Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I have heard very little from our friend, Wethiel. I am curious about the progress of any new dungeon tiles. Any updates?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More visual stimulus

I found this painting in one of the burned out buildings of Snoam-Schlabach depicting the Pinefore at night and thought I would share.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chronology of Atalanxia: Ent'Ara's First Eighty Years

3019 B.R.- Attin Ent'Ara is born to an unmarried human woman in an area of southwestern Futara today controlled by Toryth Vol. It is believed among the townsfolk that he is conceived immaculately. His mother is a sixteen year old deaf mute with an eight year old's mentality so this rumor cannot be confirmed. The more likely circumstance is that she was raped. When asked where she came up with it, she tells people the baby told her his name shortly after he was born. Little truth is known about Ent'Ara's life between this time and the start of his ruler ship. At the time of his birth a feudal system of ruler ship holds sway in the south. Seven kingdoms, Vairlain, Rafa Ben'Efre, Emberlynne, Shanericha, Fehring'Ram, Elsinhor and Ivilisse vie for control and war rages non-stop among them.

3000 B.R.- In a bloodless coup Attin Ent'Ara usurps the throne of the Kingdom of Vairlain, a kingdom large in countryside but lacking in governmental control. This kingdom largely rests in an area that is now western Toryth Vol bordering Kemmermere stretching northward into modern-day Arcadia and some of Westheath as well. At the age of 19 and with some 20 or so followers (the most famous of whom being his champion Ocara), Ent'Ara takes the capital city and declares himself Emperor of New Atalanxia.

2999 B.R.- Ent'Ara recalls troops formerly loyal to the King of Vairlain from strategic points across the realm. He risks losing border territory in the short term but plans to utilize the army for invasion of surrounding kingdoms if necessary. Allowing the troops to come home after many have been away for years serves to endear Ent'Ara to his new subjects.

2997 B.R.- For two years the Ent'Aran government attempts to negotiate the surrender of surrounding human kingdoms. The Emperor demands that all lords of men swear fealty to him and unite to form one government and end the constant warring that has scarred the landscape for nearly a thousand years. He calls this endeavor "The Peace". The other rulers do not take the 21 year old seriously.

2995 B.R.- Ent'Ara's army, having been centralized for three years and trained heavily under the watchful eye of the Emperor's champion, Ocara, begin to march eastward. Ent'Aran delegates head west to Kemmermere to negotiate terms of alliance. Within the year both nations agree to house ambassadors to speak for their governments. Delegates are sent north to Dweo'Morak, Kingdom of Dwarves and to the far northeast to Murgar, the home of Halflings.

2993 B.R.- After being essentially ignored by the lords of men for nearly four years the emperor launches his first strike. The Kingdom to the northeast, located entirely in what is now modern day Arcadia, called Rafa Ben'Efre, is overrun by the Emperor's forces in mere weeks. Using war-machines the likes of which the continent had never before seen, the Emperor's forces prove too much for the Ben'Efreans to hold back. The capital city is reduced to rubble, and an example is made of the Rafa Ben'Efrean King who is disemboweled and hung upon the castle walls by his entrails. His heirs, council and advisor are beheaded, their disembodied heads are sent to the monarchs of neighboring sovereign nations as a warning.

2992 B.R.- The elves reach an agreement with Atalanxia and join the alliance under the pretense that they will remain a sovereign nation. The Emperor agrees to do this with the stipulation that a marriage arrangement between himself and the eldest elven princess of The Citadel of Mist be honored once she comes of age. This is a secret arrangement known only to Ent'Ara, the Elven Regulus and his family. Four months after word of the elven alliance reaches Murgar, the Halflings join as well, figuring anything good enough for the elves... The dwarves however, hold out for a better deal. They are interested in a military alliance with Atalanxia but the ever-paranoid dwarves refuse to allow delegates to be permanently stationed within Temberdor.

2992-2990 B.R.- For two years a correspondence takes place between the monarchs of the five remaining kingdoms. They each express concern for their own dynasties citing the ease in which Vairlain and Rafa Ben'Efre, two of the most powerful and respected kingdoms among the seven nations, were taken by Ent'Ara. They assume an alliance with the elves and dwarves, both seeming a certainty at this point, would spell certain doom for the five remaining sovereignties. They meet in secret three times during the two years to try to solve the problem of Attin Ent'Ara and the Atalanxian Empire. Petty squabbles keep them from reaching any solid agreements. Alliance against Atalanxia is deemed suicide.

2990 B.R.- All remaining human nations within Atalanxian reach have now fallen under her control. Without another loosed arrow Emperor Ent'Ara now controls all of the southern third of the continent as the five remaining nations succumb. The lords of each kingdom exile themselves along with their families and closest advisors fearing retribution from Ent'Ara. Many are never heard from again. The elves remain sovereign, but Ent'Ara's influence over their ambassadors in New Atalanxia, his own ambassadors in Kemmermere and the arrangement of marriage give him almost complete indirect control over elven affairs. Believing the surrounding mountains rendering her lands too removed from society to be of help or hindrance, the Emperor chooses to ignore the Sultanate of Katja-Lor and it remains sovereign throughout his reign. Fearing no aggression from the Dweo'Morak dwarves Ent'Ara suffers their refusal to ally and does not invade, fearing a long drawn out affair that would result in an unknown outcome. He continues to discuss terms of alliance through delegates however.

