Dwarf Chasers

Session 4
GM Recap

With the peeping dwarf cornered by Lyr in the cellar of the Crusty Tankard, Emere, Rowan, and Fayad stepped forward to interrogate him. He looks like a seasoned thief, and indeed, gives them shifty answers as he steps backwards towards a second set of stairs leading into the city. From behind them, the cellar door opens and Elmo enters, having recognized his companions. He had been drinking in the bar as part of his head trauma recovery plan. Alongside him is a black-haired man, who watches the scene unfolding with great interest. Elmo, seeing the group surrounding the dwarf, rushes forward and grabs the offending dwarf. Though he reveals he was indeed hired to watch them, intimidation and diplomacy both fail, so Fayad shoves a wraith pepper into his mouth and holds it shut. The dwarf’s eyes bulge, and he sweats profusely, trying his best to throw the two off of him. Rowan intervenes and gives the dwarf enough time to shift away and spit out the pepper, but not before it swells his mouth and tongue, rendering him unable to talk. He slobbers red-hued saliva onto the floor, and grunts and groans at his aggressors, unable to answer his questions. Rowan puts her foot down at the violence, and manages to help mitigate the damage. Her kindness earns the group a gesture at a group of barrels in the corner, and the dwarf shoves Elmo and heads out into the city.

The black-haired man introduces himself as Mason, and suggests that diplomacy might be a better option in the future. The group heads over to investigate the barrels, and discovers they have the symbol of the Brackwater Clan stamped upon them (a blue field, with a brown and yellow river running through it). The beer they brew, says Elmo, is subpar, but incredibly cheap – they are likely rivals of the Stoutbarrels. On the way out, Mason grabs a Stoutbarrel keg and brings it upstairs. He drops 100 gold on the counter, and begins to hear the stories of the party so far, and questions them as to why, exactly, they burst in and peppered that dwarf. They shrug (perhaps somewhat wary), and call themselves dwarf chasers. The group laughs, and suggests that they should name their adventuring troupe after the phrase. With the beer flowing, Mason becomes a fast friend of the group, and being out of work at the moment, asks to accompany them. They agree, and head into the street to try and locate the Brackwater Estate.

Arriving at the Brackwater mansion, the group are greeted by a pair of gruff guards, who refuse to allow them passage. As the group tries to gain access to no avail (“What are ye doin’ here?” “We’d like to see who is in charge.” “I’m in charge.”) Mason slips away and back to the bar, bringing his keg with him. He offers the dwarves some booze, claiming that he wants to buy more of this delicious drink, and he’s here to do just that. The dwarves finish their drinks, look at each other, and promptly burst out laughing. They allow the group to pass and enter the home, guffawing all the while. The group enters, and Mason tries once more – he’s here to purchase more of this delicious beer (unaware of the different brewers in the area). The dwarf (knowing full well that what he has available is inferior) looks him over, and, ignoring his flowery speech, goes straight to Elmo. “Are you here to buy beer?” “Yes.” “Good. Come this way.” A few attempts to describe their prisoner from earlier or perhaps ascertain his identity or purpose are met with no satisfying response and a tense exchange, so the group excuse themselves and leave. As they depart, the gate guards laugh at them once more.

Thinking it time for some sleep, the group bunk up for the night at the Fort. Before bed, Emere looks through his book once more, and discovers a stone similar to the one he is carrying – this one red, with black lines. They awaken and speak briefly with Kerad, informing him they intend to take the Caravan job, and head back into frozen north seeking the place of magic that Elias had mentioned. They arrive easily from his directions, but see a patch of blood in the snow alarming number of large black birds circling overhead. Rowan identifies them as carrion bird called Neha (after the cries they make). The party enter into the rock outcropping, and find a pair of ogres (but six beds) lying still on the ground. They do not stir, nor do they have any visible wounds. Emere takes note of a strange and cold magic emanating from the ground. The ogres, presumed dead and lacking anything of monetary value, are ignored, and the group turns down towards the other path. Here, they see a rudimentary wooden holding cell (with no current prisoners) and a circular stone cut with a crude spiral pattern which is also spattered with blood. The entrance to a cave is also noted, though it is not yet entered. The Neha “NEEE-haAA” in increasing volume and frequency. The party look up in response, and as a stone whizzes past Elmo’s head, two angry ogres jump down from the canyon walls, armed and angry.

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Session 3
GM Recap

After a good night’s rest, the group gathered in the Fort Icemaul mess to eat breakfast. The Paladin had scampered off for some do-goodery, the dwarf was still out cold from his conk on the head, and the Tiefling was nowhere to be seen, probably doing nefarious things out of sight. Kerad indicated that once they were finished, that they could enter Icemaul proper and meet with Gert Stoutbarrel. He also sent a young female rogue named Ariyel – hailing from the southern trading city of Qartel – along with them. A few rashers of bacon and one dwarven estate later, the party of four gained access to Gert’s mansion, and entered his meeting chamber.

