Mirrin and Grunyar come to an area where a few side passages split off. The trail seems to lead to cave to the north, where it disappears.
We can continue the conversation in spoilers while advancing the main plot for everyone as well.
You make your way up to Grunyar and Mirrin, who have stopped when they hear your approach. Knivey Ivy follows, and introduces herself to them, filling them in on what she knows.
You follow the trail for four miles before coming upon a site of interest... let me know what kind of marching order you're working with (presuming Mirrin and Grunyar are going ahead, but how far?
"Oh, the Fungal Jungle caves I was speakin of are days away. These two, theys gotta be somewhere closer. First time they left with prisoners was maybe a day ago, theys came back for the lizard maybe five, six hours later. Wherever theys went was probably miles away, but not days. Maybe should catch up with yer friends before they get too far ahead." Knivey Ivy still cautiously eyes each member of the group, looking for intentions.
((She has been speaking in dwarven.))
"Well, don blush none, Elmador Tarnhammer, I won't stand on ceremony if you don. My earned name is Iverna Already-Has-Your-Knife, but most folks jus call me Knivy Ivy. So, the Skis-Raal are really big spiders, like maybe your size, and yeah theys can talk and think like mos folk. Theys have cave somewhere in the Fungal Jungle. Used to be lot more o them out there, but theys been fightin with the Myceloids fer a dozen or so years on an off. Anyway, unless you're a Shroom-man, they alright usually."
She pauses, chewing her words "These two, though, I'd say they weren't too normal for Skis-Raal, I mean they left the others alive for eatin after the killed poor Sheriff Gunther, but the way they attacked him- they knew who they were going after. Old Gunther had the right idea leaving Fasturvalt, what with Lord Slowly" she rolls her eyes when she talks about him. "treatin with them drow folk an all, but I think someone musta seen us leaving."
"The Skis'raal, yes, they attacked the sheriff's wagon on his fool quest fer help. Like I was sayin, they different from most of the spiderfolk. See, normally, Skis'raal don't attack people too often, an almost never without good cause first."
She moves slightly closer, for a better look. "Aye, yer paler than the Duergar, I see. Anywho, this pair went right fer the sheriff, killin him before even attackin anyone else. That's when I realized ain no one makin it out alive an I hid. Good thing too, cause I was right as rock on that score. Been hidin out almost a day, waitin fer someone to come along I could tag with. After draggin the sheriff an the others away, they come back after several hours and dragged off the cave lizard, babbling on an on about how succulent a morsel he was."
A young svirfneblin woman steps out, a wry smile on her lips. "Aye, surface dwellers then. That's better'n I'da hoped for after the ambush, for certain." she stares at the group, her wide eyes taking in your countenances. "So yer not with the Skis'raal, and yer not Duergar. Sure, I can tell ye what happened. Coupla Skis'Raal jumped us from hiding, went right fer the sheriff and killed him where he stood. Now, as surface dwellers ye probably woulna know this, but that ain't normal fer the spiders. They prefer live meat. In fact, they took the rest of the crew alive, poor bastards."
Clarification: Elmador found the wagon,wrecked, in the hidden recesses of the area filled with stalactites and stalagmites near where you found the wheel. Mirrin and Grunyar found a trail beginning about 25' away that indicated a large quadruped was dragged off further down the cave system. The map linked above shows the wagon's location.
Mirrin and Grunyar find the trail easy to follow, especially since whatever dragged away the corpse made no efforts to hide it. Additionally, no other direction to move except ahead. The trail drags on for miles, so unless you turn back to get the rest of the group, I'll base how far you get ahead on how long the group tarries here.
Meanwhile, back with the rest of the group, once Elmador has spoken in undercommon with assurance of peace, a timid, tiny female voice calls back from the corner of the cave. "And what manner of beings are you then? You look like Duergar, but no Duergar promises peace. You ain't drow nor spiders neither." In the dark, a small cloaked figure hides partway behind a stalagmite.
The wheel seems to have been made from the stem of a very large mushroom, dried and treated with some kind of alchemical substance to firm it up.
