Tales of the Three Tanks

More Dungeon Crawling
The quest continues

Onward

Folwyn and Kerowyn, having left Kedda in the lever room, discovered a whole other wing to the dungeon which they needed to navigate to reach the other side of the puzzle lock. After taking out a pair of the armor-guards, they found themselves in a hallway trapped with spears that lowered from the ceiling and a small impish creature that was quite perturbed when they set off said trap. The two managed to take out the rock-spewing mephit in a long but not too taxing fight, then proceed on through a few empty rooms without incident to the lever room. After much discussion and consulting of diagrams acquired earlier, they managed to open the lock and proceed into the vault.

Inside the vault, they first had to destroy a spell-slinging turret. Its self-healing caused the fight to drag on, but they managed to fight through its mind and force magics to smash it, slowly but surely. After ducking an arrow trap, they looted an armory full of masterfully crafted weapons and siege engines, and decided that a similar armor vault held nothing they needed. Continuing around the vault, they found a chamber with a handful of items on special display, guarded by a large golem forged of twisted metal. As Folwyn tried to slip around the outside to retrieve his ancestral armor, the golem began its attack.

To be concluded…

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A New Quest
Dungeon-Crawling

The Mission

Upon arriving in Janecke, the party split as Folwyn went to see his nephew Tralced and the others regrouped in town. Folwyn, while dining with Tralced, was tasked with recovering his family’s ancestral armor, stolen from the field of battle generations ago. It vanished soon after, and its likely resting place has only recently been rediscovered by scholars. Having a plot-relevant lack of luck in finding companions suited to the ancient artificer’s lab he must infiltrate, Folwyn reluctantly tracks down Kedda at a local tavern and offers him a place in the adventure. Kerowyn, having nothing better to do after a day at market, is also at the tavern and agrees to come along as well. The three of them set out the next morning, arriving at their destination without trouble, a stony flood-meadow, two days later.

The group searches for a sign of the buried lab complex of the ancient mad artificer Jualen. They find what they seek in an outcropping of worked stone, which proves to be the top of a large chimney, when cleared of vegetation. The trio climbs down and finds themselves in the forge of an old workshop. Despite being abandoned for generations, the building is clean and well-lit. While exploring, the party encountered numerous traps left behind by the old mechanic: giant axes, hidden pits, blades the sprang from the floor, spears that shot from the walls, even a portcullis that threatened to crush the first to cross under it. The old complex was not entirely abandoned, either; mechanical, acid-spitting cockroaches clean it, while automated suits of armor guard its rooms and iron-skinned snake constructs patrol its halls.

The party made it through all this, only to find themselves at a dead-end in a room with two sets of levers and a pair of heavy metal doors. An iron grate divides the room, keeping them from one set of levers and another hallway out. After spending much time trying the levers to no avail, Folwyn and Kerowyn left Kedda behind as they sought a way to reach the other side of the room and solve this puzzle.

To be concluded…

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Travel Trials
The Building Darkness

Emotions Run High

After attempting unsuccessfully to rouse the children from their vacant daze, Folwyn and Kerowyn moved in on the jester. When they got close, they realized that the creature was of no humanoid race they knew. It continued its act until they actually struck at it, at which point it sprang into action, tumbling away, summoning a giant scorpion to protect it, and commanding the bleak ones that watched it to do the same. Folwyn tried to push through the small mob of children to get at the scorpion, but was caught and tripped by one of them on his way through. Kerowyn sprang into battle with the monstrous vermin herself, while Kedda went to get the children off of Folwyn – blade first. While Kedda set about slaughtering the enthralled children, the jester’s scorpion caught Kerowyn in its claws and began to crush her. As Kedda continued slaying their child-assailants, Folwyn set into the now preoccupied scorpion with a vengeance. He then put one of the attacking bleak guards out of the fight with a quick slice, opening room for Kedda to step in and finish off the scorpion.

