Grand Duchy 28

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 28
August 13-25, 2014

The Keeper of the Circle

Lunadain 11th of Flaurmont

The Keeper

The strange Human stops about 15 feet away and throws his hands in the air, calling out in Traladaran, “I said, what are you doing in my storehouse!”

Griffin tosses the bundle of herbs he carried out of the cave behind a bush. He looks at Marcel with a shrug and a quirked eyebrow. You want to field this, or do you want me to?

Marcel lowers his spear and turns to the man.

“This is a storehouse? Well, this makes sense. I’m very sorry about this.”

Marcel motions the other to keep quiet while he appeases the man and figure out more about him.

“My name is Marcel, traveller who can’t resist exploring cracks in cliffs. For this, I apologize.”
Feigning a cough to avoid laughing at her companions’ shenanigans, Iris smiles at the strange and dirty stranger. “Is this really your storehouse? That’s so incredible! So, you must be very old then. Or you pass down as progeny from one of the caretakers of this religious site.” She stares right at the man and quirks an eyebrow, “What’s your name?”

Not yet joining in on the conversation, Draven takes a moment to pull his armor back on over his head and settle it into place. He listens in for the fellow’s replies, especially keen to see just how he manages to keep himself so clean, but also wondering a bit about the bones in the water off to the north.

The man stares at the companions then cocks his head to the side as if thinking, “I am the Keeper of the Circle,” he says matter of factly. “My name is, um,” he pauses for a moment and scratches his rough, bearded chin, “it is, well, oh yes, my name is Wyrtung. And what are your names, and what are you doing here?”

Marcel steps back into the foreground.

"We are the Grey Company, travelers stumbling here by accident. Our business is not with you, but we must admit that we are most curious about the circle and the reason why it requires a keeper. I hail from a Traladaran family, yet I have never heard of this wonder."

He invites the keeper to get seated on nearby stones and encourages him to talk.

While listening with half an ear, Draven crosses the ruins toward the stream that runs there to wash his hands and face, cleaning up from the dirt of his travels and from crawling through the fissure.

The strange man cautiously approaches the group while Draven excuses himself from the immediate area. “Everything needs a keeper. Your shield, his boots, her family, his gods, they all need keepers. I am this place’s keeper. That is what I am. Why have you come to this place, you say you have business elsewhere, but you are here.” He smiles an awkward smile then grimaces as his stomach audibly growls. “Ahh, excuse me.” He starts looking around on the ground near him. He pats the waistline of his ratty pants. He puts his finger to his mouth, a thoughtful look on his face. “Have you seen my pipe anywhere?” His stomach growls again. He holds his stomach and then looks over his shoulder to the eastern horizon. “The moon will be full tonight. I must bathe.” With that he stands and drops his pants and starts to walk toward the steps leading to the top of the mound.

From his place next to the bubbling brook, Draven is drawn from his washing by an astonished gasp from his companions. He turns around to see Wrytung striding toward him completely naked.

The moon would be full that night.
“So, Iris, still want to talk to the guy now? Maybe you should take your pants off?”, Marcel adds in a mock. He remembers the bucket with the pipe that he left on a rock atop the mound and heads for it.

“Full moon tonight hey? I guess this is what we’re here for. We are looking for Bailakask and Kalkask. Are they for real? Are they causing you trouble?”

He follows the keeper up the stairs to see where this bath will take them, and recover the bucket to give it back to him.

Griffin grins as his Traladaran friend interacts with the hermit. Yea, but when we get to town, it’s my turn. He keeps an eye on the hermit, but he’s really curious about the rest of the place. “Hey, um, Wyrtung? Okay, if we keep looking around while you… bathe? This is a really cool place.”

Bath Time

Marcel realizes that this Wyrtung is heading up to the top of the mound, possibly to get his bucket. The Marcel follows the naked man. Just at the base of the stairs, the Keeper of the Circle stops and turns abruptly, bringing his hand up, as if to make a point. Marcel, who had been following just a bit too closely, ends up more than face to face with the fully naked man. Wyrtung crosses his eyes slightly, then huffs a mouthful of hot, sour breath into Marcel’s face. Marcel blushes and quickly retreats out of arm’s length of the man and steps to the side. Wyrtung composes himself a bit and then says, “You speak of Bailakask. I know of her.” As he speaks, he subconsciously puts one hand on his left elbow, hugging himself. “She does not come here, nor does her vile spawn, Kalkask. But that is why I must be here, must be the Keeper. I keep this circle and this place, but I also keep them out! But stop pestering me, it is time for me to bathe. I must bathe, for I am hungry.” To punctuate this last statement, Marcel can hear the man’s flat stomach growl again. 

Wyrtung turns and continues up the steps. He seems to have no problem with the Company hanging around the Circle and Mound while he bathes. Marcel follows him to the to top of the mound where he finds his bucket and pipe. “Ahh, yes, that’s where I left it.” He smiles and, from some unfathomable place, he produces a flint and steel, huddles down and lights his pipe.

