The World of Orsus

Silver River, Red Spear - Session 13
Adventures up the Silver River

The party sets sail on a barge headed up the Silver River. Dwarves tend not to name their ships or work animals, and thus don’t develop an attachment to them. This barge is owned by Roki Fireshadow, and its captained by her husband Elgan.

Everyone settles into the hold, and the rain continues to pour. That evening the rain finally stops long enough for folks to enjoy supper on deck and get to know the crew.

The crew isn’t much compared to a sea-vessel. In fact, its nothing but rowers and the captain, who also takes his turn at rowing so he can cut down the costs of hiring another staff. The rowers are Ogan Woodhauler, Irak Marblehewer, Tola Coppershadow, and Hilde Metalsmith. Irak doesn’t seem to like the party much, and sits apart from them whenever possible. Ogan is extremely likable, and people take to him almost immediately.

That evening, just as the party is settling down to sleep, one of the barrels of fish begins to move. Subtle at first, it rocks harder, prompting Severath to wake the party and summon the captain. Grumpy at being disturbed, he grabs a crowbar and heads down. Tapping on the barrels, he notes that it sounds different on the moving one. Immediately after he pries the lid off, a soaking we dwarf child leaps out for air, finally able to get a full breath. He starts to swear, pulling the child out of the barrel and chastising it. It appears to be a young girl, and Elgan had seen her skulking about the docks the day before, trying to convince him to let her aboard. He knew she’d be up to no good, but thought for sure they had left without her. He takes her to the top of the barge and will decide what to do in the morning.

It turns out her name is Wanda Birchheart, and she’s an orphan looking for adventure. She wants to see the bridge made of silver. From stories shes heard, anyone can make a living in the Silver City. She wants to earn enough money to open her own shop – or any place, really, that she can settle down and make a life.

Reluctantly, Elgan allows her to stay on board. The women in the crew, including Roki, all take a liking to the girl and are glad to have her around. Elgan makes sure she earns her keep by cleaning the barge and scraping at the freshwater barnacles. Shes a bit whiny, but does it all the same.

It turns out she has some magical skill as well, and for that, Severath takes a liking to her. He spends a good chunk of the day instructing her on magical principles. Her talent seems to lie in a sorcerers ability, rather than wizard, so he can only train her so far. Still, she pays attention, and learns quickly.

The next few days pass smoothly. Wanda develops a cold from having been in a fish barrel for a day, and has to stay in bed for a time.

Occasionally you pass another barge heading the opposite direction. All have Redspear flags with the occasional subclan flag tacked on under it. Both barges ring their ship bells and stand outside to wave at the passing ship.

On the party’s fourth night on the river, Nuada notices another boat quietly attaching themselves to the barge. Running to the captains chamber, he wakes the crew then rings the signal bell. A group of Tyrantsbane bandits jump aboard and the party wakes to battle.

Everyone rushes upstairs as fast as possible. The crew never trained for battle, but do their best. Ogan seems to have battle experience, but he’s long put combat behind him. Hes tired of fighting. Luckily for everyone, the attackers weren’t expecting the party to be there. What would have been an easy catch quickly became a very heated battle. Severath cast Feeblemind on what appears to be a priest, rendering him useless.

Several members of the crew were badly injured, including the captain. Sadly, Tola was injured beyond healing and died in the heat of battle. Ogan ended up getting attacked, and the party notices he’s very well trained. His fighter instincts kick in and he moves well.

Three of the seven attackers tried to flee after seeing their priest become ineffective. Thanks to a well-placed acid flask, they didn’t make it too far. The priest and remaining fighters were all captured, with only three being killed.

Once the spell wears off, the crew questions all members involved. The priest, named Ygdrimm, has a brand on his chest – a hand with a hammer inside. Its the symbol of the Hand of Moradin, a strongly dogmatic religious cult. It turns out that the Tyrantsbane members didn’t know they were following a cult member, and were just carrying out orders. This was supposed to be a simple raid – takeover, leave the crew on the edge of the shore, and take the barge full of goods back to base. From there, Ygdrimm would pay them and fence the goods however he does. Ygdrimm wont say a word beyond his blind conviction of faith, but the others are glad enough to talk if it means they’ll live.

A small funeral is held for Tola before the party moves on.

For the next two days the prisoners are tied up below deck with the party. Once everyone reaches Aibhnichean oir (“Rivers Edge”), most of the party joins the captain in alerting the guards of your prisoners. Elgan heads in to tell the full story of events. Ogan seeks out Thorsun, and both let on that they’re more than they seem.

Meanwhile, Pe-ling notices several fliers along the dock wall. Most of them are wanted posters or missing persons – one in particular (posted several times) is the missing nephew to the Runicstone Hierophant. Pe-ling points out that the nephew, named Trinjal Runicstone, looks very much like Ogan. Nuada grabs the flier off the wall (upsetting one of the nearby guards, which becomes pacified by a copper) and quickly runs back to the barge. Interestingly enough, Pe-ling also finds a notice about his hero Magnus. In this flier, hes sketched out to be a large barbarian human male nicknamed “Magnus giant-slayer.” It appears that he slew a dozen giants in single combat, and the town would like to reward him for his heroism. Pe-ling takes this flier as well, once again upsetting the guards and pacifying him with a copper.

Back on the barge, Nuada interrupts Ogan and Thorsuns conversation to point out what Pe-ling said about the flier. Throsun can’t see the resemblance. Smiling and flattered, Ogan denies that its him. Nuada takes another look at the flier and is forced to admit that it really only somewhat resembles Ogan. He apologies then heads back to the rest of the group.

In that moment, Ogan does reveal to Thorsun that he’s Trinjal Runicstone. Throsun likewise reveals that he’s a Dragonaxe clan member. Thorsun tells Trinjal about the axe he found, as well as the hammer, and shows him the ancient scroll of peace between their clans. Thorsun tells him that he would like his help in finding out more about the Runicstone and whether or not they know anything about it. Trinjal refuses, saying he’s put that life behind him. He was being honest before, in that he’s done with fighting. Hes done with the war, and he just wants a peaceful life.

Pe-ling returns to the boat with his Magnus poster. In a strange twist of irony, Pe-ling kinda looks like the sketch of Magnus. Hes pictured standing dramatically on a pile of giant bodies, his face mostly obscured by a dark line under his furrowed brow, as if the sun was right behind him. In that moment, Pe-ling somewhat lets slip that Thorsun is in disguise. Being diplomatic, Ogan/Trinjal helps cover for the slip, and the matter is quickly forgotten.

After the party turns in the Tyrantsbane and the priest, they explore the market a while. This city is known for its mass production of bronze and brass items, and much of that can be seen through the market – from pots and pans to decorative items and armor. They spend some time selling a few things and exchanging their silver for gold. The items they can’t sell, they’ll save for the Silver City.

While selling some of their treasure, Severath meets up with a friendly priest of Moradin. Unlike the fanatic from earlier, this one is warm and genuine; only promoting the loving word of their creator. Severath mentions that he worships the Dead God, and the priest tells him that he encountered another group of worshipers at the Silver Bridge. Severath then promises to return for the evening mass.

Game pauses for the night.

