Plano Gamers - Blingdenstone

Uninvited Guests of the Orcs
Session 8

The group rested, and in the morning, Gallus returned with information about the orcs, pointing how many were in different camps in the Orc Encampment.

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The group and 5 of the gnomes (Kargien, Garmudden, Togford, Teknik, and Kizzo Dragonbot made their way to the House Center, using it as a fallback defense point and launching their attack from there. The basic plan was to take out the orc sentries and make their way to the larger escarpment where the chieftain seem to be. Once there, they would try to either climb the fallen stalagmite or one person with climbing skills might reach the top and thrown over the rope ladder.

Entering the Den

In the king’s bone-house, the band braced for the storm of spears.
With magic, behind the walls, Bennet became a brutish bone-maker.
To further cunning, Kargien followed as captive,
his blood-ember hidden, biding on his back.

As his friends prepared to feast, fox-like Bennet beckoned for aid.
The two stalkers of caves stole closer,
as Sir Paul covered their eyes in slumber,
And Kargien crept forward, crowning them with his axe.

Unaware of his comates’ undoing, an elder under-warden waited.
The seeming hell-brute hailed, hushing the hoary-beard to follow
Into the grave’s embrace, guided by Sasha’s scabbard-tongue.
Through the cave’s black cloak the children of battle crawled.

Two afflictions of gnomes abided the silence.
The rune caller slipped the cloak and sent one to dream.
The feeder of ravens found surcease to the other foulness.
Their bogus bone-maker stood forth, bearing Thor’s gift.

Toward the rock bridge the rascals raced,
A god-cursed came near, calling to those deep in sword-sleep.
Deceiver of the wicked demanded she drop the ladder.
Into her meager thought-chest, the terror-monger searched.

A fiery hail of the bow-string flew high,
Setting the bone-river to the sorrow of the birch.
An errant casting, a blinded war needle,
the wanderers wended upward on the fallen stone-way.

With bent wood and battle-light, brute and heroes fought.
With a last black song, the orc traveled the Hel road.
Sword-Of-The-Rose stole behind the song of wounds and saw
A captain of evil and three brides bound for battle.

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Traitors Among Us
Session 7

The group and Garmudden Stonesinger return the pendant to the lock box, which they give to Pingtu for safe keeping, along with one of the keys. Garmudden keeps the other key. As the adventurers, Pingtu, Garmudden, and others discuss agree to find the drow weapons (which are inside the temple of Segojan Earthcaller in The Ruby in the Rough), a young gnome (Kizzo Dragonbot) runs in with eyes wide and tells Pingtu and Jalless something. Jalless leaves immediately for the infirmary, and, as Kizzo leads Pingtu, Pingtu explains that Kargien has been wounded in an orc attack.

Orc Attack

At Kargien’s quarters, they see the two guards, Togford and Teknik. They ask the guards what happened, who say that they know little of the plan, except that they were going to take advantage of the orcs retreating back to the far north by setting a trap. Instead, they were attacked by orcs who came in from all the exits. Kargien bravely lead them back, keeping all gnomes focused on one exit and one push. They and 3 others were left to guard barricades, but they heard the fight as the gnomes and orcs fought just outside the Ruby barricade. Of all them, only Kargien, Miglin Crackedquartz, Kizzo Dragonbot, Sparkbert survived standing upright. A couple of others as well as Sparkbert were taken to the infirmary.

The adventurers split up: Sasha and Bennet make their way unseen to the temple entrance while the others go to speak with the wounded Kargien, who lies in his bed with a huge gash in his side. Pingtu shakes his head and looks to the adventurers.

They ask Kargien to explain what happened. In wheezes, he describes how in one of the caverns north of the Hall of Miners, he was going to set a trap for the orcs, who still seemed to be in retreat. However, they found a group of orcs (5) there. Kargien decided to attack with his force of 20 gnomes. After a few minutes, they soon found themselves surrounded by orcs attacking from other passages and cutting off their escape. They fought their way back, losing gnomes as they fought the guards at the Trader’s Grotto & Glamours barricades rushed to help but the losses were heavy. Of the 27 gnomes, only 5 survived, including a mortally wounded Kargien. 2 others were badly wounded, and 3 were wounded but likely to survive (Sparkbert, Kizzo, and Miglin).

