Edge of the Empire

A declaration of war

Session Date: 26Feb2012
Game Dates Covered: 4 Leatfturn -9 Leafturn

The time since the heroes return has been filled with celebration, feasting, and merriment. The dwarfs of the hold feel as if nothing can threaten them with such mighty heroes at their defense. Ulrik begins the planning for the arrival of more dwarfs from his home, and Orin works on training the scouts and rangers of the hold. They can not allow themselves to be caught unawares when the greenskins arrive. Flint and his windriders do a good job of learning the ropes of the winds in the area. An engineer by the name of Therrik presents to the hold a new type of goggle which allows vision at long distances while protecting the wearer from the winds that whip at the altitude the fly at.

The windriders inform the hold that a caravan of humans approaches. At last the Empire has made good on their promises, more wealth makes its way to the hold. Praetor Centurious Aurelius leads the new men to to the hold, the soldiers mostly leave. When the Praetor requests to live underground, the heroes tell him that their secrets exist only for dwarfen eyes, or those dwarfs have considered friends. Understanding, Aurelius sends off all the men. He does how ever send a message for his wife and son to join him. The ambassador for the human lands is being made comfortable in his dwarfen home. Ceilings are made taller, furniture is changed.

While his home is being prepared Aurelius asks to see the rest of the Undercity. The tour proceeds peacefully, with the human being shown the common areas and the craft space of the blacksmiths; the other guilds had no desire to have a human in their secrets. The procession approaches the temple, when a messanger approaches them out of breath.

“Lords a ship approaches from up river”

“Up river?” comes the confused response

“Yes my lord a ship of unknown pattern approaches our docks. Our fishermen, have evacuated the area with all haste.”

“Sound the horn prepare the hold for defense.”

The horn of defense echoes throughout the entirety of the hold, and the dwarfs move with practiced efficiency. Women and children moving to the residential areas preparing to defend them as a last resort the men arm themselves and assemble in the main courtyard. The Praetor moves to his home, trusting the dwarfs with his defense.

The gathered dwarfs look at their heroes. The founders of the hold, the protectors of their daughters, the dragon slayers; the heroes discuss for a moment. Calling on ten quarrellers and Arren they head out at a double time march. Kardin and Thorvarr stay behind to organize the defense in case this turns out to be a full invasion.

Arriving at the doors that they had last seen when Lithian was still with them. They find them once again barred against their entrance. No time for subtlety this time, Flint is called up; no door has ever denied him access before, at least not after he introduces to his friends Dina and Mite. The doors fly back open, Nyxel starts to do the math for the repairs in her head. At dock there is a ship, it appears vaguely like some blueprints that Flint had seen in the engineers collage for an Ironclad vessel. Its like nothing the heroes had ever seen before. On the docks around the ship several duergar are standing at attention. Valoria wastes no time to cast detect invisibility, she wont let another of her friends be caught unaware by the tricks of their dark cousins. Orin calls on his nature magic, and seaweed rises from the lake to entangle not only the ones that they see but a few invisible ones as well. The duergar who are not entangled run to the ship.

The party attacks with the vengeance of their ancestors decimating the duergar on the docks, Flint uses his new hackbuck to begin damaging the ship. Foresight well used. No sooner had battle engaged than the ship began to try and escape. Knowing full well that they can not allow the duergar to warn their friends to the south. The enlarged Ulrik, Okai, and Katja on Samson waste no time in leaping from the docks to the ship, with varying degrees of success. Katja ends up in the water, Growlix runs to her aid. Okai and Ulrik struggle to make it on to the ship. When at last they get their footing they see a closed hatch. Okai calls on his gods and attempts to rip it off the hinges, only to be thrown off balance when it is opened from within. A duergar mage casts grease on the top of the ship making it even more difficult to get footing. This nearly causes the barbarian to fall off, only his keen reflexes allow him to remain in the battle.

While the battle on the ship itself rages the forces on the shore continue to rain destruction on their fleeing enemies knowing if the ship reaches the tunnel their friends will be captured. In the hail of lead, alchemical potions, and arrows the propulsion wheel is knocked fully off its axle causing the ironclad to slow down. The ship is listing badly as the shore forces decide to board the barge and chase down the fleeing duergar vessel.

Jumping into the hatch Ulrik finds himself surrounded by duergar. Laughing madly as their weapons bounce of shield and armour he swings about killing one of his foes. Okai makes the same jump…landing directly on top of the ironbreaker. Collapsing to the floor the two man boarding finds themselves assaulted by a flurry of blows as the duergar attempt to take advantage of their mistake. Ulrik pushes them back with wide sweeps of bardiche and shield, killing another. Roaring in rage Okai kips up swinging his sword with all his might removing three heads from the shoulders of surprised dark dwarfs. His triumphant roar is cut short as a crossbow bolt whistles towards his chest, at the last moment a tower shield darts forward and deflects the bolt. The grinning barbarian stares at his next two targets, laughing madly and calling out to Tempus he charges forward just in time to see the door close and lock as the duergar fumble over themselves to escape the whirlwinds of destruction that have gotten onto their ship. Ripping the door from the hinges he opens it enough that a tower shield leads the descent down the tunnel. Two crossbow bolts are fired pinging harmlessly, almost comically off the shield in attempt to stop their death. The dark dwarfs die crushed beneath the weight and momentum of a dwarf in full battle kit.

Outside the others ram into the ship stopping its forward momentum entirely, they begin to board the ship hoping to get inside in time to help their comrades.

Opening the next door Ulrik and Okai find themselves in a summoning room with a crystal sphere in it. A priest seems to be speaking with a figure in the sphere. Okai ends the priests pleads for back up and Ulrik walks up to see what new foe appears.

“Who dears assault the ships of the True Dwarfen High King!”

“Someone who would only bow to a king that is not a traitor and a coward down to their very blood, true dwarfs leave in the mountains not beneath them.”

“You have made a foolish mistake, you have made war my peop…”

Interrupting “ You are the fool if you ever thought the war was over False King, true dwarfs leave no grudge unpaid”

The globe goes dark at the last insult.

