Attronarch's Athenaeum



Character Class Description
BuddyPuddingBottom Elf level 2 Peppermint scented elf followed by jingles, on a quest for the perfect gift.
Rad Thief level 3 A young, short and malnourished rogue.
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Kuqhir of the Wastes Magic-User level 2 A thin, tall, dark skinned man with a magnificent beard that tickles his bellybutton. Dresses in silk robes and tightly folded turban embroidered with names of all known angels.
Amanka Cleric level 1 Dour, glum, tight-lipped, and baggy-eyed cleric with a gravestone-shaped talisman. She reveres the Fallen One, a petty god of fallen warriors and unsung heroes.
Neremyn Elf level 1 A tall, pale, and lean scholar of languages with silver hair and a somewhat distant attitude.

Sunstrong 19th, Fireday

Having rested at their camp, the party was ready to head back to the crypts. After all, Pinella's arguments about countless riches hidden inside were too irresistible.

The expeditionary force consisting of Rhovar, Amanka, Neremyn, Rad, BuddyPuddingBottom, Kuqhir, Arnbella, Bowerroth, and Galiana confidently marched in. The stone portal was closed.

That's not how they left it.

“Spread out!”

One of them pulled on the hidden lever that unlocks the portal, while others manned the nearby bastion.

Massive stone slab raised lazily, just like the last time, until it stopped some eight feet tall with a loud thud. The chamber with runic inscriptions was as they left it. Three corpses still laid on the ground solemnly.

The party moved in cautiously, making sure to avoid the runes and corpses.

Double doors to their left were wide open—this was the chamber they burst in the previous day. Double doors to the right were still closed. The passageway ahead was wide open.

Few of the members secured the passageway while others took to the closed double doors. It was Rad who heard belly laugh and squeaking sounds emanating from behind them.

He signalled to the others that he heard something of interest. They soon started to form a line in front of the doors that were about to received the same treatment as before.


“What th–”

The corpse Galiana accidentally stepped on uttered a blood-chilling shrill, surprising her. Shocked, Bowerroth stepped back onto yet another corpse!

The first corpse sprung up, torn off Galiana's face as she tried to reach her holy symbol, bit incoming Rad, and clawed at swinging Rhovar. All three fell down to the ground.

Two remaining clerics rubbed their holy symbols.

Two remaining clerics failed to summon their deity's favour.

Then one of them got brutally disembowelled by the other slumbering undead.

Then the last of them, being Amanka, decided to run for her life.

“Look! They aren't dead!”

Kuqhir yelled at the fleeing members.

Indeed, Rhovar and Rad were merely lying in stiff, contorted positions.

Galiana on the other hand, was most definitely dead.

The vicious monster that had already claimed three lives charged at Buddy.

Kuqhir and Neremyn used the opportunity to approach Rad and Rhovar respectively. The wizard managed to pick up the thief, but elf struggled with the bulky, heavily armoured warrior.

As if they weren't it having tough enough, suddenly someone opened the double doors to the south.

That someone being a group of four squat goblins.

The monster jumped on Buddy, but failed to drive its claws into him. It did manage to lick his face, leaving foul saliva all over him. The elf pushed the monster away, and then took a run for it.

In a most welcome turn of events, the monster charged into the group of confused goblins instead after the elf. Perhaps it was put off by his peppermint flavoured skin.

Either way, what remained of the party was fleeing at full speed. Except Kuqhir and Neremyn who were desperately trying to save Rad and Rhovar. There was still one undead that was chasing after them.

In the flash of brilliance, Kuqhir threw his satchel to Amanka.

“There are some oil flasks inside!”

Amanka promptly set the whole satchel on fire and threw it straight into the face of the pursuing monster.

The gods heard her now.

The expeditionary force retreated back to their camp leaving horrible screams behind them.

There they rested long enough for Rad and Rhovar to regain their senses.

And then they marched to Antil.

Sunstrong 19th, Sunset

Neremyn found an obsidian citadel encroached by the jungle.

He took a peek beyond the broken portion of the wall.

There he saw three house-sized spiders consume a giant-sized humanoid.

The party continued to Antil.

Sunstrong 20th, Spiritday

Finally, the Gates of Antil!

Feeling generous, the party liberated Amdor, and hired the rest of their prisoners—Pipluk the Elf and two thugs named Luqe and Argun.

And then Rhovar jovially announced:

“Let's get paralytic for the second time today!”

Illustrations by Idle Doodler.

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Character Class Description
Brother Kallahan Cleric level 2 Crooked, broken nose; big bags under eyes; long hair, bald spot hidden under old pilgrim's hat; and emaciated figure. Mosquitoes and the smell of dampness always accompanies him.
BuddyPuddingBottom Elf level 2 Peppermint scented elf followed by jingles, on a quest for the perfect gift.
Eccy Throi Elf level 1 Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.
Barad the Bald Magic-User level 1 Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Kuqhir of the Wastes Magic-User level 2 A thin, tall, dark skinned man with a magnificent beard that tickles his bellybutton. Dresses in silk robes and tightly folded turban embroidered with names of all known angels.
Neremyn Elf level 1 A tall, pale, and lean scholar of languages with silver hair and a somewhat distant attitude.
Amanka Cleric level 1 Dour, glum, tight-lipped, and baggy-eyed cleric with a gravestone-shaped talisman. She reveres the Fallen One, a petty god of fallen warriors and unsung heroes.
Zilar Fighter level 1 A handsome 9th son of a noble who has read too many trashy fantasy books for his own good, and now thinks that bravery is not being scared of anything.

Sunstrong 18th, Earthday

“Tie them all up!”

The party has just beaten three figures to unconsciousness, with one of them being a treacherous elf that dares to stab the pal Neremyn.

These bad people were trying to break into another room, from whence an unknown person shouted defiantly that they'll never be caught alive.

“We are the Hydra Company!” Rhovar shouted standing next to the same doors. “We are here to rescue Herat's sister! You have nothing to worry about if you are an honest man!”

A few moments later a large man dressed in long gray-blue robe opened the doors. He introduced himself as Amdor, and thanked the party for taking care of these foul men that tried to kill him. An ornate staff with gilded swirls was in his left hand.

Rhovar interrogated the man, all the while playing thumb games with him. He was gravely worried that Amdor might try to surprise them with some powerful spell. After all, just minutes ago an elf put him to sleep with surprising ease.

Neremyn, Eccy, Kallahan, and few others took to interrogation of unconscious men. Months in the city of Antil have apparently softened Brother Kallahan, for his first move was to gently awaken one of the men.

Once that did not work, he resorted to tried and tested method of slapping the person. Alas, all he got were few incoherent rumbles and sloppy mumbles.

On the other hand, Eccy and Neremyn were far more successful. They quickly found out their captive kinsman's name was Pipluk. Eccy's bloodthirsty gaze and semi-erotic caressing of his serrated handaxe motivated Pipluk to answer any and all questions with great haste.

“I'm the leader of this adventuring band. We came here for the same reason as you! To seek treasure in these long forgotten crypt. That was when we encountered the robbed man. Since he was most uncooperative, we decided to teach him a lesson. And then you showed up!”

“Why did you stab me!” Neremyn demanded.

“Well, you were the one who charged in, slashing and breaking, and all that shit!”

On the other hand, Rhovar had managed to learn much more from Amdor. If he was to believe him, the man was a member of an adventuring party whom had made the crypt their home. He offered to guide the Hydra Company to his leader, but Rhovar refused.

He also explained that the sound of rustling winds is what “keeps the dead sleeping” and that it is important to “stay as quiet as you can” as not to disturb the resting.

At one moment Kallahan joined Rhovar in questioning Amdor. Despite the wizard sharing everything he knew, the duo did not seem to trust him.

Finally, Amdor divulged something of great interest!

“A few weeks ago—or was it days?—we captured a group of adventurers who tried to break into our home. Unfortunately two of them died, but the man and woman whom had survived were thrown into our cells.”

“Tell me more about the woman!” Herat nearly jumped at the man.

“Long brown hair, pretty face, quite feisty. I remember her yelling so much we had to knock her unconscious!”

“That's her! Can you take us to her?”

“Of course. Which way would you like to go?”

“The shortest!”

“In that case we will head back to the Flame Portal overlooking the docks. I created a secret passageway behind the lever using my majestic arcane skills.”

“I'm sorry, but although we trust you, we will tie your hands. Do you understand?”

“You know, I could be of more help if I was untied...”

They tied his hands anyway.

Rad, Galiana, and Boweroth took Pipluk and his two thus outside, so they secure them in their camp.

The rest of the party went to the Flame Portal, with few of them always keeping an eye on Amdor.

The man was not lying—there was another secret door behind the secret chamber that housed the lever.

“Come on! Let's go!” Herat was less and less patient.

Rhovar stepped through the passageway first, with Herat closely following. Although less than five feet wide, the passage was quite tall, with their torches barely reaching the ceiling. The surfaces were smooth and featureless.


Zilar and Amanka turned around just in time to see several crocodile headed humanoids crawl out of the water behind them.


“Form ranks!”

Eccy charged to the staircases on the left, Zilar and Amanka to the right, while the rest of the party ran up the stairs to the top of the bastion. Rhovar and Herat were too deep to hear the details, but they were aware of something happening.

“There is five more swimming down there!”

“Watch out!”

Four of them surrounded Zilar. They beat him unconscious with their bone weapons. Bloodied and zoned out, Zilar fell down on the ground.

Eccy disembowelled the monster in front of him, while Kuqhir started to chant magical words. Alas! By the time he was done, two of the beasts grabbed Zilar and jumped into the sea!

Rhovar joined the fray just in time to finish off the lizardman already wounded by BuddyPuddingBottom and Kallahan. When Kuqhir finished his ritual, three more lizardmen fell.

