The Withered Fortress

Session 2

Ruins on the mesa

Check out Tim’s excellent map of the ruins so far

The group resumed with a discussion about where best to head next. Eventually the grate/manhole was left while the party scouted further into the Southwest portion of the ruins.

The characters fanned out amongst crumbling walls and roofless rooms, finally coming to surround a door into a more stable looking sturcture. During this time, Edvar had a slight misstep, making noise enough to potentially alert goblins to their presence.

Listening, they heard sounds from within the structure they surorunded. Falyn climbed to the roof of the structure as the others flanked the door and prepared to enter. Unknown to the party, several goblins (including a shaman) were now closing on their location.

Falyn, being a gnome, created dancing lights and sent them flying through holes in the roof. He was rewarded with the sounds of panic from within. At nearly the same moment, goblin footmen and archers confronted the characters, still outside the structure they were positioned near.

Edvar, Morrykin and Wendel moved to confront the new appearances. The shaman hurled a spell at Edvar to no effect, and fled. The other goblins engaged the group from North and South.

Morrykin quickly dispatched a goblin to the North, while Edvar continued to hold the Southern goblins at bay with help from Wendel. Falyn attempted to move to a better location on the roof, to grant an angle for attacking the goblins on the ground. However, he crashed through the decayed structure of the building into the room with the panicking goblins. To his relief, he was able to utilize tumbling maneuvers so well that he avoided damage and maintained his spell.

The goblin shaman tried another spell and was more successful, applying a penalty to the party’s attacks. He continued to fall back before Edvar, though. Also, Wendel dispatched a goblin archer with a combination of spells and a well thrown short-spear.

Falyn found himself in a crude goblin barracks, and set himself to the grim task of subduing its inhabitants. Morrykin entered through the door and joined him. As the two began easily defeating the 5 goblins within, a loud horn call was heard to the West. The shaman was calling for help.

As the goblins were gradually driven back, the party moved further into the ruins. Suddenly a bugbear came roaring into view, though too late to save the shaman from being struck down.

Edvar bravely confronted the bugbear, engaging in a muscle-to-muscle grappling showdown. He was joined by Morrykin, who had worked his way out of the structure after all the goblins within met their deaths.

The bugbear struck down Morrykin, leaving him bleeding and unconscious. However, the rest of the group had now joined Edvar as well, and overwhelmed the bugbear. It was decided to borrow the rings from Morrykin’s finger to carry out some healing at this point.

Falyn had overheard the approach of a hobgoblin, and when he appeard the party quickly swarmed and overwhelmed him. It is worth noting that if the party had come upon the shaman, hobgoblin, and bugbear together, it might have gone badly for them. Fortunately they had neutralized the first goblin sentry (last session) and did not set off an early alarm.

The group then split up to search the bodies, which were spread over a large area. The battle had ranged over several areas of the ruins. There were various elements of loot, many of which were shared with the entire party. Most notably were some small vials of milky fluid which detected as conjuration (subschool healing), an earring from the shaman which detected as illusion and evocation, and a large (football-sized) egg. Falyn ended up carrying the egg and Wendel the earring, while the vials were distributed amongst the party.

The group learned enough from this battle to more than push them past the level 2 mark. They chose to head upstairs to the hobgoblin’s abode to rest.

Afterward, they discussed their next destination. The manhole/grate now seemed less inviting, so the group chose to forge ahead into the rest of the ruins.

They went through a door in a roofless wall and found more crumbled and withered structures. Picking their way between crumbling walls and furniture, they began to encounter dire rats in small numbers. They easily killed these and continued exploring. They reached a set of double doors leading into a somewhat large structure with an intact roof, but chose not to enter. Slightly to the north of the doors was a crude looking sign staked into the ground, but none could read the text written on it.

Proceeding confidently the group forged ahead, ignoring the double doors. They were soon set upon by 5 more dire rats, though they disposed of these easily with a bit of color spray from the sorcerer. They found some mundane items of loot in the largest of the dire rat’s nests.

The party continued west from the dire rat nests, into an area with intact walls and roof. A few times, some of them seemed to sense something unusual, like perhaps a secret door nearby. Nothing was found, though. The characters searched some mostly empty rooms, finding one more dire rat, and moved on.

They emerged into open sky again in an overgrown garden. High grass surrounded fruit trees, large shrubs, a statue of a nymph with puckered lips, and pools of water. Falyn first fell, then later dove back into one of the pools. Edvar picked fruit from the trees, sampling them and finding them tasty. Falyn accosted the nymph statue with his lips, producing a tingling effect in the members of the party. Those few with wounds found them healed.

Morrykin began scouting his way West through the garden. He noticed that to the West a huge nest sat, and in it was a massive dire vulture feeding on the carcass of a horse. Morrykin remained quiet and still, avoiding notice. The others saw him take up a stealthy stance, and began to be more sneaky themselves. However, one of the character’s movements gave them away (Edvar?) and the dire vulture turned to spot Morrykin. The two eyed each other for a time. The vulture eventually returned to its meal, having decided that Morrykin was not a threat. Morrykinremained to watch the vulture.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group began to head North out of the garden. They found a stone and marble amphitheatre area, strangely empty. They continued East from there, without much closer examination. Before moving much farther, though, a voice entered their heads.

The voice’s owner stressed that it was a friend, but did not want to reveal itself without some assurance that it would not be attacked. The party rather grudgingly gave this assurance, and a maroon dragon, the size of a housecat and with similar demeanor, stepped into view. As it perched on top of a pile of rubble, it proceeded to divulge the following information:

- It was part of a core of pseudodragons which assists the elders and military in Findleburrow as scouts, couriers, and companions. The pseudodragon core is part of the glue that keeps Findleburrow strong in the face of the regular and increasing troll onslaught.

- He had been following and observing the party since they set out, to determine if they were earnest in seeking after the objectives they had been tasked with.

- He had determined that, although far from perfect in their actions, the party was in fact attempting to do as the elders had asked.

- He had been instructed by the elders to now tell the pary more about their task—to recover a lost cache of extrememly valuable pseudodragon eggs. The greatest of the gnome elders had betrayed Findleburrow and taken all the pseudodragon eggs. Many search parties had set out to suspected hideouts the traitor could be using, to seek the eggs. At least one party may already have failed.

- Though the DM stupidly had not prepared a name, the name of this NPC is “Mephyrion Satin Scales.” The pseudodragon is quite proud of his name.

Mephyrion had some parting thoughts for each member of the party individually, then told them that he believed there was a way into the keep through the Necropolis to the East. A living garbage disposal, a carrion crawler, was chained up outside the Necropolis.

The party, with Mephyrion tagging along, headed East right away. There they found heaps of smelly garbage, and the promised carrion crawler. It had been harnessed and staked to the ground, thus was at a handicap. The party at first kept their distance, whittling away at the carrion crawler with stones and spells. Eventually, though, Falyn charged the monster. He was immediately paralyzed by one of the crawler’s many tentacles.

Edvar and the others then made their way toward the crawler. Edvar was also paralyzed, while Mephyrion flew in and tried to circle behind. The group seemed fearful at this point, seeing how easily they could become paralyzed.

The carrion crawler sensed victory and foolishly attempted to feed on Falyn before paralyzing and subduing everyone. In retrospect, the crawler would have fared better with full attack of all its tentacles, spreading the joy of paralysis around more completely. In the end, the party slew the carrion crawler with not a scratch!

It was near this point that we ended the session.

The current experience total stands at: 1555

Check out Tim’s excellent map of the ruins so far

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