Privateer

Episode 116 Recap
A Northern Trek

Bork’s bomb explodes on contact with Saharin’s throat. Shah sneaks forward, clanks his daggers together and turns invisible. Gfed flings a scorching ray, Zinn makes a fleet charge with a critical spell strike and Fraas unloads a giant fireball. Aven shoots the beast with his pepperbox and sends blade drones to attack. Rand, maul in hand, swiftly crushes the dragoness’ skull.

There is a moment of stunned silence.

The surrounding townsfolk erupt with vigorous cheers. Archibald shouts “drinks on me!” (He promptly puts everything on Lord Garland’s tab).

The adventurers search the dragon’s body finding her scales delicately polished and she only possesses fresh wounds implying a life of ease. She has a mithral ring on her claws with a large green stone and Draugarland sigil. The ring has 3 auras: moderate transmutation, faint aura of abjuration and faint transmutation. The group is unsure of the rituals of ring exchange in dragon life, but finds the ring enhances diplomacy with elves, and allows the wearer to alter self. Sentinel tries on the ring and suddenly is able to take the form of Lord Garland.

Using her sword, Zinn speaks with the dead wyrm. What is your relationship to Draugarland? I am his widow. How did he die? My brothers challenged and slew him. Why did they challenge him? He refused to grant me the heir to which I was entitled.

The group task the town’s skilled workers to begin processing the dragon’s body, collecting acid sacs, skin, skeleton, skull, scales and gut, perhaps for some new bardic instruments. They talk to Arvelen about remaining magistrate, to which she replies “I’ll think about it.”

The group begins to make preparations to head North now that it appears Draugarland’s mandate cannot be enforced. Rand says goodbye to his mother and the group spend their evening partying and taking watch. During the revelry, Archibald sadly grumbles to himself about Lord Garland’s tab. On third watch, Sentinel notices the magistrate whispering to Shah and they leave together.

As dawn arrives, Fraas begins switching to swigs of water. Shah rejoins everyone at the tavern and tells that Arvelen has suggested him as new magistrate in her stead. Shah doesn’t like this idea, so the group gathers the town together to ask for a volunteer. Durri shoves Beck out for the sole nomination. All the town votes Yea for the appointment, with one exception: Beck’s curmudgeonly uncle, who is immediately chastised by Rand.

With Griffton’s leadership settled, the group heads down into the pit, and into the tomb of the protectors. Fraas makes a failed attempt to scry Elin after which they head to the Northern passage. The hewn stone path continues until the bricks dwindle and eventually they are in a dirt tunnel. Chirps of katydids, and pleasant, floral smells bloom in. It is unnaturally lit up ahead and the path opens up between trunks of trees.

Outside it is night sky with an abundance of stars. It seems clearer and brighter than a usual night. They emerge into the forest, making sure to shoot an arrow as marker for a return. Fraas peers through the spyglass, and the glowing portals have adjusted logically as if they are now far North on the mote.

Sentinel begins tracking what are presumably Zidane’s tracks. They move for a while until they hear a horde of beings, moving, walking. Shah and Fraas go invisible. Aven goes up to check while everyone else hides. Bork notices a female elf wearing torn up clothing. A group of about 200 humanoids follow, looking ragged as if they’ve been in the forest for a while. Bork approaches. “There is not much left of Belheim.” Saharin had just arrived and said Lord Garland was dead. Immediately after she left, the White Wyrm and his forces had rushed the town. The Belheim army bought the people time to flee. The White Wyrm only wanted “to kill all in town.” Jackmerius had stayed behind with Belheim’s council. Fraas hurriedly escorts the refugees into the tunnel Southward. The White Wyrm’s forces are not far behind.

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Into the clearing, they see five bright white winter wolves, bounding forward, breathing cold. They are joined by large, barnacled rock men, that upon inspection appear to by earth-attuned hill giants. Bork bombs one of the bigger wolves twice. The giants lumber up. Sentinel rushes forward, sparking the ground, hitting a giant who deftly absorbs most of the hit. Sentinel misses with a second swipe, but his third is a critical blow.

Zinn slays a smaller wolf with a fleet strike and makes her way to hit one of the larger. Fraas sends a fireball to three wolves, now aflame. Shah sends out burning hands and goes invisible. One of the Winter wolves shoots a cold blast at Rand and Bork, while Shah fully evades the icy breath. The wolves continue to sizzle afire.

Bork bombs with fire, Gfed uses scorching ray, finishing off one of the larger wolves. Rand smites a giant who returns attack by swings at the tree Rand was using a cover. The tree bows into Rand, knocking him prone. Another giant moves in, between Sentinel & Rand, and pounds the ground. Sentinel evades, but Rand is trampolined and further hurt. He casts lay hands on himself, barely hanging on.

Sentinel rushes forward, not making any damage with his blows. Aven’s pepperbox fells the other large wolf. Zinn rushes in, swiftly bolstering Rand with her sword’s magic, and strikes with her sword and shocking grasp. Fraas fireballs, rendering the final wolf to ashes and hitting two of the hill giants. Shah invisibly approaches a giant preparing a sneak attack. Bork bombs the giant next to Zinn. Rand again lays hands on himself, tossing his javelin at the nearest giant, which plinks right off. Gfed scorches one, the creatures who are still on fire sizzle on. A giant knocks the ground between Zinn and Rand. They get hit, but keep their feet. The giant in front of sentinel strikes the ground. Sentinel evades, but Rand is knocked to the ground and unconscious. Sentinel lets loose a flurry of blows, Aven shoots the giant looming over Zinn to its death. Zinn cures Rand back to consciousness…again…and charges between the two remaining giants, slaying one and cleaving the other with a solid hit. From near the tunnel entrance, Fraas sends a lightning bolt and electrocutes the final giant, who spasms to death.

Rand gathers injured to heal, while Sentinel rushes to notify the refugees.

The haul of loot is impressive. 2200 gold-pieces worth of gems and coins, a Masterwork heavy steel shield adorned with green dragon crest, +1 halfplate, +1 light mace. The items are all stained with blood. There are oils of magic vestiment and remove curse, potions of eagle’s splendor and good hope, wands of animal aspect, bane, scorching ray, true strike, and lesser confusion, and scrolls of resist energy, ray of enfeeblement, heat metal, feeble mind, prismatic spray, anti magic field, clashing rocks and miracle.

Meanwhile, Zinn queries the lead dire wolf corpse with her sword. What were the plans for belheim? We retook the town from our ancient enemy. What are your plans for the rest of the mote? We take what we want; everything belongs to us. What are your plans for griffton? Who is griffton?

The adventurers use the lyre to clean up their tracks and obfuscate the entry to the tunnel leaving a small opening for Fraas to send through an arcane eye to scout upon their return. The begin conversing with the refugees on the way back to town.

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Episode 115 Recap
Those pesky trolls never knew what hit them...

On their way to the scrying pool, the adventurers chatter about the mysterious dragon from the otherworldly tower. The imperial dragons, grand noble creatures, where once guardians of the portals. Rand supposes the dragon they saw is a captive in the North. They approach the pit and spot in front of a large pile of dirt, Officer Durri and a lone 12 year old holding a spear, presumably all that is left of the town guard.

Down the pit they reach the scrying pool and focuses their search on a “good” version of Tahgen. The pool fades but they see nothing. Rand takes them to where he had left Quinnla, but no tracks remain. They head back to the Griffon lodge, but discouraged and confused they find no new traces of Tahgen. Outside they find the most recent tracks are from armored boots within the week. They all head back into town through the tunnels. At this point, Beck parts ways with the rest, citing a need for new muscle in the town guard. Durri is caught up, and he let’s the young boy, Timothy, know that he is no longer second in command, and Durri appears pleased to have the help.

The rest of the group walk across town. Rand remembers he still had the money from the smashed tithe box and they decide to make reparations at the temple. An acolyte answers the door, but in the back is Quinnla, seemingly normal, and quietly mopping up in back!! They question her fervently about Tahgen’s whereabouts but she remembers nothing. Just nightmares, nothing specific. She only remembers Tahgen running further North. After welcoming her back into the township, Quinnla successfully regenerates Rand’s hand using the scroll from the Northmen. The group decides the next orders of business are questioning the desiccated gnome, meeting Sieffre, and then moving North to search for Tahgen. Sentinel makes good use of his new speed and darts out to procure some horses, while the rest make their way to the suite for the gnome.

When they arrive, Zinnaerris’ sword channels their questions to Zorian’s lifeless body. What is the heart? “A powerful thing that needed fixing.” How was it broken? “It just needed fixing.” How did you learn about the heart? “It was all I could hear.” The group decides to take her to Quinnla for interring in the proper gnomish tradition. Sentinel returns having wrangled several horses that had wandered into town during the last week’s fracas.

They walk down to the bar area and run into Archibald behind the bar. They ask about Sieffre, and inform him about Elin. They also decide to bring him and Durri to Sieffre, figuring it be good to have some familiar faces when breaking the sensitive news of Elin’s possible fate. On the way to the docks, Fraas begins feeling a bit more bolstered than usual, a sign that his ring of sustenance has just finished attuning.

At the docks they approach a ship, a modest sloop-of-war with figure head. The ship has been christened, Elin. Zinn remembers this ship. Aboard there are warm pleasant aromas, lanterns shining from below. Upon entering, it is clearly bigger on the inside, through some mystical force. In the mess hall, Sieffre is seen sitting next to an armored knight whom Zinn vaguely remembers. The crowd is enjoying music coming from a teenage girl playing the lute. They spy a female elf blindfolded with her hand on the musician girl’s shoulder. Another elf of note is wearing a strange holy symbol. When detecting evil on the crowd, nothing triggers any alerts.

Zinn gets Sieffre’s attention, who seems to remember her, but not her name. Although he seems to know everyone else’s names. He leads them down a tangled passage into a private meeting room. The man he’s with is introduced as Sir Gaston Mercier. The room has a large table, and magical window to a beautiful sandy beach. Rand tells him about restoring the Heart and about the other realm. When he is handed the book binding with the inscription to Elin he begins shaking and tearing up. The solemnly takes off his necklaces, looks at the group and enters his private chamber. Archibald tells Gaston about Elin. Fraas picks up the necklace and feels a gusty wind blowing. It is a piece of aerum with a strong levitation effect. The knight infers from Sieffre’s gesture that the group has just been given the keys to the ship. Everyone takes they turn wearing the necklace, although only Fraas seems attuned to the gusty powers of the crystal. It is left with Sir Gaston for safekeeping, who Sentinel notices seems sad about the news of Elin. They ask him about the pirates, and he tells that the pirates were evaded when the ship reached the mote-borne fog banks. The ship was the Summerstar, Blackhail’s ship. Before they leave, Sir Gaston notes, “the crew expect to be paid.” The party agrees and will make arrangements soon.

Upon closer inspection, the ship looks magically crafted, as if it was build around an extra-dimensional portal that houses the ship’s interior and the ship is used to move the portal around. Aboard there is a forge, crossbowmen, and much dwarf craftsmanship. At this time, they take an hour or so to move their belongings to the ship. Upon checkout of their suite, it is apparent that Archibald is mischievously running up the tab for to Lord Garland.

It is now mid afternoon. The gang make their way back to the Griffon’s Lodge and proceed until nightfall in the direction Beck had previously tracked bootprints. They take watches, now with the sustained Fraas taking all watches along with Sentinel. Zinn is snoring loudly. The forest is alive.

Several yards away, a branch snaps. Sentinel calls out “Who goes there?” which is followed by rushing, growling noises. Three large stooped figures with rough green hides and tusks emerge. trolls! The mama troll charges, Zinn quickly immolates. Bork passes out acid and bombs and Aven throws acid on one of the smaller trolls. Sentinel pummels an elemental fist at one, Fraas broil the two smaller beasts, one of which runs away. Gfed confuses the remaining small troll and Zinn runs past it, striking on the way to killing the mother troll. Bork acids the remaining troll and it begins clawing it’s face off while burning to death. The troll running away can be heard screaming “NO MAMA NO!”

They check the stomach contents of the trolls, worried they would find signs of Tahgen, they only find a couple owl skeletons in the mother. The remainder of the night passes uneventfully. In the morning they take a short side trip to find the trolls’ cave. When they reach it, a chain shirt is flung out and in a frantic giant tongue, “s-sscared, t-take t-treasure.” Zinn’s response is quick, “CHARGE!” She sends a touch of combustion. The troll is cowering fear as its fingers are lopped off. Rand attacks, smashing in its skull. Bork sets it on fire. They proceed to loot the cave finding a masterwork chain shirt, some potions, scrolls and wands, a wooden shield and some gold and jewels. Bork finds a magical club and Rand obtains a scroll of spear of purity. There is also a drawing of mama troll and her kids, painted in blood; they are pictured eating villagers together.

They set back upon Tahgen’s trail for another half day when they stumble upon one of his resting spots. They continue on until near nightfall when they find some tracks leading into a set of bushes. There are broken branches and signs of a struggle. Stuck in the roots is a piece of processed wood that is perhaps Tahgen’s peg leg. There are large dire bear tracks leaving the fray. They follow the tracks, which suddenly end without trace. Is this the work of druids? Fraas casts blood biography on the splatters of blood near the bush: “Tahgen, human hero of Griffton, torn to pieces by Dire Bear, 5 days ago.” They follow the bear prints that originally led to the bushes and they too end without trace. There is a vague lingering evil in the direction of the bear tracks.

