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 behind the Brokenbrand Falls, haunted by enchanting naiads ...
Jaer the Windlord looks down on the world below from the Eyries of the Eagles on Greyhame Mountain itself;
and the Stars themselves are singing an eerie song, night after night ...
15 January's roster:
Aethelfulf (paladin 2)
with Dream Destroyer (ghost hound), Hauka (weasel), and Yulan (warhorse)
Baby Face (thief 5)
with Whesker, Wilmerand (weasels), Hubert and Frida (normal men), and a nameless St. Bernard
Little Bob (traveling-man 4)
with Marlo and Panzer (dogs), and Rolf Rolfson (normal man)
Blackleaf (Elf 2) with Droopy and Snoopy (mastiffs), and Johann Haybaler (normal man)
Koko (woman-ape 1)
Starting off in town, a ghost pepper and a killer bee honeycomb were available for purchase, and Baby Face bought both immediately. The ghost pepper is purported to allow connection to the spirit world somehow ... and as for the killer bee honeycomb, killer bee honey is well known for its healing properties when eaten, and so the honeycomb should cure a wound or so.
Blackleaf, meanwhile, is still interested in acquiring a soul, and doing so by converting her current squeeze, Aldir the blacksmith, to Good alignment, and then somehow getting him to marry her (the legend is that an Elf who marries a Good mortal will, by the union of their flesh, acquire a soul that understands Good and Evil). To this end, Blackleaf turned to Aethelwulf (Lawful Good servant of Adonai, god of justice) to get him to go convert Aldir; and Aethelwulf may be a dullard (low Int and Wis), but he's the very image of an heroic fighting-man, and when he was like, "Maybe you should think about being Good, Aldir," sans any real argument, nevertheless the blacksmith was like, "Yeah, maybe I should if I want to be a hero like you!"
Now, following the botched heist in the dungeons of Oakridge Castle, Rendorsheeg the Elf and Finbar the half-Elf druid have skipped town--Rendorsheeg blew money on a bender after being freed and immediately ran afoul of the law again, i.e. the guard sent forth from the castle, and so he and his brother-in-law, Finbar, fled town and won't be seen in Brakeridge again for some time. A number of men-at-arms loyal to the former lord were also set free by the party during the break-in, and have now fled into the forest to the north and west, there to act as Robin Hood type bandits; and Morholt has decreed hundreds of gold in bounties for the heads of these men. Beyond that, Morholt is seeking around to hire more guards, and has allowed his men more leeway in the vicious treatment of locals, especially as they seek the perpetrators of the break-in.
Furthermore, disappearances of children have increased dramatically in recent weeks. These disappearances have been blamed on goblins and on wolves and werewolves--often, wolf-prints are found outside the windows of children's rooms, or small goblin-sized prints and strange lingering magic lead away from the house into the wilderness. In the past three months or so there were perhaps a dozen such disappearances--but in the last two or three weeks there have been a dozen again.
So, hearing this about the disappearing children, the party elected to seek out the Howling Tower and try to find and free the children, if possible, especially because of the prompting of Aethelwulf to do so.
On the third day out, a terrible storm blew up, causing six attrition-dice--the party lost ammunition, an axe, a shield, a suit of plate armor, a week of rations, and Baby Face took 1 damage from exposure.
Then they arrived at the tower. It no longer howls, as the haunting spirit has been destroyed, but it stands like a lonely spike on the spur of a ridge descending from the slopes of the Greyhame Mountain. Before it stands a pyre where the bones of old Begor the ogre and his two wolves were burned, presumably by the goblins, but nothing else was outside the tower to disturb the party.
So they entered, climbing the short stair to the entrance, and listening there at the door--and lo! Blackleaf heard the chattering of goblins on the other side. Bursting in the door, the party surprised the goblins; Blackleaf cast sleep over them, and Little Bob ineffectually attempted to restrain and win the affiliation of the single wolf accompanying the goblins. The wolf reacted poorly, and was ultimately put down; as for the goblins, they were slaughtered, all except one kept alive for questioning ... but when his answers failed to provide much information other than that the Goblin King resides below (which the party already knew), they killed him too.
