"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part One)


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Session #19 (Part III)

“So we were walking through the forest and the snow was nearly waist deep,” said one of Guisel’s companions to the captive audience of inn patrons.

“Was it this forest near the town, Kennedy?” someone in the crowd asked the tale-teller.

“Yes, but very deep in it, near its southwestern edge,” the one called Kennedy said. “And there we saw the dragon, among the trees.”

“What? The dragon was walking?” called one of the patrons.

“It had just settled down from the sky and kind of crawled under the trees to grab a young fawn that was nibbling on a piece of grass peeking through the snow,” Guisel answered, and survey the crowd. His broad smile turned into a frown as his eyes met those of the party looking over at him in wonder and with some amusement, and he sat down and did not speak while his companion finished the story.

“We crept up on it, and it lifted its head, shooting a long thin jet of flame at Brio here,” Kennedy rumpled the curly locks of chubby young man, who smiled, his cheeks growing red and hot with the attention, as the crowd gasped.

“But Brio ducked under it and rolled towards it and stuck his sword under its head!”

There was a smattering of cheers.

“And then were all upon it,” Kennedy described. “Hitting it with a flurry of blows. It took off into the air, and broke all the branches of the trees around it, and dropped snow on top it. Guisel here shot a bolt from his crossbow right through the falling snow and right into the dragon’s belly and hot green blood splattered on him, that why he has the scar on his neck and shoulder.”

“So the dragon got away?” someone asked.

Another of Guisel’s companions stood, “Yes, but it is now week, and we came to resupply. We find it and slay it!”

The party could now see more clearly that this was another of Crumb’s Boys. It was John, and Guisel was tugging on his shirt sleeve. He saw the party and blanched, waved weakly and sat back down.

The crowd cheered and clapped.

After hearing the tale, the party went upstairs to find their rooms and clean up and get their baths before going back to the Alderman’s house. Ratchis, however, walked over to Guisel’s table, who was leaning over to Kennedy and saying something while cocking his head at the party.

“You’ve been busy since you left the castle, Guisel,” Ratchis said, with a big grin, his yellowed teeth pointing in different directions, his gums black. “How’d you meet up with this band of killers?”

“We’re not killers,” said Kennedy with a smile. “We’re just people doing our best to help other people.”

“I’m sure you are,” Ratchis said with a scowl. “So you fought the dragon and lived to speak of it. Have you seen anything else out there? Anything dangerous that is?”

“There was some kind of living tree,” said Guisel shakily. “Yeah, uh… a living tree, that’s it.”

“So, the two of you,” Ratchis looked at John. “Must be getting to be pretty good fighters, huh?”

“Well, you know there’s a lot of talk about dragons, but it’s mostly just talk,” said John, finishing his ale and standing. “I think we’d better get some sleep fellows, if we plan to head out nice and early and track down the dragon.”

Ratchis watched them go upstairs to their own room.

While most everyone had wanted a bath (Ratchis just dunked his head into a basin of cold water, rubbed behind his neck and ears with a rag and called it a wash), the inn only had one copper tub that could be used at a time, and Jeremy got first chance.

However, he was still splashing around happily in the water when the others realized it was time to head to the Alderman’s and left without telling him.


Jeremy hummed a Neergaardian song to himself as he got out of the water that had grown cold, and toweled himself off.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

“I’ll be ready in a minute!” he called.

The knocking came again, and more hurried than before. Jeremy slipped on his shirt and trousers and went to the door and opened it. At the door was a slight figure in a silvery gray cloak.

“I am sorry to disturb you,” said a girl’s voice from within the raised hood.

“Well, I was bathing,” Jeremy said, rolling his eyes.

“Oh, I shouldn’t have come here!” the voice cried with dismay.

“No, come in. Please stay,” said Jeremy, holding the door open for her. “How can I help you?”
The girl walked into the room, and close the door.

“Again, I am so sorry to bother you,” the girl pulled back her hood, and her wisps of blonde hair fell in a lovely cascade of gold. It was the girl they had seen at the alderman’s house. “I am Jasmine Silvestri, daughter of the alderman, and I have no one else to turn to.”

A tear slid down her cheek.

“It’s just that she’s been missing for days now, and father won’t send anyone to save her,” the girl said, dabbing at her eyes with a kerchief.


“Rahasia,” the girl said.

“Who’s Rahasia?” Jeremy asked, putting out his hand awkwardly to pat her shoulder and comfort her, but then pulling it back.

“She’s my handmaiden,” said the girl. She looked up at Jeremy with her big blue saucer –like eyes, moist with her tears. “She disappeared over a week ago and I don’t know where she I, no one knows.”

“No one has seen her?” Jeremy asked. “Maybe she went to visit family or something.”

“She was a half-elf and an orphan, she had no family,” said Jasmine. “And anyway, she would have told me if she went anywhere. Something bad must have happened to her, maybe she was kidnapped!”

“Who would kidnap her, and why?” asked Jeremy, he slipped on his socks.

“I don’t know.”

“What does your father say?”

“He thinks she ran off to be with one of those elves that live in that place in the woods south west of the house,” she explained. “He never liked her.”

“Why does he think that?” Jeremy asked. He tied his boots on.

“Well, um…” Jasmine paused. “Because someone claimed to have seen her there six days ago, but it wasn’t her, or it was a mistake. She did not run off with an elf man!”

“How do you know?”

