onto the rope with Grimlock. They begin to drag him in.

    Tathar steps out of the cabin and braces himself in the doorway. He has a rope tied around his waist. He appears to have tied himself off to something in the cabin. Tathar had his bow in one hand while he strings an arrow with the other.

    Breymeer, seeing the rescue well in hand, remains at the bow, watching the waves.

    Southar, on the starboard side, removes his magic rope from this pack. The rope feels very lightweight in his hand and is slender for a rope; only having the thickness of a thin wand. Southar begins to swing the rope as if to throw it towards Kuba. Someone, as if the rope sensed Southar’s intent, it begins to slither, like a snake, out of Southar’s hand, down upon the deck and over the siderail. It continues to uncoil itself, now swimming like a snake towards Kuba behind the boat. It gets to within about 10 feet when Cirdan and Grimlock begin trolling Kuba in.

    As Kuba is slowly dragged towards the ship, Southar’s rope reaches Kuba and ties itself around his waist. Southar is on the opposite side of the side but the rope climbs the back of the ship as Kuba is brought up the port side. In this way, Southar’s rope stays tied to Kuba while climbing the backside of the cabin, rolls across the bridge and lands on the ship deck, all while staying taut and tied to Kuba.

    Grimlock and Cirdan get Kuba to the side of the boat. With the aid of the two ropes, Cirdan and Kuba are able to reach each other’s hands. The strength between them is more than adequate to pluck Kuba from the grasp of the sea and deposit him back aboard ship. Kuba’s relief and thankfulness is expressed.

    The sea creature, having felt the sting of many arrows and Tarstar’s cutlass, does not return. Nor does any sign of Ledego or Varze.
    Tathar unties himself and re-enters the cabin. He sits and goes into a deep meditation.

    Ment takes Varze’s spot on the deck and Peylae takes over her role as Captain of the Ungolhing. Peylae takes her place on the bridge and Cirdan Saralonde rejoins her. “My father respected you a great deal Noble Saralonde,” she comments to Cirdan as they correct the direction of the ship and continue to sail into the eastern horizon.

    Those on the deck remain vigilant for other dangers.

    A gentle rain begins to fall as the skies weep for Ledego. The steady breeze blows throughout the day and much progress is made by nightfall.

    The evening of Reaping 20th finds the ship anchored off the northwestern tip of Temil, the final island in the chain. During the afternoon, the ship passed by the southern shoreline of this island; not much more than 60 miles of land. The jungle growth hiding much of the upward sloping inlands.
    At an evening meeting, Peylae announces an early start the following morning. “With luck, we will have a good wind. We will have to start at first hint of dawn and go until after sunset if we are going to have any hope of sighting Lendore Island by the end of tomorrow. If we do not reach the island in one day, we will be adrift overnight at the mercy of the sea.
    Tathar, the moon faced elf, speaks. To hear his voice startles everyone and grabs their attention, “Peylae, if you trust in Sehanine Moonbow, please listen to me for she has revealed to me our safe passage. In a few nights time, Luna, the great moon, will be full. We followers of Sehanine call this the ‘lunar hallowing’. From now until this evening, with Sehanine’s guidance, I will perform the Ceremony of Recovery to find and guide Ledego’s lost soul to its home.”

    This brings tears to Peylae’s eyes and she seems greatly relieved as Tathar continues, “As Luna sets, it will bring up a wind for us to sail by the following day. But the wind shall lead a storm. We must reach landfall by the evening of the 26th.”

    Peylae appears to believe the elvish mystic. She orders the ship to remain at anchor until Reaping the 25th. The days are passed cleaning the ship and gear. The crew tells many stories of Varze and all lament the loss of Ledego. Peylae continues to talk of Restenford but it is obvious she knows far less than Ledego did. She does her best to recite much of the details he has already informed you of. All survivors with injuries received from the encounter with the sea creature heal normally.

    Reaping the 21st arrives with rains and cooler temperatures. The wind is mild. Tathar Surion takes a position on the bridge, sits and begins to meditate. He continues on in this position for the next four days.
    Reaping the 22nd is more of the same.
    Reaping the 23rd the rains stop and the wind remains calm.
    Reaping the 24th brings clear skies, calm winds and beautiful temperatures.
    Reaping the 25th brings absolute calm with clear skies and temps in the 90s. It is obvious the crew and party members nervously await the outcome of Tathar’s prediction.

    Luna rises full in the evening, dominating the sky. Tathar sits upon the bridge in meditation, now with his eyes open. His pupils have dilated to the shape of crescent moon; the ‘moonbow’. Throughout the night Tathar meditates. As Luna passes the midnight sky, Tathar closes his eyes. Upon opening them, his pupils have returned to normal. He stands, stretches and begins to dance under the bright night sky. He continues to dance until dawn without speaking or acknowledging others around him.
    Tarstar, thinking he has finally found someone with his own interests, dances as well down upon the ship’s deck.

    When Tathar finds Ledego, he is overjoyed. He becons Tathar to tell Peylae the following information. Ledego asks that him tell her alone. He thanks Tathar for rescuing his soul and for his receiving of Sehanine's blessings.
    Ledego is a grandchild of a man called Delcartis, one of the founders of Kroten on Lendore Isle. The current Duke of Kroten had an arrest warrant signed for Ledego and any of his kin. The Duke bought his title and is set on destroying any that may have an honest claim to the title. The title is recognized in both the Great Kingdom and Loreltarma. The Duke is also an offspring of one of Kroten's founders so he would have an honest claim to the title. Ledego believes if arrested, he and Peylae would be put to death in Loreltarma. Pelltar is a trusted friend beyond question.

    Reaping 26, 577. As Luna sets and the first shades of color paint the eastern sky, Tathar speaks to Peylae, for she has not slept all night, remaining on the deck watching Tathar and the sky. Tathar tells her Ledego has been guided home and he was accepted by the elves. Peylae is overjoyed.

    Peylae orders the ship ready to sail, guiding it into the sea, pointing east. Before the sun appears, a breeze picks up. It gathers strength until a moderate breeze blows the ship eastward. The wind comes from the northwest, blowing the ship to the southeast. The wind is in violation as generally the prevailing winds blow from east to west.

    The ship occupants remain busy throughout the day attempting to keep up with the steady pace of the ship. The skies area clear and the temperature in the 90s.

    At midday, dolphins appear around the ship; dancing and jumping from the water. The dolphins remain with the ship the remainder of the day.
    By evening, small islands begin to appear off the port side. Peylae estimates the ship is passing the area of Loreltarma.

    As the sun sets and Luna rises again in her majesty, Peylae moves the ship in closer to shore. In the greyness of Luna’s light, the ship follows the shoreline eastward until a large island, several miles in diameter rises out of the darkness on the starboard side. Peylae finally gives the cry, “Anchor away!” announcing the ship in near the small town of Farmin. Peylae sets guards strangely. “In the wee hours, we shall continue into Restenford.”
    The crew gets some well needed rest.

    Tathar has his private council with Peylae in the cabins quarters at her request. She thanks Tathar immensely and promises to aid him and gift to Sehanine once they are ashore and safely settle in. Tathar informs her of Ledego’s final comments. Peylae was unaware of the arrest warrant and asks you not to share the information with anyone. She wants to have council with Pelltar.

    The ship occupants get very little rest. As Tathar has prophesied, dark clouds begin to boil on the horizon to the east. It appears a storm is brewing. Having sucked in the west wind all day, the rising clouds promises to feed it back with a vengeance.

    Peylae orders the ship back under way. Staying close to the shoreline, Peylae guides the ship further east, using the wind as it yet blows into the coming storm.

    For several tense hours, Peylae guides the ship eastward. The geography of the island protects this area to some degree as the land juts south into the sea, to the east of Restenford, forming a peninsula lined with hills and mountains.

    As if guided by Osprem’s will and Sehanine’s promise, the ship rocks and bobs its way along the shoreline until it reaches a small town nestled in on the banks of a river. “There is Restenford on the banks of the Restin River!” The town is near dark as people have shuttered their windows ahead of the approaching storm.

    Peylae has the ship dock at the first large dock it comes to. The dock is on the northern side of the river. It is the first of three large docks. The docks are positioned in front of three stone warehouse looking buildings (#23, 24, 25). The warehouses are roughly 75 to 100 feet from the river. Additionally, a fourth stone (#26) building lies down the path to the east about 125 feet from the easternmost warehouse.

    As you are tying the ship to the dock, Peylae gives orders, “Comus, you and the crew guard the ship. Ide Otneaux and Tarstar, please remain behind also in case of trouble. If anything happens to us ashore, and weather permits, set sail back towards Farmin and we will meet you there as soon as we can. Set one guard and get some rest as you can.”
    As she is finishing up her commands, dogs begin barking to your northwest. A man in studded leather armor comes out of stone building to the east of the warehouses. He carries a hooded lantern in his left hand and a broadsword in his right hand. The deep barking is coming from two very large and vicious looking dogs at his heel.

    Peylae moves to the shore to meet him. She remains on the dock with Grimlock and Cirdan Saralonde following her. He hails her, “What business do you have hear at this hour? Your ship is not familiar to me. Who are you?”

    She answers matter-of-factly with a calm steady voice, “I am Peylae, Captain of the Ungohling, and this is my crew and companions. We seek shelter from the storm and an audience with Pelltar for I am known to him, although he is not expecting me.”

    “He be taking no company tonight Captain. This storm has everyone battened down tight for the night. Pray, let me guide you to an inn. The Tavern of the West Wind is just over here.” He points to the northwest (#20). “In fact, it is straight away from Pelltar’s house (#21). You can seek him should the sun rise again tomorrow.”

    “You are kind, sir. We accept your offer.” With that, the crew finishes securing the ship and secures the sail and items on the deck; fearing the incoming wind. Comus and Larrig take positions in the cabin and the rest of the crew enter the hold with Ide Otneaux and Tarstar.

    Peylae has the rest of the ship occupants accompany her. They pour onto the dock like rats from a sinking ship; overjoyed to have their feet on solid land. The looming clouds bear down upon the town. Lightning strokes lighting the sky and the thunderous responses getting closes and louder with each passing moment. The wind has switched; blowing from the east and gaining strength. Small leaves and whatnot begin to blow around.
    “Captain Peylae, I am Welcar. I watch over the docks and warehouses here,” he points to the three docks and warehouses. Sensing the group means him no harm, he sheaths his broadsword and orders the dogs back to the house. They comply. His sword, surprisingly, looks to be of very good make and well taken care of.

    Welcar guides you to the Tavern of the West Wind. It is a two story structure. The bottom floor is stonework while the upstairs is wooden framed. There are numerous windows in the stone blockwork as well as a front door near the center of the wall facing the street.

    “The owners and their families have their private residence upstairs. They are Zelmar and Harkie. The only way up is the exterior stairs around back. Do not bother them as they have an innkeeper on staff,” warns Welcar.
    After much knocking and making of noise on the front door, a tired voice answers from inside. After a quick exchange with Welcar, the door is unlocked and opened. A tire looking elderly man stands in the common room. After short introductions and some exchange of gold and silver from Peylae, rooms are made available to you. Afterwards, Welcar returns to his residence.

    Peylae takes the largest room for her and her crew commanders. The second room is offered to those of elvish decent. The other four rooms are split up among the rest of the group.

    The innkeeper warns they serve no food here, only booze (hence the open rooms). The innkeeper warns that rowdy behavior will not be tolerated before retiring back to bed and locking his bedroom door.

    At the stroke of midnight, Reaping 27th, the storm reaches town with battering winds and heavy rains.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:21 pm  

    It appears Pelltar was notified of your arrival after all. At the first signs of sunrise, the entire group is summoned downstairs to the common room.

    Standing in the common room are four men and a dwarf. One man and the dwarf stand ahead of the other men. The men, having formed a semi-circle behind the lead man, stand silent. An aura of confidence surrounds them. A step behind and to the right of the lead man is the dwarf.

    The lead man, obviously Pelltar, is dressed in dark green. His bloodlines are hard to guess; possibly Oeridian. He has a long sleeved loose fitting shirt and trousers. Over that, he has a dark green full length vest trimmed in a lighter shade of green. The vest is pulled together at the waist with a wide brown belt. A dagger sheath adorns his right side and a think wood wand is tucked into the belt on is left. He has soft leather brown boots. He carries a wooden staff with a thick knot at the top. From the knot protrudes a small, naturally formed, wooden spike. His hair and eyes are brown, showing no grey. The lines on his face reveal more about his age than anything else. You guess him to be in his 60s.

    To Pelltar’s left is a bronze skinned man similar to Comus, the crewchief. This man must also be of Flan decent. He also wears a similar color of green. His clothing consists of a short sleeve robe than ends at his knees. He has a bone necklace formed of some type of vertebras. He has numerous bracelets of various metals around each wrist and gold bands on his left bicep. He also has a belt with a dagger sheath in addition to several scroll tubes and component pouches. He is balding; keeping what remains of his grey hair shaved very short. He has a short trimmed grey goatee/mustache. Oddly, he is barefooted.

    Behind Pelltar is Suel man wearing a brown hooded robe. He is young, maybe in his late 20s. He has the symbol of Wee Jas upon a necklace. The necklace hangs exposed upon his chest. It is very similar to the one Horan the Wizard wore. His robe is tied at the waist. As most Suel, he is pale. It appears he has purple eyes. He wears brown leather boots and a staff.

    To Pelltar’s right is a second Suel man. He is also pale of skin with near platinum blonde hair and ice blue eyes. He has a long, pointed platinum beard but no mustache. He wears a very formal looking grey/gold robe over white pantaloons. His robe has many adornments upon it. Over that, he wears a red velvet cloak with broad supported shoulders and a brown hood. He wears some type of soft leather, fur lined shoe with several straps. The wooden staff he carries is topped by two crescent moons, each facing the other and slightly overlapping to form a complete circle. Atop the moons is a large star.

    The dwarf is thinner than any other previously encountered; standing under four feet tall and weighting roughly 160 pounds. He appears young for a dwarf but his brown eyes speak of many hard years. He leans forward upon a bastard sword, hilt in the air and tip resting on the ground. The weapon is very clean and well oiled. He wears leather armor with a breastplate. His black mustache lays upon a thick black beard. His head is bald. Runes and whatnot decorate his armor, breastplate and weapon.

    Pelltar introduces himself, “I am Pelltar. I understand that you have arrived by craft just ahead of the storm and are seeking me. By what means do you know me?”

    Paylea steps forward and get down upon one knee; bowing her head, “Dear Pelltar, I am Peylae, daughter of Ledego Starchaser.” At Ledego’s name you see recognition in Pelltar’s eyes but he betrays no more as his poker face returns. “My father, crew and friends have sailed here from the Pelisso Swamp seeking your assistance for we have lost our previous ship, the Nir Nen. And now, it grieves me to inform you that we have lost our captain. Captain Ledego Starchaser, friend of Pelltar the Mage, has been taken by a deep diving sea creature and freed to Arvanaith by Tathar Surion.” Pelltar looks to the Tathar Surion as he must recognize him as a Priest of Sehanine.

    Pelltar’s gaze remains on Tathar Surion for an extended period of time as if studying him. Heeding Ledego’s warning about this man’s personality, all in the group remain patient and respectful. Finally, Pelltar speaks, “I am indeed the Pelltar you seek. Ledego is known to me and it saddens me to hear of his loss. May Arvanaith bring him peace. Please, rise Peylae.”

    At his command, Peylae rises.

    Pelltar continues, “This is Abracus (blond Suel), Fliban (brown robed Suel) and Gristla (Flan). They are my pupils. And the dwarf here, this is Dalic Steelcoat. There are many threats on this island. Dalic is kind enough to make sure none of them disturbs our studies . . . ever.” The tone in Pelltar’s voice is clear, skullduggery will not be tolerated by Pelltar. “Peylae, bring the elves and come and visit me for supper this evening. I have many questions. As for the rest of you, enjoy Restenford but obey the rules. I will have no one under my care causing a ruckus or drawing attention to themselves. I will inform Baron Grellus and Baroness Fairwind of your presence in town so they may inform the town guard. You will be allowed to remain armed but do not bring forth your weapons unless defending the town from humanoid raids or similar. The drawing of weapons against anyone in town will be dealt with harshly either by the authorities or myself.”

    With that, he turns and he and the other mages walk out of the tavern. The dwarf remains stationary watching until Pelltar has left the building. In a flash, the dwarf adeptly spins the bastard sword, sheathing it in the blink of an eye. He turns and walks out of the tavern without saying a word.

    Meanwhile, Ewan McDermott spend much of his time around Duxchan seeking out and aiding homeless animals within the city. He also spent time aiding he poor and homeless. After several weeks, he was finally able to secure a ride on a Lorship of the Isles ship heading to Restenford. It was named the ‘Island Bobber’. It appears that ships to do often make Restenford a port of call. The Island Bobber appears to be a relatively local merchant that makes this route every so often to help keep Restendford supplied as requested. Ewan arrives in Restenford just prior to the group heading out on the next adventure.

    On Goodmonth the 13th, 577, after two weeks in Restenford, the group assembles at the Tavern of the West Wind to discuss future plans. Each character was located throughout the week and advised to meet here at sunset this day. Since it was at Pelltar’s request, you felt obligated to make the appearance.

    During the prior two weeks, Breymeer has spent much time in the woods; occasionally being spotted with a gorgeous red headed female. They appeared to have spent much time scouting the surrounding lands together. She did not appear at the tavern with him tonight.

    Cirdan Saralonde spent most of his free time at Pelltar’s residence.

    Ewan McDermott arrived by ship just a few days prior to the meeting.

    Grimlock also spent most of his time at Pelltar’s house. Any free time he had he spent with Peylae.

    Ide Otneaux spent her time in equipment preparation and training. She purchased a new set of studded leather armor and sharpened up her great axe.

    Kuba and Speck cleaned equipment and purveyed the local bars. During the daytime, they practiced swordplay, etc. Speck snuck out and plied his trade a few times just to keep his skills sharp.

    Southar spent the two weeks resting and taking walks in the nearby apple and cherry orchards. Southar longed for home and mentally healed from his near death experience. As the days wore on, Southar cleaned up his armor and weapons and did a little shopping for supplies. At least that is what Southar thought he was doing. In reality, his skin has dried significantly and is hardening, like a callus. His tongue is beginning to fork and his eyes have narrowed; the corneas have turned yellow. He finds himself eating meat raw and swallowing big chunks with ease. To catch a small rodent and eat it whole would please him greatly. To cover his changes from himself and the others, he purchased a great helm; keeping the visor down. He also purchased leather gloves. If asked, he claims the new additions to his armor are to protect himself as he does not want to be hit in the neck again or be poisoned by a snake bite. In addition, Southar has discovered his shield appears to have saved him from the poison on the dagger; at least to some degree. Also, he woke up one morning, having dreamed of hiding in the woods from a mysterious creature. His shield was upon his chest, he noticed that the shield, his clothing and skin had all blended into his surroundings like a chameleon. With practice, he discovers by remaining motionless for at least one minute, the chameleon powers render him nearly imperceptible. The longer he hides, the harder he is to see. He cannot get the power to work more than once per day. His shield has become very ‘precious’ to him. He is fond of it.

    Tarstar remained aboard the ship and visited the taverns. He became friends with what remains of Peylae’s crew on the Ungohling.

    Tathar spent his first week with the fletcher and the second week with the bowyer. Any free time was spent by himself in meditation.

    Now, two weeks after arrival, you stand in the Tavern of the West Wind awaiting Pelltar. As the last rays of sunlight dip below the horizon, Pelltar enters the tavern.

    Pelltar arrives with his henchmen, Dalic Steelcoat. The dwarf has a scowl on his face but Pelltar appears friendly. “Dear Peylae and friends of Ledego Starchaser,” Pelltar begins, “I have summons you here tonight at the request of Baroness Fairwind. It is not often we have such a capable group of explorers as you come into Restenford. We would be remiss if we did not at least offer to you the opportunity to assist us in a persistent problem. In speaking to many of you, I have discovered our little town has something to offer many of you if only you had greater purchasing power. I think what Baroness Fairwind has in mind will be beneficial to all involved. Therefore, at the Baroness’s request, Baron Grellus has requested your immediate attendance to a supper at his castle.”

    The door to the tavern’s common room opens and a man in his 40s of average build enters the room. He has brown hair and eyes. He wears chain mail armor and has a long sword in a scabbard at his side. He wears the badge of Captain of the Guard.

    Following him in are two other men. The first has reddish-brown hair. He is in his 30s and slightly smaller of stature than the captain although he appears to be physically stronger. He wears chain mail armor and is equipped with a long sword and a crossbow. The second man is of average build with brown hair. He wears chain mail armor and has a broad sword and a crossbow.

    The captain speaks, “I am Gelpas. Please accompany me to the castle as requested by Baron Grellus.”
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:32 pm  

    The walk to the castle is a short one. Sitting upon a low rise, the castle rises well above the Tavern of the West Wind; being only 500 feet or so to the northwest.

    The area around Restenford is generally hilly. The town itself lies at a lower elevation for the area. The Xerbal Mountains climb to the north. Before them is the hill named Bald Hill for its lack of cover at the top. Two multi-peaked hills rise to the west and northwest. Behind the southerly hill can be seen the much higher Bone Hill; climbing nearly 1400 feet in height.
    The group passes by a small wooden structure advertising the sale of preserved foods. Just west, past the corner where the party turns north for the final uphill climb to the castle, is the local carpenter’s shop. It is also a small framed building.

    As the group approaches the castle, each can’t miss the most striking feature of the castle. A single tower rises from the SW corner. The three level tower has an open walkway at the third floor. The tower roof crests over 40 feet in height; higher than any other structure within the castle grounds.

    The outer walls of the castle are 20 feet high and embrasured. The front gate is in the lowered position (like a drawbridge) and the portcullis is raised.

    Captain Gelpas leads the group through the threshold and into the courtyard. Several trees, consisting of cherry and other flowing varieties, adorn the courtyard, one on each side of the gate and several near the entrance to the castle itself, one on the south side of the doorway and four on the north. They are well manicured. A paths lead both left and right to ladders at the southwest and southeast corners. The ladders lead to the walkways on the inside of the castle wall embrasurements.

    There is a small stable to the immediate left. The smell of hay and horse fills the air.

    A wider path leads north into the courtyard. It has large gardens on both sides. To the left is vegetables and to the right is a beautiful and fragrant flower garden. The path leads to the guardhouse in the northwest corner and the castle building itself in the northeast corner. The castle building is canted 90 degrees to the path. The main entrance is to the west of the building on the southwest corner.

    A butler meets you at the door and the captain greets him warmly, “Good evening Gevies.”

    “Good evening Captain Gelpas. Our supper guests I presume?” Gevies opens the door. “Baron Grellus requests an audience in the Throne Room.”

    You enter the castle into a small meeting hall. It is adorned with a table and a few chairs along with a mirror. The family crest is displayed upon a tapestry hanging on the southern wall.

    Pelltar speaks to Gevies, “Is everyone here?” Gevies nods in the affirmative before Pelltar continues, “I will take my place then. Dalic, please accompany the party inside when directed.”

    Dalic gives a near imperceptible nod and then eyes the group making no attempt at niceties.

    Pelltar and the guards enter the throne room. Within a few minutes, Gevies’ opens the door and leads you into the room. Directly after walking through the door is a nearly 30 foot long, high arched hallway. It is lined on each side by alternating decretive banners and shields on the outer wall and portraits on the inner wall. The portraits appear to be male figures of the Grellus bloodline.

    At the end of the hall is a small throne room, twenty feet deep by fifteen feet wide. The ceiling remains a high arch. A broad dais of three short steps is against the eastern wall. On the top step are two chairs. Occupying the first chair, to the group’s left, is Baron Grellus, a man in his 40s of large build (over 6 feet and 200 lbs). He has brown hair and a brown beard. His eyes are blue. He wears chain mail underneath a royal robe. The second chair contains Baroness Fairwind. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. She is also in her 40s and is tall and slim (5-8 and 110 lbs). She wears a royal gown. Over the gown, she has a golden necklace with some type of pyramid shaped object attached to it. The bottom 2/3 of the pyramid are yellow gold while the top 1/3 is white gold.
    On the second step are two more chairs set farther out than the baron and baroness. The chair on the group’s right is a young lady. She is obviously the baronette. She is in her late teens, of similar build as her mother with the same long brown hair and brown eyes. Like her mother, she is dressed in a royal gown. To the group’s left, sits Pelltar.

    On the third step are two more chairs, again set farther out than the baronette and Pelltar. To the party’s left is an older man, possibly in his 50s or 60s. He appears to be strong and in good health. He is dressed in a simple rust red tunic over brown leggings. To the party’s right is an obvious religious man. He wears chain mail armor and has a light robe over his armor with a symbol depicting a winged human silhouette. He appears to be the abbot from the nearby Abbey of Phaulkon (the second largest stone structure in town).

    The group enters and forms to lines in front of the dais. Cirdan Saralonde gives a bow. Other members of the party give their own form of royal acknowledgement. Once the captain sees everyone has given respect to the throne, he and the guards move to the hallway entrance and stand guard behind the party.

    Baron Grellus, appearing somewhat annoyed, welcomes the group, “Welcome to Restenford. It is a pleasure to have your company.” His words do not carry any warmth. “Baroness Fairwind, having the needs of our town in mind and with my blessing, has a task that is suited for a group such as yourself.”

    Baron Grellus looks to the Baroness and she takes up where he left off, “Our town has always faced threats from humanoid invaders. We have always met those challenges and overcome them. Our town has never fallen. We employ many talented scouts and guards but we do not have the resources to send out strike forces against known enemy compounds. Abbot Qualton,” she nods towards the man in front of the baronette, “has grown concerned about increasing rumors of hauntings near the ruins on Bone Hill. In addition, Pelltar has studied what history exists for the ruin and has concerns a necromancer may be establishing a stronghold in the castle. To top it all off, travelers are reporting sighting large orcs upon Bone Hill. A necromancer with orc henchmen, I will not stand for that sort of abomination taking root so close by. It would endanger our moral little town. ”

    “Captain Gelpas,” Fairwind continues, “please fetch Yalta.”

    The captain walks down the hallway to the outer hall. He returns leading a man in chain mail armor walking with a staff. The man displays a necklace and with a golden triangle shaped symbol. It is the same as the one the baroness wears.

    The man identified as Yalta walks into the throne room and bows deeply, “At your service Baron Grellus and Baroness Fairwind. May Restenford be peaceful and the days of your rule be many numbered.”
    Baroness Fairwind addresses Yalta, “Priest of Jascar, Abbot Qualton has been a most wonderful moral guide and protector for Restenford and he and his clerics deserve the thanks of all.” With than, Abbot Qualton looks back and the baroness and gives a thankful nod. As Baroness Fairwind continues to speak, it appears Abbot Qualton steals a brief glance at the baronette before returning his gaze towards the occupied hall, “The protections and healing powers of Phaulkon have never been withheld. But at times like this, we must turn our attention to the strength of Jascar.” Yalta bows.

    Baroness Fairwind now addresses the invited guests, “Dear visitors, you have nothing yet invested in our town and have no obligation to assist us in our problems. Understanding that, I ask you to undertake a quest in the name of the Baron. We have long been plagued by orcs and other humanoids. Having a threat established so close to town is unacceptable and action must be taken. I ask that you travel to Bone Hill and investigate the rumors we have heard. If you encounter orcs, you shall order them to leave in the name of Baron Grellus. If they refuse, remove them by force. If they prove to be too large of a force, return at once and we shall send runners to nearby communities for aid. Should you find a necromancer has indeed established a lair within the ruin, eliminate any living dead creatures you encounter and either kill or capture the necromancer.”

    Baroness Fairwind outlines the contract, “Should you accept this offer, you will each be paid 100 gp for the abandonment of the orc camp or the sundering of said camp should they refuse to leave. In the event there is a necromancer, your group shall be paid 5gp for each undead put to rest. The necromancer shall net your group 500gp dead or alive. Your bounties shall not be subject to tax. In addition to the bounties, you may keep any treasure you find with the understanding it is subject to 15% tax for the Barony of Restenford and our liege in Loreltarma. Please be warned, any tax evasion will be considered treason and be punishable by death.”

    Baron Grellus speaks again, “Priest Yalta, should the party accept, take Carlton, Weber, Fraunk and Villie as men at arms along with one of the Restenford Rangers. Lead them to Bone Hill and set up a basecamp. Ensure the colors of the barony are flown at the basecamp. From there, you shall keep a tally of their bounty and receipts for taxation.”

    Baron Grellus asks the group, “Accept or decline, each of you speak your answer, how say you?”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:37 pm  

    Dalic Steelcoat looks to Pelltar who tips his head in approval.

    As Dalic and Pelltar are exchanging glances, Tathar is the first to voice his thoughts. In fact, Tathar Surion speaks in a bold voice which catches those that know him by surprise. "Undead creatures are an abomination to Sehanine! I will go myself, if I must, but if I know my companions, I will not be alone!"

    “Aye.” And with that, it appears Dalic has volunteered.

    Cirdan Saralonde gives a low bow, "Tathar Surion, priest of Sehanine, after how you have served this party, and Ledego, I could not dream of letting you go alone."

    Kuba addresses the Baron, "My lord. Thank you for all your hospitality. The peace found here in Restenford has been much enjoyed. I accept these terms and will do what I can to rid your Barony of this threat."

    Speck listens to Kuba's words and nods. "I have found security with my large friend here. Where he goes I go." Not wanting to forget his manners, Speck adds, "Oh, and thank you my lord and my lady."

    Breymeer accepts readily.

    Grimlock, using as much grace and etiquette as he can muster, points out, “My exalted Baron, the undead are of the most vile creations, having more strengths than weaknesses. As much as I am excited about the challenge of this foe, I dare say I am completely ill equipped to dispatch them by any means other than normal steel. In your great wisdom, surely you already know the durability of the undead and have acquired the necessary empowered arsenal in which to dispatch them. All I ask is that my companions and I be granted access, as payment or simply to use, this arsenal so we can service these vial creatures in your honor. They would most assuredly be returned upon completion of this quest if desired. The matter of the orcs is of a routine task for us.”

    Grimlock’s request is not well received. The Baron's face flashes anger and remains flush. He controls his tone and answers coldly, "My arsenal is of no concern of yours." He continues to regain control and more politely offers, "I am certain the Abbot or the Priest of Jascar would be able to secure some holy water for the group."

    Both the abbot and the priest answer in the affirmative.

    The rest of the party accept the Baron’s offer.

    The Baroness now speaks, “Yalta and I calculate you can make the journey to Bone Hill within one day if you don’t tarry. You shall embark on this mission at first light tomorrow. Meet in the castle courtyard. Take the south road around the Pebble Hills and through Kelman Pass. You should be able to reach the Dead Forest just after nightfall. At your discretion, you may either continue on that evening or await morning. The castle guard will await your return at the edge of the Dead Forest until noon the following day. For their safety, if you have not returned by then, they will begin the march back home; camping at Kelman Pass that second evening.”

    The Baron closes the evening, “You are now invited to dine. Alas, the Baroness and I have business to attend to and will be unable to join. Our daughter, Andrella, shall be your host.”

    Andrella escorts the group to the dining hall where she takes a seat at the head of the mahogany table and each of you takes ranks along the long excepting Cirdan Saralonde. He is given the table end opposite Andrella. The table is set with silver. The Captain of the Guard remains at the door. He keeps a keen eye on the Baron’s possessions; most especially the daughter. None of the other dignitaries join the meal and Andrella keeps the conversation light, not speaking of anything other than the weather and how pleasant the town is. If anything, she gives away a few ideas she has to improve some of the civic items in town when she becomes baroness; each of them hinting at a more orderly and structured approach to things.
    Doing as instructed, you return and prepare, packing gear, etc. On the way back to the tavern, you pay a visit to the preserved food shop, purchasing a week of food. At the tavern, you may fill your waterskin with wine or water.

    The day of departure is Goodmonth 14, 577. The wind is mild and the temps are in the 70s.

    The group rolls out before sunrise and meets at the castle courtyard. Large torches burn marking the front gate as well as the interior walls. Within, the four castle guards are mounting their war horses. Each horse protected by leather armor and wearing a saddle blanket with the Baron’s crest. The castle guards are as follows:
    1. Carlton, a human male wearing chain mail. He carries a broadsword and has a very well made longbow. He appears stronger than most men.
    2. Weber, a human male wearing chain mail. He has a broadsword and a longbow.
    3. Fraunk, a human male wearing chain mail. He has a long sword and a longbow. He also appears strong but not so much as Carlton.
    4. Villie, an elven male wearing leather armor. He carries a long sword and long bow.

    Brett, a stablehand, is mounted atop a cart attached to a draft horse. On the cart appears to be a tent, foodstuffs and couple of chests. A true government operation.

    The abbot stands next to the cart. He removes the lid on one of the chests. It contains vials of holy water, one for each of you. He hands them out, “I will not be accompanying you on this quest but may Phaulkon bless your journey and may his water destroy the living dead.” <Add a vial of holy water to each of your possessions.>

    Yalta is present. He wears his chain mail armor and carries a shield and staff. At his hip is a warhammer.

    Dalic Steelcoat arrived prior to the group. He is dressed in his leather armor with a breastplate. He has his sword and shield. He holds the lead rope of a pony.

