The World of Hassria

Clearing the Gatehouse
Session 8

Following a goblin down a ladder through the trapdoor above, Ainesilver leads the way down, his skin showing numerous red welts where the angry wasps had punished him. The short corridor heads south, passing by a door in the west wall, coming to an east west T-junction with a door in the opposite wall.

Snyth volunteers to lead the way and makes pads silently off towards the junction, as he reaches it however, a winged shadow detaches itself from the roof and dives onto the surprised rodian. A single Stirge thrusts it’s feeding spike into his shoulder and the creature latches itself onto his back as he feels the creatures tongue deep within his torso, syphoning away his lifeblood away ……

As Snyth flails about trying to remove the creature, Krotchet takes decisive action on blasts the creature off his back with a Magic Missile, admonishing the relieved rodian for messing about.

Seeing that the T-Junction is empty, the group go back to the door they passed and are about to investigate when a goblin voice shouts out a warning. Krotchet translates as the Goblin threatens that there are many goblins in his room and that the party should leave them alone or they would kill the prisoner.

Confused looks are passed back and forth and the party decide it must be a goblin bluff. They batter a great piece of the door away and see numerous goblins with loaded bows pointed at the door from behind an overturned table. In a corner is indeed a tied-up human. The goblin boss screams a warning once more and offers a goblin map of Stonehell if they let him and his goblin warriors leave unmolested.

In answer, the party shatter the bottom of the door suddenly with combined strikes and the Big Red the Wardog lunges through the hole, drawing the fire of the goblins and taking grievous wounds in his fury to attack his hated foe.

Whilst the brave Snyth drops back to cover the corridor in case any make it past the party, the rest of them storm into the room through the shattered door and engage the goblins. The boss immediately shrieks in rage before stuffing the map into his gap-toothed maw and beginning to chew it.

Whilst the party prove more than a match for the Goblins, they take a number of wounds as they wade in. They do eventually slay the creatures and in a gruesome action recover and piece together half of the map from the goblins mouth and the other half from his stomach. The goblins yield a sizeable pile of copper coins (which the party take) and some rusty and badly maintained weapons and armour (which the party don’t take).

Investigating the prisoner, he turns out to be a very tall (6’8”) human monk named Costamogen who was captured by the goblins whilst scouting Stonehell at the behest of his order, in the search for fiendish influences. The party quiz the monk for some time, questioning his sincerity until convinced by Krotchet that they should trust him. Costamogen is freed from his bonds and stretches his tattooed limbs through a series of movements before collecting his equipment and agreeing to join the party in their sojourn into Stonehell.

Somewhat battered by the combat, the party cautiously investigate the room walls along the T-Junction and locate a secret door. Listening at the door it they hear a scratching noise in the room beyond. Once opened, this proves to be four giant centipedes in a once opulent but now ruined room. Using his Gem of Brightness, Denagar blinds the creatures and the group make short work of them.

Searching the room, the party find a secret door, beyond which is hidden an alcove containing three potions which smell of almonds, a good quality but road-worn cloak and a flimsy umbrella made of white scales.

Remembering that the party have previously taken a healing potion that smelled of almonds, the party try out one of the potions on Brytik the man-at-arms and it proves to be a healing potion.

The other room in this portion of the gatehouse is empty, its arrow slits along one wall spying out into the central passageway beyond. As dusk is falling, the party decide to barricade themselves in this empty room and bind their wounds.

Costamogen, Rolandius, Denagar and Snyth head out to quickly scout out the other half of the ground floor. After a nervous exchange with a Pigeon which startles the group, they head into the other section via the long shattered doorway. The corridor leads to a right-hand turn or straight on to a wall with a doors part way along on each side. Listening as they cautiously advance, the party hear a faint moan and snippets of distant conversation from the room on their left.

Opening the door and shining light into the room, they spy rusted weapons & armour; ruined adventuring supplies; old bones strewn across the ground; the remains of a long-cold fire and five transparent adventurers seemingly at rest in camp.

Ready for a fight, they watch the adventurers for a while, but the phantasms don’t react to the adventurers. Rhona the Cleric tries to turn the creatures in the name of the Crone, but although the creatures waver for a moment – they continue about their business, oblivious of the party. At one point, they pass through the fascinated party and the icy touch of the grave chills them to the bone, causing them to inhale sharply as if they had been dropped into a frozen lake for a moment. The phantasms however carry on about their business uninterested. The party search the room but they have no interest in the bones and battered equipment that they uncover.

Costamogen suggests that they leave the dead to their business undisturbed as it is getting dark and it would be unwise to instigate conflict whilst the party is weakened. Scouting out the rest of the area, they find a couple of empty rooms containing ruined furniture and a spiral staircase heading up into the upper level, but nothing else of interest.

Returning to the others, Rhona calls upon the power of the crone to heal the wounded whilst the others rest and post watch. The party rest for night unmolested and agree that their current defendable position is a safe enough haven for them to rest a further day, therefore they sharpen their weapons, forage for food and prepare themselves to investigate the valley and entrance to the Stonehell proper.

The night brings no serious encounters, although there are several un-identified incidents of movement outside the room. It does not translate to conflict however and when the rested party emerge the following morning – they see no sign of the cause.

The mornings weather is crisp and clear and the date is Todas, 17th of Octubrast, Z495

The Chronicles of Adventure
High Jinx in the World of Hassria

Read on curious one to find tales of mighty heroes and dreadful villains!!!

Session 7 - The Gates of Hell ....

The party stand at the mouth of this narrow box canyon that bisects a high cliff wall. The steep cliffs and the tall mountains beyond the defile loom overhead. Although it is only early afternoon, the shadows of twilight seem to fall early here as the sun makes its way towards the west, cloaking the canyon in gloom.

Across the mouth of the canyon stands an old curtain wall and gatehouse.

These fortifications once barred entrance to the canyon, but the 25’ high walls that stretch from the Gates of Hell to the canyon walls have crumbled at either side of the gatehouse, leaving large gaps which provide passage past this barrier into the canyon beyond for those wary of the gatehouse’s arrow slits and murder holes. Peering through the gaps, the party can see that the canyon extends far beyond the curtain wall and copses of trees and ruined structures are visible in the distance. The gatehouse and walls have succumbed to the normal ravages of neglect over the last two centuries.

Those opting for a more direct route can enter the canyon through the gatehouse‘s central passage. The gatehouse walls are constructed of mortared stone and broken battlements protrude from the gatehouse roof like cracked teeth. The grey stone is splattered with pigeon droppings. The gateway of the central underpass gapes open, its portcullises rusted and as gapped as an old codger‘s smile and its wooden doors laying rotting on the ground before it.

The party pause for a moment, considering whether to bypass the Gatehouse, but Krotchet explains to them that leaving potential enemies behind them blocking their escape route could prove a costly mistake and the party agree that they should investigate the old ruin.

Snyth hugs the natural cover and darts silently up to the wall to the left of the central gateway. His keen eyes pick out numerous writings scrawled across the walls and he pauses for a moment to decipher what he can:-

  • “This dungeon was cleared by the Circle of Six. Nothing remains below.” A date is written beside this message. Beneath it, in another hand, is written, “Yeah, I’ll bet!”
  • “The little, scaly b&!*$%ds can’t be trusted. They turned on us, killed Sydel, and stole all our gold! Kill ‘em all on sight!”
  • “I had it! A ruby the size of a fist was almost mine, but a giant serpent swallowed it before I could reach it.”

Opting to climb to the arrow slits in the upper floor, rather than risk the central passageways and its murderholes, Snyth scrambles up the wall and scouts out a couple of rooms, struggling to make out details beyond in the darkness. He spots a few shattered crates and hears a strange soft buzzing sound before he slips and tumbles, falling 15’ to the ground.

The others take this as a signal and jog over to the groaning thief as he picks himself up and dusts himself off. Despite his impact, Snyth clambers back up to the roof and finds it flat and mostly intact, with trapdoors down into the building at either end and close to one, a hole in the roof shedding light onto a pool of gathered water in a room below.

