The World Of Rhymargg

Session I
The Ruins Of Zenopus

session i

The ruins of zenopus

Heroes

Chapter i : here there be goblins

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  The wizard Zenopus constructed a tower on the low hills overlooking the town. Rumors have it that Zenopus constructed underground catacombs that linked with the town graveyard and the ruins of an ancient city below the current borough. Eventually Zenopus disappeared one night as some holocaust engulfed the tower, and it remained abandoned for several years, until th persistent hauntings forced the town council to action. A great catapult was rolled through the city streets, and in a fury of destruction the sorcerer’s citadel collapsed to the ground.

   There is still an entrance to the underground catacombs, though only the foolish do not shun it. That’s where the PC’s came in, Valerius the fighter, Saren the cleric, Indel the thief, and Grimslade the magic-user. They were joined by their faithful henchmen, Thodric and Gilgard the torch bearers, and Norgard and Balmat, men-at arms.

   Down into the depths they went, eventually encountering six goblins. The goblins stayed out of the characters torch-light at first, but when Saren attempted to intimidate them with her holy symbol, they reacted violently, attacking with wild cries of “Bree-yark!”. The party dispatched three of goblins before the rest retreated out the room, but with only two party members still conscious after the melee. Since clerics in the B/X rules don’t receive their first spell until second level, I inserted a multiple dose healing potion into the goblin’s treasure, the party really needed it.

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  After everyone had recovered from the fight, they took to exploring the goblin’s possessions, finding a chest that was trapped with sleeping gas. Since everyone was gathered ’round the chest, they all fell victim to the trap, except Saren. Luckily there was no random encounters while the group was incapacitated, and they swore from then on to be more careful and cautious.

DM’s Notes

   Session One of the Rhymargg campaign was rather short, taking about two hours of real time. Since the players were all new to the game, there were a lot of explanations that slowed things down a bit. One of the confusing aspects to my group was what was a good roll of the dice. Was a low number good, was a high number good, aspects that an old-timer like myself has understood for so long that I forgot just how confusing it could all be. Thusly, session one had the party covering only two rooms of the dungeon, but everyone had plenty of fun!

   Session II

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Session II
The Ruins Of Zenopus

session ii

The ruins of zenopus

Heroes

Chapter i : ogres and maidens

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  Session two was much longer than the first, though several distractions made things take even longer than it would have, but that’s OK. We’re doing this to have a good time, and no one feels rushed to get anything specific accomplished. The players really started to get into the dungeon a lot more this time, and I can sense that they’re getting somewhat attached to the characters. This surprises me a little as they PC’s are just pre-gens, but the players are putting a lot of themselves into making them their own. I guess you don’t need to “make your own” all the time to enjoy a character!

  As we left the party, they were trying to be more cautious since the trapped chest debacle. The next area they explored contained a statue that was facing the door they entered from. None of the other doors would budge, but they quickly figured out that the statue needed to be rotated, facing whatever door they wanted to open. Valerius was convinced that the doors would lock behind them once they closed, but was unable to persuade Thodric the torch bearer to test the theory out.

  After checking what was behind each door (and they even listened first before opening them! I’m so proud!), they chose a direction and proceeded, though Valerius forget to check if the door did actually lock behind them. Forcing open a door to another room, they came upon a woman, chained to the wall, apparently unconscious. Valerius being the noble fighter that he is, went forward with Thodric to investigate, failing to notice the ogre until it’s club smashed into him, sending the warrior sprawling across the room. Poor Thodric thought he was done for, but then Indel drove the monstrosity back with some well placed arrow shots.

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  Every one sprang into action, and the two men-at-arms Norgard and Balmat were instrumental in taking the beast down, Norgard striking the ogre’s knee with his hand axe, and Balmat delivering the coup de grace with his spear. Once victory was theirs, they examined the poor woman, and Saren delivered the best line of the night…

  “Wait, so she’s passed out, but is she alive?” she said with a straight face.
We, of course, haven’t let her live that one down yet.

