Against the Giants: Liberation of Geoff

Where is Sindi?
Session 196

As Sindi is dragged away, her fate unknown to the others, Ungrid and Calibos take the troll apart and grant it a final death with Bannahog. They investigate the room it came out of, looting what treasure there is, then look toward the other door, still not aware that Sindi has been taken. Halmary, still in gaseous form filters through the cracks in the door, but it is too dark to see most, so he flows back out again. The remaining four heroes head to the barricade at the end of the corridor and start clambering over it…

…straight into the fists of a tall, golem-like creature, featureless and made of some sort of pliable tar-like material: it whacks Ungrid, who hammers it back, is pelted by magic missiles from Xellos, and has a tiny bit carved away by Calibos’ sword. As the fight continues, from down the corridor they find themselves in, others move into view: a man dressed in plate mail, who chants and tries to cast a spell that fails to have any effect; a pale woman who is guarded by a skull-headed skeletal snake; and another of the golems that comes stamping down the corridor, a bare-chest and sword-wielding man following behind.

Ungrid hastes himself and pummels the first golem into submission, finishing it off with some help from the others, and cleaving into the other as it moves into range. Xellos throws down a wall of fog, that momentarily blocks the corridor, before the newcomers dispel it; then they follow up on a second dispel magic, which cancels Ungrid’s haste, reforms Halmary as his gaseous form is removed, but also removes poor Xellos’ permanent fly spell, bringing him crashing to the floor. Xellos blasts them with a fireball, badly burning them, destroying the skeleton and disrupting whatever spells they were about to cast.Ungrid and Calibos take out the other golem, sending it toppling, and they move in on the bare-chested man, cutting him down in seconds; Xellos chucks the bag of holding with the cleric’s equipment inside to Halmary, who starts getting dressed; then Xellos blasts the pale woman with magic missiles, killing her. The plate mail wearing cleric retreats, disappearing down a tunnel.

The heroes follow, but stop by the room with the pit and tunnel. While Halmary reequips himself, the others loot. Xellos takes out his person-seeking sword and he and Ungrid go looking for Sindi along the corridor that has lots of cells along the walls; Calibos and Halmary guard the pit, further protected by a ward vs magic. Xellos and Ungrid reach the barricade, when it suddenly collapses as hobgoblins climb over it; behind and directing them, the hostile cleric yells for the heroes to be destroyed!

Calibos and Halmary head over to help, and no sooner have they done so, when more hobgoblins climb out of the pit and follow.

The cleric throws down flame strikes, one blocked by Calibos’ ward, the other breaking through and burning them. Xellos lets loose with a cone of paralysis, freezing several hobgoblins in place and allowing Ungrid to clamber over the debris and attack the evil cleric; leaving the others to take on the hobgoblins moving down the corridor: turns out, there are also another two invisible opponents, a monk and an assassin; the later backstabs Xellos, almost felling him. Calibos lends Ungrid a hand, and between them the evil cleric is dealt a killing blow. Back in the corridor, Halmary lends a hand by single-handedly slaying the hobgoblins, allowing the Ruinguard time to cast mirror image to stall the assassin’s attacks. The tactic works, and Xellos holds her off long enough for Calibos to jump in and help, badly wounding the assassin enough for Xellos to decapitate her. That leaves the monk, who Ungrid takes out.

The dust settles, and the heroes gather together, keeping an eye out for any more attackers.

And still no sign of Sindi.

End of Session

Kills: 8 hobgoblins, 5 named NPCs (cleric, mage, monk, barbarian, and an assassin), 2 Turnkey Golems, 1 Nerophidius.

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One Down
Session 195

…and then decide to backtrack and head south instead. Sindi descends some stairs into a well-lit kitchen, a corridor leading off, a pair of hobgoblin guards nearby. At a long table sits a man dressed in simple robes. She calls out to him, friendly-like, and he responds the same, asking who she is, why she is there; she divulges only a few bits of information, and the man– calling himself Sin-Mat-Ikalli– does the same, saying that he too is an escaped prisoner, and they he and his friends occupy this part of the prison, and won’t have anything to do with Dara and his kind as they believe them to be only interested in power, not escape. Sindi says goodbye and rejoins the others, and then they head north, back down the stairs to the well-lit corridor.