Session ends: The hold is preparing for war, the ironclad is being repaired to serve as a hidden vessel for the assault on the duergar. Each party member will take 5 dwarfs with them to form the assault on the enemy outpost.

Player This session Total
Orin 275 16165
Okai 250 15875
Ulrik 250 16310
Thorvar 200 15430
Nyxel 250 16440
Valoria 300 15670
Katja 250 15590
Kardin 200 15575
Flint 265 15405
View
The Fire that Burns

Session Date: 19Feb2012
Game Dates Covered: 23 of Field’s Moon- 1 of Leaf Turn

Three days have passed since Dain’s arrival. Orin wakes to check on Maritza to find her missing. There is a letter pinned to his door by a small crystal dagger. Somewhere in the hold dwarfen mothers cry out. Their children are gone.
Orin looks down at the note. In a writing that is shaking from the effort to make the letters large and slow the following note is scribbled.

Stupid Slow dwarfs,
If you ever want to see pretty little girls again, you will have to find the lair of the great Aurrastylax, destroyer of all that stands in his way. You killed my last master, but you will not be so lucky this time. Your legs will never be quick enough to avoid the fire that melts bones! Aurrastylax will feast on your marrow and take vengeance on you for the harm you caused his most loyal servant!
Your sooooo slow!
Nixryxus

The heroes of the hold meet in Ulrik’s war room to decide how to handle this heinous act against their home. In the common chamber below, the people of Kazad Ongvarad wait for the party to give them hope. Orin and Kardin glance over the map of the area as the others discuss plans to prepare for a dragon hunt. There is only one place within the area that a red dragon may choose as their lair. While Ulrik and Kardin head below to speak with the other dwarfs, Orin and Okai search for any tracks that may confirm the location the children were taken. Nothing. The children seem to have just vanished from their beds. The foul sprite’s tracks were found heading away from the mountain, but the adventurers are not fooled. The treacherous little creature is just trying to lead them astray.

Packing three carts with the tools that will give them an advantage against the beast they head off. Glorriyd, Garren, and Fredgar accompany the party to help with the transporting of the carts. The road is clear as they enter the badlands. The horrid scrub plains stretch out before them, the dwarfs shudder at the sheer openness of it all. Okai relishes the breeze as it cuts through the party. The freedom of the plains is easy to miss in the confines of the hold. This is the natural place of his people. Where threats can be seen from a distance and met head on. The normally boisterous barbarian is quiet as they travel; he thinks of his childhood, of family taken from him by the greenskins that even now threaten his new friends.

Valoria curses as the cart bounces yet again, how is she ever supposed to get any of these potions done if the drivers won’t keep the cart steady? Don’t they know that this could be the difference between life and death? Ancestors alone know how potent this dragon’s breath will be. She looks up; a whistling sound is heard outside, followed by a huge crash. The wagon lurches violently to one side. In the distance she hears the guttering war cries of greenskins. Loading her crossbow the alchemist prepares herself to defend her lab, and her friends.

Thorvarr has been riding in the back of the cart for what seemed like days. Sharpening his axe, meditating on his lessons, and planning every strike he is going to bring onto the foul beast that harmed the children of the hold. He is mid-stroke, the whetstone flush against his axe, when the cart flips into the air. The runecaster is tumbled beard over bollocks as he falls out of the cart and sees the orcs charging, mad grin lighting his face he charges into them. Slinging spells and shouting curses he slays greenskins left and right.

Spotting the ambush ahead Ulrik places himself between the charging orcs and the caravan. He strikes down the savages as they ride by. The gunslingers ride off guns blasting and dynamite in hand, ready to put an end to the flying grot menace. Nyxel acts as artillery battery magic flying through the air, striking the orcs as they slam into the second cart knocking it to the ground. The fight ends quickly as the party rounds up the orcs, it isn’t until they are all dead that anyone notices that Okai is locked in a death grip with one of the orcs. Each giant enraged strike each other violently, trying to choke the life light out of their hated foe. The orc gashes Okai with his tusks, Okai head butts him in response causing the greenskin to go cross-eyed. With a final battle cry to Tempus Okai shatters the orcs spine, lifts him over his head and tosses him over the edge of the small hill they had been fighting on. The rest of the party looking on unsure of what do to as the barbarian nearly collapses as the post rage fatigue sets in.

The dwarfs look away from their friend letting him recover from the fight alone. Kardin casts his healing spells throughout the party and the mounts so that everyone is ready to continue the journey as soon as the repairs are done on the cart. The repairs done the party manages to make a little bit more progress that evening, and catch up with Orin who had already spotted the mountain, while scouting ahead. That evening songs of grudges are sung around the fire. Grudges settled in blood, and grudges that still need to be paid. The somber tone of the dwarfen music prepares the party for the vengeance that they will bring down upon the craven monster that thought it could take the children of the hold, and not feel the bite of dwarfen axe on scaled flesh.

Morning comes, and the small mountain the dragon is using as a lair is clearly visible on the horizon. The party hides the carts, and leaves the other dwarfs behind to guard them. Proceeding on foot they begin to see signs of the dragon’s predation on the area, blast marks where unfortunate prey was slaughtered with its full might. In the distance the red form can barely be seen perched on his mountain, each hero feels the wyrm’s gaze fall upon them. The creature takes flight, off on some unknown purpose as the party continues its march towards its lair.

Several hours pass as the march continues, and in the distance three ogres become clearly visible. They are marching on intercept course with the party. Sharp eyes spot flanking parties of ogres two on each side. Flint notices that they appear to be carrying some sort of crude cannon. Without any word the party splits into attack positions, each member firing at the ogres trying to flank them to the left. Ulrik drinks a potion and brings himself to the same size as the enemies in front of him. The Thane vows to hold the front line while his companions deal with the flanking forces. Halfling courage takes control of Katja and she charges forward taking her role as a harassment force seriously she fires at the ogres ahead of her to get their attention. Flint races up taking his firing position and sending Lord Darian ahead to keep that doorknob of a Halfling safe from her own insanity.

