The World of Orsus

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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Springing Into Action - Session 3
Players explore outer Newspring then head northwest.

At long last, the players disembark from the Warped Plank. Captain Sigmund de L’arche bids you all a fond farewell, and Vast joins you ashore. Sigmund pulls Nuada aside and tells him to look north if he has trouble chartering a ship away from Newspring.

The docs are unusual, and are completely walled off from the outer city. A single gated entrance stands in the center, with guards checking permits and asking people’s reason for being here. The party is stopped briefly, asked their business, told of a few rules to follow, and allowed inside.

The outer city is full of large sprawling warehouses and open market centers for imported goods. The roads are strange, and built with some sort of smooth stone-like clay. The buildings are all very close together and cramped, but sturdily built out of light gray stone and mortar, or dull red bricks with flat slate roofs. The docs have that typical fishy smell, but there isn’t a lot of filth lying around. In fact, the party sees a gnome leading a donkey and cart, pulling barrels of garbage. He pauses to use a wire broom and long hoe-like device to scrape a bit of spilled fish guts off the floor, then dump it into one of the barrels.

Signs are posted EVERYWHERE – notices to assists tourist with locations, a notice that most establishments do not accept foreign coin and all currency must be exchanged to gnomish coin. There are notices of regional laws, fines for littering, fines for loitering and parking your carriage in the road too long. Warnings not to commit voilence or steal. A notice that there are specific laws for cleanliness and decency, and all visitors who plan to stay more than seven days must register with the Otherkind Embassy.

The city itself is hard to miss – looming over the docs like the very fist of the earth. The spiraling walls make their way up the mountain like staggered teeth, and not an inch of undeveloped land can be seen. Within, giant structures tower over the walls, some spewing smoke in various places, giving the city a haze. The chatter of friendly conversation can be heard over a myriad of sounds – grinding metal, sparks flying, a hiss of stone on stone, and the creek of a wooden wheel. However, there isn’t a single tree to be seen.

The party splits up briefly. Most head to the money changers to wait two hours in line for Gnomish coin. Nuada heads to the local establishment for the “nautical merchants guild” and makes a few connections:

Helyore Blacknozzle – Watchman outside the Mini Sproket
Nesben Glinklabrick – Middleaged spellcaster guarding the entrance
Mykini Seaspanner – Leader of this division

Aside from a bit of traded gossip, it sounds like they have a lot of jobs available. Permits are required for anything within the inner or outer city, and the ability to forge documents is a highly prized skill.

Mahkdoh divines the bone’s direction, and it leads to the north-west. Apparently, directly toward the main city.

The party attempts to apply for a permit in order to enter the city, but there is a two-week wait at the moment. There seem to be occupancy laws set in place to prevent the city from overcrowding, and right now the city is very crowded.

In their efforts to search for a suitable tavern, Severath stumbles upon an Elvish-themed tavern thats badly overdone with leaves and trees. The owned is a clean-shaven gnome, who is way too enthusiastic about Elvish… anything. He was saddened that Severath didn’t choose to stay there.

Instead, the party ended up at a Dwarvish establishment, run by an actual dwarf. Her name is Sisba Shieldminer-Shinefizzle, formerly of the Copperspike clan. It turns out that her gnomish husband died in a shipwreck some years back. Their stocky gnomish-looking son Cupmaster Shinefizzle is shy but seems to enjoy working there.

The party agrees that waiting for a permit would be ridiculous, so they want to verify the direction of the bone before waiting around. The next day, the party heads outside of the outer city walls and makes their way north-west. After a days march, Mahkdoh divines again and sees that the bone is still in a north-west direction, much to everyone’s relief.

That night, the party is awoken by a guard patrol of Gnomes telling them that camping without a permit isnt allowed so close to the city. Everyone is fined 1 silver for camping without a permit (except Nuada, who was hiding in the bushes) and told to move. Grumbling, the party gathers their things and heads back to the city.

After regrouping for a day and stocking up on food, the party makes their way north, following the coastal road up Cacthal. They travel for a few days, stopping once to meet a friendly farmer named Warziver Beekatan, who curiously approaches them to offer them biscuits and see what they’re up to. Severath gives him a sprocket-shaped wood carving, and tells him its an exotic and rare wood. Not knowing how to appraise such a things, the humble farmer fully believes him and is overcome with gratitude. You’re all now welcome at the Beekatan farm any time.

