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SessionReport

Adventurers

Character Class Description
Bob the Dwarf Dwarf level 1 Midget with big beard in search of an adventure.
Darius Cleric level 3 Follower of Dacron, God of Craftsmen.
Rorik Fighter level 2 A fighter.
Beorg the Gravedigger Fighter level 1 Inspired to adventure after burying several adventurers.
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 2 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Ambros Cleric level 2 Follower of Aniu, Lord of Time.

Dewsnap 17th, Waterday

Sounds of butt-cheeks clapping echoed throughout the tomb adventurers were in.

Smell of burnt flesh permeated the chamber.

Hagar turned around to face the music.

Four blobs of flesh rolled from around the corner; each burning with purple flame.

Adventurers closest to them jumped on the closed sarcophagi.

Beorg the Gravedigger closed in, and immediately dispatched one of the blobs.

Seeing how easy that was, Rorik and Hagar joined in the meat spreading fiesta. Clapping sounds were no more.

“Uh-oh.”

One of the sarcophagi in the northern part of the chamber opened and a heavily armed figure stepped out. It was dressed in same ornate plate mail, topped with great helm, as were the skeletons in sarcophagi they've plundered so far.

The monster slumbered to the fireplace where purple fire burnt, dipped the sword in the flames, and took it out. Then it turned around and menacingly marched towards the party.

Hagar and Beorg bravely stood in its way. The undead guardian swung its longsword wreathed in purple flame. He struck Hagar with great might, nearly killing him in one blow. Dwarf's wound burnt purple, as the flame left the guardian's sword. Beorg ducked just in time.

Rorik joined the fray as well, while Bob stood petrified. Darius summoned the power of Dacron; but Dacron did not heed the cries of his village priest.

The guardian continued his relentless assault, forcing the mighty dwarf to the ground.

“No!”

Beorg jumped in front of the defeated Hagar, putting himself between the plated juggernaut and half-dead dwarf. Hagar pulled himself back, just close enough to Ambros and Darius to heal him.

Guardian stomped over Beorg, slashing through him with ease. The fighter collapsed from the wounds, bracing his polearm for one final strike.

At that moment Hagar stabbed the undead menace straight through the plates; Rorik could see the skeleton inside nearly crumble! Beorg held his polearm true just long enough for the guardian to impale itself. Gravedigger smashed the remains and catapulted the skull to the other side of the chamber.

“We are quite banged up. Let's get out.”

Ambros bandaged courageous Beorg while Heran Marad administered divine healing.

Three suites of ornate plate with matching shield and sword were quite heavy and required some time to extract from the 100 feet deep chute they came from.

Dubalan the Goatherd, still glistening in the dusk, greeted the party at the top.

“Yes, I know just the right place where we can sleep well! I know many such places in the area where I hide with my goats and we sleep like babies!”

And so the party found a hidden crevice sufficient for them to spend the night.

Dewsnap 19th, Fireday

Winter was almost gone; Spring just around the corner. Days were getting longer, plants were awakening, and adventurers were tomb raiding.

The party returned to the pit leading into the tomb they've broken into two days ago. In Midway Culwert, one of the finest Dwarf smiths in the region, confirmed the provenance of armours. They were ceremonial plate mails worn by royal guards in the time when Kelnore Empire still stood strong. These suits were in splendid shape because they most likely haven't seen combat. Each set of armour with matching shield and sword could be worth 500 gp and more to the right collector.

Adventurers were now back to open the remaining five sarcophagi! And so they did. Warriors would open the heavy lid while clerics would stay vigilant in case another guardian animates. They carefully handed each ceremonial suit, neatly arranging them in the tomb's antechamber.

Bob inspected the fireplace. Purple flames were not hot. They also didn't emanate any smoke. There was no chimney one would expect in the fireplace.

The party now split to investigate stone doors to the west and east.

East doors swung wide open, towards advancing Hagar, Bob, and Beorg.

A pulsating, convulsing, ten feet tall and ten feet wide mound of organs rolled out.

“I'll flank it... by surprise!” Beorg announced as he ran up to the wall and waited for the abomination to come in.

Others stepped back, creating as much distance between them and the slithering horror as possible.

Sling stones were fired, penetrating the soft, slushy organs. The abomination bled profusely as the stones melted away.

Bob popped open a flask of oil, set it aflame, and then chucked it at the mound. Smell of flambeed kidneys, lungs, liver, and intestines filled the chamber.

Burning organs rolled forward and then towards Beorg, who managed to jump between the sarcophagi just in time to avoid a horrible fate.

The mound might've been disgusting, but it sure wasn't impenetrable! Adventurers peppered it with sling stones until all organs fell apart and burned to char.

Circling its remains, the adventurers went for the doors the monster came through. Forcing the stone slab open revealed a most curious sight.

Chamber filled with hundreds of skulls! Some were hanging from the ceiling, some were impaled on metal spikes, and some were simply resting on the ground. All had their mouths agape in silent laughter. And all turned to face the adventurers.

“List, I'm friendly with the undead. Allow me to go first.”

Beorg carefully entered the chamber, making sure he doesn't graze any of the suspended skulls, nor to step on any of those on the ground. Skulls were devoid of anything—no gems in their eye sockets or exploding runes in their mouth.

There were two bricked doors, one to the south and one to the east. And there was a passageway leading north, terminating with doors similar to the ones they just came through.

Gravedigger moved closer to one of the bricked door for there was some writing above them. Since he is barely literate he couldn't make much sense of it. Then he moved up north to investigate the doors.

At this moment Hagar, Bob, and Ambros walked into the chamber.

Skulls followed them.

And then they—all 463 of them—began to chitter and chuckle, whisper and yell, mutter and groan! The noise reached incredible volume, creating a sanity shattering cacophony.

Unable to hear nor think, adventurers begun swinging wildly, crushing skulls galore. Rorik smashed 18, Hagar 21, Ambros nine, Bob 15, and Beorg 19. The noise became unbearable, breaking everyone's morale but Ambros's.

The cleric continued crushing skulls as others fled for their lives.

They ran, nay, they sprinted back into the sarcophagi chamber and then through the broken sealed doors into the antechamber. There they threw themselves to the ground.

“Wait, where is Ambros! We must go back for him!” Beorg lamented.

“No way!”

The noise was inexorable, echoing throughout the tomb, like it was following these band of cowards on their way out.

And then it stopped.

Ambros appeared from around the corner, running too.

“You are good!”

“Yes!”

“Elooooooooouuuu! You aliveee?” Dubalan yelled from above.

“Yes, we are fine!”

“Good to hear! That was some horrific noise you made down there! I soiled myself a bit!”

“Listen, I suggest we pick up the ceremonial armour sets and get back to Midway. That way we can put them in a safe place.” Ambros advocated.

“Hmm, but I'd like to rest and go back in...” Beorg advocated meekly.

“Sure, but we need to heal up and rest.”

“Let's at least haul the suits up?”

Indeed, the adventures spent the rest of the day getting all five sets out of the pit. Dubalan was both yellow from sweat and brown from fear.

“I could never be an adventurer... See, I made my promise, I led you here, again, like a real professional. But I could never go down. By Mitra, my bowels gave in... How could one stand in face of such thing, I cannot even imagine!” the goatherd went on and on as he led the party to another crevice to spend the night in.

But there was no rest for the wicked. Beorg and Dubalan were the only ones to have a good nights rest. Others suffered horrible nightmares of skulls screaming and mocking them.

“Gentlemen” Ambros proposed “we haven't slept well, we are tired, and we are spell-less. Let's head back to Midway, put the armours in a safe place, and rest well.”

“Aye.”

Flowerbloom 1st, Airday

Midway is a small place, barely a village. Soon everyone knew about adventurers' latest finds. Lonesome Drake inn was packed by people, all seeking an excuse to take a peek at those “Kelnorian Royal Armours.”

Party, on the other hand, had different plans. Everybody assembled in one of the rooms assigned to them. Armours were neatly arranged, as were the shields, swords, and a ring they recovered before.

Darius stood in the center and cast Detect Magic.

Ambros lit up.

“What... What is the meaning of this?”

“I don't know!” Ambros yelled.

“I trusted you! I trusted you!” Bob cried.

Hagar stroke his chin.

Rorik squinted.

“I wanna go back to the tomb.” Beorg stated.

“Hm, I think it would be wiser to head back to Hara, put the armours in our vault, and then see what we do next.” Ambros countered.

“I trusted you!” Bob cried on while taking out a piece of rope.

Illustrated by kicmaniac.

“Ambros, are you trying to prevent us from returning to the tomb? Or are you trying to lead us to Hara for something?” Darius inquired.

“I'm just proposing what I think is best. Why are you all acting funny!” Ambros defended himself.

“I trusted you!” Bob was inconsolable.

“Fine, let's go to Hara to stash our goods.” Darius conceded. Then he whispered to others “And to get Ambros checked!”

Flowerbloom 2nd, Waterday

Hara's south gatehouse was poorly guarded when adventurers arrived. It was night time and only one guard was on the outside, and one guard on the inside. Standard arrangement was six guards on each side, plus several more on the towers.

Streets were empty, and those that were out kept to themselves. There was heavy, almost oppressive atmosphere. What has changed so much since they left, adventurers wondered.

Sleeping well, individuals splintered across the town, each on their own mission. A field of vibrant purple primroses coloured the banks of River Farhills. Their liveliness stood in stark contrast to mood of Hara's residents.

Beorg went back to the graveyard to check on his replacement. The bodies were not burred with as much care as he did it, but at least hey were beneath the ground. Darius visited the Poseidon's temple, learning that Mavis the Magnificent care cure any affliction. Hagar commissioned the wizards' guild to do a thorough investigation of the magical spear he had recovered from a tomb underneath bronze statue.