    Breymeer appears to be peering around as it looking for someone or something. Not appearing to find what he desired, he looks glum.

    The Baron and Baroness bid you well wishes and fare the well.

    The mass of men, horses and a cart moves out of the castle and over the stone bridge nearest the lake. Along the way, the common folk, fisherman and farmer alike, appear in the street and wave you on.

    Passing the abbey, Abbot Qualton drops off and he waves goodbye and godspeed.

    Leaving town, you cannot help but smell the fish merchant (#27) before passing the final two shacks.

    The group pauses at the guardpost and wooden palisade that surrounds the south and west edges of town. The guardpost appears unmanned. As the party walks through the palisade, a female voice greets you, “I am Belina of the Restenford Rangers. I shall be your guide.” She is an extremely attractive red headed Suel woman. She wears studded leather armor and carries a shield, scimitar, sickle, small axe and a short bow.

    At the sight of Belina, Breymeer’s glum face glows with happiness, “Belina!” he can’t help but exclaim. He quickly blushes but continues to smile at her. Belina in return appears happy in his company.

    The south road first travels north around Kelman Woods and the Pebble Hills section of the Kelman Hills. The hills are quite rocky and boulders are common. Grasses grow in clumps as do the bushes. Large sections of the hills are sandy or rocky with no plant growth whatsoever. There are a few small corpses of trees. Kelman Woods consists of evergreens, oaks and laurels.

    The sun is still behind the eastern mountains as the group passes the edge of Kelman woods. Quickly the woods surrenders to the more barren hills.
    Belina scouts ahead of the group out of sight with Breymeer. He refused to let her go alone drawing suspicion from the castle guards.

    Southar, usually wanting to travel with Breymeer, instead takes rear guard, dropping behind the group.

    The castle guards lead the caravan, one of them unfurling a banner and raising it upon a standard.

    Following the guard is the stable boy and the cart. Walking next to the cart is Yalta.

    Behind the cart is Dalic riding his pony.

    The rest of the group ambles behind with Southar by himself in the rear.

    The road follows the Restin River until it splits in the eastern and western branch. From here, the road parallels the western branch. Yalta occasionally gives out information in regards to the area geography or politics. According to Yalta, on the north side of the river is the road to Kroten, home of Duke of Kroten. He is the next closest nobleman other than the mayor of Farmin outside of Loreltarma.

    The first leg of the day’s journey is uneventful. The group takes a lunch at the base of the Kelman Hills, just east of Kelman Pass. Here the group is able to look upon the river and Dweomer Forrest beyond.

    The Dweomer Forest consists of oak, beech, elm and ash with a few laurel leaf trees on the southern border facing you. Yalta informs you there is a church within the forest dedicated to Norebo, the Suel god of chance. He informs you they are peaceful but it is best for good moral folk to avoid such uncertainties. He adds, “But in time of great need, they could be an ally.”

    The group takes the southerly turn after noon, passing through Kelman Pass. The hills and depressions to the north are all grass covered with some bushes and rock outcroppings popping up every so often (about every 50 to 300 feet). Small stands of trees dot the hills. Several larger stands of trees do exist on the hills; the largest being Reddy Forest. This forest is similar to others. One notes there is a stand of walnut trees near the base of Low Point Hill.

    Evening is setting in by the time the group comes upon the small woods south of Low Point. Clouds have set in and them temperate has dropped into the 60s. The wind has picked up to a steady breeze that carries a light mist.

    The clouds have darkened the sky but within the trees, it appears much darker. “Just beyond this corpse of trees is a clearing before reaching the Dead Forest. We can camp there for the night. The clearing is nearly a mile wide and should provide us with adequate warning should something strike. It is then only another mile into the Dead Forest where the trail heads uphill to the old ruins. From there, you are on your own.”

    The small woods, only about two miles square, appears much bigger as darkness sets in. Yalta takes a lantern from the gear and lights it. He hands it to the stable boy who mounts it upon the cart.

    A lone wolf howls from the vicinity of Spring Glade. By the sounds, it is some mile or more away.

    “There is a small spring fed lake up there,” informs Yalta. “See those really tall trees? The lake lies at their base.” He points to the valley between Tri-Top and the next hill north where the trees reach a height of nearly 100 feet on the eastern side of the lake. Although you cannot see the lake, the trees are a given landmark.

    The castle guards prepare to head into the woods.
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:39 pm  

    <Dalic and Grimlock had a private conversation>

    Dalic to Grimlock - Dalic approaches Grimlock privately and offers, "Grimlock, of tha Ungohling! I share your concern of tha living dead. From me preparin's I bring another vial of tha magix water. It sha' be yours, Grimlock Ungohling, should ye offer this humble Dwarf one favor for the morn shou' he need it. I be sent to aid you and yours but hab' tasks assigned to me from me master and may wan' some help. Take it and remember tha gif' kindly should ye find me in need."

    Grimlock to Dalic - I would accept provided u do not challenge my honor with any request that would be dishonorable to my companions or put them in unnecessary peril.

    Dalic to Grimlock - I would not do such a distasteful thin'. I have been given a task to retrieve a book for tha great Pelltar. I may indeed call upon ya shou' tha task prove more difficult than I expect. I warn ye an' ye may inform the others: do not open or read tha book. It be bound with black leather an' be dangerous. <confidently hands the vial to Grimlock>

    Grimlock to Dalic - Fair enough.

    Breymeer and Belina enter the forest first and continue their scouting. The rest of the caravan follows suit. The forest is dark and foreboding. The wind is less and the trees are protection from the drizzle but the closeness feels stuffy.

    The energy level of the group is waning after the all day march. It takes nearly two hours to get through the forest. The feeling of relief is shared amongst the group as the trees give way to the clearing between this little forest and the Dead Forest. The wind and the misty drizzle return immediately upon leaving the woods. Because of the rain, camp is set at the edge of the trees.

    Dalic volunteers to take first watch, ‘I be guessin' the best vision at night be mine. I will take tha first hour's watch whil' tha clouds darken tha camp most.” His voice is as kind as you have heard it, if not thoughtful.

    Tathar also volunteers but Dalic cuts him off with a very stern voice, cold and near a whisper, “It is done! I watch first, or note further disagreements to mem'ry.”

    Tathar, not feeling the need to push the testy dwarf, agrees to take second watch. Tathar instead sets about meditating.

    Ide Otneaux bids for third watch and Villie bids for fourth. As such, the remaining watches are filled and everyone begins to make camp.

    The soldiers set up a tent and a fire is built. The horses are relieved of their loads and allowed to graze. A spike is driven and each horse tied on a long rope.

    Dalic ties his pony to the cart and begins his watch by foraging for food around the perimeter of the camp. Finding nothing overly appealing, he sets himself near the trail watching the surrounding forest. Once his watch is complete, he rolls his blanket out under the wagon and goes to sleep as Tathar collects some rocks and climbs a tree overlooking the camp and trail.

    The occasional wolf howl is all that is encountered during the night. Each time, the cry comes from the east in the Srping Glade or Tri-Top area. Each time, it sounds far off.

    The morning of Goodmonth 15th arrives. It is still in the 60s but promises to climb back into the mid 70s. The moderate breeze has blown the clouds and rain away.

    As the group has a breakfast of preserved foods, plans are made. Yalta advises it is only about two miles to the trail that leads to the old ruin. Since camp is already formed, this will be the basecamp. The Restenford Ranger, Belina, and the baron’s soldiers will be remaining at camp along with Peylae. In addition, Peylae requests Ide Otneaux to remain behind for extra muscle in the event of problems. Peylae’s crew remained at the ship although Tarstar ventured with her here.

    Yalta addresses the adventurers, “I share your dislike for the undead, Tathar Surion. I will accompany you to the ruin in Ide Otneaux’s stead. In this manner, I can vouch for your accomplishments. Should there be walking dead and a necromancer, I shall be giving them no quarter.” Yalta taps his hammer at his side. It is a beautiful item, obviously made for combat with mountainous landscapes etched into it. “If the orcs refuse to leave in peace, they shall receive Jascar’s fury as well.”

    Once gear is packed and prepared, the group sets out. It is yet early morning, near 0800 hrs.

    It is a short and uneventful trek across the one mile wide clearing. The Dead Forest rests at the foot of Bone Hill and climbs the southern end of it for several miles. The forest is as the others you have passed through except there appears to be none of the normal forest critters. Here, the occasional buzz of a wasp or slithering of a snake is the norm.

    Bone Hill itself rises over 1400 feet. On top, on this clear day, the remains of a ruined castle can be seen, especially by the keen eyed elves. The hill is rocky with several large boulders scattered about every 1/8 to ¼ mile or so. Many of these boulders reach diameters of 10 feet or greater. The top of the hill near the keep appears to be relatively flat. Once clear of the forest, the hill appears to have wild grasses and shrubs. Near the top, the vegetation stops.

    Breymeer spots the old trail that once lead to the keep. It wanders up the hill through the forest. The trail is now unkept and difficult to see. The forest itself has very little signs of animal trails or paths other than the old trail Breymeer is attempting to follow. The forest has some underbrush and bushes but movement looks to be relatively easy albeit uphill. Visibility is limited in the forest to between 50 and 300 feet depending on ground cover and tree density.
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:56 pm  

    The group moves slow but steady up the hill. Ewan McDermott struggles and the large man pants slightly during the continual uphill climb. Ewan, upon seeing a small slithering snake, whispers to it in what appears to be a hushed hissing sound. The snake studies him and moves on. <Ewan is able to speak with a snake momentarily. Your kind have not passed here to its knowledge. Very rarely it has seen very tall two legged dogs similar to your kind nearer to the road. Good food is scarce (ie mice, etc). It does not know anything about the top of the hill.>

    Breymeer takes advantage of the slow moving group to take extra time to study what the forest may tell him. He keeps generally to the trail so as not to lose it. It appears the trail is not often used. Breymeer keeps about 100 feet ahead of the group often moving with stealth among the trees and brush.

    Yalta attempts to follow Breymeer’s guidance. If Yalta appears to be veering off too far, Breymeer appears long enough to correct his course.

    Yalta walks with his staff and shield.

    Just behind Yalta walks Kuba, carrying his sword and shield, and Speck with his short sword.

    Ewan walks next. He appears very happy to be out of doors.

    The elves are next with the full blooded elves just ahead of the half-elven Grimlock. Tathar, with his bow, Cirdan, empty handed, and Grimlock, crossbow, all walk generally together. Dalic, the dwarf, walks to the left of them, seeming to stay somewhat near Grimlock.

    Tarstar walks behind the elves and dwarf. Being more fleet of foot than Ewan buys Tarstar amble opportunities to give a little dance here and there.

    Southar brings up the rear. His shield hung nearby at his side and his bow in hand. He moves behind the group in similar fashion as Breymeer; only occasionally appearing to confirm the rear is secure.

    Breymeer, his attention focused on the forest floor for a moment too long, looks up to see he has mistakenly identified a large bolder. Just 150 feet in front of him is a mammoth sized wasp nest, roughly 15 feet around. It is strung between several trees giving it the initial deception of sprouting from the ground behind the trees. He only now identifies it correctly as a giant wasp, all of three feet long, walks out of the hive and begins to fly in Breymeer's direction at a fast rate of closure. The high pitch of the whirring wings reaches the remainder of the group behind Breymeer catching them by surprise. Southar is yet too far back to be cognizant of the danger facing the group.

    Breymeer, very quick on his reaction to the wasp, stops and raises his arm to the group in attempts to prevent their attack. Unfortunately, several members of the group are also reacted very quickly and the sound of bowstrings being released fills the air.

    Grimlock’s crossbow snaps forward sending its bolt into the wasp’s thorax (7, 12/19).

    Tathar, having his bow in hand, fires two arrows at the wasp with blinding speed. The first strikes the wasp at the same time as the crossbow quarrel (4, 8/19). The second flies clear and sails out into the woods.

    The wasp flies up to Breymeer, somewhat clumsy now, for a wasp, as it has a bolt and an arrow sticking out of it, and lands on him. It attempts to bite his head and neck but Breymeer, with his right arm, was able to hold its head back far enough to avoid injury. The wasp attempts to jab Breymeer in the guts with its stinger. Breymeer, no stranger to woodland creatures, was able to parry the blow with his bow.

    Speck stows his sword and goes for his bow. By the time Speck has his bow out, the wasp is upon Breymeer. Speck holds for a clear shot. Speck, with arrow nocked, holds his fire, watching the nest.

    Breymeer attempts to keep the stinger away with his bow while groping for his axe with his free hand. Finding it, he hacks the creature in its belly (3, 5/19).

    Dalic moves up to the front of the group, next to Yalta, and prepares for a defense.

    Grimlock the sniper, takes a slow, careful bead with his crossbow. He inhales deeply and lets it out slowly. The moment he runs out of air, he pulls the trigger. The bolt flies true, striking the creature in the head just six inches above Breymeer’s head (7, -2/19). The wasp flips backwards onto the ground and quivers on its back then stops moving altogether.

    “Bralm what do you hinder us so?” exclaims Yalta. “Jascar has a higher purpose here. We mean your wasps no harm. Please call them off.” He raises his shield in defense and grips his hammer. <The characters that were at the Suel basecamp in the Pelisso Swamp remember a pretty female priest named Noli that gave you the healing medication to clear you of flukes, etc. She wore robes with bees on them. Bralm is the Suel deity of insects and industriousness, etc. Revered by laborers, etc.>

    Ewan McDermott pleads with the group, “Back away and move around this nest. Get far enough away and they will not harm us.”

    The remainder of the group, alert and prepared, wait to see what happens next.

    Breymeer turns to the group as if to say something. There is blood on his abdomen where the wasp has stung him deeply (2 damage sting, 15 damage poison, 6 hrs paralysis 17, 30/47). Breymeer is unable to speak and goes limp as a boned fish. He falls to the ground unmoving. Breymeer feels the sting from the wasp just before it is shot dead off of him. He turns to tell the group not to attack the animals when the poison kicks in, shooting pain through his body. At the same time, Breymeer realizes he has lost control of his limbs and he falls to the ground paralyzed.

    The wasp nest breaks into a frenzy. Several wasps begin pouring out of it and flying around then nest. It appears there is at least four that came out with others to follow.

    Grimlock throws some powder into the air ahead of himself while speaking to himself, a long column of mist gathers ahead of the group. It continues to grow dense. Thickening from transparent, to translucent until finally blocking all vision through it. The column begins directly ahead of the front rank and extends nearly to Breymeer.

    Grimlock instructs, “Use the fog for cover. The wasps should avoid it.”

    Dalic charges forward into the fog, “Fall back! I will retrieve Breymeer!” Dalic disappears from view as soon as he enters the thickening fog.

    Cirdan Saralonde and Tathar Surion both move forward into the fog and quickly fade from sight.

    The wasps continue to fly frantically in the area of their nests. Some of them are aloft and some are simply moving about the exterior of the nest. There now appears to be over a half dozen wasps outside of the nest. The ones flying appear to be moving in arcs farther and farther away from the nest. They have moved about 25 feet from the nest so far.

    The group splits.

    Grimlock moves to his left and takes cover behind a low bushy tree.

    Ewan, Tarstar and Yalta begin to flank the hive to the right. Ewan’s intent is to take a wide berth and hopefully avoid any more encounters with the wasps.

    Kuba and Speck join Cirdan and Tathar in the fog. The human and halfling find the elves who report Dalic is going for Breymeer.

    The wasps are staying on the far side of the fog; towards their nest. They are not attacking Grimlock, anyone in the fog or the flanking group.

    Dalic moves out to Breymeer and hoists him onto his shoulder. As Dalic plods towards the safety of the fog, a wasp comes diving out of the air striking Breymeer. It bites Breymeer in the right arm (5, 25/47) and buries its stinger into his right side (6, 19/47 plus minor bleed, poison 13, 6/47 plus paralysis for 4 hrs). Dalic carries Breymeer into the edge of the fog at which time the wasp departs. Here, Dalic sheaths his sword, re-grips Breymeer and begins making his way back towards the group at the edge of the fog. <Breymeer’s bow and axe were left behind.>

    Ewan McDermott, now puffing as he moves to the right flank, calls one more time to the group, “They should not follow us far from the nest. Breymeer has been recovered! Fall back and move around the flank.” Yalta and Tarstar are with him.

    Kuba, Speck, Cirdan and Tathar are yet standing in the fog near each other on the end farthest away from the nest. The whir of wings is in the air but it appears to be on the far edge of the fog, towards the nest.

    Dalic, it is assumed, has Breymeer and is in the fog somewhere as well.

    Grimlock remains near the scrubby low tree.

    Those not in the fog can see the wasps are still frenzied but are mainly staying by the hive with a few venturing out as far as the end of the fogbank near where Breymeer once laid. Breymeer has been recovered. Dalic appears to have darted out and retrieved him at some point during the confusion.

    The elves, Kuba and Speck hear Dalic’s approach as he is grunting his way along. In the heavy fog, Dalic passes by closely but unseen.

    Cirdan, Tathar, Kuba and Speck, guarding against any possible attack, break out of the fog behind Dalic. Grimlock also breaks cover, heading for Ewan’s location.

    There is a collective disbelief for a moment at it appears Breymeer’s body, being face down and slumped in the center as if being carried in the wounded soldier “Fireman’s carry” position, floats about three feet above the ground. Only, there is no body below Breymeer carrying him.
    Breymeer floats his way towards Ewan McDermott who has stopped moving. Tarstar and Yalta wait with Ewan.

    Grimlock, Cirdan, Tathar, Kuba and Speck all overtake Breymeer as they reach Ewan.

    Breymeer is lowered to the ground and placed on his back. Grimlock begins searching for injuries, finding two large punctures to his abdomen. One injury looks as if it only just stopped bleeding. Grimlock breaks out some bandages and herbs; using them to bandage Breymeer’s wounds.
    Breymeer is alive, stable and breathing. He is, however, limp as a boned fish and completely unresponsive.

    The wasps have begun to retreat back to their nest and dart to and fro near it. No further attacks look immanent.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:45 pm  

    Tathar kneels next to Grimlock and lays hands upon Breymeer, praying for some healing (+8, 14/47). His injuries close some but he remains unresponsive.

    Cirdan Saralonde thanks Tathar Surion and then, speaking to the open air for he cannot yet see Dalic, thanks Dalic as well.

    Grimlock, after assessing the wounds, predicts, “He will need a day to recover. He is at greater risk with us at this point. We should return him to base camp. We can head back out after we drop him back at base camp. At the very least, we can scout the region until he is well enough to get back to his bill in an alchemist shop again.”

    Footsteps approach and Dalic, still unseen, voices his opinion in his stern thick dwarven accent, "It be not far back to camp. Someone ta drag him back whilst tha rest ta outpost nearer tha ruin. I be recon tha p'rimeter whilin' not be seen. Nae mor'in threes ta 'company the fallen ta camp. Return ta outpost fer'n regroupin' as soon be realistic. We needn't take tha ruin this day if'n it be dark soon at regroup. Hab' we a sneakin' archer ta 'company yer Dwarf on recon? It be daft me goin' alone from tha outpost."

    Speck, appearing to understand him, volunteers to scout with Dalic and translates for the group, “I think he said he wants a few of the group to drag Breymeer back to basecamp while the rest of us move up and set up an outpost near the ruin. From there, the dwarf wants a sneaky archer to accompany him on a recon. Once we are all back together, we can head into the ruin; today or tomorrow.”

    Cirdan Saralonde’s opinion is to head back to base camp and rest today; heading back to the ruin early tomorrow.

    Yalta puts forth his opinion, “I will not waiver. One man is not the party and he yet lives anyway. Sending him back to the basecamp will lesson our burden. We are only two hours out from basecamp. Send someone back who can track our progress and catch up again. We can hold at the edge of the Dead Wood for this hill is cleared upon the top. Dalic’s recon idea is sound, especially since he cannot be seen. I have no doubt the little halfling can sneak along with him in near invisibility himself. The Baron’s men are only waiting until tomorrow and then they are leaving. I would like to sack this ruin and accompany them back with the necromancer’s head as a trophy for Jascar! The Baron did not hire a bunch of bold warriors who waiver in the face of danger, pray tell. Who is with me?” The priest of Jascar appears to have a bit of a fanatical look about him at the moment.

    Tarstar chooses to continue to the ruin.

    Grimlock as well.

    Tathar offers, “I am as quiet as any other elf, and as handy with a bow. I will not turn back now, with the filth of undead possibly so near. I will accompany Dalic.”

    “You have my sword!” responds Dalic to Yalta.

    Cirdan addresses Kuba and Southar, “I am freakishly strong for an elf. I will help carry Breymeer back to camp if Southar, or some other with the skill, will lead the way there and back.”

    Southar consents to lead the rescue element.

    Ewan will continue on with the scout group as long as it promises to take a more cautious demeanor towards animals. The wasp attack, in his mind, could have been handled a little better but Ewan is very thankful the group retreated when it could.

    So it is that Kuba and Cirdan take turns bearing the burden of Breymeer as Southar scouts the return to basecamp. Their return trip is uneventful; arriving back at basecamp just before the passing of the noon sun. They brief Peylae of the injuries and the setback. Peylae reports it has been all quiet at camp. The away team returns to woods to relocate the scout team. The return trip in uneventful as well as Southar correctly finds the forest trail and the wasp nest, safely guiding around it. The away team rejoins the group in the early afternoon, approximately 1400 hrs.

    The remaining members of the group circle widely around the wasp nest attempting to return to the old forest path. The group is unable to reacquire the path but does find the forest edge within about one half hour. The group sees they are near the northern tip of the Dead Woods, having strayed a little too far north. The ruins are due west of the group.

    The scout team, Dalic, Grimlock, Speck and Tathar move quietly away from the woodline and sneak among the boulders, scrubs and bushes as they ascend the hill. The half-elf, halfling and elf are near silent as they move stealthily among the grass, shrubs and rocks. Dalic finds it easy to see why elves are so hard to defeat in their woodland homes. They move like assassins. Dalic, although unseen, sounds like thundering cattle to the elves and halfling although in reality, he is moving near silent to the his dwarven ears. Near the top, Dalic moves off by himself to scout the ruins.
    He returns safely to the scout team and they return to the group, arriving in the mid-afternoon, near 1530 hrs.

    The away team reports all is quiet and well at the basecamp.

    The scout team reports the hill continues to be rocky with occasional boulders and rock outcroppings appearing at roughly one-eighth to one-quarter mile intervals. Many of the boulders and outcroppings are large enough to hide a mounted knight. The hill itself is covered with wild grasses and shrubs growing from its base to nearly 1200 feet. Above the 1200 foot mark, there is no vegetation. The keep is at about 1400 foot elevation. The hill levels off around the ruin and the flat area is devoid of boulders, shrubs, etc. The flat, clear area extends a little more than one-half mile around the ruined keep.

    Further, Dalic reports the keep itself has several areas of outer wall that have collapsed or been compromised. There is one weak point or hole per side. The keep appears to have one large tower on the outer wall in the northeast corner. The keep is built along the western side of the keep with the open courtyard on the eastern side. There are several rotting siege engines near the keep. A burned tower is outside the northern wall, a battering ram near the hole on the eastern wall and a catapult sits about 400 feet south of the southern wall; directly south of the hole in the southern wall. The only activity Dalic noticed on his quick perusal was a lone bugbear hidden in the rubble of the damaged north wall. It was actively watching the northern slope.

    Yalta reminds the group that undead may not react the same to your weapons as the living, “One must bash skeleton’s bones and cut zombies to pieces. If we find something more sinister than that, may Jascar help us.”

    Kuba begins rummaging for a study cugal. Speck, seeing this as a good idea, follows suit. Each of them finds a sturdy enough club in short order.

    Southar proposes, “We need to take out the ssscout. We could sssend a group to capture the bugbear for information. An invisible mage armed with a sssleep ssspell ssshould work. We could sssend a couple of rougesss for protection in case sssomething happensss. Sssounds like a good idea?” Southar has a discernable lisp.

    Ewan McDermott suggests the group sneak up among the grasses, bushes and rocks until they get as close as they can without fear of being seen. From there, the mage and rogues can be sent forth.

    Dalic proposes his idea, "I ken sneak up on yon scout and dismiss 'im outrigh'. I be 'frai tho, I yud lose mine edge of invisibility. I'd be needin' cover for the return to group after dispatchin' said ssscout." His lisp at the end clearly mocking Southar. "Tha buggybear be near to an entry we may well use immediately. Tha simple way dis simple dwarf sees it be take tha ruin hard or pick it off sneaky-like. We hab a sniper here. Mayin we be take that buggybear out from afar an' I leadin point wher'n I yet can't be seen. Them walls be holdin' a buggyboo or two or'n maybe a army a'dead thins. Aren't be knowin' 'till I gets inside. I be yet corrected by tha spittin Southar. A sssleep ssspell mayin' yet be a good'n. I, for me, say tak'er 'ard. Yet Pelltar be far mad iff'n ya all be dead walkin' home."

    Yalta offers his services, “By the power and blessings of Jascar, I can take a few of you with me unseen. No more than three. Everything will seems distorted but you must have trust. You will be able to move and remain unseen. When we get to the castle, you will be able to walk right through the castle wall as if it didn’t exit. Just do not tarry there, for if my power fades and you are within the wall, you will be lost to us . . . maybe forever. Who wishes to go with me?”

    Grimlock, Kuba, Cirdan and Tathar all volunteer.

    Tarstar says he will, “Dance his way through the shadows.”

    Speck will join Tarstar.

    Grimlock, seeing too many volunteers going with Yalta, bows out and joins the Tarstar and Speck.

    Ewan, not being fit enough for a half mile sprint, will remain hidden until it is clear the group has reached the castle. He will then attempt the crossing.

    Southar, having some skill at sneaking himself, is torn between joining Tarstar or staying back and protecting Ewan. He finally decides to stay back with Ewan. The cover available on the approach to the castle is minimal and he fears he may draw attention to the group as they sneak forward.

    The group has a quick meal and refreshes itself. Several members collect up a few wooden cudgels and Tathar grabs a makeshift staff before moving away from the edge of the Dead Woods and sneaking its way up the hill; hiding among boulders, scrub and grass.

    From the woodline, it appears to be about four miles to the keep, all uphill. The group moves at the speed of the Dalic and Speck’s short legs making Ewan very happy. The group reaches the base of the hill quickly and begins its climb. A little over an hour and a half, the group is half way up the hill and still finding good cover. After a little less than 3 hours, the group reaches the edge of cover and rests; now just over half mile from the keep. Their slow speed and stealth appears to have gotten them here unnoticed. There appears to be about 3 hours of sunlight remaining in the day.

    The castle walls are crenulated, as well as the main tower upper level. The castle walls likely have a walkway behind the upper wall. The walls appear to be about ten feet thick.

    The large tower in the NE corner has open windows on the third floor facing each compass point.

    The smaller tower in the center of the east wall has a window facing east.

    The castle itself is partially hidden by the outer walls. The main floor has a sharp sloped and tiled roof that covers the main hall (on the west end). The east end of the castle raises into a second and third level. The entire structure is made of stone other than the roofs. The second floor is the width of the first floor (110 feet) but only 60 feet deep. The second floor has three windows facing east, one north. Dalic remembers seeing one west and one south as well. The third story rises out of the center of the east end of the castle and is square shaped; 40 feet per side. The third floor has one window per compass point and a flat roof.

    There is a siege tower, lying on its side, outside the northern wall west of the hole there. There is a battering ram lying with the ruined portcullis at the front gate and there is a catapult about 400 feet south of the castle, directly south of the hole in the wall there. Finally, there is a hole in the northwest wall of the large tower at ground level and Dalic said there was a hole in the wall on the west side of the castle opening into what looked like the main hall.

    The group is prepared to move out. Dalic first. He plans to sneak up on the bugbear in the rubble and take him out. Once Dalic has enough time to get into position in the hole on the northern wall, Yalta and company will charge under Jascar’s protection. Leaving at the same time as Jascar, Tarstar, Grimlock and Speck will begin their slower sneak towards the castle. Remaning behind is Southar and Ewan until the sound of battle is clear or it is obvious all have arrived at the castle.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:54 pm  

    By mid-afternoon, Breymeer begins to regain use of his muscles. The paralysis is replaced with intense pain. He has two punctures and a bite still evident on his body but it is the wasp’s poison that causes his pain. Gritting his teeth, he begins to stir and finds he can regain his feet, albeit unsteadily. The presence of pretty ladies steels his resolve and he tries to put the misery behind him. Peylae breaks out some food and wine and Belina and Ide Otneaux see that he eats and drinks some. Within a half hour, Breymeer has regained his balance and determines to set back out after the group despite his injuries. Belina offers to accompany him to the hill. They set out by late afternoon, reaching the wasp nest by 1700 hours. Breymeer recovers his lost axe and longbow without another encounter with the wasps. Breymeer tracks the party around the nest and through the woods. He quickly realizes the did not re-discover the forest trail; instead forging ahead blindly. About 45 minutes after circling the wasp nest, Breymeer and Belina reach the edge of the Dead Woods, near the northern point. The ruin is visible to the west, sitting atop the hill. Belina bids Breymeer farewell and he continues on without her, still tracking the party. Breymeer estimates he still has over three hours to find them. He begins to work his way up the hill. He can tell the party snuck their way up the hill; hiding behind bush, scrub and rock. He continues to climb the hill, making as quick time as he can without risking losing the trail.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:59 pm  

    Speck requests a slight modification to the plan, “I think the sneakers should start right away as their journey will take the longest. Then Dalic. The runners should leave about ten minutes after Dalic.”

    Dalic just wants to make sure he has enough time to get there and deal with the scout before he can spot the others.

    The group acquiesces to Specks suggestion.

    The sneaks break cover and begin to slither and low crawl their way forward. Grimlock has covered himself with some type of makeshift gown. It is cut strips of neutral colored canvas rubbed into the dirt giving himself a near matching color as his surroundings (think guile suit).

    Grimlock quickly takes the lead and heads out at his own pace while Tarstar stays near Speck.

    Dalic gives them a few minutes before he departs.

    After about fifteen minutes, Yalta commands Tathar, Cirdan and Kuba to each touch him and hold on. Yalta advises he will be the last to arrive and he will cancel the spell upon arrival. He advises each of you to make sure you get through the wall immediately or else do not try and enter the wall. You cannot be in the wall when he ends the spell or you will be lost forever. Yalta begins his spell. He mutters a quiet prayer and near instantly, the group fades from sight and no sounds of them remains.

    Just as the two elves and two humans fade from view, a familiar whistle is heard from behind the group. Southar instantly recognizes it as Breymeer.

    Sure enough, Breymeer slips up next to the group. He carries his wounds and is in obvious pain but he has made the trek back to re-join the group.

    Ewan McDermott, seeing Breymeer in pain, lays his hands upon him and eases some of his pain (+4, 18/47).

    The four of them separate from the world into a strange misty grey realm in which the outside world is still completely visible; only reduced to shades of grey and shimmering as if looking across a hot grey dessert. Vision is reduced to that of a football field.

    Yalta, having faced himself in the direction of the keep, begins to run at a jog and the others follow suit. The four of them retain the ability to see each other even after they have faded into this misty state. Tathar quickly passes by everyone else, his uncanny dexterity adding to his running ability. Cirdan Saralonde is next, nearly keeping pace, Kuba Cyvlorandau is considerably slower than the elves but he remains ahead of Yalta.

    Tathar is the first to see they have strayed a bit too far to the west as the siege tower comes into view. Tathar corrects and the others follow as they move towards the castle wall. They can see there are a few bugbears gathering in ambush.

    Dalic arrives on the outer side of the rubble pile. The bugbear that had been there is gone but several others are present. A large bugbear in splint mail armor, armed with a morning star, is directing four other bugbears into ambush positions just inside the wall among the rubble. The four bugbears are wearing scale mail armor and carry maces.

    The remains of the siege tower are fallen and rotting, with many sections burnt away. The ground around the tower shows some signs of being scorched long ago. There is some darkening of the castle wall just south of the siege tower as well. The charred remains of three large humanoids can be seen amid the ruin.

    Breymeer shares his plan with Southar and Ewan, “I am going to head for that hole in the northeast tower. Once the group reaches the castle, they will be creating a diversion. I want to get up in the tower and find a good lookout. From there I can use my bow and maybe see where my help is most needed. I welcome any company.”

    Southar and Ewan agree to accompany him with Ewan adding, “You are still injured. Let me help you further. We will be in danger crossing that clearing.” Ewan cures Breymeer a second time (+5, 23/47).
    Southar adds, “Grave danger?”

    Breymeer finishes, “Is there any other kind?” Breymeer refocuses on the castle’s north wall, looking for any activity at all that would hint the battle had begun.

    Less than ten minutes after Breymeer arrived, Dalic’s thick dwarven voice can be heard across the clearing. Dalic curses a string of taunts at the bugbears that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity.

    Dalic begins a string of taunts that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity.

    The bugbear become obviously angry and begin looking out across the rubble trying to see the offender.

    The shaman makes some guttural vocalizations. Dalic suddenly goes deaf.
    As Dalic is regaining his bearings from the sudden loss of hearling, he sees the bugbear’s attention drawn to their left (west of the rubble pile). They are looking at something inside the castle wall. Whatever it is, they sneer and raise their weapons.

