PDX Dungeons

Story So Far (parts 1-4)

The unnamed party formed when the communication tower on Eddistone point was captured by a party of bandits lead by orcs. With help from the tower’s guard, the tower was recovered.

Shortly thereafter, a descendant of the Caldwell family hired the party to clear monsters from a keep. During the lengthy effort, they met Yliandra (a cleric of Baccob), captured a methlab, were attacked by Yliandra (actually a doppleganger) and woke up a lich name Krelles, which promptly killed everybody but Ismelda, the wizard. Fortunately, the real Yliandra raised the party from the dead, though the lich moved on to the town to kill their patron and several other townspeople. After settling the property ownership issues with the town, the party is now leasing Castle Caldwell.

A few weeks later, an elven merchant commissioned the party to deliver a message to a friend in an elven town weeks to the north. Along the way, the party was ambushed and captured by a motley crew of monstrous humanoids, imprisoned in an old ruined outpost. During the escape, they met (and fought) a wererat, a hobgoblin cleric named Bauverk, a mysterious undead wizard named Methexis, an unnamed imp demon, and a human emissary from an unknown faction. All but the wererat were killed when the wererat turned on her comrades and assisted the party in creating an ambush.

Following their escape, the party resumed their trek north, arriving at the elven village to find it under siege from their own religious order. Rahasia, the elven princess, commissioned the party to rescue her captured sisters, sending the adventurers to an ancient temple built into the top levels of a sunken, ruined tower, where they fought gargoyles, were outmatched by the temple’s bone golem guardian, and discovered the sect had been co-opted by an evil wizard, Rahib, who was in service of three witches were were imprisoned for centuries in the tower. After defeating the witches, a scroll case enchanted with explosive runes was found. When the dust settled, they found fragments of a letter:

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Story So Far (Part 5, the Hill Giants)

Following the incident at the elven village, the party marched south, intending to return to human civilisation, when they discovered signs of giants raiding the frontier and then the giants themselves. The situation proved even more dire when, upon arriving at a militia outpost, it was revealed that the giants had established a stronghold within easy raiding distance.

The party, sent to investigate, discovered a log compound filled with dozens of drunk hill giants. After an initial incursion with a handful of giants slain, the party captured an orc named Skippy, whom they interrogated. It was revealed that the giants kept orcs as slaves, and the orcs were already rebelling, waiting for the right time to escape.

After the party fought some brief skirmishes with raiding parties leaving the compound, Ismelda made contact with a dissenting storm giant named Stormbringer who provided more intelligence.

This info, combined with sneaking Skippy back into the complex with a bag of poisonous herbs, gave the party access to the lower levels of the compound. There, they encountered two tribes of orcs, some of whom were kept prisoner by a tribe of bugbears, which the party dispatched. Also rescued from the lower levels were Balik, a dwarven warrior, several dwarven slaves, an insane human merchant, and a reclusive elven wizard.

During the lead up to the rebellion, the party encountered a hunched, mutated giant with two apes trained for battle. During the fight, Tiffany succumbed to the giant’s enormous battleaxe, the first party member lost to the adventuring lifestyle.

Shortly thereafter, the party met John McSoggybiscuit, a half-ogre priest attempting to sway the ogres of the complex to leave, with minimal results. John happily joined with the party in the final assault.

With three unruly mobs and two cohesive units of orcs (nearly 200 orcs in total), the party assaulted the main hall of the hill giants, killing the chief and his wife and killing or driving off dozens more giants. As a reward, the party claimed treasure from the dungeon level, guarded by three insane manticores.

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Impending Doom, and Shopping

After defeating the hill giant menace, the party attempted to reincarnate Tiffany, but were unsuccessful due to mysterious circumstances: she was “busy.” The party has yet to figure out what this means. enlisting the help of <that>, they set out on their next task: get to Delrak, for training and commerce.

