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 ...
10 December's roster:
Kord (half-orc fighter 2/cleric 2)
with Ham, Livy, and Lysimmachus (normal men)
and Arrow, Orkie, and Fang (dogs)
Finbar (half-Elf druid 3)
with Dorcas (normal woman)
and Walter and Heisenberg (wolves) and Cornelius and Rub-a-Dub (dogs)
This expedition started with Kord alone in town preparing himself for an expedition to the Greyhame Mountain. Alas, during Expedition 13, Kord's former hireling Freyja was killed by the venom of a viper on the way back to Brakeridge, and so this session started with Kord's attempt to have Freyja raised from the dead by Lailith at the shrine of St. Ursula--but Freyja's spirit had passed on forever beyond the pale, and she could not be returned to life.
After that, Kord paid 100 gold to raise an idol of his god, Kord, the Chaotic Good god of strength, and for his money, got a well-carved image with a little altar for offerings at his feet, placed in the village square somewhere nearby the image of Adonai earlier raised there by Aethulwulf.
He then turned to hiring and outfitting an expedition, taking on the services of Ham once more, and then additionally hiring and equipping Livy and Lysimmachus from John's Place. He also bought a number of dogs, including an orc mastiff, promptly named Orkie.
All ready, he and his crew set out for the Howling Tower (which howls no longer). As he and his party moved through the wilderness toward the Greyhame Mountain, they found that under the light of the stars there came from on high a faint sound of singing--a wordless or alien song, softly coming down from the winds that blow about the stars, filled with a sense of loss, of sadness, and of yearning for home. This thing seems some new development--it has not been heard by any other expedition yet.
Other than the eldritch star-song, Kord and his crew broke a spear on the second night when trying to move a log out of their way; and then on the third day out, they were ambushed by goblins, and lost a shield, a week of rations, 12 arrows, a handaxe, and damage to both Kord and Ham, both injuries healed by Kord after the goblins were driven away.
And on the next day, the party arrived atop the spur whereon stands the Howling Tower. The pyre containing Begor's remains had been blown over by the storms that roll through the area, and not rebuilt; Kord picked through it, but found nothing other than blackened weather-beaten wood and bones. The party then entered the tower and made their way north and then west through a series of rooms, seeking the stairs down. They saw bloodstains on the floor from the last time Kord had entered the tower, and then at a further door, heard the noise of goblins chattering on the other side.
It was here that Finbar joined the party, and he gamely agreed to Kord's plan to throw open the door and attack the goblins. They threw the door open quietly (using my door rules) and managed to surprise the nine goblins in the chamber--these goblins were sitting around a fire, roasting rats on sticks and gossiping--and on their surprise round, the party sicced their dogs on the hapless creatures. Goblins died, and the rest surrendered, and Kord and Finbar both knowing the Goblin tongue, pressed them for information about the Goblin King.
Unfortunately, they didn't get much specific info--the Goblin King dwells in the dungeons below the tower, he lives in darkness and has shadows and magic at the beck of his fingertips, he is tall and a powerful fighter like an Elf-lord, and he has the allegiance of all the free goblins escaped from servitude under the Elves in the Dwimmerholt.
After hearing this panegyric, the party sicced the dogs on the goblins again, and the poor wretches got slaughtered by canine tooth and claw.
The party then continued south and found the stairs down, but behind them, they heard the chattering of apes from the hall beyond--around the corner came Okok the ape king, with two rock baboons. They were come to poke their heads into the goblin room, curious at the noise, and they recognized Finbar and exchanged some words with him (Finbar himself knowing the language of Apes). I do not care for the goblins and wolves that live below, Okok explained to Finbar in return to a question about the goblins. I do not go down there; they do not come up to my domain; and as for the Goblin-King, I know his reputation, but little more. Finbar gave Okok a holy water, calling it "magic water" and Okok drank it off promptly. It does not taste magic, he averred. Then Finbar re-explained that it was for use against evil spirits, and gave him another flask; and then Okok and his baboons went into the goblin-room to scavenge the bodies while the party headed down the stairs.
