Brave New Dungeon

So This Dwarf Walks Into a Mine. . .

After a tremendous, against all odds, something of a half-way victory at the campsite, the party regains their breath and begins making plans for their continued pursuit of the lost children. As they’re rifling through the pockets of the fallen, and searching the abandoned buildings, a trio of Dwarfs approach the wary adventurers. Shel Garwien and her compatriots, the twins Rol and Bol Thurn introduce themselves and make it known that they too are interested in the whereabouts of the children and seek information regarding the strange behavior of the band of Northerners and Gnomes that seem to be scouring the mountains and mines for some unknown treasure. As they are making their introductions, the party reveals that they have discovered a strange parasite that seems to have infected a number of the fallen men- a small almost translucent caterpillar with long wispy glowing hairs. Both Hastrubel and Shel remember something from each of their clan’s legends about the deep cave dwelling caterpillars, and Shel senses a psychic emanation from the parasite. She surmises that perhaps a psychic bond is formed between host and parasite and some outside source could possibly tap into that connection and exert some force of will over both.

Shel explains how she and her companions, 10 altogether, came to follow the band of humans and gnomes to this location, recounting how the bandits had been searching the northern mountains for something supposedly buried deep in the mines and caves. The children arrived only a day before the party had come in and burnt the place down. Shel sent 5 men after the boat carrying the children and 2 of her men had left east a couple of days prior to investigate reports of trouble in the eastern clans. Shel also revealed that a handful of the bandits had opened up an old mine and entered earlier that morning, not having returned. She was very curious as to what they were searching for and felt that if one of them could be captured they might be able to determine what it was they were so desperate to find. Enlisting the help of the party, she sent them into the mine to discover what had become of the bandits and their search for . . . something.

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We Don't Need No Stinking Plan
Speak softly, and carry a big stick

After tracking the children and their abductors to a small abandoned mining encampment (3 buildings next to a lake) Quinn and Rhanie go on a reconnaissance mission to locate exactly where the children are and who is guarding them. Unfortunately the patrol’s guard dog hears Quinn and Rhanie, then shortly after they are spotted trying to leave the area. Rhanie distracts the pursuers and Quinn makes his way back to the party with no information on the children. The party then tries to sneak by the encampment to reconnect with Rhanie and once again are unable to evade detection. Not knowing the full strength of their enemy they engage with the guards and dogs as more men pour out of the buildings and advancing up the road.

The dogs were vicious, the patrol was disorganized, the archers shot and moved- then came the beserker and the pikemen! As the battle heated up the party thought to take cover in one of the buildings that had just emptied itself of its occupants (who now lay unconscious and bleeding out all over the battlefield). More men approached from the south, pushed onward by a well dressed loud mouth that directed their advance. As Quinn pulled out ahead of the rest of the adventurers he became the focus of the archers fire then was dropped by a well placed halberd to the head. The party sensing a possible defeat at the hands of the bandits piled into the empty building and took up defensive positions and barricaded the doors- just in time for the archers to light up their arrows and set the roof on fire. Wauksmaug, not one to sit back and wait for the fight to come to him, leaped out of the window and charged the enemy. Rhanie rained arrows down on the foes from a window and Marcus Ven began his own brand of fireworks show setting the bandits afire. Angus burst out the front door and engaged the largest foe he could find and Hastrubel did what he does best- a little bit of everything.

Quinn, re-invigorated, joined the fray, and the battle carried on as a rather nasty sounding gnome led a group of children out of the middle building and toward the boat on the lake. The bandits and their leader protected the flight of the children, who seemed almost oblivious to the mayhem that surrounded them. As the party picked off bandit after bandit, the leader made his way toward the lake and at the last moment ran across the water and jumped aboard the ship. In a final desperate attack, Rhanie sent an arrow through the crowd and struck their leader dead. The boat, children in tow, caught the swift current of the northern river and faded from view as the last of the bandits fell to the ground.

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Return to Rydern

The heroes returned to Joon and recounted their battle with Skryt the young white Dragon from the North. Kern and Veran G’rennis helped the party identify the more exquisite items recovered from the dragon’s horde; and the sergeant-at-arms Bernie O’Peck recites the poem regarding the Lady Saara Ull in reference to the map the party finds:
Amid the ancient, weathered stones,
Below the phaerimm-haunted sky;
Above the tombs of lordly bones
From ancient lands and years gone by.
’Twas there, beneath the moonlit stair,
My future cast its shadow past
A white-robed dame with sable hair;
Transfixing stare that held me fast.
“Take heed, you seeker, bow your head,
For I am Lady Saara Ull.
I speak with living and with dead
And all your fates are mine to tell.

Other bits of loot collected in the Dragon’s lair include:
Floating Lantern
Freezing Arrows (24)
Frost Fury Battle Ax
Winter’s Grasp Totem
some non-magical weapons and armor and mo’ money. . .

