Mountain of Mystery Pt I
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This is the second campaign run in this setting and because I did weekly session summaries on the internet, it is very big, comprising several pages... sorry, guys!
The basic and very short synopsis is this: the party chased an army led by a daemon called Inisrya - she escaped them but her army perished. They then went to investigate a mountain at the behest of Iaphre and found that there was a Seal at the bottom and Inisrya originally entered the world that way. Then the party were forced into the Drow caverns as the spaceship suffered a reactor meltdown... am I going too fast? The party escaped and decided to follow the daemon by hiring a Ship that Sailed on Land and Sea. They had many adventures on the way to Lanixa where the daemon was. Eventually they caught up with her and... I won't finish that sentence. Suffice it to say that through the course of the campaign, all the characters changed as old ones died and retired and new ones rose to replace them. Not one of the original group who left Craje to chase the army actually appeared in the final conflict. It was a bitter campaign, full of friendship and jealousy, betrayal, trust, defeat and victory. It was cool and if you have a few spare millennia, you might want to read the summaries below.
Any comments on sessions from players and readers alike are very welcome, and I will probably post them up. Mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or any other address you know I'm at.
The Beginning (Sessions 1-3):
- After the defeat of Cimosco (see Campaign #1), the party went their separate ways. However, things were not quiet for long. Sarah was informed of her brother's death by Adrian and immediately packed her bags and left home, seeking out her brother's friends. Her first stop was in Alcan, the capital city of Amir'Shaan (where the elves live) to see Kaer; she stayed but an evening before leaving for Craje, where she met Frayer (who was only slightly pregnant at the time). While they were getting acquainted, Sisski turned up and told them to leave because 'bad people' were coming and they had to fetch Angor. This they did but when they returned they found that the mayor and several other important people had been killed by a small army that had rampaged through. Incensed, the four of them (and the new addition of Raz-nak) decided to follow the army and get revenge for the attack. So they rode off, crossing Epratium, Rapata and into the mountains, where they stopped to collect Morwen.
- Morwen had been told by the High Priestess to seek a mountain to the south, and Morwen agreed although first she wished to help Frayer avenge her attacked town. Within a few weeks of travelling, however, it became apparent that Frayer was too pregnant to adventure and so she returned home, leaving the others to deal with the army. Now in Shek-Tar, they quickly met with several strange people: arkh-Shamier'yv, whom they saved from some bandits attacking him, and Allundi, a Centaur who knew Sarah from her home village. It was not long after this that they met Quistin on the road, having beaten five bandits into a pulp. The new, and rather odd-looking group then continued to follow the army, collecting a young woman named Ohlian, who was bent on vengeance for her son, who was killed by the army.
- Soon enough they stumbled upon the army's encampment, and attacked, but alas Quistin, Sisski and Ohlian were captured. Still, with the lightning attack they had employed, the party had done some significant damage to the army, who they now saw numbered 70-80 men. In order to even the odds a little, the party attacked a patrol, killing three of the men and kidnapping the other for questioning.
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- Having captured the prisoner, they rode away rapidly until they found a suitable place to stop, far enough away from the army so they wouldn't be found any time soon. Angor then strung the man up to a tree by the wrists and left him dangling. The man was very co-operative over the course of the interrogation; willingly giving up information in return for his continued existence. They discovered that the army consisted of mercenaries and that they were lead by three people: Jason Wacian, Corman (a lord of some kind) and Inisrya, a strange female creature.
- They decided to strike the camp again with lightning, this time striking their supply wagons in an effort to cripple them. Striking after dark, they succeeded in doing just that and getting away unscathed.
- The next morning the army broke camp and moved on, with a single wagon in tow, and the party circling them wide. Getting ahead of the army, the party encountered a trio of outriders, whom they despatched quickly, but not before the army was alerted to their presence. They once again escaped unscathed.
- In an effort to confuse them, the party ran around behind them again and Morwen used Call Lightning on them again, causing great panic, especially among their dwindling horses. They decided to do this once again, but with the lightning centred on the mountainside so as to cause a rock slide that might injure (but not kill) the soldiers, and hopefully make the horses bolt. It succeeded.
- The horses pulling the wagon bolted, followed by a small crowd of soldiers on foot and the party who wished to capture it. Upon catching up with it they found that it contained Quistin and Ohlian, both bound, three soldiers, a cage, a lot of food and twenty tents. They quickly rid the wagon of it's mercenary occupants (surprisingly without killing any of them), slowed down the wagon and freed Quistin and Ohlian. The cage turned out to be holding a woman who was Sisski -- she had been turned into an elf. Unable to walk, she lay down in the back of the wagon. Ohlian kept crying and Quistin said little, save that he had had a very bad two days.
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- The morning after, Ohlian requested to return to town and so it was decided that Quistin, arkh-Shamier'yv and Sisski should accompany her. Once in town they should swap the massive wagon for a smaller, better wagon and sell the tents and the pack pony. While they headed north the rest of the party headed south in search of the army.
