Rick's Hold

May 20

After the party returned to their home at their keep in Rick’s Hold, they revived their fallen comrades and rested. However, it was not a time of sadness at all, no. In fact quite the opposite. Well, maybe a little sadness. Okay fine, a lot of sadness! But at the keep it was also time for the monthly festival. And even more exciting, along with the festival comes the time of taxes, upkeep and wages! Yes. Whee indeed.

In addition, the trading expedition that had been sent to seek various items and sundry from the elves had returned. Great joy was had by those involved in counting their purchases.

The great day of bureaucracy continued with various shopping done, selling the parts of the felled dragon (the one who crisped Gil), and dividing up the loot from the dungeon (so far!).
Officials from the wizards guild, however, trumped all that with their arrival whereupon they demanded fees for earned experience and rank within the guild (out of which the rogue partially sneaked his heathen way). In addition, they concocted a method to extract funds from the keep for the fabrication of magical wares on our land. The bard Nuati was clever, talking them down from 300 gp per month to a more workable 100 gp per month and formalisation of the agreement with a written contract which included rights to create any magic items not only within our own building, but anywhere upon our own lands. The party now plans to manipulate this to our benefit by building a section of homes and housing units surrounding a laboratory for wizards to come and rent/use for a small monthly fee (less than what the guild charges to make items or use their equipment). Hopefully this new income will offset the fees of the guild, or maybe even turn a profit! Perhaps the bard’s recent experience being dead has compelled him to seek more earthly rewards now that he is once more amongst the living?

Regardless, the paperwork continued as a head count was made of the keep and surrounding farmlands (and a small family of farmers was discovered to be in fact elves! who knew? the bard knew!) and a great feast was held because Dimitri the paladin really wanted a big meal with everybody around him as a group (he had just died and been raised for the first time, so was still reeling from the experience).

May 15

Knowing there was nothing left in the dungeon that they were aware of besides the wasps they had bypassed earlier, the party decided it was high time to do those flying pests in. They sauntered through the areas of the dungeon they had previously cleared, once again gaining confidence while walking through their fields of victory of the previous evening.
Upon reaching the wasp’s domain, the group readied themselves for a fight they believed won in all but action. However, as usual, they quickly found themselves in trouble. While they attempted to bottleneck the oncoming wasps in the tunnel, keeping them contained and easily beaten, the flying bastards flew over the blockade and immediately surrounded Nuati, who had moved forward in what had presumed safety.
Though they were simple insects, the warrior wasps proved quite capable in their duties, swarming individual members of the party, cutting them off and delivering deadly stings, injecting poison every time into the wounds of their victims. Cut off from the rest of the group so swiftly, Nuati fell swiftly to the wasps deadly advances. The remaining paladin followed suite when the wasps that had engaged the bard moved on to fresh prey. Though Dimitri did his best, downing as many bugs as he could before falling, fall he did, leaving the rest of the party to finish the job.
Though the fight looked grim by this point, but the rest of the party held on and kept fighting to the last. The next target was the rogue, who was fairly wounded already and didn’t take long before he fell as well, though luckily not to his death, as he was stabilized before any more fatalities could transpire. Finally the wasp swarm was stopped before it could finish off the last remaining members, the wizards and cleric.
Gathering the wounded and the corpses, the very diminished group headed back out of the dungeon and then to their keep, rather depressed, disheartened and shamed.

May 1

After entering the tunnel, there were more spiders to be defeated. They were of course defeated quite soundly. The party continued to scour the dungeon, heading for the room of ghoul-looking things which turned out to be wights.

The wights immediately quailed before the clerical might of Dumathoin, making what seemed to be at first a threatening menace into a relative pillow fight. The party spent the rest of the evening swaggering through the dungeon, until they opted to returne to the entrance and on the way decided to force out whatever was in that room they had left unopened the previous day.

This newly acquired swagger had only intensified after running into another beastie: this time a flesh golem. Having never encountered such a creature or thing (or trap if you will) before, the party began the fight trepidatiously [it’s a word, look it up!] but after only a few moments had rendered the monster into a heap. Having so quickly defeated a monster they had thought deadly, the party’s confidence soared and the swagger was prominently displayed.

Their swagger quickly disappeared as a giant beetle nearly bit the paladin to death. The party recovered quickly however and regrouped before any interesting fatalities incurred, though the fight was still quite a shock!

Then they left, slept overnight, and recouped their spells to be ready for the next incursion into the dungeon.

