The Whispering Cairn III
The team then waits for midnight before heading back into town and slinking their way to the Feral Dog. Having made it there without any difficulties with the native humans they sneak about and hide in the shadows until the early hours when Kullen and his gang stumble out of the tavern.
Rue quickly casts Mage Armor on herself and the other two kobolds, and then the team steps out to confront the gang. Rue attempts Diplomacy to start a dialogue with the gang, hoping to bargain from a solid position, but she fails. As soon as the gang clears their ale-addled heads enough to realize they're talking to kobolds they laugh them off, threaten to beat them and shove them aside as they pass. Rue calls out after them, offering gold in exchange for information and finally gets Kullen's attention. Unfortunately the attention isn't of the positive sort and Rue gets slapped in the head by the grumpy albino half-orc, who then turns to stumble off after the others.
The team decide then that beating the information out of the gang might be the preferred method and take advantage of the tactical situation (the gang drunk and walking away) to get surprise.
Gutter moves to engage Kullen to one side while Toerag moves to the other, flanking him. Rue runs up with a tanglefoot bag in each hand.
Toerag attack Kullen, hitting with both blades from his flank. Merovinn wheels around, pulls a wand from his sleeve and fires a Ray of Enfeeblement at Gutter, which hits and weakens him. Kullen readies his axe and attacks Gutter, cutting him.
Rue summons a Celestial Dog next to Merovinn as Rastophen turns and draws both his longsword and short sword. Gutter attacks Kullen again and gashes him. Todrik attempts to trip Toerag with his guisarme but misses badly.
Toerag attacks Kullen, again landing both blades in his vitals and killing him. Merovinn fires his Wand of Ray of Enfeeblement at Gutter again but misses, so he moves back from the battle (and Gutter's wrath). Rue moves around the conflict towards Merovinn, and then throws a tanglefoot bag at him. It bursts at his feet and holds him fast.
Rue's Celestial Dog pursues Merovin, who swings at it and misses. It snaps at Merovinn but can't get a good bite. Rastophen moves to engage Gutter, who misses when he swings at his approach. He attacks Gutter with both blades but doesn't have Toerag's luck, it seems. Gutter retaliates at Rastophen and lands a critical (despite his lost Strength).
Todrik drinks a potion of shield of faith, then steps back a bit looking to flank someone
Toerag takes advantage of the opening to charge Merovinn and hits, disabling him. With Merovinn still glued to the ground and disabled Rue takes a 5-foot step toward Rastophen, staying out of threat range, and tosses her other tanglefoot bag at him, too. Unfortunately she misses.
Celestial Dog makes a flat out charge at Rastophen. He hits but only scratches him. Rastophen stays on target, though, and attacks Gutter, again missing with both blades. Gutter responds with a powerful strike that drops Rastophen like a rag doll.
Todrick dashes around Gutter, taking advantage of the chaos to flank him. He attempts to trip Gutter but misses.
Toerag turns right around and charges Todrik, hitting him, while Rue tosses two Magic Missiles into him. The Celestial Dog moves to engage Todrik as well, though it's hurt by his defensive attack and misses its own attempt to bite. Gutter moves to engage Todrik as well but misses his attack.
Todrik withdraws and flees the scene.
Aware that living witnesses to the carnage they've just wrought outside the Feral Dog could spell trouble for them Toerag drops her weapons, readies her bow and fires at Todrik, landing a critical that kills him.
Taking a quick look around and finding that no one has been roused into the streets by the fighting the team considers their options. With two of the gang dead in the street, one dying and another barely conscious they figure it best to avoid trouble with the local constabulary, especially considering how corrupt they are.
Gutter and Toerag drag the bodies out of the street, including Rastophen, while Rue binds and gags Merovinn. Then, while Rue sits in the shadows of the Feral Dog with a blade at Merovinn's throat, Toerag and Gutter slip back out of town to fetch their dog-drawn cart. Against all odds they manage to return, load the bodies and their captive and slip back out of town again without encountering anyone.