The party eventually ascend to the roof and drawing weapons, open the trapdoor and descend into the waterlogged room. The room is empty apart from a pool of rainwater and a door to the north and another to the south. Lighting torches, the party carefully avoid the creaking floor around the pool and head to the southern door.

Opening it carefully, the room beyond proves to be the roost of three flying dog-sized flying beasts known as Stirges who attack the party hoping to spear them on their razor sharp proboscis’s. The party make short work of the beasts, their armour protecting them from the attacks and they even recover some loot from a long dead body they discover hidden in some rags in the corner.

As they do so however, they are ambushed by a trio of Goblins who they had not heard sneaking up on them from the north door. The Goblins wound the party with arrows before the ‘Big Red’ the war-dog of Turix the Torchbearer charges in fury into their midst, savaging one of them and scattering the other two shrieking back through the door which they close.

Gathering themselves for a short while to plan, the party pursue and open the door into the northern room. They see an empty room with murder holes in the floor and a northern door from which one goblin fires his bow at Big Red (missing), before the other fumbles his bow and slams the door shut as Big Red slams into it snarling and barking loudly.

Passing warily through the room, seeing the central portcullis passageway below via the murder-holes they assume battle stances and throw open the door. Before them is a hastily assemble barricade of broken furniture and barrels. Beyond this, a stair leads up to an open trapdoor to the roof and a door stands in the far wall, slightly ajar. In the doorway, a goblin takes aim at something out of sight to the left of the barricade and shoots, before the second goblin shrieks and slams the door shut.

Over the barking of Big Red, the party begin to hear an ominous buzzing and soon the air is full of large black and red wasps, angered by the arrow of the sneaky goblins. Choosing to take decisive action, the party splits at this point. Ainesilver, Denagar and Rolandius decide to press on through the wasps in pursuit of the goblins, lighting and waving torches at the stinging insects to ward them off, whilst the rest of the party, led by Krotchet and Snyth head back to the ‘pool-room’ and up onto the roof to ensure that they are not being flanked, planning to pass over the wasps and down the stairs at the other side of the room to reach the door the goblins closed.

Despite being badly stung by the wasps, the party manage to drive them off with torches and rendezvous at the other side of the room heading through the door into a room beyond which contains an ash-filled fire ring; chopped-up furniture stacked in piles and goblin footprints amongst the dirt & dead leaves on the floor. A trapdoor at the far side of the room leads down to a corridor on the ground floor.

Ainesilver leads the way down, his skin showing numerous red welts where the angry wasps had punished him. The short corridor heads south, passing by a door in the west wall, coming to an east west T-junction with a door in the opposite wall.

Snyth volunteers to lead the way and makes pads silently off towards the junction, as he reaches it however, a winged shadow detaches itself from the roof and dives onto the surprised rodian. A single Stirge thrusts it’s feeding spike into his shoulder and the creature latches itself onto his back as he feels the creatures tongue deep within his torso, syphoning away his lifeblood away …….

Session Ends …..

Session 6 - The Journey to Stonehell
The party ride forth ....

After investigating the mysterious sickening of the Old Oak Tree in Larm, the Characters identify a suspect, Teutomar the Rag Merchant, following him to his home, vowing to come back and ‘investigate’ the location further when the owner is otherwise engaged.

Discussing matters in general however, Krotchet points out that their stay in Larm has somewhat sidetracked the original aims of the group, being to discover ‘The lost laboratory of the Plated Mage’, which Krotchet’s map suggests may be located somewhere in the dreaded ‘Stonehell Dungeon’.

The party agree that Teutomar can wait, although Rolandius seems particularly reticent to leave the matter of the Old Oak unresolved, and they decide to equip themselves for the journey and hire some retainers to accompany them, now that Aleena has returned to her temple duties.

After their shopping trip, they visit the Mayor Caius Rusticus, who identifies the wand they discovered at the temple as a Wand of Paralysation and potions as ‘Undead Control’ and ‘Gold Dragon Control’, along with making an offer to purchase the gems and jewellery that the party recovered.

Continuing on to the Borderland Tavern and after asking around, they manage to hire Rhona, a Septa of the Crone, Turix the Torchbearer and his Wardog ‘Big Red’ and after negotiating a 100gp life insurance policy at the bar, Brytik a Man at Arms.

Arranging to leave the following morning, the party then decide to let their hair down and embark upon a night of excess and debauchery that Larm has not seen the like of since its founding. The following morning finds the majority of the party significantly worse for wear and much poorer, with a special mention going to Ainesilver, who has very little memory of the evening and has earned himself a reputation as a drunken lout.

Soon our green at the gills party head out northwest into the hills, striking towards the distant mountains. Soon they settle into a steady rhythm and as they travel, Rolandius starts giving Turix lessons in swordplay. The party travel for two days and nights without incident, seeing only the occasional deer, rabbit or bird.

On the third, and what they expect to be their final day of travelling however, shortly after the party strike camp and head off they are ambushed by a group of brigands, wearing distinctive yellow and black chequered head scarves or belts and doing a bad job of hiding in the rocks with bows.

Unimpressed by their claims that the party are surrounded, the adventurers soon turn the tables on their attackers, Big Red tearing the throat out of one unfortunate, whilst Rolandius with his blade and Krotchet with howling missiles of blue flame, rout the remaining brigands who flee for the hills. Pausing only to loot the dead and take their scarves/belts, the party head on.

Shortly after lunch, Ainesilver cautions the group, pointing out a large winged shape swooping in their direction over the hills. Taking cover, the party see a powerful looking creature with the head, wings and forelegs of an eagle, and the torso, rear legs and tail of a lion. It’s 25’ wingspan leaves the party awestruck as it glides across the hillside, eventually heading off into the mountains.

Happy to have evaded detection, the party head off for the final party of their journey to Stonehell ….. only they do not arrive at the time they expected and can see no sign of the valley entrance as expected. They realise as the light fades, causing them to camp for the night, that they have somehow become lost. Krotchet suggests that they camp for the night, then head west along the mountains to try and pick up the trail to Stonehell.

The following day, the party head off west and after a few hours, Denagar spots some wagon tracks which appear to be accompanied, or perhaps followed, by a couple of sets of footprints heading off east. Electing to follow them, they find the Brigands they ran off the day before, attacking a tinkers caravan on the east/west path which runs parallel with the base of the mountains.

Charging down the slope towards them, the party drive away the brigands who melt away into the mountains at the first sign of resistance. Thanking the party profusely, the tinker explains that the brigands were members of ‘ The Ghost Beggars’, a group of brigands who had been preying on passing merchants for many months, until recently some merchants took things into their own hands, loading a covered wagon with guards and springing a trap on the beggars which killed more than half their number.

Asking about Stonehell, the merchant explained that they had missed the entrance to the valley, which was about three hours to the east of them. He offered to transport them there and give them free bandages in thanks for their assistance.

Climbing aboard the wagon, the party arrived a few hours later at the entrance to a steep valley. The merchant confirmed that Stonehell was up the valley, behind the ruined gatehouse. A well travelled path from who knows where, skirts past a dank marsh some way down the valley, from out of which the foothills rise. The party recollect rumours that flooded tunnels beneath this fen connect with the dungeon, but these tales have never been proven.

Once past the marsh, the road rises gradually, threading its way through the rocky hills and cliffs that lay at the base of the mountains. After several miles, the road terminates at the mouth of this narrow box canyon that bisects a high cliff wall. The steep cliffs and the tall mountains beyond the defile loom overhead.

The shadows of twilight seem to fall early here as the sun makes its way towards the west, cloaking the canyon in gloom. Across the mouth of the canyon stands an old curtain wall and gatehouse.

These fortifications once barred entrance to the canyon, but the curtain wall has crumbled in places, leaving large gaps that allow easy access into the canyon beyond. The gatehouse‘s doors lay rotting on the ground before it and its rusty portcullises are as gapped as a codger‘s smile. Those opting for a more direct route can enter the canyon through the gatehouse‘s central passage.

