Stumbling through the Swordcoast

In the Den of Dreus

Dreus editDreus stepped away from the laboratory table, the staff in her hands crackling with dark magic. Behind her, bookshelves, distillation tubes, specimen jars, and piles of old books filled every corner of the room.

Her hair, once blonde, had now been bleached of light, and was white and thin. The look of a starved woman hung heavy under her eyes.

Fargrim turned, seeing the undead begin to rise from a pile of old bones. A flick of her fingers, and the shambling bones snapped into place, the ancient skull turning to face the intruders. The dwarf narrowed his eyes and reached for the axes strapped to his back. “Ya might want to get your sorry hides down here!” he shouted to the rest of the group upstairs.

As for Lucan, as soon as the door opened, it all made perfect sense. The son of a mage, a psionic link between them. And the ring solidifying the bond, giving Dreus a conduit into his mind. Glancing downward, Lucan could see the ring drifting toward Dreus, begging to be reunited with the rest of the set. He wanted so badly to just speak with his mother, figure out what she was planning to do. Perhaps he could stop her, or at least make her see reason. After all, what was Treona so terrified about anyway? True, Dreus was obviously a formidable mage, but the Sword Coast boasted dozens of them. As he looked at her, Dreus seemed little more than a small, delicate elf, capable of an impressive spell or two. But certainly no more than that…

Just as this thought crossed his mind, Dreus rose up and a blaze of flame seemed to light up from her eyes. The rings on her left hand began to hum and shudder, and the pendant around her neck glowed an angry red, the color of a dying sun. Lucan’s eyes grew wide, and he suddenly noticed other things in the room he hadn’t seen at first. Two jars with human fetuses suspended in a green liquor of some kind. A huge, grotesque skull of some slain demon, larger than Lucan himself, lying in the corner. On the table, bits of fresh flesh, and what appeared to be human finger bones, arranged in a pattern.

This woman, his mother, had glimpsed beyond a veil no mortal should ever see.

Lucan stumbled backward, grasping for his staff. “Vul! Nathaniel, Seraphina! What the hell are you waiting for?”

Dreus, meanwhile, slowly began advancing on Lucan, and his blood went cold. “We may yet find another use for you, Lucan, my love…” A baleful, joyless cackle erupted from her lips as she raised the twisted staff above her head…

View
Mystery at the Picky Kitten

Bad luck seemed to follow Fink everywhere he went.3174024917 1200

It all started when the village of Riverslye ran him out of town. They called him a “pimp”, a “monster”, and a “predator”. They hurled rocks and sticks and chased him several miles down the road.

Was it his fault that he’d found a way to make a decent bit of coin in this hard, cruel world? Was it his fault that he could look past the physical appearance, and see the true beauty within the hearts of even the homeliest females? They just didn’t understand.

He was determined to show those country bumpkins a thing or two about business! With his very last penny, Fink plopped down a hefty down payment on the abandoned way-house west of the High Moore. Just a few weeks later, The Picky Kitten opened for business. A signpost out front announced sported a pink, fluffy kitten. Within days, ungrateful milkmaids and bored housewives made their way to his open doors, and kept the Kitten rattling til the wee hours of the morning.

But it didn’t last long. As generous with appearances as Fink was, he was also a bit too generous with his contracts with the girls. In fact, he allowed them to set their own rates, and they privately accept money away from curious eyes. One girl after another figured out that she could keep most of the gold for herself, giving Fink the crumbs. And as the story went, one after another, Fink lost his temper, and sent them out into the cold. Business slowed down, the Kitten gained a reputation for incompetence, and by the first snow, Fink’s enterprise had ground to a screeching halt. Only Fraglabz, otherwise known as “Pixie Dust” was content to stick around, and whether that was out of loyalty or stupidity, Fink didn’t much care. Sadly, it looked like Fink would have to go get an honest job after all…

Then one cold, customer-less evening, things seemed to take a turn for the better! Two cloaked, scar-faced men had approached him after sunset, and struck a deal with him. He’d front the Kitten as a black-market exchange, in trade for monthly payment to keep the brothel open for when things were sure to turn around. The gold coins would appear on the third of each month on the front door, and besides that, Fink never had to lift a finger. Only one rule they asked of him: “Don’t talk about this ‘arrangement’ to anyone – including us.”

Pink cat 2 nick gustafsonFor a time, it seemed like a gift from heaven. Fink was able to keep the tavern open, Pixie Dust did manage to land the occasional traveler, and merchants would pop in for a drink from time to time. But then Fink had to go and muck it up for himself. One evening, there was a particularly loud crash followed by cursing outside behind the Picky Kitten. Fink threw on a cloak and ran outside toward the direction it had come from. As he made his way toward the crumpled stone tower, he could see four or five men struggling to get a heavy load down the broken staircase. He shouted and waved, hoping to gain some favor with his new benefactors. They men looked up, dropped what they were doing, and advanced with knives drawn.

Their message was brief and perfectly clear. If he were to ever approach them or the tower again, his death would be slow, painful, and humiliating. That evening, Fink had a difficult time getting much sleep, imagining what might happen to him if he were to stumble across those characters again.

And then, tonight, a veritable pack of adventurers descended on the Kitten like a swarm of vultures. They spread out, asking prying questions to the clientele, Pixie Dust, and even himself! Eventually one of them fell under the charms of Pixie Dust, and went up to her room. But he was back down in 3 minutes, Pixie Dust looking embarrassed, and made his way toward the bar.

Now Fink was trapped. Reveal what he knew about the goings-on at the Picky Kitten, or risk getting roughed up by this merry band of do-gooders?

This night might make a simple farmer of him, yet.

YOU GAIN XP!!!
Gnoll & Hyena pack: 825 XP (165XP Each)

YOU GAIN REPUTATION!!!
The Baldur’s Gate: Rank 2: Do-Gooder

View
Celebration at The Talisman

“Once more, Master Reynolds!”

