It appears know that our little fellowship has finally found a focus: Khonnir Baine. Some of us are of course connected to him personally, some are now drawn to him primarily due to the promise of future financial reward, but we are focused and moving towards finding him. It seemed a common theme with every merchant or smith that we spoke how Khonnir Baine was good for Torch, so it is wonderful that we are headed to find him. Hopefully our first adventure together as a company will prove to be a successful one.
After receiving the blessing from the cleric Joram we proceeded to the pond. While the water did not appear to be anything out of the ordinary at first glance, we quickly found out otherwise when its oily film covered us. We sank to the bottom in various degrees of grace, speed, comfort, and concern but we did all manage to find a tunnel a ways down that lead back into the tunnels Khonnir had described upon his first return. We emerged unceremoniously into a small opening with barely enough solid ground to stand on or space to swing a blade. My elven blood could not handle the depths to which that water had been poisoned and I was sickened. Waiting in ambush were three beetles the size of dogs with large scythe-like mandibles and brightly glowing orange eyes and the moment we cleared the water they were upon us.
We were not prepared as our gear was still stowed protectively from the water and a couple of us were suffering from contact with that unholy pond. We each played our part one of those beasts in particular made a lucky hit and forced me to retreat from the battle or face dire consequences indeed. I was ale to find an opening while one was focused on Aiden and was able defeat it in one strike. However then my strength failed me between the sickening water and my blood being in a large pattern on all of us and had to watch from a few feet away. It was almost like watching a troop of children chase a greased chicken through a corn field. No one could keep a grip on their weapon, the ground was so slippery people were sliding all over into each other, and there was no space so we were all in each other’s way. It was a horrible first encounter but we survived, barely, and thanks to our fine furry dwarven companion and his most generous deity.
OOC thoughts on the encounter:
OOC Thoughts: For anyone running this with a larger group be aware that this may be harder than expected due to very little room to move and gear being stashed. The encounter is balanced correctly but with little room to move and a larger than 4 person party it could be deceptively simple for even a barbarian to get munched down fast. With the effects of sickened added to it things could get scary fast. It was a great way to pull us up as a group and get our attention immediately into the crawl. Also watching the group spend round after round rolling 1, 2, 4, 3, 5, 1, 4 was agonizing. The guy with the big 2 hander rolled a 1, 4, 4,1 for the first 4 rounds of combat.
During the fray our firearms specialist retrieved his weapon and crawled up to the small ledge above us and kept watch down the connected tunnel ensuring we would not be caught unawares. After receiving the healing touch of Bligh I joined him at his perch. He nodded his head forward without letting his eyes leave the mark he was watching. “Do not step in front of me, it would be unfortunate to be caught in the blast. However there is something up ahead in the darkness that I cannot quite make out.” It was much easier for my eleven eyes to see farther down the tunnel and I spotted a corpse left in the dirt. “I will go ahead my friend, and see if there are any surprises.”
In near silence I crawled through the many spindly stone columns in this cramped and narrow tunnel. Weaving my way in between them I approached the corpse and found the body of a half-orc – Garda I think her name was – dead from many very nasty looking dagger wounds all over her body. Whatever founder, did so with speed and certainly, those were a lot of cuts. Softly I called back to the group urging them forward as I crept into the small cave that opened before me. It was appalling how much noise they made as they cautiously made their way through the pillars, but in the silence of a cave all noises ring about your eyes as if in a concert theater under the stars.
As the last of us piled in and Aiden stood to stretch his back now that the ceiling was higher than 5 feet tall, a brilliant white blast of light assaulted us out of the darkness. All of us but the bard were able to avoid it in time, hopefully the damage isn’t permanent. A bulbous, veiny, thin-skinned, over grown mushroom was attacking us. Others moved to engage it first while I waited for a smart moment to strategically position myself. As I moved about the edge of the battle to place myself opposite of Alexi, the creature lashed out with razor sharp claws that immediately ripped the breath from my lungs. The damage was extensive and I could only summon the strength to feebly make single attacks to defend myself as I was staggered from the clearly near-fatal blow. The beast was quickly defeated thanks to my companions, and I took a knee and tried hard to concentrate on finding air while Morgryn once again beseeched his god on my behalf.
OOC thoughts on the encounter:
OOC: Again, dumb dice being dice and I am down to 0 HPs, turning into a bad night for the rogue! Again group size does indeed make this an interesting fight as the monster hit pretty hard and had ability to reach a lot of people.
Before moving on we decided to double check a back channel that led off into the darkness. Again I volunteered my stealthy skills to scout ahead and mark our path. Since Morgryn had been forced to patch me up several times thus far, he decided to simply follow me this time to cut to the quick. Unfortunately it was his heavy boots that brought about the attack from some undetected slimes in ona small beach a short way in. The rest of the group had stayed behind and could not reach us before the slimes had done their damage. I could not withstand the assault and dropped to darkness, splashing loudly as I fell under their blows.
I awoke a few moments later, Morgryn once again using his healing magics to keep me on this plain. At this point I told the party I had about enough of taking the abuse for the day and someone else could strike out and search for traps because so far all I’ve found is monsters rending my flesh from my bones. With all seriousness they understood and agreed.
OOC thoughts on the encounter:
OOC: Once again, GM rolls 18s to hit, rolls high on dmg, and rogue with 9 life takes a dive. I swear to god I have the highest AC of the group at 17 and +9 Acrobatics but dice are dice. This room was fun, cause in the reading of the descriptions you just know, just know that something is about to railroad you but you just can’t quite figure it out…. Then BAMM HAMMA TIME!
We later came across the creature that I think is responsible for all the dagger wounds in Garda. We were walking carefully through another tunnel when the wall itself spoke to us and bid us halt in broken common. We all about freaked out as a creature that looked to be made of the stone itself –a creature I later learned would be known as a Skulk- bid half our group follow or all would perish. It was agreed and so we learned from other of her kind that there were several gremlins about that if we would remove as a threat, we would be granted safe passage to continue our search for Khonnir. Of course we readily agreed and sought out to find them and eliminate them.
I kindly offered to once again assume my role as scout and resident trap locator but the group felt that I should wait as my wounds had not been fully healed from the last encounter. In fact I was in critical condition but I refused to complain but I did agree to watch from the rear. Aiden took one step with his size 14 boots into the next small chamber and a GIANT spike on a sprung-tight log came flying out of no-where and impaled itself in his leg to the bone! At that precise moment, we were ambushed by three of them but because of the tunnel network I was able to avoid the initial onslaught and instead ran around behind them. I caught one of them flatfooted and my blade easily sliced through his thick hide and ended his life. Thanks to smart positioning and coordinated attacks we were able to assault their flanks and do well enough to get past their defenses easily enough. Their commander was found a few twists and turns later and put up stiff resistance, but he too swiftly fell to our blades.
We returned to the Skulks and as agreed we are now allowed to pass unmolested through their lands as long as we bring no violence to her people. And thus ends our first day underground!
Ok so I grabbed the back story for Tyriis out of the email I sent to UseplanB before the game started and I added a little to it.
backstory secret secret hush hush:
Tyriis Kryst’s family lines extend back in time to the original families that were the care takers of the hunting lands of the Kyonin elves, now known as the River Kingdoms. In ancient times these lands held the name Telvurin and were an immense resource for the elves. Many esteemed families were tasked with upkeep and protection of these lands for the betterment of the elven nation, but that was in a time that many have forgotten.
It was during these great times that far to the north, in what was considered a great omen of inscrutable meaning, that what appeared to be a small sun lit up the night and crashed to the ground. The damage that was done to the local and surrounding lands was devastating but went mostly unfelt in the rich lands of Telvurin. In the weeks following the star fall, a council of elders and druids came together to decide what should be done and what part the elves should play in this historical event.
It was decided that several families should head north and begin researching the event and documenting the effects of this strange situation. The elders felt that all care should be taken to ensure that their presence was only barely felt, and that if possible their intent should not be discovered. They would present themselves as a group of emissaries sent to render aid and lend assistance to survivors and to offer support in rebuilding any communities they encountered. It should be noted that many of the families that volunteered for this mission did so out of a genuine sense of goodness and concern for their northern neighbors. Many intended to ignore the research and data collection orders and instead focus only on the purpose of aid and rebuilding both the inhabitants and the natural environment that had suffered. However there were also some that were not so pure of heart of that went with a benevolent spirit but were there purely to discover what new artifacts or items of interest might be brought back for the benefit of the elves only, with little care for the local inhabitants.
It is from this initial group of elven immigrants that Tyriis Kryst traces his lineage. Several generations of elves have come and passed since the ancient events that have been described. While most of the local elves aware in a general sense of why they were uprooted and moved to this harsh and unwelcoming land rather than stay in their beloved forests, but the full details and designs that intermingle with the history of his people are lost on him. In fact many of the remaining elves in Numeria have completely forgotten or were never told about their initial reasons for being here. To them, it is just home.
There are those that still remember the mission and are still focused on the tasks given to them thousands of years ago. Those few have taken careful pains to keep their true goals hidden, with the history passed from parent to child by word of mouth only. Having settled in Hajoth Hakados (in fact the elves were instrumental in the establishment of the community that eventually blossomed into Hajoth) the Kryst family has been a behind the scenes force that has helped develop and guide Hajoth and its policies. While his father Spirian has decided not to reveal the true history of the elven people in this region (due to the mostly care-free and casual nature that Tyriis exhibits) he is not afraid to use Tyriss as a pawn in their mission. Hoping that perhaps that with a few hundred years of experience and maturity that Tyriss will, in time, grow into his role as a resource for the elves, Spirian watches and waits in the shadows guiding Tyriis.
“Ahh my son” Spirian sighed as his face displayed the ever-present look of disapproval “you really must attend to your left guard or you will find a blade in it one of these days.” Spirian watched as the blade so easily plucked from the hands of Tyriis slid across the floor out of reach. “If I am able to disarm you with my cane how can you expect to stand firmly and survive an encounter with those that would assault you with steel?”
“Well, father, first I doubt that in this scenario I would actually be bound and hanging by my feet from a beam in the middle of the room. And secondly I doubt that they would be as skilled as the Guild Master of one of the 5 great houses!” Tyriis quickly used his one free hand to fish a small hidden dagger out of the lining of his belt that his father had missed when searching for weapons earlier. In a flash, the blade sliced through the bonds about his ankles as well as the loops that held his right arm and wrist securely behind him. With the grace of a stalking cat he flipped right side up and landed silently on his feet as the cut ropes released him from the high beam of the training room.
With a deep sigh, Spirian reached up and carefully adjusted his fine green and black doublet as the hard glint in his blue eyes softened just a bit. “I have endeavored to prepare you for any situation that may arise in your coming adventures my son. One cannot always choose the timing of an attack and often it is at the most inconvenient times that a stumbling unwary guard may happen in and interrupt your clandestine activities. I see that armor I found for you suits you well, the red and the black leather is a striking look against the metal studs. I always was fond of it when I wore it.”
Tyriis flashed a wide smile as he looked over himself in the wall of mirrors that lined the training room walls “I hope I wear it as well as you, I don’t see many repairs or extra stitching so you must have been good enough to avoid much conflict!”
“I saw my fair share,” Spirian chuckled, “but I knew when to fight and when to run. This face is too pretty to let cold steel leave a lasting mark!” Spirian paused as he turned to leave through the ornately decorated wooden doors. “Do you remember that job I mentioned to you at dinner the other evening? A business acquaintance is in need of some strong arms and wary eyes to guard his caravan that he is sending north to Torch.” Leaning forward in a more conspiratorial manner he continues “I am concerned that he may be involved in some personal trade that has not been sanctioned by the Guild, which of course cannot be allowed to go unpunished if true. Considering that you have officially come of age, I believe that this would be the perfect time for you to undertake your first adventure and you can keep an eye on who Radivan deals with along the way.”
