Dawn Of The Storm

In Which the Climax Approaches
1 & 15 July, 2017

When we last left the party…

They had just emerged from the tunnels under Zaatir’s desert, having survived encountering a previously hidden species of insectoid tunnel-dwellers. Their journey from Dorkarat finally over, the last thing the group expected was to be greeted by a charging horde of orcs and half orcs. Acting swiftly, the party retreats back into the tunnels, waiting until they can no longer hear the shouting of orcish voices before venturing out. Unfortunately the orcs, far from leaving, have used the time given to set up an ambush. Caught by surprise, the party struggles briefly before the orcs let them go. It turns out they were waiting for minotaurs from Dorakarat and hadn’t been expecting other people to use the tunnels.

The orcs jovially lead the party back to Atarth, a city made of orc and half orc encampments. Safphron, as she does, gets the party started and soon the whole city is enjoying drinking and partying the night away. Morning dawns early and most of the citizens of Atarth are still sleeping off last night. Raltar, being fully rested because of his ranger training, wakes early and witnesses the orc Warlord Shog returning with his small hunting party. Shog welcomes Raltar, and offers supplies if the party save Nicholas go through trials to become honorary orcs. Deciding they don’t need the supplies and can’t afford to delay, the party thanks the citizens of Atarth and make haste on their continued journey towards Jaras.

Shortly into the second leg of their journey the group comes across a familiar face, though only Raltar and Nicholas recognize the suave magician. Arturo greets them warmly, engaging in a friendly bit of haggling as a few pieces of merchandise change hands. While Raltar and Safphron chat with Arturo, Nicholas and Doxi attempt to call their familiars, only for Nicholas to realize that Scooter is nowhere to be found. Doxi’s own familiar, an owl, shows up as expected but the young dragon remains a mystery. The Wanderer warns Nicholas that Scooter could have been snatched, or merely broke the connection of his own free will, since he was a sentient being before bonding to the orc warlock.

Off-put by the disappearance of his familiar, Nicholas rejoins the group just as a powerful magical force appears on the horizon. Ansraith approaches, as it appears he and Arturo had planned to meet up. The two powerful mages put their heads together, and with Ansraith’s experience and Arturo’s prowess with teleportation circles, they manage to whisk the party to where the suspected forgotten continent is. Upon arrival the group is glad to know that there is indeed a landmass where they believed it to be. It appears they have teleported into a ruined temple, complete with its own former teleportation circle. Before they can do much more than take stock of their immediate surroundings, however, three fiery sets of armor, reactivated by their intrusion, attack.

The armor, ancient as the once grand temple, is no match for the players and they make short work of the fiery constructs. Moving forward, they journey southwest, only to be ambushed for the second time by a pair of displacer beasts, finally recognizing the creature that Raltar had briefly seen well back in Adra and again when the little girl was murdered. Now much more well equipped for the situation, the group easily dispatches the two beasts, only for Nicholas to hear Doxi shouting about another figure approaching the cart. Upon describing the stranger, Nicholas bursts from the cart and indeed spots Fiiggle the kenku cowering under Doxi’s magical threat. The party interrogate the kenku, who appears terrified, and Fiiggle finally admits that he’s working for a dragonborn. He’ll take them in that direction, but has no desire to get close. He gives Nicholas a large, silvery white dragon scale, similar in color but larger in shape to the scales the party has already collected.

Reluctantly, Fiiggle begins to lead the way to his Master. After a few days of travel the party encounters a seemingly impassable lava lake. Raltar attempts to use the water stored in the bag of holding to create a path, but looses control of the bag and wastes most of the precious liquid. Thanks to Doxi’s quick thinking, however, the little gnome is able to use her ice magic to Ray of Frost a path across the molten lava, while Nicholas flies above and helps take weight off the cart. With only a few missteps the party manages to make it to the other side, and Fiiggle informs them that his Master is nearby. The kenku points them over a small lip, refusing to go any farther. The party looks, seeing what was likely once a great building, either a large home or small castle at some point, now merely a shell with a few of the sturdier walls still standing. In there, according to Fiiggle, they will find Firren Glyndark and the rest of the petrified dinner party guests.

