Carrion Crown

After the Dragon 03: In the Temple of Ahm Helmok
In Which Our Party Meets Some Family

After about two weeks of travel, the party arrives at the small farming hamlet where Riska, Kayl, and Trapspringer dumped Reece a few weeks earlier. Reece is gone, but after some intimidation from Kayl they learn that he left Riska a God damn flute. Of course, there’s a note inside: I left you something in my room. Follow when you can. See you soon, Princess. Riska storms the temple and searches Reece’s room, finding a book tucked behind a brick. Riska and Kayl are no longer welcome in the temple and are asked to leave the town.

Most of the party settles in at the inn to drink while Riska retreats to a room with the book, which turns out to be Marlin’s journal. She learns that Marlin was not aware that his memory thing backfired and intended to return to her at some point, that he and Reece discovered a temple where the cursed item originated, and that they had heard legends of Ahm Helmok and intended to travel to his temple next, although she shares this information only with Kayl.

In the morning, the party is informed they are no longer welcome at the inn. Riska directs everyone to the temple of Ahm Helmok, andIora recognizes the name, sharing that she has a book about him. They learn that Ahm Helmok is the first halfling, a former god, split and scattered. The key to navigating his temple lies in his eight domains: Madness, Trickery, Family, Nature, Greed, Wnaderlust, Music, and Gluttony.

The party journies into the woods with few adventures beyond a few owl bears and some pigs who are extraordinarily fond of Chhakuk. Near dusk one day, they find the temple of Ahm Helmok, but someone has beat them there. Riska sneaks up to the campsite to hear Reece talking with someone vaguely familiar, and recognizes the nearby guards as bearing the crest of House Winterbourne. She retreats, ignoring their orders and shouts, leading the group to the pary. Reece saunters up with Gavin Winterbourne, Kayl’s younger brother. Gavin calls Riska an elf bitch, resulting in some dual punching from Kayl and Riska while the rest of the party munches popcorn and enjoys the show.

Once RIska has finished pummeling Gavin, he tells Kayl that their mother is dying. Kayl says he will be there when he can, much to Gavin’s annoyance. Recognizing that he is no match for the party, Gavin agrees to leave, uttering some vague threats. Riska then turns on Reece, furious to find that he knowingly left Marlin behind. She shows him the cursed object on her arm and utters a few insults. Reece takes a swing at her, but Riska dodges and leaves him with a bloody nose for his trouble.

After some more bickering, Reece tells her he woke in the temple to find Marlin with two orbs on his arm, apparently possessed by the spirit of Ahm Helmok. He said he would release Marlin if the rest of his artifacts were returned to him. The party makes their way into the temple, which has crazy low ceilings. They find a room with a picture of a halfling with a book, the inscription KNOW AHMPICK WISELY above it. On one wall is a bank of 16 symbols; on another, there is a tree with lightning. Reece suddenly remembers something, touches the lightning, and disappears.

The party, apparently indifferent to this event, sets about examining the wall. Chhakuk tries to place the items representing the domains of Ahm Helmok in the wall and gets a blast of lightning for his trouble, but Trapspringer notices the book says the word NOT over and over again. They put in the wrong symbols and pass the challenge of trickery. The door opens and the party decides they don’t care about Reece, advancing to the next challenge.

They find themselves in a hallway of square blue and white tiles, all of which Riska recognizes as trap doors. When moving quickly to produce wind, musical notes result. Riska is able to recognize the notes and play the song, guiding the party across (except for Chhakuk, who walks on air). The music challenge is complete.

They next find themselves facing a big, frightening face with a huge mouth. Medallions line the walls. Trapspringer walks through this mouth unscathed, but the party is not so fortunate, as Chhakuk proves with the loss of his fingertips. After trying several solutions, they walk through the mouth holding the medallion of madness, thus passing the madness challenge.

They next find themselves in a large, circular room. A gold idol sits in the middle of the room over a pit of molten gold. Riska climbs over on a rope. The second she touches the idol, she disappears. Kayl quickly follows, and the rest of the party is carried over by Chhakuk using some helpful spells. The trial of greed is vanquished.

After giving Riska a few minutes alone with her Rope of Climbing, they continue into a room of delicious smells, where a sinister halfling sits at a table spread with an amazing feast. Trapspringer tries to talk to him but he just keeps inviting them to eat. Iora takes a bite, falls asleep, and dissolves. After a lot of debate, the rest of the party toasts their own deaths, awakening to find themselves with Iora. The challenge of gluttony is over — three trials remain.

XP: 12 800 each

Karma:
Embodiment- Iora she of the clever forgetting
MVP
Chhakuk “Stubby Fingers”
Teamworker- Kayl – Abandoning family duty for the party

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After the Dragon 02: Things Get Weird, Yo
In Which We Learn Chhakuk's last name

The party passes through the mining town of Baslweif, where Chhakuk manages to identify all items in party holdings, as well as purchase bedrolls, horses, and carts to make the rest of the journey easier. They pass an uneventful night and eventually reach Janderhoff!

Here Chhakuk talks to the guards, who insist that they go through immigration before he’ll allow the refugees to enter. He issues permits to the party, at which point we learn Chhakuk’s last name: Blundstone. Iora and Trapspringer don’t have one, Kayl’s we already knew, and Riska, in the words of the party, “has to be a bitch about it.” Argus manages to grab Iora. He apologizes for yelling earlier, and gives her a list of people her father knew in Janderhoff.

