Starts with diffusing the hall trap. Ends with the very start of the final confrontation.
Starts with diffusing the hall trap. Ends with the very start of the final confrontation.
Investigation of garden areas. Concludes with Aeislun triggering the hall trap.
(To be continued)
This session begins at the site of the forge. Aeislun inquires about the forge, and the orb responds that it’s the property of the (inanimate, undead) forge master.
The group goes back to the merchants area to trade some more and Aeislun sells a medallion with a silver tongue for 3,000 GP and Rymyr sells 24 copper pots for 1.5 GP. After that, everyone discusses where to go, and as people are talking about water, Conor says “all water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”
It seems like some people want to go back to the well, and so Rymyr tries to find a bit of privacy for “private reflection” but is followed by Aeislun and Zwaithe who finally leave Rymyr alone when Aliin points out that the lady would like some privacy. While Rymyr is performing some kind of ritual, Aeislun’s psi-crystal scouts out the water pool (and doesn’t return), while Dahloy talks to his sword that teaches him how to perform a ritual with his life partner. In a separate chamber, Rymyr begins her ritual at which point she realizes the contract is missing (stolen). Then she calls out for Focalor, Prince of tears, come to me! He appears and agrees to bind with Rymyr for a chance to see the world for 24 hours.
When Rymyr emerges from her privacy, an obsidian orb comes and informs everyone that they are now the property of the lawmaker. Rymyr tells everyone to stand down, Zwaithe argues that he should be the lawyer and should accompany them and Nizhoni falls down the water with Hrungo. The lawmakers move towards the water and Scarlett takes an attack of opportunity against a lawmaker as it passes by, who turns and engages her. Scarlett grapples and attacks. Nebes misses, but Dren shoves a stalactite through it, killing the lawmaker. Dahloy magically greases the corridor, from where it sounds like reinforcements are coming. The obsidian orb glows red and flies into Zwaithe, who is wracked with pain. Conor has a conscious flashback of his earlier uttered prophecy, “Dead mortals feel no dread, save for in that which they need not tread.” He then shouts out to jump in the water, and jumps in himself.
In the next round of combat, a lawmaker does a direction-changing charge and slams into Scarlett. Nebes strikes the lawmaker with Tale Spinner and destroys it as the blade activates with scorching, electrical, destructive power. Dahloy says “I’m sorry, negotiations have failed” to the orb and ignites the grease in the hallway full of reinforcements. Everyone else heads for the water except for Scarlett. Conor shouts to her “jump, I’ll save you!” Mutters something to himself and dives 90 feet down. Scarlett takes one last look at the approaching hordes and falls backwards into the water and the party descends into the watery depths.
Conor finds a pocket of air and Aeislun arrives next, but is attacked from behind by a twig blight. Dren grapples the fleeing twig blight and Aeislun charges it, both dispatching it easily.
Aeislun uses a healing salve and heals Rymyr, Scarlett and Zwaithe who were injured in the previous battle. Conor and Nizhoni scout ahead through the south underwater passage, getting hit by a lightning blast glyph before exploring a rift in the earth. At one end there is an air-filled chamber. At the other end is a flooded room with many doors leading from it. In the meantime, Zwaithe disguises himself as Aliin, and Aeislun almost attacks him, but Zwaithe shouts out “I’m not Aliin!” before he attacks. Aeislun gleefully searches through the pile of compost and finds a lot of shit (as in, actual shit). And a shit-shroom which he later eats.
Conor returns to the room, and thinking that Aliin has returned, shouts “traitor,” shooting him in the chest with his greatbow. Zwaithe swears profusely, everyone else shouts that it’s not Aliin, it’s Zwaithe and Conor relents. He takes his arrow back and heals himself. Following Conor and Nizhoni, everyone swims to the air-filled room at the end of the rift. Rymyr and Conor give breaths of fresh air to Scarlett during the swim so she doesn’t drown on the way.
Conor, Scarlett, Nizhoni and Rymyr make up the first group to explore the doors leading from the submerged room. They find a semi-submerged slig dormitory, a slig brewery, a slig armory and a slig vet, where the sligs finally notice them. Through a mind link with Rymyr, Aeislun sees sleeping sligs and follows to attack. Zwaithe and everyone else swim over as reinforcements.
One of the sleeping sligs dies, and the other is interrogated by someone. Dahloy color sprays the two approaching sligs in the vet room, and Nizhoni finishes off the other. They find two heavily corked vials full of thick red liquid, which is probably Gorgon’s Blood, one of which counters ethereality and the other which counters poisons / diseases / drugs.
Everyone interrogates a captured slig and asks where is Belak? The slig indicates a room. Under further interrogation, it provides more information about Belak that is not completely coherent. The sligs are experimenting on the snakes because Belak thinks they will be accepted by the tree. The children and the tree are with Belak. Belak is a man / not a man / wearing a robe, not wearing a robe. He is the water man. Belak will not let you free the children. Belak does not have weaknesses, Belak is powerful in magic and runes, plants and water. He will make many traps and will stop you from getting to him if he can, he will force you to die 1,000 deaths before you reach the place where he stands. Draw him out and you will do better? The twig blights sometimes fight each other. When the stream of information ends, Aeislun decides to knock the slig out and after several punches, succeeds.
Someone opens the door on the western wall and it leads back to the compost chamber, where one of the twig blights had been hiding and hits Dahloy, who narrowly avoids instant death, but is poisoned. Conor turns bright red, the water starts boiling around him and the twig blight erupts in fire. However, it jumps into the roots and disappears, lighting the roots on fire.
