Drakenhold

Abandoned Expedition

The party now with Wilda and Sneever in tow head out of the ruins held by the ratmen. It is decided to head towards Faircourt, the former capital of Mercosa, which is about 5 days travel away. The trek through the badlands is difficult and the group is constantly having problems finding enough water for the now larger party.

Along the way the party is attacked by a manticore. After a long fight the creature is driven off and surprisingly no one is hurt.

After another day or two of travel the party is forced to take cover in a cave due to a sand storm. Inside the cave the party is attacked by large vampire bats and mushroom men. The party makes short work of the monsters and explores a bit. The looted body of Hogan Locsmore is found in the cave along with a stuffed dragon’s tail.

It is decided to abandon the expedition to Faircourt and head back to Insley because of the water situation and to return the body of Hogan. Along the way back, the party stops off to pick up the loot they left behind and to check in with Garness to see how he was doing.

The party safely returns to the Dragon’s tail Inn and find out that Cenbald the mage is to be executed the next day.

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The Rat King

After much discussion the party sets out to meet the rat king without any real plan of what to do once getting there. Golvendir summons a earth elemental to help carry the still unconssious Plegrum but the spell goes wrong. The large elemental picks up Golvendir instead and carries him around thrown over its shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Plegrum is then draped over the magical book stand. And so the party heads out following Garness with the elemental and the magical book stand carrying the mage and his apprentice.

The party is led through a series of underground tunnels. Along the way several ratman checkpoints are passed through. Garness tells the guards that the party is under his magical control and that they are a gift to the rat king. When one of the guards objects Garness threatens him with vile magic, making the guard back down. At each checkpoint the party is forced to pay a toll, so the group gives up a few shiny objects (coins).

When the party arrives at the court of Gromskit (the rat king), Garness makes a grandiose entrance telling all how he captured and magicaly enslaved the party. The group is ushered forward to the presence of the rat king who is located in an old dried up underground water reservoir. The rat king is a huge mutated form that only slightly resembles his ratman brothers. Garness starts to tell the tale of the group’s capture but totally chokes before the mighty presence of his former master. He breaks down and begs the king not to kill him and offers up the group as a gift.

The party tries to negotiate with the mighty beast but gets nowhere. The king sends one of his guards over to drag Garness to him. Coelric decides to slip behind the guard and stab him in the back thus starting a big fight with the rat king and his guards. During the fight Wilhad does everything he can to get Sven’s attention but the mighty warrior is focused solely on the rat king. Coelric is distracted by a beautiful girl in cage and he goes to rescue her. Golvendir firmly in the grip of the protective earth elemental, was facing the wrong way for much of the fight but did manage to bury some guards with a magic spell. Each time the rat king was hit the attacker was cursed by vile magic. Sven and Prestollion were cursed many times while Alhwin came out without any problems. Eventually the rat king and his guards were all taken down.

After the fight everyone started to loot the place. Among the spoils were: piles of bad food, magical elven boots, a lute of exceptional quality, 10,000 coins of mixed type and the sword of sorrows. While everyone was looting, Coelric started to get to know Wilda, the girl he freed. Being the kind of guy Coelric is, he kisses her and she changes into a were-rat. She sobs and tells her sad story (see Wilda’s character bio). Coelric does not reject her and asks her to join the party. The party convinces Garness to take over as the new rat king giving him the severed head of the old rat king.

The party heads back to the temple to get healed and to rest. The ghostly shield maidens protecting the healing pool of light refuse to help Wilda until she gives great service to the church. The rest of the party get healed and all curses lifted, however it did take some trickery and a fair amount of magical effort to get Golvendir away from the elemental and banish it. Prestollion has taken Sneever under his wing and convinced him to join the party getting him to leave his abusive brother. The coins from the rat kings hoard were placed in a barrel and magicaly hidden in a stone support of the temple.

