Bloodstone Falls


The setting: Forgotten Realms, Western Damara, Present Day

The principal characters:

Durnae Windbright – Human Rogue/Sorcerer from Baytown (Impiltur). A charismatic fast-talker, Durnae got into more trouble than he could get out of in Baytown, and has chosen to re-locate somewhere non-descript. The lure of solitude led him to Damara. He is a competent merchant, rogue, and spy. Durnae used to work for an “employer”, whose identity was kept secret from him, but the aforementioned trouble forced him to abandon all of his contacts, relationships, and working arrangements. He left Baytown in a hurry, and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return.
He discovered his magical abilities on the way north to Heliogabalus, during a fight with an angry bear. .

Oovie Bunter – Halfling “opportunist” (Bard) from Rawlinswood. If the world were to believe him, Oovie is the greatest Halfling fighter, writer, tale-spinner, gambler, lover, singer, dancer, cook, brewer, rock-skipper, and sneak to have ever lived. To him, anything that has ever been done could have been done better, faster, cheaper, or with more creativity had a Halfling of his stature been involved. Oovie loves to talk more than anything, and he is almost never silent. He even recites epic poems and stories in his sleep. Oovie is in Damara because that is where the action is, and where his legend needs to be spread (preferably, by his own design).

Chapter One
“Take my halfling… please!”

The merchant’s charter had mentioned, specifically, the words SUNDOWN and THE ROASTING TROLL INN. It was now well past sundown. Durnae waited patiently for the merchant’s foreman to arrive, anxious to begin his journey west to Bloodstone Pass and some long overdue anonymity. The events of the past month were tough to forget, and yet he was certain that he had been followed. He had hoped to shake his pursuers as he headed deeper and deeper into the Damaran tundra. But just this morning, he was sure that he saw an all-too-familiar face in what barely passed for a marketplace in the city of Valls. Yes, Speck was a hard man to shake.

By now, Durnae had grown used to the Damaran version of punctuality. He had learned over the past month that Damaran’s thought little of timeliness as a trait. He knew, though, that Damaran’s were notoriously honest people, and that he could expect his new employer’s man sometime during the evening.

Carefully eyeing the somber crowd at the ‘Troll, Durnae found as hidden a table as he could and sat down. He had resigned himself to eating what the locals called “Dareth’s Stew”, a greasy mixture of rock-hard potatoes and strips of rothe jerky, served in a lumpy gravy over a slab of thick bread. He had eaten this particular “delicacy” at least 8 times in the past two weeks, as it was the only thing on the menu (when there was one). The meal tended to taste like his boots, boiled in ogre sweat, seasoned with dirt. The after effects left him up most of the night, swearing he wouldn’t eat Damaran food again. Damaran’s, it seemed, were as bad with their cooking as they were with keeping time.

[Disinterested voice] – How can you eat that swill? It’s made of the worst part of the beast, let me tell you. You must be from out of town, cuz I’ve never seen a local eat that willingly. If I were you, I would have ordered the Yellow Rose Lamb Shanks. Never gone wrong there. See they take the lamb and raise it in their secret mountain monast….

[Durnae] – (disturbed, as there is no one near him) Who? (he looks around…)

[Voice] – Oh, yeah, sorry about that. Gotta take precautions now and then, see, cuz if I were to talk to you out in the open, I’d have two dozen men to ward off. Work isn’t all that plentiful around here, unless you want to crawl around in the mines looking for leftover bits of bloodstone. I’ve never understood the attraction, honestly. I mean the stones are pretty, but it ain’t worth what it used to be… why in my travels to Waterdee….

[D] – (growing suspicious, trying not to be obvious, he scans the room) Show yourself.

[Voice] – Oh all right. Look up to the second floor, the top of the stairs. I’m the unbelievably fantastic looking fellow sitting there smoking his pipe. Name’s Oovie. But try not to be too obvious with your gawking, I know I’m spectacular to look at, but you don’t have to drool in your stew, ok?

Durnae, looking up casually, saw a rather plain looking Halfling sitting near the top of the steps, smoking a pipe. The little man wore plain clothing, unadorned with any scarf or coat to protect him from the chill. The Halfling was looking down, packing his pipe with a new batch of weed. Durnae found himself staring at this little person, though he was by all means unremarkable.

