Tales From the Thirsty Whale

Heart of the Foundry

A tad late with this, and some adventure logs need writing up. Blah blah dwarves kidnapped, blah blah duergar, blah blah old foundry, blah blah hard to hit AC23.

Into the basement of the duergar foundry, and the final fight. One v nasty duergar theurge who threw around lots of area burst 2 attacks, causing much carnage, and 4 magma runners. These guys ran into magma and ran past people. If you took an opportunity attack against them, you took 5 damage from the flames. Fairly horrid, but a lot easier to hit than the duergar. And an imp that didn’t do much other than go invisible and run away at the end.

Another win for the good guys though. The kidnapped dwarves you were searching for may have been sold into slavery to some orcs in the Stonefang Pass – a mountain range near Hammerfast. There was a nice hammer for Bronale, +1 but dishes out ongoing 5 on a crit.

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Assault on the Moathouse
Bandit carnage

After the frog “incident”, on over the drawbridge into the moathouse itself. Some bandit archers behind arrowslits near the door yell out a warning to their comrades, and then its a full fronted charge through the doorway to get out of the killing zone that is the courtyard. Lots of archery fire from other bandits behind other arrow slits dies down after a round or two, as a loud repitilian growl comes from down a corridor. A huge rage drake stamps down the corridor in the the entrance hall, followed by Enzer the bandit leader swinging his longspear. The archers in the entrance way are neatly cleaned out, hut A couple more tough looking bandits enter the from from the other wing of the moathouse.

It all gets rather messy. Brownale gets his froth one, and inspired by sound tactical advice from Thaath starts hacking at the drake. Arowyn unleashes one of her special attacks and sets up Brownale for the killing blow. Cythor kicks off both his expanding bursting firey orb, and his flaming sphere to cause carnage amongst the other bandits, whilst Arowyn and Brownale set about the leader.

Radnelac seems to spend a lot of time being dazed by bandits, and at one point falls under the rain of blows – he got quite badly shot up on the way into the entrance. These archer bandit minions did MUCH Better than their counterparts who tried to ambush the party on the way back from barrow of the Ogre King.

The day is finally won, and our heroes venture downstairs, where they find the kidnapped children guarded by a couple more bandits and the dwarf who tried to cheat Radnelac during the arm wrestling match that delayed him from the goblin attack on Loudwater all those experience points ago. In a fair fight, the cheating dwarf is not match for our gallant heroes. One guard surrenders after his comrades all fall, and he is captured to stand trial for the kidnapping.

THe children are released, bodies are looted and plans are made for yet another heroic feast back in the Loudwater. THe children look very happy to be being released, and not “given to the lizard people”.

Our heroes head out of the entrance only to find the courtyard is not as empty as they left it. A lizard man stands near the drawbridge, surveying the battleground. He is clad in the traditional shamanistic garb, with fancy born carvings with optional skull attachments and is flanked by two lizardman hunters armed with spears. And an enormous 12 foot tall black lizard man armed with a huge club.

“I believe you have sssomething that belongs to me” he hisses, pointing at the terrified children…... To be continued.

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Zelbross Moathouse
Who let the frogs out? Ugh! Ugh!

Much celebrating for preventing the early onset of winter, saving the harvest and all round heroism. Next, it’s rescuing the children kidnapped by the Zelbross bandits

Their moathouse lair is relatively easy to find. Advancing towards the drawbridge however, our heroes are assaulted by giant frogs. All seems to be going well, until two of the frogs swallow Radnelac and Erithan. “You’ve eaten my brother you git!” cries Bronale and starts hacking about the frog. After a couple of rounds of combat, where Cythor’s aim is impaired by him rolling on the floor laughing crying out “it’s eaten him! He’s inside a frog!” etc etc. The frogs are finally dispatched – the major casualty being Radnelac’s street cred. And his rather froggy smelling armour.

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Ice Tower First Floor
Where are all those elementals coming from?

Top of the stairs are some icy elemental critters. Combat duly formed. Things going reasonably well for the party until a second wave of smaller elemental nasties start coming up the stairs. The combat rages across the ground and first floors, Cythor thinks the new elemental creatures are the same colour as the frozen blue flames in the gruond floor fireplaces. Checking these out reveals that the fireplaces have activated and become portals to the elemental plane of ice. A combination of arcana checks by Cythor and some dextrous manipulation of moving parts by Erithan allows all 4 portals to be closed and the nasties beaten.

On up to the top of the tower, where an icy gem is suspended in mid-air. Touching it triggers an elemental creature called the Heart of Winter to emerge. Fairly nasty fight but lots of daily powers are enough to kill the elemental.