Below, they found a hallway that T's north and south with a number of doors, and a figure at the end of the southern branch. The figure proved to be a marble statue like the Venus de Milo, except depicting an Elf-queen, and badly graffitied in Goblin ("Ass-tora" instead of Astora, "Suck my nose!", etc.). A former expedition had carried off her head and arms ... Checking the doors, the party found at first an empty tomb; at the next door, they heard bones cracking beyond, and throwing open the door, they surprised a pair of pallid, gaunt humanoids chowing down on old bones. The dogs made short work of them--literally a single surprise round--and then the party found a cache of silver in one of the sarcophagi.
Continuing on, the party found another empty tomb, and then headed through a west door and surprised two insectoid horrors feeding on a paralyzed goblin. These horrors had segmented bodies and heads with a gaggle of writhing tentacles. The dogs were sent in once again, and one of the horrors was killed outright, but the other managed to touch two dogs attacking it with its tentacles, and both dogs locked up in paralytic rigor. But the rest of the pack closed in and slaughtered the thing; and after twenty minutes, the paralyzed dogs returned to full movement (whimpering as blood flowed again through their limbs).
This chamber contained an altar topped by a multi-armed goddess idol, and as the party search the altar and idol, they discovered a secret cache of electrum behind a false stone on the altar.
A doorway to the southwest out of the chamber led into a kind of corridor with burial niches all along its south wall. The party searched these; in the westmost they found a tunnel that seemed to lead up and out; in the center niche, they found a secret door that opened onto a narrow hallway to the south. Going single file through this hall, they discovered a small secret room with a larger idol of the multi-armed goddess, bedecked with glittering jewelry and surrounded at her feet with a hoard of gleaming gold. But they noted that as they moved toward the room, their light became dimmer and paler, and then when they entered the room, the shadows seemed to come alive at their feet and dance and waver, and two shadows animated and began to attack them.
Attempts to turn these animated shades by Kord had no effect; Finbar hurled holy water at one, and it too had no effect; weapons thrust into the shadows seemed just to slide through the oily darkness without causing any damage; and the few attacks against these things with torches all completely missed. As for the shadows, when they struck Finbar and Livy, they did damage with the coldness of their touch, but also seemed to sap something of the strength of the one touched.
Unable to do anything to these creatures, the party fled headlong without any of the gold or jewelry. Time was running short for the session, so they elected to exit the dungeon ... but as they climbed the stars back to the first tower level, they were surprised by a gaggle of goblins at the top of the stairs, who threw torches down to light a pool of oil on the stairs. The first rank, all dogs, was lit up, killing poor Arrow; meanwhile, two ranks of goblins hurled missiles at the party, knocking Livy out with a lucky sling bullet.
The party then sicced the dogs on the goblins and charged up the stairs, and they slammed into the goblins with a vengeance (though Dorcas passed out from heat damage from the still-burning fires as she charged through). As the first goblins dropped, the rest panicked and routed, their retreat semi-covered by their wolf-companions that elected to go with the goblins rather than continue the battle. Kord and his crew cut down about half of the fleeing goblins while Finbar cast animal friendship on one of the wolves and successfully entranced it ... with the goblins all gone, the party had to wait for 6 turns (3 wandering monster checks) until Finbar's spell was finished, but fortunately they were not disturbed, and they managed to get out of the tower without further ado.
On the way back to town, a group of wolves attacked on the first night, but were driven off with a broken axe, shield, lost rations, and some damage to Kord. Then, on the third day, right before getting back to town, a nasty storm blew in and the party lost a shield, spear, rations, leather armor, and 50' of rope.
Then they were back in Brakeridge, and Finbar was eager to carouse--and failing his save, spent an additional 900 gold on a huge gambling binge. Meanwhile, Kord paid out huge amounts of gold to Ham the normal man, trying to get him enough xp to get him an actual class level; with the addition of Ham carousing with his newfound wealth, he managed to garner the 1000 xp I wanted him to earn before becoming a full-fledged character, and he is now a level 1 cleric with 300 or so xp (I've never done 0-level characters before, this was me making things up on the fly!). Alas, in drinking himself to wine-madness, Ham also managed to earn the enmity of the local Thieves' Guild, and will now have to weather vendetta from them ...
Remembrance for the Fallen
Arrow (pack dog), Freyja (normal woman), Nameless Dog (1 hp cur), Hot Dog (mastiff), Cross (mastiff), 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)
And for those Enchanted Away
Dol (fyrdman hireling)