Tempest Rising

Beating a dead horse
Or, Piñata Full of Spiders

2374955.jpgRevealed by the glowing arrow, the writhing mass of creatures dropped quickly toward the staircase. Boomah drank an infusion and slipped out of the chamber and Luix heaved a javelin at its bulk. It landed on the edge of the stone stair and its heavy mandibles crushed down on Kallius, nearly dropping the elf. The large mass of spiders crawling in, out and and around the creature spread out and menaced all about it.

At their urging, Boomah lobbed a fiery bomb into the group, destroying the mass of spiders and only doing limited damage to our heroes. But the beast survived, and its next blow sent Saerin to the ground. Dremahl used his divine powers to bring him back to consciousness, and Celeste worked to heal the group at large.

Kallius infused his blade with arcane power and stabbed deep with the electrified rapier. This rattled the creature but did not bring it down, and again its bite brought the ranger to the brink of death. But between bomb, blade and flail the undead horror was finally brought low.

The group searched the rest of the crumbling tower and were drawn by the one narrow window that had not been covered by the spiders. Kallius detected evocation magic obscured by some barrier, and Saerin and Boomah climbed up to investigate. They found a concealed cabinet holding four alchemical torches enchanted to burn in different colored flames. They also noted that the unobscured window faced directly toward the guard tower where they had recently rested. But they found no other evidence of whom right have placed these items here, as they were far newer than the Omaro occupation.

The group decided to search the out-bulidings while it was still light. They started at the crumbling stable half-submerged in sludge. Again the ranger and the goblin took the lead, supported by Luix. As they moved toward the stall, they saw a strange rippling in the mud, that burst up into a skeletal warhorse wearing ancient Omaro barding. It bit at Boomah as he tried to flee from the hated thing. The others closed the gap and tried to find gaps in the armored horror’s protection.

Boomah lobbed a bomb over them and again set them ablaze. But it softened it up enough that the northerner’s flail and the elves’ blades could break the skeletal beast and drop it back into the mud. Wearied and wounded by this ordeal, the group retreated back into the shrine of Aerin within the keep to rest another night.

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Lady of the House
Or, There's More Than One Way To Bathe A Goblin

Servants-Skeleton_retainer.jpgThe draugr guardsmen closed ranks and our heroes waited tensely to see what would happen next. Boomah dropped to his needs and spread the Omaro surcoat before him.

The undead leader in the rear dropped to his knees and laid his sword and ceremonial keys on the ground. Saerin noted that this a ritual of failure and that he was surrendering his head to Celeste. She told him to stand and explain himself. He answered in the high Pellen language, which no one spoke. They eventually communicated that fact and he told them that he could speak ‘the trade language of the low people’, which they knew as the common tongue.

He told them his name was Vanto ren Omaro, and he was the captain of the guard. His mission was to masquerade as his master to fool the ‘watchers’ and let Fierin Omaro and his young heir to escape the keep. Paro Lento had explained that the ‘line’ must be protected at all costs. He thought he had failed, but in death continued to protect the castle as well as he could. Celeste explained that he had obviously succeeded as she was a continuation of the line.

The asked about the creatures from beyond the waterfall, and he told them that there was an old copper mine there, and he assumed that they were trapped in a mission as well. But there recent expansions and activity had convinced him that was no longer the case. He also told them about the shrine to Aerin beyond their hall and proclaimed ignorance about any noise beyond the tower door.

They checked out the shrine and found a high chamber filled with light channeled from above. The walls were covered with myriad horns and antlers of wild beasts from across the old world. Vanto explained that each of these were stalked and killed by members of House Omaro. Kallius noted the room radiated magic, and they questioned the marshall if there were any rituals that needed to be performed. He told them about a simple prayer of entry required for any Aerin shrine, and Celeste made sure they performed the obeisance before entering. There they found the tomb of Lady Synelle Omaro and several empty tombs — but no danger. Celeste relieved Vanto and his guards of their duty and they melted into mud and ooze, leaving a magic ring and bastard sword behind.