“I just know,” Jasmine said, her tears now a steady stream down her face. “Will you help me please? You are supposed to help the people of Gothanius.”

Jeremy sighed. “Where was she last seen?”

“She went out to the garden to clear some snow and never returned,” Jasmine explained. “She took none of her stuff with her.”

Jeremy contemplated in silence the hangnail he had on his right index finger.

“I have to go or my father will note my absence. Will you help me? Please? I don’t have a lot of money,” Jasmine pleaded.
“I will have to talk to my friends about it,” Jeremy assured her.

“I do have a tiara. It belong to my mother. It’s got jewels on it. I’ll give it to you if you help me,” she said pulling up the hood of her cloak and making for the door.”

“We’ll be in contact,” Jeremy said, opening the door for her.

“Talk to Hassafein the Cook if you have to contact me, and he’ll tell me. Jasmine said, poking her head out into the hall to make sure no one saw her, and turned back to Jeremy. “My father will be suspicious if he see anyone talking to me, and he doesn’t want me looking for her.”

“Okay, the cook, right,” Jeremy began to close the door.

“Thank you,” Jasmine said, but the door was already shut and she ran off home.

“I wonder what taking everyone so long,” Jeremy thought to himself. “They’d better hurry or we’ll miss our meeting with the alderman.”


Meanwhile, back at the Alderman’s Manor, the rest of the party was being served brandy in the parlor. He had noticed Jana for the first time, as she was cleaned up and the hood of her fur cloak was down.

“I wasn’t aware that the king was hiring young ladies,” he said and paused thoughtfully, and then smiled his big false smile. “But who am I to question the king?”

The party spoke with him for about forty minutes. He told them how the town was named because the bluff it sat upon was riddled with caves that once were the lairs to ogres, but the vast majority of the ogres had left for the Ogre Scar (38) or had been slain the war against the orcs. He also explained that Aze Nuquerna was the name of the elven enclave about two hours to the south by southwest of the town, just beyond a narrow stream, and near a lake called “Green Eye”.

The party asked for a map of the area, but the alderman said it might take a few days to dig scare one up and it’d likely be expensive.

The alderman then politely implied that the time had come for the party to leave, and they took the cue and headed back to town, running into an impatient and annoyed Jeremy who was on his way to meet them.

“I don’t trust the alderman,” said Ratchis, as they all walked back to the inn.

“Well, he certainly doesn’t seem trustworthy,” said Martin. “But then again, few politicians ever do.”

“Well, his daughter seemed nice enough,” commented Jeremy casually.

“His daughter?” asked Jana.

“Yeah, the girl we saw in his house this afternoon,” he replied.

“How could you tell?” Kazrack asked.

“Oh, she came by the inn and we talked,” Jeremy said. “She was really upset about her maid or something.”

Ratchis glared at Jeremy.

Jeremy explained what Jasmine had told him, and how she wanted their help in finding the half-elven woman.

“So, I figure we can add looking for her to the things we have to do,” Jeremy said.

“Do you know what a half-elf looks like?” Ratchis asked.

“Yes, but I’ve never seen a portly one,” the Neergaardian said.

“So, she’s portly?” Ratchis asked.

“No, but I’ve still never seen one that was portly.”

The half-orc had to restrain himself from strangling his companion.

“Well, if she is with the elves, we are going there anyway,” said Martin.

“I didn’t tell her that,” said Jeremy. “I thought it was a secret for some reason.”

‘Thank you,” said Ratchis sarcastically.

“You’re welcome,” replied Jeremy.

“I am not looking forward to talking with the elves,” Kazrack said. “They are so flighty.”

“Flighty?” asked Ratchis.

“Yeah, they wouldn’t think twice about leaving things behind and they like transient things over solid and lasting things,” Kazrack said.

“Oh, I thought you meant flighty like the man that turned into a bat and flew off back at the castle,” said Martin.

“A man that turned into a bat?” Jana said, with a surprised tone. “I never heard anything about that!”

“We must have forgotten to mention it because we were too distracted by your betraying us,” Ratchis replied scathingly, and Jana was quiet.

They arrived at the inn and went up to one room to continue talking.

“You know that bat-man-thing could explain why Markle did not seem to concerned about being locked up,” said Ratchis. “They were probably working together.”

“I wonder what the real gnome chief wants from the elves?” Jeremy wondered aloud. “I mean, what can they do against a demon like Mozek?”

“I don’t know,” said Ratchis. “I don’t know anything about demonic powers.” The half-orc glared at Jana, his mood becoming fouler each passing moment.

There was a long awkward silence, and finally Kazrack brought up the need to decide what they were going to try to sell off to get money for supplies.

“What about this?” Beorth held out the bastard sword that had belonged to Malcolm and that Chance had been carrying.

“Give it to Kazrack,” said Jeremy.

“I don’t use swords,” Kazrack said.

“Yeah, but you can carry it. You carry a ton of other stuff,” said Jeremy.

“Weren’t we going to craft it into rings for the group?” the dwarf asked.

Jana got up and went to her room.

“Well, we don’t have time for that now,” said Ratchis, taking the sword and looking it over. “And I might want to use this.”

“Please do then, and then you can carry it,” Kazrack said.

“I’m going to carry it into battle,” Ratchis said with his first smile in days.

Balem, 26th of Nuiet – 564 H.E.

The next morning, the party went their separate ways to fulfill their errands. Kazrack sought out a quiet place not far from an abandoned quarry to enchant his runestones. Ratchis and Martin headed to the pawn shop, and Jana awoke late to go to the general store.

