Tempest Rising

Up All Night
Or-- keys, cronies, and a couple angry women

58209a521c807bf82e6c1215b6ec7edf.jpgBoomah sensed that they had little time before the building collapsed in flames, but not so little time that they couldn’t engage in some quick salvage. He dug through the fallen bandit leader Borin’s belongings and found two bags that reeked of pickle brine. He handed them off to Celeste and went in search of the lady’s chambers — and her keys. Kallius crept back into the common room, determined to relieve the fey-blooded brawler of his goods as well.

Saerin and Luix found the back door and began prying off the boards to let Dremahl in, and allow everyone a quick exit.

The only other chamber in this shoddy addition was a shockingly pink and frilly bed-chamber. Boomah quickly ransacked the place, escaping only with some costume jewelry, strangely scented incense and a magical hooded lantern.

Meanwhile, Celeste looked around the burning store room, and found a pickle barrel and a wet gaff hook, She puts the pieces together quickly, and extracted two more bags form the bottom of the barrel. The warriors broke open the back door, and returned with the priest of the Maker to gather the troops. Soon the entire group was moving down an alley, leaving the rapidly collapsing building (and their enemies) behind.

Dremahl noticed a water elemental dancing across a nearby rooftop which aroused suspicion. Searching about, he found a vaguely familiar acolyte of the Nox hiding among some crate. The surprised youth turned on him, demanding to know why he was not at the meeting that organized their forces. Dremahl waved him off, claiming they had higher orders, and asked where their superior was.

Not looking to arouse any more divine attention, the two elves and the goblin went back to Ebn’s. compound to try and break the seals on their bags of booty.

Moving toward the fountain square where they were told they could find Ellicott, they came upon Telline in the final stages of her assault. She broke off her attack to question the priests. Celeste told her that the leader died without glory in the burning building. This was very disappointing to the swordmaiden, but she accepted it. She did question why the group was inside the burning rooming house, and Celeste simply answered that she was with Boomah, and it was hard to keep him away from fires.

They found Ellicott near the winesink where they had planned their venture. he was surrounded by sooty and exhausted acolytes, but welcomed the newcomers. After swapping tales, they commiserated over serving a mad glory-hound of a war-priest. And toasted to her glory.

Back at Ebn’s tower, the trio used brute force to break off the fiery seals that closed the bandits bags and went through her treasures. They found that they keys in question were actually made of mithril, and intricately carved with the worldwyrm device of the emperor’s house, They also found a potion, a couple scrolls and other minor magics.

Boomah stopped in and showed the keys to Eika, who thought they should be destroyed.

They decided it was best to discuss the issue with the priests before going further. Regrouping at the shrine of Methys, Boomah came clean about his meeting with the black blooded duo and the deal he made for the keys. in the end, it was decided that Dremahl would accompany him to make the switch.

They went off to a collection of larger estates along the far wall of the town. They were met along a hedge-wall by the slighter Thorn, who ushered them through the bushes and into a small guest house set in miniature town square within the manor. Wihtin the hedge, they were met by his brother Burr, who followed them in.

There was a cozy sitting room on the upper level, where a man with large bristling mustaches waited for them, with a slim, pretty girl waiting in the shadows. He introduced himself as ‘Uncle’ Griza Ombor and his niece Lyran. He congratulated them on a job well down, and hoped that this would be the beginning of a fruitful alliance.

Things were jovial and upbeat, as drinks and smoke were shared among the tow groups. This was only marred by the obvious contempt that Lyran showed for the two, and her quiet unwillingness to goiong along with the budding friendship.

Griza told them they keys would be very helpful in proving his claims among the rules-obsessed newcomers, but it would be helpful to have liquid assets as well. He hoped that the two might assist him in this. He added that his group had procured an item that would hold particular interest to Boomah — a necklace with three fiery gems.

They debated the value of their efforts against his need for cash, and in the end accepted the necklace and four 100 gold piece trade bars in exchange for the keys— one for each of our heroes who were not present at them meeting.

