From Fantasy book:
In low fantasy, and in fantasy based on folklore and fairy tales, point values below 100 often work well. An ordinary man thrown into adventure can be a 50-point character. In higher fantasy, characters built on 100-200 points work better; the added points can represent the Rank, Status, and Wealth of aristocrats, or the skills of veteran adventurers such as the heroes of sword and sorcery. In a dark fantasy setting, PCs may need the added points just for survival! Still higher point values are possible, but move the campaign to the level of epic, with heroes who can contend with the gods or challenge fate. This chapter assumes that the base for typical characters is 100 or 150 points, with up to 50 or 75 points in disadvantages.
Characters should have diverse but realistic skill sets. That is if you've been a baker's assistant your whole life, you're probably not an expert rider and swordsman, but you may have high manual dexterity, a good cooking skill, some herb lore, and perhaps be strong from lugging around bags of flour and making deliveries or such. In that example you may also be overweight for gorging on your own tasty sweet specialties.
I expect role-playing, not just hack'n slash dice rolling. I will be awarding extra character points for playing your character and for good role-playing.
The starting location will be Raal.
You are likely a novice adventurer or perhaps elder citizens who've never risen to heroics previousl, or perhaps a veteran adventurer whose career is in decline. At 120 points you are not likely complete rookies. Possible idea would be Ozgarnian barbarians, Wild Wood elves, devout religious followers, wandering gypsys or mercenaries. I would like interesting back stories to tie in and enhance the campaign. It's possible you are not an experienced adventurer, but then it would be unlikely that you have a 15 riding skill and a 18 broadsword skill, for example. Your points might be invested into trade skills or "book learning".
As you can see in the description of Raal, if you desire to be another race, likely templates would be:
Elf - -5 pt unusual background
Half-elf - no cost
Half-orc - -2 pt unusual background
Other race - with DM consultation
Characters will have 120 points to start with and up to -45 points in disadvantages with an optional additional -15 points to be used specifically for Enemies, Reputation or Debt disadvantages, but these must be a tangible part of your back story and your character during role-play.
Characters will be illiterate by default. Being semi-literate (B p24) in the Common tongue will cost 1 pt, literate 2 pts.
- Characters will start with the TL3 starting wealth of $1000.00 which in Gurth recently has been one-thousand silver pieces. This can be modified by choosing the Wealth advantage or disadvantage accordingly. Clothing, weapons, armor and gear should be purchased at base cost in the Characters book from starting wealth. If you have $1000.00, you have nothing and are naked walking the streets of Gurth. A gold piece is ten silver pieces.
Specialized adventure gear and magical items from Dungeon Fantasy - Adventurers are fine. Magic items must be purchased with character points, at a cost of 1 point per $1000 cost.
* You may buy power stone(s) by spending 2 character points per power level, with a maximum of 15 power level total in all stones/items. Spending 20 points gets you a single 10 point powerstone, or two 5-point stones, etc.
Character outlines must be presented to the GM by the 11th of October in order to be in the outset of the campaign.
- Camille-Sophie Trillian, played by Niki
- Cyril Chadwick, played by Dan
- Kemble Coyote, played by John
- Chloe, played by Melissa
A rapscallion band or road thieves "led" by Danris, tried to use a Draconian prisoner to rob a wagon manned by the half-ogre Sevog. During the ambush Anis, the haughty elven archer shot her ally, Danris as he stumbled and drove the half-ogre into the thieve's muscle, the half-orc Krog.
The ambush ended when the raid was raided by a shiny knight woman, exclaiming justice done by Donblas and a pale-skinned gray-lipped ghoulie who was perhaps a vampire. The draconian had climbed a tree to hide and watched as the armored woman vanished and the pale one drug bodies away.
While Kemble had his toes sucked by a girl for hire in Randy's, Chloe sought out her white-haired goal, as Camille-Sophie Trillian snuck away from tea with her acquaintances to seek escort north back to Nottingham. Cyril Chadwick wandered into Raal from a farm and cold. Eventually, all were at Randy's.
Camille looking for a strange white-haired traveler, met Cyril and charitably invited him to stay at her home after Cyril finished his milk and dismissed the attention of Randy.
Kemble dismissed Trixi and Dixie to saunter over to the stern-looking woman watching him from the shadows beneath the balcony. Chloe and Kemble conversed a bit before Chloe tried to get a room and Kemble gambled with some locals and a large red-haired barbarian, losing no more than he gained on his way to the table.
Eventually, Chloe joined the drunken Kemble to his room where she massaged him into submission, then relocated his sword to the care of Randy downstairs. When Kemble realized this, he wore the bedsheet and marched her back down the stairs to reclaim his blade.