Everyone rests in the room where the slig was interrogated, and on the first watch, a blood sludge oozes in from the ceiling, and falls to attack Aeislun. Conor hits it with a bone spear, Nebes hits it with a scorching Tale Spinner and the blood ooze retreats. Everyone finishes resting. The party goes down the underwater corridor, where there is a room warded with an arcane mark. Nizhoni absorbs the rune while Hrungo breaks down the door. As he enters, a rune activates and Hrungo takes ectoplasmic form. There is a line of seven Belgoi waiting, all of which launch harpoons at Hrungo, but none of which seem to penetrate his ectoplasmic form.
The two Belgoi that missed retract their harpoons and shoot again, ineffectually. Aeislun tries to cut one of the wires sticking out of Hrungo, and Nebes cuts the other ropes. One of the Belgoi tries to brain lock Hrungo, but fails. Dahloy manifests a crystal, which he lobs into the midst of the Belgoi to shatter in an explosion of shrapnel. Conor swims into the room, activates a rune and is paralyzed. Zwaithe tries to rescue Conor, and is also paralyzed by a glyph. Hrungo recalls agony on the Belgoi. The Belgoi swarm Conor and Zwaithe, but Dren pulls Conor back, and Scarlett pulls Zwaithe out of the way. Nizhoni enters the room, closes the door but not before everyone else sees her pull the glyphs on the floor into her, converting them into blue flame as they activate. A big boom sounds from the room, and everyone hears screams and sizzles through the door.
When Aeislun opens the door, one of the Belgoi is dead, and the rest all look very hurt. Nizhoni is prone and seems completely dazed, so Aeislun pulls her out. Nebes moves in and kills a Belgoi. One rushes and hits Nebes. Dahloy manifests another crystal and tosses it in. Hrungo lumbers in, comes out of ectoplasmic form and kills another Belgoi. Dren rushes in and kills one of the Belgoi holding an obsidian dagger by the blade, shoving it into its face. Scarlett pulls Zwaithe to the surface, and Nebes and Dahloy finish off the rest of the Belgoi when Dahloy blows a whistle to animate one of the dead Belgoi which moves to attack.
In this session, the Good Intentions attacked the Twig Blights in the Keep Level’s forge. The Twig Blights managed to escape by jumping into three large growths of bleached white roots, but these were soon dealt with by the rest of the party. Nebes acquired the Tale Spinner and discovered that Aaromal was trapped inside. Evidently after Aaromal and Umata were attacked on the surface, Aaromal retreated by possessing his weapon (as spirits are wont to do). The Twig Blights were unable to destroy it or force him out, so they took him and the Tail Spinner down to the Water Man. He peered into Aaromal’s greatest fears and discovered that he could be trapped in the blade just as his sister was trapped in the belt by reforging the item with a certain type of Gordon’s blood. This is what the Twig Blights were attempting to do in this forge, and in this at least, they were successful. Aaromal then pleaded with the group for their help in releasing him. Dahloy was fine with the arrangement as long as he could still pick the spirit’s mind. Nebes insisted on keeping the finely crafted weapon for his own use. Someone comforted Aaromal, knowing that releasing him would not be easy.
Starts with the entrance to the Keep Level. Ends with the start of the forge fight.
This session begins with the party in a large ruined chamber which must have once been a keep’s interior cloister in an age long past. A large pool of water has collected in the center – it’s depths stretch down farther than anyone can discern. A single archway opens into a meticulously maintained hallway on the north side.
(To be continued)
A brief lull in the story echoed in silence throughout the inn. Brown eyes briefly flickered to red as they stared into the glowing embers. The figure’s hands, long-fingered and deft, idly ran over a straight rod of dark metal, unnaturally immaculate in its construction, and he settled deeper into his long, dark cloak.
The figure next to him, as before, sat in its disciplined posture, unmoving, despite the words the first figure had uttered. Treasonous, sacrilegious words.
A floating, multifaceted stone glowed crimson behind the cloaked figure, its light illuminating yet a third figure in a chair behind the first two for a brief moment, before it stopped glowing and moving elsewhere in the large inn.
As if comfortable again, the first figure took his hands from the rod of dark metal, and it continued to float, unmoving, in the air where he had left it. The crystal ventured close as he beckoned towards it, and he held it, almost lovingly, as he continued his story.
The Sunless Citadel – Belgoi Throne Room
I watched Morrah as she shattered into tiny, sparkling fragments of glowing shards, which fell to the caltrop-studded stone floor before the slig-phalanx as it tried to push its way into the throne room. As the glow from its fragments began to recede, so did the partitions in my mind that I had designed Morrah to regulate.
I’m sure you know what it feels like, Truenamer, Ageless as you are. That dark, pulsating ichor of chaos that seeps through you, as sweet and hot as flaming nectar. It is the feeling of love that comes from the darkest of places, yet you cannot leave it be.
I briefly lost control of my form, and my eyes changed, briefly, from dark brown to blood red. I was later told that the image of the strangely calming vista of green plains and blue skies and a yellow sun that Aeislun saw within my mind began to change – the strange, multicoloured four-legged mammals that pranced around the shrubbery as their flesh melted in pustules and blood before a darkening sun. They sang in deep disharmony, exulted at the crumbling world.
When I remember that Aeislun never truly recovered from peering into the depths of my mind, I smile.
Asker jarred suddenly in my hands, and its blade briefly lost its shape before it reformed, its edges more jagged than before. A part of me smiled, and Asker’s blade sang a silent song of death within me.
And as the self-styled Belgoi king kept his attention turned upon Xaus, I took Asker’s invisible edge and pierced Durnn up and through his heart. The beast uttered a strangled sound as he fell forward, Asker’s blade meeting no resistance as it cleaved through him. I stared down at the large Belgoi and started towards him, my mind blank. When Xaus moved to pick the body up, a voice I had not heard in many years appeared from my throat, hoarse and rasp.
