NicksCF

Reavers' Isle, session #5, 27th April 2012
From the Runes of Skagharin

Pool of Evil

Brutarl was bored. He followed the tunnel to the dark grotto, followed by Moonshadow, Parius and (somewhat reluctantly) Skagharin and Dintari. The pool of dark water was surrounded by murals depicting men and women taking the healing waters. “Something Evil is here,” whispered Parius.
Johnny automatic waves personifiedA watery female figure was standing in the centre of the pool, seemingly on the surface of the water. “Come, bathe in my waters!” she smiled.
Brutarl stepped into the water, much to the consternation of his colleagues.
“Come back, Brutarl,” said Parius.
At the cave entrance, Dintari and Skagharin began looping a lasso to capture the unruly barbarian and drag him from the pool if necessary.
Brutarl noticed some still bodies in the corner of the room. “What about those?”
The lady chuckled. “The healing waters…did not agree with them!”
Moonshadow nocked an arrow and aimed it at the watery woman, whose eyes had begun to glow like fire. Brutarl stepped back. Then Moonshadow loosed his arrow and all Hell broke loose. Watery tentacles streamed towards Brutarl and Parius, wrapping around Parius’ throat. Brutarl whipped his magical knife ZKKK and slashed one watery tentacle in half. Moonshadow’s bowstring broke and he and Brutarl decided to retreat from the watery monster. Parius nearly choked but Dintari and Skagharin dragged him back to the tunnel. Skagharin had seen plenty of half-drowned men; he immediately administered ‘Sailor´s Medicine’.

Escape Tunnel

Brutarl, somewhat chastened, followed the others down the long draughty tunnel through which they suspected the evil skeleton-master priest had made his escape earlier. Dintari and Skagharin led the way, looking and listening. Their caution paid off. Dintari spotted a concealed pit with wooden planks pulled over on to the far side. Skagharin climbed around a small ledge and pushed the planks back to the others, who then crossed safely. Later, Dintari spotted a trip wire connected to a deadfall trap. While he and Skagharin debated whether to try to disarm it, Brutarl lost patience, stepped over the trip wire and continued along the corridor. Moonshadow and Parius followed. Skagharin listened to their footsteps for a while and heard no agonised screams; he and Dintari stepped over the wire and followed.

Spider tower

The passage ended at a trap door in the ceiling. Climbing the metal rungs, Skagharin found himself in a ruined tower. Moonshadow was staring into a dark doorway. Skagharin heard rustlings and scuttlings and saw webs within. “Spiders. Best shut the door.” But Moonshadow went in, waving a flaming torch. The spiders came, five of them as big as dogs. Moonshadow, Dintari and Skagharin fought them off quickly. Two tried to escape, but Dintari pierced one with a thrown dagger and Parius (weeping quietly) crushed one with his staff. Moonshadow found the husk of a corpse within, still wearing a gold ring.

The trapdoor had emerged in late afternoon in the woods just south of the stockade. Skagharin could see the vikings moving back and forth to their ship. He spotted Svein Karlssen, who told him they would be leaving on the morning tide. Skagharin was untired, but Moonshadow and Parius desired to rest so they returned to the stockade.

Return to the Pool

The spirit

They awoke refreshed and descended the storeroom steps once more. This time they examined the boarded-up door in the round room. There was a stone corridor with six niches along it. At the end was a round room with a stone slab bearing a skeleton. At once a fearful apparition appeared.
WHO DISTURBS MY REST? WHY CAN I NOT REST IN PEACE?” it demanded.
Parius, Brutarl and Moonshadow panicked and fled down the corridor. Only Skagharin and Dintari remained.
“Why can you not rest in peace, spirit?” asked Skagharin, unfazed by the spirits of human dead.
ANOTHER CAME AND STOLE AWAY MY SKULL. THAT IS WHY I CANNOT REST.”
Skagharin thought. Six empty niches, six skeletons in the priest’s antechamber. “I think we can find your skull, spirit.”
“IF YOU DO THIS I WILL REWARD THEE

Dintari and Skagharin hurried back to the round room, pausing to collect their cowering companions from one of the niches. They proceeded straight to the priest’s rooms and searched in vain for the missing skull.

“Maybe we could give him another skull?” suggested Skagharin.

“I think he would know the difference.” Years ago, as a caravan guard, Dintari had read rather too much of some old books, and he recalled references to evil rituals involving skulls which could contaminate an area. The pool! The source of the bane afflicting the island. The skull must be there.