After looking into a room that was an empty barracks, they walk into a large mess hall that has been converted into a laboratory: there, a robed figure is working, guarded by four former hobgoblins that have been patched together with skin and flesh from other animals and even plants. The figure, a man from the hoarse shout, tells them to leave immediately for he is far too busy to be disturbed. Halmary tries to engage him in conversation, but the man (Aradhasis, it turns out, a vivimancer as well) tries to make him flee by magic, which is reflected back by Halmary’s Ring of Spell Turning, which Aradhasis resists; but the mage becomes annoyed.

Then Halmary and Calibos, neither liking the look of the somewhat menacing hybrid creatures, take a swing at them, while Ungrid simply decides to hurl his hammer at the mage, cracking a few ribs and shoving the mage into his bench, spilling liquids and sending a few valuable glass pipes and jars crashing to the floor. Aradhasis yells for the hybrids to destroy the intruders, even as he begins to weave a spell, and the battle begins…

…with Xellos blasting Aradhasis with magic missiles, which fail as the mage has a brooch that simply absorbs the missiles. In return, he casts a spell on Xellos and Halmary: the cleric’s arms erupt in pain as his bones warp, rendering his arms useless; Xellos finds the same happening to his legs. Sindi lets loose with a lightning bolt, burning a line through the laboratory straight into the mage, who is then slain as Ungrid hurls his hammer again, cracking the mage’s skull like an egg. The hybrids fall quickly after that, to the combined force of Calibos’ giant strength, Ungrid magic hammer, Sindi icy sword, and Xellos’ axe.

The heroes gather into the hall, looting the bodies and whatever they can find in the remains of the laboratory. Xellos tries and fails to dispel the bonewarp, but thanks to his fly spell can still move around. In case the effect is long-lasting, they give Halmary a potion of gaseous form and stow his equipment into the bag of holding. He floats along with them as they continue to explore: although, not too long after, the warped bones of Xellos’ legs return to normal. They find a storeroom with books and spare alchemy equipment, some treasure in a chest, but no secret doors. A ruined room, the wall partially collapsed and the door on the floor, holds a crate of rusted weapons but also one that looks fairly intact and may well be magical. There is also a tunnel leading from the broken wall. Sindi descends to explore, invisible, and locates what looks to be someone’s makeshift bedroom, plus an underground river; and also a giant slug, which is attracted to the torch light, but otherwise ignores the party as they come in to do a little search.

Back out they go, to find that Papak and some gnolls have followed them and are now taking up residence in the laboratory, which the necromancer has been looking to take over for weeks. After a stern warning about tampering with evil sorcery, the heroes leave Papak to his new toys and head back to the mushroom forest and take the southern corridor: at the end is a barriade of piles of rubble, an upturned table and some old crates, three doors along the walls. One turns out to be a storeroom of seeds and bulbs, another is locked; and as they go to open the third a rather large troll steps out and pounces.

Meanwhile, Sindi has gone to investigate the barricade, invisible, and is smacked down by a large golem-like creature that hides on the side. It blink visible when it attacks and magically paralyses Sindi. As the others engage the troll, the golem takes Sindi by the arm and drags her away…

End of Session

Kills: 1 evil mage (Aradhasis), 4 Mongrel Men.

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Reunited
Session 194

Sindi scrambles out of the water, withdrawing from the serpent as it rises above her, dives at her and takes a nip at her leg. The stirges flee, straight into arrows sent flying through the air by Calibos. Even as more of the mosquito-bats attach themselves to Calibos, Ungrid and Halmary, Ungrid manages to smash a couple more and pulls one free from his back.

Across the gardens, Dara and the gnolls appear, bows ready, shouting for the Heroes to retreat and they’ll provide cover… it’s not needed. In quick succession the remaining stirges are pulled free and hacked apart, the swarm of flies dispersed, and the serpent finds itself fighting both Sindi and Calibos, who charges in wielding a spear, skewering the beast. In the aftermath they collect the stirges and cut meat from the serpent, the gnolls helping carry back what turns into the day’s evening meal.

