Origins of Magic

The Ogre Village
Day 1

Our adventurers have always worked within the melting pot city of Istantia completing various tasks and odd jobs for their employer, Gregor. When his best employee, Marcaus, was kidnapped, he called together his other employees to go out and bring him back. With an offered reward of 350,000 gp it was an easy decision to be made. Had they known what this one mission would throw them directly into the middle of, they might have not thought the reward so great.

At the start of our story Gregor calls all of his remaining employees together. His best employee, Marcaus has been captured and he wishes to have him returned. Marcaus had been sent out on a mission to stop a group of Ogre’s who had been attacking caravans and kidnapping villagers to wrok in the Ogre village to the north. This was Marcaus’ largest undertaking as all his other missions were simple ones of retrieving items or providing protection. He was warned to not go alone but he was blinded by the 200,000 gp reward and refused to split it.

Gregor wishes to see his star employee returned back to him and is willing to pay a substanial amount for his return, namely 350,000 gp. To show he means business he even provides the group with half of the money upon their acceptance of the mission. When he sees Marcaus again he will give away the rest of the reward.

After traveling north of the village for several hours the party is ambushed by a group of four ogre’s who spring out from the trees. Upon defeating the ogre’s the group sees a fifth ogre off the side of the road. He immediately begins running back to the village upon the defeat of his allies. Using their quick wits the group catches the ogre and immediately disposes of him.

They continue to travel in the direction of the retreating ogre and find the village. They can see plenty of people of all races being forced to work to dig out the walls of the village and to carry stones and woods for the building of houses within the caves, as well as several others working to build those houses. Most villagers are in some form of shackles. The house workers and diggers are handcuffed at the ankles, while the carriers are handcuffed at the wrist.

Sneaking up onto the cavern village, they manage to dispatch the two main guards; however they are heard by the others in front. They soon realize there are not just Ogre’s here, but also Ogre mages. As the villagers are released from the shackles, most are quick to join in on the fight using nearby planks and rocks as well as their tools to fight back against their oppressors. Marcaus is included within their ranks.

After the fight is over Marcaus rushes to the back of the village and into a small storage building. The party chases him down to see him emerge doning some very fancy looking studded leather armor. There is an embroidery unlike any you have seen before on the chest plate. He has a whip on his back and a rapier on both sides.

He tells the party that he must get going but that they can feel free to raid the shack for treasure. They persist for him to speak to Gregor before he goes to let him lnow he is safe. He agrees to do so and rushes off. The party searches the building and returns to Gregor to find Marcaus did keep his word. Gregor pays off the party the remaing amount of gp and then tells you that he will contact you when he has another mission.

The vacation is short lived as the following morning they are summoned back to see Gregor. He says that there has been a recent break-in at the alchemy lab and that the archmage has been kidnapped and several of his possessions have been stolen as well. The guards are outraged and the king has sent out several groups of men to track down the man responsible, but Gregor fears that the man responsible is Marcaus, the very man you rescued the day before.

He has seen Marcaus’ work many times and he knows when a job is done by one of his own men. He does not know why Marcaus would have done such a thing but he fears that he may be under some sort of mind control. He has heard others saying that the time in captivity must have changed him, but he knows outright that that is just not true. There must be some form of puppetry at work and the king will not bother to inspect such things before executing Marcaus.

He says he does not have any gold to offer as the previous reward has left him broke, but he will give everything he possible can upon Marcaus’ return. He stresses that expediency is most important so that Marcaus does not get too far away. He also advises to make sure the king’s men do not know of the mission as they will most likely imprison anyone who stands in their way. Before leaving Gregor suggests to search the alchemy lab for more answers about Marcaus and where he might have gone.

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The Search Begins
Day 2

The party moved immediately to the Archmage’s alchemy lab to find a large hole blown into the building and the town wall which lied directly behind it. There are two guards standing along the outside of the blown open section of the building. Heinrich and Moultager are sent off so their lack of personal skills and common sense is not an interference in the diplomatic events.

The remaining members move to speak to the guards and through some slick talking Edward convinces the guard that, evn though they are not in uniform, they do work for the king. The group gets inside the alchemy lab and tricks the guard yet again, this time into believing that they are the newly leaders of the investigation. Little is known by the king’s men already, other than what can be clearly seen.

The area is in complete disarray. Broken glass lays on the floor and several shelfs have been busted as well. There are also scrolls and potions that have been taken but they don’t seem to be of any particular pattern. Their are ones taken of all types and all complexities.

When they are done searching the area the party returns to Heinrich and Moultager only to find that Moultager has found himself a hooker. He refuses to leave without her and Edward decided it a quicker plan to just convince the hooker to come with them.

Using Urd’s ability to track the party follows Marcaus’ trail until it suddenly comes to a complete stop. It is unsure why the tracks come to an end, but based on the general direction it appears he was headed to the elven city of Vadian. The party decides that this is their best guess at his location.

The party enters into the forests for only a few minutes before they are ambushed by a small squad of humans. Although the fight is brief, Urd’s Tiger, t-i-double-g-er, falls in the battle. It is noticed that the men all wear armor which sports the same strange symbol that was seen on Marcaus’ armor. Even stranger still is the fact that shortly after the enemies are defeated the symbol on the armor glows bright and then their armor explodes, although their is no indication of this being a magical effect.

The final man left alive is pinned to the ground by the party, mainly Urd in the form of a velociraptor. The man attempts to press a button on chestplate, but before he can he is pinned down preventing him from moving his arms. The party begins a long and drawn out interogation process as the man is slowly bleeding to death do to the wounds caused by the velociraptor.

He tells the group that it does not matter what they threaten him with or what they do to him, he will not and cannot tell them what they need to know. He withholds most information, but the party manages to gather that Marcaus is in charge of the men wearing the symbol and that they cannot afford to stop what they are doing. He says that if he says who they are and what they are doing he would risk the lives of everyone in the world.

Soon the party grows sick of his constant refusal to answer there questions and they quickley kill the man and make sure to step back before his detonation. Before they can continue they hear a voice commanding them to stop. They turn to see a small batallion of Elven scouts. They are patrolling the area and overheard the explosions.

Edward quickley describes what happened and asks the men if they know anything of the symbol they were wearing. The scout leader has no knowledge but he requests that you accompany him back to Vadian where you can meet with Tharavol, the mayor of Vadian.