Session 5 - The Reckoning

Krotchet moved away from the magical door after showing how easy it was to open it if you actually used your brain whilst the rest of the party tensed for whatever would happen next.

When nothing charged out, our brave adventurers (well, Krotchet and his band of miscreants) moved carefully through and found themselves in a large room with a giant statue of a huge winged humanoid on the opposite wall. Looking around warily, the group stared at the bare walls with barely disguised disappointment. Snyth especially seemed despondent that there was no treasure for him to find and “accidentally” drop into his pocket before anyone else noticed.

As the group spread out, they hear a grinding noise as the statue raises its head and steps down off the pedestal and starts stalking towards the group. Krotchet, keeping an eye on everyone from the back of the room lets them panic for several seconds before reminding Snyth that he had the symbol of Thaxton that the old priest had given to him. Barely able to move (apart from quivering with fear) Snyth scrabbles around his neck for the talisman before pulling it out just as the statue is about to swing at Rolandius. Upon seeing the talisman, the statue stops mid-swing, turns about and returns to its position on the pedestal.

Krotchet glances around and sees Denegar and Ainesilver cowering in a corner. Laughing, he tells them it is safe to come out now and they both move into the middle of room, glancing warily at the statue as they do.

Sensing there is more to the room than there appears, Krotchet takes the talisman from Snyth to enable the thief to search without worrying about the statue. Krotchet’s suspicions prove to be correct (of course) when Snyth finds a secret door in the corner beside the statue. Prising the door open, our heroes spy a sarcophagus in the middle of this new room and three badly decomposing bodies on the floor.

Taking up positions around it (and keeping an eye on the statue) Rolandius and Ainesilver gently prise the lid off the tomb. An ear-splitting howl fills the room and thick acrid black smoke pours out of the tomb whilst Denegar falls to the floor writhing in agony as strange black sigils scrolled across his skin before detaching and merging with the smoke pouring from the tomb. As the smoke thins out, there is a scuffling and a scratching as the three bodies on the floor slowly drag themselves to their feet, whilst in the corner the smoke coalesces into the outline of a person.

Yelling a battle cry, Rolandius charges into the nearest skeleton swinging his sword in a wide arc and sending chunks of bone flying. Krotchet unleashes a small element of the magical power within him as a flaming arrow flies from his hand and engulfs the smoke monster in searing flame, burning away the last vestiges of smoke revealing the sorcerer Denegar and his former party tried to kill all those years ago.

The sorcerer copies Krotchet and sends a beam of dark magic at Aleena, wounding the cleric. Denegar still suffering from the magical onslaught waves his sword but fails to do anything more than persuade the ghoul to attack Ainesilver instead.

Ainesilver tries to keep the ghoul away by copying Denegar but fails miserably and is scratched by the ghouls claws, despite doing little damage Ainesilver feels the toxins going to work and paralysing him, the last thought to pass through his mind was ”not again…..”

The room has devolved into a swirling melee as individual fights break out and both sides try to gain the upper hand. Krotchet, sensing the danger from the ghouls toxic claws decides he is a more immediate target and sends a flurry of magical fire arrows at the creature, blasting it apart in a shower of gore. Glancing around, Krotchet sees Rolandius toying with the skeleton, turning aside its blows while not even trying to land one himself. Denegar is staggering around as if drunk, waving his sword blindly whilst Snyth runs around, ineffectually firing arrows at the zombie or evil sorcerer whilst Aleena, with a look of pure fear on her face backs away from the creatures surrounding her.

Realising decisive action needed to be taken, Krotchet shouted at Rolandius to just kill the skeleton whilst magically redirecting one of Snyth’s arrows to pierce the zombie through the spinal column, destroying the magical link keeping the creature upright. The sorcerer, seeing the demise of his followers roars in anger and this seems to snap Denegar back to his senses. He glares at the sorcerer before walking up and, with barely any effort, swings the sword of Thaxon down in a mighty blow, cleaving through the creatures shoulder, rib cage and exiting from his lower torso in a shower of dust as the creature once more collapses, this time never to rise again.

Searching the room, the party find a small locked chest which is easily forced open. Inside, they find several candles of different colours which Krotchet informs them, are magical and the colours relate to their effects. Along with the candles are 2 small bottles, a magical wand, a roll of paper and a small pouch.

Whilst waiting for the paralysis affecting Ainesilver to dissipate, Snyth excitedly unrolls the paper to reveal what appears to be a treasure map made by the Rodian pirate Scrat the Black showing the location of his treasure on Crescent Island.

Ensuring that the group (except for Ainesilver) are with him so that no-one can complain about the equal share of the treasure, Krotchet opens the pouch to find two strange gems, a flickerin light appears to be inside them, one gem blue whilst the other was red.

Eventually Ainesilver regained use of his limbs and the party trekked back up through the church and out into the night, lit by a full moon.

Slowly trudging their way back to the Septa, the weary heroes are healed by the grateful Septas whilst Snyth regales them with an exaggerated version of the events where, it would seem, he was the only person to actually do anything and everyone else just stood around as target practice. Krotchet and the Septas share a knowing look and just smile, humouring the excited Rodian.

Rolandius, feeling guilty for his earlier outburst, offers the Septa one of the candlesticks he found in the temple which was gratefully accepted. The Septa pours over the rest of their findings but is unable to identify the purpose of the wand or the gems, except that they were valuable before suggesting that the mayor may be able to help.

The party then set off back to the tavern, initially intending to head straight to their rooms but, with the rejuvenating magic of the Septa coursing through them they decide to stay up and toast their success seeing the sun rise before finally falling asleep.

The day after the night before

Waking up with a sore head, Krotchet makes sure Snyth is still with them (he is) before walking outside to breathe the fresh air and cogitate on the events of last night and what lay ahead.

When he heard everyone else stirring, he went back in and ordered a big hearty breakfast from his own share of the loot, he made a point of saying several times, before turning the conversation to the rumours the group had heard about Stonehell while carousing.

Rolandius said he had heard there was a bottomless cavern within the dungeon whilst Snyth had heard something about a holy man and an ancient crypt but couldn’t quite make the rest out. Ainesilver volunteered the news that Kobolds ran an underground bazaar and offered goods for sale to warriors venturing within. Denegar had heard that there was at least one underwater tunnel connected to the nearby swamps. When asked what use that would be, he replied that it was another means of escape if the need arose. Whilst Krotchet regaled them with tales of a snake cult and described some of the obscene rituals they carried out at which Ainesilver looked decidedly uncomfortable.

Pulling the flyer from his pocket, Rolandius flattened it out with one paw and with a piece of coal, scratched out the request for someone to investigate the ruined temple. “Three jobs left” he said glancing at the paper, “goblin raiders, river pirates and the sick oak”.

Krotchet glanced around and, thinking he would offer them an easy day, decided that they would investigate the sick Oak tree.

Wandering slowly down to the common, the party breathe deep of the morning air and enjoy the feeling of being alive and well. Arriving at the tree, they glance at the ground and see that the soil and grass around the roots look normal. Examining the tree, they half expect the answer as to why it is sick to just jump out at them. Looking puzzled when no answer presents itself the group stand around, glancing at each other and waiting for someone else to take the first action.

After half an hour of silently laughing at his helpless associates, Krotchet suggests they should come back later when the market fair is on because there was nothing physically causing the problem with the tree so someone must be doing something to the tree and during the market would be the best time as there was more people around.

The party spend a lazy morning wandering around the market stalls and buying the odd trinket, questionable meat burger and lots of alcohol, Snyth noticed a man staggering around who appeared to be somewhat the worse for drinking lots of alcohol acting suspiciously around the tree, stopping and looking around furtively before wandering off only to come back 5 minutes later. Snyth pointed him out to the rest and the group wandered over.

Quailing in fear at the sight of 4 heavily armed and experienced warriors heading his way the man turned to head off but was collared by Snyth who had snuck up behind him and had his hand in the man’s jacket just as he was spotted. Quickly pulling his had away Snyth said in a menacing squeak “going somewhere?” The man stopped startled and was surrounded before he could move again.

