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Finally Getting a Chance to Show My Skills!: Session 9
Surviving the Rapids: As the rapids pulled us all down the river, I had a flashback to the time when my dad ‘taught’ me how to swim. He threw me off our boat in the middle of a lake and told me to get back to shore. The lake wasn’t too big, just about 700-800 meters to shore. I flailed about hopelessly until I figured out how to keep afloat. Then it was just a long, grueling crawl back to shore. Of course, my dad wasn’t one to do things like that without a reward, so once I got back, he said the boat was mine. He was an unorthodox teacher to say the least, but I learned a lot from him. Now though, I wasn’t in a calm lake. Still, I mustered up all I had and managed to stay afloat. I was tiring out quickly though. I thought of the others. Tirondel had, no doubt, learned to swim on one of his supposedly great adventures. In fact, I could hear him yelling cheesy lines, so I was sure he was doing fine. Ivan, on the other hand, would be weighed down by all his guns and ammo, and I doubt he knew how to swim. Snowy would probably be panicking. I would be amazed if he had managed to stay afloat up til now. Just as I was running out of strength and ready to just stop moving and let the current take me, the river turned and we were pushed out of the river and onto the shore. I stayed down for a bit, catching my breath. Then I stood up and assessed the situation. Of course, Tirondel was fine. Thomdril and Anssi looked fine too. Snowy had his eyes open, but wasn’t moving. Still, he seemed fine, just shocked. Ivan and Tam were unconscious. We decided to wait for them to wake up before we pressed onwards, and Anssi was still hurt from the fall from earlier, so we decided to give them all time to recover. We rested for the day, waiting for Ivan and Tam to wake up (Ivan was angry because a lot of his gunpowder was ruined by the water) and for Anssi to heal up. When Ivan woke up, I offered him some healing. He was either too tired or too trusting to care, so he said yes. I used my amazing healing techniques that I had picked up, like everything, from my dad, and he seemed to perk up a bit. He told me that it hurt even more, but I assured him that if he just lay down a while (it could take a couple days at most) he would heal up. Then Tirondel told us that as we were in the river, he had seen monsters along the sides, commanded by humanoids in a floating wheelless wagon. We slept and then we set off.
Getting Going Again: We went through the woods on our way to Gromshold (which was between us and King’s Port) and we camped out. Tirondel got us some food, though we were still running low on rations, and I made a makeshift portable camoflaging wall out of leaves and sticks. We got a good night’s sleep with no incident, and woke to find everyone healed and ready to go. We walked for a long time, with Tirondel running ahead for no apparent reason, until we saw Gromshold start to come into view. Tirondel came running back and told us that he had seen nobody in Gromshold, and that he had seen a strange black chitoney substance on a guard tower close to the side of Gromshold that we were heading towards. Not wanting to waste time or seeing a need to figure out what was going on, I started walking towards it. It sounded like we would finally get to fight something, and I couldn’t wait. The others followed me, Snowy igniting his mace with, I assumed, some kind of holy magic and Tirondel, as usual, deciding to be as unhelpful as possible, started dropping back sneakily. He said something and I yelled at him to speak up or come up with us. He did neither, so I put him out of my mind and continued forward.
Fighting Things!: When we got close to the tower, I saw a few creatures at the top of the guard tower, looking out at us. I was just able to register that they didn’t look very human right before one of them jumped off the tower and landed right in front of me. I immediately slashed at it. It was a clean hit, but it didn’t seem to do much damage. Then it swiped at me but I easily brushed it off. In my peripheral vision, I saw another one of the creatures jump over me and land near the others (except for Tirondel), who all teamed up on it. I slashed at mine once more and this time, I got through its tough hide and it went down. I turned around to see a third one that had challenged Thomdril be easily dispatched by his huge axe (not as big as mine though) and Tirondel, true to form, stole the kill on the one that the others had teamed up on. It looked like there were no others, so we decided to relax for a bit, though Tirondel immediately went off to check out the town.
