Othwic, Maud Balliol, Jarl The Lame, Hob The Bastard, Konrad, Alys and Baine
Current Date: May, 1012TR

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Chapter Four: Return To The Portown Tunnels...

Gregor, Feng Ying, Clodius and Lemunda returned to the Portown Tunnels around mid-day on 19 Jester 3208 to further explore the catacombs under the old town on the top of the cliffs.

Having discovered a bloody patch outside a door, and a severed finger, they deduced that the room beyond could be approached from two directions at once. Feng Ying, who heard sounds of two creatures inside, and Clodius entered the room from one side while Gregor and Lemunda went in from the other.

The two-pronged attack caught the pair of feeding ghouls munching on a human arm (later, the adventurers realised it was Magoo's former bodyguard's arm) and a bloody battle ensued, which saw Gregor and Billy the Badger felled by the ghoul's poisonous touch and Lemunda nearly cleared when one of the flesh-eaters tore open her neck and caused blood to spray across the room.

The ghoul's were eventually defeated and Gregor recovered enough to staunch Lemunda's bleeding and feed her a handful of magic berries to get her back on her feet.

The explorers became more cautious after that and discovering a vast room with more stone coffins in decided to tip-toe across, ignoring the collapsed northern wall that was clearly riddled with the warrens of giant rats... or maybe something worse.

Their methodical exploration eventually led to a room where the ceiling disappeared into a tunnel of spider's webs and, despite their best attempts to be stealthy, when Feng Ying tried to dart across to a door on the eastern wall he was attacked by the biggest spider they had ever seen.

Feng Ying fled back to the party who managed to drive the spider off with missiles. Feng Ying then bolted for the door again, made it and discovered it led down a short corridor to another door through which he could hear "lots" of goblins.

Having communicated this to the party, he tried to make a run for the southern door in the room and was pinned down by the spider dropping on him again; this time injecting him with posion - despite his heroic efforts to wriggle away.

Thankfully, before the spider could wrap him up and take him away as a packed lunch, the rest of the party jumped in and battered the creature to paste.

Gregor managed to soothe Feng Ying's twitching and gibbering with some 'magical' water, but the party realised that with Feng Ying delirious and Lemunda still weakened from the vicious wound on her neck, it was probably a good idea to retreat.

They managed to pick their way out of the dungeon without further incident and headed back to the Green Dragon for more rest and recuperation.

Feng Ying recovered after a couple of hours of bed rest, but the group decided to wait another week before deciding what to do - and to give Lemunda a chance to recover.

And, hopefully, Red would have returned by then...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Interlude...

A full (nine-day) week has passed since the adventurers returned bloodied, but victorious, from their first expedition into the Portown Tunnels.

Feng Ying spent the time in bed recuperating, healing, meditating etc

Red, accompanied by Lemunda, headed off into the surrounding countryside, looking for clues about the mysterious mage who claimed to be Zenopus.

On the fifth day, as Red and Lemunda were preparing to start heading back to Portown and The Green Dragon, they came across an isolated farmstead.

There they got chatting with the farmer who told of a ragged looking man who had stopped there several weeks earlier - matching the description of "Zenopus", but he had called himself "Magoo The Magnificent" and had entertained them with conjuring tricks in exchange for some food and a bed for the night.

The farmer had spun tales of local folklore in return as they all sat round the fire that night (including the legendary treasures lost in the Portown Tunnels under the tower of Zenopus).

Come the morning, the man was gone and the farmer found his daughter sobbing, as this Magoo had seduced her, had his way with her and then slipped away just before dawn. The farmer and his wife beg Red and Lemunda to find this wicked man and teach him a lesson.

On the first morning after their return, Clodius discovered Faith The Donkey wandering around the village green - bereft of her saddle and any equipment that had been left on her, but otherwise alive and unharmed.

The rest of week passed for him in a cloud of mead fumes, hangovers and swopping outlandish stories with the locals. For a backward fishing community they are surprisingly chatty and have opinions on pretty much everything.

Gregor used the week to commune with nature and research some new druidic enchantments. He also proved a big hit with the children of the village, who were very intrigued by his pet badger, Billy.

Feng Ying, now fully recovered, is keen to get back to the Portown Tunnels and Clodius argues that they hardly saw any treasure and there must be more down there. Gregor and Lemunda, also, are keen to return underground.

Only Red is more interested in pursuing his quarry - Magoo - and so the party agree to divide for a while so he can head inland and try to bring the wizard to justice, while the others send trinkets and baubles (and maybe a chance to bash some more heads in) in the dungeons under the ruins of Zenopus' tower.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Chapter Three: The Portown Tunnels and The Phony Fakir...