“Hmm, that means I will have to miss Oldath’s final celebration before his wedding” Tyriis frowned “and that promised to be an event that would live on in legends for generations! His father had a wagon of the finest spirits brought all the way from Cheliax! Oh well, I am sure he will find other things to celebrate. If you will excuse me, I will go and organize the things I will need for the trip.”
As Spirian watched his son walk away, the kindly warmth on his face slowly faded into stone as his calculating eyes considered the many possible futures that lay before Tyriis. “I hope this is what you need to set your way son, I do not wish to start over with another son but I will if I must.” That and other dark thoughts floated through his mind as Tyriis disappeared around the corner.
Greetings all, I am playing Tyriis Kryst, one unchained rogue in Useplanb’s campaign. My elven scoundrel is male, 6’1”, traditional long blonde hair and blue eyes. His studded leather and two short swords are not of the finest quality that can be found, but they are in good condition and are well cared for. He is more of the dungeon delving trap finding sort of rogue that enjoys exploring and finding things others haven’t seen in ages and less of the criminal/thug sort of rogue. However, as one that really enjoys his drink and prays to Cayden as often as he can find a bar to do it in, he isn’t above underhanded choices and tactics when needed.
Back story, some:
His back story is that he comes from a long family of elves that in ancient years (when the River Kingdoms were still the Telvurin hunting grounds) were Guardians and Keepers of the vast hunting grounds south of what is now Numeria. When Star Fall happened, several families of Elves were sent north to document the destruction and to render aid and assistance as they may. Some of the families were given the additional mission to act as spies and gatherers with the priority goal of accumulating anything of interest that may expand the power of the Elves. Over the years and with the passing generations, almost all of the Elves have forgotten their history and have settled into their harsh new home. The father of Tyriis has not forgotten his history as the mission was passed to him from his father. The problem is that Tyriis is really too much of a random variable to be trusted with this sort of information. So while his father won’t tell him about the family secret, he is not afraid to send Tyriis off to do things that advance those goals without Tyriis being any wiser.
Generally Tyriis follows his own codes and loyalties, but seeks to not be harmful to those that don't deserve it. He often has a coin running about his fingers or some other such toy that keeps his fingers moving. He has is quick to laugh and gamble and enjoys all forms of games of chance, whether he is any good at them or not!
It is with glad tidings that I send this first missive back to you and Mother reporting my progress. Please extend my warmest regards to Mother and assure her that I am following her words of advice to the letter.
While I confess that I still do not completely grasp your intentions for me by requesting my presence on this caravan guard, however I certainly have learned to trust in your wisdom. I have not heard of any of the other youth at the Academy participating in a “coming of age” experience, but of course if you insist then it is my pleasure to follow your will.
At our parting you indicated it would serve me well to keep you informed of the companions that I meet for the duration of this journey. I find that to be an interesting request as it is highly unlikely that any of the souls I encounter will ever find their paths intersecting with your own, but perhaps I will divine your reasons in time. I have endeavored to catalog and document every detail of any significance and will include them in my reports as I have time and as my duties allow.
Thus far our journey has taken us from home to Torch, I served as a scout for the guard company that was hired to escort a caravan of merchants, tradesmen, and smiths seeking to take their turn at the great purple flame. While there were a large number of hirelings and sell-swords in the employ of the caravan, several of the individuals that I encountered seemed to really stand out as interesting and full of potential. During the six day march these other five adventurers and I quickly bonded over surprisingly delicate dinners and fine brews. Many stories were shared and lies told, but the six of us seemed to get along well.
The roster of my travelling companions includes: a bushy-haired and almost constantly scowling dwarven cleric of Brigh, an impeccably polite and quietly reserved gentleman that seems to fancy firearms, a well-dressed individual that seems to share many of my own skillsets, a skilled bard that appears to be far more devout than many I have encountered before, and finally a very large human that although he speaks very slowly and with great deliberation carries a very large blade that he seems to be ready and apple to apply to dangerous situations.
That is all for now, other than I wish to sincerely thank you for that lesson on the reverse hand feint that you taught me last summer. This very eve I was able to employ that maneuver to separate the head of a crazed robot from its metal body before it managed to send one of my companions on to their next life! I will write again soon, I promise!
AHOY there all ya lads and lasses, a moment of silence as ya toss back tha’ there next pint if’n ya please! Lift yer glasses and stand off yer arses one last time in tha name of one of tha best of us tha’ shall no longer be counting his blade amongst our numbers. To Tsadok, may his mighty Fang ever fight on in tha next life as it did in this one. For Gorum, for glory, ye shall be missed ya old dirty scoundrel! May it forever be decreed tha’ here in my bar, tha greatest most famousest watering hole in all of Riddleport, tha wonderous Golden Goblin, tha’ clerics of Gorum get a free pint on tha house as long as they be liftin’ tha’ pint in Tsadok’s honor! An so tha’ we never forget, we’ve hung his shield there, above tha bar, so tha’ his spirit can forever shield us from bad luck, demons, and dirty stinkin’ Drow elves!!
How did tha’ final battle go, the one that ended the journey of our stout orcish companion? Well let me tell ya it were a cheatin’ affair it was! We be knowin’ tha’ there bridge and tha giant doors hid our greatest fight yet, an so we did tha sensible thing (for once) and spelled ourselves up proper. Tsadok spent a moment or two makin’ sure his mighty Fang was ready ta taste blood while callin’ upon Gorum ta watch this historic battle. Me? Yours truly drank a brew an thanked tha sea tha’ one way or another I’d be outta them caves an back ta tha life I love, salty air an billowy sails me hearties! Tha others said their prayers or checked their blades one last time as we all avoided sayin’ what we was thinkin’, it would be her, or us, one final showdown on her turf.
Of course she cheated. Somehow tha’ nasty slimey darkelf knew we was comin’ an was ready ta meet our charge. She an her twenty closest mates was all there watchin’ as we opened them big iron doors, an tha’s when all the Hell’s broke loose. She was standin’ there smirkin’ with about ten black-hearted drow clerics, three of tha biggest golems ya have ever laid yer eyes on, archers (did I mention tha’ arrows make life full of no fun?) an some nasty six armed halfsnake demon tha’ really wanted ta see if’n my insides tasted like chicken!
As tha doors parted, Tsadok and me was both enlarged (thanks ta his Gorum magic juice) an we both stood there side by side takin’ up every bit of space of them doors, we just looked sideways at each other and clinked blades as a final warrior’s wish fer good luck. It were an emotional moment, ta be sure, though he’d tell ya it never happened. Then we did what we does best, rushed right inta tha middle of all tha’ mess screamin’ our damn fool heads off as tha rage took hold and our vision turned red! Tsadok, tha’ fearless tusked mook, dived right in an took on two golems an some clerics all by himself, right up tha middle. I skirted right an tried ta flank but ran into a golem of me own as well as a cleric or two.
The clerics spent most of their time dispelling and healin’, but in tha end their magics were no match for tha raw damage we was slingin’ about. Between Fang an me own Seablade, we cut through them like a frigate’s hull through a silent night’s tide. Now, while we was fightin’ our way there, that crazy monk of ours jumped right past all of us an went toe to toe with Alevra directly! It was a good thing too, his stunning fist an other crazy monk-magics kept her busy and staggered while we dealt with all her friends. Eventually though, Saru’s monk power could not withstand tha onslaught an he fell under her power.
Our rogue also had ta be resurrected in tha middle of tha battle as he took a few too many hits from tha’ dirty drow. Between tha archers an Alevra he withered under a constant barrage and our wonderful cleric of tha drinking god had ta bring both tha monk an tha rogue back ta tha land of tha living. Tsadok told us earlier tha if he died in battle tha’ we was not allowed ta bring him back, but tha others had no problem being made upright again!
Finally Tsadok an I cleared most of them little guys out of there, I even took down tha’ crazy snake demon thing, an there was Alevra standing wide open an ready ta be charged. Tsadok charged her first, an as he got close with Fang blazin’ away ready ta cleave out her black heart, a rune on tha rocks next ta her flared ta life an Tsadok fell dead an his corpse slid to rest at her feet. She looked up at me an smiled, which of course pushed my rage ta a whole new level. She expected tha’ rune ta do tha same ta me, but no sir, this dwarf made it ta her with no toubles. I heard our sorceress Maleeka off in tha back casting spells as she ran, she was tryin’ ta dodge some small ball of inky blackness tha’ was trackin’ her about in that back of tha battle. I dunno what she was able ta get done while she was runnin’ about, but at least once somethin’ happened an Alevra was a bit less shiny and buffed.
Tha battle raged back an forth, we got some good shots in, Alevra got some mean spells off, but thanks ta tha efforts of our cleric we was able ta deliver tha killin’ blow an finish off one of tha greatest evils I’ve ever known. In dramatic fashion I was tha one tha’ ended her life as me trust Seablade nearly cut tha’ nibly-bimbly evil cleric in half. She smiled as me blade bit into her skin, like she knew somethin’ I didn’t, but then after a second tha’ smirk turned ta horror as she realized she really was dead. Maleeka told us later tha’ she had dispelled a contingency spell tha’ would have whisked Alevra away so she could heal without Alevra noticin’… HAH!
So, we saved tha world no thanks ta all you rotten bums sittin’ here downin’ yer beers, which by tha way tha Golden Goblin thanks ya fer yer patronage so drink up an buys more says I! After we stopped her an her evil plan ta smoosh all yer fine heads with a giant space rock, we decided we’d had enough. He gathered up our loots, went back an talked ta tha elves about some other carts of treasure we had left in their care, an then we headed back ta Riddleport. We hadn’t received not one single payment for sellin’ tha Golden Goblin before we left, so when we came back we decided it was still ours. Folks thought we was menacin’ before we left, well when we showed back up all outfitted an even more lethal than before, well they had no problems signin’ tha deed right back over ta us.
So tha’s how she ends boys an girls. It were an epic tale of hope and murder, of greed an bloody booty, an I hope y’all enjoyed every minute of it. Now remember, tha Golden Goblin is not responsible fer anythin’ I’ve said, an sponsorship does not imply endorsement! If’n any of ya’s was offended durin’ tha course of me longwinded stories, well then ship out says I an make room for some other landlubber ta belly up an spend coin on tha worst beer in Riddleport! G’day and bottoms up!
*Just a quick thanks to our GM for this adventure path, it was his first time GMing and we had a lot of fun with him and as a group. Also thanks to UseplanB for motivating me and others (at times) to post here and share what was happening in our heads during the game sessions. The journal has really helped add to the picture of what our characters were doing that we as players did not do a good job conveying at the table. I highly encourage other groups to do the same as it really makes a difference and helps flesh out your characters. As a disclaimer, any names or places that I got wrong, well I don’t pay the best of attention to details and so was able to just fold it into the character, just go with it and be happy. Take care, and thanks for reading.
AHOY LADS! Tha’s right ya squinty-eyed barrel-jacks I be back from yet another voyage full of plunder an gold ready ta spend me ill-gotten booty here in this fancified waterin’ hole! Pop tha corks and tap tha barrels, I be tyin’ one on tonight arrrrr! Wha’s tha’?!? Ya didna even save me favorite stool by tha bar?? You lot be full of scurvy rats says I, no love in them tar black hearts is there? HAH! Tsadok there been tellin’ ya stories again has he, well I be glad tha’ I came back just in time ta set tha record straight.
Nay I won’t be borin’ ya with tha details of what happened, I’ll be jumpin’ right up to where that stuffy Tsadok brought ya ta in our adventure. Where was he? Oh aye tha’ crazy demon day, now I tell ya tha’ was one day I was for sure this pirate was a gonner. Tsadok knew better than ta let me get in an talk to tha’ stuffy druid elf so once again he kept me outside. Lemme tell ya mates, by this time I’da had just about as much elf as I could stand. I know he’s told ya about all the underhanded, shifty, not ta mention downright rude things them sharp-eared gits had done ta us all while we was savin’ their people! We was heroes we was, heroes treated like beggers an pack-mules! But tha high druidness there offered us some safe rooms and lodgings until tha big meetin’ tha next day. Of course tha last time some high-n-mighty elf-twit offered us anythin’ we ended up in some sort of time-warp room that served us endless amounts of bacon an sweet wine while we wasted away, so of course we was a bit nervous about this one.
