(D&D) Close Enough to Shave a Ghoul

This session, our adventurers began in a bind: surrounded by the orcs and undead of the drow. Whirling around, the party began to sense that this fight was going downhill, and as Vino, the vile necromancer above them, waved his hand and whispered to the void, things got even worse when he shouted, “Purge the outsiders!” And the sky grew darker…

First skeletons rose from the five graves before them….then a putrid stench rolled across pavilion as  bugbear ghouls followed from four of the graves. Our party, cut off the easiest route of escape–was clearly outnumbered. As the dirt fell from the bones of the skeletons, it became clear they were thicker of bone and clearly battle scarred, rattled forward quickly with their swords drawn.

Lothric began to feel his palms sweat. Just when we thought all was lost, Wiri piped up, and everyone turned towards him. “Wait.. They ‘elped me,” Wiri said, stepping in front of the drow. Wiri then raised a staff, and with it saved us from the undead, just as they approached us–they suddenly stood still: Wiri had restrained them.

0-Bear_skull“They are my sacrifice to Lolth!” Vino responded, and pushed Wiri aside and pointed his finged and whispered upon us words of the nether, sending hero and orc alike running in fear. We quickly regrouped and rallied, and rejoiced at the arrival of Ville the Toad, only to remember our situation, and then we ran.

After spending a night of paranoid watching around the campfire, awaiting pursuit, we decided that, even we couldn’t conquer the camp yet, we could still take action and disrupt supply caravans.

In the morning, Lammanon led the party to a road that carved a path through a rocky outcrop. Lammanon climbed to the edge of the road, and cast an illusion of a boulder. We snuk into bushes and behind boulders…and lay in wait for our prey.

Sure enough, within the hour we heard word from Lammanon, who had gone forward to scout, that there was an orc caravan on its way towards us. As the orcs and their wagon rattled towards us, we lept out; they had walked right into the trap. Four orcs were lead by a large and confident half orc woman in bright chain mail.

One battle and several dead orcs later, we were tying up their horse, and picking the trinkets off their bodies.

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(D&D) Drums and Undead

barrel-headThe party rested in Botilo after they dropped off the captured renegades to Wiri Bentspear. These cairn towns lacked anything such as an inn, so they had to sleep wrapped in their cloaks outside town. With the late rising moon, about an two hours from dawn, the sound of a drum woke the party. Then a second drum added a counterpoint to the beat. Then some cheering and chanting.

Our party gathered their weapons and walked in the south road. As they walked into town, they watched a party of six dark figureson horses, two with banners, ride in on a trail from the east. The only thing from the east was the huge gravel pit of Galentaspar. This probably meant drow.

Behind the crowd near the casino in at the town pavilion, Wiri Bentspear stood before the cairn with a black staff. Wiri then bowed formally, “Lieutenant Webcross, you and your drow are welcome in Bilito. It has been a long time, Vino.” They did not meet each other with friendly eyes, and Wiri was clearly not enthusiastic about this visit.

Quickly, the riders unmounted and a moment the tall drow commander tossed back the hood of his dark grey robe, showing his purple hair and blazing purple eyes was raising his left hand to the sky. The crowd quieted. When he raised his right hand, in it was a terrible mace made from silvered bones and the now silent crowd stepped back. In abyssal, he shouted: All hail thee, Lolth!

Lolth! The crowd answered. Some of our party didn’t understand what was being said, and when the crowd started to kneel, some of them didn’t. This could not have been more conspicuous…hiding in shadows or not.

“I am Vino Webwright, priest of Lolth. The priests of Lolth congradulate you on your fine trade topside! However, we hear of outsiders infiltrating our outposts, and are here to help rid you of your infiltrators. We’ve heard of the elven attack, but there has been too much trouble of late…

“Who here among you does not belong? Bring them forth!” Reaching into his saddle bag, he produces a huge helping of gold coin in loose sack, and jingles it. “This for those who bring them forth!”

Lotheric is turned on by a huge half orc, one of the many anti-paladin soldiers occupying the cairn towns, and is pushed forward. Lotheric swings repeatedly and the half orc deftly dodges. They are not surrounded by orcs and half orcs. More creeping in around them.

A battle starts when one of the orcs staggers back with a sword sticking out of him, A hail of daggers wounds a half orc, and Lotheric swings again. But they are surrounded and pushed forward again…to see six exhumed graves in the pavilion with skeletons staring up out of them.