As Mirrin and Grunyar move forward, Elmador finds that the largest scrapings lead towards the stalactite-infested area. Upon further investigation, he discovers the ruins of a wagon pulled into the recesses of the area, hidden from view on the path. The rest of the wagon is made of a white fibrous material, with purple fibrous wheels and a purple fibrous buckboard. The three remaining wheels lack the silver stripes, and are badly bent or broken. The wagon itself is not in any better shape.
Mirrin sees faint signs that some gigantic spider-like creatures dragged goods and/or unfortunate wagon passengers further down the path, until about twenty-five feet away from the main group, where they find a larger trail- some large creature has been dragged off down the passage with little attempt to hide it.
1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23 Stealth
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14 Perception
Whoever is hiding remains so for now.
Elmador's search reveals some drag marks in the rubble of the stone floor, as well as some kind of sticky substance, perhaps some kind of webbing, spaced apart like footprints on the walls nearby.
As Grunyar blows out the lights, you eyes adjust to the sudden darkness, seeing the underdak passage as your ancestors would have.
The wheel, purple under normal light, reveals silver stripes under proper sight.
Elmador Tarnhammer wrote:
GM, would any of our divine casters be able to use create water to create ale/wine a la clerics of Cayden Cailean?
Not really, as she's not as heavily tied into drinking as Cayden is. And while the secrets of crafting fine booze is something she is relevant to, its consumption might be another matter- after all, massive consumption might lead one to the telling of secrets...
GM, I just discovered the explorer map. For your information: when I click on it I get a battle map tagged with "map not visible to players"
You wanted this one:
After finishing up preparations, you make your way into the canyon and find the promised entryway,taking a bit of time managing the wagon and mules. Once you've found the entrance, it's a simple matter of following the winding, lifting, falling tunnel.
The adventure begins in the bright sun, but by the end of the first day, you've left that miles away. While your eyes see the rough-craiged walls and floor with ease, not so the donkeys pulling the wagon, so they need light or guidance. Thankfully, so far the tunnels have been, primarily speaking, smooth enough and wide enough for the wagon, although a few spots during the first day required a bit of engineering.
If you research holds true, you should be finding a major passage called the Gnome King's Highway after a few days, and if you head east from there, you should find Fasturvalt.
Far from the sunlit world of chirping birds and the bustle of human activity, each day the sounds of boot on stone, the creak of the wagon wheels, and the breathing of your companions and the mules become the only sounds filling your world. It's no wonder your ancestors sang.
Day three brings a relief from the quiet in the form of a terrifying tremor that reverbs through the caves, shaking the ground, walls, and ceilings alike. Although centered far away, the feel of your entire world shaking around you fills the mules with terror at least. (Someone can roll handle animal to quiet them, DC 15, or one of them becomes injured in panic.)
Day four brings you to the Gnome King's Highway, a wide cavern much smoother than what you've been traveling, carved long ago by ice or water, or by some god's hand.
Getting your bearings, you head eastward. Another day's travel brings you into an area of the highway surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites, forcing the passage proper to a narrower gap of only 10-15' from the highway's usual 20' width. Here lies a single purple wheel from a wagon, a strange sight, and the first signs of anything resembling civilization you've seen.
Mirrin of The Deep wrote:
Nope, you're going to have to fend for yourselves at least until Fasturvalt. Along those lines also, if you look at the map linked in the discussion thread, each hex is a day's travel. There are already five hexes marked with tunnel before you get to the split that leads to Fasturhall, two more after that on the map, and who knows how far it is after that? In other words, ten days rations may be enough, or it may not...
Dain Harladorn wrote:
Elmador fills in the group with additional information about the svirfneblin: they can see twice as far as most dwarves in the dark, are difficult to learn about using divination, and have the ability to disguise their form or make it hard to see using natural illusory magics. Additionally, they have the ability to blind or deafen foes. These abilities have generally let them dwell in hiding, although your deep cousins have a long history of war with them over territories, as their stonecrafting skills make the territories they claim similar to the ones desire by the Duergar.
