A gruesome twosome for the GM to torment players with.
Nefarious NPC’s #3 – 306k
The harpy witch, Divannis Queenclaw and her familiar imp, Yuguk.
The following day we found ourselves traveling being led by Drogo and battled through 2 raptors and 3 Deathpods before reaching the edge of Farmers Wood. We had been following tracks the ranger had happened upon in the place the guards said they had fought the demon. Drogo tracked them to the shore of lake where stood an aqueduct with the green tower behind us visible on top of a hill. It was late and we decided to camp at the edge of the forest where of course we were set upon by a Brownfang dragon. Drogo got the deathblow.
In the morning we found our new companions had wandered off into the trees and met an old fisherman who had walked by our camp on his way to the lake. He told us that the previous night a cow had been killed by the “demon” and pointed us in the direction of the violate field. On inspection of the corpse my demonological expertise told me that this was a fiend with a touch of shadow and most certainly not a full-fledged demon. With a sigh of relief I broke the news to my two companions and Drogo searched the area around the body to try to pick up a trail. He found one and was able to back track the prints to some old ruins in the woods after a couple of hours. The place was not distinct just some moss-covered piles of old bricks and shattered masonry with some overgrown old foundations here and there. The ranger found a cave the mouth of which was no more than a hole in the ground held open by the roots of an ancient tree next to an old foundation. Tweena climbed down using her rope, she was the only one carrying any, and had to make gymnastics roll to safely leap the remaining 20 ft distance after a 70 ft. climb straight down. I teleported down after Drogo made it to the bottom and lit a torch.
We were immediately set upon by a pair of giant centipedes. I slew both of the monsters and found that both of my companions had been paralyzed by the centipedes’ venom. I could do nothing but cast Illuminate in order to hopefully stave off any more giant vermin and concentrate for the next few hours to maintain it trying to wait out the effects of the poison. After about 3 hours both of my fellows were able to move the venom having worn off leaving them only slightly stiff. We proceeded south down a short passageway connecting the partially collapsed chamber that we dropped into to a larger room with angled corners. There were arched passageways to the south, east and west. The passage to the south was choked with spider webs and Drogo picked up on the “demon’s” tracks going down the eastern route. Tweena and Drogo decided it was a good idea to set the webs ablaze before following the demon tracks so Tweena went to light them with her torch that was when Drogo spotted a pair of giant spiders which we easily took care of after the webs went up in a blinding blaze of flames. After dealing with the monstrous arachnids our focus went back to the mission and we followed the tracks through the eastern archway.
Past a set of niches and the remnants of a pair of shattered statues the hallway terminated in an archway through which we could see a set of stone steps rising. At the archway a pair of old bronze doors lay knocked down long ago atop which lay a desiccated corpse. Tweena looted the corpse finding 50 ft of rope, a superior quality dagger, a high quality longsword, a battle axe, a waterskin, 5 days rations, 10 silver pieces in a rotting pouch, a crossbow with 10 bolts, a gold ring on a boney finger, 5 unused torches, and the corpse was wearing a suit of studded leather armor which was amazingly intact. We proceeded up the stairs after Tweena packed up the loot.
The stairs led up into an octagonal chamber with statue niches in the north, east and south walls occupied by demonic goat-headed and winged statues. The center of the room sank with steps leading down into it to a wellhead. On three sides of the pit on the floor above were sacrificial altars equipped with silver chains and suspended troughs leading from the altars with spouts hovering over the well presumably to let the blood drain into the well and to wherever that led. The trail led to the well and probably into it. Scribed into the curb of the wellhead was demonic script but I couldn’t decipher its meaning. Tweena was able to identify the well as an open portal to somewhere. The “demon” sprung at us from the well and after a short battle the ranger smote the fiend with his sword. He severed the head and we tossed the black rubbery corpse back into the well. I teleported back to the surface shortly after the fight with the length of rope taken from the corpse so I could pull Tweena’s rope back up and tie the corpse’s rope to the end before lowering back down so the other two could climb back up. We camped near the opening and kept a large campfire.
Come morning we attempted to travel back to Farmers’ Keep but Drogo got us lost until midday so we had to set camp at the Western Edge (of Farmers Wood). The night was anything but uneventful as on my watch, the first, a Carnivog (another killer plant creature) happened upon camp upon which I got the deathblow. On second watch, Tweena’s watch, an unnaturally large wild boar rushed into camp but got away and on third watch, Drogo’s watch, a pair of trolls attacked but we made short work of them mostly due to my acid bolt. Later the next morning we finally made it back to Farmers’ Keep.
The first order of business was to deliver the package; the fiend’s severed head, to Lord Phenox (Black Eagle’s brother as he was in dispose at the time) and the captain of the nobles’ guards took us to Haldred Jeanor, Black Eagle’s druid, to receive our reward of 1,000 gold pieces. My share was 333 gold pieces, 333 silver, and 333 coppers. We made our way back to the Merry Farmer. I bought food and spoke to the bartender, named Flek, about the Red-Daggers thieves’ guild and found out that the local guild was the Shadow-Hands who are enemies of said other guild after dropping him a gold piece. We sat in the tavern for most of the day with Drogo picking up the first round. It wasn’t until evening that Corfen, the captain of the town guard that promised us he’d buy rounds if we brought the “demon’s” head back, showed up at the tavern and declared to the drunks and soon-to-be that our money was “no-good here tonight!”
He had the barkeep bring out the “best” bottle of Hill-Lander whiskey in the place and we sat and drank with him. We found out in the course of the night that Lord Black Eagle had a bounty on each Red-Dagger head brought to him for assassinating his wife the previous year. Corfen and Drogo rented whores for the night and left for their rooms. Tweena departed for hers. I sat and bought more food as I was drinking light for once. Shortly after Tweena left and I was finishing my meal a squire sat down across from me. He introduced himself as an envoy of the Shadow Hands guild and told me the Ranknor had stolen an item from the Red-Daggers that they were supposed to deliver to Blackgut the troll. Needless to say Ranknor now had a 1,000 gp price on his head if delivered to the Red-Daggers. The squire, a disguise btw, was named Keenor. He said that Flek the barkeep would know how to get a hold of him (Keenor) should I need to contact him for any reason. Later I went to my room. We stayed in town for 3 days before deciding to begin anew our quest for the green tower especially since now we knew exactly where it was.