The party winds up at an inn called the Blarney Cock. They break into groups, with Iora heading to the educational district (excuse me, quarter) and Kayl and Chhakuk going to immigration. Chhakuk decides that for some reason, he doesn’t trust Riska to sell party holdings (and also, Riska is nervous about having to talk to elves), so Trapspringer agrees to accompany her.

Iora

Iora heads to the academy in search of the five people on her list. She finds that one is dead, and the other four are professors of history. She asks what books they gave her father, winding up with “Did you give him any books on dark magic or just history crap?” When the professors react negatively, she explains that she’s afraid she did something really bad. One of them does remember something strange in her father’s last request — a book on Halfling Creation Myths. He agrees to make her a copy of the book for the next day. Iora also asks about the dead man’s son, learning that he’s in a place called the Druggard’s Den. It’s in a rough part of town, though, and Iora is nervous about heading there alone, so she decides to go back to the inn.

A beggar appears, claiming her brother is injured. Iora offers to help, but when the child leads her into a back alley she changes her mind — too late, as it turns out, because a dwarf wearing a jackal mask attacks her, gluing her feet to the ground. As more jackals appear, Iora yields to inevitability and surrenders, at which point they knock her out.

Chhakuk and Kayl

Chhakuk and Kayl head to the immigration building. A human male at the refugee desk is quite surprised to learn where they’re coming from, as there’s been no city there for three (ten) years. He pulls out of a tome of laws to seek provisions for refugees from… that place. There follows a lot of umming and ahhing and awkward explanations, but basically it’ll take 2-3 weeks to settle the dwarves unless they pay 100 gold a head to expedite matters. Chhakuk chooses to expedite only his mother, and the two spend several hours doing paperwork before escaping to seek the town council and sell the crown.

Kayl and Chhakuk eventually get to see a manager and show him the crown, but he wants to know what else they found, not buying their bluff of “nothing.” Eventually Chhakuk tells him most of what they found. They follow him below and meet a very old dwarf (Kayl adds “Old Dwarf” to the punching list). The old dwarf brings in three more, who are also quickly added to the list.

Oldy McOlderson starts going on and on about the spells on the gollums leeching into the crown, blah blah blah something something — the gist is he won’t pay anything for it, but the town’s archaeological department would accept it as a donation. Realizing that the crown is worth no more than 200 gold, which is about what Chhakuk paid to settle the refugees, they agree to trade it in exchange for giving all the dwarves priority status, on the condition that Kayl explains things to Riska, who agreed to let Chhakuk sell the crown to the town (operative word being sell). After some more paperwork, Kayl and Chhakuk head off to drink.

Riska and Trapspringer

Riska and Trapspringer sell the party holdings. Riska then sells some of her own things, including a holy symbol that turns out to have the symbol of a local noble house emblazoned on it. The vendor tries blackmailing Riska into selling it for less than it’s worth, which goes about as well as one might expect. At this time, Trapspringer also develops a fascination with one of Riska’s lies, becoming determined to ride a flying eagle. A child makes a futile attempt to pick Riska’s pocket, prompting her to lecture him on getting better at his job before sending him on his way.

The guard is summoned, and eventually recommends Riska sell the item elsewhere. She buys a bunch of stuff and they head back to the inn. As it gets dark, everyone realizes that Iora has not returned. Riska is convinced that she’s wandering around lost somewhere and drags everyone off to look for her. Thanks to a successful diplomacy roll, they find the kids who tricked Iora. The frightened children explain that they were paid 40 gold to lure someone of Iora’s description into the alley. Riska is furious about the number of inexperienced children trying to pickpocket people on the streets, and Chhakuk doesn’t have much to say in the city’s defense.

The children show the party to the alley where Iora was taken, and Riska gives them a gold coin and a promise of pickpocket lessons, ignoring Chhakuk’s suggestion that they take them to the temple. From the alley, Ambrosius picks up Iora’s scent and tracks her to a solid wall. Chhakuk is able to see that stoneshape has been cast, and Riska’s fancy new gloves let her peer through the wall, but there’s not much to see.

Thanks to Riska’s constantly fluctuating estimates of the wall’s thickness, Kayl tries hammering at it with t he Master Key, without much luck. The noise does summon the guards, however. Chhakuk’s extreme diplomacy convinces one of them, a cleric, to take a closer look at the wall. He too recognizes stoneshape and rearranges the wall, allowing the party to barrel down the corridor in search of Iora.

Meanwhile, Iora awakens in a dim prison cell. She chooses not to eat the green mush they set before her, but hears an indistinct chanting in the distance. A group of cultists in jackal masks approach and lead her into a room. They put her in a cage and raise her over a pit, chanting. She sees a large statue of a naked woman with a jackal head, and hears a chant mentioning Lamashtu. A voice greets her with “there you are, my daughter. Finally you’ve come home.”

A black skinned thing with claws that look suspiciously familiar appears. She asks if Iora recognizes her, calling her daughter, and forces her to drink a bowl of blood. Iora is instantly drugged. They mention her becoming the mother of Lamashtu’s spawn, and begin to lower the cage into the pit.

