Legends of Thassilon

Descent of the Damned

The heroes descended the stairs deep into the dam, turning several times within the oppressive stone. The skull motif continued with blank eyes staring out from the walls. Eventually the stairs ended at a large chamber deep within the dam.

The cold, damp room featured a large pool in the floor, the surface of which was caked with pale yellow slime and fungus. Additional skull carvings decorated the walls. To the south a large mound of real skulls, mostly humanoid, rested heaped against the wall, where they partially blocked a large metal door.  Sealed passages led off to the east and west.

Albi enthusiastically trotted to the edge of the pool and began collecting samples of the slimy fungus. Duncan moved protectively beside him only to be drenched by a deluge of water – within was Grazzuul, the boss of the Skulltaker tribe. He appeared as a giant figure standing waist-deep in the foul water, but still towering above the adventurers. Water streamed over his scaly flesh and gill-slits pulsed in his neck and torso. Fins sprouted from his back and along his arms, and he drove forward a massive polearm like a two-pronged fork.  

It pierced Albi’s chest. 

The gnome nearly collapsed in shock as Duncan and others landed several minor wounds on the aquatic troll. The monster roared furiously from its tusked mouth and disappeared back into the dark waters.

After several tense moments the troll did not return. The heroes discussed strategies for routing him out from his underwater lair. The discussion lasted several minutes – more than long enough for the Maggie’s boredom to set in.   She easily defeateded the arcane locks at the southeastern door.  Upon opening it, a horse-sized scorpion stinger constructed of skulls slashed at her.  She rolled from the worst of it and felt only the tingle of the stinger’s poison.

The heroes raced to investigate the newest threat. Sensing the distraction, Grazul again leapt from the water.  He targeted Maggie this time but was unable to land a blow.  Mal buried several arrows into the foe.  Duncan closed and delivered a brutal strike. Albi blasted it with a firebomb preventing him from regenerating. Refusing to let the monster escape again, Azrack plunged into the water and moved to seal the troll’s escape route.

Nearly defeated, Grazuul withdrew and attempted to shoulder past the heavily armored dwarf.  Azrack’s blade slashed the troll who spasmed and sunk to the floor.  Tal jumped into the water to secure a grapple. The troll’s wounds sealed and it roused. Grazuul slammed the dwarf but the stubborn, breath-holder proved immovable. Tal’s ironwood cobra clamped onto the troll’s neck,  dropping it once again. 

With the grapple attached, Duncan hoisted the troll to the surface. Albi’s firebomb scorched the troll, sealing its fate forever.

Next, the barbarian pulls the dwarf gasping to the surface. Lastly, Grazuul’s large vicious adamantine trident was recovered.

After the party rallied, they readied themselves to enter both eastern doorways simultaneously.  As his door opened, Azrack was slammed by the giant scorpion’s stinger.   Both Maggie and the dwarven warrior, upon seeing the horrid visage of the massive construct of death, blanched and turned and fled.  The creature squeezed into the narrow doorway and grasped at Duncan. It seized the barbarian with its massive claw and began crushing his broad chest.  When the others tried to close, they too briefly fled in terror. As he ran, Albi mused, “That was a Thassilonian skull ripper! A guardian construct over ten thousand years old! Oh my gods!” Once the heroes recovered their wits, they returned and found Duncan nearly throttled.

Maggie and Azrack closed behind the construct.  Tal urged his cobra forward and then radiated with healing energy.  The barbarian again gasped with life.  The skull ripper was slowly worn down by countless strikes,  including a pair of Maggie’s slashes to its relatively unprotected flank.  With Tal’s healing exhausted and Duncan nearly beheaded, Albi lobbed a firebomb into the thing’s skull-like face. It exploded with a burst of carnage and the creature’s legs buckled, dropping it to the ground. Duncan laid clutching his broken ribs until Albi poured in enough alchemical healing to raise yesterday’s pot roast.

After the heroes recovered, they removed the pile of skulls from the ancient doors. Inside they found a narrow chamber ending in two alcoves to the east and west, each containing a magical circle. One held a pile of crimson ash, while the second held a nearly dead devil, its flesh taught and dry on its bones.

