The World of Orsus

Sinners Rot - Session 20
Disease starts to spread throughout the city

This log is set up in a day-to-day format for easier tracking

Day 1
Shortly after the party members were cured of disease, the party set up a meeting with Trinjal in the royal apartments.

On the way there, they notice the courtiers outside of the main Throne room, backed up against the door. Most of them appear to be waiting outside, or clamouring for a spot to look in the windows.

They asks Trinjal his thoughts about the hammer found in the old dwarven keep (where the Prince of Bones had been defeated,) and whether or not the current one in the Cathedral is genuine. He sounded curious but was resigned to staying in Runicstone for a while with his family. Any expeditions by him would be seen as a distraction from his obligations and another attempt to “escape.” He says he’ll think about it more and get back to you.

On the way out, the crowd seems to have disbursed.

Nuada is summoned to the Temple of Compassion, where he visits with the Head Clerestory Barr Spirithammer, and together they scry upon his mother to see how she’s doing. They visit off and on over the next few days, slowly building a kindly rapport despite their religious differences.

That evening, Nuada, Kuma, Mahkdoh and “Orcan” went off to visit a few local bars. The first one they stopped at was several stories high, and stationed just outside the forges. Called the Adamantine Gate, its the go-to place for most commoners who work the mines and forges.

Its really loud and boisterous from the outside, with music playing, loud conversation, and frequent laughter. The moment everyone walks in, voices become quiet and most heads turn in their direction. Even the music stops. Orcan walks up to the bar, slaps down a platinum coin and yells “A round for the house!”
Mostly quiet, save for some coughing in the distance, the bartender picks it up, inspect it and repeats his call “A round for the house!”
This time a great cheer goes up and everyone rushes to the bar.
Since most drinks are 2cp, and one platinum equals 1000 cp, he pretty much just bought 500 drinks.

A staircase angles downward into a lower bar area, where more tables and a second drinking center can be scene. The crowd down below also appears to have heard the call, and rushes to their bar as well.
Nuada walks over to a group of smokers, who smile and wave him over eagerly. He shares a round of “Coal Dust” weed, which harshly lines his lungs and sends him into a coughing fit. Orcan tries some as well, much to the same effect.

Some time passes and a local drunk takes issue with Orcan. They end up brawling and both being kicked out. The offending dwarf gets taken away by the guards, but Orcan is left to wander the city. It looks like his generosity at the bar might have saved him some time away from the drunk tank.

While out and about, and especially at the Adamantine Gate, its easier to see a few more people coughing that normal.

Day 2
Some of the party walks around the market a bit, and the crowd is a bit thinner. There are definitely a few more see sick people. The Hammers of Mordain can be seen walking the streets in shining plate mail, an overtunic resting on it displaying the embroidered symbol of their order. Priests are seen walking with them, stopping frequently to share a word with a struggling peasant, or entering someones home to tend to the sick. You see more closed doors and shuttered windows, with the occasional sign saying “no loitering” or “no vagrants”

Kuma visits another bar.

Day 3
A missive is now being sent around daily to all parties of importance. Cryers can be heard shouting out news in the streets to the commoners.

That morning, the party receives notice that the Hierophant has acknowledged the disease and has ordered a curfew into effect, signaled by a flash of the twinkling stalactites. All those in the city have one hour then make their way home. A second flash will signal after the hour has passed – the final call for anyone left out.
Those without homes must keep to their designated camp or street, and not be seen wandering far beyond that.

The disease is being called “Sinner’s Rot.”

It starts inside the body, affecting the subjects breathing. After a few days, multiple skin lesions can be seen, starting on the subject’s limbs and moving to the hands and feet. It appears to be contagious by touch. It’s been noted that if you touch a lesion then touch your face, it’ll likely move there as well. Unless properly treated, the lesions can become infected. It’s a form of Leprosy that seems to favor dwarves although, it appears that others are not immune to it.

Priests are starting to be seen coughing now as well, and the disease is being taken much more seriously.

The party feels the pressure of concern, a desire to leave, and frustration at what to do next concerning the hammer. It’s looks like its time to stock up against anything drastic. Most items are twice their usual cost, others being more.

  • Nuada buys some sunrods and arrows
  • Orcan buys two alchemists flasks
  • Kuma also bought 40 arrows

Word gets out around the embassy that Mahkdoh can cure disease. One of the desperate guards comes up to him, begging for a spell. Mahdoh now starts distributing black-market cure disease spells.

After curfew, priests, guards, and hammers are seen frequently from your window. They’re patrolling the streets with increased severity and concern.

Day 4

Kuma, Nuada, and Mahkdoh all woke up sick today.
Mahkdoh heals Kuma and himself… sorry Nuada
Madkdoh is now casting purify food and drink on each meal.

Today’s missive informs the party of a few protocol changes.

Inspections are now in place for any who enter the upper tier, and anyone assigned to guard/patrol. All those coming in must show their bare arms and legs to enter, much to the outrage of much of the upper class.

The Hierophant refuses to close off the city to trade – it would mean starvation on top of sickness. The city cannot survive without the current influx of trade.

All temples’ regular responsibilities are being put on hold in order to accommodate the sick. Work has doubled on the spiral tunnels.

Even the temple of justice and underground prison have been opened up to house the sick. The Cathedral, however, remains functional in order to tend to the spiritual needs of a desperate people.

Tensions are getting high in the party as well. Being stuck inside for 12 hours a day with nothing to do but wait, everyone is on each other’s nerves.
Kuma gets drunk and starts saying racists comments against the dwarves, Thorson calls her a stinky dungpasser. They brawl it out, waking up the next day with bruised faces and bruised egos.

Day 5
Mahkdoh heals Nuada today.
Today’s missive states that the disease has now become deadly.

The city is eerily quiet save for the echo of coughing. Every so often, a piercing wail or booming howl can be heard permeating the city – the signal of another loved one succumbing.