Jeremy went to the constable’s office. From outside he heard a raspy voice say, “I don’t care, ya lousy pieces of crap! IF I tell ya to patrol, ya patrol!”

There was another voice, much quieter than the first, and a hollered reply, “That’s what you get paid for! I have to protect this town from bandits and ogres and gnolls and such!”

Jeremy stepped into the square building of undressed stone, as two armored guard passed him sheepishly.
“And doing a fine job of it, I’m sure,” Jeremy said to the middle-aged man with a thin and scraggily gray beard that he assumed was the constable.

“What in hell do you want?” he yelled, spit flicking off his dry lips.

“Uh, well, my group and I, we are some of the uh, dragon-hunters and we were wondering, actually it was Jana’s idea, she thought I might come and ask you about any dragon sightings or…” Jeremy was unable to finish.

“She? Is a womun huntin’ dragons?” the constable said, his normal talking barely softer than his yelling.

“Uh, no she, uh… she’s our seamstress…:” Jeremy said. “Actually, I think she was just repeating what the Watch-Mage had said.”

“A watch-mage? You got a watch-mage?” the constable started writing something down.

“That’s what he’s always said and I’ve never doubted it,” replied Jeremy.

“Anyone else in your group?”

“We have a holy warrior of Anubis, and Kazrack, he’s a dwarf and Ratchis,” said Jeremy. “Anyway, we were wondering…”

He was interrupted again.

“That’s it? What about this Ratchis? You never said what he is.”

“Uh, he’s just uh, some guy traveling with us, no one important,” Jeremy said wiping his mouth.

“I want to talk to your friends tonight,” the constable said. “I like to keep tabs on all these here ‘dragon-hunter’ about.”

“If I can find them all. They might be out whoring or something,” Jeremy said quickly.


“Well, no, they wouldn’t do that. Jana wouldn’t do that,” Jeremy said, contradicting himself.

“What? Five of you share one woman?” the constable said with sneer.

“Uh, no!” Jeremy sighed. “All I want to know is who around here has seen the dragon?”

“Well, one of them dragon-hunting groups claims to have fought it, but I don’t believe them,” he replied. “And old man Carson, the shepherd.”

It took Jeremy another fifteen minutes to get directions to the shepherds place, and then headed there, feeling very tired for some reason.


The pawn shop proprietor was mute, and Ratchis and Martin haggled with him by writing amounts on pieces of paper. They cashed in some gems that the party had found among Chance’s stuff, including some of those small red rubies that had found on that collar back when they were seeking the source of the zombie infestation in Stonebridge. (39)

They headed over to the smithy, but as soon as the squat smith saw Ratchis he began to yell, “Get that smell Pig-f*cker out of here! What are you crazy?”

Ratchis scowled, and stood by the door, as Martin approached and tried to talk to the man.

“I said, get him out of here!”

“Dear sir, I am Martin the Green, Watch-Mage of the Academy of Wizardry, and…”

“So you’re a wizard, huh? Well, I don’t care if you do have this thing ensorcelled and he is your pet or whatever, I don’t want savage baby-raping pig-f*ckers in my shop. Now get him the hell out!”

Martin turned to Ratchis, who stepped outside. Martin then sold the chain shirt they had taken from one of the gnomes that had waylaid them, but he did not get a very good price.

End of Session #19



(38) The Ogre Scar is a great tear in the earth just off center of the valley that makes up the majority of the Kingdom of Gothanius.

(39) See Session #8.
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Moderator Emeritus
Okay, this story hour is now caught up to the one that exists on the old ENboards - and I am now free to start the a new installment.

Remember to rate this thread when you psot here. . . and I want to make one note. . .

I have been changing the names of some places and gods in Aquerra - I am using the new names in my upcoming instlalments and have changed them where I have seen them when I reposted session #11 to session #19 - so there may be some discrepencies. If you find some, please alert me to it. . .

And you can find info on the changes (and why) on the Aquerra Message Boards


First Post
Love this story hour!!!

I just wanted to say hey and that I can't wait until the next installment.


And I wanted to be the first to rate this thread.

Nemm rocks! His players rock! Aquerra rocks! This campaign rocks!

There, I just saved myself the trouble of four separate drooling fanboy posts.

Seriously, Nemm and players, this is one helluva story. ;)


Love Aquerra

I just started reading Out of the Frying Pan a few months ago, and I have to say I'm enjoying it more than many fantasy books I've read! My favorite characters are definetely Ratchis and the late Chance.

Will Ratchis's player continue writing the Story of Ratchis in Story Hour? I can't remember if he concluded it or not. That was definetely one of the best treatments of orcs I've ever seen.

Well anyway, I just wanted to pay my homage to nemm and his campaign once before I again return to lurker mode.



Moderator Emeritus
Thank you everyone for the kind words.

I am working on a nice and long installment (to make up for my absence) as we speak.

As for you Cyronax: I'm sorry but once you have de-lurked you are required to post once per two installments or you will be banned from this forum forever! ;)

For a preview of the next installment there are three elements that definitely define it:

1) Dogs.

2) Dogs.

and. . .

3) Dogs. :D

I guess I could dedicate to KidCthulhu.


I've been had!

Nemm you are a Rat Bastard! :)

I go to all that trouble giving you a little props, and now I have to stroke your ego every time you get a new installment posted. Well hell, if it'll get them posted any faster I guess I can deal with that.

