OxTales

Rhogan's Damnable Dale Part I
Lost Witch, Lost Leg

{2013.12.16, Balnor, Hoftar, Cinora, Jeyya, Yoden, Arcmort Doublewizzle, Sugar the Donkey}

12th of Readying

We set out to Rhogan’s Keep in the morn with myself, Cinora, Jeyya and Yoden, Balnor (still the lesser) and his owl, our new friend Arcmort Doublewizzle (a gnome druid), and my donkey, Sugar. Although the skies are grey and drizzling, these are the worst of our worries. We were not attacked by orcs as I expected we would – sometimes you get lucky. I brought two kegs of beer – a nice one for Ariana and a lesser one for the miners, but they didn’t mind and gladly welcomed us yet again.

13th of Readying

The skies had not changed by the morning as we set out again towards Rhogan’s. Along the way we were nearly ambushed by gnolls, but they couldn’t avoid our keen eyes. There were no serious injuries and we walked away with a few half-goat head charms, a nice bag of gold, and a fine bow. One, however, got away and I was worried throughout the day that he would bring his friends to seek revenge.
No other threats appeared along the road, and we snuck around the guard log (or kobold sunbathing log, when the sun is out) where Balnor’s owl espied several hobgoblins and kobolds lazing about. We decided not to try them, since we had bigger goals on our mind.
At Rhogan’s Dale we creeped up to the edge of the brush and looked towards Ariana’s cave. There seemed to be some trouble, as the beasts had set about over the winter and built some hunting blinds around the copses flanking Ariana’s cave. The wizards sent their creatures (well, Balnor sent his – can’t say I’ve ever seen Jeyya’s “Whisper” – might be the wizard-crazies’ve got to her) and confirmed that Ariana was no longer there, but much to our (maybe it was just my) relief Ariana appeared to have left without much hurry. I suspect she has left for her cousin’s refuge, wherever that is.
Without our regular shelter, we deliberated where to stay the night. Our conclusion was to investigate the (former) Jearmeleau cave, which the wizard-pets thought to smell of gnoll. Seeing no other option, we headed there.
Arriving at the entrance, we slew the gnoll guards before they could sound the alarm as well as some gnolls we found digging a room to the side of the entrance. Lining up at the front doors, which were made of sturdy wood, Jeyya suggested we open them, she send a fireball down the hallway, and that Cinora and I close them again.
Now my ma’ always said “Don’t count on your ducks lining up – sometimes they just fuss around and nibble at your fingers and then you wake up with a bad back and half a dozen children wondering where the years gone by.” Not really sure what she meant by most of that, but it’s the reason I’ve seen fit make my living taking my wage from them’s that don’t deserve it than taking that apprenticeship with Deaf Tom the duck rancher back home.
That aside, Ma’ was right – ducks never line up when you push ‘em. The fireball went it, it even took the bastards by surprise, but Cinora and I were caught in the blast. My near-year of hard life had toughened me, so I wasn’t hurt so bad, but it nearly killed Cinora.
The fight inside was even harder – blood and guts mixed with the soil of the gnolls’ industry, the creatures leap from the ceilings and cut off Cinora’s leg, and we choked on the smoke rising from the burning doors. We won, in the end, but it’s hard to say that when your friend has lost a leg. Fortunately, I’ve got the funds saved up to pay for some magic to help her, and we made out with some fair loot, including some superb two-handed swords the likes of which I’d never seen in my life. After testing the blades, I decided to put away Ol’ Cutty the Cleaver and keep one of the gnoll swords with me.
We slept in the cave that night – them’s that could. The severed leg haunted my thoughts.

Hoftar Greycloak

{XP: 672/share; GP: 565.8/share; Cure Med. Wounds to distribute}

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Guidance of the Serpent

DM: Lee
Players: Balnor the Lesser, Jeyya, Hoftar,
Henchmen: Yoden, Cinora
Needfest 3rd to Fireseek 3rd, Second Year In-Game
Destination, Red Hand Rock

GP: 93.7.5/share
XP: 221 XP/share

[Hoftar telling a tale to some adventurers at Rausham’s]

It was the second day of Needfest and we were sitting around some brew at Rausham’s picking our next plot, and we had decided to head to Red Hand Rock on account of Jeyya saying something about some powerful artifacts in the hands of kobolds yadda yadda – I didn’t listen too much since kobolds aren’t much fun to fight, but I was still, since Jeyya’s a friend and all I’m alright to go. Hells take me though if I left in the middle of the darkest week of the year – and besides, I’d promised Yffia that I’d help with the ceremonies – so we waited till the festival was over.

