So last we left our hero's, they had just deciphered the runes. They determined that they needed to get five of the ale tankards. To open the secret door. So Barnaby and Phineas snuck back down to the main floor. They skillfully stole the tankards. But as they left Barnaby clanked and smashed around. Waking the undead. So to speak.
They ran out of the great hall. Closing the big double doors leading out. The Barbarians then pushed over one of the huge stone statues. Blocking the door closed. They ran back upstairs, down the walk to the pipe organ. The regular norse skeletons were going crazy. Trying to open the door and climb up to the walkway. Meanwhile the cloud giant skeleton didn't have that problem.
Barnaby and Phineas battled the giant. While Gaylen the druid placed the tankards, and opened the secret doors. As the barbarians finished off the giant. Which the characters really surprised me. They had some good rolls, and just really whipped on that skeleton.
Meanwhile Gaylen entered the door. He found himself in a black void, with scattered hazy fog. Before him was a stream of wispy, silvery liquid. He leaped over it. Instantly finding himself in a white void of a room. Before him is a short greek style marble pillar. On top is the next, and map. Behind the pillar is a doorway made of white light, outlined in red. Well Gaylen grabs the key and map. Not being able to figure out where he came in. He steps through the door of white light. Finding himself on what appears to be the fog shrouded top of a mountain. A chariot, with two goats is sitting before him.
Meanwhile Phineas and Barnaby wait for Gaylen. It doesn't appear that Gaylen is coming back. Not to mention the skeletons seem posed to reach the walkway. So they pass through just as Gaylen did. Finding themselves at the top of the mountain as well.
They all boarded the chariot. With the goats hooves literally sparking and thundering. They take to the air. The chariot rapidly flew through the air. Quickly taking them off the island. Breaking out of the thick fog. The chariot and team took them to the stone dock they originally left form. On the Suzes Island.
They headed back to the main village of the island. There they were reunited with Hudson the master thrower. There they stayed tending to there wounds. It didn't hurt that the islanders treated them like royalty. Being that they saved them from the dracotaur invasion. Anyways they gained passage back to Erland Keep for free. From the grateful islanders, and a sympathetic ships crew.
While this was a happy time. It wasn't for one member of the group. Gaylen the druid. As he was unable to bring back his bear. This abandonment really troubled him.
They had a uneventful trip. Once they arrived, they again needed money to book passage back to Sandpoint. So it was off to the arena. Where their was a sign up for a team battle event that night.
The teams are as follows,
The players. The Red Hand Crew, a group of orc berserkers. That have all painted or dyed their hands red. Grunts Vengeance, a group of Ogre Scouts. Seeking vengeance on those who killed Grunt. Team Steeb, a group of misfits. Steeb jr. and a compatriot are wereboars. The other two members are Clay half golems.
First it was the players vs the Red Hand Crew. Of course the characters bet on themselves and won. The next battle was Team Steeb, and Grunts Vengeance. Which Grunts Vengeance was the victor. So it came down to the big battle. Which the players bested them. Winning the team battle they got a cash reward of 2000gp. Which just happened to be enough to pay for their passage to Sandpoint. But along with the cash prize was a mystery sack. The sack contained a war hammer, an ioun stone, a potion of moderate healing, and a scroll of speak with animals. They stayed a day or two. Resting up.
Finally they sailed back to Sandpoint. But sans one member. Gaylen went another way. To atone for abandoning his bear. (Plus the player was not able to play the next couple sessions. So it worked out as a convenient way to write him out of the story, temporarily.)
As they neared the Sandpoint docks. They saw a small group people waiting at the docks. As the gang plank was lowered. Sheriff Hemlock was right there waiting for them. As they started off the ship. The sheriff called out to them. "Hey fellas welcome back. I'm sorry to tell you, but we've got a bit of a situation. This feller over here." Pointing at the guy named Jago, who some time ago sold Phineas some junk (a cheap dagger, and gem). Passing it off as good stuff.
"He says he saw you kill William Wilhelm Esquire the traveling merchant. With a sling stone to the head." (Which they actually did. As they though he screwed them on a deal of tainted potions. But they were actually tricked. So they killed the wrong guy.) "So if you''ll just hand over your weapons. We'll go down to the guards hall and figure all this out."
So you can guess how that went. Hudson volunteered his bandoleer of dagger. Phineas and Barnaby had different ideas. Phineas used the flat of the blade of his great sword. Then went to town. Knocking the crap out the town guard. (Non-lethal of course.) Barnby followed suit using the flat of his axe. (Yeah, I know we all got a laugh out that one. But I allowed it. As I'm a big believer of the fun factor.) Well they knocked out the lot of them. But Jago took off running.