The group make a hasty trek back to lodge. On the way they catch glimpse of a large dragon-shape flying past the moon. Could Lord Garland have returned, just as Tahgen was slain? At the lodge, they raid the spell books, and take the chess set and bear rug with them back to the ship. Sentinel also brings the statue of the child from Archibald’s storeroom along. They find that Sieffre is no longer aboard, and they all head back to the tavern.

Rand goes to wake Durri, and Archibald joins leaving the new barmaid in charge, and everyone congresses his Archibald’s private storeroom. Rand begins telling Durri and Archibald everything; about Tahgen, Thellan’s scroll and that it looks like Lord Garland has return. With dwindling options, they all decide to find Triwathien, the magistrate’s mother.

When they arrive at her home, Arvellan opens the door. They detect magic in case there are spying devices. Creaking is heard upstairs. There are two feminine voices, elven. Bork drinks a comprehend languages potion and hears the arrogant sneer, “we shall see about that, tomorrow.” The upstairs window opens. Outside Sentinel catches glimpse of moonlight off greenscale.

The party scans the home with detection spells; Arvellan glows a little good, while Triwathien glows neither. Rand’s diplomacy and Bork’s lack of charisma begin working their magic. They are eventually able to persuade Triwathien to discuss her midnight visitor, a beautiful elven woman who suddenly arrived and demanded to see who was in charge. The elf’s name was Saharin, which in draconic roughly translates as, verdant bloom. The group tells her about Tahgen’s fate and Lord Garland’s contract. When they ask about Lord Garland, it’s clear she doesn’t know that she is related. Rand breaks this news as easy as possible, and she admits she had her suspicions. They ask if she knew of any sons that went missing in the North, but she tears up a little, and tells them she had one, a stillborn. But he was buried, and there had been a funeral. The group at first suspects that the stone statue that is Tahgen’s son was from out of wedlock, but soon realize and discuss that the half-elf boy is likely to be that stillborn child Triwathen remembers. And that it was Garland that mislead them about the life of the child.

They all head back to the tavern to make an encampment for the evening. Archibald clears the main bar room and watches are taken. At the break of dawn, they are stirred by loud, approaching wing beats. Fraas takes a quick pull of whiskybae. Out front a Green Wyrm who is clearly smaller and more effeminate than Lord Garland alights, landing with a BOOM! IN a terrifying and beautiful voice, “WHO SPEAKS FOR THIS TOWN!?” Bork and Rand approach, while the rest of the party take up tactical positions in and outside the tavern — the dashing Shah’s entrance being the most dramatic and impressive, of course.

ANY AGREEMENTS YOU HAVE WITH DRAUGARLOND ARE NULL AND VOID. I SHALL REQUIRE YOUR YOUNGEST BORN, UPON THE START OF EVERY MONTH.” Bork responds with the toss of a bomb.

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Episode 114 Extended Scene

[Scene: The next morning after a night’s rest, Rand at his Barduk family home everyone else at various places. Rand finds the others and asks everyone to gather in their private room at the Inn so all can converse together. ]

RAND: I’m still worried about Quinnla and Tahgen, I know where I left them, but I don’t know what’s become of them since the Heart was restored. This is the one urgent thing I’d like to do – go find them.

SENTINEL: That sounds wise but also like something that should be done during the day.

SENTINEL (Looking at other party members who are not Rand): How many arrows of light out of the heart were not focused on our group? I believe I remember two pieces not entering any of our party…

BECK: There were three beams of light that spread off to who and where we don’t know.

AVEN: I am curious about the 3 streams of light as well, whom do they belong? Whether it is friend or foe, we need to know specifically since the changes that have become us are quite life altering. I am also curious about about Rand’s vampire experience and desires based on what he can remember. Also, along those lines should we be concerned with Thelon? I believe that we should consider our next step with same concerns as before the health of the mote was restored. Especially in regards of he who shall not be named. Until such time as we know something from the north he is still anywhere and everywhere. Then there is the white male dragon that was the mate to the female that we slew. Not knowing the relationship of dragons other than from current experience we don’t know if he will be hunting us or could care less.

[When Aven says the changes are quite life altering Sentinel looks at everyone with surprise.]

SENTINEL (to everyone): After the light struck you did you feel more powerful as well? I feel so much quicker on my feet, I wonder how fast I can move now.

[Sentinel dashes 400 feet in mere seconds. It’s like a stereotypical scene of graceful speed, dust and gravel.]

FRAAS (to Rand): Do you remember why you were so opposed to us messing with the heart?

SENTINEL: Really what do you remember from your time undead in general? When we were in the heart’s void the orcish priest said that you were on their side and didn’t actually cast a dominate spell onto you, do you know who and what you were serving at that point?

BECK: I think there was a lot about that little island we were ported to that was special. The stars there were different from here, I was looking at it closely last night. The magic on those totems was really powerful, but the totems themselves were rather primitive. The Orcs there seemed surprised at Aven’s gun, even though Orcs around here are known to use them. Why would this evil Blood God be neighbors with this burning all powerful heart? The water and ground seemed new, like it was freshly made, volcanic. It really seems to me like we went back in time. But if you figure that it was Sieffre’s wife those Orcs had there, we really did go back in time and the time over there is moving really slow. What else did all of you notice? Any one make anything else of it?

BECK (to Rand): If we wanted to check on Quinnla and Tahgen we could use that scying pool down in the tunnels in the Chamber of the Protectors under the town.

RAND: Fraas to answer your question I have to back up a bit. As I spent more and more time as my new self, thinking about why I came back to life,, I guess I mean “un-life,” I became more and more convinced that the power emanating from the Heart was what had brought me back, and being brought back by it, I wanted to protect it. Really, I came to see it as the source of me, and the way I saw myself as I was then – was powerful. I, in no way, was going to risk that changing. When you approached the Heart in spite of my insistence not to, I was furious. I have to tell you something else now first, before I go on. I was thinking last night, that I knew you guys would have a lot of questions. And you might have a little trouble trusting me… You might not, I know, but,, if you did I would understand. It’s my pledge to you All to tell you the whole truth of the experience, even if it’s difficult to say now.

RAND (to Fraas): So, to continue, Fraas I wasn’t planning on ‘telling’ you again. I was going to stop you, even if that meant kill you right then and there. Up to that point I was happy to be a part of the group again, and i KNEW it was right for me to lead you all (Rand looks down remorsefully). And it was perfectly right for me exact justice upon you for not adhering to my authority.

RAND (looking at Sentinel): After we were teleported to the Blood God’s realm – I realize you all might remember it differently but that’s what that place was for me – I still expected your, and planned on, cooperating with the rest of you. I don’t really know how that shaman Orc knew I was ‘with them’ but it was true. After I relished ripping that Orc’s head off and was intoxicated with the thrill of my own power I suddenly knew I had to bring you all to the Blood God. It was as though he called to me, it felt like holy inspiration. I WAS going to bring you all, I knew I would have to force you to go and I was willing to use any means to do it. I was planning on beating all of you within an inch of your lives and subserviently taking you to be used however the Blood God saw fit.. there was not the faintest thought within me as to reason ‘why?’. Well, all of you except Bork (Rand looks apologetically at Bork), with all those bombs you kept hitting me with, I didn’t want to bring you anywhere, I was going to pulverize you. Thankfully, all of you are so quick, powerful and deadly, I didn’t have a chance. In that state I actually underestimated all of you.

RAND (to everyone): After I was defeated and turned to mist, I knew I could find recovery at that tower. I knew I’d eventually come back and we’d battle again. After some time floating towards the tower I spotted a few things. I saw the lone surviving Orc running down the land bridge away from its fight with all of you, I then noticed a band of Orcs traveling far far down the land bridge with what looked like a prisoner being carried to the Blood God. And just before my memory of that mist flight ended I saw something much more epic. At the dark tower I saw what looked like a winged angel and a wingless pearlescent white dragon breathing lightning, both graceful and beautiful swoop in and battling a creature at the top of the tower. It was an enormous, amorphous flying mass of blackness, with tentacle-like limbs battling back the attackers. Their attack while elegant and powerful was not going well, they were being beaten back slowly, then my memory stopped. The next I knew I was with you all in this room last night, you brought me back. I thought death was supposed to be peaceful…

[Rand pauses in thought, then continues]

RAND: When I first ‘woke up’ more or less, in Quinnla’s temple I was completely bewildered. There was no icy cave, no white dragon looming over me, but there was a little halfling with a pulse. I wanted to devour her. I rack my mind now trying to remember if I even hesitated to consider if I should or not, but that’s just me being biased now. I didn’t hesitate at all. It was only after, that I was horrified and devastated at what I had done to our friend Quinnla. But you know the rest of the story from the time when we spoke in my lair,, I mean, (Rand winces) what was and should hopefully be again Thellan’s Cairn.

For the most part I spent my time plotting what to do on behalf of the mote and how much my leadership would improve things, how to destroy the green wyrm, if he should return, and how to grow my influence, and who my allies should be. I obviously considered making the Belheim priests my allies, and almost convinced myself that the Green Wyrm could be a friend… but I guess some small part of the old me remained. I have to tell you my mind worked so much clearer then. It’s like I was on a high, I felt lifted, and well,,, better. I’m finding it difficult now to even keep a train of thought. I can hardly believe this is how I lived my life before, and I didn’t even mind, I didn’t even notice (said with a slight hint of disgust).

Anyway, I left Quinnla in the tunnels, and asked Tahgen to prowl the woods near the Griffon Lodge, but they were to expect me back before dawn. I commanded Quinnla to wait, but I held no sway over Tahgen, for Quinnla sired him. That’s probably why he attacked the priest against my orders. Even before I departed the Lodge, he had fled into the woods, in wolf form. I think he preferred it to being a limbless old man.

There is one more thing, in keeping with the full truth to you all, something happened last night (said with a thoughtful serious scowl). I don’t know what this means but all of us better know about it. I woke from a disturbed sleep after hearing a voice in a dream. My room was still and quiet and dark. As I sat up in bed trying to calm my nerves, a hint of movement by my window alerted my now laboriously dim senses. When I focused in on it, I saw a crow just as it flew away. The voice from my dream was ‘my voice’ but it wasn’t. It was my voice, but very sinister. It’s like it was the voice of the Blackguard I had become speaking to me in my mind. He said “I’ll be back for my hammer.”

AVEN: So is it possible that some schism happened with your consciousness and your “sinister” side created some type of physical manifestation? Maybe something to do with that other plane of time that we stumbled on to? What about Thellan?

RAND: That’s my take on it too, I think the Blood God could have made this possible in some way. Also, I was there as evil when we were dealing with the Heart. I think the evil me is very likely to have been imbued with the mythic power too. Thellan was left in his cairn, as Beck suggested, I think we should scry him too. What do you think of the crow? Fraas, Aven, Gfed, do you think it could have been a messenger or a familiar?

AVEN: An Omen to foreshadow a threat, and one that we shall not take lightly. With this information did we have an idea what direction we were considering to be our next course. I almost feel like we are all in consensus to check on Quinnla and Tahgen.

SHAH: Yes, I want to see if Quinnla and Tahgen are alive and if they bear evidence of having been hit by mystical rays.

FRAAS (aside to Rand): It’d be great to know if you can still pop off orcs heads with his bare hands. Evil you or not, I would really have liked to have seen that.

FRAAS (aloud, but directed to Aven): The idea that the dark-evil Rand is still in existence, and potentially bolstered/ascended, I’m a little more than nervous. We should soak the hammer in garlic.

FRAAS (to everyone): Dark/evil Rand or no, our most immediate concern is Thellan and Quinnla, Taghen & any others they managed to turn before we returned. Even a few unruly vampires can easily grow their numbers exponentially if left unchecked. If we’re lucky, albeit sad, they will have just turned into lifeless corpses like Rand had. If Tahgen is indeed really dead, what of the green wyrm’s deal with Griffton?

I think your idea to scry them in the pool [looking at Beck] is the quickest option, that is if the scrying pool has renewed its facilities since our last attempt. Also, we should try to scry Rand to see if we can detect a schism that way? If we find Quinnla and Taghen’s bodies and Rand’s alter-evil is still around, should we expect alter-evil Quinnla/Taghen as well?

But first we should touch base with Sieffre. He is apparently arrived in port and has come far at our request. We’ll want to assess whether the pirates he faced are a potential problem. Plus, I imagine he’ll most want to make strategies for the rescue of Elin, which for certain merits some discussion.

This leads to issues of the world of the black tower… Were the dragon and angel (presumably Mrs. Rand aka Ghaele of the North) keepers of black tower? Are they potential allies? Is this the dragon from our mote? Without the green wyrm around has this white dragon taken over the deal with the angel? Has the angel been serving the blood god all along (I remember something about this angel bringing children to Belheim through a portal. Was she rescuing them?)? What on earth was the black amorphous cloud they were fighting? Is this Orburos, the same diety of the Erinyes we battled? Who in the hell is the Blood God and what do they want, besides blood, obviously?

