Talowdale

Wherein Karaflan Dies in Glory
Do I shoot the angel?

The Death of Karaflan was epic.

The waves of expendables fell under the blows and arrows and magic of the party. Then the fire giants pressed their main attack. A young adult red dragon charged through the melee crushing scores of kobalds, knocking over statues, and stomping Grim and Karaflan into paste. Holding against the charge, Karaflan and Grim inflicted tremendous damage on the dragon. Karaflan, dead but too enraged to know it, leapt at the dragon that had just trampled him. Grim charged with his halberd. The dragon turned his head toward Grim just in time to have his eye stabbed by the halberd. Karaflan gained the back of the dragon and stabbed down hard with his giant sword, slaying the tremendous beast. Karaflan turned, bloody foam on his lips, organs dripping from the sides of his armor, insane rage in his eyes, and screamed a terrifying threat at the fire giants advancing on him. And died.

Seconds later an angel was summoned who used magic to bring a peaceful end to the feud between the giants and the wee folk.

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Wherein the Fire Giants Retaliate
Battle Royale

Mere minutes after the party fled from the giant’s colony, the fire giants mobilized a massive counter attack on Dun Golorel. The party healed up and rose to the defense of the dwarves.

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Wherein the party slaughters women and childeren
Fire giants attacked from the rear.

There was some preliminary business talk. Loans, shops, office space, airport, professionals and employees, a roof over your head that you own.

Then back to the business of giant slaying. Information was had from the Dun Glordel dwarves that the giants had spread out into the territory of the Citadel of the Bloody Hand. The party examined the map and compared the known knowns with the known unknowns and chose a place to attack from.

On the way the party encountered a rather large snake. It was befriended with promises of showing the snake to a warmer location.

Teleport into the back rooms of the Citadel was essentially a teleportation directly into combat with the women and children of the fire giants. Combat lasted 9 rounds and saw 6 hell hounds, 5 adult and 5 child fire giants fall to the party. The party then retreated when more fire giants came charging in with their guard dragon.

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Wherein the party succeeds in solving Garron Bellows' legal troubles
And no one was killed.

The gnome party succeeded in managing a political conflict without murdering any of their enemies. This is an achievement the epic party has had trouble mastering.

After gathering information from barmaids, soldiers, and clerics, the Gnomes hired informants and an attorney. New fancy armor and weapons were purchased. Everyone was equipped with sturdy helms to protect against the face-rending fate that befell Fatty in the fight against the green dragon. After displaying superior ability to utilize violence, the Guild agreed to withdraw the Reeve’s hired goons, in exchange for promises and gold. Always keeping their eye on the prize, the party pushed through Garron Bellows’ legal difficulties to clear away any impediment to the business partnership in the mithril forge.

The party whipped up a religious fervor just by their presence in the city and provoked a candle light protest in front of the courthouse on the day of the trial. Fatty presented the party’s testimony that Garron was not a pirate and in fact was a victim of piracy and the real thief was Reeve Gunning. During the recess the chef and baker in the party managed to cater the protest with a feast of local trout and cream puffs. The decision came down to credibility of witnesses where on one side there was a notoriously selfish petty local polititian and on the other side was a witness bathed in the holy aura of Clangedden.

The Reeve lost. He got pied by the crowd on the way out of the courthouse. And the party were declared officers of the court for the purposes of repossessing Garron Bellows’ goods that had been taken by the Reeve. In the inspection of one of the Reeve’s warehouses the party discovered a massive shipment of Mad Cactus. The Sheriff confiscated the narcotics and arrested the Reeve. The party participated in the arrest by insulting the Reeve’s sour wife, conspiring to kidnap his 2-year-old son, ransacking his house, and threatening to use area of effect magic indoors.

Justice was served up with a side of cream puffs and the party returned to Tern’s Roost to get back to the serious business of giant slaying.

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Wherein the party defeats Altroth the Green
Who?

Fresh from a night’s sleep and a few gallons of beer to wash away the ordeal of breaking free from slavery the party considered establishing a mithril forge and blacksmithing operation with Garron Bellows. Because some specialized equipment was necessary, the party decided to teleport back to their home continent, Artha. After a few days of acquiring stud fees to cover some travel expenses the party set out across the snowy forest, following the Raerae River toward Silver Hills.

Along the way, the party battled numerous dangerous creatures. Many goblins and orcs were slain. Two wyverns provided target practice for a newly acquired wand of lightning. A herd of Triceretops were left to water themselves unmolested. The most significant encounter was that with Altroth the Green, a young adult green dragon.

Altroth had recently established his lair near the home range of a tribe of centaurs and the conflict between the horse men and the dragon left the centaur tribe decimated. The party befriended Ternner Tyr, a centaur, who led them to the dragon. A short but intense battle ensued where the party employed excellent planning and expended several single-use magic items. Fatty Fat Scaredy Cat the Pony Winston aka Fatty Winston nearly was slain by the fell dragon and lost his nose and several teeth in the fight.