- They found that the army had started to head NE and rode ahead of them, figuring that they would be heading for the nearest town. Sure enough, a local woman informed the party that the town of En-Rali was not a day's slow travel distant. Since they were ahead of the army, the group decided to ride on to En-Rali, there to foil the mercenaries' chances of getting any aid.
- En-Rali was a smallish town with three inns (one of them was a brothel) and a few hundred people. The party immediately warned the town guard, the town wizard, the inns and the town's mayor of the impending danger from the marauding army, but seemed to make little difference. And so they hatched a fiendish plan to trap one of their leaders and kill him...
- The plan was this: Sarah had managed to befriend the lady of the brothel, a woman named Cetara (in the process she also befriended an attractive young prostitute called Marissa, who took quite a shine to her). So Sarah decided to masquerade as a prostitute in order to lure this leader into a room where Angor would leap out of the wardrobe while the others waited outside the town, watching the army arrive.
- In the mean time, Quistin and co. reached the town, having had a few problems with some mud... They clocked into the Forgotten Bell Inn where they received word from Sarah that they should join Morwen and the others outside town, so three went to meet them (Sisski, Ohlian and arkh-Shamier'yv) while Quistin went to have another look at the brothel...
- Sure enough, the army reached the town and they were allowed into En-Rali a few at a time. Many of them went to the brothel where Sarah (the only white woman in the entire place) was performing a rather seductive dance on stage. At the end of the performance she sidled over to the man she believed to be the leader and offered him her goodies (as you do when you're a prostitute). He naturally accepted, for Sarah is a bit of a stunner, and they 'retired' to a room she had borrowed off Cetara. Once in there, she led him on a bit, removing her clothes and his and then, when he had his trousers around his ankles, Angor struck and the poor mercenary died.
- They put the corpse in a bundle and Cetara hurried them out of the brothel; over the wall they went to join the rest of the party. Quistin recieved word that they had fled and quickly joined them. Once together, they took stock of the situation and realised that they had forgotten the wagon and the body needed burying. So while Morwen and Angor buried the body, Quistin and arkh-Shamier'yv went back for the wagon.
- They returned to town only to find that the wagon had already been discovered in the barn by three mercenaries and so they devised a plan: while Quistin kept them busy with magic, arkh-Shamier'yv was to shut and bar the barn doors. It didn't work quite so well and the nett result was one dead mercenary (at Quistin's hands) and a pair of fleeing adventurers.
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- arkh-Shamier'yv returned to the waiting party empty-handed and explained that they had found the wagon but been unable to procure it. Determined to stop the enemy getting their hands on the wagon again, Morwen, Angor, Sarah and arkh-Shamier'yv returned to the town again. A quick scout around the barn where the wagon was revealed that it was being guarded by 3 of the mercenaries, so Sarah slipped behind the barn and snuck up behind the one by the barn door, who was all alone.
- At this point she spoke, the guard saw her and went to attack but she managed to talk her way out of the situation by pretending to have been sent by the captain of the town guard to see if they had eaten (?). She left the courtyard, at which point the other three charged in on horses and engaged the mercenaries in combat. During the fight one of the horses, still tied to the wagon, was hit by a throwing star and bolted out of the barn; Sarah leapt to control it, it trampled one of the mercenaries and left the area. Sarah jumped off but arkh-Shamier'yv, who had jumped on to avoid a fight, tried to climb round the outside (there was no way through to the front) but fell off, so he got his horse and chased it instead.
- Meanwhile at the fight, four men came out of the inn: two mercenaries, the barman and a young boy who turned out to be the ostler (not the barman's son as the party surmised). The mercenaries immediately engaged the party and the barman attacked everybody, while the ostler hid. Once the mercenaries were dispatched, Angor turned on the barman and killed him. Then they fled really fast.
- arkh-Shamier'yv caught them up, but as they passed the inn a group of people ran out and one of them leapt onto the back of the wagon. They didn't slow the pace until they were well out of town, when they decided to rid themselves of the guy on the wagon (who was busily throwing all the stuff off the back). Once he was dead, the party regrouped and rested for the night.
- In the morning, Sarah and Angor went out on patrol and the party were found by Marissa who had come to talk to Sarah and warn the party that they were wanted for the murder of the Forgotten Bell's barman and a priest. When Sarah returned they spoke and then Marissa went back to En-Rali. Realising that they were in a bit of trouble, the party moved on, heading south again. Allundi, while on patrol, saw the army and reported back that there were 10-20 mercenaries, a colourful person and a man and two dogs. They ditched the wagon with a farmer, making him promise not to supply it to the army.
- Deciding to lull them into a false sense of security, the party left them alone that day. That night, while they were sleeping, however, they were attacked by what can only be described as shadow replicas of themselves: exactly the same but made of shadow. Angor fought Angor, Morwen fought Morwen, Sarah fought Allundi and Allundi fought Sarah. arkh-Shamier'yv pulled a shimmering claymore from mid-air and fought himself, Quistin blew a hole in himself with his magic. After an arduous combat (and excessive use of the prayer spell) the party managed to overcome their shadow selves and return to sleep.
