VaxxaNewJournal

I am now putting this so the more recent entries are on top.

The Vents

Ugh. What a smell! There are steaming fissures all over the place here, and slippery tunnels, and weird growths on the rocks, and it makes me itchy under my armor which is most unpleasant. Did I mention it smells? Kind of like overcooked cabbage with burned acorns in it. The fancy-schmancy adventures came this way, and we have to see if they’re in any trouble.
We found our way in and – you guessed it – a room full of orcs! Happy Dwarven Christmas to Rhonin! There were Archers and Skirmishers and Bombardiers and Brutes (oh my!). One funny thing happened. The bombardiers threw bombs at us when we were all in a group, and there were explosions and much fire and everyone of us who was in that group (which was pretty much all of us) ended up on fired and hopping around trying to put stuff out. Except for Silvertongue. There was the big explosion, all of us start hopping around, and he pulls off his hat, flicks a little coal off of it, and jams it back on his head again. (Adara and I think that since he does so much with fire, he has fireproof long johns.) Eventually we beat them.
Then we came into a room that had funny statues of arbalests with legs, and iron dogs. Umril ran in, and then armored crossbow turrets came out of the ceiling too. This was not a fun fight. It was all about trying to break these things to stop them from shooting. It turns out it was a trap, and Umril tried her hardest to disarm it, but it was tricky and took quite a while, so we just kept pounding away. And took a lot of damage.
This was not as fun a fight as some of them.

Deeper in the Monastery Basement

So we clamber down the stairs, and go through yet another tunnel, and find the Chamber of Works. Obviously religious, to have to go through that kind of a commute to and from work every day. No handrailings. Sheesh. Rhonin explained that the forges are there to honor the gods, and they honor them by making metal things on the forges.
We found orcs Torturing a Dwarf, and there were lots of orcs in this room. Rhonin flailed in, as is his custom. They had some minions, whom we killed, and we got their wizard. Then someone stepped in this Spreading Fire stuff and started moving around, so more and more of the room was on fire. It came down to some brutes, and the boss, and a lot of fire. Alan was knocked out, and all of us were bloodied. I was going to use a wonderful helpful thing to heal all of us, but by the time I could get the runes ready, everyone had moved away from me and the spreading fire, so I couldn’t do it. We rescued the Dwarf (Khalad), who was a paladin, and we found his stuff. We fixed Alan back up.
Then Khalad told us about how the orcs had broken in through tunnels into their monastery, and they collapsed the ceiling on many of them. But we wiped them all out. And now we have to go to a place called…The Vents!

More Fun in the Monastery

Murg has left us; we were joined by Rakken who is a Goliath (who was raised by Dwarves) who is a partial Runepriest. Hammer (the Battlemind) also joined us for a time, and we also had Ian, who is a skirmisher with a bow. It was good to have them along because there was much fighting.
We entered another huge room, with balconies, and overlooks of the floor below, and balustrades, and statues and a desecrated altar, and blood, and gore, and entrails festooned all over everything, and feces smeared. When these orcs desecrate a temple, they are certainly very enthusiastic.
There were some archers who shot at us, and then a witch doctor who caused some trouble. Rakken had this interesting ability whereby he killed a bunch of minions, and then turned them into shades, who he could then cause to explode. It was very satisfying.
Then we found our way to the the monks bunk room. They had their little rooms up 10 feet from the floor, which is rather odd. Must be that same architect. There was more carnage, and more orcs, and we took these fellows rather handily as well.
Then we made our way to a room that had a wall missing and was an overlook into a great cavern and chasm! This is all well and good, and very scenic, but there was the staircase that meandered all over the cavern on top of a wall that was 40-80 feet tall, and but 5’ wide with no buttressing. We never do it that way in Varshtenspire. Without the buttresses (see, I paid attention when we talked about architecture), you can only keep up walls like this with magic, and it eventually wears out, and then where are you? Well, you can’t get to the root cellar any more unless you spend a huge amount of money and find a magic contractor willing to fix it for you. Not only that, but there were no railings. I think the architect must have been the brother of the one who thought it was a good idea to have a magic thing for reviving the dead in the basement.
But anyway, there were orc archers coming up the stairs and shooting little teeny arrows that packed a huge wallop when they hit, and knocked you back, and they had a Spinetop Drake with them. It was a fight where I didn’t do much, but Ian did. Rhonin and Alan were lagging back somewhere else.