   After everyone settled down from Saren’s impromptu comedy routine and consoled the ogre’s former prisoner (who was too traumatized to speak at the moment), the party found a four way intersection where two directions were purposely blocked with debris. The only open way led to a partially collapsed chamber, and the characters noted that the architecture was different, being an older and more ornate style than what they had encountered before. Several stone sarcophagi led them to believe this was part of the underground necropolis rumored to exist below the town.

  Valerius decided to start opening the sarcophagi, something Saren (being a cleric) had trouble with, believing the dead should stay undisturbed. Valerius’ opinion won out, and the grave robbing commenced. This time a sleep gas trap was avoided by very carefully prying the stone lids off with poles. They have learned to be more careful! A golden ring, a silver necklace, and a finely crafted long sword (which might become significant later) were the rewards received. Saren was able to successfully turn the only skeleton that was animated, but the last sarcophagus held a nasty surprise for Valerius.

  Clutched in the bony hands of the interred skeleton was a jeweled dagger, one that reacted violently when Valerius removed if from it’s owner’s grasp. It flew into the air, and pursued the poor fighter around the crypt, and eventually forced the party to flee the area, the sound of the dagger repeatedly striking the heavy door they closed behind themselves fading into the darkness as the exploration went on.

  The catacombs continued on, and another chamber full of smashed wooden coffins led to the lair of two ghouls, busily feasting on what remained in the caskets. Saren tried to drive the ghouls away, but they were too much for her. The party decided that it was time to unleash Grimslade the magician’s true power, and so he cast his one memorized spell, Sleep. Too bad no one told them the dead don’t sleep.

  The ghouls ripped into the group, Indel being the first to discover their paralyzing touch. Norgard attempted to rescue the poor thief, but was brutally knocked down himself, the party assuming he too was paralyzed. Once one ghoul was defeated, the other failed it’s morale check and fled. Saren attended to Indel, and then moved to Norgard, but it was too late. The brave man-at-arms had bled to death during the melee, reaching negative two hit points ( he only had two to begin with).

   At first they treated it like any red-shirt’s death, an “Oh well.” and a few shrugs, let’s move on. When I mentioned that Balmat the other man-at-arms was watching their reactions intently, they changed their tune. Valerius gave Balmat part of the ghoul’s treasure, a bag filled with ten gemstones, and decided that the rest (a bag filled with 50 platinum pieces) would go to Norgard’s family.

  By this time the woman was finally able to talk, and the party decided to take her out of the dungeon, since they were near the entrance. Along the way a metal gauntlet was discovered, a tiny ivory figurine of a wizard in one of the fingers. They were not sure what to make of it, but Valerius finally decided to try on the gauntlet. He suffered no ill effects, but it didn’t fit well at all. That little miniature could become very important in the future, depending on the characters actions.

   Lemunda (the ex-prisoner) was taken to the surface, and then the party descended once again into the catacombs.

   Adventures In Rhymargg, Session 3

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Session III
The Ruins Of Zenopus

Descending once again into the catacombs, our brave adventurers came to a room filled nearly four feet high with accumulated trash and debris. They heard something making scratching noises, but couldn’t locate where the noise was coming from. Attempting to dash across the chamber, no one failed their dexterity check to see if they tripped, but halfway across the five giant rats proceeded to attack.

The rats apparently had an appetite for hirelings, as Thodric and Gilgard the torch bearers were the randomly chosen focus of the attack. Thodric almost shuffled off this mortal coil, but Valerius came to his rescue, and the rats were quickly dispatched. Fearing that more of their kind might arrive or be hidden in the debris, the party decided not to search through the rubbish, and thus missed some treasure.

Discovering a room containing an old forge and an anvil with strange runes carved into it, Valerius was keen on trying to start a fire to see what would happen. With only a torch to use, nothing significant occurred, but firewood is on his shopping list once they get back to town.