2990-2988 B.R.- "The Regal Pilgrimage" begins as all five remaining monarchs and their families, advisors, bodyguards, and closest and most skilled servants are ferried north by a large combination of their separate military forces. Dozens are killed along the way as Ent'Aran assassins hunt them down. Many more die of natural causes.

2988 B.R.- The Regal Pilgrimage ends as "Nadalia" is colonized in central Futara. The "Swords of Sovereignty" are officially knighted and given title among all five kingdoms, making them officially men sworn to serve all kingdoms but subjected to no single one of them.

2989-2979 B.R.- Atalanxia solidifies as a (primarily) human nation. The assimilation of culture and the sharing of ideas and ideals begin a decade of prosperity. Resources once hoarded by greedy monarchs fortunate to find their treasures within their own borders are now shared and distributed. Ent'Ara removes old taxes and frees family heads from debtor prisons, forgiving old debts. Peace between the peoples of former rival nations reigns supreme. The Murgarian halflings are technically ruled by Atalanxia and therefore are Atalanxians but they are so geographically far-removed from New Atalanxia that most of them forget and continue to call their homeland Murgar.

2986 B.R.- Nadalia is sacked by an Ent'Aran strike force. The king of Emberlynne is killed during the attack. "The Second Pilgrimage" begins.

2985 B.R.- King William Wright IV of Shanericha is hung for treason against his own kingdom by Ent'Ara after assisting him with the sacking of Nadalia.

2981 B.R.- The Second Pilgrimage ends as the remaining (less than a thousand) exiles reach the northern center of the continent.

2979 B.R.- After eleven years of spotty negotiation the Dwarves reach an agreement with Atalanxia to remain sovereign, yet allied militarily with Atalanxia although at this time no societal enemies exist. Ent'Ara is frustrated but eager to end the fruitless negotiation with the stubborn demi-humans. By the age of forty, Attin Ent'Ara has, within 21 years, done what could not be accomplished in the preceding 8000 years of civilization: Unite the four major races. Historians who look favorably upon this period will call this the beginning of "A dynasty which embodied the future of modern government."

2974 B.R.- Against his advisors wishes Attin Ent’Ara takes his betrothed Kemmermere elfmaid, Sylis'Tar, as his Empress. Privately he longs for personal intimacy through common human interaction but to his advisors he claims a need for longevity in his line. His advisors fear that a half-elven heir would be seen as corruptible to elven sympathy. This is precisely what the elves secretly wish for. The marriage celebration lasts seven days. Ent'Ara disappears from the public eye for a year as he courts his new wife.

2974-2965 B.R.- Atalanxian influence spreads beyond her borders throughout northern Futara. The wilds of central Futara and with the exception of the Northwestern icelands (today called the Northmen Kingdom of Eldridge) and the Northeastern wastelands (known as Manchrist today) the continent is explored and inhabited. By the end of 2965 the Emperor has a detailed map of the "habitable" Futaran lands. The emperor is 54 at the end of this year, yet he appears as young and agile as a man in his early thirties. The Emperor's union with the elfmaid has yet to bear fruit. This, even at late middle age, does not seem to worry him publicly.

2965-2950 B.R.- During this period Ent'Ara's effort to eradicate all races deemed by him to be "Evil" by their very nature is accelerated. He separates his army into strike teams devoted to the destruction of specific races. They research, infiltrate and exterminate the races they are assigned to with ruthless efficiency, taking no consideration for the aggression or lack thereof from the tribes they destroy. In these fifteen years hundreds of thousands of kobolds, ogres, orcs and gnolls are hunted down and killed. This makes the citizens of Atalanxia feel safe. With no competing sovereignties Atalanxia is virtually the entire known continent.

2958 B.R.- The King of Ivilisse, last surviving king of the First Pilgrimage, dies. His death marks the beginning of the second generation of ruler ship. The Kingdom of Ulygnguard is officially formed after being planned by the heirs of the Three Kings for nearly a decade. The Swords of Sovereignty is the name given to the official knighthood. The three heirs form a triumvirate that splits power equally and heads separate government entities to form a system of checks and balances. One heir takes control of the military, another oversees commerce and the third is the lord of the common folk.

2950 B.R.- The Dragon Council begins: At the age of 69 Ent'Ara is confronted by a council of dragons that represent the three major alignments; Bahamut, Arko and Tiamat put their own differences aside and agree to helm the Council as equals. The purpose of the summit is to find the motive of the Atalanxian Empire's pursuit of "The Peace" and to express the importance of balance in all things. They impart to the Emperor the consequences of failure to adhere to the laws of the gods. The talks do not go well as the Emperor interprets their lectures as veiled threats. The talks go on and off for nearly ten years. At the end of which Ent'Ara makes the suggestion that any gods who would punish him and his people for creating a world filled with goodness by eradicating those things which are evil by their very nature, are perhaps not worth worshipping after all.

