Saturday, 28 April 2018

Ravenloft III

Pureforge Harpies (25th April 2018)

The Party
Bernard – Human Cleric
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin
Malfeseus – Elf Rogue
Meegosh – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian

Image taken from internet - copyright may apply

Rude Awakening in the Night (Day 3 - continued)

It was during Grumbold’s watch that strange happenings began. I was fast asleep at the time but from what I was told after the encounter, the two ladies in the party (Annabella and Millie) just got up and walked out of the magical protection of my hut. Grumbold most likely assumed that they were off on a comfort break amongst the bushes as they headed off, presumably for privacy’s sake, in different directions and were soon cut off from sight, but it was only after he heard the war cries of Millie and the screams for help from Annabella that he decided to stumble into action. He began by awakening other members of the party and then rushed outside to see what was happening.

I was the last to be awoken but I very quickly sprang into action. It was dark outside but my night vision allowed me to catch a glimpse of what was happening. Two winged beats with the upper visages of people and lower bodies of birds seemed to be trying to carry off my companions whilst singing a song of enchantment. A swift Lightning Bolt made one of the horrors think again about singing and attacking Annabella and the bear, but the sounds of fierce combat came from my right with renewed vigour, so I was drawn in that direction.

When I got closer, I noticed that the harpy, for that is what the vile creature was, I had scorched earlier was now attacking Millie and Grumbold. Malfeseus attempted to shoot the winged beasts when the opportunity arose and Bernard sought out the best way he could help; he headed off to aid the lady Annabella as it looked like the rest of us had the other combat under control. Millie was having a bad time of it and looked like she had taken a few scratches form the wicked talons upon the harpies’ bird-like feet but Grumbold could not hit a thing. So, yet again, it was down to me to rescue my comrades. Another Lightning Bolt and an Acid Arrow soon put paid to the last of the flying carrion.

After checking over our wounds, we slept the remainder of the night quite peacefully; even Grumbold seemed a little more refreshed when he awoke the next day.

Arrival at Pureforge (Day 4)

The following day saw us arrive at the steadfast known as Pureforge. Upon arrival we were confronted with twenty foot high palisades and guard towers. We were challenged by an uppity Protector named Titus, but after arguing the toss about coming in as we wanted to help rather than attack them we were finally allowed to enter, as long as we left the bodies of the two harpies outside. Our gratitude was extended to Elias, the governor of the town who over-ruled his guardsman.

Upon entering we noticed that the large interior was split into what looked like four sections; a place to grow crops, an area that seemed to have guardsmen practicing and patrolling, another area that seemed to house people building things and an internal area that was palisaded off. There was also a central hall that dwarfed all other buildings within the compound. What was unusual was that we could see no women or children; only men with some kind of markings on their faces, a different pattern for each sector.

Elias took us into the central hut and told us a little about the way things were set up in Pureforge. He had arrived, by planes walking, several years ago to a place in turmoil and was eventually promoted by dint of his wisdom to set up the current scheme. The men did all the work but were not allowed to mix outside of their caste, hence the facial tattoos. If inter-caste fraternisation took place then banishment was the only option for the perpetrators. This was the only way to protect the village and to stop the free-for-all that existed before he arrived from reoccurring, apparently.

The stockaded area within the town walls contained two of the five castes; the Architects and the Breeders (women). It seems that Elias arrived at Pureforge by planes walking as previously stated but he did it with the aid of a device; a device that was stockade behind the internal palisade within the Architects’ quarter. Outside the stockade, but within the town walls were the Builders, the Feeders and the Protectors. This seemed to me to be a bit of an unusual set up. Why the segregation and such harsh punishments for such lowly “crimes”? Something did not feel right in Kansas.

Anyway, after going on about how wonderful things were here in Pureforge since he had set up the new system, Elias invited us to stay one night but we would then have to move on unless we wanted to join one of the factions. He said that he would meet us for dinner later that evening in the central hut but until then we were free to go to the building that we would call home that night.

