House Chiroptera

Game Master Darren Ehlers

The Loneley Coast Saga.

An online continuation of over twenty years of tabletop friendship.

The furthest flung outpost of a mighty kingdom, turbulent waters and forbidding, twisted forests separate the Lonely Coast from the glittering lights of civilisation.

The gloomy, trackless Tangled Wood constricts humanity’s tenuous grasp upon the Lonely Coast. In the twilight world beneath the forest’s boughs, goblinoid tribes, incessantly war against one another. Occasionally, a few tribes band together under a charismatic war leader and bloody war engulfs the Lonely Coast.

Men whisper that ghosts of an elder age stalk the deepest, unknowable reaches of this ancient woodland. Along with the forsaken holy places and forts of a long‐ fallen elder civilisation, a debased, twisted race of degenerates haunts forest’s remotest reaches.

Deep within the forest, a nameless range of rugged, tree‐shrouded hills thrusts upwards. Tales of these scarcely explored, monster‐infested uplands are legion. At the heart of the range, a deep gash shatters the hills. This narrow, rock‐choked defile – the Twisted Gorge – features in many taproom tales. Here the frigid waters of the Dark Mere birth the swiftly flowing Arisum and a lofty series of cascades tumble over slick, broken cliffs.
Passageways and caverns honeycomb the unstable canyon walls. Dangerous monsters dwell here in profusion.

The impregnable fortress of Caer Syllan and the redoubtable Lord Locher protect the folk of the Lonely Coast while they scratch a living from the surrounding farmland or toil in their lord’s mines. From here flows the Locher’s lifeblood – precious stones and metals – to the
kingdom’s bustling markets.

Pirates sail the surrounding storm‐tossed waters while smugglers ply their trade on moonless, fog‐shrouded nights eluding pirates and Lord Locher’s patrols alike in pursuit of gold. The lost treasure of Peder Uren, a famed pirate who disappeared almost fifty years ago, yet lies hidden somewhere along the coast. Legend and rumour of it have spawned many fated, ill‐advised expeditions. Countless old mine workings pierce the Lonely Coast’s proud cliffs. Many are nothing but abandoned water‐filled shafts. Others are truly ancient. All are dangerous.

The Lonely Coast is an isolated borderland territory isolated by thick forests and stormy waters. Populated by hardy, industrious folk such a remote place is the perfect breeding ground for heroes. Characters growing up in the locality are probably of hardy peasant stock determined to better their lot for some reason. Alternatively, characters new to the Lonely Coast could have arrived on one of the many merchantmen coming here to procure slate and tin or to trade for the furs and pelts gathered under the Tangled Wood’s glowering boughs. Some visitors come in search of adventure while others embrace the anonymity of the frontier. Still others, tiring of civilisation’s decadence, come to start a new life. Adventurers are normally intent on battling the ferocious humanoids of the interior or on uncovering the ancient ruins and hidden treasure caches of the Old People lying forgotten in the untamed places of the Tangled Wood.

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The gleaming malice died in the great wolf's eyes replaced at last with a knowing fear that it would die after untold centuries of wrath over the surrounding lands. The air smelled of burning flesh, hair and scalded blood. The floor sticky and slick with blood and rotting debris. The wolf's eyes rolled in its head with pain as it lifted its head to howl. Then the transformation began. The larger than dire wolf began to warp and shrink and pull into itself as it contorted into the shape of an impossibly ancient man with strange tattoos. Then the man shrieking collapsed in on himself decaying 2000 years in less than a few heartbeats, but not so fast that you weren't able to see that the mighty spear head had pierced the shoulder blade. As the gleaming silvered and etched spearhead with a short length of broken off ashwood shaft clattered to the floor everyone assembled can see the cherry redhot metals glow receded to be replaced by the spears own soft magical glow.

The party had accomplished two incredible feats. They had vanquished the beast which had almost destroyed the town of Wolverton over 100 years ago, and they had recovered the late Lord Maban Locher'd mighty spear Eirmiir at the same time.

read only if you make a knowledge royalty, sense motive or history or local check DC 20 or higher:
History holds that he wolf died on lord Maban's spear, but obviously he did not. Likely the Lochers know this and it would greatly reduce their standing if it was known that the wolf had survived. However the Lochers would probably be extremely greatful to recover their ancestral weapon. The matter will need delicate handling.

Investigator 9 | HP 58/58 | AC:21 (22twd), T:15, F:18 | CMD:19, CMB:+6 | Save (F+4, R+9, W+7) | Init:+7 | Inspiration 8/8 (1d8) | Perc: +13

Kheegan slumped against a stone column, breath coming in ragged heaves.  His arms were on fire, hands painted in his and the wolf's blood.  With no weapon to grip, his hands felt strangely alien to him.  

"How do you fare, brother?"  The elf was at his side quicker than he could reconcile, bow in hand with arrow curled under a forefinger.  

