Eternal Winter

1: Bar fight

We are in Brindall.

Started off in a tavern and a bar fight as goblins attacked. One said “For Sinruth! For the Hand!” and they had an upside down red hand on their tabards.

Chased down more trouble and attacked goblins towing a cart full of explosive barrels. Cohrlan nearly died were it not for his breath being lightning, not fire, and therefore did not set off the barrels.

Eelfram Troius consul, outspoken combative half elf. Wants to use adventurers. Was in guards vs the red hand attack. Does not know why they are back.

7 people kidnapped and taken to Rivenroar (have note with their names) Also a treasure of valor should be returned (see note he gave with description)

Morrick was captured.

200 and 100gp rewards (total) for the above.

Red hand insignia is upside down from before.

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2. The Keep of Endless Variety

Went to keep where Sinrith should be.

Room with moving braziers firing bolts.

Room with ochre jelly and ghosts attacking while invisible, tricky to find them. Used held actions to fire on them.

Corridor with ropes over pits which Orgoo grabbed and fell into as we were attacked by goblin archers.

Down the pit, past mushrooms and drakes, rescued crotchety old woman from magic circle. Sent her into forest.

Fought gnome rogues and magma claws. The rogues hid in the shadows to ambush us. As usual, Caroline’s magic cat missiles helped a lot with those hard to hit baddies.

We killed more things and rescued a dwarf alchemist. We sent him into forest to wait.

Fought ettercaps and found body of Cartanix.

Fought hobgoblins and goblins, rescued Jalisa chained up, who liked Orgoo a lot.

Fought Sinrith in room of menhirs. His chain was mighty but we barely prevailed. He had the quest gauntlets.

I can’t remember why I am shaking my head in that picture there. I think Markus wanted to do something really strange with Sinrith’s head but Cohrlan and I are against it. It’s all a bit fuzzy. I only drank two of the dwarven alchemist’s potions but they apparently had an effect.

Sinrith had a map with ambush marks on it, and a “no go here” warning on the Endless Plain. Had note from “The Emissary” saying good idea for Sinrith to rally to the “red hand”, implying it was a fake association to rile up the town. Directed him to steal the treasures and give the captives to “our unliving allies” (the ghouls and wight we fought later).

Sarcophagus room with gold helm and healer’s armor. Hide armor with heart-shaped hole over the heart. I wears it.

Fought ghouls who drew power from a dark circle. Zombies joined in. Arconiel died with a mighty ghoul blow. Cohrlan grabbed the body and we ran.

Arconiel stayed dead, though. [His player Rain started a new character, and] Thankfully to replace him we met in the woods a Scottish barbarian Dardanos. Then had a good sleep to recharge.

While resting I posed for this badass portrait. That’s a flute.

Back in we went. Fought room with Evistro, a demon with a skin problem, and were-rats.

Then down a corridor. We fell into a spiked trap…

...then attacked by a wight and a boneshard skeleton who summoned other skeletons.

Rosy (played by Abby) was lying there captive and weak. He jumped up right away and ran to us, so he was felled immediately and before we could make it to him, died by third saving throw. The wight, on death, dropped a black sphere which shattered. This reset things: wight and shard skeleton alive and full health, but so was everyone else including Rosy. No healing surges though so it was still a tough fight.

Exit from room was apparently trapped with grooves in the floor. Against some protest Markus poked at it and set off the real trap: turrets which fired on us. Half fled, half stayed to attack turrets, and barely survived. We were very near death.

On the way out saw the treasure shield and took it. Ambushed by were-rats and a gnome illusionist, who fled. Very very near death now.

Heard voice and reluctantly went to room with pool where boy captive was hiding. Orgoo broke him the bad news that his father was killed by the ettercaps. Looked into pool and determined that the missing captive Mutala was dead, and saw the other treasures.

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3. Dwarves Need Us To Fix Their Problems

Went to town and talked to Eelfram, who thanked and rewarded us.

