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 ...
Baby Face (thief 3)
with Thin-Faced Tim and Jimmy the Snitch (dogs)
Kord (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1, freshly rolled)
Rendorsheeg (Elf 2)
Blackleaf (Elf 1)
Harambe (man-ape 1, recently raised from the dead)
with Orion (dog)
and Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1, who showed up for a cameo and then bit it)
We had a slow start tonight, as people slowly trickled in.
Baby Face's player showed up first, so he did some thiefing around town, picking pockets here and there, and managed to snag 5 pp, which he used to pay off some of his debt to the thieves' guild. He also talked up some peasants at the local fertility/farming-god shrine who were disgruntled with Morholt's lordship, and they promised to talk to some of their friends about maybe withholding taxes from Morholt to prevent his further payment of mercenaries ...
Meanwhile, Tore's player arrived; Tore owing, money to the thieves' guild, had asked if he could do a "job" for them to square debts, and was thus asked to accompany a thief tasked with getting money out of a recalcitrant farmer, Tore being the "muscle". Alas, Tore rolled poorly on intimidation, and the farmer sicced his dogs on the group ... the thief took off, and despite my allowance that Tore could flee too without harm, he decided to face the dogs ... and got mauled to death for his trouble. The player then began rolling up Kord, a kind of clone with better stats ...
Then finally a group coalesced, and the entire party elected to head for the Howling Tower.
On the third day out, at night, there was a skirmish with some goblins that resulted in 3 dice of attrition (per my wilderness attrition rules), which were blocked with 12 arrows, a spear, and a week of rations.
The party then arrived at the Howling Tower, which stands atop a spur coming down from Greyhame Mountain itself, above the tree line so that it stands as a dark spike over a barren ridge. As the southern half of the first floor remained unexplored from last time, the party took the south branch of the initial T of hallway, and ended up first in a room that was filled with rubble and seemed to have a rotten ceiling.
In searching the rubble, Kord, Baby Face, and Rendorsheeg caused the ceiling to collapse on them, each taking some damage; Kord was knocked unconscious by this, but was revived by Blackleaf offering him some wine from a cask previously looted from somewhere, bringing his hp back up to "conscious" from the liquid courage.
While Baby Face used his thief abilities to climb up to the next level and find a similarly shaped room with a door in a different corner, the rest of the party heard a booming voice from behind them--What in the hell is all that noise? cried a lumbering figure coming down the hallway, preceded by two lupine shapes. This was Begor, the blind ogre the party had met before.
After getting called out on some bullshit line about being repairmen (I can hear your damned Elf voices, and there ain't no friendly Elves around here! Begor opined) Rendorsheeg offered wine, which offer Begor cautiously accepted. He and Rendorsheeg repaired to the ogre's room to drink; Rendorsheeg continued to attempt to bullshit Begor, which ultimately ended with the ogre threatening, Get out of this tower, or I'll have to kill you--I guard this place for the Goblin King, after all.
With that threat ringing in his ears, Rendorsheeg returned to the party, and the group blithely ignored it by continuing to explore. To the west they found a room with a mural of barbarians worshiping an Elf-queen, probably Astora, and which also contained a slightly molded, dessicated baboon corpse. They doused this corpse in oil and set it alight, and it burst with a cloud of spores, and the party retreated back to the hall.
Unfortunately, because of their clamor in the hall, Begor and his wolves suddenly appeared in the hallway behind them, having heard their arguments. He was not dissuaded by a lame excuse of trying to find the exit (The exit is behind me, you morons!), refused to offer any reason as to his "debt" to the Goblin-King (I'll not tell the likes of you!), and as negotiation broke down, combat became inevitable.
Blackleaf attempted to sleep the ogre and his wolves (Killer and Hrapp), and managed to sleep the wolves, but Begor remained upright. He in turn slew Jimmy the Snitch--as the dog clung to his leg, he brained the poor beast with his club, while also kicking his wolf Hrapp awake. Killer was savaged to death by Orion in his sleep; meanwhile, over the course of several rounds, the party managed to kill Hrapp and pincushion Begor with enough missiles that he fell over dead. He had a sack with him, crudely sewn-together pelts containing 300 gp.
