The Lost Lands

Tales of the Raiders, Part 2
The Tales of Arryn Rumblefoot

Lo, and then did the Great Hero liberate those who were turned stone by use of the blood of the beasts that lay at his feet, for his compassion was as great in his heart as his heroism, and this story would never be told lest the Hero of the Hundreds free its teller from granite clutches.

Then, after the beasts were slain and the people saved, did adventurers Leopold and Ben come unto the Raiders, and once again were the Rangers made whole.

And spake the wizard McRath, having so recently been freed, and said “Yea, and do I believe that the way forward shall be guarded by the amphipious ones.”

And mighty Xoshak spake saying, “Long have I known this, yet have I bode my time waiting for the appropriate time, and speak you too soon. Instead, do I believe the way shall be in the direction of my pointing, for there is a way to the north left unvanquished by my perilous blade.”

And therefore McRath remained silent, having been so mildly chastised by the great Xoshak.

Then proceedethed the Raiders into the cave, ever so more deeply, and came upon a portion of tunnel where the earth had been churned as though it were butter. And wise Xoshak spake, saying “Lo, I perceive that the mages and the priests among us are weary, having battled with such vigor. And so do I advise that we should rest, and recover, before proceeding.” And the raiders agreed with Xoshak, and followed him to a place of safety, and rested, taking each their shift in turn.

And during the night, the place of the churned earth did resound with the scratching of those that tunnel. But, though beneath the earth the beasts did stir, not a one did attack the Raiders, for woe unto him that set himself against the fierce Xoshak and his band.

Come the morn did Xoshak lead his band through the churned earth, and the beasts did not rise to challenge him, for all know the might of Xoshak and his band.

Past the churned earth did the Raiders find a room, its ceiling checkered and cracked as though stricken by a great maul, and the hum of the sturges did fill the room. And lo, sturges being weak of mind, did they fall upon the Raiders.

One did fall upon Isnot, who dodged with alacrity despite her heavy armor. Benjamin, Greanne, and Leopold were set upon mightily. One also attacked this chronicler, who was fortunate in the Grace of Xoshak. After the moment of surprise, then did the Raiders end the foul beasts, as mighty Xoshak had commanded them.

The Raiders did continue, until coming unto a room with a statue of a creature unknown to the Raiders, save Nyktan Warclaw, who spoke and named the thing Choker, but no statue caused mighty Xoshak to fear, and the Raiders did continue onward toward their sacred mission.

Next came the Raiders unto a room where the stones hung from the ceiling like great, sharp spikes. And on the wall, on either side, lay an entrance to a tunnel crosswise, and Nyktan the Skald, whose stories ring second only to my own, did climb to the tunnel, and there did see a gross of Chokers in the flesh.

“Ware!” shouted Nyktan, “For the statue which greeted us was but a warning, and within this cave are the Chokers themselves.” The beasts did move with great speed towards Nyktan, but being fleet of both foot and mind, and having been found worthy by peerless Xoshak himself, did Nyktan let loose his battle cry and draw forth his two-handed blade before the monsters could , moving alone into the fray, and did he lay about him mightily, countless strokes with the speed of lightning and the force of thunder, and the Chokers did cry in pain but did not fall.

The Chokers then set upon valiant Nyktan, reaching their tentacled limbs for his throat but finding purchase only on his body.

Benjamin, seeking to aid his companion, did throw a hook with rope attached. But as the Raiders prepared to come to their companion’s defense, did more Chokers come forth from the other cavern, and did those Chokers descend onto the Raiders. And Isnot did kill the first of many, but the others did come.

Xoshak then did shout loudly, his charge in danger, and did command young Benjamin to harden his stance. When Benjamin had done so, swift Xoshak did run to Benjamin, and did leap from his shoulders toward one of the great stone spikes, a full twenty-five feet above the floor, and did survey the scene within the cavern from his new great height.

“Lo!” said stalwart Xoshak, “Nyktan, hold and be hardy, for I shall assist ye in but a moment!”
And Nyktan heard the words of his leader and friend, and did take heart, though he was set upon mightily by the Chokers, and did call upon his magics to free himself from their grasp, but the Chokers remained adamant and came back onto Nyktan, wrapping their hands now about the thews of his neck and squeezing, that the very breath of life was taken from him.

Meanwhile Variel, seeing the mighty defense of Isnot, did work her magic upon the Orcish titan, causing her to grow to mighty proportions, and Isnot did strike heavily with her flail, laying into the horde of Chokers.

Now Xoshak did leap from his pillar of stone into the cave entrance, coming at last to the rescue of the choking Nyktan, and did strike into the Choker who had pinned down the woeful Nyktan, who, taking heart, did break free once again to taste the air of life.

And then did I, in my humble action, call forth my simple power, and did layer a stone pillar in the slick fat of the hog, causing a mere one of the Chokers to fall from the ceiling to his death.

Nyktan having broken free of his captor, did Xoshak then become the target of the Chokers, but Xoshak’s alacrity did prove more difficult for the beasts to grasp than that of his loyal friend. So did the Chokers fail to grasp swift Xoshak, leaving him free to strike again.

And Isnot, now in hugeness, did pursue the Chokers from the rear, who seeing her mighty form. But instead of climbing, Isnot used her greatness instead to lift Benjamin to the lip of the cave, that he may pursue the last of the vermin. And Greanne did work her healing upon wounded Nyktan, soothing him with the powers of her sacred faith.