Then, first day of Fireseek, right after the midnight toast to the old year and prayers for the new, we set out on that elvish fisherman’s boat for the Rock. I tell you what – ain’t nothing like soft rocking of a boat, a warm cloak and some booze in your belly to help you sleep, even if it’s cold as the grave out. Wasn’t that bad of a day for winter anyhow, I think that’s a good sign it’ll be a good year ahead.

A full day of travel later, just a couple hours into the morning, and they woke me up to guide the smaller boat to the Rock. I was just a shade prideful that, despite my comparative night-sight deficiencies, I guided that boat right and true to the scaffolding below the Rock using naught but the pale blue of Celene to guide me.

Right as I tied us off and the others were working out a plan of attack, we heard something, like chittering, on the cliff above, and those of us whose eyes could see through the night said they saw something up there. Jeyya tried to cast some sort of spell, but I don’t think it worked since I could see the surprise on her face even through the darkness. Didn’t have much time to think about it though, since a big old log fell on me right after that! Hurt to the hells, but by the time I got my wits about me the sorceress had cast another spell, and now our foe was lit up in this eerie green light. I missed with my bow-shot, but Cinora is a deadeye with that sling of hers and caught it right on the thigh with one of those magic pebbles of hers, throwing it off balance and into the waters next to us.

Cinora later said she smelled the death on the thing as it flew past us, but I didn’t want to waste even a second of deliberation and climbed up the scaffolding before anyone could say otherwise. While I was waiting for the others up there, another one came out of the dark. I could see it then that this thing had been a long time dead – it stunk of the rot that had ripped off its flesh and this long snake tongue on it looked like there would be nothing more please to it than lapping up my blood. Didn’t last long thought, as I cut right through the devil in a single slice of old Cutty. The others got up after that, with me holding a rope from the boat to haul up the scholastic types.

Jeyya sent out some sort of creature to spot the land for us, and said there wasn’t a soul around the top of the Rock and that the bridge had been cut from the other side, which didn’t bode well at all. She spied out the Kobold Cave too, and found only a pair of ghouls inside, but she found some secret storeroom that could be accessed by the waters at the bottom of the Rock. We got back in the boat then, and I stripped down to just my skivvies, the Dwarvern Diving ring, a handaxe and a dagger from Balnor, with some warm spell to stave off the cold as a healing spell to repair the damage from the fallen log both given by the cleric Yoden and some magical light wreathing the dagger. I jumped in with some guidance of where the entrance was from Jeyya, and only had to resurface once to re-up the magical light.

I swam up this tunnel and took a left to get to the storeroom, and, praying there wasn’t any greeting party on the other side, pulled myself up with the dagger in my teeth. It was a hell of a fortuitous find a barrel of lamp oil and, more importantly, a crate of spicy beetles, although I knew the others probably woulnd’t appreciate the bugs as much as I did. I got back to the boat as quick as I could with the loot, and we rowed back to the scaffolding and climbed back up.

This time we decided to go to Kobold Cave, so I held the rope to lower everyone down on, then climbed down the slick handholds myself. Right as I took the lead and started down the steps to this main-room, two of those damn ghouls spied me and charged. I swear those fools were the best dead fighters I’d ever seen, as they lashed out at me six times and I only dodged one. I don’t know what happened next, as I blacked out, but when I came to the ghouls were dead and I was feeling pretty hurt, so Yoden healed me up again. We moved forward then, and knocked through some crates laying around to find some more beetles among other things, and then descended the stairs into the strangest temple I have ever seen.

There were snakes all around with oak leaves too, and a large serpent wrapped around an altar in the middle. It seemed a bit like a temple to the Shalm, but… wrong. Too many snakes, I think. Cinora thought it strange as well, and said it seemed too creepy to be a temple to Obad-Hai, but she looked awful confused about it. She and I stood watch while the others used some magic to haul out loot that had been left behind some trapped doors during the last time Jeyya was here. They came back with four carved candlestick holders and a pile of those candles that I’d heard their friends had been using to help heal broken limbs, which is mighty helpful.

We debated the nature of the place, and whether to take the glowing obsidian from the altar in the temple, but couldn’t come to a conclusion as to whether that would be an insult to Obad-Hai or if the temple itself was an insult due to the twisted nature of its worship for him. Right as were about to leave, though, Cinora takes one of the candlestick holders and place a candle in it, lights it, and kneels before altar to say a prayer:

Most sacred Father of Oak and Cedar, Seeds and Forests, Bounty and Soil. Lend us your wisdom, that we may do your bidding, that we may know your will. The dead walk this place and set foot before an altar to you, while serpents writhe among your leaves. Do you wish this place worshiped, or removed?

And then – Reaper [Hoftar spits] take me if I lie – the serpent pulled its head from the altar without a sound and turned to face that hole left behind where the fountain once stood, and it spit venom at it with the foulest hiss I had ever heard in my life.

