Monday, September 8, 2008

The Flood Festival

19-26 November, 595

The next week is spent attending the week's Flood Festival activities. What follows are some highlights from the week:

Day 1:
This morning as the group breaks its fast in the common room of the Drunken Morkoth they are paid a visit by none other than the Stormblades themselves! Anna presents each party member with an envelope containing invitations to the prestigious Demonskar Ball, scheduled to take place a week after the end of the festival. Some unpleasantries are exchanged between the two rival groups, and the Stormblades make an exit before things get too ugly. The invites indicate that the party is to attend the ball dressed as demons, and what's more, Throckmorton has received the special Nabthatoron invitation, meaning he has a significant role to play at the party.

While shopping for costumes, a heated argument breaks out between Throck and his "sister" Plenty. The monk is having second thoughts about attending, thinking it is a social trap, while Plenty argues that it would do more harm not to accept the invitation. In the end, Throck relents and the group arranges to rent the following costumes:
  • Selivia - succubus costume
  • Ash - imp costume with scorpion tail
  • Plenty - fat devil suit with horns
  • Lyra - naga costume
  • Bruinor - bestial fly
  • Throckmorton - demon with bat wings, as well as the Nabthatoron costume

They also arrange a coach and sign up for dancing and etiquette lessons, hoping it will help their social graces at the ball. Plenty O'Toole auditions to take musical lessons, hoping to compete in the Song of Heaven competition at the ball, but angrily storms out after the professor refuses to shake her spit-soaked hand.

That afternoon the first round of the Drink Down the Flood (DDTF) competition begins, and both Ash and Bruinor hold their own and advance to the next round.

Day 2:

The POTBM is approached this morning by a young rascal named Jack (gives no surname). Jack offers his services and hopes for employment, but the group turns the tables on him and requests that he help them find a job before he is accepted into the group.

The second round of the DDTF is held at the Drunken Morkoth, and both Ash and Bruinor start to gain a following as they drink their way into the next round.

Day 3:

The most notable event is that Bruinor does well again in the DDTF and advances to the quarter finals. Ash finally bows out after going down to a very intimidating looking member of the town guard. Bruinor is gaining more notoriety, helped by the fact that he buys drinks for the entire bar after he wins.

Day 4:

Jack presents the group with a job offer from the office of the mayor. Apparently the city needs help keeping the order at the Flood Festival Finale in 4 days. The party is asked to help out with riot duty during the final celebrations.

Ash competes in the archery competition. He does well in the initial rounds but fails to advance in the 3rd round.

Plenty performs in the street party and her talent is noticed by a noble. Faris Tercival offers her a steady job playing in the band that plays at his monthly party. She will be paid 25gp per performance.

Bruinor again kicks ass in the DDTF and defeats a young lad to advance to the semi-finals. Ash is starting to pocket some winnings after laying down some bets in favor of the dwarf.

Day 5:

Ash competes in horseshoes but doesn't get very far.

Once again Brunior surprises both himself and his friends in the DDTF by beating Zach Aslaxin and advancing to the finals. His fame is spreading and he draws quite a crowd.

Day 6:

This morning Ash competes in the Spear Throwing contest. One of his throws goes quite far and he ends up taking home a small purse and a trophy.

But most exciting of all is Bruinor's performance in the DDTF. He goes head to head with Asfelkir, an intimidating half-orc and head priest of the Temple of Lordly Might. After defeating his opponent, he is carried around the room and is made a hero. Lord Vhalantru himself congratulates the dwarf and says that he looks forward to drinking with him in the special challenge. Bruinor is awarded 100 gold and a silver trophy in the shape of a large stein.

Day 7:

The next morning the entire group decides to try their luck in the Running Races. Plenty is the only one who does any good, taking 3rd place in the sprint.

That evening Bruinor faces off against Lord Vhalantru in the final event. Half of the room is cheering for the dwarf, and the other half roots for the influential noble. Bruinor lasts 6 drinks but passes out in the end, while Vhalantru doesn't even break a sweat. Even though Bruinor loses the chance to win the 500 gold, he earns much respect and is surely the talk of the town for months to come.

Day 8:

The party takes their positions as riot police about the Crater Lake while the crowd gathers and eagerly waits for the finale to begin. It has been raining solidly for the past 10 days and the water has risen considerably, threatening to flood the lower layers of the city. The ceremony is to feature clerics of the city using wands of water control to lower the lake waters and mark the end of the Flood Festival. But things don't go quite as expected. There is an illusion of an angel descending from the sky, but it announces that the ceremony is to be postponed, and everyone should return home. Plenty notices that near the stage Jenya is distraut and frantically scrambles to write something down.

