Here Be Dragons

The Story So Far...
15 November 2014 - 31 January 2015

Four adventurers, each for their own reasons, sat inside a modest inn on a dark night. Aren the human monk, Raina the eladrin ranger, Sellion Lithviel the elvish thief, and Captain Thorstein the old washed up dwarf warlord. During the night Raina approaches the good Captain with a proposition, seeing how his reputation proceeds him. The two begin to talk about recovering a lost artifact, a book, said to hold power and magics the world hasn’t seen in years. Sellion and Aren overhear the conversation and the four agree that to retrieve the book, which is reportedly somewhere up in the mountains near the city’s edge, it would be safer for them to travel together.

Early the next morning, the members of the impromptu group are woken by the acrid smell of smoke and shouting coming from town. A massive fire had broken out in the town’s market district, and the group quickly rushed to aid the townsfolk in putting out the fire. Which included Sellion managing to steal a poor man’s bucket of water in the blink of an eye.

Once the fire was extinguished, the group wonders what might have caused such an event. Figuring they need more arcane information, they head to the Wizard’s College to investigate what might have created the fire. They arrive and ask after the headmistress of the college, only to discover that she isn’t in and Neverwart has taken her position for the moment. While they’re speaking, a large, intimidating, black scaled dragonborn strides across the grounds and enters the college, shouting demands for information on dragons. The four adventurers manage to talk the dragonborn out of abducting the secretary gnome Barry, and the reptilian agrees to join them.

Now with Kavar Ofdio joining their party, they explore the Wizard’s College in search of a library. They stumble on what appears to be a magical food fight in the dining hall where the students are simultaneously practicing magic, eating breakfast, and making a huge mess. Sellion decides to take part in breakfast and the others continue the search for the library. Before long, the entire group makes it’s way to the basement, only to encounter a talking door which refuses to grant them passage to the library. At least, until Kavar breaks the door down. Now in the library, they find Halrog, the blind tiefling librarian, who helps them as best he can and gives Raina an old, old map which shows the upper mountains and three ancient caves, believed to house dragons. The lowest cave being rumored to house a green dragon, the middle a golden, and the upper a black. Of course, dragons haven’t been seen in lifetimes, so that’s impossible, right?

Leaving the Wizard’s College, the group returns to town to sleep for the night, at a much cheaper rate thanks to their new dragonborn compatriot, and leave at dawn the next morning for the mountains. They begin a climb, managing to reach a cave before the night sets in. As the sun begins to set, they explore the small cave they discovered, and the Captain, possibly due to his dwarfish nature, discovers a hole in the side of the cave. Sellion decides to throw a rock in the hole, causing a swarm of bats to shoot forth and attack the group. They manage to survive by the skin of their teeth in the dark and cramped combat conditions, though Aren nearly perished.

Exhausted from the battle and sure that nothing else would be arriving in the middle of the night after that racket, they settle in for an uneventful night’s rest. Early the next morning saw Raina and Aren awake first, the latter of which went down to the foothills to do his daily training and meditation outside the confines of the shallow cave. While there, a herd of deer wanders into the area to graze. Through hand motions Aren and Raina coordinate a kill on the largest stag, and they manage to bring the buck down, though the rest of the herd flees. The others slowly awaken, and Raina guts the kill before her, Aren, and Sellion pull the carcass up to cook it. After a hearty breakfast of deer meat the group sets out climbing the mountain once more.

After a number of close calls and Sellion stealing the antlered skull that Kavar had kept from the kill and stashing it in Aren’s bag during the climb, they reach a more evened out area of the mountain where they can catch their breaths. While there, Kavar leafs through one of the books he’d gotten from the library and informs the group that they are in the Spineback Mountains, a large mountain range which not too long ago suffered a massive earthquake, which shifted the mountains. Captain Thorstein throws in that the dwarves had built and then rebuilt the trade route through the mountains so that neighboring cities could conduct business with one another regardless of the mountain range. Meanwhile Raina is reexamining the map, which is in elvish, and the group realizes that in light of this information their map may no longer be accurate.

Noting a path to either side and not too keen to begin the climb again, Sellion and Aren head down the left path while Raina and Captain Thorstein go right, leaving Kavar in the middle where the group had originally climbed up. Raina and the Captain discover what they believe to be a cairn leading up the mountain farther. Meanwhile, Aren and Sellion find their exploration interrupted by an orc charging at them from down the path!

