Secrets of Pavis

Rabbit Hat Farm I
In which a bear with a pumpkin head causes some trouble

As part of the deal that took them from Pavis to Ronegarth, Duke Raus gave the PCs a land grant. Rabbit Hat was the name of the walled settlement and farmlands that made up the grant, and the PCs expressed an interest in visiting their lands. Daine, however, had some news for them.

Far from being a fully working holding, Rabbit Hat was currently, Daine presumed, unpopulated. The settlement had been attacked out of nowhere by Bison Riders from the Wastes. The few survivors fled to Sun County on hearing that broos had been seen in the area after the nomads had departed. As a result, the settlement was presumed ruined. Daine added that the Duke’s title to Rabbit Hat was also a matter of legal dispute with the Count of Sun County, although the case had lain on Sor-Eel’s desk in Pavis for years and was unlikely to be decided soon. Because of the likely presence of unquiet spirits, the shaman Stars-Not-Night was prevailed upon to accompany the party, as was a Storm Bull follower, Subodai the Uncouth, in case the broos were still around. Finally, a young Orlanthi mercenary, Oderic, also accompanied the group.

Having set out early in the morning, it took the party much of the day to make it to the outskirts of Rabbit Hat, on the east side of the Zola Fel, near the wastes, just south of Sun County. Their initial scan of the area suggested no inhabitants, but they decided to be careful, approaching southwest from the Beastfold, examining the sheep carcasses and making note of those that appeared to have suffered the ravages of brookind. They came to the settlement’s wall and followed it round to the gate. They entered the village and quickly scouted it, making note of the ruined adobe buildings, the cut down palm trees and the well almost surely defiled by broos. They secured the watchtower and assessed the scene. Nothing living could be detected. All that remained were corpses, a totem of some description to the southeast and a broken-down scarecrow in the rotting fields with their clogged irrigation ditches.

Two buildings remained intact. The first, the granaries, appeared inviolate, so the party was glad to have found a potential source of food should they need it. The second was marked on their map as the headman’s house and the party approached it warily, cautious of broos or worse. The main room was indeed full of offal and dung, tell-tale signs of broo activity. Corpses, evidently of militiamen, had been stuffed unceremoniously into the fireplace, with spears, helms and shields strewn around the place. Subodai detected chaos from an otherwise unremarkable stone in the corner of the room and from the next room.

As the party approached the other room of the house, they noticed the rotting bodies of two adults and a child. Entering the room prepared for a broo ambush, Grom found himself attacked by an angry spirit. He retreated from the assault and Oderic and Skye also found themselves victims of spirit attacks. The ghosts appeared to be those of the bodies in the other room – a mature adult male, an older, overweight man and a young girl. The party retreated further into the settlement’s main yard to enable themselves best to react to this unexpected attack. Grom soon found himself possessed and attacking Oderic, who himself was then possessed. Xaraya was able to cast a spirit screen spell and Stars-Not-Night handily defeated the third spirit while Skye and Subodai attempted to fight off their possessed friends. Skye remembered that Zorak Zoran himself had given her a use of the Free Ghost spell, so she was able to cast that on Grom, to the relief of the young girl’s spirit. Stars-Not-Night’s fetch then defeated the spirit possessing Oderic, freeing him. The party breathed a sigh of relief and regrouped. Searching the house again, the party somewhat luckily found a bag of hidden treasure, including an impressively jeweled golden circlet, wrapped in a skin that Subodai said was chaotic, and a ledger written in Firespeech. The party cremated the bodies of the victims of the broos and made a note to bring a priest to cleanse the house and well. By this time, some in the party were coughing or otherwise feeling slightly feverish.

The party then decided to explore the fields to the southeast and as they surveyed the area by the wall, they discovered a deep, tunnel-like hole that Subodai said stank of chaos. Presuming this to be the broo lair, Subodai was all for heading down the hole now, but he could also sense chaos to the east and south. Checking to the east, the party found, near the scarecrow, a bison carcass with a millstone around its neck that had been carved with the message “Pray Malia or Blood Die Small Cut.” Grom and Subodai felt even more unwell.

At this point, Subodai froze in place. The party could do nothing to move him. Skye followed soon after. The party began to look around for what could be causing this. Stars-Not-Night seized up. The remaining party members realized that the scarecrow had moved from the position they had last noticed it at, although it was still and seemingly harmless right now. Xaraya and Oderic leveled their bows at it and Grom moved over to hack it to bits. He took a mighty swing at it and landed a blow strong enough to cripple any human or broo disguised as a scarecrow, but all that happened was the scarecrow leaned to the side a little. He then felt a claw rip at him, although the scarecrow had not moved. Xaraya let loose an arrow that flew through the scarecrow’s arm, then froze. Grom aimed a blow at the scarecrow’s legs and toppled it, then froze too, just as another invisible claw ripped him. Oderic started retreating, aiming arrows as he went at the scarecrow’s head. Eventually, one of them shattered the pumpkin head of the scarecrow and all the other party members unfroze. Oderic realized that the scarecrow, which had looked as it had just toppled over, was in fact in a crawling position, looking at him. [GM note – TPK only just averted!]