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- Having defeated their shadow-selves, the party settled down into sleep again, with Quistin on watch. But after an hour, the ground began to grow and entangle him and waking the party he ran for the communal tent. Angor found himself tied to the ground by the plant-life but tore himself free and ran towards the horses. Allundi failed to wake up immediately and when he did he too was strapped to the dirt. Morwen awoke and, following Quistin's example, ran to the tent. Inside the tent, Sarah, arkh-Shamier'yv, Sisski and Ohlian huddled with Quistin and Morwen from the writhing undergrowth when a flaming arrow pierced and ignited the tent. Morwen ran out and began trying to free Allundi, Quistin ran out and headed for the horses, Sarah and Sisski both bolted but were pulled down by the undergrowth and lashed to the ground, arkh-Shamier'yv ran out and tried to free Sarah while Ohlian ran towards to horses.
- Angor, having been forced to leave Raz-nak behind, found himself blinded by a light spell being cast on his eyes. Still he managed to run to the horses, mount one and ride wildly away. Meanwhile Morwen and arkh-Shamier'yv were still trying to free their friends, vaguely aware of the shadowy figures encircling them. Ohlian fell, hit by an arrow, while Quistin mounted a horse. He was blinded by light a moment later, but he still managed to get his horse moving. Angor, however, was long gone: over the hills and far away.
- arkh-Shamier'yv was the next to succumb to blindness and he, too, navigated his way to the horses. As the circle of figures could be discerned as men, Morwen, too, lost her eyesight and left Allundi to fend for himself while she left the radius of the entangle spell. Quistin's horse was stopped and he was bound hand and foot, gagged and dumped in a heap while Allundi took the opportunity to surge to his feet, breaking away from the floor. As he did so, however, he was hit by an arrow and blinded by light.
- arkh-Shamier'yv managed to get his horse moving, but then the animal was stopped and he too was tied and gagged, while Morwen patiently waited for people to grab her so she could open her eyes and blind everyone. She used this as a strobe effect and so she was bound, gagged and blindfolded. arkh-Shamier'yv also used his lighted eyes against his oppressors, also earning himself a blindfold on top of his other bindings. Ohlian was picked up, trussed up, and dumped in a heap. Sarah and Allundi overheard an interesting conversation shortly before someone left on a horse, presumably to chase Angor.
- Ohlian and Morwen were moved to join Quistin and arkh-Shamier'yv; the rest were stationary within the entangled radius and hence unretrievable. Once the spell wore off, the characters were warned by a female voice not to struggle and several mercenaries approached Allundi, tied him up, gagged and blindfolded him, and slung a rope around his neck. Sarah and Sisski resisted capture greatly: Sarah by using martial arts to do groin-shots on the mercenaries and Sisski by being generally violent. Eventually Inisrya had to take Sarah in herself and even blinded one of her own men who had gone into a berserker rage having been kicked in the vitals by Sarah. Raz-nak, having charged several of the mercenaries in a bid to escape, fought bravely, nearly killing one of the mercenaries, but was killed as they outnumbered him 3 to 1.
- The party were then taken to an encampment where they were each interrogated (and in some cases, tortured) and spent a hellish night with the knowledge that in the morning Inisrya meant to kill them all publicly to appease the mercenaries baying for their blood. However, as preparations for the executions began, a horn sounding could be heard by one and all and to the rescue came Celeruin, an Elven paladin of Iaphre, and her half-Elven companion, Harridan. Unfortunately, during the ensuing battle, Inisrya and Corman fled but the rest of the mercenaries were killed or they ran away. Once freed, the party went to bed, but had a myriad of questions on their tongues...
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- Celeruin woke the party at dusk, fed them and sent them back to sleep, watches were kept and the night passed uneventfully. In the morning there was much arguing and discussing done: the net result of which was that the party was going to forget Inisrya for now, as they were ill-equipped and ill-prepared to take her on. And so it was decided by one and all that they should accompany Morwen on her God-given quest to investigate a mountain that had newly arisen to the south, near the centre of the recent earthquake that had decimated the underground dwellers (including the dwarves) of the Darkrift Mountains.
- The party headed south and soon found a cottage whose occupant informed them of a pass south through the mountains a day to the east. They decided instead to travel west and camped for the night on the trail of the army they had so recently destroyed. However, they were being watched by a black bird of some kind which, upon a conversation with Allundi, revealed only that it's master was a man.
- The next day they travelled on and, when the bird passed overhead, Quistin obliterated it with magic missile and, hoping that it was a wizard's familiar, rode on. They found a pass through the mountains which they began to travel through, but were set upon by many orcs, which proceeded to be butchered. Angor slew 14 of them, while Morwen and Allundi nailed 3 each, Sarah got 2 and Quistin got 1. Allundi was badly injured, but healed by Morwen.