A roar went up from the tavern, followed by applause and whistling. The small bar of the Talisman was positively packed – and had been since midnight. The bard’s masterful performance had seemed to enchant the entire Garden District, and housewives and butlers were staying up well beyond their curfew to get a glimpse of Nathaniel. And, for better or for worse, his ballad of adventure had made mini-celebrities of his entire entourage. Fantasy tavern low900

“Oh, Fargrim, stop that!” giggled a buxom young scullery maid. The girl, along with one or two more just like her, were collapsed in a far corner, covering the drunken dwarf with adoration and boozy kisses. The dwarf released a huge belch and laughed “Ah ain’ stopp’n, I’m jus’ get’n started…” He took another long draught from his mug and raised it high. “Here’s t’the greatest singer man… in…the land!” and chuckled until he almost choked. The pretty young girls looked alarmed and started cooing and petting him until he was calm once more.

In a narrow hallway leading up to the bedrooms, Vulpin was having a heated argument with Lucan about their next course of action. “So, let me get this straight,” the thief said, trying to control his temper, “Now that we’ve got an in with the guild, Krill’s willing to throw some work our way, and we hit the mother-load with this urn, you are wanting to leave The Gate? Are you insane, or just block-headed? This connection is our ticket out of this rat-infested city.”

Lucan listened, but his eyes were far away. “I can’t explain it, Vulpin. I feel drawn toward this mystery, perhaps not purely of my own will. If my actions haven’t been my own all this time, then whose have they been? What did Treona mean that his – or her, or uh, Dreus I mean – that this THING has its mark on me? What if I were to suddenly turn on you or any of the others? I’ll never be able to truly rest until…” his thumb rolled Halevaster’s ring around his index finger. “…until I meet this Dreus for myself.”

Vulpin leaned back against the wall and dramatically rolled his eyes. “There you go again. You can’t say one single thing that I, er, you will gain out of this little detective hunt. For all you know, Dreus is some Mind Flayer or Observer, drawing you like a fish to a hook, just to make a tasty mince-meat pie of us all when we arrive. How’s that for ‘answers’ then, eh?”

The half-elf’s face grew stormy and he quietly murmured, “I’ve seen her. In my dreams. I feel her fear and her power. And I know that she must be stopped. Soon.”

At the bar, Seraphina could hear Vulpin retort again in a debate that had gone on for hours. She swirled the milk in her mug and looked around the room. Vulpin and Lucan going in circles again and again over how best to accomplish their own designs. Fargrim, face down, asleep on a plate of roast mutton. Nathaniel, cackling and swinging from a chandelier, singing “…and ate a ton of cheesecaaaake!” What a bunch of lost souls, she thought. Lost sheep, in need of a shepherd. Quietly, Seraphina smiled and signaled the bartender for one last round…
Bar maid
Around four in the morning, the elf girl from The Emporium had finally worked up the courage to approach Nathaniel. Haltingly, she shuffled toward the bard, the autographed fireball scroll held closely to her heart. The bard was barely able to see straight, a tankard of the house grog held loosely in his fingers as he lounged on top of a table.

“I, um, Mr. Reynolds?” she paused. Then, in a torrent she practically shouted “I-hope-you-don’t-think-this-is-weird-but-I’m-your-biggest-fan-and-I-think-you’re-so-hot-and-I-love-you-more-than-you-could-ever-know-and-I-purchased-us-a-room-so-will-you-come-up-with-me?” She paused and took a breath, her face red and flustered.

Nathaniel squinted and looked at her. “Who’re you?” He asked. A fat toothless man laughed, and then Nathaniel began to laugh too. He moved to get off the table, but slipped and fell to the floor thumping his head on the bench with a loud crack. He lay there, knocked out cold, the grog spilling out of the mug and down the drain in the floor. In a flash, a street urchin that had been tailing them all day, ran forward, snatched the bard’s coin purse, and darted out the back door.

The elf girl smiled, grabbed Nathaniel by the arm, and began dragging him up the stairs to the bedroom.

Meanwhile, the room continued to laugh, tell stories, and sing until the sun began to break through the windows of the Talisman.

YOU GAIN XP!!

MINOR QUEST: Deal With the Elven Importers: 500XP
MINOR QUEST: The Bardic Poetry Contest: 300XP
MINOR QUEST: Obtain Information about Dreus: 200XP
COMBAT ENCOUNTER: Elven Importers & Their Merchandise: 850 XP
TOTAL:1850; 370 per character

YOU GAIN REPUTATION!!

BALDUR’S GATE: “Rank 1: Minor Do-Gooder”
KRILL’S THIEVES GUILD: “Rank 1: Lackey”

YOU GAIN STUFF!!

Gauntlet Axes (infused with Tesillium)
Beguiling Whistle (Encounter: Free Action. Use this to add +2 to any ability that has voice or song in the description)
Armor and weapons from the elves
Scroll of Ice Bolt

YOU LOSE STUFF!!
20 GP Jacked from Nathaniel by a vindictive street urchin.

INDIVIDUAL RP AWARDS

Nathaniel Reynolds: Live performance of self-written song (250 XP)
Fargrim Brokentooth: Telling dwarven jokes to the shopkeeper (75 XP)

View
Evening at the Two Blind Mice

TavernThe Two Blind Mice was a second rate inn, to put it generously. The floorboards loudly creaked, as rowdy laughter drifted up from the inn’s tavern. Pale yellow and brown stains marked the walls and the bedposts. And, true to its namesake, the place boasted a remarkable selection of rats, mice, and other vermin.

Fargrim snored loudly as Loup chewed happily on a mouse it had caught. The last week had taken its toll on the dwarf’s body. A proud Iron Wolf, he never hesitated to charge blindly into danger. But after his run-in with the Severed Eyes, he had more than a few war-wounds to show for it. A few broken ribs, a broken nose, and lost teeth only served to make the warrior seem more grizzled and venerable. Titles which the dwarf would’ve certainly been happy to be called. As his snores rattled the walls of his room, Loup finished his dinner and began to stalk another mouse that hid beneath an old sock.

Nathaniel shared a room with the dwarf, wondering how he had been talked into this sleeping arrangement. His diplomacy skills were so perfectly honed. Yet strangely, it seemed that lady luck didn’t shine on him much of late – unable to discern hidden meanings, identify magical equipment, or the nature of arcane mysteries. But today was the end of all that. He was certain that he was going to blow that Poetry Contest out of the water in two days. He just needed some inspiration. And Fargrim’s loud snoring would ensure that he’d have all night to divine some up. Nathaniel sighed and turned over in his bed.