It were a bit funny ta watch Tsadok try an explain ta tha guard cap’n there why we was all himmin’ an hawwin’ an draggin’ our feet about goin’ through tha’ doorway. Tsadok, even though he be havin’ orc blood ragin’ through his veins (an believe me he is solid as a dwarven rock wall in a fight) still manages ta try an make sure he doesn’a say things tha’ might offend if’n he can help it. Finally he just gave up an explained tha last time, but the guard still didna seem ta get it. At some point we just decided ta go for it and we plunged right in, an it weren’t half bad for elf rooms. We quickly spread out as we be wont to do, an I found a nice cozy place ta rest me weary bones. Ya never know how long it may be until yer next restin’ spot, so I take advantage of places ta sleep! Besides, me old dogs were tired again from all the fightin’ and walkin’ we’d been doin’ of late, so sleep was called for!
As far as I know, tha night went by wonderfully as I slept like a wee baby at his mother’s neck I did. The guard cap’n came an rousted us right early and we all went through our respective mornin’ rituals. After a bit we headed up ta where all them high an mighty elf folks on tha Winter Council were supposed ta meet. Tha’ guard tried ta explain how we was supposed ta act, all proper an whatnot, pretty much ignored every last bit of tha’ as I didna give a ripped sail if I offended them sneaky rats. I figured by this time they be owin’ us a ton of respect an glory fer all tha hard work we’d already done for them anyways. If somethin’ I did managed ta offend them, I figured theys can just sit on it!
They usher us inta this “holy” place an all four of them black-hearted scoundrels already be seated and tappin’ fingers on tha table waitin’ for us. I did my best, yet again, ta convince these dense rock-headed elves tha’ someone was using their name ta corner the Queen an dominate the court back in their home. I was also sure ta mention how useless an weak they had become just sittin’ up here on their high horse an not even meetin’ ta work out issues. As soon as I finished, they broke out inta squabblin’ with each other like a whole nest of wharf rats fightin’ over a bloated seal corpse. We couldna get a word in edgewise until the crazy mage said somethin’ about he was tha one tha’ ordered us trapped in tha’ crazy bacon room! At tha’ comment, me giantest axe came whistlin’ down an lodged itself firmly in tha’ fancy table they all were sittin’ about, got their attention right fast it did! About tha’ time, Tsadok said somethin’ menacin’ into tha’ crazy mage’s ear (he’s good at sayin’ menacin’ things) an tha’ mage’s loony basket filled right up ta overflowin’ it did. He screamed out somethin’ about Alevra bein’ right an we all should be killed in tha next cataclysm. Then poof, his narrow butt disappeared right outta tha’ silly room.
When tha’ happened, tha rest of the Winter Council looked at each other as the color drained from their faces. HAH they really were pasty gits for a minute there, hah hah *cough cough* sorry there mate, no offence intended. They went screamin’ outta tha’ room hollerin’ for us ta follow them cause they feared tha’ simple-minded finger-wiggler had gone an pulled up tha spike, which is what was keepin’ all them nasty demons outta tha castle there as well, just ta mention tha’ little bit of information. We made it up ta where they be safe-guardin’ tha’ sacred iron spike just as the mage was yankin’ it up outta tha ground. Well if tha’ weren’t bad enough, as soon as he did it he started screamin’ and writhin’ on tha spot as his skin turned jet black an his hair turned white as cold steel in tha frozen mornin’ air. So, tha’ how they change… We had been wonderin’ how Alevra had managed ta hide her pale skin so long underground an against all tha Drow magic, now we know she didna have to because she straight changed her colors! Them elves get weirder by tha moment I tell ya, never trust ya one of them golden haired gits!
About that time, bwooop multiple nasty demons appear in tha room with no warnin’. Tha’ big pig-faced one from outside plopped Quilindra on the ground sayin’ he was a demon of his word, well weren’t we in for a big surprise. Just as blades an spells start swingin’, Quilindra sheds her skin and turns inta one sexy slinky winged succubus. She turned them evil black eyes at me an suggested tha’ I head downstairs ta let in all of her friends, an tha’ sounded like a right sensible idea ta me. Her demon magic ended up getting’ past me natural dwarven resistance an she charmed me right outta me socks, arrgh it were embarrasin’. I took two steps towards tha door when that elven cleric of the Wasp God also made a suggestion tha’ instead I go murder somethin’ an her suggestion seemed ta dominate my mind so I figured tha’ was a better idea than goin’ downstairs.
So I killed whatever it was tha’ was in front of me, an as soon as I finished tha’ then I remembered that beautiful demon lass wanted me ta go downstairs, so I shrugged my shoulders an headed downstairs again. But noooooo, tha cleric again yells at me ta find tha now Drow mage and get tha spike from him. She didna care tha’ he was invisible, she said ta find him so find him I did. About tha’ time, Tsadok steps through some dimensional door with our sorceress an rips tha invisibility right off tha’ poor drow, which happened ta be standin’ right next ta me giant sword… it didna end well for him between my steel and Maleeka’s spells.
Well, I found tha mage like tha lady said, so since I was done with her task I remembered again tha’ I was supposed ta head downstairs an open tha doors so I shouldered me blade an started headin’ downstairs. Out of the noise tha’ cleric wench yells at me again ta put tha spike back in tha right spot an tha’ there sounded like a right good plan, so I did what she asked an put tha spike back in tha hole in tha ground an bamm! All them demons poof evaporated away, poor Tsadok was fit ta be tied I tells ya. Anyway, I never did get tha’ door open, but I had to keep doin’ what tha’ cleric wanted for a good couple of weeks an tha’ were embarrasin’!
Actually I built the character as a rebellious youth sort of framework. I knew I was playing a barbarian so I imagined that he would not be able to deal with the rigid structure of stereotypical dwarven life, he needed to be out on his own and free. I didn't know anything about the AP except that there were drow plastered all over the cover, so I saw a trait that changed the ancient enemy to elves and decided to run with it. I had no idea that we would be turning into the saviors of the elven nation or I would have done it differently. I had to stretch it pretty far that the true neutral barbarian dwarf was enduring all of this abuse at the hands of the elves for the greater good of stopping another major celestial event. He would have been far more likely to just kill the elves and let some other group of crazy do-gooders take up the campaign while he knocked heads back in Riddleport.
The pirate thing just kind of manifested because of the loot we found. The character itself only has like 5 days in the water, he's never been a deckhand or a sailor of any kind. Early on we found this aquatic bane greatsword that just out of the players joking and interacting about how this dwarf was now going to be killing all the fishes and seaweed it sort of took on a life of itself. Eventually the GM said that I started hearing sea shanties in my head and that I felt like I was always at home in the water etc. I just started talking like a pirate and acting like I had always been on the sea. UseplanB's character Tsadok took a long time trying to handle the idea of a pirate dwarf, but it was fun so we just ran with it. Because of it, I believe this character has been the most memorable I've ever played.
As for the most fun, there is a battle scene where the party comes running down this path to a cove with bridges and planks and whatnot right on the water and they are all set and waiting for you. Being the military minded group that we are, our plan was run forward and crash into them while hitting them harder than they hit us. It worked for the first round, then the nice and quiet little caster bad guy way off in the back looks at me and the GM says those dreaded words "make a will save...". Well, crap! Suddenly my barbarian decided it would be a fantastic idea to jump off the boardwalk and take a swim under the action, where a giant killer whale was waiting to eat anyone that fell off. Of course the boss couldn't know I was wielding the aquatic bane greatsword and I ended up murdering that whale all on my own with the bad guy standing over me on the planks above raining down blows upon my head with his +3 mace or whatever it was.
After that scene, the black and white movie version of what it means to be a pirate was cemented upon this character concept and it never went back. That was a fun night.
Thanks for the feedback Laric,the posts are fun (when work is slow enough that I have time to post them)!
I think this character has really made the AP a lot more bearable than it otherwise would have been. I mean a dwarven barbarian that can't stand being underground and hates order and rigid military life transitioning into a swashbuckling pirate has been a lot of fun. Especially because it was a magic item that did it, he doesn't have hardly a day of sea time to his name, but he sure sounds like it!
I found it very difficult to play certain points, and really the character should have left the story. His bitter, ancestral enemy is any kind of elf and right off the bat we forced to work with, then save, elves. Elves that are down-right nasty and hostile to the party. Then to top it off, we have to be forced into a Drow skin for an extended time. That night I seriously had to contemplate changing characters because I just couldn't see how the dwarf could get past that grudge. Eventually I just said that he was far more loyal to the group, but really if you consider that this group was just thrown together in Riddle Port and has a very brief time together before that point, I feel like I kinda copped out a bit with that decision.
I also think the skill-use gauntlet section of the AP was torture and really not fun for any of us. When you had two clerics with no skill points and other party members that were focused in areas that were not options for us (such as my darn barbarian bodyguard roll that required knowledge nobility??) it just wasn't fun at all. I would greatly suggest skipping that part and finding some other way for the group to work it's way up the social ladder. I think if I were to run it I would insert some search and destroy fights or some other tasks thought up by the house leaders.
Other than that, so far, it's been ok but I still think it's the group and the character mixes that have made it fun, not necessarily the AP.
“…an there be I a’flying the skull and bones
Bggglrlrgrlrlrllll whatcha be interruptin’ me singin’ for ya scurvy blackguard! I be famous for me singin’ says I, don’t go interruptin’ me when I be in full swing an so in tune. “OOOOOOOOOHHHH so pass the rum an hang tha lights…” Oh by tha briny gods lad what be ya goin’ on about that’s so important an old sailor can’t even finish his lively tune? What’s tha’? Ahhh well why didn’t ya say so in tha first place ya dolt, of course I be willin’ ta talk about me adventurin’ days. Was ya here last night? Ah tha’s great, I’ll just pick up where I left off then…
So after all tha’ runnin’ an fightin’ we finally got back ta our rightful place an time. We were a motley lookin’ group I can say, like tha rats runnin’ from tha bilge we was, but we lived an tha’s what be important for sure. We headed back ta tha elfy camp out there in tha woods hualin’ Shalelu and Kaerishiel between us as they’d had one heck of a day. As we dragged our sorry skins back inta camp we were greated with cheers an huzzahs all about for a change. While we was off huntin’ down them crazy dark-skins the war took a turn for tha better an the Drow seem ta have been routed. Evianna reported tha’ the evil ones were fleein’ in every direction and makin’ full ahead for their home towns. Of course it was because of us ya idiot, we was tha mighty heroes savin’ what couldn’t be saved an all tha’ silly stuff. Without us, them elves woulda lost everythin’, or so tha’s how I tell it.
I stole a quick glance at ole Tsadok there, an I could tell tha’ this turn of events really did not sit well with him. I was hopin’ ta sit around a fire and swap body counts with him, but tha news tha’ tha war was about over really spun him down inta a dark an foul mood. I’ve seen hurricanes tha’ didn’t have as many dark clouds across their face as tha’ orc did tha’ night. So I just left him ta his own thoughts, mostly as someone passed a beer stein before me face talkin’ about celebratin’ tha night away in our honor. Well lads, far be it from me ta turn down free ale an spirits, wouldn’t want ta offend our hosts now would we? Whatya say barkeep, one or two on tha house for this old war hero? OUCH OI there man, no need ta throw things at me, I was just askin’ by tha gods! I wish I could tell ya more about tha’ night, but I’m pretty sure I drank me memories right out of me head I did. I know I sang like a darlin’ song bird, capturin’ tha whole host with me wondrous vocal styling’s I did. I’d betcha even tha gods themselves pulled up a seat at tha table me songs were so beautiful. ‘Tis a shame I’ll never remember much more than tha’, it’s just one blur after tha’. I know Hured an our drunk monk joined in though, don’t let them tell ya any different.
