Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Ending with a Bang

Post to come…

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Adventurers, you have shown skill beyond that of melee, the arcane and the divine. You have lead a small army of dwarves to victory over a much larger force of fearsome orcs, ruled by the terrifying Brain Eater (may he rest in agony). There were many fallen warriors, but you have persevered, bringing peace to the region, driving away an ancient dragon who will now have to think twice before scheming more evil. Only the Eye of Grumsh survives, his mutant form now wandering the landscape. Will you see him again? Whom will his vicious axe serve?

Brain Eater is no more, and with his explosive demise the memories he possessed from the brain he has eat are lost to the ether. Yet Z’alden’s father’s force still affects this realm. Perhaps his unseen hands are at work, shaping the present to craft the future.

However, this is no time to muse on such heavy matters. The dwarves are celebrating, food is in great abundance and the beer is flowing. Yes, the dead are mourned, but their lives are cheered with each round. Songs are sung. New tales of heroism are being weaved by the bards. Hi-ho. The cleric, the dwarf, the wizard and the sorceress, and the quiet monk are the guests of honor tonight and every night for which they wish to stay.

[For defeating Brain Eater, the dragon, the wizards and the Eye of Grumsh, the body guards and the giants, the crushing cubes of doom and all the countless orcs, you each get 51,920 experience points. This brings you to a total of 288,013 experience points. Welcome to the 23rd level!]

Ending with a Bang
 

Z’alden shakes his head vigorously. It is like he has been in a far away land. In his mind’s eye, he can still the snow covered peaks of the Andean Sharps, larger and more rugged than any mountains he had ever seen before. The strange language of the people in the dream, the Chyleans resonates in his brain.

He speaks without realizing the language in which he utters “Mis amigos, he tenido la visión más extraña , como si se me ha ido durante muchas semanas a una tierra con las montañas más grandes que he visto en mi vida , una tierra donde la tierra tiembla en ocasiones , una tierra con una bebida deliciosa del amargo de pisco . Me convertí en un guerrero de la causa de Fisica.”

The cleric shakes his head even more vigorously, “I have had a most excellent adventure. Perhaps my brush with the end of life has pulled me away. I seem to be returning to myself. Even now the memory fades rapidly.”

Looking at his comrades in earnest,
" I feel as though we have stayed with our new friends, the dwarfs of Coradra too long. Let us take one last round and be off to find our way home, wherever and whenever that may be."
“Good monk, accompany us further. I think that our time together is not yet ended, and there is more work to do, more to learn about the world, both outer and inner. Let us take up our arms and our selves and be off.”
“I would see Lake Nen again. What say you all for a journey?”

Ending with a Bang
 

Lars, who has been hanging out at the same table as Z’alden, grins with delight. His face and cheeks are red from massive amounts of beer, but now they grow even more red from joy, for he too is on the path to Lake Nen. He blurts out, “Shoo, off to Lake Nen weee goooo!” Then, his eyes close and he falls forward, flat on his face, into a deep slumber complete with epic dwaven snoring. The journey to Lake Nen will have to wait until tomorrow.

Ending with a Bang
 

The morning comes after a night that feels more like a month. Slowly shaking off the good poison from the prior night’s revelry, the adventurers notice that the monk is already outside meditating in the morning sun. He is as stone, with the only sign of life being the water vapors rising off his body. He is an enigma, but now a trusted ally.

A hearty breakfast is prepared by Janeek, who scurries about the kitchen managing several pots and pans with precision timing. The bounty includes perfectly seasoned sausage paired with fresh eggs. There are apples diced into potatoes with just the perfect sauce. Barrick asks what’s in the water because its juicy flavor nearly satisfies as much as beer – in the morning. Everyone looks at Barrick with an expression of shock.

The mood is calm as the adventurers feast this one last time at the Dwarven home at Coradra. There isn’t much talk as everyone focuses on the food, which tastes as if it was divinely inspired. There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. Perhaps this is what the orcs were after all along? They should have said so and saved all the trouble.

By the time the meal is finished, all the dwarves are lined up outside along each side of the path. Lars hefts his pack onto his back and leads the way. The adventurers follow down the path and the dwarves of Coradra begin to sing…


The peaceful dwarves did till the earth, until the orcs did grow.
The messenger ran through the night, to tell the tale of woe.

