mike's epicest epic

Monastic Misadventures
Also Cloistral Projection

After solving a mind-wreckstroying puzzle from which we all barely escaped with our sanity and our lives, we gained access to a dungeon-like druidic monastery of sorts.

Once inside, we made our way directly into conflict with a horde of undead. Because of the general crampiness of the spaces, the narrowness of the passageways, and the brightlessness of the interiors, Arc’teryx left the fighting mostly to his more meat-baggish companions, opting instead to experiment with some new magic that been testing his patience since it first crept into his lizard brain.

With the aid of the muscle golem ShadowStrike, Arc’teryx launched himself into the fray, under the pretense of being useful. Instead of destroying their foes, he instead conjured illusions of more, and to continue salting ShadowStrike’s wounds, once more imitated the speech of one obnoxious sentient staff.

When the party mopped up the remainder of the walking dead, he waited until their attention was directed elsewhere, and cast his new magic, becoming invisible. He attempted to sneak away, but while most of the remaining party chose one path, Trogdor had a similar idea, and wandered nearly stride for strike with Arc’teryx along an alternate route. The party emerged almost simultaneously into a large chamber through two different doors. Within the chamber were 3 (was it 3?) ghostly figures, wights (were they wights?), and one mysterious hole.

Arc’teryx’s unwavering faith in his party’s penchant for terminating all things within a certain radius left him no choice. They would murder the wights while he examined the hole. In all fairness, the strange floor anus proved nearly as difficult to spelunk as the wights were to kill, but through considerable effort, Arc was able to glean that the hole led to another chamber in roughly the time it took the others to dispatch the dangerous undead.

Again visible, Arc’teryx rejoined the group, who strangely did not really even inquire as to his whereabouts a moment prior.

Obviously, the group delved deeper into the monastery, eventually happening upon a latrine occupied by a vengeful water spirit. While the others debated locking it in its room like a prison, or murdering the creature outright, Arc’teryx boldly stepped forward, opening his heart to the spirit as a friend. The water weird instantly realized how brave, rad, and compassionate Arc’teryx was, and became his ally on the spot, no question. Fortunately, Trogdor is mad strong, so he carried the water weird out of the latrine and down the hall, where it helped the adventurers dispatch some posers (can’t remember what we encountered).

Because lycanthropy is rarely at the forefront of people’s minds, the group was taken somewhat by surprise when Trogdor turned into a dragon wolf man and set upon those nearest to him. A battle among friends ensued, with the adventurers eventually subduing the monstrous, scaly werewolf, but not before the gnome was bitten (this happened, right?). No one really wants to get into it right now, but there might be two werewolves now. Crap.

Todo: Survive
Everything Else Can Wait

We saved a grand total of four villagers from the orcs who were sacrificing them all to Vecna. Said villagers were grateful, to a degree, but uncertain about their futures. Everyone else was slaughtered, and someone burned down their village…

We hunkered down for the night after burning all the orc corpses. ShadowStrike’s new staff began to speak, mostly a series of insults directed at the monk, but also a lengthy technical exposition about its purpose. It was a Quaterstaff of Beligerence, its name was Clarence, and it was to increase ShadowStrike’s glory factor, whatever that was. It can apparently see rather well in the darkness. Arc’teryx thought it would do well with jangly armbands affixed to it.

Well into the night, on Arc’teryx and Trypan’s watch, weird shit started to go down. Abercrombie started glowing, glowing red motes appeared all around camp, and the holy symbol we had thrown in the fire began glowing an evil red. Abercrombie’s glow appeared as Abjuration magic to Arc, and the holy symbol appeared to be evil divine magic. Arc’teryx was fairly confused, until at some point the dead villagers rose, now undead, and attacked. Trypan woke the rest of the party.

The zombies all attacked Sander and Trypan, who turned them, because clerics can do that. We killed them all as they scattered about. We then spent a great deal of time trying to destroy the holy symbol, eventually succeeding with some strong blows from a silvered quarterstaff. The villagers left while we struggled with that, off to rebuild, or something. Arc’teryx played an awful song about the days events, taking repetition humor a bit too far in the part about the holy symbol. Abercrombie set free some pigs and piglets who had been captured along with the villagers. They appeared to bow or otherwise display deference to him as they departed.

The crisis resolved, we took off northwest, and after a time noticed we were being followed. We attempted to setup an ambush at something known as the “Stone Dick.” Arc’teryx ascended the phallic stone pillar with Trogdor’s rope, in his bear costume, some sort of plan in mind, while the rest of the party laid in waiting, hidden and scattered amongst the smaller boulders.