Stuttering badly, he told them he was a rag trader who had recently arrived in Larm with his wife and children. When questioned about the tree he declared it was sick because of a curse placed on it by the gods and he was offering it some Becks Bier in order to appease the gods.

Puzzled at this response, the party let him go and as the man wandered off, walking much straighter than he had before. Krotchet, sensing there was more to him than he let on, told Rolandius and Snyth to follow him while the rest set off for Becks Brewery, thinking there might be something suspicious going on there.

Session 4 - Round and Round – Underground!

Quick catch-up

Our group of intrepid (and sometimes inept) heroes, led by the valiant, courageous and noble wizard, Krotchet, are in search of the fabled lost laboratory of the plated mage. The group have arrived at the village of Larm and, being the generous sort they are, have agreed to help out with a few local problems for a small fee. After talking to the Septa of the Church of the Revered Mother, the party are investigating the ruined Temple to the Father and, after descending into the depths of the cellars below, came face to skull with several groups of vile walking skeletons and worse. Krotchet realises the corridors are angled down into the earth, turning at right angles and getting shorter meaning the group are spiralling down and down into the unknown. After clearing one corridor of a particularly nasty group of skeletons, the party gather at the next door, holding their breath while…

Session 4

Ainesilver reaches for the handle to the door, grasping it firmly despite his sweaty palms. Pulling on handle, the door squeaks ominously which alerts the creatures inside and as Ainesilver wrestles to open the door fully, Snyth sees 4 monks get to their feet at the end of the corridor and start shambling towards them waving great silver warhammers above their heads. With a gasp, Snyth realises that these monks are covered in diseased and pock ridden skin, while green pus slowly drips from open sores all along their arms.

Ainesilver reacts quickly and slays one of the zombie monks with a single sweep, lopping the creatures head off with ease. Denagar makes a complete hash of the situation, getting the sword of Thaxton stuck in his belt then tripping over his own feet to land face first in the remains of the monk killed by Ainesilver. Rolandius steps up and kills the second one before Aleena calls upon the power of the Mother to cause the remaining monks to turn and shamble off in fear.

Denagar, Ainesilver and Rolandius pull out their bows and finish the final two off staying at a safe distance.

Examining the bodies, the party find nothing of interest except the silver warhammers which are claimed by the fighters of the group.

Advancing along the corridor, Rolandius is distracted by a fast moving humanoid figure about 3 or 4 inches high running along the corridor. He watches it run into a crack in the wall at the far end of the corridor. Curious, he bends down and peers into the crack but can not see more than a few inches into the hole.

By this time, the rest of the group have searched unsuccessfully for traps and, more importantly, treasure so they examine the door and realise, starting to get bored now, that it was no different to the last half a dozen doors they had opened since going down into the cellar.

Explaining excitedly about the tiny human, Rolandius takes his warhammer and starts tapping on the wall around the crack, trying to widen it. After a few light blows get no results, he winds back and gives a wall a mighty bash, loosening some of the surrounding bricks and mortar and, no doubt, warning ever other creature of their position. Peering into the larger hole, Rolandius is dismayed to find that the hole is merely the gap between the outer retaining wall and the wall of the corridor and is too small to venture further.

Turning back to the door, the group ready themselves, knowing that whatever was beyond already knew about them.

Throwing open the door, the group are surprised to see the four figures at the far end only just getting to their feet, as if the key to their awakening is the opening of the door rather than the noise the group are making.

Beyond the figures is a collapsed and ruined altar with a couple of benches arranged in front, like pews. Krotchet puzzles over this, wandering why there would be an altar in a corridor, before deciding it didn’t really matter if he knew why humans did it. After all, humans did many strange things.

The four figures are moving swiftly down the corridor towards the party, one waving a swords that glows with a soft blue light, illuminating their pallid, stretched skin and abnormally long fingers, ending in hooked claws.

Moving to attack, Ainesilver strikes a blow against the nearest one but it just rocks back, staggering under the might of the blow before continuing forward. Rolandius and Snyth fare no better, their blows wounding but not slaying the creatures. Denagar again proves his clumsiness by missing while Krotchet prepares a mighty spell, ready to slay the creatures. Aleena, frightened by the otherwordly appearance cowers behind Krotchet too scared to react.

With a low hiss, the creatures attack, whilst Ainesilver blocks the sword swing, he is caught off guard by creatures second swing with his other hand, the talons on the end of its fingers raking a long shallow gash across his side. Stunned, Ainesilver realises the creature has some sort of venom on its claws and he is paralysed from the blow. Rolandius and Snyth fare no better and they are paralysed as well. Denagar notices the impact of the creatures attacks and purposely dodges the sword coming at him and blocks the talon swipe.

Denagar is now on his own in the room and, looking around worriedly, he starts to back up. One of the creatures comes at him and he swings the Sword of Thaxton in a sweeping backhanded blow which smashes the creature in two, separating the top half from the bottom. Aleena comes to her senses and once more calls upon the power of the mother to smite her enemies. At first the blessing has no effect but just when she is about to doubt her faith, the remaining three figures shamble off, distracting Krotchet and causing his spell to fail just as he was about to unleash carnage and death on the creatures. Denagar and Krotchet drag the paralysed bodies of their friends out of the corridor and swing the door shut, blocking the creature’s way.

After a short break to get their breathe back, Denagar and Krotchet fall back on their tried and tested method, Krotchet opens the door while Denagar prepares his bow to shoot at one of the things.

At the touch of an arrow, one of the creatures overcomes the blessing and turns back towards our plucky heroes, stalking towards them on unsteady legs. Denagar continues to fire arrows before drawing the sword of Thaxton and cleaving it into two. He then swaps back to the bow and starts to get the attention of another creature when both of them overcome Aleena’s blessing and start down the corridor towards them. Denagar and Krotchet wound the creatures but Aleena is caught by a surprising swing and is paralyzed.

Becoming desperate, Denagar grasps a gem on his necklace and raises it whispering an arcane phrase that causes it to flare with a brilliant white light. This causes most of the creatures to back away blindly while Denagar attacks the remaining one. Knowing remaining creatures are close to death, Krotchet lowers his guard, allowing himself to be paralyzed in a “heroic and shameless display of his thirst for knowledge and experience”. Unfortunately, what he did not count on was the path of the blow, the swipe of the claw taking off the end of his snout, which the vile creature prompty stuffs into its mouth and eats!

Fortunately, Denagar finishes off Krotchet’s assailant and using a combination of the blinding light from his gem and his bow, deals with the remaining creatures and then moves his new colleagues into the corridor, barricading the door behind them so that they are safe, for now at least.

Several hours later, the paralysis wears off and the group are reunited. After a quick check that everyone is okay, the group head up the corridor and search the broken altar, finding nothing much to Snyth’s disgust while Krotchet wondered if Denagar had already searched it and pocketed any treasure, despite his claims to the contrary.

Snyth searches the door at the end of the corridor for traps while Ainesilver and Denagar searched for secret doors. All of them were unsuccessful. Taking up defensive positions, the group open the door and are surprised when the corridor in front of them is empty except for a door on the far end of the South wall.

Cautiously making their way down the corridor, Snyth checking for traps as he always said he did, the group gathered before the door. This door was unlike the others, it was smooth and featureless, made of a strange grey cold material that glowed with an otherworldly power. Above the door carved into the stone arch were strange, mysterious glyphs. With no hesitation, Krotchet translated the strange markings for the benefit of the rest of the party who would be unable to decipher such a strange and arcane language.

“Only the will of the gods can help you now,” Krotchet advised before allowing the group to discuss what this could mean.

The group had spent several minutes trying various acts or desperation and often lunacy to open the door to no success. Krotchet was just about to ask Aleena to use her divine magic to bless the door in the same manner she used to repel the undead creatures they met on their way through the cellar, when the girl thought of it by herself and raised her holy symbol, bathing it in warm light.

