May 272010
 

After the loose ends were wrapped up and the wounded dispatched from the encounter with the dope-on-a-rope and his warrior minions our intrepid party continued north towards the kingdom of the Mountain Dwarves.

They had decided to drop the quest for Centaur Island and instead follow the dwarf, Talos, because they distrusted the motives of the shaman and they liked having someone with them who knew what he was doing and where he was going. Plus Talos had promised them rich rewards for their information upon arrival at the mountain kingdom.

But first they had to get there, and that was proving to be no easy task. A major river had to be crossed and all the fordable areas were being watched by warriors of Chief Poptoe. The chief wanted revenge for their killing his son, and now the high mage was also applying pressure on the chief for his own reasons…

The party attempted to cross with stealth using the air mage and another party member (who?) to take out a sentry and then get a rope strung across a more concealed stretch of the river. The sentry was handily dispatched, but unfortunately the action was noticed by the other sentries and the alarm was raised. The rest of the party struggled to quickly cross using the rope and the air mage’s ability, but an altercation broke out when Marko would not let Talos separate from the group to meet them later. I will let Marko make his case for that choice separately from this recounting…

The struggle ended with Talos subdued and bundled across successfully, but once on the other side they realized that they would soon be surrounded by the warriors now activated around them as though they were on an enormous disturbed ant hill. Talos was able to convince them to release him and he offered that their best, and maybe only hope was to enter a place assiduously avoided by the People of the Oak, Rakon Valley.

Their trek to the beginnings of the valley was not without incident, but the party’s amazing cohesiveness, inventiveness, and coordination in a crisis blazed them through yet another violent encounter with several warriors with hardly any incident and with no further alarm being raised.

The valley was navigated successfully, but the story there is surreal and is best left to being told by eye witnesses.

To my recollection one further encounter occurred before they gained entry into the mountain kingdom. This time there were several armed humans apparently from the city-state of Voneer, but with some misdirection created by the air mage, and an encounter with a roaring dweller to send them straight up a cliff, they soon were no trouble at all.

The mountain kingdom of the dwarves is another experience best told by others, but I can say here that the party was indeed generously rewarded.

The party next debated long and hard on the choice between seeking Finland immediately or in providing much needed aid to the dwarves based on the intel they had provided through their adventures so far. The dwarves had now come to the conclusion that the high mage was up to no good, and that the captive villages were certainly part of some nefarious plan by the aging mage to gain protection from the wheel of time. Time was of the essence if he were to be stopped. The two towers must be sacked, the villagers freed, and the island traveling across the land must be investigated. With the vast resources of the dwarves at their disposal the party came to a momentous decision and prepared to fulfill this grand quest.

Two groups were to attack each tower simultaneously. One group was to be led by Tuomi, a finnish Sword master that had previously separated from the party and had arrived earlier at the dwarven kingdom. He was to lead a contingent of dwarves personally trained by him. The other group would be the intrepid explorers with Talos accompanying them.

The intrepid party’s attack on the their tower went almost flawlessly. The tower was found to be full of provisions, and a wooden fortress/stockade was built adjoining it holding all of the women and children from one of the remaining villages (there were originally three villages in Ter valley, but the giant on the moving island killed most of the villagers of the coastal village and the warriors killed the rest). All of the village men were missing…

The party then went to investigate how the attack came off at the other tower. There they found that the stockade had been breeched and no villagers were present (some were seen fleeing though the woods during the party’s approach). There was no sign of Tuomi of the dwarves, but there was sign of the tower being occupied. One indication was the presence of a giant bird large enough to carry a man. The bird was perched on top of the tower. The party had been at great pains to avoid being seen by the bird and rider on several previous occasions, and back at the mountain stronghold the air mage had even engaged the pair and driven it off after it had killed the raven that had begun to accompany Suomi, the party’s troubadour. This tower was apparently going to be a larger challenge, and appearances proved true…

Please feel free to comment about elements and/or corrections that should be added and I will incorporated them.

 Posted by at 12:59 am
May 242010
 

What happened after Suomi’s story…

The party got captured by the warriors. The shaman helps them escape. Flesh it out!

