Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Memento Mori

The dwarf awoke, as so often, staring up at a wooden ceiling. He wondered where he was as he listened to the sounds of movement nearby. The back room of a tavern? His nose scanned for the scent of brewing, but found none. Maybe the cellar of a market – somebody was shouting, and he heard what sounded like sacks of grain being tossed around roughly. Or a stable – lots of grunting, wheezing, and clanking going on around him.

The dwarf, who could not remember his own name just yet, licked his lips to see whether he had been drinking the night before. At once his eyes narrowed, adrenaline coursed through his frame, and on instinct he rolled to his right, just avoiding a blast that singed the floor where he had lain. Rolling onto his stomach he sprang to his feet to find himself facing a gruesome floating ball of flesh covered with eyestalks. A Beholder, he knew it to be. It was injured, and it seemed to be surrounded by all manner of other armed creatures.

As the dwarf tried to decide whether to attack or defend the monstrosity, the Beholder was beset by arrows, fire, lightning blasts, and a powerful swing from a massive Dragonborn who seemed familiar. A halfling-sized creature even stabbed at the Beholder’s fierce central eye with a dagger. But the dangerous spheroid, fighting for its life now, sent rays in all directions from its eyestalks. One of its antagonists fell unconscious while another, a woman, ran away screaming in fear.

The dwarf picked a side, more from instinct than analysis. Without serious injury and heavily armored, he tried to distract the Beholder away from the fallen warrior, as did the Dragonborn, but to no avail – another blast from an eyestalk killed the poor wretch. The dwarf, enraged, swung at the round monster but missed. As he shifted around looking for an opening, he spotted a female in the distance, who calmly sent a missilelike spell at the Beholder, ending its life and the battle.

A slap on the back from the Dragonborn surprised him. “All good, Barrick?” Barrick – he knew that name, he was sure of it. “All good, all good.” The female who had killed the Beholder walked up and looked him in the eyes, and called out “Z’alden, can you come, looks like another concussion. Sit down, my friend, sit down.”


The dwarf came to, finding himself standing, fully armored, in an embrace with a huge humanoid. Probably another happy drunk. He himself tended towards glumness and archness, but some others grew hug-happy, he well knew. Had it been ale or mead this time? He noticed two women in the background, both pointing at him and his buddy. He became aware of a unique bitterness, and reacted by swinging his helmeted head at what he now knew to be his assailant’s face. He missed, being too short and without any real strength in his legs, but the two women, apparently spellcasters both, each hit the creature with magic blasts, and the brute fell dead at the dwarf’s feet.

He wasn’t sure he recognized the women, but he now knew what side he was on – theirs. The crowd was large and active, but the dwarf had an intuitive grasp of the situation from body language and defensive tactics. The main threats were another humanoid like the one just killed, and a huge Beholder doling out deadly magic from its eyestalks. He watched as a halfling-sized creature attacked the humanoid with a dagger. He thought that would be the death of the pint-sized braveheart, but just then a projectile of some sort threaded the Beholder’s eyestalks and struck the neck of the humanoid, who fell gurgling to his painful death.

Meanwhile an enormous Dragonborn was standing over a fallen human, fending off bites from the Beholder while laying hands on the human in a healing ritual. This was someone worth fighting next to! The dwarf sprang into action, twirling his axe like a baton at the horrid ball of flesh until one of the eyestalks blasted him onto his back, senseless. The dwarf sensed no more.


The dwarf came to consciousness facing a very large humanoid whom he did not recognize. He wondered whether they were friends. He – the dwarf – was holding a shield in one hand, and axe in the other, and in his axe hand also an eye at the end of a thin rope. He knew this must be a drinking game, but could not think of the name of the game, or exactly how it went. It appeared that the stranger was holding him by each of its powerful hands, and before he could react he found himself flipped upside-down and smashed onto the wooden floor. The dwarf sensed no more.