    Seeing the bugbears peering over the pile of rubble, Yalta assumes Dalic has made his appearance. Yalta cancels his spell. A world of sudden colors invades the misty dull grey landscape, pushing it from your minds. With a suddenness, color, sounds and the feel of the ground below your feet returns. The four of you are standing in a 20 foot wide side courtyard to the keep. Five bugbear are just east of you among the rubble. The rubble pile begins near the corner of the keep where this narrow courtyard opens to the large courtyard in front (east) of the keep. Immediately you hear Yalta calls out to the bugbears, “I am Yalta, Priest of Jascar, in the name of Grellus, Baron of Restenford, you are hereby evicted from this keep. Leave now or face the wrath of Restenford!”

    The bugbear just sneer and raise their weapons.

    Grimlock hears Dalic’s distinct dwarven accent when Grimlock is still about 200 feet from the castle tower. Dalic curses a string of taunts at the bugbears that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity. About fifteen seconds later, Grimlock clearly hears Yalta’s voice, “I am Yalta, Priest of Jascar, in the name of Grellus, Baron of Restenford, you are hereby evicted from this keep. Leave now or face the wrath of Restenford!”

    Tarstar and Speck hears Dalic’s distinct dwarven accent when they are still about 1600 feet from the castle tower. Dalic curses a string of taunts at the bugbears that would make Tarstar the sailor blush. His thick dwarven accent evident as he berates the “five bugaboos” with endless dwarven threats and profanity.

    The bugbear shaman croaks out a foul order to Yalta, “Pheel da wrath da Hruggek!” Yalta turns white as a sheet with fear and flees down the narrow courtyard towards the western wall where he cowers in the corner whimpering to himself and hiding his head.

    Cirdan Saralonde attemps to counter, "Please, as a friend, let me help you! You have no need of weapons against us! Come, let us talk."

    The shaman commands his men, “Kill ‘em ‘n eat da elves!”

    Tathar takes offense to the shaman and fires two quick arrow as Kuba charges forward to meet the bugbears in melee.

    The arrows strike the bugbear shaman, gracing his neck (7, 20/27) and left arm (2, 18/27).

    Kuba, in a flash of steel, meets three bugbears in the narrow courtyard, stopping two of them from advancing. His bastard sword leave a nasty slash across the lead bear’s chest (9, 13/22).

    The lead bugbear, reeling in pain, misses Kuba but the second one smashes Kuba’s right knee with a wicked blow from its mace (10, 26/36; critical hit, knockdown, ½ move). The blow crumples Kuba as his knee gives out and Kuba collapses to the ground. Kuba frantically flails with his sword and shield to parry incoming blows. He is able to deflect a final blow as a third bugbear runs past him towards the elves.

    Grimlock stands and sprints. He reaches the outer wall and Dalic moves into position outside the rubble of the north wall.

    Speck and Tathar rise and begin to move towards the wall.

    Breymeer, Southar and Ewan move out towards the keep.
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    Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:07 pm  

    In a flash, Tarstar nocks and fires his third arrow. The arrow buries into the shaman’s right thigh as he cries out in pain (8, 10/27).

    The shaman yanks the arrow out of his thigh, lays his hands upon the wound and begins to pray to Hruggek. His prayer is cut short as his head rolls off the top of his shoulders and lands at the feet of a now materializing dwarf (16, -6/27). Dalic’s sword is coated in blood and the dwarf bears a sinister grin.

    Cirdan Saralonde removes a small leather loop from a pouch. He walks to the edge of the wall and begins an incantation. Within seconds, he is beginning to rise up off the ground reaching the height of 10 feet. He is nearly level with the walkway.

    A bugbear continues to charge past Kuba, heading towards Tathar. Tathar greats him with a quick arrow from his bow. The arrow deflects off the armor on its left leg. The massive creature brings its mace down upon the lithe elf. Tathar moves gracefully just enough to avoid the blow.

    The three bugbears on Kuba attempt to overbear him. Two of them pounce upon him while the third covers them.

    Near the east gate, a second squad of bugbear are watching the fight unfold. One, appearing to be a second shaman, orders two of the bugbears forward to join the fray. They charge forward with their maces held high crying out tribal war cries. The remaining three continue to guard the gate.

    The two bugbears charge the battle and direct their attacks at Dalic as he appears from nowhere, slaying the shaman. The lead bugbear bashes Dalic in the left arm (5, 27/32) but the second bugbear steps on the shaman’s morning star and loses his balance for a moment causing his swing to fly wide. The second bugbear regains his balance before Dalic recovers from the initial blow.

    Southar and Breymeer begin to sprint toward the sounds of battle. Southar’s feet tear at the ground as he increases his speed faster and faster. Breymeer cannot match his pace; pain from the wasp injuries wracking his body. Through the pain, Breymeer runs on only to watch Southar continue to distance himself. Southar reaches astonishing speed; nearly doubling Breymeer’s run. Ewan quickly falls back but maintains a steady jog (like a lineman running for the endzone after a fumble recovery).
    Tarstar and Speck continue their journey forward.

    Grimlock begins his ascent of the outer castle wall.

    The bugbear facing Tathar attempts to crush him with its mace. By the time the blow falls, the nimble elf has begun a series of back hand springs ending in a back flip. Tathar, already half way to Yalta, runs to his side to encourage him out of his fear induced catatonic state. The bugbear can only stare awe-struck.

    Cirdan Saralonde pulls a rope from his possessions, keeping it in hand. While doing so, he spots a collection of bones on the rubble pile assemble into a full skeleton. It animates and begins to move silently towards Dalic. It approaches him from the rear. Cirdan shouts a warning to Dalic and then announces to all his allies, “I have a rope should you need to escape up the wall.”

    Kuba manages to fend off the overbearing weight of the two bugbears as they attempt to pin him to the ground. Kuba slashes a bugbear across the face (8, 6/22) adding to its misery from the slice on its chest. The blow causes the bugbear to step back giving Kuba a chance to stab at the second bugbear on him. That blow missed but the second bugbear also released him. Kuba springs to his feet, spinning a tight circle, he uses the momentum like an uncoiling spring. His sword flashes through the neck of the uninjured bugbear cleaving its head off (26, -4/22). The heavy seven foot frame crumples onto the courtyard. The final bugbear facing Kuba also fails to deliver a telling blow.

    Kuba is rushes a second time. This time he fails to keep his feet and goes over backwards. In doing so, he brings his sword up to the belly of the bugbear on his left. The sword pierces the creature to the hilt (26, -9/17). The dead weight of the creature drives Kuba to the ground. Making matters worse, the second bugbear also pounces on top of Kuba. Kuba is lying supine with two bugbears on him; one dead and one alive.

    Meanwhile, Dalic’s grunting and cursing continues. He puffs out his chest. His eyes go bloodshot as he lets out a roaring dwarven battle cry. Suddenly, the underweight dwarf, who stood less than four feet tall before, now stands nearly six feet tall. His mass has grown as well. He is man sized with a dwarf’s thick chest. The first bugbear swings clumsily at the sudden beast in front of it, now looking the pesky dwarf nearly eye to eye. The second bugbear slams his mace into Dalic’s head. Dalic is able to turn enough to only get a glancing blow across the cheek (9, 18/32). The dwarf spits his own blood upon the ground and grins to the bugbear. Dalic appears to almost enjoy the painful exchanges as he begins to taunt then anew.

    Tathar, calling upon the power of Sehanine, attemps to sooth Yalta’s fears, assuring him the bugbear shaman has died. Yalta, shaking and white with fear, will not even look up. He is near catatonic.

    A bugbear charges Tathar and takes a wood splitters swing at him as he is aiding Yalta. Tathar quickly side steps the blow and the mace bounces off the hard packed courtyard. The head of the mace breaks off the weapon and the bugbear throws it to the ground in disgust, “I gut elf now!”
    Cirdan reaches out to the walkway on top of the wall and pulls himself over to and then onto the walkway.

    The bugbear on Kuba, using the weight of the other creature, easily pins him. Kuba is unable to break the pin and now lies supine and unable to defend himself. The bugbear grins a sharp toothed sadistic smile.

    Dalic, hearing Cirdan’s warning and sensing himself getting surrounded, charges the rear bugbear using his bastard sword as a makeshift lance. Dalic, spit and curses flying, thrusts his weapon clean through the bugbear’s chest and spine (26, -4/22). The creatures attack falls limp. The bugbear Dalic moved past hits him in the right leg with a glancing blow that knocks Dalic’s foot out from under him (4, 14/32). Dalic falls to his knees as the skeleton moves up behind him with an old rusty mace. The skeleton hits Dalic on the left arm with a weak blow (1, 13/32).

    Grimlock summits the wall and quietly drops over the outer battlement and
    onto the narrow walkway. He can hear some bugbears grunting nearby on the inside of the wall. One sounds as it if is nearly below him, just off to Grimlock’s left. The others are even farther away, sounding as if they are on the south side of the gate.

    The other party members continue their advance on the keep hoping they will not be too late.

    As the bugbear attacks Tathar and Yalta, Cirdan Saralonde had pulled himself over to the wall, rights himself and conjures up two mystical bolts that he sends flying into the back of the bugbear (2, 16/18) and (3, 13/18).
    Tathar orders the same bugbear to, “Die!” It drops to the ground in a cataleptic state, stiff as a board.

    Cirdan turns his attention to the skeleton facing Dalic. Cirdan puts to glowing missiles into it (4, 3/7) and (5, -2/7) as the same time Dalic, from his knees and roaring like a lion, hits the skeleton at the pelvis, with his sword, sending chunks of bone flying through the air. The skeleton comes apart and what remains falls to the ground lifeless once again.

    Dalic turns his attention towards the bugbear. Laughing maniacally, Dalic attempts to slash the bugbear but the blade bounces off its armor. The bugbear facing Dalic swings errantly.

    Kuba struggles to gain his freedom but is held fast by the bugbear. The bugbear gives Kuba a massive head butt (2, 24/36, knocked out).

    Grimlock sneaks along the top of the castle wall, slowly moving behind the southern bugbears stationed there.

    The bugbear shaman at the front gate orders one of his two remaining companions to charge Dalic. It complies and crosses the courtyard at a run. It closes the distance on Dalic and joins the melee there.

    The bugbear shaman continues speaking. He appears to be yelling something in bugbear. Grimlock peaks over the side and sees the bugbears orders are directed to the north.

    Southar continues to close the distance, now only about 30 seconds from reaching the wall.

    Breymeer and the others continue forward as well but they are yet minutes away.

    Cirdan Saralonde takes his rope and walks to the crenellations at the outer side of the wall. He ties off the rope to a merlon, allowing enough rope to reach the ground to the courtyard side of the wall. While doing so, Cirdan happens to catch sight of the basecamp at the bottom of the hill roughly five miles away. With his elf vision he can see the camp remains in place as evening sets in. The baron’s banners clearly mark the camp. The sounds of battle return him to the task at hand. Turning, he holds the rope coils intent on dropping them to those who want to get atop the wall. From his peripheral vision, Cirdan Saralonde catches movement from the hole in the northeast corner tower. Out of the base of the tower walks a mix of human and bugbears. They are stiff and clumsy. They walk with hands out, unarmed. They bring with them the smell of death and visions of the grave. The bodies are in poor shape being in various conditions of rot. The dead saunter forth.

    Tathar pumps two quick arrows into the heart of the board stiff bugbear. The body goes limp as death overcomes it. “Gut me, will ya? I think not!”
    The surviving bugbear on Kuba pushes the dead one off of him. He rises, throwing Kuba’s limp body upon his shoulder as he does so. The bugbear turns to leave the courtyard.

    Dalic’s problems increase at the incoming bugbear attempts to trample upon him. Dalic takes a desperate swing at the incoming bugbear but misses in his haste to roll to his right to avoid being knocked prone. The remaining bugbear pounces down upon Dalic. Dalic brings his sword up slashing a large gash in the bugbear’s side (15, 5/20). The bugbear survives. Roaring in pain and anger, it drives Dalic onto his back. Laughing now, the bugbear that tried to overrun Dalic pounces onto the pile. Next to the struggling and cursing dwarf lay the headless body of the shaman and an old pile of broken bones that moments ago was an animated skeleton.

    Grimlock sneaks to the very edge of the curtain wall. He positions himself behind the remaining bugbear shaman, readies his long sword and prepares to make the leap.

    Southar is closing fast upon the northeast corner of the keep, near the tower. He has about 900 feet to go when he sees a little more than half dozen stiff and awkward looking large man sized figures exit the tower and begin moving along the wall to the west. With his feet pounding the ground like a drum solo, he will be upon them just after the reach the rubble and the hole in the north wall near Cirdan.

    Breymeer, Tathar, Speck and Ewan continue as best they can.

    Tathar puts his hand on Yalta’s shoulder and again prays to Sehanine, “Yalta, they are mortal. We are defeating them. Rise and be free of this horror upon you.”

    Yalta blinks a few times and looks up at Tathar and then around at the battlefield, “I have shamed Jascar. I must regain honor. Bless the elves!” He rises, secures his staff to his back, tighten the shield straps, grips his hammer, and prepares to charge into the fray.

    Cirdan conjures up two more magical arrows and sends them into the bugbear fleeing with Kuba on its back (2, 3/22 and 4, -1/22). It drops face first onto the ground and ceases to move. Kuba’s body crashes hard to the ground and remains limp among the dead and shattered bodies of three bugbears he helped bring down (2, 22/36).

    Dalic snickers wildly, "Feeble beasts! Taste tha blade tha' devours ye! HrrrrRRAAAAAA!!!" Dalic bellows his deafening roar again. Pulling his sword from the first bugbear directly above him, the beast succumbs to the wound dealt by the sneering dwarf entirely (damage adjustment from previous round, forgot to add enlarged damage adjustement 6, -1/20), the limp body rolling from between the dwarf and the still living bugbear. Dalic, thrust neatly to his knees a midst the tussle and facing the remaining foe's attempt to grapple, slashes deeply into the beast's chest, felling it instantly. Dalic releases a triumphant battle cry, "Tha right han' a' vengeance! Aye, death incarnae! Many die ta-night!" then stands and moves into position to attack Kuba's would-be kidnapper.

    The would-be kidnapper drops dead as Dalic rises from the pile. Dalic continues to Kuba and kneels next to him finding Kuba still alive. Kuba has a lump on his forehead and a badly injured right knee but the injuries do not appear life threatening. He simply appears to have been knocked unconscious.

    At the gate, Grimlock moves silently up to a squat position. He leaps forward off the wall and drops downward upon the back of the bugbear shaman. Holding his long sword point down, he drives the blade into the bugbear where its shoulder meets its neck. The sword continues into the bugbear until the hilt impacts the shoulder (39, -18/21). Grimlock releases his blade and hits the ground feet first. He tucks into a summersault to release the energy of the fall. He springs to his feet unharmed but without his sword.

    The sole remaining bugbear flees towards the keep reaching the large double doors. The door cracks open at his arrival and he slips inside. While doing so, Grimlock can see it is a man sized bugbear that opened the door. The door shuts behind them.

    The zombie apocalypse reaches the rubble of the curtain wall. They bring with them the smell of decay. They trudge forward, slow and jerky, seeking the living.
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    Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:55 pm  

    Dalic scoops up Kuba and moves to the wall below Cirdan. Standing a few feet from the base of the wall with Kuba, Dalic calls up to Cirdan, "Drop tha' rope and pull up tha' fallen Kuba, I be securin' it"

    Cirdan drops down the free end of the rope saying, "We need to burn the bodies before we proceed. We don't want them being reanimated and having to fight them again.” Checking to make sure it is secure, Dalic nods to Cirdan indicating he heard Cirdan’s request about the enemy dead and confirming Kuba is ready to be lifted.

    Tathar and Yalta move east from the back wall along the narrow courtyard. They reach Dalic and Kuba. Tathar tells Cirdan, “Bring him up, I will see about healing him atop the wall.”

    Dalic faces out from the narrower section near the keep, eyeing the rubble ahead for the approaching dead. Calling over his shoulder, Dalic's voice is low and grizzly, "We take tha' dead here wher'n it narrows. I may ne'er look it, but Dalic hab tak'n a hit or three. Yalter, I petition your aid.”

    Yalta answers, “You shall have it! You appear to be in dire need of it. In Jascar’s name, I will help you hold them back!”

    Grimlock recovers his sword from the shaman’s body and returns to the base of the wall. He also removed a dagger, coin pouch and seized the bugbears morningstar.

    Southar has closed the distance at an amazing rate. Now, only 200 feet away and closing fast, he has his shield and sword ready.

    Breymeer, Speck, Tarstar and Ewan continue to close the distance as fast as their feet will carry them. Tarstar is staying at Speck’s pace.

    The walking dead have reached the rubble of the northern wall. Three of them lumber across and begin their sorrowful march towards those in the narrow courtyard.

    Tathar helps to lift Kuba up the wall while Cirdan pulls on the rope. The dead weight of Kuba makes the process a little difficult. It is everything Cirdan Saralonde can do, even with Tathar pushing from below, to get Kuba up the wall. Only do to the elf’s uncommon strength did he manage to get Kuba’s body atop the wall. Cirdan goes immediately to untie Kuba so that he can get the rope back down to Tathar Surion. Tathar awaits it.

    Yalta lays his hands upon Dalic and prays to Jascar for healing power (+7, 20/32).

    Dalic, feeling the refreshing energy, steps forward to meet the undead horde. As the first of the zombies reaches Dalic he begins hacking away at it. His first blow separates the left leg from the torso (10, 6/16). As the zombies falls, it lands a blow upon Dalic’s breastplate. The breastplate protects Dalic from harm. Dalic responds by cutting of the offending arm (10, -6/16). The zombie returns to the dead.

    Southar arrives upon the field of battle. He reaches the last zombie as it begins to climb over the rubble pile. Not slowing down, Souther puts his shoulder into his shield and drives his weight into the back of the zombie sending him hurtling over the rubble and landing flat on the ground (2, 11/13). Southar steps up to the top of the rubble and surveys the battlefield through his great helm.

    Grimlock jogs across the courtyard along the wall to the smaller tower in the eastern wall. He has the dead bugbear shaman’s morningstar in hand. He begins to inspect a door at the base of the tower. The door appears to be relatively solid despite its age.

    The runners continue to close on the keep. Breymeer is the nearest, being only about one minute away (5 combat rounds).

    The zombies continue to close on Dalic, Yalta and Tathar.

    Cirdan lowers the rope to Tathar. Tathar quickly scales up the wall and climbs atop the curtain wall.

    Cirdan begins a vigilant watch for movement around the keep and the grounds.

    Dalic confidently states, "I be countin' no more than we ken handle. There be no time ta flee. Attack now lest we lay deader than these walkin' dead". He slashes at the incoming zombie, opening its abdomen exposing extremely smelly entrails (15, 1/16). The zombie, mindless to the injury, attempts to pummel the over-grown dwarf, but misses.

    Yalta moves up to Dalic’s side, his warhammer in his right hand and shield strapped to his left arm. Yalta hammers the next approaching zombie on the top of the head breaking bone (3, 12/15) with a blow that would have put most men to their knees. The zombie is only phased. Having been spun slightly to its right from the blow, it turns its fury on Dalic. It gives Dalic a five-finger death punch to the abdomen, catching him off guard (10, 10/32; wound ½ move, stunned one round). Dalic can feel cold chill of death in its touch.

    Yalta’s swing exposed his right side as one moved in to his right flank. It batters his extended right arm with a chopping blow (7, 11/18).

    Southar leaps off the rubble to engage the zombie he knocked down before it can rise. He steps on a loose stone and nearly tumbles. His awkward blow misses completely.

    The zombie lunges forward from its knees but fails to deliver a damaging blow.

    Grimlock moves across the courtyard coming up behind the zombie attacking Southar. He stops short and examines the battle before him.

    Ever closer the runners come.

    Grimlock stows the morningstar and draws his long sword. He moves up to the rear flank of the zombie fighting with Southar and hacks the left leg off of it (6, 5/13) as Southar hacks off the right (6, -1/13). Southar blasts the torso with his shield sending it skidding to a stop in the courtyard (4, -5/13). It perishes.

    With more volume and feeling than anyone has ever heard out of Tathar, he yells at the undead with his moon-shaped holy symbol thrust out before him. "YOU ARE AN ABOMINATION TO SEHANINE! I COMMAND YOU TO FLEE!" The entire horde turns, hissing, and begins to withdraw from the battle towards the hole in the north wall.

    Cirdan finishes up tying up a slip knot at the end of the rope.

    Dalic holds the line and grunts through the pain in his abdomen, "Yalta, up tha wall! Ya don't wan' ta be here for what happens next!" His veins boil and eyes have changed entirely to crimson. Dalic lets out a blood curdling cry penultimate to the full realization of his rage, "ALL THA' REMAINS BE DUST 'NEATH THA STEEL OF DALGURRRR!" Dalic infuses his proper name into his cry, donning his bastard sword with the name now and hereafter. Thunderous cries fill the hilltop as Dalgur Steelcoat attacks with all his might the two zombies within his reach. Dalic cuts through the left thigh of the one he previously struck, felling it (18, -17/16). His second blow cuts through the right arm of the zombie in front of Yalta as it turns to leave. The blow severs the arm and cleaves deep into the ribs. The second zombie also succumbs to the blow (15, -12/16).

    Yalta, seeing the injury to Dalic’s abdomen, lays hands upon him a second time, praying again for Jascar’s healing energy (+5, 15/32), “Your body can take a lot of punishment dear dwarf.” The discomfort of Dalic’s wound eases and his full movement returns. Yalta then moves towards the wall, motioning for the rope.

    From the top of the keep roof a voice reaches your ear. It carries on the air like driving sleet, piercing and cold, “You have sealed you death coming here! Relax," said the necromancer, "I are programmed to receive. You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!"

    The figure of a man stands on the roof of the keep. He wears crimson red robes with brown leather belt. A brown leather strap rises from his belt over his right shoulder. A brown hood covers hides his face in shadow. He holds a wicked staff; the dark wooden shaft ending in a spiked circle of blackened metal.

    The necromancer’s icy voice continues, “Restenford shall pay for this intrusion!” as he throws a small chunk of black substance in the direction of the north wall verbalizing arcane magics. The bat guano and sulfur glob arcs downward towards the narrow north courtyard. As it does so, it begins to glow and then catch fire appearing like a small shooting star. About five feet above the wall it suddenly expands, engulfing the north courtyard, the wall and the outer area near the fallen siege tower in an inferno of heat and flame. The flaming hell last for but a brief moment before consuming itself; wisps of smoke dance into the air.

    The party members survive the carnage. Kuba, unable to defend himself from the heat, takes the brunt of the flame (21, 1/36). Grimlock, running for the shelter of the north wall of the keep itself, dives to the ground and covers himself from the heat. Tathar attempts to defend himself from the heat but is burned badly and he lies prone on the walkway (21, -2/19). Five of Tathar’s arrows had the feathers burn off them and the shaft badly damaged. Cirdan reacts quicker and is able to avoid the worst of the blast (11, 12/23). Luckily, Cirdan’s backpack containing his possessions survives the flame. Yalta dives to the ground just before the fireball expanded. He covers himself with his shield as he goes fetal (11, 0/18). Yalta remains fetal under his shield after the blast; he is unmoving. His hammer ruined as its handle continues to burn on the ground next to him. Dalic, oblivious to the flames, charges forward after the zombies, emerging from the flames burned but undaunted (11, 9{4}/32).

    Dalic, his breathing heavy and jagged, stalks the zombie horde with rage emanating from behind his teeth. His face is streak with soot and his hair and beard are singed. He appears numb to anything but his prey and attacks the nearest abomination with exacting berserk destruction rarely seen except by those who have fallen victim to it. He reaches the ranks of retreating zombies and cuts one in half just above the waist (16, -1/15).

    Southar runs up on the rubble pile and swings his long sword at a retreating zombie catching it in the neck (5, 9/14). Its head flops to the side and bounces up and down off its left shoulder as it continues to flee.

    Cirdan rises from the wall, pulls a spider out of a pouch, and eats it. He takes off his boots; kicking them off the wall. Cirdan throws Tathar upon his shoulder and climbs down the exterior side of the curtain wall. His hands and feet sticking to the wall like he has suction cups. Once upon the ground, he slips his boots back on and begins to run across the open field towards the approaching party members yelling to Ewan and he runs, “Ewan, we need your healing powers!”

    The necromancer hisses an evil laugh, “Fools! You shall all die before this day ends!”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:18 pm  

    Grimlock, seeing the Jascarian priest unmoving, runs into the line of fire and drags him back to the north keep exterior wall. Out of the line of sight of the necromancer, Grimlock applies first aid to Yalta. Yalta regains consciousness (+1, 1/18, house rule, made rolls to regain immediate fighting abilities (system shock and save vs death)).

    “Grimlock, Jascar has smiled upon us. We shall yet defeat this evil corruptor of the dead.”

    Yalta rises, weak at first. He gains his feet, burning with fury and smelling of burned hair, he shouts with his fist in the air, “Death to the necromancer!”

    On the north side of the curtain wall, just north of Grimlock’s location in the courtyard, Cirdan attempts to keep Tathar alive. He works frantically to stabilize Tathar.

    The necromancer issues an order from the top of the keep. His voice falls upon the courtyard like a cold fog settling upon a swamp, “Rise! Rise my minions! Bring death to the living!” The zombies immediately stop and turn with renewed hatred.

    Southar doesn’t stop to ponder the change of events. His next blow finishes severing the head from his previous target (9, 0/14).

    Dalic, oblivious to all but the prey he stalks, follows the zombies over the rubble. His movements are sharp and precise. He unleashes hell upon the remaining zombies. He runs down the nearest zombie and his first blow severs the zombie just below the rib cage (11, 3/14) and the second blow takes off its head (19, -16/14).

    The final zombie climbs up the rubble pile and clubs at Southar with its forearm. Southar easily blocks the blow with his golden shield.

    Those fighting in the keep do not yet see what frightens Breymeer. Now less than 300 feet from the NE corner of the keep, Breymeer hears the necromancers call to his minions. Those outside the curtain wall see bones collect and form into figures at the eastern gate. One skeletal man and three skeletal canines come into being just outside the gate from the area of the battering ram and portcullis.

    Worse than that, out in the field to the south of the keep, a very large skeleton rises from the ruins of the catapult. This skeleton is a giant; nearly 3 times the height of a normal man. It carries a beam of wood from the catapult as a club. It takes long strides as it closes towards the keep. It is only a long minute before it arrives at the castle outer wall. <That is to say, 5 or 6 combat rounds>

    Finally, in Dalic’s blurred rage, he barely acknowledges three human sized skeletons rising from across the courtyard in the rubble pile that resulted from the hole in the southern wall. Southar, although within sight of them, currently has his back to them.

    The necromancer begins to laugh and it echoes down the hill like rolling thunder.

    Yalta prays for healing and feels somewhat restored. His burns lesson (+7, 8/18).

    Grimlock moves to the west and begins to climb the inner keep wall.

    Cirdan carries Tathar to the hole in the wall and climbs the rubble pile, entering the courtyard and heading for Yalta, “Sehanine delivered you from the fear of the shaman’s spell. Let Jascar return the favor. Bring Sehanine’s priest back!”

    Dalic and Southar melee with the last zombie. Southar slashes its left leg (4, 9/13).

    Dalic, hearing the necromancer’s taunt, shouts back with equal fervor, "You send toys and throw hot air. What cowardous bring ye next? Has tha great necrophilic 'master' of tha keep misplaced his stones tha' he ken nae face his death like a true master? Face me now if ye hab' en true power, coward!" With that, Dalic lays his blade to the final zombie splitting its head in two. He laughs maniacally up at the wizard, unmoved by the outcome of his onslaught as he calls into the air, finalizing his challenge, "Face me and me alone an' ye may yet prove ye'r not but a feeble apprentice. Tha blade of dalgur thirst fer ye blood if ya wish ta disprove yer a talentless frock."

    The necromancer dismisses the dwarf as an annoying fly, “I will enjoy having you serve me in death!” Three missiles appear in front of the necromancer. He points to the dwarf and all three fly unerringly into Dalic’s chest (5, 4{-1}/32 and 3, 1{-4}/32 and 2, -1{-6}/32). The dwarf flops forward onto the rubble pile amid the carnage of zombie parts.

    Southar and Cirdan see the next wave coming across the courtyard. Four skeletons and three skeletal canines have reached the middle of the courtyard; rising from the rubble in the southern wall and the eastern gate.

    Breymeer is now a little over 100 feet from the NE tower. Having recovered it from near the wasp nest, Breymeer has unslung his bow from his shoulder and is eyeing a place of cover to engage the necromancer. Seeing a straight shot at the necromancer, he angles for the north side of the tower.

    Tarstar, Speck and Ewan continue to move forward towards the battle.

    Grimlock begins climbing up the curtain wall where the keep and the curtain wall meet.

    Cirdan carries Tathar out of sight against the north keep wall. Yalta heals Tathar (+3, 1/19).

    Southar moves slightly east and puts his back to the curtain wall. He readies his shield and long sword for the onslaught of skeletal dread.

    The necromancer removes rose petals and lets them fall into the breeze while addressing Southar, “Oh great warrior. What an amazing run you had. Sleep now and recover your strength.”

    Southar, suddenly realizing how tired he has become, eyes the incoming skeletons. Realizing the wizard is trying to put a spell on him, Southar calls upon his inner will and fights to stay awake. The feeling passes as Southar overcomes the narcolepsy.

    Breymeer reaches the northeastern tower. Pulling an arrow from his quiver, he sneaks along the outer wall of the tower until the necromancer comes into view. Breymeer takes aim and lets the arrow loose. It streaks flawlessly through the air towards the necromancer’s heart. The arrow tip cuts through his robes but fails to pierce the skin.

    The necromancer wails with cruel laughter as he throws down the arrow, “Welcome to the fight archer. Dare stick your neck out again, I shall return your favor!”

    Kuba begins to feel again. Still unmoving, Kuba’s head begins to throb. Kuba realizes he is not dead yet.

    Dalic’s damaged body lays still on the rubble pile.

    The runners continue to run. Tarstar gives a few quick dance steps to encourage Speck along.

    Grimlock continues to shimmy up the wall.

    Yalta moves forward to attempt to assist Southar and sees Dalic down on the rubble pile. Yalta runs up on top of the rubble pile and digs for his holy symbol.

    <Tathar dreams of a dark night sky, separated by the rays of a full moon. The beam reaches down and shines upon his face. He hears a voice telling him, “I am not ready for you yet. You have much more to do for me here.”> Tathar returns to consciousness and the vision passes. He is extremely weak and lethargic. He grasps his moon shaped holy symbol and prays to Sehanine for healing energy (+7, 8/19). His burns subside substantially but he remains very weak from his near death experience.

    Cirdan Saralonde removes his footwear and pulls a spider from a small jar removed from his clothing. He jabs it into a small amount of bitumen pulled from another fold in his clothing. He eats the combination and vocalizes the incantation.

    Southar, waiting for the attack at the wall, unleashes upon the first canine skeletons to reach him. He bashes the first one with his shield (7, -3/4) and cuts the next down with his long sword (5, -3/2). The mass of moving bones slams into Southar but he is able to maintain his position and protect his back against the wall. He dodges a sword thrust and parries a second. The remaining canine bites him but only gets a mouthful of studded leather armor. Scampering over the bones of the fallen, the final two skeletons move in on Southar but they too fail to deliver a damaging blow.

    The necromancer conjures up three more glowing arrows and sends them streaking towards Breymeer. All three find their mark (5, 13/47 and 3, 10/47 and 3, 7/47).

    Breymeer fires his bow again. This time, he pulls the obsidian arrow from his quiver. He draws the string back and lets the arrow fly. It initially appears to drift slightly off but it maintains it course. Despite the long range, the arrow finds its mark, sticking him in the right thigh (11, 7/18). The necromancer screams in shock and pain. His second arrow flies wide, bouncing off the clay tile roof and skidding out westward.

    Grimlock reaches the top of the curtain wall and moves south along the west side of the keep. He begins to climb up the west wall.

    Cirdan moves with spider-like agility up the side of the wall, his hands and feet sticking to the stone and mortar as he goes. He reaches the soffit where the second floor roofline begins to slant towards the flat top of the third level; intersecting the third floor wall about 7 feet below the feet of the necromancer. From there, he begins to move south along the east wall of the keep; trying to stay out of the line of sight of the necromancer.

    Tathar displays his holy symbol to the skeletons fighting Southar, “By Sehanine, I command you to leave!” All but the one on Southar’s right flank turn and flee. Southar hacks at them as they rout, turning one into a pile of bones.

    Southar bashes a second skeleton with his shield sending bones flying in multiple directions (8, 0/8). He chops ineffectively with his sword at the sole remaining skeleton.

    Yalta bends down and prays over Dalic. Finding him barely alive. He heals him (+7, -1/32) but Dalic remains unconscious even though some of his injuries look improved.

    Kuba begins to see light. Is this the end? The pain that shoots through his body tells him otherwise. The world is about to welcome Kuba back.

    Breymeer draws back his bowstring and fires another sheaf arrow. The necromancer casts another spells and vanishes from sight. Breymeer’s arrow flies straight and true and hits something where the necromancer just stood. However, as with the first arrow, it stops suddenly, seemly in mid-air, and drops to the ground.