Bob visited Forsetti's temple to read through the archives, seeking mentions of necromancers. He found nothing. Then he spent the evening drinking at the Wine Dragon. There he overheard that the town has fallen into Namelin's hands. Without the castellan and soldiers, Namelin family hired all the goons, mercenaries, and sellswords in the region. Red Queen hasn't acted yet. Has she forsaken her own people?

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Darius Cleric level 3 Follower of Dacron, God of Craftsmen.
Rorik Fighter level 2 A fighter.
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 2 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Ambros Cleric level 2 Follower of Aniu, Lord of Time.
Heran Marad Cleric level 2 Bearded, aging man with shaved head. Follower of Umannah, the Sun God, The Radiant Death.
Bob the Dwarf Dwarf level 1 Midget with big beard in search of an adventure.

Dewsnap 15th, Spiritday

Adventurers have been resting at the Lonesome Drake inn for the past week—every since they've overexerted themselves in endless tunnel underneath it. Darius regained his courage, and was now working on reclaiming some of the lost dignity as well.

Bob the Dwarf went back to Hara to procure delving supplies: a dozen or so oil flasks, and seven packages of iron rations. There he met Heran Marad, a Cleric of Umannah looking to purge some evil.

The party spent the day drinking and discussing their next step. As sun began to slowly set, all six dispersed throughout Midway with one simple goal: collect as much rumours and intelligence as possible.

Bob visited the wine shop owned and operated by Regis Baum. It was a two story affair with an attached tower. The proprietor was most polite, especially after receiving several compliments on the Midway Red from the dwarf.

Unlike Regis, his wife Winifred was much colder to Bob. In fact, even that would be an overstatement for how hard she ignored the dwarf. Bob couldn't help but notice how out of place Winifred was in her emerald green silk dress and stunning diamond pendant around her neck. Even the wives of Alyrian merchants in Hara show more modesty!

Rorik visited constable Wershaw, a hardy man beaten with an ugly stick. Constable was proud of the militia he had drilled, even though they were nothing but peasants with spears. He also shared his grievances with Haran forces.

“What do we pay the protection money for? There have been more and more sightings of barbarians just south of the river, caravans plundered left and right, and not to mention that dilapidated fort our Lord wanted us to “take back” for him. No I said! No! I will not allow fair men of Midway to die for some noblekids vainglory!”

Heran spent the evening studying parchment retrieved from the iron scroll case the party had found a week ago under the rotting shield in the cave beyond the cellar.

On one side was a scribbled message, which read “Roland, please wait at the Drake. Matters to attend to in the north. PS: Sorry to use the map, but Myonga has a copy anyway.”

Does Drake refer to this Drake? Who are Roland and Myonga?

On the other side were drawing of squiggly lines going in various directions. Several intersected. There were four circled areas, each with a different note next to it:

  • LP. 3 “keys.”
  • Orcs.
  • Lake.
  • Pillars? Good resting place.

Hagar and Ambros strolled down the docks and warehouses. Most of the workers had already left, and those that were left were either drinking, tired, or both. They hadn't learned anything new—everyone was complaining how the trade started drying up, especially since gnomes of Ractuan stopped sending raw goods as much as they used to.

“And why should they? Every third barge was raided! And I heard that the Red Queen didn't even want to speak to their envoy!”

Darius visited Culwert's Perfect Armory. Culwert slammed the doors in his face. “Come when the sun is up!” So he went to Odger's Excellent Arms, run by Culwert's brother.

Now Odger was much more chattier and welcoming than his brother. He lamented how his dwarven craftsmanship is not fully utilised in Midway, since he mostly makes simple weapons like spears and axes.

“You say you are an adventurer? Yes? Yes! Every adventurer must have a weapon befitting his status! A year or so ago I made a spectacular greatsword for a powerful warrior. It was majestic! Per the owner's request, I also inserted two shiny pearls in the pommel. He wanted his foes to see their dying throes! A bit cruel maybe, but hey... Who am I to judge?”

With a little bit of prodding, Odger divulged that this warrior was named Myonga, and that he was one of the leaders of an adventuring party that spent few weeks in Midway approximately two years ago.

Dewsnap 16th, Airday

Following intense discussions, the party has decided to fetch few more books from the tomb. Then they collapsed the tunnel leading into the cellar. Hagar and Bob managed the whole operation with great success and no injuries. Boris was immensely grateful and he threw a big feast, inviting many locals to the Lonesome Drake.

“Excuse me Ser, but is it true you are an adventurer?”

A rotund man covered in sweat approached Darius moments after the midnight. His belt buckle looked as if it was about to give in any moment now. Sweat stains covered the man's chest, armpits, forearms, and thighs.

He held a coarse sweat rag in his left palm, yellow from use. Much to Darius's dismay, the man also had poor understanding of personal space, and was withing kissing distance of the cleric.

“Where I come from it is customary people introduce themselves to each other.”

“Apologies, ser, I meant no disrespect! I am Dubalan the Goatherder!”

He wiped between each sentence. Darius subtly signalled to other adventurers to gather. They soon surrounded the oblivious goatherder.

“I heard gumptious folk like you go to dangerous places and recover many, many riches from them! I am much too cowardly for such things, but you might be interested in something I discovered on one of my treks!”

“Brother, you should've prayed for Detect Evil.” one of the adventurers whispered into Darius's ear.

Dubalan offered the party to take them to a sinkhole he had discovered at the foot of Ghinarian hills, not even a day away from Midway. He recognised some of the symbols as those from the long gone Empire of Kelnore.

Rorik casually walked to the constable Wershaw to inquire about the character of this goatherder.

“Dubalan? Yes, he is a fine man. Sometimes a bit too funny and naive for his own good. Why?”

Evading his question, Rorik returned and informed the party that the man checks out.

“So, what do we get for our hundred gold coins?”

“I'll take you—personally!—to the sinkhole!” Dubalan exclaimed, sweating profusely “and I'll wait for you to come out! And then I'll take you back to Midway! Heck, I'll tuck you in and feed you some milk if you want!” he wiped his forehead and neck.

“Wow, this guy has some mommy issues...” somebody whispered.

“We have a deal Dubalan.”

“Grand!”

Goatherder extended his arm, with palm as wet as if he had just put it in a bucket of grease.

Darius reluctantly shook his hand.

“Greet us in front of the inn in the morning.”

“Yes, Ser!”

Dewsnap 17th, Waterday

“Mind your step! It's difficult to spot due to all the bushes and overgrowth, but it is just ahead. It is a deep fall, so tread carefully.”

As promised, Dubalan led the party to the sinkhole. It was a vertical chute, some thirty by fifty feet, approximately hundred feet deep. A decrepit spiral stairway made of stone slabs protruding out of the stone walls descended downwards.

Dwarves improvised an anchor from twelve iron spikes, tied two ropes together, and then descended one by one. Adventurers took great care and no risks. Two hours later, and all of them stood at the foot of this hole.

Ahead of them was a framed stone slab. Above it were symbols that indeed matched those of Kelnore Empire. Letters were difficult to read and understand. Great many Wilderlands languages descended from Kelnorian, and even though one could argue that it was in essence Auld Common, it was still too difficult to decipher at glance.

There was a mention of king or some sort of royalty though.

“Oooooof!”

Hagar and Bob heaved as they failed to push the slab forward.

“I'll give you a hand!” Rorik jumped in.

What a useless hand that was.

“Step aside!” Heran stepped in.

“Huh, I guess I am getting too old!”

Another useless hand.

“Push! PUSH!”

Finally!

Progress!

The party pushed the stone slab ten feet forward, before running out of steam.

Heran's torch illuminated a chamber made of hewn stone. Metal squeaked as two skeletons dressed in chainshirts moved towards the party.

All three clerics summoned the power of their deity, forcing the undead to flee. Hagar cut one to pieces, while Ambros smashed the other.

Sealed doorway blocked their way forward.

Illustrated by kickmaniac.

As the party argued how to resolve this, Hagar took out his warhammer and smashed right through it. The opening was clear, but the hammer was for garbage.

Adventurers took the stairs down, entering a large, sixty by sixty chamber dominated by a fireplace and eight stone sarcophagi. Purple fire burning in the fireplace illuminated nearly half the chamber. Various symbols and motifs were on the stone coffers, all quite regal in nature.

Naturally, the party opted to open the closest sarcophagus. Inside was a skeleton clad in ornamental plate mail, with a shield on top and a long sword to its side.

It did not rise to attack. So adventures relieved it of all its possessions.

The same was repeated with the sarcophagus opposite of this one.

The lids were quite heavy, so it took either four average men, or two above average men. In other words, Hagar was taking of one side all by himself, while Rorik and Bob had to combine forces on the other.

And then Hagar heard the sound of stone scrapping on stone.

And then he smelt burning flesh.

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 2 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Ambros Cleric level 2 Follower of Aniu, Lord of Time.
Darius Cleric level 3 Follower of Dacron, God of Craftsmen.
Rorik Fighter level 2 A fighter.
Bairstowbury the Chaotic Halfing level 1 Remarkably muscular for a halfling.
Galepurse the Hapless Cleric level 1 Woefully unsuited for life of adventuring but desperately needs coin to grow his following.

Dewsnap 8th, Earthday

“Has anyone spoken with the innkeeper, Boris?” Bairstowbury inquired. Negative replies did not surprise him too much.

Previous evening Hagar, Ambros, Bob, and Vyrkainen, broke open barricaded doors in the cellar of the Lonesome Drake in. There they discovered a passageway blocked by boulders and well as a chamber littered with bones, fetishes, and broken spears.

To say that the innkeeper was distraught would be an understatement.

“Well, let's question him now, shall we?”

