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Griselda’s Bio

30 Neth 4709 AR
Falcon’s Hollow

I am fortunate that Kasa is such an unusual creature for these parts. Not only was she allowed to stay in the inn rather than the stables, but she’s oblivious to the odd looks she’s receiving (and she’s keeping any unwanted attention away from me personally). I am also allowed to stay in the inn, something I would not have imagined a year ago.

I reflect over the last eight years; after being captured from my small clan in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords by raiding orcs, I was one of the few females they thought worthy of keeping alive, perhaps because I could speak orc. They forced me from my homeland to their hold many miles south. It was especially ironic for me, because I recognized from the filthy banner they carried that their tribe was the one my mother had escaped from; for all I knew, her own brother was the one that slew her and my human father.

With little hope for revenge, I spent the next seven years doing whatever I needed to do to stay alive.

Then last year, I finally got away, thanks to Kasa’s herd. One night her herd came though where the orc tribe had set up our make-shift camp, trampling everyone and everything in their way. Nearly all the orcs died right where they slept in their drunken stupors, though two of the mammoths were mortally wounded in the process, including the one Kasa was following. The larger mammoth had crushed the tribe’s flag on her way through, and the stupid orcs were more enraged by that than by the deaths of their own kin. In the aftermath, I took the opportunity to dispatch the injured orcs then turned to the trumpeting calf. She looked unharmed, so I grabbed what supplies and weapons I could, with plans to head south to slave-free Andoran, following the path emblazoned by the mammoths. Kasa followed me, and has been the source of my good fortune every since.

Considering how poorly I was treated by the orcs that enslaved me for so long, it is gratifying that most humans treat me as an equal— either I am mistaken for a half-elf or human (like the orcs did) or they just don’t care that I’m half orc as well as half human. I’ve even been paid to walk with caravans. Now that I’m finally in Andoran though, I am not sure what to do next, so here I sit, spending my last few coins in the Jak’a’Napes with Kasa.

Character sheet: Griselda [Half-orc ranger from the Realm of the Mammoth Lords]
Animal companion sheet: Kasa [Mammoth]

Posted by Kristin on February 9, 2010, 23:27


1 Kuthona 4709
Darkmoon Wood

I met some very odd people.

They came into the tavern portion of the Jak’a’Napes with the obvious intention of getting drunk, sleeping, and having dinner, possibly in that order. They clearly didn’t know any of the local lumberjacks, who kept to themselves at the other end of the room, and would have remained uninteresting to me, but Kasa apparently liked the look of one of them and was soon under their table trying to sneak food off of their plates. The dwarf in the group took it in stride and ordered refills (with a bucket-sized portion for my wayward mammoth), and I felt compelled to share the ale I’d purchased earlier as compensation. By this time the female human, who didn’t touch the ale, decided to head for her room, and the dwarf soon followed. I was left with a very drunk female elf who appeared to be more or less unconscious at the table, and a human male that claimed to be a dwarven paladin looking for another dwarven paladin, his brother, that he needed to kill for carrying an evil artifact at one time in their past. (I’ve since learned that this human male also carries an evil artifact in his haversack, but I must assume that these things are unrelated.) He also may or may not have killed his “human” family— the more he drank, the more confusing his story seemed to be. The female elf would occasionally murmur something about family being dangerous and such— I would have to agree with them there.

They attempted to toast a fallen comrade who had perished while killing a troll. They had apparently hastily buried her in an unknown place in some woods on the way here, opting to carry her hair with them for some mysterious purpose, perhaps as a memento.

The paladin, called Candal, appeared to be hiring me when I asked if he knew of work available, but he did not seem eager to discuss terms or even explain what he would be hiring me for, so I wished him and the elf (Tythe) a good night and turned in with Kasa.

I met up with them again in the morning. The human woman (Salma) appeared to not be on speaking terms with the others, other than to mutter something under her breath about being kidnapped that she did not elaborate on. The elf female was slung unceremoniously over a pack mule named Seven (I shudder to think what may have befallen One through Six) and the two males were discussing how best to get through the woods to the north of town and once again offered to let me serve them for free. I declined, with the intention of only walking them to the edge of town and pointing them in the right direction, but I started to worry about the fate of the two women; I was unsure what their involvement was with the two males. Strangely, Kasa seems to like the males, even the human who claims to be from the north but had never seen a mammoth before. I really couldn’t afford to spend another day in town anyway.

We walked for several hours until we came to a burned-out foundation of what had been an orphanage. Rogar found a trap door in the center of the ruins, and pulled it open, showing a ladder going down into the darkness. I followed him down, calling to Kasa to guard Seven and Salma, while Candal and Tythe (finally able to stand upright) found a light source and came down as well.

The place looked like an old torture chamber, with rusting manacles on the walls and tools of torture on one lone, blood-stained oak table. Four bodies were on the floor— one a desiccated husk in robes, dead for quite some time, and three other, fresher ones beside it— the latter three without heads. I recognized the signs and sure enough, four vargouilles flapped down from the ceiling. I quickly dispatched two, but was bit (not kissed thankfully!) by one, as was Candal. The others killed the remaining two bat-winged creatures. As they finished inspecting the basement, I broke what was left of the torture equipment— no one should have to wear those things unless they are a criminal.

Returning to the surface, they were obviously confused about what to do next— someone even suggested setting up camp, though it was barely the noon hour. They were looking for the one responsible for the bodies in the basement. I was pretty sure that three of the vargouilles had been attached to the headless bodies at one point, so likely the fourth vargouille had been responsible for the others, at least, but there is apparently more to this quest, some of which involves a map on the back of a dead friend or shaved wolf (I’m trying my best to ignore the nonsensical bits of conversation for now, which is quite a lot of it). I offered to look for tracks leading to the burned out site, but we had done a good job of trampling the area. Still, I found two sets of prints going in, one human-sized and one small or child-sized. The smaller set also departed the area alone. We followed those tracks for several hours with Rogar actually providing help with the tracking when I got turned around. Then I heard something very large in the distance. A few moments later we could see a treant stomping towards us. Everyone had weapons ready, but it was just much too big to fight if we could avoid it. Fortunately, it was intent on something else, or just didn’t see us, because it strode right past. Candal said it radiated “evil,” but thankfully he doesn’t attack evil on sight.