They travelled between the signal-towers to Delrak, collecting rumors about several recent, highly organized guerilla raids against humanity in the area along the way. indeed, while on their route, they were beset by a band of bugbears, perhaps on just such a mission. A hapless band, as fate would have it, for they were cut down like young wheat by their would-be quarry, and their leader taken captive.

Arriving at Delrak, the party undertook those banal tasks nevertheless necessary for adventuring: training, learning new spells, and, of course, selling loot! In which task Templeton once again proved herself to be a person of formidable skill. Much was sold, and much gained, and when all was said and done, the party bid farewell to Balik, paying him severance, and welcomed officially John McSoggybiscuit.

No time were they given to rest or reflect, however, as news soon came from the wardens of newly-captured foe: the hobgoblin commander would be made to talk!

..and he said some stuff, amirite? I can’t quite remember the whole deal…

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Drelin's Ferry Part 1

From between the tortured screams of the captured hobgoblin commander, the adventurers learn that the attacks are coming from an area north of a town called Drelin’s Ferry, along the Elsir river, south of the forbiddingly-named Witchwood. It’s clear to the party that humanity needs heroes once again to help fight the increasing number of raids and skirmishes that now threaten its borders. Plus we get to keep whatever we can loot.

After a bit more fussing in town (the druid talks to a carp!), the party agrees to head to Drelin’s Ferry, there to meet with captain Serrana, and find out more about the attacks. It is a large hamlet, possibly even a town, sportting many interesting features and persons among them number:
*The Old Bridge Inn (fancy)
*The Green Apple Inn (not fancy, owned by Tharma, a talkative drwarf)
*Avarthel the Druid
*A Shrine of Pelor
*A smithy
*Sertierin the Wise

The party learns of some intriguing legends of the Witch Woods, and does some reconnaissance of its own to discover the following facts and legends:
*There’s some evil druids that live in the Witch Woods (legend)
*There’s weid animals, even dragons in there! (fact)
*There is a tower, supposedly haunted, called the Vrath Keep, there (fact)
*Long ago, the dwarves went to war with the forest giants and destroyed the old bridge here (legend)
*There are two trails through the forest, that the party knows of: the main trail and the “witch trail” (fact)
*Jor, a druid, lives in the forest (fact)
*There is a low gorge at the north end of the forrest, the “Skull Gorge”

The party sets out to find Jor, and what he may know, but before they can, they are beset by several owl-bears! The encounter may be a landmark in the history of animal combat, as it boasts an owl-bear fighting a snake (from the druid’s staff), a bear (the druid), and a large cat. The owl-bears prove no match for the party’s menagerie of terror, and they are defeated. Ed rolling a crit on one to drop it outright.

..I’ll finish later…we encounter a hydra.

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Drelin's Ferry Part 2: The Witchwood

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Battle at Vraath Keep

Preferring a straight-up fight to all that sneaking around, the party decided to take on all the occupants of Vraath keep at once. This strategy was nicely facilitated by Jon McSoggybiscuit, who thoughtfully decided to knock down a shack outside the keep, thus bringing all the goblins to the yard. As well as all the wargs, manticores, and minotaurs. Also, one asshat decided to hide in the tower and throw lightning bolts at the party, a plan that might have well decimated it had not the wizard dealt said asshat a deadly blow by casting Irresistible Laughter and Flamestrike on him. In the end, it was a pitched battle, and the party certainly took its lumps, but was finally victorious.

Once the rooms were cleared and the sorcerer dispatched, the party looked for loot, finding a secret trap door, beneath which lay clues to the history of the fort, as well as many locked coffers, and a HUGE gauntlet made of bones carrying the symbol of a frowning mouth.

Also, the party found this map, stuck to a giant oak table with knives.

Also also, a few hours spent studying the papers in one of the alcoves of the vault revealed the history of Vraath Keep.

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Jävlar dragon!

