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M Rattus norvegicus

Round 0:
Charles blesses everyone with the divine aura of the New God, granting everyone a boon on pretty much everything.

Round 1

Fast PCs
Drot and Mouse head off to hide behind the old destroyed demonic altar - one in which Charles, Drot, and Tesswyn destroyed so log ago.

Kahtia brings forth the power of wind to try and knock off all the guards while Charles fires an arrow at one of the genuflecting reptilians.

The arrow pierces the reptilian's skull at the same moment that there of the guards are flung into the lava. Their screams echo in the cave as they burn.

5d6 ⇒ (4, 6, 5, 1, 1) = 17
5d20 ⇒ (5, 5, 2, 18, 12) = 42

Fast Enemies

Slow PCs
Tesswyn rises up into the air, making her declarations.

She brings forth ravens to attack the remaining two guards. One is nearly fully consumed by the ravens, the other heavily bleeding but still alive.

2d20 ⇒ (6, 9) = 15

Slow Enemies
The four remaining reptilians all stand up and roar, but the roar is overshadowed by the dragon, who dives into the river of lava and starts swimming towards Tesswyn. It surges out of the lava, causing waves to splash onto the shoreline. As it surges out, it reaches up to snap its jaws at the flying woman. The maw slams shut on air several yards shy of where Tesswyn is flying, and the dragon falls back into the red glowing river.

1d20 ⇒ 1

4 rounds of Bless remaining.

Everyone up! Declare fast or slow init and state your actions!

M Rattus norvegicus

To help organize things, let's start with combat rounds.

Round 1:

Everyone huddles together and starts to plan. You're at the base of the stairs, barely hidden behind the curve of the cave before entering the enormous cavern where the dragon is bathing in praise from the reptilians.

Everyone up! Declare fast or slow init and state your actions!

M Rattus norvegicus

As the minutes pass by, the dragon swims in the lava river, occasionally giving out a "small" roar - loud enough to feel the deep rumble in your muscles and bones, but not so loud as to echo out of the cave.

The reptilians - those who aren't prostrate at the prayer altar - finish putting the prisoners in a back corner. There's no real cage or pen down here to keep them contained, so instead they leave handful of reptilians to keep guard over them.

I'll throw up a map of the area for visualization.

M Rattus norvegicus

Not wasting any more time, you make your way into the cave, and find the steps descending into the darkness as you once. The first dozen steps or so are covered with blood and gore from when the fleeing reptilians were slaughtered with magical explosions. It makes the top steps slippery.

Once you are past that, it's an easier climb down. The stairway is long and narrow, spiraling down deep into the earth.

After an hour, you finally start to see the glow of the lava river from when some of you fought the salamander cult worshiping some demonic brood mother. Peering around the corner, you see the old river. Nothing seems out of place at first - there's the altar (damaged and not even used as an altar anymore), there's the bridge over the river, there are plenty of reptilians about moving the prisoners towards the back of the cave. A new place of worship is set up close to the river of lava - It seems as if these reptilians have been worshipping whatever made that terror inducing roar.

And then you see it. Something shifts within the lava. Something is swimming with in. The lava bulges up as if something was emerging. A head. A lizard head. A giant lizard head, attached to a longer neck.

You recall the old stories - stories of wild beasts barely more intelligent than animals that used to roam the wilds, flying through the skies and consuming anything they want to. They are attracted to gold like a dwarf, but are as mean and vicious as a wolverine. They are the dragons. And right here in this very cave was one.

The dragon has had it's wings violently removed, the scarred stumps still stick out of its back. It also has a large scar across its throat. The scales, however, contrast vibrantly - each has a rune carved into them, which shimmer in the intense heat. Its tail ends in a strange scoop shape, which seems to be an attachment to its real tail.

An aura of fear washes over you. Make a Will challenge roll or become Frightened for a number of rounds equal to your insanity score + 1d3.

M Rattus norvegicus

The boy responds, My family lives in these forests. We have for as long as we can remember. But then these lizard things captured us. At first, they just took a few of us, but after a few weeks more and more came. We've been here for weeks. They build those huts and then take people inside, we hear screams and then nothing. And we hear the loud roar from the caves. My grandfather says it is the road of a dragon.

M Rattus norvegicus

...Micah, says the older boy. The younger girl with him does not respond.

M Rattus norvegicus

Fine, my liege, Ken retorts, the last part under his breath. A few miners chuckle at it, but Philip just shakes his head and walks away.

The Miner's start to head off back towards the camp, leaving behind two people you do not recognize. These two are dressed in the same deer hide clothing you have seen previously. They cling to each other in fear; the older of the two looks no older than fourteen years old.

M Rattus norvegicus

Kenneth speaks up, You bloody well know as much as we do! We've only been here a few hours!

But Philip pulls him back, Calm down, Ken. We're just here to help.

Help! If you're here to help, why the f*@* are we still here? We need to get out of here as soon as possible! Get out of this damn forest! F**! the rest of them! We need to run!

Several others grumble agreement.

Someone give me an intellect or will attack roll vs the group's will (11), and a speach to calm them down. Failure means some percentage of the crowd will be riled up into a panic and start fleeing the area.

M Rattus norvegicus

With quick succession and teamwork, you're able to dispatch the remaining reptilians - even if they were poor bastards who were kidnapped and forced to change by some sickening process.

