Rise of the Runelords

Scorpions, Scrags, and General Mayhem
Well, dam.

In the dam….

“It is trapped? I just licked it.” Mera

So it happens that we jellify a bunch of trolls. Good use of the Pit spell, I think. We try to find an exit, and there are many. Better choose the right one.

We come across a pool, only to be attacked by a Scrag that almost kills us. Fortunately, we set the pool it’s fighting in on fire, and make quick work of it. After I nearly drown and stabbed, we look through more of these doors….

there’s a scorpion there, a big one made out of bone. What could possibly go wrong? I leap into action without nary a second thought- and that when it hit me- the big, bony scorpion’s tail, right in the gut. I feel my muscles locking up a bit, but I’m not done yet, and neither are my companions. We lay into the monster, and it doesn’t really take long for us to turn its bones to ash. There’s a device here, and I let others who are more knowledgeable than I in the ways of magic look over the mechanism. They discover that it had some sort of magical battery that powers it, and in turn the dam.

We follow the room to two giant circles; one of them has a pile of ash, and the other a demon of some sort, who is whimpering and pathetic-looking. I’m not sure what it wants, but Notaly summons some sort of creature inside of the summoning circle that holds it, and kills both summoned creatures. Weird. But, the dam is safe, and our job is done. It won’t be long before we’re back in town, and having a much needed rest…

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Even More Observation
At the damn dam.

I listen to the party bicker on and on about saving this village from the busted dam, and perhaps the creatures that busted it. Eventually, I think Hope manages to corral them into going after them. For a kid, she’s pretty good with words. Now, if we can just keep her from almost dying….

I put my two sense in. We saved those people from a giant monster; I don’t want them to get eaten or worse by ogres or whatever is going on upstream. I may be a cynic, but I do care about people- somewhat.

Keldoran approaches us, giving us some impromptu information, a rough estimate of how long the rain will last. Him and Marika get into the specs for the dam, and she seems to know a lot about it. Marika has the great idea of evacuating the townsfolk.

I agree to go see Malin, the acting mayor, to have him send people to fort rannick at Hope’s request, who seemingly feels like she’d beat the guy up. It’s a great idea, and can find no fault with it. I go as quick as I can. I’ll have to also send a message to Fort Rannick so that these people will have an escort- hopefully, Shalelu. I get to it. Keldoran has a messenger bird-thing for us, so we do that, while I go and get the village ready to go. After that, I sleep to recover what meager spells that I have. I have to admit, learning this magic stuff has yet to impress me a great deal- in fact, I think I was better off just stabbing things.

After listening to Notaly go on and on about something called a feather whip token, I decide to get one. Supposedly, it allows someone to wrap someone up long enough to stab them to death or escape. I find a shop that has one on our way out of town. Fortunately, Shalelu is there, and ready to escort the villagers to the fort. Looks like we’re on our way.

We press on, against the rush of the water in the river, and we round the corner, coming ac ross a giant, skull-enc rusted dam. I guess it’s called Skull’s crossing for a reason. It’s pretty massive, too. It makes me wonder just why anyone would ever want to live downstream from this. After a quick bathroom break, we ascend, and there are cliffs and dropoffs everywhere. It takes us a half-hour to climb giant-sized stairs, but we finally get to this dank cave. We keep ascending the staircase, but Hope seems to have some trouble.

We hear noises, and Notaly puts up an illusionary wall, which I disbelieve. An ettin comes striding out of the cave, and is not happy. I know that it hasn’t seen me, and I see that Hope may have a non-violent solution to this, so I hang back, and see what happens. The monster lunges at Hope, who once again finds herself in harm’s way. She takes some wounds, and I’m instantly regretting not stabbing this thing in the face when I had a chance. She dives between the ettin’s legs, andI think I’ll just make with the stabbing!

Though Hope does most of the work, we tag team the ettin, spilling his blood before the others can do much of anything. Marika uses her Flaming Sphere, and sends it into the cavern one the ettin is dead. I see Hope disappear, and do the same as we all make our way into the cavern, just in case the ettin had treasure- which he does. Notaly begins Identifying everything, and there are a few magic items besides.

Afterwards, we come across yet more giant-sized stairs. When we get to the top of the dam, we walk single file across the top of it. Through the driving rain, we see a bunch of ogres chipping away at the dam, and we have to move past them. Keldoran agrees to stage a distraction, so that we can get the drop on them. Hope and I move closer to the first target. Unexpectedly, Keldoran’s magic bird thumps into me, mumbling something about a message. For a brief and terrifying moment, I fear that my stealthiness has been detected- but I worry too much. I’m fine, and almost in perfect place to aid Hope in attacking one of these bastards. Notaly casts a Fear spell on some of them, and they scatter; one of them leaping clear over the edge of the dam, never to be seen again.

