The Family

Marroc's Journal #4

Fun Fun Fun….

Down another way, into a well of evil. Surrounded by ceiling hugging tentacle beasts we fought and killed them. Well, except for Burke… He seemed to like wrapping them around his neck. There was a huge one in the center of the room, but I liked him best. He kept some gold in a pit for me. Best of all Dayse tried to emulate my gracefullness and jumped down the pit. Poor thing sprained her ankle something fierce!

Some sort of rip in the fabric of the world was in the room which made some folks quesy. Not me, of course. I’m too smart for such things. :)

We took a hard left out of the room and ran in to some dogfaces and their hyena pets. I tossed a couple daggers while Burke did some mating dance and all the hyenas came running. Gurdis killed them all, well, except Burke. Holy hells! Remind me not to bring the whole family if Gurdis needs to die, he gets more powerful the more foes he is facing.

There were a lot of gnolls and it took a while, but I don’t think we were ever in trouble. The most fun was finding some dinner. Unfortunately Dayse decided to mate with the huge boar instead of carving me out a stake!!

That’s seriously uncool. Pork goes with cheese oh so well. I’ll bet I could find some spices and make some killer sausage. Mmmm….I think I skipped elevensies. DAMN

After that, some imp appeared and tried to tell me something about some pit of sin. I asked for a little clarification and he blew me off. All he wanted was a piece of my soul! Burke got offended and tried to kill the little blighter. Whatever.

Dayse wants to take the boar back. And I don’t think she is intending to take it to market. She is one weird chick. Good thing she doesn’t have hairy feet.

Kutok's Journal

After discussing briefly the events the Tieflings have set in motion and the interesting notes they left behind, we return to the Seven Pillared Hall to retrieve our friends who were most distressed to find out we were “getting up” this morning, much less “going out”.

We head off to follow the leads in the notes to find the lair of the “blackfang”. Upon arriving at what appeared to be our destination we find some burrowing, climbing, tentacly things are blocking the way. After a brief encouragement from some disembodied voice which we still haven’t discovered, we attempt to make our way past the tentacles, but the scene rapidly devolves into bad hentai.

The pally charges in past three of the things and we hear a faint “erk, there’s another one back here” before he disappears behind an impenatrable wall of tentacles it takes us a few minutes to get through. Once we do make it through the palidin is blue in the face being choked by one of them, and it takes both the druid and me to pull him free so that Illikan and Merroc can ginsu the remaining tentacles.

As we let the pally catch his breath an interdimensional rift to the plane of the abyss opens right in the middle of the room. It’s downright maddening, and it’s all we can do to get out of there before the fiends find their way through to eat our souls. We finish resting a good bit down the corridor, discussing the merits of whether Merroc should or should not have jumped through the rift.

After recovering, we proceed and Merroc and Dayze investigate the pit the tentacles apparently were using as a toilet (discovered deftly by Dayze when she forgot to hold onto the rope on the way down). The fiends had left a good amount of gold in their latrine, I guess when you don’t spend it anyplace is as good as another to keep it.

We look around and there are two hallways leaving this area. The first, shorter, one ends in a door that we must peek through. On the other side is a long hallway with some gnolls dining and a few hyenas playing with their trainer. The pally is glowing again by now (he’s kinda like a lightning bug, he glows some of the time anyway, but when he’s excited you could get a tan in his photonic expulsion) so there’s nothing left to do but barge right in.

The hyenas have a neat trick where they gather up for Gurdis to invoke the crap right out of them, so the encounter is relatively short. The trainer decides to take pot-shots at us from around a far corner, so we have to go get him, and when we do he’s got 6 or so buddies all with bows aimed at the door.

We find they’ve been torturing a boar in their spare time, they have him tied to the ground in a cage and they’ve been using him for target practice. After the archers and their pets (more hyenas that gathered around for pincushioning) were dispatched with, Dayze and I calmed the boar by feeding him gnoll torturers. Dayze gets a little… friendly… with the boar and goes off for some “quality” time with it. We knew she was a strange elf, but this was just sick. Kord does NOT approve.