Unfortunately, ambush would be impossible with Clarence around, as the staff began shrieking and ShadowStrike was given away. At this point, the rest of the party engaged from range, while ShadowStrike approached the enemy, a part of 7 bandits from Trogdor’s old crew. The bandits were hoping to capture the two dragonborn. Clarence somehow convinced ShadowStrike to engage the entire force melee by himself, so he did. Trogdor thinned the crowd a bit with fire magic, and Sander with arrows. Arc’teryx made a bullroarer out of the rope and his longsword, which he also let fly toward the fray, nearly striking the monk, who was on a roll with missile deflection. The fight was over before Arc’teryx made it back down the Stone Dick.

The bandits vanquished, the party now had to deal with the enemy within. Clarence was a blight. They had no luck whatsoever destroying the staff or getting rid of it, as it was attuned. It could also not be silenced by wrapping it up.

The team came across some traders in a caravan, and were able to convince them to take Clarence. It actually cost us gold to remove the “curse,” whatever it was. We then bought craptons of new armor. The blue dragon wyrmling scales we got were turned into a Dragon Shield +1, a shield that provided immunity to lightning damage, which Arc’teryx gladly took. The dragon skull was also fashioned into a helm for Arc. The traders took off hastily after realizing they were dealing with the group involved in the prison break in Dragonborn lands.

After we began to make our way again, the party encountered a couple well-armed travelers, who kindly suggested a route through the forest for us. We headed that way and made camp, and were later ambushed by a handful of large and larger spiders. Their venom was wicked, and gave the party cause for concern. ShadowStrike was taken down early in the fight, paralyzed by the venom. The dragonborn did what they could with fire, and the cleric with his mace or whatever. Many arrows flew, but several missed their mark. Trogdor’s maul was… dulled? Or chipped? Affected, somehow. The party was decidedly unhappy about the whole incident, and so they tracked down the spiders’ den and stole their gold.

What’s next for our brave adventurers? They’ve not had a full nights’ rest in some time. Nor a bath…

Out of a prison into the badlands

Defiled dragon’s pit with drawing abercrombie images on the wall with dragon’s blood.

Emerged through a tunnel NW of the prison. A few miles. We’re being tracked by scouting parties.

Fondir stirkes out on her own.

On our way to make camp, a search party comes upon us. Laying a trap fails miserably.

We murder six dragonborn scouts.

Party decides to travel NE. Finds the plains. Looks out and sees the dragonborn nation mobilizing for war.

Decides to head NW and skirt the rough terrain.

Comes to an abandoned town where it looks like the residents departed in a hurry. The party hole up in the general store which is as stone building. There was an encounter with an old pig which befriends abercrombie.

In the morning, the party follows the tracks of the villages into the hills.

Trogdor sets the village on fire behind us. Both pigs, and everyone else, knows Trogdor did it. Trogdor tries to pet the old pig, and the pig bites him mightily. Trogor uses his maul and kills the old pig. Nobody else seems to like this.

Ambushed by orcs in the middle of night.

Saw two blue dragons streak across the sky. One large one. One less than large one.

Came across a former orc slaver camp led by an orog. Instead of slaving, they were sacrificing the villagers to the new invading deity.

The orcs got murdered.

The Getaway pt2
Out of the prison into the pit.

finished kobolds

found two small blue dragons. They speak draconic. The dragonborn translate… roughly. They electrocute trogdor. we rush in to murder. arc’terix convinces shadowstrike that the water is the safest place to be. Shadowstrike launches himself into the pond. …. fighting electrically inclines assholes. Shadowstrike casts darkness which turns out to be a really good plan.

arc’terix tries to wrestle one of the dragons.

one dragon dies. one gets away to “tell it’s mommy”

we harvest the dragon’s body for all useful parts.

dragon’s shawl x2

dragon wish bone between arc’terix & trogdor. arc’terix wins.

283 exp. for players.

Pig Shake Shuffle Song

arc’teryx’s day in town

used silent image to create thug stabbing him in the back for performance in town
got kicked out by guards
played sad songs all day
influenced the masses, had people whistling/humming his song, dragon’s gotta eat
got the pig’s bear costume
joined up with party for carousing
hooked up with this chick, but she dissed his sammy the pig song
had a confused, drunk argument
so arc’teryx had abercrombie show her what’s up
we slept in a nice inn

the next day

went to the library, agreed to the prison break
arc’teryx said “we’ll show those filthy dragonborn”
karth suggested we wear dragonborn guard uniforms
arc’teryx suggested he wear a bear costume
he was overruled
karth suggested we walk right in with fake papers
arc’teryx suggested he wear a bear costume
he was overruled
we walk in and karth doesn’t know what the cell numbers are
arc’teryx tries to fake it, but fails

we’re not good at “missions”

