Thursday, April 07, 2011

On the road to Rinos, meeting much undead along the way

While we rested in Logging Town, Ayman and I tried to make heads or tails out of the items we'd picked up in the mine; nothing was evil, but a few of the items radiated magic. We wrapped things up in town and headed north in the company of Dorian and his men and Thrur the dwarf. I know this area well so I was able to lead the group slightly east, shortening the trip back to Woodland.

Once in Woodland, we headed to the guild hall and met with Micah, telling the guild master about the dragons (the one we slayed as well as the likely-cloud one that had flown overhead), goblin king, troll, evil priests, etcetera. Once that task was completed, Ayman and I went to find Batts, the guild's token goblin. Our mage explained to him that we'd picked up Gribble in the mine and wanted Batts to keep an eye on him while he set up a wizard workshop (or something like that, anyway). I stopped by the mosque, dropping off the extra dragon bones I'd acquired and spoke with Armand, then went to the apothecary with Ayman and Ghost. Merton told us about a wizard making potions of disillusion (I have a feeling our black dragon control potion was such) and we left some items there for him to research. Speaking of research, Ayman took a look at the scrolls we'd picked up- two were spells (dig and fireball spells) and one was a scroll with instructions left by the skeletal wizard down in the mine.

The scroll read thus:
"To the finder -- I was naught but a hedge wizard with a
vendetta; all my preparations were for naught. Dear reader,
please carry my torch. You will know what to do with my
possessions. My wand answers to Eko, Eno or Esa.
Beware what lies ahead and avenge me!-- Roderick"

Since we'd done a pretty thorough job of vanquishing the evil in the mine, it's probably safe to say the man was properly avenged.

While in Woodland we came across a human necromancer named Vordb (I hope I'm spelling that correctly) who was excited to meet Ayman. (I suppose tall human wizards flock together?) Linora handed the goblin king's crown over to Thrur and learned that he wanted to come to Rinos with us while Vordb, Ayman and I headed back to the apothecary. After introducing the necromancer, we were told what the items were that we'd dropped off.

We stayed in town for the June Festival; our old friend Cornwallis put on a show and spoke with us for a while. He'd been preforming to the west and told us that tales of our deeds had reached almost as far as the desert (just wonderful...) and that he hadn't seen the man who attacked him when last we met.

The next day we set off to Joven using the Gate, which had been refined and seemed to function better this time, not setting Shocko's pants on fire (alas, that had been amusing), and left Gribble behind with Batts. Before leaving the mosque in Joven, I picked up a copy of the better-functioning Gate plans. We found Dwight and talked about our latest adventures over lunch. He informed us that he'd be coming with us to Rinos, which no one had a problem with. He told us some somber news: the king is gravely ill and his heir is still rather young.

We set off to Rinos that afternoon with two of Dwight's men and Thrur. We stopped for the night in Garrison where I sent a letter west to my brother, informing him that we'd reach the city in about a week. That night Ghost and Dwight caught a pair of men trying to break into the inn; they were apparently repeat offenders who had broken out of jail, as we learned from the sheriff.

The next day while on the road we came across a group of hooded figures heading our way, garbed in rough brown robes. When they didn't answer our greeting, they pulled back their hoods and we saw that they were in fact skeletons. I quickly Blessed the group as Ayman threw fire and our group attacked. I decided to try out that Ring of the Ram, and after some problems (who knew a ring of strength required... well, strength?), I hit two. Dwight exploded one with his sword and they turned to flee- Vordb was able to stop this by summoning bats and sending them at the skeletons. Eventually we killed (rekilled? Unkilled?) them all and piled them off on the side of the road, then continued on our way.