Iris grimaces and decides to excuse herself after the strange hermit decided to undress. She looks for Griffin and tries to find somewhere the two of them could discuss this place and possibly throw ideas to each other regarding its use and relevance. Her deep red face seems to contrast with her relatively calm attitude, but Iris thinks she manages to keep herself together despite the awkward circumstances.

Griffin chats with Iris about other areas to check out, excluding the storehouse and Wyrtung’s cave. “Maybe there is more to the pool with the bones, or the crack with the weird mist coming out of it. I have a few questions for the old man. Out of respect for your delicate sensibilities, perhaps you could check one of those other areas out while I chat with our bathing hermit.” Iris nods and wanders off, but not too far.

Griffin heads up to the stonepit where Wyrtung is bathing. “Um, excuse me, would it be alright if I asked a few questions? I was wondering what those herbs in your storehouse are. And who do you trade with? Do folks stop by here often? Has the field of tranquility inside the circle always been there, or does it come and go?”

Wrytung looks at Griffin with an odd look, “Sure,” he says while munching on something in between puffs on his pipe.

Marcel heads back down to the others.

“I think that the guys is busy. I think that he is nuts too, but maybe I’m reading too much into this.”, the others grin.

“He knows about the werewolves. There is a mother and a son. The circle keeps them away or something like this.”

Marcel stare to the West. “He is all yours, friends. I’m going to get the others now.”

And Marcel leaves along the cliff’s, keeping an eye on the ground in case that he makes interesting findings.

As Marcel leaves, Wyrtung keeps himself busy. He takes his bucket from the grass on the top of the mound and then climbs back down the stairs. At the base of the stairs. he turns and wades out into the shallow, bubbling pool. There he crouches down and fills the bucket with water, an uncomfortable sight for those keeping an eye on him. He heads back up to the top of the mound and then climbs down into the stone lined pit, disappearing from sight to those still on the ground below the mound.

Griffin talks with the strange man as he performs his bathing ritual. Wyrtung climbs down into the 6 foot deep pit then pulls his bucket down. He sets his pipe aside then starts taking handfuls of water out of the bucket and scrubbing himself vigorously.

He explains to Griffin that the herbs are cyldwort, or wolfsbane. He plants and harvests it here as a hobby. He tells Griffin that he is involved with no trade with any others and that he keeps to himself as much as he can, though it seems that many others seem to want to intrude on his solitude quite often. As for the Circle, he says that it has always been ‘hushed’ up there.

Griffin perks up when he hears the mention of ‘wolfsbane.’ “Wyrtung, how could we use that in our fight against Bailakask and Kalkask.” He hesitates, “Assuming you might be willing to part with some, of course.”

“Even a little could keep them from entering our camp, were they to approach while we were scouting out theirs, right? I’m trying to so what I can to protect our horses. I hear they will be a liability if we try to take them with us to the werewolves’ lair.”

“Well, its all mine. You can’t have it! Why would you want to go to the Wolves Lair? They will eat you, or worse yet, Bailakask will put her mark on you!” He holds up his left arm, turning it out to reveal a dark purple scar on his elbow.

Griffin takes a few steps back. “Wyrtung! Are you a werewolf, too?”

“No, of course not. Are you? Why would I have all this wolfsbane here if I were a werewolf? Not all bites from a Werewolf turn you, you know. But EVERY bite from Bailkask leaves a mark. She is something MORE than just a Werewolf, though I know not what it is.” He turns back to his washing, scrubbing his nether regions.

“Oh, wait, I think you missed a spot… Well, could we trade for some? What do you need so much for, anyway?”

“I have need of very little here, I am able to take care of myself. But if you are so inclined to go after the Wolves, I can give you some advice.” He pauses for a moment, then continues, “Don’t!”

He then bends over and starts laughing. “No, really, they are dangerous and I do my part to stay out of their way, they leave me alone, but Bailakask has some desire for this circle, which is why I protect it. I grow and harvest the cyldwort and keep it here in such supply that they cannot come. The other wolves, the normal wolves, are for some reason kept from this place as well, though if I venture too far afield, they find me quickly. If you are going there, you would be best served to leave your mounts here. I will watch them for you.”

Griffin smiles. “We would indeed appreciate that, Wyrtung. And I wish I could heed your wisdom, but we are charged by the Fairy King of Horses with this task, and beyond that he promises to help us find a friend kidnapped by Goblins. So we have little choice.”

“There is always a choice. Which is why I refuse to join the others in their “worships” on the mound. They have no idea what they are doing. I think they are under the sway of the Wolves. I think they want to set the evil spirits free. I cannot let them do it. I have not seen them in some time. Usually they would be here, on the day of the full moon. I thought you were them. I thought they were going to try to clear my storehouse. I could give you some wolfsbane if you like, to help you in your quest. Remember, though, when you kill that bitch, you MUST use silver. Or throw her in lava. That would work too.” He finishes his washing and dumps the remainder of the bucket over his head. “Can you give me a hand out, it’s getting harder and harder to get in and out of this thing.”