Kheegan simply nodded as exhaustion began leeching his energy the dimness of the hall not the only reason his vision darkened.  He squeezed his eyes shut until stars appeared at the corners.  Reopening them, he could make out the Elf's concern.  

The Barbarian shook his head and nodded again.  "You?"  

"Not a scratch," Hal'dorel's crooked grin, so annoying to some, gave Kheegan a small sense of relief.  During the battle, he'd lost sight of him, hoping that the Elf had had enough sense to fight the Wolf from a safe distance.  

Behind the Elf, Samren and Garlen were investigating the remains of the creature.  Kheegan was happy to leave that task to them.  The size of the beast did not concern him, but the witchcraft that had kept a man in the shape of that beast unsettled him deeply.  

Hal'dorel followed his baleful gaze to the pile of dust that remained of their adversary.  "A druid would be my guess."  

Kheegan's doubt was plain upon his face.    

Hal looked back to his friend as he returned the knocked arrow to the quiver at his back. "The Lonely Coast is rich with that type of magic.  This druid, however, he was remarkable."  

The Elf's blue eyes settled upon the pile of ash again.  "Yes, a druid of some power…"  His voice drifted amongst the dust motes of the hall.  

"What is it?" As the moments passed, his gasping eased.  But his muscles still burned as he worked his shoulders.  

"A problem I should think."   Kheegan pressed his back against the column and looked passed him to see Samren holding a gleaming spearhead in a bit of cloth.  The Ranger treated the object as though it were hot to the touch.    

"If I'm not missing my guess, that would be the remains of Eirmiir," the Elf moved to assist Kheegan to his feet.  "One of the Lady Locher's coterie informed me her Lord's ancestor killed this very beast a century ago."  

Kheegan snorted and steadied himself on his feet.  "A lie."  

"So it would appear."

Urban Ranger 1 | HP 10/10 | AC:16, T:13, F:13 | CMD:15, CMB:+2 | Save (F+2, R+5, W+0 | +2 vs Ench) | Init:+5 | Perc: +7 | (Immune to Sleep) | +2 Favored Enemy (humans)

Hal'dorel wasn't surprised.  It wasn't the first time someone had stolen the truth of a legend and turned it to their use. It seemed Lord Maban Locher had not been above such things.  

"As I was going over the dark and dreary mountains
I saw Captain Farrell and his money he was countin'
I first produced my crossbow and then produced my rapier
I said "Stand and deliver or the devil he may take ya"
I took all of his money and it was a pretty penny
I took all of his money and I brought it home to Molly
She swore that she loved me, no never would she leave me
But the devil take that woman, for you know she tricked me easy
Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da
Whack for my daddy-o
There's whiskey in the jar-o

Kheegan's eyebrows steepled as he collected his flail from the stone floor.  

"An old song I learned in Greengold." Hal'dorel moved to rejoin the others who were studying the spearhead.  "It tells the story of a brigand who kept his life of crime a secret from his wife.  But in the end, who he thought was only a sweet and appreciative wife turned out to be a master thief in her own right."  

"Let his mistress know the truth."  

Hal nodded, but he felt resignation even in understanding the truth of the matter.  Locher had been in control for a long time.  Would it make a difference to a people such as this that the legend was lie?   But there was something larger at work in this land.  Bigger than the Locher family history…  It started with the plague running rampant in the land.  That was the first notes of the lament.  The Lonely Coast was growing tired of the denizens that had taken to calling it home.  

"We'll have to decide that later."  Hal stopped and turned to face Kheegan.  The Barbarian as looking better after his exertions against the Wolf, but he still was a sickening color due to the plague in his system.  "First we get these ingredients back to the healer in Falcon's Hollow, get you and Samren cured."  

His crooked grin returned as he gestured towards Samren who was still holding the spearhead.  "Then we'll see what song Eirmiir will sing for the people of the Lonely Coast."  

You feel the disease at work eroding your lungs and worming it's way through your bowels. Looking at the ranger you can see the illness written on his face as well, but you have been sick a few days longer than he. One thing is obvious the disease grows stronger with physical exertion and stress. You wonder how much longer you will be able to travel. You have been able to hide from the elf how gravely ill you have been so far.

Investigator 9 | HP 58/58 | AC:21 (22twd), T:15, F:18 | CMD:19, CMB:+6 | Save (F+4, R+9, W+7) | Init:+7 | Inspiration 8/8 (1d8) | Perc: +13

Kheegan's Intimidate Check - 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11

Urban Ranger 1 | HP 10/10 | AC:16, T:13, F:13 | CMD:15, CMB:+2 | Save (F+2, R+5, W+0 | +2 vs Ench) | Init:+5 | Perc: +7 | (Immune to Sleep) | +2 Favored Enemy (humans)

Hal'dorel's Perception Check - 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28

Hal'dorel's Healing Check - 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7

Hal'dorel's Cure Light Wounds Spell - 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6

Investigator 9 | HP 58/58 | AC:21 (22twd), T:15, F:18 | CMD:19, CMB:+6 | Save (F+4, R+9, W+7) | Init:+7 | Inspiration 8/8 (1d8) | Perc: +13

Kheegan's Perception Check - 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14 perception for Samren
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26 healing check for Cleric

Your mind to tired to bluff false bravado, you force your aching burning muscles to hold your head erect and you clench your fists to keep them from trembling in front of your elven companion. Hal lays his hands upon your wounds and the healing closes the injuries from the battle, but you are well aware that it does nothing to touch the diseased areas of your body.