guards sound the alarm
we fight everyone, kill everyone except the guard we pushed out the door
arc’teryx hit 2 guards and shadowstrike with thunder wave

putting names in our little black book

bust out the prisoners
karth secretly passes out rings, probably
karth and his homies teleport out with special rings, probably
we’ve been betrayed

trying to escape via occupied underground caverns

Prison guards lit the jail on fire, as per protocol with jailbreak. (DM edit)

us and elf fondir escape from burning prison down secret well tunnel
arc’teryx dons his bear costume, as does abercrombie
mage hand fight, trogdor wins and shakes abercrombie to jangle the jinglies
engage kobolds
more kobolds at fondir’s door
fondir asks for help
arc’teryx ignores fondir, mostly due to not giving a shit about the newcomer
kobolds break open fondir’s door
trogdor casts burning hands by fondir’s door, but then also with wild whatever, grease
slips in own grease
do the running jump launch move successfully with shadowstrike, kill four kobolds with one firebreath
arc’teryx may or may not have newfound respect for shadowstrike, because that was rad

3-4. Gods, monsters, werewolves, and mysterious librarians
Super High-Level Notes

Feel free to update/replace these notes with something better, as I’m not sure when I’ll find time to clean them up.

after parting with Valan

Arc’teryx bought a 3rd pig to keep as a pet from some small farm, whom he named Abercrombie
Gertrude led the party to a cave, guarded by hobgoblins, where a deity of sorts was trying to enter this world
Arc’teryx “distracted the guards” with his bear and pig routine while the party spidermanned it all over the cliff side
much surprise, much fire breathing, much inappropriate music and pelvic thrusting

still at the entrance

smoked out bandit + kobolds
pig toss, pig was down wit it
more fire
more killing by shadowstrike
invisibility cast by trogdor with flame hands
invisible fire breath kill by arc

into cave

4 kobolds and a human
wrecked ‘em
then door (rage busted it)
rust monster
throw a blanket over it!
gelatinous cube
lots of fire
bridge/river hard to cross
switched to lord costume
guard and cult fanatic
incorporeal thing left early
can’t train the pig yet
got some magic items
dagger +1

head to town

buy bear pelt for abercrombie
play terrible music, to no benefit
wake up to farmers in a tizzy
play great music, get everyone on our side via Sander
head out to village of dead people
discover trap door, broken chain
head out into woods with townsman ranger guide
ranger guide ambushed by werewolf girl
trogdor bit, clawed
cleric vomited
shadowstrike punched to no effect
trogdor stepped into vomit
dagger to sander
illusion of ranger, worked well
killed werewolf
2nd werewolf
threw a blanket over it, grappled, failed right after
raged, breathed fire, torched blanket and shadowstrike
got dagger back
carried bodies back to town, got mad gold
“trogdor probably didn’t get turned into a werewolf”, bluegrass
night of everyone trying to get laid

headed to doppel

found a tailor to make bear costume for abercrombie
arc went out on his own
dressed in fancy lord costume
found noble in doppel
convinced noble that arc’teryx was a noble
something about the wagon trades market
asked him to make sure he attended arc’s party
arc then bummed around town in his standard gear, playing music
trogdor caroused around town attempting to form a religious/cult following of some sort
…other people did stuff in the library about books, and sander/shadowstrike had epic quest about the book

2.1 The Mystery of the Tiny Dragon
A man and his piglet

After some resupplying ShadowStrike met a man at the bar who was lamenting that his favorite piglet was kidnapped by a dragon last night.

As he was coming down from Doppel, we opted to buy his remaining pig and follow his steps back toward Doppel to see what happens.

  1. Mystery of the Tiny Dragon

ShadowStrike bought a piglet named, “Trenton” from a farmer who swears that one of his pigs was stolen by a “dragon”. This allegedly occurred north of Shabat.

The party goes to look for this pig stealing “dragon”

Group of dwarves heading south into Shabat express concern about tension between dragonborn and human kingdom (Etz) in the Disputed Lands (DMZ). Humans captured by dragonborn on island. Dwarves are leaving because trade has been suffering.

Dragon turns out to be a morose or distressed pseudo dragon. It shows up the first evening and entices the party to follow it as it flits from scrubby tree to scrubby tree in the plains. Follow it to a clearing with hob goblins abusing a elf.

To provide a distraction, Arc’teryx sings a country song “Sammy, the pig, got stolen by a tiny dragon”. Accompanied by juggling ho’shos between himself and his mage hand.

Rescued Valan, the elf, researcher at great library at Doppel. His psuedo dragon, Gertrude was pleased that he did not die. He researches the upper outer planes (good religious planes). Looking into extra planar activity in the area.

Valan identifies previously seen idol as god from somewhere else attempting to gain influence in the realm. He writes a letter of introduction to Edmond in Doppel, a scholar of the lower outer planes.