To Be Continued…
Jesae the bard (played by Rhiea) awoke in a haze and realized after a few moments that he was in a southern nomad caravan with a naked Stranis next to him sans most of his stuff (Rhiea lost her character’s inventory list). He only had the Ring of Invisibility, a few coins and his lute still on his person. He quietly vacated the wagon before Stranis could wake up and high tailed it back towards the tavern. He stumbled through the gates as the gypsy camp was located outside of the city ramparts. As he reached the neighborhood of the Hopping Rat Tavern he was surrounded in the muddy street by four well-armed thugs all with a black ‘X’ tattooed on their throats. They demanded everything on him commenting on his ring. He attempted to talk his way out of it but as he realized that they had no intention of just letting him go he activated the ring and escaped while the mooks were still reeling with surprise shortly reaching the tavern.
Jesae rejoined the group while they were preparing to move out towards Hirok to reclaim their treasure trolls be damned. While he waited the bard pined after his lady love and began to compose songs to her. Bers after a little while realized the bard might be under magical influences (he was, see last entry) as the situation was comparable to that of Dead-Eye when he was affected by the snow-maiden’s power (see The Dragonslayers Pt.18). Grom, the shaman, used Mystic Diagnosis to confirm it and the group searched their potion stores and came up with nothing that could lift the spell.
Rhiea: “Aww, f@%k me, f#$k me! Well, are there any of that guild, what’s it called, Whitestars in this town? No? F#$k me!”
After a while Vorwulf the ranger/dragonslayer decided to check to see if the coast was clear before they exited the tavern and spotted a familiar ratling spying on them atop a nearby roof. The creature ducked out of sight immediately as it realized it had been spotted. Vorwulf also could see, easily, that there were at least four Crossed-Staffs thugs waiting in the alleys across the street probably in ambush.
Vorwulf: “Tell Bloodspear we’re ready when he is!” The thugs immediately started mustering in the street.
Isis (Kyr’s player): “Woo-hoo!”
After several minutes 8 thugs led by Arvor Bloodspear were in the street ready to fight. Four of them were wearing leather scale armor with a warbelt and bronze bracers. The other four had on leather lamellar and had yellow actons over that with steel bracers on their forearms. All but Arvor Bloodspear were armed with iron-staffs. Arvor was armed with a fighting spear and was wearing a wooden chestplate under his yellow acton with steel bracers on his wrists. All had most of their faces hidden under yellow bandannas.
Gil (Grom’s player): “Man. Why do all these weak guys gotta fight us all the time.”
My Answer: “Street Cred.” (see The Dragonslayers Pt. 27)
Vorwulf drew his paired cutlasses and charged Bloodspear himself. The fight was lively with the shaman hitting a few of the thugs with lightning, two of the wounded pole-fighters finally being killed by the cone of force emitted by Kyr’s magic armor when its hit, a thug being burned to death by Grom’s throwing fire at him, and Vorwulf and Kyr getting tripped in battle. Only Bloodspear and 1 other thug survived into the second round both being basically chopped in half by Bers. Jesae even got a shot in at Arvor with a Forceball emitted from his magic bow, the one with a large emerald in it, given to him from the group’s armory. The battle ended and ended on a high note as none of the adventurers were remotely injured. They looted the bodies, or the remnants thereof and collected a few platinum pieces, gold bits (pieces of a gold coin often worth an eighth of gold coin each) and a lot of fliks (zinc coins minted by Fertums in order to keep economic control over the local area, often only good at the Fertum that minted them). Kyr and Jesae split the platinum pieces. The fliks and gold bits went into the empty strongbox behind the bar. Vorwulf smoothed things over with the angry shop owners whose buildings were damaged in the fight paying them off with 1 platinum piece each. After Vorwulf hung Bloodspear’s fighting spear on the oven the adventurers whipped out their map of Hirok-Nor and began planning out the route for the excursion in earnest. Jesae went back to talk to Stranis while they did this and while in her presence he wound up giving her all of the coins he had just gained. Strinis’ parting words to him were, “now go make some more money for our family.”
By noon they were heading out on horses sans servants or protégés who were left behind to watch the tavern and wagons. Just before they trotted through the gates Canohk the bard ran up to them hailing them to stop. He avoided eye contact with Bers and was brushed off by Vorwulf who said that they already hired a bard. Dejected Canohk frowned at Jesae who made faces at him as they exited the city gates.
By early evening the group had made it a few miles into the forest and was preparing to find a campsite until Vorwulf sighted a full unit of Hill-Landers patrolling the woods. He realized that they almost ran headlong into the mercenaries as the company of warriors was only 30 ft. away mostly hidden by the trunks of trees. The mercenary unit bore the standard which the slayers had seen before, a split field of blue and red with a spiked club over a cracked yellow skull. It consisted of 5 human warriors showing traces of faunic blood, 5 faunic warriors, a single Hill-Giant being led by a commander baring the traces of both a faunic and Hill-Giant heritage. The fight was very brief only lasting a single round and ending before all of the mercs even got their first turns. Almost all of them including the giant were transformed into chickens by Grom, a single unfortunate human warrior was cut down by Bers splattering Kyr with blood and gore and the remaining 5 fauns ran away into the woods heading east, the same direction in which the adventurers were traveling. Grom collected 3 of the chickens intending to make dinner of them.
They looted the lone corpse and went through the gear that the victims of Grom’s magic had left behind. A little while later they had settled down in a well-hidden campsite which Vorwulf had searched out and took turns at watch. The night was uneventful on two of the three watches but on the second watch, Kyr’s watch, she caught sight of a man-sized raven flying overhead through the trees. She thought she could hear a faint screaming as it passed then a silk slipper dropped from above to the ground. She woke the group and climbed a tree sighting that the over-sized raven had flown in the direction of a tower from which she could see lights in the distance almost directly north of them. Vorwulf and Grom figured it was Ekit’s Watch where there was a wizard which they had dealt with once before. They shrugged their shoulders and went back to sleep.