You look at the barbarian, you can see that the man is bluffing the elf as to how weak he is becoming.

You can clearly see that the barbarian is close to being on his last legs. Only the man's stubbornness keeps him holding his head up. You briefly consider that you should have made the man stay back in town then dismiss it. The big warrior would likely already be dead if he didn't have such a bond with the elf. You are amazed at Kheegans devotion to the bard.

You watch closely as the bard applies his brand of arcane healing. You keenly surmise that the fresh wounds close as they should, but the disease runs unchecked through his veins. He has a few days, at best, the disease is rapidly taking him now. Glancing at Samren you guess he may have three days left at best as well, his disease though a few days older is about to bloom. Both men have taken on a yellow tinge and smell to you of major organ failure.

You consciously keep the information to yourself. Both men have to be feeling the effects and if you were to break the barbarians schrade it may break his spirit as well.

You are satisfied with yourself that no one else has percived how ill you are.

@Samren (hopefully I am spelling it right as this is from memory)
Looking back to the spearhead in your hands you turn it over and continue your examination of its silvered leaf bladed shape. It has a very faint bluish white nimbus to it that would probably stand out more in pitch darkness, but it is not so noticeable in the magically lit room you are in now. There are bands of knot work around its skirted socket and runes down its raised spines that run down to reinforce its sharp point. The blade is wickedly sharp, unnaturally so, yet shows no sign of damage. You know from experience that punching through bone should have blunted, nicked or dulled the spear blade.

However the weapons most remarkable feature is the fact the head appears to be solid, yet slightly transparent at that same time in a way you cannot explain. You almost drop drop it with a shock literally when Hal mentions the weapons name and a crackle of electricity travels up the blade to its tip with a flash of light that leaves the smell of ozone in the air!

Table top round up:
The adventurers ride back to town with the ingredients needed to cure the Blackscour Taint from village and themselves. The affliction is spreading and the the cleric begins to cough.

About halfway back a figure stands out in the pathway in plain sight, it's the halfbreed woodsman Milan. He comes bearing news that the lumber camp was raided by about 30 horsemen. Seeing that the men were rounding up and beating the lumberjacks and were lighting torches, Milan loaded his critically ill son into his Tuathan dogsled and waited for the party in the snow hoping to warn them. Also he tells them he smelled smoke on the air the evening before when the wind blew in from Falcon's Hallow.

The parties worst fears are confirmed when the ranger, cleric, and bard arrive on the outskirts of town, 8 young and fit Tuathan males are being led off in chains by a tall lanky priest of Conn and 8 members of Lord Lochers Calvary. They witness a brief exchange between the towns Sheriff, and the Captain of the riders, though they were too far away they were able to deduce that the Sheriff had gotten permission to let the prisoner's family members provid them with furs and blankets. The small temple of Conn lies in utter ruin burned into the foundations, by what could only be an unbelieveably intense fire.

Meanwhile, unaware of what the others are seeing at the entrance to town, Milan and the barbarian arrive by dogsled by way of the Tuathan shanty town at the healers hut. At first they are rebuffed by a groggy and none to friendly wise woman. Milan leaves his son with the barbarian and prepares to guide his dogs back to the entrance of town to meet up with the others. When the barbarian identifies himself the door to the hut is thrown open and the barbarian is dragged physically into the hut. The wise woman berates the men for returning to the village and marauding about in the open. They learn that they have been charged with the destruction of the Priory of Darlen, instigating a Tuathan revolt, and the murder and burning of the temples of Conn in both Swallowfeld and Falcon's Hallow. Over 30 riders have been searching the area for them along with a full priest of Conn who wears red robes. Yesterday 8 more riders arrived in what appeared to be a routine patrol. The priest tasked them with transporting the eight men who had admitted before the village that they had taken part in the murder and burning of the priestess and her temple at the parties bidding. The rest of the 30 odd riders had already rode on to the lumber camp and the surrounding areas looking for the party.

