The Lands of the Lake

The Party Takes a Shortcut
Almost Certain Danger? Sign Me Up!

Our adventure begins with the party escorting the group of werewolves from Brixton. The werewolf leader whispers something to Chork’ul Cu’kker, and then they depart. Robarr suggests that it might not be a bad idea for the party to get out of town for awhile, what with all of the excitement and angry mobs. Conveniently, he’s got an idea for a little task they might accomplish. Being agreeable, EFasior, Erevan, Kersk, and Warlord head out to explore the abandoned lumber camp to the south.

  • The party heads directly south, through the walled circular field that adjoins the town. They come to another low-wall surrounding an interior circle, when a farmer warns them not to enter. As they are in a wicked hurry, they pay him no heed.
  • As the party moves closer, they spot some sort of structure in the distance. Several also begin to get a bad feeling about this. As they continue, they discover that the structures are standing stones, scattered around a circle; as they cross in, two members start to hear low whispering. They also notice the sky darkening.
  • The party valiantly continues, as the sky darkens and the whispers increase. Suddenly, they face amorphous eyed tentacles stretching out of holes in mid-air. After fighting off a few, they decide to run for it, reaching the inner circle of standing stones just in time.
  • By this point, the sky is significantly dark, and the whispers are more pronounced, urging our heroes on to various misdeeds (surrender, berserk rampage, etc). In the inner circle, they notice ghost-like Elven figures – some continue to meander, while others attack. They also notice an even blacker mass, at the center of the circle.
  • Our valiant adventurers manage to dispatch most of the ghostly figures, as a they spot a large tentacled form located in (or merged with) a large tree. The tentacles start to menace the party, though at the same time their mental states have become somewhat tenuous (owing to the continued whispering).
  • After a strong effort (including Efasior’s attacks from a limb of the tree), they manage to kill the monstrous thing, though Kersk attacks the Warlord because of his continued madness; fortunately, the rest of the party intercedes (nets were involved), and the Warlord is saved. They find a pure black crystalline fragment near the tree, but nothing else.
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The Howling III - The Search for Spock
Wherein everything goes perfectly

After a long break, we return to the world of imagination…

  • As we begin, our intrepid heroes, Bouchra, Chork’ul Cu’kker, Cleric, Kersk, and Warlord are hiding out in Firin and Dallos’ farmhouse. Firin had begged the party to help her deal with her (presumably lycanthropic) brother, Dallos, but things had not gone as planned.
  • Partway through the first watch, just as the Cleric was starting to dream of large women, the guards hear a noise. Awaking the rest of the group, they peer outside to discover that some of the corpses have disappeared. They spot drag marks and glowing eyes, and advance towards the edge of the forest, when they hear howls behind them.
  • Suddenly, numerous large shapes appear back beyond the house. The party continues to advance on the shapes they previously saw, when the shapes set off at a charge. The large wolf-men seem to run straight by the party, excepting two who got a bit too close.
  • The party then follows the presumed group of werewolves through the forest for two hours. In real time. For some reason.
  • Finally, the party arrives at a large clearing, and spies a large group of alleged werewolves clustered around a sizable bonfire. Peering from trees and floating discs, they try to analyze the group, before the party starts to break up. At that point, our heroes make a bee-line back to the town.
  • They arrive with the dawn, and make their way to the wagon (remember that?). They’re greeted by Erevan, who makes his way into town; everyone else proceeds to fall asleep on the ground underneath the wagon, like dirty, dirty hobos.
  • Erevan quickly returns, with the constable Robarr in tow. Robarr is more than a little upset, informing the party that numerous members of the community are missing, and that they have Firin imprisoned, because she is thought to be a WEREWOLF! (Didn’t see that coming, did you?)
  • They arrive at the jail, and speak with Firin, to little effect (though it does begin to dawn on her that perhaps there is something to the rumors). The party is sent out to canvass for news of other missing persons, while the Cleric goes to the library (as usual). They return to the jail, at roughly the same time that the proverbial angry mob arrives.
  • After a brief show of force, the group manages to convince the formerly angry townspeople to depart. Soon after, though, a far more intimidating group of werewolves (led by a seeming human) enter the town – fortunately, negotiations begin.
  • The werewolf leader wants to take Firin, and depart the town. He explains that things went poorly the previous night, without precisely explaining what occurred. Robarr is clearly over his head, and Firin decides that a group of werewolves beats hicks with pitchforks. The party accompanies the group to the edge of town.
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Werewolf in Brixton
Team Hairball

The curtain parts this week on our quasi-intrepid band of adventurers, who are currently trying to get to the bottom of a series of full moon-timed livestock mutilations.