Coming across a chamber that had apparently been undisturbed for a long time, four hidden skeletons assaulted the party, focusing on Valerius at first. Saren surmised that it was the sword Valerius was wielding from the looted tombs, but who’s to say for sure. Springing to the offense, poor Indel (true to his D&D comic roots) was severely skewered by a skeleton’s blade, a natural 20 causing double damage. Having only four hit points, the thief was reduced to -8, and even after some healing potion was only up to -3.

With one hireling dead, a PC incapacitated, no healing potions left, and running out of torches, the PC’s wisely decided to return to town to recuperate and restock, and try and hire some more help.

We changed from hand-written character sheets to Dyson’s folder-style BX sheets, a definite improvement. I also made an insert explaining what rolls needed to be higher numbers to succeed, and so on, something the players greatly appreciated.

More to come…

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Adventures In Rhymargg, Session 4, Part 1
Into The Felkwood

Emerging from the ruins of Zenopus, our intrepid adventurers first order of business was to get aid for poor Indel, grievously wounded by an animated skeleton. Saren the cleric suggested the local church, where the PC’s were introduced to Brother Faudron, of the Temple of St. Gaxyg. While Indels’ wounds were being tended to, the group used the down time to stock up their supplies, have notices created for hirelings, and hired a town crier to also advertise for their need of hirelings. Only Thodric the torch bearer decided to stay in the employ of our group, the other two hirelings failing a morale check and deciding to seek safer, greener pastures elsewhere.

The next day, with Indel back in good health, our heroes ran into two old friends, Tirra the thief and her companion Auric the fighter (yes, more characters from the second incarnation of the D&D comic ads). Lured by the treasure thus far obtained, they agreed to join the party.

At noon, at the Five Fine Fish tavern, interviews began for the prospective hirelings. Three men-at-arms, one Dwarf, and four bearers were waiting. Starting with the men-at-arms, up first was Mersa, a women-at-arms. Auric took an instant dislike to her, and when she commented that she was a better warrior than he, a challenge was decided upon. Mersa handily defeated Auric in mock combat, and won herself a job. She was instantly nicknamed MegaBitch for her gruff attitude.

Relric and Unloc, brothers with Swedish accents, also won their mock combat challenge, bringing the party size up to ten. The four bearers, Partik, Kalus, Relstad, and Samloc, were also hired, the party deciding that one could never have enough red-shirts. Then it was the Dwarf’s turn. Valerius decided that a “midget” offered no possible use to the party, Dorin the Dwarf responding that “Long Britches” needed a lesson in manners, and proceeded to handily stomp the daylights out of Valerius, who elected to fight with only his fists to make things fair. Every prospective hireling had been hired, something I did not expect.

The party (now fifteen members in size!) departed for the farm of Norgard in the hamlet of Braken, their man-at-arms who was killed, to deliver the 50 platinum pieces to his family. This immediately earned a morale bonus for all the hirelings, such generous treatment being a rare thing in Rhymargg. Being on the other side of the swampy Felkwood, it took longer to reach the farm than anticipated, and by 11 o’clock the party still had not arrived.

More to come…

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Adventures In Rhymargg, Session 4, Part 2
Into The Felkwood

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Our adventurers were on their way to deliver 50 platinum pieces to the family of a deceased man-at-arms, and the trip through the murky Felkwood was taking longer than anticipated. While debating on whether to camp for the evening or push on, a campfire was noticed in the distance, deeper in the woods and off the main path. Tirra and Indel, the party’s thieves, scouted ahead, with Valerius the fighter and Dorin the dwarf as close back-up in case they got into trouble.

What they found was a group of ten goblins, laughing and joking around a fire while a human leg was roasting on a spit above the flames. The man who’s leg was dinner was slumped against a tree, apparently dead. Slinking back to the party, the group decided that the goblins were a threat that had to be dealt with. Splitting into two groups, the party attacked from both sides with a pincer manoeuver. While surprise was achieved, the dice were against the adventurers, as almost everyone missed their first attack.