The unnerved, unsettled party decided to take their leave of Rabbit Hat now and seek help for their wounds and their increasingly obvious maladies. Subodai refused to go and headed down the hole to kill chaos. The others decided to head to the Sun County village of Wyoth nearby. By this time it was night, and the party found Wyoth’s gate closed. Grom called for the nightwatchman, who asked what they wanted. Grom explained that they had come from Rabbit Hat, which they had found ravaged by broos and infested with disease. The nightwatchman called the headman, who told them in no uncertain terms to stay away from his village!

By this time it was pitch black and the party debated what to do. Skye and Xaraya suggested that they should try to make their way back downriver to Ronegarth now. Xaraya even discovered the appropriate trees to make a raft, but then realized no-one had the skills to pilot it. Skye, the impetuous Vingan, refused to give in, and set off on the raft while the others made camp for the night.

Skye soon found herself in trouble. Her raft ran aground on a swampy island, and she heard the sound of a Giant Toad. Before she could see it and arm herself, its tongue hit her on the head and knocked her out…

Xaraya, Grom, Stars-Not-Night and Oderic struggled back to Ronegarth the next day and were dismayed not to find Skye there already. Luckily, the beautiful High Healer Marcilla was there. She fussed over Grom, clasping him to her astounding bosom and curing him of the Creeping Chills and the Bleeding Disease in the process.

Meanwhile, Skye woke up in a damp stone cell. After a while, a newtling guard and an old newtling shaman entered. The shaman spoke: “You in Five Eyes. I Croaker, shaman. My Traskar find you, bring you here. Where you from, you have ransom?” Skye explained that she was an associate of Duke Raus of Rone, who would pay her ransom but would exact vengeance should anything happen to her. Croaker laughed and said he would send to Ronegarth, and release her back there on payment of the ransom.

Back in Ronegarth, the Duke expressed concern about the presence of chaos in Rabbit Hat, saying that the scarecrow was certainly a Jack O’Bear, and the tunnel entrance suggested something worse beneath the ground. As Subodai had not returned, the Duke said that he would send to Pavis for a sage knowledgeable in the lore of chaos and a dwarf who could help them in the tunnels. About this time, the ransom demand from Five Eyes arrived, which the Duke agreed to pay against his debt to the PCs. Grom and Xaraya decided to go to Pavis while waiting for their friend to be freed. While there, they arranged for the forging of armaments for the people of Weis, which would be delivered in a couple of months. As they made their way back with a Lhankor Mhy sage and a muttering Flintnail dwarf, Skye was being rafted back to Ronegarth. Soon the party would be on its way back to Rabbit Hat…

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Borderlands
In which our heroes high-tail it out of Pavis in very stately fashion

When we left our heroes, they were arranging for an auction of the priceless Bonesung Armor they had retrieved from the Big Rubble. Let’s just say the auction didn’t go as planned. Rather than selling it to a friendly cult, the players found themselves caught in a bidding war between Sor-Eel the Short, Count of Prax, Lunar Governor of New Pavis, and Duke Raus of Rone, Lunar Governor of the god-forsaken Grantlands in the Zola Fel valley to the south of Pavis. Eventually, Duke Raus won out and the PCs found themselves the target of Sor-Eel’s redirected anger. The PCs were also somewhat miffed to discover that Duke Raus’ winning bid was guaranteed but not yet actually manifest in cash. The Issaries priesthood said they would hold on to the armor pending delivery of the cash. Also part of the deal was a grant of land, the settlement known as Rabbit Hat.

The Governor’s mood was not improved when a Moon Boat hove in to view on the horizon soon afterwards. Rumors spread throughout the city that Sor-Eel had been replaced as Governor and the boat contained his replacement. That night, the PCs dined at Gimpy’s, where Krogar introduced them to Griselda and Wolfhead, and after a few tense moments between Xaraya and Griselda, the latter pronounced the party as worthy. As the PCs left the tavern, however, they were set upon by three savage Sable Rider nomads, seemingly directed by a fourth, unseen assailant. Unarmored, the party took some severe wounds while dispatching their attackers, and they stumbled back in to Gimpy’s for healing. Krogar and his friends provided it, while Wolfhead went out to examine the bodies. They discovered notes implicating Lunar intelligence and GimGim the Grim.

Krogar suggested that our heroes should get out of the city for a while. The Chalanna Arroy priestess they had rescued from the trolls needed to be taken to her sisters in the hospital at Horn Gate to recover from her ordeal, and had been offered a place on Duke Raus’ barge the next day as he was traveling down to his new fortress, Raus Fort, or Ronegarth as he called it. Krogar’s messengers swiftly secured passage for the PCs on the barge as Charvina’s companions and as the new holders of the Rabbit Hat grant.

The next day, the PCs met up with Charvina at the Chalanna Arroy temple and accompanied her to Duke Raus’ townhome, where the Duke, his family and retainers joined them. Before going down to the river, however, they went to see the Moon Boat dock on the Pavis temple. Sor-Eel was also there, looking distinctly unamused. The Moon Boat discharged its passengers: an imposing general of some sort, a beautiful though mature noblewoman, a bald-headed sage, a fierce, tattooed criminal of some sort and a demure girl clad in the raiment of the Northern nomads. The Governor looked at once relieved and yet upset, while GimGim the Grim, who had been shadowing Sor-Eel, disappeared as soon as he saw the newcomers. The noblewoman smiled at Duke Raus, who responded with an extremely deep bow.

