Tales of the Shattered Land

Session 18 - Mines are underground, you probably haven't heard 'bout it

     While Veduil was in his "vacations", the rest of the group was preparing to leave the capital. Kendra and Varis didn't have a lot to do there, but Lusca was decided to get herself a horse. So she found a stable and performed exquisitely the role of a distressed mother, and got a discount for the horse which would help her "chase the kidnapper of her son", even though a guard had approached and said that he would send a detachment after the criminal.

     Kendra, Varis and Dolgan waited for the nymph at the city's eastern gate and left as soon as she arrived. They were two days away from the mountains, so the trip wouldn't last much longer, and Lusca thanked her goddess for allowing her to finally ditch the cursed dwarf. Something around noon of the second day, Veduil catched up to them taking a ride with a sympathetic salesman, who was returning to his village, near the mountains. 
     The sun began to set, and the sky was painted red, when the group was ambushed by a group of orcs. But the orcs snatched more than they could fit in their mouths and were annihilated. The fact that there was a scout among them alerted Varis, the orc specialist, that there probably was an orc camp nearby, which he decided to destroy.

     It was not hard to track the camp, and the adventurers found it set in a clearing in the pine forest. Even though they tried to approach the orcs stealthily, the group was noticed by three sentinels, which attacked. The sentinels were quickly disposed, but the commotion alerted the rest of the camp, and now there were 9 orcs and a commander running towards them. Kendra, thinking fast, summoned a massive sphere of darkness to cut the enemies line-of-sight with her and her friends. The adventurers spread out to reach tactically better positions. Kendra was lurking from a tree branch; Lusca ran along the clearing's edge, to attack the enemy flank; Veduil retreated out of the fog, while Dolgan and Varis, who were swallowed by the dark fog, stood where they were to face the enemies directly.
     The battle was swift. Lusca knocked out most of the enemies with her Thunderous Waves, while the remnants were finished off by kendra. Meanwhile, Dolgan and Varis fought off the commander. Even though the underlings were mowed down quickly, the boss managed to stand the attacks of both the ranger and the paladin for a while, and was even able to wound badly the elf before it died.

     With the camp cleared and wounds mended, the group spent the night on the orcs' tents and ate their plundered food.

     Next morning, they left by the first light, reaching the mountains base before lunchtime. Dolgan lead them through a secret entrance on the mountain, until they reached the hidden dwarven capital: Dûran Stohr. 
     - I'm afraid this is where we part ways. I must return to my temple, and you must resume your journey. Come visit me someday if ya can, is good to have folks to drink with.
     -  We surely will… – Lusca whispered through her teeth.
     The dwarf bid his farewell and left, leaving behind a very satisfied nymph, who displayed a shiny and broad smile.

     They rested, had lunch while the bard earned some coin playing for the cheery dwarves and then realized they had no idea where to go now. Pulling again the map given to Lusca at the Seashore Temple, they got a very vague notion of their destination. They figured out it would be smarter to ask directions to a dwarf, and approached a smith that was working nearby.
     - Oh, those be the mines! Dangerous place to go. – He said with strong accent – It be better if ya find a miner to lead you there, they know the way, might just kno what ya're looking for – He rose his head, smiled, and shouted – Oi! Dolgan! Com'ere, perfect timing! These folks here need a miner. – He looked back to the adventurers. Lusca's cringe could be seen, felt and tasted, but the dwarf didn't seem to notice – Dolgan here was a miner back in the day, he can help ya better than me."
     - Ohohoho! Did not expect to meet you again this soon! I thought you would have left by the time I was finished with my religious business, but it seems I was wrong, haha! I will gladly show you the way.
     - I couldn't be happier! – Said Lusca, her teeth almost cracking with the strength she put on the fake smile.

     - We are here, the spot marked on your map is two mountains (or three days) away. The mines are unforgiving, sure you have all you need? – Everyone nodded – Right. We are going in.
     So they began their way through the endless maze of tunnels that compose the dwarven mines. The first victim of the mines was Veduil, who, distracted, wandered into a living slimy trap. Swimming fast, he was able to free himself from the Gelatinous Cube. The party proceeded to chop, slice and scoop the creature while it kept trying to absorb them, until there was only a small pile of slime in their way.
     Further down the mines, a tremor announced the approaching of more danger. 4 giant vermin, Carrion Crawlers emerged from the rock to feed themselves on the wanderers. Constantly being paralyzed by the creatures' sting, the adventurers had a hard time dealing with them, but once the first died, the others weren't able to hold still all their preys, and the fight got much easier. They were forced to take a break after that battle.
     A few hours passed and they were good enough to resume the trip. Entering a large chamber, they saw an enormous monster. It looked a lot like an orc, but bigger. Bigger horns, bigger tusks and wielding a bigger weapon. As soon as it saw the outsiders, he charged towards Dolga, unleashing a roar that shook the cave. Dolgan clashed with the beast, exchanging mighty blows, while everyone shot everything they had on the demon. Wounded and getting weaker, the Tanarukk began to lose its ground to the paladin. The moment the monster lowered its guard to attack, Dolgan hit it in the leg, forcing the creature to kneel. The he rose his hammer, which began to shine faintly with a golden light and whispered:
     - Begone, demon. Back whence you came. – And dropped his hammer with a blunt noise, plunging the caves in a deep silence. Taking a heavy breath and sighing he said – I don't know about you folks pant but I think we should wrap it up and call it a day, eh?


Session Rewards

400 PO (Sold Orc Gear)
XP – ??? (Party lvl 5)

Session 17 - It's SHOCKING how relatives can't get PUNCHLINES

     Hurt, scarred and tired, Veduil decided he needed a break. The last weeks with the adventurers had been rough on the bard, so, he decided to leave the group to relax for a while. He bade them farewell and went to a different inn to spend the night.

     The elf woke up with the feeling that something about himself has been off, and after an introspective breakfeast, he felt renewed, like a whole new person. After showing his skills to the innkeeper, the man agreed to pay his meals and room in exchange for a night show. Satisfied, Veduil left to roam the city.
      Playing as he walked, the bard caught the attention of children and passersby, as he went to a jewelry. "Since I need a copper piece for my spell, might as well be a beautiful one." – he thought to himself.

     With a high-pitched voice, a slightly bald gnome greeted him as he entered the store – "Best of the mornings to you, good sir. How can I be of service?"
     "Good morning, yes. Could you make me a copper pendant?"
     "Why, of course. How would you like it?"
     "Hmm… Make it moon-shaped. It can be any moon phase, your call."
     "Understood. Is that all? A plain moon?"
     "Well, do you have anything else in mind?"
     "I just think it to be too raw, you see. I usually come up with ideas to my clients, but it is your first time here, so I need a little more to work with." – The gnome said with contained chuckle. After pondering for a few seconds, the bard decided to have an elven word engraved on it. The artisan did not know well the elf language, so Veduil wrote down the word so he could reproduce it on the piece. After a few minutes hearing a faint noise from the back of the store, the gnome came back with a partial moon, facing upwards, and engraved with (insert word here) on it. Satisfied, the bard payed and tested the amulet, checking the surroundings with his Detect Thoughts spell. As he didn't seem to notice anything weird, the elf thanked again the shopkeeper and left to play once more through the streets. "Thanks for your patronage!"

On his way to a luthier's workshop, Veduil got some change from excited children and people on the street, that usually started walking shaking their heads in the music's rhythm. The focused woodworker raised his eyes as he heard his front door opening. A tall human, with no bear and long black hair tied in a ponytail, anxiously welcomed his client.