Little did they found out from poor innkeeper. He had bought the Lonesome Drake two years ago, for a “great deal.” Previous owner was quick to sell, and left Midway a week after the handover.

“All I remember” Brynna, the barmaid whom had worked for the previous owner, and who now works for Boris, grunted as she carried a cask of ale “is that old Thurman one day just decided to sell the inn. He came storming from the cellar and was as pale as a lily-white corpse! Never said a word about why he is selling. To be fair I never asked either.”

Satisfied with finding out nothing, Hagar, Ambros, Darius, Rorik, Galepurse, and Bairstowbury descended into the cellar.

“Large cave or boulders?”

“Boulders.”

Hagar the Dwarf acted as an overseer, while five other adventures heaved and puffed whilst clearing the path. Four hours or so later, and the doors spotted beyond the boulders were now easily accessible.

If only they'd open. Several members tried, all bouncing off. Then Hagar the Hewer stepped forth, rolled up his sleeves, and slammed the doors with all his might.

Not even a budge! Nor a shiver! As solid as if they were granite!

These doors confounded the adventurers for quite some time. How could plain wooden plank withstand such awesomeness? How?! They were checked and rechecked for traps, for mechanisms, for construction trick, for all kinds of trickery.

But no matter how hard they look, all they could find is nothing.

“Cut 'em down!”

One of the adventurers ran upstairs, and then to Osgood's general store, grabbed a large hatchet, and then ran back and handed it over to highly motivated Hagar.

The doors were reduced to splinters in matter of minutes.

Beyond them was a large chamber, some eighty by sixty feet, dominated by a large stone sarcophagus in the middle. Its lid laid next to it, broken. Scenes of pig-faced stickmen triumphing over other stickmen adorned its sides and lid. A smashed skeleton rested inside. No treasure, no weapons, no spoils of war befitting a burial place of such accomplished individual.

“What are these?”

“They look like... books?”

Indeed, neatly arranged towers of books were lined along the south wall spanning some eighty feet. Easily several hundred books, all bound, lettered, and carefully placed.

“I can't read any of those!”

Several adventurers checked a dozen or so books, all in unfamiliar script and language. Judging that those are of little interest, the party retreated upstairs to rest before returning next day.

Illustration by IdleDoodler.

Dewsnap 9th, Fireday

The party descended once again. This time they followed the north-east tunnel, leading to a ledge overhanging a large cavern littered with bones.

“Hammer to rope ladders.”

“Done!”

“Now let's descend two by two. Who goes first?”

Bones crunching echoed loudly under Hagar's heavy feet. They were indeed in a sizeable cave...

Spears with skulls on top of them were spaced every ten feet or so in every direction. Floor was completely covered with bones, skeletons, broken spears, arrows, shields, necklaces and fetishes of all kinds. Skulls were snout-faced, indicating that orcish heritage. Some of them had painted green eye on them.

No matter how softly adventurers tried to move, every step landed on something crunchy.

“Let's follow the cave wall to canvas the size of this cave...”

And so they did.

“AAGH–” Galepurse's scream was cut short as he was enveloped by a large musty cloak he stumbled into. Bairstowbury jumped back; Rorik turned to the cleric only to see him completely covered with black leathery matter. Hagar charged the living cloak, and hit it with all his might.

Illustration by IdleDoodler.

Galepurse cried in pain, for he too felt the might of Hagar's blow. He twitched and twisted and writhed whilst his friends tried to beat on the cloak.

And then he stopped.

The cloak unfurled itself, revealing its true nature. A large manta-like creature perched itself up, dropping grisly remains of Galepurse the Hapless to the ground.

The monster leaned backwards, paused for a brief moment, and then unleashed a high-pitched shrill hereto unheard by any of these unlucky souls. Cave amplified the horrific sound tenfold.

Darius failed his dignity check, and fled for his life. He sprinted over the skeletal remains of hundred orcs, climbed the rope ladders, ran to the cellar, up into the inn, straight to his room, and then under the bed. There he remained.

Rorik, Ambros, and Bairstowbury were paralysed with fear. Their bodies were as stiff and solid as when one is touched by ghoul.

Hagar was now the only thing standing between the beast and its feast.

The monster lunged at the dwarf—and missed!

The dwarf countered with a flurry of blows—all failing to penetrate the monster's thick skin!

Carnivorous cloak attacked once more—but was wrestled off by the dwarf!

Hagar skewered the beast straight through, making it ooze thick, purple ichor!

The monster moaned and flapped backwards and upwards, far out of Hagar's reach. Then it turned around and flown off into the darkness, southwards.

Hagar stood there, braced, ready for its return.

He waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Rorik, Ambros, and Bairstowbury slowly regained composure.

Some of them were perhaps slightly embarrassed by the whole encounter.

“There was a large shield leaning against the east wall that I spotted just before the whole incident... Shall we check it?”

Indeed, underneath the shield were poorly hidden sack of coins, a rusty iron scroll case, and three arrows wrapped in silk cloth.

“Wow!”

Sack clanked, containing four hundred thirty five gold coins and a garnet ring.

Arrows felt special, but nothing much could've been gleamed from their look alone.

The scroll contained a parchment with note on one side, and scribble on the other.

The note said, in Common:

“Roland, please wait at the Drake. Matters to attend to in the north. PS: Sorry to use the map, but Myonga has a copy anyway.”

The other side was a collection of squiggly lines going in various directions. Some crossed each other, some never touched. There were four circled areas on the map, each with a different note next to it:

  • LP. 3 “keys.”
  • Orcs.
  • Lake.
  • Pillars? Good resting place.

Survivors picked up the cleric's remains, and retreated back to the inn. There they found out that Darius had failed his dignity check more than once, for he has thoroughly soiled himself.

Good people they are, they shared gold coins as previously agreed with Boris.

Having had a good, hearty lunch, the party went back down. Except Darius, whom had remained under the bed. Was it out of fear or shame, nobody knows.

Either way, Hagar took the lead once more. Adventurers moved with much more care this time, paying special attention to any random cloaks hanging anywhere.

In the timespan of eight torches, they circled the whole cave, and discovered three more tombs. Each tomb had two sarcophagi, broken open, and were devoid of any treasure.

A tunnel on the south side of the cave slopped down and led to sounds of running water. The party braced themselves and descended.

They travelled for hours, navigating the cave tunnel of varying width and height. They often had to avoid stalactites as well as stalagmites. From time to time they'd encounter moist walls and ceiling; porous cave walls were letting through water that was running above them; or so Hagar thought.

They went on and on and on, following the winding tunnel.

When the lamp went out, they refilled it and continued.

When the lamp went out second time, they felt tiredness set in.

Illustration by kickmaniac.

“Should we camp here? Or go back?”

“It's not very pleasant, but yes, we could camp.”

“What if Boris collapses the tunnel leading into the cellar? Remember that he was really anxious.”

“Huh, that's is something to worry about!”

And with that the party turned around and hurried back.

They arrived at the cellar on the morning of Dewsnap 10th, Spiritday.

“Where have you been?! Thank Anu and Mitra for your return for I was about to summon constable Wershaw to seal the cellar! Now that you are back and safe... Have you maybe found any other treasure?”

Will adventurers tell him the truth this time?

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 2 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Ambros Cleric level 2 Follower of Aniu, Lord of Time.
Bob the Dwarf Dwarf level 1 Midget with big beard in search of an adventure.
Vyrkainen Elf level 1 Has stunning long, flowing black hair which attracts many fair maidens who exploit his generosity and leave him destitute.

Dewsnap 2nd, Airday

“Kyle manor? Yes, just follow the trail north-west. You can't miss it!”

True, they reached a three-story estate surrounded by acres of farmland, hunting grounds, and an orange groove after a brief walk.

“We are here to offer our help to esteemed Lord Kyle!”

Vyrkainen, the newest recruit quickly demonstrated his worth by applying his famous (notorious?) silver tongue. The elf showed up in Midway looking employment for he was left coinless after his latest fling in a thorp nearby. Hagar the Generous spent a good amount on getting the elf better armed, armoured, and equipped.

“Welcome to my humble abode!” a man in his early twenties greeted the party. “Please, join me for supper. I'd like to learn more about your accomplishments and adventures. Hold back no detail, my good friends!”

Kyle family is the most affluent one in the fifteen mile radius. Young lord recently took over after his father passed away. His politeness and openness was in stark contrast to treatment given by Hara's most powerful families.

“I had my face bitten off and I survived.” Bob boasted.

“Uh, ignore my friend over here...” Hagar interjected, and shared his exploits of breaking the spy ring in Hara, surviving many expeditions to various dungeons, and more. His humbleness and insistence to give credit where credit is due made lord Kyle cheer and rain compliments upon the dwarf.

In turn, Vyrkainen made sure to praise and encourage the young lord at every opportunity. As the wine was flowing so was the conversation.

“Friends, I've recently discovered my family owns the Cedarwade keep. Yes! The fort that held back barbarian hordes in olden days! That one!”

“Alas, woe is me! I have sent my men to inspect it and they were shocked to find it inhabited by disgusting hobgoblins. They wouldn't return no matter how much I offered them!”

“Friends, is that something you could take care of? I'd be immensely grateful for that!”

“Dear Lord, of course!” Vyrkainen chirped “Now, if only I had some sort of ranged weapon for this dangerous mission... A bow perhaps...” he continued.

“Master Elf, worry not!” Kyle boasted, nearly falling off the chair “You shall have my finest hunting bow! And one—nay!, two full quivers!”

“Your generosity knows no bounds, my Lord!”

Young man was quite inebriated by this point, unlike the dwarves who kept guzzling whatever alcohol was made available to them. Unfortunately, that also meant that they weren't able to learn more about the keep.

