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Sons of Dammerhall: Dark Frontiers

Game Master GM SuperTumbler

Throttleneck Tactical Map


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260 OE - Quartzoath Manor, Summermount

Doled Quartzoath's study is richly appointed, as befits a high-ranking member of Abadar's faith. A wide oak table is surrounded by seven sumptuous leather armchairs. A flagon of wine sat on the table, accompanied by a wheel of hard cheese and a loaf of bread. When you enter, Doled gestures for you to sit from behind a desk that appeared to be carved from solid stone. Bookshelves line the wall behind him, polished wood glinting from the hearthfire.

The wizened dwarf sits before you dressed in a simple black and silver robe, white-gloved hands folded as if in prayer. His eyes move from the parchment laid on his desk to the seven dwarves in front of him. When he speaks, his voice is solemn.

"Welcome, friends. Pray help yourselves to my bread and wine. We have much and more to discuss. And I fear the hour grows late."

Doled takes a deep breath.

"Do you know the story of the fall of Dammerhall?"


Female Dwarf Shaman (speaker for the past) 2; HP 20/20; AC 16, T 11, FF 15; F +2, R +1, W +7; (+2 v poison, +4 v spells/SLA); Init +1; Senses DV 60; Perception +9 (+2 v stonework)

Dagmar helps herself to a glass of wine. "Aye, well maybe not all o' it. But e're thing ma parents saw. Me husband had mostly records of wha came aft'r. 'Cept one tome his pa wrote of what he could remember when they fled."


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

Ukrim sat down in the comforting leather, a cup of wine in one hand and the other holding a piece of bread and cheese. Slowly he dines and sips from his glass, looking towards the elder with eyes of focus and respect.

"Ye kin ne'er hear th' story tae often." He says softly, reminiscing upon the tales he had been told again and again by the spirits back within the monastery of their fabled capital. None were as tragic as the Fall of Dallhammer, even as a mystery as it was.


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 4/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 |

Knowledge (history): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7

Garbed in her priestly vestments, Glenda hooks her hands into her belt and says, "Only the basics - that it was a once-great citadel of our people, and as has happened all too often in our history, it fell to ruin against the press of too many foes." She taps the haft of the warhammer that she carries. "Also that it was famed for its prodigious crafts."


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

Knowledge(history): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Armor-clad, his undivided attention towards the wizard, Snorri recalls the lore he's been collecting for decades.
"I know most of what is known. That's to say, almost nothing. Three days of black fire, two centuries ago. Stone melting, all the passageways sealed. My grandfather, ruling High King, trapped inside and never heard from anymore. And up to this day, of the many who tried to explore and reclaim, none have succeeded."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Happily helping herself to a glass of wine and a hunk of bread to avoid the wine going to her head. Setting a rather battered battle axe on the ground next to her seat before letting herself sink into the comfortable chair and wincing at the shriek in her mind. Do not slouch! Shaking her head slightly and grinning at seemingly nothing Don't be a stick in the mud. The elder is speaking and you are distracting me form story time. I am your elder too, whelp!

Nodding in agreement with the others before adding her own opinion, "It is certainly a tale that is told often enough but every telling is a little different."


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions: none

Dasur takes a slow and measured seat as he looks past Doled to the treasury of books behind the priest of Abadar. "The story so far, yes. The story yet to be is far more interesting." He cryptically rasps, eventually settling back in his seat and looking to Doled. The food and drink is ignored.

The simple-looking dwarf lays an oaken staff across his lap and prepares to listen. Yet he is not still; slowly and subtly he rocks back and forth to some unknown rhythm.


Knowledge (history): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

"Well enough, though not so well I would presume to think I can furnish greater detail."

It is only when all others have said their piece that Hogun's voice joins the conversation, and it is only when they have taken their seats that he takes his own. Among the assembled, he recognizes more than one Tharnhammer, and while it seems unlikely he's the only one who isn't of noble blood, he errs on the side of caution.

"You have my gratitude for your hospitality, Father."

Despite his words seems disinterested in partaking of the generous repast, not without irony, considering his lineage. His sharp grey eyes mark him as one of the Greyingots, renowned brewers. Yet this matter is clearly one of no small significance, and he wants his head clear, so he only takes the bare minimum, his attention clearly held more by the conversation than victuals.


Hogun:
Going forward, could you please bold your dialogue? It is my preferred format. Thanks. :)

Doled nods to the dwarves assembled before him, most of them far younger than he. "As you seem to know, Dammerhall was once the jewel of the known world. All roads converged upon our mighty kingdom and the lords of men and elves paid tribute to the Mithral Throne. The skill of our smiths, the creativity of our artists, and the prowess of our warriors were the stuff of legends."