Next, you hear up a metal rod to try and melt the goo away from the current survivors. Between everyone, it only takes a short time. Maybe half an hour at most to free the remaining people.

Phillip and Kenneth work together to bring them all about and keep them organized.

Prisoners still captured: 24/60.
Prisoners Rescued: 18
Prisoners lost: 18

What's next?

M Rattus norvegicus

As Drot rushes to help, Tesswyn immediately puts down two of the emerging new born reptilians.

Meanwhile, Kahtia escapes away to protect herself.

Anyone else doing anything?

M Rattus norvegicus

Charles, using life sense, does not seem to find any additional life beyond what is obvious. There are no hidden life forms within the egg shaped objects or within the prisoners.

Both ideas to freeze the goop off and melt the goop off will work. Freezing it will take longer, but melting it comes with a risk of injuring the prisoners.

Freezing takes 30 minutes per prisoner. Melting takes 5 minutes per prisoner, but an intellect challenge roll is required for each prisoner or they take 2d6 damage.

Kahtia and Tesswyn move to investigate the other huts. The next hut they look at has three more people all gooped up. These all look like miners. So does the next. It seems as if the four outer huts contain miners, while the inner huts contain some other group of people, dressed similarly to one of the prisoners you rescued earlier. The first inner hut you open shows the three people, with the purple ooze considerably more brittle. The faces on the people seem to have scales, much like the reptilians you fought earlier.

Suddenly, one of the prisoners breaks free from the brittle goop, the purple substance falling away in shards and flakes. It looks fully reptilian, dressed in tattered deer hides. It looks at you with confusion and vomits forth a stream of acid.

KT: 1d2 ⇒ 1
Acid Stream vs Agility: 1d20 + 6 - 1d6 ⇒ (17) + 6 - (5) = 18
Acid Damage: 6d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 1, 3, 2, 5) = 19

The other two prisoners are starting to stir.

M Rattus norvegicus

That's insane. We need to get away as fast as we can.

M Rattus norvegicus

You're going back down there?! the miner says in surprise.

M Rattus norvegicus

Tesswyn's Updated Journey:
You sneak into the cave, and find the familiar steps descending into the darkness as you once, a long time ago, ascending out of the darkness. The first dozen steps or so are covered with blood and gore from when the fleeing reptilians were slaughtered with magical explosions. It makes the top steps slippery.

The stream of blood doesn't seem to stop. Liquid blood flows down the path and leaves foot prints that are easy to follow. From down below, you can hear the echos of battle. Something is fighting down there. After a few more moments, it stops.

You make your way down and find a miner trying to climb up. He's panting heavily, but he seems to be free of pursuit.

Prisoners still captured: 51/60.
Prisoners Rescued: 6
Prisoners lost: 3

M Rattus norvegicus

Mouse walks over to a hut and sits down next to a doorway.

A tired Mouse - however it is that a being made of metal could be tired - decided to lean up against one of the doors to a hut. His heavy frame knocks the door over and reveals the inside. Three humans are within, their bodies glued to the inside of the hut by a strange purple viscous gel, each person on one of the interior walls. Next to each one is a large egg-shaped fleshy object, about the size of a dog. The object oozes the same purple slime which is coating the three victims.

The smell here is even worse than outside, and it's clear this is where that wall of stink is coming from.

Viewing and smelling this scene is horrifying. Make a Will challenge roll with one bane or gain 1 point of insanity.

Tesswyn sneaks into the cave.

You sneak into the cave, and find the familiar steps descending into the darkness as you once, a long time ago, ascending out of the darkness. The first dozen steps or so are covered with blood and gore from when the fleeing reptilians were slaughtered with magical explosions. It makes the top steps slippery.

Once you are past that, it's an easier climb down. The stairway is long and narrow, and you're quickly able to catch up to the descending band of reptilians and their prisoners.

Not wanting to stay gone for long, however, you turn around and head back up out of the caves.

She's gone about ten minutes before returning.

M Rattus norvegicus

Besides the cave, there are still nine huts in the area that the reptilians were guarding. The guts are made of wood and straw, and as you get close to them you can tell that the horrifying smell is eminating from them.

There's also several animal pens. Most were holding livestock animals for consumption (and one of them still has a few pigs in them). Only one was designed to hold people. It looks as if the people could have easily escaped the pens, so something else must have kept them from escaping. You can see human refuse in the pen. And even some human remains.

M Rattus norvegicus

Between everyone, all the remaining reptilians I'm the area are killed. Drot slaughters the three next to him while Charles kills the one next to mouse. Mouse and Tesswyn use their bow and pistol to kill the final two gaurding a hut.

The remainder are either fleeing or down in the cave - with whatever made that horrific roar.

Drot is still berserk, wanting to attack whatever living thing is near him. Which means he will either rush into the cave entrance or attack Charles or Mouse.

If you go into the cave, make an agility challenge roll. This is true for anyone who goes into the cave.

M Rattus norvegicus

Drot shoves the guard violently down the cave entrance, and he rumbles backwards into the hole in the ground.

Meanwhile, several of the reptilians starts to flee.

Kahtia's summoned shadow dives into the cave hole with the intent on saving prisoners. It disappears into the caves shadows.