“Leave him,” I said, and Asker’s blade once more trembled and lost its form. When Xaus backed off, I stared at the corpse below me, its black blood quickly draining from its body and sucked into the ground below us.
And so I forged Asker into a blade of jagged edges, and beheaded the false king. Even as his blood seeped from his head, I raised it in a salute to his followers and, for just one moment, I felt a long-lost sense of fulfilment and buried memories of flames alighting the Butcher’s house and a father’s soul blackened with vengeance and war. It embraced me like a long-lost lover whose face I had long forgotten but could now finally see. Such pleasure, Truenamer!
And so I laughed – and I had not laughed in so long, it came out unwillingly from my throat. But whatever sound came out of me, Durnn’s minions turned away in fear and fled. Aeislun, still affected by whatever he had seen within me in my brief moment of weakness, raced after them, swinging his sword like a savage.
Xaus stared at me, looking as if I’d betrayed him, but he soon turned his attentions away and followed Aeislun out of the throne room. I knelt and unbuckled Aaromel’s belt from Durnn’s defiled corpse. Kelanen’s insignia, broken and jumbled from the puzzle that was this belt, glittered before me, and I carefully placed the kilt upon my own waist, hoping to glean from it Aaromel’s secrets. It, however, stayed silent, and Scorcher’s broken signs glowed beneath the strange blood, not Durnn’s, that encrusted the surface, as if taunting me.
Later, as the Bvanen held their feast, such as it was, for us, I sat apart, with the belt, hoping to glimpse some secret that lay within. But, try as I might, the symbols eluded me, and final forms of the belt seemed to fall from my mind’s grasp, as slippery as eels. After hours of toil, I finally flung the cursed thing away from me and briefly considered breaking apart its buckle with the Asker’s blade before I turned that thought away as folly.
Zwaithe came then, the smell of his leathers accompanied by the jingle of his whip’s edges hitting his belt, his precious hat turned on his head, and smelling faintly of wine.
“Dahloy, you should come and enjoy the festivities – I’ve never known you to turn down an award, justly-deserved or not,” he said, sitting down next to me. “And while the wine looks like piss and smells just a tad bit better, it gets the job done. Come out and drink with the rest of Good Intentions, our limited liability company!”
I glanced at him, but even within that glance I could tell that he was being careful, his words, while seeming nonchalant, measured. So he remembered how it had been the last time Morrah had shattered, what I had done.
“I’m fine,” I said, staring once more at Aaromel’s belt that lay in a heap against the wall. I took Asker from the air where I had left it, and placed it into the makeshift strap I had made for it against my arm. “I need time to bring my thoughts together.”
Zwaithe stayed silent for a while longer, and I did not urge him to speak, either. It was only after some time had passed when he said, plainly and softly, “I remember the deal. Long time ago. I knew you then and I know you now, perhaps better than anyone ever has… and what you did today was an act of the Dahloy who once was.”
I laughed and sneered at him. “The Dahloy who always is. Locked up for a while, perhaps, to serve your pedantic need for appearances, but who never much changed. And I no longer intend to keep myself sealed. Now, leave. I need to think.”
Zwaithe looked at me for a moment, but eventually he stood and left me in that dark room beneath the Sunless Citadel.
And I stared at the belt.
The next morning, when we had recovered a bit from the altercation from the day before, Good Intentions gathered before the Bvanen queen. I wondered briefly if she understood that we could do to her what we had done to Durnn, and with far less effort. Zwaithe, pointedly ignoring me now, and Rhymyr haggled for more of the pie and the Bvanen queen readily agreed – when klars ask a zhackal for something, the zhackal agrees.
I, however, took the time to take Aeislun’s powers as my own. A mere touch, and a willing mind was all I needed, and soon I had his Telepathy as my own. I did not assuage the fears he had, after the fact. Let it be a lesson.
We left the Bvanen with provisions and a few more magical items that we had procured. I, for one, continued to hold onto the glass whistle – no one even remembered obtaining it, so it was very much my own, but I still did not know what it did.
The hole in the Belgoi throne room was not a natural formation, but there had been no other way to go to the level below save the vines I had burned while trying to kill the slig shaman. So we used the last of my rope and briefly considered keeping the rope dangling above, but Rhymyr, who was last, flew down the hole with the end of the rope in her grasp.
Below the hole, we had arrived in what seemed to be a great formation of rock as well as a natural pond with water that went deeper than we could fathom. And before us lay great walls of stone and undead guards.
T’was back in my days as a little elfling, traveling with the clan that adopted me and my sister, that on a sojourn where the two of us were scouting ahead we found a Belgoi lad thirsting to death in the desert. Back then (before I learnt from human etiquette) I would’ve just carved him up for lying slumped in our way, but he told us about a pile of ceramics and a stash of kank nectar he’d hid under a rock in a nearby valley a few hours away – and he was truthful, and thus spared. The next week is a blur, with the extra victuals we were able to make better speed, but this necessitated an alcoholic consumption that challenged even my unusually fortified elven constitution. Eysne has often reminded me how I offered him many glowing compliments upon his ability to outdrink, outraid and outfeast me (Mr Belgoi knew the location of a little outstead known as ‘the little halfling house on the prairie’ and we got there before my sister could intervene).
At one point he himself considered me, and I quote ‘the most bloodthirsty, carousing elfling lad I(he) have ever met’. Such praise! I must admit his recognition of my superlatives led me to simply abridge his fault wherein he tried offering Eysne kank nectar with a leery eye – I normally make sure my sister can hold her drink, but not around these types of people – so I drank her portion and gave her my water – she prefers the tranquil clarity of what she calls ‘tea’ and keeps spiced leaves on her at all times.