     "Hello master, I'd like to buy spare string sets for my lute" – said Veduil showing his instrument.
     "Oooh, it's a nice piece of work you have there. Just a second." – The man crouched behind his counter, and Veduil could hear the sounds of drawers opening and closing in quick succession. After a while, the luthier stands up with the strings rolled up around his fingers. He searched around for a while, looking a bit lost, and with a soft "a-ha!" he grabbed a small wooden box. He then faltered and, looking over his shoulder, asked – "Would you rather take these in a bag or a box?"
     "How much would the box be?"
     "Well, the whole package would cost ya 80 silvers. Just the string sets would be 60. These boxes doesn't go out a lot, so I'm giving you a discount."
     It was a good deal. The bard bought the box, with eight separate compartments to keep the strings apart, and stuffed the whole package in his bag. As he thanked the luthier and was about to leave, Veduil turned around and asked with a confident smile – "How would you like to sponsor a famous musician?"
     "Sorry, who? Oh, you mean yourself?" – The man said, a bit surprised – "I mean, it would be good to have someone showing off my work, but I don't really know you, sir. I cannot simply give a stranger one of my instruments and expect him to bring me clients. Grow a little fame yourself, and I would gladly help you."
     "Of course, I understand. Surely you will hear my name around, have no doubt." – Feeling a sting on his ego, but still with a smile on his face, the bard left once more to Goldarth crowded streets.

     Despite the calm and pleasant day, not for a second Veduil stopped scanning his surroundings with his spell. After he left the luthier's shop, he felt a mind that was completely focused on him. Discretely looking around, he saw a high elf walking casually on the rooftops of nearby buildings. Curious he decided to search deeper in his mind, finding out that the only reason that man was in the capital was to meet him. As soon as the elf felt the mental intrusion, he jumped down from the building, breaking Veduil's line of sight and their mind link. The bard didn't bother to follow him, they would meet soon enough, apparently.
     Night falls, and the bard returns to the inn for his performance. Drunk people dance, sing, shout and pass out while the elf sat in a little stool, playing lively and well known songs on his lute. As the show went on, Veduil noticed the suspicious high elf in the back of the crowd, clapping along, but with a disdainful grin on his face. The night closed up with a few drunk men still singing out of tone obscene satires of one of the musics played. 
     The musician got off the stage and started to collect the coins tossed at him throughout the show, when he heard steps behind him. He said – "Well, thank you. You just saved me the trouble of looking out for you." – The man behind him chuckled and answered:

     "Well, well, so it was you the nosy person searching my head earlier. I'm surprised, I must say."
     Veduil turned around and finally recognized L'athian - "Long time no see, cousin."
     "So, I can see you are doing pretty well with this… bard stuff. How is the life of playing for a few coppers and rolling around with harlots? Have you also started to shit on the streets and to abstain from baths?"
     The bard was not really annoyed by the mockery, but when he saw the dagger and rapier hanging from his cousin's waist, his expression became serious. – "Yes. I also sleep in a barrel and talk to trees. You seem to know a lot about this kind of life, do you have experience with that?"
     L'athian squinted his eyes with anger and gripped firmly his cousin's shoulder. – "Listen here, you filthy twerp" – he whispered – "You may have no consideration for tradition or reputation, but our family is a noble one and has a name to keep. So, you can come with me back to the court, leaving all this nonsense behind and be a decent person, or you can keep being the stubborn piece of shit you are and we will have to deal with you in more unpleasant ways. We cannot allow a Galanodel to walk around as a mere entertainer of the commoners. I'm sure you understand." – he completed, bringing back the wicked grin – "Nobody gives a damn about your stupid heroic songs."
     Veduil thought for a second, rose his finger and said – "Can I say something first?"
     "Bzzt." – As the bard made the buzzing sound with his mouth, he also casted his Shocking Touch, unleashing a surge of electricity through his cousin's body, who took a step back to cut the circuit. His eyes wide with fury, and his hair messed with shock, he unsheathed his rapier and said – "You are going to deeply regret this."
     "I hardly doubt that. I never regr- WHAT IS THAT ON YOUR SHOULDER?"

     Quick thinking can keep you alive. Veduil summoned a small illusionary rat on L'athian's shoulder, who was startled by the unexpected apparition and started to try and shove off the rat away from him. With his opponent distracted, the bard shocked him once more with his magic. At this point, the once elegant noble elf was foaming with anger, his hair a complete spiked mess. He trusted his weapon forward a few times, but Veduil was able to dodge those strikes. The assassin started to get nervous, so he jumped back and flipped a table to get some cover. With that opening, the musician drew his hand crossbow, and slowly walked towards the table. Some of the drunk people (even the ones that passed out) were already shouting "BRAWL BRAWL!" Suddenly a long blade emerges from the wood of the flipped table, but L'athian miscalculated the distance between them and wasn't able to reach his target. Veduil tried to make his cousin surrender by pointing his crossbow to his head and telling him to leave. - "This is not happening. You're not supposed to know how to fight. What have you been doing, you stupid inbred?!" – Once again he thrusted his blade forward in a furious attack, once more, the bard dodged, and once more came the chance of surrendering. This time L'athian limited himself to screaming and attacking, piercing a small wound on Veduil's arm.

     "He… hehehe… I finally made you bleed. I'll flood this place with your blood. I'll scatter your pieces all around this filthy human sty, AND I WILL FEED YOUR COCK TO THE PIGS! (drunk loud laughter) SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU VERMINS!"

Veduil answered with a missed shot of his crossbow, and the enraged elf hit him again, now carving a deep wound on his shoulder. Veduil's great acting allowed him to shrug off the strike, but it was actually hurting like hell. One more missed shot (seriously man, throw this crap in the trash. You scored a total of 0 hits with that) and L'athian laughed, striking once more. The bard moved away, letting the attacker pass by. Taking advantage of his position, the fencer tried to knock Veduil down with a kick to the legs, but failed. When the bard turned around, he once more landed a touch on his foe, electrocuting him, and made his sword hand completely numb.
     Both were exhausted. Veduil has been bleeding for a while now, while his cousin had sustained heavy damage, twitching with eventual surges of electricity. In their heads, the next blows were epic. Two skilled fighters dodging each other attacks, waiting to decide the fight in the next blow. For spectators, it looked more like two drunk man trading sloppy punches, until the bard hit the assassin in the stomach, tazing him once again, and knocking him unconscious. After a few moments of silence, the drunk spectators bursted in cheers, shouting the name of the victor. The innkeeper rose from behind the bar counter, looked around a bit and said – "Oh. Nothing is broken, okay then." – And joined the shouts of the drunk men.
     After mending his wounds, Veduil asked the inkeeper to help him taking his cousin to the hospital (he got a wheelbarrow to move the body), and left him there with sarcastic letter.

Leaving the hospital, Veduil opened a small box that he found in his cousin's pockets (along with his money bag), revealing a strange disk that looked like a compass, pointing towards the hospital. Confused, he stared at the compass until a well dressed man addressed to him:

     "Excuse me, good sir, but do you happen to be, or know one of the people on this list?" – As Veduil looked through the list, he recognized the names of his former companions, as well as his own.
     "Yes, I am Veduil. What business you have with m- us?"
     "My masters, Nozdormu, Chivas, and Orum, demanded that I brought this letter to their friends in the capital, if I were to find them. Then I believe my job is done, if you will excuse me."

     The man left, leaving the bard with the letter. Wondering those three would want to say, Veduil looked once more to his compass, that now pointed north, to Greenshade.



Party XP – 900XP
Tracking Compass – Points out the general direction of the position of a known creature, if the user remembers its name (if it has one) and face. The compass loses accuracy in crowded places and when it is less than 30m from the target.

Session 16 - Paper cuts hurt more than gores

     While Orum and Nozdormu were out getting themselves killed, Chivas stood by the castle with Souta. Having nothing better to do, Chivas grabbed the kid and went to Wilford, for a visit to his laboratory. The scientist was leaning over a table, working in some alchemical substance, in a large stone room, filled with benches and shelves, which were filled with various tools and glassware. When the man stood up to take a break, Chivas approached him. – "Hello, WIlford."
     "Oh! Hello m'lady! Welcome to my lab. How can I be of service?"
     "I was curious about what kind of research you conduct here, so I would like to see some of your work."
     "Most certainly. Allow me to finish this process here, and I will gladly give you a tour."