Addressed to Thorsun:
“His hair looks different, just like you!” – Pe-ling
“Yes. I’m just like you” – Trinjal Runicstone

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Pine Forest and Fish City - Session 12
An elven forest encounter and a dwarven city

After traveling a few days in the Giuthais forest, the party has an interesting encounter. While Nuada and Severath were keeping watch, an elf shows up at their camp and “pssts” at Nuada to get his attention. She waves him over while Severath, suspicious, wakes up the party.

Her name is Urizana. It turns out there is a camp of elves nearby, and she snuck off on her own to investigate your camp fire. She was excited to find more elves out here in Dwarven lands, even if it is in the woods. She takes Nuada to see her camp, and invites you to come visit them in the morning.

In the morning, the whole group heads over to see the elves mostly packed and ready to leave. One in the center is slowly stowing cooking pans in a pack, as if he’s unsure about whether or not they’ll still be needed.

It turns out that they’re anthropologists sent on a five-year mission to study Dwarvish culture. They’re all wearing earth-toned clothing for better camouflage, but some of them have bright white robes.

Introductions are made:

Bezaen Mylysa – Leader of the group. A male grey elf with a falcon companion named Eyebright. Hes a bit stern and impatient, with all of the usual snobbishness of a grey elf despite his love for nature.
Stadis Farweaver – The only high elf in the group. He seems truly fascinated by dwarves and everything they do. Somewhat nerdy but is mostly passionate about his studies.
Sharieth Sethil – Grey elf female with striking jet-black hair. Wears spellcaster robes and is most likely a sorcerer. Doesn’t socialize much during the encounter.
Lacmae Jafillaeth – Most likely also an arcane spellcaster, and seems to be in a relationship with Sharieth. He’s spent some time on Tolgar studying various human cultures as well.
Urizana A’thae – Shes the one everyone first met, and is very taken with Severath. Despite being a grey elf, shes very sweet and whimsical, and loves the forest life. She manages to convince her troupe to linger another day and “get to know” the party a bit better.
Ineeon Yameaenya – Ineeon is pretty tall and skinny, even for an elf. He sees Kuma as a curiosity, but his bluntness about sharing a tent was a bit off-putting. Still, Kuma happily joins him, being curious himself.
Queval Uyfaethil – Mostly quiet, Queval is somewhat of the newbie in the group. Made to pack everyone’s goods and cook their food, its mostly in good fun since the acceptance for it is “they’ve all been there.” He wears the symbol of Corellon Larethian. When chatting, he comes across as genuinely warm and inviting.

Everyone enjoys a lovely day getting to know their new friends. Thorsun is still a bit suspicious that their intentions may not all be for study, and wonders why they don’t announce themselves to the dwarven people. Their argument, is that their presence would cause the Dwarves behavior to change, and like a scientist studying a microbe, they don’t want to interfere. People behave more naturally when they don’t know they’re being studied.

The next morning, everyone goes their own ways – Urizana more reluctantly than the rest.

The party eventually makes their way to Iasga’bhaile (Ee-ahs-gah, Bay-eel), which translates to “Fish city.” Unsurprisingly, this city is known for their large hauls of fish – mostly bass – along the Silver River. Its an imposing structure – every tower on the outer wall is at least a hundred foot high. Made of strong grey granite, the city is a squared flat-colored blemish on the sparkling azure river. Its a very dull and yet intimidating settlement. Several large angular towers stretch above even the walls, most of them densely packed against each other on the southern side of the city. Every tower is rectangular or square in shape, with no soft curves or rounded edges to be seen.

The outside guards are wary and suspicious of such an eclectic group, but they’re not mean. They inspect the contents of your wagon, and are a bit taken aback by the amount of treasure you have. One of them states: “We are an honest and proud clan, and honorable beyond all else. However, we cannot be responsible for any stolen goods left out in the open like this. Walking around with a cart full of wealth is asking for trouble. And we do not tolerate trouble.” After a 2cp/person gate tax, they allow you in.

Inside, the entire city is covered in shadow. You can’t see any buildings shorter than three stories tall, and most are far taller. Everything is built of the same solid gray granite, and even the roads are stone – albeit a loosely packed darker gray cobblestone, worn smooth due to years of traffic. However, despite all the grey, splashes of color can be seen everywhere – from balconies hanging clothes to dry, banners and signposts above tower entrances, potted shade-loving flowers and green vines climbing up walls, children running around with yellow and blue clothing. The streets are packed with wooden wagons, barrels, fountains, and market stalls. Not to mention – dwarves. Many of them awkwardly staring at you.

It was recommended that you visit the Tower inn. Its the entire 6-story tower, along with three basement levels, and sounds like the fanciest inn in town. The nicer rooms are single bed, but you decide to sleep two to a room and save your gold.

Its nice being in civilization again after months of being on the road. A hot bath, a bed, and a good meal were sorely missed. People use their time to relax a while and run a few errands.

Thorsun searches for a post office to write home. He writes letters to Alexa – his father’s royal adviser, Helena, his older sister, and Torson, his twin brother. He tells them about the axe he found, and asks if they’re familiar with such powers. Kuma, having just learned to write, eagerly joins him to send his own letter home, but quickly discovers that it would be cheaper, and most likely faster, just to deliver it himself.

Nuada visits the docks and secures the party passage upriver. He takes a break in a somewhat seedy tavern to make local acquaintances and search for a “merchant guild” branch. He has no luck, but does overhear some gossip -

News from Newspring is that orcs managed to breach the walls of the gnomish city, but were pushed back. Supposedly an army of gnomes swarmed in through a portal, flanking the orcs and trapping them inside the city walls where they were crushed.
Some claim that the elves are even helping the gnomes, and have sent several ships of their best hunters to engage in guerrilla warfare against the orcish horde.
Fishing has been great lately, and the town is prospering despite increased attacks from the Runicstone clan.

Severath ends up in a curiosities shop owned by a very dark and curly-haired dwarf named Balbii Strongarm. He makes a trade of exotic perfumes for dwarven hair clips. He gets a bit friendly with the shopkeeper, and asks him to dinner. After clearing up a little confusion, Severath takes Balbii and his wife Alyssa out for a platonic meal in order to get to know them better.

It turns out that there is a whole section called the Inner city, where travelers are not allowed to go. Thorsun heads to the gate between both sections and convinces one of the guards that he has important information to report to a guard captain or other official member of the city’s militia. Kuma heads to the market in the meantime.

Once escorted to the Inner city, Thorsun is taken to an underground office and left in the dark – literally. There are no windows or source of light. After waiting several minutes, the captain of the guard, Barafur Firmsteel, shows up. He takes Thorsuns statement about the elves in the woods, and thanks him for his time. Thorsun makes sure to act like his “commoner” character the whole time, even acting surprised at Barafur’s brief use of magic to light a lantern. On his way out, Thorsun spots a fancy wagon with the Redspear crest on it. Wagons like this are commonly used for higher nobles in the family.

The rest of the party explores the market a bit, restocking on food and enjoying the difference in culture.

The barge everyone is taking upriver is leaving a few hours before dawn. Its captained by Elgan Fireshadow and his wife Roki. They’re taking barrels of fish and piles of timber upriver to Airgid Drochaid – Silver Bridge.

Severath: “Permit me to take you to dinner?”
Balbii Strongarm: “Oh.. um… I’ve got a wife…”
Severath: “Well then please invite her too!”

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The Women Who Slaughter - Session 11
Finishing the keep, everyone heads to Uka's village

With the male Orcs gone, the players were given free reign of the rest of the keep.

