NicksCF

Interlude in Ereworn
7th October 2011 -- far from the Reavers' Isle

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Three mercenary adventurers arrived in a nameless village in Ereworn: Zagro the Warlock, unkempt Sir Grimble Bobbleberry and Aldo of the Brilliantly Coloured Robe. They met with the head men of the village in a decrepit pub. The publican asked them to rid the village of ‘Old Ned’, a hobgoblin who had been plaguing the area. The three agreed, in exchange for a fistful of gold.

That night, they were awoken by shrieks. Old Ned had abducted the landlord’s daughter and was rolling her off in a barrel! The three gave chase into the misty woods by moonlight. But they lost the cackling hobgoblin, and found the barrel abandoned in a clearing with a hollow tree.

They wandered into another clearing where they met a strange beggar and were attacked by Harpies. Zagro’s spear put an end to them though. In the next clearing they found a hut with an old crone inside. Aldo questioned her while Zagro and Sir Grimblebottom hung back. She seemed anxious about her husband returning, a man who didn’t like strangers. Sure enough, a crazy wild man came charging into the clearing, wielding a huge axe. Zagro shot an arrow at him and Sir Grimblebottom fought him. He was soon overwhelmed, and the three confiscated his axe and tied him to a tree. Hidden in the woodshed of his house were several dead bodies — the axeman’s victims. The three looted the hut and moved on.

The next clearing had a small lake with a boat moored on the shore. The three saw a ghostly maiden in the lake, holding a sword. Aldo climbed into the boat and was carried into the centre of the pool (Zagro and Sir Grimblebottom hung back, stupefied). The lady transformed into a skeletal ghost, who asked for vengeance against a certain mad lord from thereabouts. When Aldo agreed a ghostly sword appeared point-down over his head — as a surety of his promise. The ghost told Aldo about a magical spear and gauntlet buried in one of the nearby hummocks. Aldo retrieved the glowing spear and they continued. They found a vine-covered hut. Aldo tried to set it on fire and it jumped up on huge chicken legs and strode away into the forest!

Day dawned, and the forest thinned. They reached a road where a mysterious black carriage awaited them. However Zagro and Grimblebottom were more in favour of returning to the wood to seek the elusive Old Ned. Back among the trees, they stumbled across an ancient overgrown ruin, and descended steps into an underground temple to a War God. Zagro found traps and secret passages, fought an ancient mummy and uncovered six chests of treasure. Old Ned or no, they were wealthier than they had been the previous day.

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Reavers' Isle, session #2, 6th May 2011
(various sources)

The atttack

Lorien Moonshadow’s Battle Log

Johnny automatic grecian shield and spearsThis will be quite a fight!

Approaching the gates of the hobgoblin slavers I sent two of the defenders into a gentle slumber and we were able to climb through a small unguarded window. Once inside the gates, brutish Brutarl made for a door only to flee in terror from the room from which he entered to hide himself in the lavatory. The fool Parius attempted to converse with the spectre that had shot fear into Brutarl’s heart only to find that the sinister being wanted only to feed on his naive soul. Magic is the only weapon against such an opponent and I unleashed my magic missile, dispelling this spectral being. We moved cautiously from room to room, dealing with a couple of occupants and avoiding the barracks. [GM: Brutarl barely survived a lucky hit from a goblin; it seemed Fate was on his side.] Stealth was still our weapon. Exiting the building we were confronted with what must’ve been Wargs. I’d heard many tales as a child of these goblin bred beasts. Not simple to defeat, Parius said that he could speak to and sooth the beasts. This time he achieved what he promised and seemed to turn the beasts placid. This allowed Parius to cling to the belly of one of the beasts and he was able to scout the courtyard. It was free and it appeared there was no obstruction to the inner gate. We were free to cross the courtyard and enter the other side of the first gatehouse to find the lock that released the mechanism to raise the gate. With little way of reaching the balcony without tackling the guards in the barracks, we decided it was time to unveil the attack. Placing the horn to my lips, I blew hard and strong. Raising a sound that could awaken the dead. Brutarl and I raised the portcullis. Those vikings best make good speed.

Hobgoblins rushed into the court. Parius and Brutarl with their new ‘pets’ went to defend the gatehouse door while I took advantage of my position over the court to target the enemy as they streamed in. Brutarl let out a mighty roar “BRUTARL!” that stunned the first of the assailants and gave him time to even the odds a little. I remembered a scroll that Svein Karlssen had given me that had a spell that allowed me to cast a ‘stinking cloud’ over my enemies and thought it prudent to use it now faced with so many. It was more effective than I suspected and left the enemy in disarray. Coughing and choking I took aim at their leader and lodged in arrow in his throat. I dropped another and then another. Brutarl and the Wargs were making good work of their Hobgoblin opponents till Brutarl dropped his weapon and took a savage blow. The Wargs without Brutarl fell quickly and Parius was holding the remaining Hobgoblins at bay and I tried to even the odds further taking down a couple more.