Cyril procured firewood from Camille's neighbor and learned that her husband passed on.
The night passed with little incident.
The next day, Cyril went about to try and obtain funds from his remote bank account while Camille packed for her journey north and Chloe told Kemble of a Mister Heebs whom they learned is a shady tax collector working for the guvner who reportedly skims some of the money for his own purposes and spends some of that at the Dripping Dinghy, a saloon with a water wheel on a stream by the southern edge of town.
After consulting with some town guards, namely Teddy (or Theodore), Kemble and Chloe worked their way to the nicer district of town where they happened to stumble across a young brick layer who pointed them towards where he'd most recently seen Heebs.
As Cyril approached, Camille was being accosted by a large man in a long black coat and hat who grinned slyly when she mentioned her husband. Cyril introduced himself and Mr. Heebs demanded that Cyril help Camille settle her debt in the next two days or else, before briskly walking away.
Kemble and Chloe arrived, just as Heebs marched away. As they questioned Camille and Cyril, a large owl flew from inside the house and landed on Camille's shoulder. This triggered Kemble to draw his short sword and run after Heebs, who had a couple of blocks lead.
Cyril loped after Kemble. After turning a corner and seeing no tax collector, and being pursued by the shouting Cyril, Kemble gave up the chase and they all returned to Camille's house.
The four now sit in front of her fireplace as Chloe breaks Camille's furniture and throws it into the fire while Camille crys into Cyrils supportive shoulder and Kemble drinks cooking brandy in the chilly mid-morning. It has just began a light snow.
Encounters in the Night
After a light lunch of Camille's remaining food, Kemble and Chloe retreated upstairs for a "nap". Sir Chadwick went about the house readying himself anything that seemed useful for their journey as Camille sat and stared into the fireplace forlornly.
When Kemble rose, he and Chadwick went out in seek of the money collector known as Mr. Heebs. After speaking to a laborer delivering fire-wood, they found Heebs boxing in a pit fight in the Dripping Dinghy saloon, by the side of the south stream. Unbeknownst to the men, Chloe was shadowing them. After losing money (borrowed from Kemble) on the match, Cyril spoke to Heebs about their plan to leave town without settling Camille's debt first. Heebs told Cyril to keep his white-skinned spook at bay and get him his money if he knew what was good for him and Camille. The three left after the encounter to retrieve Camille and go to Randy's for dinner.
Walking back with full bellies, discussing whether to leave town that evening or the following morning, the party noticed a strange orange glowing light from Camille's neighborhood. Upon closer observation, Camille's house was ablaze. After a brief disagreement with some city guards, Cyril ran into the house, released the caged owl within and grabbed his and Camille's smoking packs from the blaze. Kemble drifted away into the night shadows.
Later, Kemble came racing back toward the blaze with four saddled horses as Chloe was leaving the scene. Kemble handed the horses over to her as she was in some disagreement with Camille and they agreed to meet up outside of town.
Kemble retrieved Camille and Cyril as a wizard who had built a containing ice-wall about the burning house re-entered his wagon. The party convened outside the city and rode late into the night on the main road north.
They made camp in trees near the road and all promptly fell asleep in the light snow after a harrowing day.
Kemble was awoken by a slavering orc, pulling his pack from beneath his head. He shouted and, though naked, he gave chase, while Chloe ran after the routed horses in nothing but her underwear and shadowy darkness. Cyril attacked an orcish archer and Camille watched in shock. Before the brief skirmish ended, a strange pale-skinned gray lipped man and an armored woman attacked the orcs and an odd magical hemisphere of complete black erupted in the middle of the fray.
The armored woman and her pale accomplice dragged off an orcish body and she shouted a warning for the travelers over her shoulder. "You should be more cautious through these dark hills. There are many bandits and orcs. Also, I sense a great darkness among us. You'd best keep vigilant watch at night."
Jan 17, 2011 - one-off tie-in
After having descended the tree and using the half-ogre's great axe to free he ankles from his shackles, the Draconian looted Anis' body and took what supplies he could from the wagon and wandered into the Wild wood.
On a regular patrol, Isilwen Elensor came across a red-scaled monster sitting by a small fire, eating something with it's jagged teeth. She immediately made haste to the elders and reported the strange beast. The elders confirmed with her that it was a Dragonman or Draconian from the base of the Ozgarns to the east. They ordered her to escort it home from their lands for fear that having anything bad happen to it in the woods would bring more of their red blight and the elders did not want to be bothered with that.
Isilwen returned to the beast and fearlessly introduced herself and tried as best she could to tell the beast she was going to take it home. Seeming to have some level of understanding the creature shared with the elf, some hard cheese.