April 24

After resting up and recovering from their wounds and burns, and also after putting a gentle repose spell on Gil so he wouldn’t smell worse than usual while the rest of the party continued to explore the dungeon, the group waited once more while the wizard attempted to scout out the dungeon using his arcane eye spell. Passing through what he’d already inspected, Sarror eventually discovered a giant spider, who the group decided was the more immediate threat (over a group of ghoul-looking things deeper into the dungeon), and headed off to eliminate it.

After watching the remaining paladin and the cleric struggling to open a lowered portcullis, the rogue decided not to mention the existence of a lever that would open said portcullis, instead looking ahead alone and running into a giant spider, who, despite the rogue’s spells of invisibility and attempts to move silently, detected his invasion of its privacy and attacked in wrongteous rage.

Eventually the rogue had assistance, as the wizard cast a spell of gaseous form on the paladin to allow him to pass through the bars in seconds, reforming on the other side and charging the eight legged beastie.

With the paladin’s assistance, the spider was quickly downed and the rest of the party soon joined them on the other side of the now raised portcullis. The rogue discovered a secret passage, and attempting to explore it without his companions, so of course he ran into a second giant spider.

However, with the group not far behind, the rogue soon had help and the second arachnid was soon vanquished soonly. After searching the room further, only finding a passage filled with webs same as the secret passage the rogue discovered, the group decided to check out the tunnel.

Then we all went for ice cream….

April 17

A quick investigation revealed that there was a nearby creature in a nearby room nearby, but the party didn’t immediately break into the nearby room. Instead, as the wizard cast arcane eye to initially inspect the contents of the dungeon, without attempting to risk bodily harm of any party members.

The rogue eventually convinced a couple other group members to wander in other directions as he had become bored of waiting for relayed information that may actually save peoples lives or not and wanted to look for treasure. The wizard passed a giant wasp painfully and went through a few passages further before finding a nasty surprise behind a deceptively small doorway: a red dragon named ‘Azzoror’! As the spell only sent images, the wizard couldn’t hear the beast when it spoke, but realized the dragon could see the invisible floating eye. Retreating quickly with his eye, he warned the rest of the party of the nearby danger not much further in nearby, but when he looked back in on the red scaled horror, it was nowhere to be seen. He warned the rest of the group to ready for a dragon to show up, calling for the wandering rogue et al to quickly return.

Luckily the wandering band returned before the dragon showed up, but the fight was devastating regardless. The dragon opened up with a brutal blast of fire, roasting several party members, but only ‘warming up’ the paladins. Gil was warmed a bit too much and, upon his subsequent charge into the dragon, was pierced to ribbons by its big sharp nasty teeth and crumpled in a heap, never to rise again unless maybe later.

The rest of the party laid into the dragon, forcing it to take to the air. Not to be outdone, the cleric cast an air walk spell on the remaining paladin, who began to slowly chase the dragon at great speed.

The giant little red lizard dragon guy began to run out of the room flyingly, so the group warned the dwarves outside to shut the door before he could escape. Luckily the dragon had just loosed a second fire blast on the group inside before exiting, so had no deadly breath for the horses, guards, people, and Brody. The paladin continued to chase the dragon through the air, and the dragon decided to turn around to fight the pesky bastard. As the rest of the group continued to assault the flying beast, the paladin finally caught up to the monster, though below it.

This not being issue for him, the paladin just stabbed upwards, both fortunately and unfortunately slaying the creature. Fortunately for the group, the dragon was defeated and could do more harm to them. Unfortunately for the paladin, the dragon, having been above him when slain, fell down on him. With some quick manoeuvring, Dimitri was able to avoid the worst of harm from the tumbling behemoth, and after recovering from the worst scars and burns, the party raided the dragons hoard. All gold except for the gems and shit. They then decided to rest, as they had drained a great amount of resources and energy in defeating the dragon. Not to mention Gil was dead.

April 10

The party eventually got bored at the keep again what with all the STUFF they were doing, and so departed, heading for the location discovered by the cleric in the ancient Dwarven journal. The trip was plotted to be seven days in each direction. Most of the trip was rather pleasant and relatively uneventful. They even spent an evening with a neighbouring baron, where they enjoyed dinner and impolite conversation about the baron’s “many wives” (an invention of the bard’s story-telling skills).

The picnic was ruined by some rude displacer beasts which, after a quick scuffle, were defeated quite soundly. They were probably skinned and maybe even eaten a little. Who remembers these things? The bard remembers!

The rest of the trip was passed rather quickly from there, and the party reaching their destination. The location did indeed turn out to be a dwarven stronghold, and one of Gnarldan Steelshield to boot. The exterior of the dungeon was very impressive, with massive dwarven busts (HAHA, “busts!”) carved into either side of the worked stone entrance. There was also a broken statue of a female Dwarven warrior, and one of her boobies was still intact. The dwarves were unable to make it fit into their magical haversack….

