GM: Jim Dugger
Players: Mark Daymude (Mitsu the Monk)
Chris Kludy (Ventros, Priest of St. Cuthbert)
Rachel Sandrock (Anya the Elven Wizard, Bull the half-orc Barbarian)
Jim Davenport (Dibly the Rogue, Log Writer)
Mike Steiner (Bull the half-orc Barbarian)
"Two halves... of two rats..." - trying to figure out how many rat-halves were left over after Bull was done chopping a couple dead. "The Law of Conservation of Rats applies..." - Chris.
Dibly rolls a 28! on his search. "You feel all searchious!" - Rachel. "You find nothing." - GM.
Stinking butt ghouls
Ventros looking at a wounded party member, "He probably deserved it." Dibly: "I hate neutral clerics."
Dibly: Shall we take the north, east, or south passage? Bull: Northeast.
Ventros: "I think I have ghoulstones!"
Dibly: "Ratmen need surprise!"
Bull the Oracle: "I think I'm going down. I can foresee it." (followed quickly by Bull falling beneath the blows of his enemies.
Rachel to GM: "What's going on down there?"
Now Showing: Kill Bull, Part II (aka Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Volume Two)
June 10, 2265 Old Empire
"With Turasoq to guide us, we are optimistic about our chances with the Lost City. We will be better prepared, and with luck, we'll unlock some secrets there." – Dibly Grissom
Could have been famous last words, but luckily it wasn't for Dibly and his companions. Sure they spent days before venturing out perparing and equipping, finding just the right great-axe and chain shirt to replace the ones their half-orc, Bull, lost in the tombs. But they didn't get much smarter tactically. But I get ahead of myself.
I met Dibly Grissom and his friends in the infamous common room of the King's Road tavern. Dibly was making subtle inquiries about legends and lore of the area, something I pride myself on being a sort of authority on. When we sat down together, he quickly began talking of a lost city in the hobgoblin hills, someplace called Barakus. Couldn't tell me where he'd heard the name, just that there appeared to be no record of it in the Wizard's Academy.
About all I could say is that I'd never heard of a Lost City in the hills north of the forest, but I suppose that's why they call them lost now isn't it. The name Barakus seemed vaguely familiar, though for the life of me, I could not and still cannot recall how.
I must admit that I wasn't a help to Dibly, but we did get to talking and sharing a pint or two. He told me the tales of their previous adventures this spring. Between the roving creatures of the woodlands, the walking dead, and the feral tribes of the hills, they'd had themselves quite a time. Even though he'd only come from his home village a few months before, the naivete of the farmer had already worn off young Grissom.
He said that the elven lady I'd seen from time to time in the King's Road had become a sort of patron for the group, using her foreign magics to save two of their lives already. Dibly was obviously smitten with her and I didn't have the heart to tell him that elves usually saw the emotions and urgency of men as amusing at best. I just hope he doesn't spend too much time vainly trying to win her affections.
Dibs had asked me to join them on their next foray into the wilderness but I found it easy to decline. There is more gray in my beard than black and sleeping on the cold, wet ground isn't worth the effort with my joint aches. He did promise to return with a tale, which he did. For my part, I promised to scribe his story for the ages.
While they were gone, I read the scrolls Dibly had written already. The boy might want to spend some time at the Bardic College of Wishkere. He has a nice turn of phrase from time to time, and clear hand-writing.
I read of their battles with bandits, the attacks by forest monsters, and their exploration of an elaborate tomb in the hills. This last part I found the most intriguing. I don't know any reason for a tomb as large and as extensive as he described to be lying beneath the scrub hills of the feral tribes. Perhaps there is something to this "lost city".
When Dibly and his friends returned, they were moody. It seems that they narrowly cheated death once again and weren't pleased that they keep putting themselves into bad situations. I gathered them around a table, ordered them hot food and cold ale, before asking them to tell me what had happened.
"The ride north was not eventful. And riding horses is so much better than walking," said Dibly with a grin. "Better vision, faster clip, though I need to find myself one that is a little less bony." He rubbed his rump and winced.
"We got back to the tombs we'd explored and that's when Turasoq began to walk off into the underbrush. We followed carefully. Some time later, we discovered that she was following the faint path of an ancient road, one that led from the tombs to another entrance to the underworld. The new entrance was a root-choked, over-grown cave entrance. If you didn't know where to look, you could stand five feet away and never see it.
"We pulled apart the roots and uncovered the remains of two double doors that had been broken down, likely by a ram. Orcish totems lined the entry and a scrawl had been made above the doors." Dibly looked to Bull.
"Shemul krem, ka-karok peth," he spat in Orcish. "Tread not or be crushed."
"This did not deter us, especially as everything looked quite old and show no sign of being disturbed for years," continued Dibly. "We moved into the cave using a magicked pendant for light. I found no traps waiting to crush us and began moving down the cave."
