Monday, October 23, 2017

Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 4

Orcs have returned to the caverns of the Glimmervaults;
the Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves have renewed their ancient alliance beneath the Howling Tower;
and the secret treasury of the ancient Bronding Kings is said to lie somewhere behind the Brokenbrand Falls, haunted by enchanting naiads ...
and Kaaraak the Eagle speaks to the Elves in the party of the Eyries of the Eagles ...

tonight's roster:
Caesar (man-ape 1, played by a fellow who has been excited about trying that class for some time)
Lead (cleric 2)
Baby-Face (thief 2, evil as of last game)
with Barth (normal man), Jimmy the Snitch and Thin-Faced Tim (wardogs)
Harambe (man-ape 1)
with Orion (lion dog, bought this session)
Unga Dunga (halfling 1)
with Valana (normal woman), Cletus the Brutalizer, Marmaduke, and Austin Dodger (dogs; Austin Dodger was a new purchase, a ghost hound)
and last minute arrivals
Rendorsheeg (Elf 1) and
Blackleaf (Elf 1)
also, the pack animals Sparkly the mule and Ramses the Great the camel

Both available dogs were bought this session (Orion the lion dog to Harambe, Austin Dodger the ghost hound to Unga Dunga); the hirelings and the special items (nightshade and fermented sleeper shark) went ignored.

I finally remembered at the session's beginning that Baby Face had insulted the son of the local lord, Morholt's son--and because vendetta has been declared, Baby Face was beaten and robbed at the beginning of the session, losing 2 hp and all of his gold. The ruffians did relate their allegiance by mentioning Morholt and how he doesn't like his son being insulted.

Also, a new inn has been half-constructed in town, the Black Dragon's Meed; at the moment it was but a drinking room (with long-term rooms still being constructed behind). The characters went to the grand opening and got the sense that this would be a place to learn rumors or buy weird things in the future, but for the moment it was just a drinking room.

The party agreed to head to the Howling Tower and prepared for the possibility of werewolves by buying silver weapons (Lead bought a brace of daggers for both man-apes at his own cost).

En marche to the Howling Tower, the party came upon a warband of orcs, freshly returned from a raid against local farming homesteads. They surprised the orcs, so I judged that the man-apes had gone forward and come back with information about their camp--and yes, the orcs were camped, hating the day and preferring to march at night.

Rendorsheeg elected to cast ventriloquism, and sought to start a fight between the orcs a la Gandalf inciting the mutual ire of the trolls in The Hobbit. He spoke an insult, offering that the lead orc ought to fight the rest because he could "take them". I rolled a "12" on reactions, so the other orcs responded as if the leader had actually spoken; I then rolled a second reactions roll to see how the leader responded, and also rolled a "12"--and "12" is supposed to represent something "good" for the characters is how I read it. So exactly what the characters intended happened--the orcs fell among themselves, fighting each other, and killed about half their own number, alluding to a civil war possibly fought among the orc tribe/s back in the Glimmervaults.

A second ventriloquism attempt to get the surviving orcs to fight each other failed, but a volley of arrows was sufficient to send them fleeing in panic. The party then freed the orcs' three prisoners and liberated the loot for themselves. Rendorsheeg attempted to hire on of the three farmers into his service (Conan, as opposed to Diarmid and Kjartan, as the three were named), but he was too eager to get back to his own homestead to take care of the damage and salvage what they could.

Before they headed out, however, someone let slip the name "Morholt", and one of the farmers looked at Baby Face. I recognize you, he said, and good on you for insulting that fop, Morholt's son, whatever his name is. I hate him; I hate his father; Morholt is a usurper, and I've heard that he's got our dead lord's wife sequestered in a tower in his castle. After that the former prisoners head back to civilization, while the adventurers continue on toward the Howling Tower.

As for the Howling Tower, it stands atop the main spur that comes down from Greyhame Mountain. It is barely above the timberline, with scraggling pine trees around it; and itself, it is an ancient square tower, once a strong place for the Getae, the forest-men who anciently allied themselves with the Elves of the Dwimmerholt, and were driven forth when the Brondings came down from the north.