"Then came the Doom. The greatest city in the world detonated without warning. For three straight days, dwarves lucky enough to be beyond the walls of Dammerhall watched with horror as it burned with black flames. All six of the great bridges that connected the mountain stronghold to the outside collapsed. The great gates were shut. No one escaped. Not a single survivor emerged from the ruins."

"Ever since that fateful day, our kin have tried to retake Dammerhall time and time again with no success. Most expeditions failed to find entry. A few perhaps managed and have never been seen again. The reason for the doom, who or what caused it remains a mystery to this day. Dammerhall was thought to be forever lost to us, until now."

"As I said, there were six entrances to Dammerhall. During the Doom, they were each destroyed. Any attempt to forge a new path as resulted in tragedy. However, I have studied extensively the lore of our scattered people. Decades of research has shown me that there is a seventh. I believe in the existence of a map, left behind in the ancient mine of Zaraketh during the flight from Dammerhall. With this map, an expedition could be mounted to reclaim our lost home."

"Unfortunately, I am too old to lead the journey myself, but I believe that before me sits some of the finest that remain to our race. This is why I called you here. You have the skill, the tenacity, and the wisdom to succeed where all others have failed. Do you accept this quest?"


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

Ukrim smiles at the compliment, bowing his head low. "You honor mah clan 'n' ah wi' sic wurds, Doled. Ah wid be humbled tae accept sic an undertaking." He looks to the others with an inspired look in his eyes, giving them all an encouraging nod. This was what they had all hoped for, what every dwarf hoped for. A chance to reclaim Dallhammer. A chance to return home.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Reggeron would be so much Flinching slightly Say yes you fool. This is what you are here for! No you maniplative bastard this is what you are here for. I really do not want to die trying to reclaim former glory. Living in the past is By all things holy child! Shaking her head slightly and before looking at Doled. Sounding a little monotone, "My family is honored to be part of this."

Looking back down at the wine as she swirls it around, Happy. I know why I am here but I do not have to be thrilled about what will most likely get me killed. Bah! You got me out of almost dying. Best thing that ever happened to you. Nalnera's lips twist into a frown before she finishes the rest of her cup.

Not bothering to look back up just yet but curiosity pulls at her,"What should we expect to find in this mine of Zaraketh?"


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

Snorri grins at the wizard's words. "Seven dwarves, seven ways, a good omen already. That's not even a quest, Master Quartzoath. That's what I was born to do."
He caresses the axe that was made for his mother, back when she was next in line for the throne. Fine, no-nonsense dwarven smithery, without an unneeded line, elegant and majestic in its simplicity, unlike those frivolous elven weaponry.
"We'll descend in the darkness and reclaim our ancestral home, until the sound of the forgehammers shake the stones once again. Let it be known that dwarven blood runs in the veins of the earth, that now as it was, Dammerhall still stands."
Eyes looking towards infinity, Snorri sighs.
"But let's leave dreaming to the night. Where is the mine?"


Female Dwarf Shaman (speaker for the past) 2; HP 20/20; AC 16, T 11, FF 15; F +2, R +1, W +7; (+2 v poison, +4 v spells/SLA); Init +1; Senses DV 60; Perception +9 (+2 v stonework)

Dagmar does her best to outwardly hide any reaction to the mentions of the failed expeditions. Even though those words from the past echo in her mind, Sorry lass, but there's been an accident...We we regret to inform ye...Our deepest sympathies...

Shaking off those cobwebs she tries to refocus on what everyone else is saying. So many young pups eager to to forge forward. Snorri gets a grin with his words, such a Tharnhammer that one.

To Master Quartzoath she just gives a simple nod in answer to his question. Waiting to hear more about this ancient mine.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions: none

Dasur reaches up to touch the gemstone of his amulet through his alpaca yarn shirt. His thumb traces the sharp lines of the trillion cut beneath cloth, dull brown eyes unfocused and pointed at the floor. "Yes, it makes sense. The six-lined star of a cabochon corundom has a seventh point at its intersection, hidden between the lines." He mumbles to himself, uncaring if others hear, before trailing off into thought.

A sideways glance at Snorri takes but a second as he too connects the seven dwarves and seven entrances. Snorri would be the center point, the true heir. But the asterism that creates the lines in the stone is caused by impurities in the corundom... What does that mean... and why did no one use this hidden exit to escape?

He looks up from his contemplations, and nods. "I accept. Will we receive any assistance beyond our group?"