On the trip downriver in the Duke’s barge, the PCs became familiar with the Duke’s right-hand man, Daine, a former Scimitar of the Lunar war-god Yanafal Tarnils. He impressed the PCs with his honesty and common sense, and especially with the no-nonsense way he dealt with the attempts by Sun County officials to extract some form of tax for using the river. Grom was intrigued by the Duke’s attractive daughter, Jezra, but also nonplussed at her rudeness to him. All down the river, the PCs also noticed newtlings staring at the barge with what seemed more than basic curiosity.

Ronegarth itself proved less than advertised. A stone tower, a wooden palisade and a bunch of tents did not a capital make, the PCs thought. They were happy to stay there that night, however, before setting out across the plains the next day. Daine accompanied them, saying he had to purchase some more slaves for construction work. Xaraya and Grom both expressed disquiet at this, but Daine did not understand their objections.

An uneventful trip across the chaparral followed the next day, and the party arrived at Horn Gate without incident. Daine explained that this was an unusual oasis. The downtrodden folk of the oasis, blond and blue-eyed as they were, poor souls, grew dates and other desert fruit for their sustenance but were always subject to whichever nomad tribe had moved in to exploit them. At the moment, this was the hated, pro-Lunar Sable people, much to Xaraya’s disgust. There were two things that made the oasis unusual, however. First, there were ruins from the First Age here. At one point, Waha! himself had erected giant horns that surrounded a gate to subterranean ruins. Those horns had long-gone, but the gate to the underworld was still there, guarded by a cult of Amazon warriors, the Daughters of Azundati, who protected the gate but not the people. They also guarded a white-stone hospital, a temple to Chalanna Arroy, occupied by priestesses who could not stomach the Lunar occupation of Pavis.

The PCs delivered their charge to the White Sisters. They were delighted to see Charvina, whom they had thought dead. The PCs met Matron Mother Arquanel, an impossibly aged crone, only four feet tall, who nevertheless had Heroquested many times and her two other High Healers, Sister Aelbertha, plump and jolly, and Sister Marcilla, raven-haired and the most beautiful woman anyone in the party had ever seen. The Sisterhood put on a feast to celebrate their sister’s return, and during the feast the seemingly senile Arquanel reached moments of lucidity where she pledged her aid to the PCs should they seek to fulfill their destiny and overthrow the Lunars.

The next day, while Daine stayed to purchase some slaves from the Sables, the PCs set out to explore some more of the land. In the plains, they met their first Morokanth, the slaver Kareel Keenclaw, with his train of herd men (unintelligent humans), and slave trollkin and baboons. The PCs were appalled by the idea of herd men, which Kareel referred to as his cattle. The PCs scraped together all the monies they had and bought not just the slaves, but also the herd. Kareel kept a couple to eat and headed off towards Horn Gate to purchase some more slaves with his new riches.

The PCs did not find it easy to keep their new coffle under control, but they found a couple of trollkin they could rely on, given a promise of freedom. With their aid, they moved the gang towards the defile known as Weis Cut. In the caves at the head of the cut, they encountered the Men-And-A-Half, the Agimori, and their leader Chaku Ironspear. Chaku was amazed but impressed at the PCs rescuing the Herd Men, and explained that some of his people had been enslaved by the Morokanth and turned into animals. After long discussion over kvass and roasted meats, Chaku agreed to have his shamans awaken the Herd Men to intelligence in return for favors to be bestowed later and for influence with Duke Raus.

The next day, the PCs and their trollkin and baboons entered the squalid hamlet of Weis, a people even more downtrodden than the oasis folk, and their cocky Mayor, Tarnak, who expressed interest that Lady Jezra had returned to Ronegarth. A few hours later, they reached Fort Raus, where they freed the trollkin, who agreed to work hard for their benefactors and help build the settlement at night, allowing for 24-hour long construction. They then freed the baboons, who scattered in every direction.

After another night’s sleep, the PCs decided to head out to Rabbit Hat to review their new property. Daine, however, said he had to brief them first…

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The Trouble With Trolls Part II/III
In which our heroes encounter dwarven secrets, tough trolls, and take a trip to Hell

At the Kyger Litor stronghold, the night was disturbed by a massive wagon guarded by Rubble Trackers. The dwarves unloaded crates and barrels. Gragkizzie, leader of the dwarves, said that they were secret weapons and had Garrath employ an Oath spell to ensure the PCs would not reveal any of these secrets to outsiders. The dwarves were going to use these weapons on the trolls: a Disorder Keg, a Wonderbuss and two Pistoles. The PCs expressed some skepticism to their value.

The next morning the PCs, their Dwarf allies, Leotychidas, Stars Like Night, Njall and two of his followers gathered at the “back door” of the temple where the Dwarf assault had stalled previously. The dwarves threw down rocks and made noises to alert the trolls to their presence, hopefully gathering the trolls to a close defensive formation. Gragkizzie then lit what she called “fuse” to the Disorder Keg, a barrel the size of an average human, and rolled it down the stairs. Witha cry of “Fire in the trolls!” the assault party took cover. An explosion ripped back up the stairs and Gragkizzie and her followers Runi and Harc grabbed their secret weapons and charged down the stairs.