Seraphina, meanwhile, enjoyed the sleep that only the Truly Righteous are able to enjoy. Her plate armor neatly placed in a corner of the room, she snuggled into the covers and smiled. Behind her eyelids flashed a vision of a bellowing, rage-filled drake, its breath hot and bile dripping from its jaws. With a heroic cry, the glowing red death of the Slaying Stone coursed through her body and poured forth in a torrent of righteous justice. Its fangs crashed into her flank, and as she winced in pain, the skeleton dissolved and fell around her feet. The image passed, and then she was in front of the old woman Treona and Kiris Alkirk. Alkirk looked her in the eye and asked “What really happened to my brother, m’lady?” Seraphina collected her courage and looked at the sad man and decided to do what none of her companions could do. She took a breath and confessed “Fargrim killed him.” Her face grew hot as she felt her friends hiss at her. But what choice did she have? An disciple of the Silver Flame cannot tell a lie. In her room in the Two Blind Mice, she sighed peacefully. Now thinking of the Vul’s plan to meet some scoundrel in the alley out behind the inn, Seraphina saw herself as the vanguard, and savior of this lost soul. If trouble should arise, her hammer would shatter the teeth of their foes, spreading vengeance like a wildfire. And afterward, Vul would come to her temple. Perhaps even see the light, as Seraphina had so many years ago. Yes, she thought, happily-ever-afters do happen.

Inn nightBut not for Vulpin Shadowless. He sat in a chair by the windowsill, his stomach in a knot. His eyes darted along the street, lost in thought. What the hell did Flick mean? Did Krill want him dead; did he have a big score he wanted Vul in on? Why the secrecy? Better to take a risk than wonder if he’d passed up a golden opportunity. He ran his tongue over his gold tooth and glanced at Lucan in his bed. Fool. Chasing after rumors and ramblings of a mad-woman when the chance for a big score might be right here. Oh well. More for me, he supposed. His eyes found their way back to the street and fidgeted uneasily. Soon now, he thought.
Lucan didn’t see any of this. But not because he was asleep – his racing mind would never let him truly rest. The haunting words of Treona swirled in his memory. What was she trying to tell him about Dreus? She’d said that Dreus’ touch was on Lucan, that he was influencing his actions somehow. Yet Lucan felt to taint of another mind on his own, no corruption to his state of mind. Did he? Was a power manipulating him somehow without him knowing it? He had to know more, and he felt fairly confident the Red Circle would have the answers he sought. Wouldn’t they? On second thought, he wasn’t so sure. He wasn’t sure of much these days. Much of his past was a fog to Lucan, and the past weeks had only succeeded in obscuring it even more. The others didn’t seem very interested in finding the answers, but the questions gnawed at Lucan. It felt deeper and more ominous than what met the eye. And as Vulpin strapped on his sword and laced up his boots to leave into the night, Lucan didn’t even notice.Rat

A faint rap on the door to Seraphina’s room woke her from her peaceful slumber. Vul’s head slipped in and he whispered “You ready?”

“Just a minute,” she yawned, and slipped out of bed. Just her luck too. She was having the most terrific dream of re-living the battle with Krayd the Butcher. She was woken up right before she crushed the vile beast’s life-force out with her bare-hands.
“Hurry up. I don’t want to be late,” Vul said.

As Seraphina walked barefoot across the floor, a mouse skittered in front of her. In one swift movement, she crushed the thing beneath her heel. She smiled and thought “And may the same happen to all who stand before the heel of righteousness.”

View
Trystiss Revealed, and The Severed Eyes Showdown

Old manTrue to his word, their toothless guide was still waiting for them with the ponies when the heroes emerged from the forest’s edge two days later. As he stamped out the fire, and began to saddle the ponies, he stopped and stared in surprise at the ragged group of adventurers that plodded slowly forward.

The last two days had not been kind to them. Swollen purple eyes, bandages around the waist, and fang-marks from something that must’ve been enormous. Fargrim was undoubtedly missing a couple of teeth, and he seemed to have a hard time moving his left arm and left leg. Whenever he turned his neck, he winced, and a small pool of blood formed under his ribcage. Seraphina’s plate mail was destroyed or missing in several spots, and her entire left side showed a nasty-looking bite-mark. As Lucan and Nathaniel emerged, they showed signs of burnt clothing and ash in their hair. Bringing up the rear, appeared Vulpin, leather armor cut to pieces, and covered in different shades of blood. Behind him, he dragged a wicked looking wooden pole, stuck into what appeared to be a head of some unfortunate goblin…

The old man wryly laughed, and spat into the fire. “Can’t admit that I ever expected to see you lot again. Matter of fact, if you weren’t here by sundown this day, I was planning on just hitching up the horses and heading back to The Arm.” After a moment of considering, he turned toward Fargrim, who had sat on the nearest rock and was wheezing heavily. “What exactly happened in there anyway?”

Fargrim paused for a moment, then began to laugh. He was quickly cut short, though, and winced in pain from the laughter, holding his side. “Well, y’see,” he grunted, “what happened was this…”Trystiss snip

The party told the amazed old man of the human city overrun with kobolds and goblins, and of their plan to navigate the city unnoticed. They told him of the town’s sinister residents, of the monstrous Ankheg, the goblin mage Rort, and the traitorous Kiris Hoyt. When they told him of their attempts to flatter and manipulate the brass dragon Trystiss, the horse-master just laughed and shook his head in disbelieve. Seraphina blushed with pride as Vulpin recounted the incredible power of the Slaying Stone, and the way the courageous paladin stood down a charging rage-drake, receiving a brutal gash just before melting it into a steaming pile of red goo and ash. They described Hu-Jat, the hobgoblin overlord, and Vulpin lifted the head on the stick asking “Would you like to meet him? He’s really quite charming!”

As they began to describe their ambushes from the Severed Eyes band, the old man cocked his head in confusion. “So, you’re telling me that you were sent after this magical artifact, and a group of orc henchmen were sent after YOU?”

