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Jake
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Gravediggers
It's Your Turn!
Play-By-Post Session #1 is now up on our forums, go to the Baker Squad Chatter subforum and post! Remember to keep it in character!
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Cody
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Revive the King
Once More, Into the Depths
Jeff is woken up and made decent (as much as possible for him). Over breakfast, he announces that he has found a village nearby that has hired him for a magic performance so he tells the group that he will be leaving them for a while. He will meet up with them when he is done, so he and Keco leave town.

As the two of them leave, three strangers come in. One is a woman (Alii) wearing studded leather and carries a spear, with several other weapons on her belt. Another woman (Eiliries) is wearing leather armour with a sword and long bow. The third is a short halfling (Xibulba) dressed in naturalist garb.

Identifying them as fellow adventurers, Aodkas hails them and invites them to breakfast. As they sit down, introductions are made and Aodkas extols the virtues of combining forces.

While the group is finishing up, a local comes into the tavern and talks to the barkeep. The barkeep gestures towards the group and the local turns and eyes them. He leaves the bar and comes to their table.

He says,"I hear you're the adventuring type. If you are interested, you could do this town a large favor. The mines nearby harbor a number of foul humanoids that have been harassing the locals around here. They moved in after the mine was abandoned. From what we hear, they are not only trying to find some undiscovered ore but also setting up some sort of stronghold. We'd like it if you would investigate and clean out the place. You're welcome to whatever riches you can find. I'd imagine there's a mighty fine chunk of change a'waiting for you, what between the raids they've been making and whatever they've recovered from the mine."

Aodkas converses briefly with his friends and new found companions and readily agrees to the man's wishes. They finish up breakfast and set out, but realize that all the gold they recovered last time is weighing them down. They ask the barkeep if there is somewhere they can exchange their money, to which he tells them there isn't. However, for a few silver, he'd be willing to rent them a lockbox to store their valuables in.

The group discusses it, debating whether to trust the man after what had happened the night before. Ultimately, they decide to do it, as a gesture of goodwill and a peace offering. The barkeep pulls a small chest from a closet and hands over the key. After putting their money in it, Aodkas pours some sealing wax on the lock and marks it with his signet ring. After completing this, the group heads towards the mine.

Reaching the bottom of the entrance stairs, the group heads right this time. At an intersection, they turn left. As they near another intersection, a loud screeching noise is heard, seemingly coming from the wall to their left. As they try to figure out where the secret door is, Eiliries manages to discover the wall is an illusion and pushes through.

On the other side, she finds a small room filled with fungus. Two large fungi appear to be making all the noise. Around the base of the fungus is a large amount of coins. Eiliries comes back through the wall and tells the others the secret. Unfortunately, only Exten is able to suspend belief enough to enter the room; the others simply can't believe that it is an illusionary wall.

After becoming nearly deaf from the shrieking fungi, Eiliries and Exten start hacking away at them to shut them up. At the same time, a door at the end of the hall opens and four hobgoblins come running out, intent on fighting the party.

Preparing for attack, the party reacts. Xibulba casts entanglement, causing the fungi from behind the illusionary wall to come out and trip the hobgoblins. Able to fight more effectively, the group quickly kills the hobgoblins as the screaming fungi are destroyed as well. During the fight, Aodkas breaks his long sword tip on the wall, then trips on a root and cuts his hand on his short sword.

The party takes the time to pick up all the money in the fungi room, as well as looting the bodies of the hobgoblins. They come up with 1180cp, 1100sp, and 39gp.

After gathering up the treasure and dividing it so they can carry it, the group heads north to the hobgoblin room. Realizing they have been here before, they exit out the western doorway and proceed to the location of the hole in the floor, where a mumbling/chanting noise is heard.

Pulling out a rope, Exten ties it around himself and is lowered down the shaft. He manages to knock some loose rocks down the shaft, causing the noise from below to stop. Exten continues on and reaches the bottom of the shaft. Attempting to rotate himself so that he can stick his head out, he can't move his body in the confines of the shaft. The noise he makes in the attempt alerts whoever is down below.

Suddenly, a bright light illuminates the bottom of the shaft, showing Exten's legs flailing around. Steve recognizes the light source as a continual light spell, so some sort of magic caster is down below.

As Exten flails around, he is shouted at in Common to identify himself. Exten gives the signal to be pulled up and he's brought back to the entrance of the shaft. Realizing that they will have to find another way down, the group picks up their gear and proceeds further into the mines.

The fear gas is no longer present at the western intersection, so they proceed to follow the left-hand passage. It goes south, then turns east for a long distance. At the edge of their torch light, the group spies a two doors. At that same moment, Aodkas feels the floor beneath him give way and he jumps back in time to see the floor open up into a ten foot pit. There is a small ledge around the pit that the group successfully navigates and gets to the two doors.

Selecting the eastern door, the group enters a room with doors in all four corners. Opening each door reveals a corridor proceeding from it. Going through the north-east door, they come to a dead end, but Aodkas successfully locates a secret door hidden in the wall and they proceed east.

An intersection reveals that corridor from the south-eastern door of the room joins up here, so the group continues east. They enter a room that appears to be on the verge of a cave-in, with split and broken timbers holding up the ceiling and dirt piles and wood on the floor. A door in the northeast corner looks inviting.

