Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY: OFF THE RAILS, PT 1, 8/8/17

The Heroes:
·        ·         Ecna Lubma: dwarf priest grudgebearer healer
·        ·         Gruntbelly: dwarf magician sorcerer wizard
·        ·         Kane Arroway: human warrior fighter sharpshooter
·        ·         Mathias: jotun jotun juggernaut spirit warrior

Our heroes meet at the East Gate the following morning and though Ecna and Gruntbelly were harassed at the gate leading into Smokestacks, it wasn’t a problem that a couple of gold coins couldn’t resolve.  The group meet up and find a strange, horseless iron coach awaiting them, along with a company of six armed “guards” on horses, who looked more like mercenaries.  The dwarf driver introduces himself as Deede and tells them they’ll be on their way in a few minutes.  As they wait, they see a goblin being thrown outside the gates and Ecna loses his sh!t and begins to pummel the goblin senseless.  Leaving the creature alive, the dwarf returns back to the iron carriage, washes off, and the group departs.  With only minor trouble on the road, cared for by the guards.  They arrive in Thorpe and find it also in a state of high alert.  They are allowed into the city and as they enter they notice construction noises coming from the south end outside the city walls.  They meet Henrietta, manager of the Thorpe Railway Station, and she leads them into the station and to the platform, where they meet Engineer Bork and his assistant.  The train has 7 cars in total; the main engine, two passenger cars, three box cars, and a return engine.  Henrietta tries to rush the group along, claiming that she has paying customers awaiting in Foundry, but the heroes point out that they are supposed to be looking for missing cargo for Mr. Ironmonger and can’t very well do that at night.  Henrietta seems disinterested in this, and more interested in keeping her business running, but a couple of the heroes sense that something else seems to be motivating her as well.  The group continue to press her to delay departure until morningwhen Henrietta unexpectedly starts shouting for help, tearing at her clothing and claiming that the heroes are accosting her.  A couple of the mercs run into the station and demand the heroes leave the lady be.  Not wanting to cause a scene, the heroes relent and head back to the train, but as Henrietta and the other’s attentions were diverted, Gruntbelly casts a spell on the train causing some mechanical parts to break. The engineer tells Henrietta that repairs are needed and the group encourage the engineer to delay the departure as long as possible. 

By morning the repairs are completed and the group depart.  The trip is largely uneventful for the first few hours, but as they pass the Silver River, Kane spots something unusual and asks the engineer to stop the train while they investigate.  The group disembark and search the area and find that a significant amount of damage has been done in a particular spot, but was covered up by someone who knew what they were doing.  The damaged area has bits of iron, like the kind that their train is made from, and tracks from orcs and from some giant, non-human thing – presumably one of the Iron Titans.  The tracks lead off to the west away from the tracks and The Fall. 

As the group searches the area, they spot some flying creatures that start swooping down on them.  The creatures are winged humanoids with distended bellies and inhuman faces.  They are picked off at a distance by Kane and drop into the lake below The Fall (the cliff that separates the east and west of the Northern Reach).  But then several more fly up from the cliff and attack.  One manages to sting Ecna, but the creatures are killed by the combined efforts of the heroes. 

Kane looks off the side of The Fall to see where the creatures came from and spots a small cave about halfway down the cliffside.  He is lowered down by rope and enters the cave to find several crude nests and an orc corpse with several infants of the creatures that apparently burrowed out of the orc, consuming it from within.  Kane leaves the cave and is brought back up to the top of the cliff.

Ecna spots another set of large tracks and they find more signs of damage to the earth as if something large and heavy were dragged through it, but then an attempt was made to cover this up by someone who knew what they were doing.  Looking over the cliff, they spot what appears to be the missing train far below in the lake at the bottom of The Fall. 

End of session.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY – ASYLUM PT 2 & INTERLUDE IN CROSSINGS

The Heroes:
  • ·         Ecna Lubma: dwarf priest grudgebearer healer
  • ·         Gruntbelly: dwarf magician sorcerer wizard
  • ·         Kane Arroway: human warrior fighter sharpshooter
  • ·         Mathias: jotun jotun juggernaut spirit warrior

This entry encompasses the events of the last two sessions.