Late that night, the elven ranger was awoken by a strange light and sound nearby in the woods. Upon investigation, she found an old man sitting on a stump, drinking in the slight moonlight. Aslar Ambrose introduced himself and offered her a drink. The wizard then joined her back to the camp and they slept through the night.
When the draconian awoke, he was confused by the old man sleeping nearby as the elf had wandered out of sight before bedding down. Soon, the three were all introduced and on their way.
They traveled eastward, eating elf-caught fish and wizard-found fruits and vegetables. The elven scout would trek ahead and climb high into the trees to get a vantage, then lead the old man and Draconian onward. Eventually, they found the road near the eastern edge of the WildWood and the cart where the Draconian escaped his bandit captors. As Aslar conveyed to the Draconian that they should take a magic box from the looted and ransacked remains, a rider approached.
Proudly, Iselwen introduced herself and demanded to know who the rider was. He did not answer, but instead insisted on finding out where his servant Sevog and the cargo from the wagon had gone. He claimed to be the former owner of the wreckage and was recognized as a sorcerer by the wizard and elf. He claimed the great-axe the draconian held previously belonged to his servant, a half-ogre named Sevog. After some incanting and inspecting the wagon and the surroundings, he surmised that Sevog had perished. The Draconian confirmed. He then traded the magic box to Aslar for some potions and told him that if he were to come across a knight named Cyril Chadwick that he should be aware that Martoy is looking for him.
The three then continued into the Dark Hills where they were harried by orcs, some of whom were slain by the elf's blade and the draconian's axe. Eventually they approached the great Ozgarn mountains.
As they approached the base of the mountains, they encountered five more red-scaled dragon-men leading a large stone-wheeled wagon drawn by a giant lizard. After the Draconian explained to his brethren his adventure, one of them, a shaman translated some for the elf and wizard and sent them all into the cave where they were to be resupplied to return home.
Passing a great spined guard-lizard they entered dark tunnels deep beneath the Ozgarns. The draconian had a brief conversation with guards posted just inside the entrance. These warm cave tunnels were primarily lit by a dim eery light from luminescent molds along the tunnel walls. Eventually, the group entered a larger lantern lit room where two draconians were speaking over a table. Some conversation ensued where one of the two was upset that over-landers were brought into the caves while the other thanked the wizard and elf for returning to them their citizen and supplied them before sending them back to the surface.
Elves, Dragon-men and Orcs, Oh my!
Jan 23, 2011
After ensuring Chamile was safe from danger, Kemble dove into the orb of darkness to seek out his belongings, while Sir Chadwick followed the armored woman into the darkness asking her what king she served. As Cyril was lost in an eerie fog, her voice told him that she owes allegiance only to Donblas.
The party then decided to move onward, despite there being a few hours until sunrise. While camp was being broken down Cyril encountered an elf approaching. Isilwen Elensor introduced herself as a scout of the Wild Wood elves and offered to guide the party safely through the woods. Along the road, they encountered a strange supply wagon pulled by a giant lizard accompanied by 5 red-scaled dragon-men.
After lunch that day the group decided to head deeper into the Wild Wood in seek of "a thick steak and hearty ale". Isilwen took the group to an elven village where they stayed the night and were fed and provided some light rations for their continued journey. Isilwen was also encouraged by the village elder and Taroth to stay near as her eyes and ears are needed because orc traffic has recently increased on the eastern borders.
Riding swiftly the next morning back to the road, the party again encountered the red-scaled dragon-men. Kemble then notified the party and the dragon-men of a new law decreed by the King of Durkin in Camlin detailing that all non-human blooded being within the kingdom must have proper licensure for implements of war and destruction or forfeit 3/4 of their wealth and/or worldly possessions. Being unsure of the law, Cyril decided to disarm the beastmen and escort them safely through the orc-ridden Dark Hills to their home in the Ozgarns. Eventually, deciding that crossing to the Ozgarns would be too long of a detour, some in the party decided that the border of the kingdom must certainly be behind them and the lizardmen should be left to their own devices, allowing the party to continue northward to Nottingham. The party was somewhat split on this decision when a deep low horn exclaimed from the north-east, deeper into the Dark Hills.
In moments, Iselwen perched high in a tree saw a large contingent of orcs approaching. Sir Chadwick readied for battle, Iselwen took aim, Kemble and Chloe began to flee then doubled-back just before the lead orcs crested a nearby bluff and stopped. The leader in a great antlered helm rode upon a giant reptile, which the red-scaled traders claimed could have only come from their mountain home. All watched with tensions high and bow-strings taught as the horn-helmed orc rode forth alone to within 30 yards of the dragon-men.