As Milan mushes his dogs back to the rest of the party carrying the news, the barbarian receives the first dose of the antidote created from iornbloom mushroom, pickled rats tail root, and the elder moss. It is painful and incapacitating. The wise woman casts an unknown spell and probes the barbarian for information, but he resists unsure of her

The rest of the party hears what Milan has to say and tells him they intend to meet at the lumber camp to find a defendable position and figure out what to do next. Milan is sent back to the healer to collect the barbarian and several doses of cures for Blackscour Taint. The cleric determines he and the others are going to ride into town, trusting a gut hunch that the towns sheriff and the Tuathan Villagers will protect them, while risking their necks to gain more information and challenge the false charges laid against them. The towns out of work lumberjacks appear ready to collect the $5,000 gp bounties on each of the party members heads . . . Dead or Alive. Part of the Clerics plan is based on the fact a rider was seen leaving town tearing after the 8 man patrol that left with the 8 prisoners and the tall lanky priest in the red robes.

The party knows it is now or never, with 30 some riders out in the field and a second party recently departed this will likely be their only opening. The party walks their horses into town and are confronted by armed lumberjacks and deputies, welcomed by Tuathans armed with sticks and tools improvised as weapons and one confused and bewildered middle aged sheriff.

The clerics daring hunch pays off and the Sheriff listens to what they have to say while holding off the natives from rioting and the townsmen from getting trigger happy. After a successful exchange with the sheriff pointing out the holes in the logic of the charges, the armed townsmen don't care if the party is innocent they just want their gold. The Sheriff keeps the peace by announcing that he is taking the party into custody and the Lord Locher himself will decide be deciding the case against the party and the already taken Tuathan Prisoners. His words are accepted and seem to calm the already enraged Tuathan, it is clear that they respect the man. The lumber jacks and deputies are satisfied that the Sheriff will ensure they will get credit, but more importantly the gold, for their part in capturing the party.

A young Tuathan boy is told to tie the horses up out back behind the jail while the Sheriff leads the party to their cells seemingly cowed by the facts 40 reinforcements are about to return to town any minute.

Immediately after getting behind closed doors the Sheriff tells the party he doesn't know what is happening, but knows that the bull s~~* is thick in Falcon Valley. He reveals a hidden trapdoor to the basement and tells Samren to deck him one. The bard states there is no need for violence and prepares to scrounge up some theatrical materials to make a convincing special effect injury. Not wanting to wait Samren nearly criticals the Sheriff in the jaw and drops him cold and jumps into the basement urging the others not to delay! Seeing that the ranger rolled a natural 20 on making the Sheriff look like he "got knocked the f+%! out!" the cleric and bard follow the ranger through the basement and burst out of the cellar doors at and scare the piss out of the little boy holding the horses. Making a willpower check of 3, he screams like a little girl and flees.

The party mounts up while angry lumberjacks and deputies shoot at them with crossbows. Most of the party escapes with nicks and scrapes, but the bard gets bard gets critical hit and almost falls from his saddle.

Meanwhile a couple of would be bounty hunters have gotten suspicious of the comings and goings from the healers Hut. They demand entry after a short and terse argument with the wise woman who tells them to pound sand because she isn't letting anyone in. The men trying kicking in the door, but are entangled like mummies by enchanted plant growth by the wise woman who tells the barbarian it is time for him to leave even though he is still wracked with pain from the cure. Milan arrives and offers to flee with the barbarian and leave his son with the wise woman. The barbarian tells the man he will not have the man leave his son. Milan tells the barbarian to get into his sled. If not given directions the sled dog team will run home on their own. The rest of the party told him that they planned to investigate the lumber camp and it is about a half mile from Milan's shelter in the woods above the camp. Giving he dogs a swift kick in the ass the dogs tear off with the cramp wracked barbarian along for the ride in the bed of the sled.

The sled dogs take a more direct route to their pen and travel faster than horses through the snow. The barbarian observes that the lumber camp has been partially burned and lumberjacks lay cloven skulked in the quad before the administration buildings. The dogs run past the camp and up the hill to their pen. The barbarian sets about feeding them when he hears crunching snow and zombie like moaning, sure enough there is a cadre of cloven skulled lumberjacks recreating the Michael Jackson classic thriller dance while shambling up the mountain intent on feeding on the living. The barbarian prepares to hold the high ground and fires off an arrow, thinking to himself that poking a hole in a zombie probably isn't going to do a whole lot of structural damage.

Help arrives and the rest of the party members ride into camp. Seeing the plight of the barbarian the bard and ranger run at an angle up the hill encouraging the barbarian as he flees the brain eaters towards the sawmill. The cleric calls upon the power of Darlen and three bursts of holy energy errupt from him burning and turning the undead into steaming holes in the snow while the ranger scoops the barbarian to safety with his warhorse.

Finding a moment of calm before the storm the party investigates the camp. They note that the lumberjacks were tortured and killed. The foreman worst of all. The obese man was nailed by his ankles to a roof beam, fed his own bits and pieces and sawed crotch to sternum with a two man saw, slowly. When the foreman's eyes spring open and he begins thrashing about, the barbarian hews into him with the enchanted cold iron dwarven handaxe he obtained at Drokscars Crucible (the former monastic order of Torag). A few days later it occurs to the cleric that the man may still have been alive, but then drives the though from his mind, too late to worry about and too much other stuff to survive.