Since I now an active poster, I might as well ask you something I've been wondering about regarding your take on magic in Aquerra.

From what I've seen on your website, Aquerra magic is not rare, but it still doesn't show up to the extent that it does in say FR. At what party level do you usually start having the characters get raised from the dead.

Malcom was obviously too low level and unimportant to be raised, especially since the characters were in the middle of nowhere. Chance on the other hand died in the middle of a gnomish city that might or might not have had access to raising magics.

C.I.D. (Cyronax the Ice Devil)


Moderator Emeritus
Well, Cyronax. . .

Seeing as the party didn't know where Chance's body even was or what had happened to it (except that his brain was ripped out of his skull and eatern for Ra's sake!), even if they had a way of bringing him back it would have been unlikely.

Raising and Resurrection *IS* rare in Aquerra. If you look on the Aquerra website (check this page Changes to Core Rule Spells) you will see that I have placed some limitation on how those spells are cast and MOST priesthoods don't even get access to them (and when they do I have made them higher level in many cases).

In addition, just because a priest can do it doesn't mean he will - typically it requires a LARGE donation, some proof that the person to be raised was a devouted follower of the god, and that his being brought back to life will serve some greater purpose.

Difficult, indeed.

P.S. Stgroking my ego? More like asking questions like this one. I love this stuff!



Wow very thourough. I like your take on raising the dead actually.

I just DMed the RttToEE (never able to finish it though :( ), and the party had a very tense argument with Canoness Y'Dey (of St. Cuthber) so that she'd raise the party's orcish tank Gorbag (om/f6/tn - Str. 20, Int 6, Wis 6). Gorbag definetely wasn't the most redeeming character I've let a player create in my campaigns, he was roleplayed fairly well though. The player was able to play the part of a very stupid warrior. Somehow the party convinced her/me to let her cast the raise dead spell.

Part of my trouble with saying no to them (and I now know that I should have) was the nature of that module (which assumes a priest will sell most spells) and also the poorly written entry for the Raise Dead spell in general. I think that your Geas idead for the Resurrection spell is interesting. Earlier I was thinking of making any raising or resurrecting involve the raised character to
automatically be assumed to have had an atonement spell placed on the character.

This atonement would in affect allow for the character to move towards whatever ideal, alignment, or goal that the deity allowing the raising wants in return for the character's life. This atonement would have allowed Gorbag to have come back most probably as a newly LN character. He would have been so overcome by the righteousness of St. Cuthbert's brand of order, that he would switch from his previuos hand-to-mouth existence in which he had no concept of good or evil (remember he was dumber than the average orc). He could have become a still stupid and crude warrior, but now he might become sort of a cross between Forest Gump (who was a very lawful character) and a by the book police officier.



Moderator Emeritus
Session #20

“That’s right, sir,” the grizzled old shepherd said. “It swooped down and snatched up some uh me sheep. One in each claw and one in the mouth – swallowed it with one gulp.”

Jeremy studied the man. He was haggard, and leaned heavily on his shepherd’s crook. The man’s dogs had laid down at his feet, and a few sheep stood shivering moving in the tiny pockets of visible grass beneath the more than a foot of snow.

“Did it have four legs?” Jeremy asked the man. “I mean the dragon, not the sheep.”

Old Man Carson squinted his eyes. “Yessir, it had four legs, and a long tail. It was black and it seemed to cast a big shadow. It was all blurry like.”

“Really? Is there anything else you can tell me about it?”

“It swooped over the woods to the west and disappeared,” the man said. “It was fast, and I reckon it has been taking my sheep fer a while now.”

“How many sheep are missing?”

“`Bout Thirty-summin’,” the man said.

“How are you gonna eat?” Jeremy asked more curious than concerned.

“Prolly starve,” the man said and hung his head.

“Why not go somewhere else? Seems like the dragon is bad for your livelihood,” Jeremy suggested.

“Whut? And let that darn thing run us off?” the man spit and stood up straighter. “No damn orcs and no dang ogres droves us off, no dragon is gonna. Ain’t that what all youse young men trampin’ across me fields day and night are here to do? Take care of that drago nso we can have our livelihood?”

“Do you gave any family in town that can help you?” Jeremy asked.

“My son moved up aways to Summat. He’s too far away, prolly one of those fancy-schmancy goat-herders now! Sheeps ain’t good enough for a sherpherd from Summat,” the man sounded disgusted. “Well, I ain’t too good to fight to keep me sheep. Fought off ogres I did when I was your age. You ever seen an ogre?”

“Uh, no,” said Jeremy.

“Well, be alert!” The man leaned in close and whispered. “They about nine feet tall, black, kind of blurry. . .”

Now that the man was closer, Jeremy could see that one of his eyes was basically sealed shut with swollen puss-filled flesh, and that the infection seemed to be creeping along the bridge of his other already squinty eye.

Jeremy sighed.

“Well, Mister Carson, if you remember anything else, I’ll be staying at the Golden Plough,” Jeremy said to the man. “Or I may stop by again on my way west.”


Meanwhile, Jana had made her way to the general store and was buying things on a long list of gear the party might need that Kazrack had put together. It was difficult picking things out with the shop-keeper’s dog, Noah jumping all over her and licking her face whenever it could. Martin stopped by the store, and offered to help Jana carry the large bundles of things she had purchased, but it would take more than one trip.