I think it’s time we make way to Belheim. If that truly is the portal to the black tower, it may be our only avenue of approach with the heart repaired. On a related note, when should we start experimenting with the spyglass again?

RAND (to Fraas): Well, frankly I feel like a shell of what I was when I was a vampire, now I might be able to rip the head off a mouse, or at least a very strong rat (smiles).

RAND (to group): About those questions regarding the Angel and Dragon, to be clear, they were not the keepers of the the Black Tower, they were attacking it. As for allies, I’ve assumed the same thing, the Angel could be my mother, but with her known behaviors from the circumstances of my siring and the allowances of people to Belheim as slaves, it’s hard to tell what end is motivating her means. Who knows if she could be an ally or not… She certainly hasn’t been much of a mother.

The dragon was definitely not a “White Dragon” – the vile savage kind that loves the cold. While this dragon was of a white kind of color it was unlike any I’ve ever heard tale of, much less have seen. I had a good up close look of a White Dragon, you remember, and this was different. It was beautiful, and I’m certain, was of good spirit. So, in my mind this eliminates the possibility of this exotic pearlescent dragon taking over the Green Wyrm’s and Ghaele’s agreement.

Regarding the Blood God and the black evil cloud, I don’t think either are Orburos. While Orburos was the god of that Erinyes it is also the primary of the two dragonic gods from Belheim. I assume it would function in the form of a Red Dragon, like the temples of Belheim suggest.

So, it’s agreed, lets head to the scying pool and see if it works to see Tahgen, Quinnla and evil Rand, in that order. I agree with you Fraas, unruly vampires on the loose would need to be nipped quickly. After the scrying and before any necessary action related to what we find, lets go make our introduction to Sieffre. The reason I think we should meet Sieffre after the scrying is because the conversation might be sensitive and take some time, while what we find from the scry might necessitate quick action.

Regarding traveling to Belheim, the Green Wyrm’s ominous commitment on Griffton and experimenting with the spyglass, lets deal with with above priorities first.

[The group, alert and battle ready, leave the inn, venturing to the pit in the center of town. They descend and make way to the Chamber of the Protectors and the scrying pool to scry for Tahgen, Quinnla and the vampiric Rand.]

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Episode 114 Recap
More Captives For The Blood God

Fraas walks boldly past Rand, and touches the Heart. Nothing. He looks down at the nearby gnome, and is struck by the sudden quiet of the chamber. As he looks around he notices that he and the deceased gnome are now alone in this room. He tries to remove his hand from the Heart, but the act brings on the grip of death and he barely manages to steady himself barely keeping his hand on the Heart.


For the rest of the gang, when Fraas approached the Heart, he simply vanished. As they look around, they realize they are no longer in the Heart’s chamber, but upon an island of black volcanic sand. Heat emanates from where the stairway was. Lapping water, smell of campfire. Carved stone pillars surround the small island and the Heart now appears crystalline and is melted into the obsidian ground. In the distance they spot other islands, volcanoes and an encroaching lightning storm. Beyond the heart, a sandbar path leads from their island of to a far off black tower. Zinn privately recognizes this, almost expecting its appearance. There are signs of someone recently being dragged along this sandy path.

At this point the group realizes that there are several feral orcs who have been stirred by the party’s sudden appearance on this isle. One of the orcs is a one-eyed priest, a worshipper of the ancient and savage evil orc god, Gruumsh. The orc-priest shouts in a primitive orc dialect “MORE CAPTIVES FOR THE BLOOD GOD!” At this, Zinn casts swift bull strength but misses her shot at the priest. Several orcs try to grab Zinn & Rand. Beck slices twice, dropping one orc. Bork bombs the priest, two others retaliate with a charge and the flat side sides of their axes. In a shocking display, Rand decapitates his attempted grappler. Shah turns invisible in attempt to gain positional advantage on the orc-priest. Sentinel charges. Aven shoots one of the orcs into a pure splatter of bone-flecked jam, intimidating one of the remaining orcs who makes an attempt to flee. Strangely, the religiously garbed orcs look pleased at the weapon’s display.

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Meanwhile, the lone Fraas starts careful attempts to manipulate the stone Heart, with the tenuous fear of again removing his hand. As he toys with the sliver of Heart he starts hearing sonorous ringing and glowing runes fading in and out.


Back on the beachhead, Gfed’s weird words destroys one orc while also hitting the orc-priest hard. Beck slashes one as it runs away toward the tower. Zinn gets hit by an axe, and barely misses the orc who was fleeing in terror. Rand, without warning clocks Zinn. It quickly becomes clear that Rand is under some form of mental control as his glazed eyes are directed to the tower when he whispers, “I will bring them.” He knocks Zinn out cold.

Bork sends a crossbow bolt into another orc as he moves toward Rand. Shah’s invisibility pays off as he sneak attacks the orc-priest, after which Sentinel’s charge deals the deathblow. Lacking other options, Aven fires at an advancing Rand.


Back in the chamber of the Heart, Fraas continues to wiggle the sliver of heart ever so carefully, this time using his windsense to help guide it more precisely. He can see glowing runes, getting closer, blue light turning white.


Gfed runs for cover. Beck gets another axe wound. Bork bombs. Rand’s wounds begin closing. He charges at Bork but misses. Shah sneaks behind Rand.


Fraas ever so cautious makes a bumbling mistake. No progress.


Gfed’s scorching ray misses. Rand hisses at him. Beck severs an orc’s lower and upper halves and shouts, “Sir Rand, why are you attacking us!?” “My new liege commands it.” Sentinel gives Zinn a potion and she rises with her bow at the ready. Bork bombs at Rand who retorts “SO BE IT!”. Bork taunts, “bring it on!” Rand moves at Bork and slashes. Shah uses burning hands. Sentinel punches with fists of fury, but misses. Aven shoots at Rand again.


Frustrated, Fraas stumbles a bit more.


Gfed emits a scorching ray and Rand dissipates into a misty, vaguely Rand-shaped vapour cloud, moving upward…

Gfed sends his eagle to chase after the only remaining orc who had fled. Moments later, the raptor returns with bits of orc throat tangled in its jaw.

Beck picks up Rand’s fallen hammer, while Sentinel kneels in prayer for Rand.

Bork & Zinn inspect the throbbing crystalline heart. Shah detects good around the island, and passes out when his probe is directed at the heart.


Fraas is able to stabilize the piece. Closer… Careful…


Gfed inspects the surrounding pillars finding them to be magical and connected to a planar conjuration. Aven surmises that the pillars are not the central part of the conjuration and suspects instead, the heart. There are rough, grotesque faces on the pillars. Zinn recognizes the totems as vague history lessons from her youth. Beck touches a totem to no effect.


Fraas stumbles and the piece is back where it started. Ooops.


Looting the orc bodies, they don’t find much, but Zinn does get an axe upgrade. Beck tracks the dragged markings. Gfed picks up a ripped book-binding from the start of the tracks where it appears a previous scuffle occurred. The back side says, “With love, from Sieffre.” Was it Elin?

Shah awakes mildly aroused, “the heart is super good.” Bork touches the heart, but get burnt. Zinn tends to his wounds. Bork tries to push the heart with an orc’s axe, but the weapon just melts.

Above them are uncountable stars. The sky looks unfamiliar. There is a natural breeze, balmy, sulfuric.


Still no progress for Fraas.


About 30 minutes have passed. The Rand-shaped mist floats away further toward the tower. The group, using Zinn’s sword, speaks with the dead priest. The answers to their questions of who his master was, who enchanted Rand and who was dragged away are not especially helpful. “Blood God”, “Blood God”, “Magic Lady”.

From afar they spy a sudden burst of activity at the tower. A Draconic shape alights. There is was seems to be a smaller winged humanoid. A Draconic roar calls out. Sentinel recalls a similar sounding roar several days ago echoing outside the Griffton tavern. Battle-weary, they begin to make camp.

Suddenly and without warning Fraas appears with his hand on the glowing Heart, as the group has suddenly returned to its chamber. Rays of light beam out of the Heart, sending light missiles that hit everyone in the chest. One is even sent into Rand’s lifeless body that has appeared on the nearby ground. Rand appears to be merely dead and not undead. Three more beams shoot upwards, through the roof of the chamber, out of sight. Unsure of what just transpired the group feels only a strange sense that something mythic has just occurred.

The Heart is now glowing bright, with seven sets of runes on individual slivers of stone. Fraas dutifully transcribes them into his notebook while Bork provides him with a lesser restoration potion.

Fraas and the rest of the party quickly retell their stories for each other as they collect Rand and the gnomish female’s body, and begin to make their way back to town. The tunnel is still filled with tendrils of dark energy.


When they get back to the were-rat chamber, bodies appear to be more naturally decomposing. At the Crossroads, tracks are found that lead to the halls of fire, but there are no tracks out, as that path and one other are now closed off with stone. They check the Oracle’s throne room, but find no change. When they get back to town it is noticeably warmer. Further, the corpses in town are also found to be naturally decomposing. Several townsfolk are busy hauling away the bodies.

Back at their room in the tavern, the bards set to work on raising Rand from the dead. The first attempt yields nothing. Though, on the second attempt, Rand awakes. He recalls everything his vampire self did. The last thing he remembers was a whitish dragon, ancient, and a winged woman alongside. They were fighting an amorphous darkness atop a dark tower.

A round of hugs follows. Fraas, suspiciously approaches Rand with his throat exposed as if to test if Rand still has his bloodthirst. Gfed smacks and scolds Rand, who retorts with another hug. Fraas suggests that afterward they call a town meeting. Inspecting the gnome corpse closely, Aven suspects that this is Zorian, the mad gnome. Before any further inquiry, the group agrees that Rand should go see his mother.

Rand dons a hooded cloak and they all head into town through the tavern. In passing, they determine from a bar patron that 5 days have past since they left for the tunnels, and it’s been 3 days since the dead turned normal. It’s beautiful outside even with the crickets, bugs, reeking smells and people hauling bodies off to charnel pits.

At the Bardukes’, Rands mother grasps him in a tearful embrace. She steadies, a little embarrassed at her emotional state, stiffens her composure, fixes her beard. She tells of bad news, that Rand’s father disappeared 4 days ago and is suspected dead. He was just too worn down by what transpired. Rand decides to stay the night at home, while the rest of the group head back to the tavern.

On the way back, they are told that Sieffre’s ship was delayed due to pirates, but it is now in port.

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Episode 113 Recap
The Path to the Heart

Back in the suite, Mirr declares that he must return to his clan as his mission of outreach and search for allies was well accomplished. He must now return to protect his own kind. “Think twice before shooting Drow, well… maybe not.” He says that kind, the “good” Drow, will not attempt to capture and kill the adventurers as a horde of Drow normally would, and use of Mirr’s name will further indicate alliance. After his abrupt departure, discussion commences of what to do and where to go next. There is talk of the cursed gate, evacuation and Sieffre’s pending arrival.

They take watches. On first watch, there is a knock at the door. Aven answers it to find Galarion, who proceeds downstairs with the group, apart from a very sleepy Fraas, to discuss various matters. Galarion suggests they all align together for the betterment of the mote. Offers to work together against the simpleton rule of Lord Garland, and he makes promises to help deal with him, if he manages to return. At this point, Bork makes a stolid but defiant exit. The group inquires as to the emissary’s ability to aid in the evacuation of Griffton, and he thinks he would be able to arrange for refugee status in Belheim. Sentinel makes a clear statement of unbroken allegiance to Draugarland, not wanting in on Galarion’s political scheming. It seems clearer now that Galarion may have devious plans in place that would mean he should not be expecting Lord Garland’s return. The emissary returns upstairs to his own tavern suite.

Still down at the empty bar, a broad-shouldered, scruffy looking fighter type wanders in. Zinn recognizes this weathered face, hirsute with a three-day shadow, as Horacio Beck, one of the townsfolk drafted into the guard after the first Gnoll attack. He offers his blade to the group’s cause, however, a skeptical Zinn, who does not want to have another fairweather or fallen companion challenges him to a duel for his place with the adventurers. Beck’s uncertainty at facing more undead does not work in his favor. Beck further speaks, in an attempt to validate his potential, and a certain undesire to fight the mage-orc, “well,… I do still have both my hands.” Although this is not satisfactory, as he and Zinn make there way outside to commence a first-to-two-hits duel.

Zinn strikes first with the flat side of her longsword, registering a swaggering hit, but Beck forms a duel counter, hitting with his first, but Zinn sidesteps out of the second. Several more thrusts, jabs and swipes are exchanged until finally Beck connects. Zinn yields, begrudgingly. “How does he fare?” Zinn replies, “As long as he stops talking…” Beck is invited up to stay the night in the group’s suite.

Back inside, Bork was waiting for them anxiously and leads everyone (except the still-snoozing Fraas) down to Archibald’s office. He tells them that while spying on Galarion next door, Rand paid the emissary a visit setting up a clandestine meeting at Jack’s tower, two hours from now. Rand had fluttered off leaving Galarion audibly distraught. The group makes quick plans to beat Galarion to the tower in order to spy on the meetup. Fraas is awoken and Shah, using Boko’s dagger, becomes an invisible parting of fog and tails Galarion and his men to determine the best route for the gang to take. He returns, “They are all leaving now. We must hurry.”