Upon arriving at the town the leader informs that party that they must wait until they see the king. They are free to roam the village and he will seek them out when the king is ready to speak with them. The party engages in various activities. While most go to the bar, Edward spends his time playing his mandalin and recruiting others to spread the word of his name. The others go to the bar where Heinrich and Moutteger almost start a bar room brawl, but through the cunning words of Edward, arriving just in time, the crisis is averted.

The group manages to talk to the bartender who informs them that there was a group of men who came through just the previous night doning the same symbol that Marcaus wore. He says that they were a very reckless group and caused quite a stir within the village. The real ruckus; however, was caused at the inn and the innkeep would now more than anyone.

The party immediately speaks to the inn keep who says that he did have a room opened for that group last night. There wer five men, all of whom were extremely loud and broke much of his furniture. The noise in the room woke him up in the middle of the night and he went downstairs to retrieve the room key, fully intending to kick the group out after receiving reimbursement for the damaged room. Although, when he returned they were all gone.

He shows the party to the room and it is in complete shambles as he already mentioned. There are a empty bottles laying around the room that are clearly labeled from the Archmage’s alchemy lab, although the exact potions used have no pattern to them either. Urd, being genrous pays the innkeep for allowing them to search the room.

The party wanders the streets for a few more hours before the scout leader returns to show them to the king. Once within the chambers the king informs you that the elves are not ones to be amused by parlor tricks and childish manuerisms, so they too wish to find the men who stayed at their inn the previous night and show them proper justice. As Tharavol works negotiations with providing backup for the party, his secretary comes bursting into the room screaming that the village is under attack.

Rushing to the front door you see the villagers scrambling into their houses for cover and the soldiers all rushing to their positions high in the trees. Entering the town are eight Huge elementals, two of each kind: Fire, water, earth, and wind. The party joins arms to help protect the village from the attack.

In the insueing fight the party manages to come out on top dispite mishapes between Heinrich and Edward which lead to Heinrich’s temporary blindness. Regardless of their efforts many of the soldiers and villagers of Vadian are killed or injured in the fight and to make matters worse all but the inn and the town hall are completly destroyed. Tharavol thanks the party for their much needed help in fighting off the elementals but he says that he can no longer provide aid in their journey. He allows them to spend the night within his quarters, as he will stay with his people tonight.

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So Close, but Still So Far.
Day 3

The following morning the party sets out after the the members of Marcaus’ army who caused such a ruckus the night before. They follow their trail for only a short whil until they overhear the sounds of battle in the distant forest. Following the sounds the party soon find Marcaus’ men in a heated battle with one of King Rayor‘s battalions. Remembering Gregor’s advice the party decides it best to not get involved into the battle.

Unfortunately it is clear to notice that the battle is taking palce in front of a small shack, and through the open fourth wall they can clearly see that the archmage has been tied up inside. They also notice a small warding circle on the ground around the archmage. Kylin identifies this to be an explosive trap that will burst if anyone crosses over it.

They soon realize that the archmage is their only true way to find Marcaus and regardless of what they may want to do, they must rush in and free the archmage before either group takes him away. Edward Van Nelah quickley begtins devizing a battle plan, but in the minutes it takes him to do so, Urd grows impatient. Unbeknownced to the party Urd wildshapes into a velociraptor and rushes after Marcaus’ men.

The rest of the party moves in a panic to assist Urd. Edward finds the leader of King Rayor’s men and attempts to convinve him that they are here to help him. Although Edward gets no response from their leader, it is clear he has convinced the lower members of the battalion, as well as Heinrich, that they are there for the full purpose of serving the king’s orders.

After the battle, none of the King’s men are felled and they immediatly form a line in front of the shack, preventing the party from entering. Their leader stands behind them and reveals himself to be Sir Gareth, the general of King Rayor’s army. He thanks you for your help but then tells you to vacate this istant.

Edward, ever the sweet talker, manages to convince Sir Gareth that they are there to help the king and to return the Archmage. Whenever Sir Gareth ask to see papers demanding such and order, Edward SLyly mentions that the papers were burnt during their battles with the fire elementals withing the town of Vadian. Sir Gareth finds the story questionable, but after their aide, he cannot find any reason why their story should not check out.

He allows them close to the Archmage and Edward dispels the wards at the Archmage’s feet. When he moves in to do this the Archmage speaks that he is not who they think he is. After conferring with the party and Sir Gareth, he dispels the imagery spell to reveal the archmage as a commoner.

THe man explains that he is a villager of Quarion, who was kidnapped by Marcaus and his men. He does not know where the men left to, but he overheard them mentioning The Swamps of Ruurg. Edward talks to Sir Gareth and tells them that they will return the man to Quarion. Gareth agrees and says he will report back to the king to prepare their next action.

The party walked the villager back home, and began their crazy antics in the city of Quarion. Edward recruited more people to his fan base, and Moultager and Heinrich continued theior attempts to find the love of a beautiful woman at the town pub. They managed to find an elven woman they deemed suitable for their wooing, although she was not so willing to submit to their whim. Kylin thankfully interveened before the two men were beaten senseless for their annoyances.

Kylin apoligized for the two and the woman perked up at hearing about the parties involvement in completeing odd jobs. She asked if they would be interested in taking on some jobs for the not so average men. When Kylin accepted the woman showed her true form, transforming into an older human man.

Moultager and Heinrich left discussed as the man spoke of a bounty board set up in Port Ilia. He explains that the board was set up by Bazrak, and that it is not for weak travelers. Kylin shares a few drinks with the man as he continues to explain Bazrak’s ability to make items that you cannot find anywhere else in Terah.

The party meets back up and Kylin explains what he heard to the others. They venture off to Port Ilia and find the board. They notice that the BattleBriar is located directly within The Lanoldren Forest, and they decide this would be the best bounty to collect first. They search for days before finally finding the BattleBriar hidden among the wilderness. The dispatch of the Briart and claim there prize from Bazrak.

With one bounty down the party looks to capture the bounty on the Spellgaunt, as they can grab the bounty on their way to Krusk, a Orc village located withing The Swamps of Ruurg. They venture across The Plains of Telara and onto the middle bridge stretching over The Great River Gorge. As the party makes it halfway across they see a figure come riding towards them, though it does not appear hostile.