- They continued to travel until after dark, when they heard the strains of violin music drifting to them along the pass. Suspicious, they advanced cautiously to find that it originated from an inn that had been carved into the mountainside itself. Still suspicious because they had detected an evil presence within, Angor and Allundi stayed outside for the night while the others got two double rooms to share.
- The peace of the night was broken when Sarah awoke to find herself being drunk by a Vampire. She lashed out and attacked it, but in the scrap that followed she was flung across the room and knocked unconscious. Morwen, Quistin and arkh-Shamier'yv bravely attacked it, but could not defeat it and eventually it was driven off by the power of Quistin and Morwen's respective faiths. Although they chased it, it disappeared while in it's bat form.
- Returning to the common room, they gathered all the people there, arranged watches and filled the place with the smell of garlic and the vampire did not return. A little before dawn, Sarah regained consciousness, had a bath, drank dwarven spirits and passed out, to be found behind the bar at dawn as the party awoke and made preparations for the road ahead.
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- The party left the inn at dawn, everybody watching Sarah closely as she looked very ill and there was a fear among the group that she might be a vampire. The initial travel was relatively peaceful, although Sarah withdrew when the first rays of sun hit her. Suddenly from above them a rock came clattering down the cliff face and three trolls appeared above them: without hesitation (recalling the fate of Lientei where appropriate) the party spurred their horses on and left the trolls far behind (and hungry). As they were leaving the pass, in the late afternoon, they found their way blocked by some ogres merrily demolishing a cart and it's occupants. The band easily killed the ogres but the last surviving member of the humans being attacked was less than happy.
- Riding on found the party in Arristown, a small settlement not 3 miles from the pass. There they were welcomed and even found employment: a weasely character named Stoat offered them a job escorting the local baron's daughter, Layla, to her wedding in Sahr. Having realised that they were a little short of cash and that they were on their way through Sahr anyway, Quistin got their pay doubled and they accepted the job. (Although Sarah and Morwen had a bit of a tiff over the money situation)
- They headed off along the road the next morning, with Lady Layla, her maid Sandra and their carriage driver Bob. After a couple of hours they met a young beggar who managed to pilfer a little of Sarah's cash with an impassioned plea. The rest of that day passed uneventfully, although that night, while on watch, Sarah narrowly avoided having her head splattered across the wagon by a well-timed duck as a crossbow bolt thudded into the wood of the carriage. Much panicking occurred thereafter but the culprit escaped unharmed but without harming any of the party, either.
- During the following day the party kept their eye open for their mystery assailant; they thought they had him when they saw a rider watching them from a distance but that person left before anyone could talk to him. In the early afternoon, the ground gave way under arkh-Shamier'yv's horse and both it and the rider plunged 30' into a fungus-filled hole. He fell off the horse, which injured itself badly, and looking round he realised that some of the fungus was screaming and 9' beetles were coming into the cave. Looking up, he saw the party huddled round the hole (looking for rope) and knew that they probably wouldn't get the rope to him before the large-mandibled creatures did. So he spread his wings (!) and flew out of the hole instead. The rest of the party did not know he had wings (which, to those who could see them, looked very ethereal and shimmery) and they were a little surprised but unsurprised at the same time.
- arkh-Shamier'yv's horse got eaten by the bugs and so he had to ride with Sarah for a while. As they were travelling along, a man in tight-fitting black clothes leant round a tree and pumped a crossbow bolt into Morwen's chest, knocking her off her horse and onto the ground. He then began running for a small house a little distance away with Sarah and Angor hot on his heels. He reached it and went inside: when Angor burst through the door he shot another bolt at Angor, dropped the bow and leapt through the window. Angor followed and Sarah ran round the house where they found the assassin's horse waiting for him. They pinned him down but he struggled free so they clobbered the crap out of him instead, kicking knives out of his hands every time he grabbed one. However, in the end, he got one of the knives and plunged it into his own chest, killing himself before they could interrogate him.
- The rest of the day they kept a close eye out; someone noticed a winged thing like a little lizard flying away but other than that they saw nothing. Even the night passed uneventfully. On the 3rd day the rider turned up again and this time was chased away by Angor charging at him. They found a corpse by the side of the road with his eyes pecked out and a little distance away a murder of crows watched them. Allundi asked them why they had done it and they replied "vengeance" before flying away.
- Later still they reached a crossroads with two gibbets swinging there: one contained an eyeless corpse with a wooden sign around his neck and the other contained a man with "hiwaymann" on a sign round his neck. He begged the party to let him go, but they refused and rode on. A little way away sat a man on a rock, reading a book, who greeted the party as they went past. When they asked Sisski if he was a bad person she shook her head: "bird person" she replied. Quistin immediately rode back to him and the man backed away, leaving his book on the rock. The cover said 'Ornithology' and so the mage asked him if he crows pecked people's eyes out much. The man told him that they did every so often and so Quistin let him go.
- That evening, instead of setting up camp they had food and then rode on into the night, reaching Sahr at around midnight. The guards asked to see Lady Layla before they would let them in and then told them to go to the Fawn and Firkin, where there board had been paid. Once at the aforementioned Inn, they reorganised rooms and set up watches so that no more assassination attempts on Layla could be made...
