A Ghoulish Reception

Session Report (June 20 and June 27, 2019)

More skeletons continue to emerge from the ruins as the battle goes on. Enok gets separated from Findlay at some point, and is surrounded. He holds them off — several times it looks like he is about to be taken down but miraculously manages to avoid major damage. This continues for several seconds but he is eventually overwhelmed and drops unconscious to the ground.

Ultimately, the heroes win the fight with the skeletons. Grend practices his Esoteric Medicine skills on Enok, getting him conscious again, but still barely holding on. After searching the ruins and discovering a few coins in the rubble, they decide to leave and once again camp in the wilderness to allow everyone a chance to recover. This time they find a suitably sheltered camp site.

Grend calls upon the Mother (Nature) to allow him to cure some of Enok’s wounds using Grend’s own energy (in the usual way — Grend hawks a loogie, slaps it on Enok’s back and prays). He also tends to the (relatively minor) wounds of the others. Drained and weak, he then calls upon the Mother to restore his own wounds and falls into a deep sleep (while the prayer works its healing on him).

The rest divvy up the watches and they rest for an uneventful night.

The next day the band of intrepid adventurers head back into the ruins of Logiheimli, determined to find clues to the location of the Hall of Judgment. Shae tells Grend that they are going to the temple ruins and that she will not under any circumstances muck about in the outbuilding ruins again.

They approach the temple ruins. Ahead, through the unnatural fog that seems to shroud the ruins, they see the edifice. The front wall of the temple is 60-80 feet long. Near each corner there is a short set of steps leading up to a door set in the stacked stone walls. In the center looms a larger opening. Massive doors lie in the muddy ground in front of it, appearing to have been battered and wrenched off their hinges. They step into the opening.

After their eyes adjust to the gloom, they see a massive hall. The floor immediately inside the opening is stone set into the ground. This extends about 15 feet to either side and 30 feet into the room, then a raised (about 6 inches) wooden floor covers the rest of the hall. The lower stone floor is covered in rainwater. The ceiling is thirty feet above them, supported by massive wooden beams forming arches from 8 columns along the sides of the room. Gray light filters through numerous cracks in the roof, and there is a steady drip of water falling from above onto the floor, echoing in the large space. 

Broken pieces of tables and benches litter the room. The near right corner is filled with rubble from a larger cave-in of the roof and part of the walls. At the far side of the room is a short flight of steps rising about 3 feet to a raised dais, upon rests a stone altar that appears to be cracked and broken. To the left of the altar, near the corner, is a large (4 foot high) urn carved from a single block of stone. In the right corner is a large (10 foot) statue lying facedown. On the back wall, on either side of the altar, is a pair of normal-sized doors.

The group searches the room. Grend goes over to check out the urn. He sees that it is filled with rainwater, and at the bottom there appears to be the body of an emaciated man curled up with its knees pulled up to its chest. It is utterly still. The others come over when he calls out what he has found. 

They decide to (literally) fish the corpse out of the water. Everyone readies their weapons as Grend pulls out a fishing hook and line, and reaching over the urn snags it on the corpse’s clothing. He carefully pulls it up until the body just breaks the surface of the water. Holding the line with one hand, he reaches over with the other to grab the corpse by the scruff of the neck, ready to pull it out of the urn. As he does so, several things happen simultaneously.

The figure’s eyes snap open. One of its hands quickly grabs at Grend’s hand and Grend feels a sudden sensation like an electric shock jolt him through the contact.

Another gaunt figure drops from the ceiling to land nearby, snarling and raising its bony claws to strike at Grend.

As the party’s focus is on the two creatures (ghouls), a panel in the wall behind Enok slides open silently, unseen.

For a beat, the party stands unmoving in surprise.

Then Shae’s axe moves blindingly fast, twice, at the ghoul in the urn. Both hit! The ghoul and the urn disintegrate in an explosion of water, flesh, and stone. 

Shae’s player declared All-out Attack, Double. The first attack roll is a 3 — critical hit! Rolling on the Critical Hit table indicates normal damage. The second attack roll is a 4 — also a critical! This one does double damage. Shae rolls and gets over 50 points of damage.

Findlay begins to play the Song of Alarum — which increases the party’s damage by +2 (or +1 for impaling weapons).