He announced "Where is the sorceress? She poisoned our people. You have but one chance to give her to me now." When the group stated they knew nothing of a sorceress, he continued, "the white-haired sorceress. We will have her now. Our scouts saw her with you."
Jan 29, 2011
After denying any knowledge of a white-haired sorceress, the horn-helmed orc lord approached and brought forward three grotesque, unnaturally hulking orc brutes. He told of the sorceress poisoning his clans strongest warriors, promising them greater speed and strength, but taking their mind. Cyril Chadwick charged. The brutes were released. One wheeled and tore into the smaller orc collar-handler while one attacked the dragonmen and another ran at the charging Cyril and grabbed his lance away from him. Combat ensued. Kemble rode in slowly and mopped up already injured orcs to "rescue" party members. Chloe watched from the shadows. Iselwen charged to Chamille's aid and was eventually bartered for between the dragon-men and the horn-helmed orc. When Iselwen resisted by relentlessly, although ineffectively attacking the orc leader, the dragonmen attacked. At that point, Camille had gathered a steed and despite a broken hand bashed by orcish shield, raced forth into the fray to grab up Iselwen. Chloe gathered the remaining horses (Kemble had put his down due to an orc blade hanging from its rib cage behind its front leg). Cyril was loaded on the back of his horse as Kemble took the reins and the party rode a few miles west of the confrontation before stopping to inspect injuries.
Chloe concocted a healing poultice and Sir Chadwick performed first aid while Kemble and Iselwen scouted back to ensure they weren't followed. When Iselwen spotted an orc to the south, the party moved further west crossing the road and again entering the outskirts of the Wildwood.
Friend or Foe?
Feb 5, 2011
The party settled into camp after dark at the base of a large fallen tree, with a massive upturned root structure, providing some shelter and cover. Cyril climbed atop the structure to keep watch while eating his spinach soup and nut cache on corn wafer. Having been spurned by the elven scout for his human blood, Kemble joined the weeping Camille beside the dying fire. While Cyril listened to the shallow breathing of his sleeping comrades, he too succumbed to fatigue and dozed. He was awoken by a rough and gnarled hand, solidly placed over his mouth. In the dim starlight, Cyril could just make out an orc squatting over him atop the immense log. The wizened orcish scout introduced himself as Gruul and explained to Cyril in broken common that he was to scout for elves as Brinx, the warchief gathered the BlackGrass clan alongside the BloodBraids to invade the Wild Wood in search of vengeance.
“Brinx now gets Blackgrass clan to join BloodBraids to kill elves until his vengeance is filled.”
“White witch make warriors strong and trades lizards and magics for black grass and slaves. Warriors strong, but not warriors any more, just monsters. Don’t protect clan. Hurt it.”
“Gruul not want war. Gruul not like elf arrows (he points to a scar on his shoulder) Gruul want peace, no blood.”
When asked about the witch“(points at Iselwen)Looks like witch, but not.”
“Witch is in caves. So, Tallok tell Gruul, so I know.”
“Maybe you get witch and give to Brinx no elf arrows no blood?”
After showing Cryil his giant saber-toothed companion, Mulog, Gruul let Cyril awaken the party, while he disappeared into the darkness. After some consternation, the party agreed to hear out the orc and later agreed to follow Gruul back into the Dark Hill searching for the assumed lost twin sister of Iselwen in order to prevent an orcish raid on the home of the Wild Wood elves.
Upon exiting the forest and waiting for Gruul to scout beyond the road, Iselwen and Chloe met a south-bound monk named Willum, who journaled their encounter and spoke of the house of knowledge to the south where he and the other monks followed the works of the ancient Kanros the Wise. The monks believe that through accumulating all possible knowledge of the past, tabulating, correlating and evaluating it, they may be able to predict the future, as Kanros taught that the world evolves through cycles, like a wave. The monk also told of the epic journey north and the dangers of traversing the narrow stretch of cliff along-side the sea, known as Gambler's Reach.
Having left the women and passing on south, Kemble ran from his hidden viewpoint in the woods to see what had concerned Camille. Having learned that the monk documented their names and destinations, Kemble raced back into the woods and gathered up his horse to follow the monk. Cyril, noticed Kemble's haste and drawn sword and followed.
Reaching the monk, Kemble told Cyril quickly to start going through his documents as Kemble held the startled monk at sword-point. The moment Cyril turned a blind eye while muddling over the journaling of the monk, Kemble pierced the fellow's heart. Cyril, outraged by the act of murder demanded an explanation, stopping Kemble's looting of the monk's body by placing his blade against Kemble's soft white neck-flesh. Satisfied, Cyril agreed to bury the body while Kemble gathered the others and decided what to do with the monks mule and wealth of documents and books.