“Oh, this will be easy…why are they even bothering?” mutters Lotheric, confident that skeletons will cleave like paper under his attacks.

Wiri raised his black staff, and the slowly brightening sky instantly grew inky clouds that boiled from directly above the cairn. A purple glow issued from the black pyramid atop the cairin. The skeletons started shaking and rolling in the graves. But then the smell hits them as the skeletons start to move in their graves….graves too large for the … multiple…human skeletons in each shallow pit…

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(D&D) Lotheric v. Barkar’s Bugbear

The morning after Wiri hired Lotheric, Ville, Ulipa and Alex on a hit contract, they were packed up and walking out of the inn on the Bolitus pavilion–when Barkar, flanked by a huge bugbear and four beefy orcs start jogging toward them. Everyone drops their backpacks and draws their weapons–but unfortunately the party gets separated into two groups.

Barkar and two orcs attack Ville and Alex and the bugbear and other two orcs gang up on Lotheric. The fighting is heavy–Lotheric is unusually slow this morning and nearly hurts Ulipa when he over-swings and misses the bugbear. In contrast: orcs are fresh and cunning, landing piercing and stunning blows to Lotheric and Ville with brutal accuracy. These orcs must be representing for all their fallen comrades, they hit so hard!

Lotheric barely has time to wipe the sweat dripping into his eyes before he is struck again and nearly toppled. This is preposterous. Time for bigger guns, Lotheric says to himself. Putting his left hand to his right, he twists his Ring of the Ram into position and fires a mighty blast into the bugbear–to great effect!

Lotheric has a bit of time to take a few steps back and Ulipa makes it back to him an restores him somewhat. At about half his energy, Lotheric looks over his shoulder and finds that the bugbear, shoved many yards away and tumbling an orc in the process, has gotten up and is shaking himself like a dog to fling the dust off. That orc that should have been killed by a huge bugbear falling on it is nearly back up as well. What the hell?

A little breather is better than no breather, so Lotheric grips his greatsword again. He has a second to look over at Ville, who’s taken a viscious blow and is down, with Alex and Tiberious standing over him, fighting off Barkar and the other two orcs. We’re not winning, Lotheric mumbles to himself. This is bad. Everyone is injured and–amazingly Tiberious lands a killing blow on an orc!

But we’re still out-matched, Lotheric mumbles, and swings at the bugbear again. Finally, a solid hit! But an orc is behind him and strikes at the same time. And Lotheric hears a scream as Tiberious is hit. Ulipa is hit trying to get close to Lotheric. Things are going so rough he barely notices the sound of horse hooves and the jingle of new swords.

Their bouncer orc that introduced them to Wiri was at his side, parying blows from the other orcs! And a half elf ranger he hadn’t seen for months was at his other side–where did he come from? No time to talk…

But the orcs kept hewing at them and the bugbear wasn’t showing any signs of wearing down. Tiberious and Alex were retreating and draging Ville to the mules, but Barkar and an orc were still hewing at them as well. Everyone was going defensive.

Two arrows sang through the air and stuck the orcs before Lotheric, followed by a rough voice, “Hands off! Those people are mine!” commanded Wiri. He stood with his hand on a short sword, and four rouges half orcs on either side of him, two of them with longbows and two brandishing longswords. Before the moment of confusion was over, Wiri was already standing over Barkar, brandishing his sword at his neck. “This one is mine.”

Wiri’s crew pushed away Barkar’s hirelings and they turned and fled, the bugbear crashing right through the leatherworker’s tent to many curses from the vendor.

“Lotheric!” Wiri announced, “That was disappointing. I’m going to have to reduce your rate. I expected more of you and your crew. Don’t hang around here, go do your task, and return promptly–I want to see evidence of your task soon!.”

Lotheric sighed. Day is off to poor start. Getting harassed by evil crime lord is embarassing…

And the team gathered their packs and headed south, looking forward to a short night of rest halfway to Anitus. The offer of 800 gold for their job getting cut somewhat–how much? Very frustrating. If they don’t develop a reputation for working with the crime lords in the cairn towns, though…how will they learn where the evil power in the region actually resides?