Around midnight we reached the town of Purewell. Dwight told us we were nearing Waterford, the town next to the river, and the next morning we set off again. Around noon we met with a group of fishermen and their wagon of fish (obviously). Most of us bought some and the men informed us that they'd heard about creepy monsters coming out of the trees at night. We thanked them for the fish and made camp that evening. While on watch, Shocko heard sounds to the north and Linora flew ahead in bat-form. She discovered a few stinking hunched figures in the bushes and flew back to awaken the rest of us. We started to attack and saw that they were a group of misshapen humanoids- ghouls. We dispatched the lot of them and when one ended up smelling worse than the others, Vordb explained that that one was actually a ghast (but was not particularly aghast by this news).

The rest of the night passed without event and we traveled on, eventually reaching the town of Waterford. In the Old Kettle Inn, the innkeeper was excited to see Dwight and sent a boy off to get the mayor and constable. He told us of a terrible problem: young townspeople (three children and two young women) had been kidnapped in the late evening recently. The constable had caught a glimpse of the kidnapper and told us that it had been man-height and had headed north. After forgetting just who my companions were and digging myself into enough trouble to need a shovel, Ghost left to use her tracking abilities. I asked to be shown the houses where the kidnappings had occurred to see if that would help, and discovered that two had been near the north wall, two at the inn just north of center, and one was to the northeast. The children had been taken from outside their homes and the two from the inn had actually been upstairs.

Ghost found that the tracks were clawmarks rather than human, and proceeded to lead us north into the hilly barrow downs where warriors from the orc wars were buried. The smaller barrows seemed undisturbed, so we headed to the large one in the center. The strongest members of our party got the door open and we entered to find the expected alcoves and slabs and the like, as well as piles of bones, scraps of armor and old weapons. We made our way through a few chambers to a larger one with a dim light, all the while hearing a thumping sound. Inside were about nine ghouls and a figure in a grey dress with long hair, holding something on its lap. The battle began, our fighters charging into the fray while Vordb and I summoned a tag-team assortment of rats and stinging insects. At this time the figure rose and charged at Shocko, shrieking and trying to claw at him. Vordb then greased the floor (it appears he's been learning from our mage) while Ayman instead created a large web. Dwight chanted and sent the remaining ghouls and that shrieking thing straight into the webbing. Everyone continued to attack and the paladin swung at the loud thing with light and the smell of brimstone, snuffing it out of existence (and leaving the room much quieter). He informed us that it was a wight, something that sucks the lifeforce out of you.

Still hearing the hammering sound, we followed the noise to find a cage in the chamber containing the missing, frightened children as well as a skeleton in full armor. This skeleton was banging on the cage, hence the sound. Ghost cut the cage open to free the captives and we gave food and water to the humans while the skeleton walked over to the door, obviously the guardian of the barrow. The wight had been sitting on a pile of bones, but the thing it had been holding was a black pearl necklace wrapped in a piece of silk. Unraveling this, we found that it was a tapestry of a young lady in a grey dress and a young noble clad in armor identical to that which the skeleton was now wearing. Dwight, being versed in this kind of subject, told us that this was Sir Maynard, one of the famous heroes of the orc wars, who'd kept the orcs out of Waterford while he and his men held the river. Maynard's name was not on any of the crypts, however, so we were unsure what to do with the tapestry and the necklace; Ghost tried giving it to the skeleton, but it did not respond, so she placed it on one of the crypts. As we left, Ayman put some sort of magic lock on the barrow.

Back in town we returned the unfortunate children to their parents who were obviously pleased to have them back. We explained that they had been taken by ghouls to the barrow downs and Ghost asked about Sir Maynard. She was told that after he died defending the town, his lady went crazy and fled town- we think that strange shrieking monster was likely her.

Tomorrow we continue on our journey to Rinos, hopefully meeting with less undead along the way.

~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
June 17th, 5th day of Bleakmoon

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

More with the goblin mine - we vanquish evil

One of these days I'll update this journal in a timely manner. Possibly. Anyway, after some resting and plotting, we poked around (okay, looted) the king's chamber, tossing the weapons down the pit, then sealed it up with some broken doors and a chest. We left behind those too injured to help, taking Dorian, Katah, Ham, Lt. Thigpen and four others with us, and continued towards that underground lake. Along the way, we noticed that the dead hobgoblins and bugbears were now missing, as were the spear-bearing hobgoblins that had recently lined the windowed chamber.