    Grimlock jumps off the wall, landing into a roll and regaining his feet. He quickly passes the opening in the western wall and ascends up the rubble pile. Climbing back onto the curtain wall, he prepares to ascend the western wall of the keep to the clay tiled.

    Cirdan Saralonde also moves south along the eastern wall, opposite Grimlock.

    Tathar takes a moment to meditate and assess the situation. Tathar prays for and receives healing (+6, 14/19).

    Kuba opens his eyes. The sun approaches the horizon and he hears the sounds of battle nearby. His last memory is of the courtyard and a bugbear upon him. Now he rests upon the wall and is burned and badly wounded. He finds he is able to move and control his body and appendages. All is not lost.

    Dalic continues to lay motionless upon the rubble pile. Yalta continues to pray for him but has done all he can.

    Southar blocks a thrust from the last skeleton and brings his sword down upon its shoulder cutting down through the shoulder and into the ribs before severing the pelvic bone. The skeleton comes apart and drops into a pile.

    Breymeer, hugging the wall, moves up to assist. He peeks out here and there watching for the return of the necromancer.

    Over the rubble in the southern wall a depressing sight comes into view. The skeletal giant has nearly reached the southern wall. He rises above the rubble, nearly 3 times the height of a man broken wooden beam in hand. Surely he will be within the keep courtyard in mere moments.

    The other skeleton and the skeletal canine continue to flee from Sehanine’s priest.

    Speck and Tarstar are closing, only a little over a minutes away (7 combat rounds).

    Ewan is huffing and puffing his way across the field.

    <The necromancer moves down through the trapdoor into the observatory and locked and barred the trapdoor above him.>
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:47 pm  

    Cirdan reaches the third floor and pauses to listen. He watches carefully for any sign of movement. He can hear sounds from the third story window positioned in the center of the east wall.

    Breymeer moves a few more feet and sets up behind Dalic and Yalta. Not seeing any more close foes, Breymeer draws back an arrow and fires at the approaching skeletal giant. The arrow deflects off of its left femur, taking a small chunk of bone with it (2, 20/22).

    Southar prepares to meet this newest challenge.

    The fleeing skeletons split. The canine exits out the east gate and the other returns to the rubble in the southern wall and un-animates.
    Yalta asks, “Is anyone able to help poor Dalic? I am unable to further assist him.”

    Tathar comes over to help Dalic.

    <The necromancer goes through the trap door in the floor into his bedroom.>

    Tathar arrives to help Dalic, having heard Yalta’s pleas. Yalta lays his hands upon Dalic and Sehanine blesses the dwarf (+5 4/32). The dwarf opens his eyes.

    Yalta presents his holy symbol towards the giant and shuns it, “Retreat you foul spawn!”

    The giant, having moved over the rubble wall without problem and entering the courtyard moving towards Southar, does an about face and the southern courtyard and begins to retreat.

    Cirdan holds his position, being attentive to his surroundings. He hears a ruckus from the 2nd floor center window now.

    Grimlock crosses the southern edge of the tiled roofline. His sure footedness allows him to navigate the unsure footing of the roofline. He moves at a fast walk and reaches the stonework of the 3rd floor.

    Breymeer sends two more rounds downrange. The first sails through the ribcage without striking bone. The second strikes it in the spine at the neck (2, 18/22). It leaves a mark before deflecting off the thick bone.

    Southar moves up to the corner of the keep and prepares to keep the giant from the rest of the group.

    Kuba holds on the wall.

    The runners keep running.

    <The necromancer begins to pack items for retreat.>

    Cirdan Saralonde climbs over the battlements on the rooftop. He is joined
    shortly thereafter by Grimlock. The rooftop is 40x40 feet. There is a trapdoor in the floor in the SE corner. There is some blood droplets that lead from the north wall across the rooftop to the trap door. The blood trail ends there. Cirdan makes a quick look but sees no concealed or secret doors.

    Dalic appears slightly confused for a moment and then addresses Tathar, "A brother on tha field of battle ye be. I am in yer debt. Me mind be blank... Is tha battle won?" Looking up he sees the giant skeleton. "Aha!" Dalic’s hand finds his sword. He charges into battle not waiting to hear Tathar's response.

    Dalic passes Southar in the courtyard and Southar gives chase with Dalic. Breymeer gives chase as well but hangs back slightly with his bow at the ready.

    Dalic and Southar run down the giant about 25 feet from the southern wall. Dalic lays into it with his bastard sword. He takes a knocks the fibula bone across the yard (9, 9/22).

    Southar slashes the tibia of the opposite leg (6, 3/22).

    The skeleton’s legs fail it and it crashes to the ground. Southar and Dalic pounce upon it and bash the giant into shattered bone.

    Breymeer attempts to organize the others, “We need to regroup and mend wounds!”

    Gassed, Ewan slows from a job exhausted. He continues to plod along as fast as he can walk.

    Tarstar and Speck are closing, they are only about 120 feet from the curtain wall (4 combat rounds).

    <The necromancer gathers his treasure from the hidden compartment in the wall and puts on a travelling cloak.>

    Round 23 - Rooftop
    Cirdan checks the trap door, finding it secured somehow. It is easy to see the door should open downward.

    Grimlock offers an idea, “We should get everyone on the roof and hang out for the night. We can drop a rope for the others. If we choose to go after him, this will be the best entrance as he is unlikely to expect us to enter here.”

    <The necromancer casts wizard lock on the bedroom hallway door>

    Round 23 Courtyard
    As the battle ends and the giant skeleton falls, Dalic begins to search the bodies of the fallen enemy.

    The giant skeleton has no treasure, just a broken beam from the catapult.

    The shaman that Grimlock killed has nothing of value other than his armor. He does not even have a weapon with him. From there, Dalic moves across the courtyard to the bodies of the rest of the fallen enemy.

    Cirdan answers, "He is injured and has used much magic during this battle. You know as well as I he will regain his magic strength if he rests and studies tonight. I say we pursue and try to end him now."

    Cirdan tries the trap door but it is locked. He intends to try and break it. okay with you or do you have a different approach.

    Round 24 rooftop
    Grimlock answers Cirdan, “Do not smash it as the noise will alert all. Let me assist you in pulling and hopefully the latch will pull free with little noise.”

    Grimlock and Cirdan both take hold, using Grimlock’s sword as a pry bar. With great effort, the two work together. A sharp crack is heard as the lock fairs. The duo re-grip on the door as a small crack forms when the pry. A second tug results in the popping sound of a wooden bar snapping in half. Finally, the hinges fail as the door is pulled upward against its designed motion. The noises echo slightly in the room below.

    Below, lit dimly by the fading evening light through the windows on all four sides of the room, is a 40x40 foot room. There is a crude instrument on a tripod. It is a tube, narrower on one end than the other. A large drawing table sits in the middle of the room. It has several parchments on it. A dart board adorns the southern wall. It has four darts in the board.
    Directly below the ladder is a vertical ladder fastened to the wall. There is blood on the ladder. The blood trail leads across the room to the NE corner where there is another trap door in the floor.

    Other than the four windows and the trap door, there are no other exits from the room.

    <Necromancer moves into his workshop through the secret door (north center of wall, through the standing wardrobe cabinet>

    Round 24 Courtyard
    Dalic moves from the body of the shaman Grimlock killed towards the main battle area along the northeast and north side of the keep.

    Breymeer retrieves one of the bugbears maces in order to have a bludgeoning weapon.

    Kuba carefully climbs down from the wall and retrieves his sword.

    Round 25 Rooftop
    Grimlock says, “Cirdan, let us clear the lower room and secure the second trap door with the table weight. Then, we can advise the others. This looks like a possible treasure trove for you and I. Let’s tell the group to hold and prep for entry to the door the bugbear entered. Signal the group with hand gestures from the roof. We can tell them to hold for five minutes and then make entry.”

    Cirdan takes a rope from Grimlock and heads for the roof.

    Grimlock searches the room.

    <Necromancer retrieves his spellbook>

    Round 25 Courtyard
    Dalic claims the spoils from the 3 bugbears and the shaman he slew. He collects coin purses from each of the four dead. Dalic does not appear to be trying to be greedy. He simply believes it is his just reward for wading into the battle.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the party collects the coin purses from the remaining five bugbear. Added up, it total 52 pieces of gold. Judging from the size of the coin pouches, Dalic collected two or three times that amount; mostly from the shaman.

    Nothing is found among the skeletons and it takes a strong stomach to attempt to search the zombies. They appear to have nothing of value as well.

    Round 26 Rooftop
    Grimlock searches the room. He finds star charts and astrological maps of the heavens. On the ceiling are strange runes and marks appearing to show the movements of celestial bodies. The dart board and darts appears normal. The strange tubular item is a telescope.

    Cirdan Saralonde ties off Grimlock’s rope and drops it down to the courtyard.

    <Necromancer collects the four toxic poisons>

    Round 26 Courtyard

    Tarstar and Speck come jogging into the courtyard, sweaty and winded.

    Kuba checks himself over and sheaths his sword. He discovers he is burned over much of his body but, more importantly, he finds his right knee is damaged and he cannot move effectively. He is no faster than Speck for the time being. Kuba is in much pain and misery but he is able to continue.

    While the searching of the bodies continues in the courtyard, Cirdan’s voice is heard from the rooftop, “Send up a warrior, we are going after the necromancer while he is weak and injured. He has fled into the keep.”

    Southar goes to the rope and tells the group, “I am unhurt. I will go with Cirdan.” He goes to the rope and begins to climb. It will take him 90 seconds to complete the climb (rnd 34).

    Cirdan instructs further, “Enter the keep as soon as you can and prevent the necromancer’s escape.”

    Round 27 – 28 Rooftop
    Cirdan returns to the observatory and assists Grimlock in the search.

    Grimlock is working on the lock of the trapdoor, triggering it open. He finds the door still stuck shut. Believing it to be barred, he prepares a spell.

    Grimlock commands the trapdoor to open. The sound of a bar sliding is heard. The door drops down and swings on its hinges. Through the portal, Cirdan and Grimlock can see a bedroom. It is about 40 feet north/south and 30 feet east/west. There is one window facing east about 15 feet south of the north wall. The trapdoor opens in the very NE corner. Opposite the room is a door on the west wall on the far south end of the room (kitty-corner from the trapdoor). Within the room has a large bed against the east wall just south of the window. A portrait of the necromancer hangs over the bed. A padded chair is in the SE corner. A footlocker is at the foot of the bed. A standing enclosed armoire is against the center of the north wall. A four-drawer chest is against the center of the west wall.

    A blood trail leads from the trapdoor to the bed. There is blood on the bed. The trail continues to the footlocker and then ends at the standing armoire.

    <Necromancer casts Magic Mouth on the secret door “Intruder!” repeated 10 times loudly (rnd 27). Necromancer removes the obsidian arrow and throws it on the table causing him to give a muffled cry of pain. He bandages his leg (28).

    Round 27 – 28 Courtyard
    Dalic finishes checking the last of the bugbear bodies and the rest of the party finishes collecting their items, checking the bugbears are deciding the zombies aren’t worth the look. Dalic approaches Yalta and Tathar. He presents them with a bag of gold each and states, “Let not this superficial totem refle’ on ye poorly. I be endebted to ye both far beyond the spoils ab’ war. Hab’ we en plan fer the keep?”

    Tathar takes this time to rest himself. He is slowly recovering strength.

    Tathar will say to Dalic (quietly) "Dalic, we have all fought hard, and the spoils of our battle should be shared evenly by all. I feel the battle is not over. This may just be a lull in the action. There are still enemies about. Let us finish this necromancer, then divvy the loot!" He will give him a wry smile and point to the door.

    Dalic's reaction is a bit frustrated, clearly hesitant to relinquish any gold that he once deemed as 'his'. Moreover, having not thought through the division of loot from anyone's perspective other than his, his embarrassment presents quickly as anger, albeit stifled. The growing sense of battle ahead eases some of his pain as he gives a cold, controlled responses through gritted teeth, "treasure be a mighty reward fer a warrior such as I, but ta hab' brethren in steel and spill't blood I shall take in kind. If ye split tha bounty thi'n ways, Dalic follows". He then awkwardly begins to retrieve the treasure and stops short, realizing he has no clue what to do with it.

    Tathar responds "Hold it, keep it safe. We'll all settle up after the necromancer pays for his crimes. Know this, friend Dalic...In my travels with this party, which has been brief, if you find interesting equipment, weapons, or armor, it seems possession is 9/10's of the law." Let him know he can handle those things as he sees fit, as far as I'm concerned.
    Dalic voices his opinion to the courtyard occupants, "We know not what lay en here', keep. Say I, we take en a captive an' turn some troops ta our favor. Havin' seen the demise before 'em I be wonderin' if tha rest fear more than they wish ta fight. *chuckles* But if they really wan' ta divorce tha air en their lungs, I be more than happy to oblige!"

    Ewan is still some distance out in the field. He continues to plod forward.

    Rooftop Rnd 29
    A ladder is attached to the wall from floor to trapdoor. As Grimlock climbs down the ladder, both he and Cirdan hear a muffled cry of pain from behind the north wall.

    Grimlock hurries to the standing wardrobe and opens it. There are four robes and three cloaks hanging there. It is otherwise empty. The blood trail stops there although there is some blood on the clothing and one of the cloaks appears ripped.

    Grimlock checks the trunk and the bed while Cirdan descends the ladder and checks the wardrobe, “I imagine there must be a hidden door here somewhere.”

    Cirdan cannot seem to find the door although he is certain there must be one.

    Meanwhile, Grimlock opens the lid on the trunk. It appears to contain clothing. The bed is made and nothing is located underneath it.

    <The necromancer drinks 1/3 of the potion of extra healing (+5, 16/18)>

    Courtyard Rnd 29
    A muffled cry of pain drifts down to those in the courtyard.

    Southar, being partially up the rope, thinks it came from the 2nd floor. From the area of the northern most window on the east side.

    Dalic vocalizes to the troupe upon hearing Cirdan's call, "I be yet healing, and may be yet in need of a healer. I be willin' ta face tha keep after I catch me breath an' ease me wounds". Dalic then leans into Yalta and states, "Me mind fell to black in battle. Where be this necromancer?"
    Yalta replies, “"Grimlock and Cirdan Saralonde have apparently chased him from the keep rooftop. He must have entered some portal atop the keep."
    Dalic, hearing the cry of pain from above, continues, "I yet feel my wounds. I shall instead follow Southar up. We may yet find something to mend me wounds up top. I fear I may be carried out if'n I be entering tha keep where ta the bugbear likely lay waitin'". Up he climbs.

    Yalta looks upon Kuba, Tathar, and Breymeer, “Tarstar and Speck, although winded, are not nearly as injured as we. Do we dare enter the keep as we stand or shall we await Ewan McDermott? I fear for our fellow companions as precious minutes will pass before Ewan arrives. I fear for us if we do not hesitate.”

    Rnd 30 Rooftop
    Grimlock tosses the clothing out of the footlocker but finds nothing else of interest.

    Grimlock approaches Cirdan in the wardrobe armoire. Cirdan is obviously frustrated, “I know there is a door here. There has to be.”

    Grimlock suggests, “Go to the window and see how close Southar is climbing up the wall and I will see what I can find in the armoire.”

    Grimlock enters the armoire but has no more luck than Cirdan.

    Cirdan reports Southar is half way up the wall.

    <The necromancer ends his invisibility and casts Monster Summoning I; four kobolds appear armed with javelins and short swords>

    Rnd 30 Courtyard
    Tarstar readies his cutlass and watches attentively for any dangers, “I will cover you until Ewan arrives or we enter.”

    Southar and Dalic continue up the rope. Southar is about half way up.
    Cirdan’s face appears in the 2nd floor center window for a moment. He appears to be checking the progress of the climbers.
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    Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:37 am  

    Rnd 31 Rooftop

    Grimlock advises Cirdan to get ready for trouble.

    Grimlock commands the back of the armoire to open knowing there must be a door there. Upon his utterance, there is a click and the back of the armoire swings slightly into the next room.

    Grimlock and Cirdan leap into the room attempting to surprise the occupants.

    The room is obviously a workshop. There is a large table in the center of the room with beakers, flasks, and general lab equipment. A series of shelves on the north and south walls hold nearly four dozen bottles and flasks.

    Flanking the table are four scaly rust brown skinned creatures. They have glowing red eyes and small white horns. The have dull orange tunics on. They have non-prehensile rat-like tails. They smell of wet dogs and they yip as the duo comes through the wall. There are two on each flank of the table.

    The necromancer is just a little over 20 feet to your left, standing next to an open door on the southern wall, in the westerly part of the room.

    The room is 30 feet north/south and 40 feet east/west. Grimlock and Cirdan have entered the room on the southern wall just east of center.

    All five of them appear surprised. The necromancer is pointing in the duo’s direction and making hacking motions. He appears to be encouraging the three foot tall scaly creatures to attack.

    Rnd 31 Courtyard

    Southar and Dalic continue to climb.

    Upon seeing his friend in such a horrible condition, Speck is rather shaken. He has never seen him in such a vulnerable state. "Are you going to be ok?" He asks. He feels anger welling inside. "I will do whatever it takes to make whoever did this pay." He also says, "Hang in there, Ewan will be here shortly."

    Speck finishes by saying, "I am willing to go help rid the world of this necromancer if that is what the group decides to do. I am also concerned for my friend here. I'd hate to leave him unattended.”

    The courtyard crew continues to hold position as Ewan closes the gap. He remains about six minutes away. Ewan is so exhausted, he is down to a walk. He does not stop though.

    Rnd 32 Rooftop

    Cirdan Saralonde has a very quick reaction and he throws the yuan-ti dagger at the necromancer, striking him in the guts. (7, 9/18; missed poison save – Dead).

    The necromancer dives out the doorway as Grimlock pulls a bit of spider web from his belongings and utters a spell. The western 1/3 of the room is encased in thick, sticky spider webs. They spill out the door into what is beyond. The webs catch one of the small scaly creatures like a fly but the other one on the west side of the table is able to jump clear.

    Cirdan levitates off the ground until he is near the ceiling and out of the reach of the small scaly critters.

    They throw javelins at Grimlock and Cirdan but all three javelins miss and bounce of the stone wall behind the duo. They draw short swords to close for melee.

    Rnd 32 Courtyard

    The sound of a melee suddenly fills the air. It appears to be coming from the second story. The sound seems to be coming from the window on the eastern wall, farthest to the north (There is three windows on the second story facing east).

    Southar and Dalic are scaling the rope just north of the middle window and 15 feet south of the window where the battle appears to be starting.

    Southar is a few feet above the window and 15 feet to the south.

    Dalic is just below the level of the 2nd story and also 15 feet to the south.

    Speck begins climbing the rope to join the fray. He is faster than the other two at climbing despite his small size.

    Rnd 33 Rooftop

    Cirdan fans out his fingers from his vantage point near the ceiling, pointing them towards the doorway. A burst of flames shoots forth from his spread fingers. The magical webs immediately burst into flames. Flame and smoke choke the western portion of the room and begins to boil across, filling the room with a moderate amount of smoke.

    <Necromancer is burned but his spellbook survives the flames. One vial of poison cracks and breaks in the heat and the remains of the potion of extra healing poor out onto the floor>

    The scaly creature caught in the webs is yelps in fear and pain as it is burned to death (3, -1/2).

    The three remaining minions charge Grimlock. Waiting for them, Grimlock smashes the first one with his shield (4, -1/3), killing it. He slices through the other two with one stroke, cutting them both in half (22 dam on a critical hit). They yelp as they are hit. The minions failed to strike a blow.

    As each of the scaly creatures perish, they disappear into a puff of smoke that blends into the smoke filled air.

    <The flash brings one of the bugbears up the stairs where she discovers the dead and burning corpse of the necromancer. She turns to flee back downstairs>

    Rnd 33 Courtyard

    Southar reaches the roof and pulls himself over the battlements. He finds nothing on the roof save a destroyed trap door in the NE corner of the roof.

    Speck catches up to Dalic and climbs over the top of him and continues to scurry up the rope very nimble-like.

    Dalic continues to ascend, slow but sure.

    There is a flash of light from a sudden flash of flame in the 2nd story window where the melee continues. Yelping, like that of a whipped dog, accompany the flash of light.

    The sound of swordplay and metal upon metal impacts is heard along with additional yelping.

    Smoke begins to billow lightly out of the window.

    Rnd 34 Rooftop

    Southar enters down through the roof trapdoor. Climbing down, he follows the blood trail to the trapdoor in the floor of the 3rd level observatory leading to the 2nd floor. The trapdoor hangs open. The blood trail continues down into the 2nd level. In the observatory is a crude tube on a tripod. There are parchments on a center table and strange runes on the ceiling. The runes appears astrological in design.

    Cirdan and Grimlock walk carefully among the smoldering ruins of the western half of the room. The air is relatively thick with smoke and each breaths into his clothing to keep from coughing. Grimlock, voice muffled by his mouth covering, gives an opinion to Cirdan, “We could have waiting a little to light the web. If he’s caught he’s caught. I was hoping not to light his robe, studies and knowledge ablaze. I did enjoy the effect though.”

    They reach the doorway and find the body of the necromancer. He is laying in a hallway on his side with a dagger sticking out of his belly. His cloak has burned. His inner clothing is still intact. His staff has fallen to the floor next to his. A broken vial lays ahead of his in the hallway as if he dropped it.

    The hallway runs south to a set of stairs. A smaller statured bugbear is just disappearing down the stairs. It appears to be grunting out something in its language.

    Cirdan removes his dagger from the body.

    Rnd 34 Courtyard.

    A bit thicker smoke continues out the 2nd story window. The flame appears to have all but disappeared. There is no more sounds of combat carried on the smoky breeze. In fact, the room has fallen deathly silent.

    Tathar starts his way up the rope. He also appears to be a fast climber on account of his nimble elven dexterity.

    Speck continues up the rope eyeing the 3rd story window (arrival rnd 36).

    Dalic, tugging and grunting, also appears to be eyeing the 3rd story window (arrival rnd 39).

    Yalta looks to Tarstar, Breymeer, and Kuba, “Tarstar, are you going up the rope? The rest of us are in poor shape to be climbing the rope. I fear we may have lost a few companions in that short melee. I think we cannot afford to congregate here any further awaiting Ewan. Gentlemen, will you follow me into the keep? I must make an attempt before I wait here further.”

    Rnd 35 Grimlock & Cirdan

    Grimlock grabs the necromancer’s limp body and drags it back into the room. Cirdan grabs the staff from the floor and follows Grimlock into the workroom. They shut the door. Once shut they find no way to lock or bar it.

    A quick search of the body reveals, in addition to numerous spell components and a slightly singed spellbook, are a sheathed dagger and three vials. A fourth vial is broken. He has a pouch containing platinum pieces (about four dozen) and nearly a dozen small gems (50gp or less type).

    Grimlock shouts towards the window, “The necro is dead. You can come up or come through the ground level doors. The leader is dead!”

    Rnd 35 Southar & Dalic

    Dalic bends on the rope as much as possible to get near the center second story window. He reaches out and is able to grasp a bar. He pulls himself over and takes ahold of the bars with both hands, stepping onto the window sill and releasing the rope. With a red faced grunt, he pulls at the bars, trying to spread them apart. They submit to the overgrown dwarf and bend apart creating a hole big enough for him to enter the 2 ft side by 4 ft high window.

    Inside, Dalic sees Southar climb down a ladder built into the wall below a trapdoor in the ceiling leading to the 3rd level.

    This room appears to be a bedroom. It is about 40 feet north/south and 30 feet east/west. There is one window facing east about 15 feet south of the north wall. Dalic is entering the room through that window. The trapdoor opens in the very NE corner. Opposite the room is a door on the west wall on the far south end of the room (kitty-corner from the trapdoor). Within the room has a large bed against the east wall just south of the window. A portrait of the necromancer hangs over the bed. A padded chair is in the SE corner. A footlocker is at the foot of the bed. A four-drawer chest is against the center of the west wall. It lays open with clothing strewn about the floor near it. A standing enclosed armoire is against the center of the north wall. The front doors of the armoire stand open displaying some cloaks and robes. The back wall of the armoire is also open, leading to another room. Smoke sifts into this room through the open ports.
    A blood trail leads from the trapdoor to the bed. There is blood on the bed. The trail continues to the footlocker and then ends at the standing armoire.

    The sound of a door shutting in the room behind the armoire is heard followed a few seconds later by Grimlock shouting, “The necro is dead. You can come up or come through the ground level doors. The leader is dead!”

    Rnd 35 Couryard

    Breymeer counts himself in and puts and arrow to his bowstring. He joins Yalta at the front door, “I would like to wait for Ewan but we have not time to spare.”

    Tarstar stands nearby as if undecided.

    Kuba says, "I am in no condition to get involved with any battle right now. I may be able to defend myself but not actively engage any opponent. I will wait for the portly friar." Kuba puts his back to a wall where the rope meets the ground and watches the holes in the north and south curtain wall in addition to the eastern gate.

    Kuba nervously awaits Ewan who is yet five minutes out.

    Speck is just below the third story window (30 feet up).

    Tathar is nearly to the floor of the 2nd story (12 feet up).

    Grimlock’s voice carries down from the smoking window, “The necro is dead. You can come up or come through the ground level doors. The leader is dead!”
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    Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:07 pm  

    Kuba and Speck both volunteer to join the group heading around the keep.

    Grimlock, looking at the setting sun, advises, “I can easily jog back to base camp by dark but who is interested in clearing this place out now and then holding up here safely. He can hold up in the necromancer’s study. It appears there is only the one door in to the study and one door into the bedroom. The windows are barred,” Grimlock looks at Dalic, “with the exception of the window in the bedroom. It could be easily guarded for the night.”

    Dalic, ignoring the half-elven know-it-all, proudly checks his equipment. He grips his sword, double checks his beltpouches and daggers sheathed on his belt, adjusts his armor and backpack, and finally straightens out his cape. The cape is really just a robe that he hacked down to his size and cut the sleeves short. On top of that, a blood sack with a head sized object rests at his side, tied to his belt.

    Dalic walks over to Ewan, gives a little belch and as politely as he can muster, asks, “If ye be no stre’ch’in thin, mebee ye cud less’n me wooonds a bit.”

    Ewan abliges him (+7, 25/32). The smell of Dalic’s belching doesn’t seem to phase the overly large sweaty man who just ran ½ mile in the evening sun. Dalic looks greatly refreshed, suffering only from a few cuts, bruises and scratches.

    Dalic, feeling spry now, proposes the group investigate the two towers on the way around the keep. Dalic wants to enter the small tower and climb on top of the curtain wall. He wants to enter the large tower as a sneaky type enters the main floor of the tower. They could search it together for anything of interest. The rest of the group would remain close by for support in case of traps or ambush.

    Grimlock proposes the group split up to try and finish searching by nightfall then shore up in the study for the night, “But be quick we must.”

    Kuba maybe feeling a bit exasperated by Dalic's words and actions chimes in, "Maybe iffen ye take yer big head an smash a hole in yon tower walls we be gettin this done even more quick like."

    Cirdan adds, "Brave Dalic, I am fond of your Dwarven exuberance for battle, but I feel the towers can wait until morning. Let us clear the keep and rest for the night. I will be of little or no use in a fight. I can tell that my ability to use magic is depleted, and I still need healing from the fireball. Others need rest also. This book you are looking for will be here tomorrow."

    Cirdan then turns to Breymeer and present him with his obsidian arrow.

    Tathar, ignoring Cirdan’s noble deed for the moment, questions Dalic as well, “I would like to know more about this book. My people have charged me with searching out ancient magics. I am also interested in knowing why none of us were told of this book prior to embarking on this quest."

    Speck, showing the uncanny upbeat halfling spirit, nearly volunteers to join Dalic, “I will search and loot whatever is here. When night falls though, I would like to be together as a group inside somewhere safe.”

    Cirdan shows concern, “Since not everyone can climb the rope to the second floor study, we must find a way to get there from within the keep. That is, if we can even open the door when we get there. I propose we clear the keep as a group, quickly, then camp in a safe room and explore the rest of the keep tomorrow before heading back to basecamp.”

    Grimlock agrees with Cirdan, “We need to clear the inside keep building before we hold up for the night. If this book does exist here, we may lose it if one of the bugaboos, having lost their leader, flees the keep and takes it with. It would make little sense for the outer wall towers to hold the book.” Grimlock begins to prepare his gear and ready himself, “Dalic, after you.”

    With the eyes not on Dalic, he turns to Kuba, "Me head or yours maybe do the trick. I prefer the latter." Dalic sneers with a smirk, almost jovial at the presence of even verbal conflict.

    Next he turns to Cirdan, "I may be near but a brute ta ye comrads who be fightin' along each side for a time, but aye, I know there be more'n a few ways in ta a ruined hold an' a tower may be yet a risk ta leave unchecked. Where in ye think them undead rose from?"

    Tathar gets his attention next, "I have now been with arm with ye most an' is more'n can I says once we started. I hold no secrets, only my tongue ta those I yet not know. Knowin' ye now an' havin' spoke ta some early on 'bout tha book," looking to Grimlock, "I hab' ta them I spoke said yet it need not be private knowins. I know little for I ask little o' me employer. Dalic had said all he know. It be black and leather and dangerous. Nae open nor read it. Bring it ta Dalic.”

    Each address is said loud enough for everyone to hear. Once done, Dalic appears to realizing he has sounded more apologetic than his usual tough demeanor. He adds as a near apology for his apology: "And... ta... any who infer Dalic be untrusted agin: There be a sword wit' which ta meet." Dalic pokes his sword unconvincingly into the ground at his feet, still adjusting to his normal height.

    It appears obvious the dwarf is struggling socially with the group. It doesn’t take a sage to realize this dwarf is used to being alone and fighting alone; relying on his own brute force over a silver tongue.

    After his belabored speech, and clearly uncomfortable with the amount of public speaking, Dalic nods to a thought in his mind, "Tha towers may be a point ta breech but say we attack tha west an' Dalic will lead tha charge. A compromise ta battle be no compromise at all!" He smiles almost gleefully.
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    Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:30 pm  

    Cirdan Saralonde also petitions Ewan McDermott for some relief from his burns. His request is granted (+3, 15/23). Ewan warns he is getting low on strength.

    The party sets out for the western wall. They walk out through the hole in the northern wall. After crossing the rubble, the group moves close to the curtain wall to the western side of the keep. They pause at the large hole in the western keep wall.

    Southar and Breymeer immediately inform the group of evidence they see. There is much evidence of a mass exodus from the hole. Nearly two dozen creatures fled according to Southar and Breymeer’s interpretation. The tracks appear to be the size and weight appropriate to female and young bugbear.

    Just in case there is a male contingent of bugbear left, Dalic removes the necromancer’s head from the bag and rolls it into hall. “Break’n dems fight’n spirit,” Dalic grins.

    The party walks cautiously into the throne room. The room was once a grand hall. Six pillars line each side of the hall holding aloft the 25 foot peaked ceiling. The back wall was destroyed in the previous siege. When the wall caved in, it destroyed the throne. The room was decorated by frescoes of men and elves fighting together against bugbears. Now, these paintings have been defaced and partially destroyed.

    A quick survey of the room reveals nothing unusual. The room appears to have been plundered long ago.

    There are two doors leading from the room. One in the north wall that has been nailed shut and one in the south wall. The door in the southern wall appears to be locked and possibly barred from the other side.

    Tathar makes a sweep of the room perimeter checking behind paintings and along the walls.

    Dalic sweeps the other way checking behind pillars and in the shadows.

    Grimlock looks at the lock on the south door and then tries to jimmy it open. The door fails to open and the lock remains in place.

    Meanwhile, Dalic had reached the north door on his sweep and reports all clear. He takes his sword to the door and starts to pry the nails out of the door. After working on the door for nearly 10 minutes, Dalic sheaths his sword and draws his dagger. He walks over to the necromancer’s head and picks it up; holding it by the hair out in front of him with the face pointing forward. “Fear lantern” he calls it with a smile upon his face. He returns to the door and motions his his knife hand for the rest of the party to fall in behind him. He chuckles to himself and mumbles again, “Fear lantern.”
    Since Grimlock was unable to open the southern door, the group falls behind Dalic and he pulls open the door.

    The room behind the door (room “S”) contains a large table. The table is marred and partially rotten. The chairs are also badly marked and damaged. The room is otherwise empty. The only other exit is a door on the north end of the east wall.

    The party moves into the next room (“R”) and discovers it is the old kitchen; 20x20 in size. Doors are mounted in the southern wall and the eastern wall. After clearing the kitchen, the party investigates the door and reveals the door to the east enters the pantry (“Q”) and the door to the south enters a hallway running to the east then turning south.

    After standard precautions, Dalic, still holding the severed head out, opens the pantry door. Behind the door is a 20x20 room that appears to have once served as a pantry. There is some reserved food here, otherwise most of the food appears to be getting rotten. Even the preserved food appears to be badly cured meat of unknown origin. It appears pretty obvious this is the bugbear’s doing. A quick survey of the room reveals nothing unusual.

    The hallway turns south at the pantry door. There are two doors mounted on the eastern wall at a distance of 30 feet and 60 feet. The hall turns east after the southern door.