As night slowly gave way to the brightening dawn, the duo returned to the shrine to share out their gains. The treasures were accepted, as well as the risks of this new relationship. But they hoped that it would be a problem for another time, as their goal was to turn upstream toward the troubled mine as soon as possible.

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Fire and Water
Or, Slippery when wet

WW.jpgSaeren found himself with foes all around him. Then the slight warrior with the strange ridges and horns on his armor lashed out, and all the elf saw was stars.

Celeste moved in to the fray to try and aid the fallen ranger, while Kallius and Luix moved in to take on the leaders. The warrior maid from the shadows called out to her dogs to come to her aid, and several of the fleeing rogues entered the common room to give battle.

Boomah had dropped through a gap in the roof tiles and came upon the battle form the back. He surprised the bandit leader with a fiery bomb.

She stepped out of combat and cast a watery orb to quench the flames, and then sent it back down the hallway to block the goblin’s access. Disappointed and hating the water, he fled back through the roof to get Dremahl’s aid.

Luix was working his wife through the bandit minions, leaving a trail of flail-crushed bodies across the taproom. Kallius stepped up to engage the fistfighter, and rand him through a electrically-enhanced sowrd thrust.

Seeing the tide turning against her and her hideout being consumed by flames, Borin summoned a cloud of fog to cover her escape. When Luix gave chase, he floundered into a spray of caltrops left across the ground and stumbled.

Boomah (now moving at alchemically enhanced speed) found the priest in the alley, adjacent to a running battle between the ‘authorities’ and fleeing bandits. Rather than risk combat, he drank a spider climb potion and carried the priest to safety, dropping him to go through the roof and open the back door.

Luix managed to shove through the hall-blocking orb, only to collide with Borin as she stepped out of a side chamber. She lashed out at him, but the fog hindered both their attacks. Boomah then blundered into the same situation, but used spider climb to sneak through the top of the door jamb to set up flanks.

Celeste summoned an elemental to blow away the fog, and Kallius moved to aid the warrior, only to get caught in the watery orb and get beaten about.

Borin used her intimidation to shake the big northman, and they began to fight in earnest. The now-restored ranger pulled out his enchanted longsword, and steps through the aqueous orb to engage the bandit. Now seriously outnumbered, Borin fell quickly to the combined efforts of our heroes.

Our heroes found themselves without immediate attackers as the building they stood in was consumed by flames.

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Dropping in (uninvited)
Or, Burning Down the House

548c06b07fa745ec8bbfcf01beee89e0.jpgFollowing their meeting with Telline, our heroes returned to Ebn’s to gather the rest of their group. They discussed their options and considered whether or not this endeavor might be a trap, but decided to follow through as best they could.

They collected their gear and moved out into the night, hoping to get a better look at the area before the war-priest and her Torchbearers arrived. First, they sent Saerin and Boomah in opposite directions to circle the crowded block and get an overall view. The goblin drank a potion to disguise himself as a child for easier movement through the crowded slum.

He did not get far before spotting a figure staring at him from a darkened alley, motioning him to come. Boomah, turned tail, and ran into another — obviously black-blooded — individual behind him. He tried to flee, but the big man tackled the goblin and dragged him by his quickly expanding ear into the alley.

Once clear of the crowd, the two brutes became polite and ushered Boomah into a small cell in a dilapidated boarding house. The explained that they were aware of the group’s intentions and had an offer that would be mutually beneficial. The two half-orcs had a patron who wanted the group to find and return a set of noble’s keys that Borin (the head of the ruffians) had refused to return. All the group had to do was grab the keys while fulfilling Telline’s plan, and all would be well. He told the goblin that the group was led by a strong female in armor, who swore by the god Iss’k — whom they later learned was an old world river goddess allied with Notos.

When asked about payment, the larger brute by the name of Burr said they could offer up to 1000 in gold, plus whatever boom could negotiate from their patron. As a sign of good faith, he gave the alchemist a potion of gaseous form to aid them in their quest.

By the time Boomah was released, Saerin had found the spot where he had been tackled and had gathered up the rest of the group to search. Boomah soothed their concerns and they set about updating their plans.

