Within are to be writ the tales of daring and adventure of those who have placed themselves on the path of glory. Share your exploits with other Castlers & Crusaders!
Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:40 pm
Hello folks, and welcome to our little campaign. This campaign is played once every three monthes in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and the team consists of an international crew of geeks (one from France, one from the Netherlands, one from Spain, and one from Ireland). We started at first level and so far finished the first arc of the campaign. It took us two full weekends to go through all the stages of the first adventure.
Before I post the recap of the adventure proper, here's a little bit of background on the setting. Enjoy the read!
QUICK HISTORY OF NORAMBRIA
A long time ago, what’s nowadays called Norambria was part of the Dwarven kingdom of Mordaar, centered in the Blood Mountains, and whose capital hall was both opulent and powerfully armed. In the great Gleenag forest nearby dwelt an important community of elves, led by their Queen. In the plains and hills lived clans of nomadic humans, the Norambrians.
Although they swore lip fealty to the Dwarves of Mordaar, the Norambrians were more or less independent. When they were not busy fighting each other, they sometimes united under the rule of a warlord and raided the southern regions, and were thus feared for their bloodlust. Eventually, the kingdom of Arathor conquered the lands of the Norambrians, and forced peace upon the clans. The Arathorians then took on the task of civilizing the savages. The king also signed a trade deal with the Dwarves, and obtained free passage rights in the Gleenag Forest from the elves. Thus was born the March of Norambria.
Many years passed, and while Arathor and Norambria bonds grew stronger, a menace loomed its shadow over the Blood Mountains. The cruel orcs, hobgoblins and goblins of the peaks had united under the power of the mysterious Witch Queen, and her armies were launching assault after assault on the Dwarven capital and the territories around. In the forested areas, the elves were suddenly facing hordes of gnolls, attacking the villages and the trade routes. The most feared of the Witch Queen servants were the terrible Troll Lords, who plundered and destroyed countless communities. Many inhabitants abandoned their homes, and took refuge behind the walls of the growing center of the region, the city of Blackmoor.
Eventually, even after the humans, dwarves and elves had united their forces in hope of quashing the humanoids, Mordaar’s gates were broken and the dwarven halls fell under the power of the Witch Queen. It was a defeat of epic proportions. The Blood Mountains became a feared center of evil and death, and as a result the region around was nearly deserted. It remains so to this day.
Only the proclamation of Norambria as a royal province 100 years ago, and the continued growth of Blackmoor have brought some light to this otherwise chaotic region. As well, 20 years ago it appeared the reign of the Witch Queen suddenly came to an end, with many scouts bringing news that the humanoids were not allied anymore, instead fighting each other for domination. Also, the mysterious Witch Queen had disappeared. She has not been heard of since.
Slowly, the kingdom of Arathor has regained some ground on the beasts, thanks to adventurers, mercenaries and knightly orders operating from Blackmoor, and with the help of the elves of the Greenag, nowadays the southern half of the province is considered relatively “safe”. Humanoids remain the real masters of the wilds however. Multiple dangers are to be found once you cross the gates of the city, and one must count only on his weapons and experience for survival…
THE CITY OF BLACKMOOR
Blackmoor was originally founded as a heavily armed fort on the marshy banks of the Nord River, to facilitate the transit of trade between the densely populated centers of the south, the Dwarven kingdom of Mordaar in the Blood Mountains, and the elves of the Gleenag. It is roughly at the same period that the Arathorian kings established the new March of Norambria.
When Mordaar fell to the humanoids, Blackmoor became the refuge of many demi-humans and humans. The trade of gems and ore ceased, and instead the town redeveloped its economy around agriculture, timber and crafts. The city grew, and eventually, the king granted Norambria provincial status, with Blackmoor as its capital.
Today, Blackmoor is home to roughly 20,000 inhabitants. It is a vibrant and wealthy city, hosting many gifted and renowned craftsmen, and it is ruled by Baron Dekmar III and an elected city council of influent citizens, who gather at the Baron’s castle fortnightly. The Merchants Guild is one of the most powerful in the country. Through the years, many mercenary and knightly orders have set up shop in the city to fight the monsters of the wild, most notably the Burning Swords, the Company of Tunnels, or the paladins of the Gold Shield. They launch regular expeditions thanks to the funds of the city council.
Mages from afar have also come to Blackmoor in hope of finding a more tolerant attitude towards their trade , and as a result you can find an influential Wizards Guild here, whose Hall is as impressive as it is safely guarded. The wizards are respected but also feared by the common man, because they do have a real influence on the city politics, and they tend to settle their affairs their own way, without necessarily the city council’s approval.
Another powerful group is the Church of the Holy Light, headquartered in the newly built Cathedral, where believers can give offerings and pray to their ancestors and above all the Immortal Triad: Taram the Father of All Life, Beora the Mother-Saint, and their son Aster, Hero of all Heroes. The cult was born in the region, and nearly 95% of the human population associates with it. Demihumans and foreigners do have their own gods, but they definitely respect the power and teachings of the Church. The Paladins of the Temple protect the grounds of the cathedral and the priests.
Lastly, there’s another less visible power group in town, but one whom nearly every citizen fears: the Black Angels, the thieves’ guild of Blackmoor. Led by their master, King Silver, the Black Angels have cornered every bit of criminal activity in town, and they are also rumored to be the real masters of the city’s Arena, where gladiators battle each other for gold and glory every week during gory shows. No one knows for sure where the headquarters of the Black Angels are located, but it’s said to be either in the city slums or in the Necropolis, where strange sights are to be seen at nightfall.
INTO THE WILDS
Outside of Blackmoor, the terrain is varied with the vast forest expanses of the Gleenag, the rolling Blackmoor hills and the menacing Blood Mountain peaks up north. The further up north you go, the wilder and more unspoiled nature becomes, helped by the decades of political and humanoid unrest, which have pushed settlers away.
In the Blackmoor hills around the capital, you can find most of the provincial farming communities, all well defended and patrolled by men at arms. A small but brisk ore extraction business has developed in the latest years, thanks to the richness of the rocky soils and the adventurous spirit of gnome and halfling clans.
The Gleenag forest has been home to an important elven community for generations untold, and if they do respect the passage rights signed with the Arathorian king years ago, that doesn’t mean they welcome foreigners with open arms. The elves worship Ilsundal, father of all elves, and it is said that their queen is indeed an ever-reincarnating avatar of the deity. The forest has no secrets for them. They are fighting unrelenting packs of gnolls, who have settled the region since the war.
Two areas can offer shelter and comfort to weary travelers: Woodhaven Inn and Ramrhok Fort. Woodhaven Inn is considered to be at the center of the forest road, and has always been a respite area after days of travel. It is heavily armed and off limits of the elves jurisdiction. Here one can also conduct diplomatic and business affairs with them.
When you get to Ramrhok Fort, you get the sense that you have come to the end of civilization. And in more than one ways, it is true, as Ramrhok Fort marks the limit of human influence in the province. Beyond it, there’s only wilderness, inhabited and ruled only by various monsters. Since the end of the war, the Fort has also been the refuge of many dwarven clans, and they make up for half of the 1,500 inhabitants here. It is a grim place, where everyone carries weapons and knows that what lies beyond the safety of home is probably armed, dangerous and eager for slaughter.
Note that following the war, there are countless abandoned villages, forts and derelict farms, rumored to still hold treasures (and monsters). Adventurers have always tried their luck in Norambria. Many just don’t come back to tell the tale…
Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:45 pm
Please note that all players started the game with a main , level 2 character, and one secondary, level 1 companion. Here are the details about the group, at game's start.
THE GROUP AT GAME'S START
Main: Ramma “Heartless” (Human wizard)
Unlike my previous character who was rather friendly and an old warrior my new wizard character is actually a rather arrogant power hungry bastard. Not necessarily mean or out to do evil but like any true wizard the choice between knowledge/power/magic and saving someone (as an example) is no choice at all of course. He’s a very average human who can only be described as average. About 1.75, 70 kg, light blond hair, a relatively light complexion. He looks like a person who’d blend in the background quite well. Having been ignored most of his life has left Ramma with a lingering desire to prove himself to his peers. Having (at an early age) found the joys of magic, both practicing it as well as studying it, Ramma has decided that before he offers his services to a king, a noble (or anyone with enough money ) he will need to develop his skills and make a name for himself.
With that in mind his main motivations are fame and power (in the form of magic and knowledge).
The nickname “heartless” comes from an unfortunate accident during his studies. While studying fire magic a pupil made a grievous error and started a fire that spread throughout the library. Before the raging fire could be controlled one of the book cabinets fell over and trapped the unfortunate pupil, pinning him down. Ramma was the first person to reach the library and ran in. Even with a huge adrenaline rush and the combined effort of the stuck pupil and Ramma they were unable to shift the weight of the cabinet. Noticing the fire spreading to a set of extremely rare magic books Ramma made a quick decision to leave the pupil and rescue the books. As he was rushing out of the library he ran into several people who hence forth referred to him as a “heartless bastard”. Having picked up magic and it’s combat application of it, people have learned to take the word “bastard” out of that title and now refer to him as “heartless” So…not necessarily a bad or evil guy…but just a bit of a bastard.
Companion: Markus”Mouse”Locke (human monk)
Origin: Blackmoor city
Being orphaned at an early age and living on the streets making a living and surviving by falling in with a small group of street thieves and pick pocketing/window robbing for a living. At the age of 12 years old he started hanging around the gladiator arena where he met Ramma. Ramma taking an instant liking to be boy tasked him with small tasks such as carrying his equipment and binding his wounds. It’s the latter that led the young John Doe to discovering a talent and a desire for a career in medic. Unfortunately studying at the surgeon’s college is an expensive study and money is no longer coming as easy as it once was. Having a lot of practical experience in dressing wounds John now makes a living adventuring with Ramma the gladiator and acting as a field medic. All the while desperately saving every copper piece he has until the day he can afford an education. A relatively slight boy he stands at about 165-170cm tall, is of average build (wiry rather than slim though). Very ginger hair with freckles all over his face. His preferred weapon is a 1 handed crossbow. But Ramma’s tutelage has left him a more than capable hand to hand fighter especially with a small and swift weapon like a dagger. He’s quick of wit and utterly dedicated to Ramma who he considers a friend as well as a father figure.
Main: Raneb the Clockmaster, Dwarven Rogue
Origin: Eisokan, Sylsandia
Raneb grew up in the city of Eisokan, a powerful city-state beyond the Mountains of the Rampaging Trolls. The place was dirty and smelly, their streets were narrow and intricate in design, and their inhabitants were rude and selfish. However the place was also famous for their fine machinery and advanced manufacturing techniques. It is said that if you want to have a mechanism that works as smooth and fault-free as something built in Eisokan the only way to go is to get a magic item.
Raneb was the son of one of the old renowned clock masters of the city, Rhork Longfingers the Eleventh of his Name. Rhork showed Raneb how to adjust even the smallest cogs and gears and how to build fine looking clocks of amazing accuracy and complex mechanisms.
But of course, no work from Raneb was ever good enough for Rhork, who had the highest possible standards, and was constantly rejecting Raneb’s creations and mocking him for his lack of crafting skills. The fact that his father was getting older and older, and his own artefacts were a bit less impressive everyday was the only compensation for Raneb's constant humiliations. Also, day after day less customers visited the clock shop, so the money started to be a problem to keep the business running.
Raneb soon started to use his skills in other areas, specifically the disabling of locks. For him, trying to open the most secure doors in the city started to feel like a game. Using the tools from his father´s shop and his expertise most of the locks were easy to overcome for him.
He was recruited by one of the street gangs and received some combat training in exchange for his proficiency accessing locked places. Soon, he realized he didn’t like that kind of life. Even if the challenge of the thievery was thrilling, he felt there was something missing, something he should be doing with his life, bigger and better that plain and simple robbery.
The same day he decided to leave the thieves guild he arrived home and found his dad dead, still sitting down on his working chair. No signs of violence seemed to be a peaceful, natural death. On the desk in front of the corpse Raneb saw a small golden chest, the size of a shoe, carved with runes, and secured with a sturdy brass lock also covered in runes. The runes read: “Only the master with the true key will be able to open me”
Raneb was unable to find any clue about the owner of the chest, but some of the designs on it reminded him of some his father's previous jobs, many years ago. So was the chest something Rhork planned to leave for his only son? Or was a container that someone gave to the clock master with the only task of opening it? Maybe his father locked something inside years ago and now was trying to retrieve it when the Reaper called him...
