The Arvan Game Pt. 12: Burnt Bridges

Come morn they, our heroes Bers (played by Jenn) and Dead-Eye (played by Cris) double-timed it back to the nearest farm in order to stock up on supplies and deliver the bad news about the abducted girls. They planned to take the Old High Road back down to the Old Grove where they would cut southerly following the tree line to Miller’s Bridge hoping to stay far enough away from Loc Lake to avoid the Loc-Troll. They made it to the site of the bridge without incident only to find the burnt remnants staring back at them while farmers were struggling to rebuild the short span which was made difficult by a rainstorm in the mountains to the North causing the creek to flood and flow as strong as a river. The story they got was that for some unknown reason the stand-off which was begun when Sir Chinsalis and the Hill-Landers drenched the wooden span of the bridge in lamp oil. During the battle a lightning bolt summoned by Siamnecca the druid lit the bridge ablaze. They decided to go the Loc Lake route where there heard from the laborers there is a narrow cart-bridge. Pretty much with no choice, Cris really didn’t want to deal with the troll realizing the bridge is probably a troll bridge, they headed out even though they only had about an hour or so of daylight left (daylight turns trolls to stone in the Dice & Glory game btw). By sundown they found themselves back at the edge of the Old High Road across from a hillside 2 to 3 miles South-East of Loc Lake. Dead-eye found a campsite just off the road at the foot of the hill. It was not very well hidden but they were among the high grass and weren’t going to build a fire since they were decided on subsisting on dried trail rations.

Later that night during second watch Bers heard rumbling footsteps which awoke Dead-Eye just in time to see a giant troll in full plate armor wielding a giant hammer crash through the brush into their camp. In the darkness Dead-Eye mistook the horns on his helmet for actual horns believing him to be a horned troll. They could also hear other smaller but still large creatures circling the camp out of sight. After a brief speech they found out he was looking for a “puny knight” who had hurt him, they also noticed that his hands were two different colors and the lighter one was of a smoother, newer texture. He also mumbled something about a green archer and that he was only there waiting for the carnage so he could clean up after the fight. But as in Cris’ words, “we don’t heed the words of some stinkin’ troll!” They surmised, probably rightly, that they couldn’t take him in open battle especially since he had company and decided to throw a large bag filled with a few thousand Fliks (small zinc coins minted by Fertums in order to keep economic control of the surrounding area and thus pretty much worthless outside of the influence of the mint Fertum). He gladly took the bribe and urged his “brood” on. The following morning they indeed found a gaggle of footprints surrounding their camp which Dead-Eye identified as at least 6 large to medium-sized trolls, probably 2nd or even 3rd generation trolls. They continued on over the narrow old bridge and along the Old Road heading South towards Dreyton.

Three days later they found themselves at the fork of the Old High Road, The Old Road and Miller’s Fork Road. Dead-eye found a campsite in depression off of the road in the crotch of the fork where an old rusted cage and its hangar had fallen. They made sure to lay out their bedrolls a ways from the cage in the deep part of the cleft. At first watch a young knight stumbled into the campsite bearing the arms of the Hyvalian Theocracy, the same arms which Sir Chinsalis bore. They were able to pantomime that they were friends and the young paladin whose name was Chingris was very talkative unfortunately he only spoke Hyvalian and as they only spoke Westlander it was an awkward evening. At second watch the group was awoken by the sound of moaning emanating from the direction of the fallen cage when investigated they found nothing and decided to leave it alone convincing themselves it was the wind when they knew very well it was not. In the morning after equipping the young paladin with rations he took off South and they continued along the Old Road heading South-West.

A day later the weather made a turn for the worst and it was raining cats and dogs as their wagon creaked along the muddy road as they pulled it, I forgot whether they couldn’t afford a beast of burden or if I had something happen to their current mule which was a sort of running joke on them I guess. Anyway, they neared the edge of the Eagle’s Grove and a Hill Giant stepped out into the road wearing a camo-painted cloak bearing an iron-staff. Into the road behind them stepped what appeared to be an Arborean Druid also in a camouflaged cloak with a lacquered stave. Dead-Eye was able to spot a ranger with a similar cloak off the road in the bushes with a short-bow. The giant demanded all of their money, weapons and other possessions. If they left it all there and walked away they could live. So of course they prepared to fight even though they knew this could very well be their last battle.

The ranger in the bushes got a shot off at Dead-Eye but missed, Dead-Eye warned Bers to take out that druid first. Bers had to dodge when the giant swung at her first and Dead-Eye shot the ranger in the bushes killing him by the second round. The druid’s spells (he was able to get 2 off) had no effect on either of our heroes, luckily since either could have ended the battle right there. He was cloven in two by Bers in a single stroke of her axe. Both then converged on the giant. Dead-Eye dropped his bow and pulled his long-sword and bowie knife attacking with paired weapons. Bers had to make 2 recovery checks in the second and third rounds. The battle lasted into the beginning of the 5th round before Bers was able to drop the giant with a single power attack as Dead-Eye had backed off to down some potions and she was on KO points but they had won. The bandits’ bodies weren’t worth looting as they didn’t carry their loot on their persons so the two victors finished off their potions and tried to get some distance between them and the bodies before camping. A day and a half later they found themselves once again in the walls of Fertum Dreyhawk.

To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game Pt. 11: The Horrors of Hornstone

