“The possibilities were endless. Battles would be fought. Wonders revealed. Many journeys. Many lands. Many joys. Many sorrows. But stories all...”
The Piped Piper of Haven
Part 1 : Is there a plan?
“So what’s the plan then.” moaned Vincent the Cleric, gathering his prayer beads nervously in his sweaty palms.
Most of the party were still half asleep as they rose from their extended rest. Sleep had not come easy to the group, the loss of the monk played on their minds. Not for any deep concern for him personally you understand, it simply brought home how easy it could have been one of them, out there, a prisoner to the orcs blades.
“It’s simple” said the Barbarian Kal El, “we get the hell out of this room and we smash skulls.”
At this, with all his possessions neatly stowed, Fiddler the scout slipped away from the group, out by the secret door. Apparently to prepare the ground for a heroic death retreat should it be required.
“I’m slightly scared and a little ill” moaned Major Tunde, “I really want to adventure with you today but my tummy is not right, I would be a burden, does anyone mind if I sit this one out”? This information was met with stony silence. He was secretly a little disappointed that no one was objecting to his cunning plan. He needed to be useful but didn’t want to die. “I have some great magic things with me, does anyone want to use them?” Kal El had heard enough, “fine, give me your bag of dust thing, nothing else has value, you are pathetic!” Major Tunde quickly handed it over and snuggled down deeper into his sleeping bag. If they can’t see him then they can’t hurt him, simples and fell to sleep.
Vincent spoke up again, concerned to see the numbers dropping “look front rank, Guildan and Williams, you fight defensively, the monsters won’t hurt you because they can’t hit you, the rest of the party will hit them with spells and ranged weapons” This made sense and all agreed to this cunning plan. Fiddler returned and redesigned the store room into a barrel filled fortress and made secret plans to base himself there at the first sign of contact.
Bags the Bard piped up, “okay plan sorted, two abreast as discussed second rank me and cleric, rear will be scout and barbarian, 10 ft gap between the ranks, remember the plan, hold formation, let’s roll”
The door to the store room was pushed a jar, the front rank gingerly walked forward and immediately set off the pressure pad trap outside the room. Guildan and Williams were encased with noxious gas but were able to resist the effect. Fiddler pushed forward to deal with the trap, “leave it to me”, using his clever skills he cast an improved mage hand and drove an iron spike into the heart of the sensitive workings, immediately nullifying its potency. The group, unimpressed with this poor start moved on, cursing their poor collective memories!
They broke out heading out into the corridor twisted right around the corner and then into the long 10 foot wide corridor. They stopped a few steps later at the top of the stairs that headed down on the right. Nervousness gripped the party, there be wolves, ogres and possibly dead monks hereabouts. “Head down the stairs” exclaimed Bags, “this is where I saw the wolves and last saw the monk”. “No, no” said Fiddler, “let’s clear the main corridor, we don’t want to get ambushed from the rear”.
The first 40 or 50 foot of the corridor was bathed in light from the torches set into the cold stone walls. The other end of the corridor was dark to the eyes even with dark vision. The discussion raged back and forth, the augurs were not bearing well. The front rank agreed with the stairs plan but decided to seize the junction 30 feet forward and lay caltrops to hinder any possible attack.
As they reached the junction their idea collapsed at the sight of a growling wolf and axe wielding orc standing guard in the darkness.
As quick as the defending plans had been made they were forgotten and with a quick step, Guildan bounded forward and struck the giant wolf with his sword. This is easy thought Williams, he got straight to it and swung his axe into the shaggy lump of wolf hide. The wolf, distressed by this unwelcome incident snapped at Guildan’s arm but missed. The battle axe wielding orc remembered his training and screamed his alarm while swinging his wicked axe deep into the muscle of Guildan’s arm.
From the opposite end of the corridor, shrouded in darkness, the wooden doors quietly open and a hideous orc witch silently steps into view. Only Guildan and Williams were able to witness her tattooed encased body, her scowling face and her long taloned claws. Before they could breathe she grabbed her unholy symbol and pointed out towards the group. An explosion of radiant light flashed out from her fingers and shrieked down the corridor in an unstoppable beam. Unstoppable until it met the chest of the unsuspecting scout, messing about at the rear of the party.
That smartened him up, scolding his life from his body and leaving him glowing like a wagon load of burning candles. Guildan continues to stab and slash at the giant wolf, beginning to wonder how many whacks this beast was going to take before it stopped howling. Meanwhile Fiddler turned and ran back to the safe storeroom, secretly pleased with his earlier well thought plans. Even he didn’t expect to be back so soon. I must be quiet he thought, I don’t want to disturb the poor sleeping tiefling!