After gold and riddle box exchanged hands, the mood lightened. Gert cracked jokes, and mentioned another task for the adventurers: security for the movement of his trade caravan to the south. He offered to sate the curiosity of the group, knowing they’d tried to open the box. In a quick motion, he activated it, placed it on the ground, and smashed it open with his hammer. Inside were a small sheet of paper (the Stoutbarrel family recipe, he admitted) and a strange blue stone, lined with white. This stone, when dropped in liquid, allowed Emere to drink without consequence, neither igniting the alcohol nor doused himself.

The group shared in Gert’s famous heavy black stout, and toured the brewery underneath his home – several dwarven workers were hard at work preparing it for purchase. The drink was strong, and caused some light-headedness and general joviality; at least that is, until the rogue spilled some, earning herself the disdain of all dwarves present. The visit ended shortly thereafter, but on a high note – Gert voiced his approval and thanks, and offered to show them the recipe (before laughing and whisking it away).

After catching up with Kerad at the Bearded Trough (famous for its sign of a goatee’d pig drinking from an overflowing trough) and now without a task, at least until the caravan’s departure in the coming week, the group opted for a bit of shopping. The entered a store of magical curios, run by an eccentric and high-pitched dwarf named Artix. They purchased some upgrades, commented on the enormous spiral horned skeleton in the corner, and discovered a book written in a strange and spindly language titled (in common) On magical gemstones and their properties. While Emere nearly torched the book in flames, the remainder of the group. The rogue lifted an interesting and innocuous brass ring, and which couldn’t quite be looked away from without grabbing attention. Not least strange among the wares was a pile of red peppers, dried, crinkled and slightly transparent. Artix revealed them to be highly flammable and corrosive – the wraith chili – and suggested they be left alone. Goaded into handling them (and perhaps distracted by his book) Emere attempted to handle them. They promptly exploded, leaving a fine red powder of much of the store. The group paid for damages, and departed.

The group moved on to the outdoor market, where one dwarf managed to sell them a few wraith peppers, but not before attempting to pawn off a few worthless magical baubles. Fayad pocketed them carefully for future use. Meanwhile, Rowan took note of a strange hooded dwarf who had been watching them in the market for some time. She mentions it to the group, but he dashed away as they approached. Chasing him through the streets, they manage to corral him into the Crusty Tankard, a rather seedy establishment in the bad part of town. With a booming voice, Fayad announced his just intention to catch the lawbreaker, and the crowd parted. Ariyel slipped away in the commotion, but the other three pursue him into the cellar.

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Session 2
GM Recap

The party, curious about the riddle box, gathered around it and tried to unlock its secrets. Some quick shaking revealed something loose inside, though it weighed less than 5 pounds. A cube about 6 inches each direction, it was ornately carved and inlaid with gold. Levers, buttons and tracing paths covered the outside, but it proved too complex to be opened.

As the group pondered what could possibly be inside, a man approached the watchtower. A human, raised by dwarves and a paladin of their god Moradin, he introduced himself to the mage Elias (still outside, and freezing) as Heydon and asked leave to enter the tower. Elias agreed, but requested that he ask the group he be allowed back inside.

Heydon entered, introducing himself and revealing that the dwarf Kerad Whitestone had sent him to assist in the recovery of the puzzle pox. After some starey moments, a cough and a knock came from outside. Heydon opened the door for Elias, who entered, decidedly less amiable than previously. He sat down to his books. The paladin and the party turned to discuss the recovery of box and their travels thus far. Atori became unsettled, and mentioned that the weather was worsening. The wind outside started to pick up, and snow started buffeting the tower. Emere attempted to check the trap door, but was unable to open it. He descended back down the ladder.

Suddenly, the trap door swung open. A Dwarven arm sent a flask of red fluid straight into the fire below. It exploded ferociously, setting Elias’s books aflame and blasting Elmo away from the fire and into a wall to be knocked unconscious (and for the first time, not by the drink). Heydon burst through the front door, and found himself surrounded by a number of armed, grimy dwarves. These were mere fodder, and quickly dispatched by the party. Moments later, the northwest wall of the tower exploded, and two more dwarves burst into the room, attempting to smash both Rowan and Atori. Elias tended to Elmo, but not before slamming the fire-starter into the tower floor.

