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September 7, 2004

Bryrgar's Bio

Bryrgar's Journal XPCs

Bryrgar Stonefist, image (c) Kristin Johnson
The first seventy years

Bryrgar Stonefist was born into a proud and strong family: a family with some prominence, in the finest dwarven stronghold in over a thousand years. Bryrgar, in fact, is even great nephew to King Harbromm. True, Bryrgar was born 25th in line for the crown, but in reality he will never feel the weight of that crown (and the relation is from his mother’s side). Not that Bryrgar could never make a good king some day, but the mantel of king in a dwarven stronghold does not change hands very often.

Tarin, Bryrgar’s father, is a well respected member of the Squashers. The Squashers are men of great honor in the Citadel. The Squashers are not completely unlike the famous Gutbusters of Mithral Hall, except that the Squashers have been known to use tactics from time to time. In fact Tarin has been ripping and tearing orcs and their kind apart in the name of Citadel Adbar for over 120 years.

Tarin’s battles over the years are probably why Bryrgar and his older brother Davin both turned out to be clerics. Bryrgar’s earliest memories are of sitting around the family table as Tarin retells the stories of the day’s battles. Davin and Bryrgar would often bandage up Tarin as he explained what the “silly orcs tried this time.” It was the boys’ job to help their father ever since Isaron, their mother, was killed only 5 years after Bryrgar was born. Isaron was part of an envoy on its way to Silverymoon that was ambushed. The group had been traveling above ground to appease the moon elves that were traveling with them. Trolls attacked and killed nearly every member of the party. Two of the elves and one halfling survived to tell of the ambush. The battle had been swift and Isaron did not suffer. After that fateful day, the word “elf” took a sour tone in the Stonefist home.

Bryrgar showed exceptional talent at healing, even from the young age of 15, a skill that earmarked him for a life in the front lines, near his father and brother. By the age of fifty, Bryrgar had also shown a traditional dwarven lust for battle and would sometimes have to be reigned in by his superiors from joining the Squashers in their duties. All and all, Bryrgar was making a little bit of a name for himself.

More than a few troops had made it home only to the bravery of Bryrgar to charge into the thickest of battles to not just heal, but to also stand over and protect a badly wounded comrade. On one special occasion Bryrgar noticed a small band of orcs slipping around the lines and trying to sneak up on a key fortification. Bryrgar knew what would happen if any key link to a line was broken, so without anyone else near enough that could help or get there in time, Bryrgar took matters into his own hands and launched himself at the seven orcs with reckless abandon. His screams to Clangeddin could be heard for miles, and it also may have saved his life.

Bryrgar ran up a downed tree and launched himself into the orcs. Two orc heads hit the ground before his feet did. After that the real battle of the day was on, two Squashers were limping their way to the backlines to see the clerics when they heard Bryrgar’s call to his god. They looked in time to see his brave attack on the orc band, and they also saw the battle turn ugly for Bryrgar. Within seconds of his assault he was disarmed and fighting with his fist. At first this was no real advantage to the orcs, but it was only time until their weapons began to wear him down.

Bryrgar did manage to fell another of the orcs before he was bore to the ground. As the light and sounds of the day began to fade from his consciousness he got a glimpse of feet and beards fly past his face. Later that evening when he was able to be revived, his two newest-best friends were sitting by him. Croyly and Soren were at his feet sleeping.

Croyly and Soren had been able to reach Bryrgar just in time. The two severally wounded men then decimated the remaining orcs. Still inspired by what they had seen, they took Bryrgar to safety and then went back to the battle lines where they had left. They told their comrades of what they had seen. The fifty man Squasher platoon then decided to dedicate the fight to Bryrgar. They charged into the center of the next orc wave and destroyed it with ease. Then instead of regrouping, as they are often told to do, they turned and charged the orc line. More than a handful of orcs turned to run; this left a one on one fight for the orc line. Odds that would not favor orcs, even if these dwarves were not the Squashers. Once the Squashers broke through they headed for the orc leaders.

And as any historian of orc battle tactics can tell you, once the chieftain is running, it is ok for all the orcs to run. And once all the orcs are running the battle is over. The names of Croyly, Soren, and Bryrgar were all toasted well and repeatedly in the Citadel that night.

After that day the three were nearly one, as you rarely saw one without the other two in tow. Over the years the three managed to get into and out of an amazing amount of trouble. And it was well known that if you were in an Inn and got into a fight with one, you were in a fight with three. In this time the three also had a chance to make a few enemies.

In particular there was an instance where Soren, the jokester of the bunch, had set Croyly up for a gag, but the gag went bad. It seems that Soren had gotten his hands on a potion that would make a beard turn green and had paid a bartender to slip it into Croyly’s ale one night at the Bleeding Knuckle, the three’s favorite drinking hole. The drinks got mixed up and Boerin Ironfist got the drink instead. Now as it happens Boerin was the source of the idea for a green beard. Boerin often made comments and followed them, “Or I’m a green bearded gnome.”

Well, on that fateful day Boerin who was no less than captain of the night watch, had made a similar comment of the likes “No thing alive has ever gotten past me on my watch, no flying, no walking, no crawling thing.” And then he said, “Or I’m a green bearded Gnome.” He followed this claim with a big swig of his ale. The laughter and tell of the tale spread through the Citadel faster than any breeze could have taken it. It took three weeks for the green to wear off. Boerin was completely humiliated. He found out about Soren and the ale about two days after the incident. To put it politely he beat the story out of the bartender.

Everyone waited for his fury. Many suggested that Boerin would kill Soren flat out, and both of his friends for being part of it, even if they knew nothing about it. Boerin spoke to no one unless he had to for almost a year. Some began to suspect that Boerin was just going to let it pass. They were wrong. On one fateful night Boerin Ironfist and twenty of his clan came into the Bloody Knuckle and arrested Soren. Soren was charged with treason. Boerin had five witnesses, all Ironfists, that claim to have been near by in the field of a recent battle and to have seen Soren give these details to a Dark Elf for a bag of gold.

Then Boerin and his men showed a rather large pouch containing over two thousand gold that they say they had just took from Soren’s home. Bryrgar and Croyly had heard enough and launched themselves at the Ironfist clan immediately. The boys however were not armed and the Ironfist were. The two were joined by a four Squashers who were in the bar. The fight was violent but short. For as soon as the boys attacked, twenty more Ironfists came charging into the bar.

When it was over Bryrgar and the four Squashers had been beaten into a slumber and Croyly lay dead. The Ironfist plan had worked like clockwork. The Soren was put into a cell so deep in the Citadel that it is said to be closer to the end of the realm than the surface. The other five had been thrown in jail for a week for fighting the “proper authority” all of most of which had been given the job of town guard only an hour before the brawl. Croyly had no family, so the only ones to fight for the crime of his murder were the Squashers and Bryrgar.

The Ironfist were able to prove to the king of a moment in battle where no one knew where Soren was. Soren claimed he and Croyly had been over a hill fighting Orcs, but Croyly was his only witness. The gold shown to King Harbromm had markings from the city of Cathyr in Dambrath. A place well known for its Drow history. The king did not believe Boerin, but was forced to accept the story for they had proof, and the boy’s side had none. One of the Ironfist went as far as to name the Drow, Tlir Der’Noth.

The king ordered the Squashers to stay within the Citadel until the extent of this could be gathered. An insult that Tarin and the Squashers could not stand. In the following days every member of the Squashers began to get into fights in the inns. Everywhere they went to drink an Ironfist would be there. To say fights broke out constantly would be an understatement. Boerin convinced the king to keep the Squashers locked up in their barracks until the extent of their corruption could be found.

One night Boerin came to Bryrgar alone and gave him a choice. If Bryrgar would leave Citadel Adbar now and forever, he would tell the king that the corruption was only Soren. If he stayed and fought for his father and friend, “Well, I already have other proof to link your father to Soren’s acts.” Bryrgar was filled with a rage that was beyond anything he had ever known. Bryrgar pulled a dagger from his belt and was about to attack Boerin when Boerin calmly said, “Go ahead, kill me boy. That will seal your fate and the stupid Squashers too.”

Confused and desperate to help his father and friend he agreed to the terms. Knowing deep down what was called for. Bryrgar Stonefist was about to set out on a journey to prove the innocence of his friend and father. He knew where to start too. Tarin had once told him that the best lies are told with a little truth. So, if the Ironfists had a Drow name and gold from Dambrath, odds are there is the place to start. The next morning Bryrgar headed out of the Citadel for what may be the last time. He was no fool though. He camped about a day south of the Citadel for a week. At that time his brother came and met him to tell him that the Squashers have all been returned to normal duty and were beginning to be treated fairly.

Armed with the idea that Boerin was going to hold up his end of the deal, at least for now, he headed out for Silverymoon in hopes of finding a guide at least as far a Waterdeep. There he found renewed hope when a Dwarf named Tharn Orcslayer came to him and announced he was an old friend of Bryrgar’s father. Tharn arranged for Bryrgar to travel with a caravan to Waterdeep, and provided him a letter to give to a mage named Gritho Thiden. The letter would be honored and Gritho would provide a portal to Eartheart.