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Griffons and Garness

(Game session on May 13, 2011)
Garness sat in his dilapidated library wondering how everything had gone so wrong this past fortnight. “Dragon’ssss Tail” he squeaked out through clinched incisors. His own tail twitched in a subconscious nervous rhythm at the mention of the word tail.
Quickly he skittered to a lower shelf on a bookcase. “If Sneever got into my stuff when I was away I’ll banish him from the pack.” Garness’s ears perked up listening for any foreign sound as his beady eyes reflected the dim candle light. “Good it’s safe”. The ratman’s legs then took him scampering into a shadow as he looked in a second favorite hiding spot. He was working on instinct now inspecting his loot like any packrat would.

Clump, clump.

As soon as the sound was heard Garness went into what would have been ‘fight or flight’ mode for a human, but for a ratman it was flee, flight and only if cornered then fight mode. With his back to a bookcase Garness was reaching for his dagger and had a hex on the tip of his tongue when he realized the sound was his enchanted table. It would follow him around more loyally than any R.O.U.S ever would. (Princess Bride)

Garness looked at the rope that he’d tied about the base and saw that it was still in good shape. The rope prevented the table from following him around the room; it still tried to but now was more like a dog on a short leash.
After he was confident that his hoarded goods were still all in place a plan began to form in Garness’s head. Eventually that gang of Pied Pipers would have to leave the basilica. (The term Pied Piper was a very insulting and derogatory racial epithet ratmen had given humans.) And once they leave they will be out of their element. No one knows this part of the city like my pack does. I’ll send Sneever to follow them.

As Sneever scampered between a patch of ruins that might have been a private home and pile of debris whose origin can only be guessed at he once again regained his mark. The party of adventurers had turned a corner and was briefly out of sight but he’d caught up with them.
Suddenly a steel blade was pressed against his throat. Coelric light footedly had out snuck this sneaky rat. Coelric ignored Sneever’s whines and whimpers as he bound the forelimbs of the ratman.
Coelric’s voice was so ice cold and soft spoken that his breath barely rustled Sneever’s fur, yet it was so piercing that Sneever heard quite clearly. “You will take us to Garness. You will lead us there directly. If there’s any foul play… you’ll die.”

As all ratmen inherently know if you can’t flee and you can’t fight then to simply acquiesce is the best option. Sneever was too cowardly to confront the band of humans so he led them to his pack’s den, but there are things in the world that are even more frightening than a Pied piper. Just like how a mouse fears a hawk, ratmen are terrorized by Griffons.

As the party of adventurers neared what appeared to be a nest with a hatchling of a giant avian beast inside, Alhwin rose to the occasion and took over a leadership role and began to layout plans to thoroughly study and even dissect the creature if possible. The hatchling was a mutant; a grotesque hybrid of bird and man. Its body must have been altered by the effects of scarweed.

As the searching of the nest ensued both mother and father Griffon returned home. Sneever took this opportunity to chew through his ropes and flee. Sven must have found agreement with Sneever’s actions as he too wished he could flee the area. Sven was the first to leap down an escape tunnel that Golvendir had conjured into the sewers below.

Alhwin was not one to let neither an opportunity for a scientific examination nor a trophy of a hunt go to waste and single handedly decapitated one of the Griffons. This lead to an awkward conversation when the rest of his friends in the group eventually emerged from the sewers. Alhwin’s examination of the mutant giffon hatchling revieled that it was being fed ratmen.

Sneever was never one to have his cheese stolen twice; this time as he watched the band of humans that had killed most of his family-pack he would pay particular attention to the sneaky one that had captured him. It was only a matter of time before Sneever got the drop on Coelric. Sneever thinking he was in control of Coelric brought him and his friends to Garness’s lair. Which coincidentally was the same location the Dragon’s Tail Guild members wanted to go.