Peasants are getting angry at the guards. Lines are blurred between the hammers, priests, and “normal” guards,

A “Heroes Feast” spell is being cast each evening for those in the palace who need its services

A portion of the abandoned mines is now being dug deeper for quick body disposal. Bodies cannot be burned without proper ventilation, so they’re being stacked aside “temporarily”
Few people are seen walking about the city, even before curfew. Most shops are closed, with signs becoming more hostile, saying things like “No Sinners, no leppers, and fuck off” the occasional sign also reads “Please help, sick inside”

The party decides to wait it out in the embassy after hearing word of whats happening in the city.

That night, there is a scratching at Mahkdoh’s window. When he opens the shutters, two rats are seen perched on the edge. They climb in and sit on his bed. One of them turns into Faenya, who had been missing for a few days.

She looks awful. Her face is covered in lesions, and she immediately bends over with a coughing fit. She says they wouldn’t let her back into the top tier, so she had to come through as a rat. Mahkdoh heals her right away and tells her to take a bath in the morning. She stumbles shakingly back to her room.

Day 6

There is no missive this morning. Instead, the group is requested in the temple of compassion.

The Hierophant announces that the city is to be quarantined.

Furthermore, the Hammers of Moradin have been summarily disbanded due to their failure to contain the disease. No further education shall continue within Hammers Calling (the training center for the Hammers) until a new curriculum has been established. Any Hammers still residing within the compound have 5 days to seek a new residence. All Hammers currently standing within the throne room are immidiately dismissed and told to leave their banners behind.

The Hammers are shocked. Some keep their dignity and leave without complaint. Others remove their banners and toss them on the ground. Some spit on the way out. Some have to be dragged slightly by the palace guard as they shout in protest.

The court jeers and applauds as they leave. It sounds like the people have been unhappy with them for some time.

Instead, the church now formally recognizes Moradin’s Hand.
New priests step forward in well-polished banded plate. Their sigil is a dark blue open palm on a white background. Dagvo is summoned and kneels before the Hierophant. He states:
“Dagvo Soulfouger is hereby recognized as the leader of Moradin’s Hand. I grant them all rights, permissions, and powers previously bestowed upon the group known as the Hammers of Moradin, but without any limitation previously known thereto, save that of the common law. They are tasked with upholding law and order in the city, assisting those in need, and fighting back against the Sinners Rot. May Moradin grant them strength."

The court applauds.

Raspina protests, stating that this was the very group who attacked her on the bridge. Trinjal counters, saying it was the Tyrantsbane company – obviously this individual was a brigand and is not representative of the organization.

Food rationing is now in effect. Stations are being set up at each temple to distribute shale checker-like tokens representing a days worth of food.

Later, a still-sickly Faenya goes for a bath.

That evening, Trinjal visits the party to discuss future actions, both about the city and the hammer down in the Orc lands.

Kuma suggests turning the people against each other and starting a riot or distraction, then running through the Cathedral to take the hammer.

Mahkdoh asks Faenya to check the front gate and see how to open it, also how to make the cavern lights dim or glow brighter

Party Goals

  • Find a way out
  • Start a riot
  • Take hammer during riot
  • Leave via escape route

Game finishes up at the end of Day 6

“We should celebrate. Tide pods all around!” – Christian

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A Royal Pain - Session 19
After Trinjal's return the party tours the Cathedral

Returning Trinjal

Everyone is summoned to the Temple of Compassion – the audience chamber of the Palace.

The courtyard in front of this section of the palace is comprised of smooth polished black granite. Stairs of the same stone lead up to the main building, rows of well-armored guards flanking the sides. A pair of solid oak double doors open up to a wide antechamber. There is little comfort to be found in this room. There is no carpet, and only a handful of uncomfortable stone benches resting against the walls between multiple side doors. Only two tapestries depicting scenes of worship line the northern wall, flanking another set of fine steel-reinforced oak doors. You hear someone calling out in the adjoining room, announcing the Princess Raspina and company. The doors are opened to reveal the throne room.

The polished black granite floor has one small pale blue carpet running toward the throne itself. Three stepped tiers lead up to a tall-backed militant-looking gray throne with a single white cushion for comfort. Everything feels stark and functional. Ten rectangular pillars flank the walkway up to the throne, five on either side, each of them with a tapestry depicting one of the saints. Behind the throne itself is large stained glass image of Moradin raising his war-hammer high – made to look as if beams of light are shooting from it. The tapestries and glass windows are the only real symbols of opulence to be found here.

In a small gallery on the left side of the throne sits a grouping of nine chairs, almost looking like a jurors box. Each chair has a symbol representing one of the Clerestories.

Linjal himself sits on the throne looking stern and solid. His wife Becka stands solemnly behind him to the right, hands folded at the front of her plain light grey dress.

Linjal is thin for a dwarf, and his face is lined deep with the concerns of his station. His once-black hair is now dull and spotted with gray. Still, his eyes keep their vigor, and project a sense of compassion – yet, a compassion that must be earned. His white robes rest upon him loosely, but his tall hat of station sits perfectly fitted to his head, bearing the symbol of the Runicstone Clan. He holds in his right hand a silvery-looking scepter of office, shaped similar to a warhammer and adorned with jewels and runes.

As you walk up the carpet, a wall of guards in between the pillars separate you from the rest of the court. Everyone’s eyes following you feels eerie. The murmur of the crowd echos slightly throughout the room, and the occasional cough breaks into the murmur. Two well-dressed dwarves, one male one female, stand to the right just before the throne. The woman’s eyes angrily scan the group, but instantly light up when she spots Trinjal. The man’s face is stern and unreadable. You later find out that these two are Trinja’s parents – brother and sister-in-law to the Hierophant.