Ohh, pick up your plowshare, ready the axe for war!

The mighty orcs did burn the midnight oil, to make their evil way.
Rest not until the army comes from afar, to save and win the day.

Ohh, throw down the spade, steel yourself for war!.

The dwarven army did appear, to face and fight the terrible dare.
Ten to one, a fair fight indeed, against the orcs, who beat their drums to scare.

Ohh, cast aside the barrels of ale, fashion shields for war!

Soon the battle did engage, the mighty dwarves did fight.
Flying high upon their magical dragons, they did get some height.
Raining down, upon the orcs, might bolts of fright.
Aided by the five who would lead the way in might.

Ohh, guide your hand by hunter’s eye, bring full force a war!

Sneaking up, the river canyon, did the green dragon fly.
Fifty brave men, upon the knoll, fought with honor but did die.
In the valley the five did lead, slaying countless where they lie.
The dragon turned, to get revenge, knowing defeat was nigh.

Ohh, sing to the dead, peaceful heroes of war!

The orcs did rage, upon the dwarven clan, only to feel the steel.
Die they did that day, layed down by axe and spade, dwarves not to kneel.

Ohh, cheer those who live, to protect in war!

The chieftain orc, upon the mighty beast, did fight against the five.
Swinging his axe, the brave dwarf Barrick left none alive.

Ohh, sing out for the dwarves!
Ohh, sing out for Barrick!
Ohh, sing out for victory!


By the time the song is done, the adventurers and Lars are long through the gate and on their way to Lake Nen. In the distance they can hear the song being sung again, and up close they can hear Barrick hum it. He quite likes it. However the others feel as if some important details were left out…

Ending with a Bang
 

As hoofbeats of their horses tap a rhythm their own, Z’alden marvels at the might dwarven warrior. He has never heard Barrick take up a hum. And, to have compared water to beer. These behaviors trouble the cleric. Maybe those hits from BrainEater did more damage than the healing of Bahamut can restore. He will have to keep a close watch on his old friend.

In the meantime, Z’alden is eager to see Lake Nen. In this place and time, he wonders what lurks beneath the waves? What lives inside in the castle that he strongly feels is their home. He swings a mace over his shoulder as he takes the reins of his horse.

Ending with a Bang
 

If on a road, the journey to Nenlast would be just half a day, but they adventurers are off trail, moving through thick pine forest which eat up most of the light. Still, it is quiet and peaceful. The air is pleasantly crisp, keeping the horses cool and invigorating their riders. Fall is here and the air is heavy with the smell of coming rain.

Barrick realizes that he’s been humming the dwarven song and attempts a diversion. “Yay for the Coradra ale, huh?”, he bellows. Everyone chuckles.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere flies an arrow! It bounces off of Barrick’s armor. The adventurer’s have been caught off guard. It’s an ambush!

The adventurers find themselves surrounded by a gang of kobolds. There may be one and a half score of them. They’re armed with short swords and bows, and protected by light armor.

The kobold leader shouts out, “Give us your gold and we let you live! Give a fight and you die! What is it you do?”

Just what do the adventurers do?

Ending with a Bang
 

Barrick stares at the kobold leader for a good five seconds while the other adventurers look back and forth at each other. Barrick looks at the gang, then back at the leader – then bursts out laughing, bends, over, slaps his thigh, and howls with delight.

Ending with a Bang
 

Tira looks at Barrick, then at the kobold leader. “Please forgive my friend and his pedestrian manners, he should know by now not to laugh at the weak and helpless.” She tosses the leader a few copper coins, “Here, go buy some milk for you and your little friends.”

Ending with a Bang
 

The kobold leader grimaces and shouts back, “You laugh now, but when Greadeth the great dragon rains his mighty breath down upon you, you will not be laughing!”

At that point, one of the younger kobolds senses a pending retreat so he runs up and grabs Tira’s copper coins and scurries back to safety.

“This will not be the last of us you see”, shouts the leader, “This is not the last!”

They then quickly retreat back into the shadowed forest.