The dwarf, coming to his senses slowly, could tell he was held by a powerful creature who wished him no good. He saw magic blasts careening overhead as the woman who sent them turned invisible. He saw a great blob of flesh with one big angry eye and several smaller eyes at the ends of appendages, bobbing around chaotically and shooting rays at the many warriors within a few steps. One of these rays struck the dwarf full in the face, and he realized he wanted to defend the great ball of lovely flesh, to find the invisible woman and kill her, or maybe to kill a different woman, who had just been knocked unconscious by another ray, or maybe to kill the giant Dragonborn fighting nearby.

Held fast by an unseen creature and unable to move to do any of this killing, the dwarf had a chance to notice the taste of blood in his mouth. Immediately realizing the danger he was in, his focus returned, and he perceived the blob of flesh for what it was, a horrific and dangerous enemy. Though immobile, he managed to surprise the great round beast, and even cut off one of its many eyestalks, which in falling wrapped itself around his axe handle. Suddenly the gruesome thing disappeared completely. He turned his attention to the strong humanoid holding him, getting in a shot at his knees. But the brute did not buckle, instead lifting the dwarf like a sack of grain and bringing him down hard on his head. The dwarf sensed no more.


The dwarf struggled to clear his head. He sensed commotion around him, but what was going on? He watched as a flaming sphere appeared from out of nowhere in the midst of several huge humanoid creatures. What was that all about? It looked like some magic blasts were being shot around the high-ceilinged room. One of the humanoids picked up a smaller being and pile-drove in into the floor. A bar fight getting out of hand? The dwarf tasted not ale, but rather his own blood, and that had the usual effect. Adrenaline flowed, and the dwarf struck out at one of the humanoids, stopped the creature in its tracks, then leapt to his feet. Enraged now, dwarven blood pumping to every muscle and fiber, he spun his axe viciously at the two figures nearest him.

The dwarf noticed a bulbous Beholder nearby, shooting rays from its eyestalks at a motley crew fighting against it. One of this crew, a female, killed a cleric hiding behind the Beholder with a fire blast, but at the same time one of the humanoids killed a smaller creature. A halfling-sized creature shot off one of the Beholder’s eyestalks with a crossbow, but one of the humanoids kicked another woman in the head, knocking her unconscious. And so on.

Suddenly a huge Dragonborn approached the dwarf and yelled “Barrick – amulet?” Crouching defensively, Barrick – if that was indeed his name – readied his shield for the blow that he expected. “Barrick – amulet!” came another shout from the impatient giant. The dwarf realized that no foe would know his name, and tossed over the necklace he was wearing. This seemed to satisfy his apparent ally, who strode confidently towards the Beholder. Whatever the amulet was supposed to do, it apparently did not; the Dragonborn soon flew away, howling in fear, victim of one of the eyestalks’ rays.

While he watched this display, the dwarf was grabbed from behind by one of the humanoids and dragged into a melee. Fully energized by now, he managed to strike his assailant and two others, break free of the grab. He pushed two of them into a nearby fire, and killed the third outright with an axe blow to the neck! Seeing the Beholder attack a prone human, he got in a lick or two, then watched as the Dragonborn, free from his psychic torture, threw everything he had at the many-eyed monstrosity. Watching too much and moving too little, he was hit in the head by one of the humanoids. The dwarf sensed no more.


The dwarf felt soothed by the healing touch of a woman, a strange woman. As he looked around, he spotted an enormous Dragonborn breathing fire on a handful of tough-looking humanoid figures. One of these, angered by the attack, jumped at the dwarf and kicked him in the head. The dwarf sensed no more.


The campaign had not started well for the dwarf Barrick. After a long planning session, he and Felsmon had had a go at the guards on the castle’s parapets, but Barrick missed his mark, and needed help from his comrades. Happens sometimes, he knew.

His companions were at their best, though. After Rift had magicked the castle’s big doors in half, Felsmon cowed an entire roomful of orcs and goblins (lackeys and minions all) by spreading his wings and bellowing like, well, a dragon. Clever Tira figured out which room would contain the antidote that would give them back their lives, and Z’alden found it there, and doled it out. They together organized the defenses: dead orcs as fake sentries, mines, and so on, with Rift casting locks at the most important points. The group tried to rest before the battle they knew was coming.