Bad Food: Ivan suggested to me that we try cooking the meat of the creatures that Tirondel identified as scourge, which sounded great. We cooked it up and tried it. It was worse than most things I had had before, and I tried to keep it down to no avail. I threw it up and Ivan, while being able to keep it down, looked like he regretted his decision to eat it. I convinced Snowy to try it too, and Thomdril joined in because everyone else (except for Tam) was. When Tirondel got back, I asked him to try some too. He did and while he was able to keep it down, he also admitted that it was one of the worst things he had eaten in his life, though he said it was better than drake meat at least. We all went off to do our own things, and I took some of the meat and tried to smoke it in the guard tower (under the guise of ‘investigating it’, because Tirondel wanted us to do some work). Unfortunately, it tasted just as bad. Maybe we could poison our enemies by making them eat it! We all met up again at the drawbridge, ready to continue our journey to King’s Port.
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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 3:00 PM to 7:00 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 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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New Friends and New Enemies: Session 8
Interrogation?: Having secured our easy victory over the bandits, killing most of them but apprehending two, I decided that since we had captured them and killed all their friends, we should become their new friends! Or at least I should, since the rest of the party didn’t seem all that… socially adequate. Sure enough, their first idea was to interrogate the bandits. I said that I would help by interrogating one, and Tirondel took the other one. Anssi and Thomdril went off to try to find some game. The first bandit said his name was Blue or Bluebell or something, so I decided to call him Bluey.
Nickname Talk: I’ve found that it’s easier to keep up a consistent nickname scheme, which is another reason I dislike Tirondel. What should I nickname him, ‘Tirondey’? Or maybe ‘Tiyey’ (pronounced ‘Tee-yee’). It just doesn’t work as well as ‘Anssey’ (no pronunciation changes needed there) or ‘Thomdrey’ or ‘Ivey’ or ‘Tammy’ or my favorite one, ‘Snowy’. Or because ‘Thomdrey’ doesn’t really roll off the tongue, I could use ‘Shorty’ instead! Perfect!
Back to Interrogation: I talked to Bluey for a while, because it seemed like Tirondel was taking a long time grilling the other guy. I successfully sold him the cool rock that I had found worked well as a whetstone. I was sad to see it go, but at least I had finally sold something. Then I decided that we were good enough friends by now that I could trust him with one insecurity of mine. I asked him what the other bandit had said to me, explaining that I have slight hearing problems, but that I try to play it off like I don’t. He explained that the bandit had told me to drop my weapons, though in retrospect, knowing that really wouldn’t have changed any of my actions. It was a good fight, and that was something I’d been needing for a while. By that time, it seemed like the others were catching on that I might not be getting much information out of the guy (useful information, at least) so I asked him where they had come from. He told me that they had been part of a platoon led by some guy named Breckdon. Then Tirondel told me to switch who we were talking to, I guess hoping that this guy had kept information a secret from his companion? I dunno. Anyway, the other guy, whose name was Norman or something, didn’t really tell me anything of importance. Then we had to decide what to do with them. Tirondel said to keep them with us on our way to King’s Port, which I seconded, but Thom and Snowy wanted to let them go, which seemed like the best idea considering that Ivan would probably want to kill and eat them once he got back. We untied the ropes binding them and they ran off quickly.
Monster in the Night: Right as they left, Ivan and Anssi got back. They had found some food for the night. We searched for a campsite and found an okay spot, though kind of out in the open. As we cooked the animals and made idle conversation, Thom broke the normalcy by pulling a reddish stone out of his bag. I could tell even having never seen it before that it practically radiated power. I saw everyone else’s eyes being drawn to it too as in one fluid motion, he took it in his hand and forced it into his chest. He took his hand away and I could see it moving deeper into his chest, glowing ever more brightly as it did. Then Thom began to scream. Not knowing what was happening to him, I ran away to where I felt safe, and waited as we all watched him scream and writhe in agony. As soon as it had started, though, it was