Back at their temporary lair (the abandoned mine office) the team unloads the corpses of the gang and drags Merovinn inside for a bit of interrogation. With Rue poking him in all the tender spots and Gutter muttering about the tastiest bits on humans, Toerag soon has him thoroughly intimidated. Removing his gag he soon tells them the whole story and they discover they were indeed the ones who robbed the graves at the Home Farmstead. Those corpses they in turn delivered to a man named Filge who has taken up residence in the Old Observatory.
Having learned all they can from him the team fetches the chain and manacles from the cart and secures Merovinn to a very large wooden beam, and then leave him to head out for the observatory.
Arriving at the Old Observatory just before sunrise the team immediately notes the windows accessible from the roof of the adjoining building. Fetching a grappling hook from the cart they soon have a rope up to the roof. Once they're all up they move cautiously to the nearest window to peer inside. They make note of the room and its contents, spotting Filge asleep in bed. Filge's owl familiar, Merrowahn, immediately spots them in turn and starts screeching wildly. The team has surprise on Filge but have yet to enter the room.
All three kobolds quickly leap into a window and slide through.
Merrowahn flies kamikaze style at Gutter, hitting but doing no damage. Gutter slashes at the owl, wounding it. Filge, now wide awake, stands up out of bed and grabs the syringes from the nightstand.
Rue summons a Celestial Dog in the center of the room, preparing to surround the necromancer while Toerag moves to engage Filge directly and manages to cut him.
While Merrowahn continues to harass Gutter, Filge performs a withdraw and flees to the Operating Theatre. Rue's Celestial Dog moves to engage Merrowahn rather than chase after him.
Gutter performs a withdraw of his own and chases after Filge with Rue following and leaving the Celestial Dog to deal with Merrowahn. Toerag joins the chase and actually manages to catches up with Filge.
As the Owl familiar and Celestial Dog duke it out downstairs Filge dashes across the Operating Theatre, calling on his zombies to break out and defend him. Gutter and Toerag are hot on his heels while Rue stops as soon as she enters to throw a pair of Magic Missile into the fleeing wizard.
Downstairs Rue's Celestial Dog finally finishes off the familiar.
Skeleton Gertia wields a scimitar and moves to follow Filge. Filge takes a 5-foot step back from Gutter and casts Mage Armor on himself. Rue's Celestial Dog races to catch up with the action but will depart in moments, just in time to depart back to the Celestial plane. Gutter takes a 5-foot step up to Filge and swings at him while Rue drops two more Magic Missiles into him.
Troglodyte Zombies 1 and 2 burst from their tanks and move to defend Filge. Gutter manages a swing at one of them as they pass close by and scores a critical. The Bugbear Zombie bursts free a second later and moves toward Filge.
Rue fires at Filge with her crossbow, getting short on spells. She misses. Meanwhile Toerag gets bold and darts after the Bugbear Zombie and lands two strikes on it.
As Troglodyte Zombie3 then breaks out of its tank and makes for Filge the Kobolds begin to realize they may be in some trouble.
As Filge takes a step back to inject himself (false life potion) and Gutter steps right after him to gash him again, Filge's undead begin laying into everyone around them.
The Skeleton of Gertia Land swings at Gutter, as do both Troglodyte Zombies 1 and 2 who both manage to connect. Toerag earns a swipe from the third Troglodyte and the Bugbear Zombie, neither scoring. Toerag lands two nice hits on the Bugbear in the process of dodging about.
Rue, meanwhile, is reloading and wishing she'd gone with a light crossbow.
Filge drops back again for another injection (cure moderate wounds) and Gutter continues hounding him, though he misses his attack. Rue fires her crossbow at last and sinks a bolt into Filge as Toerag sticks her blades twice more into the Bugbear Zombie.
With Gutter still pressing his attack on Filge, both of the Troglodyte Zombies chasing him continue to do so. Gutter manages a solid hit on one when it manages to catch up to him and Toerag slices into the same one as it passes by her. None of the undead is able to hit their targets.
With Gutter blocked off by zombies the Skeleton of Gertia Land turns its attention to Toerag. Filge, meanwhile, is really beginning to feel the heat of having a Kobold barbarian after his blood. He withdraws and races down the line of undead, hoping to draw Gutter into their Attacks of Opportunity. Gutter just steps a little further out from the undead and dashes after him. Finding Filge suddenly much nearer to her, Rue whisks out a vial of alchemist's fire and tosses it at him. Unfortunately she misses.
Bereft of close targets, all the undead then turn to Toerag. When the two Troglodyte Zombies come for her she skewers one of them and neither of them lands a hit. The Bugbear Zombie, however, gets its revenge when it finally lands a blow and scores a critical. In one hit Toerag is down and dying.
The Skeleton of Gertia Land, along with all the zombies, then sets her sights on Gutter. Moving in she meets his blade first, though it causes her bones much less damage that it has been the soft zombie corpses. Filge, claiming the brief respite, steps back to cast Spectral Hand, intent on doing at least one of these Kobolds some damage. He monologues a bit, doing his best to appear confident and intimidating. Gutter responds by 5-stepping forward and whacking him, scoring a critical and dropping him stone dead that instant.
As the zombies all move in on Gutter Rue readies and throws another vial of alchemist's fire at the Bugbear Zombie. Her suspicion that she's just not that good at throwing things is confirmed when she misses. She does get the Bugbear Zombie's attention, though, and he steps over to meet her Imbued Staff face first.
As Toerag continues to bleed Gutter dodges a couple of clumsy swipes.
Gertia Land's Skeleton and all the zombies but the Bugbear are swinging at Gutter, who manages to evade them all. Even the Bugbear Zombie turns to move toward him, still intent on protecting Filge from him despite the fact that he's dead. Gutter isn't able to land a blow on anything amidst all the flaying undead limbs.
As Toerag continues to edge toward death Rue abandons the fight and dashes off downstairs seeking Filge's spell book, which she's sure she saw on the way in.
Gutter takes a hit from one of the zombies, managing to destroy it with a follow up attack. As the Bugbear Zombie attempts to horn in on the free spot in the action Gutter lands a blow on him as well which, in addition to all the damage Toerag has done, destroys it.
Downstairs Rue spies and grabs Filge's spell book.
With undead still doing their best to rip Gutter to bits he takes a hard hit from one of them without being able to land a damaging blow on any of them. Rue searches for and finds, as she suspected, a Command Undead spell in Filge's spell book.
Again Gutter can't cause any real structural damage to the animate corpses all around him. He is again torn by one of the grasping claws as Rue races back upstairs, hoping to arrive in time to help someone.
When Rue arrives in the Operating Theatre she sees Gutter with only two zombies and Gertia Land's skeleton still surrounding. Gutter destroys one of the zombies with a mighty blow even as she watches. She decides he can hold out a bit longer and rushes to Toerag's aid, snatching out a healing potion.
Gutter lands another strong blow on the remaining zombie though it retaliates with a wound that brings Gutter very near unconsciousness. Rue dashes to Toerag's side and forces the healing potion down her throat.
As Gutter hauls back and plants his blade in the last zombie's hide, still not managing to put it down, Rue casts Command Undead from Filge's spell book, destroying the spell but giving her mastery of the animated Troglodyte corpse.
With the last of the zombies under her control Rue orders the Troglodyte Zombie to stand still while Gutter chops of it's head. Having disposed of everything living and undead in the room Gutter and Rue rouse Toerag and the team spends the next minute or so chugging the last of their healing potions.
Once they've given themselves a moment to recover from the trauma they just put themselves through they set about methodically looting the necromancers Operating Theatre and his corpse.
Moving on to Filge's Bedchamber they loot it as well and come across the letter to Filge from Balabar Smenk requesting that he come to Diamond Lake and investigate green worms and unkillable zombies. The kobold team recalls the jar containing part of a green worm in the Operating Theatre and fetch it.
After looting everything they find worth anything they move on to clear the ground floor of the place. Arriving at the first level the team presses on, checking the level over. In the Feasting Hall they come across the macabre scene there and spend some time assuring themselves there's no danger. Still, before they leave they decide to destroy the undead just to be sure. In the Cenobitic Chambers and Abandoned Office they find nothing, leaving only the entrance to the building. As they cautiously enter the room Gutter and Toerag spot the three skeletons wielding crossbows and kneeling behind overturned tables along the west wall.
Skeleton Anders fires at Gutter, misses, drops the crossbow and picks up a second loaded one nearby. Gutter leaps to engage Skeleton Coldaran, the closest at hand and dodges its clumsy swipe. He, in turn, misses with his attack.
