Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 9

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 Jaer the Windlord is said to look down on the world below from the Eyries of the Eagles on Greyhame Mountain itself ...

tonight's roster (actually played 14 November):
Aria (Elf 1, friend of Kaaraak the Eagle)
Lead (cleric 3, elected "captain" for the session)
Little Bob (traveling man 1)
with Marlowe (a cur) and Panzer (orc mastiff)
Blackleaf (Elf 1)
Aethulfwulf (paladin 1, formerly a fighter 1, but converted to Good this session)
Baby-Face (thief 3)
with Wheskers the Weasel (a snake-killing weasel)
Finbar (half-elf druid 1)
Unga Dunga (halfling 2)

Before the party was quite assembled, Baby-Face attempted to break Rendorsheeg (an Elf) out of jail, but he failed so badly that he managed to get himself imprisoned. The local thieves' guild bribed his way out (but not Rendorsheeg's), but that left Baby-Face 1000 gp in debt to the guild ...

When the party finally assembled, it was quite a number; they elected Lead the cleric as their "captain," and Lead announced that the party would journey to the Eyries of the Eagles, overruling all objections. The party appropriately bought rope and iron spikes/pitons for climbing, as well as extra rations, for the longer journey.

Then, following directions from Kaaraak the Eagle, Aria and Lead led the party north through the woods around to the west slope of Greyhame Mountain. I used actual wilderness checks for this, and ended up just rolling a couple non-monster encounters--first, Finbar was bitten by ticks after blundering through a nest of them (nice going, druid), ultimately to come down with some kind of disease; secondly, Little Bob was bitten by a viper, but managed to make his save against poison by sucking the venom out before it killed him.

The journey up Greyhame Mountain to the Eyries involves a hike up the mountain's slope, followed by an actual mountain-climb requiring rope, pitons, etc. The party sent Baby-Face ahead as the lead climber (given his thief ability to climb), and he set lead ropes  attached to pitons for everyone else, which allowed them to follow. Halfway up the mountain, on a ledge where the party could rest, Baby-Face pointed out a cave nearby to Lead; but Lead discouraged any exploration, and instead urged the party onward and upward. (Partway through this second leg of the climb, Kaaraak mentioned to Blackleaf that wyverns make their nests up here, having a truce with the eagles, but none with the two-legs down below)

Near the mountain's summit, the party finally reached "the Hame", a stretch of naked grey granite that resembles the hame laid across the shoulders of an ox's harness (I think? I hope I have this word right), which is laid around the mountain's shoulders. Here were a great number of eagle's nests, with eggs, chicks, and deer hauled up by the larger eagles for later meals. Kaaraak led the party through these nests to a cave under the summit, through which eldritch winds moaned.

There within, Jaer the Windlord appeared, a creature resembling a handsome man, fair-haired and blue-eyed, his cloak ever billowing in the winds, his tangled hair held down by a silver circlet. He demanded to know who came before him; Lead and his companions, who saved the eagle Kaaraak, was Lead's response.

A Master of Magic hero, and
o! the pixels are terrible here

Indeed, I have heard of the courage of those who have saved Kaaraak, my friend and servant, Jaer answered. And I have heard especially of the ministrations of Aria for my friend; therefore, I grant Aria the Elf a Guardian Wind, to protect her in times of need. This Guardian Wind is an elemental wind that once per day can be called on to create a protection from normal missiles effect, and once ever, can be used to create a fly effect, which ultimately discharges the elemental from further service.

Moreover, Jaer continued, I hope that I find in thee friends such who might destroy the evils of the orcs in the Glimmervaults below--those vile, deep creatures hate my friends, the eagles, and therefore I hate them. Bring me fifty orc heads, and I shall grant you all a Wish. I cannot destroy these creatures myself because things in the higher heavens are ever yet more important to an elemental of the upper airs as am I.