As it dies, the gem shatters and the elemental forces causing the snow, and the encasement of the tower are broken. The weather begins to turn back to normal and the harvest is saved. Hurrah!

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Lost in the Snow

Quick Summary Leaving Loudwater to investigate the Tower of dwarven warlock Draigdurroch, players get lost in blizzard.

Eventually make it through to a valley where they can see the tower in the distance. Attacked by kobolds.

Make it through to the tower itself. Various gargoyle-type creatures animate when they force a way through the frozen wall surrounding the tower.

Into the tower, frozen Marie Celeste kind of feel to it. Ground floor empty, some icy monsters upstairs. During fight upstairs, some more creatures keep coming from the ground floor. They are the same blue colour as some icy flames frozen in four fireplaces downstairs. Further investigation reveals fireplaces now activated as some form of portal to an icy elemental plane. Cythor and Erithan close the portals, and party investigates the floor above.

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Back to town

So, laden with treasure, our heroes head back to town. It’s still snowing, which is a litle disturbing for mid summer, and there’s tales of bandits smuggling children to worry about. They head to see Curuvar in the Green Tankard tavern. He’s pleased to see, and that they’ve brought back the Ogre Skull. He goes on to explain that the Ogre was actually an Ogre Mage about a century or so before, and he’s keen to destroy the two items just to ensure that there’s no way that nefarious magic could bring him back. Cythor offers to join him for the disenchanting ritual, just to rest his mind that Curuvar isn’t up to anything.

“Before we hand over the items,” begins Erithan, “there is the small matter of unavoidable expenses. Wear and tear on crossbow bolts, that sort of thing.” 300 gold pieces for the party and a magic Orb for Cythor seem agreeable, and the two wizards disenchant and destory the Ogre skull and horn.

Curuvar presses the party for help investigating the snow. “How can we do anything about the weather?” asks Erithan, “blow hard into the wind?”.

“By Mystra’s lost spell no” explains Curuvar. “There is a tower in the Dire Wood, that I’ve got some suspicions about. I’d like you to go up there and investigate. Draigdurroch was a dwarven warlock who set himself up there to perform some research into eldritch pacts or some such. No one’s heard anything of him for 30 years or so. Last I heard was the tower itself was encased in magical ice – the tower was encased, but not the area around it. I’ve detected a large magical aura eminating from somewhere towards Dire Wood – it’s too much of a coincidence. The tower must be connected. Even if it isn’t you could perhaps find a clue in the warlock’s research. Otherwise the villagers might be harvesting snow ” “The town could assemble 600 gold pieces in total, and I’ll personally fund you another hundred if you bring me his ritual books and the same for his research notes.”

Erithan is keen to investigate the bandits ””hho would I rather annoy – some local thief or someone who can control the weather. If we need backup, I’d like to be owed a favour”, but the final decision is to investigate the weather. After some shopping – after all Radnelac needs some new plate armour.

During the general reprovisioning, the owner of the general store, a woman called Calla asks for help. She’s being pestered for some protection money by a tiefling called Narrows who works for the Lady of Shadows. Narrows threatens burning down shop might happen unless she’s protected by the Lady . “Lucky thing there’s all this snow to put the fire out, eh?” quips Erithan.

The party decide to wait until Narrows turns up, and then have a “chat”. Eventually he turns up to speak with Calla. “I see you have customers Calla, I’ll come back later.” “Don’t let us drive you away. We might be here for a while yet” says Erithan. “In fact, perhaps we could all discuss your business together” “MY business is my business, and you’d be wise to keep out of it” says Narrows. “Ooops, too late. Already in it” smiles the drow. “So tell us about the lady of Shadows. Come now, famous local personage. You must know loads about her.” “You don’t cross her twice. I don’t intend to start now.” scowls Narrows. “Unlucky mate!!!” laughs Radnelac. “You know how these things go – someone will have seen you talking to us – we’ll leave the rest to ur imagination.” “We can help” offers Erithan. “There’s sharp pointy helping, or there’s giving you a head start helping.” Narrows looks at the two dwarves, the dragonborn leaning on his halberd, an elf, a drow and the wizard. “So, about this head start then” he sighs. “There’s an abandoned house in the northwest corner of the Loudwater” and gives an address. “Her lair is in the basement.” So, tell who’s there… numbers, strengths… ”, presses Erithan. “Any secret knocks, passwords, that sort of complicated thing. Or do we just say narrows sent us?” “10 thugs, an Elf archer and her Ladyship of course. Tricksy little bitch. Got a fancy throwing knife see likes. Likes shifting around in combat. You know, nimble like, hard to hit.”