They set the mule free into the wild wood, and cached Camille's chest full of lore bound for the house of wisdom near the road to be picked up later. The party then followed Gruul, who was at this point quite adamant about moving swiftly, into the Dark Hills. They followed Gruul for two days winding through the hills, as he scouted ahead and hid them in ravines and behind boulders to avoid orcish patrols. On the third day, Iselwen was hit in the arm by a sling-shot pebble and party met Tallok, a younger more temperamental orcish scout.
As the party then followed Tallok to the cave of the witch, Gruul revealed that Tallok would normally kill elves on sight, and had little more love of humans, but the rage brewed by his brother, one of the BloodBraid's best warriors, being turned into a monster trumped his hatred. He would take any who vowed to kill the witch to their doom in her haunted cave.
The party followed the orcs for another 30-some hours straight, not stopping to sleep so deep in aggravated orcish territory. Through the 40 degree days and 20 degree nights under a dull gray sky, they dodged orcs and pondered whether or not they were being led into a trap, so deep in the Dark Hills of the orcs.
Late at night, they were left by Gruul who took them the last half-mile to the cave, as Tallok would not. Cyril tied the horses some 500 yards away from the cave entrance while the others huddled within the ink-black aperture to stay out of the biting breeze. As the others snored uneasily, Kemble paced in the cold to stay vigil. To Kemble's surprise he heard Iselwen's voice, only slightly more sinister, emanating a bit unnaturally from deeper within the cave; "Within these tunnels lie only doom, you will turn back or be destroyed by my golem." He then heard a single pebble fall clinking down the rock wall near by, followed moments later by more rocks sliding and tumbling and a stone grinding sound above to his left. Iselwen was awoken by the stones.
Into the Cave
From Melissa's notes:
- Party awakens, lights candles and proceeds down the tunnel.
- Golem blocks the way
- Iselwen sneaks by the golem and waits for the party
- Kemble and Cyril take turns hitting the golem, red unnatural sparks fly when Kemble hits it and chips it.
- On one of Kemble's strikes the party is thrust into darkness and Iselwen confirms her candle is still lit despite the blinding inky black.
- Chloe urges Iselwin to go ahead and take care of her sister and meet them back at the cave entrance by dawn.
- the party returns to the cave entrance, exiting the unnatural darkness. Kemble does some first aid on Cyrils wounds while Camille and Chloe go back to sleep.
- Iselwen continues down the cave
- she stabs an injured orc that was sleeping in a room full of rags and furs
- she comes upon a large cavernous room littered with shakled orcs and the white witch, excavating some temple or shrine
- the white witch yells for the orcs to stop the intruders, “Kill the intruders, feed them to the wurm!” then vanishes
- the orcs start to converge on Iselwen
- she dodges a pickaxe
- she sends one over a 30 foot drop to the floor of the excavation
- she stabs another orc in the vitals and then tries to run back out to the party in the dark tunnels, past the golem by following along the left wall
- Iselwen commanded the golem to step aside and it did, the party was allowed to pass
- the golem follows the party through the tunnels at Iselwens command
- the party comes to the iron door behind which there was a strange purple light.
- Kemble tried to pick the lock as Iselwen whispered that she heard oncoming orcs. The entire party passes out except for Cyril
- Cyril stabs an orc, an orc grabs Iselwins leg and she kicks him
- Cyril stabs and orc again and killshim, the orc grabs Iselwin's leg
- Kemble tries to attack the orc and awakens Chloe
- Cyril cuts off the orcs hand after he tried to grab him, Kemble kills some orcs, Iselwen is stabbed in the leg with a pick axe
- Kemble is dazed after he hears Stop! and Iselwin hears her sister, the golem melts back into the floor
- Taraesyl introduces herself and speaks with the party, Kemble tries to convince her to with the party or pay them 1000 gold coins
- Camille tries to wrestle her as Kemble tries to attack her staff and she vanishes into thin air and laughs at the party.
- Kemble tries to pick the lock again and the entire party falls asleep.
- The party awakens well rested to the sound of an owls hoot in the chill air at the entrance of the cave. All of their weapons are missing and they awaken at the entrance with the sun up.
- Iselwen, Kemble and Cyril try to go back into the cave and are met by two huge monster orcs while Chloe and Camille start heading out, in search of the party's horses.
- Kemble dos not want to leave without his sword.
- Camille wants to go to Nottingham.
- Camille sees an orc as she walks away from the cave.
- Chloe follows Camille for a bit, then runs to look for the horses.
- Iselwin, Cyril and Kemble stick around to fight two monster orcs
- Iselwin delivers a killing blow to an orc with a pick axe
- Cyril is squeezed to death's doormat by one of the orcs
- Kemble takes care of the other orc with Iselwen's help
- Cyril is extracted from under the orc and presumed dead due to his blue face, bulging veins, nauseatingly disfigured rib-cage and lack of breath.
