Realm

Session 1
Boil and bubble those witches are bound to be trouble!

Recap of session 1 – As told by Rindil

Day 1

After a short stay in Greyloch, Shadgith, the caravan master, moves us (the caravan) out of Greyloch heading south to the Innsha Mire marsh. The first day passes without incident, despite the fact that we have a number of groups “tagging along” with the caravan for protection. I hope Shadgith is at least charging them for traveling with us. Some elven treasure hunter joined us along with his 8 personal guards. It seemed rather extreme for a “treasure hunter” to have so many guards but he might be some eccentric that searches for treasure as a hobby. What a waste of time. I’ll have to challenge some of his guards to a duel in order to keep honing my skills. I doubt that they’ll be much of a challenge but it’s better than nothing. Travelling with this caravan has been nothing but boredom week after week. Even our last trip through Innsha Mire marsh was uneventful. So much for the “zombie infested marsh” that the locals are so scared of. Bunch of cowards; they probably just found the body of some twit that got lost in the marsh and assumed it was a zombie. Fools! The biggest things we’ve had to deal with are mosquitoes and rats. What a waste of time. We also have bunch of orphans and their nanny travelling with us. Trying to get to Byflower I hear. No doubt they’ll get on my nerves before too long, bloody little gnomes. Maybe we’ll get lucky and some of them will wander off and get lost in the marsh.

Day 2

We reach the edge of the marsh without incident and meet up with that witch Nedavin. Shadgith makes a deal with her to protect us from the mosquitoes and rats, I mean zombies; bloody joke. Nedavin lights totems along the path that we’re supposed to travel. The totems probably don’t do anything other than give off an eerie glow in the dim light. At least it doesn’t seem that he’s paying her in gold. The old crackpot (Nedavin) seems to just want various supplies; probably a bunch of cow hearts, chicken intestines and dog droppings. God she looks like a mess. Shadgith should throw in some soap as well and maybe she’ll get the hint. Nedvin also had an apprentice witch “Shadow” with her this time. It’s a bloody drow and it sounds like she’ll be traveling with us through the marsh. The damn witches will probably put a curse on us at night and harvest our organs for their soup. I’ll have to tell the other guards to keep an eye on her; drow can’t be trusted. Hmmm, maybe they’re just after the orphans…This could be funny.

We traveled all day without incident, again, just like the day before and the day before that…sigh Hard for a person with my skills and reputation to stay focused when the most threatening thing we saw today was Shadgith’s wife Yarla; that one is almost as hideous as Nedavin. I can’t help but feel sorry for her personal guard Lady Gwenevere. She seems to be quite a capable knight but for some reason has opted to guard the fat lady (Yarla) who spends most of her time ordering Gwenevere around like a common servant. shrug She must trying for sainthood as well as knighthood. I guess we’re all here for our own reasons. Hessil, the owner of the bookshop, has a new assistant named Pietro. Poor Pietro is stuck dealing with that rambling old fool. Pietro seems to have developed some skills of his own though. He seems quite nimble, for a human, and seems to be able to move through camp without anyone seeing him when he wants to. Maybe I should spend some time with him in the next town we stop at. I bet with our abilities we could sneak into some lord’s mansion and wreak some havoc on the old fool.

This seems to be a caravan for apprenticeships. Even the priest Fharlanghn has an apprentice with him named Corbin. I wonder what he can do. He seems to spend most of his time studying and in prayer; probably just another nosey priest like Fharlanghn. Fharlanghn dons his armour once in a while but it’s mostly for show. The biggest challenge he’s faced is curing a group guards from food poisoning.

Then there’s poor Tro Darkeyes. Bad luck seems to follow him around like he’s been cursed or jinxed. Agar, the leader of the guards, is getting fed up with him. I’ve managed to stay on Agar’s good side by keeping the caravan from getting lost a few times and with my hunting. But it seems that Tro is never in the right place at the right time and Agar just gets mad at him. So much so that he has Tro trailing the caravan on “crossbow” duty. It’s too bad; he seems to be a skilled warrior. I’ve seen him practicing and he calls himself a “hexblade”. I’m not sure what that is but he seems to be able to handle a sword. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to prove himself soon.

Well, on to the waypoint to sleep with mosquitoes and rats…I wonder if mosquitoes can be zombies sigh

Day 3

The caravan stopped for the night at the waypoint halfway through Innsha Mire marsh. We setup camp and circled the wagons for protection. Most of us were sleeping when, around 3 am, we were awakened by the screams of the orphans. The screams shocked most of us so that Tro, Agar, the rest of the guards, and I raced out of the wagons with weapons drawn but without our armour. There was a small fire burning in the middle of camp and so we were able to see that the children in the centre of the camp were being attacked by what looked like zombies. A quick survey of the camp showed us that the guards on the night watch have been killed and their torches have fallen to the ground and were almost out. As well, Nedavin’s magic totems seem to have been extinguished. Was this a trick by the witches or is something else at work. With his dark vision, Agar is able to better see what is happening and he starts barking orders at us. The guards surround the caravan and replant the torches so that we can see what we’re dealing with. The light shines out into the swamp and we can see dozens of figures moving towards us. The guards form a perimeter and prepare to fight off the invaders.