Satisfied with this, they let Narrows make his escape out of town. It’s going to take a day or so to hammer together some plate for Radnelas, so they head for the abandoned house, as advised by Narrows.They find a trapdown leading to some stairs heading down to a long corridor ending next to a door. Radnelac and Bronale lead the way down the corridor, and straight into the pit trap. With a couple of inches of acid at the bottom. They stumble and try to claw their way out, and manage it with Thaath’s help. It’s a twenty foot gap across to the other side, and Radnelac reckons he can make it. He’s 85% correct, as he just falls short, back into the pit. Thaath jumps across to try to help, but he also falls short, and into the acid. Thaath pushes Radnelac up, and Radnelac helps drag Thaath up the slippery sides of the pit. They fashion a taut rope across the pit, and the rest of the party manage to edge across. They untie the rope, and face the door.

To be continued on Thursday….

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Bandit Ambush
Something happened on the way back from the dungeon

An abridged session due to some skullduggery in that ancient and terrible domain known as “Port Forwarding”. But eventually connectivity is restored and the adventure continues.

Our heroes are on the road back from the tomb when they are ambushed by some bandits. Some not terribly accurate bandits as it turns out . There’s some general whittling down of dwarven battlerager enthusiasm and even a couple of scratches to armour etc. Thaath polishes off a bandit that Radnelac had been busy wearing down for a few exchanges. “Oi! He was mine!”

Erithan disappears into a drow cloud of darkness that only he can see through, and opens up with a couple of long range hand crossbow shots at the bandit leader.

He literally doesn’t see it coming until too late as first one bolt plunges into his side and seconds later another. He retreats and tries one last bowshot at a dwarf before Erithan drops him with another accurate shot.

At the other end of the fight, Thaath has found a new flanking buddy. With a cry of encouragement he persuades Cythor to stand behind a bandit and distract him while Thaath hacks at him with his halberd. Unfortunately for Cythor, this allows the bandits to set up their tactical assault on the wizard and flank him either side. Some bandit archers decide to join in on the fun, and it starts looking a bit grim for the wizard. He takes a step back, and with a brief incantation he beats an expeditous retreat out of the fray. What’s the use of magic if not for running away from sharp pointy things very very fast?

Some of the archers run away once they notice their fallen leader. Their colleagues fighting the dwarves try a similar plan, but unfortunately for them Bronale and Radnelac aren’t letting them go anywhere. Soon the bandits are either dead or scarpered, except for one poor unfortunate who cannot get away from Radnelac. If he stays to fight, the dwarf will kill him. If he tries to run away, the dward will kill him. His only option – throw himself at the mercy of the party.

“Wait! I surrender! PLease don’t kill me! I’ll tell you everything!” he pleads. “Go on”, threatens Radnelac stroking his axe. “We’re based at the old Zelbross moathouse, the other side of Loudwater. Please sir, I never wanted to get mixed up with this. I never bargained there’d be children!” “Children?” quizzed Radnelac, raising his axe. “The ones that get sent in barrels, sir. The ones that we get from the Lady. I mean, the Lady of Shadows sir.” “The Lady of Shadows that runs that thing that pretends to be the thieves guild in Loudwater?” ask Erithan. “I heard mention of her in the Thirsty Whale tavern.” “The same, sir. I don’t know who she is, honest sir. I only ever seen that dwarf, Zark, sir. He rolls up with these cider barrels in his wagon sir, and the lizard folk turn up and take them away. I never knew there was kids inside sir, I swear. I was only after doing a bit of honest banditry sir – I never signed up for this. It was only that day when the barrel smashed….Oh sir.”

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The Tomb of the Ogre King

The party climb down the stairs, lots of them. A hundred foot later they emerge into a long corridor. It’s not long before they have company as a zombie and a zombie rotter shuffle forward. There’s some chanting in distance with more shuffling sounds getting nearer. The dwarves hack at the zombies, encouraged by Thaath.

They continue on into the main chamber – at the far end a stone platform rises 10’ off the floor. On top of it, High Shaman Sancossug is in mid ritual over a large sarcophogus. Never a good thing. Stairs on the left and right lead up to the platform, guarded by dwarf zombies. Some more zombies lurk in the middle of the room.

Cythor conjures flaming sphere and rolls it twoards the zombies guarding Sancossug, scattering half of the zombies as they try to dodge the flames.