Some of the larger group had fled to a far corner and all I can do now is sit here and hope that those Vikings make it before any more Hobgoblins make another assault. What happened to Svein and the dwarf? Time could not move more slowly.

From the Runes of Skagharin

When they heard the mournful sound of Svein Karlssen’s horn, Dintari and Skagharin wasted no time. They immediately lit the bundles of oil-soaked sticks which they had piled at the edge of the forest to the rear of the stockade. Soon guards were shouting and arrows were being fired into the blaze. Dintari and Skagharin were already long gone, creeping through the woods to the east of the stockade though none too quietly. Dintari occasionally cursed and stumbled in the dark. At one point Skagharin took a potshot at a lone sentry on the wall. The arrow went wide but the alarm went up and more came running. Just more distractions. Skagharin grinned to himself as he made his way down to the main gate. To his dismay, the guards were still up on the wall at the front. Arrows whizzed down from the parapet and Dintari took a hit before they made the cover of the gate. Fortunately it was only a mild graze.

Pausing for breath in the shadow of the wall, Skagharin noted that the drawbridge was down and the portcullis was open. The sound of fighting was coming from the courtyard. Skagharin could see Svein Karlssen and his warriors approaching — the fighting might be his friends. Dintari and Skagharin hurried beneath the portcullis. They were spotted. A platoon of hobgoblins charged toward them from the inner courtyard Suddenly there was a great war cry to the right: “BRUTARL!”

The platoon of hobgoblins were stunned into disarray by Brutarl’s mighty roar. Arrows whizzed from the gatehouse windows, killing several. Skagharin and Dintari took advantage of the confusion to run to where Brutarl had kicked the gatehouse door open. There two huge dire wolves, badly wounded, were snapping at the goblins who surrounded them. Brutarl, Dintari and Skagharin attacked the goblins while a sickly yellowish mist coalesced from the fog around the hobgoblin troop in the courtyard. Skagharin heard coughing and retching from the stinking cloud as he slashed with his dagger at a goblin.

After a brief but intense fight, the goblins were dead. Nothing was emerging from the roiling yellow cloud but Skagharin, Dintari and Brutarl nevertheless retreated into the tower to defend and await the Thulanders. There they found Parius, unharmed but silently weeping, and also Moonshadow, grimly firing volley after effective volley through the murder holes. They had taken the inner courtyard, but the night was not over.

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Reavers' Isle, 1st April 2011
From the Runes of Skagharin

Reaver’s Isle

The dim pre-dawn light revealed the Reaver’s Isle rising low and dark against the grey horizon. With the sounds of splashing oars, creaking ropes and gruffly shouted orders Svein Karlssen’s ship Sea Hammer came alongside Lassa’s Grace and Karlssen came aboard. After some consultation it was agreed that the Sea Hammer would stand by and wait for a signal from Karlssen’s horn, which he handed to Skagharin. Wasting no more time, the dwarven captain steered a course around the island. The east coast was predominantly shingly beaches and low hills. No shelter there from either storm or prying eye. However, near the high peninsula to the north he spotted a hidden cove which would be perfect to conceal Lassa’s Grace.

Beached

Though long at sea, Skagharin was but recently a captain and navigator. The entrance to the cove was too shallow and submerged rocks scraped the keel with a splintering sound. Lassa’s Grace had been damaged and would need repairs. Skagharin figured she might need to leave in a hurry, so it would be best to repair her immediately. Moonshadow, Dintari and Melisana helped to beach the ship so that it could be inspected and repaired.

Bored with this mundane work, itching for action, Brutarl climbed the dunes and wandered inland. After a while he returned with a small, ragged fellow, an escaped halfling slave called Jorry Muttonchops. After a swig from Skagharin’s rum bottle and a bite to eat from the ship’s provisions, Muttonchops told his tale. He had escaped from the reavers’ outpost by climbing out of an unused window and scavenged his way north. He had feared pursuit by the reavers, but they did not bother to leave their outpost. Moonshadow, Dintari and Skagharin decided to take the halfling south with them to investigate the stockade.

