Chapter One

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Chapter One – Ledge Legends

The story begins much like many other glorious adventures in the tales of old. A seemingly random group of people comprised of various races and classes gathering in a remote town on a dark night, in this case, one called Oakhurst. Through happenstance and the universe aligning just right, all of the separate people arrive at the same time, sitting in a crowded inn – and get a seat at the same table, despite the afore mentioned crowdedness.

As they sit before the fire, they hear the tale of woe from an old mysterious person recanting their troubles, but it’s clear that this monologue is mostly directed at the table of potential heroes by the fire, and that fame and fortune await those that will complete this epic adventure……..

That is not us though. Myself and my bagpipe playing companion had just been chucked out of the inn by the Half Orc bouncer for annoying the customers and we are thrown into a large puddle that splashes a couple of lords and a beggar with sandals and a bald head.

The two lords help us out of the puddle, I suspect an automatic reaction based on breeding rather than actually wanting to help, while the beggar, actually a disheveled Monk, asks if we have seen any magic apples. My Bardic friend and I wipe ourselves down while answering no, and then the lords asks us about some missing children. Again, we cannot help, but more importantly, they offer us a share in the reward if we do help, something apple boy never did. Seeing as how our services are no longer required at the inn, we are more than happy to tag along.

My Bardic friend says he will grab his gear that is still in the Inn and meet us later, while the Lords – actually a well-armoured Paladin and a Cleric offer the same deal to the Monk.

As we head towards another inn in the town trying to find a bed for the evening, the Half Orc bouncer looms from the darkness in front of us. He explains that he is terribly sorry for his rough housing of us earlier, a dreadful mistake, and did we know that he could play the drums, and offers to be a band member.

It was of course nothing like that and more along the lines of “YOU!” pointing at me, “I PLAY DRUMS!” while using his fists to make pummeling actions that made me wince. “I help!” he adds, before crushing me with a bear hug. He then whispers “secret plan” in my ear, but to whom that was directed at I do not know. To deflect him, I tell him that the two standing in the armour have gold and will pay him money to find some children. Specific children, I hastily add, not any random child as I see him look in the window of the nearest house.

But the Half Orc is gone. He returns moments later, a Half Elf upside down in his meaty fist. “I found child” he says turning to look at the darkly dressed person who secrets a knife quick enough to not be spotted by the Half Orc or his new friends into one of the many pouches around his waist.

The Half-Elf is midway through the sentence “I am not a child” as the Barbarian puts him down while saying “Gold please!” with his hand outstretched, so stops speaking and pauses to watch what unfolds next.

The Paladin, a Half Elf, begins to visibly shake, his ears turning pink with rage. “It is not any old bloody children! It’s the children of the Baron Augustus, and they are not children, but grown up adventurers. And yes, you can come too” he waves a gauntleted fist at the newcomer before continuing at a lower volume. “They are apparently in a dungeon a few miles from here, and we need all the help we can. Lastly, yes, there is a gold reward.” The Paladin smooths down his tabard and takes a deep breath, rolling his eyes at the Cleric. The unspoken ‘please can we find someone else’ is written all over his face, and the wiggle of eyebrows from the Cleric shows he is inclined to agree.

This is missed by the party though, and the Half orc is not the only one of the group digesting the words gold and reward, or perhaps not, as he mumbles ‘old children not children but are children’ over and over.

The two lords seemed resigned to their fate though, and continue with their story to the rapidly growing listener base. Apparently, the last know location was in or around the ‘lair of a long forgotten Dragon Cult’ and called the ‘Sunless Citadel’. It resides in the Blasted Lands, the devastation caused by a Red Dragon (no relation to me I hope) long ago.

The parents of Talgan and Shargin want information so badly, they are willing to pay on proof of death, provided we return with the family rings of the missing. This will be worth 500g to us, but if we actually return with them alive, the reward is doubled.

The Monk chimes in with his quest, expertly riding the coat tails of the Paladin saying that he is also searching for something, a group of Orcs that appear with Magical Apples, a green apple that heals and a white apple that poisons, and that his monk group are looking to learn the secrets of both these strange fruit. There is no mention of a reward though, so people lose interest quickly.

The lords add that they had done some digging during the day and found that someone called Belak and his pet frog seem to be the only other people asking about this sunless citadel. They are not sure if he is related to the missing kids though. Lastly, Talgan and Shargin are part of an adventuring group, headed to the citadel, and that including the two mentioned, there were at least four people altogether.

Resting for the evening, we awake to start our new adventure. Which turns out to be a bloody long boring walk through quite flat countryside. Its more than eight miles in fact, before we start finding signs of buildings; more ruins than anything that could be habitable though, with the area congregated with plenty of broken pillars that would have once looked quite majestic. 