Lucan answered, “Well, not us precisely. They were sent by another power, a mage named Dreus, to fetch the Slaying Stone too! We managed to obtain it first, and they somehow knew we had it. It was a vicious fight indeed, to escape their ambush. Funny, they probably didn’t even know that the stone was already destroyed before they found us…”

Fargrim described in detail the brawl with the Severed Eyes, the wolf-shaman, and their maniacal leader. With each detail, he gestured to a different cut or gash that he sported proudly. “This here is where I got shanked in the buttocks!” he snorted as he pointed at his dainty rear-end. “And this is where one of the bastards head-butted me!” he cried, pointing at a huge knot in his forehead. Nathaniel interjected “And this is where the wolf-shaman –“ but abruptly cut himself short as he turned away, hiding the dark patch in the front of his britches.
Orcs
In a stash they found that the orcs had hidden, they found various looted objects that the orcs had almost certainly looted from the city. In fact, it seemed likely that they had visited several places before our heroes, and had taken what they saw fit (as an orc is inclined to do). Most notably, they found a beautifully engraved war-hammer, etched with the sign of the Silver Flame. It seemed likely that this had been stolen from the city’s shrine. Seraphina asked to hold it, and instantly felt a surge of divine power course through her arms and fingertips. They found a chipped garnet, and 174 gold pieces. From the orc-leader they took a finely crafted set of hide-armor, as well as a shimmering, elegant looking cloak. After the orcs had been searched over in a cursory manner,Vulpin couldn’t resist one more pass. Searching through dirty pouches and pockets, he found a small note in the pocket of the leader of the orc band. He slipped it into his pocket, reminding himself to take a look at it in private later. Standing up, he shouted “Nope, nothing else here. Let’s get back, I’m starving!”

Securing their packs, they saddled their ponies and prepared to leave the ghosts of Kiris Dahn to lie in peace at last. Although they had found what they were looking for, more questions seemed to have been asked than answered. How had two different mages learned of the Slaying Stone at the same time? Why did they want it now, of all times, after it had lain dormant for so many years? Why did Kiris Alkirk never mention he had a brother, and what was Kiris Hoyt doing, living in such a dangerous place for so long? (See Excerpts from the Journal of Kiris Hoyt )

To Fargrim, however, only one question seemed to be on his mind. He grunted loudly “What’s a dwarf got to do to get a pint of tar-ale around here? I feel like it’s been weeks since I had one!” And with that, the riders spurred the ponies and began to trudge west.

Also, see Lucan’s viewpoint.

XP GAINEDHammer
QUEST: Keep Hidden – 625 XP
ENCOUNTER: Krayd the Butcher – 500 XP
ENCOUNTER: Charming the Stone’s Guardian – 250 XP
ENCOUNTER: Hu-Jat’s Squad – 675 XP
ENCOUNTER: Severed Eyes Showdown – 850 XP
QUEST: Destroy the Slaying Stone – 625 XP

XP TOTAL – 3525 (705 XP per character)
Loot Gained:
Slaying Stone of Kiris Dahn (destroyed)
1 Healing Potion!
Hide Armor +1
Baffling Cape +1
Warhammer of The Silver Flame

View
The Shrine of the Moon

Ankheg by kikicianjur d33fb9fVulpin swallowed hard as an immense, chittering ankheg slid out from under the crumbling house. It’s mandibles clicked together sharply, seeking the pungent oil telling it that a suitable mate was nearby. Its eyes observed the isolated thief, and began to scuttle forward at a surprising speed. “Would ya get a load of that fat bugger,” he murmured, slid a step back, and quickly drew an arrow from its quiver. “Gentlemen, we’ve got company!”

Most of the group had their hands full already. The construct guardians seemed hell bent on destroying anything that threatened their kobold master. The kobold, slyly aware of the nearby ankheg in the abandoned shack, hurled a flask of foul-smelling oil at the adventurers, sure that it would lure the beast out. The kobold then slid back into a narrow alley, certain that whatever her defenders didn’t crush would be easily dispatched by the monstrous insect.

The group, however, had other plans. The air crack and sung with a flurry of arrows, axes, blasts of psionic power, and better-than-average insults. Seraphina charged forward alongside Fargrim and Loup, rapidly surrounding the automatons, and delivering blow after blow. The beasts fought hard, but were no match for the fury which descended upon them. Once both beasts lay in the mud, Fargrim laughed “Those wee beasties thought they were a match for us! Guess we showed ‘em a thing or too, eh lassie?” But he was cut short as a terrified scream went up from behind the crumbling arch. Seraphina and Fargrim whipped around to see Lucan unconscious and bleeding badly from the head as a gargantuan ankheg scuttled toward the fields holding Lucan in its pincers. Feeling panicked, Nathaniel screamed “You… you were born from a batch of cold eggs!”

The party split in half, some running the aid of the incapacitated Mr. Hesh, the rest storming up a narrow street to capture the manic kobold as she continued to blind and disorient them with her spells. For a moment, the battle seemed to be lost, and Lucan’s fate sealed. But Vulpin, never a man to lose his cool under pressure, sunk another arrow into its socket, took slow aim, and murmured “…die, you rockhucking piece of filth…” The arrow flew true, piercing the ankheg’s mouth, and penetrating its insectoid brain. The thing fell forward in a heap, and Lucan came tumbling forward out of its jaws. (725 XP) Nathaniel and Vulpin ran forward, helping him up, and administer some smelling salts and bandages. Lucan muttered “Thanks… I owe you one,” but winced and held pressed the rag harder into his wound.
Kobold1
As the three of them made their way back under the arch, they saw a wimpering, terrified kobold that had lost an arm in the skirmish and was bleeding very badly. Kindly, Seraphina stepped forward, and made a reasonable offer – “Help us, and I will restore your arm and your health.” Quickly, Speelock (as she called herself) chose to comply. She spoke of a group of “orcses with eyes”, the Slaying Stones, and Trystiss, a bronze dragon nearby. She informed Seraphina that Trystiss had moved into the hot-springs, but got chased out by a band of orcs. She now could be found at the Shrine of the Silver Flame. Hesitantly, she agreed to escort them to their destination. It was unfortunate, however, that none of the party was terribly familiar with kobold body language, and the glint of revenge in her eyes seemed to go by unnoticed. She almost laughed when they asked her to show them the way…

It took little time with Speelock’s help to arrive at the Shrine of the Silver Flame. They entered. The place seemed deserted, abandoned for years. Making their way through the shrine, they continued toward the Shrine of the Moon. And here, they found something out of the ordinary… a human male. Nathaniel turned to ask Speelock who this was, but the Kobold had vanished completely. With little other choice, and hoping the man might have information about Trystiss, they approached.