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 4/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 |

"Of course," muses Glenda. "It's our duty to our people, and an honor." The priestess seems subdued, aware that this task is directed more toward the noble families.


Hogun does not take the dire fates of those who have walked this path before so lightly as does the Tharnhammer heir. He does not have the luxury of being a dwarf who can throw himself headlong into peril so easily. Should he perish, his daughter will be left an orphan.

And yet, he knows all too well the state of dwarvenkind in the days since the fall of Dammerhall. It is not a lot he wishes for the sons and daughters of dwarves, not a lot he wishes for his own dear daughter. Against his reserve and caution he weighs the good of his people, the good of his daughter, and his course is decided. There is not danger he would not brave for her, to secure her future.

"The Greyingots will serve the Tharnhammers in this matter with the same integrity as our forebears before us." Hogun intones without mirth, gaze moving to each of the Tharnhammers in turn. "I am yours to command."


Doled frowns, pondering Nalnera's question. "I don't know what the mine holds, only that the road to Zaraketh is long and fraught with peril. What is worse, its precise location has been lost to time. Your best option might be to seek out the deep gnome enclave of Fasturvalt and obtain a guide. The svirfneblin are a suspicious and clannish lot, but their lord, Geiri, son of Geidne, is known to be a friend of dwarves. That is where your quest should begin."

Knowledge (history) DC 18:
Zaraketh, literally "River of Silver" in Dwarven, was one of Dammerhall's greatest sources of wealth. Several miles-long veins of raw mithral ore ran for through its depths and it was from mines such as this that supplied the legendary forges of Dammerhall. The dwarves surpassed all others in elevating mithral to its fullest potential: the alloy known as gunzarak, known among dwarves as "the true gift of the earth" or "true mithral." Lighter than aluminium, stronger than adamantine, it was as perfect a metal as this world has ever known. Sadly, the secret to this process was lost with the fall of the ancient dwarven stronghold. Even today, centuries after the last axe of "true mithral" was forged, many a dynasty counts among its greatest heirlooms these dwarven blades and armors.

The greybeard cleric turns to Dasur. "Unfortunately, I will be able to offer only limited assistance. I have arranged for an ox-drawn cart and a weeks worth of rations, but that is all I could muster. I fear this must be a clandestine undertaking, as there are many that sit on the Council that believe this seventh entrance to be folly. They say that our numbers dwindle, that we have lost too many sons and daughters already to attempts to reclaim Dammerhall. If they knew what you were preparing for, they would try to stop you. Especially with who has chosen to go." Doled gestures at Snorri. "The heir to the Tharnhammer line would not be allowed to so readily throw his life away."

"The way to Fasturvalt is known. There is a chasm only a weeks journey from Summermount that descends into the Underdark region of Azathyr. Follow the cavern down and north until you reach the Deep Road called the "Gnome King's Highway." Follow that east and you will reach Fasturvalt."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

History: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9

Nalnera nods but keeps quiet once given her answer. That council has the right idea. Hush child, the adults are talking. Closing her eyes for a moment I hate you so much.


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

Knowledge(history): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Snorri scoffs. "Feh! The Council would have us give up everything that makes us dwarves, just in order to survive. That doesn't sit well with me. No, going gently into the night is not my way, I'd much rather fight the darkness to my last breath."
"I'm surprised that the deep gnomes would help us, however. I wouldn't think them happy to have us as neighbors once again... But they would make strong allies, if we managed to gain their trust."
"Thank you for everything, Father Quartzoath. Rest assured, once we take back the Mithral Throne, there will always be a place for you back home, in the depths of Dammerhall. "


Knowledge (history): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9

Far better-equipped expeditions have failed to return from attempts to reclaim Dammerhall. Hogun's frown deepens, but his resolve does not waver. He did not accept under the assumption this would be easy.


Female Dwarf Shaman (speaker for the past) 2; HP 20/20; AC 16, T 11, FF 15; F +2, R +1, W +7; (+2 v poison, +4 v spells/SLA); Init +1; Senses DV 60; Perception +9 (+2 v stonework)

Know. History: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10

Dagmar's famous temper arises once the council is mentioned. "Sod the bloody council! Dinna think we don't know tha risks? How many kin we lost before. By Torag's mithril cock, of course, we know it's a bloody fool's errand. But Snorri's right. We aren't humans, or elves, or even bloody halflings. We're dwarves and we're slowly loosin' what it means to BE dwarves."

Dagmar breathes deeply, trying to reign her temper in. "Very few have lost more than I to trying to reclaim Dammerhall. Me husband, both me boys. But if'n it was the past, and I had tha choice to let them go all ov'r again? You bet they'd bloody well be goin'."