Note: As Hornstone served as a testing ground for certain traps, set-ups and chambers that I’m using for the Obsidian Doom module I’ll be abridging the play-by-play in the ruins though a few I’ll have to mention as the results were just too rich not to mention.
In the trees outside of the ruins of Hornstone they decided to sleep through the day in order to confront the monsters within on their own terms (and sleep in safety as the monsters will probably be aware of them very soon anyway). They spied the ruinous tower which was as white as bone with hollow grayish pocks and pores due to the pecking/burrowing of birds throughout the centuries of abandon. They drank the whiskey they were hauling with themselves and both slept while hidden (luckily for them, no encounters). They woke as dusk approached and prowled (well, Dead-Eye was as quiet and unseen as a ghost, Bers on the other hand, stumbled up in the open making all kinds of racket) up to the sagging and slightly ajar double door, the entrance to the ancient tower.
They carefully, or should I say slowly rounded the tower circumspect to try to find an alternate way in besides the front door dissuaded by the cavernous darkness and musty smell. They found that they front door was the only way in and thus they walked in to the high ceiling octagonal foyer. On four of the walls in the dark and musty chamber were the open-mouthed reliefs of frowning yet laughing satyrs, an eerie and soft moan could be heard from each of their mouths caused by drafts. They proceeded carefully into the center of the chamber towards the only other door, a man-sized door barred by a rusted portcullis. The floor dropped open and they both failed their saving throws to dodge so they fell 50ft down into a lower chamber.
They landed onto a pile of bones that shielded them from the spiked floor as the trap-floor above slammed shut. The chamber they found themselves in was suddenly brightly lit without obvious source of illumination and a magic mouth appeared over the only exit a studded bronze double-door. Basically they stumbled into a labyrinth, a magical dungeon-maze used primarily for entertainment by powerful mage-lords. As I used this part of the campaign to test a few trap rooms and scenarios for the Obsidian Doom module I’m just going to relate a few of the best moments and glance over the rest.
In a one of a few chambers with a door at each of the compass directions under Hornstone Bers went to open a door with Dead-Eye guarding her rear watching an open archway in the opposite direction, of course the door was a trap it swung outward from her attached by a chain to a large solid stone block counterweight which was directly above her head as the door was recessed (the only recessed passage in the room by the way as well as the only door), she made her strength check to keep a hold of the door and found herself in a tight spot, Dead-Eye leapt through the passage into the next room after a successful Acrobatics skill check and splashed into a chamber with a flooded floor (the dungeon under Hornstone was a little decrepit after centuries of no maintenance) only to have two revenants rise form the water. They correctly identified one these as the farmer’s missing daughter, Bers dodged the falling block as she let go of the door latch and jumped backward, Dead-Eye had already immediately leapt back as a dodge from a claw attack. The revenants just went around waiting in the North room as it connected with no obstructions to the flooded chamber. As our duo passed through the North door-less arch Bers triggered a tripwire trap after Dead-Eye had already pointed it out and a barbed spring-loaded spear-trap shot out of a hole and nailed her in the knee crippling her leg, she easily pulled herself off of it after a successful Will-save almost tearing the leg clean off. The revenants attacked and she swallowed down a couple of healing potions, the battle was brief and our heroes easily slaughtered the undead corpses of two young girls. Another trap room which they had stumbled upon with no way back was a tabletop-boulder balance room, I thought I was clever with this one but turns out it’s a classic dungeon trap and one which has now appeared in the game I’m currently playing but with TWO boulders of course my mage has the Teleportation I eldritch ability so it was nothing, but enough with the aside.
Dead-Eye barely made it and tossed a rope to Bers who had to be quickly yanked to the opposite side as she stumbled at about the center of the balance-table-floor and the boulder nearly rolled over her. They eventually made it to the end and were a little disappointed to find an empty and long abandoned observation/entertainment room where a central crystal viewing orb gave the only weak flickering light in the room. They found steps and a wide stone step rising to a secret trap-door under the flags of the chamber above (the chamber behind the rusted portcullis) but decided to sleep in the deserted chamber as they were badly beaten up till the next night (hopefully). They missed the secret door leading to the still secret treasure vaults of the place even after a careful inspection of the area (tee-hee).
They got their timing right and woke at the desired time and continued to the upper chamber. They were ambushed shortly afterwards by a murder of Garkains which dropped on them from the high domed ceiling. They were both enwrapped within the stinking pale leathery wings of the monsters and each had three creatures on them and being drained of blood. Bers even had one of the fiends sinking its teeth into her boot and foot in order to suck blood when it couldn’t get in edge wise between its brothers. It looked like a TPK (total party kill) on my part when both Dead and Bers were able to break loose with Natural 20 grappling checks and quickly won the battle Bers even throwing her axe at a fleeing Garkain as she was a bit miffed about the whole thing. They ascended and were met with dusty ruined rooms, rotting wood floors and disintegrating plaster walls. They made their way up through the upper rooms and seemed to find no other monsters until Dead-Eye fell through a rotted bit of floor into a locked armory in the floor below (they couldn’t get the doors open) and onto the rusted spears still on the racks. As Bers was getting ready to lower a rope the vampire warrior had snuck up behind her and successfully used his Seduction ability on her and began to drain her blood, she was very pale and sickly at this point; ready to lose consciousness. Dead-Eye used a grappling hook he had bought upon gearing up before the leaving Fertum Dreyhawk (Cris, Dead-Eye’s player recognizing a dungeon hook when he saw one) to climb out just in time to save her life and they fought the vampire though this time they were able to land a few more blows chasing him off. They attempted pursuit to a rickety balcony only to run smack-dab into a Skrane (Bizarre Beasties #4 on the Ranger Games Publishing website) which they easily defeated but not before taking a few good blows. They decided to barricade themselves in a mostly empty room without a window as the dawn neared needing another bout of healing and rest.
When they awoke thy heard the same mysterious pipe-song they had heard in the barn several nights ago but were able to shake off the effects this time around and basically charged their way up to the top where they faced the vampire warrior again before reaching the top but were able to easily defeat him looting his corpse of a battleaxe, a gold helmet, spiked gold bracers and the strange black cape which seemed to take the shape of batwings when he flew. They left his dagger (a cursed item but other than that there was nothing special about it, guess that’s why they left it). They also ran into a few giant spiders and a shadow creature but took them out pretty quickly (in about 2 rounds) and ran into the final confrontation with a vampire Satyr, which I had named Manaan but they never did learn his name. The battle lasted 5 melee rounds and culminated with their ramming a sliver of shattered wood furniture into his heart after they beat him down with the hafts of their weapons and stripped off his bronze chest plate. They recognized the final chamber at the top of the tower as an old chapel of some kind though it was obviously desecrated. They quickly vacated the place while they had daylight without inspecting for any hidden chambers (which of course there were) and made sure they were far outside of Satyr’s Grove and near the North Spur before camping.

To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game Pt. 10: The North Spur

Our intrepid heroes find themselves at a feast with the Ivoran Paladin of the Hyvalian Theocracy Sir Chinsalis and his squire, Xingri after agreeing to and being converted to the Hyvalian faith of course. Sporting their new wooden chalice symbols around their necks they recline on pillows as servants pile smoking meats and dew beaded fruits on the low tables before them. They are introduced to the guests for which this feast was set to receive, three Hill-Lander warriors. The first, a half-faun/half-hill giant brick named Skran, the second a half-faun/half-human ranger/archer named Han and Baalkra a faun and fighter/satyr by class the leader of the three. The two adventurers immediately took a liking to the whiskey swilling three, especially Bers (Jen’s character) since Baalkra was flirting with her (she said she also liked Chinsalis since he treated her like a lady and he defeated at arms as well, sheesh).
During the feast the pair (Dead-Eye and Bers) learned that Chinsalis was awaiting “his master” who had commanded him to keep the bridge and his retinue, a small force of Hyvalian crusaders led by an exiled Hyvalian noble named Han-moro, a Templar. Realizing that they are in the nest of the enemy Dead-Eye immediately began formulating an escape plan (though since they converted Chinsalis, or “Chinless” as they kept calling him, would’ve let them go anyway, but…).
The next day they were waked from their whiskey/ale stupor by Xingri and told to “suit up”. They walked out in full gear and saw the Chinsalis being mounted on his Sleipnir in full battle armor and the Hill-Landers fully armed and ready for a fight. Across the bridge they could hear the shouts of a familiar and fanatical voice, that of the druid Siamnecca. He was inciting the farmers whom were still stuck on the opposite side and with him a female archer clad all in green bearing very good gear. It was at this moment or heroes immediately bolted with their donkey and cart (also rescued by the paladin) and continued on their way towards the North Spur to investigate the mystery of the missing girls. Needless to say they made record time. Later that night they could see the glow of a great fire on the horizon in the direction of Miller’s Bridge and were glad that they had had the “foresight” to flee.
They found their way to the Old High Road after traveling North from Miller’s Bridge for a night and walked the road Northward for 4 or 5 days (I can’t remember which) and then traveled East to reach the small collection of farms and ranches at the edge of the Granfor Forest and its spur known as North Spur to the North of the farmers. They noticed the road was an ancient paved road and millennia worn. They found distraught parents in farm after farm in the North Spur whom were missing their young daughters and complaining of a weird presence and overwhelming feeling of dread that something “unnatural” was wandering about the houses at night. Emanations or hideous fiends were wandering in from the forest, possibly originating from the cursed ruins of Hornstone to the North beyond the North Spur past the Horn Wood and Satyr’s Grove. None of the farmers have dared to go past the North Spur and those who did in the past were never heard from again (how’s that for cliché). They decided to stay in a barn at the farm closest to the Old High Road. In wait for something to happen, around midnight they heard a clattering as of hoofed feet on the roof and then a strange haunting tune such as the eerie sound of pan pipes playing in the distance. They failed their saves and fell asleep. In the morning they found the farm and family was unharmed though the now youngest daughter was ill with a fever and chills, Dead-Eye found the unmistakable mark of the vampire on her throat. They inspected the outside around the farmhouse and found hoof prints beneath the windowsill of the girl’s room. They decided to use her as bait and stay in the room with her under the pretext that they were “protecting” their daughter. They chose to get their sleep during the day. Later that night around midnight they heard the same eerie sounds of a pipe playing but through the beeswax that was plugging their ears and they readied to pounce, Dead-Eye was well-hidden under the sill on the inside, Bers was basically just squatting at the center of the room. They heard the sound of a very human tread on the roof after a fairly loud thump as if something had landed on the apex of the roof. They then spied a black-cloaked figure drift down from above before the window the creature appeared as a very pale human in obviously antiquated bronze plate armor and an open helm. His black cape had the odd penchant for flapping and resembling a pair of large batwings. He immediately locked eyes with Bers and Dead-Eye shot at his chest. He backed off as the two fighters leapt through the window and the fight was on!
It lasted for 1 minute (4 melee rounds) as the vampire was very hard to hit and was in fact laughing as he bobbed and weaved slashing at them with his scimitar he continued to hover and back into the woods. They eventually began to score a number of hits as did he and he hit hard. After 4 rounds he suddenly broke off and flew deeper into the woods past a ridge. Our two heroes made chase, Dead-Eye picked up a trail of broken branches but lost it at the other end of the North Spur. By the time they got back it was nearly evening again and they found that the daughter that they were supposed to be protecting was gone, only a small spot of blood remained of her on her pillow.
They got a few hours rest as it was in the afternoon and Dead-Eye would try to pick up a trail and follow it though he correctly surmised they would be heading towards the ruins one way or another anyway. At evening they were up and following a trail that consisted of broken branches, hoof prints and small barely perceptible drops of blood. Bers (and her player Jen) seemed somewhat concerned for the girl, a bit guilty maybe? They followed the trial back onto the Old High Road where it went cold but the general direction was of course heading straight for the ruins of Hornstone and the shortest path would be through Satyr’s Grove into Horn Wood to Hornstone on the other side. They wound up camping at the dead center of Satyr’s Grove and Bers was on watch around midnight when she a strange light in the woods and chose to investigate. She went a way into the trees and found that the light was a tiny dragon-fly winged fairy which suddenly flew to her and began dancing and flying all about her, she was charmed until it darted away and held up a very valuable gem, a fist-sized diamond that she had had on her person. As it flew away giggling she pursued at a full run and fell into quicksand, her yelling for help attracted a prowling wolf and thankfully Dead-Eye who shot the wolf, it ran away to basically die of its wounds, Dead-Eye lamented the loss of an arrow. Bers learned a valuable lesson: beware faeries! They emerged from Satyr’s Grove by late morning it was then that Dead-Eye noticed that the trees of Satyr’s Grove were too evenly spaced and some had the overgrown remnants of old druidic runes carved into their warty trunks.
The crossed a narrow meadow still following the ever fainter paving stones of the old road North into the tree line of the Horn Wood. By dusk they had to camp at the North edge of the Horn Wood and for obvious reasons decided to not have a campfire and made attempts to camouflage themselves while they slept. They could see the outline of the ruined tower of Hornstone hardly identifiable as a ruin by the deceptive black silhouette limned by dusk. On his watch Dead-Eye spied two forms fly from the top of the ruinous tower which flew in the direction of the farms of North Spur.