As it lowers, she is dimly aware of Riska sneaking into the room. Once the den mother spots her, however, everyone attacks. The guards charge in to help, and Riska pulls the cage over so that Iora can wake and join the battle.

Once they defeat the den mother, the last remaining cultist continues to hold the wheel that was lowering Iora into the pit. Chhakuk tries to talk to him, prying his hands free, but the cultist has been Killgraved and leaps to his death. They remove the den mother’s mask to find a hideous hag, who the city guards plan to take into custody and kill.

Riska then finds a supply room, where the dwarf who earlier attacked Iora stands motionless holding the deck of many god damn things. By more or less mutual consent, they agree the deck is more trouble than it’s worth and set it on fire. The deck explodes, sending Iora bursting into flames.

The cleric, Shiyana, offers his help if ever needed. The next day, Chhakuk does some shopping and says his farewells, Riska revisits the children to teach them to pickpocket, and Iora claims her book before they set out for Riddleport.

After a long first day of travel they all take shelter in a small roadside inn on the route to Riddleport. Bellies full of mutton stew, they each retire to their rooms after some brief pleasantries. Iora cracks open the book on Halfling creation myths, skips passed an index and finds herself on a page titled: “Ahm Helmok: The First Halfling”

Harsh cut to black…

    Rewards Earned

  • XP Gained (each): 4000
  • Karma Award – Embodiment: Trapspringer
  • Karma Award – MVP: Chhakuk
  • Karma Award – Team worker: Riska
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After the Dragon 01: We're Taking the Dwarves to Janderhoff!
In Which We're On The Road Again

The party set out to lead the dwarves to the safety of Janderhoff. At Riska’s insistence, they set a grueling pace of fourteen hours of forced marching, with Chhakuk healing the dwarves as they falter. Iora seizes the opportunity to grill Argus, her godfather, about her life. He reveals that he met her father after they moved from Magnamar. Her father was a specialist in dwarven culture and formed a close bond with Argus. Iora also learns that she is adopted, and that she is 28 years old. Argus is even able to tell her her adoption day. He describes her as the bookish daughter of a scholar, mentioning that she liked stories of magical creatures and spells.

This worries Iora, who is concerned she may have done something terrible. Argus is unable to remember much more and can’t tell her where her parents may be, so she turns to Chhakuk, who is suddenly Scottish again. He is also unable to help. Iora asks Argus to adopt her, but to his relief, she is joking. Mostly.

Meanwhile, at the head of the party, Riska andKayl hear a low rumbling and spot a grey fin in the sand. Sand sharks (or bulettes) burst from the dirt and attack, seeming particularly interested inTrapspringer. Much to Chhakuk’s dismay, they kill the sharks and move on.

As the party stops for the night, Iora identifies a roc overhead. They decide to press on another hour to leave its territory, leaving everyone exhausted (except for Kayl, who is strangely manic, and therefore takes the first watch). Kayl hears arguing in an unknown language and wakes the others. With a great deal of irritation, Riska sneaks up to the road to find two female giants arguing. Although one of them briefly catches sight of her, the giants wind up passing on, and Riska returns to camp where she reports seeing eighteen sand sharks before passing out by the fire. Trapspringer goes to check this out for himself and spots the giants, almost getting lost on his return.

After a while, Chhakuk and Riska hear the giants return, but there aren’t any real adventures during the night. Iora once more confronts Argus, confessing that she has dreams of doing something bad. He says he can’t help her with her memory, but Iora is quite insistent.

As the party proceeds towards Janderhoff, Riska thinks she hears elvish. However, as she rounds the corner, a bugbear lunges at her with its mace. Riska runs him through, causing the other bugbears to flee in terror, and the bugbear swings, misses, and crushes himself on his own mace.

As the party settles in again for the night, a massive red dragon flies overhead, causing them to wonder if Ag had parents.

The next day, another Bulette attacks, once again targeting Trapspringer. The party makes short work of it. The Bugbears also return, take one look at Riska, and change their minds about attacking. In this way, the party leaves the mountains for the relative safety of the road, and turns their journey toward Janderhoff.

XP:

2040 each

Karma:
-One each to Riska and Chhakuk for completing their goals
Embodiment: Iora, whoever that chick is
MVP: Kayl, for reliably being terrifying
Teamwork: Trapspringer, for adjusting strategy on the fly

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Dragonsbane
In Which the Dragon is Defeated

As Riska lurks hopefully in the shadows, Agphaxus draws near and bites her, tearing through her armour and doing a huge chunk of damage. The party launches into battle, but seem to be having little effect. Suddenly, they magically recall that they are carrying dragon shaped javelins, which seem to be taking on a strange glow. When they attack the dragon with the javelins, the glow transfers to him, lightning arcs through his skin, and he howls in pain. Ag takes off into the air, but Iora strikes him with a blast of lightning, delivering the killing blow and sending him plummeting into a pool of lava where he is presumed dead.

The party manages to gather all of Ag’s treasure in a pile. Iora begins drawing cards from a deck of many things, including a rogue card (with no visible effect) and a balance card, which makes her feel more lawful (changing her alignment to lawful neutral).

Once they’ve sorted through the treasure, Chhakuk thanks them for his help. He says he wants to resettle the dwarves and goes through a long speech involving ponderous metaphors that leave the party more confused than edified. Finally, he explains that what he’s really wanting to do is find a temple of Desna to retrain. A very confused conversation with Riska eventually reveals that while she’s in favor of this plan, she has an urgent matter to attend to. Chhakuk is willing to rush things, but they suggest that they may be able to find a temple of Desna in Riddleport, which is where she needs to go.

