Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Into the Horned Hold

The adventurers enter the duergar stronghold

That evening I finally cornered the enigmatic young Felsmon. He was unable to make his usual departing excuses because of a promise to Z’alden to carry Barrick from the public house back to the inn after the latter had inevitably fallen asleep under the table, his beard matted with grease and spilled mead and, maybe, blood. Seems the group was to make a foray to a graveyard early the next morning, and this was the only way to ensure that Barrick could actually be located at sunup, prone as he was to late-night drunkards’ walks if the barkeep turned him out.

Felsmon glowered down at me, though I stood while he sat. No, he wouldn’t accept a drink from me. No, he hadn’t seen Rift, or Erik, or even Z’alden that evening. No, he hadn’t been waiting a long time to tell me his story, in fact I could visit Asmodeus for all he cared, and take my pen, ink, and scroll with me. His was a threatening presence in the tavern, never touching a drop but glaring at any who walked past. His companion, Barrick, tried to hold his head up for one more pint, or maybe three, humming a tune that I had oft heard of late.

I had researched dragonborn culture in preparation for this long-delayed interview, and I knew that their warriors were especially desirous of the fame that accompanies their feats of battle prowess. “Felsmon”, I said, “I seek only to make you famous. What could be better than people singing your praises because I wrote that you killed hordes of orcs in dire circumstances?”

The intense youngster narrowed his eyes. “People singing my praises because I killed hordes of orcs in dire circumstances.”

It took me a moment to sort out his answer. Did he see me as a mere popularizer, not the professional, dependable scrivener I strove to be?

“I assure you, my good … fellow, I would never invent embellishments. To the contrary, I have always questioned the accounts I have received from your party in the most doubting terms! Only consider your supposed death and resurrection!”

“I still bear scars.”

“Yes, but scars could be from any battle injury.”

“No. I do not mean physical scars.”

I was no longer sure he was even talking about his own, temporary, death. On a hunch, I tried a new tack. “Felsmon”, I asked, “how came you to be with this motley collection of adventurers, rather than fighting alongside your own kind?”

He did not answer for a full two minutes, yet never lowered his gaze from mine. I thought I saw his life pass through his face then, but it might as well have been the history of his clan. Distant wonderful memories, a homeland, then a long period of training and perseverance, challenges both physical and mental, a triumphant entry into adulthood, followed too soon by carnage and devastation, his world in tatters at his feet. In the end, he only said one word, which was worth a thousand pictures: “Orcs”.

But after this incident, his face softened, becoming to me more human than dragon. I sensed the connection between the tune Barrick was humming and our conversation about embellishments. I knew that the song finished with the floors awash in orc blood, and hoped this would loosen Felsmon’s scaly tongue.

“Felsmon, would you be so good as to fill me in on the details of the day you met up with the famous five orcs?”

He hesitated, but finally nodded in assent.

“I take it you five were in the labyrinth together. What happened?”

“It started on day before. We heard sounds behind door, deathly sounds. Barrick and I went at door together. He smashed his side into room, full of skeletons. I bounced off my side and fell on my tail.”

I recognized this as an irony. He was testing me – how gullible was I? Did I know anything at all about his kind? I laughed, then ad-libbed, “Ah, I wondered how you had lost your tail!”. This gained his respect, and he continued:

“Creepy hands kept Barrick immobilized in doorway. Bad news for them. If you want someone to stand in doorway, it’s Barrick. Might as well be boulder there in his traction boots and shield. Rift, Erik, and Z’alden shot over his head, cutting ungodly creatures to pieces from hallway, may Bahamut have mercy on them.”

This was already more words than I had ever heard from the silentest of the band. I knew that Dragonborn have no articles in their language, so I was not surprised that Felsmon would not bother with them in Common, either. I did notice that he brought a very different attitude to spirit-cursing than Barrick did, probably because of his Paladin background.

“Did you not factor into the fight personally?”

“I finally got into room, took swing or two, but it only lasted seconds. Barrick shrugged and walked away before it was even over. Erik did find fine piece of tricked-out leather armor among remains, though.”

“What were you thinking during the battle?”