We were now level 3.

Distributed gold so we got more equally equipped. Orgoo with Healer’s Armor and wand of Eyebite; Caroline with wand of magic missile; Cohrlan with cloak that gives good healing surges, and a magic bastardsword. Ruby bought lightning for bow. 1570 gp put in group bank.

After a couple weeks, heard that a dwarven fortress needed help so off we went.

On the road, ambushed by bugbears and goblins. Caroline fell unconscious. The bugbear grabbed her. Dardanos attacked the bugbear who used Caroline as a body shield. The blow killed her utterly. Her player, Page, was not bothered and wants to start a new character. Bugbear was fond of carrying Cohrlan off into the hills. We chased him down and stopped that. Came back to Caroline who had risen as a wight, eek. We fought her but did not have the heart to finish off our friend, so she ran off.

Later, attacked by bandits who I mistook for friendly guys. More bandits came. Managed to prevail.

Not sure what this picture is about but I like it.

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4. We meet Kalad

In Overlook (Elsir Vale). In the High Hall we heard five old Dwarven elders tell us the go. There are a lot of pussy-assed other adventure clubs there to help, including the Green Hand, Company of Wolves, Slayers, Fastriders (with Edgar, Ulat, Aeina, Corman), Freeriders. This last is the bitchy party who thought they were better than us, who we met back in Brindall.

Cadric the Elder said the orcs are coming to kill and capture everyone, coming up through tunnels they had been digging for months. Like dwarves can’t hear digging under them, jeez. We need to make sure that Bordrin’s Watch does not fall—I think that’s where people will hide, or at least the people the elders think are important.

Our job is to evacuate the Monastery of the Sundered Chain, which was being attacked by orcs. Off we went.

We killed a bunch of orcs in a guard room.

Killed a hag in an altar room that was full of dead Dwarven monks. Hm, we were too late. We figured this was the boss, pulled out the big guns, and splattered her quickly.

We killed a bunch more orcs in a room full of statues and a lot of dead dwarves.

Went into a room with elevated walkways over a deep fall. Were assaulted by orcs with nasty big bolts that could knock us off the edge. There was a drake that stole Rosy’s bow. It was really, really funny. Well, maybe Rosy does not think so. Rosy spent pretty much the whole time trying to get her bow back. Yeah, on second thought, it was REALLY funny.

We got to a cave room in which orcs were beating a dwarf demanding he open some tunnels. We had a big fight here. It was complicated by a magical fire in one corner which spread and started coming for us. The dwarf, Kalad, jumped up all nekkid and tried to beat the shit out of the orcs and did pretty well for a nekkid dwarf. The Avenger made a “wind cage” which trapped one of the orcs and would hurt him if we left. As the fire caught up with the orcs, I bluffed one of them to “run to the wind cage! It’s the only way you will survive!” The dumbass believed me and he did. He died. It was great. I nearly died myself, but we had found a Flagon of Ale Procurement. In my last moment I used it to try to find water (to put out the fire) and it told me there was a barrel of excellent Dwarven ale upstairs. This gave me the strength to go on and I now owe my life to that ale.

Kalad said the orcs wanted him to open the tunnels, but he had refused. What a guy. Kalad said the only solution was to get the the “Nexus”, which was the engineering marvel that kept all the tunnels supported, and which with the flip of a switch (which for some reason, Cohrlan observed, was never installed in the Elders’ room in Overlook) would collapse, confounding the Orcs with lots of rocks. Kalad led us on an adventure through the caves [a skill challenge] which we failed a lot. We rested and resolved to try it again when we (or the caves) did not suck so much.

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5. The Nexus! Take 1

We tried again to get through the caves. [Floyd redesigned the skill challenge a bit.] We took some losses [of healing surges] but came out the other side OK.