Four reptilians prove braver than their own people and charge in to attack.

One rushes at Mouse, claws digging into the clockwork. 12 damage.

Three more rush at Charles and Drot, but only one of them manages to injure Drot. 8 Damage.

Then Charles and Drot were suddenly engulfed in a shockwave of reverberating air. A roar like a moose being f*&#ed by a whale in a cave rumbled low, but loudly, from within the earth. Their insides shook from the roar.

M Rattus norvegicus

Quick post:

Tesswyn kills one guard, while Kahtia blinds the other. Mouse kills a reptilian.

Guard 2: 34 and Blinded.

Still awaiting Drot.

M Rattus norvegicus

Tesswyn fires an arrow, and Drot can feel the wind of the feathers fly past his ear as the arrow lodges into the shamans skull, killing it instantly.

Drot the slams his hammer into one of the two guards.

Philip charges the reptilian nearest him and drives his pick straight into the beast's skull.

Phillip also manages to withstand the wall of stench as he hears the huts.

Fast Enemies

The two guards each try to scratch and bite Charles and Drot. They each manage to draw blood on both the heroes, despite their best efforts to protect themselves.

Drot, take 11 damage. Charles, take 9 damage.

Slow PCs
Mouse slowly advanced, like a steadfast machine. His guns continue to blaze and he kills another reptilian soldier.

Slow enemies
Several of the smaller reptilians advance forward to spew acid.

The reptilian who went after Philip missed, the acid spray burning the dirt beside him. Three reptilians go after Charles and Drot. One misses Charles, another misses Drot. But a third hits Drot square on.

25 damage to Drot

Finally, another reptilian spews acid at Mouse, hitting him.
16 Damage to Mouse.

Prisoners still captured: 52/60.
Prisoners Rescued: 5
Prisoners lost: 3

Damage tracker
Shaman: dead
Guard 1: 40
Guard 2: 20

M Rattus norvegicus

The reptilian with the robes continues to yell orders as he and his two body guards move into the village proper. Those reptilians with animals and captives all move towards the cave entrance, leaving only the few guards behind. There's the leader, two body guards, and about ten or so reptilian soldiers remaining above ground - but they're spread out at one or two to a hut.

The other guards have been killed, or have retreated to the underground. A few prisoners have escaped and are running for the fenceline.

The reptilian with the robes then casts a spell, but it doesn't seem to have a visible effect.

Slow turns

Kahtia blasts the shaman and his bodyguards with some explosive darts, The explosive magic enveloped the shaman twice over, seriously injuring him. But it also hits a lot of other reptilians trying to get into the protection of the cave killing them and several prisoners as well. It does allow a fourth prisoner to escape, however.

Tessywn fires her bow at one of the body guards, adding the fletching to the plumage of the larger beast's natural plumage. Mouse continues to move forward, sparks flying and guns blazing.

Slow enemies

The two larger guards strike at Charles and Drot. The bite and scratch with fang and claw, ripping into both the human and the orc.
11 damage to Drot, 16 to Charles.

Prisoners still captured: 52/60.
Prisoners Rescued: 5
Prisoners lost: 3

Damage tracker
Shaman: 42
Guard 1: 27
Guard 2: 20

M Rattus norvegicus

Tesswyn picks off another while Mouse kills three in a row. The herd is thinning, but there are still a lot of them.

Meanwhile, Kahtia "encourages" two of the reptilians to fight, which allows a few more prisoners to make a run for it. A miner, and two more of these strange folk wearing deer hide clothing.

The man who first started fleeing catches up to Drot and Charles as they run in. He brings with him a whaff of stink, like a rolling wave of pestulant ooze.

Charles and Drot continue to rush forward past him, hoping to save more prisoners. As they do so, they seem to hit an olfactol barrier. The smell hits them as their nostrils swim through the swamp of miasma that comes off the "wall."

The further they step in, the more it coats them. It washes over them as if they were taking a dive into an outhouse. It's a smell so profound they can taste it. Surely, it will take days or even weeks to wash this off. The reptilians must he able to easily track by scent any prisoner or fellow reptile that ever leaves this area.

The coating of this putrid scent wrecks your mental state. Make a Will challenge roll with one bane or gain 1d3 insanity and be Frightened for a number of rounds equal to your new score.

At the other end of the compound, two reptilians exit the cave. These two are by far more distinct than any you've seen so far. Full feathers crests crown their heads. They're easily two feet taller than any you've seen so far, and half again as wide, covered in muscle. Behind them, a third reptilian emerges. This one - even though it looks about the same as any of the others you've seen so far - carries an air of authority about him. He's also dressed in a robe which looks to be made of human scalps, the diverse coloring of hair making it a multicolored cloak.

He starts calling out commands, and the reptilians on the grounds start to organize. Groups of five move towards each of the hut to defend them.

M Rattus norvegicus

The group starts to descend upon the reptilian village with might and power.

Tesswyn and Charles each kill a reptilian while Mouse rains down the lightning on the cave entrance, blowing several of them back and catching a human captive in the crossfire.

Drot tries to intimidate the reptilians and they start to fall back towards the cave entrance, bumping into those trying to get away from the lightning.