Upon arriving at Jack’s tower, Bork espies three large direbats hanging from the eaves. The group stops there and sees three torches moving up the trail to the tower. Beck stumbles, attracting the attention of one of Galarion’s men, but luckily the noise is dismissed as nothing and the Northmen carry on. Even before the emissary and his men begin discussions, Bork can see that something is wrong. Tahgen has flown down and is feeding on one of Galarion’s men. Before the party can rush the scene, Rand swoops down, knocking Tahgen over and shouts, “STOP!” While Gfed and Sentinel sneak up for a closer look, Bork seems to think that Galarion’s strange interactions during this suggest he and his men are ensorcelled by Rand’s powers. Cautious as ever, Bork chugs an expeditious retreat potion. Rand scolds, “Tahgen, you had a dog earlier. You’re fine.” “And don’t worry about them,” referring to the conspicuously hidden adventurers, “they won’t do anything.” And thus, the three vampires haul the three clerics up the tower. Rand can be heard apologizing to Galarion and declares his need for daywalking eyes, to keep tabs on the Knights of Griffton. He fills Galarion in on the group’s backstory and finishes with, “all of us can work together,” in his cold and suspicious tone. A rapt and emotionless Galarion responds, “We will do all you ask without question.” The vampires fly off, and the party returns back to town to finish their watches.

A new day has dawned. First thing, the group catch up a very haggard-looking Durri and Archibald. They find out that boats, potentially Sieffre’s, have been sighted, but unwilling to approach in the fog that has apparently been flowing further off-mote. Beck excitedly announces his new membership in the group to Archibald. “I was in an adventuring group before. Then I lost my eye and my hand. Best of luck to you.”

As the party heads into the storeroom on way to seek the Heart, they notice it is not quite as they left it. There are humanoid tracks, which suggest ambush or someone wanting to follow along. Beck is able to obfuscate the group’s direction to suggest that instead of down the spiral stairwell, they went into the “fire” tunnels. When partway down, sounds from above suggest the subterfuge worked.

The group moves into the chamber where they previously fought a gang of were-rats. Bork hears chewing sounds from behind one of the woodpiles and advances seeing a single ghoul chewing on a stray femur. It sees Bork, looks up and drops its meal and growls. Two other ghouls emerge. Fraas flings magic missiles. Aven assembles a crossbow turret. A fourth ghoul shambles from the back room. Sentinel bludgeon one. A fifth enters. Beck’s defensive attach spatters one. Zinn’s immolating arrows and Gfed’s weird words finish off the last of the ghouls.

From the other side of the room three haunting voices can be heard echoing, “Fraaaasssssssss.” Preemptively, Fraas casts daylight on a coin and tosses it in the direction of the voices. A shadow emerges, apparently larger than one’s the group has seen before. It lunges at Aven and attacks with it’s chilling grasp. Shah, Fraas & Aven make immediate attacks. Sentinel retrieves the daylight coin to bring it closer to the battle, as it seems to distract the shadows and makes them easier to see and thus to hit. Beck slashes at the evil thing. Two more normal-sized shadows emerge. They swarm Fraas and sap his strength. Zinn makes a strong attack at the larger shadow using her longsword and channeling shocking grasp. Bork bombs. Fraas casts a flaming sphere. Gfedcba chants weird words. The shadows drained Beck of nearly all his strength, as he collapses and appears on the brink of becoming shadow himself. Fraas desperately casts fireball to finish off the smaller two and Sentinel’s flurry of blows demolishes the final shadow.

The room is again quiet. Bork gives Beck a restoration potion, and a lesser restore and emergency bull strength is given to Fraas. From the direction the group entered, they hear a single entity moving closer, trying to sneak in the were-rat chamber. The group dashes to hide behind the rubble and wood piles. Sentinel hides the daylight coin by tossing it down one of the other tunnels. At this, perhaps hearing the coin his the ground, the oncoming steps briefly pause, then continue forward.

Aven sees Rand enter the room. Bork walks out from cover, wielding a readied bomb in his hand. Rand requests a peaceful entreaty, saying he heard of the party’s ruckus with the shadows and came to offer to hold onto the spyglass for them, as he seems to be good at dealing with the undead. Instead, the gang asks Rand to join the further into the tunnels. He leads the way.

The passage leads into a very big room, with a large arch marked with an unknown language and wavering a dark aura. Translated, the symbols read, “The Path to the Heart.” On each side of the arch a low pedestals, one with an intact twelve-foot-tall spear-carrying statue, the other with only a pile of rubble. Bones and tattered cloth are scattered on the floor.

Suddenly, there is the sound of stone grinding on stone echoing throughout the room. The intact stone golem moves off its pedestal and charges at the group. Gfed quickly bolsters the group’s courage. Beck attacks swiftly with a vital strike. Bork firebombs, Rand charges forward. Zinn uses her bull strength and charges with a strong sword strike, but barely seems to scratch the monstrosity. Sentinel pummels. Aven sends a blade drone to attack. The golem’s aura begin to slow Shah’s movements like molasses. It hits Zinn hard, twice. Beck vital strikes again, misses. Gfed casts weird words. Rand makes a significant, strong hit. Zinn uses her arcane pool to make another strong strike. Sentil uses his elemental fist and obliterates the golem to rubble.

With the immediate danger settled, Fraas take a moment to scan for magic on the large gate. In consequence, he blacks out and falls to the floor. After regaining consciousness and composure, he says the gate contains and overwhelming aura of unknown origin or magical school. Rand asks about the translation, Bork answers him honestly, and both of them move as if about to enter the gate. Sentinel grabs Bork, but Bork makes a case to let him go forward. Bork dips his head into the gate, feeling a cold, sick pain registering, but it fades into a gentler, lingering malaise. Gfed and Fraas follow Bork through, feeling the same chilling pain and sickness. Inside, necromantic energy and curses abound. The space seems to be connected to the negative energy plane. Wispy fog-like forms fill a long hallway. Rand walks across the threshold following Bork and Fraas down the hall. Beck crosses and follows with Gfed further in. Sentinel, Zinn, Shah and Aven, hesitantly follow at the rear, however Aven doesn’t seem to feel the same malaise as everyone else upon crossing. They walk for hundred of feet, through tendrils emanating blackness that even darkvision cannot penetrate. At the end of the hall is a bright, blue light.

Upon reaching the hall’s terminus, they emerge into an egg shaped room, formed from impossibly, perfectly cut together stonework, as no mundane craftsman could make. Obsidian stone lines the walls, like black scales. Above, gangways stretch across the rooms, with metal steps from planks of iron. No discernable pattern, no apparent exits.

The blue light comes from high above, where a single enormous object is creating it, a roughly spherical boulder surrounded by rings of platform. There are objects, not moving, on a nearby platform. They start to climb for an indeterminable amount of time, as time is confused in the negative energy plane, Beck using his tracking skills to assist the trek. As they get closer, the boulder seems to be roughly in the form of an anatomical heart. Gfed sends his eagle to scout a closer look. “Glow. Rock. Dead person. Kind of like him,” looking at Bork. “No… more like you,” at Gfedcba. “Path this way.”

After more time, they finally reach the top. The light here is very bright. They can see a desiccated form in the shape of a gnome, complete with a pack and various tools. The stone heart appears to be mostly rock, with only one sliver emitting the blue light. This piece looks slightly outset from the rest of the heart.

The group moves closer to it with the hopes of using Zinn’s longsword to chat with the deceased gnome. Whereupon, Rand brusquely declares, “Don’t go any closer. It’s very strong. I’ll retrieve the body and bring it to you.” In a clear act of defiance, Fraas moves closer. Rand’s face shifts and enflames with rage.

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Episode 112 Recap

It is the 16th of the Month of Fire, typically one of the hottest days of the year, although today is unnaturally cold.

A Fog Flows Through Griffton

At the bottom of the hole in the center of town, Mirr unties Sentinel and sees four tunnels leading off. They appear to be analogous in direction to ground level paths that lead in cardinal directions. There are graves dug out in all tunnels. Fog rises out and Aven lights the hole for a better view, while Mirr & Sentinel make their way up. “There was another like you,” remarks Mirr referring to Sentinel. “Wearing wizard robes, it teleported, made rusty sounds, with scraps of metal skin falling off.”

While chatting, Durri and four town Guardsmen carrying stretchers pass by. Bork & Fraas notice one of the supposedly dead guardsmen making a fist. Quickly, Bork runs and tackles one gurney. The corpses have become Wights! Sentinel pummels, Fraas disrupts, Durri hammers, a Wight drops two of the guards. Fraas attempts to Halt undead, while Shah makes a harrowing leap onto the giant statue, flinging arrows Wight-ward. Bork slays one, Aven and Shah each cap another. Mirr casts burning hands, immolating the corpses of the remaining undead guards, killing one and leaving one badly hurt, to whom Durri hammers the final death.

More fog creeps in, however unlike a normal fog bank, this contains a suspicious and inconsistent stream of fog moving into tavern. Bork runs into tavern to warn Archibald, Aven right behind. A strange low lying, amorphous magical fog disc heads toward the storeroom. Sentinel charges at it. No effect. It passes right through Bork, chilly, moving into storeroom. A pair of horse-sized direwolves resolve from the mysterious fog. Mirr slashes at one, nicking it with dragon claws as they leap through the portal, the scratched wound quickly healing. Bork snatches Zinn’s longsword and leaps into the portal. Inside he sees the wolves moving away steadily and fast. Aven, Zinn & Sentinel follow. Eventually, as the beasts’ pace is too much for the trio and only Aven continues on to track the direction of the wolves.

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Fraas sits down to the bar and orders a strong drink. Bork returns from the storeroom, props up on a stool and joins Fraas. Sigmund, Ned and Joffrey (the remaining city guardsmen) take leave to go guard the wall even though Ned has a bad “flu,” and has been spending his time recuperating in Quinnla’s temple. Sentinel returns and makes rounds in town, warning villagers to stay indoors. Durri is visibly overwhelmed. Shah leaves to visit city hall in order to go “comfort” the magistrate.

That night, the group take watches in the town square. During second watch, irregular knocking is heard from the infirmary. Everyone else is woken, except Fraas who necessarily needs to recover his spell casting strength. Bork barrels into the temple and immediately encounters a zombie. Shah shoots an arrow at it and zombie bursts into a noxious cloud of gas. Bork barely manages to hold his breath and his stomach contents. Inside, the temple is a wreck. Smeared in blood on the floor “W O L ~~”. Quinnla’s holy symbol is still there, but the donation jars are smashed. The group looks carefully around, finding a single set of armored footprints and claw marks focused on Rand’s cot. Wearily, they return outside to finish their watches and rest up. It appears that the undead they are facing are not following “the rules.”

The Prodigal Ironborn

The next morning the group makes haste to explore the hole in the center of town. As they begin to descend, they hear rusty creaking, and a figure much like Sentinel emerges and requests private congress with Sentinel. Cautiously, Sentinel crawls down, with an invisible Mirr floating nearby for backup and an extra pair of ears. After a short while, Sentinel and Mirr return to ground level. Sentinel begins recanting the history of the iron-born.

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They were mage-built as slaves with a hard-coded pleasure-response for pleasing their masters. After a great war, they were repurposed as tools of industry in the State of Aine. It was then that Sentinel was rented out as a scout to a ship with some of his brethren. One day aboard that ship, he had a strange feeling that his Maker was gone. Five of the other iron born and Sentinel were caught in shock, the others jumping into the water in apparent suicide. In truth, they had returned home to war, as the master was calling them, Sentinel apparently not getting the message. Now they want Sentinel’s head. The rustworn (and apparently undead) ironborn already had three heads. Mirr interjects, revealing that the speck within Sentinel’s head also has undead properties. “Rust” has claimed he will return for Sentinel’s head. The group is abuzz with discussion of Lichs’ phylacteries and the strange markings of Sentinel’s “factory stamp.”

The group makes their way down into the pit first in the direction toward the tavern. They find a mausoleum containing a wand of enlargement, some coins and gems and luckily no direct connection to the tavern. Next they take the path toward the temple, where they find a human size figure sitting cross-legged on the floor, meditating. An invisible Mirr scouts ahead along the ceiling and reports back, “an elf in monk’s robes.” Sentinel approaches and finds the elf to be his long-lost master, Varian, in a state of beatitude: “Sentinel! You found me!” The elf glows undead, but also very good and is pleased to see us all together.

“The Heart of this place is troubled.” “A whisper of a voice in nature said I would meet Sentinel here. I did.” “The fog is a symptom of the mote itself, like a dog trying to shake off a flea. A sick animal trying to heal itself.” He tells the gang of his dream of a rusty ironborn. Of Druids possessed by madness, like cold, undead rising of their own accord. Inquiringly, Fraas tries to hand him a map of the tunnels, but it passes right through his hand, causing great confusion in the elf’s face. Sentinel tries to touch him and cannot. It is then that he sees a recent corpse in the corner, meditative, its head splattered on the wall. Zinn recovers a note from the corpse’s magical bowl, which is handed to Sentinel. Sentinel is displeased, as the note is seemingly a taunt from Rust, describing the weakness of Varian’s flesh as he slew “it,” and how “its” bones snapped like brittle twigs beneath his boot.

The elven monk disappears into field of sparkling light.