Amanka slipped on one of the stairs and tumbled straight into the sea. Luckily, the opposition had either left (with still breathing Zilar) or had been killed.

“You know, if my hands weren't tied I could solved this with a move of my finger!”

Kuqhir studied the man. He couldn't see any spellbook. Maybe he left it somewhere safe? Either way, the party formed a single file rank, and marched through the secret passageway.

“You should see flat wall just ahead. It is another secret door. It's a simple rotating mechanism, just push one of the edges and it will open.”

Rhovar pushed gingerly, opening the doors a little bit.

“Fuck off!” a female voice shouted.

“That's her voice!” Herat whispered to Rhovar and tried to push him forward. The Skandik hadn't budged whatsoever. “Wait. It might be a trap. Tell her to calm down.”

“Pinella it's me, Herat!”

“Oh sister, so happy to hear your voice! Come in and help me!”

Now the party charged in with all their might.

They rushed into a roughly twenty-five by twenty feet chamber with double doors to the left and right. Various torture contraptions hanged on the north wall. A naked woman was chained to the hanging bed on the south wall.

Ugly looking man with bloodied face and nothing but chain shirt stood in the southwest corner of the room. Last thing he did in his miserable life before Rhovar crushed his head into a pulp was pulling on a silk cord hanging from the ceiling.

Herat took care of her sister, whom was in very good health despite her predicament. “Fucking loser. Good riddance. Cannot tell you how many times I broke his ugly face.”

“What the fuck is this Amdor?” Rhovar grabbed the wizard by his throat. Eccy flanked the man, sporting his axe once more.

“Ghhhgfhh–you are choking me–”

“Yes I fucking am! Speak!”

“–I don't come here often. What do I know what they do here!”

“How many of you are there left?! Where are they!”

As this was happening, Kuqhir, Neremyn and Amanka went through the west double doors, for there were more prison cells there. Indeed, a bruised man dressed in rags was in one of them.

“Are my eyes fooling me or have my prayers been answered?”

The man slowly got off the ground, revealing his badly mauled arms and scab-covered legs.

“Come, let's get you out of here.”

“I'm sorry, I don't have the strength to carry myself... Please save my friend as well, she is in the torture chamber next door...”

“Don't worry, she is with her sister now.”

Amanka watched guard over the south doors. Much to her surprise several dog shaped head emerged from the doors—as if they turned into liquid wood—and started barking and growling audibly.

“Let's get out of here a bit quicker.”

“Six more! Just south of here, behind the barking doors is another secret passageway which leads you into the former priests' chambers. That's where our base is!”

Amdor answered Rhovar as Kuqhir and Neremyn returned, carrying a broken man. Amanka followed with a brisk pace.

“Just one more thing. Herat please pass me the dagger...”

Having castrated her jailer, now she too was ready to leave.

Illustrations by Idle Doodler.

Discuss at Dragonsfoot forum.

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Session judged by myself, report written by Sleazy B, player who controled Serga in this session. He usually plays Eccy Throi in the Conquering the Barbarian Altanis campaign.

The Party

  • Serga Ulmus, a half-orc cleric on a mission to retrieve his forefathers relic which will allow him to rule orc clans.
  • Gobanneu, a goblin bodyguard in the service of Serga.
  • Uglamm the Wretched, a foul warlock wearing black cloak and a goat horned circlet..
  • Mavious Blarv, Uglamm's apprentice.

HEAR THIS, the age of Serga is upon us! I, Uglamm the Wretched, have been tasked with the glorious honor of chronicling his tale.

It was the retrieval of Alkarg, the Elf-Destroyer, that brought this age to ripeness. I was honored to be among those tasked with delving into the lost citadel of Alhurmus, the bastion of his revered ancestor Mondru IV (may Gruumsh glorify his name!), and there to combat the many traps and deadly beasts. Yet it was through Serga’s strength that we were victorious!

Be it remembered that the numerous clever traps of Mondru’s fortress felled brave orcs who gave their life for Serga! And it was their blood that stoked the fire of Serga’s resolve. The halls of the fortress were lined with statues of the honored dead, and trophies torn bloodily from the hands of slaughtered elf-kind. And each of them seemed to bow and cheer “Serga!” as he passed. Enshrined among the great halls were heroes of old, and their treasures, and they too looked upon their descendant with admiration and respect. For Serga is the chosen of Gruumsh!

Let the name of the vile lycanthrope who defiled those hallowed halls be forgotten, only the glory of Serga remains. Through violence and treachery, many of Serga’s servants were slain. So it was that only his brother Baktar, and his servants Durz and Nogurgh survived to accompany Serga to the lowest level of the fortress, where resided the Bane of Elves. How beautiful were those lower halls which glorified Gruumsh! And yet, even here, the brilliance of Mondru’s defenses cost incautious Durz his life. There were many riddles there, engraved upon black iron gates. And yet, for one as clever in words as Serga there was nothing hidden! For he was wise in the written form. Cautiously did he, his brother, and his servant enter to that final chamber. And yet seeing the prize in front of him, the Elf-Destroyer, Serga strode forward bravely. And the honored dead that lined the hall there were glad to see him, and they proferred to him the spear itself which he had sought.

The three heroes rose victorious through the labyrinth to where they had entered into the fortress, and where awaited Serga and Baktar’s father Thaagwa, who had taught Serga the ways of Gruumsh, and his retinue of brave Orcs. Yet when they entered into the plain air they discovered treachery! A band of men, led by hateful elves, had put to the sword Serga’s faithful followers, and even his father (though his father lived just long enough to see his son emerge).

Seeing this evil before him, and the blood spilled by those that would oppose him, there rose in Serga a righteous fury. And he strode into the field, glowing a brilliant red, a sign of his hatred for the treacherous elves! There he did battle with those villains, I saw it with my own eyes! He slew them to the last one. And though Baktra and Nogurgh could not withstand the hateful violence of the elves, Serga emerged, all drenched in the blood of his enemies. Let it be known! All who oppose the chosen of Gruumsh will find only destruction.

#Wilderlands #OneShot #SessionReport

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Character Class Description
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Gomm Thief level 4 Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.
Kuqhir of the Wastes Magic-User level 2 A thin, tall, dark skinned man with a magnificent beard that tickles his bellybutton. Dresses in silk robes and tightly folded turban embroidered with names of all known angels.
Rad Thief level 3 A young, short and malnourished rogue.
Eccy Throi Elf level 1 Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.
Barad the Bald Magic-User level 1 Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.
Amanka Cleric level 1 Dour, glum, tight-lipped, and baggy-eyed cleric with a gravestone-shaped talisman. She reveres the Fallen One, a petty god of fallen warriors and unsung heroes.
Zilar Fighter level 1 A handsome 9th son of a noble who has read too many trashy fantasy books for his own good, and now thinks that bravery is not being scared of anything.
BuddyPuddingBottom Elf level 2 Peppermint scented elf followed by jingles, on a quest for the perfect gift.
Oberon Fighter level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.
Neremyn Elf level 1 A tall, pale, and lean scholar of languages with silver hair and a somewhat distant attitude.

Sunstrong 16th, Airday

Morjen. Liana. Yorlen. Meldorian. Warcrown. Kelman.

The names and associated faces were now just a groggy memory for Rhovar and Rad. But not for Barad. Oh no. He still remembers everything from the previous night.

“My dear friends, I bear gifts!”

It was Aergal Firebeard, a dwarf whose son the company had saved months ago.

“It takes time for mithril weapons to be forged, but they are the finest in all of Wilderlands!”

He brought them a mithril short sword, a mace, and a two-handed sword.

“Now, what is it I hear my friends? Is it true that you've been to Kelman's famous Rumble! Oh, don't hold me in dark; spill your beans at once!”

While Rhovar and Rad struggled to remember the details, Barad bluntly said:

“Sorry, but we have signed the Code of Secrecy. We are not allowed to speak of the night. We hope you understand.”

“I see, I see. Well, see you again in a few months. All of you are welcome to my manor at any time. Maybe visit once?”

“Hey, where is Eccy?” finally someone spoke up.

“Oh yeah, we received a letter from the Walled Bazaar. Apparently he made a huge mess there yesterday. Got into a fight and broke some noses, flipped few stands and what not. They subdued him and threw him into prison. They are asking for 1200 gold pieces to release him unharmed, plus 741 silver pieces for damage done.”

“He is a good elf. We will pay the ransom.”

“By the way, have we gotten any responders to our call for adventurers?”

Indeed, five individuals answered Hydra Company's call: fighter Richrad “The Treacherous” Feutrer, thief Watt “The Merciful” Coxeter, magic-user Arnbella Meale, cleric of luck Bowerroth, and cleric of the library Galiana “The Lily” Payne.

All were hired.

“Well met old friends!”

Yet another visitor came to the Hydra Company's headquarters.

This time it was Herat, a female warrior that was briefly with them during their time at the mushroom caves.

“You remember how I joined Sinai because he promised that he'd help me find my sister? Well, I have a very strong lead! But I need your help... Apparently, the she was a member of adventuring party that went to seek a crypt in the jungle just east of here. I even got a map—see? Would you be willing to head there with me?”

“And what is the pay?” Rad magnanimously asked.

Herat blushed. “I don't have anything to pay you, but if the rumours are true, the crypt she went seeking is full of ancient treasure. That should suffice, no?”


And so the company set out to prepare a new expedition.

Sunstrong 17th, Waterday

Oh how impressive they were!

A column with three marching abreast led by Rhovar mounted on glorious Umber Fury, the warhorse of mysteriously missing Sir Fondleroy.

Eccy, Zilar (a new guy who just joined the company), Neremyn, Amanka, Kuqhir, Barad, and BuddyPuddingBottom were joined by their retainers Galiana, Arnbella, Bowerroth, and Richrad.