Griffin offers a hand and helps the old man out of the pit. “You could grab one of those bigger stones and toss it in there as a step to get out, couldn’t you? Or bathe in the pool down there. Why do you come up here instead?”

“No, no, no! The Pool of Gefeoht must remain pure. It is what gives it its power. It protects me from the Wolves!” He starts to shiver and shake as he says this. He calms and then goes on to explain the pool, “I was drawn to this place when I was very young. I am not of these parts, I am Heldanner, from far to the north. A vision sent me here. I traveled for almost a year, not really knowing where I was going. When I got here, many years ago, I found an old man living here. He greeted me invited me into the circle. By that evening he had died. I was sent here as his replacement. Sent to “keep” the Circle and Mound. Sent to keep the Embrenu Sætung safe. Those are the evil spirits trapped in the lava down below, you know.” He points over to the dark fissure in the side of the mound.

“I didn’t, but thanks for the heads-up. We’ll give that a wide berth.”

“Bailkask has been taken by one of the spirits I believe. One of those stupid people who came here several years ago, the ones that “worship” in my garden, he climbed into the fissure and upset one of the receptacles, releasing the spirit. That dark spirit found the darkest and most evil being to inhabit, Bailakask. You must kill her! I can help you. I know a way to approach her lair secretly and safely. I can give you wolfsbane to protect you. I will watch your horses. But don’t get bitten by her and she MUST be killed by silver. The killing blow has to be silver or we are all in danger. Or at least YOU are!

“We’ll gladly accept all the help you can spare, Wyrtung. I hear these Weres have been a plague on the area for a long time. It would be great if we could rid the area of them for good.”

After some time, Wyrtung comes climbing back out of the pit. He smiles and stretches his arms and legs out wide, giving everyone the opportunity to fully see him. This whole process takes nearly 30 minutes, and just as he is coming back down the stairs and putting his filthy pants back on, Marcel calls from the other side of the mound. He has found Remar, Ree, Burik and Akaios and brought them to this site.

Marcel leads the others to Griffin, Draven and Iris. He points out that the place would be somewhat safe tonight and fish for opinion on where to camp the others.

"The werewolves will be out hunting tonight", he stares. "I think that we know where we should be, but how about our friends? Our horses?"

“It might be that this is a safe place for them to be. It is a place of holiness, after a fashion, and perhaps will continue to serve in such a capacity even for more modern and worldly peoples than our naked host.”

For the rest of the afternoon, Wyrtung moves about the area doing his own thing, really paying no attention to the members of the Grey Company except to nod and smile at them as he passes. He happily converses when spoken to, but continues to act just a little odd, as if sometimes forgetting they are there or what he had spoken about previously.

He seems content to have the group there and even happy at times for the company despite his lack of social skills or understanding of others. Eventually, even the Elves show up at the site, though they seem uninterested in conversing with the strange Wyrtung.

Marcel kinds of like the keeper and show proper deference to his ways. Griffin fills him in on the his conversation with the keeper. It looks like we’ve found a haven for the mounts, and a friend in these parts. “I say that we split, build a camp and catch some z’s before nightfall. We then take the safe way to the lair and then we…”, he gives a sideways grin “improvise until they are both dead.”

“Something in me suggests that we should be making better use of this protective place. Are we worried at all about them worshippers that the keeper thought we were?”

Hesitating slightly, Iris sighs and agrees that Marcel’s logic is sound. It doesn’t help that both the strange man and this place were incredibly enrapturing. “I think staying here is definitely the best course of action. Something about this place calls to me.”

“Okay, that sounds good. Let’s find a quiet corner and set up camp.” He quickly makes some suggestions for watches and turns in.

A comfortable camp is made with good lines of sight throughout the area. As the camp is being finished the Elves do a bit more scouting of the wider area and report that they find frequent wolf tracks, of varying sizes, nearby, though none closer than about 500 yards or so. Something is keeping the wolves at bay.

Story Time
Wyrtung agrees to part with just one bundle of Wolfsbane per person, he says that it will hinder the Werewolves, but it is not a guaranteed deterrent. He also suggests to approach the lair along the old road leading away from the mound. He says that the road is “thrice blessed” and “one cannot meet enemies while walking upon it.” Wyrtung also tells stories from his youth, about the strong and severe Heldannic Knights, about his people, a rough and hardy mountain folk, he tells of his travels from this far northern land. Unbelievable tales of survival and luck. He often retells parts, giving different accounts each time, most of the events he describes are outlandish and very lethal, lending continual credence that the man has lost whatever weak grip he once held on reality.

Initially hoping to add to the greater knowledge of the church, Draven began writing in his hesitant left-handed scrawl of what the old fellow had to say. As the stories deviate and mutate along the way, he continues to make notes, but with occasional side references to indicate, for any future reader, just how outlandish it all seemed at the time.