    The first door to the east in the hallway is opened after normal precautions. The door leads to a 30x30 room (“O”) with a door in the north wall. This room appears to be a bedroom of some kind. There is a pile of old grubby furs that appear to serve as a bed. There are several candles in the SE corner of the room. They appear to represent a small prayer area.
    Tossing the bedding, the party finds a small iron chest. It has a lock and appears to be locked.

    Grimlock advises to take the chest with and he will look it over after a good nights rest.

    Speck, on the other hand, volunteers to pick the lock on the chest.

    While he is doing so, Tathar begins to examine the door in the room.
    Dalic takes one of the furs from the beds, folds it and stows it. He then moves out into the hallway and south. He takes a position where the corridor turns east. He has the head and his dagger ready.

    Speck examines the lock and the chest carefully. He then takes out a few picks and works on the lock. Within moments, there is an audible click and Speck smiles with satisfaction. Speck opens the top revealing 10 small blocks of insense and a small leather pouch. Speck pours the pouch into his hand revealing seven small cut quartz gems (10 gp variety). Speck puts the gems back in the pouch, shuts the lid and stows the chest in his pack.

    Tathar reports nothing unusual about the door. Dalic opens it revealing a 20x30 room (“P”). This room appears to be a second shaman’s bedroom. It, too, has a bed of old furs and a small crude desk. The desk appears to have been made into an altar. Candles, similar to the previous room, adorn the top of the desk. Under the desk is a small wooden chest. This room has no other exits.

    Repeating the process on the chest, Speck begins to examine it. After a visual examination, Speck seems reluctant to touch it. “This one seems different. I do not see any mechanical traps but something is amiss. I do not trust to open this one.”

    Cirdan asks, “Is it actually locked? Could we throw a couple of furs over it and open it from behind?”

    Speck does not believe it to be locked. That is part of what worried him. He thought he detected evidence of a magical trap. He saw nothing mechanical.

    Grimlock, not having a rope of his own anymore, suggests dropping a loop of rope around it and then backing out of the room. Once clear, pull the rope to jostle it a bit and see if anything happens. If it doesn’t go kaboom or have a gas cloud pour out of it, we can stow it for later.

    Tathar pokes through the furs of the bed and then sits upon the floor in meditation.

    Breymeer and Kuba, looking down the hall to make sure Dalic is out of earshot, have a conversation the rest of the party can hear. Dalic, at the south end of the hall, is just rounding the corner in the hallway heading e/b toward the end of the hallway.

    Breymeer starts it with, “Certain actions are getting to me. If he does one more outright evil act or disrespecting action, I am either leaving or challenging him.”

    Kuba, appearing uneasy with Dalic himself, “If there is a book of the dead somewhere in this keep, that is very dangerous. I don’t think we should be brining the head of the one who used it anywhere near it,” motioning down the hall towards the ‘fear lantern’. “Maybe its power will bring him back in an even more dangerous form.”

    Yalta chimes in, “I am not sure where Pelltar found this fella. A might dangerous with the sword, I will give ‘em that. He is every bit savage as he is brave. Foolhardy even. I have never met such a dwarf. The only two I know, however, are the bar owners in Restenford. A couple dwarves own Falco’s Tavern. When we return, I will speak to Pelltar about ending his service to the group. First, we have to last the night.”

    Tathar volunteered his rope to use. Grimlock ties his loop and places it around the chest. Everyone vacates the room.

    Grimlock set the rope so that a tug would pull suddenly on the bottom of the chest, hopefully tipping it backwards. What really happened, no one will know. As soon as the rope is tugged, a large explosion rocks the north bedroom.

    Post explosion inspection of the room reveals the table has been blown apart. The chest is completely gone. The furs from the bed are messed a bit. Gold pieces have been scattered about the room. Scraps of leather are located. Some of them have some type of writing on them. It appears a few scrolls or letters or similar were blown apart and are completely unreadable now.

    Dalic, feeling as if the party is turning against him, walks down the hallway to the south. These lesser beings have the gall to question his battle tactics. They would all be dead if not for Dalic. But for now, he needs them to help find the book of Pelltar’s quest. He will have to play along to keep them in the fold.

    Suddenly, a voice comes to him, “Dalgur Steelcoat!” The voice calls his name. It appears to be coming from the severed head Dalic holds before him. He turns the head slowly and to Dalic’s surprise, the eyes are open and focused and the mouth moves, “Dalgur Steelcoat! You must return my head to my master. You shall receive his blessings!” Dalic can’t help but like the sound of someone appreciating him. After all the alienation, this is welcome news. The fact that he is being addressed by the severed head of a necromancer is lost on Dalic’s wisdom at the moment.

    The head seems to pull Dalic eastward down the hall to the door to room “J”. When he arrives there, to his amazement, the door opens into the hallway. Opening the door is the bugbear that had fled the courtyard from Grimlock earlier in the evening. The bugbear appears completely subdued and has a “thousand yard stare”; not focusing on Dalic at all. It merely allows Dalic to pass and then shuts the door, setting the security bar back in place.

    This 20x30 room used to be a guard post. All the furniture has been removed. It now sits empty. Dalic sheaths his dagger to free his hand. He unbars the door on the eastern wall and enters room “I”.

    This 20x20 room is the keep’s entrance hall. The furniture here is damaged but appears to have been of fine quality in its day. A large bar sits in place on the northern double doors. The possessed looking bugbear unbars the doors and opens them.

    The sun has set a while ago and darkness has crept over the eastern courtyard. Luna, the larger of the visible moons, is new, hiding her silvery light, and Celene, the smaller bluish moon, is waxing; only a quarter of its size. The courtyard remains dark and dreary. A coolness has mixed into the air brining some forming fog in the courtyard.

    The head guides Dulgar Steelcoat directly across the courtyard towards the large northeastern tower that he petitioned to enter just before nightfall. The mindless bugbear follows in stride. The dead in the courtyard, being touched by the fog, begin to stir ever so slightly.

    During Tathar’s meditation, he is troubled by the everpresent evil in this place. He concentrates harder until the silvery light of the moon enters his mind. Luna, the larger silvery moon, is new this night and Celene, the smaller bluish moon is only just waxing to a quarter. He locks onto this image and focuses his thoughts. Sehanine Moonbow’s voice comes to him warning of some vile evil but a sudden explosion shatters his concentration.
    As others pick up the scattered gold, Tathar returns to his thoughts. Tathar prays for guidance and receives a series of visions:
    1. Behind a heavy wooden door reinforced with metal bands lay a dark decending stairway.
    2. A large bookshelf, with dozens of books on it, against a wall in a dark, damp bedroom.
    3. A second dark stairwell down behind a larger than man-sized stone statue of a bearded man.
    4. A set of ironshod double doors mounted in the wall of a small dark natural cavern area.
    In Tathar’s vision, the ironshod doors open. A sense of evil so complete strikes him as he is roused by his companion’s departure of the shaman’s bedrooms.

    Kuba becomes suspicious Speck is stealing from the group, his paranoia grows.

    Speck, in turn, begins to feel Kuba distancing himself and starts to grow sad. The though of the loss of Kuba's friendship strikes the Halfling hard.

    Tarstar has a compulsion forming. He feels the need to get rid of Dalic. If given the opportunity, Tarstar's compulsion will overwhelm him and force him to backstab Dalic.

    Tathar is compelled to find out where his visions were leading him.

    Dalic completes his move across the courtyard as the bodies of the dead continue to stir. The fog appears to rise up directly from the ground, seemingly drawing the warmth from his very body.

    The mindless bugbear, upon reaching the northeast tower, opens the door and enters. The tower has a roughly 20 foot radius. A set of stone stairs are built into both the north and south walls. The north stairs goes up and the south goes down. The inside of the tower, including the ceiling above Dalic, is very old and rotten. It threatens to collapse. The floor is strewn with a few boards that have fallen. It is otherwise uninteresting.
    “Down, Dulgar Steelcoat. Take me down.”

    Dalic does as commanded by the head. He walks down the stairway into the basement of the castle. His dark vision showing the basement level of the tower has the same footprint, a 20 foot radius circle. Here, another stone stairwell leads further into the earth from this otherwise unnotable chamber.

    “Down further, Dulgar Steelcoat.”

    Dalic continues his descent. The air becomes damp and clammy. The walls glisten and are moist to the touch. The air is stagnant and foul.

    At the bottom of the stairs, the corridor turns south and proceeds only 30 feet before coming to an old wooden door. “Press on Dulgar Steelcoat, we are getting closer,” is the sinister hiss in Dalic’s mind.

    Cirdan, Grimlock and Speck go about picking up coins while the others keep guard.

    Tathar, having been disturbed by the explosion, goes back to meditating.

    “Let’s put some pep in our step, gentlemen. Night has set in and we have a couple areas yet to check. Grab all the valuables quick and let’s finish this search and get back to the necromancer’s study,” encourages Grimlock.
    The group quickly checks the last door on the east wall at the southern end of the hallway. It leads into a 30x30 room that was obviously a barracks for the bugbears. Numerous furs lumps are scattered on the floor. It is in general disarray. It appears the room was vacated very quickly. A sweep through the room reveals nothing of interest.

    Continuing down the hallway as it turns to the east, the group quickly discovers Dalic is gone. The hallway ends with a single door mounted on the southern wall (leads to room “J”). The bar on this side of the door is not in place.

    Trying the door, one discovers it will not open easily. It appears stuck or barred from the other side.

    Tarstar mindlessly mutters, more to himself, “That dwarf will kill us all. He must be watched.”

    Breymeer offers to go after Dalic, “I will split off and track Dalic down. Anyone wish to accompany?”

    Tarstar, wringing his hands, joyfully accepts.

    Southar, steps forwards with a simple, “Yessss.”

    Cirdan points out the obvious, “We need to get through this door first.” Cirdan puts his shoulder to it but the door does not give.

    A few others through their shoulder into the door without success.

    Grimlock steps forward and places his hand on the door. With a command, a bar is heard sliding on the other side and the door relents. Grimlock pulls the door open towards him.

    The room behind the door is a 20x30 room (room “J”). There is a set of double doors on the west wall and a single door on the east wall. The door on the eastern wall has been unbarred and remains ajar. The room used to be a guard post. All the furniture has been removed.

    Inspecting behind the eastern door reveals 20x20 room is the keep’s entrance hall (room “I”). The furniture here is damaged but appears to have been of fine quality in its day. A large bar lays upon the foor, having been removed from its place on the northern double doors. The double doors are also ajar.

    Outside in the courtyard, the sun has set a while ago and darkness has crept over the eastern courtyard. Luna, the larger of the visible moons, is new, hiding her silvery light, and Celene, the smaller bluish moon, is waxing; only a quarter of its size, giving little light to the night. The courtyard remains dark and dreary. A coolness has mixed into the air brining some forming fog in the courtyard. It appears to be climbing from the very ground, rising now to a layer several inches thick.

    Southar looks out into the darkness, “Sseeemss he went to the tower after all. He sssshould be eassy to find.” Southar walks out into the night, golden shield and sword at the ready.

    Southar has a sudden compulsion to head to the NE tower himself. He seems to have less concern for finding Dalic as he does for finding out what energy guides him to the tower.

    Dalic opens the old wooden door and enters a generally triangle shaped cavern. He is immediately struck by very cold air; well below freezing. His breath easily visible. Under the power of possession, he ignores the change of temperature.

    Each side of the cavern is nearly 40 feet long. The point of the triangle faces south. Dalic enters the room from a small alcove in the northwest corner. A couple skeletons and a zombie hiss at him as he approaches but fall back to the power of the necromancer’s head.

    Dalic continues south through a short ten foot wide natural passage; the power of the head pulling him. He passes a side cavern on the western side. It also contains walking dead that hiss at him but do not molest him.

    Dalic is pulled farther south into a much larger natural chamber. It is roughly 60x60 in size. An additional chamber opens to the northeast.
    The head, still hanging by its hair, turns like a needle on a compass. It points to the southwest corner of the room, “Dalgur Steelcoat, the door.”

    Dalic moves across the room, splitting another skeleton and two more zombies as he walks.

    Dalic finds the door in the southwestern part of the chamber. It is an iron-reinforced wooded door. The iron has hints of frost upon it. “Bust it down Dalgur Steelcoat!”

    Grimlock becomes concerned, “I think we should head up to the second floor and lock ourselves in for the night. If Dalic decides to pull out whatever is stuck up his ars and join us later, then that will be his choice. For now, I don’t feel like chasing this fool through this keep at night. He will either make it back or we will find what’s left of him tomorrow.”
    Ewan, feeling an uneasiness coming over him, decides Grimlock’s idea be best.

    Yalta, holding a torch he lit once the group entered the unlit first level, feels Grimlock speaks with wisdom as well.

    Breymeer, also holding a torch, agrees with Grimlock, “Dalic has been gone a while now. There is no need to further split the party.” Breymeer steps out to check on Southar saying, “What is your intentions Southar? Are you okay? What causes your lisp?”

    Southar, nearly half way across the courtyard already and moving at a jog, calls back over his shoulder, “Dalic isss the key.”

    Tarstar, taking Breymeer’s torch, runs out into the courtyard to catch up to Southar, “We shall all dance in our graves tonight me mates.” Tarstar has his cutlass out. Both Southar and Tarstar quickly cross the courtyard and enter the door leading into the northeastern tower.

    Breymeer sees movement in the dark. A skeleton moves slowly towards the keep entrance from the hole in the southern wall. A second skeleton, that of a canine, re-enters the courtyard from the eastern gate.

    In addition, the skeleton of the slain giant begins to stir and reform slowly.

    Other sounds in the courtyard seem to indicate the other skeletons are also reforming. The lumps of bugbear bodies slowly stir. Limp, lopt off during combat, move slowly in the growing fog. The severed head of the bugbear shaman forms an evil grin as it eyes begin to refocus, looking across the dark courtyard towards the open keep door. The light from his torch reflecting off its red eyes.

    Breymeer physically shakes with fear. He returns to the entrance hall and shuts the door, barring it. He is white as a ghost, “The living dead have returned this night.” Breymeer lights another torch from Yalta’s flame.
    Meanwhile, Tathar moves to the double doors on the western side of the room (“J”) and puts his ear to the door. Not hearing anything, he tries to open them. To his surprise, they open easily.

    Behind the doors is a 20x30 room with a stairway up in the center of the north wall and a small alcove at the west end of the north wall. The door is barred from this side and likely leads to the throne room. Another door is mounted on the southernmost area of the west wall.

    Tathar can’t help but stare at the western door. The door is reinforced with metal bands.

    Dalic prepares to shoulder the door open when he notices a black, shapeless mass drifting under the door and forming in front of him. It has no true substance but displays what appears to be the upper body of a humanoid with arms and a head. Two evil glowing red eyes float in the darkness of its head.

    The image turn towards the door and imitates keying the lock. An audible click is heard. The apparition looks over his shoulder and waves Dalic forward. It disappears under the door in the same fashion it appeared.

    Dalic, trying the door again, finds it easy to open. He moves into the long natural passageway on the other side of the door.

    Dalic is relieved the temperature returns to normal sub-terrain ranges as he steps into the hall. His beard had already frosted over and his hands stung with cold.

    The creature walks ahead of him, no longer looking over its shoulder to Dalic as if it knows he will follow. The bugbear mindlessly follows Dalic down the hall. The head continues to give Dalic a steady pull forward.
    Dalic moves down the southwestern passageway nearly 40 feet. While doing so, a strange sense of hope tingles across his body. It is a strange feeling to the grim hearted Dalic. As quickly as it came over him, it vanishes and Dalic puts it in the back of his mind, “It be da cold tis all,” he tells himself.

    The passageway turns westerly and the structural integrity of the tunnel deteriorates. The walls and ceiling have begun to crumble but appear to yet hold in place. The deteriorated area of the passage is only about sixty feet long. As the hall continues, its condition improves but the dampness remains.

    After a little over one hundred feet since turning westerly, the hall suddenly turns north and travels thirty feet before angling northwest and ending at an identical, well made, iron-reinforced wooden door.

    The black mass flows below the door and disappears. “Dulgar Steelcoat, you shall be rewarded. Continue through the door.” Dalic, feeling an empowerment in the appreciation, opens the door and moves through the portal.

    Grimlock reiterates, “I could care less about Dalic and the role he plays. If he had our safety in mind, he would not have left us behind. I say we fight out way back and not deeper in. Turn what you can but I would prefer to hold up in the necromancer’s study just the same. The skeletons have proven weak less the giant. The giant cannot get into the keep as he is too large for the hallways.”

    Speck shows his worry, saying to Kuba, “We better stay close and stay with the group for safety.”

    Kuba sneers back, “I got my own troubles and can well watch out for myself. You better keep your sneaky little thieving carcass away from me.”
    The elves, Cirdan and Tathar, both agree the group needs to get upstairs in the keep and lock the doors for the night.

    Faintly heard, carried lightly on the cooling night air, the sound of a horn reaches the keep. Blown from near the base of the hill, its shrill call raises concern. The call is quickly followed by the howling of worgs. It can mean only one thing, the basecamp is under siege.

    The next thing heard is the scratching of the skeletal fingers upon the outer door. The dead rise in the fog shrouded courtyard.

    Looking around the group, times are desperate:

    Yalta is in near hysterics.

    Breymeer, back pressed against the outer door, looks shook as well.

    Ewan speaks, “Southar, that bastard, has led Tarstar off to his death!”

    Speck and Kuba, are abnormally squabbling.

    Strangely, the three elf-blooded, Grimlock, Tathar and Cirdan, remain calm and rational.

    Southar and Tarstar reach the northeast tower, open the door and enter. The tower has a roughly 20 foot radius. A set of stone stairs are built into both the north and south walls. The north stairs goes up and the south goes down. The inside of the tower, including the ceiling above them, is very old and rotten. It threatens to collapse. The floor is strewn with a few boards that have fallen. It is otherwise uninteresting.

    They walk down the stairway into the basement of the castle. The light of the torch shows the basement level of the tower has the same footprint, a 20 foot radius circle. Here, another stone stairwell leads further into the earth from this otherwise un-notable chamber.

    Seeing no other option, the duo continues their descent. The air becomes damp and clammy. The walls glisten and are moist to the touch. The air is stagnant and foul.

    At the bottom of the stairs, the corridor turns south and proceeds only 30 feet before coming to an old wooden door.

    Behind the door, Dalic finds a small chamber that is really more of a four way intersection canted in the NW/SE/SE/NE direction. Dalic enters from the southeast. To the northeast lies a short passageway to a larger chamber. It is blocked by a closed portcullis. The winch for the portcullis is mounted between the NE and NW passages. To the northwest is a passageway that bends to the west. The main path leads to the southwest side and ends in a set of ironshod double doors. The doors are stained a dark color. Flies cover the doors, buzzing and crawling over each other.
    “Dulgar Steelcoat, enter the doors and claim this keep.” The blackness disappears under the double doors. Dalic grasps the doors and pushes them open. Behind the doors is a large natural chamber roughly 40 feet deep (NE to SE) and 60 feet wide (NW to SW). The door is mounted in the center of the northeastern wall.

    Near the center of the room, drawing all of Dalic’s attention, is an altar of black polished stone. The blackness of the altar meets the natural stone and veins into it like a tumor. The room is warm and lit by two braziers that bracket the altar.

    “Place my head upon the altar Dalgur Steelcoat!” Dalic can refuse no such order. Dalic gently places the head upon the altar, facing toward himself and the mindless bugbear. The braziers seem to brighten and then flare up higher.

    “I shall rise this night! You shall be blessed for your service. Dalgur Steelcoat, slit this bugbear’s throat and spill its blood upon the altar. Do this, Dalgur Steelcoat, and you shall be Baron of Bone Hill Keep. This title shall be yours and all in the keep will serve you in their living death. I, Telvar, shall surrender this title to you and instead serve you as chief advisor. Slay this beast as a sacrifice to he who calls for your service.”
    Dalic, lusting for the power and title offered to him, cannot help but ponder who this altar is to and who calls upon his service.

    “Do it now Dalgur Steelcoat! Become legendary! Fear nothing! DO IT NOW!” The bugbear has approached the altar and leaned forward and lifted its head, exposing its neck. Dalic finds his knife in his hand, stepping towards the creature. The brazier’s flames leap towards the ceiling.
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    Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:17 pm  

    Dalic feels his free will return to him and in an instant begins to focus his mind sensing the danger about him with his warrior’s instinct.

    “Fer wut cen a mere lowly creature such as this do in a sacrifiss tha’ a true warrior’s spilt blood cannot ten fold? Great talkin’ head ye tempt me an’ Dalic be wantin to make beg power ever strong. Let me fetch a true warrior with many souls felled by their hand ta make ye richer in powr still!”

    Dalic turns as he speaks, surveying the room. It is a natural chamber nearly void of content. The altar and braziers sit near the middle of the room, the prominent feature to those entering from the double doors. To the north of the altar lay several old and decomposed bodies. They were once dressed in rich white robes now stained dark in front. The bodies appear to have been a woman and children. On the south side of the altar are several other decomposed bodies of adult humans. They are also dressed in robes with similar stains. The presence of ropes with each body hints that they had been bound at the time of their sacrifice. Directly in front of the altar, now at Dalic’s feet, lay the body of a man in plate mail armor. The armor is rusted beyond repair. A shield lay next to the body with the crest matching that of some of the murals in the throne room. A rusted dagger lay near the body’s right hand. A sword remains sheathed on its belt. The sheath has rotten away some revealing the blade of the sword. It is miraculously free of rust.

    Dalic’s mind attempts to piece together the evidence. One can only assume the baron, whose body is free of any bonds, killed his family and servants before sacrificing himself before the altar.

    Dalic makes his decision. As his belt pouch turns away from the view of the head, Dalic palms one of his holy water vials in his free hand. Dalic turns back to the bugbear and places the dagger at the creature’s throat and his free hand at its chin to stabilize its head. Popping the cork of the holy water vial with his thumb, Dalic falsely draws the dagger across the bugbear’s exposed throat, dumping the holy water upon the head and altar as he does so.

    As the holy water hits necromancer’s head and altar, a sound rises up like that of a hot frying pan doused in cold water. The holy water eats into the head and altar like an acid, small wisps of smoke rising from the contact points.

    The head screams like a tortured soul and the braziers, for just a moment, darken to hot coals as dark smoke billows forth.

    Dalic, grabs the bugbear by the head and attempts to snap his neck but an unholy energy fills the bugbear as his eyes become focused. The bugbear, being muscled and nearly twice the height of Dalic, merely stands breaking Dalic’s hold on its head.

    Nearby, the apparition appears to have miscalculated Dalic’s actions. It realizes Dalic’s deceit. Its red eyes flare with hatred.

    Grimlock ensures Breymeer barred the outer doors. Grimlock bars the door from the guard post “J” to the north hall and then proceeds into the waiting room “K”.

    The waiting room contains six chairs scattered along the walls. The chairs are in a state of disrepair but stable enough to hold weight.

    Noting the door to the throne room is barred, Grimlock heads upstairs, “Follow me.”

    The remaining party members move up the stairs behind Grimlock. At the top of the stairs, Grimlock turns and open the door on the east side of the stairwell. Breymeer covers the northern hall, handing his torch to Kuba.

    Grimlock and Kuba enter the room finding it to be a 40x40 room with a barred window near the center of the eastern wall. Judging from straw bedmats on the floor, this room served as a bedroom for the bugbear children. The room is otherwise empty.

    As the trio clears the room, a muffled shriek echoes through the keep, rising from the very stones of the structure. A sudden wave of dread washes over the party. Upon its passing, the previous compulsions that pulled at the adventurer’s will vanish. A sense of relief fills Breymeer, Kuba no longer eyes Speck with suspicion, the foreshadowing of Kuba’s death leaves Speck’s mind, Yalta’s confidence returns and Ewan’s fear of the undead also passes.

    Just before Southar opens the old wooden door, a muffled shriek echos through the cavern, coming from the southwest. A sudden wave of dread washes over the duo. Upon its passing, the previous compulsions that pulled at their wills vanish. Tarstar no longer feels compelled to hunt down Dalic. Southar, appears more at peace but wills to continue on. Southar opens the old wooden door and enters a generally triangle shaped cavern. He is immediately struck by very cold air; well below freezing. His breath easily visible.

    Immediately two skeletons and a zombie begin moving towards Southar from the center of the room. Southar warns Tarstar and prepares for combat.

    Dalic makes a play for the sword in the rotten sheath hoping it holds some sort of special property.

    Dalic moves to his right and pulls at the brazier, searing his hands as he does so (2, 23/32). He guides the base of the flames towards the bugbear. The hot coals spill out in front of the altar as the bugbear reaches out to grab Dalic. The bugbear burns his feet on the hot coals (1, 16/17) and misses his grapple attempt on Dalic.

    The coals continue to burn on the ground in front of the altar. The body there, acting as a dam, piled up a portion of the coals against it. The body begins to smoulder. The upright brazier also has returned to flame. The smoke previously belched out is dissipating in the large chamber.

    The black spirit creature sweeps in towards Dalic and reaches for him. It fails to make contact with Dalic as he jumps to the area just to the left of the body. Here the avalanche of coals stopped against the right side of the body giving Dalic a small area of floor to reach for the sword. He rips it from the rotten scabbard. The old leather easily gives way to his strength.

    The weapon is made of steel and has a ruby set into the grip just below the crossguard. The central groove running down the blade glows lightly with a red light. The pommel is engraved with some written words, “The bloodletter”. Dalic did not read the words, instead the name just comes to his mind as he grasp the grip of the blade.

    The phantam moves in to strike Dalic. It narrowly misses and Dalic makes it pay. Dalic’s new long sword cuts through the creature’s head with a trail of crimson light following the swing. Black smoke boils off the contact with the sword and the creature recoils from the blow (7, 23/30).

    The bugbear grabs at Dalic. It is able to grab Dalic’s sword arm and muscle it back painfully (2, 21(2 temp)/32). It maintains its hold and moves to wrestle the sword from Dalic’s grip.

    As the bugbear moves for positioning on Dalic, he drives the blade of the sword into the bugbears left leg (12, 4/17). The bugbear loses its grip on the Dalic’s arm. Dalic pulls the sword from its leg and drives it through the creature’s chest (10, -6/17). It collapses upon the floor, its blood spills before the altar.

    The standing brazier flares brightly and the flame from the brazier on the floor leaps and dances as the life force leaves the bugbear.

    The necromancer’s head burst into flame. A deep and sinister laugh echoes in the chamber as the head is consumed by the fire.

    In the distraction, the phantam reaches out and makes contact with Dalic’s left leg. The icy cold touch from the grave burns (3, 18(20)/32) and drains on his will (-1 wisdom) and his life force (3, 15(16)/29(32)).

    Dalic recovers slightly from the twisted arm (+1, 16(17)/29(32)).

    Grimlock moves up the hall to check the next door, giving orders as he goes, “Let’s check the remaining rooms upstairs.” He attempts to open the door to the necromancer’s bedroom (V) but it does not budge. “Everyone try a door we haven’t on this floor. Note whether they can be barred or locked as well if there is a window in the room. Quick, let’s get to it!

    Breymeer, cover the stairs.”

    Cirdan asks Grimlock, “Will you be able to open the door to the necromancer’s study? I would like to get to the roof and see if we can see our comrades; maybe lower a rope if need be.”

    Kuba appears confused for a moment, "What happened?" Kuba appears to be shaking off some type of enchantment, "I was ready to throw little Speck out the window and let the walking dead have their way with him. I'm sorry my little friend."

    Ewan opens the door on the western hallway, to the north. It opens to a 20x20 room (X). It is contains books, boxes, spare furniture, etc.

    Yalta opens the western hall door to the south. It opens to a short hallway, twenty feet long, and then opens into a 20x20 room (T) with a window facing south. The window is barred. This room appears to be empty other than a chair by the window. It appears to be a watchpost.

    Grimlock walks to the north end of the hallway where a door enters the workroom (W). Grimlock tries the north door but finds it still somehow stuck shut. He instead opens the door on the west side. It opens into an empty 40x20 room (Y). It contains a window on the western wall. This window is barred. A chair in front of the window hints at its use as a watchpost.

    A chill comes over Grimlock as he peers into the large watchroom. He catches sight of his breath as the air temperature around him seems to suddenly dip. Now alert to some danger, he shouts a quick warning to the group as he backs away from the north end of the corridor.

    As Grimlock backs away, an image materializes through the door and enters the hallway. It can be none other than the necromancer. The image is semitransparent. His head has been returned to the body. He carries an evil sneer on his face. A cold, whispery voice escapes it, “Now you shall join me, vile elves!”

    In a flash, it is upon Grimlock, clawing at him with cruel clawed hands, as the rest of the group begin to react to his shouts of warning.

    Southar slashes at the first skeleton to reach him. His blow is parried by the skeleton.

    Tarstar moves up alongside Southar and pokes at it as well but the blow just passes through the empty ribcage.

    Southar is able to block both the skeleton’s blows with his shield but the zombie gives him a gut punch (2, 39/41).

    Dalic rips off his make-shift cape with one hand while retrieving his holy water with the other. He dumps the holy water onto the cape and tries to ensnare the undead menace with it. Dalic is unable to snare the creature but the contact with the blanket burns more black smoke from the creature (2, 21/30). Its eyes continue to burn with hatred.

    Just as Dalic is recovering completely from his twisted arm (+1, 17/29), he feels the icy grip of death again as the creature strikes him a second time (3, 14/29) and his life force and will are drained further (5, 9/24 and wis -4).

    Grimlock drops quickly rolling sideways away from the phantom necromancer, escaping its grasp. Grimlock rolls through the open door into the room he was examining (Y) shouting orders, “Turn him if you can! Holy water and magic should harm him in death! Retreat into a room where we have more room to fight!”

    Cirdan Saralonde draws his yuan-ti dagger and pulls forth a scroll from his possessions.

    Tathar steps forward, fearing no undead, his moon imaged holy symbol out before him, “Back! Sehanine shall be your bane in death!”

    Yalta, trying to rebuild his confidence, steps around the corner displaying his snow-capped mountain peak symbol. Standing behind Tathar, Yalta commands the creature, “Back to your grave, this hilltop has been reclaimed in the name of Jascar!”

    The phantom sneers a whispery threat, “Hill gods and moon queens shall not save you! This night you all shall die!” It turns and enters the room (Y) after Grimlock, “Starting with the web thrower!” It paws at Grimlock with its deathly cold hands. Grimlock again tumbles out of the way. The whispering dead predicts, “You shall all serve me!”

    Breymeer and Ewan, standing near the top of the stairs, were unable to see the phantom but did hear its cold, dead voice.

    Kuba and Speck, stuck behind Yalta, Cirdan and Tathar, stood by in disbelief.

    Tarstar expertly begins removing bones from opposing skeleton’s rib cage (2, 4/6) while Southar bashes the other skeleton to pieces with his golden shield (6, 0/6). He follows the shield bash with a slashing strike across the zombie with his long sword (9, 3/12) hacking off its left leg. It falls to the floor but keeps up its assault.

    The undead are unable to land an effective blow.

    Reinforcements to the undead horde arrive in the form of four skeletons and a zombie. One of the skeletons wears a robe enscribed with runes.

    Dalic withdraws the cape, letting it rest on his shoulder, draped haphazardly over his free arm and front. He takes a violent swing at the creature cutting directly through its rib cage. As before, a smokey blackness boils off the creature (11, 10/30).

    Dalic suddenly hears pounding and scratching on the exterior side of the double doors. At the same time, the undead menace withdraws under the door into the winch room (BF).

    Grimlock continues to escape and evade the vile apparition.

    “To and fro you tumble and roll. Tired you’ll be when I steal your soul.” The necromancer points to the Grimlock and three missiles appear in the air and streak unerringly into his body (2, 23/25 and 4, 19/25 and 4, 15/25) wracking him with pain.

    Grimlock shouts, “Your journey back to death will be because you are a fool to think I am a threat to you. My companions behind you are!”

    As Grimlock dances with the foul spirit, Cirdan Saralonde sneaks up the hall with his scroll in hand. Once he sees the ghastly creature, Cirdan quickly reads off the scroll. Two missiles of his own appear and fly forward striking it (5, 29/34 and 2, 27/34). It screeches in unholy profanity.

    Yalta, with a war cry, charges forward past Cirdan, "In Jascar’s name, I will smite you!" Yalta enters the room to strike the undead menace with his staff and shield but catches his foot on the door jamb and falls flat on his face; stunned for the moment.

    Tathar takes his snake staff in hand along with a vial of holy water.

    Breymeer arms himself with axe and sword. He continues to watch for surprise attacks as he moves to the corner, prepared to confront the undead devil if the others fail.

    Tarstar picks away at the skeleton’s spine with his cutlass. He sends another rib flying (2, 2/6).

    Southar smashes a second skeleton to bits with his shield (10, -4/6) and cuts down the wounded zombie with his long sword (3, 0/12).

    The zombies and skeletons continue to press the attack without success.

    The rotten robed zombie however, pauses and points at Southar. Two missiles appear in the air and streak at him, striking him in the chest (5, 36/51 and 5, 31/41).

    Dalic switches weapons, drawing his bastard sword and replacing in the sheath the bloodletter. He retrieves his dagger from the ground where he dove for the bloodletter earlier, and returns it to its sheath. He searches the bodies for anything useful. Dalic finds 12 gp in a pouch on the bugbear and 11 pp, 22 gp, 17 ep and 44 sp on the body of the man in who had “Bloodletter”.