When trying to open the door, the group realizes they can't open it because a cracked timber above the door is preventing it. Using his crowbar, Exten pushes it up enough to allow Xibulba to squirm through. On the other side is a short corridor leading to a dead-end. After a short inspection, Xibulba doesn't discover any secret doors and returns. The group leaves the room and head back to the room with four doors.

This time, they take the north-west door and end up in an abandoned storage room. A number of rotting wood timbers and rusty mining gear is laying around. A door exits to the south.

Going south, there is a door to the left and the corridor turns right. At the corner, Eiliries happens to notice a mechanism for a secret door, so the group proceed through into a parallel mineshaft. This path leads to a large room with a number of small holes bored into the floor and walls. Investigation reveals that the holes appear to be exploratory in nature, as they seem to follow a silver vein in the rock. However, they are too small for normal humans and demi-humans to use.

Pondering this, the group returns back to the secret door and decides to see what is on the other side of the door they passed. Opening it, they find nearly a dozen gnomes sleeping in a room. Their mining gear and equipment make it evident that they have been here for some time.

Noticing a large trunk in the corner, Exten determines to figure out what is inside. While picking the lock, he accidentally triggers a trap and is pricked by a poisonous needle. Luckily, the poison has become inert and he is unharmed. However, his vocalization when pricked wakes up the gnomes, who jump up, prepared to defend themselves.

Aodkas is able to calm them down after quickly telling them what is going on. Eventually Aodkas befriends the gnomes and they become quite chummy. The gnomes discuss some of the creatures that inhabit the mines and some of the traps that the group may run into. They provide a copy of the first level that they have made. In return, Aodkas provides a document that will allow the gnomes to set up trade between their village and the kingdom of the wood elves.

After a short rest, the group leaves the gnomes and goes towards the eastern section of the mine. Walking along, Alii runs into a resilient wall, leaving her with a tingling sensation. Steve holds up his torch and the group can see that the wall is slowly moving forward, about half the speed of a walking human. Additionally, a number of small coins and vials can be seen inside the wall.

Aodkas wants to capture the coins so he strings up a fishing net across the tunnel, then everyone moves back to the intersection. In a few minutes, the sound of falling money and breaking glass is heard. Suddenly, the moving wall is at the intersection, with some coins still within.

Aodkas directs the rest of the group to run around the branching corridors to the backside of the gelatinous wall while he strings up another fishing net. As the gelatinous creature moves forward, Aodkas can see that the net catches the rest of the coins but is also dissolved in the process.

Leaving the creature to continue on its path, the group gathers up the treasure left behind. Only one of the vials survived the fall when pushed out of the gelatinous cube. Aodkas takes a small sip and develops a short, sympathetic attachment to a lizard the runs past. Aodkas realizes that the potion probably provides an empathetic link with reptiles, so he puts the potion away for later use.

The group moves further down the eastern mine shaft and encounters a door. The door is locked and Exten can't pick it, so he pulls out his crowbar and the door is pried open. On the other side, more than a dozen men in full armour and carrying weapons turns to see what happened. When they spy the group, they charge the invaders with a howl.

The party sprints back towards the entrance, with the men hot on their heels. Reaching the surface, the group listens as the men laugh and seem to walk back to their room. The group catches its breath and decides on their next plan of action. As the debate continues, Alii gets bored and tells the group that she is going to seek her fortune in a less deadly endeavor, then heads off back to the mining town.

As she goes, Aodkas realizes that there is another entrance to the mines just a short distance away. After a few minutes of looking, the entrance is found in a copse of trees, hidden under some bushes. According to the map, this entrance leads to the southern section of the mines.

The group heads down and comes to a four-way intersection. Going east, they come to a large room with a pile of bags in the center and a chest on the south wall. The sacks are revealed to be trash; their bottoms are torn or otherwise rendered unusable. Exten looks at the chest and easily finds the hidden compartment, containing a number of electrum coins.

A quick trip to the northern room reveals it is filled with moldy sticks. Nothing of importance is found. Heading further south, Aodkas again avoids being damaged by a trap, as spear flies overhead after he trips on a tripwire.

After wandering aimlessly, Aodkas looks at the gnome's map and finds a small room near some stairs going down. Going to the room, Aodkas, Xibulba, and Exten end up getting trapped in an elevator room, going down. The others see it going down and try to find a way down. Since they didn't have the gnome's map, they aren't aware of the nearby stairs so they head all the way back to the hole in the western corridor.

As the elevator room door opens, it is indeed revealed that the room has moved to a different location. Aodkas leads the other two to the north, narrowly avoiding being impaled by three arrows from another trap. Continuing more cautiously, the move north to an intersection filled with cobwebs. Exten burns them with a torch and the group can see that, to the east, there is a set of stairs heading downwards, while west and north the passage continues.

Heading north, the hallway turns left and the trio eventually finds another intersection, but decides to continue heading west. A door in the left wall is found and reveals a storage place for mining gear. This gear is not rotting and appears to be relatively new.

Moving past the door, the small group turns south and runs into a set of three orcs. Luckily, the group had their hoods up so the orcs don't see that they are elves. The orcs believe them to be new humans in service with the new "owners" of the mines and make small talk. Aodkas is able to convince them that they simply got turned around and need some assistance getting out, offering to return with fresh food from the surface. The orcs are delighted in this and draw a quick line map for them, giving a few coppers to ensure swift return of their food.

