(Cydra) The Final City

the Jester

This group so far consists of:

Hajime, human monk 1
Lavedoula, half-elf sorcerer (favored soul) 1 (a custom celestial sorcerer)
V, tiefling monk 1
Edward, human wizard 1
Danielle, human rogue 1
Praxis, elf ranger 1
Kevan, half-elf bard 1

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the Jester

In the morning, the party meets up at the Wall Café and sets out. They pass outside the great triple walls of Fandelose and down the roadway that stretches to the south. Just a few hundred yards away, the Black Gorge runs perpendicular to the road, a gash in the earth extending off to the right. This is the first time that any of these people have descended into it; as they do, they are covered by cool shadows.

“I heard that the entrance is held by dwarves,” Praxis remarks as the group descends. In the dimness, several figures stand near the entrance. “But those are orcs!”

“What’s going on here?” Haji calls out. After all, there is a tribe of orcs in the gorge who are loosely allied to the city. But even as he speaks, he spies the bodies of several dwarves, and the orcs hurl javelins at the party. There will be no parley here.

Battle is joined.

Vee and Haji both leap into the battle, trying to outdo each other and thus bring honor to their own school. Praxis follows on their heels, while Danielle hangs back in the rear of the group and fires a small crossbow. The two half-elves and Edward stay just in front of her; Kevan calls out mocking barbs, while Lavendoula unleashes a chromatic orb and Edward casts chill touch.

The orcs are more primitive and unsophisticated- they rush the front rank and try to cut them to pieces with their greataxes. And here the lack of experience of our heroes comes into play. None of them are yet savvy enough to turn a lethal blow into a glancing one, to dodge the worst of what might be a deadly attack. A single blow from one of the orcs nearly disembowels Praxis, and two more drop Vee.

But Edward is more than a necromancer. He is also a skilled doctor, having picked up significant surgical and first aid skills at the Institute for Study of the Mind. He scurries forward and quickly bandages his friend, then waves a vial of smelling salts under her nose. Vee’s eyes blink open and she surges to her feet.

Meanwhile, one orc (already wounded by Edward’s spell) falls to Praxis, and the elf swings the short sword in his off hand at another. It lunges in at him, but drops wailing with one of Danielle’s quarrels in its eye. The remaining ones roar and score another hit, this time on Haji, but quickly fall under the party’s now-superior numbers.

The group pauses to bind their wounds and check the bodies for loot. The orcs each have a few guineas, so that’s something.

“Do you think these are the orcs of the gorge? Those guys aren’t usually hostile,” says Kevan.

“They’re orcs,” Haji replies.

But Edward shakes his head. “No. Look at the sign they bear. I don’t know what clan the orcs of the gorge are led by, but it’s not this one.”

Indeed, now that he points it out, the others take a moment to stare at the weird symbol that the orcs wear. “Is that… a butterfly?” asks Praxis.

“Or a moth, maybe,” answers Edward. “Note that it’s gray.”

“It’s not the gorge orcs.” Danielle pokes one of the dwarven bodies with the toe of her boot. “They have a truce with the dwarves. It’s actually usually the dwarves who start trouble with the orcs instead of the other way around.”

“Whoever they are,” Praxis says, “there are more of them inside.” He is kneeling at the edge of the ruined marble flagstones surrounding the entrance. There are a few footprints obvious to the rest of the group, but he adds, “There are at least a dozen of them in there.”

“Those six were a pretty tough fight,” Vee says hesitantly.

“I’m not afraid,” Haji declares.

“I didn’t say I’m afraid!” She glares at him.

“Then it’s settled,” Danielle interjects. “You two lead the way.”

Without hesitation, Haji steps up to the entrance. Vee hurries to join him.


The stairs lead down, then turn 90 degrees as they enter the dungeon’s first room. The monks hurry down- and there are three more orcs below. Haji hurls himself off the edge of the stairs, leaping on the closest orc from above.

Vee growls as a crossbow bolt shoots past her and Praxis vaults over the other edge of the stair. She rushes to the bottom to engage the third orc. Once more, they are backed up from the rear by vicious mockeries, chill touches, and flame bolts from the spellcasters. Danielle’s bolts continue to find their targets, hitting necks, kneecaps, and other especially painful areas. The battle lasts only a few moments; with the advantage of numbers, the party quickly overcomes the orcs.

After going through the orcs’ pockets, Danielle scampers after the others.


The party’s inexperience shows itself again shortly, when, after a little exploration and another encounter with orcs, the party realizes that they have managed to get turned around and disoriented. They try to backtrack but find themselves in an area they haven’t seen before, and soon stumble into another group of orcs.

This time, however, when they are mid-battle, they are joined by a pair of warriors- a human and a dragonborn. The two charge in from behind them and help them quickly dispatch the orcs. Afterward, they introduce themselves. The human is Axius; the dragonborn calls himself Serge. They tell the party that, although off-duty at the moment, the two of them are soldiers from the army.

