Deeper into the Dungeon

Session Five (May 2, 2019)

After the zombie battle, Grend uses his Esoteric Medicine skills to first-aid the party. He is able to patch up and bandage them all but this only helps marginally. Gritting his teeth, he resigns himself to the Sacrifice – a prayer he knows that heals another by transferring their damage onto himself. He primarily works to stabilize Enok and succeeds in transferring some of Enok’s wounds onto himself.

The team reexamines the room: This 30’ by 30’ room boasts temple-like architecture, its vaulted ceiling soaring 15’ overhead – an impressive accomplishment for a secret room beneath a town! Three dangling lanterns light the area with daylight-strength Continual Light, blood-red in hue. 

Near the south wall is a blood-red altar – the one that Enok touched and was cursed. Behind this altar is a hole blasted into the wall. On the east wall hangs a black curtain covering an arched opening. Peeking through they see a 6’ wide by 8’ tall passage that runs 60’ eastward. There are three exits in the north wall and three more in the south. All are sealed by stout doors except for the middle exit to the south which is an open archway. In the north wall of the room is the door from the magically-trapped hallway the heroes had to cross to get here. The west wall contains the 10’ by 30’ room that contained the horde of zombies.

The group decides to explore the hallway behind the curtain.

Grend takes one of the lanterns and Shae another. The group decides to leave the third hanging until they pass back through the room again on their way out.

As they enter the hallway, the light of the lanterns go from blood red to a more normal white light.

The group moves to the first door on the south wall of the corridor. This door is wooden, and covered in a thick grayish metallic paint. Pausing before this door, the group also looks at the door opposite on the north. That door is heavy iron, with no grates, windows or other openings. It appears to Drex to be designed to keep something /in/, not to keep the curious out. It, too, is covered in the same strange metallic paint.

They listen at the chosen southern door and check it for traps, and find nothing. Its locked, but Drex makes quick work of the lock and the door is opened.

Door Number One

The room itself is 15’ by 22’, with bookshelf-lined walls. A long table with two chairs per side occupies the middle; squeezing between this and the shelves is awkward. An oil lamp on the table can be lit to illuminate the room. In a conspicuous gap between shelves in the center of the south wall sits a lectern bearing an imposing black tome. 

Grend, Shae, and Björn enter the room cautiously as the rest watch from the hallway. Grend leads; when he gets to the table in the center of the room, suddenly all the books on the shelves around the room begin shuddering and vibrating. The table and chairs begin to shake as well. 

Finally, the books fly off the shelves, swoop through the room like paper and parchment bats, and pummel the three adventurers who are in the room. The table slides around and begins to block the door as the chairs join in the fray to hit the three. The three manage to dart to the door and leap over the table blocking it just before the table goes vertically up the wall to completely block the door.

Shaken, with only minor damage from the flying books, the party decides to push on to the last door on the south wall of the corridor, beyond the archway. As they pass they can see the archway leads to another 30’ of similar corridor ending in heavy double doors. 

Door Number Two

The chosen door is also locked, which Drex opens after checking for traps. This door is nearly identical to the library’s door including the mysterious metallic paint, except with a better lock. The room is 15’ by 22’ and lit sickly green by an ominous cloud of vapor swirling in the center of the room. The area is strewn with upended furniture, while fragments of shattered glassware reflect the eerie glow. 

There was obviously an explosion here! There may be salvage, however. The greenish cloud doesn’t seem to react to the group as they cautiously enter. They experiment with it a bit – throwing a rat doll
Grend has made from spider parts and webs into it to see if it reacts, or if it does something visible to the flesh. The cloud dissipates briefly, only to come back together, while the rat simulacrum is seemingly unaffected. Björn uses his shield as a fan on the cloud; it drifts away from the created draft a bit. 

Emboldened, the party begins to search the room.
There are enough alchemical equipment and reagents available in the wreckage for Enok to put together the equivalent of a (cobbled together and bulky) backpack alchemist’s lab. Enok thinks he can make a few items from it and the party pauses while he works, eventually producing faerie ink and developer (for creating and revealing invisible messages), a glow vial, and a glue grenade.

Forget Opening Doors!

The party leaves the room and goes to the door across the hall. This is another iron door similar to the first one they looked at, and also has the metallic paint job. Enok casts an Earth Vision spell, which allows him to see through the rock wall of the hallway and look into the room beyond. He supplements this with a Night Vision spell so he can see better. He can dimly make out something that looks like a 10’ tall statue of a humanoid. While he watches, Shae knocks on the door to see if the figure reacts. It does not.

