zaterdag 30 november 2013

Herculon to the rescue?

n the morning of the next day, Herculon is feeling better, practically back to his normal bloodthirsty self.  The party decides to return to the forests, kill the broos, and investigate exactly what the chaos fiends are doing in the dwarven caves beneath the natural caves complex.  They approach the entrance once again, and Raiko sneaks to the cave mouth, while Sharkan tries to bind his ancestor for support and advice, but fails three times.  Giomanach positions a big rock boulder in the narrowest part of the entrance tunnel and secures it with holdfast, and soon enough they manage to draw the attention of a gang of broos, led by a huge Bison broo and commanded by a broo shaman.

The hubbub at the entrance, and that's without the Walktapus! 
 A fight ensues near the entrance.  Raiko and Daerius battle it out with the broos, while Giomanach smites the enemy down with Palsy.  From the left tunnel a walktapi now appears.  Herculon rushes forward to face it, and although the chaos abomination oozes fear, Herculon quickly dispatches it by hqcking it in four parts.  The broo shaman and Giomanach try to suppress each other, but the duel remains undecided, until Giomanach releases his boulder, and wreaks havoc on the remaining broos with the boulder, until he manages to crush the broo shaman with it.  Herculon steps forward and, in his inimitable style, decapitates the enemy leader.  Raiko also distinguishes himself, by facing one of the broos, and masterly chopping it's arm off.  The broo collapses on the floor.  The rest of the broos scatter back into the cave.  That's the last they saw of them.  The party descends into the tunnel where Giomanach discovered the hatch, watching their steps carefully, in case the remaining broo have set up an ambush of some kind, but they find nobody else in the natural cave complex.

hey descend into the hole in the floor, and find a dwarven made tunnel, with runic markings around the entrance.  The entrance bodes ill news for spirit followers, it seems to be set up to prevent spirits from entering the complex.  Sharkan casts his spirit sight, and immediately receives an overload of spirit feedback.  The place turns out to be full of spirits, haunts, wraiths, and the dreaded bane spirits.  As the party follows the corridor into the complex, they notice a second passage.  Here too they notice the dwarven runes.  Unable to read the ancient symbols, they investigate their surroundings, and notice a room right behind the passage, where a huge troll skeleton is standing guard.  The moment they set foot into the entrance hall, the troll skeleton charges forward, and several others appear to be guarding with it. Four opponents attack them, and the party, used to beating down their opponents, pick up the fight, but the guardians turn out deadly and they quicklly retreat back into the entrance portal.  The many broo corpses strewn about in the big entrance cave make much more sense now.  It seems the skeletons, driven by powerful undead spirits, have done their job defending the caves from intruders, and the broo learned the lesson the hard way.
An overview of the complex and Daerius and Giomanach
After several more attempts, the guards turn out too powerful to be defeated in a head-on fight, and Giomanach develops another strategy.  He casts haste on the party, and they run into the caves, fingers crossed that they will not encounter too much resistance.  The skeletons are quick, but not as fast as the party with Giomanach's sorcery, and the group splits up.  They manage to make the skeletons split up as well, and run around and descend into a weirdly shaped cave with a polished floor.  They notice a statue with his hand open, and a part seems to be missing, and while the rest of the party distracts the skeletons, even managing to hit one in the head while running away, Daerius locates what looks like the missing semi-round stone near one of the broos, runs back to the statue, and fits the ball into the hand, which causes the immediate retreat of the undead guardians into the guard room whence they came forth.  With a bit more time, the party now further investigates the rooms around the polished cave.  Herculon and Giomanach discover a mummy on a stone slab, and as the fearsome creature awakens, Giomanach's Palsy of the head stops the undead at once.  As they head back out, they are confronted by three more mummy's that appear to have been triggered by their entrance into the tomb, or maybe the killing of the mummy's master.