There the party found Garness packing to leave his family compound for good. Since the party killed most of his family/pack, he was now unprotected from his rivals. The party entered into discusions with the ratman to get him to take them to the rat king but thier pleas mostly fell on deaf ears. Then the rat mage’s enemies attacked the compound. The party made short work of the attackers and saved Garness from being killed. Durring the fight Plegrum set off a magical trap and fell into a deep magical sleep from which he could not be awoken. After everything settled down Garness agreed to take the party to the rat king. Golvendir traded a change appearance potion to Garness for a magical bookstand that follows its master.

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Market of the Dead (pt. 3)

The party was getting a severe thrashing at the hands of a bunch of undead and animated weapons. It was retreat or die, so the group did what it could to get out of the arena of death to a place that was safer. Everyone headed to the market room as there was nowhere else to go. Golvendir fell to the many wounds inflicted on him, and he laid on the ground playing dead. Everyone else made it into the market throwing down thier weapons as not to offend the iron golem guarding the market. Some of the skeletons chased after the party into the market room. The skeletons were then beaten down by the golem. Meanwhile Alhwin raced into the gambling room and found Coelric drunk and in the arms of an undead prostitute. Sense was slapped into the thief and he rejoined the group in the market. Plegrum stole some scrolls from an undead merchant in hopes of finding something that would save his master. The earth mage slowly crawled into the market and Coelric and Alhwin helped drag him to safety while under threat of undead attackers. The golem then scooped up Plegrum because he was stealing. Finaly Lord Utmer and his undead ogre champion arrive in the market. The golem pitches Plegrum over the heads of everyone twards the arena, but it comes up a little short hitting the undead lord and knocking him down. An animated great sword stabs the apprentice and he then decides to follow his masters lead and play dead. The party stands back waiting to see what happens when the big boys are all in the market together. The undead ogre attacks Sven Rockwell but Coelric pushes him out of the way. The golem then attacks the ogre and some odd undead. Utmer then starts yelling at the golem: “Don’t you know my own men?” But the golem doesn’t recognize the lord’s men or thier master for they are now undead. A battle rages between the golem, Utmer, and the undead ogre. The undead lord is taken out and all his undead servants disappear or turn to dust. Alhwin picks up his polearm and finishes off the damaged golem and heavly wounded ogre.

Having cleared the dungeon the party then loots everything in typical fashion. Among the spoils are: a great many coins, scrolls detailing the history of Mercosa and Utmer’s magic axe of cleaving. The wounded are then hauled out and presented to the temple shield maidens. The group is allowed to use the pool of light and all are healed. Outside the temple the group finds that Garness has escaped and cursed the pack animals. It is decided to stay at the temple for a couple of days so that the curses have time to wear off and the wizard can write some magic scrolls. Durring this time the party decides to go after the ratmen that infest the ruins.

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Market of the Dead pt. 2

Hrm, I seem to have run out of paper in my journal. Fortunately, I have another one. Master Golvendir always told me how important it was to document his exploits, so I make sure to carry lots and lots of journals. And that special lotion he likes for his “Wizard Rash.”

Where was I… oh yes, we had just entered into a marketplace full of dead people! I remember mMaster Golvendir made me watch a theater show about that once, and it was right! None of these people knew they were dead! They just continued to go about their usual ways, and when we tried to talk to them about it, they didn’t even seem to hear it!

It wasn’t just dead merchants either, some of them were thieves! I know, because one tried to rob me! Fortunately, master Golvendir had the foresight to relieve me of my valuables himself, and the thief didn’t have anything to steal!

There was also a jester, who might or might not have known he was dead. He certainly knew he was a jester though, and had a magic mirror! At least I assume it was magic, because it showed people reflections that weren’t very accurate.. Master Golvendir ended up getting in a heated argument with the Jester, and before we knew it, somebody had stolen the mirror and it was shattered all over the floor. I’m sad, I wish I could have looked in the mirror.

