Tempest Rising

Creepy Crawlers
Or-- Don't let the bed bugs bite

latest.jpgLooking for a place to rest the night, our heroes made their way up the rocky slopes of the mountain. They picked up a narrow trail, and soon saw a spindly tower overlooking the peak.

Even though they had found a reinforced cave entrance that promised rest and relative safety, they moved to the summit before the light faded for the day. From the top of the abandoned wooden spire, Boomah and Luix could see far and wide across Malabar. To the north they could see the crowded harbor of Wytchport and the lands they had just traveled. And to the west, they saw plumes of smoke rising from several burning ships moored at a river delta.

Searen told them that this was a commonly used pirate meeting place, and the group decided that the new authorities had decided to ‘clean up’ the area.

Seeing no pressing dangers, the group returned to the previously discovered cave. Boomah scouted out the small cavern, and found several cracks and fissures in the back. However, they did not provide even his small frame much room to move, so they decided not to worry overmuch.

They piled up stones to block as much of the opening as they could and set up watch. Fairly soon after sunset, Luix and Kallius could hear chirping echoing in the cavern. Too loud to be normal insects, they began to investigate. The magus turned invisible and climbed outside.

Almost immediately, to dog-sized insects covered in mushrooms scrambled over the rocks into the cave. At the same time, several more burst out of small passages and attacked the group.

Sleepy adventurers were startled awake by vicious bites and shouting comrades. Menso could not shake the beats atop him and flailed wildly trying to cast spells at it. Others jumped up, grabbed weapons and fought back. Celeste stayed on the ground, channeling healing power and rolling to where she was needed.

The huge insects proved poisonous as well as dangerous, sapping the strength and vitality of those they bit. The small cave was filled with sounds of combat and the scent of blood, but our heroes soon prevailed.

The last fungal crawler (as they were called) leaped past Kallius and Dremahl — vanishing into the brush. They found themselves once again alone on the small landing high in the Gilt range hills. Dremahl chanced to look down, and noticed the movements of something very large in the courtyard of the Cervo mine below.

But with two healers, they poured in more hit points than I could take out. Joe miscounted a selective channel and raised a crawler from the dead, which is the third time that has happened to Oakley.Funny.

At the end of the fight, the last bug jumped into the darkness. Three PCs ended up outside, and in the light of two full moons one noted movement of something large down in the courtyard of the mine. We called it there.

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Rubble Recon
Or-- Ding dong ditch

mine-exterior.jpgWith the ogres defeated, our heroes coaxed the goblins down from their perch atop the broken mine elevator.

After some posturing (and elf-baiting) the goblins explained that they had been mine slaves with the ogres. They had been locked in a pit one night when they heard crashing and violence above. No one came for them in the morning, and it took two more days to convince the ogres to try and escape. The brutes forced their way out of the pit, and found their masters had vanished, leaving behind wreckage and slaughtered pack animals. After a night’s hike they found this abandoned mine and decided to hole up.

The group dug through the ogres’ possessions, finding some roughly smelted gold and a few other odds and ends. A strangely secure rope led Boomah to descend into the mine shaft and extract a small bag that the goblins ‘accidentally’ dropped in there.

They found a few treasures, and a metal box inscribed with nine-pointed stars. It was locked and trapped, but they quickly defeated these protections and found two magic tokens carved like feathers, a wand, and a potion bottle. They claimed these, but offered to split the remaining valuables with the goblins.

After a meal of roasted mule shank, the group’s separated and the party made their way up the winding trail toward the Cervo mine.

It was late afternoon when they came up the rough wooden palisade of the mine, and could see lines of wispy smoke. The gate had been forced out from within and swung lazily in the summer breeze.

They stealthily moved into the courtyard and soon discovered very little was left standing. The bunkhouse, offices, and smelter had been thoroughly ravaged and there was little more than foundations left standing. Carefully peering into the wreckage, they noted some of the heavy timbers had been pockmarked by acid as well scorch by flame. They also discovered tracks of clawed feet of different sizes roaming in and around the open space.

