Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Icy Plunge

  • Characters: Nobanion, Vall, Jebeddo, Krullix
  • NPCs: Gribbold, Los Calzo, Aldila, Hoinnia (Tiefling), Puennoki (Green Hag), Chirkka (Annis)
  • Synopsis: Nobanion, Vall, and Jebeddo arrive at Gribbold’s shop to purchase much needed supplies. The recent winter storms have slowed down shipments along the trade route through Threshold, but some items are available. While negotiating “friend prices”, Krullix arrives in a bit of a huff. He said he went to Los Calzo to see if Dak’s mithral shirt is complete. He informs the trio that Aldila, Los Calzo’s friend and caretaker, is worried something terrible has befallen him. The four adventurers decide to pay a visit to the town tinker. The townsfolk are aware of the tinkering that goes on in Los Calzo’s workshop beneath his home, so it is not unusual for him to busy himself for a tenday without so much as an appearance in town. Aldila looks after him during these times. Upon arrival, Aldila greets them and informs them that she has not seen him in almost two tendays. Aldila leads them to the stairway that descends to the workshop. Recent rumors around town tell of the strange locks appearing on door. Nobanion encourages Krullix to open the door before he breaks it down. Krullix is able to determine the best approach to open each of the three locks. Jebeddo seems nervous at the sight of the Blade Golem guarding the only path to the workshop, but they are able to pass without any trouble. Continuing down the hallway to the workshop, they spy an ominous red-orange glow coming from beneath the door. Vall listens at the door but upon hearing nothing, opens it to discover an activated portal. Vall searches the room for clues to Los Calzo’s whereabouts, finding a journal with scribbles regarding birds. But the name Peunnoki is scribbled in the margin. Nobanion questions Aldila who informs them that Puennoki is a bird collector who resides in a tower near the Thunder Peaks mountain range. Jebeddo examines the scene within the portal, surmising that it is indeed near the Thunder Peaks. Taking the lead, Jebeddo passes through the portal, followed by Vall and Nobanion, with Krullix taking up the flank. From their vantage point they see what appears to be a medium structure shooting up from a frozen lake, 100 yards from the shoreline. They carefully traverse the ice, but encounter a fair size moat surrounding the tower. It appears the rest of the tower lies beneath the frozen lake, with only the top portion at water level. A female humanoid in a hooded cloak greets them, announcing herself as Hoinnia, and allows them entrance via a rope ladder. Inquiries regarding Los Calzo confirm that he is visiting with Puennoki in the lower level of the tower. The party is able to see through Hoinnia’s ruse and advise her to bring Los Calzo to verify his well-being. She leaves and closes the door behind her. Vall makes his way to the door and picks up the sound of heavy footsteps and battle cries. The party prepares itself for what is behind the door. Hoinnia and two ettins appear in the doorway, brandishing their morning stars. Vall’s fists are a blur as they strike the closest enemy causing it to howl in pain. Jebeddo unleashes magic missiles into the other ettin and Krullix fires his crossbow with reckless abandon. An enraged Nobanion beheads the lead ettin, with the second ettin falling soon after. Darkness falls upon the party as they engage their final enemy. With a stroke of luck, the flat of Nobanion’s blade strikes Hoinnia and causes the dark veil to fall. Vall begins to hogtie the tiefling and secures her to a fallen ettin. Upon questioning Hoinnia, the party learns the other tower’s residents are now on the alert. The foursome drinks recently acquired water breathing and protection from cold potions before descending into the frigid waters. At the bottom of the stairs a swollen, wooden door blocks their progress. A cooperative effort proves no match for this simple door. A foyer leads to a set of double doors that easily surrender to Nobanion’s brute strength. The room is filled with blocks of ice, each with varying sizes of birds and each tethered to the floor. A green hag is admiring her collection, but her ogre companion appears perplexed at the intruders. Equipped with a long spear, the ogre begins