To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game Pt. 9: Duel on Miller’s Bridge

The knight introduced himself as Sir Chinsalis and, “none shall pass as I claim this bridge in the name of my Lord and of the Shuen [the pope-like figure of the Hyvalian Theocracy]. Those who wish to pass must convert to the true faith or defeat me in duel!”
Of course Bers challenged him.
Both of our fearless adventurers realized after the duel was agreed upon however, that they had encountered the crusader who has a bounty on his head (see Pt. 5) but were confident that Bers would triumph even though the paladin (it was obvious to Dead-Eye) had excellent equipment (full plate and a 6-legged [the Sleipnir] warhorse with chain mail barding). It was to occur at dawn at behest of Dead-Eye as he “had a plan.”
During the night before the duel while Bers rested in the farmer’s camp Dead Eye (Cris’ character) decided to sneak over the creek bed to feed Chinsalis’ camp and feed a Miniaturization potion to his warhorse to even the odds a little but was spotted by his squire whom was keeping guard (just in case something like that should happen, you can’t trust those barbaric Westlanders ya’know) and shot a bolt from his crossbow and missing by a mile after hailing the half-seen shadow in the depression of Farm Creek. Dead Eye slunk back off knowing he wasn’t seen well enough to be identified.
Dawn came and Bers faced down Sir Chinsalis whom was in full plate armor and mounted on a fully armored warhorse at the entrance to the bridge. The fight lasted for about 2 rounds with the horse dealing the majority of the damage to Bers and Bers severely wounding Chinsalis until the paladin backed down and purposed that they break and he dismount, to which she readily agreed and so they went back to their respective ends of the bridge and quickly drank potions as both were very near death. Once healed they went back at it with Chinsalis dominating the fight with his paired weapon: sword & shield ability using a shield bash to unbalance Bers and then to follow up with a sword slash, Bers was using her great axe with a two-handed grip through out the fight by the way. Of course, to regain her balance Bers would have to forgo an attack so she always chose not to catch her balance so inevitably she got knocked to the ground with a shield bash, on the first downing Chinsalis allowed her to get back on her feet the second time he held the tip of his sword to her throat and made her yield. This presented some cultural role-playing opportunities which never were explored (Jen’s new at this RPG thing so I let it go).
Westlanders (Bers’ culture) have a separation of society into civil and warrior and within those their own separate hierarchies or caste system. As Bers (and Dead Eye) are of the warrior caste they are bound by its laws and basically Bers was supposed to become the paladins thrall by Westlander law, now he is not a Westlander but an Ivoran whose culture is vastly different though sharing some similarity. Of course, the way around this is the paladin is not a Westlander and that he did not explicitly claim her life.
Anyway, after the duel our two faithful adventurers decided to walk around the bridge through the creek bed further up enough to not be seen even from afar but especially the bridge (the farmers couldn’t do this as they had fully laden wagons). They rested for another day to allow Bers to fully heal. During the night they had to fight off 3 medium sized trolls (probably latter generation trolls as they were bestial and had no equipment) getting them back into the good graces of the farmers whose lives they essentially saved. They had to wait another day as they both needed to heal after the fight. They left just before dawn and traveled North into the cover of a large copse named Old Grove and began to cross the creek just as they were able to pull their mule to the top of the opposite side they were confronted by an Otkid hunting party they were making quick work of the hunters and even slaying the chieftain but were unable to get to the real threat, their shaman. They both failed their saving throws and were transformed into rabbits. They were both grabbed by the feet and were about to be slaughtered and dressed for dinner right there.
Luckily this was when Chinsalis galloped up and having caught site of the situation as he came up was able to chase off the Shaman and the surviving faun savages and later restored the pair whom woke up in a tent realizing they were in Chinsalis’ camp after peaking out of the slit.

To be Continued…

The Arvan Game Pt. 8: Killing the Were-Beast

Later that night around midnight or so both heroes, Bers the fighter and Dead-Eye the Ranger, remained hid whilst a large creeping shadow (spotted by Dead-Eye initially but seemed unconcerned with staying hid as it neared the increasingly panicked cow) silently moved closer. The shadow kept getting bigger and as it got close enough for them to charge it they did erupting from teh bush that hid them. The caught a full glimpse of the creature revealing itself to be a Were-Bear. They both failed their Courage saves and Dead-Eye froze in his tracks and Bers immediately fled having rolled a Natural 1. The Were-Bear attacked Dead-Eye and they battled. Somewhat. Dead-Eye ran after getting hit and was actually able to outrun the beast by a narrow margin as Bers continued to flee for the next 2 melee rounds. Dead-Eye eventually turned and stood his ground suffering some decent damage (he was fighting with his Longsword and bowie knife) though the beast went into a rage (it was in hybrid form btw). Bers spent the next 2 rounds after successfully overcoming her terror and rejoined the battle and dropped her spear (the one embossed with Dragon Metal) on her first attack that round. They ganged up on the creature with Bers taking lead and Dead-Eye slinking back to shoot with his silver-tipped arrows. The battle continued for another two rounds before Bers landed a Power Attack on the last and 7th round (about 1 minute 45 seconds) causing the creature to bolt at full speed of course they didn’t pursue. Actually Dead-Eye convinced Bers not to try to chase it down since he was in pretty bad shape and she had suffered a critical bite attack leaving her more wounded than she had at first thought.

