Privateer

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.”

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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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Episode 107 Recap
Orborus's Angel

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Having just trounced a horde of vicious were-rats, the party look for an exit from the tunnel system. A path is chose that terminates at a small enclave of were-rat priests that had escaped the previous fray. They are standing in front of a large circular wooden symbol, hanging on the wall in front of an altar that is utterly evil. It is suspected this is due to it being a place of human sacrifice, possibly infants, as the ones seen roasting on a stick in the outer chamber. These sinister rectors are quickly dashed.

The group’s instincts suggest that the tunnels have some sentient component that is preventing their escape. Much time is spent declaring their intentions, verbally to the tunnels. “The tunnels respond to what we say!” The walls change when Sentinel is reluctant to say he wasn’t a friend of the dragon and they also change when Rand said he was against the Green Wyrm. Bork tells everyone that the rooms only seemed to move when the giant was sleeping.

Shaw detects good on the walls and passes out. He awakes in a state of euphoria, comparable in intensity as to when Rand detected evil on the Green Wyrm. This confirms the tunnels’s sentience and that they are extremely good.

Suddenly, from a side passage, erupts an outpouring of skeletons and zombies. Fraas hits the main front with fireballs. Bork and Shah climb up on a pile of wood and rubble for a better vantage. In the undead company are more heavily armored skeletons, with glowing blue eye sockets, and their implied leader who makes frightening clacking noises with its teeth. These more advanced undead stay spread out and away from the rest of the mindless zombies. The leader sends a minion away down the halls. He then steps forward, tossing an onyx stone that the spellcasters in the party know turns a corpse into undead, perhaps hoping for one of the adventurers to follow and join his army. At his displeasure, the party was victorious. At this clear action in fear of our motivations by swarming the party with undead out of the tunnels, the party makes sure to announce that they were on the path of good, and the tunnels shift again.

Keeping in mind that Zinn was still potentially going to turn into a were-rat the group made their way further in hopes of finding the Oracle right away. Eventually, they stumble upon his chamber and after waking him up ask him if he can cure Zinn or if his deity is able. He doesn’t remember who is deity is, and cries immense tears at the shame of forgetting that fact. His eyes are still cloudy. He tells the group that he needs a holy symbol in order to pray. Someone had stolen it from him long ago. Sentinel notices the oracle has a circular indentation in his hand of the same size as the disk the wererats were worshipping. Rand supposes the disk on the were-rats altar is indeed his holy symbol. After retrieving it and bringing it to the Oracle, he seems pleased, even hopeful, but he says he needs rest in order to have the strength to try the spell. The party tells him of the various spells they need the next day: remove disease for Zinn sudden thirst for cheese, restoration for the draining the party has suffered, and break enchantment for the leftover stone statues. With that, the party spends the night in the Oracle’s chamber.

After several hours of rest the giant awakes and says he’s ready to try the spell. Before the Oracle tries the spell he asks if anyone wants to seek forgiveness. Sentinel and Fraas notice that Zidan seems very uncomfortable with the idea. Bork accepts. The giant then picks Zinn up in his hand to begin work on removing her disease. Zinn feels a weight lifted as the curse is dispelled. Suddenly, the disk catches fire and Zinn sees in a brief flash of an image of a dark tower that reminds her of one near her homeland. Zinn is chucked from the giant’s grasp and his eye begin clearing and he roars with deep strangled pain. The tunnels begin shaking to make the escalating intensity of his trauma.

Sentinel climbs the giant and makes a brute force attempt to remove the token. This fails. A giant crack forms across the floor. Zidan falls down but lands on ledge unconscious, sizzling. Bork casts enlarge person on everyone and is able to pull Zidan out of the fissure, which beging to glow with portal-like emanations. In a desperate attempt to remove the source of anguish, Zinn tries chopping off the giant’s arm, but his flesh is to impenetrable. She swings at the enflamed symbol but her axe melts upon striking.