The group moves to the center door on the north wall, which is identical to the last. Enok (his spells are still active) looks through the wall and sees a similar statue to the previous room.

They move to the first door again, and Enok sees three human sized figures. These seem to be shifting their weight and other slight movements to reveal that they are animated, if not living, creatures.

A bit frustrated by these rooms – is everything in here a trap or a monster to fight? – the heroes decide to return to the temple area and go down the blasted tunnel that the Peshkali indicated contained Meryle.

The Last Gas(p)

As they move down the hall, a familiar cloud of green glowing gas zips past the rear of the group, and stops near the center. As it comes to a halt, expands to fill a 2 or 3 yard radius, engulfing Grend, Björn, and Enok. They begin to cough and choke as the poisonous cloud covers them.

Grend, Drex, and Findlay run. The rest of party stands for a second undecided on what to do. How do you fight a cloud? Enok thinks about his available spells and doesn’t see anything applicable, but he DOES know the rune Úr – which covers the domain of weather. Maybe a high powered wind spell could blow the cloud away? He improvises an Air Jet spell, draws the rune and pours the required energy into the rune. He successfully creates the spell on the fly! And then he fires the jet of compressed air into the menacing cloud. To his and everyone’s surprise, this doesn’t just blow the cloud down the hall – it seems to completely destroy it!

After the attack of the green gas cloud (a toxifier demon), the heroes take stock of their condition. Again, Enok has been injured – this time by the toxifier’s poison. Grend took some amount of damage as well. They are feeling pretty beat up and have a hard decision to make – push on and try to clear the dungeon while Meryle and any allies might be off-guard, or leave and come back, giving Meryle a chance to discover the damage done to his lair and prepare?

The group decides to go back to the blasted laboratory room and take a rest while they decide what to do. While resting, the group searches the room more thoroughly. Drex finds a small locked chest, which when opened reveals 4 vials, each marked with runes for healing.

The party discovers these to be potions of Major Healing, and they use these to heal some of their many wounds.

Refreshed somewhat (but not totally), they set off once more down the blasted passage. As they pass back through the temple area, the purloined lanterns’ light turns red again, only to return to white when they leave that room to enter to tunnel.

The hole in the wall behind the evil altar in the ritual chamber is the mouth of a 10’ wide tunnel that slopes gently downward to the south and then twists out of sight. Unlike the cellar and sewers, and the chambers excavated by Meryle’s gang of sorcerers, this isn’t the squared-off work of engineering or magic – it looks as though something blasted its way out of the ritual chamber. The exposed rock emits a lambent glow, constantly changing in color.

The Descent

The party descends – 200 feet, 400 feet, 600 feet, eventually reaching 1000 feet. Up ahead they see the passage get wider as if opening up into a chamber. The glow is stronger from this direction. Findlay begins to play the Song of Echoes (“Hello, hello, hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me, Is there anyone at home?”) to detect anything invisible or hidden.

As the song begins to echo down the passage, the party steps out into a roughly circular area about 30’ across. The ceiling is a dome that rises 15’ above the rocky floor. The weird glow is especially intense here. In the center of the chamber is what appears to be a man in a filthy robe that still bears visible occult markings. He appears to be dancing to the song Findlay is playing. His eyes and the inside of his mouth glow with the same weird light as the walls of the cave.

Instinctively, Björn fast-draws an arrow and sends it directly at the figure’s vitals. Casually, the figure waves a hand in the direction of the arrow’s flight and it vanishes in midair with a weirdly purple-black flash.

Drex seems to disappear as he steps into the chamber. Findlay shifts his lute nervously and thinks furiously about what song he should play. He decides on Song of Command, and begins to strum out the first few notes. Shae and Grend move to confront the figure directly, Shae weighing her battle axe in both hands while Grend readies his net. Enok moves laterally in the chamber seeking a clear line of fire.

The figure pauses, points at Shae, and an eldritch blast of the purple-black light flashed towards the cat-folk. Somehow, miraculously, Shae avoids the blast.

Björn lets loose another arrow, which the figure causes to vanish in mid-air! Shae swings the axe, and just as casually the figure pushes it aside with a wave of his hand and that purple-black flash. Findlay, playing Song of Command, realizes its not working. Grend throws the net, and it too vanishes with a flash. Enok continues to maneuver to find a clear shot for a Stroke of Lightning. The figure points at Grend and the weird bolt of light jumps from his finger towards the half-ogre. Grend tries desperately to avoid it, diving for the ground, but the bolt connects and burns a long scar across his torso.