He does occasionally prompt the old fellow into talking more about the faith of the old times that founded this sanctuary.

Draven is very curious to hear that when Wyrtung speaks of faith, some of it is familiar to him, though much is foreign. It appears that Vanya, the Girder on of Weapons, is the primary Patron of the Heldannic Knights, the rulers and protectors of his homeland. He tells of a time when he was very young, before he embarked upon his quest, that the “Knights from the South” arrived at his homeland. He says they moved in quickly with their weapons and warships. They battled the many wild hordes of evil humanoids and even some native Heldanner resistance. Within a year the Knights had placed themselves in charge. Wyrtung makes it seem like these Knights were actually a good thing for the Heldanner people. “They brought order where there was none. They made peace through war.” He also speaks of some other Immortals such as Odin, Thor and Frey, but reminds himself that these gods are now outlawed and the enemies of the Grey Lady. He nods to the nearby mound, “This circle is of Odin and his brood. Built long ago. Many before me have kept this place. The wind blows strange, I feel that maybe it is no longer time for this place.”

Draven files that snippet of supposition away for a later time. Places of great sanctity remain sacred even after the gods to which they were ascribed have forgotten about them. This might a place to serve as a foundation for the spread of the true faith in these lands.

While the hermit rambles, Griffin brings up “The Star of Sairalindë.” “Have you ever heard of it, Wyrtung? It’s supposed to be lost around these hills somewhere.”

“Star of Sairalindë, you say. Why yes, there is a full moon tonight. Good night to hunt wolves! Visiblity will be high.” Wyrtung states. He makes no further comment about the “Star” and completely ignores Griffin when asked again.

Also intrigued by the wealth of information this man held, Iris takes the time making an accounting of his stories and comparing them to what she had learned from her research back at home of the histories of this region. Briefly, Iris wondered if her guardian would take stock in the sort of man Draven appears to be. She knew Draven definitely reminded her of him.

As Iris writes down the stories of old Wyrtung, she reminds herself that many of these stories are from the hermits past, before he came to Karameikos. He talks of being a Heldanner, from the Heldann Freeholds far to the north, past the great Ylari desert, through the Dwarven mountains of Rockhome and across the vast plains of grass of the Great Khan of Ethengar.

Wyrtung comes from far in the north.
While they wait for sundown and the imminent battle against formidable foes, Griffin takes time to get to know the Elves that accompany them. He asks about Rifllian and what they might know of this strange place. At some point, he awkwardly asks about how they handle honoring their fallen comrades. He shares the story of Eranthil, killed at the Battle of Susikyn. “I think he said he was from Rifllian. Did you know him?”

The Elves confirm that they knew of Eranthil, more directly they knew his mother, who still lives in Rifllian. Seldanna is her name and she is one of the village weavers.

Marcel wakes up from a nap to find the lot in chatter as if it was a strawberry social. He does the rounds and polishes the silver on everyone’s weapon to make them smooth. “May they find targets tonight.” He prays to the best of his abilities as he buffs, trying to engrain a little bit of the gods in the silver with this vigorous meditation.

“Halav, in this silver, imbue the just cause.”, he intones for each weapon.

Seeing Marcel’s attention to the silver reminds Griffin of the mad hermit’s warning. “Marcel, for what it’s worth, you’re going to be taking point on this one. Wyrtung says that Bailakask, the werewolf queen, may be possessed by some evil spirit from this place. He says the killing blow must be from silver. Going in, let that be your mission, okay? We’ll help, but I’m thinking you’ll be the one facing her anyway.”

“Point taken”, he replies. He wonders whether he shouldn’t have stuffed a small blade in his belt in case it comes down to a skin-to-skin contact.

Dining with Wyrtung
The afternoon progresses quickly and finally the night falls. Wyrtung is invited to dine with the Company and he remains much quieter throughout this meal. As soon as it is done he leaps up, gathers his bucket and proceeds to repeat his bathing ritual as he did earlier in the day, all the while fretting about “too many meals” and “must cleanse and protect.”

When he is done, he looks around, seemingly startled by the Elves, who have been in the camp for several hows now. “Where did these Elves come from?” he asks, though does not wait for answers. He talks about them a bit, though never speaking directly to them, and ignoring the few attempts they make to talk to him. After a while, the Elves just start ignoring Wyrtung all together.

Eventually, the sun sets. Wyrtung gives each member of the Company a sprig of Wolfsbane, though he does not give any to the Elves. When asked about this, he says he does not have enough to spare, that even the small amount he is giving away is potentially catastrophic.

Again, he points out the ancient road leading to the east. “The road is thrice blessed, you will never meet an enemy upon those stones!”

“Okay, guys, let’s get rolling. The Fairy King of Horses said that the werewolves should be out hunting, so if we time this right we’ll get a chance to get in and clear out a few wolves before they get back. Then we can set up a decent ambush!” Griffin makes sure that he has the traps he prepared at Susikyn in his pack. “We’ll be on foot, so let’s keep it quiet. The goal is us surprising them.” He looks at Thallan. “Perhaps one or two of your troop could take point?”