We finally made it to the trading post our tribe was headed to, and after Mr Belgoi purchased Eysne a cider and some yarn to play with we started clearing out the place’s dwarven liquor with his remaining ceramics.
I think… at some point he said I was the truest friend he had ever met. Taking this into account I sold him into slavery to my tribe when they caught up, so he could continue to serve me. He must have been angered by this great honour due to his foolish prerogatives, but thankfully his memory of the violence he committed in his foul, immoral escape must have been clouded.
Heartbroken I had decided the only solution was to track him down and get him to declare himself my lifeslave. Now I’m not entirely certain, but this Durnn fellow looks the spitting image of Mr. Belgoi. I’m proud that getting to know me inspired him to become a petty King as we’ve just discovered, but he wasn’t willing to dump his advisor in the hole or follow us to the Ugly People for further negotiations so distraught at his betrayal I engaged him, throwing aside the possibility of a duel where he’d no doubt have the advantage.
But more to the point, where my compatriot’s log drifts off on the 13th chapter of our grandeous story, we had successfully killed off all of Mr Belgoi’s advisors, and dumped his friend in the well – see where defying us leads you to? What little remains can either be stuffed into tiny red and white magic capsules for later summoning or be disposed of to the bottom of wells, where you’ll rot away like fungus on a corpse, to be harvested every fourth or fifth forthnight.
The sligs however had broken through… what were we to do now?
Heroically we fought on! Of course! Conor got too close to the slig mob and they slapped him silly, but just as he was about to be trampled he tucked and rolled away from the oncoming horde, Zwaithe bravely blocked the oncoming horde.
In the main room Mr Belgoi was crying for us to forgive him, he said to Nebes ‘Oh Sir, if you’ll only allow me to be your slave!" but Nebes, full of wrath, struck the Belgoi once again. Pleading, bleeding, down on his knees he looked to Dahloy and Dren, but Dren’s anger was visible, his eyes glowing red, and Dahloy remained silent at the Belgoy having turned down his initial propositions. He pleaded to Rymyr, but Rymyr quoted the ancient scriptures that foretold the doom of the foolish and weak non-Humans (how racist!). His eyes settled on Nizhoni, there at least he could find some sympathy, he opened his mouth – to tell her the grand secret – but alas, his fate was to at that moment be struck down by Scarlett’s enveloping claws, snapping him in twain.
At this very moment Nebes scattered more caltrops (known to his people as killitrops) in the way of the slig horde, which pierced their feet, causing them to stumble and impale themselves hilariously. Realizing their weak morale Dahloy lifted up the Belgoi king, and slit his throat with a mighty roar of ‘WHERE IS YOUR KING NOW?’. I dunno, somewhere in the spirit realm I guess. :)
During the whole time I was piercing multiple sligs with each single arrow I fired, I made a game out of it where I’d see how many eyes I could pop with a single missile.
Then after we finished the battle we collected their valuables as I chased after the survivors and then we dragged the corpses back to the (in all her glory of royal majesty) beautiful Turtle Queen, and ate them in merry festivities with other delicacies stored from their storage rooms. Someone played some great party music.
Now Rymyr has often called me a cannibal, but I’ve never had another elf or a human for breakfest (unless they asked me to), and I’ve heard that there were a type of hairy humans in the past that swung from branch to branch in the jungles but the humans ate them all when they ran out of bananas, so yeah – bunch of hypocrites.
After that we went down into the well to look for the shaman’s corpse and the children we were sent to rescue. What we found however were the Bodachi people – Aliin was quite useful and with him as a guide we sold all our stuff and then, passing by a forge, we noticed some criminals illicitly utilizing one of the Bodachi forges, trying to destroy the Tailspinner. Nebes and Dahloy hastened to slay two of the evildoers and recovered the sword, in which we found Aaromal had taken refuge.
In this session the Good Intentions discovered and then confronted the main slig chamber. It was filled with more than 30 Sligs, 4 Belgoi, their Chieftain Durnn, their Shaman Uthenek, and a hidden Twig Blight Assasin. Though the party was met with a white flag of parley and an offer to settle their differences with a duel, the Good Intentions strategically/ dishonourably attacked Durnn and his allies as soon as they were invited into his makeshift throne chamber.
Barricading the door to block the main slig mob, the party managed to take Uthenek and a few Belgoi out of the fight (although the Shaman escaped) before the session was over.
(To be continued)
By Xaus Nebes
GM : Lake Watkins
John: as Aeislun
Katie: as Rymyr
Daniel: as Dahloy
Michael: as Nebes
Tim: as Scarlett
Anna: as Nizhoni
Other characters present in the game: Conor, Zwaithe, Skelly, Aliin, (plant and naked elf presumed dead)
Well, having got rid of those nasty snakes that were infesting the room due west of the poison gas washbasin chamber, we decided to proceed into what looked like a cave entrance in the west wall of the giant snake nest chamber. The Bvanen were amazed by our power and skill in wiping out all the snakes, even the giant “queen”.
The cave turned out to be only a hole in the thick wall rather than a cave, and gave into a stone walled corridor running south, putting it parallel to the hall in which we first got attacked by the snakes. It turned to the left (East) a little way ahead, and then looked like it turned back right (South), as if it were following the outer perimeter of the momma snake den and the poison gas room.
Roughly built at 45 degrees across the first corner in the passage was a low battlemented brick wall about 3 feet high. The floor was stone. The wall is only a barrier, and we could get over it easily, but the floor beyond was all covered with sharp cowtraps gleaming wickedly, and there was another low wall at the next corner, where the passage seemed to turn right again to proceed south once more behind the chamber in which we first encountered the snakes.
