The longest winter

Letting off steam
second adventure

The party:

Daveak Swordhand (Played by Paul)
Elden Spirefield (Played by Matt)
Frank Wyvern’s Tooth (Played by Steve)
Loraella Ironcore (Played by Leanne)
Marellian Ironcore (Played by Dave)
Rayne (Played by Amanda)

It has been a couple of days since their return from the peat cutter’s camp. During this time, Marellian was studying the items that were found in the lair of the undead Dryad. He gives his verdict on them, but a couple of characters feel they need a second opinion.

A young Tiefling rogue, called Rayne, joins up with the group after finishing a ‘re-education course’. Frank seems to take a liking to her, and she is admitted to the party without much fuss.

While wandering the streets of the Low Quarter, Daveak announces his intention to have his new necklace appraised by a jeweler. Marellian has told him it is a necklace of strangulation, and his is unsure what to do with it. He spies a merchant’s shop, and wanders inside, hoping to find directions to the nearest jeweler. The rest of the party follow him inside, where they discover a seller of foodstuff. Elden seems interested in the merchant’s wares, but after finding out there is a jeweler in the next block, Daveak is keen to go.

Meanwhile, Marellian (who is sulking outside because they want a second opinion) overhears two old ladies talking about missing people.Thinking back to the dead body the party found on their way to the peat cutter’s camp, he asks them if they know of any themselves. When he inquires, they tell him that many townsfolk are frequenting the soup kitchen set up by the compassionate church, and some of them have most likely wandered out into the snowy waste to either end it all or find work elsewhere. At that point, the others return from visiting the jeweler’s shop.

It seems the jeweler had examined Daveak’s necklace, and informed him that it was in fact an old piece, used by druids to train their apprentices. The wearer of the necklace would be able to approach wild animals without spooking them, as the necklace masks the scent of the wearer. As an added bonus, this meant that the wearer could not be tracked by scent. Daveak informed the jeweler that he had been told that it was a necklace of strangulation, to which the jeweler laughed. Hearing this, Elden becomes suspicious that his find is more than just a rusty old gauntlet.

With time on their hands, the party decide to visit a nearby inn, where they find an empty table. The Inn seems very quiet, with only three or four patrons, but it is early in the day. Daveak and Rayne go to the bar, where Rayne is mistaken for a child by the barmaid. Service seems very slow considering they are the only ones asking for drinks.

One of the council’s half Orc guards enters the inn, sees the party, and strides over. Without introduction, he simply tells them they are wanted in the council chamber, and walks out again. They scramble to folow, calling to Daveak and Rayne at the bar. The barmaid watches them go, still without pouring their drinks, and bemoans to herself that she should have asked for the money up front.

Out in the street, they follow the guard, when a hissing sound can be heard. Suddenly, a jet of steam envelopes the guard, scolding him quite badly. Daveak applies first aid to the guard, while the others examine the source of the steam. It would seem that one of the pipes supplying heat to the town has burst, and looks as if it has rusted through. The guard stoically continues on to the council chamber, without even thanking Daveak.

In the council chamber, they are met by councillor Parathion, who introduces a young man with her as Andrews. Councillor Parathion is from the Cinder path guild, who are responsible for the township’s heating system. She explains that several of the pipes have been found to have rusted through, which should be impossible, as they were created centuries ago and protected from such an occurance by magic. Something is causing the pipes to deteriorate, and she asks the party to look into it. She reassures them that during their time in the area affected the heat and pressure will be reduced, as a precaution.

Elden takes this opportunity to ask councillor Parathion about his rusty gauntlet. He figures as a member of the magic guild she should be able to identify it. She tells him it is a gauntlet of rust, which will protect him from any attacks that might cause rusting. It also allows him to use a ‘rusting grasp’ once a day.