Tal examined the ancient Thassilonian circles and noted their purpose: to keep specific powerful creatures bound within. The devil lifted its sickly head and Tal gasped to see a living pit fiend!  The devil pleaded with Maggie to destroy the circle and free it from its torment. She was inclined to agree but the party intervened. The heroes deduced that entering the second circle may drain the devil’s lifeforce and power the floodgates. They debated on what to do until Maggie slipped past Duncan. She entered the second circle.

Simultaneously both devils – Maggie and the pit fiend – howled in pain. The circles flared to life. The pit fiend was reduced to ash. Maggie dropped to the ground clutching her chest and appeared to have instantly aged decades.

Outside the floodgates rumbled to life. The waters of the Storval Deep began to slowly flow. Turtleback Ferry was saved. But at what price?

Session Summary

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Unwelcome at Skull's Crossing

Amongst several fawning towsfolk, the party met a barbarian warrior named Duncan who seemed drawn to the group. Meanwhile, Parson Sheed returned and explained that historically the floodgates of the dam opened automatically to slowly release the waters of the reservoir beyond when flooding threatened. He also noted the mechanism by which this operates is unknown. The dam has never been examined because it is the home of a hostile tribe of trolls. The party agreed to investigate and Duncan asked to join them.

After the night of revelry, the heroes set out for Skull’s Crossing. Freezing rains fell during several hours of hard riding. Cold and tired, the party finally reached the massive Thessalonian structure. Here, the skull River flowed through a deep rocky channel with the narrow road rising with the western shore.

Spanning the great breadth of the gorge was Skull’s Crossing. The massive wall of stone held back the waters of the Storval Deep. Thousands of skulls had been carved in the dam’s face, while five larger ones decorated the middle length. The eastern most of these immense skulls was intermittently hidden by a flow of cascading water pouring through what appeared to be a recent break at the dam’s lip. The ancient dam seemed to be holding its own against the Storval Deep, but if the damage worsened or the rains continued, the recent flood of Turtleback Ferry would be but a minor precursor to a fantastic disaster.

The eastern slopes of the gorge were sheer but to the west a narrow stone stairway, its edges decorated with hundreds of poles bearing the skulls of many different creatures, rose to a cave mouth near the western rim of the dam itself. As the heroes ascended the giant sized stairs, Azrak recognized the runes decorating the skulls to be territorial markers of the Skulltaker troll clan.

EttinMaggie slunk forward through the rain and underbrush and entered the musky cave. Moving silently she heard the snores of the large sleeping beast within. After returning to the party, Maggie and Mal crept forward to investigate further. While scaling a tall embankment several pebbles dislodged under Mal’s foot. The ranger silently swore as the snoring stopped. Once both women entered the cave, a huge two-headed form rounded the corner. The rumbling bass of Gigantish yelled “YOU NO GET BY ME! ME SMASH YOU!”

Outside, Azrack understood the threatening words and charged forward. Several of the adventures struggled to ascend the embankment, including Albi who fell suffering a painful sprain. Inside the party found the ettin already overcome by Maggie and Mal’s combined attacks. The giant was not alone however.

An enormous cave bear lept over his fallen master. Maggie evaded a series of savage blows. Duncan screamed a Shoanti warcry and charged. He buried his massive blade deep into the creature’s hide. Maggie slipped into a flanking position and hamstrung the bear. It reared up with a furious roar and Mal sunk several lighting arrows into the beast. It fell to the ground silent.

The heroes rifled through the giant’s maggot-infested hide bedding and found several items of interest.

Passing through the back of the cave, the party emerged on the surface of the dam. The structure could be seen to be about a quarter of a mile from end-to-end. Behind the dam stretched the Stroval Deep, a broad lake stretching into the distance amid snow-covered peaks. In front, the dam dropped away into the gorge far below. This close the five large skulls carved in the front of the dam could be seen for what they were: giant sluice gates, but closed tight by some unknown internal mechanism.

In the center of the dam appeared to be some sort of structure, a blocky bunker of some kind. Beyond this, the breach in the dam allowed the intermittently surge of the rain swollen lake water. Between the adventurers and the bunker stood a distant group of Kreeg ogres – perhaps 100 yards away. They appeared to be chipping away at another damaged area on the dam surface.

Kreeg ogresThe party rushed forward as Mal began launching long-range arrows. She injured several before the party closed. Duncan charged one and buried his axe from shoulder to spine. Albi injured several others with a well-placed firebomb. When only a single ogre was left standing, Azrack shoved him over the wall, and he screamed into the gorge hundreds of feet below.