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In Which Kavar is Eaten Alive
7 February 2015

When we last left the party…

The group had reached a higher location on the mountainside and decided to do a bit of exploring before continuing up. Raina and Captain Thorstein went down the righthand path and had discovered what seemed to be a cairn pointing higher up the mountainside. Meanwhile Sellion and Aren took the lefthand path, only for an orc to run down the path towards them! Kavar remained at the intersection between the two, so as not to alert anyone due to his bulkier armor.

Sellion and Aren, thinking quickly, noticed that the orc’s weapon and armor didn’t appear very well taken care of. Acting off that, they dove into some bushes and the orc ran past them, shouting in Giant. Kavar turned away from the mud oozing down the mountainside and started towards the commotion, only to find the orc himself. Kavar moved to the side of the path closest the mountain and let the orc run by in his panic, before continuing down the lefthand path in search of Aren and Sellion.

Raina and the Captain had meanwhile decided to follow the indication of the cairn they’d found and started hiking up the mountain, climbing every so often until they reach a higher area, from which Raina with her elven eyes can make out Kavar’s form heading in the direction of Sellion and Aren, as well as the mysterious orc who seemed to slip or trip or lose his footing and go flying off the mountain, for one reason or another his noises of panic suddenly stopped midscream, though Raina couldn’t determine by what due to him dropping out of her field of vision.

At that moment, Sellion hears the scrabbling of claws coming from the direction he’d been heading with Aren, and they just barely manage to climb a bit out of the way as a swarm of cat-sized lizards rushes past. Unfortunately for Kavar they run right into him and begin trying to eat him alive. Sellion is quick to jump down into the battle, and Raina takes up shooting from her vantage position. Captain Thorstein, unable to reach the battle but wanting to help, starts a small avalanche that dramatically helps thin the ranks of the swarm. Amid the fight Kavar finds himself slipping in what seems to be mud, only for it to form into a winged, dragonborn-esque earthen bipedal creature who joins the fight in trying to assault Kavar.

The group manages to dispatch their assailants, Raina taking the kill shot on the earthen creature and picking off the last of the swarm, but not without cost. Kavar, who had borne the brunt of both attacks, finds himself heading towards a bright light, only for a mysterious cloaked woman to bar his way and send him back to the land of the living. Captain Thorstein began climbing down to try and help revive the dragonborn, leaving Raina up on higher ground. Looking around, she discovers subtle signs of recent activity, as if someone had passed by not too long ago. As the Captain reached Sellion, Aren, and Kavar, he noticed that the earthen creature seemed to have deformed into what looks like an ancient dwarven rune for “scout”.

KarakanScout.png

As the party regroups and tries to organize itself, what will happen next? Who was that woman? And are there perhaps more creatures on the mountain than the rocks let on? Why was there an earthen creature and what was that orc doing here? Only time will tell for our adventurers.

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In Which the Small Get Smaller
21 February 2015

When we last left the party…

Kavar nearly discovered what the dragonborn afterlife was like as the separated party was attacked on two fronts. After fending off the lizards and the mud creature, everyone but Raina regroups on the lower path. Raina, still up top, saw some evidence of another person on this mountain and let the group know.

Letting the others know about the evidence, they patch up Kavar and head up to meet Raina. Once everyone is together again, they follow the trail that Raina picks out amid the landscape. From the tread of the footprints, they seem to be following a dwarf wearing worn boots, and soon enough the party reaches the end of the trail in a small door (roughly 2′×2′) set back into the mountainside.

MountainDoor.png

Not simply able to open the door, Kavar tries to kick the door until a he obliterates it and takes a splinter as a souvenir. Then the party realized that the door could have been opened by the dwarven word open. In putting away the door splinter, Kavar realizes that he’s missing an antler. Aren is found with the antler, and blames Sellion. As deceit and distrust are sown amid the group, they decide to move into the mountain. Moving inside, a strange magic passes through the party, affecting Captain Thorstein and shrinking him until he’s only 2 feet tall.

They enter a large hall with a sloping ceiling and a number of columns made from stalactites and stalagmites. On the wall they just passed through, there is an inscription that Captain Thorstein reads in dwarfish.

Under rock,
Under stone,
Deep within our mountain home.

Shun the sun,
Fear the sky,
Dwarves do not belong up high.

Tough as diamond,
Born of soil,
Those of greed are sure to spoil.