    Dalic adjusts his holy cape to fit again as close to a cloak as possible, tucking the front edges into his belt so it wraps forward. He has thoroughly convinced himself that it provides the most protection.

    Dalic rolls the dead bugbear onto the coals left by the fallen brazier and prepares for incoming combatants. The body begins to smoulder and burn in the heat.

    The door gives way to the undead behind it. Five skeletons enter the room and move to attack Dalic. One of the skeletons is dressed in old rotten mage robes. The ghostly undead creature that battled him earlier is not to be seen.

    Grimlock tumbles away to the northern part of the room and retrieves his holy water gift.

    Kuba, again showing concern for his little comrade, advises Speck to hold his position as there is little they can do against such a vile creation.

    Breymeer also holds his ground.

    Ewan, however, pushes his body through the mass and moves up to attack. He has a wooden cudgel in his hand, “The power of nature is greater than the unnatural.”

    Yalta gathers up his staff and shield and begins to rise but the undead necromancer lashes out at him. Before the necromancer can execute the Jascarian priest, Tathar douses it with holy water (5, 22/34).

    Cirdan also splashes his holy water on the necromancer but only catches him with part of the vial (2, 20/34).

    The necromancer cries out as if in pain, “Vile elves!”

    Tarstar finally picks the spine apart on the skeleton facing him (2, 0/6). It crumples to the ground.

    Southar bashes an incoming skeleton with his shield but fails to destroy it (4, 2/6) as he chops at another zombie (6, 6/12).

    A zombie moves in on Tarstar and gut punches him (4, 27/31).

    The other skeleton and two zombies fail to land a blow.

    Dalic, wanting to drive back the horde and slay the robe wearing skeleton, finds himself having to hack his way through. “Hard way, eh?” he spouts as he hacks the skeleton in front of him to bone shards (6, 0/6). He moves into the mass of animated bones. The two on his flanks miss outright and is breastplate deflects the third blow.

    Dalic now stands before the robed skeleton, aiming to drive him back. The robed skeleton waves his hand in front itself, spilling fine dust like material as it does so. Dalic’s vision narrows until it is overcome with an inky blackness. The last thing Dalic feels is his body striking the floor.

    Tarstar pierces the zombie before him with his cutlass (2, 10/12). In return, the skeleton before him stabs its sword into Tarstar’s chest (10, 17/31 wound ½ move, -2 hit armor, damaged). The zombie next to the skeleton slams its fist into the pommel of the sword driving it deeper into Tarstar’s chest (8, 9/31 wound ¼ move -4 hit (total)).

    Southar cuts the zombie facing him across the leg (4, 2/12) but fails to hit the skeleton with his shield.

    Grimlock throws his holy water at the aberration but misses it completely.
    Cirdan Saralone and Tathar Surion retreat down the hallway with Cirdan petitioning the others, “If you are going to stay here, fall back into the room and make a point of defense. Also, give us your holy water.”

    The spectre reaches down towards Yalta as he rises. Yalta swings wildly with his staff but misses. It mutters something in speech unknown and grasps onto Yalta. An electric shock discharges between them and the smell of ozone drifts from Yalta (13, -5/18 from the shock and 4, -9/18 from the death grasp and 5, -14/18 life draining and -3 wisdom drain). Yalta drops to the ground, convusing and pale.

    "Now you shall serve me, priest of Jascar," whispers the death spirit.

    Ewan McDermott charges into the room in a huff. He swings his oaken cudgel at the form now hovering over the dying Yalta. Ewan, despite his intent, fails to hit it.

    Tarstar takes a desperation poke at the skeleton. His cutlass damages its right femur bone (2, 4/6). The skeleton collapses, pulling its sword from Tarstar’s chest. Tarstar doubles over in pain. The zombie bashes Tarstar in the back of his head (4, 5/31). Tarstar struggles but stays conscious.

    Southar hacks another zombie down (4, -2/12) and bashes the robed zombie with his shield as it moves in to strike Tarstar (5, 13/18). The zombie strives forward, through the shield bash, and delivers and uppercut to the bent over Tarstar (8, -3/31). His head jerks back and blackness envelops his mind. He falls motionless to the icy cold floor and it begins to pull the heat from his fading body.

    Grimlock, with a growing concern showing on his face, splashes a second vial of holy water at the necromancer. The vial splashes on the dead spirit and it cries out agony (6, 14/34). It turns to face Grimlock, “You are next to die!”

    Ewan’s club, a handcrafted oaken cudgel blessed by the living forces of nature, strikes the ghost of the necromancer in the mid section (7, 7/34). The large man’s swing displays he has strength in his mass.

    The necromancer moves across the room with blinking speed and strikes Grimlock across his right arm. Grimlock feels the cold of death as it touches him (6, 9/25 from strike, 3, 6/22 from energy drain and -1 wisdom).

    Tathar, having dug in his pack, realizes he has one more flask of holy water. He charges to the room and finds the necromancer upon Grimlock. Tathar splashes the water on the necromancer and it burns through it (5, 2/34).

    Cirdan chastises the others, “If you are too struck with fear to fight, give me your holy water and I will do battle for you.”

    Breymeer, realizing he has the holy gift, comments, “I will do as you advise Cirdan. I will secure the room for your retreat if needed. But I shall retain my holy water.”

    Realizing they also have holy water, Kuba and Speck remove their vials and await the necromancer’s attack.

    Cirdan secures no holy water.

    Southar strikes to avenge Tarstar. His blow cuts the leg off the robed zombie (6, 7/18). He attampts to shield bash the zombie but it falls to the ground before the shield strikes it.

    Southar easily dodges the remaining zombie.

    Breymeer can’t hold back the offense he feels, “We thought we were moving to a more tactical spot. You think we are COWARDS?! That is disappointing to hear!” Looking disappointed that the plan of attack wasn’t followed, Breymeer charges forward with his holy water.

    Kuba and Speck follow suit with Speck in the front, holy water at the ready. Kuba shouts over his shoulder, “You have a halfling’s aim, my friend, toss mine after yours and I will guard you.”

    Tathar, with his snake staff in hand, holds his ground.

    Cirdan follows the charge up the hallway.

    Inside the room, the apparition moves back towards the open window while in melee with Ewan McDermott and his oaken cudgel. The phantom speaks, “Yalta, rise and slay the elves and their friends. The Lord of the Flies demands sacrifice! I will return and instruct you further.”

    Ewan McDermott swings at the spirit with his club, “Back to the grave with you!” Ewan fails to strike a blow.

    The necromancer touches Ewan on the chest, “You first!” Ewan nearly loses his breath from the dead cold touch (7, 3/10 touch, 2, 1/8 and -4 wisdom energy drain).

    Grimlock reads from the scroll in his hand as Breymeer and company enter the room full of fury and war cries. The phantom moves to exit the window as Grimlock, having finished reading the scroll, steps forward and touches the necromancer, “Two can play your game. Go to hell foul spirit!” A bluish electrical charge leaps from Grimlock’s hands and pulses through the necromancer. The spectre’s non-corporal form fades and dispatches like smoke in the wind. Its voice also trails off, “NNNNOOooooooooooooo.”

    Southar slashes a leg off the standing zombie (6, 4/12) and it drops to the ground. It crawls forward trying to bash Southar but he is too nimble and dodges the blows.

    The robed corpse conjures up two more missiles and fires them into Southar’s chest (5, 26/41 and 5, 21/41). Southar, in turn, bashes it with his shield (5, 8/18).

    Kuba and Breymeer stay attentive and keep guard.

    Cirdan moves to Breymeer and put a hand on his shoulder, “Breymeer, my friend, I have seen you fight. I know that you are no coward. The same goes for you Kuba. And you, Speck, have courage far greater than your size. Breymeer, you were there when fear gripped me in the jungle and I fled, blindly, from the yuan-ti temple. I was worried that the necromancer had put some spell on you or that you were dumbfounded to see him alive again. Please accept my apologies.”

    Cirdan continues, “Grimlock, it looks like we both have been afforded the opportunity to kill this foul creature. Let us hope it does not happen again.”

    Grimlock attends to Ewan, applying first aid to his wounds (+3, 4/8).
    Ewan, relaxes a bit and starts to catch his breath. Grimlock, also looking in sad shape, asks Ewan if he can ease his suffering a bit. Ewan returns the favor (+8, 14/22) and Grimlock looks greatly relieved.

    “I could feel the cold dampness of the grave pulling on my will,” comments Grimlock as he joins Tathar and Speck at Yalta’s body. Tathar is kneeling next to Yalta looking for life. They find Yalta deceased and pale with a look of fear frozen on his face.

    Yalta begins to look through the priests possessions, “He may have something useful against undead.” It appears Yalta has his armor, a shield, a staff, his holy symbol and a few miscellaneous pieces of gear.

    Speck looks worried, “I hope the necromancer’s last command didn’t work.”

    Grimlock suggests, “I am afraid, like the necromancer, he will rise and we will be back in the same fight we just finished! Use holy water on him, if it burns he is beyond our help and we must slay the evil that remains!”

    Tathar seems to have gotten his second wind. Looking to make sure Grimlock and Ewan McDermott are both relatively healthy, Tathar stands up from checking on Yalta and says, “I think we should burn the bodies of Yalta and the necromancer. I will get some wood from the storage room.”
    Tathar continues, “Sehanine, The Heroine of Death, has shown me the way. Our path to defeating this evil lays through a door downstairs and into the catacombs beneath this keep. I believe our friends may already be there, and be in peril. I am going there once we have burned the bodies. Will anyone accompany me?”

    Cirdan answers, “I will accompany you to get wood and into the catacombs.”

    Southar moves up to the robed corpse and slashes it with his long sword cutting it through the neck (12, -4/18). It is drops to the ground unmoving.
    He bashes the remaning zombie on the ground with his shield crushing its head (4, 0/12). It also ceases to move.

    Southar is victorious. He bends down to check on the fallen Tarstar. He finds his body lifeless. It is beginning to freeze to the cold stone floor.

    Southar feels a pulling on his very being. It pulls him into the next chamber and towards a wooden door in the southwestern corner.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:46 pm  

    Breymeer volunteers to enter the catacombs once the bodies are burned. He double checks his belongings to make sure he still has the cudgel he picked up in the woods.

    Speck dumps some holy water on Yalta’s face and it burns it like acid.

    The party does not take the time to strip Yalta’s armor or clothing, fearing a spectral form of Yalta will be attacking at any moment. The only items recovered from Yalta are the medium shield and staff he was using in combat when he fell and a pouch of gold coins (48gp).

    Grimlock still is apprehensive about going down into the catacombs while the group is in such a weak state, “I find it wiser to hold up for the night. We are a fraction of our strength and are down three companions. I vote we hold up when we are done with the burning.” Grimlock is finding himself in the minority.

    Being still unable to enter the necromancer’s workshop, and wanting to retrieve his body, the group hacks down the door into the workshop. The bodies of the necromancer and Yalta are placed on the table and hay and broken furniture are used as kindling. The broken furniture is aplenty thanks to Dalic’s rampage through the necromancer’s bedroom and additional furniture found in the storage room (X).

    Soon, the funeral pyre is burning strong and the bodies go up in flames. With it goes any chance of Yalta returning from the dead.

    Cirdan Saralonde remains in the storage room sifting through books, wizard supplies and papers stored there in boxes.

    Cirdan finds there are numerous books on different subjects of science and magic. General study and knowledge type materials. There boxes also contain papers, scrolls and scroll cases but none have writing on them. They seem to be stock supplies. Finally, there are some common spell components similar to the ones I mentioned to you before.

    Southar spends no further time on Tarstar. The room is extremely cold for some reason (-15 degrees). Southar finds himself becoming sluggish in the cold temps. He picks up the torch that was dropped during the battle and continues on.

    Southar walks forward, pulled by some force on his will. He crosses the first chamber and heads south into a larger chamber, passing two side chambers as he goes. He walks directly to the solid iron reinforced door on the southwestern wall; ignoring the door on the eastern wall. The southwestern door opens and he proceeds through the door. Southar is relieved to be greeted by normal subterranean temperatures.

    Southar follows the passageway to the southwest and then due west. The passageway is in poor shape for nearly 100 feet but then improves again before turning north. He moves about 30 feet to another solid, iron reinforced door.

    Southar opens the door and enters a roughly cross shaped chamber. The north end of the chamber turns east out of sight. The east is blocked by a portcullis and the west passageway ends in a iron shod double doors.

    Southar turns, as if by instinct, and opens the double doors. He enters a large chamber (BG). In the center of the chamber is a jet black altar. A brazier on the left side burns brightly. The brazier on the right side has spilt over in front of the altar. There, a body of a bugbear burns and smolders. Directly in front of the doors, Southar finds Dalic lying on the floor. He body is heavily damaged, lying supine. Next to him is a pile of old bones. Surrounding Dalic are undead creatures consisting of three zombies and three skeletons. They appear to be binding his limbs with some chain under the direction of a corpse wearing a mages robes.

    A voice comes to Southar’s mind, “Spill the blood of this dwarf upon the altar and you shall be master of this keep, controller of all those who reside here for eternity. Serve me and I shall give you power! The choice is yours.”

    Southar feels his will return. He can see Dalic is still breathing but unmoving and unresponsive.

    The robed zombie looks to Southar as if waiting an answer.

    Ewan heals himself (+4, 8/10) and agrees to join the adventure into the catacombs, “Lead on, I am with you Tathar. These abominations must be put back into the soil.”

    Kuba picks up Yalta’s staff to use for a bashing weapon, “We may be in a weakened state but we remain strongest as a group. I don’t wish to go marching around this haunt of the dead during the dark hours when they are roused, but if it is the group’s decision to go, I am with you.”

    Speck agrees with his large companion saying, “You know where I stand on these decisions . . . next to the big buy.”

    Grimlock goes to the roof and collects his rope. He is very happy to see the undead from the courtyard have not attempted to climb it. The courtyard is full of movement. It appears all of the defeated undead, skeletons and zombies alike, have re-risen and wander aimlessly. In addition, the bugbears have risen as well and wander about like zombies. Down at the base of the hill, Grimlock can see the fire from the basecamp. The baron’s banners still stand but there are numerous bodies lying on the ground, including those of very large wolves. There is movement and it appears the baron’s crew has prevailed but at what cost is unknown. Taking another look at the undead in the courtyard, Grimlock realizes there is little he can do from here. He returns to the group and reports about the basecamp.

    The group moves to the main floor of the keep and stands in the waiting room (K) before the heavy wooden door that leads to what Tathar reports is a stairwell down.

    Southar, dropping his torch on the floor, pulls a vial from his possessions that he had been holding onto for a long time. He quaffs the entire contents. Adrenaline courses through his body. Southar feels a rush of strength in his body. He pulls a second vial from his pack; the holy water given to him for this adventure.

    The robed corpse appears to have comprehended Southar’s intent to strike. It spreads forth fine sand as it attempts to ensnare Southar in a sleep spell.

    Southar, completely unfazed by the spell, splashes the robed corpse with holy water. It splashes him on the neck and runs down his chest burning his skins as it covers his torso (8, 8/16).

    Southar, golden shield upon his arm, draws his long sword and wades into the mass of death, hacking and bashing with a strength not known to man.

    Southar first strikes the robed corpse with his long sword (12, -4/16) taking its head clean off. With his shield, he bashes the zombie to his left. Southar’s strength is amazing. The zombie is crushed by the shield and flung to the side into the wall (12, 0/12). It slides down onto the floor in a dead pile of rot.

    The skeletons move in to stop the insane attack. Two of them fail to land a blow but the third cuts deeply across Southar’s abdomen causing a wound (4, 17/41, minor bleed).

    Southar continues his onslaught into the undead. He fails to strike one down with his long sword but bashes another into bits with his golden shield (12, -6/6).

    The skeletons again fail to strike Southar as does the zombie that moves up to replace the destroyed skeleton.

    Southar, with his newfound strength, splits a skeleton down the middle with a chop from his long sword (10, -4/6). It collapses into a pile of bones. He fails to hit with his shield.

    A skeleton grazes Southar’s left leg with its sword (1, 16/41). The others fail to strike a blow.

    Southar slashes a zombie in half across the chest (13, -1/12) felling it. He smashes the remaining skeleton with his shield sending pieces of it all over the burning bugbear and altar (11, -5/6).

    Only two zombies remain on Southar. The first bashes its fists against Southar’s shield as he changes battle tactics; moving to defense with his shield. The second zombie, however, hammers a blow against Southar’s leg right leg (10, 6/41).

    Southar, knows time is of the essence. He slashes one of the zombies down with a stroke of his long sword, splitting its head (14, -2/12).

    Mindlessly, the remaining zombie continues to bash upon Southar’s shield.

    He cuts it down with a final blow from his long sword, cutting through the abdomen and into the left leg (15, -3/12). It drops, once again dead.

    Southar has defeated his foes. He know stands alone in the room over an injured and unresponsive Dalic.

    In a private moment between them, Cirdan Saralone gives Grimlock one of the vials recovered from the dead necromancer. They both try a sip, each from their own vial. They both immediately spit it out. It is foul and the better part of wisdom tells them to not consume and more.

    A foul smell reaches Dalic’s nose. A smell so absolutely disgusting, it pulls Dalic from his darkness. Looking around he becomes aware he is still in the large altar room. In fact, he is lying near where he fell. There is a smoldering fire in front of the altar. Atop the coals are three corpses and numerous bits of bones from the skeletons. The already rancid, decaying corpses now bubble and boil with the heat. The second brazier has been kicked over and its coals added to the pyre. The bodies are not burning well but it is evident they are not returning to life either.

    Dalic finds himself bound; his arms together and his legs together. Part of his make-shift cape is in his mouth, stuffed there as a gag. He realizes he has not been plundered. His bastard sword lays nearby. The hilt of a second sword sticks out of his scabbard.

    Peering around the room, he sees a familiar figure. Southar, the great helmed fighter is busy throwing the last of the zombies on top of the pyre. Surprisingly, he is tossing the large corpse as if it were a bag of dried leaves. Southar is freshly bandages in the mid section and he walks with a little bit of a limp with his right leg.

    Southar notes that Dalic is stirring, the foul air caused him to recoil upon waking.

    The two wounded warriors study each other with an air of caution. Both appears to have been through much today. Both are physically shattered and mentally drained.

    They stare at each other in some type of psychological battle, each trying to calculate what the other is planning to do. Tension builds while trustworthiness is evaluated. Is he friend or is he foe? As the pressure in the room mounts, the coals from the braziers begin to burn a little hotter. The hellish glow from the coals lighting the area around the altar in an eerie reddish glow.

    Grimlock petitions Ewan for healing. Ewan replies, “I feel my strength is waning my friend. I must save what little I have left for an emergency. I will be there for you if you shall fall.”

    Cirdan voices his judgment of the door, “We were able to bash our way into the necromancer’s workroom. I see no reason we can not defeat this door as well.”

    With that Cirdan and Kuba begin taking down the door.

    Breymeer thoughtfully removes a torch from his backpack and unwraps the top of it. Immediately the room is filled with a holy white light. “Sorry, just remembered I had this.” He then helps with the dismantling of the door.

    Tathar volunteers to lead the party into the catacombs. He has Sehanine’s moon shaped symbol in one hand and his cobra snake staff in the other. Breymeer, armed with broad sword and club, volunteers to take the front with Tathar. Kuba, not one to relinquish the front row, speaks up for the second row. Speck, as always, stays at Kuba’s side. Cirdan Saralonde and Grimlock take the third row and Ewan takes the rear spot. Ewan takes possession of the magic torch in order for Breymeer to have both hands free.

    After ten or fifteen minutes, the door relents and the group enters the next room prepared to meet the living dead.

    The room is generally 30x30 with a hallway that angles back and bends around to a stairwell leading downward. The room appears to have once been a barracks and weapons room. The remains of six beds are here along with six footlockers. A weapons rack is mounted on the angled southwestern wall. It holds 12 spears and 8 short bows. The foot lockers are opened and long ago plundered. The weapons are very old and suffer from rot; they are useless.

    As the party makes its way down the stairs, the room reveals itself. It is roughly triangle shaped with 40 foot sides. There are two wooden doors exiting the room, one on the east edge of the north wall and the other on the south edge of the east wall.

    There is no furniture in the room but several corpses can be seen on the floor.

    An old blood trail leads from the center of the stairwell to the base of the stairs.

    At the base of the stairs is what remains of chain mail armor; completely destroyed and torn apart. A blood stain encircles the armor. A small leather pouch lies among the armor. Also, a rusty short sword and rusty steel shield are nearby.

    A dwarven sized set of plate mail lays face down at the center of the room. Bones can be seen mixed in with the rusted plate armor. Next to it lies a backpack, an unrusted steel medium shield and an intact warhammer.

    The remains of two other sets of armor are between the one at the base of the stairs and the one in the middle of the room. One had been wearing chain mail, a battle axe near it, and the other leather armor with a couple of weapons in scabbards nearby; one dagger and one short sword.

    As Tathar and Breymeer near the bottom of the stairs, they see several forms that move away from the light as it illuminates the room. They are shaped as dwarves. Death has been unkind to them. Their teeth have turned to sharp fangs and their fingers have grown claws for fingernails. Their tongues, nearly three times their normal length, stick out and lick the air as the creatures hiss at the invading light. Two of the foul undead move to the northeast corner and two move to the southeast corner.

    Dalic sits still but spits the cape from his mouth, "Southar! What hab' ye
    done ta me! An' how be we here..." Dalic looks around confused, "Ye were nae yet ta arrive when I fell in tha courtyard battle! Unbind me now!" Dalic shouts the last with a gleam in his eye.

    Southar continues to examine Dalic for signs of possession. He finishes clearing the gag Dalic spit partially out. “I still do not know why you went off by yourself. I fear to unbind you until I get good reason that you are not possessed. Many in the group have been overcome by compulsions.”

    Tathar lifts his holy symbol to the undead vermin, “Sehanine has power over you. Step back foul spawn.” The undead continue to press themselves into the corner, hissing and scorning the symbol of Sehanine Moonbow. Tathar moves forward to make room at the base of the stairs, stepping to the pouch upon the floor.

    Breymeer moves forward to the ones in the right corner, giving room to those behind him on the stairs to move forward.

    Grimlock, Kuba and Cirdan move among the bodies looking for anything of value. Cirdan heads for the backpack while Grimlock eyes the armor and weapons. Kuba moves toward the war hammer with his shield and sword at the ready.

    Speck stays concealed at the very edge of the stairwell wall, watching.

    Ewan remains at the top of the stairs.

    From the corner behind the stairwell wall charges out three more of the ghoulish creatures. Two recoil from the sight of the moon symbol but the third lunges forward towards Tathar, clawed hangs grasping and teeth gnashing.

    Dalic replies to Southar, “There be holy water gib me by da priests in me pack. Pour a drop on me iffn ye be coward.”

    Southar removes the vial of holy water, recognizing to be similar to the one he received. He pours the contents onto Dalic. Other than soaking the dwarf, there is no adverse effect.

    Southar, showing very little trust yet, breaks the shackles from Dalics hands and feet.

    Dalic responds, “Why did you bring me ‘ere?”

    Southar informs Dalic, “I did not bring you here. You came here upon your own bearing the necromancer’s head. I followed you across the courtyard and into the northwest tower. From there, I followed you into the catacombss. I fought off a horde of zombiess and ssskeletons to reach you. Tarstar, the ssailor, was felled. I had to leave his body. I located you here, in this altar room, sshackled and unresponsive. I ssslayed the walking dead that opposed you. That iss what I know.”

    “Then I owe ye a debt Southar the Mighty. I be yet troubled by me not bein’ where I remember bein’. But let us find our comrades and be rid of this hell hole.” Dalic checks his equipment and discards his makeshift, and wet, cape.

    Dalic grips his bastard sword and then notices another pommel sticking out of his scabbard. He slowly draws the long sword partially from the scabbard. He examines the hilt and base of the blade finding a ruby set into the handle. The groove of the blade glows slightly with a dull red light. “I know not where ou’ this come but I shoul’ be glad ta have it.”

    Dalic returns it to his scabbard fully and arms himself with his bastard sword.

    Dalic looks to Southar and nods towards the double door that exits the room.

    Grimlock moves in to strike down the one upon Tathar.

    Tathar clubs at the same creature with his staff. Grimlock’s sword strikes Tathar’s staff during the melee and Grimlock nearly loses the grip on his weapon; Tathar is unaffected. Grimlock is somehow able to retain control of his sword.

    Tathar’s blow strikes the ghoulish fiend in the abdomen causing it to double over; oblivious to the pain, the force of the blow alone causes the result (3, 20/23, stunned).

    Cirdan slashes at the creature with his daggers. He fails to pierce its skin with either blow. In addition, the silver dagger he held in one of his hands slips his grip and sails through the air and impacts the stairwell wall with a ‘clang’. It then bounces off the wall and lands at the feet of the two ghouls still cowering in the corner.

    Ewan, seeing the battle beginning, moves to the base of the stairs with the light.

    In the southeast corner, Breymeer engages the two cowering ghouls in melee. While moving into them, he stows his hammer with his off hand and draws forth his axe. He slashes the first one across the right thigh severing the leg (9, 3/12) and then drives his axe down into his left shoulder (7, -4/12). It crumples to the ground; finished.

    The remaining ghoul facing Breymeer slashes him across the chest with its clawed right hand (2, 19/47, saved vs paralysis). It also attempts to bite him in the throat and claws at his neck but Breymeer is able to fend off the other two blows.

    The remaining walking dead suddenly charge forward, nearly surrounding the group.

    The two that were along the west wall move against Kuba and Cirdan. The first fails to strike and the second is cut down by a swift stroke from Kuba’s bastard sword (19, -8/11) before it lands a blow.

    The two from the northeastern wall move against Grimlock. The first is unable to strike the nimble half elf. The second moves slightly past Grimlock and engages Ewan as Ewan nears the bottom of the stairs. The undead creature has never seen such a wonderful meal. Ewan is able to dodge two of the blows but catches a claw across his lower left leg (1, 7/8, saved vs paralysis).

    Speck remains on the stairwell.

    Southar opens the double doors. Thing seems not to have changed in the portcullis room. Dalic and Southar move in tandem south to the wooden door on the southern wall.

    Southar opens the door and a wispy, phantom like creature is on him immediately, clawing at his face. Wishing to pull the life from Southar’s body. Southar, having cat like reflexes, jumps back and avoids the clawing hand.

    The creature does not appear to be material, it floats upon the air. It has a vaguely human shaped upper torso. Its eyes burn with a red hatred for life. A shadowy crown sits upon its head. Below the torso, the creature fades off into nothingness.

    It moves through the doorway into the portcullis room and engages the human and dwarf warriors in a battle for their very souls.

    Dalic recognizes it as the creature he fought and drove off in the altar room.

    Breymeer continues to hack away in the corner like a mad butcher, striking the ghoul across the torso with his broad sword (3, 0/3). It drops to the ground motionless.

    Grimlock, now with enemy on three fronts, turns his back towards Cirdan and Tathar. Grimlock strikes at his new foe from the northeastern corner. He is unable to strike a blow.

    Tathar brings his staff down upon the head of the bent over ghoul (2, 18/23). The strike damages the creature but fails to bring it down.

    Cirdan draws another dagger to continue fighting with two weapons. Cirdan attack the one Tathar just skulled as it rights itself. He buries the Yuan-ti dagger deep into the creature’s chest (5, 13/23).

    The ghoul on Kuba is unable to strike a blow on the skilled fighter.

    The one facing Cirdan and Tathar reacts angrily to being hit in the head. Ignoring the puncture wound given to it by Cirdan, the ghoul lashes out at Tathar. One claw misses but the other punctures his armor upon his chest leaving a deep nasty scratch upon his chest (6, 12/24, avoided minor bleed , saved vs paralysis). Tathar is able to dodge the follow-up bite attempt.

    Kuba cuts the second ghoul down with swift strokes.

    Grimlock’s opponent claws and his armor and shield. Grimlock is able to deflect the blows. The ghoul’s bite catches him in the shoulder but the leather of his armor stops keeps him from damage.

    Ewan is not as lucky. Even though he was unable to strike the creature, he was able to avoid the clawing grasp of the monster but it was able to bite him on the neck (5, 2/8, paralysis). Ewan collapses with the ghoul atop him. The ghoul continues to chew on Ewan’s neck, tearing and chewing at his flesh.

    Speck has faded into the shadows of the stairwell and remains now unseen.

    Dalic steps behind Southar and changes weapons. He brandishes the ruby sword and returns his bastard sword to his scabbard saying, "Southar, there maybe purpose in this here sword! bide his focus an' I shall dissolve this apparition!"

    Southar slices through the creature with his sword with no apparent effect.

    The creature attempts to claw the life from Southar but he deflects the blow with his shield.

    The dwarf neatly steps forward and runs his long sword into the phantom (8, 22/30) and black smoke boils off of its shadowy form.

    A sudden and very foul smell of carrion reaches those at the bottom of the stairs. It appears to be coming from the ghoul between Cirdan, Tathar and Kuba. Cirdan, Kuba and Grimlock all began to choke and gag, trying to get a clean breath. <Cirdan, Kuba and Grimlock all have -2 to hit from the smell; Tathar escapes the effect. There is nothing else adverse from it.>

    Speck leaps from the darkness of the stairwell and drives his short sword down on the ghoul devouring Ewan. His sword does not pierce the skin as it is deflected to the side. He gags slightly at the overpowering smell but controls himself <Speck is unaffected>.

    Tathar does a side cartwheel up a couple of stairs to break away from the melee and the horrible smell. The ghoul claws and snaps at him as he vacates but is unable to strike the nimble elf.

    Kuba moves in behind the one facing Tathar and slashes it mightily across the back (12, 1/23) while Cirdan, simultaneously trying to keep from vomiting, hacks away at it with his daggers but is unable to strike a blow.

    The creature spins on Cirdan ducking under his daggers, it bites him on the left leg (4, 14/18, missed save vs paralysis (5)). Cirdan collapses.

    Grimlock battles with the ghoul facing him. Grimlock hacks a large chunk from its left thigh (8, 6/14). The creature lowers itself to one knee.

    Angered the ghoul moves against Grimlock viciously. It rakes one claw down his right thigh (1, 13/22, saved) while biting his left thigh (2, 11/22, saved). Grimlock was able to parry the other claw attack. Grimlock smashes his shield down upon the foul spawn’s good leg (4, 2/14).

    Breymeer, moving past Grimlock’s position on his way to save Ewan, splits the head of the ghoul on Grimlock (6, -5/14) dropping it dead before him.

    Breymeer continues on driving his sword into the ghoul devouring Ewan’s neck (4, 4/8) but not before it has chewed further on Ewan’s neck (6, -4/8).

    The wraith continues to attempt to murder Southar. It continues to be frustrated by Southar’s cat like reflexes and his golden shield.

    Southar also cannot seems to cause harm to the undead menace.

    Dalic continues to thrust at the wisp but fails to harm it this time.

    The wraith continues to paw at Southar but he nimbly side steps it. In turn, he bashes the creature to the side with his shield (4,18/30).

    Dalic pops up again and slashes it slightly (4, 14/30).

    With each impact, the blackess rolls off of it.

    Breymeer continues to hack away at the ghoul devouring Ewan’s neck. He runs his swords through its back and hacks off the right arm with his hand axe. The ghoul falls motionless on Ewan who also lays motionless (7, -11/8, dead).

    Tathar asks for healing from Sehanine (+7, 19/24). The injury on his chest is removed.

    Grimlock carves into the ghoul facing him with his sword (6, -5/23) felling it. He gives it final smash with his shield for good measure. It ceases to struggle and gives way to final death.

    A quiet falls across the room again as the final undead are put back to rest. Ewan and Cirdan remain motionless on the ground. Cirdan’s injuries do not seem too dire but Ewan McDermott has a gaping hole in his throat. Blood seeps out from the injury. It is obvious the injury is not survivable.

    Southar continues to try and shield punch the wisping death while Dalic jabs his long sword at it. The wraith avoids the blows.

    The wraith catches Dalic by the arm during the melee, the damp coldness of the grave further draining him of energy (2, 7/24, plus energy drain 1, 6/23 and -4 wisdom). Its eye’s burn bright red with grim joy. Dalic, showing his unkillable spirit, fights on.

    Southar and Dalic both strike at the wraith as it grasps Dalic’s arm. Southar strikes it with his shield (7, 7/30). The evil joy in its eyes turn to horror after Southar’s shield smashes into its incorporal body. As it releases Dalic and turns to flee, Dalic strikes it down with a mighty blow from the long sword (10, -3/30). The wraith’s body boils with blackness from the blow. Its eyes fade and blink out as the body gives way and dissipates into nothingness. The wraith is no more.
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    Fri May 15, 2015 9:18 pm  

    Grimlock hurries to Cirdan’s side and applies bandages and aid to him (+3, 17/26), “Damn these vial undead! Another one has fallen but it looks like Cirdan Saralonde yet lives. He is just limp as a boned fish.” Grimlock finishes his work and asks, ”Does anyone one yet have the ability to ease my wounds?”

    Tathar retrieves Cirdan’s dagger and returns it to its sheath.

    The party examines the previous adventurer’s bodies. Tathar looks at the leather pouch and backpack. Grimlock examines the intact shield and the armor. Kuba looks over the war hammer.