The man’s name was Kiris Hoyt. He explained that he was a rightful heir to the Kiris Dynasty, and only he had remained when the goblins invaded. Before the party could ask any more, a shuffling of a dozen feet could be heard outside. A goblin voice cried loudly “Kill the Ratman!” Then, spying the party, the goblin paused for a moment, then raised its silvery blade crying “Them too! KILL ALL RATMANS!!!”
Wererat1
The battle that ensued was chaos. Goblins advanced on the group from the north, while another pack battered down the doors to the south. Drawing their weapons, the group advanced to meet them. But, in a moment of panic, they realized that Kiris Hoyt had transformed into a wererat in the light of the moon, and launched himself at Fargrim’s throat! It had incredible speed and strength, biting, running, and darting through the rubble. Shocked at Hoyt’s treachery, the party engaged him as well, just as the goblins poured from the south. They surrounded Loup, and cruelly stabbed her til she lay still, then they turned and charged toward Lucan and Nathaniel, cornered and up against a stone wall. Vulpin, for his part, slipped into a dark passageway, and stealthily dispatched several goblins before running out covered in both human and goblin blood. Quick on his heels came a goblin brandishing a silvery blade, screaming “RATMANS DIE!!!” He went straight for Hoyt, striking it deep with the silvery blade, and sending a scream coming from the creature. In the chaos, Seraphina grabbed the rat by the tail and flung it into the pool of moonlight. Hoyt fell into the bowl, looked confused, and then launched itself at the face of its nearest attackers.

It wasn’t easy, but eventually all the goblins lay still and Kiris Hoyt, in human form once more, lay wheezing under the Moon Basin. The party was covered in cuts, bruises, and suffered a broken bone or two. Fargrim and Seraphina were suffering from a mild fever, surely contracted from the diseased rat. Fargrim and Vulpin each drew a blade, and advanced on the helpless man. Fargrim said through clenched teeth “Listen close, ya filthy treacherous vermin… do you have anything you can tell me right now that will help us enough to keep me from splitting yer skull in twain? Anything about a dragon, or a magic stone perhaps?” Vulpin chimed in “You have exactly 3 seconds, you weasel bastard…”

Nearly choked with panic, Kiris Hoyt stammered “I d-d-don’t know about about anyth-thing with a drag-g-gon or a st-stone. What’re you talk-talking about?!” Serpahina cried, “Wait Fargrim! What if he’s telling the truth, and can’t help it when –“ But Fargrim wasn’t listening. He stepped forward, and in one clean movement, swung his axe down and sunk it deep into the forehead of Hoyt. (675 XP)

The wretched man twitched once, then was still.

You received 1400 XP total for the two encounters = 280 XP each.
You Level Up to Level 2!

Loot:
Force Wand +1
Triflik’s Blade +1 (for the sake of character sheet, treat it as a shortsword +1 with Silvered properties)

View
Navigating Gorizzbad

Seeking the “Kindling Supply”

Fargrim 2“Yeh, I can see it!” whispered to his comrades below.

From atop the red-tiled roof, Fargrim could see the old library about a mile to the east. Scanning the crumbling city of Gorizzbad, he could see plenty of activity — busy creatures running to and fro amongst courtyards; warm fires glowing within a few of the city’s old buildings. Off at the east end of town, he could see a huge manor home. Smoke rose from the chimney, and the rowdy sound of shouting, dancing, and laughing could be heard, even from this far away. His sharp ranger’s eyes caught a subtle movement nearby, and he saw something quickly dart away from a window. As quietly and as quickly as he could, Fargrim began to lower himself back down again to inform the waiting party.

“How are we going to get through these winding slums without alerting something— or someone to our presence?” Seraphina fretted. As a paladin, she preferred the simple and direct approach. She was more comfortable swinging a blazing blade of righteousness at a foe than actively trying to avoid its attention. Nathaniel smiled “Oh, you’ve alerted someone to your presence already, m’lady…”

Vulpin simply chuckled “Nothing to worry about, chaps. Just follow my lead, and they’ll never know we were here.” He flashed a a single gold tooth that shone brightly in the foggy alley. “Tight alleys, broken cobblestones, danger lurking around every corner? Why,” he stowed away his short bow, and dipped around the closest corner “I’m right at home!”

And, surprisingly enough, Vul was true to his word. With silent gestures and signals, he guided Koboldthe party toward their destination — the library and ultimately the Ninth Slaying Stone. After twenty minutes of navigating the corridors, they spied a kobold scout poking its head around the next corner. With a gleam in his eye, Vul whispered “Let’s give ‘em a good knock, what’ya say?” All seemed to agree, and the poor kobold shrieked as a rain of axes and magic-infused insults fell upon him. Within seconds, half a dozen other kobolds appeared in the alleyway and from hidden passageways. Fargrim, a bit overwhelmed with so many possibilities, just stood with his mouth agape while his comrades launched into the fray. Seraphina charged up set of broken stairs, blinding and slashing everything before her with holy fervor. One kobold, peeking around a corner to fling handfuls of junk at Lucan, suddenly felt the world go blurry and he dropped his artillery. Seconds later, Loup leaped upon him and the world went black.

Once the kobold guttersnipes had been easily dispatched (550 XP), and Fargrim was wiping copious amounts of blood from his axes, Seraphina spoke up. “I’ve faced these creatures before,” she said. She walked toward one of the kobolds that was still alive, breathing heavily; “They usually move in packs, and are almost always found near a dragon of some kind that they worship.” Before she could say anymore, Vul drew his sword, advanced on the wounded kobold, and demanded, “Listen, you little weasel — we know you’re with a Gold Dragon. Now, where is it!?” The pathetic creature looked from man to woman to dwarf. Spitting up a little blood he sputtered “Me no know about thems gold dragon.” Nathaniel slapped the creature across his snout "Well, where is the Slaying Stone then, you bastard?! We know you have it you miserable little — " Fargrim interrupted him, “Can you take us to the library? We’re here to kill goblins.” The kobold’s face relaxed a bit, and with a healing spell from Seraphina, he agreed to show them the safest way to the Library.