     Chivas nodded in agreement and Wilford resumed his work. As she watched he fill a flask with liquid fire, she got a weird feeling, as if something was off. She turned around and saw Souta, on his toes, reaching out to a piece of paper tacked a wood beam. When the boy noticed the sorceress gaze, he lost balance and fell, taking the paper with him. Then, the three of them watched, shocked as the paper floated in the air, unfolding itself to a whole page size. Then, hundreds and hundreds of pages flew from behind the blank sheet, assembling bit by bit a big humanoid creature, thus forming a Living Spellbok. The monster faced Souta and rose his hand, with some pages spinning around it and then flinched. As if it lost interest, it turned its attention to WIlford and shot stiff and sharp sheets of paper towards him, missing by a hair strand.

     The battle went on tense. The restricted powers of the monster put it in the same level of the other two, so it was a flurry of dodged and blocked spells. After a minute, the humans started to land their attacks: Wilford finally got to set the creature on fire with his bombs and Chivas got it with a Chromatic Orb. After being badly damaged and watching his enemies skillfully evade his attacks, the Spellbook resorted to his Magic Missiles, an infallible spell. Shooting a dozen missiles at his enemies, he was able to wound them badly, but it was already to late. Burnt, teared and sliced, its strength and size diminished. – "No… I will not return to the void…" – Its voice echoed in the minds of those present, drowsy and tired. The scientist and the sorceress continued to attack and the Living Spellbook succumbed. – "What a waste… A thousand years of knowledge burned away… All… because… of that cursed… vampireee…" – The deep and ethereal voice faded away, as the last page of what once was a formidable creature turned into pile of ashes.

     Releasing a loud sigh, Chivas walked towards Souta to give him a slap on the head. What happened though, was that some kind of barrier prevented her hand to reach him. Surprised and curious, she gently put her hand on his shoulder. – "We will talk about this later. For now, DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE, ARE WE CLEAR?" – Trembling with fear, he answered – "Y-yes, ma'am!"
     "Good. So, Wilford, what about that tour?"
     "Oh? Oh!" - Still a little tense, the scientist shook his head – "Sure, of course milady. This way, please."
     He took them to a big study, filled with bookshelves. There were so many books there, that some were lying on the floor, on tables or on top of a shelf. In the center of the room, was a lonely table was, with scrolls, papers and one book lying on it. Beside the table was a helmet on a support.
     "This" – said Wilford – "is where I make the actual research. The other room is just my workshop, where I craft my tools and brew my chemicals. All the information contained here is at your disposal, Lady Chivas. And to you too, curious young master." – He completed with a wink.
     "What about your last project? What is it about?"
     "Oh, right. This research was requested by my former master, himself. He gave me a stone tablet to translate. Unfortunately, I was unable to do it, no matter how I tried, the logic behind the symbols is just too complex and weird. So, I spent the last 2 months working on this." – He said, as he picked up the helmet. – "This beauty is my most recent invention, a Translator Helmet. I can understand or read any language as long as I am wearing it. It has just been finished, so I didn't have the chance to start the translations, but I will get to it.
     "Quite an interesting item you got there. Ok, listen to me. I need you to focus on this translation. Is of the utmost importance that we find out what Babak wanted with this. Any important discovery must be informed to one of us immediately, understood?"
     "Clear as water. Anything else you would like from me?"
     "A bench, please, I am going to read a little bit."



     Next morning, Orum and Nozdormu returned to Greenshade. After a meal, Nozdormu informed the Guard Chief about the new recruits/citizens. The chief wasn't comfortable taking in hundreds of savages, but he wasn't in a position to argue, and the count assured him that they would behave themselves.
     Orum, on the other hand went straight to the fields north of the city to prepare the land. The city was pretty closer to the desert, so the land was dry and bad for farming. So, he would fertilize with his magic as much land as he could, so the Xander's people could live there, with no backlashes from his own citizens.
      Throughout the week, Orum was busy fetilizng land, Nozdormu took charge of training and commanding the army and Chivas managed the political and economical affairs, making quickly a commercial pact with Coinriston. The regent was glad to make the deal, since creation of new fertile lands probably mean a great economic ascension to Greenshade.
     A week passed, and Xander finally arrived with his people. Orum and Nozdormu were outside the walls to greet him and guide everyone to their place. After a shake of hands, Nozdormu noticed something strange. The ground was shaking. It became stronger and louder, till the point that everyone could hear it, and suddenly a enormous stone arch emerged from the ground. Nozdormu sent a man to call the troops, as well as Chivas and Wilford. A distortion appeared under the arch, becoming more and more nitid, until it was perfectly visible the inside of a cave as big as the arch. From its dark depths, a new rumbling echoed, and a hundred minotaurs emerged, roaring and carrying their greataxes. Xander ran to command his man, while the dwarf and the dragonborn stood their ground, taking two minotaurs one-on-one, while a handful of soldiers dealt with the others around. While the Nozdormu handled himself pretty well against his foe, Orum underestimated the monster's strength and was forced out of his transformation, so, before transforming again, he summoned a tiger and a wolf to help in the fight.

     After those two were taken care of, an even bigger minotaur advanced to face the counts, followed by two more of his kin. At that moment, Chivas and Wilford arrived with the reinforcements and joined the frey. Nozdormu, Orum and his animals kept the three minotaurs occupied, while Wilford provided support as he could and Chivas stood in the back firing spells. Chivas, almost single-handedly, took out one of the monsters. Orum and his wolf killed the other one, but at the cost of the wolf's life. The paladin fought the chief, who proved to be a formidable adversary. Even with the joined efforts of his sword and Chivas' spells, the beast wouldn't fall. After having cured himself and missed a healing potion thrown by Wilford, the paladin decided to bet his life on his last strike. With an agile and fluid movement, he faced the beast's axe and pierced Refulgent Shadow in its stomach, a beam of light visibly flowing from the monster's back, while the heavy blade fell on his shoulder. The minotaur released another deafening roar and then… nothing. Not the paladin nor the minotaur chief were moving, frozen in the last second of the battle. The remaining beasts retreated back to the portal, but the humans watching the main battle, silent as death itself. Then Orum heard something. A faint mutter. Slowly approaching, his eyes went back and forth, from the beast to his friend. He close in and finally understood: – "Help… I can't move…"
     The dwarf widened his eyes, threw his had back and released a sound laugh. – "He is alive! Hahaha!" – He shouted to the worried soldiers that stared at the mighty knight, immobile before them. Chivas ordered Wilford to inspect the now deactivated portal, while Orum healed the paladin and the soldiers sang songs of victory and glory.


Session rewards

XP – ??? (Enough for lvl 6)

Session 15 - Who let the dogs out?!

After a good night of sleep, Orum and Nozdormu got to business. While Chivas didn't seem to care one bit about their new responsibilities as counts, the duo already had a few plans for their dominion. Descending into the castle dungeon, they went to meet the captured barbarian.

The fact that the commoners were being constantly harassed by highwaymen greatly displeased the druid. With the intention of putting an end to this, he wanted to interrogate the prisoner and uncover the bandits hideout. Unfortunately, the man wouldn't reveal anything and Orum was totally against Nozdormu's idea of torturing him. The dwarf tried a different approach, being nicer to the man, and found out that he and the other barbarians are descendants of the soldiers that garrisoned the Count's castle, generations ago. Since Greenshade is quite an isolated territory, with no great natural resources or military advantage, a previous Count dismissed most of the troops, making the soldiers and their families miserable. Poor and with no land to farm, those people left the city, living as outcasts and thieves for the past 300 years.

The man's story gave Orum an idea and he made a proposition: if the prisoner took them to the hideout, he would negotiate with their leader to take them back as soldiers. The dwarf believed that an army would be necessary to face the oncoming storm. The barbarian looked very suspicious of the dwarf's generosity, but agreed to those terms with the condition that only Orum and Nozdormu would go. They would leave next morning, at first light.