Combat rages across the plains, the thunder of gunshots, the roar of battle cries, and screams of pain. Each combatant locked to the death as they dodge and weave through the chaos that has erupted. Kardin runs from ally to ally making sure Valaya’s watchful stare does not leave them. Ulrik places himself between three ogres and the priest so that he can function safely. Valoria is a flurry of magic and bombs as she and her walking chest lay waste, and bring healing in equal measures. Each member of the party acting as a team watching each other’s backs to make sure the monsters do not get the upper hand.

Far on the left flank, Katja continues her harassment while Lord Darian keeps the ogres distracted. The blows from the giants slam into the brave bears sides each one taking its toll upon him, roaring in pain and refusing to be moved from his defense. The Lord strikes out at one ogre gutting him with the razor sharp claws nature provided him. With bullets zinging into the ogre’s hide he manages to land a final blow before dying felling Lord Darian, the protector falls over as the final shot flies over him finishing off the threat to his ward. Flint cries out in grief rushing to his friend heedless of the danger around him. In that moment a roar is heard from above, at last Aurrastylax has shown himself, now the battle begins in earnest. Diving down the dragon unleashes the fires of creation, the party barely avoiding its full wrath. Only Nyxel appears unscathed. Flint stands chewing on his beard in rage, tears streaming down his face he fires round after round into the dragon.

Ulrik continues to hold the line, each parry and riposte shows him as the stronger foe. The ogres are unsure how to close the distance enough to make a solid blow. Orin fires dynamite arrows into the dragon and the beast howls in pain as his scales rain down from above. Thorvarr takes a strong blow from the ogre he is holding off and falls to the ground bleeding. Only quick action by Valoria keeps him from joining his ancestors before his time. Kardin begins to flag as his magic begins to run out. Nyxel draws her bow hoping to find a chink in the dragons armour.

A crashing drive brings the dragon behind Ulrik; he lashes out with a wicked bite, leaving the prince open to the attacks of the ogres. Battered and bruised he continues to fight killing two of the ogres. Thorvarr stands as the healing courses through him killing another of the ogres, only two ogres and the dragon remain. Aurrastylax notices the dwarf priest at last, and tears into him with the fury of a volcano rending his armour and leaving him broken and bloody on the floor. Again the alchemist appears she seems to be everywhere at once, healing both Ulrik and Kardin back into the fight. Her actions manage to keep everyone in the fight long enough for another desperate prayer to Valaya. Healing energy courses through everyone. The last of the ogres fall down dead, before the party can cheer in excitement they hear the sharp intake of breath. Within the dragons maw death begins to form. A battle cry from the distance, a single gunshot, a tiny bullet entering the inferno that is the dragon’s mouth, and down goes the beast. His final breath unfinished his evil deeds ended, and one more grudge against the Lone Wolf repaid.

The heroes do not even stop the moment to heal themselves fully the run to the dragon’s lair in hopes that the sprite will not cause harm to the children. They arrive just in time to hear the evil quickling enter before them. Rather than take the risk that they will kill him he simply taunts and flees down the mountain. The dwarfs run and free their children, loading the cart quickly they race home before anything else can catch them with their precious cargo.

The cheers of the dwarfs were almost heard in Littlefoot as they celebrate the death of a threat, and the return of their daughters. In that moment everything is perfect. They are triumphant, they are a clan, and anything that threatens the hold will have to fight through this fellowship before it hurts their citizens.
Session Ends: Feasting throughout the hold. Everyone is happy with what has happened. Next session will start two weeks later. Everyone hits level 5.

Player This session Total
Orin 3750 15890
Okai 3750 15625
Ulrik 4000 16060
Thorvar 3750 15230
Nyxel 3750 16190
Valoria 3750 15370
Katja 3750 15340
Kardin 3750 15375
Flint 3750 15140
View
Heated Negotiations

Session Date: 12Feb2012
Game Dates Covered: 18 Midsummer- 20 Field’s Moon

The morning after the hag’s treachery is undone, the dwarf wake to find an army approaching from the distance. Alarms are rung, the holds springs to action, every dwarf gets ready for war. The humans have come to reclaim what they feel is rightfully theirs. Orin and Ulrik stand at the bridge to the hold as six heavy cavalry ride up. The Centurion Marcus presents the two dwarfs with the purpose for this visit; the complete eviction of the dwarfs, and the return of Blackmoor to the Empire.

The dwarfs return to the war room to discuss the new threat to their home. Nyxel and Katja are the most insulted by the human’s intrusion. This is their home, they fought for it who does this upstart think he is! The discussion last long into the night, each hero putting their input into how best to delay the negotiations so that they may gain the other hand. Okai is for simply driving the humans from the lands they have no claim to. It takes much talking to calm him down.

The next day a great feast is prepared the emissaries of the Empire are invited, and much merriment is had. Hours are passed as the feast is done in proper dwarfen manner. Lucien and the Thalos enjoy the dwarf’s hospitality. Marcus clearly begins to lose his patience as the night wears on. Finally, the young paladin loses his patience and demands that the talks begin. His dwarfen hosts feign insult and say there is no way the talks can begin this late. It would be most unseemly, but that such a great feast is the perfect way to begin such talks. The talks will begin in earnest in the morning, after the humans have had their midday prayer.

Several more days pass, Marcus continues to show his ineptitude in diplomatic proceedings. It is not until the seventh day of the siege and the arrival of Centurion Primus Aurellius that the dwarfs begin to budge from their position. Aurellius takes over the negotiations and begins to treat the dwarfs with proper respect. Even still weeks pass as they try and recover from the bad taste left by Marcus’s heavy handed attempts to intimidate the eldest race into moving quickly. The discussion seems to be moving forward if slowly. The offers of the gold and trade appeal to the dwarfs.