Now Nyktan moved to safety and drew forth his bow of yew, making ready to pepper arrows to his formed attackers, and the Chokers struggled to place even a scratch on Xoshak.

And Mcrath, cowardly and timid, did loose a torrent of mist, that the Raiders were unable to see anything upon the ground, and did scream in his cowardice. And the reason for his desire to face mere frogs became clear, for thought Mighty Xoshak had thought him worthy, as he had faced before the basilisk which had so challenged the Raiders, Mcrath’s wretched miserliness of spirit became now apparent.

Even though Mcrath’s cowardice loosed confusion upon the Raiders, brave Xoshak’s blade flashed through the chokers, delivering only death to the beasts who had sought to take the breath of life from the Raiders. And then did the Raiders collect armor and weapons, left behind in the ages past, when the heroes of old did fall under the fingers of these beasts before Xoshak and his celebrated Raiders did free the world of this ever-looming danger.
Freshly girded, then did the Raiders set forth, ever deeper and deeper, that the world around them would be safe from the malice before them. But before the Raiders could continue, came they upon a tunnel too small for any but I to fit in, for as a Halfling I stood not as tall as the others. And came I upon a room with many sarcophagi, and great was the setting, and upon reporting back did the Raiders squeeze their way through the tunnel, removing armor and dragging their gear behind them.

Then onward pressed the Raiders, past the sarcophagi of old with all respect, and Isnot did fall through the floor, which dropped beneath her in dastardly trap, causing the Raiders to pass through a great pit in the floor.

Then came they to giant doors of brass, adorned in figures of celestials of old and bedecked on either side with rune-cased obelisks. But the tunnel in which the Raiders walked continued past these great Doors. And “Lo!” spake munificient Xoshak, “Should we return to these doors, for I believe that this tunnel shall emerge onto know territories, and I believe that we must press forward, that we find our path without need of crawling. And the Raiders saw that he was wise, and passed the door.

Another pit trap, this one deftly avoided by spry Xoshak, and did the tunnel connect back to known territory, which Xoshak had wisely predicted. So now came the Raiders to the doors, the great doors which before they had moved past.

Then Benjamin, holy follower of Muir, did commune with his Goddess, who saw the holy nature of the quest pursued by Benjamin and his great chieftain Xoshak, and did part the way before the Raiders, showing her love of their pursuit of duty and granting her blessing to the path they trod.

And then, in the room before them, lay more sarcophagi of a hero of yore. The walls spoke of a great teacher, Flail, and a knight, Bannor, both great heroes of Muir, those from who greath Xoshak had inherited her spirit and his will for valor. And there, on the bier beyond the sarcophagi, lay great Flail, his body ever-lit in the holiness of Muir and untouched by the ravages of time.

But only Benjamin and Nyktan, the Raiders who followed Muir, were allowed by the Goddess to pass into her holy shrine. They bore Xoshak’s good wishes for Flail and all his followers to his bier, and laid the respects of all the Raiders within.

So onward pressed the Raiders, into further parts unknown. Once again, skilled Xoshak brought forth his map and led the Raiders through the subterranean terrors. With the Raiders assembled in full, and with the support of the refugees, through burdened with craven McRath, Xoshak put forth that the assembled Raiders should assault the cultists of Orcus, for lo were the Raiders at their greatest strength, and to strike at the heart of evil was the greatest desire of the terrible Xoshak.

But, hark at the cowardice of the followers of Orcus, for knowind dread Xoshak hunted their very existence, a wall they had erected a full forty feet in thickness, sealing their temple off from the outside world and preventing Xoshak’s entry.

So onward the Raiders went, now through the waters deep. Through a tunnel submerged the Raiders swam, and came they to an area neverbefore seen by man in thousands of years. And in this cavern rested a foul lake of tepid water, filled with fungus, and behind the lake lay a glowing idol in the form of a corpulescent toad, the likes of which caught the interest of intrepid Xoshak and his band. The lake itself swam with frogs, darting throughout the rank, desecrated waters they called home. Frog_Lake.bmp

Then descended the Raiders further, and upon their descent they were met by a thunderous sound, and Xoshak turned to his Raiders, then sayeth “Halt, friends! For I perceive that peril shall await any who should traverse these steps, and I fear that all of us should be in danger should we perceive. Allow me to venture forth alone, that I may absorb this punishment on behalf of ye all, for I would be loathe to see in inflicted upon you.”Frog_Idol.bmp

So Xoshak walked forth, and into the depths did he proceed. And we was met with blasts of acid, and cold, and curses of evil, and taking the pain of these traps onto his body. For brave Xoshak’s body alone stood sacrifice for his people, and upon it was wrecked the wrath of a hundred such magical, foul traps.

At the end, he stood, and beckoned his party forth, saying “I have made the way safe for you, and beg you to follow, sheltered from the storm I have taken upon myself.” And his Raiders did follow, hearkening unto the selflessness and bravery of their leader and in awe of his staunchness.

And then did Isnot come upon a pit full of rats. Betham the Diviner wished a corpse, and Isnot did lay forth bait in the form of the mushroom of the cave-orcs, which caused a swarm of rats. Being merely pests, and not evil in their own right, noble Xoshak bid his Raiders to not bring death to the rats, but rather to byoass them in favor of more worthy enemies.
In a cavern of smooth, still water, a wad of slime in greenish color fell upon Isnot, burning her and sending her running. The Raiders responded, each in their own way. Some brought water, some brought grease, some cast their magics. Woefully, I realized that only fire should purge this foul substance from my friend, and then did I use a bag of fire built by alchemists using their ancient secrets, coating fair Isnot in flame, searing the slime and her flesh with it. The gracious orc did forgive me, for I had potentially saved her life, but warily did I step, for it is not without reason that the forerunners of my people have given great caution against the ignition of orcs who do not then die, as they are known to hold their grievances long and take vengeance great.

