Crystal Assembly

Cook'n the Bacon

Picking up where we left off, found the Brotherhood under attack during the middle of the night while traveling through the northern wilds in search of Stormcrow Tor, and those of the same name who once were known to live there. The group had expected trouble during the night, and when the attack came both Garth and F’Lar had alerted the others. While dazed with sleep still in their eyes, all could at least defend themselves in the initial onset.

The attack materialized quickly as two orcish berserkers charged into camp atop Dire Boars, while three other orc warriors stuck from the outskirts of camp. F’Lars ability to teleport away from an attacker put him into a flank the flanker’s position, and Silvio’s tree napping habit added to the battlefield awareness gained from an elevated position, which was further aided when Solath’s magic illuminated up the battlefield. Garth was quickly in need of Kuruk’s first spells as a Dire Boar and one of the warriors first targeted him. Only Solath’s Eladrin luck saved his ass from the charge of the other boar, and he shortly teleport far out of its reach. Uthrag and Arjhan moved to intercept this beast, while kuruk intercepted the other while healing the prone Garth.

Once the battle lines were drawn, and Solath’s magic was in play, partnered with the ranged devastation of Silvio’s arrows, and F’Lar’s hit and run tactics, it was only time before the orcish brutes were undone. Although the battle was determined from the outset, the orcs still had the endurance to make a fight out of it. Within this melee there were a couple of moments where the Brotherhood’s actions were to make the highlight reel. The first one came when Uthrag’s quick combat thinking positioned one of the boar beasts onto the hot embers of the campfire, and the other came as Silvio ended the hunt and dropped that boar into the fire, where he had already began to cook.

With the fight at an end the group quickly healed up and got an early jump on travel, looking to set some distance between them and the other orcs when they found a patrol was missing. Though as the traveled it became apparent that the orcs where still watching. However as afternoon waned on, the group found that they had outdistanced the orcs, or had been allowed to get away, and had located that which they sought.

A weathered pile of stones and packed earth protrudes from the ground like a giant’s rampart. The battered shell of a ruined tower leans from the tor’s apex. The tower is roofless and hollow. Stormcrow Tor was as the Windrider elders had described. Nature checks told that the ruins had been as such for years and it looked uninhabited from all impressions. A partially covered wooden trapdoor was found within the hollow shell, protecting an ancient stone circular stairwell that plunged down into the tor’s heart.

At the base of the stairs, a 20-foot-wide hall leads east. Dirt and black feathers are strewn everywhere. At the far end a barricade of tumbled stone stands before splintered and broken iron double doors. As the Brotherhood began to progress down the hall, two hooded heads poke over the barricade, watching the approach. At this point Arjhan stepped forward holding up his hands in a non-threatening motion, and spoke the words of parlay. As one of the hooded figures ducked between the doors at the end of the hall the other yelled in a high pitched voice for everyone to hold, and await the one in charge.

Within a few moments, where the group heard shuffling and other voices from the inner chamber, a majestic robed man-bird creature enters and hovers just above the barricade to address the group. Flanking him are two other more warrior looking bird-men with spiked chains as weapons. He refers to himself as TrueTalon, and asks why man-creatures have invaded his nest.

At this point Arjhan does his best to use diplomacy and inform TrueTalon of the parties’ intention to only pass through the nest of the great TrueTalon in search of the history of other man-creatures that use to live in the area of TrueTalon’s nest. With some negotiation, Arjhan agrees to clean out a troublesome area of TrueTalon’s nest for him, where several of his warriors were killed by plant-creatures.

TrueTalon then shows the group to the stairwell descending into what appears to be an old root cellar, and as the group enters the darkness both Silvio and Uthrag spread the word to watch for a double-cross, as the race of creatures that they are dealing with are known for not being the most honorable

Biggest Part of a Gnome...

The night began with several days passing after you returned to the guild, allowing you time to rest, recover, and take care of personal items.

Then after about a week you are summoned before Crystal. She starts by saying, “I hope you all have recovered well from your last outing, and have had time to get some needed rest. A friend of mine has a personal request that best fits the abilities of the Crystal Brotherhood. She would like you to seek out the group known as the Stormcrow Company. If they are still alive please deliver this to them.” As she says this in a dry and emotionless tone, she hands your group a sealed scroll case.

