Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 6.1

Chapter 6 - Parte 1 - Sweeping the Deeps

The Inverted Ziggurat
Something Ancient
Stone Sentinels and Dwarven Hospitality
The Great Tear
Lord of the Sahuagin
  • Bard hobnobs with the Lord
  • Party in cage
  • Ulrich gives hassle to the orks
  • Lightning spells under water does not do work (only differently).
Team Sacrifice
  • Party thrown to the sharks but not before
  • Korbin rolls natural 20 to remove guard's weapons' belt on way into pool
  • Ulrich takes some with him
  • Tik blasts them into the water
  • KC steals dagger and kills the guard with it (Natural 20)
  • Bard does a 10/10 swan dive into pool
  • Tekcos does a belly buttock flop into the pool after a cool 'Dive then Teleport Away' plan goes "belly up". 8-)
The Sub
  • Certain party members get in sub
  • Tik, KC, Korbin + Hobbit collective shut out
  • Sharks killed. KC kills an ork as well
  • Keemor considers recharging the subs failed power cells via the sub-console - but under watch
Urza Jaddo
  • Meet dwarf in stasis field
  • Gives us some stuff.
  • Removes anti-magic rune from KC
The Ragnarok Engine
  • Background explained
Korbin's Collective
  • Korbin takes control of his hobbits
Retrieving the fuel a.k.a. let's go shopping
  • Bypass some robots by swimming over them
  • Lots of shopping
  • Ulrich has remote control for robot, now called ?
Retrieving the ring or who let this lunatic drive?
  • Go and get ring
  • Ulrich runs over party and Paladin … twice.
  • Sahuagin and Bigby's Icy Grasp get on small sub.  Bigby enforces strict door policy
  • KC blasts them out (plus various party members)
The Collective know where the other Artefacts are
  • Now they tell us!
  • We find lots of hobbits there
Let's conquer Iuz my precious
  • Party members possessed by items
  • Keemor puts them to sleep and then fog descends
  • Explosion in fog
  • Oldie gnome and hobbit dies. Bard drops Sword
  • Tik gathers all the items
  • Keemor just has to hold Sceptre so gets possessed.
  • KC distracts Keemor while Tik removes Sceptre
  • Much shouting by Paladin
Ramming speed if you please boson von Himmler

  • Party insult Sahuagin so they follow us to assault floating town.
  • We have fun shooting it up and ramming
  • 'chain moving ability : not good'
"Lift on 3...1...2...3" 
*Ulric rolls a 2*
"Arghhh! Sh1tfeckb0ll0cks!!! Arghh!"
"Once more, ok. Take the strain. 1...2....3..."
*Sir Quentin rolls a 1*
"Feckrentboypaladin...do it properly this time...ok...1....2....3"
*Sir Quentin, inevitably, rolls a 1*
"Twatboybugg3ryb0ll0cks just lift the fecking chain you GAF!!!!"
"It's my back...it's definitely gone this time!"
"Lift the feckin CHAIN you UTTER GAF"
"No it's real bad...I used to have to get Dinkle-Winkle to walk up and down on my spine...that sorted it out"
"£$%£$%£$^ CHAIN!!!!! NOW!!!!!"
"Actually I don't suppose you'd mind if...?"
*Ulric in a fit of RAGE lifts and attaches the chain, as Sir Quentin hobbles back into the sub in search of a comfy and supportive chair*
  • We have cut command ship out ready for assault
Che Shortshanks and Fidel Tik in Viva La Marina!
  • Elsewhere Hobbit collective, Tik and Brother Kelly start a rebellion in slave domes.
  • 'the slaves are not budging, not interested...you've cut the air supply?!!!..ok their moving now'

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 5.4

Chapter 5 - Parte 4 - Ancient Leviathan

There comes a day when the party's daily routine of sweeping and sieving the eternal seabed is disturbed. They are picked for 'special duty' and will be going forth to a new dig site determined to be the resting place of one of the lost artifacts. Special Team 'Duty' (STD) will be an amalgamation of Team Woad and Korbin from Team Blood (Ulric and Durkwood will remain at the Spooky Spongeville dig). 

The new dig site is a fair distance away from the light and relative safely of the main evacuation area so STD will be escorted by a contingent of Orcish Guards and an Acolyte of Iuz who will supervise the search activity. He bears some device that will help in this endeavor.

The group traverse their way to the dig site without note and are set to work. Team Woad at an area of recently cleared seabed while wee Korbin is sent forth to explore some subterranean caverns that only he is small enough to crawl into. There are 3 such caves to investigate. The day passes slowly with no items being located despite the mad ranting and gesticulating made by the Acolyte. 

Korbin has thoroughly investigated one of the caverns and has moved on into the next.  In here he discovers something new,  a deep trough filled with fleshy, spherical objects. They appear to be similar to frogspawn only bigger,  redder and much more succulent. The famished halfing's eyes glaze over and his mouth begins to slaver of it's own accord,  he swims down eagerly to feast. As he mingles in ecstasy amongst the flesh sacs of meaty goodness, his keen halfling eyes catch a golden twinkle from the bottom of the cavern. The capricious halfling pushes the fleshy spheres aside and immediately swims down to take a closer look. It's a RING. The halfling's podgy hand reaches forth to grasp the trinket.

*cue a few faint strands of the One Ring theme from LotR*

Meanwhile outside, Team Woad knows nothing of this. No strands of the One Ring theme reach their blocked ears nor indeed do the more ominous opening deep notes of John Williams 'Jaws' overture which has so recently begun in their immediate vicinity. The first any of the group suspect that anything is amiss is when Brother Kelly looks up from his raking to find 2 of the Orc Guards floating in a cloud of their own blood and entrails. He gestures to the others and looks around the area frantically to find the culprits. Pairs of green, finned humanoids make scything attacks against the orc sentries and members of the party. Another 4 of the Orc Guards are cut down in quick succession and the fighters in Team Woad (Brother Kelly, Baron Quentin, erm....???) suffer numerous trident slashes. 

The others, the non-melee types, namely the Bard, Keemor, the Comely but Stern Human Female try to squeeze their gargantuan bodies into the tiny opening that wee Korbin went into. The Bard succeeds in squeezing his frame through the cavern entrance, probably all those years of Yoga and intense sexual proclivities. He takes a few moments to orientate himself and then spies Korbin down in the cavern's depths. He swims down.

Next at the entrance is CbSHF, who decides that letting the Eladrin mage watch her wiggle her copious yet perfect mound of female derriere through the narrow opening is perhaps a bridge too far in the fight for female equality. She steps aside and lets the Eladrin try. Keemor has no such qualms and attempts to get his massive frame into the cavern even if he has to chew his way in!. 