Not content to sit on our hands we all popped out in the pretence that we wanted to see what it would be like if we accepted Elias’s offer and stayed in the town to live. We visited all of the sectors except the Architects and Breeders sector behind the internal palisade and gathered all sorts of rumours. Many of the people seemed to be unhappy with their lot and tension was rife; a powder keg that could blow with just the tiniest of sparks.

The Plot Thickens (Day 5)

After being stood up by Elias for our dinner date, we grabbed some food anyway and, after giving the central hall a once over based upon the rumours we gathered that something was untoward there, we headed back to our abode. We were sure that something occurred in the central hut but as we could not find anything when investigating there we had to content ourselves with speculation.

Malfeseus decided that as he was the most agile amongst us, he would investigate what went on behind the palisade that night. He was protected by a spell from Brother Bernard and a variety of other magicks and set off on his way. When he reported back to us just under an hour later he told a tale of woe that he had gathered from Mary, previously Matron of Baldor, whom we knew about from a letter contained within the ivory casket Malfeseus and I had found. She told him that the women were kept against their will to provide children for sacrifice to keep the town safe from incursions by Baba Yaga and her with minions. Now I know for sure that this place is rotten to the core and something needs to be done about it.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Ravenloft II

Session 2: Angels and Demons (18th April 2018)

The Party
Bernard – Human Cleric
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin
Malfeseus – Elf Rogue
Meegosh – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian

Wraith - possibly copyrighted, from the internet - owner please contact me if you do not feel my use of it is fair
From the Diary of Meegosh Krackle

The Tower of the Paragons (Day 1 - addendum)

In my haste to record our amazing adventures last time I took out my diary, I missed a few items. Nothing important I should warrant but none-the-less I shall summarise the points here…

It was actually some chappie called Sir Gareth Puresword who put the kibosh on the dark lord; the priests were only brought in to purify the land – they don’t seem to have done a very good job in my opinion. The witches managed to scrape together the entrails of the dark lord and scatter them for burial throughout the land, perhaps in the vain hope they could bring him back from his remains? Bunkum and fairy stories as far as I can tell, no logic to it whatsoever. Still, I guess our intrepid band will become involved in some quest later on to find all these gribbly bits to stop the return of the dark lord. If I found them, I would probably just incinerate them and be done with it. Anyway, back to the tale...

We appeared on another plaque in another room, presumably one floor up from the level we had just left. Unfortunately, there was no way of knowing as the walls, floors and ceilings were all made of stone and there were no windows or arrow slits for us to look out of to gauge our whereabouts. What appeared to be a library was in a sorry state of affairs; tables and chairs overturned, books spilt from the shelves and a sense of damp, mould and decay prevailed. Grumbold and I set about righting a few items but to no avail as that great bear, Gur, proceeded to trash a table or two in his wild perambulations.

I managed to find an eerily intriguing book entitled “Ravenloft: Demi-Plane of Dread” and sat down to discover its contents. Whilst reading said tome, the others continued to stir about in the detritus and throw books at each other. I am not one for such sacrilege, but each to their own I suppose. I was happy to indulge their whims but being bonked on the back of the head with a heavy book is not my idea of fun. It was only then that I realised we were not alone. A strange ghostly apparition seemed to flit around the room for a while before returning to its lair within the walls.

Once we had discovered there was not much else to this room we tried to trip another of those plaques to move onwards but it seemed that only our dwarf companion could do so – was it because he tripped the first one and subsequently only he could do so again or, after a little study of the plaque, was it due to the divine code he followed?

The third level of the tower was a little better kept; dusty and musty yes, but there was still no sign of the tapestry we had been tasked to find. Malfeseus and I managed to espy a casket that would require further study but we were rudely interrupted by the appearance of four gaseous forms. The party sprang in to action but it appeared that most of their blows were either non-effective or only caused a minor irritation to the beings. Even our goodly cleric’s admonitions seemed not to have any effect. Once again it was down to poor little Meegosh to rescue them. A few lightning bolts and a very brave, and might I say insightful, move lured some of them away to split the apparitions between levels. My bouncing between the two levels of the tower was just enough to give the others a chance to finish off what I had started. It also gave Malfeseus and me the opportunity to investigate the casket (nothing of interest in it unfortunately) and get to know each other better.