Ratchis found a friend in a form a stray scraggily black and gray little mutt that just began to follow him around. It came when he called, but seemed unwilling to do anything else the half-orc ranger wanted it to do, Ratchis bought two long sausages from the innkeeper and fed one to the dog, and at the other.

“That old stray is always hanging around here,” the Innkeeper said. “I feed him sometimes in the winter, but he can’t come in the inn.”

Ratchis thanked the man and ran off into the woods, with his new companion chasing after him, barking happily.

The Friar of Nephthys came to a stream that emptied into an old quarry, and as the dog watched him and occasionally yapped, the half-orc tried to catch fish in his hands. The cold water was refreshing to him, protected by a spell granted to him by Nephthys.


Martin was looking around the general store, before carrying the last bundle back to the inn, when he came across bins of nuts.

“Oh, nuts!” Martin cried, happily.

“They’re a pound for 2 copper,” said Margen, the shop-keeper.

“What are all the kinds of nuts you have?” Martin asked.

“Oh, walnuts, hazelnuts…”

“Thomas, are you getting that?” Martin thought to his bonded companion, who until a moment before had lain snuggled on a pillow in Martin’s inn room.

“I’m comin’! I’m comin’!” the little squirrel said breathily, dashing towards the general store.

A few moments later, there was a scratching at the door, and Martin walked over and opened it. Thomas the Squirrel scurried in and then froze. Noah’s head jerked up and the big golden dog’s eyes locked with the bushy-tailed rodent’s. In a second the dog was charging after the squirrel who was running as fast as his little legs could take him back out the still open door.

“Thomas! Climb something!” Martin cried and thought.

“I’m climbing! I’m climbing!”

The dog was barking crazily and leaping against the inn’s outer wall, trying to reach Thomas who was looking down disdainfully from the drain pipe, out of harm’s way.

Margen ran out of his shop and pulled off his dog.

Thomas leapt down onto Martin’s shoulder, who had come out as well, and licked his little paws.

“That squirrel is yours?” Margen asked.

“He’s a pet,” Martin explained.

“And when he dies, you can eat him,” Margen said with a smile.

Martin felt Thomas’ claws dig deeply into the flesh of his shoulder.

“Let’s not talk about that,” he said. The Watch-Mage went back into the store and bought his familiar lots of nuts and dried apple as well.


Later that afternoon, Ratchis, Jeremy, Martin and Jana were gathered in the common room of the Golden Plough to eat some dinner. The innkeeper had relented and allowed Ratchis to bring his new dog into the inn as long as he was responsible for it and cleaned up after it if it did its business. The dog lay down beneath the table, happily waiting for scraps from his new master.

Ratchis motioned down to the dog, “This is my new friend, Chance!”

The table was silent.

“That’s a bad name, Ratchis,” Jeremy said. “Trust me.”

Martin just glared at Ratchis, while Jana stood and left the table, just as the food was being served.

“See what you did?” Jeremy said, pausing to shove food into his mouth. “Now she’s gonna put a spell on you.”

It was silent for a moment.

“Could someone go tell Jana to come down before her food gets cold,” Ratchis said.

“Oh, I get it,” Jeremy said, his eyes widening. “This way you can get have Jana’s meal. That was devilishly clever of you.”

Ratchis glared at he Neergaardian.

“Go ahead! Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!” Jeremy egged him on.

Ratchis just went back to his own meal. Eventually, Jana and Martin returned, just as Kazrack came into the inn and took a seat with his companions, and motioned to the inn-keeper to bring him some food.

Ratchis’ dog leapt up and started shoving his snout in the dwarf’s crotch. Kazrack pushed him away playfully. The dog barked.

“Hey!” the inn-keeper yelled.

“Stop,” Ratchis grunted. “The innkeeper is nice enough to let me bring him in. Let’s not repay his kindness by being difficult.”

“Nice dog,” Kazrack asked, patting it on the head. “What’s its name?”

Jana, Martin and Jeremy looked up from their plates.

Ratchis paused, “Kwa!” It was obviously an orcish word. (40)

“Ugh,” Kazrack frowned. “I’ll call it ‘dog’. Nice dog!”

Jeremy told the others what he had learned from Old Man Carson, but added that the man’s testimony might be suspect because of his vision. He also added that the amount of snow that had fallen since the sighting would make looking for tracks impossible.

“If it hadn‘t left tracks we would have had evidence that it was an illusion,” said Martin.

“Well, we’ll never know now,” Kazrack said.

“Has anyone seen Beorth today?” Martin asked.

“Only when I first left on my errands this morning,” said Jeremy,. “But when I returned this afternoon he wasn’t around.”

As Ratchis had finished his first course, he went up to the room he and the Ghost-hunter had been sharing, and looked around. He found Beorth’s sword was still in its scabbard on the bed, but his quarterstaff was gone. The paladin’s pack was still there, but his fur cloak and jacket were gone, as was his armor. Looking through the bag, Jeremy also noted that Beorth had taken his soap, razor and prayer shawl.

The half-orc came downstairs to find Martin ending a chat with Wilson the Innkeeper. The two of them returned to the table.

Ratchis reported what he had found, and Martin added, “Wilson said that Beorth left sometime early this morning soon after we did.”

“Where did he go?” Jeremy asked.

“The innkeeper said he left with two figures, he guesses men, dressed as monks, and not for the weather, in thread-bare cloaks, and wearing sandals,” Martin explained.

“Why did he leave without saying anything?” Kazrack queried.