He turns back to his comrades. Now, we may not have a lot of time once we get there.  Are there any questions you need answered now?”

Thallan the Elf nods, “We will scout ahead, secure the perimeter and watch behind as well.” He goes on to explain a series of whistles that sound like bird calls that the Elves will use to alert the Grey Company of anything they find.

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe and currently in NPC mode. 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


Wandered Roads 34

Wandered Roads of Varisia
Session 34
August 23, 2014

Campaign Timeline

Into the Swamp

Fireday, 28th of Lamashan
After dealing with the Derro under the city as best they could, the Heroes of Sandpoint returned to the surface and made their way back to the city. They immediately tried to make contact with the Pathfinder Lodge, but Shelia was unavailable. Making the best of the situation, they quickly got down to sorting, identifying and selling the loot they had gathered. While this was going, Daellin wandered off with a good portion of his share of the loot and went on a shopping spree, buying himself a very expensive and well tailored outfit, complete with copious amounts of jewelry bordering on gaudy. He spent some time getting a manicure and having his hair styled as well.

Starday, 29th of Lamashan
The next day, the group met with Shelia at the Pathfinder Lodge. She was excited to hear that they had in fact, recovered the Shard of Greed. She raised an eyebrow at Daellin and called him out as the carrier of the Shard. He produced the shard and she explained what she had learned about the each of the Shards, presenting them with her notes on the subject.
Shelia's notes on the Shards.

She then produced an Ioun Stone, a pale blue rhomboid, and touched it to the Shard. The two items fused together, leaving a small bump on the Shard in the place where the indention had once been. Daellin immediately felt a little more like himself, though he still liked his new outfit and jewelry.

Shelia suggested activating the Shard to see where it pointed toward the next one, so Daellin grasped the metal fragment and concentrated on the location. He got a vision of a swamp, then a coastline, then a tall stone statue of a beautiful woman holding up a glowing scepter. This monument was unfamiliar to most of the companions, but it was not unfamiliar to Shelia. She named it the Lady's Light, an ancient Thassalonian monument a bit to the south and west of Magnimar. It was once controlled by Sorshen, the Runelord of Lust and it made perfect sense that the Shard of Lust resided in one of her monuments.

Shelia gave some basic info on the Lady's Light, that it was believed to be just a statue, that it sat on a point of land far into the Mushfens and that its coastline was very difficult to approach due to dangerous reefs and shoals. She also added that the swamps were dangerous and full of many nasty creatures. She offered to find passage on a ship going that way that could drop them off on the coast nearby and also told them she could send along another Pathfinder that knew his way around a swamp. The group thought this was a good idea and agreed to meet back at the manor the following day.

Sunday 30th of Lamashan
The group met back at the Pathfinder Lodge and were introduced to Vosk, a Half-Orc Pathfinder. He
Vosk, Half Orc Pathfnider
seemed friendly enough and appeared to hold himself well, though he spoke a bit roughly at times and seemed uninterested in dealing with any heavy work. Sheila informed them that she had contacted a ship that was leaving the following morning that had agreed to drop them off. They would have to walk the 4 or 5 days back after their adventure was done though. Vosk suggested going to talk to a crazy old man he knew that might know something useful about that area of the Mushfens.

Following Vosk, the group found this contact, a crazy street preacher named Jasper. He was preaching about the end of the world and how everyone he saw was the chosen one of Groetus and that the end of the world was coming. He behaved erratically and tried to flee, but eventually Vosk got some useful information out of him. He said to find Maroux, the Half Orc witch that lived in the area, and tell her that Jasper sent them.

Moonday 1st of Neth
The next morning, the group of companions left Magnimar. They had gained a new ally, Vosk, and left an old one behind. Leela had been tasked by the Pathfinders to return with another crew and create more accurate maps of the structures beneath the Crow Irespan piling. The captain dropped the group off several miles north of the Lady's Light, at the furthest south landing place available. He had his crew row them out to the shore then bid them farewell and good luck. Calina enjoyed reuniting with Paka, her Firepelt cougar companion. Paka had gotten a sense of where Calina was headed and then ran along through the swamps and along the shoreline, following the ship.

The swamps were treacherous and wet, and in no time, Daellin had soiled his new vestments. He talked with Kallin about using his magic to help keep his clothing clean while traveling through the swamp. After some time, the travelers spotted some small islands, one of which had a path and bridge leading to a small shack. It was the dwelling of Maroux. She was quite distrustful and adamant about everyone leaving her alone, then Jasper's name was mentioned and she changed her tone a bit. She demanded that the group retrieve some special seaweed from the far side of the neighboring island before she would consider talking to them. Eager to get on her good side, the group agreed, though they would have to do it the next day, as it was getting late. Maroux agreed to let the group sleep on her island as long as they didn't bother her.