2949-2940 B.R.- During the time of The Dragon Council, disorganized groups of displaced kobolds, orcs and ogres begin to assault the outlying dwarven tribes of Dweo'Morak. The capital undercity of Temberdor does not understand the nature of the escalation but do not see the increase in violence as the legitimate threat it is until the latter part of the decade.

2941 B.R.- Abruptly, The Dragon Council ends. Later that year the three Highdragons declare war on Atalanxia. Emperor Ent'Ara anticipated aggression from the outset and had prepared by increasing mandatory enlistment in his militia. Production of war machines engineered by his most intelligent of generals specifically for battling dragons had secretly begun. Powerful heroes align with the Emperor to join in his cause for peace. The elves, wary of Ent'Ara's growing power and influence agree to assist indirectly. They send powerful wizards, capable of bringing down enough firepower to destroy entire battalions of men instead of elven infantry and cavalry regiments. The Elven Regulus believes this will appease Ent'Ara while minimally angering the Highdragons and by proxy, the gods. The elven fence-riding does not impress Attin Ent'Ara, but he accepts their wizards as they are among the most powerful in the world. The dwarves, fending off orc and ogre skirmishers are unable to receive Ent'Aran diplomats requesting assistance for the coming war. Ent'Ara sees this as a refusal to assist and so cuts off the military alliance and all further contact with them. This act seals what is now known as the "Dwarven Doom".

2940-2939 B.R.- Temberdor, capital city of Dweo'Morak, is sacked by ogres and orcs after an organized, two-year siege. It marks a swift beginning to the end of dwarven rule in the Broken Lands. Those who do not flee are killed or enslaved. Those who do flee are cut off to the southern passage and so are forced northward. A tomb is left in the bottom of the city, encased within is the "Curse of Temberdor".

Monday, September 22, 2008


He had been running for more than an hour now and still they dogged his every step. His boots were heavy with mud and his newly acquired cloak was soaked through, weighing down his shoulders and clinging to his legs. The storm had been raging on for hours now and showed no signs of letting up. Lightning crashed to the earth from time to time allowing the elf to keep track of his surroundings. Not that he needed to see, as he seemed to be running endlessly in a grassy plain once again with the all too familiar rolling hills all about him. How happy he would be if he never again laid eyes on a grassy knoll!

Although his pursuers were not gaining ground on him, Ademar could tell by the baying hounds in the distance that he was not getting away either. They were clinging to his scent despite the storms best attempts to wash it away. For many more minutes he ran on, stumbling often as his strength failed him and clinging still to the small box he had recently procured. Finally he stopped at the top of a hill, gasping for breath he dropped to his knees in the muddy turf. Letting the box fall, he drew his sword and smashed the pommel of it against the hasp on the box. After a few similar strikes the latch finally gave way and Ademar ripped the lid open. He plunged one hand inside and pulled forth a fist full of coins and jewelry while his other hand unlaced his waist pouch. Within the span of a few heartbeats he had filled his pouch yet the box was still heavy with riches. With a sigh that was equal parts exhaustion and regret, he rose slowly to his feet and adjusted his equipment before moving on again leaving the box open on the hill.

*** *** *** *** ***

Chivahle Garrison led half a dozen townsmen out into the pouring rain, every-other man carrying a sunrod from her personal cache to help them navigate the darkness. She was a hero in the area, a former adventurer who had beaten back many orc invasions with her friends in years past. Those friends had jokingly given her the nickname Hatchet in reference to the way her large frame dwarfed the heavy war ax that she favored. Chivahle lifted that ax now, it's handle comfortable in her hand and it's weight reassuring. It had been many years since she had placed her ax on the mantle but she remembered the old days of wild adventure. She remembered the sacrifices that had been made which had ushered in her idle retirement as a blacksmith in a sleepy, backwoods village. She also remembered how a filthy sneak-thief had broken into her home and taken much of what she had sacrificed so much to gain.

The baying hounds ahead of them suddenly surged forward with renewed vigor. They were back on the trail. Chivahle clenched the leash tightly in her left hand, holding Baden in check as he tugged at his bond. She was not the only one eager to meet this thief. They ran on grimly into the pounding rain and flashing lightning, trusting in the hunting ability of the three dogs leading the way. It would only be a matter of time; they knew the land and the dogs seemed to have a strong scent trail to follow despite the rain.

*** *** *** *** ***

Exhaustion was beginning to win over his body. Despite the cold rain, Ademar was sweating profusely. His legs felt weak and unsteady beneath him. His run had slowed to a labored jog, waterlogged boots barely clearing the ground. Still the hounds could be heard over the storm and they were getting ever closer. At least he was on level ground again, he noted. Of course there was still no where to hide out here in the middle of the tall grass.