Kahtia magically compels one to drop a captive. The human immediately starts running towards you. None of you recognize him; he's dressed in what looks like deer skin clothing and their face is awash with fear and relief.

M Rattus norvegicus

The compound seems to have a few dozen of the reptilians scattered about. As you watch, it seems like they're trying to retreat into the cave system. They're grabbing livestock and bringing it down into the hole in the ground that is the cave entrance. It is not a quick process.

You hear people scream and holler as the reptilians are also trying to move people out of their cages and towards the cave.

A few reptilians are standing guard along the outermost huts, keeping an eye out for Intruders. There seems to be 8 of them, spaced evenly around the edge of the "village."

What's your plan?

M Rattus norvegicus

You burst through the fence and start to head inside. The other side has a short growth of trees before a clearing. It looks like they've cleared out a good hundred yards to the cave entrance.

There are fifty or more of these reptilians in here. Some of them are injured from your recent slaughter. They're all moving about frantically, preparing for the upcoming battle after you alerted your precence by destroying part of the fence.

There are huts scattered about. Pens with pigs, goats, people, chickens, and more.

The compound is a half circle with a 50 yard radius spread out from the cave entrance. All the trees have been cleared and used to build the fence, make small huts, and make pens for their livestock.

There's a total of six pens and nine huts.

M Rattus norvegicus

Per discord...

Kahttia says she's got this, and immediately casts two spells. A section of the wall blows apart violently, sending shards throughout the area. Everyone instinctively protects their eyes and ducks for cover, but fortunately no one is hurt.

When it's all said and done, Kahtia can feel two new bruises forming.

M Rattus norvegicus

1d3 ⇒ 11d2 ⇒ 1

Tesswyn and Kahtia make quick work of two of the reptilians before they even have a chance to act. The third spews acid at Charles, but misses completely.

Working together, you're quickly able to kill the last one.

Now, you're at the fence. It's 15' high. What do you do?

M Rattus norvegicus

You make your way forward through the thick brush, bramble snagging at your clothes as you push through. The bitter cold day sneaks its way in as your cloaks get caught.

Still, you manage to push forward ever closer to the wooden fence.

CHDHKMPT: 3d8 ⇒ (4, 8, 2) = 14

Suddenly, three reptilians emerge out of the brush and spew acid streams at you.

Everyone make a perception challenge roll. If you succeed, you may act before they do.

M Rattus norvegicus

Kahtia impressively summons a giant wall of swords in a magnificent display of magical power. Her spell kills many of the reptilians on the spot, but the few that survived were easily picked off by Tesswyn's silent arrows and Mouse's ear-shattering hand cannon.

After a moment, things god quiet. Except for the soft swishing of blades along the wall and the gentle breeze in the air.

Charles moved over to Philip to heal him, which helped ease the pain but didn't revert his disfigurement.

Behind the wall of swords, those perceptive enough can see the reptilians running full bore for the safety of their own wall.

Combat is effectively over. What now?

M Rattus norvegicus

Between Kahita, Tesswyn, Mouse, and Drot, you bring down all the immediate foes. Except that one guy. That one guy was a stubborn bastard.

Philip, however, was not going to put up with any s#+#. He charged straight at it slamming his pick into the lizard's skull, killing it. He stayed there for some moments, breathing heavy as his face became more disfigured from the acidic spit.

Meanwhile, Mouse's lightning bolt from the sky have sent the clustered group scattering in every direction. Others try to fold back into the shadows.

The enemy does not advance this round. They seem to be waiting for you to come in closer. Also, everyone should be blessed. For one minute, you cannot he frightened and all attacks and challenge rolls are made with a boon.

Everyone up! Declare fast or slow init and state your actions!

M Rattus norvegicus

Slow enemies

Two of the diminutive reptilian creatures rush at the horse upon which sits Tesswyn and Kahtia. One leaps upon Tesswyn; the claws fail to dig in but the powerful jaw clamps down around one arm. Tesswyn, 3 damage.

The other leaps upon the horse biting and scratching, killing the beast instantly. The magic forces it to pop out of existence and the women both unceremoniously fall to the ground.

Three other reptilians carefully approach, but they don't get close. Instead, frills pop out of their necks and they hiss a stream of fluid. One stream lands on Mouse's horse, melting the creature. Guts pour out of it's open side before it disappears into ethereal nothingness.

Another jet of acid sprays Philip. The mean screams in pain as his face starts to melt off.

The last spit of acid hits right where Mouse was, but fortunately his mount disappearing beneath him caused the reptilian to miss.

Other reptilians move back and form bigger groups.

Kahtia, Mouse, Tesswyn: Agility Challenge Roll or be prone.

Everyone up! Declare fast or slow init and state your actions!

M Rattus norvegicus

Tesswyn alerts the group to what everyone else already sees, and immediately her two lovers - both past and present - seek to protect her.

Mouse tells the entire forest that he's here to invade by firing a gunshot into one of the lizard people, killing it instantly. Blood spurts out of it coating a nearby shrub.

Then Drot moves in to a larger group of them and fries the entire group. Their electrically burnt corpses bring about a pungent odor to the immediate area.

quick update; will be posting their turn later today.

M Rattus norvegicus

Quick post - since no one is surprised, you'll all get initiative.

