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I would regail you with tales of glorious combat however I have not been blessed to date with the honor. We made haste from the prairie temple and laid low over night at the camp which used to be the midway Inn, a long and unending sleepless kind of night. I could not free my mind of the possibility that my Momma was at the heart of this new treachery. Not that she would have willfully involved herself and that was my greatest concern! I knew there was duplicitous and deceitful evil afoot and that kept me from a restful sleep. The next day we set out with some wagons heading to Magnimar and were making good time when we spied a wagon with wounded horses approaching. We had been informed early in the morning hours that a camp had been assaulted and this wagon surely looked as though they had been the victim of said attack. However since we had no knowledge of the outcome of it I felt it necessary to approach with caution. we hailed the wagon and I employed a spell allowing for the close inspection of details from range and found ill intent. I warned my group and Macer, Huge and I engaged. I launched my spear and thats about it...The next thing I remember was coming out of darkness all beat up. I WILL HAVE MY DAY IN THE LIGHT AGAINST THESE DARK FOES IF IT IS MY LAST!
I collected my spear and with my confidence shaken yet again we set off for home. I am worked upon by my liege, she humbles me and I do not question why, but it is vexing to the point of self doubt. Once within the gates of the city we paused but briefly to give a quick report with a promise to elaborate on the morrow. The group kindly acquiesced to my desire to go home. I found the house in a state of normal and spied my brother who should have been fishing on any normal day leaving the house. I asked Kelyn to trail him and see what he was up to. He returned with food and we all followed at a safe distance. I let him enter and after casting my net to locate evil doers walked up and opened the door. There my father and brothers met me with drawn bows. A tense moment to be sure but quickly-and safely relaxed! Most importantly....Momma was safe! I held back the tears as she walked into the room and waited for her to embrace me. I didn't want her to think I had any concern for her or the rest of our family. We were welcomed, ate and talked out of the young ones ears about what was happening. As a group it was decided to speak with Macer's father, and that turned out to be a wealth of information! We will help the City guard solve what appears to be a string of ritualistic murders, the victims of which have all been Sarenrae worshipers on their daily Dawn-walk prayers. This with former news of a traitor cleric turned to help transform the old temple into a sanctuary for a old god with the participation of demons is quite troublesome! I pray that I have learned the lessons She would have me learn so that I might save anyone else from falling under the traitors knife and the old temple from the ravagers in the dark.
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Plan A hurt....A LOT! But it worked, that is to say we have our suspect in custody! heres what transpired from my limited perspective. We were summoned to a meeting with Master Dorn, Macer's Father. We offered our assistance in apprehending the killer. This was what Master Dorn had hoped. Glad to have helped him accomplish our mutual goal. This can't but help our standing with the city guard. I volunteered to be the bait, and like only the best of friends would do, all committed to do whatever was required to assist. Macer's father suggested a narrow set of alley ways to use as an ambush spot. We picked our route and set to our preparations.
I dressed for the part while the others gathered the tools for the job. Early in the day we had cashed in and spoke with the trading company of our gathered information concerning the targeting of their cross land caravans. I took the time we were to spend in town to have some of my gear magically enhanced to maybe help center myself in future endeavors. I left my ringed mail armor, bronze shield and fathers spear with the enchanters. I asked that they incorporate a rose gold sunburst ring in the center of the leather hauberk to represent my affiliation with the Dawnflower. And yes it was my intent to do so! I would walk into the ambush without my mainstays of combat. I would place my trust in the faith that my Sarenrae would see me through without them. I did purchase some scrolls to assist in the interrogation of the suspect once we had accomplished our task. I also bought a few sunrods, thunderstones and elixirs that assisted in helping curb the affects of poisons....for future reference they taste awful! But not knowing for sure what to expect in the darkness waiting for rescue I decided to go with these to insure a more fair exchange should the killer take the bait....me!
I returned home and ate a meal with Oona and my family. This helped to relieve the stress and worry from my heart in the possibility of never seeing them again. I believe more than a few times I surprised my family in recalling special moments, funny, somber or otherwise throughout the evening. Our family has never really reflected to much on the past, but this was good. There were hugs and tears, thrown food and laughter. It was a trans-formative family bonding that was long overdue.
When the time came to leave it was late and all were asleep. Oona and I slipped out the door to find my father smoking his pipe on the stone stairs looking seaward. "Yer goin ta net da bugger airnt'cha?" I nodded lookin him in the eye. "Aire dey all goin along too?" Again I nodded. Thas good, dammit butchou all aire a deterrmined lot. Aye recoll wotchnya all stride back from the shadow of tha span as keds, yer a cocksure buntcha houligans...and thas whay we love ya...all! Ya kape wotch o're one n all! May da Gods tha matter kape an eye o'er ya and bring ya back to us with the flowers light. Oh an tell Birgun ta rip da airms off tha bugger, I need some new ooars!" Pop shook my hand and kissed Oona on the forehead. We left him on the stairs with the red glow of his pipe. That was the extra shot of confidence I needed. I could do anything my Poppa asked and he knew it.
We met up and rendezvoused with the city guard. I let the others set out to find their hides and waited until they had time to secure themselves along the route. Then I walked off into the dark foggy night, mumbling my Dawnwalk prayers in the early morning predawn hour. As I entered the area we had set for ambush I began to feel the short-hairs on my neck stand up, but kept my composure and continued my prayers. Suddenly I was rushed from the right by a slim framed dagger wielding assassin and a burning sensation in my side. I felt the blade withdraw but heard nothing...at all. I produced a sunrod from my sleeve and snapped it to activate it, more attacks came from what appear to be a red haired female elfbreed, ain't that always the case. I had no doubt that she had every intent on carving me to bits and taking the bits she fancied! but again no matter what I did sound would not reverberate from my lips. Vex the dragon was first to arrive and he sliced at her with a pleasure and fury to which I had only seen him accomplish with goblins. To say the scaly little freak weaseled into and warmed my heart is an understatement! To be sure all were aware I produced a thunderstone from my other sleeve and winged it down the ally were I hoped the others would hear. Suddenly a wave of pain engulfed me and I knew that I was in trouble. This woman was going to channel me to the ground. I contemplated pulping her face with my fists but decided that like others we had faced, she would simply run off into the foggy night and we would never see her again. So I rushed in wrapping my arms around her. After another wave of pain I tried to lock her up but she resisted. Suddenly the ground shook and a large wing-ed creature landed giving the ground a good shake and me a wicked mauling. Another wave of pain was answered with a display of my strength and slam to the ground I had her pinned to the ground and my intent was to loosen a few teeth before I was again mauled by the beast from behind. Though I heard none of them approach I could tell the gang had arrived as I began to slump atop the assassin. The last thing I recall was a swift jerking of the she elf under me and we both went limp in the street.
I must say the Dawnflower knows how to show her mercy. My revival from states of near death has come at the hands of the true beauties of our group. The first time it was Oona, this time it was Nina. If a person is to come back from the brink they should be so lucky to have it be to such a face. Though at times I wonder if I am being prepared for when my return is not an option. I was force-fed potions, and once Sam relieved us of the unnatural quietude, Atz (pronounced Otz, or more phonetically AHTZ)cared for me with his talent of healing. I was told Oona had one punch knocked the she elf cold! Quite impressive, and to boot she had tied her up so well to have made my father, a sailor, beam with pride! Huge picked her up like a sack of potatoes and we raced off to my Pop's boat where Sam worked his charms and got her to talk without the need of my coercive magics. Nicely accomplished! This whole charming business and his affinity with it called into question the nature of his relationship with Felu, but only briefly as I was there to play the tough guy should it be required. Thankfully it was not. Sam had her singing her exploits like they were old friends, like one of us.
It became apparent that she was quite devoted to her cause but that was for all intents and purposes not by her will. I know she can be redeemed only that is beyond any of us and we must see that she is cared for by those who can see to it properly. It is our design to take her to Macer's father and remand her to the custody of the guard with then intent of informing the clergy of Sarenrae to see to her redemption. Now to sift through her story, clues and drawings to remove the stain from our Dawnflower's shrine.
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Back in Magnimar, surrounded by the sights and smells that are almost comforting. Leaving Lugh's, went to the crafter's quarter to see a skilled builder I'd met. He was taken with my unusual request, and soon had his workers knocking together our traveling cellar. The job was swiftly done, and we our thanks and a healthy bonus. Of course, all that empty space needed to be load-tested, and Nina is just the girl for the job. My fingers were fairly scorched by the speed that coins flew through them. Our travels in the wilds have shown several deficiencies in the equipment lists, these will not be repeated. Nina updated her spell lists and found a few defensive items, and I picked up a couple toys that have been waiting for flusher times.
On our whirlwind tour of the mid and lower sections of town, made a few stops at local watering holes to find information and refuel. At the Ol' Snaggle Fang, heard of a winged creature haunting Underbridge while I was buying a few rounds of paint stripper. Nina was underwhelmed by the bar and it's patrons, spending her time with small magics to keep the operators at bay. Important note to self, do NOT take her back there, have to sleep sometime.
Barely made it back for the meet with Macer's dad, shared info and started on a plan. Lugh volunteered to be the bait(seemed the most qualified), and we would skulk until the criminal showed itself. Not exactly a work of art, but about our usual. Mr. Dorn said the crimes happened just before dawn, so we were to meet near the Dark about three in the morning. Those with local family retired to spend time with them, and we found lodging and enjoyed a civilized evening indoors.
Gathered at the agreed time and moved to our hunting area. Lugh picked a likely thoroughfare, and the rest of us found hides along the route. Found an excellent spot on a low roof, cursed by the fog rolling in; my new toy will have to wait for another day. The wait was quiet, seems even the locals weren't risking the stalker. A burst of light came from Lugh's direction, followed by a loud bang nearby. Leaped from the roof with Nina close behind, and arrived at a developing brawl as nausea washed over me. Lugh grappled a red-headed half elf as a large, winged creature landed heavily and showed its' displeasure by raking Lugh. Moved and stabbed the gargoyle(not one of the Alu sisters, as I had feared), but didn't get the result desired. Looks like the magic weapon just moved up the priority list. Nina moved in to lay in with weapon and spell, magical silence cancelled the casting. More nausea as Lugh held the assassin, and others arrived to pound the beast. Oona cold-cocked the woman and Lugh collapsed on top of her, looking poorly. The creature did a cut and run, taking many hits, but managing to escape up into the darkness. Retrieved potions that Nina fed to Lugh, while Sam got rid of the silence. Oona hog-tied the girl while spells and potions got the group back on their feet. HUGE slung her over his shoulder and we made best time for the long dock.
Once at the boat, Sam and Lugh got ready to play good cop/psychopath. Turns out, a charm spell was quite enough to get Analexi talking. The former cleric of Sarenrae has new friends that are showing her a life of murder and subversion. Powerful magics have been piled on this woman, it will take a great deal to bring her back. Much discussion on what to do with her, we obviously can't handle this level of control. I agree she should be held by Macer's dad and the Guard, BUT all the clergies in town must come together to heal her and stop the demons. The same thing can happen to any cleric, and if not dealt with swiftly, can bring down all the churches of Magnimar. I, for one, am not in favor of this becoming a demonic version of Cheliax. I need a drink.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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Once the reunion with Lugh’s family was over we agreed to meet later in the day at Macer’s home to figure out what was going on. His father should be able to provide some information as he was in the city guard.
I on the other hand located a vendor that was capable of enchanting my gear. The wizened old man agreed to enchant the armor to increase its durability and protection as well as imbue the spikes with magic. He also agreed to increase the greatswords effectiveness in combat by magically sharpening its edge beyond what a whetstone could ever accomplish. His shop is located in the Summit and had a warm comfortable feel to its stone walls. His cluttered shop contained comfortable chairs for sitting and reading, thick and colorful carpets of Varisian design, and the mad plethora of arcane accoutrement’s his profession requires. The back of his shop, where several young apprentices poured over large tomes, had its walls covered in arcane drawings and illustrations that were beyond my knowledge. Once we agreed on a price I began removing my armor with the help of one of his apprentices while a gray cat wound its way between my feet purring loudly. Before I left I purchased a few components that would allow me to increase the craftsmanship of my morningstar and would allow for further enchantment. Once I was finished with the old wizard I returned home.
I found Kiara’s wagon located on the side of the house, the magical mount that was conjured to pull it no where to be seen. As I entered the house I was immediately greeted by my younger sister Inga, when she tackle hugged me. Mother came out from the kitchen wearing an apron that protected most of her clothing from the flour dust. The house smelled of fresh baked bread and once I assured my mother that I hadn’t lost any more fingers in the week since we had left Magnimar I gave her a big hug. As I released mother from my embrace, Kiara came around the corner also wearing an apron and coated in a fair amount of flour. “I’m helping, I think.” she said with a wry grin.
I spent the rest of the afternoon munching on warm bread with fresh butter, while regaling my sister and mother with tales of the last week and how I came upon Kiara. I never mentioned her admitted “profession” and just explained that she was being hunted by nefarious and unscrupulous people. My mother agreed that was safe here and arranged to have the wagon hidden in one of our warehouses. Kiara seemed to enjoy the hospitality of our home and I imagine getting out of the wagon helped her mood as well. I left to head to the Dorn household with a promise to return home for dinner.
I arrived after a few of the others and before the rest of the group. Once everyone arrived master Dorn explained to us that followers of the dawnflower where being ritually killed while on their dawn-walk. Some of us looked grave at the loss of the life, while I furrowed my brow and asked, “you said ritually?” Master Dorn nodded and said that all the victims had their hearts cut out from their chests. Kelyn and Vex both said that rumors talked of a dark shadow that moved along the rooftops near these murders. Master Dorn nodded and said he had also heard of those rumors but left them as just that, rumors. He asked if we would be interested in assisting the city by trying to set an ambush for this killer. He explained that his guards were going to try but their faces are known to the area and that their ruse might not work. Since we are not as known in the area we would be ideally suited to help. Before any of us could agree as a group Lugh stood and said that he would help and would be the bait. I could see that the knuckles were white as he clenched his fist. Soon after, we all stood and agreed. Master Dorn smiled and produced a map of an area they would like us to use. It showed the area Lugh could use for his dawn-walk and areas for us to wait and hide to counter the ambush of this killer. The decision would be for us to meet early in the morning, three bells after midnight and set up our ambush.
That morning the docks were extremely foggy. The cool night air and the warmer waters made vision more than twenty feet away almost impossible. Even sound seemed muted tonight, the heavy fog deadening all sound. Like Lugh, I went into our task sans armor and the greatsword I usually employ. I had my morningstar and dagger, and with the blessing of speed granted to me by Gorum I should be able to react to any situation quickly. I had decided to put my back to a home and used their low wall courtyard to hide behind. Felu and Sam had taken positions with me but I could barely make them out in the fog. Atz had taken up space opposite me on the far side of the alley, but I could not see him at all. The others were spaced out farther up the alley or on the rooftops above.
The muted noises of the night suddenly gave way with a thunderous bang from one of the alchemical stones Lugh had purchased. Leaning over the low wall to look in the direction of the thunderstone I could see a muted light farther up the alley diffused by the fog. I then spied Atz having moved from his position of cover and running up the street quickly disappearing in the fog. Even Sam ran by me a few feet away and was lost in the fog.
“What’s going on?” Felu asked as she ran up alongside me looking down the alley where the light was coming from. “Not sure, but everyone is heading there so I guess we better follow.” And with that, I hopped over the wall and ran in the direction of the light. I quickly overcame Sam and had to move to the side to avoid running into him and finally came upon the carnage at the light.
A sunrod was laying at the prone form Lugh who looked to have collapsed onto an unconscious woman with red hair. Standing over Lugh and surrounded by the others was a gargoyle, its claws coated in Lugh’s blood. I attempted to swing at the creature but it shifted its weight and my morningstar glanced harmlessly off one of its wings as it unfurled them and leapt into the sky. It was at this time that I noticed there was no noise at all. A magical silence had kept the attack from alerting anyone, including us. How long had Lugh fought before any of us even knew he was under attack? I cursed my luck at being so far away as to not be able to help Lugh. In Gorum’s name, I’ll track that bastard gargoyle down and kill it.