After a total of four days travel north, the bone token changes direction to exactly West. The party makes their way over rough terrain and heads to the hills. Its slow going with the wagon – especially because Blossom the donkey is looking a little fat – but they make headway. Until…

One night everyone is awoken by a raid of Kobolds. Luckily, they’re poorly armored and not very disciplined. They’re quickly defeated, with two of them fleeing. The party moves an hour west then falls back asleep for the night.

Over the next few days, multiple kobolds are sighted. Signs from their tribe are left, and one night they even crudely crucify one of their own to a tree. No one can make sense of this sign, but they speculate it was a kobold who was spotted spying on them before. Perhaps this is his punishment for being seen?

The harassment gets worse and begins to interrupt everyone’s sleep. The kobolds bark and yip through the night, throwing rocks harmlessly into the camp and grunting at you all to leave. At one point Nuada tries to stalk them out, but they’re much faster than he expected and always out of reach.

After a frustrating morning march with everyone a bit weary, everyone pauses at noon for Mahkdoh to use the bone token. This time, it spins slowly in a circle, indicating that the next bone is nearby. The party takes a longer break than normal while Mahkdoh meditates for guidance. Severath climbs a nearby rocky area for a better vantage, and spots a rocky cairn not far away. Upon further inspection, it appears to be a marker for a cave entrance.

The party enters, leaving the donkeys and wagon behind.

The cave is narrow, and most folks are forced to constantly duck in order to avoid the ceiling. The party must walk single file in order to fit through. Hours pass in darkness and silence, and even Faenya goes quiet. Finally a small cavern opens op a bit wider so everyone can stretch. And thats when the party is attacked.

Four darkmantles drop from the ceiling. Most of them miss, but one of them latches on to Pe-Ling. Magical darkness envelops the area, and anyone not fighting makes their way to the sides of the cavern. Severath casts color spray, affecting all but one of the Darkmantles, who flaps back up to the top of the cave. Pe-ling manages to grab the Darkmantle on him and tear it in half. The others lay motionless on the ground until the spell wears off. Ultimately, the party makes it to the edges of the darkness spell and waits for it to wear off. Minutes later, everyone’s vision is returned and that darkmantles are picked off with ranged attacks.

Unfortunately, the commotion set off an alarm further down the cavern.

The party continues, but after a short time, a trap is sprung. The cavern immediately behind the party suddenly caves in. At the same time, a portcullis slams down near Severath, nearly hitting him, and splitting the party in two. After a few rounds of frenzied searching, Nuada (with a bit of help) manages to disable the trap and lock it back in place. Moments after, a group of better-armored kobolds arrive with barbed spears. They pack a bit of a punch.

During the fight, Mahkdoh goes down. Faenya brings him back right away, but not before Pe-Ling looses his shit at the sight of losing a friend. A badly injured Kobold flees, while the last remaining one begs for mercy. Pe-Ling doesn’t grant it.

After the fight, the party licks their wounds while Pe-Ling meditates. Here is where we pause.

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Its a Vast World - Session 2
Adventures aboard the Warped Plank

The party regroups the following day in Myrad.

As everyone marched down to the docs, it was clear which ship they were heading to. The Warped Plank is a ship unlike any other – built of bright white birch and brilliant sails, with a busty mermaid carved into the front. Its captain, Sigmund De l’Arche is an ostentatious man with a love of finer things.

Its going to be an interesting two months.

Initially there is a bit of conflict with the Navigator: Ladislas Bain, usually known as Ladi. He refuses to let the two Donkeys aboard, but with a little convincing and a lot of grain purchased at the last minute, they’re stowed down in the hold.

Everyone makes it aboard in time for departure, and gets to know the crew over the next few weeks. Everyone is put to work in some way, and most folks take turns at night to entertain the crew.

Vast is employed as the ships Bard, and regularly plays music or tells stories. He’s full of information about the Gnomish city of Newspring, and happily shares. Nuada and Thorsun both take turns entertaining the crew as well – Nuada with his flute and Thorsun with his Dwarvish Songs. Pe-Ling regails people with a few stories of his hero, Magnus, and Mahkdoh occasionally gives sermons of the Dead God.