Can the party trust Fiiggle? Is his Master responsible for kidnapping Firren Glyndark and the others? And why did the same displacer beasts follow our adventurers for so long? Why did Fiiggle hand over one of his precious dragon scales? Discover all that and more next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which The Party Traverses Tunnels
10 June, 2017

When we last left the party…

With Dorkarat recovering from the attack the party decided to move on towards their goal. First though they met a gnome named Doxi, who after discovering the party’s dragon familiar was drafted to join them in their adventures. Raltar, meanwhile, took the first steps to initiate trade with the minotaurian civilization. To aid in the party’s travels the citizens of Dorkarat escorted them to the tunnels underneath the desert that would take them to Atarth without needing to traverse the desert, as well as offering what provisions they could spare.

Their minotaurian guide, Siti, led the party for what felt like a day underground before leaving them with pictograph directions of which symbols to follow and ominous warnings of the dangers in the tunnels. Progressing through the tunnels the group notices a variety of images and symbols etched into the walls, and Nicholas is able to understand that it’s a historical record of the various different civilizations that came to inhabit Zaatir after being forced from their original homelands after the Dragon Wars, the dialect and language fluxuating slightly as they leave the tunnels immediately underneath Dorkarat and travel closer to Atarth.

Supposedly, their journey should only take a week of travel thanks to not being hampered by the rough desert conditions above. However time quickly becomes irrelevant in a situation where the only source of light is the light the party creates through arcane or mechanical means, and their days and nights rapidly fall victim to their own biological clocks as opposed to the movements of the sun. Regardless they soldier on, making good time through the darkened passageways. Their first “night” alone in the tunnels passes uneventfully, but soon enough the dangers of the caverns make themselves known.

It begins in the form of skeletal serpents, sinking their fangs deep into the party’s ankles. Or in Doxi’s case, her tiny gnome calves. They manage to vanquish the bone serpents, only to discover a large cavern deep within the tunnels housing some sort of slumbering reptilian giant. Erring on the side of caution, the party sneaks around the beast and continues their journey through the tunnels. As the group reaches the end of their time in the tunnels they’re beset by a swarm of large insectoid creatures, and the battle for their lives begins.

Thankfully Nicholas is the only one to fall unconscious, and before more of the party can fall they’re joined by a pair of thri-kreen riding atop more of the insectoid giants. The thri-kreen wrangle the creatures and escort the party back to their camp, where Nicholas makes contact with the queen and learns that the thri-kreen were forced underground lifetimes ago by those who moved onto the surface above, fostering a deep distrust of surface dwellers. The party manages to talk their way out of being eaten and the thri-kreen send them on their way with much reluctance, especially from Histu, one of their generals. Not too long later, the group finally emerges into the sweltering sunlight of the desert as they exit the tunnels under Zaatir. The first thing they see is obviously the sand and the sun, but the first thing they hear is the sound of a horde of orcs and half-orcs crescendoing over a nearby sand dune and charging directly for them.

Will the party survive being charged by a horde of orcs? Is Doxi regretting joining the party? And how much longer could it possibly take them to get to the southern continent? Those answers and more next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Curiosity Dooms Doxi
4 June, 2017

When we last left the party…

Their journey to Zaatir had come to an end and they’d begun to help the people of Dorkarat rebuild after Black Bear ravaged the city. With construction underway for the new pier and the party’s fish stand distributing provisions, the group starts to wonder exactly how they’re going to reach their final destination now that Hawthuum has run off with their boat. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the city, a scholarly gnome enters, weary from the desert and her travels. Doxi the gnome makes her way through the city, seeing here and there the signs of devestation. However it’s not until she reaches the shorefront that she truly appreciates just how much was lost in the raid.

It’s also here that she first spies the rest of the party. Nicholas, buried in paperwork as always, is a bit off to the side while Safphron and Raltar work at the fish cart. Roughly at this moment Scooter decides to grace the group with his presence, causing quite a bewildered reaction in the gnomish newcomer. Intrigued, Doxi approaches the party with the intent to investigate. Safphron and Raltar attempt to convince her that Scooter is a normal pseudodragon, despite his less than pseduodragon qualities, but alas to no avail. Finally conceding that there’s not much they can say, they give Doxi an ultimatum that either she becomes their traveling companion or they ensure that she cannot tell anyone about Scooter.