While the diplomats are at work talking over such things: as borders and trade rights. Flint, Katja, Nyxel, and Okai are tugging at their hair in boredom. They are adventurers and the siege is getting to them. Okai spends his days in a drunken stupor to control the rage welling inside him. Nyxel spend her nights playing pranks on the soldiers outside. Flint and Katja have not been seen outside of the mess hall in days. Valoria and her assistants are working full tilt to try and keep the hold fed while they are locked in, no one had expected a siege so soon.
Eighteen days into negotiations the army outside has doubled. Pilus Prior Titus has arrived. With him arrives the full authority of Legatus Primus Erminius in Westmarch City. Now the talks begin in earnest. Erminius and Aurellius representing the Empire, while Pater Primus Ribellus, and Pater Lucian represented Sohnor. Finally after four more days of negotiations an accord is reached.

Non-aggression: The dwarfs will not look to expand their holdings into Imperial lands.

Land: Kazad Ongvarad is a five radius from the Keep itself, as well as all holdings below.

Dwarfen Defense: Any threats from greenskins, or the minions of the Goblin King within 50 miles of the keep the dwarfs are expected to help with. Each dwarf that aids in the battle will be paid twice the salary of a similarly ranked imperial soldier.

Trade: The hold will have free trade rights in the western portion of Westmarch, and are free to create trade routes through the Empire, as they are able to. In return they will offer weapons to the army, at a discount of 10% for the bulk nature of their orders. The empire will aid the dwarfs in establishing the trade network needed to keep the hold running smoothly, by creating more roads in this area of the province. In return the dwarfs will not trade weapons with the enemies of the Empire.

Ambassador: The dwarfs will regularly allow a human ambassador to come and view the defense of the hold to be sure that the border is being defended.
Session ends: Dain from the Grey Mountains as at long arrived. With him he brings 200 more settlers to colonize the hold. It is now functioning full steam as a true dwarfen hold. Drills continue to be done, and preparations made for the upcoming war with the greenskins, as well as any other threats that may come around.

Player This session Total
Orin 800 12190
Okai 690 11875
Ulrik 770 12060
Thorvar 500 11480
Nyxel 730 12440
Valoria 500 11620
Katja 675 11590
Kardin 500 11985
View
Vengeance Denied

Session Date: 5Feb2012
Game Dates: 16 Midsummer- 17 Midsummer

After the death of Lithian, the hold is in a sour mood. Everyone working hard and preparing for the arrival of the new workers that Arren, and Garren are bringing. The wall around the hold is at least completed on the 15th of Midsummer, and the humans prepare to return to Littlefoot. It has been two months and no sign of the greenskin attack has been found. The only one of the humans that decides to stay is Frig, she decides that she enjoys being the cook for the keep, and would like to stay on full time. As the humans leave down the northern trail, a large caravan pulls up the southern one. A caravan full of dwarfs, at last Grugni’s children have come to Kazad Ongvarad. Most of the dwarfs have come in response to a new dwarf city being built. They are interested in making a name for themselves in the hold.

The night of their arrival is filled with good food, provided by the farmers and hunters, good drink, brought out from the best stores, and good music and tales. The keep is full of life happiness is on every dwarf’s face. Okai, Nyxel, and Frig had never seen anything quite like it. These stout dour people certainly knew how to celebrate when at last they found a reason to. The newcomers boasted loudly how they would make the most improvement on the new hold, each shouting louder as they lifted their horns. The miners made wagers as to who would move the most stone in the construction of the underground homes. Throughout the whole of it the Fellowship sat at the officers table, pleased with their work thus far, each of them thinking of their plans now that they have a home.

That night was the first night that the hold had a full set of soldiers to keep watch, and with the knowledge that all was safe the hold went to sleep. The calm is broken as a cry pierces the early morning quiet. Everyone wakens running into the mess hall to see one of the new soldiers, Kazador, with his throat slit. His young wife, Helin, is sitting at his side weeping over him. Kardin doesn’t waste even a moment calling upon the blessings of Valaya he brings Kazador back from the cusp of death. Orin, Okai, and Katja begin searching the area for signs of the would be assassin. The rest of the fellowship goes into the temple of Valaya to speak with Kazador. The rest of the keep decides since they are awake it is as good a time as any to begin working. Flint and Thorrvar armour up and head down into the tunnels with the miners to begin clearing the city below the keep. Meanwhile everyone else helps the new adept with the injured dwarf. The guards are now on high alert weary of any fae trickery. Valoria with her innate knowledge of natural things confirms that this was an attack brought against the keep by faeries that dwell in Calenor. Dwarfen grumbling fills the halls question the parentage and manhood of elves.

Orin eventually finds a trail of fine tracks nearly invisible to his eye, and Grawlix can find no sign of a scent. Not saying a word the ranger begins to follow it, and only by noticing his absence does the party begin to catch up. He follows the tracks to the wall where it seems the tiny assassin seems to have just run straight up the thing. Grunting and dropping his axe Orin vows not to be outdone he begins the climb up the wall. The tracks though end at the battlements. Calling down to Nyxel for her ring, Orin takes the fast way down.

Ulrik decides to question the herb vendor for her knowledge of fae creatures, and to get a better grasp of why this human is in his keep. Orin orders Maritza to play with Traicel’s daughter that the adults may speak with no interruptions. In her typical fashion Nyxel uses the distraction as an opening to search the human’s cart. Horrified the little gnome finds the bones of small creatures, some of which she is certain are humanoids. Outside the cart the party listens intently as Traicel weaves a tale about her first meeting with the grigs in the Northwood. Ulrik watches her intently, and for the first time notices that her eyes do not work, still she seems to have sight through other means. Lightning strikes the thane’s mind, as he remembers the tale of the hags that the party faced. The third sister was blind!

Nyxel prepares for bloodshed by sending the children into the keep. As they walk away some of the assembled notice that Amanda’s steps have a strange cadence to them; this cements the idea that the gypsy is up to no good. Everyone readies themselves for combat, Thorrvar and Flint are seen at the top of the stairs coming to aid the fight. Ulrik lashes out first attempting to trip the foul creature, his blow his turned aside by an unseen force. Traicel drops her disguise and the horror of the green hag is now visible to all. Her hair snakes out from her clothes removing a wand which fires a chain of lightning through the party. Sparks flying from their bodies the dwarfs spring into action. Orin charges forth slicing into Traicel. Kardin calls on his goddess to heal the wounds caused by the lightning. Ulrik moves to cut off her escape, receiving a clawing wound for his efforts. Flint attempts to fire on the foul creature, but it seems his weapon picked up some dust in the travel.