“What are you doing here?” asks Lavendoula.

“We’re off-duty,” Serge repeats.

Axius says, “We thought we might be able to find a little extra scrilla down here, you know?”

“And who’s going to miss a few orcs, anyway?” Serge adds.

“Certainly not these orcs.” Edward hoists one of their shields and gestures at the symbol. “Do you recognize this?”

Both newcomers shake their heads and Axius quips, “It looks orcish to me.”

“We should take one alive,” the wizard states.

“Hmph,” grumbles Praxis.

“How did you find us?” Vee asks Serge.

“We followed the piles of bodies.”

“Ah. I guess that would work.”

“And bloody footprints,” Axius adds.

Next Time: Our new band of heroes learns the secret of the orcish symbol!

the Jester

As the group explores, they find signs of battle: dead orcs and dwarves.
Clearly, they had been in conflict.

“It must have been recent,” Edward states, “or the orcs- who I think have won- would have disposed of the bodies by now.”

And indeed, soon the party finds a room whose door seems blocked from the inside. After some work, they force it open- and find a dormitory with half a dozen grim-faced dwarves, most of them wounded.

“What happened here?” Lavendoula asks them.

“The orcs came up from inside the dungeon,” a gray-haired dwarf with a bald pate says. “Took us by surprise. I’m not sure how many of our folk are still out there.”

“From what we’ve seen, not many,” Praxis says. Danielle elbows him sharply, but the dwarf remains stoic.

“Perhaps we can drive them out for you,” Haji offers.

“For payment, of course!” Danielle interjects.

“Of course,” the dwarf says. “Obviously, you’re adventurers. We normally ask an entrance fee and then a percentage of whatever you find when you leave the dungeon. If you can help us drive off these orcs, as long as we control the entrance, we’ll let you pass for free.”

“Both ways,” another dwarf adds.

“That’s not necessary,” Haji says, but Danielle speaks over him.

“Very much. That’s not very much.”

“It can really add up over time. Especially the exit fee. We ask a percentage of what you find, so the bigger your treasure haul, the more you have to pay us.”

“And is there a lot of treasure in the dungeon?” Danielle asks.

“Oh yes,” says the dwarf, “tons.”


After their next battle, the party manages to take an orc prisoner.

Fortunately, Lavendoula can speak Orcish, so the party can interrogate him. The orc proves surprisingly willing to tell all he knows in exchange for his life.

“Who is your leader?” demands Lavendoula.

“Pa’ash Svenko,” the orc replies.

“He’s an orc?”

“No. He is… like her.” He gestures at Vee.

“A tiefling?”

The orc shrugs. “He looks like her.”

“Why do you follow him?”

“He came, slew our chief and priests. He preached a new god for us to worship. The Iron Butterfly.” The orc frowns. “He said that our old gods were weak.”

Lavendoula relates this information to the party, and they puzzle over this ‘Iron Butterfly.’ None of them have heard of it. “A butterfly seems like a weird thing for orcs to follow,” Praxis remarks.

“And iron?” Kevan snorts in disdain. “That doesn’t even make sense. Sounds like a bard who makes a thirty minute long song that doesn’t really have any changes in it, except maybe for a solo or two.”

Praxis shrugs. “I don’t know, that could be nice. You human-bloods are always in such a hurry.”

Lavendoula turns back to the orc and asks, “How many of your folk are there?”


“What else is in here?”

“Many monsters. We have some terrible-heads with us.”


“Great beasts,” the orc explains, “with terrible heads.”

“Terrible how?” Praxis asks after Lavendoula translates.

But the orc seems to have a hard time explaining. Ugly? Perhaps with a nasty bite? Scary? Yes, all that. Terrible, he elaborates, “like a skull but with flesh.”


The party makes the orc lead them back to the exit, then let him flee outside.

“Maybe we should make a map this time,” Haji says.

“You make a map,” Danielle retorts.

He executes a short bow. “I have no paper,” he says gravely.

Edward begins rummaging in his satchel. “Just a moment. I have some in here.”

Haji bows again. “Very well.”

The party begins to move again, this time tracking their progress so that they can return from whence they came. After a few minutes, they find their way back to the dwarven dormitory, where they check in with their newfound allies. Then, progressing further, they find a few abandoned chambers, including a forge and a store room full of goods, some of which have been pried open and rummaged through. Not far beyond that, they begin to smell the stink of garbage, and then they enter a large chamber that centers on a large pile of trash. The group can hear rats squeaking in the mess; a mess of orcs mills around drinking and talking loudly, pretending to stand guard.

The party attacks.

[/b]Next Time:[/b] Our heroes (and these guys are definitely more heroic than those other guys we were following) venture deeper into the dungeon! More poking around!


Hey it's Big Aaron (Carl Hungus) I just wanted to say great writing, it is cool to see what alpha did before before I joined. I really enjoyed the story form of the games!

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