Choosing what she assumes is the lesser of two evils, Doxi agrees to join them on their quest. They then turn their attention seriously to heading south, going to talk to the mayor of Dorkarat about the best course of action. He suggests they head to Jaras, since that’s the next closest city with any significant sea travel. Unfortunately, as Nicholas knows, Jaras is all the way across the continent. Thankfully there are tunnels that connect Dorkarat to Atarth, halfway to Jaras, that would save them the suffering of travel in the desert. The minotaurs gather what resources they can spare to bequeath to the party in thanks for all their help and start to send them on their way.

Before they go however Raltar wants to attempt to open trade between Dorkarat and the elven cities. Surprised by this gesture from an elf, the minotaurs warily accept the paperwork provided, but the mayor insists that they must wait for a decision from the council on whether or not the trade will be in their best interests. Raltar accepts and informs that he will send a contingent of elves later to hear the city’s decision. Their business in Dorkarat concluded, the group gathers by the entrance to the tunnels and a minotaur begins to lead them, using a combustible powder to light their path as the group descends into the unknown darkness.

What awaits our adventurers within the desert tunnels? Will the minotaurs respond well to Raltar’s diplomatic envoy? How does Nicholas feel about traveling to a city of orcs? Discover this and more next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Nicholas Distributes Fish
11 December, 2016

When we last left the party…

They had just escaped an island intent on sapping them of their intellect, leaving Hawthuum and Scooter the worse for wear and Nicholas in possession of Scooter’s intelligence as they continue their journey towards Zaatir. After wrestling with the decision for a short while Nicholas relents and returns Scooter’s intellect to the dragon, to much rejoicing in the now not-so-small familiar. The rest of the journey is uneventful, and the group expects much needed rest in Zaatir once they make landfall.

Unfortunately for them, the city of Dorkarat where they come into port seems to be ablaze. The pier is in ruin and the entire shorefront roars in flame. Acting quickly, the party sprang to action, helping the minotaurian civilization put out the fire. Most of the damage seems centralized on the seafront, and through careful investigation the party discovers it was the work of Blackbear, Hawthuum’s life-long rival. According to witnesses the pirate landed and set the pier alight, pillaging people and livelihoods before making his grand getaway aboard his ship. The tale is only corroborated when the party discovers Blackbear’s symbol amid the rubble of the once great seafront.

Nicholas takes it upon himself to help the minotaurs most affected by the destruction of the pier. Since Zaatir is mostly desert they relied heavily on their fishing to sustain themselves, and Blackbear’s raid has left the food supplies decimated. Nicholas builds a small cart, sending Scooter to fish in order to stock it, and proceeds to distribute the food to the hungry minotaurs. There he also meets Asteron, a minotaurian child who’d been at the pier when Blackbear attacked. Meanwhile the rest of party continues the clean up, working to put things right so that Dorkarat can get back on its feet.

As night settles in on the city of Dorkarat, however, one adventurer can’t keep the raid nor the rage from his mind. Hawthuum decides then and there that Blackbear will not escape him again. Leaving the rest of the party, the seafaring dwarf takes a boat and sails away from Dorkarat and the group, into the unknown seas in search of his foe.

Why did Blackbear attack a seemingly random pier? Do the citizens of Dorkarat have more to fear from the pirates or the strange pseudodragon unchecked in their midst? What will the party’s next move be? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which The Party Visits Dumb Island
20 November, 2016

When we last left the party…

Raltar, Safphron, and Hawthuum had just defeated Scooter and overcome the siren’s mind control, following the familiar’s directions to find Nicholas. In a ship graveyard they finally come across their half-orc companion, who seems to have been through an adventure all his own. But time is short, and the party has to leave quickly before the schooling figures under the surface of the water get brave enough to surface. Hawthuum keeps a thunder wave at the ready and they make it back onto their own ship.

The next morning sees all four adventurers bright eyed and busy tailed. Of course that doesn’t mean that something hasn’t gone wrong, and quickly the four of them notice not only is the sky the wrong color, but they’re all seeing different colors. Nicholas postulates this must be some sort of mass illusion conjured by a powerful source, and having experience with illusions before the party manages to work through until they’re all at least seeing the same thing once again. Unfortunately the rest of the crew still needs to be convinced, and Cabin Boy takes the longest because he was happily in the middle of eating a carrot before realizing there was no carrot to eat.