    The examination reveals:
    1. The armor is all junk except the dwaven sized plate mail. It is rusty and in deteriorating shape but appears to be of very high quality and may be repairable. The metal beginning to rust but is not rotted.
    2. One shield was junk but the other is in fine shape and untarnished. Grimlock has gathered that up.
    3. Kuba picks up the war hammer. It is flawless and untarnished.
    4. The battle axe and short sword are tarnished but very usable and sturdy yet.
    5. The pouch contains gold and electrum (30 gp, 13 ep).
    6. The backpack contains gold, electrum and a decrative bone scroll case inlaid with silver that is sealed on each end with screw on silver caps. The screw threads appear waxed (77 gp, 70 ep, unknown value of case).

    All surviving metal items appear dwarven made of master workmanship.
    The battle axe and short sword remain unclaimed. Grimlock holds the shield, Kuba the hammer and Tathar the coins and bone case.

    As the group is examining the items, the room and their general condition, Cirdan recovers from what had ailed him and he rejoins the group.

    Breymeer comments, “If we're gonna clear out this God forsaken place lets get on with it. Who's able to continue on? We can cover up Ewan for now and we'll get him the burial he deserves on our way out.”

    Dalic stands a bit wobbly from his encounter with the black mist creature. He looks to Southar for instructions. His eyes appear weary and posture is broken. Dalic stows the long sword and draws his bastard sword. “We should return to where the sailor fell and recover his body. Then, I must explore further.”

    Southar questions his judgement, “I don't believe we are not healthy enough to check out any side chambers.”

    The duo makes their way back east through the crumbling passageway. They pass through the door and re-enter the frozen four chamber area (BL to BO). They move past the unexplored door to their east, already shivering from the cold. They also bypass the two un-entered chambers (BM and BO). They make it north to the doorway that leads to the northeast tower (in chamber BL). Here, Tarstar’s body remains frozen to the floor with numerous skeleton and zombie bodies scattered around it. Most, but not all, appear to have fallen to Southar’s long sword.

    Breymeer stows his hand axe and picks up the battle axe. He test swings it a few times. It is a finely balance weapon but he finds himself a little clumsy with the large off hand weapon. Seeing its potential, he secures the battle axe and arms himself with his hand axe again.

    Speck gathers up the short sword.

    Cirdan packs away the plate mail armor in a large sack and ties it to his pack, “I will hold this for the party. If no one claims it, I will sell it for what I can get and add the value to the party coffers.”

    Grimlock straps the dwarven shield upon his arm and secures his old shield to his pack.

    Kuba tucks the dwarven war hammer into his pack as well.

    Tathar with Grimlock overseeing him, opens the bone case and finds a document written in dwarvish. “We will have to save this for later unless someone can read the dwarven language.” With no apparent way to translate at the moment, Tathar re-seals the tube.

    Cirdan checks behind the stairs to see if there were a secret area underneath. Cirdan finds it to be solid wall with no cavity under the stairwell.

    Tathar secures the coins found in the room and then checks Ewan’s possession; finding just standard gear. He gathers items that could prove useful.

    Tathar moves to the north door near him, “Speck, will you check the east door for sounds beyond?” Tathar puts his ear to the door. Speck follows suit on the east door. Nothing is heard beyond by either sharp-eared adventurer.

    Tathar and Breymeer look to continue. Cirdan and Grimlock wish to hole up and rest. Kuba and Speck remain neutral, finding wisdom in holding up but willing to continue on if necessary.

    Tathar offers, “I may be able to hide myself from these foul walking dead. If so, I could try and scout ahead a short distance and see if it is logical to continue.”

    Dalic looks upon the fallen Tarstar, “Gosh, what a place to fall.” Dalic seems unable to reason a good way to get him back out of the dungeon.

    Southar grabs ahold of the body and Dalic follows suit. Between Dalic’s strength and Southar’s enhanced strength, the duo easily pries the sailor’s frozen body from the floor. The effort put into recovering the body is not enough to warm either of them. The room temperature is somehow well below zero. Much longer in this four chamber freezer and frostbite will soon threaten.

    Southar scoops up the body and prepares to head through the door and into the tower; fully planning to ascend to ground level.

    Dalic looks to Southar with dwarven stubbornness, “Ye can find yer own way out. There be a task yet ta be done.” Frost has already built up on his beard. With that, Dalic walks south out of the room (leaves BL and enters BN).

    Southar leaves the deep freeze through the wooden door and travels the short passageway to the tower. He begins the ascent to the ground level. As Southar continues past the basement level to the ground level, he detects movement in his torchlight. Several zombies and skeletons roam around the interior of the tower. Detecting his light, they move towards him intent on his death.

    Dalic moves from room to room finding nothing of value. They are simple bare chambers. All of the previous undead he encountered appear to have been slain by Southar and Tarstar by the door leading to the tower (BL) or in the altar room counter-attack that brought Dalic down.

    The only remaining chamber this side of the portcullis is the single door in the largest chamber in the deep freeze (BN). The wooden door is mounted on the eastern wall in a shallow alcove.

    Dalic can feel his body start to shiver. The draining of Dalic’s will by the wraith has confused his reasoning. Dalic fears no danger of freezing to death. Only his stubborn dwarven blood keeps him seeking the tome Pelltar requested. As if in a trance, with hypothermia threatening, Dalic tries to comprehend what to do next.

    “You are brave Tathar,” comments Breymeer, “I’ll be here, ready to come running to your aid should you need it.”

    Kuba adds, “Even though we are weary and beat, knowing a little more of what may lay ahead will be helpful.”

    Tathar prays to Sehanine for protection while Speck works the lock on the northern door. Having defeated the lock, the party prepares for combat while the door is opened and Tathar steps through into a dark hallway, “Be back in five minutes.” The door is quickly shut behind him.

    The party prepares for the worst while waiting impatiently for Tathar’s return.

    Tathar waits a few seconds for his elven dark vision to adjust to the lightless hall. He stands at a 90 degree turn in the hall as it wraps itself around the room he just vacated.

    The hall has two doors along the east/west branch. Peeking around the corner, he can see one door along the north/south branch before the hall again turns and heads east. Each of the doors stands partially open. The hinges causing the doors to open into the rooms. Outside each door is stationed two skeletons; each bracketing the doorway. They look towards the appearance of light as the door was opened but appear to pay no more attention after the door is closed.

    Tathar starts on the west end and works his way east. He walks to the open portal. The skeletal guards pay him no notice. The westernmost door opens into an old 30x30 foot cell (AB). It is cold stone and empty. Moving east, Tathar notes the second room is also an old cell, albeit much larger being 30x50 feet (AC).

    Tathar moves south down the hall to the third door, located on the eastern wall. It, too, is ajar into the room with skeletal guards. The room is an old guardroom of significant size (AD). The room in now basically empty other than a few pieces of old broken and rotted furniture. It is 40x50 feet with an additional door on the north wall near the eastern side of the room. That door is ajar into the room and appears guarded on the exterior side by two skeletons.

    Fearing the possibility of a trap, Tathar moves east along the hallway. The hallway circles the guardroom. The hallway turns back north and enters a large storage room (AE). The room is 50x30 feet with a door on the northern wall, set in the easternmost part of the wall. This door is closed. Along the western wall is stacked old furniture. Most of it is in some state of disrepair but does not seem completely rotten. Some of it may well indeed be salvageable. The door to the north end of the guardroom (AD) is on Tathar’s left. Two skeletons stand guard outside the guardroom door and the door on the northern wall.

    Dalic tries the door. It appears to be locked. Oblivious to the dangerous cold, Dalic puts his shoulder into the door. His blind dwarven stubbornness giving way to simple mindless action. He comprehends not his action but just his need. The focus of his mind has become a book. He is oblivious to anything else.

    Dalic shoulders the door again and again. His falling body temperature sapping his strength and mind. Unable to direct himself out of the cold, he puts his final efforts into his task.

    Dalic, having been nearly claimed by death before, is surprised to see a light growing in his mind. Instead of falling into a dark frozen death, Dalic is filled with a soft, warm, white light. It is then Dalic realizes he has opened the door. Or the door has opened for him.

    Dalic finds himself standing in a natural chamber filled with an intense white light. His duergar eyes burn with pain. The temperature in the room has increased dramatically; even greater than normal for subterranean environments. The walls are bare and dry. The air is fresh and smells slightly of orange blossoms.

    Dalic crosses the room without thought. His body is greatly refreshed but his mind is near blank. He continues forward nearly dream-like. He moves to the northeast corner of the room and opens the wooden door he finds there.

    The room Dalic enters is another natural chamber, just larger than 30x30 feet. There is a large roll-top desk with six drawers in the center of the room facing east. It contains ten pigeon-holes and ample writing equipment and ink. On the top of the desk is a black leatherbound book. Along the western wall there is a large bed with down pillows. On the north wall, a large easy chair sits next to a rack of 100 books. There is a skeleton chained to the east wall.

    Dalic walks across the room with comfort and ease. He takes a seat at the desk. He looks forward across the desk at the skeleton chained to the wall. He is still bathed in light, soft and warm. The bottom right drawer of the desk opens and a pitcher, platter and mug float upward as if carried by an unseen force. The platter is laid before Dalic. Next to it are placed the pitcher and mug. Appearing on the platter suddenly is perfectly prepared lamb. The pitcher fills with fine wine and it tips to fill the mug. Dalic begins to eat and drink. The taste is beyond compare. Dalic continues to dine, bathed in light and warmed by the room and food. Dalic looses all sense of time. Dalic looses all cares for the world.

    While Dalic dines in comfort and pleasure, despite the overly bright light, a voice comes to him mind, "Dalgur Steelcoat, I presume. Great fighter of the gray dwarfs, do you believe in destiny? I know you have been badly treated by the Keeper. Are you strong enough yet to answer or shall I let you refresh and rest first?"

    Tathar returns to the group and reports his findings. He takes a piece of Ewan’s clothing and, using Ewan’s blood, draws a map on the clothing of what he explored. Each of the doors has two armed skeletons standing guard for a total of ten skeletons. The party gathers around Tathar to examine the map and listen to his recon report. Kuba and Breymeer remain armed and weary of danger.

    Tathar proposes, “We can do one of three things,” he demonstrates on the map as he speaks. “First, we can open the north door having one person can show themselves and comeback into the room quickly. If the first four skeletons bite on the trap and come in after that person, Speck can shut the door behind them and everyone can hack them up. We can do the same for the next two, then the last four, and have a lop-sided battle if it all goes to plan. Second, we can all go in and attempt to hack them all as they come at us. Or third, we can hole up here for the night and rest, pray, and study, if Speck can re-lock the door.”

    Tathar looks to the group for responses, “Or, if someone has another suggestion?”

    Southar calculates his only option at this point is to return to basecamp to regroup. If nothing else, he can inform the others as to what has transpired.

    Southar makes a break across the rubble strewn floor of the tower; heading from the stairwell toward the hole in the outer wall. Several skeletons and walking dead, wretched in their smell, move in to put Southar in his grave. Holding Tarstar in his sword arm, Southar moves through the crowd bashing with his golden shield as he moves. Using his inhuman strength, he is able to keep himself from being dragged down and slain; bashing one skeleton to pieces in the process. He makes the outer wall and accelerates to a jog, heading back across the field he traversed just hours before.

    Dalic answers the voice in his head in between mouthfuls of lamb and wine, “Weary I may be but answer I can. No other Dalgur exists with such destiny as I. Fer I be tha one ta rise above tha weak and seek a powr that makes a'me a great renown'd an' fear'd warrior. Destiny, aye! But what ab it fer ye knowin'?”

    “A great warrior you have set out to be. Without question you are a warrior to be feared. Your strength of will is greater than that of the stoutest dwarves, shallow or deep. As for destiny, I know some things. Your destiny tore you from your clan. Your destiny gave you a warrior’s training; one that you excel at. Your destiny brought you to Pelltar, the wise and fair mage of Restenford. Pelltar sent you on a quest. That quest required you find a book. My book. In sending you on this quest, Pelltar had to know, if successful, you would likely have to defeat the powerful keep masters and their minions. This is where it appears our destinies have come together. Although, we did not seek this keep for the same reasons. For, you see, altruistically, I came here to put an end the evil you witnessed. The dark and vile altar growing like a wart from the stone of the keep’s foundation. Where I failed, you succeeded. Yet, you did not do such a deed for the betterment of others. You completed this task as a loyal hireling. However, your quest for my book is not without meaning in your destiny. Think on this Dulgar Steelcoat, what is a finer destiny? To be feared as a great and terrible ruler, such as the vile necromancer of this cursed keep or to be loved, respected and honored, such as Pelltar of Restenford?”

    Dalic thinks back to the option the black figure gave him at the altar. Was it oppositional defiance or altruism that made him attack the wraith? Was it loyalty to Pelltar or greed toward his reward, if he should finish the quest, that pushed him forward. The dwarf pondered these things cynically. The idea that he, a duergar, would be something other than purely self interested was almost laughable and the suggested motives listed before that promote such an idea came first as a sarcastic muse over anything else. Beyond all this, his history tells a bloody tale of bodies and blackness: his blackouts in battle, his bloodlust.

    Dalic's kin had spoken of the immortality of a conquerer. Dalic had kept this close to his heart and strived for it ever since leaving the Beard Biter's ownership. How could he be anything other than what he'd been trying to be lately? But yet, when tempted with the Barony of Bone Keep, he fought back against the evil. Dalic heard his voice before he knew it was his own, "I wan' ta be as he. Pelltar fer me warren me first compatriot. Fer that first time I needed not fight solely fer mine own: fer he did as well. A conquerer be immortal I be tol'... but I never seen nor felt I'd no a conquerer longer than I will be for thanks ta Pelltar. Iffen it be true... I see he be more immortal in me mind than any conquerer of tell. I wish ta be as he."

    Dalic trails off almost as if not speaking to the voice at all but to himself. His eyes are distant and glazened with what someone may confuse with moisture. Dalic, of course, would relate it merely to the painful light on his underdark-eyes. Dalic spits a fatty bit of lamb from his cheek and clears is pallet with another swig of wine.

    The voice in his head responds, “It pleases me to hear these words. Dulgar Steelcoat, may your wisdom continue to grow with your warrior’s prowess. Let us move forward together. Once you have finished your meal, you are free to take the book before you and return it to Pelltar. This will complete your quest for Pelltar. If you wish to complete our mutual destiny, you must convince Pelltar to assist you in setting me free. The choice will be yours alone. Good luck young dwarf.”

    As Southar flees across the courtyard, a large bat-like creature deflects off his helmet. Just after that, Southar feels a stabbing in the back of his neck (2, 26/52, saved vs paralysis).

    Southar drops Tarstar’s body and grasps fruitlessly at the bat-like creature on his back. The creature has taken a death grip of Southar’s armor and has stuck a large straw like appendage into Southar’s neck. It begins to draw blood like an oversized mosquito (1, 25/52).

    Finally, as the bat draws more blood from Southar’s neck (4, 21/52), he gets ahold of the devilish dart and crushes it in his superhuman grasp (8, 0/8). It pops like an overfilled balloon.

    As Southar bends down to pick up Tarstar, he spooks a second creature from the body. The bloated, wretched bat flutters clumsily away into the dark night air.

    Southar checks quickly for other threats. Finding none, he continues into the night trudging towards the basecamp and safety he optimistically hopes to find there.

    Dalic nods respectfully. He finishes his meal, stands and grabs the book. Being absolutely cautious not to let the book open, Dalic secures the book in his pack and begins backtracking back to the tower. He moves quickly through the deep freeze rooms. He walks through the wooden door and down the hallway to the tower’s lower level. He climbs the stairs and passes through the basement level. Arriving at the ground floor, Dalic discovers several undead milling about the ruined level. Two skeletons and three zombies roam aimlessly. Outside, visible through the large hole in the tower wall, Dalic can see there is very little movement in the moonlit clearing.

    Dalic makes a break for the hole in the wall. The zombies are too slow to react, but one of the skeletons makes an intercept. Dalic bursts through the room as fast as his dwarven legs will carry him. As he reaches the hole in the wall, the skeleton meets him and takes a chop at Dalic catching him across the buttocks as he disappears through the hole and into the night (3, 10/30).

    The undead to not follow Dalic into the night and he finds himself suddenly safe. There are a few undead roaming near the rubble in the eastern curtain wall. They begin to amble towards him but Dalic is able to wrap around the tower and begin to dash across the half mile clearing around the keep. Dalic does not see Southar but the standing undead at the curtain leads Dalic to believe Southar has also made off into the night or otherwise avoided melee with them.

    Dalic commits to his decision and begins a steady jog across the courtyard, the object of his exploration, a leatherbound book, secured and in his possession. A sense of satisfaction comes over Dalic. It is, somehow, shadowed by a strange feeling that Dalic is not used to. He finds himself concerned for the other members of the group. He secretly hopes they have managed to escape the keep themselves.

    The group’s confidence to continue further into the sub-level of the keep fades. Speck gives a sigh of relief and re-locks the door. Happy to not have to face any more undead for the moment, Kuba sheath’s his sword and arms himself with the dwarven war hammer he picked up. Patting the hammer on its head, Kuba comments, “With skeletons on the other side of the door . . .”

    Breymeer seconds Grimlock’s idea of backtracking to the necromancer’s bedroom and defending the position there.

    Dalic and Southar move through the night continuing downhill. Individually they move ever forward. Once they traverse the clearing, they move carefully from boulder to boulder and bush to bush. Slowly and carefully they pick their way down the hill. Southar eventually returns to his normal strength making the burden of Tarstar’s body even more evident.

    Both of them move down hill along a similar path although they never encountered each other. Reaching the dead forest, each of them navigated to the north of the forest knowing at some point they would reach the base of the hill and the road that bisected the clearing. Under no circumstance should they be able to cross the road and enter unsecured lands.

    On top of it, the fire from the basecamp was often visible along the downhill route.

    Both Southar and Dalic arrive at basecamp within a half an hour of each other. What they find shocks them.

    Kuba looks to Tathar, “We cannot just leave Ewan or the powers in this evil place may have him up and walking again as our enemy. I don’t think we can take him either as he is more dead weight than we can carry. Is there a way to bless the corpse so it is immune to evil resurrecting magics?”

    Tathar responds, “Based on my experience, no. I believe the only certain way to save him from that fate is to cremate his body. I believe we should do the same to these poor dwarves as well. It is not too far to where we burned the others.”

    “Bind his body and take it with us. Bind it tight. Hands too. We do not want him waking up from the dead,” agrees Grimlock.

    And so it is done without interruption. Ewan’s body is bound tightly and with great struggle Kuba, Breymeer, Grimlock and Cirdan carry the fallen druid back to the necromancer’s bed chamber. Speck and Tathar provide cover for the move back upstairs.

    Once upstairs, the fire is maintained and Ewan is heaved upon the pyre.
    Repeating the trip, the group brings each dwaven ghoul’s body up to the pyre and burn them as well.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon May 18, 2015 12:19 pm  

    The basecamp has been attacked savagely. Two of the king’s human guard are dead; Fraunk and Carlton. Weber, also human, and Villie the elf are both wounded but remain standing and functional.

    Ide Otneaux is also badly wounded but remains vertical. She has a serious and grim look.

    Belina, of the Baron’s rangers, suffers from several injuries. She remains gritty and attempts a resilient attitude.

    Finally, Peylae lay badly wounded; possibly mortally so. She is unconscious and unresponsive. Her chest is wrapped with a blood soaked cloth. Her chest had been pierced by a halberd polearm. She clings lightly to life.

    Around the camp, six furry man-shaped creatures with dog heads, gnolls by common name, are scattered around the camp. Four large worgs joined them in death and litter the area.

    Belina, still scouting the camp’s perimeter despite her injuries, became aware of Southar and Dalics separate approach. Well before they arrived at camp, she became aware it was friend and not foe that moved towards camp. Both Southar and Dalic are met with great rejoicing.

    Tales are shared and it is quickly realized that the rest of the group is unaccounted for and nothing is known about them since Southar chased Dalic into the dungeon.

    Tarstar’s body is laid down with the fallen Baron’s men.

    Southar volunteers to take over scouting duties for Belina to give her some rest. Belina is happy for the rest. She reveals her intent to backtrack the gnolls in the morning so as to report any possible danger to the barony.
    Dalic speaks up, “Tha keep was kept by a dark spirit an' a necromancer. Both be dead. Few undead still walk tha grounds. I must meet wit' Pelltar but first be concern fer them elser tha' went wit. Southar an' I be weak as well as ye appear so. Tha' spirit hab drained me o-me wits. I feel it in me will and reason. I pray ye all and ye Southar, what ken be done?"

    Weber answers, “With the death of Yalta, Carlton and Fraunk, I fear I am now in charge, although Villie and I and the stable boy are all that is left as Belina will be travelling on her own. My order would be to immediately return to Restenford as the first sign of sunrise to report to Baron Grellus. But, if what you say is true Dalic, then we shall wait until the noon sun. That should be ample time for the remaining group to clear the keep and return to camp. If they yet live anyhow. If by noon they have not appeared, then we shall travel together to Restenford.”

    Weber continues, “I have no authority over either of you although you are under contract with Baron Grellus. You may do as you please but at noon tomorrow, we must head for Restenford.”

    Tathar asks Sehanine for her healing powers for himself and Cirdan Saralonde. Each are blessed (Tathar +2, 21/24, Cirdan +6, 23/26).
    Tathar finds he can not get to the roof as the trapdoor between the necromancer’s bedroom and the observatory has been shut and has magically secured itself again.

    Tathar makes certain the windows are shuttered and locked and then begins to meditate.

    Meanwhile, Cirdan verifies the door to the bedroom is closed and secure. The door to the workshop, from the hallway, was destroyed. The secret door in the wardrobe has relocked itself as well.

    The group is locked into the necromancer’s bedroom hoping to be secure throughout the night. The bodies of the slain burn next door.

    Kuba and Speck begin to rest and Kuba tends to his wounds. Kuba is beat up pretty badly but suffers no serious injuries. Speck is uninjured.

    Breymeer peers out cracks in the window. The dead roam the courtyard but do not appear to have breeched the front door. Breymeer sits and attempts to rest. He is also hurt pretty bad but suffers no serious injuries.

    Grimlock and Cirdan study the necromancer’s and their own spellbooks by torchlight. Cirdan is only lightly injured but Grimlock is more seriously hurt. However, Grimlock suffers no serious wounds.

    Tathar meditates. He is also relatively healthy.

    The night begins to slowly pass and the group begins to have some hope.
    As they study, Cirdan asks Grimlock, He will ask Grimlock, "If we get out of here alive and back to Restenford, I propose we spend some time in a quiet room and swap spells. What say you?" With a wry smile on his face, he continues, "Maybe, by then, you will understand that I am one elf that doesn't think only of himself."

    <Enter two new characters>

    P'innr Bhut moved from Safeton to Hardby in search of better employment prospects. He had been working as a mercenary to help protect Safeton from ravaging pirates. P’innr Bhut, although not the most lawful character, was never one to steal another person’s money. Pirating was not an option to P’innr Bhut. Instead he made his money protecting the shoreline from the various humanoid tribes and raiding pirates.

    In his move to Hardby, P’innr Bhut had a fortunate turn of events. He was soon to cross paths with the Norbelos family. His dual axe abilities were enough for P’innr Bhut to be hired on as a personal security guard for Aikari Norbelos, a young promising mage with a possible future in the Hardby leadership.

    And so the odd duo began their adventure together. Norbelos was sent on to Restenford for further arcane training under the tutelage of Pelltar; Bhut was to travel with her as a paid guard. P’innr Bhut’s faithfulness was not questioned. The family treated him well and the money could not be made easier elsewhere. Besides, the blue haired beauty Norbelos was pleasing to be around.

    Hugging the eastern coast of the Wooly Bay, they traveled south by ship from Hardby to the Sea of Gearnat. Travelling though Scant in the Dragonshead Peninsula, the made a stop in Irongate. From Irongate, they travelled to south past the Tilvanot Peninsula and into the Densac Gulf. Passing through the Tilva Straight, they made stops at Duxchan and Sulward before finally travelling to Loreltarma on Lendore Island. They ferried into the mainland and travelled overland. It was on their route from Lake Farmin to Restendford that they their fate would be changed forever.

    <DM Note to Players: No one sleeps very well. This means no one gets any hit points back for rest and the spellcasters do not get much back for spellpoints. There may be other mild things I do to the characters but nothing drastic. Just keep in mind, they area going to be tired and sore.

    So, no undead attack during the night and as we restart, you have not idea what time it is, what the status of anyone else not in the room is, etc etc. I will give you some details as we restart plus respond to anything special you might have your character do. Spell points will be added on right away as all spell casting characters said they were going to study and meditate already.>

    After Southar replaced Belina, Dalic checks and rearranges his equipment in preparation for the night’s defense.

    Dalic receives permission to get Fraunk’s scabbard from his long sword to use. Dalic leaves the sword with the fallen warrior. He shows Weber the long sword he found and asks if Weber knows anything about it. He does not.

    Dalic stows some equipment in his pack saddle. He remains armed with his whip and bastard sword. The other sword he secures to his pack saddle and mounts his pony. “I will stand as mounted guard.” He rides to the south end of the camp and stands guard there.

    The night passes without incident and the day breaks over the camp.

    The night passes dreadfully slow; full of anxiousness and fear. The noises surrounding the castle and the continuous fear of further attack from the undead causes all to have mixed sleep. The elves, not needing sleep like the other races, faired only slightly better than their comrades. The group spends much of its time in study, meditation or weapons and armor cleaning as fits each character.

    Finally, the morning sun begins to crest over the horizon. Happy to have survived the night, the group eats a cold meal of rations and begins to plan their day.

    “Might be time to move out to the basement again,” Tathar exclaims, trying to be positive.

    Breymeer seconds his motion, “Tathar had a good plan of luring em out....lets giver er!”

    Cirdan Saralonde, pulls the shutter back from the courtyard window slightly. He looks out and comments, “There are still some of the dead bugbears gathered by the front door. The skeletons seem to have gone into hiding.”

    Goodmonth 16
    -Morning: 77'F, Wind: 13 MPH, clear skies
    -Daytime: 74'F, Wind: 15 MPH, few clouds
    -Night: 69'F, Wind: 16 MPH, clear skies

    Cirdan reports a clear, sunny day with a fair temperature (nearly 80 degrees F). A steady wind has come up, averaging 10-15 mph.
    Speck shows optimism, “Daylight brings hope. I think we are strong enough to smash and hack our way through the enemy.”

    Grimlock reports he will be unable to magically open one of the bedroom doors, “We shall have to bash it down. It can always be repaired later should we return.”

    The hallway door is soon battered apart and the group makes its way back down into the ghoul room where Ewan was lost.

    Breymeer volunteers, as usual, for daring duty, “I will be the first in line to bash the undead according to Tathar’s plan. Who is going to be the bait?”

    Kuba has remained quiet on the way into the lower level. As the plan is being formulated, Kuba gives a slight counter point while still showing his fatigue from wounds and lack of good rest, “Fight our way through we will to the last but what assurance do we have that these creatures will not rise up to fight again? And where is that reckless dwarf? Where is the book of the dead? Our purpose is to rid this cursed place of the necromancer and all of his work.”

    Daybreak brings a steady breeze (10-15 mph) with clear skies. The temps are warm, being just below 80 degrees F.

    Peylae’s condition worsened overnight (1, -6/16). She yet lives but has not regained consciousness. In fact, she appears to be slowly slipping away.

    Southar takes his leave from guard duty and rests on the ground near the wagon.

    The group does its best to rest and recover. Belina, having slept after Southar took watch, rises and eats. She puts fresh bandages on her injuries, checks and cleans her gear and then sets out to backtrack the gnolls, “I will meet you back at Restenford in a few days. Do not fret about me. I will be fine. And do not follow, I shall be able to escape and evade as necessary. I do not want any of you to put yourselves in any danger. Head back to town as you have planned come the others or not. Fare they well.” With than, she crosses the clearing and heads off towards the Tri-Top Hills to your east.

    The day passes slowly until the sound of approaching horse steps to the south raises the alarm. Looking south, one can see a pair of horses with riders approaching at a walk.

    Aikari, travelling under the assumed name of Aikari Bestir, located a horse trader and purchased riding horses and gear for both her and P’innr Bhut when they disembarked from the ferry that shuttled them from Loreltarma to the main land.

    After several uneventful days of travel and passing through the lake town of Farmin, Aikari and P’innr Bhut walk abreast along the eastern side of a large forested area. The forest itself was deathly quiet as it produced none of the normal animal sounds.

    As the morning passes, being a clear day with a moderate wind and temperatures approaching 80 degrees F, Aikari and P’innr ride into the forest as the trail bisects a northern section of forests that trust itself across the road. The land rises to triple hill tops to the east. This makes the duo unwilling to ride around the forest.

    Fortune smiles upon the duo and the area able to travel through the forest without encounter. Unfortunately, as the clear the woods, they see an encampment ahead of them. There appears to have been some type of battle. The local baren’s banners still flutter giving you hope. As you continue to approach, the camp begins to stir.

    You can see a wagon and associated horses. There are nearly half dozen human sized creatures moving about. They appear to be either human or other friendly races such as elves. In fact, one appears to be a dwarf.

    After the group began its decent, Grimlock held back and tested the strength of the trapdoor in the ceiling. Finding he was unable to break it open on his own, he followed the other adventurers into the dungeon.

    Tathar replies to Kuba, “I believe the necromancer’s work was because of the book. It is an evil thing and does exist, Sehanine has shown it to me. It is down here, somewhere, as are our comrades.”

    Grimlock decends the stairs, apparently having been slightly behind the group, as Tathar continues, “I will go through the door and look, then drop back if the skeletons are still there. The night seems to give life to the dead. Let us hope they rest during the day.”

    Kuba readies his shield and the newly acquired dwarven war hammer.

    Speck picks the lock on the north door. He struggles with it for some time before he finally succeeds. Speck backs up and tucks in behind Kuba with his dwarven short sword in hand.

    Tathar prepares to open the door. Breymeer steps in behind Tathar. Grimlock readies himself at the base of the stairs.
    Cirdan stands at the ready.

    Tathar opens the door and finds the situation identical as the previous night. However, without the protections of Sehanine hiding him from the undead, they sense him immediately and begin to move forward towards Tathar.

    Eight skeletons move in to attack. Two from the west, two directly across the hall from Tathar, and four from the southern hall. The carry a mix of short swords or spears.

    The horses approach to within 1000 feet of the camp. There, one of the horses halts and the other rides forward carefully. The rider, obviously larger framed than his companion, has weapons stowed upon himself. The weapons are not in hand but quickly within grasp.

    The horse comes to within 100 yards of camp and a man’s voice calls out, “Hail. Is there a leader among you to parlay?”

    The horse rider appears to be a human male. He wears leather armor and a metal open faced helm. He carries twin battle axes and has a series of three knives sheathed along his belt.

    In camp, a boy has ducked down in a supply wagon. Behind the wagon a man-sized warrior has risen. He wears studded leather armor and a great helm. He carries a rutilent shield.

    A male dwarf sits upon a pony. The dwarf has very hard eyes. He has multiple sword scabbards and the look of a grizzled veteran of many fights. He wears leather armor and has a unique looking breastplate.

    A half orc female, looking the worse for wear, moves to the center of camp. She is leather armored and has a gigantic axe stowed on her back. The half orc had been tending to a female half-elf. The half elf is obviously near death.

    Two of the baron’s guards stand and eye the horse rider. One of them human, the other an elf. Both male. They are dressed as soldiers.

    At the edge of camp are three dead humans. Two wear the garb of the baron’s men. The third must have been an additional member of the group.

    A pile of dead gnolls and wargs are evidence of what caused the injuries to the group. Every one of those encamped here have some type of injury. Some much worse than others.

    The horse rider repeats himself, “Hail I say. Will you not suffer a conversation?”

    Dalic glances to Weber and he swallows hard, taking the hint. Weber addresses the rider, “Aye. We are from Restenford. We are here upon Baron Grellus’s command. This road is under his authority and I am duty bound to uphold his law. I am Weber of the Baron’s guard and I have command here. Who are you and your riding companion and what brings you to the road to Restenford.”

    The horse rider waves to his companion. The second horse rider approaches. You find she is an attractive female with blue hair. Both riders are human.

    The female greets the group, “I am Akari of Hardby. For those that do not know it, it is a port city in the Wooly bay within the Gearnat Sea on the Selintan River. I offer you peace and any aid as I can. My riding companion is P’innr Bhut.”

    Tathar grasps his holy symbol and falls back into the room. Speck, remembering it was his duty to shut the door behind them, moves to hold the door open for Tathar and awaits his signal to shut it again. The skeletons begin to spill into the room.

    Speck makes himself small, even for a halfling and secrets himself between the door and the east wall.

    The skeletons pour into the room and are met with force by Breymeer and Kuba.

    The first skeleton moves up to Kuba and pierces his left upper arm with its spear (6, 6/36) causing him much pain.

    The second skeleton through the door wields a short sword and slashes wildly at Breymeer. The stabbing blow comes in low and cuts deeply into Breymeer’s right ankle (8, 11/47, critical, knockdown).

    The rest of the skeletons push forward and keep pouring into the room.

