Thauem

Session 11

As the gong rang out the adventurers noticed the temperature drop as a mist started to form in the corners of the great hall. They became aware of the sound of water, which preceded the ghostly form of a funeral skiff entering the chamber. The skiff was crewed by zombies and skeletons which the party fought off, however they were unable to touch or damage the hooded figure who appeared to be steering the skiff, both it and the boat vanishing into the floor of the great hall.

As they gathered their composure following the battle the party caught a glimpse of two robed figures retreating down the passageway to the north. Having tracked the strangers back to an as yet unopened room they made plans to attack. On entering the room Arturio cast a ‘sleep’ spell on two of the three occupants. After a relatively brutal questioning the leader of the three men revealed that they were Acolytes from a Monastery in the land of Karag Shur, sent here to find Malfreces Nul who they believe to be a hermit living in Stonehell who holds some connection with, or control over the (und)dead. The Acolytes are unaware of their Abbot’s plans for Malfreces Nul, their instructions being to offer financial rewards if he were to join them. The young Acolytes have been disturbed by the activity of the undead and fear for their lives and those of the three colleagues who were accompanying them into Stonehell.

Following an unfortunate ‘incident’ which resulted in Terner inciting one of the Acolytes to kill another the party decided to allow the remaining two to leave, however they stumbled onto a trapdoor which appears to allow access to a lower level of the dungeon.

Before proceeding lower the adventurers elected to try and clear out the remaining crypts. Some treasure was discovered and many more undead laid to rest, however Salmadin, the group’s recently recruited fighter, met an untimely death, leaving the party to retreat to safety and reconsider their options.

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Redwood Mill and the return to Stonehell (Session 10)

The Party returned to Redwood Mill after an uneventful trip.

They learned that since they had been gone Cornelius Knutt had expressed deep regret for his previous actions and following a period of fasting had requested to join The Brotherhood Of The Everbright Flame as a novice. The party were skeptical. Father Rasmus Bystrom paid the party as promised and Jedediah negotiated treatment for his blindness (though he now owes the Brotherhood 400GP)

Jedediah led the group in a memorial service to Caluki, laying the Elf to rest in a manner that seemed appropriate.

Whist resting and recuperating the party recruited Derek, a local hunter and swordsman to join them when they returned to Stonehell. Whilst the Brotherhood did not intend on paying the party further they elected to send Father Dalgaard back to Stonehell along with three young acolytes to act as protection. The party purchased horse, cart and supplies and travelled with the brothers back to Stonehell.

Once the camp was set the adventurers retraced their steps into the dungeon.

A stone obelisk on a black and white chequered floor interested the party but they were unable to discern it’s purpose.

A raised dais in another chamber held a chest that appeared to be protected by some kind of magical fire. Terner successfully dodged the strangely coloured flames and opened the chest, narrowly avoiding the poison gas trap within. With treasure recovered the party regrouped.

They also came across more undead, a group of three ghouls turned from Jedediah’s holy rage. The area was full of the trappings of the deceased and the party encountered and exorcised a haunted cremation furnace.

A battle with more zombies and animated skeletons went in the parties favour and a large bronze gong discovered in the same room was just asking to be rung…

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Session 9

The campaign was on hold for this session so we played through a Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG Character Funnel. Details on my blog here

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Stonehell - The Quiet Halls (Session 8)

The day started well enough, with the party exploring corridors close to “Da Dragon’s Den” They discovered a store room and found two coils of good rope, a bottle of wine and Caluki was able to replenish his stock of arrows (24)

Moving North Jeddadiah stepped on a what felt like a loose flagstone and narrowly avoided tumbling into a ten foot deep pit trap. Having safely traversed the pit using rope and pole they group came across four Kobolds who claimed to be carrying out maintenance work. The walls of the two rooms were carved with large (10’) human faces. Terner investigated the open mouth of one of the carvings, discovering that the Kobolds were in the process of resetting a dart trap which would have been triggered by a trip wire. The Kobolds assured the party the traps were for their own defence against wandering groups of Orcs and Goblins. Continuing to explore the party made a grisly discovery: a storeroom where someone (perhaps the Kobolds?) was keeping humanoid corpses, wrapped in Linen shrouds.

