Lord Ordin's keep

GAME FOUR: December 18, 2004

Dungeons, Caves, Remote Passes and other High Traffic Areas


Having resurrected Guzgern, everyone trained and then we prioritized. Our thoughts: We still need to go back to the neanderthals and clear their dungeon, but that is lower priority than 1) the people who are having their farms raided by bandits, and 2) The small army of goblins roaming the pass that may be headed the direction of the Keep.

We decide that if the castle is in danger, we head back there. We arrive within days of when the trouble comes, thus nearly doubling the number of available characters for combat. We send out a couple scouts to check the pass (Druid & Ranger) and they discover a group of men wandering the road in military formation. When their leader spots one of them, the Ranger converses. The stranger seeks Castle Brightstone (our castle), and of course the ranger is from Castle Brightstone. It seems the soldier named Philius who has been fighting down in Khet and has been driven from there into retreat. His soldiers are not human, but rather constructs ("Warforge" soldiers and scouts), crafted by wizardly types and assigned to him. Unfotunately, their numbers have dwindled from the fighting. The Philus is played by Peter.

We welcome him to the keep, where he ingraciates himself to the locals by introducing his "men" to them and giving them a sense of security. He then eats our food, partakes of repairs for his men and his horse, and hits on Lady Haslet Roseblood (my backup PC). But at least he's subtle.

We send out the Ranger & Druid combo again. This time they locate the goblins on the trail. It seems they are lead by what is likely a half-orc cleric. At some point it is decided that a stern warning should be sent to them attached to an arrow. Naturally this doesn't lead to combat. I mean unless you count the part where the druid has to transform to a bird and flee and the ranger is charmed so that he thinks this guy won't be a problem. Oh, and the enemy in question had quite a distinguishing feature: From his back would occasionally appear two stalks with eyes on them; they would creep up out of his robes and cast beams at his enemies.

Anyway, the seige is coming. Philus deploys his automatons and we get set. Around sundown they show and it begins!

There are 10 undead plus one large undead velociraptor-type thing. Father Vernal Talon, Cuthbert's man in Brightstone, proceeded to take out 9 of the small ones on the first turning! Many of us fell into sniping mode. A lot of the forces congregated around the wall that was damaged, but it seems they had intentions of making their own hole: A horn of blasting proceeded to take down an entirely different wall, causing a few reflex saves and a shifting of forces.

The cleric also tried to put the fear in us. He performed a spell/natural ability of some kind and we all had to make saves. I believe the only notable here was Ashen, who had a touch of the willies for a few rounds (Not to be confused with touching his willy for a few rounds--He had no trouble there).

So they blow a hole in the wall, our guys snipe, they try to climb over the low pile of rubble, and the hand-to-hand segment of our fight begins.

Also quite notable was the familiar of the sorceror, Ashen, as it layed down a nice gout of flame on the Cleric (who promptly absorbed a bunch of it). In the tower, I believe it was Leif who was firing arbalest shots at the enemy(?). In any event, they were using true-strike bolts that were hurting the enemy sorcerors greatly!

Now here's where Peter had to take off, but Jeff played him as an NPC, sending him out into the fray to take on lines of foes. Their velociraptor is coming through the big hole in the wall and gets in a couple of attacks, but eventually is held by a "Turning" by Fr. Talon. This gives us the chance to fight the orcs (since all the goblins are down by now). A few archers snipe the magic-users anytime they try to cast. The cleric flies up to the tower and after a contest of magics, manages to put Ashen down and bleeding.

Around now, Mark's character contingent has shown up and begins to do some harm as well. In fact, Morningstar proceeds to perform a chain-lightning spell (that would seem WELL beyond her level/capability) that does a lot of damage to our enemies that are coming over the rubble wall.

The evil cleric, who has been casting beams of dangerouns magic from those funky eyestalks, now centers a flamestrike on my characters (Krayden & Haslet), doing damage to both, but hurting his own men far more. But this is nothing as compared to his parting blow... He uses his Horn of Blasting (which has been used twice this battle already) to blow down half a tower, induce saving throws on anyone in the shadow of the tower, and deafen folks who miss saves, and also to nearly blow himself up, as the horn explodes from all the extra use. Morningstar dispels his flight and brings the cleric down within reach, whereupon he is promptly smacked so hard he turns into powder.

I've missed plenty of other bits by folks, (Guzgern, Merk, etc, doing their part, etc.) but that's what happens when I start writing these things at 7am.

A few orcs fled, but they aren't going to be much of a nuissance anymore. The cleric, it turns out, was a mummy of some sort, and I believe it was Ashen who came down with mummy-rot by trying to collect pieces. But he's been cured.