He stumbled again, for perhaps the thousandth time this night. With a splash he fell to the muddy ground. The breath blasted from his lungs leaving him writhing in the tall grass. For many minutes Ademar lay there gasping for breath; the baying of the hounds growing louder and louder in his keen ears. He thought for certain that this would be his end. Laying face down in the mud, gasping for breath, he felt that he should just await his fate. He was too weak to continue, too tired to push on any further. A couple more minutes passed and still he lay there but, once again the grinning visage of Kendrick Cwik came to his minds eye. Once more he reminded himself that his goal had not been met.

Even with a red rage building inside him, Ademars’ body protested and responded sluggishly as he rose once more to his feet. The lightning had slowed and the night was dark once more. He could hear the shouting of men now mixed with the barking dogs. They were no more than a couple hundred paces behind him he guessed. Not bothering to look back, he pressed forward again slowly picking up speed.

Everything seemed to work against him this night. The gloom about him was impenetrable now, the rain had soaked through his clothes weighting him down, and the tall grass, which seemed to stretch on forever in all directions, tugged at his legs as if it were heeding the will of those on his heels. It took all his will to continue forward through the plains. The dogs had been let loose he knew, they were no longer barking but he could hear them rushing through the thick grass not far behind him.

Thin elven lips trembled as he pleaded to the night sky: “Sanastarus, if ever I needed your aid, now is that time.” As if in reply, a bolt of lightning struck in the distance, replacing the night sky with pulsing blue-white light. It was not the divine intervention he was hoping for. The light, brief as it was, only revealed his alternate end. Not two strides away, the ground fell away to a wide, churning, river flooded by the rain. The storm had drowned out the sound of the rushing waters below. He had no hope of stopping before the edge. Blackness returned as quickly as it had been dismissed and suddenly Ademar felt only the air rushing beneath his feet. For nearly five heartbeats he fell before plunging into the icy cold, black waters. Terror filled him as the current dragged him downriver, smashing him into unseen rocks along the bottom. Thrashing desperately, he clawed his way back to the surface. Ademar gasped for air and gagged as the dark water of the river flooded his throat. For minutes which felt like hours to the frantic elf, he bobbed along the river rapids, the cold water sapped all remaining strength from his body. It was not long before he could no longer feel the rocks that he was thrown against or the other floating debris which battered him, all he knew was the cold and the darkness, then, just darkness.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


The orcs settled here in the outer region of the Pinefore, far from her dangerous and haunted inner sanctum years ago. This location provided ample opportunity to war with barbarian chiefs and made an excellent staging point to plunder caravans, what few there were, traversing through or around the nearby Laandsraad. War with rival orc and frobold tribes was constant and pleased Gruumsh, or so it seemed as many of his blessings were bestowed upon this camp, which was more of a village these days. The orcs who live here call it Lurz Ghazrach, orcish for "Freezing Trees".

Before Tonguescum's arrival the warring was non-stop and brutal. The orcs concentrated on controlling the area of the Pinefore nearest the humans where Lurz Ghazrach lay. They longed to destroy all nearby orc tribes that rivaled them as well as the inferior frobolds, gnolls and bugbears that also called the Pinefore home. Before Tonguescum, before he had become chieftain, Lurz Ghazrach was just another orc-colony in just another wasteland outside the sight of the eye of humanity. Away from the real fighting, like the recent war in Westheath, or the coming doom in Eystlund led by the human warmonger Rogar, friend of the orcs. Gruumsh had, for some reason, called them to this frozen place instead of leading them to where other orc brothers were glorifyingly terrorizing the land, staining the fields red with human and elven blood. Now that he was here, all that was changing, for the better.

Three years ago he came, from nowhere it seemed, unchallenged through the pines. A seven and a half foot tall, black-skinned behemoth wearing a combination of studded leather and bear hide. His thick rippling arms stood bare from a lack of sleeves, exposing scores of raised-flesh scars, and though he seemed unaffected by the chill, their only covering were thick, iron-studded leather wristbands. From his right hand a large canvas sack, bulging and moist at the bottom, hung. In his off-hand, nothing but a clenched fist. His hair was massive, and deliberately wild. A crown of dry black braids rose from the top of his head and cascaded outward, spilling behind his shoulders ending in multi-colored iron ringlets. A pair of scimitars rested menacingly in cris-crossed scabbards across his back. His thick black boots loudly crunched upon the snow.

Emerging on the south end of the village with four bodyguards, he strode purposefully toward what would now serve as his personal compound. He was watched closely by those among the village but no one challenged his intrusion as he moved, his seeming familiarity with his surroundings would've seemed absurd to more acutely aware folk than these Lurz Ghazrach orcs. As though he'd lived here all his life he walked the road toward the walls surrounding the Lurz Ghazrach chieftain.

The wooden gates leading to the stone tower that now belonged to Tonguescum opened before him. It creaked slowly, deliberately, the orc opening it sending a message to Tonguescum that whomever he thought he was, he would wait for those superior to him.

Once open, two sentries, armed with crossbows came out from either side of the gates. They drew down on Tonguescum alone, disregarding the other four who flanked him, two on either side.

Without word or warning Tonguescum tossed the sack he held between the two sentries, a few feet in front of them. Out of the open bag spilled three bloody orc heads.