The wizards actually rode in the VVagon pulled by two draft horses.

Finally, ten mercenaries armed with shortbows and daggers followed.

Herat was up front with Rhovar, since she had the map to her sister's supposed last location.

Just as they were leaving the Gates of Antil, Barad the Bald had caught glimpse of a familiar face. Although dressed in a simple clothing and without large grey robe, Barad was certain this was Meldorian the “Gargoyle” from the previous night's horror show.

The man looked nervous and was continuously looking over his shoulders. Somehow he failed to notice the impressive column of the Hydra Company.

“Rhovar! That's one of them!”

The Skandik warrior trodded to the unsuspecting man; towering over on him on Umber Fury; and demanded in booming voice he enters into their VVagon.

Meldorian was so shocked he went as pale as Kelman's albino servants. He couldn't form a single coherent sentence. He was pushed into the VVagon with little resistance.

“You'll go on a ride with us now. Don't you worry.” Barad consoled the man.

Meldorian sat in silence, shivering and trembling in anticipation.

“Some thugs are following us.” Rad announced.

Well, whomever they were, they were not brave enough to challenge the Hydra Company in the open.

“Kelman's spies, for sure.”

“W-w-where are you taking me?”

Meldorian finally spoke.

“Oh, that's no concern of yours. Relax.”

And little did they speak to the man until they were several hours away from Antil.

“Speak, fiend! You threw the dice as will, did you not!”

“Spare me! I did not want to play, but I value my life more than some beggars' and lepers'!”

“Have you not seen us walk out?!”

“To be honest, I expected you to show up on some of the planks as well! How could I know they'd really let you leave?”

“Where were you going now?”

“I was fleeing Antil, that's where I've been going! And you should too! Anyone who returns is a dead man.”

With a little helping of motivational intimidation, Meldorian revealed his plan was to surprise everyone with a Sleep spell, and then simply pick up all the valuable. He got cold feet as the night went on and simply gave up.

And somehow he managed to gather enough courage to insult Barad:

“Esteemed colleague, you asked me how do I remember the events from the last night. Any mage worth their salt would've recognised that “Code of Secrecy” was nothing but a simple curse for the feeble-minded.”

By now Rhovar had enough of the man.

“I'll cut off your tongue and chop off your hands!”

Eccy Throi supported that notion.

Others simply turned their heads away as Meldorian grovelled for mercy. But no matter how much he begged, Rhovar had made up his mind.

Seeing he has no other option, Meldorian fled for the jungle, running as fast as he could. He even left behind his haversack. Luckily for him, Rhovar and Eccy were to slow to catch up. Others did not try to prevent him from escaping.

“Bah. Herat, are we close yet?”


Sunstrong 18th, Earthday

“This must be it!”

After nearly twelve hours of jungle exploration, they had finally found the entrance into the crypt marked on Herat's map.

The following were to go in as the main party: Herat, Rhovar, Eccy, Zilar, Amanka, Rad, Neremyn, BuddyPuddingBottom, Kuqhir, Bowerroth, Galiana, and Arnbella. The rest formed a camp at the safest spot they could find.

The passage the have discovered at the back of a cave led them to another huge water-filled underground cavern opening up into the Romilion Sea some few hundred yards north.

A wooden bridge crossed the subterranean river flowing into the sea, leading to portal beside a twenty feet high tower. From where the stood, the party could infer that this was an underground dock of sorts.

Two more towers followed the first one, with a docking bay between each. The bays were at a lower level, with steps leading down into the water. Everything was littered with rubble and masonry. The steps, as well as part of the docks were also covered with wet green weed, slime, barnacles and sea snails.

The elves could hear a feint sound of rustling leaves.

Opposite of the second tower stood twenty feet tall and twenty feet wide double doors. They were arched and covered in carving of intertwined skeletons, culminating with a large carved flame at the top of the archway.

Four thick metal bars ran across the doors, with numerous chains and padlock shackling them to the doors. Rad couldn't resist the temptation, so he decided to try to pick one of the locks.

At the same time, the rest of the party searched the towers and docking bays, finding little of interest except a rotting barge with a skeleton and a rusted chest.

“Chest, you say! Now that's more my drift!”

Rad reached the barge without any delay.

“Hmm, yes, a chest.”

The skeleton crumbled into dust as soon as it was prodded.


As soon as he stepped into the barge, two lampreys lunged at him, surprising the young thief.

Buddy immediately shot down one, while the other was put to sleep by Kuqhir. Zilar ran down the slippery stairs just in time to embrace panicked Rad in his strong arms.

After everyone had calmed down, they recovered the rusty chest, finding an ornate golden goblet, a flask with liquid, blue gourd full of white sand, and a silver armband.

“Guys, there are another big ass doors here as well.”

Indeed, at the end of eastern portion of the docks stood fifteen feet wide and twenty feet tall opening. It was framed with skeletal borders surrounding a cascade of water. On the floor was a three feet wide groove.

The “doors” was in fact a thick slab of stone. It currently stood at some ten feet above ground.

Simultaneously, Neremyn had been exploring behind the metal bars blocking the large double doors they've previously encountered.


Beneath the lowest bar he found a concealed lever. Smart elf he is, he decided to use a ten foot pole to flip it.


The stone slab fell down with such force that it almost knocked Buddy on his bottom.

“Oh, I guess we now know what this lever does.”

Flipping it again resulted in the stonegates being open once more. They opened into a dark chamber.

“Light up. We are going in.”

The party entered into a large chamber with ceiling so high they had to shoot an arrow to see it. The marble floor in the center of the room was covered in mysterious symbols. On top of them two men laid solemnly. Both looked long dead.

“Uh, this looks worrying.”

Smaller double doors were to the north and south.

After carefully prodding and experimenting with the rune carved floor, the party had decided it's safe enough to be approached. Casting Read Languages, Neremyn was able to decipher part of the writing. In essence it spoke of faraway people whom established this as their final resting place. The High Priest and The Archmage were in charge of interment processions. And, perhaps most importantly to the party, everyone here is buried with all their worldly possessions.

“Shh! Noise behind northern doors!”


It sounded like something hard was banging against another hard surface.

Thirsting for action, they party ordered themselves behind the doors. Rhovar and Zilar led the charge.

They burst into a chamber with several broken bunks and shredded mattresses, barrels, and few desks. In front of them a group of three men were using a bench as a battering ram against doors to the east.

“Look! They have hoods! And daggers! They must be the bad guys!”

The party immediately killed one, and beaten the other two senseless.

Alas, they failed to notice an elf hiding behind the barrels. The surprise weaved his hands and spoke few words, dropping everyone but insomniac Amanka.

He too was beaten senseless shortly thereafter.

A defiant shout came from behind the doors hooded men tried to break through.

“You will never get me alive!”

Illustrations by Idle Doodler.

Discuss at Dragonsfoot forum.

#Wilderlands #SessionReport

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Character Class Description
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Gomm Thief level 4 Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.
Kuqhir of the Wastes Magic-User level 2 A thin, tall, dark skinned man with a magnificent beard that tickles his bellybutton. Dresses in silk robes and tightly folded turban embroidered with names of all known angels.
Rad Thief level 3 A young, short and malnourished rogue.
Eccy Throi Elf level 1 Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.
Barad the Bald Magic-User level 1 Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.

Sunstrong 12, Waterday

After months of adventuring, all Hydra Company members have finally returned to their Antil headquarters. It was a bit dusty and empty, with all the men Winslow had previously recruited gone.

The city was bustling with activity, its streets chock-full of pilgrims from all over the Wilderlands. The Great Pilgrimage to Lagh Anon is announced to begin on the hottest week of the year, which is expected soon.

But our adventurers care little for such trite matters!

It was time to rest, heal, and revel in recovered riches!

Rhovar commissioned a magnificently terrifying horned helmet and bearskin-cloak. Gomm found an artist skilled enough to make a statuette of the gold-cloaked man he had encountered at the Silent Glade. Eccy found it difficult to rest and study ever since he came in the possession of that serrated axe. Violence seemed like a correct answer to every obstacle. Oberon was left in the capable hands of Shang-Ta acolytes. They tended his wounds as they flexed their muscles.

But none of them were as happy as Rad.

A tall, gaunt, bald albino man in purple robes delivered an intricately carved, palm-sized, wooden box specifically for young thief.

“Oh, it must be THE invitation!”

Indeed, it was an invitation to the annual Kelman Rumble, a high ticket, invite-only gambling event. The letter enclosed stipulated that he is allowed to take up to two guests, that there will be eight rounds of gambling at 100 gold pieces per round, and that the final, ninth, round will with starting bets at 500 gold pieces. Oh, and attendees are heavily encouraged to come in elaborate costumes. No weapons allowed either.

“Rhovar! Barad! You won't believe this... Come, we have only three days to get ready!”

The trio decided to costume themselves into a three-part hydra-like monster. Hence they procured scale tunics and shirts, green paint, and some reptiles' scales—crocodiles' if they were to trust the seller.

Sunstrong 15, Spiritday

Rad donned the scale shirt and tunic, and then glued additional scales to his back and arms. He also glued some to his face, after painting it green. “This colour” the woman told him “is safe 18 out of 20 times. I promise!”

Rhovar applied the same paint to his arms, neck and face. He also doused his blond Skandik hair until it was vibrant green, and formed an upright spike. Then he threw a scale tunic over and rubbed saltwater in his eyes to get that menacing red look.

Like Rhovar, Barad also painted his arms, neck and face. He also dressed in scale tunic. Then he painted an elaborate Hydra face on top of his bald head.

Rhovar, being the largest of the three, stood in the centre. He'd open his arms, with Rad and Barad walking underneath them. Together they voltroned a mean looking scaly, green thing.

