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DCC Sailors on the Starless Sea

GlassEye

Community Supporter
OOC & Rogues Gallery

Special Rules:
Defensive Fighting: Surrender all attacks for +2 to AC for the turn. Fighters and Dwarves gain 1+level? AC

Cast:
Roger, the Parsnip Farmer, throttled by a vine horror.
Bijela, the Urchin, whipped into oblivion by a vine horror.
Xim Liab, the halfling Dyer, pierced by portcullis.
Alaric, the Squire, tarred and fired.
Happy Lordlinker, Squire, tarred and fired, pt. 2
Dudles, the Parsnip Farmer, tripped and skewered
Geoffrey, the Indentured Servant, bits of face pushed out the back of his brain
Jakob, Caravan Guard, cloven in twain

Fendrel, the halfling Dyer (L 7) (Dogmatron)
Brom Rollason, the dwarven Stonemason (L 17) (Dogmatron)
Zim, the halfling Dyer (L 16) (Fireinthedust)
Borok, the dwarven Blacksmith (L 14) (Fireinthedust), returned to the village.

Narančasta, the Noble (L 12) (Doghead)
Siva, the Hunter (L 14) (Doghead)
Tender Woodfingers, dwarven Chest-Maker (L 9) (Deuce Traveler)
Boral Furren, Wheat Farmer (L 14) (Deuce Traveler)
Kurl Sparkhaven, Wizard's Apprentice (L 8) (Deuce Traveler)
Franko the Fickle, Jester (L 11) (Scott DeWar)
Homar Greenthumb, halfling Moneylender (L 4) (Scott DeWar)
Hank, Scribe (L 5) (Scott DeWar)

XP: 10

LOOT:
Vine Horrors: 1x short sword, 1x dagger
Burnt Chapel: 3x chainmail hauberk (human-sized), 3x mace, 1x flail, 1x iron coffer w/ 3 cones of incense wrapped in a cloth stitched with golden chaos symbol, 1x golden censer
Tower of the Beast-men: 53 sp, 23 gp, 2 pp; elven short sword; green cloak; iron axe; spear (x6); silver torc
Empty Vault: 7 cp, 10 sp, and 6 gp

 
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GlassEye

Community Supporter
Krivstad. Once in ages past it was a prosperous town, making its lucre by fulfilling the whims of those who ruled from what is now simply referred to, when it is not referenced by mutters and a sideways glance in its ill-omened direction, as ‘the keep’. Now Krivstad is a haphazard collection of rickety homes, half-collapsed buildings, and narrow, crooked streets inhabited by poor, superstitious farmers and traders who tend their fields and failing businesses while muttering about the dense, hostile forest pressing in on their town and who try to forget the mutterings of crones about the dark days of the keep some few miles distant that was cast down long before their time.

Dark days have returned to Krivstad: a fortnight ago the herb woman disappeared in the forest and hasn’t been seen since. Two days later the soapmaker and his wife vanished from their beds. Disappearance followed disappearance until now nearly a score of Krivstad’s citizens are inexplicably missing. Keen eyes have spotted a dark banner flapping from the heights of the keep and the tongues of Krivstad’s gossips wag that evil has returned to the keep.

Whether brave or foolish, whether volunteers or coerced into it, some few have decided the keep will take no more of Krivstad’s citizens.

Rumors:
[sblock=DeuceTraveler]Look for treasure in the keep’s sole remaining tower. A wealth of gold is hidden there.[/sblock][sblock=Doghead]Beware the well! It has swallowed many a poor soul.[/sblock][sblock=Dogmatron]The keep sits atop an ancient horror, a seed so wicked that it taints all who come near.[/sblock][sblock=Fireinthedust]Nothing good can come of disturbing the evil ruins. You’ll only unleash the horror beneath the hill.[/sblock]
 

doghead

thotd
Narančasta, Siva, Bijela, and Xim.

Bojar Narančasta sat in the small ramshackle church that also served as town hall, half listening to the priest drone through the service while simultaneously brooding over the circumstances which had brought him to this place. Beside him sat Siva, in grey as usual, but without her bow. Church was the only time she was without it. Xim sat a few rows back with Bijela, the urchin that had attached herself to himself and Siva. Probably just looking to steal something, was Siva's opinion. Narančasta didn't dispute this. But the kid was smart and and a bit cheeky and Narančasta liked him. And the urchin had no one else in the world. The Spirit of Charity required that Narančasta help out as he could.