The Sea Devils have polished off most of the remaining Orc Guards and the rest appear to be ready to scarper back to the compound together with the Acolyte. The Team Woad Fighters have appropriated dropped orcish weapons and are edging their way to the cavern entrance while on the look out for more of the raiding Sahuagin.

Inside the cavern the Bard and the Halfling decide upon weightier matters, what to do with the Ring. It's clearly magical and with the Bards', erm Bardic Knowledge, it is also clearly the Ring that the forces of Iuz are looking for. But where to they stash it? Answers on a postcard to KorbinandtheBard@Lubeville.com

It's not gonna be pretty so the Bard tells the young and innocent Korbin to avert his eyes whilst he, the Bard, will attempt to 'wear' the ring. Korbin is unsure just what the Bard intends but decides that it's probably safer to turn his back on the minstrel anyway. 

A period of squealing later.

Korbin feels a tap on his shoulder and turns to discover the Bard holding out the Ring. 'I'm a giver not a taker!' informs Cearendil defiantly, 'you'll have to do it!'

Do what? asks the naive and innocent Halfling Rogue, his big cherubby eyes looking most big and cherubby.

The Bard leans down and whispers the instructions on the 'Hiding Yet Wearing A Ring' process to the young rogue. He straightens to look into a shocked Halfling face. 'Little boy have big job to do' informs the Minstrel succinctly as he turns his back on a trembling Korbin.

A period of squealing later.

The Bard feels a tap on his buttocks and turns to discover the Halfling offering him the unworn Ring, 'It hurts worst than Farder O'Patrick ministrations' informs Korbin meekly.

The Bard goes to grab the taxing trinket but is distracted by the shocked and disbelieving stares of Keemor the Mage and CbSHF from up above. His wayward hand instead knocks the Ring from Korbin's outstretched appendage and the quartet watch the piece of vexing jewelry disappear back down into the cavern and settle amongst the egg spawn. Korbin is about to go fetch it again when they are drawn by a deep shout from outside the cavern entrance, 

Brother Kelly: 'I think we should get going, all the orcs are gone and so is the Acolyte and I think there are more of the Sea Devils around, we need to leave now!

The quartet agree that this is probably the best course of action (for several reasons) and depart the cavern forthwith. Team STD then head back to the main underwater complex and arrive without further incident. They find the complex itself in uproar. Apparently the party weren't the only ones attacked by the Sea Devils this day, the sahuagin have launched raids across the entire evacuation area, killing and capturing dozens of guards and slaves.

Word on the slave grapevine seaweedvine is that Iuz's patience with the Sahuagin is at an end and that a Battalion of his toughest Orcs will be lowered down to the lake bed to teach the sea creatures a lesson in power

During the next couple of days company after company of elite Orcish soldiery arrive on the lake bed and are billeted in the numerous domes. This makes the slaves lives even more miserable as their living quarters are reduced into a smaller and smaller area with every passing hour. After 3 days the Battalion of Orcs have been fully mustered and preparations for the upcoming attack are made complete. As the Orcish formations prepare to march to the location of the Sahuagin Camp, a conversation occurs between the Battalion commander and Prison Warden...

Orc General: 'I need some bait to draw out the Sea Devils, bring me 30 of your most fattest slaves Warden'

Warden: Why the fattest? They will live longer, I require such...

Orc General holding up hand,  'I need the fattest because they'll bleed more and for longer'

Warden: 'Right you are, I'll see what I can do.'

As the Party are newly arrived they are in no way as famished or emaciated as the majority of the slaves. They are quickly drawn into the group that will go with the Orcish soldiery thou they appear to know not why.

Orc Force One (Delta Force Orc?) march in step and to great fanfare for about a hour before it approaches a massive rock outcropping close to the Spooky Sponge area. Here the group divides up into 6 companies and each form up opposite a ridge of stone that has a great cavern entrance in the middle of it. 4 long columns of coral snake away from the outcropping and the area contains many dense patches of tall seaweed. 

To Caerendil's cultured eye the cavern entrance appears hewn and not some natural formation. Before the Bard can mention this the slave contingent is split up into 6 smaller groups and taken into no man's land between the Orcish Companies and the Rock Outcropping. Several of the slaves in each group are then shot with crossbows before their guards retire back to the Orcish ranks and leave the slaves to it. 

Brother Kelly and Ulrich are two such oppressed and the Cleric of Heimdall works feverishly to staunch the bleeding wounds knowing how quickly the scent will attract the blood thirsty Sahuagin. He needn't have worried as waves of Sahuagin appear from amongst the seaweed forest, over ridges and a long vanguard darting out from the cavern entrance and take the Orcish companies from all sides. Mass underwater combat is joined!

The Orc regiments release crossbow volleys, the Sahuagin respond with thrown tridents and spears, bodies go down on all sides. The two opposing forces meet and the surrounding seabed and tranquil waters are quickly churned up with dust and blood. In this maelstrom of teeth and sword stand the party members deciding what to do.  Some seek out fallen weapons, young Korbin traverses what seems like a Nottingham Forest worth of giant Seeweed to win his daggar. Brother Kelly, the Paladin find spears and crossbows closer to hand and are soon pitted against Sahuagin skirmishers rovering the battlefield picking off enemy stragglers. The others look for refuge, with most heading towards the coral columns spidering away from the outcropping to go hide with the other little fishies. This group comprises Ulric, Keemor and CbSHF. 

The Bard attempts communication with the fierce underwater warriors, he accosts one and offers the bemused Sahuagin a fleshy egg (can't remember how you got this?) with solemn and noble sincerity. The Sea Devil takes the offering without note and then slashes the surprised minstrel across the chest with his trident. The warrior then scoots off with his gift leaving the irate Caerendil to mark him for death.

The aquatic battle continues unabated with the discipline and order of the orcish regiments proving unable to withstand the ferocity and deft movement of the Sahuagin battle groups. A few of the orc companies are close to being routed. 

Meanwhile Team Little Fishy having reached one beam of underwater coral are spotted and way-hey laid by a Sahuagin Skirmisher. Keemor assumes the form of the manta ray and sinks to the sea bottom and throws sand and grit over himself...all that remains visible are his piercing purple, pupil-less eyes. Ulrich seems distracted by something he's found amidst the coral, leaving CbSHF to deal with the Sahuagin threat. The Sorceress has been trying without success to fight pass the Rune of Binding on her forehead to access the source of her power. This time however, with a sharp trident bearing down on her buxom form, her fingers unleash a cone of eldritch power that sunders the Sahuagin into piecemeal. The cone of power continues along the seabed before striking the hidden Eladrin Manta Ray and sending him flailing across the coarse sands severely abrading his buttockis regions.

Meanwhile at the coral column, Ulrich the Scholar breaks away a section of the protected sea real estate (tut tut) and uncovers...