I was too shocked to make sense of what had happened, but Cinora walked over to the darkness and shouted “You hear me you rotting bastards? Cinora is coming for you!” and tried to climb down before we calmed her. I’m all up for cleaning that place out, but not before we heal up and come back with fresh spells from the magic folks. And with more priests. A lot more priests.

Before we left, though, we rowed out a bit to the shipwreck and I dived down to explore it. Besides the wood, the only thing left behind was a stone altar to some weather god – Yoden later said it was a Talus. I hacked at the wood around it for an hour or so, and then we hauled it back up to the boat. It was in fine condition, for having been underwater for so long, and fetched a good price from a ship captain here in town.

With the sun coming up and some spicy beetles settling nicely in my belly, it was an awful good morning. We headed back with the morning sun to warm us, and a nice breakfast of those beetles to those who could stomach them. It was a good time to reflect. With a little loot, some good food, a fierce fight and a new mission; this is going to be a good year, I thought – a good year indeed.

Special Note: If any of the characters present on this adventure are also present when the darkness below the temple is removed, they get 150 bonus XP, except Cinora who would get 300 bonus XP instead.

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MAGE WANTED
20th of Sunsebb

FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES. CONSTANT DANGER.
BROKEN BONES. UNDEAD. SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.
HONOR, RECOGNITION & SHARE OF TREASURE UPON SAFE RETURN.

~ CLERIC FISSER VISENTI
~ FORT TALMADGE

(Posted on the Mage’s Guild board in Greyhawk)

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A Laboratory in the Rectory
13-15 Sunsebb 589

We crossed the inlet with Esmerald, eyes set on the old rectory. Our group consisted of myself, the rangers Mug and Hoftar, Fisser and Dwenda (servants of the divine), and men-at-arms Arnulf and Perdu. We descended into the depths beneath the building, and set about to explore the area past the small frescoed chapel that was discovered on the previous expedition. Entering the chapel, we were greeted by 6 skeletons who we quickly dispatched. Exiting the opposite door, the greeting committee was a single ghoul. This was to be a precedent for the day’s exploration.

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Trouble in the Northern Pastures
Undead across the river!

It’s been a couple of months since the last time a fire was seen up near Monastery Hill, and the herders in the northern pastures are becoming alarmed by recent events. There have always been occasional run-ins with goblins out of the swamp, but they are usually placated with a sheep or two. And they have a strong fear of the occasional cavalry patrols that pass through the area.

But now there are a couple of missing goatherds, and reports of the walking dead. One of the cavalry patrols returned with one man missing, and reported slaying several zombies.

The acting governor of Fort Talmadge, Davenne, has decreed a reward of 25 silver pieces for each undead slain.

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In Which We Discover the Golden Lady
21 Patchwell, CY 589 -- The Cultist Tower

Having heard of the tragedy befallen the recent expedition to the Cultist Tower, several of us set out to recover the bodies of Odo and Arnulf. Toril set out with his old friends Hoftar, Dalgatha, Vana, and Korlinn — as well as his recently hired man-at-arms Gorm and a magic-user recently come to town by the name of Balnor. We cross the inlet, climbed the stairs, and descended the entrance to the dungeon under the tower.

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The Posthumous Diary of Odo
19 Patchwall, CY 589 -- The Cultist Tower

So there we wuz, me, Hrolfur, and Reynolds, and our coterie of Stony the dwarf, Expeliar the bard, and Arnulf the hired man at arms — standing at the top of the stairs, peering down into the bright murals of the dungeon. Folks said they were painted by some kind of Oracle all over this dungeon. Well, they sure were here at the entrance stairs.

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Poison!
All that glitters isn't gold!

The talk in town this end of Goodmonth is how Esmerald flew the “death on the water” flag while sailing back to town. Clamella met her boat at the docks to find a boat of dead adventurers – all from poison on the wealth they brought back. One lived of the 5 that had set out – a lonely half orc name of Mug.

The half orc was near death as well, only able to whisper the words “Bad room” before Clamella began casting to stop the poison wasting away at Mug.

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I was there
There I was...

Most Venerable Sir REDACTED,

There I was, in the town establishing a presence and spreading the word of good; when I overheard a group that was looking to explore a goblin cave.

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I’ll Take a Fifth of Goodmonth
Booze, Broads, and Broadswords.

It wasn’t a dark or stormy night, it was just a night; a night that turned into a day. A day in which I was down, as usual, to a few coins. Chump change, and I was the chump. Just enough to see me through a few days, and maybe a drink or three, but not much more. I needed a case, an adventure, a something… And that’s when she walked through the door.

I knew the dame was trouble right away, because she was a dwarf, and most dwarves are trouble (that’s why I like them). And also because I knew her name was scandalous, which seemed appropriate enough.

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