Marroc's Journal #3

We hobnobbed around town. Found a couple merchants and a lowlife bar. Might have to check that place out further later :)

At some point the coward mentioned that some tiefling passed him a note. It said that his goals coincided with ours and that he wanted to meet us outside of town. That can’t end poorly can it?

Oh look, an ambush, by tieflings. How original… I’m going to enjoy poking holes in their corpses. There were two of them in a large room with a 10 foot high ledge running around the outside. Some largish boulders were scattered around the middle of the room. I hopped up on a ledge away from the tieflings to trade shots with ‘em.

Holy Hells! What is that? Some ginormous bronze construct was “hiding” behind a boulder. I tossed my dagger at him. It didn’t have the impact I would have liked. His hide was abnormally tough. The rest moved into the room and the critter rolled one of the boulders on top of them! Ok, that was kind of humorous. Illikan the coward and I flanked the large beastie and started whittling him down. The tieflings kept tossing fire at us which kind of hurt.

Eventually the bronze warder was brought down, and the tieflings followed soon thereafter. They didn’t have much treasure, but they did part with a couple scrolls that others found interesting.

Kutok's Journal

As we recover from our dalliance with the hobgoblins we spend some time getting to know the Seven Pillared Hall. We find some vendors and a tavern that we hadn’t had a chance to explore before, and we learn more about our neighbors.

That evening in the Inn a tiefling slips a note to Illikan. Apparently the tiefling has some trouble with the Duergar and wants to chat about it. The meeting is close, so we go, mostly for the entertainment.

We are not disappointed. Two different tieflings and a bronze warder try to mug us. On their corpses we find a note from Saldemar, apparently we are getting close as he writes he is unhappy about us and would we please leave his sissy-ass alone. wah.

Despite being slightly bruised from the 10’ 2000lb boulder the bronze warder hit me with, we decide to go figure out what some of the clues in the notes mean. Something about a blackhand, blackfist, blacklist, blackened knobby parts, something like that. ...and some gnolls.

Kutok's Journal

After intensive negotiation with Murkleroy of the Grimmerzul I won our freedom from the Duergar with a promise to send trade negotiators from the Family. Unfortunately he wanted to keep Daern as collateral for my return.

Reunited with my brothers and sister, we headed off to find the Hall of Eyes and discover what was going on with the slave trade that was highly unpopular.

We first encountered some Duergar who took my suggestion to check in with Murkleroy before continuing to attack us.

Next we fought some Hobgoblins and their pets. The hobgoblins weren’t willing to quit the attack when asked, so we had to send their unfortunate souls to Kord.

We found a few slaves, but it seems like they had recently delivered their goods to customers so the majority of the slave chains were empty.

We returned to the hall of seven pillars to regroup on how to find Paldimar the rogue wizard who Brugg wants… Alive…

Kutok's Journal

Daern arrived back at the Inn in the middle of the night, disheveled and wearing something that may have once been his grandmother dwarf’s best christmas doily, but spouting a tale about how he replaced the door on the tower as part of the slave detail, then slipped away (not quietly).

We venture back to admire his handiwork, and to see if we could loot the new +1 battleaxe and +1 dwarven scale armor that the duergar have somehow acquired.

We came in the other door, which was a good thing, because we caught them all standing at attention watching the main door. After a gruelling fight in which Dayze keeps the opponents separated by a wall of thorns, we manage to subdue the four orcs, five duergar, and an ogre. Yes, the door looks nice Daern.

We quickly make our way to where the slaves are supposedly held, but a shiny door distracts Marroc so we instead run into the leader of the place and his bodyguard. We were on the ropes but it just looks like the tides of the battle were turning when we barely discerned Murbleroy smiling… visions of “i’m not left-handed either” rumbled through my mind unbidden while one of the duergar opened a secret panel behind the fireplace and called for reinforcements.

In hindsight, that would have been a good time to run.

We manage to take out a few more of the bodyguards in the sparse seconds it takes for reinforcements to arrive from the next room, including both of the duergar pinatas (the ones that get real big right before you kill them).

But then the swordmages are upon us. They ginsu Illikan so he runs, meanwhile Daern is being pummeled in the corner and I can tell he’s hurt bad but I can’t see him. I have to move closer to get to where Kord’s Light will help him…

And that’s WAY too close to the swordmages. After I patch Daern, the three swordmages all pull me with some kind of electric bugaboo lasso and I go flying into the room they were coming out of. And that’s the last I remember because I was unconscious before I hit the ground.