This seemed to annoy him. “I was thinking that my clan had not yet contacted me with news of our annual meeting, and that it had been long time since I heard news of my brother. What do you care?”

Not certain why he was annoyed, I moved the questioning on to the next battle. “So then you found the famous five orcs, from the song?”

“No, we wandered long after that, finally coming to path along chasm. Erik and Rift spotted trap, but sprung it like fools, not that I would have done better, with my bulk. Two javelin turrets dropped from ceiling to protect far end of path, and struck Z’alden before we could clear out. Twice they struck him.”

“I suppose you next all charged the devices together, shouting oaths?”

“You might think so. I would think so. But these older guys are not so predictable. Barrick, no stranger to charging, sat against wall to sharpen axe. Rift played with mage hand. Z’alden, after healing himself, said there was time for charging, and time for planning, time to hold your ground, and time to run away. I think he was joking.

“So, you and Erik took out the turrets from a distance?”

“I hit them twice with javelins. They were far, and needed momentum, and each time I was barely able to leap aside without being struck. Erik is more nimble and needed no momentum for his bow. He could loose two arrows, then slip out of way easily. Finally I learned. I sat with Barrick and sharpened my weapons while Erik finished his fun.”

The other patrons had already left the tavern. Barrick’s head was on the table, but he had not started snoring yet. Felsmon had a few minutes to finish his story.

“Soon we smelled orcs. They were around corner, guarding entrance to Horned Hold. I was ready, but last lesson was fresh in my mind, and when others voted to sleep, I did not argue. Neither did I sleep.”

I paid my bill, and Barrick’s.

“We had elaborate plan. Rift prepared ritual to unlock gate of guard tower, while Erik tried to lie his way in. Barrick even role-played Duergar. Finally, though, they asked for password. As Rift’s spell took hold, Barrick came out with our group’s internal password – “Death To Orcs!” He and Erik grabbed unlocked door, but it did not budge. As usual, I was hidden so I would not scare our prey, and could not reach the door at first.”

“You know I have to ask – did the battle really happen like in the song?”

Felsmon answered slowly, but honestly. “It … it started like in song. Rift teleported into that room, alone with 5 armed orcs, and us on outside, struggling with door. That part is truth, which rides with her until end of her days.”

“Soon enough, though, we had door open, and charged in, murderous rage in our faces. Erik sliced and diced as always, but this time left some for others to kill. Barrick took many blows, but gave as good as he got, and ended fight at Rift’s side, great defender that he is. Rift and Z’alden worked together: first she turned ground to ice, whereupon several orcs fell, then he cast his own spell upon that ground, shouting ‘By the claw, they shall not stand again!.’ I had never seen that spell from him, but it produced tremendous pain.” Here Felsmon smiled with great glee.

“You say nothing of your own fighting.”

“That is for others to judge. I did put one or two out of their misery, may Bahamut grant them peace. But, Rift could probably have survived alone, she was so sharp. She too brought forth new spell – torture in form of vicious icy hand. New favorite of mine.”

“What did you do after the battle?”

“I desecrated bodies of slain orcs according to customs of my clan. May Bahamut clean and salve their wounds.”

With that, he picked up Barrick as if the 200-pound lump were a bag of grain, and left without another word, his face once again a mask of scales.

I know from my research in what fashion dragonborn are accustomed to desecrating the bodies of enemies, and I will not go into detail on that topic here. The reader will no doubt have trouble reconciling that disgusting practice with the civility of Felsmon’s spirit-cursing. I have trouble reconciling them myself. This huge, brooding warrior turned out to be as deep and as mysterious as he seemed at first meeting. I felt for once out of my league, and retreated to the comforts of my warm den.

Addendum: Although the lyrics of that song are never the same twice, I did manage to write them down as they were sung once by Barrick when reasonably sober. The tune, if there can be said to be one, is the usual rise-and-fall that accompanies sloshing beer glasses:

I know a wizard, her name is Rift

Magic’s her calling, but trouble’s her gift!