While the object that was causing the silence was being found, healing potions were being forced down Lugh’s throat by Kelyn and Atz. The paleness of his skin was not because of the cool foggy air. Meanwhile Oona was tying up the assassin, removing a dagger with a naked woman as its handle from her possession. Sam found a small stone and threw it farther down the alley and suddenly the quiet was shattered with the silence of heavy breathing and a now coughing Lugh. The red haired woman would appear to be the wayward follower of Sarenrae as objects of her previous faith were still with her. Lugh commented that she brandished the dagger while using her divine power to channel negative energy into the group. So whoever this god is, her symbol appears to be that of a naked woman.
“We need to go,” I said as I picked up the woman and threw her over my shoulder. “We need to question her before the guards arrive and arrest her for these murders.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Someone asked if it would be wise to be seen carrying an unconscious woman over my shoulder. “We’re in Underbridge. No one will think twice.” I responded. Lugh suggested taking her to his family boat. From there we could question her without anyone see us.
Sam and Lugh conducted the questioning. The woman’s name was Zadendi and she apparently is under some sort of powerful spell of control. The cutting out the hearts of the Sarenrae followers and eating them is what was needed for her to convert over to this old god. She talked of a person named Avalexi who was at the shrine and had been teaching her the ways of this new god. The gargoyle was described as being a demon. I am not sure if that is true, but to the uninitiated a gargoyle may seem as such.
We spent the next few minutes deciding the fate of Zadendi and because her actions were not her own, the belief of redemption should be offered. To which Lugh was rather emphatic of. We couldn’t ignore the fact that we were working with the city guard and to release her into anyone else’s custody would negatively affect Master Dorn. So we took Zadendi to Master Dorn, and asked if he could keep her locked up until the church could see to her, and until we got to the root of the problem at the shrine. Thankfully he agreed.
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Well I’m just going to start from when we got back to Magnimar.
There was a quick discussion about where we should stop first. Either go straight to Lugh’s house to see if it really was his mother who was turned against his goddess or to finally get paid for the escort job and ear collection. My vote was for getting paid for a number of reasons; firstly it’s right next to the main gate; secondly I could do with a equipment refresher, especially if his mum is the target because that would likely mean a fight and I’d rather be prepared; lastly because those ears were starting to get even nastier (not something I would have believed possible).
We ended up doing it half right. We dropped off the contract and ears, getting paid. Then we headed straight for Lugh’s family home instead of the market to arm up. I suppose it worked out, Lugh’s mum was not the one brainwashed and we got a bit of information. There had been a small number of murders, initiates of Sarenrae, in underbridge(imagine that), however, these people were found with their hearts removed. That gets to be what merits a bit more attention. We went and saw Captain Dorn for more information and to offer our assistance in capturing the killer.
We got a hasty plan in action using Lugh as bait to try and flush out the killer. The rest of the party would be hiding along the streets/ rooftops. An important rumor around town mentioned a winged creature seen along the rooftops at the times of the murders. I decided to parallel Lugh’s path in the street along the rooftops hoping to see the creature before it struck.
The ambush wasn’t set till early in the morning so we were able to hit the market to arm up and spend some of this hard earned gold. I decided I needed a small bow, we’ve had a small number of encounters at range and I’d rather not be running around uselessly the whole time. I picked up a couple other useful gadgets then found a quiet place to sit and draw before taking a nap so I’d be ready for the stalk.
The plan ultimately worked, but it was not a smooth operation. An early morning fog set in underbridge and I was unable to see more that a few meters in it, I could just make out Lugh’s form as I followed him from the rooftops. The rest of the group was well placed as the ambush happened just a few houses in prior to them. That was the only plus side, with the fog they were unable to see the slim figure WEASEL up beside him with a knife and I heard nothing as she slashed into him. Lugh jolted and produced a sunrod lighting up the fog, again no sound came from him. I leapt straight out from the roof then unfurled my wings and glided down beside the “assassin“. As I got close to engage her I lost all hearing and I swear that smelled like magic. As my knives began to work, Lugh’s next action was to throw a thunderstone. I saw it spark as it hit the cobblestones, and hoped it was far enough outside of the spell that the others would be coming. I didn’t see what the “assassin” did but I felt a wave of vile energy wash over my and I could feel it tear at the very fabric of my being, that hurt like nothing I have felt before. Luckily Kelyn and some of the others showed up to help and we continued to work on the “assassin“. Just as Lugh grappled the woman another presence appeared beside me in the fog and proceeded to try and tear Lugh apart. My attention shifted to the gargoyle with his hands full of bits of Lugh and I was now working hard to find weak points to pierce on its strange form. As soon as Oona knocked out the “assassin” the gargoyle flew off into the fog, I climbed up the nearest building but was too late to see where it headed off to. We took the “assassin” somewhere we could talk to her and decide what to do with her.
Sam used his charm to get all buddy buddy with her and she was more than happy to tell him everything we needed to know. She is/was a cleric of Sarenrae, I guess eating the hearts of other worshipers was a way to turn her. Lugh says she can be redeemed so we’re going to turn her over to the watch. Works for me, she gave us a direction to look next. She was relieved of most her possessions, her dagger especially. Not that she was very good with it, the gash she left in Lugh’s side was minor, especially compared to the rending the gargoyle gave him. Simply proves you shouldn’t send a cleric to do an assassin’s job.
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I should note that I had made a small update to the Druid of Gorum archetype/class. If someone who is reading these posts decides to make and play the class, I have included it for completeness sake.
Starting at 6th level, and every 6 levels after, a Druid of Gorum gains a bonus feat. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats. The Druid of Gorum must meet the prerequisites of these feats.
So in the end you gain 3 extra combat feats over and above the normal feat listing. The standard druid is gaining increased Wild Shapes per day at those levels, so this didn’t seem to break the class any.
I would like to say that so far, because of an incredibly high STR score, I am doing well at keeping up with the martial minded of the classes. We have two, the Cavalier and the Brawler. Last week the dice were ice cold, much like our temperatures, and I couldn’t roll a 10+ on a d20 with three rolls.
The minor casting has come into play as extra healing to help offset Atz being forced into trying to keep eight characters and two-three NPCs up. Lots of wands with this group. Birgun is currently at 4th level and has gained enough money to enchant his armor to +1 (not the spikes, only made them masterworked through the spell) and enchanted his greatsword to +1 as well. Currently sitting on 2k gold and is saving for a Lesser Rod of Metamagic, Extend. This should help the buff spells last a fair amount of time.
For those keeping track at home, our starting kids were essentially one free level of rogue (so +8 hit points; 8 skill ranks using the rogue class skills and one free feat that we had to meet the requirements for—which wasn’t easy when our stats were generally in the 6-10 range). We also get +2 skill ranks per level that can only go in Craft/Profession/Knowledge skills. This is something I have started doing in multiple games because it allows for the fluff side of character skills to not be set aside with low skill rank characters.
Initiative: +2; Senses Perception +10
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+8 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 61 (4d8+32)
Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +7; +1 vs. Fear
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +11 Greatsword (2d6+10/19-20) or +10 Coldiron Morningstar (1d8+6/x3) or +10 Armor Spikes (1d6+6/x2) or +9 Dagger (1d4+6/19-20)
Ranged +4 Sling (1d3+6)
Special Attacks +1 damage when flanking
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +7)
Druid Spells Prepared (CL4th; concentration +7)
2nd—ironskin, lesser restoration, bull’s strength(D)
1st—entangle (DC 14), feather step, jump, longstrider, true strike (D)
0 (at will)—create water, light, mending, spark
D Domain spell; Domain Strength, Fist (sub-domain)
Str 22, Dex 14, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +10; CMD 22
Feats Intimidating Prowess, Toughness, Defensive Combat Training, Power Attack
Skills Acrobatics +2, Climb +6, Craft: Skrimshaw +6, Diplomacy +6, Heal +10, Intimidate +18, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +6, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (nature) +9, Linguistics +6, Perception +10, Profession (cook) +8, Profession (miner) +7, Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +4, Survival +10, Swim +5
Languages Common, Skald, Dwarven, Shoanti, Varisian, Druidic
SQ bred for war (trait), dirty fighter (trait), focus weapon, intimidating presence, iron attuned (strength doman, fist sub-domain), provincial (drawback), strong heart (trait), trackless step, woodland stride
Combat Gear potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (6)
Other Gear +1 spiked banded mail (masterwork spikes), +1 greatsword, masterworked coldiron morningstar, dagger, sling, 1 lb cloves, 1 lb garlic, 1 lb oregeno, 1 lb pepper, 1 lb salt, 2 lbs flour, 50 ft rope with grappling hook, 50 ft string, backpack, bedroll, blanket, compass, crowbar, fishhook (2), flint and steel, gear maintennance kit, grooming kit, holy symbol of Gorum (iron), ink, iron pot, mess kit, piton (4), siege board game, spell component pouch, torch (3), trail rations (5), waterskin, whetstone
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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Once we released Zadendi to master Dorn I returned home to try and get a few more hours of rest. We had agreed to meet later that afternoon near the bazaar of sails around two bells to decide how to proceed in our investigation of the Sarenrae shrine. After returning home, sleep didn’t come easily. The thought of failing Lugh weighed heavily on my mind. I would need to redeem myself to Lugh, Gorum and myself for that failure. I found my thoughts returning to the gargoyle in the brief moment that I saw it as it leapt into the fog and disappeared. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something wasn’t right about it.
In the morning I told Kiara of what had happened to the group during the morning ambush. I didn’t disguise my anger and frustration at failing Lugh and thankfully she didn’t try to console me with hollow words. Perhaps she understood personal failings and the desire never repeat them. I enjoyed a large breakfast of eggs, sausage and bread as food always managed to calm my choler. After repeating the story to my mother and sister I helped clean up the table and wash the dishes. With that done I left to head to the church of Abadar to hopefully find someone who could give me some information on these old gods.
The church of Abadar was a cold place. Full of those that dealt with the hard rules of law and commerce. Our family kept their business wealth stored here. Their neutrality and lawful distance ensured that our money was safe. After speaking with an acolyte I was actually given a small window to speak with the high priest. He was a cordial enough man, well dressed and clean kept. I immediately despised him. It was probably because he laughed when I described these old gods and learned that they were ancient tyrannical rulers of a long dead empire. With that information parted he stood ending the meeting and instructed me to the Heidmarch manor and the Pathfinder Society.
It didn’t take me long to locate the Heidmarch manor and these Pathfinders. The local guards all knew of its location in the Summit in the Alabaster District. The estate held a large manor with obvious signs of renovation and upkeep. Several trees, outbuildings and a glass enclosed garden was located here as well as a fair number of people. They directed me inside the manor where I was asked to wait in a fairly comfortable waiting area. The manor was abuzz with distant conversations and laughter. I only waited for a few minutes before a man entered and introduced himself as Canayven Heidmarch. The mans grip was strong and his hands were calloused. Unlike the high priest, this man I immediately liked. Once I explained why I was there, he smiled and directed me to follow him into an office that contained several books on shelves, a table covered with various artifacts, a fireplace with several warm and comfortable chairs arrayed around it. Seated in one of the chairs was a rather attractive older woman, easily close to the same age as my mother. Canayven introduced me to his wife Sheila and explained that she would be the best bet at answering my questions. I spent a few hours with Sheila as she graciously explained all she knew about runelords. It wasn’t until later that I realized that she was getting as much information out of me as I was getting from her. Her interest in the subject was obvious and like her husband, I found myself enjoying my time with her.
I stopped off at home for a quick lunch with my family and Kiara and told them of what I had learned. I described a giant statue of Sorshen far to the south along the coast called the Lady’s Light. These runelords, of which there was seven of them, ruled over all of Varisia long before earthfall, the empire called Thassilon. The story seemed so fantastic but the numbers of ruins being discovered just enforced Sheila’s stories. She showed me a few artifacts that had been discovered recently in the Kodar Mountains and showed me what is called a sihedron rune. The seven pointed star is commonplace in ruins and is an indicator of the Thassilon empire.
I left home and met up with the others explaining again what I had just recently explained to my family. That information suddenly caused Sam to realize that he had seen that statue and it was only then did he connect that statue with the dagger we had in our possession. The only thing that was confusing to me was why are there people converting temples to the worship of someone who is not only not a god, but having been gone from the world for thousands of years. Regardless the decision was made to investigate the shrine to Sarenrae in Underbridge that evening. Both Lugh and I wanted to pick up our newly enchanted armor and weapons before heading there.
After retrieving my gear from the old wizard that evening I met up with the others around six bells at the same location we gathered the previous morning before setting our ambush. My failure was once again fresh in my mind by our location. With Gorum’s blessing, this evening would see a different result.
The shrine looked as it always had so most of us approached from the back side, as we used to as kids. Sam, Felu and Vex decided to try the front door wondering if the key we found on Zadendi would gain us entry. Just as our group approached the side door into the shrine, which was slightly open, we heard a loud thunderous crash followed by the sound of Felu’s bangstick. No longer was I going to fail at protecting my friends and allies, so I sprinted towards the front of the shrine. Even in my heavy banded mail armor I leaped over the low stone fence without slowing and saw the gargoyle from the earlier morning. Gorum has listened to my prayers and offered me redemption in his eyes!
As I began my charge I heard the familiar arcane words spoken from Sam and I suddenly increased in size and weight. Without pause I brought the greatsword down into the gargoyle, and unlike this morning the blade bit deep and grievously wounded the creature. The fight lasted only moments and everyone seemed to vent their frustration of the creatures earlier escape by attacking in a frenzied mass. Even Atz with his sling staff was attacking from nearby.
When the creature fell we moved into the shrine and found the area as we had remembered it from our childhood. Only the doors were removed from the inner doors. A large hammer was sitting next to the statue of Sarenrae, a sombre reminder that someone was going to tear the statue down if given the chance. Searching through the building we could find nothing that would lead us to an underground entrance. Searching back out in the rear of the shrine we found a doorway that looked to lead into lower chambers. I happened to also notice that the grave sites of the three priests of Sarenrae that had been buried here long ago had freshly tilled dirt covering them. Concerned at what may have happened, I borrowed a shovel from the magical pit that Kelyn carried with him in his pocket, and began digging. Atz offered the assistance of his grandfather in digging and while I stood there unsure of how to answer the ground began to slowly excavate near me. Thanking Atz’s grandfather we excavated out the grave and found the empty coffin at its bottom. I can only imagine the rage that is building under Lugh’s skin. If Gorum is listening, I pray he gives Lugh the chance to exact his righteous vengeance.
As a group we began moving into the lower section of the shrine when Vex suggested he sneak ahead in the darkness to see what he could learn before we all moved inside. Just before he disappeared around the corner I told him to remember to come back and get us and just as he started to move off, I suggested he scream if he needs our help. He stopped and tried to give me that wry grin, but it looked more like a toothy snarl. I returned the grin and he moved off into the darkness. Within a mere breath we heard him shout, “Contact!” and everyone rushed in. As I moved down the stairs I used a blessing from Gorum to increase my strength and moved into the room to see the others squaring off against three shadowy undead creatures of blackness. Vex looked paler than before and there was a small amount of frost on his hide. Once again I found myself increase in size and thankfully my head didn’t slam into the ceiling. As I brought my sword down into the creature it seemed to dissipate in an explosion of smoke, bones falling to the ground the only reminder of its presence. My very next swing mirrored my first and once again all that remained was a pile of bones. Before I could finish the last creature Vex moved in and slew the creature. Taking a quick stock I could tell that the creature had drained Vex of his vitality so with a blessing I had prepared I was able to restore his lost vitality.
The lower area was damp and fungus grew in small clumps all over. The area was obviously going to be used as a catacomb but with the death of the original priests the shrine never was given the responsibility of caring for the dead. The coincidence of three freshly robbed graves and three shades of some sort was not lost on us or Lugh. Once we were done here the plan would be to rebury the priests bones.