The next morning they at least returned the cow intact and drank down their remaining healing potions though Bers awoke less wounded than she thought she should be. They endeavored to rest for the next day and a half. Their rest turned into about 3 days. During that time Bers had increasingly strange nightmares of running through the wilderness nude tearing aprat animals with her bare hands (it doesn’t take a genius to realize what Cris [Dead-Eye’s Player] did). On the fourth day at morning they went to pick up the trail and began to investigate where the creature might lair, the Light Wood was immediately to the West across the Trade Route. As they reached a ranchhouse closest to the road approaching from the West. In front of the ranchhouse was a small plaza with a well at the center. From the South along the road they spotted the dust cloud of approaching riders, at least 8. They ducked into the tall grass and laid flat watching. They saw the riders were members of a Berserker Coven all with tattooes of crossed flaming axes on their chests. The eldest and biggest guy appeared to be the leader his second, a half human/half faun hybrid with fresh scabs, stood besides him as they muddy with road-dust and sweat as the rest began to harass the nearby farmers. They tormented the farmers for a few more minutes before moving along the road traveling North. Bers and Dead-Eye arose and decided to continue to the Light Wood.

They crossed the road and encountered the druid whom had road madly into Fertum Dreyhawk about a week previously praying at an old worn stone, the miriad carvings upon it barely visible due to age-long wear. He introduced himself as Siamnecca and asked them to pray with him and they did (basically just playing along both characters being on the atheistic side). They asked a favor in the form of a cure for Bers (for the Therian contagion) adn the druid dutifully removed the curse. They eventually asked if he could help them hunt down a Were-Beast, he agreed ecstatically to help extinguish “that offense against nature”. They traveled back to the Ranchhouse.

They skulked about the farms and houses later that night and stumbled upon the Were-Bear. Dead-Eye hit teh beast fairly hard with a silver-dipped arrow and Siamnecca the druid hit it hard with a Lightning Bolt spell. After only 2 actions/attacks the creature bolted for the road. They followed but after it hit teh Light Wood they lost its trail and decided to wait till morning to try to pick its trail back up. They camped without a fire in the forest and come morning they began again after a breakfast of trail rations. SOmetime in the morning they were come upon by an Otkid scout armed with a shortbow and behind him followed 3 Otkid savages. The battel was more of a single round slaughter. The scout was killed by single arrow from Dead-Eye’s bow, he engaged a savage with his paired weapons (longsword and bowie knife) and Bers clobbered the remaining 2. The fight lasted only a single round even though the druid simply sat out the fight in a defensive stance.

Dead-Eye was able to pick up the beasts trail after criss-crossing from where they last saw the creature to the edge of the woods. Its trail led them to the Berserker covens encampment from which they wisely kept a safe distance and stayed hid. The encampment sheltered at least 20 berserkers and the banners exhibited the sign of crossed flaming axes. They moved back into the woods and decided to lurk about the perimeter of the coven as they were certain the beast is one of the berserks whom probably hold it to be holy. During the night they were attracted to the sounds of battle and were charged by 2 berserkers foaming at their mouths one seemingly wounded. The battle was intense and Dead-Eye had to use a Recovery roll to saty alive on his first action in the second round, Bers was also grievously wounded and the Druid assissted by casting Mage Armor on both of them. The battle turned when the wounded berserk rolled a Natural 1 and threw his ae 20 ft out of reach and then tried to grapple Bers in order to rip her axe from her hands, it didn’t work and his belly was opened spilling his entrails all over Bers’ boots. SHe also took down the second berserker overkilling him to the extreme and covering herself and Dead-Eye in the splatter as the berserk’s corpse fell to the ground in two pieces. They quickly retreated to a nearby ranch-house and waited for the next night to continue their hunt.

The next night after having been fully healed by rest, potion and druid they met the beast in the fields it was plaguing and vanquished it with little difficulty the battle lasting about half a round. Basically Dead-Eye shot 3 silver tipped arrows into it and Bers chopped it into pieces. The next day they collected a 50 gp (gold piece) reward from the farmers and Siamnecca helped them to fully recover and then took his leave as the mission was completed. Bers and Dead-Eye traveled back to Fertum Dreyhawk and after spending the night and paying for baths and food they decided to travel to Northspur in the morning to check out the mystery of the missing girls in the area. It would take 4 days to travel from the Fertum to Northspur in the far North-East. They bought mounts and left on a new adventure.

They traveled about 8 miles on the Old Road with the Eagle’s Grove to teh North and a hill bordering the South side of the road. There they were robbed by a group of highwaymen in camo-painted cloaks. They lost their mounts and a bag of coinage. Teh highwaymen consisted of a Barbarian Hill Giant with a Bipennis Axe (the main reason that they just handed over the bag of coin), a Human Ranger and an Arborean Druid, all Westlanders. They continued walking East taking Miller’s Fork road to Miller’s Bridge. At the bridge they found several farmers with wagonloads of harvest camped out as in their words, “a crazy Ivoran Knight won’t let anyone pass.” They waited until morning to approach the bridge and found an Ivoran knight full-armored mounted on a war-trained sleipnir at the entrance to the bridge and his like-mounted squire on the other side with crossbow.

To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game Pt. 7

We rejoin our two adventurers Bers the female fighter (played by Jen) and Dead-Eye the ranger (played by Cris) in Fertum Dreyhawk having just had their items taken from the Wyvern's hoard identified by the resident Mage. What they didn't sell to the mage they divided. Bers kept the boots (Lvl 3, +1 bonus to Prowl, Casts Orb of Stone 1 x day by kicking, +2D6 Sonic damage to kick attacks) and the Longspear (Lvl 7, casts Phantom Scourge 1 x day). Dead-Eye kept the Silver Helmet (Lvl 4, grants x2 Visual Range, casts Warp Object 1 x day, and casts Onyx Missile 2 x day), the cutlass (superior quality, electrum embossed grip with a Dark Metal blade and electrum rivets; Lvl 15, +2 magic modifier), and the Composite Shortbow (Lvl 9, deals +1D6 Elemental Earth Damage upon arrow strike, casts Spark Shower upon arrow strike 2 x day). They split the jewels and coinage evenly with Bers getting a few more in exchange for giving up the 1 extra magic item. They secured a room at the inn and decided to rest for a day or so. On the second day while sitting and drinking in the Tavern when a loud crash and shouts attracted them outside.
They saw a youngman bleeding and apparently dying blubbering as he died, the horse pulling his shattered wagon collpased having run itself to death. Dead-Eye and Bers just stood at teh Tavern door they decided not to join the crowd around him. All they could make out were the words "Loc Troll" and "Miller's Bridge blocked by a Hyvalian knight." They kept the info in mind and decided to scratch around for more leads.
From the Caravan leaders in the Post Quarter they heard that Yellow Reapers (animalistic pack dragons with a scythe-like raptor claw instead of a breath weapon) were attacking all those who traveled through the North Pass and taking their beasts of burden and mounts to eat. A few farmers from South of Dreyton told them that a beast has been sighted around the homesteads slaughtering livestock and murdering & mutilating people out at night. It has been attacking every night but seemed particualrly vicious on the recent full moon. They guessed a werebeast (they were right btw). They find that two nights ago (while they were at Black Brow) the Fertum Strongboxes were broken into by the Blue Hand, a thief that leaves behind a blue hand print. On top of that the peasants of Dreyton seem to be unhappy with the tax situation imposed by Lord Dreyhawk. They went back to the tavern to decide what to do over some ale and food. In the middle of their meal and Bers' third pitcher a group of three Hill-Landers burst in and took a table. The eldest was a full-fledged Satyr by his large horns and shaggy mane, the second was a large half-hill giant/faun fighter and the third was a half-human/faun ranger. All were well equipped with high quality equipment and well crafted hunting horns. The half-giant had a finely made Claymore (made for a large-sized wielder) strapped to his back. All three bore the tartan sashes of highlanders. They sat and bragged about being the best warriros in the place in their barely intelligible accents. The two adventurers took their leave for their separate rooms after deciding to take out the were-beast after Dead-Eye telling Bers, "it's a werewolf, with a few silver arrows we can take 'em." In the morning they would go to Dreyton and melt some of their silver pieces down and dip some arrows in the village Blacksmith's forge. Bers was insistent that after they slew the were-wolf that the next mission was to investigate the missing girls in the North Spur. OF course Dead-Eye knew they would have to either cross Miller's Bridge or use the other route North of that going along the shore of Loc Lake. He grudgingly agreed.
Later the next afternoon, after having dipped about 6 arrows they traveled South along the Trade Route where it bent suddenly West. They appraoched the homesteads just off of the road where there was a well and found the ranchers there very eager to have them eliminate the beast. The pay was 50 gold pieces but would take it anyway. Dead-Eye searched the area and could only find a set of bear-tracks around the animal pens. They found a hiding place and decided to wait for the creature during the night.
They asked the rancher for a cow …
To Be Continued…