The sight that greeted the party was of a troll mob in disarray. Several trollkin were dead or severely wounded, with dark trolls also clearly wounded. A pair of Great Trolls and the Death Lord Magrak, however, appeared to have escaped serious injury. Gragkizzie leveled her Wonderbuss at a dark troll… and saw it blow up in her hands. Runi and Harc missed with their pistoles. Thinking, never send a dwarf to do a man’s work, the PCs and their allies charged in.

At this point Magrak yelled out, “Enloslikk! Cowards! Satakkash varkur uz! Fight like a troll! Satakkar garno! Single combat! Zu satakk mar! Your best man! Satakkar garno! Single combat!” Njall stepped forward, but Grom indicated that he had a Humakti geas never to turn down a challenge to single combat, and moved to face the Death Lord, whose favored weapon was a vicious looking Ball and Chain. As he passed by, Xaraya surreptitiously cast Protection I on Grom. This proved crucial.

Grom cast Bladesharp III, giving Magrak a chance to hit, and he landed a blow on the head which would have wounded Grom were it not for the Protection spell. Magrak parried Grom’s next blow, and then cast a Beserk spell, filling him with the fury of his dark god. There followed a mighty duel, where three times Grom came close to receiving grievous wounds that would have left him in serious trouble, but Xaraya’s Protection spell saved him. In return, Grom concentrated on Magrak’s abdomen, and eventually felled him. But Magrak’s beserk fury kept him going, and even after Grom had reduced much of his anatomy to a bloody pulp, he still frothed with bloodlust. When Grom succeeded in completely incapacitating the Death Lord, a Great Troll threw a slingshot at him, and battle was joined between the party and the treacherous trolls.

A long and hard battle saw the party completely victorious, but not without serious wounds to Xaraya and Njall. The party needed to use most of its healing magic to patch itself up, and found itself severely drained of magic points.

Consulting with Garrath’s party via mindlink, they discovered that the battle in the main temple had bogged down to an exchange of missile fire and magic, with the temple’s undead guardians proving difficult to cut through. Garrath confirmed that Keratagg Gan was not there, and that the PCs’ party should seek to find him, for if he fell then their troll allies might be able to persuade the temple to surrender.

Searching the troll barracks, the PCs found numerous treasures. They also found that Magrak was a surprisingly literate Death Lord and was studying 4 books he had rescued from the Rubble, including a Life of Pavis and a volume entitled “Secrets of the Garden.” Moving forward cautiously, the PCs found what was probably Magrak’s office, including a large map of the Rubble annotated in Darktongue, which seemed to detail a 300 year-long campaign against Chaos, but with surprisingly few recent notations. By this time, they had been joined by Dharrgag, the Karrg’s Son, who allowed Grom to take the map temporarily, but warned that it was Clan property.

In the next room, a disused cellar, the dwarves quickly located a secret door which opened on to stairs leading down. As they were heading down, cautiously, in battle formation, a small trollkin appeared to emerge from the stone, incongruously dressed in a red pallium. She gestured to the PCs to follow her. Looking around, the PCs realized everyone else in the party had frozen in place. The trollkin opened her robe to form what could only be called a portal, which the PCs stepped through.

They found themselves in a rough-hewn tunnel, in which they could see without any discernable sources of light. Following the trollkin, they soon found themselves approaching a small cave, in which a female troll was the only occupant, weighed down with many chains. She asked the PCs, “Do you know who I am?” and eventually Xaraya twigged she was the Queen of the Gunddahaak Clan. The successful answer seemed to dissolve some of the heaviest chains, but she remained firmly shackled to the ground. She revealed that she had not been captured by a rival clan, as everyone supposed, but imprisoned by Keratagg Gan. She asked the PCs to take word of her imprisonment to her mother, Kyger Litor, which the PCs agreed to do. To serve as a token of good faith, the Queen, Gretaslagg, asked Grom to take a tooth from her mouth. Grom was brave enough to do so, and wrenched the tusk from her maw.

The trollkin appeared again, and led the PCs on. This time they came to a huge cave, filled with firespouts and dark pools. In the center of the cave, working dark magics, was a terrifying creature, half troll woman and half spider. Behind her was a massive reptilian snout, the size of a palace. Skye recognized the troll creature as Cragspider the Fire Witch, and the snout obviously belonged to her ally, the Black Dragon.

Cragspider turned her attention to the PCs, and asked if they wished to be tested by Fire or Mind. Xaraya answered first, choosing Mind. She soon found her mind invaded by a powerful magic presence, clawing at her thoughts and memories. The assault caused he magical pain, but she was able to gather herself and expel the presence from her mind. Skye too chose the test of Mind, and was able to resist Cragspider’s mental claws quickly. Grom also chose the test of Mind, but when Cragspider saw the tusk he bore, she relented. The troll hero addressed the party, saying “You represent an aggrieved party. The crime is terrible. You must plead for your Queen before her mother. She will tell you what to do. Be ware, however, for she is likely to ask much of you. If you wish, you may leave this place now.” The party kept faith with their quest, and moved on.

Heading onwards, the trollkin guided the PCs into a cave where it somehow magically morphed into a gigantic, six-breasted female troll, suckling a variety of dark/mistress/great troll children that she somehow cradled in her giant arms. The PCs realized they were in the presence of the goddess Kyger Litor. A huge troll – Karrg – stood guard before her. Pools of water surrounded the PCs.