She shakes her head, finally calm once again. "I dun intend to die in those caverns, I dun intend to let the rest of you lot do either. But we owe it to ourselves, our ancestors and our future kin, to take any chance of findin' Dammerhall. Not for tha glory of it, but to reclaim our heritage." She motions to the few old forged weapons a few carry. "The metal n stone is in our blood, but none have forged weapons quite like that since the Doom."


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 4/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 |

"Is this going to become political? Is there anyone on the Council who might try to deliberately sabotage this expedition if it were to become widely known?" asks Glenda after a few moments of deliberation.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions: none

knowledge: History: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10

Dasur slowly nods his head as Father Quartzoath explains the situation. "They intend to fade away. But they will be shown wrong. Dammerhall will rise again, and nothing can stop it."

His hand drops away from his amulet, and falls to the staff laid across his lap. Grasping it, he uses it as a lever to rise from his seat. "The deep gnomes are the first stair leading up to the Mithral Throne. They will pay our price, or we will pay ours. Whatever it takes to secure the path."

Dagmar's passion is sooty, burning flame in the room, outstripping the fire in heat generated. "All of our sacrifices will be worth it." The wizard calmly comments to the woman, before turning to the aging priest. "If there is nothing more I will retire until our departure to study and rest."


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

Kn: History: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

"Th' River ay Silver..." Ukrim murmurs to himself, looking towards the others. "If we coods fin' Zaraketh, it is miles ay mithral waitin' tae be forged intae weapons, armur, jewelry...enoogh mithral tae supply a kingdom. Mebbe it e'en will contain notes oan hoo tae forge true mithral ance mair, forge a weapon an' armur worthy ay an heir ay Tharnhammer." The young monk said in his thick and heavy accent, looking between the others. Finding Zaraketh would change so much, it could even be enough to convince the council to put their full support behind their endeavors.

He falls silent once more, listening to the others. Dagmar's fury and passion bring a resolute nod from the small dwarf, his knuckles tightening in anticipation. When he was given the opportunity to stay within the monastary or to head out upon this secretive expedition, there was no hesitation. He remembers the old stories from the spirits that remained, the tales of dwarven glory before the Doom came and visited their people. There was no greater honor than to take those long steps into the dark once more and seek to reclaim that ancient birthright, to secure their kind's home once more.

"Aye, Dagmar is reit. We owe it tae uir fowk tae try, e'en if uir hope is jist a glimmer in th' mirk. Ah am ready fur thes task." Ukrim's scarred hands unclench as he calms down, already riled to head into the darkness below. Glenda's question catches him off-guard but he nods in agreement. It is a wise question to ask, even though the thought that someone of their own kind would try to stop the reclamation of Dallhammer pains Ukrim to think about.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Why can you not have the enthusiasm of your people? Looking down at her lap with a shake of her head about the time Dasur risesMaybe I had my thrills in that barrow? You know with almost dying. Now shut up and let me listen. Lifting her head and staring at Doled while waiting for an answer. It might be fun. Also what is a deep gnome? A smile erupts on her lips while waiting.


Glenda:
Hey! You missed the first round of voting for the patron keys in the discussion thread, but you still have a chance for your voice to be heard. Head over and check it out.

Doled nods to Glenda's question. "Perhaps, which is why we must keep this expedition secret. It is why I can't supply you with more resources."

He looks to the rest of the gathered dwarfs. "If there are no other questions, I can send you on your way tonight."

I'll wait for any more questions and the adventure will begin in earnest tomorrow. :)


"I would not leave without first saying goodbye to my daughter."

Though Hogun has always been a practical dwarf, weighed against his daughter, the need for secrecy, however great, is barely even a distant second, a mere afterthought.

Still, he has no intentions of taking long or dawdling. Their expedition can still be gone before daybreak.


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

The news that they would be leaving tonight made Ukrim's eyebrows rise, though there was wisdom in the quick departure. Less chance for them to be dissuaded from their course, either verbally or physically.

"Ah wid lik' a letter sent tae mah family...so thay ken know whaur ah left, thay ken know how come ah left th' monastery." He was certain that by now, they would have received the letter from his masters detailing his disappearance. They would be left wondering if he disappeared into the dark, taken by some terrible thing. He would much rather they know he did what any honorable son should do and remember him with pride should he not return. It was the first time he seemed to show just how serious and dangerous this journey would be.