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- The party spent the night watchfully, with Sarah and Quistin under the beds in Layla's suite, Layla, her maid and Morwen in another room, arkh-Shamier'yv and Bob (the carriage-driver) in a third room and Angor, Allundi and Sisski on watch outside. Halfway through the night, Sisski woke Angor to tell him that there was an assassin. Angor woke Allundi and the pair of them ran into the alleyway by the inn in hot pursuit of the little cat. Sure enough, there in the alleyway a black-clad figure was trying to fade into the shadows. Upon seeing the charging dwarf and centaur he ran, only to be taken down by a couple of Allundi's arrows and then had his head kicked off by the centaur.
- During the fight, arkh-Shamier'yv heard the noise and opened the window to his room to see what was happening. Angor saw this and, upon entering the inn to check that everyone was alright, began speculating on where arkh-Shamier'yv's allegiances lay. Fortunately no one was particularly worried about him. Everyone returned to sleep or their watch and the rest of the night passed uneventfully.
- In the morning, three men arrived in the inn: a tall, well dressed, Prince Humperdink-esque man and two soldier types. The tall man, one Aman Korle, asked to see Lady Layla. The party fetched her and, after much justified paranoia about Aman being a potential assassin, let the two talk and then got paid in full.
- Then the party went about their own business; while Morwen slept (she had stayed awake all night) and arkh-Shamier'yv watched her, Sarah and Allundi wandered around the town and Angor and Quistin did likewise (Quistin found his way to the library: what a surprise). In town at that time was a 9' tall blue skinned man selling magical items and potions, but no one could afford any of them and no one was foolish enough to try and steal any.
- They stayed in Sahr another night and then headed out again the next morning, which was Allundi's 18th birthday. Officially that makes Allundi a Centaur as opposed to a Centaurette or whatever baby centaurs are called. They saw the dark rider again on the road but it was uncertain as to whether he was watching them or the town. He disappeared shortly afterwards anyway. The day passed uneventfully, with farmers and wagoneers and general travellers on the roads the whole time.
- The next day was also relatively uneventful: they found a stone plinth with a shape where a longsword (or similar) would have fitted in. The writing on the plinth said "In the memory of the Great Battle, whose armies fought and fell on this battle field. May they rest in peace." The 'battlefield' looked like a large number of farms. Angor surmised that the rock was about 1000 years old and Quistin checked it for magic to find that it was faintly magical, especially around the part where the sword would have fitted in; however, his shortsword fell out when slotted in and the mystery remained unsolved.
- That evening they saw a campfire up a head in the road and sent Sarah to investigate; it belonged to a man called Perringal, who wore only a rough brown woollen smock and had only a wooden bowl, a spoon and a knife. The party offered him food and companionship, which he accepted, but only if he could pay them back for their kindness. So they let him help Angor hunt for food and he washed up after meals each day. He explained that he was on a pilgrimage to a temple of Ceraihn (god of justice) far to the South because he had made a mistake and done something wrong. He seemed like a good, kind man and everyone treated him as such.
- The third day of travel also passed relatively uneventfully, with small children play-fighting by the roadside and the weather slowly deteriorating. That evening, however, Sarah heard a chittering sound on her watch: upon investigation she found that there was a small 1' tall man dressed in baggy clothes who fired a small dart at her. She unloaded both of her shuriken cross-bows into him and he died. She woke up Angor and showed him the corpse but neither of them could find any more of them and the rest of the night passed without incident.
- The fourth day was quite eventful as the party were held up by a highwayman. True to form, they charged them and massacred them. One survived as he had only been knocked out by Sarah so they chopped off his head as the penalty for highwaymen is death. Then they rode on. A little while later they passed a pub called the Wide Oak Inn, opposite which was a wide oak tree, around which were sat eight while cowled figures with sickles in their laps. The party wisely left them alone and continued their journey towards the mountain.
- That night, while hunting, Angor killed a cow, which caused many problems within the party; partly because it was someone else's property, partly because it needed bleeding and partly because no one could cook it very well at all. In the end, Angor threw the corpse in a ditch and Morwen insisted that the party pay the farmer for cow. Perringal did this for them, and then said his goodbyes and left.
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- With Perringal gone, the party moved on and at around lunchtime they came across the statue of a woman hitting something with a broom in the middle of the road. Some quick detective work revealed that this was not really a statue, but in fact a petrified housewife. She was outside a farmstead so the party investigated and quickly ascertained that a monster had attacked this woman and her husband, who was also petrified, but left their baby alive. So while some of the party tried to calm the baby, and the priests refixed their spells, the others sat and enjoyed the rest.
- At length the baby was fed and Morwen decided to drag the two 'statues' close enough together that she could cast dispel magic on them. At this point a rather angry chicken flew out of the shed and attacked them. The party made reasonably short work of the creature, but at that point a second angry chicken attacked them Allundi and Morwen, running in to help him, found herself turned to stone by a mere peck of it's beak.