There was a strange “pop” sound like a balloon bursting before the door swung easily open, revealing a black void beyond, through the crack in the edge of the door.

Session 3 - More Rats in the Cellar

Written by the paw of Krotchet…..

The action picked up immediately, with the skeletons lurching to their feet and staggering to the door to attack the intruders. Ainesilver screams in panic and fires his bow wildly, the arrow bounces off the far wall then glances off the ceiling back towards him, nearly hitting him in the foot!

Aleena raises her torch and in a loud voice commands the power of the Mother to smite the unholy creatures. The skeletons cower from the holy power and shamble off towards the far corner.

Never one to miss stabbing something in the back, Snyth leaped forward drawing his sword in a long sweeping arc, severely wounding one of the skeletons. Unfortunately, this drew its ire and it turned towards Snyth, raking him with its long claw like fingers bringing him to the brink of death.

Rolandius, upset at the damage caused to his friend charges the other skeleton, cleaving it in two with his scimitar. The shards of bone exploding pierced weak spots in his armour and he started to bleed profusely.

Ainesilver steps forward and, with a deft flick of his longsword, finishes off the badly wounded skeleton attacking Snyth.

Krotchet relaxes and gently releases the magical energy he had drawn ready to smite both skeletons.

Going up to Snyth, Aleena softly intones a spell and heals him, forever earning the gratitude and unhealthy attention of the Rodian, at least until something else caught his eye.

Krotchet was surprised when he realises that the spell took so much out of Aleena that she would be unable to cast the spell again until she had rested. “these humans are such weak spellcasters” he mused to himself, wondering how he would be able to use the information in future.

Searching the room, they discover a second holy book identical to the 1st, which Aleena agreed to carry, stashing it somewhere in the robes she is wearing before Snyth can spirit it away.

Before anyone could stop him, Ainesilver opens a door at the back of the room and a great billowing cloud of black smoke pours out, choking everyone. After they had stopped coughing and spluttering, they moved up to the door and peered in.

The small room is dominated by a low stone bed, on which lay another half-elf, this one appeared to be asleep, unmoving and covered in a good inch of dust but at least still normal (or at least as normal as that damned race could be). On the floor was an empty bottle.

Overcome with curiosity, Ainesilver approached the sleeping form, presumably to check his pockets for decent treasure before Snyth did!

At Ainesilvers touch, with a startled gasp, the figure sat up and Ainesilver let out a terrified cry and fell back, landing heavily on his backside. The other one tried to leap off the bed and backed away to the far side of the room.

While he did not trust the half-elf, Krotchet could sense nothing of immediate danger and motioning Rolandius and Snyth to take up flanking positions he calmly approached the terrified figure.

“Greetings,” Krotchet said, using the common tongue, “there is nothing to be afraid of here. My name is Krotchet, what do you remember?”

Instantly realising that Krotchet was a kindly person who meant him no harm, the half elf started talking. “My name is Denagar, what happened here? What year is this?”

With a patient smile, Krotchet explained that, by the human calendar, it was Z495 on the Xannen calendar and that, 20 years ago, a group of adventurers had brought a book back to this temple. The Septon at the time had burned the book, causing a great disaster and the temple had been abandoned and the doors sealed ever since.

Denagar explains that his memory is hazy but he remembered being in Stonehell Dungeon and being attacked by a powerful sorcerer who had a magical tome. In the ensuing fight, he was badly wounded and his friends had brought him here to be healed, along with the book. The Septon explained he had been linked with the book and Denagar must be put into a deep magical slumber while the book was destroyed otherwise the pain would kill him.

Krotchet said that he was welcome to accompany them into the crypts below the temple or he could leave and, to give him credit, Denagar said that wanted to accompany them to find out what happened to his friends. Krotchet then advised that any treasure to be found was split evenly, with Snyth, Rolandius and Ainesilver each receiving 20% and the remainder to himself. Denagar smiled and said he would happily accept 20%. Krotchet realised that Denagar was clever and resolved to keep and even closer eye on him. Ainesilver and Snyth just looked blankly as normal while Rolandius, suspecting something amiss looked suspiciously at Krotchet.

Leaving the room, the party approached the next closed door, taking up defensive positions. Ainesilver opened the door carefully but it still let out a loud screech as the rusty hinges protested against the movement. Inside was a square room, lined with cupboards and shelves covered in the vestments, candles and other items normally found in a church. With a gleeful shout, Snyth starts searching for treasure, throwing the old cloth altar coverings onto the floor in disappointment. The only items deemed worth taking were three candlesticks and Krotchet wisely advised Ainesilver, Denagar and Rolandius should carry one each so as not to become encumbered.

Going to the final door, Snyth checked for traps but found nothing. Ainesilver opened the door and revealed a staircase, spiralling down into the darkness. A feeling of foreboding came over the group and Krotchet, sensing that the rest of the group were about to turn and run off, encouraged them down and pushed Snyth down the first couple of steps.

Aleena followed a few steps behind, holding the torch high so that Snyth could check for traps as he descended while Ainesilver followed close behind, ready to dash forward if Snyth got into trouble. Krotchet and Rolandius followed a few steps behind and Denagar bringing up the rear.

The staircase ended in a room, approximately 20’ feet square with a pile of rubble in the South east corner and door in the North wall.

Snyth examined the rubble and said it looked like something had burrowed in but then the tunnel had collapsed, a quick search revealed the skull of a giant rat.

With Rolandius and Denagar taking up defensive position, Ainesilver opened the door, revealing a long narrow room, approximately 70 feet long and as wide as the room. Along the walls hung a number of tapestries too faded to make out what was once on them and partially moth-eaten.

Ever since he has descended the stairs, Krotchet had felt some powerful magic nearby and the feeling intensified when the door was opened and Krotchet realised whatever the item was, it was close.
Making his way slowly down the corridor, Snyth searched for traps. Successfully deciding there weren’t any.

Krotchet felt the magical item in the west wall and, assuming that Denagar would be as useless at finding secret doors as Ainesilver asked Denagar if he would search the West wall while Ainesilver searched the East. Krotchet could then triumphantly find the hidden alcove, embarrassing Denagar and obtaining the item himself.

With a triumphant “Ah-ha!” Denagar pulled down a tapestry and slid a wall panel aside to reveal a hidden alcove. Silently cursing him, Krotchet commended him on his skill and advised him to be careful as whatever was in there was powerful. Denagar, heeding Krotchet’s wise words, carefully pulled out a long object wrapped in a purple velvet cloth.

Carefully unwrapping the cloth, Denagar revealed a longsword still bright and sharp after its long years of disuse, written along the blade were the words “The Sword of Thaxon” in an ancient script that Krotchet translated with ease. Upon speaking the words, the sword glowed blue and hummed with barely contained power.

Wracking his memory, Krotchet realised this was a magical blade of slaying which would cause extra harm to creatures it hit, and, depending on who wielded it, would help them fight. Unfortunately Aleena found the same information in one of the Holy Books she was reading and pointed it out before Krotchet could impress them with his knowledge.

At that moment, the door at the far end of the corridor was smashed open as two giant rats burst through it and bounded towards the party.

Snyth, the closest to them realises he is unprepared for combat so leaps up a nearby tapestry out of their reach. Ainesilver quickly brings up his crossbow but does not have the time to aim and so misses. Rolandius steps forward and by the light of his torch realises that they are re-animated zombie rats! Thrusting his torch towards one, he sets it on fire while Denagar shoots at the other with his bow, catching it in the flank, slowing its approach.

Dropping down behind them, Snyth pulls his sword out and stabs it through the skull. Rolandius pushes the two corpses together and drops his torch on them, making sure their remains are destroyed.

Recovering their wits, the group move up to the door set in the east wall, bending down, Denagar looks through the hole in the bottom and sees another corridor like this one but at right angles and at the far end four kneeling figures, facing each other.

The group proceed slowly up the corridor, Snyth hugs one wall, trying to keep in the shadows but manages to knock one of the tapestries off the wall. The resulting clatter attracts the attention of the kneeling figures, who get to their feet and charge at the group, their robes falling open to reveal skeletal bodies.