I guess it was tha next mornin’ when Tsadok kicked tha table I had apparently chosen as me bed for tha night. I felt tha table shake, heard him snarlin’ at me, then the clinky and clashy of a pile of bottles an steins tha’ had fallen in a ring about me body. Almost like a holy halo of beer and wine, I told ya them gods showed up when I sang, an they left me tha good drinks as a gift for sure! It took me some doin’ ta wade out of tha’ pile of glass, but I made it I did. A big yawn, a big stretch, and a big burp an I was right as rain an ready for whatever Tsadok was on about. I noticed tha’ there were some folk about pickin’ up and slowly stashin’ away things gettin’ ready ta head back ta what I guessed would be Cryin’ Leaf. I gave tha’ orc the stink eye right then an there I did, as I had no intention of losin’ sleep ta pack up gear. He saw me look and nodded in a different direction an I caught sight of Evianna an a bunch of dressed up tree-hoppers headed inta her tent. Tsadok seemed a bit on edge even for him, an them elves had a air about them that said there be some business tha’ needed ta be handled, so I nodded back an gathered me wits about me. I also noticed a bit of ale left in a mug near me so I swilled it down, just ta cut the edge ya know.
Tha group gathered up in Evianna’s tent for whatever business was so important tha’ early in tha morning. I swear tha’ whole tent was very wobbly, it an everyone in it would not hold still at all, they all kept swayin’ from side ta side ta side ta side ta side ta side, over an over, back an forth, I had ta grab tha’ desk just ta keep them all still. I’ve never loved a table so much in me life boys, but tha’ table made life all better tha’ day it did. So I was only half payin’ attention, as I was still tryin’ ta work the drink outta me system from tha night before, an as Shalelu droned on an on it was getting’ harder ta keep on me feet. Then, in one eternal second, I heard some words pass her pasty elf lips tha’ sobered me right up and focused me whole world about her face. She said she wanted us ta become dark elf filth so we could infiltrate their home cities ta find out anythin’ we could about their weapon tha’ could pull down stars.
I didn’t care why, I didn’t care what, all I heard was tha’ they had some foul magics tha’ could actually infuse our own bodies with tha essence of a recently killed Drow, so tha’ we would become Drow. My reaction was immediate an I’m pretty sure they heard me yellin’ all tha way back in Riddleport. I’ve never been so insulted, degraded, an angry in all me life lads, before or since. How dare anyone suggest tha’ I look like one of them bark-biters, much less allow the essence of one be soaked inta me body. No no no no no lads, tha’ weren’t about ta happen ta good old Rolfe no sir. I swear even them long lived elves had never heard some of tha curses comin’ out of me tha’ day, I knows it cause I saw them lean over ta each other several times an ask what tha words meant.
Well of course Tsadok an Hured talked me inta it. I started ta get worried when I noticed Vors had slipped up behind me an had his black-jack slipped up in his hand. I scowled at the monk as I’m sure it were his idea ta mash me over tha head, he just whistled innocently an took a drink. Gods where does tha’ man hide all those bottles of booze he be constantly pullin’ from?? Anyway, I knew tha’ without me sea-blade there ta carve a path through whatever trouble they’d get themselves inta, then tha group woulda not gotten back alive. So I consented, hatin’ myself an everyone else around me for makin’ me do it, but if meant savin’ everyone from another massive end of tha world scenario then of course I was in.
I’ll never understand what magic was used tha’ day, but I could feel tha’ dead Drow’s menace and anger seethin’ through every part of me. I’m usually a very balanced and kind-hearted sorta dwarf, very go with tha flow ya might say, but tha’ elf suit made me want ta wipe all tha’ away an just start hackin’ up the fine folk about me. If tha’ tiny peek inta their mind be just a fraction of what they feel all day, then I certainly be understandin’ why they like killin’ so much. Those sea-harpies be some of tha angriest souls I ever did come across outside of tha hells mind ya.
He ended up givin’ us a tour as we wandered about the cavern headed up ta be presented ta tha ruling matriarch ta make sure we was ok. It took hours for us ta wind our way about tha roads and hills until we finally got ta tha right place. Keep in mind this was a cavern underground, but it stretched about a mile north an south and about half a mile east an west. This was a big place full of nasty, sharp, an spikey houses and gates built inta tha stone. One of tha scariest lookin’ under-halls I’ve ever been in, everythin’ was made ta poke or cut ya, nothin’ pretty about it just made with murderous intent. Ya could almost feel tha hatred oozin’ off ever inch of tha place.
Eventually we meet tha matriarch and get accepted inta tha fold thanks ta some fast talkin’ and willingness ta spill blood, much tha same as our normal day. All in all, it was a horrible day thanks for makin’ me talk about it. You know what, I needs some song to brighten up me night after all this drow talk! “OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH Pass the rum an hang the lights…..”
Huh? What be ye on about there Sparky? Aye, I’m tha great and famous Cap’n Coldforge tha’ ye be lookin’ for. Coldest heart tha’ ever set sail upon those beautiful blue waves out tha door there. Of course I have a ship, the Dancin’ Maiden docked out past the last berth there, fastest ship in port right now I swear it by me squinty right eye I does! No, I’m not takin’ any passengers right now, I’m in this hell hole of a port for some business of me own an not interested in any fares, so bugger off an leave an old sailor alone while I entertain these fine folk with a yarn or two about me days as an adventurer.
Now tha’ I have my beer (thank ya barkeep, ya be servin’ only the best ta me an my men) where did I leave off with me story last night? Oh aye, tha’ crazy walkin’ death machine with way too many arms an mouths an whatnots… So yeah tha’ thing died after Tsadok an I trimmed its branches back a bit. I can remember how tha room looked in tha flickerin’ light from tha’ crazy firebomb Vors smashed up against tha wall. There be three ancient stone doors starin’ back at us in the darkness; one door ahead an one standing at odd angles off ta either side of us. Not bein’ very creative types of adventurers, we decided ta just plow ahead inta tha’ center door an see what might be lurkin’ there. Ta my surprise tha door swung open rather easily, I were expectin’ ta have ta budge ‘n grudge it tha hard way. Ya know, just ta mention it now tha’ I think about it, them Elves don’t make a lick of sense. They be spendin’ hours an hours makin’ the finest gaudy baubles or decoratin’ a shield with spidery filigree so looks like real leaves adorn their armor, but they cannot put a buildin’ together to last any real length of time. Beautiful swords they can make, but their old city there had fallen apart at tha seams. A respectable dwarf city will last thousands an thousands of years lads, no matter how long it stays buried, but not an Elf city, not made ta last at all. So I was surprised when tha door slid right open on those hinges as quiet as can be.
Inside I nearly choked as a thick cloud of smoke hung in the air, so thick even with my ability ta see in tha dark I couldn’t see tha end of me nose! Ta make it even worse, there be a thick scent of decay and bile tha’ just clung ta everything an made ya want ta run out an toss yer mornin’s eatin’s right away. Somethin’ foul (HAH an as it turned out somethin’ FOWL, HAH oi I crack meself up I does) had made this room it’s home, an it was somethin’ nasty.
Tsadok, his military mind always on point an thinkin’ ahead, quietly snorted tha’ we should all stay very close as it were too dark an smoky ta see. Suddenly there be a flash off ta our left as some runes on tha ground lit up. Out of tha darkness a giant half-vulture-half-beastynastyugly rips inta us and starts rippin’ this way an tha’ with it’s sharp talons an beak. Hured shouted out tha’ it were a Vrock, as if tha’ helped me any. I wouldn’t know the word Vrock any more than I would know the nine Hells (at least back then, I knows the Hells pretty well these days) so I did whats I always does, put tha pointy end of me sea-blade inta the soft bits of whatever be standin’ before me. For such a smelly beast, it went down without much of a fight. Tsadok an I had gotten pretty in step after so much killin’ together, so we were able ta distract it an take advantage of tha openins back an forth until it fell.
What I can tell ya, is tha’ if’n it weren’t bad enough ta fight such a nasty and slimy baddy there in tha dark, it be ten times worse ta fight it when yer own cleric decides it be time ta call down tha wrath of his worshipfulness in tha middle of battle, only ta find out tha’ his god may not like yer own particular feelings about things. I don’t know what spell Hured called down, somethin’ about smitin’ his enemies an all tha’t holy clap-trap, all I know is tha’ whatever he cast nearly knocked me an Tsadok off our feet as well. Burned tha nasty right off me hide tha’ spell did, an I thinks he did it on purpose I does, ta make a point tha’ we needed ta change our ways an whatnot. In response, tha Vrock cast a spell (who knew giant scaly birdies had it in em ta cast magics… hrmm) an suddenly there be eight of him runnin’ about. It took us a while ta clear out tha extra mirror images, but it was sure a surprise fer this dwarf.
Tha’ nest room turned out ta be a dead end, so we turned about an headed back ta try them other two doors. Vors started pokin’ about an I heard a low whistle of respect escape his lips as he admired a trap tha’ was set by another expert. He tried explainin’ the intricacies an how many different ways it would have killed us, but me eyes just glazed over an he finally got ta tha point of deactivatin’ tha darn thing. We decided ta come back ta tha’ door as somethin’ really nasty might be behind it, which of course made Tsadok kick tha’ wall he was so frustrated knowin' there might be a nasty back there. In hindsight, I almost wish we woulda stayed with tha' door an not skipped ta the third door, as what I saw behind tha' third door will haunt me forever.
This may seem strange comin’ from me, especially because I haven’t been bashful in talkin’ about how I hates me them bark-biters, but no one deserves what them poor souls got. Tha door opened up ta a room about the size of this one here, without all tha tables and bar and whatnot. We barely had room ta open tha door it was so packed in with bodies. Bodies shackled ta tha wall, hangin’ from tha ceilin’ with tha arms wrenched out of their sockets, bodies on tha floor chained ankle ta ankle ta iron rings in tha floor. The dark breed had captured these poor souls, tormented and tortured them, then left them all ta rot in that hell. Everythin’ was covered with their own blood an feces covered by layers of dirt and sweat. Tha bad part is it looked like they had made it up until tha’ very day, until them heartless drow walked through and slit every throat from ear ta ear just before we started our assault on tha buildin’. They died badly friends, badly indeed, and though I’ll not be one ta shed a tear for any elf tha’ dies in battle with me blade, never would I wish for or allow tha’ sort of death ta be tha end of them. On tha’ Tsadok an I certainly agree.
Shouldering through all tha’ dead elf flesh, we found a doorway tha’ led ta another room beyond it. Tha’ room had a big pool of water in tha center with raised seatin’ like an amphitheater on either side of it. Now, I be an expert on all tha things tha’ water be able ta do, an it were sloshin’ about left an right all on its own there in a certainly non-natural way. So bein’ the observant one I made sure tha rest of me mates knew what was what. I guess they had already seen it for themselves as tha smirks and glances tha’ fired back in me direction all but screamed out “NO KIDDING?!?”. Bein’ tha expert on water, I approached tha pool an two giant water elementals sprung right up an screeched at me. I wouldna have known what they were sayin’ but me darling Sea-Blade there helps me ta understand tha water speech, doesn’t help me speak it, but helps me get the gist of what gets barked at me. Them two waves were all accusin’ me an tha group of keepin’ them captive in tha’ pool forever an for torturin’ them. Obviously they had tha wrong bunch of honorable people, but since no one could tell them tha’, well tha’ only left tha one option of forceful diplomacy. Sadly for them sea-critters, me trusty blade there gives me a huge advantage when on the opposin’ side to Aquans. Tha’ fight didn’t last long, nor did it end in their favor as ya can see.
We searched about an found that again this room led to nowhere, so we turned about again an squeezed past all them dead soldiers tryin’ not ta get too much git-blood on us. That only left tha one door with tha super trap Vors had already disabled. It would seem tha’ Vors is more than just yer run of the mill gambler, he also seems handy with other “tools of the trade” as he calls em. He had just bent and inserted his picks inta tha door when Tsadok (having decided tha’ this process was taking entirely too long) roared as he crashed his armored bulk right inta tha crease between tha doors. Vors nearly lost an eye as them picks came flyin’ right back outta tha’ door at him.