Many of these tracks led into the fortified gate of the mine itself, which seemed to be undamaged by whatever violence had taken place outside. It was also shut solid, and the few openings in its bulk were shuttered.

Rather than risk disturbing whatever was behind the barricade, the group chose to fall back, find a hiding place in the rocks above the mine, and rest.

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The House Was Rocking
Or -- A guide to ogre-baiting

Shoanti_vs_Ogre.jpgRecognizing potential danger in approaching the stone-walled tower, the two elves and the goblin scouted ahead, with the magus moving invisibly.

They found that the hill turned steeply up for the last couple hundred feet, and provided much less cover from whatever was hiding within. The elves went to tell Boomah to return for the group, but he had already gone, and they soon heard the noisy footsteps of their companions’ approach.

The duo (actually a quartet, thanks to Kallius’ mirror images) moved out to provide a diversion. A shower of flaming pots came from goblins hanging from a scaffold in the rear of the building, but fell far short. Boomah was surprised by that, as it seemed well within range.

As they continued to move forward, large rocks began hurtling toward them from creatures behind the walls. One goblin that hung on the front edge was skewered by an arrow from Saeren, and he dropped from sight.

The others started moving out to join the two elves, except for wizard Menso, who stayed on the edge of the cover. The group slowly edged their way closer to the old mining structure, as rocks and flaming pots rained down on them.

One large ogre appeared in the window above the door, and waved a long hook-bladed weapon toward the ground. Luix charged up and sundered the haft of the pole arm with a single blow, while the wizard befuddled the creature with his magic. As they came within striking distance of the building, the ogre merely stared down at them muttering to himself.

Kallius tried to draw the others out, but soon realized they shared no common tongue.Menso’s voice in his provided some translation assistance (Puta’chaa) and angry shouts could be heard within.

Then, the double doors of the building flew open and two large ogres appeared behind them. Kallius stepped up and with one flash of his magically electrified rapier brought the creature low. The others fired on the one behind, and soon Luix’s flail had dropped him as well.

The ogre captain above seemed to rouse, but turned and lashed out at the scaffolding. He shook the goblins about and sent grabbing for better holds, but none of the creatures fell.

The third ogre dropped quickly, and soon the warriors had charged up the stairs to face the large ogre in hide armor. He was still befuddled by magic, but stood to defend himself against the new threat.

While fire bombs dropped on him from the goblins above, the warriors quickly circled the ogre and their combined assault sent him back to hell.

The companions gathered in the building, winded but victorious. Four small goblins hung in the scaffolding clinging to a few pots and gripping torches.

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Parselmouth Parley
Or -- Do lizards speak with forked tongues?

tumblr_m8qu2vvh2F1rwkhnro1_1280.jpgFollowing the battle with lizard pride, our heroes tied up the one survivor and kept watch while Saeren meditated to get the power to speak with it.

It struggled against its bonds, so Luix battered it with his flail until it was unconscious. Once the ranger was prepared, they revived the creature and demanded it tell them what it knew about recent events.

It was vicious and angry, but feared the ranger’s threats, so it talked. She told them that ‘gods’ had been delivering gifts to them because of their beauty and strength. These gods came out of the darkness— black, shiny and majestic. They rode steeds that were probably distantly related to the frilled lizards, but she did not know what they were.

The group had several theories about what this might mean, but were leaning toward the idea that it was tieflings hiding in the mines. They dispatched the wounded creature and made plans to move one

Realizing they would not be able to make it to the Cervo mine by sunset at this point, they chose to hunker down with the lizard corpses. The first watch was disturbed by the sounds of small creatures tearing apart and fighting over the carcasses, but nothing attacked the group.

The second watch followed suit, and when Boomah woke for the graveyard shift he immediately noticed torches burning up the hillside from where they were. No one else had seen them all night long. Worried, he put off prepping new bombs to circle the camp and keep any eye out.