The rain-soaked bunker resembled a pile of 20 foot tall skulls staring off into the cardinal directions. The heroes found an entrance damaged but securely boarded shut. Tal’Vesha cast spider climb on herself and slipped into the empty eye socket windows above. She found a chamber full of thick cords of vines coating the walls and ceiling. After securing ropes, the party climbed into the chamber. Maggie crept into the neighboring room and found the remains of a massive battle. Many ogre corpses and broken weapons littered the ground.

Thick sheets of fungus and vine covered these walls as well. When other members of the party entered the room, several trolls emerged from hiding. Albi menaced them with his firebombs. Tal’Vesha healed the injured but suffered the most grievous wounds himself. The beasts fought furiously on their home turf but even their hideous tusks could not penetrate dwaren plate or defeat the agile tiefling’s dance. Duncan easily dropped one while Mal’s arrows dropped another. Tal and Albi’s flame attacks ensured that they would not rise again.

With the battle ended, the party searched the bunker. They found a cache of troll loot. They also found a pair of unlocked heavy double doors with a smooth surface smeared in graffiti written in dried blood. Azrack translated, “Below dwells wet papa Grazuul! All hail wet papa Grazuul!” Beyond the doors, a flight of stone steps led down into the darkness.

Session Summary

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Mother of Oblivion

With the last ogre routed, the party surveyed the carnage of Fort Rannick. They found Vale Temros and debriefed him on the fort’s status. Vale agreed to hold solemn vigil at the fort until reinforcements could be rallied. The party left for Turtleback Ferry.

Unseasonably heavy rains continued to fall. The Skull River swelled and rushed southward. As the party slogged through the mud, a great rumbling surge of water charged down the canyon towards the town. They heroes moved as fast as possible.

They found Turtleback Ferry drowning. The lowest third of the town was flooded with several feet of rushing water. The heroes came upon a schoolhouse maid leaning out an upper window waving for help. Just as she spied the heroes, a great black sinuous form lashed out of the water at her.

An unknown twilight-skinned hero veiled in shadows saw the woman’s plight and magically leapt towards the schoolhouse. Her name was Sylir, a Drow swordmaiden! Down below, Maggie launched a grappling arrow into the wooden clapboards securing a route through the floodwaters for herself and Azrak. Another strange hero emerged from the floodwaters. Tal’Vesha wore a chain shirt and a symbol of an unknown power, but most striking were his sea-colored skin and webbed hands and feet. He covered the approach of the tiefling and dwarf with an unusual mix of divine and arcane spellcasting.

As Sylir neared the building, the snake turned on her but missed the graceful Drow. She entered the building and began lifting the teacher and children to safety.

Outside the snake turned on the tiefling, thinking her easier prey. Maggie tethered her tail to the rope and delivered a small slash. The snake wrapped her within it’s crushing coils and began to squeeze. The lithe tiefling slipped away but held fast to the rope!

Mal returned from helping others villagers and saw the snake and blue headed creature closing on Azrak. Thinking the worst, she launched a volley of electrical arrows into the unsuspecting undine. Maggie, Azrak and Tal swam into the building away from the serpent and deadly arrows.

Sylir levitated the rest of the children to safety. She then came back for the party members and once on the ground tense introductions followed.

Mother of oblivionThe tension was interrupted when another swell of floodwater surged through town, including a massive black log structure. The log dipped underwater heading toward the temple. Then, something immense, something wrong, erupted from the water and bellowed furiously. Filthy water sluiced from a head that somehow combined the worst traits of an eel and a tyrannosaurus, clad in oily-black skin and held thirty feet above the flood on a muscular, boneless trunk that gradually widened until is disappeared into the muddy water. About it thrashed several jet black tentacles, emerging from the river and crawling about the shoreline looking for victims. Within its glaring eyes clearly lurked an intelligence, ancient and cruel.

“By the All-Father,” stammered Sheed, “It’s Black Magga! B… But how?”

Mal launched some arrows into the mythical beast. Black Magga retaliated with roared cloud of oily madness that struck Azrak, Maggie and Tal. The tiefling and undine shook off the worst of it. Azrak, however, blundered about smashing himself with mailed fists and babbling incoherently.

