Posted on January 28, 2011
The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, V
Hook Mountain; Ogres, ogres everywhere, until there came Tersplink. Ogres, ogres everywhere and then their clan did shrink.
Last week’s game ended with such a precarious position that I had no idea if this week’s update would consist of triumph or of rolling new characters. Hook Mountain presented a challenge that the group had rarely encountered before – being outnumbered – and their very survival looked bleak for a while. I’d say that their position has improved but they aren’t out of the woods yet. Cave… you know what I meant.
Geographically, not much distance was covered, but a lot happened so I’m going to put the rest of it behind the cut… wait, there is no cut? What the hell? Am I missing it? Can someone who knows how the cut works cut this right HERE.
When last we left our heroes, they were hidden amongst the snowy crags of Hook Mountain, looking onto a rocky ledge that lay before a large cave entrance. The cave entrance emitted a constant cloud of dark smoke that was snatched away by the wicked winds swirling around the peak. Corwyn (Rogue/Fighter) was left to cover the retreat and the rest of the party slinked up to the ledge. Above the ledge they spied a pair of ogre sentries, shivering against the cold, huddled around a tiny fire.
The Ogre sentries seemed more concerned with dealing with the party themselves rather than summoning help and it wasn’t until Dagfinn (Bard/Mammal) had dispatched the first sentry with a dazzling display of rapier-work that the second began to call for help. It didn’t arrive in the remaining time it took the party to slay him.
Venturing further into the wide mouth of the cave, they found two noteworthy areas. The first, the skeletal remains of a dragon poking up from the permafrost. The bones had been the subject of some crude scrimshaw work by ogres over the years concerned primarily with illustrating their bestial lusts. More recently the carvings had been of the seven-pointed hooked rune that the party had learned was called the Sihedron.
Secondly, they found an enormous statue at the narrowing of the cave mouth. Its skin black and cracked like a dry river bed, it bore a massive glaive and wore a set of gargantuan gold-lined half-plate armour that Lonny (Cleric/Nouveau Riche) reckoned was worth a small fortune. Kerplak (Rogue/Gnome Stereotype) clambered up the statue and found no signs of life, but confirmed that the armour was distinct from the rest of the statue. More alarmingly, around its neck the statue bore a medallion identical to the one Arradin (Fighter/Legs) alone now bears. Other party members had eschewed the Sihedron medallions, but Arradin persists in wearing hers. This statue wore the same seven-pointed hook rune, albeit on a much larger medallion.
They hummed and hawed for a while, but decided to leave the statue be and continued into the narrowing of the cave.
Smoke rose up the stairs that had been carved into this 15ft wide tunnel that descended further into the mountain. After descending into the gloom a way, they found a charnel pit in a side cave. Here the charred remains of the Kreeg clan’s waste lay, but it was note the source of the smoke, which continued to roil along the ceiling above them. Investigating the charnel pit, however, alerted the nearby ogre sentries, who came to investigate all the noise. The lumbering oafs decided to attack the party in the tunnel, preventing them from attacking more than one at a time and the intruders put them down quickly. Torgor (Ranger/Newguy) seemed to start each combat with a wild miss, only tune readjust his aim and release arrows with remarkable efficiency in future rounds.
Clambering over the dead sentries, they found a small rest area at the confluence of three passageways. To the south, the passage descended sharply and was clearly the source of the smoke. They heard the clatter of metal on metal and crude Ogre curses. To the west a chill breeze and north, silence.
They progressed south, Dagfinn (Bard/Homonid) shrouding everyone in his Invisibility Sphere and Kerplak scouting ahead. At the bottom of the stairs they discovered a makeshift forge, with exhausted ogres working at crude anvils, battering enormous iron swords into being. The smoke made seeing and breathing difficult, but the large crate full of heavy finished blades showed that the ogres had been at work for some time. Kerplak made his way onto the crate but was spotted which is when the mayhem started to ensue. Initially protected by the Invisibility Sphere, Tersplink (Gnome/Cousin) left its safety to take a sorcerous shot at an Ogre. The gnomes and gradually the rest of the party became visible as they leapt into the fray. The problem was that this was a really big cave, although they couldn’t see far into it and it was full of exhausted Ogres and a few that weren’t exhausted, but were really bastards. The Ogres rushed the group, badly injuring Baaz (Monk/Badass) with their ogre hooks and putting down both gnomes. Two ogres were slain in the ensuing melee, but the numbers were against our heroes.