Crossroads

Following down the third unlit passageway the group only finds flakes of rust. However, down the final pathway they come upon a glowing door. Inside, carved into a circular room are benchseats, each with rotten rope-corded cushions and across the room, another shimmering door. Runes are carved into archways above the doors, the one they entered reading “Tomb of the Protectors”, the other “Crossroads.”

There are images carved into the wall, a speared dragon, griffons, and in the center of the room a bright metal basin, filled with glowing warm magical liquid possessing a scrying and healing effect. Scrying within the fluid the group cannot find Jack, but can peer Archibald at the bar. When they attempt to scry Rand, all they see is dense darkness, two figures standing in front, a faintly moving red light and Rand occasionally looking down. A figure who seems to be Tahgen walks up, and the group realizes the other two figures are the other griffon riders. The pool’s warmth begins fading, so the group quickly attempts to scry Quinnla and all they see is her looking up at a pair of armored legs.

Guessing correctly that the Crossroads refers to the same underground crossroads from Archibald’s storeroom, they head off quickly toward the lodge, resolved to find Tahgen. When they reach the lodge, they only find sprays of blood, bits of furs, the chess set toppled, and back door left wide open. Two sets of wolf tracks lead in, three lead out and no griffons can be seen. Outside, they find two disturbed graves, two shovels and many footprints, with tracks leading south. From overhead they suddenly hear a Griffon calling out, with Gfed translating, “BIG! DEAD! HIDE!” Everyone quickly runs inside to hide and from afar they see a giant skulled figure above the tree line, carrying a large morningstar and moving northward. After the coast is clear, Gfed begins inquiries to the Griffon. “Became wolves. Carried away. Many flaps into old grave mountain. We fly. You fly.” The Griffon makes a series of squawks and horde of Griffon approach making gestures that they are willingly providing their backs for flight. One Griffon takes a look at Sentinel, “You heavy,” squawks loudly, and another bigger Griffon alights.

A Change For The Thirst

The party flies on Griffonback for nearly thirty miles. From high up, no front to the blight can be seen as it has apparently encroached the entire mote. All foggy, all dead.

They finally land at the base of a mountain. Seeing fresh wolf tracks, a griffon bends down and sniffs, “dead bad rotten. Not eat.” They reach a set of large stone doors with the inscription, “Here lies the great founder of Scimitar Rock.” What lay before the group is the path to Thellan’s Cairn.

The doors are marred with scraping marks and signs of being recently opened. As they enter, they see a winding, narrow path with a sharp, abyssal drop off. At the end they can barely see two figures standing guard of Thellan’s sarcophagus. Heedful of this, Zinn and Sentinel are cast with enlargement. Immediately, a large direbat swoops in front of the group and transforms into Rand! “Friends, there is no need for this.” A quick scan shows that Rand is now undead and not good and perhaps the obvious would imply that he is now a vampire.

When asked about the lodge, he says that Tahgen is here, and that Quinnla had seen the blood in him and torn open his throat, Rand himself similarly seeing the blood in Quinnla prior. Thellan, a long-decayed skeletal champion with red eyes blazing, can be seen pacing behind his sarcophagus. Rand calls him forward and he moves like an armored berzerker, blade-arms swinging wildly, but skillfully, and he halts at Rand’s prompt command. He then calls both Quinnla and Tahgen, at which point two other large direbats swoop down and take their humanoid forms. Tahgen looks thirsty. Bork attempts to return Quinnla’s holy symbol, but it burns her fiercely and she tosses it into the pit. The group is aghast at what is before them, although Rand does not show any fear or discourtesy as he interlaces their conversation with vague threats against Jackmerius. This is first time Rand has been conscious since the group became aware of his parentage, and they take the opportunity to reveal his sire as Zidane, at which Rand’s interest is piqued. Though, having about as much as they can take, the group carefully takes their leave and returns to the Griffons waiting outside.

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After the shock settles, they make a panicked flight to Jack’s tower. After landing and quickly killing a few milling undead, they hurry into Jack’s and up the rope into his secret chambers. Upon meeting Mirr, Jack is easily distracted, showing him some tricks, firetongue, Drowspeak… The group asks Jack why he could not be scried, to which Jackmerius nonchalantly replied, “Oh, that doesn’t work on me.” Regaining focus, the group catches him up on the wights, Thellan and the vampires, informing him of Rand’s vague threats. Jack immediately and frantically starts packing, enshrouds himself with a wreath of garlic (tossing the group a bulb or two in the process). Hastily shouting, “Zinn, I bequeath my tower to you. Best of luck. See you!” And with a toss of the tower’s keyring, he is gone.

Rattled, the group fly on the griffons back into town. During the flight the griffons are asked if they will help protect the town, “No. We hide.” From above they see that Lord Garland’s emissary is perched on the town wall with two guards. The party lands in town and approaches Galarion, who states that the same thing is happening in Belheim. With him, the group are introduced to Daeron and Elir, who are wearing stone necklaces with green admatite emblems of dragons and claim to handle undead very well. The adventurers make a point not to tell him about their recent vampire encounters. The group is given the promised scrolls for regeneration, raising the dead and restoration, although with Quinnla turned, their trusted clerical resources are few.

Durri comes to find the group and he is filled in on the situation with the vampires, “and Rand now commands Thellan.”

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Episode 111 Recap
From beneath them...

After a busy night of wretch, sick, and blood the group awakens with chat about the mysterious druids, the problematic graveyard filled with potential undead, and the disembodied witch’s head. With no immediate solutions at hand, and potentially needing distraction, it is suggested the group decides to spend the morning hours investigating the caves across the lake.

The group arrives at the docks where apparently work has been stopped. The party splits into two available rowboats in order approach the tunneled out cavern in the rock cliffs across the water. Zinn, Bork, Gfed and Fraas take one boat and make headway over. Shah and Sentinel share the second boat, while the seaborne Aven swims happily alongside.

Unbeknownst to the rest of the party, Shah sees a frightfully beautiful dockworker who is helplessly drowning. He, seemingly without conscious thought, jumps in after her. Aven notices Shah’s risky behavior, and ducks underwater. Ahead he sees a form, translucent, slicked skin, horsey teeth, bubbles dribbling from its maw when it spots Aven espying. Aven attempts to strike the creature, but instead becomes enchanted at the monster’s sudden metamorphosis into a distressed damsel. Another of these Kelpie beasts appears next to an abruptly unenchanted Shah and grapples him.

Bork, now with his group’s boat upon shore, wades into the water for a closer look at the distant commotion near the second boat. Without warning, a serpentine Naga pops into vision on the shore and immediately Zinn feels a sharp pain in her neck, literally.

Inexplicably, Bork projectile vomits up a carpet of swarming spiders. Aven is dragged down by the Kelpies, but narrowly escapes, after being saved by Gfed’s water elemental. The strike of an enlarged Zinn misses the Naga, Bork sickens, Sentinel drops into the water. The Naga bites Zinn again, but this time get hit hard by Zinn’s counter attack; the Naga floats unconscious, frothy blood bubbling out its mouth.

All the other creatures immediately run away in fear. Aven lassoes and recovers a panicked Sentinel to the boat. Aven also retrieves a submerged corpse in possession of a shield of faith, light hammer, masterwork scale-mail, and various gems and coinage. Fraas harvests the Naga’s tooth while Bork tends to Zinn with an antivenom.

* * *

The gang proceeds with their investigation of the caves. Immediately upon entering, Fraas is caught frozen in shock upon finding small crop of strange flowering plant. When he pulls a sample from the rockbed a chilly draft arouses. Bork looks on a bit further, but impatiently urges the group out and back to deal with more pressing matters in town.

On the way back, Bork mentions he actually saw something more deeper into the caves, but decided the group didn’t need another looming mystery or doom at present. Fraas, still locked in a stupefied gaze at the plucked sample of plant, draws from his pocket a similar branch, albeit long dried out, and says, enigmatically “This is all I know of myself.” He trails off, mumbling “what I’ve been looking for…”

Back at the tavern, an inquisitive Fraas experiments with the strange powers his connection with plant provides. He is able to control mild winds, float gently and after short practice is left in the room to practice his barrel rolls.

Meanwhile, the always diplomatic Shah is tasked with broaching with the magistrate the group’s concerns of the township’s recently deceased come undead. Suggestions of cremation in a ceremonial bonfire, sky burial, and exhumation and reburial outside the walls are all met with consternation.

Fraas begins experimenting with the local tavern rats. Feeding one a small scrap of plant without effect. Instead, he wields his own winds to float the rats around.

Bork visits Quinnia to assess the state of those who were struck with boils in the previous night’s scuffle.

Fraas uses his winds to dry out an obliged Sentinel. The plant twig finally begins to wilt.

At the end of the day, it is getting colder.

* * *

Before nightfall, the group decides to attempt a visit to Tahgen, although upon reaching the door in Archibald’s cellar they hear unsettling movement. A peak through the door’s spy-hole reveals a small horde of Skeletons, Zombies and a Horned Leader. CLANG! CLANG! CLANG! Bork hurries off to warn Archibald.

Gfed, Shah, Zinn and Fraas decide to make way to Jack’s in order to make use of his teleportation transport. As they leave the main city gates, guards are muttering, shaken and uneasy from the stirring coldness and encroaching blight. In the near fields, a hawk is seen catching something… the mangled, yet thriving corpse of an undead squirrel.

There is smoke coming from Jack’s chimney. He greets them in wearing a thick fur coat complete with bear’s head. After a short chat and another attempt at scrying Rand, they teleport to Tahgen’s lodge. Upon arrival, the group briskly informs Tahgen of recent ongoings, suggests barricading his doors and lets him know that it may be some time before the next visit.

Back at the tavern cellar gateway, Bork hears a scratching on the door, low in height. When Bork backs away, the scratching sound rises. There are sounds of swords scraping on stone.

After teleporting back to town, Jack laments and recommends that from now on everyone stay inside the town’s walls. Everyone is rejoined, and discuss how to proceed.

Gfed’s lyre is used to procure a mass of firewood. It’s getting really cold. Gfed lets his eagle fly.

The Magistrate holds a town meeting to discuss what to do with the town’s recently interred. The Bardukes, among other townsfolk are visibly upset.

Bork assembles a group of stone cutters to make chimneys. Sentinel quietly patrols. Drury posts watch at the gravesite in town.

* * *

The party takes watches. On second watch, Bork and Shah hear a clamor in town. Shah runs out, with Drury and his troops joining hastily. A hole where the statue used to be now looks down into old warrens under the city. Bork peers down and sees over twenty crawling hands and many undead milling about. The rest of the group rapidly assembles and townsfolk are sent away.

Aven shoots a hand to get them to charge. Zinn casts flaming sphere. Festrogs emerge. The Penanggalan floats. Shadows are rising. When the Hands finally reach the top they claw at Gfed. Bork franticly tosses his bombs.

A strange Dark Elf suddenly flies into the fray, casting burning hands at the evil horde and shouting to the group, “Friend, Friend!”

A fireball from Fraas wipes out half of all shadows. Zinn immolates the rest with her flaming bow.

Shambling forms intrude from the dock. The witch’s head entangles and draws blood from the Drow. Aven misses a hand. The Drow, using shocking grasp, picks off the remaining undead.

Fraas sends acid arrows at the impending front from the Dock. Commotion is heard from Tavern. A crossbow bolt twang. Archibald shouting. Bork runs over to see that the evil mob has busted through into the tavern. More Festrogs and Undead.

Aven shoots the horned Skeleton. More acid arrows. Barnacled undead approaching. Bork hurls a molotov. Gfed casts word strike. Fraas shoots magic missiles. These Undead had no chance.

Zinn and Shah rush to the tavern to find the door lock busted. They quickly assemble an ad hoc barricade.

An armored figure running from a fourth front, Drury. “The graveyard has risen.” Drury and his men have taken care of it for the moment.

It is again still and quiet in town.

* * *

The group convenes in the town square with their new Drow ally, Merindeera of the underdark. He claims to offer help and alliance as his clan has battled against the typically evil Drow culture. Bork threatens him and walks away. Merindeera continues on, telling of a recent surge of undead in underdark. An alarmed Bork reapproaches, “They’ve surrounded outside the walls!”

“Wait, where is Sentinel?” “Sentinel must be in trouble!” Without delay, the Drow crawls down the massive hole to the sunken statue were Sentinel was last seen. He comes upon an iron man hogtied with a bag over his head. “Are you friend of surface adventurers?”

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Episode 110 Recap

THE KNIGHTS OF GRIFFTON

Still reeling with excitement at defeating a monstrous beast and heartsore with grief for lost comrades, the party begins to gather loot and consider the predicament of Rand. Among the more curious goods is an Ioun Stone, Ivory Wand of Curing, Gloves of Swimming and Climbing, an iron Ring of Maniacal Devices, a knight’s pennon of parley, a Cowardly Crouching Cloak and fur-lined Boots of the Winterlands. During this inventory, the group also takes the opportunity to explore the room more completely. Gfedcba peered through the keyhole of the only unopened and presently locked door in the room, noticing a series of jail cells. While searching the coinage strewn about the room, Fraas and Sentinel notice that a corner of the room feels curiously cold compared to the rest of the chamber. Aven, swift swimmer that he is, plunges into the central pool and comes up with a key and a very magical copper Ring of Sustenance. Zinnaerris uses the key to open the way to the jail cell room, but all she and Gfedcba find are frozen corpses, tattered clothes and pick axes. Aven spends ample time examining the clockwork aspects of the trap on the main door. Fraas, with Zinnaerris’ and her sword’s help, begins collecting pieces of the dragon corpse, included several teeth, ribs, femurs, blood from its heart and bits of brain. Tahgen rides his griffon up into the hole into the ceiling reporting back a very large chamber with very large tunnels, presumably a whole second series of dungeons for the dragons to roam about.