Sylir dropped a globe of magical darkness onto the profane monster allowing the others to escape. Enraged, Black Magga chomped on the Drow swordmaiden rending her flesh and draining her soul. The monster then lashed at the staggering Drow with countless treelike tentacles. She evaded some of the slams but the onslaught was too great to avoid completely. As she was batted away she dropped another sphere of darkness which blinded the creature completely. Black Magga dipped back into the water and slid into Claybottom Lake.

The townsfolk cheered. Parson Sheed praised the heroes for their role in protecting the town. He explained that Black Magga was an ancient Mother of Oblivion, holy to Lamashtu, created only to bring chaos, horror and death. Legends of her existence had always been limited to the Storval Deep. He then explained something grave must be happening at Skull’s Crossing, the Thassalonian dam that holds back the Deep. He offered to pay the heroes 1,000 gold to investigate the dam and ensure that the floodgates were working to prevent further catastrophe.

As the floodwaters ebbed, the heroes were surrounded by grateful townsfolk. They were lifted onto shoulders and carried to Bottoms Up tavern and toasted the saviors of Turtleback Ferry!

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Deja Vu

Only the sound of the wind outside and a few grunts of restless ogres disturbed the keep. No new threats emerged despite the recent melee. The heroes decided to investigate the war room where they had heard a previous clatter.

The tribunal room contained smashed chairs and a ruined table in a once regal chamber. Upon the curved eastern wall hung the tattered remnants of several regional maps. A sleepless ogre was painting them from buckets of congealed blood. Maggie charged in with a stabbing strike. Remy followed and effortlessly finished off the monster. A second ogre emerged from the adjoining room. Albi launched a firebomb that incinerated the room’s dry paper contents and left the ogre smoking. Azrak bellowed in rage, closed, and buried his axe in its neck.

Ogre warlordNext, the heroes moved to the chapel’s heavy wooden doors. Within they heard faint sounds of activity. The adventurers charged in boldly and found a temple of Erastil desecrated. The skins, antlers and trophies were draped with rotten flesh and the mangled remains of several rangers. The altar was painted in blood with a three-eyed jackal. And the room’s decorator, a massive ogre, snarled and drew a 20 pound, blood-crusted ogre hook.

The heroes swarmed the monster with incredible speed. Nip unleashed a devastating series of whirlwind strikes. Under the combined assault, the foe fell before it could deliver a single blow.

After the battle the heroes explored the remainder of the keep’s upper floor. Maggie moved to a storeroom near the tower stairs. Inside she heard a feminine voice call to her for help, pleading that the party not harm her. The tiefling succumbed to woman’s plea and followed her into the darkness.

Once they realized she was missing, Azrak and Albi charged into the tower. Far above Maggie and the alluring woman were seen slipping through a trap door that closed with a thud. The gnome and dwarf rushed up the circular stairs. Meanwhile the ratfolk scampered outside along the roof and scaled the outer walls of the tower. Within they could see a large snake woman akin to Xanesha hiding in the shadows with Maggie standing dutifully atop the portal.

Azrak shoved his way through the trapdoor pitching Maggie to the side. He entered the shadowy room and suffered a series of wicked strikes from the waiting lamiah matriarch. The dwarf was almost taken down. The ratfolk descended from the ceiling trapdoor making surprise attacks but the wily lamia saw them coming. She battered them back and made a lethal strike against Albi. As the gnome fell to the ground, Maggie shook off the magical charms. The tiefling rushed in, daggers leading, and opened a gouge in the snake woman’s flesh.

A flash of light dazzled the heroes and the lamia vanished – she escaped via a dimension door. Maggie’s swore with vehemence and vulgarity that would have made her pirate parents proud.

With the fighting over, the heroes took the head of the fallen ogre leader and brandished it from atop the tower. Threatening the remaining Kreeg ogres with a similar fate, the monsters below fled into the misty, rainy morning.

Session Summary

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Retaking Rannick

RannickAfter detailing his knowledge of the Fort and its ogre pillagers, Jakardros returned to Turtleback Ferry to rally Magnimaran reserves. The heroes approached Rannick’s southern gate near nightfall and found ogres lazily manning the walls. Using Jakardros’ maps, the party found a hidden cavern entrance behind the cataract that became Rannick’s wide moat.

Within Nip found a pair of shocker lizards near the entrance to a Black Arrow weapons cache. Nip scurried along the walls and dropped on one nearly killing it. Maggie rushed forward and finished it off. The second one fell when Mal and Remy joined the fight.