Continuing to the next room, the party found a chamber with stairs leading up, but also a troupe of 5 baboons that bared their fangs as the characters entered. Fortunately, Harambe spoke to them in Ape, asking passage, and though their dialect was terrible, the baboons moved aside.
|They ended up being grumpy baboons in the end ...|
Above, the party found a room that opened onto a northern corridor with 3 doors. Checking the first, the party heard clearly the eerie howling that has given the Howling Tower its name; they opened it, and found another stair up, to the third floor, whence issued the terrible keening.
Climbing that stair, the party found an old common room with three doors. They went north, and found an old armory, which they looted entirely of its various spears, axes, and bows. A ladder climbed to the roof (which was a simple fighting-platform with crenelations all around and old braziers).
Next, the party went through a west door and found an old guard post with arrow loops and such; to the south west was a door, to the southeast a bricked-over hearth. The wailing was clearly coming from the hearth; Blackleaf, Harambe, and the two living dogs were all supernaturally terrified after failing saves against the wailing. Nevertheless, Harambe went up to the hearth and started tearing down the bricks with his feat of strength ability; this presently revealed a glittering hoard, and also a body whence issued both the keening, and a weird black spirit emanating the chill of the grave. Kord's attempt to turn it failed as the prayers faltered through his chattering teeth, and the party ran will-he-nil-he back to the stairs down and all the way back down to the first floor. On the way, alas, Orion was caught by the spirit and withered and died in the moment his flesh was touched.
|Think "The Cask of Amontillado"|
(Poe short story, 1846, illustration Rackham)
Fleeing headlong, the party dashed past the baboons and back out into the hallway; there they found a group of 5 goblins trying to haul away the bodies of Begor and his wolves; a short melee ensued, in which the party massacred the pitiful goblins. Finally taking their time to catch their breath, the party found themselves no longer pursued by the incorporeal horror from above.
Turning back to the stair once more, the party managed to pass the baboons again as Kord threw some rations to them (after Rendorsheeg briefly provoked them by throwing a bone at them). In the corridor above, they went to the northmost door, and managed to open it quietly enough to surprise 4 white apes gossiping with each other as they plucked lice one from another.
After a confused discussion of possible tactics, the party ultimately used their surprise to just attack the apes; the melee that ensued was both chaotic and deadly. All four apes ended up slain, but at the cost of Thin-Faced Tim the dog being bodily dismembered by apes (after holding his own for a surprising number of rounds!), Kord being knocked to mere unconsciousness by a lucky (for the player!) roll of low damage, and alas! Harambe being slain while wrestling a rival ape, who lifted him up and snapped his back with its terrible brute strength.
|I love Frazetta and this image, so I'll use it again;|
the melee was confused, just like the full painting ...
At this point, the party was in low morale and ready to return to town. In the room, they found a bed of brass that would probably be worth something on the market, so they appropriated it as a bier for Harambe.
Heading back down the stairs, Kord tossed 3 more days of rations to the otherwise disturbed baboons; and on the way back to town, the party was attacked by some goblins in the night; but by breaking a shield, a suit of armor, a spear, losing a week of rations, and expending 12 arrows--and Baby Face taking the last attrition die for 2 damage--the party finally made it back to Brakeridge.
There, they beseeched Lailith, a high level cleric newly come to town, to raise Harambe from the dead. She offered to cast it for a pittance of 300 gp, but the casting failed--Harambe was utterly dead (he rolled poorly on my resurrection table), and there was no hope for his return to mortal life, so Lailith graciously refused to take the 300 gp (I guess she is Lawful Good). Thus Harambe was re-interred in the grave whence Little Bob had exhumed him; the gravestone reads "Dicks out for Harambe" (apparently this is a meme).
In the end, Rendorsheeg and Kord caroused, furnishing their stories to fellow patrons at the Black Dragon's Meed, and hence this post, but both were able to hold their liquor and find their beds without mishap. Unfortunately for Kord, though, he wakens realizing he is in debt to the thieves' guild.
Remembrance for the Fallen
Bacon (boar hound), Tore (half-orc fighter 1/cleric 1), Jimmy the Snitch (dog), Orion (dog), Harambe (man-ape 1)