Moving into the room, Kavar runs past a number of pillars, as skeletons and more mud dragonborn crawl from them, along with a metal version of the mud constructs. They attack Kavar and the rest of the party. After a grueling battle in which Kavar nearly dies (again), the adventurers manage to dispatch their opponents and gather to patch up their wounds.

Why is there a large cavern hidden in the mountain? What’s with the cryptic rhyme on the wall of the cave? Will Kavar ever be in a fight without nearly dying? Find out next week in Here Be Dragons!

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In Which Four Heads are Better Than One
14 March 2015

When we last left the party…

They’d discovered a door in the side of the mountain and just defeated a number of mud and iron constructs, along with the undead skeletal remains of previous adventurers. In the back corner of the room is a large hole down into darkness. The group ties a rope around Captain Thorstein and lowers him down, waiting to make sure it’s safe before following him down. Once there, they go down a short hallway and take a few turns before finding a spacious room.

Dominating one rear side of the room is a large furnace/forge, with a metal table next to it that doubles as an anvil. A wooden table near that has a number of tools on it. Aside from that, there aren’t any large items in the room, mainly living equipment. Captain Thorstein enters the room and examines the tools. Kavar enters behind him and the noise they make stirs the guard drake in the corner of the room. Kavar tries to intimidate the drake, who isn’t impressed and slams Kavar back against some hooks on the wall.

Meanwhile, Sellion and Raina hear someone coming. Sellion hides in the shadows while Raina greets the dwarf that approaches. Raina manages to talk to the dwarf, who calls off the drake from its attack on Kavar, and introduces himself to the party as Thrumman Grindledust. Thrumman gives the group rest and then sends them on their way through a hidden door in the back of the forge towards the cave they want to get to and hopefully the arcane book. He also charges them with finding his sister, who hasn’t been seen in a long time.

Once through the door the party finds a short decaying hallway with various colored mushrooms in it. At the end of the hall is another door with four holes going vertically up and down it. An inscription above the door reads:

“Only one mushroom will tell you which hole leads you to salvation. The other holes lead to certain doom.”
After tasting the six colored mushrooms (yellow, black, green, red, blue, purple) Kavar tries to solve the puzzle by putting his arm in the 2nd hole from the top. He’s incorrect, and his arm is deadened and useless. Captain Thorstein and Raina solve the puzzle and get the door open by putting an arm into the lowest hole.

What lies beyond the door? Will Kavar ever get his arm back? Will Captain Thorstein ever stop being tiny? Only time will tell for our heroes.

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In Which Kavar Nearly Drowns
11 April 2015

When we last left the party…

They had just managed to open a door that was protected by a magical door puzzle. After opening the door they find a short passage that opens into an enormous chamber. On the far side of the chamber the ground slopes away into a pool of almost luminescent water. Sitting in the waterfall is a stone statue of a cyclops sitting cross-legged, a few stories tall and parting the water that falls around him.

The adventurers begin to search through the cavern. Sellion heads for the statue of the cyclops and attempts to climb it, reaching only about the knee of the structure before the slick nature of the water-washed stone prevents farther progress. Instead he decides to investigate the walls of the cavern and discovers it is riddled with small holes.

Kavar heads for the pool of water to investigate it. There seems to be a source of light from under the water, so it’s not impossible for Kavar to look down into the pool. As he gets close enough, he can make out that there are shadowy shapes moving around underneath the surface. The dragonborn decides to try and drink it, but the moment he touches the surface something grabs his wrist and he is pulled underwater. The party scrambles to get a rope down to Kavar and pull him back up and bring the drowning dragonborn back to consciousness.

As Raina and Thorstein work on bringing Kavar out of his unconsciousness, Sellion and Aren attempt again to climb the cyclops statue. As they reach the navel level, the statue’s eye starts to open, prompting Sellion to hide in the stone ear and Aren to fall, thankfully caught by Thorstein and Kavar. The statue charges the adventurers with a riddle:

“A Cyclops stares from pale white face.
Earrings seven his visage grace.
Atop his head are five tattoos.
Ebon black his pair of shoes.
On his pale back six scars dug deep.
He felt no pain and did not weep.
His job to tumble, bounce and fall;
But he’s no fool. No not at all!
What am I?”
Solving the riddle, the party watches as a door opens in the cyclops’ stomach and reveals a passageway out of the room.

Where will the tunnel lead? Will there ever be a week where Kavar doesn’t find some way to nearly die? And what attacked Kavar in the pool? Perhaps the answers will reveal themselves, next time on Here Be Dragons!