From the rift in the floor, an Erinyes emerges and flies up into the chamber. With the instability of tunnels creating immediate and progressive danger to his fellows, and with no other apparent option, Aven fires the magical “Kill Good” arrow at the giant. It plunges into the Oracle’s chest and as he dies, he turns to stone, as does the symbol, he crumbles to pieces. The crack in the floor immediately seals.

The group’s effort turns to dispelling the flighty she-devil. Fraas blinds her with glitterdust. Zinn splatters her with rocks. The Erinyes regains her sight and teleports to the giant’s throne where she casts a protective malaise cloud on any who passed beneath her. She shrieks, “Orburos smite my enemies!” Sentinel and Rand eventually break through her protective spells and deliver to her, her final sensations of pain.

With the stone giant dead, the walls no longer seem alive nor do they glow good. Zidan parts ways with the rest of the group taking the child statue with him, into another of the tunnels. He says he can’t tell them where he way going, and the he didn’t know how his people would react, but he suspected that they’d all meet again. Rand asks if his people ride griffons, to which Zidan says, “yes.”

Gloomily, the party make their way back to the tavern through Archibald’s store room. Zinn recalls what she felt and saw in the wooden symbol when it burst into flame. The group take the opportunity to test for any lingering hankerings for a block of cheese.

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Episode 106 Recap
The Arrow of Portent

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Bork and Aven, who, unknown to the rest of the party, had been off on a little side mission, meet back up with the group in the basilisk’s chamber. Zidan tells everyone that he’s taking the, now encased in stone, child from the north and bringing him to safety under the direction of the child’s father. Asking for Rand to let him chat with the rest of the party privately, Zidan divulges a prophecy about Rand, that he will either save this world or destroy it with a righteous act. Either way, he’ll think he’s doing the right thing. Zidan describes how paladins can be immune to the effects of fear, but that this immunity sometimes includes the fear that one’s actions are incorrect. Zidan reveals that the prophecy came from Rand’s mother, who is described as a goodly being, “not of this world” and “a protector of a far away place.” Zinn appears to recognize Zidan, but makes no comment of it.

During the conversation, the cave crabs come out of hiding and commence an attack on the party. One of them snatches Isolinde and carries her off. Shah attempts to free her by shooting the beast with an arrow, it hits, but the crab and Isolinde falls from the 50 foot high ceiling and crash into the water. The crab lands on top of Isolinde, crushing her. The blood of their bodies attract a swarm of carnivorous leeches that pick her unconscious body clean. The rest of the cave crabs run away in fear.

Aven uses his special abilities to create a navigable and mobile cavity in the water and finds a small cave at the bottom teeming with loot. Of particular note is a arrow that can kill a good outsider in one shot, and an armor made from angel’s skin. Shah dons the angel skin, which makes him radiate goodness, as seen with a Detect Good Wand also from the stash. It also reveals that Rand radiates a similarly strong aura of goodness, while Zinn, Zidan, Aven, Gfed and Shah (without the armor) radiate a lesser aura of good.

The party argues for hours about whether to keep the arrow. Rand vehemently says it should be destroyed, while Bork claims it might be useful, as he reveals to Rand what Zidan had prophesized. Others in the group are less inclined to make a decision, but eventually it is kept. A forlorn Rand moves ahead through the tunnels a bit quiet and alienated.

The party follows further into the tunnels past the basilisk’s corpse where they reach a large room with a foul cesspool. A horde of wererats attempt to ambush them, but Sentinel’s fists and Fraas’s fireballs make quick work of them, but not before Zinnaerris gets bitten. After the rabble settles, the party argues about what to do about Zinn’s bite (should they kill her at first sign of a were-rat shifting?) but they know they have three days to cure her.

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Episode 105 Recap
Bread for the Oracle, Stone for the Rest

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Back in town, the adventurers found themselves quite busy. They became aware that the green wyrm wanted to meet with them and tried to find out for the town magistrate and Sheriff Durri what the wyrm could want from them.