The entry to the underdark is about two miles away from town, in a place the humans have named Boxer's Canyon, in the shadow of Sarvoltis Mountain. There is a cave system near the floor of the canyon which leads down into the deep.
The bar wench brings over more drink, wondering at the strange, deep-toned, almost musical language the dwarves converse in, but oblivious to the content of their speech. She knows they like the good stuff, though, and keeps the cups full and the plates warm.
Mirrin of The Deep wrote:
For the record can we all say we're conversing in dwarf?
I think you'd have to be to have Dain understand you.
Re: Svirfneblin, and what Mirrin knows:
The deep gnomes, or svirfneblin, are decent stonecutters, tending to live in the deep places, often in conflict with Duergar (but who wouldn't be?) This can cause some friction when encountering them, since much like humans they have trouble telling one dwarven race from another.
Dain Harladorn wrote:
Just a question, I see some of you guys are using Eastern equipment. I know that some of the GM's might frown, so I did not use any of the options presented there, although Four Mirror Armor would be a much nicer option than a scale mail. What does the GM say?
And that makes sense to me. Just know that, as stated in the recruitment thread, eastern equipment will not be "found" while adventuring, so I wouldn't recommend investing feats in any such.
Pretty much right on the money. I'm pretty sure as the campaign progresses, there will be opportunities to craft more complex items, and book two promised to use elements of the Ultimate Campaign, so I think we'll be seeing some down time, kingdom building, and army rules come into play.
The human town of Sefflidge seems like so many others to a dwarf: as if some madman couldn't decide which medium to craft with, couldn't plan, and only thought: UP! We'll go up! A hodge-podge of mis-matched wooden, stone, and even baked mud brick buildings thrown together with no vision of what came before or what is to come next. Normally it would be insulting for a royal dwarf to be asked to come to such a place.
But Sefflidge has two things that make it tolerable: The Bespeckled Crane, the only Inn west of the Aldrin River to have the good sense to import a variety of Dwarven beers and ales, and a proximity to the underdark entryway you have determined will eventually lead you to Dammerhall's underground entrance.
Seven, the number of the Dwarven Brother-Gods. It seems fitting that Bryggya should choose that number to become brothers-in-arms in the quest to restore her people to the lost ways of yesteryear. So it is that seven dwarves, some of royal blood, but all noble in their own way, sit in a quiet corner of the Bespeckled Crane, making their final preparations to enter this pathway to glory.
The first step is to find the Svirfneblin village of Fasturvalt, for while a few in your party are familiar with the plots and perils of the underdark, none have been to this particular section of its recesses, and information is vital to survival when the sun sheds no light.
The following is the flavor text provided by the author, glean what information you may from it.
Explorer Campaign Introduction
This is the last chance for your people. For two hundred
years, the dwarves have been scattered and leaderless.
The dwarf holds are all but gone – conquered by
invaders or overrun with outsiders. For decades now,
the dwarves have mingled with the kingdoms of men.
The humans have treated you well enough. They respect
dwarven craft and tenacity. But with every passing year,
the dwarves dwindle. Your tongue goes unspoken. Your
ways are forgotten. Will there come a time when to be
dwarven is merely another way of saying a short, bearded
It was not always so. Once the greatest empire in the
all the world was dwarven. Once the majestic kingdom
of Dammerhall was where all roads converged. The
whole world came to pay tribute to the dwarven high
king and his mithral throne.
And then calamity. The great mountain-city burned
with black flame for three days. All the bridges into
Dammerhall collapsed. All the gates were sealed. The
only survivors were those who by chance were outside
the city. For two centuries dwarves have tried to retake
Dammerhall and discovered what really happened that
dark day. And for two hundred years, they have failed.
The remaining dwarven holds, once vassals to Dammerhall,
fell to squabbling about who should rule the
dwarves. Weakened by division, many dwarf holds were
overrun by orc or dragon. Some signed treaties with the
realms of men, all but forfeiting their autonomy. And
most disgraceful, some holds fell because of civil war
where dwarf turned upon dwarf.