An excerpt from the personal journal of Arc’teryx

The Adventures of Trogdor
Chapter 2 – A Pig Walks Into a Bear…

News travels fast when you talk to an eye-witness. An old man in a bar in Doppel told some strangers that a dragon stole his pig. A big dragon, with wings, and eyes, and big scales. Maybe it was big, maybe not, but the rest was true for sure. And it stole Sammy the pig, that much was indisputable.

The man, a farmer, was walking his pig between Doppel and Brut. Nobody asked why. But he was. Then all of a sudden, WHOOSH! SQUEEEE! Sammy was gone, never to be seen again…

After hearing the man’s tale, ShadowStrike was SuidaeStricken. He simply had to investigate this absurd small-town happening. He managed to convince everyone else that it was worth looking into. Everyone except Arc’teryx, whose idiotic grin nearly split his head in two, and whose frantic scribbling was barely legible to himself… He already knew this tale was worth retelling.

The party first came up with a plan, as always. As there was nothing to kick, punch, burn, stab, steal, or read, it took a while to figure out a reasonable course of action. But finally, the team put two and nothing together and got two. The dragon ate a pig, so the party would simply acquire a pig, and then use it as bait to find the dragon. The problem then became where to find a pig to use as bait… and, well, they knew of a farmer who had recently lost a pig to a hungry dragon. Many men who walk around with pants have more pants at home. Maybe this farmer had at least one more pig. As it turns out, he had another pig, Trenton, who the party vowed they would take only for safe keeping. What better place to keep a sure target for a dragon attack than in the capable hands of five violent adventurers, two of whom are part dragon? Well in any case, ShadowStrike bought Trenton the pig from the bereaved farmer for a single silver coin and an empty promise. “We’ll keep him safe.”

The party wasted no time, departing the city immediately and headed north along the road to Brut, well before sunset. On their way, a bunch of Dwarves told the party of two Dragonborn and two humans that Dragonborn and humans didn’t… get alone. Like, there was some territorial dispute, or war, or something? They left rather discomfited, probably debating amongst themselves if what they just saw was an illusion, or perhaps part of their drunken Dwarven imagination. Sometimes even Dwarves don’t trust their memories.

Come evening, and after a long series of debuts of solo instrumental pieces Arc’teryx had been working on, no dragon was yet seen. Until at least, when Arc’teryx tired of playing his own favorite songs, a winged figure cast a shadow over the adventurers. Smartly, Arc’teryx and Trogdor strategically separated themselves from the unknown threat, while the rest of the meatbags stood stock still like chickens awaiting the axe. Spared by sheer luck, and with stupidity traded up for bravery only in delusional hindsight, the humans and Gnome were first to greet a small pseudodragon, who would employ an aggressive form of telepathy to trick them into offering him aid at the cost of less than nothing.

The pseudodragon’s first act of deception was to lead the party into a trap, through a thicket in the forest, directly into conflict with hobgoblins holding hostage one mysterious elf. Arc’teryx’s quick thinking gave the team the element of surprise. Using half of his available magical energy, he conjured an illusory army of dancing piglets and a Mage Hand to accompany him in a music and dance routine so outrageous even his allies were caught off guard. The song was an original, titled “Sammy the Pig Got Stole by a Tiny Dragon.” It was an acoustic, melancholy piece, completely incongruous with the glamorous showgirls piglet dance. Sander gave himself away by stepping on the loudest branch in the entire forest, and it took even the monk a few extra swings to land a good punch. Hobgoblins are, on occasion, very well armed and armored. Sander opted to simply set several bolt-like twigs free to their forest home, rather than trap them in the chests and skulls of some stinky hobogobos. A healthy portion of the murder inflicted upon these creatures came the Dragonborn pair’s fire breath. There is a little known fact: one does not simply walk out of Mordor.

The goblins destroyed and the elf set free, the party was free to interrogate the former captive. The dude’s interests lay far, far away from reality as Arc’teryx was taught it, so the bard’s attention settled on his empty hands, which moments ago held one Trenton the pig. His query to the group yielded a gruesome revelation. Gerty ate Trenton. Feeling morose, Arc’teryx wandered nearby, at the edge of the clearing, improvising and piecing together a fast paced, rhythmic, somewhat sullen rhyme accompanied by his tambourine drum, that he would later call “Dragon’s Gotta Eat.”

While the adventurers did not return to Doppel to inform the poor farmer of the death of his second pig by the same dragon, they did stop by a different farm at the request of Arc’teryx. On a whim, he decided to purchase his own pig companion, who he named Abercrombie, and who he felt deserved, and would play, a critical role in the epic tale of the Firebarian Trogdor, after the death of two of his kind along the way.