Meanwhile, Hope gets the first stab in, and I finish it off as things begin to get chaotic. By the look on her face, it looks like she believes that this could be all too easy. Maybe she’s right, but I’ll wait ’till the ogres are all dead before I make my assessment.

Eh, maybe she was right.

We deal with the ogres. One of them that went running scared comes back, and we deal with it accordingly. Bereft of anything to stab, we puzzle out how to try to fix the dam, and press on. Inside the strange, temple-y thing, Hope uses an Ioun Stone to give us some light- a pity that a pack of Trolls see us. Notaly uses her magic to create a spiked pit beneath them, and they all go falling in. Trolls that were at once posed to kill us are now deep in a pit. Keldoran throws an alchemist fire flask into the pit. Marika’s Flaming Sphere goes into the pit, creating even more havoc. We can hear them trying to get back to the top, even as Hope summons a Corgi from her wand to vex them.

It doesn’t last forever, though, and one of them comes hopping out of the pit, and Marika hits him with a scorching ray. Even Keldoran gets in on the action. The troll spills his blood in my face, and I’m none too happy about it. I take the time to wipe my eyes, and lightly graze the stump that shot out the blood with my knife, which has an acid crystal in it. It cauterizes the wound, and it’s the troll’s turn to look unhappy. Before it can take too much damage, however, the troll chews on one of his fingers- the one with a shiny ring on it. He spits the finger out the window, pleased with himself. Notaly sends her familiar (a mephit) after the ring as it falls into the water. I quick swipe of my shortsword does the creature in, and we watch him bubble with the acid into goo. The mephit comes back with the ring, apparantly a Ring of Jumping.

We stop here to catch our breaths….

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More Observations, by Stabbington
I don't know why we're not dead!

You know, all things considered, it didn’t take us long to route all those ogres. And by route, I mean brutally maim and kill. It took all of us to do it, though, so it wasn’t that just Yours Truly was the hero of the day. Not at all. I set a house on fire, but that was just about it for my contribution to the battle to retake the Rangers’ fort back. Not that they were too much help in that department, either. I admit, they did some good towards the end there, holding the rear line and making sure the other ogres were occupied.

Ultimately, I think most of us were glad to have cleaned house on the ogres, if only because that meant we could finally leave the fort (and the cleanup of said fort) to the rangers themselves. Which we did rather unceremoniously, might I add. We did not wait for thanks from the rangers, we just left. I think we were all pretty sour from what went down, but whatever. I was just happy to do a small amount of good, even if I did spend the greater part of the battle getting smacked around like a children’s ball.

The long trudge back to town was decent enough. Or it would have been, had not a rush of water come from nowhere and flooded the entire town and ourselves with it. By the time we actually arrived, things were already pretty dire, and we wound up having to save a bunch of kids from a giant sea snake, which we did with aplomb. To tell you the truth, things were going rather swimmingly.

Until…

This giant monster of a sea serpent shows up and begins to thrash about and tear everything up. There were still people left in town, and the monster seemed to want to turn them all into monster food.

Cue us, the unfortunate heroes of the day.

To say that we assaulted the creature would be laughable. While I don’t think we gave it any major damage, I do think we could’ve taken it! However, the monster was wearing us down pretty hard, and took nearly all of our tricks just to hold it off while the townspeople got to safety- and they took their sweet time doing it!

Ultimately, the creature swam off, leaving us to our fate. However, all that only led to more questions, such as: Why did the nearby damn break? Was it because of ogres?

I get the feeling I’m about to find out.

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Longing, by Kaleb Garmandon
A comfortable life at the Pixie's Kitten
So I’ve been here at the Pixie’s Kitten for quite some time now, “whoring it up” as Hope might say. Though I want to believe I’ve put the adventuring life behind me, sometimes it calls to me, and I want to strap on the leather and go out into the world once more, spreading the word of Calistria to those less fortunate. I sometimes find myself on the edge of town, wanting to take that extra step that would lead me back to the life of an adventurer.

But I think of that last time, there with the others. I think of Glade. Not that I’m terribly broken up over his untimely demise- he was kind of a self-absorbed jackass- but what gets me is the senselessness of his death. He slipped while trying to get to the next step in the broken down stairwell, and fell to his death. Of course, that may have something to do with the vast crow conspiracy that some people are gossiping about in Sandpoint.

I sometimes wonder what became of my friends. I hear news from time to time, about how Hope was kidnapped by some kind of monk lady, and of course about the killer cake created by Mera’s rival. I wonder if she’s gotten over her eggbeater psychosis. Somehow, I don’t think she has. I pity Mr. Rabbit. From what I understand, Marika’s farm is doing well, though I think there have been strangers nosing around the property, but her houseman seems to have everything under control.