eanwhile Sharkan and Raiko started climbing the stairs in the rear cavern, a long flight leading alongside the wall of a huge cave, with a rocky bottom, and a dark still pool of water at the back.  Sharkan's witchsight allows him to see the pool for what it is, a huge heap of bane spirits, and the party steers well clear of the threat, in spite of the protection given by Giomanach.  The moment Daerius appears at the bottom of the stairs, Sharkan stumbles on the stairs, making a lot of noise, and draws the attention of two more skeletons, that head in their direction at once, to the bottom of the stairs.  Daerius takes a stance, and Herculon, who returned to the statue with the ball in his hand, returns quickly as this new threat appears.  So does Giomanach, and the three compagnons await the skeletons.  Meanwhile Raiko and Sharkan have reached the top of the stairs, and Sharkan has noticed a wraith waiting upstairs.  Their approach does not seem to alarm it, or maybe it is bound to its location?  As Raiko and Sharkan approach the spirit in its cell, Daerius comes under attack from the skeletons below.  The first attack is fearsome, Daerius manages to parry it but is flung back from the power of the blow.  Herculon arrives at this instant and steps in immediately.  As the fight develops, Sharkan and Raiko come under  attack from the wraith, but manage to best it.  The next cell is empty at first sight, but turns out to hold a surprise, another skeleton is animated by an undead spirit as they enter, and Raiko and Sharkan have to face it alone.  Much to their credit, they manage to overcome this opponent, with some considerable luck.  They loot whatever seems variable, and return to the ground floor, and the entire party then heads to the dwarven made tunnel near the entrance, where they saw two smaller skeletons stand guard near a large door.
The door turns out to be locked, and the lock looks like another gem of dwarven engineering.  A large iron cabinet, with thick, impenetrable walls, and a triangular hole on the top, as well as four openings on the front, each in the shape of a quarter of a cylinder.  The characters immediately recognize the shape of the elements of the guardian globe, and decide to get the ball over.  However, as soon as Herculon removes the ball from the statue's hand, the skeletons attack.  The globe controls the actions of the guards, but upon putting the ball back, one of the party deems it a good idea to try and knock down one of the retreating skeletons, triggering all undead guards at once, in spite of the ball being in place.  They have no choice now but to fight or perish.  Herculon fights like a rabid lion, but suffers several blows.  Daerius' ability to tank is thoroughly tested.  Giomanach, still standing outside of the room, manages to holdfast one skeleton, and after the skeleton breaks free much against all expectations, manages to keep it out of the fight.  That, and the fact that the narrow corridor narrows access, allows the party to wear the enemy down one by one, and they emerge victorious after all, as the party charges into the central hall to aid Giomanach and finish off the last skeleton guard. 

The throne room, Sharkan and Daerius looking worried.
The need for the guard suppression now gone, the party quickly discovers how the lock works, and enters an empty room with a throne in the middle, surrounded by a mountain of bones, skulls, and the odd weapon.  While Raiko relinquishes control to his ancestor, who starts his trance ceremony, Sharkan's witchsight reveals that a haunt is residing on the throne, and four powerful undead spirits circle the throne in an irregular pattern.  Giomanach, confident that his powerful spirit block will safeguard him, enters the room unafraid, only to find a pointed scepter is launched at him.  He is hit, and tries to grab hold of the rune inscribed scepter, but is unable to control its motions, and he is stabbed again, collapsing to the floor, and needs to be evacuated out of the room.  Herculon now advances, and triggers the undead spirits, all four of them animating another huge skeleton unexpectedly.  Raiko, having bound his ancestor, enters spirit combat with one of the undead spirits, bringing the number of skeletons down to three.  An essential action, as the room is open, and the three remaining skeletons prove just about too much for the party.  Herculon enters berserk mode, and violenty hammers away, but suffers too many attacks, and has no choice but to end his berserk spree and collapse, lest he dies after two atrocious blows hit him on the head.  With this all pressure comes on Daerius, who just about loses his spear arm immediately afterwards.  The scene turns ugly, with Giomanach being unable to do much more than try to damage one of the skeletons sufficiently to make it collapse with his staff.  With Raiko out of the battle, Sharkan is the only remaining damage dealer, and as his arm is crushed by a hammer attack, it looks like the fight is over and the party goes down, but the river folker comes back with a vengeance, heaving his crushed arm, and finishing of the first of the skeletons.  Still the situation remains bleak at best, and Raiko's ancestor loses the spirit combat with the undead spirit, and is destroyed. 