Jolly Times in Overlook

Rhonin took us to a tavern to get some Durkan’s XXX Ale (honestly, after three or four of them, you just can’t remember the name properly). While we were there some Thugs came in and demanded Protection Money from the barkeep. How rude is that, I ask you! Silvertongue was most clever. He interrupted the lead thug, and said, “Hey, you. It would really be a shame if anything happened to your thugs here, see? Know what I mean? See? Just a few hundred gold pieces would make sure that you and your thugs can carry on undisturbed, see?” Well, not only were they Low Thugs, they had no Sense of Humor and attacked. We walloped them quite handily, except their leader vanished in a puff of smoke. Seems they are members of “The Lost Ones,” a Thieves Guild.
We crossed town, singing merrily. Although, if I do recall correctly, I think we were all singing different songs. Then a poor lost child accosted us for Assistance. And it was a trap! It was yet more thugs! I tell you, this town could use some cleaning up. We did manage to capture one of them, and he took a cyanide tablet and died.
Another party of adventurers showed up. They were all in spiffy armor, and call themselves “The Freeblades” which is a pretty good name. We don’t have a good name yet. If I recall, their names are something like Megan Swiftblade (their leader, human); Ragmun Dourstone; Silent Leafrunner (an elf rogue); Ghena Tensiv (human mage). Anyway. we have our assignment to go to a monastery and clean out the orcs.

Some time later…
We found the monastery and walked into the large room with statues and fires and columns all over the place, and orcs too. We took them down. Apparently monks are being killed and eaten.

Traveling to Overlook

More travel, pretty quiet. Rhonin is excited to be going home. Murg is depressed to be in the wilderness. Umril is just generally moody. Alan brought a big book with him to read. Adara and I enjoy the scenery and talk.

(Later) What do you think! We were just breaking camp and saw evidence of another camp not too far away. We got up close to it, and it was Orcs! We weren’t totally surprised. Rhonin went crashing into the camp, but we all followed him and leaped into the fray. They were nasty – some archers, one with a poisoned blade, and some tough ones who went in to a rage running all around and striking several of us in quick succession. Rhonin nearly went down, and Murg DID go down, but I did my best to keep them going. It was quite chaotic, but we got them.

(Later still) We have reached Overlook which is, I think, even bigger than Varshtenspire, and quite orderly in its layout. There are several sets of walls, and much to look at. We promptly reported to the City Council, where there was a big meeting with several other groups of adventurers, many of whom were rather grubby or unsavory looking. I’m sure we were much better put together. Apparently the Orcs always attack from the West. Being helpful, we told them about the Orcs we fought in the East. Can you believe it, they said it couldn’t possibly be! We are not old, nor half blind, nor liars (much)! And just because something has always been the case doesn’t mean it couldn’t be different once. They said they’d look into it. Most of the adventurers will be going off to the west; we volunteered to go up to a monastery and bring the clerics there to safety. There was a group, though, who looked upset that they didn’t get the job they wanted to do, or had arranged for. I don’t know what to make of all this, but when we are done with the monastery, we need to check to see if they are guarding the east gates, and if they aren’t, we may need to scout for them.