So they chased after him. They rounded a corner. They saw Jagos hat peaking over the top of a rain barrel next to one of the buildings. Hudson throws a dagger threw the top of the hat. They hear a scared yelp, and the hat takes off in to the alley next to the building. They chase after him to find a young boy at the end of the alley wearing Jagos hat.
They ask him where he got the hat. He tells them "Some guy. They ask where this guy went. He says he doesn't know. Hudson puts a dagger next to his head. Suddenly he remembers and points in the last direction he saw him travelling in. Which happens to be toward the guards hall.
Well they plow through one more group of town guard before they reach the hall. They move inside the hall. Its empty save for a small child wearing a guard helmet. Who appears to be the child of one of the guards. They ask him what happened to Jago. He tells them that he ran in here. Grabbed a gem off the table. Saying a couple cryptic words he disappeared.
Jago, having evaded them they exited the hall. Suddenly the stable owner they had befriended before pulls up in his cart. "Get in quick. I'll get you out of here." They asked why he was helping. He told them that he was grateful for when they saved the town. Besides the guard is a bunch of incompetent jerks. So he quickly whisked them out of town.
A short ways out of town. He dropped them off and wished them well. The group decided to move on toward the next town and closer to their goal. On to Argus.
They made camp that night. On the first watch Phineas heard horses approaching. So woke up the group. Phineas and Barnaby hid up in the trees, while Hudson hid behind a tree. Four riders clad in chain mail rode up. They were obviously not guardsmen. They looked like experienced warriros, mercs. One jumped down and examined teh camp site. Determining that they couldn't have been gone long. He called out to them. Calling them cowards.
Well this is when the barbarians reacted. Phineas slung a stone at the guy on the ground. While Barnaby jumped out of the tree at one of the riders. Husdon just walked out from around the tree. He just kind of stood there. Till one of the riders shot an arrow at him. Not an ordinary arrow. But an arrow with an alchemical fire tip. That exploded into fire on impact. Well a quick battle ensued. Including Phineas using his bear form. (Hes got a level of Bear Warrior) They killed three of the mercs. The fourth one took off.
Well the rest of the night went quietly. The next couple days were without incident. Till they were a couple days outside of Argus. That afternoon as they walked. They were ambushed by a small party of Blackspawn raiders. Again they killed off three of the four attackers.
They finally reached Argus. This is where we left off for now.
So I changed the theme a little. Thought I should throw up a post while I'm at it. Watching Bill Maher I'm starting to get sick of politics. So I propose this. (Shameless stolen from the ISB, Check the link in my list to the right)
And seriously, would it be any worse. At least we would have a weather dominator to smight our enemies.
I forgot to mention one thing. At the first fight at the entryway room. Bartleby used the duck call he found a while back. The big joke with the group was that it better summon a Dire Duck. Well I originally intended it to just be a duck call. Knid of a goofy random item. But I really liked the idea of it summoning a dire duck. So thats what it did. I didnt use the rules I just flew by the seat of my pants and did it up. So I used the stats for a dire hawk, for the dire duck. Then gave it a breath weapon, a sonic blast (cone shaped) that it can use once a combat. It can be summoned only once a day. For 1d6 rounds.
Well as we left our adventurers last time they had just defeated the juvi siege crab. Sealed in the large stone hewn hall. Their was only one way out. Through the double doors the crab had entered through. They passed through to find a large cavern. This is a natural cavern that appears to lead out to the sea. Though it is hard to tell. Because of the dense grey fog rolling in. Of to one side of the cavern is a small rowboat. The row boat has a series of runes carved into it. All the way around it. The players all climb in the boat. The boat turns and slowly moves into the fog. It travels slowly across the water. With only the sounds of the wave sloshing.
It finally comes to ground. Beaching itself on a black sand beach. The whole island is shrouded with the same dense fog that the sea was cloaked in. As they step away from the boat it turns around and heads back into the sea. Leaving them on the shore.
Suddenly out of the fog a group of four skeletons attacks. Skeletons dressed in chain mail, horned helmets, and furs. Very viking-esque. They were destroyed quickly.