The shit hits the fan
It is down to Sharkan now to put down the other skeletons, while Daerius desperately tries to pull Herculon to relative safety.  Against all odds, the battle turns their way, and with Herculon's healings, they manage to pull through.  After standing face to face with their demise, the party now investigates the white stone bathing room and the bedroom behind it, and sees the risk of the endeavor well compensated.  Again they collect all things valuable, and they head to the final tunnel of the complex, the spider tunnel.  This turns out to be inhabited by two giant spiders, that Giomanach quickly takes care of, and the party discover a second exit out of the cave complex.  This exit requires a risky climb into the cave ceiling, but Giomanach helps the party up using a slab of stone controlled by his animate sorcery spell.  They quickly make it to the top of the mound, and discover a bunch of Lunar troops standing by the entrance.  It seems their cover is blown.  They quickly attempt an escape, and in spite of a griffin rider initially spotting them, they manage to make a clean getaway and return to the farm, only to find their young follower and the women from the farm in chains, ready to be taken away by Lunar Troops.  However, the Lunar conscripts don't know what hits them, as Daerius starts hurling his spears and Giomanach scatters them with a palsy.  Within one minute, the fight is over, and the prisoners released, and with a ox cart full of spoils of war, the party heads east.

zaterdag 9 november 2013

A taste for revenge

 Early morning of the 18th day of the Dark Season, the weather changes, overnight it became much colder, and the party feel they are in for a cold day.  They return at the farm before sunrise, having traveled overnight to avoid patrols, and learn of the dramatic turn of events at the longhouse.  Herculon, however, has been taken seriously ill, and is unable to accompany them to the Chaos caves, but urges the others to go ahead and scout the place out.  While having a simple breakfast, they discuss the events at the farm, and Alara explains how it has become impossible to remain living here, without the regular Quivini clan patrols, with the constant harassment of brigands, Lunar scum, and now this threat of Chaos so close.  Sharkan feels sorry for the stricken woman and hands her some silver pieces, giving her the advice to move to one of the towns and try and start a new life, if not for her own sake, then for her daughter's.

The party than dons their pelt clothing, and starts off into the hills, led by Daerius.  Before long they arrive at the patch of forest, which is looking ever more corrupted and vile.  Trees have been deformed, the branches no longer upright but drooping down, and the forest spiders that normally inhabited the forest quite peacefully now have no nesting space, and can be seen sitting between the tainted trees in every direction.  The path indicated by Daerius seems accessible enough, with just two spiders in view, and initially there is little reaction as Daerius and Sharkan slowly step forward.  The moment Giomanach advances, however, both spiders spring into action, and attack the sorcerer.

Giomanach charging in before the warrior...
Giomanach has to take a few steps back, keeping out of range of the spiders' attack, before he manages to touch palsy the animal on the head.   The second spider is dispatched by Sharkan with a brutal leap.  The party encounter no further spiders and continue towards the entrance, sneaking to the best of their ability.  They see no opposition and almost stand in front of the entrance, when they suddenly find themselves face to face with two broos.  Giomanach, against better judgment, charges forward, and starts hitting one the broo with his staff.  The others quickly advance, and notice there are more broos in the bushes.  The situation quickly turns into a full fight.  Raiko sneaks through the brushes, and surprises one of the broos that is trying to get behind the party, lopping off its arm as the chaotic fiend blindly runs into him.  Sharkan gets wounded in the madness at the entrance, and collapses, bleeding heavily.  Meanwhile, Giomanach is still hammering away at the broo, and as the last one tries to make a run for it, Giomanach follows him into the cave.  His haste gives him the advantage, and before long he is able to palsy him to a standstill, only to discover two scorpion men, standing guard in a cave, and heading in his direction immediately upon spotting him.  The sorcerer tries to crush one of the scorpion men with a rock, but fails.