One of the merchants had a lot of ale and spirits. I wonder why they call them spirits, people’s spirits aren’t made of alcohol. Maybe it’s because they raise your spirits. I know Coelric seemed to find find his spirits raised, and vanished into the market with a lady who looked less than healthy. I imagine she was very pretty when she was alive, and it was very sweet of Coelric to be able to look past such little things as decomposition and exposed bone to see her for her inner beauty.

The other merchant was selling potions and scrolls. These are the ones that excited master Golvendir the most, and he tried to convince the group to go back above the surface and retrieve his stash of herbs so he could trade with the ghost. They thought it might not be safe up there, particularly with the shield-ladies of questionable virtue and how we hadn’t actually completed our quest yet, so we decided not to go back up.

When we went to the place the golem threw all of our weapons, we found a fighting arena! There were skeletons fighting each other, and coming back to life once they were defeated! There was also another golem in there. Or maybe it was a man in a suit of armor. Or a haunted suit of armor. There was definitely a suit of armor, and he was definitely in charge.

Sir Sven and master Prestolion both seemed very interested in the fighting arena, and talked to the suit of armor. I forgot his name, but because he ends up beating all my friends to a bloody pulp, I’ll call him armor man.

Armor man said that if they were to win in the tournament, they could win their worth as a prize. He also had a champion, and if they could beat him, they’d win much, much more! They both looked very interested, although they were still missing their weapons and looked depressed about that. There were lots of weapons on the sand arena in the middle of the room, but nobody wanted to go in there.

Armor man got more and more impatient and angry with them. Master Golvendir and master Prestolion both decided that the best course of action was to beat up armor man and then do whatever comes naturally after that. I’m not sure what would come after that, since he’d still have all his skeletons and the champion. Plus, he was already dead, and it seemed to be real hard to convince these dead people they were dead, so I’m not sure how we’d get him to lay down and be all dead.

Master Golvendir started using a spell he told me about once. It’s not really a spell, so much a secret technique, that wizards use all the time, where they make lots of noise and ruckus to hide the fact that they’re actually very crippled. It seemed to work, because he got the attention of everybody in the arena, particularly armor man who decided master Golvendir was worth hundreds of silver pieces!

I think master Golvendir’s plan was to distract armor man while sir Sven and master Prestolion hit him as hard as they could at once. He once called it an “alpha strike.” I hope he teaches me about the beta strike as well, because this one didn’t work well.

The entire arena worth of skeletons came back to life, and master Golvendir flung a very, very large mace to master Prestolion. Before he could send a sword sir Sven’s way, he was trying to defend himself.

Master Prestolion hit armor man really, really hard though! He hit him so hard that his armor caved in, and I could hear bones snapping and everything! I would think convincing him he was dead would be even easier now, but I guess I am wrong because he got back up and started beating up everybody.

I lost track of what was going on in the battle after that. Master Golvendir looked pretty panicked that his bluster and alpha strike didn’t work, and as I write this, he’s using the second secret technique he taught me besides being loud and frighting: playing dead.

I ran into the market and took some scrolls from the ghost lady in there. She can’t hold real money, so I don’t feel as bad, because I couldn’t pay her even if I wanted to. I know stealing’s wrong but I don’t want master Golvendir and sir Sven and master Prestolion and master Ahlwin (who has been quieter than usual) to get beat up, and maybe there’s some magic in them I can use!

Master Coelric is having a fight as well I can tell, because when I ran to the market I heard some very loud screaming and thumping sounds coming from the room he had retired to. I hope he’s okay, he might be a thief and a brigand and a criminal, but he’s very nice to me!

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Market of the Dead

Plegrum’s Diary:

I sure hope master Golvendir doesn’t get mad with me for stealing these scrolls from the ghostly merchant. I think he could use them more than her right now… I just hope I can figure out which one is which.

How did we get here again? Well, master Golvendir and his friends had trekked to the haunted church. Apparently sir Sven knew quite a good deal about it. I’m still not sure why we went there, but I’m certain they had an excellent plan.