“Friends, I must excuse myself. I had too much drink, too much excitement. You have greatly regaled me with your tales. Please, stay the night. If you so desire, tomorrow you can look through the archives and see if you can find anything of interest about the keep.”

Indeed, adventurers accepted the Lord's offer, slept well, and spent the next day rummaging through old parchments. They found out that the keep is at least a hundred years old, has rectangular shape with four towers on each corner and gatehouse facing south, and is designed to be efficiently manned by 24 persons. There should be a well connected to underground stream, as well as a small underground dungeon. It was not clear if the latter had been built or just planned.

Dewsnap 4th–7th

Following the trail upstream river Cedarwade led the party to the Lord Kyle's keep. It was just like on the plans: a square-shaped fort with four towers and a gatehouse. What wasn't on the plans is that it is situated in a clearing approximately 300 yards wide.

The party kept a low profile and circled the keep sticking to the treeline. Thus they found out that each tower is manned with two humanoid shapes holding long-shafted weapons, and that the gatehouse doors are missing. The opening was blocked by two wagons parked sideways.

Adventurers found a safe spot to camp and keep an eye on the fort. They spent three days observing it. By doing so they learned that there is more activity during night than day, that sometimes smoke comes out of north and west side, and that tower guards operate in at least three shifts.

“Don't they go hunting? Or anything? How weird is this...”

During that time no one came out of the keep itself.

That is, until the third night, when two humanoids came out and stopped some fifty feet away from the gates. They prodded the ground ahead of them, covering area roughly 200 feet wide. And then they returned to the keep.

Feeling like they learned enough, the party headed back to Midway.

Dewsnap 7th, Waterday

“I don't trust Lord Kyle. What if he was misinformed? What if these are just some innocent blokes that moved in and are making an honest living?” Bob shared.

“Whatever the situation, they are obviously quite organised. They have watches, they have blocked the entrance, and from the last thing we've seen, they might have also set up traps.”

Vyrkainen was the one to report the state of matters to Lord Kyle. Young man stroked him temples, frowning with great worry.

“Friends, these are not good news. How do we solve this? Can you take care of this?”

“Yes!” the party reassured him. “But we will need more resources to get it done.”

“Whatever you need, I'll cover the expenses. You will stay at the Lonesome Drake Inn. For equipment go to Osgood, just tell her I will take care of the bill.”

The party left Kyle estate and headed back to Midway. There were plans to be made.

“Hey, I want to visit this store. Maybe they have things that would help us see better.” Bob pointed.

This store being “Tinker's Trinkets,” run by Tinker the Gnome, a retired adventurer hailing from Ractuan. All he had to offer was overpriced junk and a promise to “show you the good things” but only if they pay the showing price first. Such generous offer was quickly shot down by the party.

“Could you get us a spyglass?”

“Of course! You pay now and I get it for you!”

“When?”

“Oh, who knows? Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a week, maybe in a year!”

“Bah, forget about it.”

“Your dwarven friend here...” Tinker pointed to Hagar “Yes, the one with big muscles... Would you be willing to sell the spear?”

“No, thank you.”

“Come on, I'll give you fifty gold coins and a magical ointment which makes you see further!”

“No, thank you.”

Adventurers retreated to rest and wind down at the Lonesome Drake Inn. Alas, no rest to be had there, either!

Boris, the proprietor, asked if they could help him with a problem. After they nodded, he invited them to his room, to speak in private. Then he had to suffer a bunch of sexual innuendos, before sharing his issue.

“Uh, I heard you are working with Lord Kyle. My problem is, uh, smaller, but still... You see, I was renovating my cellar, and, uh, how to say this, I, hm, uh, I... I found a secret doors behind a heavy closet. They are thick, reinforced, had a padlock and bolted bar.”

“Of course, we would be happy to help. But we must discuss compensation, our dear friend.”

“Yes, yes, of course. Would fifty gold coins suffice?”

“To open the doors? Yes! But, if there happens to be a pile of unguarded treasure behind those doors, then we claim half of it!”

“What! This is my cellar! Thirty percent and no more!”

“Forty percent and we have a deal!”

“Fine!”

Bob yawned audibly.

“OK, we'll look into it the next thing tomorrow.”

“Nooo, can't you look into it right now? Please? Come on... I haven't been able to sleep ever since I found the doors!”

“OK, OK, stop whining. We will do it right now.”

“Great! Please follow me!”

The doors were just as Boris described them.

“Now, these look like something designed to keep something in!”

“What... why would you say that?! Oh my!” Boris went pale.

“Calm down, we will take care of it.”

Hagar broke the padlock with a might swing. Next he spent nearly an hour bending and banging on the bolt. All the while Bob kept an ear to the nearby wall, trying to hear if anything makes a sound on the other side.

“Broken!”

Adventurers pulled the doors open... A whiff of stale, damp air came to them. A low, dug tunnel presented itself. Not a fifty feet in, and the tunnel broke into a natural cave tunnel perpendicular to it.

“Left or right?”

“Flip a coin.”

“Left.”

The party moved, followed by Boris carrying a lit torch.

“Wow.”

“Whoa.”

Boris gasped audibly, and went even paler than before.

They stood at the ledge overseeing a large cave; larger than their torchlight could reach. The floor was littered with bones, skulls, totems, and fetishes. Every ten feet or so was an upright spear with a skull on top and something hanging from it.

“This is perfectly normal, calm down Boris. We will investigate.”

The party backtracked and explored the other direction.

This time they ran into a bunch of boulders blocking way forward. These were obviously brought here from somewhere else.

“I see something...”

Indeed, a top of the door frame could be seen behind the boulders.

“There is something carved above the doors...” Vyrkainen spotted.

“Great, you are good at languages. How about you go read it?”

“Who, me? Sure, why not.”

The elf got on all fours and begun his climb. The dwarves followed.

“It's an orcish script... language too...”

“What does it say?”

“Turbish. That's an orc name.”

Is this a tomb or a throne room?

Only one way to find out.

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Derennan Dwarf level 3 A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.
Llyfed Elf level 3 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Nolmbork Dwarf level 2 Portly, bald, red bearded, with an epic nose. On a mission to have a drink in every settlement in Wilderlands.
Elvis Elf level 1 An elf.
Oberon Fighter level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.

Thawmist 16th, Airday

“I banish ye to the grave you came from!”

Tarkus roared with the last atoms of strength in his body whilst brandishing an open book, the holy symbol of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.

Bright crimson light flashed the chamber, forcing the undead to flee in terror. The cleric collapsed to his knees, completely expired. He felt warmth as red light washed over him.

Nolmbork, Llyfed, and Oberon first watched in awe, then in confusion, as Tarkus vanished and confused elf appeared in his place.

“Pardon my language, but who the fuck are you?” Llyfed inquired politely.

“I'm Elvis.” the elf politely replied.

“The king is with us! We are saved!”

Derennan was still prostrated, stiff and motionless, on the ground.

“The ghouls will return any moment. Which way do we go back?”

Following a brief discussion the decision has been made to go all the way back to the doors that were flanked by banners with yellow hyena head.

Oberon and Elvis carried paralysed Derennan, while Llyfed and severely injured Nolmbork led the way.

Derennan recovered his facilities just in time to assist with lifting the portcullis.

“Pssst, I hear sobs?”

Indeed, Derennan picked up quiet weeps and snorts coming from the chamber filled with thick, azure fog.

“Derennan, Derennan!” child-like voices cried in Dwarven “Big nasty brutes took away our toys! They laughed as we tried to take them back! Derennan, Derennan! You are a hero, please get it back for us!”

Derennan Derennan calmed the ghosts and assured them he will do something about it. The party navigated the fog chamber and successfully found their way out.

“Be careful. The doors are probably trapped.” Indeed, multiple holes were on both sides of the door, going from ankle- to head-height.

Wounded Nolmbork found a safe spot in the chamber and rested a bit. Invisible hands braided what little remained of his beard and hair.

Llyfed and Oberon watched the doors, painfully aware of how it went last time they went into the place with similar banners.

Derennan pressed on the floor with his polearm. Nothing much happened—until he put his whole bodyweight on it.

A number of spears went out, effectively blocking access to the doors. But that did not prevent Elvis from wiggling his hips between the opening of the speartips.

He gingerly passed, tied a rope around the stone door handle, and passed it to Llyfed. The party gently pulled the doors ajar. Elvis peeked in. It was a large, dimly illuminated chamber. And it reeked.

Five figures sat around a campfire in the middle of the room. Two big, hulking; three smaller, but still larger and hairier than an average human, sulking.

Elvis stepped in, just beyond the doors, cleared his throat, and then cast Charm Person on the largest monster in range. Then he fled back, shut the doors, and wiggled between the tips.

“Wasn't the plan to go in and talk to them?”

“Do you want to talk to them?”

“No, we just wait for them to come out and then we talk to them.”

“But no one is coming out.”

“Should we, and by we I mean you, go back in?”

Not even a minute later and Elvis was wiggling once more.

The door flung open as soon as the elf placed his hand on the handle. And no, it was not due to his incredible strength.

A ten foot tall and five feet wide brute dressed in loincloth stood in the door frame, towering over Elvis. It looked wholly unimpressed by this band of tattered and torn adventures.

Llyfed and company recognised the monster, for it was the same one it relieved them of all their coin just an hour or so ago. The spears slowly retracted into the walls. Adventurers accepted the ogre's invitation to enter the chamber.

They were greeted by a second, smaller ogre, holding open a sack. The party threw in all their remaining valuables—mostly coins and shiny objects recovered in the chamber adjoining the one with the pit.

This seventy by seventy feet room was lit by a number of torches in sconces, as well as campfire in the centre. Of three hyena-like humanoids, only one was standing. The remaining two remained seating by the fire. Ogres rejoined them, counting their new gains. The standing gnoll operated a disc-like protrusion next to the doors.