The party realise that the councillor has yet to discuss their payment for the job, and ask her how much they will be paid. she replies that they will each get 50gp, which divides the party. Some think that this is fair for four hours work, while others think it should be more. Rayne attempts to bargain with the councillor, with great success, and she is forced to admit that she was also saving part of the reward as a surprise. On completion, they will each get a minor magic item. This cheers them up, and they are eager to be off. Andrews, who is one of the team that monitors the heat system, leads them to the access point nearest the breaches.

Andrews leads them down into a small room which is an access point to the heat system. He produces a small wand, which he calls a ‘spell-spanner’ (to sniggers) and explains that this deactivates the wards on the door, allowing entry. After showing Marellian how it works, he wishes them good luck, and heads off. Marellian tries it on the door, which opens. Loraella decides she will go first to scout the way.

A short way inside the doorway, Loraella discovers faintly glowing runes, which she cannot decipher. She calls to her brother to take a look. He tells everyone that the runes themselves make no sense, but they seem to have magic embued in the writing. Elden touches the runes, and a small bolt of elecricity sends him sprawling back. Marellian then decides to touch the runes with the end of the spell-spanner, and melts the end of the spanner. Frank can be heard back at the doorway saying; “Idiot”. He and Rayne join the group, but as they near the runes, Rayne feels a little queasy. This makes the party paranoid about traps, but Marellian suggests that it might have something to do with her demonic ancestry making her more susceptible to the runes. They pass by the runes without further ill effect.

After exploring a couple of areas without noticing anything, they come to an intersection. Frank looks down a corridor leading east, and spots two strange worm-like creatures that appear to be feeding on the metal plating of the corridor. Daveak, Elden and Frank rush into melee, while the others ready missile weapons. The first worm falls easily to Daveak’s longsword, while Frank and Elden take care of the other. During the fight, Marellian lets off a crossbow bolt, which clatters harmlessly off the ceiling. The shock of realising he could have hit one of his friends sends the mage into a faint, and he falls back into a puddle of water. Loraella scolds him for his foolishness, after she has slapped him awake. Frnk asks if anyone has a bag they can put the bodies in, to take them back for identification, as he’s pretty sure nothing like this has been seen in Flint-Harrow before. Loraella gives him an empty sack she was hoping to fill with treasure.

Frank, Elden and Rayne take off down the corridor east, nimbly stepping around the rust affected areas. Meanwhile, Daveak, Loraella and Marellian take a corridor north, where Daveak comes face to face with a large monstrous centipede. Marellian charges in, wielding his wooden quarterstaff, and deals it a sound blow on the head. Elden, on hearing sounds of battle, takes an intersecting corridor, hoping to catch whatever foe the others have found from the rear, while Frank and Rayne continue onwards east, where they find a further three of the strange worms.

With a stupendous blow, Daveak kills the monstrous centipede, just as Elden appears to join in the battle. Frank and Rayne find their three opponents fairly easy, and Rayne kills two to Frank’s one. The room in which they found these worms is a dead end, so they retrace their steps until they rejoin the others. There, they find that Daveak has carved the corpse of the centipede, and everyone is eating barbequed leg of centipede. Frank takes two, as he’s worked up an appetite.

Elden remarks that they must be pretty close to where the half Orc guard was scolded by steam, and maybe they should look out for breaches in the pipe ahead. Travelling east, they find such a breach, and when they look into the hole, find a nest of small monstrous centipedes. They take no time at all in squashing these vermin, and Marellian finds a pair of boots inside the centipede nest, which he shakes the rubbish out of, and puts on. He then asks his sister if she can help him with the laces, much to the party’s amusement.

Further on, the corridor opens into another small room, in which the party finally encounter rust monsters. Elden, emboldened by the fact his gauntlet gives him immunity to the monster’s rusting attacks, charges in. He is the only party member to go into melee, while the others stand back and shoot. Elden kills one of the rust monsters, while the other takes a few hits from crossbow bolts, and finally falls to Marellian’s magic missile. Elden has taken a couple of bite wounds, but he doesn’t ask for aid from Daveak, instead marching on to find more foes.