“We have lost most of our soldiers. We killed half their number, maybe more—20 or so. It was hard to tell. But there were more than we thought. Our old and badly worn weapons did not help. The rush of our guards probably made them think more would soon come, so they fled from the tight quarters around the barricades. But we are now to down to a handful of guards. They might soon discover our weakness, and we would be too few to defend so many positions. It’s time to retreat or attack.”

He exhales a long, gurgled breath as his eyes begin to glaze. Dying but not dead, Kargien seems to fall unconscious. Pingtu does what he can to ease Kargien’s suffering. Thorn tells the two guards to find Miglin and to tell him to join them at the Speaking Stones.

Sasha then picks the lock to Kargien’s chest and finds several notes rolled and tied, the same notes that they had seen Kargien gather before and put in the chest. These secret messages indicate that Kargien might have been influenced by a mysterious group that promised their aid to some common goals. They rolled the messages and took them.

Rat Fight

Meanwhile, Bennet and Sasha enter the temple and see an open hall that leads downward, which they follow. They see the door to what seems a large room but hear noises inside. Bennet casts the sound of orcs, which results in some shrieks and skittering.

They stand at the doorway and look inside to find 2 cave rats and 1 dire rat running to hide in alcoves in the room. They kill two of the rats and send the last one running away in fear. At the back of the room, they approach a raised platform with what seems to be the stone coffin containing the bones of Bendekik. In a small shelf above the coffin sits a sapphire, and at the foot of the coffin rests a box of drow weapons. They take the box and go back up. Confirming that the guards cannot see, they run to the back of Kargien’s quarters and place the box there before joining the others.

Ferreting out the Rat

With the drow weapons and sapphire, the group and Pingtu return to the Speaking Stones to complete the ritual. Pingtu places the different stones and prepares the chant as the group break the drow weapons and place them as indicated in the journal entry that they found. The remaining gnomes gather to watch.

With Kizzo, the guards, and Sparkbert in tow, Miglin Crackedquartz enters and demands to know what they are doing. “We need to prepare for the orcs! We should gather what forces we have to attack them now! We can’t possibly defend all of Blingdenstone!” When he understands what they are doing, he is more emphatic that they desist. “Stop wasting time! We are in danger!”

Gravel tells him to shut up because they know there are traitors and that he will not fight with traitors at his side. Pingtu carries on with the chant. They then see the monoliths vibrate and their shapes of the gods become clearer. Pingtu then welcomes the gods and asks about the traitors. The group hears faint, vibrating sounds, although the gnomes, Pingtu and Garmudden in particular, seem to hear clearly. After a couple of minutes, Pingtu turns and interprets, “The gods say that two traitors are here among us now.” They cannot get more specific.

Sasha comes up with the idea of getting everyone to sign an oath to Blingdenstone, so that they can compare the writing with those in the notes that Kargien had received. As each gnome writes, Sasha compares the writing. Fendrick Pestle sort of has a similar writing but not an exact match. Although her writing does not match, Krell acts suspiciously and Thorn presses her, but she does not admit anything. Finally, Miglin writes the oath. When they examine it, the writing matches, and Sir Paul causes the paper to burst in flames (for a nice dramatic effect).

Miglin protests, but the adventurers say that it is proof that he is one of the traitors and tie him up. They also tie up Krell as the only other likely traitor. They leave the guards with Krell and Miglin, and they discuss their next steps. Garmudden says that the orcs are their greatest threat and that, even though he’s not a fighter, he would go to attack the orcs while they might be at their weakest. Gravel also suggests that he could try to heal Kargien, so they return to his quarters to find him still alive. Gravel casts and Kargien’s wounds start to magically heal, as his eyes begin to clear once again. Still weakened, he wakes.

They discuss plans for attacking the orcs, and Thorn suggests that they talk to Gallus to see if the Pecks would scout the orcs and give them information about how many there are and where they are. Gallus agrees because it could end the orc terror and leaves to scout.

The night’s session ends.