Our heroes freed the young warrior-woman, Lemunda, from her bonds and started to search the dead pirates for loot when they spotted four more jolly boats heading towards the shore.

Standing in the prow of the lead boat was a fierce looking woman that the adventurers would later learn was Elean Starlight, daughter of the Queen of Zenn and mistress of the Sea Witch, the notorious pirate ship which has been operating in the waters around Portown.

Seeing they were outnumbered about three-to-one, even with Lemunda in their ranks, our heroes decided to beat a hasty retreat and headed back into the tunnels.

Clodius heard Elean speaking Zenn and presumed that the male pirates were thus slaves - an assumption that could have cost the party dearly. Clodius tried to stir the 'slaves' to revolt, but instead attracted Elean's interest - leading to a confrontation across the river that flowed through the adjoining caves.

Elean called on Gregor, as the nominated leader of the party, to hand over escaped slave Clodius and Lemunda, but after a short period of negotiations Gregor decided that "running away" was the only option and the party fled into the darkness - heading towards the base of the tower they had discovered earlier.

This tower was where they were supposed to meet Zenopus and hand back his treasure for a "finder's fee".

At the base of the tower Gregor was prepared for the giant snake and cleaved it in twain as it sprung at him. But then the party realised that Faith the donkey wouldn't be able to get up the spiral staircase, so left her and dragged the two chests of treasure they had retrieved from the beach up to an abandoned kitchen area in the tower.

Red used a crossbow bolt to secure the hatch, then the group ran up to the final level of the tower - an abandoned study - from where a ramp led down, out in to the old ruined city, to a cart that Zenopus was loading. His pet ape was already secure in the back.

Hearing of the pursuing pirates, Zenopus urged the group to take 100 gold coins for their troubles and let him get on his way to his sanctuary.

But Red began to smell a rat. Why was Zenopus so scared of the pirates if he was a mighty wizard?

Feng Ying snuck into the wagon and discovered, hidden under some cloth, the sword and belt of Teffle... who was nowhere to be seen. Zenopus claimed he was off "exploring".

As the pirates battered more heavily on the trapdoor, Zenopus tried to make his escape in the wagon - telling the party they could keep the treasure. Feng Ying jumped out the back with the belt and sword, without Zenopus seeing, but Red swung up his crossbow and put a bolt in the wizard's arm.

The injured wizard and his cart started to make their getaway and Red gave chase, dragging Feng Ying with him - with the idea that when they were close enough he would throw the gnome into the back of the cart.

But as they were running after the cart, the great ape somehow got free and bounded out of the back of the cart and barrelled into them. Red managed to deflect the charge, but instead of tossing the gnome into the cart, he swung right round and slapped Feng Ying onto the back of the ape.

Lemunda, wielding an old pirate sword, came to their aid. Red disentangled himself from the ape and continued chasing after the escaping wizard. Despite landing several good blows, Feng Ying took a severe mauling from the ape who trashed about violently, dislodging the small green man and then jumping on him before Clodius could wade in and deliver a killing blow.

Red's pursuit of the wizard ultimately proved futile - and painful as he took a couple of "magic missile" bolts to the chest - and the wizard managed to disappear out of the ruined city and into the surrounding woods.

In the meantime, Gregor had been sitting on the two chests, on the trapdoor, keeping the pirates out. The others eventually collected rocks and stones from the ruined city and piled them on the trapdoor, so they could take the treasure chests back down the hill to Portown.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Scandalous Gossip And Rumours (2)

Also overheard in The Green Dragon in Portown:

"But Goodwife Noggin, if the king wants an heir that bad, surely there is some incantation that can be said over Queen Arabeth to make her with child?"

"Know you nothing, Master Tomas? Children born through magical assistance are always wrong. The white arts are good for many things, but the birthing of children remains in the hands of The Creator."

Friday, 19 September 2008

Scandalous Gossip And Rumours (1)

Overheard in The Green Dragon in Portown:

"'Tis said King Ludwig of Mejia is angry that Queen Arabeth cannot give him an heir..."

"'Tis the will of Dydax!"

"Aye, but 'tis also said that there are those in court who would wish the king take a new bride!"

"A pox on them! Marriage is for life; 'tis the will of Dydax and The Creator."

"So say we all!"

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Chapter Two: The Portown Tunnels And The Battle On The Beach...