Out of nowhere, Drex materializes directly behind the figure and stabs him in the back with a dagger. It hits, but just slides off the figure’s skin as if it was thick leather hide. Björn fires another arrow – this one strikes home and draws blood! Shae tries again to connect with her two-handed axe, but the figure again parries the attack with its eldritch energy. Findlay plays Song of Humiliation with the hope of mentally stunning it. Grend gets to his knees from where he dove to the ground. The figure, apparently enraged at Björn’s ability to harm it, fires an intense bolt of energy at him, striking with such force that Björn falls, stunned, to the floor.

Drex tries to melt back into the shadows, hoping to avoid the notice of the figure. Björn struggles to clear his head, unsuccessfully. Shae, determined to cleave the figure in twain, delivers a mighty blow, which finally connects with such force, that the figure is thrown back 10’ and falls near where Drex is hiding! Findlay continues to try to stun the figure with his taunting song. Enok fires a bolt of lightning which the figure tries unsuccessfully to parry with his eldritch blast. Even though hit so hard it flew back ten feet, it is clearly still conscious and trying to get to its feet. It manages to get to its knees.

With a burst of inspiration, Drex steps up to the figure and delivers a stab at one of its eyes. He connects! And the dagger destroys the eye, extinguishing its weird lambant glow. The creature reels in pain. Björn manages to clear his head and struggles to his knees. Findlay continues, unsuccessfully, to stun the figure with Song of Humiliation. Shae runs up and pulls off the “Cody Banks” attack; she leaps into the air and as she falls brings down her axe in a flurry of blows so fast it is hard to follow. She connects three times! The damage on the figure is CATastrophic (“cat” – get it?) and the figure disintegrates into dust along with a final burst of the eldritch purple-black energy.

The figure’s clothing remains in a crumpled heap. Searching through it, the party finds a silver necklace and medallion in the shape of a snake’s fang, and a gold signet ring.

A Rude Surprise

I Smell A Rat, Session Four (April 18, 2019)

(Sorry this is delayed, and as I don’t have good notes from the two battles, it is necessarily less detailed…)

The heroes are standing around the Peshkali, weapons drawn, while Findley continues to play the Song of Command to keep it subdued. At the appointed moment Findlay stops playing and the rest of the party attacks it.

Several good hits are landed and the Peshkali has numerous head and torso wounds, but somehow manages to continue to attack. It uses its six arms and snakelike body to try to grapple the party. It doesn’t succeed, in part because it continues to take injury from the blows of the heroes. Several seconds later, it is still fighting even though it has taken huge amounts of damage. Desperation begins to set in as they realize they don’t really know how to kill this demonic thing.

Eventually Shae stops trying to hit the torso and swings a mighty blow at one of its arms. It connects and dismembers the limb. The Peshkali writhes and screams, a stronger reaction to the pain than from any blow so far.

Heartened by the demon’s reaction, the band of heroes begins to concentrate on damaging the Peshkali’s arms. After many seconds of combat, they manage to cut off all six arms and the Peshkali screams, thrashes and turns to dust.

After a few minutes of catching their breath, the party begins to examine the room they are in. Drex, searching along the west wall, notices that a foul, musty, rotten-meat smell emanates from it. He finds a section of false wall: upon close examination, there is actually a piece of canvas stretched over a wooden frame and painted cunningly to match the stone walls around it. Sure that there is something valuable here, he tears it open with one of his knives.

The ten foot wide opening on the other side of the false wall contains rank upon rank (pun intended) of rank zombies, each a buff humanoid (humans and half-elves, mostly) armed with clubs. Drex jumps back into the room while the undead march in. The zombie’s tactics are pretty straightforward – they walk straight towards the nearest visible adventurer and swing their clubs. When the entire band emerge from the hidden room, there are 15 of the zombies, attempting to overwhelm the 6 heroes.

In the first few seconds of battle, Shae and Grend manage to take out a few, but the horde just keeps coming. Enok tries to retreat while throwing lightning bolts and manages to damage several with each spell. One or two fall from the eldritch magic, but most, although damaged, keep advancing. Björn shoots arrows into the creatures from across the room.

For several more seconds, the heroes fight bravely, but their luck seems to have turned against them. Findlay is almost surrounded by zombies, and drops his lute to pull out sword and main-gauche to maximize his defensive and offensive capabilities, but still has to rely on retreating dodges to remain, miraculously, unhit. He is forced back across the room and is running out of room in which to retreat.

Shae and Grend are also taking damage from the zombies and having very little luck in reducing their numbers.