An Unforeseen Accomplice
Having determined Cyril perished, Iselwen began to bury his body under stones after Kemble looted it. Kemble sought out the other two women. Having no ability to track, Kemble had assumed they vanished or perhaps were taken by the witches magics.
Eventually with Iselwen's help, they tracked the women to where they separated and their paths diverged. They decided to follow Camille deeper into the Dark Hills and to search later for Chloe, who had turned southward. Chloe eventually found Tallok leading their horses into the hills and convinced him to turn them over.
Kemble and Iselwen eventually saw Camille's snow-white owl circling against the gray sky and came upon a small group of orcs, debating something in a deep trench over an unconscious Camille. When Kemble accidentally tumbled a stone into the ravine, the white-haired elf-kin fled to nearby cover from the alerted orcs. Eventually, a chaotic melee ensued with Kemble and Iselwen prevailing, but both injured and an orcish archer fled. Again, Kemble approached the ravine where Camille lay to a grisly site of orcish violation. Kemble saw only red as he decapitated the orcish defiler. With the last of his strength, he carried Camille to where Iselwen approached, crawling. In the meantime, Chloe had returned to the cave, then to where she last saw Camille and waited while eating lunch of rations under a tree where the snow had not piled.
A grueling afternoon of turns carrying Camille's unconscious form and resting led Kemble to consider killing and eating the owl. Iselwen would have none of it and eventually, they approached Chloe waiting atop the strongest steed laden with any useful items in it's saddlebags.
The group returned to the cave entrance to eat and rest and plan. Deciding to stay the night, the group left Chloe on watch and she promptly decided to sleep as well. In the night, Iselwen who often lacks thorough rest was again awakened, but by a most unexpected visitor. Her sister, Taresyl approached from the cave's entrance.
Taraesyl now looks less soft and supple than when you last saw her. Upon closer scrutiny, her lips are darker, almost purple and her pale skin almost seems transparent. There are barely visible dark veins running just beneath her flesh. Her eyes seems more shadowed and sunken in their sockets and there’s a before-unnoticed purple glimmer in her eyes.
She bid her sister follow into her chamber behind the iron door within the caves.
Taraesyl's room: Beyond the magical door, lies a hall bathed in an eery purple light. These quarters although deep beneath a mountain and of crude fashion have been fancily dressed. The bed wears ornate blankets and fancy pillows and the table holds an ornate lantern shrouded by a purple scarf. Upon closer inspection, the table is littered with small bones and multiple scrolls, a caged rat looks fearfully up at you amid many unlit candles of varying colors.
Taraesyl was asking Iselwen for help and escort from the dark hills. It seems the sword taken from the party had taxed her magics and left her distraught; It’s very powerful. Skorziak, the DarkBringer. It tried to use me as a conduit. It tried to return. I had to call in favors to stop it. Costly favors. Fools!
It’s in limbo, until I can deal with it.
Sister, I’m deeply apologetic for my previous lack of hospitality and rudeness. I did not realize the burden you carried. Now I will travel with you. In fact, I quite need your help. I need to return to Argyle, or Camlyn. I would appreciate your aid through these orc infested lands and will pay you adequately upon my safe arrival.
She gave Iselwen a vial and a poultice to help with their ailments and agreed to meet them at the cave's entrance the following morning after Iselwen had convinced the rest of the party.
It took some convincing but eventually, after Taraesyl helped remove the remaining black grass from Camille's cheeks and gave each accomplice a jeweled ring, the party left heading west/north-west debating a route and how to deal with the inevitable orcish encounter.
You Can't Keep a Good Sword Down
After riding as quickly as they dared for a day and through the night through the Dark Hills the fatigued and hungry party agreed to rest and get some sleep. After her watch, Iselwen drank some tea from her sister to help her sleep and left Taraesyl watching over the party.
Later that night, the party was awoken by Taraesyl incanting loudly from a nearby hillock. Her voice wavered and was not her own '"Nosirp Edalb Sti Nihtiw Obmil Morf Regnirbkrad Eht Esaeler!"' The ritual finished with a terrible red lightning-like flash ripping skyward from the ground in front of the kneeling Taraesyl with the sound of a mighty breath being taken in by the world itself. In the gray stillness following, the elven sorceress slumped forward unconscious revealing the dark blade standing in the pale shrouded moonlight, it’s black tip piercing the snow-covered ground.
Kemble and Chloe moved towards the razor-edged sword, Chloe warning Kemble of a trap. A brief inspection of Taraesyl revealed her eyes yet open but rolled back in her head. Iselwen tried to console her and aid her by giving her a bit of the healing potion.