Grom managed to attract the goddess’ attention, and on seeing the tusk, she told the PCs that her daughter had been dishonored by Keratagg Gan, but that he was a servant of Zorak Zoran, who was not hers to command. She had Cragspider test the PCs because she would need emissaries of exceptional bravery and willpower to go deep into Hell and tell Zorak Zoran that his servant has forsaken him. They have passed that test, but she had further questions to ask of each PC.

To Grom, she said, “You are the servant of Humakt, and there is mutual hatred between him and Zorak Zoran. You are aware that many trolls in Sartar worship Humakt. Will you honor the Queen of Gunddahaak by bringing the word of Humakt to the tribe when you become an Acolyte of the god? The cult of Zorak Zoran will take time to rebuild and the tribe will need warriors.” Grom agreed, and the goddess asked him to drink from a pool. On quaffing the water, Grom realized he had integrated the Darkness Rune and gained the ability to speak Darktongue fluently.

To Xaraya, she said “Little one, you have lost your faith. Why is it so?” They discussed the reasons for Xaraya forsaking her original faith and her desire to learn powerful magics that could help destroy the Lunars. Kyger Litor asked Xaraya to drink from another pool and when she had finished she found that she had a tattered, ancient, fragment of a book in her hands, written in Darktongue, which she could now read. It was part of the Book of Arkat. The goddess told her to “seek the Kingtroll.”

To Skye, she said, “Sweet daughter of Pavis, you have walked in darkness before now. You follow a foreign goddess. Tell me, do you love Vinga or Pavis more?” Skye thought deeply and said that she preferred the Loyal Daughter more. The goddess nodded and asked Skye to promise to visit her son, Pikat Yaraboom, then reached out a claw and drew a Man Rune on her forehead.

Kyger Litor then told the PCs that they would be venturing deep into Hell and offered the help of her son Karrg, who seemed unhappy at the suggestion. Accompanied by the Demigod and the trollkin, they moved on.

The path led down, and the darkness became tangible and the heat greater. On the way, Skye attempted to engage Karrg in conversation. The demigod looked at her as if she was something he had found on the underside of his boot, turned and left them.

The trollkin led them down a side tunnel, and they came before an immensely obese troll matron, whom they realized was Xiola Umbar. She thanked Xaraya for returning her holy object and reached out to bless her. Xaraya realized she was now under Xiola Umbar’s protection and had also been blessed with fecundity.

Pressing on, the trollkin led the PCs down a series of increasingly dark and menacing tunnels. Things also got hotter. Fireholes could be seen. Noises began, which eventually Grom realized were screams. The screams, moans and other expressions of pain got louder and louder. Finally, the PCs entered a cave dominated by a huge troll-shape made of darkness and fire. This was Zorak Zoran, god of hate and vengeance, fear and violence. Shades danced around him, as did salamanders.

The god noticed the PCs and a wave of fear swept out from him. Skye and Xaraya stood their ground, but Grom was overcome by fear, dropped his possessions, turned and ran. Zorak Zoran then grabbed Xaraya and would have eaten her had he not realized she was under his sister’s protection. The god then asked Xaraya, “What do you hate?” She answered that she hated the Lunars, and the wave of hate that emanated from the god indicated he agreed. Xaraya understood he hated the Red Moon for violating the rule of darkness at night that Zorak Zoran had fought for during the Great Compromise.

With an air of extreme menace, the god asked them what they had come for. Together, Xaraya and Skye explained Keratagg Gan’s betrayal and its consequences. The god cursed the name of his priest in extreme terms and called up a spirit of hate and rage, the fabled Hell Roar. He tempered his hate towards the women, and they realized this was his form of blessing. Xaraya gained knowledge of the Firearrow spell, whilst Skye realized Zorak Zoran had granted her a use of the Command Ghost spell. The god commanded them to go, so they picked up Grom’s possessions, and a strange ivory object that resembled a massive snake fang, found Grom cowering in a side tunnel, and followed the trollkin away. After a short distance, enough for Grom to recover, the trollkin opened her cloak to form a portal, through which the PCs left. They found themselves back on the staircase, and as the trollkin disappeared, time started again.

Coming to the bottom of the stairs, tunnels led south and north. Skye attempted to scout southwards, but tripped and fell. A large Great Troll charged towards her, but missile fire, Grom and Leotychidas felled the troll. On its body they found a large lead key. Progressing further, the party found a prison. In it, they found a cowardly Lunar agent called Erastes Fulmen, whom the party decided to leave locked up until they had dealt with Keratagg Gan, four elves and a sickly dryad, with whom Leotychidas could haltingly communicate, and a naked Chalanna Arroy priestess, Charvaina, who had been reduced to skin and bones. All wore slave collars, which the party broke. Grom clad Charvaina in his cloak, and the priestess used what she could of her skills to tend to the dryad. They found a couple of bows to arm the healthier of the elves.

Turning north, the party advanced in battle formation and came across a room that could only be described as a chapel. Its floor, walls and vaulted ceiling were decorated with scenes of soaring spires and swooping dragons. The floor was made of a mosaic that depicted a ring of twelve dragons, each holding another’s tail in its mouth. Human faces were associated with each dragon, and Skye recognized Obduran the Flyer, Lorenkarten the Mile and Isgangdrang the Storm, members of the Eternal Dragon Ring of the EWF.