The second ghoul charges Grend, who dodges. He strikes and misses as the ghoul moves past him. The ghoul then attacks Enok, who sweeps his staff dramatically, catching the creature on the back and propelling him several yards beyond. 

Enok’s player rolled a critical success on a parry roll. The dice were with the PCs this night!

As Enok deftly defends, a bony claw reaches out from the panel behind him and grabs him by the neck, dragging him out of the temple. The thing’s touch shocks and paralyzes Enok, he falls in the narrow corridor in which he has been dragged. 

Grend moves to where Enok has been dragged. He enters the corridor behind the secret door to find the third ghoul bending down about to take a big bite of Eldhud flesh…

Drex decides on discretion over valor and disappears into the shadows. 

Shae moves to attack the ghoul still standing inside the temple.

Grend manages to hit the ghoul about to chow down on Enok, which draws the ghoul’s attention to him. Shae strikes and hits the other ghoul as Drex comes out of the shadows to strike as well. A couple of rounds later and the two remaining ghouls are defeated.

The combat over, the team goes back to exploring the temple. They determine the fallen statue to be Tyr, the Law God. The secret door leads to a hallway that runs along the entire length of the  right wall of the temple room. At one end is one of the smaller outside doors they noticed outside the temple, and the other ends in a pile of old crates and barrels stacked against the wall.

The group searches both the right and left walls for more secret doors, and discover that an identical hallway with matching secret doors runs along the left wall of the temple as well. This hall, too, is choked with junk and debris blocking any way further into the temple. The only obvious way further in are the two doors on the platform near the altar.

Drex checks the door for traps — none — and they step through. Exploring the ruined temple, they find a large common eating/cooking room. Rusting cooking utensils and rotting tables surround a fire pit in the floor, over which a brick chimney is set in the ceiling. Drex melts into the shadows and checks out the room. He senses more than sees a couple of shapes hidden in the ceiling above. When he goes back to report, Shae pulls out her bow and an arrow and asks Enok to cast a Light spell on it, which he does. Shae then fires the arrow into the chimney where it embeds in the crumbling brick. At this, they hear chattering, hollow laughter from the chimney which fades as the source moves rapidly away.

Searching the room, they find nothing of interest. They continue to search the rest of the temple. At this point, Enok casts an Earth Vision spell, which gives him the ability to see through stone. They use this ability to scope out several rooms — several barracks and living quarters on one side of the temple, and a large living suite on the other. The suite was obviously for someone important but is now a rotten, sodden mess. One corner of the building has collapsed, exposing a (once) well-appointed desk and sitting room, and the bedroom proper. Enok can see a large closet or other storage space off the bedroom.

Into the Ruins of Logiheimli

Session Report (June 13, 2018)

With darkness coming on, they decide to retreat for the night outside the ruins and the desecrated, low mana, defiled area. They look for a suitable place to camp but cannot find a spot that is protected from the rain and the cold which settles around them as darkness falls. Instead they spend an uncomfortable night, wet, cold and miserable.

Before they sleep, Grend uses his druidic prayers to transfer some of the wounds of Shae, Findlay and Enok to himself. He then prays to the Mother to restore those wounds and drifts off to sleep. Shae, Findlay, and Enok take turns guarding the camp while others sleep.

The night is cold and damp. They each awaken, except for Shae, fuzzy-headed and groggy from lack of sleep, and aching from the cold and hard ground.

Near dawn, as Shae’s watch is ending, she hears the underbrush being disturbed to one side of the camp. Without waking the others she sees three skeletal warriors in mail, carrying weapons and shields. They see her as well and attack. Shae engages and shouts to the others to awaken.

Grend wakes first and yells at the others to get up. He climbs to his feet and finds his spear as the others wake up. Enok sits up, clears his head, and fires a Stone Missile at one of the skeletons. He hits!

One of the skeletons, armed with a spear, manages to get through her defenses and scores a minor wound.

Grend prays for a moment, and roots and vines burst from the ground to entangle the skeletons. Two of them do not defend, while the third dives for cover. The tangle of growth slow the other two skeletons down but they break free.

Shae gets a good hit on one of them and it shatters as it disintegrates. Enok fires again with a Stone Missile and its enough to destroy it. Grend moves around behind the third and takes it out.