After clearing out a few rooms, the party stumbled upon a cultivated underground garden near the river. Spotting an assassin vine, they feed a kobold to it, and watch with a mixture of horror and fascination as its wrapped in the vines and pushed into the ground to be used as fertilizer.

While watching, Nuada is mysteriously attacked from behind. Combat begins with an invisible creature lurking somewhere nearby. After a few practice swings and jabs in the direction of where they creature should be, the manage to come into contact with something solid. Finally its hit with a crossbow bolt, marking out is presence. Eventually its defeated, but even in death it takes several minutes for its corpse to appear. It turns out to be a Phantom Fungus.

Everyone proceeds into a makeshift alchemy, complete with several tools for making glass vials, as well as alchemical tools. A Carrion Crawler sits emaciated in a cage too small for its large body. The players stab it to death out of mercy. Severath manages to harvest some of its venom, but not before getting paralyzed for a moment.

Another room nearby has a grotesque-looking skeleton laying down on a table. Most of its bones appear to be Orcish, but the skull has been replaced with that of a boar. It looks like its back legs have boar bones mixed in as well, some dire and some normal.

Further down the next hallway, five books are found written in Orcish. One book is detailing experiments with making stronger Orc skeletons by attempting to combine boar bones. So far all experiments have failed but the author remains hopeful. Another book is all about Carrion Crawler care and poison. Another book is about cultivating underground plants for poisons and tinctures. A fourth book is a guide to breaking female orcs as wives or slaves. The final book is called “The Strength of Magic” and appears to be a spellbook.

Aside from this room, nothing else of value or interest is found in the keep. Between the residential rooms and cold forge, everything of further value was taken by the male orcs when they fled.

Except the baby dire boars… one of which is now being taken care of by Faenya.

Now its time to decide where the party wants to go next.

Uka offers to have everyone come with her and the women to her village, Gru ak Kapus – The Women who Slaughter. On the way there, Thorsun decides to take the mysterious axe home, and hopefully stop for a bone on the way. The bone token does appear to be pointing northward, almost in the same direction as Thorsun’s homeland. Maybe it wont be too far out of the way?

Uka’s village seems to be a peaceful one, despite their foreboding name. Uka herself is greeted by a small child, whom she boops on the nose and tells her “I told you I would come back.” She then picks up the child and walks away, leaving the party to wonder what to do next. A crowd of orc women have now gathered to help comfort the newcommers and stare at the party. Most of them have never seen a non-orc before, so everyone poses quite an interesting contrast. The crowd guides them to the front of a large central grass-woven hut. A middle-aged orc who appears to be their leader steps out and greets everyone.

She introduces herself as Sharog, and greets the party with enthusiasm. She thanks them for saving these women, and invites them inside the main hut. The party is seated close to the door and is served food out of baskets before everyone else. It seems that they are given a place of great honor. She shares stories of the tribe with everyone as they eat, and she hears some of yours. She’s eager and curious about the party, and cautiously curious about this strange god who could bring you all together.

After a time, she offers to give everyone a tour of the village. From the fishing huts to the blacksmiths hut, everything seems peaceful and almost normal. Until you realize there are very few boys here, and no men. When asked about the men, Sharog states that boys are given a chance to grow up in the peaceful company of women. Those who don’t like this, are exiled. When asked about how new children are produced, she shows you the mating hut, where two (poor?) males are trapped in stocks, and only ever released for mating. Seeing that sets a bad tone, and makes everyone question whether or not they did a good thing by escorting more women here.

The next morning everyone says their goodbyes and heads north for Dwarf country. Before leaving, Sharog is given two official statements proclaiming this tribe to be peaceful and protected – one by Thorsun Dragonaxe, and one from Nuada of the Temple of Whispers.

A few more days pass and the party enters the Giuthais Forest, whose edges mark the southern border of the Redspear Clan, or Deargsleagh. Only two days into this pine forest, the party is set on by a raging Owlbear. Luckily, the party roles well and its quickly defeated with minimal damage all around. Kuma is a bit bothered by this turn of events, as the Bear is a sacred animal to him. The party takes some time to properly bury the animal for Kuma’s sake, and Kuma gives a confession to Pe-Ling in order to pay a penance for his perceived misdeed.

Faenya points out that there must be a nest nearby. Severath goes off alone to try and find it, but can’t seem to locate the right trail. With Faenyas help, they discover it about 20 minutes away. Three eggs appear to be perfectly in tact. They rejoin the rest of the group, and decide what to do with the eggs. Faenya knows exactly how to take care of them until they hatch. The party figures they could sell them to an animal trainer, or maybe keep one as a pet or guard animal. A little nest is made for them in the treasure, and Severath comically places his owl familiar on one.

The party decides to bed down for the night with their new eggs.

DM: “What is your alignment?”
“True-annoyed” – Nuada

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The Palace of Bones - Session 10
An encounter with the Prince of Bones

The party wakes, and it seems that no one found their hiding spot while they were asleep. Everyone gathers their belongings and continues exploring.

There were two doors flanking the hallway leading up to the temple – and everyone decides to head back and search them. One door opens up to a foul stench. Two more rooms branch off from the door – one of them with rotting corpses and bones. The other has ceramic jars of some sort of clear liquid. After experimenting a bit, they realize the liquid is acidic in nature, and leave it be.

From the other doorway, a soft tribal singing can be heard. It stops as soon as the party begins fiddling with the door. The door appears trapped from the other side, so it was easy enough to disable. Once open, they realize they’re looking at a torture chamber – complete with a rack, hanging cage, and a stand with torturing tools. One side of the room has been sealed off with iron bars. Inside a nude female orc sits, looking at you all wearily. A rotting corpse sits in the hanging cage.

She is defiant, but curious about the party. Her name is Uka, and she agrees to help you if you free her. She’s given food and water, along with a falchion and set of leather armor. She is weak from her imprisonment and torture, but she is furious and eager for battle.

Leaving the temple, everyone heads down the rest of the main hallway to a large set of stone double doors. Neither locked nor trapped, their mechanism allows them to be pushed into the side walls. The party opens them and steps inside.

Its pitch black inside this whole room, and Nuada actives a glowstick in order to look around. This section of the keep smells like rotting meat kept in a moist den for weeks. However, its not the smell that bothers at first – not right away. Every inch of this place appears to be covered in bones, mortared with clay. Pillars support once-beautiful archways holding up the curved ceiling, and every surface looks as if it was packed in wet clay them embedded with a patterned arrangement of bones. All shapes and sizes forming intricate shapes to display an eerie form of art. It could be seen as beautiful in its own way, but not all of the bones look to have been properly cleaned before being placed, if they were cleaned at all. Many of the bones look very humanoid, though they are most likely orcish. However, some of them look dwarvish.

At the far end of the cavern, out of the darkness, a voice speaks out.

“Who dares come into my home and challenge the rule of Oraklong Khagan, son of Kalang Khagan, Prince of bones and ruler of the Palace of Bones while my father is fighting for the glory of the our empire?”

Thorsun replies “I do, Thorsun Dragonaxe, son of Orson Dragonaxe the 2nd. Ruler of the Dragonaxe clan and rightful air to the throne.”