The next day at late morning the group while nearing the southernmost slopes of Hirok sighted 12 ft. tall trolls in full plate armor waiting behind a copse of trees possibly in ambush about 50 ft away through the trees. All of the trolls had great helms on their heads and were bearing giant-sized serpentine bladed great swords. Kyr dismounted in preparation to fight and the lead troll charged rushing through splintering trees directly at the still mounted Jesae. The troll struck him with a natural 20 slashing the little bard and his mount in two.
Rheia: “F*@k me! I got f#$king disemboweled! F*@k me!”
Vorwulf dismounted and Bers deactivated her Ring of Phantom Mount, the phantasmal horse under her disappearing landing her on her feet. Grom called down lightning onto 3 of the trolls dealing some damage. A second troll charged the shaman who parried its powerful blow getting locked into a clinch his magic steel buckler versus its crooked blade. A third troll charged Bers and struck her with a massive blow of natural 20 she dropped almost dead (by 1 pt.) to the ground bleeding everywhere.
Grom let go of his buckler which was thrown away by the troll’s blade and he used a magic ability on his mithral helm to cast Heal on Bers healing her wounds (save for 5 Hit Points). Vorwulf got struck with a critical blow and was hideously wounded but was able to active his Boots of Fleet of Foot.
Cris: “I’m gonna f#^k these guys up!”
Kyr was forced into a recovery check to reduce the damage and the shaman quickened a healing spell to help her. The shaman when parrying another sword blow used his battle magic (a magic feat) to try to transform the trolls into chickens but the monsters’ armor began to glow seemingly protecting them completely from the spell. The rest of the round was spent avoiding blows or taking a fair amount of damage while Vorwulf danced around the trolls unleashing a rain of paired weapons blows and power attacks dropping two of the trolls. The second round began with Kyr striking out with a power attack facing off with one of the trolls in single combat. The shaman cast Mass Bull’s Strength reinforcing all of the adventurers and by the end of the first turn Bers leapt back to her feet. Kyr went into a berserker rage and Bers dropped 1 of the remaining trolls. The last which Kyr was engaged with in battle was killed by Vorwulf which had to flee with a blindly raging Kyrahma on his heels. Fortunately the duration of Kyr’s rage expired at the exact same time as the duration of Vorwulf’s boots.
The remains of the trolls were scattered about and the armor unrecoverable as it had been torn to scrap when hacked-open by the adventurers on the deathblows when the sun turned the flesh of the trolls into stone. The group of dragon-slayers surveyed the scene and gathered up the remains of the bard and his gear and buried him near a tree on which they carved his epitaph.
Vorwulf: “We’re gonna have to deliver the bad news to our bar-wench when we get back.”
To Be Continued…
Another odd creature this time inspired by roman mythology. I’ll try to put up a free download once a week which will be one of the following: Bizarre Beasties, Wondrous Objects, Weird Races, or Nefarious NPC’s.
The ever-hungry armored boar Catoblepas!
By late midday the gates were back up and functional so Vorwulf took a break to go check on something he had arranged for the last time the team was in Merdna. He had paid the Dracorian Brothers (3 Hill-Lander brothers who ran the opposition gang to the Crossed-Staffs in the city) to rebuild the old Blackwing safe-house which had been burned down presumably by the agents of Sawback the dragon. Finding it barely half finished he stormed to the Hopping Rat Tavern, the tavern owned and operated by the Dracorians. There he found the tavern packed to capacity with a morose collection of locals and the eldest Dracorian out front readying a full wagon to depart. He told Vorwulf that they were unable to finish the guild-house due to the onset of the trolls and went on to warn the dragon-slayer that the splinter groups of the broken Crossed-Staff gang will be after them especially him and Bers in order to gain some ‘street cred’. He described the dominant group as being led by a Moorvyr Spearbearer named Arvor Bloodspear. He also told him about a group of ratling adventurers, tat-eyes that were trying to dominate the criminal underground of the whole area as of late as well. As for himself the Dracorian said that he was traveling south while he could to join his brothers in Skullhead far to the south off of the West Trade Road. Vorwulf asked about the tavern and the Hill-Lander gangster offered to sell it cheap waving the deed before him since he was going to ‘gamble it away anyhow’.
After securing the deed for 4 gold talons (gtals) Vorwulf returned to the gate just in time to see 20 warriors in snakeskin warbelts and covered in dirty oiled-hide capes march up lead by a tough looking commander. They were apparently unarmored, had daggers on their belts and armed with axes and unpainted wood shields. The leader announced himself as Gafar and offered himself and his men as sell-swords. A chance breeze moved aside Gafar’s cloak exposing the tattoo on his chest of a coiled green serpent to Vorwulf’s keen eyes.
Vorwulf: “Berserkers! S*!#.” He sighed. “Let ‘em in!”
Vorwulf and the rest of the group invited the berserkers to the Hopping Rat so they could sit and negotiate a price. It didn’t take long and the price of 4 gtals was settled on to keep them in town. A few hours later the slayers and berserkers occupied the tavern along with a few locals. Kyr engaged Gafar in a drinking contest and was surprised as the tavern-keeper Ebor pulled several ‘special’ tankards from behind the bar which were essentially casks with handles. She lost after about an hour of drinking and passed out onto the floor. Gafar strode through the doors with a hardy laugh his men stumbled after. Shortly after a gaggle of ratlings, adventurers by the appearance their expensive and probably magical gear entered the saloon. They were followed by 1 human with strangely rodent-like features and a 5 ft tall ratling whom ordered his drink with a Tanglenese accent. The group noted that each including the human had a tattoo around the left eye.
Vorwulf sat behind the bar drinking from his magic gold chalice careful to monitor the situation. Grom, the shaman, saw that one of the ratlings was also a shaman and decided to talk to his ‘brother’. He tapped the little creature’s shoulder and engaged him in conversation initially courting a good reaction. Bers, drunk, decided to see if she could ‘get her some’ and approached the human adventurer trying to flirt with him. She failed and growing bored she poured a Purification potion down Kyr’s throat which instantly revived her. Vorwulf’s attention was directed back to the doors when a cloaked faun appeared. He was dressed in a green cloak with silver fringing fastened by a silver acorn brooch. He introduced himself as Bard Canohk Sharptongue as he approached Vorwulf and offered his services as chronicler to this branch of the Blackwings. He was told they already had a bard, Jesae btw was sleeping in the wagon in which he had ducked during the earlier battle, but he could ply his trade in the tavern. His skills with his flute, polished redwood panpipes with mother-of-pearl inlay, were impressive. Bers attracted by the sweet music walked over and flirted.