After much pomp and ceremonial speeches, the Hierophant lovingly welcomes his nephew back home. He offers the proposed reward of 30,000 gold to the full party, and Raspina politely declines her share.

You see Dagvo within the Clerestory seats. For the first time since you’ve met him, you see him smile. Its not the most pleasant smile, but he seems genuinely glad at the turn of events. He whispers to the Hierophant, who then declares that the party be given full access to the city, and an additional request of whatever you wish, so long as its in his power.

Most people ask to visit the citadel
“Orcan” wants to submit his request later
Nuada asks for a magical method of reaching out to his family
Severath wants a powerful priest spell to take with the party as an emergency “just in case”
Pe-Ling wants to see the priestly baths
Faenya asks to study the underground plantlife with the alchemists

The court is dismissed, and everyone returns to the embassy. When everyone reaches their rooms, they find a few items sitting on their bed. The most notable item is a solid leather purse with a hatched pattern with blue and white thread embroidering its edges. It has a thief guard – a false snap on the front to make it appear as if the opening is there, when the opening is really hidden by a flat piece of folded cloth on the back. Each one of these purses contains 425 platinum. (Purse increases the DC any slight of hand checks by 10)

A simple tin scroll tube contains a formal deceleration with your name underlined at the top. It reads in both Dwarvish and Common:
“It is declared by his Holiness, the Lord Hierophant Linjal the 2nd, that [name] is granted full passage throughout the city of Morndinsamman, and the entirety of the region of Runicstone (barring Trirune Holy sites and other faith-only locations). They shall not be detained, fined, charged, or imprisoned so long as they meet all other requirements as otherwise dictated by law.”
The Runicstone symbol and signature of the Hierophant are stamped at the bottom.

A third item is a small nondescript pouch containing an additional 35 gold.

Before long, an urchin girl knocks at Severath’s window to get his attention. She taps him yelling “Tag! You’re it!” Provking him to chase after. A group of kids are playing freeze tag at the side of the open square. Guards are watching with some amusement, but don’t do anything to intervene. Severath gets frozen conveniently close to Maverick, who updates him on what he’s found so far. It sounds like there are several relics in the temple, and any reference to bones include the “skeleton” of the temple’s structure. The foundation and solid structure are referred to multiple times as the “Bones of Moradin.” They’re still looking into more beyond that, but so far it all feels like metaphor.

Tour of the Cathedral

The party is given a tour of the high Cathedral in the city. This is the equivalent of seeing a private tour of the restricted sections of the Vatican by someone approximately 4th status under the pope – Priest Gilar, who has Deacon status in the building.

Outside

The cathedral is an impressive structure from the outside. The first floor is windowless, and looks like its mostly used for service rooms or storage due to the small side doors that open from the north, south, and west sides. The second floor has multiple steps and staircases leading up to larger entrances, where more people can file in. This is where tall, stained glass windows can be seen embedded in its sides, reaching up 10 feet high.

The majority of the structure appears to be about 40 feet high, with a vaulted ceiling that rises as high as 50 feet. Its an amazing work of craftsmanship, and unlike anything else in the city save for the palace proper or embassy.

Floor 2 – Main Chapel

The foyer is lovely, and warmed by a light blue carpet. An oxidized bronze statue of Moradin stands in the center, his hands open warmly in welcome. Two stained glass windows are embedded at either side of the foyer – the north one depicting A large set of double doors Two stairs flank the double doors, both leading upwards.

The Nave of the Cathedral is a full 20 feet high at its walls, and 30 feet high at the top. One of the few pointed buildings in the city, its flying buttresses and soaring pillars arch beautifully toward the cavern ceiling.

The building is lighted by flickering light spells made up to mimic like candles dotting about the pews. Two large forges glow softly red in the distance.

A short marble pedestal sits a few feet from the entrance. On top of it is a silver brazier-like concave bowl about 3 feet in diameter. Its piled high with a mound of ash that is marred by streaked fingerprints. As dwarves enter one by one, each sticks a finger in the ash, then dots some on their brow.

The twelve stained glass windows in the nave all depict scenes of Moradin’s Glory. From the first ember of the forge (beginning of the universe), the forging of the first dwarf, Moradin’s avatar earning the Iron tablets, Moradin’s marriage to Berronar Truesilver, a battle with Grummsh, a battle with a hoard of dragons, Moradin’s journey to the plane of fire, and more.

Rows and rows of pews lead up to the dais and altar. Its a triangular-shaped raised platform that fits in line with the hammer-like shape of the end of the hall. On either side of its angles, long pews are lined up. These appear to be reserved for royalty or other priests.

The dais itself is beyond beautiful. Black marble steps lined with cream white carpets lead up to another platform. On it is the altar, and behind that is a podium and lecturn. The altar is a long white marble slab with deep grey runes etched into its edges. A delicately embroidered blue cloth drapes to either side, but its the item sitting on the cloth that takes your breath away.

Sitting on the altar is the most beautiful and pristine warhammer you’ve ever seen. Its handle is the same deep grey as the etchings on the altar, and its head is shimmering mithril. It glows faintly in the ruddy darkness and is covered in runes.

Vestment room – This is the room with the most information.
According to Priest Gilar, it holds vestments of all past Hierophants, beginning with Hierophant Alaxal Runicstone II. Nicknamed Alaxal the Savior, its dated from over a thousand years ago in 250 BDW. It was he who first broke from the past dwarven kings, seeing clearly the heresy and corruption within them. During the Dragon Wars, the Runicstone clan almost gave in to weakness and temptation. Hierophant Melaxal the Dragonslayer was killed in battle, and left no heir. His brother Lonax Runicstone fell in with devils, using evil magic to sway the people and accept corruption. He became known as Lonax the Fallen. He wanted to return to the old ways of Kingship and unite the clans to drive back the dragon hoard. While noble in thought, his actions were manipulated by Asmodeus himself. Lonax the Fallen only ruled for twenty years before his son was blessed by Moradin. Rising up, he overthrew his father and returned the Runicstone people back to the honorable path. Changing his name to Lonaxal Runicstone I, he later became known as Lonaxal the Martyr. Lonaxal the Martyr was a strong and pious leader, weighed down by grief and duty. After securing his son as the next in line, Lonaxal the 1st fell deep into his suffering from the betrayal of his father. While he did the right thing, betrayal of the family must not go unpunished. He stripped himself of all titles to wander the world as a vagabond until his death. He disappeared around 52 ADW.