Absorbed as he was in his own thoughts, the Bojar failed to notice when the priest turned his attention to recent events in the village. But eventually the sense of expectation in the room, and the feeling of dozens of eyes watching him brought his attention back into the here and now. Narančasta didn't need to heard what the priest had said to know what he had said. The talk of the village had been of nothing else for the last few days. Narančasta had kept his true title to himself, asking only to be addressed as 'Sir', an honorific appropriate for any mounted warrior in service. But his accent, the quality of his clothes and the sword at his hip had all served to reveal his noble birthright, if not his specific title.

Narančasta rose slowly to his feet and nodded in the direction of the priest and village head-man (or head-woman in this case). "I, and my companion, are of course willing to help do what we can to help the village with this problem. We will give our support to any party heading to the keep."

From the back of the room Bijela shouted "As will I, as his squire, also!" The raucous laughter of the villagers at the Urchin's conceit largely drowned out his angry response, but Narančasta was pretty sure that he hear "dirt eating bumpkins" and "useless clodhoppers" in there somewhere. Narančasta turned to look back at Xim and Bijela. The kids eyes were wide with excitement. Xim's expression gave little away as usual, but she had a firm grip on the back of the kid's shirt. "Don't even think about it," hissed Siva. But the kid had potential and the idea had merit. Narančasta knew his current squire had ambitions other than following the path of the knight, and suspected that he would be in need of a new squire soon. Perhaps he would take Bijela on as a page to start. Narančasta nodded at Bijela, who responded with a grin that lit up his face. Xim just shrugged her shoulders, and then nodded. Narančasta was glad. Despite her unassuming presence, over the last few weeks Xim had proved a fine travelling companion.

So it was done.
 
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GlassEye

Community Supporter

When Narančasta made his declaration of aid a light glimmered across the face of the battered wooden statue that represented Barearav, one of the gods of Law worshiped in Krivstad, and briefly caught his attention. Surely it was just a reflection from a flickering candle on the golden varnish of the statue and not a portent...

The aged priest looked ready to start off on another tedious, droning exhortation on responsibility and duty, unless another someone would prove brave or foolish enough to speak up.

[sblock=doghead]Excellent beginning! +1 Luck to Narančasta.[/sblock]
 

fireinthedust

Villager
Borok the dwarven blacksmith sat in the pew of the temple of Law, grumbling and polishing his hammer with his long white beard's tip.

"No good can come of us tampering with those evil ruins. You fools will unleash evil upon us all!" He growled at the collected assembly. "No doubt in my mind about it. Those missing peasants probably did something to anger the gods. Herb woman probably stole some flowers from around them, angered some demons! Now they'll all come down upon us in the night. Steal our children and shave our beards!"


Zim the halfling giggled. "Oh yes, I'm sure there's a score of demons just waiting to take your beard. Probably throwing dice right now to see which one holds you down and which one snips with shears!"

"Ah!" Squeeled Dudles, the simple parsnip farmer, holding his hands over his jaw to hide his own sparse whiskers. "They's mah best feature! What we gonna do?"


Squire Alaric was silent, pondering events. His mind went to the herb woman, who was a friend of his and had told him stories about the ancient spirits and spells of the old days. Though young, Alaric was wise beyond his years.

"We must go in. There is evil beneath the ruins that does not sleep now, and will not sleep until it is destroyed. Our village has been molested, our citizens murdered by its foul purpose. We must take a stand. We must put a stop to this."
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
The ancient priest, Mihai, raised up trembling, stick-thin arms into the air each hand cupped as if to catch blessings. "Praise the Lords of Light and Law! Prodigal Alaric has returned and brought with him a warrior of noble bearing to deliver us from evil that assails us in the night!"

Elderia, the matronly Krivstad head-woman, stood up from the heavy wooden chair that dwarfed her and hurried to the center of the room clearly afraid Mihai would take the opportunity to turn the meeting into a religious service so he could deliver a sermon to those who rarely attended. "Yes, yes," she says hurriedly interrupting. "Krivstad will be in your debt and will fête you upon your return. But half the morning has passed already and you still have to pass through the forest to..." Elderia hesitated and cleared her throat before continuing in a much subdued tone. "...the keep."
 

doghead

thotd
"We must go in. There is evil beneath the ruins that does not sleep now, and will not sleep until it is destroyed. Our village has been molested, our citizens murdered by its foul purpose. We must take a stand. We must put a stop to this."
Narančasta looked over to where Alaric stood and nodded slightly. The boy may have no wish to become a knight, but he had the makings of a good one Narančasta thought.