In the meantime, Fraas and Shah acquire a sail to be used as a cloak for the giant oracle, and the rest of the group decide to acquire provisions (tons of flour, etc. for bread baking and some rounds of cheese) in order to feed the him. They reenter the tunnels via Archibald’s tavern and what can only be described as a “bread baking montage” ensues. The oracle is fed and given his newly fashioned cloak, and seems very happy. When helping him don the cloak, Fraas notices that the oracle’s body is merged with the rock of the tunnels, which very well explains why he kept trying, but couldn’t stand up.

After returning from the tunnels, the group takes their meeting with Lord Garland. After apologizing for keeping tabs on the group, and specifically to Rand for judging him harshly for his brother’s crimes of piracy, he implores the group to tell him what they have found out on this mote, but the party is reluctant. After a short and awkward silence, he states that he is not a fool and asks how the party travelled into the Griffon Tower and then reemerged in the storeroom of the tavern. The group quickly realizes he knows about the tunnels. Mid-chat the group takes a highly disrespectful private aside to discuss what to reveal to the green wyrm. At this point, Sentinel recants almost everything, including what they found out about the spyglass, but choosing to omit commenting on the encounter with the stone giant. This is done much to a silently seething Rand’s chagrin. The dragon seems to already know about the draconic portal at Griffon Tower, or at least that there was something to the place, but he mentions that the griffons would harass him if he ever came near. He states that he hated conflict and taking life, and did so only when required and with great sadness. The wyrm also denies that Boko had been killed. He insists that he had spotted Boko on a pirate ship escaping to the south, and affirmed that his eyesight was very good.

The green wyrm tells the group that he will be leaving the mote soon. His family has called him and it is not the kind of summons he could refuse. He says he doesn’t know when he would be back, that it would be at the very least three months from now, with the possibility of an indefinite leave. He commends the group on working together and wants them to continue doing what that are doing and to look out for the good of the town. He tells them if they need any help, his representative could assist us, and that one will be on the way shortly.

The group finishes up the conversation, questioning the wyrm on his spying banner, which he claims was not his doing, but that “it must’ve been an aide with perhaps too much initiative,” and they also ask about the two children from the Gnoll attack. Lord Garland says they are quite healthy and happy, and being seen to. He also reveals that he has many ‘caretakers,’ implying that he has a large community in the north. Finally and forcefully, he states that his home is still his domain, and that the rule forbidding traveling past the offering point in the North still applies in his absence.

The party returns to Griffon Tower to see if touching a different stone on the draconic portal teleports to a different location, which is does not. Before traveling through, however, they notice the dirt around the tower was freshly scuffled, and there were tracks leading within to the black disc.

They re-enter the dungeon only to find its paths drastically changed. All the tunnels loop back on themselves with only a subset of the original paths available.

They travel down one tunnel and discover a trap and two dead men. The bodies are looted and after much searching, it is concluded that the trapdoor might be the only way out. Some stones of the trap are loosed to reveal a ladder leading into darkness. Zinn ties a rope around herself and is lowered into the pit, where she sees some shallow water beneath. She tosses some rations into the water and thinks she detects some movement. Suddenly she is latched onto by the tongue of cave crab that was scrambling across the ceiling of the chamber. Rand scurries down the ladder and jumps to save her, but the both end up falling into the water. The rest of the group rush down the ladder and manage to fight off and scare away the crab-like beasts. It is then that they all notice a bunch of stone statues in the water and on the shore of the shallow pool with a tunnel leading beyond. They notice on of the stone statues resembles Isolinde, but the fingers on one of her hands are broken off.

From the tunnel a basilisk emerges and engages the group. Sentinel is turned to stone in an attempt to melee with it, leaving Rand and Zinn to finish it off. Zinn recalls from her expert tutelage under Jackmerius that basilisk blood can be used to bring statues back to flesh. They harvest enough for three statues and given that there are only a few intact statues, Sentinel, Isolinde, a child, a gnome and an armor clad man. Impatient with discussions, Zinn tosses the blood on Sentinel, Isolinde and a knight.