Bags heads forward having seen and heard the news of the witches presence. He had armed himself with the wand of entanglement especially for this moment. Although not quite able to see the witch he launched the sharp entangled forest into the relevant area and crossed his fingers that he had done enough to slow this new and very dangerous adversary.
Meanwhile the giant wolf is a tad upset to be on the receiving end of a good beating and chomps a serious bite into the arm of Guildan. A little escape of air is all that Keith exhales as he slips down unconscious to the cold stone floor, fighting defensively long forgotten.
Kal El, not known for his strategic play, surprises us all by carefully pouring his favourite sack of marbles onto the flag stones at the top of the stairs. He proclaims “That will protect us from a dangerous flank attack” or “ha ha, watch people fall down” (delete as appropriate) Then heads up to join the fallen body of Guldan. This plan is looking pretty good....
Suddenly from up the stairs, swiftly ignoring the glass toys arrives giant wolf number two, who immediately bites the daydreaming cleric Vincent in the leg bringing him straight back into the moment. Okay, not the end of the world. But where there is one there is usually two and yes, here comes a giant ogre. He has no need for armour, one blow from his mighty double handed axe is all he has ever needed in combat. His sheer size blocks the corridor to the rear. The glass marbles still look pretty glinting on the floor by his feet but they don’t look like they are about to save the day.
Williams heals Guildan with a potion then gets busy on his wolf with another blow from his axe, still the wolf stands. “Leave my wolf you blood traitor” screams the orc warrior but his axe blow only succeeds at bouncing off from Williams’ armour. The cleric tries casting on wolf two but to no avail.
Meanwhile, out of sight, out of mind, the Fiddler heals himself and breathes a sigh of relief as the shinny glitter effect fades from his visage. “I am yet again one with the world” mutters the scout, he touches his quiff, notches an arrow to his bow and glides back into the doorway of the store room. He can’t help but squeeze his legs together to stop himself from pissing his pants as he now finds himself in the shadow of a giant orc. But to his credit he fires his arrow into the big orcs arse and then runs like hell back into the store room.
Kal El javelins one of the wolves and at the same time is lucky to avoid a deadly looking blow from the giant orc. Kal El now breaks into a rage and frenzy, the odds of battle are swinging wildly.
First credit to the party, Guildan and Williams lands the final death blows on to the original wolf.
Bags is feeling pretty good, nullifying the witch has obviously saved the party. But before he has the chance to bring this event into song the witch makes her presence known. That familiar explosion of radiant light shoots out of the darkness, striking directly into the head of the Bard. It is terrific force and normal mortals would have buckled and yet, and yet the Bags remains standing. It is uncanny how the witch is able to target the most dangerous members of the party!
The scout continues his hit and run tactics, another beauty, the arrow burrows deep into the giant ogre. How long will he allow this to happen without answering? Bags is not done, he calls down the spell dissonant whispers onto the giant ogre but his saves are strong and only minimal damage is delivered. Bags then takes cover at the feet of cleric Vincent as his life force is in the balance. Kal El lays down some military lessons onto the giant ogre with two hits that would have killed a normal person but giant ogre is of a different class. The second wolf takes the opportunity to have another cheeky nibble at the cleric. The giant ogre seeks revenge on the barbarian and a massive blow is delivered but somehow the rage reduces the damage felt.
Finally Williams, finishes the remaining orc warrior with an axe blow to his head and then jollies down into the dark corridor to deal with the impertinent witch. The witch is more than happy to welcome new victims into her entangled den and greets Williams with an almighty spell. Thankfully this young Jedi has learned well from the master tiefling and remembers the “save your arse” shield spell. He calls it up just in the nick of time and deflects the spell attack harmlessly away.
Cleric Vincent gets engaged and heals Bags and unleashes spiritual weapon onto the giant ogre for a nice bop on the head.
Guildan joins up with Williams again and succumbs to a critical swipe from the witch for his troubles. Bags decides to “go for the animals, they are easier” technique and finally dissonant whispers works on wolf two. He howls and looks in terror at the Bard and flees the battle. Well he would have done if he hadn’t offered the barbarian a free strike which tore the rear legs from the wolf as its broken body scattered into the forgotten marbles. Bags is then up on his feet and charging the witch.