Upon entering the dungeon, the group was immediately accosted by a swarm (a small swarm) of stirges. The bard swiftly and smartly lulled them to sleepiness with a lullaby, expecting the wizard to follow it up with a sleep spell, to which they would now be especially susceptible. The wizard however, obliviously blasted into the combat with magic missiles, destroying only one stirge at a time and allowing the thief to lose nearly all of his constitution and therefore nearly wither away and die.

Following the ‘fight’, the group regrouped and began to set up camp. Except then they decided not to, because that would be bad. Instead, they decided to investigate the area around the first room to determine if it would be safe to set up a camp inside for the horses.

April 3

The party looked into the territory of wild dire boars, gathered some supplies (all the nets in town!) and taking Takahiro to lead them, the group went boar hunting. After only 4 hours of travel, they found tracks, and not two hours later they had discovered a small herd of big pigs. After a brief discussion, the party cast several spells, rendering most of the group invisible and silent. These members then slowly moved towards to boars, while remaining grouped together so as to not lose touch with each other. The first attempt to charm one of the monstrous hogs failed miserably, only serving to gain the attention and anger of the wild boars.

The ridiculous combat only got worse from there. The party attempted to use non-lethal force at first, as their goal was to capture, not kill. Luckily, one of the few partially successful manoeuvres was a web spell that caught 3 of the 4 boars, although this hampered the paladin’s ability to charge. The rest of the party then tried to knock the behemoths unconscious. Unfortunately, this resulted in multiple failures to do anything useful, while the boars had no such problems and gored up all comers as best they could. Dimitri summoned his rhino in order to slow the boar’s advance, but only a few rounds later had to send it away as two boars tore into the poor pointy pig.

Soon resorting to lethal levels of violence to prevent further disaster, the group finally started to turn the fight around and began soundly defeating the boars. Only one of the four boars was accidentally killed, the other 3 ‘safely’ rendered unconscious. Dimitri, Elatoris and Takahiro returned to the keep to enlist aid in dragging 8000 lbs of pork back home.

While they were away, the rest of the party remained with the boars to guard their captives. During the night, a large unidentified creature approached from the cover of darkness. Hearing the thing coming, the party readied spells and waited. Upon seeing a large bear wander into the camp area, probably having been attracted by the smell of carrion, the wizard loosed his fireball directly at the beast. However, the wizard immediately realised his error, recognising the bear as not just a bear, but a werebear. Knowing werebears to be creatures of outstanding goodness, but often dangerous under a curse’s sway, Sarror passed on instructions to try to defeat the invader without killing it. After a brief scuffle, the werebear was defeated. The group tied it up and waited for morning. The army Dimitri brought from the keep arrived and escorted the 3 unconscious boars, one dead boar and the trussed up werebear back to their home base. On the way, the werebear returned to human form, and turned out to be none other than Vitaliy, the smith from the keep! He was completely unaware of his condition, but asked for his curse to be removed if at all possible. After a brief stint of research, the group prepared for a night of fun. Laying several spells onto the smith to aid the curse removal, they waited for the full moon to emerge, once again forcing a lycanthropic transformation. With the assistance of the group, Vitaliy was able to throw off the clutches of the curse of lycanthropy that had ailed him.

Aralo immediately began training a boar to ‘heel’, to increase safety. As captured wild animals do not make good ‘pets’, the group intends to breed and raise their own boars. Unfortunately, the 3 boars they captured all all male. Also, the problem of penning them arose; dire boars are massively strong, and the group is unsure if the bars of their dungeon will hold them.

The dead boar was cut and dressed, resulting in a vast quantity of meat. Dimitri took a bunch and went out among the farming families that fall under his knightly jurisdiction to hand it out as gifts. Irwin will also begin training a boar to ‘heel’, once he has finished a trick with the rust monster.

March 27

The party turned in the band of bad guy half-Orcs, led by their cleric of Vecna, to the Elven authorities and finished their various shopping errands and so forth. They then continued on their way to visit the Dwarves of Ilfern once more. After a short, very short, very very journey, they arrived. The paladins continued to buy most everything they can, from gems and iron to livestock (why not pigs they asked).

After a brief, very brief, very very brief stay, the party returned to the Elven settlement, and continued to shop. The Dwarves joined in the hiring this time, as the cleric wants to train mounts for his warriors. The wizard wholly supports this, as he intends to have some form of menagerie eventually. And so they hired two Elves, one to train warhorses specifically and another to train other things, whatever they may be. The group eventually got over their shopping spree and returned to the keep, where they divided up the small amount of treasure they’d won from their latest excursions.