The dwarf is perplexed. The writing looks Dwarven in origin but of a form he has never encountered before. It looks older than old. It says, in fact he doesn't understand what it says, the words are gibberish, a collection of Khuzdul sounds...'High Energy Overflow Pipe', written vertically upon stone underneath the exposed coral. 

The dwarf begins to move purposely along the coral bank looking for more. CnSHF and the sore Keemor noting the serious intent on Ulrich's face decide to follow. The rest of the party note the movement of the trio and deduce that something must be up, and if it is the last desperate clutching of damp straws then so be it. They too head in that direction.

Ulrich works his way along the coral bank and finds another spot where patches of Dwarven writing can be glimpsed underneath. His calloused hands begin to sunder great chunks of coral from around the writings. His labor quickly reveal the Dwarven words 'Access Hatch' and also a strange mechanism embedded into the stone. Ulrich begins to tinker with the mechanism until something clicks under the pressure of his probing fingers. 

The dwarf's keen stone sense feels a faint vibration within the coral bank followed by a 'GRRRRRR' sound. A section of stone encompassed by the cleared coral rolls back and Ulrich has a split second to notice a parallel opening on the other side of the coral bank. Then the force of 10 atmospheres of water suddenly imposes itself on his mighty shoulders followed by a roaring whooshing sound as the lakewater begins to cascade through the 2 openings. Ulrich grabs either side of the opening and stubbornly holds fast.

CbSHF and Keemor approach the Dwarf who seems to be standing at the threshold of some cavern entrance. The pair increase the pace of their swimming eager to gain the sanctuary that Ulrich has found. As they near the Dwarf they realise too late that they appear to be caught in some kinda fast moving current and no amount of backpedaling will avail them at this stage. They will impact the Dwarf no matter what they do. CbSHF tries to find purchase upon the approaching coral bank but cannot quite find a hand hole but gets pummeled and bashed against sharp coral for her troubles. She then hits the back of the braced dwarf.

Suddenly Ulrich goes deaf! One minute the thundering roar of water the next, nothing. Is he dead? He peers stealthy about him using his periphery vision. He perceives what looks like massive eyeballs on either side of his head. Something big and nasty has snuck up on the Dwarf and attached itself to his back and Ulrich don't like anything big and nasty sneaking up on him and attaching itself to his back.  Moments before going berserk the Dwarf notices the shock of long, auburn hair streaming above his head. He quickly realises what the thing on his back must be and also what is blocking his hearing. Ulrich smiles and gets comfortable 8-)

The other party members converging on this location all eventually get caught in the raging current thundering into and down both openings. Ulric finally looses his grip after further collisions from Keemor and Korbin and the quartet of clustered bodies are carried through the opening.

On the other side of the coral bank, the flailing Paladin, the stout Dirkwood, the eager Bard and the slightly bemused Tekcos are all carried inside in quick succession. Only Brother Kelly manages to grab a hand hold and hang on for dear life right at the maw of the raging torrent. The Cleric's luck as so often before doesn't hold and he senses his hand grip beginning to move. Is it the coral sliding or giving way? With a crack, his hand hold breaks off from the coral bank and Brother Kelly follows where his companions have gone before. In his still clenched hand this is what appears to be the broken handle of some mechanism. The Cleric plunges down a dark stone tunnel as the openings behind him begin to close.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 5.3

Chapter 5 - Parte 3 - Marina, Aquamarina

The cage containing the slaves (party plus others) and their guards descends into the watery depths of the Nyr Dyr lake. Numerous people attempt to hold their breath for as long as their lungs and mental faculties will allow. Eventually one by one they succumb to the urge to exhale (in a cataclysmic eruption of air bubbles) and then inhale (a seemingly never ending lungful of cold, dirty lake water).

The Four Terrors of a watery death, namely Convulsion, Dis-orientation, Evacuation and Mindless Panic pay their righteous dues to all of the party members and to various degrees. A period of time passes,  a few seconds for the bored looking Orc guards, several lifetimes for the many of the other cage occupants, before all and sundry discover that they really are breathing water and that their bodies are also stubbornly refusing to die.


The Four Terrors of a watery death depart leaving the relieved yet grateful party members to find other ways to occupy their time during the aquatic transit other than drowning. A bikini top becomes unfastened under mysterious circumstances followed by much hilarity between the Eladrin Mage and the Comely but Stern Human Female onto the precise reasons why.

The Orc guards wile away their time between looking bored or gazing at the party and it's antics with undisguised contempt.

The cage descends parallel to a vast fabric and metal funnel structure that has been a constant fixture since this Journey into the Deep began. It is a bulbous affair and it's fibrous surface fluctuates from time to time. Young Korbin deliberates on the purpose of the mechanism and how it seemingly disregards the laws of physics.

He ventures his concerns to the knowledgeable Keemor, a man known for his learning and rapier-like intellect. The aloof Eladrin peers down at the little halfling cherub at his feet with disdain before postulating that there may be many reasons why the structure remains standing despite the halfling's irrefutable logic.

The main reasons are :-

1) Korbin is only a *mere* halfling and as such has no business in trying to understand the laws of the physical world. After all how can your race, namely halflings, exist in the natural world at all? When you consider that they consume three times their body weight in food every day and yet do not explode, how is this remotely possible? But more importantly than that, dear youngling ...

2) it's magic :-)

Korbin's youthful face can't quite disguise the hurt generated by the Mage's masterful answer. The wee halfling continues his vigil staring at the funnel mechanism during the cage's Descent into the Depths, thou he does appear somewhat subdued.

Eventually the cage occupants can't help but notice a glow emanating from the waters beneath their feet. Light from below and in time, from many many structures affixed upon the lake bed. Vast wooden/metal domes strewn across a wide, cleared area. Each dome has one of the fibrous funnel mechanisms attached to the roof of it. The cage clangs down upon the lake bed, a short distance from one of the dome structures. The impact sends a small shudder through the bodies of all the cage occupants.

The slaves are bundled out of the cage and formed up into a long, straggly line. They are then marched into a trench that appears to run beneath the dome structure. Once past the dome wall the floor of the trench tapers sharply upwards and the party soon find themselves standing and blinking inside a bright and airy dome interior.

A general hubbub of noise greets the party's ears as the domed structure is filled with a multitude of strange apparatus worked upon by a horde of Derro Dwarves and slaves (dwarfs mostly). A low background hum is attributed to the funnel mechanism that seems to blow and suck great volumes of air into and out of the Dome and back to the surface. Additional slaves amble about the place and they easily number in the hundreds. It is a great hive of activity and the party take some time to absorb all that now surround them.

A clanging of shields draws the party's attention to a group of Orcs recently arrived, standing before yet another Priest of Iuz. He directs four nearby slaves to rise to their feet and they then hold forth oiled leather skins bearing illustrations of a Ring, a Sceptre, a Sword and a Chalice.