Feeling an unusual excitement he took out of his belt the set of special lock picking tools and tried to open the brass lock. He was shocked in two ways: one, he realized the lock was way beyond his current level of opening skills. Two, he was actually shocked by a painful electric pulse that, even if not lethal, left him unconscious for a couple of minutes.
Anyway, Raneb considered he could not leave the chest there and took it with him. Feeling no more than despise for his father's shop, he left the place and the city of Eisokan, looking for some adventure to fill in the emptiness of his soul – and possible his empty pockets at the same time.
Personality: he is introvert, shy and doesn't speak much. He thinks people should be like mechanisms: easy to understand, straightforward to interact with, like “pull this lever, press this button, and get the effect you want” but unsurprisingly things are not that simple and people tend to perceive Raneb as rude and insensitive. His previous life full of disdain from his father has left him with the necessity of achieving something important and worthy; however it would be for his own satisfaction, he doesn't look for fame or prestige. He met Ramma the wizard in an Inn and was instantly attracted by the aura of wisdom of the wizard, something he never had. Also, the fact that both of them were broke united them in some way.
Companion: Yato Carrothair (Dwarven Fighter)
Yato has been self-confident to the point of arrogance since he was a kid. He was able to aim with the bow with an unusual accuracy for the dwarves in his town. When he was still a teenager he won several archery contests with participants that tripled his age. He volunteered to be part of the town's watch and helped to kill several nasty creatures from afar with his powerful bow.
One day all changed. He was playing a dice game of Medusa’s Eyes in an Inn far away from his town. He was having a winning strike and drank a lot of beer to celebrate while still playing, pushing his luck time after time. Then he challenged a half-orc to play against him.
Yato was drunk at that point, and also feeling overconfident once again, so when he defeated the half-orc could not keep his mouth shut and started to ridicule the loser, calling him things like “dumb lettuce head” and saying things like “you are as bald as you suck playing dice” The half-orc, a proud elder warrior, got enraged and attacked him with a sword.
Yato was forced to retreat; the warrior was so reckless and aggressive that his furious blows accidentally killed two bystanders. Yato had just enough time to grab the bow and jump by the window, then run away hoping nobody saw him as it would be a great dishonour for a dwarf to flee like that… but he didn't had any melee weapon so he didn't stand a chance against the half-orc, and besides he was still a bit drunk, so retreating was the only option.
Ashamed of himself, and tired after several hours running, he arrived at the next village and paid for a night stay at the road´s nearest inn. The next morning he went out of his room and when he was walking downstairs he saw the half-orc asking questions to the inn´s bartender while keeping the hand over his sword´s pommel.
Yato quickly and silently came back to the first floor and looked for a way to leave the inn without being noticed. Why was the half-orc so stubborn in hunting him? It was just a stupid joke during a stupid dice game after all.
While opening the window to jump to the street, Yato had the sudden feeling that the fact the half-orc joined the game with him the previous day was not a coincidence… Was someone planning to kill him for some reason and the half-orc was the assassin? Or maybe the two apparently innocent guys killed in the other inn when the warrior enraged were the real target and Yato was no more than a witness to eliminate?
Yato shook his head, confused, thinking that he was probably imagining too many things. The half-orc was probably no more than an obstinate, too-proud-of-himself son of a troll and his obsession with Yato had no other source than hurt feelings.
Feeling too embarrassed to go back to his village (or maybe a bit scared the half-orc was able to trace him back to it), Yato initiated a journey with the objective of getting as far away from the warrior chasing him as possible… and possibly, of getting strong enough to defeat him giving in the future if their paths crossed again.
Personality: for a dwarf Yato is not very concerned about life-lasting oaths and loyalty to long time dead family members. He is nevertheless trustful and very reliable, especially with his friends and immediate family. He almost never speaks about it but the fact his adventurer career was initiated basically as a way to flee from a fight is something that embarrass him. Yato likes social interaction, drinking strong ales, and to make displays of his skill with projectile weapons. He despises melee fights and prefers to engage enemies from afar with his custom made bow, but he is skilled with the sword and will not refuse a good fight if a ranged confrontation is not possible. His rushed escape from his town has left him with empty pockets, so he is more than eager of finding a quick way to get some good money.
Main: Shingin Hijoro (Elf Fighter)
Origin: Elven court, province of Brynnis
Shingin is a young elf who at his father insistence (himself a famous elf warrior) has been training in the way of the sword from a young age. He is adventuring in order to meet opponents to test himself as his sparring partners have not been adequate (unknown to him his opponents are deliberately losing so as not to attract the displeasure of the Hijoro family). He does have some ability but he thinks it is much greater than it is. As a beginner he is still permitted the use of a shield. He is looking forward to seeing the wider world.
Companion: Matsuka Zechan (Elf Cleric of Ilsundal)
Origin: Elven court, province of Brynnis
Matsuka is acting as a mentor to Shingin, he is an old elf who has journeyed extensively in the world. He is a cleric of Ilsundal. He believes in keeping an open mind and has a generally cheerful out look of live. He has established several human villages where he hopes to breed / strengthen certain human characteristics (this is voluntary). Their short life styles makes then ideal for his work on genetics. He once met a dwarf and thought he was a talking rock. He is still not sure that dwarves are not some sort of talking dirt / rock.
Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:46 pm
DIARY PART I
Journal of Matsuka
I am writing this journal in the common tongue so that it may be of service to all races in helping them to understand the Shinukishi, or in the common tongue Elves. Where a direct translation of an elvish term does not exist in the common tongue I have used an approximate translation, indicated in brackets. While Elves generally consider the passage of days too short a time to be worth measuring accurately, I discovered on my travels that the shorter lived races generally consider the passing of days an important measure of time and, as such, I have done my best to give an accurate account of time in this journal.
As Kitsuka (there is no word for this in the common tongue, a rough translation would be mentor / guide / companion) to Shingin on his Nukochi (challenge / growth / rite of passage / journey), we journeyed to the City of Blackmoor in The Royal Province of Norambria. Blackmoor is on the very edge of what humans would call civilisation. To the North lies the Gleenag Forest and beyond that, past the River Firelight, the mighty Blood Mountains stand. Suffice to say that these regions once peaceful and prosperous have now become dark and dangerous.
Usually in a city like Blackmoor, we could rely on the hospitality of the Elven community. Shingin as a lord’s son would be welcome in any Elven household and similarly, with my age and wisdom, I often find myself welcome in such homes. However as part of the Nukochi, we must make our own way and so, we ended up renting a room. This was my first lesson in the different notions of time keeping between Elves and the other races, especially humans. In my dealings with humans before I had noticed that they like to keep track of the days and weeks, I simply viewed this as a quirk of the human character (to a lesser extent this habit can be noted in the other races) in the same way they would view someone who meticulously recorded the seconds of each day. However, after much discussion with the Innkeeper, I discovered it was more than a mere quirk, it was an obsession. He wanted to charge me for EACH DAY in the Inn. I was shocked, I would have to keep track of each day I was there and pay him for it, such tedium. I would imagine as humans live such short lives that would not want to clutter their years up with such trivial tasks, apparently not. Now that my eyes were open to such things I noted that a lot of humans are the same, obsessively recording things in days and weeks, journey times, supplies, they even keep track of HOURS!!!! That last one took some getting used to. After thinking about this habit, I can only guess that it is caused by the shorter live spans on the humans, meaning that they need to be organised in order to fit in as much as possible into their lives. Certainly they are always rushing about.
Paying for the room in the Inn left us short on funds, however, not long after we realised we were low on funds, Shingin was offered a job by a man who said he was working on behalf of a gentleman named Cassius Vorn and that if we were interested we were to meet him in a tavern called the Boiling Cauldron tonight. All this rushing about really is annoying but oddly exhilarating too. I said a quick prayer to Ilsundal and we went to the Boiling Cauldron.
After wondering around for a few hours or so, we found the Boiling Cauldron, it is located in the area of Blackmoor the humans call the Slums, at least that’s what I think it is called. It is where they put their unwanted people and industries. When we arrived there was a huge man sitting at a table, his knuckles carried heavy scarring, though he looked friendly enough. Beside him was a pale bitter looking man, who, from his demeanour wished to be anywhere else, probably in a library, he had the look of a scholar / mage. The former was certainly a fighter of some description. After a few minutes, two Dwarves (talking rocks) entered the bar. As it turns out calling them talking rocks is an insult and in the manner of humans to cut a long story short they are not a type of rock but are apparently mammals with feelings and intellect! Though why humans feel the need to cut a long story short is beyond me, after all, if a story is long, is it not worth telling all of it? To cut it short is to deprive oneself of a chance to tell the story and the listener the chance to enjoy the story. I only do so now, as I hope this journal will be read by both human and elf and humans may appreciate my shortening of the story, even if it does go against my instincts.
An associate of Cassius, entered into the bar from the back area of the bar separated from us by a heavy curtain. He approached us and beckoned us, the dwarves and the humans I mentioned earlier to follow him to the back area where he introduced us to Cassius Vorn. The others were also introduced to Shingin and I, the large human was Mouse and the other was Heartless, I was right he was (and I assume he still is a mage) and the Dwarves were Raneb and Yato (and not rocks of any description). Cassius said the job was simple; Cassius wanted us to obtain a book from the mage Wartus. Humans do have strange notions, I would never consider taking anything from a mage a simple task, even Elven mages tend to be the obsessive type that keep a keen eye on their materials, especially books. He informed us that Wartus has a tower in the city where the book is likely to be kept and that the tower is likely to be well protected by a number of guards and various magical methods. Apparently obtain, means steal.
Cassius left and we discussed the matter amongst ourselves, though Cassius was good enough to allow us to have some drinks on his tab. Even if the servants did have to be reminded a few times to bring the wine. I though with all the rushing around humans do that the service in the human Inn would be quicker. Perhaps some of the impatience of humans is rubbing off on me, a worrying thought certainly Shingin did not seem to mind the slow service. Heartless said that he knew of this Wartus and that he was a mage of the sixth circle, which apparently makes him a mighty mage amongst humans and that he collects precious objects. He also indicated that Wartus spends time at the Mage’s Guild in the city. If we accept this job this may be the best time to sneak in. The illegal nature of the job did not bother me over much, as I would simply leave the city and stay away until everyone forgot about the crime, 100 years should easily do it.
Usually I would ask for some time to think about such an offer, a month or perhaps two but after another discussion about the nature of time with the Innkeeper, who if he was not an Innkeeper would make a very good philosopher, we decided to accept the offer. I checked with the Elven community to see if they knew anything about this Wartus or Cassius and Shingin spoke to those at the training grounds. My companions asked around town as well. Between us we discovered that Cassius has an interest in history specifically in the Kingdom of Dwarves that existed to the North many years ago. We found that Wartus is a collector of art, magic items (what wizard is not) and historical items and that he keeps to himself a lot and is not particularly liked around the city. We also discovered that he has an apprentice that is rarely seen except in the presence of his master. To recap we are going to steal what without a doubt is the pride of a powerful, grumpy wizard’s collection. After over 1,000 years of life a person can sometimes become quite jaded, this is not going to be one of those times. I am looking forward to seeing how this group works and how Shingin handles himself in the peril we will surely find ourselves in.
Without much choice in the matter, we decided to take the job. Seeing as this Wartus was a powerful mage, well powerful for a human anyway. We decided that Stealth would be the best option. My suggestion that Cassius simply wait for Wartus to die of old age and then collect the book was not well received. Instead Cassius gave us a week to obtain the book, at least I think it was a week, these short measures of time can be difficult to keep track of. Apparently he needs to book for some sort of excavation in the Dwarven ruins to the North, which is time sensitive. This I understand as I have often returned to an area to find that in the hundreds of years since I was last there the area has changed completely with new forests having sprung up or old forests disappeared and it is almost impossible to find the old paths I travelled, I asked no more questions.