The party is informed by Kern, that a message arrived from Captain Thanyne in Rydern that their assistance would be appreciated in a few matters that have cropped up in the town and to the south. Kern says he will accompany the group and the next morning they set off for Rydern.

Thanyne is happy to see the party and congratulates them on a successful dragon hunt. He informs them that the young girl, Beryl, has again gone missing and that a number of other children/orphans in the town have also disappeared. Thanyne introduces the party to a group of elves and a halfling named Bodie Burrows. One of the elves offers to help track and scout for the party if they’d like to go searching for the missing children. The halfling and the other elves are venturing south to look into some reports of strange happenings in one of the settlements and even stranger circumstances further south in a city populated by Gray Elves. After a very brief discussion, the party decides to grab some horses and set out that very moment to go after the children and their abductors. They are attacked that night by a seemingly random group of wolves and hobgoblins that offer little challenge to the dragon slaying band of adventurers. The next day, with the help of their lovely elvish scout, Rhanie Ildanryl, they discover a collection of three buildings erected near a small lake and apparently well-guarded and patrolled. What next?

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Dragons in Joon

The victorious party emerges from the Kobold Caves, Chief Treakll tagged and bagged and flung over Wauksmaug‘s shoulder. Their journey back to Joon is haunted by the eerie feeling that someone is following them. Back at the hamlet the adventurer’s are greeted with a heroes welcome and treated to a feast that evening. Their gracious host Kern G’rennis and his wife, Veran, assist the party in revealing the magical properties behind some of the items they discovered in the caves. No one seems to know what the delicate and beautiful blue crystalline pendant that Ik’Troc the Rat Master had stashed in a pouch on his person seems to do, but they’re certain that it does something. . . Hastrubel dons the Executioner’s Bracers pulled from the War Priestess, Oc’Fern. Wauksmaug brings Chief Treakll’s Battered Hide Armor to the local blacksmith/armorer, Thomas Talmund, who applies a few tender loving tugs to the hide armor and is able to get a nice snug fit on the Goliath. Then, after a visit to the greedy herbalist, Jarri Damra, and the release of more than a handful of gold pieces, Quinn procures 3 potions: Potion of Resist Cold, Potion of Resist Lightning and a Potion of Healing. Kern G’rennis relents to his wife’s scoldings that he not accompany the party and he sees them off on their quest to slay the dragon, Skryt.

Once again on their journey the party is plagued with the feeling that they are somehow being followed, so finally they devise a plan to discover their stalker. Quinn conceals himself in a tree and waits until a small figure approaches cautiously and Quinn recognizes him as the War Mage, Fekbet, who had escaped their capture in the Kobold Caves. After a brief chase the party surrounds and subdues the pitiful mage. They glean from their captive that Skryt is perhaps a dragon though some in the party still have their doubts. They also learn that there are two entrances to the lair: a front facing cave (the one marked on their map) and a chimney escape the dragon uses to fly in and out of. After some lengthy internal debate over whether or not to kill the evil creature they decide to tie him up and return for him later. The party discovers the cave and after a bit of searching locate the second entrance. The party constructs a trap over the entrance hoping to cripple the dragon’s flight thus causing him to tumble back down into the cave if he should try to escape. And then . . . they enter the lair of the white wyrm.

Stepping into the cave the party is met with a wall of cold that surrounds them. A quick inspection reveals patches of ice on the ground and eerily lit crevices around the edges of the cave. The ceiling of the cave rises dramatically and light filters in where the party has rigged their makeshift trap- snowflakes silently drift down settling in the middle of the cave. The party presses forward, spread out so as not to be caught in a sudden blast of icy dragon breath. As Wauksmaug nears the pile of snow in the center of the cave, a reptilian eye opens and fixes its evil gaze on the barbarian goliath. The party springs into action, quickly unleashing a barrage of deadly attacks on the beast. When the dragon finally rises and blasts the party the damage has already weakened the wyrm. Not easily defeated though, Skryt attacks relentlessly and manages to do some damage to the party. But their attacks are strong and Skryt is quickly retreating to the recesses of the cave. Backed into a corner he falls to the brave adventurers, the day is won. The loot is shiny.

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These Pipes Are Clean!

The fresh, young adventurers re-enter the dank, dark Kobold cave wide-eyed and unspoiled; they emerge bathed in the blood of the vanquished. The party has successfully cleared out the Kobold caves, although one particularly menacing Wild Mage escaped the ruthless and unrelenting slaughter of the trespassing adventurers. They head back to Joon, their sacks loaded down with the spoils of their victory; and the hapless Kobold Chieftan, Treakll, tagged and bagged, thrown over the Goliath Barbarian Wauksmaug’s shoulder.