“If their lives have been ended, then please bring word of their demise, and try to find what out what happened to them. I feel that they have come to end, as no one has heard from them in years, and by all accounts this is a good thing, but she still wishes to know.”

After a while of questioning Crystal and some additional research what you learn of this group follows:

Illugi Swordbreaker, the Emerald Warlock, and Agera of the Shadow Face led a mercenary trio called the Stormcrow Company. Each had a storied adventuring background before they joined their strengths, but those stories are as nothing compared to the tales of the exploits of Stormcrow Company. The mercenaries made their base in old tunnels they found beneath a rocky tor in the wilderness.

Though Stormcrow Company was credited with cleaning the goblin tribes out of nearby hills and killing the lich who threatened the valley from its dark tower, the adventurers also accepted contracts to assassinate nobles in a neighboring city-state, kidnapped an Elven princess in return for a ransom of questionable relics (Silvio recalls this well, as the princess was a distant relation), and even burned down an entire village on a lark while passing through (Garth and Arjhan know of this, as it was a neighboring village to theirs). In the end, the Stormcrows were feared more than revered.

Ten full years have passed since any member of Stormcrow Company has been seen, and that sighting (of Illugi Swordbreaker taking ship in an eastern port) is probably only rumor. Each year that passes with no news from Stormcrow Tor is a year that nearby keeps and walled villages give thanks. Anyone with an opinion on the topic now believes Stormcrow Company took on a challenge it was unequal to and came to a bad end in some far off land or echo dimension.

By all accounts Stormcrow tor lies north of Uthrag’s home village. You all are sure that you can get direction from the elders there. Additionally Crystal warns that if you find the group is alive, then care should be taken in dealing with them as their morals are not seen as scrupulous.

The following morning after buying supplies for the journey, the Brotherhood departed the guild bound for the Village of the Windrider Tribe, where Uthrag took the lead to deal with his past tribesmen. However, when the warrior Jarlok challenged that Uthrag only returned to the village because he needed something in front of Chief Nytok “The Raven”, the diplomatic abilities of Arjhan were needed to smooth out the accusation of these selfish goals. Even F’Lar, who slipped under the reach of Arjhan, threw in his two cents (without bitch slapping anyone). In the end, the Chief asked that the Brotherhood join him in his tent to hear of a prophecy that Fareth “the Wise” had spoken of, which also spoke to Uthrag’s appearance back in the village.

In this meeting the chief spoke of the evil spirit of “White Feather” which had been harassing the Village during the fall, and that it had claimed the lives of several warriors. The earthbound spirit in the form a large Owlbear made it’s lair in a nearby cave. The Chief said that if Uthrag and his new “tribe” could bring back proof of dealing with White Feather (one of the Owlbear’s claws), then he would have no problem in giving away the knowledge that the Brotherhood now sought.

As Uthrag knew of the location of this cave the trip to it was a short one. As the Solath, Silvio and F’Lar noted the presence of something large traveling the game trails near the cave it’s existence was confirmed when a loud screech and the sound of heavy charging feet made all of the Brotherhood jump.

Within seconds the Brotherhood saw a large feathered ursinae through the limbs of the trees coming at them. Garth was the first to charge, with Uthrag, and Kuruk following right behind. When Silvio yelled out to all that there appeared to be a strange misty quality to White Feather, everyone added an additional layer of caution as the battled against the large beast. One of the two memorable moments of combat came when Uthrag was hit by both of the beasts claw attacks and grabbed, but manage to break free before the thing was able to unleash a devastating beak attack. The other moment that had the brotherhood worried was when the creature stunned both Uthrag and F’Lar with a powerful screech. However other than that, the battle was long but never really seemed more than the group could handle. When the final strike brought it down, the earthbound body of White Feather evaporated into the mist, leaving only seven large white feathers, and an oversized claw.

The triumphant brotherhood returned directly to the Village of the Windriders where they were rewarded with the knowledge they sought and ended the evening with feasting and drinking.