When a cowtrap was touched, there was a noise from the dark passage beyond.
We wondered if they were magically booby trapped. (they weren’t)
We talked Aliin into going down the corridor for 50 silver. The gang wasn’t too happy about that. (the blighter should have done it for free! I guess I am beginning to appreciate why some of the others would like to do him in. Perhaps it is good he has never realised I was never part of his contract with the others. I don’t get involved in employers dealings like that. Don’t get me wrong, Rhymyr is a cool scholar, treats me well, and I like her and working for her, but I don’t feel I necessarily have to sell my soul just because an employer does.
Actually, I personally don’t have any quarrel with Aliin, for that matter. He hasn’t tried to hurt me, at least, not yet. Frankly, he seems rather useful a lot of the time, but I think he could use a better attitude sometimes).
Conor was dumb enough to want to go with him.
Scarlett jumped on top of the battlemented wall for a better look at the corridor ahead.
A slig hiding further down threw a spear at her. Fortunately he missed, and double fortunately Scarlett didn’t fall off the wall onto the cowtraps. Daredevil Aeislun and Conor followed her by jumping up onto the wall. They almost all fell off but managed to hold on to each other.
At that point, Scarlett sensibly decided not to try proceeding.
Rymyr came to the rescue by deciding to fly down the passage safely above the cowtraps.
She was a bit worried I’d get upset that she can fly. Different religions in conflict etc. My mother would have probably had a fit, as she was an Earth worshiper, but Dad had a completely different approach to these things and wouldn’t have worried. Well, yeh, it was a surprise, but right then hardly seemed the time to bother about it. And in any case, I grew up in a fairly cosmopolitan environment, and so for the most part, have pretty much learnt to live and let live. I’ll worry about it later – maybe.
There was no more noise and it seemed the slig had retreated. Hopefully he was terrified of whatever could get past the snakes- like us!
I suggested we just clear the cowtraps out of the way. They weren’t fixed into the floor. Where is a good broom when you need one? Somehow the folks that live in this place don’t seem to have much concept of clean. The others thought there were too many cowtraps and it would take to long. They were in a panic about rescuing the children, but I’ve noticed that every time we rush into something we seem to get a bit beaten up.
Any way, Rymyr flew over the cowtraps and landed safely beyond the second battlemented wall, where she had a view (North) past the right hand bend in the corridor. She called back she could see into a dirty room with fire pits in the floor, but couldn’t see any sliggs. No one tried to attack her.
So we all set about clearing out the cowtraps, to save those with bare feet, and so our path of escape wouldn’t be blocked if we were attached by something nasty. Those with boots only had to kick them aside. I thought they might come in handy later and gathered up quite a lot of them in several bundles. Never know when they might be useful to jamb a door open or shut or cover a retreat.
We all went forward into the dirty room. There was yet another waste high battlemented wall ahead with a doorway beyond it. Scarlett tried to sneak over the wall but tripped and fell over it so that she was in full view of whatever might be in the room ahead.
Something made a slig scream in the distance, but nothing else happened. Apparently, she wasn’t detected, or they didn’t care.
In the next room we found humanoid looking targets with spears sticking in them, and to the North was a fire pit with cooking pots hanging over it. They looked like brass, so I grabbed them. After all, I figured we might need to eat eventually, and if all else fails, you can always use a good pot to whop something on the head when you’re out of better weapons. There were some dirty blankets lying around. It looked like we had wandered into some sort of quarters and mess area.
The floor was the usual cracked cobble stone. (Well, it obviously wasn’t wood, or sliggs wouldn’t be lighting fires on it.) Speaking of fire, Nizhoni said she smelled some ahead, together with something like Kank nectar plus wool and jerky, and some nasty smelling oil.
There was in fact a fire in the pit beyond the crenulated wall, but no one was around.
The whole place was very dirty.
Aeislun quite sensibly tried to check for traps but did it badly and couldn’t tell if there were any or not.
The west wall had a locked door in it, and there is yet another little crenulated wall to the north, with a door behind in the north wall. Aeislun jumped over the low wall with his usual careless abandon and found an elfin flask of nasty fermented Kank nectar called Broy, which he promptly (and irresponsibly) drank. Good grief, it might have been poison, or full of cockroaches or something!
To our surprise (and probably some peoples disappointment), nothing happened. He didn’t even get drunk. Either he is very strong or it was lousy booze. Probably that was just as well, since we needed everyone to be alert.
Aeislun decided to try and pick the lock beetle on the southern most door on the western wall of the chamber we were in, and he managed to open the door. Scarlett sleuthed in to investigate, and found a long low stinky dungeon. At the end was what looked like a child trapped in a small square cage made of living tree roots that had a weird white colour. On one side wall were sets of manacles with Bvanen skeletons in them, and the remains of two scaled humanoid creatures. There were also 4 malnourished but still breathing Bvanen tied up with crude ropes. Scarlett immediately untied them. They said they were guardians of Hrungo, whatever that might be.
Nizhoni and Aeislun went in to examine the boy in the cage, who turned out to be a “Mul child”. It looked unhappy and evil, and Nizhoni and Aeislun felt their blood being pulled towards the fronts of their bodies and their heads began to feel like they were burning. I felt it too but was still far enough away not to be badly affected. It was creepy, and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
Conor went in and tried to talk to the child, who looked about 10 years old. The boy said he was called Dren, and was not a child. Then he asked if we had come to kill him?
