Dave's Nerdy Stag

We Buy A Map
What fools we are...

Crew’s Log

            As I lay here on the cold stone floor surround by vines and a slightly luminous pool of water I reflect on what got me here.

After a week of ‘practice’ I met up with some of the gang who were still in town down in Skullport at the Haunted Hold. The clerics weren’t there, must be off at church for something, and neither was Brianne. I guess one of her scams was busted and she had to skip town. But two of my old woodsy friends were there – Cid and Rolene.

After several drinks – okay many drinks we were approached by some guy by the name of Deyv. He seemed a bit off but the boys were interested in what he was selling. A map to the entrance to the path of the Carnelian Caves. An old dwarven mine full of riches. For 20 gp a piece he would give it to us. We talked a bit and he went down to 100 now and 40 later and he’d take us to the entrance. This seemed better… Looking back now, why did we buy this map? He took us there himself? Dang we are easy marks after a night of many rounds.

A winding labyrinth below Skullport gets us to the entrance. An apparent recent cave opening. Following the path we came upon a locked door that had a rusted lock on it, even my tools didn’t help, but Barrak (or Garret) was able to persuade it open with a crowbar.

Littering the floor was dozens of bent and rusted weapons, across the room was another locked door. I checked it out for traps but apparently, these old dwarves have tricks that you just don’t learn on the high seas. 7 of the weapons sprung to life. We readied ourselves and started the vanquishing of old metal. My friends had some trouble so I beat apart 4 of the animated weapons.

It was then that we realized how exhausted we all were and it must have been closer to morning than not.  We also noticed the body of some old guy who had an ornate decanter and 4 golden goblets. It appeared to have water in it. I boldly tasted it and it was just water, which was surprisingly fresh. We then made camp and threw all the rusted weaponry out in the hall and barred the door. Cid set up some alarm behind us and Barrak slept in front of the other door.  The alarm never went off but I was awoken by Barrak telling us we were being attacked and then I saw a flash of yellow light and maybe purple.

The next fight was a haze but we ended up being attacked by an eye demon or something – I think Dzeph said something about a beholder. Anyways after it ripped Barrack a new one our bow team was able to take it down with Garret getting in the way. Afterwards we finally rested.

The next day – well probably afternoon, we continued on – the path split one door was open so we went through it rather than the locked door. Inside was a weird luminous mist that was like walking through water. As Garret (he had a torch) checked the next door it all of a sudden exploded into rubble and smoke. The ringing in my ear was painful. The mist started seeping out (oh I had put some into a vial to see how well it would stay luminous – minimally) and when we advanced we found out that gnolls had some sort of cannon. Damn dirty dogs. Dzeph got the idea to heat the barrel which put the cannon out of commission and we were able to vanquish a few of the gnolls before their reinforcements arrived and the cannon exploded into molten slag.

Once the gnolls were dead we found an extra ammo cache which I doused with the decanter of endless water (I mean I assume it’s endless, I drank more earlier and it just slowly fills up again). And It turned out to be endless cause I soaked all the ammunition to hopefully make it unusable.

            Later we discovered a small nook of a room with a large sarcophagus – they assured me it was safe to open, but even with a few of us trying we couldn’t pry it open. Meanwhile, Rolene had noticed an open secret door – apparently there were some carvings about an ancient warrior or something – I don’t know. There were other doors off this room. The second was just a small empty room. I carved Harlow’s hideout on it. Just in case we get stuck in here you need to claim a space of your own.

            We also found a black/darkness curtain – that should have been the exact opposite side of where we came in. We rolled a ‘lighted’ cannonball towards it and it just disappeared into the darkness. Gribble went to inspect it closer and once he got close – voosh! He caught sucked in. Dzeph in a display out of character, dove in after him!. We found out later –they lived after falling down a pit, there was a curtain across to connect the passageway.

Continuing our explorations, we fought some more gnolls, found a big chest of gold, silver and copper. We tried to leave with it and after back tracking found we couldn’t leave- the path was closed. Shit. Guess we are in here for the long haul. Then, we decided to leave the silver and copper in the secret room near the sarcophagus for safe keeping.

Next on our little trip underground we found a slightly illuminated spring with vines growing all over it. Seemed like a bad idea to enter so I stayed back as the nature lovers went in. Bad Idea! The vines started pulling people towards a hungry mouth in the floor! We fought hard as it kept grabbing everyone. I was able to land some crippling shots on it from afar, and in the end, Dzeph’s magical words felled the beast.