Them doors crash open an we pile inta tha room expectin’ a fight as we’d clearly heard voices an tha sounds of troops in here. Instead we found a room tha’ looked like it hadn’t been touched by tha ages. Gleaming white marble, gold runes in tha walls, fancy hangin’ light racks full of tha brightest candles ya ever saw, it were amazin. An ta top it off, sittin’ just as pretty as ya please on this little stool over next ta another pool of water was this little elf lady spirit thing. She was a yappin’ on about bein’ trapped here throughout tha ages by evil Drow magics and whatever, let her rot says I in a loud voice, but no tha group was just heartbroken for tha’ poor pointy-eared snake. All ya have ta do is get my magic leaf from tha pond right there and I’m free she says. Again, I assert tha’ she can get it herself if’n it’s so important, but Tsadok gives me these eyes tha’ look like a puppy dog just got run over by tha milk cart, all bubblin’ up with tears and eye-slime he was, so I sighed and dragged my feet over ta tha edge. At tha’ point, all up was down and right was left as suddenly tha biggest catfish ya have ever seen exploded outta tha water and tried ta gulp me down like a furry dwarf snack. Tentacles were a’whippin’ about smackin’ everyone anywhere armor wasn’t coverin’ it’s bulk slammin’ against us up front, an tha smell made me want ta cough up me stomach an walk right away.
Again though, my Sea-Blade just started singin’ in me head and I was beltin’ out tha best of them shanties I love so much as I went ta work on tha’ big fish. Everyone was helpin’ an I don’t think they noticed when tha’ thing almost got in me dwarf noggin an convinced me tha’ they was tha enemy. Lucky for them when I get angry it gets a lot harder ta convince me ta change me mind, but tha’ fish-fellow there certainly had a convincin’ story ta tell. Anyway I shook it off and we all had a hand in guttin’ him and dispellin’ tha illusion he/she/it had created about the elf-lass an the nice an clean room. Once it died, tha room went right back ta bein’ in tha shambles tha’ everything else was in.
Vors popped open tha’ door in tha back of tha room just in time ta see a bunch of dark-breeds draggin’ Shelalu and Kaerishumpy inta some swirly-whirly portal. We fought a bunch of Drow tha’ were very keen not ta let us inta tha’ portal, an some of them were even competent with a blade, but mostly we just heroically swept them aside an went after Shelalu inta tha portal. I had ta teach this one tall muscular dark-blood what it really meant ta be a barbarian. He thought tha’ just cause he had a big sword and wore light armor he was good enough ta stand toe ta toe with tha likes of me, pahshaw he had that wrong idea. Tsadok even stepped around him ta make sure we weren’t interrupted in our greatsword duel, and in tha end, I split tha’ dirty mouth-breather from tops ta tails with me favorite move, I calls it “Tha Tsunami”! Some day when yer strong enough I’ll shows it ta ya lad. I swear on tha Great Forge had it just been Kaerishupper I woulda turned right back and let his carcass get what it deserved, but dangit Shelalu had ta go an get herself captured too, so I had ta go help her.
At that point, things started ta happen tha’ I just flat don’t understand. If ya ever track down Malika she can give ya a class on whether we travelled through time or ta some pocket dimension or whatever, it’s all beyond me. All I know is we ended up in a place tha’ looked like Celwynvian before tha StarFall. The elves were there, but they were just apparitions tha’ ya could poke an they’d disappear for a few seconds then reappear havin’ forgotten anything they just did. It was bizarre, an most of it didn’t make sense ta me. We ran around tha town a lot, asked a lot of tha not-there elves if they had seen tha Drow and then ran around some more. Finally thought we had tracked them down in some fancy-shmancy buildin’ across the town, an instead ran inta that stinkin’ Razorhorn dragon tha’ we’d been lookin’ for. I wish ya could’ve heard Tsadok shoutin’ his praises an thanks ta Gorum for tha chance ta fight tha’ big lizard. I think he was all rainbows and unicorns for weeks afterwards just cause he got ta lay his blade ta dragon flesh for tha first time. It was all hands on deck ta fight tha’ evil monster, but in tha end, Tsadok’s Fang-blade was tha last stroke as he severed it’s big head from tha rest of him. Or her, I guess, I never checked it’s dragon underbits ta see if it were a he or a she, I just assumed it were a him all these years but I really don’t know.
Right after Razorhorn fell, we took a moment ta let the battle fatigue wash over us while Hured administered some words of healin’ upon us. Gorum must have been pleased with Tsadok as even he was able ta pass around some channeled heals on our weary bunch. We had grown accustomed ta our monk spouting off a litany of things we’d done wrong after every battle, but even he was looking a little worse for wear after that fight. Not to mention, I am pretty sure I saw smoke or steam comin’ waftin’ up off of Malika’s fingers she had been slingin’ so many spells. All of us were about out of resources, but we knew we had ta push on.
We ran up a long long long staircase ta this room that had giant planets an stars floatin’ around on wires and whatnot, it looked like some kind of galaxy or somethin’ all modeled up ta be studied. There were some mages waitin’ for us usin’ Shelalu and Kippypants there as bait. I flung myself at tha closest one before he was really able ta get any spells off, but his friends sure did scorch my hide before me mates made it up them last stairs. It worked out though, tha group split up ta tackle the three little mages while we figured out how ta handle the big guy floatin’ around tha room. I remembered them bows I’d picked up from tha’ crazy elf-corpse zombie thing and in me last few moments of rage, was able ta muster tha strength ta use tha bow ta plant arrows solidly in that mage’s frail body. Arrow after arrow followed right inta his chest, as it turned out I seem ta had quite the affinity for archery, and I finally brought him down after what felt like an eternity.
As ya can see, we escaped outta there an made it back ta our rightful time, once again avoiding all kinds of death an mayhem tha’ seems ta follow us around like a hungry cat. An tha’ wraps us me story for tonight lords an ladies, I’ll be back tomorrow night with tha next installment, should ya happen ta be about. So I’ll see ya then!
Oi shove-off barkeep, this old adventurer not be botherin’ anyone in yer fine house of spirits sir! I paid me gold, now let me an these fine princes of men (even though they be human) be while we enjoyin’ our drinks and pass about tall tales of tha old days. Those days were glorious I tell ya, I used ta be quite the adventurer ya know, before I took tha’ old arrow ta tha knee. Ruined my career it did, but tha’ be another tale for another day.
What’s tha’ ya ask, what happened ta old Vors the Gambler? Tha luck was with him tha’ night for sure gents, tha’s for sure. I carried his carcass all tha way back ta tha’ silly dew-drinker camp, had him slung over my shoulder like a sack of flour I did. Truth be told, most of tha heavy parts of him had been lopped off by them critters in tha dark, so he really wasn’t all that heavy. Methinks the worst part was how sore my feet were after runnin’ all that way in my killin’ boots. If’n I remember right, I had ta soak me dogs in a bucket of goat milk for 3 hours ta fix tha’ run I did. Thankfully Hured followed me as I ran, it was nice ta know that I had a bit of support should I run inta any more dirty shadow elves.
I almost fell as tha basecamp came inta view as I could immediately tell tha’ there had been a terrific battle here while we was out doin’ Eviana’s bidding. Nasty business tha’ fight must have been boys, cause things didn’t look like a normal fight. Now you boys haven’t seen proper fightin’ yet, either yer too young or too rich ta have spent time in the trenches, but these kind of battles have a certain look ta them. Limbs get hacked off in certain ways, bodies lay certain ways, there is just a look ta tha battlefield after it’s all said an done. This was different.
Tha first thing was that there were no dead Drow anywhere, all of their dead had been carried off. Tha bloodstains were there and wicked looking blades with tha’ nasty green ichor slathered all over laid about as evidence. Mostly though, there were many of the pasty leaf-eaters pinned ta tha walls an the ground by many, many, many wicked poisoned arrows tha’ looked way too big ta come from normal bows. Also, tha slashes on tha corpses were small. There be a lot of them, lots of clean and small cuts all over each an every body, like someone went crazy with some of tha sharpest daggers ya’d ever seen in yer life. Carts were laying on their sides, tents were on fire, it were just pure chaos lads, and it smelled even worse.
After takin’ all tha’ in, I ran for the healer’s tents in tha back of tha camp. As I ran up, Eviana was there and even she had felt the sting of a dirty dark-breed blade or two as her arm was wrapped in bloody bandages while she directed the recovery efforts. Now, I gotta say, sometimes the elves go too far. Even her bandage was made of silk, had golden threads weaved into tha linings, an had pretty little images of no less than four differn’t leaves inked inta tha fabric… I mean really guys? Believe me when I tell ya, them silly bark-munchers live so long they even have time ta make them bandages look all fancy an whatnot. Alls I could do was shake my head and try not ta say anything nasty as I needed a favor.
I pushed right past all them silly saplings, shouldering more than a couple right out of their boots, an laid Vors right at her feet. I summoned up all tha niceties and polite wordings tha I know and quietly (although I’m sure it were full of menace) but firmly suggested tha’ she make Vors be not dead. Hured says it sounded more like a rockslide shouting “BRING HIM BACK” but I’m sure his memory isn’t all tha’ great, him being human an all. NO INSULT INTENDED, no insult intended lads I know you be human as well, but by the Forge ya be a short lived race an often ya forget the details. Put yer blades away an have another drink, sheesh ya be a sensitive lot tonight.
Eviana pointed around me at tha piles of dead gits layin’ about an said she’d not be able ta do much for us. Tha’ old elf sure did change her tune fast enough once I handed over Vors fancy dancin’ sword in trade though. Ya know that thing would stand right up on it’s own and fight whatever ya told it ta? Durndest thing I ever saw. He didn’t use it much though, he preferred tha’ crazy hatchet he loved so much, but tha’ worked out just right as rain so I didn’t feel bad tradein’ it in fer his soul. Eviana found one of her better finger-wigglin’ mages an had him teleport back ta their big home town ta gather tha materials an whatever it be they use when makin’ magic. Normally I be a firm believer in steel always bein’ tha answer, but steel cannot bring a soul back ta life, so this time I had ta admit magic was a good thing ta have about.
Later tha’ night tha’ mage returned and Eviana got some of her folks to bring Vors back. Ya’d think tha’ it was a pretty complicated thing, gettin’ a soul back from tha underworld. Turns out it were only like 15 words and a pretty shiny rock an poof, back in business. Proves what I always say, greed is tha most powerful force in tha universe. Wave tha’ shiny diamond about an the Gambler would even come back from him grave ta get a chance at it! Vors looked pretty worse for wear after his trek from the underworld an all, an one of them pointy-eared clerics restored him a bit, but they said that even with their help he’d still be off his game for at least another week or two an they’d try again then. Either way, I slapped Vors on tha back and made sure he was ok before I yelled at him fer bein’ so stupid an runnin’ inta such a fight without me! It’s my job ta get hit in tha face, not his, but it sure was good knowin’ he was back as he be one solid mate ta have in a fight. Knows how a man’s spine comes apart nice an clean he does, like slicin’ up turkey dinner he’s so precise.
Anyway, back ta my story. Eviana gives us tha rest of that day off as she has ta make sure tha camp be defended an she was ta wait ta hear back from the other leaders ta see what tha next move might be. Tsadok looked like someone had kicked him in the softy-bits (if orcs have softy-bits, that be one thing I’m not so sure about) when Eviana told him to rest. Gorum has tha’ guy wrapped up so tight ta fight ya’d think he was full of bow-string on tha inside. He kept mutterin’ about blood tha’ needed spillin’ and guts tha’ needed ta see daylight an him bein’ stuck fixin’ stupid elf fences like a farmer. I swear tha’ stress vein in his forhead be shaped like a sword, an it were a poundin’ all day while he fumed about not fightin, it were a funny day.