After all that action, many of us had taken a few injuries. Where these corporeal beings touched us, our flesh turned necrotic; not nice. I decided to keep us all safe and conjured up my little magical safe place (a small magical hut) so that we could rest and recover from our ordeals. We all managed to grab a bit of sleep and heal up but our dreams were troubled. Grumbold seemed more affected than the rest of us; he no longer took to grumbling about our shortcomings and seemed a little more introverted. This was by no means a bad thing from my point of view. He can be such a sanctimonious grump sometimes: but I am beginning to like him all the more for it nevertheless.

Tower of Paragons (Day 2)

After our rest we pushed on to the next level. Again, the plate required Grumbold to activate it. We appeared in what seemed to be a man’s bedroom. The place was dusty and musty smelling and as there was no other plaque on the floor to another level assumed this was our final destination. We all set about looking for clues to the missing tapestry and the tower’s guardian angel (I forgot to mention that this place was supposed to be guarded by an angelic being but from what I had seen so far that is a most absurd notion – what angel would suffer a wraith to live?). Malfeseus called to our attention that the tapestry was most likely the one hung above the great four-poster bed that dominated the room; the four-poster bed that had an angelic occupant who, when we looked at him, began to rise.

Well, I for one was not taken in by the ruse. As we looked at this so-called angelic being, all the goodness dripped away from it to reveal some kind of fallen angel. Grumbold and Millie charged straight in to deal with the demon, and I fired off a lightning bolt to see what that would do. The demon soon recognised its mortal foe and proceeded to hunt me down. It slashed me with its great sword and followed me to the Ethereal plane just to get at its true enemy. Now, I am not embarrassed to say I was rather scared and the sight of all that blood (my own) made me completely faint away.

Bernard, our cleric, managed to conjure up some magic that brought me out of my daze so I could get up and finish off the diabolic being. The final straw was Bernard throwing a book at it - the being whimpered and collapsed in upon itself, leaving just a cloak and an amulet behind.

We gathered up what treasures we could find and returned to Carlian’s abode. We recounted our tale over some rather tasty roasted rodents (at least I hope they were) and I used my powers of divination to work out that the amulet would be a most welcome asset for our resident priest as it would improve his healing abilities. Carlian also did some divination of his own and mentioned two persons who had arrived on this plane just before we did; a certain Hammerstein and his accomplice lord Frack.

We still had most of what passes for a day on this plane ahead of us, so we headed on towards the next location of our quest; the town of Pureforge, located on the moorlands to the north. We managed to cover a great distance before we set up camp for the night in my little magical hut. Again, our dreams were fraught with impure deeds but we all managed to get fully rested except for our trusty paladin Grumbold.

Onto Pureforge (Day 3)

After another fitful night, Grumbold was reduced to a stumble. He just could not keep up with the rest of the party; so much for the stamina of dwarfs eh? Every now and then Millie plonked him onto Gur to rest whilst we trudged onwards. Unfortunately we could only cover half the distance of the previous day before I needed to set up camp again.

It was during Grumbold’s watch that things began to happen again…

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Ravenloft I

Session 1: Arrival in Ravenloft (4th April 2018)

The Party

Meegosh Krackle – Gnome Wizard
Millie – Half-Orc Barbarian
Bernardt – Human Cleric
Mephesus – Half-Elf Rogue
Grumbold – Dwarf Paladin

From the Diary of Meegosh Krackle

Arrival in Ravenloft (Day 1 of my travels in the Plane of Dread)

I am not sure what happened today. One moment I am sitting in the tavern minding my own business, and then, whoosh, I am lying on what I can only describe as a beach without an ocean being sick to my stomach. And, I was not the only one...

Within a short distance of me, were several other beings in various states of unease; a dwarf clad in the most heaviest of armour, a human who belonged to some cult or other, a female half-orc warrior queen and another being whom I can only describe as some kind of shady elf fellow. They all seemed rather friendly considering the situation; I guess adversity brings out the best in us, especially if everyone is in the same boat and up the creek without a paddle.