A dwarf with a scar from ear to chin then stepped into the fray, offering a bellowing suggestion that they hand over the riddle box. A battle-raging Heydon traded blows and taunted the dwarf, giving him a holy brand on the side of his face. Enraged, the dwarf’s allies struck back, knocking Heydon to the ground and briefly stunning him. Some healing magic from Rowan and the goddess Melora kept Heydon conscious. After the ash settled, only one lowly dwarf remained. He was intimidated into surrender, and then briefly interrogated. He named the leader of the group as Belwas Irontem, and said he had been promised money to help retrieve the box. He was released from the tower and hobbled away, presumably to return to drinking at the Crusty Tankard. The party recovered a purse of 300 gold, a magical hammer (identified by Fayad as a +1 Earthwrought Hammer), some dwarf-made matches, and a small cask of gunpowder.

Emere, still suspicious of the mage, asked again what he was hiding. A bit perturbed, the mage countered that he was hiding nothing, and disappointed in the treatment he had received from the group. He’d let them in and offered them shelter, told them what he knew, and even helped assist the now-conscious but groggy dwarf (who had unfortunately missed the entire battle – coincidentally extremely embarrassing for dwarven folk). The paladin intervened, and stepped aside with the mage to figure out what was wrong. Elias admitted that he had discovered a potential magical source nearby, likely brimming with wisps, but was keeping it away from the party in order to preserve his find from non-academics (as they have the tendency to … break things).

The party considered their next move. It was decided that they should return the box to Kerad, meet with Gert, and move on from there. Heydon also mentioned the mage’s discovery. They began the journey back to Icemaul, stopping by the bridge they’d crossed earlier. The dwarves they had met there were gravely injured, and though Rowan managed to stabilize one of them they were able to gather no information – other than their grisly cuts running from ear to chin. The reached the fort, found Kerad and medical assistance for the injured dwarf, and took a well-deserved rest. Their meeting with Gert Stoutbarrel could wait until the morning.

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Session 1
GM Recap

The party, loosely bound by an obnoxious and trite fetch quest, meets for the first time.

In the mess hall of Fort Icemaul Kerad Whitestone and Fayad the Deva Invoker reunite, both formerly of the Shields of Bahamut. Kerad ask a favor of his friend, to retrieve a Riddle Box for a powerful local dwarf named Gert Stoutbarrel. Fayad accepts, and Kerad gives him a token of his appreciation – a small, tarnished silver coin engraved with Bahamut and an inscription reading “Open to Bahumut” in Dwarvish.
Kerad then woke a visiting Dwarf from the south, Elmo Goldspade, to accompany Fayad. He then suggested that the two find more to join them, as things had been strange of late in the region. The pair, one short and one tall, came across a half-elven woman leading a wolf. She introduced herself as Rowan, and her companion as Lyr. She decides to join them as well.

The trio then turned to see a grumbling Kerad. Tailing the dwarf was a sullen Tiefling, who had been sneaking around the Fort. Kerad insisted they take the Tiefling with him, having no interest in harboring either a Tiefling nor a sneakthief. The Tiefling grudgingly complied, muttering that his name was Atori. Four strong, the group moved out the front gate to begin their travel to the northern watchtower of the Dwarves. Not ten steps into their journey, they are confronted by a Fiery Genasi. He inserted himself into the party, introducing himself as Emere – his warmth and skill were welcome.

After a short time’s travel, Lyr began to act a touch unsettled. Rowan picked up on her friend’s unease, and mentioned it to the party. They heard a group of wolves howling and suddenly saw a group of wolves rushing toward them. Though the Tiefling took a few nips and bites, the wolves were dispatched of quickly. The poor creatures were starved and likely driven to this attack by their hunger.

The party then arrived at a small canyon, cut into the earth by a quick-flowing river. A small rope bridge was their only means of crossing to the other side, where two Dwarven guards stood watch. Rowan asked passage, so that they might retrieve the Stoutbarrel Riddle Box. The others frowned at her loose tongue. They made it across without incident (Dwarves laughing all the while), though Elmo did risk running the last 30 feet. Only his alcohol could calm his nerves. The dwarves guarding the bridge were briefly questioned, but found to be simple security. Elmo relieved them of their whiskey, and Atori managed to convince the pair that they were not, in fact, looking for a valuable Riddle Box.

Shortly thereafter, the party arrived at the North Watchtower. A slightly inebriated Elmo mistook a large, fallen log for the tower. The Deva pointed him in the right direction. However, the tower – supposed to be abandoned – was occupied by some kind of magical presence. Smoke and light drifted out the tower’s openings.

Elmo stealthily opened the door, positioned himself behind the robed figure sitting by the fire, and was immediately called out. The figure stood up, demand the party walk in, and introduced himself as Elias Sindwell, an academic mage studying Ice Wisps in the area. He had taken to the tower as shelter and a quiet place for study. Rowan felt that he might not be revealing all, and spoke with the group outside. They decided to ask him to step outside as they looked for the Riddle Box. They discovered it hidden behind a cleverly concealed stone wall, opened expertly by Fayad.

A few initial attempts to open the box were met with failure, as Elias waited patiently outside.

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