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Brindenford Notes Page 10

Page history last edited by Gillian 11 years, 9 months ago

Page 9


Val and Elrohir, in town after a long round of dungeoneering,  are not especially eager to plunge back in. They spend some time advertising for a new cleric, and meet Coelwine (Kol-win) from Greenvale. He'd heard tales that the locals in Brindenford (and Tallowsland in general) worship an odd Saint named Belestros, who makes a mockery of Kehret's fair and equal treatment of women, and he has come here to see if he can gain power and prestige to counter this malice. Val is happy to take him on, but asks what his God will think if he dies? Coel says that he's certain he would have died with valor, and Kehret will give him new honors in his next life!


After hiring Coel, the PCs return for the night to their Tower. On the way, a strange and disturbing incident occurs. As they ride, a loud bell sound chimes out of mid-air, and Val is suddenly stricken with horrible pains. A voice, speaking out of nowhere, utters the following words; "You have strayed too far into realms too dangerous. Flee now with the petty baubles you have recovered from the so-called ‘dungeon.' Flee with your lives. You will not get this warning again."

Then it rings the bell. "This is just the first tolling of the bell," it states. "If you do not leave the Fallen Duchy, we will ring it again. And again. Until you are dead."


Val takes 3 points of Con drain from the effects. Elrohir casts detect magic, and senses that some smallish magical force is moving rapidly away, high in the air. He cannot focus on it to determine the type, before it is hidden by trees near the road.


Struck by the threat in the warning, Elrohir and Gunter investigate what the thing may have been while Val and Coel go back home, so Val can rest and Coel can memorize Lesser Restoration to cure her tomorrow. Elrohir first visits Felstor, who can tell them nothing, so they head for Piven next. He gives them several pieces of information. First, the invisible flying creature MIGHT have been an invisible stalker; an aerial creature that is sometimes ussed as either a messenger or tool of a priest or wizard who can summon it. In themselves they are not evil, but are innately invisible and can act as assassins. The bell sound might have been a magic item, or a power of the creature itself. Elrohir had noted that the creature fled southeast (or at least the spot of magic moved that way) so he asks Piven what might lie in that direction. Piven digs around and comes up with just two possibilities; the Delve itself, and a place known as "The Pit in the Woods". Piven doesn't know quite where it is located, but his records tell him it is "a mile or more" from the Delve, and that it dates back many centuries, to a time when the local residents sometimes needed to dispose of weak or troublesome members of their community; the Pit was used as a sort of "disposal" or "sacrificial" place where the weak, infirm, criminal, or insane could be gotten rid of, but not actively killed. What relationship this might have to the "stalker" is unclear...


The Sheriff is able to tell them in detail where the pit lies, but he says that he's never seen any trouble come out of it, despite the colorful past. Still, El and the others spend a day hiking out and investigating it. They find the Pit, and Gunter descends on a rope, but after reaching 150', the sinkhole is still going down, and while it is very rugged, it doesn't seem to be ending any time soon. He sees a number of ancient bones, but no living things. Eventually he gives up. Asking around with the locals brings up another interesting story, but no new info on the bell-ringing incident; a farmer says that "in his grandfather's day" famous fighters from all around used to come to the Pit (or the Dragon's Delve, possibly), to find a famous warrior-master known as Mui Yan. This master trained fighters in his arena, deep underground.


Returning to Piven, they learn that Mui Yan was a war-master who lived some six hundred year ago (!) and reputedly had his training facility deep in the dungeon. Stories linger of fighters who have continued to find him in his lair, and receive training there. If true, some powerful magic must be at work! Anyway, the PCs decided to shelve the whole problem, and return to the dungeon...


However, they did get one more small warning from Sheriff Erro - in the past few weeks a few stray people have seemed to go missing from town... it's not certain, because everyone who has been missed is a transient or otherwise not traceable. But he's worried that something "big" is building.


Eventually, Val and Elrohir decided that their "best choice" was to continue back into the dungeon. They first went to the teleporter room, and cleared it off; now that Burr-buggle and his gang are out chasing bandits, they can use the island as their own private route to the 5th level! They then went to visit Illistra, who is acting less sane by the day... she responds with near-panic to the mention of the bell. She reveals that a friend of hers died from the pain/con drain, just a few weeks ago; however, she claims that her friend died "just a few days" before Maximus (in the form of his sword) appeared to guard the stairs down to level 7. She's convinced the two are linked, and doesn't have any other info. She tells the PCs the code that will get them through the bluesteel doors elsewhere in the dungeon level, and also is able to tell them that she's been to Khorant, and give them a rough idea of where the temple/island is. They decide it sounds safer to investigate that than to go back "up" to level six, where they lost Wilhelm. (At some point in here, they bought a map of the island of Khorant from Renitass).