Chloe and Kemble's debate about what to do with the sword was interrupted by Alaysh Vargas who came upon the party seeking the origin of the red lightning and sensing a great evil.
After some moments of stressed discussion, Camille unveiled the lantern and when Kemble turned back to the Darkbringer both Chloe and the sword had vanished into the darkness. Kemble gave chase, at first demanding his property back and later resorting to threats as he staggered around barefoot in the snow searching for Chloe. Iselwen and Chloe told Alaysh of the take of the Darkbringer, and Skorziak within. She was familiar with Skorziak and said she knew why Donblas had guided her thus. She also strode off into the darkness seeking the blade. Eventually, Iselwen left her sister in the care of Camille and went to aid Kemble.
Chloe was encountered by the paladin who demanded the sword be forfeited and justice be done. After separating from Kemble in the darkness, Iselwen eventually saw the glowing red blade, flaming with the same red fire the split the night earlier, wielded by a dark shadow combating the palely glowing Alaysh. Chloe refused at first to turn the blade over being intoxicated by it's power, but eventually held be blade at a conflicted arms-length to be striken by the knight. With an oath to Donblas, the paladin struck and so did blinding darkness and uncanny silence. In moments as Chloe groped about the snow-covered ground searching for the sword, slavering beasts attacked from the pitch black. After fighting off the beasts, Chloe and Isilwen returned to the lantern-lit camp. After some arguing, the party rested until daylight. Early the next morning, Chloe took Kemble to where the slavering beasts attacked, pointing out the apparent piles of sewage as the beasts. Kemble saw no sword, but an oddly out of place stick, which when he snatched it up from the ground revealed itself as the Darkbringer. The party then continued to the opening of the dragon-man cave, where Kemble worned the women to stay back as he cautiously tried to parlay with the armed red-scaled hulks at the entrance of the cave and their fin-backed pet.
Eventually, one of the door-men entered the dark tunnel beyond and returned with a staff-carrying draconian who spoke broken common and asked for weapons and armor in trade for Kemble's request of escort to the forest beyond the dark hills. The dragon-man refused the crude orcish sword Kemble first offered, but at the sight of Kemble's fine short sword, asked Kemble to follow him into the cave where Vino would validate the worth of the weapon. Kemble began to do so, then turned back and fetched Chloe to join him. After a stretch of dark tunnel the deeper caverns are warm and iridescent green mosses growing on the walls and ceilings cast hazy shadows crawling over the craggy walls as they followed the dragon-man through the maze of tunnels.
Outside, Isilwen spotted an orc face peering down from atop a nearby hill and warned the disinterested Camille. Looking from Camille to her unconscious sister, she pondered her next move.
Through a seemingly random series of tunnels past Dragonmen leading large lizard drawn carts laden with stones they eventually approached a juncture they could hear the clanging and banging of small arms. Approaching the sound, they also heard a voice scolding in common, '"Not like that, like this. No no no, like this.'" Rounding the corner, Chloe and Kemble met Vino. Built like a leathery skinned linebacker, scarred, tanned and calloused. The old one-eyed warrior wears a chain shirt and pothelm as well as an enormous mustache.
An orc riding a giant sabre-toothed cat crested the hill where Isilwen saw the scout, he was followed by three archers and two with shields. As the orcs approached some fifty yards away, Isilwen and Camille began to approach the cave as Kemble's horse fled the hissing lizard guard dog.
Whose side are you on?
Kemble tried to use Vino as a crude translator to bargain for now eight dragonman escorts to the road in exchange for his fine short sword. Vino agreed that the sword was quality, although small. The draconians were not compliant after hearing that orcish war parties were at their doorstep, they claimed they could spare no warriors. However, Vino offered his assistance as he had no interest in being stuck in the dragon cave as orcs attacked.
Meanwhile outside,at the approach of the orcs Camille panicked and raced into the dark cave, ducking under the leaping lizard guard dog. Iselwen, holding up her unconscious sister, followed into the darkness past the axe wielding doormen.
Vino, after gathering his pack and weapons began to attempt to lead Chloe and Kemble out of the caves. He told them of a great beast deep beneath that the red-scaled dragonmen were unearthing. Kemble was tempted. He convinced Vino that there may be a dragon's hoard of wealth beneath the beast and they'd best gather some before fleeing. Chloe followed reluctantly, rolling her eyes at their insanity and greed.