Not wanting to loose the advantage of my increased size I pushed on further into the catacombs. We eventually came to some double doors at the end of one of the alcoves and as Kelyn moved forward to investigate the door for traps was deafened by some sort of magical trap that was in the floor before the doors. As Atz saw to Kelyns wounds I pushed on past the doors and entered into a room that looked to resemble the shrine upstairs. The only difference was the large amount of animal carcasses that littered the room, most of the corpses were varieties of birds. Branching off each side of the room towards the back were large cells. One door of which was open and contained a bedroll and a few items. The other cell contained a human that immediately ran towards Lugh and begged for his assistance, he told of us a winged demon and a evil cleric with red hair. But Lugh was tired of being taken advantage of and the threat to his god’s shrine had him questioning everything so Lugh produced a scroll. As he finished the casting of the spell the mans mood changed and with a snarl, teleported away.
Lugh fearing that they were going upstairs to use the hammer took off out of the room we were in and was followed by most of the others. I on the other hand used the sword to knock all the items and carcasses off their make shift alter onto the ground. Vex somehow knowing what I wanted to do was already pouring lamp oil all over the contents that I had knocked off onto the floor. Just as he finished I used a blessing that I use to start my campfires to ignite the lamp oil. Both of us stood there for a moment to watch the fire destroy their holy items and without looking at each other, high-fived.
Then the report of Felu’s bangstick brought us out of our small victory and gave chase to the others.
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Met up with the group at The Parched Palidan, just off the market. It was the crack of mid-afternoon and I needed something to start my day off right. The obvious would have to wait, so tucked myself into a plate of sausage and taters. Next step was to check the shrine and find what the other side had been doing, but no brilliant plans hit the table. Everyone still seemed a bit dazed from the early morning festivities, so agreed to meet at six and blunder ahead as usual. Some needed the extra time to collect refurbished gear, and Nina reminded me a few items were still missing from the list.
All showed at our previous rendezvous(a good sign) and we headed for the shrine. I decided to approach through the yard, using the overgrowth as cover. Others walked up to the front door, showing a shameful lack of the dramatic. Noticed the rear entry wasn't fully latched, and reaching for the handle, heard a pistol shot and a loud crash echo through the building. Drawing my new toy, we burst into the shrine to join the battle. Found the large hall quite empty(aren't these places supposed to look smaller as you get older?), and the rest had started a fight out front. Flung open the doors and found the damned gargoyle in the middle of a scrum, again focusing on Lugh. Took careful aim and planted a brilliant shot on the back of it's blocky head, which did nothing but leave a smear of lead. To-do list: Magic Weapons. Repeated pounding from the effective members soon reduced it to gravel and we moved back inside.
Wounds were seen to as the building was searched for clues and a home for the key collected earlier this morning. Finding little other than malicious damage obviously wrought by the gargoyle, the search moved to the yard. Three fresh graves that I walked right by were discovered, least I could provide the shovel used to open one that was found to be empty. Brush was moved and a door found to the rear of the building, and the key(ownership disputed) opened it easily. Vex led the way down long stairs to the church crypt. Finding nothing, he moved ahead and was mauled by a spectral enemy. there were three of them, and quickly found magic was required to affect them; Add asterisk to the to-do list. Spells and shiny weapons soon put an end to the foul spawn that seem to have been raised from the remains of the church clergy. The bad guys have been busy. Collected the bones into sacks so they can be returned to their rest when we finish.
Continued past empty galleries till the passage turned and we found new construction. A widened hall led to doubled doors, I moved ahead to check them, not bothering with the large bulls-eye in the middle of the corridor. A thundering boom alerted any foes, woke the city quarter, and brought trickles of blood from my ears. This night just keeps getting better. HUGE took his cue and burst through the doors, finding another place of worship(?). There were pews and an altar, but also hundreds of small birds impaled along the walls. Group moved in and noticed cells to either side of the altar, seems that some of the participants at service aren't volunteers. This was also shown by the human hearts found among the candles. A filthy man rushed to the door of the right cell, claiming he was a follower of the Dawnflower. Said he had been taken by a crazed woman who cut out hearts, and he was next. Kept babbling as Lugh stepped back, drew a scroll, and cast. The man recoiled, hissed, and vanished into thin air. Nina filled the cell with a burst of fire, just to make sure he didn't use some cheap trick, but he had indeed teleprted.
Lugh suddenly sprinted toward the doors, yelling about a threat to the real church above. Not having much else to do, I called to Nina and followed in hopes of being some assistance. This started a small exodus to the surface which lasted to the first turn of the passage. A scantily clad woman(apparently some find her very attractive, but I never went for the giant bat wings, fangs, and glowing eyes) backed up by three guys who are familiar. Falcon, the "killer" from the Half-Way Inn; Kollos, Oona's playtoy from the goblin cave; and a guy who looks like he REALLY wants to be somewhere else. Where do they keep finding these knuckleheads?
The help moved up to cover the "woman" as Lugh charged in. HUGE got HUGER and Macer followed suit(or should that be MACER?). I put a round into Kollos as a demon appeared in our midst and savaged Felu. Nina's spells were foiled by it's nature, but Macer turned his considerable bulk and thrashed it. I drew blade and moved forward to assist Lugh and HUGER with the thugs and batwoman. Looks like this is going to be one of those long nights. You know, the nights that make you think about settling down and opening a bow shop. If I can get someone to teach me how to make a bow; how hard can that be?
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After the meeting with Master Dorn we all needed a few bells of rest. Finding the peace to attain a blissful state of sleep eluded me for quite some time however come mid morning I woke from a disturbing dream with a jolt. I took the opportunity to start the day by annoying my Momma as she baked bread for lunch. I made off with a trio of warm buns and a bowl of hearty seafood chowder…twice! Afterwards I made my supplications requesting divine strength to shine the light of truth on our cause and to overcome the threats at the center of our probe. I took the opportunity to clean up, make amends with my Mom and was off to collect my battle gear from the enchanter. Unfortunately I was informed my equipment would not be ready until early evening. So I kept the date with the gang where some ate, others imbibed, and Huge shared his findings concerning what he learned about Sorchen and the other names. They were akin to great Warlords or Arch-Wizards from ancient times, but not God's! I returned home and engaged in prayer until I was called for an early dinner. My mother and I ate alone, she inquired on our efforts the night before. I told her what was done and some of what was yet suspected. I told her we had decided to continue on with the search of the shrine to root out the masters who were pulling our victims strings. It would assist in her redemption if we could bring in the evidence of the ones controlling her actions. After dinner was cleaned up I excused myself to prepare for the next turn of events and set off with a blessing from my mother and a prolonged hug. She was more concerned this time because I did not fully come clean with her concerning our plan for the evening and she knew it. She understood this was getting to the heart of the matter, no pun intended, and the stakes were much higher this time. As in, some of us may not return. I collected my belongings from the enchanter as promised and rendezvoused with the gang.
On the walk to Underbridge we spoke of the last time we had visited the shrine as a group, the night we all left and went our separate ways. Prior to our arrival I offered a prayed to the Dawnflower on behalf of Xandendi, the one we had apprehended the night prior, asking for her redemption and the deliverance of the group from harm. As we approached the shrine the group split. Felu, Sam and Vex went for the front entrance and the rest went the way we knew as kids, through the over grown walled yard. As we were about to enter the sounds of battle roared in the quietude. Most ran towards the ruckus to find our companions in desperate melee with the gargoyle. While I do not claim the lion’s share of credit for its demise, I was gratified to have contributed by tempering my newly enchanted spear in the process. We entered the shrine to find it in disarray and disrepair. But the symbol still beautiful and vibrant shone with a light of warmth as we approached her. Then I spotted a hammer and it was painfully obvious what it was meant for…and yet I did not remove it. A decision I would come to regret! We had removed a key from Xandendi and learned there was more to the shrine than was obvious. A cursory search left us bewildered so we returned to the court yard. It too was unkempt, overgrown and neglected. That is when Huge found the graves of the bold brothers who had attempted the shrine had been disturbed. I thrust my spear deep into the recently tilled soil and was glad to find nothing lurking just beneath the surface. All three graves were in the same state and I began to feel my anger and anxiety swell inside me. To there great honor and my undying gratitude Huge and Atz set to the task of checking each grave for remains. None were found. Was there any limit not past, no boundary not crossed? My mind returned to the hammer for a fleeting moment, when an excited voice called that they had found another door with a key hole. The detritus gathered from many long years and overgrowth were cleared from the door. A call went out for the key, to which Vex proudly proclaimed, “I have it!” and without thinking, in a near state of rage having nothing to do with the key and everything to do with the task at hand I said “HAD!” The key was employed, the door was opened exposing a stairway into darkness. The smell of moldy damp, old, stale air was very pervasive as we descended the stairs. Light was produced but I would not be without a source myself this time. I activated a brightwand and walked two abreast with Huge at my side. As we spied the end of the stair at the end of our light Vex requested to scout in advance with a promise to return with the situation at hand. He and Huge exchanged pleasantries of sorts and Vex skittered into the dark. Moments later he called for help and the group rushed to render aid!
I would say I wasn’t surprised, but that would be a lie. You see, as I reached the chamber floor turning from the staircase I saw a dark shadowy figure, an undead to be sure but the variety escaped me as I approached. The form was not unlike dark creature we had fought on the road, in the wagon but somehow smaller in nature. To be sure they were no less deadly as time and again I could feel and even see them attempt to extract or devour from me some essence I am quite sure I did not want to do without. But for a word of warning from Huge the last attempt would likely have succeeded. The battle line was drawn, ours was advanced upon by three of the dark creatures, whose visage in life could almost be made out in their shadowy cloud-like forms. These were the spirits of the original clerics of the shrine animated in undead form. My performance was again unimpressive though I was able to score a few blows. Huge smashed two of them and Vex to his credit saved me from a fourth onslaught by my former fellow brethren. A kindness was imparted upon us as their chalky white bones were once again able to be collected so as to allow for a proper rest as soon as the opportunity presented itself. We advanced less cautiously than was prudent in hind sight, as Kelyn was battered by some sorcerous alarm trap as we approached a set of double doors. This section of the crypt was newly worked, expanded to accommodate the doors and whatever lay beyond them. Huge opened the doors and we all entered. The scene was dark figuratively speaking. Beyond a few rows of pews were a disgusting, nauseating display of impaled birds among which were numerous white doves, a symbol of Sarenrae. Upon an altar were candles and the hearts of the previously slain victims. In what is usually referred to as the transepts of a cathedral were two cells with iron bars. One ajar with scant bedding and belongings inside, the other locked and occupied. I stood before the bars and was immediately rushed by a man claiming to be a worshipper of Sarenrae. Having no reports of another clergyman missing, Xandendi in custody, and in full knowledge of demonic activity and intent within this room, I took a step back from the bars, produced a scroll with a divination allowing me to unmask dark spirits. It had barely begun to take affect when the man let out an unnatural scream, hissed and disappeared….which I recognized as transportation conjuration! Immediately the image of the hammer came back to haunt me and I found myself jerked into a lucid moment much as I had awoken earlier in the day. Running from this chamber I cursed myself and the demon in every tongue spoken in the Empire of Kelesh!
Rounding the corner I found myself momentarily at odds with my religion. For there before me was a beautiful winged women bearing a striking resemblance to the Dawnflower. The thought crossed my mind to genuflect as she rebuked me for my heresy. As I began to bow my head I heard Vex’s distant snorting grunt of a laugh, then I spied familiar faces on the flanks of the winged beauty, faces I did not like or trust, and I called the demons bluff. I advanced slowly and attempted a paralytic enchantment on the dark stalker, a hated enemy. Sadly he rebuffed. I suddenly found myself grow larger and employed my father’s combat style striking the assassin who had been hunting Kiara; the one we intimidated at the Inn in Sandpoint....Fal-kahn. Again even with the training and enlargement I struggled to make do in combat. To add to the miserable state of affairs the vile demonic flying whore flailed at me with a fireblade quite grievously! I have invoked Sarenrae, the Holy Sunlord Thalachos, Bryla, Charlabu and Mystmorning, there is but one more course of action to take and that is to invoke the scimitar in place of the shield!
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I must say this has been a most interesting day. After the early morning ambush I headed off to get a little more sleep as to be ready for when we decide to cleanse the temple. Met with the group around noon near the market and it was decided that we would head to the temple in the evening after Huge and Lugh recovered their weapons and armor that were currently getting enchanted.
Normally I would find a dark hole and read the brighter part of the day away, however, I had a feeling tonight would be a serious test of our abilities so I decided to sit upon the Irespan and sketch the ships in the harbor while enjoying the warmth of the sun. As the sun began to near the horizon I went to meet up with the rest of the troupe before heading out to the temple. Most of the gang went to the side entrance as we had done as children, however, Sam was curious if the key we relieved from Zadendi would fit the front doors, and as it was in my possesion, I went with him to try it. The front doors appeared to already be open slightly, and just before we entered there was a mosterous crash as the gargoyle from this morning apeared beside me. Apparently it had attempted to bull rush Sam into the temple wall and Felu just barely pushed him out of the way. I did not have any weapons drawn so I was not in a possition to engage the gargoyle immediately. As such I produced smokestick and tindertwig from my spring-loaded wrist sheaths, concealed myself in the smoke and stepped away from the creature to buy myself a few seconds. It shot straight up out of the smoke then engaged Felu. I drew daggers and moved up beside it as more allies came from the side of the temple. At some point in the melee, I felt really strange, and slow. Then I noticed I was eye level with the creature... as well as with Lugh who was flanking it with me... Sam must have made me big (or the rest of the world small) and this form was obnoxiously slow and clumsy. Not only was I completely incapable of striking the creature, but I felt as though I was much more exposed. Huge struck the felling blow and I made my way to Sam, requesting that he remove his spell and NEVER DO IT AGAIN!
We proceded to search the temple for a passage down, but had no luck inside the building. We finally found a vine covered door in the side of the temple and the key was requested. After I stepped up and said"Yeah, I have it", I received a strong look from Lugh along with a very firmly said "HAD". I unlocked the door then happily gave the key to Lugh. We proceeded into the catacombs and as we reached the end of the stairs I offered to scout ahead. The rest of the group nodded, and Huge said that if I see anything to come back...or at least yell. I wasn't twenty feet in when I felt something cold touch my arm and steal a bit of my life essense, very similar to the feeling of whatever that cleric did this morning only this seamed more severe. Beside me was a quasi-transparent, dark, humanoid undead thing. I attempted to say "Contact, help!", but I think it came out as "Aieeee! WHAT THE -redacted-!!!". I quickly learned my normal daggers had no effect, so I retreated a few feet in panic. Lugh and Huge were there in an instant and they were making contact with their newly enchanted weapons. I remembered the dagger from Zadendi was magical, a bit large for me, but useable. A quick shield formula later and I was back in the fight! Huge struck two down and I was able to get revenge on the third by striking the final blow. Huge was able to restore my vitality and I felt MUCH better for it, my overconfidence may well end me someday. Each creature fell into a pile of bones when it was defeated and thoes were collected to be returned to their graves. Three dead clergy, three empty graves, three re-dead creatures. That should be the end of that.
The end of the catacombs held another double door, and a trap that Kelyn was kind enough to discover the painfull way. The doors opened into another worship-esque room, only the whole scene was disturbing. There were three hearts on an alter, the room was full of dead birds of all kinds impaled on sticks and mutilated in a number of ways. Two bared cells flanked the altar, one was open and empty save for some bedding material and a chamberpot. The other was occupied by a strange fellow who ran to the bars at the sight of Lugh warning us of the crazy woman who was cutting out hearts and begging to be let out. Lugh stood back and read from a scroll, at which the man recoiled back hissed and dissapeared. Huge stepped up and dragged his sword accross the altar removing the hearts and whatever else was there into a pile. I stepped up and covered it in keros oil, was about to grab a tindertwig when the pile ignited from a quick spell from Huge. Without looking I jumped up and we preformed the most badass, syncronized high-five in the history of the known world. :P
Then things got serious again as most of the party left the room to charge after Lugh. He got himself caught up with a deamon, Kohlos the dark stalker who got away, Falkahn the assassin, and some other human. By the time I got there the fight was well underway and another deamon showed up behind Felu, taking a nasty piece out of her. My next move is to help dispatch that deamon then hopefully I'll be able to get to Kohlos before the others kill him. I've been holding onto his buddy's shortsword hoping for the chance to go toe-to-toe him.