Orum was pretty confident with his plan, but, just in case, he went to Wilford for a little help. "Pelor be praised, my Lord! That is insane, if you don't mind my bluntness. I won't question your will, though. I don't think I can do a lot for your Grace, but I can give you this." – he said, handing two transparent flasks to Orum - "These are bottled invisibility spells. It should keep my Lords safe, if things go south and you find yourselves in a pinch."

Next morning, three horses were taken from the stables and Orum, Nozdormu and the highwayman, Jonathan, left to the bandits hideout. It took more than half a day for them to arrive. Jonathan stopped his horse in front of a small structure made of stacked rocks, like a small den. He dismounted and opened a trapdoor hidden beneath the tall grass, telling the other two to follow him. Going down a long set of stairs, the highwayman asked for the Counts to wait as he went to fetch his leader, walking through a wooden door that separated the stairway from a enormous cave, that contained dozens and more dozens of huts and improvised houses.

After a few minutes, a tall, gray-haired man came to them, followed by a few warriors with their weapons sheathed. Xander, the leader of the barbarians accepted to hear the proposition once more, from the nobles. After Orum repeated it, he said:

"So, you want to take into your city dozens of families and hire as soldiers men that have been killing your people and stealing from you? Sounds pretty weird to me. And, you see, we are barbarians" – he continued with a large motion, mentioning everyone around him – "We do not have training and do not live by a moral code, how could we ever be of use to you?" – noticing that the dragonborn was looking at his sword, he explained, unsheathing it – "It's a beauty, ain't it? It's the last good sword here, everyone else uses axes, since I am the last of us trained in the art of the sword. My generation was the last to be teached on the arts of war and of dueling. The civility that my ancestors had when they were kicked out from the kingdom have been fading for hundreds of years…" – and he let the sentence hang, as he strayed in nostalgy.

Orum brought Xander back with his answer: "It's very simple. You are a leader, right? All you do, you do for your tribe, or whatever you call yourselves. I am offering a way out of this life of killing for food. You asked how your families would survive? I will handle it myself. I will give you lands, and each centimeter of it will be fertilized by my magic, and will thrive. You all will have food and homes, my citizens won't be murdered anymore, and our land will be rich, throbbing with life and prosperity. Even though I had nothing to do with that, it's kind of an apology to your ancestors, if you may. You have things I want, I have things you want, it's simple, really."

Staring deep into Orum's and Nozdormu's eyes, Xander pondered the offer, and after a while, he offered his hand to seal the deal. As the dwarf reached out, with a smile on his face, the whole cave started rumbling. The tremors and the noise became more intense, until a great role cracked open in the floor, releasing a torrent of hellhounds, that started killing and destroying. The warriors nearby left to help fight off the monsters in other locations, leaving Xander, Orum and Nozdormu against 4 beasts,

In a quick succession of blows they killed their foes. Xander proved to be a very strong and skilled warrior in this short fight. As they were ready to move and help the fighters in other locations, the cave rumbled once more, and a giant hellhound emerged from the hole. Ignoring the remaining monsters, groups of barbarians focused on killing the big one, whom easily shoved them away with its tail or its paws. Orum summoned two dire wolves to join the frey, but their presence also attracted two more hellhounds.

The giant beast bit, and spat big streams of fire, but it was no use. The dragonborn was practically immune to fire, and each second passed was spent by him punishing the monster with powerful blows. Xander is a skilled fighter, but not as resistant as the draconate, so he was more concerned in keeping himself alive. Meanwhile, Orum and his wolves destroyed the smaller monsters and suddenly, with a loud howl, the giant hellhound bursted into piles of scattered shadows that crawled back to the depths whence they came, followed by its remain brethren. In the spot of its death lied a green amulet. carved with images symbolizing the elements, which Orum took to himself.

"I am already too old to deal with this shit." – Said Xander between inhalations – "In 40 years i never had to fight something from the literal hell. Thank you." – He said, turning to Nozdormu and then to Orum – "I don't think we would have survived if you two weren't here. As I said before, none of my men are trained, nor are they able of using magic, as far as I know." - Orum kept to himself the thought that the attack probably occurred because of the two them. – "I am now sure that I can trust you. We will start packing our things and in about one week we will knock at you door."

"Good. I'll have plenty time to prepare your lands until then. May good fate follow you."

"I cannot fucking believe your plan actually worked. And this attack sealed the deal, we were actually very luc-" – The dragonborn stopped his sentence on its tracks when he saw a pool of blood in the grass in front of him. One of the horses had been taken by… something. Nozdormu's horse and Orum's pony could be seen returning to the small rock formation, breathing heavily. Decided to find out what happened and noticing that there were fresh tracks, the druid summoned an eagle to reckon the area from above, and a wolf to follow the dead horse scent. Soon he found a bulette, sleeping not far from the cave. The horse carcass was lying around near it. The paladin, mounted on a summoned drake, made a surprise attack on the giant monster, followed by the dwarf. Startled, the bulette jumped high in the air, stomping and killing the druid's wolf, while throwing him away. Partially surrounded and outnumbered by 4 to 1, the monster didn't have a lot of space to fight, being bitten, scratched and slashed from many directions, until it bled out and died. Satisfied for avenging animals and watching the sun set on the horizon, Orum thought better to spend the night in Xander's settlement, to which the paladin agreed.



Party XP – ?

Element Shape (charmed necklace) – Allows a shapeshifter to become an elemental.

Session 14 - Welcome, my Lord...s

The aftermath of the battle to protect the village was filled with joy. With most of the fires extinguished, the villagers were already preparing a celebration to thank their saviors, with music, booze and the best food they could afford to give. Pretty generous people, those guys.

The heroes woke up on the next day, surprised by the sight of all those drunk people already working hard on their farms, like nothing happened the day before. When leaving, the villagers gathered once more to thank them, without ever realizing that those three were their new rulers, and then returned to work.

By nightfall they arrived at the core of their territory: Greenshade, capital of the former Babak's Shire. Borna, took them straight to their castle, in the back of the city, the last trace of humanity before the grasslands turn into a dead desert. At the castle, they were toured around and left to rest at their quarters (since the castle was built to house a family, they spreaded out through the particular rooms and guest rooms until they were able to reform). They also dropped the prisoner ruffian in the dungeon.

Dinner's ready, time to meet the Counts' servants! After a short rest, the three lords were called to the dining room, where most of their servants awaited. Refulgent Shadow warmed up on Nozdormu's waist. The castle was, until recently, occupied by a family of vampires, so he decided to test the people that would be constantly around him. Touching, gently, the hands of the employees, searching for the source of the sword's reaction. One by one he tested, until he stopped in front of a young maid. After being touched by the sword, she smiled kindly and reached out for the dragonborn's face, but when her hand touched him, Nozdormu didn't feel a warm and soft hand, but something dry and bony. The kind smile turned into a wicked grin, and claws scratched through his scales, drawing blood. As an instant response, the paladin furiously blew a stream of fire on the creature, making all but three servants (and the maid) run away from the room.

Orum and Nozdormu faced the enemies 2 vs 1, while Chivas stood behind casting her spells. Orum's foes ended up being vampires, while the paladin was apparently fighting two young women. The dwarf did not waste time, and called forth the moonlight to punish the undead. He took quite a beating and was forced out of one of his transformations, but then summoned a pack of wolves to assist him and the vampires were destroyed. Meanwhile, the woman who injured Nozdormu, kept thrusting  her claws into the breaches of the paladin's armor, while the other one was barely able to scratch the metal. Nozdormu dealt heavy blows, one after the other, until his attacker perished and the illusion lifted, showing the dry and disgusting body of a hag. The other one had a similar fate, but by the hands of the sorceress, that, with her unpredictable magic, damaged her target with all kinds of hazards, dealing the ending blow with a sphere of sheer, invisible force, almost punching a hole through the monster.

As things calmed down, the servants were once more reunited in the dining room, except for one man that could not be found, even by the dwarf's wolves. Confirming that the remaining employees were not monsters, they also met their gloomy steward, Rodrick, and the scientist, Wilford.