Posted by Kristin on March 2, 2010, 20:47

Scene 15

1 Kuthona 4709
Darkmoon Wood

It is a thankless (and payless) job to help those who do not wish to be helped.

We follow the tracks for hours, eventually arriving at an entrance to a cave, about 3’ high and 2’ wide. In addition to the humanoid footprints, we see that there are several sets of wolf prints as well. As the group argues over the best way to contact whoever is inside the cave, I call in and ask if anyone is there, to which I receive a low growl. Rogar decides to crawl in, while the others continue to ponder why we are there; I tell Kasa to “guard” and follow the dwarf. I hear Salma behind me, casting a light spell and following along as well.

Unfortunately, the tunnel floor has a sharp incline and Rogar falls the rest of the way in; with me following one second behind. I arrive to see three wolves about to attack and a small child cowering in the corner. Assuming she’s been captured (and aware I’m about to be attacked myself), I kill two of the wolves as Rogar kills the third. The dirt-caked child starts shrieking, Salma starts yelling, and we are joined by Tythe and Candal. Candal is sensing evil from the girl, but Salma is already running over to console her on the death of her “friends.”

We finally manage to get some story from the rescuee “Jenna”— she was an orphan from the goblin wars 11 years prior, and escaped from the orphanage about a year ago to live in the woods. She was eating whatever the wolves had leftover from their prey and kept busy helping people wandering in the woods; she does not wish to be rescued at this time. Tythe talks me into making some donations so that this budding “ranger” can survive without her companions. Someone occasionally points out the aura of evil emanating from her, but I can spare a fishhook and a spear if it means Salma will stop yelling. We depart quickly after that.

We decide to walk along the river for a while, and by this time I’m not even going to assume we have a destination. I’m being told that we are going to find “treasure” that is better than getting paid for a job, though they all on occasion offer me coins (I don’t even know if they have any money). At least Kasa seems happy socializing with everyone.

Later, we come to a clearing. There is a dead tree in the middle, with dead vegetation radiating out 20’ all the way around it. On the tree itself there are three crucified fey creatures, their rainbow-colored blood mingling on the trunk. As we ponder if it is related to the likely-undead treant we’d seen earlier, the group tosses oil at the base of the tree and then lights it and runs (I’m guessing this is more “not treasure”).

After a bit we notice the sun is setting and decide to make camp.

Posted by Kristin on March 16, 2010, 19:25

Go Green

2 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

In spite of learning I that I am a half-orc, the party, my party, was fine with letting me take first shift during the night. I resolved not to let them down. So when I was hit with small, poisoned arrows from two different directions shortly after they all retired for the night, I forced myself to stay conscious and alert them, while returning fire in the direction one arrow had come from. I could tell from the commotion that more arrows were raining down on the group, so I cast a spell to entangle all the branches surrounding our camp, hoping the resulting canopy would keep our assailants busy. Not only did this not work, but the attackers were able to cast the same spell, ensnaring several of us in the process. I forced my way through the clinging vines to where Candal was standing, relieved to see that Kasa had managed to get out as well. I was fairly sure that I could hear Tythe and Rogar outside of the entanglement as well. I intended to go back in for Salma, but before I could, a third arrow hit me and I was knocked out.

When we awoke, for all of us had eventually succumbed except for Tythe, the elf excitedly explained that she found the rest of us in a pile beside the camp, and could see small-bodied creatures with high-pitched voices chanting; a ring of mushrooms surrounded us. She sensed something ominous about to happen, and rushed to where we were, breaking the fairy-ring just as the chanted spell was cast, disrupting it.

We may never know where we were originally destined to be teleported to, but I am certain we arrived someplace entirely different. The landscape is all ice and snow-covered mountains, and it is much colder than Darkmoon Wood. We did see, however, three cave entrances up a mountain that was only about one-half mile away and quickly made our way to it.

It was slightly warmer than the frozen landscape outside, but we had to make sure it wasn’t already occupied before making a new camp. Rogar is, thankfully, knowledgeable about all things rock, and as we examined the passage in the “nose” cave, we determined that the multitude of burns and cracks in the stone were the result of repeated hits by lightning. Now wary of a dragon or some other creature that could blast us with electricity, we continued on, coming to a spot where the “nose” met up with the two “eye” caves above. The mountain caves did resemble a skull somewhat, adding to the unease we were already feeling. We saw flickering lights ahead; I offered to sneak up and look by myself.

I crept forward to a large cavern, at least 40 to 50’ in width and depth lit by two braziers. At first, I thought a large dragon sat behind a 3’ by 6’ stone altar, but I quickly realized it was also made of stone. No one else appeared to be about, so I signaled my companions to come forward. We snuck across the huge cavern, half-expecting the dragon to come to life at any moment, till we were well behind it and could see a set of massive double-doors set into the mountain rock….

Posted by Kristin on April 4, 2010, 14:57


2 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

Candal knocked on the doors, and then he and Rogar attempted to open them, with no success. As they pondered what to do next, I opened the doors (I’m sure they had loosened them) to find a large, circular chamber. It contained three dwarven statues and a lever on a 30’ disc. The room smelled musty and had no visible exits. As we searched for a way out, both Rogar and Kasa started to mess with the lever (the former recognizing dwarven craftsmanship), and it occurred to me that it looked like the only means of moving on from the room. We all scrambled onto the disc, which turned out to be a platform, and as the dwarf pulled back the lever, the floor shook and rumbled, and we began to descend.

The platform moved for about a minute, and I suspect that we went about 200’ into the depths of the mountains. When it stopped, we stepped down into a larger chamber, with columns along both sides holding up balconies. Figures holding weapons stood along each balcony. I had a weird sense of déjà vu (I’ve been in very few grand halls of any sort). We started to look for a way up to the balconies— attempting to open doors we found between the columns, when I realized that Candal had become impatient, using his holy steed as a sort of ladder to get himself and Rogar up to one balcony. As they examined a statue, it screamed and attacked the human— gargoyles had apparently moved into the abandoned dwarven halls and were not happy to be manhandled by the paladin. As Candal and Rogar tried to fight them off, I clambered up to the balcony railing and began to chip away at the stony creatures, who seemed more interested in attacking the paladin than Rogar or me. We managed to slay two of the three. Salma got up as well, knowing healing would be needed as soon as we fought off our attackers. Tythe stopped working on opening a door long enough to drop the last one with an arrow.