More importantly, however, was a trollish mob, with about twenty dark trolls, four dark trolls and Keratagg Gan all in battle formation. Most had cast fireblade. Two large shades were advancing towards the party, while the black smoke spirit with hammers for hands hovered above them. Keratagg Gan laughed.

At this point, the party saw the darkness and smoke leach from the shades and spirit, while the fire from the fireblades was also drawn towards a mass in the centre of the vaulted ceiling. The shades and spirit ceased to be and the fire left the weapons completely as the mass formed into the creature the PCs recognized as Hell Roar. Speaking in Darktongue, Hell Roar yelled, “Traitor! Faithless! Weakling! You have forsaken your calling! You toy with chaos and replace hate with greed! You shall come to hell not as a servant, but as a slave!” It picked up Keratagg Gan and literally ripped his soul from his body. As the corpse fell to the ground, Dharrgag the Karrg’s Son called out to the trolls to lay down their arms or be cursed by Zorak Zoran. All spells the enemy trolls had cast fizzled and, overcome by fear, they all complied.

While the others were ensuring the trolls were firm in their intent to surrender, the dwarves checked the room and found a secret door. Behind, they found Keratagg Gan’s real office. It contained a variety of documents in Darktongue that indicated that Gan’s plan to take over the clan, then the entirety of the Stronglands, has been underway for a while. There were indications that Gan had been dealing with a mysterious adviser, known only by the codename of Runeface. At this point, the PCs noticed the red-robed trollkin, who indicated a section of the office wall before disappearing. Searching they found a secret door. Behind it they discovered Queen Gretaslagg, heavily chained and wearing a slave collar. On being freed, she swore undying gratitude to the PCs and demanded the heads of Keratagg Gan and Magrak (which were later delivered). Xaraya contacted Garrath and relayed the events to him. Dharrgag went to convey the truth to the remaining defiant forces in the temple.

Exploring further, the PCs found Gan’s bedchamber, which also contained various items of very expensive human female clothing, leading Xaraya to speculate that Runeface might be a human woman with odd tastes. Beyond, they found Keratagg Gan’s hoard of treasure, which contained a small fortune in coin and various magical items, including an iron Humakti helmet that Grom was very keen to lay claim to.

The Queen invited the assault parties, even the dwarves and elves, to a celebration that she presided over with the heads of Keratagg Gan and Magrak adorning her throne. In the riotous celebration, Xaraya was challenged to drink an entire cup of Powzie! Amazingly, she survived all ten sips, with progressive loss of faculties. By the end, she was dancing on the tables without any idea what she was doing, and would have succumbed to Garrath’s amorous advances had not Skye seen in her a sister in trouble and blocked Sharpsword’s intentions.

The next day, nursing hangovers, the assault party returned to the Flintnail Temple. Gragkizzie agreed to use the Flintnail tunnels to move most of the PC’s share of the loot into New Pavis, where it could be picked up without attracting the Lunars’ attention. However, there remained the question of what to do with Erastes Fulmen, whose story could not seem to stay straight. The PCs agreed to take him in via the People’s Gate themselves.

Fulmen was clearly known to the gate guards, who seemed to snigger at the PCs for being associated with him. The last story they had got from Erastes was that he was working for Jotaran Longsword, Constable of Pavis, and the PCs decided to accompany him to Jotaran’s office to check out this story. On the way, however, they encountered a Lunar patrol that took charge of Erastes. The PCs followed the patrol and were surprised to see it take him to the Silk and Plume instead of any of the administrative buildings.

After picking up their loot from the Flintnail temple and a quick trip to the Knowledge Temple, where at last they could afford identification services, Grom decided that they should finally arrange the auction of the Bonesung Armor…

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The Trouble With Trolls Part I
In which our heroes run into trouble in troll tunnels

The combined force attacking the Temple of Zorak Zoran had been joined by two others, ‘Bob’, a sneak thief born and bred in Pavis, hired as a scout, and Embla, an enormously tall (6’11”) and glamorous merchant woman, hired to use her detection magic to find the gems the temples had had stolen from them.

With Garrath Sharpsword’s force occupied by about 10 Great Trolls in the main entryway and the Flintnail Rubble Tracker dwarf force having run into heavy opposition coming down the back door, it was up to Xaraya’s force to press on into the temple alone. The shaman Stars Like Night went discorporate, while Bob advanced stealthily down the hall, taking advantage of his Dark Sight ability. About 50m down, Bob was lucky to notice two holes, one of either side of the hall. Theorizing these might be spy holes, Bob jabbed his dagger through one of the holes with great force. It just happened (01 on the roll) that a troll was just “looking” through the hole at that point and the dagger went through the hole and the gap in his helmet into his ear and brain, killing him instantly. Bob hurried back up the passage as trolls broke through the wall on either side, rounded a corner and concealed himself against the wall.

Xaraya heard the commotion and ordered the force to prepare missile weapons. As the trolls rounded the corner they stepped into a hail of fire, which took several of them down at once. Bob used surprise to come from behind and stab a one troll in the head, taking him down too. The trolls did not have a chance to stop their charge and switch weapons before they were all down, dead or dying. This was despite Embla snagging her staff sling on the tunnel wall and having to pick up her fallen weapon.