We entered the huge cavern and noticed that it was lit by glowing fungus and moss. The floor appeared to be water with islands that we could step onto. Off in the distance we saw the large island with the fortress. Stepping forward, Linora called out to the dragon. It popped out of the murky water and hit her with a blast of acid. She quickly downed the potion of dragon control and attempted to get it to obey her; she learned that its name was actually Makulok, not Menulok, as we'd assumed, but she was unable to trick it into believing that someone had taken something from his hoard. Laughing and saying that he needed no help from any man, he sunk back into the water. Linora yelled at him to attack the castle, but instead he flew back and began spitting acid at us again. Obviously the potion was not effective. I tried Charming it into taking a nap, but that failed, too. All of us rather at a loss of what to do now, Ghost called out to Khrom-Vel (and the Master, as well) using her tattoo, which began to glow. As I began to Bless the group, both Ayman and Ghost heard a voice in their heads. As the group began attacking him, I cast Silence, momentarily stunning it, which seemed to help Linora. She chopped through his neck, slaying the evil dragon, and did a silent dance on the way back down to ground level.

Monster out of the way, we again rested- and again looted, this time the dragon's body. We located two long boats nearby and rowed across to the island with the fortress. Linora batted her way up to the fortress and found no one. Ghost went ahead and found doors on the other side of the island. We tied the oars under the dock in case anyone came by and made our way to the doors. Shocko was unable to pick them open, so Ayman wraithed through the crack and entered the building, then turned human again to turn the crank that opened the doors.

Inside we came to two doors; splitting up, we opened them simultaneously to a voice saying “What treachery is this?”. Yes, we'd located the goblin king, as well as a few others in a banquet hall. I cast Heat Metal at the king while Ayman put the goblins and a hobgoblin to sleep. The king began chanting something about thralls crushing our skulls and tentacles popped out of the floor, grabbing one of Dorian's men, Linora and Shocko. Ghost fired an arrow, but the king deflected it with his bracers then shot an acid bolt at SwampFox. I noticed the king's armor and dispelled its magic, yelling to the group to aim for him now. As Dorian's men and our fighters attacked the tentacles, Ghost fired more arrows at the king, who pulled off his crown as it was now burning hot. Ayman spooked one of the bugbears, causing it to run the wrong way to hide. Recovering, the king cast some sort of slowness spell, hitting everyone but me and SwampFox, who was finally able to free himself from the tentacle that had grabbed him. Unfortunately Linora got caught again and one of Dorian's men were killed, but Ghost continued to fire at the king. Trying to free my friends from their sluggishness, I cast a spell; it worked on Ayman and Shocko. Able to move at normal speed now, Ayman fired a dart at the king. Amazingly, that worked! The king coughed and fell to his knees and Linora set her dog on him.

The tentacles and other enemies gone, the king gasped that he wanted to be carried to his bed. Ghost obeyed and carried him upstairs as Ayman went ahead to check that the room was secure. As the king lay there, he explained that he had been a man once and that this was his curse. He was apparently slain and came back into this body, but didn't remember his original name.

Once the king was deceased, Linora flew off to try to locate the dragon hoard. We rowed the boats over and looted the loot, then headed back out of the cavern. Back in the armory in the mine, we gave the king's food to those injured, and I handed Dormaggs' staff to Katah's druid companion, which he seemed happy about. We made our way to the arena where we found that the slaves had tossed the goblins and hobgoblins into the pit with the troll. A dwarf named Thrur had become the leader of the slaves and we spread the news that the king and dragon were now dead. I went to retrieve our goblin friend Gribble while Linora showed the crown to Thrur, who said that it was mithril- what they'd been mining. The remaining goblins saw us (well, Linora) with the goblin king's crown and fled. Thrur told us that the dwarves would come to the mine so it would be cleared of goblins.