At this point Riska is getting worried about the crown Chhakuk refuses to remove, suspecting that like her new arm, it may be a cursed object. Kayl is about to wrestle Chhakuk to the ground and forcibly remove the crown. Chhakuk, however, backs away and begins to think his friends might be making sense. He slowly removes the crown and feels an obligation to defend the mountain lifted. He agrees to allow Trapspringer (who does NOT put the crown on his dog) to carry the item for the time being. In convincing Chhakuk of this, Riska also reveals that her new arm carries a powerful curse, forcing her to lie whether she wants to or not. This clears up a lot for the confused party.

Riska and Chhakuk talk on guard duty, with Riska pointing out that Chhakuk is lucky to have found his mother alive and wondering why he wants to leave her. Chhakuk agrees, but has enjoyed helping the dwarves and wonders if there might be others he can help, too.

As Riska can be less than forthcoming, for the record, here is what she has told the party: That someone (Kayl, Chhakuk, and probably Trapspringer now know that it is her foster father, Marlin) important to her is missing, and that she walked away when she shouldn’t have and needs to find him. She also mentioned that she left someone dumped at a temple rather quickly and needs to see if he is still around (Trapspringer and Kayl know that this is her alleged brother, Reece). She also mentioned that she knows her arm is cursed because she knew someone else with the same cursed object. When questioned, she admitted it was the person she’d left at the temple. However, Kayl is suspicious of this as he never recalls her mentioning it in the past, and she is not at her most trustworthy at the moment.

The next morning, the party reunites with the dwarves and have a huge — but quick — feast to celebrate their victory. But… quickly. Chhakuk offers to lead the dwarves to Janderhoff. They agree, but his mother wants some time to say goodbye. Eventually all the dwarves return except Chhakuk’s mother. Chhakuk finds her near their old house, distraught over the village’s fall. He convinces her to leave with a promise to return, and grabs the sign off his father’s old shop.

XP:

  • 2560 for the defeat of Agphaxus the Arrogant

Karma:

  • +1 Chhakuk – achieving his long term goal of defeating the dragon and avenging his people
  • +1 Riska – Embodiment Reward
  • +1 Iora – MVP Reward
  • +1 Kayl – Teamworker Reward
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Can It Be? The Dragon!
In Which Chhakuk Makes Many, Many Friends

AfterRiska throws the orb at Chhakuk and it shatters, a burst of smoke darts directly at her. She inhales it and it disappears. A weird burning mark in the shape of a gauntlet appears on her right forearm, seeming to consume the skin in that shape. Chhakuk andIora both try to figure out what’s going on but have no idea. Riska passes out as a metal gauntlet forms over her arm, and out of nowhere an orc appears and stabs Chhakuk. The general Snagga and his orcs take on the party, with Trapspringer and Kayl doing a ton of damage before Riska wakes up, erupts from the floor, and spears one of the orcs with a rapier that appears to have grown out of her arm.

Riska promptly turns on Chhakuk, convinced that he deliberately gave her the orb knowing it would cause memory damage. Chhakuk denies this, ultimately convincing RIska of his innocence — but not Kayl, who has apparently had Chhakuk on The Punching List for some time, and now delivers. They examine the crown in the vault, which turns out to be a crown of golem control. Chhakuk turns out to be the only one who can use the crown, and when he puts it on, he can sense all fifty odd golems in the city. He summons them to the orc camp as the party claim all the remaining coin.

Chhakuk murders a lot of orcs using the golems, but discovers they refuse to go into any of the orcish tunnels, remaining firmly entrenched in their previous memories of the city’s layout. Riska and Chhakuk get into an argument, shockingly, with Riska strangely insisting that Chhakuk is a thief. They then get into whether Chhakuk should continue to wear the crown, with Riska concerned that his belief that he is a prince will make him want to keep it. Eventually (like a really long time later), they go up to find pulverized orc pieces lying around.

The party uses the old tunnels to lead the golems onward, eventually finding a collapsed tunnel, where there are more golems trying to reach them from the other side. After realizing this endeavor will take days, they head into the old city in search of the other golems, which they find. Riska heads to the orc base camp, but on her way remembers the huge collapsed hole they need to dodge and returns to the others.

At this point, they realize that Chhakuk can direct the golems into the tunnels, but only one at a time. Without his direct guidance, they collapse. Riska heads back to the orc camp and finds them in chaos, fighting and fleeing in terror of the golems. She returns to the group and suggests exploring the unexamined parts of the city, where they find the exit to the foyer of the training hall. They grab the dwarves and get above ground in time to see a red dragon in the distance. They decide to rest the night.

Iora awakens, surrounded by charred corpses chanting, “YOU DID THIS!” She wakes for real, feeling that she is at fault for the dragon, but not sure why. At this time she also recalls a dream she had the night before, where she flayed Chhakuk alive and he calmly assisted, offering pieces of his forearm for her to eat.