Right before everyone’s eyes the disguise drops from Amanda and in her place is a wicked little sprite with a rapier made of crystal. Nixryxus runs forward and slashes Thorrvar before losing his footing and falling to the foot of the mound. The hag strikes out at Orin slash his chest, he brushes of the cut and returns better than he got. The rest of the party continues their attacks on the Traicel. From the stairway a great explosion is heard, and it seems Flint’s weapon was well and truly clogged. Not one to let the dwarfs have more excuse to talk poorly about gunpowder, Katja takes careful aim and places a round directly in the hag’s neck. Blood spurts everywhere the creature struggling to stay upright. Valoria has no mercy for someone who corrupts nature for their own purposes. She ends the witch with a swift blow from her scythe.

The fellowship hears a sudden buzzing, and a dust trail as the quickling zips out of the keep. Nyxryxus knows discretion is the better part of valour, and that revenge can wait. The threat put to rest for now the party searches the hags things, they find a small trove of treasure and magical items that will help strengthen them for the upcoming war. Some of the other dwarfs take the hags body away to burn it to make sure it doesn’t cause any more trouble.

Session Ends: Party continues getting used to the dwarfs in the keep. Work has begun on the guardhouse for the actual city. A new enemy has shown itself, and now the party has to watch out for the buzzing blade of the quickling assassin.

Player This session Total
Orin 900 11390
Okai 900 11185
Ulrik 900 11290
Thorvar 900 10980
Nyxel 950 11710
Valoria 900 11120
Katja 900 10915
Kardin 900 11485
View
Still Waters, Ancient Evils.

Session date: 29Jan2012
Game Dates Played: 2 Midsummer- 15 Midsummer

Upon returning to the keep the party begins to make their preparations for their battle against the aboleth. Each one doing their part to make sure that the beast does not escape. The construction of the traps is being headed up by Lithian and Nyxel. Orin and Maritza put their engineering together to create a smaller version of dwarfen siege weapons. Ulrik prepares in the way of his ancestors forging a weapon for the occasion. Kardin and Valoria prepare potions of many different types so that the party will be ready for any tricks the monster may have up its tentacled sleeve.

Once the preparations were complete they made the trek into the darkness, each giving the other advice on how to deal with the aberration down below. The traps fall into place, the ambushers hide themselves on the loading dock. Each of the heroes ready to end the life of the aboleth before it can start their transformation.

Like all evil leaders the Rylien would never go first into a meeting; even if he trusted the duergar, which he doesn’t. He sends forward five skum their orders are the same as always. Check the area and be sure it is safe.

Lucas used to be a farmhand. Now he is a semi psychotic fishman; under the command of another psychotic fish. It is so dark in these tunnels. Always so dark… at least the dwarfs have beer. It hurts so bad because of the dehydration but it is totally worth it. Where is the beer? Is that dwarf’s beard red? Nah must be the dark. Time to tell the master its ok.

Up comes the aboleth, Ulrik braces himself for combat. Reaching for his mug, he takes a swig growing in size. Giving the command the battle begins in earnest. Orin fires to shots, they lack the power to puncture Rylien’s hide. Little Maritza does her part to defend her home, the organ crossbow rings out, the skum on the platform fall over ventilated by the barrage. Okai’s finds his exit to the battle barred by a wall, and decides the door is easier to get through; he forgot that the doors are dwarf make. Kardin in the main hall ignores the danger of the skum, and rushes to the aid of his thane. Calling on the powers of Vallaya, he summons a shard of Drunril, her spear, to attack his foes. Nyxel fires a quick shot from her shot bow taking advantage of the creature having its back to her. Finally, Lithian calls down destructive fire onto the enemy, only to be thwarted as Rylien dodges to one side. The skum move to attack Kardin, their feeble attacks sliding off his dwarfen armour.
Rylien flails ineffectively at Ulrik, his armour and training not letting a single tentacle anywhere near him. Orin fires again, still the beasts hide thwarts his efforts. Lithian continues his magical barrage fire spring to life from his hands. Nyxel drops the trap on the aboleth pinning the monster in place. Kardin calls on his ancestors to fill Ulrik with their strength. Ulrik brings his newly forged bardiche crashing down upon the monster. Again, Kardin’s faith keeps the skums attacks from puncturing his armour. With a sudden popping sound Rylien disappears.

A moment of confusion as the heroes search for their foe, slime covered tentacles burst from the water striking at the mage. His skin takes on the look of a frog, and his lungs no longer process air. Seeing his ally attack, Okai charges the docks. Leaping through the air he plunges his great sword down into the beast. Rylien howls in pain. It had been decades since anyone had been allowed close enough to him to cause him pain. Ulrik wades in the water leaving his shield on the shore to be able to swim out. He strikes out at the aboleth befouling his tunnels. “Khazukan Khazakit-ha” the bellow letting any in ear shot that the dwarfs have claimed these tunnels. The bardiche slams down on the evil fish shattering its spine, splashing its vile blood everywhere. Okai becomes infected with aboleth rot, not one to let that stop he takes the corpse and throws it on to the docks to be searched. Valoria works rapidly to keep the sick party mates moist.

The party trudges back to the surface fearing the worst for their infected friends. Orin digging into his childhood remembers that a runepriest can create a stasis in an extradimensional space. He suggests that the sick ones should be placed in Lithian’s apartment. Okai remembers a healer from the Blood Eagle tribe spends the summers not far from the Hold. Thus begins the waiting. When the healer at last arrives it is too late for Lithian. The elf steps out of the apartment, Ulrik wastes no time striking down the creature that was once his comrade in arms. The oracle heals Okai free of charge, but requires that the hold pledges itself in the battle against the greenskins.

Session Ends: The party has eight days to kill while they wait for the Oracle. Katherine leveled up.