The party found a hidden passage that had been broken through by the lizards. Within they found several natural cavern chambers and a nest full of shockers. Nip and Remy swarmed one while Maggie snuck in and inadvertently ran right toward another. The lizards released a combined lightning burst that singed Maggie and Mal. Azrak planted his tower shield to block the lizards’ advance. The ratfolk, Maggie and Albi moved forward taking down several more lizards. Another lighting burst singed the party. Over the following chaotic moments, the party defeated the remaining lizards, 10 in all.

After finding the back of a secret door that entered the keep, the heroes decided to rest overnight, which passed uneventfully.

The group opened the secret door into the keep’s dungeon. Within the cells they found a battered unconscious ranger, Vale Temros. After a couple of healing draughts he roused and told of the keep’s fall, the commander’s absence, and his solemn gratitude for being saved. In no shape to fight, he returned through the caverns to guard the waterfall entrance.

Azrak suggested the ogre leaders might be in the larger, upper rooms so the party snuck to the second floor. They went first to the commander’s quarters. They heard raucous snoring within. Mal, Albi, and Azrak covered the hall, while Nip, Remy and Maggie slipped inside. They found the back of an ogre witch hovering over a large cauldron while an enormous ogre brute snored loudly while draped over the commander’s ruined bed.

Maggie moved to the sleeping form while the ratfolk slipped silently behind the witch. All three attacked simultaneously. Maggie drove her dagger into the brute’s closed eyelid until the hilt crunched through the bridge of his nose. (coup de grace!) He spasmed wildly before death took him.

Remy and Nip unleashed a coordinated flurry of blades opening half a dozen slashes in the witch before she even could spin around (Remy delivered almost 50 hp of damage with a single strike!) The ogre spun around and cast an evocation but under the ratfolk’s constant torment the effect never manifested. Several more slashes from the the melee fighters and arrows from Mal struck the witch over then next few seconds and the giant fell loudly to the floor. (Nip finished it off.)

Standing at the ready everyone waited for other threats to arrive but none came.

Session Summary

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House of the Fallen Arrows (Continued)

Once the heroes caught their breath, they explored the rest of the house. A back bedroom contained a rotting corpse so foul that Maggie, Nip and Azrak emptied their stomaches and turned green for several minutes.

Once recovered, the group moved downstairs and found an empty tannery room. Hearing a chinking in the neighboring room, Maggie opened a door into a chilled chamber with hanging hooks and slabs of meat. As her eyes adjusted it became clear that the carcasses were skinned humans. And then one of them jumped down. The flayed corpse charged the heroes with black dagger-like claws.

Remy and Nip scampered up the wall readying a strike against the undead foe. Albi charged into their path earning him a pair of ratspeak curses. He also received a fetid slash from the flayed one that continuously oozed leaving the gnom weakened. Maggie tumbled into a flanking position while Remy unleashed a flurry of tiny blades that stripped the profane muscle away until the creature dropped to the floor. (The ratfolk noted that only the foulest necromantic rituals could create such an abomination – this was clearly the work of a erudite and wicked foe.)

The next room was packed with crates and boxes floor to ceiling. Even the ratfolk could not reach the back of the cluttered chamber.

A low moan from the remaining door piqued Maggie’s interest. She opened the door and a found a battered ranger chained to the opposite wall. He weakly lifted his head and croaked, “Watch out! The blades.”

Eviscerator constructThen a pile of machinery shuddered and stood the size of a draft horse. Five-foot-long blades emerged and started swirling about as it moved toward the doorway. Maggie charged in striking at the construct earning a long slash that continued to bleed.

Meanwhile, the previously battled trio of red caps returned and attempted ambush the party from behind. Expecting treachery, Mal, Lilith and Azrak easily defeated them.

Remy scampered over the debris and tore into the machinery. Metal joints were jammed and hoses sprayed causing the bladed machine to shudder. Remy pushed forward but suffered a scythe slash that nearly dropped him. Albi used the opening to fling a bomb which erupted with a series of explosions resulting a cloud of oily smoke. The machine sputtered and died.