The orcs lead the adventures to a secret door and bid them a quick journey. Unfortunately, the secret door is opposite a room of goblins. Exten hears them gambling and wants to join in. Luckily, the goblins are so absorbed in their game that they don't realize that the newcomers aren't necessarily part of the "new workforce". However, Aodkas again persuades them that he is simply taking orders for food

Exten spends a few minutes playing dice with the goblin champion, exchanging money back and forth until Aodkas tells him they need to get going. On the last round, Exten loses a number of silver pieces, which is more than most of the goblins have ever seen. As the trio of adventurers leave, the goblins invite them to hurry back. In addition, the goblins are courteous enough to point out on the orc's map a shortcut, as well as giving Aodkas a number of copper to ensure the goblins get first dibs on the food when they return.

The three eventually come to small room where another group of adventurers is taking a break. The new group very nearly starts a fight, but a cleric in the group wants to give Aodkas, Exten, and Xibulba a chance to explain; the trio had originally tried to con the larger group that they were taking food orders but, since the adventurers weren't part of the "mine culture", they were ready to kill the "residents" that had found them.

Eventually, Aodkas is able to explain that they were lost and needed to find the rest of their party. He convinces the other group to help them find the others by offering them a chance to participate in the trade between the gnomes and the wood elves. The group accepts and they lead the trio back to the first level; eventually the rest of the group is found and the new group takes Aodkas' introduction letters and leaves the mines.

While all this is going on, Eiliries, Steve, and Aoko make their way to the hole in the floor; the continual light spell is still active, providing sufficient light to let them do their work. They decide to lower Steve down the hole to check it out. If the coast is clear, Eiliries will join him.

Steve goes down the hole and sees that it leads into a demonic temple. An altar is on one wall, surrounded by burning candles. On another wall is a number of clerical vestments. In the middle of the floor is the demonic symbol of Demogorgon, though Steve isn't able to identify it at the time. To the south, a wide, columned corridor heads off into the darkness.

Reaching the ground, Steve lets the others know it is okay and Eiliries comes down, leaving Aoko up top to pull them up if needed. Steve and Eiliries look around the temple and take two of the robes off their hooks, hoping they will provide enough of a disguise to help them if they are caught.

As Eiliries looks around, she finds a secret door on the western wall. Opening it, she finds a corridor heading south. Planning to come back to it, she and Steve proceed south through the columns. They find another door on the western wall; a dagger hilt lies in front of it. Not wanting to confront anything with just the two of them, they leave the door alone and proceed on.

At the edge of Steve's torchlight, he spies a door on the opposite wall. Heading over, it appears to be safe so they open it. A short hallway leads to a store room, filled with chest, trunks, tapestries, and a number of similar items. While looking for secret doors, the pair finds two giant ticks hiding behind a tapestry, which proceed to jump on Steve.

After a short battle, the ticks are defeated and little damage is done to Steve and Eiliries. They continue their searching and come upon three suspiciously small coffers. Upon investigation, it is revealed that they have hidden bottoms filled with electrum pieces. Deciding to leave while they are ahead, the pair carries the coffers back to the hole in the ceiling and have Aoko pull them up, followed by themselves.

As they are finishing this operation, Aodkas and the others find them. Realizing that they have a large amount of heavy treasure to haul out, the group decides to leave the mine and head back to the mining town. It takes many hours but they eventually do it without running into any more trouble.

After recovering the rest of their loot from the bartender's lockbox, the party decides to leave the mines and continue on the quest for Aodkas' mail. They buy horses, a cart, and supplies and head south towards the city of Chendl, intending on hiring mercenaries to supplement their skills during the long journey.

While moving south, they spy a group of hill giants walking in the distance. Since they are on the plains, Aodkas is suspicious about why they are there, especially since they are walking towards the woods where his people live. He borrows Eiliries' horse and rides to the woods to give word to the elves about the giant's approach. Then he rides back to the others, taking nearly a full day to complete his task.

Upon his return, the group continues on to Chendl. When they arrive, they go to the Warrior's Circle, an area where mercenaries, master-at-arms, and other military people can be found. They eventually hire three mounted archers and three light horsemen. After stocking up again, the group heads south.
Session: Game Session - Friday, Apr 19 2013 from 7:00 PM to 3:00 AM
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Cody
Posted by the GM
Revive the King
Into the Mines
Aodkas invites his friends to join him in his journey to the south to retrieve the heirloom armor. Realizing they will need money to make the journey, and since Aodkas has to make the journey through his own wits and wiles, the band of friends heads to a nearby abandoned mine.

Once a thriving mining town, all that is left is a near-ghost town. A small tavern with a couple of spare rooms for rent, a general trade store, and a few houses are all the remain of the once-prosperous town.

The group quickly heads through town, stopping only long enough to learn where the mine is located. They also learn that, after the mine was abandoned, a number of unwholesome inhabitants moved in. Several people have entered the mine to try their luck at either getting rid of the monsters or to see if there were any mineral veins left, but none have returned.

Proceeding to the mine, the group easily finds the original entrance buried in the side of a small hill. Looking in, a gradual slope leads down into the interior. A small set of stairs have been carved into part of the slope, allowing easy access for people while maintaining a path for mine carts and equipment.

Moving inside, the group comes to the main entrance room. Two paths lead away from it and the group goes to the left. At another intersection, they proceed left again. Moving down the hallway, they perceive a cracking noise that gets louder as they move deeper into the mines.