Player This session Total
Orin 1295 10490
Okai 1285 10285
Ulrik 1220 10390
Thorvar 1070 10080
Nyxel 1235 10760
Valoria 1220 10220
Katherine 1070 10015
Kardin 1370 10585
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End of the Line

Session Date 22Jan2012
Game Dates Played: 24 Fire Dawn- 1 Midsummer

Waking from their nervous sleep, the party decides to leave the issue of Lithian for after they kill the phase spider walking through their tunnels. They decide to leave the apartment door in place, not having the time to complete the ritual. Orin creeps into the barrack, Ulrik at his side they search around trying to find their prey. In one quick instant they went from hunters to hunted, Orin is yanked of his feet into the darkness above their heads. Okai runs into the room and with luck of the gods he manages to place his glowing mace in such a way as to shed light on the attacker. The hideous spider creature finishes wrapping up one dwarf, and decides that he needs more. Webbing flies through the air entangling Okai and Thorvar. The party fires volleys of magic, and bolts in an attempt to dislodge the spider. Only after being lit on fire by Lithian does the spider abandon the high ground. It lands viciously on the poor mage bladed forelimbs ripping into the unarmoured flesh of the drow. Ulrik found himself in a position he never thought hed be in, rescuing a drow mage. Charging forward spear glinting in the half-light of the mace he nearly knocks the spider off its feet with the force of his blow. In that instant Orin leaps from his cocoon drawing a single arrow as he falls. As soon as he hits the floor the ranger lets loose catching the spider in the soft underbelly Ulrik’s charge had exposed. The creature at last succumbs to its wounds. Orin rushes to the drow’s aid bandaging his wounds. The rest of the party searches the barracks for clues about their enemy’s whereabouts. Once Lithian is awake he milks the spider for venom and begins the ritual to take down his door.

The march continues as the party follows the railways towards, what Ulrik assumes is, the storage place for all the iron the duergar had been mining. Hours later the party comes across a large ironbound door, the sounds of duergar drinking songs can be heard on the other side. Okai comes up with a plan that seems at odds with his barbarian culture; to use the drow as a decoy to get the duergar to open the gate. Lithian eager to show his willingness to help removes the illusions hiding his drow robes, and prepares himself for the role of self important drow messenger. He did not have to play his role for long. As soon as the slide was drawn on the door the full fury of the Lone Wolf Hold fell upon the dark dwarves. The final survivors of this mining outpost were slaughter within moments. This left the party alone to search the newly discovered landing.

Nyxel and Okai search the ship that is at sea, Ulrik, Orin, and Lithian search what seems to be the leader’s office, Thorvar keeps watch as the party efficiently goes through everything searching for clues. On the ship, they found navigational charts showing the route that it would take to deliver the cargo to a city that the duergar were building. In the office the specifics of their shipping venture and the alliance with an aboleth are uncovered. The final room holds a treasure trove that the party splits evenly while they discuss their next move. Lithian offers his portable home as an efficient way to transport the iron back to the hold, and Ulrik decides that the path cannot be chosen until more dwarfs arrive from the mountains. For now they need to protect their resources, and prepare for a war that can come from multiple fronts. Their main threat from below is the aboleth, and the possibility of retribution from the duergar city. From above the drums of war continue to beat in the badlands, a fuse slowly burning away, and no one knows how much time they have to be ready.

Player This session Total
Orin 825 9195
Okai 1025 9000
Ulrik 800 9170
Lithian 850 9000
Thorvar 800 9010
Nyxel 850 9525
Valoria 655 9000
Katherine 600 8945
Kardin 600 9215

Session End: Garren Ironhelm sent to Westmarch City for supplies, and to recruit settlers to the new dwarfen hold. He carries with him a message from Orin Mountainstrider to all the dwarfs of Westmarch:

Sons and daughters of Grugni. swept up by winds of ill fortune and tempest tossed far from our beloved ancestral homelands, made to dwell in a strange land amongst stranger folk and learn ways to which we are ill accustomed. like the shine of gold in the dark there is a hope for you lost souls in the hold of Kazad Ongvarad. hardy dwarves are needed to make this colony thrive in these human lands. craftsmen of all type, artisans of every skill, fearless miners and brave soldiers alike all are welcome. come together and we may make this new keep in the ways of our ancestors and honor there memory by making it the pride of all Dwarves, we shall be the jewel of the west.
so come ye proud dwarves of the west and make yourselves a legacy that your children can bear with pride in the hold of Kazad Ongvarad!

Addititional Supplies Requested:
200g of Lumber
90g of Goats
Hiring of 10 guards, and 10 craftsmen
5 Miners
500g in engineering parts

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News from the Fronts

Session Date: 15Jan2012
Game Days Covered: 23 of Summerstart

The day after Rosco’s funeral sees the party getting comfortable with their new barbarian friend. As Okai sits in the war room with the dwarfs planning the maneuvers needed to keep these lands safe, the rest of the party attends to the needs of the keep. Each member handling something needed; Nyxel keeping track of the finances, Valoria helping with the food stores, Kardin beginning the training of the humans, and Katherine watching the plains with her musket.

After deciding that the greenskins are not the most immediate threat to the hold, the adventurers once more head into the darkness below. Walking through the darkness tracking their ancient enemies they come across a waterlogged High Elf. After several moments of terse conversation they decide the elf may be an asset and that he can stay with them.

They eventually come to a fork in the road; they can follow their iron, or their enemies. Choosing to repay the grudge before they find their valuables; they follow the tracks north. Eventually they come to a barracks which looks like it was emptied of all possessions. After searching around they decide to set an ambush come morning, but first they need a place to sleep. Lithian being the helpful elf that he is offers the party his most secret possession to spend the night in safety, Lithian’s Instant Apartment.

Upon entering the quaint home the party got comfortable, all except Ulrik and Thorvar enjoyed the elf’s hospitality. A warm cozy fire, and the treats of Calenor. The party decides to take watches; starting with Nyxel. Once her watch finished Orin relieved her. Nyxel immediately went to work on her task of finding out more about the elf. Searching his pockets and removing the circlet from his head. No sooner had the headband come off then skin black as pitch become revealed. Staring dumbfoundedly Nyxel continues what she is doing the appearance of an evil drow making her go faster. In her haste she didn’t notice that Orin had opened the door due to a disturbance outside. Sneaking up beside the drow he quickly headlocks him and places a dagger at his throat. Terse words are exchanged and slowly the party begins to wake up. Unsure of what to make of the threat they let him speak, only the honesty in his voice keeps the drow from being ventilated. Finally the party decides to trust him for now. The dwarfs will not sleep easy for a while.