- Once they had despatched the second creature, they determined that they were not really chickens at all, but a pair of cockatrices. And once Morwen was un-petrified, she swiftly entered the shed, went under it and destroyed the nest of eggs she found there. She also managed to dispel the petrification on the husband and he gathered up his child and left for Sahr in the hope of finding a priest to dispel his wife's enchantment.
- The party moved on once again and rested that night to travel on in the morning refreshed. That day passed without incident, despite passing a sign that said: Here bee Monsters. The following day, however, they found themselves the centre of subterranean attention as a strange furrow beneath the earth started to intercept them. Sarah and Angor rode ahead but the others decided to double back on the interceptor and cross its path behind it. However, the furrow was quite deep and while Morwen and arkh-Shamier'yv made it across safely, Quistin's horse stumbled and fell in, throwing Quistin, and Allundi also tripped into the hole. While Allundi scrambled swiftly out, Quistin and his horse were struggling so Morwen grabbed the mage and pulled him up. arkh-Shamier'yv hoisted him onto Morwen's horse's back and out of danger just as a creature looking a lot like a piece of flint with legs burst out of the ground, grabbed Quistin's horse, and vanished underground again. There was no recurrence of the creature. Relieved at their narrow escape, the party ventured on and the next day encountered a strange creature: an elf but with yellow-gold hair, yellow-green eyes and tanned skin and, most notably, a pair of fiery feathered wings. He introduced himself as Arcax, a Sun Elf, travelling through the lands. None of the party had ever heard of a Sun Elf, including arkh-Shamier'yv. Later that same day four huge griffons attacked them, swooping down from the sky. In the ensuing battle, all were severely injured (except Quistin and Sarah) as the creatures tore holes in Morwen, Angor, Allundi, arkh-Shamier'yv, Arcax and even Sisski. Arcax revealed a surprising racial trait: the ability to breathe fire, which he did upon one of the beasts (and Sarah). It was a bloody struggle, but in the end all the creatures died, giving up their impressive body parts for souvenirs.
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- Having survived a rather close-fought encounter with 4 griffon-like creatures, the party decided to rest for a day a short distance down the road. This they did well, but their second night there ended strangely as a thick fog rose from the ground, centred on them and strange creaking and squeaking sounds, like wood and rope, could be heard from all around, accompanied by a decaying stench permeating the air. Angor and arkh-Shamier'yv, who were on watch, observed the mist and the sounds for a short while before waking the party and suggesting they move. Within moments the entire group was on horseback, bar Arcax, and trotting away from the camp. The sound changed a couple of times: the creaking turned into a squeaking and then returned to a creaking sound and the volume oscillated from loud to quiet and back... eventually coming to rest on loud... and right behind them. Spurring their horses into a run, the party headed for the edge of the mist, followed by a rumbling sound and a creaking sound that was growing more and more rapid. Suddenly they burst into the early morning sunshine and the sounds ceased. Angor returned to the mist to see what had been pursuing them and the sound crescendoed as a massive war machine, run by undead of some kind, ploughed into the wall of mist and vanished. The mist began to disperse.
- After breakfast, the journey continued and they passed a second Heer be Monsteres sign, facing the opposite way from their direction of travel. A short time later, they saw a body lying by the road with his purse cut and a knife buried up to the hilt in his chest. Quistin checked him over but found only a pendant bearing an 'A'. Morwen then said a prayer over the body and as she did so, the corpse came to life and struck her full in the face, paralysing her and revealing itself to be a ghoul. arkh-Shamier'yv ran in with his sword, but Quistin despatched it swiftly with two magic missiles. They ventured on. The next day they entered the town of Gailside where there appeared to be no inhabitants of any kind, however, there were inhabitants and they were children, who watched the party with evil in their eyes. Slightly freaked, the party bolted and did not return, in spite of Morwen's suggestions that they should.
- The following day they crossed a river and found themselves in a town called Marsden, so the party took the opportunity to get supplies and have a few hours rest. There they found few people willing to discuss Gailside: they believed that there were 'demons' at work there.
- The adventure continued to the accompaniment of torrential rain and soaking clothes. The sodden group traipsed on despite the weather and a few snuffles and eventually came out the other side thoroughly clean, with a better-smelling Angor, and missing an Arcax, who left them to return to his desert home. They found the bodies of three dwarves: two fighters and a miner, plus a Reznor, and moved on quickly as they had been half-eaten by big cats, according to Sisski. They later encountered a group of four horseman chasing a girl on foot: intervening, they managed to avoid a fight (gasp) and discovered that the chase was traditional. Uncertain as to what to do, the party let them continue with the chase and watched as the girl procured herself a horse from one of the riders and fled northwards.
- Four days out of Marsden they reached Hal-den, the main Dwarven stronghold in the south and a towering structure resembling a hollowed out miniature mountain. The non-dwarves were not permitted access and so it was only Morwen and Angor who entered the impressive citadel while the others waited outside with a salesman, a family and a high priest of Lan'en (god of stone) for company.