Having returned to the caves after one night’s rest they find the Kobold’s aware but unprepared to stop the rampaging party as they make their way through the corridors and chambers shouting “Leave one of them alive!” but somehow forgetting to pull their punches at the last moment. After a brief chat with the blue-skinned Kobold Preistess, Oc’Fern, the wary party charges forward into the grasping, electrified pincers of her Stormclaw Scorpion pets. The War Priestess gives them a bit of a battle at first but once the scorpions are squashed she finds herself outnumbered and outmatched. But she still has one posthumous trick up her sleeve. . . Angus steps forward and smashes the lock off of a chest and crackling bolts of lightning rip through the room startling the party and singeing Angus a bit. They pull some gold, a dagger and two potions from the chest and give the Kobold a look-over. Stripping her of her scale armor, bracers, mace and holy symbol they head to the northern passages where Chief Treakll eagerly awaits their arrival.

The party charges through a large group of minions and slingers, Marcus Ven blasting and burning the villainous dragonkin with the light of his deity; the party then throws back the hanging skins that lead the way to Chief Treakll’s chamber. Bolstered by the bleating ram and Hastrubel‘s flood of healing energy, they charge into the room half of them caught in a barrage of oily firebombs that sear and char the group. Despite the phalanx of Dragonshields poised ready to meet the advancing players, and Chief Treakll’s bellowing and bravado, the party digs deep within their fighting spirits and unleashes a barrage of attacks that decimate the defenders in short order. With a sudden burst of motion, Quinn flies into action kicking and punching the Chieftan and his Dragonshield defenders dropping two of them and damaging the others severely. Once again the party proves their mettle by escaping what would, at first glance, seem to be a formidable challenge.

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You Need A Day Off

After their lengthy battle with Ik’Troc the Rat Master the party decides to leave the caves and rest up to regain their strength. Putting some distance between themselves and the cave the adventurers stumble across a roving band of kobolds and make quick work of them. The night goes on uneventfully and after a bit of a discussion they decide to return to the kobold cave in order to be sure that it is cleared out. Venturing deeper into the cave they come across more kobolds and realize they have more work to do. The village will not be safe until the kobold menace has been completely eradicated.

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The Rat King

Ik’Troc the Rat Master

The party heads north up a dark corridor, with the gagged and bound Kobold Mage slung over Wauksmaug’s shoulder, and wouldn’t you know it there are more Kobolds! A mob of minions swarm over the adventurers but are drowned under the blazing showers of light that erupt from Marcus Ven’s indomitable spirit. But what’s this. . . from behind- the mage has been loosed from his bindings and he resumes his attack on the party while a shadowy figure decimates Hastrubel’s bleating ram. The party begins to pull apart as they face foes ahead and behind. Then, after dispatching the initial group of minions and slingers the party quickly gives chase to their recent captive and the figure in the shadows.

With sneak attacks and magic orbs of blue frosty badness shooting in from the darkness the party is soon split into 4 different corridors giving chase to who knows what. As Quinn battles one of the Kobold Slyblades down a particularly dank and stinky cave he senses an evil presence just out of sight and the chittering, squeaking sounds of rats- lots of rats- stands his hair on end. Tossing his torch forward into the gloom and shouting to his comrades for support he slowly backs away as a humanoid form swarming with rats rises to his feet hissing cruel threats to whomever has disturbed its lair, Ik’Troc the Rat Master has been engaged.

The party converges on the dead-end corridor, determined to meet this evil foe with brutal force. Angus, recently recovered from his intermittent spells of deafness finds himself alone in a corridor with no light- blind. Another shadowy figure takes a stab at the hapless fighter, but retreats to the darkness and Angus races back to his compadres. It appears as if the rats are multiplying as the fight unfolds and hundreds of the vermin fill the area surrounding Ik’Troc. The party has its hands full just trying to get within range of their foe. Wauksmaug and Quinn continue to approach and strike the filthy kobold, while Marcus Ven and Hastrubel fire spells and heal their friends. Angus finally engages the enemy and Ik’Troc makes some final attempts to take down his attackers but the battle is lost. As he falls, the rats in fits of fury and confusion scatter down the halls and up the walls away from the weary party. Upon examining Ik’Troc it is noted that the cape draped across his back seems to have better resisted the claws and gnawing of the rat hordes that have rendered most everything on the rat master’s body useless. Also, buried deep in a pocket the party discovers a blue amulet attached to a silver chain.

Depleted from the lengthy encounter, the party discusses retreat from the cave in order to refresh themselves. While searching the bodies of the many kobolds around them, they come across a crudely drawn map that marks off a trail to something high in the mountains to the north of the cave, and written in Draconic, what reads like a love letter of praise to someone or something called Skryt:

Oh Merciful Skryt! Oh Powerful, Merciful Skryt!

Your servants only obey, only live to serve, Oh powerful, powerful Skryt!