In the distance they heard the sounds of music. Chanting, and instruments. So they started off for it. The sound of the music that is. The whole idea was that they would have to make a listen check to find their way to the music. Each time they were successful the next DC got easier. But if they failed the DC would fall back to the last one. So it started at 20, and went down the line. 15, 10, and 5. At which point they had found the great hall. After each listen check I had them roll on my random encounter chart. Which was,
The characters breezed through the search for the hall. They made all the listen checks. They only rolled two encounters. Which were super weak. They fought two skeletons, then in another they fought 1 zombie.
Anyways they got to the great hall. A large heavy timber frame building/hall. It had giant double doors in the front. Bartleby started around the building looking for any other entrance. He found nothing but a chute of some sort to the basement.
Meanwhile the rest of the group pushed open the double doors and went in. They were immediately faced with six skeletons, three zombies and a drowned. They made quick work of things. Till they got to the drowned. Which was a problem. Especially since they realised that they hadn't healed from their encounter with the siege crab. Bartleby joined them and they finally defeated it. They searched and surveyed the room. There was another set of double doors. Presumably leading to the main hall. On each side of the doors was a statue. On the right side the man with the great club, they had seen before in the Kuo-Toa halls. On the other side the woman they had seen, lying down with a dagger. Was now standing with a dagger to the right of the doors. Stair cases rose on each side of the room. They found a trapdoor that lead to the basement. All they could see from the opening was stacks of cord wood. They found the last piece of the decoder.
They decided to leave the building and camp to heal up a bit. This was they had a large piece of luck. They camped for two days. I had them roll to see if they were found. Each day. They totally rolled fantastic. Not being found at all.
They then went back in to the front room. They fought another group of undead. Eight skeletons, six zombies, and a drowned. They made quick work of this horde. The feat cleave was super useful for the barbarians.
After they finished them off. They went to the top of the stairs. They cracked open the door, and scoped the scene. They were at the raised walk way hat went around the whole room. At the end of the room on the walk way is a great pipe organ. Which is surrounded by other musicians. The main floor is occupied by large tables. With skeletons, and zombies eating, drinking, and singing drinking songs. At the end of the room was a huge throne. Seated in it is a skeleton of a giant. That appears to be in charge of the hall. As they watched he spoke a language they weren't familiar with. (Giant to be specific) The hall went quiet as he spoke. Then when he (it) finished speaking everyone seemed to lay down and sleep right where they were. The torches slowly dimmed. It all seemed a bit surreal. As all the undead acted very much as if they weren't.
They checked their key that had been guiding them. It pointed to above the pipe organ. Before the went for that though. They decided to check out the trap door and the basement.
They descended into the basement. Rows and rows of stacked cord wood. Snaked through the room. The sounds of a wood saw, and axe. Echoes through the room. In the corner by the chute that lead down there. Was three skeletons. Two using a large handsaw, and the other using an axe. The group rushed them annihilating them.
They peaked out the double doors that left the room. They saw a large room. Immediately in front of them is two rows of cages. They contain all manner of animals. Pheasants, chickens, pigs, cows, and more. To the right are three giant beer kegs. On the left is another room they cant see into. Past all this is three rows of long tables, stoves, and ovens. At which eight skeletons and six zombies work at making food.
Well Gaylen snuck to the cages and started opening them. Phineas snuck to the side room. To find it contained fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Well Bartleby said to hell with it and charged the undead. Gaylen and Phineas quickly joined him. In pretty short order they smacked down the undead.
They went back to the trapdoor and up to the first level. They climbed the stairs to the walkway. They snuck to the skeleton musicians in front of the pipe organ. Quickly ending them. Before them stands the pipe organ. Right above the keyboard is five circular cutouts the size of ale tankards. Right above that are runes. Which they used the decoders to figure out what it says. Its said,
DRINK TO THE DEAD ALL YOU STILL ALIVE WE SHALL JOIN THEM, IN GOOD TIME. SHOULD YOU GO CROSSING THAT SILVERY BROOK, IT'S BEST TO LEAP BEFORE YOU LOOK. DRINK TO THE DEAD ALL YOU STILL ALIVE WE SHALL JOIN THEM, IN GOOD TIME. SHOULD YOU GO CROSSING THAT SILVERY BROOK, IT'S BEST TO LEAP BEFORE YOU LOOK.
This is where we left off. Next time the conclusion of The Black Isles, and Team Thunderdome!
(a dull wooden nickle to the first one of you knows where the lyric is from)
I am thought to be exiled gentry, a vagabond, a scandalous rogue, a troubadour, armchair tactician, amateur grifter, self taught mechanic, would be author, adventurer, rogue scholar, traveler of strange lands, and an all round near do well.