It was decided that Kallius and Saerin would move toward the ruffians hideout and try to dispatch the guards and get in the front. Bombay would sneak around back and try to get through the roof. Luis and Celeste would stay slightly behind in a market stall until needed, and Dremahl would keep an eye out the back for trouble.

The elves moved into the alley and accosted by the guards, who kept a distance from each other and tried to flank the pair. Kallius did not approve, and lightning bolted the pair when they lined up, dropping one of them. The noise started a commotion inside the building, while Saerin fired two arrows wildly at the remaining guard. Kallius stepped up and cast a color spray at the thug, knocking him unconscious.

Boomah had moved to a small gap in the roof, and saw only a darkened store room below. But when the lightning crackled he moved to the main area. Celeste and Luix left their post and moved up to help.

The levels had gotten up to the door, and Saerin drank the gaseous form potion to get through the barred entry. He startled tow of the ruffians within, who had gathered to defend the doorway. Boomah saw a head poking up through the roof where a couple of the enemies were trying to get up, and threw a bomb at the man, catching him afire.

Celeste summoned a small fire elemental to aid the goblin in his fiery task, which made the little alchemist giddy with pleasure. Luis had joined Kallius, and noted that the entry wall of the shoddy house was not nearly as fortified as the door, and sent his flail crashing through the boards and opening a gap. Saerin became solid and unbolted the door to allow ruffians to escape.

The three warriors stood in the common room fighting off a handful of enemies, while other thugs were fled out doors and windows. Saerin tried to get to the upper level, but was stopped by a small fey-blooded tough in tight leathers who struck him with his bare hands, trying to knock the left senseless. Behind the slim brawler, a larger figure lurked in the shadows.

Boomah and the elemental tried to burn another fleeing ruffian, who rolled down the roof and out into the street. Celeste entered the common room, while Kallius and Luix dropped the toughs that dared stand against them. The big warrior from the shadows, now obviously Borin, moved out and stabbed the ranger with her shortspear. Her companion shifted about, trying to flank the embattled elf.

As the fires began to spread and thieves ran like roaches into the night, we called it until next time.

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To build a fire
Or, Call of the Wild-fire (apologies to Jack London)

militia_guard_by_jasonengle-d4n4xw5.jpgConcerned about a figure that may have followed the two priests back to the Serachle, Celeste laid out a few noisy barriers between the entry to her shrine and her sleeping area. These went off in rapid succession in the early pre-dawn, and Celeste found herself visited by the Seraschal Telline — who was looking for Boomah. The blood-spattered war priest said she had a plan for him, and could they meet her before tonight.

Celeste sent a massage to the goblin, and went down to the dockside to minister to the teeming poor that have descended on Wytchport. She learned more of the crown prince’s imminent arrival, and rumors of the Otter’s planned resistance. There was also worry about the mining accident, and the lack of news from the area that has followed it.

Boomah was spending his day crafting alchemist fire. He did seek out the stranger Eika, to see if she had scrolls that she could part with. She said she did not keep anything in writing, and encouraged the goblin to aid her in protecting this realm against the coming dragon threat. To that end, she gave him a tiger eye that he was to toss up into the air if he saw anything threatening.

Kallius visited the shrine/school dedicated to the arcane god Seius. After proving his prowess by viciously assaulting a bookstand, the apprentice Tannis led him into the library. Within he found two older wizards (Vensouth and Karamedes) that paid little attention to the magus. He spent the day trying to research magical causes of amnesia. He found that spells that can cause permanent insanity may cause such an effect.

He also looked into the power of primal runes. The library contained a solid foundation in these powerful marks, but little solid information on their use.

When he was finished there, he saw Boomah moving around the fringes of the Serachle. Concerned that he was about to get into trouble, he met up with him and the two made their way to Celeste.

The trio went over to the Longhouse of Lyss, and pushed their way through a group of Telline’s ‘Torch-bearers’ and found in her in the rear of then building. There she explained that her ‘boys’ have found a den of foreign criminals holed up in an abandoned house and have had trouble getting them out of it. Her idea was to have Boomah use his skills and get fiery bombs into the house and draw them out. When Celeste suggested the thugs be captured, Telline shrugged and said, “sure.”