The group approaches and Jenya asks them to return to the temple with her immediately. She explains that the wands of water control are missing and that the city is in grave danger of flooding. She has received a message through a spell that the high priest of the temple, Sarcem, has been detained while at the Lucky Monkey (a resthouse a day's ride out of Cauldron) and is being attacked by bandits led by an "apeman." According to the note he is mortally wounded and has retreated to the basement. Jenya explains that this year Sarcem had to travel to Sasserine to get the wands made, as the other religious institutions of Cauldron this year were unwilling to help with their creation. She asks the POTBM to travel to the Lucky Monkey and save Sarcem and the wands. She offers 5000 gold as a reward for bringing both the high priest and wands back safely.

Jenya provides the party with horses and healing potions, and encourages them to obtain a map of the region. The group equips themselves and prepares to set out as soon as possible for the resthouse at the edge of the jungle.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Drakthar's Way

18 November, 595

In the morning the heavy rains continue to fall. There is much excitement about the town as pavillions and tents are raised, vendors set up in the streets, and posters for the Flood Festival events are nailed to bulletin boards in the taverns.

The POTBM decides to spend more time in the caverns underneath the bathhouse. During this expedition they do not find any goblins, but they do discover a goblin laboratory, including several potions. By the way, Selivia has been invisible for a few days now. She was tasting a potion in an attempt to identify it and mistakenly drank too much, turning her invisible.

In another room they discover a large pile of dead goblins, apparently the ones they have already killed.

The group heads down a branch of the cavern and Bruinor is attacked above by a darkmantle, a nasty creature who envelops its prey in darkness, then swoops down from above. They had trouble seeing it before because it was in the shape of a stalactite. The cave goes pitch black as the creature wraps its tentacles around Bruinors neck and starts choking him, biting into his head. Thinking quickly, Selivia casts a light spell, and the darkness is repelled. Now being able to see, Plenty takes a swing at it with her scimitar, but unfortunately hits the dwarf instead. Finally, Throckmorten kills it with one swing of his mace, and the creature releases its victim.

Now that they know what to look for, they spot a few more of the creatures on the cavern ceiling. One is slain by an arrow from Ash, and the other flies away after the ranger misses with his shot.

Further down the cave the group hears some voices coming from around a bend. Lyra sneaks forward to investigate and comes back with the news that 6 half-orcs and 1 dwarf are conversing near what seems to be the exit of the cave. The discussion is hard to hear, but she does pick out that they are confused about Drakthar not being here. She returns to tell the group what she has heard.

Selivia volunteers to move forward invisibly and throw a fireball sphere (one of the items they plundered from Drakthar's hoard) at the strangers. She does so, but becomes visible the moment it leaves her hand. Much to her chagrin, the sphere did not do enough damage to kill the group and they take out their bows and begin firing at her. The rest of the group rushes to her aid, and engages the half-orcs. Selivia takes out 3 with a sound burst, and the fighters of the group make quick work of the others. The dwarf attempts to escape but is chased closely. Finally he turns around for a last stand. When he surrenders, the group takes his equipment, ties him up and starts to question him.

They learn that this dwarf was working for Drakthar, helping to smuggle half-orc mercenaries into the city. He explains that some nobles wanted to beef up their bodyguards without calling attention to themselves publicly. He was surprised to find that Drakthar was not there and was trying to decide what to do when he was attacked.

The dwarf is delivered to the captain, who is satisfied with the work that the POTBM has done. He rewards them with 2000 gold and encourages them to enjoy the Flood Festival.

The Flood Festival is scheduled to begin tomorrow! Ash and Bruinor sign up for the drinking competition, and Seliva registers for the running race. Ash signs up for the archery competition as well.

Some downtime

16-17 November, 595

The group decides to spend a few days resting and recovering from their wounds. They pick up their identified magic items from Skie and debate about which ones to sell/trade and which ones to keep.

On the second day, the torrential rains begin. The Flood Festival will start soon!

Getting Lyra back to normal

15 November, 595
Part II

After leaving the dungeon, delivering the body of the vampire (now identified by Plenty as a bugbear) to the temple of Wee Jas, and healing up, the party heads out to find Captain Skellerang. Lyra stays behind because she is feeling quite weak. When she rejoins the party she explains that the priests told her that her health needs to be "restored" after suffering a bite wound by the Drakthar.

The captain is happy to hear the news that the vampire has been slain, but urges them to finish investigating the underground layer, and he shall have the reward money ready when they have done so.