Toilday 2nd of Neth
The next morning the group headed out to find the seaweed. The task seemed simple enough, she gave them buckets and told them right where to find what they were looking for. As they gathered the aquatic plant, a curious shipwreck just off the shore caught many an eye. Upon closer inspection, it was found that the waterlogged shell of a ship was full of pirate skeletons. They tried to grab Daellin when he flew out to investigate, but they did not pursue him back to the shore. The party decided they could not leave these undead abominations around so they approached the boat and dealt with the skeletons. Some small amount of loot was recovered, including a magical cutlass, a water filled map or scroll case and a small corroded copper ring that Vosk took for himself and shoved it on his little
New jewelry for Vosk.

When the party returned to Maroux's island with the seaweed, they found that some of their companions had headed back earlier with their bucket of seaweed. Maroux's general attitude had changed significantly. She was now almost pleasant and quite willing to share information on the area. Over a horrible tasting dinner, she told them what she knew of the Lady's Light (which was not much) and of the nearby warring swamp tribes (one Lizardfolk and the other the frog-like Boggards), and more importantly, she told them of some other recent visitors to the swamp. A group of plate clad, lady knights from Korsova, led by a woman by the name of Oriana, had come to the Mushfens in search of the Runelords forgotten treasures to help rebuild their order, that of the formerly deposed Queen of Korsova. The final bit of information Maroux passed on was her thoughts on how to actually ENTER the Lady's Light. She was aware of a network of tunnels beneath this part of the swamp that led to an underground entrance of the monument. She explained that Oriana had recently returned to her hut with an offer of joining her troop, the Grey Maidens. She told Maroux how she had led her knights through the tunnels and into the monument and discovered that Runelord Sorshen was still alive and well and running the place. Maroux said she kindly turned down the offer, which didn't please Oriana at all.

Armed with this information, the group decides that their best bet is to try to enter the tunnels through a nearby cave not controlled by either the Lizardfolk or the Boggards, but was potentially the home of "something big and nasty" according to Maroux.

Wealday, 3rd of Neth
At first light, the group set out to the swamp, skirting an inland lake on their way to the cavern. On their way, they came across a recent battlefield littered with the bodies (but NOT the heads) of several dozen Lizardfolk warriors. While examining the battlefield, some signs were found of modern forged weapons, supporting Maroux's claim that Oriana and the Grey Maidens had joined forces with the
Teng-Quet of the World Pond
Boggards. Kallin noticed the spirit of a Lizardfolk crouched over one of the decapitated bodies. He approached it and spoke though the spirit did not speak any language Kallin understood. Daellin used his magic to give Kallin the ability to understand the spirits language. Kallin learned from the spirit, Teng Quet of the World Pond, that the Lizardfolk had been slaughtered while on a hunting party by the Boggards with help from the weapons they had gotten from the Grey Maidens. Kallin asked Teng Quet what he knew about the nearby cave and he was happy to tell. He called it the Cavern of Many Mouths and said that the party should go there and be met by Gegganallag and that they would be assisted in their quest. Kallin thanked Teng Quet and said a prayer to Pharasma and performed a ritual that allowed the spirit to move beyond to the Boneyard.

The party then moved on, crossed a small stream and moved up into a rocky area before finding the cave. They approached the large cavern mouth slowly and stealthily with Vosk and Daellin in the lead. They reached the mouth of the cavern and spotted some scattered coins in the rocky dirt near the entrance as well as scattered bones of differing sized creatures. They also found a silver necklace stuck in the mud near a foot long crystal wand. Pocketing the treasure, the two moved up into the cave quietly. The others followed behind. The cave led in and then up and to the right, requiring the two scouts to climb up some before the cave leveled off again. At the top of the climb, they saw the resident of the Cavern of Many Mouths, a large, writhing form of scales, teeth and claws - a hydra!

Before they could decide what to do, the draconic beast leaped to its feet and roared. Daellin and Vosk turned and jumped back down the shaft, running for the cavern mouth. The hydra pursued and once down below, it let loose with a mouthful of flaming death. The two scouts dove for cover though Daellin was caught by the fire and knocked to the ground. The rest of the group moved up and into position while Vosk took to the shadows, hoping to maneuver for a good sneak attack.

Immediately, Daellin activated the haste powers of his newly acquired Shard and propelled himself into the nearby bog, putting the fire out. The rest of the group moved in to battle the 5 snake-headed dragon, led by Ehlyna. Samad and Paka moved around the outside edge of the cavern while Calina moved into position and began sending arrows toward one of the many eyes the creature posessed. Kallin fell into a support position and Vexeron began casting a large fireball. The beast breathed again, sending Kallin and Vexeron diving for cover. In the chaos, Vexeron dropped his fireball, sending up an even bigger ball of flame than the hydra had, and nearly burning himself to a crisp. The wizard then lost consciousness due to his fiery wounds.
Gegganallag of the Cavern of Many Mouths

The battle raged on for some time while Kallin tried extinguishing his companion and eventually, the hydra, cut and bruised quite severely, charged for the bog, dove in and did not resurface anywhere within sight.