The party collects up supplies and some dark wood shafts which fit the enchanted spear Eiramiir quite nicely. They are finishing up in the sawmill when a cloaked and robed rider soundlessly glides into the quad on a phantom steed.

Keen eyesight gives away that the mysterious rider is an elf, but little else. He looks the area over and begins the walk straight towards where the party is concealing themselves at the mill.

The bard thinking that the mysterious rider is the equally mysterious leader of the Greencloaks sends a magical message that "he sings dwarven songs poorly" and that one dwarf liked him, but one did not. The mysterious man takes shelter with his bow behind an outbuilding and uses his own magic to tell the party that he has come seeking Malvenos and will return him to his father to face and accept his destiny. Slightly shocked the bard enters into negotiations and attempts to return Malvenoses birthright items, but before he can complete the process riders wearing Lord Lochers colors and armed lumberjacks swarm into the quad like angry hornets. The mysterious Mage hurls two handfulls of fireball whoopazz into the tightly packed riders. Before he can bring the funk for another round there is a demonic bugling screech and a winged abomination with two tapeworm like heads lands ontop of the mage pinning him with clawed elephant feet looking talons.

With more bravery than sense the party rallies to help the downed Mage, but waves of sickening fear and dread eminate from the demonic beast. The bard and his mount flee wild eyed for the forest the ranger lowers his spear for a charge but his horse has other ideas and takes off after the bard. The clerics horse holds fast behind the sawmill, but the cleric is overcome with fear and runs for his mount. While the beast and still spell flinging Mage are locked into mortal combat the barbarian rides to head off two riders who appear out of the smoke to cut down the cleric as he tries to mount his horse and escape.

Desparate circumstances require drastic action and the barbarian targets the riders mount with his battle axe while guiding his horse with his knees. The mounted battle is cut short when an Icestorm spell is unleashed covering a wide area freezing and pelting the areas with churning fist sized chunks of jagged ice killing the two riders and their horses as well as the barbarian's warhorse from under him.

Snatching the saddlebags from his downed mount the barbarian lopes through the snow trying to reach the edge of the spells effect. Meanwhile the ranger regains control of his warhorse and turns it back toward the battle to assist the barbarian and cover the retreating clerics escape just in time to see the Icestorm hit. Seeing the sleet covered and battle exhausted barbarian stumble out of the blizzard like spell, the ranger hauls the man over his lap and follows the others out of the area as fast as safely possible.

Several miles away from the sawmill the panic finally clears from the minds of the bard and cleric. For the bard it is replaced with a promise in elven of safety and sanctuary. Luck would have it there is an elven sanctuary nearby. Proof that elves did once inhabit the area before the migrations back to Keonin. Leading the party to the hidden area that only the bard can see the party finds itself in a place of refuge. And none too soon they have to take their medicine or die and the rubbery demonic beast can be heard flapping around bellering outside looking for them.

They take their doses of foul tasting antidote and relax in a natural hot tub and clean their belongings before drifting off to sleep inside the elven clubhouse carved into the rock behind a waterfall while their horses snack on magically replenishing shrubberies.

During the night the creepy elf like beings invade the bards dreams and talk about the mythal again, whatever that means. Everyone wakes up healed and feeling great.

Sneaking back out into the cold they find that a search party has been looking for them. Again strangers appear in the forest. Milan and his merry band of alcoholic and formerly unmotivated and culturally challenged Tuathans!

The Tuathans and Milan are impressed with the destruction and number of bodies back at the Sawmill. The party members are incredible heroes and have shown them that the Tuathans must return the the old ways and that proficies are coming true. They want to know what to do next and have a life debt to repay for the party saving their loved ones lives. They offer to take the party where ever they want to go or do anything they can for the party within their power. They tell the party what they can about the area and it is obvious they are not all on the same page about what to do.

The cleric considers going after the captured Tuathan, but believes they are likely dead anyway, and is too risky to the party's mission. After looking at the options and learning that they are in possession of a magic key in the form of a dwarven clerics ring, the party decides that wandering through abandoned and dangerous dwarf ruins, which are now a stronghold for the mongrel men is preferable to trying to sneak into Wolverton overland while evading thousands of mongrel men, cultists and a flying demonic abomination.

Quick overland journey over hidden elf paths and dwarf ways to reach the dwarf door. From high above on a part of a mountain known as Drokscars Craig and the Stone Tooth to the Tuathan, the party can see the farmlands and the hovels of the mongrelmen and the old main entrnce to the Dwarfhold they are about to enter. They learn that the last dwarf king was toppled from within by his own people who had become corrupted to the evil god of toil and suffering Drokscar, but that those still loyal to the righteous dwarf god Torag fled here and continued fighting until their delvings were breeched several hundred years ago.