Once everyone else wakes, they head into the orc tunnels. Riska returns to the orc camp to find it in ruins, charred corpses everywhere. The party attempts to bait the dragon into returning, with no luck. Riska does spot the dragon briefly during the night and believes he is carrying something. When they go to check on the horses, they see him again, carrying something shiny. The party hightails it back to the tunnels and follows one of the few remaining unexplored areas up. It gets increasingly warm until they emerge into a large area where the dragon rests on a pile of gold, many parts of which are mysteriously missing.

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As Riska sneaks into the area, the party comes stomping through behind her. The dragon hears them, straightens up, and announces his awareness of their olfactory presence, and Chhakuk promptly casts Protection From Energy (Communal), leaving the party ready to finally face their foe.

Experience:
960 each

Karma:

Embodiment: Forgetful, forgetful Iora. Wait. What about her?

MVP: Chhakuk and his Crown o’ Golems

Teamwork: Trapspringer, for not being a dick

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The Vault
In which we finally make some progress

After their harrowing ordeal, the party rests for most of the night. Riska and Chhakuk are sharing the final watch, presumably peacefully, when they hear the same voices Riska overheard when exploring the tunnels the night before. Riska attempts to summon Sylvia and the naiad while Chhakuk wakes the others just in time to see three horrifying hunchbacked monsters come racing into the area. The party dispatches the monsters without too much trouble, and Sylvia finally shows up in time to get berated by Riska and consume the monsters’ corpses.

Seeing as they’re awake, the party has a brief conversation about the events of the night before (so brief that no one remembers the details) before doubling back to feed the dwarves. They follow the orc’s directions to the vault, Iora forgetting her soap behind in the rush. The party arrives in the following area:

Map_-_False_Vault_-_Outside.png

There is a raised gazebo in the center of the room. The walls are covered in carvings of a dwarf leading a battalion against some horrifying beast that looks, vaguely, like Sylvia. The story shows the deaths of both beast and king. Bits of bone line the walls, and Chakkuk and Iora are pretty sure they’re old dwarven bones that have been thrown with some violence. Part of the wall is destroyed, and from a tunnel comes the sound of mining.

In the gazebo, the party finds a smashed sarcophagus that’s been pushed aside, revealing stairs leading down. Kayl is fairly sure it’s been smashed in the last few years. There are footprints nearby, which Iora realizes are both approaching and leaving the area, but none are recent. Riska sneaks down the tunnel, passes an intersection, and hears orcs yelling, at least a dozen orcs. She returns to the party and they decide to proceed down the stairs, fairly confident in their ability to handle whatever is making those who investigate the vault “disappear.”

As it turns out, the thing that is making people disappear is fungus. Purple fungus. Kayl recognizes these things as a type of fungus that takes on the form of whatever it kills, and the goop shapes itself into some vague dwarves and orcs before attacking. With some clever strategizing from Kayl and Trapspringer, the party dispatches the … fungus, then heals.

They approach the dwarven structure at the end of the room. A large legend over top reads: “Only a true son of Janderhoff may enter.” Chhakuk recalls that his city was built on the original site of Janderhoff, which is now a sky citadel. He hums and haws for a long time about whether this makes him a “true son.” Eventually Riska convinces/bullies/shames him into taking the leap, and he enters the archway.

Inside, he sees a large obsidian stone surrounded by several dwarven statues, an orc with a crushed skull at their feet. Curious, Chhakuk asks Kayl to hold onto his dwarven axe and enter the room (no metaphor, that’s actually what happens. To be clear). The second Kayl crosses the threshold, the statues spin. Kayl decides he would actually prefer to stand outside, and the statues wind down.

When Chhakuk touches the stone, he receives a vision telling him that this vault is a decoy: the real vault lies in the noble city, under the throne in the government building. The party retreats up the stairs, and Riska overhears a large group of orcs searching for them. They decide to allow the orcs to continue on their way, suspecting that the party has perished in attempting to access the vault.

The party returns to the dwarves in the tunnels, and Trapspringer suddenly recalls that the tunnels do connect all areas of the city. Chhakuk asks the servant, Bolus, to take them upstairs. Bolus agrees, but cautions that the orcs have a camp in the common area. This proves to be the case, but as the party debates their best course of action, they hear a rush of footsteps. The orcs have abandoned camp — mid meal, as it turns out, and for reasons unknown. Deciding not to waste time nor look a gift horse in the mouth, they bolt through the orcish camp to access the government building.

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They find themselves in a rundown area full of molding tapestries and dusty furniture. Uncovering the throne, they descend into, finally, finally, finally, a room that is NOT LOOTED! An intricate crown of dwarven runes stands on a pedestal. On another is a glass orb containing a smoky grey cloud. The eastern wall holds a weapon rack with five javelins shaped into dragons. There is also a large stone chest filled with a mound of gold and platinum, along with three gemstones Riska suspects to be worth a minimum of fifty gold each. In addition, the party finds a mannequin in half plate armor (later identified as +2) and a bookshelf holding potions and a wand.

Riska is beyond delighted at the sight of the gold, and the party searches for some way to carry all this stuff, lamenting that no one has a bag of holding. Kayl asks Iora if she has such a thing. Iora searches her bag of holding for a bag of holding, then announces that she doesn’t have one. Once it is pointed out to her that she is in fact holding the item in question, Riska asks if she would be willing to let Kayl carry the bag, having noticed that Iora is a tad forgetful and tends to leave things behind. Iora is open to this suggestion.