The Old Gods’ monolith

Leaving Melisana with the repaired boat (Skagharin knew she could not sail it alone), Moonshadow, Skagharin, Dintari, Brutarl, Parius and Jorry Muttonchops set off to the south. The terrain was low scrubby hills. After a while the group came to a sunken swamp with an old stone monolith on a rise in the centre. Skagharin noted that the water level of the swamp had dropped rapidly recently. He wanted nothing to do with the monolith, but the others approached its dry island and he warily followed. Parius stepped up to the monolith — and suddenly writhing roots shot out of the ground and wrapped around everyone’s legs. Only Skagharin evaded the clutching vegetation. At the same time, the earth opened beneath Parius’ feet and he was sucked quickly below. Slashing himself free of the roots and creepers, Brutarl leapt to save Parius, but was too late. He and Skagharin dug frantically but found no sign of the half-elf. Then, just as suddenly, Parius was ejected from the ground, and the animated roots shrank back into the earth. Parius was muttering something about the Earth being in pain, but he seemed physically unharmed. The group quickly left the vicinity of this stone of elder gods.

The stockade

Some distance beyond the monolith swamp, the reaver’s outpost came into view. It was a wooden stockade in a valley surrounded by light forest. A dock with a ship at anchor was nearby. Guards patrolled its walls, changing every half hour. Skagharin observed the stockade for some time before conferring with Dintari, Moonshadow and Brutarl on the best course of action.

Night of fire and noise

Skagharin returned northwards with Dintari. Together with Melisana, they sailed Lassa’s Grace to where the Sea Hammer lay at anchor. They persuaded Karlssen to land his warriors at the same hidden cove to the north of the island. This required some manouvreing of both boats as Sea Hammer had too much draft to fit in the narrow channel. The warriors marched southward to remain hidden from view north of the stockade. Skagharin and Dintari crept to the forest behind the stockade under cover of darkness with bundles of oil-soaked wood. They waited for the agreed signal — a blast on Svein Karlssen’s horn (now held by Moonshadow), which would trigger a fiery attack from all sides. The plan was for Moonshadow, Brutarl and Parius to sneak into the stockade by Muttonchops’ window, kill the guards and wolves, and throw open the gate with a blast on the signal horn.

(With additions and inserts from The Poesy of Parius)

G3071 Oh look, isn’t he pretty! I think he’s a chestnut-belted gnat eater but I can’t be sure. He’s perched right on top of one of Skagharin’s rune things.

I went along with Lorien and Brutarl to the fort because I didn’t want them to hurt the wolves. I can talk to them, you see. We climbed up the rope, dangling just as the poor little fellow Jorry left it. Through the window and we were in a dingy unused room in the fort. It was kind of cold and there was broken wood scattered around. I pulled out my throbbing treasure stick from the sunken island and waved it around. But no throbbing this time so I put it away.

We were walking into an old room with a latrine cupboard and it was getting really cold now. Lorien was looking for a stairs when suddenly a ghostly figure appeared, moaning and keening. Brutarl, up front, he went white as a sheet and bolted into the latrine, sobbing some kind of mantra.
“We come in peace, spirit,” I said. “Do not fear us.”
Moonshadow looked at me as if I was a fool, and even the ghost threw a chair leg at me. It shattered against the wall. Then I felt cold all over as the spirit tried to drain my soul. Lorien chanted the words of a spell and shot a magic missile into the ghost, which promptly vanished.
“That was a malevolent spirit, Moonshadow.” I told him. I opened the latrine door and held out my hand to Brutarl, who was still whimpering in there.

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Sailing to Thuland, 28th January 2011
From the Runes of Skagharin

Ship on waves371x109 Dark clouds still loomed ominously to the north, but for now the boat was safe. Skagharin pored over the captured charts and cursed the unnatural storm (under his breath; Lady Lassa was a little too close for comfort) for obscuring the sun. Elsewhere on the vessel, Brutarl slept, Parius meditated, Moonshadow studied some tome and Dintari feigned sleep while eyeing the lithe Melisana trim the sails. The wind blew cool, and the travellers had neither food, water nor much clothing. They needed to find a port quickly.

That night, familiar constellations blazed in the clear sky and the moon was bright on the water. Skagharin knew where they were: the islands north of Thuland. Trusting the moonlight and his skills he set a course southwards. After some time, several small dark islands became visible. Melisana suggested the ship drop sails lest it crash into submerged rocks or reefs. Skagharin gave the order, more because he wanted to give the girl a rest than anything.

Brutarl shouted and Skagharin awoke. The ship drifted near a bleak rocky outcrop. Brutarl pointed beyond the islet to where a Thulandian longship was even now altering course toward them. With the sails furled, flight was pointless. Besides, the Thulandians might be friendly.
“Cover the treasure!” hissed Skagharin.
Warily, the six awaited the longship and its armed crew.