The force advanced cautiously to the watch posts, to discover two small tunnels running parallel to the main one (which was easily big enough to let Great Trolls walk down). Learning that Garrath had dealt with the Great Trolls but was going to the aid of the dwarves, Xaraya’s force conferred on strategy. Stars Like Night had returned to tell them that a large force of trolls was gathered in a chamber at the end of the tunnel to meet them, while another force was fortifying the temple chamber itself, beyond. Xaraya decided to scout out one side tunnel with a torch, while Bob advanced down the other with his dark sight.

Xaraya’s torch attracted troll attention. A trollkin and dark troll came up the tunnel. At this point, Xaraya decided to try diplomacy and announced in halting Darktongue that they were supporters of the true Queen. Despite some language difficulties, it seemed that the trolls were sympathetic, for they did not attack, but disappeared back into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Bob had discovered that the force in the main chamber was about 13 strong – a Death Lord, two Great Trolls, 4 Dark Trolls and half a dozen trollkin, gathered in two lines of battle (trollkin in front). Embla was deputed to sneak down the second tunnel and use her confusion magic if necessary, while Grom led half the force forward to try diplomacy again.

This time it was the party that was met by a hail of missiles, which for the most part bounced off their armor. Embla immediately Confused a Great Troll, much to the distress of the Death Lord, who fired off a Fear spell at Leotychidas, whose shield still burned with his Lantern spell. In a great loss for the party, the Fearshock stopped Leo’s heart, and only timely first aid from Skye saved him. But this meant that their only immediate light source was out, with his shield providing untargeted light. The party’s missile users fired back, and Njall the Wind Lord loosed a Lightning spell. Once again they had great success, and the Death Lord was hit by the full force of the lightning. Grom and others started forward, but were saved by Solibar noticing a pit they would have fallen into if they’d continued. The party’s missile force continued to have great success and Njall’s second and last Lightning spell crisped the Death Lord such that half the remaining trolls that could stand broke and ran. Bob’s attempt to launch and impromptu fire bomb failed, and as he moved in to finish off the second Great Troll, he slipped and was knocked out by a blow to the head by the troll’s massive maul. Grom jumped over the pit and saved him by finishing off the troll.

By this point, Garrath had revealed that he and the dwarves were withdrawing back to the Strongpoint. Although Xaraya’s force had probably succeeded better than had been hoped (taking out over 20 trolls and trollkin, including a Death Lord) for just two severe injuries, the loss of their hands-free light source suggested that discretion should be the better part of valor, and they gathered up Leo and Bob to take them back to the Strongpoint.

Exiting the temple via the sewers, the force was met by a Kyger Litor trollkin who told them to come to the Kyger Litor stronghold, where Garrath revealed he had lost 4 men and the Dwarves 6. They would be reinforced by Dharrgagg, a Karrg’s Son and some of his bravest fighters. A war council sent out Stars Like Night and some trollish spirits, which concluded that there were three areas the trolls were guarding: their barracks by the “back door,” the Temple itself and a mysterious area deeper in the temple that seemed to be guarded by spirits only. Embla was able to use her skills to draw what sounded like a remarkably accurate map of the temple, and the War Council decided on a two-pronged attack this time. Xaraya’s friends, the dwarves and some trolls would lead the attack on the back door, while Garrath would lead the attack on the temple, where the fighting was likely to be heaviest.

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The Story So Far
Xaraya, Skye and Grom's first adventures

At the wedding of a Pol Joni Khan and the daughter of the Headman of Waterby at Pairing Stone, Content Not Found: Xaraya_ and Content Not Found: Grom_ entered some of the wedding contests. Winning some, they attracted the attention of Griswald Oldoak, a weaponthane of Waterby. He introduced them to some Vingan warriors of Pavis, including Content Not Found: Skye.

After the wedding, Griswald introduced the PCs to Henere Hamilcar, Constable of Bullford, who had a task for them. They went on a trek to find the Ficus Aureus, or Money Tree, tied to Bullford’s Esrola shrine. Accompanied by Griswald and Salvidienus Cansor, a Lhankhor Mhy sage, they overcame many obstacles to find the tree, although Griswald was carried off by a gigantic bird of prey just before they found the tree. On the way they found a terracotta jar they later learned was sacred to Xiola Umbar.

On the way back to Bullford, the PCs were forced by a storm to seek shelter in a hut which appeared to have been occupied by a Lunar scholar of some sort. In the hut, they found a sleeping baby covered by a thin layer of dust. The baby was impervious to harm and would not wake up. Simple tests by Cansor suggested it was extremely magically powerful. That night, the hut was attacked by trollkin, although their Dark Troll mother intervened when it became apparent the PCs were not Lunars, but not before Grom had sliced off a couple of arms. The PCs then witnessed an epic fight between heroes on a distant hill. A Lunar magician wielding two scimitars defeated a Mistress Race troll, then sat down to play his Aulos.

The PCs earned the friendship of the troll mother, who sheltered them before setting them on the right path to Bullford. On the way down from the hills, the PCs encountered a ghost-ridden barrow, haunted by two lost souls of faithless lovers.