Anyway, after a few moments the mists parted (did I not mention the fog that surrounded us? Ebbing and flowing like the ocean, often revealing and then concealing what surrounded us) to reveal a fellow who introduced himself as Carlian (?). He just mentioned to meet him, when we were ready, at a large building on top of a hill he pointed to that the mists parted to reveal rather conveniently.

Not long after Carlian departed we began to hear shouts and screams from within the surrounding mists. A human woman, out of breath and obviously in extreme fear, came hurtling towards us. A few of the party (this is how I shall name this rag-tag bunch of misfits for now) on the beach tried to calm her but to no avail; apart from the fact that no-one could understand a word she was saying. Then, from out of the gloom, twang – thud, a rather ill-shot arrow plopped into the ground nearby. Another human female could be seen on a small incline not thirty yards away taking pot shots at presumably the woman who had just arrived. Millie, the half-orc, bounded up the hill and in a trice had her incapacitated and trussed up under her arm. She then popped back to us with a smile on her face at a job well done.

Now I am not one known for making up stories but what happened next was rather alarming. The human lady that was being chased began to scream in agony as parts of some being from another dimension began to erupt from within her. Before we could draw breath, we were faced with some terror from beyond. The dwarf, Grumbold somebody or other (I mean to find out their names eventually), strode up to it and began to trade blows but it looked from the outset he was not up to the task. I conjured up a few of my little parlour tricks and reduced the demonic apparition to a pile of limbs (with maybe a little help from a couple of the others who kindly distracted it whilst I issued the magical coup de grace).

Just as everyone began to recover from the surprise of this demon beastie and the aftermath of its destruction we heard many more noises issuing from the fog. Luckily, this time, the human lady, Annabella, and an accompanying bear, Gur, who arrived were known to some members of the party. I must say, I found her rather distracting in a peculiar way. I can’t put my finger on it, but she acts very strangely and no-one seems to really want her around.

After making a few introductions and so forth we headed up to the place that Carlian suggested we meet him. It looked like some kind of old temple; rather run down and dilapidated but it seemed sound enough structurally. What was weird though, as we crossed the threshold of the gate/fence boundary, rather than the usual sparse growth of tough grasses on the arrival area there was a comparatively lush kitchen garden that contained some jolly nice looking vegetables if I am to judge.

We cautiously made our way into the old building and introduced ourselves to Carlian. It was only now that we realised that he was totally blind. We moved into his abode and huddled by the fire whilst he told us his tale of woe. It seems that there was once this dark lord, Kargo Rah or some such, who died. Karlian mentioned that he belonged to some ancient order that destroyed said dark lord but all of his fellow masters gradually turned to evil or left the place. There was mention of some hut on legs inhabited by a witch that moved about on a nearby lake. Then he mentioned something to do with women and witches taking over and needing to be stopped. To be quite honest, I was more interested in a small ivory box and the mouldy tomes in the bookshelves around the walls.

Anyway, cut a long story short, he only wanted us to go and grab some mouldy old tapestry depicting some ancient gods from a tower of paragons an hour away and bring it back to him. As that seemed nice and easy, we all agreed to set off right away as we still had a few more hours of what passed for daylight in this realm.

After an uneventful journey, we approached the doorway to the tower only to have the ground beneath our feet literally erupt with vermin. Rats the size of trolls attacked my companions and me. As each was dispatched, two more took its place. The warriors in our group were hard pushed until I began to use my lowly cantrips to make light work of the monsters.

The door to the tower opened relatively easily and once inside we began to explore. It was a strange set up within the walls. There were no stairs that led upwards to higher levels. Luckily Annabella managed to suss that there was an illusion that blocked sight of another corridor. I would have found it but as I would not use such a simple trick to conceal a doorway I had my attention elsewhere.

The corridor led to a dead end but about halfway along there was a metal plaque on the floor. It took us but a few moments to figure out that we needed to touch the metal of the device with our bare hands to activate it and it whizzed us off one by one to another place once fully activated.