That settled, Safphron joins Cabin Boy in the galley to cook while they others head above decks. Suddenly the boat comes to a screeching halt, and looking over the side reveals that massive vines have caught the vessel in their grasp. Nicholas, following the trail of magic, discovers that Raltar in an attempt to explore his magical abilities, has unwittingly unleashed a very strong ensnaring strike upon them all. Raltar quickly banishes the vines, and the group resumes their voyage.

Hawthuum and Raltar decide to mediate for awhile, and each of them have different visions. Hawthuum sees Blackbear, still up to his nasty tricks, and still loose on the high seas. Raltar on the other hand sees his kingdom as a forest fire breaks out, just to be extinguished by the same dragon they’ve been seeing more and more of as their time moves on. Meanwhile, Safphron comes up from below with cookies as the dwarf and elf are trying to make sense of their visions. Nicholas receives a scroll from his school, letting him know that he’s passed his term paper, and Raltar descends below to cook their full meal.

Nicholas, ecstatic about passing, has Safphron make him a strong celebratory drink and gets rather intoxicated. While in that state he rambles about hard light, hard dark, and hard twilight, while complaining about Arthurix – a rival student. Raltar dutifully takes notes, and Nicholas passes out after not too long. A little while later the crew spots land, which wakes Nicholas. Using detect magic on the island to discern if there’s any magical danger there, Nicholas discovers that Raltar and Hawthuum both have the wrong magical auras; gold and pink instead of green and blue, respectfully. After freaking out for a little bit they manage to get past the second illusion just as they make landfall.

Stepping onto the island, immediately the four of them feel less intelligent. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that the island is somehow sapping their intelligence, and they beat a hasty retreat. Thankfully only Hawthuum and Scooter got hit super hard by the enchantment, and Nicholas is able to collect and redistribute the party’s information mentally. He keeps Scooter’s intelligence for the moment, struggling with his thirst to know and wanting to give his familiar back his brains. Raltar, meanwhile, makes a call to Barry and Lillian trying to see what the fire and dragon was about. While they acknowledge the fire, neither of them recall seeing a dragon in the area. With more questions than answers, the party hopes that their landing in Zaatir isn’t too far off.

Will Nicholas keep Scooter’s knowledge for himself? Why didn’t anyone in Edron spot a dragon putting out the fire? And is Blackbear closing in? Only time will tell on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which The Part Sets Sail
30 October, 2016

When we last left the party…

They had rid Adra’s lighthouse of demons and discovered the goblin Rixold who’d been the lighthouse’s caretaker for the last number of years. They also discovered just how hateful of goblins Adra is, and Safphon went on a nearly one-woman social justice spree against the mayor and her guard. Nicholas had gone off to a bar to get hammered so he didn’t have to worry about things like racism for five minutes while the rest of the party cleaned up the lighthouse and got it in working order again, begrudgingly working alongside the guards. The staircase safety rail was given special consideration and renovations on the lighthouse to make it overall more worker-friendly began.

Hesitantly certain that the city would actually make good on their promises to renovate the lighthouse, the group fetches Nicholas and returns to Hawthuum’s ship, where they leave the half orc to rest and return to shore to track down Silio so they can head out to sea. They eventually find him in a bar attempting to swindle some other customers. Tensions finally boil over and a bar fight breaks out, with the party in the middle. Through a convoluted method of swinging on chandeliers and Hawthuum setting off a fog cloud, they manage to escape with a more or less intact Silio.

They return to the docks and quickly get underway. Soon enough Hawthuum is in his element and the party is well on their way to crossing the southern waters. With not much to do since the ship is already crewed, Raltar, Safphron, and Nicholas go about their own interests. Raltar and Safphron spend some time brewing while Nicholas locks himself in his room to finish a number of his term papers. While chatting, Raltar and Safphron start to speculate on the identity of the dragon, who they now believe is hiding among other non-dragon races.

Both of them come to a conclusion that the dragon must be posing as a powerful sorcerer and keeping tabs on them, which narrows it down to Arturo the shopkeeping mogul. They take their theory to Hawthuum, and remember that Nicholas has armor with Arturo’s brand on it. Like excited schoolchildren they try to get Nicholas to come out and theorize with them, but he just shoves his armor out the door and closes it again in an attempt for some peace and quiet. Hawthuum tries and fails to dispel the magic on the armor, and the group dejectedly gives up.