After arriving at Bullford, the players received their reward and were delighted to find Griswald alive, having been rescued by the intervention of Orlanth.

After a few day’s rest, the players were introduced by Henere to Jaldon the Black, a non-Praxian hero from Prax, who asked them to convey messages to two people in Pavis: Krogar Wolfhelm and Suneye.

En route to Pavis by water, the PCs came across a fight between newtlings and gorp. Intervening, they turned the battle in the newtlings’ favor and Skye found herself blessed with a Water rune by Kinope, daughter of the river.

Encountering Pavis, the PCs encountered Rudent Pheric, a Lunar bureaucrat who took an instant dislike to Grom, and Karntayar, a Lunar decurion follower of Yanafal Tarnils who challenged Grom to a Humakti duel. Grom pulled out the win, and asked only that Karntayar pay for an evening’s entertainment. The PCs delivered Salvidienus to the Knowledge Temple, where he alerted the Sages to the baby. The Sages proceeded to devote large resources to understanding it.

After Grom discovered a great deal about the Lunar politics in the city from Karntayar in a night at Geo’s, the PCs sought out Krogar at Gimpy’s (and were able to lose some followers thanks to Skye’s knowledge of the city). The next day happened to be Humakt’s Holy Day, so Content Not Found: Grom attended at worship ceremony where he found himself especially blessed. He now has a Death Rune emblazoned over his left eye.

Krogar revealed that Jaldon’s message meant that the Lunar magician they had run across was Content Not Found: Vindrman, a great hero of the empire. This was unspeakably bad news.

The PCs needed money to identify some items they had acquired, and Krogar offered a deal. They could run a quick ransom mission into the Troll Stronglands and ransom a figure of prophecy, Brennason, from the Gunddahaak Clan, who had captured him. The players set off, accompanied by a pair of dwarven Rubble Trackers, Solibar the Huge, a Humakti mercenary, and Galen Pechoi, a Vingan archer and old friend of Skye’s. On the way in, they encountered another bureaucrat, Aldent Pheric.

The PC’s troubles with Lunar bureaucracy continued as a mounted Lunar patrol, led by Garimond the Apostate, attempted to shake them down. The party stood their ground and incited Garimond to violence. Grom sliced off another arm and Garimond escaped certain death only by divine intervention. The PCs then discovered the Central Bridge occupied by a gang of broos, led by what seemed like twins. The PCs prevailed after a tough contest that drained their magic (and Grom sliced off some more arms) and saw Grom and a dwarf infected with disease. The PCs encamped for the night to restore their power.

After an uneventful night, the PCs proceeded to the territory of the Gunddahaaks. Blowing a horn in a fountain square as instructed, they were confronted not by the clan Queen, but by a Zorak Zoran Death Lord, Karatagg Gan. He surmised that Brennason was more valuable than the PCs were offering, and surrounded the party. When they set up to resist, he unleashed two huge Shades on them, fearshocking them into submission.

Xaraya and Grom woke up stripped in cages in the dark. They soon discovered that in other cages were Solibar, the object of their quest, Enostar “Bad Dream” Brennason, a shaman called Stars Like Night, and an uptight Yelmalion called Leotychidas. Soon, a priestess of Xiola Umbar came to them and expressed gratitude that they had brought the terracotta jar. She released them and helped them regain their property, but not their money. She advised them of a way out through the sewers connected to the cellar they were imprisoned in. She informed them the trolls had eaten the dwarves and sent Skye and Galen back to demand more ransom, on the grounds that their red hair made them protected by Pikat Yaraboom.

Trying to find a way out, the party discovered another cellar containing chests of trade goods, which they were able to ransack despite the attention of the Great Troll guard.

Turning back to a barricade they believed the priestess had told them to go past, the party encountered a hole in the wall surrounded by vines, identified as Darkvines by Stars Like Night. Pushing through, the PCs realized the vines were carnivorous but flammable. They devised a way to set fire to the vines and burned them out. They discovered in the husk of the central mass a dead elf, who possessed several runes. Unfortunately, they also had to deal with a gigantic chaos root that had broken through the roof of the cellar.

Exploring further, they discovered a tomb of an ancient figure, clutching a scroll. A flood-damaged room contained fragments of a library, with a few volumes salvageable. After trying to work out how to open a mysterious door, Enostar suggested putting the runes they had discovered together to create an EWF rune. This opened the door. Behind, they found two majestic, ancient robes, and a suit of armor made of dragonbone.

Finding a way out of the cellars, the PCs discovered Garrath Sharpsword, Skye and Galen leading a rescue party. Garrath laid out Enostar with one punch.

Returning to New Pavis, the PCs discovered that the armor was Bonesung Armor from the EWF and the tomb belonged to Harukesh the Scaled, a Wyrm’s Fang Exultant. After receiving a bid from the Knowledge Temple, Xaraya arranged for the scrolls and robes to be sold to the Temple of Pavis, making the friendship of Fleeter Nemm.

The PCs attended a council of war arranged by Garrath Sharpsword and various groups. Sneaking into the Rubble so as not to attract Lunar attention, the groups formed a 30-strong party aimed at punishing Keratagg Gan for a variety of outrages.

Having made contact with dissident forces within the clan, the party split into three for a three-pronged assault on the temple, which began with Stars Like Night defeating a guardian spirit.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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