What! Me, vindictive? nah
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To be clear for the folks reading at home, this isn't just part of the story as written it actually happened at the table. What makes it truly humorous is that they don't sit remotely close to one another and spontaneously, independently, high-fived the air simultaneously in sych with sound effects. We all found it highly amusing!
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Arrived just in time to watch the fighter step back, touch the wildly swinging Kollos, and they both disappeared. About then, LUGH also got larger(a guy could start to develop a complex around here, but Vex told me it's not a good idea), and I left the front line to the bigguns. Moved back where I was supposed to be with Nina and waded into the demon on Felu. Our blades kept it busy while MACER pounded it down,but not before it dropped Felu. Then HUGER was taken down, I think by the batwoman, and OONA(just trying to not get stepped on here) pushed into the brawl. We gave potions to the down members and moved to the front to engage the reappearing fighter and Kollos. Usual perfect timing; moved in and started poking the thugs as HUGER regained his footing and split Kollos in twain. Being true to his nature, he promptly exploded. How do these creatures continue to develop and thrive? I mean, if one of them passes in it's sleep, wouldn't most of the family die when the house collapses from the explosion? Beings of great power have way too much time on their hands if they come up with this kind of thing, and a sick sense of humor. In addition to the usual flesh wounds, the blast put HUGER back on the floor and(I later learned) fatally wounded OONA's prone form. Hadn't noticed her dropping, but now made out Atz moving carefully through the fray. Vex continued on Falcon while we worked the fighter, as a second batwoman took up observation from a far corner and Kiara rushed in to shoot Falcon. I was just happy she was still on our side, things were not looking great. Blades flashed, spells flew(Nina's couldn't get past resistance, Not happy), HUGER kept dropping and standing in great sprays of gore. LUGH Held the fighter just as my blade spitted him ear to ear, now that's teamwork. After much carnage, the arrogant Falcon dropped, and attention turned to the winged vermin. They used compulsions and drains as we returned spells and bullets(to little effect). Vex got great damage with his bow(look into this) as the large ones combined to splatter the first flying rat, who by that time just looked like it was trying to find a way out. The second, the boss by it's haughty demeanor, tired of our mental resistance and departed with a few extra wounds for its' trouble. Guess we'll be seeing that one again, didn't seem the type to forget our meddling.
Triage began and I opened the storage locker to prepare Oona for transport. Huge stopped me, carefully picked her up, and followed Lugh to the proper church above. Began going over the slain for useful clues, incriminating evidence, and any loot which was shelved for later. Moved back to the "chapel" to finish our interrupted search and others found a few items and the cultist's slush fund. Went upstairs to find Oona wasn't quite dead yet (thanks, HUGE!) and made our way back to the more civilized parts of town in a much better mood. The group split up to get some rest before dealing with this in the morning. I'm the first to admit to having an easy time physically, but the brain is in a fog and needs a bit of quality time. Still a long way from where I want to be, but think I showed a bit of competence toward the end. Who knows, might actually get the hang of this one day.
The troupe faced it's toughest battle to date. A succubus, daemon, dark stalker, assassin and a reluctant fighter. While an interessed Alu Daemon looked on with interest. The succubus and Alu Daemon cast multiple dominate and suggestion spells making the heavy hitters neal for part of the fight but failed more than succeeding. Great saves by the troupe.
A great triumph for the troupe. Some time now for reflection. And the retaking and opening of the Saranrae's Temple for her faithful. A renewed team, learning how to fight together. Great game guys. Level Five!!! Hazah!!
The troupe receives a letter from Amieko Kaijitsu. Asking the troupe to get an estimate for fixing up her family's estate in Magnimar while they are there. The estate has been empty for many years and the locals have insited that she return to Magnimar or at least repair it and rid the district of a squatters proublem.
They are told that the estate is located in the Naos district next to her friend and Mayor of Sandpoint's Uncle's estate. They should visit him first as a favor to Mayor Kendra Deverin. Hobart Deverin has been suffering a fever over the past year and she hasn't heard from him in months. A note from Kendra to her uncle vouches for the troupe and asks him to house them if they need it.
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The battle space was filled quickly with larger than life allies. My only way out was through my enemies. I engaged them with spear and sword and found myself woefully outmatched. Thankfully the assassin was called off as I was commanded to kneel by the usurper. She approached and I thrust my spear while receiving a despicable necrotic drain that seemed to close the wound I had just inflicted then the haze of death began to enshroud my vision once again. I crumpled to the floor, and was soon fed a potion and felt life energy swiftly channeled back to me. Revitalized I glanced to my benefactors and there stood Sam and Atz. The combat behind me had come to a swift end and while casualties littered the hall to our rear the fight was no better off than when we had begun, much was still uncertain. Oona lay prostrate on the floor, Felu recovering from what looks to be grievous wounds and Nina and Kelyn repositioning for advantage, Macer in heated melee with the usurper, and Huge cleaving poignantly at the darkling. As I regained my footing the fight turned bad. Huge slammed the darkling to the floor with a great killing blow, the remains exploding taking Huge from the fight. Macer was made to kneel as I had and a second winged she-demon had joined the fray! Shots pierced eardrums in the confined space and arrows took flight from behind as if to silhouette my form. I engaged the assassin and the usurper faring much better now. The assassin finally slain, I found one of the unsuspecting combatants in melee with Kelyn and locked him motionless with my paralytic enchantment giving Kelyn the honors with great satisfaction. Turning on the usurper I shook off her commands time and again while the gang wailed upon her. She was desperately looking to escape calling to her newly arrived companion, and found herself alone in this fight. Dispatching her was gratifying but the recently arrived was still to be dealt with. All of us engaged and try though she might, once again the mind control failed. Prior to her ending she left the scene without ceremony.
The fight concluded, with a swift survey I noticed Kiara had arrived and placed a few well timed arrows to lend a hand. I gave her a nod and word of thanks as I stepped to the only one of our gang who still lay unresponsive. Kelyn and Huge were tending to her when I recalled the hammer and the She-demon that had just fled so I made a quick exit for the chapel. I arrived to find the chapel empty with no discernible sign of ill intent in the area. The hammer still leaning on the statue of the Dawnflower, I could hear the approach of Huge and his labored breathy supplications for the life of Oona. I too short of breath knelt and offered up the gains I had received to accomplish this day’s deed to regain our sister in battle.
The energy of the divine made its presence known as Huge and I prayed for the intersession of the divine on Oona’s behalf. I raised my hands and felt the heat of the desert sun burn my face and warm me to the marrow. I witnessed the ichor from battle lacing the arms I offered as payment, dry from the heat and be consumed by the now fluid looking metal, and steaming away from the wooden shaft of my father’s spear. She did not speak but impressed upon me to see the chapel properly cared for and openly operated and supported. Then I noticed the sparking and pinging of metal. As I was released from my vision I saw that Huge too was receiving a divine gift. His armors dent, creases, and punctures were closing or popping out and the bits of broken chain were sparking back together as he looked skyward speaking an admixture of his families native tongue and that of the divine. As he finished Oona lurched and chortled a cough, at which we both leapt to check her for signs of life. Huge felt her faint breath advising she required immediate attention or she would be irretrievable. I quickly produced two of the strong healing potions I had remaining and we fed them to her as she lay on the floor. It was then I noticed she still wore the holy symbol of Sarenrae mystically provided the night her father came to reclaim her and I had placed around her neck the last time we had visited the chapel so long ago.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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As I began my movement towards the conflict I once again called upon Gorum for a blessing and was rewarded with my skin taking on the hue and texture of iron. It was one of my few remaining spells available to me and I hoped that it would carry me through the next fight. When I arrived I could see the effects of Sam by having enlarged both Macer and Lugh, as the rest of the group spread out as best they could in the confines of the crypt. The sunrods left in the halls still burned and allowed me to see several attackers. One was a winged creature in very alluring clothing, but where her facial beauty ended the demonic began. She had a tail, wings and hoofed feet. She wielded a scimitar of pure fire and closely resembled the statue above in the face. With her was Falcone, some human in heavy armor with a shield and a look of being uncomfortable, and the darkling Cholos. The one who professed his love for Oona and desire to serve her every need. The one I left stuck in a shrine back near the Halfway Inn. The one that used poison on his blades and attacked from the darkness and magically created fog. The one that was going to die by my sword.
I made my way through the others and dodged between Macer’s lumbering steps to arrive near Cholos along with Kelyn. Kelyn swung once at the darkling but moved off to assist in other aspects once he realized that I was not going to let this man live. My sword cut great chunks from his flesh and he found his return strikes difficult to get past my hardened skin. Thats right you shadowy bastard, I’ve learned. I was about to cleave the man in two when the armored man reached over and grabbed the shoulder of Cholos and they both disappeared. It was then that I remembered the heavily armored man that had just vanished and that was seen along with the two darklings. I roared in anger at the thought he had once again escaped my wrath and as I rounded on Falcone I felt my size once again grow and my steps drowning out the sounds of the battle.
“Tell me where the darkling went and you will avoid my wrath Falcone!” I shouted. All he did was smile and respond coolly, “I don’t know where my underlings went and I’m going to run you through.” He tried to at least but soon found the others moving in to engage him as well so his desire to skewer me was going to have to wait. We did trade blows and I would say I had the upper hand when I suddenly felt two sharp stab wounds from behind me.
Spinning around I saw the darkling was back, as well as the armored man and another of these winged demons that looked vaguely like a beautiful woman. Once the object of my ire had returned I ignored everything except him. The winged demon at one point reached out and touched me leaving my skin cold and clammy while I saw her wounds close up and heal. The attack was painful but not as painful to my soul if Cholos escaped again so I continued my attentions on him. With a mighty swing, I drove my greatsword through his feeble parry and down into his shoulder. The blade stopped somewhere in his chest before he exploded as his kind does. The explosion took me by surprise and bits of armor and bone cut my skin and pulped my organs. It was then again that I felt the familiar touch and my vision tunneled into blackness.
When I awoke the sounds of the battle raged on and Sam was putting away an empty healing potion he must have poured down my throat. I stood as fast as my legs would allow and took a feeble swing at the winged demon and missed. She turned to look at me, surprised that I was once again on my feet and reached out to touch me again. The result was the same, all I could see was her smile and wounds heal as I blacked out and collapsed for the second time.
As I awoke again I could see Sam once again putting away another potion bottle. I even heard the focused but calming voice of Atz as he used the magics of his ancestors to wash over me and heal my wounds. Sam could see it in my face and hissed, “Stay down!” Because of the blood, my beard loosing its braiding and my helmet, I don’t think Sam could see my expression but I told him, “It’s not in my nature to stay down. I’m sorry.” This time I wasn’t greeted by her foul magics but my legs were still wobbly and again my swing went wide. Then I heard Atz’s voice as clear as a clock tower bell, “Be the hero Huge.” His magics washed over me and even though I was still bloodied and battered my vision cleared and my focus had returned. Granddad is getting a toast tonight! “In Gorum’s name I smite thee!” I shouted and I brought the greatsword down. The blow was strong enough to sever her forearm as she brought it up in defense and finished half way into her head. The sudden dead weight of her lifeless body on the end of the sword almost pulled free from my grasp as she fell to the floor.
Thats when the other winged demon shouted, “Who are you?” Before I realized it I had answered, “Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght.” She rolled her eyes at my response and replied back, “Not what I meant! Know you have made an enemy this day. This little experiment here isn’t a loss, just an annoyance. I’ll see you all again.” I only managed to reply, “I look forward to our next meeting wench.” And then she teleported away.
It was then that I realized that Kiara was actually here. I thought I had spied her when I stood back up the first time but my vision and brain were suspect then. “Glad you could make it Kiara.” She started and turned to look up at me and smiled. “Glad I came,” she replied.
As I turned to survey the damage I noticed that Oona was lying down in the blood and wasn’t moving. As I ran forward yelling at the others at her prostrate form the magics that had enlarged some of us was ended. I rolled Oona over and felt for pulse but there was none. Just multiple stab wounds from Falcone’s swords, and bits and pieces of the darkling exploded corpse. Kelyn opened up his magical hole and began climbing down in saying that he had some wrappings for her body and a place to put her. He wasn’t being disrespectful but I had a momentary flush of anger. One of our own fallen and we are going to put her on a shelf until we could bury her? I thought.
So I gently and carefully wrapped her arms up onto her chest, brushed back the blood soaked hair and picked her up. I intended to carry her to the alter upstairs where I would clean her up as best I could in the eyes of her god. As I went upstairs Lugh followed along and I could barely hear his prayers. I too began a small prayer to Gorum. “Gorum, I know that Oona was not a follower of you. But her defiance of those that would destroy her temple should earn her your blessing. Her will was as strong as the iron in your being, grant her your acknowledgment.”
Once I had gotten into the shrine, I laid her on one of the pews and offered a prayer to Sarenrae this time, and loud enough that I know Lugh could hear. “Sarenrae, please take this soul to your side. She died defending your light and deserves to serve you in the afterlife. As a follower of Gorum I can attest to the iron in her will and the strength in her heart.” With that done I turned to look at Lugh who was looking at Oona in confusion. Turning back I swore I saw her chest rise feebly. I quickly pulled off my gauntlet and gloves to feel again for a pulse and was surprised to find one, albeit a weak one. “In Gorum’s name, I never.” was all I managed before Lugh had pushed me aside and was pouring a healing potion into Oona’s mouth. After a couple of seconds she coughed up some blood and her eyes fluttered open. It took a while before she focused onto Lugh. “I’m alive?” she asked. “It would seem that Sarenrae doesn’t want you yet Oona.” I replied with a smile. Then I heard Sam’s voice as the others were filing into the shrine, “She’s alive?”
In the aftermath, we found information that explained that this wasn’t being converted to a temple to Sorshen, but to some demon. This was to be a new temple for a cult that was beginning. One that apparently was getting its funding from those trying to create temples to Sorshen. None of it made any immediate sense but there had to be a connection somewhere. We just haven’t found it yet. Kiara explained that she had followed Falcone to the shrine and decided to follow when he hadn’t returned after being down in the crypt. She also explained that the worship of this demon by Falcone and some of the other assassins is why she had left. Also she had learned from a few trusted contacts within her guild that there was no bounty on her. Falcone’s bitter hatred at her leaving was the only reason he had hunted her. The darklings and the human in the heavy armor apparently worked with Falcone since he called them his underlings. Perhaps they were meant for us while he went after Kiara? Questions we had no answers to since there was no one left alive to ask.
The next few days were spent in recovery or in the local establishments that appealed to us most at that particular time. For the most part it was quiet and frankly dull. The crashing sound of your heartbeat when locked in mortal combat with a foe that wishes your heart to quiet being replaced with the sounds of far away ships at anchor and passers by was disconcerting. I knew that to fully give myself to Gorum would see me become the reckless berserker that many of my kin become and are known for. Yet the desire and love I have for the more primal and simplistic view of battle through nature was where I found myself wishing to be. Both of these solutions did not help my sedimentary life of living in Magnimar. It was like asking a part of me to sleep while the other part of me dealt with the mundane and worthless aspects of life. What made this even worse was that it wasn’t worthless or mundane because these were the issues my friends and family needed me to help with. I found myself over the next few days looking at Oona, Felu and Nina differently. Knowing that each one was battling pasts that may haunt them their whole life. How could I claim to be their friend by not helping them when they need it, even if they won’t ask. Even the owner of the inn in Sandpoint was asking for our help. Her family estate in Magnimar was in disrepair and she wanted us to look in on it. Shalelu had arrived at my home with keys to the estate grounds and Ameiko’s plea for our assistance. How could I say no? She was a hospitable innkeeper and true to her friends. Ameiko would be a wonderful ally and she appeared to think of us as friends.