How to get ahead

This time, there was a plan. Brutarl and Moonshadow would attack and distract attention while Skagharin and Dintari (whose weapons were in any case useless against the water creature) would try to find the skull. They entered the grotto. The woman stood there smiling as before, but the chatter was limited. Moonshadow immediately blasted her with his magic. This time it worked and she screamed with anger. The watery tentacles snaked from the pool toward Brutarl (brandishing ZKKK) and Moonshadow.

Liftarn skull 1Skagharin was no sneak but he hoped that the watery thing’s attention was elsewhere as he moved closer to the dark water. He could see Dintari’s torch moving around on the other side of the chamber, and his friends battling the monster. Beyond the waterfall he spotted — a long ledge with a flash of something white. It had to be the skull. He climbed up on the slippery mural which ran around the cave, and made his way to the ledge. One of the watery tentacles lashed at him and he almost lost his balance, but then he grabbed the skull and ran towards Dintari’s torchlight. He clambered down. There was unearthly screaming and he could sense the water rising. The two ran for the exit, hoping the others were following. They did not stop running until they reached the spirit’s resting place.

Reward, and reward

YOU HAVE RESTORED MY SKULL. NOW I MAY REST. BENEATH MY SLAB ARE MY WORLDLY GOODS. THEY ARE YOURS.”

Skagharin and Dintari lifted the slab and found a round shield, a short spear and a pair of bracers. They returned to the others where they found the grotto peaceful and calm, a much smaller trickle of water falling from the ceiling. Parius was wearing a big grin and babbling about the balance being restored and earth and water elementals and whatnot supernatural shenanigans. But Skagharin was pleased for his friend, and for himself. Things had worked out well.

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Reavers' Isle, session #4, 30th March 2012
From the Runes of Skagharin

Translators note: this fragment of the Runes of Skagharin was incomplete; the author’s carvings were partially burnt.

To the victor the spoils

  • Karlssen wounded “To the victor the spoils.”
  • Parius: "O the violence!
  • Dintari and Skagharin free the slaves
  • Trapped chest of gold
  • Skagharin and Lorien each suspect poison

Tales by firelight

  • Vikings say they will deal with the ship but do nothing and it escapes
  • tales and ale of inferior quality

Silent guardians

  • Into the dungeon – water, a draft, boarded up
  • Johnny automatic dancing skeletonsSkeletons – Dintari, Moonshadow, Skagharin retreat; Brutarl charges
  • Dintari bashes one to pieces with his shield: “Next time you’ll remember to drink your milk!”
  • SKagharin hits one with Parius’ staff
  • Moonshadow’s charlatan spells fail spectacularly
  • Brutarl smashes several, and Lorien efficiently takes out a couple
  • Evil priest den and unholy shrine (Parius cleanses)
  • But the priest has escaped on the ship
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Interlude in Ereworn, part 3
30th December 2011

Waielbi gargoyle at chesterThe ruins were quiet except for the trickle of water from the carved mouth near the well. Sir Grimble Bobbleberry, Zagro the Warlock and Aldo of the Brilliantly Coloured Robe enjoyed the sunshine while they considered their next foray into Gallows Wood. They had not been thus pondering long before they heard a loud crashing and clumping from the path to the south. From the dark trees emerged a huge Ogre, clutching his head and looking decidedly green about the gills. The three intrepid heroes hid bravely behind a crumbling wall. Zagro peeked out and saw the Ogre slurping water loudly from the well, belching and moaning about his colossal hangover. Aldo wanted to slay the thing but Sir Grimble would have none of it — perhaps it was honour or merely sympathy for a another creature suffering from alcohol poisoning. In time the giant fell a-snoring by the well, and the three crept out and followed the path southwards.

Back in the perpetually dim woods they passed a mysterious faery circle where no vegetation grew, and picked their way carefully around the perimeter. They emerged from the woods to see a ridge. On top of the ridge was a large nest and above that circled several Harpies, crying harshly. Zagro knew that these vicious creatures might well have treasures in their nest, but up on the cliff face they had a distinct advantage. He suddenly whispered a clever idea to Sir Grimble, who smiled and pulled out the harpy heads he had grabbed as trophies a couple of nights past. Aldo and Zagro impaled the heads on their spears and began a gruesome pantomime as they moved towards the hill. Sure enough, two of the harpies flew down to investigate and were swiftly impaled themselves. The remaining couple of harpies harried them as they climbed the cliff but were eventually slain or driven off. Unfortunately Zagro stumbled and fell, hurting his ankle a little. But Aldo and Sir Grimble returned as expected with some treasure from the nest.