In hindsight, we really should have sought the aid of the thieves’ guild of Blackmoor, it might have made our lives easier but, perhaps not as much fun. In time we did seek their aid, well they found us and ‘offered’ their aid for a price and a steep price it was but I am getting ahead of myself. We decided that the best course of action was to scout the tower and split up and meet back later that night in a nearby tavern, not wanting to be seen in the same one again. Wartus’ tower was a large structure standing close to the centre of the town. It was an ugly building, with very little ornamentation, save a couple of sad, pathetic look gargoyles at the each of the four corners of the top of the tower. The sheer ugliness of the building offended me. Why would a powerful mage live in such a building? The ways of humans are strange, the ways of mages are strange, and the ways of human mages are strange beyond belief. Oh, yes, the ugly tower was also surrounded by a high solid (but as well later discovered surprisingly easy to climb) wall. Shingin and I decided that the best tactic would be for us to climb a nearby bell-tower to try and get a view into the grounds of the tower. We discovered that inside the grounds there were a few guards and some trees. The really interesting bit was the arcane runestone standing at the top of the tower. It had been out of sight when we were on the ground, however without improved vantage, we could clearly see the stone. It was covered in arcane symbols, after careful consideration of the symbols I realised I had no clue as to what they did. I would inform the mage Heartless of this perhaps with his access to the mage’s guild library he might be able to glean some knowledge of this stone.
While we were looking at the tower from a high, our Dwarven colleagues were looking at the tower and surrounding wall from the alleys around the tower. These dwarves were skilled in many things, stonework, fast-talking, fighting, drinking but stealth is not one of them. After knocking on the door a few times to check . . . well, to be honest I am not sure what they were checking but a servant of some sort did answer the door and talk to our dwarves for a while. I think they pretended to be selling some goods! I thought this was a good lie but this was only the tip of their creative ability with the truth (as I was later to discover). They then decided to knock on the walls at various points, I assume (correctly as they later informed me) that this was to check the structural stability of the walls and some other dwarf jargon to do with composition and density, (to be honest I stopped listening after the first sentence, (I have found the ability to phase out of a conversation to be very useful). To summarise the interesting treatise (essay) they gave us, the wall is solid (well of course, how else could it stand?). Unsurprisingly, walking along the walls of a mage’s tower and knocking it at various points, is a strange, some would say suspicious thing to do. Certainly the guards that found them doing so thought it was suspicious and while I cannot be sure what was said it ended up with the dwarves running down different alleys in an attempt (successful as it later turned out) to avoid the guards. These antics amused Shingin to no end. There is a sadistic sense of humour in this young elf. I hope he does not go badly like his older brother. So far I have detected no badness in him, only a desire to prove himself a warrior worthy of his family-name. I better keep an eye on him in any case.
The humans decided their efforts would be better spent getting an idea of the habits of Wartus and his apprentice. After a few days of sneakily observing the tower, we decided to make our attempt to obtain this valuable book. The mage Heartless had by sucking up to everyone in the Mage’s Guild determined that Wartus would be attending a meeting of the higher level mages in a few days. The meeting would likely take a few hours, giving us some time to work in. I should point out that sucking up to higher level mages is how low level mages advance. This is even true in Elven society, though usually a family will arrange for an apprenticeship to be granted. Such things are generally determined on a political basis depending on what favours one can call in and the relative standing of the family in question.
We decided that the best approach was to meet in one of the side alleys (not the one the guards previously found the dwarves poking around in).
It is said by humans and Dwarves (not-rocks) that elves are naturally good at moving unheard and do this deliberately to avoid the other races, especially in forests. This is not really true, we simply move through the forest in a natural way, aware of and at peace with the forest. Other races tend to stomp though the forest viewing it as an obstacle and seek to subdue in on their way to their final destination. They do not listen to its voices. If they did they would find in the forest a valuable ally seeking to help them on their way. Cities are in no way comparable to forests, their voices (when they have one) is of business and suffering, it is not a voice I care to listen to for very long. I could go on but to summarise, (which as I pointed out earlier is against my instincts, however I doubt anyone reading this would want to my thoughts on the awareness of cities) elves are not stealthy in cities.
Usually I would be embarrassed by this lack of a skill so vital to the success of our enterprise. However, as I was to discover our colleagues were equally skilled. Once we got to the alley we posted guards at either end to tell us if anyone was coming, we decided that as the two dwarves were known to the guards one of them would act as a lookout (I am not sure of the wisdom of this but seeing as we had been making bad decisions from the very start of this adventure, it was keeping in character), I think Shingin took the other lookout position. The second dwarf, I am not sure which one he was. I say he, I assume it was a ‘he’ again I am not really sure. I am beginning to think my lack of knowledge of these dwarves is a gap in my education that I need to resolve. Never would I have thought that there was anything interesting about these dwarves but the more time I spend around them the more I become intrigued by their strange ways. Perhaps, I should ask them what sex they are? I did, they are male, and the question seemed to offend them.
To scale the wall the second dwarf, threw a rope around the branch of a tree that hung out over the wall. Of course, the guards picked that moment to show up. My recollection is that we did not have much warning before they arrived and so had to make a run for it (I have no idea what happened to our lookouts and was not going to ask). We stumbled straight into the guards. Seeing six people come out of an alley beside Wartus’ tower, several of which wore armour caused some suspicion in the guards. Despite our best efforts to explain that we had an entirely legitimate reason for being in the alley (again the Dwarves ability to bend, ignore and twist the truth was truly amazing to behold) they insisted we accompany them. Out of respect for my colleagues that call this tomb of voices, a home, I indicated to Shingin that we should not resist.
On our way from the tower, probably to the guard house, to answer some longwinded and boring questions about the purpose of our existence and the boring details of every minutes of our lives for the last few hours (typically ‘what were you doing’, ‘what do you want’), seriously those questions are so open ended I could talk for days on them (as a note to other elves reading this, I have done this before with human guards, and while we both know (well I do, you may not) an elf guard will patiently wait for a day or two for you to finish your story, it seems to annoy humans no end, this is probably as a result of their generally impatience, see my earlier observations), I remembered the rope we left dangling from the tree (was someone in the tree? I cannot remember). I came up with a cunning plan (Heartless later informed me that my plan was obvious, dangerous and lacking in all subtly, I thought it was very subtle, perhaps humans are simply more devious than I had noticed before), I would pretend to fall, after all I am old (to these humans, several of whom upon hearing my age refused to believe it) and could be frail. I will then reach out and grab a guard and bring him down was also falling into Shingin who will do the same. During the confusion one of the party might have a chance to return to the alley and hide the rope.
The plan worked. After leading us from the inner city the guards informed us that they simply could not be bothered to bring us in for questioning.
(Here the diary ends and no trace of any other entries from this Matsuka gentleman were ever found. Fortunately, a seer who was handsomely paid got to vision some of the events that befell this ill-fated group of adventurers…)
Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:50 pm
DIARY PART II
Testimony of the seer
Let me gather my thoughts! Let me concentrate! Do you think this comes easy, given how long ago these events took place, and the chaotic nature of it all? I can’t conjure visions the same way you down those tankards, it takes time and dedication. Besides, it’s not exactly like we’re talking epic heroes or demigods here are we…
Right, here we go…Hmm, interesting…Yes, I see….I can see it all now…
…As it happened, the group broke in the tower of Wartus, not via the sewers as common sense would have had it, but by climbing the exterior walls. Yes, nobody expected that. They broke the locks and got in the last floor of the tower, where, as one would expect, they disturbed the golem that Wartus had bought to protect his cherished collection. The construct tried to block the group from stealing the book, but it was finally unsuccessful. As well, they were able to lock another guard (or maybe the magician himself?) inside the close room.
Following a short battle, the group retrieved the book that Vorn wanted, and escaped the tower and the guards, amid the chaos of the robbery. As it was however, that was not the end of the job for the group, as they soon discovered that a massive watch operation was underway, with Vorn and his associates in jail, and the group very much in dire straits, with watchmen looking everywhere for them.
Trying to flee the city, they discovered that they could not do it on their own, and were approached by shady characters who offered them a way out: the helping hand of the Black Angels Guild, although in return of a healthy profit on the goods the group could retrieve in Mordaar. Reluctantly but wisely, the group agreed to the deal (30% cut on the gold and riches found), and were instructed to link with Willy Redbeard the Cooper in Fort Ramrhok, at the extreme north of the province. With their reputations in tatters and watchmen everywhere, the group waited for their contact to lead them out of the city walls…
Down in the sewers, they hooked up with Wengo, a beggar who knew this underworld like the back of his hand, and only had to fight a carrion crawler before seeing the light of day (or night) again. They crossed the river and were on their way, just after witnessing mercenaries leaving the city gates, maybe to chase them.
A day or two after that, while they were advancing off-road, the group ambushed some mercenaries setting up camp for the night, and it was indeed confirmed that the heavily armed troup they saw leaving Blackmoor were after them. A bounty was on their heads, offered both by the city and the wizard’s guild. They left one of the guards behind, but the mage finally decided to kill the guard instead.
Conscious that they had time and armed resources against them, the group decided to rush to Fort Ramrhok, and abandon daytime travel in favor of night time crossing. They crossed straight through the mysterious Gleenag forest, not even stopping at the famous Woodhaven Inn for a breather, fearing that mercenaries might await them there.On their way, they survived the assaults of hungry harpies, and defeated one of the giant eagles led by a guild apprentice. Luck seemed to be on their side, and the days went by quickly. Oh, and they also met a Gnomish convoy led by a trader named Arto Willingham, who sold them some of his renowned Gnomish Healing Brandy.
Finally, they reached Fort Ramrhok, and they were able to connect with Willy RedBeard. But their stay in the gloomy, snowy fort town was not to be peaceful (looks like this group always found ways to end in trouble, wherever they may be…). They were found and chased around town by the mercenaries (thanks to some locals), while Yato the dwarven ranger found out his nemesis, a nameless half-orc, was on his tail again.
The group agreed to meet the half-orc outside the city walls, and he revealed he was indeed on Yato’s trail because of a contract placed on the head of the young dwarf. The conversation quickly escalated, and the group witnessed some of the half-orc power when he launched poisoned daggers at them (thankfully the throws were off) before disappearing. Not only did the group have half of Norambria chasing them, they now had to deal with a cunning, resolute professional assassin as well.
But back to the chase. The group split and started running around back alleys, fighting mercenaries here and there (and showing a tremendous amount of firepower in doing so). They reached Willy’s shop, and the Black Angel contact hid them as best he could, sending his own son finding the last of the group, still stranded and running around town. Yep, elves, always late those pointy eared weasels…
Willy had a plan. He hid the group inside barrels that were to leave in the canteen of a column of Paladins leaving for the northern wilds. At the first chance, he would release the group and send them on their way to the towering mountains. The group were able to witness from their uncomfortable spots the walls of the fort slowly disappearing behind them, and the numerous and shiny armors of the mounted paladins.
As promised, Willy freed the group from the barrels, and off they were again, far from Fort Ramrhok and mercenaries and assassins. They made their way quickly through the wild, despite the snow and dangers lurking around. Eventually, they reached the mountains, and when they saw the first ruined walls and towers, they knew they had reached their destination.
But getting close to Mordaar was not their goal – it was reaching the forgotten tower of the Troll Lords, where they should find the fabled treasure of the Witch Queen’s closest servants. Many had failed, but the prize of their honor and reputation was fixed, and there was no way going back empty handed. Fortunately, they had the book of Wartus, and it contained valuable clues on how to reach the tower in the maze of Mordaar…
The seer stopped there for a second or two, as if he was collecting and interpreting the stream of thoughts going through his mind. That gave the listeners some time to take a look at the book they had paid dearly for, and look through some marked passages- presumably by the group itself...
EXTRACT FROM THE CHRONICLES OF THE RUNE
"The old way to the tower is blocked and beyond the reach of the mortals, for the Troll Lords magically blocked its entrance a long time ago. Old maps tell us however that it exists a forgotten path via the depths of the old Foreign Quarter of Mordaar, whose gates located across the old stream of Vanh and the statues of the elven guardians of the waterfall were unmissable.