Another room contained a tall stone statue shaped like a bearded head. Odourless smoke or steam spilled from the statues mouth and when questioned it spoke. The party worked out the statue will answer six questions a day, sometimes in riddles! The answers were vague but appeared to confirm the Dwarves claims that a dragon was involved with the downfall of the Karag.

Moving East the adventurers came to double doors made of stone and carved with a ‘Danse Macbre’ motif. The doors took a combined effort to move and opened into a dark entrance hall with large stone pillars and a high vaulted ceiling. Jeddadiah explored the northern passageway, finding a hole in the wall which looked like something, or someone had broken through from the coffin sized cavity beyond… The party also found a room which they believed to be a morgue and a room where the walls covered with dozens of wax death masks. Terner uncovered two secret doors which led to another corridor. Jeddadiah, moving ahead heard the sound of shuffling feet moments before a group of zombies lurched and staggered into the area illuminated by his torch. The cleric raised his holy symbol but was only able to turn two away. The adventurers positioned themselves for the coming attack: Jedaddiah out in front with shield and mace, Caluki moved to the best position to use his bow, with the thief (making his roll for once!) hiding in the shadows, close to the elf and ready to backstab the enemy. Sadly, despite announcing his intentions in advance Terner was unable to act before a lone zombie closed the gap on the bow wielding elf and struck him down with one blow.

Concerned that whatever black magic caused the dead to rise in the first place might also defile Caluki’s corpse, the party removed his head and stored his linen wrapped body in the room they had discovered earlier.

Returning to the dwarf Snorri Broadshoulders they were able to negotiate the services of one of the younger dwarves to accompany them further into the crypt. The party returned and began systematically clearing the area of undead, freshly motivated by the loss of their pointy eared colleague. They brought peace to many undead including walking skeletons, zombies and two ghouls, one of which came close to wiping out our brave adventurers having paralysed two of them in one encounter. Their new colleague paid the ultimate price for his bravery. His friends the dwarves, though saddened by his loss were glad to hear he died with axe in hand.

The door at the end of a dark corridor opened into a large pillared room dominated by a life sized statue of a veiled woman. A jug at her feet contained silver pieces, perhaps an offering? Terner snuck in and lifted the jug but as he broke into a run the inanimate skeletons standing in niches around outside of the room jerked into action and nearly took the thief down. Having survived once again thanks to Jededdiah’s faith and ability to turn the undead, the party set about searching the chamber. The statue carried two ornamental flails. They discarded one but kept the second (gold plated) one.

Terner uncovered another secret door which led to a room or cell containing old furniture including a bed. The secret door was behind a small altar on which was a smaller version of the statue seen in the previous chamber. The room also contained old books and scrolls, most of which were ruined. When Jeddadiah started to read from the only legible piece he felt a sudden sense of unease and his vision quickly dimmed until he became blind. Only afterwards did he link his blindness to the fact that the statues represented a veiled or blind woman.

With their main line of defence from the undead effectively crippled, the party elected to make their way back to the surface and consult Father Dalgaard. Dalgaard was able to confirm Jeddadiah’s opinion that the statue represented a (pagan) goddess known as Sorcha (or Sorcha the witch bitch!) Father Dalgaard was unable to repair the blindness and could only suggest prayer as a possible cure. He was deeply saddened to hear about Caluki and has started to feel that this trip was perhaps a naive venture. He is expected back in Redwood Mill soon (the party were initially paid for a 14 day expedition and are currently on day 12) and so suggested they all return all to the town. Father Dalgaard also told Arturio that Father Rasmus at Redwood Mill is the only person he knows who might have the knowledge and experience to raise the dead but stressed that this is not something that should be undertaken lightly…

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Stonehell - The Contested Corridors (Session Seven)

The party awoke and continued exploring.