[D] – (Whispering, for no apparent reason and unsure of how he was being heard by Oovie across an empty but still noisy tavern) What is the meaning of this anyway? Are you the foreman I’m supposed to meet?

[O] – Not quite, though I do work for him. He sent me to meet you, give you the details, and then make sure you don’t get too drunk or preoccupied with the women, as you Talls are always doing. You have the charter with you, I see. That thing is a golden key where we are going, my friend. Don’t misplace it and don’t get it stolen. Don’t go waving it around like you have been, or someone will doubtlessly bop you on the head for it. Seen it happen countless times. Anyway, finish your swill and then come to room 4 and we’ll smoke some of this Vaasan Deathroot I got from a friendly gnomish trader just the other day. Said it could take the stink off a troll, and I do believe he’s right. Fantastic stuff, this Deathroot, I must put a note in my journ…

[D] – We? You mean we’ll be going together? The foreman said this was work for just one man. And where is he, the foreman? He’s supposed to have instructions for me and…

[O] – You humans and your questions! Yeesh, it’s enough to drive a Halfling to drink. Which is a great suggestion, by the way. Why don't you bring some mead with you to room number four in a bit. Your treat? Oh, what a wonderful guy...
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Chapter 2:
“Words you don’t understand, are all making sense tonight…”

Durnae grudgingly purchased a small keg of mead and grabbed two flagons before heading upstairs. He knew he would probably regret meeting this annoyingly pretentious Halfling, but the merchant’s charter wasn’t worth anything without a caravan of cargo to make it legitimate. It was strange to Durnae that a country so empty would require all travelers within its borders to carry papers.

After cautiously checking to be sure he wasn’t followed, Durnae opened the door to room Four, just to the left of the stairs. He was met at the door with a fog of acrid smelling smoke. Hearing giggles off to his left, he addressed his host.

[D] – I’m here, as you requested, with the mead.

[O] – A friend to me you will surely be! [giggles], let’s drain that keg and order another!

[D] – (coughing in the smoke)… Is there a window in here? The smoke is burning my insides… (cough)

[O] – You humans, all that weight and not an ounce of stamina. This root is pretty good, but let me tell you if we were at The Foundry in my hometown, you’d be so out of your wits you’d think you were an elf! They say the tobacco there is enchanted by a great illusionist, and I don’t doubt it. I once spent an entire week in their taproom, dazed like I’ve never been, so dizzy I forgot to eat the whole week. And then this Halfling maiden with the finest set of…

[D] – Excuse me, but I don’t see how this is going to help me with my charter or getting to Bloodstone Village. I really am in quite a hurry.

[O] – Oh bother, friend. We’re going to be traveling together, braving the open road, with a flock of merchants to boot. We’ll have a grand old time, but I make a point of never traveling with strangers, too many possibilities for treachery. No, I like to get acquainted with my co-workers, and I can’t think of a better way than some mead and some weed. Of course, some Bungalow Bread and a slice or two of mutton would be nice, eh. Maybe a little burgundy spiced apple sauce on the side, and some spiceberry pie for dess…

[D] – Do you know anything about the merchants we’ll be traveling with? Or about the cargo? And when are we leaving?

[O] – Listen, friend, we’ll get to Bloodstone Pass when we get there. Everything has been arranged and you needn’t worry about the details. Renda is a reputable man, he’ll make sure we’re well protected and well paid. I already told you, if you got the charter, you’ve got a free ride. So why not relax while you can in the warmth of this fine establishment. There’s ale, and food, and this wonderful weed. Every once in a while, I get this tingle in my spine that feels glorious, you must try it, I’m afraid I insist…

[D] – (resigned to the fact that this will be a long night, and a long trip, he relents). I’m sure I should know better than this, but give me a pipe.

Hours later, after long discussions about the possibilities of distant multi-verses, the exotic taste of mushrooms and spices, and the thrill of magic, Durnae and Oovie dozed off. They awoke the next morning uncomfortable and stiff after spending the night slumped in chairs. Shortly after waking…

[O] – Ooooh, what a night! I can’t remember a thing, but let me tell you, those are the best nights. I tell you, that third keg of mead was almost more than you could handle. Of course, my bottomless stomach could have kept going if you had not passed out so quick…

[D] – Shhhh… I hear something…

[Door latch jiggles, as if being picked]

Durnae, senses alert from years of training on the streets, rolled to the side of the door, alert and ready. Oovie, with a similar sense of urgency, muttered an arcane word and simply disappeared. The door opened slowly without a sound, and a strange green hand grasped the edge of the wooden door.