Accompanied with eight mercenaries—also painted in green—whom were tasked with carrying a chest with 3000 gold pieces for gambling, the trio marched on to Lord Kelman's manor.

People followed them with a great interest and envy.

The walled manor, situated in the Warden's Quarter, indeed looked immaculate.

Our costumed adventurers were greeted by more silent, purple robed, hairless albino men.

Lo and behold, one of them could actually speak:

“You have arrived just in time. We will take care of your belongings. Your men are most welcome to wait for you outside.”

The trio proceeded alone beyond the gates. The courtyard was dominated with a white marble fountain shaped like a cupped hand. Water was jetting out from each finger tip. Rad noticed a few coins glittering in the depths of the water below.

“You have been invited by the esteemed Lord Kelman. All guests are required to sign the Code of Secrecy. What happens here, stays here.”

Rhovar and Rad signed hastily, the latter just stamping his thumb. Barad studied the contract a bit more. It was harsh one, with quite strict penalties.

“I'm sorry, but only those that sign will be admitted.”

The bald man signed.

“Please follow me into the bar. We will put your belongings into a safe place.”

Lavishly furnished room was populated with many people in costumes—a large ape, a courtesan, a peasant, a woman with large feathered mask, an old matron dressed as a fairy, a nobleman continuously counting his coins, a man with cloth armour boasting how he killed a bear with his bare hands, a huge man in loincloth, a giggly butterfly, a man in golden suit, a man in grey robe who claims he is a gargoyle, and a bumblebee—just to name few!

Drinks were served at no cost, something Rhovar exploited generously. The gorgeous courtesan quickly constricted his biceps.

“Ohhh, are these real or are they part of the costume?”


His further advances are best left forgotten.

The man in gold clothes was fully uninterested in any talk with Barad. He used every opportunity to deride or ridicule him.

“May I know your name?” Barad asked.

“Oh, you will know it soon” the man replied.

And so on and so forth.

The “gargoyle” was more open to conversation, but had trouble coming up with sentences.

“Uh... Yeah. I'm a sculptor.”

“Great, my friend was just looking for one! Maybe you could help him?”

“Oh. Yes, yes. Sure. He can visit me next month, I'm very busy.”

“Where about?”


“I'll let him know. Do you know who is the man in gold dress?”

“That? Oh, that's Lord Taramek Warcrown.”

Rad was having the time of his life, chatting around with people. He did not go straight for drinks, readying himself for the thing he came for. Gambling.

“Give us space!” Rhovar announced.

“Come guys, come, quick!”

Rad and Barad scuttled to him.


The trio performed their hydra reenactment to the the cheering crowd. Everybody but Warcrown clapped.

A bell announced that Rumble was about to begin.

Attendees were led into a large round chamber, even more lavishly furnished than the bar. Half of the walls were glass looking outside. A humongous red carpet covered most of the room. Several lacquered wood tables were scattered about, with several candles, series of dice and card decks set upon each table. An elaborate candelabra hung above the room. Finally, an immense blood-red curtain dominated the northeastern part of the circular room.

“Welcome to my humble abode!”

A finely dressed man with an elaborate tiger mask greeted the group. Rad immediately noticed a number of jeweled rings adorning the man's hands. Belt looked expensive as well.

“Please take a seat around the table of your choice!”

The Hydra trio now broke up, to ensure they don't gamble against each other.

Oh how the dice had rolled!

By the end of eight round Rad and Barad had lost 500 gold pieces each. Rhovar fared better, but he too at the end had a net loss of 200 gold pieces.

Barad's table went through a fair bit of drama. Warcrown kept winning and insulting everyone at the table. His provocations landed poorly with the counting noble, whom first accused Warcrown of cheating. The gold dressed nobleman brutally refuted and humiliated the counter:

“Oh “Looord” Aronulus, when will you learn? Are you so lost without your daddy around? Will you gamble away yet another daughter of yours?”

His provocations did not land well with Aronulus. He flipped the table with rage and punched the foul speaking Warcrown. Albino baldies overpowered him with surprising ease, and carried him out like he was a little child.

“This is not a game for everybody!” Warcrown announced triumphantly to Barad, as he won yet another game.

“Huh, not so many of us left...”

“Ladies and gentleman, thank you for playing. I hope you've been enjoying yourself so far. I kindly ask everyone to return to the bar as we prepare the room for the final game.”

The final players, in addition to our hydra trio, included the muscled barbarian, the courtesan, the peasant, the “gargoyle,” and Lord Warcrown.

“The final round is about to commence. Please follow me.” the sole albino speaker announced.

The group was led to the same round chamber, although this time they were face with a huge red curtain.

“Welcome! This is my favourite part of the night!” Lord Kelman spoke, barely containing his excitement. “The winner will receive this wonderful golden mermaid statuette with tiny sapphire scales.”

After Kelman finished explaining the rules, albino servants rolled back the thick red carpet revealing a glass floor that seemed to have a pit of boiling liquid below it.

Then they pushed the curtain aside revealing a giant box resting on top of the glass floor, straight above the pit of boiling liquid.

Inside the box were nine people tied to nine wooden planks each attached to a swivel. Aronulus was one of them. Three were lepers, the one Hydra Company helped find a “safe” home in the Antil's sewers.

“What the fuck...” Rhovar murmured.

“Who will roll first?” Kelman boomed.

“Hand me the dice, friend!” Warcrown yelled.

“Eight!” Kelman read the result.

“I close number four first!”

One of the bald servants flipped the board with large white number four in front of plank Lord Aronulus's was tied to. As he did so, the plank turned on the swivel, dropping the man into the pit below.

“I'll take good care of your daughters Aronulus!” Warcrown shouted at the screaming man dissolving in front of their eyes.

“Close one and three next!”

“What! I'll kill them all now!” Rhovar whispered.

Rad stood numbly, paralysed.

“We are unarmoured, outnumbered, and without weapons.” Barad tried to calm the Skandik warrior.

“Morjen! Listen to me!” Rhovar turned to the scantly dressed barbarian. “Are you enjoying this?”

“I don't understand what's happening. How is this game played?”

“Don't you see? You roll the dice, and then you are forced to kill these innocent peo–”

“Like this?” and he rolled them.

“Two!” was the result.

“I close two?”

And yet another person was dropped in the vat below.

The courtesan played next.

The “gargoyle” and peasant joined in as well.

“Won't you play?” Kelman inquired.

“No. Are we allowed to leave?”

“Oh! Woe! Have I invited wrong people? Are these the famed officers of the Hydra Company!”

“Yes, you are free to leave. Your coins will stay with us, though. For the expenses, you see.”

“What have I told you Barad? This game isn't for everyone!”

Kelman and Warcrown heartily laughed as the trio was escorted out of the room.

“I hope you head a pleasant evening.” albino servant said whilst escorting them out of the manor.

The party was quiet, for the first time.

“We will return. We will have vengeance.”

“We will kill them all.

Morjen, the barbarian.

Liana, the courtesan.

Yorlen, the peasant.

Meldorian, the gargoyle.

Warcrown, the asshole.

And Kelman, the host.”

“We should report them all! This is horrible!”

“To whom? There is no police in the Barbarian Altanis.”

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Character Class Description
Kuqhir of the Wastes Magic-User level 2 A thin, tall, dark skinned man with a magnificent beard that tickles his bellybutton. Dresses in silk robes and tightly folded turban embroidered with names of all known angels.
Amanka Cleric level 1 Dour, glum, tight-lipped, and baggy-eyed cleric with a gravestone-shaped talisman. She reveres the Fallen One, a petty god of fallen warriors and unsung heroes.
Rad Thief level 3 A young, short and malnourished rogue.
Oberon Figher level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.

Sunstrong 11th, Airday

Having stayed behind for the last expedition, Sam decided to lead his own party to the bandit camp. If anyone could determine there were no valuables left behind, then that was him!

Lady Luck was on his side, and he managed to recruit Kuqhir, a grand wizard hailing from the Wastes; Amanka, a cleric whom he already knew; and Oberon, a mean looking headhunter.

Norvin the Ranger was happy to lead them back to the Circle of Stone where bandit camp was. Doubly so, because Ithiel, a child Eccy has saved, claimed there were others like him...

Rad and his retinue reached the camp by noon.

Oberon the Stag demonstrated his usefulness by scouting up ahead. Due to his amazing skill he became nearly invisible in the foliage. He discovered a camp full of arrow-ridden corpses, just like Rad had expected.

The quarter scanned the camp once more, just to double check if any valuable have been left behind.


Rad couldn't find two tiger-face beasts that Eccy and Rhovar spoke much about. There were bandit corpses, there were hobgoblin corpses, and there was Finegan's beheaded corpse... But no large beasts.

“Let's head down the cave tunnel. This is where Finegan and monsters charged out from.”

“Wait, I have a brilliant idea.” Oberon interjected. The headhunter picked up the lightest bandit corpse and threw it down the tunnel.

“You always have to check for traps! Dungeoneering 101!”

He continued kicking the corpse down the tunnel.

Neither Amanka, nor the others, objected.

Kuqhir lit up the lantern, as they descended into darkness.


Another decapitated corpse. It was lying one the cave floor, with its belly facing down. The arms were outstretched forwards, as if the person tried to crawl away from something.

The corpse did not react to Amanka's holy words. Nor to Rad's arrow. Finally, Oberon took the corpse he was kicking, and threw it on the decapitated one.

Nothing happened.

“Eccy did mention that Finegan came out holding a chopped off head. Maybe it was his?”

The corpse was at the corner of a T-shaped junction. To their left was another corpse, sitting on a broken bench. This unlucky bastard was split in half, from groin upwards. If it was to judge by the chunks of hanging flesh, the wound had to be inflicted with a saw-like weapon.