“Wilson said, Beorth seemed to leave with them of his own accord,” Martin replied.

Jeremy looked to Ratchis, “Was there a note in his room? You know, a piece of paper with writing on it?” The Neergaardian pantomimed writing.

“I know what a note is!” Ratchis shouted.

“Hey! How do I know what you know?”

They said he left of his own free will?” Kazrack mused. “What if he was ensorcelled?”

“Well, what are we going to do?” Martin asked. “Should we go looking for him?”

“The first thing we are going to do is keep this to ourselves,” Ratchis said. “With people like the Glaive running around (41) we don’t want the locals thinking one of our companions has wandered off.”

Everyone nodded.

Ratchis continued, “I am going to finish eating and then I’m going to look to see if I can find his tracks, we’ll make a choice based on that.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Kazrack. “I’d like to see how you do that.”

“Do you think you can cast your spell and ask where he is?” Jeremy asked Kazrack. “You mentioned something like that once.”

“Well, in the morning I’ll throw the stones, if Beorth does not return,” Kazrack said. “We cannot our friend.”

“But we cannot abandon the gnomes either,” Ratchis said.

“But Beorth might be in more immediate danger,” Kazrack said.

“We don’t know how immediate the danger is for the gnomes,” Ratchis said. “And I think Beorth would not want to know that more gnomes were hurt or killed because of him.”

“Point taken,” said Kazrack. “But tomorrow the stones will tell me what I need to know to make my decision.”


Ratchis and Kazrack went out back through the door the innkeeper had said Beorth and the two strangers had left the Golden Plough. The half-orc ranger found the track easily, and he and the dwarf (and the dog, Kwa) followed them along the southern edge of town and to the eastern side, that overlooked the bluff that was littered with cave entrances. Here the snow had melted all morning, making frozen trails down the bluff to the plain beyond.

“They went down this way,” said Ratchis. “I think. But is it no good. I am not going to find good tracks here.”


Meanwhile, Martin had dragged Jeremy outside to help him practice with his illusions.

“I am going to make some opponents appear, and I want you to fight them and critique my control of them, so I can get better at convincing people,” Martin explained.

Martin made a replica of Ratchis appear, and Jeremy half-hearted tried to engage it.

“It is hard to do when I know it isn’t real,” said Jeremy. “But I think Ratchis is not a good choice, because someone so big is going to have a broad and powerful swing. But the little thrusts you do so as to not actually make contact are not convincing.”

Martin dismissed the illusion. “I will try something else, perhaps Beorth.”

“Can you make something else?” Jeremy asked. “Can you make…women?”

Martin raised an eyebrow.

“Aside from the other issues, they are not tangible,” the Watch-Mage answered.

“I guess not or else wizards would never leave their towers,” Jeremy replied. “But what I meant, was could you make Maria? She could fight.” (42)

Suddenly Jeremy’s mouth dropped open. “Wait a minute! How do I know Maria was ever real to begin with?”


“How do I know the inn is real? Or you are real? Or anything? The world could be an illusion!” Jeremy reeled.

Martin sighed, “ Don’t think about it too much.”

“Okay,” Jeremy replied and readied his sword. Martin waved a hand, tossed a bit of fleece into the air and spoke three arcane words and a translucent humanoid thing appeared before Jeremy.

“Hey! I said Maria!”

Jeremy and Martin did this for a while longer until they were chased off the street by a town guard.

The party met back at the inn and bedded down for the night.

In the morning, Beorth had still not returned.

Teflem, 27th of Nueit – 564 H.E.

Again, Kazrack marched out to a lonely place (out near the quarry) and found a large stone to sit upon and invoking the power of the dwarven gods he contemplated the fate of Beorth and what the party’s best course of action might be, and then shook out the runestones from the bag.

He looked at them for a moment, and then took a deep breath, and began to move them into more regular patterns with his fingers as Belear had taught him, seeking the underlying patterns, reading the runes on more than one level - for dwarven runes represent letters, important religious words that begin with those letters and also represent numbers. He allowed his instinct and wisdom to take over, and came up with this reading:

. . .To follow Beorth would be to accompany him on a leg of his journey towards Death, which would only hasten your own. . .


Kazrack made his way back into town, but decided to see the smith about getting his armor repaired, and perhaps purchasing a set of smithing tools.. He entered the claustrophobic shack that was adjacent to the actual smithy, and the smith immediate roared, “Get out!”

“Have I come here at a bad time? When should I return?” Kazrack asked.


“I’ve never met you before, what have I done to offend you?” the dwarf asked, genuinely curious.

“Just get out! We don’t serve your kind here!”

“My kind?”

“Grubbers! Get out!”

Kazrack let out a sigh and walked out, curing the smith under his breath.


The dwarf met up with the others back at the inn.

“Did anyone notice anything unusual about the smith?” he asked.

“He seems a rather unpleasant fellow,” Martin said. “One might even say a narrow-minded bastard.”

Ratchis nodded.

“What did your rocks say?” Jeremy asked.

“Runestones!” Kazrack insisted, and then relayed what he had learned.

“I am not sure what to make of this message,” the dwarf said. “I am unafraid of death. If I have to die to save Beorth, or if retrieving him means I have to hasten my own death, then so be it.”

“Divination’s such an inexact science,” commented Martin.

“I question if we should go to our deaths at all,” said Ratchis.

“We have other responsibilities,” added Martin.