Drex uses his agility and annoying taunts to lure one of the zombies into proximity to the altar, trying to get it to touch the altar and maybe(?) getting cursed. He does manage to get it to trip over its own feet and lose its club.

Grend eventually fights his way clear of the zombies on him, and moves to attack those on Findlay. He finds it much easier (and safer!) to attack the zombies from behind and is able to dispatch one or two expeditiously. He slobbers, “Hep each ot’er by attackin’ zombees from behin’!” 

The party adopts his tactic: anyone who manages to break free from melee with the zombies on them then moves to attack, from behind, the zombies on another party member. This changes the tide of battle and the heroes eventually emerge victorious, although badly injured. Everyone except Björn has taken damage; Enok is the worse, reeling from his wounds and barely hanging onto consciousness.

I Smell A Rat

April 11, 2019

Session Three Recap (written by Julie):

The group is standing on the stairs waiting for the door to be opened. Grend gets his pack so he can treat those who are hurt. Leeander told the group she heard what she thought was giant rats. Grend takes care of Findlay’s wound. He also works on Enok’s wound.

It is a flagstone floor in the cellar. The walls are also quarried walls. Findlay is able to determine that the cellar is full of spiderwebs. Grend grabs some of the spiderwebs and adds them to his esoteric medicine kit. 

We get in position and go into the cellar and burn off the spiderwebs.

There are 6 stone pillars supporting the inn. Each pillar has 2 torch brackets per pillar. Grend gets more torches from Leander and puts them in the pillar brackets.

We eventually clear all except a pile of junk in the far corner, about 5 feet up we see a hole. The junk is covering the hole. Mound of loose dirt, rubble and other cast off junk. Not made by the spiders. In order to see what is there, we have to climb or dig. Shae climbs up the dirt pile. As she is climbing over, she becomes stuck in the spiderwebs in the pile. Drex and Enok see more spiderwebs. Findlay starts to climb up and gets stuck. A humongous spider crawls through the hole. 6 ft across 2 ft wide body. Findlay is able to break free. Shae attempts to strike it, but is unsuccessful. The spider attempts to attack but is unsuccessful. Bjorn rushes the pile and gets stuck. 

Drex holds back. Shae hits the spider. It appears that she hurt the spider and moved him back into the tunnel. It attacks her again. Bjorn attempts to break free and is unsuccessful. Grend has moved begin Bjorn to attempt to break him free of the webs. 

Shae attacks the spider unsuccessfully. Grend is able to pull Bjorn out of the webs. The spider attacks Shae again, and is unsuccessful. Enok burns off more web. Bjorn is able to fire off a shot at the spider and hit it, but it is still up.

Shae attacks, but is unable to connect. Findlay shoots at the spider with his bow and connects. The spider stumbles after being hit. It attacks Shae, and is unsuccessful. Grend has his net at the ready if it attempts to escape. Enok throws a lightning strike and is unsuccessful. Bjorn misses with his arrow. Shae attempts to hit the spider and misses. The spider attempts to eat Shae again and misses. Grend holds off. Enok shoots a sun bolt at the spider. Bjorn shoots at the spider and the arrow bounces off the carapace of the spider.

Drex lights his dagger and throws it at the spider and is successful. But the dagger bounces off the spider and nothing happens. Shae attacks, but is unsuccessful. The spider runs straight up the wall and Grend throws his net at it and it lands on the spider. Enok holds off and will be at ready if the spider escapes the net. Bjorn shoots the spider and it falls off the wall. The spider is flailing in the net and manages to get a few legs free of the net. The spider is practically helpless. Shae hits the spider’s leg. Spider still struggling in the net, in very bad shape. Findlay hits it, but the arrow bounces off. 

Grend harvests some silk from the giant spider. Unsuccessfully. Grend kills the spider with his spear. Attempts to get venom, one dose. 

We attempt to extract Shae from the webs. Drex manages to cut her out. 

We clear the pile and there is a 3×6 ft hole that was man made. Look in the hole with Enok’s continual light staff. Bjorn notices that whoever created the tunnel was not well versed. Sagging areas, planking on the floor, looks unstable. This tunnel looks like it goes straight across. Level, but curves. Findlay plays his song of echoes, but can’t tell what is on the other side of the curve. 