Loraella, who has been watching out for further runic symbols, finds yet another set in the corridor wall. As before, these runes make Rayne feel queasy, but there is no further danger from them. Marellian remarks that maybe their potency has dulled over time, and this is one reason why there are now rust monsters running about in the tunnels. Frank asks him why the monsters would be able to survive, given the heat supposedly in these tunnels usually, but Marellian has no answer to that. Their conversation is brought short by Elden, who has found another rust monster ahead. He kills it with one mighty blow, before the rest of the party have even readied their weapons.

Finally, the party reach a large chamber, riddled with rust. There are several spent pupae casings lying around, and bits of old rags and linen scattered around. Rayne steps into the room, and peers through one of the holes in the floor. Below her, she sees an enormous rust monster, it’s feelers gently turning some of the thousands of eggs that make up it’s brood. Rayne realises that if these eggs were to hatch, the whole heating system would be destroyed.

Elden takes the lead, jumping down onto the giant rust monster’s back, and plunging his greatsword into it’s segmented body. Frank jumps down too, but tries to ride the rust monster as if it were a mount. It is unsure if Marellian meant to jump down, or simply fell through a hole, but he bravely faces the rust monster, while squishing eggs underfoot. the others stat in the chamber above, and fire down onto the rust monster.

Elden gives the rust monster a death blow, and is crushed as it topples over on top of him. Frank manages to dive clear. After a brief discussion about leaving Elden beneath the body or trying to dig him out, the party decide to save their comrade, and Frank cuts off the giant rust monster’s head. They climb out of the hole, and make their way back to the surface. There, they are met by Andrews, and after taking Elden to be looked after by clerics of the compassionate church, they return to the council chamber.

Councillor Parathion is pleased to see that they have returned, and doubly pleased that they thought to bring back bodies of the strange rust worms. She tells the party she cannot be sure, but the worms seem to be a mutation from rust monsters. The immense size of the rust monster head they brought back also gives her cause for concern, as these things are not meant to grow that large. There is still a mystery as to how they got into the system in the first place, and how they managed to survive there, and eat the magically protected metal. she decides to shut off that portion of the system until a guild repair team have been in and cleaned it up. Thanking the party, she allows them a lucky dip into her bag of minor magic items. Loraella is first, and gets a potion of spider climb. Daveak gets a potion of sneaking, Elden pulls out a ring of warmth, Frank gets a wand of detect magic, Marellian fumbles around until he pulls out a scroll of magic weapon, and Rayne gets an ever burning torch. As an added bonus, the councillor gives them a +1 shield, deep red in colour. The party scratch their heads at this, as none of them see the need to use shields. It is suggested they could sell it, or wait until a new member of their team was to turn up.

With another adventure over, they still have not found anyone who could identify the clothes they took from the corpse in the Shelter wood, have vague hints about missing people they are yet to look into, and now are left wondering how rust monsters were able to get into the heating system.

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cries in the night
adventure 1

The party:

Daveak Swordhand (Played by Paul)
Elden Spirefield (Played by Matt)
Frank Wyvern’s Tooth (Played by Steve)
Loraella Ironcore (Played by Leanne)
Marellian Ironcore (Played by Dave)

Intrductions:

After a few weeks running meaningless errands, and guarding empty offices, the party are summoned to the council chamber. There, they are let in by two half-orc guards. At the end of the great table sit councillor Kincaid and head councillor Ore, along with a scribe to take notes.

Councillor Ore tells the party; " We have had a request from the peat cutters to find out what is stalking their camp each night. Men have been going missing, some have returned after a couple of days, but two have never returned. Those who have returned seem strangely lethargic, and they are suffering from lack of production. Several of the men had complained about an eerie whining moan that kept awaking them during the night. We need you to find the cause of this, and end it. There will be a reward of 1,000GP in total should you manage to discover and end this nightly pest."