Abercrombie happily squeaked and grunted and munched on rations, safely nestled in Arc’teryx’s pack, head out and observing the road behind the party as they marched toward a cave, led by the devious and deceitful Gertrude. The cave was described to the party by the elf they had saved, apparently of interest due to activity surrounding a deity of sorts attempting to worm its way into the world. The group was there partly to investigate, but mostly to interfere, because getting on the bad side of gods sounded pretty great. The party noticed from pretty far off that the cave entrance was guarded, and assumed that the cave was thus also populated. The guards ahead, again hobgoblins, were deemed unworthy of life, unanimously. Arc’teryx again enthusiastically volunteered to act as a distraction, while the rest of the team engaged in some ridiculous rock scaling antics to get into combat positions. How a nearly seven foot tall firebreathing dragon man climbs over boulders unnoticed mere meters away from a supposedly sentient, conscious creature is beyond reason, and yet, so it was. Trogdor is not restricted by sensible, natural reality or physics.

When the time came, Arc’teryx strode confidently on two legs toward the hobgoblins, adorned in a fairly realistic bear costume, Abercrombie held aloft, making relatively bear-like noises. To his satisfaction, the hobgoblins seemed taken in by his ruse, and believed him to be a bear with a pig. To his unjustified surprise, they immediately attacked. Fortunately, their aim was as awful as their perception, and they missed badly. Arc’teryx’s allies then rushed to his aid, besieging the unsuspecting hobogoobers with all manner of fast moving pointy and blunt things. The Dragonborn again employed a combination fire breath tactic, in addition to the bard’s pelvic thrusting and genius insults, that left the goblins unable to withstand the assault of bolts, fists and staves by the humans. Once they were vanquished, the adventurers had a few moments to rest and plan their assault on the cavern.

more to come

1.2 (Highlights to be edited later)
  • Shadowstrike was attacked by a rug. A viscious evil rug
  • Shadowstrike was downed by a REALLY NASTY spell at the start of the night
  • Arc’Teryx learned – through bludgeoning damage – not to pretend to be attacked by re-animated rugs.
  • Skeletons are fun to hit as a monk
  • Trogdor learned not to jump on goblin beds – bedbugs happen.

We escaped the dungeon (sorry about you being a corpse, Toby) and headed toward Doppel in search of Ryan the wizard.

General Store fire – Sander’s books were there?

other main adventure log stuff here, right, then PC perspectives below?

An excerpt from the personal journal of Arc’teryx

The Adventures of Trogdor
Chapter 1 – A Trogdor and His Door

Our heroes awoke in a voluminous cavern, unharmed but disarmed, and began to gather their wits. A trio of kobolds stood sentinel nearby, the only company to two brave Dragonborn and their unlikely allies. Neither could the cells be destroyed, nor the acrimony the wicked little creatures displayed toward noble sons of Dragons be soothed.

Words proved rather bootless, so a different tack was set in motion by Sander the Subtle, the Human with Acumen, when he picked the lock of his cage with slim bones drawn from the sands underfoot. Drawn in by the commotion, a lone kobold engaged sly Sander in a truly indescribable contest of strength, besting him only probably because Sander didn’t sleep super good, and he was really hungry, and he had the bubbleguts, but he didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want anyone to worry about him. Well, it backfired.

Thanks to the distraction created by this climactic battle, the Mighty Trogdor, Dragonburn Burnbarian, enraged by the distinctly extant and surprisingly resilient cage that confined him, bathed the unwitting lizard in the fire of our forebears. The kobold rendered essentially formless, Sander was free to contend only with the door itself for his freedom, and knowing what was at stake, he found, deep within himself, the strength to perform at least this one mundane task.

As Trogdor’s lock was at this point full to bursting with crushed bone fragments and a thousand Draconic curses, Sander proceeded to free the lively and dauntless Arc’teryx, the Dragonborn Legend Seeker. This sudden freedom interrupted Arc’teryx’s reverie by igniting within him something akin to the will of his ancestors, a righteous fury bent on compensation for undue confinement. A dragon shapes reality to suit his needs. And so, Arc’teryx duly hastened toward his foes and unmade them with flame.

Until this moment, ShadowStrike the …Monk, the Human with …a Stick, was probably the only person aware of his own freedom, a fact that nearly helped him perfect human hairlessness. He was also likely the only one aware of the kobolds desperate and futile attempts to exit the cavern, the only one to notice the brief and well-lit look of despair as they realized they had locked themselves in a room with dangerous and, not to be understated, conscious combatants. Kobold they may be, but certainly not ko-bright. The battle resolved, ShadowStrike returned to help free the last and, well, least, by specific measures, of the party, and to find and redistribute their belongings.