tapping his weapon on the stone floor. Krullix fires his crossbow at the merrow, but the water inhibits the bolt from finding its target. Vall manages to wrestle the long spear from the merrow. Jepeddo unleashes a scorching ray, which instantly produces a turbulent arc of bubbling, superheated water on the way to its targets. Unable to discern words underwater, the party turns to hand signals to surround their opponents. Grabbing the long spear from Vall, Nobanion plunges it into the merrow sending it roaring in pain. Vall is able to understand the words spoken by the green hag, Puennoki and warns of a spell being cast. Just as before, the lights go down. Even with all participants blinded, an all out slugfest ensues. Vall’s fists pummel into the hag. Jepeddo’s flame blast produces an arc of superheated of water. Nobanion continues to poke at the darkness to find his target. Vall is able to pick up a final cry from the hag as she yells out “Chirkka”, a name perhaps, and the dark veil lifts yet again. The party is astonished they were able to defeat such a powerful spell caster. Not knowing what else awaits them below, they retrieve the tiefling and entice her to tell them how to get to the fifth and bottom level of the tower. Hoinnia advises them to gather stones before starting down the staircase that leads to the bottom level. On reaching the third level, stones are put at the door leading into the stairwell to prevent access to the stairs. On the fourth level, the stairway door is easily opened. A small foyer has a door directly ahead and one on either side. Hoinnia suggests to place stones on the side doors as she opens the remaining door. An odd-looking dome of oiled leather fills most of this chamber. Engulfed by a big net lashed to some rings in the floor, the mass seems to be held in place. But the whole dome strains upward against its binds. With a little more investigation the group discovers the dome holds some sort of air pocket on this floor. As a light shines from beneath the dome the air bubble’s oily surface forms a stable air-water interface, allowing one to enter or exit the bubble without disturbing the arrangement. Nobanion goes berserk, jumps through bubble, and lands with a ground-shaking thump. The others follow suit, finding themselves on dry land once again. The room is occupied by two more ettins carrying what appears to be a wooden box. Caught off guard, their package drops to the floor, splintering into many pieces. The contents are revealed; inside is a small creature completely encased in ice. The other occupant of the room introduces herself as Chirkka who states that this is her tower, and that all who enter shall be encased in ice for eternity. Recognizing their primary objective lying on the floor, the group swings into action. Vall unleashes his fury on an ettin knocking it senseless. Attempting to draw their morning stars, three ettins succumb to Jebeddo’s grease spell, falling to the hard, stone floor. Unable to obtain a sure footing, the party continuously strikes them down. Still enraged, Nobanian deals a deathblow to an ettin as Vall and Jebeddo search the remaining intact bodies to collect the spoils. Jebeddo uses a flame spell to accelerate the thawing of the small creature, who indeed turns out to be Los Calzo. He is in a daze and semiconscious, but alive. The party escorts Los Calzo and Hoinnia out of the tower and back to the portal, with a final warning to Hoinnia. She must leave this plane and never return, or face the most severe of consequences. They provide her with basic supplies, and release her. The five enter the portal back to Threshold as the patient Aldila is there to welcome them home, and Los Calzo pushes a hidden stone button that closes the portal. The unfrozen gnome heeds their advice not to travel to strange places without proper security. Los Calzo has witnessed their aid first hand yet again and promises to recruit them in the future. Ever thankful, Aldila sees the party out praising their actions. The four wary adventurers head over to The Verse to unwind and speak privately. With a new way to travel to the Thunder Peaks, what other adventures await?
  • Encounters: Merrow Warrior (Aquatic Ogre) (1), Ettins (4), Deep waters of a frozen lake
  • Achievements: rescued Los Calzo from the tower, and utilized the portal in Los Calzo’s workshop