Marroc's Journal #2

My friend is gone.

Daern Steelaxe and I have been traveling together for years. My older sister married his brother and we became part of the Kaden-Hammer family. Soon thereafter we became friends and started doing jobs together. His axe and my daggers worked well, ya know?

I hope he’s alive.

How did this come to pass? We ventured back to the Duegar fortress. The parts we had cleaned out were still empty. Going over one of the bridges we encountered stiff resistance at the other side. The gatehouse appeared well manned and Daern couldn’t get through the door.

It’s my fault.

I had no patience, I couldn’t wait. Duergar were shooting arrows at me from behind the doors and I couldn’t do anything against him. It was very frustrating. I went up the wall and found another way in by jumping back down to a lower side platform. I didn’t hit my tumble quite right and tweaked my ankle upon landing. No big deal. I guestimated the best way back to the front door. Pretty soon I could hear Daern banging against the door. I spotted two guards, but the barred door was within reach! I ran towards the door.

I should have been more cautious.

I hadn’t noticed the other Duergar around the corner. They had no trouble picking me out and lighting me up. My vision dimmed and I spun around, groping for anything. Enemies were all around. Finding a wall I climbed up as far as I could, hoping for the relative safely.

It should have been me.

At that point, Daern finally breached the door. That big doof, Illikan had been no help whatsoever. Kutok healed me up just before the duergar spell barrage cut lose again. I dropped like a rock, stunned and prone on the ground.Daern quickly strode forward to stand beside me, like he had done so many times before. I couldn’t get my bearings, continually under mental assault.Daern was being hit as well. Illikan couldn’t do much. Kutok kept pegging folks with his spiritual hammer, but it was too little. We reached agreement about retreating. I moved first, out onto the bridge, next to Kutok. The Duergar then closed ranks, before Daern and Illikan could get out!

I had to try.

Reversing course I went back in and killed the Duergar blocking the exit. I then jumped back out. Illikan then ran faster than my brother Hairy when my mother would ring the bell for second breakfast! He was back across the bridge before I could act.

I was distracted.

When I turned back, the door was barred again and Kutok told me that Daern had been dropped. He and I tried using our ranged weaponry to pester the Duergar. This annoyed them greatly and they dragged Daern’s body back deeper into their fortress.

They were too strong.

Kutok and I had to rest, slap on a few bandages and then get right back in there to rescue Daern. Illikan, henceforth known as the coward, was gone though. I guess once he starts running, he doesn’t give a lick about anything except his own skin. I’m highly excited to continue adventuring with him. I found out later that he hadn’t stopped running until he got back to his room at the inn and had his bedsheets over his eyes!

My beer didn’t taste that good tonight.

Kutok's Journal

Ilikan, Merroc, Daern and I went back to the Hall of Seven Pillars and discussed things over a few pints. Merroc was distracted, having had the humans we rescued from the Duergar carry back as much cheese as they could Merroc was building a nest out of the stuff. I had thought of cheese as a food until now…. now I’m not sure I could eat any if I were starving to death.

We paid Brugg’s taxes, and collected our rewards for accomplishing the retrieval of the Bone Scepter for Gendar the Drow. Meanwhile we also discovered the Cold Gem company bought goods and treasures, and even better he looked unfavorably upon our other general goods proprietor in town, and was willing to pay 5% more for items we retreived from our adventures. This was good news, so we decided we liked the old dwarf who ran the place.

In the morning, we decided to head back down the Shadow Road to the Horned Hold to find out what more it had in store for us.

The fortification we had infiltrated the day before was just exactly how we had left it (so Ilikan took day-old Duergar ears as trophies, saying he would make a necklace). We found that two of the exits out of the back of the place went across the chasm on bridges to another fortification, so we hopped over to see who was home across the street.

A bunch of bastards, that’s who was home.

They kept the door barred, shooting at us through slits while we (Daern and Ilikan mostly) banged on the door to see if they could somehow convince them to open it by knocking louder. Ilikan got bored of that and started sticking the overcompensator through the slits, managing to take out one or more of the archers. I threw a spiritual mace through and bashed on them from the other side. Meanwhile Daern upped his efforts to knock as loud as possible.

