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 ...
21 November's roster:
Baby Face (thief 3)
with Wheskers the Weasel, Wilmander the Weasel, Frita (normal woman), Hughbert the Peacock (normal man)
Blackleaf (Elf 1)
with Johann Haybaler (normal man) and Dol (normal man, former fyrdman)
Finbar (half-Elf druid 1)
with Dorcas Kurlsdotr (normal woman) and Rubadub-dub (mastiff)
Little Bob (traveling man 3)
with Rolf Rolfson (normal man) and two dogs (I forget their names)
So, a full party ...
Baby Face's player showed up first, so he, as a thief, went and did a job for the local guild. He went "carousing" (per the ACKS rules ... basically rumormongering for his boss), succeeded at his "hear noise" roll, and learned that the rumors that Morholt, local lord, was seeking a love potion to coerce the widow of the former lord Albrecht to marry himself (to legitimate Morholt's claim to power), were true. Baby Face's guild handler thanked him for the news, paid him 50 gold; and then Baby Face paid off the 1000 gold he owed the guild with money earned last session.
(Concerning the guild, Baby Face also learned both that the guild is headquartered in Bardastead, a town a couple days north of Brakeridge; and also that the guild is considering a heist of Oakridge Castle, Morholt's seat of power, at some time soon in the future ...)
A snake-killing weasel, a mastiff, and all six hirelings were snapped up by characters prior to the expedition ... also, Baby Face and Blackleaf each bought a "dose" of Elfin willow bark (said to be healing, entry 10 here), while Finbar bought a piece of a dragon heart (said to allow one to comprehend languages, entry 2 here).
The town-game finished, everyone finally agreed to head to the Howling Tower, where a former expedition had revealed treasure and an evil spirit on the third floor (the top floor). They then all bought some last-minute holy water, and then set out ...
During the first night (using my new "concrete" wilderness attrition rules), a freak storm wrecked/destroyed a week of rations, a dagger, and 12 arrows. Beyond that, the journey to the Howling Tower was unremarkable, other than continuing rain.
Outside the tower, the party observed a couple eagles circling above, and the remnants of a large pyre. Investigating the pyre, the party found larger-than-man-sized bones, plus a pair of canine-seeming skeletons, all burned together. They presumed this to be the pyre of Begor and his two wolves; Finbar collected a large blackened femur from within.
At the door into the tower, the party managed to hear human voices and panting canines; throwing open the door successfully, they surprised a pair of ragged-looking humans (one man, one woman), and five wolves. Blackleaf cast sleep over the wolves, Finbar cast animal friendship over one of the wolves (turns out it takes 6 turns to cast! so he was out of the combat); and the rest of the party attacked, assuming these two to be werewolves. They did a bunch of damage with missiles and melee, and killed the woman; the man, winning the next initiative, transformed with a howl into a wolf-man, but missed his attack with a sword he carried; and the next round, Baby Face slew him with a silver arrow to the heart.
|The wolf-man's form, right before|
he was slain by a silver arrow ...
Searching the bodies, the party found a goodly amount in jewelry in a cloak and brooch, and a dangling gold necklace on the two humans; and after 5 more turns (50 minutes!), no wandering monsters appeared, and Finbar's spell went off successfully, basically charming a wolf (there was one other survivor; it agreed after a speak with animals spell also from Finbar to accompany the party with its surviving companion ... Finbar named these wolves Walter and Heisenberg, because their names were otherwise unrememberable howls).
With these two wolves added to their number, the party headed south and west to where they knew the stairs led up to the second level of the tower. They passed the baboons crouching there easily, as Finbar with the last moments of his speak with animals spell asked permission, plus giving the blackened femur to a baboon who then proclaimed himself "king". (another runtish baboon came after Finbar, begging, and received only a ratty dress stripped from the dead werewolf woman above)
Upstairs, the party decided to explore the entire second floor before seeking the treasure of the spirit on the top floor; searching around, they ultimately entered into a room with a great throne against an eastern wall, on which crouched a huge ape with a hoplite helm, ill-fitting gloves, and a sword slung awkwardly over his broad shoulders (and there were two white apes nearby, picking nits). When this ape saw Blackleaf carrying a burning lantern, he went wild and mimed his desire for fire in his hearth. (I got to roleplay an ape here, and it was fantastic ... having more apes in my game is just the best)
|Okok was shamelessly based on King Louis, I won't lie|
The party lit a fire in the ape-king's hearth, and he got all enthusiastic, burning a torch in it, all enamored of his fire. He then gave the party his helmet and his gauntlets in gratitude. Slapping his breast, he declared himself, Okok!
The party then continued to explore, and found an empty room that when they searched actually held a silver wine service and a gilt sword; and then they filled the map of the second level and found an area that seemed secret, and ultimately found a secret door back in Okok's throne room. Within was a great horde of thousands of silver and copper pieces, plus a few valuable items. The characters managed to give Okok 2 chests of copper in exchange for his sword, which turned out to be a waterfall sword ...
The second level explored, the party then advanced to the top floor (third level) and sought out the chamber with the bricked-over hearth and the body behind it whence issued the terrible spirit. They found the chamber as they remembered, and again from the body issued a smoky spirit-figure, which filled the room with a supernatural chill. It advanced, and the party threw a volley of holy water at it, enough of which struck that the thing hissed and flinched. Ultimately, the spirit got one attack, which it missed, and then was destroyed by the constant volley of holy water which destroyed it; and then the party found a horde of several thousand gold, plus a number of gems and magical items on the knightly corpse that had been trapped behind the hearth.
And the eerie howling of the Howling Tower ceased, and all was suddenly, eerily silent.
Exploring the rest of the third level, the party also found a cistern, a library with several valuable and magical writings, and a shrine to Chaos and the Elf-goddess Astora, Queen of Stars; and came out with even more treasure.
Thus, the entire Howling Tower (above ground) explored, the party elected to return to town. They skirmished with some goblins during the first night (and lost a dagger, 12 arrows, a week of rations, a shield, and Baby Face took 2 damage); and then on the last night back, a baboon (animal encounter) walked off with a dagger (just one attrition die was rolled for ... this was clearly the same runtish baboon mentioned above, which vaguely wishes to overthrow the new "king").
Back in town, the party found that they had acquired three magic swords, a magic staff, two potions, and three magic scrolls, and a spell-book, all in addition to the monetary treasure they had emerged with. This was the best haul yet dragged out of the Greyhame Mountain Dungeon! (But I can assure that there is much more treasure throughout, still waiting to be claimed ...)
During carousing at the Black Dragon's Meed and around, Little Bob managed to cause a minor misunderstanding with the law for himself, and paid the guard off without going to the Oakridge dungeons ... but meanwhile, Blackleaf got seriously black-out drunk and did something so bad that she owed 6000 gold to the law, or she would be imprisoned in the castle-dungeon; and yet, at the last moment, a shady thief-type character appeared and offered to pay the majority of the fines, if Blackleaf would only be in debt to the guild ...
Remembrance for the Fallen
Orion II (lion dog), Bacon (boar hound), Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1), Jimmy the Snitch (dog), Orion (lion dog), Harambe (man-ape 1)