Marellian begins asking questions concerning the job, and the peat cutters, to which Ore looks a bit flummoxed. He turns to Kincaid and asks, “Why is Calpurn here? Shouldn’t he be looking after the religious needs of the town?” to which Kincaid replies that this is Calpurn’s son, Marellian, and that Calpurn is dead some 17 years.

The party then ask whether they can be supplied with extra trail rations and ammunition for their bows and crossbows. The scribe issues them with a requisition form to gain what they have asked for from the stores. He quietly says that all expenses incurred will be taken off the reward money. It seems nobody either hears or cares about this, as they accept and leave.

The trail to the peat cutter’s camp is well travelled, and has been gritted for ease of travel. The partry seem in high spirits to be out from the claustraphobic atmosphere of the town, and make good time. After about two hours, they are within the borders of the Shelter Wood, when Frank and Daveak spot a splash of crimson red in the whiteness of the snow ahead. As they get closer, they realise it is a body.

Frank approaches the body and pokes it with his axe. It doesn’t move, and he sees that it has been killed by a savage slash to the throat by long claws. Bite marks cover the corpse, and it’s face has been savaged so much it is unrecognisable.

Daveak finds a trail of dripped blood, and tracks of some large creature. He begins to follow the tracks, but stops when he hears a low growling sound. From a tumble of rocks springs a Dire Wolverine, the size of a bear. It goes for Daveak, but he jumps back from the reach of it’s sharp claws. The party all pile in to help Daveak against the beast, and it is finally killed by a discharge of magic from Marellian, to the surprise of nearly everybody (including Marellian).

The party then discuss what to do with the corpse. Frank is all for burning it, but the others discuss whether it would be best to take it with them to the camp, in case it is one of the missing men. In the end, they decide to take the clothes of the corpse for identification, and allow Frank to burn the body. With this completed, they continue on their way.

After a further two hours of travelling, Frank smells the smoke from the camp’s cooking fire, and the three half elves hear men’s voices ahead. Two men seem to be discussing cleaning their tools before night. Marellian calls out to them, much to Frank’s annoyance. The men are delighted to see the party, but arre a bit put out when Marellian asks to speak to Andiron. They ask why he wishes to speak to just him, to which Marellian replies he had heard Andiron was in charge (a snippet he had picked up in the council chamber). They grudgingly agree, but say that everyone mucks in equally. Marellian diplomatically then says he’d like everyone to be there, which brightens them up again.

Inside the bunk house, The party meet all the remaining peat cutters. Andiron introduces himself, and the others. He explains that they are short staffed, as the men who went missing have decided to go back to town, rather than face more nights out here. Elden mutters that he wishes he’d known that before they set out, so they could have interviewed the men in town, to which Andiron replies they had given up waiting for the council to act. He then explains that the first man went missing from the tool shed one night, but that others had been inside the bunk house. After a fine evening meal, the party ask Andiron to show them round, so that they can plan where to patrol that night.

While showing the party where they dig the peat from, the sharp eyes of the adventurers make out shapes of bodies preserved in the peat. Andiron helps them dig out the two bodies, little more than flat outlines. It is suggested that these may be the cause of the nightly hauntings, and Frank once again suggests they burn the bodies. It is finally decided not to just yet.

That night, while patroling the south east corner of the camp, Loraella sees a dark misty shape drifting aimlessly towards where her half brother is sitting. Fearing for him, she rushes towards him. Meanwhile, on the south west side of camp, a dark shape drifts towards Daveak, an act that catches the eye of Frank, who is up a tree. Frank jumps down and begins to stalk the dark shape.

Marellian sees the shape drifting towards him, and recalls that he once read in a book about such a creature; an Allip, the spectral remains of someone driven to suicide by a madness that afflicted it in life. By now, Elden has seen the creature, and fires an arrow at it. when his shot passes through the creature, he realises that nothing he posesses can harm it, and keeps his distance. The creature drifts off to the north east, away from Marellian, and Loraella berates him for putting himself in danger to get a closer look at it. Meanwhile, the other Allip has drifted towards the bunk house, and seems to be screaming silently at the window. Frank and Daveak keep a respectful distance, and it slowly drifts off to the north east. The party follow the two Allips, but give up when their quarry get too misty and fade from sight.