Oraklong : "Thorsun Dragonaxe, prepare to be slaughtered”

You see an orc step forward with a full metal breastplate and orc double axe. Three other orcs stand off to the side. One is wearing full red robes of grummsh, one is in roughspun brown robes held closed by a belt, and the third one is in full studded leather. He pulls back a fine bow and aims well.

Fucking Severath casts Web again, and I still can’t keep track of how that damn spell functions. Just slows down enemies AND gameplay if you ask me.

Anyway it becomes impossible to see the ranger and arcane caster. The Cleric was too far out of the way, and Oraklong himself manages to break through the web, only slightly slowed down.

Pe-ling and Faenya step up to attack, but their weapons clang off Oraklong’s armor. Severath damages him a bit with a flame spell, but Nuada pokes at him to no avail.

Then Oraklong turns to Nuada and slices through him with two swings of his doubleaxe. Nuada was dropped down to -1 after two hits.

Uka runs in screaming in rage, slashing at Oraklong and dealing a good amount of damage with her new falchion.

Then Thorsun steps up with his new mystery axe and lands a good hit. Slicing downward into his chest, the axe seems to melt through Oraklong’s armor like butter. From the open wound, lava seems to burst forth. His eyes go wide and he drops his weapon as he staggers backwards. Opening his mouth to scream, only lava bursts forth. He shutters and collapses into a pile of molten flaming rock, melting further and oozing over the ground. Strangely, the magma that bursts from him seems to disappear the moment it leaves his body, and doesn’t splash around or leave burning embers. Quickly the magma cools, leaving behind a somewhat humanoid-shaped rock formation with bits of melted breastplate sticking out.

The party pauses for a moment, shocked at the deadly affect. The cleric in the corner had approached to join the battle, but now falls to his knees before his dead prince, cursing the party for being demons. Pe-ling runs him through with his spear, and Thorsun steps up to finish the job, removing his head. Once again, his body dissolves into molten rock, then quickly re-forms.

Severath sets fire to the web, badly burning the arcane caster who was trapped inside. The ranger is no where to be found. The caster is tied up for later questioning.

Faenya uses the bone token, and it points to the throne. Several spots on the throne, in fact. It definitely exudes magic. The party wastes no time destroying it while Uka searches around the room for anything useful.

It takes a few hours of work to completely destroy and sort through all pieces of the throne. During that time, a kobold interrupts in order to bring the prince dinner. He flees Nuada’s terrifying gaze. Not long after that, the party hears a large group of people heading toward the throne room. Moving to shut the door, the party is caught by surprise when a huge group of female orcs all dressed in rough-spun tunics make their way up the hall. They state that most of the men have fled, and offer to pledge themselves to the party, since they now see you as leaders. However, Uka suggests they go with her and join her tribe of women. They take some time to discuss it among themselves.

Finally, the thrones is demolished and 10 foot bones (Metatarsals) are dug out of the clay and wood. Nuada then discovered a secret door to the east where the ranger must have escaped, and the party continues onward.

Stepping through the secret door, a long hallway stretches before you. Two more doors stand on either side about 25 feet in. Both rooms appear to have been special living quarters containing rucksacks with clothing and a little stale food.

The door at the end of the hallway leads to a very large living area, that must have belonged to the King or Prince of Bones. A fairly decent large bed sits in one corner, with fine pillows scattered about and soft fresh hay. Eleven female orcs sit huddled together among the cushions, most in various stages of half-dress with rough-spun clothing. They seem more afraid and weary than anything. The party tries calming them down, but a few burst into tears, despairing that they wont know how to take care of themselves now. Uka steps in and offers them a place with her tribe, same as the rest of the women here.

Two more doors seem to lead to smaller rooms within this large one. The room to the north was locked but not trapped. Inside is a female orc sitting on a small bed by herself, staring toward the door. Shes wearing much finer cloth than the others – most likely made by a more sophisticated race and adjusted for her frame. She blinks slowly, staring at Nuada. She speaks very haltingly, with delayed replies and simple words. She may be a little… off.

The southern door is the jackpot. It looks like it had already been trapped and locked, then recently disabled. Once open, its clear that this room is filled with coins. Mostly silver and copper pieces, but a fair amount of gold and platinum as well. However, the top of the coins appear to be scorched, and the body of the orc ranger has fallen over a pile. It looks like he set off an arcane glyph trap set into the floor.

Along the western wall of the room are three chests, all locked and trapped. To the east is a crude desk, with cheap ink and sharpened sticks for pens as well as crude brown parchment and thin skins for writing on. A few documents seem to be an attempt at tracking the value of the coins.

One by one Nuada opens the chests, only triggering one of the traps. The contents are as follows:

  • A masterwork fiddle and bow, complete with a fine wooden case of gnomish craftsmanship. A bit worn, but still valuable with a bit of tuneup
  • A neck piece made to look like a beaded spider web (howlite stones) it appears to be of some elvish craftsmanship. Very strange in this part of the world.
  • set of four rose gold goblets each embedded with 2 small rubies and etched with dwarven runes. Each goblet says “drink alone and be poor” and “drink with friends and be rich” around the rim

On top of the treasure in the room, some of the orcs had magic items on them as well. Magic items include two belts (one of Dwarvish make, and one with Aphrodite symbols on it), an orc-double, and a handful of healing potions of unknown strength.

Mundane items include a +4 strength bow, A Dwarven Urgosh, and a gnomish magnifying glass.

Once the harem room had been cleared, we decided to pause for the night.

“I could go on for hours about the tenets of the snail because you have to tell them slowly.”
– Pe-ling

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Orcish Keeps Dwarvish Secrets - Session 9
Exploring inside the Orcish Keep

Explosion!

Thorsun was blasted in the face by a burning hands trap. He did a stop, rock and roll to put it out, then decided to let the rogue inspect the door.

They went inside and found this first room to be strangely shaped around the outside boar pit, and roughly carved out of the stone with few supports. In one corner is a nest of sorts, with three “baby” dire boars. Faenya’s tame boar walks in and starts nuzzling them.

A somewhat sturdy wooden door sits to the north. This time Nuada inspects it first, but misses the needle trap and takes some dexterity damage. Once the door is open, the party peaks around a 10’ wide hallway and is faced with a group of orcs waiting for them. Their leader calls out for them to stop hiding, and to come out and fight.

Shit gets cray, yo.

Thorsun begins yelling obscenities, which Nuada has to translate into Orcish. Surprisingly, this goads the Orcs into attacking. A brief battle ensues in the corridor.
Nuada drops his caltrops, making it difficult for the orcs to get into the dire boar pen. The leader rages and charges in, but roles a 1 and it has no effect. Eventually an orc is run-through by pe-ling and his body falls over the caltrops, so folks are making balance checks to stand on his body or risk caltrop damage.

Of course, Faenya ends up failing this and ends up taking caltrop damage.

A few orcs are killed before the rest retreat up the hallway and to the right. The party regroups and follows.

The hallway to the right opens up into what was once a large open square for a market. This whole keep was clearly built by dwarves at one point. The pillars supporting the roof of the market are covered with dwarven faces, all worn smooth by time and mist. Water can be heard splashing in the distance, along with the faint echo of dogs barking. Most of the stonework is covered in moss.

Most of the rooms surrounding this hall have been re-purposed for various things. One side is taken up by female orcs for tanning leather and weaving cloth. Another side has young orc boys grouped together, for reasons unknown. Yet another corner looks like a dining area with kobold slaves cooking food. Nuada makes one of the kobolds pee itself in fright. The party explores the region for a while, finding nothing of interest before moving on.