Moving on, they climbed the exterior wall of the keep to reach the unfinished second floor. The found a plastered over entry to the tower, but heard no rushing water. They smashed at the blockage until they had created a goblin-sized hole. Peering in, Boomah saw the tower was choked with thick webs and there were a fair umber of spiders crawling about. The decided they were not prepared for new dangers this day.

They chose to rest in the shrine and continue in the morning. Returning to the roof, they found that the opening had been covered by webs. Boomah soaked the area in oil, but unnerved by the numbers of spiders gathering on the webs, scurried back after lighting the webs aflame.

Immediately a swarm of spiders burst for the opening. Expecting this, Boomah launched a flaming bomb, but stumbled and it hit the ground at his feet — bursting into flame. The spiders turned from the blaze and moved toward the elves along the edge of the roof. Kallius pulled back next to his comrade, and the two were covered with hundreds of tiny vermin.

Calling for help, Boomah launched another bomb at the swarm, catching the tow elves but scattering the creatures.

There was some quick healing, and they returned to the now open passage into the tower. They expanded the hole to allow humans and crawled inside. Boomah crept down toward the sound of rushing water, but saw nothing. Looking closer, he found a pile of human bones along the wall. When he touched them, the floor filled with a rushing torrent and he was swept down the hall — crashing with the wave into the wall at the far end. He rand back to the group, who could already hear the sound of rushing water begin to build. Celeste summoned a dolphin to collect the bones, but since the wave did not reappear it was quickly dispatched.

Then they rushed down and collected the bones, depositing them in one of the empty crypts in the spring to Aerin. Immediately the sound ceased, and the tower was eerily quiet.

chalandria_by_artpox-d3bywt9.jpgSaerin took the lead climbing up. Above the second floor landing, he could see something large moving in the broken beams above. Kallius cast light on an arrow, and the ranger shot it up toward the motion. it stuck fast in a crossbeam, illuminating a huge arachnid shaped descending toward them, covered with hundreds of other spiders crawling in and out gaps and cracks in the monstrous spiders exoskeleton.

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Warm welcome
Or, Stop bleeding on the mat

inferno_by_odobenus-d4we43a.jpgAtop the wall, the new threat was immediately engaged by our heroes, and suffered the same fate as their comrades. But when they turned to look across the gatehouse, they saw another draugr working over a bubbling cauldron and two more in small courtyard below. Boomah launched a bomb into the cauldron, sending up a gout of flaming oil from the pot and spreading flames through the tower. Too much for even the foul water drenching the draugr, and it crumbled in the flames.

The warriors charged down the gatehouse stairs to face the two in the courtyard. The enemies fired their crossbows once and fled into keep itself, where they were joined by two more defenders. Luix ran at them, but was felled by the great axes of the defenders. He regained consciousness as Dremahl healed him, but he had to withdraw to avoid being chopped down again. The levels filled the gap and fought bravely, and Boomah fired sling bullets to add what he could.

Luis returned to the fray and the two groups trading, with Celeste and Dremahl taxing their divine powers to keep the warriors standing. Saerin took an axe blow and succumbed to the nauseating drowning feeling that seemed to follow each blow. He fell back from the fray, but the defenders could not withstand the consistent rain of blows and soon fell. The strange drowning passed when the creature dropped, and our heroes found themselves bloodied but unbowed inside the keep.

Boomah and Saerin did a quick search of the corridor and found no enemies, but a number of closed doorways. One in particular fascinated Boomah, as he could hear rushing water beyond its bolted door. But ‘goblin self-preservation’ prevailed, and he returned too the group without exploring further.

They went through the keep methodically, checking all the other doors first. They found an ancient, looted pantry, a bunkhouse that seemed strangely maintained and yet unused, and three small bed chambers filled only with rotten collapsed furniture. The last door Saerin checked opened into a small feasting hall with two long tables and a raised platform at the end. Four more sodden corpses in Omaro livery sat at the far end of the tables, and an imposing figure in cloth-of-gold surcoat and crown sat on the dais.