The heroes find a secret room in Dr Feldman’s apartment behind his office and this leads down to an ancient crypt beneath the Asylum.  The crypt appears to have been built during the time of the Empire of Gog, over 900 years ago based on the designs and images on the walls and posts.  It’s not long before the heroes encounter a room full of ghouls, which flood out into the hall and attack!  Mathias is momentarily overwhelmed, but Ecna, Kane and Gruntbelly join the fray and the ghouls are slain.  Inside the room they emerged from the group finds a gory mess of torn bodies; the ghoul’s dining hall. 

They search the room then move on and find two doors that appear to be carved in the likeness of two portals – one that enters Paradise and one that enters Hell.  The group chooses the door leading to paradise and emerge in a large chamber that has a number of ghouls and an open sarcophagus.  A mist curls out from the sarcophagus and the heroes are confronted with the vampire Lucretia.  Before they can attack, Lucretia tells them that she is not their enemy and that she is here only to retrieve her property, the Eye of the Demon Lord, that was stolen from her by Kane’s ancestor, the demonologist Moore and is now in the possession of the Brotherhood of Shadows.  She claimed that the cult was using it, along with other stolen relics, to complete a ritual designed to open a vast gate, through which the Demon Lord would enter this universe and destroy it.

Skeptical about her claims, the group asks what she would do with the relic if it were returned to her.  Lucretia tells them that she wishes only to keep it away from those who would use it for the purpose that the Brotherhood of Shadows is using it.  The relic is linked to the Demon Lord, who wants nothing more than to destroy all of creation.  Since she exists on this world, she does not want to see it destroyed, so she would keep the relic safe, as she did for hundreds of years before the fool Moore took it from her. 

The heroes ask why she didn’t just get it from the Brotherhood herself and she responds by stating the Brotherhood is hidden from her and has erected powerful wards to prevent her from seeking them out.  She has no other choice but to have others reclaim it for her. 

The heroes say they will get the Eye on the condition that Lucretia stop her murderous rampage through the city.  She agrees to do so until the next full moon, three weeks from that night.  At that time, if the Eye has not been reclaimed, the Brotherhood will have completed their ritual and all will be lost regardless.  The heroes ask how they will be able to locate the Eye if she cannot, and her response is that there is another relic that has an affinity to the Eye; the Sword of Unmaking.  If they can acquire that sword, it will lead them to the Eye, wherever the Brotherhood have it hidden.  The Sword is currently in the possession of the fool demonologist Moore, who still lives, but is now in a clockwork body.  She learned that he has been in Iron Mountains in the keep under the Demonstorm for the last few centuries and recently acquired the Sword of Unmaking.  She even gives them a map to the Iron Mountains showing trails leading to the keep.

The group agrees to this task and take their leave from this tomb.  Before they go, Mathias asks if Lucretia knows of Nareesh, the man Mathias has hunted for the last year.  She says they may find that this man is also with Moore at Demonstorm, but doesn’t explain herself.  She then turns to mist and leaves the crypt.  The group plunders the rest of the crypt and leave to get rest before planning their next move.

After a lengthy rest, the heroes review the map and decide to see if they can find a faster ride to the Iron Mountains than horse or buggy.  They head over to the Smokestacks district to seek an audience with Gundren the Ironmonger, whose mine they cleared out a few weeks earlier.  They go to the Engineering Academy building where his offices are found and find a campus full of wonderous mechanical devices.  The two guards are large clockwork men themselves, who let the heroes into the campus.  They make their way into the building, and after a harrowing trip up the mechanical elevator that Mathias broke on the way up, they find his offices and are welcomed in by his secretary. 

Gundren is pleased to see them, believing them to be there in response to his job offer, but the heroes say they are simply there to see if there is a way to get a train ride to Foundry as they have another job to work.  Gundren says that they can catch a train from the town of Thorpe, but he suggests that if they are on their way to Foundry that they may be able to take on his job offer as well.  He explains that his job involves finding some equipment that was recently lost en route from Foundry to Thorpe.  The train that had the equipment never made it to Thorpe and subsequent train rides have not turned up the missing train or equipment, so he wants to hire them to find what happened to the train and the missing equipment.  The PCs ponder this and agree to do the mission for a “favor” to be later named.  Gundren agrees and reveals that the “equipment” is actually 3 warmachines – giant clockwork warriors that were ordered by the Emperor a couple of years back, but since the Orc uprising, they’ve been sitting in Foundry.  However, Gundren became alarmed when Sixton was sacked by an orc warband, so he decided to bring the prototypes down to Crossings for defense.  However, while en route, the train was lost and the warmachines along with it.  He wants the heroes to track down the machines and put them on a train back to Thorpe.