Grom somehow offended the ratling shaman (a roll of a Natural 1 on his Social Aptitude skill) and got a tankard of ale poured out at his feet leading his companions from the tavern. A short while later Vorwulf ‘kicked out the drunks’ and began to shut the place up with the assistance of the bar-wench Stranez the Beautiful, a human with faun and naga bloodlines. Before the doors were bolted for the night Bers left with Canohk to his wagon where she intending to “get some info” had fallen victim to his charms.
The next morning, the Shaman took over cooking duties while Vorwulf set his protégé Drasknor to cleaning the place especially clearing a pile of shattered stools and tables in a far corner. Vorwulf disbanded the surviving teamsters paying each 1 platinum talon. He then took down the Hopping Rat’s slate and gave the bartender, Ebor, all of the ale and booze he could cart off on a wheelbarrow to sell down the street. Vorwulf paid Ebor and Stranez 1 gold talon apiece telling them that their services were ‘no longer required’. He then set up a sign in front of the place notifying the public that the tavern was ‘closed permanently’. Stranez offered additional services and was sure the new guild could find a place for her ‘talents’ so Vorwulf let her stay on the payroll. Vorwulf then found the pigeon keeper of the town and paid him to send a pigeon to Chago with a message written for the Black Wings guild.
While Vorwulf was away and while he was finishing up the preparation of breakfast Grom had a sudden vision. He saw three familiar chests, the ones he, Bers and Vor had buried at Hirok, being dug up by trolls and saw visions of creatures that appeared as half-dragon half-troll. The heraldry of Trollguard and the Hill-Landers mercenaries danced in his head when magic devices called the Gate Stones were revealed to him apparently in the possession of the trolls (Gil rolled a Natural 20 on the vision).
Cris: “That’s how they’re gonna get the treasure out of there!”
The Group decided they needed to get to Hirok as soon as possible. Vorwulf pulled out the map of Hirok-Nor he carried and both he and the shaman poured over it trying to figure out where the forces of Trollguard might have an encampment. The wagons were being loaded by Drasknor and Bers began itemizing their supplies and equipment. Kyr stood by the tavern door. She noticed a young berserker with a shaved head and naked save for a loincloth tucked under a snakeskin warbelt and the gold emerald eyed serpent bracelet on his right wrist. He demanded she get out of the way but she refused telling the place was closed. He became somewhat angry. Drasknor noticed this and alerted Vorwulf to the situation. Vorwulf walked up to the berserker and told him the place was closed but there was a job for him and his ‘buddies’ and the ‘pay would be excellent’. He finished by tossing him a platinum piece which dropped into the street. The berserker scowled at the both of them, Vor and Kyr, and stomped off growling.
A few minutes after that Vorwulf tossed Jesae the bard a Ring of Invisibility from the group gear. When the dragon-slayer turned back to help Bers with the equipment a couple of well-equipped street thugs walked up to Jesae while he was admiring his new ring. The black ‘X’ on each of their throat evident.
Lead Thug: “Nice ring.”
Luckily the bard pointed out the group he was following which was at arm’s length and the pair of gangsters quickly trotted away. After they were finished with the wagons the group went back inside and locked the tavern up tight. They began looking again at the map but then thinking about the plague, the shaman brought it up, so they decided to try to find a living victim of it in order to see if it had any connection to what was going on in the region. Stranis was able to tell them where they might find one, at the charnel house on a low hill by the lake shore. The people of Merdna were laying their sick among the dead in an effort to keep the disease from spreading. Vorwulf, Grom and Kyr were going to check out the charnel house while Bers and Jesae were going to sit about the tavern and drink the remaining ale.
While the trio was leaving the tavern Vorwulf caught sight of a ratling spy whom disappeared with blinding speed when he noticed he had been spotted. Heedless of their being watched they continued to the lake and the charnel house. Drasknor went into the back to take account of what was left in the stores as well as to ‘straighten up the place’. Stranis dismissed herself to wash the dishes for which she had to get a bucket of water from the public well. Jesae followed her on her way out catching up with her in the courtyard where he accidentally seduced her (an attempt to massage some info from her but she rolled a Natural 1 versus the charm check) and wound up with her rolling in the hay of the tavern stables.
Jesae was privy to Stranis’ tattoo which was a slithering black snake with a black star above it on her well-shaped thigh. Later on Stranis would tell the bard that her family name was Ressha and that her tattoo was her family’s “mark”.
Meanwhile the others were reaching the boardwalk which ran along the lakeshore and fishing piers. They could see the hill and the miserable wood building atop it. They had several narrow alleys along one side and the lake waters and small piers on the other. Kyr caught sight of the young berserker that had previously tried to enter the closed tavern with a young boy in one of the narrow alleys. He had the boy by the neck and was apparently squeezing. At the same time both Vorwulf and Grom could see the ratling following them by leaping from roof to roof and a gang of three Crossed-Staffs gang members possibly lying in wait.
Vorwulf (calling out the thugs): “Show yerselves we know you’re there!”
The three thugs stepped onto the boardwalk. Two of them were dressed in leather scale armor with warbelts, bronze bracers on their forearms and armed with iron staffs. They were being led by another who was wearing a yellow Acton over his leather lamellar armor and steel bracers on his arms. He was armed with an iron staff as well but seemed to have more skill than the other two even though he appeared to be less experienced. The black cross tattoos on their necks made it clear that they were crossed-staff gang members looking for revenge.
Grom the shaman: “You guys looking for trouble?”