Kerowyn fell to the ground at the feet of the jester. She tried to roll away, but was not quick enough. The jester tapped her with his scepter and she fell into a fit of hysterical laughter that left her gasping for air, unable even to rise from the ground. The others struck out at the jester, but soon suffered the same fate. When all three of them were incapacitated, the jester began to perform once more, with the remaining guard and last child sitting in the grass to watch, as if nothing had happened. The party members felt the jester drawing their emotions from them, feeding off them, even the magical ones it created. Kerowyn, first struck, was the first to recover. She quaffed a potion to restore herself after her engagement with the scorpion to ready herself to continue the fight. Kedda recovered from the magic soon after, and the two of them finished off the jester just as Folwyn broke out of the spell.

As the party went through the strange jester’s satchel, the village’s guard arrived, and they weren’t happy. Neither was the gathering mob behind them. The trio snatched up their belongings and took off running, but the more lightly armored guards caught up. In a quick engagement, they slew one of the guards and knocked the rest unconscious. With a mob only moments away, the party ran again, and managed to find a way out of the village without being caught. All of Folwyn’s equipment, save weapons and armor, was still on his horse, though, which he had left near the entrance to the village when first called on for assistance. That included any number of items which would have easily identified him. They circled around through the countryside and made a quick incursion to grab the horse. Fortunately, it was still there. A lone man made an effort to keep them from leaving, but Kerowyn dealt him a sharp blow with the flat of her blade to let the party make a mostly clean getaway.

Dangers of Travel

The excitement of the afternoon meant that the party didn’t make it to the next town before nightfall. They opted to camp for the night, scrounging up food from the wilderness and their packs. The night passed uneventfully, but they found out in the morning that a rider had been sent out overnight to warn surrounding villages about a band of evil adventurers. The party quickly set off again, not staying long enough to draw any attention. They spent the night in another village further north, then continued on for Janecke.

Midday, they were accosted by a band of brigands. Their quality equipment spoke to their skills, but the party gladly took the fight. Of the four highwaymen, three proved to have some magical skill, but the party cut through them quickly. The brigand leader attempted to flee when he realized he couldn’t finish off the party alone, but he was shot down off the back of his summoned mount. The party collected the spoils of the conflict and made the rest of the trip to Janecke that afternoon.

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Revenge Served Hot
Danger Follows You Everywhere

Mystery and Ceremony

Having finished their shopping, the party went to the Temple of Wee Jas to find Brother Timmon. After an acolyte greeted them and announced them to Timmon, he took them to his study, where he examined the Dark Lantern. While he was doubtful at first that anything was truly that unusual about the lantern, the longer he examined it, the more his interest grew. He eventually took it to his superior, and together they decided that it merited a more thorough study. They took it off the party’s hands, and paid Kedda and Kerowyn for their troubles.

That evening, one of the Baron‘s servants readied the party for the ceremony the next morning. The next day, the court saw Sir Folwyn da’Janecke, Knight of the Baron, Madam Kerowyn of Braman, Daughter of Hummel Blacksmith, and Master Kedda the Wanderer formally recognized by Baron Montressor, and honored with formal tokens of his appreciation.

Duel to the Death

As they were finishing their lunch, the party was interrupted by a messenger, who frantically declared that a creature had come out of the lake and was demanding a duel with Folwyn in revenge for the death of a sister. The party armed themselves and headed out without delay. At a vacant fishing wharf, they found a hideous, yellow-skinned hag. Her horrid appearance was enhanced by an arcane aura that struck Folwyn off-guard, weakening him before the fight could even begin. The hag quickly called up a pair of Merrow to assist her, and the six of them began to fight in earnest. The hag was quickly cut down, which only enraged the Merrow further. The sea-ogres fought brutally, taking advantage of raw strength and the reach their massive longspears gave them. The party was pushed to the limit, and Folwyn fell in the battle, but survived his wounds to fight another day.