The captain of the longship was one Svein Karlssen, a Thulander. He was not hostile and even agreed to trade for food and water. His ship sought Reavers in Thulandish waters. Skagharin had noted that there was an outpost within Thulandian waters marked on his captured reaver charts, and he had no qualms about revealing this to Karlssen. He was intrigued and suggested the group sail to nearby Vorgenheim to inform his master Eorl Vorgen. The two ships parted.

It seemed as good a destination as any. Skagharin set sail for Vorgenheim and Lassa’s Grace (for such he had named their longship) arrived at the village by sunset. As they pulled the boat up the gravelly beach, they were met by a group of villagers on the foreshore. Skagharin hung back. A ship’s captain is master of all the souls on board, but on land in a human town he preferred others to do the talking. Dintari seemed similarly tongue tied, so it fell to Moonshadow to make introductions. When Svein Karlssen’s name was mentioned, the villagers took the motley group to Eorl Vorgen’s longhouse. There the old eorl sat, surrounded by his hetmen.

Both Brutarl and Lorien Moonshadow began to speak but Skagharin tired of their long-windedness and forgot his previous reticence. With Eorl Vorgen’s permission he barked out a summary: “We met Svein Karlssen in the isles to the north. We told him of a Reaver outpost here in Thuland. He suggested we tell you.”
“Interesting,” said Lord Vorgen “BRING ALE!”
Skagharin cheered at that and noted that Brutarl and Parius did too. The feast began. Parius told an approving Eorl Vorgen an embellished version of their tale of escape from the Sea King’s Isle. Brutarl spent the evening with a local lass named Olga on his lap. Skagharin just enjoyed the fire, food and freely-flowing ale. Eorl Vorgen considered the situation. He asked that the crew of Lassa’s Grace scout out the Reaver base. This they agreed to do in return for the outfitting of their ship and ‘fair recompense’.

The next day was spent gathering supplies and loading them on board the ship. Skagharin noted with approval the barrels of water and food, which might otherwise have been quite expensive. That evening, Svein Karlssen returned to Vorgenheim with his ship — having found no Reavers.

Lassa’s Grace slipped out of Vorgenheim at dawn and made good speed towards the isle where the Reavers’ outpost lay hidden.

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Treasure Island, session #3, 27th November 2010
From the Runes of Skagharin

The ransacked manor

The goblins lay dead around the wreckage of the queen’s chamber. Parius hefted the supposed treasure-finding stick.
“It’s throbbing,” he said. “Pointing that way.”
Skagharin rolled his eyes but said nothing as the group followed Parius into the corridor. Treasure-finding sticks might be hocus-pocus, but treasure was treasure, especially if it was very close by. The stick led the group through a doorway in the old manor.
“The King’s chambers,” muttered crazy old Keestake. “We must show respect.”
The chambers were as strewn with debris as the rest of the manor. Parius, pointing the stick in front of him, came to a stop at an old broken desk. Skagharin looked it over and saw nothing but rubbish. “We’ve wasted enough time with this charlatan trick. Let’s get on.” Brutarl reached over the dwarf and opened the hidden compartment he had spotted. He pulled out a very well-made dagger (for human workmanship), miraculously sharp after all these years; and a potion which Parius identified as something which would benefit a warrior. He handed it to Moonshadow. [GM: Parius and Moonshadow both agreeed that the potion woould increase the prowess and stamina of a warrior while the effects lasted.]

The group followed their rambling guide Keestake to the other side of the manor down a long corridor, towards the entrance to the the catacombs supposedly filled with treasure and a boat. Catacombs held no fear for Skagharin; mere scratches in the earth. Deeper tunnels though…but best not to think of such things. Suddenly two Lizard Men appeared around a a bend in the corridor, armed with javelins. There was a tense silence as the wreck survivors faced the green scaly creatures, neither side attacking immediately.
“What do you here?” asked a Lizard Man in bad Common.

Dintari stepped forward. “We are minding our business. We mean you no harm, but do not obstruct us.”
“You come with us to our camp,” said the Lizard Man.
“No,” hissed Moonshadow. “We will not.”
“We go now. We come back with more numbers. We defeat you then.”
The Lizard Men beat a retreat. Moonshadow sneered and with a wave of his hand a magical arrow sped from his fingers and followed the departing Lizard Men around the corner.
Skagharin heard a yelp, then rapidly retreating footsteps. “We’d better keep moving,” he said. “Keestake – where’s the entrance to these catacombs?”
“Ah yes, the Scribe’s chamber..” murmured Keestake vaguely, “this way.”