The fitful nature of my own inner demons and desires came to the forefront one evening when I was awoken to the pounding on my bedroom door by my mother. When I awoke the bed had been shredded and tore up, straw and feathers were still floating around the room as if the whirlwind had just ended. I could hear our neighbors dogs howling in a panic, which I have never heard them do. As I moved to open the door to assure my mother that I was alright and it was just a bad dream I realized that I was no longer myself. In my place was one of the great grey wolves I had seen in my travels. For that brief moment I panicked and yelled for my mother to not enter. Instead all I did was growl and bark. This caused her to stop pounding on the door and I could hear her step away. In fact I heard more clearly than I ever had. I could hear the sounds of sails rippling on the night winds, the midnight drunks down in Lowcleft fighting. I noticed that I could smell things I had never smelled before. I could smell the fear and sweat on my mother in the hall beyond my door. The smells from the hands that stuffed my mattress with straw was fresh in my room. I wanted to be lost in the sensation of my new form and as I calmed my breathing and concentrated I could feel my body return. “I’m okay. I’m sorry.” I said to the door. “It was just a dream. Go back to sleep.” I could hear her step away from the door and return to her room. I then began cleaning up the mess as quietly as I could. Breakfast was going to be awkward.
...Lugh pulled out a scroll and began reading; it sounded like a Detect Evil spell. As he did, the fellow in the cell hissed and vanished. Lugh immediately dropped the scroll and ran for the door, scrambling to get back to the shrine above. The rest of us turned to follow, just in time to run into a whole pack of enemies around the first corner of the crypt.
There were too many of them, and my friends were moving too quickly; I knew my area control spell wasn't going to be of much use. Instead, I cast Enlarge on Lugh (first to engage the enemies), and then on Macer as he turned the corner. Felu stepped in front of me and began firing into the fray. There seemed to be at least four attackers, but then another appeared next to Felu and nearly disemboweled her. I couldn't get to her! She needs me and I can't get to her! Luckily others closed in and distracted the demon, and the whirl of the melee brought us closer. I Enlarged Oona and Huge, and fed Felu a healing draught.
There wasn't much else that I could do. Atz and I spent the next moments moving about the group with our respective healing magics, ministering to our friends as they fell. Oona dropped an instant before Huge finally slew the Darkling; I think Atz and I both knew what was coming as we simultaneously shouted, "NO!" as the greatsword fell and the darkling detonated. It took no more than a glance to tell us that Oona was gone.
I was dumping potions into Huge as fast as I could claw the flasks from my pouch and then drop the vials. At least twice he fell and then clambered back to his feet as the draughts took effect. Finally I implored him to stay down for a moment, but he told me it was "not in his nature" to do so. I had to roll my eyes at that.
Felu's pistols were hammering away, and she was cursing nearly as loudly after each and every shot. I shouted that we should keep the reluctant seeming human alive, but the heat of battle was on my companions and they cut all the enemies down where they stood. One winged demoness made good her escape after taunting Lugh and Huge; I wish that I had heard what she said more clearly. I fear that we are once again left without solid clues, and must now wait for further provocative action from our enemies. We don't even have a name for them!
After the battle, Huge gathered up Oona's corpse and headed upstairs after Lugh. The rest of us searched the bodies of the slain and tended to our own. When we arrived upstairs in the temple, we found that somehow Oona had returned to life. I looked closely (though surreptitiously) at her teeth, just to make sure that her own "family curse" hadn't chosen to manifest itself now...
Our return to the city has been marked by a steady stream of foes showing themselves once we began digging into the desecration of the temple. We exposed the murderers of the followers of Sarenrae that included a gargoyle-like demon who initially escaped our ambush.
We followed the clues to the old temple itself, and dispatched the gargoyle at the front entrance when it attack some of my friends. The rest of us had entered through the back graveyard the way we always had done as children. We were momentarily distracted from our search by the fight at the front entrance, but then returned as a group to the back and began to scour the area for clues. One of the first things we found was the fact the the graves of three original priests had been recently exhumed and their bodies were missing.
Upon entering the stairway leading into the crypts below the temple, we found ourselves confronted by the shades of the priests in the main hallway leading through the crypts. We fought an intense battle against the undead and finally succeeded in destroying the creatures.
We moved on through the crypt and found a newly constructed shrine hidden farthest from the entrance. The shrine contained several rows of benches and an altar covered with various vile objects. There were many dead birds impaled around the shrine and the altar. We noticed that there were two barred cells located one on each side of the altar. As Lugh examined the first cell, he was confronted by a man begging to be released. Lugh, not one to be fooled twice, began reading a scroll which had the effect of exposing the creature's true shape, and the "man" magically teleported away from us. Lugh was afraid that the creature was returning to the main temple to finish destroying the statue of Sarenrae.
Lugh led the way as we began to hurry back through the crypt to the stairs leading up and out. I was near the back of the group, after watching Birgun and Vex burn the items on the dark altar before leaving the shrine. When we rounded the corner into the first hall of the crypt, we found the other party members engaged in a fierce combat against the assassin, Falhkan, a dark stalker, an armored fighter, and a female demon of some type. She had small wings and was disturbingly beautiful, yet twisted in a dark way that chilled me to the bone.
As we moved into the fight, Sam used his magic to increase the size of myself, Lugh, and Birgun to give us an advantage of reach against our foes. The battle was the hardest we have fought, as the frontline foes were skilled in melee, and were supported by the beguiling magic of the female demon which was used to control some of our actions. During the combat, other demons appeared and aided the foes. Several of my friends fell with grievous wounds. Atz used his healing powers to keep us in the fight, and Sam and others attended the fallen and forced healing draughts down their throats to keep them alive.
Eventually, we were able to kill all of he foes, except for one of the female demons who had appeared later in the fight. I learned later that Kiera, the other assassin that Birgun had befriended on the road had arrived and helped kill Falhkan and the others. Oona had suffered a terrible wound, and I thought she was dead. Several of the others carried her body up to the main altar in the temple above, and it seems a miracle occurred as she suddenly gasped and began coughing as her breath returned. Maybe there is something to all of this religious belief held by Lugh and some of the others.
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Woke to an early sun through the window, a wonderful sight after the darkness of the night before. Had a bit to eat and enjoyed the warmth before meeting up to divvy our haul. I will admit to some skill on their part, but the other side has Really Good equipment. Working with several contacts, we find ourselves filthy rich. Had no idea there was this kind of coin to be made as the group engages shopping mode and scatters into the city. The feeling lasts about an hour as I see to enchanting blades and longarm and finding a couple useful items; who knew they make magic sights for firearms? Nina settled on a lovely bit of jewelry that seems to go with everything.
Some of this will take a few days, so we have time to rest and I can deal with unresolved issues. While Father and my siblings can each burn in their individual hells, I owe Mother so much and feel very low for not seeing her sooner. I send word through Odo to meet at her friend's home the following afternoon, wanting to avoid the drama. Nina will be coming along as Mother showed her nothing but kindness, and it would be rude to avoid her. Was nervous entering, but as usual, was just shown to be a fool for delaying a meeting. Mother's smile and warmth were matched by Nina, all was right with the world. This is how things are supposed to be, at least in the stories. We sat and talked of travels and people, going into the evening. I arranged for food to be brought in, and Margrete joined us, the talk soon turning to the Craft. They went on at length about spells, methods, things I vaguely remember. Most went over my head like a hawk riding mountain thermals, but was happy to see the excitement and closeness. In the early hours we paused, but returned before noon to continue. Made myself useful while important matters were discussed well into the night. While I can help with pointers on bladework, this will excel her spellcraft.
Took the next day off to rest(and study), our goods should be ready in the morning and HUGE arranged a meeting with Deverin after lunch. Picked up toys and gathered to travel uptown. Arrived at the Deverin homestead, kind of place you need a horse and buggy just to get to the privy. Took a while to convince the staff that our large, armed group was here to meet their boss, not plunder the family silver. Eventually we met Hobart, a very nice guy who seems world-weary. Nina says there is a presence about him, and Felu talks of something riding or using him. Talked at length about Amiko's request, his niece's concern for him; he just seemed happy to have more people around. He spoke of the poor state of the Kaijitsu estate(a stray "dog" bit him some time back) but asked us not to disturb Fumiko at his reading. Amiko's father passed some years back, but his spirit still frequents the library. Since we would be working on his friend's estate, Hobart asked if any of us would like to stay here as his guest. Nearly doubled over from a well-placed elbow, I gratefully accepted his offer. We were shown our "room" by "our" servants, words fail me. Am very sure that I will NOT get Nina out of this house; indoor plumbing and an elevator beat wet canvas and bug bites every time.
Got dressed up for dinner with Deverin. He sets an amazing table, but just couldn't give it my full attention. Talked of plans and possibilities, he retired early(need to separate that thing without harming Hobart) giving us run of his home. The group moved to our "room" and settled in to watch the Kaijitsu estate. HUGE started talking about a new ability, says he can change form. Right. Got armored up and said he could scout the grounds alone, then he "turned" into an owl(blink, blink blink). Flew out the window and returned later to perch on the back of a chair. Hours later, he became HUGE again and crashed to the floor. Said he saw werewolves(takes one to know one?) building traps by the house. Seems everything's tougher in Magnimar, even the squatters. Quick talk about shape-changers, another trip to the markets. Going to have to line up a couple dozen dragons to loot, this lifestyle is getting ridiculous.
Next morning, buying silver weapons and alchemical goodies. "Passed" a seamstress with some lovely outfits that(gasp) fit perfectly. Nina will look wonderful at the victory party after we deal with these latest mutants. Hopefully they carry all their assets on them, in cash.
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No wonder the fight was so hard, those guys had some AWESOME gear! I haven't seen anything like the pile of cash we split up since I deserted my uncle's estate in Cheliax.
Felu and I did quite a bit of shopping, and each bought some cool new stuff. Also, since we had a few days to ourselves, and Felu has been bugging me about getting her own tattoo, I got to practice on her. I must say that it looks pretty good, and my study of the technique has paid off, it took and is holding the enchantment she decided on. The ink is a little hard to see against her skin, but as a first ever tattoo on a living being, that might be a good thing.
After getting acquainted with our new gear, we headed to the upper city to carry out a request from the Mayor of Sandpoint, and check on her uncle Hobart Deverin. Quite the estate, and though the man is old and supposedly sick, his mind remains sharp and he was quite spry. He offered accommodations for any who wished (since we were going to be checking on the Kaijitsu estate next door), and I accepted his offer. Felu then kicked me under the table; she had a bad feeling about something (which I would find out later).
We had a lovely visit with the old man, and later on an excellent dinner as well. Huge demonstrated a new ability; he seems to be able to assume the shape of creatures that he has seen. While scouting the estate next door as an owl(rumors of ghosts and packs of wild dogs had us being cautious) he spotted two men that he claimed were werewolves building snares near the front gates.
Still later, Felu and I had a visitation. Felu fell into a sort of trance, and when I touched her to get her attention, I found my consciousness inside her mind. In addition to knowing her feelings for me/our feelings for each other are strong, I also discovered that there was a dark formless creature hiding in the shadows of our room. Communication (of a sort) ensued, and many pieces of the Hobart riddle fell into place.
Hobart is indeed sick, he is possessed by a weak demonic entity that is slowly consuming him. He was also bitten by one of the "wild dogs" next door, and has contracted Lycanthropy. The demon is keeping him from becoming a werewolf, and the Lycanthropy is giving Hobart almost enough vitality to resist the consumption by the demon. To be truly cured, we will have to simultaneously exorcise the demon and cure the disease; neither of which promises to be easy...
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I must take this time to thank all the players for not only posting but also being so involved with the game. The guys drive the adventure more than they know. It is a pleasure to make a story that has so much input from the players posts and the table talk. I wish I was a better story teller (much like one of our friends, Steve) he has an on going writing blog. I'll post his page after this post. He is my inspiration for so much. My only wish is to have him around for many years to come. Again thanks to my players who make this so much fun. Their posts are great, they get or give a wonderful rendition of what has happened without me having to post myself.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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Along with the missive from Ameiko to look in on her estate, was a query from the mayor of Sandpoint. Kendra Deverin wanted us to also look in on her father, who coincidentally enough, lived next door to the Kaijitsu estate. I found it odd that the mayor of Sandpoint was now interested in our motley group but it would appear that Ameiko and Shalelu have her ear, and our reputation for assistance is growing. Hobart Deverin was purported to be a retired adventurer and suffering some sort of illness, which has kept him from leaving Magnimar to visit his daughter. Kendra described the estate as being large enough to offer rooms for those of us that would like to stay there, but I suspect that I will pass on the offer. Others of the group will probably accept as their relations with their families is rocky at best.
I figured we had some time before we would inspect the Kaijitsu estate and meet with Mr. Deverin so I spent the next few days purchasing new gear. Once again I returned to the old wizard who had enchanted my armor earlier in the week. After explaining at length the problems that I had faced while fighting the demon woman, and his consultation of several musty tomes we learned that she used what was referred to as negative energy to steal my life essence to fuel her own. He suggested an enchantment that would reduce or outright deny that ability in the future. We sat in the comfortable chairs in the front of his shop for several hours talking about the fight and his surprise that such a creature was found within Magnimar. He offered to do some research on the creatures should I encounter more of them in the future, or at least the one that had fled, to which I agreed. With that done, he informed me that it would be several days before the enchantment was done as it was extensive work to weave the threads of magic into already existing magic without all of it unraveling. I nodded in understanding, even though I had no idea what he was talking about. He smiled as if he knew and I departed.
From there I made it down to Dockway and the Bazaar of Sails. The amount of barking and hawking of wares in such a riot of color was always a treat to walk through. The amount of people in such a small place reminded me of Kalsgard. Having grown up in Magnimar I thought that it was the largest place in all of Golarion. Having arrived in Kalsgard I learned what a true city was. The population there was immeasurable. The only place in Magnimar to rival the amount of people in one place was the Bazaar, and yet it was better. Only because the area was patrolled heavily by a local woman and her gang. The city guard never patrolled the tightly contested walkways, only men and women with red sashes. There was the occasional pick pocket, the amount of people guaranteed that, but if they were caught by any of the red sashed people the punishment was swift. Usually it was the loss of a finger or two, on other occasions the whole hand. I had never seen that happen, but the rumors kept crime here to a minimum, and that is what brings in the vendors.
In time I found a dwarven blacksmith hailing from someplace called the Five Kings Mountains who worked with the steel I was looking for. Cold iron was one of the few metals that could bypass the defenses of demons and even though I had carried a morning star made of the metal I was unaware of that property. To me, it was a finely crafted dwarven morningstar I had purchased in Kalsgard before my year long journey of enlightenment. The merchant did in fact have a greatsword crafted from the material and it was also enchanted which, he explained, is difficult to do. It would seem that cold iron is also resistant to magics and this made any enchanting difficult to do. Wary that it was a ploy to fleece me of more coin, I agreed to purchase the expensive blade. The scowl I gave him as I slowly handed over the money was returned with a sincere smile. I was going to check with the mage when I returned back to the up city, and woe this merchant my wrath if he did in fact haggle gold away from me with a lie. As it turned out he was correct and I would have to apologize to him should I ever encounter him again. The blade was not as extravagant as the blade I was given by the dwarves in Kalsgard, but was still of a master quality. The balance of the blade was perfect and it cut the air just fine, but then again all blades cut air equally as well. Hopefully that demonic wench would learn to fear this blade at our next meeting.
A few days later the group gathered up to meet Mr. Deverin and I handed Sam the missive penned by Hobart’s daughter. Sam was much better at conversation than I was, mostly because I tended to be blunt but then again my size tended to set me at a disadvantage from the start. Only when I was in Kalsgard did my size not hinder me when it came to talking with others. It helps when you can look them in the eye.