Priest Gilar brings out Founder Farrim (a higher level priest) to answer more of your direct questions. He’s a bit more stern with his answers.

The party asks many questions about the vestments, underground tombs, and especially the Hammer of Moradin. Today, all members of Runicstone practice the tradition of cremation as an act of “returning to the forge from whence they came.” Before the Divide, Jarls of Runicstone past still entombed their dead. Therefore, there is a small catacomb under the temple holding leaders of the past.

The origins of the Hammer are a little more obscure. In some descriptions, its said to have been given to their first Hierphant, Alaxal Runicstone II, by Moradin himself. In other tellings it was forged by Alaxal II.

After the Tour

Mahkdoh prays for guidance from the Dead God. His prayers are answered in the form of a Commune spell, normally only available to higher level priests

His questions are as thus:

  1. Is the quest to acquire the bone token more important than respect to another diety. -
    YES
  2. Do you approve of sneaking into a rivals temple to take one of your relics. – NO
  3. Is knowing where the relics are good enough, if we’re not able to acquire them through other means. – NO
  4. We’ve been lead to the temple of Moradin, is the relic in the tomb? – NO
  5. Is violence okay in order to take it back? – YES

Maverick visits Severath this time, climbing in boldly through his window. He tells Severath that one of his urchins, Rega, who was previously on the inside of the Workhouse (the orphanage) has been sold to the baths. She’s only 12. The implications aren’t great. Severath promises to see what he can do. Maverick then tells him he found out that the Hammer of Moradin is also supposed to have some of Moradin himself in it.

Meanwhile, a few members of the group have come down with a bit of a cough. After a few days, lesions began to appear on their legs. Mahkdoh was able to cure them just fine, but it was definitely a cause for concern.

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Within Runicstone - Session 18
Traveling to Morndinsamman

The party makes their way north, toward Morndinsamman. Many other groups are travelling in the same direction – most of them small families fleeing war or famine. It sounds like some areas near the Bronzeforger clan and Moradath are riddled with conflict. The Hierophant has promised food and a home to any who wish to make their way to the city.

After several days they reach another village where the entrance underground is barred by a heavy stone door. After only a brief negotiation, the party and everyone with them are ushered inside. Now, underground, it really feels like the group is within the heart of dwarvish territory.

Several days pass uneventfully.

One afternoon, the wagon was travelling along when several of the guards up front stopped without warning. The wagons were halted, and when inspected, it was discovered that the dwarves had been turned to stone! Three hissing basilisks slithered their way up to meet the group, and attacked. One more guard was turned to stone, and several more were injured. Luckily, Dagvo Soulforger was still travelling with the party, and managed to keep several of them alive.

After some intense combat, the party ultimately defeated the three of them. Those who were turned to stone were placed gently within the wagon. A few short hours later, a few more guards were found turned to stone, with a clear burrow indicating where the basilisks had broken into the tunnels. A few more guards were already inspecting the area, and the situation was explained.

Over the next few days Dagvo restored the petrified guards, and the party reached the city without further incident.

A pair of huge stone doors fills the end of the hall, with a strongly mortared brick wall sealing it to the edges of the tunnel. The guards take a moment to inspect your wagons once again, and everyone is allowed into the city. The party is immediately thrust into a bustling market. This is the visitors market, for anyone trading or visiting. Fountains dot a large smooth-bricked plaza full of wagons, stalls, and lined with shops and inns. Children run about playing games, and the occasional hawker bravely steps toward the wagon to offer their ware, only to be pushed back by one of the guards. Venders selling different regional foods, livestalk, booze, and textiles can be seen dominating the market. Few luxury goods are around, save for the odd book vendor or fine flatware.

The wagons reach the end of the market, which is sealed off with another solid brick wall filling the cavern. A much more strongly reinforced door is flanked by guard towers, and lined with several guards who stare at the wagons intently. The doors are opened and the party is let into the main city.

The bulk of the city is built inside a giant cavern. Crystalline stalactites hang from the ceiling, most of them en-spelled with white and light blue glowing light spells that twinkle softly, providing a gentle ambient light throughout the city. They are set to brighten for 12 hours of the day and dim for 12 hours, allowing for a day and night cycle.

Immediately the party can see that the streets are FILLED with refugees. Families with their children are camped out on the street, leaning against the houses of those already established. Makeshift bedrolls are laid out near the edges of the street, and some sections are tented off with blankets or spare cloth. Washing is hung on clothes lines that arch over your heads from the taller homes and balconies. The smell is fetid, and faintly like sour milk.

The roads themselves are packed in tight with people lounging or walking about idly. The majority of the folks here appear to be women and children. People look sick and hungry. A few reach out in your direction, asking for coin or food.

The guards tell you that most of them are waiting for homes. Their husbands are out in the mine, forges, or expanded residential regions. Fresh construction is happening in deeper residential areas, but not fast enough to keep up with the demand. And there definitely isn’t enough food for everyone.

Further into the city, the crowd starts to thin out. Buildings look a little nicer, and much better kept. The party passes through three more defensive gates before reaching the upper deck – the nobles region. Here, there isn’t a glimpse of the poverty seen less than an hours walk away. Fine;y dressed men and women walk about in small groups, chatting pleasantly. Most stop to look at you curiously – although some of them frown with concern. Fine shops have their doors open, and most homes or business are decorated with mossy lichen or other underground shrubs and mushrooms. Most of the stone homes are built out of smooth speckled grey and white granite, with dark slate roofs and accents. Iron bars frame balconies and windows. The sounds of a mizmar horn can be heard playing from somewhere.