At a slap-up feast, Dara explains a bit more about the prison: there are three factions, all escaped prisoners, after the wardens left for reasons unknown; the guards (gnolls and hobgoblins) were recruited by the escapees, but as far as Dara knows none have escaped or know the way out. He has documents that might help, but in an unknown language and are now relying on Xellos to decipher. Meanwhile, Xellos is testing out the anti-magic barrier, after coming across a few notes that might be useful. There is an iron shutter that seals the archway– controlled by the wheel in Dara’s office– which also deactivates the barrier. Using ventriloquism to test the theory, Xellos has the shutters closed and manages to throw his voice down the corridor. When the others confirm it worked, they close the shutters again, and Xellos dimension doors through it, carrying all their magical gear.

There is much rejoicing.

After a night’s rest (although poor Halmary has nightmares again, so no spells for the day) they go off exploring, much to the delight of Dara, who thinks they are going off to help clear the dungeon; while what they are actually doing is trying to locate the secret door that leads to the exit, as mentioned in the notes Xellos read. They search the storeroom where the green slime attacked, but to no avail. They head to the marshland, where the serpent rose. Spying the stairs to the north and south, they start heading north, only to be surprised by a trio of plant-monsters that rise out of the marsh and attack; at the same time, Sindi just spots a gelatinous cube climbing the stairs.

A scream of utter rage sweeps through the heroes minds, leaving Xellos and Halmary stunned. The others find themselves fighting for their lives… or at least they would have been if they weren’t reunited with their precious magic items. The cube and plant-monsters (algoids) are slaughtered.

They head north, and descend into a well-lit corridor with doors on either wall…

End of Session

Kills: 1 winged serpent, 1 fly swarm, 1 gelatinous cube, 3 algoids, 4 striges.

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Blood-Sucking Critters
Session 193

It is quiet in the prison known as The Stockade. Xellos paces the entry hall, keeping an eye out for trouble, while leafing through the papers Dara gave them, using the last residual magic from the scroll to decipher the ancient text: something about the anti-magic barrier and the iron doors that can be wheeled shut catches his eye.

Then suddenly, the deepest, darkest shadows around the room burst into flames and stepping forth from them are three figures: glowing ash, resembling ancient soldiers of a long-gone age. One goes straight for a sleeping Calibos, its hand burning into the dwarf’s flesh and waking him up: he immediately leaps up and lashes out with the Sword of Vengenace that is never far from his side. Xellos takes his axe and cuts deep into the second ashen wraith-like creature, scattering a large part of it across the floor. The sounds of fighting wake Ungrid and Halmary. The dwarf hurls his hammer, causing one to explode; then Halmary brandishes his holy symbol and destroys undead, sending their angry souls back to the hells that they came from.

Sindi, softly snoring, slept through it all.

A few hours later, with Halmary suffering from a restless night (partly due to recurring nightmares, but also sleeping in his armour), they break their fast and end up following Dara and the gnolls as they go down the stairs to the Gardens: while the gnolls pick berries and uproot vegetables, Dara warns the heroes not to venture far. They ignore his advice and once he has left, all but Xellos (who remains in the entry chamber along with all the magic items of the others; and is also still trying to decipher the rest of the papers), they start to explore the Gardens.

After the domed chamber of berry-laden bushes and vegetable patch, a cluster of giant mushrooms dominates a central domed room, with two more garden areas leading off: one leads into a small woods, the other to a small lake and surrounding marshland. A door, warped and jammed shut, stands off the corridor. Halmary manages to kick the door in, and Sindi enters to see nothing more than rotting seeds and bulbs: then a green slime drops on her back and begins to eat away at her armour. Halmary tries to help, whipping out his torch and burning it away as Sindi cuts herself free from the armour; she manages to do so just in time, leaving Halmary to incinerate it.

They carry on, and Sindi hears a faint buzzing nearby. She also spots a mushroom, plastered with flies, standing in the corridor connecting the mushroom room to the lake room: she fires an arrow into it, and a swarm of flies explodes forth, heading straight towards her; a moment later, alerted by the flies, the trees up the other passage explode with movement as nearly two dozen stirges fly out and make a line straight for the heroes.