It is often said that the best laid plans are oft to gang agley, and so it was with the party’s first attempt to slay the fell dragon that guards the bridge over skull gorge. The plan was a good one: trap the bridge to keep the lesser foes at bay, gain surprise on the dragon, and draw him to the the party to engage at close range. A good plan, perhaps, but the dragon had plans of its own, and they didn’t involve getting caught on the ground. Instead, it circled far overhead, breathing hot death down on its would-be attackers.

Hard lessons have taught the party when to stand and fight, and when to retreat. They ran like hell for the woods as fast as their feet could carry them.

The next day, wounds licked and spells re-memorized, the party set about making a new plan, and several hours of heated debate punctuated with words like “impossible” and “insane” followed. In the end, a strategy was decided upon, and the party once again stood at the edge of the woods, ready to face its fell foe.

Time to put the plan into action.

“Get ’im,” said Edward.

Nothing happened. The party looked around at each other, expectantly.

“Cast the fireball!” Ed shouted at Ismelda, “like we planned!”. Ismelda, who, for her part had understood the plan to be that the fighters should rush the tower, merely glared back. Templeton ran back from her forward position, behind some rocks in the clearing.

“Where’s the archon? Weren’t we summoning an archon-y angel type thing?”

McSoggybiscuit, who was rather ill-suited to plan making, for whom in fact the long, tedious hours spent plan making had acted as a particularly effective soporific and was therefore unaware of any plan at all, spoke from somewhere in the trees. “What’s an Argon?”

Edward put a calloused hand to his brow. He wasn’t quite sure anymore what the plan was, or had been, but he was fairly certain that standing in the clearing and waiting for the archers and the dragon to target them wasn’t quite in it.

“I’ve heard it said,” he mused, “that no plan survives contact with the enemy, but this one doesn’t seem to have survived contact with us.”

“it’s not the plan’s survival I’m worried about,” shouted Goldie, “Look!”

The dragon, apparently weary of watching the vaudeville, had launched itself, catlike and lethal, into the air and was hurtling toward the party at a speed that really hadn’t been properly invented yet.

Ismelda and McSoggybiscuit were already casting, and down by the bridge the results of Cardagh’s druidic machinations could be heard, if not seen, as several hapless goblins dropped what they were doing to pick caltrops from their calloused feet and curse loudly.

Then there came a sound the adventurers well remembered. Louder than a sound, really, a crush of sternum-pounding air that assaulted the party’s eardrums and seemed to shatter the sky like a stone being pushed through a block of ice. The dragon wheeled overhead like a comet zeroing in on a future crater, breathing in the shattered air and preparing to cook the pesky creatures below it in a nice bath of searing hot death.

“Nice knowing you, Goldie,” said Edward, drawing his sword. A lot of good it would do him, he thought, with the enemy attacking from the sky. Around him, his companions likewise made ready to go down fighting. There was an explosion, distant seeming to him, as a spell went off. A great ball of fire erupted next to the dragon, was shrugged off with what looked like a sneer.

Edward felt his heart in his throat, his hands, gripping his sword, were glazed with sweat. He was going to die. He knew it, and now it seemed his body had finally caught on. To make matters worse, the hellhounds and goblins were finally making it across the bridge.

The dragon hurtled downward.

It was then that Edward noticed something. No, not something, nothing; the absence of something. It was a nothing he would never forget. Around him and everywhere, the flower of battle bloomed into chaos as his companions clashed with the forces that held the bridge, and above, where the death dealing dragon made ready it’s first attack run. Chaos was everywhere, but in a small dwarf-sized pocket next to him there was…silence.

The dwarf looked into the sky with a steely gaze. And steel is something dwarves know about. Silence seemed to radiate from her like light from a torch. A living silence that Edward, even in his fear, even in the heat of battle, could feel in his bones.

The dragon plunged from the sky like a raptor, claws extended, death in its eyes and fire in its mouth.