If that wasn’t enough we explored one more room nearby that was up a set of stairs – a way out! We hoped. We were wrong. Upon entering the room the ceiling was shrouded in darkness so we tried hosting each other up into it to see if there was more beyond the darkness. It was then that the screaming started. Something had latched onto Dzeph’s face and he dropped him quickly below the darkness curtain only to find the darkness followed him. We found in darkness – comedy of errors as we fumbled like toddlers picking up our weapons. Somehow after we possibly bashed, poked and stabbed each other, we killed this squid like beast that was probing Dzeph’s head. The darkness left him and we left the room to rest!

Who knows what else lays in these damn tunnels, but I am glad I am here with friends.

 

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Vacationing on the Whale Bone Islands
Saving Taavi - again

Vacationing on the Whale Bone Islands…

After Taavi’s letter of request I head to the Haunted Hold down in Skullport of Waterdeep. I am familiar with the area having been to the Hold a few times after a trek out to sea – the booze is terrible but there’s lots of it for only a few coppers.

Getting inside I see a few of my friends – Garret is eating, that guy has the appetite of like three halflings, Maize has found a table, nice to see his short stature again.  I also notice Brianne is here too, she looks to be working the crowd again. I go up behind Garret and steal a bite of his stew – it’s not good, but I don’t expect it to be from this place. 

The slowly more of my old friends start pouring in – Gribble, the darkness around his eyes a little more noticeable than the last time I saw him. He joins us as Barrak and his twiggy beard join us, and as he is talking to the barman, Lavender and Lysander  -shockingly not in their stick out like a sore thumb vestments on, they almost look normal, enter. We wave them over and all start catching up on what we’ve been up to for the last month Finally, Dzeph shows up and gives us a nod then goes and starts preforming – he apparently has a gig here tonight. Another half hour goes by and Gopar and Roland never show when a female dwarf shows up – we assume this is Rey, Taavi’s associate.

Barrak brings a round of drinks right away as we talk to Rey. We find out that Ageiron has fled to the Whale Bone Islands and that we should be able to get to the fishing village of Stegvick aboard the Seedcutter. As we drink and discuss, some of my friends just don’t have the stamina for cheap liquor and are already showing signs of its effects.  Rey tells us that the Seedcutter’s first mate, Torvauld is the one to talk to about getting to Stegvick. I’ve heard of him before, a straight shooting merchant sailor – we should at least have no troubles on board this boat.

Rey tells us that he will meet us here, so while we wait we have a dragon boat race drinking contest. I fair all right, but in the end it comes down to Maize and Barrack, with no surprise, the dwarf wins. Rey has to leave no and Torvauld is still a no show. We wait a little more, then we let Barrack babysit Maize and Gribble (those two gnomes can’t handle their booze) and we go down to the docks.

We locate the Seedcutter rather easily and the guard John tells us that Torvauld is not available; we assume he’s on the job and we are right. We wait for a little bit and then decide to come back in the morning.

Brianne and I share a room at the Haunted Hold – she’s quite pretty when she isn’t trying to look like a small child… but never mind that, she’s a comrade in arms. I go to sleep.

The next day we are able to talk to Torvauld. I am able to haggle his price down for a our safe travel on his ship for helping out on the ship – nothing new to me, but it may be a bit of a shock for some of the rest of the team. We sail with the tide and by the noon the following day.

When we dock we fan out to ask about strange looking people. I end up helping a local fisherman who puts me to work more than gives me useful advice. Eventually we all end up at the local inn which is also a market and great eating hall. Brianne and I work the crowd trying to hear of find out useful information, Dzeph starts preforming, Barrack comes back from being a dog, and Lavender joins in on her horn.  We find out that there was a weird guy wanting travel to Loki Sari about a week ago – he was rude and demanding and the locals didn’t like him, but he paid well.

6 young guys actually armed come in – Lythander says he saw the one with black hair watching several of us earlier. The sit in a corner and keep their eyes on us until Gribble leaves the Market Inn, then 3 of them get up and follow him out. Brianne and I go tell Dzeph that we may have trouble as the rest of our team follow. Which then causes the rest of their squad to follow.

By the time I’m outside a full out brawl has happened. Gribble looks like his face is one giant bruise. We quickly engage and these locals are subdued. Brianne sits on the black haired leaderish ones chest holding a knife to him as I lighten him of his coin purse – they got involved with the wrong strangers in town. I also take his sword away for a while – it’s on time out while we’re in town.

We end up not killing any of them as per our clerics requests – which is for the best because according to the mayor they were just trying to prove themselves and didn’t mean any harm… hmm. When I give Veed – that’s the black-haired ones name, back his sword at the end of the night but my clumsy hands drop it in some animal’s droppings.