The thugs charged and Vorwulf was tripped but was able to dodge an opportunistic staff strike leaping onto his feat using his acrobatic skills while Grom attempted to Call Lightning but failed. Grom was able to parry and avoid all staff blows leveled at him. Kyr was nowhere to be seen. Grom was able to back up quickly and let loose with a Primal Scream spell hurting all three thugs somewhat but also causing them to flee in panic. Vorwulf shot the yellow acton in the back wounding him knowing full well that in Westlander warrior culture that shooting a fighter was a deadly insult much more so if in the back.
Cris: “Hell yeah I know it is!”
Gil: “It is?”
Cris: “Hell yeah!”
They heard a scuffle coming from an alleyway further back and found Kyr fighting with the young berserk next to the body of a young boy. Kyr was winning and had hit her foe twice with her sword with the Coiled Serpent Berserk trying to snatch it out of her hands. The shaman and dragon-slayer just stood by watching the brawl as “some crazy berserker honor s%*t was going down”. The young berserk went into a rage foam flecking his lips and was able to snatch and toss away Kyr’s sword and knocked her to the ground on a tackle. The fight went on for two more rounds both warriors gone berserk taking turns reversing their position from under to atop each other and pummeling each other’s faces to bloody messes in the alley-mud. On the third round the shaman foolishly tried to cast a spell on Kyr but fortunately the spell failed and he didn’t extend his hands to touch her. Vorwulf warned him away from the struggling, bleeding pair. The young berserk tried to tear out her throat with his sharpened teeth and the fight turned in her favor. She power punched him in the face spattering his nose everywhere. Four half-naked berserkers walked up with wide sharp-toothed grins on their faces and green coiled serpent tats on their chests. The smiles instantly disappeared when they saw that the shaman was a bit close to the fight. Grom immediately walked towards them attempting to get between them and the fight but they were simply interested in watching the fight and began to cheer their man on.
Vorwulf: “I’ve got 5 gold pieces on the Ferenoi!”
The berserkers took that action. The next and fourth round of the fight was the end with the berserker being beaten unconscious and nearly to death. Barely breathing he was lifted up and taken by his coven brothers while Kyr’s rage ended with the fight and she shot up with a final burst of energy and snatched the berserker’s gold serpent bracelet from his wrist.
Kyr: “This is my trophy!”
The berserkers tossed Vorwulf 20 gp as they walked away. The shaman checked out the young boy and was able to heal him back up though he was very near death. Apparently the name of the berserker was Andracor the Wolf’s Jaw and he had snatched the clothes off of his sister in the streets so he in an attempt to defend her kicked him between the legs and ran off with the angry berserker hot on his heels. Satisfied with that explanation they walked on to the charnel house. Vorwulf and the bruised, muddy and bloody Kyr stayed outside by the door. The shaman cast a protective spell on himself and walked inside finding a few moaning victims of the plague. Using Mystic Diagnosis he was able to find out that the plague was supernatural created by the Plague Carrier spell and it was tinged with a significant amount of negative energy. He was able to cure the sufferers and after emerging with the restored townsfolk he relayed this vital information to his companions.
Back at the tavern Bers was sitting by herself in an empty and dark tavern drinking and by now quite drunk when the door was smashed in and in the doorway stood 3 fighters. The first entered and declared himself to be Arvor Bloodpsear speaking with a heavy accent unknown to her. He was armed with a superior quality fighting spear (the head has barbs on the sides enabling it to hook opponents), a bowie knife on his belt and wearing a yellow Acton over his wood plate armor and steel bracers on his wrists. The other two were wearing similar armor but were armed with iron staffs. All had black ‘X’ tattoos across their throats.
Arvor Bloodspear: “I am here to take revenge for the 3 brothers…” He noticed the empty tavern but recognized Bers.
Bers simply invited them to drink with her and clumsily tried to ‘seduce’ them. Not knowing exactly what they were going to do the three simply backed out saying that they would be back (they rolled a neutral result on their reaction roll). For some reason Bers thought they had said they wanted to duel them the next evening but fortunately when Drasknor rushed into the room from the cellar he couldn’t understand Bers’ drunken babble. The bard cautiously walked back in fifteen minutes after he heard the crash finding all okay save for the smashed door. Drasknor lit the place and started the oven fire. The bard sat with Bers and Stranis set a fresh tankard of ale out just for Jesae who mindlessly began drinking it while conversing with a barely coherent Bers.
Rhiea: “Awwww. F*@k you! Really!?” She failed her saving throw versus the love potion that the barmaid had slipped her character, Jesae.
By the time the others returned it was dark and the tavern was alive with a gaggle of drunks who had wandered into the street, the barkeep was
again behind the bar selling ale and Jesae was singing the best song they ever heard him sing to his love Stranis whose eyes he was intently staring into. They shrugged their shoulders and sat down to get drunk.
To Be Continued…
By late morning Tweena and the two former captives entered the tavern and met with us. The ratling was a thief named Dolus and the she-faun was a necromancer named Nami. We decided to split up as the others decided to get things done in town and I after asking the tavern-keeper for directions wanted to seek out the local alchemist. I picked up some rumors later at the alchemist’s shop whose name was Fek Blue-Leaf about a long dead hedge-wizard and a green tower far to the northeast of town. I met back up with them at the tavern and presented the idea of pursuing this tower thing.
The next day Drogo guided us in the direction of the fabled tower avoiding the road staying within the shelter of the woods. We ran into 3 lions while traveling with Drogo taking 1 down with 3 arrows and me paralyzing the other two. Drogo reluctantly killed the paralyzed animals with his dagger and went to skinning them so that their deaths would ‘mean something’. We set up camp to him to do this but he messed up on two of the beasts ruining the hides. Nami successfully pulled the hide from the last. During camp during third watch Nami and Dolus spotted a pair of trolls sneaking up on the campsite and alerted us. I paralyzed both and we burned them to ashes in the fire before they regained the ability to move a muscle. We set out again on our quest at dawn stopping by a creek by late morning to allow Tweena and Drogo to fill their water-skins. We were ambushed by a Carnivog (a large man-eating walking plant creature) which we dealt with fairly quickly. By evening we came to a large obviously dangerous plant, a Greenvise which I identified, and were stopped for a short while. The ranger took a pot shot at the giant venus-flytrap-like bulb of the creature finding his arrows useless and I knew that my acid bolt was useless against it. We decided to try to find a way around it trying to give it a wide berth. The ranger couldn’t find us a way around it so Tweena took over for a while and lucked onto a game trail around the monster. At dusk we set camp in a clearing.