It turned out that the gargoyles were the most exciting thing in the grand hall; we moved on to another set of doors. They opened into a 20’ wide passage that slopped upwards, with a cracked and gouged floor. Looking at the doors behind us, we found them to be damaged as well, as if something very heavy had smashed into them. We made our way up the ramp carefully after checking for any obvious trap triggers, until we found ourselves on a landing….

Posted by Kristin on April 23, 2010, 23:44

Block Party

3 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

Up ahead of the rest of us and around a corner, Rogar and Candal catch sight of a clear cube sliding towards them, and one of them yells to throw fire. I have a bottle of alchemist’s fire which I manage to throw as soon as I see a bit of the cube myself, but I splash a bit on Rogar as well. I don’t get to hear him complain though, as he’s sucked into the cube almost immediately (and the cube douses the fire). Rogar appears to be unable to move at this point, so I pull out a spear and attempt to drag him out of the gelatinous cube, while Tythe is shooting flaming arrows into the thing. I feel that I am making some headway and it appears that Rogar has grabbed the end of the spear, but the shaft of the spear dissolves as I desperately attempt to pull him free. I see now that Candal is inside the cube as well, and though he appears to be swimming, he’s not going to be getting out on his own either. Salma has cast a spell at the cube, and now the dwarf is really large (the cube grows to accommodate him), and then somehow she ends up inside the cube as well. I move Kasa and Seven out of the way with a word of advice to the mammoth, and Tythe tosses flaming oil on the cube to burn it. The cube containing most of our party is now at the top of the trapped ramp and it’s getting a bit tricky to stay out of its way. I throw some acid at it, and remarkably, it moves back up the ramp to get away from that. I shoot an arrow at it myself, hoping to guide it towards some rocks where I hope to strain out our absorbed companions, and the thing explodes into clumps of inert jelly, disgorging Candal, Rogar, and Salma in the process. I notice that the cube has eaten their clothes, and manage to find two cloaks to give to Salma and Rogar.

They’ve lost a lot of equipment, but they did find a very nice adamantine breastplate and something we are calling a Helm of True Strike. Happily, Rogar can wear both.

We are pretty wiped out by this time, and never did get a proper rest, so we opt to go back to the great hall, into a balcony, to make camp. During the third watch, Tythe hears chanting in draconic, and many footsteps beyond the closed double doors. She wakes us as the doors open, and we see about twenty kobolds marching through the room, chanting praise to their dragon god. We might have let them pass, but Rogar and I could see that two carried a wrapped humanoid-shaped bundle on a pole between them, obviously a sacrifice. I shoot one of the sacrifice carriers with my bow, and then Rogar, Candal and I jump over the balcony, using the element of surprise to take out a few kobolds quickly. Salma and Tythe stay above, with Tythe picking off kobolds with her bow as Salma uses a light spell on rocks to better see the skirmish.

The battle was a lot tougher than anticipated— those kobolds were a lot stronger than any I’ve encountered in the past, and several of them were casting spells as well. After we killed off about 2/3 of them the rest fled. Now to see what is in that bundle that they abandoned.

Posted by Kristin on April 30, 2010, 17:42

Maze of twisty little passages

3 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

As my companions collected equipment off of the dead kobolds, I opened the sack, which had begun to inch away from the activity. Out popped the head of a bound and gagged hairless albino humanoid with large red eyes. I pulled the gag from its mouth after letting it know we were rescuing it, and it replied with the most ear-splitting scream from between rows of razor-sharp teeth. I was going to put the gag back in its mouth till it calmed down, but I did not need to, as the paladin whacked it on the back of the head with his sword, knocking it out. Once it stopped screaming, I recognized it as a morlock— a degenerate subterranean humanoid. The always-kindly Tythe suggested we untie it and leave it outside of the room we were in, locking the door behind it so that if it started screaming, it would not draw an army of morlocks to us. We did just that, and then had enough uneventful time to rest properly.

After resting, we decided to continue checking the rooms beyond the great hall where we’d camped. We found a shrine to the dwarven god Torag, many rooms of barracks, and a dining hall. Then Tythe found some barrels and a chest, though the chest turned out to be a creature. It opened its mouth, two lines of sharp teeth appearing where the “lid” had been and whipped out a sticky tendril, catching Tythe and pulling her towards its gaping maw. It also had the audacity to grab Rogar’s favorite waraxe. Thankfully we were able to slay it and get both the elf and the axe back relatively unharmed.

We then wandered down a hall, set off an ice water trap (no one got splashed) and went through some double doors into a huge round and very deep stairway/room. The stairs circled around the edge. We carefully made our way down, taking note of the arrow slits in the walls. The dwarf and I took point, since we could see well enough in the dark, but Rogar managed to fall into a pit that appeared underneath him. I got hit by a few arrows as my companions tried to pull him out. I know at least one of the arrows I was hit with was poisoned; I think Salma got hit with one as well. We managed to run across the room, with a few more pits opening up under us and more arrows crisscrossing our paths. Candal pulled Rogar from the pit while Tythe picked a lock on the far side of the room. I ran back to lead them through a non-pit laden path to relative safety and we exited the room together.

Posted by Kristin on June 1, 2010, 15:33


3 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

We healed up in the tiny room, which had one other door. We went though it into yet another small room with yet another extra door. And so on… until we started to hear the doors closing behind us. Of course, they had no visible hinges, handles or locks. We then heard a cry for help beyond the next door. Figuring we’d be going forward anyway, we went through, trying (and failing) to hold the door behind us open. When we got to the last visible door and opened it, Kasa bounded through before I could stop her and came out carrying a gnome, as if they were old friends. Stranger still, some of my companions already knew the gnome sorceress Liake, and did not seem overly surprised to find her in a small, closed room in a mountain someplace that we could not identify. Perhaps all bad teleports go here.

As Candal started the monumental task of chipping away each stone door with an axe, I asked Liake if she had any spells that might help (figuring she did not, else she would not have been calling for help). She in fact did have a spell that was simply for opening doors such as these, and had the rest of the doors open in a minute.