The next cavern held another pool, and by this pool massive three-toed prints caused the Raiders to ponder the nature of the creature they had only begun to hunt. For lo, did it become apparent to the Raiders that they pursued a Behir. Behir-2.bmp

But before they could track the dire creature, the Raiders did come unto a room in which the great histories of the past were writ large upon the walls in a language most ancient. Then did they rest, for all chose to rest there and learn the secrets of yore.

Upon awaking, did bright Drythe summon his priestly magics and determine that the walls told of the Sorceror King Greymag, a king who ruled these lands some ten thousand years past. Upon trying to exit, the walls of Greymag’s tomb erupted with the wrapped corpses of old. Into battle the Raiders leapt, with mighty Isnot leading the charge, swinging about her with her great flail.

The mummies set upon the Raiders from all sides, spreading death and sickness. When the battle had cleared, Xoshak himself, along with brave Isnot, heroic Nyktan, Leopold, Greanna, and Betham had taken ill from the rot of the mummies themselves. The craven Mcrath fell prey to his fear and fell, shaking, in the battle, never to rise again. His like shall not be missed.mummy.bmp

“Lo,” said Xoshak, after the battle had closed. “We are greatly victorious, and have smote our enemies a blow the likes has not been seen here in ten thousand years. But though our triumph be great, I see we have taken sore wounds upon ourselves. Even now can I feel the vile rot of the mummies within, clawing their way through my flesh. Though their physical form be crushed before us, the battle rageth on within. So let us fortify this position, and hold here, and protect holy Dryan and Cenarrah, that their great magics may purify us and keep us whole.” Said he little of the death of coward Mcrath, for the low man did no longer cross Xoshak’s mind. Respect had he only for those of strength and brotherhood, who could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his companions.

Nyktan then was pricked of conscious, and did attempt to host a rememberance for timid Mcrath, and all the Raiders struggled to speak well of the dead, though consensus seemed that his cowardly end both remained fitting and of benefit to all.

And so did the Raiders fortify their position, and use their divine magics well to sustain the lives of their companions. Greane in particular fell ill, and had to be sustained by wand lest the rot take her before the more serious magic would be prepared.

However, the menaces within this subterranean lair were to not give the Raiders peace, and in the night, sensing their weakness, came upon them a great elemental of earth, and it cast exhaustion and fatigue in its wake. But while the Raiders did battle with the earthen monstrosity, and Leopold did stike the monstrosity, sending it crumbling, an unseen threat did lurk within their midst.Lich.bmp

For Greymag himself, his evil buried long, had risen from the grave, and had hidden invisible with his foul magics. And lo, for he had committed his soul away from himself, and become an immortal lich, and now did he set upon the Raiders with the intent of finishing that which his mummy servants had begun.

My own magics ran weak, but were sufficient to coat the foul lich with a glittering powder, making him visible for Leopold’s brave charge. Nyktan charged force as well, and swung a mighty swing, laying about the lich hard with his sword before being brought low by the lich’s deadly touch.

Desperately did Ignot and Dryth, the cries of their companions sounding behind them, search both high and low for the phylactery of Greymag, that foul device which did power his unnatural unlife and enable his foul assault on the Raiders. But, as Xoshak himself fell prey the Sorceror-King’s touch, we found little in the tomb of ignoble Greymag but despair. Benjamin held, brave Benjamin, and did beat the lich back and away, giving time to the doomed efforts of the Raiders to find the power source of this evil. But even as Benjamin stood, the unholy magic of dread Greymag did wind its tendrils through his mind, causing him to perceive an enemy where stood a friend, and he did strike out at the Raiders.

Back, then, back charged Isnot, her flail held high. Grown she was, Verial’s power coursing through her muscle and bone. Back she charged, and in desperation she swung once, then again, her mighty flail crushing the Sorceror-Kings empowered corpse.
Greymag’s putrid hand did find her then, and all looked lost as Isnot began to tremble. But she held firm, her head high and eyes blazing, and did resist the touch of the unnatural lich as she swung one final flow, crushing his skull in and sending him to his rest.

“Lo!” shouted Dryth then “Behold, for it is not death that this evil hath wrought upon Xoshak and our companion-raiders, for their hearts do beat still, though they be near unto passing. Yea, do I perceive that they are but paralyzed, and that Zinara and I may perhaps revive them, given time. Oh Raiders, do I plead with me to hold against the powers of darkness which shall assault us here, e’en as we beseech the Gods themselves to cure mighty Xoshak.”

And then did the Raiders brace, and prepare, for though the body of wretched Greymag lay defeated, the phylactery which powered his terrible soul continued, and in no great time the Raiders knew he would return to wreak great vengeance on all who had opposed his foul will.

Seigfried the Arch-Liar
Purple Worms are not that Tough

It seems in Bards Gate there is a popular song that goes on for many verses how Siegried formerly referred to as the Arch-Mage is called Siegried the Arch-Liar. This song seems to have grown during your most recent absence from the city. It has many examples of the lie that Siegried has told. Some of them you sure are very improbably.

