Taihun

Haunted Fishing Village pt. 9

Ouriana relaxes more as the evening goes on, listening happily to the song. Eventually, after the song finishes, Ouriana speaks. “There was a Bard in my village! I loved her songs!” She seems enthralled by the tale, wanting more. Eri listens intently, committing the stories to memory for the future.

As the night grows long, Ouriana and Erimeyoma set up their bedrolls and camp in the main room with Arth and Tel, keeping one ear open for noises or other disturbances. As the morning dawns and he returns with the food, Ouriana takes it happily and munches away. Erimeyoma stares at the food for a moment, and then… gratefully accepts…

“If you’re happy to take Tel to Summergleam, I want to find Moira and have a word with her. I promise I won’t leave until I figure out what’s happening here.” Ouriana promises between mouthfuls.
“I’m interested in speaking with Moira, too. Tel, are you happy to go with Arth to look for your family?” Erimeyoma adds.

Tel nods, and the two pack a lunch and head off, following the trail Ouriana took to get here.

Moira’s home lies at the other end of the village, on the coast in a hut much like Arth’s. Once they finish breakfast and approach, open window shutters are slammed closed and some rapid hushed whispering is quickly stopped. When the pair gets close to the door, a loud “Go away!” is shouted from within. The voice is husky and haggard and comes from a woman. The rest of the villagers move about their daily business a few hundred feet away, setting off in their small boats, carving scrimshaw and repairing nets.
Eri firmly rubs one cheek in frustration and then adopts a quick and calm demeanour. “We need to speak with you, Moira. We aren’t going away, so you may as well get this over with and let us in now… before we make a scene and draw the attention of your neighbours.”
A passing fisherman notices her approach to the house and wanders closer. “Are you trying to speak to Moira? None of us has managed to get her out of the house in some time. Is she letting you in?”

His excitement has drawn a crowd of two or three, and it looks like more are getting interested. Frantic, Moira pulls open her door and waves the two in, asking Ouriana and Erimeyoma to hurry before others come. She then slams the door shut and lowers a latch.

“Who are you? What do you want?” Moira stands hunched slightly. She’s slight and frail-looking, and has obviously aged more in the last few months than she has before; an effect often seen in those that lose hope in the world. Her skin sags from her face, her eyes are bloodshot and her breathing is laboured. She hasn’t bathed in some time, and the house is covered in dirty dishes, old rags and piles of wax from old candles. It’s close quarters, and despite the bright sunshine outside it’s dark, musty and oddly warm in here.

Ouriana smiles warmly at Moira. “My name is Ouriana, my companion is Eri and we’re both travellers. Last night we spoke with Arth and he told us about strange things happening in the village. We saw.. we saw something, and were hoping that you might be able to shed some light?” She speaks gently, softening her voice.

The crone whispers something inaudible at the edge of the party’s hearing. “You know my name, at least.” She shuffles along the floor in a considered and careful way, trying not to knock things onto the floor. She obviously isn’t used to the mess in the house. “How might I be one to shed some light? I’m an old widow, nothing more.” She swats at something in the air and then stares at a pile of rags at the other end of the room for a few seconds. “… Strange happenings, you say?” She sighs.
“For years, Bersault has been plagued by thieves. Droughts. Threats near and far to our Kingdom. Never before, though, have I seen the likes of this. Spirits be dragging ‘emselves up and out of the grave like it were a bed for’em! Not all or many, mind…” She stops and stares at a different pile, and then scrunches up her face in annoyance. “Ghosts been showin’ up… things moved about, that sort of thing. I don’t know what to tell you, really.”

She looks from pile to pile, seemingly in pain and getting further frustrated at something. “Enough… You want to know what’s going on? Well, so would I!” Her voice quickly becomes shrill as she begins shouting, fists clenched and jaw set. “This year has been one of torment and I brook it no longer! There is evil and darkness and nothingness set in the very grains of sand at this shore, and nothing brings in the light!” The room begins to get very cold, and each breath Erimeyoma and Ouriana take can be seen to hang in the air on the exhale. The sun outside seems to darken slightly as Moira tenses and pulls herself in, shaking arms outstretched and pointing down with clenched fists, her trembling body starting to shudder with sobs as tears patter onto the floor at her feet.