Mummy.jpgThe corpse-like leader rose, lifted his sword in one hand and gestured at the ranger with the other. The other warriors leaped up, so Saerin slammed the door and bolted for the group. Kallius jumped into one of the small chambers across from the hall, and the others sought what cover they could from the impending attack.

The first one out raced across and smashed open the door in front of the magus. The others moved in to engage Luix and the others, while the leader stood a few paces back. Kallius struck his foemen and when it returned the blow it was apparent that his was a more elite guard than the ones manning the outer defenses. Luix and Saerin drew up defenses were soon facing mighty blows from the guards greataxes. Things were looking dire for our heroes, when Celeste moved out from cover brandishing the Omaro shield retrieved from ettercaps.

Asserting her claim as an heir to House Omaro, she demanded the guardsmen stop their attack on her comrades. Surprisingly enough, they did.

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Hitting the Wall. Hard.
Or, Playing for Keeps

skeleton_warrior_by_kingkostas-d64i78k.jpgFresh from their victory on the outer wall, our heroes wnet through a trap door in the watch tower and descended into the outer court of the castle. Before they leave, however, they hear the grinding of chains and see a portcullis descending over they inner gate. They move out of range of the forces on the gate house wall and check out the crumbling buildings on the far edge of the court. The first is a half-flood stable that they avoid. The second is a workshop that proved too tempting for Boomah. He and Luix crept in, while the others covered them from the outside.

The shop seems to have been picked clean by previous looters, and Boomah left with nothing more than a handful of rusting nails. While keeping watch, Saerin noted that a pile of rubble along the cliff face covered an opening. Sending the goblin up to investigate, he saw that there was a passage running uphill into the cliff. They spent an hour clearing a gap, and in the mean time noted that a trail of smoke was coming up from the gate house.

The squeezed through the gap and found themselves in a natural cavern that seems to occasionally flood but is otherwise unused. They follow it up, noting occasional worked spots connecting natural passages up the cliff. The tunnel ended in a round cave with a vertical shaft up. Celeste summoned an eagle who delivered a grappling hook to a passage atop the shaft. They climbed and followed the new passage to nearly the top of the cliff. It ended on a roughly worked shelf cut into the cliff face. It may have once been some kind of nest, but was currently unoccupied. They chose to keep a watch here and spend a day resting.

They watched the undead warriors protect the inner wall without cease. In the dead of night, Boomah also noted a handful of other figures (also undead) coming out from behind the waterfall and entering the forest.

In the morning they descended and planned to take the inner wall. Boomah reduced himself and was carried toward the wall by another of Celeste’s eagles. They rocketed toward the wall, but two crossbowmen from a watchtower brought down the bird and sent Boomah tumbling. A second eagle was summoned and this one carried the goblin to the top of the wall. He dropped a rope and quickly hid himself between the crenels.

The others moved toward the rope, with Saerin first up. Dermal followed, with Luix steadying the rope. One of the draugr rushed out and tried to remove the grapnel, but Saerin was there to fight him off. By the time the trio had reached the top, all three tower guards had closed, and two more were coming from toward the gatehouse. The two warriors held their own against the sodden corpses, and none fell victim to the drowning feeling that followed each blow of their axes. Calls soon joined the group, leaving only Celeste at the base.

The two charging draugr caught Dremahl and he went down. he rallied himself briefly but was dropped again. Kallius channeled arcane power through his blade and electrified the enemies, although his thin blade left little mark on the water-logged foemen. Blows were traded and Celeste channeled healing while hanging from the rope, being pulled up by the mighty strength of the tiny goblin.

The five undead guards fell one-by-one, and just as victory seemed inevitable another trio of crossbowmen appeared in the watch tower and fired on our gathered heroes.

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Sturm und Draugr
Or, Have fun storming the castle!

latest.jpgAfter spending a night recovering from the battle with the ghouls, our heroes returned to the Omaro keep. As the rowed to the edge of the canopy, they could see figures patrolling the wall, and the lens showed that they were not among the living. They first chose to move closer to the waterfall on the eastern cliff face but then they noticed that foul belches of a sticky black substance was periodically released from the stream.