After a couple of hours, this elf runner sprinted past our tent like a merchant’s yacht ridin’ the tide back ta port. There was a bunch of shoutin’ and yellin’ in elvish about Kaerishishishakiel or whatever bein’ in trouble an needin’ a rescue. Now, as far as this humble dwarven sailor was concerned, Kaekypoo there could rot in his own juices out there in tha ruins for all I cared. I couldn’a help but smirk as I listened ta the runner an many of tha elfy soldiers plead with Eviana ta send a detachment ta save him. She told them over an over she had no one ta spare as all bodies were needed ta secure tha camp against another attack. A sense of dread started ta grow in my belly like the stink of dead rats after a 3 month sail as things got real quiet and suddenly I heard the pitter-pat of cutesie elven booties runnin’ up ta our tent. I swore under my breath as tha runner beckoned ta us demandin’ tha’ we run to Eviana’s tent right away! Tsadok leapt right up and was out tha’ door like he had been shot out of a ballistae, I wasn’t as motivated.
Long story short, Kaerishiel, in his infinite wisdom as a military leader, had gotten himself pinned down in some old ruined towers deep in the city an was in danger of gettin’ hisself killed because of his incompetence. Eviana begged us ta save him, let him rot says I, but good ole’ Tsadok was spoilin’ for any chance ta get out of camp and kill somethin’ so he jumped right in volunteerin’ us all ta run right out an save his arse. So of course we all suited back up an headed out ta retrieve tha’ idiot elf.
We got out ta tha spot without any trouble, we avoided a couple of scoutin’ parties, but tha was about it. We could tell right away tha’ Kookyrot there was in dire straights. He an what was left of his group were holed up in this old tower tha’ was two waves shy of fallin’ down on them anyway. Them dark-breeds were in this other much nicer an fancier tower down tha way to tha south of them. Between tha towers was this killin’ field full of dead bodies so full of arrows it looked like the grasslands had grown up out here all blowin’ in tha wind and whatnot. So much blood had seeped inta tha ground it were like walkin’ in a marsh, tha ground was all spongy an muddy. I glanced at Tsadok an he was just a’grinnin’ from ear ta ear as he focused on tha dark ones tha’ stood guard outside tha southern tower. It was a fair run from our spot in tha trees ta tha’ door, an the archers millin’ about on tha second floor were gonna get plenty of shots at me soft sensitive spots as we would have ta charge through open ground ta get ta them. Oh well, it’s what they make armor for isn’t it?
So we all run at tha tower like a bunch of younglings runnin’ for dinner, an of course them black-hearted gits rained shots down on us from above. Tha only smart one of us was Malika, she let us run ahead as a distraction while she hid in tha crumblin’ remains of a third tower and lobbed magic glowin’ arrows over our heads. Tha fightin’ was close quarters and vicious, as ya’d expect with these crazy beasts. I was right about them blades: sharp, fast, and covered with more of tha’ stupid green an black poison. One of em again got a lucky shot in around my breastplate, but I swear I felt tha’ charm bracelet tha’ nice horse barbarian guy with tha horses gave me get white hot for a second and I was fine again. I was right in tha thick of it lads, an it were glorious! These devil-eyed monsters knew their way about a sword an weren’t afraid ta try an poke holes in my sails for sure! Hured was dancin’ all over tha’ battle singin’ tha praises of the Wanderin’ Hero and askin’ fer his blessings and healin’ powers, it were a wonderful time. Eventually we did what we do best, killed em all an saved tha day yet again.
Kaerishiel was able ta come out of hidin’ an I know it just grated him somethin’ awful knowin’ it was us tha’ had ta come an pull his pointy-eared butt outta tha flames. I’m sure it still bites him like hot coals on his soft and well kept elven feet tha’ he had ta thank us in public fer fixin’ his mess. Tha’ alone was worth tha trip, killin’ elves was just bonus.
What’s that? What was them Drow doin’ up in tha tower? How should I know boy, do I look like a tactician or some kind of book-readin’ magic-itian-person tha’ can just read minds? As far as fightin’ is concerned, I let folks like Tsadok or Saru worry about strategizin’ an whatnot, they just make sure tha stuff tha’ needs diein’ ends up near tha space tha’ tha end of me trusty blade will be in. I takes it from there. I don’t much worry about the large scale sorts of ideas, I just handle me own space on the battlefield an let tha rest come ta me.
Of course Kaerishiel was welcomed back with all kinds of hootin’ an hollerin’ from his boys, I guess them elves really liked him. Not a word was said about how it was us that let him keep his pale skin where it was, but we did our job and maybe earned some favor from the Elven gods along way, savin’ one of their favored sons or whatever. We patched ourselves up, cleaned up our gear an headed back ta tha tents ta get some much-needed shuteye before whatever we’d be facin’ tha next day.
A runner dragged us outta our beds well before the sun even had tha good sense to open his eyes so we could be included in tha battle plans for tha day. Tha plan was ta attack this academy building deep in Drow territory in this sort of three-pronged attack. Shalelu and Kaekeater-ishiel would each lead a group around back of this big buildin’ an scale up tha back while some hapless group of idiots got stuck playin’ decoy stormin’ tha front gates out in tha open… Tha’s right, this hapless group of idiots got stuck with tha’ brilliant plan. I was hoppin’ up an down waving my arms and shoutin’ ta be heard, voicin’ my objections, but these tall elves kept just steppin’ in front of me so no one could see me! Chargin’ the front gates, really? Of course, as I looked about me at what was left of Eviana’s “army”, even for a race tha’ always looks young, these soldiers looked more like saplings playin’ at soildierin’ rather than a presentable army. I guess tha’ if there was a group there tha’ had any chance of strollin’ up ta tha front gates and knockin’ all polite as you please and makin’ it back out alive, well it would be us. Alls I could do was hang me head and make peace with good Father of the Forge an pray for a glorious death so he’d reuse me when makin’ the next round of dwarves.
Now, bein’ ambushed an scrappin’ fer yer lives be one thing, yer blood be pumpin’ in yer veins an all ya can think about is rippin’ his throat out before he does it ta you! But starin’ down tha valley, lookin’ at an armed force ready an waitin’ to repel all boarders, well tha’ there be somethin’ totally different. All tha different things tha’ might happen play through yer mind while you be tryin’ ta keep yerself from runnin. Keepin’ tha’ fear bundled up an hidden down deep knowin’ any one lucky shot might be tha last, it makes for a tough few minutes before everythin’ starts kickin’ off. HAH BOY! You have no fear?? Then I says ya’ve never been in a real fight other than scrappin’ with yer infant brothers fer room at yer mother’s teet! Every warrior, except may Tsadok tha’ spent his days tryin’ ta find new ways ta get inta battle, knows fear before a battle. Even if ya have no fear for yer own death, a real warrior fears tha’ he might make a mistake an get his mates killed. Ya may not be worried about yer soul after ya die, but ya should always fear how yer death leaves a hole in the wall, a hole tha’ might let the tide sweep away all yer companions. Think on tha’ ya snotty little imp before ya speak up ta tha likes of me like tha’ again. The wrap on this sword handle has seen more bloodshed in tha last decade than you’ll likely see in yer whole life. Show some respect.
While we were standin’ there in tha pre-dawn hours, waitin’ for the signal to attack, I was so intent upon goin’ over my plans and seein’ the possibilities in me mind tha’ I only barely noticed tha’ Malika had started weavin’ her hands in front of her an mutterin’ arcane symbols with furious focus. She was concentratin’ so hard beads of sweat had sprung up on her brow as she made sure tha’ every single word came out right. There’s no shame in admittin’ I almost stained my trousers as a giant ball of fire burst inta life over my head with a roar! I stared in wonder as tha’ big ball of doom flew overhead and zoomed towards them evil guys down tha way. I turned an looked back at Malika, askin’ when she had picked up tha’ little gem of a spell, an all she would do is smile and put her finger ta her lips.
What I was not so happy about, is after tha fireball landed and wreaked havoc on those dark-breeds, one of them also knew tha same spell and flung it back at us. Luckily, we were hero enough ta avoid tha worst of tha’ could of done ta us, but still it rattled me ta know tha’ this was a whole different class of bad guy!
We were able ta wrap up tha outside defenders with little effort, a few scrapes and cuts but otherwise, the fireball did its job very well. On the inside however, was something very different. It was very large and looked like it was a pile of elven corpses all stuck together and moving. There were many hands holding several longbows firing at a rapid pace, firing arrows tha size of oxen. Only Tsadok an I were really able to handle tha fight as no one else in tha group could see in tha pitch black of the cavern. Our friend tha monk took one of those giant arrows to the chest an it nearly pinned him ta tha wall behind him. We brought tha monster down, but tha’ was one mean monster!
AHOY lads, belly up ta tha bar while yer ole ship cap’n lays another of his sea yarns upon ya while ya be eatin’ and drinkin’ yer shiny coins away in this here finest of fine clinky-clink establishments! All hands on deck for this gale boys, as I’m sure this tale will downright make yer shiver in yer boots. Sea legs or not, I can promise ye one thing, the things I can remember from me old adventurin’ days will make ya turn as white as the foam in a forty foot swell off the Sallow Coast!
Now, where was I… AND WHY DON’T I HAVE A FULL MUG?!? Barkeep! Another one to wet me whistle kind sir. Oh aye, now I be rememberin’, but even now it stays a big foggy in me mind. We woke up outside of that stinking elf town, out on a hill somehow outside the walls and defenses put up by the bark eaters. I swears by the great swollen reefs I can’t remember how we got out there, or even what I was dreamin’ about before somethin’ jarred me awake, but I knows it were a grand dream of epic proportions lads. This dwarf ne’er does anythin’ small, go big or go home says I! AYE! Anyway I awoke to find the biggest book you have every laid those sad little blue eyes of yourn on layin’ at me feet just as pretty as you please. Big as this table I tells ya, and heavy as keg full of tha’ good Dwarven drink, not that weak thin stuff you humans call ale… blah I’d rather drink the mop water off the deck after the swabbies get done with it! It was a great book, full of page after page of all the things every race or monster had ever done wrong by us Dwarves. I’d read that book for an hour and I swear to ya me blood would begin to boil and I’d be madder than a nest of giant hornets after a hail storm, always good before a fight.
So anyways, we, the band of heroes mind ya, trudge back into town all shakin’ our heads and talkin’ tryin’ ta remember what we was about the night before. Them old elves sure were surprised to see us comin’ in from tha outside, I be bettin’ they had no idea we’d even left that little hole they’d so “kindly” given us ta rack in. We’d just gotten in, and hadn’t even had time ta drink a respectable drink before tha’ foul pasty Kiereshel comes about pokin’ his head in demandin’ all rude like tha’ we should get it in gear an head over ta see Eviana. My sword was almost out an ready before I knew what I was doin, luckily I had tha’ crazy big book in me hands slowin’ me down or else I’da split his head open like a fish left in the sun too long. Have I mentioned I hates me some pointy-eared gits? *spits* May the seas wash all elves away ta tha briny depths!
Now, that Eviana, for an elf mind you, she wasn’t all bad. She treated us with respect and I hates ta admit it but she started to work on ta me good side. So when our band of heroes wandered into her receivin’ room there, I kinda hung back against tha wall there so as to not say somethin’ that I might be later regrettin’ I saids. However when she laid it on us that she had decided ta go ta war with the dark breeds, well ya can be sure Tsadok’s face lit up like a fareball loose in a fireworks stand. I swear that big tusky gap-toothed smile of his wrapped all the way around tha ta the back of his head as I heard his whisper under his breath somethin’ thankful to Gorum. Of course after bein’ all cooped up and whatnot we all were spoilin’ for a fight so we agreed to go along for tha ride.