Kal El is now in the killing mind and he swings his great sword for the final time into the giant ogre. The giant ogre’s reflexes have slowed and for the first and last time in his life the ogre wishes that he was wearing a full helm. But it’s all too late as the great sword splits his thick dull skull into two. Those battle odds keep swinging like a baboons ball sack! The barbarian seeks another target but the corridor is too long and his enemies are too dead or too distant and he stops dead with exhaustion.
Williams great battle skills continue swapping melee weapons and spells like an arcane master. He shocking grasps the witch who writhes in pain. She swings, deranged with anger, at her attackers. The unusual angle of attack confuses Guildan who fails to dodge the flailing hand. Dripping with death she scores his face with necrotic damage. Down he goes again, death saves are now required for this brave soul. The witch retreats back through the doors and into the small room beyond. “Not so fast” says Williams, a critical damage blow is delivered onto her exposed shoulder as she turns to flee.
Now it’s the Bards turn, Whispers is cast and another success, she is racked with pain and flees with terror into her bedchamber. Wiliams delivers another devastating blow, this time as a chromatic orb, acid bursts across her chest. “Please no more” begs the witch she staggers forward. Williams turns to the Bard “Don’t trust the bitch” he shouts. Too late, with his eyes off the prize, the surprise is his alone to endure, an empowered inflict wounds spell pierces into the fighters body. “Enough witch” whispers the Bard forming the words into an empowered DW, again she fails to save and her brain cannot contain the magic song and her head explodes all over her discarded bed clothes.
Witches room searched - pouch contains gem x2 topaz 200 worth gold pieces x2 onyx at 50 gold pieces each. Cauldron contains 210 gold pieces. 1 x ogre ears 2 x orc ears collected.
The Bard takes a studded leather collar from a giant wolf’s corpse.
The party return to the fortified store room for short rest and enjoy Bags new melody called “The joy of kissing a Bard part 1” This gives even more vitality to the short nap and a sweeter dream then normal for the group.
The area down the stairs is searched and is a wolfs lair, two large wooden chests are found. The scout combs for traps and locks and after following care and prudence the chests are opened.
440 gold pieces 1600 silver pieces, potion of climbing and +1 magical rapier which is immediately presented to Bags by a grateful party. Why? Because it is written of course!
The party move into the huge cavern, some large recesses are filled with more stores and stacked up barrels. The group jolly’s around searching and watching, no real success other than Bags who discovers a tricky little small chest. His primitive lock picking skills are not up to the task in hand and he ends up snapping a lock picking tool. He gives the chest to Guildan to carry and calls a cantrip message for assistance from the Fiddler.
Part 2: Dance in the water with me.
Fiddler notices the raised circular brick feature sitting proudly in the far distant corner of the cavern. The brick walls are about 10ft high and 15 feet across. On closer inspection it appears to be a disused well. Disused unless you like the flavour or black putrid water which reflects an eerie sheen. Ever the inquisitive explorer scout carefully lowers in a grapple hook attached to a rope to gage the depth. His experiment reveals a depth of 15 feet.
A secret message from Bags, pings into his mind “ come hither, I have found a small chest and seek your help to open it” Fiddler decides to ignore this call. He moves around the outside of the well and for no obvious reason drops down onto the ground beside it and disappears from sight.
Eventually Fiddler begins to move away from the well and this is where the nightmare begins. The brackish water explodes into life, a large watery creature cascades from the well and strikes the scout and in an instant, gathers him up and drags him immediately back into the water. Fiddler neither saw it coming, had no time to react, not even a chance to take a desperate breath. He had been enveloped by a water elemental and was slowly being crushed drowned and constricted at the bottom of the well.
The whole party witnessed the event and rushed over to the rippling surface of the well, desperate to see some signs of life. Nothing stirred, except the quick thinking barbarian who suddenly remembered the pouch of dryness. Kal El opens the pouch and throws in a pinch of the magical dust which immediately absorbs all the putrid water in the well. The water has gone and yet a watery shape can be seen enveloping the scout in a drowning embrace. You could see the life disappearing from the scout as he turned an ashen grey, his hit and run tactics long forgotten in this constricted watery tomb.
Fiddler failed his death roll.
Williams desperately fires a magic fire bolt onto the creature which sizzles but remains unmoved. Cleric Vincent heals Fiddler, his eyes begin to flicker once again, can he be saved? Kal El leaps in and drops the remains of the magic dust upon it. Heavy damage is caused but it is not enough? The elemental appears to bear down upon the scout once more and the death rolls are again required.