As the figure gets closer they soon recognize it as Marcaus. He does not have his weapons drawn and slows down as he approaches. He tells the party that he first thought their pursuit to be cute, but now he finds it highly agitating. He gives them what he says is his final warning, “Back off now and I’ll let you live. Continue and you won’t like where you end up.”

He rides off, back to where he rode in from. The party waits briefly and then decides to ignore his warning and continue across the bridge. When they arrive on the other side, they see Marcaus, sitting on his horse and waiting for them. By his side is another man riding horseback. The man wears no armor and holds no weapons, but sitting in front of him is the archmage.

Kylin unleashes spells towards Marcaus, but an unseen Wall of Force prevents the spell from making contact. Upon seeing this magical barrier, Heinrich decides to make a leaping charge. This tactic also fails as Heinrich bounces from the wall. Marcaus laughs at their failed attempts, “I warned you to stay away.” He lifts a small device from his waist and presses a button.

Immediately both side of the bridge explode, sending the bridge and the party falling down into the Great River Gorge. With a little luck the bridge manages to wedge itself into the ravine as it gets closer to the party and the party, through some quick thinking, is able to arrive relatively unharmed at the bottom of the gorge. A little north on the bank iof the river, a large caverne entrance can be seen. It’s the last place they would like to travel into, but with the archmage’s Wall of Force still holding them in, they are left with no other option.

Upon entering the cave they immediately detect a terrible odor in the air. The further into the cave the move, the worse it gets. They travel for days and soon begin to find piles of dead animals and humanoids. Their corpses only enhance the smell that stings their nostrils. They soon find themselves standing in a massive chamber. In the center is a large pool of shallow water. Corpses are floating within it, and by their bloated and pickled appearance, it looks as if they have been there for days, possibley even weeks.

As if this was not enough to elude to the resident of the caverns, a large pile of gold was visible on the other side of the water. As the party approached closer, an Adult Black Dragon, lept out over top of the party, landing himself in the center of the water. His mighty roar caused the party to rear back. They stood ready to fight.

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The Land of the Orcs
Day 4

After a difficult struggle, they arouse victorious and after collecting the gold, and the dragon scales to be given as part of a bounty for Bazrak, they continued their way through the cavern and soon found themselves standing where The Falgern Mountains met The Swamps of Ruurg. The night-time was quickley approching and a fog was rolling over the swamp. They decided it best to stay the night within the cavern and set out the following morning.

Their rest was undisturbed and after a brief travel they found themselves at the town of Krusk. As soon as they were within close distance, the Orc guards immediately raised their arms, warding off the party. They said that the town of Krusk is currently shut off to all travelers. The party soon finds out that Marcaus has recently visited Krusk, and after an altercation that left several Orc villagers and guards dead, he was incarcerated. He broke out from prison just this morning, and after the Tribe Leader found out he ordered the village to be placed under lockdown.

The party informs the guards that they are here in search of the same man. That they have traveled from Istantia with the hopes of finding and capturing the man. After a brief discussion the guards decide to allow the party to have a viewing with the Tribe Leader, but that they must keep under cover about their presence in the village. Most of the villagers are still very rowd up by the whole experience with Marcaus and are likely to react aggresively at the sight of non-orcs within the village.

The group is escorted to the inn, and left there. The guard tells them that he will set up their meeting with the leader and return to fetch them when he is ready to see them. He again suggests that the group does not venture from within their quarters. They decide it best to take his advice and wait patiently in the room.

After several hours, the man returns and escrots them to the town hall. As they move through the village they notice that it is now quite desolate. All the stores have been shut down and there are no villagers walking in the streets. The guard finally stops in front of the large double doors that lead into the town hall. He informs the party it is not so easy to meet with the orc Tribe Leader. Their society is based on proving yourself in battle, and in order to see their leader, you must do just that, one-by-one.

Heinrich is quick to step forward, but he is squashed back just as quick. The guard tells him that they always wish to save the best for last. Urd is next to step forward. The guard opens the door and she enters in with T-I-Double-G-ER II following close behind.

The door slams behind her as as the roar of the orc villagers nearly deafens her. She is standing within a small collesium. The fighting area is surrounded by a large metal fence which seperates the crowd from the fighters. Straight ahead from the entrance is another set of double doors, with a balcony seating area for the leader directly above it. The doors soon opened and a half-orc equiped with breastplate and a battleaxe stepped into the arena.

The fight did not last long as T-I-Double-G-ER II soon had him pinned to the ground. Urd disarmed the half-orc, attempting to show mercy and end the fight early for the man. This proved foolish, she is a woman afterall, as the half-orc continued to fight with his bare hands. This proved to be worthless as the fight was called shortly after. Urd had earned her chance to meet with the leader. They escorted her to a seating area, directly behind the dividing fence.

Moultager was next to enter the arena. His fight was even breifer, as a continually barage of blows brought his opponent to his knees and the fight was brough to an end. He was escorted to his seat next to Urd, as the crowd roared in approvel of one of their own kind.

Edward was the next to enter, and his battle was anything but short. The Orc’s roared expecting to see the bard get destroyed, but he had several tricks up his sleeve. The half-orc delivered one powerful blow against him, before Edward cast Greater Invisibility. The half-orc continued to swing wildly, but was unable to detect the bard’s location. Casting another spell, the half-orc’s eardrums became extremely sensitive, making the roaring of the villagers all around him extremely painful.

To make matters worse, Edward began casting Shout causing the half-orc’s eardrums to feels as if they would burst. With a quick Greasing of the half-orc’s weapon, and a little humor through Tasha’a Hideous Laughter, the half-orc became unable to fight back when Edward finally decided to draw his weapon. The match was called shortly there after and the helpless half-orc was dragged out of the arena. Edward was escoprted to his seat as the orcs roared in their dissaproval of the bard’s fighting tactics.

The next to enter the arena was Kylin. An immediate barage of magic weakened his enemy, but it was easy to see that he could not go blow for blow with such a powerful enemy. Taking a move from the bard, he cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter and left the half-orc rolling on the ground. Kylin beat the half-orc down with his staff and the half-orc was soon being dragged out of the arena. As Kylin made his way to his seat, he was met with a similar sense of distaste from the crowd; Although, he was more respected as he had fought bravely in the opening of the fight.