Using Zinn’s Dragonsbane Longsword’s ability to speak to the recently dead, the party questions the dragon: “Who made the clockwork trap on the main chamber door?” “Zorian, a gnomish woman” “What is causing the cold spot in the corner of the room?” “It became that way five years ago” “Where does the hole in the ceiling lead?” “More chambers and to the mountains, to the mountains”

At Tahgen and Colwyn’s request, Aven collects Gareth’s body from the icy pool and the group takes their leave; the order of the griffon returns to their lodge to bury Gareth, the rest returning to town with the ice-encased Rand.

The party returns to Archibald’s through the portal, and after discussing with Archibald, decides to simply cover Rand in blankets and scuttle him to Quinnia’s temple. Shah and Aven head off to take care of their own business and the ever perceptive Bork, who was remaining in town, notices the swaddled body and rejoins the group in their solemn march to the temple. The cleric makes a sad shriek upon seeing Rand’s body, but promises to use her skills to keep him from growing rot. She also promised to send word to anyone who may be able to help, and mentioned there are druids in the woods that may have at least reincarnation abilities. The group ponders the possibilities of Rand coming back as other than he was: a dwarf perhaps, a kobold, maybe a talking airship?

While heading back to the tavern, the group notices citizens stopping to bow and watch. Bork tells the group to just ignore it and keep moving. On the way up to the suite, Bork hands each member of the group a scroll sealed with the mark of Lord Garland. “The dragon has played us.” Everyone hastily opened their scrolls, fearing the worst, but were stunned to find that they have all been bestowed upon the title of Knights of Griffton. Draugarlond had heard of their defeat of “one of his enemies,” the White Dragon and had honored them with titles for the effort. Only Sentinel’s scroll differed from the rest, wherein his parchment entitled him to farmlands north of Griffton, hereafter known as the barony of Sentinel’s Reach, which would be presided over by Baron Sentinel — “The Iron Baron.” Further, Sentinel alone was now allowed to venture into the North townships. The scroll addressed to Rand remained unopened, suggesting that Lord Garland did not yet know of Rand’s demise.

Desiring more answers the group went to the room at the inn where the Wyrm’s emissary was staying. Not finding him there, the group looked around town, eventually ending up at the magistrate’s where the emissary was just finishing up a meeting. The emissary confirmed that the White Wyrm our heroes defeated was indeed an enemy of Lord Garland’s, and that they had been monitoring it, yet unable to discover where its nest lay. Although, he thanked us for our duty, he did not seem particularly pleased with Sentinel’s newly allowed access to the North. When pressed about the Wyrm’s whereabouts he told the group that Draugarlond was actually in some kind of competition for a mate, but if not successful may never return to the mote. Finally, the group also asked the emissary about possible avenues for helping Sir Rand. He mentioned that the Elven Druids and that they now reside in the west woods, and that he would contact his people to see if a resurrection spell could be prepared and let the party know the next morning. The group took their leave and spent the rest of the evening debating the finer points of “the resurrection” versus “the reincarnation” of Rand.

A MESSAGE IN THE NIGHT

That night the group took turns sleeping in their suite, yet on the final watch of the early morning, a knock at the door. A hooded Colwyn in the roughspun brown garb of a woodsman, quickly enters and presents Sentinel, Fraas & Shah with a letter:

“Sieffre,

I apologize for not having written in quite some time. Things here have taken a turn for the worse, and the dread curse which has afflicted me for these five long years draws nigh to claiming me. Durri and Archie seem to have avoided the worst of it, and Jack, well.. you know The Amazing Jackmerius Stringfellow laughs at curses.

Though you have no reason to trust or help me, I must beg of you a favor. It involves my son and the Wyrm which names himself King of this mote. As you are well aware, Draugarlond is sworn to protect Griffton. What you may not know are the terms we agreed upon. When I first encountered him, and we negotiated, he offered to guard the town for the duration of my life. I sensed that this deal might not be so favorable, so I asked that he extend his protection through the end of my infant son’s life. He agreed, and added one more term, a secret one, on top of the agreed-upon tribute of livestock and gold. He asked that I venture into the caverns and tunnels below the surface of the mote and find a passage to what he called ‘the heart.’ It seemed very important to him. The adventures the six of us experienced here were born of that agreement I made, and I offer my belated apology for the deception.

Lord Garland visited me in my bedchamber last night, and he was wroth. He called me craven for not keeping up my end of the bargain. He described in great detail how he would slay every adult in Griffton the very moment my son passed from this mortal coil, and there was a menace in his voice which led me to believe that this would happen sooner rather than later.

I realize that you have your own life to live, and your own family to watch over. All I ask is that this letter finds its way to an order of knights errant I once encountered, well-known on the motes o f Certh, called the Fellowship of the Crow. They owe me a favor, and will send knights to take down the green menace. With Tahgen’s help, they have a good chance of success. Ask that they swear vows never to reveal this secret arrangement I made with the Wyrm — I do not believe Tahgen deserves that burden. And please do not risk the folk of Griffton in this matter. Keep this secret safe.

Lastly, for what it’s worth, we are still very sorry. You will have my unending gratitude, if only from beyond the grave. And Jack still owes you that favor.

Thank you for everything, my captain.

Thellan Twinblade
Ober 1, 394 A.R."

Colwyn makes a quick exit while Sentinel, Fraas & Shah awake the rest of the party and head down to their most immediate potential source of answers, Archibald Bush. Archibald starts by admitting to knowing more about the tunnels and begins to relay to the group a bit more context. Years ago Thellan had led himself, Sieffre, Jackmerius, Durri and a woman named Elin into the mote’s tunnels, where they had traveled down a spiral staircase into an underground mausoleum through a cursed gate. All he remembered from there is a magical darkness, screaming, and Elin not making it out. Archibald suggested that Thellan’s poor leadership was to blame: “You don’t charge blindly into a dark place demanding to know what’s there,” he stated, solemnly. Lastly, he mentioned that the tunnels had closed to him five years before, as the group noted, the same time the cold spot appeared and that Zidan had taken Taghen’s son from the north.

THE REAL JACKMERIUS

That morning the group checks in with the emissary and he states that a resurrection spell is possible but that his people would need some time and some not so trivial financial compensation. The group left him with a deposit and then decided to make their way to Jack’s tower, to see if he had further information about what this letter contained.

Smoke plumed from Jack’s chimney, and the group was relieved to see that he was home and in high spirits, something they had come to not expect from Stringfellow of late. After some typical confusing banter, Fraas hinted at what the group had uncovered and Jackmerius immediately led the group up a magical rope into a lavish extra dimensional parlor room. Jack began with an apology for his intentionally confusing “help” recently and the group began to hear from the real Jackmerius for the first time. After the explorers showed him the letter from Colwyn, what followed was an unbelievable amount of information:

  • He mentioned that several years ago, his adventuring posse, led by Thellan had explored the beach caves, which led them to the tunnels. He, as solemnly as Archibald, told the group of Elin, how she was a mage, and Sieffre’s lover, which made it now clear what Thellan’s betrayal to Sieffre had meant. Thellan had been overeager, and Elin was dragged away into the magical darkness by whatever foul creature resided across the cursed gate. He confirmed that the tunnels had started changing five years ago and also mentioned that the portals connecting the passages to various locations on the mote where crafted by Gaëlle Nolwenn, a powerful wizard known to the old adventuring band.
  • Letting Zinnaerris be his apprentice was the favor Sieffre had eventually asked of Jack, although what it was in exchange for “was private.”
  • Fraas asked him to help with the mapping of the dungeons. Jack made one major correction; the path Zidan had told the group that led to the north actually led to dungeons of fire. He amended the map to reflect the correct route north.
  • He did not seem to know anything more about the clockwork nor the writings that Aven had found in the submerged clockwork lab.
  • The emissary in town is named Galerion, and is definitely Lord Garland’s son. Jack believes he is the one under Garland acting with extra initiative against the group.
  • He confirmed the existence of his daughter who is living in the north. She is a simple craftsmen of wooden artwork, married to a gentle man, with whom she bore a son (and is pregnant with another child.)
  • Yannick is Archibald’s brother, and they are both part devil — tieflings. Bork and Zinnaerris seemed to already know this fact. He said that Archibald is trustworthy, but Yannick should be approached with caution, as he is resourceful, but often at great cost. He also hinted that Archibald’s missing hand, eye and leg was due to the dread curse they encountered in the tunnels.
  • Jack thought that the Elven druids and the blight in the west woods are somehow linked. He also noted that Varian, the person Sentinel is seeking, was not actually with them, but was last seen leaving Belheim, heading south into the tunnels and is possibly still somewhere on the mote.
  • He remarked that an evacuation plan for Griffton citizens was a reasonable response to Draugarlond’s threat, although he suspected the Wyrm would not sit idly by.
  • Jack seemed troubled by our victory over the White Dragon. He said her name was Noreth and that her mate was indeed a foe of the Green Wyrm, and had recently been escalating attacks against Belheim. The White Wyrms live in the mountains and had an army of minions including frost giants, orcs, drakes, winter wolves and direwolves. Jack did think, however, that the White Wyrm was taking orders from higher up.
  • Jack knew of Lord Garland’s departure from the mote and told that his fight for a mate was much more than just that. It was a fight with his brothers for influence with a leadership council of dragons. It was also remarked with curiosity that Draugarlond prefers his elven form, not an ability evil dragons typically possess, instead, typically the ability of goodly worms.
  • The group discovered that Tahgen’s son, the boy presently encased in stone, is in fact Garland’s grandson. Tahgen is unaware of this, and further is unaware that his “widow,” the elf Triwathien Twinblade (who still lives in town) is the Wyrm’s daughter. This is particularly interesting because the mothers of Draugarlond’s children never survive childbearing, for unknown reasons.
  • Jack didn’t seem to have any further insight into Zinnaerris’ book, however when he was told of the circumstances surrounding the death of the tunnel-dwelling giant, he noted that the tower Zinnaerris described seemed a lot like a tower in Belheim. The dark tower of Belheim is a monument to the great father of the dragon deities, Orburos, who is, not coincidently, the same diety of the erinyes they had battled. Jack also told the inquisitive Fraas that the runes on the spyglass where similar to markings on the tower.
  • Jack explained a little more about the dragon belief system, that they believe all life was created from a single dragon family, and of an alternative dragon god, Gavareth, who had behavior similar to that of the Green Wyrm, and was undoubtedly less capricious than Orburos, though still undoubtedly evil. If good dragon deities are worshipped, it is not done so openly in Belgein. When Jack told them of the similarity between the two insignias of Orburos and Gavareth, the group feared that they had given the giant the wrong token and were even more responsible for his death than they had previously thought. However, upon reflection, it is unlikely that the Oracle worshipped any evil dragon at all.
  • Within the tower of Belheim, exists the other portal like the one in the griffin tower, but much more massive, and vertical. Emissaries enter, and return with children who speak common tongue but with a peculiar accent. They also return at times with adult slaves and raw materials.
  • Slavery and human sacrifice are common practices in the north, as are gladiator battles.
  • Zidan is now held captive somewhere in the North.
  • The prophecy about Rand, and his implication in the destruction of the mote, was given to Zidan from Rand’s mother, the Ghaele of the North, who guards of the other side of the portal that is in the tower of Belheim. Rand has a dual heritage, and Jack tells the group about Rand’s father.

After it seemed Jack could reveal no more, the group implored him to attempt to speak with Rand from beyond the grave. Jack began casting his spell and relayed that he saw Rand in a field of green, happy, and then on his way to bathe in a nearby stream he (gasp) began to disrobe. Jack tried to speak to him, but the ‘message’ spell did not work. He promised to try again tomorrow.

After what had become quite an overwhelming afternoon, Jack invited the group down the rope for a dinner of capon, gravy, leek mashed potatoes, dungeon juice, pig butter, and fresh pastries. The group spent the night in his tower, possibly with dreams of the troubles that await.

BROKEN HEARTS AND PROMISES

The next day, the adventurers head back into town with Jack. The group heads over to check on Rand’s body, with the exception of Fraas & Bork, who quickly go to work in Bork’s lab. While toiling away, they are interrupted by Baz, who tells Bork of a woodsman looking for potion elements while he was out: Rhum, a floral sedative, and a plant that works as a fatal poison. The man Baz describes seems to be Colwyn, and Bork and Fraas immediately dash off to find the rest of the group in a panicked fear for Tahgen’s safety.

Meanwhile at the temple, the rest of party arrives and finds Rand’s body has been taken home by his extremely mournful mother. They too dash into the streets in a panic. The party collides in the street and quickly decide to split duties. Jack, Sentinel, Zinn & Fraas teleport to the Griffin Lodge, while Bork, Gfedcba and Shah rush to the Barduks.