We overheard some orcs ahead talking about being led by “Thrall” who was the leader of a Shadar-Kai incursion. Those are nasty Raven Queen loving Darkfell dwellers with grey skin, black eyes, a martial disposition, and a fetish for scarring and tattooing themselves. I had a Shadar-Kai girlfriend once. When we fought she’d turn into this stinky smoke and hide under the bed. I hated her. On the plus side, she liked it rough. Anyway, the orcs argued about whether to trust these grey fuckers and being orcs, they ended up just picking their noses and doing nothing about their problems in the end.

We solved their particular problems by killing them all in some twisty little caves when there was a perfectly good room just next door. They had bomb-throwers which were a bit unsettling. But it was not too tough.

We went into a room which a bunch of auto-firing crossbows, and populated by two metal dogs and a walking ballista. We were like, what the fuck, when did we end up in Rise of the Robots? We disabled and destroyed the crossbows as Cohrlan was munched on by the metal dogs. It was pretty funny.

In the next room we fought a Shadar-Kai, some orcs, and a couple fire beetles. It went pretty well but that SK was tricky. She would go all unsubstantial and flit around. Just like my girlfriend. Ugh. Anyway, when done Kalad opened up some big pipes to use boiling water to hold off the Orc army we knew was following us to make reinforcements.

We were pretty low on energy but could maybe pull off one more room before a sleep. We had just enough time to do a sleep before the army came. Kalad and Cohrlan got into an argument. Cohrlan wanted to go right to the Nexus now, go for the glory. The rest of us were not crazy about that idea. Cohrlan said even if we had to take a sleep, we should go there ASAP. Kalad said we needed to ASAP cleanse an altar to Moradin, then sleep. They had a long talk [diplomacy checks] and Kalad won the argument so well, I personally—and this is just me—think that they are going to get married. I think I saw a ring on that scaly dragony finger.

We went into the room with the altar. Before you could say “Scottish toast”, Dardanos got clusterfucked by an ogre and a couple bomb-throwers, and he got dead, like really dead. We fought on and prevailed without any other real problems. Just as we were getting really depressed, Kalad threw Dardanos on the altar and asked Moradin for a favour. Voila, we got the Scot back. It was pretty impressive.

We rested to get ready for the Nexus battle.

The Nexus was a room so big and complicated that it made by head spin, and that was not just the hangover. A big walkway around a pit, leading up to a control tower up top. Once we came in, a couple drudges popped out of one of six little doors and ran for the controls. We did not think they were up to any good so we chased them. Unfortunately, the strikers were ahead of the tank when a couple groups of baddies popped out, and our formation was all backward. They messed us up pretty well and I spent about half the time unconscious. Soon we were out of options, I was tapped out of all heals and we all were out of potions. Meanwhile the drudges had started up a flood of boiling water to fill the room, and as it rose it cooked some baddies, then Kalad, then us.

Kalad died. I died. Everyone else but Rosy was knee deep in boiling water and low on health, and more guys appeared to take out Rosy. But wait, how could I have died? I couldn’t be writing this story. Hm, I must have gone wrong somewhere. That’s not how it happened…

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The Nexus! Take 2...

Oh, that’s right, I remembered it wrong. Rosy wasn’t there, Markus was! [In this session, Aby was not there, but Josh was. Also, Rain was controlling Dardanos.] Right, the little drudge fucks started up the water but we kept our formation pretty well. All the same, that Tusk guy with the glaive was a right bastard. The wizard [Page temporarily using Celstia] did some good smackdown with icy terrain but it was still hard going. Then that Shadar-Kai warlock bitch laid curses on us and watched as the water caught up to us, downing the wizard with orbs of fiery death. Many baddies died in the water and soon we were all under it. I spent all my heals and gave my potion to someone to get them alive again, I forget who. I pretty much resolved myself to die in the water as I was cooking rapidly. Cohrlan valiantly stayed underwater to bash the shit out of Tusk, who died. But it was not looking good for the heroes as we were all cooking and were miles from a way to get out of it. Even when we did, the bitch and a million drudges awaited us.