Down in the dungeons some orcs we sniffed

Guarding the Hold they were taking their shift

We cooked a plan up, the gate to lift

But Rift couldn’t wait, so she ‘ported in, Pfft!

Five orcs there were and they gave her short shrift

As she stood among them alone and adrift

Oh, I know a wizard, her name is Rift

Magic’s her calling, but trouble’s her gift!

First orc swung at her but he just whiffed

Rift swung right back and he got a facelift

Second orc charged her, but she was too swift

Into his skull she cleaved out a deep rift

Third orc connected and she was miffed

He died a eunorc, if you catch my drift

Oh, I know a wizard, her name is Rift

Magic’s her calling, but trouble’s her gift!

Fourth orc came at her and might have lived if t’

Other orc hadn’t knocked him adrift

Rift swung a club and his noggin she biffed

Then turned from his corpse, and looked at the fift’

Last orc was wary, and he didn’t shift

So Rift cast an ice spell till his body stiffed

Oh, I know a wizard, her name is Rift

Magic’s her calling, but trouble’s her gift!

Stand by her side and she’ll give you a lift

But get in her face and she’ll cut you down swift.


1) Some poor creatures, long abandoned to a horrible fate, were released
2) A couple laser crossbow turrets, which Rift released, were easily dispatched
3) The Happy Carpet of Death rolled up some hapless orc guards

Three encounters, 2080 xp total, 416 xp per character, bringing your individual total xp to 5732. Marching on toward the next mark (and level 6): 7500 xp.

Into the Horned Hold

Erik looks around the guard chamber and mutters, “Bloody orcs. Long spears. Stupid gates. I need open space and the smell of fresh air…”

DM, can you please describe or display the map of the room? Also, please once again describe what can be seen from the entrance area (cliffs, lava, parts of the bridges, the far wall of the chasm, etc.). Also, is there anything of interest to be found either in the room, outside, or on the guards? Erik actively looks for hidden levers or other contraptions that may turn traps on/off or otherwise notify a potential second group of guards on the other side of the bridge(s).

Erik is down to 27 of 48 hitpoints. His healing surges restore 12 points. Does anyone have any healing that can be done? Perhaps an encounter power so that Erik doesn’t need to take 2 of his 8 healing surges to get back to full?

Into the Horned Hold

What you can see:

You are in the room in the lower right of the image. The room is nondescript, one small table, a couple chairs and a fireplace with wood for warmth. No windows and the ceiling is 15’ high. It is clean enough to indicate that the inhabitants are not slobs nor careless, but the walls are dingy, with peeling plaster, enough that you can tell that average maintenance is good enough.

Searching the room reveals nothing, the guards are orcs and carry long spears (5) with new shiny metal tips, also old crossbows and a few crossbow bolts (11). Listening at the southern door you can faintly hear the sound of metal ringing upon metal, but nothing else.

From outside the room you can see walls, parapets and two bridges and doors on the other side of the chasm. Both bridges have low stone rails on either side. The doors on the other side of the bridges are closed and look sturdy. Shuttered slots on exist on either side of the doors. A low reddish glow comes up from the chasm, just enough to extend your sunrod’s light to see beyond the left bridge.

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Is there a keyhole of some sort in the door? Or a crack that we can look through?

Also, while we our waiting our 5 minutes, we quietly drag the orc bodies so they are not visible from the southern doorway.

Perhaps we can just saunter into the next room, and just pretend that we are there on some sort of business, and the orcs have let us pass?

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Is there a keyhole of some sort in the door? Or a crack that we can look through?

When the duergar decided to occupy this stronghold, they went through and fortified things. All the doors in the Horned Hold have been repaired and strengthened, no keyholes exist that peek through, likewise all cracks have been repaired. Whether the duergar expect attacks, if this is just in their nature to be cautious and protective, or if they are paranoid, you cannot ascertain.

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Erik puts his ear to the south door and listens carefully.

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“Friends, let us very carefully search the western wall, for secret doors.”

OOC: Do we find any doors?

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Searching the wall reveals nothing, except some areas of loose plaster, revealing the stonework underneath when the thick whitewash falls off into your fingers.