T-map.jpgShe gave them a rough map of the neighborhood around the house, and gave them a few hours to prepare. She warned them not to delay, as her boys do not have a lot of patience.

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Roll the Bones
Or, How to Split the Party while in the Same Room

eika.jpgThe day had progressed simply enough. Until Boomah noticed that there was smoke rising out of ‘their’ wagon within Ebn’s palisade. He snuck out to investigate, but his absence was quickly noticed by the others. They followed him out of the top chamber and down into the evening yard.

The goblin made his way into the wagon, and left the door ajar as a signal to any that may had followed. After a few moments of searching the yard, the made their way into the wagon as well.

There they were met by Eika, a small, strange, wild-haired woman with milky eyes. She claimed to be a gatherer in the woods around Wytchport, an a guest of Ebn’s.

When questioned, she mentioned that she was able to read to dragon bones, and the party enlisted her to tell their future. While she was visibly disturbed by the presence of both Kallius and Celeste, she agreed to read the bones for a price.

They soon learned that ownership of Bar Omaro was not the critical factor in keeping the dragon sealed, and that the black ooze was indeed coming from inside the seal. It was added that it was impossible to truly say what was behind the seal without more information, and that search might help break the seal.

They also discovered that Bucas (the Valessan advisor) was a very bad influence if one were trying to keep dragons down. Finally, they learned that the mining accident up-river was not directly connected to the leaking seal, but it was not ‘unrelated’ to the possible dragon buried beneath Bar Omaro..

Kallius asked a series of questions about his past, and got a lot of insults for his efforts. She told him to go back to the old world and to not pursue the dragons. She got very vague about his history, and left veiled threats about his future.

When they were done, the priests went back to their shrines, and (miraculously) the half-blind oracle spotted two men shadowing them. They tracked them to the Serachle, leaving Celeste and following the priest of Nox back to the House of Works.

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Talk/Shop
Or, who run barter-town? Saerin, apparently.

dea7a07339dd46c892701f398724bed4.jpgContinuing their conversation with the professors Emeritus, our heroes learned that it would be difficult to strengthen the seal without having more knowledge of what was buried underneath it. They also learned that the Dragon revered by the earliest Hesperaan settlers was either a superstition or a metaphor, as there is no evidence of dragons in the new world outside of the few that have flown here.

They asked about possible hybrids, like the alien dragonborn, and learned that on this world it is forbidden for dragons to ever mingle their blood with lesser creatures. To their collective knowledge, this rule has never been broken and perhaps it is not even possible.

Allowing the ‘professors’ to return to their rest, the group split up for the night, with Dremahl and Celeste returning to the Serachle while the others stayed with Ebn.

The two moved through the bustling city, still in motion even at this late hour. When the reached the Serachle, its relative quiet was broken by a plaintive song echoing from above. They followed the sound and found the pries Ellicott perched above the Noxian workshop singing out his woes to an audience of wine bottles.

They asked to join him and shared their own bottle. He reiterated his problems of being forced to administer the compound, even though he was only supposed to be passing through. He talked of mounting complaints about Telline and her Torchbearers ‘keeping the peace’ in a violent and reckless manner. To top it off, a group of Nox’s own engineers have vanished in an apparently disastrous attempt to drill through a layer of volcanic rock and change the fortunes of a failing House Cervo gold mine in the Gilt range. The two priests managed to avoid directly volunteering any aid, and soon left the de facto Seraschal to his cups.

In the morning the group gathered at Ebn’s to distribute their wealth and resupply. In the high city, they saw the heads for tie flings mounted on spikes. They asked around and learned that the invaders had been rooted out by the Valessan associates of the prince’s advisor Bucas. In addition, they learned that several of these black-clad mystery men has scattered about the countryside in search of collaborators and other enemies of the state.

The group first stopped at the shop of Delduin Arithiel, who was doing a brisk business supplying spears and hunting equipment to the newcomers. She offered to trade magic arrows for their trident, but Saerin refused. When talk turned to politics, she commented that she heard the capitol forces may not lie down before the crown prince, and that the Otter was making alliances that could bring war back to Malabar.