The group heads to the embassy. Its a gothic-looking structure, build with flying buttresses and tall towers. Instead of pulling to a point, as most gothic towers would, each tower is flattened square at the top. The building is shaped like a pointed star with 8 wings, one of them being the entrance hallway, and one wing for each of the dwarven clans. There don’t appear to be any accommodations for non-dwarves, but the party sets up their rooms in the Redspear clan wing. Unfortunately, some of the beds are a bit small for most of them, but attendants bring them larger blankets and fresh mattresses to place either on top or on the floor.

The party is told they can go anywhere within the upper deck unsupervised. If they wish to travel in the rest of the city, they will require a pair of guards with them for their protection. When it comes to passing the times, they’re told of the many baths to visit, the rock gardens, or the fine shops to peruse. Most of the party heads straight to the baths.

The wall separating the upper deck from the rest of the city is mostly made of stalactites and stalagmites meeting, with stone reinforcements in between the few gaps. Nuada and Severath spend time exploring the wall, inspecting its architecture. Mahkdoh uses the bone token again, and it appears to be pointing at the Upper Deck Citadel – the highest temple to Moradin in the most religious city in the dwarven kingdoms. A place where non-dwarves are not allowed. The two elves spend some time walking about the Citadel as well, inspecting it for other entrances (or weaknesses).

Meanwhile the rest of the party heads to the baths! Nudity is no big deal, and they’re invited to store their clothing in square cubbies in favor of a towel. There are four large group pools in which to soak – hot, cold, mineral, and salt. Pe-Ling and Faenya loudly squeal as they jump from the cold to the hot baths, back and forth for several minutes. The others experiment with floating in the salt baths, or smoothing out their skin and tight muscles in the mineral baths. Most other patrons look at them with open awe or curiosity, but no one disturbs them. A few get annoyed at Pe-ling and Faenya’s antics, but they calm it down before things get too out of hand.

Eventually the rest of the elves join them and joke about gay-ing it up. Deciding that would probably mean violence in a city this paradoxically conservative, they decide against it.

Severath makes a quick trip to the visitors market, looking for more information about the Citadel or the city’s history. He picks up a book called “Moradin’s Foundation” about the dogmatic history of this city, and how everything surrounding it has been prophesied and designed by Moradin. In his questioning, a street urchin named Maverick comes up to him with his pals to see what hes about. Initially, the kid tries to peddle him lewd material (which is strictly forbidden in the city) then asks him what he’s really looking for. Severath tells him to find out more about the Citadel for him, and tosses him a coin. The rest of the kids scatter, and Malcom tells Severath that he’ll find him later with the results.

Heading back to the embassy, the party still must decide how to announce Trinjal to the Hierophant, and see what else Raspina can do for diplomatic relations.

Not to mention, how to retrieve the next bone.

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Crossing the Silver Bridge - Session 17
Smuggling illicit goods and people into Runicstone

Thorsun sends a letter to his childhood nurse, Alexa, updating her on the everything thats happened so far.

Everyone starts putting their plan into action.

Nuada introduces Mahkdoh to the thieves guild and pays to have both him and Trinjal escorted safely through the tunnels under the river. It’ll take two days to get them through and costs 350 gold. Mahkdoh has Thorsuns’ axe, signant ring, royal outfit, and diary. Important note – Mahkdoh keeps the ring in his ass.

Nuada, Severath and Mahkdoh get to work on springing Trinjal from prison.
Nuada did some information gathering and decided that the easiest guard to bribe is a blond dwarf named Alex.

Raspina set it up so that he’s now being held in lighter security. Mahkdoh scouts out the prison ahead of time to “pray” for the prisoners. He makes contact with Trinjal and lets him know that there are folks looking out for him. He takes measure of the guards and slips Alex a coin, asking him where a good place to get a drink would be. Alex tells him the Hairless Dwarft after midday.

Alex later meets Mahkdoh at the bar, and sure enough, the guy is a jerk. He ends up milking Mahkdoh for more money than originally planned. He agrees to turn a blind eye as the party springs out Trinjal (who Alex thinks is just some lowlife wannabe bandit).

That night, Thorsun is spending a late evening with Raspina. Her assistant Liha doesn’t seem to trust him, but for some reason Raspina does. She confesses her frustrations with the current situation, and the two end up spending the night together.

The next mornning, its announced that the bridge will be lowering at noon.

The crowd is deeply packed and very restless. Whole families are there with what little they own, all hoping to cross the bridge and walk into a better life. Fights are quick to break out, and anyone who looks like they might cause trouble is turned away. Among those turned away include anyone lame, sick, non-dwarvish, and most of all – those unable to pay.

Pe-ling, Kuma, Throsun are all travelling with Raspina across the bridge. As befits royalty, their delegation is first in line when the gates are opened and the drawbridge is in place. Also with them is Dagvo Soulforger, one of the Clerestories of Hierophant Linjal. The party crosses without issue. Dagvo and his party are briefly searched, then allowed to pass. Everyone else gets searched much more thoroughly, including Raspina’s wagon and crew.

Meanwhile, the plan to break out Trinjal goes off without a hitch. He’s brought into an interrogation room with Nuada and Severath, but his shackles were left unlocked. Mahkdoh guards their exit in the hallway outside. As he’s standing there, a whistling guard comes up to him munching on pistachio nuts. He smiles at him briefly and asks “how is it going?” Mahkdoh says everything is fine. The pistachio-eating dwarf (now nicknamed “nutjob” by the party) looks at the door briefly, back to Mahkdoh, then says “Good!” and goes back to whistling as he turns around and walks back the other way.