Mean while, Corbin and Lady Gwenevere have also jumped from their covered wagons. Lady Gwenevere sees what’s happening in the centre of the caravan and moves to help the orphans but then hesitates. Knowing that her first duty is to protect Shadgith and Yarla, she moves back to the wagon and pounds the side of the wagon telling them to get up and to come outside with the others. She then moves to the outside of the wagons and prepares to protect her Lord and Lady from whatever comes out of the swamp. In contrast Corbin doesn’t hesitate; he grabs two guards and charges the zombies in the centre. They throw themselves at the creatures and quickly cut down two of them. His presence alone (bless) seems to bolster the guards around him.

Agar continues to bark orders and positions himself at the entrance to the camp with several guards. Agar is fearless and continues to command the guards as he engages the zombies. Tro leads a group of guards to the east side of the camp to engage a group of zombies charging out of the darkness. Tro finally gets an opportunity to prove himself and, along with the other guards, cut down the first wave of attackers. Rindil moved to the northwest side of the camp and quickly disposed of the attackers. The zombies have the numbers on us but they’re just flesh and bones with no real fighting abilities. We all make short work of the first wave.

The first wave seems to have been a just sample of what is to come. More zombies pour from the swamp and this time there are several different kinds. Some are smaller and faster and others are stronger. Regardless of what they are they charge the camp without fear. The guards fight valiantly and are able to hold them back. Pietro also jumped into the fray and fights alongside the guards. He and some guards quickly dispose of some more of the zombies. Shadow also appears in the camp and starts casting spells. Without time to focus on her carefully I couldn’t tell if she was helping us, the zombies or just herself. Drow witch, I knew we should’ve kept a closer eye on her.

The zombies continue to charge the camp. Their sheer numbers seem to startle a number of the guards, including Tro. They break from the line and race toward the centre of the camp and coward in fear (failed save against fear). Damn Tro, this was his opportunity to show Agar what he can do. Agar will put him in charge of urinal duty for Lady Yarla for sure this time. This is when Corbin shows his true value to the caravan. He moves towards the wagons holding a holy symbol in front of him and a holy light emanates from him (turn undead) forcing a number of zombies to run away from the camp. Corbin does this twice and chases off half of the zombies. This gives the guards a short reprieve but still more zombies are rushing towards the camp.

Shadgith and one of the guards pull the oxen from their pen and start to attach them to the wagons. All around the caravan members decide that it will be better to start moving and to fight the zombies from the wagons rather than sit here and be overwhelmed. That’s when Nedavin reappears. It seems that the witch appears out of the darkness and hands a wand to Lady Gwenevere. As she holds the wand, images appear in Gwenevere’s mind and she learns how to activate it. Shadow also races to her side and further explains what the wand will do. It seems that the witches are on our side after all. Nedavin quickly explains to Shadow that her magic is being nullified somehow and the totems are unable to hold back the zombies. Nedavin then moves to the centre of the camp ready to join the fight.

Lady Gwenevere holds up the wand and activates it. An almost invisible bubble of energy forms around her and then spreads out 60’ in all directions pushing back the zombies. Gwenevere moves to the centre of the camp in order to protect all of its inhabitants. The battle stops as all of the zombies are held at bay by the powerful shield emanating from Gwenevere’s wand. Seizing this opportunity, the travelers gather up all of their belongings and load them into the wagons. It’s at this time that more of the night’s events become clear. Pietro and Shadow search the bodies of the fallen guards and realise that they were killed from behind with bladed weapons and not with zombie claws. The group also notices that the elven treasure hunter and his guards are gone with all of their supplies. It seems that they got out of the camp before the zombie attack. At this point Pietro and Lady Gwenevere mention that they had noticed that the treasure hunter and his guards had a chest with them that they wouldn’t let anyone near. They group wonders if the chest has anything to do with what is happening to Nedavin’s magic. Rindil and the other rangers in the group do a search of the area and uncover a faint set of tracks leading from the camp. They suspect that the treasure hunter and his guards left the path and headed through the swamp.

The group decides that it is best to get the caravan out of the swamp before trying to determine what really happened here. So they attach 4 oxen to each half of the caravan (8 wagons each) and begin to make their way south on the path.


End of session 1 -——
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Session 2 - Feb 11 2012
The Clot Thickens

written by the JAJAM Duo

After the awful events of the previous night, the members of the caravan put there noses to the grind stone and got everything back to normal. The injured were tended to, spooked cattle were rounded up, and Tro changed into clean (non-soiled) armor again. The work had taken the remainder of the night and when everything was done the Sun had risen again. The weary travelers sat down for some breakfast and then went back to their own wagons for some rest. Unfortunately, before everyone could get settled down, cries of help came from the back of the caravan. An elven child had fallen sick and his complexion darkened to almost black as he went catatonic. Almost immediately after that travelers all over the caravan (mostly elven) began to fall sick in the same way. The more schooled members of the caravan put their heads together and came to the conclusion that the food supply had been poisoned by a substance called “Elf Rot.”

All the healthy members of the caravan sprang into action. Pietro and Shadow went to the wagon of the old scholarly man and starting looking for information in the many books there.

Tro noticed the cook sneaking off and chased him down and apprehended him for questioning.

The Clerics started tending to the ill and praying for new spells. They then purified the remaining food and water supply.

Tro and Corbin were able interrogate the cook and through some mild intimidation were able to get a bit of information out of him. He had been forced into poisoning the food by the Elven treasure hunter that was already in trouble with the caravan. The treasure hunter has the cooks daughter hostage and threatened harm to her if the cook did not comply. The poisoning was a backup measure in the case that the caravan survived the night of the living dead. Being as dumb as he is the cook was led to believe that the treasure hunter had given him a magic stone to let him escape once the things got critical. Unfortunately for him, the the stone was just a stone. The cook went on to talk about an association between the treasure hunter and some organization called the “Black Hand” or something like that. He alluded to there being more than meets the eye with the treasure hunters and the chest that they carried. Tro tied the cook to the back of the caravan as a prisoner. He will have to pay for his crime regardless of the fact that he did it to save his daughter.