They moved on to Brann hall to sell their gems and other valuables, as well as change the large quantity of copper coinage they had recovered from Bar Omaro. Some of their inquiries drew the attention of Brann himself, who helped them trade their hide armor for chain, and trade the trident for a seaborne longsword from his own collection. He had also heard of the mine accident, and blamed the priests of Nox for risking lives unnecessarily. Our heroes told him that they themselves would be looking into this situation. They had hoped he might offer some support for their endeavor, but all they received was his offer to help them profit from anything they could retrieve.

Kallius managed to purchase a couple scrolls from Ebn, and the others replaced their supplies while trying not to draw too much attention. They hope to be able to travel up the Gilder toward the mine in three days time.

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Sketchy at the Exposition
Or, What happens when the GM waits 6 days to write his notes

tower.jpgOur heroes recovered their canoes and turned to make their way back to Wytchport. As the moved downriver, they noted trail markers of the shadow claw goblins gouged into trees along the swamp. The chose not to pursue the goblins, and left to their own troubles.

They also rowed around an area of heavy drainage in the swamp. They figured that someone was working to reclaim swampy ground, but did not want to arouse any suspicions. A the sun descended toward the west, they came to the bridge near the river’s mouth. The new guard post was manned by their old acquaintance Stieve, who warned them that the crown prince’s eminent arrival had turned their old town into an overcrowded mess.

They spend the night in the cleared site near the bridge, and met with other travelers going to the town. But they learned little for these outsiders and called it a night.

The old coast road was quite busy as the got closer to the city. When they came into sight of the town, they saw that a tent and shanty village nearly the equal of the town’s original size had sprung up around it. Seeing that the main gate was clogged with carts and commercial traffic, they made their way around to a scaffold over the wall and into the market square.

The went to see Nana who came out immediately to give her condolences to Celeste. She relayed that a newcomer named Mapachi Vosto had been given title to her ancestral lands, and the Ardent Meliwass Omaro had endorsed his claim in (probable) exchange for support in building his crystal dome.

Afterward, they went to see Ebn. His complex was now surrounded by a hastily erected wooden palisade, and was ‘guarded’ by a former day laborer named Fundin. He sent a boy to gather the wizard and soon they were ushered inside. They quickly told their tale, and he asked a few questions. Once things got to seals and dragons, he suggested they return after sunset so he could make some preparations.

Celeste went off to meet with Tellene, who was not to be found in the Serachle as she was off with her new law enforcement duties. The did find a put-upon priest of Nox named Ellicott Gantz who has been holding the place together in her absence. He seemed to be a much better administrator but was being overwhelmed by the chaos.

Three-Skulls.jpgThat evening they returned to Ebn’s tower and were introduced to the Emeritii, three skulls from the library of Marjestyr. The taught the party a little of dragons in the old world, and reiterated that there is no history of dragons in the Hesperean — outside of the superstitious belief of a primal dragon among the earliest settlers.

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Forking Dragons
Or, a hole full of horror

dragon_battle_by_raymondminnaar-d56nywl.jpgWhere only moments before stood a ghastly bugbear, now there was fiery, scaled winged beast. A brutish voice came out of its freshly fanged mouth, promising not to dismember our heroes — as he had plans for their corpses.

The party pulled back into the cavern scattering, and tried to heal themselves as best they could. The dragon bounded after them and breathed a gout of flame, pushing Celeste to the verge of death. Luix, Saerin and Kallius closed on the creature, and the others circled around to support their attacks. Luix crashed down with his flail but much of the attack was absorbed by the dragon’s armor. Kallius disrupted the undead dragon with his magic.

The embattled dragon lashed out with fangs, claws and wings. Searin dropped and Luix was terribly gouged. Boomah reached and grabbed up the ranger’s trident, and held the enchanted weapon out for the northman. Even Celeste joined in the fight, using her curing powers to harm the undead monstrosity. They all worked to give Luix the best possible opening on the creature, and he stabbed the magical trident into — and through — the dragon.