  • Not yet being properly equipped, the group considers a careful reconnaissance sortie, before running into a weeping young woman named Firin. Firin explains (in between racking sobs) that she has heard rumors of livestock attacks, and she fears that her brother Dallos may be the beast in question. She discovered bloody animal hide in her house that very morning, and didn’t know what to do; she feared for her brother’s safety, but she also feared what he might do.
  • The farm is north and west of town, a trip of several miles. Though they hear a few howls in the distance, the journey is otherwise uneventful. Upon arrival, they discover the place empty, with no sign of Dallos whatsoever. They explore the small barn and (the bare root cellar), finding nothing of interest. Then the group hears howls, much closer this time.
  • Our band spreads out, in and around the house, before the three vicious beasts break into the clearing. Battle ensues, as two of the monsters burst into the house, leading to a frantic melee – made all the more challenging by the party’s relative lack of silver weapons. Firin runs for it. One of the werewolves is killed, and another tries (in vain) to escape. The third escapes into the woods.
  • The group splits up, with three heading to hunt down Firin and the remaining werewolf, while the other two disposed of the werewolf bodies. Unfortunately, both groups are soon attacked, each by another pair of angry beasts. After an even more frenetic battle, our heroes manage to kill the werewolves. The group decides to return to the house, and secure the building till morning. Like wimps.
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It's a...trap?
Brixton, the Jewel of the Middle of Nowhere

We began the session in Ludwig’s shop, where EFasior showed off his haggling prowess in the purchase of a couple daggers and some rope

  • After departing, the group encountered a boy on their way through town. The desperate (if a bit wussy) redhead, named Agnart, beseeched the party to help save his family. He (partially) explains that they were kidnapped by monsters outside of town. After significant convincing, our heroes decide to follow Agnart to where his family is located.
  • The band head north on the main path out of Brixton for about a half-hour, turning onto a smaller path to the east. The forest path splits, and Agnart continues to lead them on. They soon come across a clearing in the woods, in the center of which is a human female (presumably tied up).
  • EFasior and Chork’ul Cu’kker cleverly sneak around the edges of the clearing, before they stumble into four Ogres who are cleverly using a similar strategy. The Battle begins! Chork’ul fires a pair of arrows deep into his two Ogres, while EFasior strikes a grazing blow against one of his; they both take up tactical positions somewhat further from the two brutes.
  • As the battle continues, the Ogres avoid entering the clearing, and the party struggles to draw a bead on them. The larger two brutes continue to sneak (charge) around the edges, causing destruction, while the smaller two step into the clearing and chuck several javelins. After further exchange of fire, they charge into the center, fighting Kersk and Sarina.
  • Two of the Ogres are brought down by Chork’ul Cu’kker, Erevan, Bouchra, Reginald, and EFasior; then the group focuses on the two remaining Ogres. Suddenly, a larger and angrier Ogre (perhaps the leader) bursts forth from the woods. Despite his size, the combined efforts of the party make short work of him.
  • The group notices that Agnart and his (alleged) sister have run for it. They send Chork’ul and EFasior to run them down. As the rest of the party finds some skeletons and treasure, the purported siblings are captured (possibly with the use of a net).
  • Shortly after the kids are hauled back to the clearing, a posse appears, lead by the Town Constable Robarr. The ensuing discussion only serves to confuse the situation, and the Constable suggests that everyone return to Brixton. After a bit of investigation, Robarr comes to belive the party’s account. He then confides that he needs a favor, as livestock have been coming up missing on a monthly basis.
  • The party fears these deaths may be lycanthrope-related, and Erevan (an expert on the topic) informs everyone of their specifics. They head to Ludwig’s, where they purchase all of his silver weapons, and then induce the town’s blacksmith to make some other weapons.
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On the Road Again
I can't believe we finally finished the tower

(Why do I always wait two weeks before I write these things?)