Then Pietro and Shadow found the cure for the Elf Rot. It is a fern like plant with red spots. The name currently escapes me. This plant is hard to find but grows right in the swamp. Shadow remembered that Nedavin had maps in her possession that detailed locations of plants and flowers in the swamp and they would lead to this plant. An expedition would be required to venture into the swamp, retrieve the plants, bring them back to Corbin who would then brew a potion out of them. Shadow and Pietro seemed like the best candidates for this task and they left the caravan in search of these plants.


The Away Team (As experienced by Shadow):
No Red Shirts So Far

Nedavin has a map detailing the locations of different herbs in the swamp, so me and Pietro set out to acquire the map to find the blood-wort we needed. A few hours into our trek we came across a heavily armored human, fighting a large python. The skiddish snake was injured and easily scared off. Pietro seemed intrigued by the human’s armor, called it a museum piece, if I remember right. The human introduced himself as Xaveak, and claimed that Lolth was still alive and the year 614. I fear he must have hurt his head, or maybe is suffering from some other ailment. We reached the hut with no other interruptions, and were able to find the map relatively fast despite Nedavin’s cluttered mess. Luckily the herb was close by, at the top of the waterfall.

There’s a cave behind the waterfall thats supposed to lead to the top. As we searched the base of the falls for the entrance, we noted bear tracks. Pietro devised a simple trap for the bear while I carefully checked for the bear inside the cave (the others could not see in the dark). I found a pair of cubs, fast asleep, as well as a doorway covered with a rag. I regrouped with the others and we safely passed the cubs.

The rag hid a staircase, too small for a full grown bear to climb. When we reached the top, we found a small dungeon. There we found yet another to tag along. Pietro picked the cell lock, freeing the half orc, who introduced himself as Doug Brown. He’s of a simple mind, and was more concerned with gathering “loot” and finding his equipment than anything else. We continued up the dungeon while Pietro questioned him.

The second floor had four rooms. We wasted no time in the latrine, kitchen and bedroom. The study had plenty to think on. It seems the people staying in this dungeon have been spying on my master for several years, and had carefully documented many of her activities. I burned the books, hopefully that will slow what-ever it is they are planning. Doug took a decorative box and a cloak. An amulet fell from the cloak, which he also wears now. I grabbed a handful of wands, a quill and message, and a strange map with glowing points. I will have to reasearch these later, but we were in a hurry to get the herbs. The last floor of the dungeon was sparse, but on the far end a human ranger was watching a mysterious orb, taking more notes in a journal. Doug and Pietro eliminated him, though Doug suffered from some unnatural wounds. We took that which seemed valuble, his quiver and Orb, burned these newer books and hurried to gather our herbs.


While the caravan waited for their return, some of the able bodied guards in the caravan decided that they would search the immediate area around the caravan for the flowers. In the hours that they searched and waited for Shadow and Pietro they managed to find 3 flowers which Corbin was able to brew into 15 doses of the antidote. Unfortunately the swamp was not without it’s risks and a number of the guards that went out did not return. This was getting worrisome as the guard on the caravan was starting to get thin. Then a figure was spotted in the swamp hiding close to the caravan. The conclusion was made that this person was likely responsible for the guards that went missing. Eventually three of the caravan guards (including Agar) went into the swamp after this person. They spotted him up in the trees and engaged. Agar was struck with an arrow and went down, eventually succumbing to his injuries. The figure in the trees made a run for it and the remaining two guards gave chase while calling for reinforcements. Unfortunately the figure was able to give the guards the slip. They returned back to the caravan with nothing to show but a dead Agar. Who will now take the lead of the guards?

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Session 3
You shall not pass (seriously how do we get out of this swamp?)

As recalled by Rindil

The shadows were growing long as the day drifted towards night and we tried to heal the sick and injured. With Agar dead and other guards gone missing it was even more important that we take care of those that were left. Corbin and Dagmor were doing what they could but we needed Pietro and the drow witch Shadow to return with the rest of the herbs. Corbin had personally revived me with the medicine that he had brewed and, as much as it pains me to say so, I am in his debt. The poison that Begloth had put in our food has left me very weak. When my strength returns I shall have to find a way to repay Corbin for his help and Begloth for treachery.

The sun was almost set when Pietro and Shadow returned to camp with two suspicious characters in tow. One was a half-orc named Doug Brown and the other a human cleric named Xaveak Dragonsbane. I do not know what possessed Pietro to bring another half-orc into our midst. We have already been betrayed by one half-orc and now he brings in another. Between the drow witch and the half-orcs (orcs are Rindil’s favoured enemy) we will be lucky to survive the trip out of this god forsaken swamp.

Our new “companions” introduce themselves and it turns out that Xaveak is a cleric that seems to have been abducted from another time. Doug just seems to be a regular half-orc fighter but he possesses an amulet that is of particular interest to Corbin. I do not know why it is of interest to Corbin but there is little time to find out. Night is falling and that means that the zombies will be on us again. Without Agar to organise the guards, I decide that it is up to me to get us moving. I do not trust these new comers yet and so I split them up and keep a pair of guards watching them. I convince Shadgith and the others that we need to move out. There is no point staying in one place while we get surround by zombies. Everyone is reluctant to move but since there were no better suggestions the caravan continues south out of the mire.