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You Gotta Hidey Hidey Hide

In the courtyard of the House Center, the group saw the fallen stables and decided to explore. They noticed that the collapsed structure seemed to be somewhat arranged and that there was a very slight mounding of dirt. They dug and soon found a makeshift cover, which they dug out and then opened, revealing a tunnel that angled to the side and was not a straight drop. Because it was small enough for one person at a time, Gravel went into the tunnel, tied to a rope that the others held in case he fell or tugged to be pulled up.

With light cast on the rope behind him, he could see in the tunnel, where he soon came to a second turn and a slight change in the tunnel. Instead worn and rough, the tunnel floor turned smooth and slopped acutely into a large, dark natural hole or cavern. As he backed up, he noticed another slightly hidden hole that he could crawl into. He soon came to a room, about 15′ × 25′ cave, where he could stand. He sees that gnomes or others have created alcoves, storage, and what seems a smallish, dark room in one corner. A stone table on which sits a glowing stone that provides all the light though it is yellowish and not bright. Tubers, mushrooms, and other plants and herbs hang from the ceiling. An old handaxe and shortsword are near the opening.

Two gnomes lie sleeping. Both are younger gnomes, though Gravel is not sure how old they are. He also sees that, though very dirty and worn, patched many times, their clothes are not common. They have color—red, blue, yellow. Gravel does not enter the room and leaves.

After reporting what he had seen, they decide to go back down and investigate. Sir Paul casts sleep on the sleeping gnomes. They then enter the room where they tie up and gag Sprocknik and then tie Sharabit Valorwocket‘s hands. Thorn puts his hand over Sharabit’s mouth. Sasha notices an emerald and a torn vellum page, as well as a flat, round stone on the floor in the corner.

Then, a voice calls from the darkened room, “Have you come to kill us? Are you orc or drow? Or some abomination?” They check the room and see an old gnome lying on a crude bed, her eyes cloudy and blind. She begs them to release the gnomes. Thorn uncovers Sharabit’s bit who spits on him and then talks in a different gnomish with the old woman. She seems to describe the adventurers.

They release the captured gnomes and talk with the crone, who says that she is Toripple Throttlespangle, a nanny for the king. She also says she is near death and describes how, during the invasion, she saved Sharabit Valorwocket, daughter of the king’s advisor Zedwright Valorwocket and his wife Kidget Valorwocket. She was not able to save the king’s daughter Jemmatink or her queen mother, whom she heard scream as the drow broke through the House Center’s defenses. She says that the boy Sprocknik is the king’s son.

The adventurers explain who they are and how they want to help, offering to take her and the others to Blingdenstone. Torriple seems convinced of their intentions but says that she will die there in their cave. Thorn says that he can carry her where the other gnomes might be able to save her. She rasps a reluctant acceptance. Sasha also asks about the emerald and the page. Toripple says that she took the emerald in case they escaped and needed something to bargain with. She also says that she found the journal page years after the invasion, during one of her few excursions above ground. Thorn asks if they can take the emerald, which he says can help the gnomes. She agrees.

The group climbs back out and makes their way back to the Speaking Stones. Other gnomes have seen them and followed, where they reach Pingtu and tell him and the others about Toripple, Sharabit, and Sprocknick. Pingtu and Henkala seem to confirm much of Toripple’s story. But Toripple lies silent, her breathing extremely shallow. Garmudden Stonesinger is with Sprocknik and Sharabit Valorwocket, talking to them in gnomish and seeming to comfort them. They try to question Sharabit, asking if Sprocknik is the king’s son and if she might be really be the king’s daughter, but get little new information although she seems to indicate that she has more to say.

They show the journal page to Pingtu, who sees that it’s some old Elven prophecy on one side and a reference to the speaking stones on the other. He remembers that when they returned to the Stones, they found Bendekik’s bones as well as the remains and weapons of 7 drow in this room. They buried his bones and the drow weapons beneath the Temple, along with a large sapphire.

There is little to do for Toripple, though Pingtu and Jalless do their best. They all sleep in the Speaking Stones.

In the early morning, they awake to find Toripple dead. They approach Sharabit and Sprocknik again. Sharabit says that they knew Toripple’s time was short and they had already grieved for her passing. Through Garmudden, she explains that Toripple saved 3 children—including Wizwitz, the king’s son who was wounded, became ill and died. They buried him. Toripple that the king’s son might help save them, if they were ever captured. She decided to pretend that Sprocknik was the king’s son instead of her own grandson, whom orcs or drow might kill otherwise.