The journey to Waterdeep went smooth, with only minor skirmishes with orcs and one large wolf attack. Once in Waterdeep he easily found Gritho Thiden. Gritho said he would be happy to help but the cost for the portal was great, and while he knew Tharn, he did not know Bryrgar. He then told Bryrgar of a local merchant that would give him a good deal on his armor and shield. Determined to get to Dambrath he sold his armor and shield (each with his family crest on them) and purchased some locally made armor at a discount to continue his journey. Upon returning to Gritho with the needed funds, Gritho took him to a sewer entrance and then through a series of tunnels that came out to a room with a shining blue portal.

Bryrgar thanked Gritho for his help and stepped through the portal, right into the middle of a battle in what turns out to be the middle of nowhere. While ducking a great sword and dodging a pike, Bryrgar came to realize just how set up he was. He fought his way out of the battle that apparently did not mind if he was there or not, and headed off to the west in search of a town.

Character sheet: Bryrgar Stonefist [Shield Dwarf Cleric of Clangeddin Silverbeard]

Cause of death: Bought the farm.

Posted by Jim at 19:14 | Bryrgar’s Journal | XPCs

September 10, 2004

Nosila's Bio

Nosila's Journal ~PC Bios~

Nosila and Charzth, image (c) Kristin Johnson

My name is Nosila. I am the eldest daughter of the chief of our small tribe, deep in the jungles of Chult. I was raised with love and care, well able to protect myself in the wilderness, but my first trip out to hunt alone changed my life.

I spent part of the day alone and felt quite proud of myself, but a little frustrated with my prey. After tracking a small forest deer for the better part of the morning, I found myself racing headlong down a trail when one false step cracked a branch and set it running before I could take a shot!

Looking back, I am glad that the only creature I came across was another human. The jungles of Chult are full of hidden dangers! With barely a word, he joined me in the chase, and we spent the rest of the day bringing the deer to bay.

Of course, I should have paid more attention to where I was hunting. My tribe has been arguing with a neighboring group for years over the best hunting grounds between us. By the time I realized Charzth was “one of them”, I already knew that I liked him. A lot.

Sadly, I returned home. I tried to forget Charzth. I couldn’t. I tried to talk to my father about it. He was very unhappy with me. I wondered what was happening in Charzth’s tribe. As time went by, I decided that he had forgotten me.

Instead, he and his friends stole into our village one night and kidnapped me.

I certainly didn’t fight very hard, I know! Still, after we’d lost our pursuers and sat down to talk, we realized that we couldn’t go home. Staying with either tribe would just cause more trouble. So, we decided to leave Chult for a while. We can travel the world a little and let things settle down.

We even have my shaman’s blessings. As we sat and talked, he came silently into the circle. He seems to think that our marriage will help restore peace between the tribes, so he wed us right there. He plans to quietly work on reconciliation while we’re gone. I wish him well!

Character sheet: Nosila [Human Barbarian mate of Charzth]

Posted by Kate at 17:04 | Nosila’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

Charzth's Bio

Charzth's Journal XPCs

Nosila and Charzth, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Bad Medicine

Ughhh!!! Somehow I wound up with a woman. While traversing through the local jungle. The bad thing was she got stuck in my head. I couldn’t shake her image. Several trips to the local witch doctor; I even tried big medicine from the mainland.

Then I had a bad headache and the woman in my head. Several friends told me what to do. The only way to remove her was to have her with me. So off we whisked into the night. Upon extracting her from her tribe I found they were right and wrong. She is out of my head but in it at the same time.

I didn’t realize that women could talk so much. But she is soft, smells good,and cuddly I guess. Oh well, now I have no home, no job, and meandering around some lake of steam.

I wonder if I should have just stuck with the big medicine instead? Ughhh!!!

Character sheet: Charzth [Human Barbarian mate of Nosila]

Cause of death: Newly recruited into Pommeville’s town guard.

Posted by Erik at 17:07 | Charzth’s Journal | XPCs

September 12, 2004

What a Day

Roscoe's Journal

I got into town a day before Mid Summers Eve, and decided to stay for the festivals. Later that day as I was eating dinner in the only inn in town, the Green Griffin Inn, I noticed several others enter that, like me, weren’t from this town. What seemed to be a couple of barbarians, one male and one female, were sitting at a corner booth and I guess they were kinda bored. The male decided to fling potatoes and a female gnome who was at the bar. I guess the gnome was a spell caster, because a large potato with arms and legs appeared. The really funny thing was that instead of being afraid of the potato the barbarians started tossing salt on it and attempting to cut it up for food. The gnome came over and told it to go away after which the barbarians appeared disappointed. I was thoroughly enjoying the show with my dinner and decided to buy some fried potatoes for my entertainers. The male barbarian then flung a potato at me, I tried to catch it, but without luck. That’s about the time Amber, head of the town guard, came in and sat down next to a dwarf who also appeared to be a traveler. I had another drink and retired to my room.

I awoke to a startling crash as my door flew open. I know I locked it and not knowing what was coming after me I rolled toward the wall, off, then under the bed. I smelled death in the air as I reached for my bow. This rotting hand came through the bed at me, I just barely moved out of the way. Then the male barbarian from earlier appeared and tossed my attacker out of the room and into the hall. I emerged from under the bed, with no time to put on my armor or gather my things; I said, “I owe you a beer” then shot at the creature realizing two things as I did. One: these attackers weren’t alive anymore, that is they were undead. Second, my aim was off and I hit the guy who saved my life. The next thing I knew there was a loud bang like thunder, then a moment later the sound went off again. I stood for a second wondering what that was and seeing the female barbarian run down the stairs, followed by the dwarf and the male barbarian. In seconds the upstairs of the inn was empty so I went down to the street to see what was going on. I was joined only a moment later by the female gnome. I saw both barbarians and the dwarf take down a zombie as I soon realized what they were, and seeing many more I immediately started shooting them with arrows. The inn keeper said there was too many of them. Then Amber showed up and mentioned a more easily defensible area. The dwarf and both barbarians held the zombie horde at bay as I launched in arrows giving the towns people time to escape. The female gnome went with the people to keep them calm so they don’t trample each other getting to the shrine.

After what seemed forever the line of defenders in front of me backed away, and I followed lodging arrow after arrow in the rotting flesh till I was out. The male barbarian tossed several flasks of oil on the horde and as soon as we were in the shrine someone tossed out a torch to light the undead. Once inside, the doors were closed and barricaded and we had time to get to know each other. The barbarians were as I suspected a couple Charzth and his wife Nosila. The gnome is called, of all things, Sprocket. Bryrgar is apparently a dwarven cleric, unfortunately he didn’t have much luck turning undead earlier.

Come early morning the horde moved slowly back to the graveyard. I was able to convince a local shopkeep to allow me to buy the last of the arrows he had in stock for my sized bow, even though it was no where near opening time. I then went back to the inn, put on my armor and gathered the last of my things. Meeting up with everyone just outside of the graveyard I was just in time to see this one zombie place his hands on either side of a still live villager’s head. There was this green light and the villager dropped to the ground. I immediately hit this one with an arrow and the battle was on again. It didn’t last as long though, I was standing behind Nosila when suddenly she was behind the head zombie and Sprocket and I were left facing 3 zombies with no cover. Not being one to get into melee combat i backed up and sent an arrow into the zombie in front of me as Sprocket’s strange stick made a thunderous noise. Then all the zombies fell and I saw this green light shoot off into the distance. Found out seconds later that it came from the head zombie after it fell. The five of us are going after it, but not till tomorrow. Right now I need something to eat, a beer, and some rest.

Posted by Fred at 21:32 | Roscoe’s Journal

September 15, 2004

Must have gone the wrong way

Bryrgar's Journal

I walked west for several hours, my confusion about where I was only deepened. I was able to run into several farmers, mostly human, each one seemed to give me a different name for both this place and who was in charge. Strangely enough I don’t think any of them really cared.

Finally I reached a small town, hamlet really. Taking a look around, my throat dry, I decided to go to the nearest bar and get some thinking done. I took a good look around and noticed there was only one bar. One bar, this is uncivilized! Why the amount of different ales alone can not be held in one building. That is when I realized I was in one of the Nine Hells. I have heard of them, in detail from a handful of old warriors, although this does not look like any of their descriptions.

Well faced with continuing to walk or to go into this only bar, I did the only sane thing. Moments later while drinking back the first of a few, really weak, local ales I tried to strike up a conversation with the bartender. He told me the name of the town, but I decided not to remember, the next person will just have another name anyway. He did say that most of this area is simple farmers, and was asking if I was here to cause problems. I looked at my axe and promised him that the axe is not here for the farmers, and that I was a simple traveler just trying to find Dambrath.

The bartender laughed at me, and said you can’t get there from here. He went on to offer me some food and a room for a fair price, both of which I accepted. After finishing the meal at the bar, I decided to sit and do some thinking. I know where I want to go and what I want do, but now I realize that I may not be skilled enough to do it. My task may take far more time than I originally thought. How long must I let my friend sit in a cell, and how long will he be safe there?

I may have to find help, but I have not run into any dwarves here, and after discovering the true ruthlessness of some of my brethren, I feel I must begin to rethink my blind acceptance of the good will of dwarvenkind.

At least I do not have to go through my misery without entertainment, as I drink I become aware that other people have come into the bar. At first the halfling and gnome meant nothing to me, until the barbarians came in. A male and female barbarian of dark skin. Now, being no stranger to having fun or the antics of my smaller friends, I knew trouble would soon be at hand. Just then a female half-elf came into the bar, while not known for their humor, she was in uniform. I welcomed her to my hell and we drank together in silence.