Listening at the door for a couple minutes, Erik hears a clang of metal on metal. The clang repeats at approximately 1 second intervals for about 20 seconds, then pauses for 5 seconds and repeats. Erik can identify a second metal on metal klang; similar in nature to the clang, but the klang repeats at 1.5 second intervals for only 10 seconds before a pause and repeating. DM: these numbers are approximate, with some slight variations in the timings

Into the Horned Hold

DM: If it makes any difference, in the above image North is to the right. I added an arrow to the image to help.

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Erik tells the others about the clanging and asks, “Could it be guards in plate armor pacing back and forth? Maybe the pause is when they turn around? Perhaps the one with the longer time between clangs is taller? Rift, if one one clangs one and a half times as frequently, are they one and a half times taller?”

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Rift inspects the door. Does it appear locked? Do we think we could push it open a crack and peek inside?

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The door does not appear to be locked. It opens away from you and it seems possible that you could open it enough to peek through.

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“Rift, before we open the door let’s do some healing”, says Erik.

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Stirring as from a trance, though only seconds half passed, Z’alden looks at Erik. He frowns. “Erik, you do look injured but not bloodied. This consecrated ground is not enough to heal you.” He concentrates deeply. Warm silver and purple flames dance lightly from his hands to Erik. “May the power of Bahamut cure you.”

OOC: using Z’alden’s last encounter power of healing, Erik gets back 1 healing surge = 12 + 1 for being within 5 squares of the belt of sacrifice + (roll 1d6 = 2) + 3 = 18 hp, putting him at 35. Erik must spend a healing surge.

Z’alden says,”Without a short prayer time, I can restore you no further. Felsmon, your Paladin healing prayers may represent a boon that Erik needs to be fully restored. Will you work a prayer to Bahamut?”

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Erik: “Thank you kind Z’alden. May all friends of Bahamut bask in his warm light.”

OOC: Erik was at 27 of 48 hit points. With the +18, he’s now back at 45. No further healing required, for now…

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OOC: Z’alden must have skipped math, especially, since if Erik had been at 17, the Happy Carpet of Death would have restored 6 hp every round until Erik was no longer bloodied.

Z’alden picks up the crossbow bolts, refills his quiver to 20 and puts the remainder in the bag of holding. “That I am replenished of bolts thanks to these now kind orcs, I think it is time to see what is beyond the door. Erik, I find that my listening and seeing abilities have diminished in this underground maze, even as the strength of my holy symbol has increased. Would you care to lead the investigation of a peek through the door?”

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Erik glances around the room to make sure that everything is in order and normal looking (no dead orcs, chairs are upright, etc.). [DM: If the room is a mess, Erik will straighten things up.] He then nods at Z’alden and Rift, eyes swiveling toward the door. Approaching it, he pauses momentarily, clears his throat and places his fingers gently upon the door as if to feel for vibrations. He gives a final listen and just before opening the door backs off, looks at his compatriots, embarrassed, raises his pointer finger in the air and wipes off some orc blood that is still on his gloves. Returning to the task, Erik focuses and ever so carefully opens the door just enough to peek through…

[DM: Erik’s stealth is +15 and his perception is +12.]

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Pushing the door the few inches required to create a peeking gap makes no sound, either the hinges are well oiled or the portion of the door travel that makes noise has not been reached. Peering through Erik sees a hallway, of the same construction as the guard room, stone floors, ten feet wide, fifteen feet high, peeling plaster on the walls. The hallway extends to Erik’s right, but as there is five feet of wall before the hallway begins, not much can be seen down the hall. A torch is sputtering in its sconce on the far wall near the limit of Erik’s unblocked sight range.

The metal on metal ringing sounds come from the direction down which the hallway extends. The sounds are still muffled somewhat, like they are around another corner, through another door, or possibly both. No new sounds reach Erik’s ears.

DM: The hallway goes straight to the left of the image, out of sight. Instead of blacking out the sight range with a diagonal line I chose to reveal the entire squares of those that can be seen. This does not imply that any sort of light blocking devices (natural or otherwise) exist in the hall.

