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Tag: recap

Session 3: Into the Sunless Citadel

I apologize but this summary is more summary than narrative, just like the third summary. It is also incomplete and unedited but I will go back and complete at some point.







“Now what?” asked Quinn.

Trinique pointed to a bundle of clothes near the rope. “Why don't we ask him?”

Light snoring was coming from the bundle.

“You there,” shouted Quinn. “Wake up and tell us who you are. Why are you here? Are you Braford or Talgen?”

The man was leaning back on a large pack with a hat pulled down over his face to keep the sun from his eyes. He slowly looked up but showed no sign of surprise or a concern. "No. I'm Frank. Don't know anyone by the name of Braford or Talgen."

"Well, that's disappointing," frowned Quinn without realizing how rude that sounded.

"So what are you doing here, sleeping during the day, next to a potentially Goblin filled ravine in the middle of adventure?" Derrick wasn't sure such a person could be trusted but could probably handle himself. The armor the man wore lent credence to that view. Not expensive but well worn and still in good shape.

"Well, I did not know about the Goblins but that makes sense for the tracks I saw. Personally, I was just heading to Oakhurst. Heard that good trackers and wilderness guides are always needed. Did you need a guide?" Frank smiled at the various members of the group. None smiled back.

"You know your way around these parts then?" asked Trinique.

"No, not particularly but I am learning. I can swing a sword and shoot a bow though and generally, I don't get lost in the woods."

"Sounds good enough for me", Jax chimed in. He extended a hand and helped the man to his feet.

Trinique mumbled under her breath, the portions of potential treasure appear to be shrinking every day. Candy heard and nodded in agreement.

Jax, Frank and Derrick began tying a new 50’ rope to one of the pillars.

***


The battle of the rats

Party explains the situation to Frank.Frank volunteers to go into the hole and to the first ledge to scout it out.

Rats start coming out of the holes. Party remains at top firing arrows. Frank gets bitten multiple times.

Quinn rolls 1 and slings her sling into the ravine.

Quinn, looked at the existing rope and the one that Frank had used to get down to the platform. If no one went down, the newest member of the party was sure to die. "Don't worry Frank, I am coming." Though she had never rappelled before, she remembered how the builders in Brindol scurried like monkeys on their long ropes and clambered over rickety scaffolding. Surely this could not be so hard. She stepped over the edge began her descent before Trinique could caution her otherwise or let her know that tying the rope around her waist might be a good precaution.

Arrows from her companions whizzed by her head and she felt as if she had been doing this sort of thing her entire life. That us until her foot caught on the side of the cliff wall, sending a shower of stones down upon Frank and the rats. "Look out down below," she said, smiling at her own wit. But that lapse of concentration was too much, her hands slipped then lost their grasp, she tried to recover but as if in slow motion, she fell the last thing she saw before closing her eyes to avoid the impact was Frank succumbing to the bites of the rats and him collapsing. She did not hear herself hit the ground but she did with a horrific smack and then lay unmoving.

The group was stunned. Did two members of the troupe just die?

Jax natural 20 on last rat

Trinique falls on rope but revived Frank catches her

Party takes a short rest on first landing then proceeds extremely cautiously

Find pit trap then kill rat in the pit

***


Finding Meepo and the wet nest

***


Meepo urged the group to follow him closely. He walked to the far door, swung it open with a flourish then screamed at the top of his lungs, “Ticklecorn!”


Session: Game Session 3: Into the Sunless Citadel - Friday, Jan 11 2019 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Session 2: Oakhurst

I apologize but this summary is more summary than narrative, unlike the first two. It is also incomplete and unedited but I will go back and complete at some point. Here is a link to the image summary I shared at the beginning of Session 3.







“Now what?” asked Candy.

“Let’s find an inn and see what we can find out,” said Trinique. The group sullenly trod into town. Quinn fed Daisy a carrot and smiled at the old draft horse. She and Daisy were just happy to be in Oakhurst finally.

From the townspeople at the edge of town, the group had found out that the only inn and tavern in town was the Ol’ Boar. Just like the name of the town was a misnomer (there being precious few oak trees), the tavern was not named for a wild pig but Reslin Kine’s former adventuring partner, a Half-Orc named Gramogasha Oakhurst. Apparently, she had retired when Reslin died and set up this tavern and inn instead. She has long since died and ownership passed to a wealthy family in town.