We continue to travel into the night. As expected, the zombies surround us and try to break through the protective field emanating from Lady Guinevere’s wand. We travel for several hours when suddenly Nedavin reappears outside of the protective shield. She stumbles towards the caravan, obviously injured or weakened in some way, but her powers are still strong enough to keep the zombies at bay as they part to let her pass. Corbin runs into the gap in zombies and helps Nedavin into the protective shield. She is obviously very weak and nearly unconscious. She must truly possess significant power if she can keep the creatures of the mire away from her in this state. We call for Shadow and with Corbin’s help they load Nedavin into Begloth’s wagon at the back of the caravan.

(Danielle to explain Shadow’s discussion with Nedavin)

With Nedavin secured in the wagon we march on until about 4 in the morning when we encounter an unusual barrier blocking the path. The barrier does not seem to have any mass or substance to it but it is able to block the zombies (or perhaps even destroy them). Once we determine that it is safe to pass through the barricade Doug, Corbin and I step through it. On the other side of the barricade we find a huge windowless mansion. There seems to be no zombies or immediate threat but we decide to rest outside of the barrier so that we can explore the area at full strength. We wait until morning when the zombies retreat and then the caravan guards take turns resting during the day.

It takes until 7 in the evening for everyone to fully recuperate from the previous day’s events. When we are fully rested we move the caravan into the barrier. Once inside the barrier we leave the caravan and the guards outside and Tro Darkeyes, Lady Gwenevere, Doug, Corbin, Pietro, Shadow, Xaveak and I enter the mansion.

The mansion must contain a great treasure because the first two rooms we enter are trapped. However, thanks to Pietro’s keen eyes we are able to circumvent them without injury to the party. It is not until we enter the third room that things get out of control. We enter a large hall and the door slams closed behind us. As soon as the door shuts we are set upon by several undead dogs (or were they wolves?). The beasts charge us from the other end of the hall where the wall starts to advance towards us in an attempt to cut off our only escape route. The party wastes no time and quickly engages the beasts. Still suffering from the effects of Begloth’s poison Lady Gwenevere and I are less than impressive in our attempts to fend off the dogs. My arrows all miss their marks and I proceed to spill my quiver on the floor; while Lady Gwenevere nearly severs her own arm while trying to kill one of the dogs. Luckily for us Doug and Tro were in a fighting mood. They both cut down two dogs and leave Corbin, Pietro and Xaveak to take care of the rest. With the dogs out of our way we race down the hall to a side passage that will take us out of the way of the approaching wall.

Despite our victory over the dogs and escaping three traps it seems that we have no luck in this forsaken house. As we round the corner into another room we are attacked by 8 skeletons, each with three arms and wielding a bow and a sword simultaneously. Pietro and Shadow are the first to round the corner and are each hit by arrows from the skeleton’s bows. Tro avoids the first volley of arrows and moves to engage the skeletons. The poison seems to have had a different affect on Tro as he appears fearless and seems determined to make up for his past shortcomings in a single day. With fire in his eyes he charges the horde of skeletons, leaving the rest of us to chase after him.

End of Session 3

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Session 4
These old bones I shake and rattle. These old bones I toss and roll.

As recalled by Doug Brown.

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Session 5
A rolling stone gathers no....elves??

As recalled by Rindil.

After the dealing with the first wave of skeletons that rode up on the dais (last session) we were surprised to see that the statue pulled the lever again and the dais dropped down to bring up four more skeletons. The skeletons were weak foes and so the party stood fast as the next wave attacked. Corbin, Tro Darkeyes, Lady Guinevere and I started cutting through them but we quickly realised that this process could continue to repeat itself indefinitely. There was a lot of action and noise as we were fighting the skeletons and so it was difficult to keep track of what everyone was doing. I decide to try and disable the lever so that it couldn’t raise the dais anymore. I crushed the skeleton in front of me and ran towards the stone steps that led to the statue with the lever. Pietro had disappeared under his cloak before this wave of the skeleton attacked and so no one was sure what he was doing. We found out later that he was sneaking off to investigate one of the passages that looked to lead behind the statue. At the same time the witch Shadow went to investigate the second passage.

The steps were rather tall and so it took me some time to climb up them to get to the statue. While I was doing that Tro, Corbin and Lady Gwenevere finished off the second wave of skeletons and a third wave had risen out of the ground. Lady Gwenevere did a quick survey of the statue and decided that the archway above the statue was broken and worn enough that she might be able to push it over and have the falling stones crush the statue’s arm and lever. There was a lot of noise and some shouting. Shadow was trying to shout something to Pietro but he couldn’t hear her. As well, as Lady Gwenevere ran towards the archway she was shouting something at me but I couldn’t make it out. I climbed the statue up to the lever and upon reaching it I decide to try and break. I took one swing cracked it but it would take a couple more swings to break it. Just as I was preparing take my second swing Lady Gwenevere reached the archway with a skeleton right on her heels. She approached the archway and gave the loose stones a “little nudge”. Lady Gwenevere must be a lot stronger than I thought because her little nudge sent the entire archway crashing onto the statue. It broke the statue’s head, arm, lever and the avalanche of stone crashed onto me….that’s when things went black (failed reflex saving throw).