The Deverin estate was massive as compared to my family’s grounds. The grounds contained green grass that was kept short, the spring flowers were already in bloom. Well manicured trees were being tended to by an old Tian man on top of a ladder. He offered a friendly wave and nodded in my direction when I returned his greeting but didn’t understand what he said. There were a fair number of Tian in Kalsgard since the city was one of the final resting spots before the long trek over the mountains to reach their lands. I never picked up on the language, but it seemed harsh and almost guttural. It seemed ironic that the Tians were much smaller than the Ulfen and their language was harsh to the ears where Skald had a soft, almost poetic tone to it. The Deverin home was three stories tall, windows on all the floors and almost as wide as one of the city blocks. There would be no way my mother, sister and I could ever keep a home this big clean, the chores would be endless. In fact, the Deverin estate employed a great number of servants. He was known to pay his staff very well and in turn he was treated well. Although there were rumors that some of his staff were only here to collect a large amount of coin and would walk off with the family silver if given the chance.
Sam presented the letter to a doorman and after a small amount of time we met a very gregarious man after waiting in a grand foyer who thanked us for bringing the letter. Hobart was a large man, one who had let himself go after retiring from adventuring. I didn’t for one minute believe that strength couldn’t be found quickly enough should the need arise, he still moved as if he was in shape. He took us to a game room that contained a billiard table, and several comfortable chairs. Where the mages chairs looked warm and old, these just looked new. It would seem that the Deverin’s are not hurting for money and it was spent on everything. Chairs, tables, rugs and tapestries. Even animals that had been stuffed lined his halls and rooms. Placards, trophies and awards were found everywhere there wasn’t a painting of some kind. We spent several hours playing games of chance, talking and just relaxing. It had grown boring for me rather quickly.
“Forgive me for saying this master Deverin, but we were told you were a sick man. You seem to be in remarkably good health for someone that is supposed to be sick.” I asked as I rolled an ivory castle piece from the siege game in my hand. Damnable Atz even understood the end game and beat me four times.
Perhaps all my time had inured myself to my friends that no one seemed shocked that I had asked that question.
Even Hobart didn’t seem to mind, he responded “No. It’s true. I do have a sickness that comes and goes. At times I feel fine, other times I grow weak and tired and need to rest. It all started a few years ago when I went across into the Kaijitsu estate. You know its haunted don’t you? Fumiko is still there and just wishes to be left alone in his library reading his books. Hes been dead for a hundred years I believe. I had gone over to check the estate when a wild dog bit me. That was a few years back.”
That revelation made me focus my thoughts and scrutinize him more closely. Thats when I could see the darkened shadow that seemed to be joined with him in some way. I visible started in the chair, not expecting to see that. Felu took notice of my minor start but didn’t say anything.
After a few minutes he stood up and said that he was going to retire for a nap, but he had enjoyed our company and asked for us to return for dinner. He also offered up rooms for any who wanted them, especially since we were going to be investigating the Kaijitsu estate. Our close proximity to their estate would greatly aid our investigations. When he left the room I brought up what I had seen and Felu confirmed it. Felu was positive that it was a low level demon of some sort but why he hadn’t been killed by it already she wasn’t sure. Nina thought that it was acting as a parasite, and slowly feeding of its host like a tick does to a deer.
Half of the group decided to take up his offer of room and board, and most of them agreed to staying for dinner. I on the other hand could not miss dinner with the family. So I agreed to gather my belongings and return once my family obligations were met with.
Kiara wished to tag along with me on the return trip and even brought her gear with her. I imagine that a life inside an estate was finally beginning to bore her as well and I welcomed her company. She looked a little lost when I gave her the room that was set aside for me and moved my belongings in with Atz.
We decided to move into the room where Kelyn and Nina were staying as it somewhat directly overlooked the Kaijitsu estate. We began discussing how to look about when I went ahead and made it known that I could do so without really being seen. When they pressed I told them of the forms that I have begun manifesting through sheer will. I explained that I seemed to only be able to take the form once per day and I wasn’t sure on how long I could maintain the form. Once I explained the forms I had tried I then took the time to put on my armor with Lugh’s help. I told them that when I changed, the armor changed with me but would return if I changed back into my human form. Just in case something went wrong I wanted to at least be geared up. Then, much to their astonishment, I turned into a great horned owl. I had thought I would try the eagle again, a form I had experimented with on a previous day, but thought I would see if I could do an owl.
Once the form was done I turned and showed them the full form and said, “see?” Which came out as an owls shriek. That’s when Nina turned to the others and repeated what I had said, except without the shrieking. Turning my head in a quizzical nature, as owls tend to do, I asked out loud if she understood what I said. Wincing at all the squawks and shrieks she held up her hand for me to stop and said out loud that she could read my thoughts. That was a disturbing thought and I immediately began thinking of all the things I would never think about which made her blush somewhat.
“Right, lets test how far you can get this to work. I’ll count out in my head until I return. Let me know how far we get to.”
She nodded and so I leapt into the air and out the window. I have to admit that flying is one of my favorite forms. It reminded me of all those years ago on the Irespan bridge when we would look over the edge to the ships far below. I began my count and went to about 60 making a slow and horrible circle of the estate. I could see two men working on the grounds of the Kaijitsu estate, and it seemed odd for multiple reasons. One, because there was someone there when there shouldn’t be and two, because it was night out. I decided to try and land in a nearby tree to where the men were working and observe them for a while. My skills are not as well gifted as a true owl and I made a bit of noise as I landed on a branch. I think I must have hit every leaf and branch on the way in. Once I had landed and settled in to watch I noticed one of the men looking up in my direction. For a moment I panicked and so I tried to hoot like an owl does by saying, “who.” Turns out, when an owl says who, it comes out as another shriek. I could hear the man turn back to what he was doing saying, “stupid owl.” Breathing a heavy sigh of relief I watched them for several minutes before I realized they were setting traps of sorts. Unsure if they were trying to catch this ‘wild dog’ we heard about or for anyone trying to enter the estate. So once again I shifted my vision into what I was calling true sight. The men shifted into bipedal forms of upright wolves. The men were huge and I must have made another noise as again the man turned to look in my direction. Fearing discovery, I took off and made a long circuitous route back to the Deverin estate.
I found the others waiting in the room still for my arrival and I found purchase on the back of one of the many chairs in the room. Nina said that the last number she heard me say was thirty and so we figured that sixty feet was the limit to her range. So I explained what I saw and told them I had heard of such creatures before, they were called werewolves. Lugh asked if I was one, and through Nina I told him no. It was a sort of blood disease that was contracted through bites. Thats when the group pieced together that Hobart had lycanthropy but the demon was preventing it from taking over. The demon was a pseudo-beneficial parasite. We would have to cure Hobart of both and it looked to start at the Kaijitsu estate. I decided to maintain my form to see how long it would last and ended up falling asleep while still sitting on the back of the chair. I awoke to the crashing of my armored body as it hit the floor and tipping the chair over. It looked like five hours was how long I could maintain the form.
Following the fight at the temple,the party took advantage of the following week to rest, heal, and sort through the loot left behind by our foes. It turns out that there was a lot of expensive items that we decided to sell to help fund our adventuring, and pay to replace and upgrade damaged weapons and armor.
After consulting with our magic users, I decided to sell my sword and purchase a new one that would be able to cut through the magical protection of the demons. I then spoke with armorers and weapon smiths in the bizarre to purchase new items and have enchantments placed on my armor and my new sword. These things can't be rushed (according to the finger wigglers), so I left the items with them for several days along with a down payment to insure the work was completed on time.
I spent the next several days with my family. It is strange how I miss them now that I don't live at home. I easily fell back in to the old routine, as the familiar habits and food smells made it seem like nothing had changed.
My little sister, Mira, is no longer a child. In fact, she has blossomed into a beautiful young woman and is popular with her group of friends, especially the boys. (Leading to increased surveillance from my father.) I talked with her at length at home, and we walked down through the bizarre one afternoon and I bought her some trinkets and clothing that caught her eye. I also picked up some jewelry for my mother, and a fine, quality Kelishite dagger for my father.
The days were relaxing and enjoyable, but passed all too quickly. After checking back in with the group, I found that plans were moving ahead for our next job and that arrangements had been made for us to have temporary lodging at the Deverin estate, which was located next door to the Kaijitsu estate that we tasked with reclaiming. Both of these families had ties to Sandpoint, so it seems that word of our success has spread and is creating a lucrative situation for us.
I met my friends later that evening after they had already been introduced to master Deverin. I apologized for being late to dinner, and was then shown to the elegant room that had been reserved for me. Every room of the estate seemed to be filled with furniture and artwork of exceptional quality. After I unpacked my belongings, I rejoined the others in another room that looked out over the grounds of the Kaijitsu estate. We were in the process of discussing how best to approach the job of reclaiming the estate without upsetting the locals or causing unnecessary damage to the property, when Birgun surprised us all by sharing a new trick he had mastered in his druid training. We watched in amazement as he turned from his normal, giant appearance to the form of a great owl. During the transformation it seemed that his body shrank and his armor was absorbed directly into the feathers of the owl. It was shocking to say the least!
After the transformation became complete, we opened a window and he flew to the ledge, turning his head briefly as only an owl can do, and then disappeared into the night with a soft whisper of wings.
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Tonights game was short but got the players out of Magnimar to stage the next adventure for the troupe. I'm using the module "Crown of the Kobold King" as a reference, for a couple of reasons.
One, because of Vex, a kobold himself. he he
Two, it will help the troupe in up coming events. I have highly tweeked the module and am only using it in parts and not as written. This will be a good test for our heroes.
I'll let their journal entries tell of tonight's adventure.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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I awoke the next morning to the group discussing the purchasing of new equipment over breakfast. The need for silver weapons or blanches that would achieve the same result, or herbs to help prevent the disease should the creatures bite us. As most of the group left to find these weapons or herbs I decided to ignore the need for a new weapon. I was given the image of a dog chasing its tail as I pondered on it after eating. I have already taken a sword I was very fond of and placed it in a place of honor in my room and was now carrying a new sword designed to combat these demons. Lycanthropy be damned, I’ll just carve my way through them without the need to carry another sword. As for the disease, I was more confident in my robust constitution than I was at taking some herb to help.
I spent the remainder of the morning sitting in Kelyn’s room with my feet up on the open window watching the Kaijitsu estate and the harbor in the distance. The morning went by slowly. Eventually it was time for lunch and Hobart had his servants prepare a rather large spread of spiced meats, cheeses and breads. It was during lunch that Hobart said he would like to go to Sandpoint to visit his niece (PLAYER COMMENT—I thought it was her father earlier, my bad.) and wanted to hire us to help ensure his safety. I jumped at the chance to do so because it meant getting back out on the road, in the wilds, which is where I preferred being anymore. He said that he could offer up his advice on what it would cost to renovate and repair the obvious issues with the Kaijitsu family home but again warned against upsetting Ameiko’s great grandfather, Fumiko. To my relief the rest of the group agreed to do so. The decision was to leave in the morning a few days away.
This meant I spent the next few days at home with my mother and sister. My sister was excited at my leaving because that meant I would have fantastic tales to tell when I returned home. Hopefully that would be true, because the journey to Sandpoint was quiet and dull. Even though I worked more on different forms, the eagle and wolf were the most enjoyable to spend my time in. I might have to purchase a saddle of some sort to keep in Kelyn’s magical hole so that I could give Atz a ride. It would help to increase our overall land speed should we not have to worry about escorting a wagon train.
After arriving later in the afternoon on the third day, I immediately made way to the Rusty Dragon Inn. Again the atmosphere was everything an adventurer would want upon entering. Boisterous laughter, cold mead and ale, wonderful food and a clean room. Although the clean room wasn’t something I was overly interested in. With spring arriving, the idea of camping in the woods near Sandpoint help more desire than a dry bed in a inn. The night went by as expected and I mentioned to Ameiko that I might head out in the morning to land a boar for a great evening meal. She agreed and even laughed saying that boar hunting was popular among heroes. I didn’t get the reference. So I retired early and on my way out of town I stopped by the local general store and a somewhat large man named Vin sold me a boar spear. The day is already looking better.
Mentally communicating with demons, werewolves next door, 100 year-old hauntings, possessed benefactor... who would believe that was all taking place in Magnimar?
I has fallen to me to be the spokesperson for the group (troupe? company? what do we call ourselves?) with Lord Deverin, though even I get tired of talking sometimes. On the other hand, most of my friends are, shall we say, less than tactful. At any rate, Hobart asked to hire us to escort him to Sandpoint to visit his niece. He also said that it would be no trouble for him to draft an expense estimate for the repair of the Kaijitsu mansion.
Long story short (too late) we took a couple of days to get ready and made our own caravan to Sandpoint. We arrived there after three days without incident. While Macer was having an emotional reunion with his horse and Felu arranged a room for us, I betook myself to Mayor Deverin to tell her the situation with her uncle. She was very grateful that we were looking after the old man, and seemed to take the particulars of his situation in stride, saying that there was a priest in town that could likely deal with both his disease and possession.
Birgun took it upon himself to locate this priest, a fellow named Zandoo, and apparently the deed was accomplished that night while Hobart slept. I wonder if there is anything interesting to do in this town? We might be here for a few days.
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Survived a busy morning in the markets and returned to meet the others for lunch. Apparently Hobart has been cooped up for a long time and wants to visit his niece in Sandpoint. He seems more animated and I believe he wishes to dispel the image of infirmity. Maybe our barging rudely into quiet corner has motivated things, he wants to make up for neglecting her. It will be a good thing to get him back out into the world and an opportunity to rid him of the condition and presence that try to claim him. Hobart wants to employ us to see him safely to Sandpoint and back in the company of a few of his retainers. He also has started to put together an estimate on the Kaijitsu estate, using his extensive knowledge of his neighbor. A few details to attend to and we'll leave the day after tomorrow; is it just me, or did these things seem to always involve much screaming and dismemberment in the past?
Having already bought almost everything in town, spend the next day and a half in warmth and comfort. Fortified against the rigors of the wilderness, we get an early start on the trip north. Can't shake the feeling of being watched, but our meddling seems to have convinced the opposition to take their plans elsewhere. Second day, we arrive at the inn about midday and find the damage cleared and rebuilding has begun. Talked with the guards and all appears quiet, so push on intending to reach Sandpoint the end of the third day. Another night camping out and a quiet day rolling through the countryside. This is a really nice area when you thin out the goblins and other hooligans.
Delivered Hobart that evening, a good feeling to reconnect people. Having seen to the wagons and horses, retire to the Rusty Dragon for food and rooms. It hasn't been a long time, but this feels like a homecoming. People are glad to see us, and not just because we brought Hobart and the estimate. Having a hard time wrapping my head around this after years of isolation. An excellent evening of stories and entertainment, and as Hobart intends to stay a month, we leave it till morning to make plans.
Guess I slept in, things happen pretty fast if you don't pay attention. At breakfast we learn that Vex took it upon himself to motivate people. He contacted the mayor, who sent him to the church, where the priest sent him back to the Dragon. Seems the person qualified for this kind of thing is a certain, questionable half-elf(still under suspicion from the pajama party) likely to be found here. Don't these people have homes? Turns out he's rather powerful and removed both the disease and unnamed parasite in short order(blink, blink blink) while we would undoubtedly require explosions and wanton mayhem. Note to self; don't poke the flamboyant badger, hands are very useful and shouldn't be bitten off.
Am falling way behind the curve here, at this rate I won't even be a footnote to an exciting tale. Nina assures me that I'll be fine, and not to go dashing off into something stupid. She has a better head for these things, but going against nature is truly asking a great deal.
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After the fight Lugh continued his rush upstairs to check on the statue, while a few of us remained in the catacombs to double check the area and liberate some items from the recently deceased. We learned that magic weapons as well as cold iron would likely be invaluable against out new enemy.