over, and I moved slowly closer as Snowy moved to him and looked at it. He told us that it was safe and we came over and looked at Thom’s chest, where there was a small bump where the stone had burrowed in and a slight glow to that area but no other indications of what had just happened. We took some time to speculate over what had happened and they explained the story of the blood stones to me, but then it was time for all of us to get to sleep, which we did after deciding watches. Before it was time for mine, though, I was woken up by a shout from Snowy. He was pointing into the woods where, a ways away, there was a dark, looming shape that looked like a creature of some kind, but bigger even than the bear from about a week ago, and whose silhouette was only visible because of the light that came from behind him, which as it faded out, I realized was a torch that Snowy had flung at him. I got to my feet and looked around for something to throw at it, but before I could find anything, the torch had gone out and the creature was no longer visible. We talked over what to do about it, and eventually decided to leave it be. When it came my turn to keep watch, I went around our campsite, looking for sticks. When I found them, I stuck them in the ground, making a sort of barrier between us and the monster. I figured that if they didn’t hurt him, they’d at least alert us of his presence. The rest of the night passed with no incident and we woke up ready to continue our journey to King’s Port. Then Ivan kicked a few of my sticks in obvious disappointment that he hadn’t been smart enough to come up with such a brilliant plan as I had, but I’ll leave it there for the biased comments.
Almost a Fight: We kept walking, and eventually came across a river. There was a broken down bridge in the middle, and a dwarf with a white horse was presumably dead in the wreckage. I tied a rope to a rock to make a makeshift grappling hook or something and threw it across, but I couldn’t catch it on anything. I told the others that one of them had to cross it first and then I could throw it to them and we could all get across on it. As soon as I turned around, though, Thomdril, Ivan, and Tirondel were climbing down to loot the body. Ivan found a warhammer and something else that I couldn’t quite make out while Tirondel took two shiny rings from the poor dead dwarf’s fingers. The three of them climbed up the other side, talking, as Blueberry (Anssi’s wolf, we haven’t been able to figure out a name for it yet, but I like this one the best of the ones we’ve considered) ran downstream and crossed some rocks to make it to the other side. I threw the rope to Thomdril and began climbing across as I saw Tirondel take the thing from Ivan’s hand and try to shove it into his chest, though he was blocked by many layers of clothes. I could now see that it was another blood stone. Then he goaded Ivan, telling him that if he didn’t believe in Solace, he should put the blood stone in his chest and see for himself. Before I could stop him, he reached his hand under his multitude of shirts and coats and stuck it into his stomach. Just as he was assuring us that nothing was going to happen, a shocked expression appeared on his face and he doubled over in pain. Finally, I was across, but it was too late. Anssi began to cross the rope too. He went slowly, hand over hand, but about halfway across, his hand slipped and he fell. He landed in the water safely, though, and began climbing up to us. I looked back over at Snowy, who for some reason, was stuck in place, staring horrified at the water. I looked at the others questioningly, and Tirondel, cursing, told me that Snowy had in irrational fear of water. Suddenly, a huge shape loomed up behind Snowy. The others yelled at him to cross already, but I wasn’t running away from a fight. I passed Anssi as I climbed down and ran through the river. Snowy had no other options but to cross the river now, the creature all but on him. He stared again at the water fearfully, walked forward… and just kind of walked over the edge and fell in? I’m not sure. Then I heard Tirondel and Thom shout that there were monsters on their side too. Unfortunately, I was stuck between enemies, unable to fight either one! As the others prepared for battle, I heard a rushing noise, and a huge wave of water came down the river, washing Anssi, Snowy, and I with it. Trying to keep my head above the surface of the water, I saw Tam pull Ivan in and Tirondel jump in with Blueberry. Thom was wavering, but as I went under, I saw him sheathe his axe and jump in after us. I clutched my axe and backpack tightly, careful not to lose them in the rapids.
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Law
Posted by the GM
Sunless Lands
Session 3 Notes
PLAYERS

