Thursday, February 1, 2018

Greyhame Mountain Dungeon Expedition 18

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 hidden behind the Brokenbrand Falls, haunted by enchanting naiads ...
and Jaer the Windlord looks down on the world below from the Eyries of the Eagles on Greyhame Mountain itself;
while the Stars themselves are singing an eerie, eldritch song, night after night ...

29 January's roster:
Aethelwulf (paladin 3)
with Hauka (snake-killing weasel)
Baby-Face (thief 5)
with Frida and Hubert the Peacock (normal mercenaries)
and Whesker and Wilmerand (weasels) and St. Bb (a st. bernard)
Lead (cleric 4)
with Astia (normal woman) and Sparkly the Mule
Blackleaf (Elf 2)
with Johann Haybaler (normal man)
Koko (woman-ape 1)

Lead the cleric was eager to get back to the Glimmervaults to kill orcs and take more heads for Jaer the Windlord, a powerful creature of air who dwells with the eagles at the summit of Greyhame Mountain. In the past, Jaer has promised a powerful wish for a group who would rid the mountain of the orcs that are always hunting and torturing his friends, the eagles, and Saul-style, set the price for this wish at fifty orc heads brought to him on his mountain. (On an earlier expedition, the party gathered a mere 31)

Before setting out, they had several items to attend to.

First, Baby-Face acquired a sending bone and a bottle of Laurantha's mead from the local procurer of oddments. He used the sending bone to send a message to Jaer, asking whether the wish was for the group entire, or one wish for every individual, and the spirit arose from the bone and whisked away on the wind toward the mountains. On its return, the sending took on an imitation of Jaer's visage: One wish! it declared. But one wish for the company--even my powers are limited.

Meanwhile, Aethelwulf had a couple of things he wanted to do. First, because the party would not be following through with the rescue of children kidnapped by the goblins on this expedition, he sought out the captain of the guard, Cairn, Knight-Captain of "the Citadel" (the watchtower in town), and implored him to guard the town's children better against goblin kidnappers. "If all the children are taken away, Morholt won't have any populace left within his realm," Aethelwulf pointed out.

But Cairn basically just shrugged him off--"We guard the town. It's the fools in the country who can't keep their children safe. And what, a dozen farmers' nits carried away? Good riddance."

After this ineffectual audience, Aethelfwulf went to pray at his small shrine to Adonai, god of justice, in the market square. There, he found Aldir, Blackleaf's blacksmith-squeeze, who has been more aloof with Blackleaf in the past week, while going on about how he wants to be Good and a hero, like Aethefulwulf. So at the shrine of Adonai, Aldir got a little more instruction in the mysteries of Good from Aethelwulf.

Finally, we were ready to adventure. The party gathered rations and supplies and set out from town. The trek to the Glimmervaults proved easy, with but a single broken axe when Baby-Face was cutting firewood.

Looking up a the two entrances into the Glimmervaults--a western grotto that leads into a natural cave system, and a built-stone entrance to the east with spears and impaled heads placed out before it--looking up at these entrances, and then down at the maps drawn by their some-time companion Little Bob, the characters were paralyzed by confusion. This was a moment of great amusement for me, the referee, as the players pored over their actual artefact of play, unable to make sense of the three maps. It was a perfect moment of a kind of 1:1 identification between the characters and the players, of actually poring over a map in confusion as to what it means, where to go?

Finally, they elected to enter the grotto and explore an unexplored side-corridor just to the west inside the entrance. In they went, and were immediately surprised by a roar and with Lead getting swiped by the claws of a huge bear. A short melee followed, short because the bear was overwhelmed by the party's numbers. It put up a good fight--damaged Aethelwulf's hawk-shield and mauled both him and Lead (mauled Lead because the man was still wearing his old green-slime-burned plate armor from the first session!), but ultimately it was put down by two simultaneous critical hits.

Aethelfwulf turned out to be proficient at skinning animals, and so he proceeded to remove the bear's pelt, which was mostly undamaged other than the melee-mangled head. This would prove to be their only real treasure for the session.

When the bear was skinned, the party continued southeast through a series of large irregular caves, deeper into the Glimmervaults, seeking a great chasm on the first of Little Bob's maps. Entering into a chamber with stairs leading up to a flowstone formation, they searched for secret doors and found one--but heard the noise of moving things from the other side. Fearing undead, they cracked the door open and balanced a flask of holy water above, to drop on anything passing beneath--but the noise turned out to be a group of orcs passing by.

Lead insulted them and their mothers, and the orcs shot back with a lame retort and then charged through the door. The holy water didn't do much--but the "army" facing them were too much, and two orcs went down on the first round, and the other two were shot down as they attempted to flee. The party hacked off their heads and then moved on.

They found a chamber with statues, their faces all knocked off by chisel and hammer, and with an iron plaque on the west wall reading in part, The tribe of Galad is destroyed root and branch; let jackals crush the bones of his heirs, let their spirits never rest. This place is accursed.

The party poked through a number of tombs in the vicinity of this room, and in one chamber with three tombs, they disturbed a colony of yellow mold within the tomb. Blackleaf, Hubert the Peacock, Frida, Wilmerand, and Whesker all failed their initial save and began to wheeze as their throats filled up with spores. The rest of the party then frantically tried to help clear their breathing with heimlich maneuvers, forcing them to gag and throw up, or even an dagger-tracheotomy for Frida! Out of all those affected, only Hubert the Peacock ended up dying.

Continuing on, the party ultimately emerged through another secret door to a passage just west of the large chasm they'd seen on the map. They skirted it along its western ledge, noting a broken bridge that would lead to a door on the east wall if still intact; but ignoring that, they headed northwest into another series of chambers, including a set of rooms with scummy wells, and an orc armory. Along the way they encountered a further six orcs, but these were slept by Blackleaf and killed without incident. The party looted the armory of spears, mail, and shields, and then headed back to town (out the way they'd come) because we were running out of time.

Back in town after another easy journey (only one more broken axe for attrition), everybody caroused. Baby-Face caroused especially hard, racking up a tab in excess of 4000 gold and landing him in debt to the thieves' guild by some 3000 gold! Aethelfwulf drunkenly bought a slave-woman, one Hastia, and awoke hung over and no longer a paladin until he frees her and atones for his crime against Goodness. Koko, meanwhile, had a religious experience, and is now of Good alignment herself!


Remembrance for the Fallen:
Hubert the Peacock and Lysimmachus (normal man), a nameless mastiff, Livy (normal man), Orkie (orc mastiff), Fang (boarhound), Droopy and Snoopy (mastiffs), Dream Destroyer (ghost hound), Arrow (pack dog), Freyja (normal woman), a nameless cur, Hot Dog and Cross (mastiffs), Orion II (lion dog), Bacon (boarhound), 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)

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