The creature slumped, and transformed back into its original bugbear form. Searching about, they retrieved scaly hide armor from the ghost barbarian as well as an elf bane morningstar. The dragon shaman carried a necklace with two large rune-engraved fangs, one that was burnt and smoldering. He also had an enchanted hide shirt, a wand of resist fire, and a pearl of power.

cave_of_miracles_by_aomori-d6y6rph.jpgLooking deeper into the cavern, they found a deep pit that was being excavated by the zombies. At the bottom Boomah some kind of disc shape covered with markings. He called the magus over to check it out, and he collapsed at the site. When he awoke, he was unsure of what happened but did know that a series of smaller runic writings were carved into the disc in the shape of the primal rune for dragon.

They retreated back to the shrine of Aerin to treat their many wounds. The next day they returned to the mine, and noted that the chunks of black slime were not coming out at the same pace as before. The followed the trench back in, and noticed that it, too was flowing like before. When they reached the large cavern, they saw that the pool of slime had dripped back into the pit and the disc was now covered by a layer of slime.

Searching the rest of the mine, they came upon a dispatched a lone ghoul. Further on, they found a den filled with furs and choice bits of carrion. They also found two heavy chests, which they decided were trapped. Unfortunately, they were unable to disarm the trap and field the area with noxious smoke.

When the smoke cleared, the found a Darkwood Buckler, Masterwork Chainmail, Masterwork Darkwood Shield, heavy wooden, a Potion of Levitate, a Potion of Enlarge perso, a Climber’s kit, a Potion of Jump, a Potion of Shield of faith a Masterwork Hand Crossbow, 3 Tigereyes, a Freshwater (irregular) pearl, Azurite 7gp, 4 Blue quartz, and 67 pieces carved obsidian, pp: 6, gp: 71, sp: 860, cp: 6600.

They gathered up their loot, and decided to return to Wytchport and ask others what should be done next.

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Enter the Dragon
Or, Is that a tail in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

formofthedragon02.jpgOur story opened in a darkened passage, our heroes fresh for defeating the oily black ooze and its zombified host. Realizing that the goal lay further ahead, they pushed forward.

Boomah scouted in front, following the stream of filth that came from deeper into the cliff. He quickly came upon a large open cave, and saw that the stream widened into a wide, low lake of the horrible slime. He also noted the signs of undeath hiding behind two piles of rubble. He lobbed a bomb and lit up the area, splashing two humanoid figures that were lying in wait.

He scampered back to the group and reported what he saw. They waited for a charge, which did not come. Boomah and Saerin chose to move forward. Saerin reached the chamber, and was attacked by lizardfolk ghast that was hiding around the bend. The other beast had been slithering in the water and rushed out at the ranger. Boomah was standing by, and lobbed a bomb at the foes.

Battle was joined, and the goblin was paralyzed the enemy. Luix and Kallius rushed up, and a herd of slime-covered zombies came shambling in to join the fight. Our heroes were clustered tight, and when the felled zombies exploded in filth allies were harmed.

Slowly the mindless zombies were being overcome, and our heroes were gaining advantage. Another fiery bomb struck four of the foes, and things were looking bright. But then, a blood-curdling howl echoed around the chamber and a fearsome bugbear ghast showed himself on a pile of rubble.

He and his ghoulish companion charged Saerin. He quickly fell to their combined attacks. At the far end of the passage, a ball of flame burst into existence. Boomah got excited to ‘play’ with it and ran down the passage to get a closer look. When he got there, he noticed a ghoul rushing toward him and another undead figure in the shadows.

The ghoul attacked while the ball rolled forward in an attempt to block the passage. The goblin looked up, and the shadowy figure’s large serpentine eyes staring at him. He shook off the compulsion, and fired a bomb at him, to no affect.

Kallius cast mirror image to confuse his enemies, and engage the massive bugbear. The beast managed to pierce the veil and struck the magus. Kallius danced to the side, but the enemies’ followed on his heels to flank him. Again, the creature’s morningstar bore down, bypassing the illusion and sending the elf crashing to the cave floor.

Dremahl rushed into the cave and stabilized his failed ally. Celeste channeled her divine power to help bring him back to the light.