The scene is a dense forest. Up ahead about 50-100 yards is the fenceline (you can barely make it out between the foliage - and it blends in well with the fall colors).

Around you is some number of creatures, humanoid but with scales, hiding in the brush and the branches of the trees. Some are alone, some bunches up.

Everyone is up.

M Rattus norvegicus

Mouse's key is wound and the clockwork comes back to life with a static spark that zaps the person who turned the key.

Moments after, Kahtia summons four horses.

Bah! Philip grunts. Horses ain't gonna do you no good here, Lady. Philip stubbornly moves out on foot - whether he proves to be right is yet to be seen.

Tesswyn mounts the horse behind Kahtia, leaving three horses for Mouse, Drot, and Charles.

Charles and Drot mention about the strange compound they witnessed just a few minutes before they heard the screams from the camp. Tesswyn recalls the same camp from her dream.

You head off into the forest in the cold fall day. It's colder than it normally is; the clear blue skies don't trap the heat and an added cold front came in to drop the temperatures down below what is typical for the season. Not that Kahtia or Mouse would know. Or notice.

You move away from the camp, following the easy trail of leaves brushed off branches as the miner-nappers. The trail leads right back to the fenced compound.

Perception checks. There are hidden enemies in the brush and the trees. Any appropriate boons/banes you may have to avoid being surprised by the upcoming attack, please use them.

M Rattus norvegicus

For future reference:

It's late fall. November-ish. The weather is cold, but not cold enough to start snowing. The non-eveegreen trees have turned colors but the foliage is still somewhat thick. Leaves are falling, coating the ground in reds, yellows, and oranges.

For those of you who just teleported in, consider the climate difference between here and there.

M Rattus norvegicus

Philip groans relief as Charles heals him. Oh, that's so much better. Thank you, Sir Charles.

He gets up and grabs his pickaxe; Yes, they went this way. As best I can tell, they came in from the trees and from under the brush. But they left on foot carrying everyone out.

As he walks you over to where they left, you can see a fairly obvious trail breaking through the foliage.

M Rattus norvegicus

Phil takes a few heavy breaths, clutching his side as he tries to speak. We... We were attacked.. They... Came out of nowhere... Strange lizard people.. They took everyone... Don't.. know.. why i was spared.

M Rattus norvegicus

Tesswyn manages to stabilize Philip and prevent the muscled man from dying. Fortunately, she was able to complete her task before Drot nearly bowled her over, which could have easily killed her patient.

Mouse comes out of hiding with hesitance while Charles still looks on from the sidelines.

The fires still burn, and their crackling seem to be the only sounds beyond your own voices.

Thank you, Philip wheezes out, still clearly hurt.

M Rattus norvegicus

Kahtia, Mouse, Tesswyn:
Tesswyn wakes from her dream to grab Kahtia and Mouse. She pulls out the Incantation and starts to read it, instantly teleporting the three to the location she witnessed in her dreams.

The trio find themselves embroiled in chaos. The base camp is in ruins. Parts and supplies are strewn everywhere. Several tents are on fire. Blood splatters white tent fabric and rocks - and even the darker muddy ground if one looks hard enough.

There is a man on the ground bleeding, barely moving, barely conscious.

Beyond the camp you see a dense forest with large trees placed about and thick shrubbery taking up the space between them. It's easy to see the skies between some of the trees, but difficult to see far or travel on the ground.

Charles, Drot:
As you sneak closer to the fenced off area, you start to hear screams. It's coming from back at your base camp! You make your way back, carefully moving through the thicker trees and shrubs near the fence line, but as you get further away and make it back to your deer trail you're able to move much quicker.

When the trees thin enough to see the sky, you can see smoke coming from the camp. As you get closer, you hear a whomph sound. And suddenly, you see Tesswyn and Kahtia at the camp.

The camp is in ruins. Tools and equipment are strewn everywhere. You see blood splatters here and there. All your allies' are missing except Philip, who is gravely wounded and on the ground. A strange mechanical being - a clockwork (you've heard of those but may or may not have never seen one) with small sparks popping out of him at odd intervals. Drot instantly knows that these sparks are things which could cause fires.

M Rattus norvegicus

Months have passed, and the two friends - the educated orc and the pious human - have decided to go explore the old caves in which they narrowly escaped. The caves to which they escaped when the volcano went off and decimated the village they were living in. The caves in which a strange broodmother lived in lava and was worshipped by Salanders. The caves in which Charles last heard the Martyr directly speak to him. The caves with the gold.

And it was for the gold that they returned. Not for fighting evil or on a religious Hajj or to save someone beloved - but for the pure and base desire of riches.

And so they packed and headed out into the hills to find the entrance from which they barely escaped, leading thirty odd people from the horrors within. They did not know what they would find, but they hoped to find gold. They hoped to find that told abandoned dwarven smith's workshop where he poured molten gold over living people in pursuit of the most accurate statues. The workshop where the two friends lost one of their own as the wall lost its strength and the molten gold broke through.

They traveled for weeks to return to the general area and spent weeks more trying to find the cave itself. Once they found it, it became obvious why it was so challenging to locate - someone had moved in. And that someone took painful efforts to hide the entrance.

Confident in themselves, the two friends advanced into the hidden grove surrounding the cave's entrance. They crept closer and closer, unaware of the cold souless eyes watching their every move.