Sharabit did not want the gnomes to think that his or her deception and wanted to tell the truth. She told how both the king’s children died, leaving no survivors.

The adventurers then asked if she knew about a dark iron key. They pulled out one of the keys that they had found, but she did not recognize it. However, Garmudden gasps. He recognizes the key as one identical to one that he wears. His mother gave it to him before she died, saying that it was a family heirloom and would bring him luck. They show the Dark Iron Coffer and the other two keys and ask if they can borrow his, which indeed looks like a duplicate of the other two. They insert all 3 keys at the same time, unlocking the coffer and not triggering any trap. In the box they find 8 polished turquoise gems (10 gp each) and a polished stone engraved with the word “Sunnis” (in gnomish) on a chain.

Pingtu explains that Sunnis is the Elemental Princess of Good Earth and the consort of Entemoch (the Calming Spirit), who is Ogrémoch’s twin brother. But Pingtu does not know why the King kept in the coffer or what its value might be. They discuss what to do with it and suggest that perhaps Garmudden can keep it hidden.

As with the key, he puts it on to hide beneath his clothes. However, the stone glows after he puts it on. Others try wearing it without the same effect. Between this and the key, the group suggests that Garmudden is one of the king’s illegitimate children. He admits that he does not know who his father was. They also see that he’s about the same age as Sprocknik and Sharabit, though he does not remember living in Blingdenstone, that his mother, Beribink Stonesinger, said she left the city before he was born. They ask if he’s willing to accept this and if he’s willing to be king. He says that he’s not sure and that he’s had no preparation for ruling.

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(Give Me) One More Wight
Session 5

The group spent most of the evening leveling with the latest D&D 5e updates, which amounted to some reworking the characters, especially Bennett who is now a wizard. This left time for a short session.


After a good night’s sleep and well rested, the adventures returned to the House Center to finish exploring. They went north from the stairs to explore and found a guard post, including several arrow slits that looked beyond the wall as well as into into the House Center yard. In the distance, in the dark, they could make out the cave opening leading to the caverns where the orcs were likely holed up. They also saw no door leading out to the top of the wall.

As they raced south back through the hall and then the Great Hall, the orcs killed the previous day rose again as undead threats. Though caught offguard, the adventurers destroyed the 3 undead orcs with little trouble. They made sure there were no other fresh corpses and then explored the Great Hall more carefully.

They found a secret door that opened to a small closet, which stored

  • A small dark iron key that matched the style of the locked box
  • Gems: Amethyst and another fire opal

They debate trying the key with the coffer, but decide to wait until they’ve returned to Pingtu, who would be able to help heal if they sprung a trap on the box.

The band moved into the south hall where they found a barricade and 4 skeletons. Making up for his previous lack of valor, Thorn leaped over the barricade and stood among the skeletons—a gnomish skeleton, one wearing boiled leather, another with a chain attached to its jaw, and one with mud stuffed into its eye sockets. On this day, everyone had a new kill to notch on their weapons. Moving past the skeletons, they found a similar room as in the north, a barracks. But the gnomes had obviously fought valiantly here for a last stand, as gnomish and drow skeletons lay together in ironic peace.

In the far corner, they saw a skeleton still in scale mail, which Sasha and Bennett investigated, find a small pouch on a chain around its neck. As they pulled it from the skeleton, its eyes blinked red and came to life. Gravel called out that it was another wight, which made two quick attacks. Thorn jumped between Bennett and Sasha, but it was Sir Paul who dealt the killing blow.

For their rewards, they found

  • another dark iron key matching the one that they found earlier
  • a gold chain, likely worth 15g
  • dragon scale male (15 AC + DEX Mod, Stealth Disadvantage), likely worth 250g

Finding no other secrets and monsters-in-waiting, the group returns downstairs and to the yard, where they decide to explore the wreck of the stables.


Thus endth the session.