The Arvan Game: Pt. 6

On their way to the ruins of Blackbrow our intrepid pair, Dead-Eye the ranger (played by Cris) and Bers the fighter (played by Jennifer), pulled along their donkey packed with an ample month’s worth of rations, water, beer, rope and a couple of 10 ft poles. Around high noon a lion attempted to punce on their pack animal and Bers slew it in a single swing of her axe, then felt guilty for some reason. By nightfall they had veered North-East from the road and already ascended the first hillside at the foot of which lay the Barrows (an ancient burial ground complete with tumuli still in use by the locals of the Cleft-Rills). They had gathered up against another higher hillside concealed underneath a hedge of thorn-bushes and tough woody hill-scrub sans fire (just in case). To their immediate North lay the Meadows, a foul marsh.
During the night as the Donkey and Bers slept, Dead-Eye heard someone or something moving quickly and quietly through the high-grass and woody-bush. He peeked out and saw a scrawny Otkid (wild Fawn savages) in cowhide with javelin in hand and a well-made hunting horn strapped to his back. He came uncomfortably close to their position and after he passed Dead-Eye carefully woke Bers and they waited. After a few seconds a group of 12 Otkid marched by quickly and quietly traveling Southward. They kept alert till the morn.
They spent the better part of the next day pulling the donkey up the slippery hill, they reached the top of the hill which spurred from the direction where the hill atop which the tower of Blackbrow sat. It was dark by the time they reached the shadow of Blackbrow. What they saw was a ruined dark keep with a 10 ft wide open trapezoidal entryway and a stone well surrounded by dusty desolation. They quickly inspected the inside of the tower seeing no immediate threats and citing there were a set of steps going up into the upper floors, which appeared intact. Dead-Eye assumed the lair of the Wyvern must be below probably at the bottom of the well. In spite of that since it was growing dark they decided to camp outside by the well and started a fire. Needless to say the Wyvern lept into their camp after exhaling a blast of hallucinogenic gas, both adventurers were driven insane for the duration, 24 hrs.
The next night they began to come to, hungry, covered in dirt and Dead-Eye with pockets full of stones realizing their donkey was gone eaten by the dragon. They began to gather their equipment which was scattered all over the hilltop when the Wyvern flew in upon them and blasted them again, again they failed their saving throws and were thrown back into madness. During the late hours of that night a group of two men and a hill-giant came upon them with camouflage painted cloaks from the direction of the marsh as they wandered babbling over the hillside and decided, wisely, to avoid them. Again the two began to emerge from their stupor the next evening, starving, dying of thirst and excessively filth covered just in time to see the dragon flyby and gas them again this time Dead-Eye got a Natural 20 on his save and gave Bers a dose of Negate Toxin potion purchased in Fertum Dreyhawk. They immediately ran into the 80 ft tall tower and hide under the niche of the steps and behind the pile of stones which lay at the center of the dirt floored entrance chamber. They took turns sleeping and pledged themselves to hunt the dragon at first light.
So they decided to check the upper parts fo the tower when morning finally came. They carefully moved up the millenial worn steps of powder-black stone into a pitch black chamber. They lit their torches and had only 3 between them. They observed a small L-shaped chamber, rusted sconces lay anchored in the North and East walls, a yellowed candle sat in the North one and a human-scale doorway yawned in the West. Dead-Eye took the candle and tucked it away as they moved further in. They inspected the first door they came to was a solid bronze door with a relief of a grinning demon atop a pile of skulls. They turned their attentions to the opening to the South avoiding the demon-door like the plague. They thoroughly searched the handful of litter-filled dust-choked rooms they found for another way up and found none. They returned to the demon door and found it locked. So Bers kicked it in. They were met immediately with a rush of fowl stale air. Behind the door was a spiral stone-stair which was cracked and crumbling but still holding fast. They went up.
They came to a tiny chamber which was lit by a small obviously magic orb of light which flickered unpredictably in the corner next to anotehr door identical to the former which they kicked open as a team this time. They made a note to purchase to a crowbar the next time they were in the Fertum. They entered into a small 15 ft x 15 ft chamber with a rusted iron door to the East with uncharged runes scribed onto its surface and a Rotten Wooden door criss-crossed with blade marks, spoted with burns bearing uncharged runes carved into its face. They went with the “easy” one and broke down the wood door even though it wasn’t locked or barred. and walked into a hall which turned to the East. The hallway floor was cramped with armored bodies which crumbled into dust before their eyes as the fresh air from outside seemed to follow the two slayers and the weapons and armor became useless trash. Among the ruin, teh walls were scarred with blast marks, stood an anthropoid statue which had been that of a muscular youth but which was half destroyed having no head and a single arm left. It immediately attacked as they approached.
They hammered at the aniamted statue for 3 melee rounds until it was a pile of gravel. Bers taking a good blow (it’s only hit). They walked around after the fight and followed the hall as it bent Northward finding a staircase going up to the next level and another rusted iron door in the West wall. They took turns bashing at it and kicking it until by luck (a Natural 20) Dead-Eye kicked it open. Not before however, Bers broke her dagger trying to pry the door open. The room was mostly empty and on the far end they could see the other rusted iron door they first encountered before the statue. on the walls were a set of crossed weapons, a falchion and a battel axe. They both entered the room to see if the weapons were worth looting. The weapons suddenly animated, flew at them and attacked. Dead-Eye took a Defensive Stance and Bers just kept swinging with her axe and parrying with her shield behind which her torch burned. It took 2 rounds before the weapons lay shattered at their feet and Dead-Eye and Bers both nursed some wounds. They proceeded up the stairs to the Fourth floor.
The black steps terminated into a spacious chamber which comprised the entire floor. The room was filled with a dim pale light which illuminated the corpse strewn flags. The bodies, reduced to rags and bones and continuing to disintegrate in the freshening air, lay at the foot of a carved jade throne. On it sat a skeleton mummified strips of flesh still clinging to its frame. A dozen swords nailing it to the throne, among them a single blade shone with the sickly light which filled the chamber. Bers scanned the corpses on the ground and saw the blade of a great sword gleaming with reflected light locked in the death grip of its former owner. She ripped it out of the skeletal hand before Dead-Eye could stop her, but nothing happened because of it. She inspected the sword, it was a single handed great sword of superior quality with a silver blade stamped with the image of an anvil being struck with a hammer. She decided to keep it. Dead-Eye also scanned the dead but saw nothing and decided to inspect the throne (Cris making a point ot state that he was not going to touch anything just look). He spotted a seam on the seat around the corpse which could be a secret panel but would have to move the body (which was pinned to the chair with several swords, one being obviosuly magical I would remind you) and decided not to “risk it.” He knew, “it was a damned ghoulie.” Don’t fret some of you’ll get a chance to find out what’s in there since I borrowed this from an initial draft of the Obsidian Doom adventure module. So they decided to check the steps that were against the South wall behind the throne. As they could see no obvious traps, tripwires or broken steps they ascended to the 5th floor.
They noticed the smell of decades, probably longer, of bird mess while the decrepit
wooden floor creaked precariously beneath their feet. The stuffy darkness was pierced by beams of light from holes in the roof. Before them, to teh North, lay a black lacquered double dor with severe water damage glowing runes on each. There were also open archways both opening to the North at the far right and left. They went right and found themselves in a claustrophobic passagway choked with dust, rotten boxes and detritus which eneded in a red lacquered door. It was locked and so they tried to kick it in. Surprisingly the decrepit wooden door stood up to their kicks so they hit with their swords, Bers completely shattered it with a single hit. Behind it in a tiny 10 ft square room was a badly rusted iron trunk. So they whipped out their daggers in order to pry it open. Dead-Eye tried it with his spare dagger and broke it. Bers tried it with her last dagger and snapped the blade. So Dead-Eye took out his Bowie Knife and with a bit of luck and a Natural 20 popped the lock with a twist of the wrist. Within was 3 potions (each labeled with 1 being Eyes and Ears of the Dragon and two being spell powders of Miniaturization), 1 Scroll (Turn Beasts), and a pair of boots (to be identified). Note that Bers is the one that can read, Dead-Eye is illiterate.
To the immediate East was another red door which Bers easily kicked down and they continued to the rickety wood staircase in the East corner upon which sunlight streamed down from the open hatch above. Dead-Eye carefully went up into teh battlements but spotted a nest atop a wood frame platform at the center of the tower battlements and a Roc eyeballing him probably atop its egg. So he carefully went back down to Bers and decided that there was nothing of interest up there, he being a ranger and Rocs being natural creatures on this world (Eu).
They hurried down the passageway that led directly South from teh wooden steps and Dead-Eye hit a weak point in the floor and nearly fell through noting the hole was directly above the steps below meaning he could have fallen two floors instead of just one. They went back around through the room with an iron trunk and went all the way down to the bottom. They decided to rest for awhile as dusk was upon them.
They had just settled down when Dead-Eye spotted movement just outside the door suspecting it was the dragon he took out and uncorked his last Neutralize Poison potion and motioned for Bers to do the same. As the blast of gas was shot into the towers ground floor they downed their potions saving them from tis insanity inducing effects. The dragon then walked out of Dead-Eye’s range around the corner and waited apparently apprehensive about entering the tower itself. They quickly decided to make a search of the ground floor for a route of escape or a good hiding place.
They noticed a damp cool draft wafted from under the larger gaps in the stone-pile. They began to remove the stones from the pile and found an old moldy well underneath from which they could hear running water. As far as they could tell the well opened up into an underground cavern in which a body of water probably an underground river flowed. Before tying a rope around his waist and having Bers lower him down into the well gave the tower’s ground floor another once-over. He found a hidden trapdoor in the niche under the steps in which he had spent the night. It led down into the very cave in which the well opened. They lit their torches and ventured down the roughly hewed and slimy steps.
They entered a large natural cavern which was partly roughly hewn a 25 ft wide course of water flowed to the South at their right. They traveled South along the bank, the roughly hewn wall to the left skewed suddenly at an angle narrowing the bank. They could see a barred door in this wall through which they could see a small chamber wet with slime its floor littered with grime blackened chains and cuffs. While inspecting this long forgotten prison-cell Bers was suddenly struck by a large serpent which had slithered from the water. Dead-Eye wounded it with a strike from his longsword and it retreated back into the water. Bers passed her saving throw for the venom and only suffered the secondary effects, about 8 points of Hit-Point damage. Jen (Bers’ player) just shrugged, “it’s nuthin.” Of course, it’d be a couple of days before that damage would even begin to heal.
They leapt down a 5 ft ledge into a shallow pool of water running off of the main body into a crack in the dead-end after the angled wall. The crack was just big enough to squeeze through so Dead-Eye led the way. He made it easily through the 20 ft crack but Bers got stcuk, due to her armor, and the water rapidly built up behind her and began running over the top of her head so Dead-Eye gave her mighty tug and she dislodged along with the water pushing them both into the center of the foul smelling chamber behind the crack head first into a pile of rotting semi-fleshed bones streaming with rats and beetles. both of their torches were useless while they got to their feet in complete blackness. Dead-Eye fumbled for the candle he had stuck in his hip-sack and struggled to light it while the squeaking of rats grew louder about them. Once lit the candle shed light over the bone littered chamber, obviously the feeding chamber of the Wyvern, and a huge hoard ravenous rats which immediately attacked them. They hacked away at them as they ran for the nearest exit. The rats did not pursue as they wandered bleeding into what appeared to be a smooth walled passage. The floor undulated and was slick and pearlescent, the trademark of a wyvern’s lair. They crept carefully into the nearest side passage and the candle suddenly flared and ignited a pocket of gas, they got a bit singed. They found the passage dead-ended and decided to continue owth the main passage and hit another gas pocket shortly after. The passage finally terminated in a small chamber with a mud-pit (the wyvern’s wallow) at its center a water-filled sidespur and another passage winding completely around from the North to the East. Three wyvern hatchlings attacked hidden in the mud-wallow and our two dragon-slayers easily slew them in a single round. They inspected the Northern passage which wound East and found it broke through into a well, probably the well outside of Blackbrow keep. The bottom continued down for at least 60 more feet. They traveled back around to the feeding chamber the remaining rats scurried away. The West end of the feeding chamber opened onto the flowing water of the underground river.
Dead-Eye could swim but Bers couldn’t especially in chain mail. So Dead-Eye decided to swim over to the shore he could just spot 35 ft diagonally from where they stood 10 to 15 ft inside of a partial passage withint he feeding chamber. He would tow a rope to the otherside and pull Bers to him through the water. So he clamped his bowie knife in his teeth and tied the rope (they had salvaged 50 ft from what had been carried by their ill-fated donkey) around his waist and jumped into the water. He struggled against the current but made it to the otherside, stood up and turned. Just in time to see Bers get pulled under by the Wyvern which had leapt from the water and snatched her from the shore. It drug her down, she kept a strong grip on the rope which after a really brief struggle yanked Dead-Eye into the water as well. So whipped the dagger from his teeth and stabbed the dragon. It quickly swam away and they both made it back to the mouth of their desired landing. They quickly made their way in and found it a dead-end and the tresure horde fo the Wyvern in the center of the room after lighting the oil lamp that Bers realized she had been carrying this entire time (original issued equipment). It was set at the far end and they waited for the dragon which immediately charged in a rage from the water.
The battle lasted for 3 melee rounds, they actually kept on top of it fearing its insanity-inducing breath weapon (and them being out of Neutralize Poisons). Bers began the battle by dodging twice in a row the creature’s tail stinger as she was now ailing from the cumulative damage she had suffered through the day. Dead-Eye had to make a recovery check to keep from falling unconscious and possibly dying which used up an attack from the second round. The creature got in a breath blast in the middle of the second round fortunately they had all been turned around and the area of effect being a cone both of the slayers were too close to be affected (oversight on my part actually). The third round was more in the favor of the slayers but Bers again began the round with a dodge, both had taken alot of damage and in their words their armor was “trashed”. Bers got the death blow and the creature died with a hateful gurgle. They commenced to looting the chamber, Dead-Eye was loathe to take skin and bone from “a dirty wyvern.”
They copped a Silver Close Helm, a superior quality cutlass with an electrum embossed grip and a dark metal blade with electrum rivets, a light crossbow, a composite shortbow, a mace with an alexandrite head and a glowing rune on the grip, a longspear and several jewels (3 malachite, 4 amethysts, 2 pieces turqiouse and 1 garnet). Their trip back to Fertum Dreyhawk was miserable but uneventful though rather cheery as they had the prospect of having the ger identified and having the money to pay for it easily.