It was finally time for Heinrich to make his entrance. The crowd was silent as he walked in, his massive bastard swords held high in the air. A half-orc soldier, like all the others, stepped out from behind the double doors. He shook with fear as he readied to fight, but before another step was made a booming voice rang out from the balcony seating. “I believe this fight should be fair, don’t you?”

The crowd erupted in response to their leader. The War Chief, a full blooded orc leapt down from the balcony and landed in front of the half-orc, who quickly ran into the back. A patch covered the orc’s right eye, implying him to be a member of the powerful, Eye of the Grumesh Clan, which had been neaerly wiped out some years ago. The battle waged as the two Titans traded blow after blow, each one powerful enough to kill the average man. Things began looking bleak for Heinrich, but with one deadly strike he managed to bring the war chief to his knees. The fight was called and the crowd roared in approval, having not seen such a fight in quite some time.

They were escorted into the balcony office of the Tribe Leader, who introduced himself as Shump. The party quickly explained the situation with Marcaus and Shump listened attentively. When all had been said Shump told the party that he wished nothing more than to see Marcaus dead. Shump said that Marcaus had been interrogating people about the Lich King. When no answers were given too him he became violent. He tells them that if they wish to find the Lich King, searching the Lich King’s castle to the North would be their best mode of action. The party thanks him for his help and as they leave he says, “If you find him, bring me his head.”

The party rests for the night and shortly after wake they arrive at the Lich King’s castle. The castle is in ruins, in fact, the western tower has completely collapsed. Though the large door sits in front of them, Heinrich decides that this is as good a time as any to test his climbing abilities. Scaling the fallen tower he quickley lands within the building to find himself looking at a skeleton archer and two zombies.

The undead immediately swarm onto him as the other party members move to enter the building for his aid. The undead minions are easily dispatched and the group reassembles within the fallen tower. A large wooden door blocks them off from the rest of the castle. Heinrich, still crazy with his need to kill, shoulder checks the rotted door and blasts it into splinters. Antoher fight with the undead pursues, and is again easily fought off.

Rinse and repeat as the party clears out room after room of skelaton archers, zombies and ghosts. Throughout their searching they manage to find two large glowing orbs. Kylin detects that these orbs are linked somehow, and that they are being used to keep something closed shut. They decide to leave the orbs be for now and continue searching.

A third orb is found in a small room at the end of a short corridor, but they notice something odd about the walls and decide to take another route. The only problem is that the two other corridors seem to be trapped as well. To the left are large statues holding axes in front of them, and to the right there is an odd patch on the floor. Attempting to move forward, they use Moultager as a test subject for the main corridor, since he has the best reflexes amongst them.

As soon as he steps between the walls, they snap shut nearly crushing him. They then slowly release until they lock back into position. They notice that it is activated by the floor plates, but since the corridor is 20 ft long they decide that leaping over the area is not possible for all party members, so they will have to take one of the other paths.

Urd then gets the idea that instead of using themselves to test the other traps he can instead use his animal friends. Summoning several wolfs, he has one make it’s way past the larger statues. As it walks past the statues release the axes which come down hard to the castle floor, then recoil back to strike again. It manages to avoid the first two, but is soon chopped and killed by the third axe. From the best they can tell, the axes are motion activated by anything that goes by.

Still not satisfied by either of these options, Urd sends another wolf down the other corridor. As was expected the second it steps, onto the odd looking stones, the floor retracts and the wolf is dropped down into a 10 ft deep pit of spikes killing it instantly. The pit is only 10 ft across, so the party finds this to be the easiest path to take; Although, some still manage to not make the jump.

Heinrich, continuing to be headstrong and cause problems, pushes his way through the door at the end of the hall. He is met by two ghosts who come out from the walls and strike him from either side. They manage to yet again win the battle, but the party has taken a significant beating, mainly Heinrich, due to the draining of the ghosts. Fighting their better judgement, they regroup into the hall where Heinrich fought the ghosts, board up the doors on either end, and rest for the night.

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The Lich King Morlydd
Day 5

After having managed to stay undisturbed in their sleep, the party continued to search the castle. They opened the door to a very disturbing sight. Two large skeletal like creatures, still holding to some of their musculatory system. Their hands were massive and the bones of their fingers were several feet long, earning them the name boneclaw. Along with the creatures there was yet another large orb in the center of the room.

After defeating the enemies, the party decided to destroy the orb as well. If they were all connected to holding something shut, whether to keep something in or keep something out, it was commonly agreed that they would have to get in. Heinrich brought his sword down onto the orb shattering it, and causing it to explode in a bright light that burnt his skin. For the other two orbs, the quicker of the two fighters, Moultager, completed the task and avoided any burns.

With the orbs cleared there was only one other door to check on the first floor. Opening the door revealed a small hallway which, judging by the off-colored walls, appeared to be trapped as well. Sending more of his nature’s allies, Urd revealed that the floor triggered jets in the wall which ejected fire throughout the hallway.

As the group thought on how to pass through, Heinrich took a running leap and landed himself just inside of the fire, getting singed slightly before finding himself on the other end of the hall. This was all they needed to see to know that the hall would not be passable by such means.

Continuing to think they soon decided to use the tables from the main dining hall as a temporary barrier. Once both walls were covered, they rushed through and made it to the other side just as the tables burst into flames and the hall was filled with fire once again.

Opening the door found them in the castles Eastern tower, which, as was expected was filled with more zombies and skeletons. Literally fighting there way up the steps to the second floor, they found, you guessed it, more zombies and skeletons. Once they dispatched them all they noticed that the stairwell continued up onto the roof. They opted to check this out before continuing on to the second floor.

At the top of the stairs there was a small loft which contained a rather beaten up wooden door. Looking through the cracks they saw a giant zombie minotaur standing guard in front of a set of large double doors, which looked to be in very good condition given the surroundings. Also on the door were six small orbs embedded within the desing on the wood, yet only three of the six were glowing.

It was clear then that there must be three other orbs for them to do away with, so they were oiff to the second floor. There were plenty more zombies, skeletons, and even boneclaws to do away with, as well as an orb in the first room, but it seemed as if these boneclaws were smarter than they looked. The first one was guarding the orb and, after the orb was shattered by Moultager, it began to slowly move back away from his attackers, until he was near a door in the back of the room. He pounded on the door just before Moultager could crack his skull.