Liftarn swinging corpseBeyond the harpies’ nest the forest thinned out and they found the road as dusk thickened. The body of a monk hung in a gibbet at a grim gallows by the roadside. Sir Grimble realised the man still lived, and cut him down. There were sinister twitterings in the evening gloom and suddenly Zagro made out the gleam of inhuman eyes surrounding them. “Give him to us,” hissed the voices. They were ghûls, eaters of the dead. Grimly, Aldo and Zagro lowered their spears and Sir Grimble on his warhorse raised his sword. The ghûls attacked ferociously. It was a hard fight. Zagro and Sir Grimble were wounded and tired. Zagro had very little magic. Aldo stabbed ghûl after ghûl — so many that Zagro admiringly called him Ghûl-killer. Eventually, the foul creatures lay scattered on the ground around the gallows in the darkness.

Aldo revived the monk but he was too far gone. He talked of a haunted island monastery in the river to the south where a holy cup could be found. Then he died. By now it was night and the three needed rest. They rode up the road toward the ruined villa with the subterranean temple, knowing it was a safe hideout. They rested and healed and in the morning returned to the gallows and headed south.

Sure enough, they soon came to the river bank and saw the island. A rowboat lay waiting, but Sir Grimble had to leave his faithful black warhorse behind. The island was peaceful and dotted with ruins. They came to a ruined chapel with no roof. There on the altar was a silver cup. Cautiously they approached it and Aldo took the cup. Nothing happened, so they hotfooted it back to the boat. This time they rowed to the south bank. They heard the howls of wolves and several of the creatures bounded into the clearing. But a well-aimed dragonbreath spell, and arrow fire drove them off. Aldo remembered that Hobgoblins were associated with wolves. Soon the tracks led them to a well, just like the one Ned the Hobgoblin had jumped down into and disappeared.

They descended the well with Sir Grimble’s rope and found an iron door in the side. They pushed it open and found themselves in a chamber filled with stolen rubbbish from the village. Behind a screen came a cry for help — the voice of the landlord’s daughter. Suspicious of Ned’s tricks, Zagro asked a few more questions of the lass before he released her, to make sure of her identity. Then the real Ned showed up and the battle was joined. Ned used some crafty spells but he was no match for the doughty heroes.

Liftarn gravestone with pumpkinNed was soon dead
They severed his head
And rode back to the village for tea.

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Reavers' Isle, session #3, 2nd December 2011
From the Runes of Skagharin

Battle for the inner courtyard

The Thulanders arrive

Shouts rang out and torchlight flickered on the outer courtyard as the main force of Thulanders entered the stockade. Skagharin gave Svein Karlssen a quick summary of the outer courtyard battle. Karlssen gestured and a a detachment of Thulanders entered the gatehouse to mop up the surviving guards. Dintari went with them. Impatient Brutarl charged towards the inner courtyard portcullis (which was stuck half-closed). Svein Karlssen and the rest of the Thulanders accompanied him. After a pause, Skagharin followed along behind, stopping briefly to retrieve usable arrows from the corpses of the goblins in the centre of the courtyard. He heard a shriek from behind and saw a hobgoblin plummet from the outer guard tower. Dintari and the Thulanders would make short work of them.

Into battle

With a roar, Brutarl and the Thulanders wrenched the portcullis upwards and surged into the inner courtyard. Skagharin ran through and found himself in a chaotic melee. Torchlight flickered, steel met steel. There were the shouts of men and hobgoblins all around. Skagharin spotted several hobgoblins emerging from a tower behind the Thulanders. Skagharin was no warrior, but now was no time for cowardice. He rushed over along the wall and stabbed at one of them — but his dagger was easily turned by the hobgoblin’s chainmail. The hobgoblin turned with a snarl. Think smart, thought Skagharin. He aimed his dagger just so at a chink in the armour and stabbed quickly. The hobgoblin’s snarl turned to surprise as he collapsed, clasping at his spilling guts. Skagharin stabbed again and again, and another hobgoblin went down.

Ogre and Scimitar-man

Ogre attackWith a mighty roar a huge Ogre armed with a mighty mace appeared behind the hobgoblin troops, flanked by an evil-looking warrior with a scimitar. “’Ware Ogres!” shouted Skagharin.