The Priest of Iuz begins to speak in clear, clipped tones.

'Welcome to Gulag 13. My Lord Iuz wishes these items. These items are to be found on this lake bed. You shall remain here until they are found or you are dead. Any slave finding any of these items will be granted immediate release from servitude..on this you have My Lord Iuz's word.

You have been temporarily granted the ability to breathe the lake waters, this Ritual must be renewed each morning. If you find you are short of breath before this allotted time then return to me immediately or you will die.

*thin weasely smile*

If you decide on escape then the gift of the Ritual will be denied you and you will die. As an example to others who harbor such treason you indeed must die! My Lord Iuz does not accept excuses. Accustom yourselves quickly to these new rules and surroundings and you may yet live. Rest now as your work begins on the morrow.'

The next few days are spent doing exactly that, working on the seabed in assigned areas (for Team Woad) or crawling around in a twisting, turning claustrophobic maze-like structure that all the halflings are assigned to work in  (Team Blood). It resembles a fossilised remains of some gigantic pre-historic sponge and only halflings or dwarfs are small enough to work in the cramped environment. This is where the majority of the kidnapped halflings from Elmshire reside.

Avenues for escape appear pretty narrow so for the time being the party knuckle down to serious investigative work. Making acquaintances and hearing what there is to be heard. In this inoffensive way the group discover a number of interesting things.

There are about 4 thousands slaves all told toiling underwater to find the 4 items wanted by Iuz and they encompass all the races of Oerth (good, bad and all shades inbetween). They reside in about dozen Domes and their numbers are added too and dwindle daily.

Only Halflings and Dwarfs have the mental toughness to work in the strange and spooky sponge area. It's spooky because some mentally tough Halflings and Dwarfs have gone missing in the twisting maze and have never been seen again™.

The 4 items coveted by Iuz are discerned to be artifacts previously utilised by the now destroyed human enclave known as the Shield Lands. The story goes that the last Acolyte of Heimdall on the night that the capital, Admundfort finally fell to the Grand Armies of  Iuz, escaped on a small boat and sailed it out onto the lake. He then cast himself into the deep waters of the Nyr Dyr bearing the items with him. His sacrifice meant that the artifacts remained out of the hands of the Great Enemy where they could have been subverted to do evil.

The items are determined to be
  1. the Admundfort Ring of Leadership (It's effect is to double the numbers of followers and to increase their loyalty. The more powerful the wearer, the more powerful the effect)
  2. The Chalice of the Shield Lands (Converts normal fighters into Paladins)
  3. The Warblade of the Shield Lands (Increases Leadership, Morale and Command Radius)
  4. The Scepter of the Sorcerer Kings (Reflects magic and psionics)
Korbin asks why Iuz simply doesn't use powerful Arcane Magics to pinpoint these items? The Eladrin Mage again rises to take on the mantle of Halfling Nemesis as he regales the information he has ascertained to the wee fellow. The entire lake bed around this area is awash with some strange magic and it makes all scrying and location spells go awry. Here the caster will only give a general idea of an item and not a precise GPS location.

Korbin absorbs this latest affront stoically before asking what a 'GPS' is? Keemor the Mage looks down at the small halfling with an expression of contempt mingled with deep pity (albeit a very, very small amount of deep pity, it is Keemor after all :))

'Backward Youngling,  hear ye nothing that I say? the answer is obvious to anyone with but half a brain, it's magic!' :)

Something inside young Korbin Shortshanks moves from the 'amber' state into the 'red' state.

In addition to the other dangers posed by being a slave forced to work in the dark depths, i.e running out of the Air Breathing Ritual at an inconvenient time, being beaten to death by the sadist Orc Guards on a daily basis, simply go missing inside the spooky giant sponge fossil, or perhaps getting your throat slit by an irate halfling in your sleep, etc etc One final danger awaits the poor souls struggling to survive in the deeps, there are also rumors of 'Sea Devils' roaming the evacuation areas, killing and kidnapping slaves and guards alike.

Korbin: Sea Devils?

Keemor the Mage turns to face the inquisitive halfling once more and manages to contort half a sneer onto his mouth before he feels something like a sharpened fish head Shiv (cunningly fashioned by halfling ingenuity from an actual fish head) press against the skin under this throat.

Korbin: Say it's Magic one more god damned time ya smug mofo! I dare ya, I double dare ya!!!!

The Eladrin Mage remains motionless and silent, a great torrent of drool escapes from one corner of Keemor's half sneering mouth. Sir Quentin intervenes in an attempt to defuse the situation, 'The Sea Devils Master Korbin! Also known as the *Sahuagin* Surely you've heard of them before?'

Korbin: Sahuajin?

Sir Quentin snorts mightily. 'No you ignorant young pup! Sa-hua-in...back of the throat 'in' ya dig?

And a vicious Paladin beating ensues. 8-)

Anyway to cut a long story short, there appear to be rovering groups of aquatic humanoids called 'Sea Devils' or 'Sahuagin' that behold the area containing the evacuation site as their personal hunting ground and they take no sides nor take any prisoners but prefer to kill or capture anything that dares to cross their path.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Evil in Elmshire - Chapter 5.2

Chapter 5 - Parte 2 - Low Berths

The next few days pass slowly. The party's captors keep their prisoners cooped up in the cramped, dark and increasing smelly hold. Chances for an escape are slim to nothing, as the sole exit from the hold is a hatch in the ceiling and it is only opened for a precious few seconds each day. During which, food (in the form of fish entrails) and buckets of water are lowered inside. A metal grate covers the hatch opening at all times.  Protestations by the hold occupants or attempts at conversation are uniformly ignored.

Trapped and thoroughly caught, the party members have plenty of time to assess their current situation and gleam a few hard facts...

Starfast Chaos-Destroyer is not with them (and is presumed killed after his and Korbin's desperate yet epic flight from the Sewer ambush). Erlan Geobells, Ulrich's henchmen is also missing but no person present can shed light on his current whereabouts or predicament. Ulrich however has a sinking feeling regarding his erstwhile retainer.

All hold members are bereft of every piece of equipment or weapon or personal effect that they ever owned or stole. Everything, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! (said in that crazy Gary Oldman kinda way from Leon), bar scraps of clothing to cover their bare essentials (loincloths for the men, loincloth bikinis for the women and a 'loincloth thong' for the Bard).

Everyone in the hold that possesses the ability to cast spells bears a strange mark or rune on their foreheads. Of the party, Caerendil, Sir Quentin, Brother Kelly, Keemor the Mage and Teckos Tik all bear this rune. It is some weird sigil inked in black that no one has ever seen before. It is definitely arcane, impossible to remove and it's purpose soon becomes apparent when anyone so adorned tries to cast a spell.