The only one at the exit to the prison is Alex, who waves the group a dismissive farewell. The four of them hurry through the tunnels to the thieves guild jewellery shop, where “nutjob” is waiting, their packs ready. With a final farewell to Nuada and Severath, they descend into the tunnels, making the two-day journey into Runicstone lands.

Now Nuada and Severath have the arduous task of making it through the city, the crowd, and across the bridge. Two elves entering a xenophobic land will certainly have trouble. And they do.
During the commotion, folks almost forgot about Faenya. Luckily, shes in the form of an owl, and lands on Nuada’s shoulder as they’re standing in the crowd.

Finally the two make it to the gate, and are promptly denied entry. Bribes and threats fall on deaf ears, and for a moment they’re not sure what to do. Finally, after reassuring the guard that they are indeed employed by Raspina Redspear, the guard (named Tom Steeltoe) calls the captain over to check their papers. After a few disbelieving glances, he has no choice but to let the two through. Severath takes note of his name in his grudge book.

Raspina’s wagon moves slowly, and its not long after dark before the two elves catch up to them. A few days later, the delegation stops at a surface-based farming village. After a few days underground, Mahkdoh and Trinjal surface at an abandoned barn. Their escort points them in the right direction for the main road, and they head out. Mahkdoh uses a few spells to boost their speed, and they meet up with the wagon in the village by nightfall.

Trinjal is introduced to Raspina, and she lays into him about his irresponsibility. Ultimately, she thanks him for making the right choice.

Back together, and now with Trinjal, the party is ready to travel to Morndinsamman. The bone token is pulling them steadily, and its great to be back on the road again.

“If Raspina’s interested in it I’ll take a fuck”
- Paul

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Silver Bridge Part 3 - Session 16
Politics on the bridge

Several days pass as everyone waits for the bridge to drop. During that time, the party meets up with the followers of the Dead God who live in Silver Bridge. Later they discuss how involved they want to be (and remain) in local politics.

Mahkdoh visits the doomsayer on the bridge again. This time his actions seem to have a pattern. He repeats numbers 4, 8, and 12. He cries out for gold, platinum, and copper. Mahkdoh give him a gold, but he just sits down on the stone floor and empties his pockets.

He starts to fiddle with a single platinum coin and seven gold. He also has a collection of random debris in his pockets – among them is a shard of fractured mirror, an off-white piece of bandage wrapping, a tindertwig, chunk of charcoal, a blue button, and a green knotted piece of yarn.

This time he says “Copperwire. Copperwire! 4, 8, 12…”
Mahkdoh asks around about what that could mean, and it seems that there is a bar called the Copperwire. He heads there to see what more he can find.

The bar has a very steampunk look to it – it’s run by a Gnome who calls himself Spigot, along with his daughter Piper. Its on the second floor next to the western side of the 2nd pillar. Beatin green patinaed copper runs along its roof and sides, making a beautiful pattern with the bright orange-stained wooden walls. Inside the bar is lovely, framed with shiny, well-cleaned copper panelling and strange pipes that form crazy patterns on the ceiling and behind the bar. It almost looks like a pipe organ would be running behind the bar, but all you see are faucets craning upward from the pipes behind.

After talking to Spigot, Mahkdoh finds out that a strange group of misfits comes by every so often to have a drink. They tend to arrive on specific days of the bridge being up or down, in mulitples of 4. Mahkdoh plans on coming back when the bridge has been up for 8 days to see if they show.

On the 8th day, the whole party decides to come by the bar and meet these folks.

There is definitely an odd group of people sitting with their heads close together. Four strange looking dwarfs and a gnome. Spigot the bartender eyes everyone at the table warily. His daughter Piper sits on a tall seat astride the bar, playing with two straw dolls.

Kalja Haythrower – Dwarf female. Chestnut wavy hair woven down the sides of her face and into her short beard. Self-described as “The normal one” and general spokesperson for the group. Dresses in bright clothing and is usually happy. Shes from a farming village in Moradath

Durmar Braidshaper – Dwarf male with a pale blonde beard and hair. Shaper Psion – Metacreativity (3). Has a hunched back and twisted body that lurches as he walks. Keeps a cane on him for balance, and embedded in the cane is his psicrystal – a pale blue rectangular gem. His mother tried ending her unwanted pregnancy by throwing herself against the rocks of the broken ocean. He was born anyway. She left him at an orphanage run by the Braidmother. He still wears her green-painted braid symbol proudly on a wooden carving around his neck. Created his own surname

Thoda – Dwarf female. Wears a full cloak with hood drawn to hide her face. She has a wicked burn scar over most of her face, but her hair remains unblemished. Coppery curls spill down her face, hanging heavy on the side most damaged by fire.

Albert – Half dwarf/human male (cleric 2) (mother was a dwarf, father was a barbarian human). Pretty quiet. Brown hair and elongated features. Wears the symbol of the dead god.

Minxi the Minstrel (Min-zee)- Gnome (bard 4)- Somewhat androgynous looking with a beautiful face and glossy black hair, yet full gnome goatee and masculine dress. Describes theirself as “mostly female.” During the conversation, Minxi mentions that they trained at a smaller bard school in Newspring for a while as a woman, but confesses to getting lazy one day with shaving their beard and someone eventually noticed. They didn’t last much longer after that before being kicked out as a deviant.

Crazy dwarf – they call him “Undergang Hoytaller” (doom speaker in dwarvish) lingers near the market at the entrance to the bridge and shouts warnings to anyone who will listen. He shows up shortly after the party arrives, and sits down at the end of the table, staring straight ahead.
They say he shows up for every meeting, even when they held it at different locations in the past. Sits there and grumbles to himself unintelligibly. Once the meeting is over, he wanders off back to the market.