Despite their best attempts, they missed a secret door, and through it burst 4 powerful-looking humanoid figures. Barrick just had time to grab his weapons, and to bite down hard on his tongue.

The dwarf had long ago undergone training in BattleRage, and had recently once again taken up the practice of self-mutivation, as it was called. The simple technique of biting his tongue hard enough to draw blood worked for any dwarf, although other creatures had their own techniques. In a dwarf, a tongue wound would heal within an hour, but the taste of blood in the mouth would meanwhile elevate adrenaline, dull pain, focus the mind, heighten the senses, and produce a rage that could be directed at enemies with shocking results. Of course, he had tasted lots of blood besides his own. Many an axe blow had splashed orc blood onto his face, and he had bitten some 50 or 75 foes through the years. But dwarf blood tasted different from any other, bitter, not so salty, unique.

For Barrick, who had been fighting for what seemed like a hundred years, the technique had another advantage. He knew the taste of his own blood better than he knew his own name, and he knew what it meant. In the fog of drunkenness, or during the temporary amnesia after getting his bell rung, or sometimes even in the weakness of having his mind controlled by an enemy, the taste of his own blood produced the sudden realization that his own death was waiting for him, perhaps only seconds away. More times than he could count, this taste had spurred him to quick action, and kept his mortality at bay.

He bit down hard now, as the second Humanoid through the door grabbed him, upended him, and pile-drived him to the ground. The dwarf sensed no more.


Comments

Congratulations once again, adventurers. You have succeeded where many would have perished, never to have history record their final efforts. The evil known as Xathros is dead and with that so too are his only surmised plans to open the world of light to the Underdark. Now you are true heroes of the Nentir Vale and word of your deeds is beginning to spread throughout the lands, over hill and down stream. Many an adventurer may rejoice at this as the good creatures celebrate you, but you know that evil lurks in these lands too. The evil also listen and learn of your deeds. They do not smile openly, but rather brood, plot and plan. Darkness and enmity fill their minds.

The mysterious wizard island is now your refuge from the rest of the world. Above the rocky shore, its tower stands tall, looking out over Lake Nen and beyond. Its walls are thick and strong. Its gates are secured with the additional protection of the conjured black knight and gargoyles that sit at the ready, waiting to suppress enemy flight. The stone, metal and magic are warmed by the presence of new friends, who will keep the castle not only safe but keep it as a home. Monica and Lars, the elven cleric and the dwarven warrior, make it their mission to keep the castle armed and at the ready. The keen eyes of the ranger, Rajel, make sure no approach goes unnoticed, be it by sea or upon the island’s grounds. This is all held stronger by the lucky little halfling, Stewart Percy Lowell Underhill Glenfarm, who merrily goes about his chores, keeping the castle tidy and well stocked. The smell of freshly baked cookies frequently wafts from his kitchen. With the underground chambers cleared and blessed, no evil returns. All those inhabiting the castle freely partake in the cavern’s warm waters under the light of naturally gentle glowing rock walls.

Secret chambers hint at the castle’s mysterious past. What other secrets does the castle hold? Further still, the presence of the iris sometimes draws long thoughts from the inhabitants. For the more cautious types, it is almost like a sword dangling above their comfortable bed. So too are thoughts of the wizard that constructed the castle. Nothing is known of his origins nor his fate. To build such a fine castle that can be a welcoming home, yet to have such a thin border to the dread power of the Underdark.

The most recent battles saw destruction of a hoard of orcs and goblins, the demise of four muscle-bound body guards, an evil cleric and the eye tyrant, Xathros. The quest is complete and with the survival of Steward, Rajel, Monica and Lars, the adventurers have learned much indeed. This is worth 5,100 experience points per adventurer (accounting for NPCs, who fought effectively this time). Each adventurer should now have 70,397 experience points. Welcome to 16th level!