You see all this in your dreams. In addition, you see some strange human-shaped beings covered in scales, mouths full of sharp teeth and hands ending in claws. They are many. They descend upon Charles and Drot. The two fight valiantly but are unable to fend off the strange scaled people. There are just too many.

Charles and Drot are thrown into cages. They are taken out at sunset and sacrificed on the moon rise. The blood drains from a hundred cuts on their bodies, dripping into bowls which are used to paint elaborate symbols on the bodies of the strange people in some sort of blood ritual.

And then you wake.

M Rattus norvegicus

Mouse Novice Story Prompts:

Adept: 6. You found a strange relic and called forth its power. The item was destroyed, but the experience left you forever changed.

Interesting Thing: 5, 10. A weapon of the GM’s choice that always emits light in a 1-yard radius. (This can be your gun)

Downtime: 13, 4. You traveled extensively. Add one language to the list of languages you can speak.

Mouse Expert Story Prompts:

Fighter: 1. You turned away from the path you were following to focus on improving your combat capabilities and become a weapons expert.

Interesting Thing: 1, 20. A reputation for being a badass.

Downtime: 15, 14. You escaped nearly certain death. You start the next adventure with Fortune.

Mouse Master Story Prompts:

Gunslinger: 3. The talents you gain were always within you. Your struggles have revealed the way to reach your potential.

Interesting Thing: 2, 16. An iron coin with a scratch on one side or a steel coin with a dragon’s head on either side.

Downtime: You tried to travel, but a storm or a natural disaster dashed your plans. You lost one item of the GM’s choice.

(I was going to give you one enchanted item on top of this, but that last roll made you lose it. Feel free to write in an enchanted item into your story that you lose during your final downtime event)

In addition to the above, because your last character died, you start the game with one healing potion.

M Rattus norvegicus

One last bit that never came up during roleplay. I've been keeping a strong tracking of it, waiting for the right moment to reveal it, but it just never came up.

That mask had one last negative effects: it consumed vitality.

Charles, your effective age has increased by 36 years.

I've been unable to make a post revealing such, because every time Charles had his mask off around other people who would notice, he's been covered in filth and gore. This will be revealed the first time Charles takes a bath. :)

On the other side, Drot has gained two points of Corruption. One point for each use of the Was Scepter. No marks of darkness were gained (if they were, they would have revealed the corruption during gameplay).

M Rattus norvegicus

This marks the end of a truly harrowing and dangerous journey. A journey fraught with peril, with death behind every corner. But everyone survived. Everyone was ok as you trudged back into the small oasis town.

That was until an argument ensued, which set off a chain of events that would change the face of Oasis for years to come. A chain of events that ended in the death of many - but one particular death of a dear friend.

As the hours went on, everyone got to work trying to help people. There's not a single person unaffected by the events of the night. But there are many who are pitching in to help the wounded. Or at least appear to help the wounded while they actually prey on them. Because some people are just a+#+~~*s.

Everyone may now level up to 7. All inventory you own that isn't enchanted in some way is ruined and you will need to purchase new equipment.

Please tell a level-up story that encompasses any new abilities that you gain which would not have already been told in the game so far. In addition, please include your new Interesting Thing and your Down Time event. Down Time Will be six months.

There are optional tables on Shadow p.78 for story development and master path quest. You may roll, choose, or make up your own.

Your interesting thing: A tattoo of a set of initials that changes at will, and offers no explanations as to why.

Downtime event: 11→15. You worked. You earned some. You lived the comfortable lifestyle.

Interesting Thing: A staff with a head that takes on the form of an animal which differs depending on whom it’s facing.

Downtime: 7→20. An old enemy tried to kill you but failed. You suspect another attempt might be coming.

Your Interesting Thing: You got a new pet: Lice!

Your downtime event: 18→10. You were struck by lightning and have a nasty scar to show for it.

Your interesting thing: A comb that untangles knots of all kinds.

Downtime Event: 8->17. You tried to travel, but a storm or a natural disaster dashed your plans. You lost one item of the GM’s choice.

M Rattus norvegicus

Before anyone has a chance to act, Gärwin leaps into the portal, jumping beyond into the Void. You see him floating out there, beyond the doorway. He slowly turns and smiles as the void tear seals shut.

And reality turns back to normal before anything worse can happen.

M Rattus norvegicus

Current town condition:

Most people are still alive, although everyone has changed in some form or another. The influence of the void is strong here.

One of the buildings has collapsed, the other five are still standing, but damaged.

Most of the tents are damaged, collapsed, or blown over in some capacity. Very few stand.

There's only a little actual death here. Whoever was in that collapsed building - the Silver Sands - likely didn't survive. And whoever was the closest to the detonations didn't survive; unfortunately for the first one that included a portion of the mob. Near where the group currently is at, there's dozens of bodies scattered about.

It's still just minutes after everything went to s&~$, so those who have survived are still gathering their bearings.

M Rattus norvegicus

Charles and Gärwin come rushing up to meet with Drot, Tesswyn, and Kahtia.

Tesswyn is helping Kahtia stand, and Drot is standing nearby. The three look hurt with some burns and bruises, but otherwise no worse for wear. Drot seems to be favoring one leg.

Gärwin and Charles, however, look completely different.