He saw nothing, but sensed a strange skunky aroma he could not place. Again, he roused the party but no one else could even smell it.

In the morning they found more lizard tracks, similar in size but perhaps heavier. They were not able follow them anywhere, so they packed up for the mine.

By mid-morning they came across a side trail leading to some kind of collapsing building. A thin trail of smoke was coming from inside. They sneaked up the path. About 800 yards from the building, Boomah noticed breaks in the smoke line, and took it as a goblin signal. He warned everybody that there would probably be traps, and they started their advance on the ruined mine shaft.

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Leaping Lizards
Or--How to get snakeskin boots wholesale

maxresdefault.jpgOur heroes were moderately successful at getting out o town in the morning. They bought supplies and picked up their wheeled canoes, and let Glitterpool before noon. But not before the heard tales o two local foragers that had gone out on a short foray but did not return.

As they picked their way up into the hills, the trail rapidly showed signs ailing maintenance. By mid-atenoon they rain started falling more consistently, obscuring the road even more. Boomah spotted a large clawed track in the roadside mud, but the group decided to press on.

Less than an hour later, Boomah found more tracks, this time it looked like something man-sized was dragged off the road. The chose to follow, but quickly lost sight of the dragging in the underbrush. But it was obvious that fairly large creatures had been frequenting this place.

They saw a clearing in the forest ahead, and decided to at least check it out. Peering across the space with the lens, they saw a creature larger than a horse lazing on a rock at the far side.

Boomah scouted ahead, and was soon surprised to see a large lizard crouched in the brush ahead paralleling his movements.

He quickly swallowed an infusion, as the creature turned and lunged out of the shadows at him, bellowing loudly and lashing colorful fins on either side of its ravening maw. It bore down on him and lashed out with teeth and claws.

The others heard the roar and took up the challenge. Luix, Dremahl, Celest and Saeren moved up, only to charged by another of the beasts from the forest. Its roar shook Saran’s resolve, but he did his best to keep up the fight.

Boomah has also shaken by the roaring beast, but managed to escape it. Dremahl used his restoring touch to boost their morale, and the warriors went toe to toe with the beasts.

Meanwhile, a third of the huge lizards appeared at the rear of the group. Menso quickly cast, and the beast almost immediately began to giggle. Once its started laughing in earnest, Kallius moved to charge his blade with electrical power. The mage turned on him, claiming this one was ‘his’. So the elf moved up to assist his friends.

As the lizards started to fall, the massive beast at the far side of the clearing roared. It slowly rose and began moving across the open grass, gaining speed. After some frantic healing, the warriors moved out to meet his charge.

Before the forces could meet, Menso appeared at the edge of the clearing with the last of the smaller lizards and threatened to kill it i the other continued. Unfortunately, this did not affect the actions o the massive leader who pounced on and crashed down on the big northerner. As it did, the lizard in Menso’s grasp shimmered and vanished.

Luix was being torn up by the lizard, and all his friends could do was help keep him standing. But in the end, one mighty crash of his flail he caved in the creature’s skull.

Suddenly all was quiet besides the steady all of the rain. Looking around the clearing, they found wooden stakes with leather ties on them in the grass. These were roughly the proper configuration to stake a human-sized victim to the ground, and he been placed here within the past week or so.

When they returned to the mage, they found him standing over a crippled lizard. He had sapped the creature of its strength, and was studying it. The group made a quick review o the creature, and put it out of its misery.

Then, their thoughts turned back to whatever lay within in the Vigla mine.

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Talk of the Town
Or, the way to a Woman's heart is not through a goblin

DnD-5-party-at-the-tavern.jpgThe group conversed with Menso Ganto and swapped rounds of drinks. He told them that he was ‘curious’ about the activities in the hills, and what other people feared could provide opportunity for the brave. He mentioned that he would be interested in accompanying them to the Vigla mine is that was their destination. He also introduced them to the innkeeper Geira and helped arrange for their lodging in the rustic but well-kept Road’s End.