Rising from his chair, he would bow to Doled and to the others. "Ah travel light. Shouldn't be mair than a few minutes. Ah wull be set tae go whin ye a' ur." He would stay and listen to any questions that were asked before quietly excusing himself. His steps were quiet for a dwarf, as he lifted his hood and readied himself for the journey below.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Staring back down at her empty drink, "I am fine with leaving now. I have all of my things."


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

Snorri caresses his axe and his horn. "I've said my farewells and packed my things, I'm ready to go shake the pillars of the Earth once again. Thanks again, Father Quartzoath. We'll meet again, in this life or in the Stone."


Female Dwarf Shaman (speaker for the past) 2; HP 20/20; AC 16, T 11, FF 15; F +2, R +1, W +7; (+2 v poison, +4 v spells/SLA); Init +1; Senses DV 60; Perception +9 (+2 v stonework)

"I came prepared."


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions: none

Dasur halts his exit as Doled says they will be leaving tonight. The dwarf stops mid-stride, setting his foot and extended staff down before turning around. "Well. He says with a smile, glancing over at the assembled dwarfs. "I'm traveling in good company- as I am also prepared to leave."


Doled raises his voice before the dwarves can take their leave. "Make no mistake, friends. Our race stands upon the edge of an axe. Every passing year sees fewer and fewer dwarves. I fear that if you fail in this, dwarfkind will eventually be lost to the passage of time, with nothing but our sagas to remember us by. You are our last, greatest hope. Perhaps we have not sung our last song of glory..."

---

260 OE - Gnome King's Highway, Upper Azathyr

Four days pass as the dwarves delve deeper into the Azathyr, following a series of natural caves. The air becomes cool, damp, and stale and any sense of time is lost without the sun and sky. The only sounds are the slow drip from hanging stalactites, the creaking of the wagon, and the chittering of hundreds of bats disturbed by the light of the lantern.

On the third day, a brief tremor can be felt in the ground below and above you. For a few tense moments, the earth moves and strains. The cavern ceiling groans alarmingly and then... nothing. Nothing collapses.

On the fourth day, the cave becomes increasingly narrow and winding until, without warning, the path intersects a wide causeway. High vaulted ceilings and smooth, natural walls frame a remarkably smooth and flat road, wide enough to allow the passing of two heavy carts without incident. This is one of the Deep Roads, a five-hundred year old marvel of dwarven stonework - one of the legacies of Dammerhall. You have reached the Gnome King's Highway.

Before you stands a squat stone obelisk, carved from a single chunk marble. Words in Gnomish are inscribed on its face:

Gnomish:
“5 ½ days east and north to Fasturvalt. 9 days west to Kladdenvalt and 32 days east to Vondehammer.”


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

Three days remaining of Doled's rations, then it's trail rations or Dagmar's cooking.

Awestruck, Snorri gapes at the dwarvencraft marvel.
"Blood of the ancients... Look at this! Oh, think of all those who passed here, back when Dammerhall was at its peak!"
He kneels on the worked slabs, touching them reverently.
We are going home, comrades. I see that it will be hard and toilsome, but... but we are going home. I can feel it."

He then looks at the obelisk with a weird look. "I can't read it, but I think it means we're on the right path. Anyone knows Gnomish?"


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions: none

The conditions in the tunnel were not worthy of complaint- indeed, Dasur felt just as home here in the cramped day as he did in his study.

He wasn't a bad traveling companion, but he was more than likely to sit around, lost in thought or looking into some of the gemstones he carried in his belt pouch rather than do anything of note. The wizard, show comfortable, seemed out of his element after filling every day of the past 20 years with study and reading.

At the end of every traveling day he would take out the ruby amulet always around his neck, muttering into it and summoning an Unseen Servant to take care of their labor about camp. Dasur had o qualms with abusing the spell's untiring incorpality.

The appearance of the Gnome King's Road was inspiring. He jumped down from the cart, oaken staff hitting the ground with a great whap. Snorri's excitement is infectious, and Dasur begins running a hand over the smoothed road.

"Incredible. Beautiful. Look at the flatness of the road. I have seen theses speculating on the ancient techniques used to survey the underground path of this road, it is a marvel." The dwarf places his staff on the road, the dowel of wood meant to test the gradient. Would it roll? Which way?

His experiment is interrupted as Snorri asks about the obelisk, Dasur swinging his head around to look. "Ah. Let me see." His staff is forgotten on the road, now enthralled to the cruel whims of gravity as he walks to the sign.

A single glance at the words tells him everything. "Five and one-half days east and north to Fasturvalt. Just as Quartzoath spoke. There are two other places on here, or at least the sentence is structured to indicate proper nouns. Nine days west to a place called Kladdenvalt? Thirty-and-two days east to a place called Vondehammer?”