Moving back toward the west gate, they came under fire from the crossbowmen on the wall. One of the guards went for a large horn hanging in the tower, but his undead lungs could not make it sound. Our heroes fell back, and decided to split up to make a move on the far wall. Calls, Saeren and Celeste rowed forward, while Boomah, Dermal and Luix stayed under cover and moved to the west.

Several volleys passed back and forth between the elves and the defenders, but limited damage was cause on either side. Then Saeren noticed two eyes rising from an inky patch of slime moving toward them. These glassy, lifeless eyes appeared to be attacked to a zombie crocodile lumbering at them through the shallow flood plain. Kallius raised his defenses and struck the beast with a shocking grasp as it brought its sizable jaws down on him. Saurian leaped from the canoe and fought the creature from the water, while Celeste summoned a celestial eagle to aid them. The slow-moving monster could not stand against their combine force, and it was brought down by the eagle, while crossbow bolts continued to rain down on them.

Meanwhile, the other canoe had approached the far cliff edge beyond the gate. Boomah lobbed a grappling hook over the wall and the bog northerner began to climb up. One of the crossbowmen lurched up, and moved toward the new attack.

crossbowman_concept.jpgLuis reached the top, and pulled Boomah up in time to see a dripping wet corpse in rotting scale mail and surcoat fire a crossbow at him from along the wall. Boom ran forward to meet the attacker, while Luix aided the priest in reaching the battlement. Getting a lear shot, Boomah tossed his fiery bomb at the enemy, and was disappointed as the sopping enemy did not catch ablaze. Luis and Dremahl quickly joined him, and the trio moved to the attack.

Dremahl channeled the divine power of Nox at the creature, which he recognized as a draugr. Boomah turned to his sling and Luix charged with his mighty flail. The guard pulled a broadsword to defend itself, but a powerful blow from Luix sent it cracking in two — with the upper half tumbling down into the flooded oat below.

The elves and the oracle had turned toward the dangling grapnel, and traded fire with the two remaining guardians. The closer range brought more success, but neither side was gaining the upper hand. Until Luix and the others reached the bowmen and joined in hand-to-hand combat. The two defender fell under their onslaught, and our heroes had captured the outer wall.

While Luix and Dremahl helped the others climb up, Boomah looked into complex below with the lens. There were four buildings in various stages of collapse, and an inner wall with castle within. The lower floor of the main keep was stone, and only support beams for an unfinished upper story remain. A tower with only narrow slits rose up above the keep. He could see no activity below, beyond the gurgling of the waterfall and the strange, blobs of shifting black slide in the mire.

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The Wading Dead
Or, Zombie Pinatas

thomas_orc-zombie_wip3-1.jpgWith the lizards destroyed, our heroes spent a few minutes surveying the keep through the forest to the south. It was flooded and in serious disrepair, but they could see figures on the walls — and those figures were undead.

They decided to return to the canoes and make their way directly there. They kept the small boats close together and in a couple hours Dremahl heard splashing in the stream ahead. Through the vegetation he quickly saw a number of zombies pulling some kind of raft loaded with carcasses.

They pulled the boats to shore and hoped the mindless shambles would pass. But as the first group pulled their canoe into the brush, a trio of ghouls lurched out of hiding and attacked. Boomah was quickly paralyzed, while Dremahl and Kallius fought off the others. The priest turned one of the ghouls, whole fled into the jungle. Luix, Saerin and Dremahl leaped out of their canoe and joined the fray.

Claws and swords clashed, and nearly everyone had filthy wounds in short order. The zombies closed on the group and joined the fray. Luix’ mighty flail crashed into the sodden bodies with less than its normal efficiency, but Saerin was at his side to finish off what he started. Unfortunately, when his blade dug deep into the zombie’s heart, the monster exploded in a rain of filth and bone, cutting them and coating them with diseased meat.