The dwarf's hair has completely fallen off. His beautiful glittering beard, kept up so meticulously for as long as he can remember, is held in one hand, as if it all was sheared off at once. Anyone who will learn his name in the future might think he was given such a name out of mockery. He's covered in cuts and scrapes and dried up blood.

Charles looks even worse, though. Covered in filth, vomit, and feces, the smell hits you before he arrives. His clothes are a complete mess. His face is filthy. His hair is wild and dirty. One ear is shorn off and trickling blood.

M Rattus norvegicus

As people start to rouse and become aware of their surroundings, they notice subtle changes in others.

Results of the mysterious dice:

All body hair falls out. It will never grow back.

Body hair grows profusely. All of your hair now grows at a rate of a few inches per month, including arm, leg, eyebrows, etc...

Your ribs are painful. Until you get the chance to check, you can assume you have a broken rib or two. In reality, you have grown gills under the ribs, allowing underwater breathing. They are unsightly and sensitive.

After snapping the staff on your leg, pain fires through your knee. You become sluggish. You can take only slow turns, and you reduce your Speed by 2. This does not effect your Berserker state, you gain your speed back and can only take fast actions when you are berserk.

You have lost an eye, ear or you nose. Roll a d3 to determine which.

M Rattus norvegicus

Ok, a bit of retcon here because some things can't happen. And others don't time right. So I'm going to write some story and let you all react as appropriate. Some of this is in collaboration with players over private messaging.

The Tale of Drot, Kahtia, and Tesswyn.

After Drot mind controlled Kahtia, he and the beautiful Woad woman started combating Tesswyn for the Was.

Finally, after several back-and-forths, Kahtia used magic to Compel Tesswyn to simply give the Was back to Drot. As soon as she did, Drot roared and snapped the scepter over his knee.....

The Tale of Gärwin and Charles.

Charles started vomiting hard as the mob started to form, but Gärwin - ever faithful - grabs Charles to protect him. He throws the paladin on the horse and rides off, away from the growing and ever-maddening crowds.

They make it to a tent where Gärwin uses the horse as a distraction, sending it to run off into the night through tent city and out beyond. This causes enough of a rabble that people emerge to see what's going on, but no one noticed the knight and the paladin enter an empty tent.

Charles is covered in vomit and diarrhea - he's unrecognizable in the filth. Gärwin attempts to try and get him clean, but Charles seats away the hand, telling the knight that he's fine and the worst of out is over.

Gärwin is suspicious of the paladin; he eyes the mask with an intent to destroy it. But before he can get a chance, Charles walks out of the tent and dons the mask yet again.

Gärwin heads out to grab him, but Charles slips away and flies above the villa to survey the scene.

Frustrated, Gärwin tried to run after the paladin.

Charles flew up and witnessed the consequences of his actions. The mask was terrifying to behold, and he knew he should have taken it off, but it just felt so natural - so comfortable. He saw the mob forming.

The mob was causing destruction throughout the village. While some seemed to be on a righteous hunt, others are taking the opportunity to steal from vendors or break into the few buildings there are.

And then he saw Tesswyn, the love of his life. She was handing the scepter to Drot, who took it and broke it over his knee...

The Tale of Lemuel.

The mob started forming. Lemuel got off his horse and ran, running into an inn and then out the back. He reformed with the growing mob, trying to blend in.

This is not a good idea, he thought to himself. I never should have let those fools play with Anak'Hainumen's artifacts. They're way too powerful. These things need to be kept locked in a vault. Or behind a glass cage on display in Crossings. That would be nice. Come on, stop your wandering, Lemuel - focus on the task at hand. How do we get them back. The control freak, where did he go? Off to the tents, I think. Saw the dwarf take him that way. But then where's the scepter?

Lemuel was absorbed in thought as he followed along with the crowd. Most people around him were telling and hollering. The gaurds were starting to get wary, and even stepped inside the courtyard and barred the gates to the palace. They weren't here to protect the people, they were here to protect the Sheikh.

He passed by the market; it was trashed. People were taking the opportunity to steal whatever they could. Merchants were trying to pack up what they could before they lost everything. That one there already lost his life.

He heard a scream. Lemuel looked over and saw a woman being dragged into a dark corner of a market tent. He didn't have time to deal with it. He needed to fine the scepter.

Then - there is was. In the hands of the woman he was traveling with. She seemed dazed, just like the pretty one. The only one who wasn't was the orc. Gods! Why did he ever let that orc carry it! He was too afraid to even ask. The beast was nearly seven feet tall! But now he had to find a way. He made his way through the crowd and was about to step in when the orc snapped the scepter over his knee...

Gärwin's Chase

The dwarf ran after Charles, but that damned mask allowed the paladin to fly. He kept an eye out, though, and was able to see where the paladin went. So far, it just seemed as if he was looking around. But then, the paladin darted forward to get a better look at something. What could it be?

The First and second Explosion.

Drot snapped the Was Scepter over his knee.

Immediately, the bond between him and Kahtia is broken. She becomes a free woman once again. Before the Tower Arcana trained woman can take advantage of the situation, she sees the spark of magic release from the scepter.

The mob came upon the trio of friends just moments before, and they started to rush towards the two humans and the orc when the scepter shattered.