On its 5th underground level, where stood the Korodhrim Portal, there is a hidden staircase, behind the statue of King Galdor the Unwieldy, which apparently leads into the Tower of the Prelates. This secret passage was used by servants to travel between the two structures, and from the accounts of the survivors, was not immediately discovered by the invading monsters when they stormed Mordaar. Who knows what has happened since then however…”
When they reached the first ruins, they discovered that the place was a real labyrinth of stones, boulders and ruined walls. Per chance, they stumbled upon a band of beardless dwarves setting up camp for the night. Rather than assaulting them, they decided that parley was maybe the best options, and that maybe they could find allies in the dangers of Mordaar. Indeed, this band of dwarves had come from the distant city of Hammergate to retrieve a sacred relic of their clan, the Goldhelms. Led by the young Gorn, the dwarves would prove very helpful in the coming exploration.
As described in the book, the group found the passage to the stream and the gates of the old foreign quarter. There, just passed the old gates, they battled a pack of goblins that had set up residence, and they valiantly defeated them. On the same level, they discovered a locked door that prove inoperable despite their best efforts (Raneb would eventually break his tools trying to force the lock), and a concealed passage revealing a painted floor and stairs leading below. The group decided to postpone exploration this way for the moment.
On the other side of the level, amid sounds of distant chanting, stairs to a lower level revealed what appeared to be a shrine of some sort, tended by a goblin shaman and his acolytes. The fight was fiercer than on the floor above, but the group prevailed once again. The shrine gave way to a locked door, and beyond, the group discovered a crypt, colder than anything they had ever experienced, even in the wild rugged mountains. They had however to withdraw hastily, as shadows haunted the room, and the group was only able to destroy the foul undead once they retrieved sacred water.
Goblin reinforcements attacked as the group went back to the first level, and again, victory was at hands. They decided to go to the other passage, but once they took the stairs, the atmosphere changed drastically. A muffed, scary breathing was heard, and they discovered a strange, melting corridor, where stone (and reality?) was slowly rotting away. Scared at the prospect of exploring further, the group decided to retreat for now, and come up with an updated strategy. They made their way back to the outside camp, only to discover that the dwarves led there had been slain. Seeing that, some of the dwarves left, and only Gorn and his cousin Relgar stayed with the group, resolute on fulfilling their quest…
Night was upon the mountains, and more dangers were to be faced…
This is as far as my vision will go today, my masters. You can offer me as much gold and riches as you like, but there’s no way the gods will reveal more. And I’m tired. So I’ll leave you for now, and go enjoy some of that fine southern wine at the arena’s taverns. Off with you!
Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:20 pm
3rd part of the group's adventures in the shadows of the old dwarven halls. More combat, terrors and loot await our intrepid explorers. This time, however, the opposition proves much more deadlier...
DIARY PART III
The diary of Heartless
As I sit here looking out the window of my room gently stroking the object of my desire I can’t help but reminisce, and wonder how I ended up in this fortunate situation. I realise that we are but scant weeks away from being visited by several dozen, undoubtedly armed, men who’ll want to have a discussion about our flight from the city. But none of that matters. I’m in a warm room with a comfortable bed, plenty of food and a mysterious but undeniably powerful object to study. This is as close to happy as I’ve been in a long, long time.
Allow me to indulge myself and let my mind wander across my…..servants? No….slaves? No…what’s that word…..ah yes…My companions. At the mere thought of them I’m reminded again that as irritating as they are, they do serve a purpose and fill the niche I’m finding difficult to close off. The hardy and sneaky dwarves are oddly skilled with both the weapons they wield as well as the tools they hide from outsiders. Not to mention the two elves. Frail and delicate as they might appear to an outsider , even one as knowledgeable and amazing as I myself, have to admit their courage and sheer brutality in battle is commendable. Of course I’d never admit to any of this outside of the comfort of my own written thoughts. Which leaves me with my servant….for a big stupid hired hand I’ll admit having his large physical presence behind me was oddly reassuring. Of course I don’t believe in fraternising with the hired help but I’m found myself smiling at the odd campfire joke more and more. Perhaps this is why there is a fire raging within me at the thought of the loss we all experienced in the last few days. Sure they were a ragtag band of unworthy brutes with no finesse in their wretched bodies, but they were MY ragtag band of brutes. And vengeance has been wreaked on the ones who took them from me.
Allow me to recap some of the events that transpired over the last few days…
When we returned to the dwarven camp we found it in absolute disarray with our pack animals gone and the dwarven companions we sent out to wait for us gone. We recuperated and gathered what useful items we could before we decided to return back to the dungeon we entered earlier in an effort to find this accursed entrance to the Troll Lords’ tower. Before we very well got ready to move we found ourselves jumped by a group of large humanoid creatures flinging rocks at us. Unfortunately I don’t remember to overly much of what happened as I was knocked out cold as soon as the fighting started. This in itself was probably a blessing in disguise as I found out after wards the short round rocks that we call dwarven companions dared to touch me without my consent. They will die in their sleep! The fact they most likely saved my life only grants them a quick death rather than the long drawn out torture I have prepared. From what I understand our group managed to beat these filthy creatures at their own game and kill them like the unworthy worms they are. Once we were ready to move forward the most wonderful thing happened. We were visited by a scried spirit of Master Lazarus Nilka. Master Nilka is a wizard of the highest order and one of the most powerful magic wielders I’ve ever met. I’ll admit that I was impressed by my dwarven companions’ ability to kneel and show the proper respect a man of his stature deserves. His proposition was clear and simple. Retrieve the Orb of Thanatos and have our reputations restored and favour granted with the guild. This is of secondary importance to me. A reputation will be restored once the last bad mouther is killed, and a town is easily wiped out. But a mage of the highest order entrusting me with an object of such potential raw power…I am flabbergasted and honoured beyond believe. I’ll put master Nilka on my “Do not kill” list for sure now.
As we made our way into the dungeon we granted our dwarven companions one more go at opening the locked door that had eluded them during our earlier foray into this part of the dungeon. I was thoroughly surprised when the little pebbles managed to overcome their inborn non magical uselessness and opened the door with a resounding click. Our elven warrior rushed into the room only to be met by a shock passing through his body. The combination of magic being displayed and one of my companions being hurt put me in a good humour for the rest of the day. A diary we found one of the bodies gave us more back ground on what happened here in this godforsaken place.
As we made our way down the stairs I couldn’t help but wonder how much raw power was put into the intricate illusion magic I saw and felt all around me. To this day I don’t know whether reality was being genuinely altered or if it was all 1 big illusion. And at this level of magical abilities…what is the difference? Behind this magical hallway we found a room filled to the brim with magical trinkets and signs on the floor. As I stood in awe at the sheer potential of a find like this our elven companies rushed past me to protect us from what they perceived as danger. Having determined this magic was demonic in nature they quickly set about cleansing the room. A conversation was had between our religious friend and what appears to be a demonic entity held in a place of warding showed no outcome or signs of being solved as our clerics religious conviction prohibited him from dealing with entities as such. At this junction I’ll admit that although seeing magic as good or evil is an archaic and absolutely wrong way of thinking, despite my reluctance I’m impressed by the sheer resolve displayed by this religious mad man.
As the rest of our group moved into the room I tried to outfox my companions by dashing past them in an effort to talk to this never ending source of power and wisdom. Oh how I could live if I could just tap 1% of the knowledge in that brain. The power I could wield! Think of the power and glory! Unfortunately in my feverous need for power I gave away my plan too early and our cleric stopped me in my tracks. It’s only after a struggle that required the intervention of mouse and Shinjin to separate us, which he recognised the almost religious fever and he accepted the inevitable. Regardless of his eventual acceptance of the inevitability of me facing this demon I will kill him in his sleep for the insult of laying hands upon me. I found the demon’s name was Gryphax and that he was looking for an object named “The Vial of angel tears” in return he would give us the means to enter the fabled treasure chamber in the Troll Lord’s tower. Although I am sure this entity with betray us I cannot risk missing out on all the knowledge and power I could absorb from this creature.
Before we pushed on into the depths of this dungeon a surprising event occurred. Our cleric dashed out of the dungeon offended and deeply troubled by our dealings with this demon. An unfortunate decision for the rest of us but one can’t but help and admire his devotion. Although I’ll admit I am somewhat troubled by the prospect of not killing him in his sleep.
Fortunately for us upon reaching the deeper levels of this dungeon we managed to free a prisoner by the name of Kolock. Kolock appears to be a barbarian taken prisoner….of course all non-magic users are barbarians and deserve to be imprisoned for their inability to see what is really important in life, but I will admit this particular ,actual barbarian, is a huge slab of muscle and looks fierce beyond words.
We fought our way through this strange and twisted placed including a room dedicated to interrogation. My companions referred to it and its (now dead) inhabitant as a torture room. They clearly fail to see the importance and viability of torture as a tool to extract information. For a group of warriors are dangerous and fierce as they are, sometimes their innocence amuses me. We eventually found the golden helm one of the dwarves kept whining about. I believe his name is Gorn, although why you’d name a servant I’m still not clear. He assured us we would always be welcome in his city and the gates would always be open to us. As if mere gates could stop me from entering his puny city if I wanted to.
On our way out of the dungeon we gave the Vial of Angels Tears to the demon Gryphax. He, of course, betrayed us and fled swiftly promising to visit us again “real soon”. Words cannot express how uninterested I am in this demons hollow threats. IN my possession I have what can only be described as unlimited knowledge through a spyglass.
It wasn’t until we ended up at the lowest level of this dungeon where we were met with what seemed a simple fight with some gargoyles that I realised that even a man as invincible and powerful as I am has his limits. As we were investigating this huge room, and what I had initially seen as a large hoard of gold (which turned out to be a clever, yet irritating, illusion) a demon of incalculable power appeared to us. Having expanded most of my arsenal I decided to hang back and observe my companions, if I’m going to die at least I’ll have a good show.
To my utter amazement their clever thinking and quick finger work in performing a juggling act with magical weapons (SUCH LACK OF RESPECT...I shall kill them in their sleep) made short work of this beautiful entity from another plane. As I watched them take down this demon one of the biggest inconveniences I’ve had in a long time happened. My servant Mouse had the misfortune of being transported through a still open portal into what I can only assume is the demon’s place of origin. Sure he’s probably being tortured to death and slowly being flailed think of the secrets he’ll see in his short life! Think of the power he’ll witness. I’m irritated that I’ll have to do my own lifting from now off on but other than that I’m not overly bothered with the loss of this big hunk of meat. Not at all. He wasn’t useful for the rest at all. Not even that one time he saved my life in a bar. Or the time he cracked open a door using nothing but his fists. Or the time his physical prowess saved our group from certain death. Bah…bloody Mouse.
As a side note I will have to admit a begrudging respect for one of the dwarves who rather than let this death go to waste, he managed to grab the magical item mouse was carrying. A ring which will hence forth help our barbarian.
Having bested the demon we used the dwarves’ cleverness with locks and stone and such to find the hidden entrance to the troll lord’s tower. Hidden passage I should say as we spent literally hours walking through this hallway before we eventually emerged in front of a huge tower in the mountains.
It was here we met a man with the most unusual name…Orlang Donuts. He appeared to be a hunter of some kind and although uninteresting due to his lack of magical abilities I’ll admit that gleam of hatred I saw in his eyes intrigues me. He seems to handle the bow with some skill from what I Have seen.
As we made our way into the tower of the fabled Troll Lords and fought our way through a legion of gnolls we were faced with a fierce opponent. A huge undead troll which took an almight amount of punishment before finally submitting to our superior power.
As we made our way deeper into the tower of the Troll Lords we came across a creature which I had never laid eyes upon before. A mass of flesh with hundreds of mouths all screaming at the same time. It’s only once we beat it and made our way down another level that we started seeing signs of something that set our elven warriors teeth on edge. Elven signs and many many spiders.
(Side note: We ended up in a room where there was a very clever teleportation system that I would like greatly to study further.)
As we made our way through this teleportation device, the unspeakable happened, our elven warrior foolishly sacrificed his life to save us and let us get away with ours. I say foolishly because clearly swordsmen and all physical warriors are useless. Useless like the time he take down 3 enemies in as many moves, or the time he jumped in front of several bolts throw at us from afar, or times he dashed into a room ready to take on anything that would have taken down a lesser man. Damnit! As much as I look down upon these brutes I’m finding myself missing his physically prowess and over eager nature. Mouse…Shinjin…who’s next? I swear to all that is might and powerful I will have my revenge on the cowardly scum that’s killed my friends…umm...companions…servants. Yes. Not friends.