"Who are they?" One sentry asked.
"You don't recognize them?" One of Tonguescum's bodyguards replied.

The inquisitive sentry, ever keeping his aim on the massive orc in front of him, moved over a few feet and chanced a look at the ground. As he approached, the sentry could hear a low growling akin to to a snow leopard's purr coming from the behemoth he held at bay. He lifted a foot gingerly to toe one of the heads at his feet, moving it enough to see the whole of its face. He recoiled immediately after realizing his familiarity with this particular orc.

"The southern patrol," The sentry gasped as he backed away to his original spot. "They've killed members of the southern patrol."
"Not members." Tonguescum growled. "All of them."
"All of the southern patrol?" The other sentry now spoke.
"All, patrols." Was Tonguescum's reply.
"By Gruumsh's eye!" The first sentry spat. "You'll have your belly opened for that!"
A disturbingly low grumble, what passed as a cheerless chuckle emitted from him as he disregarded the threat. "Send for your chief."

In response the second sentry loosed his bolt toward the enormous black monster before him. Tonguescum stood stone-still as the bolt passed over his left shoulder, flying harmlessly through the cascade of his filthy hair. With blinding speed belying a creature of his size, Tonguescum reached over his shoulder for a scimitar and, pulling it free from its scabbard he launched it toward the offending sentry in a single fluid motion. End over end the blade flew, striking the sentry mid-chest, impaling him just under his raised arms. The impact launched him off his feet from the snowy earth and he landed several feet behind where he had stood. From his back his arms rose, his hands twitching momentarily as they made a feeble attempt to grasp the massive scimitar embedded within him. Then they stopped altogether, slowly, gently falling to his sides upon the blood-stained snow that had pooled around him.

Tonguescum drew a slow breath and looked to the first sentry. The sentry stood as he had before, though his current body language belied his earlier self-assurance. After a split-second of unwise defiance, he dropped his crossbow.

"Send for your chief." Tonguescum repeated.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Righteous Invasion

This recap explores the PC's return to Tonguescum's camp, and the dangers that wait for them there, and in the enigmatic Pinefore.

Recap: The PC's left off in the basement level, also known as "Tonguescum's Pokey". They scramble to open the iron portcullis holding nearly two-dozen Snoam-Schlabach/Schudlichton refugees against their will. In the process, after Ademar quickly and with little effort opens both locks, some get stuck between the narrow openings in the rush to flee. Cor'Nal uses his strength to pull some free from each side, easing the escape. The PC's wrangle the prisoners through the druid-created tunnel and take a quick inventory. Cor'Nal waits at the rear of the line to ensure none are left behind. He then casts a spell that softens the frozen earth, turning it to sand. The sand buries the tunnel created by his "Burrow" spell and ensures that a smoke trail will not give them away. After checking to make sure they haven't been spotted they flee west on foot, away from the burning tower that was Tonguescum's home and toward the horses they left waiting in the snow nearly three miles away.

The group has some trouble keeping the weak and terrified group of women and children in a tight formation as some seem to be taking a wider berth through the trees than others. Among them an eager and seemingly quite healthy and energetic little boy, about seven or eight years of age begins to move well ahead, though at first only a few feet. He looks back, smiling at the stragglers behind him and Ademar makes the observation that he thinks the boy believes their predicament to be a game, and does not discourage the boy from "racing" the others in the group. A short time later the boy's distance creeps further away, and once they reach an abnormally large, wide open clearing the boy is close to two dozen feet away, but is remarkably moving in the right direction.

Moving ever forward the group hears an impossibly loud, high-pitched screech from the north. The boy turns to the right and hesitates in the clearing for just a moment as a young white dragon swoops down from the camouflage of the tree canopy, and with outstretched talons, snatches the boy from the ground, as an eagle would a hare. In a single fluid motion the dragon glides vertically along the tree line on the south side, once reaching the canopy the dragon levels off and disappears above it. The boy hadn't time enough to scream.

Witnessing this, Luethar turns tail and dives into a snowbank along the eastern tree line.

Without hesitation, Cor'Nal and Ademar yell for the group to continue to the other side of the clearing, lest the dragon, or his family, decide to come back for another taste of human flesh. The logic is such that the boy is dead, and there is no sense in risking more lives to (possibly) recover a body. They reach the other side of the clearing without future casualties and without Luethar. They head on not noticing Luethar's absence and from this point on, avoid any and all forest clearings. Along the way, two other adult refugees are lost in the forest after drifting away from the herd. When he decides the coast is clear, Luethar chances a run across the clearing, following his new friends. He barely escapes as a white dragon, presumably the same as the first who took the boy, swoops down and nearly snatches him up. Luethar dives into the trees, just out of the reach of the dragon's snapping jaws.