Christian – Can I assist for move silently? I want to cloak them in my rogue-ness

A bridge to the north crosses over the river responsible for both the sounds of rushing water and the moss everywhere. The party is excessively cautious while crossing the bridge, and everything ends up fine.

Continuing north up the 10’ wide hallway away from the market hall, the party comes across two doors, one east, one west. Choosing the west door, the move into a smaller hallway with light coming through an open door a the end. Passing a couple more doors, the party peaks into the lighted doorway.

Inside was once a temple to Moradin, now, it has been converted to a temple of Grummsh. The room itself is made to look like the head of a warhammer, reinforced with strong, steel-grey granite. Four brazers are lit around the perimeter of the temple, all hissing forth a musky incense. Three priests in red robes stand around a blood-stained altar. One of them stands in the center with his arms reaching upward, chanting prayers to Grummsh. The other two move to protect him.

The party attacks.
The priest in the center continues chanting throughout the battle as the other two defend him. After a short standoff, the priests are defeated. At one point the chanting priest is hit, but he grunts through it and continues his religious task. Finally, the last priest is cut down, and with his dying breath he says:

“Let my sacrifice ensure our victory”

Everyone feels a chill through the silence in the room. A few members of the party even hear the word “War” echo in a whisper that seems to travel throughout the room.

Everyone gathers their loot and explores the rest of the room. A secret door is found behind the altar, looking well-sealed and undisturbed. Once opened, a stale breeze blows out, bringing with it layers of dust and cobwebs. It looks like the Orcs were unaware of this room too.

A short hallway leads to a square room. On the floor of the room is a Dwarven Seal with the words “peace, protection and prosperity” around the edges, all matching up with corresponding doors. The seal itself is an iron alloy patterned circle and is flush with the stone floor. It has strong abjuration magic tied to it.

Peace – the first door has the tattered remains of a long carpet leading up a rectangular room. At the end of the room are mostly disintegrated bookshelves and a collapsed desk. Inside the collapsed desk is a scroll tube. Its metallic, but light, and has strong abjuration magic tied to it. Inside is a scroll (well duh). The seal on the scroll is the hammer of Moradin with a dragon wrapped around it – the sigil of house Runicstone and Dragonaxe combined.

The paper itself appears to be a peace treaty from centuries past. It proclaims that their clans shall always remain united, and that this outpost will forever be a symbol of that union. It is signed by Lonax Runicstone and Oran Dragonaxe.

Protection – this rectangular room is a bit larger than the last. The doorway opens into the middle of the room, and on either end sits a pedestal. The left pedestal has a Dwarvish war axe laying on it. The right pedestal has a war hammer. In front of both of them is a line of bright blue etched into the floor.

Thorson steps over the blue line on the left, and picks up the war axe. Its forged of smooth adamantine and etched with mithril runes. The handle is of heavy ebony wood wrapped in soft leather for a comfortable grip. The metal alone is worth over 25K in gold.

However, when Thorson attempts to go after the war hammer, he’s met with a barrier at the blue line. It tingles and shocks him as he touches it. No one else in the party is able to get through the barrier either. They move onto the next room.

Prosperity. The final door. This room mirrors the Peace room in shape, but inside is a bit different. This room is completely bare save for two items – a tattered rug like the peace room, and a locked heavy wooden chest at the end of it.

Nuada goes to inspect the lock, but is blasted 10 feet backwards to slam into the wall behind. However, when Thorson touched the lock, it simply clocked open. Pocketing the lock, he looks inside the chest to find a single gold coin. On one side is the stamp for house Dragonaxe, and the other is house Runicstone.

Seeing as how this whole area was very hidden from the Orcs, the party decides to bed down here and recover for the night, contemplating their new treasure and this ancient union. Severath attempts to cast an Identify on the axe, but the pearl disintegrates and nothing seems to happen. It looks like they’ll have to unlock the secrets of the axe another way.

“I don’t go to your work and smack the dick outta your mouth, don’t tell me what to do.”
-Severath

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Orc and Bacon Bits - Session 8
An attempt to enter the Orc keep

Seriously, what even happened in this game? Like, what?

After a month-long break due to illness and schedule conflicts, we stumbled drunkenly back in through the door. Actually that’s a bad metaphor, because we didn’t even get in the door.

Everyone started off near the entrance to the Orc keep, where the bone token had been pointing. There aren’t any guards near the door itself, but there are several archers on top of the cliff.

The party makes their way up the hill and sneaks up behind the orcs. Unfortunately, folks were a bit too loud and shiny, so one of the orcs senses something and turns around. As its peeking in their direction, it calls to the nearest orc to ask if it sees anything. Thats when Severath let loose with his crossbow and kills the second one instantly.

The third orc doesn’t notice right away so Pe-ling flings a rock at him, crushing his armor pretty badly and making him cry out in alarm. The other two remaining orcs are alerted now.
Mahkdoh and Orc 1 run together in a brutal clash. Orc 1 drew his falchion and slashed Mahkdoh pretty badly up the middle.
Orc 3 moves a horn to his lips in order to sound an alarm, but Pe-Ling crushes it with a rock again and it crumples to the ground.

Orc 4 sees all this and blows his horn.

From there, all remaining orcs on to of the cliff were killed, with one of them falling into the animal pen at the bottom. Upon further inspection, the pen is filled with two dire boards, who proceed to tear the orc body apart.

The portcullis over the entryway starts to open.

Suddenly, one of these asshats gets the idea to hold up the dead orc bodies and pretend that everything is fine, and that they blew the horn when their comrade fell into the pit. So everyone grabs an available orc corpse and holds it up, then gets their orcish accent ready. My thinking: “This is never going to work.”

A patrol of 10 orcs comes out of the entrance and asks where the enemy is.

Que a natural fucking 20 bluff check from Thorsun. Rather than hold an orc corpse, the dwarf grabs two flasks of alchemists fire and gets them ready to drop. He shouts down at the orcs below, telling them that they blew the horn when their comrade fell into the pit. Meanwhile, one of the floppy corpses is being made to gesture like its the one talking.

Can’t fucking believe this.

The orc captain peers into the pen, seeing the blood and gore everywhere. He sighs, frustrated, and puts his weapon away. The others follow suit. Thats when Thorsun dropped the alchemists fire.

Of course, the original plan was to distract the orcs long enough so that the party could gain access to the door and get inside. But meh.

Two orcs burn to death, and Thorsun drops another alchemists flask. The orcs call for retreat back into the cave, and the portcullis starts closing.

This is where Nuada decides to swing into the doorway from the top of the 60 foot cliff.

He plunges one end of a grappling hook into the cliff, giving Thorsun the rope to hold, the runs and jumps off the edge, hoping to swing into the opening.
He crashes into the portcullis.
Somewhat stunned and injured, he drops to the ground and rolls under the closing gate just before it slams shut.

Pe-Ling, Faenya, and Kuma all shimmy down on ropes. Severath, Mahkdoh and Thorsun take one look at the distance, then start making their way for 20 minutes down the sloping hill.

Meanwhile, Nuada stands in darkness, with only a few beams of light angling through the portcullis to reveal the area he’s in. It looks like there is a strong wooden door preventing him from adventuring further, and no handle of any kind. Worse yet, the portcullis mechanism doesn’t appear to be in this area either. Nuada is stuck in a small “airlock” for lack of a better word.