We eventually prepared ourselves and went back to engage this “Drow” and his half spider/half elven pet. A mighty battle ensued that was finished before any more of my companions got hurt. We found the Drow’s diary who explains his mistress sent him and a rival Drow to the troll lord tower in order to find its fabled treasure.
As we made our way into the other rooms on the level below us we were faced with another one of these pesky creatures. Although in all fairness this particular breathing taking example wielded magic with a passable aptitude. No match for a master magician such as myself, especially nice since I found a wand of such incredibly power that it’s allowing me to cast spells normally well beyond myself.
Our 2 new companions are proven to be powerful additions to our group and any initial doubts about their feasibility as part of this little group are quickly put to rest. There’s something to be said for a metal clad half orc swinging a hammer onto a beautiful elven creature.
Our battle was cut short when the filthy coward Drow disappeared into a room which was guarded by some kind of mud based elemental creature. Upon destroying it (dispatching it easily) we discovered what appears to be a portal. My initial assessment of the Drow’s magical abilities may have been hasty as this particular piece of magic is clearly done with a steady hand and much knowledge and power poured into it.
In a moment of weakness I considered staying and submitting to the creatures preparing to come through this portal in exchange for more of their knowledge. Luckily my companions had other plans and managed to smash the actual foundation of this portal into pieces. Thereby destroying a potentially powerful magical item. I shall kill them in their sleep.
Much as the hound runs faster when it smells flesh blood we decided to not wait and hurry down the only passage way available to us. Here we found a group of gnomes being whipped by an entrepreneurial Drow. My companions took offence at my suggestion of letting the slaves finish the work they were put on earth to do and quickly dispatched the Drow. Again my suggestion of whipping the slaves until they did our bidding was quickly shut down and the gnomes were given water and food in exchange for their helping clearing this hallway. My suggestion to push them through the hole to test what was on the other side was again scuffed at. I am getting sick and tired of being misunderstood. I will kill everybody in their sleep.
We decided to rest before going through this hole created in the rubble. As we moved back upstairs we met odd lizard like creatures that seemed to be friendly albeit standoff-ish. As luck would have it they spoke draconic and managed to teach me the password to the treasure room. As we rested I couldn’t help but wonder if the fears and doubts my companions had displayed at master Lazarus’s request would come back to hurt our chances with the mages guild. I cannot take the risk that their inability to see beyond mere words like "good“ and “evil” damages my standing with the guild even further. I must find a way to secure my future. I must find a way to convince them. They keep blathering on about this treasure and all this gold. I find it difficult to care about monetary gains when within reach of an object as powerful as the orb will prove to be.
Having rested we made our way into what can only be described as a huge hall of tombs. Immediately we were besieged by the largest skeletal creature I have ever seen. This skeleton appears to be a troll king based on its apparel. Again I must admit begrudging respect for my companions and their efficiency. A special mention must be made for both our barbarian friend’s ability to absorb huge blows and shrug them off with nothing but a grunt, even using the pain to fuel his rage and power and the armoured rock that is our dwarven companion. His magical axe left a fiery hole that was instantly exploited by us all.
Seeing that the battle was pretty much under control I made my way over to the throne of this ancient king. Despite some size issues I’ll admit the sheer thrill of sitting on an object that demands as much respect as this one is mind numbingly addictive. And it’s from my new vantage point that I saw the double doors I quickly recognised as the treasure room. NOW IS MY CHANCE! I dashed for the treasure room hastily speaking the password. As I ran in I was blinded by the infinite amount of money for brief seconds. Swiftly recovering I scooped up the orb and hid it from my companions. I will not be denied. I will have my power and I will be feared! I will suss out my companions feelings on what to do with this orb over the next few nights while I test them to see if they are open to a monetary trade. Unfortunately my companions, who up to this point had soon very little signs of intelligence, were smarter than I had given them credit for. Lying has always been as strong point of mine but having spent many days fighting besides a man means you can see through them sooner rather than later. Eventually I, under duress, admitted to possessing the orb. Luckily no violence erupted and my companions agreed on my suggested course of action.
My only wish is to sit down and study this object before handing it over to master Nilka. We made our way back to town where, true to the master’s word, the guards let us in and treated us….well. If suspiciously…
And this leads me to my current situation. A comfortable chair, a comfortable room, slightly drunk, cramp of the hand from all this writing and gazing up on the most beautiful item I have ever seen.
Looking back on the last few weeks I find myself conflicted. Obviously my group of servants is a set of tools to be used when I need them and of no further consequence or meaning to me beyond that. And yet….I can’t help but wonder if these tools are more than that….at times I’ve found myself admiring their ability to solve complex problems and overcome impossible odds. It’s their bravery and strength that makes me look at myself and my lust for power. I know my destiny is to become a powerful magical force to be reckoned with but up to this point I always thought this was a path I would walk alone. It’s only recently that I’ve started feeling maybe even I need a hand every so often?
Hmm….food for thought as I ponder what secrets are contained within this object.
P.S. if you are reading this I’ll kill you in your sleep.
Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:29 pm
The group as it stands now:
Nils - is playing Heartless (human mage lvl 3) and Orlong "Donuts" (human ranger level 3)
Alberto - is playing Raneb (dwarf rogue lvl 3) and Yato (dwarf fighter level 3) - only player so far with no casualties, well done to him!
Gavin - is playing Kolock (half-orc barbarian lvl 3) and Roland de Virr (human cleric/fighter lvl 3) - brand new characters as he had his two guys killed last session, bad luck!
Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:20 am
3rd session is taking place this weekend, so expect a recap in the days after that.
Time to roll again!
Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:03 am
The session took place this weekend, and we had an absolute blast! It was much more exploration/intrigue based than the previous two, but it was a nice change of pace for both me and the players. Plus we had a gorgeous weekend in Dublin, with many beers, barbecues and cigars to enjoy!
The updated diary is coming soon, stay tuned!
Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:15 am
For those of you expecting an update, don't despair, the player in charge of the diary this time has been very busy with life, kids and the likes, and we expect his diary soon enough...hopefully! Or the bastard will suffer hell next game!
BTW, next game session has been scheduled for early November, we had to skip to the later months due to scheduling conflicts.
Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:34 pm
At last, the adventure continues! There will be much blood, intrigue and manipulation involved, as you shall see.This time, it's our multi-dwarf player holding the quill...
DIARY PART IV
The diary of the dwarves
We were back in Ramhork Fort. We felt like heroes from a knight's tale: we had killed the baddies, found the mythical treasure, and more importantly, Heartless was carrying a powerful artifact. The Orb. He was strangely attached to it. He muttered its name during our entire trip back... he thought we couldn’t hear him but I have been trained to hear sounds nobody else can. But it was great: that Orb meant power. That Orb meant knowledge. We discussed it thoroughly and finally decided that we would hand it over to Lazarus Nilka, but before doing so, we would take a good peek at it...
Soon enough our victories slaying all the monsters in the dark tunnels of the Troll Lords dungeon, and overcoming all the challenges in the mountains, seemed to fade away because we realized we were nothing but prisoners. And Ramhork Fort was our jail.
When I was a member of the Thieves Guild at my home city Eisokan, I quickly learned what it means to be watched by guards. Here, we were not only watched, but followed everywhere. They pretended to be great hosts, and to want us feel like special guests, but the truth is that we couldn’t go anywhere without several guards escorting us.
I tried to assess potential escape routes, discretely. Pretending to trip and fall to the floor to examine a door hinges, resting under a window to evaluate jumping distances, stepping over sewers trapdoors to test their resilience. But there was no easy way out of there. We were trapped. We were also concerned about why Nilka was taking so much time to get to the Fort. For sure he was interested in having the Orb as soon as possible. The days became weeks and still no news from Blackmoor.
If that was not enough to make the stay uncomfortable, there was the problem of the nightmares.
Every night after our return to the Fort, terrible dreams assaulted me... Mouse falling into the nightmarish hell of fire, absorbed by the unnatural flames from the portal to Hell, with no chance to escape an eternity of torture... Shingin attacked from all sides by the dark elves and the aberrant drider, and being butchered like a trapped animal... Matsuka with his face red of anger splitting from the group and leaving to the wilderness on his own... our dwarves companions massacred by the terrors of the Blood Mountains... Too many things to think about. And nobody else in the group seems to give a trollshit about them.
And even more frustratingly, I could not open my father's chest yet. I tried with my best tools, I applied all my skills and talents, and the lock laughed at me. What it is inside the chest? A valuable item? A map, a note, and a diary that took too long to be written? It is just another test from my father, trying to push me to the limits once again, and there is actually nothing inside? It is a fucking prank from someone that killed my father and left it as the ultimate joke? It is maybe not his chest after all, and was he contracted to open it and died while trying? This thing is driving me crazy...
After returning to the Fort all the fun began. Finally some good fresh ale and pretty dwarven women with tits as firm as their tight muscles to enjoy! We were rich. We were heroes. Yeah, we also were prisoners but who cares? Yeah, Raneb cared, but is grumpy all the time anyway.
I must admit that his paranoia pays off from time to time though. The half-orc assassin somehow found me again. I am starting to be tired of that pretentious son of an ogre. He attacked me in broad day light taking advantage that the guards that were protecting me got distracted by some dwarves fighting each other (clan grudges, probably a debate about who should have payed the last round of beers). And the half-orc used poison this time. That is the coward’s choice. He should have faced me and fight with honor like a real warrior but he just went the easy way.
Thanks to the almighty Gods and the Hammer of Torag that my companions found me and took me to the guard’s headquarters. Then they scared him off. Kolock is scary. Even if he spends too much time talking to his sword - he probably got nuts being imprisoned in the dungeon for too long.
The only thing the assassin achieved was to get me in bed for one day. I really look forward to meeting this half-orc again and introduce him to my friend. Hey did you meet my dearest Flaming Axe to the Face? Not yet? My pleasure then! BAM! That will teach him a lesson... I am not the same guy he tried to kill a year ago in that tavern... I am better now. Stronger. Richer. Sexier. And I am not alone anymore...
The day after Yato was attacked we had the meeting with the Fort's council, led by Lady Rowena. Basically a lot of pretentious and pompous people kissing each other asses and leeching from our efforts and the deaths of our colleagues. They read out loud Lazarus Nilka's letter and introduced his errand boys: Ansilam (a monk-guy with a very straight pole stuck up his ass) and Colbert (a child that probably stopped being breastfed just a week ago) They mentioned something great though: Wartus had been compensated and the book that put us into so much trouble had been returned to him. A pity our lost companions were not there to hear that.
Anyway, the new deal was to depart as soon as possible with Ansilam and Colbert to Blackmoor and give the orb to Lazarus. They had brought a very resistant chest in which we should put the Orb into, to ensure its safety. We accepted - like if we had any other choice anyway. I saw Heartless doing strange things with his hands and putting some funny faces during that meeting. Was he trying to mind read someone? Or was it constipation’s side effect? No idea.
We went to our rooms and watched Heartless do his magic on the orb. Literally, he is awesome at it. I admire him, but I will never tell this to anybody. He knows what he wants, and goes for it. I am scared all the time. I want to be more like him and less than myself. Whatever…
We activated the Orb and... Oh Sacred Beard of Torag. What we saw squized our hearts with a mix of awe and fear.
It was like being inside the orb,and flying over a land of endless volcanoes and perpetual darkness. And at the heart of that ominous place we came face to face with her Bitchness in person, the Witch Queen, preparing a tasty stew in a big cauldron while sinister ever changing shadows danced around her. It was horrific and fascinating and scary all at the same time.
Thankfully the vision, or whatever it was, quickly changed to a most pleasant one. We were now approaching a cabin in the middle of a peaceful forest, falling from the sky like eagle turds dropping through the trees canopies. A nice looking old lady, irradiating calm and introducing herself as Albana, asked us to visit her if we had the chance. Not that she bothered mentioning us any address...
And suddenly we were back in the Fort. Just in time for Sun Rebirth festival... and what a party it was! Roland spent a lot of time flirting with Elliot, some asslicker at the baron's service. That was strange. I always thought Roland was a stoic, spartan, asexual human. But I am not very good at judging people. Orlang and Kolock dedicated all their energies to a crazy drinking contest; apparently it was very important to throw around the hall a gigantic horn full of beer and to cover their clothes with as much liquor as they were drinking. I am not a party dwarf. Yato would understand what happened that night but I didn’t.