Once it finished, it took a good look at the adventurers and licked its lips. The party offered themselves as mercenaries. Negotiations were led by Llyfed, who is fluent in Gnoll, while Elvis was translating for Derennan, Nolmbork, and Oberon.

The gnoll howled with laughter, wondering why should they hire someone so beat up and pathetic. After all, they just voluntarily handed over everything they had to two big guys.

Elvis offered one ration in exchange for safe passage. This too was laughed off. Alas, this triggered the brains of two sitting gnolls—they just realised they have some juicy, tender elf flesh right in front of them. What a treat that would be after weeks of rats and vermin!

“Children” Derennan spoke in soft voice “you should leave now. Go to the fog and play there. I'll bring you your toys soon.”

He did not want them to witness what was about to go down.

In final desperate attempt to negotiate, Llyfed mentioned scrolls of great magic. Surely that is worth something!

“Wait...” the gnoll snapped as he held the two hungry ones back “Do you know the land above? Can you draw it?”

“Yes. How about a deal? You lead us out and we make you a map.”

“No. I take you to our leader and you talk with him.”

Adventurers now whispered amongst themselves, agreeing to go along. What else do they have to lose? The two dwarves were ready to fight to the bitter end anyway.

Party was escorted down the winding corridors until a T-shaped junction. They took the right doors, into a chamber reeking of refuse and wet hair. A dozen of gnolls nearly jumped from excitement as they've seen five captured pinkies enter.

“Down!” the chatty gnoll barked, and led the party into another chamber, this one behind a portcullis jammed open with five portcullis.

There adventurers met Wa Ba, chieftain of the Tattered Fort tribe. They promptly insulted him by letting him know they met his king few miles up north, to which Wa Ba went mad with rage.

“King?! King?! I am the king! I am the chief of mighty Tattered Fort tribe! There is no king over me!”

It didn't get much better for our band of negotiators. Refusing to accept their situation, they demanded more than they could get, and offered a lot less than was asked for. In the end the inevitable happened.

Derennan gripped his polearm and skewered the closest gnoll. Nolmbork took out two oil flasks and jumped at one of the beastmen. Elvis, Llyfed, and Oberon pulled their weapons too.

Wa Ba growled with ecstasy, and charged the party. As did all the other gnolls in the chieftain's chamber. Elvis was slain with one might strike. Derennan took more punishment, but succumbed as well.

Nolmbork, our injured Nolmbork, did not fare much better. He was beaten senseless. Llyfed parried and blocked, back to back with Oberon. With the fighter going down, Llyfed was completely surrounded and pounded upon. The lights went out for him too.

Last thing he heard were cackles.

So disrespectful.

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 1 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Ambros Cleric level 2 Follower of Aniu, Lord of Time.
Darius Cleric level 2 Follower of Dacron, God of Craftsmen.
Rorik Fighter level 2 A fighter.
Bob the Dwarf Dwarf level 1 Midget with big beard in search of an adventure.

Thawmist 17th, Waterday

There she was, at the Black Eagle tavern, cheering and giggling with her two girlfriends and two aspiring suitors.

Deidamamina, the porter hired by Derennan a month ago. Derennan and his party haven't returned to Hara, and here she was, laughing.

Even worse, Hagar picked-up some talk of Deidamamina's sudden good fortune. So he cooked up a plan with Ambros, Rorik, Darius, and newly recruited Bob. The last one will wait outside of the tavern in case Deidamamina tries to escape. Other four will approach her and gently demand to know where are their friends and what is the source of her new wealth. Rorik the Beautiful was chosen as face for this diplomatic encounter.

“Excuse me for interruption, but I believe we owe you wages for your services.” Rorik politely introduced himself as he handed over a coin pouch. The girls were giggling, while Deidamamina released a disappointed exhale.

“Thank you. I am saddened to hear you are not here to ask for my hand, like these two fine men.”

These two fine men were not giggling, nor were they in courting mood anymore for a heavily armoured and armed man in fighting fit flanked by a muscle-bound dwarf and two clerics were quite a mood killer. Both quickly vacated the table; their seats taken by the adventures.

“So, what happened to our friends? Can you tell us more?”

“Oh, you have to tell them! She has a crazy story! She was a real hero!” Deidamamina's girlfriends cheered her on. Encouraged, she leaned onto the table, and her eyes dilated as she recounted:

“Listen to this, you will not believe it! I was desperate for money so I accepted an offer from a crazy group of adventurers. There was an elf, two dwarves, a zealot, and a scary ranger with necklace made of bones. They gave me a massive silver ball to carry around for them. We travelled for around two or three days until we reached some tall, ruined tower.

Next thing you know, I'm following them down some dark and scary corridors. And then they find secret doors! And all the time I'm trying to be between them because everything is so scary! Anyway, the secret doors are opened by rotating one of the round symbols arranged in a circle... wait, let me draw that for you... see, like this.

Now comes the craziest part! They all go inside, and we come to some alien chamber with low ceiling and raised dais. In the middle of the chamber is this short pillar—just like you Hagar—with a depression in it. Your take the ball off of me and place it in there! And then it lights up, as does the dais!

And listen to this now! All five of them stand by the dais, holding their hands, and then step on it. And they vanish! Oh, and I was left all alone! I waited there for hours, nay, for days. But they did not return. So I summoned up the courage, took the silver orb, and snuck out. Oh how scary it was in the darkness, but I made it!

Once outside I returned back to Hara. And here I am!”

“Wow, fascinating story Deidamamina. And what happened to the silver orb?”

“I sold it of course! Isn't that what adventurers do? They recover treasure from scary places and sell them in civilised cities like our great Hara! At first I went to the jeweller but he gave me a really bad deal.

Next thing I know I am approached by a representative of Namelin family! I felt so special! And he gave me such a great offer—” Deidamamina now lowers her voice to whisper and leans in even closer to Rorik “—three hundred and twenty gold pieces. Yes! Right there, on the spot! I am settled for life! Now just to find a fine man, one like yourself...”

Adventures conversed with her for few more hours. Alas, the news of their last silver orb being acquired by the most ruthless merchant family in Hara were a tad deflating. And perhaps a bit worrying too. They couldn't blame Deidamamina for she did not lie, nor gloat. She did all she could for their friends. If only they had reached her before those damn Namelins did.

“Damn, what do we do?”

“It sounded like silver orb activates the dais.”

“Perhaps there are more in the dungeon?”

“Look at her drawing. There are nine circles. We recovered nine orbs. One was donated to the Thieves' Guild and we kept one. The rest we sold. And now the one we had is with the Namelins.”

“How about we approach them?”

“They'd spit straight into our face. And we are trying to build a rapport with the Imrael family...”

“How about we head straight to the dungeon? Perhaps we find them?”

“Or we all just die!”

“Is there a way to get into good graces with Namelins?”

“Well, they have this job ad that was up for months. They are offering 3 000 platinum pieces for Klekless Racoba—alive. Nobody made it yet.”

“Forget it, that guy would dust us like mites.”

“What then?!”

“Well, I spotted a new ad, from Lord of Midway, asking for enterprising adventurers to take care of a problem.”

“Who is that guy? What is the pay?”

Asking around produces some satisfactory results: Lord Kyle was young, honest, and generous. And Midway was right mid way between Ractuan and Hara.

Thawmist 18th, Earthday

“Stop. Danger ahead.”

The party had been following the trail from Hara to Dontrap and then downstream the river Farhills until they reached the point it merges with river Cedarwade and flows into the sea. From there they followed the latter upstream—until they spotted two fresh cow corpses on the trail. Both looked quite messed up.

Three dilapidated buildings flanked the trail: smithy and simple house to the left, and stables to the right. All three were shambolic. Whilst inspecting the smithy, Hagar was surprised by two pony-sized carnivorous flies. They buzzed and lunged around. Both Bod and Darius were tackled and defaced. Were it not for divine healing, both would be walking freak shows. Hagar killed both flies.

“Let's go back to Hara, heal, and then come back to finish this.”

Darius insisted on purging this place, for he is follower of Dacron, God of Craftsmen.

All agreed.

Thawmist 20th, Spiritday

The party was back, cow and giant fly corpses where they left them. Inspecting the house revealed two more flies, as well as underground complex of tunnels with several rotting corpses full of maggots as well as one more fly.

Hagar terminated all three, and then set all corpses on fire. Adventurers poured all the oil the had in the hole.

“Let it burn.”

Inspecting stable revealed an even larger tunneled complex, but no flies nor rotting corpses. Plenty of debris and bones though.

Adventurers wouldn't be adventurers had they not frisked all the human remains. That netted them 11 gold coins, an ivory flute beautifully carved to resemble a serpent, and a brass ear trumpet engraved with seahorses.

They rested at the smithy while house next door went up in flames. Our heroes reached Midway on Dewsnap 1st, Airday.

Will they make more friends here than they did in Hara?

Only one way to find out.

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 1 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Orist Elf level 1 An elf.
Ambros Cleric level 2 Follower of Aniu, Lord of Time.
Darius Cleric level 2 Follower of Dacron, God of Craftsmen.
Rorik Fighter level 2 A fighter.

Thawmist 5th, Spiritday

A small party of four men-at-arms—Trocalus, Dragicus, Eterius, and Fluonaedra—led by Hagar and Orist found a statue they were looking for. Their intelligence was spot on.

“Not even half a day away from Hara!”

A tall bronze statue stood on a stone dais. Its humanoid figure was obscured by its blocky nature—not a single curve in sight! It was cube on top of cube, connected to another cube. A field of red roses surrounded the dais.