Upon arrival at the Griffin Lodge, they encounter a forlorn Tahgen. It is quickly put together that Colwyn has used this concoction to commit suicide as penance for breaking his oath to keep Thellan’s secret. Jack sends message to the others that there is no immediate danger and that they will return soon and explain.

Back at the Barduks, Shah, Gfed and Bork encounter a distraught Bethil Barduk crying over the body of Rand. His father stomps out angrily and a furious clanging is heard. Mrs. Barduk states very frankly that they will be burying Rand’s body. Shah explains very carefully that the group needs Rand, and that it may be possible to bring him back, and that by letting them resurrect him, Rand will be performing a noble duty. After this, Mrs. Barduk reluctantly relents, and allows Gfed and Shah to carry Rand back to the temple. Bork, however, lingers into Rand’s stepfather’s workshop where the dwarf is busy taking his sadness out on a battle axe with his hammer, reducing a beautiful work of craftsmanship into an angry hunk of misshapen metal.

After helping Tahgen bury Colwyn, Sentinel takes a moment to play some chess with a grieving friend. Sentinel, Jack, Zinnaerris and Fraas eventually teleport back into town and after meeting up with Shah, Gfedcba and Bork, they relay their ongoings. The group decides to return to Tahgen and have him read the letter, for fear his misery and loneliness would lead him to the same fate as Colwyn. Afterward, a shocked Tahgen asks to be alone. Before leaving, Fraas sets down the chess set he obtained from the White Dragon’s lair, and makes a single move, promising to return tomorrow. :’(

A BACCHANAL TURNS VILE

Back in town, Jack again attempts to speak with Rand in the nether realms. But as last night, the spell was ineffective when trying to speak to Rand. Disheartened, the group looked elsewhere for hope of answers or guidance. They asked Jack if he could contact Sieffre with a message that stated the imminent threat of the green dragon, a desire to find out more about ‘the heart’ and Zinnaerris’ past, and that there were those in Griffton who could possible save the town from the Wyrm’s wrath. Jack relayed Sieffre’s response that Jack owed him one, but he would make haste to return to the mote. “I’m too old for this shit.”

What followed next was a drastic turn in mood to say the least. Upon return to the tavern an uproarious fest was underway. The party relieved some stress over ales and raucous music. Sentinel, Fraas and Zinn decided to stay up extra late by volunteering for “first watch.” Sentinel was attempting to impress a table of ladies with recently acquired coinage, while Zinnaerris was making her moves on the dance floor. Fraas was extremely drunk and lurked in his favorite corner.

Suddenly, from the back storeroom entrance, three fast and vicious Festrog and a hideous Penanggalen emerge. The Penanggalen, an evil floating head, rips out throat of a barmaid and summons a noxious cloud in the middle of the tavern dance floor. Panic. Vomit. Screaming. Bork, Gfedcba and Shah awake from the screams and hurry down, Shah leaping from the bathtub into his armor and out the upstairs window for a fast approach. More undead emerge, while one of the Festrogs bites a helpless citizen cowering under a table, and the monster seems to bolster some immediate strength from this. Sentinel makes quick work of the slower zombies. Zinnaerris unfortunately was caught in the disgusting cloud and was struggling to get free while wretching up that night’s meal. A still extremely drunk Fraas sends a few magic missiles at the Penanggalen, whereafter, it quickly flies out of the window and up into the sky. More vomit. Screaming. A citizen torn in half. Gfedcba makes it downstairs and fells one of the Festrog with his short bow. Sentinel smashes one as it attempts to move away. A recovering Zinn slays one with her mighty spellstrike. Sentinel jumps out the window and hears receding cackles from far above.

While a shocked Archibald mourns the barmaid, Gfedcba recants a tale of strange undead that seems similar to the Penanggalen, whose head leaves their body, however when returned, it appears as if a normal person.The group assembles some of the townsfolk to erect a barricade in Archibald’s storage room. Sentinel helps the town’s guard clean up. Villagers bring in stone from the town stockpile. Shah awakens and commissions Rose to build a steel door and lock for the storeroom, and is told to come back after dawn. In lieu of a door, Fraas casts an alarm spell on the portal. The group takes watches.

The next morning the town is filled with gossip of the previous night’s horrors.

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Episode 109 Recap
Frozen tears hurt

Part I
Gnome

Following the discovery of the Order of the Griffon, and with the realizations they introduced, the group decided to return to Griffton to rejoin Gfedcba and Aven in the bar. They were quick to find the party’s bards; Gfed entertaining and focusing on a spicy little Halfling vixen, and a bemused Aven being entertained by Gfed’s interest in Hafling women. The party reconvened in their always-on-hold penthouse suite after Gfed took a little cajoling and a helping Paladin’s hook to lift him upstairs to complete the meeting. The Bard’s and the traveling party relayed their separate experiences, see episode 108 for the party, but Aven had unique things to tell.

Aven has declared a deeper interest in pursuits other than the sharing of tales and giving performances of legend, instead he will be pursing a path devoted to tinkering and constructing strange functional devices. He revealed his experiences with his adopted Gnomish father that instilled this interest at an early age, but only came to be expressed recently. He has developed a device he is calling a “Pepperbox Gun” that will wreak havoc at range, and brings forth the memory of brave Boko in his final moment against the infamous Blackhail. Aven went on to tell of a discovery in submerged caverns along the cliffs below Griffton. They were writings of a tinkerer, or Artificer, stating formulas, plans and odd statements similar to journal entries, all of which were etched in the wall by a Gnome with a seemingly fragile grip on sanity. Among some of these statements etched in the stone were “must get deeper,” “the dragon knows” and “it’s at the heart.” The group decided that further cave investigation will be placed in queue along with the other multiple tasks worthy of group attention.

So following some deliberation, Bork would stay behind to ensure the party’s collective story would continue should the worst occur, and at the same time make more potions. The group would head back into the tunnels and finish the investigation of the Kobold lair at the Dragon Skull mouth. Along the way to that destination they would explore the side tunnels previously skipped during their pursuit of Zidan. It was the very first tunnel explored that proved to be highly eventful.

The party advanced down a hallway, and after a time it was lit by regular intervals of everburning torches held aloft by decorative sconces. Sentinel detected the sounds of something sleepily breathing from much further down the current hallway, it was deep and perhaps large. Undeterred the party continued down the tunnel as it gradually began to decline and with it so did the temperature. At first it merely noticeable, but gradually the cold became highly uncomfortable. Even dipping below freezing, dangerous to prolonged exposure as well as causing ice underfoot and on the walls. Up ahead was a “T” intersection with pathways heading to the left and right, the cunning Shah utilizing his new special dagger went invisible and approached the intersection as an advanced scout. He did take care to have a rope tied about his waist, held at the other end by the strong Rand to aid his return up the icy incline should it be necessary. Much to everyone’s surprise it was.

Ooze

Around the left corner was an intelligent ooze, seeing right through magic invisibility, laid a devastating wallop upon Shah. He was quick to react but never-the-less was still knocked down and out by the fierce hit. The ooze, gripping the hapless rogue’s head, began to drag him away sizzling acid upon his handsome brow as he went. The fleet footed Sentinel, having none of that, raced down the decline and engaged the ooze who showed some combat intelligence by releasing Shah and fighting in earnest. While at the intersection Sentinel noticed two additional oozes approaching from down the right hall and relayed it to the group. Mighty Zinnaerris descended the incline and engaged the other oozes with sword and spell crackling. The normally less than graceful Rand quite deftly slid down the incline to carry the fight to the strange monsters. Beyond the surprise start, all went well in the fight for our heroes. Zinn, Rand and Sentinel engaged in successful melee combat. They were capably and effectively supported with ranged attacks from tactical Aven, powerful Fraas and resourceful Gfedcba. Additionally, Gfed summoned a earth elemental for great contribution. Sentinel and Rand in turn shrugged off mind affecting magic by the first ooze before Zinn found herself a little dazed by it. But before long victory was in hand and the oozes were dead. During the fight, it was Zinn’s new weapon that showed it’s worth, first magically stabilizing Shah, and after the fight healing him anew.

With high morale, the party continued down the right passageway. Around a left corner they ventured, and approached the end of the hall, notable for the way it opened to 30ft wide at its end leaving great space for a double door 10ft wide at the center. Perhaps this suggested something large was on the other side. The Tactical Aven first detected, then disarmed a lethal trap rigged to the door’s opening. Rand peaked under the door to gain further insight as to what might be lurking in the space beyond, he was unable to detect any evil, but a few of the others could hear a spell of ‘shield’ being cast. Assuming there was some kind of a spell caster preparing itself, Rand thought time could be against the group, so he broke the door open wide and made one step in. Rand summoned light upon a coin that shined like daylight and threw it into the darkness, and what proved to be a metaphor to his coming fate, the coin landed in an icy pool and descended away once again leaving the room to darkness. Members of the group however perceptively spotted the visible breath from a large creature hiding among the icy stalactites hanging from the ceiling of what was a very large, ice filled cavern. At the same time, Aven struck light upon an arrow and sent it across the cavern. From where it landed he could see stairs that led up to a raised deck like area and strewn all about it were treasures piled high, but to his growing concern he could also spot three very large egg shells that clearly seemed to have been hatched long,,, long,,, ago.

White dragon attack

With the knowledge of the creature on the ceiling, and disregarding the dragon warning signs, Rand called out “Who Goes There?!” With that, the battle began. A fearsome White Dragon swooped down upon the group – the first hostile dragon any of them had ever seen – and gave them a taste of what dragons can do. The winged creature of icy fury let loose a cone blast of deathly cold. The party took the blast and surged forward eager to return the carnage in kind. Powerful Fraas got first blood upon the dragon, reminding the beast that fireball hurts exquisitely to cold loving creatures. Shah too got in on the action introducing him to what the fire friendly Ifrit can do. Fleet footed Sentinel, Mighty Zinn and Strong Rand all showed their bravery swinging away upon the enemy but to no avail. It was the same for Tactical Aven and Resourceful Gfedcba launching their ranged attacks without success. It all happened in a blur, but what did seem to stretch the seconds was when Cunning Shah used the magic of his dagger to transform his shape into none other than Lord Garland. It was a startling sight for the frosty nemesis and he was literally taken aback. He paused for an agonizing second or two, but then let loose a ferocious supernaturally terrifying roar. Despite their most stalwartly brave intentions Zinnaerris, Gfedcba, Aven and Shah were panicked when the magic of the beasts roar pierced their resolve. They dropped all their weapons and would run for a long time… Fraas and Sentinel however managed to resist the dragons frightful attack and as for Rand, his heart is divinely bolstered against such fearful things. The vile dragon seeing through the ruse of the rogue and knowing the strength of the party was broken, ended the short fight with a question: “Mortals,, do you yield?”

It was Sentinel who responded first and wisely, accepting the dragons offer and throwing up his hands. Fraas, perhaps still recovering from his feat of will in resisting the frightfulness of the dragon was left in shock saying nothing. The situation was bleak, that much was clear, but to Rand, the prospect of surrendering to a dragon didn’t seem much better – he maintained his combat stance facing off with the enemy.

The dragon, ever confident and tickled at the meager efforts of such ‘mortals’ made an offer:

“Leave all these magic weapons and you can go.”

Again Sentinel acting in a quick and wise way turned to go and with him Fraas followed his lead. Rand’s mind raced; the weapons that would be left behind were the very weapons explicitly entrusted to the party in order to slay Draugarlond. Not to mention within those weapons was the last thread of connection to Rand’s dead brothers. His decision was sealed, Rand spoke up

“Instead, I’ll trade myself for the weapons, they go, I’ll stay.” The dragon glanced at Rand and sneered.

“Agreed. A Paladin is worth more than weapons.”

Besides, thought Rand, its my friends that are meant to wield those weapons, not me. This is a good trade.

Sentinel picked up the chaotic weapons with a sack, careful not to touch them. He exited the room and slowly closed the door, as he did, he looked back at his friend. Rand slowly descended the ice covered steps alone. The White Dragon looming over him.
White dragon overhead

Part II

After some time, the rest of the party recovered from their terror and got together. An excursion was made to try to find out what had happened to Rand. Shah looked under the door, and saw the dragon hovering over Rand’s body, incased in ice. Apparently the dragon was alerted to the presence of those at the door, who made haste to remove themselves from the situation. Especially Shah.

All seemed hopeless for Rand. He was surely dead. The dragon was powerful. The party was scared. But it was split. Half the party wished to honor Rand’s dying wishes and continue on their quest. The other half was not content to let the dead dog die. Eventually a plan was hatched. The group traveled to the Order of the Griffon the ask for help. Three brave Griffons were the first to join the group. Colwyn, Gareth and, Tahgen Twinblade were also convinced to join the quest. With their added strength, the party began to hatch an optimistic plan.

Bork was called upon to create 4 cold resistance potions. Which were given to Zinnaerris, Sentinel and Fraas and Shah. Zinn and Sentinel were also enlarged and had their strength bolstered.
Aven disarmed the trap at the door, Gfedcba sang has his song of courage and the potions were drunk. The doors were burst open, the Griffons flew in and the melee fighters entered. Expecting a fight, the warriors were instead greeted by stillness.