As we move through the pillars searching, we find a rope attached around one pillar, that trails along the floor before disappearing down a cavern – a large opening formed from earthquakes or the Dragon attack from long ago.

After investigation, it seems the rope is easily 100’ long, sturdy and relatively new, far newer than the surrounding ruins. The Paladin indicates this must be the missing parties route, and decides to descend first, followed by the Cleric.

The slope is not that steep to be fair, and some of the party are able to navigate downwards holding the rope just in case rather than actually needing it to traverse. I stay where I am however, as anything with more angle than horizontal equals danger.

The Paladin Ser Guildan spies a ledge sticking out of the cliff side, and calls up that stairs are cut into the rocks further down, and that there is something at the bottom of the rope.

The Monk follows Ser Guildan, who can now see that the debris is piles of fur and the bones of small animals. He moves past the ledge, and thinks he can see some movement between the rocks, prompting the Cleric, St Vincent to take up the rope and begin the descent more rapidly.

He is not all that steady on his feet however[1], and a small slip causes tiny rocks to move causing him to slide as he steps and then he is gone, tumbling down the slope, landing on his back at the bottom. While he doesn’t know it, this is quite helpful for the people above, as his light (thankfully still aflame after the tumble) illuminates the area around his prone body better.

The movement of rocks falling and his crashing to the floor causes the debris to shudder and break apart, and from within, very large rats dart out to attack the Lords, biting the Cleric as he lays on the floor. St Vincent is now looking in a bad way, part rat bite and part blunt force trauma from the drop.

From the bold brashness that one achieves by being 100 feet away from an enemy that cannot hit back, I lean over the edge and with a flourish blast one with a Firebolt, killing it instantly.  St Vincent gets up and heals himself, while the Monk and the Barbarian start making their way down the slope quickly.

Despite his heavy armour, St Vincent is hit again, and I blast another from the face of the earth. A sneaky arrow from Fiddler shoots the last of the rats, and the self-proclaimed Ledge Legends are born as the Rogue and I congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

As we celebrate from the ledge, another three rats come out from the small holes and piled rocks, who appear far more vicious then those before and the Cleric is once again struck, dropping to the floor once more as his nether regions are gnashed. Sadly the Ledge Legends both miss, while the Barbarian continues his way downwards at a brisk speed. The Monk, seeing the Cleric fall over with a grimace gets to a certain height then just leaps down standing over the Cleric like a protective mother hen.

Both the Monk and Paladin are hit, but now the Paladin has the measure of them and whacks one off the side of the ledge minus its head. Another Rat is killed by the Rogue, and then I blast the remaining one, which stops mid strike and slowly begins to smoke before combusting.

The Ledge Legends are victorious, killing a mere five of the six rats – not that we are taking score of course, that would be crass. A few smug looks however are in order though, before we call out “Is it safe?” and allowing them to be protective of us as we descend.

Once clear, we search the debris and the ledge, but find nothing.

Ser Guildan is well enough to move onwards, and so moves down the stairs, and finds himself on the top of battlements of a fortress sunken into the ground. Indicating that all is clear, he waves us down, so we continue down the narrow stairs to join him. As its dark at the bottom of this canyon, the Human Monk and Cleric light torches, much to the annoyance of the Rogue who moves away from the illuminating area they are in while cursing them loudly.

When we realize that we are a beacon for everyone from above, the rest of us join in asking them to get rid of the light, while moving out of the illuminated area. Fiddler meanwhile has moved off to scout, heading towards a door and already sees something that looks suspicious. It turns out that the floor conceals a pit, but there is a safe path through to the door.

Deciding to entertain the troops as such, I play a tune on my Shawm to perhaps entice any more rat creatures to appear and then fall into the newly found pit. It is of course merely poor timing and certainly not intentional that I do this as the former bouncer that ruined my nice cloak climbs over the crenulations to get a large rock. As I begin, the Half Orc staggers and nearly falls over with emotion as my soulful warbling [2] fills the air, nothing at all to do with the uneven flooring.

The noise does indeed bring rats to our yard, and they seem to want Kal-El’s milkshakes as they swarm over him to attack. Despite waiting for them, I miss with my Firebolt, while St Vincent obliterates one with a shaft of holy light. The Barbarian waits until one is upon him and with a mighty swing cuts the rat in half, while Ser Guildan also swings, but misses.

A rat attacks the Barbarian, but misses, while the Monk nimbly runs across the broken rubble, leaps over the corpse of a rat and lands in front of another and strikes out with his sword. He misses completely, but it was an impressive run up nonetheless. Kal-El then cuts the last one down.