When I awoke a while later the battle was done. We were all beaten pretty bad but we were alive. It seems that I have Corbin to thank again for saving my life. According to Tro, after the hail of stones fell on me I was near death and in a coma. Corbin got to me in time to stop the bleeding and after the battle healed me enough to bring me out of my coma. This whole adventure is becoming a rather humbling experience for me. Tro sat with me and filled me on the rest of the battle.

It seems that after Lady Gwenevere sent the archway tumbling down onto me things went from bad to worse. Although she managed to break the lever and stop more skeletons from rising from the dais, there were still some skeletons to dispose of and the party ran into some bad luck (critical misses). The others were all fighting off the skeletons when Pietro attacked one of them, missed and bent his sword (critical miss, -4 on attacks until repaired). Corbin was doing his part to stop the skeletons and he had enlarged himself to attract their attention from the others. This worked well but during the battle he lost his shield (critical miss) and took a couple of solid hits from the skeletons. Meanwhile, Tro was having trouble with a couple of the skeletons when one of them got a lucky hit (critical hit) and slashed him across the eyes blinding him (permanent blindness). This shocked Tro and he started swinging wildly at the skeletons. The witch Shadow apparently tried to help Tro by guiding him away from the fight. It seems that she has some strange ability where her hair can grow rapidly and attack or grapple opponents. According to Corbin the witch tried to protect Tro but he wouldn’t stop fighting and broke free of Shadow and tried to attack the skeletons.

Tro was blind and so he charged the sounds of the battle and started swinging. He managed to land two solid hits, unfortunately they were both on Lady Gwenevere and he almost killed her. Lady Gwenevere was very frustrated with Tro since he wouldn’t listen to the others and stay out of the battle. Both Corbin and Shadow had tried to convince him to stop fighting but he wouldn’t listen. After he landed the second hit on Lady Gwenevere she swung around and with the butt end of her morningstar she delivered a crushing blow to Tro’s head, knocking him unconscious for the remainder of the battle.

Corbin, Pietro and Lady Gwenevere managed to kill off the remaining skeletons but it seems that it was the witch Shadow that helped turned the battle around. With her “magical” hair she was able to grapple the skeletons and while the others destroyed them.

After the battle Pietro and Shadow explored one of the pathways that lead around the statue. They found a doorway and the remains of a dead adventurer. They searched the remains and found some gold and a magical ring and sword. The others decided to find a place to rest and while searching the area they found a hidden door inside the broken head of the statue. The head of the statue was broken off when Lady Gwenevere pushed the archway onto the statue….and me. The door opened to a flight of stairs leading about 100 feet down. This was much deeper than the head of the statue and so the group decided that the door was leading into another dimension. As a group we were pretty beaten down but the others decided that it might be a good place to hide and rest. So Corbin, as the least injured of us and because he can see in the dark, was selected to determine where the stairs went. Ten feet down the stairs he set off a trap and the stairs turned into a slide and sent Corbin crashing to the bottom into a small pool of water. He wasn’t injured in the fall and so he quickly surveyed the area and determined that he was in a small room that led down a short hall into another larger room. He could also make out that someone (or something) was in the larger room. With the party in no shape to fight another battle the others threw him a rope and he climbed out. We rested the “night” (the Sun didn’t seem to set here) without incident. When we woke up, Corbin did his best to heal our wounds and prepare us for whatever we had to face next.


End of Session 5
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I didn't know civilized conversations were possible with drow.
"pre-session 6"

As they walk down the mansion halls, Shadow asks “Tro, did you say before that you were from Westerfield?”
“Yah. . . Why?” he replies, suspicious.
“I was wondering if you know a man named Carl?”
“I knew him, he was murdered… Why are you asking, witch?”
“Murdered! Are you certain? Was it the black hand?”
“Huh? The black hand, no, why would they want to kill my master?”
Shadow mutters “Master, eh? I asked Nedavin what she knew of this black hand. She said they spy on all watchers, and named your master a watcher. Are you certain the black hand had nothing to do with your masters murder?”
Disturbed and intrigued, Tro replies, “I got to Carl’s house just before he passed. With his dying breath, he told me he was murdered by an old acquaintance by the name of Krull Moot. Krull was being manipulated. Carl never mentioned anything about watchers to me? Who are they?”
“The black hand want to ‘wake the gods.’ The watchers watch over the gods sleep, ensuring their rest is not disturbed ‘until they’re ready.’ Nedavin doesn’t seem to know much more than that, though she did mention another watcher named Jar Cor Blackgrave. We should seek him out, we may find more information.”

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Session 6

As we all woke and tended to the worse of our injuries, Tro begged for his weapons back. First he stabs Gueneviere in the back, then he asks us to arm him?!? In stead we armed him with a shield, I care for my life and well being too much to give him a sword. It seems the others agree, as no one backed him.

We left our refuge inside the head as well rested as we would get in this forsaken edifice, and searched the rooms behind the statue. As I suspected, they were some sort of control room. Gears could be seen everywhere, and the walls were lined with levers. On inspection, the letters bboocc had Symbols beside them. Pulling the levers b-o-c-c-o-b activated some mechanism, which contained a pendant with the gods symbol. Corbin says it is not a holy symbol, I’ll have to study this thing to figure out what it does. The room mirroring that one had broken levers in a language I can not read. It appears it also has symbols by boccob, but without knowing which letter is which I cannot spell his name. Corbin may have a spell that would help. We will try on our way out.