(D&D) Adventures in Anitus

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Thorfinn, Eliza, Petal, Arjanir, and Grigor return south to Anitus, passing by the trading pavilions after Lotheric, Tiberious and A__ followed Atala who insisted on freeing the captive elves in the slave caravan heading north.

Our party wanders into the Rock Pub near the south end of the cairn trading pavilion. The half orc bouncers at the door are not impressed with the clean and legal look of our party. At the bar are a cloaked mage, a wiry ranger and a steer sized half orc. The other patrons are mostly humans with service aprons on, tossing coppers on the floor to bet on arm wrestling matches. The wiry ranger teases Grigor about not being able to beat Knuckles (half orc) in an arm wrestling match.

Grigor is so nervous being in this entirely evil place that he jumps the gun on the first match and pins the half orc’s arm in a quick moment. The next round, Knuckles squeezed Grigors hand into a sausage and won. The pressed on with one more round and Knuckles won in a more matched challenge.

Eliza was challenged next by the ranger. Eliza introduced herself and likewise the ranger introduced himself as Daturan. The high-elf and the half-drow were equally matched. Ever the advantage seeker, Daturan surprised Eliza with a leg sweep and Eliza lost her footing off the top of the big wrestling stone—but recovered by spinning and landing on her opposite leg. The crowd cheered and threw more coin on the floor. Eliza dodged a shove, and then did a kick at Daturan’s knee. Daturan swung away from the strick but over-extended, and Eliza threw her off the wrestling rock.

With the winnings, Eliza bought the part another round of hard cider. It tasted like fermented goat piss, which was probably pretty good—by orc standards. Conversation was rather strained between the two parties. The skinny hooded half-orc next to them chipped in with bitter jokes and private out-loud laughs. Thorfinn would ask where to get some good jobs, and Daturan would respond with an evasive answer that showed kind of a patronizing distrust of the party. Knuckles would joke about how Thorfinn and Grigor seemed too clean and smelled like pine cones. Maybe they liked elves?

Time to go, decided Thorfinn. As they walked to the door, the half-orc bouncers were joking about easy marks. Thorfinn, sensing a trap preemptively twisted out of the way when passing the bouncer on the left, but Grigor got struck in the ankle by the opposite bouncer. They fought—but Thorfinn, Eliza and Grigor were subduing the half orcs but really not hitting them effectively. Petal flew out of Eliza’s hair, and started entangling the fight with ground vines and a sleep spell on Knuckles who rushed out to the melee rather late.

Thorfinn and Eliza wrestled free of the vines and finished subduing the half orcs. Daturan and the hooded figure, Allda, started golf-clapping–”Not bad, forest lovers. Grab a hold and let’s sell these suckers to Trader Sam’s”. Grigor, Arjitan, and Eliza agreed that people should not be sold into slavery, even if they were evil half-orcs, and said to meet up with them north of the cairn. Daturan continued to loot the bodies and placed 8 gold pieces into Thorfinn’s hand, saying “I’ll get more from selling these chumps then I’m handing you. Let’s go!” Thorfinn silently but grudgingly agreed—mostly to see the process this place considered normal—and helped Daturan drag the half orc around to an adjacent tent with an orc banner hanging over the entrance. With a few more gold in their purses, they left north.

At Daturan’s camp, the group discussed what they thought the plan was. The evil in the land is the power of a network of curses on a group of cairns around Galentaspar. The whole region is unhallowed. Additionally, each cairn is a desecrated area. The most powerful people in the region are necromancers and unholy clerics. The drow really only admit trade with peoples obeisant to Lolth.

Daturan hates the mayor of Anitus. Not really a yaor—more like a charismatic evangelist. Such a clever talker, Fray Underhof tricked Daturan out of a caravan full of slaves by selling Daturan right to another slaver an opposite route. Daturan has tried to assassinate Fray many times, but had failed repeatedly Fray has only increased his influence and has his own cadre of cairn keepers and henchmen. Fray lives in a tiny gap between the rocks at the base of cairn. According to Daturan, only pawns can now get close enough to Fray to be effective—and Daturan is too well known to get close.

Eliza says it is probably important enough to buy a hawk as soon as possible to let Feltor know what he’s up against. Where would they find a hawk? Should they rather go back to the rock wall? Or should they just continue to infiltrate Fray’s organization and complete Daturan’s revenge?