  • So, the characters finish up their conversation with Klatu, everyone’s favorite ancient ghostly gnoll wizard. He again counsels the characters that they may not want to have a conflict with the head of the caravan (who he calls Zef). Then he disappears (poof!).
  • Our intrepid crew manages to rappel their way down the outside of the tower (along with a couple of tapestries), and walk back to the caravan. At that point, Beeble comes forward and explains that he is (allegedly) in charge. He takes the copper gear, and explains to the party that he is headed off, but that they can have one of the wagons. He also passes on a gift to each of the characters. Beeble moves the remaining two wagons about a quarter of a mile away, inscribes a circle in the dirt, and then the wagons disappear.
  • The group decides to spend the night where they are. During the first watch, they are beset by a batch of berserk humans, with strange symbols painted upon their skin. Once awakened, the party makes short work of them.
  • After starting off, the party encounters a group of somewhat ambivalent goblins. The goblins half-heartedly threaten our heroes, but then intimate that they might be willing to accept payment to leave them be. Flush with silver and copper, Kersk offers a small amount, which the goblins happily accept – surprising everyone. The goblins explain that they will furthermore keep the party safe as they travel through the forest.
  • After most of a day of travel, our band finds that the path splits, to encircle a large field surrounded by a low wall. They take the northerly route, which quickly leads to the small town of Brixton. They discover a central square, Erevan shares a pie with a gentleman, and everyone heads to a shop which specializes in adventuring supplies, which is run by a dwarf and a gnome.
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All the Way to the Tippy-Top
Where everything is revealed. Well, almost.

After the depradations of the Xivorts last time out, our intrepid group regroups back at the caravan for another foray. Cleric, Chork’ul Cu’kker, EFasior, Erevan, Kersk, and Warlord set out to once again conquer the tower.

  • After a brief stop to examine the library (where the battle with the Xivorts occurred), the group discovers that the next room features their nemesis. Water. And falling. And, ultimately, piranha. This large room features a series of 10’ by 10’ stone platforms, surrounded by water. Using some, nay, all of their cleverness, they are able to get the majority of the group to the middle of the room, before Cleric manages a couple of impromptu quick dips, leading to the brief appearance of the piranha. However, the party manages to make it across without too much trouble, finding a doorway and then a large spiral staircase.
  • Sending their skillful adventurer first, EFasior heads up the stairway to find a doorway. As a group, then head into a large round room, with a central stone core (like a donut). Scattered around the room are four low plinths, each of a different color – as well as a pillar of water, earth, fire, and nothing (respectively). Surprising almost no one, these pillars showed themselves to be elementals, and quickly attacked the group. Warlord spent quite awhile grabbed by the nearly invisible Air Elemental, and Cleric was briefly on fire, but in general the battle was dealt with pretty handily. Afterward, the party opens a door, finding another spiral stairway.
  • Our gang climbs the stairway, opening the door onto a similar round room, though this one has an open descending spiral staircase in the center. Around the room are curtains, tapestries, bookshelves, art objects, and other trappings of luxury. At the far side of the room is a massive throne, containing a ghostly figure – a tall gnoll in robes, and with a staff.
  • The ghostly gnoll and the characters begin a guarded if not entirely serious conversation with the party, mostly regarding their exploration through the tower, and their reason for being there. After a bit of chit-chat, the ghost (Klatu) explains that he hasn’t had a good fight in awhile, and the fight begins. Suddenly, six ghostly minions appear.
  • Klatu displays some nifty tricks, such as teleportation and lightning, and the party discovers that his minions reappear after they are destroyed; however, due to skill and luck, the party gets Klatu to stop the fight without too much trouble. He begins a conversation (interspersed with a few exchanges of arrows and lightning strikes) wherein he explains why (and by who) the party has been sent here.
  • According to Klatu, someone named Zef has sent them to acquire a copper gear, which belongs to an ancient mystical device – and a dangerous one, at that. Several times, he describes Zef as someone who is not to be trifled with – though he leaves the party to decide what they will do with it.
  • Secondly, Klatu warns that the staircase in the middle of the room is very long, and leads to the upper reaches of the Underdark. He also suggests that it may be more than a match for the party at this point.
  • Lastly, Klatu decides to give the party another item, an old scroll case. Within is an incomplete and very aged piece of parchment – on one side is a map of the valley, while on the other is an alchemical or magical formula. He gives a bit of information on a few of the parties magic items, passes on a simple wooden necklace that should disable the traps within the tower, and explains that he is going to depart.
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The Long Way 'Round
Where we discover a use for that Botany class back in High School

(Playing – Eric, John, Josh, Ken, Tony)

Following their last expedition into the tower, our intrepid band of rowdies decided they needed to rest – so they headed back to the caravan for the night. During an otherwise uneventful night, they meet Warlord, who is traveling the path in the darkness. Kersk and Warlord recognize one another from training years earlier, and he quickly joins the group.

In the morning, Bouchra, Erevan, Kersk, and Warlord head back into the tower, to finish what they started. Or something. After entering, the group takes the right hand turn that they had been avoiding throughout earlier explorations.