They began exploring for a way around, hoping to avoid the possible ambush, but the only way around was another trapped hallway, only the castle floor had given way, leaving it nearly impassable. Sending more animal companions revealed two large pillars that shot out parrallel to the floor from one side of the hall to the other.

This was nothing to deter the great Heinrich though, who was more full of himself than brains. He took a running start and leapt across the gap, but found himself blasted by the defense system, not by just one, but both pillars, which stopped his momentum dead and sent him freefalling to main dining hall below. Miraculously still alive, he traveled back to meet with the party, only partially charred by the fire trap below.

They decided that it was ultimately not worth it to try and cross the gap, and instead went back to the previously knocked upon door. Heinrich was the first to enter and he entered to an immediate barage of arrows, boneclaws, and zombies. Being a tough s.o.b. he shrugged off the pain and the group powered through the ambush, returning them all to the graves that they sprung free from.

In the center of the room was the fifth orb. Moultager shattered it, and they moved towards the door on the other side of the room. Heinrich blasted through the door but found the room to be empty except for the last orb was in the center of the room, but all of the undead had been cleared out for the ambush, or they assumed that was the reasoning. He entered and easily destroyed the final orb.

The last room of the second floor was in front of them and curiosity had the better of them. They opened the door to reveal nothing but more undead. Just as the creatures turned to look at them, they slammed the door shut and moved back to the third floor landing.

Looking through the crack again they were able to see that the orbs in the door were no longer glowing. It was time to deal with the minotaur. They opened the door and it jerked it’s head directly towards them. It chraged fourth plowing through the team and knocking those in front onto their rear ends; however, this was the full extent of it’s attack as it was soon surrounded and beaten to death, mostly thanks to Heinrich.

The party moved, coiled and ready to strike, behind the large doors. They knew the Lich King Morlydd would be waiting on the other side of that door, and they would have to dispose of him then quickly destroy his phalactry to prevent him from coming back to life.

As things often have been for our heros, they were soon to be dissapointed. They swung open the door ready to battle only to find Marcaus standing in the room behind the Lich King. Beside him was a stone statue which had been broken into pieces and in his hands was the Lich’s phalactry.

He smirked at them. “I’ve been waiting for you. Although, you have taken some time and I’m afraid I’m behind schedule now. Do try to enjoy yourselves without me.” His words were short and brief and then he was gone, seemingly teleported away, with the phalactry. As if on cue the Lich fired off a blast of energy, hitting Kylin directly in the chest and turning him into dust. Urd was forced to use the first charge on the staff: that made 19 left.

They pushed through the door, but he created spiderwebs along the floor to slow their movement. The games didn’t end as Moultager got close and he created several images of himself, confusing the not so intelligent half-orc. Urd put an end to this with a mighty gust of air which toppled all of his fake projections. With Moultager breathing down his back he knew he had to escape and teleported himself outside of the room.

It was on the open roof that he met his demise. Moultager followed after using a dimensional door, and Urd quickley surrounded him in fire. The Lich gave one last swipe in desperation, trying to drain life from Moultager, but his attack fell short and Moultager delivered one final punch to knock him back off of the roof and falling down the open Eastern tower. As he hit the floor his body turned to dust and flew throught the air, headed back to his phalactry.

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The Final Showdown?
Day 6

With the Lich King “dispatched” and the trail on Marcaus seemingly dead, the group decided that it was time to collect on some of those bounties that had evaded them for so long. They first decided to seek out the Spellgaunt that they had planned to kill before Marcaus blew the bridge out from underneath them.

They spent five days traveling through the The Falgern Mountains before they finally came across it’s cave. The fight was anything but epic. They killed the creature in mere seconds and collected int’s saliva from off the ground in a small canteen. Bazrak then used these tears to coat Heinrich’s swords with adamatium.

The last bounty they had listed was the Cauchemar. They traveled back to The Swamps of Ruurg and spent Three nights waiting for the Cauchemar to appear. On the last night, they finally saw it’s firey mane in the distance. This was again a very short battle for the group as Edward told some great equistrian joke and caused the horse to fall to the ground in laughter, while the others finished it off. They cut off the creatures hoofs and returned them to the Bazrak to recieve a pair of rings that would cause the wearer to hit with fire behind every punch. Moultager gladly doned the rings.

As they turned in the last bounty they decided to do a little bit of shopping about town. Urd had decided that T-I-Double-G-ER II was looking a bit plain and decided to buy him some much needed accessories. This proved a terrible decision as the second they stepped out of the shop, they found themselves face-to-face with a batallion of King Rayor’s men.

A wall of force was put up around them and it was soon to see that this was not a winnable fight. The group surrendered, but Heinrich was much too stubborn to follow suit. He fought valiantly, but fell to a barage of swords and sheilds. They were taken back to Istantia as captives and thrown into the prison.

They had no clue what they were being convicted of, but the guards were glad to inform them of their treason. You see, when they had previously rescued the man they thought to be Sigmund they had informed Sir Gareth that they were under the order of the king. When Sir Gareth returned and mentioned of the extra searching party the king was more than baffled. It was soon believed that the men must be working for Marcaus, and that the man that they said was not Sigmund clearly was, and that they did not remove a imagery spell, but instead cast one upon him.

Knowing this to be untrue, and fearing the inevitable punishment that the king would order, they decided that they would have to escape. It would not be easy. The glyphs on the walls prevented the use of magic and there were three guard patrolling around the cells. But this group was a smart one.

The bard fascinated one guard and left him in a stuppor due to his superior grasp on the word of song. Another became heavily involved in conversation with Kylin. Urd used her wild shape ability to turn into a tiny mouse and make her way out of the bars and up to the last guard. Quickley changing wildshape once more, she turned into a dire bear, and punced on top of the guard. Once he was dispatched she took the keys and began the anarchy.

Moultager was the closest, and Urd passed the keys off to him. Moultager released Kylin, Kylin released the bard, and the bard released Heinrich. And in the chaos Moultager knocked out one of the other guards.

They made their way up the steps to find out that the glyphs on the walls were on the next floor as well. At the top of the steps Urd began to get the odd feeling that she was looking at herself. She approached and unlatched a nearby steel door and T-I-Double-G-ER II came leaping out.

With the team back together, it was now time to find their possesions. Moultager attempted to travel out into the hallway7s but soon found himself trapped by a patrolling guard. Urd was required to be his saving grace in the form of her thousand faces ability. She made herself look just like the patrolling guard and wandered around searching the room for their things.