“As I said last night, would Beorth want us to risk the village of gnomes to save him?” Ratchis asked.

“I don’t think so,” said Jana.

“Sometimes it doesn’t matter what the person would want, but what is right,” Kazrack said.

“Is it not right to save these innocent gnomes?” Ratchis asked the dwarf.

The dwarf was silent for a moment, “You are right.”

So it was agreed that the party would go Aze Nuquerna, after Martin went to the smith to try to purchase the smithing tools for Kazrack, as he was human. However, even after making sure that Martin’s “pig-thing” was nowhere around, he would not part with the tools for less than 22 pieces of silver, which was too rich for the party’s blood. Martin also arranged with Wilson the Innkeeper for Beorth’s things to be put in storage with a note for the paladin telling him where the party had gone should he return.


Ratchis, Jana, Martin, Kazrack and Jeremy (followed by Kwa the dog) began the two hour march southwest of the Alderman’s manor towards the elven enclave. Ratchis took the lead, trudging throw the deep snow banks that occasionally blocked the game trail they followed, while trying to keep his new dog in line, as it kept leaping about him in circles, barking and running into the brush whenever he heard or smelled something.

“That dog is dumb,” Thomas said to Martin mentally.

“He’s just not as smart as you, Thomas,” Martin replied.

Thomas began to sing in Martin’s head like a child, “Dumb dog! Dumb dog! It’s a really dumb dog!”

Eventually, Ratchis got Kwa to walk beside him, but had to give a little angry shout when it looked like he might try to take off again.

“My father used to say you need to hit a dog to train him,” Martin called. “Or he’ll never learn.”

“That’s true of children as well,” commented Kazrack.

“My father said that as well,’ Martin said.

“The next I am teaching you two how to survive in the wilderness I will keep your suggested training methods in mind,” Ratchis said testily. “Now be quiet, we don’t know what we are getting into.”

They continued to march, and had just crossed a narrow stream, that seemed colder than anything they had ever encountered, when Kwa’s head jerked up and tilted to one side. He stopped moving, and when Ratchis noticed he stopped as well. The others continued to walk, but suddenly halted as they caught up.

“What is it, Kwa?” Ratchis asked gently.

The dog began to whimper and back up slowly.

“Be alert everyone,” Ratchis hissed, pulling the gnomish warhammer looking around. Kwa let out a yelp and took off past the party.

Martin tried to grab the dog as he passed, but stumbled into a bush instead and there he was face to face with a large white wolf that sniffed and growled at him.

“Oh my!” the Wtach-Mage stumbled backwards. “A wolf!”

“Don’t make any sudden moves, ‘Ratchis suggested, and Martin froze.

The wolf stepped towards the Watch-mage, and came out of the bush. Its white fur was darkened with mud, and suddenly it popped out of view and re-appeared beside Ratchis, sniffing and growling.

“Janx!” Jeremy cried.

“You know this animal?’ Martin asked bewildered.

“Yeah, his master or whatever as an elf girl we helped when he was sick,” Jeremy explained. “If he is the same…blink dog, that’s what they’re called.”

“Janx?” Ratchis put his hand out slowly towards the big dog. “Are you okay? Do you remember us?”

The white wolf-dog sniffed again and let out a yelp and howl, and then did that half-leap/half-prance dogs do when excited.

Ratchis went to pat the dog on the head, and it reared back and growled again.

“Sorry,” Ratchis said to Janx. The half-orce turned to the party. “I think it is Janx.”

At that moment the white dog popped out of view again and reappeared next to Jeremy.

“How does it move like that?” Martin asked.

“Magic, I guess,” said Kazrack. "I bet we are near the elven place and Tirhas is there."

Ratchis stepped over to the dog, “Is Tirhas around?”

Janx tilted his head and let out a low mournful howl.

“I think Tirhas is in trouble,” Jana said, sarcastically.

“Take us to Tirhas, Janx,” Jeremy urged, and the blink dog took off through the brush to their right, and the party took off after him.

The blink dog led the party to a huge sunken clearing, in which there stood a small lake of crystal blue water, perfectly bordered by nearly three feet of snow. Narrow trails in the deep snow seemed to have been shoveled out, and led about the lake to and from a huge structure to the south end of the clearing.

It was a fortress of some kind, made of tall logs and set upon a tall stone foundation. The roof was taller than the embankment the party stood upon taking in the sight, but there were definitely to lookout posts on each of the front corners, and a set two sets of steps perpendicular to a broader set that led to an alcove where the front doors stood closed. The rest of the structure was hidden in an area thick with trees and brambles, covered in deep snow, giving the place the place the impression as if it were half-buried, but the steps and the area immediately around them was completely cleared of snow.

Janx comically slid down the embankment, and the party followed, trying hard to keep their balance.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Jeremy said, softly.

The party slowly approached, and as they got closer, Janx fell further behind in the rank, seeming to have trepidations about approaching the place.

They could now see an elf standing on the eastern lookout above them looking out over the field. The figure’s armor shone in the bright sunlight of mid-day, but he did not seem to move or note them.

“Hello!” Jeremy called, waving.

“We come in peace,” said Kazrack.

“We seek you council and aid,” called Martin.

The elf did not reply, but continued to stare straight ahead, as if they were not there.

“There’s definitely something wrong here,” Martin said.

“Yesssss, I think so,” commented Jeremy.

The party looked around. All was completely silent. Ratchis moved to the other side of the central steps and saw another elf up on that side’s look out – that guard did not seem to notice them either.