The Scribe’s chamber was a mess of trash, just like all the other rooms in the manor. Large empty bookcases covered the far wall. “Push the button behind the bookcase!” burbled Keestake. Skagharin clambered up the bookcase, found the button, and pushed it. There was a slight movement of the bookcase, but then the concealed door got stuck. Skagharin, Brutarl, Dintari and Moonshadow gradually levered it open to reveal a chimney with rungs descending into darkness. There were sounds approaching from outside the room, so Skagharin descended first, scanning below for danger with his Darksight.

[GM: While Skagharin descended the others could hear the sounds of goblins approaching in the corridor outside, investigating the noises they could hear. Brutarl, Dintari and Moonshadow pushed the heavy bookshelf in front of the door, holding it place while the others descended. The goblins started pushing against the door and hacking it with their swords, yelling insults and threats. Dintari pushed against the bookshelf but the door was gradually being forced open. Brutarl fired his crossbow through the crack in the door and a loud yelp was heard as the bolt found a goblin. By now the others had climbed into the chimney, so Brutarl quickly followed.]

Into the catacombs

At the bottom was a large chamber divided into storage areas. Stacks of crates loomed dimly in the gloom. There were noises above as the others descended. Skagharin found a torch in a bracket and lit it. Keestake and Melisana descended into the room. “Is there a way to shut the door?” Skagharin asked the old man.
“Yes yes, the lever there on the wall.”
Skagharin waited until all the party had entered the room (Brutarl last). He pulled the lever. There was a crashing sound from above, and cries. A whoosh of dust came down the chimney. The chimney had been choked with rubble. When Skagharin turned back to the room Keestake had a strange look in his eyes.

“You fools! You thought I would just lead you down to the treasure of my noble King, in whose service I spent all my days? Why I myself prepared his body specially to live forever.” Somehow Keestake had acquired a dagger and now he lunged at Skagharin, who dodged nimbly. His time on board ships surrounded by skullduggerous sailors had not been for nothing. Moonshadow turned and whispered some incantation while Brutarl swung his arm and drove the King’s dagger straight up through Keestake’s jaw and into his brain with such force that the man was lifted from his feet. Blood dripped down Brutarl’s arm as the dagger clattered from Keestake’s lifeless fingers. There was shocked silence. Then Brutarl cast the body aside.

The silence in the catacombs was profound. Melisana turned her face away and Dintari looked bleak. Skagharin dusted himself off. The old man was mad. He might have trapped them in these dark rooms for nothing, or the ship might just be here somewhere. Time to start looking. Skagharin investigated a pile of crates which seemed to contain bricks. Crates of bricks? Made no sense until he noticed the thin trip wire across the passage. Traps, then. He backed off slowly.

Brutarl was not one for slow or careful. With long strides he crossed the chamber and swept back a tapestry concealing an exit passage. Skagharin spotted another trip wire but before he could warn the barbarian, he had snapped it; with a crumbling sound chunks of masonry and plaster collapsed from the roof, stunning the the barbarian.

When the dust cleared, the party moved forward into another large chamber similar to the first and again divided into three long partitions. The first was filled with crates. From the second could be heard the sound of squeaking rats. The third contained a well with the sound of rushing water below. An underground stream…going to the sea perhaps? Skagharin’s hopes of finding a boat in this benighted catacomb were rekindled.

Bored with such speculation, Brutarl strode off once again — and tumbled forward as the floor fell away beneath him. A pit trap! Fortunately the pantherine warrior managed to land on a ledge, from which he climbed to safety, somewhat winded. Again rushing water could be heard below. [GM: Skagharin’s memory is somewhat cloudy here. Brutarl noticed that the floor on a section of the coridorlooked unsafe. Being the man of action he is, he took a long run up and tried to leap over the section of cracked and loose flagstones. Unfortunately he misjudged and when he landed the floor gave way; stones, masonry and Brutarl fell into a dark pit. Here Brutarl’s luck held, and he landed painfully on a ledge. After catching his breath he was able to climb out of the hole. The others noticed that the floor adjacent to the wall was still intact and so could pass around the pit. Parius came to Brutarl’s aid and healed his bruises and scrapes.] Past the pit trap were a number of small cells, perhaps for monks or prisoners though all were empty — except for the last which was rigged with a rusty old crossbow aimed at the doorway. Skagharin ducked to avoid the crossbow bolt which had been aimed for a human height.

Empty rooms, then, but Skagharin’s sharp mind was ticking. Why lay traps except to protect or deter? How did all of those crates get down here? Surely not down the ladder chimney. The first pile of crates was a trap, but the second.. Skagharin led the way back to the nearest nook with the crates, and he, Dintari and Brutarl started shifting them. Sure enough a door was concealed behind, from which a fresh breeze emanated. Through the door was a long rough-hewn passage through the rock.