The melee was short but furious, with several members injured before the goblins were dispatched. The poor victim, an elderly gentlemen, was still alive, barely. He managed to get out that his grand daughter had been taken by more of the goblins, pointint towards the path they had taken, and then breathed his last. Turns out he was somehow related to Norgard, probably his father, and the grand daughter was likely Norgard’s daughter. Since they were on the way to deliver the platinum to these very people, the party sprung to action.

Taking the path indicated, they journeyed as fast as possible, until coming into a clearing with a large bonfire. The numerous female goblins and children scattered when the party burst onto the scene. The clearing was bordered on the far side from the party by a low, rocky cliff about 50 feet high. There were four small cave entrances at ground level, while a ledge up the face of the cliff led to a much larger entrance, flanked by two goblin guards.

Deciding that the small caves were of no consequence, up the ledge our adventurers sped, as the two guards ducked quickly into the opening. Ready for just about anything (they think), the party charged towards the mouth of the cave.

More to come…

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Session V
The Lair Of Grokkus

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ROLL CALL
Auric The Warrior (1st Level Fighter)
Grimslade The Magician (1st Level Magic-User)
Indel The Wiley (1st Level Thief)
Saren The Wise (1st Level Cleric)
Tirra The Quick (1st Level Thief)
Valerius The Brave (1st Level Fighter)
4 Men-at Arms (Mersa<female>, Relric, Unloc, Dorin <dwarf>)
5 Bearers (Partik, Kalus, Thodric, Samloc, and Relstad)

The adventurers rushed into the cave entrance, hoping to rescue Norgard’s daughter before it was too late. Down the natural corridor they encountered resistance in the form of four goblin archers, who let loose with a volley of arrows. I was expecting this to not go so well for the PC’s, but luck was on their side. All eight arrows fired missed their targets (in eight rolls I didn’t get a number higher than 7!). The action went to hand-to-hand combat, and goblin reinforcements quickly arrived.

The dice were just not favoring the goblins (plus a Sleep spell from Grimslade) and in little time twelve of the fifteen goblins perished, the rest failing a morale check and fleeing further into the cave. Finding little treasure in the barracks room they came across, the party pushed further into the catacombs. A store room was also found, and the party decided not to destroy the contents, figuring that starving goblins would eventually be more dangerous in time.

Another passage led to an opening into a finished hallway, contrasting sharply with the rest of the caves which appeared to be a natural formation. Dorin the Dwarf suggested the architecture was of Dwarven origin, but the passage was filled from top to bottom with webbing and the dessicated corpse of a goblin hanging from the strands didn’t look too inviting either. Norgard’s daughter wouldn’t be down there, the party reasoned, and declined to explore further despite Dorin’s pleas to the contrary.

Coming to a door with crudely carved mystical symbols covering it’s entire surface, Valerius attempted to force the door open with a kick, only to find out it wasn’t locked or stuck, tumbling into the chamber. Hanging from the ceiling on strings were dozens of sticks fashioned into symbols (I told the players to think of the Blair Witch Project stick figures), plus the odd dead squirrel and someone’s severed hand. The floor was covered in bear skins, and on the far side of the room next to a bed was a chest.

Luckily it wasn’t trapped, as Valerius quickly opened it without any caution, finding some gold and a few gems. Also found in the room was a scroll no one could read, though Grimslade said it was probably magical and would need to cast Read Magic to find out for sure. A glass vial with a bright pink liquid inside (Pepto-Bismol?) was also gathered. Relstad ( “Potion tester of kings and princes” as he likes to say!) the hireling volunteered to taste the elixir, declaring it likely a healing potion.

With the “Blair Witch” room behind them, our adventurers continued down a natural staircase, the path ending at a door. Valerius and Indel then got into a little spat over some minor detail, and no one noticed that the door had opened, a solitary goblin watching the party intently.

“Grokkus awaits!” he said once the party finally noticed him, gesturing for the group to come through the door.