Shah cauterizes isolinde’s finger wound and she retells that two men had grabbed her when she came down from Griffon Tower and dragged her into the tunnels. They were killed by the trap and somehow she ended up in the pit with the basilisk. The knight bursts into tears upon seeing the stone statue of the child, runs to cry over the boy, saying he was supposed to protect him. Rand recognizes this knight, it is his former mentor, the paladin Zidan.

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Episode 104 Recap
Of Spyglasses, Portals and Giants

Aven arrives at the tower on horseback, wielding another of Draugarland’s banners, which is quickly snapped when suspected of being another of the Wyrm’s augury devices. When the group magically checks Aven’s alliances, his horse is outed as evil and is thusly slain by Bork as it tries to flee and it dissolves into shadows.

The party continue their exploration of the tower by working their way through the mess of spiderwebs with their torches. They discover on one of the tower levels, a pair of bedrolls, one large, one smaller, some socks, as well as some more nasty baby spiders that are swiftly slaughtered and the remaining egg sacs smashed.

Above them is a locked hatch that leads to the top of the tower. It is here the group find a funeral pyre and a griffon keeping guard. Gfedcba attempts to talk to the griffin, whereby the party discovers the pyre was for Boko. Strangely, the griffon dies soon thereafter, seemingly linked to Boko. Rand discovers a piece of Boko’s toy in the pyre, the same clue which originally led the party to the grove.

That night, Fraas reveals to Rand and Zinnaerris that Boko had snuck the spyglass onto his person the night of Boko’s death. After assuaging Fraas’s fear that telling others about the spyglass would not make him a target for the pirates, Zinnaerris takes a look through the spyglass, seeing nothing but darkness. Fraas and Rand next try to look through the spyglass to see if they could see anything. Both see a pinpoint of light in the north, but otherwise nothing.

Zinnaerris again attempts to look through, only this time, instantly vanishes from sight, leaving the spyglass to drop where her feet once stood. The rest of the party is quickly roused from sleep and each take turns (perhaps foolishly) looking through the spyglass. After experimentation, only Fraas, Rand, Aven, and Shah see the pinpoint of light, while Sentinel feels a strange pull from the darkness he sees with the device. Bork decides to try and let the darkness pull and overtake him in order to follow and potentially aid Zinn, and he vanishes just as she had. Gfedcba, perhaps wisely, decides to forgo looking into the scope.

Fraas takes another look into the telescope, this time looking down at his feet and notices a much bigger source of light coming from the base of the tower. As the remaining party members are trying to figure out what this light was, it is revealed why the spyglass may have worked differently for Aven and Shah; like Fraas they are both outsiders, an Undine and Ifrit, respectively. Although Rand claims humanhood, the others are less than silently suspicious.

Under the ground at the base of the tower they uncover a large dragon-carved black metal disc. Suspecting that this could be a portal and thus another way to transport to where Zinn had gone, one by they touch the metal and vanish from sight. Before following, Rand sets Isolinde free from bondage, and makes sure to grab Zinn and Bork’s belongings. He bends to touch the portal and vanishes.

The group, except for Zinn, now find themselves in a hallway of a strange shifting dungeon. As they explore deeper, another group of Shadows advance on them, however this time Fraas and Rand discovered that they were attracted to the spyglass, because when Rand had it in his hands, a raspy “Raaaaaaaaaaand” echoed throughout the halls.

During the escape, the group fall down a trap slide ending in a large hallway and here, while still running from the Shadows, they finally meet up with Zinnaerris, who is safe, but shouting “FRIENDLY GIANT!!!” Before the group could make any sense of this, the horde of shadows were upon them. It was looking hopeless, the group runs away while in a moment of desperate bravery Rand stands to sacrifice himself and stop their advance. Suddenly, a bright sphere of light flashes from Rand, a supernova dissolving the shadows and saving the group from imminent doom. Lots of “I told you he wasn’t human” were thrown about.