Sea King’s end

The passage led to a huge cavern. Skagharin could smell the sea. On one wall were several alcoves, and there was a large bricked-up opening on another wall. From something Keestake had said, Skagharin assumed the niches contained the tombs of the sea king and queen. There were plaques near the alcoves. Surely it would do no harm to merely read them. Skagharin moved to investigate. From the tombs two livid corpses rose, the tattered — and armed — bodies of the Sea King and Queen, to punish transgressors.

Skagharin and Dintari attempted to fight the zombie queen. Finding their daggers rather ineffective, they tried hurling flaming torches. Meanwhile Brutarl and Moonshadow took on the Sea King, who was armoured and wielded a mighty mace. This weapon smashed Brutarl between the legs so hard that he was lifted off his feet and lay sprawled and groaning. Moonshadow’s blows glanced off the King’s armour. Skagharin and Dintari managed to hack the queen so much that she could no longer move. Parius laid his hands upon Brutarl and called upon the gods to heal him. The gods must have listened. Brutarl leaped to his feet and stabbed the Sea King with his own dagger through a chink in his armour; punched right though the rotting flesh beneath and out the other side. The Sea King tottered to his knees and collapsed in the sand.

Leaving Brutarl to strip the long-dead corpse of its armour, Skagharin investigated the other tomb and found the promised boat: a funereal longship complete with the dead body of a prince, piled high with weapons, armour and treasure. Then he, Dintari and Moonshadow removed the bricks from the sea cave wall. Beyond: an underground beach, grey sea and the glare of sunlight from the exit.

Ossidiana viking boat rightPutting to sea in the longship, Skagharin found the thing a bit of a beast to handle. To his surprise, Melisana was able to hoist the mainsail with ease. Skagharin frowned. Full of surprises, that lass. Must keep an eye on her, he thought. The winds whipped the boat as it moved away from the island and Skagharin assumed Lassa had been fickle — as she often was. But as they moved further the winds around them calmed somewhat. Not around the island though. Many huge typhoons engulfed it; the sky darkened and the wind shrieked. Skagharin glimpsed rubble, trees and boulders flying up into the sky and maybe even — he was unsure — small figures also. What was unmistakable, and made him clutch the stern rail till his knuckles turned white, was the vast, vengefully intent face of the Goddess Lassa in the dark clouds spread across the horizon.

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Treasure Island, session #2, 27th August 2010
From the Runes of Skagharin

The fire burned low in the great temple room, casting strange flickering shadows into the darkness around. Skagharin‘s eyes were dark pools as he sat quietly watching over the room and his slumbering companions. As he watched he carved and whittled an old table leg and listened with half an ear to Dintari, who kept watch with him, chattering to crazy old Keestake. It was only when the old fool muttered about a hidden treasure, an old prince and a boat beneath the manor that Skagharin paid full attention. It seemed the old man had valuable information after all, perhaps explaining why he’d been captured by the Lizard Men. Definitely a matter to investigate on the morrow. Time passed, the fire burned to embers. The old man finally fell silent. Skagharin was tired from the events of the day. He and Dintari woke Parius and Brutarl for their watch and, hungry but warm, drifted quickly to sleep.

HeraIn his dreams, Skagharin heard a silvery, unearthly voice. He awoke, alert with his hand on his daggers. Though the fire had been allowed to die down a strange glow filled the room. Skagharin hissed between his teeth when he saw the lean outline of Brutarl silhouetted against the source of the light — the now whole statue of the Goddess Lassa (Parius stood slightly further away). Worse, the goddess’ statue was speaking to the warrior with the silvery voice from the dwarf’s dreams. What thrice-cursed supernatural forces had the headstrong barbarian awakened? Skagharin crept closer, to hear the silvery voice of Lassa uttering these chilling words:
“…these actions have displeased me and so I shall destroy this island at sundown.”

In spite of this dire foretelling, the goddess seemed to hold no malice towards Brutarl and his companions. Skagharin even prompted the Lady of the Winds to state that fair breezes would be theirs who escaped from the island before its doom. As to how to do that, Lassa offered no information. The glow faded and the goddess was gone forever from her former temple. Her statue was once more seated upon its throne, though now repaired and intact. The fading presence of the deity made Skagharin feel rested and refreshed, and he saw that his new companions had been similarly affected. With the island destined for destruction at the hands of a vengeful god in just a few hours, the time for sleep was over in any case.