Nobody noticed the Dragon Snail, or that Sharkan had passed out.
Giomanach goes down, and Daerius and Raiko charge forward to save him.  Raiko's heal fails, and it takes a miracle from Daerius to stop Giomanach from paying with his life.  The fight with the scorpion men continues, and the party is so occupied that they fail to notice a two headed dragon snail heading their way from out of the dark caves beyond. Just as Raiko manages to kill one of the Scorpion Men, Giomanach, having palsied one of the Dragon Snails' head, almost loses his arm by the other head.  The fight turns ugly, with Daerius and Raiko having a lot of trouble getting the upper hand, when Sharkan, still with witchsight on, notices an old tomb wall, full of spirits, and he steps forward through a stone portal.  Without anyone noticing, Sharkan collapses.  Meanwhile, Giomanach hears a rattling noise down along yet another corridor, and he decides to quickly investigate.  As he stumbles down the rocky slope down, he realizes he has no idea what he is about to find, but before he can have second thoughts, he stands in a lighted, man made corridor, and 30 meters in front of him are several broo's, operating a kind of lever above a hatch or hole in the ground. 

The big broo was surprisingly quick for such a big beast
Giomanach slowly tries to back out, but stumbles, and the broo leader is able to hear him, above all the noise.  Only at that moment Giomanach realizes what trouble he is in.  The broo leader is a huge bison broo, and upon spotting the sorcerer the huge creature starts charging in his direction, with an uncanny speed, especially for his bulk.  Giomanach, not an athlete by any standard, scurries up the rocky slope back to his henchmen, panting and yelling.  Daerius comes to his aid, slowing the creature down with some well aimed javelins, and the party intends to run, when they discover Sharkan lying unconscious.  Raiko loses no time, and loads his big fellow river nomad on his shoulders, ready to run for his life.  Giomanach casts his most powerful haste spell on the entire party, and Daerius assists Raiko with Sharkan, as they run out of the cave, back the way they came.  Just when it looks like they are going to get out alive, thanks to the powerful sorcery spell giving them superhuman speed, they run into the big rock Giomanach tried to crush the scorpion man with earlier, and have a hard time getting the big body of Sharkan over.  As the broos close in, the party tries everything, but they cannot take the obstacle while carrying Sharkan, and Giomanach, in a mild state of panic, fails his Rock magic several times, before he manages to finally clear the way. 

A walktapus tries to block them but fails
The party speed on, only meters in front of the advancing enemy.  They head towards the exit, and see yet another shape looming ahead of them.  A mass of tentacles on legs is coming from a corridor ahead of them, and hurrying to block them in the caves.  With seconds to spare, the party makes it to the exit, and miraculously, the two warriors manage keeping up their speed for several more minutes before having to finally slow down, spent,  with no more sight from neither the broo or the dreaded walktapus.  It seems a barbarian berserker has his uses after all...

zaterdag 2 november 2013

A Farmer's life

Daerius and his Hoplites have a hard time escaping the Chaos area.  They are spotted by a patrol led by a Scorpion Man, and have to run for their lives.  It takes them considerable effort to seemingly escape, and they manage to get a breather and return to Xeiros' farm.  There they learn that the rest of the party have left for Boldhome, in order to find a messenger to Pavis and to the Old Wind Temple.  They have left nobody behind, and Xeiros and his wife and daughter are very pleased to see the party return.  They breathe a sight of relief as the mighty hoplites appear in sight on the hill, in front of the mighty sunset, and walk the last part down to the farm.  Their rejoicing quickly fades when, after a short report of what occurred, the pursuing chaos band appears over the same hill.  The hoplites have been followed, and before they have much time to react, the broo and their scorpion man leader charge forward.  Our heroes urge the farmer's wife and daughter inside, and turn around to face the charge, only to discover Xeiros the farmer has been hit by missile fire and is lying 20 yards in front of the farm, unable to move.  With a split second decision Daerius decides he cannot take the risk of breaking the line, and only seconds later the broos come charging across the field, while the scorpion man, at an incredible speed, makes a dash for the house.