“Good heavens, no”, we told tell him. We said we wanted to rescue him. He didn’t look particularly convinced. In fact, he almost looked like he wanted to die.
Rymyr tried to identify the plant so we could know how best to attack it, and found out the tree that formed Dren’s cage was Verrin Wood. It is extremely toxic to elves, and they despise it, so Aeislun got sensibly out of the way. And this particular one was also mutated and magical.
Apparently, it was the same tree that produces the fruit that is sold yearly in Rymyr’s home town. But that fruit must be produced somehow from blood the tree pulls out of or “eats” out of people. I bet she’s lost her apatite, and probably so would the whole town, if they knew.
Dahloy used supernal clarity to look at it and then to attack it. He tried to burn it and did some damage but it spurted blood that douched the fire and it grew back when damaged. The trick was to kill it without hurting Dren. Dahloy and Nizhoni persisted carefully until they eventually succeeded, and the newly liberated Dren decided to stay with us.
Aeislun decided to take the freed Bvanen prisoners back to their queen. What he was really after, of course, was a chance to loot the giant snake nest while the rest of us were preoccupied and had forgotten about it.
Well, better him than me. The snake nest room now reeks horribly with a heavy sickly sweet odour like fresh cow dung, ‘cause it is wall papered all over in Elf Puke – floor, walls and ceiling!
And he didn’t even chew the lumps, (probably cause Rymyr didn’t get a chance to make it taste good first) so there are great green gobs of poorly chewed semi digested snake plus whatever garbage you normally find in an elf’s stomach all over the place. (No, don’t ask me what’s in an elf’s stomach. I’ve never looked inside an Elf’s stomach and hope I never have too!)
Mind you, I have to admit that at the time it was really quite entertaining. Aeislun’s mouth suddenly enlarging and sucking that 20 ft reptiles into it and him swelling like a balloon and rising up in the air, spinning like a demented windmill… and then BANG, a mighty crack as pieces of snake flew back out faster than arrows and completely smashed another snake to pieces, and covered the whole room in splatter. Good job I ducked just in time. But that’s the curious thing about elves. They can be deceitful, selfish, mischievous, conniving, backstabbing cheating little turds, but, if you can get past all that, they are actually a whole lot of fun. Sort of like women.
We continued ferreting around. There was another doorway on the east facing wall but the room only had some more junk and bedding and blankets inside it. In only a seemingly short time Aeislun was back dragging a big blanket full of loot and a human body over his shoulder. The body was dead, uh, long dead. Now I’ve carried bodies on my shoulder too, but they have always been alive – well, at least when I started carrying them.
All this distracted us for a while.
The body was heavily tattooed, but we couldn’t see it clearly and decided we would have to examine it in detail later. There was a copper ring on its finger, which said “Karakus” in elfin on it. Besides the body, he had a good haul of loot.
In the giant snake nest he had found (apart from the human body- humm, wonder why the snake hadn’t eaten the guy when he was fresh?) 3 gems, 5 obsidian daggers plus bone studded armour (obviously no use to its owner or it wouldn’t have been in the nest), a great bow (strength modifier 2), a water skin (probably full of snake piss by now. Maybe we could get Aeislun to test drink it? – OK, that was naughty), a bed roll, a flint and steel, 3 torches, 6 obsidian arrows, a sack full or rations (probably rotten, or the snakes would have eaten them), a healing salve, some elf hazel and a pouch with 17 ceramic pieces and some copper. There might have been some other stuff, but that’s all I remember. Any way, we all got 19 copper from the loot and Aeislin gave me one of the torches.
Aeislun also gave me back the bow I lent him, since he found another one, so now we have a spare.
Then we noticed that the room had been slowly filling up with smoke that was now getting down to our level. It was coming out from under the North most door on the west wall, from a room that must be beside the dungeon where we found Dren. Rymyr touched the door and found it was quite hot.
The walls were all stone and the ceiling vaulted stone so there wasn’t much danger of the whole place going up, but we decided we didn’t want to die from smoke inhalation. We were worried about the children again, so we didn’t have time to retreat and just let it burn out.
We decided we had better try and put it out. Scarlett opened the door. The room was smaller than the one we were in but was full of burning furniture and supplies and oil. There was an open door in its west wall, and some sligs were in the doorway fanning the fire.
Scarlet went in and managed to put out about 50 square feet of area and Rymyr managed to douse about 25 square feet using water and old blankets. I saw they would need lots more blankets and ran off to grab some from the other rooms. Scarlett went after the sligs with the fans and disarmed them. They ran back inside the next room and slammed the door shut. I got back with about 500lbs of blankets and snuffed out the rest of the fire.
Then we saw there were marks on the floor where the sligs had apparently rolled something into the next room to the west.
While Scarlett, Rymyr and I were putting out the fire, other stuff had been going on.
The Mul child, Dren, had begun to recover and told Dahloy he had been in the tree root cage 11 years. He decided he wanted to hang with us, and it was obvious he didn’t have any love for sligs (he wanted payback).
Aeislun, Dahloy and Aliin decided to go walkabout and see if they could get through a door in the north wall of the main room. That is the door north of the fire pit in the big room that adjoins the room that was on fire. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be attached from the rear by whatever might be behind the door while trying to put out a fire, but they seemed fairly sure there wouldn’t be anything there, and in any case, the sligs seemed to have retreated into whatever was beyond the door that they slammed shut at the west end of the fire room.
With the fire finally out we decided we would have to pursue the sliggs, and see what was behind the next door. The sligs had locked it.