Moonshadow, who had been fighting nearby, immediately blasted the Ogre with some magic which made the thing roar with pain and fury. Brutarl faced the ogre with his sword Peacemaker. Scimitar-man charged towards Moonshadow with a sneer, making him miss a shot. Skagharin saw Dintari enter the portcullis, and they both ran across the courtyard to Moonshadow’s side. Scimitar-man fought well and fearlessly, but Moonshadow and Dintari the soldier fought well too. Even Skagharin managed to outflank and nick him a few times. Eventually the warrior panicked and ran, but Dintari ran him through with his short sword.

How to kill an Ogre

The Ogre too, had taken too many wounds from Peacemaker. He ran through the doors into the main building, pursued by Brutarl, Moonshadow, Dintari and Skagharin. The Ogre fled to the end of a huge room, while Moonshadow shot at it with arrows and Skagharin threw a heavy bannister at it. Closing in for the kill with the others, Skagharin stepped between the Ogre’s legs and slit his belly open with his dagger. He wasn’t prepared for the mass of guts which slopped out all over him, but at least he was nimble enough to dodge the great body as it fell with a crash to the floor.

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Interlude in Ereworn, part 2

The sun was high in the sky above the ruined temple. Zagro the Warlock, Sir Grimble Bobbleberry and Aldo of the Brilliantly Coloured Robe decided to make their way back into the woods to find the mischievous hobgoblin Old Ned. At the entrance to the forest they found two black-armoured knights on dark horses, who pronounced a sentence of death upon ¨all trespassers in Duke Darian’s wood¨. They charged, but Aldo and Zagro’s spears were ready. One knight went down, spurting blood from his helmet. Then Sir Grimble finished the second with his sword. The ´knights´ turned out not to be human at all, but some kind of hairy goblinoids. Their black armour stank. Sir Grimble proudly climbed on to one of the captured warhorses and Zagro led the other from the clearing.

It was near sunset when they came to a weeping willow on the edge of a rushing river. Asleep beneath the tree were a woodsman and a wolf. Aldo walked forward to have a look but was himself overcome by slumber and fell down snoring beneath the tree. Zagro did not need his magic to suspect sorcery here. He and Sir Grimble caught Aldo’s leg with a rope and pulled him gently from the weeping willow. With a crazed cackle a witch swooped from above on a black broomstick. She tried to cast a spell on Sir Grimble. She failed, and the big knight trampled her with his warhorse. Zagro stabbed her with his spear for good measure. Aldo had dropped his magic spear. Zagro and Sir Bobbleberry knew it was death to touch it, so they left it, and draped Aldo over the back of one of the horses. Sir Grimble tried to pull the woodsman from the tree but could not, so they returned to the inn. The innkeeper was disappointed that they had not yet found his daughter. Zagro and Sir Grimble ate a meal and retired.

Next day, all awoke refreshed. They returned to the forest and headed deep beneath the dark canopy, passing by the weeping willow (there was a charred body, Aldo’s spear and no sign of the wolf). They crossed a rickety bridge over a bubbling quagmire (Sir Grimble led his horse around). Aldo disturbed a nest of giant insects in a cave, but ran away. Deep in a dense thorn thicket they were surrounded and attacked by Thorn Demons. Zagro and Aldo were badly wounded by the creatures in a tough fight. Fortunately, healing potions salved their wounds. Beyond the thorn demons was a ruined tower they had spied when they had entered the wood.

Liftarn skull 1A vine covered statue was outside. Zagro prodded it suspiciously with his spear. The statue moved! It was a gargoyle. A quick fight ensued and the three defeated it. In the broken courtyard of the tower was a fountain (a gargoyle mouth) and a well. Zagro was lowered into the well by his compatriots. There was a huge ominous statue and several skeletons on slabs. When his foot touched the water (which was knee-deep) it was grabbed by bony hands. The skeletons rose and moved toward him. Frantically his friends pulled him to safety. As he ascended, Zagro spotted a stairway leading up, and with a bit of searching the three found an old trap-door above. Figuring it was better to face one skeleton at a time, Sir Grimble descended the stairs. When the skeletons arose he fought them bravely, while Zagro and Aldo fired arrows. The skeletons were defeated and their bones sank beneath the still waters. There seemed to be no treasure. Discomfited by the looming statue, the three headed back up the stairs.

Zagro re-examined the fountain by prodding his spear-haft into its mouth. There was something in there, but the stony teeth closed around his spear. With great effort (and some damage to the spear) Zagro got it out: a brass scroll-tube. Aldo pronounced that it was a magical spell, and he slipped the scroll into his multicoloured robe.

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

Pic1109501
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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