The flying blood-sucking critters attack in a flurry of wings and stabbing proboscis: thanks to their lack of magic armour and shields, Halmary, Sindi, Calibos and Ungrid find themselves suddenly overwhelmed as the stirges latch onto them, sucking precious blood, as the flies swarm around Sindi and Halmary, biting and scratching. Calibos manages to kill several of the critters, tearing them off himself, only to find another replaces it; Ungrid smashes one after the other, but also keeps getting attached; Halmary manages a bit better, and after throwing another off, he goes to help Sindi who is covered in flies. He waves his torch at them, attracting their attention. Sindi, meanwhile, has three stirges attached to her back, draining her blood. She can feel herself growing weaker. Taking advantage of Halmary’s intervention, she decides on a course of action that some would say is reckless…

Sindi runs for the lake, intent on diving into the water and either driving off or drowning the stirges. She leaps over marshy ground and dives in…

…and a giant serpent rears up out of the water, opens its toothy maw, and dives straight for her!

End of Session

Kills: 1 green slime, 11 stirges.

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Arrival
Session 192

12th Ready’reat, 594 CY

Mere seconds after the betrayal in the battle against the demons, the Heroes find themselves in a vaulted chamber supported by four ancient pillars, cracked and crumbling in places, each carved with figures of men and women, naked and in chains. Similar scenes are pictured in the faded frescoes that adorn four walls; the fifth, where the exit is, has an archway with carvings of chains etched deep into the arch. Opposite the archway, stands a tall, hunched black marble statue of a robed and hooded figure, draped in chains. In the centre of the room is a large circle of arcane symbols, inside of which stand the Heroes.

A shrill whistle sounds from beyond the arch: there is light coming from a flickering torch, and doors open and a foursome of archer gnolls come down a corridor, flanking a middle-aged man with greying hair. He stops before the archway and introduces himself as Dara, and informs them that they are in a prison and wonders how in the Scarlet Brotherhood they pissed off to be sent here. He then tells them that he and a couple of others have taken over this section of the prison having escaped their cells. He asks them to join his faction.

They also quickly discover that the arch holds an anti-magic barrier, which won’t even allow anyone wearing or carrying magic items to cross. After searching for an alternative exit, they strip off their items (and realise that most of their stuff is actually magical) and stow them in their bags of holding, which they leave behind with Xellos; he decides to remain in the room, thinking that he probably can’t cross the threshold due to his permanent fly spell in any case.

Dara is pleased to have them join and shows them a spare room that they can use. He also gives them a short tour, allows them to equipment themselves with mundane weapons from an armoury, and introduces them to Papak, a necromancer who was also a former prisoner.

Dara shows them some paperwork he has been trying to translate and decipher, which he believes will show them the way out. He allows them to look them over, and Xellos takes a look and after a few hours reports to his companions that the way out seems to be down something called the Path of Redemption, hidden behind a secret door in a storeroom. With a bit more time, he thinks he can locate the room.

Meanwhile, the Heroes– worn out and battered from the battle– decide to use the room they arrived in as their resting place, since they can remain fully equipped, and settle down for the night after tending to their wounds.

End of Session

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Betrayal
Session 191

After a month spent travelling and living with the restored Duke at the capital of Keoland, the Heroes arrange to rendezvous with Medmyr and their own army of resistance in the depths of the Dim Forest. From there they intend on joining the Duke and his loaned army (borrowed from the King of Keoland, his father-in-law and liege) at Hochoch, and from there reclaim the land from the false Duke.

Three weeks of travelling by boat and horse finds the Heroes hiking through the forest, as the late afternoon sun makes it way to the horizon, the golden beams of sunlight filtering through the autumnal leaves. Ahead they hear the faint noise of a battle, that grows louder as they approach the rendezvous: screams, the ring of steel, orders to rally, roars from some beast. Xellos and Sindi, invisible, quickly scout ahead and discover a couple of dozen demons battling Medmyr and their allies. The two lords, the Baron and Marquis, lie dead surrounded by a score of slaughtered soldiers. Watching the battle, a demonic snake-creature issues orders to the crab-men demon soldiers, the eyeball scouts, and the deadly hounds with their stork-like handlers. They also spot a couple of the snake-women, whose powers are unknown since Xellos slew the first one they ever saw without her even being aware of the attack.