The group decided to search the temple for anything of use before departing. Impatient Brutarl could not see the point of this and he paced outside in the rain like a caged animal, muttering futile entreaties to Lassa. The temple was mostly empty. Moonshadow and Keestake, Parius, Melisana, Skagharin and Dintari peered into empty room after empty room, with the old man giving a rambling commentary. Servants quarters, empty store-rooms, the great dark kitchen with its cavernous fireplace. After leaving the last, trailing the party with Dintari, Skagharin heard a noise behind. He turned and saw a ghastly corpse-like creature with sharp talons rushing at speed towards Dintari. The thing gave a dreadful shriek and Moonshadow seemed frozen with fear. Skagharin and Dintari kept their heads as the thing ripped into Dintari’s neck with its vile claws and fangs. Dintari pulled out his sword and slashed at its arms as it grappled him, though now his chest was red with his own blood. Skagharin stabbed at it somewhat ineffectively with his dagger, but Dintari, although bloodied, was soon victorious over the corpse thing. Looking at its slashed, corrupted body on the ground, Skagharin quizzed Keestake about it, but the old man claimed he knew nothing. Parius laid his hands on Dintari’s wound and it was healed. Brutarl came running at the sound of the shriek, then strode off to explore the temple’s upper level. There was little else to be found except for some cloth from which they fashioned some crude clothes. Dawn was coming; it was time to leave.

In the grey light of dawn it was clear that the supposedly treasure-filled manor was not far away at all from the temple building. It was also clear that a small force of Lizard men crept up on the manor from the left, while a band of Goblins approached from the right. The two groups had not yet spied each other, but Skagarin guessed that when they did they would not be happy. Not far from the temple, a shallow ditch led to the side of the manor, perhaps enough to conceal the group from the goblins and lizard men as they approached. The old servant of Lassa piped up, saying that there was a loose bar on the window at the end of the ditch. The group was decided and they made their way forward as quietly as they could. But the dwarf cursed as he tripped on a rotten root, which snapped loudly. One of the nearby goblins leaned over the ditch — and was slashed once, twice by the deadly blade of Lorien Moonshadow. The goblin toppled into the ditch, and Skagharin took some sort of food from its pouch. Fortunately, neither the nearby goblins nor lizard men were alerted by this commotion.

Climbing up to the window at the end of the ditch, Brutarl easily removed the bar and clambered inside, followed by the rest of the party. Keestake resumed his rambling commentary, telling of the nearby Queen’s chamber and how she possessed a magical stick which could find treasure. With cautious haste, and stopping for a look at Keestake’s room (“Oh, they’ve wrecked everything!”, he moaned when he saw it), the group made their way to the Queen’s chamber. Skagharin listened at the door and heard conversation. Quietly they entered the antechamber and, spying goblins within the main room, prepared to fight them.

Brutarl, Dintari and Moonshadow surged into the room and the battle commenced with Brutarl’s mighty war-cry, and more of Moonshadow’s sleep-magics. At first Skagharin hung back, to guard the rear and pick off any gobins who escaped from the bed-chamber. But soon he realised that this was a dangerous fight and that his help was needed. He left Melisana, dagger in hand, to guard the old man, and leapt into the fray. Blades flashed and clanked, there were cries and yells. The goblins fought hard but they were eventually overcome and slain. Once again Brutarl and Moonshadow wreaked much carnage, and Dintari and Skagharin fought bravely. After the battle, Skagharin and Moonshadow stabbed the sleepers without remorse, glancing at one another; one thing at least which the elder races had in common. The goblins had found the supposed treasure-finding stick and Skagharin handed it distastefully to Parius. More sorcery, he thought, and most likely useless. Time was a-wasting, and he had no wish to die here. They needed to find that boat, and quickly.

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Treasure Island, session #1, 23rd July 2010
From the Runes of Skagharin

Ossidiana wood carving leavesTaken by reavers! His ship sunk days ago, Skagharin hung chained in the bowels of the slavers’ ship, along with hundreds of others. The stink below decks was terrible. Each day the ugly slave master would shove a bucket of gruel to the slaves and as often as not crack his whip across some poor fool’s back. The key to their chains hung on a beam tantalisingly out of reach as the ship rocked and swayed across unfamiliar seas.

Skagharin observed his nearby companions in bondage, though he spoke little to them. Three humans: a meek woman; a capable-looking fellow, probably a southerner; a lean and menacing barbarian with mad eyes named Brutarl. Then there was Parius the half-elf man with sad dreamers’ eyes and, gagged always, a tall elf of unearthly beauty and uncertain gender, with a moon tattoo. Moon Man, Skagharin called him.

After many days, a wild storm rocked the boat. Shouts and screams could be heard above decks as the ship pitched and rolled and the wind howled. Most of the other prisoners were herded up on deck to help row. They never returned. After some time the decks above were silent. Then with a lurching crash, the ship ran aground, jerking Skagharin and his companions violently about in their chains. The ship split apart; cold rain, wind and water rushed in through a gaping hole.