Aria also offered herself as an apprentice to Jaer, to learn wind magic from him; he agreed to teach her great magics of the air, but again, only for recompense of the destruction of the orcs below.

The party was thus incensed for the destruction of the orcs in the Glimmervaults; but they were uncertain whether they should climb back down the way they came (and maybe raid that wyvern-cave?), or whether they should hike down the back of the mountain. For indeed, on the far (eastern) slope of the mountain, they saw a path down to a defile that led ultimately to the back of the Brokenbrand Falls. Ultimately, Lead the Cleric decided that the party should hike down the back way, and from the Brokenbrand Falls into the Glimmervaults to attack the orcs there ...

So down the party marched (spending another day or so), and they got out their maps of the Brokenbrand Falls (two parties with partially separate maps, which they tried to overlap), and they asked where they emerged therein.

And instead, I described a new room, one with water flowing down from the northwest corner to the southeast corner, with an image of a rivergod behind the northwest corner's water, and an image of Brondr the old Bronding King with a broken sword in his lap on the north side of the stream. A corridor led south ... and none of this was on either map.

Heading south, the party entered a room with a long water-basin in the midst of which stood a statue of a naiad, with webs along the ceiling between the columns flanking the pool. As the party entered, they were surprised by three huge spiders, which dropped down and attacked Wheskers the Weasel, Lead, and Aethulwulf. Through a series of rounds, Lead took two hits, saving against poison both times, while Aethulwulf broke a series of shields to protect himself (one given by Blackleaf). But at last, the party slew the spiders, several dogs tearing the arachnids apart leg by leg, with Lead pulverizing the last spider with his warhammer.

The room also contained a large egg sac, and three cocooned victims; Aethulwulf tossed oil on the egg sac, and Little Bob lit it, and the webs burned away, destroying the young spiders in the sac; then the party cut apart the three cocoons and found three desiccated corpses, and a single Waterfall Sword, a kind of Viking sword with a waterfall mark on the ricasso.

The party then dithered for a long time, but ultimately headed east, whence gleamed open sunlight (considering the chamber opened to north, east, south, and west). Following the sunlight, the party found a wide space with a fairly large lake of clear, cold, mountain streamwater. In that sunlight, the party saw (beside an idol of Astora, Elf goddess of the stars and the night), a huge turtle with 12 gems in its shell holding court over a number of naiads, nakedly lounging on the banks thereby.

Except alive, of course, and perhaps a little
pretentious about its "deep" knowledge

Baby-Face was the first to approach this strange gathering, as he had before had good relations with naiads; these naiads did not recognize him, but they did fancy him, and started to wink at him and blow kisses to him. Meanwhile, the turtle turned and demanded, Who are you to interrupt my lecture of philosophy to these fine young ladies?

Now Aria and Blackleaf approached, Aria to engage the turtle in his philosophizing, Blackleaf to appraise the gems of his shell. The gems seemed to be worth about 1000 gp, and Blackleaf began to mumble about the riches represented (and murderous fantasies to take them all), while Aria became entangled in a nonsensical philosophical debate with the turtle (while also reprimanding Blackleaf for her obsessions with gold, rather than with natural wonders). Given the richness of the stones, Little Bob stepped up with the intent to remove the stones; but the turtle backed into the water, warily, and griped at the party. Why are you cornering me, interrupting my edification of these fine young ladies?

Little Bob and Blackleaf inquired about the gems--O, these were gifts to me from the Bronding kings, the turtle answered, a little garish, perhaps, but scintillating nonetheless--and the turtle further offered a single gem for an answer to a question. He asked for a solution to the epistemological problem of Edmund Gettier, of how to salvage the account of knowledge as "justified true belief" given "Turtle Gettier's" counter-arguments; the response from the players was weak in my estimation, but I rolled a 12 for "reactions" so I gave it to them--they offered something the turtle had not considered, that others might be relevant in any consideration of knowledge, ultimately not inappropriate for a turtle philosopher thinking to himself for some centuries alone ... and the turtle plucked off a gem and offered it to them.