Moments later the potato projectiles began. I watched the first volley with the town guard, we both turned back around to our beers. That is until the giant potato man appeared behind the barbarians. Now I have seen many gnomes and their illusions, but by Clangeddin’s beard I could not see any signs of this being an illusion. Before any sense of fear of this creature could set in, humor did. The two barbarians were trying to salt and eat the thing. Then the gnome got up from her table and went over to dismiss her illusion, in typical gnomish style. She said she was banishing the great potato, as if she was saving the two would-be victims of her gag. At least it was an illusion. Anyway, the two barbarians were now a bit upset, not for being fooled, but because their food was gone.

Then the halfling began clapping and ordered a plate of potatoes to be delivered to the barbarians. As the situation began to dull, I turned the half-elf and reconfirmed to her and me that I am in one of the Nine Hells. In return, she bought me a round and said, “Well, at least you don’t have to drink alone.” Hmm, maybe this is not one of the Nine Hells; they do have ale.

The evening passed with little interruption and I went up to my room to get some sleep. Now I have been away from the Citadel before, but never for long, so I am trying to remember all the stories from the adventurers I have met. I decided to sleep against the door. This was the first thing I did right, but in hindsight, I now know to keep my armor near by, if not on. During the night I was jarred awake by the noise of a door smacking my skull. I grabbed my axe and opened the door, nearly doubling over from the stench from the undead human trying to come through my doorway.

I would like to say it was my trained battle skills that made me launch my attack on the creature, but I am not so sure it could not have been from repulsion that I have never felt before. Now I have attended all the training the clerics offered on fighting undead, and I would like to say I even stayed awake through most of them. Divan Bouldershoulder, who taught me everything I know of undead, had the most monotone voice ever to exist in the Realms. My brother and I took it as a contest; whoever fell asleep first had to clean the house for a week. And mind you, the winner would always do his best to make plenty of messes.

Oh, back to the creature. So there I was in my nightshirt and axe, fighting this undead human who came to my door in the middle of the night, what a sight. I let out a shout to Clangeddin and began swinging my axe. It took a bit longer than I expected, but I did fell the creature. Before I succeeded though I heard other creatures in the hall, attacking the other guests. Also there was a ringing of thunder, great first bad ale and undead, and now it is going to rain on me. Maybe I dismissed this from being a hell too quickly.

Weakened badly from my battle I quickly reached or my holy symbol and with a quick heal to keep me on my feat, I turned my holy symbol on the undead. At this point there were at least two that I could see, and at least one more still in one of the rooms fighting its surprised occupant. Now, I am not really sure if I said the words properly, as they came out on their own, not really from my concentration, but one of the foul beasts did turn and begin to run.

The second one in the hall was being slain by the big male barbarian, who it appears does not sleep in a nightshirt at all. Deciding quickly to not let that one foul being escape I leaped into the hall and down the steps in my fiercest rage. Well it would have been my fiercest rage if not for the female barbarian. She had joined me in chase, and, well, umm, let’s just say she does not wear a nightshirt to bed either. Never the less there was a job to do. Down the steps and into the street we went after it, even being joined by the second barbarian. We caught the creature a good forty paces from the door (dwarf paces) and began cutting the thing down. As the creature fell, we all became aware that there were many more of these creatures attacking the town.

Just then that female guard from earlier appeared with a handful of others, they said they were going to make a stand at the temple. At about that time the halfling and gnome joined us also. The gnome had a strange staff in her hand, it seemed somewhat familiar, from an old story, but never mind, there was work to be done. With a quick glance at the eyes of the male barbarian, I told the half-elf that we would buy the villagers as much time to escape as we could.

We rushed up to a spot between buildings that we could hold for a while and began the battle. The halfling stood behind us and put his bow to work. Quickly we were swarmed by the undead. The two barbarians seemed to hold their side of the street fine, so I thought I would try to turn these foul creatures. Time and time again I tried. Finally I had to stop, drained by the effort and the beating I was taking from the creatures. I held my side of the street, but at a cost of nearly falling to them. I heard a call to begin retreating to the temple and slowly we began to back up. We fought the foul things all the way. The barbarians had tossed some oil on the undead and once near the temple they shouted this to the guards. Quickly a torch flew over our heads and flames engulfed them.

Once inside the temple, we were lucky enough to have some acolytes put some minor healing on us. The barbarians, unlike any I had ever met, began introducing themselves to each of us. I like them, although I can not place why. Perhaps it is their spirit, not once did they seem to panic or abandon the fight to save these people. People that like I, they probably did not know.

The halfling was just buzzing about, well, he is a halfling. But he too stood by us. Maybe I will do my best to assume him not a thief. But he is a halfling. The gnome while she did not fight with us seemed to be doing her best to help the guards. I guess as an illusion caster, undead were out of her area.

We did our best to rest until morning. The undead banged on the doors and walls all night trying to get in. In a quick discussion, more a meeting of looks than words, the barbarians and I agreed to go out at first light and fight some more. There were no other clerics to be found in this temple, although one paladin was present.

Just before dawn the pounding ended and the undead began to withdraw. We opened up the main door and took a look around. All of the undead seemed to be headed in one direction. One of the guards pointed out that it was the direction of the graveyard. Feeling this our best chance, the group of us from the bar headed out. All but me headed after some of the trailing undead, me, I had grown tired of walking around in my nighshirt and longed for the feel of my armor. I returned to the bar and quickly gathered my things and got ready. Soon I joined my new friends on a small rise at the edge of the cemetery.

In the cemetery were dozens of undead and a handful of captured villagers. Divan never mentioned this, not that I remember at least. There appeared to be a main creature leading them, it went to the first villager and put its hands on the person’s head. Seconds later the person screamed and fell dead. I had had enough of this; I began walking down to the undead. I did think the others would join me, and at first the male barbarian did. Charzth I think he called himself.

Thinking us all following the same keg, as my father always called it, I charged past the first undead to get closer to the surviving villagers. I had no doubt that my new friend would at least keep the other undead off my back while I plowed my way to the villagers. In a few moments I realized how wrong I was, for I found myself a good ten paces from the villagers and surrounded on all fronts by the undead. Charzth was nowhere to be found and the two little ones had backed up on the hill. I had no clue to where the female, Nosila, might be. At least I did catch sight of the paladin and a few of the town guards at the top of the hill.

Things were not going well for me, I was badly wounded and there were only two villagers left. When I saw the main creature take the life from one of the last two I decided that I had to push through to save the last, no matter my loss. With every ounce of my being I broke through the enemies surrounding me, charged through two more undead and attacked the main creature. It shall die here or I do not deserve the name Stonefist.

I landed a good shot on the creature gaining its attention. Just then out of no where Nosila appeared behind it and cleaved into it with amazing strength. Then everything went bright green for a minute. When I could see again I was standing a few feet from Nosila and the one villager we had saved. All of the undead had collapsed to their former states. I stood there for a few minutes, woozy from the loss of blood and still confused by the bright green light.

We were joined by the rest of the group from the bar and the guards. They explained that when the main creature was slain, a bright green light came out of it (knew that part) and then it rose up and flew off in the direction of some ruins. I offered my services in returning the bodies to their proper resting spots, and I spent the rest of the day helping re-bury the dead villagers.

Something tells me that when I stop for the night and return to the bar, the others will be waiting there. And I would bet a small fortune that the two barbarians have not had enough of this story, nor have I. I have a mission of my own to complete, but I can not sway my feelings of saving a friend over the need of these villagers. Whatever happened here was from those ruins, and unless we do something, it will be back.

Posted by Jim at 12:08 | Bryrgar’s Journal

Worst Midsummer’s Festival Ever!

Sprocket's Journal

Midsummer 1373 DR, Pommeville

In no time at all I was able to establish that I was in Pommeville, a hamlet with several hundred people, mostly farmlands, and near the River Scelptar. And, as I had assumed, not too far from the odiferous Lake of Steam. Poor Widget got one whiff and with a squeak burrowed down as far as he could in my backpack. Odd, he usually doesn’t mind bad smells.

Now that I think on it, I’ve never been anywhere where gnomes were not somewhere nearby, so I started to look for some. Perhaps the smell of the Lake is too much for them— the owners of the Green Griffin Inn, Jelanna and Roland Grimstead, tell me the closest gnome family is the Begleys, a half-day’s walk west of here, and the closest wizard, in a tower just outside of town, when he’s around at all. I was inclined to set off immediately towards one or the other, but the smell isn’t nearly as strong in the Inn, and Widget and I could use a meal anyway. As I sat eating, I noticed other patrons filtering in and out— some clearly were new to town, such as the glum-looking dwarf at the bar and the wide-eyed halfling that was simply not blending in, and some were clearly new to civilization in general. The “new to civilization in general” would be the pair of huge dark-skinned human barbarians that were not at all familiar with how eating utensils were used. The male of the pair (well, I’m assuming it was the male— he looked guilty) missed his mouth completely with a slab of potato that somehow managed to hit me. Just in case he did it on purpose, I had to respond in kind, and a moment later a 6’ tall potato man, with arms, legs and an attitude, was tapping the male on the shoulder. While it wasn’t meant to scare the humans, I would have been less surprised if they’d at least been wary of the mutant tuber, but instead, they attempted to carve it up with their hunting knives and eat it. I dismissed the spurious spud with a grand gesture— that seemed to illicit a response, at least— the halfling in the corner was clapping and ordering a round of potatoes as the barbarians made sounds of disappointment about the big one that got away. Making the new plate of potatoes wail, “help, don’t eat me!” only made the female giggle. Makes me wonder what kind of vegetables are available where they come from.