Struggling desperately against nausea throughout the creation of three once-sentient piles of matter, the fifth traveller and Gnomish healer Trypan Snaptogrid, the Fountain of Ewwwww’th, emerged from his cell marginally worse for wear. He took up his equipment and supplies and, once the key to the only obvious exit was obtained, marched onward and upward with his companions.

Somewhat naturally ordering themselves into an effective formation, the party quickly established what would for some reason become the standard approach to future barricades. Sander approached silently, like a spooky ghost, astutely searching for traps or alarms and sometimes disarming them. To engage their adversaries with the element of surprise, Trogdor would then attempt to kick open the door, generally, as in this specific case, resulting in increasingly catastrophic failure. A dumbfounded ShadowStrike, blessed with uncanny awareness of his opposable thumbs, would then pointedly open the door and charge alone directly into a room with an unknown quantity and distribution of armed hostiles. Arc’teryx would pelvic-thrust his way to the highest point in the room and do harm to his enemies with his quick wit and whip tricks. The cleric, suffering at every turn, would at the sight of battle and with varying force eject intricate patterns of vomit and tumble like a child being dragged by a horse in a direction not of his choosing. Recovering from the indisputably impressive recoil of his kick, Trogdor would join the fray, smashing and burning anything that could be smashed or burned. ShadowStrike and Sander, when not competing for best pincushion awards, would each in equal measure do harm with sticks, some large, some small and pointy.

This brutal monotony was broken on two occasions.

In the first, the battle was truly going in favor of a few goblins forewarned of the adventurers’ approach. The humans had fallen, and the gnome was rendered rather useless at the sight of those he was attempting to aid. The two Dragonborn remained, unphased and poised to deliver a devastating blow. Sensing their imminent doom, the goblins faltered, trembling, their aim failed them as they each released a bolt at Arc’teryx, whose grace and strength had clearly shattered their will to fight. Where moments ago they had deftly struck down two men, they could not so much as scratch the lustrous scales of the battle bard. All the while, Trogdor expertly gained an advantageous position before the goblins’ line, behind cover. Their gazes met, and in that brief instant, victory was assured. The goblins could not prepare for this. Arc’teryx ran forward, and with the mighty Trogdor’s aid, hurled himself over the barricades into the midst of the their enemies. Their eyes widened in surprise long enough to see one beat of the tambourine drum, one thrust of the pelvis, before they were exploded to death by inexplicable musical lightning. The party then needed to take a breather.

The second break in the pattern was caused by Trogdor seeming to take particular issue with one door, which he kicked with unparalleled savagery, severing its earthly bonds and granting it a brief taste of the joyous sensation of flight. Perhaps immediately forgiving the door its transgressions, or perhaps enslaving it as a trophy of some sort, he claimed the door as his personal guard and carried it with him for the rest of the day.

* * *

Throughout his early life, Arc’teryx played music with others, almost never alone. Upon departing his troupe and wandering the great wilds alone, he felt a disturbing loneliness when he played his instruments without accompaniment. This distressed him greatly. But he found a solution. As a young performer, he gained impossible prowess with his instruments, as if he had extra hands to strike notes or hold chords. This was a magical extension of his own body that he could control but did not understand in the slightest. At last, alone and struggling to play just part of a duet, he discovered a new depth to this power, this yearning for harmony. He longed for the gentle rhythm of his adopted sister Aphelia’s hoshos. And so this extra hand of his reached out, took hold of the hoshos in his pack, and began a quiet rattling beat, an intricate rhythm exactly as he remembered Aphelia shaking out hardcore in the ember twilight the last night he saw her. Shit was dope. From that day forward, he rarely played alone, and in his heart that hand was his connection to home, his past, his family.

So when Arc’teryx needed to crack some kobold skulls to a beat, his troupe played for him, and he acknowledged their performance with an enthusiastic high five.

Later in the night, the party stumbled upon an unlucky and now deceased acolyte named Toby. Toby was busy slipping into the depths of insanity playing card games with soulless undead constructs when our heroes disrupted his reverie. Furious at the escape of his captives, Toby and his minions beset the brave adventurers with deadly weapons and wicked spells. One spell caught ShadowStrike off guard and took him down, but not out. Trypan proved he was more than a pretty face and bile factory, helping the monk regain his feet from a safe distance, at which point ShadowStrike punched and kicked furiously anything within easy reach, to great effect, a veritable windmill of a freshly conscious meatbag. Rather than interrogate Toby as to the whereabouts of any treasure and exits, our heroes are always seeking a challenge, and so they simply murdered the villain, broke down every door and slaughtered every living thing, until what was once Toby’s became theirs through their actions.