We could hear noises behind the door. It was wood, and not particularly strong. I thought about simply charging into it. I can get up to about 30ft per second running and with my weight hit the door with up to about 21,000lbs of force depending on the rate of deceleration. In simple terms, bad news for me if the door were solid and totally unyielding, otherwise, very bad news for the door and who ever is standing behind it. The problem was that there was no way to know if anyone was standing behind it, so I might have just gone sprawling across the floor into a room full of sligs. No thank you.
Instead, Rymyr said just smash it open with my sword, so I did. It broke open easily enough and revealed a long narrow room with a row of marble columns down each side. It was hazy with smoke from torches and the fire in the other room, but I barely had time to notice anything before 6 sliggs over by the wall each throw a javelin directly at me. 4 either missed or bounced off my armour but two got in between joints. Fortunately my tough hide prevented serious damage but it hurt like H—well, it really did smart. At least my bulk protected the others from the initial onslaught.
Then a lot of stuff happened at once. Someone started playing some battle-music.
As I tried to take a step backwards out the way, a slig rushed up and got me with his obsidian sword. That Chitin armour was bloody useless – more accurately, I was bloody, and it was useless! Mind you, I was no where near done for, simply loosing some blood and in a bit of pain, and coughing a bit from all the smoke.
Scarlett, bless her heart, disarmed the blasted slig that hacked at me before it could have another go. Conner tried to get past me into the room to hit the slig on my right but somehow ended up punching the nearest column. I think he might have tripped over my foot in all the scuffle.
Nizhoni then unleashed her dreadful wrath on a group of sligs and demoralized one on the right just ahead of Connor, helping protect him.
Meanwhile, Aeislun had opened the door a head of him to find another door directly in front and a corridor going off to the left ((West) Aliin went off down the corridor and Aeislun opened the unlocked door in front of him and found an empty room with some evidence of occupation, but nothing more.
Oblivious to the raging battle, Aliin walked on and tripped a trap door and somehow fell into a pit. There was a one foot wide catwalk around the pit but he didn’t see it.
Aeislun and Dahloy finally heard the battle and headed back to wards us.
But I was still in the thick of it, and Connor was now surrounded by about 5 of the sliggs. Little Dren suddenly went over to the fire pit, grabbed a burning stick and appeared between my legs to jab the firebrand into the face of the sligg directly in front of me. Its greasy dirty fur caught fire and it dropped dead. I think the stick went through its eye or something. Dren seemed ecstatic.
But there was no time to gloat. Another slig was in front of me bent on mischief. I hit the miserable creature with my bastard sword but failed to damage it fatally. I went to finish it off with my steel dagger but my balance shifted on the uneven floor and the slig twisted so that the dagger only got entangled in its hair. I should have yanked back with all my strength and tor the dagger loose along with a few square inches of slig fur and skin but I lost my grip. I think the hilt was slippery from blood as I was still bleeding from the obsidian sword blow earlier.
I finally managed to retreat a bit and Aeislin, who had come back into the main room, shot the slig with an arrow. That left it bleeding, but still not dead. Darn, those things are tough.
I finally got a chance to pull out the remaining javelin, and can you believe this. Aeislin asked if I could carry his dead human body for him. I politely pointed out that I was sort of preoccupied like in the middle of a battle, and besides, the body stinks!
I like the fellow, but sometimes I’d just like to grab him by a leg and toss him somewhere!
I actually did that once – tossed an elf. I was only a teenager and there were a couple of elf families in my town. Never mind, long story. Anyway, one day we were out sitting by the bank of the oasis and this elf kid, who was actually a friend, put some insect down the back of my neck and the beeping thing stung me.
Wow, did it sting. Almost by reflex I grabbed the elf by the ankle with one hand and as I stood up I flung him with most of my strength. He flew about 60 feet doing cartwheels in a nice graceful arc until he splashed down into the oasis, much to the other kids’ delight.
Oh, don’t worry, he was quite unhurt, as I knew he would be. The water was deep enough to break his fall but not over his head, or I wouldn’t have done it. (I didn’t exactly plan on 60 feet, but I usually don’t mention that part)
I guess his leg might have come off, but he was a tough little tyke, and you just don’t think of things like that when playing teenage pranks. He hadn’t known the insect would be capable of stinging me either, and just wanted to make me jump. And yes, we did remain friends.
I wonder if I can get someone to place bets on how far I could toss Aeislun if I really tried, using both hands. Ok, he’s an adult elf, but I’m much bigger now too. The ratio should be about the same. I guess his leg might come off, but I’m sure that would be a risk the rest of us would all be willing to take! Have to wait until there is a suitable body of water, though, or other guaranteed soft landing. I wouldn’t want to really hurt him.
So there we were with 5 sligs still very alive and kicking, and poor Conor in the middle of them, and Aliin off down a pit. Unfortunately, you will have to read the next log to find out what happened, as this is where my notes ended.
Dren (GM) 3
Dahloy, Nizhoni, Conor, Zwaithe and Skelly (Aliin, the undead Rae-Jsha) first release the Mud Fiend (now a venerable spirit) from its ancient duty. For this, and the humble act of cleaning the mud from the chamber, the spirit gives each a temporary boon for the next 24 hours. Dahloy gains the effects of the power ectoplasmic form (SRD, activate/deactivate at-will), Nizhoni gains the soulmeld scholar’s adornment (custom, currently bound to her Crown chakra), Conor gains the effects of the recitation of the wise man (tWWW, augmented twice), Zwaithe gains the effects of the sonic lash special ability of the sonokineticist (see here, adds 1d6 sonic damage to whip), and Aliin gains the effects of the mystery alacrity (see here).