No Tuathan has seen a dwarf since,, but a faint amount of smelting iron smelling smoke curls from a hidden chimney near the dwarf door. Someone is working the mines below. . .

Entering the dwarf door revealed a hidden stairway that led to a peripheral entryway to the fallen dwarf hold. Two lazy and bored mongrel men guards lounged outside the carelessly open dwarf gates made of tenfoot thick stone. A plan was made. The barbarian and ranger were made invisible to sneak up to the guards while the wolf, cleric and bard waited in the shadows for their signal. The signal was the ranger materializing stabbing his electrically charged spear into the side of one guard while the barbarian fed the other guard a mouthful of flail wrecking ball. All this was followed up with the wolf tearing out the first guards throat while the cleric and bard shot the ill fated guards with arrows and bolts. The last remaining guard was finished off by the wolf before he could sound his horn for help. By that time he barbarian and ranger hit the dwarf gates hard to force them open sending them flying open back into the walls on their perfectly balanced hinges startling the four Texas Holdem playing mongrel men inside sitting around a barrel top. One was extraordinarily criticalled with the shocking burst keen bladed silvered spear. So much so that the ranger nearly stabbed through the dying man to impale the one sitting next to him in his puckered b++~&**~. Then the barbarian feed everyone at the table a faceful of suck with his flail. soon all the guards were dead and the party left mostly unharmed.

A quick search revealed that the mongrel men had bored through the rock in order to access the murder and arrow slits they had failed to use because they could not
Access the dwarf doors that led to them. The ring revealed that there was another secret staircase leading down into the mountain in addition to a second set of double stone doors that more obviously led from the room.

And that my friends is where we begin here.

Male Human 3rd Level Cleric of Darlen

Garen makes a healing check
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23

"Anyone in need of Daren's favor?", Garen asks while setting his crossbow with a new bolt knowing that it was sure to see use sooner than later in the fallen fortress ahead.

Male Human 3rd level ranger

1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13 tracking/survival check

Samren keeps an eye on the dwarf gates that lead further into the complex while he scrapes the electrically charred blood of the gleaming silver spear as he surveys the carnage wrought by the party.

Garen assesses his companions, and his own, physical condition.
Everyone please post your hit points like this, HP 12/8, the first number is your total the second number is your current number of hit points.

Samren can see that there has been a lot of traffic through the dwarf gates leading into and out of them. However, the hidden passageway revealed by the Cleric's ring shows no sign of being recently disturbed perhaps for many lifetimes.

Wraith lifts his gore spattered maw and scents the air in the direction of the still closed dwarf gates.

Hal'Dorel unstrings his bow and sets about relieving the dead card players of their stakes left unclaimed on their makeshift card table. The tiny firefoot fennec peeks out from the lithe elfs coat exposing his oversized ears and scans the room before retreating back inside his makeshift den. He appears to be healing well from his wounds from the trap.

The barbarian moves from corpse to corpse removing the mongrelmen's twisted grotesquely oversized heads from their mutilated bodies. The enchanted dwarf Handaxe appears to be the right tool for the job.

Investigator 9 | HP 58/58 | AC:21 (22twd), T:15, F:18 | CMD:19, CMB:+6 | Save (F+4, R+9, W+7) | Init:+7 | Inspiration 8/8 (1d8) | Perc: +13

HP 48/40

Kheegan placed the severed heads next to the table then set about lining the bodies along the wall. The creatures had not possessed much in the way of weaponry, but the few cold-iron arrows they did have would see some use.

"Anyone need Darlen's favor?" The cleric was finished studying a hidden dwarf passage next to the main gates leading deeper into the mountain.

The barbarian checked his arm and side where one of the creature's weapons had bitten into his flesh. Oddly enough, the sight of fresh blood and its healthy color was a comfort. "No," he replied. "Save your magics for when they will needed."

He took a deep breath, pleasing despite the dank and moldering aromas of their surroundings. I feel more alive than I've felt in months! he thought to himself. A large grin spread across his face at the realization as he knelt down and began unwinding fresh bandages to dress his wound.

Healing Check (using Surival Skill), just something to stop any bleeding…
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21

Kheegan readied his weapons to leave, keeping the dwarven hand axe at his right hip as he hefted his shield and battleaxe. He planned on staying close to the front of the pack in case of resistance.

Urban Ranger 1 | HP 10/10 | AC:16, T:13, F:13 | CMD:15, CMB:+2 | Save (F+2, R+5, W+0 | +2 vs Ench) | Init:+5 | Perc: +7 | (Immune to Sleep) | +2 Favored Enemy (humans)

HP 26/26

“Oh, I’m fine, thank you.” Hal replied to the Cleric’s inquiry. The elf returned his gaze to the gore spattered table where the mongrel men had been at play.

“Tsk, tsk…” Hal muttered, shaking is head.

Kheegan was lifting his shield, ready to head towards the secret dwarf door. “What is it?”