The heroes agree to take the job and Gundren says he will put them on a guarded coach to Thorpe first thing in the morning.  The PCs leave the Academy of Engineers and decide to do some shopping before they go, but they find that the rest of Crossings seems to have been commandeered by the Inquisition.  The group ask a browncloak what’s going on and he says that Inquisitor Randofus was arrested by a new Inquisitor, some guy named Malius, who threw Randolfus and a bunch of others in the Inquisition dungeons.  Martial law has been called in Crossings and the Inquisition seems to be running the show, including the Browncloaks, since one of the ones arrested was Commander Crowley.  The PCs decide to try and see if the mayor was still in power, but when they passed the Browncloak headquarters on the way to the Gavel district, a Lord Inquisitor called Duush, emerged with several inquisitors and browncloaks and demanded that the jotun and his companions leave town immediately as they are obviously “outlanders” and do not belong in the city.  The heroes try to explain that they were on a job for the mayor and they are informed that she is no longer in power.  The heroes decide to leave peacefully to avoid bringing the Inquisition down upon them, and go to a copse of wood outside of town to plan their next move.

Using an enchanted item, they have Ecna enter town to try and find Gruntbelly, who did not accompany them and instead went to visit his master’s tower to see if he could get information about the Demonstorm keep.  Ecna transformed into a bird and tried to fly into the tower, but it’s magical protections caused Ecna to land and transform back to his normal shape.  He attempted to go to the front door, but was warned away by the nearby browncloaks.  Ecna decided to leave the area, went back to the Moore house but found it empty.  He then went to the Honored Dead Shrine and Brewery and found Gruntbelly there grumbling about his lost friends.  The two decide to drink and stay the night in the house and meet the heroes out by the gate in the morning.


End of session.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY: ASYLUM, PT 1

The Heroes:
  • ·         Ecna Lubma: dwarf priest grudgebearer healer
  • ·         Gruntbelly: dwarf magician sorcerer wizard
  • ·         Kane Arroway: human warrior fighter sharpshooter
  • ·         Mathias: jotun jotun juggernaut spirit warrior

The heroes proceed to the asylum known as Mercy Hill, which stands atop the rise of the same name.  As they approach the grounds, they notice that the refugees from Sixton, that have been given temporary leave to camp on the lawn until housing can be found for them, begin moving out from the shadows in large groups, chanting "protect the mistress…" over and over again as they approach the heroes.  Realizing their danger, the heroes take off running towards the asylum, whose doors stand open.  Most of them make it in, but Kane and Ecna must fight off a few of the refugees before they can make it inside and close the doors behind them.

Once inside, they find bodies of orderlies and other hospital workers, having died violently.  They also find Dr Feldman's door open, but he is not in his office.  The group enter a nearby stairwell to go to the second level of the asylum where Lara was kept, but find many of the patients have escaped their cells and are violently rampaging through the halls and immediately attack the party as they open the stairwell door.  The heroes fight through the crowd, forced to kill many of the patients in order to get to  Lara's room, but before they do they see a light in the darkness, coming from behind a closed door.  They force the door open to find Dr Feldman in a surgery with a patient, apparently implanting eel-like creatures, similar to those found in the strange, hooded creatures that attacked them at the Katandramus house.  Feldman berates them for interrupting his surgery and the heroes then realize that he, himself, is  apparently insane.  They take him out fairly easily and kill the eel-creatures.  A pile of bodies in the room shows that Feldman has been busy, but there was nothing else of interest within the surgery.

The group proceeds to Lara's room, where Ecna had already found her and warned the incoming group that she was not herself.  Indeed, the woman was floating in her cell with a strange darkness emanating from her, and speaking in an eerie dual voice she informs them that she will tear them apart.  The heroes, not interested in dealing with a demon, unleash their power upon her and manage to kill the body of Lara before the demon could attack them.  The darkness fades and Lara's corpse drops to the ground.