The ancient priest, Mihai, raised up trembling, stick-thin arms into the air each hand cupped as if to catch blessings. "Praise the Lords of Light and Law! Prodigal Alaric has returned and brought with him a warrior of noble bearing to deliver us from evil that assails us in the night!"

Elderia, the matronly Krivstad head-woman, stood up from the heavy wooden chair that dwarfed her and hurried to the center of the room clearly afraid Mihai would take the opportunity to turn the meeting into a religious service so he could deliver a sermon to those who rarely attended. "Yes, yes," she says hurriedly interrupting. "Krivstad will be in your debt and will fête you upon your return. But half the morning has passed already and you still have to pass through the forest to..." Elderia hesitated and cleared her throat before continuing in a much subdued tone. "...the keep."
As the two elders wrestled for control of the floor, Narančasta takes a moment to look over those who had spoken up so far. About a half dozen or so, depending if all who had spoken chose to go.

"We will need weapons!" squeaked Bijela, his voice breaking in his excitement. "We can't fight monsters with sticks! So dig out your granddaddies old spear or shield. Better used to save the town than as a coat hook or potato tray!"

"We will also need some supplies; torches, some rope, enough food for a couple of days," adds the ever practical Siva. Narančasta glances at her, and she shrugs. "if we are going to help these people, the least that they can do is help us do so."

Xim, stepping into the discussion as the rest of the villagers are digesting this last development, makes an offer of her own, heading of any complaints and getting the ball rolling. "My family has some waxwort dyed lengths that can be used as a cloaks, and a bedroll, for anyone who needs one."

Narančasta sighs inwardly, but he has travelled with this group long enough to not be surprised. They are a resourcefully group, and quick to back each other up. Which is why they have been been such good travelling companions. He can't really complain.

"Everything lent will be greatly appreciated, and returned where possible," Narančasta adds as clarification, and reassurance.
 

Dogmatron

Villager
"I'll go to that there Keep," said Roger from the back of the church, "Someone with some sense needs to go to keep an eyes these others."besides, there was no way he was going to let that fool parsnip farmer go to this keep without him going along too. Both he and Dudles had been eyeing the same plot of bottom land for years. There was no way he was going to let Dudles come back from some adventure with enough gold to buy it out from under him. Probably nothing more to this whole business than a few people run off and a scary story or two to keep the children in line anyways.

Old man Jessup stood up from his place in the middle of the church. "I may be too old to go, but I'll send my man Geoffrey here." A tall thin man next to looks up with alarm. Jessup sat back down. "Don't look so distressed Geoff. you keep saying tyou want to pay off your debt to me so you can marry that young Alyssa girl. Well, this is your chance. May be your only chance if you don't want to have to work off your debt for another 4 years. You might come back from this with enough coin to pay me off and set yourself up with a nice start."

And I might just come back dead too Geaffrey thought. But the old man was right...this just might be the chance he needed.

"You can count me in too I guess. I promised Uncle Pim I'd keep an out on these two scalawags." added Fendrel, indicating the two younger halflings who had already jump at the chance to join the mob.

"As well as I", continued Brom, stroking his own majestic beard. "I'd rather be the one to go shaving than stay home waiting ta be shaved!"
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
Gyalu Goldtongue, seated in the back and rolling his eyes at every mention of civic responsibility, stands when Narančasta and his retinue start seeking donations for the expedition. He steeples his long, spider-like fingers together and looks out over the crowd with hooded eyes and a thin smile just this side of a smirk. "My store will open as soon as I return to it and you are free to select what you would like from it. Of course, as you may not return at all I am afraid I must ask full price for any items taken."

Gyalu's pronouncement sets off a wave of muttering and dark looks and effectively tramples the burgeoning spirit of charity within the meeting hall. Mihai looks to object, "We have a sacred duty..."

"Duty is all well and good," interrupts Gyalu. "But I need my spear to protect myself. None were taken last night so whatever is up there will certainly be back tonight if these stalwarts don't return."
 

doghead

thotd
"The merchant has the right of it," injects Siva into the space left by the departure of Charity. "No one has the right to tell some else what he should do with his property, or what value he should put on it."