The elf held out the tattered cards he’d lifted from the table. “This one was clearly the winner.”

His friend harrumphed and shook his head with a grin. “Not very many silvers for the taking.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” He tossed them back to the table where the cards were quickly mired in blood. “Could have been a year’s wages in their line of work.”

A furry nudge under his chin told him the Fennec Fox had decided to peek out of his little burrow of Mythral chain. Hal’dorel checked his hand to make sure it was clean of blood before giving the little creature a scratch under the chin.

“I think I’ve come up with a name for my little passenger.”

Dinner if this journey is long.” Kheegan responded, shrugging his shoulders to resettle his armor. His grin was still broad across his face.

It had been a long time since Hal’dorel had heard his friend utter anything close to a joke. Far too long. “Not unless you’re willing to do the butchering yourself.” Hal reached into his coat and gingerly brought out the fox. Hal thrust out his chin in defiance. “Frankly, my friend, I don’t think you’ve got the guts.”

The diminutive animal let out whispered bark, pupils large to take in the dark chamber around him. It looked about and then stared up at Kheegan. Despite the barbarian’s size, the fox’s tongue wagged out of its mouth in a vulpine smile.

“If not my choice, what name have you chosen?” Kheegan reached slowly towards the fox and scratched it between the ears with his index finger.

Ayatar…it means ‘peek’ in Elvish.” Hal felt the animal squirming nervously in his grasp so he returned it to the opening of his armor.

True to his name, the fox peeked out once and then returned to the little inner pocket he’d chosen as a lair. Hal’dorel smiled and nodded, satisfied with the choice and moved to collect his things for departure.

“You will need a weapon more at hand, in case of trouble in close quarters.”

“Just so,” he responded. It had been a comfort since the weapon had come to him to keep it in the haversack, safely tucked away and out of sight. But Hal knew he’d need to use the weapon sooner or later.

It seemed almost dishonorable to bear it openly. Malvenos had not set out after Ythel with his own death in mind, had he? Even if that were the case, how could he have known another elf would be along to pick up his family weapon?

The elf reached into the haversack and pulled out Malvenos’ sword. Since being at the saw mill, he’d not unlimbered the peace-tie he’d fashioned to hand the weapon over to the Elder. Hal shook his head, thinking on the deeper aspect to this story. Malvenos had left Kyonin for a reason. And judging by the lineage upon the blade, he was from the capital Iadara. Add to that the Elder wizard who’d appeared at the saw mill in pursuit of the half-elf.

Deep within him, Hal’dorel wanted to sing a memorial for the wizard’s passing. To lose all those years at the hands of such evil was an abomination he could hardly bear. But the wizard had known something of the danger, even had acknowledged he’d been pursued himself.

So many notes swirling around the life force of Malvenos Liaiamne, forming a tune to be sung in whispers.

“You’re off again, my friend.” Kheegan’s smile had diminished to a touch of concern for the elf. The barbarian still stood close by.

Hal shook the tangleroots of despair and curiosity from his heart and methodically strapped the sword about his waist so it hung low on his left hip. “You will get your wish, should we survive this place, Beleger.”

The barbarian thought for a few moments. “To see your homeland?”

The elf nodded. “I must return this weapon to Malvenos’ family. And I must also report that the one whom they sent to find him has also left this life.”

“And Fir’umil?”

“One thing at time, my friend.”

Ayatar wriggled inside his little lair, bringing Hal out of his introspection. He set his jaw and forced himself to stay on task. It took great effort for an elf to stay in the hurriedness of the moment, not giving over to his nature to explore all avenues.

He glanced up and Kheegan and gave him a reassuring smile. Such a grouping, to have Findeladlara team him with the Barbarian. If there could have been two different personalities with two more different points of view, he couldn’t think of any. But that was the Goddess work, and Hal’dorel would abide. She had led him this far, and he knew she would not fail him.

With a crooked grin and the most un-elven phrase he could muster, Hal’dorel pointed towards the awaiting passage. “Let’s get moving.”

Once we head into the passage, Hal'dorel will scan the walls for several feet, seeking out any helpful information or perhaps a marking system in the stone that could help them navigate.
Perception Check - 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12

Male Human 3rd Level Cleric of Darlen

After Garen's offer of healing had been turned down by the group he looked over at Samren

You are going to have a hard time giving that spear up
I suppose I will. I always liked a good spear. It is about the most versatile weapon you can have. Kind of boring, but dependable

Samren replied.

Garen gave a soft laugh,

I don't know, that one seems rather...flashy
I wish we knew more about the current Lord Lochre-- I mean, if he was a great hero or something then I suppose it would be honorable to give him back the spear. Since we don't quite trust him yet though, for now I will be keeping it. If it has been lost for over 100 years, surely a couple more months can hurt anything,

Samren mused.

Garen looked down at the dwarf ring.