The Great Ball of Lightning, Part I

Roywyn has been in seclusion at an undisclosed, secret location in order to make a greater wondrous magic item, gloves of dexterity. Some of her companions believed she was given haven in one of Gallipolas’s hidden groves where he has been known to craft items too. After nearly three weeks, thousands of gold pieces and some of her precious life-energy, the bard is able to create the special gloves. Upon ending her seclusion she receives news that the Bocklesdin Brothers have been commissioned by High Priest Hlinthi Crystalfist and Priestess Nilmith to build a temple in dedication to Garl Glittergold. She rushes to her old friend’s side in order to help his congregation in anyway she can.

Hlinthi speaks with Roywyn about crafting magical boots so that he may be quicker on the battlefield in order to better get to the wounded. “Curse me short kicking stumps!” After discussing this they decide to wait until they can get more resources together and garner more power in order to help fashion the greatest of all boots, those of speed.

The Sky Captain Quint flies into Threshold on his gnome-made flying ship. After a bit of fanfare and fireworks he lands his ship near the bazaar. With entourage in tow, he heads to the Verse looking for Trizoon in order to discuss some bizarre meteorological phenomenon he witnessed over the Giant’s Plain. “Where is my exuberant friend Trizoon this night?” Although he can’t find the bard, he sees two gnomes, Hlinthi and Roywyn, sharing a meal with pints of beer, singing and laughing all the while. Quint smiles and waves to them as he approaches, eventually sweeping into a low bow before joining them, “Well met to you friends!” After exchanging pleasantries and a few beers more, he shares his story about his latest travels with them.

“I have sailed from one end of Faerun to the other and I’ve never seen anything like the great ball of lightning that hovers over the Giant’s plain,” Quint tells them. Furthermore, he explains that this has been a reoccurring phenomenon and he needs some help investigating the remote region. “Great balls of lighting appearing in my skies pose a threat to my ship, my crew and my ladies this cannot stand,” Quint continues. He offers to fund an exploration of the skeletal ruins that he found in the area of the lightning as it is an expedition that only heroes can undertake. The gnomes explain to Quint that Trizoon is conducting a night-long ceremony with Priestess Nilmith in order to consecrate the new temple. Quint does however, manage to capture their interest and convince the heroes to explore the phenomenon. He insists upon a daybreak departure, but this strikes the gnomes as a bit strange as Quint is rarely up early considering his nightly exploits.

Quint also secures the services of the dwarf barbarian Trebbor Smallcanyon to serve as the party’s scout. In addition he enlists both Wicasa and Rog to round out the talents of the party. They plan to rendezvous with some of Trebbor’s kinfolk in the tunnels of the Giant’s Run Mountains on the western border. There they’ll set up camp in order to view the nightly phenomenon over the Giant’s Plain from the superior vantage point. Soon after midnight a giant ball of blue lightning appears, nearing 100 feet in diameter, and hovered hundreds of feet above the plain and several miles to the southwest of their camp. The ball flickers like a giant firefly and rains hundreds of small bolts of energy toward the ground. Although this goes on for only a half hour before the ball winks out of sight, the companions are able to pinpoint its rough position and take off in the Sky Ship at daybreak with Roywyn, Trebbor and Hlinthi. However they go without Rog and Wicasa as they were sent to approach the ruins from a secret tunnel system from below. They will rendezvous with their companions at the ruins.

Quint drops within fifty yards of the ruins which they pinpointed as the ball’s rough location. Once the heroes are ready Quint flies his ship back to their camp to await the heroes’ signals when evacuation is needed. Quint had given the heroes a set of Murty’s Magical Markers which were special magical lights that he used for landing his ship at night or inclement weather.

Hlinthi casts clerical protective spells protection from evil to add to their muscle, Trebbor and blesses the party with the favor of Garl Glittergold. Hlinthi then activates his ring of invisibility while Trebbor and Roywyn down invisibility potions and sneak into the Skeletal Ruins. “Its not dwarf construction so it’s no wonder why the ruins became skeletal,” Trebbor proclaims. The gnomes agree that the inferior construction was likely human-made. “The ruins aren’t even a century old and already crumbled? Hlinthi grumbled.

But one thing they all feel is that the ruins’ eyes looking for them even though they were invisible. On both the sides of the ruins along the remnants of the east and west outer walls, they see two red-skinned, hairless humanoid creatures skulking about standing approximately seven feet tall, but it would be taller if it stood erect. They move silently and swiftly, making their way towards the location where the part now held on the east wall. The combination of short legs, long arms, and stooped posture causes its hands to drag on the ground. One creature runs at them but does not leap from the wall halting just above their position.

It is then that they get a good look at the creature. It has massive shoulders and an enormous chest, which tapers down to a narrow waist and hips. Its head is triangular and its neck attaches near the top of its head, causing its leering, toothy face and pointed chin to hang below its shoulders. With eyes ablaze it lets loose a booming shout which resembles a loud, rasping cough. The shout becomes a sonic blast that makes the party’s very bones shake causing deep pain in their bodies.