Finally, the party drops off 7 items to Skie for identification, and Lyra heads to the temple to receive the restoration spell.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Interview with the Vampire

15 November, 595
Part I

The party returns to the tunnel and explores a side passage. While Lyra attempts to climb up a wall to a ledge above, she is attacked by goblins with crossbows. Selivia once again blasts the goblins with a sound burst. When Lyra reaches the top she finds that their eardrums had exploded and the concussive force had killed them instantly. The rest of the party joins her and they come to a room inhabited by a goblin wizard and a pair of lizards. The lizards rush forward and deliver a powerful electric bolt at Ash. Eventually the lizards are drawn out and killed, while the wizard flees for his life.

The group follows the goblin down a set of stairs and is overcome by a swarm of bats. Fighting them off, the bats are cleared away to reveal a large furry goblinoid with sallow eyes and batlike ears. The party surrounds him but Ash comes to his aid and steps up to interfere. He actually ends up attacking Selivia to keep her from hurting the presumed vampire. Meanwhile the creature leaps onto Lyra and begins sucking her blood. He is separated by a fearsome blow from Bruinor. In the meantime, Throckmorton lands a stunning blow on Ash, who is taken out of the picture while the rest of the group pummels the vampire. It again turns into a cloud of mist and drifts off towards a bridge in a passage above.

Following the mist (with Ash in tow, bound and gagged), the group comes to a room with a gruesome throne made of bone and stretched skin. Selivia approaches the throne with holy water, but it comes to life and attacks. The animated throne is brought down without too much trouble.

Down a ladder and into a cave, the party is beset upon this time by a giant bat. It bites Bruinor many times but is beaten down and slain by Bruinor's axe. Climbing up the ladder on the other side the party finds a room filled with treasure and hoarded equipment. Bruinor spots a secret compartment in the floor and it is opened to reveal the sleeping corpse of none other than Drakthar himself. The dwarf quickly drives a stake through its heart and its head is removed so that it can be disposed of properly. Gathering up the newly found weapons, armor, and money, they return to find that Ash has recovered and now seems to be himself again.

Nodonn is Done

14 November, 595
Part II

After the battle, the party hears a howling noise coming from down the tunnel. It seems to be approaching. The group moves forward slowly, but Plenty is taken by surprise from behind. A large dark, slobbering wolf pounces on the bard and attempts to bite into her. Plenty summons all her strength to keep the foul dog at bay, while the others surround it and fend it off. Taking a beating, it disappears into a patch of fog and floats down the tunnel.

The group moves forward but is caught in an ambush. Crossbow fire rains down on them from above and a group of larger goblins advances from the front (including a goblin mounted on a worg). Selivia takes out the snipers with a sonic blast, and the fighters charge the goblins with morningstars and spears. A larger goblin in the back starts to sling spells at Selivia and Nodonn, but the Party of the Bloody Mess lives up to its name and overcomes their opponents.

Exploring some rooms built onto another ledge, the group encounters a pair having an argument. A male human wizard speaks harshly with a female half-orc fighter. The half-orc immediately charges at Nodonn and prevents the others from entering, while the human shoots missiles of energy at him. All the time the couple bicker back and forth. Nodonn is struck a mortal blow - the missiles weaken him before he is finished off by the woman's deadly halberd. Ash moves forward to take his place but is kept out of the room. Finally, Bruinor pushes everyone forward, and the rest of the group is able to pour through. Selivia and Throckmorton finish off the wizard, while the others swarm the fighter (who is called Kallev), but not before Ash is seriously wounded. Throck delivers a killing blow to the human (who is called Chorlynder), then the half-orc surrenders. It is a bitter battle and one that took the life of Nodonn, a valuable comrade who evangelized Wee Jas.

Collecting themselves and their plunder, the group returns to the surface and delivers Nodonn's corpse to the Temple of Wee Jas.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Under the bathhouse

14 November, 595

Ready to go, the group returns to the bathhouse and descends a staircase into a corridor lined with goblin graffiti and filth. On one side of the hallway the party discovers an old temple devoted to Moradin, the dwarven god. The temple has been defiled by goblins and Bruinor is incensed.

The group enters another room filled with boxes and crates. As they move about the room searching its contents, they are ambushed by a pair of goblins. Those two are taken care of, but it's not long before another two join the fray. One escapes and heads down a large natural cavern. Nodonn is able to fell him with an arrow, but not before he sounds the alarm. Soon a goblin riding a huge wolf comes bounding down the cavern and dismounts to attack. Nodonn is knocked down by the wolf but the group encircles the beast and brings it down. In the meantime, two more goblins approach from behind. Selivia unleashes a sonic blast and stun the creatures, giving Plenty and Throckmorten enough time to slay the pair.

The party catches their breath as they contemplate what to do next. So far, no sign of the vampire.