Getting Ready to Travel

We bought supplies – not really very interesting here in Brindol. Mostly food (lots of dried stuff, but I bought some spices and onions and things), and blankets and tarpaulins, and chickens, and a pack burro (named Lucca) and a dog (named Burro) and a hireling/cook to watch over the stuff (Alfred). Getting an expedition together is quite a job! Especially when people aren’t used to it. (Rhonin: “All we need is beer.” Adara: “How many pairs of boots can I bring along?” Silver Tongue: “Those chickens are so disorganized!” Murg: “You mean you don’t just squeeze the chickens to make the eggs come out?” Umril “Remember we have to travel by night.” Me: “One hundred bottles of beers on the wall, a hundred bottles of beer…”) (Then Rhonin smacked me.) (I took it in the ribs. He can’t smack very high.) For better or worse, we’re on the road! Before we left, I picked up a letter from Crish and one from Drexna, sent letters home, and arranged to have stragglers forwarded to Overlook.

After a bit of time

Well, that was quite an adventure, to be sure. We got back to Brindol with six rescued captives and an armful of interesting artifacts from the museum (although I’m not really sure that the chamber pot with the naughty pictures was supposed to be one of them). Councilor Troyus was happy to see us, and the city paid us rather well for all our troubles. Then as it turns out there is something else they would like us to do. I thought it sounded rather interesting, and Peregrination means we’re supposed to explore as much as we can and learn as much as we can about different parts of the world.

A long time ago there were Dwarves who were the slaves of Orcs and Giants, in a great mountain city. In time, the Dwarves overthrew their overseers and renamed the city Overlook. (I’m not making this up.) We do know how some of the mountain Orcs can be. So now it’s a great city, not just of Dwarves, but rather cosmopolitan. But the Orcs have a tradition of attacking the city every hundred years, and the Dwarves defend against the siege and win, so everyone goes home happy for the next century or so. (Don’t ask me – I think it’s a silly tradition.) This is the year of the attack and there are whispers that the Orcs are coming with more reinforcements (probably tired of losing all the time). They’ve asked several towns to send some help in the battle, and Brindol wants to send us. They’ll pay us a bit to help us on our travel. You’d think they’d rather have an army, but listening to Rhonin, he makes it sound like it’s all a great lark, but you know how that it – it’s all great fun until someone gets their kneecap chopped.

So we’re going to be traveling! I do like the mountains – it’ll seem a little more like home. Silver Tongue helped negotiate more pay. We had to quash Murg, who wanted to argue for more money, and Rhonin, who was trying to say how cheap it would be for us to stay at his place. We’re kind of a group, but just not really a very organized one.

Day Six

We found a room with a barrier area. First a bunch of wererats popped in through a door, then the barrier faded and a bunch of zombies shambled in from around the corner. Adara let loose with Flames of Purity and they weren’t much trouble any more. We found a shrine and obelisk and rows of pews. For a bunch of undead, they really have a religious theme going on here. There was something like a “Witherling Death Shrieker” although someone might have been pulling my leg. Things have such funny names. More wererats and zombies, and we defeated them. We unfortunately found one captive who did not make it through this ordeal alive, which was upsetting. We’ve also started finding the museum treasures, although they are a little singed.