Halfway down the corridor, a deep hole in the ground is found. The cracking noise appears to be coming from it. Looking in, the elves can't see anything with their infravision. Aodkas throws a burning torch down the hole and determines that it is nearly 20 feet deep. When the torch hits the bottom, the cracking noise stops.

After debating whether to try to climb down the shaft, the group decides to continue on and investigate the shaft later. The continue moving down the corridor and notice that some sort of gas is seeping into the air. Suddenly, Aoko, Aodkas, and Steve develop an overwhelming fright and run back to the entrance of the mine, leaving the others behind.

Jeff, Exten, and Keco looked at each other, questioning whether they should follow the others or move on. Since the gas didn't affect them, they decided to press on. At an intersection, they moved right until they hit a dead-end. Exten found a secret door and a passageway beyond.

Walking down the passage, Jeff tripped and fell against the wall. A tinkling sound was heard from above and a viscous fluid dripped onto him. Suddenly, a small, flaming ember fell from the ceiling and lit Jeff on fire. Screaming in agony, Jeff quickly passed out from the pain. Keco pulled off his cloak and put out the flames, losing his cloak in the process as the burning oil stuck to it.

Once the flames were put out, Exten did what he could for the injuries and then picked Jeff up, intending on taking him back to Steve for a quick healing spell. Keco decided to scout ahead a little further as he spied a door at the end of the hall.

Keco opened the door and found a small room, filled with a reddish light. Looking around, he saw two, arm-sized beetles climbing around two small coffers; the light was coming from glowing glands on the beetles.

Attempting to kill the beetles to get to the coffers, Keco swung his two-handed sword but missed. The beetles, realizing the threat, counter-attacked. One couldn't penetrate Keco's leather armour, but the other was able to bite the back of Keco's knee. Limping now, Keco realized that the beetles were tougher than he expected and proceeded back to the entrance to reach the others.

Back at the entrance, Aodkas informs the others that he smells cooking food coming from the northern passage at the first intersection. Moving down that tunnel, firelight can be seen coming from a room ahead.

Exten listens closely and hears a number of hobgoblins talking about their dinner. He tries to sneak near the door to peer inside but ends up kicking a rock. The hobgoblins stop talking, so Exten moves back down the mineshaft.

As Exten is moving back to the party, a hobgoblin comes to the doorway and spies the party's lantern in the distance. Yelling for his cohorts, the hobgoblin charges down the hall.

During the fight, Aodkas and Aoko get knocked out, while Exten and Keco are injured. Steve smashes the skull of one hobgoblin but everyone else fails in their attacks. Luckily, Jeff recovers from his injuries enough to cast phantasmal force, making it appear that a group of "assassins" have come to the rescue of the party.

The assassins rush into the melee and immediately kill three of the hobgoblins. The two remaining hobgoblins surrender at the site of so many adversaries. Exten ties them up and forces them to tell him where their treasure is. They lead the party back to their room and indicate the container holding their gold.

Exten opens the container and finds the hidden bottom, revealing a large number of gold coins. While pulling out the coins and dumping them on the floor, Exten attempts to palm some of the coins for himself but fails miserably, the coins falling out of his sleeves as he stands up. Fortunately for him, no one noticed so he is not beaten to a pulp.

Next to the container is a door. Exten listens at the door and hears a knocking sound. Asking the hobgoblins what is on the other side of the door, the say, "Nothing." Not liking the answer, Exten pulls out his crowbar and threatens the hobgoblins. Again they state nothing is on the other side. Still not satisfied, Exten uses his crowbar to smash the hobgoblins toes, continually asking them what is on the other side.

As Exten continues to receive the same response, Steve, becoming agitated at the wanton abuse of captives, steps in and stops Exten. He looks at Exten and says, "Why don't you ask them what the knocking sound is?"

Exten turns to the hobgoblins and asks. Between their screams of pain and sobs of agony, they tell him that the knocking is from a tree root that has grown down a ventilation shaft in the ceiling; the air currents cause the root to hit the side of the wall. Feeling slightly like a jackass, Exten puts his crowbar away.

After some discussion, the group decides to rest in the hobgoblin room so Steve can regain his healing spells and the rest of the party can rest some before continuing on. After taking a nap and meditating, Steve gains new healing spells and casts them on Aodkas and Aoko.

After binding the feet of the hobgoblins to quell their pain, Exten asks them where they got all their money. They tell him that they sometimes waylay passing people on the surface.

Exten then asks if they know anything about the hole in the western corridor. They tell him that it leads deeper into the mine but they don't know exactly where or what is there because they are tasked with staying near the surface.

Upon hearing this, Exten asks if there are other hobgoblins in the mine. He learns that there are more hobgoblins and a number of their allies in the mines, trying to salvage what they can from the remaining mineral veins and expanding the mines into a fortress. They mention that a messenger comes by on occasion to relay news between the different groups. Though the messenger doesn't have a set schedule, they expect him within a few more days.

The party talks about it and decides to head back to the mining town, after splitting the hobgoblin treasure. Each person gets 91 gold pieces, though Exten gets 95 for his "work" with the hobgoblins.