Riska dives face first into the coins and begins stuffing them into every available opening. When Kayl closes the bag of holding on her, she begins filling her own bags, much to the dismay of Chhakuk, who would prefer they focus on the dragon. He offers Riska the orb, which he claims will aid in her ability to bluff, if she adds the gold she’s taken to party holdings. Riska is suspicious based on Chhakuk’s demeanor, but eventually points out that the only reason she ISN’T putting the gold in party holdings is because Kayl is stopping her from doing so. She dumps her gold into the bag of holding and takes the orb.

The second Riska touches the orb, it briefly makes her feel woozy, and she momentarily can not remember who Kayl is. Furious at what she perceives as Chhakuk trying to mess with her memory (a touchy subject for Riska given the events involving The Burnt Sharks), she flings the orb at Chhakuk. It shatters on his chest and some black goo dribbles out, then launches itself directly at Riska.

*Note: For some reason, Obsidian Portal does not want to link to past adventure logs. Go check out the Burnt Sharks bit yourself, if you’ve fotgotten.

Karma:

Embodiment: Iora. Oh, Iora. You had the bag of holding all along.

MVP: Trapspringer who, in the words of one of our more eloquent members, “totally killed everything tonight.”

Teamwork: Kayl, for drawing aggro and allowing everyone to survive

XP:

1960 per person for the morlocks and the fungi

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INTERLUDE: A pretty face
In which everyone but Chhakuk is enCHANTed!

At Chhakuk’s request, Riska sneaks about 10 minutes down-tunnel to where the party had been told the orcs-base camp, somehow not encountering any patrols, and emerges onto the raised area of a large cavern filled with tents – and quickly hides behind a stalagmite (the grey circles below).

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Looking out upon the camp she sees an abundance of tents, each about 10’ across – excluding one nearly 3 times that size, and about them milled orcs…. so many orcs. Some eating, some fighting, some passed out drunk, some practicing, etc. Across the cave is a sunlit exit guarded by a fire… and even more tents outside.

Quickly counting her count reaches forty when she notices a patrol making their way towards the tunnel, and takes back up the tunnel as stealthily as possible.

Riska rejoins the party and strongly suggests that no, this is not the way we should go. They decide to retreat to the area where they first encountered Sylvia, butKayl’s massive body weight and clunky armor break through a section of ground. Chhakuk and Iora lose their balance, plunging below. The party drops a sunrod down the hole and sees a blue puff of something. There is no sign of Chhakuk or Iora, and the blue puff is at least a hundred feet down. The party decides to continue on without them, but Riska hears screaming from below. Realizing the others aren’t dead, she decides to climb down using her Rope of Climbing, which they eventually have to attach to some other ropes. Riska finds a ledge covered in blue fungus with a Chhakuk and Iora shaped indentation, and keeps climbing to the water fifty feet below.

In the water, she sees what look like tree trunks covered in tentacles. One is particularly bloated, and Chakkuk’s feet are sticking out of it. Kayl recognizes these creatures, which are attempting to digest Chhakuk, and they set to work using the rope to pull him free. Before they can act, however, the sea anemone thing swallows him down.

Water rushes in, taking on an almost physical form, and carries Chhakuk away. There is still no sign of Iora, so Riska plans to slice into the anemones in search of her. Before she can do much more than fire an arrow, though, the water coalesces into a strangely fascinating form. Moments later, Riska calls a farewell to Kayl, announcing that she is on her way to live a new life in the tunnels with a water thing.

Frantic, Kayl climbs down after her, but he lands in the water after slipping near the end of his journey. Trapspringer initially plans to linger at the top, deciding that climbing into a hole where four people have disappeared might NOT be a good idea, but a mystical voice compels him to climb down, too. The anemones attack Kayl, who makes short work of them by converting whirlwind attack into whirlpool attack (and there are you happy now Dan? STOP READING OVER MY SHOULDER).

Meanwhile, Riska and her new friend arrive on an island where they find Iora and Chhakuk, who is unconscious. Riska assures the nereid (as it turns out to be) that Kayl and Trapspringer will absolutely LOVE her and want to be her new friend, and the water spirit enthusiastically chases after them. Without the creature’s presence, Iora and Riska find themselves no longer quite so enchanted. Riska points out that Iora’s hand is actually inside her head and that she may want to use some healing magic, but Iora heals Chhakuk instead.

Trapspringer and Kayl return with the creature, and along with Riska, immediately fall under her spell. Chhakuk, who now remembers that he has always been Scottish but forgot to use his accent, demands to know what, precisely, they think they’re doing, as Riska and Kayl are pledging to live the rest of their lives underground with the creature. The nereid repeats that she is simply lonely, especially since the loss of her beloved Sylvia.

The excited party leads her above ground, collecting animals and ropes along the way. Although she begins to dry out a bit on the journey, the nereid is delighted to meet with Sylvia, who she assures them will not bother them anymore. Riska even gets to pet her new friend. The nereid promises to protect them if they are near her and she is near water, and since Chhakuk and Iora are both half dead, it seems like as good a time as any to take her up on her offer and rest by the lake.

