Super Pretzel

Gateway to the Torsk Coast
Part 1 [4/26/14]

After defeating the forces at Malrien’s Keep and conferring with Tally, the team decided to travel to the foothills in the far mountings to meet a smith with talents in working with quartznium. During their travels, they heard a scream from a boy and a shout from a man. Theren quietly rushed into the medium growth forest to see a human man and boy standing defensively in a wide clearing. It became clear they were being advanced upon by several reptilian creatures. The creatures were unarmed, but they were clearly crazed. The rest of the team was alerted by Theren and everyone joined the fight. Luckily, the creatures were not a challenge to the heroes. Theren turned his wall of leaves into a leaf statue of himself while Baldwin collected wood to build a burial fire for the defeated leaping felldrakes (x4). Telesphorus accepted the simple yet customary gesture from the man (Brandlin) and his son (Fillian). They had nothing else to offer, but the sharing of tea and a meal is a high honor among the poor humans of this region. Brandlin was also in awe of Ashlynne and her obvious magical abilities.

The next day, the heroes parted ways with Brandlin and Fillian, after learning a wide creek was at the end of the clearing, due west. Brandlin said there were ample provisions to be gathered along the creek, although game was surprisingly absent for this time of year. The team continued west until they reached the creek, which was easily crossed. While drying supplies after a successful crossing, Theren sensed a faint rumbling and saw a single stream of dark smoke rising from the middle of a dense forest directly to the west. The rest of the team were also able to also see a large cliff in the far distance to the northwest, with two other small streams of dark smoke rising; one rose from the top of the cliff. The team decided to step cautiously into the dense forest.

Again, Theren advanced into the forest quietly until he could make out the following scene: a wide clearing in the trees revealed a slowly rising drumlin with the ruins of ancient pillars and a statue. On one of the massive pillars sat a large figure with its back turned to Theren’s view. A fire gently burned, obviously having been tended as a cook fire. Two wolves sat near the fire, gnawing at bones, while the large, seated figure moaned with sorrow. As the rest of the team cautiously approached, Telesphorus saw that the statue was of Humphrey Of Newcastleton. [Humphrey was a ruler that dedicated all his efforts to building monuments to himself; as a result, Newcastleton was never even officially established and “Humphrey” is still used as a derogatory term to this day.]

The massive, seated figure could be heard muttering “Where Tor?” This caused Baldwin to attempt parley. This, in turn, caused the massive figure to turn around and reveal itself as a giant, bare-breasted ogre mother in full-on distress mode. She grabbed her club and immediately swung it at the unarmed Baldwin for 13 damage. Theren and Telesphorus were able to kill the two hunting wolves, just as two more hunting wolves emerged from the wood. Ashlynne attempted to lie to the ogre mother, telling her that “Tor that way,” pointing in the direction of the cliff and the other smoke streams. Ashlynne was successful and the ogre mother ran away in a sprint along with her hunting wolves, ignoring the rest of the team. Without stopping to heal, the team ran in pursuit. Theren tied 20’ of vines to an arrow and fired it at the ogre mother’s club, but he misjudged the distance and missed.

Theren was the first to arrive to where the ogre had run, and he immediately saw an encampment of furry humanoids. They were Wilden and Theren knew it was quite uncommon for Wilden to be camping outside of a forest along a cliff-face, and especially in a long wooden cabin. Wilden Destroyers were on the ground with axes, Wilden Hunters were mostly off the ground with bows, and the ogre mother and wolves were trying to maneuver through defensive structures (rocks and fences). The wolves each took out Destroyer, then two Hunters took out both the wolves. Just then, a Wilden wearing raiment made of bones and stitches of fabric emerged from a small, single-dwelling hut. The Wilden Ancient held up a crude, carved, wooden figure, stamped his spear into the ground and then struck the wooden figure (totem) to the spear. This caused the earth to swell in a straight line leading to the ogre mother, where the soil erupted and pulled the ogre mother 1’ into the ground, where she was immobilized and damaged. Theren rushed up near the side of the ogre mother and fired a shot at a Hunter to the far northeast, causing 6 damage. The Hunter attempted to return a shot, but in the sudden commotion, he instead fired an arrow into his thigh, causing himself 18 damage. Telesphorus sensed an opportunity to cause greater harm to the evil creature and fired a hand crossbow bolt into the wound for 3 damage (bloodied). Ashlynne then advanced and caused 13 damage to the Wilden Ancient. Baldwin rushed to the side of Theren, placing both of them directly beside the ogre mother and her giant club.

The ogre mother sniffed the air to get a sense of whether or not Tor is nearby, but her perception was so low that she still believes Ashlynne’s lie. The ogre mother will continue sniffing the air for indications as to whether Tor is near. If Tor isn’t near, the ogre mother has no reason to continue fighting because her urge is to search for Tor.