I saw that a half-elf dressed in town guard garb was sitting with the glum dwarf at the bar— I gave up on any chance of excitement presenting itself any time soon and headed up to my rented room.

The accommodations where human-sized, but comfortable enough. Widget and I settled in and got a few hours of sleep, when I heard what could only be a dwarven battle cry, and smelled, well, it made the Lake of Steam smell pleasant by comparison. Widget was already burrowing to the bottom of my pack by the time I got to the door to open it.

Phew! Seems the glum dwarf from the bar had attracted a zombie! He was grappling with an undead human in the doorway across from me, and another rotting creature was gaining entrance to the room next to his. I shot a magic missile at it, but it didn’t damage it enough— it clawed its way through the door.

Two very naked barbarians flew into the fray, dispatching at least one zombie as another, then another, appeared in the small hallway. Apparently the halfling was also a guest in Green Griffin, as I could hear him yelling something to the male barbarian. I attempted to shoot the undead thing in that doorway with my flintlock pistol, but I’ve yet to master aiming the darn thing. It made a wonderful noise though. Widget surfaced from my backpack briefly to spit a spare bullet into my hand and I attempted to reload and try again.

I missed the second time too, but someone else managed to take out the foul creature.

The hall was clearing out as the would-be heroes ran down the steps and out into the street. I grabbed my pack and followed, reloading as I went. The innkeeper, Randal, exclaimed as one of the zombies lurched towards us, “That’s my uncle— he died months ago!” At least a dozen more zombies were meandering through the streets, attacking villagers. The dwarf and the naked barbarians were engaging them directly, while the sensible halfling was lobbing arrows at them from a respectable distance. Thankfully, the authorities appeared with a plan of action. Since a large portion of the town guard (5 people) were insisting we’d stand a better chance making a stand at the town’s only temple, I willingly followed them, assuming that the others would break off and make a stand with us. I noticed that, though the halfling was making some small progress towards the temple, the rest stubbornly stayed within arm’s length of the undead.

The Shrine to Ilmater was— small. There were no clerics, which meant, no one to ask to kindly turn the undead back. There was a paladin (or as he prefers to be called, a Holy Warrior of Suffering) guarding the main entrance, as well as the half-elf from the town guard (whose name is Amber). A few adepts made up the remainder of the clergy. None of them had ever dealt with undead. Ah, well. They were going to get a chance, I feared, as the undead where heading towards us.

Eventually the others from the Inn made their way to the temple, and the adepts did their best to patch them up while the zombies clawed at the door. The clawing went on for hours, during which the barbarians, dwarf and halfling made small talk. The barbarians (now dressed) are Nosila and Charzth, recently from Chult; the halfling, Roscoe, wandered in from the Shaar; and the dwarf, Bryrgar, is actually now the only cleric in the town, though he’s guided by Clangeddin, not Ilmater. He hails from Citadel Adbar, which is even further away than Lantan. Strange, I get the impression they all simply walked here— hardly a proper method of traveling long distances!

I also got to hear some interesting events from some of the townfolk while the other out-of-towners chatted amongst themselves. About a week ago, a band of adventurers, led by a cleric named Giles, passed through on their way to examine some ruins on the outskirts of town. Giles was on a pilgrimage, following the path of one of his order that had passed through many years before. Of course, none of the townsfolk relating this to me knew what order the cleric was from. I also learned that the hamlet, though run by a mayor (absent from the temple), is under the “leadership” of one Malvis the Enchanter, whose tower is on the opposite edge of town from the ruins. Malvis, as is customary with wizardly adventurers, has not been seen around for several weeks, though his tower is safe enough from vandals.

Eventually, the pounding of the thwarted undead ceased, and we opened the temple doors a crack, in time to see the shambling horde wandering towards the town cemetery. Not having had enough of a beating the night before, the other out-of-towners, who I now realize I’ve been lumped in with as part of a new “band of adventurers,” decided to take one more crack at them on their home turf. At least this time the town guard, and the paladin, chose to go that way as well, so I went along too. Without a proper night’s rest my spells are all but useless, but I figured I could talk to a groundhog at the cemetery if no obvious clues to the goings-on with the undead presented themselves.

There were clues aplenty though. The zombies, with several captive townsfolk in their clutches, where gathering around one with a distinctly evil glint in its eyes. Before we could do anything, this undead overseer grabbed the head of one villager and the poor person’s head just disintegrated. As he reached for the next, several of us attacked at once. I got my one and only hit with a bullet— right in the evil thing’s face. It looked irritated for a brief moment then repeated its cranium crumbling on the next hapless villager. I saw Roscoe standing (wisely) behind Nosila as Charzth and Bryrgar attacked zombies directly. I ran up to stand behind her as well so I could reload my pistol with total cover, but a moment later she was sprinting clear across the graveyard. Roscoe and I were backing up as quickly as we could, when Nosila must have hit her mark— a burst of green light erupted from the lead zombie as it fell. As the light darted away to the ruins on the northeast edge of the hamlet, the other zombies all fell where they stood.

As we “adventurers” headed back to the inn for breakfast, I racked my brain for a reason to not just continue on to the Begley farm. I couldn’t come up with a good one, though I still hope to find a way to contact my family and Cognoggin soon, so they know I’m taking the scenic route home!

Posted by Kristin at 23:53 | Sprocket’s Journal

September 18, 2004

Ronyá's Bio

Ronyá's Journal XPCs

Ronyá and Zym, image (c) Kristin Johnson

I don’t know why I feel compelled to write down my life; maybe it will help Zym, maybe it will help me, but it must be told.

At the age of ten, Ronyá was on a fishing trip with his father. On their return, they found an orc war party outside of their village. Dad was part of the town guard, and sent his son to get aid as he went to alert the village, but the orcs killed almost everyone. Ronyá went to Eliastraee’s temple for help; they came, but were too late. Ronyá found his dad headless.

He went to live at the temple. One of the drow priestesses took him in like a son; she also had a son that was a toddler. She taught Ronyá the language of Undercommon, and how to survive. Everything was good for five years. He learned to be a fighter, he frolicked, he fished, and he also grew attached to Zym, Shandel’s true son. Then, horror came back into his life.

One day while he and Zym were fishing, the orc war band attacked the temple. When they returned, they found the temple on fire. Ronyá hid Zym, then ran into the burning temple. Yelling for Shandel, he navigated the burning halls to get to the sanctuary. There, what he found still wakes him from his sleep in cold sweats.

Upon entering the chamber, he saw slaughtered men, women, and children all about, some burning, some headless. The altar was desecrated. He yelled out, “Shandel!” ...no one answered. He yelled, “Eilistraee, help me!” then heard a groan coming from near the altar.

He went over to the corner, only to see Shandel, the one he called Mother for years, lying with her gut slashed open, her entrails falling out, trying to call to him. Ronyá rushed to her side, not knowing what to do.

“Ronyá... you are safe. Where is Zym?”

“He is hiding,” replied Ronyá.

“Keep him safe.....” she said, as the life oozed out of her body. “Love, laugh, and live,” said the holy symbol on her neck. Ronyá took that symbol and rushed to Zym as the fire engulfed the temple.

As Ronyá emerged from the inferno of what used to be the temple, Zym was standing there, looking at an orc that was about to cut him down. He yelled, “Ronyá!” With that, Ronyá leaped at the orc in an instant. He pulled his kukri and slashed the throat of the orc. Dropping his axe and clutching his throat, the orc dropped to his knees. Ronyá stood and watched as the orc bled to death. Zym also watched the orc.

Ronyá looked the dead orc over; he found a symbol on his tunic and memorized it. Then, Ronyá grabbed Zym and ran to their safe place, a cave in the hills close to the temple. There they spent the night. Neither could sleep, so they talked. They have never told anyone what was said. In the morning, they set off to find the carriers of the symbol.

Ronyá hires himself out as a mercenary.

Character sheet: Ronyá [Human Fighter]
Zym [Half-Drow Child]

Cause of deaths: Newly recruited into Pommeville’s town guard.

Posted by x-gamer at 22:22 | Ronyá’s Journal | XPCs

Potatoes and Zombies, Oh, my

Charzth's Journal

After we entered the town my wife and I walked to what looked like an inn. After brief consultation, we decided to eat and stay the night. Nosila and I sat in a corner booth. The food was good. The potatoes were fried. After a second helping of potatoes and a large mug of ale, I grew rather bored. My wife had begun a strange rambling about little ones. Definitely scared of the conversation, I decided to change the subject.

Eyeing a short little gnome female walking across the bar area, I decided to play a prank. I took one of my potato wedges and shot it across the room with the flat of my Kukri. Ubtao was feeling the mischief in me as my potato bounced squarely off of her forehead. I nearly bit my tongue off holding back the laughter.