Also mentioned in the song is Xoshak, who is the counter point to the Arch-Liar. Xoshak throughout the song points out the lies that the wizard tells to poor unsuspecting folks. One particular lie is about a farmer’s daughter that seems to rouse much laughter every time that verse is sung.

Edicts and Laws of Bards Gate

Crime – Sentence

Public Drunkedness – 1 night in the Bailey

Petty Theft – 30 days in the Bailey
Common Theft – 1 year in the Bailey
Grand Theft – 5 years in the Bailey

Assault – 5 – 10 years in the Bailey
Robbery – 5 – 20 years in the Bailey
Rape – 10 – 30 years in the Bailey

Manslaughter – 25 – 50 years in the Bailey
Murder – Death
Treason – Death

Stoned and they missed it

As we ventured out once again the group picked up two more stalwart adventurers Arryn a Bard of some renown who decided to accompany the party because of the tales and adventurers he had heard of, and began telling. Zavareal an elf who traveled with the bard and herself an accomplished mage they had demonstrated their abilities in town by defeating a group of Orcs that had somehow gotten past the city guards, not that difficult a task still the skill and ease of the Orcs defeat showed more than just brawn there skill together left One orc blind one deaf and the others reeling in confusion and crying out for the city guards to put them in the jail.

We decided to return and search for the lost cleric, NykTans sweetheart and our former traveling comp anion. We returned to see if our companion had made his way back but it was blocked by a glyph trapped to bring an Army of demons against us Zoshack looking out for us looked for a different route. This route brought a group of Stirges to the attack; Zoshack wanting to save the party forced three of them to attack himself NykTan and Arryn each were attacked by the others. Zoshacks confidence in the additions to the group proved useful the elf’s color spray caused two of them to fall to the ground the others were crushed by the group in short order.

After moving on we found stairs leading down into a gigantic cavern, we could not see the top or the other side, we could see large piles of bat droppings even the Orc with superior Vision could not see the edges of the great cave. Zoshack worked on a map, Arryn slung a stone lite towards the season to see Great Light eater bats were descending upon those with light. We defeated the creatures, rather quickly disappointing really.
We began a search among the cave and found a figure of stone; it turned out to be a petrified human, a fighter named John. We explained how Zoshack had used his great skill at and knowledge to free him from his prison of stone, he had explained it was a lizard of some sort that had petrified him the others, Arryn, Variel, and Zoshack determined it to be a Basilisk.

We descended a set of stairs and came to a room which seemed to have been recently excavated. We took several minutes to determine an action but before we could finish studying Isnot took it upon herself to move forward NykTan not wanting to be outdone walked and was attacked by an insect creature that spewed acid. Its breath was a line of acid that covered them in a green spew.

As we moved forward we found several past adventures who had meet with the same fate as John one caught the fancy of Zoshack, he freed an Elf of great beauty, little did we know she would cause more than one problem for the party in the future for instance a short time after freeing her the smiling Zoshack forgot to check for traps at a door as he continued flirting he forgot to check for traps and set off inadvertently a trap that caused a large fire ball, and clouds of sickly smelling smoke. Later the lady convinced him that he could use magic to remove a trap BOOOM Zoshack came back burned and I cured him, I am beginning to suspect the lady is trying to kill the great Zoshack? Could she have been a set up from the thieves Guild? A plant I have heard they go to great lengths for an assassination, or perhaps she means to do each one of our group in? I will tell Isnott of my suspicions.

We moved on down the halls and found a circular room with a statue in it. We decided to check the about the room Zoshack found some writing on the statue, even my skills with languages could not decipher the words. Nyktans great genius shown thru he figured if someone could speak the words then he could translate, …………………………………turns out we summoned a great Demon Zoshack smiled as the creature coalesced quickly striking Zanara with great force. The burning eyes, strong arms and tail made it a fearsome beast. It seemed to have great resistance to the damage we were causing it was the skill of Zoracks blade and the back stab that finished the beast. We learned later it was a Vrock demon. I suspect that the girl may have been involved.


We returned to the room for rest healing the party good riddance perhaps Zoshack will return to his self in the morning we found a new section of the dungeon, up the stairs we ran into a group of Spiders. The room was filled with them. As we passed thru we realized we had entered area’s we had seen before we returned down below and found another room with statues as we moved further we found a room with more statues in it as Nyktan moved forward looking over his shoulder with a mirror he spotted the Basalisk we had searched for it put up a fierce fight we fought blinded losing the Bard right away to the deadly gaze of the creatures. The party fought bravely and blindly had it not been for the crushing blows of Isnot and the deadly accuracy of Nyktan the party would surely have ended.

Songs in Bard's Gate
Xoshak's Exploits

Relaxing in Xoshak’s Rest after your trek through the swamp a bard plays in the common room for an evening. Juggling knives and balls for a while to warm up the crowd he pulls out his lute and begins a tune that everyone seems to know but you.

And then he begins to sing about the day Xoshak’s Raiders killed the purple worm. He goes into great detail about how Zinarra leaps forward to protect the others in the group and is swept up into its huge maw. She continues to fight while Isnot slams the foul beast with her flail.

The rest of the group swarms the worm. It shifts around in confusion. Xoshak climbs the worm as it looks for a target. He pushes a pressure point in the worms jaw and Zinarra is released. Xoshak swings into the huge mouth and is swallowed down while the rest of the group continues to cut and hammer away. Xoshak burns as he is swept into the gullet of the beast. He grabs his scimitar in both hands and begins to slice into the inner flesh of the best where is is no armor to protect it.