No One Is Safe

After spending several days recuperating, as well as replenishing and enhancing their supplies, the party set out north to report to the court at Janecke. Mid-afternoon of their first day of travel, they passed into a shepherding village called Terrace. There, a peasant woman anxiously begged their aid. She escorted them swiftly through the streets of the small town to a small park at an intersection. There, they saw a jester, dressed in every shade of grey, entertaining about a dozen children, and two guards. All were fixated on the performer, unaware of the rest of the world – the clown has done something to the children of Terrace.

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A Proper Rescue
The End of Chapter One

Back to the Swamp, Again

When morning rises, the party heads out into the mist-covered swamp. They note that the small animal life is already returning since the goblins left. The trip is is wet and smelly, but otherwise they are not accosted on the path to the tower. Upon reaching the clearing around the tower and pond, they discover hundreds of crows feeding on the corpses left behind after the battle. The crows are none too happy about the sudden disturbance, and take to the air as one, swarming over the rescuers.

The murder of crows is dispersed fairly quickly, leaving a few dozen dead, but not before the abrasive claws and feathers scratch up the eyes of Folwyn and Kedda. The two of them are rendered temporarily blinded. Not wanting to waste resources unnecessarily, the party decides to press on into the tower regardless, guided by Kerowyn. They find nothing but picked-clean goblin remains until returning to the back basement room where they discovered the imposter. A more thorough search of this room reveals a hatch hidden under the straw. This leads to a ladder down to another level, dark and mysterious.

This sub-basement chamber is lit with dim, blue, shifting light from a mysterious black well. Lady Kara is lying in one corner, bound and gagged. In the way are two unusual creatures – tall and grey with bony blades instead of arms and legs, knelt over a basin into which is draining the blood of a large snake. The party determines that a fight is inevitable, so Kerowyn passes off the last of her healing potions to her comrades to restore their sight. The strange creatures prove to be able opponents, springing and tumbling around the battle on the tips of their limb-blades. They, too, are put down swiftly by the heroes, but their agility allows the pair to lash out with a score of blows in that short time, doing significant damage to the whole party. With the guards slain, Lady Kara is quickly released from her bonds and, after being calmed by Folwyn, leaves with the party.

They’re not completely out of the woods yet, so to speak. On the way out of the swamp, a back of oversized rats tries to snack on the party. The sheer number of rodents takes some time to finish off, but the damage taken is minimal. Lady Kara was bit, but not seriously injured, and of her own volition helped to fight off the vermin with Kerowyn’s mace.

Leaving Braman Behind

Upon returning to Braman, the party regroups and resupplies, preparing to depart with the Baron. Amongst the items left with Shepherd Dreller to be analyzed was Nabru Pem‘s lantern, the nature of which baffles Dreller; he suggests the party take it to an acquaintance of his in Montressor by the name of Timmon, a cleric of Wee Jas, goddess of death, magic, and mysteries. Baron Montressor arrives mid-morning of the next day, and spends the afternoon in discussion with Braman’s mayor. He bids the party to return to Montressor with him, and they all set out the following morning. About noon of the the day following, they arrive in Montressor, where the Baron dismisses the party for the rest of the day. After seeking out a few more supplies, the party sets off to find the Wee Jas cleric Shepherd Dreller referred them to.

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Imposter
All's not as it seems...

Resolution

With the Goblin Prophet slain, the party gathers up the spoils and uses Nabru Pem’s key to open the door in the back. It opens into a small, round room, where they find Lady Kara, weeping, lying on a pile of old straw for a bed. She returns back upstairs with them, where they rejoin Kress’nik and his strike team. He tells them that the goblins have been routed and bids them well before they go their separate ways.

Or not…

There is much fuss when they party returns to Braman with Lady Kara. She expresses her desire to be left alone and retires to her quarters. Meanwhile, the party regroups and gets healing at the chapel, where they also leave several items from the goblins’ and dragon’s horde for Shepherd Dreller to analyze for them. While eating dinner, the enigmatic Halfling woman visits them with a disturbing theory. Lady Kara’s guards think something is amiss. Their captain is dismissive of the notion, but the Halfling is inclined to trust the guards’ instincts. She asks for the party’s assistance in confirming or refuting the suspicion.