Suddenly there was no resistance to our banging on the door. It took several more seconds to finally bash the door in, after realizing that the hole Ilikan had widened in the door just wasn’t going to let us reach through to open it from the inside. We burst through to find… Merroc? He’d somehow gotten in through another direction— apparently through the roof since last I’d seen him he was clinging to the wall above the door ready to pounce on anything below. He was in a bit of a pickle, holding onto the ceiling for dear life while several casters below pelted him with spells, seeking to dislodge him. I threw a couple heals on him just as Daern got the door fully open and we stepped into—OH. MY. GOD!

These Duergar were nasty… several had some kind of spell that blinded and dazed us, making it nigh impossible to fight or retreat (hence Merroc’s state when we found him). Meanwhile several others were weaving some kind of electric lasso with their weapons and pulling us back if we even tried to disengage momentarily.

We took one or two down, but there were just too many of them, and Merroc and Ilikan tried to run, but Daern got trapped. I continued to pelt them with the spiritual mace, and Merroc returned briefly to “make a whole” right through one of them, hoping that Daern would get the clue and run for it.

Daern never had a chance. They subdued him, shut the doors on us, and when I continued to harass them with the spiritual mace, they shut the inner doors dragging Daern deeper into their fortress. With most of us severely hurt and Kord not affording us any more healing right away, the three survivors escaped.

We will return to rescue Daern or to learn of his fate and avenge it.

Journal The Seconde

Ach, So we managed to off the nasty Duergar and Greenskins, and recovered a pair o’ fine gauntlets of Dwarven make, along with the Bone Scepter we’d been sent to retrieve. We loaded up our new humans with cheese and headed back to the village. We sold off the goods and turned in the scepter, where we met this crazy dragon lady. SHe had some good ideas about Duergar, although she was a bit soft, and then some strange ideas about hatin’ Drow! If thear’s one thing I cannae tolerate, its people that are nae understandin’ of other people’s cultures. And Duergar. I hate them so.

SO after paid the tax, we celebrated and rested the night, perhaps a bit too much as we could nae locate our Holy man, Gurdis, and the mysterious Dayze. Personally, I think Gurdis may have gotten some of that giant beaver he was droolin’ over…HA!

So, figurin’ we dinnae need their help anyway, we set off to finish clearin’ out the fortress. I looks like someone’s been here and setup some barricades, but that didn’t slow us down much. The walkin’ and writin’ was actually sorta soothin’, until we got to this blasted bridge with the sturdiest wooden door I’ve ever seen! We chopped and bashed at it for ages, while these somethin’s was shootin’ at us, and finally we got it open. Very strangely, Merrigc was busy holdin’ off 4 or 5 of the foulest Duergar imaginable. I had to save my charge, o’ course, so I charged right into the thick of it, where they proceeded to kick my arse sideways. It’s been kinda hard to write during tha fightin’, they keep choppin’ at me and tossin me here and thar. This big one, especially, with his evil Duergar magicks, I wanted to chop him, but we’re in bad need of a retreat. But I see ma friends, they’ve made it, now I only got to get away from Rotty and Sneezy and Doc here and I’ll be home fr….urk

Kutok's Journal

We traveled along the Road of Shadows, eventually coming to the iron portcullis guarded by the orcs I last wrote about. The door that we gained access to behind the portcullis opened into a warren of barracks, dining halls, and storage rooms.

A host of duergar and orcs attempted to impede our progress—the anvil master equally deriding them and urging them to kill us. They were no match for our surface weapons.

In an occupied dining hall we met a strange foe, a dwarf who grew four sizes when he was bloodied in battle. Fortunately the fact they were bloodied already meant they didn’t get to swing their oversized hammers, Merroc is good that way.

The duergar had taken hostages from a nearby town called Fall Crest, about a half day to the west of Thunderspire. We agreed to let the hostages stick with us for their safety, and Merroc said we would probably get better prices for our loot if we took it to Fall Crest to sell it.

So away we went. We’ll be back tomorrow, the only reason we are leaving is that all this stuff is heavy!


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