Saturday, May 10, 2008

Episode 5: 5/3/08

The Party:
Ashelia Raminas, elf ranger-rogue/1-2
Haroldur, human cleric/3
Nineve Floret, human knight/3
Sarek, human wizard/3

After the battle, the bones of the skeletal guardians are sucked up through the metal gate at the end of the room, like iron filings. I ask Hezzrak where the treasure is, and he says it's upstairs, where the bones went. Downstairs is apparently water. As I'm picking the lock to the metal gate, Hezzrak explains his past. He was a wizard's familiar, once, and these ruins were the wizard's tower. One of the wizard's experiments went wrong, causing a huge earthquake that killed him and sealed Hezzrak in the tower. Being immortal, he was stuck here for about 300 years with no company save the guardians, until the goblins came along. Communicating telepathically, he brokered a deal with them, whereby he'd serve the goblin leader for one year if they would tunnel him out. Since his rescue, the goblin leader had been trying to make him her familiar, without success. Hezzrak is eternally grateful for relieving him of his contract with the goblins. I ask him if he is interested in becoming someone else's familiar, and he launches into a foul-mouthed tirade about how he'll NEVER be anyone's familiar ever again.... It seems to be a touchy subject with him...

We continue on up the stairs and come to a room with a bridge over water. At the end of the bridge, the skeletal guardian's bones are reforming into a single bizzare, skeletal monster, the likes of which we've never seen. Nineve charges forward (of course) and the bridge crumbles underneath her. She doesn't react in time, and is plunged into the water and buried underneath an avalanche of rubble. From there, everyone moves forward cautiously, except for me. I leap gracefully over the chasm, throwing in a few flips for good measure. Hezzrak flies over and oogles the monster while I nimbly dodge a spray of bone shards it flings in my direction. With my hands full and the rest of the party held up by the bridge obstacle, I ask Hezzrak if he'd mind flying behind the monster and trying to actually help... He flies onto one of the monstrosity's heads and covers the eye sockets, but it doesn't appear to notice. I hack at the monster a few times, but it doesn't seem to be doing much. Nineve finally climbs back up out of the water and jumps the gap, but the monster slams into her and knocks her off the ledge and back into the water! The monster slams into me, too, but I manage to cling to the edge of the bridge and maneuver around to the far side of the monster, just as Nineve and One-Eye scrabble up the rubble and join the fray. Nineve and One-Eye get a face full of bone shards as I hack the monster in the back, Hezzrak clinging to one of it's skulls all the while. Haroldur and Sarek wisely stay on the other side of the collapsed bridge and pepper the monster with spells, occasionally yelling advice. At length, Nineve finishes the monster off with a vial of holy water.

With that epic battle behind us, we take stock and continue on. The next room has been mostly caved in. I squeeze past the rubble blocking the entrance to scout ahead while the rest of the group starts clearing a larger path. As I step into the room, I notice a pool in the center. I approach it, and a large skeletal dragon erupts from the pool in a fountain of water. I notice the dragon is definitely worse for the wear - it's missing an arm and it's tail, but I'm sufficiently taken aback that I turn around and scramble back through the crack. Hezzrak mutters something about "Snapper" - he'd forgotten about him... I help the others clear the rubble, and Haroldur sends One-Eye in. Nineve is close behind. Snapper unleashes its full fury on Nineve and One-Eye, and then I (reluctantly) run in to help. It's a rough and brutal fight in which Nineve goes down, but we narrowly prevail. After the climactic battle, we elect to rest, despite Hezzrak's insistence that we continue to "entertain" him....

After resting, we find Hezzrak's promised loot:
4 everburning torches
black journal of historical interest
scroll (A) Resist Energy
set of granite dice (25gp)
scroll (A) Identify
bronze spectacles (10 gp)
potion - Protection from Good
scroll (A) Invisibility
wand - Detect Magic
lg. zircon paperweight (70 gp)
broad brimmed velvet hat (50 gp)
Dust of Disappearance
scroll (A) Baleful Transposition
green dragonhide gloves (300 gp)
Belt of Healing
embroidered linen blanket (10 gp)
obsidian chips (20 gp)
MW breastplate
gold bracelet (80 gp)
MW leather armor
MW lt. steel shield
marble relieve of dwarf wrestlers (gay! 100 gp)
lg. golden pearl (200 gp)
Soul Void Orb
really ugly earrings (50 gp)
mahogany bust of a scholar (75 gp)
scroll (A) Sending
potion - CSW
carved bone and ivory statuette (100 gp)
mithril circlet engraved with Elvish poetry (350 gp)
Audra crystal
jade cameo pendant (250 gp)
potion - Fly

We divide all the loot we've accumulated and we each get 6 pp, 646 gp, and 1830 sp... if we want it.