Having not found a way out of our predicament, we found ourselves one door from the “firing squad” room again. We found two more doors across the room from ours, and took turns running across the open space to check them. One turned out to be a similar set of useless doors and rooms like the ones we’d just spent time in; the other was full of refuse. We had to opt for the refuse, hoping there would be another door beyond the waist-deep waste.

We had to dart quickly to the room, and unfortunately Rogar’s donkey “Seven” ended up being a shield for our cleric, dying before Salma had a chance to try and save it.

We got our bearings in the stink-infested room, only to discover that it was already occupied by an otyugh. While not at all surprising to find one there, we were still stuck fighting it. Liake tried various spells such as a summoned fire elemental while the rest of us hit it with weapons. In the end though, it died by a magic missile.

We’ve sifted through the debris and offal without finding another door. We did, however, find some brass pipes to summon rats with (not sure why we would do that) and of interest to me, a broken Mwangi spear of good craftsmanship, inlaid with gold and with an obsidian tip. I wonder if it could be fixed….

Posted by Kristin on June 19, 2010, 15:55

Purple and Ochre

3 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

We got shot at some more, and Liake found a secret door (right by the entrance to the shooting range). Alarms sounded as we opened it, Kasa trumpeted back for good measure, and we piled in through the doorway. Almost immediately we found another secret door leading to some cells and a barred door, and beyond that, we encountered an ochre jelly. I got two shots off, and I am not certain that we were lucky that I hit twice, as suddenly we had three, albeit smaller, jellies to contend with. The resourceful gnome finished these off with a flaming sphere though, and we continued on.

We came to a purple glow, and walking towards it, found ourselves in a huge amphitheatre filled with fungi of all sorts. Some were edible purple mushrooms, some were shriekers (recognized and avoided at the last moment), while some violet fungi had tentacles and wanted to eat us. We dispatched what we needed to and avoided the rest.

We eventually chose a door out and found ourselves near some old weapon racks, but before we could check those out we noticed that some of the shadows had no obvious source. Fortunately for most of us, they were more interested in what Candal was doing, so we were able to kill two of them while he contended with the third. He looks a bit drained at the moment.

Posted by Kristin on July 16, 2010, 14:17

Dead End

4 Kuthona 4709
Snowy mountains… somewhere

First, I want to point out (to myself, if no one else) that there definitely was a gnome with us for the past few hours, but no one else in the party seems to be aware that she is no longer here, or they are just that indifferent to the existence of other people. Or maybe that’s normal for gnomes and they are used to it; I’ve never traveled with one before.

We studied the area we were in— there were several weapons racks, and Salma was able to determine that some of the items were enchanted. We found a box of crossbow bolts (and an iffy-looking crossbow that might not fall apart when used) and a throwing axe. No idea what these items do beyond their normal purposes.

Salma sat down beside the dwarf and drained paladin and announced that she was going to sleep right there in the middle of this undead-infested hallway. Tythe, smartly, offered to take the first watch, since she needs the least rest. I questioned the plan, but gave in and propped myself up against Kasa and closed my eyes for a few minutes.

Suddenly, Tythe was shaking us awake as a shadow is floating down the hallway towards us. We each stabbed it, and it drifted off through a wall were we could not follow. The rest of the party was not inclined to move from where they were resting but I told them if it happened again, we were definitely relocating to somewhere more defensible, or at least less trafficked. Sure enough, the shadow came drifting back into view, this time with five others. I yanked open the closest door to us in a hallway full of doors and saw a very small room with a stone bed, foot locker and skeletal dwarf standing inside. I figured even I the skeleton attacked it was still better than sitting in the hallway, so I went in to test it. The skeleton’s head swiveled toward me then remained still. I was awash in what I could only describe as a divine sense of well-being, and realizing it must be somehow consecrated, I gathered everyone inside and we shut the door. The shadows were unable to follow us, and, though cramped, we were able to get a decent amount of rest and Salma was able to restore our lost strength afterwards. In addition, we found a pouch in the footlocker that contained some divine scrolls that would provide similar healing, as well as some pearls.

Eventually we did open the door and thankfully, the shadows were gone. Tythe, Salma and I, who could walk silently, explored the hallway, checking each of the other doors and cells beyond them. Most were empty, but I did find an iron key in a desk drawer with a false bottom. I’ve never had a key before. I wonder if it unlocks something nearby.

Not wanting to split up, we returned to where Kasa, Candal and Rogar were still resting, and examined our skeletal savior— he was wearing a holy symbol of Torag, Candal’s patron deity, and had an enchanted warhammer as well as a pouch (also enchanted) on his belt. It appears that the dwarf’s one side had been crushed by something heavy, but the room itself was protected from whatever had killed him. Salma does not want to remove the useful items from the skeleton, calling it “grave robbing” (what is it exactly that this group does anyway, so far we mostly seem to donate things rather than acquire them). I will let the others decide what to do.

Posted by Kristin on August 17, 2010, 17:40

Party of No

4 Kuthona 4709
Hold of Stonehelm

Candal decided to strip the skeletal dwarf of its possessions; at least now he has a holy symbol dedicated to his god (this adventuring party lacks a lot of things I would have considered “standard” equipment). We also now have a magical pearl and aforementioned warhammer. Our paladin did try to move the skeleton to a more peaceful-looking position on the stone pallet, but ended up only ensuring that it would have to reassemble itself if it wished to haunt these halls.

It really makes me wonder how good he did burying the party’s deceased bard. I’ve also been told (and witnessed) that this group has a lot of trouble with animal companions dying in the most horrible ways— I pray this does not happen to Kasa.

We wandered off in a different direction and found ourselves in an area with four marble statues of pious-looking dwarves. Between them was a crystal clear pool, the bottom of that covered with coins and gems. As I reached into my belt pouch to toss a coin in for luck, I was surprised to see all of my companions doing the same thing. A feeling of health and wellbeing passed through us all. That turned out to be helpful, as we turned out attention to a pair of double doors where, once opened, we came face to face with over a dozen more shadows.

We backed out of the room towards the pool, trying to put some distance between us and the undead. The battle was literally hit or miss. I tried the throwing axe on one— it flew right past. Kasa took up a trunk full of the water from the pool, but she is just unable to aim and managed to shower everyone other than the shadows. Tythe discovered that non-magical weapons, even if they hit, did no damage. The shadows were mostly interested in Rogar and Candal, which allowed the rest of us to whittle down the numbers with enchanted weapons and divine spells. Soon enough, all were vanquished.