The mayor lets us use his boat the next day to head to Loki Sari. With my excellent guidance of rowing, Barrak and Garret are able to get us there just before sundown.  We are at the base of a hill with overgrown brambles. Barrak guides us through the dense foliage. As we climb the foliage starts to become thick brambles and rather uninviting looking. After about an hour we see the dilapidated ruins with a crumbling door and it is then that we are ambushed. Vines start trying to wrap around us. I am able to break free of the first set, but then another set gets me. We then see a pair of these weird vine men on either side of the path. We quickly respond although being all tangled up causes its delay. The vines seem to be stronger so I give up trying to break out and try taking aim at these stupid plants’ heads. 

Garret is able to trident one of them, Barrak tries some thunder magic but then bears out. After several failed attempts  – it’s hard to get a good shot in when the vines are squeezing and pulling, my bold finds its mark and goes right through the eye of one of these plants and it falls. We eventually make it inside after the vine men are dealt with. The door had crumbled away when Dzeph tried to get inside. Thank goodness for those clerics, they seem to have kept us from being hurt too much from the brambles.

Inside we see two towers and a large well. The others check the well depth while I investigate the doors for any traps – who knows that this rogue wizard is capable of.  No traps just more rotten doors – behind one are blood marks that head towards the well.

We decided to have dinner before descending into the depth of the well. Brianne is able to tell us a soothing tale while Dzepth accompanies her on his loot. It seems to rejuvenate us so that after dinner we are ready to go down the hole. Maize and Garret had some rope that I am able to tie together so that it reaches the bottom. Dzepth, Lavender, Lysander, Garret and Barrack go down first. Followed by Maize, Gribble, Brianne and finally myself. One of the first loses their grip so Dzeph uses some magic to make the first 5 of us float down like a feather. When I am about half way down I hear a voice in my head warning me ‘make sure you don’t fall down to your death…like the others’. Apparently I am not the only one who hears something, as we all seem to quicken our descent.

We all make it down safely and this large room has chains hanging from the ceiling with bodies wrapped up and attached. Where the well drops to is a bowl shaped depression with an iron door in one of the sides. The rest of the team looks around while Maize holds a torch for me to ‘open’ this door. The corrosion causes me to take a little longer than planned, but I eventually get the door open.

Below is a long staircase going into the depths. We start our climb down, I try and stay near the front being wary of an nefarious traps that befall us. Eventually there is moisture on the walls – we must be below sea level, and the stairs open up into a large room. Garret is tired of taking things slow so he pushes past Barrak and I and Barrak is pushed over the edge of the staircase. He catches himself and I help him up.

The room is rectangular with a walkway on the left and right of what looks like an empty pool. While the clerics investigate the mosaic tiling of the pool floor – apparently something dedicated to a water goddess. We can’t see the far end of the room so Gribble decides to fire some of his eldritch fire into the darkness. Purple flames illuminate the darkness and I wish it hadn’t. Standing in the opposite corner is a great fiend. Spikes and barbs cover its entire body and it laughs menacingly in our heads.

We quickly fan out and advance – spiked chains fly at us as we approach. Eventually the pool ends and Garret charges the thing. His illuminated shield thanks to someone’s light spell gives the rest of us the sight we needed to start our full attack.

Brianne and Dzepth start assaulting it with vicious magical words. Our friends in faith fire radiant bolts at it. Garret hacks at it, Maize pummel and swipes, Barrak goes bear on the fiend and Gribble continues to fire his purple fire – now having better luck that it’s illuminated. And I duck down into the pool, firing from cover and sinking bolts deep into its hide.

The battle is long as its barbs pierce my friend and the spike chains tear their flesh but eventually the fiend falls. In the corner behind it we find Thayan wizard clothes, coins, and a beautifully carved staff with an emerald that glows like candlelight, but no sign of Ageiron.

The room appears empty so after gathering up our treasures we go back to the chain room. It looks like these are the bodies of someone matching Ageiron’s description – however, since we don’t know for certain we take all their heads to prove we stopped him. Not the best way to travel, but when you have to take 9 heads in a made up sack, that’s what you have to do.

We eventually make it back to Waterdeep and meet with Raboc at the Thayan conclave. We show him heads until he recognizes Ageiron’s. But he also asks about the staff, we give it over – turns out that was what they wanted more. He goes and gets Taavi while we get served wine and cheese. Tasty. A few moments later, Taavi comes out, offers his deepest gratitude to us and then demandingly asks us to leave. We saved our friend, once again. Time to divvy up the loot.

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The situation now . . .
How you came to a friend's aid when they didn't deserve it . . .

Image result for medieval jail

 

Dearest friends,

 

 

Again I call on you for help, though I know I have no right to ask.  I am both detained and in peril.  

 

After Shieldmeet, my plan was simple, send the agent of Waterdeep back to the city with a stern enough message to keep them away for good.  After all, my business associates were not without influence in Waterdeep, and elsewhere along the Sword Coast.  I was confident that the help you gave during Shieldmeet was enough of a show of strength to secure my safety and allow my business to proceed unimpeded by any outside influence.  As it turned out, I miscalculated on several levels.