We decide to enter the tunnel. Shae is in front, Grend, Enok, Drex, Findlay and Bjorn enter the tunnel. It curves around, S shaped. We see it opens up, smell sewage. 6×6 conduit. Appears sturdy. Sewer to the left and the right, walls straight ahead. Water about a foot deep. Sewage is flowing downriver, to the left. It is flowing west. Grend jumps in to the poop water and has Enok shine his staff into the tunnel so he can see if there are any hand prints on the walls. Directly across from then opening the wall looks strange. Grend gets Drex and carries him over to the strange looking part of the wall. Drex sees a concealed door. Wooden door made to look like the sewer wall. Drex is successful in opening the door. Grend pushes the door open. Stairs going up. 4 foot of steps going up. The hallway goes about 30 ft and ends in a door. We decide to press on, Grend assists the party in crossing the sewage. 

3 ft high arched to 8 ft. Grend thinks it was carved with magic. Runes spell out type of trap hurting as you go down the corridor. You have to have sold your soul to demons to walk unscathed through the corridor. We all join hands and Grend begins singing. He calls on nature. He doesn’t feel like he is being ignored. We get through the bad corridor unscathed. Opens into room, 15 ft tall ceilings – temple like. 3 dangling lanterns, blood red in hue. 30×30 room. Curtained passage to the east. ON the wall opposite the entrance, there is an altar. Directly behind the altar is a gaping hole. The altar is a blood red color, the curtain is black velvet 6×8 archway. 

This room reeks evil. Some of the group hear something that sounds like slithering. As we enter the room, through the curtained opening comes a snake bodied woman with six arms – Enok knows that it is a peshkali – demon guard. It moves up to the group. Bjorn shoots her in the torso. Drex hides behind Shae. Shae attacks the peshkali, but is unsuccessful. Findlay does his best to not engage her in some type of conversation. The peshkali attacks Enok and is unsuccessful. She attacks him, but falls. Grend attacks the peshkali, and is successful. It doesn’t sink as far as in as he would have thought. She is bleeding profusely from her face.

Peshkali demon

Enok casts on her, and hits her. Bjorn shoots at her and is not successful. Drex is throwing his dagger at the peshkali and it bounces off. Shae hits the peshkali and is unsuccessful. Findlay starts singing a tune. The peshkali attacks Grend. She hits him with all her attacks and is successful. He retreats. Enok shoots another lightning bolt at her, but it misses. Bjorn shoots and she dodges the arrow. Drex yells to Grend to venom his knife, but not a good idea. He is going to attempt it anyway. 

Shae attacks, and the peshkali parries. Findlay has a contest of wills with the peshkali, and commands her to drop her swords. She drops her swords. She says she is guarding the room and the altar. Findlay asks who instructed her to guard the rooms and she tells us Meryle. Drex is headed to the altar along with Enok. Grend is checking the curtained area. Enok says the altar is evil. He feels a chill when he touches the altar. There is a hall and rooms behind the curtained area. Says that Meryle is behind the altar. 

Drex sneaks up and drips some of the spider venom in her wounds, no reaction. We are set to take care of the peshkali, with Grend standing behind her ready to strike her down.

The Wedding

Session Two (April 4, 2019)

Grend Gnashtooth’s attunement to nature can tell that the lake, and the area around Isfjall, has an elevated level of Nature’s Strength.

The party walks around the town of Isfjall. They notice that the people tend to wear their wealth; gold and silver rings, torcs, armbands, etc, abound, along with ornate swords and knives with gem and precious metal inlays. Yes, there are a lot of weapons. Almost no one walks around unarmed.

The party spends some time buying good clothing for the wedding. Eventually they head back to the docks to meet up with Kaarlo and the wedding party. Along the way, they run into Grend. When they ask about the scout, Bjorn, he slobbers “She ha’ ta do sumting outside.”

They meet at the docks. Kaarlo and his party (mostly men but a few women) are dressed as for raiding/battle. The first stop is a nearby bath house, where Kaarlo strips and bathes while the grooms’ party gives him advice about being a good husband and father. The bathhouse featured wooden tubs of water, soap for cleansing, and a steam room. Heated stones were sprinkled with water to produce steam in which the bathers luxuriated, switching themselves with bundles of fine birch twigs to stimulate perspiration.

One of the wedding party — a female human Thegne named Halla Magnusdottir, takes an interest in the party and explains the significance of the rituals and events around the wedding.

After the bath, Kaarlo dresses in finer clothing. He replaces his axe with a bejeweled, ancient sword.

Kaarlo loads them into his longboat and they row across the lake to the Viggosson’s property. The longboat contains several large chests and sacks. Kaarlo tells the PCs that he will need them to help unload the boat and to follow him with the cargo and follow his lead.