Ending with a Bang
 

Z’alden bends over to Rift, “I don’t believe I’m familiar with this use of the term Great Dragon. I’m fairly certainly that is the exclusive license of The Great Dragon. Do you have any idea who this scamp might be that Kobolds use such superlatives so loosely?”

Z’alden himself tries to rack his poor brain, but in the education sector his training is rather weak. He wonders if Rift’s extensive tutelage and book learning means that she has heretofore heard of dragon with the moniker Greadeth.

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift’s mind is lost in thought. Perhaps she’s pondering how to carve her favorite icon into her recently acquired staff. Even now it seems to be whispering to her about arcane energies and how to channel them. It has secrets.

Just a mile beyond the kobolds, the adventurers come across a massive spider web. In width, it spans what must be five staff lengths, connecting two large trees. Vertically it extends perhaps five staff lengths again and arches over via branches, forming a bit of a canopy. The spiral pattern it makes is very exact, intricate and beautiful. It’s even a bit mesmerizing. Shaking off its charms, the adventures look to the sky and notice many more webs both around them and up high in the trees. No spiders are visible, but the adventurers feel like they are being watched.

Z’alden, using his ranger skills, estimates that they have another four hours of making their way through the thick pine forest before they reach the shores of Lake Nen. That should put them at Lake Net around dusk and Nenlast just 20 to 30 minutes after that.

What do the adventurers do? Push on? Take a nap under the shelter of the web? Climb the tallest tree to get a view?

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift shakes off the slothfulness that has crept upon her. She stretches her arms wide, releasing the tension in her aching muscles.

“I feel like some exercise,” she declares, glaring around at her companions, as if daring them to make any comment. She has never been one to enjoy exercise, preferring instead to curl up in a dim tavern corner with a good spell book or the latest murder mystery from Torben Eastlander.

“I think I’ll climb that tree,” Rift says, pointing to a huge pine tree whose branches tower overhead, but otherwise appears free of spiderwebs.

“Ring of flight?” asks Tira.

“No, no magic!” Hitching up her robes, Rift spits into her open hand, rubbing them together. Feeling a bit nervous, she applies herself to scrambling up the trunk to reach the nearest bough, only to slide back down again and again.

“Well, perhaps a bit of magic,” she says sheepishly. Using the ring of flight, she floats upwards until she reaches the large branch. Once there, she begins to steadily (if a bit shakily) climb upwards. Ignoring the sticky pine sap that coats her hands, she pushes her sweaty hair out of her eyes and pushes on. Tiny spiders dart out of her way, their beady eyes staring at her, their puny brains no doubt filled with dreams of being huge enough to capture such feeble prey. Rift scoffs at them. These spiders hold no danger for her. Even their larger cousins are no match for her brains and magic talent.

“How’s it going up there?” shouts Barrick, sounding a bit impatient.

Rift looks down. Whoops, that was a mistake. Her companions look like tiny halfling-folk, way down on the forest floor. She sways uncertainly for a moment, then steadies herself.

“Piece of elf cake!” she calls down. “Almost to the top!”

Panting, sweaty, and exhausted, Rift pushes through the top of the foliage, muttering to herself about the folly of hiking through a dense pine forest in the middle of summer. Her hair is a wreck, full of twigs, leaves, sap, spiders, and gods-know-what else.

What does Rift see?

Ending with a Bang
 

The sky to the south and east is a beautiful blue with white puffy clouds. Rift thinks she can make out a fluffy bunny, or perhaps a white dragon. No matter, for what is more interesting is the sky to the northwest and north where lie Lake Nen and Nenlast. Storm clouds look to be rolling in on the far side of the lake, bringing cold rain and lightning.

The others shout up at Rift and ask her what she sees. Taking her time, she replies, “Oh, not much. Just a dragon bunny and a storm moving in on the lake.”

What do Rift and the rest of the adventurers do next?

Ending with a Bang
 

“Rift, that was some fair climbing. But, I wonder, while you were spying the dragon bunny, did you happen to recall any detail about a Wyrm called Greadeth, the one of which the kobold spoke? Whilst you contemplate the Wyrm’s history, and perhaps relate to us something that will prepare us for its menace, let us be off at a fair pace. If we can be frozen in place by a few cobwebs, we have grown frail-hearted, indeed. Let us be wary and proceed to the inn at Nenlast.”