Pe-Ling, Faenya, and Kuma all take turns working on the door to get him out. Faenya gets bored and befriends one of the dire boars. The other two also get bored and toss an orc corpse into the pen, the the boars are full now and not interested. Luckily, one of the corpses has a set of keys on it. Its just hard to tell where they go.

Eventually, the other party members rejoin, and working together they all lift the door high enough for Nuada to get out. While they were distracted with that, the Boar Trainer steps into the pen, opens the door, and sicks the boars on the party.

Luckily, one of the boars is considered “friendly” toward Faenya, and once freed it runs up to her, nuzzling her.

The other one ferociously attacks the party, but ends up rolling severely poor and pretty much harms no one. Severath cast web to contain it, but it breaks free. Kuma caught his orc double axe in the web at one point, but Mahkdoh helps him wrench it free. Pe-Ling acrobats over the wall to get at the trainer, but leaps and rolls a 1, spraining his ankle pretty bad. The boar trianer flees back into a side door, locking it behind him.

Finally the boar is defeated. Faenya’s “friendly” boar rolls high for morale, and is not affected at all by its companion’s death, although it got a little edgy during combat. For now its content to follow Faenya around and nuzzle her.

Now the party has a set of keys. So what does Thorson do? Grabs the set, heads to the door at the back of the boar pen, and sticks one of them in the lock.

Then rolls a nat 1 reflex save.

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Savanna Fare You Well - Session 7
Players cross the orcish savanna

It’s such a fragile magic
A puff of wind can break the spell
And all the golden threads are frail as spider webs
Savannah fare you well

This session was relatively short.

Not long after the boar was killed, another set of orcs made their attack. Spurred by the boar-rider’s horn call, ten orcs charge up toward the party. Luckily, everyone had time to set a defensible area first.

A small crack in the land afforded some cover while those more melee-inclined stepped forward. It was then that Faenya cast Entangle and grabbed most of the orcs. That was no problem for the archers, who stood there and pelted everyone with arrows (albeit somewhat ineffectively). Nuada and Severath shot at the archers with their own bows, and Pe-ling used a sling. Most of the archers were taken out while the melee orcs worked their way out of the entangle. Pe-ling went to poke an orc with his spear, but fumbled. The orc grabbed his spear and tossed it into the entangle behind him. Luckily, Pe-Ling was able to take him out with one hit.

After the battle, two of the orcs were stabilized and questioned. Most of the orcs look extremely young, with two of them being a bit old and grizzled. The young one refused to help at all, and seemed unafraid of death. The party had mixed feelings on torture for information, so they just killed him when he wasn’t useful. Lol.
The other orc managed to hold a small conversation with the party, but told everyone that they would find no safe passage. As a point of honor, the orcs would refuse to let them pass, no matter how peaceful their intentions. He was left behind, tied up to a tree.

Some days later, three well-trained orcs set upon the party while they were sleeping. One of them shot off multiple arrows, while the others wielded both a short sword and dagger. Nuada spotted them approaching, and called out to wake everyone up. A quick battle insured where Faenya became badly injured, but Mahkdoh stood behind and kept her health above zero. Eventually the orcs were dispatched.

As the party continues moving through Orcish lands, surface villages and roads are seen from a distance. More than once the party finds themselves following a rough dirt road through an ever-greener landscape. At one point the party pauses on the road to discuss which direction to go, and an orc driving a cart pulled by boars comes by. Its a grizzled old orc, who turns to look at everyone curiously. Nuada gruffly tells him to move on and mind his own business. The orc starts grumbling to himself about how rude folks are these days, and what business humans have telling him what to do. All the same, he gets his cart going down the road again, mumbling to himself all the while.

Shortly after, the party reaches a hillside entrance. Its a very strange hill – and looks like its been pushed out of the earth by the hand of a god. The entrance looks to be a solid wooden door flanked by two humanoid statues. There is a stone pen just outside the doorway that looks like a pen for beasts. Several shallow pits look to have been dug into the ground nearby, though its hard to tell what purpose they have. Several Orcs stand guard outside the entrance, on top of the hill.

The party walks a perimeter, verifying that this is where one of the bones seems to be. Nuada scouts on top of the hill, but cant get close enough to see whats in the pen.

Here is where the party pauses, to determine their next course of action.

The_Palace_of_Bones_Entrance.jpg

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Sprung from Newspring - Session 6
Side adventures and fleeing an army

Everyone has a small side adventure in the city!

  • Severath goes through prank hell at the Tower Arcanus. The Gnomes tease him mercilessly while he goes through the pains of learning a new spell. He identifies your magical rings as Protection +2 and Swimming +5. They are then granted to Pe-ling and Thorson, respectively. Severath also has his first major whisper experience.
  • Nuada does a few side jobs for the “Merchant’s Guild” and works with Thorson to sell off your party loot. Wealth is evenly distributed after deducting the cost of spell components (for Identify) and healing potions.
  • Thorson is approached by a mysterious Gnome, who seems to feel that Thorson would be the ideal candidate to lead the Dragonaxe clan, if not all Dwarves. He’s handed a book that provides him several tips on leadership and commanding loyalty.
  • Pe-ling confesses his sins of anger to Nuada
  • Mahkdoh picks up healing potions for the party
  • Kuma restocks supplies and guards the wagon
  • Faenya disappears into nature for two weeks, comes back with more spells and a pet sparrow that nests in her hair. Its name is Sparrow.

Everyone gained a bonus 300 xp from their side adventures

Through various sources, it seems to be confirmed that an Orc-lead Kobold army is headed for the city. Farmers and refugees are pouring in more every day, and the permit office is badly overworked. Regulations are being relaxed slightly in order to allow as many people in as possible. There are still major portions of the population who believe this to be a minor threat, as the Gnomes have never faced a major confrontation in the 800 years they’ve been in the material plane. They’ve become slightly complacent in their comfort and security.

The party decides to leave before the army arrives. The Whispers and Bone Token seem to be pointing everyone west, although the token also points north-west. Mahkdoh has discovered that the bones in your possession wont interfere with the token so long as he’s holding them somehow.

Everyone makes their way up the northern road and into Dwarvish lands. This is a largely neutral area, and sheltered from any of the inner-clan wars, so Thorson’s presence would not be seen as a threat. Nevertheless, he adopts a bit of a disguise, dying his hair and taking a pseudonym. Its feared that his presence would cause political issues should be be discovered in a rival’ clans lands, so the party agrees to pass through neutral territory and into the Kobold lands instead.

The trek through Dwarvish country takes about a month. The land is fertile here, and rations aren’t much needed between Faenya’s ability to forage and (occasionally) hunt. Dwarvish patrols are common as you skirt the border, but mostly they just spot you, check in, and leave you be. The party informs any patrols that you’re all on a religious pilgrimage, but everyone is getting a bit tired at all of the comments on how “eclectic of a group they are” to be in this region. Sometimes the elves in particular are seen with suspicion, but thats about as confrontational as it gets.