The inn was crowded with townspeople discussing the events of the past few days. Cattle and goats were already disappearing in greater and greater numbers, driving most to keep a close watch on them. Those that were found were occasionally partially eaten by wild animals, but all exhibited strange puncture marks, scrapes and twigs inside those punctures.

***


Ala and the Ol’ Boar Inn

Ala adjusted in her chair and hunched towards Derrick. "Well, you know, I do remember a story about the Red Hand. It was a cabal of necromancers in Rhest. They were secretive but eventually wiped out by the Paladins of Erathis and Bahamut. If they have crawled out of the ruins of Rhest, that is bad news for all of us. However, it makes sense that necromancers may want an item that restores life."


Derrick nodded and looked over at the newcomers. They had clearly heard Ala's explanation. Time to find out more about them . . .

***


The group spent the next several days waiting for news of the Hucrele’s and gathering information in town. The villagers were generally welcoming but many expressed concern that the peace party would not be well received, and Goblins would descend upon the lightly defended town. The Constable, Felosial, spent much of her day re-assuring nervous townspeople. However, she was not too busy to notice that the new strangers had taken up with Derrick, whom she did not trust.

Garon, the barkeep at the Ol’ Boar was particularly useful. Besides showing Sparrow the statue of Reslin Kine, Gasha Oakhurst and Rowan Nackle in the center of town, he tells the group of the last traveler he knows of who went to the Sunless Citadel. It was a grim human named Belak or Belchek, thirteen years ago. What Garon remembers most is the huge frog that he carried everywhere with him.

The party discovered that:
1. The Goblins appear to be camped in the Sunless Citadel. No one knows for sure what the Sunless Citadel once was, but legends hint that it served as the retreat of an ancient dragon cult.
2. The old road there skirts the Thornwaste. The unnatural desert is attributed to the long ago rampage of Tiamat herself. It is now ruled by The Ghostlord and no one goes there unless they want to be condemned by him. He is a bogeyman of whom many a parent warns their wayward child.
3. Cattle herders don’t graze their stock too far afield these days. They’re frightened by stories of new monsters that maraud by night. From time to time, cattle and people who have gone out alone at night have been found dead the next day, bearing dozens of needle-like wounds. No one has seen the creatures that cause this mayhem, nor do they leave a discernible trail.
4. The missing adventurers include a fighter (Talgen Hucrele), a wizard (Sharwyn Hucrele), a paladin of Pelor (Sir Braford), and a ranger (Kara¬kas). Sir Braford was not a local, and he had a magic sword called Shatterspike.

***


“I think we should try to figure out what is attacking livestock. I have a theory,” announced Quinn.

The cownapping of Bessie
The Battle of the Cowbell

Appearing from around the camp shambled six creatures, best described as small walking trees. Each was about five feet tall and creaked and snapped as it walked towards the center of camp.

***


The witch of Oakhurst

Sparrow was quite enamored with the Gnome witch, Helda. She was a Dennovar graduate so he had not expected too much but she was very friendly and more importantly, smart and open to his questions. Plus, she knew more about Reslin Kine than did he. She and her sister, Corkie Nackle, were the daughters of Rowan Nackle and while neither had ever met Reslin, their father spoke often of the old adventurer. Sparrow was determined to use the time he spent with her well even though he wished he was with the rest of the group. However, if they were to successfully find and get into his great grandfather’s tomb, it would require as much knowledge as possible. One thing he could not seem to find out was what a Sryix was. The only description was an item of immense pride and value to Reslin.

***

Conversation with Madam Hucrele
Why do I have a cow bell?

***


Reaching the edge of the Sunless Citadel

Session: Game Session 2: Oakhurst - Friday, Dec 28 2018 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Session 0: And so it begins


“Now what?” Trinique adjusted in her seat and strained to hear what the young magic student was saying. He was called Sparrow, but the rumor was that he was the great grandson of Reslin Kine, the famed adventurer. And as some knew, Kine’s fortune had never been found. It seemed that Sparrow was booking passage on a caravan to Drellin's Ferry. Was this related to the treasure? Perhaps it was just an errand for his masters in The Citadel.

Every time she thought of that name it made her laugh. The Citadel sounds so foreboding. Indeed, the Brindol Academy of Magic Arts was headquartered in a large tower complex near the middle of the city, but it was by no means a citadel. Yes, there were some magical wards around the place but there were also mortal guards and any mortal guard was a weak point in any defense. Of course, while they had not been sufficient to block her from getting inside, they had been more than enough to keep her from gaining any magical training. Even with her father's influence and wealth, she had not been able to make the planets align for her to be admitted as a student.