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Wherein the party becomes enslaved
Smash and grab is a legitimate tactic.

The era of exploring Undermountain with the aid of Halastair’s Horned Ring nearly came to an end in the last session.

Things began in the midst of the action. The party had locked themselves in the armory of the fire giants and had been looting it when they heard the sound of the armored giant strike force returning to their colony. Grim advocated a frontal assault on more than a dozen fully armed fire giants, their dragon, and hell hounds. Before Leeroy Genkins could commit the party to suicide, Glauben noticed a camouflaged face creeping amongst the giants ankles. Then there was a gentle knock on the door to the armory. A team of dwarvish tunnel runners had infiltrated the giant colony to assist the gnomes in rescuing the dwarvish slaves.

The tunnel runners had created diversions at the known entrances to the fire giant colony with steam-driven automated war machines that were set to self-destruct, so the colony was clear of giants and most guards. The party was able to move through the colony, through the main mess hall, past the kitchens, and into the servants section without even seeing a single giant.

When they did find one, the party blundered around a corner into a fire giant guard. But Grim was able to bluff the guard into walking into an ambush. The gnomes and dwarves didn’t even come up to the giant’s knees, so they took the opportunity to shorten his legs for him. And then applied a hair cut that may have been a bit extreme. A fifth dwarf tunnel runner linked up with the party and the party found the dwarf slaves that the fire giants had been keeping. With the help of teleportation, the slaves and their slain family members were safely delivered to Dun Glordel.

King Faldar informed the party that a team had been sent to the surface to plug the exit that had been used by the Bloody Hand, along with two squads of soldiers to help keep the village of Tern’s Roost safe from any assassins or vampires that might start trouble. Reminded by the King that there were still loos ends to run down, the party returned to the surface and Durnan’s Inn. The inn was packed with townsfolk seeking refuge from the remnants of the assassin’s guild which had erupted upon the surface. After scanning the crowd with the goggles of lifesight and talking with the men of the village the party learned of a dozen or so missing persons. The party armed the villagers with spoils from the fire giants and set out to search the village for the missing people.

Through the square and across the creek the party encountered a beautiful young woman in a dark cloak that they did not recognize. She was screaming that a vampire had attacked her husband. The party followed her into a dark alley only to be fired on by a hidden gang of slavers using poison.

Later the members of the party awoke in individual stone cells with iron bars and no windows, completely stripped of all their equipment. Some harsh words were exchanged between the gnomes and the guard. About three minutes later the entire slave prison was in a full blown riot. The party had a difficult battle against gargoyle guards and then broke free of the slave prison. In the yard of the stronghold the party determined that they were underground in a modified natural cavern. They used the crowd of revolting slaves as cover to run for the central ziggurat where the Eye was said to reside. All around the slaves were being shot by guards, and disintegrated by undead beholders. Having seen what beholders can do the party hid against the center of the ziggurat and considered their options. Eventually the party decided on a smash and grab in front of the Eye itself to reclaim Halastair’s Ring. Grim and Glauben got separated from the party and went on an involuntary tour of various dangerous locations until they were deposited in the room of the bone throne near Dun Glordel.

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Wherein the party tries to rescue the dwarven slaves
Fire in the night sky.

The party awoke in the late evening to the sounds of shouting in the square and the town alarm being rung. Fire was erupting from Hethelvagi’s brothel. Yoink and Glauben ran to the scene to find two groups of people streaming out of the building. Johns and whores in various states of undress followed by armed men dressed in black. All were running in terror. It became apparent that the fire was coming from the courtyard and the two Gnomes pressed through the building to discover Hethelvagi armed with a magic sword, injured, and leaning against the building. Fire giants had raided the Citadel of the Bloody Hand and the cowardly assassins fled to the surface. Also, vampires may be on the loose.

The Gnomes got the retired heroes from the village to form a posse, while the party went into Undermountain to find out if Dun Glordel was under attack.

It was.

But the Dwarves held off the onslaught of the trolls. With big war machines. Speaking of big war machines, that is exactly what the giants had in store for the party when they decided to raid the Giant’s lair while the giants had an assault party out. Much teleportation was had. Three ettins and one fire giant were slain. There was much running through the empty giant colony in search of the dwarves, but the most interesting thing found was the giant’s armory. The contents of which were, mostly, emptied and handed over to the dwarves through the use of teleport.

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Wherein the party defeats a red dragon
resistance to fire really comes in handy

Great victory was had! The party defeated 6 trolls and a young red dragon. They also drove off two giants and incapacitated two additional trolls.