Hasted and Blessed, the Heroes charge into the battle, catching the demons unawares. Sindi hurls one of the orbs that she found in the mysterious box that was bigger on the inside, and it exploded close to one of the hounds, badly wounding it as it was engulfed in white-hot flame. Halmary pointed a finger of death at the demonic lord overseeing the battle, but the beam scattered as if it had hit a magical barrier before it got close. One of the larger hounds, the one that cut off divine users from their gods, stood close to the demon lord, obviously negating the attack. That hound dives for Halmary, clawing the cleric, but then Calibos steps in and with his mighty strength he pulverises the beast.

The demons notice them, and several of the soldiers, scouts and the hounds head their way. The demon lord and snake-woman lob fireballs, catching Halmary, Ungrid and Calibos, before Xellos dives in and decapitates the snake-woman. Ungrid hurls his hammer at the demon lord, who promptly teleports away, appearing on a ridge with another of the hounds. One of those hounds, the lithe one that negates arcane magic, attacks Sindi, but quickly finds itself outmatched… and soon dead. She cleaves the head of its handler, then charges into battle with one of the soldiers. Halmary too engages one of the demons, smashing away with his mace. Then another snake-woman appears, and lobs another fireball, catching Halmary and Xellos. Halmary backs off, healing himself, after Xellos cuts down the soldier. Calibos dives into the fight, pulping an eyeball scout, while Sindi and Ungrid both find themselves battling more demons.

Across the clearing, Medmyr and his men fight valiantly. The henchman to Calibos finds he is outclassed, but scores a few hits for every one he takes. His elite mercenaries– who have proven valuable assets over the last few weeks– take out some of the scouts and hold the line, while other soldiers have already broken through and are slaughtering the infantry behind them.

The Heroes see this and feel a renewed sense of purpose. Sindi cuts down a soldier, then one of the hound handlers, allowing Halmary to step up and heal her. The snake-woman lobs another fireball, this time burning Calibos and Xellos. Ungrid smashes his way through a scout and hurls his hammer at the snake-woman, crushing a few bones, and Calibos charges right at her, chopping her in half and ending that threat. Xellos kills and drains the life-force of another scout and takes out another two as he makes his way over to battle the demons fighting their army. Ungrid finds himself cut off as a demon soldier steps up and whacks him back, but suffers a hefty blow itself. Behind them, Calibos cuts his way through the remaining hound and finds he has a bee-line for Medmyr.

Meanwhile, Sindi decides to take out the wounded demon lord herself. Using her spear to fly, she charges up and stabs once, twice, and the lord falls down dead!

The others kill a few more demons, clearing the way between them and the battling army. The elites have also made their way through, standing close to the Heroes as they approach. Medmry, fighting bravely, finds himself surrounded and takes a savage blow, nearly felling him. Calibos starts to charge in to help… and then suddenly, at a gesture from one of them, the elite mercenaries sling something at the Heroes: caught by surprise, Calibos has but a moment to realise something odd is happening, when a glass bead strikes him… and in a poof of black smoke, he has disappeared!

Halmary, Sindi and Xellos follow, as more beads spin through the air and shatter against them; each vanishes in a cloud of black smoke.

Ungrid sees this and decides to retreat. He sees Medmry fall, and turns to flee into the forest. But it is too late…

…the last thing he sees is a tree looming ahead, when the bead hits him in the back, and suddenly everything goes black!

End of Session

Kills: 6 demon scouts, 4 demon soldiers, 4 demon hounds, 2 demon executors, 2 demon handlers, and 1 demon lord.

KO’d: Medmyr (fate unknown at present).

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Return of the Duke
Session 190

The tomb holds a mummified corpse clutching a wolfs-head rod and a mithril sword: the rod is just what they are looking for.

Wasting no time, they first loot the treasure vault, then take the sword and rod from the corpse; but as soon as Sindi walks out of the room with them, the corpse animates and attacks; elsewhere in the barrow, the sound of stone lids crashing to the floor echoes loudly.

Xellos hastes the Heroes, and while he and Sindi watch out for suspected monsters arriving from the corridor, the others attack the mummy: Halmary tries and fails to_ turn undead_, and almost ends up whacking Ungrid when the area around the fight suddenly is plunged into darkness; that doesn’t last long, as Sindi chucks her light coin in, dispelling the dark.

The mummified corpse falls to the combined blows of Ungrid, Calibos and Halmary, who venture out to see Sindi and Xellos battling a couple of wraiths and several skeletal knights. A lightning bolt from both Heroes takes care of the wraiths, leaving them weakened enough for Sindi and Calibos to finish off.