We had a good rest. I think we were all a little subdued after finding the boy’s father dead. All we had left to find now was the remaining town treasures. We slogged on this morning, but I think we were all getting tired of being in a dank, smelly basement full of undead things. We found a room with a large, dark sun design in the paving stones. It seemed a little disquieting to me, but Umril frankly became rather obsessed with it. She wants to come back and study it; she wants to camp out near it; she wants to see how it works; she wants to bring a piece of it out with her. But then she also thinks that coffins are a good decorative element for a parlor. Bahamut knows I didn’t pay much attention in decorating class, but I think I would remember if they had mentioned coffins. Then we found a room with a puddle, which is strange because there was no other water leak and the floor was perfectly level. SilverTongue figured out that it was a magic mirror for viewing other rooms and with Adara helping him, he used second sight through it to see that the treasures were still here, in the keeping of the hobgoblin captain. SilverTongue also set up a safe magical camp for our rescued people, which was nice of him. Then we found a room with a bunch of odd tall stones standing in it, like a stone garden, except they were icy cold. And finally we found the room where the hobgoblin was hiding, with a last few followers. Did I mention that another fellow came upon us? Murg the Monk, who was quite a good and reckless fighter, though without the panache that Rhonin has. Rhonin had a hangover and was quite grumpy. I didn’t even tease him about his spelling today either. Anyway, we all lit in and between Rhonin and SilverTongue, they set up magic that kept knocking the hobgoblin down. He had these chains in hand he fought with, and this could be quite fearsome, but he was plainly having a bad day. That, I understand, is what happens when Evildoers get their Comeuppance. I got my most powerful fighting rune to work this time. Some of them just slide out more easily than others; such is the nature of runes. We took him down and, what do you think, this wasn’t all his idea! An egomaniac who thinks calling himself “The Emissary” makes him important flattered him and told him he was such a fierce captain, he would send him troops to take down Brindol! Now really – what is there in Brindol to make it worth taking over? Anyway, I’m sure there is more for us to discover. I wonder if this was all a big distraction, and this Emissary fellow was launching his own attack on Brindol while we were gone. Well, it’s not like we’re the army or even the town guard. When we get back to town I have to write to father, and to mother, and to Madame Prynn, and to the twins. I think we found enough gold that I can afford the wooden tablets, ink and messengers! How jolly this has all been, but I am tired of being grubby and look forward to a nice time in a steam room and rubbing off with hot sand.

Day Five, Part I

Hi Vaxxa! Rhonin here! I found your journal while you were sleeping and decided to write in it. Adara told me no but I don’t know why. Oh and I don’t have one of your fancy feather writing thingies, so I’m writing in the blood of a hobgoblin we killed bahahahahahhahhahaha.

After you and Silvertounge fell asleep, Adara and I noticed Umeril going upstairs. We figured we’d follow her and found quite a sight! Apparently there was some in-fighting, two bugbears and a bladeling were fighting a hobgoblin. Umeril rushed forward to assist but Adara and I were more confused than anything. There was some other hobgoblins so I decided we could at least kill them! So we did! I bashed their heads in good. You would be proud of me Vaxxa!

Ran out of blood to write in, so now I spit on the ground to make mud. Works just as well.

After Adara and I killed some of those hobgoblins, Umeril, the bugbears, and the bladeling ran into the next room. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but Adara and I decided it best to just come back downstairs. Umeril will find her way back to us. …maybe.

Oh look Vaxxa, you are awake! Why do you look so angry at me?

Day Five, Part II

We took a bit of a rest, and then we continued upstairs. This seems odd, since we were in the basement to begin with, but I guess we started in the upper sub-basement. I think the architect was maybe just a little mad.

We found a room with three coffins in it and rescued a young lady whose name was something like Jusilla, but I don’t exactly remember. She was very scared. very glad to be rescued, and annoyingly clingy. I broke her chains. It’s all in the technique.

We went down a hallway and rescued a young boy. No sooner did we get him untied. than zombies poured in from the hallway and tried to attack the people we were attempting to rescue. Shortly after that, a Deadlock Wight came down the OTHER hallway. We did manage to beat them back and keep our little bunch of townsfolk safe.

Then we found a throne room. Would you put a throne room in the basement? It’s so dank and dreary. Unless that’s only a spare and you didn’t have anyplace else to put it. Or maybe it’s a play throne room for the kids. There were skeletal things all over the room and in the throne a Deadlock Wight and a Boneshard thingy (I think. It’s hard to keep track of everything. I need a handy Guide to Common Dungeon Creatures or something. Maybe I’ll write one as a project.) I don’t know what exactly they were, but I do know they were annoying. One of them kept immobilizing me. Adara helped with that – she flew across the room and picked me up with her. It was so amazing! I would like to know how to fly, but I’m pretty sure that even in advanced classes, Felicci doesn’t teach that. Not for Runepriests! Then I got pushed back out of the fight AND immobilized which was also very annoying.

We did clean out that room too, and we now have six of the seven townspeople we had set out to find! I feel like we are making progress.