A wave of sickness engulfs the spellcaster. From their perspective, it feels like some taint lying over their source of power, like an oily film upon water, the more they reach for their source of power the stronger the waves of nausea, the smell of death, the 'maggots crawling on their arm' imagery becomes. All who try casting a spell within the hold succumb to this sickness.

The people of a more martial bent, Ulrich, erm....Ulrich 8-), and the two halfling rogues I guess, bear no rune but are so weakened by lack of food they would be hard put to fight off a syphilitic cockroach in their current condition. Thus the reason for the Halfling initiative to tithe food from the rest of the other hold occupants and then gorge on fish guts until the weakened condition can be arrested. Ulric after trying the fish and then witnessing the Halflings consume their entrail repast decides that being in a weakened state isn't so bad afterall.

There are other people present inside the hold besides the party members. A group of Elmshire halflings and a couple of humans who stem from Greyhawk.  One of humans is an incredibly comely woman but one who seems to prefer her own company. She answers any pertinent inquiry succinctly but any attempts at more 'informal' conversation are met with an icy stare (and if you haven't guessed it already, she is Mr Morgan's new character 8-))

Time passes in the hold. The only way the party can keep track of the days are the regular meal times and changes in the shafts of light that drift into the hold through numerous minute cracks in the ship's hull. There comes a day when there is much activity on deck. The movement of many hurried feet amid loud shouts extolling urgency. Many of the party members move to side of the ship's hold to peer out of the cracks between the hull's timbers.

A small fleet of ships appears on the horizon, Keemor with his keen Eladrin eyesight, sees that the trio of ships fly the naval flag of the Duchy of Urnst, a country allied to the City of Greyhawk. Salvation muses the Mage, as he smugly sits back down whilst keeping the knowledge of the fleet's identity to himself. Cearendil the Half Elven eventually regales this exact information to the rest of the party some time later (as the fleet draws closer still 8-)).

The slaver ship unfurls sails and flees northwards hotly pursued by the Duchy Squadron. Time passes and try as they might, the Slave ship's lead is inexorably whittled away by the approaching naval armada. Another day passes in the chase and come the morrow, more ships appear on the horizon. These however bear the White Skull emblem of Iuz the Old and they number four. Undeterred the Duchy ships maintain pursuit of the Slaver, so eventually at midday with the lake waters at an emerald calm and the hot sun blazing down from an azure sky, naval battle is joined! Cry Havoc and let slip the Eight Tentacled Cephalopod of War!

The many vessels in this area of the lake converge around the slaver and engage. The Duchy ships although outnumbered show their naval spurs in expert seamanship and quickly disable one of the Iuz ships. The Iuz navy appears to be manned by orcs, goblins and other nefarious folk who obviously have no aptitude for naval combat as another of the black sailed ships is left dead in the water by the fast maneuvering Duchy vessels. There will only be one outcome to this battle and the Slaver captain acknowledges this by turning his vessel northwards and seeks to flee once more. The flotilla of Duchy vessels pay him no mind as they steer towards the remaining Iuz ships and a certain victory.


With a massive buffet of air, three large shadows pass overhead and then unleash a cloud of burning rain onto one of the Duchy ships.  A flight of black dragons roar overhead. Burning, screaming sailors tumble off the stricken ship and into the waters of the lake as the dragons wheel in tight formation and then dive down for another pass. The two remaining Duchy ships turn quickly to disengage and retreat from this draconic onslaught. The passage of one of the ship is blocked by the bow of an approaching Iuzian ship. The three airborne shadows angle towards the vessel and another blast of burning acidic flame falls towards the trapped Duchy ship. It's valiant Captain steers his doomed craft into the midsection of the intercepting enemy ship and the maelstrom of flame quickly consumes both vessels.

As the sounds of battle diminish slowly into the distance, the observing party members drop from spy holes to sit stunned and shocked by this sudden twist of fate. There will be no rescue today. No quick end to their captivity.

Two more days pass in sullen silence within the ship's hold before the Slaver ship approaches a vast structure floating upon the Nyr Dyr lake. A great pall of dark smoke sits above the ominous edifice and as their vessel draws nearer still, the party members discern the structure to be composed of a myriad of smaller ships moored and then lashed together.

Upon these wooden ships, a vast array of new structures have been haphazardly constructed and from these issue forth a cacophony of noise (hammers on anvils, strange thunk thunk sounds - ooh Mr Atwal you spoil us with your mastery of English). Smoke belches forth from numerous funnels thrusting into the sky and the surrounding atmosphere is thick with ash and other noxious smells. Crawling upon this vast armada like ants are countless orcs, hobgoblins, goblins, kobolds, etc the full rogues menagerie of D&D evil bad guys.

The slaves are brought roughly forth from within the innards of the ship and then pushed and prodded onto an adjacent pier. The sound of a gong draws the attention of the group towards a sinister looking human standing on a raised balcony. He is dressed in the garb denoting a Priest of Iuz.

Welcome to Helleron, he begins, You are now chattels of My Lord Iuz. Accept this willingly and you may live. Escape is impossible. The Priest gestures to the east, the south and the west. Look about you and see the waters of the Nyr Dyr Lake, land is 7 days sailing in all directions. Even if you could steal a ship you would not get pass My Lord Iuz's Navy nor his Dragon Flight. To the north lie My Lord Iuz's realm and if you would reach it's shores my blessings be upon you as you will most certainly need them. He smiles a wicked smile. So contend yourselves to being good slaves and your lot will at least be tolerable.

The Bard snorts at this statement. His reward is to be backhanded across the face by a burly orc, the blow breaking the Bard's nose. Cearendil falls to the floor clutching the ruin of his face. If he is expecting sympathy he gets none as the same orc then thunders a kick into his exposed mid drift. The Bard doubles up in pain but wisely remains silent.

The Priest of Iuz ignores the commotion and indicates to his underlings to proceed. Several party members help the Bard to his feet as the slave group are lead away to a different part of the docking area.

They arrive at an wharf containing some strange mechanism that holds a large metal cage suspended on a hefty length of rope. The slaves are lined up and then lead to a waiting bureaucrat seated at a desk. He looks to each slave in turn and then indicates either left or right. The slaves lead right have their bodies liberally plastered with a red dye, those lead left are similarly adorned but with a blue woad. Ulric and the 2 halflings are smeared in the red dye whilst the rest of the party are arrayed in blue. Once all the slaves have been processed, the large metal cage is lowered to the deck and the slaves then prodded inside followed by their guards.

The Priest at the desk then rises and indicates to his underlings to proceed. A group of lesser acolytes begin to chant a liturgy whilst spraying the occupants of the cage with a foul inky liquid. The Paladin quails from it's touch as it appears to burn his flesh. The lead Priest begins reading from a book, his voice carrying over the chanting of the acolytes... 