Vexeron was quickly stabilized and the group determined that they would take the hydra's cave as their camp for now, assuming that badly beaten hydra would not come back and that its reputation in the swamp would keep most other nuisances from approaching.

Session Photos - The Hydra Fight!

The hydra attacks... so does Ehlyna!
Diving out of the way of the flames!

Paka leaps onto the hydra's back!
Surrounding the 5-headed hydra isn't easy!

Session Notes

We were missing quite a few regular players but had a new face at the table as well. My good friend Jim finally gave in to my incessant badgering about joining the GURPS game and let me come help him make a character the night before and then joined us for some gaming. I grew up gaming with Jim and it was great to have him back at the table. Ben, Jim and myself had rolled many countless dice together in our youth!

Please forgive the very un-hydra-ish mini being used in the above photos. Unfortunately I accidentally left my hydra mini at home and we had to use one of Dan's dragons as a stand in. Oops!

Characters Present:

Kallin Hawkril, Half-Orc shaman and budding Priest of Pharasma - played by +Daniel Ernst
Calina - Varisian Human archer and scout - played by +Carol Coburn
Daellin Silvanthalas, Elven Farstrider Ranger - played by +Ben Lipe
Vexeron, Human wizard - played by +Greg Grady
Ehlyna Fuzziface - Dwarven Warrior - played by +Jodi H
Samad Aldhul, Human ex-mercenary - played by +JeCorey Holder
Vosk, Half-Orc Pathfinder who gets the job done, no matter what - played by +james schaffner 
and +Jason Woollard as the DM


Grand Duchy 27

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 27
August 12, 2014

An Ancient Mystery

Soladian 10th of Flaurmont

A Perfect Day for a Journey

What beautiful weather were having!
The weather was absolutely perfect as the Grey Company and their new Elf companions set out from Susikyn. The plan was to follow the path to Hokol, then the Cherkass, then north along the trail and across the grasslands to the edge of the hills, hoping to approach the Werewolf lair from the west, which was suggested by the Fairy King of Horses. The journey was perfect and the Company made it all the way to the hills before night fall and were able to secure a perfect camping site. It was estimated that it would take half of a day to reach the werewolves area so the next day would be spent carefully approaching, looking for a suitable site to camp and hide the horses and hopefully scouting the lair to get a better strategy for attacking the beasts.

Lunadain 11th of Flaurmont

The next day was nice, the sky was clear, there was a breeze, but as the sun rose, the temperature continued to rise and even before camp was broken, people were sweating. It was hotter than it had been all year. The plan was for the group to spread out a bit, watching for signs of wolves and hoping to find the best approach. The Elves took to the hills, ranging through the more difficult terrain. Akaios, Burik, Ree and Remar kept more to the south, moving across the grasslands and Draven, Marcel, Iris and Griffin focused their route on the area where the hills meet the plains. They moved slowly, foraging and hunting as they went, often checking in with each other. The morning produced no results, but just before noon, Griffin spied something up ahead worth checking out.

The Mysterious Mound

A large mound, clearly purposefully constructed, rested near the base of a tall escarpment the group had been following for some time. The mound was about 30 feet high and topped with what looked like a ring of standing stones. Iris became immediately excited by this find and exclaimed that it was no doubt an ancient Traldar religious site. The sounds of rushing water could be heard somewhere nearby and a faint wisps of dark smoke, steam and vapors could be seen coming from the far side of the mound. 

Griffin immediately moved up and started climbing the nearby rocky cliff face, hoping to get a better view of the area from the top of the high rocks. Draven, Marcel and Iris went up the wide ramp leading to the top of the mound to get a better look. Marcel spied some sort of pit or pool on the far side and walked around the standing stones to investigate. Iris began carefully inspecting the surface of the stones themselves, looking for more specific clues as to the function, date or construction of the site. Draven wanted to examine the source of the misty vapors, which seemed to be coming from a dark rift on the other side of the mound. He crossed through the center of the circle of stones. 

A very interesting site is discovered.
Upon stepping into the middle of the ring, he immediately felt a change. Everything around him felt suddenly calmer. No, that wasn't it. Everything had become quieter; silent in fact. He turned and could see Iris but could not hear her. He could not hear the nearby sound of water, could not hear the birds, could not hear the wind. He spoke a prayer out-loud and found that he could hear himself, but it sounded as if he were talking through a blanket, muffled and quiet. 

He stepped back out of the circle and described what had happened to Iris. Intrigued, she joined him in the circle and experienced the same thing. They found that they could converse with each other, but their voices sounded small and distant, even though they were standing next to each other. 

This confirmed to Iris that this was some sort of ancient holy site of the Traldar, the ancient people of this land that the Traladarans were descended from. She continued to examine the stones and ring and estimated that the construction was from the Traldar Golden Age, possibly 2000 years old, maybe even before the time of the the great King Halav.