Life at the Pixie’s Kitten is very comfortable, don’t get me wrong. But there are days when the wind blows just right, and I’ll catch a scent or hear the clanging of steel, and my very being cries out to be there. I don’t want to sit at my window and stare off into the countryside, but I can’t look away either. Every would-be adventurer that finds their way into my bed finds themselves pleasured at a slightly reduced rate as I grill them afterwards about their journeys. Even though I don’t think I’ll find myself on the open trail once more, I love to hear about it all.

Life is comfortable here at the Kitten…but how long will that last…?

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Observations, by Stabbington
Bumbling our way through the countryside, past Turtleback Ferry

Since joining these merry band of misfits that call themselves adventurers, I’ve found myself in very strange company. It appears that Hope is our leader, even though she’s barely twelve-years-old if that. She’s the talker, the faceman for our little party. It’s funny to see the reactions of the people that we have to talk to; Hope standing in front of the likes of myself and Mr. Rabbit, Mera and the others. To be sure, they are all very intimidating and cast very large shadows. Especially when they’re standing behind the little girl with frowny faces and crossed arms.

But we’ve managed to come through the wispy forest and pigmy trolls relatively unscathed, but I’m pretty sure I’m infected somehow. Also, the small book I’ve been reading for a while now is starting to make sense as I realize that it was in fact a spellbook, and I think now I know how to perform a small bit of it myself. However, on the journey to the Ranger outpost near Turtleback Ferry, I show no signs of turning into a troll. So far. Though that appears to be the least of our worries.

We come across Ogre Hillbilly Heaven, which is little better than a farmstead chock full of these backwards folk. These guys are so ugly that I feel downright handsome next to their malformed bulk. All of us make our way through the farmstead by spell and sword, and wind up rescuing a few of the surviving rangers, who want us to find their ranger clubhouse in the mountains and get their stuff back for them. These items seem to be of some note, so I say that we just burn down the entire fortress and see what’s left afterwards. It’s the only real way to be sure!

Our current job is not done, however, and as our Varisian companion gets her feathers ruffled by the rangers and our party makes a big fuss about it, I find myself creeping through the ogre house not far away, taking extra care to not make a sound- until those duncecaps come clamoring in behind me, so loud and obnoxious that they can’t even see that I’ve hidden under the table to avoid getting eaten by the ogres because of their sudden entrance.

Fortune is with me, however. They wind up activating almost every trap in the house save for one (which I foolishly spring when my patience wears thin). We come across some deformed ogre babies, and I decide to put one out of its misery and ours.

But believe it or not, that’s not the worst of it.

No, that comes when we investigate upstairs and find an ogre broodmother, commanding some of her more dead offspring. I draw steel and go into my flipping and disorienting attack mode, and with the aid of my louder party members, get the job done. The broodmother uses her bed to somehow float above us and tries to mess with us, but stuck between two flaming balls, she gets burnt to an arcane crisp. Good riddance.

After that, I’m more than willing to set that outpost on fire- especially if there’s more ogres inside…

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The Words of "Stabs" Stabbington
A brand new life.

I don’t mind saying…I’ve fallen in with a bunch of fruitcakes. But, is it better than living in a cave and starving to death? I think so. Either way, when I think about it, I was on a crash course to whatever afterlife awaits an ugly, goblin-blooded human like myself. At least this way I have a full belly and a few trinkets to myself.

Before falling in with those deranged lunatics who masquerade as adventurers, I did live in the dungeons around Sandpoint. I had to. Who would have taken me in? Because of the goblin blood in my veins, I’m pretty mishapen, black hair and red beady eyes, skin tinged and almost lime green. Not the kind of guy that the Sandpointers would welcome with open arms.

But now…

I’m not sure what to think. I’ve helped murder a rampaging cake, chased willow whisps in a forest..and strangely, I think I can almost call these adventurers friends in time. Maybe. I’m not one who makes friends easily, but I’ll give it a shot. I do worry about it all, where this odd road will take me, but I’m not about to stand just off the road.

I’m finally getting somewhere…and I don’t want to give that up!

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Hope's Diary, excerpts Rova-Erastus

. . . so, I gave Glade the ointment. Hope he liked it. I’ve got him with us, he should go back to his dad. I’ll bet his dad really misses him . . .

. . . Oto didn’t seem mad at me. That would almost have been better. Now he just watches me, looking pained. I want to be happy for him, but I’m not happy and for once I don’t think I can fake it. Maybe I should just do what he wants, maybe that will make us both happy . . .