Once found, she stashed them all into his bag of holding and brought them back to the steps where her team was hiding. This gave her a genius idea. She could easily sneak by the guards, but what of her allies? They would be perfectly concealed within her bag of holding. They jumped in and from there it was smooth sailing.

Urd walked them right through the guard’s quarters and up to the main hall where she released them all in an empty back room. They immediately began discussing the need to go and talk to the king about why they had been taken captive and put themselves back into his good graces.

This was not an agreed upon decision however, and it required much time for debating, yet time was soon to be taken from them. Just then there was a loud commotion coming from the main hall. They leaned their ears against the door to hear what was going on. There was a man who sounded to be in complete hysterics. He claimed that a castle had been spotted to the Southeast, but there had never been a castle or any sort of building in that direction before. It had seemingly appeared overnight.

Well, the group decided that it had to be Marcaus’ doing and they immediately set off to investigate. Kylin teleported them out of the room and into the general direction of this new castle. They were a little bit of course, but in the general area. They could see the structure in the near distance and decided it was time to storm the castle and finish this once and for all.

They charged through the main gate with amazing force. There a few of Marcaus’ men in the main hall, but they were no match for our hero’s. Heinrich’s swords sliced through armor. Moultager’s fists cracked bones. Urd tossed in some explosives accorns, she does wonderous things with mother nature, and the main hall as well as the hallway to the stairwell was cleared out.

They didn’t waste any time searching the rooms, there would be time for that later. They pushed their way up the main steps and continued to cut, bash, burn, and explode every poor sap that was unlucky enough to cross their path.

Once the second floor landing was cleared out, Urd blocked their back with a field of briars. The men tried to catch up to them, but the briar was thick, and it dug into their skin as they tried to push through. It’s not a pleasant experience, let me tell you.

WIth their backs guarded they continued the push to the third floor, rushing through the kitchen and dining hall. After pushing past the opposition’s feeble defenses they soon found themselves at the steps to the third floor. Unfortunately, those steps were situated within the living quarters and the group had been surrounded The battle was intense and they had their backs up against the wall. Heinrich moved to cover the left flank, but was soon overwhelmed as the men from the first floor managed to bypass the briar and swarmed onto him.

Again his arrogance had gotten the better of him. You’ll notice this becomes a bit of a theme throughout the story. With the left flank destroyed they pulled back into the corner and fought for their lives. Thanks to Kylin and Urd’s magic they managed to blow the remaining assailants away and make their way to Heinrich’s body. they used their staff once more to bring him back: 18 left.

It was now time to confront Marcaus. They traveled up to the top of the steps and made their way into the throne room, which occupied the entire third floor. Marcaus was there standing at the throne. The lich stood in front of him with a small group of his goons. Another stood beside him, holding the Sigmund captive. He drove his fist into his side and Sigmund hit his knees.

The man had used a rather powerful ability. He know had control over Sigmund since he could kill him at will. If Sigmund did not act accordingly, he would die. Once his pieces were set Marcaus gave the order to attack. Two more of his men sprung out from behind the group and attempted to take them by surprise.

They were not so foolish. They split their ranks, Moultager moving directly for the Lich and T-I-Double-G-ER II heading back with the bard to fend off the two in the rear. Urd moved her way around to the back of Sigmund, hoping to eliminate his warden. Marcaus let loose with his whip, taking them off their feet again and again. Were it not for Kylin repeatedly putting them back on their feet, they would never have been able to get a single strike in.

The battle was far from easy, but soon they had managed to defeat all but Marcaus. He stepped down and attempted to take them all on, but his plan did not go as he wished. Something was wrong with his armor and he yelled back at Sigmund for the error. They had no clue what he was talking about and they would be in the dark for quite some time. Fighting on an even plain, Marcaus was only able to fight for a short time before he began to appear weak. Just then Sigmund, pulled him out using a teleportation spell. “It was never supposed to come to this.”, he yelled as he reached behind his back.

Now what he pulled out I cannot accurately describe in words that we know. It appeared as if some sort of wand made of solid steel, but it launched forth tiny pieces of metal at a rapid pace which ripped through their flesh as he waved the wand accross the air. As they starred on in shcok of this unforseen magic, he looked on with a smirk. He raised his hand and grabbed hold of a ring on his finger and with that, he was gone.

As he disappeared out of sight, Sigmund screamed in pain as he hit the floor dead. His guardian had done his job. Urd kept hold of him. He was the last man alive and the last one that could give them any information about what went on there. They tried to interogate him in the not so friendly way, but he fell unconcious after only a few blows.

Before they had time to think, Sir Gareth came bursting through the door with a small group of men. Urd quickly lowered the staff and brought Sigmund back to the realm of the living, trying not to be seen. Gareth rushed forward and demanded them to stand down and surrender.