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- While Morwen was within the walls of Hal-den, Angor wandered into the deserted human sector, broke into a library and stole some books for Quistin. Meanwhile, the party outside chatted to the people who were assembled outside the walls: Cedric the tradesman, a family and Harold the High Priest of Lan'en. Apparently they had been waiting there since the ban on non-dwarves had been imposed over a year before.
- In time Morwen sent a message to the party that they were to bed down for the night and that a guide and supplies would be with them in the morning and sure enough, at the intonation of the first shift bell, Morwen appeared in the majestic doorway with two ponies and two rangers. The first was Nori, a half-dwarven ranger, whose task was to lead them to the mountain. The second was Ungrim, a full dwarf whose task was to read the maps for Nori and take the horses back to Hal-den when the party reached the mountains proper.
- They set off and had uneventful travel for two days, although Morwen and Sarah had their shadows return. On the morning of the third day, the goddess Iaphre appeared to the party in the form of a child and talked to Morwen for a little while before giving the party members a gift each and then departing. To Morwen she gave improved insight and power (+1 Wisdom), she gave Allundi a +2 longbow of accuracy, to Sarah she gave better martial arts skill (+1 hit, +1 chart bonus) while to Quistin she gave enhanced power and to Angor a +1 magic sword. To arkh-Shamier'yv she simply said "remember" and gave him things he had forgotten, and Sisski gained a silence 15' radius spell.
- The next day the horses were taken by Ungrim back to Hal-den and Allundi joined him, having been released of his obligation to Morwen and with not being built for mountaineering. The next four days were spent struggling through the difficult terrain: scrambling up ridges and slipping down the other side, shuffling along narrow rocky shelves and absailing into ravines. During that time they saw a few lightning bolts and encountered a few minor rockslides, as well as two goblins (who didn't survive long) but aside from a few minor scrapes and bruises and a nearly bad accident on the part of Angor and his mountain pony, they eventually found themselves at the mountain, which Nori called StormTop.
- It looked like a crater, about 3-4 miles in diameter and with a tall, smooth conical peak rising from the perfect centre. A third of the way up the peak a cave could be discerned and in the cave could be seen a sleeping man. As the party began to trek across the plateau, two mounted figures appeared on top of the ridge and began making their way down: one in platemail with a lance and the other unarmoured with a battle axe across his back. Both were human. They reached the bottom of the ridge and were checking their horses over as Angor approached them when suddenly from behind the party, two mountain giants appeared as if from nowhere and ran in to attack.
- In the ensuing fight, the first giant was taken out by the combined efforts of Angor, Morwen, Quistin and the man with the battle axe who cast an interesting magic missile (blue with a spangly vapour trail effect. It knocked Angor and his horse down and then fell on them in its death throes: the horse escaped but Angor was crushed - saved only by the toughness of his bones. The other giant received a good lancing from the knight and a cut to the neck from arkh-Shamier'yv. arkh-Shamier'yv received a swatting for his troubles while Sarah ran in and got knocked over and was still on the ground when the giant died and fell. The knight's horse bolted, dropping him to the floor next to Sarah where they both received a sound winding from the falling menace.
- As the dust settled, the two newcomers introduced themselves an Sir Arnan Kheldar, a knight of the Jandarr Empire, who had heard of the party from their exploits at Cimosco's Island, and Marcus Grendall, also of the Jandarr Empire, who appeared to be a mage of some kind. As the sun fell, the two groups began looking for a place to camp before the instigation of the mission in the morning...
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- The next morning, Angor and Quistin decided to take their leave of the party, explaining that they had never intended to go to the mountain and that their real plan was to travel to Agatan so that Quistin could do 'things' and so Angor could deal with Inisrya. The feelings upon their departure were mixed, but as they left, both were struck with chest pain: Angor his heart and Quistin his lungs. However, the feeling passed and with only ideas and no evidence as to what had caused the pain, the dynamic duo left.
- It also turned out that Marcus and Sir Kheldar intended to investigate the mountain and so they joined forces with the party in their endeavour. A path around the mountain had been found and, after a benediction from Morwen, the troupe began to walk up it. A few hours walking saw them to the end of the path: a cave within which sat a mysterious old man, with black hair and leather clothing. He told them he had been waiting for them and invited them to have a look in a crack at the back of the cave. Through the crack was a metal wall, inclined at 30 degrees, and next to it was a green and red glowing light. arkh-Shamier'yv and Morwen investigated and, upon touching the lights, the wall split open to reveal a metal room with three door-like things in it, tilted at 30 degrees, but downwards. Each door was made of metal and next to each door was a panel with a glowing light on it: two purple, one white.
- This was reported to the rest and it was decided that they should enter the room. arkh-Shamier'yv did so and, expecting to slip on the metal floor, found instead that he could stand with ease and that, looking back, the cave looked as if it was inclined downwards at 30 degrees. Marcus and Sir Kheldar left their horses with the old man and so the whole group entered the strange room.