Since no response was offered, I let fly another potato with the same results. This time the gnome actually started moving her hands and giggling. Right then, a six plus foot potato man was standing beside me and Nosila. Not to let the oppurtunity slip by, Nosila quickly sliced a large piece of him off and started to eat him.

Excited by this new form of dinner, I quickly threw a handful of salt on him and started to cut off one of his legs. It wiggled and fought back, but we subdued our new dinner treat. Just as we were to dig in, the potato man disappeared. Bringing a large round of laughter in the bar area. Then there were screams for help emanating from our newly filled bellies. While strange, this was hardly reason to be concerned. It wasn’t as if it was one of the war rituals and another tribesman’s spirit was loose in our bellies.

Sensing the gnome had something to do with our meal’s disappearance, we argued with her a while to bring him back. Though no avail. Growing tired of the games, we decided to try out this thing called a bed. After the arrival to our room we quickly undressed and dove headlong into these wonderfully soft things the servant had called sheets.

Having been a long day, I was weary beyond belief. Plus there was all of that rambling about little ones fresh in my mind . I remember how old my brother had gotten after the appearance of his first little one. Heck, then he just mumbled to himself and sulked a lot by the time the third one had arrived in his life.

I rolled over quickly and pretended I was asleep. This marriage thing was absolutely risky. She does smell awful good, though. So I rolled over and hugged Nosila as I truly fell asleep.

I awoke to a nude Nosila screaming and fighting a zombie who was trying to force himself through the doorway. Leaping out of the bed, bare to the world, I grabbed the zombie and forced him across the hallway and into the far wall. There were definitely cracking noises as the zombie’s body bounced back off the wall very hard.

Screams were everywhere. People in their nightclothes, fighting with the undead monsters that seemed to be everywhere. We made a good fighting team, Nosila and I. Quickly we handled the undead in our area and were helping out the other guests in the inn. All seemed to be rather amazed at our fighting skill. It was amazing how they stopped and stared as we fought with every foe.

Feeling a burst of uncontrol come over me, I chased an angry dwarf with an axe downstairs and out into the street. He was, of course, chasing more undead. By the time I was outside, I was absolutely berserk.

Grabbing a zombie by the throat I slammed him to the ground. Screaming in a rage-filled voice that even seemed to make the undead shudder and slow in their advance. I grabbed the zombie’s body I had just crushed on the ground and started bashing others to pieces with it.

A large group of town’s guards passed by, yelling that everyone was holing up in the temple till morning. We should follow, someone shouted. Fully beserked, I couldn’t have left if I tried. Blood boiled in my eyes and I yelled I would hold the lane so the others could escape.

The dwarf joined me with a look of glee in his eyes. My wife moaned and begged me to run. I just held my ground, and asked her to go get our gear. She slipped away rapidly to oblige me. I crushed a rather large zombie’s skull and noted that that one was for my wife.

As Nosila returned, the battle was turning grim. The dwarf and I were growing haggard and were extremely outnumbered. The extremely short person who had been helping us from behind with his arrows was trying his best, but his arrows weren’t doing enough damage to turn the tide.

She handed my Kukri and begged me to leave as she saw the blood running from my many wounds. I turned to tell her no, and saw a terrific gouge in her side running blood openly. With a quick thrust with my kukri I wheeled and pushed her away from the fray. I then swung one more time and ran for my gear.

After grabbing my gear, I seemed totally drained. It was hard to run. So I kept just ahead of the undead chasing us, and slowly donned my gear. Nosila did the same. Amazingly, after our gear was on, it seemed not as many people noticed us.

Dawn had arrived by the time we had retreated to the temple. The little archer guy had pelted them the whole way with arrows. The dwarf had attacked them when he could. I had reached into my pouch and hit them with several oil containers.

As we arrived at the temple, I hollered for them to hit the zombies with fire. When someone shot one of them with a burning arrow, the bunch of them lit up like a bonfire. After entering the temple, a couple of adepts healed our wounds. There was a quick and curt round of introductions, and then we took up a defensive position around the temple entrance.

As the dawn became the full light of day, the undead started to retreat. Shambling along as they went, I decided it was time for Nosila and I to have a little fun. Racing after the stragglers, we dropped several undead along the way, to what seemed to be a meeting point for them at the cemetery.

Here, a large circle had formed and a wild-eyed undead priest was screaming at some villagers that the undead had captured. He quickly grabbed one by the head. The villager screamed, and then died. By the time he had reached the second villager, all of the town guard had arrived as well as the other guests who me had met in the inn and temple.

Hearing the second one’s death scream sent us into action. Pulling up my Kukri, I charged into the throng of undead.

My eyes glazed wildly as the first one fell. Then I saw my wife run around the battle and attack the crazed cleric by herself. I thrust at a zombie and quickly charged after her. The dwarf was yelling as he ran directly into the zombies towards the evil cleric.

I cut a zombie nearly in half as he crumpled to the ground. My wife was standing over the lifeless body of the cleric.

Dropping to my knees in exhaustion, I watched in disbelief as a large green light shot out of the cleric’s mouth and flew off to the north. Laying my head to the ground, I heard many voices muttering that we should follow that light and destroy it before it came back to the village.

A soft hand reached down and helped me up. I gave Nosila a large bear hug after I stood, and reconfirmed she did smell very good. Taking her hand, I eyed up the gnome in the distance and hollered, “Hungry for some potatoes?”

Posted by Erik at 23:24 | Charzth’s Journal

Friends and Foes

Nosila's Journal

We travelled through the jungle and to the coastline, then followed it eastward and northward, seeing many new people and places as we went. It has been wonderful, learning about the wider world, especially with my new husband by my side. And it’s a wide world, indeed, with no jungle canopy close around us.

As one evening fell, we reached a small town near the Lake of Steam (a very strong-smelling body of water). The place seemed to be populated by farmers, although we could see a dark and evil-looking tower rising in the distance. Still, it was not near, and the town had an inn, the Green Griffin. I offered to pay for dinner and a room, so Charzth and I settled down in the common room to watch new people.

The place was mostly full of farmers, relaxing after a long day’s work. There were some other races, too - all of them shorter than us! I pointed to the halfling, standing in his chair to reach his plate(s), and the dwarf at the bar, and the gnome with the funny-colored hair. Charzth decided to flip potatoes off his kukri at the poor gnome, who luckily didn’t seem to mind too much.

Suddenly, a giant potato appeared behind our chairs! I boggled at it a moment, then gave it a cautious poke. Finding that it was both real, and not attacking us, I happily carved off a slice for my plate. Charzth followed suit. The potato, however, disappeared when the gnome arrived in front of our table. I was very disappointed to see that my plate was empty, too! Charzth, the gnome, and I argued about the disappearance of the critter until a new plate of fried potatoes was served at our table, with “compliments from the halfling” across the room. Potatoes were soon flying over to the halfling in thanks.

The new potatoes, however tasty, had a new twist. Now they screamed when we ate them. The gnome, who was still at our table, seemed disturbed that this didn’t stop us from eating. I explained to her that a lot of the food at home screams, which disturbed her more (though she did stop talking to us like we were children!).

At this point, the door opened, and a female half-elf entered the room, heading right for the bar. She sat next to the dwarf (who had been studiously ignoring the rest of the room in favor of his drink), and they had a quiet chat. Realizing she was wearing some kind of uniform, I quickly stopped Charzth from flinging dinner at her. Instead, we headed upstairs, to a bed-room. I was a little disappointed to find that the window was very small. I’m amazed at the stars we can see at night, now! In Chult, you had to climb for a long time to see them, and even then, they were not so clear. And you never knew what might come flying along to pick you out of the treetop for dinner.

It seemed like we’d hardly gone to sleep, when I woke to the sound of fighting in the hallway. Leaping out of bed and grabbing my kukri (always close at hand), I kicked the door open to see what was the matter. A rotting, smelly undead reached out towards me even as I attacked! I could hear Charzth waking up as I fought the thing, while hearing more than seeing, that more were fighting down the hall.

Charzth charged into the undead, grappling with it and bouncing it off the wall, while a loud *BOOM* filled the hallway! I stabbed the undead with my kukri once more, and Charzth used the now-limp carcass to pummel his way down the hall. I could see the dwarf and the gnome, and more undead, especially the one my husband fought at the end of the hall. Arrows flew from under the bed in that room, hitting both the undead and Charzth. He didn’t seem to notice.. much.

I was soon battling another creature, and I was glad to see that the dwarf seemed to be a cleric. He waved a holy symbol at the things, and some of them turned and shuffled down the stairs, away from the fight. This gave us room to finish off the ones still in the hall. We were soon charging into the streets! Charzth, at this point, was berserk with rage. He was pummelling the things into the ground and throwing them as weapons. The dwarf and I helped, but then the town guard appeared, shouting for everyone to retreat to the town shrine for safety.

I realized that the place was full of zombies, chasing living folk through the town. While they ran for the shrine, the dwarf and Charzth ran down the block to fight the largest concentration of zombies, and give everyone else a chance to escape. I was horrified, and proud! Charzth shouted for his gear, especially torches, and I raced back up the stairs to get our things. I staggered back down the steps, dropped everything but our kukris by the door, and raced to help the dwarf and my husband as they fought a pack of undead. Charzth gladly took his weapon but refused to leave the fight, so I stood my ground with them, hoping he’d soon snap out of his rage.