Apipoula, ilo caupo man Hila’y’am Deo Tokemata. Sän ligunaï’dalat on din ekbat oum Luc ilo Milla ilo tenon brakt manna. Mavana mektetet zhit hila foun’dé oum Hila’y’am Deo Tokemata imanétaba zhit meto’ligunaï ilo din mechtaba , Me o chon man baraniba mino assin’omektan pan...

The slaves are startled when the cage is suddenly hoisted aloft once more. Many tumble to the floor as the mechanism moves the cage from the deck and suspends it above the waterline. The party look to each other and then at the priests in some confusion. The ritual of the Priest draws to completion and as the final echos of the chanting liturgy fade away the cage slowly begins to sink into the water with a loud clanking sound. As their bodies are swifty submerged by the chill waters of the Lake of Unknown Depths, the faces of the cage occupants become constricted in terror.

Down (bubbling sounds).

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 5.1

Chapter 5 - Parte 1 - The Last Hurrah of Starfast Chaos-Destroyer

When last we left it the boys have triumphed against the forces of Iuz and emerged from the fetid sewers as true heroes of the city of Greyhawk.

Having vanquishing a combined army of foul zombies, murderous orcs and somewhat lukewarm Rennee folk, we now join the the party as they are serenaded by the high and mighty of that fine city, showered with gifts, gold, rugs, and as much heart felt female adulation as their loins could cope with...

HAH! (said in that 'Chronicler of Conan' kinda way). The scene shifts to a cramped dark hold of a slave ship. The vessel pitches along the swaying waters  of the Nyr Dyr lake, the motion adding to the misery of the malnorished and battered occupants within it's bowels.

Hah! indeed. Battle had indeed been joined! But heart felt female adulation (ad-u-lation, not ejaculation you sick feckers!) was but a distant dream, muttered Caerendil miserably as he chewed on a particularly grisly and disgusting piece of fish gut.

After a nudge from Ulric, the bard spits out the few remaining unpalatable fish bones before wiping his mouth with the back of one unwashed hand. He takes a moment to compose himself before continuing with his storytelling...

'Zombies rising from the sewer water like foul weeds, twelve deep in places, hidden assassins emerging from the darkness to pepper us with lethal poisoned darts, berserk orcs assaulting us from the front, and behind them all the wicked Ambassador of Iuz and his dark acolyte summoning more blasphemes to throw against us...'


Korbin Shortshanks interrupts proceedings demanding his 'due'. The halflings being the only ones able to walk upright in the hold and with Ulric still weakened from lack of beer and dwarven bread have become the 'power' within this tiny slave community.

All the slaves present grumble but cough up a portion of their daily food to these two halfling ruffians who take all that is proffered to them, before swaggering back to their 'corner' whilst clutching their nutsacks...and then seating themselves to divy up their takings.

Anyway, following this interruption the bard continued in his retelling...

The Mage and Dirkwood fell quickly and unnoticed, succumbing to the poisonous barbs of that traitorous thief Tomas Jarek, long may his name be cursed. Assailed from all sides and with retreat no longer possible the party draw weapons together and stand back to back to meet the oncoming army of darkness.

Against the ravenous zombie horde stand the dour handed quartet of Ulric, Erlan, Korbin and Brother Kelly. Before the orcs and dark priests our hopes rest upon the martial prowess of the Warlord Starfast Chaos Destroyer, the Paladin Ser Nibble-Pibbly and the Man of Arcane Mystery Tekcos Tik. I, myself, join with these brave souls to provide what meagre arcane magics I can bring to bear to aid their combat.

The fighting is fierce on all sides but undeterred Starfast and Sir Quentin hack and slash their way through the orcish ranks to smite down the Ambassador's priestly acolyte. Much to his chagrin. The pair are however cut off from the rest of the party and soon surrounded by ferocious orcs lead by the now enraged Ambassador.

Teckcos Tik materialises besides the Priest of Iuz and moves to strike him. The Ambassador oozes spittle into a small, blackened bowl before hurling the foul phlegm at the approaching Psioncist. It strikes him full in the face and brave, brave Tekcos falls to the floor like a stone, clutching his face and writhing in agony.

Those party members facing the zombie horde fight like lions at bay and hold back the tide of evil for a time, until at the last Erlan is pummeled down, down into the rank waters by a horrendous zombie giant and the doughty dwarven shieldman rises no more.

Courage undimmed, Ulric plants his feet beside his fallen henchmen and fights the monster alone and mighty indeed is their meeting. Bone splintering blows are traded by both sides and Ulric is much beset.  During a lull in the fighting he witnesses stoic Brother Kelly fall to a dart in the back of this neck shot out of the darkness. Damn that Jarek! With a bellow the dwarf strikes the Giant Zombie a brutal blow, eviscerating the beast from shoulder to hip, it sags down into the waters with a deathly groan as Ulric shifts to faces a new adversary.

(undead beastie howl sound effect kindly provided by Jonesy Scary Movie Acoustics and Auras)

Ulric looked back over his shoulder to watch the macabre mound of death give birth to a smaller gianty mass of rage filled zombie.

'You gotta be sh*tting me?'

On the barge, Ulric gives a chuckle, 'shitting me' 'sewers' like it Mr Bard, like it.

Meanwhile on the other wing of this desperate melee, the situation is no rosier. Tekcos Tik is fully unconscious, the poor man never recovering from the spittle malady inflicted upon his person. The paladin is down also, felled by some vile orcish treachery found on the blades of the brutal warriors. A fast acting, creeping, numbing poison (or simply 'Drow Poison' DMG page 51 right readers! 8-))

The Bard has also been blighted by the weakening poison but remains on his feet through sheer dogged willpower and perhaps some equally dogged 'b*llshitting the DM' die rolling. 

Starfast Chaos-Destroyer has fought the Ambassador of Iuz to a standstill, almost to the point of death (probably both of their deaths). He witnesses the wounded priest limp out and through a opening in the sewer wall. It leads to some form of  room, he unleashes his Golden Lion figurine to finish what has been started as he himself tries to battle through the remaining orcs in a valiant attempt to save the paladin.

The magical statuette hurtles towards the wounded Priest with it's fangs bared, the Ambassador of Iuz cowers in fear whilst making a keening sound. The Golden Lion is almost upon the Priest when a old man suddenly appear within the hole in the wall and blocks the creature's path. He waves one wizened hand at the magical Lion and it's returns back into it's statuette form. He gazes at the Priest of Iuz and then slowly back towards the warlord.

'I grow weary of this', he mutters absently before turning and vanishing.

Starfast breaks out of his reverie and decides that helping the paladin is beyond his current capabilities, he instead attempt to help Korbin Shortshanks negotiate the orc mob and regroup by the hole in the sewer wall. The small halfling had been mightily oppressed by the zombie horde and had decided to seek respite behind the one man bulwark known as Ulric Von Himmler. 