Later that night the three of them are awoken by a strange song on the night air. Using Raltar’s knowledge of natural creatures and Hawthuum’s experience with the sea they determine the answer is sirens and take precautionary measures to stuff their ears. Searching out the crew to protect them, they discover that Cabin Boy, who’s true name is Bartholomew, has some interesting sock puppets and Silio can sleep through anything. When they attempt to find Nicholas, the other three discover that he’s disappeared. But before they can act on that information Scooter, who they forgot about, starts beaming the song into their minds. Frantically they try to subdue Nicholas’ familiar and finally manage it. A remorseful Scooter leads them to a ship graveyard where they’re attacked by multiple hags before turning to see Nicholas standing in the doorway of a half sunken ship.

What was Nicholas doing on that ship? When did Scooter become strong enough to pose a credible threat to the party? Is Arturo the silver dragon? Tune in next week for answers on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which The Party Fights the System
23 October, 2016

When we last left the party…

They had just reached Adra and spent the day shopping for supplies in preparation for their journey across the southern ocean. While there they discovered that the locals have been having issues with the lighthouse in that it’s been deactivated for some time now. Baffled as to why the government hasn’t acted, the group decides to go to the lighthouse and sort out the problem themselves.

Upon reaching the lighthouse, however, they discover the door to be locked. Not wanting to damage it, they debate on how best to get it open for a minute, before deciding to try coming in from above. Raltar shoots an arrow with a rope on it up there, and Hawthuum jumps nearly to the railing with the aid of his boots. Together the dwarf and the elf scale the lighthouse and land on the observation deck while Nicholas and Safphron stay below. Hawthuum and Raltar discover that the light part of the lighthouse itself doesn’t seem damaged, despite not being active. They also discover a trapdoor and start trying to get it open.

Meanwhile on the ground Nicholas and Safphron get tired of waiting for the other two and Nicholas blasts the door off its hinge. Treading carefully, they head inside only to be attacked by phantasmal spiders and demons. Hawthuum and Raltar finally get the trapdoor opened and find enemies of their own to fight on the second floor. Both halves of the party make their way towards one another, decimating any foes in their way until none remain. Unfortunately one of the displacer beasts escapes and rather than attempt a fruitless chase they settle for exploring the lighthouse.

In their exploration the party discovers a goblin bound and gagged in one of the lower level closets. Untying him, the goblin nervously reveals that his name is Rixold and he’s been secretly maintaining the lighthouse for most of his life so that he can make his big brother proud. As far as the demons go, he has no idea why or how they came to be in the building. The party agrees to stay and help clean up, and Safphron and Raltar go to the town hall to try and get some answers.

Once there Safphron demands to see justice done and all but comes to blows with Aslyn, the mayor, over how she’s running the city. Aslyn claims she’s sent multiple parties to attempt and see what was wrong with the lighthouse, and while she thanks the group for clearing it out and assures them an investigation will take place, she also demands that the goblin has to go. Raltar uses his position as king and the opportunity for trade to try and sway her, with minor success. Not able to stand her close-mindedness, the two adventurers return to Rixold and Raltar offers him a job as Barry’s secretary. Rixold hesitantly accepts, and a party of elves arrive from the kingdom to take him as a group of guards led by Stu from Adra arrive to assist the clean up effort. Nicholas, fed up, leaves the rest of the party to clean and goes off to get drunk.

How can a secretary have a secretary? Why are goblins banned in Adra? Will the party slaughter Stu the captain of the guard for being such an asshole? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which There's A Full Moon
16 October, 2016

When we last left the party…

They had just rescued Hawthuum and Safphron from a mind-twisting enchantment and discovered an underground lake before retreating to take rest in a safer part of the cavern. With the false dragon defeated and still no end to the harrowing experience in sight, the group tries not to think about the eventuality that perhaps there is no escape to this particular cavern. After a significant rest during which Raltar stood guard they group moves out again, heading for the only path they know of that they have not yet traveled.