They arrive at the horses with 20 out of the 23 they started with, they saddle up making sure to allow the weak and injured to ride, up to three a horse, while the rest of the group make the way on foot. They arrive at Whitewall after nightfall and negotiate a short term arrangement with the innkeeper to give the refugees shelter and food. He is reluctant at first, but Ademar persuades him to do the right thing. His bribe of 100 gold pieces worth of jewels helps. The PC's assign a watch on the roof, fearing orc retaliation. Ademar takes the first four hours and Cor'Nal follows up until daybreak. During Ademar's watch he hears what he at first mistakes to be falling trees coming from several miles to the east, but later realizes the sounds may come from a massive wild beast among them. After a short time the sounds dissipate the trees become still and all is quiet. After Cor'Nal relieves Ademar, the noises return but are much closer, far louder and nearer the treeline. Cor'Nal recognizes the noise immediately and his suspicions are confirmed as a massive bipedal beast covered in grungy white fur, his "Abominable Snowman", once again emerges from the treeline, walks around for a bit in the clearing apart from the trees seemingly in search of something and then reenters the Pinefore.

Cor'Nal decides against telling anyone about the Yeti this time, remembering the skepticism he was met with in the past. When Ademar tells Cor'Nal about the noises he heard, the druid dismisses him, insisting that he "must be hearing things".

The following morning they agree to finish what they've started and will invade Tonguescum's camp. While the discussion is going on, Luethar is approached by, and makes an arrangement with the innkeeper to liquidate the gems he received from Ademar at the rumored "mountain city": Henutsen. He takes the job for seven gold pieces, but only if a horse comes supplied by the innkeeper. The innkeeper agrees, pending the purchase of one of the group's surplus of horses.

The PC's saddle up and head back in the direction of the orc camp. This time they attempt to stay clear of uncharacteristically large clearings among the pines and hopefully hungry or sporting white dragons as well.

They reach the camp unscathed, a rarity in the Pinefore, and begin to scout. Cor'Nal does the scouting as an eagle, finds what he believes to be a chink in the camp's defense and heads back. Oddly, there is no sign of Tonguescum. Cor'Nal also notices the orc leader's home is still standing, though severely burned-out and unlivable (even by orc standards), a large hole has been formed at the one-time entry as a makeshift battering ram of pine lies near the broken stones.

The group begins the attack with a simultaneous barrage of arrows. The first kills the orc worg-trainer, the arrow which lights up in flame as Ademar finally figures out, by pure accident, how to utilize its magic by using "Masterwork" ammunition only, as apparently this magic bow is an elitist. The second arrow, hits the broad side of the worg stable. The intent is to draw the orcs toward the blaze away from whatever, or whomever, they're protecting.

The plan works as, after the PC's quickly dispatch the three worgs that attack them after they witness the fall of their master, all orcs who were paying tribute to Gruumsh at the shrine in the northeast corner of the camp come running. A strike team of three archers, three warriors and a sergeant spot the worg blood trail and head into the forest attempting to track them. They fail miserably and overshoot the hiding group by several dozen feet. The PC's use this to their advantage as they move to cut off the orc retreat. They are spotted, but it is too late as the strike team will have to go through the group in order to call for help. They attempt to do just that, but the PC's slaughter them to a man.

Watching from inside the thick cover of the pine forest, the PC's discover that more orcs have come to investigate. Figuring discretion to be the better part of valor the PC's scurry around the north end of the camp, sticking to the cover of the trees. They spot the now empty shrine and the small, rectory that flanks it on the west side. They decide to investigate before attacking further and Ademar volunteers to scope the rectory himself. After approaching the door and unlocking it without incident, he spies the tribe's holy-man standing, dressed only in a grungy pair of trousers and staring at the burning worg stable.

He nevers sees the elf come from behind.

Ademar slinks up to the orc's rear keeping low to the floor, then moves fluidly upward as he slips his left hand over the orcs mouth while simultaneously sliding his longsword into the flesh of his back. The silent, killing blow pierces the orc's heart and he dies in Ademar's grasp as he is gently lowered to the floor.

The rogue elf looks around quickly, looking for anything of value before setting the place alight. He then scampers back to the tree-line. When he arrives he and the others look back to the worg stable and can see more than a dozen assorted orc troops standing near the burning and near fully-involved wooden structure. It is now that the druid shines.

Calling forth the elemental powers granted him by the Nomad God, Kutenai, Cor'Nal rains down a storm of ice that wipes out all thirteen soldier-orcs. Pummeling them into bloody submission and bringing down one-half of the burning structure as well. The druid smiles and thanks his god, suspecting there are unseen orcish casualties on the other side of the stable.

Another orc strike team marches across the bridge toward the burning rectory. The PC's fire arrows while the orcs are crossing the bridge and nearly halve their number. When the orcs arrive at the tree-line the PC's are quickly spotted. A battle ensues which the PC's win easily, in fact they win so handily that the orc sergeant flees, fearing no chance for victory or glory in this slaughter.

After a short discussion concerning further strategy, they head around the outside of the camp again. First, moving westward at the north side of the camp and then south once reaching the west corner of the treeline. They observe orc women and children fleeing their homes, taking the camp roads presumably toward Tonguescum's compound. They choose to leave the "civilians" alone.