Ok so this was tha first time I was really part of any sort of organized military action, an I’ve got no shame in admittin’ that this here was one sailor tha’ was feelin’ abit out of his depths. Those dirty tight-lipped bastards wouldn’a tell us a thing about their battle plans or what was expected of us. I knew we were the most able bodied fighters in tha bunch, so for the life of me I couldn’a figure out why they kept it all secret like. All they would say is travel in our own little bunch, stay off tha road, and try not ta make too much noise as we stomped through tha trees. I’ve never seen an army travel like this! Any respectable army forms up and travels together, an’ I should know, the Dwarves make armies out of groups of children lining up for bread in tha mornin’! So all this sneakin’ an hoppin’ around tha trees wasn’t workin’ out so well for our crew as we tend ta be more like a killer whale in tha middle of a blood frenzy.
Along tha way we are told tha’ we are headed ta the old ruins of Celwynvian, which I guess is some old elven town of some kind of importance. Tha old tales say tha’ this big place used ta be the elven capital back before they abandoned the planet before Starfall. While them cowards was gone, tha dark breeds snuck in and took over tha place, made it their home. Wells when them pasties came back naturally there was a lot of fightin’ over who owned tha place and it seems that fightin’ was still goin’ on! So now not only does I gets the pleasure of killin’ elves (granted only the dark breed), but I gets to wreck their ancient and beloved home seed-pod-home-thingy??? Aye lads, tha’ made me old heart over-flow with warm gushes of joy and sunshine that did.
So we finally make it ta tha designated camp spot for tha night, and not a moment too soon as me old dogs were a barkin! Back in those days I wore fightin’ boots, not walkin’ boots, and by the end of a days’ march I was always happy ta take a load off them poor boys. We hadn’t stopped five minutes and here comes Kiereshel stompin’ around and bein’ a bigger nuisance than a seaweed rash around yer tenderly-bits down south if’n ya know what I mean! Not tha’ I’d know anythin’ abouts a seaweed rash mind ya, I’ve ne’er been with one of them types of ladies. Not tha’ I haven’t been with tha ladies, no tha’s not what I’m sayin’ at all either ya dolt! Of course I’ve been with tha ladies, they loves them some of the most dreaded pirate Cap’n Coldforge! I’m just sayin’ I’ve never been with ladies of tha’ ilk, the garbage barge wenches or the mud-huggers that rut anywhere there be flat land ta lay on. Yer missin’ tha point boy, back ta me story!
Of course Kiereshel demanded tha’ we set up guards and sentries and whatnot, and anyone else I’da agreed with. But since it was dear old pointy-head hisself, I immediately flopped down and went ta sleep as soundly as I could. Jest a quick side note here fellas, I’ve slept on plenty of hard ground before, and swung in plenty a sweaty ship bunk in my time, but I’ll never forget how uncomfortable it was sleepin’ amidst all them damn elves. None of them make any noise, it be unnerving I tell ya, not natural at all. But even with all that weirdness, I still managed ta gets meself a full nights rest in tha’ thick forest.
We awoke tha next mornin’ and followed our normal routines gettin’ it all together. Them elves just sat around waitin’ and watchin’ us as I guess they only needs a few hours of sittin’ and thinkin’ quietly ta themselves ta be rested. If any of ya lads here ever understand how them elves work, well you just keeps it ta yerselves as I don’t care ta know at all. But we finally got it all together an headed out for yet another day of walkin’ about tha forest. I canna remember now how long we walked, but we slunk along for a bit until we came upon some right nice and respectable ruins tha’ actually gave some cover and some defensible positions. Eviana, being smarter than yer average elf, decided tha’ this would be a good spot to set up a more permanent base camp to start wagin’ her war from. I guess that meant we was fairly close ta tha place we needed ta be.
Durin’ the day, some group of other elves in all shiny and pretty armor showed up and met with Eviana. Tsadok wouldn’a let me get near them as I was in a pretty sour mood by this time and woulda probably picked a fight. However I did notice this one particular lady-elf that had green hair and beautiful black eyes, named Shalelu methinks. She seemed ta command a lot of attention just from her appearance, not ta mention her rank.
Well I decide tha’ tha best way ta prepare for battle is ta drink it up, so I start knockin’ em back and eventually my sword calls ta me an I start beltin’ out the best sea tunes I can come up with. Of course these stuffy tree-huggers can’t deal with tha sound of me great singin’ voice and they sure did not know tha words to me songs, so they kind of scoot away from me an leave me ta me singin’. It were a glorious night, I can promise ya that. You’ve heard me here at tha bar boys, singin’ me heart out with Clyde tha bard over there so ya can just imagine how wonderful me voice sounded out in them trees… I don’t remember much after tha’ point, maybe ya can track down one of tha others in tha group an they can fill out tha rest of tha night for ya.
I do remember being rudely shaken awake in tha wee hours of tha mornin’ that next day. Tsadok is all smiles and grins, well as much as his tusks would let him grin anway, as he told me ta suit up for a war. I vaguely remember him even tellin’ a crude joke or two about killin’ small animals or children or somethin’. Either way, he was in some kind of mood since he knew he was gonna get to hit things with his sword tha’ day. Our job was ta sneak in (again with tha sneakin’, have they met me??) ta this old library of some kind, kill anythin’ inside, an hold out until the thin-skins show up ta take over guard duty from us. Then we would high-tail it back ta base for a new assignment, easy as pie.
Well, it was easy for a while. Tsadok asked Gorum to keep us all under wraps until we got to where it was we was goin, an of course his God answered with a silence spell so no one would hear us runnin’ along. We got ta tha library without any incident, an it were a nice sized place, a two floor affair with a couple of dark breeds on top playin’ guard. Tha’ crazy monk of ours and his summoned fox headed up ta that roof and dealt with them guards, although it didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. One of them squeekers got off a yelp before he could finish them off, lettin’ anyone else around knows we was about. While he and his pet were off doin’ that craziness, we had ta tackle a big ole’ stone door tha’ was keepin’ us from gettin’ inta tha place. At first we all thought it was gonna be easy, but I guess there was some spiders about the size of yer plow horse there on tha inside and they had webbed up tha place pretty fine. It took all of us workin’ together an me nearly rippin’ me arms right from their sockets ta get them doors to budge enough tha’ we all could worm our way through. Poor Tsadok had to give up his blessing of size that he so loves from Gorum or he ne’er woulda made it in, an then he’da missed all tha fun.
So we the heroes of this here tale got inside an of course immediately acted like youngling fighters an split up. Some of us dashed in an ta tha left ta fight these really annoyin’ little baby lookin’ demon things that were throwin’ things at us. Tsadok an a couple others split ta tha right and crashed in a door, surprisin’ tha heck outta a band of drow tha’ were certainly not expectin’ tha’ half-orc for dinner! As is customary, the situation was dealt with handily, although I’m sad ta report tha’ I was of little use in tha row. Them stinkin’ dirty cheatin’ drow poison everythin’ they get their pointy little fingernails on. They had poison blades, poison nails, poison teeth, poison hair, even poison boots I’m here ta tell ya. One of them sneekers gots in behind me and got in a good shot when I wasn’t lookin’ and tha poison dropped me asleep like a stone. Tha fellas had it all under control though, an woke me after they had handled the remaining uglies.
Things turned bad after tha’ though. We headed back outside ta explore the grounds an we ran inta somethin’ truly ugly! I was runnin’ on tha flank an out of nowhere a bolt of lightning streaks across tha ground and zaps me in my sensatives before I even knew what was what! I turn ta face whatever tha’ was, and I see for tha first time what really nasty things these drow can do. They took the top half of a boy dark breed and somehow mounted on tha body of a giant spider like some kind of evil twisted stinky centaur. I know I know, I never woulda believed it either unless I’da seen it with me own eyes, but I promise ya tha’ is what was throwin’ spells at me from it’s safe little pool of acid.
Well the fight went the way it did, an in the middle of it our rogue got a bit full of himself an decided ta charge ahead an fight this dark elf caster an it’s two corpse creations. Vors, well, he didn’a make it through that fight. I do not know what tha’ little nimbly bastard was thinkin! Just cause he had gotten used to usin’ tha’ crazy axe and dagger of his didn’t make it ok for him ta rush in there alone. After it was over, Tsadok and Hured both looked him over and declared him ta be moved on ta tha next world, but I didn’t agree with tha’ particular assessment. I ran over, scooped up his limp and broken body, and ran for tha basecamp carryin’ his carcass like a sack of potatoes.
Did we revive our friendly rogue? Did we find more of them scary as hell drider things? Well lads, order this old sailor up another beer an a plate of them hot potatoes ya been chewin’ on this whole time and I’ll be glad ta finish up me tale for ya!
Oy lads, I can tell ya that night after we traded for those magnificent beasts from that nicely dressed barbarian Windbraid, or Breezehair, or Blowymane, no no it was Windbraid I’m sure of it…maybe… whatever I didna have to fight him so it wasn’t that important to remember what blasted name he went by. Anyway we camped that night about a day’s ride from the edge of Crying Leaf forest. Oh it had been a while since I had spent any real time out in the open air away from Riddleport, and it was nice. It were the first time in weeks I hadn’t been assaulted by the smell of rotten fish, dirty human, or any of the hundreds of other foul odors that town can throw up at any given time! And I can also tell ya it were nice to use some o’ them survival skills I’d picked up, I’d gotten rusty in my time in the city.
I’ll have ya know I took a double watch that night, my beautiful blade sitting at the ready across my knees, my back to the fire, my eyes trained directly towards the direction of that stinking elf-forest. I just knew that one of those dirty leaf-eaters was going to sneak out of the trees and come for us, but not on my watch, I’d be ready I’m here to tell ya! So I sat there staring as hard as I might down the road, waiting, my hands gently resting on the hilt of my great sea blade. Ahh the sound of the crackling fire be remindin’ me of the whip ‘n crack o’ the sails, the breeze across the ground tryin’ to be a gale tha’ would shake the main mast, I swear the ground below my feet began to sway in time with the waves. Aye mates, I swears on my wooden leg that I won’t let the waves take our ship! Get below deck boys, we’ll ride this one out either to shore or certain death in the arms of our beloved sea!! Arglaglrlg … where was I?
Oh aye, camping, miserable business I promise you. The praying orc Tsadok snores when he’s not muttering about “A good day to die!” or “BEST DAY EVAR!” in his sleep. Ya learn a lot about yer companions on the road, too much if ya ask me! The female that makes all the magic, she sleeps with her eyes half open, if tha’ don’t beat all, an the rogue sleeps flat on his back with his arms crossed and never moves. I tell ya it’s creepy that is, like he’s already in his grave stiff and cold – Gods protect us! Bah, the whole night was a waste between keepin’ me eyes open for attack from the slender pasty-faces and the noises of the others I was not as rested as I’d like ta be come sunrise.
However, I’ll tell ya watchin these other folk I be “ridin” with the next day sure put me spirits back on track good and sure. I am pretty sure that cleric of Cayden Cailean couldna tell ya which end was the front and which end was tha back of that horse he traded for. The animal had a name, but I’m pretty sure it should have been “Carry’s the Lost” or something like that. I’ll bet most of these city rats will be singin a sore tune tonight when they try and use those rumps to sit for dinner HARHARHAR! It is better than walkin though, my poor achin feet already be thankin me for the relief, ahhh much better than walkin says I!
So the mornin comes, we all rise and go about our daily rituals and other nonsense to rid ourselves of the stiffness in our joints from sleeping on tha ground. I am not certain, but I swear I heard that darn orc asking for the Gorum for plenty of chances to worship in battle this day… Now I’ll kill a man in a fair fight, or if I think he’s gonna start a fair fight, but I’ll not be askin any o’ the gods to be sendin me the chance to try! Crazy I tell ya, absolutely crazy. We finally all make our preparations and finally break camp and get moving towards, and again I canna believe I am sayin this, willingly head towards a place tha elves live without the intent to kill them.
Before we started our ride for tha day, Tsadok pulled me to tha side askin that I ride in the last place, to protect our rear in case anything might attack us from tha blind side. Reluctantly I agreed but I did see the sense in wha’ he was sayin as the best warrior needs to be tha one to protect everyone else from sneakers or cowards tha might wants to jump us while we wasn’t lookin. As if I wouldna be lookin HARHARcough. I think he may have had other intentions, but I’m not particularly good at sensin’ when others be hidin’ stuff from me, so I dunno but he was kinda nervous about me ridin’ up front.