We shall provide, let us gather all you may consume, let us give to the most powerful, most merciful Skyrt all we have and let the most powerful wisdom of the merciful Skyrt decide what shall become of your most humblest and most able servant, Thrik’min.

And if you want to eat the wicked Chief Treakll or that most abominable rat scavenging abomination Ik’Troc, that is ok too.

Oh Powerful Skryt, you are so powerful!

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Mama Said Knock You Out

Into the Mage Pit

The party’s string of successes leads them up a corridor barricaded by 4 undisciplined Kobold Pikers holding a line across the wide hallway. Hastrubel’s Spirit Ram prances and bleats in front of the bewildered kobolds until they break ranks and attack the poor beast. The party charges in and manages to do a bit of damage to both the pikers and to themselves before the secondary kobold ranks, the slingers, can begin their stone barrage. As the pikers begin to fall and the party rushes forth to engage the pitiful slingers a bolt of poison infused energy blazes forth from the darkness and strikes Wauksmaug square in the striking spot. The kobolds are re-invigorated as the Wild Mage flips a lever and both Wauksmaug and Marcus Ven drop ten feet into the pit that opens beneath their feet. Quinn, at the ready, secures a rope and lowers it to aid his comrades then renews his attack upon the kobolds. Hastrubel valiantly heals his party while progressing up the corridor, and the kobolds numbers dwindle. Angus, fighting off the intermittent deafness that plagues him, manages to dish up the non-lethal damage that ends the fight. The Wild Mage, possessing a few tricks up his sleeves and brandishing a Rod of Hope Triumphant, gives the party a good fight but in the end is subdued and taken prisoner. What next for the adventurers? Will their captive prove beneficial as they continue to explore the lair, or have they burdened themselves with a creature more treacherous than they can suspect?

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Kobold Meat Grinder

Kobolds Must Die

The party has no trouble locating the tracks of the Kobold thieves and follows them straight to their lair. The space outside the lair is strewn with all sorts of stuff snagged from the hard-working folk of Joon. The party, without hesitation, engage the draconic vermin and the ensuing carnage is laughable; Kobold bits and pieces now adorn the entrance to their lair. A bit more cautiously the party enter the lair and while unable to prevent a Kobold or two from slipping away (most likely to warn the others) they make quick work of the Kobolds foolish enough to engage the lusty heroes.

What further perils await our brave adventurers as they prod deeper into the Kobold demesne? Will the halls be bathed in Kobold blood or is there a draconic champion eagerly anticipating the bold arrival of our protagonists?

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Traveling to Rydern

The Party:

Angus the Fighter
Hastrubel the Shaman
Marcus Ven the Cleric/Invoker
Quinn the Rogue
Wauksmaug the Barbarian

The Departure

Following a night of revelry at The Last Stop Inn, the adventurers pack up their belongings and head out west with a caravan of farmers and merchants in the company of Captain Gheran Thanyne. When the wheel on Beppo Gren’s cart cracks, the party scouts out the northern area beyond the road and stumbles across a skirmish between Elves and humans. Not knowing what the fight is about they hold their ground until the fight ends with only two elves alive and one human fleeing off further north into the forest. Both the leaders of each side perished in the fight, and the elves are quite distraught over their loss. The party learns that a young girl from the town of Rydern was traveling with the group of humans, who they discern are from the north, and when the Elves (familiar with the girl) asked why she had been there, the situation got tense and finally escalated into blows. Both the leaders, of the humans and the Elves, die in the ensuing battle, and only 2 Elves remain and one human retreats into the woods to the north. The girl, languid and seemingly unaware of what had just taken place, returns to the caravan with the party and the elves where Gheran tries to figure out what has happened. Gheran is familiar with the Elvish leader, Wandasaadi, and is distraught over her demise. The surviving Elves carry their leader’s body off to the south and the caravan continues on toward Rydern.

Upon arriving at Rydern, the caravan is greeted by a group of Northerners led by Ander Gryx’t whom the girl, Beryl seems to recognize. Ander promises to return the girl to her family and Gheran tells the party that he will accompany Ander and try to uncover something, anything about what the hell is going on. In the meantime the party is to get some rooms at The Fire Pit, a tavern Gheran frequents owned by the amiable Oloroan “Olo” Droversin. That evening Gheran meets with the party and describes “a situation” in the village across the lake, Joon. Apparently some kobolds have been helping themselves to resources the good people of Joon have worked so hard to collect. Lumber, ore, and livestock have begun to disappear and Gheran fears that it won’t be long until a confrontation with the kobolds results in loss of life. Also, one of the farmers thinks he may have spotted a dragon, pale as the snow-capped mountains, gliding furtively across the night sky. Gheran believes, under Drennor’s influence, that the party is capable of rooting out the kobolds and discovering the truth about the supposed dragon sighting.

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