Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 17
|Taaaz||Fighter level 2||Tall figure whose skinny frame is hidden behind plate armour he never takes off—including the helmet.|
|Bobins||Halfling level 1||A curly-haired, dagger-wielding halfling in search of adventure.|
|Amanda Hugencuise||Thief level 1||A new girl in town, claiming to be foreign exchange student, up for some “exciting missions” and enjoying the local cuisine.|
|Rad||Thief level 1||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Rux||Cleric level 1||A humble priest of Dyrantril, God of Alchemy.|
|Gon'd'elf||Elf level 1||“Surely magnificent, am I not?” is his favourite opener. Works every time, 40% of the time.|
Taaaz's and Bobins's reports linked at the end of the post.
Sweetrain 14th, Fireday
There it stood—calling them, teasing them. A gray featureless monolith, sixty feet wide and sixty feet tall. One of them already died scaling it.
Taaaz was the one who found it. Taaaz was the one beckoned by it. Taaaz was the one who convinced the party to go back. Taaaz was the only one who hadn't entered the canoe to inspect it up closer.
Large wooden gates on the west face were the only discernible entrance. They stood twenty feet above the water—for the tower was in the middle of sprawling lake—without any obvious platform or gangway.
It was quiet. Solemn. There were no birds chirping. No fish or other aquatic life disturbing the tense water surface. No game came to satiate their thirst.
Rux, Rad, and Bobins canoed their way to the tower, intent on discovering its secrets. Rad, the scrawny thief, decided to go for a dive and investigate what lurks underneath. The tower went deeper than twenty feet. If Rad was to dive there, he'd have to risk his very existence.
After some tinkering, the party came up with a set of ingenious solutions—repurpose vials and waterskins as oxygen containers, and tie a rope to Rad so they can pull him out. Now, well resourced Rad was ready for another deep dive.
Some thirty feet down, he found a circular hole in the wall, covered with large iron grate. Pushing his luck, Rad swam up to it and tried to pull on it. Alas, his body failed him, and he gasped for air. His friends evacuated him before his lungs filled with water.
Having had enough water, Rad opted to scale the tower instead. The further up the central line he went, the colder the stone was.
The top was as featureless as other faces. A flat sixty by sixty plateau of solid stone. It didn't look chiselled or hewn. It looked as if it was one solid piece, just dumped here. Rad's strikes echoed through the wilderness, confirming that he is indeed hitting stone.
He had a flash of inspiration whilst rappelling down to the canoe—why not burn the gates down? So he doused the with all the oil he had and light it up. Alas, they did not go out in flames as expected. Fire was humble, but it was there, slowly peeling the layers of bloated, damp wood.
Having exhausted above ground options, the party decided to revisit the underwater grate.
Taaaz, and his buff retainer Arian, were monitoring from the shores. Perhaps they were too entranced by the tower to notice a figure some hundred feet away from them.
”...You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now.” a gentle breeze carried said words to Taaaz.
“Who goes there? Identify yourself!” Taaaz shoot back, running up to the figure, weapons drawn.
“Take your weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it! Give in to your anger! With each passing moment, you make yourself more my servant...”
Taaaz shrugged, and then backhanded the figure with all his might.
“Oh my! Where am I? What is happening? Oh; I was in the reverie... Why did you strike me!” it was clear that the knocked figure was an elf. He indeed looked genuinely confused.
“You asked me to slap you so I did. You serve me now.”
“What were you doing here? What were you looking for?”
“Ancient scriptures tell of The Tower of Ghshushuahmen and its riches. It comes and goes; but I found it. I tried to get in, again and again; but I was taken by the Reverie...”
The elf in question was Gon'd'elf, a sole survivor of the encounter with the black bog horror treading the cursed marshes at foots of Windgod Hills.
Joining their forces, the party regrouped at the shore and evaluated their options. Ripping off the grate won as the preferred way.
Gon'd'elf, the agile elf he is, took a dive and tied a knot to the grate. Taaaz and Rux pulled with all their might. At first they felt great resistance, then nothing, then great resistance again.
Bobins, a skilled swimmer, was the next one to take a dive. He pulled himself down, using the rope tied to the grate. Although they hadn't managed to rip it out as planned, it was bent enough for the halfling to crawl through.
And so Bobins swam into complete and utter darkness. From time to time he could feel mushy lumps of different consistency than the water. Swimming straight for some ten minutes, he hit into a solid surface. Gently caressing it revealed that it terminate to the right side. Alas, this was the moment he ran out of breath, and was saved only by his fellow adventurers' quick reaction.
Whilst Bobins was taking a dive, Taaaz remembered reading about herbs used for water breathing potions in “Botany, The Complete History.” Rux confirmed that alchemists do know how to brew such potions. And then they both remembered the Great Orbaal, a master alchemist they met in Antil.
Deciding they did as much as they could, the party gathered up their belongings and returned to Antil.
Sweetrain 15th, Spiritday
The party broke off into the city, each with their own mission.
Bobins hit the lowest of the low, frequenting inns like Drunken Whore, Hare's Head, and Seven Vultures. It was in the last one he met a self pitying old man whom kept talking about how “everybody is dead because of me and my ambitions.”
With some words and liquid of encouragement he disclosed that he is a historian and archaeologist specialised in Orcish artefacts. He was following a lead to a “legendary spear whom allows the wielder to unite Orc clans.”
The man was too distressed and drunk for other details. He did manage to scribble on Bobins map the approximate location of the ruined fort “where all are dead because of me.”
Rux visited the Great Orbaal and endured his inane stories. The alchemist agreed to brew a pot of Potion of Waterbreathing for 300 gold coins, some crocodile gizzards, and details from racy encounters with mer-folk.
Gon'd'elf went recruiting, hiring two fine warriors—Ehrman and Ariad Simner.
Taaaz spent the day at Friend's Arms, an upscale tavern in Merchant's Quarters. There he was approached by a young noble from distant lands. The man requested protection services, because “local thugs” aren't trustworthy. He offered to pay Taaaz 500 gold pieces, and make him his warlord “if all goes according to plan—and it will!” He is eager to leave Antil as soon as possible. After all, his destiny awaits!
Which path will the party choose next?
Player Session Reports
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