 

After you left, I met with some new customers in Red Larch, but it was a trap and I was taken. Currently I now find myself a ‘guest’ within the Thayan Enclave in Waterdeep, unable to leave.  Turns out, some of the material I was importing was in direct competition with the Red Wizards, and they have taken matters into their own hands.  Further complicating things, they have done so with the blessings of the authorities of Waterdeep.  

 

I have retained the services of Rey Yellowbraid, a drawf notary and associate of mine.  She is my liaison to the city outside the Enclave.  Most importantly, she advocates to the Red Wizards on my behalf, particularly one Raboc Seolbap, their main agent dealing with my case.  Raboc is a cruel and brutal man who would be pleased to be described as one.  Raboc is willing to let me return home, but only on two conditions.  First, I must assist him with a certain task, and second, I must work as an agent for the Red Wizards in the future.  He would not be specific on the task, but was very clear that he needs to employ a small band of adventurers to take care of a problem for the Red Wizards.  I am not keen to throw in with the Thayans, but don’t see many options.

 

While Raboc wouldn’t be clear, I have been listening here in the Enclave.  I believe the task he wants done has to do with Ageiron, a senior Red Wizard who recently left the Red Wizards and set-up a base on one of the smaller Whale-Bone Islands.  People here can’t stop talking about Ageiron.  Looks like its either bring Ageiron back to the fold, or eliminate him.  I am sure Raboc wants him eliminated so its fair you know that going in.  Also, its well known the Red Wizards are very wealthy, and it’s rumoured that Ageiron left with a significant hoard that included some items of magic as well.  There is profit to be made here, along with getting me out of this tangle.

 

I need your help with this.  If you are interested, write on the back of this letter and return it to her.  Tell Rey you will meet her in the dockside tavern ‘The Haunted Hold’ in Skullport.   Describe yourself so she knows what to look for.  She will be waiting there at dinnertime on Highharverstide.

 

From the lovely confines of the Thayan Enclave in Waterdeep, yours truly,

Taavi, Lord of Nelson Grange

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The Start
How you came to learn of a friend's dark secret . . .

 

Red Larch, on the Long Road near Waterdeep.

 

It’s Shieldmeet, so time to head home to catch-up.  As is the tradition in Red Larch, a Shieldmeet Carnival and trade show is taking place during Midsummer for a week.  You and your friends had agreed before leaving Red Larch that you would all return each Shieldmeet and share with each other stories of your adventures.  One agreed to meet, but never left though.  Taavi Nelson was heir to Nelson Grange and the 3 Sisters Winery.  His future was set, and he was happy to stay on the farm and gradually take over the business from his father.  You were very surprised to receive his letter at your inn the evening you arrived in Red Larch.

 

Dearest friends,

 

I need your help.  You may not have heard of the tragedy that befell us last fall.  Criminals cruelly cut down my father and young Cambriol.  We aren’t yet fully recovered at the ‘Grange, and it seems further problems reveal themselves each week that require my attention day and night.  Any assistance you could give would earn my gratitude.  

 

I cannot afford to meet in Red Larch as we all promised.  Rather, please join me here at once, and we can catch-up, and remember old times.

 

Sincerely,

Taavi


 

You decide that Taavi’s offer is a good one, and accepting will get you away from the bed-bugs in your inn anyway.  You make your mind to leave the Shieldmeet Carnival behind and set out for Nelson Grange to meet your old friends.  You meet with several of them on the road leaving Red Larch, and strike out together, glad to be among old friends to ride through a long summer day.

 

The plantation is a full day’s ride due east of Red Larch.  Its approximately 750 acres cut out of the Fellhorn Woods, and can’t be seen when approaching.  It’s dusk when you get there, and once the woods thin a bit and the manor house could be seen, it is clear that there is something very wrong with the building.  Scaffolding covers the front of the house, and a large part of the roof and wall are under repair.  Mason’s can be seen finishing their work for the day.  Black-charred brick is also present near damage and it’s clear there was quite a fire. To the sides of the house, regular farm activities are taking place.

 

The road that leads up to the manor passes a blackened pile of bones, a burned out cart and some sort of cannon lays broken on the ground.  Dried weeds are growing through the bones, wood, and tattered bits of cloth that remain.  As the woods and farm start to quiet down with the setting sun, a wolf can be heard howling in the distance.  Both you and the masons look to the direction of the sound, and then they quickly redouble their efforts to finish for the day.  As you move toward the stable to put up your horses, the front door of the manor opens and out dashes Taavi dressed in hunting garb of green leather armour, strong boots and carrying a crossbow, he rushes in your direction, waving and yelling for you to stay on your horses . . .

 

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