The Forest Keep of Malrien

Reunited after Ashlynne’s recon of Priam’s village the party entered a dark, overgrown forest. Finding a clear path leading towards the mountains they set off to investigate the source of the mind-controlling waves and hopefully find the townsmen. A few hundred yards into the wood however, they were diverted by a series of deadly traps set across the path. The party chose to move off-path and eventually found a stream bed which allowed quick travel towards the mountains. Night drew in and they overnighted next to the stream.

Overnight the party noticed the lack of predator sounds, it appeared as if the forest wolves were all silent or gone.

Waking early to avoid attack the party continued along the streambed until they smelt smoke and found 4 gnoll huntsmen apparently breaking their fast although they acted strangely.

Utilizing the element of surprise and their tactical advantage from the forest cover the party attacked the gnolls, knocking one into the cookfire and scattering the others. Baldwin struck quickly, smashing a gnoll into a nearby tree and bisecting it’s head like so much firewood. A battle ensued as the remaining gnolls attempted to flank the party and Theren deployed a gloaming shroud over the stream, temporarily stopping the incoming arrows. The gnolls were quickly routed and were found to be carrying a crude map indicating their current position as well as what appeared to be a large forest hold to the north.

Theren notified the party that there was someone following them.

The party moved quietly through the woods, growing more concerned by the lack of forest sounds and wildlife, eventually reaching a break in the woods which opened into a large marsh backed with foothills. In the center of the marsh lay a large wooden fort with 40 foot armored towers angled away from the center keep and anchored with heavy cordage. The fort bristled with guards, wolves and trebuchets but the front gates were open, allowing the party to view inside. They saw several guards leading townsmen to a simple wooden cage that they closed behind them, without locking. There were also several guards walking the perimeter with wolves that appeared to be staring directly ahead without taking notice of their surroundings or attacking the guards. All appeared to be under some kind of mind control or dominate. The party attempted to communicate with their hidden follower but he refused to identify himself or aid them as he could not be convinced of the fact that they were not under mind control or dominate. He indicated he would be happy to help as soon as he could confirm their intentions and desires.

Further reconnaissance of the fort identified an overhanging cliff face roughly 30 feet over the western walls of the fort and a group of rotting trees, apparently the last in the area, to the south of the fort. After extensive planning and food poisoning, the party opted for a nighttime surprise attack on the fort.

Telesphorus teleported himself and Theren to the roof of the keep, attempting to gather intelligence on the inhabitants. Appearing quietly, they noticed a group of a dozen soldiers being fed from a cookfire and what appeared to be an altar or platform with much equipment stacked on it. Flashing back they coordinated the attack plans with the rest of the party.

Baldwin headed towards the south to use his strength to push the rotted trees into the fort walls while the remainder of the party scaled the cliff to the south to launch an attack from there.

Using silk cordage from Baldwin’s supplies, Theren created a rope line for Ashlynne to the wall while Telesphorus teleported them to the wall walkway. Ashlynne grabbed the feet of a passing guard, throwing him to his death while Baldwin dropped a massive tree on the southern walls of the fort, creating a gangplank for the dragonborn to assault the fort. Rushing a guard Baldwin threw him from the walkway and chopped through the retaining line on the tower, causing it to tumble.

Nearly simultaneously, Telesphorus? cut the northwest tower cable, causing it to fall but also causing the wall to start falling apart underneath them.

This noise caused guards to flood from the keep but Theren and Ashlynne used area denial attacks to cause damage to these lackeys while they concentrated fire on the walls and approaching guards. Meanwhile, Baldwin rushed the southeast tower but was attacked by wolves and more guards. Defeating these he snuck through their line of fire and managed to cut the southeast tower loose with the help of their forest friend, causing more wall damage before he dropped down into the interior of the keep.

Sensing the wall crashing apart below them the party dashed, teleported and roped down the wall to the ground and began running to the east.

Baldwin, meanwhile hacked through the crude pikes blocking the entrance and freed the caged townmen who were very confused by the sudden appearance of a dragonborn. Baldwin then waved a torch to their forest ally who immediately joined the fight, taking down two wall guards with his arrows and informing them that his name was Tally. He also turned the forest wolves to the party’s side.

A hacking, smashing, biting fight ensued while the rest of the party made their way to the front of the fort to support their new human allies and Baldwin.

Tally proved helpful and was able to scale walls quickly using his grappling hook and quick speeds. The battle seemed in hand until the appearance of a tower of fire and smoke.

The towering inferno killed friend and foe alike until Telesphorus was able to break through the mind domination and reveal that it was actually a powerful con artist using a psyranthus shard to dominate and control minds. The enemy was identified as Malrien, a female who utilized two crystalline daggers and incredible speed to battle the party.

Quickly her strengths were shown as the party found themselves literally unable and unwilling to attack Malrien as she appeared as a pitiful groundling to them, hardly worthy of an arrow or blade edge.