Xoshak has learned through his studies with Siegfried that this is truly the way to destroy a worm. The best falters and begins to weave back and forth and Xoshak’s raiders cut and bludgeon its armored hide.

It falls to the ground with a huge crash and a few moments later Xoshak cuts through the hide of the beast. He tumbles out of the beast burned and bruised from the constriction of the internal workings of the creature.

The group heals and makes a fire. They cook strips of purple worm and sit by the fire laughing at their latest conquest. Then they cut a huge strip off the beast which is later tanned and formed into Xoshak’s armor, for he insisted upon the majestic purple color to indicate his leadership of the raiders.

Kayden's Quest

The Wizard Kayden has asked Xoshak’s Raidiers to go to Sorten’s Tower and bring him information that would help to find the Sword of Air which is an artifact that must be destroyed to save the world from sure destruction.

He characterized Sorten as an evil wizard that he cannot confront directly for a battle between them would cause much destruction and maybe threaten the world from the magical energies released in such a battle.

The item Kayden has asked for is the Shaghaspondium, which he believes will lead the Raiders to the location of the Sword. Kayden believes the Shaghaspondium is hidden in the plane of shadow taken there by Cerannan an apprentice of the Archmage Sorten.

This apprentice never returned from the plane of shadow through the gate that is in the depths beneath Sorten’s Tower.

Kayden told the Raiders that Sorten’s Tower is near the coast east of Freegate. Freegate is many miles to the east of Bard’s Gate.

A chance at redemption
the 7th life of NykTan
A chance at redemption

The day began with a room full of rats, within moments of our entrance the blades dispatched the creatures. Itsnot has carried a few for our dinner this evening, I must admit when one is hungry and has been eating iron rations for a week now, there are a few good recipes for rat, and Isnot unfortunately knows none of them. I will endeavor to learn a few when we return.

We must remind ourselves each day of our task now finding the cleric as our movement continued we ran into some ghouls and a ghast dispatching them gave me some satisfaction but I yearn to find the undead mage we faced and I coward from. I believe he used some sort of magic it is the only explanation. The Great NykTan said it best as we journeyed it is a “never ending walk in the pit of oppression and inequity”

It seems now we have explored all the quarters of this level, no Cleric and no site of NykTans companion Alaya. The group determined the only options now are to continue down the stairs or return to the level above and fight thru the stirges. Zoshack decided the stairs would be the best route. They seemed to descend forever. As we stepped to the bottom we saw undead in the hall, zombies and skeletons as Zoshack summoned me to the front were I promptly dispatched them, perhaps I will have the chance to redeem myself and destroy the ghost mage after all.

As we proceeded forward we ran into two clerics of Orcus, humans they put up a great fight we finally vanquished them even though they had blinded Zoshack, who decided it would be best to direct the fight since a single misguided blow to one of his companions would at best leave them scarred for life or worst leave us with one less member then Isnot fell Held by one of the clerics, Zanara pulled her back from the battle and I found myself stepping into battle, a place a cleric should never be. I managed to stand my ground until Isnot and Zanara were able to rejoin the battle. NykTans ability to resist the magic they had thrown at him I am sure saved the day. Zoshak heard the sounds of distant drums so we decided to check it out. NykTan borrowed the ring of Zoshak to walk thru the walls, he found a temple were there was a ritual with a sacrifice about to happen. Sadly we could not help them we decided to rest and restore the sight to Zoshak, Nyktan found it difficult but eventually we convinced him there was nothing we could do.


The next morning we found ourselves better prepared, but so were they. We descended the stairs to find dozens of undead in the hall powerful was the cleric that raised them. It took much energy to destroy the creatures, but fell they did. The battle soon developed into a fight worthy of our skill, hidden away in each of the rooms along the hall were 6 clerics of Orcus and ogres. Zoshak chose to watch and study the tactics of the enemy, his wise decision would help us later. Nyktan ever rash rushed down the hall to busy the clerics, his action along with Zoshaks taunting kept them busy while Zanara and Isnot finished off the Ogres, at least we thought they had. We soon found out there were more as they poured into the hall. The zeal of these clerics amazed me they channeled negative energy even though the death of their friends was certain.

Boldly we fought, each of the great ogres fell, though it cost many healing spells and much of our energy, if not for the tenaciousness of NykTan and Isnot the guidance of Zoshak and the war priests Zanara healing surely the battle would have ended differently.

We should not have pressed our luck, in checking the next room we unleashed a hell we should not have survived, the undead were countless, and the clerics that backed them numbered more than 50.We turned to run and found the Clerics and ogres had somehow flanked us, turns out there was a secret door we had not noticed behind the great curtains In the hall we past. Certainly this would be our doom. Isnot would not let that happen she crushed the great ogres in a series of blows no mere human should have been able to accomplish and broke a hole for Zanara and I to get thru as we rushed thru the Clerics and shadows NykTan held them in the halls until the others gained enough ground to out run the Priests I assisted him on the steps as the priests advanced I release the marbles and the tangle foot I carry to slow their approach on the stairs it worked. I did not fear the undead or my own death as I had with the wizard, but I had the group to think of it was Zoshaks yell at us to retreat, and NykTans skills that got us out of the trouble (I should mention reflecting back it was NykTans curiosity that got us into the mix how many lives does he have remaining?).