Later the next day we came to a hemp field, farmlands we expected to find, and talked to the farmers getting better directions to the green tower. We were also told about Farmers’ Keep a nearby village which these farmlands surrounded. We decided to make a bee-line north towards a group of hills where the green tower was supposed to lie. Before we exited the fields a grayling (a light weight dragon) swooped from the sky and snatched up a cow. We huffed it to the tree-line where we ran directly into a Deathpod (another ambulatory killer plant-creature). My acid bolt made quick work of the creature. By evening we wandered into a field of purple lotus with Drogo and Delus falling victim to the paralyzing pollen of the flowers. Those of us who were still able backed off and I killed 3 of the plans with my acid bolt and Tweena lassoed the ratling before killing two more with her crossbow. We put some distance between us and the dangerous purple blossoms finding a campsite where we could wait out the 24 hour duration of the toxin that had affected out companions. During the night a bear had wandered into camp and stole the ranger’s rations before licking Nami’s face before it wandered back off into the forest. The next day we spotted the grayling from the day before circling the camp in the air. Nami panicked and climbed a tree while I and Tweena dragged the paralyzed pair to the cover of some bushes. It eventually flew off and by midday the ranger and thief were again able to move though they were still significantly impaired with very stiff muscles. We decided to make our way to Farmers’ Keep instead to allow our companions to fully recover. We were somewhat lost until we ran into a tree-cutter whom set us back on the right path and warned us about the red-daggers in the area who were rumored to be “planning something big” even though they were pretty much suppressed by the local lord.
Battle-weary we entered town just before nightfall entering under the shadow of a rebuilt keep flying the banners of Lord Black-Eagle (a black eagle against a crimson field). I rented a private room at the inn for myself while the others paid for a common room. We all congregated in the taproom of the Merry Farmer Tavern for the next 5 days while our two stiff companions recuperated. Realizing we needed money Tweena tried to find some craft work but found that most of the farmers and the craftsmen were away in Rockhollow for the summer festival which was taking place for the next fortnight. I gathered some more info on the green tower which was rumored to have been a hedgemage’s tower and possibly dated back several hundred years to the Era of the Mad Mages and was surrounded by a hedge maze rife with various types of lotus flowers.
On the evening of the fifth day a troop of warriors and knights burst into the taproom bearing the brand of Farmers’ Keep and Lord Black Eagle. They took up board and began toasting their fallen comrade. Of course we conversed with their captain whom introduced himself as Corfen and found that they were hunting a black-skinned “demon” with red eyes and that sucked blood from those it had slain which was prowling the Farmers Wood. There was a 1,000 gold piece bounty for the monster’s head put out by Lord Black Eagle. Corfen promised us that he would by rounds for those of us who returned with the head. So we decided to curtail our quest for the green tower to pursue this lead and get paid.
To Be Continued…
Here’s a couple of NPC’s for use in any Dice & Glory fantasy campaign. This is a re-post of all of the pdfs available through the old version of the site. All files are hosted on Mediafire.com.
Note that the pdf’s display the text as crowded in the browser but the layout of the downloaded files are fine.
Nefarious NPC’s #1 – 290k
Blackfork the Lizard Mage.
Nefarious NPC’s #2 – 130k
Vandanna Night Cloak an elvish rogue.
We three, Drogo the ranger, Tweena the dungeoneer and myself Baerig the mage, ventured along the Old Road and by early afternoon Drogo alerted me and Tweena to a ratling following us. Shortly thereafter a 7 ft.-tall mushroom creature came crashing through the trees towards us along the ratling’s trail whom by the way was nowhere to be seen. The monster was a blood-red mushroom with the cap shaped like a cup rimmed with teeth and four long tentacles dripping with a clear, sticky liquid walking on a dozen or so tentacle-like feelers. I identified it as a Crimson Fungus and we made quick work of it but not before it blasted us with its spore spray. Fortunately none of us suffered the ill-effects. Later in the evening we found ourselves at a deep ravine spanned by a ruined stone bridge.
We decided to descend the slope into the ravine, I teleported down after Drogo was at the bottom. The ranger spotted a cave mouth under the bridge in the side of the ravine so after Tweena was with us we made a beeline to it. Just as we reached the cave Drogo spotted a troll skulking in the shadows attempting to sneak up on us for a surprise attack. The troll was yellow-skinned with a black belly. I dispatched it with my acid bolt eldritch ability at the end of the short battle as well as its servant, a mangy ratling. We thought the troll might have been Blackgut only for a second realizing the troll was bestial and probably a latter generation clone of Blackgut himself. We entered the cavern lair and proceeded forward deeper into the lair and came to a large chamber with a hewn archway in front of us leading into a room with block walls and a large iron door with a sculpture of a troll’s head on it. There were open passages to the right and left as well. We took the left tunnel which descended rapidly and the north path of the fork that it led to and into a large cavern with a bubbling hot spring occupying most of its area. There was an opening to the left and a stairway to the right which led to a locked iron door. We were attacked by a pair of trolls, identical to the first, which burst from the steaming waters as well as two ratling slaves who tried to use the steam as cover in attempted sneak attacks mostly aimed at me, one of which hit its mark wounding me. Drogo was badly wounded in the fight by the trolls’ claws getting rent nearly in two by one of them before we finally defeated them. I cast a couple of Close Wounds spells on myself and Drogo to patch us up while Tweena turned her expert eye to the rusty iron door at the top of the steps.
She attempted to disarm the spring loaded blades on the door before trying to pick the lock. A loud click sounded and the blades sprung she narrowly avoided them by blocking with her steel buckler which was nearly destroyed. She eventually opened the door which we found opened into the brick-walled room we first happened upon when entering the cave. She inspected the chamber floor but found no traps and Drogo followed her towards the troll-head door. I decided to play it safe and wait in the archway by the open iron door. She didn’t find a trap and decided to try to open it but got blasted with a cone of lightning bolts which burst from the mouth of the troll’s head. Twice. She was badly wounded and I had to use a healing spell on her. My magic was by this time beginning to sap my vitality (exceeded my arcane spells per day and each spell after was inflicting Knockout Point damage). She decided to move on to the other iron door in the north wall. She easily opened the door and found a troll standing directly behind it ready to slash at her with its claws.