XP: 2 400 each to Riska, Kayl, and Trapspringer for defeating the anemones
400 each to Chhakuk and Iora for being good sports

Karma: 1 each to Riska, Kayl, and Trapspringer because they are awesome

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A Further Abundance of Orcs
In which there is a lot of fighting

As she considers Sylvia, RIska’s mind wanders to a conversation she had with Chhakuk on guard duty the other night. She asked him what he knew about memory potions/spells and whether they ever went wrong. Chhakuk suggested that she might be talking about a wish spell — a powerful spell that would have to be cast by a powerful wizard, but which has tremendous potential to go wrong. From these auspicious beginnings the conversation devolved into an argument about nicknames, and Riska found herself back with the party.

As the party hovers in the tunnels, a group of orcs approach. The party attempts to stealth and ambush the orcs, overhearing that Ag wants to see them, but that Lugdush wants them killed for murdering his patrols. Chhakuk loses his balance and clangs repeatedly into some walls, and orcs attack. They prove no match for the party, however, although one of them does escape after fleeing in terror on seeing the pile of mush they make of the cleric.

At this point Chhakuk and Riska get into a spirited debate about Chhakuk’s role in the party, with Riska arguing that his first responsibility should be to heal and Chhakuk calmly responding that concerns should be brought up at the time of the incident. Their argument, among other things, alerts other orcs. Chhakuk and Riska mutually decide to table the discussion for a more appropriate place and time.

The party attempts to run, but with Kayl’s armor slowing him down, they decide it would be better to hide. Kayl uses THE MASTER KEY to break through a hastily erected wall, and the party hides in the tunnels. Trapspringer takes this opportunity to remind everyone that he is, in fact, still having a wonderful time.

A nasty smell hits, and Riska is not particularly inclined to explore further.Iora decides to scout the path instead. She finds a tent village, and turns to see strange cloaked creatures who reek of death and decay, which Kayl and Riska later identify as Dark Creepers. Iora runs for her life, and the Creepers decide they aren’t THAT interested in her.

The party decides to retreat to the entrance to the area and look for the vault in another place, as presumably this one is sealed off for a reason. Upon their return, though, they hear orcish voices. Riska sneaks ahead to listen in and hears them mention Snagga, who has them hunting for the interlopers. She has some trouble staying hidden, and her cover is totally blown when the party comes stomping after her. They try to lure the orcs into the tunnel (or convince them that they’ve been killed), but when the orcs decide to collapse the tunnel, they realize they’ll have to fight.

The party basically rips the orcs apart, leaving one alive after he surrenders. Riska and Chhakuk question the orc, learning that the cleric fighting with them had turned on his own because he serves the goddess of death and destruction. They recall that the other cleric they met served the same deity. The orc tells them that Ag is looking for them to find how they gained access to the tunnels, and tells them where to find the vault. The party hesitates, confused as to what to do with the orc. Chhakuk reluctantly suggests cutting out his tongue, a suggestion Riska pounces on, forcing the orc to choose between death, the Under Dark or whatever it’s called, and losing his tongue. At the last moment, though, Chhakuk turns to Desna, who agrees to erase their memory from the orc’s mind (at a cost of 2 karma).

Experience: 2640 each

MVP: Kayl, for whirlwind attacking and maneuvering people into flanking

Embodiment: Chhakuk, for his polite debate with Riska and sticking to his alignment in dealing with the orc

Teamwork: Riska, for keeping everyone on track and guiding them through the tunnels

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Sylvia
In which Riska makes a new friend

As the intrepid party rests for the night, Iora awakens to find everyone asleep. Three corridors branch from the room. Down one, a voice is calling (knock knock knock) PENNY. Another reveals a strange red glow. The third is utterly dark.

Giving in to curiosity, Iora follows the voice. A woman is waiting for her on the other side of a wooden door, and claims to be her mother. She invites Iora to sit for dinner. Iora does, and finds the stew utterly delicious. Mom is pleased — she put a lot of work into murdering the stew’s victim.

Wait, what?

Right. There are eyeballs floating in the stew, and Iora’s mother has taken on a strange, grey, pasty look. The stew is still pretty delicious, though….

Iora awakens and suddenly remembers her name: Penny. Riska is awake, and Chhakuk is on guard. Too shaken to sleep, she sits with them for the remainder of the night.

In the morning, Chhakuk summons a delicious feast for the party and the dwarves. The grateful dwarven servant agrees to direct them to the Old City, asking only that if they break through the walls protecting the tunnels from the Underdark, they reseal them. He leads them to a wall, which Kayl charges through like a bull. Kayl and Chhakuk reassemble the wall, and the party is on their way!

They reach a fork on the road. Riska does some scouting and exploration, and eventually they decide to go through a door down a strangely humid hallway. Riska and Iora venture into the room, where they find a dwarf muttering all kinds of crazy to himself. Chhakuk decides to talk to him, much to Riska’s displeasure, while the others wait in the tunnel to prevent the door from locking them out.

There’s a purple glow coming from outside the room the dwarf guards. The dwarf is clearly mad, rambling all sorts of nonsense and referring to the party as imaginary people. Chhakuk once again manufactures food, whereupon the dwarf, who calls himself Argus, sets on a round of binging and purging that would make the ancient Romans envy his zeal. Chhakuk’s repeated attempts to reach him are all but useless. Trapspringer makes an effort to join in, and Kayl decides to partake of the feast while Riska and Iora work on figuring out the secret door. Once they’ve succeeded, they rejoin the party.