The hand was large, and it wasn’t human…
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Chapter 3
"Never stand on the wrong side of the door"

The hand was scaly and slightly green. Durnae got a good look at the hand up close as the door swung towards him with a swift, sudden force.

The heavy oak door slammed him up against the wall, pinning him before he could roll to the side. The door handle jammed up under his ribs, robbing him of his breath and the ability to scream. Breathless, he struggled against the pressure being applied on the other side of the door.

A head appeared, briefly, around the corner of the door and Durnae caught a glimpse of two snake-like eyes set slightly above a large triangular shaped flat nose. The eyes were yellow.

The creature, whatever it was, had great strength.
The snake creature reached out its scaly hand and grabbed Durnae’s throat in a tight vice grip. The snake man slowly released its hold on the door, giving it a nudge with a knee to force it closed. Suddenly, the room was quiet.

Durnae struggled against his assailant’s grip, but without much success. His squirming only intensified the discomfort, and he soon resigned himself to the fact that he could not escape this assailant alone.

He heard the slow hiss of a steel blade being released from its scabbard.

As Durnae prepared for the worst, Oovie finally decided to act:

[O] - (Begins incantations and appears suddenly across the room) Let my friend be! (finishes his incantations, and a thin blue line struck the snake-man between the shoulder blades). Now, Durnae! Run for it!

Durnae felt the snake thing stiffen suddenly, and took the chance to deliver a swift kick to the creature’s midsection. His foot struck solid metal, as if the creature was armored. The snake man’s grip lessened slightly and Durnae rolled quickly from his grasp and to the side, drawing his sword in a swift, fluid motion.

He began to advance on his assailant, but was surprised to find the creature standing in place, frozen. Durnae glanced at Oovie quickly, but the Halfling was already half out the door.
[O] – Run, idiot! He won’t be still for long and we better not be here when my spell wears off. Grab your pack and lets run for it!

[D] – (Quickly assessing the situation) It’s me he’s after, so lets split up… I’ll find you soon, don’t leave without me!

Despite Oovie’s protestations, Durnae opened the foggy window and jumped out onto the snow covered roof. After getting his footing he ran across the roof’s spine to the edge of the building, where he jumped down into a pile of hay. He had no idea how long the mysterious snake eyed man would be held in place by Oovie’s enchantment, but he wasn’t taking any chances. Hurriedly, he jumped the nearby fence and sprinted cautiously over the frozen ground, taking precaution to avoid startling the spectating rothe that inhabited this pen.

Pausing at the edge of the rothe habitat, frightened and more than a bit angry, Durnae got his wits about him. He’d have to leave town immediately, with or without Oovie or the merchant caravan. He didn’t have the time to wait for Renda’s arrangements, he needed to get away fast.

And that required a horse, something that, thankfully, Valls had in great supply. Thinking quickly if he had seen any unprotected horse yards in the past two days, he prepared to make a run for it. But first, he had to make sure his path was clear.

Peeking up from his hiding place behind a pig trough, he caught sight of the window he had just climbed through. The snake man’s shadow crossed the window several times, and he saw a second, heavily cloaked figure in the room, gesticulating wildly and tossing furniture around. The snake man appeared briefly, before pointing to the window. The cloaked man walked to the open window and stuck his head outside.

Durnae recognized him immediately. Speck had indeed followed him to Damara, and had almost succeeding in capturing him. Only Oovie’s magics had saved Durnae from what would surely have been an unpleasant trip back to Baytown.

Speck turned back to face the snake man, and Durnae was off, running for the nearest set of buildings.

Ten minutes later he was on the road north to Bloodstone Pass on a spirited black horse. He had left a few coins in the stall to compensate the owner, albeit poorly, for the fine creature that now carried him swiftly on into unknown lands and an unknown fate.
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Durnae's Ride

Chapter 4
“Durnae's Ride”

Durnae rode his newly acquired horse hard through the rest of that day, pausing only briefly to choke down some barely edible rothe jerky. He wondered if Damarans ate any other meat besides rothe. He longed for a slab of mutton or sea bass seasoned with exotic spices. Instead, it was jerky through the day and a dinner of boiled oats and dried pullroot.