Ratchis returned to the others. “We should send an emissary to knock on the doors and speak for us,” Kazrack said.

“But we should not all go, as to not seem like we’re threatening,” Martin said. “I’ll go.”

“We’ll go with you, but a few steps behind, just in case,” Kazrack said, gesturing to Ratchis. “And then the others will come a few feet behind us.”

It was agreed.

Martin climbed the steps, with Ratchis and Kazrack behind him, and they noticed a large stone statue of a rough humanoid form, with a monstrous protruding face, a swollen lump on its forehead, and muscular arms and legs, crouched above the door. Above the statue in a silvery plaque were the elven letters:


“I never thought of elves as decorating with statues like that,” said Jeremy.

“Why not?” Kazrack replied looking back at the Neergaardian. “Artwork is artwork.”

Martin paused about a quarter of the way up the main stairs, “I wish I’d studied elven. But no… I studied the goblinoid curriculum instead.”

“You can speak goblin?” Kazrack asked.

“No,” Martin replied and continued up the steps, or at least he tried.

Before he knew what was happening the statue above the door was no longer there and a sudden shadow about him was getting bigger and bigger. He looked up just in time to see the statue, now an animate creature land atop him with clawed feet.

All went black for the Watch-Mage as he tumbled backward down a few the steps, blood pouring from his head. He was unconscious and bleeding to death.

The creature roared, and Ratchis and Kazrack drew their weapons.


(40) Kwa translates roughly into common as “luck” or “chance”.

(41) The party discovered the Glaive was a bounty-hunter in Session #18.

(42) The party met Maria at the Royal Banquet in Gothanius castle in Session #12.

(43) This read Aze Nuquerna, which roughly translates to “Over the Dark Pit”. :D
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First Post
Tsk, tsk. Letting the mage go first. The party should be ashamed of themselves.

Good to see they're meeting Janx and (hopefully) Tirhas. As I said before, I really liked her. She should accompany them! :D Keep up the good work, Nemm.


First Post
Love the Interaction

Of all the story hours I read, this one deffinately has the best party interaction. The quirks of the individual characters are great.:) Specials to the players of Jeremy and Martin, Jeremy for portraying a very very thick headed character, and Martin for getting down his lack of self esteem so well.


Pathfinder 2E fanatic
These guys are so willing to abandon a well known and trusted long time valuable needed team-mate in order to shave a day or two off a sidetrack mission; but then they stumble upon the friend of an elven woman they barely know and completely abandon their valuable sidetrack to save her... :D

Motivations are curious.

Martin needs to read the section about leaving some spell slots un memorized so he can spend 15 minutes to prepare a utility spell before casting it.


Moderator Emeritus
arcady said:
These guys are so willing to abandon a well known and trusted long time valuable needed team-mate in order to shave a day or two off a sidetrack mission; but then they stumble upon the friend of an elven woman they barely know and completely abandon their valuable sidetrack to save her... :D

Motivations are curious.

Point taken. It was in my story-telling not in their action that that implication could be picked up. I made a slight change in dialogue above. . .

Basically, the party figured:

1) Janx travels with an elf
2) We are looking for an elven enclave
3) elves are rare in Derome-Delem


4) Tirhas is probably with the elves we are looking for.


Pathfinder 2E fanatic
I kind of figured that.

I was also guessing that perhaps Beorth's player had to go away for a while or something.

Ratchis need's to b*tch slap Martin or something over that whole shelter spell thingy. :) It was kind of funny seeing that happen over and over again.

I see players forget they can prepare 'on the fly' all the time though... That and taking 10 seem popular things to forget about. But I thought you had a sharper group than the blokes I get stuck with. They certainly roleplay better than most of mine :D

A wizard should never prepare anything but their 'combat' or 'when I need it I will need it fast' spells. Leaving between 10-25% of slots open for later.


Moderator Emeritus
arcady said:

I was also guessing that perhaps Beorth's player had to go away for a while or something.

Actually he did have to miss four session (8 weeks), but I do not railroad my players - if they had wanted to go after him I would have let them a different (perhaps less pleasant as the reading of the runes implied) adventure.

I see players forget they can prepare 'on the fly' all the time though... That and taking 10 seem popular things to forget about. But I thought you had a sharper group than the blokes I get stuck with. They certainly roleplay better than most of mine :D

My group is plenty sharp - but there is a difference between what a player might think is best and what a character does. Martin's player is doing a great job of RPing someone struggling to figure out how the world really works despite his book-learning which was supposed to prepare him.

Ratchis' player takes 10 quite a bit actually, and the reason that Kazrack takes so long to only partially repair armor is that he often took 20 (now that he is better at it he takes 10 when he gets a chance).


party leader?

We must miss a lot of the unspoken out of character tactical dialogue between your players, but based on the in character dialogue, it really seems that Ratchis is becoming the de facto leader.

He seems to have a plan or a loudly voiced opinion for every situation. Maybe this is only because the group officially started the dragon-hunt, most of Ratchis's skills seem to be in the spotlight since he is the party's ranger/scout. He also seems to be the taskmaster of the party....seeing as how he is always on Martin's case. In and out of character, do the player/characters regard him as the leader?



Moderator Emeritus
I don't think they do, but they would better answer that question than I would.

As for "out of character tactical dialogue", there is NONE. . . I don't allow it. All discussion between characters must be in character (well, the vast majority, anyway).

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