The four of them proceed to the cottage that has been turned over for Lady Kara’s lodging. While Folwyn and the rest of the party starts an argument with the guards outside, the Halfling slips in behind them by going over the house from the back. Folwyn pushes past the guards to follow her in, leaving Kedda and Kerowyn to keep the guards outside busy. He gets inside just in time to see the Halfling knocking out the second of the guards inside. With no one left to disturb them, the two enter the Lady’s room and hold a quick conversation. The Halfling delivers a bag of fresh fruit to Kara, then swiftly ends the conversation. Folwyn follows her back out, then the whole party goes off a little way to learn what the Halfling discovered. She tells them that the person they think is Lady Kara is not her; someone or something is hiding under a glamer illusion.

The party returns to the cabin again to confront the imposter. Playing off the guards’ suspicions and Folwyn’s nobility, the party manages to gain their cooperation. The Halfling is hanging back for now, as she did attack two of the guards earlier and isn’t interested in getting involved in a big fight, anyway. After baiting the false Lady Kara for several minutes, they finally provoke action, revealing a green Hag. Four guards rush in to assist, and pay heavily; the Hag eviscerates three of them and wounds the last before the party can take her down.

The Search Resumes

After explaining the events to local leaders, the party leaves the surviving three guards to control the situation while they return to the swamp to seek out the real Lady Kara. They reach the edge of the swamp in the middle of the night and decide it is more prudent to wait for morning light than press on in the dark.

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Counter-Invasion
Driving Out the Goblins
Finished on Oct 6

A Back Door

The party returns to the swamp, meeting Kress’nik and his band. Kress’nik lays down the plan and some justifications for his actions. After he’s done, his band leads the party to the edge of a massive spider web that stretches over the surface of the swamp. It is heavy enough to support armored humans, but the spiders keep the goblins out. Of course, that means that the party has to fight off some of the spiders themselves, but that manage to do so fairly easily.

Once they’re through the web, it’s only a quick slog through shallow water to the clearing where the tower lies, but this is the heart of the goblin’s claim. A pair of riders finds them in the brush and attacks, but the party puts on a great display of martial prowess and takes them down with easy.

Battle for the Tower

The party came to the clearing at the front of the tower; it stands in a deep pond, an island unto itself. The bridge is narrow, but the Lizardfolk got them very close to it. It is guarded by a pair of Worgs and a few goblin guards. A few groups patrol around the clearing, and on the far side is the main goblin camp, full of warriors as well as elderly and children. The party makes a quick plan and launches a volley of arrows at the Worgs. They then charge in, taking down the beasts quickly and beginning the battle in full. The Lizardfolk warriors, and a few giant crocodiles they’ve captured, set into the goblin horde proper while smaller strike teams, including Kress’nik’s, take out the patrols. The party takes the bridge, and Kress’nik’s band follows them into the tower.

Inside are a few more guards. Kress’nik’s band heads upward to take out archers that are harrying the Lizardfolk outside, so the party heads down into the dark basement levels. Two levels down, they find a pair of guards keeping watch over a double door. The goblins make some vague threats about stopping the party from reaching their Prophet, but are quickly cut down. They die still confident that the party cannot stand up to Nabru Pem, their leader.

The party enters the guarded room to find only darkness, even suppressing their torch’s light. They find the corpse of a young Black Dragon, which the Lizardfolk had told them inhabited the tower before the Goblins came, resting on a sizeable pile of treasure. They cannot stop to consider it for long, though, as something is slinging spells at them. Their frustration builds as they search for the hiding caster, until a Goblin in tattered black robes reveals himself to draw them into a field of black fire it has summoned. When the Goblin Prophet disappears again to snipe from the darkness, the party retreats to the hall outside to regroup. The recovery time pays off, as Nabru Pem is forced to come to them as his spells run low. The Goblin is nimble and magically armored, but can’t keep up with three dedicated swordsmen – after a long struggle, the Prophet is finally slain.