Then Kalad swam to the central tower and started to climb it. A way out! Why didn’t we think of that? Maybe because the tower was made of SMOOTH CONCRETE. Those of us who missed gym class because we were smoking pot or playing D&D behind the gym (not to name names) could not climb it. Then the wizard got the brilliant idea to use Icy Terrain to make an ice boat out of the hot water. Genius! I guess that’s what high Intelligence gets you. We all cruised up the rising water in style. Meanwhile. Cohrlan had attacked the drudges and the bitch, but he went down. Kalad had intelligently smashed the control panel before shutting off the rising water, and made a break for it up a ladder. The bitch yelled at us a bit and vanished before the water could cook her. Meanwhile I had been trying to keep someone from dying, I forget who. I threw the Shroud of the Fallen up to Dardanos so he could take it to the nearly really dead Cohrlan.

It was quite an adventure, all told. But somehow we all survived and got up the ladder. The hot water hit the central core of the Nexus, which was ice cold, and the shock split it. The cavern collapsed. The water shot up. We were poiked out of the tunnel like a champagne cork. I really could have used some champagne at that point. Cohrlan nearly went down an immense cliff but landed in a tree or something. Enough excitement. It was time to go back to Overlook.

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Cross City Raaaaace!

We made the Dwarven elders kiss our ass for a while, yeah yeah, we are awesome, now pay us. We were filthy rich. What with the reward, and what we got from selling that Dwarven Ale Stein of Wonder or whatever it was called, and such, we had plenty of cash. So of course when the elders announced that the annual Cross City Race was tomorrow, and the prize was just a bit of cash, and the downside was horrid death, of course we all jumped at the chance! We all raced across the city to be the first to deliver a scroll to some dude on top of a statue at the other side. We all took different routes. Cohrlan barrelled through the city yelling at everyone and knocking them over. It was especially fun when Dardanos, taking a page from the dragonborn’s book, ploughed through a bunch of little Halfling houses.

Cohrlan was not so successful when he entered the market and tried to intimidate an old fishwife into dropping her laundry and getting out of his way.

Here is a page from Cohrlan’s journal about her: Little old lady

Meanwhile, Dardanos and I were chillin like villains. We had scared the shit out of some street punks, then jumped onto a boat across a lava river. Markus was leaping with great derring-do from mast to mast in the harbor. The wizard was pretty much stumbling around in a fog of magical smoke, drinking every potion she could get her hands on, tripping out, and somehow melting walls with her eyes. She was a bit vague on the details afterward.

At the end we were all climbing a startlingly large pair of statues. I regretted my long life of alcohol and smoking, and fell from the lead to near last. Then I literally fell—as in, succumbing to gravity—but Cohrlan graciously used a chain whipped around my neck to save me. Thanks, dragonface. I think. Ow.

Dardanos was about to hand in the scroll when Markus violated our little mutual agreement not to fuck with each other, and yelled to the old man about the receive the scroll that it was a bomb. Hilarity ensued. The wizard made a fire illusion, Dardanos and Markus tried to throw each other off the edge, and there was general mayhem as the old asshole had no idea who to trust. In the end, Cohrlan strolled past them all and handed in the scroll. Dardanos was just glad that Markus did not get it. I was just glad that I didn’t turn into pudding after a very long fall.

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Everyone stay Kalm

We got restless for adventure so we journeyed of to the inland sea Kalm. The journey took three weeks, during which everyone got a bit tired of my one card trick.

We needed to get across the sea, so we booked passage on the boat the Mary-Louise. I had a girlfriend named Mary-Louise once… I spent more money on her than I did on this boat. Anyway, we banked our gold and set ourselves up at the gaming tables on board for the overnight passage.

At the tables we ordered drinks. Rosy decided to try Kraken’s Ale, which quickly made her nearly unconscious. Cohrlan drank it like lemonade. I stuck to whisky and a refill of my pipe with the finest pipeweed they sold there, which was not all that good.