The sound of a bagpipe being played (badly) announced the party’s arrival to the throne room of Grokkus, the goblin chief. Flanked by a Shaman and a personal guard, Grokkus demanded to know why the party was there, the party demanded to know where Norgard’s daughter was, and the situation went south from there. Grokkus finally decided he’d rather eat the party than debate with them, and gave the order to kill the PC’s. With a load thud, the door was closed and locked, and Grokkus’minions moved in for the kill.

During the combat, Valerius was charmed by the Shaman, and ordered to defend Grokkus. The players got a little nervous with this development, as Valerius assumed a defensive position in front of Grokkus. The next round an arrow from Indel ended the threat of the goblin Shaman, and Valerius, now free from the charm, turned and faced Grokkus. One natural 20 later, and Grokkus’ head was expertly cleaved from his body. This was too much for the remaining goblins, and they surrendered.

With the goblins in the “Blair Witch” room except the bagpipe-player, the party spiked the door shut. BP (bagpipe-player) was told to decipher the scroll the party found earlier. After looking at the parchment, turning it upside down and sideways, ol’ BP confidently announced…

“It says Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine!” ( For those who don’t get it, that’s a Christmas Story reference.)

More to come… Adventures In Rhymargg, Session 6

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Session VI
Norgard's Daughter

session vi

Norgard’s Daughter

Heroes

Chapter i : A Tale of two guards

THE STORY SO FAR
p. As out adventurers approached the doorway behind which the goblins had Norgard’s daughter captive, a blood-curdling scream that turned into a howl was heard. Before the portal could be opened, the cries of dying goblins then silence came next. Entering the natural cavern, a scene of horror greeted the players. Two goblins lay eviscerated on the floor, between them was a large creature, covered in coarse hair with a wolf-like head, clothed in the tattered remains of a dress. Guessing that this was Deliana, Norgard’s daughter, transformed into a werewolf, the party hesitated, not sure of what action to take. The werewolf had no such compulsion, and viciously tore into poor little BP (the goblin bagpipe player the PC’s were using as a guide), tearing the poor creature in two.

Not exactly sure how to use it, Grimslade the magician boldly approached the werewolf with a sprig of wolfsbane, hoping it would have an effect. It did, and the werewolf morphed into a human female and collapsed on the ground. She was indeed Norgard’s daughter, and had been journeying to Elendom with her grandfather when they were ambushed by the goblins.

Two days ago she was attacked by a large wolf as it killed the livestock on Norgard’s farm. Fearing that the wolf was more than it appeared, her grandfather decided that Brother Faudron in Caladan was her only chance to avoid lycanthropy. Now with her father and grandfather dead, poor Deliana did not know what to do.

After spending the rest of the night holed up in Grokkus’ chamber, the party journeyed on to Norgard’s farm. Deliana, after much consoling, decided to join the party after Saren, Tirra, and Mersa convinced her that she could be more than just a poor farmer. Setting out for the town of Caladan, the journey was uneventful.

It was almost sunset when the party arrived in Caladan. After a well-earned night’s rest at the inn, the party was directed to Zundus Dashaver, the town scribe and historian. There were questions to be answered about the sword the party had found in the ruins of Zenopus’ tower, plus the ivory wizard figurine. Grokkus’ short sword also needed investigation, as it was not of goblin origin, and the runes carved into the blade might offer a clue to it’s secrets.

Zundus recognized the long sword from local legends, being forged by the elves long ago to combat Avissar Fire-eye, a long dead wizard who despoiled the lands around Elendom. It’s abilities are not known, but there elvish script on the blade that only shows up after the sword has been immersed in flame. Zundus translated the text, Maegnas Aen Ester Lhach Dae, Dagnir In Nar Im, “Flame Shadow is my name, for I am the fire’s bane”.