To be continued …

The Arvan Game: Part 5

The first thing our intrepid heroes (Bers & Dead-Eye) did was make a bee-line to the
nearest tavern (there’s no beerhalls in Fertums; fortified trade outposts which are family/clan owned often ruled by the lords that fund the beerhalls elsewhere) to decide on what to do next. While there a group of savage looking men with tattoos of crossed flaming axes on their bare chests burst in and proceeded to be loud and obnoxious. They appeared to want trouble and began furiously drinking large quanitites of cheap ale. They were told after asking another patron that the men were a local berserker coven based somewhere in the Light Wood to the South probably just off of the Trade Road. They were creeping around the area due to the political situation, the peasants in the Village of Dreyton were becoming rebellious. They decided to take their leave of the tavern before the inevitable happened and Bers decided to get her armor repaired (she was wearing the superior quality mail Coif she got from the hoard and Dead-Eye discarded his “trashed” armor for the superior quality Bear Hide) and Dead-Eye needed to have the Greyling skin crafted into a pair of boots and 2 cloaks by an armorer. After consulting with the Fertum’s armorer they wandered the Post Quarter of the Fertum where the traders and caravans stay and sell their wares. There they bought a large black talon from the blanket spread of what appeared to be an old southern-nomad (gypsy) couple (they could tell their ethnicity due to the serpentine features of their faces). Dead-Eye quickly determined it was a Wyvern’s talon. They were told it was found on the grounds of Black Brow, a ruin roughly 16 miles from the Fertum in the hills.