    Kuba returns the blow upon the skeleton head crushing it down upon its neck (6, 0/6). It crumples into a pile of bones.

    Breymeer wails in pain as the skeleton’s short sword is retracted from his ankle. Breymeer nearly drops to his knees but is able to keep his feet. The injury causes a nasty wound. Breymeer grits his teeth, favors his left leg and swings at the skeleton with his broad sword and his cudgel. He hits with both, first cutting the ribs away along the right side and smashing the spine apart with a blow from the club. The skeleton also becomes a pile of bones.

    As Tathar presents his holy symbol, Cirdan Saralonde orders forth three magical missiles he conjured. All three strike down the skeleton in the doorway.

    Tathar orders, upon the power of Sehanine, the remaining skeletons to flee. They immediately do so; moving down the hall to the south.

    Weber returns a reponse, “You are welcome to take rest here if you wish. It is yet a long day’s ride to Restenford. We will be leaving at midday. You may join our return to town if you wish.”

    Ide Otneaux moves back over to Peylae and keeps her eye on the newcomers. She sits between Peylea and the horse riders. Peylae’s status continues to worsen.

    Noting Peylae's condition, Dalic turns to Weber, "We may need ta bring Peylae back yet before Midday. I volunteer ta ride wit a small comp'ny back ta Restenford. Can ye spare a hand-er-two?"

    Weber looks concerned, “I fear there is no answer that I can council in good heart. If we all stay, I fear Peylae will indeed perish. If we part company and the gnolls send a larger force we will surely be lost. If your company can leave behind the warrior,” he points at Southar, ”I will return with the dwarf and carry Peylae in the cart.”

    Ide quickly responds, “I have learned to trust in the strength of will of the dwaven race. I intend to accompany you back.”

    Weber looks to the horse riders, “If you be of good heart, I beg of you to stay with the camp and return with them when the time arrises. By the look of your sword arm P’innr, your presence here would be a great asset. Should you stay, I will inform Baron Grellus of your honorable deed.”
    Breymeer hobbles over to the stairwell and sits down painfully, “I regret to inform the group, I’ve about had it and without rest of healing, will likely be unable to continue.”

    Grimlock joins him, packing his wound and wrapping it tight (+2, 13/47). In addition, Tathar approaches and places his hands on Breymeer’s injured ankle, “By Sehanine, you shall be able to continue my friend.” Breymeer’s ankle improves greatly even though Breymeer can still feel a slight sting from the wound (+5, 18/47).

    Next, Tathar places his hands on Kuba’s injured arm, “May the blessings of Sehanine be on you as well my brave friend.” Kuba’s injury heals over completely (+7, 13/36).

    Cirdan walks cautiously out the door and looks down the hallway to the south. He verifies the skeletons all go that way. He reports all of them went east along the hallway.

    Cirdan quickly formulates a plan, “The doors appear to open into the rooms. I have a plan to bypass the skeletons without further combat. Based on Tathar's recon there should be a total of ten skeletons in this area, this number now down to seven. We were attacked by eight. That means two remained at the door in area AE. If the other five fled to that area too, then there are five turned and two unturned in that area."

    Cirdan pauses to make sure everyone is following his idea, "The plan is this: If room AD is still empty, we proceed to that room and close the doors. Spec will see if he can lock/unlock both doors. If so we will have both doors unlocked, but shut. Spec will hide behind the south door, with it open. Tathar will proceed out of the south door of AD and down the hall to AE where he will remove his turning and lure all the skeletons back down the hall to room AD via the south door. Spec will close them in at that end. The others will proceed out the north door when the skeletons follow Tathar, and leave the door open. When Tathar gets to the door he will turn around and keep them at bay with Sehanine’s power, making them huddle in the corner by the other door that hopefully Spec has locked. Tathar will then shut the north door on AD and we barricade it with old furniture. Looks good on paper. If it goes wrong, we can always do it the ‘other way.’"

    Cirdan thinks to himself, "The DM shouldin give me lots of XP for thinking of that plan...if it works."

    Southar agrees immediately, “I will ssstay. Battle sssoundsss good.”

    P’innr looks upon the group, “I will stay as well. Good luck on the journey.”

    Weber has the stable boy hitch up the horse to the wagon and the group sets off, leaving behind necessary provisions for the day’s travel back. The entire camp was packed up and sent along with the wagon. Dalic, Ide Otneaux, Peylae, Weber and the stable boy ride north along the road and disappear as they enter the small wooded section north of camp.

    Aikari and P’innr take rest a bit apart from the others and engage in small talk with the group.

    The warrior called Southar keeps to himself stating, “I will patrol the edge of the Dead Woodsss along the trail for ssignss of our friendsss.”

    Villie, the remaining guard, is of elvish decent. He speaks, “Webers departure places me in charge. We shall wait until the noon day’s sun and then depart. It is now mid-morning. We will only be a few hours behind Weber and company. It remains possible that we may yet catch up to them by nightfall.”
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat May 30, 2015 9:22 am  

    Cirdan Saralonde’s plan works well enough. Both doors to the room are ajar into the room so Speck takes position behind the southern door. Tathar goes up the eastern hall while the others gather in the room (AD). Seeing Tathat with his holy symbol not in hand, the skeletons, now numbering nine, prepare arms and move at him. Tathar retreats back down the hall and enters the room with the remaining party members. Speck shuts the door and exits. He struggles mightily to lock the door. The mechanism is in poor condition. He remains at the door and continues to manipulate the mechanism. The other party members move through the north door and shut it. Because the door opens into the room, Grimlock quickly works the mechanism and locks the door sealing the skeletons within.

    When Speck does not join the group in room AE, they return to the southern door via the hallway and find him working diligently at the locking mechanism. After twenty more minutes, Speck is finally able to loosen up the lock components enough to secure the lock.

    The party regroups at room AE. The room is 30 feet wide and 50 feet deep. Other than the door in the southern wall that was just locked to contain the skeletons, there is one more door in the north wall. The door opens away from the group.

    The room the group is standing in is being used for furniture storage. There are a number of pieces piled up along the western wall. Some of them look repairable while others less so.

    Dalic rides immediately behind the wagon, weapons stowed to keep control of his animal. Dalic is tired but soldiers on.

    Ide Otneaux, although more rested, is more injured than Dalic. She rides in the wagon with Peylae, resting when not tending to the half-elf. To see one of orc blood tending so caringly for one of elven decent is a testament to the close bond some of those in the group have formed.

    Weber rides with the stable boy at the head of the cart. The journey is going well so far.

    Aikari and P’innr talk with Villie to pass the time. They learn the barony consists of the town of Restenford and the general area surrounding it. Baron Grellus appears to be a fair man and does not overly burden the populace with heavy taxes. He is well liked but somewhat removed from the common folk. His wife, Fairwind, and daughter, Andrella, are much more likely to be seen out in public. Villie does not mind his service to the baron and appears to be faithful in his duties.

    Meanwhile, Southar continues his careful recon of the woodline.

    “I can recon with you Tathar,” volunteers Grimlock.

    Breymeer adds, “I will guard your back with sword and axe, Tathar. I’ve got a fight or two left in me. Let’s proceed.”

    Speck checks the door and finds it is locked, “I can get this,” he assures.
    Kuba does not appear as well healed as Breymeer, “I will continue on as long as I can remain on my feet.”

    Tathar faces the party, with a grave expression. "If I go alone, I can pass by most undead creatures invisibly, with Sehanine's grace and blessing. If everyone goes, we go into what lies beyond blindly and will have to fight what ever is there with no forewarning. Let me go alone. I will return in a few minutes and we will be better prepared."

    The clip clopping of the horse and pony steps echo slightly off the trees as the group gets near the northern edge of the small woods.

    Without a sound or warning, a figure suddenly stands in the road ahead of the trail. He is dressed in a light weight full length silvery/white robe over chain mail armor. He carries a silver shield upon his back along with a long bow. A long sword is sheathed in a silver scabbard at his right side. He has his hands on his hips. His long brown hair is held off his face by a thin silver headband before it drops over his shoulders. His features and size give away his elven heritage.

    Raising his right hand, palm forward, he speaks, “Man of Restenford, I am Illianaro. I seek information in regards to an elf that has travelled this way. I believe he has been in your company but I do not see him among you.” The elf’s voice is stern but pleasant. “Please, share with me any knowledge you may have of his whereabouts or condition. The elf I seek is Tathar Surion.”

    “You should also be aware, I am not travelling alone,” the elf advises; more as statement of defense than a warning of impending attack.

    Speck works the lock for an extended period of time, “These locks are old, very old.” After nearing a half of hour and some ribbing from his companions, Speck frees the mechanism and the lock opens.

    Speck backs off near Kuba while Grimlock and Breymeer prepare to face anything than may come through the door. Cirdan Saralonde fades back and prepares to defend the group with spellcraft.

    Tathar requests Sehanine’s blessing; specifically requesting to be hidden from from the eyes of the dead.

    Tathar opens the door. The quick peek past the door before Tathar shuts it behind him reveals a 20 foot by 30 foot room. It appears to be an old reading room containing a desk and bookcase.

    The door shuts behind Tathar enclosing him in darkness. He remains motionless until his eyes adjust to the darkness as his elven vision clears.
    The room is twenty feet deep and thirty feet wide. On the western wall, in the northern section, there is a wooden door. An old tapestry, now in taters hangs on the northern wall. It depicts the view from the tower overlooking the Dead Forest and the road from Restenford to Farmin. In the southwestern corner is an unlit brazier. In the northeastern corner is a padded chair. The chair is rotting and the desk is in poor condition as well. There appears to be no threats in the room.

    Tathar moves quickly around the room giving everything a once over. Pulling the tapestry out reveals only stone wall behind. The brazier is long gone cold. It is loose from the floor and does not have any mechanisms attached to it. The desk has gone unused for ages. It is empty. The padded chair is old, torn and worthless.

    Finding no matching bookshelf, Tathar tries the door on the western wall. It is unlocked. He opens it slowly. It opens with some creaking to a large room (40x40). The room once had excellent furnishings. They have unfortunately long since rotted away. A heavy dampness hangs in the air. A large canopy bed is centered on the southern wall. The canopy has collapsed down upon the bed. The bedding is rotted and damp. The bed frame is still somewhat intact. There is a book shelf containing nearly four dozen books up against the western wall pushed up against the northern corner. A desk and chair are in the southwestern corner. An armoire is centered on the eastern wall but it has collapsed upon itself and consists now of rotting clothing and chunks of broken and rotted wood. The room appears to be void of danger yet a cold dampness hangs in the air.

    Tathar, moves into the room cautiously. He discovers the bed is rotted and clear underneath. The armoire is nothing but a pile of rotting wood and clothing. The desk and chair are bare wood and in poor condition. The bookshelf is intact and matches the one in his vision from Sehanine. The books are damp and moldy.

    Not wanting to push his luck, Tathar begins to head back to the group.

    Dalic rides up to the elf at a challenging speed but does not arm himself. He says quickly, dodging the elf’s inquiry, "We travel back ta tha city wit pressin' business. Block not our way lest ye can lend aid ta our injured. These woods be dangerous an' we must continue wit no delay." Dalic accents his statement by grabbing the hilt of his bastard sword although he does not draw it. Dalic motions Ide Otneaux to approach.

    As Ide steps down from the wagon and begins to approach unarmed, the elf holds up his hand as if holding off others who remain unseen. “Yes dwarf, these are dangerous times. We mean you, nor your orc companion, harm for it appears you are also friends of the baron. Answer my question and we will aid your companions. Answer not, and you are free to pass lest the elves be accused of holding up the baron’s soldier on pressing business.”
    Ide whispers to Dalic, “Peylea may not make it back to Restenford. The elves may be her only hope.”

    Tathar, finding no other doors in the bedroom, returns to the others and opens the door. He then turns and moves back to the bedroom.

    Breymeer, Grimlock, Kuba and Speck follow Tathar through the den and into the bedroom. As they pass through the den they take note of its contents. The room is twenty feet deep and thirty feet wide. On the western wall, in the northern section, there is a wooden door. An old tapestry, now in taters hangs on the northern wall. It depicts the view from the tower overlooking the Dead Forest and the road from Restenford to Farmin. In the southwestern corner is an unlit brazier. In the northeastern corner is a padded chair. The chair is rotting and the desk is in poor condition as well. There appears to be no threats in the room.
    Passing through the door from the den into the bedroom, the party sees they have entered a large (40x40) room. The room once had excellent furnishings that have unfortunately long since rotted away. A large canopy bed is centered on the southern wall. The canopy has collapsed down upon the bed. The bedding is rotted and damp. The bed frame is still somewhat intact. There is a book shelf containing nearly four dozen books up against the western wall pushed up against the northern corner. A desk and chair are in the southwestern corner. An armoire is centered on the eastern wall but it has collapsed upon itself and consists now of rotting clothing and chunks of broken and rotted wood. The room appears to be void of danger yet a cold dampness hangs in the air.

    Once inside the bedroom, they find Tathar facing a bookshelf on the western wall. Tathar speaks without taking his eyes off the bookshelf, “There is a secret passage behind this bookshelf. Somewhere in this keep there is a stone statue of a bearded man, and below him, a natural cavern. In that cavern, there is a set of iron-shod double doors. That is where we will find the book. I sense it is evil, complete and true. I know not what we will encounter there, perhaps our fate. Sehanine has compelled me, I must go. I do not ask you risk your own lives.”
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    Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:05 pm  

    Dalic speaks reluctantly, unsure if he can trust the elves, "I hab' fought along side one called Tathar. I hope he yet lives and ye mean him no ill will. He too be under command 'der Baron an' be 'spected ta return ta Restenford this day. We know not where Tathar be this hour but for our injured comrade, pray you, help us an' we will ta 'company ye ta Restenford where Tathar may be found shou' he make tha journey."

    The elf motions to the woodline and says something in elvish, “Glaew nestedrin.” A second elf, dressed more plainly in common elvish woodland colors of browns and greens, walks out of the woodline towards the wagon. Ide Otneaux retreats to intercept the elf there.

    The elf produces a jar of some type of paste. It applies liberal amounts of it. “Edhellen-sereg,” the woodland dressed elf answers the silver adorned elf. It then turns to Ide Otneaux and speaks in common, “She will soon stabilize.” He places a small amount on a bit of cloth, “Feed this to her when she returns to consciousness.”

    The elf leader addresses Dalic again in common, “Journey to Restenford we intend not but wish you speed. Where is the last you have seen this moon-eyed Tathar?”

    Cirdan assures Tathar, “I will see this through.”

    Grimlock is less enthusiastic, “I will go if others go but the wisdom of continuing is questionable.”

    The bookshelf is discovered to be mounted on a swivel. The right side of the bookcase is hinged to the wall and the hole assembly opens into the room and up towards the north wall. The bookshelf sags on its hinges from the years of exposure to the damp air. It must be dragged across the floor. Moving the bookshelf reveals a bare stone wall.

    The group begins to check the wall for anything unusual. After about twenty minutes, a hairline cut in the stone is discovered. It is door shaped, nearly five feet high and two feet wide. Additionally poking, touching and examining the wall for another fifteen minutes reveals the opening mechanism. Tathar finds a small area within the door, near the top center, that when pressure is applied, a slight click is heard.

    Cirdan Saralonde offers, "The night was accursed. Perhaps we can find rest during the day. If we rest, maybe we can recover our strength and be better prepared for what lies ahead.”

    Dalic glances at the road ahead, longing to be done with the hell hole behind him. He is torn though by a nagging and unfamiliar sensation. For some reason he feels concern for Tathar and the strange elves. He looks to Ide and the apparently mute Weber, giving Weber a now seemingly commonplace grimace toward his lack of leadership. Dalic speaks to the elf while still looking toward Ide, "Let us wait 'till we see Peylae's improvement. I may then offer ta 'company ye back ta our camp. Your arrival there may be taken wit hostility otherwise". To Ide, "I think it be unwise to split tha party further from here. Shoul' Peylae be healed an' able ta return, we shoul' all ta basecamp.”

    The silver adorned elf curtly replies, “We wish Peylae speed in healing but your company we do not request nor require. Those at your basecamp, given the look of your group, will not present much of a threat to us. Farewell.” With that, the two elves leave the road and re-enter the forest.
    Weber, finding his tongue, comments to Dalic, “The boy and I return to Restenford regardless of your choice. We will continue on with Peylae. Even with elvish medicine, she will likely be in dire need of bedrest.”

    Ide remarks, “Return to the basecamp if you wish Dalic, once north of the forest, we should be relatively free from dangers. I intent to see Peylae back to town as long as she draws breath.”

    Cirdan Saralonde, moving the bookshelf back away from the northern wall, begins to remove books and examine them. They appear damp, moldy and in extremely poor condition.

    Tathar pushes the secret door into the next room and begins to look around through the opening while Kuba speaks, "I am tired and worn and rest would be sweet, but I feel it is in all our best interest to stay together. If you feel so compelled to go on right now you will have my company. If you choose to rest a while you will have my company."

    Speck as usual nods in agreement with Kuba.

    Breymeer agrees with Kuba, “I cannot deny, I'm still sucking hind tit and rest would do me good before I attempt much of a battle.”

    Grimlock pessimistically counters, “I think it very clear there will be no good rest in this tomb!”

    As Tathar pushes the door inward, it move in on a slide and then articulates to the right and slides out of the way on hinges. The mechanisms are old and worn but still functioning.

    Without speaking, Tathar walks into the space beyond the secret door.

    Tathar slips past the secret door and stands in a nearly forty foot by forty foot room. The northwestern corner cuts and angle and is taken up by a staircase that goes down into the darkness. A stone statue of an enormous bearded man with long hair stands in the center of the southern wall. The statue stands over eight feet tall and is depicted wielding a two handed sword held menacingly out in front of it. Below the statue is a simple stone altar.

    Upon the walls are various weapons and shields hund in decoration. The center is open and clear of obstacles. It appears to be some type of weapons training or similar type room.

    Leaving Grimlock and Breymeer in the bedroom together, Kuba and Speck enter the secret room.

    Kuba and Speck enter the secret room and stand in a nearly forty foot by forty foot room. Kuba struggles to see in what little light Breymeer’s torch gives off through the open secret door. The northwestern corner cuts and angle and is taken up by a staircase that goes down into the darkness. A stone statue of an enormous bearded man with long hair stands in the center of the southern wall. The statue stands over eight feet tall and is depicted wielding a two handed sword held menacingly out in front of it. Below the statue is a simple stone altar.

    Upon the walls are various weapons and shields hung in decoration. The center is open and clear of obstacles. It appears to be some type of weapons training or similar type room.

    Tathar is walking the perimeter of the wall visually examining the weapons, “They all look to be in poor condition.” As Tathar passes the stairwell, he gives it a once over. Seeing a closed door at the base of the stairs, he continues his sweep of the wall.

    Dalic curses under his breath and stubbornly turns his pony in line with the caravan toward Restenford, "Luck be wit ye Tathar, I fear ye may need it." Unreasonably focusing his frustrations, he bores a proverbial hole in the back of Weber's head with his cold eyes and continues on.

    Ide Otneaux re-joins Peylae in the wagon and Weber orders the boy to get moving. The horse and wagon, followed by the dwarf on his pony, continue towards Restenford. Soon they break from the small woods and are relieved to have relatively open sight again.

    Grimlock and Breymeer head for the secret room. Grimlock mutters, “I think I will have to follow the rest of the fellas. Brey, you best come with me I thinks.”

    Breymeer grunts, “I plan to continue following and take on whatever comes.”

    Grimlock and Breymeer enter the secret room and stand in a nearly forty foot by forty foot room. Breymeer’s torch easily lights up the room. The northwestern corner cuts and angle and is taken up by a staircase that goes down into the darkness. A stone statue of an enormous bearded man with long hair stands in the center of the southern wall. The statue stands over eight feet tall and is depicted wielding a two handed sword held menacingly out in front of it. Below the statue is a simple stone altar.
    Upon the walls are various weapons and shields hung in decoration. The center is open and clear of obstacles. It appears to be some type of weapons training or similar type room.

    Grimlock and Breymeer join Kuba and Speck as Tathar decends the stairs for a short time. Tathar returns after several minutes and reports, “There is a door at the bottom.”

    Cirdan inquires, “Tathar, was the door locked?”

    Tathar replies, “It was not. Also, there was no sound coming from behind the door that my ears could detect.”

    Cirdan makes a recommendation, “I feel, since you have been leading this aspect of the campaign, that you continue. If you will look through the door with your elf eyes and holy symbol, we will wait up here. If there are foul beings beyond the door and you cannot turn them, retreat up here where we will have more room to do battle with them. That way, we will not all be blocked up in the stairway or have to spill into a room that we are not familiar with.”

    Grimlock appears to be listening as he does a quick check of the altar. He appears to be looking for secret compartments or similar. He finds none.
    “I am ready to whoop **** as needed if an evil threat is found and opportunity presents itself,” Breymeer says with confidence. “I yet have my holy water should anyone need it.”

    Kuba and Speck appear ready.

    Tathar, without a spoken word, heads down the stairwell.

    Finding an open hallway beyond, Tathar calls the others down. Doing a quick recon, Tathar reports the hallway leads to an open natural cavern containing a very narrow passageway to the east and a door to the south. Otherwise, there is a door just east of the stairwell next to the party.
    Grimlock votes, “Hallway. I bet one of these lead to the surface tower that feral dwarf ran off to.” Grimlock then turns to Breymeer, “Brey, I could use your holy water.”

    Breymeer hands the holy water to Grimlock.

    Tathar commands, “Stay put a minute.” Tathar, with holy symbol out, walks to the iron bound door to the east of the staircase, “This door is not the one from my vision.” The party’s attention drawn to it reveals it is actually barred and locked from this side of the door.

    In Breymeer’s magically torchlight, it is easy to see the walls of the dungeon are damp. The light reflects off the wet walls. The cavern beyond appears similar if not more so. A rat, normal in size, squeaks at the party and scurries down the hallway and into the natural chamber beyond. The squeak echoes slightly ahead of the rat.

    The hallway appears to have been worked from the natural stone. It is cut from the rock nearly ten feet wide and over eight feet high, nearing ten feet high. The walls are damp here but not saturated as the chamber appears to be.

    The chamber beyond does not appear to be worked rock. Instead, it appears to be of natural design.

    Tathar inspects the natural cavern. Finding no danger, he waves the party forward.

    The natural cavern has virtually no ornamentation. The glistening walls reflect the light from Breymeer’s torch doubling its intensity. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the now well lit area. The ceiling is nearly twelve feet high. The passageway to the east is a small crawlway; only 2 ½ feet in diameter. The door mounted on the south wall, near the SE corner, is made of wood and shows no locks. The room is approximately fifty feet by forty feet.

    Tathar walks to the door in the eastern portion of the southern wall. He puts his ear to the door for a moment.

    Meanwhile, Cirdan looks to Breymeer, “Will you look for signs of recent passage by creatures in the cavern? And also in the crawlway?”

    Breymeer begins to examine the room.

    Grimlock pipes up, “I saw we open the barred door to the northeast of the stairs. If nothing lies within, we can return and bar it once more.” No one else appears to want to go as Grimlock states at the moment.

    Breymeer finishes his search as Tathar turns his attention from the door, “Only normal rats have travelled here recently and they have travelled to and fro down the crawlway as well.”

    Tathar reports hearing nothing from behind the door.

    Cirdan gets on all fours and crawls down the eight foot length of the crawlway. He stops short of the room and lets his elf eyes adjust. It is a roughly thirty foot by twenty foot room (BC). Other than a few normal rats that scurry about from various rat holes in the wall, there is very little else special about the room. Cirdan looks in far enough to clear the ceiling and the side walls. He then returns to the group and reports his discovery.

    While Cirdan is tunneling, Tathar cracks open the southern door. He opens the door into the darkness and looks beyond. Allowing his eyes to adjust, he sees a passageway leading south from the doorway. It travels about thirty feet before blossoming into a large chamber (BD). Part of the southern wall appears to have collapsed in one location.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 12, 2015 12:19 pm  

    Grimlock departs from the party while they are investigating the large chamber and its side paths and door. Grimlock arrives at the door, now using his elvish dark vision to investigate. The door swings inward towards him. It has an old rusty but sturdy iron bar across it. The bar is held in place with a lock. Grimlock tries the lock but cannot get the mechanism to open on his initial attempt.

    While working the lock, Grimlock hears Kuba cry out in pain and sounds of an erupting battle from the chamber area he had vacated minutes prior.

    Tathar moves forward down the passageway with his holy symbol held out in front of him. Breymeer falls in step just behind Tathar. Speck and Kuba step into the passageway and pause as Cirdan Saralonde covers the group from the doorway. Kuba holds the door open should there be a need for a hasty retreat.

    The roughly forty by forty room illuminates greatly as Breymeer’s torchlight reflects off of the glistening walls.

    A passageway leaves the main room to the northwest. In opens into a smaller twenty by twenty natural chamber. In the center of the chamber is a statue of a beautiful human woman. She has large wings and holds and arrow in each hand above her head. Upon her head is a simple brass helm adorned with a bluish gemstone.

    A second passageway leads to the west. It travels about twenty feet before opening into a small chamber. Access to that chamber is denied by a iron portcullis blocking the passageway just prior to the chamber.

    Between the two passageways, on the western wall is a ogre-sized statue of a large man. It is crudely hewn from soft rock.

    The center of the southern wall of the chamber has collapsed partially. In addition, there is some rubble on either side of the passage that leads to the female statue. The room’s integrity appears secure to the group’s untrained eyes.

    Cirdan questions, “Where is Grimlock?” noticing he is gone.

    Kuba answers, “He went back to examine the barred door by the stairway.”

    At that moment, several things happen together.

    First, the crude stone statue of the man animates and begins to lumber towards Tathar and Breymeer. Breymeer is caught flat footed and does not initially react; he just stares in disbelief.

    Second, an unseen ooze gathers itself up above those near the chamber door. It forms itself into a gelatinous club and strikes Kuba upon the right shoulder. He immediately feels the burn as the ooze’s acids eat into his skin (10, 3/36). The ooze remains attached to the ceiling, swinging its club-like appendage.

    Tathar grabs Breymeer and pull him up the hallway in the face of the animated stone foe.

    Breymeer shakes off his surprise and retreats alongside Tathar.

    Seeing the retreat heading his way, Cirdan grabs the back of Kuba and Speck’s collars and pulls them backwards through the door. They give way willingly. Kuba hold the door open long enough for Tathar to run up the hallway and tumble into the chamber.

    While tumbling into the chamber, Tathar is struck by the ooze creature upon his back. Protected by his armor, the blow fails to damage Tathar. Breymeer slides through the door just behind Tathar. Kuba then tries to shut the door on the ooze but it is able to slip in.

    The ooze, once inside the door, moves up the wall to the ceiling. It pulls itself back up into a gelatinous club, still clinging to the ceiling above the group gathered at the door.

    Behind the door, the animated stone statue’s footsteps comes to a stop.

    Grimlock comes running in from the northwestern passage with his sword out and shield at the ready.

    Cirdan Saralonde yells, “Spread out!” and moves to backwards to the north. While doing so, the gelatinous club strikes him, burning into the skin of his right shoulder (6, 17/26).

    Grimlock backs away to the western side of the cavern. He removes an oil skin from his pack.

    Tathar back-peddles towards the west, firing and arrow in the morphing blob as he does. The arrow penetrates into the jelly and stops within its form (8, 12/20).

    Breymeer carves into the creature with both of his swords (10, 2/20) and Kuba additionally lands a blow upon it (6, -4/20).

    Speck retreats north with Cirdan Saralonde as the creature falls to the floor writhing.

    “Get back!” yells Grimlock as he lights an oil flask.

    Kuba takes one more hack at the wiggling gelatinous mound and then retreats. Tathar notches another arrow and draws back his bow, waiting to fire if needed.

    Breymeer backs off and Speck remains clear.

    Grimlock tosses the flaming oil onto the jelly. The oil burns off leaving the jelly behind. It has, however, stopped moving altogether.

    “Are you still sure this is a good idea?” questions Cirdan to Tathar.

    Tathar nods in understanding, "I now feel that Sehanine would approve of me returning for this book after resting and healing. I feel strong enough to go on, but all of you, being excellent friends and companions, have suffered much. I believe you would go to your deaths to help me, and I must honor the fact that I am not risking my life only. I propose we retreat to the courtyard, follow the path of the other group into the tower to learn of their fate, then return to basecamp to learn of theirs. After a day of rest, and prayer, I will heal all who ask, then may we return to this place and find the book."

    The decision to back out is universally applauded by the remaining survivors. The group retreats back up to the basement level and moves carefully to the ghoul room where Ewan McDermott perished. From there, they move back up to the first level of the keep. During the retreat, the full effect of the jellies touch is realized. Tathar’s chain mail armor deteriorates and falls apart on his back where it was contacted by the jelly (now base AC 7 for the armor). Both of Breymeer’s swords and Kuba’s sword also show rapid signs of corrosion and they quickly become worthless and are discarded.

    Cirdan Saralonde and Grimlock pause long enough to go up to the wizard’s chambers and the storage room to gather as much of the magical paraphernalia that they can carry. The others follow suit.

    While on the second and third floor, they realize by looking out a window upon the courtyard, that the front door is still guarded by undead bugbear. Grimlock leads the group across the roof using the route he had taken when he originally ascended to attack the necromancer. Once on the back side of the keep, the group crawls down to the outside of the outer wall.

    Moving clockwise around the keep, the group closes in on the tower only to find it contains more zombies and skeletons. Fearing the fate of the others has been sealed, the group turns and moves out across the expanse of open ground surrounding the keep.

    Soon, the group is travelling downhill and heading for the basecamp.

    The group arrives at basecamp just as the noonday sun crests in the sky.

    It is at basecamp where they find the biggest surprise of the day.

    As the motley crew returns to basecamp, Villie, the elven soldier of the barony, is only one of the baron’s men who remains at basecamp. Southar joins him; walking over from the Dead Woods where he stood watch.

    The motley crew consists of Tathar, the elven priest of Sehanine, Grimlock, the half-elven wanderer from the Wild Coast, Breymeer, the northman, Cirdan Saralonde the Celene noble, Kuba from Dullstrand and his halfling companion Speck.

    Villie is accompanied by a human female and what appears to be her sellsword, a human man equipped with two battle axes. They are known by the names of Aikari Bestir and P’innr Bhut.

    Taking counsel with those four at basecamp are nearly two dozen elves. The leader is dressed in a light weight full length silvery/white robe over chain mail armor. He carries a silver shield upon his back along with a long bow. A long sword is sheathed in a silver scabbard at his right side. He has his hands on his hips. His long brown hair is held off his face by a thin silver headband before it drops over his shoulders. Tathar immediately recognizes him as a fellow priest of Sehanine.

    The elves accompanying the priest are dressed in the common garb of forest elves; colored in greens and browns. They are armed with bows and swords as well as light armor under their cloaks and robes.

    There are dead wargs and gnolls nearby as well as two of the baron’s men and the body of Tarstar.

    Villie does his best to bring everyone up to speed. During the night, the gnolls and wargs attacked killing Carlton and Fraunk. Belina, Ide Otneaux and Peylae were all wounded. Peylae was brought low and remained unconscious and near death throughout the night. Belina has gone off back-tracking the gnolls. She said she would return to Restenford on her own.

    Dalic and Southar were the first of the keep explorers to return to camp. They brought with them the body of Tarstar. Dalic and Southar reported locating an evil altar in the castle dungeon. There they sacked several evil undead creatures before returning to basecamp.

    Aikari Bestir and P’innr Bhut arrived on horseback about that time. They agreed to remain at basecamp while Dalic, Ide Otneaux, Weber and the stable boy returned to Restenford with Peylae as her condition continued to worsen. Aikari Bestir and P’innr Bhut intend to travel to Restenford and will be doing so in the company of those remaining.

    Finally, the group of elves have only just arrived late this morning. They seek Tathar Surion.

    Interupting at this point is the Sehanine priest speaking in elvish. He gives Tathar and obvious greeting and then hails him to a private conversation. Once complete, he orders the elvish troop together and they move off in the direction of the dead woods.

    The group prepares to return to Restenford. What remains of the camp is packed up and the group begins their march. The baron’s men and Tarstar are brought back for proper burial.

    Even in their exhausted state, their hearts are lifted as the first signs of Restenford appear.

    The group has returned to Restenford. All but five yet live; two of the baron’s men died fighting the gnolls and wargs, Tarstar died fighting zombies and skeletons, Yalta died fighting the necromancer’s undead spirit and Ewan McDermott died fighting the ghouls.

    At Restenford, the news of the group’s arrival travels quickly. As does the report of the others that arrived earlier. Dalic, Ide Otneaux, Weber and the stable boy arrived safely. Peylae survived the trip but remains in dire condition. The elvish medicine from the Sehanine priest was the only thing that kept her from certain death.

    Tathar's private conversation - The Sehanine priest tells Tathar that he will be moving on the keep with the other elves. Sehanine guides him to complete what Tathar did not. The priest, obviously of greater power than Tathar, chastises Tathar for cowering in his task and not trusting in Sehanine’s guidance. The priest instructs Tathar to return to Restenford and recover. While doing so, assist with Sehanine’s actions there. He will recognize them when they arrive. Until then, Tathar should atone for his weakness of spirit.
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