It had been hard, riding north into the great unknown without guidance or company. The path itself was clear enough, but the expansive, wide-open landscape was almost too open. There was no sign of life, no people, dwellings, nor herds of sheep. Endless nothingness. For miles and miles in every direction, Durnae saw little besides flat dirt, stubbly waist high bushes, and an occasional pile of rocks. Were he to encounter wolves or goblins on these plains he would have no place to hide, no place to seek shelter or protection. Durnae felt more and more alone as the protection and civilization of Valls grew more and more distant.

He cursed himself aloud for leaving so hastily without grabbing more supplies. His hard jerky and sack of oats would disappear in less than three days. The road to Bloodstone Pass was a long one, 7 days on the fastest of steeds, 12 or more by wagon. He would eventually be forced to hunt for food, and he hadn’t seen any suitable game in the past day.

And then, of course, there was the cold. Frigid and harsh are words that wouldn’t begin to describe the conditions he had endured during his first day on the Damaran plains. Great gusts of wind so powerful they nearly stalled his powerful horse in full run, bits of ice and dirt borne on the wind pelting him relentlessly, and the steady disheartening presence of dark gray storm clouds looming before him all served to sap his conviction and strength. He traveled barely 5 miles that day as he was forced to stop often to rest his spirited horse.

But he could not stop for long because he knew that Speck wouldn’t be far behind. Speck was sure to be better supplied, of that Durnae was certain, and would probably bring companions to help him in his search. Durnae was justifiably afraid of the man, as Speck had the reputation of being a relentless tracker who always found his target.

So when, midday through the second day of his trek, a figure appeared off the empty horizon behind him, mounted and gaining fast, Durnae spurred his horse on faster. Whoever his pursuer turned out to be, Durnae was surely not going to sit and wait for it to catch him.

He pushed his horse as much as he could, trying to expand the distance between him and the lone rider following him. After an hour of hard riding, but with his unknown follower gaining rapidly, he spied a small shack at the side of the road, maybe a mile ahead. Smoke rolled out of a chimney and a single animal was tethered to the side of the building.
Durnae figured that this hut was his only chance of protection. Whoever was in that shack was bound to be friendlier than Speck. He slowed his horse as he approached the building and eyed the beast tied up outside. It looked like no other animal Durnae had yet seen. It stood 6’ at the shoulder and was covered with long strips of matted brown hair that ended in ball-like clumps. The creature had a horned head, similar to a goat, and long sturdy legs. It grimaced at Durnae as he approached, and looked for all the world like an unsavory, ill-tempered beast.

And it stank. From hundreds of feet away Durnae caught wind of an impossibly pungent odor so strong he could barely breathe. He could taste the stench as if he had licked the beast. It smelled like a mixture of horse dung, burnt hair and stale year old sweat. He was coughing and nearly retching by the time he had circled the small building and had tied his horse to a pole on the opposite side of the shack.

The door was locked, but not very sturdy. He pounded once and glanced to his right.
The distant rider was no longer distant. He had a minute, maybe two at the most, before Speck would be upon him. Gathering his cloak about him, Durnae prepared to slam into the door. Just then it swung open to reveal a jovial dwarf with a foaming flagon in his hand.

“Weeeehll met trahveler… C’mon in for a…” the dwarf said politely as Durnae burst past him and slammed the door shut. Durnae caught a glimpse of a roaring fire and a sizable feast laid out upon a rickety table before he took up a defensive position to the right of the door, sword drawn…

The thundering of hooves on frozen ground came to a sudden stop. Durnae could hear the mount breathing heavily in the frosty air. Sensing danger, Durnae’s Dwarven companion set down his mug and fingered his axe.

A pair of feet hit the ground just outside the door as Durnae prepared for a fight…
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First Post
I'm really enjoying this.

You've got a least one loyal reader here byxbee. I'm finding this quite enjoyable.

A couple questions,

  • Why didn't you take out the lizard guy (Speck?) while the Hold Person was in effect?
  • How much role-playing was actually involved with the talkitive halfling's player (i.e. did he really say a lot or did he just say that he was talking incesantly)?
  • Have you said why Speck was chasing you? If so, I must have missed it.

Keep it coming, byxbee,


hey lela

Hi Lela! Thanks for reading!