Nothing more molested the party on their approach to the tower, and they climbed the short stair to its entrance door ... inside they turned immediately north. Inside that room, they heard a rumbling voice speaking to itself in Goblin and the panting of dogs. Opening it, they found a room with a large fur-wrapped figure flanked by two wolves, huddling before a fire. Who goes there? the figure boomed in Goblin.

The new groundskeeper, one of the party members came up with. A high reactions roll gave him the benefit of the doubt (though one doubts much grounds to be kept around the tower). The large figure seemed to be blind, with milky white eyes; the party dithered for a while, and finally managed to offer a sleep apple to him, and as he ate of it, he fell asleep. The two wolves, meanwhile, kept a close watch and with hackles raised kept their master safe by accepting rations from Baby Face and an orc head from Rendorsheeg (retreating to chew at the orc head as if it were a peanut butter toy, but by "peanut butter" one understands "brains"); as they ate of these things, the party made off with a nice tiger pelt from the blind Begor's collection (yeah, the blind figure's name is Begor), and also with Begor's bag (some 1000 gp!)

(There was a conversation before Begor slept which included the information that both the Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves lived below and the party also learned Begor's name, and that's he's a very grumpy dude)

Continuing on, the party found a larder (cheese, skinned animals, wine casks), and a room with a hutch for rats. Rendorsheeg made the mistake of sticking his hands into the rat hutch and taking 1 damage as they bit him--and having only 1 hp, he fell unconscious, and Lead had to use his cure light wounds spell to revive the unlucky Elf.

Thereafter, the party surprised a group of goblins in their room, who panicked after the party's dogs ripped several apart--and the goblins were thereafter tied up with Unga Dunga's rope.

Another room later, the party slaughtered more goblins, again mostly using their dogs, who tore the poor creatures apart like dogs tear dolls apart. These two battles were brutal for the poor goblins. This room included a stair down to the second level (and I forgot to give xp for finding the stair down, crap!)

Down the stair, the party finds many doors. A figure stands at the end of the southern corridor in a T; the party finds it to be a statue like the Venus de Milo but of an Elf-Queen badly defaced and graffitied in Goblin. Of the doors, one is heard to have insectile skittering behind it, another the cracking of bones. Several doors hold completely empty tombs; but one holds 6 pallid corpse-things with long tongues and yellow teeth that attack the party.

Like this, except the image is labeled "ASTORA"
(Elf-queen of beauty and youth), and is of an Elf-woman,
and her head is knocked off, and Goblin anarchy symbols
are painted on it

Lead turns undead and with a prayer (but without a holy symbol, so I reduced the HD affected by 2) turns 4 of the 6; the other two are attacked by the party. In the melee, Harambe ends up in a weird death embrace, paralyzed while wrestling one of the creatures to death, while Caesar was paralyzed in general melee; but the last creature was destroyed before it could inflict much damage.

The party looted the room under Lead's continuing prayer to the Chaotic and Good gods, and then checked out one other tomb (Lead, throwing open a tomb, saved successfully against the poison needle that pricked his finger). Then they all decided it was time to leave the dungeon.

On the first level, they went to retrieve the tied-up goblins and were accosted by more goblins. This resulted in a short battle that ended up destroying the goblin newcomers. Then the party still had to move through Begor's room to get back to the dungeon entrance, and managed to talk their way through.

Ultimately, back at town, pretty much everyone caroused. Baby Face found himself in debt to the thieves' guild; as did Caesar the man-ape; Lead fell for his amorous dalliance, and was disappointed to learn that she is already married; and Unga Dunga found himself addicted to lotus powder after his first serious try with its euphoria.

As for the goblins hauled back to town, Lead happened to hear "slavery" mentioned a couple times and preempted the party from selling the poor 8 goblin prisoners by remanding them to his own Good shrine, hoping to make them Good. We have yet to see what good this effort yields ...

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