At this moment, Argus recognizes Iora — or Penny — and claims to be her godfather. This seems to snap him out of his trance. Trapspringer wraps up his conversation with his dog and Kayl finishes gnawing on pheasant, and the party examines the area with Argus’ help, learning that there is a large lake covering part of the city. Argus warns them away from there, explaining that he and some other dwarves escaped a year and a half ago, but only he and another survived the creature in the lake and the orcs. The other survivor is gone, presumed spider chow.

The party returns Argus to the other dwarves and decides to climb over the rooftops crossing the lake. Riska uses her rope of climbing (see the pretty new wiki entry!) to help them across, but Trap hits the water pretty quickly. Riska immediately starts baiting the octopus kraken thing with rocks. It turns out to not like this very much, and starts whipping rocks at the party. As the rest of the party scrambles across the rooftops, Riska collects the remnants of Argus’ feast and feeds the creature, leading her to develop a bond with it and name it Sylvia, much to Chhakuk’s dismay. She follows them across the rooftops and, after a brief mishap caused by carrying Chhakuk’s armor, they enter a small tunnel off the water.

Riska scouts ahead and finds a fork in the road. She takes the path to the right and comes to another fork. One passage is clearly well travelled; footprints and echoing noises abound. She retreats to examine the passage that loops back to the lake. As she creeps along, Riska hears a group of orcs grumbling about their search for the interlopers.

They couldn’t possibly mean us

XP: 1600 for defeating/escaping/naming the kraken creature and dealing with Argus

Karma:
1 point to Iora for roleplaying prowess
1 point to Kayl for MVP in engineering
1 point to Riska for teamwork
1 point to the entire party for being brilliant and feeding Sylvia

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An Abundance of Orcs
In which our party fights many foul beasts

Following their adventures in the dwarven training… thing, our party finds themselves in a room with a huddle of ten dwarves, one of whom is Chhakuk’s mother, Shhakuk (not to be confused with his brother, Thhakuk, or sister, also Shhakuk). Before they can have much of a reunion, however, two orcs charge in. With a shout of INTRUDERS, they attack.

They party defeats 7 of the 8 orcs who appear, but one turns invisible and escapes. They learn that the dwarves took shelter in the cave when the dragon attacked the city ten (three) years ago, but were trapped when part of the city collapsed. Then, five (two?) years ago, the orcs came and enslaved them, getting them to mine for something. The dwarves are extremely upset that the party has killed the orcs. They believe there are fifty or more orcs in the tunnels, and that they will now attack and kill everyone. Shhakuk mentions that she has seen the orcs with a pale blonde elf who wears red. She also recognizes Iora as Penny, but Iora doesn’t know that name.

Riska searches the area and finds potions of curing and bull strength, along with 7 fine hide armor suits, 4 magnificent looking spears, 3 excellent fachions, two turtle doves, and some more mundane weapons. Chhakuk takes one of the pieces of armor; the rest go into party holdings. Chhakuk convinces the dwarves to join the party, and they armor and weapon the dwarves as best they can considering they are extremely weak and malnourished.

Chhakuk gives his mother a battleaxe he took from an ogre, and she recognizes the noble crest of the house of Futhe (with an umlaut over the u, but I can’t do that on here). Chhakuk is starting to remember that this is the city guard office. In spite of the fact that the dwarves tell the party that they are trapped in here, the party decides to examine the front doors in case Kayl and the MASTER KEY prove to be useful (spoiler alert: they don’t). Chhakuk then insists on “stealthing” into the hall to spy on the remaining orcs. Riska takes over and overhears them mention the name “Ag” as well as “the base camp at the entrance to the mountain.”

Chhakuk recalls secret passageways between noble houses in the underground city, and they decide to try to return to the training ground in the old city by using the passages. Before they can, however, a search party stumbles upon them. The party fights them off, albeit just barely — nine orcs are a dangerous lot, as it turns out. Trapspringer obliterates the last big orc, and they manage to preserve one alive. After some frantic prompting from the dwarves, the party retreats into the tunnels.

Hidden in the tunnels, the party binds and revives the orc, who will not speak to them in common. Fortunately Riska speaks orc due to a past… well, never mind. Anyway, he taunts them for a while, but when Riska mentions the name Ag, he tells them that eight years ago (no objection from Chhakuk, who is perhaps finally coming to terms with the timeline), as the five generals to the warchief argued over tactics, an elf dressed in red walked in with some very dazed orcs. One of the generals immediately attacked, but the elf didn’t even seem to notice. Instead, he transformed into a large dragon and snapped the warchief (who was for some unfathomable reason not named Swash Turtlebuck) in half.

Being self preserving bastards, the generals promptly surrendered, but the dragon had them fight until only three remained. The dragon, named Agphaxus, took control of the orcs. He wanted them to retrieve what was in the dwarves’ vault, but every time the orcs attempted it, whoever they sent disappeared. At length, they decided to force the dwarves to come at the vault from above. The orc they are questioning believes that this is because the vault contains something that can kill the dragon.

Riska briefly attempts to convince the orc to join them, but he’s rude to her, and also not very interested, so Kayl slits his throat so hard his head almost comes off. Once Chhakuk realizes that no, the orc is not sleeping and will not wake up, the party decides to leave the dwarves in the tunnels with a jar of pickled garlic. After some consideration, they decide that they will rest there for a time, too.

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