Hagar and Orist had decided to go on a little adventure of their own whilst waiting for Llyfed, Nolmbork, Derennan, Tarkus, and Oberon to return from the dungeon underneath the ruined tower south-west of Hara. They went there with a silver orb—a valuable one!—on some spurious idea that it might activate some portal.

Hagar and Orist, on the other hand, are much more pragmatic. They are more interested in places that have wealth, treasure, and magic! And so they hunted down some leads to some ancient tomb. And then they hired the last capable people in Hara, for there were almost none left after Invincible Overlord's recruitment campaign.

And now they stood in front of a statue where the tomb should be, but there was no tomb, and no doors, and no other clues.

Scanning the environs revealed that stone is more spent behind the statue. It didn't take long to realise the statue can be pushed. Lo and behold, a spiral staircase was underneath it!

The dwarf and elf led the descent, whilst their retainers followed. They found themselves in the center of dank junction. Floor was nothing but packed dirt. Wooden beams and frames gave structure to corridors. This was one shoddy tomb, even for humans.

Moving north the party ran into a rotting wooden casket. Poking it provoked its inhabitant to shamble out. A decayed corpse sluggishly exited and mindlessly went for the closest person. It was no match for a party of six.

“Orist! Behind!”

Two more corpses shambled from the junction.

“There's more!”

Fluonaedra yelled as even more corpses shambled in, this time from narrow tunnels to the left and right of the casket.

“Tighten up!” Hagar yelled whilst fighting off three zombies.

Orist turned around to face the two undead attacking from behind. Dragicus froze, his morale broken, and watched in horror as Fluonaedra was disemboweled and eaten alive. Her screams did not echo for the soil dampened the sounds.

Hagar smashed one after another zombie, but he himself was being worn down as well. Claw after claw, bite after bite. The dwarf couldn't withstand forever.

Dragicus soiled himself and tried to escape. Alas, he was caught by two undead. They broke his spine, scalped him, and then took out his brain.

Trocalus killed one zombie, but was soon killed himself as well. At least his death was quick. Orist soon succumbed to wounds as well, having killed only one undead.

The dwarf escaped death twice. He and Eterius managed to destroy remaining undead. A Pyrrhic, treasure-less victory.

The duo dragged Orist's corpse back to Hara. Others were left behind to rot.

Thawmist 11th, Airday

“Fellow adventurers, do you maybe know how to cast Raise Dead? No. That's fine. May I interested you in an adventure instead?”

Having recovered from his wounds, Hagar went on for another hiring spree. Rorik the Fighter, Ambros the Cleric of Aniu, and Darius the Cleric of Dacron joined him. All three were newcomers to Hara. They were ambitious enough to pick up on anything with “treasure” in its description whilst disregarding any red-flags, like for example, heavily scarred dwarf promising them riches underneath statue in the field of roses.

Either way, new party of above four plus Eterius—whom had now became an adventurer himself, demanding a proper share!—returned to the tomb. The statue was still pushed to the back and spiral staircase was wide open for anyone.

The corpses were where they left them, albeit in much worse shape. Maggots were feasting and flies were buzzing. Moving north led the party through a series of simple caves littered with open wooden caskets, rusted mining equipment and tools, and pools of water sipping through the cracks.

North east cave connected to both north and east spoke of the junction. Three small chambers, each containing a stone coffin with a motif of rose on top, adjoined along the south wall of the east tunnel.

Rorik and Hagar peeked into one. The corpse inside starred back at them. They shut the lid. The undead opened it, unhappy to be disturbed. Clerics turned it and then fighters smashed it to a pulp. This corpse was dressed in weathered blue robes.

Illustrated by kickmaniac

Darius considered the fact they might be plundering a tomb of Lawful deity, but he couldn't connect rose motifs with any known deity.

Although there was nothing in the coffin, the party had decided to check other two sarcophagi in the same way. The same situation repeated itself twice: an unhappy undead turned as it tried to get out, and then destroyed as it tried to get back in.

“Nothing! Empty!”

Following the south tunnel led the party to a human statue seated on a bronze throne. The statue held a spear in its right hand, a mace on the hip, and a shield rested by its left side. Ground in front of the statue was slightly depressed, as if something heavy left a mark.

Everything but the spear seemed to be made from one piece. Hagar pulled on the spear. It came out effortlessly. Although plain, it was well balanced and felt very solid.

Two narrow tunnels flanked the statue. Both led to a small chamber with large stone coffin, each adorned with an elaborate rose motif.

“Let's check the coffins before we do anything else with the statue...”

The party opted to check the east chamber first. To surprise of no one, this sarcophagus also held a corpse that was unhappy with being disturbed. What was different this time though, that other corpses had risen to protect it.

Adventurers destroyed them all with gusto.

“Shall we pull the throne with statue?”

Indeed, a staircase leading down was hidden underneath the throne.

Rorik and Hagar went down. It was a small chamber with wax-sealed jar, chest, and crate. After a bit of deliberation and prodding, the party decided to take them all to Hara. They left all the corpses to rot, friend or foe.

Once back in town they counted their spoils: 976 silver pieces, a small agate, a small azurite, a tiger eye, a turquoise, an exquisitely carved bone comb, a brass candelabra, and a wrought silver necklace. Nobody dared to open the jar.

“What if it contains an angry spirit?”

“Hey, where are Llyfed and co? They still haven't returned?”

“Deidamamina, the porter they hired to carry the silver orb has been spotted in Hara.”

“Hmmm... We should ask her what she did to our friends.”

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Derennan Dwarf level 3 A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.
Llyfed Elf level 3 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Tarkus the Promising Cleric level 2 Follower of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.
Oberon Fighter level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.
Nolmbork Dwarf level 2 Portly, bald, red bearded, with an epic nose. On a mission to have a drink in every settlement in Wilderlands.

Thawmist 16th, Airday

“Would you like to play with us?” a dwarven child-like voice asked Derennan.

“Yes, yes of course.” he answered.

The party of five has spent days carving their way out of a stone tomb they've willingly teleported in. Tarkus was coming down with fever, so Oberon stayed in the background to help him move about.

Now it was on Llyfed, Nolmbork, and Derennan to lead them out to safety.

But first, playing with ghosts of long dead children.

Derennan took dwarven and dragon toy, sat in the center of the room, and played out few scenarios. Audible gasps and cheers could be heard from the child.

Nolmbork and Llyfed used the opportunity to scan the square room. It was. They found closed stone doors to the north and west.

“Wooow, how long beard you have!” two more child-like voices, this time in Common, approached Nolmbork “Can we play with it?”

And so Nolmbork got many little braids on his beard.

Through mix of play and tender questioning, Derennan found out very little from the dead children except they were brought here long time ago and that they came from “deep deep” down below. Oh, and that horrible scream could be heard from north doors.

“We are looking for a way out. Would you like to come with us?” Derennan asked.

“Yes! Yes! But we must take our toys with us!”

And so Oberon carried a sack of silver toys in one hand, and stumbling Tarkus in the other.

Forcing west doors revealed another square chamber. Floor was lined with near-invisible grooves. They were few millimetres wide and criss-crossed the full width of their vision. The chamber smelt of burnt oil.

Llyfed stepped in first, followed by Nolmbork. Nothing happened. Torch was passed to the elf, revealing an archway to the north.

Llyfed stepped north, followed by Nolmbork. The whole chamber was sprayed with oil from above, setting them both on fire. Derennan's quick reaction saved Nolmbork from certain death. Llyfed endured, but was badly, badly burnt.

The party quickly moved on, hoping that the trap hadn't had the time to reset. They were right.

Long corridor led them into a massive square chamber. They bolted to the doors as soon as they could see them. This led them to a junction. Moving straight ahead down the winding corridor led them to doors opening into a circular chamber.

The chamber was well lit with six torches in sconces alongside west side. Stone doors were flanked with two banners sporting yellowish hyena-like head. Portcullis blocked exit to southeast.

“Come, look at this...”

Thick blueish mist rolled behind the portcullis. Shooting a lit arrow into it resulted with a gone arrow.

“Erm, kids, would you mind to take a look into the mist and let us know what is inside?”

Dwarven voice went first. It was gone for solid ten minutes. Then it suddenly erupted “This is so much fun! Wooooo!” other two voices joined it, and soon all three could be heard coming from within the mist. They were having the time of their unlife.

“What if they are playing with skeletons or something? That wouldn't be fun for us.”

“I think they are just finding the mist fun.”

“Let's go...”

The demihuman trio lifted the portcullis in unison, and the party moved forward. Portcullis slammed shut behind them. They huddled, as not to lose touch with any of them.

Mist had sweet cinnamony smell. It was so thick one couldn't see their own hand right in front of the eyes. Llyfed took the lead, keeping his hand on the wall.

Eventually they found the way out.

“Kids, are you coming?”

“Noooo! Can we stay here?”

“Ahm, sure?”

“Yay! Just our toys!”

Party pressed on, entering a sizeable circular chamber. This one was not lit at all. Sconces were empty. Five skeletons dressed in rotted garments and decayed armour were clustered along the east wall. Although their weapons rusted long time ago, the great number of silver coins in their sacks and backpacks was still intact.

An audible grunt followed by metal hitting the stone floor came from south.

Adventurers jumped to the sides, bracing themselves for whatever it is that was making noise. More grunts could be heard, and then south portcullis lifted as well.

Two bulky, ten feet tall beastmen came in. Each carried a large club, as well as a coin sack with a symbol of yellowish hyena-head. The bigger of the looked at this funny assortment of characters, laughed, and then demanded to know who they are. His request came out in broken Gnoll.

“We are mercenaries looking for a way out.”

“You? Mercenaries? Hahahah!” the beastmen laughed. “You are trespassing.” the laughter stopped. “Six hundred gold coins or your life!”