"I'm still not sure where the little bastards ran out of, but three rats the size of Bezzini Hounds attacked us. One bit me before Mitsu and Bull slew them."
"Luckily the wound was not deep," commented Ventros. "With the diseased look of the creature, we were concerned the Dibly might have envenomed with their sickness."
"Looking around we found the rats' last victim, the corpse of a goblin." Dibly paused and pulled out a rusty but ornate dagger and a gold earring from the party loot pouch. "This was all that was left on the poor bastard."
"He probably deserved it," muttered Ventros.
"We soon entered a complex of caves filled with all manner of monsters. While searching the first room, I was ambushed by the walking dead," said Dibly with disgust. His string of luck in the ruin was nothing to brag about. "I missed it with my rapier and it bit me. Foul, stinking creature!"
"Being close to dead, it didn't take long to finish the creature off. An arrow from me and a chop from Bull and the creature expired," added Anya.
"I started to feel the wound burn and I knew the bastard had infected me. Our one stroke of amazing luck came next when we found a nearby chest with a potion to cure diseases within it!" said Dibly, still stunned at the find. "The wound settled down after I drank that."
Ventros lifts a heavy flail hanging from his belt. "We found this little beauty there too."
"Yes, as well as a few coins and some jewelry," finished Dibly. Another round of ale came as well as a platter of honey cakes which everyone ate happily.
"After that we pushed onward, eastward in the caverns. Near the opening to the next chamber, I discovered and was able to disable a tripwire that would have set off bells. In the chamber beyond, we found a truly foul lair littered with bones and shit. It was a large cavern but Bull was able to spot a stone throne resting near the far wall and some large creature standing mostly behind it.
"This was our first chance to act instead of react. Ventros cast light upon a stone and hurled it across the room. It lit up an ugly brute, twice as big as any of us, except maybe Bull," said Dibly, nodding to the half-orc who grinned and puffed his muscle-bound chest with pride. "He was a smart one, using the stone throne to hide behind and with heavy javelins within reach."
"We used his moment of surprise to charge him. Bull got there first, hacking the beast with his axe. Mitsu followed him and Ventros ran to attack the brute from the other side of the throne. Anya and I maneuvered to get in a good shot with our bows."
"Hid in back is more like it," muttered Mitsu, but Dibly pointedly ignored him.
"As they fought, I watched an unexplored tunnel for more foes. Bull, Ventros, and Mitsu all fought bravely and it was a fierce blow from Mitsu's fist that killed the creature."
"The monster was a guard of some sort as all he had with him was his weapons. Since he appeared to be guarding the eastern tunnel we began to explore it.
Dibly paused to refresh his throat with some cold as the others picked through the remains of a second tray of honey cakes.
"And this is where we got ourselves into trouble. A few twists and turns down the cavern and we ran into a split of the tunnel and two smaller guards, hideous half-men, half-rats."
"Ratmen," supplied Ventros.
"Right, Ratmen," continued Dibly. "We were more surprised than they were, giving them the change to hightail it down the southern passage. Bull charged after them blindly."
"Apparently, the lessons of the tomb haven't sunk into our mighty friend here," added Mitsu good-naturedly as he patted Bull's shoulder.
"That's about right," agreed the rogue. "He ran ahead of us into the darkness and was ambushed by a horde of the ratmen. We followed as quick as we could. Anya sent magic fire, Mitsu and Ventros waded into melee."
"I'll admit, I was afraid to push into the melee in a narrow hallway and left the first few moments to the hands of my more deadly friends. But I joined in when I found an opening. Not long after that I was knocked out by the spell of a ratman shaman of some sort."
"But Bull fell under their many sharp scimitars. Anya cast an arcane web across the bulk of them, giving Ventros enough time to heal Bull and pull him free of the web. Mitsu showed off a bit, disarming ratmen left and right, leaving them to flee from him.
"Once Bull was freed, healed and awakened, the ratman shaman let loose a terrible cry that left the hardiest of us trembling in fear. Bull had seen enough and ran away from the shaman and the rest of the battle. We ran as quick as we could behind him."
"We were lucky that the ratmen didn't pursue us. The same luck held that let us ride back here safely to regroup and think about how we were doing this."
Mitsu spoke, "Yes, twice we've gotten in over our heads, and escaped with our lives only by the grace of our enemies who chose not to pursue us. Twice, Bull has charged into a stronger enemy's lair and either gotten killed or nearly. We need better plans and better discipline."
I sat back and let them discuss how they wanted to change their methods. Eventually they turned to me for advice from my many years adventuring.
"If you're going to get surrounded, do it all together. And play to your strengths, they're all you have out there. And Dibly, weren't you going to buy me another ale?"