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A Diplomatic Endeavor
Day 7
  • The party immediately stands down to Sir Gareth and they are brought back to see King Rayor. Once there he demands an explanation as to why they broke free from his prison and what they were doing chasing after the archmage.
  • After Edward rants off the parties entire actions up until now the king stands baffled. He tells them all that he does not agree with what they were doing, but that neverthe less he got back Sigmund without any of his men being harmed so he can’t be too upset.
  • The party is allowed to wait round while the king interogates one of Marcaus’ men. THey reort to Gregor and inform him of what hs happened. Gregor is upset by this knowledge but says that he believes you.
  • Once the party return to the castle they are informed that a parchment was found on one of Rayor’s men that incriminates Shump, the orc chief in Krusk, and the stories from Marcaus’ men match this claim. The group is then sent to Krusk to present the parchment to shump and ask him of his activities with Marcaus.
  • The group travels to the swamps of Ruurg to meet up with Shump again. This time they get there and manage to see him with a little bit less trouble then before; However, as they wander through the town they see armor in the local shop which displays Marcaus’ emblem.
  • Once they speak to Shump he outright denies everything that they are laying before him. He claims the parchment is a forgery, despite the king’s best efforts to detect so. He says that the men are clearly trying to fram him.
  • When asked about the armor he states that his men will rummage and sell anything they can come across. It doesn’t mean they’re working with Marcaus, and if anything it means they have killed Marcaus’ men.
  • When told the armor should explode when the wearer dies he begins to get even further agitated by your claims. He says that the armor could have been brought back by any number of men and not knowing anything of the emblem he wouldn’t know it was a problem to sell.
  • When he finishes he demands that you all leave his village immediately. Orc’s are a proud race and he will not hear their claims of treachery any longer.
  • The party complies and returns to King Rayor. He thanks them for their service and tells them that he will send a less diplomatic approach this time. Urd requests what he might mean by this and he simply looks to Gareth then back. “Don’t concern yourself with that.” He will call for them if he needs them again.
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Diplomacy is Dead
Day 8
  • The party returns to King Rayor to see if he has received any new word on Sir Gareth. The king tells them that he has not, but that he expects he should be back at any time.
  • Kylin decides to scry Gareth and see where he might be. He sees that Gareth is moving very quickly on horseback. Gareth’s hands are stained with blood. Kylin manages to effective teleport the group to his location based on the visions he has seen.
  • Edward is the only one who is able to catch up to Gareth on horseback. Gareth swings his sword at Edward’s head as he approaches next to the horse, unaware of who is running beside him. Edward attempts to find out what is going on, but Gareth grabs hold of him and pulls him on top of the horse saying that he cannot stop now.
  • They ride all the way back to istantia, where they meet up with the others. Gareth explains that they tried to get an answer from Shump and whenever he continued to deny the accusations, they threatened that it could lead to war. Shump did not take kindly to this and told them to leave immediately.
  • Before leaving Gareth demanded for Shump to come clean, but his words struck Shump the wrong way. He refused to allow them to coninue to batter the names of the orcs and he ordered for all of hem to be killed.
  • Gareth managed to escape the assualt but his six men were all killed in the fight.
  • The King ordered for Sir Gareth and the party to lead a battalion of 200 men to attack the village of Krusk and punish them for what they have done. Urd and Gareth are both resilient to follow these orders, but Gareth says he must obey his king.
  • They make the move against Krusk and once they get close Gareth informs the party that once the fight has broken out they will teleport into Shump’s throne room and confront him directly.
  • They Orc’s ambush the people at the main gate, with several archers standing on the top of the town walls. They dump down hot oil and burn others. The army charges into the village barroling through this attack and the fire as the orc’s ignite the oil.
  • Gareth gives Kylin the order and they travel together into Shump’s throne room. As you appear in, he is waiting there with his war chief. They plead with Shump one last time to stand, but he refuses.
  • He tells his war chief to make quick work of them, and exits out a passage in the back of the room. Gareth manages to give chase, but the war chief cuts off your path.
  • Having beaten him once before Heinrich charges in swords flying, but it’s soon clear that he was holding back the last time they met, as with three swift blows he brings Heinrich to his knees and decapitates him. The battle becomes one of wading out time as Moultager falls as well. The remaining party uses their magic to keep out of his way and slowly chip away at him, and set the building on fire in the process.
  • The final blow comes from Urd in the form of a lighting bolt which blasts through the ceiling and directly on top of the war chief. He falls through the hole in the floor, but manages to catch his grip. He gives one last cry before falling into the swamp as the burning wood starts to give way and collapse on top of him.
  • Urd quickly brings Heinrich and Moutlager back to life (Staff of True Resurection 15) as they run out of the building after Gareth and Shump.
  • They catch up to them outside of the town and find Gareth and Shump battling. The two seem to be barely on their feet when Gareth delivers a blow that drops Shump to his knees. They read Shump’s lips as he request for his death. Gareth raises his sword to finish the job, but their is a loud crack throughout the mountains and Gareth drops his weapon, holding onto his hand in pain.
  • The remainder of the orc army came rushing around the walls of the villae and began running for the mountains. Shump quickly got to his feet and joined them, but Kylin cast up a large wall of Force preventing them from running away.
  • They confronted Shump and seemed to be getting through to him that what struck Gareth was a spell of some sort sent out by Marcaus. After the conversation Shump finally seemed to be leaning towards going back to King Rayor, when suddenly he stopped and turned his head to the side, listening to something.
  • In a quick burst Shump made another run for the mountains. The party tried to give chase but a familiar crack filled th air and some force driled into their chests sending them off their feet and into the swamp. Heinrich’s armor held a large dent from the blow.
  • The tried to use several spells to stop Shump’s ecape but each was being dispelled moments after hitting the air, until finally one of them broke through, stopping Shump only a couple undred feet from the base of the mountain.
  • Shump had no choice but to surrender and he and his orc’s were brought in as prisoners to King Rayor. Rayor placed the orc’s in the dungeon and thanked the party again for their loyalty. The group requested to interrogate Shump themselves, but King Rayor deemed that unnecessary. THey could help guard the dungeon if they wished but that was all.
  • As they walked through the main hall they overheard a man who was causing quite some trouble. Edward listened on as the rest went to the dungeon. The man was screaming at the guards:
    “By order of King Dynard I demand to see King Rayor this instant.”
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What is it Good For?
Day 9
  • Man in the main hall is a messenger from King Dynard.
  • Says that the Swamps are part King Dynard’s territory and that King Rayor had no right to invade them the way he did. Wants the Orc’s to be returned immediatly. Says that he won’t like what happens if he refuses.
  • King Rayor flips out and refuses to give in to his older brother’s demands. Sends the messenger away.
  • A large explosion is heard in the basement where the rest of the party is guarding over Shump. The explosions come from the outside walls of the dungeon. The rooms are filled with dust and Heinrich is left on the floor gasping for air.
  • When the dust finally settles they find that the prison cells are completely empty. All of the orcs in exterior facing cells have been broken out, through massive tunels dug through the earth.