Brolan encourages us to move on to the cavern with the confiscated notes. We leave Hezzrak's keep and move through the goblin warrens, avoiding wandering patrols. At length, we come to a huge cavern. We're on a cliff about 25 feet above the main cavern floor. Below, hundreds of goblins are tending an incredibly huge, unbelievably massive yellow musk creeper. 3 goblin guards stand up on our cliff, blocking our path to the next cavern. We decide stealth is our only option, and try to take them out as quietly as possible. Our plan almost fails, as my companions are not exactly the sniping sort, but we manage to eliminate the goblin guards without alerting the rest of the horde.

We continue on to a precarious log bridge, and Haroldur nearly plummets to his certain doom, but somehow regains his balance and manages to continue the clifftop escape. Next, we come to a 15 foot cliff. I climb up and lower a rope for the party. Everyone makes it up fine except for Haroldur, who finally manages it after several false starts. At the top of the cliff, an ogre zombie is waiting for us, just around the corner. We get stuck in and are surprised to hear the sounds of shrieking goblin-imp combat in the clearing ahead. It would seem Hezzrak is "helping"... We hack through the zombie and move on to the goblins Hezzrak has started for us. The last goblin surrenders, but Hezzrak ices him, cackling evilly.

Brolan explains that these caves contain Alastor's notes, and on closer inspection, we notice the area is littered with the debris of ages. Everything that could have conceivably been carried off in a thousand goblin raids clutters these caverns in haphazard stacks. However, the sounds of our recent combat have undoubtedly drawn some attention, so we should hurry and try to find those notes as quickly as possible. Hezzrak, Sarak and I search while Nineve and Haroldur keep watch. We find:

Alastor's notes (Lucky!)
wand of Magic Missile
wand of Resurgence
troll gut rope
deck of interesting looking cards
scroll (A) Bull's Strength
potion - Bear's Endurance
+1 shortsword
vial of silversheen

Hezzrak finds the silversheen and cackles with glee. The goblins finally hear us and begin to give chase. The rest of the party begins their escape, but Hezzrak and I stay behind for one last loot grab. I find a jewel-hilted longsword (+1 mithral Elvencraft) and Hezzrak grabs a Dwarven beer stein (an Everfull Mug).

We join the chase just in front of the massive goblin horde. I sprint ahead, soon outpacing the heavily armored cleric and knight, traipsing gingerly across rope bridges and scrambling up rocky cliffs like they're not there. I emerge first from the caverns, to find Tamklar and his team of dwarves preparing to collapse the mine. I explain that all the goblins ever born in a 500 mile radius are right on our heels. Also, we found the yellow musk creeper god, and I think we made it angry...

Tamklar explains taht I can help them collapse the caverns more quickly, so I set to it. Sarek comes dashing out of the caverns a moment later, with his robes hiked up around his knobbly wizard-knees. A score of goblins is right on his tail. Hezzrak pops into existence and casts Suggestion on the first goblin to appear, causing it to dance. Then Sarek webs the passage he'd just emerged from, trapping the first of the goblin menace. More goblins pour into the side passages, and Sarek draws a scroll and Lightning Bolts a line of them. Nineve comes up behind a band of goblins, with more on her heels. Just then, the dwarves collapse the caves and boulders start falling all around us. Haroldur runs out just in time, and we all rush out, blinking into the sunlight, as the thundering crash of the mountain collapsing onto the goblin horde rings in our ears.

Back in Kolbenberg, we're local heroes. We rest up and heal our wounds and assess the goblin treasure we made off with. Also, I provide care to Tamklar's wife - I think I can help her get through the worst of the Red Ache now, though her condition has deteriorated since I saw her last. Brolan, Sarek and I pour through Alastor's jumbled, dirty notes and manage to determine that he was on the trail of Ulavant (which we knew) and was headed to a plave called the Whispering Cairn (which we didn't). Sarek and I don't know where the Whispering Carin is, but we've heard of the Cairn Hills outside of Diamond Lake - it might be a good place to start our search.

Sarek sends the Cabal an update:
"Following Ulevant to Cairn Hills.
Need info on Whispering Carin.
Request additional material support.
Kolbenberg is sacked, in desperate need of supplies, guards, priests, rebuilding."

They reply:
"We cannot offer aid to Kolbenberg.
They must live or die on their own.
Ask a local about Whipering Cairn.
What support is required? >2000gp."

Wise of them to put a gp limit on that, with Haroldur around....

As we are investigating the deck of cards we found, a woman appears to us and introduces herself as Zolara. She was once a powerful fate-spinner, and has bound herself to her Harrow cards, that she may continue to use her influence even in death. She has fortold our coming and has been waiting for us for many years. She explains that as long as she travels with us, she can foreshadow events and subtly manipulate our futures.

"Allow me to demonstrate", she says, and she does a Harrow reading.

The Choosing:
Ashe - The Survivor
Sarek - The Sickness
Haroldur - The Teamster
Nineve - The Brass Dwarf

The Spread:

The Waxworks ------The Trumpet ---- The Cricket
The Lost ------------The Fiend ---------The Betrayal
The Hidden Truth ---The Crows --------The Eclipse


*The Harrow deck is also from Paizo's Pathfinder stuff. We're trying it out as a storytelling mechanic - hopefully it'll be cool.*

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