She appeared to dash in and out of the battle using her ability to dominate hearts and minds to kill off many of the friendly wolves and townmen and began sneaking close to attack the party. It wasn’t until she openly attacked the party were they able to take the offensive against her. The party chased her into the keep, cornering her and blocking her exits using area denial spells and attacks. She was eventually vanquished and the remaining guards were mopped up by Ashlynne and Tally.

Tally joined up with the party and began filling them in on their current situation.
Malrien was merely a henchwoman of a greater controller, Horoveth.
Horoveth has taken up residence in the far mountains as it is the only source of the psionic crystal, psyranthium.
Using pysranthium-enhanced Third Eye Dominate, he is able to control males of the nearby town of Priam and uses them in his mines.
Tally has a brother who is in Horoveth’s inner circle and who is aiding the resistance.
Quartznium is a sister mineral to psyranthium and capable of destroying it if forged into weapons
There is a smith in the foothills capable of forging quartznium weapons but he is very difficult to deal with and notoriously anti-social
The people of Priam’s village absorb psyranthium through their food and water and so have mild telekinetic powers. They use these to herd reindeer and keep wolves at bay. Priam himself is an older man and has a lifetime of psyranthium in his system so he essentially has Jedi powers.
Use of psyranthus crystals causes on-going damage and will eventually kill you or age you extremely quickly unless you are immune or use spells against it’s effects.

The party found quartznium, mining equipment and RANDOM LOOT.

The party was given a cloth insignia to identify themselves as part of the rebellion.

Tally has taken 5 of the townsmen with him and will train them as fighters. The remaining 15 men returned to Priam’s town to defend their village.

GAME DAY 12-7-2013
Clearing Malorath's Forces and Embarking To A Village With No Men

Theren, Ashlynne, Baldwin, and Telesphorus continued moving through the dungeon guarded by the forces of a necromancer named Malareth. Team Super Pretzel had previously encountered and rescued a 13’ black warhorse that was bridled with the marking of Malareth. Telesphorus became the de facto protector of Blackie from calming and soothing him as the team added him to their group as a steed.

While traversing the inner rooms of the dungeon, our heroes met a young, white dragon named Faralax. Baldwin‘s heritage as a Dragonborn and his skills in diplomacy allowed our heroes to talk the dragon into agreeing to let them pass without incident. Two promises had to be upheld: they must not loot Faralax’s dungeon and they must clear the forces of Malareth. Our heroes agreed and Faralax disappeared through a large portal on the ground.

After passing through more inner rooms of the dungeon, our heroes encountered three small rooms with fire altars. Ashlynne used her fire spells to disperse the rooms of goblins.

Our heroes entered a room with a statue of Bahamut, a desecrated altar covered in blood, one doppelganger, and three devout followers of Malareth. Telesphorus became enraged that such evil surrounded the statue of Bahamut; he held his holy implement and began praying which caused the Eyes of Bahamut to begin glowing wildly. Ashlynne intimidated the doppelganger amount its impending ruination if it did not turn sides. The doppelganger assisted our heroes to attack the three devout followers for a cut of the loot from the bodies. Once the devout followers were defeated, the mercenary doppelganger gathered its portion and fled. Telesphorus cleaned the desecrated altar, provided 10gp of blessings to the statue of Bahamut, and would not allow his companions to take the Eyes of Bahamut from the statue.

Finally, our heroes came into a room with a necromancer, four goblins, and a hulking zombie. The goblins were taken care of with little effort. In an unbelievable feat, Ashlynne landed a critical hit upon the hulking zombie early in the battle, causing it to disintegrate and disappear. Unable to raise the destroyed behemoth, this infuriated the necromancer. Miraculously, another hulking zombie burst through a connecting room. Just as miraculously, Ashlynne landed yet another critical hit on the second hulking zombie. After this, our heroes made short work in destroying the necromancer, fulfilling the spoken contract with Faralax.

Our heroes exited the dungeon and came to the port town of Falcrest. They visited the standard merchants and made simple sales. They visited the ships at the port and sold water to the seaman. Baldwin used his down to manufacture 4 sleeping bags which provide excellent warmth in the harshest of conditions.

In the center of town, our heroes were approached by an addled young woman named Kreayus. She hysterically yelled about all the men in her village (Priam’s Village) disappearing and all the children of her village becoming violent. An old man and an old woman came out to silence Kreayus and move her back into a hut. Telesphorus felt that justice was being subdued so he rode Blackie over to the old man and demanded answers. The old man told them the location of the village and the location of a forest where the men were last known to have traveled; no other details could be given.

Our heroes departed, but separated. Ashlynne traveled alone to Priam’s village because she was the only woman and perhaps she would be immune to any potential effects in the village. The other three traveled through tundra to reach the forest, southeast of the village.

The story continues…


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