Bronale scurries into melee with couple of zombies, whilst Radnelac takes on the other two. Much crushing surging, invigorating and eventually the zombies drop. Meanwhile Cythor floats the sphere on top of the sarcophogus , completely ruining the ritual, and Sancossug’s day. He dashes out of the way, but the sphere pursues him relentlessly. With no safe place to hide on the platform, he sends his dead dwarves down the stairs to slow down the oncoming masses, whilst he rains down fire and pain from the stairs. A burst of fire almost knocks Radnelac down, but he hears an inspiring word from Thaath, probably “gold” or “beer” knowing Radnelac, and he draws his reserves of strengh togther, ready to press on.

A second hit from Sancossug blinds Radnelac leaving him surrounded by the evil Shaman’s retinue. Axious to save his brother, Bronale piles in with Villains menace on the nearest zombie attacking Radnelac, completely ignoring a zombie at his rear. Hearing Thaath’s lead the attack, he rains death and destruction on the zombie attacking Radnelac, saving him from the onslaught. Shaking his head and clearing his vision, Radnelac surveys the scene in front of him, most of the zombies lie prone. Sancossug still trying to dodge the flames licking around him from Cythor’s conjuration leaves an critical hole in his defences. Just big enough for Radnelac’s execution axe – one mighty swing and the shaman’s head flies off. That had to hurt.

They clear the sarcophogus and find a huge magic axe, and Radnelac’s eyes light up. There’s also an ogre skull fashioned into a magic mace, similar to the horn totem made into a dagger. Should they return to Curuvar back in Loudwater? Can he be trusted not to use them in some dark necromantic ceremony of his own?

The party head back to Loudwater to find out. Some discussion then follows as to what to do with the

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The Upper Catacombs
Another broken teleport disc

The party descend the stairs at the end of the corridor, and it leads to a set of doors. Not hearing anything much behind it, the dwarves push them open and advance into the room. An arrow hits the doorway above them as a hobgoblin archer lurking behind a fountain in the south east corner pops his head up and looses as shot.

Goblin hexer and a javelin wielding warrior stand on other side of 10 foot wide pit which looks very deep indeed. A teleportation stone stands on the near side of the pit and whilst opposite stairs leads downwards into the depths, but a couple of hobgoblin soldiers in the middle of the room are a more immediate attention grabber.

Erithan begins a wave of crossbow fire upon the hexer who reacts to the damage by sending a stinging hex at the first dwarf he sees, in this case Bronale.

The stinging hex sizzles over Bronale’s armour, but he grits his teeth as the hex erupts again as he moves into the room. His brother follows to take on the other soldier while Thaath has already moved up and provided a flanking opportunity. Hi lightning breath is blocked by the hobgoblin’s shields, so it looks like the halberd will have to do the work.

Arowyn joins in with the reign of fire onto the goblin hexer, but the goblin keeps ducking behind his javelin wielding lacky, letting him take most of the damage. But he can only dodge so often, and it means that Erithan’s shots get through.

The hexer waves his arms again, and the air above the teleport stone sizzles slightly as a sneaky goblin blackblade steps from the haze, launching an attack on Arowyn.

The hobgoblins in the middle of the room are tough to hit and it takes all the combined manoeuvring skills of the dwarves and the dragonborn to try and outwit them. Bronale shares his attacks between the goblin attacking Arowyn and the hobgoblin, while Radnelac and Thaath tag team the other hobgoblin.

Cythor moves into the fray, continuing the assault on the hexer with magic missiles. WIth its last breath it launches a blinding hex at Arowyn before Erithan takes it down with a neatly placed crossbow.

Arowyn takes a step back from the goblin to try and escape the blackblade’s attacks. The gap gives Cythor a chance to step in and with a wave of his hands, a deafening crack of thunder bursts forth and the wave of energy pushes the unsuspecting blackblade over into the pit. Several long seconds later, there is a distant thump as the goblin takes the express route down.

Another crack of thunder bursts forth as Bronale critcals the goblin warrior. Thaath and Radnelac take down one of the hobgoblin soldiers. This allows them to concentrate their assault on the remaining soldier, who cannot stand long on his own.

The poor hobgoblin archer has been pinging away with his bow for the entire time, but hasn’t hit anything. Maybe he should have run away as Bronale closes in and finishes him off with Thaath’s help, clearing the room.

A bit of searching, some semi-random throwing of goblins onto the teleportation stone with similar results to last time. They disappear, only to reappear slightly singed when the stone is moved. The burn damage looks magical or possibly even mystical rather than natural, but no clues as to how to operate the disks.

An adjoining storage room has various bits of goblin filth, but also holds a couple of nice silver statues, and a rather nice glaive which Thaath picks up.

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The Contested Hallway
Call this a magic teleport?