Kallius was one the far end of the fight and suddenly was nearly overcome by a stench. A ragged bugbear ghoul in a rotting chain shirt lunged out of the brush and sunk his teeth into the elf. Unlike the lesser ghouls, this creature’s disease could affect the elder races, but Kallius did not succumb. He channeld what remained of his arcane power into his blade and faced off against the foe.

Time and again, Luix and Saerin teamed up to destroy a zombie only to be showered in its filth. Boomah shook off the paralyzing effect of the bite in time to see the fleeing ghoul lurking on the edge of the forest clearing. Drinking his mutagen, he taunted the monster in its native orcish to come out and fight. The creature took the bait and charged back into the fray.

Celeste was the first in its path and took the blow, but did not fall to its paralyzing bite. Having finally dispatched the zombie, the warriors came to her aid. Boomah came to his Kallius’ defense and it was not long before the shoreline was free from enemies.

Looking closer, they noted that some of the shambling dead were much older than the others, perhaps interred for decades. Even one of the ghouls looked as if it had been buried for a very long time, although the ghost looked of a much more recent visage (although his mail was clearly quite aged). The raft was heavily laden with several carcasses, some of which were days old. Even Boomah questioned whether it was all edible. They also realized the straps the zombies were using were magical, and could be used to enhance one’s carrying strength. They also found potions of inflict wounds on the ghost.

Concerned about what lay ahead in the keep, our heroes chose to return to the guard tower to rest, recover and craft a plot for returning.

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Tower Control
Or, I don't like spiders and snakes

lightning_dragon_by_tweakee-d4h6tfy.pngOur heroes began by trying to control the fires that had spread around the crumbling roof of the ancient guard tower. Pushed away from the beams themselves by the circling drakes, Celeste and Dremahl sprayed created easter from below while the others put out ground fires. Saerin went through the belongings of the roguish ettercap and the others looted the other fallen ghouls.

Pushing around the rubble, Luix disturbed tow large purple spiders that rushed out and attacked himself and Kallius. Their vicious attacks and hardened shells proved more of a challenge than the ‘orphans’ out in the forest, but in the end out heroes dispatched the enemies. Behind the spider nest they found a long rotting chest. Boomah removed the hinges and inside they found an enchanted limning rapier, a longbow, a fine set of merchant scales, a bag of decorative gems and over 2000 coins.

The shocker drakes lurked on the roof and harried anyone who came near, so the group went down two floors to spend the night out of their danger. But first they checked out the last untouched room behind a solid door with some kind of enchanted lock. Climbing through a hole below, they found an intact desk with a hidden drawer that contained some kind of divining mat and a set of carved bones. They knew that traveling fortune tellers used these tools, but none when in the group knew how.

The next morning the lizards had filled the stairs with smoldering debris.

Bolstered by their new level, they chose to work through the debris and murder the drakes just because they could. There was a brief debate, and the priests were told to shut up and hope them collect XP and loot. As they dug through, balls of electricity shocked them, forcing them to trade off who was in front.

Eventually there was enough space for the goblin to shimmy through, and he returned fire on the lizards. The ranger followed soon after, and the two lizards took wing— shocking the pair again. Boomah launched a fiery blast and caught them both on fire. The smaller one dove and doused itself, but the larger could not shake the flame.

The magus came through the debris and they all began firing at the circling drakes. The smaller one winged back and dug his teeth into the ranger, and shocked the trio on the parapet. Meanwhile, its mate continued to try and extinguish itself, dropping to the ground at the base of the tower and rolling. Saerin’s blade cut the smaller one in twain just in time for the group (as Luix, too, and arrived)  to face smoldering survivor. As it reached the peace of the tower, the watchful archers let fly and the beast fell to the ground before it could even attack.

Looting its nest, they found a collection of shiny baubles and a fist-sized convex circle of glass that turned out to be a Lens of Far Sight, with the added enhancement of Deathwatch. Turning the lens on the distant castle, they could see that the half-ruined fortress walls were being patrolled, by creatures of the undead.

Unsure of what to do next, our heroes decided to put off action until another day.