News from the patrols on Newspring, is that Orcs and Kobolds have laid siege to the walls of the outer city. Horrible reports have come in: all farmland to the west has been burned and salted, and the bodies of gnomish farmers are being flung into the city with crude trebuchets. Gnomish defenses appear to be adequate against any heavier projectiles from the trebuchets, but they’re starting to weaken. Spellcasters make their rounds on the army from the outer wall, but for every 100 orcs or Kobolds killed, 200 more move to fill the space. Its the size of the army that’s most intimidating of all, and the Gnomes have sent requests for aid to all other goodly races. With everyone else being occupied in their own conflicts, there isn’t much hope of reinforcements.

Nevertheless, the party continues. Stepping into Kobold territory, there is an immediate change in the landscape. Lush rolling hills and valleys occasionally dotted with Dwarven farms have become barren flatland. What was once an extension of the Giuthais Forest, have become fields of tree-stumps for miles. The dusty terrain is devoid of most plant-life save a few dry shrubs and wilted-looking grass. Faenya is heartbroken.

The Kobolds don’t waste time in discovering and attacking the party. A fairly large patrol spotted everyone and whooped and hollered while charging to attack. They were decimated, and for a full week after that, Kobolds would watch you warily from a distance, but never attack.

After leaving the stump forest, the terrain slowly shifts into a dry savanna. The occasional tree dots the landscape, and small ponds are your only source of water. On a few occasions, Faenya or Mahkdoh are forced to conjure water in order to maintain your supply.

At one point the party is attacked in the night by a slightly stronger group of Kobolds, this time lead by an Orc. The Orcs in this region are pale compared to the Orcs you know in Creston. Everything about them just looks “dumber” than your friends and comrades back home, and they’re definitely far less civilized. Nuada is pelted with a few arrows, but makes it through to kill his share of enemies. In the end there were no survivors.

Two days later, an orc riding a dire boar is spotted. He gave a blast of his hunting horn, then charged at the party. Nuada and Faenya managed to slay the orc by bow before he even got close. However, the boar, having been spurred by his rider, continued to charge at the party.

Pe-ling set his spear against the charge, but was new to the experience and instead jumped aside from the charging beast. Luckily, he wasn’t hit. The boar ferociously thrust its tusks at anyone in front of it. Pe-ling was decently injured, but in the end the boar was defeated, taking a total of 66 damage.

Game ended; everyone nervous about what might have heard that rider’s hunting horn.

Everyone gained 700 xp from combat.

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Playing with Jax - Session 5
Bringing a Kobold into Gnome lands

The party flees the tunnels.

Everyone is fatigued. The entire party moved at a hard pace through the tunnels to get to the surface quickly. Taking turns carrying Jax, everyone has been awake for close to 24 hours and has been marching for at least 16. Finally, the party makes it out of the cave to discover that its past nightfall.

And they’re surrounded by kobolds.

What happened next was probably the easiest difficult battle to happen so far. Severath shot his wad and saved the day – by casting web and ensnaring at least 9 kobolds out of the 15 present. The rest fired crossbows ineffectively against most of the party. Jax worked some crazy magic and summoned a category Huge viper, that apparently spawned from hell or something. It was deep red with glowing red eyes and gave off a blackish smoky aura. It snapped a few times at the lead kobold, the finally with a wide bite, swallowed it whole.

Kuma is (apparently) terrified of snakes and immediately started roared out a battle cry, shooting his bow at the monster. Luckily he didn’t do any damage before realizing it was an ally and directing his attention to the nearest kobold.

The snake managed to eat up two more kobolds during the battle, while the others either fled, fought back in vein, or struggled to break free of the web. Severath sparked a fire on the web and it spread quickly. Three of the kobolds were unable to free themselves before burning alive. One even sat down in the web, accepting its fate while looking up at the gigantic snake before it snatched him up and swallowed him as well.

All Faenya and Thorsun managed to do was damage a tree slightly before finally killing one kobold each. After the battle Mahkdoh broke from his revere and cast “create water” to put out the fire. Faenya cried, hugging the tree that she chopped at (when missing kobolds) and tried to hug the trees that were scorched by webbing. All she really did was get charcoal all over her face and hands.

At one point, the party asked Jax if they wanted to free the remaining kobolds stuck in the flaming web, but she stood their stoically and said “let them burn.” That, combined with the demon snake thing, has had a few folks questioning how much they really want her around.

Nevertheless, the kobolds burned.

After the battle, everyone crawled off into the brush to sleep. Jax, now given a moment to rest, removed her jewelry in protest of her former life, keeping only one necklace because she found it pretty. The party gains several hundred gold worth of jewelry, as well as two rings that appear to be magical.

That night everyone had a strange dream. Most folks seemed to dream of home. Mahkdoh had a dream about an orc and kobold army, and more bones. Pe-Ling dreamed of his monastery, but it was full of elves who either sprouted wings and flew away, or turned into snails. Faenya forgot hers.

On the way back to town, the party discussed what they want to do with Jax and the bones. Send her back to the temple? Have her take the bones with her? Should they go with her? While discussing what to do with the bones, Jax goes “Do you want them? Here!” and thrusts the pouch/necklace at Kuma. Kuma puts it on, and immediately hears whispers. At first it was just echos of words people were saying: “Bones. West. Jax” but it started getting louder. Most folks who hear the whispers have had a moment like this before – where the whispers seem to take over. Recognizing this was happening, they keep an eye on Kuma but mostly leave him alone. Severath pokes him and hears “Bones” as a whisper, confirming that “yeah, hes’ having a moment.” Kuma puts his hands over his ears, closing his eyes and crouching down, trying to calm the whispers. Finally the episode ends and he stands up, clear-headed again. He says something like “There are bones to the west, and there will be war.”

Well the whole world is torn by war right now, so what can you do?

The party walked south toward the Beekatin farm, owned by a man they met on their way north. Luckily, the cart they originally brought along was still in tact (and the donkeys well) so they pulled Jax along in that, hiding her in the barn. Everyone gets to meet the whole family: Warziver, Kary, and their seven-year-old daughter Tanzy. The family was very welcoming and eager to hear of your adventures. A few folks helped out around the farm where they could, and helped tidy the house. Eventually, they were forced to come clean about harboring a Kobold, and Warziver wasn’t too happy about it. He told everyone they could stay for one night, but that was it, and don’t tell his wife about the Kobold. Nuada gave him a gold coin for the trouble, and told him to head to the mini sproket and drop Nuada’s name if he ever needed anything.

It turns out that the Dimwin farm is a minor landmark for where its acceptable to camp outside the city. The party set up camp when they got there, and Faenya kept watch over Jax while the others headed into the city.

With Thorsun along, the permit process goes much faster. Having Dwarven Royalty throw their weight around really helps to avoid the two-week waiting period. Everyone received permits to enter the city, and permits to sell specific goods (jewelry, perfume, and oddities). Thorsun also received a permit to enter the Dwarvish embassy.

Everyone takes some time to go about their own tasks. Thorsun meets up with the dwarvish ambassador, Durmar Ironsmith. They exchange information about the state of the clan and events in the city. It sounds like Thorsun’s brother has finally found some direction in his life, and the clan is doing well.

Severath starts looking for an easy way into the Tower Arcanus. Finding no help at the Dwarvish embassy, he heads to the elvish one. There he runs into a high elf spellcaster named Mayella Autumnshade, who proved to be difficult to speak with. Terse and dismissive at first, Severath bought her a bottle of wine to help open the conversation. It managed to work, and Mayella agreed to meet him in the morning and take him into the Tower.