The corpse I found earlier proved interesting. He appears to have died quite some time ago, by mundane sword wound. Possibly from these fake skeletons Reglanon Farseer is so fond of. Our deceased friend carried a note. It reads :

Imran,
I’m sorry my wife is putting you thru this, but I am sure that if you return with the treasure you shall have Ala’s hand in marriage. These heirlooms provided will be of great help to you on your quest. I used these myself to win a great many battles. Breath and Life are truely dazzling, are they not? And Eel is freshly sharpened.
-Angus Softbottom

He carried an enchanted sword and a ring, and was missing one finger, which likely held the other ring.

As we had sufficiently searched everything here we continued down the path Corbin found under the mechanical head. At the bottom of the slide was a peculiar room with strange creatures, the likes of which none of us had ever seen. Black slugs coated with slime whipped tentacles arching with electricity. Watching their movements and a few educated guesses on our part showed that these creatures could not see. The floor of the room had several inches of water. As such, when the slugs flung their tentacles, they would shock the water and the lightning would split and hit all in the room. I had hoped I could find some small stones in the water to throw, as the creatures seemed to be able to sense when things moved in the water, but all I could find were animal statues, a foot in hight, and carved of solid stone.
There was also strange pillars. The pillars shot darts, and would then rotate to face a new direction. While the others bravely fought the lightning slugs, I avoided the creatures by climbing the dart pillars. On the top of the pillars were reliefs of animals carved into the stone. As we inspected more statues and more pillars, we found that they matched, though there were several extra statues.

I was able to place the first statue on a pillar just as the others defeated the second slug. Matching the pieces gave bonuses like their animal counter part, owl’s wisdom or bulls strength, while being hit by darts gave penalties. The first I placed was owl. Corbin took the eagle, Tro bear, Rindil the cat, Genevieve bull, and Pietro placed the fox motif. Placing the last motif raised the portcullis blocking the next room.

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Session 7

We entered a domed circular room with beautiful artwork covering the walls. What a difference from the previous room. A surprise at every turn in this place. As we survey the animals decorating the walls it is obvious that they match the statues we are carrying and the previous statues as well. Following the pattern we each place a statue around the circle.

For fear of more traps or some other negative effect I volunteered to go first. I placed the elephant into its spot and stood amazed at the portal that opened on the wall. A lush forest and the symbol of Obad Hi as the cleric informs me. I felt refreshed, better that I had in days it seemed.

Each member of the party placed their statues in turn with similar effect.

Shadow – crow- city flying cars – olidammara
Tro-rabbit – dark dungeon – nerull
Corbin – horse – plains floating rocks – fharlanhn
Pietro – wolf – icy mountain – kord
Rindil – lion – Hot desert – pelor

As the last statue was placed we all took a step back. Thankfully only a wooden door appeared. Undoubtedly the next stage in this puzzle.

The portals intrigue me, but seem to be impenetrable. Rindil poked one with stick and it just bounced off.

I wait as Pietro checks for traps at the wooden door and then open it. We see 8 sarcophagi and thrown with corpse shackled to it. The corpse holds a quill to write and there are books and a small replica of the mansion next to it. Pietro carefully approaches the corpse checking for traps and wearing his invisibility cloak, a task he would later regret.

A ghost materializes in front of Pietro and tells a tale of how a previous group of Drow adventurers chained him. He had the last laugh though with the aid of some god. Though he says that he does not need to be freed he does seem stuck in this place. He continues to demand our magical items and we refuse, of course. This ghost needs stop harassing innocent travellers.

The sarcophagi burst open and Skeletons pop out, each with a different magical weapon. Shrapnel hits the party hard and Pietro goes down. I am lucky enough to dodge the shrapnel and look up to notice the ghost is sniffing the air. Strange. As Rindil kills a skeleton he shouts something about gems in the back of the sarcophagi but is too busy battling the next skeleton to investigate further.

More bad luck, Tro is struck and goes down, whittling our number to only 4. I am keeping an eye on the ghost as I attack another skeleton and am worried as he approaches Pietro laying prone on the ground. The ghost seems sniff out his magical items and drain them. What will he do when he is done with the items? I must try and protect Pietro. Maybe if we kill the ghost the skeletons will fall too. I run up to the ghost and notice a faint glow of a cord connecting the skeleton to the corpse as he drains another item.

I can’t seem to damage the ghost with my weapons and hacking at the corpse also does not slow him. Luckily Shadow has figured out that prying out out the gems kills the skeletons. Rindil and Corbin are busy fighting the skeletons and Shadow is working on the gems.
In hopes of finding some information that could help us against the ghost I quickly survey the items by the corpse. There is a book called the Haven that explains about the building we are now in and another book I can’;t seem to read. No help here either.

The skeletons on the ground begin to move. This can’t be good. Shadow is still removing gems and now Rindil is under attack from the ghost. While its attention is turned, I drag Pietro over to the cleric for healing. I hope it is not too late.

As the skeletons coalesces into one monster skeleton Corbin quickly makes Rindil’s weapon magical so he can fight the ghost. I pick up some magical javelins and throw one at the ghost then turn to fight the monster skeleton. Tro is too close, so I point him in the right direction and tell him to move quickly while I approach the skeleton. I have to give Shadow time to remove the gems and Rindil time to kill the ghost. The ghost is killed. Excellent! The skeletons keep going and they hit hard. Too hard.

……

I wake up back in the swamp where the mansion was. What the? The little replica of the house is left with a note from bacab that the house is a gift use it wisely. Later I learn that the ghost thought that if he could open the portals he could become a god. Vecna had tricked him though. He used to follow balcob.