Rodrick is a tall man, with black long hair tied in a long ponytail and tired, bored eyes. I guess living many years under the rules of a Lord Vampire and being able to not be turned into one has something to do with the fact that he was not amused with the recent events. He is the one that keeps everyone working, and assures that the castle stays in order, even when his master(s) are away.

Wilford, on the other hand, is a bald, short man, with wide eyes and a very excited nature. He works in a underground laboratory, and looked very pleased with the interest of his masters into visiting it. He happily welcomed the new bosses to his lab, his study and his(their, actually) library.

With the introductions made, and the problems solved, the heroes decided to call it a day and rest. Well, except for Chivas, who took an interest in the castle nurse and spent the night with her on an infirmary bed. Some people have kinks, Chivas has all of them.



Party XP – 5010XP (1670XP each)

Session 13 - RELEASE THE... Gricks?

At last, our heroes can leave Stonebay. Following the steps of their vampire-hunter fellows, they traveled to the capital, now accompanied by Tandor, the sympathetic dwarf paladin mounting his giant goat companion, and Lusca's new (stolen) horse. The party traveled safe for most of the route, camping by the road near merchants and their carts. But on the third day, around noon, Kendra noticed something weird. The earth was shaking. Laying on the ground and listening with her ear touching the floor, she also notice that the rumbling was gradually getting louder. The dark elf warned her friends that stood ready to fight, then suddenly a giant tentacled, wormlike creature emerged from the dirt trying to bite her. Kendra evaded the attack and jumped away from the group, trying to get some cover from the trees, as the remaining gricks of the pack finally rose from the ground, surrounding the adventurers.

Kendra, outside of the ring of monsters, drawing the attention of two of them and facing them alone. Tordan and Varis dealt with three of the worms that were blocking the way towards Goldarth, while Lusca kept mounted on her horse between them and the bard, casting spells, leaving Veduil in a very unfortunate position for someone with his talents. He sure was in real pickle, facing alone three drooly, ugly and smelly creatures from the Underdark. About that, why would these things be on the surface? Anyway…

While Tordan dealt mighty blows, almost shooting the gricks back through the holes they came, the ranger knocked and shot, with precision, arrow after arrow, creating screechs of agony from the beasts. Lusca still did not dismount, shooting bolts of light at the beasts, while the poor bard took a serious beating, while trying to retaliate with his spells. Suddenly, one of the gricks near Veduil dug underground, emerging below Lusca and her horse. The horse was knocked down but wasn't badly wounded and ran away, while the priestess managed to fall on her feet, indignant with the monster's audacity.

Away from the main battle, Kendra was doing pretty fine, actually. Seh managed to injure badly her foes, and even got to chop off a tentacle from the one which tried to surprise attack her earlier.

And then, something very weird happened. Veduil made a terrible pun, despite his state. The air suddenly became thicker. It was almost as if you could cut the tension with a knife. An immeasurable fury could be felt from the paladin, who was now red. He turned around and with a single movement, strook Veduil in the face with a punch so strong, it sent him flying away from the ring of monsters, knocking him out a few meters away. Without a target for his newfound rage, Tordan went berserk, attacking fiercely the monsters, alternating hammer and fist, crushing their bones and smashing them to the ground. As the paladin calmed himself, Varis had been knocked unconcious, but not before finishing off two of the giant worms. Tandor then ordered his goat to take the ranger away from the fight, moving him to the place where Veduil lain, awoke, waiting for an opportunity to run or join the fray.

While the paladin was in his blind rage, Lusca conjured Aid on the bard, stabilizing and waking him up. Meanwhile, Kendra had just took care of their foes and was now moving through the treetops, looking for a chance to land her sneak attacks.

Lusca dropped to the ground, badly wounded by the two remaining enemies, but when they were about to finish their helpless prey, a knife and a bolt coming from opposite directions pierced both of the beasts' "heads", and they finally fell, motionless, after a faint growl.

The group rested for a short while, mending their wounds, and kept moving, despite their state, since all and each one of them was eager to reach the capital and sleep on a comfortable bed.

They finally arrived at Goldarth, by sunset, amazed by the city's size and grandiosity, despite its poor districts. Rushing to an inn, most of the adventurers didn't notice or care about anything that was happening in the city, but Kendra's sharp ears heard some rumors about heroes exposing a vampire in the court, while Lusca noticed that, strangely, almost every single soldier and guard was accompanied by a Pelor's or Kelemvor's cleric. They didn't say anything though, as the idea of a hot meal and a soft bed seemed much more appealing.


Party XP – 3600 (900XP each)

Session 12 - The Loved Guardians of the Shire

The uncanny trio finally left Goldarth to meet their new lands. Accompanied by the child named Souta, three guards, and a servant to show the way, they traveled through the Golden Forest that surrounds the capital, before giving place to a vast meadow that homes Coinriston, an independent, commercial and wealthy city. The city is independent for it is not in the lands of any lord, even though it still belongs to the Kingdom.

The first day of travel passed with no disturbance. Even though Orum noticed shady presences observing from the woods, the presence of royal guards, and a big and well armored draconate dissuaded them to try and assault the group. They set up camp at the end of the day, and barely cared to the attempt of the DM of creating an interesting dialogue between the characters and the kid they kind of adopted, almost scarring the young Souta in the process. Anyway, they resumed the trip on the next day. As soon as they spotted the end of the forest, the group heard a bumping sound, approaching, and when it was close enough, a huge head was seen towering over the trees in the edge of the woods. An armed giant, an Oni, blocked their way to the green fields behind him. Two guards stood behind to protect Souta, Chivas and the servant, while one of them charged to the fight, and jabbed his spear in the giant's chest. That didn't do much, since the only response from the monster was to cut off one of the man's arms. Orum and Nozdormu ran to his aid, Nozdormu striking a massive blow against the giant, while the dwarf, changed into a lion, lounged ineffectively against the massive creature. The Oni suddenly breathed in a large amount of air, before spitting a freezing cold stream, that froze to death the soldier in front of him, and nearly killed the other two and Chivas. Trembling with cold, Chivas managed to shot an Acid Spray on the giant, before Nozdormu took it down with his mighty blows.

After the fall of the Oni, Orum noticed a presence in the forest and chased after it. It was early in the morning, and the sun hadn't rose yet, so he only recognized a humanoid shape running among the trees. With a sharp turn, the chase was taken to the grasslands, with the humanoid, surprisingly, running as fast as the dwarf's lion form. After reaching a spot with a few small hills scattered around, Orum noticed two more presences, lurking and watching. Thinking fast, he turned back into a dwarf, stopped the fugitive with Hold Person, then turned into a giant goat, throwing the creature onto his back, and making a u-turn to return to his friends. The two pursuers tried to intercept his escape, and failed by an inch, when trying to tackle him down. 

Nozdormu, Chivas and the rest of the company watched, puzzled, the approach of a giant goat, with a black shape shaking on its back. Orum threw the vampire to the ground and released his spell, as the dragonborn grabbed the creature by the throat. – "So you have Onis now, have you?" – he growled while crushing the monster's useless trachea. The vampire simply grinned and giggled at him. Pissed off, Nozdormu unsheated Refulgent Shadow and calmly touched its blade on the vampire's gapping mouth, burning it, and making him squirm with the pain. Satisfied with the result, the paladin was ready to begin an interrogatory, but – "I don't think he's going to answer." – Orum pointed out. A burning ring, starting where the blade touched, was spreading out, turning flash and bones into ashes. Laughing out loud, the creature uttered one last phrase before turning into a pile of dirt on the ground: "You can't fight darkness, follish lizard", and his laughter faded out with his body.

The group resumed the trip, stopping on Coinriston by noon.They spent the day on the city just to rest, since they still had the supplies taken with them from the capital. Oh, Nozdormu summoned a giant goat as his mount.