You can imagine my shock when we saw that the church was haunted! I mean, the ratpeople (whom master Golvendir swears are the cursed descendants of the original inhabitants of the city, but I’m not sure about that) told us it was haunted, but I’m not sure how well we can trust them.

Oh, the haunting! Several … I think sir Sven called them shield maidens? I’m not sure I actually saw any shields on them, which is odd. Maybe it’s one of those religious terms he uses so often. I wish master Golvendir would let me go to church, but he says the clergy is not to be trusted with powerful wizards such as us. Sir Sven is from a church, and he seems really nice to us wizards. And haunted too. Did I mention sir Sven has his own ghost? He must get along really well with ghosts.

Oh, the shield maidens. Are we sure they were maidens? I’m pretty sure maiden means virgin, and nobody (the journal at this point has been written over, scribbled out, rewritten, and scribbled out several times) certain that master Coelric didn’t have anything to do with it anyways.

The shield maidens were guarding the pool of light, which I think might be a pool of healing, something master Golvendir could certainly use. He’s been trying to not let anybody know about the mishap he had when trying to escape (once again the journal has been furiously scribbled over) blood all over the place.

We were given a quest to go beneath the church and cleanse the place of some naughty people who’d been there since a long time ago. I think a saint might be buried down there. I didn’t know saints left bodies behind when they died. I know wizards don’t.

There were some strangely friendly skeletons beneath the church, and all they wanted was a bit of coin and to turn over our weapons, but sir Sven felt that valor was the better part of discretion, and we easily dispatched them. I say we, I heard the entire ruckus from upstairs.

There was an evil hallway filled with traps and murderholes, at least that’s what master Coelric called them. Master Golvendir cast darkness into one of the murderholes that was shooting shadow arrows at us (he yelled “Without light, there can be no shadow!” That seems obvious, but I should still write it down. It might be on one of my tests.)

Master Coelric ran down to unlock the door, but was having trouble with it so sir Sven ran down to cover and protect him while he did so. Master Golvendir bravely waited until the hallway was completely clear, and then waited some more “in case there was any residual evil.” I wonder if residual evil is sticky.

When we finally got through there, we found the buried body of the saint! At least I think it was the saint. We didn’t actually look, and it was actually in a sarcophagus, so I don’t know if it was technically buried, but it was definitely underground, and it seemed to repel the shadow creatures. Did I mention there were shadow creatures?

There was a trap door, and we opened it up and looked downstairs. Imagine our surprise when we saw a bustling market full of dead people! These were ghosts, and skeletons, and everything! Oh, and a type 43 iron golem, at least according to master Golvendir. I was scared of all the dead people, until I saw the golem, now I’m not nearly as scared of them as I am of it.

The golem took all our weapons, and threw them down a hallway. None of the ghostly merchants would serve master Prestolion, which I think is awful mean. He might be a dark elf, and I’ve seen him kill a lot of people, but they were all bad people. I’m not sure they needed to be decapitated, but he’s definitely an expert on killing, so if he said they absolutely had to be decapitated, they had to be decapitated.

(will finish this entry later.)

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The road to ruin(s)

The party heads deep into the Cursed Lands traveling twards a ruined city said to be a few days travel from Dark Gate. Water is always in short supply so whenever the group comes across some bad water they collect it and purify it using alchemy. It takes 3 days to get to the ruins. Durring thier travels they are attacked by a group of dire weasels, a hydra snake, and a large poison gas producing monster all in separate encounters.

Finaly the group arrives at the ruined city. Almost at once the party is ambushed by a mob of ratmen along with a ratman mage. The party does a good job of hacking through the ratmen but not before the mage hurls a few curses at the party. Alhwin is unable to keep a hold on his weapons due to the curse and every time Prestollion takes a step it sounds like he is stepping on a duck making it impossible to be sneaky. The ratman mage flees the combat but is hunted down by Coelric and captured. The captured mage grovels before the group. The rat mage’s name is Garness and he tells the group the city is run by the rat king who is most fearsome. He also tells the group about a haunted church where the ratmen are afraid to go. The party decides to keep the distrustfull ratman as a guide for now.