Further seconds of indecisiveness, and the broos are upon them.  One of the broo though stops at the fallen Xeiros and starts the foul impregnation on the fallen farmer.  The fellow screams in agony, as the broo starts his nasty business, and Daerius and his hoplites cringe.  Inside they hear his wife sobbing and crying out the farmer's name.  There is nothing they can do, as the charge hits them, and the green hoplites face the ferocious attack.  The scorpion man, in the meantime, is dashing around the main farm building, and within seconds he is standing behind their shield wall.  Their only bit of luck is that the farmer is keeping one of the broos busy, it allows the party the small advantage trey need to quickly reduce the broo numbers and be able to brace for the scorpion man attack.  They manage to down the enemies, one by one, and the scorpion man is the last to go down.  They emerge as victors, but there is no happiness, as Alara stumbles out of the longhouse, her daughter in tow, and falls to her knees, weeping over the ravaged body of her dying husband.

The party stand around her, not knowing what to say.  They do what is necessary, and give the farmer a decent last voyage, before bariccading up in the house for the night.

maandag 21 oktober 2013

Daerius' Hoplites Baptism of Fire

After the rescue of the slave gang near Jonstown, the party decides to get off the beaten track, and they find refuge in a stead along an old mountain track into the Quivini Mountains and towards Boldhome.  Their host is hospitable, but gives a worried impression, and our friends soon understand the fellow is highly worried about events that have occurred recently in the area.  For months, patches of land would not allow plants to grow.  Then cattle died.  Goats were stolen.  The forest spiders, traditionally keeping to the deepest woods on the mountain flanks, wander all the way down to the valley, and endanger children and adults alike.
And only recently, chaos spirits attacked the stead, it took the visit of a gang of Storm Bull Initiates to get rid of the taint, and these Horned Barbarians ate and drank everything they could find on the stead as a thank you dinner.
Daerius has adopted four of the slaves, one of them is appointed sergeant, and he agrees to teach them his combat style, and pay a soldier's wage, in exchange for service.  The ex-slaves, bound by honor, would have been willing to fight for Daerius for free, but the young Talastaring shows himself generous.  After learning of the stead owners' sorrow, he decides to take his new recruits out to investigate and exercise.  The rest of the party stays at the farm, for safety, they say, but more probably for the resupplied food and drinks.
A fight ensues...
Daerius' party heads north into the hills, towards the forests, along steep tracks, not encountering anything until the reach the forest, and run into a pair of forest spiders.  They manage to take these down without too much trouble, and enter the forest, towards the ancient crags that supposedly spawn the chaos threat.  They fail to notice how they are being followed by a broo scout, and find themselves trapped when they enter the cave complex in pursuit of a Chaos atrocity called a Jack o Bear.  They find their way back out blocked, and a fight ensues.
At first things go well, but the pressure builds, and although the party cleverly retreat into the crevice to avoid being outnumbered, they start to suffer from the chaotic broos and their evil properties.  When Daerius goes down after an electrical decharge, things start to look bleak indeed, but then the Jack o Bear goes down, the party starts to reorganise, and they try to recover.  One hoplite goes down and is dragged out of the cave, and one of the broos tries to perform the vile broo impregnation on the poor soul, but at that moment our heroes break out of the cave, and manage to skewer the filthy beast before the worst comes to pass.  Quickly they recover their wounded, and prepare to head back to the cabin for healing and assistance.  This is not over.