The gang of adventurers gather their composure, and while glad to see Zinn again, immediately start to understand what “friendly giant” had meant. On the throne of this great hall they had stumbled into, sits a wizened and very sleepy elder storm giant. They gently awaken him and are told that he is 1100 years old (much longer than a typical storm giant’s lifespan?) and of his history with the green wyrm (or was it the green wyrm’s ancestors?). He refers to a pair of wyrms that had destroyed his family’s town, the ruins upon which Griffton now stands. He did not remember entirely how or why he is in this chamber, but that he was stuck here by his family for protection. The group notices that the only other exits from this room are into a servants quarters and kitchen, and another entrance closed up by dragon-carved black metal similar to that of the griffon tower portal, although this disc seemed to be inert for teleport, and did not radiate any sort of magic.

After the giant has again dozed off, the group heads back into the tunnels, but not before Bork again tries teleporting into the spyglass. Eventually they reach Bork in the room where they first entered the tunnels and he takes them down a path toward a bustling murmur leading toward a bright white portal. After passing through, the party find themselves in the back storeroom of the Griffton tavern, the Fallen Angel. The group sneak as casually as possible out through the boisterous tavern and make for individual home bases, agreeing to rest up and discuss what they’ve discovered the next morning.

Coming back to the tavern the next morning, Archibald Bush, the tavern owner doesn’t seem to know the full extent of the tunnels, for when he tried to re-enter the dungeon, the tunnel instantly shifted, merely providing him with a secret extra storeroom. “There are clearly much to these tunnels we do not understand.”

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Episode 103 Recap
A Secret Lurks In The Shadows

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The party had not been long in the Barduk family mine when it became clear that interrogating Isolinde would be of little use. The elven piratess knew nothing of the larger game being played around her, certainly not enough to make sense of what had gone on that terrible night. She didn’t know what the pirates wanted from Boko, or why they had killed him. Isolinde knew only that she was in love with Blackhail, that he had betrayed her, and that she would do everything in her power to help the party bring him to justice. So she said.

Zinnaerris scowled. Frustrated, exhausted, and enraged at Isolinde’s apparent ignorance, she felt an ancient rage stirring within her, but she knew better than to act on it. Instead, she thumbed the curved edge of her battle axe and paced.

“Shhhhhhhhh!” someone said abruptly. Rand stopped questioning, and the party stood still. A soft, chilling hiss flowed through the cavern. There was a long moment of silence, then it began again. This time it was louder and they were able to make out a word: “Fraaaaaaaaaaassssss.”

The hiss became a whisper as it grew louder and more crisp. Suddenly a group of shadows passed through the stone wall, headed directly for the party. “Fraaaaaaaaaaas.” Everyone looked at Fraas, whose pale face and slack jaw proved he knew no more than they about why these wretched creatures were calling his name. They attempted to fight but soon learned these creatures could be destroyed only with magic. Fraas was able to fend them off with a spell, but only after Isolinde saved his life with a protection spell. The party barely managed to escape with their lives.

Once outside the cave, the adventurers decided to offer Isolinde the chance to join their group. She accepted.

Stunned by recent events and unsure of what to do next, the party decided to head to Jack’s house to see if he could tell them anything about the mysterious shadows in the Barduk mine. When they arrived, they found Jack acting very strangely. He insisted he was much too tired to talk, and would be happy to oblige in the morning. The party spent the night, but when morning arrives, Jack never came downstairs. Zinnaerris made a nice breakfast of fried eggs and goat bacon for the group, but Jack’s sat there, uneaten. Zinnearris made a frown out of the goat bacon to express her displeasure when Jack finally did emerge, but he never did. Finally Zinnaerris ventured upstairs and knocked on his door. No answer. She cautiosly opened the door only to find Jack’s bead empty and stripped of sheets. The bedsheets were tied into a rope that trailed out the window. The party ran outside and saw footprints from the base of the house, but which stopped a few feet later, as if Jack had simply vanished.