- A little fiddling with the panels revealed that the purple doors would not open, but the white one did: into a room with several doors and corridors and a big metal construct in the middle. This room, and all the doors therein, were made of metal and here and there leaves and mould could be seen.
- The metal construct turned out to be a well of some kind, with ladders in it, leading down to another level. The whole place was brightly lit by the glowing ceiling. The party decided to wander around for a bit and in their travels found doors of many colours: red, orange, yellow, black, brown, grey, white and purple, but only the white ones would open. They found a sauna with some humanoid denizens, but they did not attack or communicate so eventually the two groups parted company. They also found a dead dog and a dead man, wearing black.
- The rooms they entered were odd, also metal, although one was white and slippery: they found many cylinders of horn and a strange contraption that made writing if a horn was placed in it. Sarah managed to find that these were records of some kind. The found a room filled with scrying devices, but these were one-way only and some of the people on the other side seemed to realise that the party scryer was there. They also found a metal chest and several corpses: and three rectangular disks of horn, one yellow and two black. They quickly figured out that these could be used to open the doors and so they entered a yellow door to find many glass vials and pots and containers.
- At this point they decided to use the well and so they moved down to the next level, past a brown door. The next level appeared to be an octagonal walkway surrounding a domes area filled with plantlife, 80 feet below the level of the ground. However, here the group were attacked by vines and decided to continue down to the next level.
- The next level was in fact the wildlife level and through the doors they could see that there was a jungle out there with a small lake in the middle, upon which stood an island. They decided to wander around and as they did so, the found a room with a funny table-like desk-thing, with knobs on it. Morwen pushed a knob and the room shook and rumbled for a few minutes. When the rumbling stopped, one of the walls slid aside to show a star scene in motion...
- They decided to stop for food and while they were resting, Marcus went into a trance and began to astrally travel...
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- After a short while, Marcus returned from his astral travel and then the party further investigated the level they were on. They found that any way they went they had to go through overgrown vegetation and decided not to risk it, so at length they returned to the uppermost level and continue their investigation from there.
- The dropchute they ascended had, unfortunately, no anti-gravity and they were forced to hold on as the ladders on the walls pulled them up. At the top both Kheldar and Morwen slipped: Kheldar caught himself and managed to leave the chute, while Morwen fell and caught herself twice before arkh-Shamier'yv stepped in and helped her onto solid ground.
- With their yellow keycard in hand, they ventured into a room (a medical bay) where an attractive human woman healed Kheldar's leg. Then the party ventured into the room next door where a male human grabbed Marcus and held him down on the table while the party attacked him. He stabbed Marcus with some kind of sleeping poison but perished before he could do any further damage to the mage. However, the man appeared to have a skeleton made of metal: a daemon of some kind, they surmised.
- The healer next door revived Marcus and the party continued to open the doors along the corridor: in the first they found "intelligent mushroom brains" who managed to inform the party that they were friendly before being left alone. The next room was empty: a bedroom with metal furniture. The third room was a strange room with a perfectly clean ante chamber and the room itself was filled with barrels and jars, bottles and crates, all sealed.
- They moved on and soon found a room filled with games or training devices of some sort: skittles and board games and a dance floor to name but a few. Upon discovery of the toilet, the party decided to bed down in the bedroom they had found.
- During the course of the 'night' there was a fight with some vegepygmies, in which no one in the party was seriously hurt, although the vegepygmies didn't make it to see another dawn. Two of them were behaving very strangely, clambering on friends and enemies alike in an effort to avoid the metal floor: one of them perished from the 100 foot drop down the drop chute.
- In the morning, Sarah and Kheldar went seeking food in the games / training room and found that there were strange contraptions that delivered both food and drink at the touch of a button. Highly entertained by the variety and tastiness of the food, they proceeded to try one of everything and, aside from Morwen, everyone pigged out on hamburgers, baked beans, chocolate bars and roast chicken.
- They decided to head for a specific room (the dining room, although they didn't know that) and on the way found a room containing many things of entertainment value... specifically a pool table. However, Sir Kheldar persuaded the others to continue their mission and return to the games room later.
- Reaching the dining hall they found there a dead woman. She had been stabbed and on her she had a brown keycard and a red keycard. The party took the keycards and after a little rummaging around in other rooms, they went to the central room where they had seen a red door. There they found two 'metal knights' (robots) who accosted them, although they ignored anyone who held up the red keycard. Marcus used lightning to disable one and then the other attacked the party, paralysing Marcus, Kheldar and arkh-Shamier'yv and, while Morwen attacked it, it picked up the struggling Sarah and used some kind of tractor beam on Kheldar, and took them to some cells via an office and dumped them there.
- Morwen freed them and once Kheldar was no longer paralysed they decided to attack the robot: indeed they had to get out of the cells. Meanwhile Marcus was testing the efficiency of its heat ray and in the ensuing combat, Sarah did too. Kheldar was once again paralysed and in the end the combined efforts of the party caused the thing to grind to a sparking halt just before it did nasty things to Morwen.
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Campaign 2: [Next] [Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV]