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...'

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 4.3

Chapter 4 - Parte 3 - The Chain is Mightier than the Sword(s)

During the time when a section of the party were enjoying the hospitality of the River Rat Tavern, another section of the party, the triad formed by Baron Quentin, Brother Kelly and Korbin Shortshanks ambled along the many side streets of Greyhawk and toward their destination of the Black Dragon Inn.

The small group is tailed by an assailant unknown (as before) and the trio decide that it is time to rectify this small nuisance. Quickly formulating a plan, Korbin slinks away from the company of the Divine Duo(tm) and secretes himself into shadows. Brother Kelly and Baron Quentin continue to traverse the streets gaily and seemingly oblivious to prying eyes and the trailing assailant. They angle their way towards a section of the city noted for it's *very* narrow streets and lack law enforcement.

Turning a corner in the twisting urban maze, the pair quickly move to a dark area nd await the arrival of their dogged shadow. Korbin from his vantage point, watches the hooded figure enter the confines of the labyrinth and after a short time moves to follow.

At one end of a narrow street, the Divine Duo, at the other end, a Stealthy Shortshanks, in the middle, somewhere, somplace, a unknown and possibly lethal quarry. Korbin unsheathes his shortsword before carefully and silently making his way up the dingy allyway. The young halfling keeps to the shadows and scans the gloom at every measured step.

Waiting, for fighters and men of action is always hard, and it doubly true for those blessed with the Divine Touch. What would Thor do?  Brother Kelly and Baron Quentin having waited for some time for the hooded assailant to reach then, decide in unison, that if Mr Assassin won't come to them, then they will bring the Word of the Lord(s) to him. The armoured pair draw swords together (oh-err) and retrace their step backup the darkened throughfare.

A time of patient and subtle movement finally brings the triumvirate face to face with one another in the middle of the narrow alley. They greet each other with looks of puzzlement.

*the sound of a long chain unravelling*     

The trio look in the direction of the metallic sound as a figure erupts from the shadows unleashing a length of metal chain towards them. The silvery metal line scythes into the motionless Paladin and Brother Kelly and narrowly misses the tumbling Halfling.

And a melee ensues.

Three Swords against a Length of Sharpened Chain...and the contest is well matched and hard fought!  The assailant seemingly able to move like water and attack all three members of the party simultaneously and without breaking a sweat. Eventually the numbers begin to tell and the hooded figure is finally knocked to the ground and disarmed.

Unmasked, he appears to be a Rhenee and is bleeding profusely from many sword thrusts.

*High above, the Gods cluster around the scene to see what will happen next*

The Paladin lay hands on the fallen Rhenee and stops his imminent demise.

*High above, Pelor sighs audibly*

The trio require information and they have a bound and helpless Rhenee at their feet and in their mercy. The Rhenee however, looks like a professional and probably won't give anything away without some physical enducement.

Korbin knows what needs to be done, but the men of the cloth look to their teachings and seek spritual guidance, What would their God do? What would Dabe do?

The Paladin looks to the murderous glint in Korbin's young eyes, he notes the general amblivance / acceptance of, that which will occur to the captured man very soon in Brother Kelly emotionless face .

*High Above, there is standing room only in the Heavenly Viewing Gallery*

Baron Quentin decides that this is indeed the time when he bought that Ketian Rug he had his eye on in the Greyhawk Bazaar. It's just gonna look lovely by the fireplace in the study back at Candle Keep.

Giving a deft nod to Brother Kelly, the holy warrior departs to acquire his prized floor covering, leaving erstwhile Halfling to unsheath this daggar and get to work.

*High Above, Pelor's unconscious body being borne along many upturned hands to the waiting medical services*

Upon returning, Baron Quentin is "surprised" to the find that the bound and helpless Rhenee has died from his wounds. Brother Kelly informs the warrior that the man must have had a heart condition that they were all unaware of, an coronary "Daggarintheheartism".

Well, remarks the Baron Quentin, fancy that! Oh well can't be helped.

Information gleamed and digested, the trio return to the Black Dragon Inn to fill in the rest of the party on what's they've learned and to be learned in what's they've missed.

*High Above, on a Helpline for Paladin's Anonymous*


Yes, erm my name is Pelor...and I have a problem...

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 4.2

Chapter 4 - Parte 2 - With Great Power comes Great Vengence!!!!

The group heading to 'River Rat' tavern find the establishment fairly easily as it's just off the Strip. The Bard informs the party of his intention of going into the place disguised (using his hat) and alone but gives a rough idea of what he will look like just in case things get a little heated in there.

Entering into the drinking hall and finding a table, Starfast, Keemor, Teckos and the 2 Dwarves quickly take in the dingy but honest nature of the River Rat. It's not spit and shine in here by any means, mostly spit actually...however it does allude to being a solid drinking hole for people who like their drinking cheap and boisterous.

The Rhenee are present here and in large numbers, but so too are other folk of differing persuasions and this fact alleviate some fear within the party that they might be walking into a trap.

A stranger enters the bar, dressed in merchant's garb and sporting instantly forgettable facial features, the people in the bar clock him as 'unimportant' and thus return to their drinking. The stranger then minces across to the bar (the party immediately clock the Bard 8-)) and eventually enters into conversations with several Rhenee concerning the moving of certain items from "inside" Greyhawk to "outside" Greyhawk without the attracting the attention of the authorities. The Rhenne prove amiable to such a proposition and the Bard is lead to a dark corner to got through the many aspects of the required deal.

Meanwhile at the drinking table, drink and food is being partaken by the party as they try to keep to themselves. Eventually, and invaribly I guess, the nail that stick out begs to get hammered...and the nail in this case is determined to be Ulric. As the fell handed warrior is sipping his pint of  'Hog's Spit', a large, bearded man, who from his thundering demeanor and vomit stained clothes suggests a sailing profession of some kind, staggers across to him and then attempts to engage the Dwarf in polite conversation

'So, I 'ear that dwarfs breed by sh@gging their own mothers...is that true?

*broken toothed smile*

Ulric calmy hands his tankard to Erlan before rising slowly from his seat. He then 'chins' the fellow into oblivion with one mighty right hook. The tavern's natural hubbub returns, and the unconscious sailor is dragged outside by the bar staff and there dumped into the nearest gutter.

About 30mins later, a similiar scenario is played out again, this time with Starfast decking another drunk. Caerendil from his little alcove notices that the Rhenee are encouraging non-Rhenee drunks to have a go at the party but steering clear of the party themselves.

Inexcorably, the time arrives when it is Keemor's turn to play role of the nail in this little game. However, this mage don't play that kinda game, as soon as two half-orcen drunks move towards him, without even waiting for them to say something, without even looking up, he unleashes a magic missile at the lead drunk. The missle whizzes over the head of the surprised half-orc before laying waste to a bottle of spirits behind the bar (Dabe: Magic Missile doesn't hit automatically? DM: Welcome to 4th Edition Mr Bell)

The bar goes quiet and all eyes turn to the mage seated uncomfortably at the table.

'OUT!' cries the Barman, 'we don't permit any magic use in here..Get Out before I summon the Miltia!

Keemor at a loss of what to do, watches Ulric rise from his perch, perch? seat and head to the bar, he smacks 2 platinum pieces down onto the barrelhead and shouts 'Drinks are on me!' The dwarf is soon engulfed by patrons rushing to the bar and it'll take him a while to make it back to the table thus allowing the 2 half-ocs the chance they require. The pair pull daggars and throw them solidly into the startled mage and before the party can react to this violent assault the pair rush outside.

Keemor the Mage is annoyed..and when Keemor the Mage is annoyed, people DIE!

The Eldarin Mage blinks from of tavern and out into the street. He spies the 2 fleeing half orcs and hits them with a Sleep spell, one assailent succumbs to the mind affecting magic and topples to the floor, the other appears groggy but continues to stagger away. Keemor begins to draw his daggar with the intention of slittng the helpless half-orcs throat, but before he gets the opportunity, cries of 'Magic Assault! "Call the Miltia!" echo around the street...

Keemor the Mage becomes suddenly fearful and when Keemor the Mage becomes suddenly fearful he does very unrational things, the mage begins reciting an incantation and then unleashes a spectacular and somewhat copious Wall of Fog along the entire length of 'the Strip'.

The cries of 'Militia' and 'Magic Use' soon turn into cries of panic and then into mass hysteria. Keemor is knocked against the wall of the River Rat tavern as a panicked stampede get underway on the street, screams and cries of pain puncuate the din of many raised and fearful voices.

The mage looks to return to the safety of the River Rat tavern but the faces of many shocked patrons crowded at the entrance put paid to that idea. Like a cornered Rat, by the River Rat, he whips up his robe, his mystic robe, his robe with the words 'Magic User 4 Life' inscribed on the back in large neon lettering and scarpers.

Meanwhile in the bar, the patrons returns to nurse their drinks as the commotion outside slowly begins to dissipate (much like the Wall of Fog I guess). The Strip is lined with the fallen and twisted bodies of many people (one of which is a half orc corpse), the injuried are tended too and the Watch arrive to co-ordinate the relief efforts and also to get a description of the culprit.

Still at the bar, within the press of people trying to get a drink, Ulric tries his hand at a bit of diplomacy, and gets chatting with a few Rhenee and inquires if there's anyway to meet their headman, their king? Why? He proffers that he has some important information that  Zorran might be interested in, it concerns the Rhenee Lord's dealing with Iuz...he wonders if they can set up a meet. The Rhenee present absorb this and tell the Dwarf to wait in the bar and they'll see what can be arranged.

Meanwhile, in the dark side streets of the River Quarter, a blood splattered mage runs away from the Strip and searches frantically for any form of  clothing shop. Eventually he finds one and purchases a new set of attire, general attire, boring non-showy kinda attire, the kind that wouldn't identify him as a mage in a million years. A calmer Keemor exits the tailor's shop and head at a more leisurely pace back the Black Dragon Inn.

In the bar, several hours pass, the disguised bard's dealing with the Rhenee eventually end in dead kinda end but Ulric gambit bears fruit and the Rhenee relay onto him that his information is indeed of interest to their boss Zorran Sorraith, he willing to meet the party in the wee hours, come back the River Rat then and my people will lead you to the meeting place.

Ulric agrees and the party depart the tavern and head back to the Black Dragon Inn.

Evil in Elmshire Chapter 4.1

Chapter 4 - Parte 1 - Way Down in the Hole

On there leisurely walk to the River Quarter Meet, several in the the party notice that their being followed, also, their tails are  pretty good. A quick discussion leads to Korbin Shortshanks, drawing his elven clock around him and then pealing off at a busy intersection to lay low within the shadows.

He spies the dude following the party, a Rhenee by this clothing, the hooded fellow walks past Korbin's location but doesn't appear to notice the small halfling hidden in the shade of an alleyway. The Rhenne dude remains doggedly in the wake of the rest of the party. Korbin Shortshanks emerges from the gloom and stealthy follows in his footsteps.


The party enter the River Quarter and head down an thoroughfare known locally as 'the Strip'. This area encompasses a vast array of taverns and drinking establishments, dingy eateries, a multitude of entertainments are on offer (both above and below board) and it is the gathering place in Greyhawk for budding adventures...A man could lose his soul in a place like this, warns Brother Kelly...the party then catch the Paladin looking at a flier for the 'Silver Garter Gentleman's Club' with a strange faraway look in his eyes...


Quite, mutters Baron Quentin lowering his gaze.

A peal of thunder rips across the sky, unusual, on such a clear and cloudless day. 8-)

As the group venture further along the Strip, the hustle and bustle on the street increases exponentially and the party soon find themselves buffeted by the throng. They notice large knots of Rhenee folk in the area, seated in Taverns and eateries and in groups chatting on the street but the gypsy folk seem to pay the party no mind, so the players ignore them in return.

Eventually the adventurers locate the alleyway that leads to Tomas Jarek's warehouse. In keeping with tradition on what a hideout for a Master Thief would look like, the passageway is dark, dingy, and has plenty of places where a person or persons could hide (probably with an aimed and loaded crossbow)... the party unconcerned, stride down it boldy and commence conversation with several of Jarek's lackeys outside. They are allowed entrance to a rundown warehouse and told to await the arrival of the Master Thief.

Jarek turns out to a stoutish, balding man of average height, his face is a morass of scars. Initial assessment is of a loutish thug and Tomas's opening unfriendly banter soon underscored this. Even the utterance of the name 'Shearer' fails to cower the man into some form of cooperation.

Any information that the party want from him about the Rhenee will cost them. His price a hefty 5 platinum pieces (which in the new system is a fair chunk of cash 1pp = 100gp).

Ulric surmising the situation could turn ugly and subtlely slips into his 'warrior stance'. He watches further negoiations with feigned indifference, his hand however never straying too far from the haft of his greataxe.

Eventually even he gets bored of the standoff, the gruff Dwarf pulls 5 platinum coins from about his person and tosses them idly onto the floor by Jarek's feet. The Thief's face convulses and a pall falls upon both parties...the stillness is puncuated by the sounds of windows being pushed ajar and crossbow strings pulled tight...

'Looks like we've got a problem with the *lawn ornament* fellas', roars Jarek glowering towards the Dwarf, 'but we can soon solve that'....Ulric tenses and grips his axe, the hands of other party members stray towards scabbarded weapons. In the interlude, Caerendil the Bard (Caerendil the Brave, Caerendil of the Brass Cahunas) walks quietly and purposely over to Jarek, he bends down and smokes his cnob collects the coins at the Master Thief's feet and deposits them into his hand.

We don't want any trouble, Mr Jarek, now can you get us the information we require?

Still staring hard at the Dwarf, the Master Thief accents with a brief nod. He whispers that they return tonight and he'll have whatever information his sources can find on the halfling disappeances. The party acknowledge this and then back out of the warehouse and up the alleyway as quickly as their legs will allow. They only relax once out in the relative safety of the Strip.

Having time to burn, the party nows split into 2 groups, Starfast, Ulric, the Bard, Keemor decide to pay a visit to the 'River Rat', a tavern popular with the Rhenee in the River Quarter to see if anymore info can be gained. Brother Kelly, the Paladin and Korbin decide to return to the hotel....for some reason?...Anyway the party separate and those stories will also be told...