On the next day, by night fall, the company found itself crossing a small farmer's village. They wanted only to pass by, but suddenly, chaos was installed. Shacks on fire, people running, and big, strong men running around, half-naked, swinging axes at the villagers and pillaging their goods. The bandits didn't count with one detail: the village was already county territory. To defend their land and people, the three adventures stopped to fight. Orum turned into a tiger, and his mighty roar scared away some of the pillaging berserkers. The invaders partially surrounded the counts (and their goat) and began a ruthless fight. Even having faced great and powerful creatures, the heroes weren't used to the dangers of being overnumbered, and, even though the enemies weren't skilfull fighters, the battle was hard.  The paladin chopped, the druid bit and the sorceress pierced a lightning throw their foes, and suddenly, seven bodies lied on the ground, as the remaining assaulters fled from the mighty lords.


Party XP – 5610 (2020XP each)

Session 11 - Sandstorm by Darude

After rescuing Lusca from the flaming building, Kendra proceeded to carry the party's busted ass on her backs, since everyone, except her, had been badly damaged. As she dragged Veduil unconscious body, the same guard that intercepted them minutes before came to them again, absolutely histeric with the scene before them. "WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING? WHY IS THAT BUILDING ON FIRE?" – Kendra sighed deeply and explained the situation to the guard, whom kept every single muscle in his body tense through the whole story. As soon as she finished, the guard ran away, returning minutes later with a distressed mayor, who wanted to hear the explanation once more. After being convinced that the fire was a necessary collateral damage to kill an evil monstrous creature, the old man calmed down, and, wiping the sweat from his forehead, thanked the heroes that killed the Spectator. That settled, they were taken to the hospital to treat their wounds, and remained there until the sunset.

Feeling better, they decided to leave the city and resume their journey to the mountains. As they reached the road that separates the town from the Sea of Stone, Varis noticed a change in the air. He looked to the horizon, beyond the Sea of Stones, and saw a massive sandstorm heading towards the city. Concerned, the party agreed to return to the city, just for safety, and entered the first tavern they saw. Lusca went to the owner and asked about the sandstorm, but he just laughed it off, affirming that it has been centuries since there has been a sandstorm that reached the city. Relieved, the group decided to do the wisest thing possible in a tavern: get HAMMERED. In an hour or so, Varis was very drunk and Veduil had blacked out with his face on the counter. Kendra and Lusca were tipsy, but fine. 

When the performer made a pause between his musics, the girls noticed that the closed windows were moving with the wind, to the point of banging hard once against the sill. As the storm subsided, Kendra also noticed that there was sand flowing through the gap between the entrance door and the floor. Suspicious of these recent events, they woke up the bard, while the ranger left to take a leak. After a few minutes, a terrified man barged into the place, sweating and breathing heavily. Lusca gave him some water, and asked what happened, but all he could do was gesture and speak – "Two… big. No, giant… And a dead, and, and… pincers, and…" – and that was pretty much it. Kendra and Lusca seemed to overllok the mention to the "dead", and told the ranger what the man said, to which he concluded that he was probably talking about giant scorpions. The priestess had had it with this city and decided they would leave as soon as possible… but the innkeeper (and many others) told her it would be impossible to run away from the town with a layer of sand that thick. So she had another plan. Without uttering a single word, she started picking up bottles of alcoholic drinks, which pissed off the owner, who wouldn't let she take anything without telling him what she intended. She tried to convince him that she was trying to save everyone and that she should be in charge, but he wouldn't budge, so she told him that the alcohol was for the crafting of fire cocktails. Surprised and relieved, he took the bottles from her arsonist hands, and led the group to a room with some querosene barrels. While the argument went on, Varis looked through a window and saw the silhouettes of the enemys, walking veeeery slowly into the city. They used a bit of the querosene to fill bottles, and Kendra hid a whole barrel in the nearest street corner, to be used as an explosive trap, as the ranger sugested.

Lights were out, the customers went to the second floor, where the rooms are, and the owner revealed a trapdoor to the roof, on the 3rd floor. And they waited. Waited until the monsters passed near the corner with the barrel, ready to light it up with an arrow. As soon as they appeared, Kendra blew up the barrel, burning badly the closest scorpion, and Lusca followed up with a beam of light that pierced the Wight's chest. The undead retaliated immediately, firing a painful arrow in her stomach, forcing her to retreat downstairs to heal. Kendra jumped to the building across the street with the barrel, and the scorpion she blew up climbed up after her. After Lusca's spell, the Wight took cover behind the other scorpion, so when Varis tried to shoot him down, he ended up hitting the arachnid. Our unlucky bard barely made anything. Still drowsy from the all the beer he drank, he just had time to focus on an accurate shot with his crossbow. But before he had the chance to fire, the scorpion on the ground rammed into the building, shaking it, making him fall and hang on the edge of the building and almost doing the same thing with Varis. The Wight took the opportunity, and shot the bard in the arm, making him fall on the sandy street, and as he tried to run back into the tavern, the scorpion's sting got him in the back, knocking him unconscious once more. His life was saved by the owner of the tavern, whom distracted the beast with a cocktail, while dragging the bard's body back into the building.

On the other end of the battlefield, Kendra found herself in a duel with a giant scorpion, making she have second thoughts about separating from her team. She saw her whole life go by, as the deadly, poisonous sting stabbed fast towards her heart, but her quick reflexes allowed her to cast her Arcane Shield, which was just strong enough to deflect the obiously deadly attack. She dodged death once, but took some heavy blow soon after. In spite of that, she was able to deal a serious amount of damage to the scorpion, with some help of the nymph priestess across the street. In the meantime, Varis transformed the other scorpion into a practice dummy, nailing it with arrows and lots of magical thorns.

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. Everyone, even the remaining scorpion, turned their attention to the Wight, whom was now emanating an eerie, dark aura. He once more drew an arrow, aiming in the space between Varis and the scorpion, and released. The arrow split in two dark projectiles, hitting the ranger and the beast at the same time, being the hit followed by an explosion of dark energy, which killed the wounded monster, and knocked the remaining fighters down. The undead knocked another arrow, but this time he shot it in the street where the barrel with querosene was still burning. Between the explosions sounds that followed the arrows, the heroes could hear hurried footsteps on the sand. They got up just in time to see a half-naked dwarf leap over the flames and throw a shiny hammer on the Wight, knocking it back and down into an alley. Before the creature even had time to react, the paladin dispatched the damned soul to the afterlife, after calling upon the bliss of Pelor. The destruction of the Wight was followed by another misterious sandstorm, that drove all the sand back to the desert miles away.

As the battle was over, Varis and Kendra climbed down the walls to salute the friendly dwarf that came to their aid… while Lusca fumed with wrath, furious with the fact that an outsider interfered with her battle, killing her prey. Then, on a angry tantrum (while everyone else partied relieved), the priestess stomped through the city, searching for a stable, where she then proceeded to steal a horse, head back to the tavern, and demand that her companions followed her out of the city. It would have been a really imponent scene, if the horse wasn't stolen, if Veduil wasn't down and out, and if all this scene wasn't caused by a childish rage which only an excessively proud race would understand. Kendra convinced Lusca to wait until the bard recovered from his wounds, but Lusca could not stand the sight of Tordan, the dwarf paladin, so she set off into the night, to roam around aimlessly, just to vent out her anger and feel the wind in her hair.


Party XP – 2800 (700XP each)

Session 10 - Truth revealed! Shadows, begone!

After the Nozdormu drew the sword from the pedestal, a burst of light returned everyone to their original forms (if there was any need of it), also restoring their energies and powers. Then, a pitch black scabbard formed itself around the sword's edge.

As the group left the mysterious and ancient place, they faced a surprised city guard that looked shocked at the three individuals that walked out of a stone wall. The paladin noticed that the sword on his hip became warmer since they left the wall. Confused by their strange appearance and strangely unquiet by the sight of the divine sword, the soldier pointed his spear at them and ordered the adventurers to surrender their weapons and go with him. Of course, the party was not willing to be taken to prison like that, and as the lone soldier grew nervous, Nozdormu noticed his fangs and bursted a fire stream at him. The vampire soldier was able to dodge most of the flames, being barely scorched, and started to attack Chivas using his long pike. The dragonkin and the dwarf approached the creature, forcing it to drop its weapon and fight with its claws, also driving it further from the sorceress. The paladin was not able to land one single hit on the vampire, but the joined efforts of the magicians took it to the ropes, and Orum dealt the coup de grace, destroying the monster with his Moonbeam. Then Refulgent Shadow cooled down to its normal state.