Boomah was enchanted by the ample and hospitable woman, and decided to sneak down after the others went to sleep and cook her a special treat. While he was putting the finishing touches on his goblin ‘cuisine’, he heard noises from the now-empty common room.

Sneaking out of the kitchen, he found the humans, a dwarf, and a halfling having a heated conversation in low tones. One, a human in rough workmen’s clothes, was urging the others to take action on something. The others dismissed his desires, and seemed to be blaming him for whatever problems they were discussing.

After catching their names, Boomah slinked back to the group’s chambers — after depositing his surprise at Geira’s doorway. In the morning he told the others what he heard. They set out to learn more, as high pitched screams from the servant’s wing made it clear that Boomah’s present was discovered.

Their first stop was the dry goods shop and warehouse run by Andolph Sanco. When they questioned him about the problems he wasted no time blaming the Noxians. He added that some people just refused to give up when good judgement tells them to. When he heard they were considering investigating the problems, he encouraged them and even offered a discount on supplies to help them along.

From there, they went to barrel wright’s to talk with Metisto. His shop was filled with strange experiments and unfinished projects. He told them they he had nothing to do with the Noxian engineers beyond helping them get their equipment to the mines. Somehow conversation turned to canoes, and in the end he agreed to mount wheels on their canoes for transport up into the hills. He told that it could be done in a day, as his regular work had dried over lacks of commerce.

Their next stop was the fresh market. They encountered a couple of hunters who shared more rumors about what was stalking the high country. They said that some kind of large predator was definitely shaking up the environment, but whatever it was left no bodies or obvious debris behind. The only native creature they could think of were the massive frilled lizards, but that they were opportunistic hunters and not normally aggressive.

‘Lean’ Iam, the halfling who seemed to run the market as well the village’s small fishing fleet blamed it on something left behind by the tie fling invaders. He claimed there was no end to the horrors those outsiders brought with them. He also had faith that the panic would pass, and business would flow again soon.

Afterward, they decided to be thorough and go talk to the last member of the midnight council — a dwarves smelter named Huut. His forges were cold and things were very quiet. He had little to add about the mine disaster but did offer to buy samples of rock that the engineers were trying to bore through.

After a day of shopping and interrogating townsfolk, our heroes returned to the Road’s End to rest, hoping to set out the next day.

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Two days in the valley
Or, Steamboat willy-nilly

inn_by_ideljenny-d5pjzzl.jpgOur heroes dug through the gore-splattered hole left behind by Grandfather Tree, and determined that it had been devouring humanoids for years. A few layers down they came upon an elven skeleton wrapped in a deep, green enchanted cloak. He also carried a strand of druidical prayer beads and a number of magical darts.

The hole yielded some other treasures, and soon the group returned to the ferry before the sundown deadline. They slept for the remainder of the trip upriver, and awoke as the ship lurchingly changed tracks and moved up to a boathouse in the small village of Bend. A large number of torches set about kept the settlement brighter than seemingly necessary.

They docked at the Hook & Hammer, and took the room reserved for Lehrinn’s passengers. Most of the group retired, but a few stayed behind the in the busy common room. They learned that the something is stalking the hills at night, and only attacks in darkness. Many rumors were bandied around, and one drunken gnome (Dun’wanna) swore he saw a band of gnolls attack some prospectors.

When purged of alcohol, he accepted that he did not actually ‘see’ the gnolls, but did see shadowy tailed shapes and saw their clawed footprints.

Saurian also talked with the leader of a group of loggers known as Hooktender Gedd. He wanted to take the ferry immediately down to Wytchport, but they talked him into going with them to Bend to ‘reserve’ the spot for his men. He reluctantly agreed.

Otherwise a pleasant evening was spent in the warm and crowded hall, watching the lumbermen race giant leeches and sipping the sour local brew.

The ferry left in the morning with the party, along with Gedd and three lumbermen. The journey south was largely uphill along the narrowing watercourse. By late afternoon they arrived at a widening, low lake known as Glitterpool.