Upon landing, Kaarlo blows on a hunting horn, then steps off the boat and climbs the hill, not towards the longhouse, but down the shoreline towards where a large gathering of people are. As the groom’s party approaches, the FOB and some of his men step forward to meet them. There is an exchange of dowry and gifts.

An elven priestess of Valfreya (Eliasin Isengrae) officiates the wedding ceremony. The bride dons a red robe over her wedding dress. The pair are treated to traditional throat singing. 

Isengrae sacrifices a sow to Valfreya and asks her to bless the union with fertility. She smears the pig’s blood over her face for the ‘blot’ ceremony, traditionally acting as a blessing to the Gods. The animal’s blood is collected in a bowl and placed on an altar. A bundle of mistletoe is dipped in the blood, which was used to sprinkle the couple, conferring the blessings of the gods. 

The groom presents his ancestoral sword to his bride. The bride then gifts the groom a sword of her ancestors, symbolizing a transfer of a father’s protection of a bride to the husband. The bride and groom then exchange rings to further consecrate their wedding vows, offering rings to one another on the hilt of their new swords.

At the conclusion of the wedding, there is a foot-race between the groom’s party and the bride’s to the long house, where the wedding feast will be held. The losers of this race have to serve mead to the winners at the feast. Shae wins the race!

The Feast

Once in the feast hall, the groom buries his sword in the ceiling. The depth to which the sword sunk symbolizes the enduring nature of the union. 

At this point, the feast begins. The party strikes up an instant friendship with a hobbit named Drex Darko, who sits with them.

Shortly after the feast begins, a provocatively dressed female hobbit with curly brown hair pops up at their table. She’s trying to get some space from her obsessive date. The group strikes up a conversation with her. Her name is Clover Brightfoot.

Clover takes an interest in Findlay, and they go off to a quiet corner where Findlay plays for her. He starts to play “The Law Giver”, but she stops him. “Its bad luck to play that song,” she says. “Ylve Hreintrödd, a local skald (bard) of some fame, was recently killed after performing The Law Giver.” Findlay recalls that The Law Giver is about a legendary magical sword lost centuries ago.

Instead, Findlay plays “Wonderwall” over and over.

While Findlay and Clover talk, Clover’s original date, Ei∂r Hildurbru∂ur, human huskarl and oaf, comes over and talks to Shae briefly, mooning over Clover. Shae discovers in the course of the conversation that Clover is, in fact, a prostitute, although she was not paid to accompany Ei∂r to this wedding. Shae tells Drex to relay this news to Findlay. Drex goes over to Findlay and privately says to him, “Shae told me to tell you that Clover is really into you, brother.”

Grend and Shae wander over to where a group of men are holding some kind of sporting contest. When they get there, they see that it is a friendly wrestling match. The champion is an intimidatnig muscular man — a human? — with oddly colored patches of skin that resemble scales here and there. His name is Val∂ur Zalavaris. 

He challenges Grend to the best of three falls, and Grand agrees. He turns out to be an expert wrestler, and easily gains control of Grend and takes him down three times.

Shae challenges him. Val∂ur, somewhat cockily, decides to take it easy with the catfolk barbarian. She surprises him by slipping out of his hold. They circle each other warily, attacking and dodging, neither able to get a lasting hold on the other. Finally, Val∂ur laughs, stands up from his crouch, and extends an arm to Shae, and proclaims, “She is the best match I’ve had all day!”

Other personages met at the party include:

* Yngve Viggosson, father of the bride, jarl and merchant. He is ecstatic about the wedding, but more about the dowry from Kaarlo.

* Anja Yngvesdottir – the bride.

* Margareta Hallasdottir – MOB, ex-adventurer (thegne) scout.

*Moriah Elsinai, female elven bard, plays the pan pipes and apparently levitates when in a particular dramatic or passionate musical phrase.

A number of rumors and news items were also overheard:

* A small hamlet 20 miles northeast of Isfjall was completely wiped out. Shocked survivors described the dead arriving in the middle of the night and slaughtering the villagers in their beds.

* A couple of archivists of the hajarl of Isfjall (Vi∂ir Stefánsson) are overheard talking about a theft of some centuries-old maps and manuscripts.

* A group of thegns, including a holy warrior and the champion of last years Valor Festival sword competition (Gyrid), ventured into the wilds a few months ago. All were slain, but one made it nearly to Isfjall, and was brought into town carrying powerful artifacts. The body is being prepared for funeral rites, which will be tomorrow, at Vi∂ir Stefánsson’s longhouse (and seat of government in Isfjall).