Entering the island, they are trying to decide whether to cut through the "Jungle of Teeth" or skirt the coast (they decided to head for the "good village" and maybe get a boat there) when a pair of hunting megaloraptors charged out of the jungle towards them. With three free rounds to act, they are able to badly wound one of the beasts, but when melee begins, it is rapidly apparent that they cannot handle the pair easily. Eventually, Elrohir manages to drive one of them off with a flaming sphere, and Val and Gunter kill the other. Coelwine holds his own meleeing the second beast, but is badly injured before El drives it away. At this point, they decided to retreat to the dungeon, and evaluate their next move.




Returning to the dungeon, they spent a night in the teleportal chamber on the 5th level. Returning to the island again, they hiked south-east to Pirate's Cove, where they observed for a day; they saw no ships come or go, but they identified the  manor, the temple, and the fortress. They debated fireballing both ships in the hopes of wrecking the pirates' careers, but eventually decided to retreat without doing anything, in case they want to return later.


Returning to the dungeon, they ventured back up the stairs to the 6th level, and killed the two heat-wraiths after a powerful turn, but they discovered that the creatures were immune to fireball, and thus to most fire magic. Since Elrohir has no non-fire based powerful attack spells, they decided to return to town and do some research before going further into the level.

Once there, they found no easily available cold or water-magic spells. Both Felstor and Piven promised to do some research and see what they could come up with, maybe in a week or two. So in the meantime, at Elrohir's urging, they decided to do a bit of bandit-hunting! El secretly hopes to track down and "deal with" Burr-buggle for one last time. So they traveled out to Volker and Erna's outpost to the east (one day) of Brindenford. While there, renewing old friendships, they  learned that Burr-buggle and his group  had come through about 10 days earlier, with a band of 8 warrior henchmen. They claimed to be headed south "a couple of days" to "lay siege" to a "bandit fort" that they said was "on the shore of a lake". How much truth there is to this, and exactly WHERE, is unclear. But they have not yet returned.



Volker agreed to take the PCs to his Woodsfolk village, and see if any of the hunters there know where the bandit fort might be located. the trip to the Woodsfolk encampment was short, only about 2 hours, and they were greeted by Clothilde, who had met and nursed Val when she first arrived in the area (her caravan was attacked and wrecked by the bandits). Clothilde and Volker together help them convince Hermann, the other Elder, to let them hire Swanhilde, a ranger, to lead them to the bandits. First, they spend a night in the woods being spied on by someone, but nothing dangerous happens, and they are told by the woodsfolk that they have been "very brave". Swanhilde leads them south the next day towards the bandit Fort. It is a two day journey. On the first day, they find a camp that they think is Burr-buggle's; while examining the detritus left behind (including a grave with three men-at-arms in it) they are attacked by three vicious "tatzlwyrms". The largest one first knocks down and nearly slays Coelwine, and then leaps from him to Elrohir. El sets it afire, doing serious harm (he's able to pierce it's spell resistance) and at the same time Val and Gunter manage to slay one of the smaller monsters with a  rain of arrows. Swanhilde misses every shot. When the large beast drops, the second smaller one tries to flee, but Val meets it and slays it with one mighty blow. They strip  the creatures' hides and camp for the night to recover... The next day they continue their journey south.


Arriving late in the day at the site of the fort, they discover that there are two encampments near the Bandit fort; one houses Burr-buggle and his buddies, with five remaining men-at-arms, and the other houses a newcomer - a paladin of St. Iylyria from Greenvale named Aethelu and her party (2 subpaladins, cleric, sergeant, 9 men-at-arms, 6 other servants); they claim to be here to destroy the bandits on behest of Greenvale. She arrogantly demands that the PCs go away and leave her to handle the issue. She's waiting for "just the right moment" to attack and wipe them out!