Using a dead rat, we chuck it over to where Fiddler indicated, and watch as the trap door flips open. Surprisingly there is a live rat inside, looking quite annoyed. I peer over to have a look and contemptuously point my finger at it to burn it, but instead set fire to my own finger. The rat then tries to make a bid for freedom, running up the side of the pit like some teenage parkour trainee and heads straight for me…. but with a mental shrug I cast Shield causing it to  bounce off the magical barrier and fall back down the pit. I then burn it properly, with that ‘all according to plan’ face while secretly thankfully that my nadges are in the same place I left them.

The Monk and Barbarian go down into the pit, with the Barbarian finding a pouch which is pocketed. The Monk says that he has found a scimitar and shield, and can anyone use them? To which I reply “I do not use earthly weapons, I use weapons of the mind….” stressing the mind part with a finger to my forehead.  

The main door that is the focus of our attention does not appear to be trapped, and opening it, Fiddler peers inside to find four dead goblins. Some of the party go inside as Fiddler searches around, while the rest stay outside waiting for St Vincent to finish a ritual.

Finding nothing immediately of interest, we rest. With all that walking and climbing, and my recent injuries, it is well warranted.

Once refreshed, we go through the southwestern door, finding a rubble filled room with a dragon’s head carved into the door, a keyhole located in its open mouth.

Ser Guildan checks the rubble and no sooner has he bent down to move a few rocks when two rats attack him. He backs off and hits one, wounding it, while the quick actions of the Barbarian means he launches a javelin into it, killing it. Or according to him, “I javel it in the head!” St Vincent misses with a spell and a dart from the Monk also misses. The Rogue fairs better, wounding it, and the Paladin finally finishes it off.

The Rogue cannot open the next door we find, so we move back to the entrance room and open another door. The Rogue then announces that he will happily explore as long as we keep ‘the stupid blind humans’ away from him. Once agreed, he moves on, and soon finds a room with keg in it with pipes attached to it that also go into the floor. We have no idea what it is, and the rest of the room is empty, so we leave.

Another door is opened, revealing a storeroom by the looks of it, littered with bones and crates. The Rogue beckons us in and we move onwards, but as soon as the Paladin enters, the debris around the room seems to burst as all the bones pop up and become skeletons.

The Barbarian at the back is eager to help, and quickly rushes in, but immediately drops his weapon as soon as he draws it. I peer from behind him and hit one with a spell, but it still stands.

St Vincent calls out in a commanding voice for Helm to protect us [3], and some of the skeletons freeze in place, leaving just three left to attack. Kal-El draws a hand axe and backhands the one I hit to the floor, while the Paladin takes out another.

Kal-El hits one that was trying to get away from St Vincent’s presence and as Ser Guildan attempts to hit another one, it instead runs him through, causing him to tumble to the floor. I blast the skeleton with fire as it raises its weapon to chop the bleeding Paladin lying on the floor, and Fiddler finishes it off by popping into the room shooting the creature in the eye socket.

The Monk finds a rhythm and steps up to punch one in the face, shattering its skull while St Vincent stabilizes the stricken Paladin. The Monk must have surprised himself with his skeleton death punch as after a brief look of his own hand he screams a ‘Kay-YA!’ and punches the next undead minion so hard he destroys the ribs and crushes the vertebrae, dropping it amongst the rest of the bones.

The two remaining skeletons are backed in the corner, thankfully with their faces against the wall so they cannot see the embarrassment of the Barbarian dropping yet another weapon and St Vincent striking the floor five feet away from any of the undead.

These are not the only members of the party confounded by the fleeing skeletons as fire and arrows from myself and Fiddler strike the wall. Finally, one of the Rogues shots shatters bone and drops one, and then last undead has its collarbone broken by the Monk raining fists down on it.

After a brief few moments to ensure that nothing more will attack, Ser Guildan is force fed his own potion of healing to get him back up on his feet.

The searching of debris and boxes around the room adds some gold to the kitty, which is handy, but nothing else though.  The other door from this room is locked, and the Rogue fails to pick it, but the former bouncer Kal-El steps up with a toothy grin and kicks the door in. Peering over the remnants of the doorway, it reveals a large room with a hole and a nearby cage, with what looks like a clothed covered bench to one side and a bedroll that looks occupied.

There is something evil about the bedroll, according to the Paladin, and ‘Here be Dragons’ is written in Draconic on the walls.

It turns out that a cowering Kobold is inside the bedroll, who after realizing we haven’t immediately murdered him and may be able to help him, pokes his hands and head out of the bedroll saying “please don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me.”