Azrak moved into the choking exhaust and began to free his ranger leader and brother, Jakardros Sovark. His coughing subsided once outside and he explained how his men tried to take back Fort Rannick but were repelled by countless ogres. Then they suffered several casualties in the Sanos Wood despite an expert knowledge of the terrain and usual inhabitants. Lastly, he explained that after being captured he was fed upon by a red cap vampire who was attended by a black-cloaked damphyr. The evil pair mentioned in his hearing something about finding “the next key in Jorgenfist.”

Before leaving the the charnel house, the party found a chest with valuable gear including that belonging to Azrak and Jakardros. One of the fallen red caps also wore a magical broach shaped like a red dragon.

Session Summary

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House of the Fallen Arrows

The party began scouting around the old farmhouse. Mal found dozens of small deep bootprints surrounding the place. The Venomtail brothers silently scampered up to the shake siding. Maggie moved onto the front porch and she found a complicated trap mechanism on the ceiling above the front door. Azrak and Albi stood back looking on as she attempted to disassemble the device. By deactivating it, however, she unwittingly triggered a devious series of slashing blades that stabbed between the porch planks and tore into Albi’s foot.

Upstairs the ratfolk found the shuttered windows natiled shot. They used Nip’s crowbar to pry them open and peered into the bedroom window where laid a still form upon a bed. The removed the window pane and slipped inside.

(The groan of the old wood announced the ratfolk’s approach to the hidden foes within.)

The daylight illuminated the Black Arrows Ranger lying atop the bed in a pool of blood with a hand missing. His other limbs were shackled to the bed frame. Nearby laid a bloody wooden box with one end open.

Remy drove a wooden stake through the corpse’s heart.

Meanwhile, the adventurers below recovered from the trapped porch attack. Maggie entered a empty living room. On the sofa was a bloody satchel which she avoided for the time being. Maggie, Azrak and Albi moved deeper into the silent dwelling.

They entered a large bedroom that reeked of death. Upon the oversized bed, a pile of corpses laid akimbo. Azrak howled and called out the names of his fallen Black Arrows brothers. Maggie covered her face and moved to withdraw when she heard the sounds of movement from within the pile. Reluctantly the heroes started moving corpses until they found the source. Under the dead was a living ranger – pinned by his dead comrades he had been forced to eat their flesh at the cost of his sanity.

With their attention focused on the pitiable man the adventurers failed to notice the attacker behind them. Azrak yelped when a crossbow bolt grazed the back of his thigh. Maggie rushed toward the closet in the corner of the room and after searching for several moments found a small covered passage into a dark neighboring room. Knowing that Azrak would not fit, the group left the room for the hallway.

Meanwhile up above, Remy and Nip blackened out the windows before leaving the bunk room. They passed through a hallway into a large darkened attic full of crates and debris. Moving silently, they entered the room as Remy concentrated on the subtle source of evil within. Although the location was relatively clear the source remained hidden. Nip blindly flung a vial of contagion into a pile of rubbish at which point a pair of child-sized foes emerged and attacked – they launched crossbow bolts before charging with oversized scythes.

Red capAlthough the size of children, the creatures wore blood red shapeless caps and had the faces of gnarled old men. Up to their knees they wore iron shod boots that somehow allowed an uncanny silence. The redcaps flanked Nip and Remy making slashing attacks. Remy suffered a single brutal strike. The ratfolk attempted several retaliating attacks but the redcaps proved extremely evasive. When one finally suffered a wound, it disappeared back into the debris.

Back downstairs, Maggie entered another large storage room which she suspected abutted the bedrooms closet passage. She was ambushed by two more redcaps. She withdrew into the hallway to attack anything that emerged.

Upstairs, the other evil little bastard made cleaving scythe attacks against the ratfolk before fleeing down the hallway. The ratfolk raced downstairs after it.

The wounded red cap who first left the upstairs battle had dropped from a trapdoor  and landed in the hallway just behind Albi. It delivered a slashing wound to the gnome before retreating into the corpse pile bedroom.

The other 3 red caps races the same direction. One of them crashed through the window. The others moved to follow as the party chased them. Mal launched a lightning arrow into the wounded redcap’s chest creating an explosive exit wound. The other foes escaped through the broken window and immediately disappeared in the undergrowth beyond.

The house grew silent again save the buzzing of the fat lazy flies circling the gruesome room.

Session Summary

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The Graul Farm

As the cyclopes closed, Mal launched lightning arrows and Kaleb unleashed a forking bolt of lightning. Both struck the cyclopes and left barely a mark – damned lightning resistant fey!