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But Where Are the Crowns?*
Session 4

At the top of the stairs of the House Center fort, the group did not see the light that they had seen before. Gravel cast Light on his weapon to guide them through the darkness. To their left, they saw two doors. Sasha listened and heard nothing. The group decided to leave the doors be for now and continued explore. They saw a small room across the hall, just over part of the stairs. Like the other doors, this one was damaged but only partly closed. They opened it and saw that it was a child’s room, maybe a nursery, though the furniture had been smashed. They found nothing inside. They realized they were in the living quarters for the king and family.

They followed the hall around the corner and saw another doorway, though there was no door. The group moved in, seeing that it was a great hall with corpses and skeletons strewn across the floor—mostly gnomes and drow, though a few orcs. However, they see what appears to be fresh orc corpses.

At the back, on a dais, a corpse sits in one of the two thrones. With the adventurers in the room, the figure’s head lifts, its eyes glowing red. Several of the corpses and skeletons rise—8 in all. They move towards the adventurers. Thorn calls for a retreat out of the hall, but not everyone listened. After damaging several of the zombies and skeletons, the group waited in the hall for the fiends to come through the door one at a time, killing each. Afterwards, they turned back inside the great hall to find the wight king still shambling, though severely wounded.

With the wight dead (for good!) they inspected and found

  • 26 gp and 108 sp
  • an ornate mace with a fire opal set in the pommel (magical)
  • the king’s defaced crown

The group decided to pursue no further at this time and returned from where they came. Inspecting the rooms of the king and his family, they found mostly destroyed and ruined furniture. However, using Detect Magic, they found a small iron coffer with 3 keyholes and 3 symbols, one on each side. Sasha knew the design: It was a puzzle box that would likely poison them if they did not use the correct keyhole. However, they found no key. Sir Paul had cast a light down the hall and saw nothing there though it open to what seemed another large room.

Taking their treasures, they returned to the gnomes. The group debated what to do with the crown. Having doubts about Kargien Dissengulp’s intentions, they decided to show it in public to make it more difficult for Kargien to take the crown for himself. They talked to the gnomes in the Singing Stones and sent messengers to all to come to hear their tale.

When all had gathered, they told how they defeated the creatures in the House Center and found the crown. Before Kargien could take it, Jalless called for a renewed effort to find any Schnicktick heir. Controlling his anger at the adventurers, he recommended that Pingtu keep the crown.

After recounting the fights in the House Center, they made their way to Pingtu to discuss the crown and iron coffer (which they had not revealed to Kargien and the other gnomes). When they asked about the zombies, Pingtu noted that some had spoken of how drow necromancers had possibly created the undead to keep gnomes and anything else from feeling safe in Blingdenstone. The drow seemed more interested in defeating and humiliating the gnomes that in taking over their city or taking their treasures.

When shown the coffer, Pingtu explained that each of the symbols represented one of the gnomish gods:

  • Garl Glittergold (the radiant gem) is the Watchful Protector of the Forgotten Folk and the leader of the gnome pantheon.
  • Gaerdal Ironhand (the Shield of the Golden Hills) guards against threats from above and below and teaches gnomes to hold their own in combat with larger and more powerful creatures by using their size and natural abilities to their advantage.
  • Urdlen (the Digger Below) is a mindless force of malicious evil and destruction.

However, he was not able to say which of the symbols might be the correct one for opening the coffer. He did not know what the coffer contained or what its contents might be.

The group returned to their beds and rested for a likely return to the House Center.

The characters made Level 2.

\* Stephen Sondheim, I’m sorry.

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Old Men and Orcs
Session 3

This is a tardy, abbreviated summary.

There were 3 major episodes.

  1. The adventurers spoke with Kargien Dissengulp about what to do next. After he started to talk with them, he was called away, leaving them behind in his quarters. He removed some documents from his desk and put them in a locked chest. He encouraged them to eat and drink while he was gone. The group debated picking the lock to see what Kargien might be hiding but decided that it was too much of a betrayal regardless of his suspicious behavior and motivations. Upon his return, they heard a great horn blast, which Kargien explained was a call for the orcs to retreat from their wanderings and to fortify. As he had seen this many times after they suffered great losses, he recommended that the adventurers pursue some of their other requests until the orcs eventually relaxed and began to spread out again, making them more vulnerable. In fact, he referred to a plan for taking advantage of the retreat and to possibly cut off wandering orcs.
  2. The adventurers then met Pingtu for the first time. They found him attempting some ritual to restore the Speaking Stones, which were actually representations of the gnomish gods. During the invasion, the Stones had been silenced as a protective measure against the drow. Now, Pingtu had been studying to restore the Stones.