We then passed through the double doors unhindered into a big throne room. And into a spiked pit. Candal and Rogar apparently had enough weight between them to activate the trap; I was just foolishly not paying attention and followed them in. Thankfully, our other companions were able to haul us out and Tythe disabled the trap so it wouldn’t open again.

The throne room had carvings along both walls, and the floor was littered with armor and weapons, but no skeletal remains. As we approached the throne, we heard a voice from behind it say, “Got some ‘livies’ here.”

Going around the back of the throne, we could see a shield hanging there. It had the face of a lion, and introduced itself as “Rainox the Great.” Rogar picked it up. Candal found a chain belt and put it on. I was almost disappointed that it didn’t turn him into a female, or a dwarf, or anything interesting, but he did say he felt different. We also found some enchanted bolts, a waraxe and a mithril goblet. Proper treasure at last!

The shield kept talking, answering our questions— this place is Stonehelm (none of us had ever heard of it, so that really didn’t give us any idea geographically of our actual location), and the shield happily prattled on about the dwarves’ “Quest for Sky” and the defeat of some tyrant king in 3827— I guess the shield has been hanging around for some time.

Wait, somewhere in the far recesses of my memory, I’m recalling a story about the “Whispering Tyrant.” I hope we aren’t in Ustalav; it’s too close to the Hold of Belkzen. I spent months walking south to get away from this area of the world!

Posted by Kristin on September 3, 2010, 23:52

Shield Bash

5 Kuthona 4709
Hold of Stonehelm

Rainox the Great, which Rogar seems unwilling to put down, wants to kill a “shadow king.” The shield did tell us, much to my relief, that we are in the Five Kings Mountains— we aren’t really too far from our last known location. The shield also tells us that he was previously carried by “Grundar the Unstoppable”— I have to assume that Grundar did stop at some point, as he is not to be found in our current environs.

We had not yet checked the doors behind the throne; as we opened the doors, poor Kasa trumpeted and tried to bolt from the area, clearly frightened by what lurked within. The large room appeared to be a king’s chamber, complete with red curtains, a massive stone bed, wardrobe and table— and something not quite dead. Another shadow! We lined up to attack it, but Rainox the Great had been waiting for this opportunity for centuries, it seemed, and the lion face on the shield reached out and bit the shadow, killing it. Kasa calmed down once the shadow was destroyed.

Not finding anything else of interest except more doors and corridors, we continued our search. We walked single file down a hallway behind Tythe and came to a door. As she examined it, a huge stone divider dropped down, trapping Rogar and Candal on one side and the rest of us in a section that started to fill with noxious gas which poured from a dozen holes around the tops of the walls. Kasa and Salma were weakened by it as I crammed wads of cloth into the holes and Tythe looked desperately for a means of disarming the trap. In the end we had to destroy the stone divider to get out.

At this point, we decided a proper rest was in order, and camped uneventfully for about eight hours.

That accomplished, we continued on past the trapped area into a new room, and almost immediately found a lever that would have disarmed the gas trap. There were also three doors leading from this new room. One went right to a collapsed pile of debris, that room completely lost to us, and we started to explore the other two (empty) rooms, when we noticed that Salma was no longer with us. She reappeared in one of the empty rooms— apparently when she went in alone the door closed and, upon opening it, she found herself in a different area entirely. Thankfully closing the door again brought here back to where we stood. This proved too interesting, so we all gathered into the room and closed the door….

Posted by Kristin on September 26, 2010, 12:33

It’s a Trap!

5 Kuthona 4709
Hold of Stonehelm

We left the room and found ourselves in a new hallway, and noticed some alcoves with barrels in them. As I went to pry the first open, sticky tendrils emerged and began to pull me forward. Some of my companions leapt to my aid, and I could hear Candal struggling with another mimic-like barrel in the next alcove. I crushed the first one and it flew apart in splinters. A moment later Candal’s assailant did the same.

It was at this point that I realized it was now only a (broken) barrel, not a hideous monster lurking and waiting for an unsuspecting passerby. I also realized that the damage I’d felt during the battle was completely gone. I began to doubt everything around me from that point on.

The hall had plenty of doors and other hallways leading off of it, as well as a mysterious crank wheel near where we’d arrived. The wheel did not seem to do much of anything no matter how much we turned it, though we did notice the sound of rushing water somewhere nearby that seemed to react to the wheel’s change in position. We turned then to the doors. One door was very hot to the touch and cracking it open a wee bit allowed flame to erupt into the hall. We shut that door quickly. Another door opened upon a stinky, green ooze-dripping corridor. Candal threw a copper in and a sticky tendril whipped out and grabbed it before it could hit the floor. We opted not to enter that one.

I almost went down the next corridor, as it looked peaceful enough with its ice and snow motif, but it also had a big bank of fog off in the distance, and a coin tossed in made no sound.

We saw a stairwell in a doorway further along and Tythe went to investigate it, but she immediately started to fall “up” before reaching the stairs. She managed to pull herself back down far enough, and we let a rope fall “up” to get her the rest of the way back to us. As she scrambled to get down, loud breathing followed her, seeming to get closer, but thankfully it disappeared at the doorway. I was wishing I’d still had the 10’ pole I used to carry, as we could have used it to cross the small area that defied gravity with it, and then noticed a 10’ pole in the corner next to where I stood. I’ve taken it, but I do not trust that it really exists anymore than the barrel/mimic did. I’m not even sure we ever left the forest now. I’m praying that I don’t wake up back in the orc camp, with this all having been a dream.

It turned out that the pole was not needed, as we were able to cross the reversed gravity gap without “falling” and made it to the stairs. We descended the stairs and came to a hall with a carpeted ceiling. Or maybe it is the floor, as the torches in sconces along it have flames pointing down at us. There are also curtains and a long banquet table and twelve chairs above us, none of which seem to be in danger of landing on us. Jumping at them does not seem to get us back to agreement on what is floor and what is ceiling.