There was little else of interest besides the corpse. The party turned to their right, carefully moving forwards. This led them to a cavernous chamber too big for their light sources.

Rad stepped forward, checking for traps. Just as he was to turn around and inform his men about the absence of obvious traps, he managed to trip on a string of something.


An audible clank could be heard, and a stiff corpse fell right in front of him, forcing him to unleash a not-so-manly scream.

A lifeless, naked man hung in front of him. The hands were tied behind his backs. The man was covered in many bruises.

Looking up, the party couldn't see the ceiling. The rope the man was hanging from was tense.

“Whomever had place this is now aware of our presence. Tread lightly.”

Looking ahead, the party was at a junction. They could see clear paths forward, to the right, and to the left. Right they went, hugging the cave wall.

Pressing onwards, they quickly realised that cave wall on their left was in fact a large pillar—and that they were in a truly cavernous chamber.

They eventually stumbled upon a shabby looking bench and a rotten barrel. Just beyond them were two more benches. Several dice laid on the low table just between the benches.


Rad picked up on muffled cries to the west.

Heavily armoured Amanka took the lead.

The source was quickly found.

A bound and gagged person sitting on the cave floor.

It was dragged into darkness just as the party approached it.

In that split second they had clearly seen the person's terrified, tear-smudged face.

“This is a trap.” the mage announced stoically.

“At least we are not facing the undead.”

“Hey, we might be facing intelligent undead!”

“Trap or no trap, we must rescue this poor soul.”

Gritting his teeth, Rad pressed on together with the party.

They followed the muffled cries, as well as the blood trail left by the poor soul being dragged naked along the jagged cavern floor.

Now they entered another cave chamber, still too large to be illuminated with a single lantern, but noticeably smaller than the previous one.

The victim was dragged northwards.

Kuqhir quickly examined the cave chamber, just to make sure no surprise would come from the flanks. Amanka was focused on saving the person as soon as possible. Rad took the center position so he can make a good shot. Oberon was surprised with six javelins from the darkness, with three striking.

The hunter suffered greatly, collapsing to the ground. One of the javelins lodged quite deep, breaking several of the ribs in the process. Barely conscious, he crawled up against the cave wall.

The javelins, as well as low grunts, came from behind the party—the chamber they came from.

“Illuminate them, and I shall lay Waste upon them!” Kuqhir demanded, as he weaved the arcane powers.

Rad ran to the edge of darkness, lit up the oil flask, and chucked it towards the grunts. Although hitting none, the spilt oil caught fire and illuminated a gang of four squat goblins.

Amanka clasped her hands, uttered holy words, and pointed at the large stone beneath one of the monsters. It lit up, and shone bright light on the surroundings.

Kuqhir could now clearly see six goblins and two tower tiger-faced monsters. By the time he said his words, did his moves, and pointed his fingers, all of the monsters hit the ground in deep slumber.

Another tiger-faced monster, followed by two goblins, came out of darkness to the north. This was the direction the naked person was dragged from.

The large monster spoke in broken Common:

“You. Leave. Or I kill!” pointing at the downed hunter.

Expert negotiators they are, the party shot an offer consisting of an arrow, an pebble, and an oil flask. The monsters counter-offered three javelins for Oberon.

Monster's offer missed the mark.

On the other hand, the party's offer was a great success, leaving monsters floored.

Rad and Kuqhir rapidly executed the sleeping monsters, while Amanka pressed on to find the person used as a bait. Oberon was quietly trying to stay alive.

Mario was the name used as a bait. He was in absolutely horrible shape, with chunks of flesh and muscle hanging from his arms, legs, and back.

“Save my children, please, I beg of you” he cried and pleaded.

“Uh huh, it's a trap.”

“If it is, he definitely seems committed to the act!”

“Please, my seven children, please...”

The man told the party everything he knew about the place. The bandits camped outside, while the monsters were here. Ransom victims were held in the large cave to the northwest.

Amanka was firm. She will help this man, even if it is a trap. Kuqhir decided to accompany her. Rad helped Oberon get out.

Mario limped badly, bleeding profusely. His children were the only thing he talked about.

“Just around the corner.”

Amanka strolled in confidently.

Kuqhir followed.

A tiger-faced monster was facing them.

It stood tall, with both arms outstretched.

Countless oil flasks hung around its neck and arms.

Seven bound kids laid by its feet.

“Stop. No close. I kill all.”

“Put down the weapons and let the children go.”

“You go.”

“Lay down your weapons, liberate the kids, and we might let you live!”

“You want child? 100 gold coin each.”

“OK, that's enough.”

Betting a lifetime of guilt, Kuqhir once again did his slumber-inducing routine.

The beast swung its arms, as if to clasp them.

Luckily for all involved, Kuqhir was quicker, and the monster fell down on its back, failing to ignite anything.

Mario ran up, untying his kids with bloodied fingers. They cried and hugged their dad.

The chamber was littered with iron manacled. It reeked and was caked with body waste.

“Come, let's get you out of here.”

Leaving them all, including badly wounded Oberon, with Norving, Rad, Amanka, and Kuqhir returned to the caves.

Unopposed, they explored all the chambers. Two were of particular interest.

To the northeast was a large chamber, nearly the size of the one with pillars. It had just over twenty soiled bedrolls of varying sizes. Oh, and there was a narrow tunnel leading further into the darkness to the east.

Besides an assortment of junk, the trio recovered many usable weapons: 21 javelins, 8 spears, 12 clubs, 2 shortswords, and 1 longsword. They also found a rotten chest with 3000 copper coins.

To the southeast was a chamber with a large bearskin rug, bed with solid wooden frame, and a desk. The cave walls looked as if they were regularly assaulted with a serrated weapon. Southern wall was filled with nonsensical scribbles and drawings, which Amanka labelled as chaotic.

One of the desk drawers held several reams of parchment papers. On them were lists of what seemed to be names with numbers next to them. Elan was written next to many of these numbers. The chamber had a rather disturbing atmosphere.

Mario, the bait and father of seven children, on their way to Kestizar unfortunately passed away from his wounds.

“Thank you...” were his last words to Amanka.

Illustrations by Idle Doodler.

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This report covers the combat following session 38 that was resolved over seven days of play-by-post.


Character Class Description
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Gomm Thief level 3 Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.
Eccy Throi Elf level 1 Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.
Barad the Bald Magic-User level 1 Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.

Sunstrong 10th, Spiritday

“Is it cowardice to let another man die in your stead? Is it cowardice to save your own life?”

Fighting the urge to ponder existential topics for too long, Eccy took the lead on organising the looting of bandit camp.

He ordered Barad and ten archers to take the high ground above the cave entrance. Rhovar commanded four heavy footmen to flank the cave mouth, ready to ambush anything that comes out.

Gomm and remaining mercenaries started sweeping the tents.

It took Rhovar and Eccy nearly a minute to get everyone where they wanted them to be.

Just as the dust started to settle, Rhovar heard heavy footsteps and metal clanks echoing from the cave mouth!

Eccy, whom was still standing in the middle of the camp, could see a tunnel full of hobgoblins staring him down. Two mean looking figures towered behind them.

He informed the Hydra Company of the incoming threat.

Rhovar and his men kept their breath, waiting in ambush.

Barad signalled archers to approach the cave mouth. Given they were stand on top of it, they had a prime position to rain hell on any daring assailants.

Archers next to Eccy fired a volley down the tunnel, missing their shots. Surprised with their incompetence, Gomm took out his shortbow and downed one hobgoblin.

Trampling over their sole fallen warrior, the hobgoblins pressed forward, reaching the cave mouth. The first row of hobgoblins chucked their spears at Eccy. Then they knelt, and the second row threw theirs as well.

The elf managed to evade three spears thrown at him. Alas, two mercenaries to his side were not of such skill, nor luck.

Eccy could now clearly see the two large, tiger-faced monsters. Both wore large chainshirts. The one with horned helmet held a large, two-handed morning star, while the other one, sporting a magnificent mane, wielded two axes.

The horned one fixated its is gaze on the elf, licking its lips suggestively. The long-haired one hissed at Rhovar, brandishing its axes.

The monster charged out of the tunnel with a roar.

Three hobgoblins and hairy one clashed against Rhovar and his gauntlet of heavy footmen. Horned and and two hobgoblins charged in a straight line towards Eccy and archers standing behind him.


The archers standing on the rocks around the cave shot a volley at the horned beast and two hobgoblins, killing the latter and wounding the former. The beast looked a bit surprised with being shot in the back.

Rhovar and his men started slicing the beast with great mane. Alas, the footmen on the other side of the cave mouth weren't as effective. One of the hobgoblin's killed one with a mighty blow to the chest.

“Fall back and fire again!”

Eccy yelled as he increased the distance between himself and the beast with horned helmet. The monster hissed at the retreating elf. Its roar was cut short with Gomm's arrow to the throat.

Rhovar could see Brace dramatically staggering, before falling down to his knees. One of the hobgoblins grabbed the soldier whom had killed Finegan the Brutal just minutes ago, and smashed his head against the stone wall. And to add insult to injury, the monster spat on Brace's warm corpse.

“Rhovar, stand back and let us shoot!”

The blond warrior obliged, and rest of the monsters perished under relentless barrage of arrows. The maned beast clanged its battleaxes in disappointment as it succumbed to hail of arrows.

It was a brief, but brutal skirmish.

Three more Hydra Company mercenaries lost on this expedition.

Survivors laboured breaths dominated the soundscape.

Everybody monitored the tunnel intently.

No more footsteps could be heard.

Only darkness could be seen down the slopping tunnel.

“Let's resume with our recovery operation.”

Barad and archers staid on top, watching over the camp and cave mouth. All heavy footmen were ordered to guard the cave mouth as well.