We retreated from the door and as the troll charged into the room we found he had a companion which followed after. I stayed at the door and blasted at them with my acid bolt as Drogo went heads up and Tweena tried to put some distance between herself and the filthy monsters so she could shoot at them with her crossbow which she wasn’t particularly skilled with btw. After a couple of rounds the trolls were dead and their corpses burning. We found they had ascended a set of stone steps which led down into a large cavern with an exit at its far end which turned south that we assumed wound back to the entrance passageway. Tweena and Drogo descended while I kept guard at the top of the steps while they checked the chamber. They were ambushed by a trio of ratling slaves and we made quick work of them.
After the skirmish Tweena began to check the south passage when the sound of a massive latch clacking as it was unlocked and the high pitched squeal of metal echoed throughout the cavernous lair. I could see that the troll-door in the brick-walled chamber was swinging slowly open and teleported to the bottom of the stairs as a precaution as Drogo prowled up to the top to see what was going on. Out of the door came 1 large troll assumed to be Blackgut who was armed with a heavy flail followed by a ratling in a crimson cape with an eye-patch over his right eye bearing a spear. Behind those two were another large but bestial troll with a chest on his shoulder and a ratling slave wearing a collar chained to the troll’s waist who was lugging a full sack on his back. I walked halfway up the steps so I could meet the whites of their eyes and shouted, “come meet your doom ya stinkin’ troll!”
In response Blackgut yelled back in a deep, gravelly voice crackling with phlegm, “I’ll kill you later.” With that he inserted a large gold key in a hidden keyhole and all of the doors including the two smaller iron doors which we had opened along with the troll-door slammed shut sealing us off from the brick-walled chamber. So we ran south with Tweena in the lead.
We spotted the yellow backside of the animalistic troll passing out of the now torch lit entrance into darkness of night. By the time the ranger reached the mouth of the lair they were gone and out of sight. I teleported to the cave mouth and cast Illuminate but they were indeed gone. My light however did allow Drogo to pick up their trail and us to track them down. After about an hour we approached a small clearing in the Blackwood where we could see they were meeting with a group of Red Daggers with two prisoners in the clearing between the two groups. The prisoners were a ratling and a female faun dressed in the black robes of a necromancer. Drogo began to move towards the clearing approaching a position that would allow him to use his bow. He was spotted by a ratling sentry hidden in the bushes who whistled a warning to our enemies. The fight was a disaster though we were able to free the two prisoners.
Blackgut had barely been scratched and only two of the Red Daggers, some lowly thugs, had been the only casualties on our enemies’ side. I had been gravely wounded and Drogo had been knocked unconscious. The last time I saw Tweena she too was badly hurt and ducking into the bushes with the two freed prisoners. I grabbed the ranger by the collar and teleported us both back to the edge of town. I banged on the barred door of the tavern until someone opened it and bribed them with a gold piece to let us sleep on the floor where I could see two barbarians snoring in puddles of vomit and beer. I healed up Drogo’s wounds as best I could or at least so he wouldn’t die anyway and the last of my vitality spent I collapsed into sleep on that filthy floor.
To Be Continued…
The group (now consisting of Bers the female fighter played by Jenn, Vorwulf the ranger/dragonslayer and his protégé Drasknor both played by Cris, Grom the shaman played by Gil, Jesae the bard played by Rheia, and Kyrahma the Ferenoi berserker played by Isis) sat drinking at a table and Vorwulf saw that Xanto the wasp was eating by himself and so walked to talk to him about the book when the shaman saw this he followed him over to the mage’s table. Vorwulf began bidding on the book but was lowballing Xanto but he looked as if he was about to give in as he was desperate to unload the thing. Grom immediately threw down 10 superior quality diamonds.
The bard thinking to make a little coin while the others drank decided to play a few songs. After a short while a rough looking ratling with a tattoo around his left eye tossed him a gold piece and told him to “play” in a gruff tone. Jesae played the best song he ever had (Rheia the bard’s player rolled a natural 20). After the song finished the ratling as he walked to the door while passing the bard mumbled “you play funeral dirges well”. When he told the others what had happened they immediately took it very seriously but Jesae couldn’t remember exactly what the ratling had told him.
The night was uneventful otherwise, the group retired to their campsite by the water troughs in the courtyard by the front gates amongst their wagons. Vorwulf looked for ‘the wasp’ at camp as the mage had disappeared almost immediately after selling off the book. The slayers took alternating watches as usual especially on the lookout for any ‘suspicious’ ratlings and the rest settled down for sleep in their bedrolls or on the wagons. The night was peaceful and quiet with Bers catching something out of the corner of her eye on first watch but found nothing. On second watch however, Jesae’s watch the horses began to buck and neigh foaming at the mouth their eyes bulging. In a panic the bard awoke everyone, as if they weren’t already that is, and pretty much ran around the campsite like a chicken with its head cut-off. Grom cast Mystic Diagnosis and Commune with Animals to try to get a handle on the situation as the horses collapsed and their bellies bulged. They had been poisoned and would be dead within the hour without treatment. Vorwulf used 3 of his Neutralize Poisons potions, Bers gave up 2 of hers and the shaman was able to concoct a quick antidote for 1 of the horses. They managed to save 6 of their 12 horses.
Vorwulf in a huff checked for tracks and found ratling tracks, which appeared that they were purposely left there to be found, by the water troughs. It was at this point that Jesae the bard was fumbling with the gold coin he had be given by the ratling at the tavern and noticed that the coin was stamped with the icon of a coiling dragon which the others recognized as Sawback’s symbol. Jesae observed that the ratling that gave him the coin appeared to be an adventurer of some experience and that he had heard rumors in the tavern that there’s a ratling adventuring party muscling its way into the Hirok-Nor underworld.
Bers: “The tat-eye’s getting revenge for Sawback?”