So, do we head down the secret passage or stroll right through the front door?
Samren peered down the newly opened passage and for a good few seconds.
We know going through the doors is the most direct way to get to the throne room, but I always liked surprises. Besides, maybe this passage will let us in the back way and we can kill the king of the mongrel man without making much of a ruckus.

Garen shrugged. He reloaded the crossbow and followed Samren and the others down the passage.

Samren looks for traps or other secret doors
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

Male Human 3rd level ranger

Samren HP 34/34 and Garen 25/25

From clairification from text message with Romo.

Samren with his softly glowing spear enters the reveled passageway in front of Garen as Hal and Kheegan finish up their brief light exchange about naming the Firefoot Fennec fox "peek" in elven. Without the Ring of Torag it would have been impossible for any of you to find the hidden passage since even the elf's keen eyesight failed to detect it. The entryway is masterfully blended into the natural rock wall of the cavern.

The barbarian shrugs his shoulders and prepares to move into the passageway along with the others, but pauses as Hal moves across the room to the still shut inner dwarfgate that leads further into the fortress.

The Elf turns his head one way and then the other obviously listening. The gate appears to be set up that it could be barred from the chamber you are within, but it is not currently barred and the dwarven mechanism remains in the unlocked position. The revealed passageway logically appears to be a bolt hole or sallyport for the room you are in.

Garen and Kheegan notice that the tiny fox pops his head out and also is listening to something.

Male Dwarf Fighter 7/Barbarian 2 AC29 HP128 F+14 W+6 R+6 Perception +14

1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 + 2 = 21Hal's listen check

For Hal Only:
You can feel a slight breeze coming from the gate. At the very edge of your range of hearing you believe you can hear some sort of animal shreiking in either pain or anger, maybe both? You feel fine, but suddenly have a strange pinge of fear and shake your head at the emotion, which after taking a quick mental evaluation of yourself did not appear to be your own.

Garen and Kheegan see the elf cock his head to the door as if he hears something, then stands back as if he is in shock and looks around bewildered before squinting his eyes suspiciously back at the closed gate.

Samren only or anyone who decides to move further into the revealed passageway:
You can see there is a layer of light ash mixed with fine dust that blows with the change of pressure in the passageway that lies ahead of you. Checking with your fingers you see that a layer of dust covers the fine layer of ash. It seems that the room ahead must not have been disturbed for quite sometime. The mixture of the two on the floor would show even a shrew's passage if one had passed this way. A partially burned, but still servicable torch sits in a bracket set into the wall. Your logic tells you a huge fire somewhere must have flooded this tunnel sometime in the past that was so thick that it choked out the once lit torch with a lack of oxygen.

Urban Ranger 1 | HP 10/10 | AC:16, T:13, F:13 | CMD:15, CMB:+2 | Save (F+2, R+5, W+0 | +2 vs Ench) | Init:+5 | Perc: +7 | (Immune to Sleep) | +2 Favored Enemy (humans)

Hal’dorel grasped his head a moment, trying to make sense of the waves of emotion and the sounds of pain. At his chest, Ayatar’s ears twitched this way and that as though he’d picked up on the same thing. He gently rested a hand upon the dwarf gate as though the blood under his palm could sense the room beyond.

Deep within the elf’s memory, some twenty years prior in the city of Greengold, he recalled a group of children chasing a dog through the streets. They’d been human children, wearing the well-spun woolens of Kerse and wielding practice swords of wood. Their quarry was hobbling by the time they passed Hal’dorel and Fir’umil, back leg broken.

Even with Fir’umil’s bristling temperament, it had taken little pleading on his cousin’s part to intercede. The wizard had put the group of children to sleep while Hal’dorel watched with concern as the broken dog continued to fly headlong down the street.

There was no telling why the memory chose to surface then, but the elf knew he wasn’t going to leave whatever creature was suffering on the other side of those doors. Least of all at the hands of these twisted Mongrel Men.

Behind him, he heard the worn leather of Kheegan’s boots creak as he shifted his stance to turn from the passage. “What?” he whispered.

“Something suffers on the other side of these doors.” Hal took a step back to observe the gate, looking for the locking mechanism in case his estimation of the next room’s contents was incorrect.

Perception Check for the mechanism – 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 9 + 2 = 13

Kheegan stepped away from the passageway to return to Hal, nodding towards Samren and Garen to pay attention. “You sound certain.”

Hal was still looking for the mechanism, but sighed with an almost depressive assurance. “I am.”

The barbarian nodded, taking the response as a conclusion. “Then we go.”

“Samren, can you check the passageway for a potential opening to the room through these gates?”

If there is none, then the elf will ready himself for a stealthy entry through the dwarf gates in the hopes they are as well balanced as the prior ones.

“If there is none, then we need to be prepared for a quick retreat and to bolt these gates shut.” Hal’dorel pointed towards the locking mechanism as he drew the Elven Curved Blade.

In case we go through the door…
Stealth Check – 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22

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