Williams continues with his excellent display of arcane power and unleashing a chromatic orb lightning strike. The air crackles with magic power, it is a battle against the forces of nature and time to save this helpless scout. Another rare event is witnessed, Bags draws his new magic rapier blade and with a dramatic flourish he leaps into the well to join in the desperate bid and pokes the elemental in its plug hole. Cleric Vincent sends in a guiding bolt and nearly guides it into the party but misses everything that matters, including the beast.
Fiddler is dead - no more death rolls. Loses chance.
Williams brings down another fire bolt that fizzes into the beast. You best kill this quick or someone else is heading for a once in a life time squeeze. Perhaps spurred on by this thought, Cleric Vincent tries again with his guiding bolt, screaming to his God. Perhaps his prayers were heard because this is the bolt that finally finishes this watery foe.
It all goes quiet, time seemed to freeze.
Meanwhile on another plane in an ethereal world Fiddler finds himself sitting cross legged in a beautiful summer meadow. The wind lightly shaping the grass in hypnotic patterns.
A strange and comforting voice resonates “welcome little scout, your journey is complete, you did well, now you may rest”.
“Where am I” said Fiddler.
The voice replied “You are home, you spent your short life worrying about being hurt, well you will never be hurt again, you have found peace at last.”
“But what about my friends, where are they?”
The voice replied “They are still adventuring, facing dangers together. “
Fiddler stated “I shall miss them you know, they were my......friends.”
It felt good to say it, he had never said that before.
“Can I go back, they may need my help?”
“But you could be hurt,“ said the voice, “there is no happy ending there.”
Fiddler thought for a moment but it wasn’t a hard decision.
The lip of a cold bottle was being forced into his mouth, a soothing warm liquid was pouring into Fiddler’s throat. Healing! Fiddler felt good to be alive, it felt good to see the grinning Bard smiling as he finished pouring the potion of life.
In the rotten waste water that lay in the bottom of the well lay a few objects that required further investigation. The party got busy sifting through the disgusting sludge of elemental turd droppings and decomposed bodies of other unsuspecting creatures that had lingered too long near the well and its half crazed guardian.
The loot comprised of 3 gold pieces, 16 silver and 22 coppers. Five citrine gem stones valued at 50 gold pieces each were also discovered. Still draped around a human skeleton was a rag that radiated magic. This was seized for further examination.
The search of the cavern continued, and behind a large stack of crates and barrels a narrow passageway was discovered. At the end of this passage was a metal barred wall. In between the bars, someone had spent a lot of time and effort to pack any gaps with straw and clothing. It was so tightly packed you would struggle to remove it. The concern felt by the party was that this designed to keep some creature within. But could it lead to the Monks hiding place? A few half hearted calls we made but nothing was heard and no one had the strength or heart to try any harder. The signal was made and the tired party trudged back from whence they came.
Once the party had retreated back to the fortified store room another short rest was taken and the items were examined. It turns out the old dirty looking rag was actually a very nice Robe of Protection, +1 to saves and armour. Four of the party set themselves up for a game of bones to see who would gain possession of the fine item. Into the mix was Williams, Kal El, Cleric Vincent and Fiddler. Perhaps the Gods decided to smile on the Fiddler at last for he came first with the cleric second. The party all wished him well, knowing what a bad day he had had.
Then something strange happened, Fiddler turned to the group and said “you know what, I give it to cleric Vincent, he will make more use of it then I will” The gift was gratefully received by the cleric. There were looks of astonishment all round. Somewhere in a far off place a God was heard to chuckle.
“So what’s the plan then.” moaned Cleric Vincent, gathering his prayer beads nervously in his sweaty palms. “I think we should fight defensively”. The rest of the party gave a collective groan.
The search for the monk continues!
Played Sunday 9th Feb 2020
Posted 17th Feb 2020
Items of note:
Fiddler loses life
pouch contains gem x2 topaz 200 worth gold pieces x2 onyx at 50 gold pieces each. (community pack)
Cauldron contains 210 gold pieces. (community pack)
1 x ogre ears 2 x orc ears collected. (community pack)
2 large wooden chests are found. 440 gold pieces 1600 silver pieces (community pack)
Potion of Climbing (community pack)
+1 magical rapier (Bags)
The loot comprised of 3 gold pieces, 16 silver and 22 coppers. (community pack)
Five citrine gem stones valued at 50 gold pieces each (community pack)
Cloak or Protection +1 to all saves and A/C (Vincent)
Experience gained 417Xp (for all except Major Tunde and Cha Siu Bao)