Grokkus’ short sword was a mystery to Zundus, but he was sure it was of ancient Dwarven manufacture based on the runes carved into the blade. The ivory wizard figurine totally mystified Zundus, and all he could come up with was a cryptic historical reference to “The Ivory Sleep”, whatever that meant. The ancient texts explained nothing further.

Grimslade was able to cast read magic on the scroll, and it was a spell of shielding, which he gladly added to his book of spells. The treasure was divided amongst the party, and Indel was the first character to reach second level!

   Session VII

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Session VII
Ladies Day Out

session vii

ladies day out

Heroes

Chapter i : A Tale of two guards

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Saren and Delianna were having a “Girls Day Out” on the town, celebrating Delianna’s decision to take life by the throat and make it do what she wanted. Arriving at “The Mist Runner Tavern”, the pair were eventually approached by the tavern keeper Brock. He had heard of their exploits beneath the ruins and asked if they could do him a favor. Free drinks for life was the reward, and in private Brock explained that he had a problem in his cellars of some rather large rats.

Being lured by the promise of free drinks, and sworn to secrecy so as not to ruin Brock’s
reputation (“This place has rats? We’re not coming here anymore!”), the pair were led down to the cellars by Brock. The first part was normal, a storeroom with many supplies, but there were bite and claw marks everywhere from the rampaging vermin. Brock said he would check back on their progress in a little bit, and headed back upstairs.

Proceeding on to the second room, another storeroom, this one was a scene of devastation, with crates and barrels all askew and damaged from the little rascals. Suddenly about thirty rats swarmed from all corners, attempting to overwhelm the heroes. It didn’t take long, and the foes were sent scurrying back to their holes.

Proceeding even further into the cellars, there was a large mechanical clanking that arose from behind the duo. A metal gate had been lowered behind them, and they were now trapped in the cellar. Brock was at the winch that operated the gate, and said that they were now the guests of Grimal, lord of rats, and dinner would be served shortly. At that eight rats of giant proportions rounded the corner and attacked, viciously biting and clawing at the heroines.

It took a little while, but Saren and Delianna emerged victorious, and since they couldn’t head back the way they came, they bravely decided to take the action to this “Grimal”. The
passageway led to a door that was severely damaged by the rats, with claw marks rendering it very weak. There were also signs that the rats had been trying to enlarge the entryway, with little success. A sickly red glow came from the other side of the portal, and Saren battered the door down with her mace in one mighty blow. The sight that greeted them was quite gruesome. A pulsating melding of human and rat, with claws, teeth, and tail coexisting in an unnatural and unholy alliance with basic human anatomy.

In front of this perversion was a rune covered metal chest, opened to reveal a glowing red stone that seemed almost alive as it pulsated slowly. Grimal sprang to the attack, it’s grotesque form so large that there was no way for it to fit through the doorway. Combat was joined, but it went not well for our damsels, and it seemed like they would end their days as a meal for this “Grimal”.

With a mighty shout, Mersa emerged from the doorway, throwing her spear at the foul beast, causing it to miss it’s fatal blow at Saren. The heroes took advantage of the confusion and slew the monstrosity. Mersa had been following the pair, and when they disappeared below the tavern, she killed Brock and raised the gate, arriving just in the nick of time. The trio closed the metal chest over the strange stone, and proceeded back to join their compatriots.

More to come…

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Session VIII
A Close Call...

session viii

A Close call

Heroes

Chapter i : Always look at the ceilings

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  Auric and Tirra decided that they were going to take a break from adventuring, and took their share and bought the Mist Runner Tavern, as it was now available due the actions taken last session. A quick stop at Finch And Breig Supply to re-equip themselves, and our adventurers were ready to tackle the Ruins of Zenopus again.

p.  After the descent into the dundeon, the party headed for a door they had not gone through yet. Coinciding with a wandering monster check, the door opened to a hallway full of hungry stirges. Combat was quickly over, especially since I forgot that stirges attach themselves after a successful hit and automatically cause damage each round after that, I won’t forget next time (hint, hint players!)