Dasur places his hands on his hips and looks to the rest of the group. "East then north. Simple enough."


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 4/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 |

Glenda pauses in reflection - perhaps a silent prayer? - before she hunkers down and puts a hand on the ground. A few moments later she lifts her hand and brushes the dirt away in a careful movement, rather than the quick dusting that most folk would use.

"Still pristine," she says. "Even now the roads are clear."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Tending to stick to the back of the group. Days of quiet. I hate you so much. Walking, walking, and more walking! By the Gods I hate you. Kicking a stone while glaring at the ground in an attempt to ignore the cackling in her mind. They are not that bad. Dwarves are a driven and solem people. But if you want things to get interesting child you could let me out of your mind. No way dead man. This is bad enough.

The obelisk is welcome change. Moving up to and crouching down to read,“It says 5 ½ days east and north to Fasturvalt. 9 days west to Kladdenvalt and 32 days east to Vondehammer. So we have a few more days to get to he deep gnomes.” Gnomes are a chatty lot, Gods I hope so.


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

Ukrim had been quiet those days of travel, spending time with each of his fellow comrades to learn a bit more about them. Let it be asking Dasur about his cooking, speaking with Glenda about the spirits of the dead, sparring with Snorri, trying to get Nalnera to smile and lose the quiet grimace she had upon her face, or just starting conversation and humming old songs. He had taken to writing down the journey so far, documenting their tale. He was in the midst of writing while walking when the discovery of the Deep Road was made.

Stepping across its smooth, low surface, he leaned down and smiled at the craftsmanship.

"This is maist certainly oor people's craftmanship. We're getting closer noo."

He steps up with the other towards the obelisk, examining the shaping down upon it. It was intriguing nonetheless and he examines it to see whether it way crafted by the gnomes or if it was crafted by their ancient kin.

Prof: Architect: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

herp derp, it is stone.


Female Dwarf Shaman (speaker for the past) 2; HP 20/20; AC 16, T 11, FF 15; F +2, R +1, W +7; (+2 v poison, +4 v spells/SLA); Init +1; Senses DV 60; Perception +9 (+2 v stonework)

"6 day, eh? Don't know about ye lot, but I'm gettin' might tired of rations. I got enough to cook a few days, 'tween that and the remaining rations we can easily make that thar gnome city. But if'n any see something worth huntin' giver a yell. I got all me cookin' bits. Will fix us up something proper."

-Posted with Wayfinder


Hogun has said little during their journey, and even less when not directly addressed. He offers no complaints, and for those who bother to observe their traveling companions habits, he often seems to be writing, either in a journal or on loose sheets of paper when they make camp.

Though the craft put into the road is undeniably masterful, Hogun does not waste valuable time on admiration, instead turning his attention to practical matters and the obelisk, confirming for himself the translation the two others offer. Likely gnomish – had it been dwarven, the words inscribed on it would naturally have been dwarven. Instead of belaboring the translation by echoing them, he instead answers Dagmar.

"Foraging is an option, certainly, but it will slow our progress and give anyone looking to interfere with the expedition a chance to catch up. What would the Tharnhammers have me do?"


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

Snorri chuckles at Hogun's words. "Why, to advise us on the best course of action, seeing as I don't know much about it. On which authority would I command you on matters I know nothing about?"

He adjusts his backpack on his shoulders. "That said, I think that we have enough food to easily get to Fasturvalt, so unless you advise against it, I'd say we march."


Female Dwarf Shaman (speaker for the past) 2; HP 20/20; AC 16, T 11, FF 15; F +2, R +1, W +7; (+2 v poison, +4 v spells/SLA); Init +1; Senses DV 60; Perception +9 (+2 v stonework)

Dagmar pauses before responding, hoping Snorri would be quick to respond. She wanted to see what their heir's response would be. She was not disappointed.

Ah, good lad. Dagmar smiles. We don't be needing a bunch of ninnies waiting for orders or a leader making blind fool guesses. We just might survive this.

"Aye, we be good, no needin' to resort to scroungin' for mushrooms 'n berries like an elf just yet. That said, if'n ya see something that looks like meat. I dun think anybody would mind a quick stop or two along the way." Dagmar gives Hogun a wink.

-Posted with Wayfinder


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NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

You have the same damn name! Snorri is closer to the throne and that matters Regnir. More like snorey Childish Running a hand through her hair, "For what it is worth I agree that we should not bother with foraging unless we absolutely need to at this point in your journey."