A search of the barrow uncovers nothing else of interest, so they exit, and camp nearby. Using the rod they resurrect the Duke, filling him in on what has happened during the past year since his capture and petrification by none other than Malachi and a Mirror Duplicate of the Duke (which the Heroes already suspected). He is pleased that they also recovered a piece of his wife, so that they can take that to her father, the King of Keoland and hopefully return her to life as well.

The Duke then asks for their help in reclaiming his land. They head off to the capital of Keoland to make plans, getting the aid of the King, and borrowing a small army to head off to the Grand Duchy of Geoff to remove the imposter Duke and restore peace to the land.

Weeks pass…

End of Session

Kills: 1 Sleeping King, 2 Wraiths, 4 Skeletal Knights.

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Heroes 1, Dragon 0
Session 189

As the ancient and huge green dragon dives at the Heroes sheltering in the trees, Ungrid levitates up, just in time to avoid a billowing cloud of poisonous gas that blossoms from the dragon’s maw: Halmary collapses, gasping for breath as he struggles to breath.

Then, with a speed nothing of its size should be capable of, the dragon turns its attention on the others, lashing out with tail, tooth and claw, but superior armour and magical protection saves Sindi and Calibos from its attacks.

The Heroes then prove themselves truly heroic and themselves capable of dealing with anything thrown at them: in the space of a few beats of their hearts, even as Halmary gasps his last breathes, the ancient dragon who had seen nations rise and fall, is blasted by Sindi’s lightning bolt, pummeled by Ungrid’s mighty hammer, slashed deeply by Calibos’ sword, and finally sent to its death by a flurry of fiery magic missiles from Xellos’ rotting hand.

They spend some time chopping bits off the dragon’s corpse, looting its hoard, and bringing Halmary back to life with a well-placed kick from Calibos [healing proficiency, neutralise poison, needed a 18+, rolled a 19].

The barrow of the Sleeping King is sealed by a great stone door that is rolled aside. They peer into a dark, twisting tunnel that disappears underground, and decide to rest for the day and venture inside as soon as everyone has clear minds for spells, no wounds, and are well fed.

Unfortunately, Halmary suffers from nightmares in the night and in the morning hasn’t the wits to cast any spells. Nevertheless, they descend into the barrow and after the tunnel snakes for a few dozen feet, they reach a stone door. Halmary fishes out a scroll of Find Traps, and finds a carefully hidden glyph of warding on the door. He uses a dispel magic scroll to remove it, Calibos pushes it up; they hammer pitons in place, and enter narrow corridors, dark with damp and age. They explore first, finding plain and ornate stone sarcophagi, plus a corridor with walls lined with skulls with empty eye sockets. Halmary’s spell spots traps all along the corridor, but it is easily bypassed by Xellos flying them down and along to another room; here is a shrine to the god Kord, and another stone door. Calibos tries to open it, but triggers another trap, and is shocked by a lightning bolt, that doesn’t really do much other than make his hair stand on end.

When the door refuses to move, Ungrid uses his other magic hammer and knocks the door in: beyond is a tomb, and Xellos locates a secret door behind it, that opens into a treasure vault.

End of Session

Kills: 1 ancient green dragon.

KO’d: Halmary, but restored to life thanks to Calibos’ skill.

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The Singing Hollows
Session 188

4th Harvester, 594 CY

After travelling for nearly a month by boat and by horse, the Heroes arrive on the edge of Dreadwood forest, on the southern borders of Keoland. Their quest: to seek out an artefact said to be entombed with The Sleeping King, a legend that their research has concluded is true and that the means to resurrect the Duke lies in the tomb of this legendary king. They follow ancient maps and directions from journals and local folklore, heading to a gully of caves known as The Singing Hollows, for the sound the wind makes blowing through them. From there, 17 leagues into the forest, to the barrow mound where the king is said to sleep.

Approaching the Hollows, the Heroes spy ogres escorting a wagon with caged villagers crying for help and pleading for their lives. Xellos quickly hastes the others, who then all charge in. Sindi heads off first, so when Calibos blesses them she is out of range, but that doesn’t stop her as she charges straight into the midst of the ogres and starts swinging her sword, cutting down the foes. A horn sounds, and many more ogres, easily two dozen, maybe more, pour of the caves to attack the intruders.