Dintari the Southerner’s chains had come loose and he managed to wrench himself free. He reached for the key which still dangled from the beam above and unlocked the chains of his fellow prisoners. The girl, Melisana, thanked him. Shivering and blinking in the cold air, they considered their situation. The hatch was blocked. Skagharin and Brutarl peered out into the rainy gloom. There they saw a desolate beach with high cliffs on one side, empty except for..the slave master wandering drunkenly up and down, armed with a sword and a rum bottle.

Skagharin realised that they would need to get whatever they could from the ship. He and Brutarl attempted to climb up to the top deck. Brutarl shimmied up the wet timbers, but Skagharin slipped and fell into the cold water, twisting his ankle. He was joined on the shore by Parius and the Moon Man, who had now removed his gag and stood silent and strange beside them. The slave-master shouted and ran towards them with his sword raised. Parius uttered some words and suddenly the slave-master became compliant and almost polite. Parius invited him to drop his bottle and his sword (which Skagharin and Moonshadow—for such was really his name—picked up).

While the slave-master’s attitude to Parius had altered he still seemed leery of the other ‘cargo’ and he rudely demanded they return to the ship. At this point Brutarl and Dintari (who had quietly found an easier way up) returned from the upper deck. Dintari held a small chest under one arm, and Brutal sported a crossbow. Taking umbrage, Brutarl lunged at his former tormentor with an almighty roar which seemed to come from deep within. Stunned, the slave-master fumbled for dagger at his belt but he did not see Moonshadow behind him. The tall elf chopped the sword into the side of the slaver’s neck with a fluid motion, and then again. He staggered sideways and his blood stained the grey sand. Skagharin grabbed the dagger almost before the corpse hit the ground. Brutarl and Moonshadow begain to strip the body immediately.

Disgusted by this violence and coarse behaviour, Dintari and Melisana wandered away, looking for shelter from the rain and cold wind. Parius followed, and Skagharin, cursing and hobbling. Taking pity on his new companion, Parius laid his hands on the dwarf and healed his ankle. Skagharin was amazed, though mistrustful of the magic.

In the dunes with Melisana, Dintari halted at the sound of battle beyond a ridge. When the others had caught up, it was agreed that Brutarl and Moonshadow would scout ahead. Brutarl returned shortly and reported that a battle was indeed in progress. Several Goblins were fighting Lizard Men. Barbed spears, darts and arrows flew through the air. Brutarl wanted to see how the fight would end; Dintari, Melisana and Skagharin wanted to find shelter. Brutarl returned to Moonshadow, ostensibly to report the group decision.

After several minutes, Brutarl did not return. Skagharin clambered up a small hillock and peeked over it at the melee. The last Lizard Men had been been vanquished and the Goblins were heading up the rift towards an old man lying bound on the ground. Suddenly, the old man’s bonds fell away. As the lead Goblins neared him two of them collapsed to the ground. Then the Elf Lorien Moonshadow was there with his slaver’s cloak and brandishing the slaver’s long sword. More magic, sighed Skagharin to himself. The goblins charged, and the dwarf caught sight of Brutarl charging out to their flank. Skagharin backed down and quickly explained the situation to Dintari, who suggested they throw rocks at the goblins to unsettle and confuse them. Dintari turned out to be a crack shot too, hitting one goblin square in the head and bringing him down (Skagharin’s rocks all hit their targets, but with less force). Meanwhile Brutarl and Moonshadow were laying into the goblins down below. Moonshadow’s long sword slashed with murderous efficiency and soon the goblins were all dead.

The old man (whose name was Keestake) seemed to be some sort of bumbling servant, though he didn’t really explain how he had come to be in such a disagreeable position. He agreed to take the adventurers to a nearby temple to rest. Soon enough they arrived at an abandoned and ransacked, but intact structure, an old Temple of Lassa. It was good to get out of the rain, and Skagharin soon started a fire from broken furniture in the main temple room not far from the broken statue of the goddess. The old man told of the war between goblins and lizard men on the island over treasure, and how Lassa had sent a terrible storm in anger over the recent ransacking of her temple. The old man also spoke of an abandoned manor which the goblins thought contained treasure. The chest which Dintari had carried from the beach carried maps and charts, and Skagharin looked forward to poring over them on the morrow. There was mystery about this island. Lizard men, far from their natural clime at war with goblins? Skagharin wondered if this old man was what he seemed, and whether he could trust his new companions, and whether this temple was as empty as it seemed. But mystery was better than slavery, he decided.

Next: Treasure Island, session 2

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