XP:
Whole party: 135

Session Ends: Getting ready to fight the spider.

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Small Graves, Large Hearts

Session Date: 08Jan2012
Game Days Covered: 21-22 Summerstart

Progress continues to be made on the wall. The Hold begins to fall into a routine; it starts to feel like a home. With the day of rest each of the heroes spend their time preparing for the war above and the war below. Ulrik continues work on his bardiche. Valoria spends the day with Kathryn practicing the alchemical arts. Orin is teaching his daughter the skills needed to be a ranger. Looking over the scene you would think nothing can shatter this peace.

Two dwarfs approach the keep, their eyes glinting with the desire to find glory. Arren, and Garren Ironhelm heard tell that a Dwarfen force had taken Blackmoor, and claimed it in the name of the eldest race. As is only proper they came to offer their services, for the right price. After some quick negotiations the Ironhelms are hired as the beginning of the hold’s militia.

With the keeps defenses in place, after finding out that the dark dwarfs had tracked them back to their home, the heroes decided to track the duergar to their lair. Approaching slowly the party hears the sounds of picks falling on ore. Ulrik’s beard bristles at the thought of the dark ones stealing what belongs to him. Scouts forward, Orin, Rosco, and Nyxel, after counting their foes they prepare their ambush. Rosco pops out of hiding killing one of the guards with a well placed dagger. Nyxel curses under her breath knowing that she was singing out loud again. Her doom song is just so catchy. Orin fires and misses his arrows clattering against the ore. The rest of the party runs to catch up. All of the duergar miners call their powers and fade from sight.

With the miners invisible the party focuses on the soldiers trying to form a solid defense so none of the evil kin escape. Rosco and Nyxel hold the left flank, while Orin and an enlarge Ulrik hold the right. Guards die as Rosco, and Ulrik lash out. Suddenly the miners reappear from the darkness. Valoria thinking quickly calls on nature, two of the miners find themselves tangled and roots. The duergar had focused their attacks on the weak left flank. Nyxel manages to dodge one blow but is laid out by the other. Rosco fares even worse. He parries one of the blows with all his strength but his other attacker catches him with upswing in the rib cage. The brave Halfling was dead before he hit the ground. In a rage the party surges forward, Ulrik killing 3 of the remaining duergar with a flurry of blows from his spear, Thorvar gets vengeance for the Halfling, that less than 5 days ago saved him from a fate worse than death, by casting a cone of fire and killing 3 more of the duergar. Orin finally gets used to the light and places shots into the leader of the mining party killing him.

A stunned shock drifts over the party as the stare at the fallen Halfling, All thoughts of his larcenous ways gone. While Nyxel gathers the supplies off the duergar, Thorvar picks up Rosco’s mangled body and places it ever so gently onto one of the mining carts. No one gets left behind. The party trudges through the darkness carrying the corpse of the Halfling that had so much with them already.

The next morning a small pyre was made in the center of the courtyard. In the very spot that Orin first saw Rosco as he fought against the hyena beast. While the sounds of work were still in the background Kardin speaks the ancient prayers for fallen heroes. Honouring the dead for his sacrifice he calls mead from his horn sprinkling across the pyre. Each of the heroes says their piece. Thorvar knew the Halfling the least, but his words were the most heartfelt. Without Rosco he would be a frog man, with no free will. Ulrik speaks last:

“Tonight we send into the afterlife a warrior. Regardless of size, Rosco fought with everything in him. He did his best to make these lands better for those who followed him. His dying breaths were holding the line against an evil from below. This fight on two fronts has taken its first of our defenders. We know that Rosco was here to stay. How could we do anything less?”

“From the moment I first saw him leaping through the common room killing goblins that had held me, and mine prisoner I knew that he would be an asset, a hero, a shieldmate.”

“We may not have always seen eye to eye, but we always fought side by side.”

Ulrik places the chalice that Rosco took from the Minotaur at the top of the pyre, in it was some of the finest spirits in the keep. With that Kardin calls on the gods for fire, the pyre catches and through the flames you can clearly see the purple flames from the chalice.

XP Gained: 200

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Ancient Grudges Remembered

Session Date 01Jan2012
Game Dates Covered: 18-20 of Summerstart

While the preparations for war continue above ground our explorers continue their forays into the Underdark. Their path takes them along the southern tunnels as they attempt to decide the ideal place to begin the construction of their dreams. A dwarfen hold on the edge of greenskin lands. A beachhead from which grudges without number can be repaid.

As they continue south along what seem to be endless tunnels, Nyxel kindly lights the way for Rosco trying to keep him comfortable. The light makes the dwarfs nervous, they know what light attracts in the wilds of the Underdark. Orin keeps his bow ready, hoping for some prey. He leads the party outside of the lights range. Ulrik takes second position his shield ready to protect his new friends. Valoria and Shock stand in the back their keen senses searching for an ambush.

Halfway through the first day the adventurers come across a chamber carved naturally out of the stone. The dwarfs eyes pick up the precise pick strokes of dwarfen masons in the work. The last two thirds of the room is a pool of dark stagnant water. The viscous, wretched liquid is nearly impossible to see through, and hanging above this forlorn pool a dwarf. Completely bound and gagged Thorvar contemplates his life choices, and what brought him to this point. Then the sound of dwarfen voices breaks his thoughts. Rosco seeing the prisoner borrows Nyxel’s spider harness and begins to make his way ever so carefully around the and up the walls. Valoria points out a chest, submerged in the water, to those still with their feet on the ground, and Orin decides its a crime for any sort of treasure to be left in that state. While Orin tries to harpoon and drag the chest to land, Valoria begins to purify the massive cistern, and the other two keep a watch on their climbing friend.