The group traveled for more than a week. They avoided a large war party headed for the valley, then one night the shaman was seen walking down the path with his stump on fire. They made contact, agreed to do as he asked, took his money and told him they would search out a centaur on centaur island that has info about an artifact that the mage has promised the chief in exchange for the chief keeping the villagers in the valley. They were given a crude map by the shaman. The party changed course to avoid any search parties. They avoided a village then discovered that the dwarf/gnome/troll previously seen following a supply party is now following them. One night (new moon, very dark) they heard an argument in the distance. The air mage air-walked over, found a group of five warriors, and set off a distracting spell, but the fire mage bumped into the spy. The mage let off a flaming hands spell that got blocked by a tree and the spy disappeared into the dark without pursuit!
The party was last on the move away from the encounter and headed towards the coast.

Our intrepid heroes trekked onward towards the coast only to encounter a wall of dense undergrowth approximately three meters high. The air mage tested out his new powers to climb air stairs, and from above could tell that the thicket was a circle approximately 1km in diameter with a circular clearing of about 100m dia. in the center. He also saw a winding path leading from the clearing towards the outer edge of the thicket.

As the main group walked to the place they believed the end of the path would be the air mage walked the sky to the mid point of the path. From there he could see that the path did not reach the outer edge, but stopped approximately 50m from it. He also noticed the top of a stone monolith situated in the center of the clearing. With the help of the sailor and the dancer climbing trees to see the end of the path the ranger suddenly revealed the god like power of transformation into a furry creature that shall not be named. He then pushed his way through the undergrowth to the path forming passage for the rest of the heroes.

The party moved up the path with the air mage in the catbird seat above them where he soon saw that the clearing also contained an enormous giant with old battle scars revealing green flesh underneath. The giant was seated near the monolith apparently in conversation with a human head laying on the ground. The dancer and furry one approached in a creative manner and attempted to speak to the odd pair, but a lack of a common language was a challenge. While the giant appears to only speak one foreign tongue the head could speak the boy’s language so he was brought forward to interpret. With the party only having ten words in common with the boy he attempted, with the addition of gestures, to relate the head’s wishes, which the party now believes are that he wants them to rescue him from the literal clutches of the giant.

The water and fire mage also detected that the monolith is not only a source of tappable mana, but may also be powering the presence of the thicket and possibly more.

When we last left our intrepid explorers they had encountered a wall of dense undergrowth, found a winding path leading to an inner clearing, and when the ranger suddenly revealed the god like power of transformation into an unnamable furry creature, they were able to make their way to the clearing. There an enormous giant with old battle scars was in conversation with a human head next to a mana radiating monolith.

After attempting to communicate with them both they came to the conclusion that the head wanted to be rescued from the giant. Then they noticed that the undergrowth had filled with black birds and that some were very agitated in the direction of the path. Upon discovery of advancing Oak-warrior intruders several of the party laid ambush and summarily dispatched them. Successive larger groups of warriors attempted to pass through the path, but to no avail.

During all this Suomi noticed the dwarf/gnome/troll trying to move stealthily through the undergrowth around the clearing, and confronted him diplomatically. He was successful and was able to bring the dwarf, Talos, to the group, where they conversed freely and discovered mutually useful info.

Kianomen then perceived that there was a mage in the warrior’s party that was also checking them out via some type of magic involving a rope. Not wishing to be trapped in the middle of the undergrowth the party used the brute force of the unnamable furry creature to push a path to the outside and begin their escape. At this point Suomi separated from the party for unknown but not surprising reasons. They left the giant with his charge behind.

As the group pressed on toward the Dwarven Kingdom they had to deal with an attempt at escape by their charge, Ogely, but with the furry one’s sensitive nose they were able to track him down in short order.

Not long after that Talos noticed a humanoid figure ahead hanging from a rope suspended in mid-air. It appeared to be the same character that had been with the warriors earlier, but how had he managed to move to a point only a few hundred meters ahead of them? He was obviously looking for the party! The party chose to move quietly off in a very different direction for a while, but the very next day he was spotted again only about 100 meters away!

Talos believes he may be an underling to the mage, Pulhe. Pulhe is known for his scrying and communication magic. The underling may be getting a general location from Pulhe and is hoping to spot them from above. It was time for action. Tapja strung his bow, moved forward with stealth, and took aim. The arrows and Kianomen’s blast of wind were enough to knock him to the ground while a group of Oak-warriors below blew horns and rushed the party, but they were met with the deadly sword blows of Marko and the awesome flames of Aiden. The two remaining warriors that fled did not get far.

Kianomen airwalked over to where the rope was still hanging to find the ground below deserted. With luck he was able to spot the injured mage attempting to limp away and with a blast of electrical energy dispatched the mage before he could do something mysterious with a pouch.

What happened next?

 Posted by at 10:59 am