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Burning Down the House
Or, Arachnecrophobia

PZO3001_Cardback.jpeg Luix burst open the door and was shocked to see a form lunging out of the darkness toward. Saerin quickly stepped through the breach and smashed his sword down on a severed head hanging from a chain. Three more heads lurched into action and suddenly the ranger was surrounded by gnashing teeth. The northman started smashing at the swinging heads and Kallius moved in to disrupt the undead horrors. Saerin stumbled to the ground, which kept him out of reach of the chained menaces. It did not take long for all five of the animated heads to be dispatched and returned to the dead. Boomah quickly scavenged the room, finding small odds and ends, seemingly the personal effects of the beheaded.

After looting what they could, they decided to ascend the tower through the trap door left by the falling debris in the entry hall. Boomah was lifted up and found himself in an empty chamber with one narrow window and door. He threw down rope and the others soon joined him.

Again, they sent Luix against the door. It opened fairly smoothly into a central web-choked room with several doors. Boomah could see several taut strands that convinced him that the area was trapped, and sent a spear flying at him when he tried to disable the trap. He then took a more blunt approach, splashing the area in oil and and lighting the webs from cover. Several more spears were launched, but nothing else appeared to threaten them.

Moving out, they came to another web-choked room that took nearly half the tower. Saerin stepped in made his way through the hanging webs, but only found a large gap in the ceiling letting in faint moonlight from two stories above. He move to get a closer look, and two javelins hurtled out of the darkness at him. Rather than following, they decided to head off the hidden enemy by taking the stairs to the next level. The ranger and goblin were scouting slightly ahead of the group when he was struck by a poisoned crossbow bolt from above. He got a failed shot before the creature slunk off into the darkness.

Kilix_TCG.jpg Boomah took the lead, and was narrowly missed as another bolt hit the stairs from directly above. Some kind of spider figure was hidden in he stair supports, and scrambled up and away from them. Leaving Luix to guard the landing of the third floor, our heroes moved out against this stealthy foe. As they charged, they heard the flapping and screeching of lizards form the roof.

Boomah climbed out in the night, and a large brightly-colored drake sent a bolt of electricity through him. In response, he toss a fiery bomb that sent it tumbling to a beam below, and sent several other tiny drakes fluttering about. A crossbow bolt from the darkness below the collapsed roof reminded them while they were here, and Saerin fired back at the beast. Boomah set the other large drake alight, and the two fluttered out of range of the goblin’s fiery bombs as web by timbers around them started to burn.

Saerin set out across the roof beams after the skulking shooter, who scuttled further away. Meanwhile, Luix chose to take the fight to the enemy and burst out of the doorway, only to meet two ghoulish ettercaps in the center of the tower’s third floor. They gnashed and bit at him, but he resisted their attempts to paralyze him.

Cornered, the third spidery foe climbed up the wall to be closer to the others. He brought up his poisonous crossbow again, only to lose his grip and drop it to the floor beneath. So he dropped on the far side of the wall. Saerin followed and drove the attack. The creature fought back, but was pressed hard. It turned to flee , only to be caught by yet another fiery blast from the alchemist. Its dried flesh crackled and lit up like old kindling.

Supported by Kallius and the priests, Luix continued battering away at the two undead ettercaps. Spell, sword and flail finally took their toll and the creatures fell, leaving our heroes without immediate enemies in the broken and now burning tower.

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Out of the jungle, and into the dark
Or, Entering and Breaking

Ted_Nasmith_-_The_Spiders_of_Mirkwood.jpg Our heroes interrogated their orcish captive, but learned little more than the jungle is filled with death. They left him tied at the edge of camp to serve as early warning of other attackers, and freed him in the morning to find his own way out.

They set out early, continuing their way up-river. After an hour or so, an eery silence descended on the jungle. They moved to the side of the river and slowly scouted the shoreline. Dremahl and Kallius heard a splash from within the underbrush, but nothing more. Boomah was fairly certain he saw a humanoid shape climb over something, and then sink back into the muck, but also quickly lost it.