The dwarf kept trying to turn the zombies, but there were too many, now. Arrows flew into the pack from behind (a quick glance showed me the halfling - was he the one under the bed before?), and the rest of the town seemed to have gone on ahead; we could hear the gnome shouting from a distance. Finally, Charzth broke off his fight after killing the zombie attacking me, and all of us ran for safety. We grabbed our gear and staggered for the shrine, my husband barely on his feet. He still thought to throw his flasks of oil into the crowd behind us, and when we made it to the temple, one of the villagers set the mass ablaze. Thank Ubtao!

I collapsed inside the temple for a moment, watching Charzth, a paladin, and others from the town guard defending us on the steps. Someone healed me, which was a relief, and I sat up to pull on my clothes and armor. I got out my short bow and joined the defenders in the doorway, but they’d decided everyone who was going to had already made it to safety, and barricaded us in for the night.

The gnome, Sprocket, asked the townsfolk about any recent unusual events. She seemed to think that there would be clues as to why the local cemetary had disgorged itself on Midsummer Night’s Eve. I heard something about a cleric on pilgrimage, and the tower or wizard outside of town, but I was more interested in introducing ourselves properly to our other fighting companions. The dwarf was Bryrgar, and the halfling, Roscoe. He’s determined to buy Charzth a drink to apologize for shooting him by mistake. Charzth tried to growl about it, but he wasn’t really mad.

After a few hours, the pounding on the doors stopped. The paladin carefully opened them, and we all saw the remaining undead shuffling back to the graveyard in the early-morning light. The others wanted to get their gear from the inn, and talk about a plan to deal with this abomination, but Charzth wanted to kill more zombies. He headed off after any stragglers, and I headed off after him. We killed a couple before reaching the cemetary, and found a terrible sight!

I was glad Charzth had followed the undead; there were three live human hostages at the cemetary, and a more alert-looking zombie killing them one by one. I shot at it several times, missing, although I think my concentration was a little off from the loud *BOOM* the gnome kept producing. I finally figured out it was a projectile weapon of some kind, when part of the lead zombie was shot off. Still, with Charzth back in a berserk rage and the rest of us wading into the fight, I decided to use my kukri again.

Seeing how outnumbered we were, and that the lead zombie was headed for the last victim, I made a mad dash around the fight and prayed that I had the right idea.. that killing the head zombie would kill or confuse the rest. As I came up behind the thing, a red mist seemed to come over my vision; with a mighty swing, I killed the creature with one blow! As it and the other undead collapsed, we saw a green ball of light streak off to the northeast. As the mist cleared from my sight, I realized that the dwarf was on the other side of the head zombie. No wonder I was able to kill it so quickly!

I gave Charzth a kiss, glad to see that he was all right. I needed a rest, badly, but we agreed that the light had headed for that strange tower, and ought to be checked out. Apparently, Charzth and I have made some new friends!

Posted by Kate at 23:39 | Nosila’s Journal

September 19, 2004

Undead Again

Roscoe's Journal

Feeling both tired and hungry after the battle I went back to the inn with my newfound friends. We ate a rather large meal and I was able to get a room without a hole in the wall. I’m not sure how long I slept, but the next thing I knew I heard horns blowing in warning. I got up and dressed, gathered all my things, and went out only to find everyone else had the same idea.

“Can’t even get a good night’s rest with all these zombies around,” I said looking at the newly awakened group.

We headed out towards the graveyard and found a wave of undead about half way there. I say wave because no sooner had we cut down these we noticed more coming, thanks to our spellcaster making the sun appear in the middle of the night. I realized it was her by the chanting and hand waving behind me, and then she had it pulsate with a green light. What I didn’t understand was when she lowered it to the ground.

The battle went on for what seemed like hours. The longer we fought the more I knew it wouldn’t be long before we were overrun. Then suddenly Nosila fell. I think she was able to regain consciousness herself but fell so quickly after I can’t be sure. Charzth ran for her then carried her away from the fray. Sprocket and I both decided a retreat was in order and I noticed Charzth running back to the fight without Nosila. Sprocket and I found Nosila a few feet away and dragged her to the shrine. She was stable when we found her, but really in need of healing. I know Charzth went back to attempt to stop the horde of undead, and I was very glad to see he returned with Bryrgar and a new guy Ronyá I believe his name is, why he’s traveling with a kid is beyond me but I guess it’s really not my business. I think we are going to head for these ruins now because waiting isn’t going to help.

Posted by Fred at 15:17 | Roscoe’s Journal


Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 1, 1373 DR, Pommeville

The fun just keeps coming. After a fairly nice and quiet breakfast of potatoes (and yes, the barbarians were quite miffed that the giant potato golem didn’t provide a repeat performance), Widget and I went back up to our room so I could study and we could get the rest we missed the evening before. After enough hours to sleep and successfully prepare my spells, we headed out to see what else the hamlet of Pommeville had to offer. Even with the deaths of at least fifteen townsfolk the evening before, the market was open for business. Still, it was a bit of a disappointment, as there were no gnomish merchants, and worse, no books for sale, anywhere. I asked if there was a library in town and the vendor I was talking to pointed towards the wizard’s tower on the other end of town and said, “there’s probably a library up there.” Not to be defeated so easily, I asked if there were any other wizards in the town. No, of course not. I asked if there were any arcane magic users and was told to look up a human sorcerer called Aseir. These comments were, unfortunately, consistent with what Amber from the town guard, and the paladin, er, Holy Warrior of Suffering, Damota told me too. In fact, I was about to go seek out the sorcerer, when Widget reminded me it was time for our dinner.

We headed back to the Inn, and I noticed there were two other patrons there that likely did not hail from this town. The Calishite blended in well enough, but his little tablemate, which looked to be a halfling-sized drow, was an unusual site. I was still a bit tired from the non-stop excitement of the day before, so after a quick meal went back to my room to rest.

Sometime, long after dark, Widget and I awoke to the sounds of horns blaring— and seemingly getting closer. A town emergency? Did they decide to have a Midsummer’s Eve festivities a day late? We got ourselves packed up quickly and hustled out into the hall in time to see all the other guests of the Green Griffin running down the steps (thankfully all dressed this time). Everyone I’d met the night before, and the Calishite, ran towards the town cemetery with the town guard.

Sure as Gond is a gnome, there was a wave of undead stumbling towards the center of town again. I cast an armor spell on Widget and I as the larger members of the group dashed ahead. I thought I saw the little drow for a moment, but then he was gone so quickly I wasn’t sure— maybe he cast a darkness spell on himself.

The clear sky held a bright full moon, but I wasn’t sure how well all the humans and the halfling could see— I hoped my next spell would aid them in that regard while confusing the zombies. Seeing our dwarven cleric friend wasn’t attempting to turn the undead (but rather, plowing through them with an axe), I cast what looked like a huge fiery sun about 400’ above the fray. Only one or two zombies seemed to notice, but Roscoe, aiming his bow beside me, thanked me for the added light— helpful for ranged attacks, at least! (Amber from the town guard later thanked me for “the assistance of light” so I wonder if anyone realized it was an illusion rather than a light spell.)

Unfortunately, the light showed us that there were even more undead a hundred yards behind the first wave, headed our way. I tried a few variations on the “sun” as the rest of the group used mundane weapons. I thought it might get some of the undead’s attention if it looked more ominous, so I made it pulse with an eerie green light. Nothing. Next, I lowered it down on the zombies in melee. Some of the town defenders noticed it and seemed alarmed, but the zombies continued to be unimpressed. I finally let the orb “set” between the group of undead in melee and the more freshly arisen that were still shambling towards us. At least some of them took the extra time to walk around the pseudonova.

It didn’t look like there were any more zombies behind that batch (yet), and they were now all in melee range, so I dropped the spell and cast a forcewave at a zombie attempting to claw Bryrgar. The spell didn’t seem to be entirely effective, so I grabbed my pistol and shot the thing. Widget handed me another bullet as I started to back up with Roscoe— someone in front of us had called a retreat to the temple, where Damota was already gathering the townsfolk (the living ones, I mean). At least half of the town guard, desperately trying to buy more time for the villagers to reach safety, fell to the undead.

Nosila collapsed, and I attempted to shoot her attacker but missed by a goodly amount. I (and several others, I’m sure) yelled to Charzth and, in a rage, he tore though the massed horde to retrieve her, dropping her several yards further on before charging back into the battle. Roscoe and I decided to drag the unconscious barbarian woman to the temple, and arrived there only moments before the rest of the defenders.

We’re bolting the temple doors as we did last night, and (at last!) pooling our information. Bryrgar, in addition to spending half the day reburying the dead only to have them rise up again, had discovered something during their re-interment. At the back of the graveyard, he noticed a very old vault, untouched during that past night, but with obvious scrape marks in front of the door. He opened it and checked it out, finding an odd symbol of five dragon heads in a wheel— Tiamat, the Dragon Queen. I had to wonder if that was what Giles had been on a pilgrimage for, though it’s doubtful that these two mysteries fit so neatly together! That reminds me, I must tell the other town defenders of the ruins. I mean, they know about the ruins, as that is where the green light went to. Giles may have unleashed something, either willingly or unwillingly, that will continue the nightly torment of this town until there’s no one left alive to fight back.