Korbin pauses for breath and is then drawn by a shout from the Warlord. Starfast gestures to him and indicates the hole in the sewer wall. The halfling immediately sees the possibility of an escape route and quickly begins to tumble and roll his way towards the Warlord through the legs of the orcish throng.

Leaving Ulric alone, with the remains of the zombie mob. The battling dwarf is quickly surrounded and assailed from all sides by the undead. He cares not but stubbornly stands his ground while whirling and cleaving with his gore dripping battleaxe. One reckless strike sunders the head of the half-size Zombie Giant causing it to return to the sewer water in it's constituent body parts.

Across the battlesewer, Starfast and Korbin meet up and avail themselves on the wounded Ambassador of Iuz. The spindy figure has used the small respite offered by the appearance of the strange old man to good use and healed himself somewhat.  Battle is now rejoined as Starfast attacks him from the front and Korbin angles his way to gain a flanking advantage and thus open up a can of hot xesy sneak damage on the Priest's ass.

Meanwhile (in slow mo and at great cost due to moving all the film crew down into a dark dirty sewer, damage to equipment, etc...but hey your worth it) an axe scything  through festering bodies, bits of zombie flying in all directions, a teeth-gritted-against-the-pain face of Ulric as a chill born zombie explodes violently near him and sends a wave of biting cold across his person....

The Priest of Iuz falls to one knee, but Starfast and Korbin can't quite get in the killing blow as the remaining orcs rally around the wounded priest. Tryas they might the pair can't quite maneuver their way within weapon distance to strike the final blow. Step forward Monseigneur Bard, the half elven minstrel with his last act before the seeping drow poison renders him unconscious strikes the Priest of Iuz with the last vestiges of his arcane energy. The spent bodies of the Priest and the Bard strike the floor together...

Cearendil: 'in a cool slow mo kinda way?'

DM: No, ran outta budget, sorry

Caerendil : 8-(

DM: Premature indeed 8-)

The death of the Priest dis-orientates the remaining orcs and the ever alert warlord uses this advantage to quickly grab the reeling form of Korbin Shortshanks and then thunders up the staircase that is the only non-sewer exit from this room.

At the head of the stairs is a door, on the handle of which the warlord places one bloodied hand. He pauses to venture a quick glance over his shoulder. Starfast spies the orcs beginning to move in his direction,  and past them, he witnesses the form of  Ulric Von Himmler slumping to the floor as bodies of chill born zombies explode around him (in cool super expensive slow mo  8-)).

He returns his focus to the door as he turns the handle and push the dazed halfling into the room beyond. Korbin's vision slows clears to reveal a well lit and well gilded stateroom dressed with rich furnishings. As his eyes tire of the room's lustre, the room's occupants begin to demand his immediate attention. A pair of elegantly dressed women sit and recline on a chaise longue.  One smokes a small reed pipe and wispy white smoke surrounds both women. To his right stands a robust table and at the table sit 4 robust men dressed in the fashion of the Rhenne...

*the sound of gases escaping from Korbin Shortshanks*

'That aint what went down fule!' cries Korbin from the Power Corner of the slave hold.

Caerendil ceases in his rich story telling, the bard is clearly annoyed with the interruption. He looks to the diminutive halfling and with words dripping with sarcasm asks

'and pray tell us what did occur little man?'

Don't front beatch!, yoose weren't even there!, they capped your sorry ass way before then, continues the irate halfling, his speech thick in the Thieves cant.

The Bard realises his mistake too late, indeed he was unconscious by that time and clearly would have no idea what occurred afterwards..perhaps the cute, little pipsqueak had a point afterall. The puzzled faces of the other hold occupants indicate they clearly hadn't understood the halfling's outburst at all.

To arrest their inquires, the bard quickly translates the halfling's cunning jive talk.

A prostrate Brother Kelly raises himself up on one elbow, 'so ask him what did happen, I'm sure we all want to know'. A chorus of nodding heads and general murmurs of assent.

The halfling immediately launches into his story, his version of the facts. The language is heavy in the thievish patois but the bard translates as best as he is able.

Backline wanted to skit! The dawg was giving off p*ssy fumes man, no fight left in him, but me, I was like bring it!, I got no cook outs to go to so if it be today!, let it be it today!  I pulled out my strap and put my mack down!

The warlord wanted to run, the halfling could smell the fear on him but the blood lust was on young Korbin and if today was the day he would die then today was a good day to die! He drew his sword and challenged the Rhenne.

*muted cheers from the occupants of the slave hold*

Backline be a root man, collared him and skit! Rhenne Offensive Line up and body blocking the exits true, 'snickitidy snick' with the Rhenne playa haters, dropped the bomb on the bossman yo!

Starfast was paralysed with fear, the halfling in exasperation had to forcefully drag him across the room as the Rhenne occupants got to their feet and moved to block the exits. The halfling skewered a few of the them in a lesson in swordplay and then dropped the 'bomb?', erm something heavy and inflammable on the Rhenne Leader.

Bossman he be a playa, rolled with the bomb, came up gunnin, me I was like bring it, but Backline Niagra Falls yo, he be streaming and sheet. I figure Bossman week last friday, but my boy need his crib like now. Da room's cooking good so we bug out.

The Rhenne leader deftly dodged the conflagration and drew his weapons. Korbin wanted to cross blades with him but the warlord had started crying and was in no shape to continue. In frustration, Korbin decide he could kill the Rhenne Leader next week but had to get Starfast to the saftely of his 'cot'? 'birthplace?' oh 'bed' first. The room was burning quite well so the pair retreated to the next room.

New room same crew man! Gang banger greenies ballin us. Backline be a real weight now man. Rhenne bumper to bumper and Greenies in my lights. I had to skit clean and clear and route one was the shopfront.

The next room was no better. Numerous Orcs stood guard. Starfast was now almost a dead weight in the halflings arms and the effort to keep him on his feet was becoming unbearable to young Korbin.

'Useless sack of ...' mutters Ulric

... the halfling had one chance and that was to plunge out of a large window.

A-Teamed the shopfront yo and came up with my groove on. Backline be out too but he be hurtin. On the clock so no time for sightseeing, Loki be on my back today man cause there be more Greenies! In the Pound too! Lock down tight with prison walls!

Korbin crashed though the window and acrobatically leaped to his feet. Starfast made it out too but not as elegantly nor without damage. Korbin had to think quick as there was more orcs outside. He found himself in some kind of compound with large gates and high walls.

Backline down and blubbing again, It bring a tear but I can almost taste the fries man, Too boned to carry the fule so I shim that wall and out, clean and clear! Backline be back there pleading for his mama with the Greenies yo but mine be mine.