After the spirit flies away, Dahloy and Nizhoni’s party decides to open the sarcophogus in front of them. A necrocarnum troll zombie (Jadhak hiChna’él, former priest of Sárku) is released and starts to fight them in an epic montage involving the troll shifting necrocarnum essentia (energy) between his chakras, morphing him into a strong, fast, or tough opponent as needed. But Dahloy and Nizhoni are more effective as Dahlor quickly chips off bits of old bones with Supernal Clarity and Nizhoni slashes the enemy with her claws and miraculously heals her own wounds (while Conor attends to the others). Skelly (Aliin) and Nizhoni serve as the tanks, saving their party members from numerous blows.
After the battle the group collects several magical scrolls and two hundred silver pieces, they rest and recoup some of their health before deciding to return to the main area of the dungeon the next day (Dahloy noted the treasure). While resting, the psicrystal playing hide-and-seek with Aeislun before awakens Dahloy. Following it into the hallway, he notices a small, twisted, twig-like creature holding Aaromal’s chastity belt at the end of the hall. Chasing after it, he never quite gets a good enough shot before it deftly navigates a trapped corridor leading to the slig infested area of the fortress level. Dahloy and the others are unable to follow safely, and so they decide to go back to the surface to investigate what’s happened to Aaromal and Umata. Once there, they discover that someone has cut the rope, seemingly killed Umata (all that remains is a mess of vines and a few eye stalks), and Aaromal is no-where to be seen. After an extensive search that yields no answers, Dahloy takes what remains of Umata’s corpse and he and his party continue resting to recover their wounds.
The next day is one of great bloodshed. Dahloy and Nizhoni’s group begins their trip back to the ugly underground citadel when a battle starts in the nest of the giant snakes!
Rymyr, Nebes, Scarlett, Aeislun and the expendable ugly guy (the bvanen bounder) we got to come along with us are unable to catch the three snakes off guard by coup de gracing them because they react extremely fast. The group settles in for a long and nasty battle, wherein Nebes does about 75% (!) of the damage needed to kill the fat Mother Snake (she’s like 3 hexes wide!) who tries to eat Aeislun who has to pull some elven luck to get out of the situation only to be grabbed by her child to the right (who turns down offers of help in order to let the party focus on the big one). Nebes also wounds one of the other snakes later on. In the meantime Rymyr jumps over the pit to catch up with the rest and wounds the snake to the left with a crossbow and tags the various enemies with true-naming utterances and incantations, ensuring the blows will do more damage. The expendable ugly guy misses twice, but gets a hit on the mother snake in the third round setting it up for Zwaithe to finish off, so yay him!
Three more snakes reinforce the battle! Dahloy, Nizhoni, Conor, Zwaithe and Skelly (Aliin) arrive in the middle of the battle, Nizhoni using her roar to scare the weak-willed serpents and slashing and biting them with her claws and fangs, Zwaithe whipping them, Dahloy shooting him accidentally in the back with a fire power before firing off powers and stabbing at the enemies, and Conor preparing to heal anyone that’s fallen. Skelly helps by stabbing a snake to death that Dahloy and Zwaithe have wounded.
Aeislun tries to get free after casting vigor by biting off the snake’s tail but just damages his trachea and starts suffocating from its tail.
Scarlett basically kills one of the other snakes on her own and wounds another, and when the snake grabbing Aeislun drags him down into the loose underground dirt (turns out he needed help after all) she dives in after him using her sandswim ability!
Aeislun is overcome with rage at this embaressment and achieving the zen-focus of his entire race’s psychic ability focused into him at that moment (a natural happenstance as he is the savior of his race) he eats the entire python-size bastard from the inside out. Scarlet grabs him and resurfaces to safety, while she is able to breath surrounded by dirt she has no doubt saved Aeislun’s life.
At this point the entire party basically shivs one of the last two remaining snakes to death – but the last one attempts to escape. Still on his limit break and powered up by the guts of his former captor Aeislun unleashes his pent-up psychic power, causing an earthquake and spikes of sand that bruises the snake attempting to escape and throwing it into the air where it’s perforated to death by the snake guts being projectile-vomited by Aeislun at supersonic speeds. The bvanen bounder is absolutely amazed at the skill and powers displayed by the party.
The party then congratules each other, shares stories of what’s happened so far then goes to the portal of the ancient, powerful and good but dead race, so that one of the children can open the door because the rest of us are evil or at least not good by their standards (they have shown this opinion by us touching the door triggering a swinging battleaxe trap!). Connor sits down and chants an ancient, arcane language, and then with eyes glazed over, he says something in a more common tongue “He cannot put his water spirit in the tree, for an evil spirit already struggles within.” After he comes to his senses, blows his words of power toward the door, and it opens. Skelly is sent into the room to pick up to walk on every single hex and prod every five-foot hex of surface on the walls and ceiling, then picks up the potions there and looks and take notes of the arcane script for Rhymer to decode, in return he is able to work off fifty silver of his debt.
The party then asks the bvanen bounder what the areas they haven’t explored are. He tells them that two are storage rooms, one is the turtle’s feeding area, and the last few are bvanen barracks. The party notes that one of the books of the History of Bodach is possibly in the storage room, based off his description. The party finally returns to the nest of the dead snakes to take a secret route from it through the dirt that will lead to a room to its left guarded more lightly by sligs holding the people we were sent to save hostage (plus a giant pet turtle). Therein we are to save the skelly/Rae-Jsha hatchlings and turtle and perhaps some human/other children as well, after giving this room a cursory check for loot (and a more serious search after we save the children hopefully).
Hooray for Good Intentions, for we have triumped over a bunch of slimy, scaly snakes – thus showing our superiority over our serpentine foes and deserving of lunch!
Aeislun 4, Nizhoni 3, Scarlett 5, Dahloy 2, Nebes 3, Rymyr 1