We made our way back to town wounded but high in spirit, we had survived! Zoshak spoke of how he had made the pale demon run. It turns out he was trying to keep the demon off of us as we were fighting the clerics. Had it not been for his attack on the pale Beast we certainly would have met our end.

As we entered the town we found the Inn had changed its name to Zoshaks Rest honoring Zoshak. He allowed us to stay for half the price since he made up for it by others staying there. Our week in the town found us looking for items to increase our battling power. I found a Phylactery that increased my ability to kill undead. I will not let the spectral mage run me off again.

Reverend Mallory asked us to search the city of Ashes and find who has been robbing the graves of both bodies and treasures. Zoshak could not let such an injustice go unpunished so we venture out to find the culprits and put an end to their vile crimes against those in need of eternal rest. Kytan would join us later as he fell Ill and needed the rest. The city of Ash was actually a graveyard, which has stood for many years. It is now neglected and has found disfavor among those who had the ability to manage the upkeep. Only the poor and less fortunate are buried now with little or no ceremony.

We waited with the reverend until late in the evening. Just as Isnot finished picking her nose and eating her buggers for the fifth time (odd I have not noticed that habit until now) thru the mist four hooded figures appeared coming in our direction. Zanara moved for a better look and alerted them to our presence. Isnot began wailing about her father, and the loss leaving her in debt. On and on she wailed, unfortunately they left without committing a crime. I was surprised to see reverend Mallory was pleased with the outcome. He decided it would be prudent to post guards for the future. He explained he may have more work for us the next evening.


The reverend Mallory asked us to meet his friend Kayden the next evening; he gave us a sad tale of his Argument with another Mage. It seems he lived quit some distance from the city. We followed him leading us several days distance from the city. Finally we arrived at our destination traveling thru a swamp mist rising around us. We crossed a bridge with a black knight the reverend approached the Knight and some sort of password was given to let us pass. Further we moved into the swamp the mist closing on us finally we found a large set of towers with stained glass windows in them turrets flanked the door. A large gentleman blue skinned stood there welcoming us. Similar to an ogre he seemed pleasant even when Zorshak chided him. He recognized the reverend and invited us in to meet Cadin. The great hall was a grand area the stained glass windows marked the great area. The area was filled with a wizards exploits defeating such things as an army of orcs a great blue dragon etc. The butler made sure to leave us time to take in all of the great works.


Feces and an Uncle
failure of a Cleric

The air hung with the smell of Feces. At first Isnot thought her uncle may be here but as the smell increased she realized it must be someone else. We found a large room the Niktan the Kitan could see an Outugh ahead. Trying to sneak by the creature could sense his presence thru the vibration of its crap the creature’s pods struck out at him missing by inches. I fired a volley of crossbow bolts bringing first blood. As we moved I to assist Niktan two more of the creatures moved to assist the companion Isnot and Zanara finished the one I had hit bludgeoning the creature to death. Niktan decided to grapple the creature; I believe he was trying to ride the beast much like a horse breaking it to his will. The creature must have some sort of mind control as it caused Isnot to strike herself several times before she was finally able to overcome the creature and crush the beast. The smell continued as the beasts lay quit on the floor.

We found a sanctuary behind a wall that didn’t exist. Kitan recognized the tomes resting areas for great and lesser knights of Mier. Our rest in this place was filled with Peace. Kitan had a dream that evening telling him he could take the chalice of Elinere and the Stone of Tricolpel a fabled city, they had powerful magics upon them. Some distance further we found another hidden sanctuary and rested there for the evening. Stirges still continue plaguing us in this cursed place. Eventually we came upon a passage leading further down. Kitan found the wisdom in Letting the one called Zoshak lead the way they had not checked for traps and set off a massive fire ball that nearly cost him his life. Then darkness fell upon us. I am sure it was to hide the terrible creature we would face a horrid creature the body of a spider the head of a human. Its ability to appear anywhere in the battle was a bit un nerving Kitan and Zinara brought the battle to it the best they could suddenly it disappeared. We waited a few and it seemed it would not return but just as we were about to move on it appeared in front of me and attacked to my surprise the stunning barrier went off stunning the Creature. Quickly Zoshack moved realizing the creature was vulnerable and drove a dagger, thru it ending its miserable life.

We found amongst the dead of the creature a ring, scimitar and robe that radiated great magic’s. The ring had a great magic on it so much so that it created a discussion among the group as to where it goes. Zoshack decided it would be best for him to use, and that was that.

The trail seemed to end here, so we turned back and followed east from there. We found a creature we believe to have been a rust monster. “dubbed” rusty we decided to feed him some nail Zoshack had with him and left him to his fate. He wore a collar with some sort of magic Zoshack determined to be a dominate monster we searched and found nothing so decided to continue. Rusty followed us at some distance. We could hear him from time to time. We found a tunnel that narrowed until there was only a 4’ hole to crawl thru. As we pressed on the area ahead was dark we could see no further. Kitan could smell a great beast ahead we called to him thinking he may be Rusty’s benefactor he answer none of the languages we spoke. We decided to wait and return when I could light the way again.

We ventured forth thru the twisting halls and came upon a room with several priests of Orcus their leader seemed to control Rusty as he attacked Isnot surely the priest was cruel to force the creature to attack the one in the group that would show no mercy to it. The battle raged with Isnots Armor destroyed I could see the rage in her eyes she showed no mercy to the priests, she beat the cleric to a bloody pulp saying it was easier to get them out of the armor. Isnot found the armor worn by the cleric to be of some consolation. The cultists were well supplied, now their supplies allow us to stay another day searching these ruins. We decided to return to the shrine room for rest it had been a long day. We found rusty back in his home cowering from Isnot but still alive. I am glad her anger did not kill a creature merely trying to survive. Her soul would have been tainted forever.