Thank the Gods we came back to the room. There we found Yato barely alive after another attack of the half-orc; we could stop the attacker before the assassination was completed. I must say, entering into the guard’s guild house like that was a feat to be impressed of. He escaped to fight another day, that greenhead is starting to be really annoying…
So I woke up after the attack from the half-orc only to be attacked again and, this hurt more than the poisoned daggers, to found I missed the best party ever! That sucked. Anyway, thanks to my companions I survived the hit attempt and we departed the following day, right after settling our pending business with Willy Redbeard which cost us a lot of money but thankfully cleaned up our names and debts. A wise dwarf never owes money. Willie suggested us to visit “Tom” at the Juggling Ogre Theater once in Blackmoor if we wanted some special kit, the kind of stuff you will not get in a normal market.
We left the Fort, finally after so many days, alongside Colbert and Ansilam, and carrying the chest in which we had put and locked the invaluable Orb. Soon enough Heartless started a very friendly bullying on the young boy. Humans have a strange sense of humor, I give you that, and the boy seemed to be offended by the storm of subtle insults and sharp edge sarcasms. At some point, the boy snapped and lost it and his hands flamed in magic fire and we all needed to intervene to avoid a tragic end; thankfully the waters seemed to calm down a bit after that incident.
Something strange happened during that trip. OK, many weird things had happened already, but this one was probably my favorite of them all so far: the road disappeared under our very feet. The grass grew as fast as if every second was a whole week. The air around us turned into a surreal, dream-like texture. We were getting lost into some kind of fairy magic. Trying to escape from it, we stumbled into fighting some kind of forest elemental. It tried to play a game with Kolock, but the half-orc lost it (what a surprise - the guy is adorable but not very bright) Then, the elemental claimed he would keep us there forever and we taught him another game: getting chopped into splinters. Once the elemental was destroyed, the fairy magic vanished and we could continue our journey.
But we didn’t run out of surprises yet. Right after that encounter, we fell into the mother of all ambushes. Elven riders! An elven mage entrenched behind trunks! Elven archers hidden in the top of the trees! Weird looking gnomes, with an evil twist in their faces! All of them converging on us and trying to steal our chest with the Orb. And to make things worse, Ansilam and Colbert tried to surrender!
And against impossible odds, we fought.
Kolock magically blinked from one side of the battlefield to the other and smashed down the mage after destroying the barricade he was hiding into. Orlang and Heartless unleashed their magic bolts and arrows on the elves, making them fall from the trees like ripe fruits. Raneb and I forcefully dismounted the riders and butchered them on the floor using my weapons trainer's preferred hitting technique, the one he called "Die you bitch!" (Nah, I made that up) And Roland crushed down the gnomes, using not his warhammer but the chest itself!
After some minutes of splattered blood and agonic cries, we stood victorious - and a bit pissed off with the coward attitude of our two escorts, who let us down and almost got us killed.
We massacred the elves. That felt good. I kept the image of Shingin's death very clear in my mind, and pretended that our ambushers were the dark elves from the mountains, that gave me strength to finish them. Once we looted, erm, checked the corpses, we rested for the night with Roland's blessing.
A gigantic dark shadow overflew us during just before dawn and we were totally convinced what we saw was a dragon. But apart from that the night passed by uneventfully.
Soon after breakfast we arrived at Woodhaven Inn in the middle of the forest, a very welcome sight I must say. Once inside, after refreshing our dry throats with some good ale, Roland talked to a guy called Narlen to almost death with old battles stories, but before falling into boredonmens-induced-catharsis the man had the opportunity to mention a powerful wizard called Baltron that traveled to the Haunted Swamp, country of the lizardfolks, and never returned. The same swamp with the pillar of light. Interesting. We were informed by Cyrilion, the representative of the Elven clans, that the elves that attacked us called themselves Sons of the New Dawn, intent on ridding the land of all non-elves... I chuckled, they should be renamed “Sons of the No Dawn”, at least the group we encountered... It was also great to hook up with Arto Willingham the merchant again and more importantly, to sample his delicious gnomish liquor.
While resting in the tavern we received the unexpected visit of a white cat with a glare of deep wisdom in his eyes. The animal left us a note urging us to follow it. We chased the cat into the woods, and arrived to the forest cabin we saw in our orb-induced vision days ago. And she was there, waiting for us.
She confirmed her name was Albana and explained us a lot of things. Like the sightings in the Darkfire Keep, probably caused by an undead Paladin. The story that worried my companions the most was the fact that the Bitch Queen was about to get hold of something called Dark Flame, a powerful magic able to consume life itself, and Albana wanted to stop her at any price. We found ourselves reluctantly committing to visit the swamp in which the source of the Dark Flame can be found, and Albana offered us some help in return for the assistance. Myself, I was personally of the opinion that it was not our problem; we had more urgent matters to worry about. But if my comrades think it is important, I will follow them to the end of the world if necessary – as far as there is plenty of gold involved of course.
After our meeting with the sorceress a fox guided us back to Blackmoor outskirts, the trip through the forest following the magical animal was faster than riding a galloping horse. Traveling at such speed was certainly refreshing and I almost smiled a bit.
Finally, the city again! I couldn’t believe we left this very place some weeks ago. I felt so different from the young dwarf that departed Blakmoor with shame in his heart and dust in his pockets. Now we could enter back in the city with pride, with honor, with the feeling of a work well done... what? Ah yes, Heartless was detained by the gate guards and spent a night in jail, but you know, he likes to make his points very explicitly and those pesky pompous guards didn’t understand that we deserved more respect.
We immediately went to meet master Nilka to hand the Orb over to him... and oh bless me Torag, do you know what? He already had it.
Let me explain this fully. He had the damn Orb in his hands since the very beginning of our journey from the Fort. The chest in which we locked it was not only a chest, but a teletransporting device of some kind that sent the Orb to Nilka in the very moment we closed the lid.
At the same time that the attitude from Ansilam and Colbert surrendering the (empty) chest to the Sons of the New Dawn made sense, a flaming rage burnt in our hearts. We had risked our lives for nothing, and we were not informed of the con at any point, not even when it didn’t matter anymore. To say that we were very angry at Lazarus would be to say nothing.
Anyway, we swallowed our hurt pride without complaining much and silently promised ourselves to take revenge. We rested in an inn. A proper night of resting, very well deserved after so many nights sleeping in the wilderness.
The next day, right after getting Heartless back from prison, we went to the Juggling Ogre theatre to order some equipment. Over there Kolock (wait for this) fell madly in love with Tom , a strong thief woman in charge of business at the theater. It was incredible to see the big guy making puppy eyes and grandiose promises to the girl (very romantic stuff, like "I am going to slay a dragon for you"). I am starting to like him a lot. A real warrior and a real gentleman for sure. He has a gross eating disorder but apart from that, it is the perfect pal to take to a party or to a fight.
When we left the theatre we found that our old friend Cassius Vorn was waiting for us. Ok, not only him but also about two dozen thugs. He wanted our blood. We tried to convince him there was no need to fight anymore, we also paid a high price for our past problems, but everything was settled now. But he didn’t listen and ordered his mercenaries to attack us.
For the group that left Blackmoor some time ago, that fight could have been a desperate fight to the death. For us, the glorious heroes returning from the Troll Mountains, was like crushing insects under our boots. Unfortunately Vorn escaped, badly injured, I hope he learns his lesson anyway.
After having a funny moment of closure with our former employer Cassius Vorn, we decided to buy a house and to start to build our base of operations in Blackmoor.
While Heartless was away attending doing some personal stuff that he didn’t explain, we bought a house, paid the street urchins to keep us informed (they told us about an epidemic taking place in the slums), especially anything related to half-orc assassin that know how to disguise as someone else. I spent some gold pieces in replacing the locks for better versions. Not over-the-top quality locks but something that could hopefully stop the half-orc for a minute or two. I tested them first, before purchasing, and selected the ones that will do more noise when opening, so if someone tries to lockpick them we will be aware of it.
I left caltrops under each window, painted in the same color as the floor and disguised as much as possible in fluff and dirt. I made some floor woods plank and tiles loose, both outside and inside the house, and put something that cracks or does noise under those pieces. So if someone steps on them we will also hear it - for a casual observer it will sound like just old wood or a cracked tile, but for us it will be a clear sign of alarm.
Everything seemed to be under control... and yet, there was something else waiting for us the next morning. The guards knocked on our door. They took Heartless away, accusing him of some egregious false crime he surely didn’t commit. The whole trial was a joke. He went to prison and we could do anything but providing him with some food and strong beverages to easy his imprisonment. The worst part was the fact that our former patron, Nilka, didn’t help us at all.
So the next day we were planning how to get him out of jail, ready to do whatever was necessary... when suddenly, he entered in our house again, free again. We couldn’t believe it. We were so happy to see him again that we didn’t ask for many explanations.
We went to the Mages Guild and confronted Lazarus; too many things had been wrongly made on his side. We came to some sort of agreement about bringing some letters to some named "the Shaver" and concluded that he was simply put a politician. Not a powerful mage, not a mentor to trust, but a lying, despicable political animal...
And so we were. So many potential ways to go, so many possibilities to choose from. And we went for the craziest one. The one that involves a half-orc fighter ripping off a bloody warm dragon heart and eating it raw. Ah, good times ahead...
Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:21 am
At long last, the new episode! Those of you familiar with Gygax Magazine and the Baltron's Beacon module are in for a treat.
DIARY PART V
The diary of Roland
After hearing lots about the Black Flame, which we later learned is not green, that eats people and can only be destroyed by roasting seeds in it adding them to a potion and poring the potion on the flame. We took the view that this is something we have to destroy. At least I think that is he view we took, some of my companions were silent on this but seemed in general agreement. This Black Flame was in the Swamp so we investigated to find additional information Heartless found out that a powerful mage named Baltron went to the Swamp and not long after the green light that can be seen for many miles around appeared. Probably a coincidence? We also discovered that there are lizardfolks in the swamp but that they are very reasonable and only eat you if you give them cause to... kinda like Kolock really.
Albana, a strange old lady, who I am beginning to suspect is the Witch-Queen or a relation to her, gave us the name of a contact to me in Gnatdamp, a shit-hole on the edge of the Swamp. This is information that we had from our previous adventures. Before setting out from Blackmoor, we decided to do some further research and discovered that: (I) Baltron is a mage of the fourth circle; I believe this is quite powerful but not wanting to appear stupid, I did not ask. He deals mainly in elemental and pure magic and is a little odd (from what I have seen all mages are a little odd). We also discovered that there is a war in the swamp between the frog people and the lizardfolks. This been known we set off and arrived in Woodhaven Inn. Cyrilion, the elven diplomat told us that there are Cyclopean ruins in the swamp and that the Elves have always avoided he place. This does not sound good.
Then we made the first of what would turn out to be many mistakes, we entered Fort Ramhrock. We with the council they were very nice to us. Apparently they solved the problem of the dwarf clans fighting by killing them. Certainly I have seen such discipline on campaign but it surprised me to find it in a town. Ah well, needs must, it is not for me to judge the actions of such. We obtained the name of a guide who could show us the way to Gnatdamp, he old ranger Bryson. We also learned of a missing patrol and were offered a reward for any news of them. We negotiated a bounty for the bandits that have been troubling the region. We are to bring back their ears as proof. Unsurprisingly bringing back the ears was suggested by Kolock, who went into great details about which body parts are easiest to preserve.
We also decided to call in to Willy to see how he is doing and to see if he had any information on Gnatdamp. We were not at all subtle about this. He did not know a lot but told us about bandits and offered a reward if we eliminated them and brought proof of such back to him. He also offered us 40 gold to bring a wagon with several empty barrels to Gnatdamp, we accepted on condition we get the payment up front. It turns out the little ginger fucker was trying to rip us off. He did also give us the name of a contact in Gnatdamp, Dandal the Shaver. When we came out of Willy’s we found that guards were checking the place out, they may have followed us. After meeting with the head of the holy light church here, I found out that there has been an upsurge in Paladins and cleric coming into the area to fight evil. I also obtained a potion of cure light wounds and some holy water to help us in our quest. We all met up in the Drunken Ogre Tavern, were we found the guard that Raneb saw outside Willy’s. We bought them drinks and pretended to be nice to them. When one left Heartless used his magic to cause a distraction, in the commotion Raneb as stealthy as a shadow snuck out of the inn and followed the guard. He discovered that the guards believe Willy is part of the thieves’ guild and are planning to swoop on him. We warned Willy, by scaring the shite out of him but it worked and he escaped the clutches of the guards. That night we slept in the lovely Spartan environments of the Holy Light Church. Heartless was did not seem to enjoy it and woke up looking like crap but with a big spider. It is evil. It is suited to Heartless. I have worked with evil before and as evil goes Heartless is not too bad. I may not approve of his actions but I do not need to. But holy spirits that is a big spider. Heartless seems to love it. I had not thought him capable of such. Perhaps he is changing? Probably not but meh...