Going back to the town, the group realizes that there is no one to turn the hobgoblin hostages over to. With no "sheriff" or other authority figure available, the barkeeper offers the group 120 gold to take the hobgoblins off their hands. (Being a former mining town, there is still a large amount of gold to be had here; it doesn't mean as much to the inhabitants as it does in other areas. It also means that prices here are significantly higher than elsewhere.)

In the bar, Jeff uses his magic to con the barkeep to give them a free round of drinks. Unfortunately, Jeff gets too drunk and ends up puking on the bar. The barkeeper and his brother carry the passed-out Jeff to the door and throw him into the street, where he lands in a pile of horse dung.

While they are doing this, Exten moves behind the bar and attempts to break into the bar's lock-box. He is unsuccessful and barely makes it back around the bar before the barkeeper comes back.

Aoko goes outside to strip Jeff naked in an attempt to teach him a lesson. After taking off all his clothes, Aoko ties him up and leaves him lying in the horse dung. Meanwhile, Steve pukes on the bartender's shoes, causing him to get irate. The barkeep pulls out his club and starts hitting Steve, yelling at everyone to "get out". The group lurches to the door and heads outside. Stepping over Jeff, they go to the edge of town and set up camp.

Exten sneaks back into town and contemplates breaking into the general store. When listening at the back door, he hears snoring and decides to not take the chance.

Nothing eventful happens during the night, but when they wake up and head back to get Jeff, they find that, sometime during the night, someone decided to use him has a night-light. They find him laying face down with a candle stuck between his butt cheeks, the wax having covered his entire crack.
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Cody
Posted by the GM
Revive the King
Prologue
Near the city of Crockport, between the Vesve Forest and the Whyestil Lake, a small village thrived. In this village, a small group of friends group up together: Steve, Jeff, and Keco. In the nearby forest lived a community of wood elves, led by a elven king.

Because of the proximity of the forest to the village, trade had developed over time between the two communities, eventually leading to mutual respect and then friendship. From this relationship, Aoko (a half-elf) was born. Being part of both worlds, Aoko made friends from both elven and human societies. On the human side were Steve, Jeff, and Keco. On the elven side were Exten and Aodkas Glimmergaunt.

Exten was a pure elf, as was Aodkas. But while Exten was a commoner, Aodkas was a son of the elven king. Aoko had been brought to the elven court as Aodkas’ sparring partner. Exten knew both of them through a similar fashion: he was apprentice to the royal locksmith and often talked with them during work.

As Aodkas and his older brother approached the age of majority of his people, it was naturally assumed that his brother would be next in line for king. However, the king was uncertain who would be a better king, so he devised a challenge before he died. An heirloom suit of elfin chainmail, passed down over the generations, had been given to an uncle living to the south in the Dim Forest. Whichever brother could get there first, claim the mail, and return home would be crowned king.

While elfin mail was rare by itself, this armour was even more special. As befit royalty, it had been imbued with a dweomer that raised the charisma of whoever wore it. It had been handed down for generations to the member of the royal family who was most worthy to receive it.

Through Aoko, Aodkas and Exten met Steve, Jeff, and Keco. The three humans had grown up hearing tales of gallant knights and their heroic ancestors and wanted to follow in their footsteps. Choosing their own paths, Keco practiced the martial ways. When Aoko mentioned Aodkas’ journey, Keco jumped at the chance to prove himself.

Jeff chose the more intellectual profession as a professional illusionist. While more specialized and less versatile than a traditional magic-user, Jeff felt his knack for creative thinking made the calling more appropriate. Plus, it helped feed his need for easy money: rather than run the risk of being caught as a thief, his magical abilities allowed him to simply distract people, making it easier to acquire what he wanted.

Steve felt the calling of the cloth. By being a member of the clergy, he could slate his lust for combat with either his hand or his spells. Unfortunately, he spent a great deal of time trying to keep his friends’ actions from getting too out of hand.

Thus, the adventuring party was formed, Jeff, the illusionist; Steve, the cleric; Keco, the fighter; Exten, the thief; Aoko, the fighter; and Aodkas, the noble fighter. What would they find as they pursued Aodkas’ destiny? And would they make it back alive to claim it?
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Cody
Posted by the GM
Temple of Elemental Evil
Attack of the Darkness
While the group of adventurers are recovering from their latest expedition to the moathouse, Brandis volunteers to help train the militia. Unfortunately, a freak training accident results in Brandis being killed. Word is sent to his family and his older brother, Branis, comes to Hommlet. Branis sends Brandis' body back home but decides to continue Brandis' work by staying in Hommlet with the rest of the party.

Coming into town at the same time as Branis is Artemis, a traveling illusionist-mage who makes his living as an entertainer. Upon learning about the copious amounts of money the adventurers have retrieved from the moathouse, Artemis volunteers to provide his magical abilities to the group.

Once everyone is brought up to speed with the situation, the group heads out to the moathouse and enters the dungeon through the secret door in the black room. At the top of the stairs to the second dungeon level, Zhanna volunteers to scout ahead, using her cloak of elvenkind. At an intersection near the bottom of the stairs, she first heads south and finds a large room with three doors on the southern wall. There is also the scent of cooking food coming from somewhere nearby, possibly from the corridor to the west.

Rather than get too far away by herself, Zhanna heads back to the group and reports what she finds. Tundin asks about the other direction from the intersection and Zhanna heads that way. At the end of the eastern corridor, she finds another room similar to the other room: on the far wall are three doors and a corridor leading to the north.