We haven’t seen any hobgoblins in ever so long. They apparently were talking about fattening up the people (just like the old stories). Although I wonder why they scattered them all over. It seems very inefficient. I’m sure if I were an evil overlord I would be better organized. But then I’d have to live in a dank basement, or a mountain outpost, or an underwater complex, and it’s just very inconvenient and you don’t live close enough to anywhere to see plays, go out to dances, or go out for dinner. I suppose you could play card games with your minions, but I would get too bored.

Day Four

We found a shield that I immediately recognized as something magical. It had runes on it, and when I invoked the Rune of Protection and touched it, a rune on it flared, and that one looked like a sympathetic amplifier to the Rune of Mending and possibly to other types of healing. I think this could be very handy.

We went down a hallway and there found a crypt dedicated to evil gods and full of sarcophagi. Here we battled hobgoblins and made rather short work of them. I realized after the fight with the zombies that Rhonin and Adara were not with us, so SilverTongue and I went looking for them and found them. Rhonin was so worn out from battle that he had overslept and was grouchy until we gave him some travel cakes, soaked them in brandy, ignited them, and told him they were pancakes.

This room had a spiral staircase in it, and we went up it, looking for Mirtella. And we found her in the room at the top, but we didn’t notice her immediately because there were four enormous rats (Dire Rats) before us. I didn’t know rats could get that big. They would need a very large and wild cat to keep them down. Adara singed the whiskers off a couple of them, and Silvertongue thought that was a fine idea and did it some more. That roasted one of them, and darn it if it didn’t smell kind of like chicken. Then Therren, who likes to hang around in back, but that’s okay because he has very sharp vision saw a hobgoblin in the corner and sure enough there were two of them. One of them hit me and then he went all blurry so I couldn’t see him. I breathed on him and when I could kind of see where the ice crystals formed I struck him. It did not take us long to battle. Therren has a very fancy bow and can shoot arrows even two at a time. He would be a Big Hit at the faire and could probably win the prize for shooting.

Mirtella was very ill with Filth Fever. I got her comfortable and if we’re careful she may survive. Then Adara asked about the bite she had gotten from one of the rats. It’s always hard to tell right away, but it looked deep enough that I fear she may also start developing symptoms. We will have to keep an eye on her. I cleaned out the wound and we bandaged it up but we’ll have to keep checking on it. Adventuring is most unsanitary.

Then we went into a room that had great big runes on the floor and a huge family crest – “Von Yalak.” The runes were bright as if they had been freshly painted, even though everything else down here has been grimy and dingy. Ho, ho! Our scales are not still wet! We carefully avoided them as they must be a trap! There were swarms of little flying lizards in the room that were so cunning, except for that they were also very vicius and did not appear amenable to training . (Needlefang Drakelings). Adara rose up and floated into the air and blew just the tiniest puff of breath, and it lifted (by magic, obviously) Rhonin clear off his feet and blew him across the room! I’ve never seen anything like it! But after she landed Adara was attacked by hobgoblins (is there no end to them?) and I had to work to keep her healed. Between all of us we made short work of them, but it helped to have Silvertongue against the swarms of little guys. It takes forever to try to hit them all, like trying to smite mosquitoes with a warhammer. (Which, I note, ought not be done if a mosquito has landed on your brother’s nose. Even if he did call you “Shorty.”)

We freed a cantankerous dwarf, who hit it off with Rhonin and I had to heal him and we had to splint his broken arm. We are doing well so far as Heroic Rescuers! I think they should write a song about us. It is sure to be very popular.

And last we found a room with two larger Drakes in it. What do you think – this was the room that the “Bottomless” Pit fell into! What a funny thing to have in the basement! We just wanted to take care of this as this was the last room in this part of the basement, and then we would have a big meal and a good rest, so we fell upon them with Great Vigor and dispatched them quite handily. We also rescued yet another villager, a grandmotherly herbalist, who is going to share some of her wisdom with us. Or at least Adara. Besides her and Silvertongue, the rest of us are more the action type than the learning type.

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