Rounding the corner, they see two minotaurs standing in front of two passage ways. One path leads to certain doom, the other to freedom. The party is allowed to ask a single minotaur a single question. Putting their heads together they uncover the answer and escape the twisting tunnels of the dragon’s lair. Emerging into the sunlight the group discovers that they are on the edge of the forest, well outside the kingdom they began in, and make their way to the port city of Adra. Unfortunately night is fast approaching since they lost track of time underground, and before reaching the city they are forced to rest for the night.

The party settles down for the night, with Raltar taking watch. As the full moon rises Safphron feels an unpleasantly familiar sensation. Fearing for her friends, the half elf flees the camp as she changes. Raltar spots her leaving in the darkness and wakes the rest of the group, who give chase. As they catch up they realize their friend has become a hulking, bestial tiger. And she looks hungry. Hawthuum, at Nicholas’ behest, attempts to remove the weretiger curse, to no avail. Raltar, ever the ranger, takes it upon himself to try and tame Safphron’s tiger form.

A number of pieces of meat later, Safphron’s tiger form no longer looks ready to rip the whole party apart, and before too long the night passes. The group confronts her gently, and she reveals that this is an ongoing condition that she doesn’t know how to handle and didn’t want them to find out about. Thankfully the boys don’t press too hard, and Raltar even assures Safphron that he’s made friends with her tiger side. They continue to Adra, finally reaching the city. Hawthuum leads the way to his ship where they meet the three man crew. There’s Griggan, the first mate; Silio, the crook navigator; and Cabin Boy.

Settling their things in the ship, the group heads into town to restock and get ready for the long voyage. They buy a number of supplies, including cloaks for each of them, and Hawthuum purchases boots that allow him to jump an extraordinary distance. Their errands done, they head back to the ship and mentally prepping themselves for the journey ahead.

What will the journey have in store for our heroes? Do the cloaks make them look dashing? Why is the lighthouse dark? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which We Play Dungeons and Dragons
9 October, 2016

When we last left the party…

Nicholas and Safphron had explored the length of a mural on the cave walls and discovered what appeared to be a nesting chamber. Meanwhile Raltar and Hawthuum aggravated the seeming entirety of the the cavern’s occupants, fighting to their last before being saved by the arrival of the rest of the party. Regrouping, the party decides to take a short rest and consider their options before moving forward.

Once rested and less close to death, Raltar spends some of his time skinning the owl bear and preparing it to become a cloak for one of the party while the others discuss their next course of action. Nicholas and Safphron decide to take the others back to the nesting area, wanting to show their friends just what they found. Raltar and Hawthuum, excited by the coins scattered about, try to gather them only to discover they belong to a civilization unrecognized by any of the party members. Raltar especially feels saddened by this and when the rest of the group decides to continue deeper he proclaims that he wants to go back to where he and Hawthuum fought the mushroom people.

After talking it out Raltar instead goes with the group, and the next set of rooms they encounter contains what appears to be a study connected to a pantry of sorts. On the desk is a book, which Nicholas discovered is magic through his detect magic spell. A brief argument ensues about whether or not they should touch the book, only ended when Raltar does in fact touch the tome and it rises into the air. Behind them the passage out seals closed with a silvery mist, and the book charges them with answering five riddles, one each and then one as a group.

For the most part the riddles go smoothly, until Hawthuum’s leaves the entire group stunned. The dwarf nearly dies twice attempting various answers, but eventually they figure it out and manage to escape the room. Arguing about whether to go on or try to take a long rest, the party holes up in the study for a quick long rest before continuing deeper into the twisting passages. Emerging into the next room Hawthuum and Raltar spot something gold on the other side and start moving towards it quickly, only to prompt Safphron and Nicholas to follow.

As they hit the center of the room there’s a roar from behind them, and an angry silver dragon blocks their only escape route. After sending Scooter failed to yield pleasant results, the party retreats to the treasure horde room and trap the dragon with a variety of magical spells while Raltar helps whittle it down through his bow. Part way through the fight pseudo dragons appear and attack Nicholas, only to easily be dispatched by the party. As the silver dragon falls, Nicholas is the only one to see it dissipate into nothing, and the spells clear to reveal an empty room. Leaving Nicholas to freak out about what that means, the others loot the horde and come away much richer and powered up. Scooter, after being re-summoned, tries to figure out why the bodies littered about of his own kind won’t wake.