Skeletons Bemissa and Coldaran fire at Gutter, both missing, drops their crossbows and pick up a second loaded one. Gutter seizes the opening and slices the Coldaran Skeleton, damaging but not destroying it. Rue, however, fires her crossbow into Skeleton Coldaran and destroys it. Toerag follows suit and leaps forward to Skeleton Bemissa, is struck hard by it swinging appendage and lands a solid blow, destroying it.
Gutter takes a swipe at Skeleton Anders and destroys it in one swing.
Having cleared the entire level thoroughly they move to the front door, unlock it and step outside. Snarling at the bright morning sun the team heads toward their dog-drawn cart to prepare to get away from the town before some curious human comes along. Rue notices the small tool closet under the stairs and points it out. Toerag then takes the time to make two attempts at picking the lock before she finally springs it. When she opens it the Tomb Mote within attacks her.
The Tomb Mote leaps out with frightening alacrity and begins clawing at Toerag
As the Tomb Mote continues its dizzying flurry of attacks on Toerag, Gutter steps forward to take a swing at it and gets scratched a bit for his trouble. He does manage to land a solid hit on it, though. Rue likewise fires on it, missing.
Once Toerag has recovered from her surprise she does her best to stick the tiny undead thing, too, but can't land her blade.
Still wailing on poor Toerag and causing little more than small scratches so far, the Tomb Mote proves quite difficult to land a blow on. Gutter manages it with a very satisfying blow at last but still fails to stop it.
The Tomb Mote continues to scratch up Toerag, not causing any real damage yet but certainly proving it's capable of it. As Toerag and Gutter swing their blades ineffectively it's Rue that finally saves Toerag from the tiny terror with a well-placed crossbow bolt.
After stomping on the frighteningly quick little Tomb Mote for a while to be sure it's dead the team get on over to their cart. When they spy Allustan's residence on the nearby rise and realize how close they are to it they decide to simply gather up the skeletons of the Land family, dump them in their cart and hustle on over to Allustan's house.
When they arrive they're rather tired and still have a captive human back at the abandoned mine office to deal with, so the give the wizard a quick synopsis of what has occurred so far, hand him the worm in the jar, Smenk's letter to Filge and head off down the rise and out of town as quickly as possible.
When they arrive back at the ruined office they are discouraged to find the baby owlbear has managed to break out of the pen they built for him and, even worse, it apparently decided to snack on their captive before wandering off. Gutter is, of course, heart broken but recovers a bit at the prospect of finally finding out what's behind the iron door in the tomb.
The team decides at last to take a rest before all the trouble of laying the Land family to rest and raiding the tomb again, so they climb up to the second floor and do just that.
Gutter takes another level of Barbarian
Toerag takes a second level in Rogue
Rue takes another level in Sorcerer
After resting for the remainder of the day the group heads downstairs finding the evening darkness much more comfortable. They pile the bodies of the thugs outside in the yard until they can figure out what to do with them, and then head off for the Land farmstead to give them a proper burial. Once this is done they ride back to the tomb, head back up the tunnel and find the iron door swung open for them already. When the iron sphere trap is found still operating the team simply bypass by roping down to the floor, walking across and using a grapping hook to climb up the other side.
Inside the tomb the kobolds encounter the wind warriors, who they make short work of (though they are rather beat up in the process and lack any healing potions to correct the damage). Riding the air shaft up to the True Tomb it's luckily Rue who steps up on the dais first and she is able to root through her journal and correctly guess that name of the Wind Duke who's tomb this is. They loot the sarcophagus and Rue, with the Knowledge (planes) score she's been building toward the Alienist PrC, is able to identify the glyphs on the pewter box as those of the Queen of Chaos.
After double checking both areas for loot they stop and examine each of the statues and the historical steam images, documenting everything, before moving out again (only stopping to loot the nice colored lanterns on the way). Outside the tomb again they encounter a small combined force of town guards, clerics and garrison soldiers who've come to take them into custody. Allustan, also, is there and encourages them to go along quietly. As badly wounded as they are from their battle with the wind warriors fighting isn't much of an option and the kobolds reluctantly throw down their arms and surrender.
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