We met a Lord Festovious III, who was drunk and merry. He quickly lost all his money, including a chip that Markus stole while he was laughing uproariously at his ill fortune. He exited the ship by jumping overboard and swimming to shore, laughing all the while. Nice fella.

Meanwhile I made the acquaintance of a stunning redheaded barmaid named Montreal. I like redheads. We got on like a house afire. The shine was taken off this a bit when I realized she was selling more than drinks, but I redeemed my reputation by charming her into going to bed with me for free. This is why I am an adventurer. Something about barding seems to make me more alluring, ahhh. (I’ll leave out of the tale the wrinkle about how she stole a handful of my chips while I slept, knocked unconscious by her considerable talents.)

Regrettably I return to the less interesting part of the story. We ended up playing Skull Dice with a strange, well-dressed nobleman names Gerard. He said he was a Count of Mountebank. But we grew suspicious as we recalled Mountebank has no royalty anymore; it is a democracy. We grew further vexed when he started cheating us blind. The dice changed their spots before our very eyes. But we simply could never prove it: there was no magic apparently at work, detected by us or the guards. And we kept getting the strange feeling that the dice had always been that way, making us doubt our sanity. We moved the game upstairs to try again, but the same robbery continued. It nearly came to blows but the guards stopped us. He left having won many chips, and many more of ours were stolen right off our table (and not by Montreal). We tried to follow him off the boat but he showed us his real power.

It turns out that we had run into the infamous Splinter Brothers. They are two brothers with extraordinary innate powers. Each has two personalities, making them effectively four. One is always invisible—he was the one stealing our chips and changing our dice. Another can summon small objects from thin air. Another can change beliefs and emotions—he was the one we were playing with, and he made us believe the dice were always the way they were. Another can win the trust of others easily. In any case, these two assholes were way too powerful for us to mess with, and the more we did, the more money we were losing. So we let him go, vowing revenge someday.

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Bear with us

On the other side of Lake Kalm, we journeyed inland and stopped at an inn for the night. There was an old man there who was obsessed with soup, but otherwise normal. Also staying there was Miranda, an Eladrin ranger who was tracking a massive bear. She looked a bit unwell, sweaty and pale. I tried to chat her up but apparently said the wrong thing [Matt rolled a 1 on Diplomacy] and she went to bed, regrettably alone. I don’t like rangers anyway. I had a girlfriend who was a ranger once. Always wanted to go for “little hikes” during which we ended up eating berries and bugs for five days in a freezing rain. And she wore filthy sandals, even in bed.

We were checking out the woods in the area when Miranda ran up to us, breathless and panicked. She said the old man just attacked her in the inn! We went back and the man appeared injured, and claimed that Miranda attacked him first. We put on our detective caps and tried to interrogate them. Miranda was even more flushed and ill-looking than ever. She suddenly attacked the man and we had to fight her. We chose to just knock her out though, since something did not seem right.

Markus got stealthy and hid under the table to keep an eye on the man as we went outside to look for evidence of who was telling the truth. Unfortunately he must not have hidden very well because after a while the old man called over to his table hiding place, “Would you like some soup?” Oh well, good try eyeball.

Rosy followed Miranda’s tracks but they just showed she had walked, like us, from the dock to the inn. We went back to the inn. And Miranda was dead! She had a swollen throat and a badly infected wound. As we were puzzling over this, we heard a roar outside and went to investigate.

And we were attacked by a giant bear. Apparently the one that Miranda had been hunting, how nice. We fought him off, fending off his ferocious furry hugs of death. We kicked his ursine ass, actually, and were feeling that this was pretty easy when out of the inn ran the old man, who shifted into his true form, a doppelganger. Holy crap. We managed to defeat him, however.