Nuada went back to the “merchants guild” where things are wrapped up in chaos. All engineering projects appear to be on hold as the Mini Sproket is being used for storage. It looks like the guild is stocking up on food and booze. Mykini Seaspanner is busy overseeing things and sends for Nesben Glinklabrick to update Nuada on the current state of affairs. Apparently rumors are true: An army of Orc-lead kobolds is headed toward the city. Few people know about this, and those who have heard it dismiss it as a trivial concern. The city is safe, and kobolds are no real threat. The guild appears to be more concerned about the attack, and is stocking up non-perishables in anticipation of a siege. The goal is to wait until food is scarce, then overcharge during the height of demand. It sounds like the guild has a lot of side jobs available right now too.

It looks like it’ll be impossible to charter a ship out of here for some time – most have already gone, fearing an attack. Those ships left behind are already full, or are used for fishing. Now what is everyone going to do with Jax?

It might not be possible to head home for some time.

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A Carpal Tunnel - Session 4
Infiltrating a Kobold Lair

The party continues onward after the collapse of the cave. Severath and Pe-Ling tag in Kuma and Thorson, keeping the party’s number at five.

Finally there is a branch in the tunnel, with four new directions to choose from. The wider path has a 2ft recess in it that looks like it once had water running through, although it appears to have been dry for some time. The party follows the wider tunnel for a short time before noticing a horrid smell, and its getting stronger. Assuming the Kobold settlement to be in that direction, the party actually turns back the other way to take a side branch in order to rest for a time.

Its hard to track time underground, but people start measuring distance by paces. After walking several kilometers, the party settles down to recover spells and get some sleep. Nuada hears a skittering Kobold nearby during his watch, but none come close. The group gets some well-needed rest, and continues onward. Once they return to the fork, Mahkdoh uses the bone token to verify the bone’s direction, and they continue back up the “smelly path” once again.

Its not long before they notice some moisture in the recess, and realize they’re walking closer to a cesspit. A Kobold cesspit. It takes far too long for them to pass through it and into cleaner water, and even then the scent still lingers.

Finally the party gets to another portion of the cavern that opens up and splits off. The recess is about four feet deep now, with a small trickle of water through it. A makeshift wooden bridge allows for safe crossing in the middle. This “bridge” is barely a few planks of wood stretched longways with smaller planks stacked on top of it. Nuada moves ahead to scout the area, being exceptionally quiet but exceptionally visible. From each of the five other branches, kobolds start pouring out. Kuma runs forward and destroys the bridge, cutting off one of the branches and putting himself in danger. Most of the kobolds surround him and a well-armored kobold barks out for everyone to drop their weapons or Kuma will be killed.

Thats when Thorson charged.

An amazing battle begins. Three kobolds are trapped on one side of the recess, but slowly start to climb through it to the side of battle. The kobolds who were holding action stab out at Kuma, but he manages to brush aside most of them. One of the kobolds lunges too far and falls into the recess, then climbs up the opposite side to run away.

The leader somehow sneaks off during the chaos, but nearly a dozen kobolds were slaughtered during the course of the battle. Despite being slightly more formidable than standard, most were quickly cut in half by Kuma or Thorson. Nuada tumbled in for some heavy sneak damage, and Mahkdoh was there to keep Kuma up to health. A few more kobolds ran during the chaos, and two were captured. One of them was so terrified it managed to soil itself before Nuada knocked it out. The other willfully surrendered and happily agreed to aid the party in exchange for its life.

The willful Kobolds name is Gethg. He draws a rough map of the Kobold compound in the dirt describing where most things are. In a related note, it turns out that Mahkdoh had a prophetic dream and heard the whispers while he was unconscious during the previous battle. He was told a riddle about bouncing balls and children toys. Something like knuckelbones or jax. When this is mentioned to the Kobold, he seems to hang on the word “Jax” and that “Jax is in the temple.” It sounds like the Kobolds worship a god named Kurtulmak, but its possibly the same entity as the Dead God. Gethg gets excited when the party shows him their holy symbol with the skull on it, and starts shouting “Kurtulmak! Kurtulmak!” with excitement. Now believing you were sent by Kurtulmak, he has agreed to “Take you to the Jax”

The party rests for another eight hours before proceeding into the Kobold Lair. The other kobold wakes up and glumly follows along with his hands tied. After walking several more kilometers, the party finally finds the Kobold lair.

Everyone hears the clanging of metal against metal echoing through the dark and musty chamber. Everything is humid and reeks profusely. The entire spherical cavern glows softly with a green light. Most of the surface is covered with a phosphorous mold. A small waterfall splatters into the central pond, where the occasional blind fish would be seen if the water wasn’t so murky. Cultivated moss and mushrooms are seen growing close to the water.

The party walks down a ramp from the tunnel, and into the lair. Hundreds of pairs of eyes are watching everyone, mostly silent. Gethg calls out that the strangers were sent by Kurtlmak, and we(the kobolds) should do as they ask. Nuada re-iterates this, and sets the terrified Kobold free in a gesture of good faith.

The party makes their way toward the temple, and its not long before they’re surrounded on all sides by Kobolds. Everything was silent save the sound of splashing water somewhere in the chamber. Then from the crowd someone throws a rock. Hissing starts, then swearing followed by more rocks. The crowd is getting more aggressive while still clearing a path for the party. When things look like they’re going to turn worse, the crowd opens up to reveal five distinct Kobolds. One of them is in decent-looking chain armor, while the other four are in red robes with white sashes. They appear to be priests. One of them addresses the party.

Everyone is asked their presence here, and accused of not being followers of Kurtlmak. The party responds saying they are here for Jax. At that mention, a very sickly looking Kobold hobbles forth from the crowd. She says her name is Jax.

One of the priests pushes her roughly, and demands that she has a vision. With that she looks sullen for a moment, then spreads her arms and begins to speak. She proclaims the party as the saviors of this lair, and says they will lead the Kobolds to victory against the Gnomes. She demands that everyone will stay in the temple and states that any lives you took were a sacrifice to Kurtlmak in exchange for all the good you will bring. With that she collapses into a seizure. She is largely ignored as the surrounding Kobolds bark their approval of her comments.

Everyone is taken to the temple. The priests aren’t happy with this arrangement, but they don’t argue. The altar to Kurtlmak is covered in bones, and has a gnome skull embedded in a staff in the center with fibers of red material hanging from it. Could one of those be the bone everyone is looking for?

Some time later Jax comes back and dismisses the two Kobolds guarding everyone. Dressed down somewhat, she addresses the party about her “visions.” It turns out that she has magical stones she found one day while mining, and they do give her genuine visions. However, the others didn’t feel she was having them often enough and gave her potions to induce more. Sadly, the potions would frequently make her sick. As a result she makes up a lot of visions to be left alone. She confesses that she no longer wants to do this, and the party agrees to help her escape. She takes the stones out of the pouch around her neck, and it appears that they are indeed bones. Smaller bones, perhaps of the wrist or ankle. There are seven total. Mahkdoh and Kuma both pick one up and have small visions – glimpses of home – and they are reassured that this is what you’ve been looking for.

Jax says she will return later under the pretense of giving you a tour, and it is then you will make your escape.

Once the party is past one of the guard-points outside the main tunnels, everyone turns and attacks the meager Kobold guards you had around you. They are slaughtered quickly, and Jax smiles in relief.

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