End of  session.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY: INTERLUDE – 6/20/17

The Heroes:
  • ·         Ecna Lubma: dwarf priest grudgebearer healer
  • ·         Gruntbelly: dwarf magician sorcerer wizard
  • ·         Kane Arroway: human warrior fighter sharpshooter
  • ·         Mathias: jotun jotun juggernaut spirit warrior


Our intrepid heroes spent the session in Crossings, where things are tense due to the flood of refugees coming in from the southern settlements along the Shield Mountains, and particularly from the province capital city of Sixton, where an orc horde has sacked the town in an ever-encroaching tide of violence spurred on by the rumored orc uprising in the empire and the new orc king, Drudge.  The militia has been called up, more citizens have been pressed into service, and the Inquisition (which was wiped out in the Katandramus incident) has been reinforced by a contingent of inquisitors that escaped (fled) from Sixton.  The streets of Crossings is patrolled at all hours by brown cloaks and inquisitors, martial law has been enacted and a curfew put into place. 

Despite these concerns, the heroes have their own business to deal with.  They continue to search for the man known as Nareesh, who was responsible for the theft of a jotun relic called the Fang of Ages, and is the reason for Mathias’ presence in the Northern Reach.  They also seek the Brotherhood of Shadows and the man they believe is leading them, the noble Katandramus.  In addition, an ancient vampire called Lucretia is stalking the city for some unknown reason. 

The heroes decide to check The Guild headquarters building and find it strangely quiet and locked up.  The brown cloaks and inquisitor on the nearby street say that the building has been declared off limits by the town council for suspected illegal activities.  They’ve searched the place and came up empty, but they suspect that there are secret hiding places within they haven’t found yet.  Taking this information, the heroes enter and find the place deserted.  They check room by room and find no occupants, but do curiously find crates and barrels filled with explosives in several rooms.  It is only when they reach the final room that they find an occupant – a lone clockwork man who greets them by shouting, “THE BROTHERHOOD OF SHADOWS OFFERS YOU TO THE DEMON LORD!!!”, then opens a chestplate, revealing a ticking clock that suddenly explodes.  The heroes, already trying to make their way out, are caught up in the explosion, but are able to exit the building before all of the explosives within ignite, bringing the entire Guild building down and showering the surrounding streets with debris.  The force of the explosion stuns the nearby brown cloaks and inquisitor.  Picking themselves up, the heroes leave here and go to pay the mayor a visit. 

In the Gavel district, where the city hall building is located, the heroes find the mayor in a town council meeting, so they decide to go purchase some items and return later.  As they are out, they find some strange writing on some buildings that the brown cloaks seem to be very busy cleaning up, which is an unusual task for them.  When they ask one what they’re doing, they are told that they’re not allowed to discuss it.  The writing that they read on the wall says, “Bring me the Eye.”  The brown cloaks don’t know what that means or who put the writing so far up on a nearly inaccessible part of the building.

When they return to city hall they are greeted by Kane’s sister, who is apparently the mayor’s secretary.  The mayor agrees to see them and proceeds to ask for their help in dealing with a threat to the city that needs “specialized skills” to deal with.  There is a monster that is abducting citizens from their homes in the night, tearing them apart, then using their blood to write a cryptic message on buildings; “Bring me the Eye.”  The mayor says that nobody knows what this means and they have been unable to discern what this creature is, where it lairs or if there is any type of pattern to who it takes.  Its victims have come from all districts in Crossings, from peasant to noble, and the creature has had no difficulty getting to these people despite increased security.    The heroes agreed to look into it, understanding that payment may be minimal due to the resources being spent on fortifying Crossings and taking in refugees.  The mayor did agree to see if she could find Nareesh for them, as she recognized the name when mentioned by Mathias and said that many nobles and dealers in town buy from the collector, as he seems to be able to acquire some rare objects.

The heroes decide to split up.  The cryptic message has sparked a memory with Kane that he wanted to check out, so he goes back to the Moore House while the others go to check on Lara, the crazed mercenary that worked for Nareesh, to see if she was more lucid than when they dropped her off at Mercy Hill asylum a couple of weeks back.  When they get to Mercy Hill, they find the grounds filled with refugees.  They enter the asylum and are taken to Dr Feldman’s office where he is speaking with a patient.  The patient departs and the heroes note a strange scar on a shaved part of her head.  The doctor greets them and they ask about Lara’s condition.  He says that she goes through periods of non-responsiveness to manic hysteria, claiming that the Demon Lord is coming to destroy the world.  The doctor has been unable to get through to her to discern the cause of this nihilistic mania she suffers, but is going to try a different approach on their next session.  The heroes ask to see her and he calls down an orderly to take them up to her room.