The rest brought us clear mines and a sense of rest again Isnot though mad no longer at Rusty now felt it time to venture on and leave this area to rusty before he had to be put down. We moved back to resume our exploration. We found a mage of some undead nature! We crushed the sarcophagus only to find it empty surely we would destroy the creature. Within a few minutes the assault found us running! The mage nearly crushed us? Within a few moments he fire balled us reduced the fighters strength and had the clerics unconscious, if not for a potion Isnot had I would not be telling the story anymore.

We rested for the evening and returned to fight the mage; he had gone I have failed.

One Man's Perspective of a Purple Worm

After seeing the warning of Purple Worms from Siegfried the Arch-Mage the group passed through the stone arch and found a small river flowing through the next chamber which is a huge cavern.

The group crossed the river and entered the larger cavern. Stephan moved toward the cavern wall to use the shadows to conceal his location. He could see light spells among his companions in the distance.

Suddenly there was a roar and a sound of something bursting from the cavern floor in the distance. The lights of his companions began to swirl around, circling and leaping around.

Stephan pushed back further into the shadows against the cavern wall.

The lights from his companions continues to swirl. One rose up in the air and disappeared. One rushed forward, one seemed to dodge. The one that rose in the air flew through the air and disappeared.

Within a few seconds the lights went out one after another seeming to sink into the ground.

Finally, they were all gone and there was only the roar of some beast from the direction of the former swirling lights. Then another crash as if something was pounded into the cavern floor, and the entire floor below Stephan jumped up and the wall shook.

Stephan bravely traversed the room at his own peril knowing he risked attracting the attention of the beast that had clearly devoured the lights of his companions.

(Artistic license clearly taken).

The Desolation

“Many hundreds of years ago, the forces of good allied to destroy the main Temple of Orcus in the ancient city of Tsar. With their temple in ruins, the
surviving priests of this accursed demon-god fl ed the city with an army of enemies on their tail…”
— R1: Rappan Athuk, The Dungeon of Graves: Upper Level

“This world is mine!”
— Orcus, Demon Prince of Undead (ca. 10,000 years ago)

The northern wall of Bard’s Gate looks out over a vast river valley disappearing into purple hills in the hazy distance. The mighty gates fixed in that wall rarely open anymore. On the few occasions when the north gates do open to allow entrance to the occasional merchant caravan or especially daring traveler, they reveal a wide road, paved with great stonefl ags forming a smooth and level traveling surface striking due north for the hills. However, closer inspection reveals the signs of a lack of maintenance, and after a few miles the road deteriorates into little more than a wide dirt track, overgrown with weeds and with only the occasional stone paver visible in the hard soil. It obviously sees little travel and even less care.

Few stand atop Bard’s Gate’s north wall and gaze out upon that hazy vista or care to think about what lies beyond those distant highlands. Fewer still are brave or foolish enough to make the journey in that direction. Bard’s Gate relies on its commerce from other roads in other directions and pays no mind to the north, for to the north, beyond the village of Taverlan and the distant purple hills and across many leagues, lies the reminder of one of the most tragic moments in the history of the civilized kingdoms. To those who even care to remember, the north gate leads only to bad memories or mournful legend. To the rest it leads to where only madmen would dare to go—the ruined city of Tsar and the great Desolation that surrounds it. Tsar, the great temple-city to the Demon Prince of the Undead, stood for centuries as a bastion of evil and hate. Foul beings of all kinds fl ocked to
its mighty walls and found succor and purpose within. At its heart stood the great Citadel of Orcus, the black heart of Orcus worship on earth.

Countless evils were perpetuated in those corrupt precincts, and equally countless wicked plots were hatched and carried out therein.

Finally the goodly kingdoms could stand the presence of this festering boil in their midst no longer. The churches of Thyr and Muir led a delegation of good and neutral faiths to Graeltor, the last overking. Only with the backing of the nations’ secular armies would the holy churches be able to erase such a blight. In his last major pronouncement before the overthrow and fracturing of the kingdoms into the independent nations they are today, Overking Graeltor called for a mighty crusade to tear down the walls of Tsar and forever end the presence of Orcus worship in the world.

This crusader army, raised from all nations and almost every nonevil faith, became known as the Army of Light and marched for Tsar. In command of this army Graeltor placed his most trusted advisor, the archmage Zelkor. Supported by innumerable knight commanders, wizards, church patriarchs and scores of heroes of renown, Zelkor quickly advanced his army from its staging ground of Bard’s Gate, through Tsar’s outermost defensive positions and into the great plain that surrounded the temple-city itself. Flush with their many quick victories, the Army of Light suddenly found arrayed against itself seemingly endless legions of every sort of vile warrior-race and fell outsider imaginable called up from all over the multiverse and lining the battlements and fields before their redoubt—one of the greatest fortresses and citadels ever erected in that time. The beginnings of doubt seeped into the ranks of the Army of Light.