Our next order of business is the bandits. We head out to contact the farms that have been having problems and we get a general idea of what has been happening. So we set out trying to track the bandits and eventually wind up in the mountains where we encounter a group of brigands who try to get the party to pay in order to pass.

Well... after telling us we could pass but only a little "lighter", the expected fight breaks out. Ashen webs a group of them. Guzgern proceeds to PULP(!!!) the head of one guy and smacks down a second on the cleave. A chain-lightning from Morningstar does plenty of harm to a few in and along the web. Krayden suddenly goes into killing machine mode and takes down a few (including one with a trip and a prompt crunching-elbow-of-doom followup... Heh... I like this move!). And another man who was attacking Etrin has been made blind by Morningstar; The guy gets lucky with a blind swing and hurts Etrin. But most lethal of all is Morningstar, who rushes in, locates a single man who is unconscious on the egge of the web, and proceeds to slay him with a sword blow and her customary smile. Now remember that at this point there are still a few men up; One is blind, one is in the web, and the other is free to move about, but she charges in and takes him down.

Then Mark high-tails it out of the apartment and home, short-circuiting the pending argument about dispatching helpless people or anyone that he suspects to be "evil". Krayden, btw, has no problem with an enemy dying in combat; Heck, he definitely killed one himself and he certainly didn't stop anyone else he took down from bleeding, so he likley got more than one. And his veiw is that these men offered to let us pass, then when he approached they told him he'd have to give them something... and if there's one thing Krayden won't stand for it's a broken agreement.

But the angst here is coming from Etrin and Ashen; Etrin because he's the "Assassin" and feels that if she will arbitrarily kill anyone she views as "evil" then what's to keep her from doing that to party members. What was her decision making process on this? Etc...etc...etc.... And Ashen likely fears for his brother, who is morally ambiguous (shall we say).

So expect some discussion of this from those who were present. Except Krayden, who was too busy crushing skulls to care about her dispatching a warrior on a battlefield (regardless his condition). But some will have issues until they find out what's going on.

We take the last ones, who surrendered after witnessing the dwarf's head-pulping blows, and we question him. Vernal finds out from him that there are two bandit leaders who live in the mountains in a cavern. After arriving there and searching, we discover that the caverns show signs of previous occupancy, but that the tenants have moved without forwarding notice. Found in the place is a book of exceptional size. (I mean it's big. I don't mean it's "The Book of Exceptional Size". I imagine that would have centerfolds of Hill Giants and such.). The book has only one decipherable word that is likley the name of it's owner or something. We take it and after a small pursuit into the mountains we decide we've driven them off.

So we turn our attention to the matter of the Ice Dragon in the dungeon of the Neanderthals. (Now there's a phrase you don't hear every day!)

Back to being only five of us, we go back to the ice dungeon and we search an as yet unchecked room. Inside is an icy simulacrum of the Vrok (Ice Demon), who proceeds to spew icy spores at foes and try to claw us silly. Problem is, he's big and we're in a small area. There is much smackage and whackage before we whittle him down to ice cubes. It turns out that "good" weapons do more damage, which makes it 'good' that the Priest blessed my fists during combat. But Guzgern takes him down. We rest and then set up for the pending fight with the Dragon.

Next day we replenish, heal, and go after him. Guz kicks open the door, it tries to fear everyone but only gets Etrin (who will fight at a minus), Krayden takes up the flank on the thing, Guz and Krayden do the smacky thing while the beast proceeds to try and kill Etrin. Vernal heals him back. But the biggest problem to the thing is Ashen, whose spell-casting is causing the creature much damage. So it decides to move around the group (provoking attacks of opportunity). Most miss, but not Vernal, who manages to get in a smite on him as he goes by, crumbling him to snow before the sorceror becomes Ice Dragon chow.

A search of the room yields a few potions, some gloves, etc. The other room (with the ice dragon) yielded a few more weapons.

We find a secret door and it leads eventually to a small room in which one final ice creature lives. It's some kind of undead thing. We do the usual jockeying-for-position thing around it and beat it down.

Among the goods found are a bunch of weapons, a few of which are masterwork. I wonder if we have some kind of ICE WIZARD or something that could take icy masterwork weapons and make them magical. Hmmm...

Anyway, there was actually some good loot this night, which wound up being divided among those present. The highlights are a Keen Ice Rapier, A glove with a hidden compartment, A monk's belt, Rings of Protection, Ice Dagger, the Ring of Fire Protection (from the mummy), A vial of Simulacrum fluid (for making a duplicate of someone/thing), and various other goodies.

It was a good night. But then any night where I start out AC 19 and end it AC 23 is a good night.

And thus we bid adieu to Guzgern, the dwarf, whom I imagine will only live on in special visits, and the occasional NPC stint.

Now I'm sure I've missed tons of things, so feel free to point them out.