The orderly takes them to a small locked room where Lara lays crouched in a corner, strapped into a straight jacket, staring blankly at the wall.  The heroes being to question her about Nareesh and stir memories of the fey tower they found her in.  This brings about another hysterical episode that requires the orderlies to hold her down.  Ecna attempts to cast a spell to help remove her insanity, but in doing so reveals a presence upon her that may indicate demonic possession.  She calms down again and the heroes decide to leave. 

The heroes leave the asylum and meet up with Kane, who tells them that his demonologist ancestor that owned the Moore House, Ezekiel Moore, had a journal in which he talks about going after a relic called the Eye of the Demon Lord, which was in the possession of a vampire lord named Lucretia.  Her lair was somewhere deep within the Empire lands to the south and the details of what happen next are not in the journal, but the demonologist is clear about his intent to acquire this relic from the vampire, as it is said to have great power over demons.  The heroes deduce that Moore likely stole the relic and brought it here, keeping it in the vault in the basement, where it was later stolen by the Brotherhood of Shadows.  The journal even showed a sketch of the object and the heroes suddenly recall that they spotted that in the hands of Katandramus when they stormed his house.  The noble used magic to leave before they could get to him, but he was holding a dark orb very similar to the one depicted in the journal.

Later that night, the group decides to stake out the tallest building in the city, the Brown Cloak HQ in the center of town, to try and catch the flying monster in the act.  With Kane and Gruntbelly on the roof and Enca and Mathias on the ground, they wait until between 1 and 2 in the morning, that’s when Gruntbelly spots a dark shape darting around the night sky.  The shape flies towards the Purse district and lands on Wizard’s Peak, Caribdus’ tower.  It then proceeds to break in, setting off wards in a shower of sparks and explosions. Mathias and Ecna  hear Kane and Gruntbelly’s shouts and start running towards the tower.  A few moments after enter, however, the creature exits another window, carrying a body, and takes off into the sky.  It proceeds to tear limbs off of the poor victim and then lands on the side of the Brown Cloak HQ building, just a couple of stories down from where Kane and Gruntbelly are.  Kane is unable to get a clear shot at the creature, but Gruntbelly fires off a spell that hits it, driving it off the wall and flying off into the night.  They watch as it circles around the lake and seems to descend on Mercy Hill, where it does not leave again. 


Ecna and Mathias return and the group start heading towards Mercy Hill to deal with this creature, which they are sure is the vampire Lucretia.  This is where the session ends.

Friday, June 16, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY: THE MINES OF MADNESS - PART 3, 6/13/17

The Heroes:

- Ecna Lubma: dwarf priest grudgebearer
- Gruntbelly: dwarf magician sorcerer
- Kane Arroway: human warrior fighter
- Mathias: jotun jotun juggernaut

The heroes continue their trek through the mines, fighting more of the small bug creatures and burning their nests.  They come upon a series of chambers that contain resin cocoons and within they find the missing dwarf miners, still alive, but very emaciated, thirsty and hungry.  The heroes chip them out of their cocoons and provide them with rations and drink.  One of the miners says that he was taken to another chamber before being cocooned and that chamber had a huge bug creature that must be the queen, for she was attached to an egg sack.  He says there’s also a pile of treasure in that room.  That was all the heroes needed to hear, so they continue onward with this dwarf leading them to the queen chamber, but when they get there, they find the queen awaiting them.  The dwarf that led them there says, “they are yours my queen,” then hundreds of small bugs pour out of his mouth and his body drops to the ground, dead.  The queen casts a spell, causing the tunnel the heroes are in to collapse behind them, which traps Bruk.  The rest of the group go into the large queen chamber and fight as she summons her drones to protect her.  The queen casts spells and her drones focus mostly on Mathias, but some move to attack Kane and Ecna as well.  Gruntbelly takes on the queen, spell for spell and through the combined efforts of the heroes, they manage to kill the queen and most of her drones.  Some escape through side tunnels.  The heroes gather up the treasure, take the surviving dwarves out and then, with their help, set up explosives to seal the bug chambers.