The clanked through the lake and came to a stop amid a handful of buildings crowded by woods. A group of miners were looking to take the ferry north, but Gedd and the lumbermen demanded their spot. Our heroes left Lehrinn to sort things out, unloaded their canoes and hauled them on-shore.

Then they want up the settlement’s main road they came upon a rustic, but well-maintained inn. Inside it was dark and cool, with few customers. There they met a men in dark mage’s garb who inquired why they were coming up-river when so many were looking to flee down….

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If a tree falls in the woods...
Or-- Damn right you'll hear it!

big_thumb_69e6d279b21ed7a74c1944e61afed54e.jpgWith a little distance between themselves and the raging Grandfather Tree, our heroes took stock of the situation. They worried that it would be difficult to track the other fleeing group from the tree without going back to the source, and in the end decided to patch up the three that they brought with them and leave them to their own devices.

Then, the desire for retribution began to grow in their ranks. One by one they chose to return to the tree and mete out revenge. Kallius pulled out a scroll of flame arrow and created a store of ammunition for the group to fire.

They returned to the edge of the clearing and began to fire. The reaping willow’s thick bark deflected nearly every arrow, but the magical fire was slowly wearing down the waving tree. In its canopy, a few remaining twigjacks banged and railed at the party.

The waving tendrils of the tree soon grabbed one of the jacks and threw him wildly at the party. He landed before Luix and blasted the group with a hail of thorns. Boomah lobbed a bomb and the creature was soon a rolling pile of ashes. Encouraged, the tree continued to throw his allies at the group, at least slowing their missile fire. Some of the small twigjacks were coated in a thick, blood-like juice that seemed to give them the power of draining life source from their enemies by touch.

But as the flaming missiles continued to shoot toward it, the tree began to uproot itself, filling the air with frightful cracking and tearing noises.

The leader of the twigjacks had joined the melee and was proving harder to dispatch than his minions. The group circled about it and beat down with sword and flail. While this fight continued, the gargantuan tree started making lumbering progress toward the group.

They moved back while firing, but it started to seem that escape might be difficult. Dremahl decided that the time had come to use the dragon tooth he had taken from the ghoul beneath Bar Omaro. Most of his companions moved back while the priest transformed into the the form of a red dragon.

A well-placed bomb from the goblin forced the creature to turn his focus to putting himself out, giving the dragon-priest an opening to close without danger and breathe fire on the abomination. The canopy was in flames and the fearsome beats was weakening, but its tendrils still managed to grab the priest and hold him fast.

Harassed by a summoned eagle, the tree allowed Boomah who rush under the burning canopy and smash a fiery bomb directly against it hungering maw. The explosion sent the goblin reeling, but proved to be the last blow the creature could stand. Its trunk — pinioned by nearly a dozen arrows — cracked and grounded under its own weight and the entire thing crashed to the ground.

Climbing through the now-immobile branches, Boomah came upon a clutch of evil-looking fruit dripping with bloody juice. Without hesitation, he burned the foul globes before they could be planted. Dremahl used his dragon wings to fly out the shattered tree and make his way toward its original plot in search of treasures it may have been hiding.

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Of Kith and Kindling
Or-- Putting a torch to the family tree

tree_of_hell.jpgIt took roughly an hour for our heroes to make their way through the forested bog toward Grandfather Tree. They arrived to a hugely spreading tree in the center of a clearing. Lines of smoke whisped up through the canopy, and Saeren recognized this as a peat-drying operation.

Boomah was sent up to scout out the humans’ position, followed closely by twigjacks who encouraged him to burn the enemy. When he got close, he recognized the slowly weaving branches and the deep, black maw in its truck as signs of a reaping willow — a nightmare creature from goblin children’s tales.

Against the wishes of his sidekicks, he returned to the group and reported back. Noting that the humans (and a few goblins) simply seemed to be working, the group decided to give them a chance to leave the area without violence.