I realize now how much we have come to depend on each other and how well our different skills work together. I am used to fighting along side other knights, but these new companions are proving themselves worthy allies. Hopefully we can save the caravan from this zombie infested swamp soon.

I wonder what became of all that loot? I could have used a new sword.

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Session 9
From Loot to Lousy

In typical adventure party fashion, we got down to business; Figuring out the loot. We spent some time reviewing the loot that we had collected, splitting coinage, and allocating items to the most appropriate members. After that was out of the way we spent some time questioning the captives. After we were done with them, we locked them back up in the cells with plenty of food and a promise to return for them. Unfortunately that promise was quit pointless as we left the cave a freak earthquake hits and the cave collapses most surely killing everyone inside. Bewildered by the earthquake, the party investigates the area looking for any changes our for a source of the quake. The only note we make is that there are no animal sounds. It seems very quiet. We head off for the direction of BlackWater when we come across a lone inn at a major crossroad of the highway. Rindil begins to act rather suspicious and decideds to camp out in a field while the rest of the party checks out the inn (rest of the party is unaware that he had an altercation in this inn before joining up with the group). The party speaks to the inn keeper and he appears to be rather excited that there are actual customers. We agree on splitting up the party into three rooms and when we pay the inn keeper appears to be shocked at the coins we are using. The party realizes that the coins have weird emblems on them and appear to be from somewhere else. The party dines then goes to bed. While this is occurring, Rindil is watching bouncer outside the inn and the front door. In the middle of the night the inn keeper comes out and speaks to the bouncer, immediately the bouncer heads off to town. Rindil sees this as his opportunity to sneak into the inn. He attempts to wake up Tro so that he can get into the room.
However Tro does not seem to wake and instead Guen comes out into the hall to see what all the noise is about. Unable to wake Tro, Rindil goes back with Guen to her room with Shadow.
Later in the night the characters hear the sounds of movement in the hallway. Suddenly Tro’s door is kicked open with a loud bang. Tro continues to sleep through this. However Rindil comes out to investigate. Rindil calls out to waken Tro and then proceeds to engage the enemy. They appear to be about 4 robbers. Rindil manages to take out one of the them right away. Guen runs out into the hall and knocks out one of the thugs. All this commotion has cause Pietro to start investigating. Woken by the noise, Corbin opens his door and casts enlarge on Rindil. The added girth on Rindil causes the floor to give way and he falls down a level catching himself before falling down into the basement. One of the thugs attempts to run out of Tro’s room and instead he falls down the hole that Rindil made falling to his possible death (way to go Rindil and Corbin team). Pietro notices that there are more figures outside holding torches and begins to fear that they may want to burn down the inn. Pietro climbs out the window and gets up onto the roof preparing his bow. Rindil smashes through the front door in a crouched position knocking over two of the thugs outside. Guen makes her way down the stairs and calls for the rest of the party members to follow. Corbin makes his way to the hole Rindil made, and climbs down the ledge and swings down to the main level. Tro attempts to walk around the hole but is sloppy and falls down to the basement. Tro lands next to the thug that had falled down the hole as that thug starts to get up. Rindil gets up and takes a monster swing decapitating one of the thugs that he had knocked over

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Session 8
BEWARE THE WRATH OF GIANTS

Well, we’ve finally made it out of the mansion and the swamp. We’re back among our friends in the caravan. Things should go back to normal now . . .

Shagdith asks our group to come together and tells us that we must all leave now. No explanation, just that we must leave.

I see Shadow say something to Pietro and then he wanders off.

Rindile and I go up to Shagdith and ask for our pay, 30 gold.

As we wander off we run into Pietro who tells us to go back and ask for double our pay. Wondering what Pietro is up to, we decide to do what he says. When we tell Shagdith that because of the abruptness of our leaving and the extra difficulty in the swamp that we require double pay he quickly agrees, saying “anything to be rid of you”.

Finding Pietro afterwards we ask him how he knew that Shagdith would pay up. Pietro says that he’ll tell us for 5 gold each. Curiosity getting the better of us Rindile and I agree. Pietro then shows us the box he found in Yarla’s coach containing a finger and a note to Shagdith.

As the caravan heads off we gather to decide where we should go. Shadow notices that one of the lights on her magic map, the nearest one, had gone out. We reach a consensus that we should make our way towards Blackwater and seek out the watcher Jar Cor Blackgrave.

We head East through the swamp with no problems and eventually leave the swamp behind. Around mid-day we smell smoke coming from the direction ahead of us. Rindile and Pietro volunteer to scout ahead and see if they can find the source of the smoke. In about an hour they report back.

As they lead us on, they describe the scene that they found. A camp in chaos, footprints of multiple sized everywhere, and trees uprooted and thrown around. Under one of the fallen trees they found a couple bodies with the invisibility cloaks that we have encountered before. Doug Brown, Corbin, Rindile and myself move the uprooted trunk off the unfortunate pair and find that these were members of the Black Hand.

Searching the bodies we find a note along with the cloaks. The note indicates that this group was to meet up with the caravan, ambush us, and return with Corbin (unharmed) to their main camp. This brings up a lot more questions for us.

Looking around we see a large path of destruction in the trees. Rindile takes a look and claims to see prints going in that direction of a giant, ogres, orcs, and something being dragged. After a brief discussion we decide not to go looking for trouble and to avoid this trail. We set off through the forest at an angle to the path of destruction.