What do you do?

Erimeyoma +15XP (110 Total XP)
Ouriana +15XP (120 Total XP)

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On the Road At Last pt. 8

As Talison and Ezra examine the coins from a distance, the banging on the door intensifies. Ezra sees the variety in the gold, from modern Somergleam and Korathi coins, to others far older. If only one could reach it…

Nix steps out confidently from behind the door and raises her hands in a peace-making motion. She quickly whispers to Ezra, stopping the Tiefling from salivating further at the hoard before him. “Ezra, go alert the others. I do not believe the Goblins will be the problem, and we’ve dealt with Bugbears before. They can be reasoned with.” She motions with her eyes for Ezra to move. “GO!” The Goblins look up at Nix and then turn to the Bugbear, who roars angrily. Taking a step forward, Nix speaks to the Goblins in Common. “Goblins! We fight together! Open the door!” She adopts a stance that shows her readiness to fight, her fingers flexing.

Ezra rushes along the corridor, meeting Darrin, Ero and the others as they return to the crevice having heard Nix shouting. They all drop down and rush to Nix’s side. The Goblins launch from the door, and the Bugbear struggles to keep it closed. Talison raises his hands to assure the Goblins approaching. “We are here to help!”
Theodore tightens his grip on his weapon, ready to draw.

The Bugbear then stumbles forward, falling to the ground. On the other side of the door, with lanterns hanging from hooks on their sash-like leather straps that cross their chests, a veritable horde of tightly-packed reptilian monsters burst forth, looking to fill the room. The third and fourth that spill into the room raise their spears and stab at the floored Bugbear. A glance suggests the next corridor is filled with them, and there is likely more than twenty or so of them.

Nix, with Darrin by her side watching her movements, slides her front foot back, raises it and stabs her heel into the ground in front of her as she points her arcane focus at a point in the middle. The Elfblood magician copies her, awkwardly dragging his foot back, lifting it so he is hopping, and then slamming it down to the ground again. While clumsy-looking to Nix’s trained eye, his movements were simply heavier and more stuttered so as to copy her. Before he can reflect on his performance, his hand feels as though it’s about to explode! He throws it forward, as thought trying to toss it away. Immediately, the aiir feels freezing cold in his palm, and his pain subsides as quickly as it came. Taking a sigh of relief, he lowers his hand in time to see past it to the doorway as two massive concussive blasts throw lizard creatures, Goblins and the Bugbear around. The noise is deafening, and the walls begin to shake violently.

Theodore and Ero push everyone out of the room, with Talison leading the way up the corridor back to the crevice. Everyone runs as fast as they can to get away from the oncoming horde of scale and claw. Perhaps the group was biting off more than they could chew.

What do you do?

The choice now, given these events, is whether or not to continue running out of the cave with your prisoner, or stay and fight from the crevice. You are all at the crevice, and the Goblins and Lizard folk are fighting each other instead of pursuing you… for now.

Talison +15XP ( Total XP)
Nix +20XP ( Total XP)
Darrin +20XP ( Total XP)
Ero +15XP ( Total XP)
Ezra +15XP ( Total XP)
Adrik +5XP ( Total XP)
Lorawyn +15XP ( Total XP)
Theodore +15XP ( Total XP)
Kain +5XP ( Total XP)

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Going Green pt. 3

Faal rises from his seat and sets out into the town. Conscious of the small encoded letter bearing the seal of his master, Argosolis, he makes his way to the temple of the Taihun. Even now, he wonders why Argosolis had sent him here. Perhaps on giving the letter, clarity will be achieved.

Picking his way through the various slip-streets and walkways between what would more accurately be described as stretches of building, rather than individual structures, Faal notes the change in smells. The heavy pang of lavender and Lillies surrounding the Taihun Temple makes the rest of the city seem like a faint memory. A beautiful water feature surrounds the temple and accents the small garden in the front. The building stretches up a small way, an explosion of wood and stone. Metal highlights flash in the midday sun, the bolts hammered flat and giving a watery reflection onto the pathway. A few bystanders look up and nod as Faal approaches, looks of serenity on their faces.