The giants closed and unseen archers attacked from the wood line. A pair of rat folk emerged working in uncanny unison to help bring the cyclopes down. The rat folk hardly introduced themselves before rushing up to the barn to further investigate. Albi remained behind only long enough to ponder why cyclops would be seen so far from the a portal to the Feywilde.

Tomb spiderWithin the barn, the heroes found a locked partition. An upper floor doorway revealed a dense mesh of spider webbing beyond. Kayleb also found two matted masses of spiderwebs stuck to the distant wall containing humanoid victims. The halfling attempted to sneak forward and free the captives but was attacked by a phasing fey spider. Several expertly placed strikes from the party and their new rat folk allies brought the spider down before it could vanish away.

The party released the two prisoners and found both badly drained men of the Black Arrows Order. Once healed by Albi and Kayleb, the handsome young human introduced himself as Kaven Windstrike and offered many thanks. He explained that the fort had been sacked by ogres from Hook Mountain. He and Azrak, pointing at his brooding dwarven comrade, were part of a ranging patrol led by Jakardros (the bear belongs to him). When they returned to Fort Rannick, they found the place sacked by Kreeg orgres – fallen rangers littered the ground. Jakardros ordered a counterattack but the ogres were too strong. The patrol retreated into the forest. They spent several days evading ogres only to be attacked by spiders and corralled into cunning traps laced with poison. He lost consciousness and all sense of time since. He offered to return to town to inform Parson Sheed of the threat to town.

As Ito and Kayleb wheel Kaven away, Azrak sneered at the departing trio and stomped toward the farmhouse. Not really under his breath he muttered, “Our brothers may yet be alive in there. We don’t leave family behind.”

Session Summary

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Travels to Turtleback

The heroes accepted their charge to investigate the silence of Fort Rannick. They traveled by riverboat up the Yondabakari River deep into the Varisian lowlands. After seven days, they entered Claybottom Lake and reached the fishing town Turtleback Ferry.

They met the town mayor, Parson Sheed, a cleric of a Erastil. A broad-shouldered man with a thick black beard streaked with gray and salt-and-pepper hair, Sheed seemed cautious at first. Once he learned the party was there to investigate the happenings of the fort he became quite helpful. Sheed explained that the Black Arrows rangers of Fort Rannick keep the lowlands safe from ogres and other giant kin. The townsfolk were rightfully worried.

Once the party retired to the town’s only inn, the Turtle’s Palour, Kaleb learned that a local posse headed up to the fort a few days ago but had not returned. He also heard lamenting of a floating gambling den known as the Paradise that sank into the deep waters of Claybottom Lake due to an onboard fire a few weeks ago. The owner, Lady Lucrecia, and a number of patrons were killed.

Albi, always on the lookout for ancient knowledge, learned about Skull Crossing, a functioning Thassilonian dam that holds back the waters of Storval Deep north of Turtleback Ferry.

The next morning the heroes set out for Fort Rannick. Just a few hours north of town they heard the pained cry of an animal just off of the narrow road. Mal investigated and found a small black bear with its two feat locked in a cruel rack-like trap. The bear seemed to welcome the ranger’s approach and Mal urged Maggie forward to release the trap.

Mad cyclopsMeanwhile a rumbling tune and trampling crash announced the arrival of a huge new threat. A cyclops plowed into the clearing and yelled,”My bear! You no eat my bear!” Albi and Mal unleashed attacks before a clutch of dog-sized spiders joined the melee. Once the cyclops and spiders were defeated, the wounded bear led the party deeper into the forest.

Down a twisting wagontrail the heroes found a small farmyard with a dwelling and a barn. Although the corn should have been harvested weeks ago it still stood rotting. As Ito drug his small cart closer, the barn door flung open and three cyclopes charged forward screaming gigantish battle cries!

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Interlude: Leaving Fenlight

Upon returning to Magnimar the party was captured by the elite Azure Falcon guardsmen. They were brought to the Pediment Building and questioned by Inquisitor Cromas. Upon learning about Foxglove, Ironbriar, Xanesha and the plot against the Lord-Mayor Grobaras, the heroes were generously rewarded and given a new mission: to investigate the loss of contact with the remote Fort Rannick. The heroes were also implored to keep word of Ironbriar’s duplicity from causing civil unrest.

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