We rode most of the day with very few stops and even I was startin’ ta chap a bit at bein in tha saddle so long. Just when I was about to start complainin, I realized we were at the edge of tha forest and this nice little road we had been followin’ turned into a pretty small an’ narrow trail right into them trees. Well this perked me right up lads, as I was very near to be killin’ elves, which always brightens my day right up! Before we headed in, the orc gave me a glance that seemed to say tha’ I needed to keep my mouth shut an’ stop yammerin’ on about killin’ pasties! I decided he was right, they shouldna know I hates them so much, so’s I can surprise them with my speed and agility, like when I be afightin a band of the royal navy’s finest astern, repellin’ the mangy invaders from takin’ my ship! YAR ya will na’er take this ship as long as there be brine sprayin’ across the bulwark and me hands have the strength to cross cutlasses with ya! KEELHAUL THEM ALL LADS! Make em rue the day they chose to cross the washboard an’ try and take this mighty vessel! ALL HANDS TO THE BOW, dinna let them elves cross the line! … I mean, ah, let’s watch the trail for dangers, it might be, ah dangerous, like in a zone of danger, a sort of danger zone.
A fat lot of good me highly trained survival instincts and wilderness skills did ta protect us from what came after ridin’ just a couple of hours into tha stinkin’ green hell-hole. Just as the trail shrank from a nice comfortable ridin’ trail to a very narrow game trail, the trees exploded all around us in fangs, claws, wings, tails, and acid clouds! For a second there I though the damn trees had come alive and were angry with us, but then I saw the giant teeth and razor sharp serrated tails and I could tell these creatures were tryin’ ta put dwarf on tha menu, which of course I couldna let happen. Before I could even leap heroically from my mount, the giant leathery winged-lizard seemed ta find every bit of dwarf-meat not covered by my shiny noqual tin-can! I hate seein’ so much of my own blood decoratin’ the trees and shrubs, as that usually never ends well for yours truly!
The battle was intense, ya can be sure of that lads! As per usual, the crazy orc and I were left to do most of the heavy liftin on this one as them damnable drakes were smart and used tactics! The others had a time of it dancin’ in and out of the acid clouds the angry whelps kept belching at us. I was a vision to behold as the spirits themselves manifested about me in a cloud and added their own bit of violence to the fray. While I am sure the fight was always in our favor, I ain’t afraid ta admit tha’ when I looked down at me chest to see one of those beasts had speared right through my shoulder with one of those wicked sharp tails, well I thought tha’ maybe I should take things a bit more seriously! The monk somehow managed to run up a tree and hang upside down from a limb while fightin, and still managed to mock me and remind me not ta stand in front of the sharp tails so much. With a few choice words I reminded that I was busy killin things!
Things started ta look a bit on the grim side for us, we mighty band of friends. None of us were down mind you, but me wounds were starting to take their toll and the Hured the cleric was havin’ a might bit of a hard time keepin’ me in fightin’ shape. Then as if we hadna had enough surprises today, a band of the sneaky forest gits appear out of thin air and shoot at us! Methinks they were the worst shots ever because they didna hit a one of us, but kept pokin’ holes in the drakes we were strugglin’ with. After just a couple of seconds the third an’ final beast fell to the ground with a whump as it’s great bulk crashed down. I immediately turned to face these new threats and prepared to charge right into the middle of them. I could already feel me blade sinkin’ into soft elf-flash and the pleasing jerk a sword makes when yer blade catches and sticks a bit in that spot between bones in the neck… why wasn’t Tsadok attacking? I stared in disbelief as my other faithful companions sheathed their weapons and began to parlay with the savages! Tsadok quickly got in my way, I tried to move him to the left so I could charge, but his god had made him the size of a house (and he weighed as much as one too) so he refused to budge.
Fightin’ off the exhaustion tha’ always follows a big battle after the rage subsides, I looked down and noticed tha’ a fair amount of me insides were now on tha outsides of me skin and tha’ me hands were barely able to keep me blade from fallin’ to tha ground. Both Hured and Tsadok had ta make prayers on me behalf to their respective gods ta keep me alive that day, I’ll not be forgettin them beasties for a long time. Out of respect for their help, and because they seemed to not be willin’ ta fight the elves, I decided tha’ I would hold my rage towards the elves for now. I’m sure a moment would come that would provide me with just tha right time ta attack!
The leader of the tree-huggers spoke out harshly and quickly, just beggin’ me blood ta boil and pop him one as he declared his name ta be Kaershiel or something similar. His guards kept a close eye on me as I kept me as me knuckles were white on the grip of me blade, but they be makin’ no moves against me or me friends so I did the same. I’ll tell ya though, it be a long quiet ride to their village where Kaershielwhatever paraded us about like we was putting on a show in the square. It were like these little folk had never seen humans or dwarves before, and tha’ canna be right as all elves hates us dwarves, I think… Yar that’s the sea’s truth I knows it in me bones, elves hate the stout folk and the dwarves hates the bark-biters. But for hatin’ me cause I’ma dwarf, they sure did seem like they’d never seen the likes of us before…hmmm.
Kaershielsywhatsy takes us to a nice and clean hut/house on the edge of town an asks tha’ we wait here for a bit. Other gits came an took tha horses off to feed an water them, I’ll let them do tha’ as those are a set of chores this pirate never looked forward to! While we waited, the monk kept remindin’ me that we were basically bein hed captive here in this house. He went on and on about how these elves were so such easy folk to fight with and how mad he would feel if he were surrounded on all sides by an ancient enemy and how he wouldna let himself be captured by such lesser beings and on and on and on. Me rage was beginning to get tha better of me until Tsadok stepped in and silenced tha’ monk with one of his combination tusk-snarls and glares that peel the tar right off the decks! It’s probably for the best, these elves all look very battle-ready and it woulda been a tough fight for me to take them all.
Kaershielhishighandmighty comes back and takes us to meet this Eviana lady tha’ seems ta be tha leader of this outpost. I stand in tha back and doze a bit as Tsadok and the rogue do a lot of talkin’ back and forth with the elf lady. I only really woke up long enough ta accept the big bag o’ gold she dropped on us for comin all the way out to this god-forsaken place. She mentions tha’ the dark elves have been sneakin’ over the walls and raiding them for weeks now and tha’ she would pay very well if’n we was to join her band in killin them elves. Now this put your’s truly in a mighty sticky spot ta figure out. It goes completely against my old heart ta work for a stinkin elf, but when said stinkin elf be payin ya hard gold ta kill other nastier stinkin elves… wells I guess we be havin an accord! I be now in tha line of work known as “elf killin” (legal like now, as these be nasty evil dirtier elves).
So for now lads, I be wanderin about this outpost tryin ta find the ways these drow keep sneakin in and killin folk. I be tryin ta avoid the elves as much as can be, they all talk slow and loud like we are children an it makes me want ta cut them off at tha knees. Not to mention but I keep stubbing me toes and bouncing me nose off invisible magical barriers and walls magic users have put in place to defend tha town. All in all, it’s been a long day!
I am the one playing the dwarf barbarian in this motley band. I thought I would jump in as well because UseplanB has been doing a real great job with the journal and I thought it might be fun to add some stuff as we go along.
My character is a neutral Dwarven Barbarian also of a 25 point build.
Rolfe was raised in the same manner as most other children of his race; hard labor, strict classes, and military bearing at all times were the focus of his instructors. Two things quickly became apparent to Rolfe’s instructors under the mountain, he was exceptionally skilled and comfortable working weapon and he was equally impossible to keep under control.
While Rolfe completely came to life in his combat training, at all other times the yoke of order and control that defined the Dwarven way of life constantly chaffed his will. Every other person he met seemed perfectly content and happy to fall in line and accept the structured and military-like precision that is the norm, but for Rolfe, that way of life was like a slow and rancid poison that was seeping under his skin minute by minute.
Upon reaching adulthood, Rolfe decided he could not handle it a moment longer and immediately renounced the order and organization of his childhood. After so many years of being oppressed by his elders, the life of freedom and living in the wild seemed to be the only future for him. Over time, after wandering on his own for a few years, he finally meandered his way about until he finally ran out of money just about the time Riddleport came into view.
Figuring there might be some sort of establishment looking for a hired sword, Rolfe shouldered his mighty greatsword and headed into the chaos, and that was just fine for him.
Not so much a journal entry, more along the line of musings…
Yar me hearties, I be havin no idea why I be writing things down, other than if that crazy praying orc can do it then by the briny deep so canz I! Argg I also need to stop sounding so much like one of those sun-baked halfwits laying about the docks looking for work. It seems that since finding this magnificent blade, I just can’t help myself. The call of the sea, yar it makes me heart shiver ‘n me eyes a turnin’ yonder towards the blessed deep blue. Ahh I yearn for the feel of that there salty breeze passing against me cheeks and the rocking of the deck below mah stout legs…. Blblbrlrlblbl where was I?
So, I’m in Riddleport, overall not a bad place to be compared to where I come from. I’d prefer the open chaos of the markets and the threat of a fight at every turn to the boring and rigid life back “home”. Can’t thank the gods enough that I’m out of that horrible life and out on my own, dwarves… who needs em? I heard about this big event at this gambling hall called the Gold Goblin, and as I checked my empty pockets for the fifth time that day, I thought I might mosey over to see if someone could use a hired blade to guard the door. Somehow, in ways I don’t even rightly remember, I got hooked up with this motley band of folks that all got caught up in a big fight that erupted in middle of the nice little party Saul had going there.
Aye lads, it were a glorious battle that night for sure! Many a soul danced with the devils down the long planks into the sea that eve, and me arms swung a blade with the strength of the waves ya can believe that ya can! Errr, I mean it was a brilliant battle and all of my current comrades were the reason for the victory. We’ve decided to stick it out together to see where all of this mess leads us, and so far it has been both bloody and fun, not to mention we’ve made tons of gold in the process.
Most of the folks that I have thrown my lot in with seem to be of the most respectable kind of ruffians, thieves with hearts of gold ye might say. We have one fellow that does marvelous things with a hand axe, short sword, and lock picks; one fine young lass, well she makes lots of dancing lights, balls of fire, and arrows made of pure energy and other such things that make no sense to me. One of the lads is cleric and a fine upstanding young man, I certainly can agree with him on his choice to worship the Lucky Drunk! We also have this strange man with a pet fox with far too many tails, and all he does is lay around and tell us all how badly we are doing and how we should watch our form or how we shouldn’t stand in the “green stuff on the floor” or how he can’t believe we could still be alive if we are this incompetent! ARRRG he be makin’ me rage with the fury of the cold unforgiving deep YAARR lads we be wantin’ to string him from the mast!
*cough cough* Rounding out the group is a half-orc worshiper of Gorum, he and I tend to see the thick of battle the most as we have very similar ideas about how to win a fight. He is almost as willing as I am to rush into a fight, but I think some of that divine power that flows through his veins tempers his rage a bit. He seems to be more calculating in his tactics, where I believe a bigger greatsword answers every problem in life, yarr.
*scratches head* I’ll be honest here lads, I haven’t exactly cared much about why we were doing the things we were doin, or even really what we were doin at the time harharhar! Tsadok the praying orc there usually has to explain things to me and remind me who needs the keel-haulin and who is our friend, I don’t rightly care much about the difference, but he keeps me in line. All I know is that so far with these fine lords and ladies I’ve killed more men and elves (legally mind you, all in the name of self-defense aye!), I’ve owned a bar, I’ve single-handedly slain a giant killer whale that wanted me stout sea legs for a dwarf-snack, and giant drake-lizard-things nearly ripped me from stem to stern! It’s been a glorious road so far, me hearties, and this old sea Cap’n can tell ye, it looks ta’ be one grand adventure ahead of us. I expect to string up more elves, slay more beasts, and send more souls to their watery graves below in the briny deep says I!!