. . . school is still really boring. Why does Oto want me here? What does he think I can learn? . . .

. . . maybe I shouldn’t let everything Glade and Caitlynn taught me go to waste . . .

. . . Sorry, Oto, don’t think I’m going to be your good little girl much longer. I feel like I going to burst out of my skin some days . . .

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Kaleb's Korner
A Showdown!

We go up the stairs, and there’s a lot of clockwork machinery, but more importantly, there’s a demon flying around here! Koth let’s loose with a bolt of electricity, and Hope goes on the offensive. The creature retaliates by turning her to stone! It doesn’t seem like we’re very effective here. Marika tries to push it off the roof, but to no avail.

After some time, we are starting to wear the thing down, I think. Then it decides to float into the air and heal itself while we try in vain to hit it. Somehow, a silent hawk starts swooping in on it, slowly driving the snake lady back towards us. Stuck between us and the hawk, the snake lady tries to control the hawk, but Koth squawks something at her, and it sounds like she’s cursing. I am feeling pretty exhausted by now; I’m almost out of spells! I see Marika climbing onto the winged statue after Hope throws her oil flask on it. The Varisian woman spouts fire out of her hand, setting the snake lady aflame. We drive her down further, but we’re just not doing enough damage to her. Marika launches herself off the statue, fails, but grabs on to the creature. Amid our many attacks, the creature floats off to the side and casts suggestion on the Varisian woman, who lets go. She kicks off the winged snake lady thing, and launches herself towards the tower. She grabs onto the shingles of the roof and hauls herself up, as Koth casts burning claws on the creature, which is just enough for us to defeat her. Barely.

Afterwards, they argue with the bird (which is beyond me), and began stabbing the snake lady until they’re sure it’s dead. After we’re done, Hope goes to give Glade a good talking to, but does not get far before she discovers the truth- he’s dead. We all mourn his loss, bringing his remains to the temple of Pharasma. After processing, we retire to the inn we stay at, quietly divving up Glade’s belongings. On the list of people we found, the mayor’s name was on it, and we go to inform him of such. However, he was expecting us, and we are able to inform him of his position on the list, and we all get paid!

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Kaleb's Summary
Hellos and goodbyes

First thing in the morning, we all gather to investigate Justice Ironbriar’s office. His office is very generically furnished, with almost no indication that he was really here. His paperwork is here, but no personal affects. There are no leads here, but we’ll try to see if anyone in town ever saw Ironbriar go anywhere else. The best we come up with is that people seem to think that he hung out at the temple of Calistria. It’s a bust, though, so we go home.

I go back to the tavern and get some sleep, though in the morning we discover that Marika had a “suitor” over after hours. She takes a lot of ribbing for it, though, but I tell her that the only thing that she should have done differently was remember it. After all, a half-orc will do the same job a Varisian would have done, if not a bit more…enthusiastically.

We make our way across the Irespan (I think it’s called), and Hope once again leads us into combat. In the tower, we come across what looks to be a flesh golem. As luck would have it, we are able to beat the creature with sheer determination (as well as Glade cackling like a lunatic and enhancing his own curses). Thank Calistria no one was seriously hurt! Afterwards, we climb the stairs to the watchtower. Rather, when Hope points out how rickety the stairs are, they send me alone! Sighing to myself, I begin the long ascent…when a bell comes loose! I flatten myself against the wall as it plummets to the ground, making a ruckus when it hits. I don’t see anything else, though. I hope no one got hurt.

As we make our way up the stairs, I have Mr. Rabbit drop me on the other side as Hope passes us by. She announces that we’re about to be set upon by shapeshifters, just as Glade tries to make the leap. He slips and his face smashes into the steps, he tries to grab for the edge of the stairs, and I turn just in time to see him fall.

He falls about a hundred feet. I watch him die, screamless, soundless, save for the horrifying crunch in at the bottom of the tower, a gasp escaping his lungs simply on reflex.

But I can’t dwell on that now…we’re under attack!

I see one of these shapeshifters rolling down the stairs towards me. It regains its footing long enough to stab me in the shoulder, and I feel suddenly woozy, and know its next attack will finish me! In desperation I crawl through Mr. Rabbit’s legs, forcing my foe to attack the heavily armored thing. I am alive for a moment longer, which is more than I can say for poor, poor Glade. I see that the only one left is still accosting Hope, and I let fly another Magic Missile that slams into him. However, I it doesn’t hurt it, but Mr. Rabbit makes short work of it. It grabs her as it goes over the side, but it’s grip is shaky, and it plummets to its final resting place, even as Hope gets hauled up by Mr. Rabbit.

I breathe a sigh of relief.

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