  • The group heads down a corridor, and proving that they can’t be fooled twice, they astutely notice and then subsequently jam a portcullis set to block the hallway. However, proving that they can in fact be fooled twice, they do not notice the portcullis trap leading into the small room. They do notice the water that starts to flood the chamber, and the three carved panels on the wall. Erevan manages to teleport himself to the right (or possibly wrong) side of the portcullis, and the group (eventually) manages to find a key on the rooms floor. Kersk tries the key in a random panel, and receives a knock on the head for his trouble, before Bouchra realizes that his Mage Hand cantrip and some careful positioning can keep people out of the way of the trap. The group also discovers that the panels are effectively a multiple choice test, in this case on leaves; two of the leaves are carved incorrectly, while the third is perfectly accurate. After turning the key in the right panel, the door pops open, and the party is saved…
  • Until the same situation occurs again, with a winding hallway, a room with a portcullis, door, and (now hidden under the water) a key. It has three corresponding panels, though this time bearing a different question. The whole scenario plays out five times (with varying amounts of success), and the addition of two sets of stairs.
  • Finally, our intrepid band reaches the last of the rooms, and the water disappears down a grate in the floor. They find a (fake) door, a (secret) door, and a (normal) chest. They open the chest, and head out the secret door (and up the stairway beyond), finding themselves near the L-shaped room where they fought the ratlings previously.
  • Our group moves past the L-shaped room, has a brief altercation with the Mad eladrin, and then enters into a new room. This sizable chamber has two large tables (with chairs full place settings), as well as a number of strange metal sculptures. Five dog sized copper figures stand on pedestals, and a much larger iron figure stands in the corner.
  • The party discovers that the seeming-sculptures begin to move when they enter the room. They use some fancy strategerie to kill one on its own, but they eventually manage to wake the entire group. The dog-sized creatures don’t represent much of a threat, but the large iron when is more trouble. He begins with a patented table throw, and follows it up by proceeding to miss Ken over and over again. In time, the group kicks its ass.
  • After a bit of cleanup, the crew enters the next (and even larger) room. A huge rectangular library, above the ground floor is a balcony along all four walls, as well as a big platform in the center, and two spiral staircases. The party rapidly discovers some angry bluish gnomes (Xivorts) on the upper floor, who begin peppering them with darts. Bouchra makes a move to flank them by taking the southeastern stairway, while the rest of the group takes the northwest. Wielding darts, swords, nets, and bolas, the Xivorts turn out to be tougher than they look. Bouchra is immediately in a dangerous one-on-one fight, while everyone else has trouble reaching the melee opponents or the dart-based ones. The battle is very close for awhile, especially for poor little Bouchra with the puppy-dog eyes, but a timely heal (by Warlord) allows him to drop his opponent, and the rest of the group manages to battle through their opponents on the second floor. Victory is theirs.
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    On the Road - Day 2
    The tower...Rapunzel...

    (Playing – Andy, Josh, Jud, Ken, Shaun, Tony)

    Morning breaks on the second day of our epic, epic journey, and our intrepid adventurers return to the road. The caravan experiences an entirely uneventful morning (which we play out in real-time).

    • Meanwhile, in another adventure, Chork’ul is hunting in the woods, when he overhears a caravan on the road.
    • Finally, the caravan stops. Unbeknownst to our rather oblivious adventurers, the caravan has moved parallel to a strange tower, just to the south. The mysterious man in the back of the wagon makes an offer through Adolphus the guard: 70 silver pieces to people who are willing to enter the tower, in return for one object that is found. Bouchra and Kersk volunteer, along with Sarina.
    • Kersk, Bouchra, and Sarina head into the woods, though they are (unknowingly) trailed by Chork’ul. Suddenly, the three are set upon by two very angry (and mobile) shrubs. Suffice to say, it goes poorly. Chork’ul feels bad (and confused), and helps out.
    • At the same time, Cleric suddenly has a strong vision of his new friends being assaulted by plant life. He immediately sprints his way to the altercation. The combination of the five of them make short work of the shrubs.
    • After getting their bearings, our intrepid band of adventurers continue on towards the tower, when they come across a partially tied-up elf, vainly trying to hide in the trees. EFasior explains that he is an “adventurer,” and somehow manages to convinces the party that the nearby tower is his.
    • The band sees the fifty to sixty foot tall tower, which sits at the center of a sloping clearing. EFasior approaches it, while Blank and Kersk try to circle the tower; they all discover that it has no apparent entrances. Cleric manages to find into the ground at the edge of the clearing, and calls the rest of the group over; Chork’ul starts to climb the outside of the tower, but eventually thinks better of it.
    • The group enters the stone-faced dungeon. With the party’s confidence in EFasior’s ownership eroding, they come across their first room. They are quickly attacked from the darkness above by ambush spiders. After a stirring fight, Kersk torched the webs covering the upper portion of the room.
    • Licking their wounds, the group continues on to a nearby room, which is notable for piles of junk along the far wall, and strange circular openings along the side walls. EFasior searches the piles, while Kersk tries to block one of the somewhat concerning holes. Suddenly, a portcullis drops across the doorway, gray oozes start to spew out of the holes, and the far wall starts to close in.
    • Thus begins a chaotic battle whereby Kersk and Cleric try to raise the portcullis, EFasior searches through the junk for an escape, Bouchra and Sarina try (vainly) to fight off the oozes, and Chrok’ul searches for an off switch. Eventually, they succeed in killing several of the oozes, jamming the oncoming wall (for a time), and raising the portcullis. Finally, EFasior passes a key to Chrok’ul, who manages to turn the switch stopping the trap.
    • Through a bit more creative work, the party discovers that there is a secret room off the space behind the oncoming wall.
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    The journey commences
    Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!