Posted by Kristin at 21:38 | Sprocket’s Journal

September 24, 2004

Familiar Foes

Bryrgar's Journal

After helping bury the local dead, a chore that took a bit of time, I was looking around and noticed that we did not have enough bodies to fill all of the graves. I asked about this to one of the townsfolk helping with the duties. Rigald, a local farmer, said that they were sure the missing ones were just destroyed by fire, or something.

Then I asked if every grave had emptied out, he was not sure. After a bit of thinking, a subject that did not suite Rigald very well, he pointed to a mausoleum and said that none had come from there. I decided to take a quick look then go and get some sleep.

Once I got near the crypt in question I began to feel a strange sensation, like the hair standing on the back of my neck. I had never felt this before, which made me more curious. Now, I had once been told by my father that when curious dwarves die, they come back as gnomes. Pushing the image of that out of my head I examined the door to the crypt for signs of it having been opened. To my surprise it had what looked like claw marks around the edges.

I grabbed hold of the door and swung it open. At that point I should have realized that no good would be found in this tomb. But hey, how bad could it be, a door to a mausoleum that was so old the townsfolk don’t know who is buried in it, and the door opens with barely any effort.

Once I opened the door I notice the floor covered with skeleton remains. Undaunted I went inside to see what else could be found. Now, the mausoleum was built against a hill, and this corridor went back a few feet. There at the end I found what made my hair stand on end, the holy symbol of Tiamat. After spitting on the ground and tightening my grip so tight on my axe that my fingers began to turn white, I back out of the crypt and shut the door. “This my friend will take a bit of rest and the help of our friends,” the gargoyle carving on the nearby tombstone did not respond to me. I patted the gargoyle on the head and went back to get some rest. It wasn’t that I was talking to the gargoyle, it just was some carved stone, which is the closest thing to a dwarf I have found in this smelly town.

Later that day, after getting some rest, I went up to the temple to ask some questions about this town. First let me say, it is no proper temple, but I once heard a traveler say “any port in a storm.” I talked to the paladin, who as it so happens, does not know nearly a single thing about this town, or area. After beating my head against the wall at the temple, I went back to the inn to get some more rest. I decide to sleep against the door again, partially because it helped me before, and partly because of what the paladin said.
I had told him I was going to get some sleep, he said, “What makes you think the dead won’t come after us again tonight?”

During the night the alarms did wail; quickly I was up armed and armored. Out the door I went, happily, the others from the inn were headed to the cemetery too. Most of them ran ahead of me. Only a new person was with me, well, him and a boy. The new person told me his name, and the boy’s; I am sure I will remember them if they survive this night.

The human male was asking me what was going on, I began to fill him in on why we seemed to be charging a cemetery. At least it seemed odd enough for him to ask; a real thinker this one is. Well, after getting the basic fact he began to slow his pace as if considering going the other way. I saw the look of doubt in his eyes and I took the opportunity to feed his fires a little. That is what Croyly always called it. I asked my new friend if that was a sword on his belt, then asked him if he wasn’t going to use it, there are some women around that could.

After that I had a hard time keeping his pace, especially with my chuckle slowing me down. Finally we arrived atop a small rise to see two guards and our other friends of the inn fighting a group of undead. In we went, both of us going to the side of the male barbarian who was about to be surrounded. The battle was fierce for they had us outnumbered and did not seem to mind dying.

After a bit I heard the thunder and again I was inspired. I pulled my silver holy symbol and held it high. It worked by golly, at least a little, some of them turned and fled. Another try yielded me no results, so I went back to turning them with my axe. If you hit them just right, one half turns to the left and the other to the right.

I heard calls of my friends, the male barbarian was off to my side and looking worse for ware. I finished the one I was fighting and ran over to put some of Clangeddin’s blessing on him. Then back to the fight. It was about that time when I heard a cry out from the far side of the fight, the female barbarian had been downed. Before I could make a move in that direction, her husband rushed by and picked her up. Before I could yell to bring her to me, he was gone over the hill.

Next thing I know I hear more cries for retreat. I begin telling everyone to go, I will slow them down. And as I began backing up, keeping the undeads’ attention on me. This worked until that new human ran in front of me. Darned fool had near to no armor and wounded to boot. Together we backed up, while he learned every curse word I know. The stubborn fool was trying to prove himself not a coward, probably for what I had said to him earlier.

I took it well, for a few seconds, then just yanked him by the collar and dragged him away from the danger. Finally he turned and ran to help the others. Then the male barbarian was back. Doing nearly the same thing as the last durn fool. I yelled; he smiled. I don’t think he understands big words.

Finally we got back to the temple and held up for the night. The gnome, Sprocket was very talkative. She gathered the group together from the inn and we shared the information we had gathered during the day. I believe that to save this town, we will have to bind together and go to these ruins they talked about.

The new human, Ronyá or Ronye something— his child seems to be half dark-elf. When saving this town is all and done, I shall have to talk to this man, perhaps he may be able to help me on my journey.

We are doing our best to rest now. At first light we will be heading to the ruins, to the green light.

Posted by Jim at 17:30 | Bryrgar’s Journal

September 25, 2004

Bumps in the night?

Charzth's Journal

Gathering ourselves, I stood holding Nosila’s hand. Seems I got a good warrior for a wife. Seems that the Ubtao was looking out for me once again. Giving No’s hand a squeeze I led her from the body-strewn cemetery back into town.

Hungry as we were, we had a healthy breakfast of potatoes and a little meat. A few ales swished down nicely to boot. During our meal we discussed the past day’s events. Seems that we chose a bad area to honeymoon in.

Meal done, we wandered out into the town for a long walk. Many people stopped to stare as we passed. I guess our fighting skill was more amazing than I had first admitted. I said as much to No’. She kind of blushed and whispered in my ear that she believed it had more to do with our lack of clothes than our actual fighting skill.

With a quick pat on the backside I let her know that I could see her point. Growing weary with all of the stares and the sad people wandering about, we decided to return to the Inn. It was growing a little dark as we reached it.

A quick meal and then we raced off to our room. Feeling romantic, we turned the lights out - after we stowed our gear in an easily accessible spot. Eventually, sleep took us later in the night.

What seemed to be mere moments after we had passed out, alarm horns sounded throughout the town. Jumping out of bed and gathering our gear, we quickly placed our armour on. Kukris in hand, we raced out to the street. As suspected, there was a commotion coming from the cemetery again.

Gathering with the others who had defended the village before, we raced to the cemetery. Sure enough, it was zombie killin’ time again. No’ raced in beside me. Kukris in double time, we waded in. I heard the Dwarf hollering as his axe went to and fro.

We seemed to be pushing the undead back as the town guard came up in the rear to our aid. I recognized the guard captain from the Inn the other night. Just when we thought we were getting somewhere, another wave came.

A strange green light shone in the middle of the battle as we fought. Seemed the sun god was in our favour as it blessed us. But the blessing was short….

No’ dropped to the ground; several guardsmen rushed to aid. My mind went red. The bowels of hell let loose in my mind. Taking several attacks as I charged forward, I ran to my wife’s side. Blood running down my side or not, I threw No’ over my shoulder and ran her down the street to safety.

Finding a safe place to put her I ran back to the battle. The tide was beyond turned. The Dwarf and a dark skinned fighter were fighting yet. Two guards and the captain yet stood. The gnome and the halfling were in full retreat. I called for them to pull my wife to the temple if they could.

I then charged into the battle. Arguing with the dwarf and the pipe-smoking fighter to retreat and that I would catch up later. That, of course, wound up with much more zombie fighting as we tried to position ourselves to be the last to retreat. Giving up on the hard-headed dwarf, I followed the pipe-smoking fighter back towards the temple. Getting in my zombie slashes along the way.

Feeling my power and energy ebb from my body, I turned to run. I could barely keep standing. My rage had done me in. Only thinking of No’ helped me make it back to the temple. As the others entered, I heard the gates lock behind them. I gathered No’ in my arms and thought of nothing else as I rocked her through the night. The sun would rise, I told myself, and someone would pay dearly!

Posted by Erik at 22:22 | Charzth’s Journal

Green suns are not good

Nosila's Journal

Standing in the ruined cemetary, I realized that, morning or no, I was ready for bed. Leaving Bryrgar to do clerical things for the re-dead, we staggered off to the inn. We got more potatoes, but still no sign of the giant potato-man. I was so tired that I dozed off against Charzth’s shoulder at one point! Still, we eventually made it to bed.

To my surprise, we woke to the sound of horns blowing outside of the inn, in the middle of the night! We grabbed our gear and stumbled into the hallway, again.. at least, this time, there weren’t any extra guests in it. Or, rather, there were no undead ones! As the dwarf and halfling muttered about getting “no full night’s sleep in this town”, I made out a human and child at the end of the hallway.

We all headed downstairs, only to see the villagers running away, and the fighters running toward, the same cemetary as the night before. Truly, I thought we’d solved the problem when I finished off the head zombie and saw that green light leave its body! Still, we knew what we had to do. Under the light of the full moon, we fighters went to back up the town guard while everyone else ran to the temple.

Charzth and I took each end of the line of zombies staggering down the street, hoping to work our way inward. As we attacked, a small blazing sun appeared over our heads! Before I could do more than gape at the thing, I was brought back to reality by the sight of waves of undead coming from the cemetary, visible under the new sun’s rays.