Goldie, her face relaxed and calm, drew back her bowstring. She looked…ordinary, Edward thought, like she might be serving tea or fixing a leaky faucet.

Three arrows sprang from her bow in rapid succession, hurtling towards the quickly approaching dragon. The first hit the dragon square in the eye. The dragon reeled in disbelief and anger. Fire erupted from its jaws, jetting down towards the party.

The second arrow split the first, driving both shafts deep into the beast’s skull. Blood and ichor erupted from the wound in a torrent of hot gore. The dragon, moments before a deadly predator on an inevitable course with Edward’s fragile being, was now suddenly, impossibly, falling from the sky, clawing uselessly at a third arrow now sticking from its throat. Wings collapsing and legs splayed, the great beast tumbled, “ass over teakettle,” as Edward’s father would have said, and plummeted into the earth, landing with an ear-shattering crash.

Edward stopped. The goblins stopped. Everyone stopped. Everyone looked at Goldie, who was putting away her bow with an even hand.

“Yeah,” she said, “that’ll do.” And turning quickly aside, walked back towards the woods.

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The Party Deliberates

Having defeating the dragon and sending the druid in eagle form to scout out Cinder Hill, the party is now well aware of the size of the marauding army marching towards Drellin’s Ferry. The destruction of the bridge over Skull Gorge has certainly bought them a few days, and messages have been dispatched to the town and Delrak by way of Jorr and a feather token.

What’s next?

OOC

This is mostly to start a conversation so that mcsoggybiscuit can be part of the decision. Have at it in the comments. I’m also deliberately not recapping leads or clues the party may have missed or ignored, so it’s up to everybody else to list options.

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The Ruins Of Rhest

In which the party meets some elves, get drunk at a funeral, destroy a watchtower ninja-style and take a garrison in an epic struggle.

(Fill in narrative here.)

Notes

Recovering the ranger yields (weapons and armor are small sized):

  • one magical potion
  • Magical mithril chain shirt
  • masterwork greatsword
  • magical longbow
  • 20 normal arrows
  • 10 magical arrows
  • magical cloak
  • leather pouch of 37gp, 11pp and a key

The dragon remains underwater somewhere.

Cardagh in crocodile form returns with the spellcasting hobgoblin, who has:

  • magical studded leather
  • masterwork dagger
  • magical backpack
  • 6 magical potions
  • two magical wands
  • a magical scroll
  • a kit of sharp implements, needles, clamps, wire and other small torture devices
  • three nonmagical potions

We’ll deal with searching cleared rooms at next session or in comments if everybody is dying to find out what’s here.

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Brindol Nights

After defeating evil ranger and his pet dragon, the party headed south, to Brindol, to warn the town of the forthcoming army of the red hand, to gain information, and to resupply. Once there, Templeton lost no time in getting embroiled in a scam, Ed and John lost no time in getting in a fight, and Ismelda lost no time in…breaking into a store?

Cardagh learned the languages and forms a few nearby animals, and Goldy learned a little something about the proto-Marxian decunstructive analysis of class stratification systems in pre/non-democratic societies.

The party was outfitted, research into the legend of Urikel Zarl was done, and plans for the defense of the town were made.

And then everyone got drunk with the dwarves:

Determined to confront the threat of Zarl, the party set forth for the Thornwaste, several days to the south. Along their route lay the stronghold of Goldie’s kin, Hammersomething. Seeking to warn the dwarves of the possibility of invasion, and hoping to enlist their aid in the defense of Brindol, the party set forth first to their stony demense.

On their way they unexpectedly encountered a taste of the horrors that might await them in the Thornwaste. They stumbled upon a group of Etins, ogres, and goblins wreaking havoc on a supply convoy. Stepping forward, Ismelda decimated their number with a powerful fireball. But lying in wait was a cunning new foe: Barghests. Monsters of the ethereal plane. The ensuing battle, though eventually ending in victory, was a trial for the wizard, who was targeted by these beasts continually.

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