"Unless they are the taxman!" pipes up someone from the middle of the hall. Nervous laughter fills the hall. At the back of the room a youngish man huddles deeper into his nondescript (but quality) cloak. "They always know," Chekhov's assistant mutters under his breath. "Couldn't distinguish an accountant from an acctuary, or a courtier from a chevalier, but a taxman they can pick a hundred miles away."

Siva continues on one the hall has quietened down. "Each of you is free to do as you see right, and will be rewarded appropriately as the gods see fit," she concludes with an engaging smile and a nod in the direction of the statue behind her. If this village is like every other I have known, for every abandoned keep, dark cave and dismal valley there is a story of treasures attached to it. The idea that they may get a share of it by helping might shake loose a little generosity.

[sblock=OOC]Hehehe. Chekhov's taxman. :)[/sblock]
 

doghead

thotd
Narančasta, Siva, Bijela, and Xim

Narančasta holds up his hand his a moment, getting the town's folk's attention.

"The morning passes, as Elderia has pointed out, and we have a way to go before we get to the keep. All those that are going gather up whatever you need and meet back here in an hour."

As the meeting breaks up, Bijela makes his way quickly to Narančasta side, the Urchin's eyes shining with excitement.

"Being a squire is a not an easy job. There is a lot you need to know even before you begin." Narančasta holds up a hand to forestall Bijela's protests. "Which is why before they become Squires, young men serve as Pages. I have a Squire, and a capable one. But I don't have a Page. But you must promise that you will work hard, do as you are ordered, and learn from Alaric. Do we have a agreement?"

Really, the answer is obvious.
 
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doghead

thotd
Narančasta, Siva, Bijela, and Xim

Narančasta and his companions are back at the hall with time to spare. It didn't take long to collect what they needed. The didn't need much and what they really needed they couldn't afford. Narančasta considered pawning his ring for the money to buy a shield. But his Gran-ma's spirit would never forgive him. And Gran-ma was a terror even when she was alive.

Xim does purchase five sticks of chalk, one of which she hands to each of them. (The last she puts aside for Alaric for when he returns.) Siva nods in approval. Narančasta looks at the chalk with a bemused expression. "You can write can't you?" asks Xim. She inscribes an X on the wall. "X, for Xim. I was here." Siva steps to the wall and inscribes an S with and arrow. "I was here, and went this way," she says. Xim turns to Bijela who begins to draw a set of devil horns. Xim knocks away his hand and cuffs the Urchin. "Idiot." Xim rubs out the half completed mark and demonstrates a B, before rubbing it out and letting Bijela try. He draws it rotated 90 degrees, like a pair of breasts, earning him another cuff from Xim. "Perhaps I should have shown you C for child. And the keep is no place for children ..." Bijela, rushing out an apology, hastily draws a half decent impression of a B. Narančasta adds an N. "N for Narančasta," he adds for the boy's benefit.

Back at the hall, Xim takes a knife to her cloth, cutting it into two lengths. She then demonstrates to Bejila how to fold it around their items and tie it around his chest. "We can carry the gear, you two will need your hands free for fighting," she says to Narančasta and Siva.

With their preparations complete, the four wait for the rest of their travelling companions.
 

fireinthedust

Villager
Alaric nods to Narancasta, and gives a stern look to the newmade Page.

He and the others have returned with a handful of torches, two for each of them; a flint and steel; a 50ft length of rope; a sack; and a flask of oil.

Alaric speaks quietly with Narcasta:

"This village is poor at the best of times, and for now the goods I would want will not be crafted until the morrow, while the rest of the village groans from the darkness that has infected this land. Aside from pulling timbers from the walls, there is little I can think to bring with us. I'll have Dugles carry the goods until we need them."

"Aside from that... We are ready to continue forward."
 

Dogmatron

Villager
Geoffrey, Brom, Roger, and Fendrel enter the church together, having spent their few copper pennies at Gyalu's store.

""We are ready too." says Brom, the others nodding in agreement. "The morning is getting long. If we are to do this in the light of day we should go soon."
 

doghead

thotd
Narančasta, Siva, Bijela, and Xim

Narančasta looks around at those gathered. Weeding out the well-wishers and gawkers, he makes it about a dozen, maybe a few more. Narančasta was hoping for a couple more foresters or hunters. Ideally he would have liked a couple out front and one on each side. Oh well, they must make do with what they have.