Yes, he was booking passage. The mage was trying to convince the man to take him all the way to Oakhurst but there was no way the caravan master would agree to that. He was one of the Black Knives men and he would surely be arranging a way to steal the cargo before they hit Drellin's Ferry. Perhaps to rob young Sparrow and leave him for dead too. So, if the mage was going, Trinique would make sure to be on the trip too . . .

*****

A golden apple? Why was she dreaming about a golden apple? That and a death white apple, twirling in torchlight. And those beasts with their pointy ears and feral eyes? There was something to it. Were they the ones who took her from her family? No, that was not it. She touched the scars on her neck. Then why did it terrify her so much? Surely an apple could not grow in darkness whether it was golden or not. But she got the distinct feeling that that apple was in her future and it was not in a place in which she would be comfortable.

This was not the first vision Quinn had had. Ever since she had “returned” she had a jumble of dreams which were surely more than just her brain trying to figure out the day. Sometimes they were premonitions and guided her in the face of danger. Sometimes they led her to new discoveries including her new ability to cast spells. But this golden apple was new. She needed a sage to help her explain.

Quinn splashed her face with water, ran her fingers through her hair since she had no comb, then shouldered her pack. It had been a long time since she left Witchcross. Too many days to count. However, she should be in Brindol City by night time and perhaps she could get an answer about this golden apple.

*****

“Hello little one. How was your day?”

Trinique did not think her sister even knew the possible darkness in her future. If she could not find a way to buy her freedom, Jasmine would definitely become a prostitute or a gangster’s wife if she stayed here much longer. The money Trinique was able to scrape together for extra jobs was enough to keep her sister in the kitchens away from the worst of the crowd but she could tell by the way the rougher men and women looked at her, that it would not be long.

Jasmine, covered in the smell of cooking all day, looked up from the wash basin where she was cleaning dishes. She broke out into a smile at the sight of her sister. “Hey you. What are you doing here?”

“Checking on you. Going to be away for a while. Have to go to Drellin’s Ferry for work.” Trinique came around the side of the wall, grabbed a dish and began drying. Jasmine frowned, “work? What type of work? Is it dangerous?”

“Nah,” said Trinique, drying another dish. “Just a little bit of an armed escort. But the pay may be good enough that we could leave this place behind once and for all.” With that Jasmine smiled but her mind was elsewhere.

The sisters washed and dried in silence for a while then Trinique moved over to Jasmine and brushed hair out of the young one’s eyes. “I will get us out of here soon, Jaz. I promise.” Trinique left the room and went back into the streets.

*****

Quinn did not like this city. It was big and fascinating, but it also stank, felt stifling and was way too noisy. She did find a respite. The garden within the walls of The Citadel was quiet and filled with plants, flowers and trees. She could not exactly ignore the walls that seemed to jail the growth of the wild things, but it was better than nothing. She also found information about the golden apples. Talking to an apprentice who had the misfortunate of being assigned to the entry and public question area on the day she arrived, she discovered that the golden apple was real. The apprentice was named Sparrow and he said that he was on his way to Drellin’s Ferry, near the place known for the golden apple, Oakhurst. He invited her to share his wagon at least that far. He was to meet a priest named Derny who had information about his great grandfather, an adventurer of some sort. Apparently, the old adventurer had hidden away some treasures and Sparrow believed there were things too important to be left to the dead.

As for the golden apple, Sparrow said that legend has it that a goblin tribe from near Oakhurst has turned from raiding to trading with the town (that in and of itself sounds like a tall tale). However, every year, slightly after the summer solstice, these goblins sell a single piece of magical fruit to the highest bidder in Oakhurst. The fruit, apparently an apple of perfect gold hue and shine, heals those who suffer from any disease or other ailment. The townspeople sometimes plant the seeds at the center of each fruit, hoping to engender an enchanted apple tree. When the seeds germinate in their proper season, they produce a twiggy mass of twisted sapling stems. Not too long after the saplings reach 2 feet in height, they are stolen — every time. The townsfolk assume the goblins send out thieves to ensure their monopoly of enchanted fruit. Of course, this must be a myth, but it is the only story that seems to involve a golden apple in this area of the Vale. How could a band of wretched goblins ever possess such a wonder, and how could they steal every sprouting sapling grown from the enchanted fruit’s seed without the townspeople noticing? This is a mystery worth pursuing.