After a few hours of traipsing through the forest we come out to a wide, well used path. Rindile checks the path and announces that there are ogre and giant tracks going towards the mountains along with some human looking tracks. No sign of any orc tracks though, or of anything being dragged.

Seeing as how we’ve crossed tracks twice now, it seems inevitable that we will run into these creatures at some point. Better to do it on our terms, rather than theirs. We decide to follow the tracks towards the mountains. Rindile and Pietro, with their magic cloaks, agree to scout ahead.

When they return they tell us of a cave with a giant chained up along one wall and a series of pens along the other wall with people in them. There is a long tunnel leading out of this room to a crossway guarded by 3 orcs.

We cautiously approach the cave when we hear the giant yell out, “who’s there. Show yourselves”.

We approach the giant and tell him that we come in peace. He lets us know that he is a prisoner of a pair of ogres and their servants, the orcs. He explains that one of the ogre’s is a magic user and controls him using a magic staff. He also says that, while he is a prisoner, he is also a guard, as he has been magically commanded to attack anyone opening the cages. We ask him if he would help us in exchange for retrieving the staff for him. He agrees.

Looking at the pens on the other side of the room, we see that the first one has a dead body in it. The second pen has 2 people in similar armor to the dead blackhand warriors that we encountered. The third pen has a single man sitting with his head lowered.

We question the 3rd man who says that he is a farmer from Westerfield. He and his son, the dead man, were making their way home from a trading trip when they were captured and imprisoned. Most of the other prisoners were taken down the tunnel and never seen again.

We quickly question the other 2 prisoners, noticing that they do have the hand tattoos of the Blackhand. The younger one has only been with the Blackhand a couple of weeks and doesn’t know very much. The other one is very tight-lipped.

We decide on a strategy to take out the orc’s guarding the cross-space. Rindle and Pietro go about ¾ down the tunnel with their cloaks on. Shadow and I hide down an extremely dark side tunnel, me with my crossbow ready. Doug Brown and Corbin are on the far side of the shadowy tunnel . DB calls out for assistance in Orcish, drawing the Orc’s, while pretending to grapple with Corbin. This puts the Orc’s in a potential 3-way ambush. All goes well as we start to ambush the Orc’s, when something attacks Shadow and myself from behind. I manage to dodge the attack, but Shadow is not so lucky. As Corbin and DB make short work of the Orc’s I suddenly find myself in the grip of a tentacle. I try to escape the tentacle, but am unable to. I see Shadow move back towards the main tunnel.

Shadow grabs a torch and lets DB and Corbin know what is happening. Soon the three are chasing me down the dark tunnel. I drop the crossbow and try to hit the tentacle with the club at my waist, to no effect. Corbin and DB attack and, while they do hit the creature, their attacks tend to bounce off the creature’s tough skin. As I try to break free of the creature’s grip, both DB and Corbin also become entangled in this creature’s tentacles. As we all struggle with the creature, I curse it, and suddenly we all break free. As I recover from being entangled, I see DB kill the creature in one stroke. As Shadow catches up to us with the torch, we see another body nearby. We search both bodies and find a ring and a short sword.

As we head back the way we came we run into Rindile who asks what happened. We bring Rindile up to date and then he and Pietro go invisible and sneak / reconnoiter down the hallway.
When we next hear from them they inform us that they found an eating area to the South with about 10 Orcs and another entrance at the far end of the room. They also let us know that they killed another Orc in the hallway.

We quickly come up with a plan: Rindile and Pietro will sneak into the eating area, DB will throw Corbin into the room, using the same trick from earlier, and Shadow and myself will follow everyone else in.

The plan goes well, the Orcs are confused by DB and Corbin’s attack. We make a quick end of the Orcs, only to notice that Rindile was not in the battle. We hurry down the far entrance to the room to find Rindile fighting a Troll. Seeing all of us the Troll pushes past us, only to be taken down by Shadow’s Weasel (carrying a spell). We decide to throw the Troll into the cooking fire.

We return down the tunnel, until we reach the cross tunnel. Rindile and Pietro scout the Northern tunnel and return to let us know that they have found a room with a sleaping Ogre. We all go to the entrance of the room and Rindile enters the room. After a few steps Rindile hears a click and realizes that he is standing on a trap trigger. Corbin sneaks into the room and Coup de Grace’s the sleeping Ogre. We try to move the Ogre’s bed onto the trap, with no success. We grab everything of value in the room, including the Ogre’s staff and leave the room with Rindile still on the trap. Rindle dives off the trap, onto the Ogre’s bed, as a loud alarm sounds.

The party heads back down the tunnel, running into a couple more Orcs. We quickly dispatch the Orcs, make it back to the main hallway and head back towards the entrance. We quickly discover another Ogre coming after us. Pietro and Shadow take the Ogre’s staff and run back towards the Giant while the rest of us slow down the Ogre. As we fight a loosing battle against the Ogre we hear a pounding coming from the tunnel behind us. All of a sudden Corbin is bowled over as the giant attacks the Ogre with the staff. When it is over the giant thanks us for freeing him and leaves, the Ogre dead and the staff destroyed.

We investigate the one tunnel that we have not had a chance to look in yet, and find the Ogre’s room. In it are a surprising amount of items, including large amounts of coins, mundane weapons, and a fairly large collection of magical items. With the defenders all dead, we decide to return to the prison area, interrogate the prisoners some more, and rest until tomorrow.

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