Thursday, March 21, 2019

Greyhame Game Expedition 86

It's been a long time since I posted regarding this game (Expedition 30, the killing of the Goblin King, was the last time). Actually, it's been since October last year that I've posted at all, but we're finally playing the Greyhame Mountain Dungeon itself again, so I feel the impetus ...

So ...


Much has happened in the time since the killing and capturing of the Goblin King. An entire year has passed, and another half a year beyond that. Many of the adventurers from the original expeditions have moved on or retired, but others are still in the thick of it, risking much for sweet, sweet lucre.

Kord the Half-Orc has captured the castle of Waldburg to the east of the original hometown of Brakeridge; Lailith the Matriarch has taken the castle of Drachenturm from a nest of wyverns and had it repaired.

The Goblin King was turned over to the Elves for a large weregild, and he has presumably been tortured and crucified, as the Elves swore they would do. The Lord of Werewolves has allied himself with Viteric, Red King of the Getae barbarians, and together they make war on the Elves. An undead dragon and its hoard were discovered in the dungeons beneath the Howling Tower. Another dungeon-complex entire was explored in the hills to the northwest, and the cult of Skotia, goddess of darkness and death, was driven out, while the shrines and burial halls of Law and Good within were restored.

New adventurers have arrived to join in on the exploration of the deeps seeking gold, power, and glory, and at long last, expeditions have returned to the Greyhame Mountain Dungeon, led by Koko the Woman-Ape, who sought Okok the Ape-Chief somewhere in the Howling Tower ...


the roster for 21 March:
Koko (woman-ape)
Torrack and Torg (ogres)
Mizer and Blackleaf (magic-users, Blackleaf formerly an Elf)
Alan and Rolf Rolfson (clerics, Rolf a Getae tribesman)
Lucky Bob (traveling man)
and four hirelings
and five dogs

During last week's session, Koko, Blackleaf, and others discovered that the Howling Tower was howling again--wolves have gathered in large numbers in the wilderness around it, as well as some eerie, eldritch howling from within--and more surprisingly, the tower had been surrounded by a stockade of wooden palisades and longhouses populated by a tribe of Getae barbarians and their wolf and goblin allies. Not much was discovered during this expedition, but a number of slaves were freed from within the tower's dungeon, and they were able to relate that Okok and the other apes were driven down from the tower into the depths of the dungeon.

With that intelligence, the goal of this week's expedition was to delve into the depths and discover just where Okok had ended up. Koko took the lead, taking the company of adventurers to the secret entrance on the side of the ridge that pierces directly into the tower dungeon without need to enter the tower itself (which remains fortified behind the barbarians' stockade). This secret entrance once housed terrible insectile horrors, but for now retains only their large, empty egg sacs.

Emerging from the tunnel into the dungeon, Koko and Alan pored over the maps from previous expeditions and agreed on the fastest route through the first dungeon level to the stair down to the second. To that end, they skirted around the perimeter of the level and avoided any encounters with goblins or wolves (which still inhabit the dungeon in large numbers).

Coming down to the second level, Alan pointed out that perhaps one of his dogs could scent out Okok and his apes. Having the dog sniff Koko, and then letting it sniff around in the corridors of the second level, the dog soon scented something and pointed the party through several corridors, south, and then west. They passed through the room with the star well, which seems open to the night sky itself, and then headed west through some chambers not previously explored.

The main chamber thus explored was a huge gallery with a glittering black statue of a dragon in the center of the hall, marked ANGLAMORATH in the Elvish script. The belly of this serpentine idol was studded with gems, gold, and other coinage. But as Alan reached out, hoping to pry off a gem, he recoiled in pain, and then looked in horror on the gaping mouth of the idol, from which a huge and terrible serpent of blackest hue was slithering its way out.

Alan attempted to turn the giant snake into a log with snakes to sticks, but it had no effect; neither did Koko's ring of animal control. Then the serpent was free to attack, and it chomped down hard on Alan, nearly killing him.

A short, hard battle ensued. Mizer and Blackleaf threw a number of magic missiles at the creature, while the ogres and their dogs joined Alan and his hirelings in melee. But the next round, the creature breathed forth a cloud of acrid, toxic vapors, and Alan and his hirelings fell dead in the midst. Blackleaf attempted to dimension door the creature away and over the star well down the corridor, but the creature made its save; then Mizer cast web over it, and the serpent was slain as it thrashed about trying to break through.

The creature's body melted into foul black ichor and roiling billows of acrid smoke; but alas, even with the guardian destroyed, the magic in the statue prevented anyone from seizing its treasure without taking damage.

Returning to their purpose, the party looked to their tracking hound. It pointed west; after a short series of corridors, and a room with a stair down to the next level, the party found itself in a series of natural caverns with formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and listening carefully, they could hear dimly the sound of a feminine voice raised in song to the south, and too, the huffing of apes.

At the end of these passages, the party found a large chamber, half-filled with a pool of crystalline water fed by a deep stream that cut between the corridor and the chamber. In the midst of the pool, perched on a rounded off stalagmite, a naked and beautiful naiad sang sweetly for an audience of six apes, one among them the great silverback Okok, chief of the apes.

Koko immediately moved forward to join Okok--they were previously on friendly terms, after an expedition long ago, when the party had granted Okok the red flower of fire in return for friendship and/or treasure. Plucking each other's fur for lice, they exchanged pleasantries; Okok boasted of his warrior apes, despite having been driven out of the tower by the Getae, and Koko offered the chance to make an alliance and drive the Getae out of the tower from below. Okok was quite happy to agree to this.

Meanwhile, the naiad was making eyes at the party, but she couldn't stop singing to talk without the other apes getting riled up. It seemed the apes were enjoying a feast of raw giant crawfish, fished out of the cave pool, while listening to the wonderful singing of the nymph. After some abortive attempts to draw the apes away or cast a magical sleep over them, Torrack the ogre finally offered the cask of wine he was carrying (and another crawfish that the party had slept when attempting to get across the stream earlier), all to be a feast if only the apes would lead them to the next chamber over where more of their fellows were resting. This finally won the apes over, so they all moved on, allowing Blackleaf some time to speak with the naiad alone.

She called herself Niriel, and declared that she had been swept down into the dungeon by the swift flowing stream, but unable to return up to her sisters in the Brokenbrand Falls because of the strong current on the one hand, and the dungeon full of wolves and goblins on the other hand, and by the gods! would she be grateful if the adventurers would help her get out of the dungeon, and please, please, I don't want to sing for these dirty apes anymore.

The apes perked their ears at the sudden lack of singing, but Okok settled them--"Don't worry, friends, once we've feasted here, we'll go out and squeeze her again to get her singing again," and the apes went back to feasting.

So; Koko had found Okok and made alliance with him at last. It was agreed that Okok would remain in the dungeon, and that the adventurers would return soon to begin their joint operations against the Getae and their werewolves. Meanwhile, Niriel was wrapped up in a spare cloak to hide her nakedness, and bundled out of the dungeon, protected in the midst of the party as they made their way out on the double. Outside, she took her leave of them (and their cloak), promising to tell her sisters of the favor done her by them, with the implication of a favor owed by the naiads if ever it should be called in.

Back in Brakeridge, Alan, Mizer, and the ogres caroused, and their drunken boasting is of course the source of the intelligence spilled above.

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