Fifteen minutes later, they stood across the street from the great Library. Tall and grand it once stood… though today it looked like it had gone through a hurricane. Windows blown out and singed, a huge chunk of the roof caved in, and signs of magical burns all across the door face. “I’ve got an idea!” whispered Lucan, and he signaled Fargrim to accompany him. Fargrim nodded, and the two made their way toward the main entryway of the the “Kindling Supply” (as the kobold called it). As they crouched outside the door, Lucan smiled and murmured “Ready? Three, two one—…” But the party never got to see his plan unfold. For at that very moment, Fargrim’s heel brushed up against a hidden alarm system made of bones. The bones loudly clattered together and Fargrim’s face contorted as he whispered “Mother rockhucker…” A scream went up from inside the Library, and the party rushed to the front door as panicked goblins drew their swords and made ready for an assault…

. . .

Rort  goblin mageRort was having the most splendid week! Ever since that fat old hobgoblin had promoted him to Boss of Blowing-Stuff-Up, he’d been able to do whatever he wanted. Rort’s mother always said he was an exceptionally bright goblin, and by the time he was ten, he could even read a few words! Oh, if only mommy-Glurzz could see him now. She’d be so proud!
*
*The black flowing robe he found in a trunk made him feel important. The first goblin that laughed at him for it being too big was sent flying across the room as a stream of flame launched from Rort’s spellbook. That taught the little maggot eater, hehehehehe! Now, he could boss around any stinky goblin he pleased, probably even The Boss. Two days before, he found a handful of lazy drunk goblins nursing a hangover in the Looting Grounds. He bragged that he was now the Boss of Blowing-Stuff-Up, and they had better come be his bodyguards if they didn’t want to get Blowed Up! Those lazy slugs weren’t too bright, but they knew enough that getting Blowed Up was bad.

*
*The last two days had been especially fun! Rort consumed every spell book he could get his claws on, creating magical familiars, and even conjuring great balls of flame! The other goblins loved his “fire-works” as they called them, and eventually stopped even pretending to guard the Kindling Supply. After all, what could bother them? Those stupid, sniveling kobolds jumped at their own shadows! Sure, The Boss might come check on him, but he’d surely love how much stuff Rort had Blowed Up. Nothing could get this far into Gorizzbad without alerting the patrols, and what would somebody want with these dumb old books anyway?

*
*Well, call it goblin paranoia, or just a gut feeling, but Rort still wanted something in place to alert him of danger. Maybe a simple alarm or trap… after all one can’t be too careful…

**__
. . .

Fargrim was the first through the door, hurling axes across the room, then darting through a narrow passageway. The shocked goblins, grabbed for their swords, leaped over tables, and came up swinging at Lucan. In his duress Lucan attempted to dodge the whirring blades, but one sliced him across the shoulder, cutting him deep. Rort, in the meanwhile, shrieked in panic, grabbed a random book off the shelf, and starting chanting its words. A monstrous grey ooze leapt from the pages of the spell book and began to crawl toward the party. Rort cackled maniacally, screaming “Rort make you blowed up, and slime make you bones soft!! HEEHEheheh!” But the smile suddenly fell from his face as one, then two, then three other adventurers stormed through the front door… He screamed again and ran for another book…

The battle was chaotic and frantic. Vul used the mayhem to his advantage — jumping along the walls, twirling into the fray, swinging a sword (and occasionally missing), then tumbling back out again. Lucan closed his eyes, slowed down his pounding heart, and focused on the simple minds of the goblins before him. One by one, their mental defenses failed as he crushed their will to fight and struck terror into their hearts. The goblins began swinging wildly, connecting more with chair legs than with foes. Seraphina shouted over the fray “Stay by my side, these beasts will have to get through me first!”

A second massive ooze appeared before Rort, then a bolt of lighting arced across the room, blasting Lucan against a wall. Rort began to smile again, until he turned his head and saw an enraged dwarf charging alongside a grey wolf — straight at him. The dwarf leaped over the table, screaming “I’m comin’ for yer head, ya wizard-y beastie!!” Rort reached for another book, and tried to slip behind the safety of ooze. But Fargrim was too quick, knocking Rort through the air, as he collapsed against a book shelf.(600 XP)

Beneath a pile of books, the party could hear the poor creature loudly crying.

With stunning efficiency, the party scoured the library for clues. Seeing an alcove that had been pried open with large claw marks, they discovered a few bronze colored dragon scales. Nathaniel informed the group that bronze dragons love warm, dry spaces, and that they are not ones to hoard treasure. They might be negotiated with, and don’t respond kindly to threats of any kind. Needless to say, they’re quite vain. Pulling Rort from beneath the pile of books, the party was unable to glean any information about the whereabouts of the Slaying Stone (though he really wants one!) or any dragon. Rort didn’t seem to know much beyond the walls of the Kindling Supply, and he eagerly pointed out the locations of every book that Treona had requested. Certain that Rort would scuttle back to his masters if left alive, Vul stepped forward, and ran the goblin through with his short sword. It was probably more merciful than what The Boss would’ve done, anyway…

You received 1150 XP for a total of
230 XP per character

You also found a magical staff that has yet to be identified.