The ruins could be reached by traveling North along the Trade Road (which was about a 14 mile distance) until they ascended the first set of low hills and then cut West across The Meadows (a swamp) ascending two more hills to reach the ruins of Black Brow (another 8 miles). It would be a total distance of 22 miles give or take but they decided it would be safer traveling the road most of the way (I guess they know me too well). They decided to pick up some more leads by checkng the Post Board near the entrance of the Fertum, Bers being the one who could read (she picked up the Literacy skill from the XP earned from the dragons).

The board listed some Most Wanted notices: The Robbers of Eagle’s Grove (3 well-armed individuals with camo-painted cloaks, Reward 10 gp)
The Return of a Strongbox inscribed with the Brewer’s Guild Mark (Overflowing Gold Goblet containing a drowned serpent, Reward to be discussed).
and Wanted the killer of Xincrim, see Yebrit his daughter in Dreyton.

The board also had an inordinate amount of Missing posters, all for young girls from farming families in the North Spur several miles to the North-East. Bers was eager to follow this lead.

But they decided to follow up on the last notice and were on their way to the village to see Yebrit about the murder of her father and made it as far as the front gates when a crazed man on a Sleipnir (6-legged horse reserved only for those of the Hyvalian Theocracy [so it was probably stolen/looted maybe descended from battle-spoil], namely Hyvalian Crusaders) shouting, “Woe! Woe to the Lord Dreyhawk for his lack of faith! A tree must be planted at the center of this fort to pay homage to the [druidic] brotherhood! Gather ye faithful abouts me and here my sermon!” SOme of the onlookers gathered around the rearing horse. His flowing dark hair, beard and moustache were streaked with grey and he was bare-chested with an open silk robe and green dyed buckskin pants. He wore gold torques on his arms and around his neck. They recognized the crazed man as a druid(the religion of the Westlands is druidism [in the fantasy sense of the term btw]). During the chaos Dead-Eye spied the ranger Tors’sk (the ranger henchman of Black Fork) stocking a wagon with provisions and supplies in a rush next to a covered wagon near the gates. It appeared as if the greatly diminished cult of Black Fork was making haste out of the area. He also spotted Black Fork himself seemingly hiding behind the wagons clutching what appeared to be a large bright green egg. In Cris’ (Dead-eye’s player) words, “dammit.” Bers and Dead-Eye left the Fertum for the day (as quick as they could).

They returned later, in time to see the Berserkers being escorted out of the front gates, that evening after speaking with Yebrit (Jenn, Bers’ player, didn’t like her much saying she was “mean”). They were told the killer of her father slew him outside of a proper duel (actually a lie but they didn’t find that out) and that the killer was a foreign warrior in full plate, a Hyvalian. She wanted his head delivered to her for 100 gp. They decided to stay at the Wayman’s camp just outside of the Fertum’s wooden ramparts(essentially a campground for those not allowed to stay within the walls after dark at which time it is locked up tight).

They were awoken suddenly in the night (around second watch or so) by an impossibly loud roar. They saw the shape of an adult green dragon sail beyond the walls and heard its enormous weight thud into the center of the Fertum. They simply waited and listened. They heard the monster roar, “My egg! Where’s my egg!? In recompense of the insecurity of your lands puny lord, I demand a head of cattle every week to be left in the field across from this fort or I’ll destroy everything under your protection!”

It released a blast of its gaseous acid-breath and flew off in the direction they thought Blackfork was heading. In the morning they witnessed the devastation, several Fertum warriors were dead along with a few unfortunate merchants. They went back to the merchant’s quarter to load up on supplies finally deciding to investigate the ruins of Black Brow, due to the facts they were self-proclaimed dragon-slayers and their immediate need to vacate the Fertum and leave its troubles behind. By the afternoon they had set out North along the Trade Road.

To Be Continued …

The Arvan Game Part 4: The Greyling Lair

[Note that I left out an instance where both characters were paralyzed and very nearly eaten alive by insects, the result of two random placements of vermin was so effective that I had to have Tyvan rescue them with a blow from a magic horn. I left it out because I am using that combo in the Obsidian Doom module.]

During the night as they camped hidden in the bush, those sleeping were awakened by a loud roar echoing from the forest behind the lair cliff and Dead-Eye caught sight of a large draconic shape flying overhead, larger than any Greyling adult or even ancient which stirred the trees of the forest. Both characters figured that’s why the Greylings hadn’t retaliated. He was unable to make out what type of dragon it had been.

Morning found our heroes (and Tyvan) at the bottom of the hill which was the rear of the Farmer Creek cliff and easily found the ground entrance to the Greyling lair. Just as they approached the mouth of the dug-out cave something big began to crash through the bushes behind them so they ran into the cave and hid against the inside walls. Dead-Eye peeked around the corner and could only tell that the enourmous thing that was moving around outside was a dragon. They were relieved when it moved off and Dead-Eye took point moving further into teh cave feeling along the wall toward the smell of carion. They barely rounded the corner when Dead-Eye heard some sniffing up ahead and quickly jumped into a corner of the chamber he just unknowingly entered, Bers and Tyvan behind him flattened themselves against the passage walls. They all stood quiet with their weapons ready and virtually blind. Unexpectedly a viper struck at Dead-Eye’s legs, he “simuled” (Simultaneously Attacked) it with his longsowrd hoping to avoid its venomous bite instantly severing its head. He decided to light a torch regardless of whatever may be in there and whispered to Bers to do the same. The torchlight revealed that they were in the bone littered Feeding Chamber fo the lair. On top of the pile of rotting bones were four wolves. Two attacked Dead-Eye, one attacked Bers and the fourth ran for it to the exit shooting past Tyvan. The wolves were quickly put down. They moved deeper into the lair and it became very hot and humid as well as increasingly foul.

In a dank chamber they encountered a young Greyling and its hatchling kin. The fight lasted for two rounds both Bers and Dead-Eye taking some wounds before finally slaying the hatchling in the second round, its older siblign being dispatched very early in the first. Adjacent to this chamber they ran into their greatest obstacle, the Water Chamber. They could not tell how deep the waters were or if anything was in there. Bers couldn’t swim and even if she could her heavy armor (a breastplate) would make it difficult anyway. So Dead-Eye decided to swim across holding a rope and when on the other side he would pull her to him. Half way across he got tugged under water by another hatchling whcih was hiding under the water. He stabbed it with his Bowie Knife and swam quickly back to Bers. It followed him out of the water and it struck again wounding his armor more than his flesh. It dodged his counter blow and Bers hit it hard. It retreated back int the water bleeding going deep disappearing into the depths.

After making it across the adult Greyling moved, all too slowly (it rolled a Natural 1 for its Initiative, and they clobbered it all too quickly even though it seriously wounded Dead-Eye with a bite. They quickly sifted through the treasure. Tyvan left with two large sacks and left he rest to them. They netted the following:

1 Composite Longbow, 1 High Quality Longspear embossed with Dragonmetal, 1 Bishop’s Mantle with 1 large carnelian in its clasp, a Mail Coif (Bers took this since she needed head armor/helmet anyway), High Quality Manticore hide armor, Griffon Hide Armor, a Superior Quality Bear Hide Armor (Dead-Eye took this), a Broach with alchmical gold rivets, a superior quality platinum locket with a single large ruby in it, 3 topaz gems, 1 amethyst, and 6 aquamarines.

After spending a day in the lair skinning and boning the adult dragon they left hauling their significant take to the deserted farm as quickly as possible following the creek at double pace with no rest until they made it inside of the old farmhouse. There they rested for the night but did not sleep well suffering dreams of a skeletal and shadowy figure stalking about the perimeter of the old house. They left quickly in the morning crossing the creek and travelinginto the forest. They followed the creek North, the way Tyvan said he was going to hit the road and back to Dreyton, Dead-Eye said he’d only go back to the Fletcher there. He and Bers were going to Fertum Dreyhawk to trade some gear and get some items identified. Tyvan had told them that there was a Mage there. They treveled two and a half days along Miller’s Fork Road to the Old Road arriving at the Fertum late in the afternoon.