The heroes take the dwarf child with them as they leave the mines to meet up with Fiona, their druid guide.  Their find includes a few weapons, which they try out along the way.  When they get to the Dark Waters lake, their steam boat awaits and they leave to return to Crossings. They arrive in the morning to find Crossings under martial law and when they question brown cloaks about it, they are informed that Sixton, the capital of the Northern Reach, has been sacked by an orc army that crossed the Shield Mountains. Refugees are flowing in from the south and the town has increased its alert level, is training more militia and bolstering the town’s defenses wherever possible.


The heroes go into town this is where the session ended.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY: THE MINES OF MADNESS, 5.30.17

The Heroes:
  • Ecna Lubma: dwarf priest grudgebearer
  • Gruntbelly: dwarf magician sorcerer
  • Kane: human warrior fighter
  • Mathias: jotun jotun juggernaut


Upon leaving the Old Wood, the heroes begin their day-long journey into the Black Hills towards the mining camp.  Towards the end of the day they reach the camp and find it abandoned, with doors spiked shut and forced open, an overturned cart and something that appears to be a blood stain on the ground.  While searching one of the buildings, they find a dwarf child who is hiding in a store room.  She is initially terrified, but Gruntbelly is able to get through to her and they learn that there are “bug-man” creatures in the area, one of which took her father as they rode towards the camp.  She warns the heroes that the bug-men mostly come out at night…mostly.  The heroes search the area, find no more clues, then head to the mine entrance.  There the dwarves and Mathias lower themselves into the mine via the elevator, but before Kane could go down, two of the bug creatures enter the cave where the mine entrance is located and search it, but Kane used an enchanted item to make himself invisible.  That and the noise of the elevator crane engine and the smell of oily smoke coming from it masked him from the bug creatures, which left the cave shortly after entering.  Kane joins his companions in the mines below.

The heroes begin searching the mines and spend a few hours going through the branches from the main elevator chamber.  In one they find an overturned cart with a severed bottom-half torso inside.  In a nearby vent, two of the large bug-men crawl out.  One of them is winged and seems to have magical abilities that it casts at the heroes.  The other crawls down the wall and attacks Kane, who was ready for it and strikes first.  The creature manages an attack but is quickly killed by Kane who discovers that the creature’s blood is acidic and sprays out when it dies.  Luckily, Kane dodges the worst of it, but his scimitar is damaged. The others take on the winged bug-man and they kill it in a short fight, also dodging it’s acidic blood upon its death.

The heroes continue through the passages, noting a new section of mine that seems to have recently been discovered and broken through by the miners.  When the enter to investigate they find the passage is filled with a yellow-white substance and in an alcove they find a small nest, out of which crawls tiny versions of the bug-men.  They kill those rapidly and burn the nest, but see another one just ahead in the passageway.  They stop to consider their next moves.


End of session.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SOTDL CAMPAIGN DIARY: MINES OF MADNESS - PT 1, 5/23/17

The Heroes:

Ecna Lubma; Dwarf priest grudgebearer
Gruntbelly: Dwarf magician sorcerer
Kane: Human warrior fighter
Mathias: Jotun jotun juggernaut

The group spends a week in Crossings, which is still in high alert due to the rumblings of orc warbands causing trouble with settlements along the Shield Mountains.  The Browncloaks train militia in the streets and extra guards are stationed at the gates, keeping watch for trouble.  Security at the gates are increased and a general feeling of unease is heavy in town.  The heroes spend their down time going through the treasure chest taken from Guccione’s chambers and find a number of strange enchanted items along with a wealth of treasure.  No longer struggling to earn a living, the heroes find themselves able to purchase better equipment, keeping an ear open for any news that may lead them to their next quest.

Towards the end of the week, while enjoying drinks at the Honored Dead Shrine and Brewery, the heroes are approached by an ogre known to both Mathias and the proprietor of the brewery, Stohk Ironbrow.  The ogre, named Rech, had given the joten his armor and weaponry in exchange for a favor, which he was now calling to claim.  The ogre explains that his employer, Grundren the Ironmonger, a well-known and powerful dwarf businessman in Crossings and other towns across the Northern Reach, has a job for them.  He explains that Grundren has a mine in the Black Hills to the southwest of Crossings that they have lost contact with and that has stopped shipping ore.  This is causing problems for Grundren, who has many factories needing the ore to produce the materials they manufacture.  The dwarf has sent one group already to investigate and they have not been heard from, so there may be trouble.  He needs the heroes to go investigate, find out why the mine has stopped production, resolve any issues and get the mine operation again.  Mathias, bound by his promise, agrees to take the job and his companions agree as well. 