Back at The Green Dragon Inn in Portown, Red The Ranger awoke to discover - very amusingly - that the rest of the party had left for the dungeon without him. However, it didn't take him long to discover the trail of donkey droppings through the underground corridors that led towards his fellow adventurers.

On the way, he was met by the fighter Teffle, bodyguard of Zenopus, who asked him to pass on the message that his master had decided to take the group up on their offer of assistance.

Red found his colleagues in the next room and after much debate they decided to find out what Zenopus had to offer.

The adventurers returned to the room where they had first met the wizard and he explained that pirates were using the caves at the edge of his underground lair as their base and they had stolen some of his treasure. The 'heroes' negotiated to retrieve it for a 10 per cent cut.

Zenopus pointed them in the general direction and asked them to bring the treasure back to his tower.

Heading through the corridors, the adventurers managed to tangle with a giant snake at the bottom of Zenopus' tower, discover a raging underground river, have a scuffle with a giant crab on the banks of said river (Clodius hit it with his lantern - the groups' only light source, then Feng Ying quite spectacularly managed to flip it onto its back and crack it open before Gregor delivered the coup de grĂ¢ce).

The fight with the crab alerted the pirates in the adjacent cavern, which opened out to the sea, and a major fight ensued as the two groups clashed.

Our heroes were virtually falling over themselves to get into the scrap.

Then when there was only one pirate left (guarding their two jolly boats further up the beach) Red engaged him in furious man-to-man combat - having brought him down with a thrown spear.

The two fought furiously in the bottom of one of the boats, Red losing his dagger when it got stuck in the side of the boat, but then as the pirate sat up to deliver a final blow, Clodius stepped up and cut his head from his shoulders.

The adventurers found two chests in that boat, one full of silver, the other full of electrum and gems.

In the other boat, Feng Ying discovered a beautiful young girl the pirates had taken prisoner.

To be continued...

Friday, 12 September 2008

Prelude 3: Origin Stories...Gregor

Man-mountain is one way to describe Gregor! Large and imposing, hard and resolute, thunderously loud and aggressive like a storm in the mountains, quiet and gentle like the summer breeze in dense highland valleys.

Pale skinned with a crop of short red hair standing 6’8” tall and wide as an ox. Many parts of the blue-blooded behemoth are covered in blue tattoos of the nature lore he was brought up with.

Gregor hails from the colder temperate lands of Tekralh. Raised by his human grandparents after being abandoned by his mother at an early age (shamed of the unspoken union), Gregor learnt about nature’s way – its power, its cruelty and its beauty.

The clan of Cragnathic soon accepted Gregor and by his sixteenth year he had competed in the regional games at both a physical and spiritual level, champion in all.

Mentored by his paternal grandfather, high druid of Cragnathic, Gregor has undertaken a 10-year journey to explore strange new lands, seek out new lore, flora and fauna – above, on and below this world.

Accompanied by Billy, his faithful badger, Gregor optimistically sets out on a fresh adventure. Friend for life, enemy forever - just don’t piss him off!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Prelude 2: Origin Stories...Red

On nights spoken only in the whispered secrets of the Druids of Norll, the Master of the Game selects those that will one day ride with The 30.

Boys, without imperfection are identified by his shadowy minions and the gifts of an acorn and a silver scale are given in trust to the parents.

He is given no name, but seven years are spent where boy and seed are nurtured in love. And on another nameless night the agents return to plant both in the wild.

In an ancient ceremony the sapling is planted in the Grove of Justice within Mound, the scales are exchanged for a sizeable pension for the family and the boy begins his arduous training.

Every game needs rules, and rules need to be enforced. It is the sacred duty of The 30 to bring justice within the great game of life. It is in the wilderness that sapling grows into mighty oak; in storm lashed mountain ranges boys become men.

By the age of 10 the boy can ride even the wildest stallion, by 12 he can use bow and spear to hunt boar, by 14 he can track and hunt the black wolf.

As he grows in stature he is taught to love, discern and administer justice in all things.

At 16 one last task befalls the boy before he can become one of The 30. He is given his name and a sacred task: he must undertake the challenge of Oak and Fire. He must depart Mound and wander the world until he fulfils a task of justice worthy of The 30.

Then, and only then, will another of the Master’s agents find him and add him to the roster. Each of The 30 can tell a tale of a great justice delivered and when a new Ranger is added to their number his story is told in the Grove of Justice where his story is joined with the others.

The 30's job entrails tracking down very powerful criminals and bandits, or patrolling the borders of Norll. They are known to ride bare back on light horses, only resting when the horses need to.