Once they reach an area close to the southwestern corner of the camp they spy another large, round one-story structure. Ademar unlocks the door, opens it and enters. The surviving orc shaman stands in the middle of a large room. The other PC's follow him inside and a long battle ensues, but the shaman is eventually cut down in his bedchamber despite casting his web spell which briefly confounds the PC's.

Another orc strike team consisting of eight orcs arrives outside of the shaman's home, and is the most successful yet. They start by ganging up on the druid who at first is alone outside. Cor'Nal turns the tide on them by shapeshifting into a bear. Ryan MacBrady Luethar and Ademar are held up inside the shaman's home because they are entangled by a web cast by the shaman before his death. Eventually they free themselves and join the fight but not before Cor'Nal and the wolf take some serious hits. Once all PC's can participate in the fight they win rather handily, although many of them are bloody and hurting.

With smoke risng from two ruined structures and what seems like most of Tonguescum's force lying dead, the PC's spy some remaining troops marching towards the orc chieftain's compund to make their final stand. They seem deliberate in their actions. As if they want to make sure the invading heroes see them retreat to the safety of the walls. The PC's do not follow, instead they decide to hole up momentarily inside the shaman's home to take status of their group and to do a quick sweep, looking for anything useful or of value. While doing so, Ademar opens a door to a room that contains two orcish women, both nursing young. As one of the women slowly, but deliberately reaches for a spear while lowering her infant charge to the floor Ademar slams the door shut. He turns to the group and tells them to avoid this room.

Luethar casts a detect magic spell and scans the massive bookshelf on the eastern wall. He sees two dusty tomes which light up a bright blue. One of them is titled "The Manual of Gainful Excercise", the other is titled "The Manual of Bodily Health". Inside the shaman's bedchamber, Ademar finds a small ringbox, but does not look inside.

It is here that the PC's heal themselves somewhat with a few spells and potions. It is also here that this recap ends...

Will the group continue to Tonguescum's compound to finish the fight and give MacBrady his revenge? If so, will they succeed or fall victim to the trap that they undoubtedly expect awaits them there? Perhaps they'll turn tail and run, figuring they've "done enough"?

What do you think?

Thursday, September 4, 2008


This recap follows the PC's to Tonguescum's camp, and to his very home itself. There, they are met with a challenge quite possibly beyond them.

After casting the spell "Burrow" to tunnel under Tonguescum's home, Cor'Nal unexpectedly finds a pair of makeshift holding cells packed with women and children, apparently the spoils of the invasion of Snoam-Schlabach . He discovers a ladder leading to a hatch that opens to the floor level of the stone structure. Thinking this the obvious place to get right to the source, avoiding the nonsense of attacking the camp head-on, he returns to Whitewall Camp to round up MacBrady, hoping that once Ryan kills Tonguescum his thirst for vengeance will be sated. He deliberately neglects to tell this to Ryan.

The party rounds up and begins the trek to Tonguescum's camp the next day. There is a short encounter along the way with Frobolds that ends quickly. They dismount far from the camp and head the rest of the way on foot. Eventually arriving where Cor'Nal cast his "Burrow" spell, far to the east on the unprotected side of the chieftain's compound. They enter the tunnel and end up between the small pair of holding cells.

Believing a rescue is occurring, a middle-aged woman pleads to be released along with the rest of the hostages. Cor'Nal implores her that the rescue is imminent but she must remain patient, as fleeing in daylight with the amount of people present would lead to their ultimate doom. She persists and begins to panic. After a tense verbal exchange, she retreats to a rear corner of her cell, giving up the argument. It is clear to the group that she totters on the edge of insanity.

During the negotiation with the woman a foul-mouthed, yet child-like voice emanates from one of the cells. A halfling presents himself who states that he lived in Snoam-Schlabach for a time under the guise of a child. He does not disclose, and is not asked, why he did this. After a short discussion, he convinces the party to hand him a weapon, as he claims to be good with a sword. Ademar successfully picks the cell lock and the halfling officially joins the party. He is mouthy, dirty and small, but gutsy.

While planning their attack on the upper levels of the stone structure a sentry is sent to "check" on the prisoners. He is ambushed and overrun easily while climbing down the iron ladder. Before dying however, the orc alerts those above him to the insurrection. After the death of the orc the PC's throw smokesticks up the shaft in order to mask their ascent. Once the above room fills with the adequate amount of smoke, they cautiously climb, one by one, to the top. Their strategy seems to work as they ascend unharmed. All orcs that were in this room have left it.

After a quick, "feeling about" as the PC's are blinded and having trouble breathing in the smoke-filled room Ademar attempts to open the door. He does so successfully and nearly has a crossbow bolt take off his head as it punches only inches away into the door he'd just opened. A battle ensues and two orcs suddenly lie dead near the front door of the stone tower. Concern is raised over the ready access the orcs outside (and there are dozens of them, to be sure) have to the structure and in particular the foyer they now stand in and the two orc bodies are stacked along the heavy wooden doors. When Cor'Nal finds this scenario to be unacceptable he casts a spell that turns the wooden doors into stone. Making the tower nearly impenetrable to anyone without a battering ram.