Posted by Kristin on October 10, 2010, 14:25


2 Kuthona 4709
Darkmoon Wood

We walked up onto the ceiling, which was then the floor for us, and looked over the banquet table. I sampled some of the ale till Salma made me stop, and then, someone opened the double doors at the end of the room, and Kasa (still on the “floor” above), Rogar, and I got sucked into the maelstrom revealed beyond. I was able to grab a hold of Kasa and stop us from rolling off through the cavernous room, but Rogar, his shield acting almost as a sail, flew past so quickly that there was nothing I could do to slow him down. I dragged the mammoth and myself back to the doors, which Candal closed before we could see if the dwarf was able to catch himself and return. I was told that they recognized the plane we are in now as “Limbo.”

We found a small wooden door that we had not noticed before, and opening it, found another door. We repeated this several times, until we eventually opened a door and found a set of stairs leading downward. These we decided to descend for lack of a better plan. As we did so, we realized that the stairs were getting increasingly steeper, until the last few had a 10’ tread and 6’ rise.

Leaving the last step, we found ourselves in a massive, circular chamber— easily 200’ across and dimly lit in a purple hue. About 50’ in, we could see deep, carved markings in a wide circle in the middle— and inside those runes something in heavy chains was moving. Salma knew of this, and said it was where Demogorgon was imprisoned by Orcus.

Steering well clear of the center, we followed the wall of the room until we came to a 10’ arch leading into a smaller cavern, where we could see the ghostly figure of a dwarven warrior wrapped in chains. It turned to look at us with pain-filled eyes and gave a blood-curdling howl. My sanity momentarily deserted me, and I tried to run at this point, but Salma managed to grab me just as the ghost moaned “leave this cursed place!”

Having our full attention, the ghost, who we learned had been Ostel Runehammer in life, went on to let us know that if we had been led here, it was to learn the curse of Stonehelm. It told of the lich Tar-Baphon, or the Whispering Tyrant, trapped in a prison under Gallowspire, but still able to influence others, attempting to break the seals that imprison him. The first seal is in the monastery outside Darkmoon Wood. The key I found opens an evil box carried by Candal, and within that, is the power to break that seal. The seals must be maintained, the ghost said, and then faded away. Salma walked to where the ghost had just been, in the center of the chamber, and also disappeared, so we followed her….

And found ourselves back beside our camp in the Darkmoon Wood, and by all appearances, mere hours after our departure— with means and knowledge to break the first seal.

Posted by Kristin on October 24, 2010, 14:12

Candal Light

3 Kuthona 4709
Darkmoon Wood

And then, thankfully, Rogar appeared a few moments later, as if he’d never been whisked away in Limbo. Good thing for us too, as dwarves do seem to know more about dwarven history. We were filled in on the “rest” of the story. The dwarves accidentally brought back a curse from Gallowspire during the Shining Crusade. There are three seals within the dwarven monastery near Darkmoon Wood, and minions of the Whispering Tyrant are always working to break those seals. Of course, the dwarves had wisely put the iron box and the key in temples quite far apart— and within a few short days, we’ve managed to obtain both items and bring them back to where the seals are hidden.

Since we were back in our camp, with our belongings, we stoked the campfire and decided to start our watches over again.

I noticed that there was an even bigger fire, somewhere near us, and then remembered that, at the paladin’s behest, oil had been thrown (and lighted) on a fairy-covered dead tree surrounded by dead, dry vegetation. Though days had passed for us, only a few hours had passed since that incident. Our little campfire was, of course, barely noticeable in comparison, but we were noticed. Wolves howled. The night came alive with heavy movement in the trees. Suddenly, one of the trees broke into our camp and attempted to kill us. Yes, I think that the treant that had ignored us prior to the forest fire was intent on killing us now. We fought it with magic weapons and spells, with the killing blow, oddly, coming from Tythe after she snuck behind it and stabbed it once with her small dagger.

We tossed the dead/undead tree/treant on to our campfire, and noticed the flame turned green.

My watch was next, and as the forest fire continued to burn merrily on the horizon, the sound of a large, stomping thing could be heard heading our way. I slipped through the trees to identify it and determined it was another of the large plant creatures. I hurried back to wake the camp.

We actually had planned to let this one pass, but it came to our green campfire and, bending toward the fire, began to absorb the greenness from it, growing noticeably stronger in the process. We attacked, hoping to gain the upper hand with surprise. Candal was pretty surprising— he’d not bothered to heal after our last combat and went down with one smack from our assailant. Rogar was next to fall, leaving the defense of the camp to the females. Even Kasa bravely pulled the unconscious paladin to safety (and Salma’s healing), while I stood over the fallen dwarf. We eventually slew the second treant.

Posted by Kristin on November 5, 2010, 15:17


4 Kuthona 4709
Old dwarven monastery

As we struck camp this morning, I could not help but notice that our paladin was making a walking stick or staff— out of evil undead treant. I cannot fathom why a holy warrior would do this. As always, I will keep an eye on him.

We headed towards a river, and were delighted to find it frozen, as it had no bridge and would have taken hours, if not days, to ford it otherwise. I had Candal tie a rope around my waist and hold on, so I could find the safest path across without risk of losing a party member though thin ice. I was only partway across when I saw a large shadow pass over my head— standing as still as I could, I saw a blue wyvern turning to make another pass over my friends. It swooped and grabbed Rogar, but they held on to him and I managed to get a few arrows into the creature before it gave up and flew away.

I was able to get across the river without incident, and as the ice was quite thick where I crossed, I called to my friends to follow.

We kept heading north, eventually stopping to camp, and had an uneventful night.

Continuing north, we came to the crumbling entrance of what had once been a dwarven monastery. Two statues had stood on either side of it, and the statue that was more or less still intact had “All praise King Garbald” on a plaque beneath it.

The courtyard was in great decay, with walls and doors collapsed in rubble. I had just made out some faint tracks from what looked like an ettercap when we heard the sound of sliding tile from a rooftop….

Posted by Kristin on December 19, 2010, 14:02


4 Kuthona 4709
Old dwarven monastery

… and then Candal finds a spiked pit trap by falling into it. I glance up, trying to determine if he needs help removing himself from the pit, and see an ettercap skitter across the rooftop across from me and drop into a hole, and further into the courtyard I notice that my mammoth is trying desperately to fish something out of a well with her trunk.