*****

Sparrow was apprehensive about the caravan driver and his crew. Luckily there were other passengers heading his way. There was safety in numbers. And at least he had met Quinn, a traveling Druid, and Trinique, a guard of some sort, before the start of the journey. They were the only passengers with him on the way to Drellin’s Ferry. Of course, Quinn was going beyond, all the way to Oakhurst. But it would be good to have their companionship on his journey.

For now, they had been on the road for several days, stopping in the towns of the Dawn Way and either dropping off or picking up goods. Mostly it seemed just heavy barrels and crates with markings indicating linens, ceramics, weapons and other sundries. Nothing too exiting and hopefully nothing that would attract the attention of ruffians. Today they had left behind the last of the towns before Drellin’s Ferry, Terrelton. The only memorable thing about Terrelton was the smell. In the early summer heat, the smell of the tanneries that lined the way into the town from the east, hung low over the entire place, making being outside difficult. Luckily, they were there just one night. Tomorrow, they should reach the banks of the river and his destination. He hoped that Brother Derny had received his letter and knew he was coming. To think that he was close to finding his great grandfathers tomb and treasure was exciting. Particularly exciting was the thought of bringing the Sryix back to the Citadel. Magical artifacts were too important to be left to the dead and had to be studied and observed and used to better the lives of the living. That is exactly what he would do even though he was not sure exactly what a Sryix was . . .



*****

“We have to pull over and water the horses,” said Goran, the caravan driver. The man hopped down from the first wagon and motioned for everyone else to stay put. He then walked a bit away to the side of the road, making no move towards the barrels of water on the second wagon. Shortly thereafter, a group of armed men came out of the woods. While Sparrow was consumed with reading over the notes from his great grandfather’s old journal, Quinn looked up from her notes long enough to notice a man in leather armor and a crossbow hiding behind a nearby tree. She started to say something but Trinique put a hand on her shoulder and shook her head to indicate they should not do anything quite yet.

One of the armed men, clearly the leader, began a friendly looking conversation with the caravan driver but the words were indiscernible as they were too far away. Goran soon returned to the party though and explained that he needed their help in making one of their deliveries. The men were concerned about receiving their shipment in town due to bandits and decided that they could just have the items they were expecting offloaded in a nearby cave. It would go quicker if the three adventurers would help with the unloading.

The cave was just a short distance away from the trail. It was clear that it was an encampment of some sort and had been for some time. Quinn and Sparrow began helping with the cargo while the man with the crossbow climbed into their place and observed. Trinique made no effort to hide that she recognized the men as Black Knives and spoke to the leader.

“So, what is the plan here?” she asked.

“Well, which one do you like the least? We have to kill at least one of them to make this look good. Perhaps both of them.” He laughed harshly and wiped spittle from his red beard.

“That’s not going to happen” Trinique said calmly. “Seems we are going to have to lose two of your men on this job.” She looked him in the eyes without hesitation.

“Fine, we can just hurt them if they will play along. I will talk to them.” The man walked away from Trinique and entered the cave.

“Hey, you two look like smart people who could use a few kronas. You may have figured this out already but you see, this here is an arrangement. We help unload some of this cargo early, make sure it looks like bandits attacked the caravan then we sell it and the owner gets some insurance money for his loss. Everyone wins. You can win too, 10 krona for the two of you to split. But to make it look real, I am going to have to hurt one of you. Fair?” The man looked at both Quinn and Sparrow expectantly.

“Fifteen” said Sparrow. “Just not in the face. I know how this works. I’ve been through this before.” The mage braced himself for a punch to the gut. When it came it was a bit more painful then he expected but not too bad. Quinn looked very uncomfortable. Between the darkness of the cave and this whole situation, she was starting to hyperventilate and panic.

“Well,” said the man, “that’s not enough. I am going to have to hit you both . . . a few times. You’ll heal.” He grinned and took a step towards the hunched over Sparrow. In a flash, Quinn and Trinique were there. The fighter stabbed the man in the shoulder as he looked on in horror. “Trinique! What are you doing? Your father will never stand for this!”

“I am not my father,” Trinique said as Quinn struck with her staff and pushed the man backwards.