While shopping the next few days Macer informed me that the group had received a letter hiring us to check on the Kaijitsu estate and get an estimate for its refurbishment, as well it was requested of us to check on Mayer Deverin’s uncle, Hobart, in the neighboring estate as it was rumored he was in bad health. The Deverin estate and mansion are massive to say the least. The main house itself is three stories tall, not including the large attic. It was extravagant, but not overly so, meaning it was entirely functional for the thirty plus staff and didn’t scream “look at all my money” like so many others in the area. We were each given a privet room on the third floor save for the couples, they of course shared rooms. I was rather pleased that my room was not bordered by either of theirs.
Cutting some content here, we discovered that our gracious host is plagued with both a demon feeding from his life-force AND lycanthropy. It appears the only reason Hobart is still alive is due to the strength of the lycanthropy and at the same time the only reason he hasn’t gone on a wolfish rampage is because the demon’s feeding has prevented Hobart from changing. I did some research and learned that we required a powerful cleric to remove both the disease and demon. Our host was not aware of his condition, but I believe he was feeling mortality as he hired us as bodyguards to escort him to Sandpoint that he could see his niece. It was mentioned that there is a sizable temple in Sandpoint so we will likely be able to cure him there or at least learn of where we can go to fins a strong enough cleric.
The ride down went uneventfully, passing by the inn it looked like reconstruction was already underway. We arrived in Sandpoint later in the evening (sixish) and most everyone ran off to find rooms or entertain themselves until tomorrow. My thinking was - we are on a job, we do the job we get paid. I mean why allow the demon another night to feed, shouldn’t we eliminate this parasite as seen as possible? - So I headed strait for the temple and talked with a Father Zantos. I very bluntly explained the situation and my objective leaving names out of it. It was rather rude, but he kept interrupting with questions like, “What are you, where are you from, is your friend a lizard too?” I don’t think he quite gathered the gravity of what I was trying to explain to him as he kind of blankly told me to go seek out a Zandu at the Rusty Dragon Inn. Gods with names like those these guys must be brothers, or at least very unlucky.
So back to the Rusty Dragon I went, and seek this Zandu I did. He is a rather strange fellow, very colorfully dressed speaks with his hands in a very exaggerative manner… I was surprised to find him in the company of a woman, more surprised when I learned they were married. As I explained the situation, he too interrupted with questions like, “What are you, where are you from, is your friend a lizard too?”… REALLY!? Is it bloody copy-cat day? These guys must be brothers. This Zandu character said he would be able to take care of the problems, but not till about one in the morning, he had to prepare for the event. I went and found Sam and Felu as they are not only the ones who can see the demon, but they also lead hour host/employer to his niece’s home when we got to Sandpoint. Sam seemed rather upset at having to get up at one to take care of Hobart, but that’s his problem. Like I said we have a job to get paid for. Of course he reminded me that I should probably let the Deverins in on my plan and not just randomly show up at heir house in the middle of the night and expect everything to go smoothly.
Another trek across town brought me to Mayer deverin’s home, probably near ten o’clock. I explained the plan to Mayer Deverin, luckily Sam and Felu had already told her of her uncle’s conditions, otherwise she would have likely have had my scaly tail kicked out of her home. She asked if her uncle ha to be wake during the process and if it would hurt. I hadn’t thought of that, so I told her “No” with as much feigned confidence as I could, and she seemed wholly satisfied with my response. Of course we didn’t get this far without questions like “ What are you, where are you from?” etc.
I arrived shortly after one with Zandu, Sam and Felu to perform the whatever you want to call it. It was rather unexciting to watch and before I knew it Zandu exercised and cured Hobart without waking him. Then I finally went to bed. I suppose it would be best not to anger the odd cleric.
Change of plans!
Deverin decided he wanted us to accompany him to Sandpoint to visit his niece before we tried to take back the Kaijitsu estate from whomever (whatever?) is living there now.
We had our own reasons for wanting to accompany him that consisted mainly of watching out for whatever was possessing him and his alleged lycanthropy. We traveled by coach and served as guards on what turned out to be the most uneventful trip we've taken to Sandpoint. No goblins, no orcs, no problems.
When we arrived there, the first thing I did was go to the stables and check on Hickory. It had been far too long to have him stabled. A warhorse doesn't have the disposition to stand quietly in a stall or be hobbled for extended periods of time.
I paid the stable master a small bonus for taking good care of Hickory, as he seemed to still be in excellent condition. I then attached the saddle and harness and took him out for a ride so he could stretch his legs and release some energy.
After several hours, I returned him to the stable, brushed him down, and made sure he had fresh water and a bag of oats.
I then joined the others at the Rusty Dragon Inn and paid for a room and a hot bath. After the bath I changed into fresh clothes and went to the common room to eat and discuss our upcoming plans to deal with Deverin's problems. Vex and some of the others had already made arrangements for a local priest to expel the demon and remove his curse this very evening.
They seemed to have the situation well in hand, so I enjoyed a night of food and fellowship with the locals who were more than happy to share their town's history with me.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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The morning walk was incredibly relaxing for me. The morning air was still brisk enough to see your breath but the weather promised to warm up into a wonderful day. I woke up a town guard when I left through the wicket of the north gate and told him that I was going to the north into the tickwoods to hunt boar. His expression at that statement surprised him, but after he gave me the one over he wished me luck and probably nodded back off to sleep before I made it out of view from the wall.
The tickwoods were rumored to be full of boars and it didn’t take long for me to find a small group of them foraging around for truffles or whatever else they wanted to eat. I took my time and quietly moved to single one of the boar out. The creature noticed my presence to late and with a war cry rushed forward and droved the spear straight into the boar’s heart killing it instantly. I probably stood to long surprised at the clean kill because I didn’t hear the other boar charging me until it was almost to late. I quickly set the spear for the charge and was rewarded with the boar impaling itself on its end. Before I could pull the spear back and make a second attack a tree fell on the boar crushing it instantly in a gore of blood, as well as break my spear. Then I realized that it wasn’t a tree but a club, somehow a hill giant had snuck up behind me.
Spinning around realizing that I was in trouble I grabbed for my greatsword. Thats when I began smelling the pungent odor of alcohol and it was coming from the breath of the giant. It’s also when the giant surprised me for the second time when it began blubbering in a broken Taldane asking for help. The giant had lost his ring and needed help finding the ring or he couldn’t go home. Between its slurred speech and broken Taldane it was difficult to understand what it was saying. There was something about his interest in an ogress which is why he took off his ring, and some ogres that made fun of him so he killed them. If this was a trap, it was an interesting one and I had to admit my curiosity was piqued. Keeping the sword out I motioned for the giant to lead on and followed him a short distance into a small clearing.
The clearing did in fact contain three dead ogres, their skulls having been crushed by the club the giant carried. As I began giving a cursory look over the area I could tell that it was an ancient ruin of some kind. I also noticed a discarded shoe. Small enough to be either a child’s shoe or possibly one of the smaller folk, gnomes or halflings maybe. Looking closer there was no blood or obvious signs of a struggle so I continued my look for the ring. It didn’t take long but I eventually found a misshapen lump of metal in the crude form of a ring. Using the tip of my greatsword I picked the ring up and showed it to the giant. His eyes told me that it was his ring but before he could grab it off my sword I swung it over to the discarded shoe. Pointing the sword at the shoe and looking closely at the giants face I asked if he had anything to do with that.
In his drunken stupor the giant slowly focused on the shoe and said that he didn’t because it was to small. I couldn’t really tell if he was lying but somehow I doubt it, he was to drunk to purposefully lie. So I flicked the ring to him and told him to get going. He stood there for a second looking about, confused as to where he was to go. So I pointed to the north east and said, “That way.” After a few seconds he began stumbling away in that direction and when he was gone I looked over the area after having picked up the shoe. I eventually found a small opening that led underground. As much as I wanted to go in and look I knew I would get into trouble by myself and decided to get back to town to tell the others.
I quickly made my way back to the boar and spent the next hour dressing the boar for transport back to town. While it bled out I worked on building a sled I could use to drag the carcass back to Sandpoint. The trip back was uneventful but I was kept from enjoying it as I mulled over why a child’s shoe would be found this far out into the woods. Before long I found myself in front of the Rusty Dragon Inn dragging in the evenings dinner. Once inside I told the incredulous story to the others who looked at me like I was the one that was drunk. None of the group had met with the local authorities in Sandpoint but Ameiko pointed me to their sheriff Hemlock. Though he had no reports of anyone missing from the area. He did point me to the Scarnetti family as they have extensive logging operations in the tickwood and he might know something. Titus Scarnetti didn’t know of any problems but did confirm he had a small group that lived up in that region and would be glad if I looked into the situation. The rest of the group confirmed their interest in going although Sam was less than pleased at the early departure.
Along the way, while following the obvious trail from the drag marks of my sled, we were attacked by a plant creature that I had no idea even existed. Whatever it was, the creature looked a lot like my entangle spell that I have cast except that the vines constricted around you. While everyone fought their way free, Sam and I stayed and fought the creature. Eventually it quivered and died and I then healed up both Sam and I. I tried to tell him he looked taller, but he didn’t see the humor in it. I think I heard a snort from Vex though.
We made it to the entrance and moved within cautiously. The stairs led into a large chamber full of kobolds like Vex. They didn’t offer much of a threat and in the process of chasing one of them down Lugh ran into another room with a tentacle like worm that attacked him. It didn’t last long though once it made itself known. The complex was covered in runes and images showing dwarves working and mining. The room that we found that contained the worm had what looked like a pool of boiling blood. I told Lugh that I had seen a few dwarven forges and none of them contained boiling blood. He shrugged and I ended up kicking the corpse of the worm into the pool and moved on.
Vex had convinced one of the kobolds to surrender and two other kobolds, who were slaves, agreed to help. Talk about a weird little group. The captured kobold agreed to take us to its leader as we learned there was a group of pink skins that they had captured and were going to sacrifice. As he led us through the complex we found the corpse of a headless man, his body being gnawed upon by dire rats. Moving past the corpse we entered into a room that had some sort of obelisk of strange stone. The kobold told us to watch our step and considering that the room contained several skeletons littering the floor I followed his steps. When Lugh decided to ignore that advice and stepped off our ‘path’ the obelisk activated and all the metal objects on my person suddenly ripped free, slamming into and sticking to the stone. I barely managed to keep my greatsword in my hands and was having troubles maintaining my position in the room because my armor was also dragging me to the center of the room. If that wasn’t bad enough, the doors we were heading to, where the kobold had already passed, and the doors we came from slammed shut. The other two sets of doors opened and four creatures that looked like flying heads came out. One of them let out a shriek that reminded me of being near Felu’s bangstick but they died quickly enough. In time we learned that the trap would reset and as long as no one left the correct path through the room we were able to move through it easily enough.
Moving on we discovered that our captured kobold had run off. No real surprise there but it still angered me. We came to a room that contained the corpse of a dwarf on some sort of anvil while a winged imp told us to leave him alone. The corpse had been there long enough to become a skeleton and it was obvious that his head was smashed in, and it looked like it was done by the contraption that was fixed above the anvil. Lugh entered into the room and the creature attacked him. Needless to say, it didn’t last much after that. I was about to wander off when Kelyn found a secret corridor in the room. By the time I had followed up behind the others he had opened another secret door and all I could hear was babbling in my head. I awoke five minutes later oblivious to the fight that had occurred.
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A restful day in Sandpoint. Having delivered Hobart to his niece, and Vex bothering enough people that Hobart was cured and disenfranchised from the lower planar, we seemed to need a new direction. Only HUGE was motivated enough for an early morning boar hunt, the rest reacquainting ourselves with the town and its' people. I understand the need for gathering materials that become the excellent meals served at the Dragon, but fail to see the recreational appeal. We were rewarded for the wait when he returned later in the afternoon with a nice specimen of boar and a whopper of a tale. Went on at length about a drunken giant, dead ogres, a romantic tryst, and a child's shoe. The shoe he could produce. Inquiries were made of the sheriff(apparently he has the job because no one else wants it) and the Scarnetti family who are more than happy to have someone else take care of things. Finished with an evening of fine food and company.
Next morning, an early start with the usual grumbling. Traveled to the Tickwood(really? need to work on these names, tourism is an issue) and followed the large, blundering trail. Walked into some spiky, vine-thing that HUGE swears wasn't there yesterday. Most painfully dodged clear while Sam decided to wrestle it, something he's sure to leave to Oona in the future. HUGE stood and hacked it pulp, and a quick break was taken to bind up before continuing. HUGE led us through some random destruction that lent some weight to his story before arriving at a ruined entrance. No one has any idea what dwarves would be doing here in the flatlands.
Descended stairs to a carved chamber with a broken obelisk in the center, the top of which was being dragged off by two small creatures. Look kind of like Vex, but smaller; some primitive variant. A dozen more poured in, but were swiftly handled, leaving one captive. He would take us to his king, something about captured pinkskins and sacrifice. Walking trail as the group moves down corridors, passing a headless corpse being chewed by three dire rats. None seemed concerned until large doors crashed shut ahead, splitting the party. Nina used her discretion(and a gout of flame) to end the rat problem while others tried the doors. Picked up a set of boots and a partial journal as muffled sounds of combat came from the stuck doors. Finally, Lugh burst through, saying the cobald had led us into a loadstone trap that released flying, undead creatures that removed heads and controlled the body. Can't prove it, but I know my brothers have to be behind anything that demented. Luckily, no one was taken, but the runt escaped. I was called forward to disable the trap as we lack the usual door opener; guess I get another job title, and another list of equipment needs.
Further along, Lugh opened a chamber with a small creature guarding the skeletal remains of a dwarf, who apparently did himself in using a mechanical triphammer. He left a note carved in obsidian of invasion and failure. Poked around and found a secret door that opened into a hall that led to another secret door that opened into an octahedronal(GM's word) room containing stone benches, a carved table, and a spectral creature like the two we saw in the forest near here. Forgot; Lugh told us to avoid them as they caused a trance-like state, very dangerous. A bit late to avoid, we piled in and the thing was finished. Felu and HUGE heard a bit too much, so we sat them down and searched while they recovered. The table is a map of the complex and the room can be used to listen to many parts of it. Vex is making a copy and I'm waiting for THE TALK about not wandering off and opening things before telling people and getting permission. Exploring has many unwritten rules, not my fault that I can't read ahead.
I spent the rest of the night and the following morning relaxing and enjoying good food and drink with a few from our group as well as some of the locals.
We then agreed to follow Birgun back into the woods to investigate some old ruins after he told us a tale of giants and ogres on his boar hunt the previous day.
We gathered our belongings and then hiked off into the woods. It wasn't long until we ran into (literally) some enormous plant creature that tried to wrap us up in vines and thorns, presumably to be fertilizer for it. Several of the group were tangled and couldn't escape, while a few of us were able to break out of its grasp and aid our trapped friends.
We vacated the area, patched up the wounded, and headed on to the ruins. We found a stairway leading down into a room filled with a mob of kobolds. They were similar to Vex but feral and unfriendly. They attacked us from several directions, but really were not much of a threat. We killed all but one, and questioned him about the ruins. He told us he would take us to his leader (king?) and led us down a series of connected hallways. I was near the back of the group looking at a beheaded body in the corridor when some type of trap activated and separated the lead members from us with a large door. We could hear sounds of combat from the other side, but could do little to help. Eventually, the combat ended and Lugh forced open the door. He warned us where not to walk to avoid resetting the trap as we enter the room.
We moved past the trap room which contained some type of magnetic rock that attracted all metal objects when the trap was activated.
Another fight broke out at the front of the group, and I arrived in time to be attacked by some type of ghost-like creature. Its cold touch was unpleasant to say the least, and left me feeling tired. The group soon killed the two attackers, and then paused to bandage the wounded and examine the room.