But there is yet hope. It is said that there is another
way into the sealed city – a dark road beneath that goes
through the uncharted depths of the earth. This expedition
will be the one who will find that hidden road.
This expedition will reclaim Dammerhall and restore
dwarven glory, dispelling two hundred years of disgrace.
You have found an entrance into the darkness. Rumor
speaks of a deep gnome village known as Fasturvalt
where dwell the elusive svirfneblin, the deep gnomes.
The first step is clear – Find Fasturvalt and secure a
guide. Nothing will stop you in your quest. Nothing will
stay your hand. This is your hour. This is the moment
when the dwarven diaspora ends and where dwarven
glory begins anew. In the realms below, you will make
for yourselves and your people a Throne of Night.
I don't seem to be able to get printscreen working on my laptop, but otherwise I like that format.
Grunyar Stonejoy wrote:
Sorry, when I said "the one" I meant rolled "1", as in Doubting Thomas. Everyone else has at least an inkling of Bryggya's hand in this, but Grunyar is a young dwarf who is being dragged into it from the outside. By an item he's stolen from the (rightful?) owner. I was thinking it would play into how you wrote him up if he had doubts about his role in the party, doubts if this goddess everyone's blabbing on about could have chosen him when he's never even heard of her, etc. I thought that would play up Grunyar's inner conflicts of doubt and regret.
If you want to go with that, great. If you'd rather bring Grunyar into a closer relationship with the patron, roll of choose one of the other ideas on the list.
In regards to the background, here are some things brewing in my mind regarding the Tarnhammers, et al.
Elmador's research reveals that Mirrin was the oldest known direct heir to the throne of Dammerhall, born a few scant years before his cousin Garnult.
Elmador, Mirrin, and Garnult lost their fathers on the same day, in the battle only Garnult survived. Suggested change to backstory/narration since Bryggya does not have a voice to have spoken to him: As Garnult lay broken but not destroyed on the battlefield surrounded by his fallen kin, and feels the strangely soothing embrace of death, his thoughts of joining his family are shattered by pain, and he regains consciousness. A Dwarven maiden silently sits above him, her hand on his chest, laid bare by some force that has rent his armor open. She sadly shakes her head, pointing to his dead father and uncle, all his kinsmen. She pulls him to his feet, and then she is gone. His wounds have been closed. (Even now, in the dark of night or any other absence of light, the scars, not visible by the sight of men, glow a silver sheen under darkvision.)
While Garnult struggled to make sense of why he was spared, Mirrin became inundated with dwarves seeking a return to Dammerhall and glory. They wanted him to pick up where his father left off. But his father left off bleeding on a cave floor surrounded by the enemies of dwarvenkind. And Mirrin has no patience for fools or sycophants and even less for those who thought themselves wise enough to manipulate him. After the death of his mother at the hands of those who would see him king, Mirrin left the clanholds, seeking solace in brew and darkness.
While Elmador isn't exactly on the top of the list of Heirs of the Dammerhall throne, he was always fascinated by the stories of it's glory, and obsessed by the lack of information about its fall. He has studied the genealogies and knows that their are fewer then two dozen dwarves still alive within the Tarnhammer bloodline. In another decade, there may be fewer than a dozen. The time to seek the restoration of the lost kingdom of the dwarves is now, the iron has been cooling too long and another blow like the one at the battle in which their fathers were lost could shatter the blade of hope forever.
Any discussions Elmador may have ever had with Mirrin regarding the throne were met with contempt, and that was before he wandered off into the underdark, probably getting himself killed in some dank hole. Mirrin has given up on dwarven society, and has proven his own words: he is no king. Elmador has had more luck with his other distant cousin, Garnult. While the battle changed Garnult, it also left him undeniably second in line for the throne of Dammerhall. And if Mirrin would have nothing to do with it, perhaps it was time for Garnult to step up to that plate.
The research and planning has been over a year in the making- the key to Dammerhall lies not in climbing to find it, but rather in delving- there is an underground entry known to so very few. The priesthood of Bryggya know something of this, something Garnult has learned in his struggles to understand why he was spared. To that end, they have contacted the secretive church and asked for aid in their quest to retake Dammerhall. Aid they have received in the form of Dain and Donagh.