    The group asked about the invasion and the rumor of a traitor, from which they learned about the Cult of Urdlen, as well as some of the cult’s history in general and their presence in Blingdenstone before the drow invasion. Pingtu explained that the Speaking Stones had been used to help expose the Cult in Blingdenstone. The group agreed to help Pingtu complete the ritual, which he was about to start. The ritual succeeded in evoking the voice of his master, who explained how to awaken the Stones. They would need 7 different gems. Pingtu helped identify where they might get a few of them.

  3. The group then decided to investigate the House Center. They found no orcs there and went through the gate to the fort/palace there. They fought and defeated several skeletons and giant centipedes. As they were about to climb the stairs to the second floor, Sir Paul cast Detect Magic, which revealed something magical above them.

The session ended at this point.

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Meeting the Neighbors
Session 2

After getting information about several things that needed to be done, the group decided to seek out Gallus.

Gallus

The group travelled unhindered to the Armorers and Weaponsmiths Guild. Thorn carried the cracked crystal in front of him, as the others followed. They didn’t see any creatures, but they were vaguely aware of movement along the walls. After Thorn set down the crystal, a small, thin, yellowish-grey creature appeared, almost as if out of the stone.

He noted that the group were not the “grey ones” and asked what they wanted. Thorn explained about the elementals and the gnomes. Thorn then said that he wanted their help with the elementals. The pech (Gallus) said that the pechs did not like the grey ones, who “wounded the stone” with their tools and who used to bind and enslave the earth elementals, their distant kin. He had tried to live peacefully with the grey ones, but their leader refused and sometimes attacked the pechs, who had lived in the caves long before the gnomes made a home there.

Thorn then offered to talk to Kargien, to persuade him to allow the pechs to live there. Thorn asked if the pech could live with the gnomes, and Gallus responded that he could, if the gnomes could stop attacking them.

Gravel asked if the pechs could clear stone as well as make it grow. Gallus said that they probably could, that it would be better than wounding the stone.

The group and Gallus then talked about the elementals, which he said included “the One Who Rages,” (Ogremoch’s Bane) an earth creature that was quite powerful and had freed and protected the earth elementals. The pechs are fearful of the Bane, as it is destructive, even though it freed the elementals. It wants to destroy its brother, “the Calming One.” Gallus says that the Bane is magical and can only be hurt by magic. The group asked if they had magic, and Gallus said yes, they could protect against the Bane but could not damage it.

Thorn then asked if the pechs had seen the crystal he brought. Gallus said that he had, that they were brought from deep in the earth by the purple worms. Thorn asks if Gallus can heal the crystal, who says that they can try and then takes the crystal with him.

Kargien

The group returns to Kargien, to tell him what they had learned. Kargien dismisses the pechs, calling them cockroaches. He explains how they had been undoing the gnomes’ work, of creating a home here. Thorn and Gravel point out that the pechs were here before the gnomes and seem to know about the elementals, including a more powerful force. Kargien recognizes the One Who Rages as Ogremach’s Bane and says there’s an opposing brother, Entemoch’s Boon (“The Calming One”). They ask that, if the pechs help, would he be willing to let them stay and to stop attacking them. Kargien says that he will consider it.

Kargien then says that the gnomes recently found something in the temple that could help and, from his locked chest, pulls a brownish, cloudy quartz-like piece that had been carved like a staff head piece and that has some feint marking or image on it, which had been damaged or worn so that it was not recognizable. Kargien said that, if the group leads the Bane to the Boon, a cave not far away, they could place the relic at the foot of the pillar of the Boon. The charm would then pull the Bane into it and trap it, which they should then bury the charm and the Bane beneath the Boon, imprisoning it forever.

They ask about magic weapons, and Kargien says that they have almost none left except for a handaxe. Again, he unlocks his chest, moves aside some books and papers, and pulls out the handaxe. He says that he will give the group this weapon if they would promise a favor in return. He explains that in the House Center King Schnicktick made his last stand. It’s likely that the king’s remains are still there, including his sword and crown. It would be a great symbol of restoring their home if they could retrieve these things. However, while there are orcs in that cavern, other creatures seem to have taken residence in the House Center. The group agrees that they could do this.