Starting to walk again, "Well lets get going." Once everyone is back to moving Nalnera lets the others pass her so that she is near the rear of the line.


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 4/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 |
Ukrim Warmcloak wrote:
Ukrim had been quiet those days of travel, spending time with each of his fellow comrades to learn a bit more about them. Let it be asking Dasur about his cooking, speaking with Glenda about the spirits of the dead, sparring with Snorri, trying to get Nalnera to smile and lose the quiet grimace she had upon her face, or just starting conversation and humming old songs. He had taken to writing down the journey so far, documenting their tale. He was in the midst of writing while walking when the discovery of the Deep Road was made.

Though one might stereotype a dwarven priest of a death god as a grim, morbid sort, Glenda seems garrulous and ready to hold forth on any number of topics, not just transmigration and the role of the psychopomp. Whether it's commentary on the hard biscuits in the rations ("Better than eating stones, but only by a small margin") or the consistent lightless marching ("If we were supposed to get to places quickly the gods would've given us longer legs. Or perhaps wheels") she seems decidedly less focused on the sordid topics that one might expect.


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

Ukrim would settle back into marching order once the dwarven caravan began to move once more, stepping alongside the cleric of Magrim. Conversation between the two of them had seem to be a regular thing over the long and arduous journey.

"Sae Glenda, whit wis it that brought ye tae become a cleric o' Magrim?" Ukrim asks curiously, falling a few steps behind Snorri but still keeping an eye out into the darkness. "'N' whit th' hell is a deep gnome? Ah mind th' stories aboot thaim bit ah ne'er met one."


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Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 4/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 |

With a cheerful expression, Glenda says to Ukrim, "Why not? We need smiths and warriors and priests. We have many roles to fill in our society."

"Beyond that," she says with a pause, "I think... many people think they are afraid of death, and it affects them. But death isn't really what people are afraid of. They're afraid of hurt and they're afraid of being weak. They fear age not because of death, but because they fear the loss of self-sufficiency and the ability to do the things they love. They fear injury and sickness because it is so painful and debilitating. So... we create elaborate schemes to isolate ourselves from this, to show our bravery in the face of death, but it's misplaced. Death is when all of that ends. So what we, the living, need to do is work to alleviate the suffering of the living. Those who are still here - who haven't yet crossed the veil and gone beyond all those worries and hurts - they need us to help them so that they can live with dignity and solace, instead of dying in pain and squalor."

"So it's not that I have a fascination with death. I have a love of life. And helping people to understand the relation between those was how I was called to the priesthood."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 20/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

More than often lost in thought and alternating between a small grin and a deep scowl. It tends to take more than one try to get her attention while the group is walking the first few days. But after the obelisk she tries to make a greater effort. I am ignoring you now Regnir. People are actually talking. Hehe, they have already spoken to you and you ignore them. That is why I am ignoring you...A$$

Trailing a little closer to Ukrim and Glenda while shamelessly listening to their conversation, "That is actually a beautiful reason." I bow before your awe inspiring conversational skills.Shut up! Quickly dropping her gaze back to the ground and kicking at it with a sullen look.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions: none

As the caravan begins to move once more Dasur scurries over to the road to pick up his staff, hustling back up to the oxen cart.

He leaps on the back of the cart with surprising grace, pulling up his squat bulk with a grunt. The wizard turns about and settles down with his legs hanging over the back, looking in the opposite direction they're traveling.

Ukrim's question was barely comprehensible behind his thick accent, but Dasur picks up on it all the same. "Ah. An excellent question, Ukrim, what is a deep gnome?" He gestures and speaks from the back of the cart to catch the monk's attention, quickly calling into a monotonous lecturing tone.

Knowledge:Dungoneering: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24

"When compared to a surface gnome the morphology of the Svirfneblin, the Deep Gnomes' name for themselves, has considerable similarities to our own cousins, the Duergar, in that the Svirfneblin are highly adapted to their home in the underdark. They bear all the typical hallmarks- grey skin, lack of hair, and large eyes. Their huge oculars grant them darkvision up to three times more sensitive than ours! In addition, they possess incredible stealth abilities and magical disguises, enabling their kind to hide from the Dark Elves, the numerous carnivorous, or worse, species of the underdark with remarkable success. One notable psychological trait is their distrust of all dwarfs, caused by an unwillingness or inability to distinguish between surface dwarfs and Duergar, which is why the Svirfneblin we are going to see are extraordinary in that regard. Now, their connection with the fey is stronger than usual, causing them to have strange personalities. I recall a letter from a acquaintance who worked with one saying..."