Moments later the water began to tremble, and someone shouted out, “The Water! It’s in the water!”

The melee fighters all crowded around the edge of the water with their weapons at the ready. Ranged fighters, too, were ready to attack. Out burst the dragon, for just a moment. Zinnaerris got off a shot that struck true, dealing heavy damage. But the moment was short, and in that short moment the dragon grabbed Gareth and drug him down into the water.

Helplessly, the party stood at the edge of the water, hoping the dragon would again emerge so they could have a chance to strike. Instead the dragon seemed content to use Gareth as a play thing, prodding and biting him, and forcing the party to watch as their comrade drown. Gfedgca summoned a water elemental that dealt several damaging blows to the dragon, but it was not enough to stop him from pulling Gareth down every time he made progress in swimming toward the surfac. In a desperate attempt to save the old knight, Aven tossed a rope into the water. Gareth managed to grab hold of the rope and the party began to pull him toward safety, but their hope was short lived. As soon as the dragon saw their progress, he closed his mighty jaws around Gareth and tore the old man to pieces.

Stunned and uncertain what to do next, the party remained at the edge of the water, the griffons circling anxiously overhead. Aven again attempted to use the rope. This time he enchanted it and it wrapped itself around the dragon’s face. Sentinal and Zinnaerris took hold and began to pull the dragon toward the surface of the water, but it resisted and the rope snapped. The dragon swam even deeper into the water and took refuge inside a cave deep under the ice.

Sentinal decided the only way to lure the dragon out of the water was to enrage him by stealing his riches. He ventured over to the double doors, and opened them, narrowly avoiding a block of falling ice. Once inside, he saw Rand’s body frozen in a block of ice on the far side of the room. He immediately ran to him and began pushing him toward the door, all the while stuffing his clothing with the most expensive looking items and calling out to the dragon gleefully, “I’m stealing your treasure!” Still the dragon did not emerge from the water.

Moments later, the party heard mumbling from deep beneath the ice. Fraas realized it was a spell for reshaping ice. “Get away from there!” he shouted to Zinnaerris, just as a cylinder opened up in the ice beneath her feet. She jumped away just in time to avoid falling. As she did, she saw the dragon running quickly up the side of the newly formed tunnel in the ice. She cast a fireball spell but he dodged it easily. When he reached the surface, she struck at him again, this time with Dragonsbane, but it glanced off his shield.

The dragon landed on the ice and let out a great roar. Aven and Shah panicked and ran screaming into the back room, where they attempted to hide under a pile of treasure. Fraas, who had been lying in wait all this time just outside the door to the room, seized upon the moment and cast a fireball spell that dealt massive damage. The dragon roared in pain and took off into the air. He landed on a broken column, then glared angrily at Fraas and cast a spell that blocked the door with a thick wall of ice.

The griffons circled overhead the dragon while Sentinal attempted to climb the column. Meanwhile, Gfedcba used his scorching ray wand and dealt another terrible blow to the dragon. The griffons swooped in to distract and harass the dragon while Fraas burned a hole through the ice wall. Sentinal reached the top of the column and managed a few glancing blows. Finally, Fraas melted a large enough hole in the ice to cast another fireball, but the spell missed. Fortunately, Gfedcba’s aim was true as he fired another scorching ray spell that delivered the fatal blow. The dragon roared and collapsed. The party could hardly believe it! They had killed a dragon, though at great cost, for both Rand and Gareth were dead and they had yet to discover whether their friend could be saved, or whether he would forever be remembered as “Randscicle.”

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Episode 108 Recap

Magistrate

Arvellan Twinblade, the Magistrate of Griffton.

Ayez 28 (Day 1)

The party returned to Griffton after the Oracle’s death. Rand, Bork, Sentinel, Fraas, Shah, Zinnearis and Gfedcba stayed at the luxury suite in the tavern. Aven went off on his own and was spotted intermittently over the next twelve days.

Ayez 29 (Day 2)

Rand ordered magical armor from his father. The party contributed 1400 GP toward its purchase. Zinnaeris ordered a mundane battle axe from Rose. Bork made a number of healing potions. Fraas, Bork and Zinnaeris copied spells from each others’ books.

That night in their suite at the tavern, Zinnaeris showed the party a hand-painted picture book her mother had given her as a small child. It tells the tale of a heroic lady half-orc on a series of adventures. In one of the pictures, Zinnaeris fights alongside a knight who everyone agrees looks strikingly similar to Zidan. Fraas and Zinnaeris detected magic on the book and discovered three auras: a light aura of illusion, a moderate aura of transmutation, and an unknown strong aura.

Ayez 30 (Day 3)

Gfedcba played the lyre to mine stone from the Barduk family quarry in order to build a wall around Griffton. Three thousand five-foot blocks of stone were mined, as Gfedcba played for 10 hours straight.

Tan 1 (Day 4)

A caravan of ships arrived at Griffton. Rand, Sentinel, Fraas, Shaw and Zinnaeris observed the new arrivals on the docks. Zinnaeris and Fraas detected magic on the crowd and saw two sailors carrying a trunk of magical items. They also noticed Archibald Bush was there and that the space behind his eyepatch was glowing. He was looking intently at the crowd as if searching for something or someone.

Later that day in the marketplace, Shaw, Fraas, and Zinn found the owner of the magical items, a merchant named Yannick. He was selling: a feather that turns into a bird, which can deliver a message anywhere (500 GP), a scroll of gust of wind, a wand of magic mouth, and a divine staff of healing (15,000 GP). When they attempted to bargain with Yannick, he offered a deal, once the paladin left the vicinity, the remainder of the group having agreed to meet Yannick at the site of Shah’s ongoing beach bonfires. Yannick said he would give them all the items for free if one of them would sign a contract allowing Yannick’s consciousness to ride along with them. Yannick even offered to amend the contract to be more specific (10 days instead of an unspecified period of time), but the party found the unknown elements of the trade too risky and eventually turned Yannick down.

That evening, Sentinel was patrolling the marketplace when he spotted a hooded elf with the Green Wyrm’s insignia on his tabard, worn over exceptionally clean plate armor. It looked like Lord Garland from a distance.

Tan 2-6 (Day 5-9)

Time passed uneventfully. The armored elf was found to be staying in the room next to the party’s suite, and he quietly kept to himself. Rand remarked that a powerful evil radiated from him. He was later found to have been spending a great deal of time with the magistrate.

Tan 7 (Day 10)

The wall was built, spanning the western edge of the city center. About a half of the mined stone remains unused, piled near the outskirts of town.

Tan 9 (Day 11)

Archibald Bush called Bork into his office to discuss a break-in. A wheel of cheese and several bottles of wine were stolen. A container of flour had spilled and there were small flour foot prints trailing back through the portal.

Bork arranged a way for Zinnaeris to see her picture book as it really was. She relayed what she saw to the party.

Tan 10 (Day 12)

The party picked up their new gear from Rand’s father and ventured into the tunnels to follow the flour footprints. They found that the trail coincided with Zidan’s (the dragged statue) up to a certain point before breaking away. They led to a door into a small room with a stone sarcophagus and five kobolds. The party killed four of the kobolds. The last, a magical type, who had called lightning to strike the group, fled further into the tunnels. They pursued and came upon another group of kobolds in a large room with two overlapping circular runes on the floor and the opposite passage carved to resemble a dragon’s open mouth, from which emitted a slight breeze and a low, wheezing laugh. Beyond the dragon’s teeth there were two mangled kobold bodies and a staircase that descended into darkness. Fraas killed the massed kobolds with a fireball spell, but immediately afterward, the runes glowed red and the bodies came back to “life” as zombies. Then the two bodies just beyond the dragon’s teeth turned into shadows. The party managed to defeat the undead kobolds and then the shadows. After further inspecting the room, they noticed an inscription in Draconic runes over the dragon mouth entrance: “A dreaded curse will fall upon those who enter here unless they carry the gleam of the stars on them.”

Pzo9031 kobold shaman

Rand smashed the runes on the floor with his hammer, which revealed a narrow pit and a ladder leading down. Bork scurried down the later and a moment later the party heard explosions. Bork emerged with one last kobold, shaking in terror. He gave the party a chest of “shiny good-goods, many treasures!” in exchange for his life. Bork interrogated the poor wretch and learned that the sarcophagus held their late King, Merlokrep, who had been slain by “pink fleshy ones,” and who had since become a wight. He didn’t have any idea where this King was at present, but the fleeing kobold from the first room, revealed to be a druid, named Depnaakra. The party granted the kobold his life and released back into his pit home. They took the chest to the next room and opened it, only to discover it was filled not with gold but with a swarm of poisonous centipedes. Bork took the chest back to the pit and dropped it in with the final kobold, who was instantly devoured.

After obliterating the kobolds, Rand wanted to go through the dragon’s teeth, but the party convinced him to instead pick up Zidan’s tracks back in the main tunnel. The tracks stopped suddenly in the middle of a passageway. After inspecting the walls, they discovered a hidden brick, which revealed a glowing portal. The party stepped through, weapons raised, and found themselves in a hunting lodge with two old human men playing chess and a third whittling in an easy chair. The statue of the boy that Zidan had been protecting sat in the corner of the room. Fraas noticed griffons circling overhead while peering through a window.

The three men turned out to be Colwyn, Gareth and, most notably, Tahgen Twinblade, the old magistrate of Griffton, father of the current one, and the man whose name the Green Wyrm decreed shall not be spoken. Tahgen told the party that his death had been staged by the Green Wyrm. The dragon had most definitely torn apart a real human being in the town square, but it had not been him. Tahgen had attacked the Green Wyrm, and even managed to pierce it, but then he smelled acid burning flesh and when he came to he was on the back of a griffin, clutching a single green dragonscale. When Tahgen’s men realized their fight against the Green Wyrm was hopeless, they fled. The griffon carrying the injured Tahgen found the men and led them to the base of the Griffon Tower, and showed them the portal at the base. The three of them explored the tunnels, found the portal to the snowy wood in the mountains west of Griffton, and built this lodge to house the Order of the Griffon. For twenty-five years they’ve been plotting their revenge against the Green Wyrm… but plotting is all they ever really did. The scale was used to forge two weapons: a longsword and a dagger, which they offered to the group. He said the longsword would bring the Green Wyrm down, and the dagger would finish him. The weapons only responded to those with a Chaotic Good alignment. Zinnaeris took the longsword and Shah took the dagger, which glowed as they were wielded: the sword emitting light like a torch, and the dagger simply flashing brilliant white when Shah first picked it up. Colwyn indicated that the weapons were meant to be used by Boko and Babdan Barduk, Rand’s two dwarven brothers. Tahgen also mentioned that the two brothers even helped forge the items.

The party asked about the stone boy and learned he was the son of Tahgen and was being held by the Green Wyrm before his attempted rescue. His youth belied his years, as the stone boy was a half-elf, like the current magistrate, and was roughly 25 years of age. Zidan had sworn an oath to deliver the boy safely and left the lodge two days earlier in search of a cleric or mage in the north who could return the boy to flesh.

Tahgen, Colwyn and Gareth knew and respected Boko Barduk, as Boko was of their group. They were the three other griffon riders at Griffin tower, and the ones who had constructed the funeral pyre for Boko. Tahgen said they knew nothing of the spyglass or Boko’s involvement with the pirates. Tahgen, Colwyn and Gareth also knew Babdan Barduk who was aligned with them against the Green Wyrm as a prior member of the Order. However, Babdan had grown impatient with planning and ventured into the North alone. He had not been seen or heard from since. When asked how the binding of griffon to rider worked, Tahgen pointed out that the griffons choose their riders, and that Boko was chosen after encountering the Order by accident in the grove where he played with Rand as a child, and later met his fate at the hands of the pirate gunslinger Blackhail. This grove was where the Order met their one contact in town, revealed to be Jackmerius, the “greatest liar any of us have ever seen,” as Tahgen put it. Jackmerius’s trips to the north were shown to be visits to bond with his daughter, who he had unknowingly sired. (The initial meeting where Draugarlond was lecturing Jack about ‘doing what he knows he must do’ was explained to be Lord Garland’s overbearing sense of honor and paternal instinct.)

Tahgen said the Green Wyrm has many sons and foster children. His sons are mostly unholy men, and the recent visitor to Griffton is assumed to be one of them. The Green Wyrm’s demesne is made of several small villages and towns in the north, as well as a capitol city called Belheim, which is a militaristic place, and has an army large enough to wipe Griffton off the mote. It was also told that Belheim and the surrounding lands practice slavery and human sacrifice, in accordance with their laws and traditions. It was suggested that the party could ‘pass’ as citizens if they were careful and wore disguises, which is how Zidan lasted long enough there to rescue Tahgen’s son.

Colwyn was shown to be interested in books and lore, and offered the use of his library to Fraas. Gareth offered his services as a healer to the group, who decided to rest in the lodge for the night, after exploring the grounds further and continuing to gather information.

Now that the party knows about the Order’s presence in the West, Taghen believes the Green Wyrm will soon know too, and it will only be a matter of time before he comes for them, seeking revenge. If the party attempts to kill the Green Wyrm, Taghen wants to be there. For the time being he asked the party not to reveal to his wife or daughter that he is alive.

Griffon

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