(Meanwhile, Baby-Face continued his flirtations with the naiads. They told him they didn't care about the "lecture", they'd just come to make fun of and tease the turtle, and that they'd rather have Baby-Face come with them into the river. Baby-Face asked where the party was in relation to where he'd been, and found that following the stream southeast would lead back into the areas of the Brokenbrand Falls where he, Lead, and Unga Dunga had been before. But after relating this information to the party, Baby-Face agreed to just go with the naiads, and he disappeared with them under the waters, sharing a smooch for the sake of waterbreathing.)

Baby-Face joining the naiads while the
turtle-philosopher natters on beind

The party then followed Baby-Face's brief directions (while Blackleaf and Aria disputed over the turtle, Blackleaf wanting to take his gems, Aria, being of Natural alignment, wishing to protect the turtle). They ultimately found themselves in the Brokenbrand Falls where a map made sense, and agreed to seek some theoretical treasure nearby before heading back to town. The naiads had once directed Baby-Face and his companions to a nearby tomb for hidden treasures ... the party followed such directions into the tomb of Bragr.

In the tomb, they found a sarcophagus backed by a bas-relief of the World Tree with a serpent gnawing its roots to one side; approaching the tomb, Lead found nothing inside, but Blackleaf (as an Elf) pointed out that the serpent hid a secret door.

There within, behind the secret door, the party looked upon a tomb filled with grave goods--and also containing a colony of aggressive fungus! The party attacked the fungus with missile weapons, fire, and dogs, and because of the colony's slowness, the party tore it apart. Then the party looted the place and found much silver, electrum, and gold coinage; a tortoise-shell lyre and a bone-harp; 6 potions; and a wand; which seemed altogether to be worth a couple thousand gold pieces.

This treasure in hand, the party decided to head back to town; with their map, they made it quickly through the chambers of the Brokenbrand Falls, back to the slippery stairs that lead up to the halls, and all made their checks to avoid falling from the stairs. And at the base of the stair, they found Baby-Face waiting for them, dabbling his feet in the stream, satisfied smile wide on his face (he made his save to escape the naiads' charms ...).

Continuing back to town, the party dealt with a couple encounters of attrition in which they burned several weapons, ammunition, and shields--clearly ineffectual skirmishes against orcs in the night.

Lastly, arriving back in town, the party went on to carouse with their newfound wealth. At some point in the night of drinking, Little Bob wandered off into the village green and is said to have cursed and blasphemed the gods as vengeful assholes (and yet nevertheless he leveled up as a traveling-man through carousing!). As for Blackleaf, she is said to have strung local blacksmith Aldir along, hoping to marry him "for a soul" ... Baby-Face, meanwhile, bought rounds for everyone at the Black Dragon's Meed, and is now well known as the best drunkard in Brakeridge to have as one's drinking-buddy.

Finally, Aethulfwulf, spent a sum of money on a new small shrine to Adonai, Lawful Good god of justice, Pourer of the Horn; and then he also went carousing, but managed to end his night in his own bed, secure in his sense of having not made an ass of himself.


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)


  1. I find myself greatly looking forward to these write ups. Thank you for posting them. Have you fiddled enough with the Attrition rules that a new post about them would be necessary? I like them and plan to use them.

  2. Thanks, Jesse, that's good to hear!

    As for wilderness attrition, I have not yet fiddled with the rules, I've just been using it straight as written, and it's worked pretty well so far. The one thing that I do think it needs is "concreteness", e.g. for me to be able to say specifically that a pack of wolves, or a group of orcs have attacked the party, or that a freak storm destroyed these things. That would allow a druid, say, to respond to wolves by casting "speak with animals" and heading off the wolves, etc. Not to play it out as a full encounter, but an ability to "head off" the attrition itself. ... I'll try to write something up soon