Upon their return to the bunk house, they are confronted by the sight of one of the peat cutters apparently sleep walking, wearing only his small clothes. They wake him , and he is understandably perturbed to be out and about when the last thing he remembers was going to bed. The noise wakes the other peat cutters, and Andiron asks the party what they have found out, and why one of the men is being manhandled in only his briefs. Luckily, everyone calms down, and the rest of the night passes without incident.

The next day, Frank gets his way, and the two bodies found in the peat are cremated. One of the peat cutters sets off into town with a cart load of peat, and the others dig out more. The party wander around looking for anything unusual, but all seems quiet. They discuss what to do the next night, as they are still unsure if burning the bodies would stop the haunting. The general consensus is to stay inside and watch, but Daveak, perhaps because of the overcrowding upsetting his solitary nature, elects to stay in the tree that Frank had used the night before.

That night, there seems to be no sign of the wandering Allips, but Daveak hears an unearthly song of misery. Due to his previous experiences against Fae creatures, he realises it is the song of a Dryad, but it seems twisted somehow. He he fails to respond to it’s woes, and it seems to get louder and more eerie. He goes to the bunk house to tell the others about it, and Marellian, listening from the doorway, falls under it’s spell, and takes off to the north east. Loraella mutters under her breath, and sets off to bring him back, followed by the others.

In a small wooded glen, they catch up with Malellian, who wakes from his enspelled trance, just as Frank, Elden and Loraella are taken by the song. They march off into a small opening that yawms open in the north west. Marellian and Daveak quickly follow them, but Frank’s long strides take him further than the others, and he passes out of Daveak’s sight in the gloom. Marellian attempts to disrupt the spell on his half sister by using a cantrip called ‘ghost sounds’, and miraculously suceeds. As he crows about saving her, she retorts, “About time it was the other way round for once.” Daveak manages to catch Elden, and grapples him to the floor, waking him from his trance. The party then chase off after Frank.

They find Frank in a small hollowed out area, with roots and twigs seemingly forming a loose cage , as well as the two missing peat cutters. One of the peat cutters has be driven close to insanity by the Dryad’s song, but the other is more interested about getting away. As they escort these men back out, thet realise that the roots have intertwined to form a barrier, preventing exit. Marellian attempts a burning hands spell, but barely manages to scorch the roots. Frank and Elden resort to more mundane weapons, and quickly turn the barrier to tinder.

As the barrier falls apart, the Dryad makes her appearance. Some ancient curse has transformed her into an undead creature. Stepping out from the wooded wall behind Daveak, she narrowly misses him with her long nails. His cry of shock alert the others, and she falls quickly to the party’s blades, with Loraella making the killing blow. Elden, meanwhile, is annointing his blade with holy water to make it more potent to such an undead creature, but by the time he has completed the task, the battle is over.

The battle over, the party decide to take the peat cutters back to the bunk house, but the mad one rushes off, fearing to step outside the Dyad’s lair. They find him in a room which is a parody of a tree’s canopy, with branches upon which hang trinkets that the Dryad has collected from her victims. Loraella takes a silver comb, encrusted with moonstones, Marellian takes a curious flute carved from bone, Elden takes a strange looking rusted gauntlet, Daveak takes a necklace threaded through shiny stones, and Frank takes a large leather belt.

The peat cutters are overjoyed that their ordeal is over, and Andiron gives the party a small bag of gold that they have all saved up. Loraella takes it quickly, and counts 25GP through the cloth. The party take the poor mad peat cutter back to town, and leave him in the care of the Temple of compassion.

The adventure ends with the party still unsure who the dead body was, and they still have the clothes to try and identify it by.

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Holy Winter- Reboot
A blog for our Skype RPG campaign
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