The large wooden doors lie ajar, and upon pushing one open the room within is bright, the creeping plants from outside slowly edging through the windows. Small insects buzz near these windows. The hall is not huge, but can comfortably seat a couple of hundred. Stools sit neatly stacked against one wall, and the clergy is performing a religious rite for a local. Seven robed Orcs, two of them hooded, perform the ceremony at the far end of the small hall. A pair of doors can be seen, one either side of the altar where the local is standing; a plain-clothed Orc man with a serious expression on his face.

As the ceremony concludes, the hooded pair close in on the local as the other five priests spread out and attend to various duties such as lighting candles or watering plants in tiny pots. One of the Orcs in robes approaches Faal, a look of curiosity on his face.
“You look so troubled. Are you seeking guidance?”

What do you do?

Faal +10XP (30 Total XP)

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Death Lake pt. 2

Knives, Lorrias and Gemscale, having approached the man, begin gagging on the fumes released from the decay around them. The Dragon takes in a sharp breath through his nose, sealing his nostrils. He gags on the smell but quickly recovers. The others, however, were not as lucky. ’Knives manages to handle peering into the pool after the man before keeling over and wretching. Lorrias looks ready to come to his aid but then clutches his sides too as the fumes begin to get the better of him.

HexFang, Aar, Zadkiel and Hyln watch from the sidelines, the heat radiating from the side of the lake making things blurry. They can see, however, that Knives and Lorrias have stood up again, and Knives picked up a glowing rock and threw it into the pool.

Gemscale then shouts for everyone to help him pull the man back out. Knives peers into the salty, murky pool, his glowing rock barely illuminating a few feet. It sinks, and the dark shadow of the submerged man is seen before the light fades from view entirely. The Tabaxi and the Dragon pull on the rope, easily wrenching the gent from his watery demise.

Coughing and spluttering, gasping for air and then wretching at the horrid stench and humidity, he manages to form words of ingratitude. “Why… why won’t you let me go? I have to save her! Let me go!”

What do you do?

Gemscale, Lorrias and ’Knives need to make Constitution saving throws (1d20 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus, if applicable)

Hexfang +10XP ( Total XP)
Gemscale +15XP ( Total XP)
Zadkiel +5XP ( Total XP)
Lorrias +10XP ( Total XP)
Hyln +10XP ( Total XP)
’Knives +15XP ( Total XP)

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On the Road At Last pt. 7

Nix peers down into the crevice. “If we take too long, they will wake up. Tie them up if you must…” Her curiosity then begins to get the better of her as her feet and arms seem to take her down towards the goblins. “We really should be go…. Ero… what’s that?”
Nix looks over the sleeping goblins and down the lower tunnel, eyeing the room. “There’s a door down here?”
“Yes, it appears so.” Ero then notices the look some of his companions are giving the golden glow. “… But let’s get some answers before we dive headlong into trouble. The day is young. Let’s take these little chaps out for some fresh air and a chat.”

One of the Goblins is handed up through the crevice and is manacled, being watched over by Lorawyn, Kain, his young companion, Ero, and Darrin, Adrik having stayed at the mouth of the cave before the submerged section; he didn’t want to leave his wolf behind, nor compel it to swim somewhere it cannot see. Talison, Theodore, Ezra and Nix decide to carefully explore further down the tunnel to the door.

Upon getting closer to the door, the sounds of grunting and growling can be heard. Through the crack of the opened door, the gold can be plainly seen. It looks real, and sits merely a few dozen feet away. A king’s ransom in coins and jewelry, some of it recent but much of it stained and coated in dirt. It looks like a lot of the pile was excavated. To the right, another door can be seen being pushed closed by a handful of goblins and a larger beast, possibly a Bugbear. The other side of the door, however, is being hammered by a chittering, gnashing force of unknown number. The Bugbear looks terrified.

What do you do?