They could see castl Dreyhawk (a wood & earth Motte & Bailey structure) overlooking the fertum from a North-Western hill. They paid the entrance fee and entered as traders.

To Be Continued …

The Arvan Game Pt. 3

The next night Dead-Eye (Cris’ character), Bers (Jennifer’s character) and 4 of the remaining 6 deputies, the pair of sketchy fighters decided to “guard” the farmer’s longhouse while Tyvan was within “protecting” the farmer and his son, hid among a barn and some bushes with a mooing cow tied to a post in a clearing. One of the deputies was squating much too close behind a much too small bush, basically in plain sight (failed his hide check). The first to sight something was Dead-Eye, something far off and flying in fast!

It swooped in and stopped about 100 ft above the clearing, a dragon. Dead-Eye recognized the species as a Greyling (using his Dragon Lore skill). It beat everyone in initiative and snatched the cow in all four of its claws. To everyone’s surprise a second swooped in and snatched thwe barely hiding guy in a flyby attack, his screams quickly fading away into the distance. DEad-Eye shot at the dragon, it swatted the arrow with its tail. The remaining 3 deputies froze in their hiding places and Bers could do nothing having no ranged weapons. The dragon flew off over the treeline, Dead-Eye got one more shot off and struck it hopefully wounding it enough to track the blood drops. Just then a third jaunted from the treeline with a screaming deputy in its maw and leapt into the air. Bers again was useless in the battle as Dead-Eye got a couple more shots at it which it easily deflected before it finally got away.

4 deputies now remained, the red-haired kid, a wood-axe wielding mook and the pair of untrustworthy fighters armed with studded leather armor and clubs. Mull, the farmer, was understandably very upset, to that Tyvan apologized and assured him HIS next plan would be successful. In teh meantime, Dead-Eye and Bers along with the red-haired kid took to the woods to try to find a trail of any kind which they easily did but it dead-ended of course, the dragon flew down to the ground to hunt emerging from the forest and flying away with its victim. When they returned to teh farmer’s longhouse Dead-Eye had another plan. The same plan. He got Tyvan to convince the farmer to give them another cow. Needless to say the only one who would wait in “ambush” with them was the red-haired kid (neither of them eer asked this kid’s name and Dead-Eye outrightly did not trust the “little puke”; Go figure).

The second run through “the plan” went into effect during the day this time and of course one of the dragons bit, this time Dead-Eye decided to keep an eye on it rather than shoot at it and got the general direction to where it flew. North-East towards the direction of the ranch which had also been affected and which has been eerily silent according to Mull.

The next morning the reduced crew set out for the other farm traveling through the Light Wood North-Easterly towards Farm Creek which they would have to cross, the other farm lying on the opposite side. It took 2 days to finally reach the other side, the creek bed was rocky and low creating a deep cleft in the groud they climbed up out of the creek in the morning to see an open and overgrown glade where a ruined farmhouse and barn stood, the roofs torn open. They split up and circled the farm in grasses and weeds shoulder high. Some vegetables grew wild, doubtless planted the previous season. Dead-Eye went to collect some and saw it appeared something had been eating them recently. A Forest Pig burst out of the bush and charged him, he was able to stay out of the way of its tusks while Bers, hearing the commotion after Dead-Eye shouted for help (her Detection check sucks), ran towards him and came face to face with the fleeing swine, she swung and it parried with its tusks and it attacked. Dead-Eye ran into the batle and shot it. Again it fled. They both lost sight of it but Dead-Eye tracked the blood trail where they found it dying, Bers dealt the death blow. They considered using it for bait but decided instead to cook and eat it.

Before that was done they searched the farmhouse finding a trap-door which was jammed close, Bers pried it open easily (she may be ugly but her Strength makes up for it) and all were assailed with the powerfu stench of death. In the cellar among drying spices and clay jars of preserves (and some jugs of whiskey) were four rotting corpses, the farms former tenants all appeared to have starved to death. Teh red-haired kid imediately began to loot the bodies, the two fighters immediately took notice of the jugs and took those up top. Tyvan assisted our heroes in burying the corpses. They would have burned them (Dead-Eye distrusts all corpses; Gee I wonder why, tee-hee ;P) but didn’t want to attract the Greylings without proper preparation.

They passed the night eating roasted pig, and pig & vegetable stew passably cooked by Dead-Eye. The night passed uneventfully, the kid and two fighters ha the last watch. When Tyvan, Dead-Eye and Bers awoke the three scoundrels were gone and so was the rest of the meat set aside for rations and all of the whiskey. They quickly checked to make sure they weren’t robbed, they weren’t and then prepared to leave. The plan was to follow the creek towards the Arn mountains, the most likely area for a dragon’s lair in the immediate area.

For the next 2 days they traveled, Tyvan riding his beloved goat, along the rocky creek bed camping on the ridge above once sighting a Greyling flying in the direction of the deserted farm coming form the direction that they were traveling. On teh second night Tyvan revealed he was a Satyr under a magic disguise and though he was not too hot on tracking down a lair of any kind of dragon he would assisst them for a proper share of the potential horde. They came upon a mass of corpses, followers of Black Fork, lying in the creek along with a few Greyling hatchlings and one of the young dragons that they had already encountered. The waters were bubbling and giving off an acidic stench. Soon after they reached the source of Farm Creek, a deep sunekn lake in a box canyon fed by a waterfall.

After close inspection of the area they discovered an ancient narrow pathway carved into the living stone of the cliff which wound up out of their view. Needless to say they followed it near to the top of the cliff. The path terminated at an iron door which was very badly corroded and rusted but to the immediate North there was a large opening in the cliff wall through which the loud buzzing of wasps could be heard. A large wasp’s nest was in the short dug-out passage which seemed to open into an ancient structure, an old Stronghold. They attempted one-by-one to sneak past the angry nest. Needless to say they both screwed up and the wasps attacked in a swarm luckily they lit a couple of torches and used those to some effect but were badly stung. Tyvan threw some spell powder of Control Insect on the swarm and they ceased their attack. He said, “they won’t bother us again.”

They entered prowling all the way, well Dead-Eye did, Bers made alot of racket until she finally gave it up. They moved into a wide hall at teh end of which was a young Greyling in the room at the end. The room was a large square room with a pillar at each corner and a large pit dug into the center floor. The fight was brief. The dragon struck Bers wounding her and Bers struck with a massive Power Attack using her battle axe pretty much killing the dragon in a single blow (hey Greylings are Light Weight dragons afterall). They then inspected the area. A solid iron door, which was locked, lay to the North and a small open doorway lay to the East and West. They at first tried to lower a rope with Dead-Eye hanging on it down the pit but the distance was too far down and Dead-Eye could see the through the narrow beam of weak light that the bottom was filled with water and a strong reptilian stench filling the air. He assumed, again a successful Dragon Lore skill check, that this was the Water Chamber of the lair. He immediately had Bers pull him out and they focused their attentions on the locked iron door. Eventually Bers succeeded in kicking it in (lucked out with a Natural 20) as the lock simply broke being almost rusted completely through anyway. Within they found a dusty ancient armory. THere were spears, a chest plate which Bers took, a high qulaity longbow which Dead-Eye took, 2 shortbows, 6 quivers of arrows (Dead-Eye claimed these), 5 mundane daggers, 1 dagger with an ebony grip which was added to the group treasury, a longsword with decorative runes on the grip (also added to their treasury), 3 other longswords, and 6 round shields painted with a Black Fist gripping a multi-pointed star on a purple field. They wisely left the shields with unknown heraldry.

They then figured they had find another way into the lair, the pit was too dangerous and Bers couldn’t swim. Plus Bers needed to heal so they climbed up the cliff next to the path and reached the top of the cliff. They camped inside of the treeline with no fire plotting to find the rear entrance of the Greyling lair.

To Be Continued …