* The Veiddarlönd (The Hunted Lands) are so overrun with dangerous faerie that the hajarls of Isfjall, Mosfell, and even the Castellan of Nor∂vorn have denuded their cities of huskarls to pacify the area. Additionally, holy warriors and clerics of Heimdallr are spread thin chasing down demon-worshipping cults in the area.

* A priest of Tyr (The Law God), Geirolf Tyrthegn, has been censured by his own brotherhood for driving thegns and even some huskarls to venture north on some foolish quest, instead of helping quell the demon, fae, and undead incursions.

The group is concerned about these ill tidings, especially Shae, whose village is in the affected lands. They decide to skip the rest of the feast — which could go on for days — and decide to go back to Isfjall to see if they can question the survivor of Gyrid’s party.

I Smell a Rat

​The group walks back to Isfjall. It is mid-evening, the town is still alive with the Summer Solstice festival.

They go to the hajarl’s longhouse, but are stopped by karls (guards) outside the walls, and are turned away with the advice to come back tomorrow when Stefánsson will be hearing town’s business.

The group now is wandering Isfjall without rooms to stay in, although Grend doesn’t mind — he will sleep outdoors in any case.

They’ve heard a rumor about an inn called The Skald’s End, that is currently closed until the owner can find someone to help her clear out some sort of infestation. They ask directions to the inn, and when they find it, it is truly closed. Just down the street is crowded, noisy tavern. Taking a chance, the party enters the tavern and asks the bartender for the owner of the Skald’s End.

They are directed to an elven lady sitting in the corner of the tavern, quieting drinking wine. She introduces herself as Leander Adalania (‘Lee’ for short).

Shae explains that they are looking for a place to stay while in town, but that they can see that Skald’s End is closed.

Lee says she recently inherited the inn from an uncle, Meryle, but when she opened the inn’s basement, she heard the skittering and odor of a potential giant rat infestation. She offers the group 8 cp per giant rat to get rid of them — to a maximum of 400 cp in case there are more than 50 rats — and 1 week of free rooms at the inn, if it can be reopened.

Findlay bargains with her and they decide on 10cp, max of 500cp, and 1 weeks room AND board for the party.

Lee takes them to the inn, unlocks the door, and leads them to the cellar door. Drex notices that the door is far stronger than you’d expect, and that it is barred from the outside.

Lee suggests that she will stay inside the inn and watch over their belongings, but that she is going to close and lock the door behind them — “To prevent any rats from getting out.” The party agrees and descend into the cellar.

As they enter, Findlay begins to play the Song of Echoes, which gives him something like echolocation abiliity to sense the dark cellar. Enok casts a Continual Light spell onto the end of his staff. Findlay warns the rest that there are six large shapes moving in the darkness, heading towards them.

Grend, in the lead as they descend the steps, sees that the cellar is full of spider webs. He reaches out with his spear to probe them and has difficulty in pulling the spear back.

At this point, the party is attacked by 6 giant spiders.

Grend’s spear and Shae’s axe make quick work of two of the spiders. Findlay struggles with another, the spider leaning in to bite him with its fangs. it looks briefly like the spider bites deeply into his torso, vile green poison coursing down its fangs into the wound, but Findlay struggles, and decisively pulls away from the spider, suffering only a single point of damage. The poison did not penetrate his leather armor at all.

Drex throws two daggers at one of the giant spiders; the first bounces off the spider’s exoskeleton. The second dagger is more carefully aimed, and hits the spider in one of its main compound eyes. Ichor flows and the spider emits a high pitched squeal in response to the pain.

Enok scrawls a rune on his slate, and then points at a spot beyond the spiders. At his command, a bolt of electric blue lighting shoots from his finger in a straight line, catching three of the spiders in the blast. The affected arachnids squeal, their legs drawing up underneath them as the bolt sears their bodies.

Findlay drops the lute, and draws his rapier and main-gauche.

Drex somewhat improbably produces an alchemist’s match from somewhere, lights it and throws it into the webs, which burns quickly and does some damage to one of the remaining spiders. The flames die down quickly, however.

The spiders don’t react well to having been hit; their attacks are clumsy. Shae and Grend, helped by another lightning bolt from Enok, take care of another two.

Findlay dispatches the last spider with a few well-placed rapier attacks.

After the combat, Grend takes out a knife and cuts into the maw of several spiders. He manages to get several doses of spider venom from them.

Journey to Isfjall

Session One (March 21, 2019)

Kaarlo Magnesson is the master of the Dragonsbreath, a merchant longship plying the Wodenain between the coast and the city of Isfjall.