Memento Mori
 

Before making the antidote for Stewart, Z’alden cares for the bodies of Merrofend and Colefend using Gentle Repose. After finishing the antidote, he uses the ritual of disenchantment to extract from his old enchanted crossbow its magical essence of residuum. This arcane essence, combined with the other ritual components he has on hand, should be enough to return to life both Fends.

OOC: 2 heroic tier = 1000 gp for Raise Dead. Z’alden has 800 in components + 200 in residuum after disenchanting the Level 5 +1 crossbow.

The total work will take several days. After those days pass, Z’alden strips the little chapel and consecrates it to the gods. He makes a special place of honor for the statue of Bahamut that he has carried since the adventures in Winterhaven. Next to Bahamut, in place of submission, he places a mark of Tiamat, saying “Vengeance must always be secondary to Justice.” He makes a large consecration for each of the gods that his comrades worship, saying, “It shall be a place for us all and for any of good heart who come here.” All of the good gods are acknowledged in this chapel.

After the chapel is consecrated, he calls Felsmon, Rift, Tira, and Barrick together.
“My friends, in the last few days, we have made two pacts with evil. We fought against one who meant us no harm while we were in the service of evil. I, for one, must atone, and the gods would surely welcome an offering from all of us. I believe we should use some of our treasure findings here to rebuild Nenlast, the village of Monica and Lars. What say you?”

DM: how much would it cost to rebuild the village?

Memento Mori
 

As Z’alden toils to raise Merrofend and Kolfend, the others go about restoring the castle to a satisfactory state. Abused chairs and tables are expertly rebuilt by the dwarf, Barrick, while Tira turns her eye to the decor, mending tapestries and upholstery. Somehow, Monica and Rajel get stuck with all the cleaning and washing while Felsmon, Rift and Lars reprogram the black knight. Now the when enchanted guardian gives forth his challenge to all those that step upon the bridge, he lets pass those who have the correct response. Unfortunately the gargoyles resist all reprogramming and even when Felsmon approaches from the sky, he is rebuffed by their teeth and talons.

Still, for those other than Z’alden, there is much time to relax and be rejuvenated. The caverns that sit below the castle are cleared and blessed, now free of nasty slaads, ropers and bugs. The warm waters are inviting and the adventurers wonder just what may be heating the cool blue waters of Lake Nen that surround the island. Their minds do not ponder this for long as they continue to explore and enjoy their new home.

[Adventurers: Do you seal off the troll entrance to the caverns? Or perhaps reconstruct it as a secret entrance or exit?]

Despite the island being very small, it is fairly tough to explore. Much of it very rocky, with large boulders and piles of stone. Between the rocks there are thick shrubberies that when fought through reveal small gaps that lead down into blackness, leading the adventurers to think that there may yet be other places on this island to be explored. Though much of the island is difficult to navigate, there are a few spots of level ground, with good soil and healthy trees, whose leave quake in the breeze. Sunlight that shines through the canopy quiets the adventurers wanderlust, replacing it with the feeling that a nap is needed. As one lays beneath the green and golden leaves, the sound of the waves crashing upon the rocky shores is seemingly so distant, both physically and in time, as the memory of the dashed boats fades. One sandy beach is apparent. Although wide, the ground retreats slowly into the waters, making it unsuitable for landing anything but smaller boats.

Z’alden will soon have the unlucky men of the North made lucky again – to breath once more and to return to their families. With this anticipation, the rest of the adventurers ready the boats for a return to Nenlast. Rift guarantees a favorable wind.

Memento Mori
 

While clearing the caverns, you find 7 more jewels of arcane focus:

Jewel of Arcane Focus
Pause in the moment to gather greater powers to come later.
Power (Consumable): Standard. Expend this item over the course of a standard action. In the caster’s next round (or action taken during an action point), any at-will attack is tripled in power, either in the number of attacks or damage, caster’s choice. When tripling attacks, one, two or three distinct targets can be selected. To triple damage, compute damage normally and then multiply the result by three. This jewel only aides arcane powers.