I pull Candal out of the pit he’s in, as he’s still alive. I have no time to get to Kasa before we are attacked by three big spiders and three ettercaps, and a rather poisonous battle ensues. We are eventually the victors and I can then go see what my mammoth is so interested in. We can see that the spiders have left two good-sized cocoons in the well and fish them out, and it’s clear that at least one of them contains something live. As we slice open the cocoon, with Candal at hand ready to smite whatever creature comes out, Rogar wanders into a tower at the corner of the yard, which in turn collapses on him, and as near as we can tell, crushes him. The shield he carried, if it is still capable of speech, has been rendered mute. Salma runs to try to rescue him as we discover Kasa’s gnomish sorcerer friend Liake is inside the first cocoon. The second holds a dead human she does not know, on whose body we find a magical staff and a bit of coin and gems.

Seeing that Liake is unharmed and Kasa has no further interest in the well, I turn to Salma who declares that Rogar is dead under the pile of rubble. Candal is quite happily trying to pry Rogar’s magical items out from under the debris, and then attempts to put a rather bloody enchanted helm on our horrified cleric.

I must point out, that Tythe is quite good at finding traps and pitfalls, if only the males (now single male) in our party would be good enough to let her pass through an area first.

Dragging Salma away from Rogar’s remains is tricky, as she wants to dig out his body for a proper burial. Candal explains to her that he is already buried in the proper dwarven fashion under rocks on dwarven land. As I learn more about human interaction, I find myself wondering which part of me, my orcish or human side, is the better half.

We eventually wander into the monastery itself, and come to a headless dwarven statue. Ghostly tones of a male minstrel echo down the halls, and though we do not find the musician, we pass through an armory, find a “secret” door with cells and an office beyond, discover chewed bones of humanoids and animals, and come to a stairwell, parts of which have collapsed and since been cleared. I note that bootprints of what look like hobgoblins lead down, and with that, Candal stomps ahead of us to follow the stairs down….

Posted by Kristin on January 16, 2011, 13:28

Stayin’ Alive

4 Kuthona 4709
Old dwarven monastery

We came to a room with carved walls and an obsidian obelisk in the center. Around the obelisk were some broken tools and six dead kobolds. We got as far as deciphering “Droskar” from some carved runes before we were attacked— by the kobolds. Thankfully Salma’s attack was first and successful— we saw that the kobold zombies were exploding as they were destroyed— no doubt that we did not want to get the toxic materials on ourselves. Tythe and I finished them off from a distance.

Another room further on showed a large pool and was filled with a misty vapor. Though we could see that there were double doors on the opposite side of the pool, we opted to pass this room by. Soon, we came to a room filled with stone beds. Candal enjoyed hacking at some already-dead stirges that were on the floor there. They stayed dead.

An extremely clean dining area and kitchen were beyond this, reminding us all of the gelatinous cube that we’d encountered recently. Liake was able to detect some magic in the kitchen and retrieved some potions before we moved on again.

Another hallway lead to a cold chamber dripping with water, with an iron anvil at one end and niches as far as we could see that held dwarven skeletons. Of course as soon as Candal crossed the threshold to the room, the skeletons began to move towards us and attack. The skeletons were easy to defeat thanks to divine magic, and we began to enter and explore the area.

Posted by Kristin on January 23, 2011, 11:55

Say, is that a tentacle?

4 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

We came to a room that was so “stinky” that I could not get Kasa to go near it. It contained dead kobolds, channels in the floor, and some cells and slabs, and some dwarven ghouls to destroy. That completed, we ventured further and came to a pit in the floor. Congratulating ourselves for not falling into it thanks to my ability to see in the dark, Candal and I were about to examine the chain and winch that appeared to be connected with the aforementioned pit when I noticed a hell hound watching us. As I went to dispatch it, another appeared and somehow Candal got knocked into the pit. Tythe shot this second hound, killing it. It fell on top of Candal. Salma scrambled to rescue the paladin, and hauled him back out. Thankfully the pit contained a platform, which had been at a level that prevented Candal from falling too far. He used the winch to bring it level with the floor, and we all (except for Candal) piled on it so we could investigate the area below. As he began to lower us, the chain broke and we plummeted about 30 feet. Salma was smart enough to grab the chain and not fall quite so hard— I however opted to grab Kasa and spare her from possible broken legs. She is starting to get heavier, I’ve noticed.

Candal scrambled down the chain after us— for once I don’t think he was purposely trying to kill us, but now Kasa keeps giving him hurt looks. And as they say, a mammoth never forgets.

We next explored a small room full of debris, and Liake climbed up on some stone rafters to assess the area more easily. She noticed a small humanoid lying wounded between some crates. Salma found it was attached to a broken hobgoblin spear. Removing it, she healed the hairless gray creature while the paladin declared the thing evil. However, it appears to be grateful (if confused). I believe, from looking at the long pliable arms, that the beast is a choker, and I also believe that our cleric intends to keep it as a companion of some sort.


Posted by Kristin on February 13, 2011, 11:53


4 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

Candal just “found” a trap, which caused Liake and Tythe to be buried under some rocks while also separating them from the rest of the party. We did manage to dig them out. Choosing not to go the direction with the foul-smelling gray walls, we instead came to a large purple mushroom. Several of us believed these to be those shriekers, but our brave paladin chose to slay the fungus where it stood. Loud shrieks followed this, and dozens of undead came to investigate. I’m a little unclear how many we defeated, as I was victim to an allip at some point, but thankfully Liake got Kasa to pull me, Tythe and Salma (who has since disappeared) to safety. I came to eventually, and rejoined Candal, who was so overjoyed to see me alive that he honored me with his family’s ancestral weapon. While I am still unsure I ever want to have any males in my personal life, I may let him continue to ply me with gifts.

Posted by Kristin on February 27, 2011, 15:00


4 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

Realizing the danger to me, or more likely, himself, was over, Candal asked for his “gift” back. Human males are the worst; I cannot imagine why my mother ever put up with one.

I briefly left the party then, found Salma safe in what appeared to be a nest of some sort, and we eventually caught back up to the aimlessly wandering group. We found a kobold “king” on a throne that looked like a dead centipede. He looked dead, as did his two guards, but that of course did not stop them from attacking us. We dispatched this little gathering and took several magic items and valuables. It seemed anticlimactic, like we’d missed the real battle by years. We also came upon an altar and found a nice magic dagger, discussed opening an evil box, and continued on to find a draconic poem carved on a wall, which mentioned something about evil below.