What you see:

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[DM: Should have asked this sooner, but are there any signs of wagons rolling through this area? Scrape marks on the floor or walls? Animal dung? Etc. Are the double doors and corridors even wide enough for large beasts and wagons?]

Erik leaves the door momentarily and grabs a mug of ale, or whatever those orcs were drinking, and with it in one hand gently opens the door just enough to slip through. Hugging the wall to his right, he ever so stealthily peers around the corner to see down the hall…

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Searching the room, you do not see any signs of wagon tracks, but when Barrick steps outside for a breath of fresh, “real” cavern air, he closely examines the stone path. And there, hidden under all the trampings of heavy duergar and orc boot prints, detectable only by one born in stone, and then only under scrutiny, are indeed signs of wagon wheels. The wagon tracks do not enter the bastion, but move back and forth and around in front of the portcullis.

The orc mead goes down Erik’s throat the way that milk doesn’t. A slight fogginess blurs Erik’s vision, but only for a few seconds. Shaking the blur from his eyes, Erik glances at the orc bodies with a bit more understanding than he had before.

Carefully peering around the corner, Erik sees a short hallway ending at another sturdy wooden double door. A smaller hallway turns west (up) just shy of the double door. Seeing the doors, Erik’s senses align; he can now tell that the clanging and klanging are coming from beyond the double door. Listening intently a new sound reaches Erik’s perceptive ears; a crackling roar, like the ocean on a beach, or perhaps a forest fire.

See image above for the updated map

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“Oh that’s purrrrriful stuff!”, mutters Erik under his breath with momentary body shiver. Oh, the days of innocent youth, growing up on the pure milk of goats, meat of oxen and bounty of the forest. He then signals for the one or two of the others to advance to his current position, whereupon he sneaks down the hall with vile brew in hand. Still moving stealthily, he approaches the westward hallway to take a gander…

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Sneakily peeking around the corner Erik sees yet another closed door, this one a single wooden door. As Erik gets closer to the double doors the metal sounds and the roar become louder; another analogy enters Erik’s mind, the roar could be likened to a strong wind in a tunnel. The roar does not sound to be overly loud, but it is continuous and loud enough to muffle normal moving sounds. About to return and report, Erik listens for one more round of clanging before moving again. But this time, the clanging halts and does not resume the pattern after the longer pause. Erik waits. A few very long seconds later Erik hears a loud HISS from behind the doors. The klanging continues to follow the pattern, unbothered by whatever caused the hiss.

See image above for the updated map

Into the Horned Hold

“Is it a forge? – The roar of the bellows, the clanking of a hammer on iron, the hiss when the red-hot metal is quenched?”

“Barrick, my good dwarf, do you know anything of smithery? Could you pass yourself off as a dwarven smith, come to rescue the duergar from their own incompetence? And perhaps stick a hot poker in an eyeball or two…”

“Ah well, all this talk of quenching eyeballs is making me thirsty…” Rift takes a swig from a mug of excellent orcish ale.

“So, what say you all? Clearly the double doors are more important, and perhaps lead to the wide bridge across the chasm. However, the single door may lead to the narrower bridge, which might be a sneakier way into the Hold. Our first priority should be treasure rescuing the poor hapless prisoners. So perhaps we go thru the single door?”

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“Aye”, nods Erik, “The single door. Let us be wary of traps too.” He then proceeds to examine both the double doors and the single doors (and surrounding floors, walls and ceilings) for traps, levers, etc. As he does this inspection, Erik chimes in about the strange sounds, “Rift, perhaps you are right – it makes sense for there to be some smithing.”

[DM: Does Erik smell metal? Are there any vapors that lead to clues?]

“Barrick, what do you think?”, asks Erik.

Into the Horned Hold

Clearly an active smithery. From the two different strike rates, at least two smiths. Dwarven smiths do not like to share a forge, and if duergar feel the same, then perhaps a common bellows is vented to two separate forges. Or, perhaps there is one large forge. Anyway, there’ll be two smiths, some big dumb creature to work the bellows, and probably a boss somewhere nearby. Might be a client or two standing around, too.