Mostly they get together every so often to have a drink and share what whispers they’ve heard. Lately its all been axes and hammers. Thoda had an experience out in the market earlier that week – the whispers grew loud, saying “Bones” over and over. She swears someone passed by her and heard them too. They stopped and cocked their head like they were trying to listen. Almost as if they had heard it through me.

Nuada gives Minxi the fine Gnomish violin they found as a gift.
Mahkdoh shocks everyone by giving them his holy symbol.

Overall, the meeting was pleasant, although the party didn’t learn anything new about their quest.

The tone of the city has changed since the attack. Rumors have started that drow are now returning – mostly due to Severath’s web spell and Nuada’s necklace. There haven’t been elves in this region for years, and the presence of so many is cause for rumor and confusion.

Thorsun cozies up closer to the Princess. She trusts him with some information about the attack, and confesses that it was an unusual move. It doesn’t make any sense to attack in broad daylight in the middle of the market. The hand brands found on the attackers were fresh, so they must have been recent members of the Hand of Moradin – if they were at all.

During a lounging evening with the whole party, Thorusn tells Raspina that he knows Trinjal is safe, and that he’s here in the city. She immidiately gets up and walks out of the room. The party starts berating Thorsun for betraying Trinja’s confidence, but Thorsun believes he’s doing the right thing.

Later Raspina calls Thorsun in and says she wasn’t able to reach out to him. It turns out he’s been arrested for attempting to attack and steal from a barge that had come down the river. There is only so much influence she has in Silvercoin lands, but she’ll see what she can do. Strangely, he’s being held in a higher security area. She can at least have him moved to a lower security section for interrogation.

Thorsun later meets up with the rest of the party and delivers the news. After a lot of debate, the party comes to an agreement.

They’ll break Trinjal out of prison on the day the bridge is being lowered.
Faenya promptly turns into an alligator.

“I’m gonna wait until you’re asleep and sneak some owl pellets into your pipeweed”
-Severath

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Silver Bridge Part 2 - Session 15
Conflict on the bridge

Today everyone spends more time in the market while Nuada tracks down the local Thieves Guild. Kuma guards the wagon.

Severath goes to check in on Wanda. She tells him that she likes this place, and promises to train hard for him. Nick and Thorsun both paid for Wanda’s school.

Faenya and Severath head through the market together to find a trainer for their owlbears, and hopefully someone to sell them to as well. They pass by a bird seller who seems a little touched. He calls out to Faenya, saying “You don’t belong here, cursed child of the forest!” She snips back “Well you fight right in!” and they keep walking. Next to him they find an exotic animal trainer/seller named Baern. With a green-dyed beard and oak branches woven into his hair to look like antlers, he is clearly a Coill (Koy-il) – a Redspear clan Druid. A brown bear stands behind him, not for sale – seemingly his companion.

Baern has the following animals up for sale:

  • A pair of mated wolves (400gp for pair)
  • Three hunting falcons (200gp each)
  • Dire badger trained to dig (800gp)
  • A tank of 9 turtles (10gp each)
  • He also has a yellow labrador-like mut dog, which turns out to be a Blink Dog. He’s selling it for 5000gp, and a magical collar to keep it from blinking when not needed (dimensional shackles p 255DMG) worth 28,000go

He offers 3,000 gp for one owlbear, and they end up trading that one in so he’ll train the other two for them.

Mahkdoh spends some time enjoying the comfy inn, then heads to the market. He gets a book and fancy quills with ink for 20gp

Nuada heads into the bridge to find a silversmith near the temple of Hades. He was told to ask about a silver piercing designed to fend off werewolves. That will let the merchant know what you’re really looking for.

Later on that evening, everyone except Nuada ends up walking around the market together. At one point they notice a pair of heavily armed guards who stand out. They appear to be bearing the colors and crest of the Redspear clan. As the party is watching, suddenly the four guards crumple to the ground. A woman in the crowd screams.

Out from the crowd, several dwarves dressed in steel gray robes rush in towards the woman wielding spiked chains. Commoners scream and start to flee, knocking over crates and tent poles in an effort to get away from the attackers. Their target appears to be a well-dressed dwarven woman standing near the crumpled guards.

The battle is chaos. The party has to weave through fleeing commoners and fallen debris in order to get closer to the attackers.

Mahkdoh gets close enough and casts sanctuary on her, but one of them breaks through and grabs her. Everyone else starts slashing their way through the enemy, but their spiked chains keep grabbing onto legs and tripping everyone. Mahkdoh gets pulled down and Faenya runs forward to attack but gets tripped as well. Thorsun runs over and manages to fight a good amount of them off.

With half the party on the ground, Pe Ling starts to rage.

Cutting through dwarves like butter, they finally break formation and attempt to flee via grapplinghooks over the edge of the bridge. Severath casts web on the two attempting to flee, and they bundle together in a large webbed knot. With a great roar, Pe-Ling leaps over and grabs the rope on the way down, then starts beating into the mass of dwarf and web into his rage subdues.

The party discovers that their target was Raspina Redspear, second daughter in the Redspear family. Shes on her way to the Runicstone clan in a diplomatic mission to ease the tension between their houses. The Runicstone clan still believe that the Redspear kidnaped the Heirophant’s nephew, and shes visiting them in person as a show of good faith that they do not have him.

The attackers are identified as members of Moradin’s Hand

Raspina invites everyone to come stay with her at the castle until the bridge opens, and fires the guards who failed her. She decides that you will be her new guards, and will accompany her to Mordinsamman. You will be well paid, of course, at 5 gold a day while travelling.

The party is now honored guests of Jarl Silvercoin and the Redspear delegation. You may also get to meet Dagvo Soulforger, one of the Clerestories of Hierophant Linjal, who is also here with his delegation.