After the battle, Shae studies the footprints of the skeletons. They seem to trace a route parallel to the berm that surrounds the ruins of Logiheimli. They follow them around the temple complex; it is roughly oval and maybe 250 yards along its longest axis and 150 yards across its shorter axis. Almost directly across from the gate they entered yesterday — the one with the skeletal warhorses — is a barrow mound. A dark tunnel leads back into the hill. The skeleton tracks, and many more like them, lead into the barrow. Looking back towards Logiheimli, they see there is another opening or gate in the berm opposite the barrow.

The party decides to go into Logiheimli, and cross to the berm and pass through the gate inside its walls.

They see a large building directly in front of them, silhouetted in the mist. To the left and right, several yards away, are the ruins of 3 or 4 smaller buildings, perhaps longhouses. The group stops to discuss where to go first, with Shae wanting to go towards the larger, central building. “That must be the temple. If there is anyplace that contained a clue as to the location of the Hall of Judgment, it would be there.”

Grend disagrees, saying that if there are any hidden enemies among the ruins, they should find and eliminate them now instead of having to deal with them if they are overwhelmed inside the (supposed) temple building and need to retreat. He sways them to his argument, and they step closer to the ruins on the right.

As they do so, a dozen or more humanoid skeletons rise from the ruins and attack. They are mostly armed with spears, swords, and axes, along with shields. Two have bows instead.

Grend and Shae wade into a small group of skeletons, weapons swinging. Findlay starts by playing the Song of Alarum, which boosts his allies’ ST and DX, but as he is threatened by skeletons he quickly shifts to the Song of Warning, which keeps several of the skeletons 4 yards away from him. Enok stands near him, using his staff to hit at skeletons outside the area of repulsion. Enok is aiming at arms and legs — one good hit on a limb is enough to dismember the brittle skeletons.

Shae does a Double Strike on one and takes it out.

The fight progresses. Two of the skeletons have been ‘disarmed’ but continue to fight much less effectively using their shields to bash, or bony claws to strike.

(To be continued…)

The Journey

Session Report (May 23, 2019)

The party meets Geirof a week later, collects the supplies and pack ponies he’s provided, and sets off to find the ruins of Logiheimli.

They travel northwards along the plains between the Greniheim Forest towards the East and the hills at the foot of the Vestrurham Range to the West. The July weather is good; the skies are clear and the temperature comfortable. The make good time all day. In the afternoon, they come across the tracks of something huge that seemed to crash its way through the forest on their right and across their path into the hills. Whatever it was has pushed down trees, stripped the bark from several of the largest trunks, and denuded the tops of most of the trees along its destructive path. Several enormous hoof prints are left in the dirt and mud.

Grend and Shae confer briefly and declare that except for its size, it appears to be moose spoor. But the moose would have to be thirty feet tall to have left this trail of destruction.

They push on, and as darkness approaches, they search for and find a suitable site to camp. They find a mountain stream that they suspect has fish; Grend and Shae try their luck and each land a medium-sized fish that the team uses to supplement their rations.

The night passes uneventfully.

The next day, as the party packs up their gear and prepares to set off again, they notice two ravens circling some distance off into the Greniheim Forest. There is something about their behavior that seems off. The party decides to investigate. They push through about a mile into the forest to the area the ravens are circling. They find a small clearing, at the center of which is a large rock. The group can hear the burbling of water, and circling the stone they find a natural spring bubbling out of a cleft in the stone, running down a natural sluice and soaking the ground. The water seems pure and potable; Grend suggests they refill their water supply.

As they wait for the vatnvikur to fill, they make a small sacrifice to Woden the Allfather in thanks for the find. After they do so, a penny falls from the sky. Enok picks it up and examines it. Drex looks over his shoulder and thinks that it has very little monetary value, and wanders off disinterested. Enok notes that the penny has the Òss () rune and pockets it.

The party collects the ponies and pushes on. The weather worsens; rain begins to fall and the temperature dips. As the afternoon approaches, the rain turns to mist and fog.

Late afternoon, the party begins to make out the line of a low ridge silhouetted in the fog ahead and to the left. They turn in that direction and find that the ridge is the remains of a berm. The remains of rotted wooden posts stick up from the crest. At its base is a ditch collecting water and mud from the day’s precipitation. The earthen mound runs both left and right as far as they can see in the mist (a hundred yards or so). A short way to the right there is an opening through the berm.