Celest and Dremahl stepped out into the clearing, and were met by the leader of the peat men. They told him of the impending danger, but he dismissed their concerns — saying they were nearly done with their task and wanted to be finished in time for the Belthis festival.

Taking this as a refusal, Boomah launched a bomb at one of their tents, engulfing it in flames. Luix charged toward the camp and the twigjacks leaped into the canopy to wreak havoc on the enemy.

The elves fired arrows into the gathering workers, who were massing to attack. Dremahl closed with the leader, who had been faerie fired by the twigjack’s apprentice — an awakened wolvering sorcerer. He tried to convince him to leave before things get worse, and when he tried he found he was stuck fast by his own shadow.

Boomah pulls out his new necklace to to throw fire into the peat pits, but the sphere explodes in hand, burning himself, Luix, and several nearby workers. The goblin and his barbarous companion were shocked to see the spilled blood soak into the ground at an alarming speed.

640x483_955_Rog_2d_creature_character_rat_monster_fantasy_picture_image_digital_art.jpgThe wolverine charged the human leader and attacked. Saeren ran up to defend the struggling human. The apprentice discards his spear and magic and started tearing the man apart with claws and teeth.

The twigjack leader fired a ray of enfeeblement at the ranger, and then popped into the canopy with its followers. Kallius moved up and unleashed arcane fury on the wolverine. Celeste summoned a fire elemental to attack anything moving in the tree.

Watching the tree slowly wake, Boomah and Luix decided to leave. Thye are followed by a twigjack, who fires a spray of needle-sharp branches at them. Nearby, Kallius soaked the creature in oil. Boomah follows with a flaming bomb, and the northerner finished the job with his mighty flail.

As the group gathered up outside the canopy, they heard of crying children at the center of camp. The group saw no children, but could now see branches lunging down to scoop up workers and shove them into its waiting maw.

Kallius asks the leader if they had children in his group, and he said they did not.

Another twigjack came out from the canopy, spraying the group with wooden spikes. They quickly turned on him and crushed him back to the earth.

Our heroes gathered up the two fallen workers with them, and saw another small group stumbling out for the far side of the camp. Dremahl swore retribution on the twig jacks and vowed to bring the tree low. The gathered party fell back, leaving Boomah to finish an unresolved task.

Once clear of others, he removed the remaining spheres on his necklace and launched the fiery orbs into the tree. This went off as planned and the reaping willow was filled with flame.

Celeste summoned an air elemental to cover their escape, and the wounded troupe retreated into the bog — to escape, or plan their return?

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A Sticky Situation
Or-- Pitching in with Matchstick Men

TwigjackByNanyaDA.jpgThe chain ferry ground its way up the river throughout the day. Late in the afternoon, the watch spotted a tree that had fallen over the river, blocking the path. The group decided to try and power the obstacle out of the way.

As they approached, a rain of tiny spears flew out of thick brush on the river bank. Warriors leaped from the rails of the low ship to seek the enemy. The could see small figures hurrying back as the roots and vines along shore reached out and tried to hold them in place.

Meanwhile, a number of small creatures seeming made of bundled sticks rushed down the fallen trunk and onto the ship. The crew reached for their weapons and armor while the tiny enemies rushed past toward the store of salamander’s breath. Boomah had hidden behind the small cabin, and jumped out to breathe fire on boarders (as well as the highly flammable fuel). The vanguard burst into flame — and the ship did not.

The leader of the twig jacks, who had stayed on the bow of the ship, cried out for parlay.

The party regrouped and questioned the tiny leader. He claimed that he ‘needed’ the salamander’s breath to removed a group of human settlers that have moved in and are harming their grandfather tree, and keeping him from waking.

Lehrinn refused to bargain with the fey, and told the party if they wanted any of his store it would cost 1000gp. Undaunted, the party decided to help the twigjacks free their grandfather. Lehrinn did not approve of this venture either, but agreed to wait until sunset for the party to return, before pushing on to Bend.

Our heroes struck out into the woods with their woody companions.

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