We made our way back to the surface; luckily it was night so we weren't blinded. We rested until daybreak, then made our way to Logging Town. We informed the mayor that we'd found slaves and killed the king and dragon, but that goblins were still there. The mayor gave me a letter to take to the king in Rinos, which I promised would get there. Comfortably back in Messenger-mode, I sent a message to the guild letting them know that we were successful on our mission.

~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox
May 24th, 3rd day of Darkmoon. Or so.

((This is a good place to stop; will post the rest soon.))

Monday, April 04, 2011

Some letters sent from Joven

Ken,                                                                              June 14th
Friends and I are heading west in company of ex-traveling companion. I have message of some importance to bring to Rinos; once delivered, I shall seek you out. Have much I want to tell you and would like to introduce you to said group.

Still no word from R and am rather worried, hoping you have news.

See you in a week or so,

This first letter was tied to a bird and sent off about a day's travel away from Joven.


This letter was sent north from Joven. Cyneric is from the south, but his parents have since relocated to the northern coast. This is quite to his liking, as it means he has an excuse for infrequent contact.

After spending my entire life avoiding what you tried to force me into, I've stumbled onto a path much like that anyway. Hope you are happy and thank you for leaving me so screwed up that I feel too guilty to enjoy it properly. You elitist snots can bite me.

... Where did THAT come from? He really needed to pay more attention to what he was writing as this clearly isn't what he wanted to say... although he'd sheepishly admit that getting those words out felt good. Crinkle that up and toss it into the waste basket. Try again with more tact.

I figured now would be wise to send you word as I am traveling through Joven and word would reach you quickly with the least amount of effort on the part of my brethren. No use asking one to travel far to where he won't be appreciated and likely will be thrown out on his arse as soon as he hands over this letter.
... Sigh. Crinkle that up, try once more. It's not like they'd actually do that. Probably. Possibly. Hopefully.

I am traveling through Joven and thought now would be a good time to contact you. As I've learned recently, word of the endeavors of my traveling companions and I has spread far, so I imagine you have an idea of what I have been experiencing, should you have cared to listen. Likely this is exaggerated, but perhaps now you will finally be pleased with your pacifistic, pariah son.
Crinkle crinkle, curse, grumble. One more try and if that doesn't work, he'll admit defeat and go back to pretending that his parents don't exist for a while.

I am traveling through Joven and, as I am relatively nearby, wanted to contact you. However, since it is west to Rinos my companions and I are headed, rather than north, a letter shall have to suffice. I hope that you and Mother are doing well and that the coast has proved an environment of comfort to the both of you.

Upon reaching Joven, I learned that news of my traveling party's exploits have reached great distances. I am not overly pleased with this, but I am going to assume that it means you've heard word of me, as well. Likely this has been exaggerated. However, yes, it means your clerical son has become an adventurer of some distinction. It is certainly not the path I wanted to end up on, but I am sure this is more to your liking than the thought of me toiling away in the backwaters, delivering mail from anyone who wandered into the mosque that day. I know you have always disliked that I entered into the priesthood (and this one in particular), so any amount of heroics is probably an improvement.

While in Rinos, I shall try to keep track of who is what and what is where because I know that sort of thing is of interest to you and Mother, but I have a feeling that Kendric is far better at relaying such news than I. Still, I will dutifully try to keep my eyes open.

We are setting out momentarily, so I must quickly seal this letter and ask one of my brethren to take care of it for me.

As I wrote above, I hope this finds you both well.
Your son,

Well, that'll have to do. It's unlikely his rather obtuse father would catch the contempt he felt, anyway, and this was about as civil as he could bring himself to sound. At least it appeared that he said all the right things, even if in actuality he'd either "forget" about that promise or give slightly wrong information, depending on what kind of mood he was in that day. Why did his family always have to be so difficult to deal with?

((Typing up the last few adventures now, but figured I may as well post these letters here as well as on my writing blog. What the heck, right?))