The Acts of The Lords of Rannick, LI

I only just realised that I labelled the last recap post incorrectly… this is the 51st. Durrr.

Some evil-doers are brought down by derring-do and high adventure. Some are brought down by acts of nature that suggest a slow-to-wrath God, moved finally to vengeance.  These are your Goliaths, your Richard IIIs, your Saurons, your Ming the Merciless.

Most die in really mundane ways.  Idi Amin? Kidney Failure. Papa Doc Duvalier? Diabetes. Kim Jong Il? Hairspray-related asphyxiation.

The third category – and always a popular one – is MURDER. Hmm. Can I get that in a bigger font?

Yeah, that's the stuff.

From the makeshift hidey-hole to the entrance to Runeforge.

The day started with a little more healing as everyone patched themselves back together after the beating they took from the Mouth of Winter. Waiting until dusk, they emerged from their hidden den, probably pretty cranky and bent on getting up the stairs of Rimeskull.

Halvard created a Wall of Stone in the loosest possible sense, across the river, allowing everyone to cross without enduring the bone-chilling freeze of the mountain run-off. Returning to the circle of stones, Don turned into a Griffin and made Kerplak’s Make-a-Wish Foundation dream come true and carried the gnome on his back. They flew up the staircase to the platform at the top and observed the two lumps of rock that Albedon and Dagfinn claimed were earth elementals of some kind.

I think I told you about this at one point - it's like a British Make-A-Wish, but for kids who have the good manners to not be dying.

Don cast a Rock to Mud spell, or something, underneath one of the inanimate lumps, causing the resulting cube of soggy mud to pour out down the 200′ drop to the base of the mountain. The lump of rock, sinking into the mud, did not flow off with the mud, but disappeared.

Meanwhile, at the base of the stairs, Dagfinn got tired of nobody looking at him and started climbing, followed by everyone else. Once he was in front, he started showing off, skipping up the massive steps; but to be fair, he is very good at showing off.

Don landed on the stone platform at the head of the stairs, in front of the skull-like face carved into the mountainside. As soon as he did, the earth elementals activated, one lump splitting until it resembled a man-like object, the other simply rising from the frost covered stone of the platform itself. GriffDon fled to the security of the air, and prepared to evade thrown boulders while Kerplak racked up some crossbow bolts and started firing.

As they were joined by the rest of the group, the elementals engaged Arradin and Dagfinn, who had hasted everyone. The elementals pounded the two with arms of jagged granite, but blows were returned and Halvard channeled negative energy and smote one of them before Torgor put an end to the fight with a few well placed arrows. The guardians of the cave entrance shattered, the group proceeded into the mouth of the skull.

The long, glistening passageway continued into the mountain for some distance and the light cast by Dagfinn’s flaming sword and Halvard’s Light spell glittered back at them from the ice covered walls. The passage turned sharply to the left and then turned again, revealing two stone statues flanking the path. Carved to resemble warriors wearing an odd style of armour, the two held a sword in one hand and had a hand raised as though to ward away intruders. Beyond them the tunnel continued, the floor sloping down slightly.

Kerplak snuck forward and investigated for traps, while Don seemed concerned about disabling the stone swords, should they spring to life. Kerplak discovered that the statue on the left wasn’t real at all, but an illusion, designed to cover the start of a thin, invisible ledge that travelled the length of the passageway, but without sloping down like the floor did.

Everyone except Halvard took to the thin ledge. The Ulfen started down the main passageway, but found the floor so slick that he could barely keep his footing. He relented and took tiny steps to get back over to the ledge. As they progressed along the ledge (which at some point became visible, I’m not sure if I told you that) they saw that the floor of the passageway terminated in a pit, the icy floor surely serving as a chute down into the gaping darkness. Coils of cold mist rose from below and wound around the great icicles that hung from the ceiling above.

The ledge however, wound down into the pit. They progressed down carefully, Kerplak leading the way, painstakingly searching for traps. Kerplak’s goggles allowed him to ignore the mist, so when the lights provided enough illumination to see the bottom of the pit, Kerplak was the first to see what lay below.

The pit ended in a large chamber, from which many passages led. In the center of the chamber, a 4oft high spike of a pillar rose, coated in ice. Around it were arranged seven other pillars, half that height and in the northwestern curve of the chamber lay a huge bed of treasure. Coins, objet’s d’art, weapons, armour, jewels. Unfortunately, on this bed lay the Mouth of Winter, snoozing.

It turns out that Dragon sleep numbers are counted in tens of thousands of coins.

A plan was quickly discussed and it was eventually agreed above other plans, that they should murder the beast while it slept. To do so would be a tricky proposition, so Kerplak, Dagfinn and Torgor moved as silently as they could towards the slumbering dragon. Arradin, not really capable of stealth in her armour ingested a potion of Fly and floated down into place. The chamber was amazing silent as they stepped into their positions. The dragon’s eyelids fluttered as they moved closer, but it remained asleep AS THOUGH FATE ITSELF CONSPIRED WITH THE MURDERERS.

In position, they all struck at once, Murder On The Orient Express style. Oh,.. SPOILERZ.

Kerplak, having loaded his experimental gun with rocks discharged it at the weakest looking point of the dragon’s massive armoured head and one rock penetrated deep enough to kill the Mouth of Winter instantly AS THOUGH FATE ITSELF CONSPIRED WITH THE MURDERERS.

It probably took a while for everyone to believe that the dragon was actually dead, but it had been successfully Coup De Grace’d.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!

Which meant all that was left to do was to swim around in money. Vast, vast quantities of money.

Dagfinn set about identifying the magic items, then arguing why he should get the two of the really expensive ones, while everyone else tried to get a handle on how much money there actually was there.

I’ve been remiss in awarding The Compleat Adventurer lately, not because you’re not all awesome, but I just forgot, really. Last night’s went to Kerplak who played the width of the Rogue field – searching for hidden things successfully, sneak attacking to great effect, leading the stealth team forward. Really he was everything a Rogue should be. He was helped along by some good rolling and some VERY timely Fate cards, but still, in retrospect this seems well deserved.

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