While Zhanna is scouting the dungeon, the secret door to the ogre's room opens up and a small (7 foot) ogre is standing there. He is at first surprised, but when he sees the black robes with the flaming eyes worn by the party, he is enthusiastically friendly, as he believes they are members of the cult. Not thinking to check their "bona-fides", the ogre starts talking to them in ogrish. Unfortunately, no one speaks ogre, but Dire, thinking quickly, tries the orcish tongue.

The ogre responds even better than before, happy that he is able to converse with the new-comers. Dire explains that they have just arrived at the moathouse and have a captive (Artemis). The ogre asks if they are taking the captive to the Master, to which Dire agrees. The ogre offers to take them to the Master, since they are new there and probably don't know the way. Realizing that it may be the easiest way to get through the dungeon, Dire accepts the offer and informs the rest of the group what is going on. As they walk, Dire pumps the ogre for information about the dungeon. The ogre tries to be helpful but, since he's not very bright and doesn't get out much, he is unable to supply a lot of information.

The ogre leads the way to the southern room with three doors. When they get there, Branis tries to get the battle axe from the ogre by having Dire ask about it. The ogre agrees to let Branis try out his axe if Branis will let the ogre try his axe (they are nearly the same size, though the ogre is slightly stronger). The two spend a few minutes swinging the axes around and trying them out. The ogre offers to trade his axe for Branis', but after looking at the inferior quality of the ogre's axe, Branis declines. The ogre keep the offer open, though.

Moving on, the ogre leads the group further south and down a side passage to a door. The ogre stops and indicates that on the other side is the Master's room. The ogre then leaves and heads back to this lair. After he is gone, the group decides to investigate the rest of the dungeon before approaching the Master so they don't get attacked from behind and to hopefully find some additional information and supplies before they proceed.

Heading back down the passageway, they take the southern corridor and, at an intersection, they proceed west. The torches in this area are burnt out, if not outright missing, so the only light is from Tundin's lantern. At the end of the corridor, the group comes upon a desecrated crypt. The coffins and skeletons are smashed and debris is scattered about. Dire investigates one of the alcoves to see if there is anything of value placed with the remains. He finds nothing, but he does notice that the bones have been smashed apart. Further investigation reveals that the marrow has been removed and teeth marks indicate that something has been chewing on the bones.

While they are looking around, a thumping noise is heard coming from further in the crypt. Cautiously moving further into the crypt, the group turns a corner and sees four individuals crouched down near a burial alcove. The thumping is louder here; after a short debate, the group thinks that maybe someone is trapped in a coffin and the four people are either trying to get to the trapped person or are otherwise involved. Thus, the group decides that they should attack the four and help the trapped person.

Tundin closes the hood on his lantern to a tiny slit as the group prepares to attack. At that moment, the thumping noise stops. Everyone freezes, considering whether to run or stand their ground. A creature appears suddenly at the corner; seeing the light of Tundin's lantern, the creature makes a hissing noise and darts forward to attack Tundin.

Branis and Tundin both attack the creature. Branis cuts off one of the "zombie's" arms but not before it hits Branis. Branis is paralyzed and falls to the ground.

Two more creatures come around the corner and attack. Dire makes a sneak attack and smashes the head of both "zombies" but Tundin is paralyzed and falls to the ground. He is able to tell the others that these creatures are ghouls, not zombies, before he loses the power to speak. When Tundin falls, his lantern goes out.

Artemis, who had ran back down the hall, hears yelling and comes back to the entrance of the crypt. When the lantern goes out, he casts dancing lights and makes them float around the head of the last ghoul. The ghoul is distracted enough for Zhanna and Dire to attack, eventually killing it. Unfortunately, Dire is paralyzed as well.

Not having anything else to do, Zhanna lights her lantern and patiently waits for the paralysis to wear off, if it will. Artemis, being bored, takes Tundin's lantern and relights it. He moves to the area where the ghouls were first seen and, crouching down, sees that the alcove they were near actually leads to a tunnel. At the edge of his lantern's light, he can make out that the tunnel opens up into a possible room. Rather than investigate, he takes some of the debris nearby and plugs up the tunnel.

After that, Artemis leaves Zhanna and tries to head back outside. In the room with three doors, he opens the middle door and hears a loud noise in the distance, as of something heavy falling or closing. He moves to the next door and opens it, finding a small room. An investigation reveals nothing.

Moving on, Artemis goes to the western corridor, where the scent of cooking food grows stronger. The corridor opens into a large room. In the center is a fire with a large cooking pot atop it. Circled around the fire are nine hyena-headed men. They don't notice Artemis, so he backs quietly out of the room.

The the door room, Artemis heads north to the entrance of the dungeon. At the intersection, he finds a heavy portcullis has fallen, blocking the way out. Suspecting there might be another way, Artemis heads east and finds the other room with three doors. Ignoring the doors, he goes to the northern corridor.

Entering the room, he sees that it is dimly lit with just a few torches. He doesn't see anything from the doorway so he moves further into the room. Suddenly, he is knocked unconscious from a blow from behind. Having never told anyone where he was going, no one knows where to look for him and he is never heard from again.

Zhanna waits for more than hour until Branis is finally able to move again. Tundin and Dire recover from their paralysis shortly thereafter. Their damage from the fight with the ghouls prevents them from moving on their own. They are barely conscious when their paralysis wears off, but when they are picked up by Branis and Zhanna, the motion causes them to pass out again.