Tersplink and Baaz were back in the game (Tersplink because he was healed and Baaz because he just shrugged off some of the pummeling) but by this time the sense that they were ill-prepared for this kind of fight settled on the party. Torgor, Baaz and Tersplink made use of Tersplink’s Haste spell and hoofed it back up the stairway, ahead of the charging Ogres, to hide in the charnel pit cave.
An ogre snatched up the limp body of Kerplak only to have his arms badly sliced by Arradin, who broke out of an Invisibility Sphere for the second time. Dagfinn caught the dropped gnome and recast the spell, shrouding Arradin, Lonny, himself and the bleeding Kerplak from view. They backed off from the ogres, benefiting from being hastened and made a circuitous route out of the forge cave, leaving two ogres groping in the darkness for their gnome.
The Ogres, driven by one of their overseers chased on after Baaz, who left the cave to collect Corwyn… maybe to go find a new adventuring party. Tersplink, used a Spectral Hand spell to deliver a Shocking Grasp on the rearmost ogre which fried him to a cinder and in that moment, everyone fell in love with Tersplink’s Spectral Hand spell. The remaining three ogres charged on oblivious, spotting Corwyn and Baaz as they flailed around looking for a spot to hide.
On reaching Corwyn and Baaz with their pretty effective attacks, the ogres found themselves attacked from the rear as well as Torgor and Tersplink emerged from the cave. Tersplink sent his Spectral Hand forth to do his bidding and Torgor (after shooting off his traditional test arrow to gauge wind and distance and so forth) sent an arrow through the head of the last ogre.
Meanwhile, back in the cave, Lonny, Arradin, Dagfinn (Bard/Biped) and a revived Kerplak chased after the Overseers. Dagfinn and Lonny are both able to cast Hold Person, arguably the most hated spell in this and any other iteration of this game, so I forget who held who. Suffice it to say that the Overseer driving the ogre charge from the rear was frozen in place and dispatched with ease. The Overseer who fled up the northern tunnel was not so lucky. Not only was he frozen, he was dispatched, badly and over an agonizing 18 seconds. Kerplak damaged him in some terrible, terrible ways that I will not recount but failed to Coup De Grace him twice. Twice. Jesus. See you in The Hague, Kerplak.
Having split the party, but cleverly forcing the ogres to split their party, the group reconvened to dispatch the remaining two ogres who were still searching for their missing gnome. Upon further inspection they found three smaller tunnels that led further down into the mountain. From each they heard the distant sounds of mining; metal striking rock and ceaseless abuse from the barking overseers. Kerplak investigated, but found the tunnels too long for a quick scouting, while Lonny sized up the support props and believed he could cause the tunnels to cave given enough time. They left that for now and filled in the time waiting for Kerplak to return by tossing the crude swords down into the charnel pit. Arradin was the one to remind everybody that they still had a set of remains to be found for Myriana.
When the gnome returned they headed west, into a curving tunnel that ended in a frost filled cave. In the cold mist of the area, they they found a trio of Annis Hags, waiting around their cauldron. The Annis Hags proceeded to reinforce witch stereotypes by locking Kerplak and Arradin in a Forcecage to eat later and used Baleful Polymorph to make a toad out of the singing (and therefore save-enhancing) Dagfinn (Bard/Amphibian). To complicate matters a tattered Frost Wight loomed out of the mist to attack from the flank.
Squeezing their way past the Forcecage, everyone who wasn’t imprisoned or a toad lined up to inflict misery on the weird sisters. Tersplink got the ball rolling with a Scroll of Stinking Cloud, creating a nauseating miasma that prevented them from casting spells, causing them to panic and try to flee the area.
Baaz disarmed the Frost Wight, which he recognized as being the corpse of Lamatar Bayden due to the memories imposed upon him by Myriana in the Shimmerglens, then knocked his crown off, then punched him to death. Baaz gets things done.
While Arradin tried in vain to hack open the walls of the Forcecage, Kerplak sent a volley of shots through the gaps in the magical bars, killing the second choking Hag. The second fell to a combination of attacks, with Tersplink and Lonny’s spells making little impact on the Hags until one of the Shocking Grasps got through.
The last hag fled back into the choking stink of the cloud, but as Lonny and Baaz held their breath and charged in after her, Tersplink dropped the spell and the hag’s pursuers struck her down, killing the last of the sisters. The Forcecage spell dropped but the Baleful Polymorph did not and, returning the favour from earlier, Kerplak picked up Dagfinn (Bard/Bufo Bufo) and carried him.
And that’s where we left them.