They lead their ponies to the gap in the berm, and down into the ditch and back up. On the other side of the berm are the remains of several buildings dimly seen through the fog. Immediately at hand, on the left, are a number of stone pillars set into the earth, each with several slots carved into them as if they once held planks of wood to connect the posts to form a fence or corral. They can see the bones of various animals in the dirt beyond the posts. Grend notices that his connection to Nature is severely limited — he believes the area is supernaturally defiled in some way. Enok tentatively tests his connection to the mana and finds that the magical force is also very low in the ruins.

The party investigates the once-fenced area more closely. As Enok steps past one of the pillars to examine its other side, four of the piles of bones begin to tremble, then rise up, coming together to assemble the skeletons of large warhorses.

The skeletal warhorses attack! They charge directly at the party at full speed, lowering their heads to crash into the nearest character. They spend the next handful of seconds fighting the warhorses, determining that piercing and impaling weapons do less damage than usual; crushing weapons appear to be extra effective. Grend shifts his grip on his spear to use it as a staff instead. Shae manages to do enough damage to cause one to crumble back into a pile of bones. Drex picks up one of the defeated skeleton’s leg bones and throws it between the galloping legs of one of the remaining skeleton horses, which trips and falls. Drex dodges one of the charging warhorse skeletons which plows into one of the pack ponies, hurting it.

Several tense action-packed seconds later, the party has defeated the skeletons. Shae, Findlay, and Enok all took damage.

The Lost Hall

Session Report (May 23, 2019)

Geirof comes in and sits with them.

“The town of Isfjall owes you a debt, whether they know it or not,” he says. “I was afraid that the demonic activity in the Frostharrow would eventually reach here, but I’m a little surprised it got here as soon as now.”

When asked about the “demonic activity”, Geirof tells them that the holy warriors and clerics of Heimdallr are spread very thin chasing down demonworshiping cults in the area. “Over 50 members of a demon cult were recently discovered performing a ritual designed to weaken the boundaries between the Nine Realms,” he says. “I believe this, plus the upswing in restless dead attacks, herald a problem: the Lost Hall of Judgment has fallen into evil hands.”

“The Lost Hall is one of the physical connections between this realm, Midgard, and that of the Gods, Asgard. Tyr the Lawgiver reigns in the Hall, and his influence is in part what keeps the powers of Chaos in check.” He sighs. “That influence, I believe, is missing. The reports of demons, demonic cults, undead attacks, and more frequent encounters with the Fae have led me to believe that the Hall has fallen, and with it, its tempering influence.

“Alas, others in my Braeðralag do not agree. They believe the unrest is a temporary thing, and will settle over time. But I know I’m right!” he says, slamming a fist down onto the table. He looks up at the group. “What I need is a brave group of thegns to find the Lost Hall. If it is in demonic or Fae hands, to free it. I can’t offer much in the way of reward, but anyone who manages to do this will have their deeds sung and sagas written about them for ages!” He looks to the party expectantly.

The party agrees to go on Geirof’s quest — he asks them to vow to Tyr to complete the task to the best of their abilities. They agree.

“Thank you, my friends,” he says. “I have some things that may make the quest easier.” He produces an old map on crumbling vellum and unrolls it. It shows the area north of Isfjall.

“I, uh, liberated this map from the archives in the hajarl’s hall. It is said to contain the location of the Hall of Judgment. I have pored over it, and used magics on it, but it refuses to yield its secrets.” He points at a location. “This is Logiheimli. Once it contained a great temple to Tyr. If any place contains clues as to the Lost Hall, it would be there. Unfortunately, Logiheimli fell to incursions of the evil from the Frostharrow ages ago. I would be very careful entering the ruins.”

He reaches into a pouch at his side and removes a hematite armlet, with silver chasing in the shape of the Tyr rune. “This is a tiwstakn. It was found on the body of Gyrid, the champion of last year’s Valor festival, after he died. He and a group of thegns ventured into the wilds a few months ago, questing for glory. All were slain, but Gyrid held on and tried to return to Isfjall with hideous injuries. His body was found just days ago outside of town. He was carrying the tiwstakn and a sword, both of which are embued with subtle magics that we have yet to identify. I believe Gyrid’s party discovered clues about the Lost Hall, and that these artifacts are connected to it. Perhaps the magic in this tiwstakn will be useful to those who quest for the Hall.”