Kargien then says he must prepare for rest, taking off his emerald necklace. Sir Paul asks if Kargien would like the crown for himself, to which Kargien says that while he has a noble family, he’s not of noble blood.

The group leaves and heads to the Singing Stones to rest for the evening.

Orcs

The next morning, the group discusses the possibility of having Sasha sneaking into the House Center, but they recall that Kargien said there were “other things” there, that even the orcs would not go in. They decide to check with Gallus about the crystal and then to see how tough the orcs are.

When they see Gallus again, they ask if he was able to repair the crystal. He retrieves it and says that the crystal and the pechs could not talk well together. Indeed, the cracks were filled opaquely, an imperfect repair. They then explained that Kargien had agreed to consider living in peace with the pechs, if they helped with the Bane and elementals. As Gravel pulls out the quartz charm, Gallus is aware of its magic and calls it “bad rotten thing.” He says that he says the “vile ones” carry such things. When asked about the “vile ones,” Gallus says that some gnomes were very bad and wanted destruction. He heard them talk in shadows before the fall, and they were the one who led the “dark ones” to attack the city. He says that he will not help them if they use the rotten stone. They say, no, they would not use it.

Gallus is comforted and trusts their words, saying that he and other pechs could help them. They ask where the Calming One was, and he pointed to the southeast, saying that it was in a different cavern, outside the city and that he could lead them there.

The group then asks another favor: They would like to drive the orcs away, but would like to know where they are. Gallus then goes into the stone, almost passing into it. After a few minutes, he returns. He saw 5 large flying bugs in one room. Then in one further away, he say 5 orcs.

The group passed what Gravel realized were stirges and went to the darkened cave where the orcs were. After some hiding, they found hiding places, cast light on a rock and threw it out. They saw 2 groups of 4 orcs. Bennett was able to charm 2 and told them to run away. The group then fought and killed the other two orcs, as the fifth orc ran past them. They were able to injure him and knock him down, killing him.

The group then went into the passage where the 2 charmed orcs ran. In another large cavern with a large pillar, they made out the sounds of several orcs. Taking different positions behind the pillar, they again cast light on rocks and threw them at the orcs, exposing 7 of them. Sir Paul put two to sleep. Bennett and Sasha then fought 2 orcs while Sir Paul, Gravel, and Thorn fought 3. Thorn took a lot of damage, but they were able to defeat their orcs, though not before one orc knocked Bennett unconscious. Gravel was able to get to him before he died and healed him.

The Return

The group took several of the orc weapons (two-handed greataxes and shortbows, as well as some 6 gold pieces). They returned to Gallus and told him that they had killed many orcs, some of whom appeared to be eating a pech corpse. Gallus said that they occasionally lost pechs to the orcs.

They then returned to Kargien, showing him 10 left ears of orcs.

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Session 1
Arriving at Blingdenstone

The group disembarked from the river boat and saw the great doors to Blingdenstone, cut into the side of a mountain foothill. A small figure descended the stairs and greeted them. Briddick welcomed the volunteers, explaining how Blingdenstone had been invaded by the drow nearly a hundred years ago. He leads the group through a labyrinth entrance that was one of the city’s defenses. After describing how complex it was, he mentioned the rumor that a traitor had shown the drow through the maze, after they had successfully dispelled the magical protection that had kept the entrance hidden from the drow.

Halfway through the maze, the group heard a shuffling noise from a side corridor. When they investigated, Briddick, Bennet, Sir Paul, Sasha, Gravel, and Thorn saw 3 drows . . . zombies. They engaged the zombies, killing two when 5 more turned the corner. Thorn and Briddick formed a front wall, ready to engage the zombies if they attacked. Sasha, Gravel, and Sir Paul attacked from afar. Although the zombies proved slow and easy kills for the fighers, Briddick suffered two strong blows.

After killing the zombies, the group searched the corridor and found no hidden passage or other secrets. Briddick led them to Blingdenstone and into the Singing Stones cavern. There, he showed them a map of Blingdenstone—what areas the gnomes had recovered, where the major threats were, and where they could go to find how they could best help.