zondag 22 september 2013

Ilduvu attacks

The morning after the attack by Lunar troops and the escape of the sorcerer and his henchman, the party finds itself wondering what route to take...  Should they continue to Prax, Pimper's block, risking detection in the open?  Or seek refuge in Boldhome, with Herculon's family, risking detection by the Lunar Home Guard or Ilduvu and his associates.  And if heading to Boldhome, is it best to take the trail through the mountains, in this winter weather, or track back to the Jonstown - Boldhome road and then south?
After due consideration, the decision is taken to return to the royal road and take a left for Boldhome.  So it happens.  After less than an hour of travel, the party spots a large convoy coming at them from the west.  It is quickly determined the convoy is not a Lunar platoon, and briefly after the characters can see what is heading towards them:  it is a slave convoy.  12 chained sartarite weak looking prisoners, clad in rags, and accompagnied by a dozen of Lunarese guards and their captain, as well as three sable riders.  They have the advantage of surprise, and hide in the shrubs, until the convoy has approached.  Sharkan, clumsily trying to hide behind a narrow tree, is quickly detected, and the Sable riders hurry over to make sure it's not a major nuisance.
Before Sharkan is captured, Giomanach steps forward from his hiding and starts casting Palsy.  Herculon starts incantating his Lightning ritual, and grills one of the Sable Nomads before he knows what hits him.  The remaining Sable Riders forget about Sharkan and charge forward towards Giomanach, who they consider the source of the lightning magic.  With the Lunars no longer paying much attention to him, Sharkan lets out his River Folk Warcry and leaps forward.  Sadly, he miscalculates the leap, and to make matters worst, he loses his footing when landing.  He ends up on his belly, with three Lunar guards closing in on him.
Herculon bellows loudly and charges forward, while Sharkan is hard pressed under the attack, almost losing his arm while backing up.  Daerius charges forward as well, and Raiko tries to sneak up behind the Lunars, but is spotted before he makes it that far.  Meanwhile, some of the prisoners have succeeded getting rid of their shackles.  Herculon kills one Lunar, then another.  The fight is turning against the Lunars very quickly.  Then Giomanach detects 3 flying shapes in the air, and he feels a cold shiver run along his spine.  Ilduvu has tracked them down, and he has brought help.  Two Wyvern Riders accompany the Griffin shaped Sorcerer.  Sharkan meanwhile scores his first Lunar kill, and, oblivious to the appearance of the sorcerer behind him, charges towards his next target.
The liberated slaves form a front before the approaching wyvern
The Wyvern riders land in front of the party and their released prisoners, and hostilities continue.  The prisoners quickly form a front, determined not to go into captivity again.  The Sartarites seem quite able to hold off the Wyverns, and our party members join the line and charge forward, but Ilduvu has other plans.  He feints a landing in front of the party, then pulls up slightly and lands in front of Giomanach, with the clear intention of ripping the sorcerer to shreds.  He attacks, grabbing hold of Giomanach's leg, blood pumping out of the open wound.  The Griffin then attempts to take off, Giomanach in his claw, and if not for the released prisoners jumping on the big bird to keep it on the ground, this would most definitely have been the demise of Giomanach at the hands of Ilduvu. The fight against the Wyverns goes well, one of the riders goes down, but the party is having a very hard time stopping Ilduvu.  The Griffin attempts once again to take Giomanach in the air, and another time several ex-prisoners jump on the shapechanged sorcercer.  Ilduvu casts wrack on those touching him, and the outcome is gruesome.  Five prisoners succumb, in their weakened state a single attack is enough to kill them, and the others back off, terrified.  Now Herculon, having dispatched his wyvern, charges forward, but even with his trememdous damage output it proves very hard to damage the sorcerer through his magical shield.
However, as the Lunars are all down, and the party starts concentrating on Ilduvu, he decides to live another day, and flies off south.
The party loot the victims, and use the equipment they find to outfit the surviving liberated prisoners.  The prisoners, according to Orlanthi Law, become endebted to the party, and decided to join them as henchmen.  7 survivors join their ranks, and a number of them agree to start studing the Talastaring Hoplite way of combat.  After using the equipment they can, they are sill left with 6 Hoplite shields, 11 Scimitars, 3 Peltast shields and 3 daggers.