This was just the beginning of what became a great goblin massacre ... Entering the tower proper, the party turned north to the door into what were once Begor's quarters, through which one must pass to get to the hallway that leads to the stair room. My notes are extremely patchy at this point ... just runs of numbered goblins, their hitpoints, many scratched out as dead, others unwounded because they broke morale and fled. While carousing later, back in town, Blackleaf and Baby Face describe a fight through goblin guards and down to the first level of the dungeon proper, goblins that kept calling replacements or retreating to another room where more goblins and wolves were, only to be slaughtered even as they attempted to outflank the characters ... At least thirty goblins and a few wolves were slain altogether, and from that point on the goblins in the dungeon were too cowed to put up resistance. The party also found a decent horde in the goblins' main sleeping chamber, including a large number of electrum and copper coins.
Leaving the slain goblins in their large sleeping-chamber, the party set out to the west to do some exploring and discovered a room with a central statue of Astora, Star Queen of the Elves, with four pillars around her, each representing one of the seasons. A sacrificial tripod stood before the summer-pillar with incense-ashes, and because it was made of silver and gold, the characters naturally snagged it. It was noted strange that the statue of Astora-- an Elf --was not defaced in any way.
Other explored rooms included a large pillared hall with old and tattered tapestries depicting great hunts and depictions of old meetings between Men and Elves; and another room was a great audience hall with a throne on an eastern dais facing a horsehoe of benches arranged beneath the throne to be addressed from thence.
The party then explored a long hallway with a number of tombs off the eastern wall. The southernmost room contained stand-up sarcophagi from which skeletons issued when the tomb was disturbed; these were easily dispatched. Otherwise the room was empty, except for the noted fact that the central sarcophagus was depicted with an image of the World-Tree with its roots gnawed by an ancient Serpent. Aethelwulf felt that it was familiar, but couldn't place it.
Other tombs included further encounters with skeletons and a smattering of valuable grave goods; and the last sarcophagi that they investigated belched forth clouds of yellow spores!
|Cover your mouth and don't touch it!|
A number of party members breathed in the dreaded cloud and began to choke, as well as many of their dogs. The rules for yellow mold indicated that it takes 6 rounds before affected characters die, and so I allowed various frantic efforts to save the poisoned few--and with a variety of heimlich maneuvers, choking back water, etc., all the characters managed to make a second saving throw. Not so for the dogs, alas, and Snoopy, Droopy, and Dream Destroyer all succumbed to choking death.
At this point, the party agreed to cut losses and return to town. They exited the dungeon without incident; on the return trip, they had an encounter with 6 attrition dice, which I informed them meant that they had been ambushed by a party of goblins seeking revenge. They elected to break a suit of armor, a shield, a spear, and lose a week of rations; then Baby Face turned to his Ring of Unseen Servant which he bought a few sessions ago and called for the servant to, "Do something!" And indeed it proceeded to summon up a whirlwind that scattered the goblins, sending not a few bodily into the trunks of trees. This is, of course, not something an unseen servant ought to have any power to do at all; the party surmised that perhaps it had some special hatred for goblins.
Back in town, the party divided up their loot, but only Blackleaf and Baby Face elected to carouse after their success. Blackleaf got puking drunk and managed to blaspheme the Arcane mysteries, drunkenly blabbing secrets that only the initiated to know to just any old peasant at the bar. For this, she is under the Ban, and may not benefit from her Arcane alignment until such time as she somehow atones for it.
Baby Face, meanwhile, became even more the love of the town and the life of the party, and because of all the hangers-on and groupies who gather around him when he drinks and tells his tales of daring-do, his carousing costs are now x3, i.e. he spends 300 gold for 100 xp. Needless to say, he has become even more leery of drinking in public. His player also actually read some of my notes and wondered if Baby Face should not now be of the Second Rank of Chaotic alignment because of how much fame he has accrued? I agreed that should be the case, and now need to find my notes about what that means ...
All in all a successful expedition--but alas, the children remain missing ...
Remembrance for the Fallen
Snoopy and Droopy (mastiffs), Dream Destroyer (ghost hound), Arrow (pack dog), Freyja (normal woman), a nameless 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)