He intends at all costs to get to Isfjall by the Summer Solstice Festival as that day he intends to marry Anja Yngvesdottir, the daughter of a jarl in Isfjall (Yngve Viggosson).

The Dragonsbreath has been traveling along with 3 other longships for protection, but several seasonal storms have delayed the convoy and Kaarlo is growing anxious that he will miss his wedding.

He asks for volunteers from all four longships for anyone willing to row through the night to ensure they get there on time. He is offering 10 sp each for any volunteers.

Among the takers are Grend Gnashtooth the Half-orc Druid, Shae (catfolk barbarian), Findlay Silvertongue (halfli- I mean hobbit bard), Enok (eldhud runecaster), and Bjorn Bjornsson, human scout. 

All but Findlay are rowing. Findlay plays an encouraging song on his lute. 

It is well after midnight. The Dragonsbreath is entering a stretch of the river which has a number of treacherous shoals and rocks, and the current picks up here. Kaarlo extolls the the rowers to push harder. Kaarlo himself is at the rudder while several men with lanterns are hanging out at the bow calling out the location of hazards. The ship passes into a narrow stretch of the river with steep cliff-like banks on either side.

One of the rowers, a huge muscular dwarf named Caedmon, has been grumbling about rowing the whole time. As the night wears on, he begins to make his displeasure known with comments about the intelligence of Kaarlo, his looks (“Of course he’s desperate to marry this girl, no one else would have him!”), etc. 

This finally ticks Kaarlo off enough that he answers with a sharp retort of his own. Caedmon curses, jumps up, and swipes Kaarlo’s feet out from under him. The two fall back into the group of rowers and begin to wrestle. 

As they do, the body of the lookout stationed 40 feet above, on the mast, suddenly falls to the deck, dying as he hits (if he wasn’t already dead). His body smashes the lantern next to where Kaarlo and Caedmon struggle. The burning oil splatters the deck and the wrestlers roll into it. 

Most of the crew react, turning to look at the fight at the stern or moving to help or intervene. 

When the lantern was smashed by the body of the look out, it set fire to the deck. Thinking quickly, Shae grabs a rolled up carpet/rug and tries to throw it on the fire to smother it. As all this is happening, Bjorn Bjornsson is able to see straight through to the other end of the boat and sees that they have been boarded.

Bjorn yells to Shae that the boat has been boarded. She has managed to unfurl the rug and cover Kaarlo, Caedmon and the lookout’s body with the rug. Findlay plays a Song of Humiliation on his lute, focused on Caedmon. Bjorn witnesses one of the crewmen handing a sword to one of the men who boarded the boat. We see more humanoids join the raid from the river, and they begin doing crowd control on the boat and start gathering non-mutinous crewmen and tying them up.  

During this time Findlay is attacked from behind, but not before the effects of the music he was playing begin to take effect. Grend is attacked viciously and begins fighting for his life. Bjorn leaves the tiller to one of the regular rowers and grabs a long knife that Caedmon had been wielding and had dropped. Bjorn attacks the mutineer that Enok had been fighting.

While struggling with the pirates, both Grend and Enok notice one of Kaarlo’s men hit by a “dum-dum” arrow – an arrow whose point has been replaced by a blunt weight, apparently designed to do as much blunt trauma as possible.

The trajectory of the arrow suggests it was fired from the cliffs overlooking the river. 

A short time later Grend is also hit by one of these arrows. This, plus the damage one of the pirates did to him with a long knife before Grend dispatched him, was enough damage that Grend was in danger of passing out. He crawls under one of the two cows that were on deck, and summons an obscuring cloud of fog to roll over half the ship.

One of the pirates caught in the fog decides to try to get clear of it, and runs to the stern, just as Enok, Shae, and Bjorn take down the last of the pirates at the stern. Emerging from the fog, he stops as the three heroes look up and them, and decides that discretion is the better part of valor. “Retreat!” he yells, and dives overboard.

The remaining pirates also slip over the side and leave.

The party eventually are able to regain control of the boat and get rid of, or tie up the pirates. They continue on their way to Isfjall and arrive with no additional encounters. Grend retired to the bowels of the boat as he took a large amount of damage from the pirates.

Kaarlo is very thankful for the adventurers’ assistance. He pays them double what was promised, and then says, “I feel that righteous combat has made us brothers. Would you stand with me at my wedding today? I have had to leave most of my relatives behind on the other boats in my rush to get here on time.”

Kaarlo says to the party: “If you wish to attend the wedding, be back here, at the docks, by noon. Wear your best clothing!”