“Oh, we have prepared all this coin just for you!” Derennan pointed to assortment of sacks next to the skeletons. Then the demihuman trio quickly ran to bring them all to the feet of the two ogres.

“And all the coin you are carrying!”

“We gave you everything we have!”

“Elf, if I shake your dwarf friend and a single coin falls out of his pockets then I'll turn you into a steak tartare!”

“Look, all my pockets are empty!” Derennan demonstrated.

Satisfied with the tribute, the monsters left, heading into the chamber with mist.

“Hey, can you tell us what way is out?!” Llyfed yelled after them.

“Sure, just follow us!” the smaller of the two replied.

The party decided not to follow them, but instead head south through double set of portcullises.

Working their way through another square chamber, and two sets of doors, led them into a pentagonal chamber. The floor was caked with splatters of dried blood. All walls were lined with a clearly visible groove running the whole circumference of the chamber.

Stone slab “doors” were to the west and an archway to the south. There was a narrow blood-less path going through the middle of the chamber.

“Let's go, one by one.”

The party crossed the chamber without triggering whatever was the source of all the bloodshed. Now they found themselves in a hexagonal chamber dominated by a large, dark pit in the center of it.

There were four exits from this chamber: the north archway they came through, the west portcullis, the east doors, and south doors.

Adventurers choose west. This led them to a T-shaped junction splitting west and east. The former terminated with an iron gate preventing further advance. The latter led them down a winding corridor which turned out to be trapped. Derennan and Llyfed were hit with a hail of darts.

Enduring this trap too, the party pressed on until they ran into another stone slab “doors” without any handle or obvious opening mechanism. The followed the corridor opposite of it.

“Huh...”

At the end of the sixty feet corridor they found a wide stone tablet with four square protrusions on it. Each square had a different set of symbols on it. From left to right square:

⃤ ⛛ ⃤

◯ ⛛ ⃤

◯ ⛛ ◯

⃞ ◯ ◯

Going back to the doors revealed a set of three symbols above it:

⃤ ⛛ ⃤

Nolmbork went back to the tablet and pressed the square with matching symbols.

The stone slab slid open!

“You stay back, I'll check it first.” Derennan moved in.

It was a rectangular chamber some thirty by fifty feet. It was as plain as all they been through so far—with one small distinction. There was a writing desk with a matching chair in northwest corner.

SLAM!

The stone slab fell down, cutting him off from the rest of the party. Quick scan of the room revealed two skeleton in rotted bedroll in southeast corner and stone doors to the north.

Party outside ran to the stone table, only to find a completely different assortment of symbols:

◯ ⛛ ⃤

⃞ ◯ ◯

⃤ ⛛ ⃤

⃞ ⛛ ◯

“Check above the doors!”

Indeed, a different set of symbols were now above the stone slab:

⃞ ◯ ◯

Hitting the matching square opened the doors. Rest of the party ran into the chamber to join up with Derennan.

Searching the skeletons produced a locked spellbook and a ream of parchments.

SLAM!

Stone slab fell behind the party.

“Can you read the parchments?”

“Yes, they are in elven.”

The writings could be best described as diary entries which get increasingly desperate. They mention “ghastly undead crawling from the pit” preventing the author from leaving the chamber. There also mentions of “effective, pressure activated trap” in front of the doors preventing the monsters from getting in.

“We have to get out. Let's move.”

With Llyfed and Nolmbork badly wounded, Derennan took the lead. He opened the doors and then jumped as far as he could. No trap was activated. Then he strolled into the hexagonal chamber and was promptly surprised by two ghastly undead.

They dropped him in a single round. Rest of the party focused their missile attack on one of the undead, killing it in the process. The other fled through east doors.

“Quick, let's get Tarkus over the trap! He needs help!”

“Check on Derennan! Quick!”

Indeed, the dwarf was not dead but merely paralysed.

Llyfed and Nolmbork picked up stiff Derennan while Oberon helped Tarkus move quickly.

“Where to?!”

“North or east?!”

“Let a die decide!”

“East!”

...

The party burst into a dank corridor filled with ghastly undead.

Wounded and heavily encumbered they barely made it through the doors before undead horde caught up. Llyfed stepped in to protect his allies. Nolmbork was caught by one and nearly killed in the process. It was solely his dwarven constitution that kept him alive.

“Let me go...”

Tarkus gripped his improvised holy symbol and called on the God of Red Wisdom.

Bright crimson light flashed the chamber, forcing the undead to flee in terror.

Illustration by kickmaniac

Tarkus collapsed to his knees, completely expired.

Derennan still laid stiff.

Nolmbork was half-dead.

Only Llyfed and Oberon stood tall.

How the hell will they get out of here?

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Derennan Dwarf level 3 A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.
Llyfed Elf level 3 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Tarkus the Promising Cleric level 2 Follower of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.
Oberon Fighter level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.
Nolmbork Dwarf level 2 Portly, bald, red bearded, with an epic nose. On a mission to have a drink in every settlement in Wilderlands.

Thawmist 3rd, Earthday

“Let's inspect that pillar more closely...”

The party was in a most curious room. It was thirty by thirty feet, with low ceiling. A raised platform with unfamiliar symbols dominated half of the room. A two feet tall pillar was in the center of the chamber.

Upon the closer look the party could see it had a circular depression that would fit a spherical object. Around the hole was a ring with arrow-like pointer pointing towards north-east. Four symbols were etched on each cardinal direction:

“Let's return here later and bring the silver orb with us.”

Indeed, the party abandoned these two secret chambers and backtracked. This time they took the right door in the large chamber with pillars. This led them to another doors that were difficult to open.

After the dwarves failed to force them open, Oberon the Ranger came forth and burst through the doors straight into the jaws of a giant lizard. Nolmbork stunned himself in excitement, Derennan impaled the lizard, Llyfed cut off a chunk, and Oberon finished it off.

Illustrated by snoop

An alcove in the southeast corner had several incomplete skeletons, gnawed bones, and three sacks of coins totalling 300 gold coins and 300 silver coins.

Following a brief discussion, adventurers decided to head out, find a safe spot to hide their treasure, rest for the night, and return next morning. And so it was! Llyfed found a toppled tree and buried the sacks into the roots.

Thawmist 4th, Fireday

Party returned into the dungeon beneath the ruined tower. They went back into the corridor where stench of death was strong.

“Careful...”

Adventurers huddled in tight formation and bravely proceeded forth, into darkness, into stench. A little over a hundred feet later they found two T-shaped junctions.

The first led into another dark corridor. One the entrance to it was a familiar primitive banner with hyena-like head on it. The banner was all tattered and torn.

The second T-shaped junction was flanked with two tall plaques.

Llyfed the Linguist gingerly approached them.

There were over twenty lines of text, all different from each other. Those in Common, and Elvish said:

“Suicide Corridor”

Derennan and Nolmbork could read the same in Dwarvish and Gnomish.

Smell of death was most intense down that corridor.

The Company of Wise Adventurers decided not to explore this corridor.

They decided to continue down the long, dark corridor instead.

Another hundred feet later the reached a turn and doors completely different from all they've encountered so far in this dungeon.

To call them doors would be perhaps and overstatement. This was more of a framed stone slab without anything resembling a handle or keyhole.

Dwarves stepped in to investigate. Lo and behold, on the each side of the doors was a single depression four inches wide, eight inches tall, and two inches deep.

Derennan and Nolmbork nodded to each other and pressed a hand into the depression—simultaneously.

It worked!

The doors slid ajar, revealing another curious chamber.

A chest on top of stone plinth rested in the middle of the room. Another slab like doors were in northwest corner, and lowered portcullis blocked the exit in northeast corner.

Closer inspection of the chest revealed that it was in fact made of stone, not wood! The thing seemed either fused or chiseled straight out of the pillar.

On the front of it was a large, keyholeless, padlock. A grid and vertical lines next to it were etched onto the padlock:

“I'm stupefied.”

“Is this a riddle? A trap?”

”...”

“I know what this is.” Derennan announced.

“Nolmbork, poke the middle field with your spear.”

One dwarf obliged the other.

A cross hatch appeared on the middle field.

“Aha! Now touch the field on the first row and first column.”

Another cross-hatch pattern appeared.

“Now second row, second column...”

And Derennan continued giving orders, forming an X shaped pattern on the grind.

Once completed the padlock popped open, revealing a chest filled to the brim with silver coins and three exquisite necklaces.

“Are these magical?”

Tarkus the Experimenter tried on all three. Despite being covered in bling, he did not discover any additional powers.

“I think we should get out and back to Hara!”

“Yes!”

Encumbered by all the treasure, the party took twice as long to return to their current base of operations.

Thawmist 12th, Waterday

As promised, the adventurers had returned to the dungeon. Freshly recruited porter, Deidamamina, was carrying a bowling-ball sized silver orb.

Recent hiring spree by the Invincible Overlord has driven the wages of hired help into the stratosphere. Worse than that, Hara's general of forces has also been recruited, as well as two thirds of the fighting-fit population.

“Hara is understaffed. Forces of Chaos are mounting. Gnoll warbands, Altanian barbarians, internal strife. Ahyf will be sacked any day now. We should consider leaving Hara.” Derennan theorised.

“Should we move further north?” Oberon pondered.

“Nope, running is too easy.” Llyfed muttered.

“I think we should stick it out for a while but having an exit plan can't hurt.” Derennan concluded this train of rational thought.

The party returned to the secret chamber with low ceiling and hexagonal pillar.

They placed the orb inside the depression.

It fit like a glove.

Nothing happened.

“Try turning the ring.”

That worked.

They set the arrow pointing towards the X.

It lit up with dim light.

And so did all Xs on the rim of the platform.

One of them threw a portion of rations on the platform.

It disappeared.

“This is a teleporter.”