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First Incursion
The Adventure Begins

On a Mission

After learning the details of the situation from the Braman locals, Kerowyn, Kedda, and Folwyn depart for the swamp. On their way out, a mysterious Halfling woman stops them, claiming she has something they need to see. They agree to go with her, and she leads them to a run-down cabin on the edge of the village. Inside is a Goblin, bound and gagged. She explains that she captured it leaving from one of the raids on the village. The team interrogates it, and confirms some of what they were told by the townsfolk but doesn’t learn much more. They leave the Goblin to the Halfling’s mercy and head out.

Once in the swamp, it doesn’t take long for them to find Goblins. A small ambush proves ineffective, but one of them escapes. The party proceeds on, running into a few more Goblin assailants, which they defeat without much trouble. When they reach a fork in the path, one Goblin sniper attacks them, obviously trying to bait them into following it. The party refuses, and takes the other path.

Reptiles

As it happens, the Goblins had a good reason for trying to force a confrontation on the path they chose. The other proves to be home to a nest of shocker lizards. The creatures’ blasts of electricity are hard for the party to resist, incapacitating Kedda and seriously hurting Folwyn and Kerowyn. The last of the lizards are just defeated, and Kedda stabilized by Kerowyn, when nine armed Lizardfolk come out of the water, bellowing.

Their leader approaches the party, but does not attack. He introduces himself as Kress’nik, and makes a proposal of mutual assistance. The Lizardfolk want the Goblin invaders gone, but they’ve taken some significant losses in skirmishes and need all the manpower they can get for their main attack. They offer to show the party a way to avoid the Goblins if they coordinate their strikes. The party needs a chance to recover, so they agree to meet the next day, then head back to Braman. Shepherd Dreller and his acolytes offer healing assistance to the party, allowing them to recover fully for the next day’s assault.

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The Marsh Kings: An Introduction
Original Introduction

The Problem

This week was meant to be the centennial celebration for Braman. The village is small, but has important orchards, so the Baron sent his daughter Kara as a representative to the festival to honour the village’s contributions to his province. Braman is normally a quiet village, far from any danger from the wild races that roam the plains or highwaymen that harry the busier roads. Unfortunately, no one realized that a tribe of goblins had recently moved into the marsh only a few hours walk away.

The first two days of the festival were fantastic. On the second night of the festival, however, some of the goblins broke into the the Lady Kara’s chambers for the celebration and kidnapped her. The goblins are now declaring themselves to be the Marsh Kings and are demanding the village give them recognition and tribute. The citizens of Braman, as well as the guards that came with Lady Kara, are desperate to recover her before word spreads back to the Baron. Though their resources are limited, they are calling on every friend they have whose skills may be of use in the retrieval of the young noblewoman.

Kara’s guards, along with a local retired military officer and the town’s priest, tried to make an expedition into the swamp to retrieve her, but were forced back by repeated ambushes along the path. The goblins now make nightly raids on the village’s resources. Those remaining in town are hard-pressed defending the village and lack the manpower to launch another sortie into the bog.

The Solution

The town’s leaders managed to persuade the goblins that they needed ten days to send word to the Baron and recieve their official reply, instead using that time to send word to a few adventurers they’ve befriended in the last few years. It is now day four, and two freelance adventurers plus one minor noble have arrived to take up the task. The goblins are waiting impatiently, but are still waiting. The Baron, however, will be made aware of the situation soon, and Braman’s leaders desperately want to have Lady Kara back safely before he comes to Braman himself.

Through local knowledge and what small bits of intelligence the people have managed to gather, they have established a fair idea of where the Lady Kara will be held – there is an old tower in the swamp, an island in deep water. A few paths lead there safely, but they are all watched by goblin snipers. Off the path, the bog is equally dangerous – quicksand, deep pools, and any number of crawling and slithering creatures. Prepared for these dangers, the three bold fighters set off on their rescue mission.

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