After a few minutes of this, Kallius was stunned as a large jungle rat burst out of the brush, landing on the front of their canoe and diving back into the river to escape. They tried to stabilize the boat as the panicked creature swam for the far bank and disappeared in the undergrowth. Following its lead (and the screaming of the scared goblin), both boats made for the far bank and paddled swift upriver.

Staring backward, Boomah watched as a black sheen slid down from the river bank and spread over the surface of the river like an oil slick. He threw his torch at the spreading ooze, and it landed on the surface, only to sputter out as the thick fluid flowed over it. He was certain that he saw an orcish shape rise out of the muck briefly and then sink back down, as the others tried to escape the place as quickly as possible.

After a few more hours picking their way upstream, they saw a thin shape rising above the canopy — a tower. They paddled toward it for most of the afternoon, and beached their canoes at the base of the hill it rose up from. Dremahl stumbled on a crumbling mooring several yards from the current river bank, and they hid their boats under brush near it.

Saerin and Boomah scouted a few paces ahead as they made their way up the hill through thick brush and many layers of thick, ropey webs. There was little surprise as two of Omaro’s orphans descended from the canopy and dropped on the ringer, turning at the last moment from Boomah’s flaming brand. One bit hard and the other stumbled to the forest floor. Boomah drank hi mutagen and tried to get away from the monsters, while Saerin swung his sword. Luix and Kallius rushed up to join in the battle. Boomah shouted that there were more shadowy shaped in the canopy, but no spiders dropped on the group. The two large spiders were no match for the three warriors, and were soon crushed.

Seeing the quick rout, the other shapes disappeared into the shadows leaving our heroes alone again. They quickly came to the edge of the forest, and noted a rubble-choked clearing around a tall, slender tower. There were no windows until the very top, one barred door and large crumbling crack up the side of the building. Large colorful birds (or drakes) fluttered about the top of the ruined tower.

dedUWaDTNTY.jpgThe waited under the canopy until nightfall before approaching the structure. In darkness, they quickly crossed the field and made their way through the gap into the tower. Inside the rubble-filled chamber they noted that the gap must be far from recent as jungle creepers have made their way inside and had taken root. Looking closer, Boomah noted some of them had been recently cut, and there were several other signs of recent fight inside the room. There were broken weapons that looked like they showed great age, but only recent breaking. What he did not find was any real signs of blood.

Boomah moved on and through a door at the far side of the room, into the center of the tower. There were several doors, including a large double-set to the south. When he stepped in to scout closer, a web by noose dropped from the ceiling and caught his neck, yanking him off the ground. He quickly lobbed a fiery bomb at the ceiling, and came down with a crash in a heap of webs, rubble and other debris. In the flames, they could see no other dangers in the small room.

Moving through, they next forced the door across the chamber. Inside the found an old weapons store, of similar age to the broken weapons in the entry. Several rats scurried out from small holes in the wall, but posed no threat. Kallius scoured the area for magic auras, but seeing none they moved on.

They next decided to go through the double doors. Luix forced the old timbers open, and they found an entry chamber that led to the outside doors, with aging Omaro-themed tapestries hanging from the high rafters. Boomah tried to leap across the room toward on the hangings, but fell short. This set off another trap, which opened the ceiling and sent furniture, rocks, logs and other debris down on the center of the room. He escaped most of the wreckage, but lay limp against the wall when the dust cleared.

When Luix and Kallius clambered in to save the goblin, his eyes popped open with a cry of “You do care!!” as he revealed his largely unscathed condition.

Checking behind the tapestries, they found narrow arrow slits set into wall behind. One side reeked of the death, so they went to check it out. Forcing the door, Luix nearly collapsed at the stench of several forest animals hanging in broken cocoons and left to rot, with their entrails ripped open and dangling toward the floor.

They quickly reset the door and fled the rot-filled chamber. On the far side, Luix again forced the door and stood before a darkened chamber. Suddenly, there were signs of motion and a dark shape lunged out of the darkness. Saerin stepped up to protect his comrade, and we called it a night.