When the Brotherhood set out the next morning heading north, they did so with the knowledge of the location of the tor that they were looking for. They also went with the knowledge that the northern orc tribes were very active right now, and that they should be very mindful of this activity. It was not long into the travels north, that the group saw the signs of orcs. The night watch that evening was set with the full expectations of trouble, and when on the second watch Garth and F’Lar yelled, “To arms, We are under attack!!!”, no one was all that surprised.

Mute Works Well...

Well the group opened the night surveying the main bandit camp from the fringes of the woods and hidden by the undergrowth. They soon came to the realization that they were going to get the first strike, as even though the camp had been warned the initial mobilization was to get the non-combatants out of the camp. The initial move was to have F’Lar use a reed, a bullfrog on his head, and the sounds of a large bird crying in the skies above to move through the stream to get the drop on one of the guards near the camp, Silvio would drop arrows in to those along the left ledge, with Solath clearing the right ledge. This would leave the central strike force to take the center of the camp being led by Garth and Uthrag, and backed by Arjhan and Kuruk.

The attack plan worked well, as although the numbers in the camp favored the bandits by four to one, the duration of the battle was short lived as the route was on as soon as the two barbarian leaders fell in the center of the camp to arrows coming in from the left ledge, and a very supportive Arjhan. Even with the impressive moments from each member of the Crystal Brotherhood of Nonhuman Adventurers, the night was definitely owned by the red hot Silvio, who racked up an impressive four critical hits with his bow.

The group cleaned up the camp proper, and found that the non-combatants had collapsed the walls behind them as they made the retreat away deeper into the hills, and only the larger caves toward the rear of the camp remained un-searched. The bandit elite were surely lying in wait within. F’Lar once again took to the water to get a better look at the cave complex within. This move turned out to be a good one, as he was able to find that the Dwarf spy from Edgecomb was waiting within and preparing to gain the surprise on any entering the other way. When F’Lar reentered to deal with Sammy, he took Silvio as back up. Within two rounds Sammy was down, and as the others charged in, the surprise that the bandit elite had planned on was turned on them with the leader down snoring on the battlefield and those around him slowed, as Solath’s magic again paid off. By the time the leader awoke his support had evaporated, and the battle was all but over. Camp cleanup involve the collection of treasure and the skinning of proof by taking tattoos.

Final count of bandit dead: Bandits 44 (tattoo proof), Dire Rats 4 (tail Proof)

The group latter returned to gather-up the dwarves, who had not left the farm. The group felt compelled to take the dwarves all the way to Konsor’s home before releasing the contract with his payment. So ends the night and the hold over the area by the Bandit warlord and rat-followers of the Lurker of the Wastes. Konsor and Kavalar Coppernight would later return to Edgecomb to revive town and begin work on their dwarven historical study of the area. and The Crystal Brotherhood of Nonhuman Adventurers return to the guild for recovery and reassignment.

Bearskin Condom – Not for its pleasure?

The recovery from the ambush continues, and the group considers various options. They can either trail the fleeing bandits now, or they would lose about a day and any bonus given from fresh tracks by taking the dwarves to the main trade route before returning. After Arjhan explains this in an argument that sells swift action to prevent a prolonged siege, Konsor agrees to wait out the tracking of the bandits. As Solath, F’lar, and Silvio start marking the tracks of the fleeing three bandits, the remainder of the group and the dwarves help to reinforce the burned out farmhouse to somewhat shelter the dwarves while the group tracks the fleeing bandits. The three mark the beginnings of the tracks up until they stumble across the remains of the injured bandit, whose battle wounds would have made the trail way too easy to follow. The badly injured bandit was left with his throat slit by the other two. The three party members decided to return to the farmhouse to gather the remainder of the party before picking up the trail from here.

Before the group pulls out, Garth thinks to leave a couple of the party’s potions with the dwarves to help them out. Konsor agrees to hold up at the farmhouse as long as possible, and not go back to town unless they absolutely need to. The impression of being chased back into town may be a moral buster for the besieged townsfolk, and Konsor does not know how much reach the spy in town has.

Picking up the tracks at the corpse proved easy for the group, and they moved along making good time picking their way through the woods very intelligently. They seemed to head off every trick the bandit pair threw at them as they fled. False tracks, misdirection, and concealed activity were all seen for what they were, as the group made up time and ground during the hunt. When the group made camp for the night, they slept with the knowledge that they were close. The tracks they now followed had been running parallel to a stream for the past mile or two, and the bandits now moved back and forth across the stream in a regular pattern.

The morning found the bandits were now moving in the stream across barely submerged rocks, but continuing toward the hills. As the stream angled toward a small wooded canyon the bandit trail now exited the stream and entered the canyon. The stream too disappears into the narrow canyon covered by trees and brush. Two natural rock formations on either side look like towers guarding the entrance, and the walls of either side appear sheer. A tree stump stands alone in the middle before the wooded entrance.

A rustle from the bush ahead, a flash of movement from the right tower, and the glisten of dew gathered on trip wires strung around the tree stump, alerted the party that all was not peaceful in the entrance to the canyon. When Garth and Uthrag sprung into action charging those in the brush, the signal was given that combat had begun.

With Garth and Uthrag engaging the bandits hidden in the brush, F’lar and Solath moved to take on the bandit in the right tower, and when a flare went up into the air from the left tower alerting everyone to the presence of another opponent, Kuruk moved to engage him.

The group was then surprised by movement out of the brush by a pair of large dire rats which move to intercept Uthrag, and moved through the trip wire area to engage Arjhan, while activating the automatic crossbow disguised as a tree stump. When Kuruk was hit solidly by one of these missiles, he made a move to help reduce this threat. Charging the stump he endangered himself, to toss his rug over the stump with the hopes of blinding its targeting ability. For this he was rewarded with a close range solid hit that drop him into unconsciousness.

Arjhan quickly had Kuruk up again using his limited healing powers, and with that we shortly saw Kuruk riding his rug atop the now blinded automated gunning apparatus. Outside of Kuruk’s ideal antics, it was amusing to see F’lar flailing around at the base of the rock tower for a complete round as he used his masterful rogue talents to go nowhere up the stone wall. Silvio, who was watching a beautiful butterfly take flight in the early morning sunlight, spent the early moments of combat totally entranced with the beauty of nature.

The highlights also had Solath’s magic removing the bandit occupying the right tower by sliding him off the ledge, which then actually helped F’Lar to get at the now grounded bandit. After Silvio made it into action his arrows helped to improve all the individual combats as he spread arrows around, helping to reduce the overall time needed to get through the guard post. However, when the group finished off the automatic crossbow stump, the damn thing exploded, which again dropped the heroic dwarf, and injured Arjhan who had approached to bring his axe to bear on the stump as well.

The end of the combat had everyone healing wounds on themselves, and the downed dwarf, and once first-aid had been administered they continued through the brush toward the rising sound of what now must be the warned camp. Upon working your way through the brush, the dense overgrowth gives way to what looks to be a small village, nestled between the walls of the canyon. Several tents dot the area as do cooking fires. There is currently a rash of excitement, as many humans scurry around the camp. It looks like non-combatants are either heading up a couple of paths that ascend to a ledge up about 15 feet on either side of the canyon, or they are disappearing into one of two cave entrances in the rear of the camp, where the mouth of the stream seems to be flowing from. Several of the bandits, acting as a rear guard, watch for your approach.

Ongoing count of bandit dead: Bandits 15 (tattoo proof), Dire Rats 3 (tail Proof)

Fresh Air Again

We began the session with the group leaving the tunnels which were now known as Rat-man Hold. With all the rats exterminated and new treasures in hand, the heroes exit the filth ridden halls to once again breathe clean air. After an a brief recap for the benefit of Uther and the town watch, the group was allowed to get some much needed R&R in the hut previously occupied by Samuel.

By mid-afternoon the following day Uther sent word requesting an audience with everyone in the Mead hall. When you got there you noticed that a large number of town watch were surrounding the building itself. As you enter the lodge you see Uther, Konsor Coppernight, Kavalar Coppernight, and Everett and Finney, the two dwarven men-at-arms that you rescued from the dig site. When one of you asked about the positioning of the town watch outside, you learned that the added security measures were a result of Arjhan’s discovery about Samuel, and no one is allowed to approach the building right now.

When each of you is in and seated Uther begins, “It seems of late that my small town has come under attack from surrounding bandits, from the rat menace below, from spies within, and from the promise of a harsh winter with limited supplies. It would also seem that your brave group has been able to help out to greatly reduce these threats. For this I am in you debt and wish there was some way to reward you….”

At that Konsor steps in, “This is where I may be able to help out. I have wishes to secure the guilds services in name of the Northern Star Trade Emporium to free this area of the bandit siege that chokes it. As a ruling member of said entity, I offer a handsome reward of 500gp, along with bonus of 5gp for proof of each bandit killed.”

Konsor then motions to his nephew as he continues, “Our motives for this are not fully without reason, I have decided that I am going to invest some of my merchant made gold to help my nephew unearth the dwarven heritage of this area. However, in order to do this, something needs to be done about the bandit siege on this area, and help needs to be given to Uthers’ town.”

He pauses shortly to let the deal sink in, then continues, “Within a few days I would like safe passage out of this area, so that I may secure supplies for this town to insure that it makes it through the coming winter. I will also return with enough supplies and resources to see that my nephew, Kavalar, has what he needs to properly cleanse and restore the halls below, and return Grashrenstone Hall, and Coppernight Hold to the glory that once was”

“Once you have escorted the four of us to the main trade way you may hunt the area all you want, and I will leave such details to you. When complete with the cleansing, return to Edgecomb with proof and await our return within a ten-day.”

As he wraps up the meeting he says, “I will prepare a contract with these details, so that you may deliver it to Crystal between now and my escort.” With that Konsor excused himself for a short period. While out Uther had some questions about the battles fought below, which gave the group more time to recount their actions below town. By the end of the night, and with a new contract in hand the group returned to the guild to take care of personal business and ready for the coming job.

Three days later the group returns to Edgecomb prepared to leave, and spends the next several hours helping the dwarves prepare the wagons for the journey. During this time much talk circulates around town about the group being back, and their coming mission of hope. As they leave many wave and cheer, giving them all an uplifting sendoff.

They traveled about two hours in the freash fall air, the wagons are moving along a path through un-kept farmland, approaching the next copse of woods. There are remains of a burned out farmhouse on the right, and as you survey the surroundings, the lead wagon lurches violently to the left. You hear the crack of wood as the left rear axle snaps, following shortly are cries of attack accompanied by the twang of crossbows.

The fight that follows has Uthrag and Kuruk charging the crossbowmen occupying the burned out cottage. Garth charges those on the left flank, Arjhan and Finney protect the front, F’Lar sneaks out the rear wagon to surprise those on the right, Silvio and Solath provide cover fire from the safety of the wagon’s cover, a badly wounded Konsor and Kavalar hide beneath the wagon, and Everett falls from the initial few volleys of bolts. The leader of the bandits shows himself after the first couple of volleys, and charges with his pet dire rat. Arjhan soon finds that the leader is a true were-rat, and that he is in for a tough fight. The end of the fight comes with Silvio taking down the were-rat, three bandits running off, and Arjhan down.

In the aftermath of the fight the group surveys the damage from the attack, heals damage, revives Arjhan, but find that Everett is beyond help. They also learn through interrogation that the town still has at least one spy, as the bandits were tipped off as to the groups composition. They also manage to get a rough map to help follow the fleeing bandits.

Dwarves Hate Stuff in their Beards!!

The session began with the group in battle with the rat-man priest and his two demon lackeys, where they had just finished taking down the other remaining rat-men.

Garth and Uthrag started out holding the demons back in the side corridor with the rat priest behind them, with all others providing ranged attacks. This strategy work just long enough. As by the time attrition brought Garth and Uthrag to unconsciousness, the demons and priest also went down before they could make it out of the hallway.

The final moments in the hallway did have some highlights that deserve a comment. Kuruk charged into the fray, while already badly damaged, and suffered more of the un-holy damage as he administered the healing which allowed Garth the final round of defense. Additionally during the final moments F’Lar delivered an attack with his thrown dagger that confused one demon so much that he turned and swatted his priestly master.

When all the rats were vanquished, and Garth and Uthrag were again upright, the room from where the priest and demons had come was investigated. As they entered, the group saw a strange purple glow emanating from a large mirror that hung on the wall. Solath, F’Lar, and Kuruk determined that the magic mirror was a conduit to another place, probably the plane which the rat demons had come from. This was definitely an item that needed further investigation, and would be taken back to the guild.

Finding a key around the neck of the priest, next led the group to unlock the padlock, and investigate the final area of the rats’ hold. Beyond this door, the group found the large antechamber to the treasury the rats had amassed. Guarding the chamber were five Spitting Lizards. This battle was over much faster than that with the rat-man leadership, and provided some of the night’s best amusement, as F’Lar appropriately named the beasties “Shitting Dragons”, and Kuruk was overly miffed when one of them singed his beard as it spit its acidy goop at the dwarf.

Once beyond these guardians, the group proceeded to the end of the hall and found the door to the treasury. Beyond the door the group saw a large chamber with burlap bags and boxes contained the treasure they hoped to find. Additionally the group saw the metallic sculpture of a large snake, which they had heard was also a guardian to be aware of. As Silvio pumped two arrows into it, the ruby red eyes of the beast flared to life, and it slithered mechanically in their direction. Planning on meeting it halfway, Uthrag charged. However, as Uthrag entered the room a cloud of noxious spores was kicked up. It affected only F’Lar, while Uthrag leaped to land clear of any further fungus. Solath was able to identify the fungus and define its location for the group, as he teleported over the patch. Another great leap by Arjhan brought his axe into play as two chops ended the things non-life.

The evening ended with the group going through the spoils of victory, and laying claim to treasure.

Does Silvio Ever Draw Fire?

Session began with Arjhan meeting up with the rest of the group after completing his diplomatic duties in the town above. After a short period, the catch-up was complete with the group made aware of activities above, and Arjhan brought up to speed on the details below.

After the reunion, the group proceeded back to the location where they had quietly dropped the sentries in front of the chasm over the subterranean river. As they approached F’Lar saw a rat-man poke his head around the corridor ahead. Garth and Uthrag quickly jumped across the 7’-8’ gap, in order to help others across. This was probably a good thing as both F’Lar and Solath needed the extra aid. After his scare with the jump, F’Lar stealthily approached the corner where he had seen the rat scout, and after hearing nothing peered around the corner, and saw nothing but a long hallway. Then once again he saw the rat down the hall a little ways, as it once again poked its head around a corner and then pulled it back.

F’Lar and the group move down the hall, and once again found the same. The hall was empty, but this time it ended in a door that was partially ajar. Before continuing the pursuit they made sure the only other door, which was secured with a padlock, would not be the source of a flaking attack. It seem now that whatever lay behind the door ahead knew they were there, and as such everyone rushed in to face the defending rats before they had additional time to prepare.

Actions were fairly chaotic as everyone entered the rat leader’s lair, yelling as they pointed out the locations of each defender. The mindset going in was to locate and take down the grenadiers first. Additionally the group did not want to bunch up too much, as not to give area attacks (like the grenades) good targets. Uthrag and Garth charged the two grenadiers, while Silvio kept a constant supply of arrows flying at all the rats in the room. Arjhan moved to block the flow into this room from an attached hallway, while Solath further mired that approach with Grasping Shadows. This idea was wise because it was the direction the rat priest and his pair of demon henchmen were coming from. Kruk and F’Lar continued to work on the other warriors throughout room.

As one of the grenadiers fell Uthrag, leaving the other to Garth, moved to block the demons approach. Garth then followed to allow Arjhan time to withdraw. The session ended with everything other than the demons and priest down, with the battle line drawn at the additional halls entrance to this room on the unconsecrated ground made so by the rat priest. Only Garth and Silvio remain non-bloodied.

And once again Silvio was untouched………

A Foiled Ambush

The session started with the group pulling out of the rat infested tunnels, to once again smell fresh air and get a rest from the confines of the Dwarven Halls. The real reason for the trip topside was to see if the town could spare a few from the watch to come down and guard their flanks while they ventured deeper into the rat nest. Additionally they were interested in finding if Arjhan was done with his duties as a peacekeeper.

However, as they entered the Mead Hall they found that the sorcerer had been pulled to the other side of town to hedge off hostilities of another uprising, and by all accounts without his work with tongue, the town would be nothing more than smoking ruins by now. The fear installed by the bandit siege, rat kidnappings, and the coming winter had done much to raise the stress levels of everyone in town.

Uther Flint was none too happy to hear the request. However with Arjhan vacant from his duties as group’s front man, the diplomatic role fell on Kuruk and F’Lar. Uthrag and Garth spent the entire time nodding, shaking hands, and smiling as best they could to lend moral support. However, with some mention of the historical significance of the rat threat by Solath, and a warning of the threat that their kind has to the environment and nature by Silvio, Uther finally gave in to their request for a small contingent of men.

With six of the town watch now stationed in the boulder strewn room, guarding their flanks, the group felt safe to venture deeper into the darkness. They noticed that many of the rooms which showed signs of recent rat habitation, had been vacated, As if they were scurrying just ahead, looking for a good spot to defend from. The group did notice one room where the former dwarven statues had been replaced by statues showing the semblance of the rat’s god, the Lurker in the Wastes (this placed Kuruk in a foul mood).

As the group continued to the west they heard sounds of rushing water, and saw sentries guarding the way across a chasm. After F’Lar determined that a number of creatures waited behind a door when Kuruk mention the area would be a perfect place for an ambush, F’Lar and Silvio approached the sentries to take them out quietly, while the rest of the group waited in case the alarm was raised. This attack was perfect, where F’Lar dropped the warrior sentry with two perfected sneak attacks, and Silvio’s arrows and Solath’s magic did in the other three quickly before any alarms got raised.

After that sentry post was dealt with the party turned their attention back to the room holding the would-be rear assault force. The groups attack was done by the numbers and the team took the force down without much problem.

Now with the threat of being flanked literally behind them, they could finally focus on the leaders of this rat nest, and capture any goodies they possessed……

An Ambush Plan Comes Together

The night began with the group finishing off the search of the three tiered chamber. Finding nothing other than the filth and debris that now covered the once great chamber, the group turned to figuring out the destination reached through each of the doors exiting the third tier of the chamber.

The door exiting to the east led down a short flight of stairs to end in a secret door, which they had unknowingly passed on the way down the corridor leading to the guard post. The door to the west entered a corridor turning north, and dropping down two flights of stairs to end in a secret door. The area on the other side of this secret door was also reached by coming due west from the guard chamber instead of turning into the three tiered room. This new area was later searched fully and will be detailed later.

The only other door, which exited the third tier led to the south. Before entering F’Lar and Silvio determined that something was making noticeable noise from beyond. Knowing this, F’Lar entered quietly to get a better idea of what lay ahead. After a short hall, he had a good view of the filthy L-shaped chamber. Piles of rotting vegetation, animal carcasses and the corpses of a few sentient victims were strewn about the room, filling the air with a fetid putrescence. Worse still, a few of the putrid piles seem to be moving, and as F’Lar watched from his hidden position, he determined that there were swarms of rats in this chamber along with a few dire cousins. Determining that no good could come from a combat in here, the group spiked the door, and trapped them within this un-necessary chamber.

As they spiked the chamber behind them F’Lar and Solath noticed a Rat-man Assassin as he and a companion entered the chamber. This pair was nothing more than scouts sent to find out the about the other missing Rat-men kidnappers. However, after a short chase the two evaded the pursuit, as they had just found the answer to the question and could easily outrun the group.

This pursuit did lead the party back to the new area mentioned above. However, the group lost the two assassins that had passed through this 60-foot long chamber, which was filled with piles of rock and rubble. The way out appeared to be a 20-foot wide passageway in the west wall, which continued into the darkness to the west. Kuruk noticed the unstable rock walls and ceiling, and suggested that this was probably be a good spot for a trap. With help, F’Lar was able to confirm and identify the trigger tripwire for this trapped area, and a safe path past the area along the south wall. Knowing these elements the group devised a plan to move the area of the rock fall so it included the previous safe passage to the south, now leaving the safe way to the north instead.

After setting this trap up the group decided to attempted to lure the rats, that would surely be coming. They set up camp within view of the western-tunnel, waited and watched. During this rest, the watch noticed that rat creatures were grouping near the entrance to the trapped room, not venturing into it …just watching. Whenever those on watch would try to draw a ranged weapon, the rats would fade back into the darkness.

At that the group set into action their plan for an ambush. As Uthrag and Silvio watched and kept the rats at bay, the other four moved around to wait at the secret door that also led to this chamber. When they were sure the other four were in position, Silvio and Uthrag moved back out of sight, and waited. It was not long before the sound of the rock fall alerted all of the rat’s position, and all moved in for the kill.

The combat went fairly well as the rock fall claimed four, and Uthrag and Silvio ended the misery of another three on the eastern side of the room. The other four party members who flanked the rat forces out of the secret door handled the remaining five rats by slowing and hampering them with Solath’s Grasping Shadows, As Garth, F’Lar, and Kuruk blocked for him, while also hammering on the rat flank. The battle ended with one lone rat warrior surrendering before the bow of Silvio, whom only showed mercy long enough to gain knowledge of the rat forces that waited in the darkness to the west. In addition they learned of some ooze horrors that occupied the hall to the north (get out the spikes….another room the group would pass on).

With the promise of mass opposition to the west, it would seem time to gather Arjhan for the assault.

Can a brother get a saving throw?

With the town watch tripled around the well, the group was allowed to rest up and prepare for an extended foray into the halls on an extermination mission. With the ratman rogues done away with the night before and the watch keyed on the well, the night past without another child disappearing. The light of day however brought renewed tension between the refugees and the townsfolk, and in a move of desperation Uther Flint sought out the group to see if they could also assist with settling tensions around town. With the bulk of group more suited for the physical direct approach, the task fell to Arjhan to show off his diplomatic powers.

With a vow from Arjhan that he would catch up with them, the remainder of the group went about the task of gathering up supplies and gearing up. Then the group descended back into the well to sanitize a little. Passing beyond the trap, and the stairwells where the prior nights combat took place, the group came to the end of the hall where with help from Silvio, F’Lar located and obvious latch to open the secret door. However as they quietly searched, Silvio’s fine elven ears also noticed sounds coming from beyond. The sound he heard told him that beyond the door there were numerous creatures arguing over something.

F’Lar quickly threw the door open and the group rushed in to surprise the Ratmen, who had been interrupted from the dice game they were involved in. As Garth and Uthrag charged in to prevent escape, Solath’s controlling magic worked to slow the startled ratmen. This proved too much for them as Silvio’s arrows pinned several to the wall, and F’Lar and Kuruk worked from the flanks.

With the gaurd post quickly behind them Uthrag scouted ahead in the direction one of the ratmen tried to run toward before Garth’s maul laid him low. Uthrag quickly determined that the signs of passage led to a set of double doors, and the group again quietly approached and prepared to rush in. With F’Lar again pushing open the doors so the rest could take action.

However, beyond this set of doors things were vastly different. An immense chamber, 100 feet deep and 120 feet across at its widest point, was obviously once a dwarven throne hall, judging from the broken statuary and shattered remains of a stone throne that litters the floor. The chamber is accessed via huge double doors in the east, and roughly divided into thirds, with each tier accessible via carved stone steps. The second tier is ten feet higher than the first, and the top tier is another ten feet above that. The room is now used as a common mess hall for the Ratmen. Piles of bones and the refuse of past meals are scattered throughout the once-great hall….along with a great number of Ratmen, who appear none too happy to have been disturbed.

The battle that ensued was highlighted by the group quickly fighting to secure the bottom tier, and moves to block the twin stairwells. They accomplished this with Urthrag moving to block one staircase and Solath’s magic blocking another. This tactic was complicated when the rats, being able to climb well decided not to use the stairwells, and one of the ratmen on the second tier began throwing grenades into the center of the group below. The tide of this lasting battle was turned when this grenade threat was brought down by the combined firepower of both F’Lar and Silvio. Additionally Garth’s deadly maul did wonders from the lead blocking position, and Solath’s magical area assault did the trick on the shock troops.

The one thing that everyone in the group needs to work on drastically is the ability to make a saving throw…..The second battle had six failed saves….


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