"Siva, find someone who knows the way, and take the lead. But don't get too far ahead. Say in sight."

"Alaric, perhaps you could bring up the rear. Ensure that we don't lose any stragglers, or get surprised from behind."

"Right then. Its time to go."
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
Elderia points out a trail heading eastward into the woods near the village. "Follow the trail. It leads all the way to the keep." Mihai intones an invocation of blessing and the group sets off. The villagers of Krivstad, pragmatic as ever, watch briefly then head off to make up for the lost morning's work.

Under the boughs of the forest it is dim and quiet as the creatures of the wood still themselves at the intrusion into their realm. It is easy to see why the villagers find the forest ominous and threatening even for one experienced in woodcraft as Siva is. Despite the trail, the going is rough and by the time the group pushes through the last of the forest's overhanging limbs the sun is directly overhead.

Before you is the keep. It squats at the top of a low, craggy hill, its walls of toppled stone and massive granite blocks hinting at forgotten battles and the clash of mighty armies. Now the ruins seem host only to creeping vines and the foul miasma that drifts down from the keep. Fat flies bite at you incessantly, and clouds of small black insects choke your every breath. The long-abandoned land is choked with thorny vines that have even taken hold on the ruined walls.

A sight gives you pause: the ragged banner spotted in distant Krivstad high atop the ruined walls unfurls in a momentary breeze revealing a crimson skull worked upon its black field.

The trail, now overgrown with weeds and sickly vines, continues eastward along the south side of the keep before disappearing around the hill and presumably to the causeway that leads up and into the keep. The west wall of the keep, near to where you came out of the forest, has collapsed spilling cyclopean stone blocks down the rocky slope. The blocks are precariously balanced atop one another, like a titan's game of dice.
 

doghead

thotd
Narančasta, Siva, Bijela, and Xim

Narančasta brings the group to a halt before they all tumble out of the forest and into view of the keep. The black banner with its crimson skull is not known to him, but its presence at the top of the keep is ominous.

"There seem to be two ways into the keep," says Siva who having pushed ahead a little is now returned to the group. Up the path to the main gates, and up the giant stone blocks through the gap in the western wall. The path to gate looks overgrown and the hole in the wall the easiest way in. But those stones don't look so stable. I could scout out the path if you want?"

Narančasta agrees with Siva. Neither option looks appealing. He turns to the rest. "Does anyone have any thoughts?"
 

fireinthedust

Villager
Alaric thinks before speaking. "I would like to see the other entrance before judging. Those stone blocks look haphazardly placed, and should one fall it would undoubtedly whoever of our number is still climbing. We don't know if the other route is less stable, perhaps it would be better to have a look?"
 

Deuce Traveler

Adventurer
Tender Woodfingers was a bit sore from carrying the cut wood he had brought just in case they needed to make either a rough sort of shelter or a fire to keep the group warm at night. So he was glad for the respite, and not looking to make the journey any more complicated. "I say we go right up to the main gates. No need to go sneaking around like the foul being that's been snatching our townsfolk up at night."

Boral Furren mumbled under his breath, "I'd probably twist an ankle trying to climb around some of those stones. I don't even know how I got roped into this." He urges his cow, Betsy, forward and says, "I'm for checking the main gates, too. Who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky and find that this is all just one big misunderstanding and all our old acquaintances are in the main lobby relaxing over an extended picnic."

The squire named Happy Lordlinker disagreed. "We can all dream, but eventually we'll have to face facts. Those responsible for the disappearances likely do not mean us well, and so we shouldn't take any chances with the direct approach. Let's see if we can sneak through from the side and try to flank our foes."

It was Kurl Sparkhaven who outvoted Happy. "I doubt our companions could manage their way safely through some of those rocks in case we ran into an ambush. And the sooner we are done with our business, the sooner this structures secrets will be mine .... errrr... ours to take. I say let's brave the main gates."
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
A few yards further down the track curves around so the south side of the keep can be fully seen. The track winds up the hill to the gatehouse at the southwest corner of the keep. Half the way up the trail to the gatehouse a pair of bodies have been bound to poles by long ropey vines. Betsy moos and one of the bodies twitches and raises its head and looks down the hill towards the group. It is still too far to see who the unfortunate is.
 

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