The party decided to venture back into town to rest and heal. Isolinde waited on the outskirts of town to avoid capture. Rand and Fraas went to Quinnla Tealeaf, the town’s halfling clerif, to receive healing from their encounter with the shadows. Meanwhile, Bork spent some time studying the banner the green wyrm had given them and determined that it had a clairvoyance/clairaudience-type effect. They party decided it would be best to leave the banner rolled up in the temple when they next ventured out.

While he was resting, Fraas quietly noticed something in his pocket, something Boko had slipped in there when he wasn’t paying attention.

While going about his business in town, Shah discovered that there were bounties on Boko, Isolinde and Blackhail, and that Boko had been spotted on a pirate ship fleeing the Jannian Navy to the South. When he shared this with the group, many heads were scratched as they’d surely seen Boko killed the night before.

Rand returned home to see his parents. His father seemed more distraught by his son’s disgrace than anything else.

The party decides to go explore Griffon tower. Upon arrival, they look inside to find giant spiderwebs covering giant steps. They also notice a conspicuous scroll in the middle of the floor. Zinn decides to climb the tower and look inside the second story window to get a better view of what might be lurking inside. When she reaches in, she feels a breeze and swats it. A huge spider, with a strange human face, phases in and attacks at her. She falls but Fraas slows her descent with a feather fall spell and she lands safely. The party fights two nasty “phase spiders” and slays them easily. During the fray, Fraas manages to capture a note that’s lying in the middle of the floor on the first level. It’s from Boko:

“To friends new and old, If you’re reading this, I’m dead.
I am sure you’ve found it by now, and this is where you use it.
Be careful, these old paths aren’t as safe as they used to be.
Sorry for the secrecy. There are old things on this rock,
things older than the green wyrm, and names are dangerous.”

- Boko

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Episode 102: Scimitar Rock, Part Two
It looks like these heroes might need a hand.

Campaign date: 2 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

Lord garland 3 The heroes cautiously approached the great green Wyrm perched atop Jackmerius Stringfellow’s tower, only to discover that it was an repeating illusion, and that Lord Garland (pictured at left in elven form) was inside, conferring with the visibly-shaken wizard, to whom they overheard the instruction, “You know what you must do.” The Lord of Griffton, ever the champion of noble etiquette, commissioned the party to investigate the reasons for the gnoll attack, providing them with his battle standard to let any would-be attackers know that the party was “under his protection” and promising a reward.

After much debate about their motives, and learning that the Jannian Navy was delayed, the heroes began tracking the gnolls. After a soggy three-day trek into the Westwood of Scimitar Rock, noticing an omnipresent, distant rustling in the jungle at night as well as a growing stench of rot, the party discovered the feral gnolls’ makeshift camp — but the gnolls had been brutally massacred. At the rear of the camp was a wooden cage containing a gnome who was trying his best to remain absolutely motionless.

Ashen undead Stirred to “life” by the heroes’ intrusion, one of the dead gnolls nearest the cage bolted upright, his movements impossibly quick, whipped his ruined head around on what remained of his spine, and rushed the party. He savaged them with his half-mandible, and a strange, wet clucking sound emanated from the back of his rotting throat. This call to arms woke many more of the fallen foes to unlife, and, rising all around them, they mobbed the group, which struggled to survive until the timely application of fire disintegrated the enemies into a spray of cindery ash.

Matters quickly went even worse as the freed gnome captive informed his new allies of two new threats: the pirates of the Summerstar, who he had escaped after they disembarked far south of the Bay of Griffton, and the hunters that decimated the gnolls — a chorus of reptilian screeching and rending claws and teeth in the inky blackness of night.

The party began their trek back to town, and along the way noticed (by climbing a tree) that there was a visible “line” in the distant forest canopy where the lush green colors changed, suddenly, to a unnaturally darker shade.

As the party camped for the night, they heard the sounds of something stalking the camp’s periphery. Heedless of danger, they charged it, only to discover that their foe (or foes) were invisible. The invisible threat bit Rand’s torch-carrying hand clean off, cauterizing the wound instantly with acid, and the paladin fell unconscious. The party used a combination of waving Lord Garland’s banner, a fear spell, and alchemical bombs to drive away the foe(s.)