    (Playing – Andy, Eric, Josh, Ken)

    Day breaks on our intrepid adventurers, finding their small but weird caravan headed eastward. After traveling through the open plains around Lightfoot, they reach the forest outside the town. The road narrows, and things are generally creepier…except if you’re a dirty elf.

    • The group hears horsehooves, and braces for danger. Suddenly, a rider dressed completely in black comes upon them. He passes by with no reaction.
    • A short time later, the caravan is set upon by vicious bandits, hiding in the trees. Wielding crossbows and clubs, the humans assault the caravan, injuring several of the characters and guards. Once they get up close, though, our band of do-gooders make short work of them. Kersk even manages to capture a beleaguered crossbowmen.
    • After only a small amount of threatening, the bandit (named Reginald) rolls over completely, offering all of his moderate knowledge for the his own skin. Among other things, he gives some tips for where another ambush might be likely.
    • The day progresses, and the surroundings change from small pastures to close in forests. Suddenly, another attack presents itself, this time larger. The bandits spring a swinging tree trap, which the wagons are able to avoid with some judicious horsemanship. As the lead wagon is about to escape from the trap, suddenly the bandit leader steps out into the middle of the path, clutching a prisoner.
    • Adolphus stops the wagon mere feet in front of the leader, and a fierce battle ensues. Cleric leaps from the wagon, giving the leader a fearsome punch to the face, and setting him on fire. Meanwhile, the other party members and caravan guards take on nearby crossbowmen and fighters, slowing beating them back. Reginald quickly shows his new loyalties, attempting to fight off the bandits with the rest of the group. Though the battle is a long one, the tide slowly turns, until Blank finally brings down the leader.
    • After combat, the party searches bandits, finding weapons, armor, and a some money. They also meet the captive, a female elf that introduces herself as Sarina. She joins the group, at least for the time being.
    • The caravan journeys another hour, before finding a good spot to spend the night. They set watch, and head to sleep. After a few hours, they are awoken by the sound of horses, and watch two riders in white ride to the west very rapidly.
    • During the next watch, the party is suddenly beset by wolves. Though two of the guards were knocked unconscious, the wolves were finally dispatched. Examining the remains, it was discovered that they seem to be sickly in some way.
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    Origin - Welcome to Lightfoot
    Well, at least it wasn't an inn

    (Playing – Andy, Eric, Josh, Ken, Tony)

    Our four intrepid adventurer’s find themselves in the small town of Lightfoot, impoverished but otherwise in good shape.

    • Kersk and Bouchra quickly meet up. At Kersk’s behest, they start to ask around about potential work in town.
    • Meanwhile, Erevan and Cleric separately end up at the town’s library, where they both look for rare and/or unusual texts. Eventually, they talk to a gentleman named Vendt.
    • Kersk and Bouchra end up at The Friendly Belch, where they seek information about opportunities in the lucrative field of caravan security. It’s suggested that they may find some job openings where the wagons are parked, at the outskirts of town.
    • Erevan and Cleric, having drank their intellectual fill, start to examine the rest of the town. They come across an emporium named Blass’s Curios & Whatnot. While examining the books, Blank knocks over and breaks a statuette. The proprietor suggests that she might be willing to overlook the damage, and pay a small fee, if the two can carry a rare book to a town on the lake. They accept.
    • At the same time, Kersk and Bouchra reach the caravan pens, and find a small caravan headed east who could use some more guards.
    • Erevan and Cleric arrive at the wagon area, and find that the caravan is also heading the direction they are looking to go (see how I did that). After a brief conversation with a mysterious figure in one of the wagons, they join the caravan as well.
    • Everyone sleeps uneventfully, near the wagons.
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