It is decided to head back out of town for a day in order to recover from wounds and to see if these nasty curses wear off. After a day the curses wear off and all the party’s water is purified. A Basilisk wanders close to the camp so Golvendir summons a tiny earth elemental to go fight it. The Basilisk is unable to use its petrifing gaze on the earth elemental as it is immune to that sort of attack so the two creatures battle it out. Alhwin tries to get the party to bet on the fight but there are no takers. After a good fight the elemental wins and returns home leaving the basilisk lying incapacitated. The group decides it would be a good idea to capture the basilisk and put blinders on it.

Some of the highlights of the game session: Sven Rockwell got to use his crossbow 3 separate times and the party started to function as a combat unit using actual tactics.

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The myth of the dragon

Why does everybody insist on claiming we encountered a dragon? I thought I was perfectly clear, there was no dragon, there was no mysterious maiden, and an earth elemental at no time ended up dressed up as a woman. It was all hallucinations brought on by the heat.

-Golvendir

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Sven the cross dresser

the amazing Sven has killed many of monsters and people..(this includes the bard he claims to still see) however in the dragons cave he shifts gears and becomes a cross dresser… he was demanded by the dragon to change clothes into a dress… sadly he accepted… the great prestollion would not change clothes… thanks to our amazing wizard and one of our bravest warriors we were able to escape the dragons den… there was talk of a shadowed women in the cave that when spoken to would not respond and wouldnt leave the place… this raises many questions as to was she real, what was she doing there and why she wouldnt leave??? the dragon was busy destroying a army of goblins when we made our amazing escape… well something like that… all that matters is we all live to fight another day! we await the adventure of this coming friday…

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Dragon's Den

(Game report from April 8th 2011)

Dragon’s Den
“What happens in the Cave stays in the Cave.”
Our heroes from the Dragon’s tail tavern began their journey into the cursed lands. Coelric served as scout while searching for a source of water when he led the party to a large hole in the ground. The hole did have water at its bottom, but it was mostly filled with trouble.

This grotto was the home of an ancient dragon; one that was stricken with love. Perhaps it’s inexplicable why wyrms are fond of human maidens, and this was another case of infatuation leading to captivity.

To the best of their abilities the heroes were able to puzzle out that the dragon named Atordrax had created a bedroom of sorts in the back corner of his lair. There was a bedroom set of furniture and a wardrobe filled with women’s clothes.

A puzzling item that Golvendir was able to shed some light on was a free standing wall. It turns out to have been part of a farmstead and the dragon must have transported it into the cave to create a privacy screen of sorts for the captive maiden.

A couple adventurers saw for a flitting moment what they thought was the lady in question. It now appears as though she might have been a ghost.

Not all ghosts resident in the cave, one was brought into the cave with them. It was trailing Sven and it now appears that what was once simply disturbing his dreams is haunting him while he’s awake. Sven is not sure what to do with this apparition, and has only confided in a few of his companions that he is seeing Wilhad the Bard.

When the senile dragon came home he confused a few of the adventurers with his captive and her sisters. Some call it camouflage others call it cross dressing, regardless it did occur. But “What happened in the Cave stays in the Cave.”

Alhwin’s animal training skills proved to have no bounds he when attempted to fly his horse… twice… through the air and into the pool of water below.

Golvendir learned that even if his human friends are willing to wear camouflage (er.. cross dress) that doesn’t mean Earth Golems will and sometimes the summoned turns on the summoner.

Via the Earth Mage’s spells an escape tunnel was fashioned allowing Coelric to play prairie dog and poke his head above the ground and sniff around for danger. It turned out that he found himself in the middle of the Orc encampment.

By an accidental coincidence the enraged dragon erupted from the lair to find the Orc army surrounding is home it was in the ensuing confusion that the Dragon’s Tail Mercenaries escaped.

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