Continuing their escape attempt, the party reaches the last room in this direction, only for Hawthuum and Safphron to fall victim to an enchantment that muddles and twists their senses. Hawthuum dispels magic and the three of them manage to snap Safphron out of her enchanted state. Again exhausted, they retreat for another rest in a safer part of the caverns.

Will the party ever find their way out of this so-called escape tunnel? Where did that silver dragon come from? Who put all these traps and monsters down here? Find out next week on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which There's A and B Teams
2 October, 2016

When we last left the party…

They’d just found both Barry and Lillian in life-threatening situations and managed to get their friends back to the palace healers before retiring for the night after a good long soak in the hot tub. Knowing Lillian won’t be able to go through with the wedding ceremony for a day at least, they assume they’ll have some time to figure out what their next move is after Raltar is wed and free to leave the forest.

Sadly for them, Barry seems to have other ideas. The gnome wakes Raltar in the midst of the night and half convinces, half begs the sleepy king to get married that day regardless. Lillian is strong, she’ll survive. Raltar agrees and the dawn brings with it an incredible breakfast feast, or breakfeast, to commemorate the royal wedding. The party members are given brief pamphlets describing the wedding events, and then a corrected pamphlet with only breakfeast and the actual ceremony on it.

The moment breakfeast ends Raltar, Nicholas, and Hawthuum are rushed to get their formalwear on and to the alter, where Lillian’s presumed bridesmaids are already waiting for her. Nicholas, a bit confused as to why the alter looks like just a large tree root, detects magic on it only to see what may very well be one of the hearts of the forest. A hush falls over the crowd, and Lillian enters. She wears no gown, only a snow white ranger uniform, custom made and immaculately clean but still fully functional for combat should the need arise. A half cape covers her injured arm from the public, but despite her injuries she walks to the alter slowly and of her own accord. Barry accompanies her down the aisle, but the small gnome wouldn’t be able to support her weight if he tried.

With Lillian and Raltar finally at the alter, Barry officiates the ceremony and the two are wed. Hawthuum tests the cake for poison, finding none, and the wedding breaks up into the congratulatory reception. During this time Barry takes Raltar aside and tells him to gather his friends. With he rest of the party in tow Raltar follows Barry to what the gnome explains is a secret way out of the palace. They have a job to do and it won’t get done here. Now that Lillian is officially of Raltar’s kin, she can protect the forest in his absence and he is free to leave.

At long last, the party descends into a cavernous tunnel system made almost entirely out of the thick roots of the trees of the elven city. They discover a room filled with mostly old forgotten materials and knick knacks, one of which is a scroll written in another language that Nicholas manages to decode for the party. Shortly after they nearly stumble into a section of the hallway cordoned off by various symbols etched into the cracked pieces of the path. Raltar and Safphron make their way across by simply climbing along the ceiling, while Hawthuum uses magic to traverse safely. Nicholas, curious as ever and recognizing the same language from the scroll, decides to attempt and solve it.

Leaving Nicholas to his puzzle, Raltar and Safphron go a bit farther into the tunnel, discovering branching paths and a large, intricate mural. Between Raltar and Nicholas they use the mural and Nicholas’ waning spell to determine the safe way across, spelling out ‘Bareznth’. Nicholas, fascinated, continues to inspect the mural while Hawthuum and Raltar discover a room with a springy, loamy floor. They enjoy their bouncing while Safphron and Nicholas continue exploring down the mural. The pair eventually come to a chamber filled with blankets and moss and other nesting material, coins and scales scattered admit the softer objects. They beat a hasty retreat back to the mural proper.

Hawthuum and Raltar, meanwhile, have grown board of their little game and take a different path through the tunnel. They incur the wrath of a black, oozing blob, an bear-sized creature with the face of an owl, and a slithering, skeletal serpent. After dispatching those they continue into another room, this time threatening and engaging in combat with six mushroom-like creatures. Nearly defeated, they survive only as Safphron and Nicholas rejoin the fight, and the party regroups by the seemingly safe mural to discuss their next move.

What other dangers lie in the escape tunnel? How did Barry even know the tunnel existed? Could the clues be right under the adventurer’s very noses? Find out next week on Dawn of the Storm!

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