  • Urd gives chase through the tunnels and finds extremely odd tracks going through the tunnel, much like the treads we ould see in today’s world. The tracks seem to end immediately after they break free from the tunnel.
  • The King is called down and he is completely outraged by these actions. He takes it as an action from his older brother, given their recent interactions. It is unsure whether he believes this has anything to do with Marcaus, but he wishes to attack none the less.
  • He sends for you the following day and says that he had orders for you to attack the village of Thorngage. A small town residing directly on the other side of the Great River Gorge. He tells you to kill all of the guards there and reclaim the villge as your own, but to not harm the civilians in any way. He gives you a note to tke with you:
    “Attention villagers of Thorngage. This village is now officially under the rule of King Rayor. You may notice slight changes throughout the following months, but please rest assured that your safety is still intact. We do not wish to disturb your way of life or cause you any discomfort. Rest assured that you are now in much better hands. Your new King. King Rayor.”
  • Urd refuses to go to the village and kill innocent people for one king’s sibling rivaly. They rest of the group decides orers are orders and begin their journey to Thorngage. Urd stays behind to plead with the King.
  • His rgument fall on deaf ears as the king refuses to change his stance. Urd decides he must stop this himself and sends a carrier pidgeon to Edward stating that the attack has been called off.
  • The group waits for Urd and when they meet up Edward immediately questions Urd on the matter. It is clear to see that he is lying. The group, through much argument, decides to go forward with the attack.
  • Urd decides that this still cannot be done and morphs into a bird, tking the quickest path to Thorngage. He arrives before everyone else and waits to meet with the lord for only a short time due to the urgency he hs expressed.
  • He warns them of the coming attack and Lord Aleesso quickly calls for backup. Over two dozen of the king’s men are sent in as reinforcement’s, over tripling the town’s forces.
  • Urd meets back up with the party a few miles outside of the town. He tells them wht he has one and pleads with them to stand down. Heinrich still refuses to o so believing they can still fufill their duty.
  • Finally a woman appears before them. She informs them that they are all growing tired of their babbling. She tells them that King Dynard wihes to see them. She teleports the party to the king’s throne room.
  • He thanks Estwynn, his archamge, for bringing the group to him and tells the party to inform him of why his brother is doing what he is doing. Some are resilient to talk but edward can’t resist telling a good story.
  • Once he is caught up to date he decides that they must find a way to prevent this all out war. He makes Heinrich the new Lord of Thorngage, and pulls out all of his men from the city to stage it as a takeover. The party must keep their connections with the King so tht they know his next move.
  • They live in Thorngage for several weeks before Rayor sends replacements and tells them to led a march across the northern bridge, through dwarven lands and into King Dyard’s land.
  • You meet with King Dynard and form a plan to destroy his army s they move across the bridge. None are to survive and you are to return to King Rayor to report of the assault. He is to believe the war cannot be won, and hopefully he will stand down.
  • The party leads the group across the bridge an together with the dwarves they ambush them, pinching their forces on the bridge. Urd falls in the battle, (Staff of True Resurection Count: 14) but they still manage to overwhelm King Rayor’s forces and kill every last one of them.
  • To occupy their time they decide to collect the last bounty on the bounty board: The Sorrowsworn Demon. They travel to the village of Glenburg and travel in and out of the Hestas Desert for several days before finally encountering the demon.
  • The battle is intense and most are mentally incapacitated due to the mental images that the Demon projects. The only one not thrown for a loop is Edward who barely manages to survive long enough to defeat the demon.
  • Most of the party dies in the battle, including T-I-Double-G-ER II. They return to Glenburg victorious as Edward drags the body of the defeated Sorrosworn Demon behind him. He strings the Demon up in the center of town.
  • When the terrified villagers realize that the deomn is dead they declare Edward as their savior and Edward proclaims himself as the leader of Glenburg.
  • Urd takes the time to regain another animal companion, whom she dubs T-I-Double-G-ER III.
  • They return to Istantia and await the King’s orders.
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Run for Your Lives.
Day 10
  • The group is immediately met by Estwynn who offers her congradulations then immeiatly blast you all with a fireball. Before arms are raised she informs you that it has to look real. Charred and btered the group teleports to the King’s chamber.
  • He is conversing with Sigmund nd Gareth at the time although Gareth’s face does not seem to be a happy one. The King asked what happened during his march tht has left you in such condition.
  • The party informs him of the attack and he replies:
    “They killed all of my men? Apparently he has no idea who he’s dealing with. This demands swift and direct retaliation.”
  • As he says this two men with tower shields enter behind them, blocking them into the king’s chamber. King Rayor says he never wishes to see the group agin before he telports out of the room. Gareth and Sigmund immediately ready to fight.
  • The party bull rushes out the door blasting through the men with tower shields and they begin to run out through the door.
  • Sigmund quickley puts a dimensional lock on Kylin, preventing the party from teleporting away. More guards come to block their path and Kylin cast a wall of force preventing Gareth from exiting the throne room. Kylin attempts to block off Sigmund as well, but is hit with a powerful spell that leaves him stunned and motionless.
  • The group grabs hold of him and rushes him down the hallway. Gareth breaks free from the wall and calls forth his mount from the celestial plains, but a few well placed fire seeds as mines makes short of his horse.
  • With their enemies semingly behind them, they turn the corner to find Sigmund and a small group of men standing between them and the steps. Moultager makes a dash and tries to lunge past him, but is instantly teleported back to the center of the room as he does.
  • They decide they have to fend off their attackers before they can move forward. Using many summons, the group manages to hold off Gareth and Sigmund long enough to kill the other troops.
  • They begin to make their way down the steps, after dispeling the teleporttion circle on them. Gareth turns the corner just as they are making their way down. He tosses a vial at Sigmund which explodes and sends sigmund flying through the wall behind him. He turns to Urd and tells her to run now.
  • The group uns away as Gareth is blasted with seveal meteors from Sigmund. He immediately replies with another vial pulled from his side that sends Sigmund to the ground again. The last image is Sigmund walking forward surrounded by a swarm of insects.
  • The party continues their way through the castle in a not so dramatic fashion, managing to easily kill the rest tht tand in their way. The main lobby is empty leaving a bad feeling for them.
  • They exit out the front door quickley to find Sigmund still surrounded by a swarm of insects. Several other guards stand at a distance behind him surrounding the party at all sides. They try to concoct an escape as Sigmund begins slowly stepping forward with a grin on his face.
  • Next thing they now they are suddenly standing in King Dyard’s Castle, and Kylin shows up with Estwyn a few minutes after. She informs them that she was the one who teleported them out, using the abilities of time stop.
  • The King decides tht his brother will not back down and a war is being brought on them whether he likes it or not. The group is told to rest up at the suite in the town inn and that they will return in the morning to the king to discuss their next mode of action.
  • The party attempts to scry Gareth, but receives no reply.
  • The following morning they are called to the King with much urgncy. Once there he informs them that the small Dwarven town of Audhild has been completely slaughtered, peasants and all.
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