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Silver Bridge Part 1 - Session 14
Arriving at the Silver Bridge

Everyone went to mass at the temple of Moradin and joined in the ceremony. The first portion of the ceremony was a sermon from The Book of Steel. Once the sermon was over, everyone in the temple got up and waited in line at the altar to be blessed by a priest and make a sacrifice. If the sacrifice was in coin, it was placed on a brass dish on one side of the altar. If the sacrifice was an item of sentiment, it would be tossed into the brazer on the other side of the altar. Once the sacrifice was made, the participant would lift the small blacksmith’s hammer (more like a ceremonial gavel) and strike the centre of the altar. Afterwards, the priest would bless you by taking ashes from yesterday’s forge and making the symbol of the hammer on your forehead.

The party were the last ones in line at the altar and lingered a bit longer to chat with the priests. The party was warned that the followers of the dead god they had met on the bridge were slightly touched in their faith, but in kindness, said that it did not make their faith any less legitimate.

The party set sail again the next day.

A few more quiet days pass on the river. Thorsun chats it up more with “Ogan” and nothing eventful happens. Everyone stops at a large waypoint called the “Barge Inn,” known as a way-point in Redspear territory marking the start of the SIlvercoin lands. On the Runicstone side of the river was another small town with a tall watchtower in the centre. This one is named “Llantwit” after some Runicstone Dwarf’s surname. There are a few Runicstone barges on this side of the river, and tension in the inn is high. Eventually a fight breaks out, and the party mostly agrees to sleep on the barge that night.

Its two more days to the Silver Bridge. Once you’re a few hours from the city, you start to see small circular towers jutting up on the east side of the river – mile markers. The barge passes each one in silence, as if weary something will pop out and attack. The west end of the river has been steadily sloping upward for several miles, and now the slope has become a 10-20 foot cliff.

In the distance you now see the silver bridge, also called the silver city. The bridge itself is disappointingly not silver, but the same dull gray granite you’ve seen everywhere so far. The base of the bridge looks sturdy despite being covered in freshwater molluscs, but along the length of the bridge is a myriad of structures all packed together in chaos. Buildings made of wood, stucco, and different types of stone can be seen. No roads appear to be leading to it from the east side of the river, and the western cliff makes it impossible to see the landscape beyond the river’s edge.

You’ve joined several other boats along the river’s length. Most are Silvercoin fishing ships, but quite a few are trading ships from nearly every nation. Ships full of crates, barrels, canvas sacks and passengers can be seen everywhere in the harbor. Even the occasional Redspear military vessel is seen – peace flags hanging from their masts.

There are over 80 feet between the bridge and the water, but the bridge arches are so close together it makes it nearly impossible for a large ship or barge to pass through. To the western end of the bridge is an area clear of any buildings. A humongous wooden drawbridge is raised on both sides of the bridge – Both the Redspear and Runicstone sides. Further on the Runicstone side, all of the buildings between the main support towers are solid stone and evenly built, contrasting the chaos on the eastern end.

Elgan and Roki guide the ship elegantly through the harbor. The southern port appears to hold dozens of similar ships to the one you’re on – small to medium barges all stuffed with cargo. You’re forced to wait about 20 minutes before the harbormaster to guide you to an available dock. Once there, Elgan asks the group if they need anything. Everyone decides to meet up again at the Keystone Inn – an average-priced inn near the drawbridge.

As you head up the bridge, you see white-painted sign jutting out of the ground with the number “4” painted brightly in orange. The painted words above and below is in black and says “The bridge has been up for 4 days”

The party discovers that lowering and raising the bridge is a huge deal, and requires cooperation on both sides. Its only raised or lowered every few weeks. There is a northern dock for most foreign trade, but all boats are forced to stop here. If someone wants to trade further down the river, you need to pass through the bridge.

Most folks settle into the Keystone Inn, including the barge crew, but Severath and Mahkdoh have their sights set on the Silverbrick Inn, which is slightly more expensive. Mokdow ends up contracting a dwarven woman named Gilna for the evening, but more for conversation and information than anything carnal.

Severath takes Wanda for a tour around the city to find a magic school. Initially she’s a bit whiney and fussy, disappointed that the bridge wasn’t actually made of silver. She pouts a bit but goes along. The first school looked a little shady, and the woman who answered the door looked fat and ill-kempt. The second school was set up in the 3rd pillar, and looked a bit more promising. Run by Durmar Lightningsmith, the dwarf who greeted them a the door was polite, if not somewhat distracted. Shyly, Wanda heads inside, with Severath promising to come back and check on her later.

Nuada went off to find a branch of the Merchants guild. He found a small seedy bar called the “Trolls Toll” under the bridge and asked around, saying the “Dwarvish carpentry” phrase. The bartender nodded and said they can’t tell you where to go for that specifically, but maybe check out a Silversmith near the temple to Hades inside the bridge for more info. He also ends up buying some Targum – a gross tar-like smoking weed (4cp is 12 servings).

Meanwhile the owlbears have hatched, and Faenya is a full-time mom on that end. Kuma named his Owlbear “Kurow” and Faenya helps teach him a few basics of care.

Mokdow went looking for the followers of the dead god. Sadly, perhaps, he ended up finding one. This follower was indeed “touched” as the priests of Moradin had said. A ragged old dwarf with a cane and unkempt beard was standing at the edge of the market, yelling at passer-bys about the end of the world. He prattled on about how the doom was coming, and everyone should forsake the old gods. When Mokdow questions him, he only repeats the same words over and over. “Silver, gold, red.”

Thorsun spends some time talking to Ogan/Trinjal, trying to convince him to help out with the current political situation. Mostly he tried convincing him to give Thorson a writ of introduction to the Hierophant, or even ask if the Hierophant would be open to negotiation. If Trinjal couldn’t do any of that, maybe Thorson could convince him to formally leave his family. Trinjal was having none of it, just wanting to be done with politics and the constraints of his family.

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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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