However, hope was not lost as the heavens opened up and flight upon flight of angels and celestial beings descended from on high to swell the ranks of the Army of Light. With grim determination in both camps, battle was joined on the plain before the gates of Tsar. The war raged for over a year, the Army of Light advancing to the very foot of the walls and then being pushed back by a new surge of demonic power. The disciples of Orcus led by the Grand Cornu, Orcus’s single highest-ranking priest on the mortal planes, threw every vile attack they could at the Army of Light in defense of their city. Rains of horrific fire and acid fell from the skies or belched from fissures in the ground, great constructs crushed their foes before them, terrible clouds of poisonous gas choked entire regiments, and
heretofore unknown plagues swept through the troops causing thousands of horrible deaths among the Army of Light. Nevertheless the forces of good persevered and fought on.

Finally, though the battle seemed no closer to victory, the fates seemed to smile on the Army of Light. Unexpectedly the city fell. In a single night the entire city virtually emptied of defenders as they all were magically transported to a point several miles outside the city’s walls, complete with baggage train and mounts for many. The magical expenditure necessary to complete this miraculous maneuver cost the Grand Cornu his very life in sacrifice to Orcus, but the legions of the demon prince had broken free from the Army of Light’s cordon. They immediately took flight before the stunned Army of Light, heading south.

Zelkor and his fellow commanders were immediately suspicious of this sudden retreat but could not afford to allow the combined followers of Orcus concentrated in one place to escape and spread their insidious evil again. A cursory sweep of the city by scouts proved that the withdrawal was no ruse, so Zelkor left one of his most powerful knights, the paladin Lord Bishu, with a company of knights to secure the citadel and hold it until the Army of Light could return and properly destroy it. Then, still with a seed of doubt niggling in his mind, Zelkor ordered the Army of Light in pursuit of the fleeing legions.

The tale of that long pursuit is an epic in and of itself. Finally the Army of Light cornered the forces of darkness in a forest near a rugged coastline. In anticipation of a great victory, the forest was prematurely named the Forest of Hope. The naming proved to be a cruel irony, for in the forest the followers of Orcus had been preparing a great trap for years in case just such an occasion ever arose. Both armies disappeared into the forest. Neither ever emerged. The Army of Light was lost to a man.

The shock of the loss of so many heroes, nobles, and leaders of renown reverberated throughout the kingdoms. The overking was overthrown in the unrest that followed. Minor wars erupted as new factions took over old power bases bereft of their leadership. When all was done and a semblance of peace returned, the lands looked much more like they do
today. Some said the loss of so many was worth it for the eradication of the foul cult of Orcus. Others said it had been a scheme concocted by the demon prince all along to destroy his most powerful enemies and sow hate and dissension throughout the civilized nations. Years later when a terrible graveyard and thriving dungeon complex devoted to Orcus was discovered in the Forest of Hope, popular opinion agreed with the latter theory. It seemed Orcus had not been eradicated after all, just relocated, and once again his insidious evil began to spread throughout the lands.

For the past century some attention has been turned to delving into the
so-called Dungeon of Graves and rooting out the evil now entrenched
there. However, what remained of the temple-city
of Tsar was a vast, abandoned ruin surrounded by miles and miles of
poisoned and scarred wasteland left behind by the battling armies. It was
all but forgotten as a bad memory of despair with no value save as an
eyesore and wilderness home for strange and fearsome beasts that moved
into the desolate area. The knights of Lord Bishu, left behind at Tsar, were
likewise forgotten as they, too, were never heard from again. In the wake
of the great tragedy at the Forest of Hope, no one thought to check into
the ruins themselves, and all who knew about this relatively small group
that had been sent to the city had perished in Orcus’s trap. The people of
the civilized nations went on with their lives with, perhaps, a little less
hope and optimism than before. Tsar was forgotten, and the land around it
shunned and remembered only as the Desolation.

While the rest of the world looked southwards for the future, some
few remembered the distant exotic markets of the far north. Those brave
or foolish enough to try reopened the trade road that passed through
the Desolation to once again reach those far lands. Those that survived
such treks and were able to trade the rare items they brought back made
fortunes, but most who attempted the dangerous passage died—lost to the
hazards of the Desolation. Eventually a small settlement of cutthroats and
the worst kind of profiteering entrepreneurs sprang up on the southern
fringe of the Desolation. This hole-in-the-wall known simply as the Camp
serves as a staging ground for travelers to hire mercenary guards or fast
mounts for the perilous run through the Desolation. Likewise it serves
as a point of relative safety for those few managing to make it through
from the north with or without goods in tow, often with denizens of the
Desolation in hot pursuit. There is little to this unruly, fringe settlement,
and many meet their fates on its dirty streets without ever making it to
the Desolation. Regardless, it manages to just barely eke out an existence
serving as a stopping point for those few travelers who dare to make the

Now no one but these miscreants and fortune-seekers pay any attention
to the area and then only so they can pass through the Desolation as quickly
and safely as possible. The temple-city’s ruins are universally avoided
and little thought of. Why would anyone wish to go to almost certain
death? What could still exist in the unknown holes and broken towers
of Orcus’s greatest earthly bastion? What could lie undisturbed, awaiting
some possibly preordained time to awake in the ruins of slumbering Tsar?

Perched on the verge of the war-torn wasteland known as the Desolation stands a
settlement of dire reputation. Known only as The Camp, this wretched collection of
criminals and scoundrels, the desperate and the hopeless, all eking out an existence on the
far fringes of civilization make this truly a place of new beginnings and horrific endings.
Now things stir within the Desolation and call to heroes seeking secrets and treasures
lost to the knowledge of men. The promises of reward dare the brave and the foolish
both to seek their fortune in The Camp—out on the very edge of oblivion.



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