The wizard drones on with incredible stamina, barely seeming to pause for breath. He doesn't move from his seat, instead staring directly at Ukrim and locking the monk in place with an inescapable gaze. Dasur seems to have no intention of ceasing the staggering flow of information streaming forth from his mouth long after the question is answered, if not completely overshot. By the time he pauses to take a drink from his waterskin a string of logical, if uncalled for, anecdotes has somehow put them on the subject of Gelatinous Cube reproductive strategies.

"Where was I? Ah, yes, so when the cube reaches a certain size it buds off, like a plant..."


Male LG Dwarf Unchained Monk 1 | HP: 12/12 | AC: 17 (17 Tch, 13 Fl) | CMB: +4, CMD: 18 (22) | F: +4, R: +5, W: +3 | Init: +4 | Perc: +7 (+9), SM: +7 | Speed 20ft | Stunning Fist DC 14 | Active conditions: None

Ukrim listened quietly as Glenda explained her decision, the thoughts she had on how death was viewed by the dwarves and how she wished to help. The reasoning brought a smile to Ukrim's face, memories of the monastery returning once more. "Aye, that really is a bonny reason. Yer knowledge wull be quite tha aid oan oor task." Ukrim agreed with Nalnera, smiling at the young dwarven woman before her gaze lowered back down. There was something about her that felt familiar yet he couldn't quite place what it was.

"It's lik' back in training, trying tae detect th' master's presence in th' darkness. Thare is something 'ere bit it isnae either." Ukrim thought to himself before looking back towards the man who called him by his name. "Be yin moment, lassies." Ukrim would listen to what the dwarven wizard had to say. The man was a strange sort, always looking at that brilliant gem upon his neck or murmuring to himself. Yet it was said that he was in touch with the elemental magic, capable of using the earth around him to their advantage.

Ukrim would respectively listen to the man as he spoke of the Svirfneblin; the strange and grey-skinned gnomes of that Azathyr. Even as the man rambled onwards, leaving the original topic behind and entering into the queer ways of the fey and even into the terribleness of the gelatinous cubes and the way they tended to reproduce. With a soft laugh, Ukrim moved back and place a rough hand on the wizard's shoulder, grinning wildly. Mibbie th' wey th' cubes hae bairns kin hauld yer horses anither day, mah friend. Ye know sae much, ah would've thought ye wur yin o' mah teachers fae back home!" He gazes around in the dark though with a bit of unease. "Thay kin see farther than we kin? ah wonder whit else is watchin' us."

"Thank ya Dasur. Ah know who tae come tae if ah hae a quaistion." He says with a small smile upon his young face, which seems to make the ceremonial tattoos upon his cheeks rise even more from the red-orange of his beard. His attention moves back towards Nalnera, moving close enough to her to nudge against her softly. "Ye'v bin quiet this hail time. Ah wis curious, whit brought ye 'ere? if ye dinnae mynd me asking, o' coorse." His tone had dropped to a more respectful tone as he looked at the others and watched the periphery. They were not guaranteed to be all friends and comrades, not all the stories started that way. For some, they took time, pain, sacrifice, and achievement to succeed. That and it took quite a bit to be willing to leave the surface world behind, the remnants of what they had left behind. The reasons to be willing to come to this expedition, doomed as it may be or destined for greatness, could be both heroic and tragic.


Male Dwarf Skald (Fated Champion) 2 | HP 18/18 | AC: 18, T: 11, FF: 17 | Fort: +5, Ref: +1, Will: +3 | BAB: +1, CMB: +4, CMD: 15, M.Attack +5 [1d8+3]| Init: +1 | Perception: +4 | Raging Song 5/8

After listening to Dasur for a while, Snorri realizes that the wizard has gone off a tangent. Storing the information for later, he approaches Glenda. "That's a fascinating approach to such a heavy subject. I remember a poem about it, speaking of how tombs exist not for the dead, but for the living. A human poem, but a good one."

He clears his voice, then starts quoting verses, the words echoing through the large road.
"Doesn't one live under the earth, though for them
the daylight's harmony has fallen silent
if they can bring it, through sweet memories,
to their beloved's mind? It is celestial
this joining of two minds bonded in love,
celestial human virtue: and it's through it
that we can live with the departed friend...
"

(Translated from Foscolo's I Sepolcri)

"And I think that it's a traditional attitude for dwarves. Why else would we build statues of our ancestors, if not to try to live up to them? They're in the Stone now, or in whatever undiscovered country is after death, would they care for statues? Perhaps. What's certain is that we, the living, do care."

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