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Listened at the benches as the slaves explained what they knew. To the NE, a group was plotting to break away before the "king" got them all killed by sacrificing pinkskins. Couldn't make out the noise from NW, but to the SW were children's cries and angry cobolds. The short route on the map went through rooms and halls we had not cleared, so decided to loop back the way we came to reach them. Turning into the last hall, saw an armored dwarf ahead. HUGE charged into it, but seemed to slow as he attacked. Macer was next, but also came up short along side HUGE. The three were eerily still though I couldn't find a way in. Nina shouted and sent a pair of fiery beams above them that sent ripples(?) through the air. A tearing noise and a huge wave of thick fluid washed down the hall past us, searing flesh like acid. Empty armor that had appeared to be a dwarf crashed to the floor and we waded on to the dining hall. Groups of cobolds had some of the kids backed into a corner as we moved in, me swinging wildly at shadows and Nina felling many with sheets of fire. Lugh, HUGE, and Macer mowed in as Vex dodged among them. They drove the mob back to the opposite hall and we moved to assist the captives. There were three kids and a halfling, said others got separated and must be found. The fight ended, leaving a half dozen led by a blue-scaled one who offered to help; must be the one who talked of leaving. Not sure what all was said, but they were told to leave and not return to this area. As the acid still burns, HUGE summoned up large amounts of water to remove it. He started with Nina, soaking her from head to toe. As it was only on her legs, I suspect ulterior motives. Lugh joined in and all were soon damp, but no longer burning.
Gathered the youngsters and got more of the story. They had been on an adventure in the woods when the cobolds took them. It struck me that I was looking at our own group all those years back. Their "leader", a half-elf girl named Kimmi, has a familiar air about her. Will need to keep her on a short leash if we want to get them out in one piece. She says one of them is in this area. Since he wasn't in the cube, must be past the doors north. Found a crypt, Huge moved in to find the missing boy cowering behind an anvil. He said skeletons got him, but it seems he set off some small trap as he explored. Moved east, riding herd while others checked rooms north and east. Quick fight to the north, HUGE returned to guide past the mess left by ghouls. Reached the well room and I disabled it to stop more bolds from joining the party. Leaving the kids in the care of those not appearing in this scene, group moved into a rough-hewn passage filled with smoke and ash. Nina summoned strong winds which allowed us to see the large hound that belched fire among us. As combat started, noise spun me around to find a larger hound(wearing armor?) that also flamed. We attacked(still can't release the safety on this damned sword!) as it savaged Nina. She managed to dodge behind HUGE as he finished it off with minor assistance. I moved to discover how near it had come to taking her from me; there will be a reckoning. Many bandages and potions later, we are ready to carefully continue.
Moved forward toward a dull glow and the sound of a thundering forge. Find what appears to be a dwarf wrapped all in chains hammering at a large anvil. Many lengths of chain hang from it, one of them binds a boy at its' feet. Lugh yells it is undead and using a ritual to take the boys' soul. We attack as it expels a large cloud of ash and fiery embers, filling the room. More combat as Nina brings more wind to reveal the thing split by HUGE's blade, but it has done much damage even as it fell. I try to release the boy, but the chain still holds tight. As others are blinded by the cloud, I take the creature's hammer and attack the chain. It reluctantly parts, but am told to continue, as each broken section releases what appears to be more souls. The creature has performed this many times; I hope now they can join Pharasma's queue and continue on their way. Macer, HUGE, and Vex are still blinded by the embers and we lack the magics to heal them. Talk of returning to the clerics of Sandpoint, but no one feels we can lose a whole day. Looking closer, their sight will come back, but will take several hours. Those affected want to press on, but will be greatly hindered.
Be sure to join our heroes next week; same bat time, same bat channel! Get it? Bats, can't see? (crickets chirping) Wow, tough room tonight. Be sure to try the veal and remember to tip your waitress.
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I'm catching up, still got a lot i've missed:-)its fun to see the stats and such, quite the burly Druid Useplanb:-)
fun stuff! keep at it:-)
Glad you are enjoying the read. Also, I'm the small one. Macer and Lugh are stronger. :)
That being said I have an Ulfgaght cousin in the wings should I die that is bigger.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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When I finally came out of the chaos in my mind I heard the others saying they could hear kids screaming in terror. Turns out the room they were in was designed to pick up on the voices depending on where they sat. From a map they found in the room they knew where to head and so we took off at a breakneck speed.
Rounding a corner before the room we wanted to reach we could see a dwarven spirit slowly moving towards us, axe raised to strike us down and floating a foot off of the floor. I yelled at the others to save the children while I took care of the specter. I charged, timing my great swing with the dwarf and was surprised when I met resistance before the sword struck the dwarf. I soon felt a burning sensation all over my body as I realized that I was in some sort of devilish kobold trap. No sooner had I impacted into this trap than I felt Macer also become entangled in the acidic ooze. For a brief moment I began to panic when I realized that I could no longer move or hear anything. The only sensation was the burning of my skin. Suddenly the trap exploded in a wash of acidic goo and I landed on the ground.
Ahead I could see kobolds pouring into a room from an opposite hallway and the screams of kids filled the corridor. I charged a particularly large looking kobold and cut him in half with one swing of my sword. A quick look of the room showed a halfling and a young girl no younger than my sister trying to defend two smaller children from the kobolds. The halfling and the young girl both took viscous cuts as the rest of the group ran into the room. I also felt the continued sting of acid on my flesh as whatever the trap was still lingered. Knowing that the halfling and young girl would not last much longer I left myself open for attack as I moved through the kobolds to kill one of the creatures that threatened the children. The little bastards were using poison as I could feel my body fighting against its effects when a couple of them found openings in my armor.
I heard Nina speak a few words of arcane magic and fire shot from her hands as she roasted a great number of the little beasts. Many of the others moved up to assist the defense of the children and within a matter of seconds the kobolds were almost all dead and the children safe. Then the screams and howls of more kobolds came from the hall where they had initially poured from and everyone set up a hasty defense. Moving up to help them, smoke rising from my body were my flesh was burning from the acid, I managed to cut another of the bastards in half before another wash of magical fire from Nina’s outstretched hands claimed the lives of several more of the kobolds, one of which was the coward that led us into the trap and had escaped earlier.
I also noticed another group of kobolds, one of which was blue in color instead of the black like the ones we were killing. The only reason I noticed them, other than the color, was because he and his group were stabbing the other kobolds in the back. When the last one fell this small group dropped their weapons and began speaking in a language that only Vex understood. Vex translated that they wished to be spared and that they never hurt any of the “pinkskins” as they called them. The hypocrisy of that lie was given light by the finger bones made into earings jangling as he begged for mercy. I spit on him and turned to move back to the others as I could see that all of them had the acid on them in some way. I quickly doused Nina, Kelyn and myself with water granted by a blessing of Gorum. This helped remove the acid from our bodies but in the end I had to drink a potion of healing to fix the damage done to my skin. Lugh had taken care of the others in a similar manner. They had also let the blue kobold and his group leave. As much as I wanted to cut the bastard down, doing so provided no glory and they were cowards as well.
Talking with the children we learned that there were at least three other children within the complex. A couple that had been taken and one that was missing because he had run off. Moving deeper into the complex we found one of the children hiding behind a great anvil at the back of what appeared to be some sort of burial chamber. Several skeletons lined the floor of the room and Lugh suggested having a blunt weapon ready should they rise. I was able to talk the child out of his hiding spot. He was so scared all he could talk about was that a skeleton had cut him. Since none of the skeletons were giving us any trouble I can only assume that the child had disturbed them in some way. Regardless, we were able to get him to the others after tending his wounds.
Moving even further into the complex the group had decided to bypass one room to head into another. Making sure we were not surprised I continued on into the room they bypassed. Looking in the room I found nothing but a doorway on the far side that was opened. Then I heard Macer yell a cry of alarm and knowing the layout after Vex had shown me a map he had drawn of the complex I moved through to the doorway. This room had some sort of shaft or stairwell leading down, a hewn out passage that smelled of smoke and another doorway that led into the room the others had entered. Drawing my weapon I moved into the room and found several dead kobolds and the living dead tearing into their flesh. The creatures rounded on all of us but where brought down in short order.
We decided to move into the smoke filled room as a group and hadn’t gone to far before gouts of flame from two directions washed over all of us. I managed to avoid most of the fire but after a quick spell from Nina the smoke was blown away by a strong wind and what was left were two hounds from hell, one of which wore a suit of armored barding. I quickly stepped up the armored hound and brought down my sword with all my strength. The beast took the blow and retaliated by almost killing me with a vice-like bite from its maw as well as fire. The wound was savage enough to cause my next swing to go wide but thankfully Lugh and Macer had moved in to help after having killed the hound near them. The creature didn’t know where to bite and thankfully bit one of the others as I was sure that if it connected again I would have died. Before long we brought this creature down and had to spend several minutes taking care of our wounds. I drained all of my remaining potions and used the curative magics taught to me by Arypp with the aid of Gorum on the others. Battered and bruised we pushed on.
In the next room we found a curiously dressed dwarf wrapped from head to toe in chains. Hooks and bits of iron also wrapped around the dwarf and one of the chains led to a small boy who was bound in the chains. Lugh leapt forward quickly yelling at the rest of us to stop the ritual. We all followed suit and rushed in, hacking into the dwarf but the chains seemed to absorb a lot of the damage. He then inhaled and released a cloud of burning embers that covered us all, my eyes being burned into blindness immediately. Knowing that some ritual was going to claim the life of the child I couldn’t abandon my attack, even blinded. Praying to Gorum for guidance I stepped up and swung and was rewarded with the sound of the dwarfs corpse hitting the ground. The cloud though had done its damage and several of us were blinded from the embers. Looking at all of us in time Lugh mentioned that we should recover our eyesight in time. Meanwhile Kelyn had used the hammer the dwarf wielded to break the chains that bound the young boy. He also used it to destroy the chains that wrapped the dwarf. Lugh mentioned that the links contained souls of people that it had used to bind into the chains. Whatever foul magics this dwarf used would now be over thanks to our intervention and Kelyn’s tireless arm.
Now I had to wait to see how long before my vision would return.
captain yesterday wrote:
I'm catching up, still got a lot i've missed:-)its fun to see the stats and such, quite the burly Druid Useplanb:-)
fun stuff! keep at it:-)
Glad you are enjoying the read. Also, I'm the small one. Macer and Lugh are stronger. :)
That being said I have an Ulfgaght cousin in the wings should I die that is bigger.
well a strength of 22 for a Druid seems pretty good to me:-) but then again we're usually a high dexterity, everyone has Weapon Finesse and Studded Leather type of group:-)
even with Iron Gods my daughter has a Great Sword (saving up for a Chain saw!) welding Android Fighter with a higher Dexterity (18) then Strength (17) (then again she rolled stats and ended up with the equivalent of a 64 point build:-p)
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Well, our stats have been tweaked by the GM for his game. (He's notorious for doing so.) Which is also why I worked on the Druid of Gorum (class/archetype?). Other than making one other tweak to the class as I had posted, right now he's been holding his own next to the others. So my fears that the class might be broken have so far not been true. The further along we go I will have to see.
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Decision made, look for best route forward. Passage past the forge is a narrow crack, only fit for the bolds, so backtrack to the well. I undo my earlier work while others figure out methods and order of descent. In the end, most just leap the low wall and trust to fate. HUGE chooses to take the cauldron, not being a fan of "just let go!". It's a bit father down than expected, but the new boots perform as advertised. More dwarven work with rough-hewn tunnels leading out. Two sabre-tooth frogs(?) with bold riders appear spitting and swinging. Pistol and spell fire ring out and we move in with cold iron. Making good progress against the oddities when a horde of the runts pour out of an ignored doorway behind us. A hail of small missiles perforate the group as I notice the dungeon has become quite tangy, definitely yellow. Felu and Sam knocked down the flankers and Nina trapped the rest with a web spell. HUGE arrived in his cauldron, decided this had no honor, and left us to clean up with spell, fist and sword. He rushed off to find the captives, but just ran into more bolds. The group caught up piecemeal as the first bunch was whittled down(the little guys sure are fast). Arriving at the fight, discover a gargoyle had joined in. Surround it and soon bring it down with our lovely, enchanted weapons; not falling for that DR thing again, might be a little slow, but can figure things out.
No sooner than these are sorted out, the big nut goes RUNNOFT. Does pretty good for someone who can't see for squat. Just a minor point; if I take off without permission, it's stupid and risks the safety of the group. When others do the same thing, it's heroic and a brilliant tactical move. Am going to have a lengthy talk with the little lights around my head about this injustice. Group streams after, arriving at a large, slimy chamber containing two more sabretoads. One of the riders is still in the fight, the other had a close encounter with the roof. They fall quickly after a bit more damage, group starts carefully crossing the slime. A narrow passage leads back toward the well room, I decide to check it for runts or stray kids. My luck, find a bunch of bolds and their damned darts; they definitely sound tabasco when they hit. They had an ambush set for the other direction, but recovered well and it was a lively scrape. More piled in for a chance to squash the bugs and eventually realigned the mizzen. HUGE and Sam(?) charged heroically on, and from the happy bellows, can only assume HUGE found another fight. Start prying each other out of this closet, I stop for a quick potion. Things are getting slippery, keep dropping the stupid sunrod(got to be that spell Sam keeps casting). Nina's calling, sounds concerned; must be that I haven't written my aunt in some time. Must be sure to do that right after Elevensies.
|Birgun the Huge Ulfgaght|
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We rested for only as long as we dared allow to use some curative magics before moving on. A few suggested that we wait until our vision returned, but the lives of the remaining children was more important. I was beginning to see more than just darkness. There were even flashes of light and movement that led me to believe my vision was returning even quicker than we had thought. No, the children had to be saved and if that meant moving slowly forward because of our poor vision than so be it, at least it was forward.
We moved to the room where the well to the lower levels was located and it appeared that I was the only one that used it to lower myself safely to the room below. The others used magics of all kinds to get there and I could hear a fierce battle below. I then heard Kelyn yell for me to watch my step when I arrived at the bottom as the room was covered in a magical web. I could barely make out the few remaining kobolds that were left in the room, but the amount of dead kobolds far exceeded the live ones, no glory here and it wouldn’t take the others more than a few seconds to finish them off so I pushed forward into one of the halls.
I came into another room after following the hand carved tunnel and found even more of the little bastards. As I moved to engage them a few made their way in my direction but these were not warriors beyond a creature that carried a tool and used it as a weapon. These were the miners that had carved the tunnels. Other than a few nicks and cuts, mainly in my feet, they posed no threat and died as quickly as they rushed forward. I heard cries of a gargoyle but I could not see it in the darkness of the room and my generally fading vision. As I pushed further into the room and heard someone yell that the gargoyle was down. I found another tunnel further into the room and began moving in its direction when I heard the sound of combat break out behind us. Kelyn had found a small group of kobolds lying in wait and had engaged them. I could hear a few of the others rush off to assist him, only Nina being the one I know would have gone. I was surprised to find Sam behind me as I entered into the tunnel which eventually led into a crossroads. Sam was not comfortable leaving the others but I was relatively well off, the damage was all superficial and the children were paramount. I initially chose the tunnel to my right and using my off-hand to help guide me, as well as the light coming off the pommel of my greatsword I could tell that the room it led to was empty or at least not full of the little ankle biters. Turning around I continued forward and took the first passage to my right, which was opposite of the way I had entered into the crossroads.
I soon found myself waist deep in the little bastards as a flurry of small spears either impacted and bounced harmlessly off my armor or found a week spot and struck true. The bastards were using poison but my Ulfen constitution fended off most of it. Their leaders charged forward and swung their small blades but the damage had been done. My small moment of blindness had left me open to attack and I was now in serious trouble. I even heard Sam wheezing from wounds he had sustained. I told Sam to fall back a small ways and that I would provide the cover he needed until the others arrived. I would use the narrow hall to my advantage and with a blessing from my Lord of Iron I hardened my flesh as Sam once again increased my size with his arcane magics. One of the leaders tried to rush me, assuming the small retreat was a sign of weakness. He paid for that mistake when I cut him in half and buried the sword into the earthen floor. I quick tug pulled the blade free and for a small moment I saw fear in the eyes of the kobolds. I also heard the arrival of the others. Time to press the advantage and cut these bastards down.