The rest went on to investigate the tents and corpses for any valuables.

Two chests from northern tent were quite heavy and required two individuals to carry. Three chests from the west tent were even heavier. All had padlocks on them.

Two gave off that familiar clanking sound when rattled. Oh how full of coin they must be!

The third chest on the other hand, released a whimper as it was grabbed. The soldiers jumped back in confusion, with some pulling out their swords.

Silent crying is all that Gomm could hear.

“Tell me your name, we have killed your captors.”

No answer.

“Comply with us and you may walk freely again, it is my word.”


“Dunno Eccy...”

“Yeah, I don't know either. Could be another fucking troll.”

“I want to help, but knowing Wilderlands...”

“Maybe drag it to the middle of the camp and have all archers aim at it?”

“How about we drill a hole and take a peek?”

“I think that would be hard without hurting whomever is inside. Either way, I propose we go with my plan or burn it.”

“Weird that it isn't answering. It reminds me too much of that dwarf.”

“Maybe it doesn't understand Common? Let me try in Elvish.”

Eccy was rewarded with silence, and yes, more silence, regardless of the language he spoke.

“OK, we go with my plan, Gomm. We bring the chest into the clearing in front of the cave mouth and tell our archers to be ready.”

Just a few steps after they lifted it, Eccy could hear desperate crying from within. The pitch sounded like a child or small creature, perhaps gnome or halfling.

“Barad, come down here. You are a man of languages.”

And so Barad came and asked in Gnomish and Pixie:

“Hello, can you understand me? We are here to help.”

The silence had been broken with intense and desperate crying.

Gomm became fidgety.

“Could you pick the lock or should I smash it with my mace?”

“Yes, let's try and save the cry baby.”

“Nope, didn't work. Got a crowbar?”

“No. Let's leave the chest for a bit and continue searching.”

Large tent also had two bearskins, and three wine casks. Finegan the Brutal had a mean looking handaxe with a serrated edge and a notch running along the blade. It seemed to be for bloodletting. He also had a pouch with gems tied to his belt, as well as an iron ring with seven keys.

“Oh wow. Look at that. Keys.”

Eccy tried keys on the crying chest. 4th key was the right one.

A waft of nauseating stench hit his nostrils as he tilted open the lid. He could see a curled up child lying sideways, cowering and covering its head with small hands. It's all bones and skin, and little more.

He took a step back.

Now everybody could see a naked child crying in a chest.

No surprise trolls showed up.

“It's alright, you're safe now.” Eccy said softly to the child.

The party offered water, food, and clothes to the boy. It took him some time, and some care on their side, but he did manage to calm down.

Ithiel is how he introduced himself. He was kidnapped by this foul group of bandits. Finegan got really mad when he realised that Ithiel wasn't of noble origin, but just a commoner.

He also shared there were more hostages, including other children, but didn't know how many. They are imprisoned in the cave, guarded by horrible tiger-faced monsters.

“You must be really strong to have killed them! One of them killed my father's horse with a single blow!”

“Where are you from Ithiel?” Eccy asked. “We need to get you home.”

The boy paused for a moment, as if in deep thought. Then he suddenly lit up “Weststar!”

“Do you mean 'Kestizar' Ithiel?”


“Hmm, well I don't know where that is but we'll find your home.”

The party proceed on with their plan, scrubbing the camp of all the valuables. They also made sure to pick monsters' weapons, cut off the left hands of all the bandits, as well as Finegan's head.

Eccy took Finegan the Brutal's serrated hand axe. Holding it made him feel like he was the mightiest elf in the hundred mile radius. From now on he will fight only with that glorious weapon and nothing else.

Then they buried the fallen mercenaries.

“Death comes for us all, but not everyone truly lives. We have known battle today, have saved the life of an innocent child, and known glory. Tomorrow we may die, but until death comes for us, we are each of us heroes. And with this wine and this gold you will have a hero's reward!”

You reached Kestizar by nightfall. The guards summoned Elidarth the Elder.

“Mother, our people have been avenged!” Norvin the ranger yelled before she got the chance to ask anything. She looks at Eccy and Rhovar, as if to check the veracity of the claim.

She was pleased with the evidence presented to her.

Rhovar took the men to a secluded hill outside of the village, ordered a fire be built and poured some wine into a cooking pot over it.

He set the spear tips and daggers on the coals. Then, when they were hot, he ordered the men to gather and to take up their weapon.

“Come men, dip ye blades into this here brew. Quench the steel in the blood of our enemy. Just as this here wine darkens our blades, it symbolises our shared brotherhood.”

He quenched his blade in the wine. And pointed for them to do the same.

Once this was done he handed out cups, each man to take a cup of wine, and toasted:

“Our first victory, brothers in arms, let us drink to our dead, and let the ghosts of our enemies lament our victory!”

“We are kinsmen now! Now, bring the wenches and let us merrymake!”

A great feast was held for the Hydra Company that night.

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Character Class Description
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Gomm Thief level 3 Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.
Eccy Throi Elf level 1 Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.
Barad the Bald Magic-User level 1 Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.

Sunstrong 8th, Earthday

Gomm silently wept as the party buried Delphine, the wife of his last 72 hours. Then they rode to Kestizar, intent on following up on their newest leads regarding bandits assaulting the fishing village.

Sunstrong 9th, Fireday

Norvin the Ranger, whose brother and father have been killed in recent attacks on Kestizar, happily joined the Hydra Company as their guide.

Based on their current knowledge, the party made an informed assumption that bandits are hiding somewhere withing the three-mile area. Norvin proposed three spots where he'd hide such a gang: The Solemn Glade, The Secluded Cave, and The Circle of Stones.

Here is the plan they come up with.

Rhovar was to take command of the mercenary force counting eight heavy footmen and twenty-two archers, and march towards a central point between all three suspect points. They were to pitch tent and wait for the scouting party to report their findings.

Gomm, Eccy Throi and Norvin were to take the light riding horses and check each location for bandit presence. They were not to engage, but scout.

The trio rode to The Solemn Glade first.

“You see those beautiful trees? These are the ones. The woods aren't deep, merely few steps in and you will reach a small pond. It is gorgeous. But do you notice how we don't really see anything beyond the first row of trees? That is the magic of this place...”

Gomm dismounted the horse, took his backpack and climbing equipment, and carefully approached the woods. No matter how close he got, he couldn't make out what was deeper in the woods. He did feel certain warmth as he got closer and closer.

Pressing his back against a tree and peering around the side hasn't revealed much more. He decided to scale the tree and scout from there. Lo and behold, despite climbing to the top, he still wasn't able to figure out what lies deeper.

So he decided to swing from tree to tree.

“What are you afraid of?” boomed from all directions.

Gomm froze and quickly scanned the surroundings. He couldn't see anyone!

“Are your intentions pure?” the disembodied voice boomed once again.

“Yes! We are seeking evil men who have been troubling the village of Kestizar.”

As he passed to another tree, Gomm could suddenly see a glade straight beneath him. In the center of it stood a massive oak tree—so big that is should be obviously visible from at least a mile afar. A crystal clear pond sprawled around the tree, seemingly emanating from the tree itself.

On the north-west side of the pond a humanoid figure sat on a bench. The figure seemed to reflect the sun-rays. It was leaning backwards and looking up, as if it was sunbathing.

“May I come closer?”

“Of course.”

“Apologies for interrupting you and your sanctuary...”

“Oh, I'm just a visitor enjoying this beautiful glade. Just like you.”

Norvin refused to join Gomm into the glade. Eccy on the other hand, was curious to learn more.

Little is known about the details of what transpired in that glade, but one thing was certain. Neither Gomm, nor Eccy were the same persons after meeting the mysterious figure dressed in gold cloak.

“The Wanderer.” still echoed in Gomm's head as he pondered the meaning of gold-yellow rose he was gifted. Eccy seemed very disturbed with moral quandaries. He spoke to Taegen as if his muscle elfbro was still invisible...

“Let's move on. There are no bandits here.”

The Secluded Cave was next.

“Oh... The cave seems to be inhabited with cave bears at the moment. Should we investigate further?”


So the scouts rode to The Circle of Stones.

“Lay low!”

Four figures dressed in light armours, carrying maces and bows, were moving some three hundred yards away from our scouting party. They were moving in the direction of circular stone formation.

“Let's hide and observe...”

Indeed, the four figures approached the stone formation. Then they paused few hundred feet away from the treeline on the stones. They did some movement with their arms before proceeding forward.

“Yes, this it the place I wanted to take you to.” Norvin confirmed.

“You wait for me. I'll check it out...”

Gomm left all his stuff with Norvin, tied his cloak, and smeared cold mud all over himself. Then he prowled, slowly approaching the formation from west.

Although it was already nightfall, Howla and Vannis were out in their full might. In other words there was plenty of ambient light provided by Sister Moons.


“I had enough of this grovel!”

“When will we be allowed to cook again?!”

Gomm could overhear several masculine voices arguing in Common as he pressed against one of the large stones. The voices were coming from behind. He slowly started to scale the stone.

“Shhh! Keep your blabbering mouths quiet!”

Thud. Thud. Thud.

The thief froze in place.

Heavy footsteps stopped.

So did the thief's breathing.

On the other hand, whatever it was that stood above him breathed quite loudly.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Numerous light footsteps could be heard.

“I'm sick of watching over these pathetic humans.”

Gomm understood the creatures lamenting in Goblin.

Thud. Tap. Tap. Thud. Tap. Tap. Thud. Tap. Tap.

The footsteps resumed, moving southwards.

Gomm exhaled, dropped down, rejoined Norvin and Eccy, and then they all rode off to meet Rhovar and their mercenary force.

They ignored a huge, metallic-looking bull that was marvelling the Sister Moons. In fact, they made sure to ride at least half a mile around it.