After stumbling upon and swiftly dispatching four giant rats amongst the Orc’s rubbish pile they came on a group of five Dwarves, led by Snorri Broadshoulders

Snorri introduced himself and explained that he was an architect by trade researching the Dwarves work and involvement in Stonehell. At the time the party encountered him he was enthralled by an unusually grand room adorned with Dwarven carvings. The adventurers agreed to look out for him if they came across any Dwarven relics.

Exploring further Terner and his colleagues discovered the carving of a pale human face in an alcove. On touching the carving Terner was transported by powerful teleportation magic to a small room, a run down study. He was able to salvage three damaged and incomplete tomes from a bookshelf: A single grand looking volume in elaborate runic script, a less decorative volume in a language Terner did not understand and a third volume which appeared to be made up of different types of paper bound together. He was able to return to his friends using a similar carved face in the south wall of the Study. Arturio identified the third book as a collection of spells, which unusually included information relating to both divine and arcane magic.

Continuing into the a room with four broken statues Terner located a hidden stash of coins and a heavy Iron key. The party then returned to Snorri who confirmed the elaborate book they had found was a history of the Dwarven involvement in Stonehell. He was pleased to relate the Dwarves account of the years leading up to the devastation:

“The Dwarves fared the worst of all of the races, being driven by the Karag to exploit Thaeum’s resources; digging deeper, forced to exploit every last seam of gold and other resources. Many dwarves died in accidents or through poor treatment. The Karag also applied the same iron fist approach elsewhere. Attempts to force the Halflings and Elves to work the land on a large scale greatly affected the population of those less hardy races with relatively little return for the Karag. The atrocities committed against the Elves and Halflings were more visible to the Karag and some parts of society (mostly the serving classes) sympathised. The groups who sympathised with the prisoners blamed recent earth tremors on their God’s dissatisfaction with the way the Karag rulers were treating the other races and some helped prisoners escape. The majority of the Dwarves however, being practical folk, believed the tremors were caused by the excessive mining.

When prisoners did escape a group of rebel outlaws formed. Escaped prisoners were joined by some small communities of free folk. The rebels made raids on the Karag and as they grew in numbers so their ambition increased and the rebels began looking for a way to overthrow the Karag

A group of Dwarves working in a mine close to the Karag citadel came across a dormant Dragon. The Dwarves kept this news from their captors and negotiated with the Dragon to help free them from the tyranny of the Karag. The Dragon attacked the Karag Citadel but the Dwarves believe the dragon betrayed them and caused the volcanic eruption known as the Devastation."

The news of the Dragon unnerved the party. All the stories they had heard up until now led them to believe the devastation was either caused by natural phenomenon, the wrath of gods or some use of great magic…

Moving south through the network of corridors the party came across Orcish graffiti and on investigating nearby caves encountered a group of Kobolds. Kobolds were a once common native race of Thauem but are less common now than the Goblins and Orcs who arrived with the Karag. The Kobolds told Caluki of a running conflict between rival Goblin and Orc tribes. They explored the caves and investigated the corridors closer to the Goblin ‘gang territory’ A statue of a sphinx presented them with a riddle they quickly solved, yielding more treasure including an as yet unidentified wand or rod…

Exploring further the adventurers encountered more giant rats and a group of giant caterpillars, one of which bit Arturo, paralyzing him and resulting in the party returning to Father Dalgaard for healing and taking a further two days away (now on day 11)

Returning to the dungeon the group decided to investigate the caves where ‘Da Dragon’ lived, as referred to on a sign and also by the Kobold work party. They discovered what appeared to be a well shaft which (after investigation using the ‘Thief On The Rope’ technique) turned out to lead to a lower level. An enterprising soul (or souls) had stretched a piece of cloth tarpaulin underneath the shaft, apparently to catch any treasure or trinkets thrown into the shaft.