Rosco’s deft hands and the harness make short work of the climb, he has clearly done second story work before. As he reaches the corner of the room he slips his safety rope barely catching him. Dangling over the water he takes a look into its murky depths just in time to see a trident leave the water and catch him in the shoulder. The trident tangles itself in the climbing gear. The rest of the party springs into action. Ulrik curses the fish-man for night fighting on land like a proper dwarf. Nyxel calls on her fae heritage and unleash a bolt of force stunning the creature long enough for Orin to end its life with an excellently placed arrow. A second creature appears from the depths launching another trident at the swinging halfling bait. The party is not as lucky with the second creature the murk of the water, and slime coating the monster make it difficult to hit. The creature meets its demise to an alchemical bomb thrown by Valoria, a moment later and Rosco might not have survived the ordeal. Bloodied and weakened he continued to save the prisoner. Quick introductions are made, the party cant afford to waste time on pleasantries.

Now reinforced by the addition of the rune caster, Thorvar Durhak, they continue forth the smell of metals to be mined leading Ulrik. When at last they come to the end of the southern tunnel they find it, a huge vein of iron. There is enough iron to support Kazad Ongvarad to great prosperity and make the adventurers wealthy nobles of their own hold. As with all great things there is a catch, dark dwarfs. The evil kin have been mining the wealth that the party seeks to claim. Them being this close to the surface at all is a crime against the dwarfs. A crime that makes the dwarfs bristle with anger, the wee folk shake their heads knowing that a fight is coming soon.

The party returns to camp at the cistern, no one there wishes to come upon a duergar mining party while tired and injured. Valoria putting her endurance to the test, she spends her last hours before sleep finishing the task of purifying the water in the cistern. Cleansing the affront to nature that the fish-men had caused.

Waking up early the next day the party continues down the tunnels leading away from the iron vein. Orin leads the party his keen eyes following the tracks of the oath-breakers. Hours of traveling, with their senses on edge has the adventurers beginning to feel the press of time. In the distance they see a light, faint but in the dark vision of the dwarfs it might as well have been the sun. Rosco has the exact opposite reaction overjoyed at the sight of light not tinted purple by Nyxel’s magic he rushes to catch up to Orin. His foot scuffs against a tinder twig left behind by one of the duergar in the next room. The sound echos through the halls. A squad of duergar soldiers steps into the tunnels shields and hammers at the ready. The unaware dark ones are met with a hail of arrows, bolts, daggers, and magic. Before the charges even happen only two remain. Ulrik cuts that in half. Certain of their victory the party closes in for the kill on the final duergar. Nyxel screams in pain four duergar the size of ogres appear from thin air. Two strike the gnome knocking the wind out of her and throwing her two the ground. The other two strike at Valoria, but her scythe parries the blows. Orin ignoring the danger to the rear charges the leader of the group, Thorvar backing him up they surround the sergeant.

Nyxel tries to escape the grasp of her attackers only to be crushed by the enlarged hammers. Rosco gets her vengeance killing one of the duergar, Ulrik impales the other. Attacks rain down on Valoria, but her and Ulrik go into their practiced fighting stance. He blocks one attack and she parries the other. The sergeant and his attackers circle striking and parrying. Great axe blows raining down on the evil dwarf’s shield while he ripostes effectively wounding Thorvar. Ulrik, and Rosco make quick work of Valoria’s attackers so she can tend to Nyxel’s wounds before the gnome loses anymore blood.

In a stunning moment Ulrik, Orin, and Thorvar surround the last living enemy. Knowing that his position is precarious the duergar summons the magic in its blood. The true dwarfs would have none of that foul trickery. Ulrik slams his shield out just in time to feel two axes connect with it, as they pass through the duergar. The foul traitor died nearly instantly as the magic of Thorvar’s axe passed through him, at the same time Orin removed his legs.

Session ends: Party in the keep again resting after two hard days in the Underdark.

XP: 700 Base
Bonus:
Nyxel: 10
Rosco: 10
Valoria: 10

Treasure split:
4pp 16gp per person

The group has decided that even the members that don’t show up for the session will get a portion of treasure and gold. Their reasoning even if they aren’t in the thick of things they are maintaining the keep.

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Riddles in the Dark

Session Date: 25Dec2011
Game Dates Covered: 3-17 of Summerstart

After their successful romp in the swamp the party returns to Littlefoot to gather the workers, and supplies that will allow them to rebuild Kazad Ongvarad. 10 farmhands, the Mason family (3 men 1 woman 1 girl), Frig, and Katherine joined the adventurers. The Masons, and Katherine took up residence in their own rooms on the second floor. Frig convinced Rosco that she would be a pleasant roommate. The 10 workers are staying in the western barracks chamber; Ulrik left them to their own devices as far as picking bunks. The other rooms on the second floor were each awarded to the members of the party, with Ulrik staying on the third floor. Enough food was brought to last easily until the end of Midsummer.

After putting the men to work on clearing the rubble of the wall away to begin the repairs, the dwarfs and the Masons set about to make a plan to tackle the tunnel on the first floor. Careful planning allowed them to use the stone cleared to make the tunnel larger to be used to repair the wall saving the Fortress a fair bit of money in the process. Once the tunnel was cleared it was easy to see that the network of caverns underneath the keep held more than just darkness.

Ulrik, Nyxel, Rosco, Valoria, and the cleric of Sohnor, Thalos, began the explorations. Tentatively at first going only so far as they could in one day to be sure they would not have to camp within the unknown areas. The first day of exploration was uneventful searching all the side tunnels along the larger branch and discovering nothing of interest. The second day of exploring took them along the more northerly tunnels. After what seemed an eternity they found their first sign of life in the tunnels a Minotaur. The monster defended its territory fiercely nearly killing the cleric, but a well placed knife by Rosco ended its bloody rampage. The party found nonhuman skeletons in the Minotaur’s lair. The third day of travels showed more tunnels and a fiendish trap of nonhuman design. The fourth day found the party against a rust monster and yet another trap. At the end of the fourth day the cleric bid the party farewell, and continued with his outrider mission for the Empire.

XP 1000 for each player.

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