Sunstrong 10th, Spiritday

Majority of the party, including the mercenaries as well, had a miserable sleep. Eccy felt as if something horrible had happened during the night. The Sister Moons kept everyone on their toes. It was a vile night.

Regardless, the force marched on to The Circle of Stones.

They paused hundred yards away from the southern entrance.

A man exited the stone formation, holding his arms up in the air.

Eccy and Gomm rode on to meet him.

“Welcome good people. My name is Eardley. You seem quite armed!”

“Quiet! We want everyone to come out and lay down their weapons!” Eccy demanded.

“Oh, we are just a group of lumberjacks. We've been working the woods, and have been camping here since it is quite a safe spot. We apologise if these are your lands–”

“Gather your men and come out!” Eccy cut Eardley off.

“I am sorry, but you are quite aggressive in your demands. Who are you and what do you want?”

“You are in no position to ask questions!”

At this moment Eardley suddenly produced a white handkerchief in his left arm. He dropped it, turned around, and made a run for the stone formation.

A volley of arrows flew out from behind the trees that perched atop the stones. Both commanders were wounded. Even worse, Gomm's slain horse fell on the thief, pinning him to the ground.

Eccy turned around and retreated behind his force.

“March on!” Rhovar commanded. Heavy footmen were lined up front, while the archers were divided into four groups.

“Fire at will!” Eccy roared at the archers.

Twenty-two archers unleashed a volley, shooting blindly.

Another volley came back from the woods, killing four archers.

Gomm managed to free himself from underneath the horse. He leaned on the horse, aimed, and shot Eardley straight through his left eye.

Yet another volley killed several more archers.

“Charge!” Rhovar and heavy footmen broke the formation and started running towards the formation, their targets still invisible.

Archers kept moving on and unleashing volleys into the woods.

Gomm prowled towards the east side of the stone formation. Once he reached the stones, he continued north until he found a solid stone to scale.

Rhovar and Eccy kept the morale of their forces, despite the death march.

Hidden foes fired volley after volley.

“Pass me another flask...”

Gomm could see three figures around a box. One of them was passing around flasks filled with oily substance. The thief quietly lit a flask of his own, and then threw it straight into the box.

The explosion sent the bandits flying in different directions. It also set all the nearby trees on fire.

“Now! Death or glory! C H A R G E!”

The Hydra Company rushed into the formation, finding a small camp consisting of three tents. The camp was full of dead bodies, some of them with arrows in them. The survivors fled down the dark tunnel bored into the northwest stone.

“Check the tents!”

The largest tent was to west, it had two large chests, several bearskins and wine casks. The other two tents were smaller. One had two chests. There were twelve bedrolls in total. Plunder was about to begin.

“Who the fuck are you and what the fuck are you doing in my camp?!”

A stocky man dressed in chainmail, wielding a serrated handaxe in his right hand and a chopped off head in his left marched out of the tunnel. He was dirty, sweaty, and had mad eyes.

“Oi! Pointy-ears! I challenge you to duel!”

“Finegan the Brutal, I presume? No way scumbag!”

The man was joined by four creatures dressed in chainmail, armed with maces, longswords and shields. The man knew these monsters as hobgoblins. The group charged Eccy.

“Line up!”

Four heavy footmen formed a perimeter in front of the elf.

“Coward! Fight me one on one!” Finegan yelled as he threw the head at elf.

“Fuck you!” Eccy retorted.

Finegan cut down one of the mercenaries with a single blow. He broke the man's collarbone, driving his handaxe deep inside. His face lighted up, as in ecstasy, whilst he grinded the serrated edge against the man's flesh.

The party surrounded Finegan and his retinue, and chaos ensued. Gomm surprised one of the hobgoblins, killing him from behind. Unfortunately, in doing so he revealed his location, and was promptly reward with a sword to heart.

But something fantastic happened—the sword hadn't penetrated his flesh. In fact, the tip of the sword turned gold. Then the rest of sword turned gold, until it disintegrated into gold dust.

Gomm staggered backwards, grabbing hist chest where he was stabbed. It was the pocket where he had hidden the golden flower gifted to him by the Wanderer. Despite keeping his life, he felt as if something of great importance has been lost.

Brace, one of the soldiers in Eccy service, drove his sword into Finegan's side, dropping him to his knees before smashing his temple with the pommel.

The remaining hobgoblins were promptly dealt with.

Eccy wiped off the blood from his face. He looked down at the brute's corpse. Then he cut off his head.

The looting was about to begin.

But what if something else comes out of the same dark hole Finegan the Brutal crawled out from?

Player Session Reports

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Character Class Description
Amanka Cleric level 1 Dour, glum, tight-lipped, and baggy-eyed cleric with a gravestone-shaped talisman. She reveres the Fallen One, a petty god of fallen warriors and unsung heroes.
Rad Thief level 3 A young, short and malnourished rogue.
Eccy Throi Elf level 1 Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.
Rhovar Fighter level 3 A generic Nordic guy.
Gomm Thief level 3 Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.
Delphine the Spiteful Fighter level 1 Colossal and violent woman so ugly most people flinch when they see her. Gomm's newlywed wife.

Sunstrong 8th, Earthday

“This is the place. But this isn't how we left it...”

Rad warned the rest of his party. And what a party they were! A dozen adventurers accompanied by no less than thirty mercenaries!

Amanka, the newest recruit, was a woman of little words and big bags under her eyes. A gravestone-shaped talisman hung around her neck.

They marched from Kestizar to this abandoned keep, seeking to take it over from bandits whom claimed it at the moment. Or so they thought.

Two dilapidated towers, joined by equally miserable looking gatehouse stood in front of them. Entrance to the east tower was splattered with blood.

Rad, Gomm, Delphine, Eccy Throi, and Amanka formed the scouting party.

Rhovar led remaining adventurers and mercenaries several hundred yards away, looking for a defensible position where they can make camp.

The scouts opted for the west, blood-less tower. Once they came close enough, they could see that the “doors” were in fact just a piece of large wood jammed between two walls. There were no obvious hinges, and it barely fit in.

Delphine the Door-opener made a short work of it. A five foot wide, fifteen foot long corridor laid in front of her. Proper doors were at the end of the path.

Rad remembered some of his former colleagues perished in a similar corridor to this one. Eccy rebuffed all suggestions to find a boulder and push it down the path in order to trigger any floor traps.

Hence Delphine unsheathed her massive two-handed sword, and started methodically pounding the ground with the hilt.

“Jump back!” Eccy yelled the moment he heard a click.

Alas, even though she heard him in time, the floor gave in under her bulk and she hadn't had the time to grab the ledge.

Two nasty cracks were heard.

One from the big woman's neck; the other from Gomm's heart.

“We can't leave her here.” Amanka finally spoke up.

With a little bit of rope and time, they recovered Delphine's warm corpse and left her by the entrance. Some adventurer's helped to her belongings as well.

Pressing on, the scouting party slowly entered into a fifteen by fifteen foot chamber. There were three doors ahead of them; one on each wall. Two statues stood with the back against the norther wall as well.

Upon closer inspection, these seemed to be noble-men. One was male, and the other was female. The latter one had a weathered tablet on which “Vesta Rodemus” was chiselled. Both statues had an overbite, giving them slightly rodent-like face.

“I heard voices!”

Indeed, two voices were heard from behind north doors. They did not sound alarmed, in fact they sounded like a normal conversation between two, or more, individuals.

Gomm and Rad hid behind the statues, ready to backstab any poor bastard coming through these doors. Eccy and Amanka took the centre position. Then they started banging their weapons, and making as much ruckus as they can, in order to provoke the attack.



“OK, time to flee!”

The scouting party exited the same way they came in. Now they turned east, hugging the tower walls, and into the passageway that leads through the gatehouse.

At the center were two doors, left leading to west tower, and right leading to east tower. Gomm went to listen at the left doors, Rad right doors, Amanka and Eccy secured the corridor on south and north sides.

Just as Gomm was to press his ear against the doors, two gaunt figures flung them open. Both looked emaciated, pale, and panicked.

“Get out of the way! Flee you fools!”

Gomm stepped to the side and allowed the men to exit. Cleric of the fallen subtly tripped one of them, while the other fled north.

Amanka and Eccy easily overpowered the man, tied him up, and put a sack over his head. In the beginning he fought quite ferociously, given his frail frame. He calmed once he realised they were dragging him away from the keep.

“Where is the might warrior?!” one of the mercenaries asked.

Gomm's tears were enough of an answer.

Hydra Company applied subtle techniques to motivate their new prisoner to divulge all he knows. Details are best left unsaid.

“Heletor is the name. The lucky git that got away is Eyulr.”

“We were in the former barracks, which are the central room of the west tower, seeking stash of our former company. When we heard the noise we fled in panic, fearing it was the Yellow Demon.”

“Several months ago a band of adventurers assaulted the keep. Their mightiest warrior rushed in and died. That is at least what our allies had told us. But ever since then a horrible creature has been roaming the keep and underground dungeons.”

“It has devastates and demolishes everything in its way. I personally have never seen it... But have witnessed the consequences!”

“Anyone who looks at it dies a horrible death! And you can know it is coming because of sounds of scrapping metal and intense smell of rotten eggs.”

With a little bit more of motivation, Heletor drew the map of west tower, as well as the gatehouse.

“Ser Roenald was quite a savvy businessman. We would intercept carriages and accost any noble passenger. Then we would charge their family for protection services.”

“When he was killed, our company fell apart. Finegan “The Brutal” gathered the most vile members, and took to the forest northwest of here. Last I heard was that they are seeking to establish a new stronghold.”

“But I am much smarter than him.” now the captive tapped the side of his temple with index finger “Why fight when you can come back and recover hidden stashes of treasure? Ha! But then you interrupted me...”