View
The Tower of Treona

Rumors of The Slaying Stone

The ale and silver were flowing freely in the days following the dispatch of Smiley Bob (known to most simply as “The Bear”). The Friendly Arm welcomed the business gladly, and The Party enjoyed a chance to kick up their boots, tell a few tall tales, and allow their claw-wounds to mend. Somehow, to Nathaniel’s complete surprise, a catchy limerick recounting the tale began to circulate through the Western Heartlands, and in no time farmers were humming it as they rose to milk their cows, and their wives would mutter a passage or two as they prepared the evening’s meal. Fame felt good, and before they had even had their first pint of Tar Ale, the group had nearly forgotten their encounter with a goblin branded with a strange marking…

However, within a Quart-Fortnight’s time, they began to grow restless and bored. Seraphina had taken to long naps at the bar counter, despite not having touched a drop of Tar Ale. Fargrim spent more and more time outside the inn, smoking his pipe and muttering about heading north to “Find some work.” Nathaniel spent hours every day recounting his heroic exploits to the patrons of the tavern, as Lucan conversed with the bartender about the layout of the land. For reasons he couldn’t later explain, Vulpin unsurreptitiously lifted the coinpurses off of most of the local farmhands in the tavern. He was eventually searched by the Inn Guard, reprimanded and had his own gold confiscated as “evidence”.

It was at this moment that a ruddy looking farmboy named Rolf burst in, short of breath, and ran up to the barkeep. Gesturing in the direction of the adventurers, the boy asked if these were indeed the noble warriors that specialized in goblin killing. “Indeed we are” replied Lucan, and the boy handed them a well-worn scroll bearing the seal of a noble house. Lucan read the letter aloud, intriguing The Party, and mystifying the local inhabitants. “An artifact of great power!” exclaimed one of the village wenches. “Oy, that elf with the puffy hair knows how to read!” chimed in the Friendly Arm’s stable master.

It seemed that one Treona, a woman of impeccable handwriting, had heard of the group’s undertakings (through gossip or divining, they did not know). She had requested the group’s presence within the week, and the tone in her words seemed to stress urgency. The party was ready to set off immediately — before they realized they lacked a map, or any idea where they were going… Upon obtaining a map “on loan” from the friendly barkeep, they hired some ponies and headed north toward Baldur’s gate.

In Baldur’s Gate, The Party purchased equipment, potions, plenty of rations, a stolen loaf of bread, and at first light, they were off to the east! They followed the pony trail along the River Chionthar, traveling by day and camping by night. It was easy going for Fargrim being accustomed to the outdoors, but the rest of the group wasn’t accustomed to such a trek. Plagued by mosquitos, poor rest, and soggy boots, they neared their destination haggard and ready for a good night’s rest.

As the weather this time of year is expected to do, the skies opened up and the winds began to scream on the third day of their voyage. Once they came within view of Treona’s Tower, the rain had them drenched and sleet was driving down on them. “Ruddy rockhucking weather…” muttered Vul. Approaching the bridge (and expecting a troll to leap out at any moment), they suddenly heard a mournful howl go up behind them; and then one in front of them! Wolves!

Trudging and sliding through the mud the adventurers leaped from their ponies and stumbled off to engage the half-starved beasts. The wolves used the slippery terrain to their advantage, grabbing and knocking down adventurers that attempted to engage them. However, within a few minutes time (though it seemed much longer!), the poor beasts lay still once more as the rain and river washed over them (550 XP). An old lady called at them from the tower, and they thankfully came inside and shed their soggy cloaks.

Inside the tower, as they enjoyed a warm spot of tea, the party learned about Treona, Kiris Dahn, Kiris Alkirk the last heir, and the Ninth Slaying Stone. A dangerous and immensely powerful object, the group discovered that Tieflings crafted these Stones centuries ago to destroy even the most powerful intruder. However, when the goblin hordes came, their numbers overwhelmed the city’s defenses, and the Stones were lost. Fearful of the object’s power, and another mage seeking the stone, Treona was urgent that the group depart immediately to find the stone, bring it back, and have it destroyed. Gorizzbad (As Kiris Dahn was now called by its goblin conquerors) was overrun by hundreds of vicious goblins, who claimed ownership of the whole city. Kobolds had also since moved in to the south of the city in the slums, and the Goblins claimed they were trespassing on their lands. Treona warned them that they might not be the only hired swords searching for the object, and warned them to be on their guards.

After a fitful night’s rest in the cramped tower, The Party ventured forth toward Gorizzbad.They had a near run-in with a traveling goblin patrol. Fargrim muttered “Gotta plan.” He and Vul crept toward the front gate, hiding behind the bridge’s pillars. Perfectly at home in the wilds, Fargrim leapt into the churning waters of the Chionthar, and with surprisingly little effort, swam to the other side. A rope was attached, and Vul crossed with ease. Creeping to the east of the gate, Vul cried out in Goblinese “Oy, you fat-headed fairy farts! Get over here, there’s a cheeky kobold that thinks he’s going to get fresh with me sister!”. As the goblins laughed and ran off toward the voice, the thief slunk back toward the bridge, and gestured the rest of the part to cross unmolested. Seraphina breathed a sigh of relief that she wouldn’t be crossing the rope in her plate-mail armor..

The group is inside Gorizzbad! (100 XP) Will they manage to avoid the goblin patrols? And more importantly, can they find the Lost Slaying Stone before anyone else does?

The Party gains: 650 XP, for a total of 130 XP per character!
Quests Received: Find the Slaying Stone, and Provide Proof of its Destruction (Major Quest); Collect Arcane Writings (Minor Quest)

View
Prey for Smiley Bob

A group of five seemingly unconnected travelers found themselves killing time at the Friendly Arm Inn, a haven just on the eastern edge of the Cloaked Wood, between Baldur’s Gate to the north and Beregost to the south. Farmers were baling hay in the fields nearby, and the first fruit of Autumn’s harvest were just coming in. Merchants and day laborers would stop in from time to time and grab a pint of the inn’s famous Tar Ale before continuing on their way. As the days passed, the group began to grow restless, and started to ask around for anything noteworthy that might be happening in the area.

According to rumor (and confirmed by an obtuse barkeep), the small halfling village of Riverslye had reported several disappearances of late. Enticed by the offering of a reward, Lucan, Fargrim, and Vulpin the Wiley were eager to set off immediately. Seraphina, the Holy Warrior agreed to go, but simply to protect the innocent. And a loudmouthed bard, Nathaniel also offerered his “services”, so long as he got be the important one… and tell everybody afterward that he saved the day. Grudgingling, the party agreed. And they were off!