Your Questions:

1) I was the DM for this campaign (Durnae was played by one fellow, Oovie by another. The dwarf is Durnae's player's second PC), so the reason that they didn't take out the Yuan-ti guy (who is unnamed at this point) was because they didn't think of it, I guess. They were really really scared of it, and didn't think they could handle it, especially when i emphasized that it was a snake man, not a lizard man.

2) The talkative halfling was just that, a talkative short fellow. He was one of those players who always goes off on tangents for every situation that happens in the game. He was a perfect fit for Ooovie. He wasn't around for these two or three sessions, so i had him disappear. He'll be back shortly...

3) The player's background said he was on the run from a group of people. He left the rest open for me to fill in. I LOVE IT when they do that! Speck is a human tracker guy, and his name is a nickname of sorts, as you'll learn later on...

I'm trying to do something different, write this more like fiction. It's good practice, and hopefully a new take on the ol' story hour!
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First Post
Re: hey Lela

byxbee said:
Hi Lela! Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!!! I'm trying to do something different, write this more like fiction. It's good practice, and hopefully a new take on the ol' story hour!

I love it when it is written as fiction. My all-time favorite Story Hour is wrtten this way--it really is amazing to watch a true, novel-like, story unfold. It's different than just seeing what goes on in a session, it really comes to life for you.

Can't wait for more,
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Chapter 5

"A Dinner with Mirny"

A pair of feet hit the ground... and all went silent. Even the wind sputtered and grew quiet.

Durnae's dwarven companion strapped on his shield, the only noise to pierce the silence of anticipation. "What did you bring to dinner, boy?" He whispered gruffly "I wasn't expecting anybody."

"Neither was I" Durnae replied. "I don't even know who it is, but he's sure to be unfriendly. I'm sorry to have brought this upon you, traveler."

Durnae took the few moments he had left to attempt to complete a pair of incantations. Where he had developed arcane talent, he was unsure. It had manifested itself suddenly a few weeks before, during a fight with a ferocious, hungry brown bear. The fight had gone poorly, with Durnae forced to his knees, before a great rush of energy flowed up within him.

The sensation was new and frightening, but somehow empowering. Not fully aware of what he was doing, he stuttered a few arcane words and touched the bear as it was charging towards him. A great blast of energy flowed from his hand into the bear's body, dropping it in its tracks and scorching its fur.

Since that day, Durnae had tried to duplicate the incantations, with little success. Try as he might, he was unable to gather the energy within his blood. Frustrated, he had nearly given up, certain for sure that he would never be able to summon that power again.

Until now. In the moments before a thunderous knock rattled the door, Durnae felt a surge of adrenaline. Incantations and gestures suddenly filled his thoughts. He completed two quick spells, one that would protect him from harm, and the other a powerful jolt of eldritch power. This last power he held within his very skin, feeling power tingle throughout his forearms.

BOOM BOOM BOOM. The door rattled and Durnae's horse neighed.

"Here we go, son" said the dwarf, as yet unnamed.

The door was splintered a moment later, shards flying throughout the room as the rotted, flimsy wood disintegrated. In the doorway stood an impressive figure, a man dressed in gleaming chainmail, a polished greatsword in one hand.

The man wore the Silver Griffon of the Damaran High Guard. He shouted in a gruff voice "Drop your weapons! This is the High Guard!"

After a tense moment where all involved surveyed the scene, the dwarf laughed, a deep rumbling from the bottom of his belly.

"Well S**t!," cursed the dwarf politely "it's only the High Guard! Here I thought you'd brought me an ogre or something boy!" The dwarf set down his axe, his face beaming with good humour.

"What can we do for you, sir? Care for some mutton and ale? Tis a cold night indeed for such a long ride!"

Durnae stood silently by the small fire burning in a shallow pit. Unsure of what to make of their visitor, he instead concentrated on containing the wild burning of the magic in his veins.

"Hold the chatter, dwarf. This is not a routine stop, unfortunately, or I'd take you up on your offer" lamented the Guard, glancing at the chunk of mutton resting above the flames.

"I'm afraid I'm here on official business. Sir," he said, turning towards Durnae. "You are hereby placed under arrest, on the charges of horse theft and vandalism"

The dwarf whistled his surprise as the Guardsman moved cautiously but with great authority toward Durnae, sword drawn.
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