Among their victims was one magic rug, which proved itself, as one might expect, worthless in combat. Arc’teryx claimed it as his trophy nonetheless, inspired by the rug’s courage and resilience. It seemed near fireproof, as it withstood his sick burns unphased, and only fell when ShadowStrike beat it like a dusty door mat with his quarterstaff. Because Arc’teryx refuses to admit otherwise, let’s all just say that later that day, the rug emerged once more from Arc’teryx’s pack and assaulted the valiant performer when everyone least expected. His friends leapt into action to save him, striking with full force and without hesitation, vanquishing the rug once more and saving their cool, hilarious and talented companion from immediate and definitely real danger. The ruthless acceptance of collateral damage to Arc’teryx’s bones and organs was due to their profound respect for how clever and personal his insults always were, and the knowledge that, without him, their party didn’t stand a chance against the troubles that awaited them on their journey.

The next day, there was a fire at some shop that nobody cared about.

While Arc’teryx was trying to relax at the inn in Sharbat and was entertaining the other patrons, his performance was interrupted by another bard. More precisely, another bard showed up and humbled himself publicly to make Arc’teryx look good. In that, his performance was stellar. Arc’teryx Mage Handed and pelvic thrusted his way to victory and free rooms and meals for his entire party. The other bard, an uppity half-elf, played well enough to make Arc’teryx use a card or two from up his sleeves, so to speak, but proved a bit sore in his defeat. The challenger delivered uninspired insults about the Dragonborn Trogdor as if they were grave omens, thoroughly branding himself an idiot in the eyes of the Bardbarian. They parted ways with as few words as they had met, and Arc’teryx hoped they’d never meet again… But the half-elf kind of sounded like a creep who might have been stalking Trogdor. When he said that trouble follows the Magebarian, perhaps he was referring to himself. Arc’teryx became wary, and the party soon all retired to their rooms to rest up and prepare for the next day’s adventure.

01.1 Wet Cavern Prison

The portcullis slammed closed, there was a shriek from this wizard we’d agreed to meet with. . . .and in my delerium as I woke, in this damp, musty prison cell, I swear I saw. . . skeleton bones? Walking without bodies toward us?

Surely that part was just my mind waking from. . . whatever was done to us to place us in these cells.

The cells, however, those posed their own problem.

Why were we captive? Something about that book, no doubt. These. . . odd tomes are going to bring us no end of trouble.

We’ weren’t alone. The two dragonborn, the odd gnome, and Sander, and myself. We’re under guard – though. . . looking at their postures, they’re not particularly well trained. If we weren’t in these cells I suspect I could have take all three of them on alone.

A few moments of milling about as my companions and I regained our senses, and before I much knew what was going on, someone had opened their cell with. . . fragments of bone in the sand lining our cells?

That must be why I had dreamed of bones.

I took my cue from the others, forcing open my own cell, just as the Dragonborn started to chant . . . and . . . froth at their captivity. A flash of light and heat later, and the first of the kobolds had fallen.

It would be foolish, in the future, to aggravate Trogdor, it seems.

The other Kobolds, in a panic, ran for a door across the room – a door it seems their now dead companion held the key to.

It didn’t take long for us to end our captives. My companions were able to regain their posessions from a locked chest, and we headed back up the stairs the kobolds had been trying to flee up.

I have to admit, it felt nice to have my quarterstaff back. I must be careful not to become overly-reliant on it, however. Master Mowongshi would be . . . unhappy. . . were I to become to dependant on tools other than myself for my defense.

Then again. . . what use is a tool if it can’t be used?

I needed to focus. We took a quick rest, and explored our goods – it seems that ALL the tomes Sander brought with us were missing. Including that odd bag of his. How he fits not just 2-3 books, but at least an entire shelve’s worth in there. . .

Logically, Sharbat had to have taken the books from us. Though, if he wanted to peruse them he only needed to ask. . .

Sander was driven that we needed to get them back. Trogdor seemed quite upset at the indignity of having been held captive. Ar’Teryx seemed to think this would all make a good story or song. And (JOSH’S GNOME). . . well. . . he just seemed not to want to be alone down here. For someone so gifted with healing wounds, I’ve never seen someone so. . . squeamish about blood. How he’ll get those bile stains out of his tunic. . . .

We opened the next door at the top of the stairs, only to find more kobolds, and a goblin.

Almost before I could set myself to engage the nearest foes, the dragonborn had charged into the room, lighting tables on fire, flipping the room nearly upside down.

The fight was short lived. We pressed on, finding a couple of storage rooms. . . and then we made a mistake.

We’d waited too long and made too much noise. A couple rooms later, we’d given our captives the chance to set up an ambush against us. Firing crossbows from behind upended tables. . . it was. . . difficult getting close enough to them to make the fight fair.