Boomah decided that this was not a fight for him, and ran back to the group. Luis and Saerin had taken out the remaining enemies and only had the ghastly bugbear to destroy. It fought fiercely, but in the end the northerner’s flail shattered the animated corpse and returned it to the earth.

They turned to Boomah’s threat and Saerin dropped the remaining ghoul. Leaving only the shadowy figure with hypnotic eyes.

Before it could react, Boomah launched an alchemical loogie at the creatures feet, and stuck it in place. Seeing the group beginning to move against it, the undead bugbear clutched a tooth around its neck. While the party stood in surprise, it began to shift and change.

It let out a roar as wings and a tail burst out from its torso, and ghast transformed into a dragon before their eyes.

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A River (of Slime) Runs Through It
Or, A new definition of pain and suffering, as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.

Sarlacc-BTM-DB.pngAfter a quick discussion about leaving unchecked paths behind them, our heroes moved down the right-hand passage toward the fleeing figure. Boomah scouted ahead in the darkness and spotted a chasm crossed by a plank bridge. He also found a large basket filled with rotting carcasses.

He went back and gathered his comrades, and then flung a large chunk of meat into the crevasse. Crunching and smacking sounds were then heard from deep in the pit. They decided to rush across the bridge one at a time, after the goblin appeased whatever was below with tossed meat. Kallius quickly stepped across unhindered, but when Celeste tried to follow a tentacle reached up, breached her sanctuary protection, and grabbed her legs.

Saerin rushed forward and jumped down on the creature below, slashing at it with his sword. It tried to bite at him, but slipped and dropped them both deeper into the narrow breach, and Saerin tumbled int the sludge at the bottom. Luix bravely followed, dropping on the beast and sending it to the bottom.

The others had gathered close to the edge, and the foul monster spewed forth a jet of bile, chunks of meat and bone. This proved too much for the stout goblin, who has sickened by the expulsion. Deep in the pit, the undead horror proved no match for the combined attacks of the ranger and the northman— as well as the channeled divinity of Dremahl. They quickly bashed it to pieces, sending bits splashing around the rocky walls.

The two climbed out and they continued their investigation. Again, Boomah scouted in front and spotted a group of huddled creatures behind two upturned wheelbarrows. From his hiding place near the corner, he lobbed a fiery bomb which splashed the group of zombies before he fled back to the group.

Our heroes charged, and Saerin was caught in a volley of crossbow bolts from the creatures beyond. Boomah through another bomb, and was shot at by another zombie. He noted that two of the barricaded enemies were armored and moving more quickly and the shambling zombies. Remembering the explosive demise of previous zombies, our heroes pulled up short and tried to dispatch their foes from range. Kallius repeatedly attempted to disrupt the undead, while the zombies clambered over the barricade. One of the ghouls leaped over the barrow and jumped at Saerin. The other picked up a crossbow and fired into the goblin.

Celeste summoned a small fire elemental that raged through the undead ranks, and allowed the warriors to flank the enemy. One by one the enemies fell, and out heroes were once again victorious. The enemies had no treasure on them, but they noted that their weapons and equipment were modern, and that one of the barrows had been built in the past few years.

Moving onward, the followed the trench of foul runoff deeper into the complex. Many passages opened along the left side, but the group stayed closed to the trench and followed the right-hand wall. Boomah tried to clamber over the rocks and rubble to avoid the path, but it proved to difficult to avoid the patches of black slime that seemed to be crawling about.

245_Trioxin_by_Fetus_Man.jpgIn fact, as they moved deeper in they came upon what looked like a large patch of slime blocking the channel. Peering closer, it lurched up in the form of a humanoid covered in the black ooze. It struck out at the ranger, slamming him hard and sapping his strength. Others soon came to his defense, and they saw that the slime merely covering a zombie beneath. Dremahl channeled divinity and the creature shriveled before it power.

The warriors targeted the body underneath and shattered the zombie, causing the slime to ooze down and spread across the cave floor. Our heroes pulled back— disrupting, channeling and burning the spreading slime as best they could. And soon they were successful, as the mass broke into smaller pieces or dissipated completely before their assault.

Our heroes decided to keep pressing, following the runoff trench back to its origin.

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