The party continued through the caves to find that the ‘Dragon’ was in fact a giant gecko. Failing to surprise the beast the adventurers put the lizard to sleep with magic and slaughtered it., accruing more treasure.

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Into Stonehell Dungeon (Session Six)

After further fruitless investigation of the tepid pool and its mysterious metallic sphere the party decided it was time to investigate Stonehell proper…

A flat stone plaque over the entrance reads:

“Beware All Who Enter
These Benighted Halls of Stone.
Within Lies No Solace
Nor Any Comforts of Home.
Toiling For Our Crimes
We Must Dig Where We Dwell,
With No Freedom or Mercy
In Our Vast Stony Hell.”

The group descended 100 feet to the first level of the dungeon. Many of the rooms were empty and appear to have been picked over many times. Caluki beat a hasty retreat after discovering green slime coming out of a water pump in a disused kitchen area. Whilst picking through piles of detritus in another room Arturio uncovered a nest of three spitting cobras. Jeddadiah and Caluki were both injured in the fight. Caluki resisted the venom from his bite but Jeddadiah was left blinded, forcing the party to retreat and seek Father Dalgaard’s advice and healing. They rested overnight (and are now on the seventh day of their trip)

Returning to the dungeon the party encountered another group of adventurers who appeared down on their luck. Rather than brutally murdering the sleeping group they elected to continue on their way and shortly thereafter blundered into a group of Orcs. Retreating back into the corridor to make a stand they defeated their attackers. Terner scouted ahead and discovered the rest of the orcs who they also killed.

Having sustained some injuries the group considered trying to recruit reinforcements but when they returned to the room where they had encountered the other party they discovered most appeared to have been murdered, the remaining party member stood naked, covered in his friends blood, with a look of madness in his eyes. He was quickly dispatched when he raised his sword in Jeddadiah’s direction.

The group returned to the common room and broke into a room in the north wall, rousing the Orc’s Captain from a dwarven brandy induced sleep only to cast another spell which returned him briefly to the land of nod until Terner slit his throat…

The party distributed their loot and healing potions and reluctantly left the Orc Captain’s finely crafted axe behind before exploring the surrounding corridors and discovering an elaborate sparking trap which they were able to disarm. Having briefly explored the network of corridors they decided to rest up.

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Stonehell Canyon (Session Five)

The party investigated the pool and waterfall near the western end of the canyon, discovering warm water cascading down the rocks and into a tepid pool. Terner explored the pool and discovered a mysterious metal sphere set into the rock at the bottom of the floor.

They also discovered a manmade network of tunnels and rooms which they explored encountering a rabid looking racoon and a spitting cobra. Secreted in a hidden compartment in a table leg the party find a ring which appears to hold magical properties. Father Dalgaard later tells them he suspects the magic is related to the mysterious sphere in the pool.

Jeddediah left an offering at the shrine of St Ras, found in the most complete of the ruined buildings in east of the canyon.

The remaining ruins, caves and animal lairs were explored and a crab spider and giant caterpillars encountered. The party recognised that the layout of one of the ruined buildings corresponded to a location that had been crudely mapped out amongst the graffiti on the gatehouse wall. Digging in that location they found a bag of mixed coin and the grave of what they presume to be a fallen adventurer.

As the light faded from the day our heroes visited a cave which they believed to be home to ‘Coal’, a black bear rumoured to bestow good luck on travellers and parties of adventurers. Caluki cast a sleep spell and whilst his colleagues backs were turned investigating the cave Terner thrust his two handed sword into the beast. A brief, bloody fight ensued and the bear was killed.

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Segue to Stonehell (Session Four)

Cornelius Knutt has been handed over to the town guard in Redwood Mill and has been kept under lock and key pending the outcome of a meeting of the town council.