But this attack did not ruin their invisibility or other spells. Roywyn is quick to act leveling her staff of frost at the creature looming above them and lets loose a cone of cold freezing the creature, blistering its face and red skin. Hlinthi casts his first healing spells to mend their wounds as Trebbor spies the second creature closing fast from the other side of the ruins. Trebbor readies her dwarven urgosh to take it out, but it too unleashes a painful sonic shout. This time the heroes resist its stunning affect. It continues to run blindly to their position where Trebbor, springing from her invisibility, makes short work of the monster.

The creature on the wall continues its attacks trading shouts for Roywyn’s staff of frost. Hlinthi administers healing throughout the melee. Roywyn breaks into a battle song that galvanizes Trebbor a she chops and dices. Soon Roywyn provides the party with a haste spell and in no time at all the second creatures is killed before it can flee.

Just then the heroes feel the ground tremor as a cloud of sand shoots into the air announcing the giant stone doors that fly open from the ground near a dried up fountain. The tremors continue as something rumbles out. The creature is humanoid in basic shape, standing nine feet tall and weighing a ton. Its hands appear oversized for its body and are tipped with claws. Its head is similar to a small-eared elephant’s head, having a mouth filled with tiny teeth, small rheumy red eyes, and a long, coiling trunk tipped with a long, thin spike. With eyes filled with malice it turns toward the companions. “It doesn’t look like a giant, but I’m gonna chop it down anyways!” Trebbor yells as she charges the new foe.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Race Against the Terraken

  • Characters: Azla, Carn, Flannigan, Janora, Marlet, X-Requinn
  • Synopsis: The party explores High Port, discovering the decrepit quarters of the hobgoblins where three more lie in wait. The ambush is quickly quelled as Sentalial returns to the cave entrance to investigate the remaining hobgoblin guard. While venturing beneath the lock, Flannigan takes a terrible tumble down the steep stairs, nearly crippling himself in the process. But down below, the swashbuckler makes a discovery. His most recent adversary Poltur lies on the dried channel bed, his body twisted in impossible positions, a look of astonishment still etched into his face. Continuing along the underground channel, the group reaches a landing with double iron doors. Beyond the channel is blocked by a cave-in. As the mechanism for the doors is investigated, a trap is sprung and spikes descend from a hidden niche in the ceiling slicing Flannigan and Marlet. X-Requinn solves the conundrum by casting knock on doors, exposing another corridor and water-logged chamber. From beyond a hideous three-headed creature leaps at the group breathing an acidic burst on the adventurers. From old tales and myths, the creature can only be a chimera, but the beast is deformed with an unnatural black, leathery hide and features smoothed over by slime and over-exposure to water. Carn engages the beast, grappling the creature and occupying its direct attention. Janora and Marlet flank the beast as Azla and X-Requinn loose scorching rays, blasting the creature to annihilation. The wounded group spins to find that the iron doors were not disabled as the spikes retract and the door shuts. On their side of the doors, there are no levers to open the iron barricades. With no other option the group presses on, finding yet another flooded chamber. Marlet peers into the darkness, and sees the resemblance of a quarters submerged by the briny waters. But something stirs below, sending soft ripples across the water’s surface. The party has at least one more obstacle to overcome as time runs short to best the Terraken.
  • Encounters: three hobgoblin guards, trapped iron doors, sea-sworn chimera
  • Achievements: Confirmed that Poltur was killed, journeyed into the complex and reached the Dragon Isle, defeated the trapped doors and gained access to the caves, and killed the chimera guardian.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Crainich Makes a Deal