The warlord had totally collapsed now or was suffering from some mental breakdown? Korbin wanted to help the man but he so exhausted he knew he can't escape with him. So he quickly climbed one wall and ran for it and got away completely. The last he knew of Starfast was the warlord's voice pleading for his life with the orc guards.

As the bard falls silent so too do the rest of the occupants of the dark ship hold. A comely woman not of the party but part of the slave community seems particularly distraught with the plight of the warlord. A man she has probably never met before.

After a short span of time, the paladin sighs before uttering philosophically,

'well I guess the warlord died as he had lived, it's probably what he would have wanted!'

A murmur of agreement meets this statement, before people actually digest the paladin's words and then look back at him strangely.

Sir Quentin: 'What?'

The bard looks at Korbin chewing on his large mound of tithed fish guts.

'So if you'd escaped 'clean and clear', how'd you end up back here Master Shortshanks?'

Korbin almost chokes on his food. After a bit of chewing and swallowing, the small figure meets the Bard's steady gaze and with a mouth still partially full of stinking fish guts, utters

'Backline must have ratted me out man!

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 4.4

Chapter 4 - Parte 4 - Throwdown in SewerTown

The party re-converge at the Black Dragon Inn in the Clerksberg area of Greyhawk. They exchange the small nuggets of information that each disparate group as ascertained. Baron Quentin details the attack of the chain wielding Rennee Assassin and his untimely demise during questioning by Brother Kelly and Korbin Shortshanks. Several party members exchange glances and ask the knight were he was during this period and why he didn't apply his healing hands?

'Off bagging me a Ketish Rug for Candle Keep!', beams the Paladin, patting the rolled up furnishing by his side. 'Its a fine piece of workmanship and will improve the study no end!'.

Several party members again exchange worried glances, Keemor the Mage digests this bit of information and stores it away for a time it may be become useful.

The rest of the party describe their time in the River Rat Tavern, the sly attacks instigated by the Renee, Weedol abrupt disappearance, the magic use and subsequent riot outside the Tavern, Ulric approach of the Renee and the discussion about meeting their headman.

The boys decide to wait for nightfall and return for the meeting with Tomas Jarek, the Master Thief of the River Quarter, to see what information their money has bought and then decide what other leads to follow up.

The afternoon passes quietly with the party readying arms and armour and the Paladin brushing down and cleaning his new, expensive *rug*.

Come evening, the party form up and trudge back down towards the River Quarter. Moving through the 'Strip', Weedol the Mage spies new Notices adorning many Message boards along the bustling thoroughfare.

The Notice offers a reward for any information leading to the capture of a rogue Mage, whom earlier that day had instigated a riot in the strip and more importantly had deployed illegal magics in doing so. Greyhawk City Law takes a dim view of such activities and the offered reward is thus substantial.

Each notice has a rough drawing of the wanted Mage, which to be fair, only just barely shows a slight, slight resemblance to the Elven Mage. But alas, Keemor the Mage becomes scared and when Keemor the Mage becomes scared, people die!!, he does some shopping.

Keemor calls for the party to halt, whilst he himself heads off into a tailors and emerges a short time afterwards sporting a new, blue bandanna. He presents himself to his fellow adventurers. They look the elven mage up and down and then slowly shakes their heads.

Keemor resumes his place within the party and the group continue to wind their way down towards Jarek's warehouse. Through the hustle and bustle of the Strip, Keemor of the Bandana spies another one of those pesky Notice posters. Wanted mage, illegal magics, riot, reward, blah blah blah...the picture of the wanted mage however now sports a bandanna worn in the same style and fashion as Keemor of the Bandanna!?

Keemor of the Bandanna becomes scared and when Keemor of the Bandanna becomes scared people die!!, does some shopping , uses his Cantrip spell to deface the poster, smudging and blurring the artist's impression....which after a while begins to repair itself!...how!, what!, argh! panic!

Keemor of the Badanna becomes even more scared, and looks around furtively like a cornered rat. He spies the Bard looking at him with a wide, knowing smile. He looks at the rest of the party whom can barely suppress their giggling.

YOU BASTADS! exclaims the mage, as a surge of relief courses through him.

The party all have a good chortle, slap the Mage's back repeatedly and ruffle his hair. Japes and Hijinkery over, the party then all decide to go home and have some tea.

Well no, they don't, but it makes for a pleasing image. 8-)

Ok back into character,  the party finally arrive at Jarek's warehouse. The gruff Master Thief is there waiting for them. Without fanfare or pleasantries, be begins to regale the party on what he has managed to learn about the Rennee and their involvement with the halfling abductions.

Rennee *are* involved in the kidnappings in Elmshire, the captured halflings are trafficked through Greyhawk and out into boats heading across the Nyr Dyr lake. He suspects that the Rennee may be also be in collusion with the Ambassader of Iuz as he has learnt that several meetings have taken place between the two groups within the Greyhawk sewers.

He has learnt of once such meeting scheduled for this very night in which Zorran Sorraith, the nominal leader of the Rennee will be present. He implies that he knows the route that Zorran will be taking and could lead the party to an place in the sewers where they might be able to ambush the Rennee party...for the right price...

Cearendil the bard listening to the Jarek's words glances into the Master Thief's calculating eyes and has a Proust Madeleine moment. He is shocked to his core as the sensation feels as vivid to him as the lute struts pressing into the small of his back. Tomas Jarek is lying, lying through his teeth. He keeps this revelation to himself and listens to what the party intentions to this news will be.

'Well that's that, the first tangible lead we've had', states Ulric, 'I say we grasp this opportunity with both hands, find his fule and then mash the feck outta him!

'Besides, I love sewers me', beams the doughty Dwarven Warrior.

No objections are raised, and while Caerendil does discuss his suspicions of Jarek's offer with Brother Kelly in private, the pair decide to keep the information to themselves and see what transpires.

The party decide to take up Jarek' s offer and part with another 5 platinum pieces. Jarek and a small band of his henchmen lead the party through Greyhawk's extensive sewer system to the *ambush* point. The Sewers are dark and smelly, but so what else is new? After a few hours, the group near the ambush area. Jarek motions towards the area that the ambush should be set, nearby there is a large whirlpool of effluent gurgling into an exit pipe...

The party move cautiously towards and into the ambush area, Jarek and his shadowy cohorts disappear into the gloom.

In the darkness, in the silence, the party pick up the sounds of splashing footsteps approaching them from an adjoining tunnel. This is it, thinks Korbin as he quietly unsheaths his throwing knives.

A sudden light banishes the darkness. As the party gape around them, a tall, thin pale skinned man dressed in dark dirty robes emerges from within a small cave. Two hulking orcs armed with massive brutal looking axes step out to stand beside him

A whispering voice emerges from within his papery throat...

'We would be honored if you would join us...'