zondag 15 september 2013

Escape from Clearwine

Luckily, lunch wasn't too hard to come by

 fter the decimation of the Lunar Slave Farm guard, Herculon and his gang had no time to inspect the premises much, whata with the escaped wizard who would quickly come back with reinforcements.  They just took the time to locate the body of Jaya, and headed back the way they came, through the old tunnel.  The Ernalda priestesses, with help from Yanioth Brandgorsdottir, make sure their traces are not visible, and offer the party shelter in a small shrine, 10 miles east of Clearwine.  There the party performs the rites for Jaya, in the way of the sun warriors.  They lament and get drunk and tell brave tales to remember her by.
Martulo is in a bad state.  He has become bitter and low on confidence.  He has lost one leg from the knee down, and is in dire need of healing.  But news from the Ernalda spies is not encouraging.  The Lunars are in an uproar, and are sparing no effort to find the attackers.  A desciption has been sent out, patrols are manyfold, and movement along the imperial roads is all but impossible.  On top of that, Ilduvu Illuviu is on the lookout for them.  There are patrols at every guard house, Chalana Arroy temples in all surrounding towns are being guarded, it seems the empire has a rather good idea what is going on.  Meanwhile, Sharkan, a traveler from Corflu, has arrived at the shrine.  He is one of the riverfolk, and a student of Sa'ar, and has been sent by the Zola Fel priest when he detected the disturbance in one of the River Voices.
ur adventurers decide to travel into the wild, bad weather notwithstanding, north through the foothills towards the old haunted ruins, and further north towards the Creek.  AT one time theye spot several flying shapes, they estimate it to be a griffin and some wyrms, possibly with riders.  IT is quite possible the have been spotted now.  They walk around the haunted ruins, trying to stay out of trouble, and easily find some game and a place to sleep.  During the night, the camp is attacked by a smilodon, who manages to take a rather large bite out of Daerius' arm before getting stabbed in the head and running off.  Daerius stares at the dangling flesh on his forearm, and intends to continue without too much interruption, but in the end is convinced to accept some healing.  The party then continues north, all the way to the Creek, but they run into a set of tracks heading northeast.  As it started snowing, the tracks must be very fresh, and they determine it must be a raider party of Broos.  Giomanach immediately commands the party to hunt the vile beasts down, much to the frustration of Herculon, who wants his feeble brother in safety before getting into fights left and right, seeing how Martulo would slow them down if they need to run.  Giomanach does not intend to listen, however.  He runs off, angrily, and Herculon has to physically restrain the wizard.
After much shouting and clasping of heads, Giomanach finally comes to his senses.  The racket they have made has alarmed the Broo party, however, and just as Herculon intends to let go of Giomanachs neck, they see a wave of vile Broo coming over the nearest hill at a steady pace.
Sharkan immediately enters a frenzy, all worked up, he leaps into the charging pack of Broo and is attacked by several of them.  Herculon and Daerius take care of the threat without too much trouble, and Sharkan impressively holds off three attackers without going down.
After the fight the party decides to make it straight east, rather than following the river to the imperial road guardhouse at the ford.  They run into a small local caravan, trying to make it to Jonstown in the dreadful weather.  They hook up with the traders, despite the reservations they have.  When they are sharing the evening meal, a Triceratops thumps into view, and charges towards the assembly.  Several of the party run for their life, while the annoyed dinosaur tramples their dinner and rams into the cart in the process, before running off.
The party decides to leave the imperial road again, and keeps heading east, towards the Lunar Slave market of Pimper's Block.  There they set up camp for the night, and double watch, but the hard travel of the last few days take their toll, and both Herculon and Sharkan fall asleep during the watch.  When the horses start winnying, they awake in the last minute, and sound the alarm.  A group of Lunar guards is approaching them, and intends to take them by surprise, but this turns out very badly for the inexperienced Lunar troops very quickly, and a Red Moon sorcerer and a commander teleport out before the party has a chance to reach them.  There is now no doubt they have been spotted, between Jonstown, Swenstown and Prax, and not much is said when they decide to pack their gear, before dawn breaks, and continue their trip.  Maybe the weather in Prax will be better, and traveling will be safer...

