Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Greyhame Game Expeditions 89 and 90

Expedition 89, 2 April's Roster:
Torrack, Gunther, and Thor (ogres)
Coball and Iliana (clerics)
Leafit (Elf)

Torrack is of such a level as to seize a cave or cavern system for himself and gather a band of ogres under him. His announced intent is to attempt to educate such a band of ogres and introduce them to civilization.

To that end, he gathered a group of comrades at the Waldburg, Kord's castle just east of Brakeridge, and the party set out toward the mountains to the east, hoping to find a cave. They didn't ask around about rumors or attempt to hire any guides, but just struck out into the wilderness, hoping to blindly stumble into success.

Well, some kind of disaster struck them down. A day after their departure, Iliana returned from the wilderness to Kord's castle, chattering about "tentacles from the dark" and "the stones themselves! The stones themselves had teeth! Everyone dead ..."

Guided by her, Ham and a larger party discovered a double-cavern entrance at the south end of a cliff-face set under and between the Whitecrown and Greyhame mountains. From within, they recovered the bodies of Torrack and his party, all badly mangled and partially digested. Over the next few days, with difficulty, Ham was able to raise from the dead all but Thor, whose body was just too far gone.


Expedition 90, 4 April's Roster:
Clark (paladin)
Mizer and Blackleaf (magic-users)
Koko (woman-ape)
Lucky Bob (travelling man)
Tiwo (thief)
Rolf Rolfson, Thorgil, Clothis (clerics)

Following up on two previous expeditions into the Howling Tower to discover what happened to Okok the Ape-King and to help him drive out the Getae holding the tower, the adventurers gathered in Brakeridge with the intent to delve into the Howling Tower Dungeon once more. On the 86th expedition, a number of slaves were delivered from the Tower, saved from servitude under the Getae; these slaves were able to offer a small bit of intelligence concerning the Getae, namely that the chief of the Getae, one Tamoric, was gifted by the Red King of the Getae with a huge red ruby that glitters of its own light, and which was set into the base of a huge axe; after this, according to the slaves, it seemed that certain vile sacrifices became more common.

Knowing that werewolves abound in the area, they bought up a bunch of wolfsbane (and noted that wolfsbane has become common in town, hung up over lintels and nailed to doors), Koko groused about not having armor and ordered a suit especially made for her ape frame from a local armorer, and then they set out.

Wolves howl in the wilderness; strange howling emanates once more from the Tower; the party gathered on the hillside by the secret insect-hole that leads into the Tower dungeons and sent Rolf in first. On the way in, they discovered a renewed number of large egg cases in the larger cavern outside the dungeon proper, and elected to smash them all before continuing.

Emerging once more into the crypts under the tower, the adventurers quickly made their way north to the door where they'd encountered large numbers of goblins before; listening in, they seemed to hear another such group of goblins and wolves. They briefly debated whether to clear them out again, but decided to move on.

At the next door down the corridor to the west, the party listened again, and heard ritual chanting and muted whining and howling. This seemed more interesting than mere goblins; because there were two doors into the chamber, the group decided to split up with Clark, Mizer, and Tiwo taking the south door, and everyone else at the northwest door.

The plan was that Clark should open the south door, distract those inside, and then while whoever or whatever was inside was distracted, the others would burst in from the west. This went down generally as intended--Clark opened the door and stumbled in, and found a little more than he bargained for.

A barbarian chief with a silver circlet at his head and a huge axe slung over his shoulder (giant ruby sparkling at its pommel) knelt before a statue of an Elf queen, a tripod smoking with incense at his side. Attending him were eight well-armed barbarian huskarls, a pack of wolves with intelligence gleaming in their yellow eyes and a horrible beast, its body like a hulking baboon, its head like a great shaggy wolf, and from its shoulders sprouting six swaying serpent heads.

The barbarian stood and turned to Clark and suggested that the paladin step in and disarm himself. Clark refused, denying the magic, but he did step in with his sword raised. "I challenge you, one on one," Clark declared confidently, and the barbarian chief smirked in reply. "Let us to the holmgang, then," the barbarian replied, and his huskarls drove daggers into the floor in an arena square. Hefting his axe, the chief stepped in, and Clark stepped in with his sword ... and the two set about to ineffectually swinging their weapons around as both player and referee rolled nothing but 3s and 5s for several rounds.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party decided they wanted in on the action, so in the door was kicked. Blackleaf bathed everyone in the room with a fireball, which both the chief and Clark shrugged off, but which knocked out some of the wolves. A web spell aimed at the eight huskarls by Mizer was fizzled by an axe thrown back at him; Koko charged in, sword flaming, and directly engaged the horrible baboon-snake demon, while Thorgil and Clothis closed with the wolves, and Lucky Bob, Rolf, and Tiwo stood back shooting crossbow bolts.

Koko's melee went poorly; though she snicked off a couple snake heads, the others got numerous bites in against her, and she felt fiery venom coursing through her veins, seizing her muscles. Blackleaf followed Mizer's web with one of her own, this one actually covering the barbarians and preventing them from joining the fray. Mizer covered himself with mirror images. Clark and the barbarian traded misses; Clothis and Thorgil knocked out some wolves.

Seeing this fight turning against him, the barbarian chief changed; his skin flushed bright blood red, from his shoulder sprouted a serpent's head, and from his mouth burst forth a full wolf's head. ... But even with all three attacks he still managed to miss Clark. Koko drank a potion of antivenin, and succeeded her second save with a natural 20, ending the threat of poison, while the rest of the party mopped up the chief's allies.

At this juncture, the chief attempted to escape invisibly, but Blackleaf had a wand of enemy detection which briefly set his outline alight before Thorgil dispelled all magic in the room with a dispel magic scroll. The chief was discovered in the corner, while the barbarians all were released from their webs.

Half the party crowded around the chief while the others meleed the barbarians. Surrounded, the chief sent forth a stroke of magical lightning which laid Blackleaf low and cooked Thorgil and Clothis without killing them. After another round, the chief again turned invisible, and the northwest door opened and closed.

Clark, Thorgil, and Clothis ducked out the door after the chief while the others dealt with the huskarls. Another stroke of lightning blasted through the corridor, but the adventurers had healed themselves enough with potions and lay on hands that they survived. Despite his regenerative abilities, the chief was at low hp at this point, and three characters whaling on him (including a critical hit, I believe) laid him low. But not dead--his body continued to regenerate even as he lay unconscious, an axe blade buried in his head.

The thing that finally ended his weird life was to divest him of everything on his person, including a fair number of gems, the silver circlet, and the axe. As the party was fairly well beaten up, they elected to gather the chief's body and possessions, and then return to the surface and the safety of town, to return to drive out the Getae another day.

Back in town, the axe was discovered to be magical (of course), and was proffered to Axxxl the Mask, local sage, to be identified. It is an axe +3, dancing, but Axxxl mentioned that there was something abominably evil about it and offered to pay 40k in gold to take it off their hands, not trusting it with them ... but they refused, and Clark won the argument to keep it.

So the chief of the Getae of Tower lies dead, his body in the hands of the adventurers ... but the Getae remain in their fastness, and Okok the Ape-King remains in the dungeons below ...

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