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In Which Searching Takes Half The Session
18 April 2015

When we last left the party…

Kavar had nearly drowned in a large cavern that the party found. They then discovered a hidden passageway through the stomach of a stone cyclops statue by solving the statue’s riddle.

The inside of the cyclops’ stomach is dark, but with the help of their ever-burning torch the party can make out the path easily. It slopes downwards, leading them farther into the bowels of the mountain. After a relatively short length of time, they arrive at what appears to be a dead end, blocked up by what looks like collapsed rubble. As their standing there trying to figure out the best course of action, they become aware of the sounds of scrabbling legs in the walls around them, and looking closely they notice more of those holes similar to the ones from the big chamber.

Springing to action, the party rushes to try and clear a hole in the rubble to get through before whatever is behind them can catch up. Raina figured out the way that the rubble collapsed and helped direct the others how to remove it easily. Kavar farther motivates the party by intimidating them to work faster. They manage to get a hole big enough for the entire party to get through and emerge on the other side, not spending any time to close the tunnel up behind them.

Once on the other side of the rubble, the path continues. Only this time there seem to be doors every so often along the sides of the passageway. There are seven doors, each with a picture on the front. There’s a line, a circle, a triangle, a square, a pentagon, a hexagon, and a heptagon. Inside each door is a small room, containing no more than an old pot and a filthy mattress. The party makes a thorough inspection of each room and discovers various treasures before continuing on.

What awaits our adventurers farther down the passageway? Will not closing the passage behind them come back to bite the party in the butt? And what was making those scrabbling sounds? Only time will tell in Here Be Dragons!

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In Which The Party Fights Geometry
25 April 2015

When we last left the party…

They’d just finished looting a number of rooms along the passageway in the stone cyclops’ stomach and had continued on their way, reaching a fork in the road. After some deliberation, the party chose to go left where they can hear what sounds to be a dripping noise. They emerge into a small alcove with the back side of the alcove sliced off and revealing a deep ravine. A small waterfall is trickling down the rock face beside them and spilling farther down the ravine into what sounds like some sort of pool. While they’re looking down into the, they just barely notice that there’s a creature forming behind them made of gelatinous material.

The battle with the gelatinous cube reveals that they’d found a cloak of acid resistance in their raid of the seven rooms. Kavar, as per usual, winds up in the most dangerous position inside the cube for the majority of the battle. Raina delivers the killing blow and the party is covered in gloopy globes of slime. Deciding that it isn’t worth trying to climb down into the ravine right this moment, the tired party heads back to the seven rooms and gathers in a single one to hole up for a rest and try to get their armor clean as possible. They hole up in the room and get some sleep.

Will the party rest uninterrupted? Will they discover what’s down the other branch of the tunnel. Or will they climb down into the ravine? Find out next time on Here Be Dragons!

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In Which The Party Gets Cool Shit
10 May 2015

When we last left the party…

They’d just fought off a gelatinous cube and returned to one of the rooms in the passageway to try and hole up and get some rest. Their sleep uninterrupted, the party awakens and debates on what to do. Having noted the split in the path they took, they decide to send Aren ahead as a scout down the right-hand tunnel instead of trying to go down into the ravine.

Taking the right tunnel, Aren travels a short ways until the passage opens up into a larger cave, roughly 55 × 50 feet large. The cavern is completely dark, but thanks to the light of the ever-burning torch Aren can make out four human shapes curled against one another in a pile. He also manages to notice a large furry mound in one corner of the room.

Unfortunately for Aren, carrying a lighted torch into a dark cavern isn’t very sneaky and the rooms occupants awaken and attack. The party hears his cries for aid and they rush in to save him from the were-rats. During the battle Kavar manages to catch most of the enemies and Raina in his fire blast, accidentally sending the eladrin ranger unconscious. Despite that the party manages to defeat the were-rats and get a better sense of the room. They discover a female dwarf who was the were-rat’s captives. Upon waking her she reveals her name is Runa Grindledust, Thrumman’s sister.

Recognizing that they can take Runa back to her brother, the party retreats and rests with the Grindledust siblings. Runa, a powerful magic user, is able to heal the enchantments on Thorstein and Kavar, returning the dwarven captain to full size and the use of his arm to the dragonborn. Thrumman shows his gratitude to the party by gifting them with various helpful items, and Runa enchants some of the group’s weapons to show her gratitude.