The party has a look at the stone disc – it radiates some magic. The runes on it make little sense, but Cythor does remember books mentioning ancient teleportation stones created by the Ammarindar dwarven clan centuries again. They were supposed to enable them to instantly teleport across their empire. But that was before the fall of Netheril hundreds of years ago and many magics have been lost since then. Teleportation portals that were dotted across the realms before the death of Mystra, Goddess of Magic, and the ensuing tumult of the Spellplague, now stand as overgrown ruins, useless.

Lacking any volunteers, they try throwing one of the goblin corpses onto it. The goblin disappears. How strange. Not sure what to do with the stone, the party decide to leave it there for now and investigate it further later on. Scattered amongst the goblins are 60 gold pieces and and what Cythor reckons is a potion of healing on the body of the goblin hexer.

On through the east door. Erithan scouts ahead – a corridor leads east about 70 feet. There’s some stairs at the end leading down, just before that there’s an opening on both the north and south walls. The north seems blocked by a portcullis with what appears to be some slow foot shuffling coming from behind it, to the south a closed door.

Pressing on, Erithan sneaks a look through the portcullis – there appears to be some dwarven zombies behind it shuffling around. A quick message back to the party and a general plan of “shoot them through the portcullis” is established. Thaath joins in poking his halberd through the bar to swipe at the zombies. This works well, until the zombies shuffle forwards and raise the portcullis themselves and advance on the party. Taking a step back, Thaath spits a burst of lighting at the advancing crowd, killing some zombie rotters at the back and wounding the more fully formed zombies in the front.

“A new plan! A new plan!” cries Cythor, dragging Bronale back down the corridor to the pit room. “We can use the teleportation disc. It’s not fixed to the floor – we can pick it up, roll down the corridor and let the zombies disappear into it. Genius!”

A tactical withdrawal is hastily organised, but not before the south door opens and out steps a big goblin bearing a nasty looking warhammer, which he proceeds to hit Bronale with. Thaath isn’t having much fun with these zombies either, but eventually the party manages to rearrange itself down the corridor, thanks to some splendid covering fire from Arowyn and Erithan.

When Cythor lifts the teleportation stone onto it’s edge, the goblin body reappears, looking much the worse for wear, slightly crispy about the edges. Cythor rolls the teleportation disc between the party and the ongoing zombies, lets it fall flat onto the ground and stands back, beaming proudly. “Come and get it suckers!”.

He looks markedly less pleased when the zombies and the goblin walk on, through and past the teleportation stone and begin laying into Bronale and Thaath again. “Oi! That’s not fair” decries Cythor to the universe in general. Which to be fair is true. It wasn’t. Which only goes to show.

Bronale finally manages to hit the zombie attacking him, allowing his battlerager fury to build up, but he’s taken a fair old pounding so far. But the combined might of the two dwarves, deftly lead by Thaath and volleys of fire both arcane and otherwise from the rear ranks is enough to drop the goblin and the remaining zombies. But not before a skulking goblin figure dashes out from the southern doorway and runs down the stairs.

After the zombies drop, there are no further assaults on the party. “They must be waiting for us downstairs” says Cythor. “Let’s have another look at this disk”.

The teleportation disk still seems to radiate some magic, but it now appears to be in a dormant state. None of the letters and symbols carved onto it make any sense, and a series of “Abracadabrahs” and the like don’t make any difference. Bronale picks up the warhammer that caused him so much pain in the fight, and sticks it in his belt to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The southern room houses a seven tall stone statue of a huge goblinoid creature standing on a marble dias, brandishing a huge waraxe in its hand. “Go on Erithan” says Cythor to the drow. “You’re a thief, go and see if it’s trapped”.

“I’m not a thief” protests Erithan, “I’m just good with locks – that’s all”. A quick perusal reveals some writing on the dias in goblin. “It says ‘Ogre King’” translates Thaath. “And look – there’s something broken off on top of its head – right where a horn would be” remarks Cythor.

“What did we do with horn?” asks Cythor. “The horn the goblins were desperate to bring back to here so they could use it in a ceremony to raise the dead Ogre King. We did leave it somewhere safe didn’t we?”

“It’s perfectly safe” says Bronale, reaching into his pack. “It’s right here.”

There now follows a short interlude during which time every bit of rope the party has is wrapped around the statue to try and restrain its limbs while someone climbed up and placed the horn dagger on top of the statue, followed by climbing back down again and a mass untying of rope. As expected, the Ogre King didn’t magically appear, but at least they found a small tribute hole containing another healing potion and some gold coins (minus Erithan’s handling fee).

Arowyn finds 20 gold and a small ruby amidst the zombie filth in the north alcove. They then line up at the top of the stairs to face the danger waiting for them down below. Because it IS down there, and it DOES know they’re coming.

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