What Heartless seems to see when he looks at the Spider. What the rest of us see when we look at the spider.
Kolock indicated that he would not eat the spider. He also says his sword does not like it. However, he also believes he should eat those foes he has vanquished so I am not too sure about his sanity. That day we set out to meet Bryson, in a tavern with a one-armed dwarf. Bryson wanted 100 gold pieces to bring us to Gnatdamp. He is old, leathery and dirty. We refused and left. Heartless spent the time in the bar making fun of the bar owner. We left the fort and made out own way to Gnatdamp, well, we tried to but got lost. The swamp really really sucks. We were attacked by Trolls who evaded our cunning traps and threw trees at us. Apparently the trolls we did manage to kill, were the children of a mother troll (Ma’troll who now wants vengeance on us – wonderful, it seems that everyone is out to fuck us). The weird mists that sucked the blood directly from people attacked us. We left the swamp and found the missing patrol. They were dead, by orc shafts. I gave them the last rites and we returned to fort shitplace to hire Bryson. The fort is nice but every time we go there bad things happen.
We entered the fort decided to stay in the Captain’s Hall for the night and to rest up. At a feast, possible in our honour, our dwarf friend was poisoned by the half-orc assassin disguised as a merchant. We very nearly caught him with Kolock cutting the legs off his horse. He ate parts of the horse. That delayed us for a few days while we waited for the dwarf to come out of the coma. I think the dwarf’s name is Yato, which is a nice name. Raneb also shot a guard for some reason. The guard did not die, which is good.
After a few days we went back to the bar with the one armed dwarf, to discover that, the dwarf’s missing arm had changed side and that he radiates magic. Wonderful. We got the ranger to bring us to Gnatdamp. It took 1.5 days. We really should have done this first. Gnatdamp is not worth the journey. It suits the swamp exactly, damp, smelly and full of crap. I get the feeling that there could be more to Gnatdamp than meets the eye but I simply do not care. I hate this swamp. Gnatdamp is mouldy and all on platforms everyone carries weapons and we were to stay in the Bloated Leech Tavern. Lovely. We went to the tavern where the Mayor tried to question us until we told him our business was none of his and that he should get lost. We were not in a good mood. Even Kolock seemed irrationally angry and he is usually such a nice person, though with strange taste in food. We told the village about Ma’troll, they seemed to know her and up to now took the view that as long as they left her alone, she would leave them alone. With us here, I doubt that will last long.
We met a guy called Kalo, he had no legs and asked us to send his legs to him if we found them. Heartless spent the entire time making fun of him for having no legs. He gave us directions to the keep from which the green light came from, which is probably the place that the Black Flame is. We were warned that Bullywugs should be killed on sight. We were also informed that Beholders haunt the swamp! Good Fuck! I thought they were myths. We also found out that new creatures have been appearing in the swamp for the last year or so. We then decided to go to the witch / wise lady Dorota, she looked 20 and had a nice figure, though the eyes, the eyes, the eyes were old, old and wise. They gave me pause. She said that she would guide us to the Keep. We informed her that we got lost very easily. After some negotiations she agreed to provide us with her owl to guide us. Woo hoo! A break through and some positive help. Kolock whispered to me that the owl looked tasty. . . . We also found out that Gnatdamp has alliances that protect it. Knowing our luck they are probably in league with the Witch-Queen. We slept in the tavern, everyone was nice to us, and we were nice to them. It was nice but still a shit-hole.
The next day we set out with the owl to guide us. It took two days before we arrived at the keep to find a large group of lizardfolks at the front gate. The keep sat on top of a small hit, it was 3 or 4 stories high, though the top looks like it had been blown off and the green light that we had seen all the way from Fort craphole could be seen emanating from the broken top of the tower. We decided to observe the tower and see what happened with the lizardfolk. We discovered that at certain times of day they go to the tower and a weird ritual takes place between those in the tower and the lizardfold takes place. They seem to worship the light and view those within as he lights servants or keepers.
A bird flew into the green light and was killed not a good omen. Before deciding on a plan we decided to ask Aster… his response was ambiguous, it usually is. We decided to try STEALTH. We suck at stealth. In any case we managed to get inside the outer-walls. Then just as we were about to enter the keep we then ran into a shit-storm of enemies. IT WAS AMAZING!! ASTER was well pleased with our results. There were dozens of them outside, heavily armoured and skilled foes inside, traps, mages, and ware tigers all attacking us at once and WE SMOTE THEM DOWN. Our wrath was terrible to behold, dozens died by our hands, the walls shook with our blows. When we had made our statement and praised Aster, we pretended to be beaten in the hopes that they would take us inside as prisoners, in the hope that they could turn us to their side. It worked. One of them was a might tough individual, so Kolock decided to ignore our careful plan and to charge him. He felled Kolock easily but now Kolock has his sword.
Once inside, we perfected an intelligent plan to escape. Heartless used his ‘spider’ to scout the area, I asked Aster to use his power to hold one of the guards for a few minutes. We then loured the guards into the room, Kolock grabbed one and Aster’s power held the other one. We took down the guards. One of the guards was incredibly tough, it took all of us to take him down, after holding off the lots of us for many rounds, while Kolock barred the reinforcements from getting in we eventually killed him. Aster will take this one surely for if anyone was, he was a child of Aster.
We killed everyone in the tower and recovered our gear. I then used the skills in subterfuge that I learned from the dwarves to trick the lizardfolk into dispersing. We then stormed the tower and brutally killed everyone. In the name of Aster of course. We found the source of the green light but could not figure out how to stop it. After much searching of the tower we found two keys that unlock a small teleportation circle, which seemed to have 5 settings. We used it and it brought us to a small hill outside the keep. We decided that we would return to Gnatdamp, rest, recuperate and then return to see where the other settings would lead. We are awesome.
Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:22 am
Character levels and XP:
Kolock Barbarian level 5 ~ XP: 21061
Roland Fighter/Cleric level 3 ~ XP: 19212
Heartless Wizard level 5 ~ XP: 21381
Orlong "Donuts" Archer (swapped from Ranger) level 5 ~ XP: 15800
Raneb Rogue level 5 ~ XP: 20200
Yato Fighter level 5 ~ XP: 18570
+200XP for Kolock/Roland's player for the laxt diary entry, he has yet to tell me where he puts those
Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:22 pm
The campaign will resume on the weekend of the 7th of February.
Change of scenery for us this time, as our Dutch player has relocated to flat, cheesy, bicycle-crazed Holland, and the game will take place in his new home! Has any campaign ever amassed so much litteral mileage???
Stay tuned for the next chapter!
Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:46 pm
An exciting adventure unfolded this weekend for 4 of our intrepid adventurers. Stay tuned for the upcoming diary!
Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:44 pm
GB, these diaries are so detailed and, almost feels like those of us reading are right there with you guys. Thanks for this. The amount of time and effort you put into these is appreciated, even for those of us who do not play. *bows*
Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:18 pm
I am very blessed to have such imaginative players indeed, it's always a TON of fun when we gather up for our weekend sessions. They are the ones in charge of the diary and they all take turns at it (for some bonus XP of course).
If you enjoyed the previous entries, make sure to read the one coming...right now
Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:19 pm
Some fun and background-centered side adventures for our crew in the absence of our Irish representative, stuck in a creepy vortex of airports and missing passports. Curse him! The group then continued their foray into the tower of the green beacon, striking some deals with the lizardfolks along the way... DIARY PART VI
The diary of Heartless a.k.a “Heartfull”
As is often the case when dealing with, frankly useless and rather smelly, inferior travel slaves such as I do on a day by day basis, one is forced to adjust one’s plans to suit the majority of the group. And seeing as though I could not possibly be bothered by having to train a whole new set of travel slaves I acquiesced to their demands and moans. We decided to return when we found ourselves transported back to the middle of this god forsaken swamp. One of these loud obnoxious dwarves has even managed to get himself blinded, while the other one seems to be nourishing what can only be described as a beautiful fireball burn wound. And although I would not care to admit so to anyone but myself and my darling Zark, I find myself oddly stumped by the teleporting disc we discovered in the basement of that blasted tower.
Our trip back to the rotting hellhole that is Gnatdamp was uneventful and after visiting the treacherous bitch witch Dorota (Note to self: Make sure to murder her one of these days) and being assured we would be foreseen of healing magic and potions we retreated to the piss poor excuse for an inn we’ve been living in since arriving here. When we got to the Mud Rat and I was about to sit down to a well-deserved glass of wine, or rather the local piss they call wine, when we laid eyes on that smug bastard Bryson, sitting on his lazy ass enjoying the spoils of our hard labor. I’ll continue to smile and be tolerable of him until such time as I’ve gathered enough knowledge about this swamp to no longer need a guide. On that day I’ll take great pleasure in murdering him. The night itself was uneventful but the morning brought strange tidings. As we went downstairs we discovered that Roland and Kolock seemed to have vanished and disappeared. They checked out of the inn and left no word further asides from a swift departure. My dwarven companions seem to be extremely upset and worried about them. I myself, asides from a momentary flicker of annoyance at the loss of a big strong carry mule with a highly intriguing sword, can’t really be too overly concerned as more pressing matters are at hand. My dear friend Zark warned me last night that we were being hunted by men who set out from Blackmoor. A visit to the treacherous, lying witch bitch Dorota confirmed our suspicions.
Although they are of course inconsequently and of little matter to me I must admit a grudging respect for my dwarven companions in readily agreeing with my suggestion that we ambush these most recent in a long line of enemies. We agreed that the best way to do this would be to lead them into that god forsaken swamp and hope the beholders and lizardfolks might take care of them. A quick negotiation with the con man Bryson sees us freed of 50gp’s and the assurance of Bryson that he will lead our enemies away from our path. In an effort to recuperate the strength of the lesser members of our group (Everyone but me really) we decide to risk one more night in this filthy inn. Inn…inn. No. Inn implies it’s a location that was built on purpose. This inn is no mere building. This inn is clearly the result of one of the elder gods, having eaten one too many plague infested followers, squatting down and shooting a thick stream of liquid bile and disgust in the middle of this god forsaken swamp. These pathetic excuses for humans swiftly ran to the steaming pile of disgust for warmth and dubbed it an Inn. Anyway… I digress.
This night something strangely enticing happened. 2 things actually. First the dwarves gave me a reason to not murder them in their sleep and the second was the discovery that the mysterious Item I’ve seen Raneb play with at times is a locked chest. But not any locked chest, a magically locked chest. Investigating it and trying to lock minds with the chest I found out that, as was to be expected, the dwarves in their current state are not strong enough to open this chest. Or rather, not refined and powerful enough, like a certain beautiful wizard in this party is. Greedily using any excuse to hone my skills by throwing spells at my compan….slaves, I agree to load Raneb full of all the magic energy I can muster. Several delicate incantations and heavy feats of mental power later I must admit an even more grudgingly growing amount of respect for this tiny dwarf. His smelly and short body has held up incredibly mightily under the onslaught that is all my mental powers. Using this magical power he finally managed to open the chest that has been eluding him for so long. This sent him off on some emotional clap trap story about his father and death and blabla... Having murdered my father at the age of 11 I see no reason for this emotional attachment and find myself resisting the urge to just blast the dwarf out of the way to look into this chest. As it turns out the chest contains several hands full of a magically charged gold dust. Throwing the dust on the floor creates a temporary portal to an unknown destination. Having cleared out our room, warned Bryson and the treacherous witch bitch of our impending absence, the dwarves, Orlong and I steady our nerve and ready ourselves for the exploration of a life time. Another pinch of gold dust and we deftly step through the portal…
The portal leads to what can only be described as a plane that exists outside/independent of other planes. It is a large circle of stone with 4 platforms on it with large floating crystals above the altars. In the middle of this circle there is what appears to be a floating helmet. Eventually we find out from Bort, The Helmet that Raneb’s farther was part of a secret organization called the Scroll Seekers. These Seekers apparently went all over the world investigating treasures and searching for knowledge. This place was his safety retreat and these 4 platforms are teleportation devices that we can link to any location where we throw gold dust on the floor. Currently 3 of the 4 portals are unlinked. The linked portal takes us to what was previously Raneb’s father’s treasury. Unfortunately it turns out this treasure was not as secure as was initially thought and although we found some riches we certainly did not find the amount of money and magical items we had hoped. Far from it!