We pieced together what had really happened: Miranda had fought the bear before coming to the inn. She was wounded, and trying to recover, but the wound got infected. If only she had submitted to the tender care of Doctor Orgoo. I can’t save all you ladies, but please, let me try! Anyway, it’s true that the old man attacked her, but she was too delirious with fever from the infection to figure out he was a doppelganger, and in any case, when she attacked him again, she was no match for us. She died from the infection while we were gone—and maybe some bad soup? We may never know.

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Party shuffle

[This is when Dylan took over from Floyd as DM. Thanks for all the good times, Floyd! Floyd joined the party as a player.] We journeyed north on the road. While I was apparently sleeping off a massive hangover [Matt had to miss the first encounter] the rest of the party fought a pack of were-rats who attacked us in camp. Apparently I am not as essential to the party as I say in all my songs, because they managed to survive without me. But I bet they missed my singing. I have a great voice and an innate sense of rhythm. Anyway, they made it out OK but caught some bad diseases.

I luckily had recently bought and learned the ritual so I could now cast Remove Disease myself (which would have made my previous dating life a lot less expensive, believe me). I did not have enough residuum, though, and could only scrounge up a bit more from the merchants travelling with us even though I used every wile in my book. I only had enough to cure the worst: Moon Frenzy threatened Rosy and Markus. I removed it with both graceful skill and a charming bedside manner that made my patients always remember me as “that handsome doctor”. I would have offered Rosy a free gynaecological exam (it’s my specialty) but I make it my firm rule never to mess about with members of my adventuring party. Well, it’s more a guideline than a rule. And I’ve only really been enforcing it starting this year. But I am resolved to stick to it! Anyway, Markus fought off his remaining Filth Fever by himself. Good on him, it can be tricky. I’ve had it myself. Free tip: Never take off your pants in a sewer.

Onward we went up the road. One night, sleeping in the open, we all had strange and vivid dreams. I was in a cold field. A voice asked me how loyal I am to my friends. I replied, to the death. It asked something similar about “everyone at the inn”. I replied, well I want them alive to hear my tales of bravery. I was very cold and suffering. I saw in the distance a stone arch before a hill. Next to it were statues of guys in robes. I could sort of recognize them [History minor success]. They were good, not evil. Their names had something to do with… silver? And a sausage? That can’t be right. I fell to the snow, very weak. I felt a trapdoor under the snow, dug it out, and opened it. As I slid into it, I awoke.

…awoke to find that Scrin, Dardanos, and Cohrlann were gone! I looked everywhere but saw no trace of them. Rosy and Markus did not seem very concerned so I had to put on the asshole hat to insist they help look. Those jerks. Anyway, we still found no trace. Since they knew where we were headed, we decided we may as well go there so we could catch up. We stopped, as planned, in Rivermore, at the Starblazers Inn, and spent the night.

…And we awoke to a huge commotion. The inn was under attack! We rushed out of our rooms. Zombies were ravaging the innspeople and already many were dead. Running out of their rooms were three people we did not know but who joined the battle with aplomb, so we reckoned they were adventurers. One was Steeple [played by Floyd], one of the very few Warforged I had ever seen in my life. Intelligent metal, quite a sight! He was a defender of some sort and waded into the fight. Another was Aria [Reyne], a controller who flung spells from the door of her room. Yet another was Typheras [Page], a minotaur. No bull! He also waded into the fray defender-like, starting off with a jump from the balcony onto a little zombie, squishing him. Well done! And boy, we needed the help. Those zombies were nasty, stinky, and vicious. Markus helpfully jumped out the window with the intention to run around the building. Um, thanks? He fey stepped back in as he realized his error. But we all got into the flow of things and dispatched them. Some of them were Corruption Corpses, which exploded with an awful splatty boom and left behind them puddles that started to rot everything they touched, and spreading. Just about all the commoners were dead. Nothing do but talk to the guards, try to find next of kin, and set fire to the place before the rot spread any further. Just another day in the life of the world’s most inn-destructive heroes!

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