Alas, I don’t recall much of the fight, there is a moment where I’m afraid to admit I was no longer conscious. I’m told the dragonborn pair worked wonders on clearing the room, and it seems I have the gnome to thank for waking me from my. . . slumber.

Though it was a mistake before to sit and wait, my injuries left us with little choice. I sat in meditation for a bit, until some of my strength returned, and wanted to take a moment to record our struggle.

Where is this Sharbat, and what does he want with Sander’s tomes?

What will he do if he learns of the things in “my” tome?

We should move on. . . .

Highlights included:
A dragonborn bard dancing onto a table to lethally taunt his enemies.
A golf swing critical strike against a fire using a maul to splash it into a kobold.

00 Official Backstory/Prologue from DM
(first draft)

Year 1217

Growing up as a poor street rat in the City of Picarisweat, Sander learned early on that the key to succeeding in life was diligent work in the betterment of oneself. Forsaking his peers in the most humble section of the city, with their whining and griping about their own victim-hood, Sander began slowly and deliberately stealing an education from the most prominent university in the land. Having discovered forgotten and secret spy tunnels within the very walls of the university, Sander attended lectures on every topic imaginable to discover the secrets of happiness and success.

One day, while he was attending a lecture on basic mechanical principles, Sander noticed that the professor became increasingly distracted during his lecture, growing more and more intent on a small stack of papers on his desk that he’d discovered lost in the library earlier that day. His lecture finally dissipating into silence, the professor’s lips began moving in excitement as he read through the first several pages of the short document, “Gods, this technology is at least a century away, this is simple extraordinary.” The professor simply walked out on his shocked class, heading toward the housing area for the university. Intrigued by the prospect of new and valuable technology, Sander used his familiarity with the secret tunnels of the university to move toward the professor’s rooms.

Sander returned and watched, fascinated, as over several days the professor made drawing after drawing in his private housing, ideas that would take the realm into the next era of progress.

Finally, after having not seen the professor rest once over this time, the lecturer finally succumbed, passing out on the desk. Sander, seizing his opportunity, crept in, taking the volume and the professor’s bag of notes before slipping back into the wall space and back out into the city.

Sander was surprised to find that for him, the bag was the most interesting object gained from the encounter, opening into a nether-area into which several books had been placed. The volume that the lecturer had owned had changed in it’s transition of ownership from the professor to Sander, now appearing as a small treatise on the operation of basic locks. The most interesting aspect was that the dedication of the volume was to Sander himself. The book also referenced several other works by other authors with dates attributed to them. One date, oddly far in the future, included a location that Sander knew of, Rahkdaha, A monastic cloister, located west of the kingdom of Etz in the freelands.

After moving into the library of the university to add several books of interest to the bag, Sander then stole several days worth of supplies from the kitchens during the night and began his journey toward the cloister.

Upon arrival, Sander met the monk ShadowStrike, who (perceiving Sander as a learned man) intent on the pursuit of knowledge agreed to assist him with his retrieval of the referenced volume.

Shadowstrike located the book titled “Gear Ratio’s and Power”, but the volume fell to the floor in his haste, inexplicably becoming a loose sheaf of paper’s entitled, “The Beholders and the cataclysm of 1219”. Oddly enough the document was dedicated to Shadowstrike himself and contained news of a disaster of a degree not seen since the creation of The Tear far to the west. While Shadowstrike looked in wonder at this document, Sander found that his own document, Mayer’s Marvelous Mechanics, had changed slightly and a new area had appeared in the book, in a completely unfamiliar language.

Attempting to follow leads towards an effective translator for this section of the volume, Sander and Shadowstrike arrange a meeting with a wizard on the outskirts of a small town named Sharbat.

On the way, they encounter a pair of dragonborn, who state they were roasting, but were definitely effectively incinerating a deer. The barbarian, Trogdor is on the run following an incident in which he punched his bandit-leader Gruel in the face, an insult that gruel cannot allow to stand. Trogdor seems to delight in starting fires and can simply sit still and watch a campfire burn for hours on end. He had met Arc’teryx, a wandering bard originally from deep within the human lands, who had traveled with his troupe for a great many years before departing on his own to witness or take part in legendary tales of his own.

Over the crispy/crunchy remains of the carbonized deer, for which Sander had exchanged a book, the two groups agreed to continue on together, while Arc’teryx rocked out a magnificent kalimba solo.

Upon meeting the wizard for the translation, the group was asked to remain in the entry arch-way of his keep. The last thing the group can remember is a portcullis slamming down on either side of them and the wizard, livid, approaching with several skeletal warriors screaming, “The horrific tome shall be mine, you shall not have it”!

(Re-write soonish)


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