zondag 10 maart 2013

The Lunar Slave Farm

The party lacks focus... (c) David Dunham
From Whitewall, the travel to Orlmarth territory is quick. The sorcerer's magic enables the party to keep running at a Leopards speed, and they arrive in Clearwine at sunset. The party get a Room in the Ram's Head Inn in Clearwine, and drink more than is good for them. They meet a Thane, Osric, who is also drinking heavily, and complaining about the Lunar oppression in general and the decadence of the Seven Mother Cultists in particular. The party make some good acquaintances and spend a heavy night.
The next day, at a a dying Red moon, the party starts investigating, but it is as if their spirits have left them. Nobody takes any initiative, and before noon, already they are sitting in the Inn, drinking the local wines, ciders and ales rather than preparing a plan of attack. Some of the party members find nothing better than pretending to be in the wine business in order to get some free drinks and samples, and they particularly annoy Alembic Curcuricson, a local major wine trader, with their drunken talk. It takes until the evening before they think of having a meeting with the Ernalda High Priestess, and by then their minds are less than clear. Still, the High Priestess recognizes their quest and tells them the story of the Colymar Council, and the banishment of Benava Chan and Kallai Rockbuster. That night the party goes to bed in a sombre mood. The Orlanthi still are reluctant to spring into action, although a full day has passed, and Jaya of Yelorna is getting restless.

Some secret information from an ancient tome...
The third day of the Dark Season, and a black moon rises. The party seems to be paralyzed with indecisiveness and unable to act. Herculon is ready for action, but without a plan. Raiko and Daerius further investigate the business opportunities the wine trade offers, without finding out much useful information. By nightfall, the party is once again in the Inn, a silent mood has taken over the heroes. Jaya, however, refuses to wait for a battle plan, and feels she must act. She manages to sneak up to one of the guard towers around the Slave Farm unseen, and attempts to surprise the guard. For several heartbeats it looks as if she is going to kill the three guards, but then bad luck hits, and she drops down, bleeding to death. With her last breath, she invokes her power of Yelorna, and makes sure what she has learned is transmitted to the rest of the party. This information, as will later become apparent, is the difference between life and death.
Alarmed by their vision of Jaya dying, the party finally springs to action. They learn of the earlier purpose of the Slave Farm site: a Issaries trading compound. They find an underground tunnel to the Slave Farm and manage to get in unseen. The second they are spotted, they find themselves in a large cave, and through the exit overhead several Lunar soldiers are preparing to open a large trellis, behind which the party can hear shrieks and furious howling. Before the Lunars manage to open the door to the monsters' lair, Giomanach manages to holdfast the locking mechanism, making it impossible to release the beast without powerful dispelling magic.
The party now quickly escape the cave through the opening, and after some brutal killing, they have managed to make a foothold for themselves. The building nearby has a balcony, on which a class of Lunar students is preparing a Lune spell. As more and more guards pour out of the door, and Herculon, Raiko and Daerius go butcher style, Giomanach is having a hard time keeping the troops channeled. Still, they manage and seem to start getting the advantage, when out comes a full Lunar Sorcerer. This fellow turns out to be a serious threat, and Giomanach exchanges a few spells, but the guards prove to be no match for the brutal combat experience of this party, and before the Lunar Mage can do more damage, he finds himself opposing five furious opponents. The Mage shapeshifts to his Griffin form, and, after looking Giomanach in the eye with a look full of revenge and hatred for a few seconds, flies off beyond reach.