The pair carry the others through the "door room". As they are passing through to the northern passage, two hyena-men come out of the western room. Seeing the black cloaks on Branis and Zhanna, and that they are carrying bodies, the hyena-men allow the pair to pass on unmolested.

Reaching the portcullis, Branis tries to open it but can't. Zhanna tries as well but is equally stymied. While Branis keeps trying, Zhanna stumbles upon the secret door leading to the release lever. Activating the lever, Branis throws the gate into the ceiling; Zhanna allows him to think his own badassness is what opened the gate.

Heading back upstairs, no further encounters occur and the two are able to put Tundin and Dire on their horses and head back to town. They arrive at the mayor's house in just a few hours and Tundin and Dire are put to bed to rest. Zhanna explains what happened to the mayor, making the mayor inquire as to what the group plans on doing next. Everyone knows that the Temple is becoming active again, or at least the remnants of the cult are causing problems. The mayor suggests that the group continue their investigation of the moathouse, head to the Temple itself, or investigate the surrounding countryside to find other holdouts of the cult. Zhanna isn't prepared to answer for the entire group, so she defers until the others recover.

The next day, Dire and Tundin have recovered enough to at least get out of bed. Tundin casts his cure light wounds spells on both of them, allowing them to move around town. The group decides to investigate around town and see if there is any additional information they can glean about the cult.

While they are moving around town, they find that Artemis is still alive. Branis is highly upset with him, thinking that he skipped out when they needed him the most. When they confront him, he indicates that his "stunt man"for his performances, Geoff, was the person who actually accompanied them.

Branis goes to the tavern and spends the next 12 hours drinking and talking to as many people as he can. He "learns" that the cult has a secret handshake and someone demonstrates it for him. He also finds out that a man in dark clothes has been seen traveling the roads on a weekly basis; the last time he was seen was four days ago.

The rest of the group heads to the castle where Rufus and Burne live. They ask to use Burne's library to see if they can glean any information from his books. He allows them to look through his collection for 2gp each.

Artemis tries to get a hook-up, one spell-caster to another, and asks if Burne has anything they can use. Burne offers a stick that has had continual light cast on it for 500gp. Obviously that is too much for the group, so Artemis offers 10gp and a free illusionist show. Burne accepts the offer and gives Artemis the stick.

While looking through the books, no information about the cult is found. However, Dire manages to find a potion of healing stuffed behind some books; he secrets it on his person and tells no one else.

After spending the day looking for info, everyone heads to the tavern to meet with Branis and find out what he has learned. Over dinner, Branis informs them about the secret handshake and the runner that has been seen. He also asks for 12sp to pay for his bar tab.

Artemis casts an illusion of 12sp, which Branis gives to the barkeep. Being distracted, the barkeep doesn't notice that the coins don't make any noise when he puts them in the coin box. Once the coins are "safely" put away, Artemis drops the spell.

After some discussion, the party decides that best thing to do is wait for the messenger near the moathouse and ambush him to find out what he knows. The group stocks up on gear the next morning, including buying three guard dogs, and heads out to the intersection of the Low Road and High Road that is beyond the moathouse. The guard dogs are very vicious and continually struggle to escape. Whenever someone tries to touch them, the dogs try to bite them.

While they are making camp near the crossroads, a group of 15 nomads comes from the High Road and stops when they see the camp. A short discussion reveals that their main camp is in the Gnarley Forest and this group is heading to Hommlet to trade. When Artemis reveals he is an entertainer, the nomads suggest that he travel to their main camp in the Forest and put on a show for the rest of the group. Artemis suggests he will think about it; the group indicates they can "pick him up" when they come back, if the group is still camped out.

The night passes uneventfully. The next day, the group spends time hunting to supplement their rations. Between them, 14 pounds of food is found, and they share it with their guard dogs.

On the third day, the nomads come back through on their way "home". They see Artemis hanging out in a tree and inquire if he is willing to join them on their way to their encampment. Artemis panics, not wanting to give an answer, so he casts darkness over the encampment. The darkness causes the nomad's horses to panic, as well as the nomads themselves, and the horses trample through the camp on their way out of the darkness. In the confusion, the campfire is kicked, causing several small fires to be set on the surrounding brush and Zhanna's bedroll to catch fire. In addition, Branis picks up his dog and tries to get away from the stampede, but his dog is frightened and bites him on the neck.

When the darkness spell ends, Artemis is no where to be seen. He has run away from the camp and cast an illusion around him, making it appear that he is now a bush. While the rest of the group picks up the remains of their campsite, Artemis remains hidden, as he hears the others grumbling about what had just occurred.

While trying to fix their campsite, two riders, coming from the Low Road, happen by. The riders are both wearing red/orange colors, similar to the color scheme found on the flaming-eye cloaks. Seeing the devastation of the camp, they ask if everything is alright. They are told that a group of bandits came through, trashing the camp on their way to the High Road. This makes the younger rider nervous and he is constantly looking around during the rest of the conversation.

The riders indicate that they are heading to Hommlet to ask for help with river pirates near Nulb and ask where the group is heading. Suspecting that these two might be the messengers spoken of, the party states they are heading to Hommlet as well. The riders ask if the party would like to join them as they continue their journey, as there is safety in numbers, which is good to have if bandits are about. The party agrees and gathers their gear. Artemis finally drops his phantasmal force spell and returns to camp after Branis promises not to hurt him.