It shattered into a hundred pieces as the magic poured out. It started small, but rapidly grow to a vortex around the trio, forcing them to pull into each other to avoid getting sliced by the shards of the Was. Some of those in the encroaching mob were not so lucky.

Then it exploded.

Drot, Kahtia, and Tesswyn were right at the epicenter. The intensity knocks them all back, flying into people and structures. Kahtia, Drot, and Tesswyn - take 4d6 damage.

Charles, flying slightly above, is also knocked back. He gets thrown into tent city and hits the sands hard, skidding across the surface like Hercules skipping a flat stone across a lake. He takes out more than a few tents as he goes. Charles, roll 1d3. This is how many bounces you take. For the first bounce, take 3d6 damage. For each subsequent bounce, subtract 1d6 and roll again.

The mask is knocked off of Charles as he's thrown.

Gärwin watches Charles get thrown and takes chase, running as fast as his dwarf legs can take him. He finds Charles lying in the sands, and the mask isn't far.

The mask is half buried in the sand, but it's vibrating; the grains of sand making tiny bounces utop it.

The dwarf looked towards the paladin - geeze did the man look a mess. Bruises, dirt, and filth covered the paladin. But there was no time for that. The knight needed to remove that damned mask before it hurt his friend even more..

Gärwin rushed over and slams his khopesh into the mask, destroying it in one slice. Just like the scepter, the mask explodes, throwing Gärwin backwards. Garwin, take 4d6 damage.

The Third Explosion

The shards of the mask and the shards of the scepter fly towards each other; the two meet in the middle where another burst of magical energy pours out, rapidly expanding like a star going nova. The explosion is silent, but the impact is not. It shatters nearby buildings causing them to start to collapse.

Nearby people in the mob are instantly melted. Those further out are blown backwards, and not all survive the ordeal.

A crack in reality forms where the shards met, drawing a crooked blackness in the sky. It can only be seen because it blocks the starlight - or even the moonlight if you're looking at it from the proper angle.

Everyone: roll a d20 for each magical item you have; on a 1-5, the item explodes, dealing 2d6 damage and is permanently destroyed. On a 6-10, it melts, dealing 1d6 damage and become useless. On a 11-15, it cracks and becomes a limited use item (roll 1d6 to see how many uses remain; if it is already a limited use item, it instead runs out of uses). Also roll a d6 and a d20.

This is a major event. Please post with your character's thoughts and feelings on what has transpired. If your character is conscious after you roll for damage, you may take an action. You're also free to take liberties describing the destruction around the oasis village. If your character dies, post a death scene.

M Rattus norvegicus

Charles takes off his mask and starts to speak, but he becomes suddenly violently ill.

Charles, you are Sickened. You become violently sick, vomiting and defecating uncontrollably. While sickened, you are dazed. At the end of each round, roll a d6. A roll of 5 or higher ends the condition. This is not prevented by your paladin abilities. Instead, this is due to Madness. Your insanity level has reached your will score (13). At the end of this Sickened period, roll a d6+Will and reduce your total insanity score by that amount.

M Rattus norvegicus

A requet for clarification has been made. Here's the current scene:

Oasis is primarily a tent city, with a few tents more or less "permanent." The permanent tents are mostly coverings for shops or established spots in the bazaar. There are a few permanent buildings, including the two richer inns and the Sheikh's palace.

As everyone was headed towards the Sheikh's, Drot pulled off to head towards the Silver Sands, a more upscale inn which tailors towards merchants and richer clientele.

Inns in town:
•The Desert Dingo - Hamun Mehran runs a common and cheap house of rest. A somewhat soft bed and mostly clean linens are available here for the common adventurer. A onetime adventurer himself, Hamun Mehran likes to entertains his patrons with his varied and many exploits of heroism.

• The Silver Sands - This upscale inn is operated by Abul Kashif, a Salamander from the Burning Vaults. He relishes his exotic looks and enjoys the awe his lavish inn brings merchants and others who frequent here.

• Zorah’s House of Fortune - Owned by Madame Zorah, this rich and upscale bordello includes exotic men and women and other pleasures based upon taste.

• Tent City - Prop up your own tent for free. Protection from crime is not gaurunteed.

As Drot headed towards the Silver Sands to rest for the night, Kahtia and Tesswyn - riding the same horse - followed. Meanwhile, Gärwin, Charles, and Lemuel continued on towards the two story alabaster palace.

His is when Kahtia and Tesswyn got into an argument with Drot, who then used the power of the sceptor to mind control Kahtia. Tesswyn knocked the sceptor out of Drot's hands, but it did not remove the mind control. Meanwhile, as Drot argued for the necessity of not giving the sceptor to the Shiekh, he grabbed the scepter back from Tesswyn. And here is where this group is at, awaiting Drot's Action.

At the same time, the other group continued forward. They made it another two blocks before someone witnessed Charles' mask and screamed in horror. Someone came running out to check on them and also succumbed to the horrifying visage of a paladin. This drew even more people, and a mob started forming. Someone in the growing crowd irresponsibly fired an arrow, and Lemuel got off his horse and ran for cover. Someone else started calling for the guards. This is where we leave the second group. Since the two groups are only two blocks away from each other - maybe 50 to 100 yards - everyone in the other group can hear the screams from the forming mob.

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