El and Val back off and visit with Burr-buggle, who agrees to help them assault the Fort if they will get Aethelu out  of his hair! He admits that they were arguing with her when the bandits assaulted both groups, a couple of days ago; the bandits were able to get a couple of messengers out, and BB expects reinforcements any  time now. He can't understand WHAT Aethelu is waiting for!


So,  soon  after full dark, Elrohir stands off and bombs the Fort  with a trio of fireballs, creating  three blazing infernos in three of the five towers... and then wait to see what the Bandits do in return.



While Elrohir and his team were getting  ready to firebomb the fort, several other things happened; Burr-buggle and his buddies set up to watch the front gate and the Paladin's camp - they were supposed to wait until any bandits emerging from the Fort attacked the Paladin, and then interfere/render aid if needed. Also, try to prevent any bandits from escaping.


At the same time, unknown to anyone,  Aethelu, her cleric Leoba and her elder squire Rowan, left their camp and went to the edge of the Lake. Aethelu would deny that they did this stealthily, but no one witnessed them go. Once there, they finished conducting a 3-day long summoning ritual, which called a horrid seven-headed monster out of the lake; Aethelu controlled it and forced it to attack the back wall of the Keep, immediately after the fireballing.


The result of this simultaneous wave of violence was immediate chaos. After a few minutes of fire, the bandits rallied. A troop of regular bandits and two leaders burst out of the Fort, charging the Paladins. BB and his buddies immediately  intervened;  Burr-buggle flew over them, and used scorching ray. The bandits turned and attacked them, leaving the Paladin's troop alone. They never engaged, waiting as they were commanded for Aethelu's signal.


Aethelu  and the Hydra burst through the back wall of the keep, although the undead badly injured her squire, forcing the cleric and squire to retreat. Aethelu, the hydra, the stag lord, and his druid companion, as well as a few lesser bandits, attacked each other. The  stag lord killed the  hydra in single combat, and the druid and Paladin stalemated each other; finally, the hydra defeated, the Stag-lord slew Aethelu as the druid fell.


As this battle was going on, the bandits engaged Burr-buggle's band, and the PCs decided to ride that way to aid them. The bandits were caught in a pincer-move between the two groups, and one bandit leader (Auchs) fell to archery fire and spells even before they closed to melee. The second leader and his men fought valiantly, but were outmatched by the two adventurer groups. The end was swift. Immediately, Gunter and the cleric Meinhard from Burr-buggle's group circled to the rear of the Keep, to watch the back wall and prevent anyone from escaping.


The other PCs went to the Paladin camp for a brief consultation, then rode for the keep to see what the fate of the Paladin and her hydra had been. They took with them BB's band, and Geoffrey and Leoba, the paladin's sergeant and cleric respectively. By this time it was clear that the hydra was dead, and no sign of Aethelu or the Stag-lord could be seen. Riding to the gate, the PCs were confronted by a raging owl-bear, set loose by the bandits as they battled the fire Elrohir had caused. The combat was short, as the creature was badly outnumbered. Once it fell, a swift search of the Keep led to the discovery of Aethelu's body half-buried in the mud under her hydra, and the druid beside her, but  no sign of the Stag-lord. A later discovery of the "secret passage" informed them that he had made good his getaway, with who knew how much treasure!


They looted the Keep, finding much coinage and other recoverable treasure in the form of trade goods, armor, weapons and such. Burr-buggle and his buddies took a half-share of all the coinage, but allowed the PCs to take all the goods; in turn, they left at once to pursue the Stag-lord. Weeks later, the PCs would learn that they found he had retreated to another nearby bandit camp, assembled a group of followers, and fled into the forests to the east, on the flanks of Greenvale. The party is certain they've made a profound enemy, but are more interested in how to get cash for his goods!


In the end, they spend two weeks hauling it all to Volker's outpost. Volker agrees to act as their agent,  selling all the goods and taking a commission. He agrees that they will receive 4,000 silver pennies in the end, due in 4 payments six months apart. The PCs are happy with this and the  over 1,000 sp that was their share of the jewelry and coinage they found in the Fort. They also recovered a +1 rapier and several potions.


Two weeks later, the PCs were back in Brindenford,  and Burr-buggle arrived to inform them that he had lost the Staglord's tracks in the forest. He and Elrohir traded spells, and the two groups are now on rather better terms than they had been before now, though the party is sstill convinced that BB is a fool, and that Brother Fortress is evil and will eventually have to be gotten rid of.


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