Needing an expert on the dangers of the underdark if they are to survive the long journey, they have found one in Wrex, an odd but extremely useful dwarven cave druid with reasons of his own for joining the expedition. Wrex is a friend to the church of Bryggya and has aided many a Bryggyan priest on his deep journey.
Elmador's research and Bryggya's lore told of one further thing needed to complete the journey: a Dammerhall-crafted short sword cloaked in legend. It was somehow the key to reclaiming Dammerhall. Months of inquiries both discreet and overt led nowhere, and the journey was delayed.
One day, it just walked into Dain's brewhouse at the side of a young dwarf seeking a bit of the good stuff. Grunyar thought the brewer was pulling his leg when he recognized the blade, going almost as far as walking out. After all, he'd been the butt of many an elder's jokes before. But he had known from the moment he's laid eyes on it that this blade was special. And now, it was leading him into something that felt like.... destiny. And, if it was destiny, maybe it would help him overcome the guilt and shame he felt for the means he received the blade.
For four days and nights Mirrin lay in a crack in a granite wall and shivered with hallucinations and nightmares. A dwarven woman being tortured by a foul black-skinned elf with seven arms. She neither cried out nor gave in. Mirrin could feel her pain, could feel the needles trying to pierce her skin. He could feel the wrack stretching her limbs. He could feel her control and her strength. He could feel her longing to be by her brother's side, forging all manner of wonders. At the end of it, when his water was nearly gone and tired from the struggle with the venom he made his way back to civilization to gather what remained of his family, and reclaim what was rightfully theirs to forge.
GM, in your PbP's how do you handle combat? Tactically with maps or more freeform?
I prefer a tactical approach in most of my gameplay. Since this is the first PbP I've run in a long time, I have to do some research on what my best option is for hosting such things.
The Paladin code post you made in the recruitment thread was one of the reasons Garnult was chosen (I like it!) Let me think if there's anything I would add and get back to you.
On the Heir of Dammerhall, I included a few people with that trait in order to accomplish a few things, included but not limited to increasing the we are family/we are royalty aspect the campaign premise, giving a kind of familial bond to the PCs and to cause a little bit of intra-party conflict for RP purposes. The way I see it, Mirrin was the eldest heir to the throne, but he has abdicated his claim, bringing Garnult forward as the chief claimant, one both willing and able to take up the responsibilities of the throne. Elmador is perhaps further down the chain, but is the keeper of the family history and can aid in proving your claim to any doubters.
Yes, the Leadership feat will become available at 7th level.
For those who missed it the first time around, the patron relations chart (remember you may pick or roll):
1. Doubting Thomas. As above. If there is already one
in the party, reroll this result.
2. The patron saved your life. You’d be dead without
the patron’s aid. But why were you saved?
3. The patron gave you a vision. You saw something
you cannot forget and it drives you on this quest.
4. The patron spoke to you. In your darkest hour, you
heard the voice of the divine. You are not sure entirely
what the words meant, but it has given you purpose.
5. The patron sent a messenger. You saw an angel, demon
or some other creature and it gave you a mission.
6. The patron gave you a token. The holy symbol or
trinket you carry is a gift from the patron.
7. The patron changed you. A miracle happened and
you were physically marked as the patron’s chosen.
8. The patron brought you here. You were mystically
teleported or transported to this place.
9. The patron is testing you. Recent trials are a test of
your faith. You must prove yourself worthy!
10. Your bear the mark. A sacred birthmark foretold
by prophecy reveals you as the patron’s chosen agent.
11. You were born on the Patron’s holy day.
12. You were an orphan found on the temple steps.
13. You were raised by a priest of the Patron. He recognized
in you the Patron’s favor.
14. When you cry the Patron’s name, you have never
15. You followed a prophet. Even though the prophet
is now dead, still you remember the sacred teaching.