Z’alden looks to the others. Seeing no serious dissent, they head off.

Does Rift remember any bit of lore? How does the trip proceed?

Ending with a Bang
 

Tira shouts up, “A dragon bunny?!? Cool! But maybe a little more importantly, do you see anything local, like maybe anything moving in the trees that might be the creators of these massive webs?”

Tira picks up a small broken branch and starts to ponder what would happen if she threw it into the web…

Ending with a Bang
 

As the adventurers head out to Nenlast, the group talks.

“Hmm,” Rift ponders, “Greadeth, yes, if I recall correctly, is or was a red dragon, quite possibly ancient by now, if he still exists. This particular one has not been seen in a century and like all red dragons, is said to have amassed an incredible fortune of gold, gems and magical items. He has been known by many names… Zendaras the Magnificent, Zendoom the Destroyer, and the list goes on.”

“Tira, as for creators of the webs, I have not seen any spiders large enough. They were all small enough to squash in hand. I have this feeling that those webs were of magical origin. You know, there’s a story about the Great Spider, but I can’t quite remember it right now.”

Ending with a Bang
 

The forest continues on for what seems to be ages and ages as the horses navigate all the fallen trees and rocky outcroppings. There is crispness in the Fall air and the pines give comfort in the quietude. Yes, evil lurks within these woods but so too must good creatures that keep the balance. The forest cares not for the affairs of its guests, unless perhaps when the permanent residents suffer. Who knows then what might happen.

Tira’s mind wanders and wonders about Rift’s very brief mentioning of the great spider. She too has heard tails, but that’s all it’s ever been, and more as folklore and stuff of imagination. What of the dragon, Greadeth, Zendaras, Zendoom? This one is most likely real and not a fantasy used to scare kids into proper behavior. Another beast to slay another day.

Finally the the adventurers reach the shores of Lake Nen and the wagon road that will quickly take them north to Nenlast. Fog blankets the lake and seeps into the forest, delivering an erie hush over the landscape. The horse’s footfalls are muffled. It has begun to drizzle and the adventurers retreat into their hoods. On this day the though of a warm Nenlast inn full of beer, camaraderie and soft beds circles through everyone’s thoughts.

With merely five minutes on the road north, the monk, Varis, stops the group by raising his hand and not saying a single word. Through the thin band of trees that separates road from the shoreline, he points to something out in the water. Perhaps forty, perhaps fifty staff lengths from shore, there is something in the fog. It is silent and unmoving. It is very large.

What do you do?

“Something_in_the_Lake"

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift throws back her hood and peers into the mist, shielding her eyes from the drizzle, and ignoring the thin trickle of water that run in rivulets down her back.

She summons her mental reserves and attempts to detect if there is any arcane energy about the mysterious creature. Rift has heard of such beasts before – denizens of the deep who are rarely seen and even more rarely believed in. But such monsters clearly exist, as her own eyes can plainly tell.

Does the beast move? She cannot tell at this distance. Gathering her courage, she strides down to the water’s edge.

“Are you monster or mechanism?” she shouts at the silent phantom.

She brings forth a brilliant ball of light on the end of her staff.

“Begone, and trouble us not!”

Rift awaits an answer…

Ending with a Bang
 

Casting her mental focus out across the water, Rift can feel strong arcane energies emanating from the monster or mechanism. Her shout of “begone, and trouble us not!” is diminished by the fog. Surely it must have heard, but the dark eye of the creature stairs blankly back at her, unblinking and its body is unwavering as the storm’s waves crash against it.

Rift shivers with the thought of this creature’s soul being as dark as the deep waters of Lake Nen.

What further actions does Rift take? What do the others do?

Ending with a Bang
 

The cleric trains his eyes across to the Lake denizen. He looks for the markings of the Kraken that they once battled, and tries to see anything that could identify the beast.

“Unless the creature behaves in some way that threatens us or innocents, let us push on,” the cleric says. He, too, is ready for a warm, dry rest.

Ending with a Bang
 

It’s too foggy for the good cleric to see any marks on the beast that may be scars from a battle with the kraken.