Memento Mori
 

With Merrofend and Kolfend returned to the living and once again in full health, the adventurers board their boats to return to Nenlast, which just a few weeks ago lay in near total ruin. Rajel and Stewart insist on staying behind to keep the castle safe. With their old home destroyed, Monica and Lars promise to return to the castle, their new home, after a somber visit to their friends of Nenlast. They wish to let their friends know that they are now safe and to help as best they can.

With Rift’s help, the voyage across Lake Nen goes quickly and uneventfully. The kraken is nowhere to be seen.

When arriving at the docks, the adventurers see that little has changed. Though the smoke is gone, the surviving townsfolk still despair. Z’alden’s presence is strong and soon a crowd gathers around him. He can see hope in their eyes but he knows not how to help them. All the riches of the castle cannot undo this damage for there is simply too much to rebuild. Money matters not for it is sweat and labor that are required. There are too few. Z’alden does not want to tell them of this truth and never before have the hefty coins in his pocket felt so insubstantial.

With sorrow in his eyes, Z’alden looks toward the sky above the sea with a thought to Bahamut. It is then that he sees three sails upon the water. Merrofend notices the cleric’s focused attention and looks as well. “Ships of my brothers!”, shouts Merrofend, “They fly my brothers’ flags!” The adventurers and townsfolk rush to the shores and wait a seeming eternity as the sails grow larger and larger. Indeed the ships carry more men of the North, plus a friend familiar to the five adventures. The ranger Erik sits among the rowers.

When the ships reach the docks, a particularly strong man bellows his arrival, “I am Hammerfand, son of Glenfand, brother of Norfand, whom I seek. May we walk upon your soil?”

[Adventurers: What do you do?]

Memento Mori
 

As the imposing figure of Hammerfand stands before the crowd, commanding attention, Tira’s mind is suddenly drawn away. She has a dark urge to topple him into the water – or worse. She tries to shake this off and at first blames it on her inherently chaotic nature, but there is something more to it. An impish voice in the back of her mind whispers, “Not yet, he is not the one.” She finds her right hand feeling the pouch where the Deck of Many Things was once ensconced. Now there is an itch which she somehow understands will only grow with time.

[Tira: What do you do? Just smile and continue on?]

Memento Mori
 

“Good people of Nenlast, let us welcome this brother of Norfand, and let the tale of his bravery be told far and wide.” Z’alden steps forward to greet Hammerfand. “I am Zenithar son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut, and comrade to your noble brother Norfand, may the gods rest his soul. You and your men should come ashore and hear the tale of your brother’s bravery. It may hearten you and these good folk from whom so much has been taken.”

Z’alden eyes the men and his poor dim brain tries to do a calculation. With those he sees on the boat, could an inn and tavern be raised in just a few days? A tavern that served a heartening dark beverage would go a long way to restoring the fallen town of Nenlast. A few thousand gold should cover the workers and getting the trees felled and shaped from the nearby forest. But, is the cleric’s idea one wing short of flight?

Memento Mori
 

As Tira’s hand moves slowly from the now empty pouch to the dagger hanging on her belt, her mind is filled with multiple “what if” scenarios. She nods almost imperceptibly as she finally agrees, “No, not yet.”

Tira cares little for the gold Z’alden is trying to use on the ruins of the town, but she does not really want to stay for weeks with a hammer in her hand. Building things creates order, which, whilst necessary, is not nearly as fun as blasting things, creating chaos. But she can tell that this is important to her friend, so she keeps her feelings to herself. For now.

Memento Mori
 

As his men steady the boat Hammerfand steps onto the dock. His figure is impressive, standing just north of a staff and a quarter tall; and he is not lean either by measure of how the boat rises upward when he steps out of it and the creaking of the dock’s planks.

Hammerfand speaks: “Z’alden, Son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut, thank you for your greetings, but word of my brother’s death leaves me greatly saddened. I trust that he died with honor, fists clenched around his great sword. Let us speak of that later, for we still have people in need. The battle is not won until everyone has a working plow and a kettle in which to cook their meat.”