Everyone heads back to the village, with the party eyeing the two riders the whole way to see if they act suspicious. As they near the moathouse, the riders inquire if the party knows anything about the ruins, receiving an abbreviated history in return. The party notes nothing suspicious so far.

Upon arrival in Hommlet, the party heads to the mayor's house while the two riders head to the inn. Tundin tells the mayor about the riders and his suspicion that they are the messengers who visit the moathouse. The mayor is asked whether he believes the story about the river pirates. While he hasn't heard of pirates themselves, the fact that their are bandits about means the likelihood of pirates is high.

When asked about the nomads, the mayor indicates that they regularly visit Hommlet, though infrequently. They seem to be a group that travels around the region between the Kron Hills and the Nyr Dyv lake and haven't acted suspicious before.

Everyone except Dire and Zhanna go to bed. Dire heads to the inn to keep an eye out for the riders while Zhanna goes to the edge of town to see if anything suspicious transpires.

At midnight, Dire sees someone dressed in black come down from the rooms upstairs and leave the inn. Dire follows and sees one of the rider's horses has been taken from the stable, so he goes to the mayor's house to tell the others.

Everyone gears up and heads out, running into Zhanna, who tells them that someone went riding past her in the dark. The group heads towards the moathouse, with Zhanna attempting to track the horse. The trail leads to the moathouse drawbridge, but then appears to come back to the main road and continue on past the ruins. Eventually, Zhanna finds a side trail that has fresh markings on it. Following the trail through the swamp, the group comes upon a clearing, slightly drier than the rest of the swamp. The muddy horse-prints lead to a large hedge-like bush. On the other side of the bush can be seen a horse's head.

Getting off their horses, the group spreads out and comes around the bush. They find an opening in the ground, much like a cave. The horse is tied to the bush near the entrance. Waiting for the rider to come out, the group sets up an ambush.

Coming out, the rider manages to avoid the illusionary snare set by Artemis, but when he climbs on his horse, the cut saddle falls off, dropping the man to the ground. Dire, Tundin, and Branis jump on top of the man while the horse panics and gets mired in the swap. Zhanna goes to retrieve the horse.

Branis puts the man in a headlock while Tundin holds the man's legs. Dire pulls out his dagger and uses the pommel to knock the man out. As Branis and Tundin get up and get some rope to tie the man up, Dire searches him for useful items. A scroll case is found; inside is a message written in code. Dire looks at it with the lantern light and is able to decipher most of it.

The message indicates that the Master of the moathouse dungeon feels that the mission is on track but there are some problems being caused by a small group of interlopers. The interlopers have been killing a number of hirelings and taking valuable items. The Master requests more men and money to continue the work before the timeline is affected.

In addition to the scroll, Dire also finds 2sp and 12cp on the man. When Tundin takes the man's boots off to ensure he doesn't run away if he wakes up too soon, a small dagger falls out, which the party puts away.

The group ties the man up and puts him on a horse, then everyone heads back to town around 5am. Dire and Artemis go to the inn, intending to capture and interrogate the other rider. Dire bribes the barkeep to get the room that the two men were staying in. Casting phantasmal force on himself to appear like the captured man, Artemis enters the room but finds it empty. Dire waits for the man to return while Artemis goes back to the mayor's house to sleep.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group has gone to the mayor's house and is interrogating their captive. Upon removing his cape and cowl, they realize they have captured the younger rider, the "squire". During the interrogation, the squire states he doesn't know anything about the message, that we was hired by someone in Nulb to come to Hommlet and retrieve a letter. He doesn't know exactly who his traveling companion is; just the "village idiot" that the kid paid a few copper coins to accompany him to Hommlet. They don't know each other, and the kid doesn't know why the man insists on calling the kid his "squire".

While Dire hangs out outside the inn, he sees the man coming from the northern road and go inside. Dire follows and heads to a shadowy corner. The man sits down after conversing with the barkeep and starts to eat breakfast, keeping an eye out on the door. Dire bribes a barmaid to send a messenger to the mayor's house to alert the others.

Upon receiving the message from Dire, Tundin and Branis stop their interrogation and leave for the inn. When they get there, the man recognizes them from before and calls out to them, asking if they have seen his squire. Upon receiving a negative response, the man asks if they could help him find him, as the boy wasn't in his bed when the man woke up and he is worried that something happened to him.

Tundin, Branis, and Dire convince the man to accompany them to the mayor's house, as there might be some information available there. When they arrive, the mayor is eating breakfast and the squire is with him; an armed guard is nearby.

When they enter the room, the mayor is angry and yells at them, asking who the kid is and why he was left tied up in the house. He also explains that, not knowing what was going on and hearing the boy crying, the mayor untied the boy and gave him breakfast. He has the guard nearby in case there is a problem.

When he sees the man accompanying Tundin, Branis, and Dire, the mayor asks for an explanation and seems to be getting pretty irate over how the investigation is unfolding, as well as the imposition on his hospitality. Tundin gives a brief explanation and finally requests that the mayor conduct an interrogation of the man and boy.
Session: 1st Ed. AD&D - Friday, Apr 05 2013 from 8:00 PM to 3:00 AM
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Epic!