Irwin, who had been staying at the keep, waiting to be paid, was hired on by the cleric and wizard to train the animals they intend to bring home. (They’re thinking war-boars, for riding on!) Finally, as it was the end of the month (August to be specific) they gathered the monthly incomes and taxes and payed all the workers and warriors, clerics and maids for their months labours.

Prepared, primed, disposed, arranged, and ready now, the party gets ready to capture wild dire boars and then undertake an expedition to the mountains accross the lake to discover a Dwarven settlement the cleric believes to be hidden there. This location has been pried from the coded journal discovered in the last Dwarven ruins, those belonging to the lost Dwarven clan of Gnarldan Steelshield.

March 20

Remaining in the Elven city for a few days longer, the party continued their various activities. The Dwarves continued their research, only briefly interrupted by an Elf wizard of some sort. After a few basic questions, the Elf, now seemingly satisfied (he was not at all satisfied), left them to their secretive research. By the end of the week in the Elven city, the Dwarves, mostly the cleric, had determined the location, or believed so at least, of another Dwarven settlement, either ruin or even town.

Nuati continued to search for resources to trade in other lands and purchased silk and several valuable Elven jewellery pieces.

The paladins attempted to question the half-Orc prisoner they had captured at the druid’s grove the day before. This yielded few results that the Dwarves know about — actually, nothing the Dwarves would understand at all, really. After a few charm spells, the prisoner spilt his guts about nearly everything Nuati wanted to know, except for the location of the evildoers’ hideout or temple.

While the half-Orc was being interrogated once more, the party (without the wizard, who was making a scroll) was attacked by a horde of yet more half-Orcs. Most of them were warriors, but they were led by a cleric, and the fight provided some entertainment. When the battle began to grow tedious and Dimitri started to get bored, he blew his horn of Valhalla (hadn’t used it in a couple days after all) and summoned a small horde of barbarians who got in everyone’s way but still helped to defeat the half-Orc threat. This group was led by a cleric of Vecna or something. How is this connected to the other prisoners they’ve taken?

March 18

The party, upon arriving at the Elven city, were immediately invited to dine with the king that evening. The party quickly split up in order to accomplish their own tasks. The paladin went to discuss purchasing wood for construction with whomever he could talk to and Nuati went to look into trade and purchasing trade goods, what fun!

The Dwarves went off on their own, joy! The cleric, for his own part, was completely distracted by the journal discovered in the Dwarven ruins, huzzah! He could not be taken away from it, though he was not drawn to violence when it was briefly removed from him (unlike with a curse). The wizard fed and assisted his brother in his research, so they cloistered themselves and the four Dwarven guards in a corner of the library and ignored everyone else. They were equally ignored by everyone else.

The party (led by Nuati) hired yet another Elf to keep at the keep, maybe he intends on breeding them, who knows? Nuati knows, that’s who. This one is a wizard-smith capable of crafting such wonderful things as boots and cloaks of Elvenkind. Approximately half the party could do with a set of those!

The two paladins went into the woods since it was Saturday, looking for the centaur druid to give him either a heart, a brain, or a rhinoceros. They took the thief and the horse with them, as well as Dmitri’s hireling wizard. While there, the druid detected that they had been followed. The Halfling sneaked up on the intruder to discover it was a sleeping half-Orc. He took away the spy’s double-axe and buried it, then returned to wake him up. Thus ensued a fight which the paladin Gil joined, and which ended with the lucky capture of the spying half-Orc. The Dwarves were attacked by a summoned fiendish constrictor, which was dealt with summarily. They then returned to town with their prisoner and, somehow, a rhinoceros? I think? It’s somewhere, this rhinoceros, although no one’s quite sure where that is.

Later, whilst most of the group was in a bar conducting interviews for their new steward, Dmitri detected evil from across the bar. Without delay or hesitation he and Gil launched themselves across the room and, after a brief scuffle in which many charm spells were cast and successfully saved against, the party members rendered their victim, a half-Orc assassin, unconscious. Taking him prisoner, the party was able to, with assistance of an old Elven guy they’d met previously, discern that their harassers were members of the Cult of the Minotaur Mage, probably attempting to retake a scroll tube the wizard has. The half-Orc was captured while in possession of a recently made journal (or notebook, if you will) with detailed notes on the the party and their doings, as well as their associates and their doings as well. All in all, mighty suspicious. The town guards showed up and took this prisoner away, but not the earlier prisoner, even though they were both in the tavern and both manacled with the party’s masterwork manacles. That was a bit odd. However, they kept the journal (or notebook, wink wink) to themselves for now.


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