“Should we tie a rope around one of us and test it out?”

“What if it is a one way teleporter?”

“True.”

“All or nothing friends.”

Adventurers stepped next to the platform, forming a line.

Then they stepped on the platform, holding each other's hands.

And then they vanished.

Screams and shouts reverberated of the stone tomb walls as five adventurers fought for their lives.

An endless mass of giant rats was all over them.

They crawled; they gnawed; they sought orifices; they brought disease.

They bit and they scratched and they squirmed and they hissed and they squeaked.

The adventurers swung and stomped; cut and crushed; heaved and hulked.

There was nowhere to move.

There was nothing to do.

Nothing but to fight for their lives.

Illustration by kickmaniac

Adventurers stood victorious, sixty-four dead giant rats beneath their feet. None of them went unscathed.

Solid walls surrounded them. No doors, no embellishments that would indicate secret doors.

With all the time in the world, the party closely inspected all the walls.

Their tomb was L-shaped, with twenty feet extending to the left and right from the central ten-foot square.

Ceiling was twenty feet high, slightly arched and embellished. Each “square” had an extruded X pattern, with a different scene in each quadrant.

Derennan closely studied them. After some time he found that one pattern is repeated in all Xs, albeit in different place.

“It might be leading us towards something?”

Indeed, following the repeating scene led them to a wall portion that sounded hollow, compared to others.

Hours of inspection revealed no secret mechanisms.

“Anyone has a pickaxe? No? How about iron spikes and something blunt?”

With all the time in the world, the party took to breaking down the wall.

Nolmbork and Llyfed worked on it for eight hours straight.

Derennan worked for the next eight hours.

Tarkus and Oberon took the next shift.

Rations and light sources were rapidly depleted.

“From now on, only humans work in light.”

Nolmbork and Llyfed did another eight-hour shift.

Derennan followed.

Tarkus and Oberon did their best.

Cleric got progressively worse. At then end of this shift he went down with fever and tremors.

Nolmbork and Llyfed worked their third shift. With ill equipment the best they could hope if making a tight crawlspace.

Derennan achieved a major breakthrough, opening a hole into another dark chamber.

“Look!”

The cruelty of their desperate situation became apparent in few moments.

They chamber they've broken into was thirty by thirty feet, with same barren walls as the tomb they've just broken out.

No doors, nothing.

The ceiling was adorned with same X divisions, with the scene of dancing dead making a circular pattern round the chamber.

“Let's dance!”

And indeed, four desperate adventurers covered in sweat, gore, and festering wounds, danced their hearts out in a dark chamber deep, deep underground.

Tarkus sat in the corner, saving his strength for walking.

Nothing happened.

Adventurers' disappointment was palpable.

“Let's search all the doors...”

It's been several days since they teleported into the tomb.

Their rations were almost gone, and light sources were very few.

“Wall here is hollow!”

Pushing it revealed a secret corridor.

It led into a small chamber with stone desk on which an assortment of silver figurines of various animals and denizens of Wilderlands laid.

Child-like giggles could be heard coming from around the corner.

“This is not creepy at all...”

Without much other options, the party formed a tight formation and stepped out the the secret passageway and into the chamber whence the sound cometh from.

As soon as they entered the voices stopped and three figurines that were floating mid-air dropped to the ground.

“Hello good ghosts” Derennan spoke in Dwarvish “we are just seeking a way out and mean you no harm. Can you tell us the way out?”

“Oh, we gave up on finding the way out long time ago.” a child-like voice replied in Dwarvish.

“Would you like to play with us?” it asked.

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Adventurers

Character Class Description
Derennan Dwarf level 3 A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.
Nolmbork Dwarf level 2 Portly, bald, red bearded, with an epic nose. On a mission to have a drink in every settlement in Wilderlands.
Orist Elf level 1 A dangerous looking elf.
Llyfed Elf level 3 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Hagar the Hewer Dwarf level 1 Imagine Conan as dwarf.
Tarkus the Promising Cleric level 2 Follower of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.
Beorg the Gravedigger Fighter level 1 Inspired to adventure after burying several adventurers.
Oberon Fighter level 3 A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.
Hedwig Hogwarts Elf level 2 An always alert owl masquerading as an elf.

Gloomfrost 17th–20th

With just a few days left before end of the year, adventurers decided to recuperate, plan, and make contacts with influential people in Hara.

There was great commotion in the streets—hawkers and emissaries of the Invincible Overlord himself were aggressively recruiting anyone whom can hold a sword or spear.

“Liberate Zothay!”

“Save Dearthwood!”

“Travel the Wilderlands!”

“Invincible Overlord wants YOU!”

They'd yell again and again and again. Every lowly commoner was offered a gold piece sign-up bonus, while experienced adventurers were offered up to a hundred gold pieces.

Local jeweller finally finished the gold necklace Derennan had commissioned. It was fine but nowhere near as fine as the jeweller said it would be. Either way, the party had another commission for him—a crown fit for a dim witted giant.

Derennan's plan of approaching the Imrael merchant family—oldest and most affluent in Hara—finally worked. He was joined by Nolmbork, Llyfed, Tarkus, and Oberon. Everybody tidied up, and strode up to Imrael's mansion overlooking the river.

Upon presenting their gift—a gold necklace with large amethyst—and request to Kennunn the Quiet, they were granted audience with Amulias Imrael himself.

The meeting was cordial, with the party offering their services. Amulias was professional and distant, for reasons Derennan discovered later. Cadmias the Wise, vizier of the Imrael family, was advocating against getting involved with the adventurers, for he had seen firsthand how incompetent they are.

“One of them wilfully took a blade named Doomed! And now he is dead!”

Llyfed rebuked him. Upon sharing they've been clearing up an old dungeon where a drug called Red Dragon was produced, Amulias said that Myrna Blaxter, the woman who sent them there, is a bit crazy. She's been talking about this for years, but no one ever found anything. He was surprised to learn there were beastmen there, though.

The party also learned that Invincible Overlord was not recruiting just commoners and freelancers. All affluent families must send their first-born as well. In addition, the rumour has it that Haermond II, Hara's castellan and general of forces, will take the offer as well.

If that is true, then one could reasonably expect a power vacuum that might lead to internal strife and unrest. Queen Earani Cor is primarily backed by Haermond II and Imrael family.

Upon leaving the mansion, Melell Imrael confided in Derennan that his father is distraught because his only living son—himself—is being sent to the City State of the Invincible Overlord.

“Please forgive my father. He is a good man, and would stand to benefit from your services. His bad mood is due to me leaving soon. Damell, my younger brother, died very young. Tibon, my older brother, went missing several years ago. He is only worried that I too will perish.”

“Tell me more about your missing brother. Maybe we could help.”

Derennan prodded.

“Truth to be told, I don't know that much. All I know is that he was supposed to be married to the daughter of another wealthy merchant. He went to their estate and never returned. My father sent several messengers, but none ever returned. Kennunn is the only one who came back alive and whatever he told my father was sufficient for him to stop looking.”

“Do you know where did your brother go missing? Maybe we could look into it?”

Melell promised that he'd investigate and let him know before he leaves Hara.

Party then spent two days tracking and snooping on the scribe's son which demonstrated symptoms of Red Dragon abuse: fiery belching. Besides being a loser and alcoholic who hung out with other do-no-gooders, the boy seemed innocent. Having run of patience, the party abducted the boy from his drinking place—an abandoned warehouse at the docks—and took him to their townhouse for gentle interrogation.

What they learned next shocked them.

Derennan let out a nervous laugh.

“Amazing.”

Boy has been belching like this ever since he was a little kid. He doesn't know why. And the best part? Myrna is his mother.

Adventurers discussed what the meaning of all of this could be. Is Myrna dealing Red Dragon herself? Is she just delusional? Was she taking drug whilst pregnant and now went mad with grief? Is the boy a polymorphed Red Dragon that is pulling their leg? Could the game be rigged so? Many, many ideas were discussed.

Ultimately, a decision has been made to return to the Den to get out Brent Goose. But for that they have to wait for the crown to be finished first. Hence they paid the jeweller for the rush order. The artisan promised them to be done by the end of Thawmist—the first month of the year.

Melell paid them a visit on the last day of the year.

“My father said that Kennunn will share all the details of Tibon's last known whereabouts if you prove yourself. We have reliable information about Klekless Racoba's hiding place. If you bring his head you will demonstrate your capabilities. Be warned though for he is not alone. Apparently he has a small, but loyal, force. Godspeed!”

And so did end the year of 4433.

Year's End

Everyone in Hara celebrated for five days straight, cleansing the last year whilst welcoming the next year. It is a well known fact that your annual fortunes are determined by this ritual. Everyone in Wilderlands recognises the cosmic importance of these five days.

Thawmist 3rd, Earthday

“Right there, that ruined stone tower.”

Whilst waiting for the crown to be finished, the party of Derennan, Nolmbork, Llyfed, Tarkus, and Oberon decided to return to the dungeon underneath the ruined tower south-west from Hara. The same one where they had found silver balls that made them rich.

In an hour and a half of delving they managed to trigger a dart trap that hit two of them, flee from a large snake, ignore secret doors, and find a corridor that reeks of death.

In the latter one they found a portion of the wall that had nine circles in a circle. One of them turned out to be a button which opens a passage nearby. It led into a thirty by thirty feet completely empty chamber with low ceiling.

After checking for traps the party crossed the room to the east, where another doors were. They opened into another similarly sized chamber. But this one was not barren.

A two feet tall pillar of hexagonal cross-section was in the middle of the room. On top of it was a round depression, matching the size of silver spheres they had found elsewhere in this dungeon.

In the south-east corner of the room was an elevated platform made from unknown material. Weird symbols were carved along the edges.

What will the party do next?

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