Talison +10XP ( Total XP)
Nix +10XP ( Total XP)
Darrin +10XP ( Total XP)
Ero +10XP ( Total XP)
Ezra +10XP ( Total XP)
Adrik +5XP ( Total XP)
Lorawyn +5XP ( Total XP)
Theodore +15XP ( Total XP)
Kain +5XP ( Total XP)

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Haunted Fishing Village pt. 8

Ouriana finally takes a seat, allowing her guard to drop a little. “I followed rumours.” She looks around the room, catching each person’s eye. She makes sure everyone hears her clearly, but speaks softly. “I came alone.” She then shakes her head, trying to get the images of the last hour out of her mind. “… Didn’t take me long to find the darkness, even in the night…”

Eri moves her hand to comfort Ouriana, but stops short when she realises it may make the woman jump while she’s caught in her thoughts this way. “I also came alone. I’ve been told of the ghosts and I came to investigate.” She turns back to Tel. “How much did you see from your hiding place on that roof?”

Tel shares that she saw the birds, and then assumed the fight was with ‘spirits’, but she seems to have no idea that they are specifically evil, instead expounding upon the idea that they must have been disturbed by the restless ghost. Eri avoids giving details of the Imps, not wanting to panic the only people in town willing to talk. She then asks for more details about the ghost and the supposed curse; are they seen and felt in the same places? Who has seen what, and when?

Arth and Tel each give different accounts, but between them share that the last few months have seen many unfortunate things occur, with sounds, moving objects and failed fishing trips chief among them. Over the last few weeks, things have gotten worse. Spectres have been seen at night, with the last few days seeing people chased from their homes by ghosts. Moaning and banging can be heard throughout the village as midnight approaches, and few dare to return to their own homes, instead choosing to huddle in the improvised tavern and sleep on the floor.
Everyone in the village is beyond exhausted, and they want sleep more than anything. The only person that has refused to join everyone in the tavern is Moira, the local crone. Her husband died around a year ago, and since then has secluded herself. She plays an important role as den mother to the village, but her absence has been felt.

Arth thanks Erimeyoma and Ouriana for their presence, and for saving Tel. He suggests that everyone sleep in this main room tonight together, for protection, and then in the morning he will travel to Somergleam and look for someone who might help reunite Tel with her family.
“If you came here because of the restless spirits or curse having befallen our community, then I plead with you to please, help us! We are simple folk and few of us have much in the way of magical ken.”

He then hunkers down for the night, wrapping himself in many blankets and humming a tune to himself. After some needling from Tel, who is yet to get off her stool, he agrees to sing the song he’s humming. It’s a lengthy number, mostly about fishing on the high seas and returning home to care for the village with a bounty of fish and pearls. A few verses pertain to a lover on the shore, but those verses seem to be without resolution and the story never concludes there.

The morning comes and little else happened in the evening. The wind howled and blew through small holes and gaps in the wooden hut, but the blankets, sweets and song helped stave off the chill. As the dawn breaks, Arth returns from outside, having left while everyone was still asleep, with salted muscles, glazed trout eyes, and stewed cabbage in bowl-like wooden cups. “A gift from the sea! Dig in.” He seems extremely happy to be playing host, and sits with a satisfied throaty growl as the smells waft throughout the house.

After breakfast, Arth plans to head to Somergleam, possibly with Tel in tow to get her out of the village. He does, however, ask for the input of the two warriors, as he has little experience of such things.

What do you do?

Feel free to share a Bard’s Tale during the evening. This can be a story your character makes up, or that they’ve heard, or a piece of backstory from your character. Feel free to embelish and don’t be afraid to make mistakes; any incongruities with the campaign world, like distances, place names, historical figures, etc. can be explained away by artistic license in service to telling a good story.

Erimeyoma +10XP (95 Total XP)
Ouriana +10XP (105 Total XP)

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Somergleam Stopoff pt. 3

Cosima leaps from the second story building, catching herself on a window box and spinning in the air as she flies towards the masked murderer. Laucian dodges to one side to avoid the seemingly gliding Gnome, and reaches with outstretched hand, grabbing the collar of the man.
“I meant stay put, you idiot!”
He pulls sharply and falls backwards into the stone, twisting his body and disappearing completely. The sound of grinding stone accompanies his disappearance, and the torn scrap of fabric from his cloak sits in Laucian’s fist.