As we investigate the location of this treasury we find out that this particular teleport has taken us to none other than Havenborg, city of thieves. A recent power struggle in the city of thieves was kicked off because one gang, the Daggerhearts, had a unexpected and unexplained influx of extreme riches roughly 2 years ago. The leader of this gang turns out to be an old friend of Raneb’s father, named Thirgard. These two things are clear indicators of what has happened. And we decide that the best way to deal with this scenario is to confront these Daggerhearts and demand back our riches or we’ll wipe their pathetic little gang and city. We decide that the best way to do this is by asking for support from one of their rival gangs, the tattooed up blue faced Picts.
As we make our way out of the hidden chamber we inadvertently rescue a beggar named Tuck and force him to lead us to the surface. Some pathetic little gang named the Vipers was idiotic enough to get in our way but the swift dispatch of 8 of their members convinced them that running away was a better option. We made our way out of this hellhole by go through the sewers where an incident with a giant constrictor snake deprived me of the pleasure of slitting Tuck’s throat. Upon reaching the surface we find a stall keeper who explains to us that the best way of getting in good with the Picts is to murder one of their members, which in turn shows strength, a feat respected by them above everything else.
It is said that even the gods have made mistakes while creating this universe, the end result of which was all non-wizards he he he (Private wizard joke), and much like the gods I may have miscalculated the odds of my companions being useful for once. A group of 4 Picts turned out to be a slightly more powerful set of opponents than we had initially anticipated. Despite exquisite spell casting, both defensively as well as offensively, by yours truly the dwarves could not help and I could not be bothered with, preventing Orlong from falling in this battle. As I saw his unconscious form fall and the dwarves opened a portal to our new safe haven I threw a fireball aimed directly at Orlong. Better to die by hand of your master than die by hand of your enemies. The dwarves seem upset at the loss of our archer but asides from being a stoic and quiet companion (the only good kind) I felt his use of wooden sticks being shot from branches strung with animal intestines was an archaic and silly method of fighting in a world where creatures as powerful as me exist in. Still... He looked good in leather.
Unfortunately upon going back to the treacherous bitch witch for more healing magic and potions we encounter, yet again, Bryson. Who proudly explains he led our hunters into the swamp on a course directly towards the more dangerous parts of the swamp. I’m surprised at this maggot having fulfilled the task we set him without setting fire to his own face. As we sat down and discussed our next steps and how we would hunt our would be hunters we were approached by what I can only describe as the most irritating creature I have ever encounter in all my days. A tall, admittedly good looking, pencil thin mustache wearing loud mouth by the name of Diego Gobble. Diego announces himself as being the greatest and most amazing swordsman this side of everywhere and an actor beyond compare. Apparently some trouble involving sexual acts done to, or upon, the daughter of a local political figure means this loudmouth braggart has been confined to this disgusting hellhole. Without our approval and certainly without our desire, he informed us we were lucky to work with him and we were going to be glad to have made our new best friend. Time will only tell how this latest nail in my coffin will work out for us.
Although in all fairness when we commissioned Bryson to lead us into the swamp towards where our supposed hunters were camping and despite his constant never ending talking, I will admit that his motormouth seemed to have saved the day when we came across the oddest thing I’ve ever seen. A huge beholder fuddling about confused (later I discovered he had a ray of befuddlement cast upon him in potion form) and the only thing preventing us from being eaten and raped (oddly enough) was Diego’s oddly charismatic fast talk. He managed to convince “Benny” as the disgusting creature insisted on being called, that our hunters were in fact horrible people that denied him his god given right to see naked flesh. And after several hours of walking, and never ending talking, we came across their camp. With 1 last charismatic effort Diego sent Benny into their midst and while screaming the now famous warcry “SHOW ME SOME TITS!!!!” Benny proceeded to wreak havoc amongst the camp and helped with several fireballs and amazing feats of archery by our dwarves we managed to decimate these would be hunters. In the midst of all this confusion I think we were all at least partly taken aback to see Diego pull out a beautiful rapier and at least part way assuage our doubts at his claims of being the greatest swordsman ever. Upon murdering the lot of this filth we made a hasty retreat back to our safe zone and waited several hours before returning to investigate the contents of the corpses.
After this we had another conversation with the treacherous Dorota and finally managed to figure out what the strange markings on the teleport disc meant. Obviously I had figured this out days ago but I waited for my companions to catch up with me. We now realized the disc had the following descriptions: Swamp
After a quick recuperation we returned to the tower only to find it overrun by the pathetic scum that is the lizarfolks. We demanded to be brought to their king so we can demand free passage. The king in turn asked us to get rid of a pest called Razorjaw. A monstrously huge crocodile which was swiftly depleting their numbers. I personally voted for murdering the king and fireballing our way through the lizarfolks but we opted for the soft approach. Demanding several cannon fodder recruits we went out hunting for Razorjaw. Upon engaging the beast we realized how easily the king could have been defeated as the monstrous crocodile was dispatched with surprising ease.
We made our way into the tower where we first investigated the shrine which turned out to be a shrine containing an altar and several hallways leading nowhere. As we made our way to the dungeon we fought our way through a chamber full of golems. Huge metal constructs with murder in their eyes. Annoyingly our new companion Diego and the shield wielding dwarf Yato seem to have struck up some sort of unspoken friendship and stood shoulder by shoulder shielding me from the constructs as we dispatched them. An effective, albeit it extremely irritating, strategy. After we dispatched these golems and made our way through a series of traps we were temporarily stumped by the last trap which posed a riddle. To the end of days I will be irritated and shamed that a beard wearing stone midget came up with the solution to this riddle before I did. Obviously I’d never admit this and I rewarded him for his good act by giving him a biscuit. Once the doors slowly opened we walked into a room with more riches than I could have ever thought possible. FINALLY our labor and hard graft is starting to pay off and we are presented with riches that suit our stature. More importantly than the money though was the magic knowledge and power contained within this treasure. All the annoyances and irritations at my travel companions are momentarily forgotten as I taste the coppery taste of magic power in the air. Spurred on by finding this treasure we move on and quickly investigated a secret passage way Raneb found. The passage way led to a tomb. Unable to contain my curiosity I told Diego to use his unstoppable mouth to open the tomb. Unfortunately the resident of that tomb turned out to be a vampire lord. After a long and dramatic fight we managed to best him and return him to his tomb. We stuck a silver dagger through where his heart will reform and hope this will delay his reform. We decided to return to the hell hole that is Gnatdamp to recuperate and discuss our next steps.
This recent adventure has put me in a pensive mood. For some time now it’s clear to me that my travel companions are mere subordinates and not worth the earth they step on and it’s a mere matter of time before I shall murder them (and most likely their friends) in their sleep. However….oddly enough I have to admit that with the absence of our cleric and scantily clad barbarian we were a less effective murdering machine. And at several times throughout the last few days I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find my companions resourceful and quick witted, at times even useful. I find myself strangely protective of them. My destiny is clear; To become the most powerful wizard who has ever been. Although I don’t care much for riches I’ll probably end up ruling several countries in my pursuit for power. Initially my plans were to murder my companions when it proves useful, or as a fun way to pass the time on a long travel. But recently I’m starting to think perhaps they could take up positions working for me when I command most of the earth. They are oddly useful and full of surprises. I’m moving them from my “murder asap” list to my “maybe don’t murder” list.
P.S. The bomb I received on the head has cleared up the fog of darkness in my mind. Reading through my diary and looking upon my past deeds I now realize how truly dreadful I was as a human being. Oh god. The humanity of it all. I’ve murdered and murdered and lied and cheated and stolen. I am so incredibly sorry for all I have done. My companions are wonderful beings and very very dear friends whom I love tremendously. Starting today I renounce my evil ways and I will dedicate my life to the pursuit of all that is good and righting the wrongs I have done in this world! I SWEAR I WILL BE GOOD!
P.P.S. Bloody potion wore off, ignore that last hippy blathering. Expect MANY murders to happen. My spider hates everyone !
Fri Dec 26, 2014 9:10 am
First of all, a Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to you and your families
If you were wondering if this was a dead and buried campaign, fear not, we will be back in 2015 with more adventuring. 2014 was kind of lost for us, as we had to face several life-changing (but all positive) events:
-two of us bought a house
-one moved back from Dublin to the Netherlands, as he was our gracious host, we had to rethink the logistics of the weekends and relocate to flatland, tulip-crazed, cheese-eating Batavia. Trip wise, it is not as easy, as he is not close to Amsterdam at all, but rather closer to Germany in fact.
-I became a dad, so I had no time for prep at all.
So yeah, we have been busy. The guys had a weekend on their own two months ago or so for some COC, but I couldn't be part of it as baby is keeping me and her mummy pretty busy.
So yeah, 2015 will see the return of Showdown in Norambria. March more or less. We will finish Baltron's Beacon
and then decide what we'll do next. Stay tuned!
Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:06 am
The most effective along with regular lender cellular.
Tue May 05, 2015 8:42 am
Quick update guys,
At the end of the month, we will gather once more, for some Call of Cthulhu this time. Showdown in Norambria
is on hold until further notice, as I didn't have time at all to prep these past few months, and wouldn't like to run a watered down version of what is the greatest fantasy campaign (and most successfull one) I've ever run.
So we shall return one day, when time, inspiration and schedules all align together
Wed May 27, 2015 3:02 pm
A fun song written by one of the players - hommage to the one and only Homer Simpson of course
Does whatever a melee based class can.
Moves real fast, for his size.
Punches thieves right in their eyes.
Here comes the Spidermonk
Is he strong? Listen and chill,
Instead of strength he uses will
Can he swing from a thread?
Yes he can, it's based on dex.
There goes the Spidermonk
In the chill of night
He was trained to fight.
Like a streak of light
his slow falling power is almost like flight.
Friendly monastery Spidermonk.
Wealth and fame
Levelling up is his reward.
To him, life is a great big punch up
Wherever there's a bunch up
You'll find the Spidermooonnnkkkkkkk
Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:45 am
News news news!
Showdown in Norambria will resume this November in Dublin for a weekend of booze, good food, cigars & great gaming! Stay tuned!
Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:49 pm
Our game occured this weekend, expect the recap for the session in the upcoming days!
It was fun, action-packed & most of all it was great to have the gang gathered again!
Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:01 pm
Characters are now all level 6 more or less, with some well on their way to level 7. Here's a short interlude before the more complete session recap, this is our resident barbarian speaking here :
Kolock has two swords.
Kolock killed a demon, he used one sword.
It disappeared Kolock did not get to eat him.
Kolock had bang bang with lady.
Kolock used one sword.
Kolock did eat her.
Kolock still has two swords.
Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:04 pm
It pains me to say, but unfortunately there won't be anymore diary for this game.
We had our session, and one of the players was supposed to write the usual session report, but he bailed and we won't have a report for you here.
Suffice to say, they cleaned the swamp tower, destroyed the demon in the basement and fanned out the dark flames. We had a great great moment when one of the characters dropped one of the vitrioli creatures from the module...only he was surrounded by 3 other of these beasts...which provoked a chain explosion...and killed him off!!!! Glorious glorious gaming moment!
The group is back in Blackmoor, and they've been alerted by their thieves friends that a new thieves guild, the Shadowmasks, has started operations out of the slums. They will go investigate that.
One of the players, Irish boy who played the barbarian & the human cleric-fighter (the one who went kaboom!) is taking over the GMing duties. I think he will port the game to 5e as he quite likes it.
I hope to have some more reports for you in the future.
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