With that, the folk of Nenlast rejoice and quickly move to help secure the boats. One by one, the men of the Northlands step upon the dock and make their way to dry land, all the while proudly observed by Hammerfand. They too are strong men, wielding axes and long swords.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the first. “I am Stonefand, eldest son of Hammerfand, slayer of Grak the Invincible.” He then walks on past to stand next to his father and watch the others.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the second. “I am Blerkfend, son of Oxenfand, champion of the plow pull, slayer of Grak the Invincible’s wizard.” He then joins his place next to Hammerfand and Stonefand.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the third. “I am Blurkfand, son of Oxenfand, champion of the plow toss, slayer of Grak the Invincible’s two clerics.” He then joins his place next to his clan.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the fourth. “I am Krimmerfand, son of Klemtofand, dispatcher of twelve orcs of the Brood tribe and champion of the orc head toss.” He then stands next to Oxenfand and waits for the others.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the fifth. “I am Mournfand, son of Blackfand, champion of the hunt and slayer of the great white bugbear.” He then joins the others.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the sixth. "I am Weazelfend, son of Grunzenfend, slayer the great kobold chieftain Nooborish, his shaman Nunskil, and seven of his clan. He joins the others.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the seventh. "I am Crussalfend, son of Grunzenfend, co-victor of the victory against the great kobold chieftain Nooborish, and the slayer of their Nooborish’s first lieutenant. He joins the others.

“Greetings Z’alden, son of Denithar, cleric of Bahamut,” says the eighth and hardest looking of the hard men of the Northlands. He pauses to feel the crowd. “I am Maelfend, son of Murrokfend, champion of the sword and the shield, lone slayer of the mighty Orc warrior Mogroth in vengeance for my father’s death at his hand. I sense that you too have a great enmity toward orcs. My hand is your hand.” With that, he strides past the others and grabs a wood axe. “Let us not be idle!”

The nine of the Northlands move toward the town to inspect the damage and assess the repairs required. Behind them, three others leave the boats. One introduces himself simply as “Glazerak, cleric of Hammerfand”. When asked, another greets the adventurers and townsfolk as Primorean, wizard of Hammerfand. Tira and Rift cast a second eye upon this one. Though small in stature and demeanor, there is something more to him. Not sensing malice, they are quickly drawn to the final person to leave the boat – Erik.

They can see in his eyes that he has seen troubles as bad as theirs. He indicates that his trip north to find Hammerfand had some detours and that Dourinda was lost to the wilds during an ambush by some stone giants. Her fate is unclear but undoubtedly bad. Erik expresses guilt at not being able to save her nor the two guards who were quickly killed outright by the giants.

Luck would have it that Erik is fluent in the language of the giants, and after the battle, when Erik tracked them to attempt a rescue of Dourinda, he crept upon their camp and overheard terrible news. With this information, Erik pulls Felsmon aside to tell of those words.

After the inspection, Hammerfand says that for the price of sharp axes and meat upon the table, he and his men can have the inn, tavern and stables rebuilt with in a fortnight. They will start with the stables for they need the use of the blacksmith’s anvil to forge strong nails and binders. Then they will work on the tavern and the inn. The houses are another question and they request 100 gold per roof, 250 per wall and 1000 per house. This seems very high, but they mention the need back home for more oxen and plows. They also ask for an unlimited supply of meat, ale and water.

Memento Mori
 

Z’alden laughs heartily, “Hammerfand, it will be well that you are here with your men to help these people rebuild. But, these are folks of modest means. I think something may have been lost in translation. I am sure you mean 100 _*silver* per roof, 250 per wall and 1000 per house. No common person could possibly hope to afford a house at more than 2000 gold pieces! Why a comman man here might make 1 gold piece in a month. Yes, I am sure that we have been confused by our speaking.”

Holding up a silver piece, Z’alden says, “it is this coin that you would meaning, yes?”