16. Your dying parent told you of your destiny.
17. Your life so far fulfills a prophecy in a holy text.
18. Your friend (another PC) believes in the patron.
So what’s the harm of humoring the friend?
19. The patron might be your father.
20. The patron made you his agent. Whatever character
class you thought you were playing, you are now
a divine servant (cleric, paladin, etc.) of the patron.
On the Tarnhammer Clan:
Garnult, Elmador, and Mirrin are descendants of the Tarnhammer clan. Please work out how you're related to each other (Brother/Uncle/Cousin) here.
Other PCs, if you have any link to the Tarnhammer family (third cousin twice removed's former sister-in-laws roommate aside) please also post them here.
On Initiative and Combat....
When combat is initiated, I will roll initiative and sort the intiatives out into groups. The following is an example:
1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17 PC A
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6 PC B
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21 PC C
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 PC D
1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16 PC E
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12 PC F
1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20 PC G
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10 Ziggy
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16 Spiders (from Mars!)
The groupings would be as follows:
Group One: A,C,D,G
People in Group One act in order of first post, first act. Then the Spiders' actions are posted, then Group Two goes in order of first post, first act, then Ziggy's post, and lastly PC B goes (if there were more in group 3 they would go in order of first post, first act.) Once B posts, then the next round begins again with Group One acting in order of first post first act.
This is so that you don't have to wait for the other PCs to act in a set initiative order, but PCs act in relative order to the bad guys.
To continue the example, on the first round, Group One gets to go. Player G is the first one to post his action and therefore goes first. Player A sees he's in group one and posts his action, aware of what PC G has already done. Player D is next to post (and therefore act), and then finally Player C checks the board and posts his action- no one has t retrofit to PC C even though he "won" the initiative, by posting last in his group, he "delayed" until just before the Spiders.
Once the round cycles through, a new round begins. This time player A is on the boards and posts first, followed by C, then G, then D, as that's how they happened to post during round two.
Round three Player C decides to get funky and declares "I'm delaying until Group Two goes." From then on, he acts with group two.
After pouring, sifting, shredding, pouring, sifting, taking a break, coming back sifting some more, changing my mind ... . This was not an easy task. We had enough excellent applications to run two or three campaigns. Unfortunately, I'm only going to be able to run one, so that means disappointing a lot of good people, not something I'm fond of doing. There were some characters it was very hard to drop off the list, with only very marginal things swinging me one way or another.
So, if you submitted a character and were not selected, I'd like to take the time to say thank you and apologize for any disappointment or frustration you may feel regarding the process. I appreciate all the interest shown and hope that you all get an opportunity to play the campaign in the future.
Without further ado, the following is our party for this campaign (Congratulations!):
BigOM: Grunyar, Rogue
Magabeus: Donagh, Cleric(Forgemaster) of Bryggya
Mihajlo Velickovic: Dain Harladorn, Inquisitor of Bryggya
minoritarian: Elmador Tarnhammer, Wizard (Earth)
Pokeapache: Wrekhlaem "Wrex" Quartzhaul, Druid (Cave Druid)
I will be working tonight and through the weekend, so while I will begin posting some more information in the Bungalow, It may be Monday before we get things off to a proper start. This also gives us time to discuss any additional preparations, family trees, and the like over the weekend.
Question to the GM: do you mind if Donagh's warhammer gains the broken condition? Fits better with his background: it is the hammer he made for his brother that broke. I will subtract full price for it (otherwise it is dodgy with his mending ability).
Yes, it can start with that. Alternatively, you could give it the fragile quality (to represent its fatal flaw) and pay 3/4ths price.
Well, I think we ought to say that no further applicants will be accepted, but that people still have until Friday to wrap up their characters, backstories, etc.
If everyone already present can get it done sooner, I can make my selections sooner. We certainly already have enough really good applicants; the only trouble I'm going to have is whittling the number down.
I don't see why I couldn't trade in Community and its subdomains for Artifice (and Construct and Toil subdomains.) They still fit thematically, and I don't think anyone is banking on Community.
I'll make the change in the campaign info tab (too late to edit the above post.)