I don’t think the smithery will lead directly to the large bridge. It would be unusual for a workplace like that to be a thoroughfare. It probably has another exit, that meets up with the path from this single door, and even then it might not lead to the double bridge. That bridge will come across to a wide road that we have not yet seen, and will be well-defended anyway because of the possibility of invasion by large creatures, large numbers of creatures, and vehicles. The small bridge will be for incidental foot traffic, meaning working stiffs and, if they’re lucky, a barrow so they don’t have to carry the supplies that come in this way on their backs.

So, we could take out the smiths just to reduce the number of uglies in the vicinity. If we really want to get across, though, the best bet would be to load up 2 or 3 of us with something that looks like supplies, and head across the single bridge.

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Erik moves to the west door, with the others out of sight, just around the corner. He then listens very carefully. If he doesn’t hear anything then he will open the door as if there were nothing unusual with his actions. If there are inhabitants on the other side, he will try and buff his way through it, orc-brew-stein in hand. Both his weapons are sheathed, so his compatriots better be ready with weapons drawn and actions readied should he come screaming out the door. Gimme three steps, gimme three steps a’mister…

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Erik listens at the door. He can hear the same roar and klanging as through the double doors, but slightly muffled. Hearing no other, new, or stranger sounds, Erik straightens himself up, takes a deep breath, tenses his fingers on the door latch, takes another deep breath, then squeezes the latch and pushes. The door swings away from Erik, the light from the feeble torch on the wall spilling into the room.

Instantly Erik notices another door on the left (southern) wall of the room, the door is ajar, open about 18 inches. As the other door also swings into the room, and as the hinges are on the side nearest Erik, Erik cannot see into the space beyond. The room itself has no light sources, the only light is coming from the two doorways.

Quickly looking around the rest of the room Erik sees no other inhabitants. Erik exhales quietly, only then realizing that he had been holding his breath. His gaze then takes in the rest of the room. He sees what appears to be water on the floor. A second look shows that part of the floor is sunken and filled with water. In the dim light of the room Erik cannot be sure of how deep the water is. Erik notices markings on the wall behind the pool.

Before Erik can move, or examine the room in more detail, a voice from the southern room thunders through the doorway. The voice is gruff and very duergar-like. “You call that an edge?” thwack “If that is not sharp enough to impale an elf I’ll test it on your soft belly!” Even with the roar of what surely is a forced fire, there are now sounds of someone, or something, tromping about in the room beyond the southern door.

What you now see:

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OOC: Can Erik decipher the markings by the pool? Can he at least tell what language they’re in? He speaks and even writes a bit of “giant”.

Erik stealthily takes a look through the pool room’s southern door. He wonders if the malodorous orc brew will give him away…

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Erik moves toward the other door, his footfalls making no sound. Before peering around the southern door Erik looks back at the wall above the pool. As his eyes adjust to the dim light in the room, Erik sees that the markings are not words, but are a old worn carving of a being, half female, half sea serpent; a familiar looking carving.

Using the darkness of the room to his advantage Erik slinks into the shadows and moves forward just enough to see a little bit into the room through the gap of the partially opened door. A large forge roars on the other side of the room; Erik can feel the heat from the flames from where he skulks. Next to it is a hulking orc, his back to Erik, klanging a large hammer on an anvil next to the fire. Immediately to the right of the door, inside the smithery, is a pile of heavy logs. Just past the door is another anvil, and walking up to it is a short, but very nasty looking duergar dwarf.

The duergar raises his head, looking in the direction of the room with the pool. Erik quickly backs up toward his companions. Erik does not hear any warning shouts, but the klanging halts.

See image above for the updated map

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OOC: Does Erik come back to the rest of the party with these details?

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There must be a path to the bridge that doesn’t go through this workroom. Probably the double door leads past an arch opening to the smithery, and around to the bridge.. We might be able to sneak past there if Rift could conjure up a fire or some other distraction at the far end …

Eh, listen to me, talking like a rogue. Let’s have at ‘em!

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Z’alden smiles at Barrick, “as a general rule, I say we do not leave any evil creatures behind us. If Erik has stumbled upon some enemies, let us slay most and capture one to get the lay to the bridges.”