Redwood Mill, like many other towns in Thauem is governed by a council who meet regularly. The town warden is elected by ballot, chairs the meetings and has the casting vote in the event of deadlock. Also present at the meeting:

Captain Arroway (Captain of the Town Guard)

Tom Stone, the Inn Keeper (representing the business folk)

Bill Fletcher, Farmer (representative of the farmers and folk outside the town walls)

Father Rasmus Bystrom (of The Brotherhood the The Everbright Flame)

Cornelius Knutt is also present, chained hand and foot and flanked on each side by a member of the town guard. Other guards are at the doors and on the stage. Also present is a large crowd of townsfolk.

The meeting begins Father Rasmus states the allegations and the party are introduced to the council as ‘investigators’ hired by the brotherhood. They hand over Knutt’s research notes the council are convinced that he did indeed plot to steal the ‘Clock’ which he intended to use for his own nefarious ends. The townsfolk are shocked and frightened to hear Knutt (and possible the adventurers?) may be guilty of ‘witchcraft’.

Father Rasmus, who is already aware of Knutt’s interest in the history of Thauem and the magic of the Thau Ele, tries to explain to the people of Redwood Mill that whilst magic is potentially dangerous it also has the power to achieve good. He uses the Brotherhood’s own divine healing as an example and suggests that they should be not so quick to condemn Knutt. He suggests that our brave adventurers might like to escort Father Dalgaard on an expedition to a place known as ‘Stonehell’ a mine, later turned into a prison by the Karag after they invaded Thauem. Father Dalgaard hopes the party may find evidence of the Thau Ele and information that might help discover what brought about ‘The Devastation’

The party’s journey to Stonehell is uneventful. Father Dalgaard sets camp outside the gate house while our brave adventurers investigate the forbidding building and the surrounding area.

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Time For A Change - Session Three

The large, thick oak double doors are old. Our intrepid thief checks for traps and listens at the crack between the doors. Confident that the way is safe Turner none the less suggests Jedediah open the door.

Th door opens into a large almost circular chamber. In the centre is a chalk circle approximately 6’ in diameter which glows with a mysterious purple light. It is surrounded by candles and on the opposite side of the circle is a metal framed contraption, approximately 5’ cubed, connected to the circle by an array of metal fittings and pipework. The clock!

On the other side of the room are the ruins of some tiered seating with a row of stone benches at ground level and two more tiers supported by pillars. Directly opposite the entrance the party used is a single closed door. The chamber resembles some kind of arena. Two goblins stand guard, one is swiftly dispatched with an arrow, the second runs towards the closed door but succumbs to Arturio’s charm spell.

The party ask their new ‘friend’ some questions, discovering that Cornelius Knutt disappeared into the circle shortly before they arrived. They also determine that there is a ‘big goblin’ called ‘The Beastmaster’ behind the single door near the tiered seating. The door is quickly barricaded and after dispatching the charmed goblin the adventurers decide to step into circle in pursuit of Knutt.

Temporarily blinded and disorientated by the purple light, when the adventurers regain their senses they find they are in the same location, but judging by the state of repair of the pillars and seats they quickly ascertain they have travelled back in time. The seats are occupied by people dressed in what our friends believe to be an older fashioned style of dress (specifically they are wearing lightweight robes fit for a warmer climate)

Once the audience overcomes their surprise at the sudden appearance of a group of ‘magicians’ an older, well dressed gentleman stands and order the party seized. They are taken to cage-like cell in a holding area near the arena and discover the prisoner in the next cell is Cornelius Knutt. Knutt is suprised to find the party are pursuing him and confirms they have travelled back in time. Due to an error on his part the portal has opened in a different time then he intended. Instead of opening to in empty cave during the rule of the Thau-Ele they have instead found themselves in a brutal fighting arena run by the Karag He implores the party to help him and admits he was wrong to take the clock.

Between them Knutt and the party plan to stage a fight to ‘entertain’ the audience and hopefully place them back in the arena when the portal is due to reopen. They suggest to the Karag that a battle between ‘powerful magicians’ would surely entertain the audience and the Karag agree but a guard points out that they must first build the anticipation for such a bout and insists that the party face a more traditional opponent first, throwing them into the arena against a fierce black bear. The adventurers defeat the bear, but not without taking some wounds. Healing is provided by the Karag and the excitement of the crowd buils.