The heroes spend the rest of the day preparing for their journey.  Mathias and Ecna take the crazed Lara to Mercy Hill asylum to be cared for while they are gone, and to hopefully get cured of her mania.  Dr Feldman agrees to treat her.  Ecna notices that the asylum is strangely calmer than the last time they were here and when they ask an orderly, he tells them that Dr Feldman has been using a new treatment with the patients that has been doing wonders.  Suspicious of what may be going on, but short on time, Ecna and Mathias leave the matter to ponder for another time and return to the manor to finish their preparations and to rest for the journey in the morning.

Early the following day, the heroes head to the Tankards district and go to the pier that Rech told them to go to for their ride across the Dark Waters, provided by Grundren.  They find a steam boat waiting for them and their guide; a well-groomed, well-dressed dwarf named Bruk, who works for Grundren.  Bruk seems nice enough, but a bit of a control freak and his undwarf-like grooming and  cleanliness leave Gruntbelly and Ecna wondering if he is truly a dwarf at all.  The group meet the captain of the boat, Feara, who shows them their cabins and tells them they will be underway shortly.  Bruk supervises the placement of several crates into the hold of the ship, which Mathias notices later inclues two boxes of explosives and crates with mining supplies.  When Bruk is asked later, he says that the mine was expected to increase production due to a big order that Grundren had receive and so he is taking these supplies to save the time and expense of a second trip.  Bruk seems to be very concerned with budgets and time lines. 

The boat gets underway and for a couple of hours the ride is smooth and a bit dull.  The heroes divvy out their enchanted items, one of which is a strange humanoid doll that seems to radiate a feeling of menace.  For some reason, Mathias is drawn to the doll and takes it.  Then the boat is rocked by an impact and when the heroes go topside to see what is happening, they find the ship is under attack by some manner of lake creature with flailing tentacles that takes one of the ship’s crew overboard.  The heroes spring into action, fighting the tentacles with weapons and spells.  Eventually, they damage it enough that it lets the boat go and sinks back into the lake.  The captain takes the boat to a nearby island to repair damage and Bruk berates her for the delay.  She, in turn, blames the attack on the fact that Bruk insisted they take a direct route, through monster-infested waters, to save time against her better judgment. 

After repairs are made, the ship continues on its journey and by nightfall they reach a dock at the edge of the Old Wood.  The druid guide hired by Bruk, Fiona, awaits the group along with her animal companion, a great cat named Mr. Purrbody, and a cart drawn by two horses and manned by two dwarves.  The heroes are reluctant to go into the Old Wood at night, so against Bruk’s desire, they sleep on the shore and are led into the Old Wood at dawn by Fiona.  The first two days of travel are uneventful other than Mathias talking to his weird doll, who he starts calling “Annabelle”, and the group learns a little about Fiona, who seems to have fey in her bloodline, but is human; raised in the woods and has had her great cat companion since she was a child.  She worships the Old Faith, the Horned King in particular and discussed the matter at length with Kane, as she knew of his father and had worked with him before, suggesting she was older than she looked.  At night, Fiona would keep watch while the group slept, and at times they would hear sounds in the woods as though there were some kind of tussle, but Fiona never called for them and would come again for them in the morning to renew their journey.  On the final day, the trek takes a dark turn as Fiona sees signs of trouble, goes to investigate, and a beastmen warg warband attacks!  The heroes take on the group of wargs that confront them and the battle is brutal and bloody.  Mathias takes out Annabelle to unnerve the wargs, Ecna and Gruntbelly use their magic and axes to fend off the slavering wargs and Kane fires on them using his bow.  The group manage to kill or drive off all of the wargs and are rejoined by Fiona, who says the should make haste from this area to avoid further trouble with the beastmen.  A while later, the group break through the Old Wood and see the Black Hills before them.  Bruk secures Fiona’s services for their return trip and she departs leaving the group to begin their trek across the hills to the mine camp.


End of session.