After a month at sea, the ship pauses to re-stock in The Sun-Sea Valley. Everyone enjoys a pleasant respite from the crowded ship. Though its always enchanted to appear clean, the confinement can be exhausting enough on its own.

Three days away from from Tolgar, shit hits the fan.

Now, most of the party had seen the odd rat on the ship – thats fairly normal. However, with the cleanliness of the captain and the presence of the clean illusion, it does seem a bit odd. Faenya is even seen chatting with one in the hold.

But on the evening of the third day, Faenya walks up to the deck, calls everyone to attention, and suddenly a flood of rats spill out onto the deck. Everyone is immediately on guard and begins fighting them off. An apparent “lead” rat calls out to the captain, proclaiming that the ship now belongs to him.

The party fights off the rats, taking minimal damage. After multiple chunks of the swarm have been killed off, the leader screams out in frustration and dives back into a hole near the wheel. Faenya managed to calm a few of the rats, who then began to cling to her. The party proceeds to scour the whole ship, looking for their nest. Mahkdoh accuses Faenya of causing the problem, and she gets locked into the brig.

Faenya is questioned, and in between sobs she confesses that she knew about rats in the ship, but not that many. The party convinces the captain to lift the illusion spell, and the truth of the ship is revealed. Its somewhat of a mess in the hold, with rat poop everywhere and a good chunk of grain missing from the donkey’s pile.

Kuma had found a “rat trail” leading to a hole in the navigation room. He swung his axe a few times to bust open the side of the ship and get to it. Unfortunately, all he managed to do was tear a map and piss off the navigator.

Eventually a truce was established with the rats through the help of Faenya. The rats would be dumped off at an island somewhere off the coast of Tolgar. All of the rats.

The party spends all of that night cleaning the ship, making repairs, and avoiding the furious captain.

A few more days pass before an adequate island is found. Faenya is forced to stay in the brig the whole time, but after the first hour of sobbing she seems mostly unperturbed by it. The rats march out onto one of the life boats, then Faenya and Kuma row them out. There is some talk of setting the life boats on fire as its rowing the creatures out, but in the end it wasn’t worth the trouble.

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The Long Way Around - Session 1
The beginning of our journey

Welcome to the World of Orsus!

The players begin their journey at the Temple of Whispers.

We have the following group:

Mahkdoh (Jerry) – A human male, and cleric of the Dead God.
Pe-Ling (Amanda) – A human male…. monk, with strange rituals and traditions depending on the cycle of the moon. Actual spelling of his name is Pejk-Lǫngvok
Severath (Nick) – A charming wood-elf male wizard with a love for carving staffs (giggity).
Kuma (Lisa) – A human male barbarian with a more intellectual voice than is typical for his kind.
Thorsun Dragonaxe (Paul) – A male dwarf fighter and prince of the Dragonaxe clan.
Nuada Silibar (Christian) – A male high elf rogue with shady connections to the Pirates Guild
Faenya Elohiem (Angela) – A quirky high elf druid female and daughter of the High Harlot. She might have been alone in the jungle for too long.

Everyone spent some time getting to know each other, explore the Valley of the Fallen, and meet several key members of the temple. After a week of preparation, you were all sent on a journey to find a lost bone of the Dead God. It has been 10 years since the last bone was recovered, so this will be an exciting journey for the party, and an exciting time for the temple as a whole.

It takes about seven days to travel from the Temple to the city of Myrad. The few peasants you encountered along the way were friendly at first, but then slightly wary once they discovered you were from the temple. Once at the city, you settled into an Inn called The Happy Rust Monster and set aside some time to explore. Nuada and Faenya met up with some contacts at the Pirates Guild. Severath purchased some perfume and went on a date with the shopkeeper. But then… the rest of the party (except for Mahkdoh, who onl watched) got drunk at a (usually) Orc-only bar after Pe-Ling knocked out the bouncer in one hit. Everyone woke up with hangovers.

Luckily, the ship you’ve commissioned wont leave until the evening tide. Its named the Warped Plank, and is captained by a bit of a fop named Sigmund de l’Arche. It docks early in the morning to offload its cargo and will be ready to board in the afternoon.

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