Obviously, the intense show of lights and the sounds of battle drew the attention of more city guards, that seeing the remains of the fallen "guard", immediately uttered their prison order, deaf to the party explanations. Nozdormu tried to deny their orders with his higher military patent, and Orum tried to smash his way through, turning into a giant goat, but the City Guard Chief shot a paralyzing dart on the druid and overridden the paladin orders. All three were taken to the jail.




A few hours later, a figure shows up in front of their cell door. Count Babak was there to explain their situation.

"I must say, you lot have really made it this time, the king is terribly annoyed. But, as I am sure that you must have a reason for what you have made (and I am not a resentful man), I convinced the king to give you a chance. In a few hours, the city arena will be crowded with common people that would just love to see a good fight. If you are able to put up a good show (and survive, of course), he just may let you explain yourselves. Your battle begins in two hours and your gear will be returned before you enter the arena. I wish you the best of luck. Ta-ta!"

Perplexed, the adventurers exchanged glances, wondering if that pale nobleman truly was the evil monster that they believed him to be.

The time to fight came, and reequipped, the fighters entered the enormous arena. A great circle filled with sand and stone were seen through the opened doors in front of them. A noisy crowd screamed, cheered and booed at the challengers before them. On the opposite side of the great coliseum, on his private sector, was a very upset king. Even though he was angry with the murder of one of his guards, he always disapproved the uncivilized horror show that are the gladiator fights. After the narrator announced the entrance of the challengers, introduced their adversaries. – "Against these brave warriors, stands the legend of the pit, with an impressive score of victories. You know who he is ladies and gentleman, the King in the Arena, Ssssssssportacus!" – The crowd exploded in cheers as the doors on the opposite side of the arena opened to reveal a single human warrior, bearing  a shield, a spear and a short sword on his hip, wearing just a light leather armor. Before the party had time to be confused with underwhelming opponent, the announcer continued. – "Accompanied by his always faithful friend. They are inseparable and unstoppable. We all know and love her! Vvvvvvvvesta!" – Another burst of applause and cheers, but nothing happened. Suddenly, from the same door from which the gladiator came, a lump of sand started moving, until a blue drake emerged from the ground to stand beside his master. Sportacus was a professional. A skilled fighter who fought with precision and ability to amuse the crowd, not a bloodthirsty barbarian who fought for pleasure and the rage of battle. He stopped waving at the crowd to inspect his foes, and as he acknowledged powerful adversaries, his expression became serious and focused. Before the start of the battle, Nozdormu shouted: "May we fight with honor" – to which the gladiator replied with a punch in his own shield and a bow, showing the paladin that the respect was mutual.

Suddenly, the master of the pit and the giant lizard rushed to face their enemies. Orum transformed into a tiger, Nozdormu braced himself behind his shield to receive three powerful thrusts from Sportacus' spear, and Chivas widened the gap between her and the fight. In response to the gladiator's attack, the paladin landed a crushing blow on his shoulder, forcing the warrior to stand on one knee, while Orum and the drake faced each other in a clash of fangs and claws. Chivas repeatedly casted spells trying to slow down the resilient fighter. Sportacus counter-attacked with a insanely strong shield bash that was able to knock the big draconate down, following with two fast downward thrusts that Nozdormu dodged rolling side-to-side. After standing up, the paladin once more tried to slash his foe, but this time he was able to dodge the attack. Chivas kept piling up damage upon the fighter, what resulted in a spear thrown at her. Thankfully the spear missed and her next spell would bring the famous gladiator to his knees. Even being terribly wounded, Vesta abandoned her fight with Orum to put herself between her masters and the ones threatening his life. Dropping his shortsword on the ground, as he leaned on his scaly friend to be able to stand up, the King of the Pit raised his empty hands in a sign of surrender, smiling to the adversaries that disrupted his record. He slowly left the arena, as the spectators shouted and threw lots of coins into the pit as an offering to the victors.

 The party left the arena through the same door they entered, and an employee from the coliseum gave them their share of the sum collected from the pit (a total of 168 GP). The man then asked the adventurers to follow him, as the king would see them now. They entered a room teeming with guards. In the back of the room, the king Damian stood, sided by lord Babak. With a severe voice and expression he ordered: "Explain what happened last night."

Nozdormu stepped up and told in details the events of the previous night, showing, in the process, Refulgent Shadow for the king's astonishment. He then proceeded to demonstrate the sword's power to reveal the truth by forcefully ending one of Orum's transformation. As he finished his explanation, he noticed that the sword was, once again, warm, then looked to Babak. Once more, he noticed an distortion aura around the Count, as the ones seen when there's vapor distorting the sight in a hot day. After asking for the king's permission, Nozdormu inspected everyone in the room (except for Chivas) by touching them with the divine blade. At last, the moment came to inspect the Count. Seeing the nervous expression of the paladin, the nobleman said "Come." The calmness and conviction in his voice shook even more Nozdormu's doubts. As he approached the blade to the man before him, he suddenly felt resistance, as if the air had become solid. Babak's grin widened in a large smile, and Nozdormu's conviction was restored. He thrusted the blade through the barrier with all his force, turning the movement in a legit attack. The following second passed slowly. As a strange barrier popped like a balloon around the Vampire Master, everyone in the room watched baffled as the truth was revealed with the Count's macabre smile and fangs. The holy blade slowly approached the monster's chest, but when it was about to touch him, the Count turns into a dark mist, flowing effortlessly through cracks in the walls and disappearing. There was a cold moment of tension, in which seemed like the whole world had held its breath, and then, everyone in the room sighed, releasing the tension. 

After taking a moment to breath and relax, the king and the adventurers discussed about what kind of power would be able to conceal so well a Vampire Master's presence, but came to no conclusion. After realizing the danger he was in, the king dismissed everyone and gave guest rooms in the castle to his saviors, so they would wait until the next day when he would again speak to them.

Next day, afternoon. The three adventurers were summoned to the king's presence. To thank them for their bravery, loyalty and heroism, the king awarded them the former Count's properties, as well as his title, to deal with them as they pleased. It seemed that Babak's family as well as some guards disappeared through the night. Chivas and Nozdormu already were part of noble families, but they weren't part of the king's court until now. Orum never even cared about this nobility nonsense, but he was now also part of the court. As requested, the king arranged so that their new lands were marked in a map, and shown to them in person, so the new counts could get to know their new properties.

Later that night, the king threw a feast, to thank once more his saviors and to introduce them to his court. The Counts met many nobles, got contacts and made… "friends". While Nozdormu spent the night chatting with some fellow dragonkin nobles, Orum and Chivas were looking for something more "intense". The dwarf got ironically involved with the paladin's cousin, Shirley, while Chivas fancied the strong gladiator Sportacus, whom she summoned to her quarters. While Chivas night ended to be quite disappointing, Orum had a good night and, even though he may not be aware yet, he now has a son to come soon.

Past the festivities, now the group is departing to meet their new lands. On their way to the city borders, Orum found the little homeless boy, Souta, whom he had helped days before, and took him under his care, what made the kid shed tears of joy. Now they are on their way to their main property, where they can rule their other feuds and store their riches.


Party XP – 5550 (1850XP each)



168GP (56 each)


Skills – Nozdormu discovered Refulgent Shadow's "Detect Evil (Divine)"

Session 9 - Light and Shadow

In the following morning, a priest came to the adventures saying the king had summoned them. The party took some minutes to make themselves suitable to the royal presence. Led to the throne room, King Damian IV was standing, wearing his golden ornamented armor and holding his sword. High patent military were present, as well as Kelemvor's archbishops.