Sparrow scooped up a pebble from the floor of the cave and gripped it tightly while saying something arcane. Light burst into the cave, illuminating it like sunshine and the wizard dropped it to the ground. “Now that is better,” he said. Quinn said nothing but appreciated the darkness’ retreat.

Seeing the other men beginning to enter the cave she raised her hands and pleaded to Obad-Hai. The patch of ground around the cave mouth quickly sprouted into a tangled mass of vines, flowers and shrubbery. The bandits barely escaped being entangled in it.

The bandit leader was alone in the cave with the three adventurers now but underestimated their battle prowess. He quickly succumbed to their blows but not before scoring a hit on Trinique. He was supplemented by bolts from the crossbowman but none of the others dared cross Quinn’s barrier of flowers and brambles. After his death, they were at a stalemate.

“Come out and no one gets hurt any worse than they are. We can work out something,” the bandits outside the cave yelled.

Sparrow cupped his hands around his mouth and they glowed ever so slightly. “Leave here and you will be spared. Stay and be doomed.” His voice came out as an incredible deep and loud bass, echoing in the cavern and shaking the leaves on the trees just outside.

There were a few chuckles from the bandits and two ran off at the direction of the caravan driver. He had shouted something about bringing wood and oil to the cave mouth. The closest bandit growled into the cave saying that the adventurers would soon be crispy unless they surrendered. None of them seemed concerned about Sparrow’s trickery.

Quinn responded by producing a ball of flame in her hand and flinging it at the man. He screamed in agony as his beard disintegrate in a twist of foul-smelling smoke. Hands slapped the fire out but not before dropping him to his knees from the pain.

Quiet settled in again as the bandits awaited the arrival of the fire making materials. The three adventurers stayed out of sight as best as they could but occasionally a crossbow bolt streaked into the cave, letting them know that they were trapped. Quinn and Trinique quickly consulted each other. Perhaps there was a way out after all.

Quinn stepped into the light and held her hands outstretched. With a whoosh of air and tinkling like icicles snapping in the wind, a snowy, icy dagger of pure ice appeared then streaked toward the ruffian. It struck him in the chest then exploded in a shower of jagged crystals, showering both him and the Goran in a storm of deadly ice. Both men were knocked back then fell into the dirt. Their faces were pocked with bloody shards which began to melt and their beards were frosted as if from a blizzard. Their eyes flickered and remained open, staring at the sky above but without any sign of life.

Sparrow again cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted for the men to abandon their siege. A crossbow bolt was returned in response. Still an impasse but the effort to smoke them out would soon be underway.

Trinique looked at Quinn and shouted, “Now!” Instantly the bramble of flowers and vines were gone and Trinique was in a run. She passed by the bodies of the dead and leaped up towards the wagon’s side, vaulting over it and right beside the crossbowman. Her rapier flashed and was at his throat before he could blink. “Drop your weapon,” she said through clenched teeth. He did and got down on both knees, his hands in the air.

Quinn and Sparrow followed quickly, rushing out of the cave with fire bursting from Quinn’s hands and Sparrow’s booming magical voice echoing through the cave and out into the clearing beyond. Fire sparked from the balls of it that Quinn threw, none hitting their marks but certainly adding dramatic effect. The remaining bandits surrendered without further combat. But one, Jarrald Halfgiant, who had been returning with a load of branches, turned and ran. Trinique sent the remaining wagon driver after him but the tall bandit eluded him.

The adventurers searched the dead, finding numerous kronas (gold pieces), soldats (electrum pieces) and talents (silver pieces) as well as a heart shaped bloodstone. The crates and barrels were filled with mundane items which may fetch some krona, but were not worth the trouble of having to fence them by the party itself. Trinique told the remaining bandits to carry on with their theft and insurance scam but add that a rival gang, perhaps the Shadowbanks, had attacked and killed the others. They all swore to Trinique that the true events would be kept secret and there would be no hard feelings.

Once everyone had their stories straight and the dead were buried in the cave, Trinique motioned to the new caravan driver and they continued on their way. She could not help thinking that allowing Jarrald get away would present a problem but also knew that he was a coward and would likely disappear for long enough to allow her to make appropriate arrangements. Either that or she could ensure that he turned up in the Elsir River after a tragic accident.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and before nightfall, the thatched roofs of the village could be seen up ahead and the caravan entered the town of Drellin’s Ferry . . .




Session: Session 0 - Friday, Nov 30 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM
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