As Z’lden turns away from the shores to return to his steed, he thinks he sees something in the shadows cast by Rift’s brilliant ball of light. Foot prints. Recent. They lead off into, or from, a thicket of shrubbery.

Across the water, the beast still silently floats motionless, keeping its secrets to itself. Its eye can certainly perceive you now, given the orb of light and commotion.

What does Z’alden do? What does the rest of the group do?

Ending with a Bang
 

“My friends, see this set of footprints. My ranger training is not so sharp as to discern whither they go towards or away from that nice, and not too expensive, shrubbery. If they go towards the shrubbery, someone could be injured, perhaps by that monster who lurks in the distance. There may be someone in need here.” The cleric studies the prints more.

Do the prints head to the water or to the shrubs?

Ending with a Bang
 

Z’alden calls Rift over to shine more light on the footprints. They discover that not only do the footprints go in both directions, to the water and the shrubbery, but that a small boat has been dragged ashore. Tira joins the investigation and surmises that it was a rowboat that was landed.

“It is a good shrubbery,” says Rift, “for hiding in.”

“Yes,” Z’alden replies, “it’s a good looking shrubbery too.”

Barrick sits on the embankment and every so often throws a small rock into the water. The monk is nowhere to be seen.

What do the adventurers do?

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift peers cautiously into the underbrush, seeking for whoever left the footprints. Seeing nothing, she boldly steps into the thicket of shrubbery.

She looks around expectantly for a rowboat, or perhaps some fast-asleep guards, or even a bulging chest of gold.

Does she find anything of the sort?

Ending with a Bang
 

Z’alden stops admiring the shrubbery and follows the impetuous wizard. He carefully looks for the rowboat trail.

Do they find anything?

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift leads the way, prying apart the thick, scratchy shrubbery. She squints to protect her eyes from the branches that seem to be grabbing at her face. After some flailing, she breaks through to the center to the shrubbery, which has been cleared out by someone. That someone, or rather someones, kneel before her… three men with drawn scimitars! They look partially spooked and partially ready for a fight. They turn their heads a bit as the wizard’s light is somewhat blinding to their eyes which are accustomed to the dark. By their garb, Rift can tell that they are sailors. They are all dressed similarly, with thick wool sweaters and caps.

“State who you are,” their leader shouts. He holds his scimitar up, but from her now vast experience with combat, Rift can tell that it’s more in defense than for attack. They are tough sailors and would be scrappy in a fight, but they are not professional warriors.

Z’alden pushes through as well, appearing to Rift’s side. After seeing the three sailors, he also notices some small to large barrels, boxes, rope and other supplies. Clearly, this merchandise has been stashed in the shrubbery to be hidden from the road. A good-sized rowboat has been laid over the far side of the shrubbery, quite possibly damaging it and lessening its value.

Ending with a Bang
 

“Hearty sailors, away put your weapons. I am Z’alden, servant of Bahamut. My mighty friends and I spied a foul denizen of the Lake and came to see if it harmed any creature. We are warriors seeking the nearby Inn. I stink of the orc brains that my maces have bashed, and long for some creature comforts. Why did you rush to violence? Do you have something to hide from those who serve justice?”

The Chosen of Bahamut eyes the leader with strong insight, judging him. He awaits the reply.

Ending with a Bang
 

“We thought of you as thieves,” replies the leader, “but I now see that you are a holy man.” The leader motions to his comrades to stow their scimitars, which they do, as does he. Still, he looks nervous, as if he is hiding something. His eyes move past Z’alden, to Rift and then past her too, but the shrubbery is in the way.

At that moment, Barrick calls out to Rift and Z’alden. “There is something coming out of the lake!,” he shouts. Lars, who has been hanging off of Barrick’s side the whole journey, chimes in, “Look, look, it’s a one-eyed sea monster, man, thing! No, it has eyes on the side of its head too. Big, giant eyes!”

Rift and Z’alden leave the shrubbery and join the others on the shore line. So too do the three sailors. The drizzle has now turned to rain and the wind has picked up. Z’alden comes to the unfortunate realization that a warm bed is now further away.