Memento Mori
 

Hammerfand looks very serious and replies, “You are the one who misunderstands, my good cleric. Not 2000 for a complete house. We ask 1000 for a complete house, 250 for a house that still stands yet needs one wall and 100 for a house that only needs a roof. Remember, my friend, every day we stand here, our fields grow fallow. Our women grow more worried. Our villages do not have our protection. It is not just that a piece of gold is spent here, but that a piece of gold is lost there. Surely you have the wealth. Why do keep it held so tight?”

At this point Erik steps forward. “Hammerfand, your points are fair, but your price is not in line with what should be offered in recompense for simple houses. In addition, though you and your men are indeed strong and surely fine craftsmen, the little dwarf here is, well, perhaps more than a match for any of your men with an axe, be it against a giant or a tall tree. You know, dwarves are known for their construction skills throughout all the lands. With you, the village can indeed be rebuilt faster but I’ll bet not much faster and no better than by the little dwarf, the clumsy dragonborn and a tree-hugging ranger.”

With that Hammerfand grows visibly annoyed, but luck is on Erik’s side for Hammerfand has journeyed across both land and water with Erik and in that time has grown to respect the ranger. He brashly replies, “One gold piece a month? Hardly. Most houses are built for free, by the owner or the community. What is the price of a house? Our price is fair for our skills, the urgency and the cost and risk to our families back home. However, since you have shared my brother’s blood, we will do the work for half of what originally asked and half of what I should receive. This is a quarter of what you misunderstood. There are many miles I must travel and we will not debate further.”

Hammerfand, studies the lines and scars upon Barrick. He shifts his stance and looks puzzled and a little less confident. It looks as if he hasn’t had many encounters with dwarves.

What do you do?

Memento Mori
 

[OOC: How many complete houses are we talking about? 10,20? The village probably isn’t that big.]

Memento Mori
 

[Estimate: maybe 10 fully destroyed, 20 with severe roof damage (not really livable), 5 with major roof and wall damage.]

Memento Mori
 

After the inn and village construction is underway, Z’alden will venture to Hammerfall with whomever wants to go. He will procure ale and foodstuffs for the inn, and also ritual components and supplies for making an assortment of Whetstones, arrows, bolts, potions, and elixirs.

He proposes to his friends that, from their Castle treasury, they spend 12,000 gp on such consumable magic items. That should get about two items for each of us. If others think we should spend more and make more, Z’alden is open to that.

Memento Mori
 

The cleric eyes Hammerfand, “Ha, again you tell good jokes! Norfand told us of your farming and fields – the villages that you blunder are your fields and the axes you carry are your plows. Let us be at peace here, though, and restore hope in short order to these of Nenlast. The price is agreed.”

[Total cost from the Castle treasury seems to be 15,000 gp, so with cost overruns 17,500 gp.]

Memento Mori
 

Hammerfand looks directly and very sternly at Z’alden. “You are very brave, cleric. I like that!” His mouth draws into a wide smile and he slaps the cleric on the back, quite hard. “Yes, we are very proud of our farms and village life. The coins we find here will be well spent on repairs for our equipment and elixirs for our people. Plus, those wizards and clerics we employ don’t come cheap – no offense intended.” He laughs and begins to direct his men who have already stacked their weapons and selected wood axes from the locals.

Even within a few hours the first trees are on the ground with branches cleared. Horses are pulling them back to the village where some of Hammerfand’s men are ready at the water wheel, which drives an impressive saw to cut the trees into shape. Merrofend and Kolfend work the anvil making nails and custom shaped brackets. The more skilled villagers pitch in mightily, clearing out more debris and guiding the horses.

Weeks will go by as everyone toils away. The strong men of the north are motivated by the good deed they are performing and the urge to return home. The townsfolk of Nenlast have hope. They know that in short time the village will look much like it once did, at least in architecture. Memories of the fallen will never go away, but the survivors want it that way.

Monica and Lars stay as long as they are needed. They will say goodbye to their friends, at least for now. Their home will be repaired, but not for them. Their new home and allegiance is the castle on Wizard Island.

Memento Mori
rplayer BergRick

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