With treasure as the key word, the scouting party hurried back to the gatehouse so they can check the veracity of the map and find this “stash.”

Instead they found room after room of absolutely demolished furniture, scuttling rats, cobwebs and dust. One of the rooms looked particularly grim, with iron manacles fastened against the walls.

Perhaps more curious were large trapdoors that had a pile of broken furniture on them—as if the latter were placed to keep the former closed.

Another room worth mentioning is what looked to be some sort of study. A large desk flanked with tall bookshelves by each side dominated the center of the room. It was utterly devastated, with many scroll cases, parchment papers, and books strewn around.

Still, Rad's and Gomm's treasure detectors (or junk, depends on who you ask) went off, and they dove straight into it. Half an hour later and they were richer by three divine scrolls (recognised by Amanka as Bless, Light, and Cure Light Wounds), three scrolls that Eccy believes might be arcane, and two books.

One was a leather-bound journal entitled “Rodemus family diary.” The pages, unfortunately, were beyond unreadable. The other was “Annals of the Black Dragon” which contains many graphic accounts of devastating nature of acid breath.

Rad also found a piece of parchment that had “Rodemus” and “rat” scribbled on it.

Pressing on, they arrived into the central chamber. What a disappointment! Nothing but cut-up sacks and rotten straw. Not a single coin in sight! Not even a copper one!

Eccy's fine ears picked something else up. Sounds of dozens small claws scratching at the doors just behind them. Gomm rushed to the doors and started hammering in iron pitons. Whenever a rat managed to squeeze from under the doors, he'd smash it as well.

The sounds became louder and louder, as if hundreds of rats were behind that damn door. They could hear the clawing sounds climbing up the doors.

“Time to leave!”

Gomm poured oil right in front of the doors, and set them alight as he fled.

The former study was now overflowing with rats gnawing at the pile of torn parchment papers. The party did not give them time to react, and just kept on running.

Heavily armoured Amanka and Eccy lagged a bit behind. It was Eccy who noticed that pile of broken furniture on the trapdoors was trembling.

What a magnificent motivation that must've been!

Rad was the first to reach the camp, closely followed by Gomm. Amanka came next, and Eccy arrived last.

There they took a breather to study their newly acquired possessions. They were not coin, but were gold none the less.

And then the question came.

“What now?”

Indeed, what now?

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Session judged and report written by Moss Knight, the player of legendary Brother Kallahan from Conquering the Barbarian Altanis.

The Party

  • Fra 'Fingers' Vincensini, a nimble and resourceful cleric.
  • Elmenor Goldlight, a quite rich and noble looking elf clad in heavy armor.
  • Grudge, a weedy-looking thief, no doubt full of mischief.
  • Marco Tuti, a more-brawn-than-brain fighter with bravery and blood alcohol to spare.

There stood our brave upstarts, in the middle of the starry night, under the canopy of the enormous tree. Everyone around here knew to stay away from the great Oak and the surrounding glade, where time seems to stand still; but not our merry band. They were out for riches and adventure and surely, they thought, here they would find at least one of these.

Examining the vast network of roots at its foot, being almost as wide as the canopy itself, Fra quickly found a three-foot wide opening into the earth. Looking into it with a torch, they noticed a twenty-foot drop down to a sandy floor, with rough and wet roots serving as the natural rungs of a ladder, along the sides of the pit. Descending with the help of a quickly attached rope, they started examining the ensuing corridor, Elmenor scouting ahead with his infravision. The corridor came to a fork, with one branch going north, from which a distant rushing sound came, as of wind or water; the other going east, from whence came a faint green glow. After finding a mysterious leather glove, abandoned on top of some large root, the party decided to head east.

The eastern corridor appeared to be partially blocked by roots, which Elmenor passed successfully, though not before the roots animated, attempting to grab and restrain him. The rest of the party soon followed, uneventfully as well. Marco however, the last to pass through, got caught up in the roots, one of which made off with his wine skin! In a valiant effort, the fighter lunged forward, attempting to catch his beloved beverage with his teeth, but only managing to get a hold of the cork, which popped open. The wildly thrashing root escaped, leaving only a narrow tunnel in the wall, barely two fingers wide; spraying delicious, delicious wine everywhere in the process.

Cursing the roots and their wicked gods for the tragic loss of his mama’s favorite vintage, Marco rejoined the party, which now found itself standing in a strange round room. The atmosphere here was damp and warm. All over the walls and ceiling of this dome-shaped earthen space were root-faces, here of wrinkly old men, there of dashing youths, all clad in hair and beards made of glowing green moss.

“Look at what you’ve done!” screamed Marco. “That was mama’s best vintage!”.

In unison, the roots answered in a low, meandering grumble:

“We thank you… It was delicious... We do not get to enjoy wine… often…”.

“Well”, replied the fighter, “What have you got to give in return?”

“We will gladly provide… Information… If you feed us more…Delicious things…”

At this, Fra the cleric placed some of his rations on the ground, which were quickly grabbed by some roots, dragging the food into the earthen walls. After a second of silence, followed by a low, thoughtful grumble, the root-voice answered:

“The horned ogre…. owns a treasure… whose value he doesn’t… understand.”

The party had indeed heard of a strange creature fitting this description inhabiting this dark place. Intrigued, they looked for more things to give the root-faces. They found only oil, inquiring aloud:

“Well, I don’t suppose it drinks oil…”

“...Oil?” Replied the root-voice. “We… enjoy… oil.”

Confused but undeterred, they poured the contents of one of their flasks onto the earth, the liquid being lapped up quickly.

“Hmmmmmm… good… good…” said the root-voice.

After a short silence, and yet another thoughtful hum, it continued:

“Beware… the treachery… of the gnomes…”

Still angry at the root-thing, Marco threatened to feed it a brandished iron piton, at which point several of the faces disappeared into the walls. Diplomacy was maintained by the rest of the group, who decided to make their way into the eastward tunnel, from which came a cold draft of air, and a smell of ammonia.

Scouting ahead once more, Elmenor quickly found the source of the smell: The tunnel expanding in this direction was in fact a cavern, on the ceiling of which nested what looked like a hundred bats. Understandably, the floor underneath them was covered in stinking guano. Though the cavern continued to expand eastward, the party decided to head north, into a newly discovered tunnel, to avoid the bats.

The floor, walls and ceiling of this tunnel were of stone blocks, and the corridor led to a stone archway, sculpted in the fashion of a continuous, overarching pile of skulls. A skeleton wearing rusted chainmail was lying in a pool of dried blood, right under the archway. Poking at it with a ten-foot pole, and examining the surrounding walls, they discovered the mechanism triggering a deadly blade trap, no doubt the one which had sliced deep into the poor soul’s side, leading to their untimely demise. Once discovered, the pressure plate was easily overcome though, and the party hopped over it quite easily, continuing on. But not before Grudge examined the corpse further, to find a hefty pouch filled with twenty-five gold pieces, and a bronze skull necklace.

The party now found themselves in a much larger room, with several openings and doors in many directions, and most visibly, a number of statues representing regal figures on the west side. Examining them revealed nothing of import though, and the party endeavored to listen at some of the doors leading out of the room.

Out of one of the eastern doors came the sound of loud snoring, and light streamed from the opening underneath. The adventurers spent some time debating whether it was best to kick down the door and assault whatever was behind using the element of surprise; or to politely knock, and have a civilized discussion with the room’s occupant. In the end, after failing to pick the lock, they resolved to come back later, and instead went to examine the northernmost door.

Behind it, they found the corpse of an unfortunate dwarf, who had seemingly been strangled by some kind of black rope. Beyond it was another stone archway, carved in the shape of tree branches. Resolving not to go in that ominous direction, the party instead headed to the single door that led westward.

Marco swiftly opened the door, and was immediately greeted by eight shiny red eyes, glinting at the edge of the torch’s light. The creature hanging from the ceiling was surprised, and the party began the attack by throwing a flask of oil at it, which missed and ignited on the floor beneath it. Two arrows followed, both missing as well. Marco stepped forward, ready to meet the beast in mano a mano, hand-to-legs combat. The elf and the thief let loose another volley of arrows, this time hitting the creature: one half-severed one of its legs, the other embedded itself deep in one of its biggest eyes, which started oozing green blood. Seeing his opportunity, Marco thrust his halberd upward, cleanly shearing through the creature’s head, spraying green liquid all over. The creature lost its grip on the ceiling where it had made its web, and crashed down belly first, its legs gruesomely snapping in the process.

It seemed that behind the beast was yet another archway, this time one carved in the likeness of three intertwined serpents. As the party debated what kind of trap was undoubtedly hidden near it, Marco simply jumped and dexterously tumbled past the arch, unharmed. Shrugging their shoulders, Fra, Elmenor and Grudge passed through it without incident.

The party entered a small room, in the middle of which stood the statue of a hunter and his two hounds. To the north and south of it, hanging from the walls, were large mirrors. Proceeding with caution, after examining the statue for any pressable buttons of any kind, they carried on westward.

They came to a large, circular room with a tall domed ceiling. In the middle of it lay an enormous crimson carpet, decorated with gold and green geometric patterns, all made of fine wool. From there, a corridor led north, a beautifully carved wooden door to the west, and a corridor to the south. Circumventing the carpet, the party went south, in an attempt to rejoin what they thought was the way they came in from. They were correct in that assumption, and soon they arrived back at the first fork in the road they had encountered.

Gleefully, and now richer by about a pouch’s worth of gold, they headed out, up through the root-ladder and into the chilly night, back to the village where they would spend their hard-earned riches on all the pleasures the adventuring life is all about. They knew however, that this was not to be their last expedition to that dreamy forest glade, and to the strange complex under the Hole in the Oak.

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