The spectators on the shore first see a massive head, nearly as wide as the shoulders. Then as it walks closer to shore, they can see the beginnings of arms. The head looks to have one massive eye, no mouth, and a knob on one side. The head is metallic and the creature walks slowly to shore.

Further still, there seem to be two more such creatures walking to shore from the depths. They are on either side of the lead creature.

What do the adventurers do?

Head

Ending with a Bang
 

“If it be not orcs nor their foul cousins, nor a demon from the watery depths, then let us see what wonder emerges from the Lake.” Reasoning not being one of his great strengths, Z’alden quickly checks that his conjecture is correct. He is more concerned about demons than orcs.

Does the cleric detect any elemental or magical emanations?
Does he or anyone else in the party have any sense of what it is that is emerging from the Lake?

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift muses on the metal monstrosities. She has heard of such constructs before, but only as vague tales from other planes of existence.

Rift takes a step back so she can keep an eye on both the sailors and the water. She raises her right hand in the universal greeting of friendliness towards all lake monsters.

Then, she glances over at the three sailors, eyeing their expressions.

Do they seem at all surprised or alarmed, or do they seem like they are expecting the creatures?

Ending with a Bang
 

The three creatures continue to slowly move toward the shore. Soon their torsos are above the water and the adventurers can see that they are armed with two daggers on chest straps and each has an odd weapon held in hand. These weapons looks as if they shoot arrows, but they do not have the normal limbs of a crossbow. Namely, the mechanism by which the arrow is shot forward is not apparent, especially in the fog and rain.

Z’alden does not detect any elemental emanations, but he does detect some arcane powers, such as would be found with magical rings, belts and the like.

Rift watches the expressions of the three sailors. They look relieved! There is some connection between these sailors and the three creatures.

The lead creature stops two staff lengths before Z’alden. It carefully reaches up and grabs either side of its head and starts to lift off its helmet. The weight of the helmet looks to be immense and the other two creatures move to assist.

Now, with the helmet off the adventurers see that before them stands a half-elf, half-human man of pale complexion and strong build. His face is stern as he speaks, “I am Umero. Who are you and what is your intent?”

How do the adventurers respond?

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift continues raising her right hand.

“Greetings Umero! Well met. I am Rift, wizard of Fallcrest. And these are my companions.”

Rift waits for her friends to introduce themselves.

“We have just come from a great battle where we helped the Dwarves of Coradra defeat a mighty army of orcs, led by the evil Brain Eater. We are journeying on to Nenlast to seek our fortune.”

Rift stares curiously at Umero’s suit of armor.

“Umero, you appear to have great powers if you can command the waters with your device. I am curious, how does it work? Is it arcane energy?”

Ending with a Bang
 

“Umero, I am Zenithar al Denithar, called Z’alden, servant of the god Bahamut and all that is noble, honorable, and just. We had paused here after seeing a beast in the Lake to see if anyone was harmed and render aid as necessary. And, now we have seen the wonder that is yourselves. I have never seen your like. Please, let us all take a seat on these lake rocks, be introduced to your companions and hear of the mysteries and strange adventures which surely one with your magic has seen.”

Z’alden supplies a minimal, but courteous introduction for any reticent comrade.
The cleric then waits for Umero to respond to his and Rift’s friendly greetings and inquiries.

Ending with a Bang
 

Tira addresses the half-elf, “Hello, it has been awhile since I have the pleasure of meeting another half-elf. Our intentions are friendly, as I hope are yours. May I ask what this contraption is that you are wearing? I presume it allows you to move about under the water whilst still breathing air, but as Water-Breathing is a common ritual that even those whom have not begun their paragon path can use, I am curious as to what benefits you might get from such a device that the ritual does not grant?”

Ending with a Bang
 

Umero looks at Rift first and replies, “I congratulate you and your companions on the defeat of the orcs. They are a terrible scourge of the land. Only the deep waters offer refuge.”

The half-elf then motions to the three sailors to continue their labors. The adventures can see them going off to collect the row boat from the fine shrubbery.

“Ahh, good cleric,” Umero continues, turning his attention to Z’alden, “it is an honor to have a holy man in our presence.” Umero bows cordially in respect.