“But, I would like to know what is behind these double doors to the South.” Z’alden uses his best Perception (+10, rolled a 15 = 25) to listen at the double doors.

DM: What does Z’alden hear?

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DM: Where are all the characters currently located?

DM: Z’alden only hears the roar of a forge through the doors, whether the same forge Erik saw, or a different fire, Z’alden cannot determine.

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Z’alden steps to the western most of the double doors and motions to Rift. “Do you think you can open this better than you disarmed that crossbow trap? I can only hear the roar of fire.”

He looks over at Felsmon, who is in the square to the northwest of the torch, guarding the rear flank in case someone or something moves in. What an incredible friend to have, this dragonman.

He glances at his longtime dwarven companion, who still broods over something, even as he waits at the door that Erik recently passed through. Oh, if I only I could heal the soul of this valiant warrior as easily as I can heal his wounds.

He pauses and says very quietly, “where is that Ranger? And, why has the clanging stopped?”

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Rift ever so quietly pushes open the left door of the double door, just a crack.

“Ah-ah-ah-...” she manages to stifle a huge sneeze. “Whew!”

What can she see?

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Rift pushes the wooden door inward; it makes a creak just as the door opens enough to make a crack. Hoping the sound was muffled by the forge Rift leans forward and puts her eye to the newly made crack. She sees a duergar standing in front of another anvil, although this duergar is not working. The duergar is staring at the door Rift just moved, with a puzzled look on his face. “Hey,” the dark dwarf shouts as he begins to move toward the door, “Who’s there!?”

What you can now see:

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With senses amped up from adrenaline, Erik senses something is going on back in the hallway. A duegar voice? Did someone open the double door? Perhaps the impetuous Rift decided to take a peek.

Erik then softly puts the orc-brew-stein on the floor and draws both weapons. He hides in the shadow of the door from which the fully expects a duegar to soon appear. Erik hand-signals to his compatriots in the hallway that someone will be coming through that door, possibly two. _ _[DM: Erik is in the SE corner of the pool room (on the hinge side of the door; assuming it opens into the pool room.]

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Felsmon tires of waiting and moves up to the pool room. Felsmon motions to Barrick, “You keep the spellcasters out of trouble, and I’ll look after overworked Ranger.”

Felsmon stops in the first square past the door in the pool room

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Rift boldly opens both doors. She then strides in 1 square (I guess the easternmost/bottom one) and glares around.

“Who’s in charge here?” she shouts? “Why were the orc sentries all drunk?” She dashes her mug of orc ale to the ground, as if in disgust. “Murkelmor Grimmerzhul will hear of this ineptitude!”

OOC: DM, what does she see?

Into the Horned Hold

Rift looks around quickly, the room is spacious, without any furniture, save for a single anvil. A large archway leads to the room with the forge and a set of closed sturdy double doors stand on the southeast wall. On the north wall, immediately to Rift’s left is a rack of damaged weapons, holding halberds and warhammers. Just past the rack is a doorway, the single door opened into a room, a room into which Rift cannot quite see. A large orc stands in front of the weapons rack, right next Rift, glaring down at her, waiting for instructions.

The duergar in the middle of the room advances a step closer to Rift, surprise melting into a grin. “Hey Urwol,” the duergar calls out, “You’ve got guests. Two topside elfs and … a dwarf!”

Rift does not yet have time to call back to her friends and decribe the area. Erik and Felsmon, pretend you do not have access to this information. What Rift sees is:

Into the Horned Hold

DM: Can the square to the North (right) of the orc be occupied? Is it difficult terrain?

Into the Horned Hold

Clarifying: square to the North (right) of Urwol.

Into the Horned Hold

The weapons rack, to the north of the orc drooling on Rift, can be occupied normally. The wood pile, to the north of duergar in the forge room, is difficult terrain and can be occupied. Anvil squares are also difficult terrain and can be occupied. The pool squares can be occupied with specifics depending on how deep it is. And just in case: chair squares are normal, table squares are difficult, squares with crates/barrels are difficult.

Into the Horned Hold
rplayer gorthmog