Wandering a bit more, we came to what appeared to have been a cave-in at some point, conveniently already cleared, and, clambered over some rocks which in turn led us to a shaft leading down. Nasty-looking claw marks covered the walls here. I offered to climb down, since I can actually see in the dark. The party tied me to a rope in case I needed pulled back up in a hurry, and I descended about 40’ to a river bank. I saw that there were several “shadows” in the water, and turning around to look at the rock walls around me, noticed that I was being watched by many eyes. I went to the edge of the water, and a tendril shot out and grabbed me, pulling me closer to the cold surface. Thankfully my friends above pulled the rope and yanked me back to the cliff above.

Posted by Kristin on March 27, 2011, 11:30

Eyeballing It

4 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

It was difficult to see the creatures in the underground river, and, after unsuccessfully shooting arrows at them, Liake decided to summon a creature to fight them. Moments later she tossed a medium-sized constrictor snake into the river but of course we could not see if it was fighting the tendrilled things or not. After about 30 seconds, Candal’s patience had worn thin, and Salma was casting an enlargement spell on him as he leapt off the cliff into the water below. As he did this, Tythe took some potshots with her bow at the eyes (which we assumed were scrying spells) lining the walls.

Candal was now fighting with a skeleton, or rather the entrails of the skeleton, which were wrapping around him. Attempting to help, I shot an arrow down at the fight, hitting the paladin instead of the undead creature. Feeling guilty, I swung down on a rope and slashed at tendrils as they emerged from the river. We killed three of the creatures, after which the river was quiet.

Following the river, we found steps under water and heard an odd clicking in the distance. The steps took us to a cone-shaped room with gears on two walls. Two large statues of knights depicted in armor from the Shining Crusades stood on either side of a massive door.

As we moved forward to investigate two ghouls, and what appeared to be undead humanoids twisted into canine shapes leapt out and attacked us. Upon slaying one of the dog creatures, it exploded all over me….

Posted by Kristin on April 10, 2011, 12:58

Flopping Evil

5 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

We opted to rest in this room full of gears after Liake messed with them. Unfortunately, the room started to fill with water and we were in danger of drowning till she and Tythe managed to get the gears going again. We found some cranks behind the statues which opened the double doors and after finishing up what sleep we could manage, we went through them. Of course, the doors closed behind us, baring us from going back the way we came.

We soon found ourselves walking past six statues of Aroden’s clerics and to a room containing stone pillars all with carved writing on them. After dispatching what appeared to be a headless dwarf flopping about the room, we decided to analyze the writing. Oddly, it was in 800-year-old ancient Hallit, so I got to act as translator. Nothing surprising— it was more about the horrific rule of Tar Baphon and of the Shining Crusades.

A room beyond that contained a single statue of a bowing priest of Aroden and four niches filled with sarcophagi. While we decided how to proceed, two shadows attacked us; we dispatched them as well.

I’ve been meaning to mention, that broken Mwangi staff that I found has what looks like the relief of a treasure map of sorts around the shaft— most likely in the Mwangi Expanse. I think if I roll it in ink and then onto paper, it might be readable. Not that it would be all that useful down here....

Posted by Kristin on May 21, 2011, 23:32

On the Right Track

5 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

While we were examining a room in which the ceiling had collapsed, Liake found a gold scarab pin that radiates magic. No idea what it does. We went though a door carved with prayers to Aroden (again written in Old Hallit) to find some rather disgusting ghouls that needed killing. Once that was accomplished, we found some magical armor and a rather nice bastard sword. We also noticed that the room had many chains hanging in it, and had an altar being used as an alchemical bench with some horrible-smelling liquid sitting on it. Candal picked it up and managed to cover himself with it. I’m curious to see if he turns into a ghoul now, as I’ve since read some passages from a nearby book. I let the tome fall open to the most-used pages and found a recipe for “Necrotizing Serum.” Should be interesting.

We also read a journal by someone named Henrik; the last entry was a few months ago, and he appears to have been looking for the Seal of the Whispering Tyrant. I wonder if he is one of the bodies we just encountered. I decide to see if any tracks other than ours lead back out of the altar room, and find some steps leading down which have fairly recent tracks. Unfortunately, they enter a room filled with green poisonous gas. I cast a wind wall to try and dissipate the gas, which gave Candal enough time to run down and discover a furnace belching out more of the noxious fumes. We’ll need to prepare better to come back.

To pass the time, we check a few more areas that do not contain poisonous gas. Candal found a room filled with statues of Shining Crusades Knights. We find some more undead as well, and yet another one explodes on me— Candal is attempting to use his holy powers to remove disease on me— I wonder if he can actually do that.

Liake has been walking with Kasa, and it sounds like they’ve just found a secret door….

Posted by Kristin on June 5, 2011, 13:23

Soul Cage

5 Kuthona 4709
Abandoned dwarven monastery

Candal ran to open the door and stepped down into a room full of disembodied eyeballs. The gnome immediately began to cast fire spells at them, while simultaneously, an elf appeared in our midst from an unseen hiding place. Before introductions could be made, a creature of all eyes and mouths appeared amongst the eyeballs, which we then had to dispatch.

At some point, Kasa, never particularly sneaky, managed to pull a box from Candal’s bag. When he noticed it missing he chased her with an axe! I would have killed him on the spot had not several other things happened concurrently. I got the box from Kasa as she dropped it, and handed it off to Tythe. Her eyes lit up and whispered “run!” to me. We took off after the mammoth, with Liake and Salma also in pursuit. We soon outdistanced the paladin and our new elven companion and stopped to rest, and open the box— I had the key in my possession, for it was THE BOX for which we were questing. Feeling a bit weaker after opening the box, we found it contained a 1’ long quartz crystal wrapped in gold and rubies, resting in a bed of gold coins. Salma said it radiated magic, but not evil. Touching it, she disappeared. Liake touched it as well and did the same. After a quick glance at Tythe, I grabbed Kasa and the three of us touched the crystal as well.

We found ourselves standing in a volcanic crater under a blood red sky. An iron fortress with four octagon towers stood in front of us. Hundreds of iron chains hung from this, and from them, hundreds of screaming souls….

Posted by Kristin on June 19, 2011, 10:35