The wall looks completely solid. It is currently unknown how the man escaped, or how to follow him. He did, however, leave behind the parting gift of his bloodied blade on the ground.

Fallo narrows his eyes shrewdly at the young halfling trying to fence the plain-looking dagger. “It’s only four coins for a bargain price, sir!” Her voice is shrill, like a wobbly songbird. He raises his eyebrow, making it clear that this half-finished offcut from a local blacksmith is not, under any circumstances, being mistaken for the lost blade of Gleambane. As she skulks away, tucking the metal bar under her cloak and pulling her hood up, an older looking human passes her by, flashing a few hand gestures and passing a small coinpurse.

Recognising the gestures, Fallo realised that this girl was not a mere charlatan, but is in fact in with the local guild. The reputation of the Cursed Children didn’t travel far, but the nearby villages on his travels here spoke of the nuisance that is the local Thieves Guild.

It seems the older gentleman noticed the flash of recognition in Fallo’s eyes, and he stands behind him, facing away, and speaks in a broken form of common.
“‘Ere to fetch a bucket, lad? Got’em five to a copse, no word of a lie.” He then turns his head to get the merest glimpse of Fallo’s face, to see if what he said registered at all.

It takes a moment to parse the local variant, but Fallo recognises that the man is asking if he’s wanting to meet any local members, and that it will cost him 5 copper pieces for the priviledge.

What do you do?

Cosima +15XP (70 Total XP)
Laucian +15XP (30 Total XP)
Fallo +0XP (0 Total XP)

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Death Lake

The sight of the weathered and upset man tying himself to the rock struck the party as somewhat odd; some are frightened, others curious, but all seem to have concern for the man.

Knives and Lorrias move quickly between the rotting bodies and get close to the man, yelling variations on “Why?” and “Stop!” while the Dragons also call from a distance. As they get closer, Lorrias readies a spell to incapacitate him, but before he can get close enough the man jumps up, arms by his sides and legs together, and nudges forward. He lands into the lake with a splash, the rope being pulled from its coil by the side of the rock. It seems there is quite a length of rope there, enough for a dangerous depth. The end of the rope is tied to the rock.

From what can be seen, the other end being tied to the rock suggests the man wants to find his way back up at some point. Perhaps this isn’t a suicide attempt. The water smells awful, and incredibly salty. It bubbles slightly, and a green-white froth sits at the edges. The water looks very blue, but also full of dust and sand to the point that it’s hard to see more than a few iches in depth. From what can be seen, the man is gone.

What do you do?

Lorrias and Knives need to make Constitution saving throws (1d20 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus, if applicable)

Hexfang +10XP
Gemscale +10XP
Zadkiel +5XP
Aar +5XP
Lorrias +10XP
Hyln +10XP
Knives +10XP

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On the Road At Last pt. 6

Nix hears the sloshing of the water and is told of the flood at the end of the corridor, and that the other side should be reachable in only a few feet, a second or two of sumbersion. She grins at everyone, and presses forward, leading the way.

Darrin hears the slapping scurry of bare feet on stone, followed by a distant but audible shout of syllables in a strange language. It seems the Goblin is calling for help. He begins singing one of his mother’s lullabies, as loudly yet sweetly as he can. The Goblins scrabble up out of the crevice one by one, obviously armed and aggressive; Darrin continues his singing, letting them get closer before standing quickly and throwing his hand into the face of the nearest Goblin. It shrieks in shock at first and stops in its tracks, before stumbling backwards and blinking rapidly. It spins as it tumbles back into the crevice, taking two more of his no unconscious allies with him.

Darrin approaches the crevice, and peering down sees the sleeping bodies of three Goblins. Shifting slightly, he can see that below is another tunnel, and that some more Goblins are waiting just out of sight, their feet visible at the extremes of the angles he’s able to reach without putting his head entirely down the hole.