Although I thought I was going to help the town guards, they ended up helping me, when I staggered from the undead’s blows. I caught sight of the new human, using a kukri like ours to fight, and wondered where the child had gone - to the temple, I hoped! Charzth was fighting well, though on the verge of another frenzy. May Ubtao protect him!

The sun turned a sickly green, then, and began to move around. It made me a little sick to my stomach - what new evil might it mean? I could hear Sprocket shouting that waves of undead were still on the way; regrouping sounded like a good idea. Back at the temple, for example! We tried to stand together and make room to back off from the fight; the human ran to find where his child had hidden, and I was hit hard enough to put me on the ground.

Of course, this made me so mad I raged right back up and killed the offending zombie! Bryrgar turned some of the undead away from us, but before I could take advantage of the breathing room - everything went black.

I woke up at the temple, my own Charzth at my side. Apparently, Sprocket and Roscoe had dragged me partway there; bless them, I must have been heavy! We spent another night listening to the thump of the undead, and trying to make small talk. The human is Ronya; his half-drow brother is Zym. Zym’s a very solemn child, but kind of cute. Bryrgar found an old tomb in the graveyard, and feels that it’s worth checking out before trying the wizard’s tower. As long as we’re doing something to stop this evil pattern, I don’t care!

Posted by Kate at 22:52 | Nosila’s Journal

September 26, 2004

How do You Kill the Dead?

Ronyá's Journal

Tonight was a very frightening experience for me; it was the first time that I saw the dead walk. I had heard of the dead walking before, but I thought that was just what they told bad kids to scare them. But tonight not only did the dead rise, but they also fought.

It happened at what I could tell was midnight. Zym and I were praying to the Dark Maiden when we heard warning horns. I opened the door to my room at the inn when I saw other patrons in the hall. They must have heard the horns as well, without a word we all rushed out of the inn. I followed them ‘cause it appeared that they had done this before. We rushed through the village, then we came around a building and there in the distance was something that made me stop in my tracks. The dead had arisen. So I did what any sensible man would have done— I took a long toke off of my pipe. As I stood there trying to believe my eyes, the other people that I ran there with jumped into battle. How can you kill something that is already dead? That was the questions that I was pondering.

“Zym, hide!” As he ran off, I put the pipe away and ran into battle, not knowing how to kill the dead but attempting to help anyway. They were hard to drop but one by one they did, but as some dropped more waves kept coming. How long could we fight? The others that were there kept fighting but it seemed in vain. Then this sickly green sun appeared out of nowhere. The bodies walked right through it. That was enough for me— I had to regroup to figure out my next move. So I retreated back out of what looked like a cemetery but there were people still fighting so I mustered up all my courage, took another toke, and ran back for more. As I laid into the undead, I stood beside a stout dwarf that helped me fight. The waves of undead seemed endless so we decided to fall back to the temple to regroup. The dwarf helped me retreat as I called for Zym. He came running. I scooped him up and ran for the temple. Arriving at the temple we went inside. “Zym we are safe for now!” But, for how long? I need to smoke.

Posted by x-gamer at 14:46 | Ronyá’s Journal

September 28, 2004

New Tactics

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 2, 1373 DR, Ruins on the outskirts of Pommeville

We discussed what Bryrgar found in the graveyard, and I gave as many details as I could about the ruins. We also exchanged introductions with the little half-drow Zym, and his guardian Ronyá, who had fought at Bryrgar’s side in our latest skirmish with the undead. Widget reminded me (finally!) that I had yet to see the sorcerer Aseir, and fortunately for us, he was among the villagers waiting in the temple. He was quite helpful and filled in some missing information about the ruins for me. Hundreds of years ago, there was a fortress dedicated to an evil god. A religious order from Vilhon Reach organized a holy crusade, and sent some of their paladins and clerics to destroy the evil, resulting in the ruins outside of Pommeville. I wonder now if Giles was from Vilhon Reach and was a member of that holy order that vanquished the evil? Was the holy order successful in that original crusade? What could have happened to Giles— what did he release?

I asked Aseir if he would be willing to accompany us, indicating my new comrades. I fear he took one look at the barbarians— Charzth appeared to be growling at the temple doors, impatient to be outside again— and declined.

Eventually the perpetual pounding on the temple doors ceased. We opened them to see the zombies shuffling back to the cemetery. I was worried that the green glow we’d witnessed the prior morning; if we released it from a zombie again, it might make the ruins that much harder for us to navigate, but luckily the zombies were all going back to their prospective graves (much to the chagrin of Bryrgar, who had spent yesterday re-burying them after they’d all be dropped where the stood). Three zombies remained without graves to shamble back to— apparently none of the downed town guards of the night before had survived the night.

After a quick meal and some vague discussion of battle plans, we wandered over to the ruins at the edge of town. I had no spells prepared, since we’d not had a full night’s rest, and neither did Bryrgar. I wished that we’d asked Damota to join us, as I’m sure he has a score to settle with whatever lurks within these broken walls.

It was about a two-minute walk from the inn to the ruins. The crumbling foundation stands about 2’ to 4’ high— I can see over most of it. The visible part of the foundation is a rectangle about 30’ by 40’. Signs of recent excavation, no doubt by Giles and his group, are evident in the southeast corner, where a pile of discarded shovels and picks lay near a staircase leading down into the earth. Charzth kept trying to hand me a shovel— the darn things are made for human-sized hands, and I have no desires to become a ditch-digger anyway.

We wandered down the steps, to find another pile of gear (oil, rope, pitons and a lantern), and a helmet wedged between a pair of double doors to keep them from closing. There are a few other doors and at least one passageway blocked by stone (okay, the shovels may be useful, but I’d rather check out the cleared ways first!). Bryrgar wasn’t impressed with Roscoe’s checking the doors (or floor, or walls, or ceilings) for traps and just took the double doors off their hinges. I hope we don’t need to close them in a hurry. We noticed there was a symbol of Tiamat on these doors as well— that mausoleum may actually have been related to the ruins after all!— but if the one on the doors wasn’t enough, there was a huge symbol of the 5-headed dragon on the floor as well. We suspected it was trapped, and Roscoe asked me to confirm that it was a magical trap. Of course, before I could do that, Bryrgar walked over it and got a zap of lightning from one of the symbol’s heads.

The huge room containing the aforementioned Tiamat symbol (which was indeed magically trapped with evocation magic), also contained six 10’ tall statues (one of which also radiated magic) and an evil-looking stone altar with four skulls on it. I pulled my periscope out to look at the top of it without getting closer when I saw that it had conjuration magic emanating from it. I think we figured out what it did in the course of the next few moments though.

Nosila stepped closer to the altar, but did not touch it. I guess being close to it was enough to activate it though, as four skeletons wielding scimitars appeared and began to attack her. Her mate was only one step away and absorbed one of the blows meant for her— I’m sure she’d have not survived it otherwise. Shooting an approaching skeleton did no good, so I attempted to shove a staff between the legs of one and trip it. However, the undead took offense to Bryrgar’s holy symbol and began to back away. I dropped my spell and dragged Nosila out of the fray. If I am going to keep lugging the unconscious barbarian woman around, I will need to invent a belt with wheels on it for her to wear.

I looked up in time to see one of Roscoe’s arrows sticking out of the dwarf (oops!) and Ronyá jumping up on top of the altar to cut down a skeleton (I worried more skeletons would appear, but thankfully nothing noticeable happened). The battle was soon over, and when we realized that our dwarven cleric really had no healing ability left in him, Charzth hauled Nosila back to the temple (where, I’m told, it took the strength of all the adepts to revive her) and we rested at the Green Griffin until mid-afternoon so that we could go into the ruins with spells ready.

Eight hours later found us back in the ruins, this time walking towards another door. I was surprised, and slightly alarmed, to see Bryrgar had fashioned some sort of vehicle out of a wooden wheelbarrow with a wooden shield attached to it, and had managed to convince Charzth to ride in it. Being from Lantan, and a gnome, I was surprised that I hadn’t been consulted on the building of this device, but since I’m not entirely sure what it is or what it does, I guess that is just as well. It doesn’t seem to have any source of propulsion. Perhaps it is some sort of stretcher for an injured party member— Bryrgar is our cleric after all.

While I was puzzling over that, Roscoe had been checking a door, deeming it free of traps, and opening it. There were two zombies on the other side of the door however. I couldn’t get a clear shot at them with my pistol, so I shot one with a magic missile. Nosilia was right in there fighting with them, which frustrated those behind her, so they did the least logical thing and began to open other doors. I am not sure if Bryrgar or Charzth found anything, but Ronyá and Zym found some rather large centipedes— one of them was screaming in alarm, and I’m going to assume it was Zym. Those of us not engaged with zombies ran around the corner in time to see Ronyá pushing the door to the bug room shut, but the critters were coming out underneath and biting him. Zym was in the safety of his arms at least. As Bryrgar tried to step on them (and got bitten himself in the process), I cast a simple mage hand spell to safely push them all back into their nest on the other side of the door. A relieved Ronyá tossed me his cloak, which I used to seal the doorway with the critters trapped on the other side. Before I could even suggest it, oil and a spark were produced and the cloak was set ablaze— hopefully that will finish off the bugs without smoking the rest of us out!

Posted by Kristin at 17:48 | Sprocket’s Journal