The village was exactly where the barkeep instructed them, several miles to the south, and over a hill to the southeast. It was a village much smaller than the party had expect (Pop. 31), and Vulpin asked to speak with Gerrad, the village elder. Gerrad approached them, a kindly and frail halfling reaching his golden years. The adventurers asked him where the halflings had been disappearing to, and who this “Smiley Bob” they keep hearing about is. Gerrad reported that Smiley Bob, a bear, moved into their region five years ago. After a run in with a halfling adventurer, Reed Tinderfoot (and his shortsword), he received an ugly gash across his face resembling a lopsided smile. Ever since he’d left the community alone, preferring a diet of white trout to halfling, and resided in the old abandoned windmill. Then, beginning last week, he started attacking Riverslye again — first making off with a halfling named Happy Shoals, and then most recently, their very own Punkin Rockhucker! The adventurers asked Gerrad to repeat Punkin’s last name. So he said it again — Rock. Hucker. “What are ya, daft?” he asks.

Armed with this information, and their wits, the group set off down the path toward the ancient windmill. They could see it from a mile off, looming tall, and completely still after years of neglect. Fargrim, the group’s outdoorsman, held up his hand for the others to stop. He sniffed the air and confirmed his fears to the group — “Goblins.” His pet wolf wimpered a little, and he pat its head for reassurance. The party decided to discreetly sneak forward and surprise the goblins. Unfortunately, Seraphina (preferring honesty over deception) was no good at this “sneaking thing”, tripped knocked over three others and fell with a loud clang in her plate armor. The goblins turned, cried out in surprise, and drew their crude bows.

Fortunately, the goblins were no match for our heroes. They easily dispatch a couple of the scouts within moments, and the rest panicked and ran (50 XP for the two killed). Fargrim, a bounty hunter by trade, dropped his axes and went sprinting full speed toward one of the scouts. He overtook it with ease, tackled the wretched creature, and then proceeded to interrogate him. The group found out about the goblin’s leader, Tarpoo, and how he’d been using Smiley Bob, the bear, to kidnap halflings for their “fish and halfling stew”. When asked how many there were, the goblin was cut short as an arrow flew from the woods slaying him instantly.

The adventurers agreed to investigate the windmill for signs of Tarpoo or Smiley Bob. They didn’t have to look very hard, because they instantly spied an enormous bear sleeping at the foot of the stairs. Throwing caution to the wind, Fargrim leaped forward and flung an axe with his full strength at Sleepy Smiley Bob. The bear awoke, and was suddenly very cranky. Three goblins cutthroats sitting around the millstone sat up, and drew their swords!

The fight was hard won and long fought. Vulpin was climbing on walls and swinging wildly, and the Bard was insulting the bear with every crude phrase that I dare not repeat! Fargrim’s wolf boldly launched itself at Smiley Bob, but he was no match. In one ferocious swipe, Bob bat down the wolf, breaking his back and killing him instantly. Seraphina shed a single tear. For what seemed like hours, the group dispatched goblin after goblin, sliced and stabbed Bob repeatedly, and felt the bear’s claws as he fought to survive. In a climactic scene, Lucan the Manipulator summoned his psychic abilities and short circuited the bear’s brain. The bear’s eyes went bloodshot, and he slumped the floor. (500 XP)All was quiet in the windmill once more.

With the great beast slain, the party took a brief rest before heading upstairs. There they found evidence of Tarpoo’s plans to impersonate halflings, and a real-life halfling as well. Punkin Rockhucker! (Nathaniel muttered “Your mother was a rockhucker…”). The “heroic” adventures agreed to arm the helpless injured damsel with a dagger, and told her to fight to the last breath. Punkin started crying, but said she’d try her best. You also find 300 sp and an Amethyst (valued around 100 GP).

The adventurers set up an ambush inside the mill, and waited for Tarpoo to return from his fishing trip. About 10 minutes later, the goblins came gallivanting back, laughing and singing ugly goblin songs. Tarpoo called out to his scouts, but when he heard no response, he knew something was amiss. He sent four guards forward and they snuck toward the entrance to the mill. Then, on Fargrim’s order, the party leaped from their hiding spots. Fargrim (apparently slow to learn a lesson) bounded straight into the middle of the goblin cutthroats swinging wildly. The goblins, sensing weakness in a surrounded foe, struck at him from all sides, bringing the courageous dwarf to his knees. Seraphina gasped! Nathaniel shouted “That’s why I stayed in the back!” Eventually the group sliced through the goblins at the front door. Fargrim was healed enough to jump back into the fight. Finally with a brutal mind thrust (Nathaniel giggled) from Lucan, Tarpoo’s stare went blank and a small trickle of blood started to ooze out of his nose. Not taking any chances, Fargrim took the opportunity to slice the villain in twain! (575 XP) The face of Tarpoo was branded with a strange slitted eye scar, just above his left eye. On the body of the goblin leader you find a short sword and a short bow of unknown magical properties. Nathaniel picked one up, and after some divining, announced to the group “I think…. they might be magical!” You already knew this.

Gathering up Punkin (huddled and sobbing in a corner) and their barrel of white trout, the intrepid explorers head back to Riverslye. The village, grateful for the safe return of Punkin, gives you the 150 GP as promised (500 XP for “dealing with” Smiley Bob, and 250 for the safe return of Punkin) . Feeling a little guilty for taking the village’s entire life savings, you give them the barrel of white trout.

You head back to the Friendly Arm, laughing and recounting your adventure. The phrase “mind thrust” was spoken many-a-time. Once you arrive, you head to the nearby temple to perform a ritual to return Wolf-y from the grave, and identify the two magical objects you found

“Aftershock Weapon (Shortbow) +1)”
“Fleshseeker (shortsword) +1)

In conclusion (out of character):

You gained a total of 1875 XP, partly due to taking the “difficult route” on a few choices you had. That comes down to 375 XP per person.
Decide amongst yourselves who will get the sword and the bow. Make sure your character can equip it. Once you know, go to the character creator, go to Equipment, Shop, and then “Add” that weapon. Don’t “Buy” it. Make sure you equip it before you print out your new character sheet.
Make any final changes to your character, and then you have to stick with them!
You guys made that very fun, thanks for playing, and see you next week!

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.