When the party arrived at their teleport location they noticed that the dungeon had been altered. The room of Dwaven Kings was well lit from five large bronze braziers and several candles in the hands of each statue. The door out was shut and locked. Despite only having two days at most to work with, the giants had somehow built several complex mechanical traps with the mechanism running through the walls and ceiling. Alarms were triggered, Fatty baked up a quick pastry. Camouflaged trolls jumped out and attacked at the sound of the klaxon. Instead of retreating, the party changed its tactics. The Klaxon went on throughout most of the fight. Until two fire giants brought a red dragon to end the battle. It crashed into the party with ferocity and fire. During the fight, Grim and Glauben were close to death at one point or another, but the party kept changing tactics to meet the changing threat and in the end were only forced to retreat because the giants have reinforcements and called up dwarven slaves to take the front line.

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Wherein the stealthiest of the party make a raid on the fire giant colony
Racial pride can lead to generosity.

Much planning was applied to the giant problem. Traps were examined and determined to be ridiculously costly. Brown mold was sought from WayzigWayzig Garmottin Glinpen Badgerhole Bighill Bunkpest Dalwick Handig Pilwin Ellyjotwiss the Alchemist. Yoink of Doink aka Lil YoinkYoink made a good impression on Wayzig and the old wizard dug an old wand of frost out of storage and gave it over to the party to help them in their gnomish quest to eliminate the fire giant colony. Wall of ice was applied judiciously. I think wall of ice was used 6 times. A huge chest of Blue Fist silver was spent on a case of potions of extra healing. A big wooden case with thin wood slats stuffed with straw holding the bottles from clinking into each other and protecting them from shock.

This time giants were battled. GlaubenGlauben Silverfist and Yoink used stealth to infiltrate further into the outer parts of the giant colony. Braziers lined the halls and were seen in the corners of every room keeping the place hot and lit. Groups of trolls were heard and seen moving through the halls. Etten giants were encountered in an outer room eating. Perhaps having two heads makes noticing hidden gnomes easier. The stealth team was spotted. Chase was given.

A choke point was set up where KaraflanKaraflan stood by with caltrops. The passage was blocked with a wall of ice each time a giant smashed through. Karaflan and Glauben and the ice were able to do enough damage to take down a giant in a turn or two so that they small party never got overwhelmed. Trolls were easier to hit than ettins but more troublesome because of regeneration. Cone of cold and a barrel of burning oil brought them to an end.

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Wherein the Gnomes Experiment and Encounter Unexpected Variables
Those Variables Being Undermountain

The party only wanted to fight giants, but that was not in the cards. Instead, they fought a managere of bizarre creatures.

Planning and logic were applied to the challenge of the giants. The two fights involving the giant guard and the giants investigating the death of their comrade have led the party to several conclusions. Principally, there are probably a lot of giants with a long-term settlement near the area they have been encountered, and they must be dealt with one at a time. So several schemes to extract the best possible advantage from the situation have been devised. One, which required testing, was using teleport as an anchor and safety line.

The first test replaced Yoink with a tentacle swinging rock monster. A second attempt was cut short in the search for a better test site when the party attracted the interest of a small group of ochre jellies. This party, having never encountered a slime monster before, but knowing the hazard of slimes to be their resilience and unpredictability, retreated to experiment. Arrows caused the creatures to divide, but fire hurt them. So much oil and coal was applied from a healthy distance.

Further teleport testing seemed to produce results that were not confused by uncontrolled factors. So clearly the correct response was for the party to add additional variables.

The suspicious rope from the not-so-secret room was used to link the party members, eventually causing them to be teleported under the canopy of a huge virgin forest at the foot of a sinister looking blackthorn tree. A line of floating gold coins pointed the way to a door in the side of the colossal tree. This party always has too much sense to go messing with the obvious traps and attempted to gather information before messing with the tree. But this GM has consequences in mind for them that do not stick their heads in the lion’s jaws, and flying haflings flew out of the tree to snatch at and steal from the party. Most attempts were foiled. Only Glauben lost his decorated repeater crossbow.

During the fight, Yoink attempted evasive action which caused the dark creature below to use its magic to attempt to restrain the gnomes within its ant-lion’s-den. How could the creature have predicted that teleportation away was a possibility?

Honorable mention: using the curvature of the wall of force against the enemies, Glauben shot an arrow up over the bows of the tree and dropped the arrow perfectly into a concealed enemy hafling.

The party regrouped at Talowdale and conferred with the epic party before returning to the Killing Tree. This time they boldly opened the door and went deep into the bowels of the Killing Tree. The rope ladder snapped! The party grabbed their safety line only to be fired on from above and stabbed at from wooden spears set into the tree. Ever downward into the darkness the gnomes climbed and fell until they reached the cavern of murky water beneath the Killing Tree.

Yoink and Glauben reached out toward the two points of light in the darkness only to be snatched at by the tentacles of the dark creature. For a few tense seconds our heroes slashed at the tentacles and fought against being battered and dragged under the neck-high water. Grim found the central mass where all the tentacles came from and struck, hard. In the last desperate seconds before Yoink activated the teleportation ring so the party could escape, Grim dealt the death blow to the foul creature.

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