They were then accosted as they ate by the bard Gurmadden Stonesinger who told them some more about the drow invasion, repeating the rumor of the traitor. He also explained how the Singing Stones was once a tavern where bards before him had worked special crystals to produce a great music that was unlike any heard before. He then asked the group if they could help him by recovering at least 6 crystals from the mines where the kobolds now lurked, offering 10 gold for each crystal. He showed the group a cracked and unusable crystal so they knew what to look for.

Thorn then asked if the crystals were the most important thing that the gnomes needed, and Gurmadden said that, no, they did need supplies and had problems with the orcs and kobold.

The band splits up:

The Spitting Nurse

Immediately upon their arrival at The Trader’s Grotto, Jalless barks orders to Thorn and Briddick. She asks Thorn to cut bandage for her, and, after he pulls out his axe, she turns to Briddick to cut it, rolling her eyes at Thorn, who explains that his axe would be excellent for cutting bandages. She sees Briddick’s wound and tends to it.

Thorn says that he’s been wounded as well, but Jalless says that it’s nothing and spits on it. She keeps a special herbal chew in her mouth that not only works well to prevent infection but also provides her with an energy to tend to the wounded.

Thorn asks about the orcs, and Jalless responds that she would kill them herself if she could. She then remarks that Kargien has been fighting the orcs for years and has nothing good to say of him, spitting at her saying his name. She explains that the orcs come from the northwest mostly, though she’s seen them attack most every cavern the gnomes hold. She asks if Thorn and his group would take on ridding Blingdenstone of the orcs themselves. Thorn offers to show her how to use an axe someday.

Thorn leaves to rejoin his companions. Briddick leaves Thorn to return to finding more aid from the Silver Marshes.

A Magic Store with No Magic

The others go to see Henkala at The Phantasmal Glamours. There, they ask her about the traitor. She stutters that she did not know. She then explains how she survived the drow attack, how, although her mother had magical powers, she had not learned any magic. Her mother cast a spell to hide her so that she could escape. When she heard that Kargien was returning here, she joined up, mainly to see what remained of her family’s belongings.

She was asked about any magical items. Everything that she had was used long ago. She has a couple of healing kits and potions, as well as some acid. The rest is usual fair.

When asked about what needed to be done, she said that the Hall of Miners, where they had smelted ore and repair items, had been taken over by earth elementals, which they had problems with before the invasion. Kargien had decided to leave them be as they were not attacking the gnomes, even though they have seen a large humanoid figure among the elementals. Henkala says that she thinks the shy pechs in the Armorers and Weaponsmiths area might know something about the elementals and why they are there.

A Visit with Kargien

The group goes to The Ruby in the Rough to see Kargien Dissengulp. The Ruby is a large cavern with a low building in the center, the entrance to the temple of Segojan Earthcaller, the gnome god of earth, nature, and death. Just outside the temple entrace, there’s a small building where gnomes go in and out of, including a couple of sentries.

He introduces himself to the group and explains their main mission at the moment — to get rid of the orcs. When told that some think he has not made much progress, he explains how Blingdenstone was completely taken over by orcs. There were hundreds of them. In 40 years, with few gnomes and volunteers and never enough supplies, they are close to victory with probably 40 or so orcs left. He has been preparing for an attack on the House Center, though he knows that they are strong there and that other creatures are likely inside. When Thorn suggests that they could attack the orcs from the eastern caverns, Kargien does not dismiss the plan.

The group also mentions the kobolds, which he says are becoming a greater problem and seem to be coming from the The Foaming Mug where there is an opening to the Wormwrithings. He says that the group should not go there without a guide because the tunnels are as bad as the maze. When they are ready, he will assign them a guide.

When asked about the elementals and pechs, he explains that the elementals have always been around and that the gnomes used to bind the elementals, to prevent them from attacking. But now, they seem content with the Hall of Miners. He would not mind seeing them gone, though, because he does not trust that they will remain peaceful. He also dislikes the pechs and would like to see them gone.

Together Again with the Bard

The group considers the possibility of taking Garmudden Stonesinger’s cracked crystal to the pechs, who might be able to create more. When they ask him, he gladly gives the crystal to them.

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