Samuel - Hu F5 (Jer)
Marikus - Hu F5 (David)
Barnabas - Hu P5 (Duane)
Merriadon - Gn I3/T4 (Dustin)
Liam - Hu Cav6 (Law)

Geoff - Hu Pr4 (NPC)
Locinda - 1/2 Orc F3/Th3 (NPC)



CURRENT QUESTS

Find two missing nobles (male and female siblings) who were apparently part of an adventuring band. Alive, remains, or signet rings.

-Signet rings recovered.

Discover source of mysterious disappearances around towns.


LEADS

Black Riders


NOTES

Day 6

Party returns to Bolden.
Barkeep says farmer family in Pinto vanished.
Spoke with Kriel the Sage about literature found in the citadel.
-Friedu found parchments for temple. One has code for secret door.
Sage wants all documents, scrolls, and books in exchange for code.
-Contract signed by party and bound by some form of magic.
-A number of magic items left with the sage for identification.

Half day of travel to Pinto
-Spoke with new captain of the guard.
-No news on family that disappeared. Valuables not taken.
-To Jester's Hall to get map from Tamus.
-Missing family's residence investigated. Nothing of note found.

Day 7

Begin traveling to temple location from Pinto. 1 day's travel through badlands.
-Worgs attack camp during 1st watch (Friedu mentioned wolf attacks); 2 are killed and 4 are routed.

Day 8

Locate path leading out of badlands and into crevasse.

Abandoned temple found - large stone double doors, crumbling columns. Markings on outside are worn and unreadable.

Inside the temple, the party begins investigating. Two rooms in, 4 black robed figures are found sleeping in a monk style cell room. One is awakened for interrogation but an alarm is raised. They are
adorned in black armor and wear ouroboros-styled holy symbols. The group attacked the party, dropping Locinda, but are dispatched in a few rounds. Locinda is revived and the party presses on.

More rooms of little interest are searched (with the exception of one room containing a mural of a divine being sucking souls from bodies and tossing husks off to the side) until the party comes across a room full of monks of the martial variety. The party attempts to parley but the Monks deride the heathen preists and take offensive stances. Merriadon starts immediately off with a color spray...catching Samuel and blinding him. The monk bent on attacking him halts, apparently held back by some form of honor code. Melee ensues with the rest of the party and Locinda is dropped once again. The monks attacks consist of both physical and psychic damage. After the monks defeat, the party rests and binds wounds before moving on.

The next room finds 3 more cultist warriors, one of which appears to be a captain of sorts. All are ready for battle. After the leader strikes at Liam, drawing blood, he enters some sort of frenzy. The battle is hard fought but the party pulls through, expending much of the day's healing resources.

Further down the same hallway is a room full of dead bodies and a floor thick with dust or ash. Touching one of the bodies causes it to turn to the same dust that litters the floor. Belongings that might identify them are collected.

The hallway ends in a room containing a large runic circle on the floor, drawn in chalk. Electing not disturb the circle, the party passes through the room and into the next.

This room contains bundles of incense, burners, and multiple amphorae/cisterns containing clear, foul-smelling liquid. On a rack there are multiple black robes. Merriadon considers taking a robe but realizes he is much too small to wear it.

Following a long hallway, the party finds what appears to be a large alter room. Two monks/cultists go about sweeping it. On the far side is dais with a sculpture of a large figure seated upon a throne. It appears to be the same soul-eating being depicted in the mural. The statue emits an evil aura that causes Good-aligned characters to slow and hesitate upon approach. The monks spring to attack while a third warrior that was in the room is instructed to "alert the master." The party soon finds that these cultists not mortal, shifting in appearance when seen from the corner of the eye and becoming tentacled horrors. Soon the master returns and calls for a parley but, knowing the elder evil he serves, the party is quick to take up arms once again. Liam and the master battle back and forth, fighting back from the brink of death a number of times until, finally, the master points at him and utters the word "Die." Liam falls. Moments later, Merriadon succumbs to his own wounds and Locinda is felled once and for all. Marikus, Samuel, and Barnabas rally, killing the master and then the final demon. Nothing can be done for Locinda or Merriadon. Miraculously, checking on the extent of Liam's injuries, Samuel discovers that Liam fell not to a Power Word but a simple Command spell - requiring only a small disturbance to awaken.

The remainder of the temple yet to be mopped up and explored, the party takes a much needed rest.
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