While the others tower over the Kobold, I walk to the covered bench, which is actually a makeshift altar. On top of which is a paint brush, some green dye and four jade dragon figures, which I pick it up to give to Kal-El.

They question the Kobold, and find he is named Meepo, who babbles mostly that his leader is Ustral. Apparently, the Goblins that have taken over a large part of the area here have stolen a dragon from Meepo, who was its handler. Looking back at Meepo we wonder how he was employed at all, as his entire body seems to be made up of scratches, and quite a few parts of his body as well as his mittens are singed.

Meepo continues his tale, and when asked by the Lords, find that while he doesn’t know anything, the rest of the Kobolds may know of the missing humans, and offers to take us to his leader to tell us more.

After a brief discussion, we agree and are soon lead through many tunnels and corridors and quite a few Kobolds at guard posts on the way. “Ticklecorn” in draconic is a word used to open doors and bypass guards, and while I doubt any single guard station would cause this noble party issues, attrition while fighting through them all could make it a very different outcome.

After some time, we are let into a large room containing a far more impressive altar than Meepo’s, with a figure on a throne in white just beyond it.

We are beckoned closer, to what looks like a female Kobold, a Queen? With an imposing albino Bodyguard standing near her. Around us are lots of dragon statues and carvings and above them all a statue of a dragons head with a large key in its mouth resting on its tongue.

The Queen listens to Meepo talk, then turns to us and says that they have a Goblin problem to go alongside the Dragon problem; and that the party of adventurers we seek actually went looking for the Goblins and have yet to return…..which is not ominous at all then.

Despite the fact that they are missing, we all agree to help the Kobolds; rewards obviously, something about earning the key from the Dragons mouth to open a door with something in it. I felt they did quite well negotiating put it that way. [4]

They graciously allow us to rest for the night, and we wake in the morning, all refreshed and ready to go.

 

Day Two

Meepo leads us to the Goblin area. We head through more doors and past more guards and into a dusty room with a dragon fountain, which sadly contains no water. Rat tracks as well as humanoid ones are found heading into the opening on one side of the room while another wall has a stone door firmly shut, with skeletal dragons carved into it.

I look through the opening into a corridor to see yet more doors, and retuning to the room, look near the closed door to tell the others that it says ‘Rebuke the dead, Open the door’ in Draconic. Which is nice and specific for idiots such as us.

‘Let there be fire’ is also written in Draconic on the fountain, and I say it. The fountain starts to gargle and splutter and fiery liquid begins to pour out. It’s not lava, so Kal-El gets an empty potion bottle and catches it, filling the bottle.

It turns out that it is a potion of fire breathing, which is handy. Finding nothing else in the room, and not knowing anyone that can yet cast Rebuke Dead, [3] we move on, into the corridor of doors to look around. We continue onwards, finding more small empty rooms and closed doors.

With Fiddler investigating, we are suddenly attacked from behind, with Kal-El and Meepo attacked by rats. Meepo runs off, leaving me exposed, but thankfully the Barbarian chops one down, and the Monk reacting quickly, cuts down the other rat.

It’s then quiet, but only briefly as skittering noise are heard and four more appear, one launching at Kal-El and biting him quite badly. The Barbarian rages, staying in the fight barely, and I cast sleep, knocking two of them out. The Monk kills another and St Vincent cures the wounds on Kal-El. Ser Guildan moves in to hit and wound the last standing, and the Monk finishes it off.

The Monk then turns to the sleeping ones, and punches one, but it is not dead, so the Barbarian ‘javels’ it in the face. St Vincent crushes the skull of the last rat with a holy swipe of his mace.

It’s all quiet….

 

 

Notes:

[1] Our first session, and the first roll of the game (the others were normally moving while St Vincent wanted to move quicker) and he rolls a 1, crashing down the slope to land on his arse.

[2] I kept playing this on my laptop at every opportunity….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBqdQIP0evg

[3] A slight befuddlement of the rules of 5th edition happens here. The Cleric forgot he could not turn undead until level two and this was not spotted until after the fight had ended. Subsequently, at every opportunity, cheat references were made at his expense.

[4] It sounded more and more like Storage Wars, the premises of a locked door but they would not tell us what was in it, only that we would have to do some daring deed to earn the key to open the door.

 

Played: 12/08/18
Posted: 30/10/18

The Party

Humble Narrator and sorcerer - Solomun "Major" Tunde

Fighter - Abraham "Cut throat" Williams

Barbarian - Kal-El

Paladin - Ser Guildan

Cleric - ST Vincent

Rogue - Fiddler Topov

Bard - Miley Cirus

Monk - Char Siu Bao

 

and other supporting cast members