Umero’s well-mannered conversation with Z’alden is ended as he sets his eyes upon the beautiful sorceress, Tira, whose natural charms work even in the rain from under a cloak. Losing his composure a bit, he stammers out, “Yes, you know what, what it is like to be of two races. It can be tough, but through trial comes strength.” His gaze upon Tira and her red locks that playfully sneak out from under her hood lasts a few seconds more.

Regaining his senses, Umero pronounces, “Fortune, ahh, the beautiful wizard Rift of Fallcrest, mentioned that you seek your fortune in Nenlast. Let us not speak of fortune but rather of adventure. Let us not sit here on the rocks in the cold and rain. Join me as our guests on the mighty ship, the Sea Dragon.” Umero gestures to “the beast” anchored off shore. “I will introduce you to the captain and we will talk of heroic adventures and breathing apparatuses,” he says with a nod to Tira.

Umero politely pauses and then continues, “In the warmth of the beast’s belly, we will supper on fresh steak, potatoes, seaweed and goblets of wine… Nentir rouge, from the cask of forty-three. Well, we will have that as soon as the men can row the supplies out to the ship. Come, let us take the first two of you in the row boat.”

Umero motions for you to follow him to the row boat. He seems very sincere and trustworthy – a true leader with a commanding presence and one who inspires confidence. His crew-mates seem rougher around the edges, like one would expect of sailors.

Do you take Umero up on his offer to be guests on the Sea Dragon?

Ending with a Bang
 

Rift bows low to Umero.

“We would be glad to accept your kind offer. I am only sorry that we do not have any fine provision to share with you. But perhaps we can regale you with tales of our adventures, if it would not be too boring?”

Rift then steps into the boat, motioning for Barrick to join her. Although she trusts Umero, it is better to have a heavily-armed dwarf around, just in case.

Ending with a Bang
 

Can all of the adventurers fit at once? If so, we all go.

Ending with a Bang
 

No, not everyone can go at the same time. Though the rowboat is large and is designed to have two oarsmen, it can only fit three additional people. In this case, Umero sits at the front (presumably to introduce the first of you to the captain) and then Rift and Barrick.

Umero enters the rowboat first, with two of his men steadying the boat. The rain has made everything quite slick, so Umero helps Rift and Barrick aboard. Finally, the two sailors load some crates into the boat, push the boat off and jump in. They quickly move to the oars and the boat slips away into the rain and fog.

Back on the shoreline, the remaining adventurers wait. Lars helps the two “sea creatures” off with their helmets. They’re pretty quite, but seem to mind their own business and get to work with the third sailor (from the shrubbery) to move the barrels and crates into position for when the rowboat returns.

Off in the distance, Z’alden, Tira, Varis and Lars can see the eye of the Sea Dragon light up. The rowboat must have reached the ship.

Ending with a Bang
 

After about 20 minutes, the rowboat returns. Rift, Barrick, and Umero are gone. The two oarsmen jump out, load a few more crates and then invite the four remaining adventurers into the boat.

What do Z’alden, Varis, Tira and Lars do?

Ending with a Bang
 

After seeing to the horses, so that they don’t wander off, we get on, taking care with our footing.

Ending with a Bang
 

Lars hesitates. Looking down at his feet, he says, “New friends, I am sorry, I have a feeling that you will spend much time on the Sea Dragon. It is in your nature to find new adventures wherever you go and this is a good one if I ever saw it. I will wait here with the horses and if you do not return after what would be a long dinner with good conversation, then I will take the horses to Nenlast and make sure that they are well cared for. I can feel my destiny calling me, and it’s in Nenlast. I don’t know what it will be, but it will be good.”

With that, Lars looks up with a smile and delivers his final farewell, “Goodbye my friends. May the fortune you find be more than gold. May we share great tales when next we meet, be it in a few hours or years.”

Lars pulls his cloak’s hood down over his eyes and returns to the horses.

The sailors push off and row Z’alden, Tira and Varis out into the fog and rain.

To be continued…

Ending with a Bang
 

“Lars, fare thee well! Your destiny has a name. Seek Monica!” the cleric shouts over the splash of the oars. He is sure that it is only mist wetting his eyes as he loses sight of his new old friend.

Ending with a Bang
rplayer dredmuns

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