  • Characters: Dak, Hlinthi, Karne, Pardonei, Softfoot, V.L.
  • NPCs: Crainich
  • Synopsis: A celebration is underway for the groundbreaking of the Chapel of Garl Glittergold. Hlinthi’s and Trizoon’s relations with the gnome priestesses from Burrock have yielded an unexpected result. The gnomes recovered a hidden reserve and are financing the chapel’s construction, having returned to Burrock leaving only Nilmith at Threshold. Partying into the early morning, only a few guild members make it back to the guild hall. With winter’s onset, the days early hours are still dark when multiple explosions rock the upper levels of the guild hall. The investigation finds the source behind the locked door of Crainich. The isolationist doesn’t respond to the inquiries as Softfoot takes to dismantling the three locks. From within a deep voice speaking infernal booms loudly speaking of greater numbers and “it takes two to lose”. Crainich’s sanctuary is well-protected as Softfoot steps aside for Karne and Dak. Brute force wins the day yet again as the pair breaks into the wizard’s room to find the drow in chains at the feet of a burning infernal creature twice the size of a normal man. The room is utterly destroyed with broken glass and shards of wood everywhere. Heat is prominent, spreading throughout and making the room oppressive. Dak and Karne rush in to save their sometimes companion, receiving ranged support from those outside. The defense of the guild hall is going well when the party is split as a wall of fire separates the combatants from those in the hallway. Pardonei targets the extra planar attacker with a dismissal spell. It vanishes from sight only to reappear and renew its taunts against the party. The attack is unrelenting until finally the efreeti vanishes leaving only a chained Crainich, his annihilated quarters and a pool of rippling blue flame. Crainich is cryptic and short-coming in his exploits but Pardonei is able to extract details behind his scheme. After retrieving the enslaved genie from the pouch he accumulated from adventuring in Teziir, the drow wizard forced the efreeti to open up a portal to Myth Drannor, a fallen elven city now overrun with denizens of the Underdark, walkers of the graveyard, and drow returning to the surface. His plans including vacating the guild hall and joining other drow exiles in Myth Drannor. Once the efreeti opened the portal it reversed positions with Crainich, enslaving him. During the investigation Softfoot and V.L. explore the pool of blue flame, eventually jumping through the opened portal. The rest follow to find an underground pool and a shrine to the goddess Mystra. Crainich’s betrayal to the guild hall is judged as Pardonei transports him back to the guild hall to be reviewed later; they cannot risk his waffling loyalty. As the group begins to explore the shrine they are attacked by an undead wizard loosing spells from down the hall. Working quickly, Karne challenges the creature head-on as the others catch up and flank the attacker. Its demon-red eyes fade after the final blow, leaving the group looking down the dark corridor into the unknown.
  • Encounters: Efreeti, Undead Wizard
  • Achievements: protected the guild hall from destruction, saved Crainich from slavery, learned of Myth Drannor, and secured the portal between the Dragon Coast and Myth Drannor.

Oppol Strikes Back

  • Characters: Belton Stoutshield, Cheynar, Dimak Cloudchaser Ogolakanu & Snow the wolf, Domollo Blue, Fash Daergel, JadeBlade
  • NPCs: Thuldrin Kreed
  • Synopsis: Wessalen Arturia of Teziir, Paladin of Torm, has sent an envoy to Threshold to assess the town’s need for a shrine or temple to his god. More importantly, the envoy has brought along much needed supplies. The early winters and prolonged war has sapped the town of its resources; Threshold is starving to death. Part of the envoy’s protection includes mercenaries from Teziir, Fash Daergel, Belton Stoutshield, and Cloudchaser. One last item is a sealed letter addressed to Dak and Cheynar of the Adventurers Guild of Threshold. The letter finds only Cheynar; it is from Wicasa Wakan. Under the guise of the potter Wolsyn, he has been indicted as conspiring against the Lumber Consortium of Teziir. He needs them to clear his name. Cheynar and JadeBlade return with the envoy and meet with Domollo Blue who says that Thuldrin Kreed, Gavel of the Lumber Consortium is paying adventurers a massive sum of coin to investigate one of Teziir’s main lumber camps that was attacked. If they can find evidence, any “evidence” at all, that Wolsyn was the responsible party or even tangentally connected, there is a bonus for their troubles. The group departs for the lumber camp only to walk into a complete and utter ambush. The entire camp is rigged with traps, undead kobolds, and huge stone-devouring beetle. Managing to survive half of the ambush, the party collects themselves and spots the kobold leader fleeing into the woods, praising the name “Oppol”. Deciding not to give chase, the group returns to Teziir to regroup and draft several others to track the kobolds back to their hideout.
  • Encounters: kobold zombies, chariot beetle, kobold warriors, undead kobold leader, centipede swarm, crossbow trap, log-pile trap
  • Achievements: discovered that the kobolds are from the Black Spear tribe and that the tribe’s leader Oppol has returned from the dead.