From atop the high cliff, Griffin had a good view of the area. He could now see the source of the water sounds: a waterfall of several flows of water were rushing out of cracks in the nearby cliff wall, hidden by an outcropping and the mound itself. A small stream could be seen winding around past the far side of the mound. He got a better look at the fissure on the far side of the mound where the dark mists were coming from. Past the mound, he could see what looked like the ruins of some ancient buildings and the remnants of a road that stretched to the east along the base of the escarpment.

Marcel found the pit to be shallow, only about 6 or so feet deep. The sides were lined with close fitting stones and the bottom appeared to be dry, cracked earth, though very smooth. He decided to hop down into it to check it out more closely and in the process discovered a bucket hidden in some tall grass nearby. Inside the bucket was a clay pipe with some relatively recent pipe-weed in it. Intrigued, he immediately begins searching the area and finds some fairly recent tracks of what appears to be bare human feet. The tracks are centered between the pit and the remains of a stone path leading to some stairs that go down this side of the mound. 
The bottom of the pit.

After scouting the area as good as he can, Griffin decides to climb back down to join his friends in their investigation of this strange place. He nearly falls from about 20 feet up but luckily manages to catch himself before doing so.

Iris spends some time searching the near side of the mound area for tracks, but only manages to waste a bunch of time following her own footprints around. Meanwhile, Draven checks out the dark fissure that is releasing the dark gasses. As he approaches, he hears occasional sizzling and feels the temperature rise even more. Being right next to the fissure is nearly unbearable due to the heat and noxious stench of the gasses escaping from it. Though he cannot see directly down into it, he senses a red glow, like that of molten lava or very high heat. Immediately Draven proclaims this to be the "entrance to the very depths of hell!" He climbs down the cliff-side to try to get a closer view and is distracted by a curious pool of water formed by the small stream that circles the mound. It pools down below, near where the dark fissure starts in the side of the mound and he assumes that some water is getting in there from the sizzling and occasional cloud of steam that comes out of the fissure. The pool is interesting though, as it is crystal clear, revealing the smooth, flat stone bottom and many tiny bubbles floating to the surface. A misty vapor swirls across the top of this pool and distracts him with nearly hypnotic patterns. At the far end of the pool, the water escapes over several short drops and then continues on as a narrow stream, snaking away into the grasslands.

Griffin moves around the mound and checks out the waterfall, hoping to find some sort of hidden cave or fissure behind it. Unfortunately he only finds the waterfall and a narrow splash pool below. Going for a better look, he steps through the pool and realizes that what he thought were rocks and gravel at the bottom are in fact piles of old, nearly decomposed bones. Quite a few bones. From a quick look, they appear to be Human or at least something close and there appears to be several sets of bones. He quickly retreats and to share his findings with the others.

Iris then joins Marcel and they both descend the stairs and examine the remains of the building foundation that was spied from the top of the mound. It looks to have been a fairly large building, though not much remains to give any more immediate clues. Iris is sure that with enough time and the proper tools, she could uncover much more about this building and site. Marcel notes quite a bit of a similar growing plant around the inside and outside edges of the foundation, and in one corner, he sees a small pile of carefully cut and stacked parts of these plants, as if someone had been gardening, in fact, they are still quite green, implying that they had been cut recently.
freshly cut

As Griffin and Draven join their companions on the far side of the mound, a small cave opening is notices in the cliff wall nearby. It had not been visible earlier due to an outcropping of rock and the angle of vision. Everyone moved to check it out closer. The cave opening is quite narrow and only about 5 feet high. Curious to see where it goes, Griffin leads the way in. He easily squeezes himself in, though Draven and Marcel both get stuck, their chain armor catching and making it nearly impossible to squeeze in. As they back out, Iris slinks in, following Griffin. Draven quickly sheds his armor and removes his shield and pack, following the others in.

Though it is quite dark inside though Draven holds his glowing holy symbol up, shedding some light on the subject. The floor is smooth dirt, well worn and the walls of this narrow passage are lined with hundreds upon hundreds of bundles of what appear to be the same plant that was growing outside. The ones at the front of the tunnel are a little fresher while the ones farther back are much drier. The tunnel leads in about 25 feet then stops. 

Nice hair!
Outside, Marcel finally decides to remove his armor and follow his friends. He makes it just barely into the passage when they come pushing back out. Perturbed, he backs out, allowing them to exit the cave. As they tell him what they found, a voice calls out from behind them, "Hey, what are you doing in my storehouse!"

A little further down the cliff face, a Human rises up out of some bushes. He initially appears to be naked but quickly it is revealed that he is wearing dirty ratty pants. The man is barefoot and surprisingly clean. His dark hair is long and unkempt, but plastered back on his head by some unknown substance. He marches toward the group, shaking his head and mumbling something to himself. Eager to make a new friend, Marcel walks toward him.

Continued on GDA28 - The Keeper of the Circle

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe and currently in NPC mode. 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM