ACKS: In Search of the Unknown

Ogres and Ghouls and Bugbears, Oh My!
Ogre You Glad I Didn't Say ACKS Again?

While Feredir, Tyrannyth Serpenthelm, and Guy “still no last name” inexplicably volunteered to secure the perimeter of the Moathouse, Berik Ironfist and Keyrock of the Cave People decided to investigate the large pile of treasure the group recently found.

The dwarves were determined to take every precaution before walking into a trap. First, Berik attempted to sense evil among the treasure. He sensed none. Then, Donal Stonehaven walked up to the treasure and started fiddling with it. This, naturally, activated the trap door beneath the treasure, causing it and Donal to fall forty feet into the lair of a hungry ogre.

The fall nearly killed Donal, who, let’s admit it, had already suffered enough. Nevertheless, he rose and fought the ogre, but was knocked unconscious after one hit. Fortunately, Berik used this time to secure a rope, and he and Hagan quickly climbed down to join the fray before the ogre could throw Donal into his pantry. Keyrock reluctantly joined them, leaving Rommel the dog alone in the room above. Hagan also fell prey to the ogre, taking a nasty club to the face. It seemed the ogre would win, but at the last moment, Rommel launched his own air strike, leaping forty feet onto the ogre and killing it. Rommel lost an eye, but Keyrock insists that the eye patch just adds character.

The treasure turned out to be mostly intact. Some items had been destroyed by the fall, including a box full of potions, jars of spices, and crates of glassware and fine porcelain. Others were damaged but still valuable, such as monster horns and pieces of ivory. The coins and gems remained intact, however, and the party found a number of magic items among the treasure as well. The party also found that the only clear door leading out of the ogre’s lair led to his “pantry”, which held a pair of humans who claimed to be merchants and a gnome named Wally. The merchants promised to send large rewards to the party after they reached their homes in Dyvers, and they left. Wally gave a plain iron ring to Berik as thanks for saving him.

The party found a secret door leading into a dungeon corridor, but rather than risk their new-found wealth by continuing toward unknown dangers, they used their ropes to haul the treasure out through the trap door and immediately went to the Free City of Greyhawk to cash it in. They didn’t bother to look for the rest of the party before leaving the Moathouse.

While in Greyhawk City, the party spent much gold on booze, women, and fancy hats. Some folks get drunk and boast of plans to take a road trip; Berik and Keyrock chose a road less traveled and instead boasted of their plan to overthrow Prince Kesa, a particularly ruthless crime lord and possible candidate for Lord Mayor of Greyhawk. We’ll see if that comes back to haunt them.

Deciding there must be more wealth to be found beneath the Moathouse, the party left Greyhawk City and returned to the dungeon. Further exploration led them to a bugbear lair and a tomb that was home to some ghouls. Somewhere along the way, they must have set off a trap of some sort, because they found their exit barred by a huge iron portcullis. With no other choice but to continue deeper into the dungeon, the party next encountered a water weird, which nearly drowned Berik and others. No matter the damage they inflicted on it, the water kept reforming and attacking. Fortunately, Berik was eventually saved, and he destroyed the water weird with a purifying spell.

Still no sign of the rest of the party.

Rewards:
10,338gp each for Keyrock and Berik (don’t forget to pay your henchmen)
6,892xp each for Keyrock and Berik (don’t forget to add +5/10% if appropriate)
3,446xp each for Hagan and Donal (don’t forget to add +5/10% if appropriate)

Items:
Staff of Healing , taken by Keyrock
Stonereaver Armor , taken by Berik.
Elven Cloak , reserved for Feredir
Unidentified Bow , reserved for Feredir or other party member

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Mor-ACKS of the Reptile God, Parts Three & Four

Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up:

Part 2.5 (3-21-2014)

  • The dwarves and Ramne, forgotten by the others in the harpy’s lair, continued exploring the dungeon. They found stairs leading to caverns and killed many things before returning to the upper levels of the dungeon to drink and recover.


Part 3 (3-21-2014)

  • Some of the others returned quickly from Greyhawk City to help the dwarves. After the dwarves sobered up, the combined party ventured into the caverns below and killed many things, including the reptile god herself, a spirit naga named Explictica Defilus. Ramne revealed himself to be something of a mage, and his protection spell kept the entire party from being killed by Explictica’s initial assault. The fight was still a close one, with the naga able to both charm and poison her enemies.
  • The party rescued some prisoners, and the whole group left the dungeon to return to Blackwall Keep. Along the way, they ran into a troll and his troglodyte followers. The party attempted to flee, but the pursuers caught up and nearly destroyed the party. Somehow, none of the party were killed, though Donal is not the man he used to be, and one of the elves they rescued from the dungeons didn’t make it. Also, Ramne turned out to be a less effective mage than the party had hoped when his wand backfired on the party, and an unidentified love potion quaffed in desperation nearly made for some uncomfortable moments between a dwarf and a troll.


Part Four (4-4-2014)

  • The reptile god’s hold over the village broken, the heroes returned to Blackwall Keep as big damn heroes. However, the surviving followers of the naga who had not been charmed quickly moved on to a new master at a nearby castle called the Moathouse. The party decided to nip this new cult in the bud and set off for the Moathouse.
  • The full party traveled to the Moathouse, killed some giant toads and a giant spider, killed some troglodytes, met a kobold who was not a kobold, rescued another batch of prisoners, killed some men who had been Explictica’s chief lieutenants, and encountered a gargantuan blue dragon who turned out to be an illusion, and killed the not-kobold after he was polymorphed into a large green dragon. The party then found a huge pile of treasure in the square tower room of the castle, though as yet no one has taken any of it.
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Mor-ACKS of the Reptile God, Parts One & Two
Might need some ACKS-idental death & dismemberment insurance for this one.

Part One (2-21-2014)

As the party continued to investigate the Village and some of its unusual goings-on, Berik Ironfist met with the old hermit who lives on the outskirts of the village. Finally convincing Ramne that the party can be trusted, Berik learned from the old man that a reptile cult is in the process of taking over the village and possibly Blackwall Keep, using some sort of mind control. Ramne offered his help and indicated that Whiskers, his pet weasel, would be able to lead the party to the reptile god’s lair in the swamp. The party accepted his help and set out into the swamp.

After running into a horde of zombies, and later a strangely friendly vampire lord, the party found the entrance leading down into the lair of the reptile god. They promptly fell down the slippery stairs, alerting the guards to their presence, but managed to defeat the cultists anyway. They continued to explore the dungeon, finding rooms of sleeping cultists (who they murdered), a green slime (who they defeated with fire and saltpeter), a couple giant frogs (who didn’t have treasure in their stomachs), a hidden treasure room (which they partially looted), and a harpy (who they somehow managed to kill, though the DM has no memory of this).


Part Two (3-7-2014)

With the harpy defeated, the party used Tyrannyth Serpenthelm‘s snake to slither up to the harpy’s perches and loot the various chains and baubles hanging from the rafters. While most of the party focused on this, the dwarves and Ramne disappeared. The remaining adventurers decided to continue exploring on their own, sans dwarves. Was this wise? Only time would tell.

A few minutes later, the answer turned out to be no. No, it was not wise.

While exploring an empty room, the party was set upon by two tuatara lizards wandering through the dungeon. Tyrannyth managed to shut most of the party in the empty room away from the lizards, but the portion of the party left in the corridor, Killian, Hans, and Keyrock’s remaining war dogs, were killed. Their corpses were either swallowed whole or dragged off to be eaten later.

Deciding the dungeon might be a little too much for the remainder of the party, they ran away from the dungeon like the bunch of little girls they are. Despite being joined by a lost cleric from another land who offered to accompany the party back to civilization, the wilderness turned out to be as dangerous as the dungeon. A dozen kobolds managed to ambush the party, and before the last kobold died, Tyrannyth, his snake familiar, and Keyrock’s animal companion Simba 2, were killed. The surviving party members dragged the bodies back to civilization, took a quick trip to Free City of Greyhawk, and restored Tyrannyth and Simba 2 to life.

As they recovered in Greyhawk City, the party spent much gold and got into a little trouble. Feredir maintained his reputation as a hero to be avoided by henchmen, but he also gained notoriety as a wrestler. Keyrock and Tyrannyth hired new henchmen, Hagan and Gaius.

Treasure: 659gp per PC (don’t forget to pay your henchman)
XP: 819 (Feredir, Keyrock, and Tyrannyth), 586 (Berik), 293 (Donal)

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Interlude: Berik and Feredir's Bog-ACKS Journey

Upon returning from the kobold caves, Berik and Donal Stonehaven felt the need to earn some good karma. They and Feredir decided to make good on the favor they owed to the Church of Pholtus. They met with Misha Devi the priestess to offer their services. Misha explained to them that she had heard of suspicious activities at the Golden Grain Inn of late, and asked that they stay there for a few nights to check things out for her.

Their stay was short but eventful. As the church bells tolled 8:00pm, nearly all of the inn’s patrons got up and left. Suspicious, the party followed some of the townsfolk, eventually zeroing in on the storekeeper from the village’s general store. He returned to his home above the store. Berik and Donal distracted the storekeeper while Feredir investigated the residence, narrowly avoiding the storekeeper’s wife. They learned that the storekeeper does not approved of public drunkenness, he charges extra to sell goods after hours, and he and his wife have a clean, impersonal home. They returned to the inn.

Then, in the middle of the night, they were attacked by a group of men who came in through a secret door. The party won the battle, though the leader of the attackers escaped and Feredir was lamed, taking a sword to his Achilles tendon. The party limped on, tracking the leader (a scarred man named Derek, who they had met earlier in the evening at the inn) to a battered and weather-beaten structure. In the basement, they encountered Derek, along with a trio of troglodytes. Again, the party was victorious.

Searching Derek’s corpse, the party found some nice leather armor and a small key. Upon returning to the inn, they searched Derek’s room, found a locked strongbox, used the key to open it, survived the poison needle trap protecting it, and found some treasure inside.

The next day the party returned to Misha Devi, reporting their findings and giving her some flasks of liquid, possibly poison, that they had found in Derek’s strongbox. They decided to use their newfound wealth to travel to the Free City of Greyhawk to heal Feredir’s wound. On the road, they avoided a wolf pack that was brazenly traveling in the open during the day, attempted (unsuccessfully) to stop a disturbed-looking youth who crossed their path, and nearly stopped to speak to an efreet who followed them the last few miles to Greyhawk City, having taken an interest in Berik. They completed their business in the city and returned home. The return trip was generally uneventful, though they did encounter another adventurer who offered to hire them as henchmen. They refused, and later found that he had picked Berik’s pocket.

Treasure per PC (Berik/Feredir): 2,680gp, and leather armor +1 (Feredir)
XP per PC (Berik/Feredir): 2,244xp (note that this is 100 higher than the estimate)
XP per Henchman (Donal): 1,122xp (note that this is 50 higher than the estimate)

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These kobolds are a pain in the ACKS!
Or, Casey loses two more hands

After arriving back at Blackwall Keep, the party decided to continue working for the Cairn Hills Militia. The new members of the party accepted militia positions and were encouraged to patrol with their comrades. Another new recruit, Guy < insert last name here>, was assigned to their patrol as well.

Feredir went off on his own to do the sort of things elves do. Olaf Olafsson, having lost a hand in the short time he had been working for Tyrannyth Serpenthelm, decided to leave the henching business and accepted a job tending bar at the Golden Grain Inn. Tyrannyth hired a fighter named Killian to replace him.

The rest of the party decided to try again with the kobold caves. The veterans of the group saw the caves as unfinished business, and the newer members wanted to see these super-kobolds they’d been hearing about. The trip to the caves went quickly, interrupted only by a patrol of gnolls, which the party defeated (though Guy managed to gain a notable scar in the process).

As they arrived at the cave, the party realized something had changed. Mounted on spears to either side of the entrance were the heads of two hunting dogs, which Keyrock of the Cave People recognized as his former pets. Determining that nothing else would be different about the caves, the party walked right in, stopping directly in front of the pit trap they knew to be present. Unfortunately, the kobold trapmakers had added a net trap just before the pit for just such an occasion, and one of the dwarves and a dog were trapped and held by the net while the kobold guards attacked.

The battle was difficult, and the kobolds continued to use the pit trap to their advantage. Guy, Killian, and one of the dogs managed to fall into the pit trap. Even so, the party had gained much experience since their last attempt to clear the caves, and the kobolds were no match for them. Keyrock performed a clever casting of magic mouth, which turned the tide, and eventually the party managed to get past the pit and slaughter the kobolds.

A short detour led the party to a room with many giant rats who had survived the party’s last incursion, but the rats had difficulty getting through the heavily armored dwarves and dogs.

The party then found the kobold common chamber, where a dozen kobolds slept, ate, and kept watch over the whelps. The kobolds fought valiantly to protect their young, but the party was merciless. Even the patrol that happened upon the battle and attacked from the flank was unable to stop the party (though they did manage to help Tyrannyth lose another hand). As the battle neared its end, Keyrock released his hounds upon the whelps, ensuring there would be no survivors.

Rather than risk a trip back to the village with a critically-wounded Tyrannyth, the party decided to make camp in the kobold common room for a week. Keyrock cleared out the corpses, displaying them on spikes outside the cave entrance to deter potential houseguests. The bodies of the whelps also disappeared. While it’s unclear exactly what happened to them, the party did manage to make their rations last with the addition of some stew with very tender meat.

While the corpses of the kobolds may have deterred outside predators, they did not scare away the kobold chief and his elite warriors, who remained in the deeper recesses of the caves. Rather, they enraged him so that he hired the services of a local ogre to help avenge the fallen kobolds. They attacked at night.

The fight was against them from the start. Tyrannyth’s henchman Killian lost a hand and was taken out of the fight early by the ogre (what is it with this guy and losing hands?). Seeing themselves outmatched by the ogre and some tougher-than-average kobolds, the party offered the ogre more money to switch sides. Seeing the chance to fleece both sides, the ogre agreed to stop fighting the party and guard the door while they fought it out with the kobold chief. This placed the odds in the party’s favor, and they set to killing the rest of the kobolds. Guy managed to gain a gruesome scar to go with his earlier notable scar.

Just as the last kobold fell, as the party was about to find out whether the ogre would keep his word, Keyrock managed to cast a spell on the ogre, and before he could react, he fell asleep, forced to feign death for a moment. That moment was all Keyrock’s pets needed, as all three dogs and the lion cub rushed to feed on the ogre in a coup de grace.

As it turned out, the kobolds didn’t have enough money to pay the ogre for his services and had given him a bag with 600 copper pieces painted to look like gold. The party did find a small treasure in the kobold chieftain’s quarters, however, and the chief had a magic dagger.

Finally, the party returned back to Blackwall Keep. They nearly encountered a band of hobgoblins on the way, but they were close enough to the village that they managed to avoid a fight. For now.

Treasure:
44 gp per PC (don’t forget to pay your henchmen)
magic dagger
whatever mundane weapons you took off the gnolls

XP:
149 xp per PC,
74 xp per henchman

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ACKS Me What Day It Is

While traveling to Blackwall Keep, the party encountered a merchant named Reginald Finn. Finn and his daughter, Anara Finn, had been traveling to Blackwall Keep and other Cairn Hills outposts, when their group was set upon by bandits. The only survivors were Finn, Anara, and a couple of guards named Paul and Cat. Finn, noting that some of the party were dressed as members of the Cairn Hills Militia, offered to pay the party to serve as his temporary guard, just as far as Blackwall Keep. They accepted.

Along the way, Finn had made plans for an overnight detour to a lodge where he had stayed as a boy. The party stayed in the barn, keeping watch over the horses and wagons. During the night, Berik Ironfist overheard Anara and Paul sneaking off into the forest, enjoying each other’s company. Their laughter turned to screams before long, however, and when the party investigated, they found Paul’s headless body, muddy footprints leading away from the scene, and no sign of Anara.

While most of the party began following the trail immediately, Cat, who took his role as guard of Finn’s goods seriously, went to check with Finn to see if he should pursue the man’s missing daughter. As it turned out, Finn cared more for his daughter’s welfare than for two wagons full of goods, and Cat rejoined the group.

The trail led to a cave opening by the river. When the party entered the cave, they found themselves face to face with more than twenty undead creatures – zombies, skeletons, and a ghoul, all female. Fortunately, Berik was able to call upon Moradin to turn most of the undead, and the party was able to finish off the rest.

As they continued deeper into the cave, the party found a trap. Cat, attempting to fill the role of party thief, tried to disarm the trap and failed miserably, nearly dying in the process.

Shortly afterward, the party found a large cavern. Anara was there, held in a bamboo cage set atop a pentagram. She was guarded by zombies, and was resisting attempts to make her eat a bowl of rotten flesh. Some of the turned undead were also here, as was a hulking undead monster whose face was concealed by a greathelm and who wielded a giant falchion. The party defeated the monster and his minions, though the fight was not without cost. Donal Stonehaven nearly died, though he recovered quickly, and Olaf Olafsson lost a hand to the monster’s sword. Surprisingly, none of Keyrock of the Cave People’s dogs were killed in the fight.

As they returned to the lodge, the party encountered Ephraim again, who informed them that the monster would return unless they broke the curse. To do this, they needed to destroy the monster’s body and return the pieces to his grave, and a woman needed to deliver the final strike. The party decided to follow through with this, and Anara was happy to help destroy the monster who had kidnapped and tortured her; however, as they attempted to break the curse, a wraith appeared, attacking and screaming, “Leave my boy alone! He’s a good boy! He punishes those wicked whores!”

Again, victory came with a price. The party defeated the wraith and broke the curse. However, the wraith’s energy drain took the lives of Reginald Finn and Cat, and seriously hurt Feredir, robbing him of all of his hard-earned experience.

After the curse was broken, the party was granted two boons. First, Ephraim offered them his old adventuring gear. While he would now be free to leave Crystal Lake, he decided he’s too old to start over again. Second, Anara announced that she would be taking over her father’s business for now, and if the remaining party will help her reach Blackwall Keep safely, she will give them half the profits from the remaining goods.

PC XP: 1,003
Henchmen XP: 501

PC Gold: 1,379 (don’t forget to pay your henchmen)

Items from Ephraim: Leather Armor +1, Potion of healing, Rope of climbing

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Let's get the ACKS out of here

After a little healing up in Marais d’Tarascon, the party decided to move on toward Port d’Ehlor, a larger town to the north. Along the way, they once again encountered some strange mists and found themselves lost in a swamp, no longer in Ravenloft. After traveling for a day, they came out of the swamp into some hills and made camp.

Late that night, while Berik Ironfist kept watch, the group was set upon by a band of hobgoblins. Berik fended them off while the rest of the party got their bearings, but his heroism was not without cost. The hobgoblins were defeated (thanks in large part to Tyrannyth Serpenthelm’s snake familiar), but a sword to the spine left Berik without the use of his legs.

The party continued on, slowly, until they came to a road. Eventually, a merchant caravan came along, offering to take the battered party with them to the Free City of Greyhawk, for a modest fee. Keyrock of the Cave People took advantage of this situation to cheat his party out of some gold, and the group made it to Greyhawk City.

In Greyhawk, Berik and Keyrock both sought out healing for their wounds. Berik received a good deal from a priest of St. Cuthbert. Keyrock was offered a similar deal, if he would convert and take St. Cuthbert as his personal savior. Instead, he kept his options open and spent more gold for his healing at the Temple of Pelor.

The party took a much-needed vacation for a month in Greyhawk City. Berik found Donal Stonehaven, who he took on as a henchman. Tyrannyth met a barbarian named Olaf Olafsson, who became his henchman. Keyrock was able to make Hans his henchman, and he spent the month training two new wardogs. Feredir attempted to hire a thief henchman but botched the attempt so spectacularly that within a fortnight he found his name slandered throughout the city.

After a month of resting, regrouping, re-equipping, and training, the party decided to set out in search of adventure again.

Treasure: 0 gp
Experience: 20 xp

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You ACKS-ed For It, Part Two

After being left behind in the Village near Blackwall Keep, Tyrannyth Serpenthelm waited for his companions to return. After a few days, the liveryman dropped off Hans the war dog, now fully healed. Hans and Tyrannyth set off into the Mistmarsh and ended up in Ravenloft, where they were reunited with Keyrock of the Cave People, who was on his way into Marais d’Tarascon, followed by the catatonic youth from the pole house.

Arriving at the Full Moon Inn, they met up with Feredir and Berik Ironfist, who had been doing some investigating on their own. While the group caught up over drinks, a foul odor overcame everyone in the inn. Most resisted the stench, but Feredir was horribly sickened by it. Worse, one of the other patrons dropped dead. As the group moved to examine the poor man, he rose as a zombie and attacked them. Fortunately, the party was able to dispatch the creature quickly and without major injuries.

Later, they heard a scream from outside. In a nearby alley, the group found a hooded man stabbing a young barmaid. He ran, some of them followed, and he escaped. The others stayed to help the barmaid, but she died anyway.

The party went on to investigate some other leads, including the licorice that had been left at some crime scenes. As they broke into the Tarascon townhouse, the hooded man caught up with them. He defeated Tyrannyth, but the others were able to take him down before he did any more damage. The hooded man turned out to be none other than Jean Tarascon, owner of the plantation, driven mad by his twin brother’s death. With his death, the village celebrated the party as heroes, assuming the string of deaths was at an end.

That night, as everyone celebrated, the storm that had been brewing for days reached its peak just as an army of zombies descended on Marais d’Tarascon. Constable Gremin and Shaman Brucian offered to protect the villagers if the heroes would find the final resting place of Marcel Tarascon, which (based on a prophecy found on a scroll, as well as another prophecy given by the Vistani to Luc, the young catatonic lad) they believed was linked to the zombies.

Feredir, remembering the noises he had heard coming from the old graveyard at night, suggested they search there first. After some initial missteps with normal zombies in various crypts in the old graveyard, the party entered the Tarascon family crypt to find Marcel Tarascon the zombie lord waiting for them, with a small army of his own zombie minions. As most of the party retreated, Berik Ironfist called upon the power of Moradin to repel the minions, and the zombies fled. Encouraged by this, the rest of the party positioned themselves to attack the zombie lord. Marcel, frustrated by his minions’ failure and by his own failed attempt to turn Keyrock into a living zombie minion, entered into melee combat with the party. He killed Berik and took down Keyrock, but then part of the Hyskosa prophecy came to pass, and as the moon disappeared, Marcel was unable to move, giving the remaining party members the chance to attack him freely and pour holy water on him. Despite his wounds from this, the zombie lord regained his senses and continued his attack, killing Tyrannyth. He was on the verge of victory, when Feredir’s final attack with a silver dagger brought him down. The remaining zombies, free of their lord’s influence, wandered off.

Shortly after the battle, and with the army of zombies no longer attacking the residents of Marais d’Tarascon, Shaman Brucian showed up, and in exchange for a portion of the (large) treasure found in the crypt, used his final two scrolls to restore life to Berik Ironfist and Tyrannyth Serpenthelm. Both came back somewhat changed, but they came back. And there was much rejoicing.

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Interlude: Berik and Feredir's ACKS-cellent Adventure

After arriving in Marais d’Tarascon, Berik Ironfist the dwarf and Feredir the elf spent some time in the village, making contacts and investigating the strange occurrences.

Feredir investigated the cemetery. He talked with the groundskeeper, witnessed some ghouls arrive at night and break the recently deceased zombie free from his grave, found a clue left by one of the ghouls, heard noises coming from the old, walled-off graveyard, got to know Deruno, the dwarf who runs the general store, drank with Deruno, and went to Shaman Brucian in search of holy water.

Berik Ironfist worked on earning the trust of Shaman Brucian, who eventually shared some details about the string of sudden deaths in recent weeks, beginning with Marcel Tarascon, one of the brothers who run the Tarascon plantation. Berik went looking for Marcel’s brother Jean, who hasn’t taken the death of his twin well, to offer help and his condolences, but was unable to find him at the Tarascon townhouse or plantation. Since then, Berik has been attempting to figure out the meaning of Luc Tarascon’s unintelligible prophecy.

Eventually, the elf and dwarf ran into each other again and began to work together. While out looking for clues, they met Constable Gremin, the local law enforcement officer, as he examined a crime scene. In addition to the recent sudden deaths in which the recently deceased person rises as a zombie, there have been a number of disappearances, many marked by similar scenes: blood stains and a piece of red licorice, but no body. Theorizing that the disappearances may be linked to the Tarascon plantation (many of the missing people worked at the plantation), Feredir and Berik set out to investigate the plantation house. Feredir was able to pick the lock at the servants’ quarters, and they found the house abandoned, with many blood stains throughout the house and dried clumps of dirt about the floor.

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You ACKS-ed For It, Part One
Don't request a Halloween adventure if you aren't prepared to pay the price.