As the party dive into the freezing cold water and back out the other side, they find detritus from outside floating alongside them, along with cut ropes near a stalactite. Singing can be heard from down one of the many tunnels that can be seen, some of which are submerged but the singing leads Ero towards the sound. Weapons drawn again, the party moves down the hundreds of feet of twisting tunnel until they reach Darrin, lying on the ground near a hole in the floor. His singing is then punctuated by the sound of bodies hitting the floor.
Seeing Darrin, Nix nudges the large people around her. “Pull him out of there and let us get out of this place!”
“Darrin!” Ero hisses into Darrin’s half-elven ear, “Let’s get out of here, my friend!”

“E…Ero?” Darrin stops mid song, turning to face the Aasimar. A grin spreads gratefully across his face. “Ero! How the hell did you find me? And you brought the others too, good show! I’ve incapacitated a few of these pains in the posterior. They’re bottlenecked through a passage up ahead; I think I might have got quite a few of them though. Fancy pushing forward and seeing what compensation they might offer for my inconvenience; willingly or otherwise?”
“We came loaded for search and rescue, not smash and grab. Another time, maybe.” Ero responds, and then drops down into the crevice to take advantage of the unconscious Goblins and their unguarded coin purses. Throwing them up to Darrin, he then grabs the handholds and begins climbing up again. As he does, however, he is distracted by a faint orange glow at the far end of the new tunnel. Looking down, he sees a half-closed door and behind it, through the crack, he sees a veritable mountain of gold lit by oil lamps and candles. Riches for a lifetime, simply dumped in a pile and sitting merely a hundred feet away. Perhaps life in this world could be made shorter with the purchase of the right materials to get home, or made sweeter with the promise of comfort and nightly song.

Ezra impatiently waits at the top of the crevice, contemplating chiding Ero for taking so long, but she’s too busy getting dry after she, Theodore and Ero took turns dunking each other while waiting for everyone else to climb out and get dry enough to continue without shivering.

What do you do?

Talison +10XP
Nix +10XP
Darrin +10XP
Ero +10XP
Ezra +10XP
Adrik +5XP
Lorawyn +5XP
Theodore +15XP
Kain +5XP

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To Gorgek

Knives’ face falls and he looks intently at his claws. He thought he was jumping in to serve justice, but the situation seems to have been dismissed. He turns to the others. “Hmm… What now?”
Hyln turns his whole massive body to Knives, watching his own foot as he absently kicks at the dirt a little. “Tuhril says we should leave now. I agree. This… uproar…” he struggles to find appropriate words, “.. Was not good. We should not spend further time here.”

Once on the road, Gemscales shares that he’s glad to be travelling again and away from prying eyes. HexFang remains silent for most of the journey. Knives broods over his actions, wondering if he in fact acted too rashly. He did apprehend an accused thief, who took violent action upon his accusation, but there was no satisfying end, no finality to the situation that vindicated the use of violence. This troubled the Tabaxi for some time.

Opting instead to head straight for Gorgek, the group travels south for eight days and nights before reaching Death Lake. Upon reaching the area, it is plain to see why the lake gets its name; around it lie the rotting carcasses of fish and plants. The smell is horrendous, and the sun seems brighter and warmer here. No trees or other plants seem to grow nearby, instead leaving the ground a dusty sand-like substance. It’s almost impossible to get close without gagging, and faint stains of dry vomit can be seen a few feet ahead.

The occassional dead body of a humanoid can be seen, and drag marks are all around show that this is a place people visit and either bring things or take them away. A pair of wagons parked close together, a few hundred feet away on the flat plane, play backdrop to a scene of two Orcs dragging the body of what looks like a Lizardman, although it could be a Dragonborn. They dump it amongst the rotting carcasses and return to their wagons.

In the middle of this mire of rot stands a man by the side of the lake itself. A series of spiked rocks jut out from the ground around the lake, like teeth around a maw. The man is tying rope around himself, and then the rock, and heavy sobbing can be heard.

Gorgek lies a few days to the east.

What do you do?

Hexfang +10XP
Gemscale +10XP
Zadkiel +5XP
Aar +5XP
Lorrias +5XP
Hyln +10XP
Knives +15XP

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