After everyone’s handled their immediate wounds, during which Sellion discovers that he has contracted Filth Fever, Runa reveals that she was also in search of the arcane book that Raina was searching for. She pulls out the tome and shows it to the party, handing it to Raina who opens it to discover a map falling out from between the pages…

What is on the map? How will our heroes use the arcane tome? Will Sellion succumb to Filth Fever or overcome the disease? Find out next time on Here Be Dragons!

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In Which Kavar Buys A Bird
29 August, 2015

When we last left the party…

Sellion, Kavar, Aren, Raina, and Captain Thorstein had found and rescued Runa, the dwarven sister of Thrumman who was able to remove the unfortunate enchantments on on Kavar and Captain Thorstein. Deciding on their next course of action Thrumman agrees to lead the group through a little-known path in the mountains. Unfortunately due to her excessive wounds Raina must stay behind to heal from her injuries. Captain Thorstein also says goodbye to the party, deciding instead to return to a life of sailing and drinking.

Carrying on, Kavar, Sellion, and Aren follow Thrumman through the mountains for a ways before being sent on their way by the dwarven smith, who turns back to return to his sister. The diminished party continues a short ways, stopping when Kavar and Sellion notice a trip wire blocking their path. Sellion disables the trap, only to reveal that it was attached to nothing more than a fake spider. A disappointed noise from down the tunnel piques their curiosity and upon exiting the mountains Kavar is landed on by a small female gnome.

The gnome, named Trissa, is from the small growing settlement of Nul, which is a short distance down this much tamer side of the mountains and agrees to lead them to a cartographer passing through town. Trissa also proves exceptionally annoying, prompting Sellion to split from the group in pursuit of alcohol from the local tavern. On his way inside he passes a tiefling who had just left after being accused of cheating at the local poker game.

Morthis the tiefling spots Kavar and Aren trying to get information out of Trissa with little success. He heads over and begins talking with them. Shortly afterwards Trissa is bribed to go off and buy some bread while Aren goes to get Sellion and the group heads to where the traveling merchants set up shop. Once there Aren, Sellion, and Morthis discuss their mysterious map with the cartographer. Kavar, meanwhile, is distracted by another of the merchants who is selling exotic birds.

Many minutes of haggling later and the exchange of 30 gold, Kavar walks away with a beautiful blue-tinged lilac feathered bird about the size of a peregrine falcon. Deciding they’ll head out in the morning, the party heads back to the Tavern to get a good night’s sleep, but not before the newly acquired warlock manages to determine a hidden magical quality to Kavar’s new bird.

What will the party find in their pursuit of this mysterious map? Is the bird actually magic or did they get ripped off? Will they forever be saddled with an annoying gnome? Only time will tell on Here Be Dragons!

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In Which Silky Johnson Makes A Grand Entrance
5 September, 2015

When we last left the party…

Kavar had bought a potentially magical bird and the party had gained a tiefling ally in the form of Morthis the warlock as well as consulting a cartographer about some of the potential mysteries of their map. As morning rolls around the party members gradually trickle down to the taven’s bottom floor for breakfast. As they do they notice the tavern owner in a heated conversation with a half-elven woman.

Exhausted from their haggling the day before, the party doesn’t manage to overhear the conversation. After being woken by his new bird, Kavar heads downstairs and provides the worst example of how to stealth ever and the woman exasperatedly demands what the party wants, revealing that there’s a shifter on the loose and wanted for serious crimes in the port city of Vring. With that information, the full party sits down for breakfast and to discuss their plans for the day.

While they’re eating, the sound of harmonica music fills the air and not long after a very fabulous eladrin bursts into the tavern and announces his name is Silky Johnson and he’s in search of an adventuring party! Aren waves him over and the group welcomes him in for the most part, though Morthis is hesitant. Sellion and Aren go to double check some things with the cartographer before regrouping and heading out of town with the intent to go west towards Vring so that they can take a ship from there to the capital city.

On their way out of town they’re stopped by two humans who warn them that it’s dangerous to travel and offer their protection. The party turns them down and continues on their way. They make it through the first day without incident before roughly halfway through their second day of travel a group of humans on horseback come charging them down. They manage to defeat the humans and even take their horses, though since there are four horses and five party members it means someone has to hoof it on foot. Kavar, being the largest and least likely to wear out a horse, walks with the party on foot.

What other perils might befall our intrepid adventurers on their journey? How far will Kavar go before getting tired of walking? Will they name their horses? Find out next time on Here Be Dragons!

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