The PC's set about a quick search of the tower's floor level. They find a trash room that apparently, from the odd placement of pisspots, also doubles as a privy, a study where two trained worgs attack and are killed, and a dining room. In almost all rooms expensive, ornate mahogany furniture is found. Obviously either left behind by the previous inhabitant or spoils from previous orcish skirmishes. Either way, the furniture seems wholly out of place and has not been well taken care of.

From the study a ladder rises upward to a third level. Without time to spare the PC's head up quickly to Tonguescum's bedchamber. It is messy, though surprisingly livable, and the massive, mahogany bed holds a large feather mattress. Out of the open windows, which are only 6x6 inch squares they see the orcish archers form 180 degree semicircle arcs on the east and west sides, 20 feet away from the stone walls, waiting to strike. When a visible target passes in front of the window's tiny dimensions, the orcs fire. Some bolts, though few, strike home.

After a quick search on this level and an assessment of their survival odds the PC's notice another ladder, presumably leading to the roof. Ademar, thinking it easier to strike from above, scrambles quickly up the ladder. The hatch is of course locked and he quickly takes care of it, opening the wooden hatch and taking to the roof. No one follows, this proves to be a near-fatal mistake. While on the roof Ademar attempts to rain arrows down upon the orcs below, before doing so, he notices a ladder has been laid against the stone wall and presumably orc warriors are presently climbing it to gain entrance from above. Ademar rushes over to the ladder and shoves it off, sending the ladder and the orc who'd climbed halfway up it down to the earth below. Ademar fires an arrow, killing an orc in the western semicircle. Several arrows are fired in return, many strike Ademar damaging him severely and laying him unconscious behind the parapet.

The others decide to stay in the upper floor and fire arrows through the eyelet windows at the orcs below. Meanwhile, checking the situation outside, Cor'Nal hears the curious "thud" noise of a ladder being placed against the tower wall outside near where he is standing. He calls out to warn Ademar but hears no return. The halfling Luethar, finds a bow, nocks an arrow and slings one into the shoulder of a massive seven-foot-tall orc. It seems to do little other than anger the beast and return fire from the orc archers forces the halfling to scamper away to safety.

After another call to Ademar goes unanswered, Cor'Nal decides to rush up the ladder to investigate. He finds Ademar alone but arrow ridden and unconscious near the parapet. After rushing over to him he spies the top rung of a ladder laid upon the parapet wall, he first hears and soon after sees a climbing orc rise into view. A highly adorned, menacing looking orc has ascended the roof however, and moves in. Luckily, Ryan MacBrady has followed Cor'Nal to the roof and meets the orc in combat. A short time later a pair of floating orc shaman rise over the parapet to join the fight. Things look grim, and a lengthy battle ensues.

Cor'Nal and the orc shamen trade spells, the druid calls forth the elemental power of lightning while the shamen use wands to fire magic missiles into their enemies. The lightning does enough to force one shaman to retreat, floating below the parapet, presumably to heal. The second orc shaman attempts to retreat as well but is less fortunate, as one of Cor'Nals bolts blows his head apart, sending the rest of his body to the cold earth below. The orc sergeant that made it to the roof is eventually killed by Ryan's sword. Cor'Nal, working quickly, rushes to Ademar's side and heals the fallen elf bringing him out of unconsciousness. More orcs climb the ladder, reaching the top.

After several seconds the surviving shaman floats back over the parapet and casts web at the center of the roof entangling everyone. More orc grunts rise to the roof via the ladder. The shaman needs to clear space for them to enter the fray unimpeded, so he casts flame sphere to achieve this. After a few seconds two more orcs are on the roof. The PC's are essentially helpless as all members of the group, save for Luethar who at this time is hiding safely under Tonguescum's bed, is caught in the shaman's web.

While the shaman is burning his web to make room for the orcs climbing the ladder, Cor'Nal shapeshifts into a bear. He uses the bears brute strength to break free of the web, as the orcs threaten to approach he shoves Ademar through the tangle of webs and into the open hole created by the roof hatch. Moments later, Ryan MacBrady breaks free on his own and dives into the hole as well, dodging the 1000 pound bear that follows through the almost-too-tight opening.

After Ademar scampers back up the ladder to close and lock the hatch, the PC's take a quick inventory of themselves. Luethar comes out from underneath the bed. Expecting the orcs to break through the hatch at any second, the PC's decide to discourage their chase by setting alight any and all items that will catch flame. Starting with Tonguescum's massive bed. They move below to the floor level, continuing to burn everything in sight, going from room to room not stopping until they reach the basement level, and the prisoners.

Where this week's recap* ends.

*Sorry it took so long...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I was playing around with Photo Shop, AD&D map maker, and Auto Cad tonight and came up with some visual aids to go along with my story thus far. Here we have an over view of the small village of Greenfields and also a floor plan view of the smiths home/workshop.


***note*** DM, please feel free to assimilate or delete this information as you see fit. After all, it is your world! We just have the pleasure of visiting it. ***note***