Ainesilver readies his aim and his arrow flies true, striking one of the figures through an eye socket but the magically animated corpse kept coming. Denagar and Rolandius also starting firing, and wound the others before Ainesilver fires another arrow and the first figure falls to the floor, dead again. The three then drop their bows as the rest are too close and prepare for combat.

Sensing the greatest threat, 2 of the skeletons move towards Krotchet but he easily avoids their slow attacks while the other attacks Snyth but misses. Snyth quickly recovers and kills one while Denagar says “The Sword of Thaxon” out loud, his sword blazing with a holy blue light and he and Ainesilver kill the remaining two.

Proceeding down the corridor, the group check for traps and secret doors to no avail and then gather round the door in what was becoming a very familiar pose. Trying the door to see if it is unlocked the handle gives a loud rusted creak which echoes around the party. Smiling apologetically Snyth explains that the door is open and steps back as Ainesilver reaches for the door handle.

Ainesilver opens the door to find 8 skeletons charging down towards them, alerted to their presence by the creaking handle. Again Denagar steps forward shoulder to shoulder with his half-elven kin and swings his magical sword through the air, knocking the heads off the two closest. Aleena then calls on the power of the mother and scares the skeletons off, allowing the group to slowly pick the remaining skeletons off one-by-one.

Advancing up the corridor, Krotchet cleverly realises that the door in front obviously leads to a staircase down as, otherwise, they would be back where they had started as they had travelled around in a square.

The group prepared them selves while Ainesilver went to open the door…..

Session 2 – The Temple and the Madman

Brief introduction since last session.

After Ainesilver was purged of the poison by the healing magic of the Mother, the party were asked to rest and recover their strength before returning to the Sept to discuss their forthcoming efforts to enter and clear the old abandoned Sept in the centre of town. The party have spent a week in Larm, recovering from their brush with the giant rats and centipedes below Nantwin’s Mill.

From their rooms at the Borderland Tavern they have observed the town of Larm throughout a typical working week. During the week, each of them has uncovered a rumour or piece of information about Larm and its environment. For example Snyth overheard a conversation in the market place which suggested that the old hermit that lives in the cave over the river is actually undead.

The party are due to speak with Ansbert – Septa of the Wise Mother. It is also market day and many of the townsfolk are busying themselves carting their wares to the market square and setting up stalls to sell to any who will buy.

After rising with the sun, you find yourselves sat around a large rough wooden table in the Borderland, whilst Haldo belts out a rendition of a bawdy song entitled “The maid and the marrow” and prepares your breakfast in the good-natured atmosphere with the delicious smell of honey waffles and strong fresh spiced Kaff wafting through the room.

Being an account written by Krotchet.

After breakfast at the Borderland Tavern, the party sets off to the market to see about procuring some more equipment. Hanging back, Krotchet grabs Snyth by the arm and, trying to sound menacing, warns Snyth that he is watching and that if Snyth tries to steal anything that there would be trouble. Snyth reluctantly agrees but Krotchet, noticing the look in his eyes, was not so sure.

At the rather deserted marketplace, the party stops at Reimbod’s stall, after much haggling Krotchet finally agrees to purchase two sets of torches and distributes them among the rest of the party as he needs to be unencumbered to use his powerful magic. Snyth buys some rope and, while agreeing it could be useful Krotchet wonders what else Snyth plans to use it for! Reimbod then tries to sell the party a ten foot pole, which he said was very useful for adventurers.
Krotchet, being the smart wizard, knew how useful it could be but puzzled over how they would carry it. Ainesilver had the smart idea of breaking it in half as it would be easier to carry two 5 foot poles. Krotchet just looked at him, shook his head in bewilderment, then said it was time to leave.
After a quick stop at Wulff’s Arms & Armour where Rolandius stocks up on bolts and Krotchet buys more throwing daggers the party head off to the Church of the Mother to speak to Septa Ansbert.

As the party arrive at the temple, a service had just finished and the villagers were making their way out and down to the marketplace. Septa Ansbert sees them coming and chides them for not attending the service. Ever the diplomat, Krotchet explains that Rodians follow the White Rat, Skor, and his battles over the Black Rat rather than the 7 faced god the humans follow. Krotchet jokes that a god having 7 faces was much too confusing for poor Rodians such as themselves. Septa Ansbert, looking pleased at Krotchet’s response, invites the party into the temple to discuss the matter at hand.

The Septa explained that the Temple of the Father Thaxon had been abandoned about 20 years ago after a great disaster, although she did not know what that disaster was. Rolandius, being the smart Rodian that he was, explained that he had heard that the crazy hermit who lived over the river was a crazy wizard who showed up after the disaster and asked whether it would be worth talking to him.
Septa Ansbert laughed and said that the “crazy old hermit” was in fact Erkmar, the Septon of the temple when the disaster happened and that whatever had happened had destroyed his mind. Snyth, probably sensing a great treasure or opportunity, was keen to find out what happened.

The Septa explained that it had been like any normal day until a group of adventurers had come into Larm after surviving Stonehell Dungeon and had found something there which they took to Septa Erkmar in the temple. Shortly afterwards great billowing clouds of black smoke had poured out of the temple and then Septa Erkmar had staggered out, slammed the doors shut, barred them and then ran as if the Stranger himself was following.

Ainesilver, looking out for himself, asked if Erkmar was dangerous. The Septa explained that no-one in Larm had much to do with him and he never came into the village but she did not think he was dangerous. Those who had seen him had only mentioned that he babbled incoherent nonsense constantly.

Thanking the Septa for her help, Krotchet said they would be back later to speak to her. “For you, anytime,” she said, smiling at the smart, kind Krotchet. Feeling slightly hungry, the party then called at Guiscard’s Baked Goods and picked up some bread and freshly made macaroons before heading down to the wharf to get a boat to take them across the river. While chatting to the boatman about the people in Larm, he mentioned that Withold was a retired adventurer. Hearing this, Snyth’s ears pricked up and he asked where the man lived. After been told the location Krotchet resolved to remind Snyth about his agreement. After all, everyone knew that there are only two ways for an adventurer to retire – death or glory. As he obviously was not dead (yet!) then he must have glory and Snyth would not be able to resist without a little persuasion.

Landing on the far bank, Krotchet directed Rolandius to keep a safe distance as he did not want him to risk injury again while Ainesilver could do what he wanted. Snyth and Krotchet went up to the cave. Shouting his name to avoid surprising him, Snyth approached cautiously with Krotchet slightly behind.

As they neared the cave an old man leapt out at them waving his arms around, his long matted hair buzzing with insects. Holding a loaf of bread out, Snyth asked if he was Erkmar. The old man replied he was and that it was all his fault. While Krotchet agreed that it probably was Snyth’s fault, he kept quiet. Snyth had many faults (although not as many as that half-elf Ainesilver) but he did have the gift of the tongue and had charmed many women out of their jewellery and their clothes (usually in that order!).

The old man was going on and on, spouting rubbish like how it was his fault and that it all spirals in and the stone protects the faithful. There were dead lions and terrible choking smoke while the guardian protected the faithful and the filthy book was a trap. Snyth cajoled and consoled the old man and gave him another loaf of bread. Touched by his kindness, the old man gave Snyth two precious pebbles from the temple.

Barely hiding his disgust, Snyth thanked the man and asked if there was anything else he had from the temple. After some deliberation, the old man pulled a battered worn filthy pouch from somewhere Krotchet did not want to think of and gave it to Snyth. Gingerly opening the pouch, Snyth pulled out a piece of cord, on the end of which was a brass symbol of a set of scales. Reminding them that they shouldn’t burn the book as it was the smoke that killed them all, the old man shuffled off into the cave and Snyth and Krotchet made their way back to the others.

Snyth went to throw away the stones and symbol but Krotchet, understanding their power stopped him and took the pebbles, advising Snyth to wear the necklace. Snyth pulled a face but knew that Krotchet was very smart and that Snyth should do as he was told by his superiors. After telling Rolandius and Ainesilver what the old man had said, the party re-crossed the river. Krotchet pulled Rolandius aside and gave him the other pebble, advising him to keep it safe.