As they return to the arena it is clear that our party are popular with a group of spectators that form the lower class of society, they are greeted with cheers and applause. When Cornelius Knutt arrives in the arena the crowd fall silent. He hold his hands in the air and as he starts to chant a fierce purple light shimmers and an Ogre, wielding a wooden club appears to step forward. The brave elf holds his ground but his arrow goes wide and neither the cleric or thief appear to be able to hit the Ogre (which is actually an illusion cast by Knutt) Eventually the Ogre strikes Jedediah and he falls to the ground, unmoving. Knutt defends himself from further (feined) attack with a shield spell and manoeuvres to place his Ogre/Illusion between him and the party just as the portal opens. In a desperate bid to escape and leave our brave friends stranded in the past he launches a magic missile at Arturio before stepping into the portal.

The party grab their fallen comrade and dash towards the portal before Knutt has time to close it forever. Once again they experience the same disorientation but move quickly to restrain Knutt who is now desperately trying to move the barricade and make his escape. Jedediah awakes from his incapacitation, unharmed by Knutt’s illusion and the party make arrangements to transport Knutt back to Redwood Mill and recover the clock to the temple.

Knutt is handed over to the town guard who will hold him until a meeting of the town elders can be convened to decide his fate.

The party visit Father Rasmus at the temple who is surprised when he discovers the use that Knutt planned for their prized clock. The party are rewarded for it’s safe return. They are also offered an additional incentive to share Knutt’s calendar research notes with the Brotherhood and it is agreed that the information will be placed in their library and made available to all. There is some discussion of the future of the clock, members of the brotherhood now fear that it might be misused in the future. Father Rasmus suggests that a decision can be delayed until after the town meeting which will decide Knutt’s fate. He asks the party for their trust and asks them not to disclose the details of Knutt’s experiments.

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Time For A Change - Session Two

Whilst resting at the inn in Redwood Mill our brave adventurers meet Caluki, an elf and fellow adventurer who offers his bow and sword in exchange for a share of the reward for recovering the clock.

As evening draws in the party investigate Cornelius Knutt’s home. With no sign that the house is occupied they take a chance and effect an unconventional entry. Arturio helps himself to a number of scrolls and scraps of parchment. They also discover a ledger full of figures which appears to correlate somehow to the Thauem calendar. Whilst investigating the calendar they notice that a second calendar device on the fireplace displays a different date. When the dates are matched a hidden door swings open revealing a stone stair leading to the cellar.

The cellar is Cornelius Knutt’s workshop and reading the research notes the adventurers discover he is trying to build a machine that will enable him to travel through time. In his notes Cornelius Knutt describes time as being “like a river and in my machine I shall sail upon the river, sailing even against the current if I can only find my compass” The compass he is looking for is apparently a device for measuring time accurately. He has tried using water clocks and candles with limited success.

The notes imply that Cornelius Knutt originally intended to travel back before the time of ‘the devastation’ to experience and research the world. He has practised magic for many years and is also a student of history. The Thau Ele (Thauem’s original native population of Elves) hold a particular fascination for him. As they read on the it becomes clear that these experiments appear to have affected the balance of his mind and the notes become less coherent. His final entries talk of the great power of the devastation and his desire to harness that power.

Chained in the corner of the cellar is the pathetic form of a deformed and damaged Goblin. Jedediah and Caluki show the poor beast some compassion and in return the Goblin assists them by directing them to the ‘quarry’ where they believe Knutt is continuing his experiments.

As the party approaches a large tree, a goblin sentry spots Turner, hitting him with a crossbow bolt before he disappears into cover. The party fight back, find an entrance and descend into a complex of ancient ruins, pushing through a determined but unsuccessful goblin defence. They discover an improvised sleeping area and follow the only, hidden exit from that space fighting more Goblins until they find themselves in front of a set of ancient, ornate double doors. The ground begins to vibrate.

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