Red is a 21-year-old human male who stands 6' tall with long red hair tied behind his back. His name was the one he bore as a sapling but he asked the 'masters' if he could adopt it as his own, for no other reason that it fitted.

He looks weather beaten but his eyes and smile give some indication of the huge capacity for generosity that lies in his heart.

An optimistic young man by nature, the most obvious characteristic - other than his weathered looks - is his desire to do the right thing in all situations.

He knows his destiny is to ride with The 30 but does not talk about this, except to his closest friends. For now it may take him 10, 15, or 20 years to complete the trial of Oak and Fire, but complete it he will; proving he is worthy of his calling.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Tekralh Gazetteer: Portown

Portown is a small fishing community of about 20 or 30 hovels on the south coast of Ouesterland in The Five Kingdoms. Sheltered from easterly winds by an unimposing headland, the beach-front village sits in the shadow of looming cliffs, atop which - reached by a well-worn track from Portown - sits the old graveyard and the ruins of a long-forgotten city.

Portown natives are a surly bunch and a general air of decay and dereliction hangs over the town; the one bright spot (by comparison) is The Green Dragon Inn, the only hostelry for several miles around, which offers a couple of basic rooms to anyone foolish enough to be passing through and seeking a bed for the night.

The mood of the locals has recently taken a turn for the worse as a small pirate operation seems to have started up on the other side of the headland. However, as the pirates don't bother the people of Portown (they have nothing worth stealing), the Portowners don't really bother about them.

What makes this blighted community noteworthy, beside the overpowering stench of fish which pervades its rain-lashed streets and environs, is the ruined wizards' tower on the edge of the old city on the cliff-top.

Legend has it that the tower was built bya great wizard called Zenopus a century ago, but abandoned after 50 years because of some unspeakable experiment or spell-casting that went wrong. After several years of enduring tales of hauntings and strange lights from the tower, the Portowners managed to muster enough enthusiasm to drag a giant catapult up the track to beside the graveyard and raze the tower for good.

Although this stopped stories of ghosts and goblins, it kick-started rumours of hidden passages, honeycombing the cliffs under the tower, packed with treasures and monsters. Only a few have been foolish enough to venture down the wide staircase that was exposed to the elements when the tower was destroyed and, of the handful that returned, they claim to have seen only empty corridors and chambers.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Chapter One: The Adventure Begins - The Portown Tunnels...

(10 Jester In the Year 3208) 'Twas an autumn afternoon in the coastal enclave of Portown in Ouesterland of The Five Kingdoms and our adventurers - the gnomish monk Feng Ying, the human fighter Clodius (with Faith the donkey in tow) and the half-orc druid Gregor (with his pet badger, Billay) - had left the comfort of The Green Dragon Inn to venture down into the dungeons under the ruins that overlook the town.

Legend had it that the wizard Zenopus had built a mighty tower a century ago, but after 50 years it fell into ruin when he supposedly "summoned a great demon". Locals believed the site, next to Portown's graveyard and the ruins of an older town, was haunted and eventually leveled the tower with a mighty catapult.

Other brave souls have dared the subterranean corridors, but those who have returned reported only empty rooms.

Our heroes soon discovered this was not the case when Clodius awoke four animated skeletons and a vicious fight erupted, with Febg Ying taking more than his fair share of sword blows.

Disappointed to find the undead had no treasure the party next stumbled upon Zenopus himself and his bodyguard.

After hasty attempts to sell their services to the wizard, the party backed away and took a different course through the dungeon - ending up in a waste tip, where they were 'ambushed' by giant rats.

Faith the donkey bore the brunt of the rodent onslaught, even though the vermin were quickly disposed of.

To be continued...

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Prelude 1: Origin Stories...Clodius/Feng Ying

While his early years are a mystery, Clodius first came to The Chroniclers' notice when he was sold into slavery to the Zennans. However, before he reached the fabled island of women, he somehow managed to escape to the mainland and slowly back his way to the capitol of Mejia: Eriu.

During his travels, he managed to scavenge up some armour and acquire a donkey he named 'Faith'. On the hunt for mead in Eriu he crossed the path of gnomish aesthetic Feng Ying, who took him under his wing.

Feng Ying had come to Eriu from the dwarvish havens of The Deng Fang Mountains, where he trained as monk for many years after being handed over to the dwarves by his impoverished parents. Feng left his monestry a year ago in pursuit of his mentor, who disappeared several years earlier on a "great quest".

He is now searching for any clues to the location of his master, while following the Path of Dwarma to enlightenment.
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