Iselwen found Camille unconscious where she caught her head on a low-hanging stone and was unseated from her horse, which was nowhere to be seen. Setting Tarasyl with Camille, Iselwen took her sister's staff and led her horse deeper into the tunnels sticking to the left wall. She continued searching for Kemble and Chloe past where she tied her horse, until she came upon a room with two lizardmen seated at a stone slab. One immediately accosted her in smooth common tongue, asking what she was doing back in the caves and where her companions were. At Iselwen's mention of orcs attacking, he rudely rushed past her up the corridor, as the other slowly approached and reassured her that he would help her fallen comrades and they'd get it all sorted out. He began to lead her to where Vino, the other human was training their warriors as that would be the most likely place a weapon-trader would have been taken.
When Vino, Kemble and Chloe found the chamber, Before you in a large chasm are about a dozen Draconians toiling with picks and pry-bars breaking and removing stones varying in size from your fist to your torso. They are unearthing a great bronze scaled beast, larger than any of you have ever seen, judging only by it’s great long spiked tail and great clawed feet and legs. The rest of the colossal beast resides hidden beneath age-old fallen stone.
Kemble convinced Vino they would have to kill all of the workers, despite Vino's better judgement. Combat ensued as Kemble and Vino handily slew over half-a dozen dragon-men while Chloe watched from the shadows. After slaying the draconians, Kemble convinced Vino to stab his magical sword into the great beast to ensure it was not unleashed up the surface dwellers above. Chloe intercepted the transaction and took the DarkBringer and climbed upon the beast to do the deed herself.
As she buried the red-flaming blade to the hilt in the giant dragon's heart she felt the dark influence of the blade fade. The previously immobile tail and legs of the great wurm's body sprung to life, thrashing and scraping and digging itself free. The god-like dragon's rage shook the mountains. Chloe pulled the blade free and dodging the flailing tail, tried to flee the flying stones and raking claws, but Kemble tackled her to get his sword back. After having obtained it, he turned and deliberated momentarily trying to slay the beast whose previously bronze scales now were darker and shadowy with a strange magical red glow. After one more duck beneath the spike-ended whip of a tail, he turned to follow Chloe and Vino into the tunnels. Vino left ahead and was not seen again as Chloe led Kemble back where they'd come from by tracking the symbols she'd scraped into the glowing moss on the walls as they'd passed.
As Iselwen was being led toward where here allies were supposedly trading weapons, the ground began to shake and they encountered the staff-carrying draconian that led Kemble and Chloe to Vino. He reported that they left, fleeing to the west for fear of an orc attack. Iselwen's guide took her to the entrance, where orcs and the draconian guards were standing off, with an orc barking unintelligible demands upon stoic Draconian guards. Iselwen broke the stand-off by shooting a deadly elven arrow from the dark tunnel through an orcish archer's heart. The orcs sprung and the Draconians met the wild orcish rush with reptialian speed and crushing strength. Iselwen dove into the fray and in a few seconds, the orcs were all slain or fleeing. A dragonman came up from the rumbling tunnel carrying Tarasyl and Camille.
In their frantic flight, Kemble and Chloe found Iselwen's horse tied to a stone in the wall and with luck, led it out ahead of a furnace-hot heat bellowing from deeper in the tunnel. The party reconvened just inside the entrance and draped the two unconscious females over the horse and fled the caves as the Draconians moved deeper in. After some short debate, the party decided to try and find Vino's camp-site. Iselwen was able to track the mercenaries prints to where he had a clydsdale-drawn wagon and a small cache of supplies beneath a rock. While the party rested and discussed the previous hour's events, a great deafening roar belched from the small cave entrance followed by a hellish fireball. Stunned the party gazed in shock while Camille's pregnancy sensitive stomach turned and she gave up the meager rations she had earlier eaten. Moments later, the great beast formerly known as Akriyal shot from the entrance, throwing stones hundreds of yards. His powerful and ancient body twisted by the former pit-lord Skorziak, the beat spewed demonic dragons-fire in a blazing ring setting the sky ablaze before he gazed directly at the party. In a hiss clearly audible to the party at over two-hundred yards the possessed dragon exclaimed Free at last! smiled an unholy tooth-filled grin, then took flight.
Having apparently unleashed a great beast upon the world, and travelling into the orc-scattered Dark Hills, the party decided to disband.
Iselwen insisted on taking her ill sister and returning to the Wild Wood to aid her people against the oncoming orcish horde. Chloe, agreed to help them through the Dark Hills in pursuit of the possible reward from Taraesyl upon her delivery to Argyle.
Kemble chivalrously volunteered to escort the lady Camille to the north despite whatever perils may await them. His confidence was redoubled after her previous rescue and the reacquisition of his lordly blade.
The party did not wait for Vino to exit the cave behind the beast. The elves and Chloe left westward with two horses and Kemble and Camille plodded north-bound on the Clydesdale drawn wagon.