The king first thanked the three of them for bringing the vampire presence in the kingdom to his attention, but then asked why Lord Babak was being accused of being the Master Vampire. To solve the case, Damian called the noble to his presence, and explained the situation. Babak obviously refuted and laughed on the accusation, then the king asked him to step in the sunlight, to which the lord obliged.

For a moment that seemed like an eternity, the air was still as if everyone in the room was holding their breath. The Count stepped into the light and… nothing happened. The king sighed and apologized for the inconvenience, as Nozdormu did for his mistake. As the lord dismissed the apologies, de dragonkin noticed a faint, scornful grin on his face. Orum was not convinced and asked the lord to make a cut in his hand, for it is known that vampires have a powerful regeneration power. Babak did it, despite the king's protest, and showed everyone his bleeding hand. The king once again apologized for the troubles caused and warned the adventures against making such severe accusations without proper evidence.

On the way back to Kelemvor's temple, one of the archbishops advised the group to keep a low profile if it was their intention to stay in the capital, since making such a commotion had put them under observation. The adventurers didn't really worry about that.

As they reentered the temple, Nozdormu noticed a big raven landing on the god's statue. Their sights crossed each other and the paladin felt himself being drawn to the bird's dark eyes. Suddenly, after a flash, he was seeing the capital from far above, in the sky. Another flash and he was again in the streets, looking people pass by. One more flash and he was near the castle walls, in a space between Pelor's and Kelemvor's statues. Then he was moved through a soldier on patrol and the wall behind him, being now in a dark corridor going down a long stairway. The flash moved him once again, and he was now in a poorly lit room, with indiscernible images on the walls, and a pedestal with a black-hilted golden sword in the center. One last flash and he was back into the temple, the crow gone, and his companions giving him curious looks. Nozdormu explained his vision, and after gathering some quite unhelpful information with an archbishop, they set off to investigate.

When they arrived at the section of the inner wall which the paladin had seen, they inspected it, and Nozdormu found a slightly loose block engraved with a worn out rune. They figured it would draw a lot of attention to open a secret passage on the walls in the middle of the day, so they waited until after sunset. Returning to the same point at night, the blocks moved and rearranged to allow their passage into the secret stairway. Had Chiva's been a little more attentive, she would have noticed that they also crossed a magic portal, what would explain the millennial work found in the wall stones of the corridor by Orum.

They climbed down the stairway, eventually leaving the narrow corridor, that opened into a large chamber, as the stairway widened as it approached the floor. The dim blue lights that illuminated the room allowed them to see three passageways: A huge double door across the chamber, and two stone doors, without handles or keyholes, one on each lateral wall. Above the great doors there was an image of Kelemvor and Pelor raising hands showing their palms to each other, and the doors themselves bare two round holes. These doors were locked and immovable. The other two doors had above themselves antagonic images: Pelor creating light from within a black hole and Kelemvor suppressing the shine of a star. Upon approaching Kelemvor's passage, the stone door lifted itself out of the way, revealing an empty room with another door across it. As they entered the chamber, spears emerged from the walls and floor, wounding Chivas and Nozdormu. The dwarf was able to avoid the trap, wandering further into the room. He noticed new openings on the walls just in time to lay on the floor and evade the bare flames that bursted out of them, but the heat still burned his skin. With no time to react, he just planted his face on the floor to protect it from the darts fired from the wall in front of him. Luckily, he just got one dart on his buttocks, while Nozdormu's plate armor protected him and Chivas from further damage. As soon as the trap chain ended, the paladin healed the enchantress, since she got it worse from the spears. They then walked to the next door.

This door too had no handle, nor locks, but it did have inscriptions and a circular hole in it. Along the first quadrant of the circle, a phrase lit up: "I'm yours since birth, but you can give me to others. You may need me to live, but if I'm stolen, you will not die." Without a second thought, Orum uttered "The heart." and a fourth of the circle slid from the door into the hole, showing a glowing rune for "heart". Then another phrase was lit: "My hands take facts. My head utters veredicts." After pondering for a while, Nozdormu tried an answer: "A scale?", and again a second fourth of the circle slid into place. The next riddle read like this: "I cannot be seen, cannot be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt. I lie behind stars and under hills, And empty holes I fill. I come first and follow after, I end life and kill laughter." After a while, they realized the answer was "darkness" and one more piece fell into place, lighting up the last riddle: "I kill dreams and save souls. I free distressed hearts and imprison the evil ones." They spent a long while on this one. Trying different answers without success they started to consider giving up. But then the paladin said "No! We must find out the truth behind the vampires, we cannot allow that scum to roam free through the kingdom." And the last piece fell into place bearing a shining rune that meant "truth". The door finally opened, revealing a smaller chamber with a pedestal in the middle, bearing a perfectly round stone, which shone like there was a raging fire inside it. Wary because of the previous traps, they cautiously advanced to the pedestal, looking out for possible triggers, but they reached it undisturbed. The dragonkin took the orb and they returned to the main chamber.

Upon the opening of Pelor's door, they saw very dark room, in which the only light sources were two dim flames that sided the door across the room. They didn't find any sign of traps so they walked in the room, when suddenly Orum was stinged in the shoulder and felt terrible pain, as venom consumed a bit his flesh. After this attack, out of thin air, an Imp revealed itself, swishing its stinger. The paladin and the druid also noticed something moving in the dark and prepared for battle. Four shadows emerged from the darkness and reached to the adventurers, draining their energy and their strength (quite literally, actually), even though Nozdormu's Divine Smite destroyed one before it could even attack. Orum summoned a Moonbeam and disposed of two other shadows and then moved it to destroy the one that had been attacking his scaly companion. Chivas had been focusing on the Imp, and after Nozdormu hit him with a heavy blow, she froze it completely, making it shatter as soon as it fell to the floor. With a click, they heard the next door unlocking.

After resting for an hour or so to mend their wounds, the group advanced to the next chamber, much bigger than the last one, but not quite as big as the main chamber. The door fell back into place after they passed, and the body of a dead warrior, bearing a longsword and a badly damaged plate armor started moving, followed by the appearance of two ghouls, rising from the ground. Even though the creatures seemed menacing and terrifying, they were slow, and barely damaged the experienced fighters, whom gutted, dissolved and torn apart each one of them. The fight ended and they proceeded to the pedestal at the back of the chamber, that bare another perfectly round jewel, this one containing moving darkness, looking like a black hole.

Back to the main chamber, Nozdormu did the honors and placed the two orbs into the slots on the great doors. After a moment, the orbs shattered, releasing their contents, that moved and danced around each other, just to finally unite in a mutating sphere of light and shadows, floating in the space between the hands of the two gods in the image above the doors. Slowly and with a loud sound, the stone doors opened, revealing the chamber the Death's Paladin saw in the last part of his vision. The engravings on the walls told the story about the creation of the sacred sword that rested before them, apparently created in a joined effort of both Pelor and Kelemvor so the mortals would be able to drive away a terrible menace. The black hilt of the sword was just that: black. As it was made of the void itself. The blade, though, shone brightly, emanating a comfortable warmness. Nozdormu pulled the sword from its resting place and a burst of light pierced through the adventurers, dispelling Orum semi-bestial form, vanishing his fur and fangs, as well as revealing Chivas true Doppelganger form. Surprised by the truth, the dwarf and the dragonborn prepared to fight Chivas, who insisted to mean no harm to them (and was nervously trying to return to her common form). After the shock passed, they concluded that there was no need to be hostile to her. Admiring his new acquired sacred sword, the paladin noticed the engravings in the blade, written in a long forgotten language, that now, somehow, he understood. "Truth, Balance and Justice" were the words bore by the sword. Deep within, he already knew the name of the sword. He was now the wielder of Refulgent Shadow.


Party XP – 3000 (1000XP each)



Refulgent Shadow (Longsword 1)  > Melee Slashing Magic Radiant Damage - 1d8/1d10  2; +1d8 vs Demons/Celestials; Forced Judgment (2 charges, 3 days cooldown) > Adds 1d6 to damage roll.


Skills – Nozdormu learned the Ancient Language.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.