Shortly after the death of Val the witch, the party returned to the village to rest up. There, they noticed an elf following them, and naturally invited him to join the group. While Tyrannyth Serpenthelm went off on his own, the others set out one more time for the kobold cave. Third time’s the charm, right?

Wrong. This time, the party spent a half-hour searching the first thirty feet of the kobold caves for traps (they found one: the same pit trap that nearly killed Val). Upon reaching the trap, they encountered a patrol of six kobolds. One kobold laid a plank across the pit trap to fend off the intruders, while others threw javelins. The dogs did most of the fighting, aided by Feredir the elf. Nathanial Greenstone stood back and watched for the most part, a decision that would haunt him later. Eventually, Keyrock of the Cave People triggered the pit trap again, causing himself and the elf to fall in. The kobolds finished off two of the dogs before Nathanial was finally moved to action, casting a sleep spell that ended the encounter. The party was forced to retreat back to the village again, due to the near-fatal fall into the pit trap suffered by the Feredir.

Back in town, the party went to the local church, a temple of Pholtus. They met a cleric named Misha Devi, who agreed to heal the party in exchange for a favor to be determined. Misha healed the party (except Nathanial who remained untouched), and they returned to the Inn of the Slumbering Serpent to rest. Keyrock also made a deal with Gade the liveryman to kennel and heal the wounded war dog Hans over the next few days.

That night, Feredir heard noises coming from Keyrock’s room. He investigated and found a troglodyte leaving Keyrock’s room. The troglodyte ran, and Feredir followed until he determined that the troglodyte would make it into the Mistmarsh before he could catch up. Keyrock and Nathanial, awakened by the elf’s shouts, also attempted to follow but could not catch up. In the end, the party decided to return to the inn, gear up, and follow the troglodyte’s trail into the marsh. In their haste, they forgot to wake up Tyrannyth.

The trail proved easy enough for Feredir to follow, and the party appeared to be gaining on the troglodyte, until they found themselves surrounded by mist. Once the mist cleared, they were unable to find the trail, and, continuing in the same direction, they slowly realized that they could no longer identify their surroundings. Unwilling to turn back (the troglodyte had stolen all of Nathanial and Keyrock’s gold, after all), the party continued for a number of days. The swamp’s water level rose, and they chose to use an old abandoned raft they found. A crocodile attacked, and they rowed away in fear. A giant toad surprised the party by attacking Nathanial from a distance and reeling him in with its tongue. In its attempt to swallow the mage whole, it succeeded only in biting off his leg. There was some talk of waiting to see how the mage fared before expending their resources, but Keyrock and Feredir ultimately killed the toad. Unfortunately, Nathanial also died from his wounds.

Keyrock and Veredir continued into the swamp. That night, they encountered a band of Vistani, who told them of the nearby village of Marais d’Tarascon, warned the party to avoid the village at night, and left them with an additional warning: “Beware the madman. Beware his blood.” Despite some good first impressions, the relationship between Keyrock and Veredir and the Vistani was not especially positive by the time the Vistani left.

And still, the party continued into the swamp. The next day, they found an elevated house, held up by poles, where a young lad sat in a catatonic state, surrounded by lanterns. Keyrock and Feredir stayed in the house overnight. The youth sat quietly holding a book except for two events. First, on their arrival he slowly spoke the following: “The on descend shall evil of night the land, at near is signs of hexad this when hand.” Second, when one of the men extinguished one of the many lanterns surrounding the single room in the house, the youth flew into a rage and began bashing his own head against the floor. When the lantern was lit, he stopped. And when Keyrock tried doing the same thing again, the youth again bashed himself against the floor until the lantern was lit again.

Meanwhile, a dwarven craftpriest from the hills to the southwest of the Mistmarsh went exploring in the swamp and was also surrounded by mists before finding himself near Marais d’Tarascon. He was discovered by the local priest, Shaman Brucian, who was bringing food to the youth in the pole-house. The man and dwarf arrived at the house, where the priest was questioned at length by Keyrock. Eventually, the priest became fed up with the increasingly detailed and invasive questions, and he left. The dwarf and the elf went with him, and Keyrock stayed at the house.

In town, the dwarf and elf found rooms at the Full Moon Inn before witnessing a disturbing funeral, in which the coffin was bound with chains and its inhabitant was clearly trying to escape.

Earned XP: 32 each.
Treasure: None.

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