The party hustled back to town and took Rand to the healer. The healer cured both Rand and Aven of some sort of disease they contracted, and Rand slowly regained his vigor. Rand’s father Baz Barduk, with Gfedcba’s help, fashioned a metal claw so that Rand could wield his earthbreaker.

During the downtime, Gfedcba and Aven combined to perform the greatest act of music that the mote had ever heard. A dragon roar in the far north was heard as the music died down. A young farm couple named their newborn “Aven Maestro Harkshire,” as he was born during the epic performance. As well, it was revealed that Lord Garland had ‘adopted’ the two children orphaned by the starving gnolls’ attack on the farmstead, taking them north to be raised “with every advantage.”

The party encountered Lord Garland, Captain Mordren and an Admiral of the Jannian Navy with a very severe personality in the tavern. Lord Garland paid the grouo fifty platinum pieces for their services to the Griffton. Captain Mordren, speaking on behalf of the Navy, asked Rand where to find Boko, and told him that he was in trouble. The party left to find Boko first, and it appeared as though Archibald Bush somehow signaled for the tavern patrons to crowd the table around the Navy men, so that their pursuit would be hindered. Gfedcba and Fraas used their wiles to delay the pursuing sailors further while Rand and the others hurried to find Boko.

At the Barduk home, Bork noticed a loose floorboard by meticulously hopping on each one. In a hollow, they discovered a piece of leather that clearly wrapped some sort of small cylinder, and part of a children’s toy. Rand puzzled over the toy for a few moments before realizing that it was one piece of a toy he and Boko used to play with in a certain secluded grove on the outskirts of the farms. The party hurried there.

Arriving at the grove, the group found Boko being threatened by pirates, led by two elves, a male and a female. The female elf said “he’s telling the truth, he doesn’t have it,” and the male elf quick-drew a strange device which seemed to explode in his hand — and Boko’s skull exploded in turn.

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The group charged the pirates and cut them down, but not before the gunslinger summoned his rescue: “Draugarlond!” Lord Garland teleported right next to the pirate, transformed into his huge, terrifying wyrm form, and then flew away with the pirate on his neck. The gunslinger (made invisible by his partner) yelled out, “what about her?” to which Draugarlond growled out, “Not in the contract.” The piratical elven lady surrendered, obviously shocked at her friend’s abandonment.

Our heroes led this elf woman — named Isolindë — to the Barduk family’s new aerum mine and interrogated her. She offered help freely, though she did not know the details of the plan. She shared the names of her now ex-lover, Galóndil — better known as Blackhail, captain of the Summerstar, and the greater group to which he belonged. This group, known as the Agarchanar, elven for “Brothers in Blood,” is led by Lómil-Galdor, known as ‘the Viper,’ and the self-styled King in the Void. He captains the Greyswan, the flagship of his fleet, and the base was revealed to be in the far south, in dragon-controlled lands known as the Drag-Suar Motes.

Notes: Rand used his detect evil ability to view Draugarlônd for the first time and was nearly overwhelmed by the power of his aura. He was rendered shaking and speechless for his trouble. Lord Garland conscripted Sentinel to be his companion on patrol of the town, choosing to “take a more active role in the protection of Griffton.” Aven identified the symbol hastily scratched into the ground of the gnoll camp as referring to the Patron of the Gnolls.

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Sneak Peek at Episode 102: Scimitar Rock, Part Two
When it rains..

Campaign date: 2 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

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Parleying with Draugarlônd?

Griffton has suffered its worst attack in decades, the Jannian Navy arrives with a surprising guest and an even more surprising request, and the heroes must deal with the green dragon Draugarlônd, who has perched atop Jackmerius’s tower. Familiar and unfamiliar foes threaten the uneasy peace of Scimitar Rock. And to make matters worse, someone in Griffton is not who they seem to be …

COMING SOON

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