Geirof also offers the heroes the purloined sword. “Perhaps this will also be of use,” he says. “Certain demons cannot be defeated without magic weapons.” He sighs. “Alas, I cannot offer much in the way of payment. Perhaps the knowing that you saved Norðlond from an encroaching evil or that you may be successful in rediscovering the Hall of Judgment when others have failed, will be enough. I can provide, however, four pack ponies with water and food to start you on your way.”

The team agrees to the quest.

This Way to the Egress

Session Six (May 9, 2019)

The party is still in the chamber at the end of the blasted passage where they defeated the “husk” of Meryle. They take the snake’s tooth medallion and the signet ring, and begin to make their way back to the surface.

Around 200’ up from the bottom, the party hears the sound of rocks grinding and cracking. They send Drex up ahead to scout. He sees five things (rock mites) that resemble headless stone pygmies. Their torsos are lumpy and egg-shaped. Their legs are stumpy, ending in flat, slate-like “feet,” while the arms terminate in “hands” of rock with four “fingers”. They are picking up chunks of rock and putting them in a “mouth” near the top front of the torso. This jagged maw is filled with a magma-like substance that melts down the rocks and incidentally light the cavern with a flickering, inconstant reddish glow.

Drex goes back to report. The rock mites appear to be busy eating, and the party thinks they may be able to sneak past. The only member of the party without some skill in stealth is Enok. Grend proposes that Enok get on his back and he will carry the runecaster past the potential danger.

One by one the team sneaks past. Grend, carrying, Enok, goes last. The others make it past the rock mites and into the darkness beyond. Grend finally sets across, but with the effort of carrying Enok, he stumbles, knocking a pile of rocks over which clatter loudly through the cave. The nearest rock mite turns its ‘head’ towards the sound, and walks slowly towards Grend and Enok. Grend stands utterly still waiting … and then the rock mite gets right up in front of him and picks up one of the rocks Grend knocked over and eats it. The thing chews on the rock for a moment, and then shuffles off, finding other tasty tidbits on the cavern floor.

Grend and Enok make it safely to the other side of tunnel to join the rest of the heroes.

They continue to climb. Several more hundred feet in, they encounter another rock mite group feeding, and manage to sneak past once more.

Back up at the altar room, the team crosses towards the door with the rune-cursed hallway and the exit. They note that the lanterns they previous took from the room once again turn red as long as they are in this room.

In the rune-limned hallway, they stop and take stock. Grend says that he doesn’t want to pray to Mother Nature again, as too many times in a single day is not good. They decide to take their chances and run across. One by one they dash across. Enok takes some mystic damage as he does so — it feels like all the moisture is being sucked suddenly and violently from his body. He’s weakened but not seriously harmed.

When Björn runs across, he takes a much more potent dose of the evil magics. He falls screaming, and then passes out. The party manages to pull him the rest of the way across, but when they check his signs … Björn is dead!

Or maybe not. Grend performs his Esoteric Medicine and miraculously Björn’s vital signs come back — weak, but there.

Once in the cellar of Skald’s End the team retrieves the giant rat carcasses they found while burning off the spider webs. They knock on the door to signal to Leeander that they want to be let out.

Leeander lets them out, and expresses concerns as to their wellbeing. On seeing the comatose Björn, she sends Findlay to find a priest named Geirof Tyrthegn.

Meanwhile the rest of the party tells Lee about what they found, including the husk of Meryle. They show her the signet ring. She settles up with them the money she owes – 400cp for the giant rat carcasses. She wants to buy the ring from them but cannot afford it’s full value. Instead, she suggests that she give them as much as she has — another 100cp — plus puts in a good word to the merchant’s guild for them to pay for any of their loot at full price. The party agrees.

Geirof appears with Findlay, and he first sets about healing everyone. Björn, he says, needs to be tended back at the temple. The subterranean demonic temple needs to be properly taken care of — Geirof says he will bring in a group of priests and thegns to clear it out of any remaining creatures, and exorcise and destroy any of the temple’s unholy features. He leaves to arrange for this and eventually returns.

Meanwhile, Lee lives up to her word and reopens the inn with the team of heroes as the first guests — with room and board on the house. The common room begins to fill up with other patrons as the team sits down to a meal and drinks.

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!”