It isn’t a particularly fair fight. Ogres fall to blades, mace and hammer. Within a matter of minutes a dozen ogres lie dead, others enraged by the death of their kin, the more senior and cunning backing off; but to no avail. As soon as the Heroes spot the chief and his sub-chiefs, they take the battle to them, falling to Xellos’ axe and Sindi’s sword. Ungrid throws his hammer in cave after cave, killing whatever ogre waits inside, while Halmary clubs ogres to death as he looks after the horses. Calibos, meanwhile, follows the ogre’s shaman into the caves and stabs the brute through the heart. The ogresses and cubs are left more or less in peace, and the captive villagers and farmers freed. They are grateful and offer them whatever valuables they can offer, which the Heroes refuse and just take the ogre’s loot instead (minus the coppers, which they pass to the farmers).

They leave their horses safely with a local farmer and after a night’s rest in a barn, the Heroes head into the forest, Sindi’s excellent exploration skills leading them straight and true; after three days of hiking through thick forest, they arrive at a large clearing, in the centre of which is a mound with a toppled statue lying on top; along with a hoard of treasure that glitters and glistens in the morning light. Suspecting that something lairs there, Sindi has a quick scout but sees nothing except the stone-blocked entrance to the barrow. However, she suddenly hears a deep, booming voice coming from the other side of the mount:

“You dare intrude on my forest?! Thief, murderer!”

Sindi races back to warn the others, and they decide to skirt around the other side of the mound, under cover of the trees with Xellos and Sindi invisible. Halmary, halfway across, casts True Seeing to see if there is anything lurking.

There is.

A 80’ long green dragon, with a tail just as long, and that is moving straight towards them to attack!

End of Session

Kills: 27 ogres, 11 ogresses, 2 ogre sub-chiefs, 1 ogre chief, 1 ogre shaman.

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Change of Direction
Session

24th Reaping, 594 CY

Camped outside the former domain of Calibos, the Heroes plan their next move. The Duke’s army breaks camp and begins marching towards the town, and the Heroes follow with Xellos and Sidni keeping an eye on them, looking out for the Duke. They spy a command tent, but the Duke seems unwilling to exit it, giving and taking all orders via his minions. Xellos goes off to warn the families and allies in Tika Town that the Duke’s army is heading their way, and Medmyr and the allied lords take their small army off to the Dim Forest, to persuade the elves to join forces. Xellos tries, and fails, to convince the families from Calibos’ domain to leave with them, but they refuse, having already spent a week travelling having lost their homes.

The Heroes continue to follow the Duke’s army for a couple of days, until they decide that what they need to do is find a way to resurrect the real Duke, so that he can reclaim his Duchy. They decide to head off to Gorna, in disguise, to research a way to bring the Duke back to life from the fragments of the statue they uncovered from the hunting lodge. They manage to enter the capital disguised as merchants and guards, and while Sidni and Ungrid and Calibos trawl the taverns for rumours and information, Xellos and Halmary visit the libraries and temples, sages and learned fellows, learning what they can. They then head off to Hochoch, to follow up on some legends and tales, and believe they have found something that will bring their plans to fruition:

The Sleeping King

The Heroes– having spent a week in libraries and with sages, first in Gorna and then in Hochoch– discover references to a possible Rod of Resurrection, a royal sceptre belonging to a legendary figure of Keolandish mythology, known as The Sleeping King. This King is said to be one of the first kings of the land, a paladin who defeated an ancient evil that plagued his kingdom. He is said to have left the means to “awaken him from his sleep, when the kingdom faces its greatest foe”, namely the beast that the king slew. According to other sources, the means is the king’s enchanted sceptre, which will restore him to life again. From the description of its crafting and a few notes in old journals, it is likely to be a powerful and extremely rare Rod of Resurrection, which will allow the Heroes to return the real Duke to life.

The king sleeps in a barrow in the depths of Dreadwood forest, underneath the statue of his god Kord, which stands atop the grassy mound the barrow lies within. Old maps and travel journals give a reasonable idea of where to look, and the Heroes set off to locate the site of the ancient king’s tomb.

End of Sesssion

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