Grom: “That was a warning.”
Vorwulf: “Damn Tat-Eyes, Damn ratlings!”
They decided to leave for Merdna at dawn and doubled up the watches till morning. The next day it took almost 4 hours on the road to get the wagons to the city of Merdna a trip which should have taken 1 to 2 hours. As the city came into view they found that there were trolls between them and the city gates. The trolls were definitely familiar with 3 large trolls wielding war-hammers with wolf-skin mantles on their backs led by a 12 ft tall troll with stony brown hide. The group was interested to see them harassing the wall and its guards seemingly unaffected by the daylight.
Vorwulf: “They’re being protected by magic.”
The shaman stepped forward while the wagons were still a few hundred feet away from the trolls and cast Call Lightning causing the trolls to scatter and runaway. The group hurried to the gates and gained easy access based on their reputation. They heard horns blaring in the Thur Wood to the northwest and responses from the northeast each further than the last. Just as the last wagon rolled into town and the gates closed the very same trolls were gathered outside of the gates followed by 4 12-ft tall trolls in full-plate armor and great helms bearing troll-made Kris-blade swords. Vorwulf and Grom mounted the wood palisades alongside the young guard captain whom seemed on the verge of panic. Fifteen minutes later a mercenary unit of 15 warriors, 5 of which were Hill-Giants, spilled onto the road from the tree line led by what appeared to be an experienced captain. The mercs were obviously Hill-Landers and were bearing a standard on their leather lamellar covered chests of a split field of blue and red with the symbol of a spiked brown club hovering over a cracked yellow skull. Vorwulf used a power on his magic bow to fire a Thunder Arrow into the crowd of warriors slightly wounding a few of the human mercs and causing the armored trolls to charge the gate.
The gates were smashed into splinters as the armored trolls charged through and were followed by the four familiar trolls and 15 roaring Hill-Lander mercenaries. Bers and Kyr were on the ground to meet them as the four wagons continued on in an effort by the teamsters to get out of the way with Jesae alongside the head teamster on the lead wagon. Vorwulf drew an arrow on his bow and Grom was preparing to sling spells. Bers and Kyr met the 5 faunic Hill-Lander warriors one of which clinched Kyr’s sword on a parry while parrying with his curved longsword. Bers easily killed another spattering blood over her, Kyr and the clinching warrior. The 5 human Hill-Landers charged through the gates into the town intent on pillage some being met by sword & spear wielding residents. The commander was shot by Vorwulf whom he met eyes with and charged into the gates intent on taking out the bowman. 5 hill-giants charged through the gates and went straight for the wagons.
Rheia: “Wait. What?” She looked up at me like a deer caught in headlights (seriously).
Luckily the giants attacked the wagon last in line (it was a random roll) smashing it to bits and killing the driver, horses and all of the livestock that the shaman had acquired. The shaman hit the armored trolls with lightning to little effect. The scout trolls led by the mountain troll (the 12 ft tall troll with the horn and stoney brown hide) attacked Bers and Kyr wounding Kyr badly. Jesae ducked into the back of the wagon he was on and hid. The battle was seemingly going in a bad way for the dragon-slayers at this point but the shaman going against an initial decision to try to make it to Kyr to try to heal her cast Mass Animal Form zapping 3 of the fauns, all of the armored trolls (only one of which was even remotely injured btw) and the 3 troll scouts transforming them all into frogs. The Hill-Lander captain made it to the top of the palisades and charged Vorwulf engaging him in a sword fight and was disarmed by the ranger his curved sword flying over the battlements. The remaining faun warrior was struck by a cone of force when he hit Kyr, a feature of her magic armor given to her by the slayers upon joining as a “prospect”, and was killed by the amazon when her sword was freed from the clinch when that warrior dissolved into a frog. The captain blew his horn before Vorwulf could stop him and the giants and human warriors reversed course and leapt over the palisades just as the hill-giants passed out of the gates getting snatched up by 1. In an effort to try to capture him Vorwulf shot the giant in the back and the shaman cast Entangling Growth causing the grasses they were running through to lengthen and entangle him but he easily ripped free (rolled a Natural 20) as Vorwulf leapt over the battlements using an acrobatic roll to prevent taking damage form the fall and while Grom ran down to the smashed gates. The mountain troll was killed by Bers who cut him into two pieces covering her and the wounded Kyr in black stinking troll’s blood. They wasted no time in calling Grom over in order to blast magic fire over the two already regenerating bits. The group assessed the damage and the shaman began healing the wounded.
While they did this they could hear the panicked blaring of signal bugles the bleating fading into the northeast. They realized that the guards as Vorwulf went to chastise the guard captain were just kids around the early teen-years and were armed with lower-end hunting bows the arrows they were using were useless for big game much less against fully armored warriors. Real fighters would’ve been armed with javelins while manning the timber. They were told that the absent forces of Merdna were sent to Fertum Vorahd to reinforce it about 3 days ago against a potential siege. Vorwulf asked after the druidic marshal, the druid and lord Vorahd all of which were based out of this city were also gone. The lord had retreated to the Fertum when the first troll incursions began and thus the reason the city forces were dispatched to protect the Fertum. The druid fled to where no one knows but he left with his pupil in a loaded wagon several days ago. The marshal left on what they assumed was an official mission but none knew exactly what he was up to or he had gone. They were also informed that a mysterious and sudden plague that spread from the south and was ripping through Hirok-Nor had made its way to Merdna and was rumored to have already hit the Fertum. Vorwulf and his protégé began helping the guards and resident artisans to repair the front gates while the rest of the team recuperated.
To Be Continued…
Here’s some strange races for use in any Dice & Glory fantasy campaign. This is a re-post of all of the Weird Races pdfs available through the old version of the site. All files are hosted on Mediafire.com.
Note that the pdf’s display the text as crowded in the browser but the layout of the downloaded files are fine.
Weird Races #1 – 121k
The Wargork pigmen.
Weird Races #2 – 316k
The Bezgall worm-creatures.
Weird Races #3 – 152k
The Zektoi wasp-people.
Weird Races #4 – 208k
The Horsehead; pain obsessed centauroids.