The party then went to see Withold but he was not home, before Snyth got any ideas Krotchet led the party to Kjeld’s house. Kjeld was a retired stone mason who had built the Temple to the Father and could give vital clues to the disaster. As they approached his house, they saw an old woman, presumably his wife, outside mending a tablecloth. Snyth, turning on the charm even though the woman must have been 80, spent five minutes admiring the tablecloth and asking the woman about it. Probably wondering how much he could sell it for, Krotchet wondered to himself. Getting fed up of Snyth procrastinating, Krotchet asked about the temple. The old woman replied that it had been abandoned about 20 years after a great disaster, a fire or some such and then shouted for her husband.

Kjeld came out and he was a hulk of a man despite his age. Asked about the temple, Kjeld said that it was the most unusual design he had worked on as there was the main room with a couple of side rooms as you would expect but then the back rooms all spiralled down into the earth before ending in a crypt. However as he had only done the basic stonework before the church brought in some dwarves for some more specialist work he could give them no more information.

Thanking him for his time, the party made their way back to Septa Ansbert to update her on what they had found out. After a brief chat to update her, Krotchet asked about the old oak and if there was any correlation between the two events, although he knew there was not, he asked so that the others knew it as well. The Septa explained that the tree had suddenly started to sicken recently and while they had tried prayers and what cures they knew they had had no effect. The Septa then gave the party two healing potions, Krotchet gave one to Rolandius as he would be the one in most danger and kept the other, arguing that as he could heal the others with magic he needed it to ensure he was well enough to heal them.

The Septa then waved her hand and a young maiden came forward. Krotchet noticing how both Snyth and Ainesilver looked at the girl resolved to keep her safe from harm no matter the cost to himself. Septa Ansbert explained that girl, Acolyte Aleena, would accompany the party as she was of an age where her faith in the Mother must be tested if she was stay in service at the temple. Krotchet said that it would not be a problem and that she would come to no harm. Touched by his caring nature, the Septa then gave Krotchet two vials of holy water, for the generous donation of 2 gold pieces, one of which he allowed Rolandius to carry.

Krotchet then asked about the design of the temples of the seven and if they all followed the same design. Septa Ansbert hesitated before starting to speak then stopped and paused for several seconds. She finally said that all the temples were of individual design and that it was down to the whim of the designer at the time the church commissioned a new temple.

In a rare display of idiocy, Rolandius then threatened the holy Septa and said that if she had been lying about not knowing anything else then there would be trouble and Acolyte Aleena would pay the price! Septa Ansbert merely looked down at Rolandius and smiled explaining that they were surrounded by town militia and that she was unconcerned by the petty threats of a sword carrying mouse. Krotchet looked aghast, shaking his head in amazement before hustling the party out.

Although it was getting close to evening, Snyth convinced everyone to go see Withold again. As the party neared his home they could see he was now home, Krotchet heard Snyth cursing under his breath and smiled, this was one house that was safe, at least for now.

Knocking on the door, they introduced themselves to Withold, who explained that he had had enough of adventuring and had retired to Larm to live in peace. He could not help them with the temple as he had not been around when the disaster happened and he was too old to go with them. Asking for advice, he told Rolandius to always check the corners. As they left, Snyth said that they should take Withold out for a drink to celebrate his success but that he was too tired so was going to turn in for the night. Recognising the lies, Krotchet overruled him and said it was time to investigate the temple.

All the way up the hill, the snivelling coward Ainesilver kept saying how they should wait until morning and that they shouldn’t go in the dark. Krotchet, fed up of his whining that was scaring the girl said that they would only look around the outside before going back to the tavern for the night.

At the temple, the found the huge wooden door barred from the outside and all the windows blackened with smoke. In a display of power, Krotchet placed his paw on the door and whispering words of ancient power tried to sense whether there was anything within. Pulling his paw away, he said that there was an ancient evil inside but nothing of any immediate danger.

Snyth scampered away and nimbly climbed up the wall, pausing to try and look in the windows, which were blackened from the inside, before carrying on up and onto the roof. Krotchet shouted up to ask what he saw and Snyth replied that the roof was flat with no way in before clambering back down. Krotchet indicated that Rolandius should prepare himself while Snyth and Ainesilver opened the door.

Levering the beam away, the door slowly creaked open and a dark heavy black smoke rolled out, momentarily blinding the party before dissipating in the night air. By the light of the torch held by Aleena, the party could make out a large room with a few rows of pews stretching away into the dark interior.

Snyth, taking the initiative slipped into the doorway and crept away into the blackness. Giving him a few moments to move far enough so the light would not pick him out, Krotchet and Aleena walked down the aisle between the pews, Krotchet leaning on his staff and tapping his way down while Rolandius and Ainesilver checked the room. The room itself was shaped like a cross, with an altar at the Southern end and rows of pews stretching back to the door in the North wall through which the party had entered. There were four doors out.

Ainesilver displayed his cowardice again by insisting that the party leave and come back in the day. Ignoring him, the rest of the party had a short discussion, before going to the closest door and kept quiet while Snyth listened to see if there was anything inside. Deciding there wasn’t, the party opened the door and found a small room, deserted except for two chairs, on one there was a huge book.

Snyth, sensing treasure, scampered in and grabbed the book. On the faded cover was the symbol of Thaxon the father, a silver chalice. Flicking through it, Snyth realised it was a book on the Rules and Regulations for Clerics of Thaxon. About to throw it away in disgust, Aleena stopped him and said it was a Book of Thaxon and would be a worthy treasure to take back to Septa Ansbert. At the talk of treasure, Snyth agreed although he reminded the girl that it was him who had found the book so it should be him that receives the reward. Aleena smiled at him and agreed.

Again, Ainesilver wanted to leave but was overruled. The party then moved on the next door. Opening it they found the room was laid out exactly the same as the last with two chairs and no other furniture. However this time there were skeletons on the chairs, frozen in the act of confessional and locked that way for years. As the door swung open fully, the skulls turned to face the party and the skeletons stumbled to their feet, lurching towards the party while Ainesilver screamed they should have listened to him!

Session 1 - Theres a Rat in my Cellar ….. What am I gonna do!?

Snyth – a long term friend of Rolandius and an acquaintance of AineSilver found himself on an adventure with Krotchet, who was searching for the legendary “Lost Laboratory of the Plated Mage”. Recruiting Rolandius and Ainesilver to the venture the four of them followed Krotchets recently acquired map and travelled from the Rodian island of Suhl to the Duchy of Valnwall, landing at the duchy’s capital city, Dolmvay before taking passage on a riverboat and heading up the river Dolm to the village of Larm. After a number of days heading upstream into the hills, with the mountains drawing ever closer, the riverboat arrived at the village of Larm, encircled with a wooden palisade. Mooring at one of the four landings, the adventurers alighted close to a watermill, next to an old and sickly looking oak tree, making themselves scarce as the captain began to unload supplies he was delivering to the village. Spotting a nearby notice pinned to a wall, the party pulled it down and read it out, finding it to be a proclamation offering payment for assistance with problems around Larm.

Krotchet decided to indulge one of his pastimes, knife juggling, failing to impress the local children whilst the others headed over to a large square building. Entering they were greeted by a middle aged human male with a wide smile, who introduced himself as Trademaster Osmund. It transpired that he was paid by the administration in Dolmvay to keep track of all trade in Larm. Enquiring as to their business, the party explained that they were looking for adventure and that they were following a map. Describing roughly where they were heading, Osmund suggested that it sounded like it was in the area of the infamous Stonehell Dungeon.

Seeing the notice in their hand, he gave them directions to the Mayors house and told them that the Mayor was looking for help with a number of local issues and that they might be able to earn some gold, whilst helping the people of Larm in the bargain. He also directed them to the Borderland Tavern, where they could find lodgings whilst in town.