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The River Wild
Or Rock the Boat, Baby

archer_dude_killing_some_orcs_by_forrestimel-d5luqf9.png After being dropped by the reefclaw fishermen, our heroes loaded up their canoes and headed up-river, determined to reach the old coast road before resting. While the heat rose, they paddled through the deepening jungle until they came upon a bridge spanning the river. It was obvious that there had been repair work down on the bridge since their last visit, and the beginnings of a foundation were stacked up on the Wytchport side of the slow-moving river.

They chose to camp off the road within scouting sight of the bridge, spending the remaining afternoon and night at rest. Beyond insects and normal jungle sounds, nothing disturbed their rest.

They set out in the morning, and it wasn’t long before Boomah smelled something delicious on the wind. They set him on shore and allowed the goblin to scout out the scent. Not far from the river he came upon a fallen tapir being torn to pieces by a number of small brightly-colored flying lizards. Excited about the free buffet, he rushed back to his comrades.

lr_dimorphodon.jpgCeleste recognized his descriptions of the beast as small dragonkin called burgees, but said they were not commonly known away from a small island off the north shore of Malabar. She added that she had never heard of them taking down anything as large as a tapir, but that they were social creatures. They decided not to get in the lizards’ path, and continued up the river. Dremalh was left with an uncomfortable feeling of being watched, but nothing accosted them for the remainder of the day.

As the setting sun was dropping the jungle into gloom, Saerin scouted out a new place for them to camp. A dry, place with some cover roughly 50 yards from the river bank. Night fell and Saerin and Celeste were left on watch.

A couple hours into the watch, they heard a crashing noise from the far side of the clearing. Celeste quietly woke Kallius and they waited. There was another large crash, as if something was quickly moving throughout the brush, and Saering also picked up a splashing noise from behind on the river bank.

He drew his bow, and Kallius cast a light spell on his arrow and he fired it toward the river, brightly lighting a number of humanoid figures huddled around their canoes. Kallius lit up another arrow and Saerin sent this one straight into the river, but not before they could see that the newcomers were orcs, and that the orcs had seen them as well. Boomah drank an leixer to increase his speed and then his mutagen, as our heroes moved to the attack.

Battle was joined, as crossbow bolts and roughly carved javelins tried to slow the party’s charge. Several of the orcs broke ranks and met the charge on the shore. Two had huge spiked hammers swung his great force, sending Kallius crushed to the ground.

A female orc on the far end started screaming in orcish for everyone to fall back to the canoes to escape, but only two joined her. Boomah took advantage of the grouping to repeatedly fire flaming bombs at them, forcing them to slow and and put out the spreading flames.

Meanwhile, our heroes were trading blows with the orcs, and the healers were once again hard-pressed to keep their comrades alive. Luix was dropped by a hammer blow, but quickly staggered up to continue the fight. Kallius cleared his brain as his allies has dispatched the orc standing over him, and took out two more orcs from the ground (as well as a summoned eagle) with his color spray.

Soon it was a chase to stop the fleeing trio on the stolen canoe. Boomah drank another elixir and swam after them at great speed, harrying them with bombs. Luix and Kallius fired from the shore, and Saerin took up an orc’s crossbow to join as well. Celeste summoned dolphins to slam the bottom of the small craft, knocking one into the river. Their leader succumbed to fire and missile fire, leaving only one. He tried to reach the far side of the river to escape, but Boomah beat him there.

Enraged that after all this he was challenged by a mere goblin, he charged. Boomah fled from the larger creature, and his allies on the far shore cut him down.

While the chase went on, Dremahl had tied up one of the unconscious orcs. When he awoke, he cringed in the presence of so many enemies, and told them he would serve them as well as his old masters. Boomah baited the brute, and soon the two were arguing, with Boomah threatening to eat his chin. The two were separated, and the group set to interrogate the orc.

They learned that this group had escaped an Aerinorn mine in the Gilt range and had stumbled down into the forest. He claimed that the area was filled with the restless spirits of the dead, and that he would have been safer as a slave. Our heroes were considering new lines of questioning and we called it a night.

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