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  The hallway led to another door, and while Indel couldn’t detect any noise coming from the other side, the chamber beyond was anything but empty. A wizard and three men-at-arms took up defensive positions, with the wizard winning initiative. Strands of webbing flew from the magic-user’s outstretched hand, and while Indel was able to barely avoid being entangled, the doorway was completely blocked. For once the PC’s decided that it was better to retreat than face an angry wizard!

  The group took another hallway that was unexplored, and once again the wandering monster check came up positive. Several giant beetles burst through one of the passageway’s wall, catching the party by surprise. Poor Indel was almost bitten in half, but the party prevailed.

  Next the party came across four gnomes imprisoned in a small cell-block. They claimed to be simple gem merchants who were ambushed by goblins, though Indel was suspicious. The next room in the hallway contained the severed heads of three gnomes, each pierced by a spear and set up like a tee-pee. The gnomes confirmed they were the other members of their caravan.

  By this time, it was getting late in the evening, and the players were losing their edge. They entered a chamber that had been visited in a previous session, and thought that the webs that now covered the ceiling were from the wizard, and failed to notice the giant spider lurking above. Poor Saren was the target of the spider’s ambush, reducing her to one hit point. Being a newer player, she didn’t understand the consequence of not making her save versus poison, and failed to use the d30-rule to increase her chances.

  Since I was getting tired too, I failed to properly advise her on the seriousness of her saving throw, which she failed. Saren succumbed to the poison, and we decided to end the session there. The next day I decided that I would give her the chance to re-roll her save, using the d30-rule, and she gratefully accepted. Saren made her save, and we decided that the PC’s beat a hasty retreat from the dungeon to tend to their wounds.

  More to come…

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Session IX
The Moktar Hill

session ix

The Moktar Hill

Heroes

Chapter i : A Tale of two guards

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  After Saren’s close call last session, the team decided it was time to recuperate and re-supply. Another mule was purchased (named Bobby) and Valerius decided he needed a riding horse, so Magnus the steed was also procured. Potions found in a previous session were, mostly, identified, and a generous supply of healing slaves were obtained. The party noticed that the price had gone up since last time, with the herbalist meekly informing them that the new Obamacare law was to blame.

  As the group debated the merits of returning to the ruins of Zenopus, the door to the Five Fine Fish Tavern was flung open, two obviously winded and bloodied men staggered through the entrance. After they were tended to by the serving wench, they noticed the team was in full adventuring gear, and approached their table. They told their tale, being caravan guards, of the Moktar ambush, and of the 200 pound chest they saw loaded that just “had to be full of gold!”. The party decided that splitting some “easily acquired” gold was preferable to another foray under the ruins, so they agreed to help the two guards, named Trammis and Datha.

  An hour’s march from Caladan took our heroes to the scene of the caravan ambush. Wagons were ablaze, the corpses of men and horses were strewn about, and even the merechant’s wife and young daughter were among the fallen. The merchant himself, and one guard were missing, according to Trammis and Datha. The Moktar war-band’s trail was easy to discern, as something very heavy was being dragged along.

  “Not very bright, these Moktar.”, exclaimed Valerius.

  “They fear nothing, so covering their tracks is not even thought of,”, replied Datha, “But I’ve never seen them venture this close to Caladan before.”

  “They’re about to learn what fear is.”, chimed in Indel.

  The trail led to a rocky hill alone on the plains. Approaching cautiously, a square entrance was seen on one side. A quick recon around the promontory showed no other visible entry. It was decided that Trammis and Datha would stay with the bearers as guards, while our heroes enetered the den of the Moktars.

Chapter ii : wolves and pits

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  Approaching the entrance, it was noted that is appeared to be a perfect 10′ × 10′ square, with rusted hinges on each side that once held mighty doors. There was no trace of hem now, and Indel confirmed there was no traps set to alert anyone if someone entered.