Heading there next they found yet another copy of the mayoral proclamation nailed to the door of the tavern. Entering they found a rotund halfling by the name of Haldo Bramwise polishing a flagon behind the bar whilst his wife, Darby swept the floor. Buying a round of drinks, a powerful tasty brew known as “Beckes Beer”, the party took a group room for Ainesilver, Snyth and Rolandius and a private room for Krotchet. Asking questions about their map, they explained that they were seeking adventure and that Trademaster Osmund had suggested that it might be at the same site as Stonehell Dungeon. Haldo explained that a number of adventurers had come through Larm heading for Stonehell. Many of them had not come back to town, but a couple that had retired here and might be able to tell them more. They were Dagolas the Fletcher and Withold a Woodcarver. Haldo gave them directions to find them.

Visiting the Mayor next they met Caius Rusticus, a thin middle aged human male in mayoral robes who welcomed them to Larm and filled them in on the various issues that the town was currently facing:-

  • The sickly oak that they saw when they arrived is known as the Olde Oak, and is symbolic of the community spirit that the people of Larm are so proud of. A lot of villagers believe that a catastrophe will occur that will destroy Larm if the tree ever dies. Lately it has started ailing and wilting and no-one knows why.
  • The baker has a problem with rats in his mill and has been unable to produce flour for 3 days. Guiskard the baker is running out of flour to make bread.
  • A tribe of Goblins has plagued Larm for many years and recently Commander Arbogast got word of a small goblin gang that was preying on dwarven caravans has set up camp nearby.
  • The old Sept to Father Thaxon in town is rumoured to be haunted by undead and Septon Ansbert at the Sept of the Mother is seeking help with clearing it out.
  • River pirates have become a big problem of late and a number of river captains have reported skirmishes with them recently.
  • A local shopkeeper Dankmar who runs one of the two general stores in town is repeatedly getting his warehouse robbed during the night.

Thanking the mayor, the group decided that they should investigate the mill before leaving town. Heading over to the watermill they approached it cautiously. Peering through the window they saw see a muscular young man, sweeping the floor in a large open room. Scouting out the perimeter, they eventually knocked on the door and the young man came to the door, introducing himself as Nantwin the Miller.

Initially shocked at the appearance of the three rodians due to their ratlike anatomy, he gathered himself and explained that giant rats had infested the two rooms in his cellar where he kept his flour and that he needed help clearing them out. He also added somewhat shame faced that that Thorkell, Dankmar’s apprentice, tried to help him three days ago, but Nantwin heard screams and Thorkell hasn’t been seen since. Nantwin was too afraid to open the door and find out exactly what had happened. The party explained that the Mayor had sent them to clear them out and they asked him if he could pay them a bonus for helping him out. Although he has no money as he hadn’t been able to sell any flour for days, he offered to broker a deal giving them “as much bread as they can eat, whenever they are in town”. The party accepted and Nantwin nervously wandered off to give them “space to work” and broker a deal with Guiskard.

Drawing their weapons and lighting a torch, the party headed into the mill. Stairs lead both upstairs and down to the cellar and despite the fact that Nantwin has told them that the rats are in the cellar, the party decided to “check out” upstairs first. The party headed up the stairs and found that the hall at the top of the stairs was completely empty, and they couldn’t even see a speck of dust. Nantwin must be a highly organized man. One thing was for sure though: the mill’s interior could have done with a woman’s decorative touch!

Opening a door they found a Bedroom, with a small mattress in the southeast corner. An open book was lying next to it, as well as three candles and a tinderbox. Apart from that the room was empty. The book dealt with the fauna of the Dolmvay region. Snyth insisted on taking everything. Another door opened into a small library containing a shelf with 20 books on it. Ten of the books dealt with chess, eight with the animals of the Dolmvay region, and two with the history of Larm. From the latter two books the party learned that:

– Larm was founded 42 years ago by the father of Caius Rusticus’ the current mayor.
– The first Sept in Larm was a Sept to the Thaxon the Father, god of Nobility and Justice.
– Something terrible happened at the Sept thirty years ago and it was abandoned immediately.
– The rumoured guardian of the Sept can only be killed by magic.
– Thaxon’s holy symbol can help you pass the guardian.

Snyth tore these pages out of the history books and stuffed them in his pack, replacing the book on the shelf. The last room upstairs held a table in the middle with two chairs. The two chairs were facing each other. On the table was a chess board with chess pieces in the starting position.

Heading back downstairs, the brave adventurers descended the cellar stairs into a storage room with 3 doors. This room appeared to be empty, but close inspection however, revealed some scattered grains of wheat. This room was presumably the only storage room Nantwin had access to during the past few days and it was now empty.
Opening one door, the party found a room filled with empty sacks, approximately 70 in total of various sizes and a second door led to yet another empty room.

However, Snyth’s keen ears picked out the telltale squeak and scurry of large rats from the final door and the party spread out with weapons drawn. The door was thrown open and in the flickering light of the torch, the party saw many big round eyes staring unblinkingly at them. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light, they saw six rats as big as large dogs. Sacks with grain were stacked to the ceiling. A trail of blood led to a door in the opposite wall. The giant rats were very hungry and attacked immediately.

With bow and blade, the party battled the giant rats, who proved a vicious and cunning enemy, Rolandius alone killed three of the number, but was badly wounded in the melee and forced to fight whilst withdrawing. Snyth and Ainesilver intercepted his attackers and each killed another rat before the final creature routed and dashed out of sight up the stairs.

Nursing their wounds, the party cleaned their weapons and then followed the trail of blood to the door at the rear of the rat room. Steeling themselves for combat and with Snyth mumbling warnings about rabid humans and “taking a defensive position” behind the door, Ainesilver opened it. A stench billowed out of the room and the party were shocked by the sight of a dead and partly eaten corpse which must be the merchant’s apprentice who tried to help Nantwin. In the far corner, where some water from the river has been leaking into the cellar, they spotted sudden movement and made out the silhouettes of three rapidly moving, very long, worm-like beasts with legs. Their antennae twitched in anticipation as they caught scent of Ainesilver and bowled forward to attack. These three giant centipedes, for that is what they were when they entered the ring of torchlight, proved voracious predators and attacked as fast as they could.

Before he could react, two of the creatures lashed out at Ainesilver with their wicked jaws. One of them finding a gap in his armour, bit deep, releasing a highly toxic poison into the startled half elf. The third centipede was pinned to the floor with a crossbow bolt from Rolandius. The poison of the centipede made Ainesilver violently ill and weak and he found himself at the mercy of the nasty insects. They bit and tore at him, but his sturdy leather armour this time saved his life. Lashing out weakly with his sword he still managed to wound one of the creatures, whilst Rolandius finished off the other with a thrust of his scimitar. Finally Krotchet pulled his dagger and darted forwards, sinking it into the final wounded insect and finishing it off.

Rolandius sheathed his weapons and helped Ainesilver stand as the poisoned half-elf was vomiting hard and was weak as a kitten. Snyth emerged from his “defensive position” and searched the apprentice, Thorkell who only had a knife as a weapon, with nothing else on his body. Realising that one rat ran away, the party limped upstairs to fight it, but found that the creature had smashed out a window and fled.

Heading back into town, Krotchet and Snyth went to get the 100gp from the Mayor, whilst Rolandius took Ainesilver to the Sept of the Wise Mother to see if they could heal him. They were met by Septa Ansbert, head of the church, who explained that she could cure his poison with a particularly expensive scroll that they owned, but that she would expect them to clear out the Sept of Thaxon the Father in return. Having little option, they accepted and the Septas of the Mother set to work, purging the centipede poison from his body with healing magic.

In the meantime Krotchet and Snyth had received the payment, but decided to steal 40gp from the money and split it between them, saying that the Mayor had refused to give them the full 100gp as a rat had escaped. When Rolandius and Ainesilver heard this they were quite understandably upset and Rolandius pointed out that most of what had died today had died by his hand. Krotchet agreed with him and gave him 10GP’s of “His money” to compensate him and then further offered to return to the Major and demand the remaining funds.


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