  Indel scouted ahead, and noted that the floors, walls, and ceiling of the tunnel were made of some kind of metal, but no one could readily identify what kind. The passage reached a “T”. Indel looked north, and saw that the way became an apparently empty room. Turning south, Indel’s gaze was met by a smiling moktar, with two chains in it’s hands attached to rather large and vicious-looking wolves. Meranwhile, the rest of the team, including Valerius astride his horse, saw Indel’s hand sign for “enemy” and decided that a charging in would take the enemy by surprise.

  Indel, Valerius, and his horse Magnus lead the charge, and all three fell into the pit that opened underneath them as they entered the hallway. Luckily Valerius and Indel avoided taking extra damage, as Magnus landed on the pit floor and not on one of them. As the pit lid reset itself, the moktar pulled a lever on the wll by him, and a loud “thunk” was heard from the pit. He then released the two wolves, and the entire situation seemed to unnerve the players.

  Saren took the potion of growth, doubling to twice her size, but shredding her clothing and chain mail armor in the process. Winning initiative, she grabbed at both wolves, scoring both hits. She then proceeded to smash the two wolves together, causing both to expire from crushed skulls as bits of gore and blood spattere over Saren’s naked body. DM’sNote: Saren used her d30 roll to get the second grab with her off hand at -4, and the party agreed to use their d60 roll for crushing damage to the wolves. It made for an exciting encounter!

  The moktar was handily cut down by Relric and Unloc the men-at-arms (proving their worth once more!), and then the pit leverf was released, allowing Saren to easily pull her trapped compatriots from the pit, including Magnus. Searching the room provided nothing of value, so to the north it was. Saren grabbed what was left of the two deceased wolves and led the way.

Chapter iii : shock and awe

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  Entering the north room, the four moktar who are waiting to ambush the party are overwhelmed by the sight of a naked giantess weilding two wolf carcasses as makeshift weapons, ans they immediately fail their morale check. While the party was tying them up, it was noticed they were losing large tufts of fur and had putrid sores where their coat had fallen off.

  Valerius decided to use the potion of ESP to “scout” ahead, though the cat-like minds of the moktars were difficult to comprehend, more moktar could be sensed beyond the north room’s only exit. Staying with a strategy that had worked so far, Saren again went first into the next chamber, which contained ten more sickly-looking moktars (moktari?) A ten foot tall nude woman didn’t seem to phase them too badly, so Grimslade stepped forward and put seven of them to sleep. The other three, unsure of what to do, stood perplexed, until Valerius tried to tie them up. Quick work with swords and daggers took down one of the moktars, and the other two surrendered.

  Dorin the dwarf was able to provide an explanation as to the sickly nature of the moktars. His infravision detected the emanations from a poison rock, a stone sometimes found while excavating mines, and that causes eventual death if one stays near it too long. The party was in no immediate danger, he advised, but it would be wise to spend as little time as possible near it. The team gave it a wide berth.

  The moktar’s common room had a door to the west, and a tunnel heading south. The southern way revealed nothing to Valerius’ ESP, while the doorway had thoughts of authority, leadership, pain, and hopelessness, thoughts of at least two individuals. Storming through the portal, the room beyond was the apparent Chieftain’s bedroom, with a rather large moktar wearing a pelt of some unknown animal and a crude crown. Seeing his people in the common room incapacitaed or dead, the chieftain leaped over the bound human at his feet and engaged the party.

  Saren led the ccounter-charge, just as the effect of the potion wore off, and fumbled her attack. Relric and Unloc lept to her defense, and their combined efforts slayed the chieftain easily. Untying the man held captive, he was the merchant abducted from the caravan. He warned the adventurers that they must leave before the poison rock affects them, and handed Saren a map showing a hidden trail to the top of Mount Ayessee just before he slipped away into death. Written on the map was the words “Poison Rock Is The Key”

  “It’s time to finish this.” Saren declared, gathering up some rags to use as makeshift clothing.

  The party headed out of the chieftain’s room and proceeded to the southern tunnel…

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